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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, May 10, 1938, Image 16

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Democracy Held Menaced
by Reactionaries With
Crisis Unabated.
Following is the text of an address
outlining the aims of the La Follette
third party movement, delivered last
night by Senator La Follette, Progres
sive. of Wisconsin in the National
Radio Forum, sponsored by The
Evening Star and broadcast over a
Nation-wide hook-up of the National
Broadcasting Co.:
The time has come when citizens
who believe in democracy must unite
for political action to solve the prob
lems of modern industrialism. It is
clear that unless we meet the chal
lenge of our generation, only disaster
and despair can be the lot of people
living in the richest Nation.
We have the productive capacity to
provide every family ready and willing
to work with a standard of living
higher than the world has ever known.
We have the natural resources, we
have the skilled man power, we have
the industrial facilities, we have the
land to provide all workers with hand
or brain a decent and a full life. In
short, we have practically solved the
problem with which mankind has
been wrestling since the dawn of
civilization—the problem of produc
Instead of utilizing these enormous
facilities for producing wealth, we
are confronted with the greatest para
dox in history — insecurity, misery,
privation and want in the midst of
potential plenty. The complexity of
modem civilization has made it im
possible for the individual acting alone
to solve his problem. A farmer may
be the owner of rich land, he may
have the best methods, he may work
with his family from dawn till dark
but he cannot succeed if the consum
ers’ standard of living is low. The
wage earner may be skilled, he may
be industrious but he cannot provide
for himself and his family unless his
Job is steady and his wages are ade
quate. An employer may have a
modem plant, he may utilize the most
efficient technique but he cannot keep
his factory going when there are no
orders for his goods.
Opportunity Once Greater.
In the past our expanding frontier
provided a measure of equality of
economic opportunity. Our increasing
population provided an ever expanding
market for our products. The policies
of government made the land and
other natural resources available for
exploitation and use. The individual
was thus afforded a chance to use his
ability and his initiative to advance
in life. In past periods of depression
he could go West and start life anew
on free land.
Now he has no such opportunity
because today the physical frontier is
closed. Our population has ceased to
expand at its former pace. Science
and invention have increased produc
tive capacity and released vast quan
tities of effective energy. The unit
size of industrial operation has grown
tremendously, large concentration of
population has taken place in our
In short, our whole economic system
has become very complex and inter
dependent. Our problems cannot be
solved by individuals acting independ
ently and alone. We cannot carry
on in this modern age without organ
ization. Only by joining together in
united political action can we succeed
in our common purpose to restore that
equality of opportunity upon which
the fate of democracy ultimately rests.
The past decades were an era of
unlicensed profit and speculation,
ruthless exploitation of the farmer,
the wage earner and the consuming
public, with a concentration of wealth
unparalleled in the history of the
world. This period was called Re
publican prosperity. It culminated in
a collapse of our economic life. The
disaster of 1929 and the acute dis
tress and suffering of the people that
followed were made possible through
the betrayal of the people's trust by
men in both parties; men controlled
through party organizations dominated
by privileged interests. This catas
trophe could have been avoided. It
could not have occurred if the people
of this country had been provided
with party machinery responsive to
their needs.
Democratic Party Is Divided.
In 1932 the voters turned to Frank
lin D. Roosevelt. Millions of inde
pendent citizens supported him and
voted the Democratic party ticket. In
1934 the party's majority in both
houses of Congress was increased. In
1936 he swept the Nation, carrying
all but two States, with the result that
the Democratic party has the largest
1 majority in the House and Senate ever
known in this country. Congress has
been in session almost continuously
since the 15th day of November and
yet it is almost barren of any achieve
ment. The truth is that tlje Demo
cratic party is split wide open. The
bitter factional fight has paralyzed it.
Since last September the country
has experienced the most rapid de
cline in economic activity in all our
history. Nearly 4,000,000 people have
lost their jobs in the last seven
months. The income of the farmers
is steadily declining. Experts have
predicted that their total income will
be 18 per cent less this year than last,
despite the drastic farm bill which is
about the only important measure
Congress has passed. The specter of
fear, insecurity, want and privation is
abroad in the land once more.
