80th CONGRESS 1947-1948
April 15, 1947
[In the following speech Congressman Marcantonio opposed the Labor Management Act of 1947 (HR 3020) which was substantially the legislation later passed as the Taft-Hartley Act, on June 23, 1947.]
The history of labor is a story of struggle by the American worker to achieve equality through unionization and ... whatever equality he has been able to obtain in his relationship with industry has been obtained only after years of struggle, struggle of the most excruciating kind.
This legislation wipes out whatever strength organized labor acquired to bring about equality in bargaining. Any honest analysis of the bill will demonstrate that to be correct. It wipes out completely any semblance of equality on the part of labor in bargaining with industry .... You cannot bargain unless you have power. Labor cannot have power except through unionization. Union activities such as have been laid down in the Wagner Act, protected by the Norris-LaGuardia Act, put on the statutes, for the sole purpose of granting to American workers who are organized, equality in bargaining all that is being wiped out by this legislation. Distort the truth as much as you can but you cannot get away from that.
What is your justification for this legislation? Oh, you say you are going to give certain rights, a new bill of rights to the American worker. What are you giving him?... You are giving him the right to be free, freeing him from unionization, freeing him from his hard-earned protection, freeing him from his union, his only defense against exploitation. You are making him free to be exploited. You are making him free to be forced to work for lower wages. You are making him free to be forced to work long hours. You are making him free -- and impotent to defend himself against any attempt by industry to subject him to the same working conditions that existed in these United States 75 years ago. You are giving him the freedom to become enslaved to a system that has been repudiated in the past not only by Democrats but also by outstanding progressive-minded Republicans. You are giving him freedom to be subjected to the injunction, to the yellow-dog contract, to company unions, to the vilest form of exploitation. In the name of freedom and a new bill of rights you destroy his rights, his unions, his strength, and his real freedom. You may pass this legislation, but you will not fool American wage earners. They know that their union and their rights, that you now seek to destroy, have been and are their best guarantee and bill of rights for freedom and economic security.
The whole philosophy of industrial relationship based on equality of bargaining is destroyed by this legislation. You say that you are going to do this to get rid of the Communists in the unions, to get rid of the racketeers. Let us see. Under the guise of fighting communism you are with this legislation advancing fascism on American labor. That is just what you are doing, and again, you cannot get away from it.
Now about this talk of racketeering, let us see what are the real racketeers. When we consider the spiraling in prices, the spiraling of the cost of living which has increased 50 percent since last June, we find that the real racketeers are the gentlemen who asked for free enterprise in order to raise prices. By free enterprise they meant freedom to charge whatever prices they pleased, and to pay whatever wages they wanted to pay. That is the kind of free enterprise which was urged by these gentlemen upon the United States in the last election; and these same people who used the cry of free enterprise, and who are now taking out of the pockets of the American consumers millions and millions of dollars, are behind this legislation. They are the real racketeers. They made billions and billions of dollars in wartime. Now these are the men who are destroying the purchasing power of the American people and seek to destroy the rights of American workers. They are the real racketeers.
The Speaker: The time of the gentleman from New York has expired.
Mr. Sabath: [Illinois] Mr. Chairman, I yield the gentleman two additional minutes.
Mr. Allen: [Illinois] If the gentleman will yield to me, I will yield him two additional minutes.
Mr. Marcantonio: Certainly. I yield to the gentleman.
The Speaker: The gentleman from New York is recognized for four additional minutes.
Mr. Allen: I am not greatly surprised that the gentleman from New York is opposed to this bill, but I will be greatly surprised if the great majority of my good friends on that side of the aisle oppose it, inasmuch as President Truman himself said that something must be done; that we must have some labor bill.
Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Speaker, may I say to the gentleman from Illinois that I opposed the President's proposal at the time he came here during the railroad strike. [See P. 214.] But that is neither here nor there. Let us judge this legislation by just what it is.
As I was saying, these big monopolies that have been taking millions and millions of dollars out of the pockets of the American consumers are the ones who want this legislation. They are the ones who today make it impossible for labor to bargain. They are the ones who are today adamant in their refusal to negotiate agreements on wages and hours, and refuse to give the American worker a wage with which he can keep up with the increasing cost of living. They want this legislation, and they support it from A to Z, in order to continue to deprive Americans of their share of the peace.
May I say to the gentleman from Illinois who asked about gentlemen on this side a while ago, that the gentleman from Illinois cannot point out a single opponent of this bill among the big trusts that have been profiteering and racketeering -- wholesale racketeering, that is what it amounts to -- the worst kind of racketeering, increasing the cost of living at the expense of the American consumers.
Did anyone of them ever come out against this kind of legislation? No. They have paid out millions of dollars to put in advertisements supporting it. They have issued tons of literature for it. They have their radio commentators, columnists, and the press busily engaged smearing labor. All of them have been drumming the war drums against the men and women of America whose only crime has been to try to obtain for themselves and their families a decent standard of living.
Mr. Hugh D. Scott, Jr.: Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Marcantonio: I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Mr. Hugh D. Scott, Jr.: ...The gentleman knows what a racketeer is, and in his own district, too.
Mr. Marcantonio: My district is just as good, if not better, than the gentleman's district and I am mighty proud of my district. My district is a district of homes, schools, churches, and workers whose people gave their sons for freedom but do not go around bragging about it. You cannot meet the issues and you drag out a red herring.
Mr. Hugh D. Scott, Jr.: I will identify the red herring, too.
Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Speaker, I decline to yield further. The gentleman cannot identify anything. I, however, have identified the real racketeers and it is obvious that the gentleman is very sensitive over it. I repeat, you are drawing a red herring in order to escape from the real consequences that this bill imposes on the working people of this country. You are parroting the same tactics that are employed by the National Association of Manufacturers.
I would like to know how much collaboration the authors of this legislation have received from the attorneys of the National Association of Manufacturers and the so-called experts employed by that organization; all enemies not only of labor but, as a result of their practices, their racketeering practices, real enemies of the economy of these United States.
This legislation is a part of a pattern. It is part of the pattern of boom, bust, and war, and in the face of that condition which you have been creating your only answer is Fascist labor legislation. Send to the Library for the Fascist syndicate laws enacted by Mussolini after he came into power; compare those laws with what you are enacting here, and the similarity is striking, the similarity is such that it is sufficient to frighten anyone in America who believes in American democracy.
The Speaker: The time of the gentleman has again expired.
Mr. Sabath: Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman one additional minute.
Mr. Marcantonio: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion I want to say that with this legislation we are marching, as Philip Murray correctly stated, toward fascism. You cannot have a free America without free labor unions; you cannot have free labor unions when you deprive the American labor unions of their fundamental rights.
April 22, 1947
[Congressman Marcantonio opposed the request made by the House Committee on Un-American Activities through its Chairman, Mr. J. Parnell Thomas, for a resolution approving the contempt citations of Attorney Leon Josephson and of the Secretary of the Communist Party, Eugene Dennis.]
I think it is quite apparent that the objective of this committee is to outlaw the Communist Party. I do not believe any member of the committee will deny it. I think they will admit it. As a matter of fact, one member of the committee, the gentleman from Mississippi Mr. Rankin, stated so earlier in the day in one of his 1-minute speeches. Such an objective, I submit to the calm and deliberate consideration of the Members of the House, is an unconstitutional objective and anti-democratic. These proceedings are in furtherance of that objective and therefore they are unconstitutional and anti-democratic.
We have a Constitution in this country and we are all striving to preserve it. Amendment No. 1 of that Constitution, in my opinion, is the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights of the American people. Weaken the spirit and the letter of that amendment and the constitutional democracy that you say you seek to preserve here this afternoon will be severely damaged. That amendment, as you well know, guarantees the constitutional rights of individuals, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. That amendment was enacted not for the benefit of those who appeared to be in the majority, but for the protection of those who were allegedly in the minority.
The Courts of this country have often scrupulously, and properly so, defended that amendment time and time again. You are trying to do by indirection here what you cannot do by direct legal action. You are trying to outlaw the Communist Party. You are trying to do it by prosecutions, citations for contempt, and by investigations. Investigation, like the power to tax, becomes the power to destroy when the objective is to destroy. In this case, the objective is admittedly to destroy -- to destroy and outlaw the Communist Party. You cannot circumvent the Constitution. For that reason, irrespective of the question, of the answer to the question, of the answer to the subpoena, or the non-answer to the subpoena irrespective of those questions, the fundamental question is the objective. The objective, therefore, being clearly unconstitutional, this proceeding is unconstitutional. Every measure taken to carry out an unconstitutional purpose must be treated by this Congress as a violation of the Constitution.
Further, the objective is anti-democratic. The same applies to these proceedings. This is not the first time that Americans have witnessed this hysterical persecution of those with whom the so-called majority disagree. We had it in the days of the Alien and Sedition Acts, the first time it was attempted in the Republic of the United States. It lasted for about 10 years. People were investigated and were prosecuted and it was political persecution. A wave of revulsion on the part of the real majority swept this country, and not only wiped off the statute books the Alien and Sedition Acts, but wiped out of power and into complete extinction the Federalist political party that was responsible for that kind of legislation.
Then, too, the question of foreign agents and foreign affiliation was raised. Those who were in the political saddle, and who sought to protect the greedy economic sinecures that had been fraudulently obtained in the newly born republic, sought to destroy and silence the opposition to what then was the forerunner of today's monopoly capital. They used the Alien and Sedition Acts and they had to use a term and give that term an ugly connotation. The terms that were used then were Jacobin and Republican. Jefferson and the followers of Jefferson were subjected to the appellations of Jacobin and Republican. They were subjected to those appellations, and were called foreign agents, because they maintained at that time that the future of liberty in the world depended upon collaboration between the Republic of the United States and the new Republic of France. So, on domestic issues and on foreign policy, the Jeffersonians were labeled Jacobins and Republicans and everything that was said about the Jacobins and the Republicans by the Tory press in this country was quite similar to what is said today of the Communists. I recommend as required reading to the House, Claude Bowers' Jefferson and Hamilton.
