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The Illinois standard. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1948-1949, January 15, 1949, Image 4

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Syndicate of the smear
By Bernie Asbel
AL CAPONE, despite all the;
smutty things said about i
him, was an upstanding patriot I
in the best contemporary tradi
Sure he was. Take, for ex
ample, a public statement he
once made on Communism. It
went something like this:
“All I did in my life I did to
fight Communism from taking
over America.” -
He saw to it that one of his
Chicago hench
men was elect
ed to a seat in
the Congress
of the United
He spent his
time and ener
gy to elect fi,Te
of the best
t at his money could buy to tne
Illinois state legislature.
Capone was vulnerable. He
had a weak gut and couldn’t af
ford to get kicked in it. He
trained his statesmen well, so
that they gathered in a protec
tive ring cround him and cried
“Red’every time a gangbusting
law was up for passage.
And so now, State Sen. Ro
land ", Libonati, who used to
shout “Kill the ur>p: with
A1 Capone at White Sox Park
in the '30s, sits in the Illinois
Seditious Activities Commission.
Rep. J. Parnell Thomas,
Washington's ’Red” specialist,
w'as scheduled to go on trial this
■week, charged with fraud in his
Congressional payroll. He was
vulnerable. He had a curse to
cast from himself on to another.
He sought his safety and securi
ty, too, with the redbaiters and
Senator Glen Taylor displays
a clipping from a paper in Twin
Falls, Idaho, his home state. The
headline reads, “Council Defeats
Tax on Slot Machines; Calls
Proposal ‘Red’.” There’s the
same twist again.
But the same pattern moves
into other fields. The hug bites
fine church-going men, too.
whose vulnerable spots have no
connection with racketeering.
For example when the Taft
Hartley bill was up for a vote
in Congress in 1947, thousands
of militant union men piled into
cars and descended on Wash
ington in a great motorcade.
But Philip Murray and William
Green feared that kind of mass
action. They preferred the
method of high level “persua
sion” with the White House,
rather than the “irritating” in
fluence of a lobby. So they
privately requested Congress
men to boycott the mass rally,
calling their own unionists
As speed-ups get speedier and
pay-scales lag in steel and auto,
the Murray-Reuther cry of
“Communist” increases in un
canny proportion. There is a
vulnerability strangely : kin to
that of Parnell Thomas.
In a southern city where I
covered the news, the CIO
regional director greeted visi
tors with a sticker on his door,
'Member, Chamber of Com
For relaxation, he lunched
frequently with the local chief
of the FBI. This was a vulner
able spot, but it gave the CIO
man a community prestige
which he enjoyed.
A ■'■nail group of unions
privately questioned these social
habits and tied them up with
ar inevitable laxness in union
militancy. He found his pro
tection in red-baiting.
The smear is the same for the
high-tvpe, refined elements as
for the thugs.
It is an uncomfortable alli
ance, which some wish were not
there. But the choice for those
who squirm is to break the al
liance by forming a new one
with mass action of the people.
But it begins to appear they
would feel this even more de
Cartel book ducks the key
issue—Political tie-ups
Reviewed by Lew Brooks
WHEN the cartel story is
properly told, it startles
even those who already know
about them. This is not a start
ling book.
As a purely academic descrip
tion of cartels,
i he b..ok might
serve. But car
tels are neither
B|MWh pure nor acade
mic. They are
highly political.
If the cartelists themselves,
recognizing popular resentment,
had set out to “give leadership”
down avenues leading nowhere,
they could not have done a bet
te job than these authors.
The book’s failure begins on
the cover: “Cartels or Competi
tion.” This, to put it kindly, is
naive. Competition in an era of
monopoly capital inevitably
leads to monopi’y exp; nsion.
Fifty years of history should be
proof enough of this even for
the professor-authors.
To continue to argue for a
return o “competition” is like
exhorting molten lava to flow
bacl; i. .o the volcano.
js owned and published weekly by
The Illinois Progressive Publishing
Co Inc., 187 N. LaSalle St., Chi
cago 1, 111. Phone: RAndolph
METZ P. lOCHARD.-.Editor
ROD HOLMGREN.Managing Editor
JOSEPH PERSILY.-.General Manager
1 year . .$_2.00
|Add $1 for Canada and Foreign)
Entered as second class matter October 5.
1948 at the post office at Chicago, Illinois,
Jndir the Aciof March 3, 1879.
by George Stocking and
Myron Watkins. Twentieth
Century Fund. $4.00.
After two world wars,
brought on by the cartelists, the
political nature of cartels should
be apparent to the professors.
They speak of "government
controls.” So long as cartels
control governments how can
governments control cartels?
These are things with which
the book doef not deal. It reiter
ates, rather, the "purism” of
America. America must take
the lead in controlling cartels.
But who is today the leading
cartel power—Liberia? Who re
established the cartels in the
Ruhr and Germany, against
even the wishes of France and
Britain — Finland?
This is the core of the .iction
of “American interests” which
rots our whole foreign policy—
the assumption that since what
the American people want is
right, therefore what our State
Department does is right. There
is an ocean of difference be
tween what the American peo
ple need and what the Ameri
can monopolists who control
our foreign policy want and get.
Introduce bill to
block mergers
ators Joseph C. O’Mahoney (D.,
Wy.) and Estes Kefauver (D.,
Tenn.) filed a bill this week to
plug loopholes in the Clayton