When we assess the responsibility
for this tragic situation we must not;
overlook the share Which govern
ment itself must shoulder. In the fall
of 1936 the administration yielded to
the demands of the vocal business
community, backed up by the powerful
reactionary element in the Democratic
party. It drastically curtailed the pro
gram which had pulled us up out of
the depths of 1933. Before the in
vestment of private capital had begun
in sufficient volume to make our sys
tem function the party in power cut
(250,000,000 a month out of capital
investment and purchasing power. In
the carrying out of this change in
policy the Government fired a million
men from W. P. A,, most of whom
could not find jobs in private em
ployment. Inventories piled up due to
a false fear of inflation 'and the pos
sible interruption to production be
cause of labor difficulties, prices were
unjustifiably increased in the portion
of our economy" which is subject to
monopolistic control with the result
that ability to buy lagged behind and
(he slide was on.
Gravity of Crisis Overlooked.
For seven long weary months most
business and political leaders ignored
or minimized the crisis within the
crisis. Thiy called it a recession.
They said it was At to an unplanned
conspiracy. Now’r hold no brief for
economic royalists. Z believe that the
Tells Third Party Aims
—Star Staff Photo.
recalcitrant group in our economic
life who are determined to rule or
ruin our country, are the greatest
single menace to the perpetuity of our
institutions. But so long as business
men see a profit to be made they will
not deny themselves the chance to
make it because they hate a President.
They may damn him out of office
hours; but they will not cut their
economic throats just for the fun of
seeing their owm blood bespatter a
political enemy. No; it was not a
conspiracy planned or otherwise. It
was the paradox of idle capital and
idle men with the resultant failure to
produce enough real wealth and pur
chasing power, that caused the present
On April 14 President Roosevelt
recognized the seriousness of the sit
uation and proposed a program to
loan more money to business, to cities
and States and an appropriation to
maintain W. P. A. employment at its
present level. This program, if en
acted, will not provide anything more
than a temporary effort to hold
economic activity at its present low
level. There is grave doubt among
competent economists that so limited
a program can even make it possible
for us to continue to try and share
our present poverty. For that is what
we are doing now. We are operating
our economic mechanism that pro
duces wealth at about half speed.
Idle men and idle dollars mean less
for all of us. But even these limited
and temporary new proposals are
going to be fought by reactionary
Democrats as well as Republicans in
Can there be any hope for united !
j action, essential to the solution of the J
complex and fundamental problems of :
I our day. through the outworn machin
ery of two old political parties?
Take a look at the Republican and
Democratic parties! First of all let
us not forget that reactionary policies
of government from 1921 to 1932
finally resulted in the worst economic
crisis in our history'. During that
period Progressives pointed out again
and again that reactionary control
of government was resulting in a
concentration of w'ealth and economic
power in the hands of a relatively
small proportion of the population.
Progressives contended, during those
12 years, that in a modem Industrial
and agricultural society only economic
disaster could result unless the buying
power of the people kept pace with
their ever increasing capacity to pro
duce both manufactured and agri
cultural product'. The crash in Oc
i tober, 1929, which marked the onset
of the crisis served tragically to dem
onstrate that the position which we
had taken was sound.
Nation Taken Near Chaos.
From 1929 to 1932 the reactionaries
were in full control of government
and had an opportunity to apply their
theory that if the crisis were permitted
to run its course it would cure itself.
This do-nothing policy brought the
United States to the brink of ehaos
when all the banks closed their doors.
This even should serve as a capstone
on the monument in the political
cemetery for the reactionary Repub
lican and Democratic philosophy of
government. For there is no distin
guishable difference between a reac-i
tionary Democrat and a reactionary
Republican. On the record made in
Congress, up to the conventions in
1932, there was not a single issue upon
which the Democrats could go to the
country. There was hardly an issue
between the two old parties to be
found in their 1932 platforms.
It was only the nomination of Presi
dent Roosevelt and the position which
he took in his speeches that gave the
voters any real choice between him
and President Hoover in that contest.