We witnessed another example of this hysterical persecution of an alleged minority right after World War I. Then, they did not use the word "Communist." My colleagues from New York will remember the disgraceful spectacle, which everybody today deplores, when the New York State Legislature ejected from its halls the five Socialist members of the Assembly. At that time the word was "Socialist," and the connotations given the word "Communist" today are the same as those given the word "Socialist" at that time. It was the technique employed by reaction then, just as it is now, to wage warfare against progress and democracy. No self-respecting American now condones the Palmer raids of that period. And yet, they were condoned then with the same language and hysteria used now...
One fact you cannot deny, and it is a historic fact, and time and events as they go by prove it more and more to be correct. That is, that if the people of Germany had defeated Hitler's efforts in his attempt to destroy the constitutional rights of Communists in Germany, Hitler would never have gained power and there would have been no World War II. It is my considered judgment, in the light of contemporary history, in the light of how fascism came into power, that the defense of the constitutional rights of the Communists, that the defeat of red baiting, is the first line of defense of democratic rights. Deny that historic fact! Again I repeat, that if the people of Germany, if the Reichstag in Germany, if the people as a whole had defended the constitutional rights of the Communists in Germany, there would have been no Hitler to make war on the democracy of the world.
May 7, 1947
[In this speech Congressman Marcantonio supported the recommendations of an official report made by the U.N. Commission, set up by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N. to study conditions in Greece. He opposed the substitute program presented by President Truman in his speech of March 12, 1947, which became known as the Truman Doctrine. Mr. Marcantonio called this "unilateral action on the part of the United States... that foreclosed action on the part of the United Nations."]
It is my contention, and the contention of the gentlemen [of the U. N. Commission] who made this comprehensive on-the-spot study, and who did not spend their time speaking to only the rulers of Greece or the men in charge of the police in Greece, that these recommendations, if they were put into effect, would go a long, long way in eliminating the existing civil strife in Greece. If these recommendations were adopted, if the people who are now fighting in the hills were guaranteed the freedom about which you gentlemen have been speaking here this afternoon, there would be no civil strife in Greece and there would be no problem such as the President described in his speech of March 12 and which many members are seeking to accentuate on the floor of this House.
[Among the recommendations to which Mr. Marcantonio referred were a U.N. advisory mission and financial aid on an international basis, breakup of large estates and increase of acreage to be cultivated per family, expansion of industrial production, curbing inflation by rationing and price control, reorganization of the Civil Service and the Ministry of Agriculture, a road repair program with the participation of all able-bodied males including members of the armed forces, and reform of the tax system to make it more like that of the United States, Great Britain and other developed countries.]
Why do we bypass the United Nations? Why do we insist on ignoring the recommendations of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations [for adoption of the foregoing U.N. Report]? Why do we insist on a program that would prevent the adoption of these reforms in Greece, reforms that would do away with the civil strife and which would give Greece at least some substance of economic stability? Why is it that we ask for legislation that would implement a policy of merely starving or destroying the opposition to a regime which refuses to accept these recommendations, made by American citizens, mind you, acting as agents of the United Nations organization after a careful and exhaustive study of the problem?...
Mr. Chairman, the program before us is to starve and kill the opposition to a regime that refuses to accept these reforms. That is the program set forth in this legislation. This legislation represents a policy of refusal to do that which will really aid to eradicate civil strife and restore economic stability and freedom in Greece -- the Fascist rulers of Greece today, and the well-entrenched few families in Greece today, would not be able to maintain their position as political and class rulers if these reforms that have been recommended by the United Nations organization were adopted.
In all fairness to Great Britain, it made some effort to have some of these reforms adopted during the period of its disgraceful rule there. It met with nothing but resistance, refusal, and sabotage on the part of the Greek regime which we are now asked to sustain with money and with military aid. That regime cannot accept these recommendations and survive. If it accepts these recommendations its control of the political and the economic life of Greece will be destroyed ....
Why are we doing all this? We are doing it under the guise of "stop communism," and I say while we are doing all this, we are aiding a regime which is shot through and through with Fascists, with Nazi collaborators, petty and big Quislings. Read the roll of those who rule Greece today: The Minister of Public Security, the Chief of Police, the present King, the present Queen, blood relatives, politically and otherwise, of nazism. I just wonder how our men who fought against the Nazis will feel when they learn that we are giving aid and comfort to a regime that is made up of those elements who aided and gave comfort to the Nazis. I wonder how the ex-GI will feel when he learns that we pass this legislation which provides for the shooting down, yes, of these guerrillas, some of them Communists, many of them non-Communists, but all men and women who fought heroically against the Nazis and against the Fascists, and thereby saved the lives of thousands of Americans...
We are doing this under the guise of "stop communism." I have heard that used before; so have you. You heard it to justify the destruction of republican Spain. You heard it at Munich; the betrayal of Czechoslovakia and the betrayal of democracy in Europe was alibied with the same cry, "stop communism." You heard it to alibi the creation of the anti-Comintern pact. You heard it to excuse the terror of the Axis. You heard it from the lips of Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, and Goebbels. You heard it at the Nuremberg trials from the lips of the guilty, from Goering and Ribbentrop. It was used before to excuse ruthless warfare waged on the democratic people of the world. Now monopoly capital and its agents set up the same cry in an attempt to stop the forward march of mankind toward freedom from fear and want.
July 15, 1947
[On March 21, 1947, President Truman had issued Executive Order 9835 "to eliminate any and all disloyal employees from the Federal Government." In the prevailing atmosphere even liberal Democrats like Congressman Sabath felt it necessary to uphold the President's order in the House though, as Mr. Sabath said, he deplored its "failure to provide adequate safeguards for individuals against malicious gossip, racial and religious prejudice, anonymous informants, and the vast powers placed in the hands of the Attorney General to determine, without benefit of judicial review, what organizations are subversive."
The Republican majority in the House refused, during almost four months, to vote any funds for the carrying out of this order. Then they presented their own bill, H R 3813, which would, they said, better effect the same purpose. This bill was opposed by many Democrats who had supported the Executive Order.
Congressman Marcantonio consistently opposed both the "so-called loyalty order," and the bill. He said:]
Mr. Speaker, in the limited time accorded to me [5 minutes] I cannot present to the House a full analysis of the bill and point out all its unconstitutional and undemocratic features. I shall attempt to set forth one of the most glaring unconstitutional and undemocratic phases of this legislation.
This bill comes before us only because of the competition that exists between the Democratic administration and the Republican Party to determine which is going to excel in the field of red-baiting. We would not have had this bill if the President had not issued his so-called loyalty order. There is very little difference between the President's Executive Order 9835 and this bill, when we consider civil liberties and when we think of freedom from fear. Basically they are the same. They both deprive American citizens of their constitutional and age-old rights to advocate social and economic change.
If this ["loyalty"] bill becomes law and if the Executive order is carried out, we will make out of a Federal employee a person with a static mind, whose soul will be filled with fear. We will make him an employee of the same character that existed in the German Government under Hitler and in the Fascist government under Mussolini. Any person who advocates, or even thinks of, economic and social changes is subject to the most ruthless kind of investigation, afforded no safeguards, no protection, and stripped of any adequate opportunity to defend himself.
If this bill becomes law and if the Executive order is carried out, the average Government employee will not even be permitted to think on any important issue, or express himself on any such issue, because, if he does and he finds himself not in accord with either the Republican majority or with the majority of the Democratic Party on some issues which we have had before us, for instance, the Taft-Hartley Bill, the Committee on Un-American Activities, price and rent control, the Truman Doctrine, political coalition of reaction, Government for and by monopolies, he will be considered subversive; he will be considered unfit to hold public office. He will be subject to investigation after investigation and given no opportunity of defense in keeping with American democratic tradition.
Page 14 of this bill has the most shocking language that has ever been presented in any democracy. I now read it, subsection (6) of Section 8:
"(6) Membership in, affiliation with, or sympathetic association with, any foreign or domestic organization, association, movement, group, or combination of persons, designated by the Attorney General as totalitarian, Fascist, Communist, or subversive, or as having adopted a policy of advocating or approving the commission of acts of force or violence to deny other persons their rights under the Constitution of the United States, or as seeking to alter the form of government of the United States by unconstitutional means."
In all the years I have been here, having witnessed the full activities of the Committee on Un-American Activities, under the chairmanship of Mr. Dies, under the chairmanship of the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Wood], and under the chairmanship of the gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. Thomas], never have I seen any language that equals the language of this section "or sympathetic association with." By that we can drag in any group among our 140,000,000 people in this country, have the Attorney General put a label on it; and then anybody who in any manner, shape, or form associates with any individual in that group becomes a proscribed person.
To all this un-American investigation and undemocratic and unconstitutional procedure we subject 2,500,000 Americans, Government employees who are rendering faithful service to the Government and people of the United States. It seems unbelievable, and yet it is here. It is here as a result of a wave of hysteria and red-baiting. which has been used in a drive to smash labor, in a drive to smash price and rent controls, in a drive to imperil the peace and democratic rights of the American people. It is a repetition of the Alien and Sedition laws and of the Palmer Raids. It is more than that. It is the desperate technique of the trusts to reinforce their hold on the social and economic structure of the country. Social and economic changes have been the food on which American progress has grown. America has progressed as a result of social and economic changes. Once again Congress attempts to stop the clock and persecute American citizens for exercising their constitutional right and their democratic rights to advocate economic and social changes.
November 24, 1947
[The following argument against the proceedings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities was made during the debate on resolutions citing the "Hollywood Ten" for contempt, for their refusal to answer certain Committee questions.]
Mr. Speaker, I have consistently opposed this committee and have voted against every contempt citation. My opposition to the committee and to these contempt citations is fundamental. You cannot deal with this issue by drawing fine distinctions nor by recommending a super-duper Committee on Un-American Activities. You cannot evade the Constitution by trying to direct the activities of this committee in one or another direction. No, you cannot say that the Constitution applies to one group of citizens and then say it does not apply to another. The issue is the Constitution and the Constitution protects all, including Communists. When you attempt to circumvent that proposition, you are subverting the very democracy you say you want to defend.
