Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who should workers vote for?

In 1924 the Daily Worker carried the below letter opposing any working class support for bourgeois candidates, whether they be Democrat, Republican, or a third party.  Instead, the letter called for support of the communist ticket of William Z. Foster and Benjamin Gitlow.  A stand worth emulating today.

Workers Told to Rally for Foster-Gitlow: Ex-Socialist Secretary Repudiates LaFollette
Published in The Daily Worker [Chicago], vol. 2, no. 108 (July 24, 1924), pg. 1.

A call for all class-conscious workers to rally to the support
of Foster and Gitlow and to beware of the betraying Hillquits
and Bergers who deliver the working class over to the petty
bourgeois LaFollette, who is true to his own class and not to the
workers, has come to the Daily Worker from Walter Lanfersiek,
former National Executive Secretary of the Workers Party of

It is a challenge to all the muddled and misguided, a call for
all the straight-thinking, level-headed builders of the new world
to join in the fighting ranks of the Workers party, the one working
class organization in America that is holding the battle line
firm for the workers against the ranks of capitalists, big and little.
But read Lanfersiek's own words:

    Springfield, Ohio, July 20, 1924.

    In these days of confusion, when even men like Debs
are forsaking the working class position, it becomes even
more necessary than ever for everyone to find his bearings
and declare himself.
    It must have become evident long ago to all thinking
workers that the ruling class always have used and always
will use every weapon of treachery, deceit, and coercion
against the workers. Even today, with reaction in the saddle,
we see the masters organizing and concentrating their
forces in preparation for the coming inevitable conflict. In
view of these facts, it is idiocy to expect the LaFollettes of
any stripe, pink, yellow, or black, to help us. There is no use
mincing words. LaFollette is no traitor. He stands for his
class. But those of our kind who choose LaFollette, when
there is any other available choice at all, are traitors, conscious
or unconscious.
    Until another and a better standard is furnished us by
the march of events, the Russian Revolution must be our
guide and hope. The Russian Revolution raised no
LaFollettes to power. Not even Hillquits or Bergers. They
may have jelled some. It is so reported. Very well. We have
been taught in this country by hundreds of examples, the
alternative of compliance with capitalism or the stinking
penitentiary; and we have learned the lesson so well that
perhaps we could teach the lesson to other nonconformists,
if need be.
    Comrades of the Revolution, beware your betrayers,
your Hillquits, your Bergers, and the rest.
    Eyes left! Always left! March one step nearer the Revolution
with Foster and Gitlow.

Walter Lanfersiek,
Former National Executive Secretary,
Socialist Party.

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