The powerful reactionary group
which has controlled the Republican
party for so many years still has a
strangle hold on the party’s machinery
Look at the Republican party wheel
horses in your community, your State
and in the Nation. Has the reaction
ary Republican leopard changed his
spots? True they have talked about
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Hortout comfort!
putting on a new front, but where is
there any sign of a genuine reorgani
zation and change of policy to meet
the problems of our day?
It is clear that the Old Guard Re
publicans dominate and control the
party. Their strategy is to await a
political reaction which will restore
them to power. Their cynical tac
tics are doomed to failure.
Thanks to President Roosevelt's in
comparable ability to present the es
sence of complex economic problems
to the voters,' there has been an un
precedented growth in the general un
derstanding of the important relation
ship of political parties and govern
ment to our individual lives. The edu
cational program he has earned on
throughout his administration will pre
vent voters who have deep convictions
on basic issues from ever turning to
the discredited Old Guard Republican
Reactionary Democrats Active.
The potent reactionary element in
the Democratic party which domi
nated it prior to 1932 has never sur
rendered. They fought President
Roosevelt's nomination at Chicago.
They executed a tactical retreat after
the victory of the following November,
but they still wielded a powerful in
fluence upon the party’s program.
In a futile effort to hold the war
ring factions of his party together.
President Roosevelt relied upon di
vided counsel. During the long hon
eymoon of the administration the re
actionary Democrats, operating be
hind the scenes, forced compromises
j to be adopted when fundamental long
i time policies were necessary to deal
! with a fundamental crisis. Men who
| were completely out of sympathy with
the avowed objectives of the adminis
tration were unopposed by the admin
istration in Democratic primaries,
i conventions and elections. The Dem
| ocratic party machinery in the States
i remained for the most part in the
| control of the reactionaries.
As time went on the reactionaries
in that party became bolder. Their
opposition was carried from the
council chamber into the open. In the
past three sessions of Congress It is no
I secret that the reactionary Republi
cans and Democrats worked in a
coalition. They have been so success
ful that the overwhelming nominal
Democratic majorities in both houses
of Congress have become almost im
potent to enact a thoroughgoing pro
gram even if one were presented.
In the years since 1933 the reac
tionary Democrats have had their
patronage and pap with the result
that the administration of what is left
of the New Deal is in many instances
honeycombed with officeholders w-ho
are completely out of sympathy with
its avowed aims.
Business Confused.
The conflicting forces in the Demo
cratic party have confused business
by forcing a zigzag course. Investors
and producers could not depend upon
a straight line of action. It is not
decisive policies which the sound
business man fears so much as con
tinual deviations in policy produced
by a party in power which is split
asunder. Business can adjust to any
sound program no matter how funda
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mental It may be, but It cannot adjust
to uncertainty.
The complex problems presented by
modem industrialism have destroyed
the effectiveness of more leaders in
democracies the world over than in
any other period. The irreconcilable
factional cleavage in the Democratic
party has thus far impaired and now
threatens to destroy the effectiveness
of one of the great liberal leaders of
modern times—Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Confronted with the political situ
ation, which I have tried to analyze
tonight, Progressives have launched
a movement to organize a new national
political party. They have no illusions
as to the size of the task, but they
believe we must have a thoroughgoing
political realignment which will put
an end to the factionalism in our party
machinery which has proved so costly
to the cause of democratic government
in other nations.
The new party is not a political
maneuver timed for 1938 or 1940 or
any succeeding election. It is too
much to expect complete agreement
among Progressives as to the time for
inaugurating a new movement. Those
who have a stake in the present
political machinery will never believe
that any year, now or in the future, is
the right time to begin. The establish
ment of new party tickets in the
several States is not a job which can
be done quickly. It will require time
and effort on the part of those who
believe in a genuine political realign
Quote* Father’s Words.
No party can be stronger than those
who give It allegiance. My father de
fined the origin and nature of political
parties in language which we shall do
well to consider.
‘‘A political party,” he said, “is not
made to order. It is the slow develop
ment of powerful forces working in
our social life. I do not believe it
lies in the power of any one man or
group of men to proclaim the creation
of a new political party, and give it
life and being and achievement, and
perpetuity. • • * All great movements
In society and government, the world
over, are the result of growth.”