The issue involved in these contempt citations and in the very existence of the committee is whether or not the activities of the committee are in violation of the Constitution of the United States. I have repeatedly contended that the activities of this committee do violate the Constitution.
Congress is given practically unrestricted authority to investigate, except as it is limited by the Constitution. A committee of Congress can investigate anything and everything about which it has the power to legislate. If the investigation does not come within a field over which it has the power to legislate, then that investigation cannot be supported, it is illegal, and anyone who is questioned in such an investigation has a right to refuse to answer any and every question.
Let us look at this picture a moment. The first amendment to the Constitution provides that Congress cannot make any law abridging freedom of speech and of the press. That means that this committee cannot report out any law, and this Congress cannot pass any law abridging the freedom of speech or press; and you cannot get around it by saying that you are dealing with Communists. You cannot get around it by wildly and hysterically charging a political conspiracy. You cannot evade that Constitution no matter how much hysteria, no matter how much of a smoke screen you raise here. Since you cannot legislate in any manner that will abridge the freedom of speech or freedom of the press, you cannot investigate this field. That is exactly what the situation is here. You are investigating in a field over which you cannot legislate; consequently the activity of the committee is in violation of the Constitution.
Now, to be more specific, let us examine the very questions that you asked which this witness [Dalton Trumbo] refused to answer: One, as to membership in a labor union [the Screen Writers Guild]; and, two, as to membership in a political party. Both of those questions inherently involve that person's right of free speech. You cannot get around that no matter what amount of irresponsible charges may be hurled at these witnesses. These two questions involve what? They involve their political affiliation, and their membership in a labor union. These involve his freedom of speech which the first amendment protects.
Perhaps considerations other than the Constitution may influence a Supreme Court; it has happened before, but I seriously doubt whether the men and women who fought for our Revolution, and who were responsible for the Bill of Rights that exists in our Constitution, ever dreamed of giving Congress the power to interrogate any citizen of this Nation as to his political affiliation or as to his membership in a labor union. If that power is now established by you, if that power is usurped as it is being here this afternoon, then the Bill of Rights is placed in jeopardy in the very Government that you say you are seeking to defend, the very Constitution you say you are seeking to uphold, the very things you say you are seeking to protect against subversion. You yourselves are subverting by the very action that has been recommended here in these citations. So much for the legalistic aspects of this situation.
In my opinion, there is something even much more fundamental than that, the question of essential democracy. It seems that this committee and the Congress, during the last few years, have taken the position that democracy is synonymous with the rule of monopoly capital, that democracy is synonymous with everything for which monopoly capital stands; that anyone who protests against the rule of monopoly capital, anyone who objects to what has been transpiring under that rule, anyone who seeks a social and economic change is subversive. Thus, you have been attempting to make Americans conform with the patterns of the big trusts. America will never survive if we place America in that straitjacket.
Mr. Speaker, place America in that straitjacket and we will have the America of standpatters, we will have the America of the Bourbons and of the Tories. At least the Bourbons and the Tories of the past did not use this kind of technique to destroy the opposition. The technique which is being used now is the technique of red-baiting, using the Communist bogey for the purpose of imposing fascism. It is the weapon employed to protect the few who benefit from the program of war and depression. It is a repetition of history. It was done this way in Germany, it was done this way in Italy, and if I have to be alone again in this Congress, I will cast my vote against it ever happening in the United States of America.
December 17, 1947
Mr. Speaker, Attorney General Clark's listing of organizations of alleged questioned loyalty denies every element of democratic procedure and fair play. It has all the earmarks of the police state, in violation of the Bill of Rights. The attempt of the Attorney General to question the loyalty of the International Workers Order is a travesty of justice and a blow below the belt against the distinguished record and achievements of this organization. A fraternal insurance organization which provides low-rate insurance and various vital sick and health benefits to the laboring and common people of the United States, the International Workers Order was conspicuous throughout the war as an outstanding war-service organization.
More than 300 of its members died in the service of our country during the war, while close to 8,000 of its members are honorably discharged veterans of World War II.
Approximately 40 members of the International Workers Order distinguished themselves on the field of battle and received commendations for their heroism, ranging from the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross to the Purple Heart.
Throughout the war the IWO placed the victory of our country above everything else, and geared all its activities to the mobilization of its membership for the wide variety of home-front services which were essential for victory. During this period it received scores of letters from the White House, the Treasury Department, the War Production Board, the Office of Civilian Defense, the USO, American Red Cross, the Army and Navy, and governors and mayors throughout the country, commending it for its patriotic war activities.
On December 17, 1941, for example, Secretary to the President, M. L. McIntyre, wrote the International Workers Order, declaring that "the President of the United States wishes me to convey his deep appreciation of the patriotic support which you so genuinely pledge."
The Treasury Department on April 1, 1944, commended the iWO for the sale of war bonds and declared:
"Your organization is fully entitled to the commendations we are delighted to extend for the cooperation evidenced, in recognition of which we are glad to extend the enclosed Treasury Department citation."
The Fraternal Outlook, official publication of the IWO, was listed by the Treasury Department's Third War Loan Roll of Honor of national magazines. The war record of the IWO and its patriotic contribution to history is well known and it is officially embodied in the records of our Government agencies.
The IWO has a particularly distinguished record as a champion of the rights of minorities and the foreign-born. It is an organization that is composed of the men and women of the diverse national groups, the Slavs, Italians, Jews, Negroes, and many others that comprise the American Nation and are a source of its greatness and strength; the IWO has enhanced the cultural diversity of our Nation. Most of its members are part of America's laboring force and it is evident that the questioning of the loyalty of the International Workers Order is part of the inexcusable attacks upon the foreign-born, the national minorities, and the American labor movement.
As an organization fighting against discrimination and for the rights of America's national groups, the IWO has made a profound contribution to true Americanism and to the realization of the American ideal that all men are created free and equal.
This aspect of the composition of the IWO is also reflected in its unique relief contributions. Many of the members of the iWO have relatives and kinfolk in Europe. Long before our Government agencies even began to discuss relief for Europe the members of the International Workers Order began to develop intensive relief campaigns, out of a personal interest in their kinfolk and an abiding interest in American aid to Europe, without any political strings attached. The IWO has adopted many children's homes in the various European countries, and has contributed literally millions of dollars to virtually all the countries of Europe for the relief and rehabilitation of its war-ravished people.
The International Workers Order has proven its loyalty with deeds. Its contributions to the struggle for the betterment of the standards of living of the working people of this country will be long, long remembered after its traducers will have been forgotten.
December 19, 1947
Mr. Speaker, my intention at this time is not to reopen the argument that has been so overwhelmingly settled. I recognize I am in a very, very small minority here on the issue of aid to Chiang Kaishek. However, I cannot resist the temptation of stating to the gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Judd] that for the last week he has been attacking the Democratic League of China and the Christian general of China simply because those two, one democratic group and one democratic general, have seen fit to attack Chiang Kaishek.
The gentleman from Minnesota [Mr. Judd] has reached the point that if a Biblical character jumped out of the Bible and attacked Chiang Kaishek I am afraid the gentleman from Minnesota would attack the Bible.
Of course, he will tell you that we must aid this Hitler of China to defeat the Soviet Union. We well remember that others advanced the same line to justify aiding and strengthening Hitler. The world is still suffering from the results of that advice.
March 8, 1948
I want ... to call the attention of the House to what I deem to be a serious impairment of the political rights of the American people, the utilization of deportation proceedings for the purpose of intimidating and disrupting, if possible, a new political movement that is being led by Mr. Henry Wallace.
We have read of the arrest of five people in New York and their being brought to Ellis Island and detained there without bail up until last Saturday. They were kept there without bail on the insistence of the Department of Justice. They were finally released when a courageous judge fixed bail temporarily.
I make the charge that those arrests were political, and I am ready to substantiate it. The complete substantiation came last Friday, when, after a conference that Mr. Harry Bridges had with other leaders of the CIO, he announced he would insist upon his continued support of Mr. Wallace. The country was informed that the Department of Justice was considering denaturalization proceedings against Mr. Bridges. It is most obvious that if Mr. Bridges had changed his political support, if he had announced that he would support Mr. Truman, Mr. Bridges would not now be subjected to the harassment of having the Department of Justice agent in San Francisco seeking to find ways and means to denaturalize Mr. Bridges.
Now, with respect to the people who were arrested in New York, three of them are leaders of labor organizations -- Ferdinand Smith, Doyle, and Potash. They had announced their support of Mr. Wallace. Soon thereafter they were taken to Ellis Island. It is significant that, in the case of Ferdinand Smith, he was picked up and arrested with a great deal of fanfare and publicity, with front page photographs, on the Monday after he appeared on the same platform at a meeting in Harlem in New York City with Mr. Wallace. The pictures were plastered on the front pages of the tabloids of New York City on the day before the special election in the Twenty-fourth Congressional District of the Bronx ... [Congressman Leo Isacson was elected on the American Labor Party ticket in this election].
If these men are subversive, as the Government charges, what has the Government done about it in past year? Why is it that all of a sudden, after the 29th day of December, the day when Mr. Wallace announced his candidacy, these men who have subsequently announced their support of Mr. Wallace suddenly are dragooned to Ellis Island, and suddenly the Government insists that they shall be detained without bail?
This is political. It is political from beginning to end. I think it is high time that Members of Congress of all parties who proclaim that they believe in the political freedom about which we hear so much, stand up for political freedom with respect to the followers of Henry Wallace.
I repeat, I wonder if this persecution would have taken place against these men if, instead of announcing their support of Mr. Wallace, they had announced their support of Mr. Truman. I do hope that some committee of Congress, and particularly the Committee on the Judiciary, will look into this matter so that political freedom will be made a reality during the campaign of 1948, so that the Department of Justice will be deterred from using its powers to intimidate and harass men and women who are striving for a new political party in this country. You have a perfect right to disagree with us and vote against our new political party, but we have a right to establish it, and we have the right to fight for it. All we are asking of the Congress is that our followers be protected against this persecution. It is a sordid procedure in a democracy. It is indecent and low when our Department of Justice can be injected into a political campaign to intimidate men and women because of their political activity.