anti-trust act. Both are long
time opponents of monopolistic
By Peter Williams
YOU didn’t hear it in Gov.
Stevenson’s inaugural speech
Monday, but the original script
referred to one Dwight H.
Green, of late unemployed, as
"my distinguished predecessor.”
After the speech was mimeo
graphed, a top level huddle was
called to reconsider. Payoff was
Green’s reduction in the reading
to merely "my predecessor.”
At last reports, Green may
become a man of distinction by
switching to Calvert’s.
A contradictory report says
the ex-Guv will heed the ad
monition of Carl Sandburg at
the inaugural ceremony. Sand
burg held aloft a quote from
Lincoln. He lengthily explained
that this was the final sentence
of a letter Lincoln wrote in
1862, at a dramatic point in the
Civil War. The build-up built
up., and 5,500 breaths were held
till Sandburg broke it:
“Let us be,” came the quote
in a protracted Sandburgian
drawl, “quite sober.”
NOTE: You left a loophole when
you refused to book Larry Adler
and Paul Draper into Chicago
as reprisal for their suppor* of
the Progressive Party during
election. They're walking
through the loophole and on to
the stage of the Civic Opera in
a few weeks. Sponsor: Guess.
Right. The Progressive Party.
chief Jake Arvey and Rep-pro
bate Bunny East may get mild
feelings of inadequacy when
they hear who’s going to emcee
Progressive Party’s Cabaret ’49
on Jan. 30. . . . People’s Songs
hot to hold another Hoot—short
for one of their variety shows
and folk song jam sessions.
Western Union making money
while arrangements go on to
bring in Betty Sanders from
New York Feb. 19. . . . Lincoln
Day (Feb. 12) dinner-dance
skedded by 10th Ward P.P. for
St. George’s Hall, 96th and
Gil Tedder, seen around with
Actors for Wallace, and Jack
Barthel, hitting the racks with
their newest published song, “I
Can't Find a Word.” Bob Morris,
WJJD vocalist, introducing it
Friday (15th), 11:30 a m.
By Rod Holmgren
DESPITE the optiriiistic notes struck by President Truman’s
messages last week, we stick to our warning that growing un
employment — ana oiner aanger signals — snow
the time left before the Big Bump is shorter
than has been figured.
From Dayton, O., comes word a city work
relief program has been set up for the first
time since before the war. It’s to take care of
persons made jobless by factory and construc
tion layoffs. They expect the program to be
doubled this month!
* * *
LABOR must beware attempted
use of layoff reports to fight
off iourth round wage hikes. One
New York Times financial editor
says “word has been passed along
that it would be a good thing
for chambers of commerce and
others to publicize such infor
Fact is, of course, layoffs have
not been reflected by cuts in
prices paid by the workers still
on the job. Living costs are still
at postwar peak. In most cases,
Layoff has a twin brother —
Speedup, which means the guy
still in the shop is turning out
even more labor—and profiu—
for the boss.
NEW answer to phony argument that wage hikes mean price
hikes comes from V. L. Bassie, Economic and Business Re
search director at the University of Illinois. Speaking on the
Fourth Round at Illinois Bankers Association confab, Bassie said:
“There is a widespread acceptance of the idea that wage in
creases are automatically reflected in higher prices which elimi
nate any gain to their recipients. The fact is that an inflationary
boom cannot sustain itself in this way. Part of the increased in
come (from higher prices) leaks out into taxes, savings, retained
profits and business reserves. They amount at present to perhaps
! 40 percent of the increment.’’
WORTH noting that Governor
Stevenson’s choice for new
Illinois mine director is a man
a_jment man, James Starks, of
Peabody Coal Co., despite re
peated labor demands that a
union leader be namea to the
My candidate for assistant di
rector is Driscoll Scanlan, a real
friend of Illinois miners, who was
“just too damned honest” for the
Green administration. St. Louis
Post Dispatch also plugging
Scanlan, who’s a really liberal
guy, by the way.
REMEMBER Phil Murray’s snide comments on the “small size”
of left-wing unions at the Portland convention? Previously it
had been the practice not to publish membership figures on CIO
unions. But since Murray raised it, here are some facts (based on
U. S. Department of Labor figures):
Of 197 national and international unions in the nation — 39
of them CIO,
4*" had fewer than 5,COO members.
SO had from 5,000 to 25,000
29 had from 25,000 to 50,000
35 had from 50,000 to 100,000
31 had from 100,000 to 500,000
6 had 500,000 or more
CIO Farm Equipment Workers union is about 11th in size among
CIO unions, and is in the third highest group.
* * *
SUPREME Court’s ruling which and its closed shop prohibition,
says it’s okay for states to that will automatically mean the
ban closed shop sharpens ur- federal government has “taken
gency of Taft-Hartley repeal, over” an area of jurisdiction,
Labor lawyers believe decision which automatically cancels out
makes it possible for states to state laws on the subject,
enact laws barring not only the Labor’s position would be fur
closed shop, but all forms of ther strengthened by a section
union security, including union specifically legalizing union sec
shop and maintenance of mem- urity contracts, in re-enacted
bership. Wagner Act which fills the
If Congress now repeals TH vacuum caused by TH repeal.

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THIS CHART shows how profits and prices have skyrocketed above
!wages since the end of World War II. It is based on official figures
'recorded since the abolition of the excess profits tax and price

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