The growth of the Progressive party
will depend upon the support which
it receives from patriotic men and
women who are ready to enlist in a
cause without expectation of the re
wards of pap and patronage or the
grants of special privileges.
We have seen abroad how a solution
for the problems which we face has
been sought through sweeping away
political and economic democracy. We
have seen their wealth producing
capacity diverted to a wasteful purpose
In a frantic race to rearm. We must
not fool ourselves by thinking these
manifestations of futility and defeat
are merely the result of bad men.
These are the Inevitable consequences
of the failure to afford men and
women a fair chance In life to test
their ability and capacity and to share
in the fruits of their contribution to
Progressives are not interested In
organizing the forces of discontent.
They appeal to all citizens who believe
that we should apply the same funda
mental principles to the solution of
our economic issues which the found
ing fathers brought to bear upon the
problems of government. Progres
sives appeal to those who are deter
mined that we shall utilize Increased
productive capacity to build a better
life instead of turning these potential
boons to mankind into Instruments
of war and destruction.
First Principles Affirmed.
In three national elections'the over
whelming majority of the people have
registered their will only to have it
frustrated by political parties which
refuse to respond to the mandate of
the voters. It is clear that if democ
racy Is to survive and our free institu
tions are to be preserved in this crisis
there must be a genuine political
realignment in this country. In its
first campaign the Progressive party
declared its allegiance to these funda
mental principles.
"First. The right of every American
to worship God according to the dic
tates of his conscience; to express his
opinion through a free press and free
assemblage; and to have an effective
voice in his political and economic life.
"Second. The right of every Amer
ican on the farm and in the city to
earn his living by useful work and to
receive for this work an income which
the full productive capacity of society
can afford*
"Third. The right of American
youth to develop their talents through
public education, adequately supported,
and to find a place in the life and
work of their country.
"Fourth. The right of men and
women whose industry has helped to
build the Nation to face their declin
ing years free from the fear of want.
"Fifth. The right of every citizen
to join with his fellows in co-operative
efforts and* to bargain collectively
through representatives of his own
"Sixth. The right of every American
to live under a Government strong
enough to suppress the lawless, wise
enough to see beyond the selfish de
sires of the moment, and just enough
to consider the welfare of the people as
a whole.”
Would Safeguard nights.
Progressives have reaffirmed these
broad general principles and declared
that it is their solemn determination
to forge a national political instru
mentality which will safeguard these
rights. At the appropriate time when
the new party has become established
in the several States a specific and
detailed program will be adopted by
a representative body of its members.
The issue is between Progressives,
who favor the widest possible produc
tion and enjoyment of our abundant
wealth, and reactionaries in both old
parties, who would go back to the
discredited system of withholding the
very necessities of life by monopolistic
control of production and distribution,
in order to maintain unlicensed profits.
The outcome of this contest will de
termine whether the American people
are to go forward with an ever higher
standard of living and wider oppor
tunity, or remain chained to a system
Q^tk- C«it AtfiH—dtO'tht*
that sacrifices human values to specu
lative gain.
I urge the men and women voters of
the Nation, regardless of class, creed,
or former party allegiance, to unite
in rededicating government to Amer
ican principles, to Join together to
fight with unswerving determination
the tyranny of Communism and
Fascism, confident that a full and
abundant life for all the people can
be attained when “the will of the
people shall be the law of the land."
It can be done. It will be done. If
you are interested in the new party
movement please write to the National
Progressives of America, Madison, Wis.
Legion Post Dance Tonight.
The Vincent B. Costello Post, Amer
ican Legion, will hold a dance from
10 p.m. to 1 am. tonight at the
Washington Hotel.
Dr. George Hermann Derry, Detroit
lecturer, will speak at 8:15 p.m. Thurs
day at Gonzaga College Auditorium
under sponsorship of the Knights of
Columbus State Council.
A question and discussion period
will follow Dr. Derry's lecture, which
is part of the knights’ crusade against
Communism, being made in response
to appeals by Pope Pius XI for an
educational program on the fallacies
and treacheries of atheistic Com?
Dr. Derry plans to lecture in all
major cities and diocesan sees in this
country and Canada during the next
few months, it was announced by
State Deputy Walter I. Plant of
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