March 9, 1948
Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Rankin] has been attempting to frighten this Congress into voting this appropriation [for the House Committee on Un-American Activities] by raising an atomic bomb scare. I agree that we have had a great deal of atomic activity. We have had atomic activity against the civil liberties of the American people, and that atomic activity against the civil liberties of Americans has come from the Committee on Un-American Activities. There is fear in this land, fear of war, fear of depression, fear of the future because of present shortages and high prices. Government employees being subjected to a loyalty purge fear loss of their jobs; fear in the offices, mines, mills, and factories is rampant throughout this Nation.
Americans, whose birthright is freedom, have been subjected to fear, fear of investigations of Government employees, of factory workers, clerks in business offices, scientists; in fact no one is safe from investigation. I think the time has come when Congress must courageously state that the loyalty of Americans does not have to be questioned or investigated. Rather than trust the biased investigations of this committee, I prefer to trust the common sense and intelligence of the American people. The security of this Nation can better be safeguarded by the people themselves than by this committee which has, for 10 years, existed in violation of the Bill of Rights of these United States.
March 16, 1948
Mr. Chairman, you have just heard the gentleman from Mississippi [Mr. Rankin] place the blame for [housing] shortages on controls. We have heard other gentlemen make this same statement throughout the debate on this bill [to end rent control]. I believe it is necessary to present to this House the facts with regard to shortages.
We find today that despite the removal of [price] controls we still have a most acute shortage. Controls were completely removed last July by action of this House. I voted against removing the controls.
Mr. Chairman, what has happened since the removal of the controls? There has been some construction, but that construction has not affected millions of Americans who are in need of homes. Whatever construction we have had has been beneficial to those who can afford to pay high rents, but it has been of very little benefit to the average veteran and the small or middle income earner.
Let us see why homes for the type of people who need them so badly are not being built. I wonder how many Members of this House know what the price of brick is today? With the removal of... price controls brick has gone up to $32 a thousand. Steel is $85 a ton if you can get it, but the real price for steel is from $135 to $150 a ton, and even then you cannot get it .... The result has been that you have been unable to build any homes, any multiple dwelling homes, that are so greatly needed. It is as a result of the shortage in multiple dwellings that we have an emergency. This emergency is due to the removal of controls.
The gentleman from Mississippi and others beat their breasts about the home owners, and I hear so much talk about their rights. I think controls are what in the long run are going to guarantee the property rights of the home owners of this country, for if we continue this system of no controls and permit this inflation spiral to continue, there is going to be a bust. When that bust comes, those small property owners of your districts will be the ones who will be hurt. I am not concerned with riots in New York or Mississippi [during the debate Members of the House had prophesied home owners' riots if rent control were continued] but I am concerned with the economic riot that is going to take place in this country as a result of no controls; as a result of a condition that brings about $32-a-thousand brick and a gray market for steel, with United States Steel increasing its steel prices $5 a ton; and no multiple dwellings, no homes for the average veteran, and no homes for the middle and small income groups of the country. You have an emergency, and to meet that emergency you give us talk about property rights, property rights that will be wiped out when the bust comes as a result of no controls.
This bill does not restore [rent] controls. This bill is in the direction of less and less and no control. This bill was criticized in detail yesterday in general debate, but the basic criticism is that realistically it removes all controls. Speak about property rights; how about the rights of the 50,000,000 tenants who are going to lose, as a result of this bill, whatever small protection they have heretofore had? That is the question that confronts this Congress. So let us stop talking about riots and rights, let us start to prevent what will happen to the rights and welfare of tenants when this bill becomes law, as well as what will happen to the rights and the property of the small owners when the bust comes as a result of the no-control policy of the Eightieth Congress.
March 17, 1948
[The "complete mobilization" requested by the President was the immediate enactment of legislation for Universal Military Training, and the reenactment of Selective Service to maintain the armed forces at their fullest authorized strength. The former was defeated. The latter legislation, in somewhat restricted form, was passed in June, 1948.]
Mr. Speaker, today is the third time the President, on short notice, has had convened and has addressed an emergency joint session of the Congress.
The first time was in May 1946. He came here and presented what he deemed to be a very dire situation, and he asked for the most drastic anti-labor legislation. This House gave it to him. Only 13 Members voted against it. The Senate was more calm and more deliberate, and as a result this country was not disgraced with the legislation that the President had asked.
In March 1947 again he came here and fanned the flames of hysteria and we gave him the Truman Doctrine which today is the cause of world disagreement and possible war.
Now today again he comes here and asks for complete mobilization. Complete mobilization is asked for on the same day when the Soviet Union has announced demobilization of its army. I do hope that the people of America will not be fooled by the military-banker clique that has made the President the prisoner of the White House.
March 18, 1948
[After the defeat of F.E.P.C. legislation in the first session of the 80th Congress, Congressman Marcantonio made the following radio address. In this he gave a summary history of the fight for F.E.P.C. from 1941 to 1948 and asked his audience "to make Congress know of their support of this basic American legislation."]
Fair employment practice legislation is the heart of any civil rights program. There can be no political freedom without freedom from discrimination in employment. You are not free as long as you can be refused a job or denied promotion on a job because of your race, color, or your religious belief. Under these conditions freedom becomes an empty word, overused by politicians and demagogues.
The objective of fair employment practice laws, known as F.E.P.C., is to prohibit the practice of denying jobs and equality in employment for reasons of the color of your skin, the place of your birth, or the religion you practice.
Now, how can anybody quarrel with that proposition? You can't oppose it unless you believe in discrimination. That means that you don't like other people, that you consider yourself superior, that you hate people. There was a man by the name of Hitler who felt that way about people. We fought a big war and paid a big price to rid the world of him and his kind. I admit that we haven't finished the job. There are plenty of his kind around; some of them are considered very respectable today; in fact, so respectable that they even influence our foreign policy and are busy trying to get our country into war.
F.E.P.C. can be found in the very cradle of our democracy, F.E.P.C. is as American as the Declaration of Independence. When the men who gave birth to this Nation said in that great declaration that all men are created equal they did not say that all men are created equal except Negroes, that all men are created equal except Jews, that all men are created equal except Catholics, that all men are created equal except the foreign born. When they said that all men are created equal they meant that all men are created equal with no exceptions. So that when you refuse employment to people because of race, color, or creed you practice a direct contradiction of the basic American creed, you negate the fundamental concepts of American democracy for which Americans have struggled throughout the life of this Nation.
Let us examine the history of F.E.P.C. On March 13, 1941, I introduced the first F.E.P.C. bill, H. R. 3994. It was given a hearing before the Judiciary Committee and not reported out. On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt issued the first executive order establishing a temporary F.E.P.C. with limited powers. It was a clear recognition that the Nation in peril needed the services of every man and woman regardless of race, color, or creed. Since then there has been a continued struggle for the establishment of a permanent F.E.P.C., because only by legislation could we make the right of access to jobs a reality for millions of Americans. The temporary F.E.P.C. expired soon after the end of the war. I am proud of the part I played in trying to keep it alive for 2 years prior to its expiration. The bipartisan coalition in Congress and President Truman let it die, apparently operating on the theory that we can afford the luxury of equality only in wartime.
In the last Congress I used every parliamentary device at our command to bring about a vote on the bill providing for the establishment of a permanent F.E.P.C. We did not succeed because of the alliance between the Republicans and the southern Democrats. Only as recently as March 8, I introduced an amendment to the Labor Department appropriations bill providing that no funds appropriated as grants shall be paid to any State or educational institution which, because of race, color, or creed, denies equality of educational opportunity or employment. This embodied recent Supreme Court decision on this question. What happened tells you the up-to-date story of F.E.P.C. Mind you, this limited F.E.P.C. amendment was offered after President Truman had sent to Congress his civil rights message in which he asked for F.E.P.C. legislation. I can best describe the sincerity of both parties on civil rights legislation by quoting from the speech I made in support of my amendment. I now read from the Congressional Record of March 8:
"Never for a long time have I seen so many Democrats from below the Mason and Dixon line on the floor as I see this afternoon; and never have I seen so few Republicans in any session of the Eightieth Congress as I see this afternoon. This amendment has a history, and I wonder whether it is because of the history of the amendment that I am honored by this distinguished attendance; or whether it is because I have doubled my delegation in this House [Mr. Isacson of New York City had won a special election in February so that there were two American Labor Party representatives in the House]; or because the whip was on strike on the Republican side and the Democratic whip was over-busy on the Democratic side calling his southern Members to the floor of the House?
"This amendment [denying Veterans Administration funds to educational institutions which discriminated in admissions] is not my product I wish it were. I would be very proud of it; this amendment is the product of the gentleman from Wisconsin, the chairman of the subcommittee [Mr. Keefe]. He had this amendment become part of the language of the subcommittee bill, and it was proclaimed throughout the Halls of this Congress that for once something was going to be done. Then suddenly a full meeting of the Appropriations Committee took place, and speeches that have been made in public, and by the leading candidates for the Presidency on the Republican side, were suddenly forgotten. This time Lee did not surrender, it was the followers of Grant who surrendered; and by a vote of 25 to 6, a combined vote of Republicans and Democrats who are here in such great numbers this afternoon, this language was stricken from the bill.
"Incidentally, I also wonder where are the Truman Democrats this afternoon? The President sent a message to Congress, a civil rights message. Those who are opposing this civil rights program are here in good number. Are the other Democrats as mild about Mr. Truman's program as the Republicans have been in the Committee on Appropriations? Why are we, who have consistently fought for civil rights, confronted with this kind of tactic this afternoon? It is because nobody, neither Republicans nor Democrats, want this language in this bill; it is because both are rendering lip service on this question of civil rights.
"I can understand the gentlemen from the South fighting civil rights; they have publicly proclaimed their opposition to this type of legislation. They are fighting it and I am fighting them; and it is not just today that we have been fighting over this; it has been throughout the 12 years I have been here. "The Republicans go out to the country, in the press and on the radio, and tell the people they want this legislation, yet we find them with the southern Democrats in the committee; and the other Democrats are prominent by their absence."
The amendment was defeated by a combined Republican-Democratic vote of 119-40.
This brings up to date the history of our efforts to have F.E.P.C. enacted. It also tells you why we have been unable to win the fight. I can state that we of the Wallace [Progressive] Party, and those who believe with us, are the only ones who sincerely are carrying the fight for democracy in employment and for the reaffirmation of the Christian and American principle of equality.
The fight for F.E.P.C. cannot be separated from the fight for peace. It is an integral part of the same struggle that is going on all over the world for progress and freedom and peace. I don't expect those who support reaction both at home and abroad -- I don't expect the bipartisan coalition that is now trying to militarize the youth of our free Nation -- I don't expect any of these to support F.E.P.C.
But I do expect the overwhelming majority of Americans who want peace and progress and cherish democracy both at home and abroad to support F.E.P.C. And I now call upon them to make Congress know of their support of this basic American legislation.
March 22, 1948
[On November 29, 1947, the United States delegate to the United Nations, Mr. Warren Austin, had spoken and voted with the majority of the U.N. General Assembly for the partition of Palestine and, if necessary, for protection of the Jewish community there against possible Arab attack on the boundaries to be set up. On March 19, 1948, Mr. Austin told the U.N. General Assembly that "the United States has changed its mind" on recognizing partition. The debate in the House on March 22 dealt with this statement as well as with the United States embargo on arms to Palestine. American Labor Party Congressman Isacson presented a detailed factual analysis of the entire situation, and Congressman Marcantonio then spoke briefly as follows:]
Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Hoffman] stated that the American people do not want to go to war for any minority groups. It seems to me that even the gentleman from Michigan should very easily realize that the very best way to avoid war and bloodshed in Palestine is for the State Department to keep its word and to take the lead in bringing about the enforcement of the United Nations' decision on Palestine. It is the failure to do that, and the present betrayal of Palestine, that will bring about war and bloodshed.
Speaking about minority groups, however, I wonder since when has Wall Street and the military clique become a majority group? We are being pushed into war and directed into war by this minority group, the Wall Street banker and military clique, that has taken over the control of the foreign policy of the United States.
With reference to the protests that have been made here on Palestine, may I point out the fundamentals; that the present policy of our State Department with reference to Palestine, is an integral part of the policy for the E.R.P. [European Recovery Plan]. Both E.R.P. and the betrayal of Palestine are based on the same policy, the stop-communism policy, that phony policy which causes E.R.P. to be foisted on Europe and requires the State Department to appease the Hitlerite Arabs in Palestine.
The Marshall plan or E.R.P. is an extension of the Truman Doctrine ... [which] has caused the blood of Greeks to be shed in Greece and the blood of Chinese to be shed in China. Now it is causing the shedding of Jewish blood in Palestine. All these human sacrifices invoked to safeguard and protect the expansion of Wall Street monopoly capital all over the world.
Stop communism was the pretense of the cartelists of 1938 to appease Hitler. It cost the lives of 6,000,000 Jews.
Today this same cry is raised by our Wall Street monopolies to appease the Hitlerite Arabs and impose their control over the world through E.R.P. How many more Jewish lives will this cost?
So let me say to those advocates of E.R.P. who are now protesting the State Department's reversal on Palestine, that in effect you are talking from both sides of your mouth, because the betrayal of Palestine and the appeasement of the Hitlerite Arabs is part and parcel of the Marshall Plan, inseparable and indivisible. The betrayal of Palestine is the Middle East phase of the Marshall Plan that you are trying to fasten on the American people.
March 25, 1948
[The following argument was part of a weeklong debate in the House during which Congressman Marcantonio spoke many times against the "European Recovery Plan." In the excerpt below he used Italy, which was then about to hold an important election, as an example of the political and economic effects of the Marshall Plan and the proposed E.R.P. on all the recipient countries of Europe.]
Mr. Chairman, time and time again when we have had this question before us, I have contended that the plan [E.R.P.] as embodied in this bill, and in other similar bills, is a plan to guarantee the establishment and continuance of satellite governments: governments that are or will be satellites of our State Department, so that these governments can destroy and defeat the aspirations of the people of Europe to establish an economy of their own. We must consider this plan in the light of the problems of the people of Europe, in the light of the fact, which will become more and more obvious to Americans, ... that monopoly capitalism, as we know it, big trust capitalism, has failed in Europe. It has given the people of Europe two world wars, and in between them it has given them fascism, famine, suffering and bankruptcy. The great masses of the people of Europe look upon the rule of the big trusts as decadent, and in some countries as dead. In fact, after the last war they began to march toward public ownership of their basic industries, toward taking over tremendous landed estates and dividing them and giving the peasants land. But the program of bread and land and peace and public ownership was thwarted in Italy by the imposition of a bankers' French and British E.R.P. in 1922 when, with French money and British bankers' money, Mussolini "marched" on Rome and fascism was established.
This bill is a big trust bill. World control by Wall Street trusts is written right in this bill. I call your attention to section 102(a) on page 48 of this bill. It says the purpose of the bill is what?
"The restoration or maintenance in European countries of principles of individual liberty, free institutions, and genuine independence rests largely upon the establishment of sound economic and political conditions, stable international economic and political relationships." What does the State Department and the bipartisan coalition behind this bill means by "sound economic and political conditions"? After I have told you what has happened in Italy you will agree with me that by "sound economic and political conditions" it is the State Department's intention to foist for all time upon these people the system of so-called free enterprise. In Europe free enterprise, as in this country, does not any longer mean the freedom of the small business man to operate; it means what it has meant in Europe for years; it means the freedom of big trusts to do what they please with the lives of the people; it means the freedom of the big trusts to monopolize Europe; it means the freedom of the big trusts to crush the peasants and workers of Europe; it means the freedom of the big trusts to exploit, to gather more and more and more profit from the backs of these people who are today striving to continue their march toward a better world.
Then, again, this bill continues ... control over the foreign trade of these nations. You take section 117 (d) page 94: Here we tell these recipient countries that they cannot trade with the other countries that are not in this plan. What does that mean, for instance, with respect to Italy? In Italy they can get coal at a few dollars a ton from Poland. This section prohibits Italy from trading with Poland. Italy will have to buy American coal at $20 a ton or better. So we control these countries. We control them by controls established in this bill. We control their fiscal policies. We control their economic lives. We control their foreign trade. Then we control them politically because any government that makes an attempt at public ownership, or any government that would break up the landed estates, will not be considered as a government existing under "stable political conditions" by our State Department and by this Congress, if I correctly judge the temper of this Congress. Read the President's speeches, the State Department statements, and the report of this committee as well as the speeches of the proponents of this bill. All these will leave no doubt that "stable political conditions" mean only those political conditions that are consistent with the free enterprise of Wall Street capital.
As far as Italy is concerned, this bill is not needed to make her an economic colony of Wall Street. The provisions of this bill are already in effect. They have been in effect in Italy for quite some time. They have been in effect ever since May 1st, 1947 when the Lombardo Italian Financial Mission came here. Certain special economic agreements were reached with the Italian Republic through this mission which I shall discuss shortly. The provisions of this bill have been applicable in Italy since we began unilateral action toward Italy. We have spent in Italy $1,700,000,000 since the invasion of Sicily. Of that amount only $375,000,000 was spent through U.N.R.R.A. [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration]. The balance of $1,300,000,000 is in the form of unilateral aid. None of that aid has reached down to the Italian people. It has been given to the Government. The Government has been selling this aid, some through the black market and some through the legitimate market, and the only people who have been able to buy in either or both markets have not been the impoverished peasants of Italy nor the impoverished workers of that country, but ... the investment bankers, and big industrialists, the owners of the villas and the big magnates and those who made money with Mussolini and since the time of Mussolini. They are the ones who have been benefited by this so-called aid.
For this alleged aid let us see what price Italy had to pay. Wall Street has taken over in Italy. Let me give you certain startling facts.
[Here Mr. Marcantonio showed in detail how American business had won substantial or controlling interests in such vital Italian industries as textile, automobile, oil, utilities and chemicals. He also showed how the Italian government was forced in December 1947 to issue new bonds in the amount of $136,400,000 to replace Kingdom of Italy Bonds with a 1941 market value of less than $10,000,000. He showed how this bond deal largely benefited American speculators and such investment houses as J. P. Morgan and Co., Dillon Read and Co., and the Chase National Bank.]
Mr. Chairman, all this explains ... the frantic effort that we are making in respect to the Italian elections; it exposes the real reasons for our interference. We talk about intervention. Who is intervening in Italy? Why, we have gone so far as to use the Pendergast political machine technique of bribery. We are trying to influence the Italian election now by offering Trieste to Italy. Our State Department is doing its utmost to prevent a free election. The Italian people know that Trieste is a problem that can be satisfactorily resolved only between Yugoslavia and an Italian Government independent of Wall Street control. They will not be fooled by this latest war provocation.
Speak about interference and free elections! The State Department informs the Italian people that unless they vote the De Gasperi ticket they are not going to get any aid. That came from Mr. McDermott, of the State Department. It was an official statement. Then our own Department of Justice informs the Italian people that if any of them ever hope to migrate here they can never come to the United States if they voted the Popular Democratic Front ticket. And on top of that we establish a base in Tripoli, and up and down the Mediterranean our fighting vessels are on parade. Yes; that is intervention, it is intervention of the rawest kind. It is intervention that some day Americans will consider a blot on our history.
Ladies and gentlemen, do you not now clearly see the real reason for our intervention in Italy. The investment bankers, Dillon, Read & Co., J. P. Morgan, and the Chase National Bank, are some of the reasons. The big industrialists are the other reasons. You have heard of the bond deal, you have heard of the taking over of the oil and other Italian industries, you have heard of how every important industry in Italy has become a victim of the expansionist policy of the Wall Street big trusts. And now you write a bill which reaffirms the policy and the agreements that these investment bankers through our State Department have imposed upon the Italian people. Yes; there is a great deal at stake in Italy, there is a tremendous stake in Italy. It is the stake of the Wall Street investment bankers, and it is the stake of those industrialists who are expanding and taking over the industries of the Italian people that you seek to guarantee with this bill. The stake and the peace of freedom-loving Americans who believe in free elections is discarded. The stake of the Italian people to a free election and to an economy of their own is completely hidden by the organs of Wall Street propaganda.
What are these men of Wall Street afraid of? They tell you it is communism, but what are they really afraid of? They are afraid of a people who will take over, win the election .... [of a] people who insist that these basic industries must be nationalized, that they must be placed under public ownership. When that happens the big stake that Wall Street has in this election will be lost. And for that, we engage in war plans and launch a war policy. And for that, we invest billions of the American taxpayers' dollars. And for that, we call for a draft. And for that, we call for a U.M.T. And for that, we parade ships in the Mediterranean. And for that, we establish an air base in Tripoli. And for that, we destroy price controls. And for that, Americans must suffer high prices and shortages. And for that, American labor is enslaved by a Taft-Hartley Law. And for that, the peace of Americans is placed in jeopardy. And for that, we march with seven-league boots toward war, ....
....America is not threatened by attack from anyone, and that is a fact that cannot be denied no matter how many newspapers and how many radio commentators may be employed to say the contrary. What do they mean by attack? They mean attack on their entrenched exploitation of the people of Italy by the activity of the Italian people themselves. You cannot tell me that in Italy the 2,500,000 members of the Communist Party are Russians; they are Italians. You cannot tell me that the members of the Socialist Party in Italy are Russians; they are Italians. The workers and peasants of Italy are not Russians; they are Italians and it is they, and they alone, who want no part of big trust exploitation and domination. It is they and they alone who... have declared their intention to take from Wall Street and their Italian exploiters the land and industry, and use them for themselves and their posterity. To this, by this bill, we say "No."...
We say to them that they will receive no aid unless they supinely continue to suffer and starve under a monopoly capital Wall Street economy. I say, help Italy. Help, with money and bread and tools, the people of Italy to work out their own destiny, even at the cost of depriving Wall Street of its privileges of exploitation in Italy. I repeat, the Italian people want their own industries, and the peasants of Italy, whose standard of living is much, much below that of our sharecroppers, want land. At long last they have overthrown the tyranny of fascism. They want land, land of the landlords who fought on Mussolini's side, land which they do not own but on which they have given their labor and their blood. They want land and by this bill we will do our utmost to keep the De Gasperi government in power, [and] by open and brazen intervention to prevent those peasants from getting land. And what I am saying about Italy can be applied to France, and it can be applied to many, many of the recipient countries under this plan.
Mr. Chairman, whom are we helping in Italy? We are not helping the peasants, we are not helping the small business men of Italy, we are not helping the workers. Why, the Export-Import Bank authorized loans in an amount of $100,000,000 to Italian industries in August of 1947. So far loans of $22,000,000 have actually been made. To whom? To Pirelli rubber in which Wall Street now has investments. Who are the people in this firm? Those who backed Benito Mussolini from 1922 until after our boys fought and died on the Italian Peninsula. Yes; to Montecatini -- chemicals into which Wall Street has moved, and who financed Mussolini from the march on Rome until after Americans shed their blood and rid the world of him. A loan was made to Fiat, the automobile crowd that sustained Mussolini with their money and their influence, which also has been partially taken over by our own industrialists. They are the ones who are getting these loans. Yet you stand up here and you tell the American people: "This is a defense of America, this is a crusade against communism." Yes, you now stand here and would make the Italian worker and peasant believe that you are helping them.
With these acts, with this brazen, shameful betrayal, not only of the Italian people but betrayal of the American people, through these various deals, through this bond deal, with those facts before you, how can you say this program is a program in defense of America? It is a program in defense of Wall Street. It is a program responsible for the economic crisis we have been facing in America. Wall Street is now dominating America and is seeking to dominate other countries. I say that Wall Street is not America. I say that if there is any treason, that treason lies with those who would make America and the exploitation of Wall Street interests one and the same and synonymous.
No, this is not a program for the defense of America. It is a program for expansion, it is a program for the defense of former Fascists, it is a program to keep in power governments that will do the bidding of Wall Street interests.
As against that program we have offered our own program. We want rehabilitation of Europe, but we want it on a basis that is not political. Fiorello LaGuardia died for that principle. He fought hard and long for it at the United Nations. Only through a United Nations agency can rehabilitation of Europe and the rest of the world take place .... I have introduced that principle in the form of a bill together with my colleague, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Isacson, and the Senator from Idaho [Mr. Taylor]. I shall offer that bill as a substitute. Then you will have your chance, if you want to really rehabilitate Europe ... by the only non-imperialistic way, through the United Nations .... Your bill bypasses the United Nations. Your bill destroys the very basis of the United Nations, which is collaboration without political considerations.
Your bill employs a unilateral policy, not of aid, not of rehabilitation, but of guaranteeing the right of imperialistic interests to fasten their hold on the people of Europe, to continue to expand their investments in the industries of Europe, and to control the political destinies of the people of Europe. This is the old fashioned imperialistic way. This is the way that led to World War I. This is the way that led to World War II. The United Nations' way is the way that makes for peace ....
Yes, America is in danger; not from the people of Italy, not from the people of France -- no, not from the people anywhere in Europe. No, not from any people of the Soviet Union. America is in danger from these investment bankers, from these big industrialists whom so many prefer to serve, and show false patriotism and hypocritically wave the flag when they serve them. America is in danger of them.
Yes, go ahead and distort our position. Let the enemies of the people call us Reds. Let them call us what they please, but as for me I know that in fighting against this bill, which is the ultimate expression of Wall Street expansionism, I am fighting for the common people of this country. Time and events will demonstrate the correctness of my position. I urge upon the membership of this House to study the role of the investment bankers and the monopolists in Italy. Their role exposes this bill; it unmasks the pretense of humanitarian aid; yes, it unmasks that phony antiCommunist cry behind which the big trusts revel in the shameless exploitation of the people of the world.
I love the simple America, not the America of imperialism, not the America of empire. I love America, the common people who seek security, who seek peace, who seek plenty, not by exploiting others, but by developing our own land, by developing our own resources. Yes; I shall fight with them to restore to them our resources, from monopolistic control which is causing so much distress in our land, which is causing shortages, which is causing high prices, which is causing unemployment. And unemployment is beginning to take place again in this country today. Monopolistic enterprise, which seeks to hide behind the term free enterprise, which is causing so much hardship at home, [is] causing more throughout the world.
I have consistently voted against this war program. I shall continue to vote against it, for in so doing I am defending Americans and not Wall Street; I am defending the farmers and the workers and the small businessmen, and not Wall Street. I am defending the youth of America and not Wall Street. In doing so, I believe I am exercising a patriotic duty which is incumbent today more than ever before upon men of courage. Now is the time for men to stand up and fight for peace. Tomorrow will be too late. Now is the time to stand up and make the fight; for tomorrow, if peace is lost, all will be lost, for nobody will win the next war.
March 20, 1948
Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of this amendment .... The amendment provides, in effect, that the portion of the $6,700,000,000 that is to be spent under this bill [for foreign aid] which is to be paid to manufacturers, processors, firms, and to transportation and distribution firms and corporations, shall be spent in accordance with the principles of fair employment practices; that is, that no firm or corporation or individual who denies employment to any person because of race, color, or creed shall receive any of the benefits of the funds that are to be used under the provisions of this bill.
Now, this money comes from everybody. This money comes from all the American taxpayers. It comes from Negroes, whites, Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, why provide for the further enrichment of those firms and persons that practice discrimination in employment because of race, color, or creed? Here you have the proposition that you Republicans and Truman Democrats have been preaching so much all over the country. Here the question is whether you mean what you say. I address my remarks now directly to the Committee on Foreign Affairs. You met this morning and you accepted an amendment to include Fascist Spain under this bill. Now I am asking you. Will you accept this amendment to make certain that Negroes will not be discriminated against in employment, by those firms, individuals, and corporations that will be benefited by this bill? That is the proposition that is before the Committee on Foreign Affairs. You can ignore it if you want to, but this record stands. The American people are bound to learn of this record, and they will want to know why the committee that reported out this bill, was so ready and so anxious to accept Fascist Spain and the butcher, Franco, as a beneficiary under this bill, and now refuses to accept an amendment that guarantees employment against discrimination. Why does this committee refuse to accept this amendment? It is because this bill is not based on a policy for freedom of people. It is because this bill furthers an imperialist policy and imperialism rejects democracy at home and abroad ....
Your refusal to accept it demonstrates conclusively just what this bill is about. Although it is heralded by you as a bill for freedom, it is a bill in the interest of Wall Street exploitation. This is a test. I again call on the Committee on Foreign Affairs to accept this amendment. You were more than anxious to accept the Fascist Spain amendment. How about this amendment to protect the 14,000,000 Negro people in the United States?
I am opposed to the bill, because it is basically legislation for big-trust control of the world. I never double talk. However, I am a realist, and I know that this bill is going to pass. Therefore, I shall support every effort to guarantee employment to 14,000,000 Negro people. I shall support every amendment to protect 14,000,000 Negro people against discrimination which this bill permits.
March 31, 1948
[By the end of the long debate on the "European Recovery Plan" many of the more liberal Congressmen who had supported the bill were dismayed at the passage of amendments which made such figures as Franco and Chiang Kaishek recipients of United States aid. In the following, his last-minute appeal to these Congressmen to vote against the bill, Congressman Marcantonio showed that "All this had to be expected because all this is an integral part of the living flesh and blood of imperialism in which this bill was conceived." As a substitute he offered his bill, the "Peace and Reconstruction Act of 1948 for economic and financial assistance through the United Nations."]
Mr. Chairman, I realize the effort we are now making is a futile one .... I know that nothing I can say or anyone else can say here this evening will change the course of events in this House. However, in the final analysis, our efforts are not futile because we believe that judgment on this matter will not be finally rendered here today. Final judgment on this far-reaching issue will be given by time and events and the American people. So as to have the record complete, and so that the record will demonstrate that efforts have been made by some of us to preserve the peace of the world, I have offered this substitute. In making the fight that we are making in these last minutes of the debate, I assure you we are not going to be deterred by smears, threats, and lies from carrying this fight back to the people.
We have been told to go back to the country that we love. We take that advice. We are going back to the country we love -- we are going back to the election precincts of our cherished United States, and we are going to take this fight to the American people. Let me say right here and now, we are not going to be deterred by any vituperation that may come from any tobacco patriot, or from any cotton king, or from any corn and corny orator, or from any arrogant Jim Crow flag-waver, who brazenly talks of democracy here, but personally refuses to apply it in the communities that he represents.
In making the fight against this bill, we have charged it to be a bill for imperialism and monopoly capitalists, and what has happened during the last 3 days demonstrates the correctness of our position. You started out with a bill which was intended to write into law agreements and policies that extend the control of monopoly capital over these nations .... As a logical sequence and as an integral part of this big trust Wall Street Marshall Plan, let me say to my so-called liberal friends, you had nothing else to expect but aid to the Chinese Hitler, Chiang Kaishek. You had nothing else to expect but aid to the Fascist governments of Greece and Turkey. You had nothing else to expect but the betrayal of Palestine. Yes; and you could not expect anything else but the insertion of aid to the Butcher of Spain, Franco. All this had to be expected because all this is an integral part of the living flesh and blood of imperialism in which this bill was conceived. Let me say further that in consequence of the alleged antiCommunist policy with which some of you so-called liberals seek to justify your vote for this measure, there would have been included aid to Mussolini and Hitler if they had been alive and if they were still ruling their respective countries. This so-called antiCommunist policy is driving this Nation not only to war but also into fascism. In sharp contrast to the bill you support our substitute is the way of the United Nations; and as Fiorello LaGuardia described it, the way of Christ, toward peace and security and freedom.
May 14, 1948
[Congressman Marcantonio spoke as follows in opposition to a resolution limiting debate on the Mundt Bill to five hours, with a vote to be taken immediately thereafter. The bill provided, among other things:
1. That all Communist Party members register, be declared ineligible for Federal employment, be denied passports, and be subject to immediate deportation if aliens.
2. That all "Communist Front" organizations (as defined by the Attorney general) be compelled to register and keep contributors' and membership files available for official requisition.
3. That the Attorney general be the sole finder of facts as to "Communist Front" organizations, and that his findings of fact be not subject to review by the courts. (See Mr. Marcantonio's comment on this point at the conclusion of the speech below.)
The resolution for the limited debate and immediate action passed by a vote of 296-40. Each party granted Mr. Marcantonio, who was officially recognized as leader of the opposition to the bill, 45 minutes to divide among those Members who wished to speak against it. On May 19 the House passed the bill by a vote of 319-58 with 34 abstentions. The Senate did not bring it to a vote during the remainder of the session, so the bill did not become law.]
Mr. Speaker, this bill [the first one ever reported to Congress by the House Committee on Un-American Affairs] is the most far-reaching proposal that has ever been before the Congress of the United States. It definitely will change the form of government under which we have lived for over 150 years. Despite the fact the proponents of the bill will seek to make communism the issue, what is really the issue here is the Constitution. What is really involved here is whether or not we intend to preserve our Bill of Rights. The question before the House is whether or not we shall have the courage to defend the democratic traditions of our Nation, and the democratic foundations on which our Government is based, despite the hysteria which is mounting every day to the accompaniment of the fast beating of war drums.
As the debate develops, I am absolutely confident that it will be established to the satisfaction of the Members of the House that this bill, beyond any doubt, violates the first amendment to the Constitution. It definitely violates the constitutional prohibition against guilt by association. It definitely is a bill of attainder, not in one respect but in several respects. It is an attempt to change our fundamental laws, that guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, to an arbitrary rule that guilt can be established by substantial evidence. It bypasses the age-old guaranty of a trial by jury. In fact, it makes a mockery of the time-honored trial by jury. It does violence to the Constitutional guaranty of due process.
It most assuredly substitutes, for the doctrine of guilt by judicial determination, a doctrine which is alien and repulsive to our democratic system and that is the doctrine of guilt by legislative determination and by executive decree. It is significant that the doctrine of guilt by legislative determination, against which our Constitution has laid down specific prohibitions, and the doctrine of guilt by executive decree, against which Americans rebelled and established this Republic, is a doctrine and a method adopted by both Mussolini and Hitler in order to seize power and to destroy the last vestiges of democracy in Italy and Germany.
I have before me two books. One deals with Mussolini's laws and the other is a compilation of Hitler's edicts. A comparison of various sections of the bill with Hitler's edicts and Mussolini's laws reveals a most astounding similarity. Fundamentally the one similarity, which has been a lesson to the people of Europe, is that fascism always makes the Communists and the constitutional rights of the Communists the first objective of its offensive. That was the lesson of Fascist Italy. That was the lesson of Nazi Germany. Consequently, we must face the issue squarely, and that is that the defense of the constitutional rights of the Communists and of the Communist Party is, in the final analysis, in the light of the history of Fascist advances, the first line of defense of the democratic rights of all the people.
Let us go a step further. Not only does this bill make the Communists its first object of attack, but like all other brands of fascism, this domestic brand of fascism advances behind an anticommunist attack and reaches out and destroys the rights of all those who disagree with the views of those who are today seemingly in power. Yes; this bill can be used against a consumers' group; it can be used against a labor union; it can be used against a tenants' group; it can be extended against any group that has incurred the disfavor of those who are today in the saddle and riding hard and roughshod over the life, peace, liberties, and economy of the American people. It can, and it will, in all likelihood, be used against independent political movements, particularly the Wallace movement, which is today making the fight for the preservation of peace. This is not the first time that this legislation has been attempted and under similar conditions. It is indeed amazing how history repeats itself. Back in 1798 we had a similar situation. Then, too, a republic had been established by revolution, the Republic of France, and then, too, under the administration of President Adams, the war party became a bipartisan combination, and every effort was being made to plunge these United States into war against a country that had been our ally.
As against that bipartisan war party a new party was being established by Thomas Jefferson. He, too, was called names, and his followers were called names. Jefferson was called a Jacobin. The Jacobin Party, as you well know, was the leading revolutionary party of Republican France. Jefferson's patriotism was also impugned. He was called a Frenchman, a lover of Republican France. Jefferson and his followers were called foreign agents. The followers of Jefferson were subjected to that kind of treatment from the press and from the profit patriots of that period.
In order to make certain that the fight for peace be smashed, and to make certain that the political resistance movement, the new party that was being built by Jefferson, could be hamstrung into submission, and that it be intimidated into abandoning its struggle for peace, the bipartisan war party in Congress enacted the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798. Examine those Alien and Sedition laws, and you find a vast similarity with this bill. Take particularly the Sedition Law of 1798. There the same foreign-agent technique is used. There you will find language that guilt would arise if the person aided a foreign power hostile to the interests of the United States. Under that broad language, the Jeffersonians who wanted peace with France were dragged into jail, and the new Nation was subjected to a reign of terror. Writs of habeas corpus became of little avail to those who were fighting for peace and democracy. Then, too, it was war against peace; the new political party for peace against the bipartisan war party, and alien and sedition acts against freedom and the Bill of Rights.
Today, with this bill, we have the same situation, an attempt to destroy a new political party that is being established in this country under the leadership of Henry Wallace, and to substitute, above all, fear in the place of freedom, so as to guarantee the success of the bipartisan war policy. I know many will succumb to hysteria and others will give us the usual flag-waving and red-baiting, but let us look back in retrospect: 1798-1948, 150 years. The men who opposed the alien and sedition acts -- Livingston, Madison, and Jefferson -- they constitute the bright constellations in the democratic firmament of this Nation; but those who imposed on the American people those tyrannies of which this bill is a monstrous lineal descendant have been cast into oblivion, ignominious oblivion, relegated there where mankind always relegates puny creatures that would destroy mankind's freedom.
[Congressman Marcantonio made this brief comment a few hours after the above speech, during the last few minutes of debate on the Mundt bill.]
The challenge has been made here for us to demonstrate that this bill makes any provision for sending a person to jail without a trial. The answer is contained right here in section 13. The Attorney general finds that an organization is a Communist-front organization. That is a finding. The only remedy left to the aggrieved party is to ask for a review before the Circuit Court of Appeals. That review is limited to what? The court cannot review any question of fact, if it finds that there is substantial evidence to sustain the findings of the Attorney general Then where do we go from there? That party must register. If he does not register he comes under the penalty provision of section 15. What defense has he in court when he is indicted for not having registered? The only question you leave to the court is whether or not the Attorney general decided that he must register. If the defendant is an officer of an organization certified by the Attorney general to be a Communist organization, then he has no defense left and you are thereby making a mockery out of a trial.
June 15, 1948
Mr. Speaker, there are certain incontrovertible facts with respect to this legislation [for Universal Military Training] that even the proponents must admit. The first is that this is a major step toward war. The second is that it militarizes the youth of the country. The third is that conscription, plus military appropriations to the extent to which we have gone, will beyond any doubt place this Nation on a basis of a war economy. I for one would support such a program if such a program were in the interest of the defense of the American people and the best interests of the common people of this Nation. It definitely is not. Despite the tons of newspaper headlines and the millions of radio words we are not in danger of attack ....
We must examine this war policy in the light of past and present events.
Our policy in Greece is not a policy in defense of the interests of the American people; it is the policy of imperialistic aggression even going to the extent of establishing and supporting an out-and-out Fascist government.
Our policy in China certainly is not a policy in the interests of the democratic rights of either the people of this Nation or of Asia; it is a policy of supporting Wall Street's imperialistic expansionism there, even to the extent of repeating in China, in Asia, what Wall Street did in Europe prior to and subsequent to Munich; that is, the protection of the Hitler of China, Chiang Kaishek.
This legislation, therefore, is merely an implementation of a program of ... Wall Street capital that has gone into Europe, that went into Europe even before the last shot was fired, and is taking over the economy and destroying the liberties of all the people of the world. For that imperialism, we first use the money of the American people; for that imperialism we are now asked to destroy the very liberty and future of America's youth. Conscription, not for defense, but for Wall Street profit is the proposition before us. For me, the blood of Americans comes before the profits of the big trusts.
June 17, 1948
As for me and as for the party I represent, we have no apology to make for our opposition [to Universal Military Training]. We oppose it because it is another step in the direction of war for profits and resultant depressions. How ironical it is that on the very day when this Congress has placed the seal of doom on public housing you open the flood gates of militarism in support of an imperialist foreign policy. Today, you refused to house the veterans and you refused to house the youth of this country, and now, on this very same day, you announce here a program of rushing through legislation to house them in the army.
This conscription is part of a program that is ... not in the interest of the common people who reside in your districts, but in the interest of those who have made war time and time again in this world. I repeat that we are in no danger of attack from the Soviet Union. We are under attack from the big trusts that are raising prices daily, refuse Americans housing, that are enslaving and exploiting labor, destroying the liberties of our people, and now seek to militarize our youth.
[Here an unidentified Congressman accused Mr. Marcantonio of "appeasing Russia"].
We do not agree that we are appeasing anyone. We say that those who support this legislation are appeasing those elements in this country that are driving this nation to war for profits and depression. Appeasement comes from them and not from us. In opposing this bill we are defending the best interest of our Nation and we are fighting in the very defense of the common people of this nation.
[The bill was defeated.]
[Congressman Leo Isacson had introduced an amendment to end all segregation or discrimination in the armed forces. His proposal was attacked by Congressman Hoffman, and received with laughter by a number of the Members present.]
Mr. Chairman, it is regrettable that a serious proposal such as the one offered by my colleague from New York should receive the treatment which has been accorded it by the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Hoffman].
The doctrine that has been advanced here by the gentleman from Michigan is a doctrine of insult to the various races that compose this great nation. When he speaks of an inferior race, what is it? When he speaks of a superior race, what is it?
Contemporary history has demonstrated conclusively that only Nazis, those who imposed on this world the most barbarian rule ever conceived by man or devil, were capable of talking of superior races or inferior races or of denouncing the intermingling of races.
In the Bible it is said that God made man in his own image. That is the essence of all democracy. That is the essence of civilization as we know it and as we try in our small way to live it. That democratic principle was carried out in the Declaration of Independence when the men who conceived this Nation and this Republic and its democratic institutions said that all men are created equal ....
They placed no exception in that Declaration of Independence, and it is only when men in this Nation have attempted to place exceptions in that proposition that democracy has been negated.
What is the proposition that is advanced by my colleague, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Isacson] .... It is a very simple one. It is one that would apply the Christian doctrine, that Biblical doctrine, to the armed forces. It is one that would apply the fundamental doctrine of democracy of our Declaration of Independence to the armed forces of these United States. When bombs are dropped and bullets are exploded from guns they do not differentiate between white and black. They mow them down equally. When sacrifices are made for this country, there is no choice for either black or white, the sacrifices are made by both. Yet here you say that there must be discrimination and there must be denial of equality to those men whose skin happens to be black. America revolts against that.
June 19, 1948
[During his seven terms in the House, Congressman Marcantonio assisted tens of thousands of tenants in and outside of his district with their rent and housing problems. The following letter from the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD is an example of this active identification with their interests.]
Hon. Tighe Woods, Esquire, Office of Housing Expediter, Washington, D. C.
My dear Mr. Woods:
I acknowledge receipt of your letter of June 5 in reference to premises located at 429 East Eightieth Street, New York City. I am forced to state that I have never read so much double talk in my 12 years in Congress as is contained in your letter.
You do not justify or give any reasons that can be used as justification of the increase from 25 percent to 33 1/3 percent above maximum existing rentals in the premises. I am shocked. There is something rotten here. I have been informed also that blanket orders have been given from Washington to various local offices in this area to give the landlords something. In this case the something amounts to 25 to 33 1/3 percent.
I am certain that Congress never granted you this kind of authority to extend this extraordinary gift to any landlord. I ask that you direct a rehearing where I will personally appear; and I shall present concrete evidence which will leave not the slightest doubt that the increase granted is exorbitant and unjustified.
Please advise me without delay as the tenants are suffering undue hardship. Further, this decision is being used by every chiseling real estate office in this area to exploit tenants. This decision has been the long awaited surrender on the part of the Housing Expediter which will now allow the landlords to move in for wholesale exploitation of the tenants of the City of New York.
Sincerely yours, Vito Marcantonio.
August 4, 1948
Mr. Speaker, under leave to extend my remarks, I am including herein a radio speech delivered by me over Mutual Broadcasting System, Monday, August 2nd, on the special session of Congress:
I wish that this special session of Congress could be on television. The American people would witness a most revealing spectacle. It would convince Americans that there is no real difference between the Republican and Democratic parties ... on the issue of civil rights. You would see the politest filibuster that has ever been put on in Congress. Newspapers try to give you the idea that there is a real fight going on here between the Dixie Democrats and the Republicans. However, television would show you that they are both shadow boxing and hitting each other with powder puffs.
The Republicans are pretending to get passed legislation abolishing the poll tax. The Dixie Democrats are putting on a filibuster. The Republicans are doing nothing to break the filibuster. In a day or two you will witness the burying of the anti-poll tax bill again and a love feast between these two fighters .... Now, you may ask, where are the Truman Democrats, who, with Truman, have been going around proclaiming their friendship for civil rights and for the Negro people? They are where they always have been; far, far away from the fight. Television would show you that they are not even near this fixed fight. They have never fought for civil rights; no more than Harry Truman has ever fought for them.
President Truman talked big at the Democratic convention about civil rights, and his last two Executive orders proved exactly what we progressives have always said about his big talk; that is, that when it comes to action the Negro people get nothing. His last two Executive orders proposed some more commissions and investigations. The Negro people are tired of being commissioned and investigated. General Bradley has since announced that segregation will continue to be the policy of the armed forces. This announcement exposes the emptiness of President Truman's Executive Orders. Yet the Truman Democrats, relying on this last gesture of the President, are playing their usual role in the Senate. They are not lifting a single finger to break the filibuster of their Dixie colleagues. Yes; television would show you the amiable and friendly cooperation of the Republicans with the Dixie Democrats -- and with the Truman Democrats nowhere in the scene. You can definitely expect no civil rights legislation out of this Republican, Dixie-Democrat, and Truman-Democrat Congress. It is the same old merry-go-round; the Republican-democrat merry-go-round.
How about the high cost of living? You are now paying $1.30 a pound for meat, $1 a pound for butter, and 24 cents a quart for milk. I can tell you right now that this special session of Congress is going to do nothing about it. Why? First of all, we must remember that both parties are controlled by the same big monopolies that destroyed price controls 2 years ago and who do not want price control now.
President Truman has asked for standby price controls. Anyone who knows anything about the subject knows that this will not do the job, for what is needed is a roll back of prices to January 1947 levels and real price control with teeth in it; with power given to the Government to seize any industry that refuses to produce at Government fixed prices. Further, President Truman's record is a bad one on this score. In 1946, he removed controls on meat, and in early 1947, he removed all price controls. The Republicans demanded the removal of controls, the National Association of Manufacturers beat the drums against price controls, and Truman surrendered. Now, he asks Congress to undo the damage that he himself helped cause. Prices have been going up and up since price controls were removed. Remember who did it. The Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the President in the White House. How can anyone expect this same combination now to do anything to bring down prices? They will blame each other; but do nothing. It is the same old merry-go-round -- the Republican-democrat merry-go-round.
Let us see what the story is about housing. The Republicans have repeatedly killed housing legislation. This Congress will not pass the Taft-Ellender-Wagner housing bill which would provide housing and give some measure of relief to the suffering millions who find themselves without homes. The Republican leader, Senator Taft, the other day, disowned his own bill, and stated that it would not be passed at this session. The Democratic record on this score is no better. In the Seventy-ninth Congress it was a combination of Republicans and Democrats that killed the housing bill in committee. In the Eightieth Congress, with a few exceptions, the Democrats have, with the Republicans in the House, given aid and comfort to the real estate trusts in sabotaging the public housing program.
However, there is a much more fundamental reason why this Congress or any other Republican-Democratic Congress will never be able to give the people of our Nation housing and relief from inflation. No country can make any progress as long as it exists on an imperialist war economy basis. War economy means high prices; war economy means Taft-Hartleyized labor; war economy means no civil rights; war economy means no housing; war economy means no social progress. You can't have housing, you can't have effective price controls as long as the economy of a nation is geared to war. There will be no housing program, and there will be no control of inflation as long as the Republican-democratic policy of cold war continues; President Truman himself stated on March 17, when he asked for draft and universal military training, that we must prepare to pay the price. Yes; the price that you are now paying is the high cost of living, ever spiraling inflation, no housing, enslaved labor, and no civil rights.
We are now spending for the present cold war almost twenty-one billions .... It is impossible to say what the future costs will be for the next 2 years. Some estimates go as high as thirty billions a year from 1950 on. You can easily see that the country is being daily placed into a war straightjacket.
On this cold war program the Republicans and Democrats do not even make a pretense at disagreement. The record shows that they are in unanimous accord in placing our Nation in a war economy straightjacket. It is the program of the big trusts of Wall Street. It is Truman's program. It is Dewey's program. It is a program of Wall Street's Forrestal and Snyder, the two dominating figures of Truman's Cabinet. It is the program of Wall Street's John Foster Dulles and Chase National Bank, the masters of Dewey's Republican Party..
We of the Progressive Party are united behind Henry Wallace on a platform of peace based on aid to the needy people of the world through the United Nations, and on collaboration with the Soviet Union. We propose to fight the big trusts who control both old parties, and defeat their plan to embroil this world in another war. The Republican and Democratic Parties stand for an imperialist war economy. I repeat, this means no housing, no relief from high prices, and no civil rights. The record of this Congress is clear proof. We of the Progressive Party stand for peace. We recognize that only a peace economy will bring housing, low prices, freedom, and abundance. That is the big, big difference between us and the Republicans and Democrats.
Americans today have been put on the merry-go-round; on the Wall Street Republican-democratic merry-go-round of boom, bust, and war. We of the Progressive Party fight to take you off this old merry-go-round and no amount of smear, hysteria, and red-baiting will deter us.