The Charlotte News

Saturday, December 3, 1938


No Sale

In March, 1937, Francis J. Gorman, president of the United Textile Workers, an AFL affiliate, and John L. Lewis, moving spirit in CIO, signed a contract. Between them they dissolved UTW and substituted TWOC, the organization which has been meeting with some success at unionizing the Southern textile industry. The UTW, it happened, was bound together by a constitution which specifies that the union should not be dissolved while there were nine locals opposed. A Rhode Island court ruled this week that in converting UTW lock, stock and barrel into TWOC without first obtaining consent of the membership, Gorman was acting illegally. The court directed also that dues from locals in Rhode Island were wrongfully collected by TWOC, and called for an accounting.

The case has been appealed, so that a final adjudication is yet to be had. But the decision, wholly apart from its effect on the unionization of Southern textile labor, seems to us elemental in its simplicity and its common sense. Men who bind themselves together formally into a union with a written constitution and duly elected officers are not to be traded around at the notion of those officers like so many dummies. Even soulless corporations require the proxies of a majority of voting stock before presuming to amend by-laws or to sell out to a competitor.

It's a Natural

The very thing for Chicago and the very thing for Honest Harold Ickes, is the happy thought of running the old snortbuzzcrabtart for mayor of the Windy City. Ickes is a man of great ability, energy, and courage. A dominant trait is his furious hatred of corruption, and if ever a city government needed such an administrator, it is Chicago.

Chicago has been, these last twelve years or more, at the tender mercies of the worst gangs of mercenary politicians on the whole American scene. Its tax rolls have been in a state of hopeless confusion, largely because many taxpayers quietly strike at the inequities of assessments and misuse of revenue, and this meant that school teachers and other municipal employees went long unpaid. Big Bill Thompson was incredibly bad, but hardly any worse than the Kelly-Nash machine, from which in turn little relief may be expected in the occasional triumphs of its opposition, the Horner machine.

A succession of inept and corrupt administrations has produced exactly the situation that Harold Ickes loves to liquidate. He is cut out for it. Municipal government would provide a field for the exercise of his admitted executive talents and give the rest of the country outside of Chicago surcease from his bull-headed, high-handed, exacerbating policy-making. It's a natural, this happy thought of letting the Secretary of the Interior take over the metropolis of the interior.

Dream in Defeat

Senator Bob LaFollette, whose third party took a terrible beating in Wisconsin in November, is still hopeful. He's out now with a prediction that "agriculturalists [he means farmers] of the great Midwest and Southern farming regions soon will enter an economic brotherhood"--and to show his fondness for the bargain, he says he's going to support any legislation which will give the South fairer freight rates.

That's awfully nice of Robert, and for ourselves we are duly appreciative. But we wouldn't have him fool himself. The union of West and South he is talking about has been dreamed of ever since the 1880s and the Farmers' Alliance, but it has never come off--not even under Bill Bryan and the Populists, its arch-exponent. Tradition is dead against it, for one thing--the tradition that normally binds the Mid-Westerner to the Republican Party and the Southerner to the Democratic Party, as veritable acts of devotion to the manes of their fathers. For another, the Southern cotton farmer is necessarily an anti-tariff man. But the Mid-Westerner has always believed warmly in tariffs, and still does, if the roars out there against Mr. Hull's new reciprocal trade agreements mean anything.

And just now, the prospect for the union of which Senator Bob dreams is probably less rosy than ever before. For the South is faced with the necessity of shifting away from its old exclusive concern with cotton and tobacco--and that means inevitably that it must shift toward wheat, corn, hogs, cattle, dairy products, which is to say into competition with the products of the Middle West. And the Middle West doesn't like that prospect a bit. So little, indeed, that it has written into the present farm laws prohibitions against paying the South bounties when it turns cotton lands to such products--the iniquitous Boileau Amendment. There's no basis for sweet union in that.

Man With A Bill

M. Daladier now finds himself faced with the bill for his action at Munich. His Foreign Minister, Georges Bonnet, has already publicly said that he (Daladier) was forced into that action by Bumble of England. But it makes no difference. The bill is before him. Never more than a stop-gap premier, never enjoying the active confidence of any considerable part of the French people, an old party hack, thrown up by chance, his popularity at home is now a matter of doubt. He hangs onto power only by the use of bayonets, trick mobilizations, and threats illegally to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies for an indefinite period, while bitterness and talk of revolution against his foreign policy steadily mount.

But far worse than that is the fact that Italy, backed by Germany, is obviously getting ready to demand Tunisia as her part of the swag of Munich, and Tunisia is the key to the French empire in North Africa. Yet its white population is predominantly Italian, and M. Daladier stands committed to the "principle of self-determination." Worse, Bumble of England is going to Rome, and M. Daladier and all the world have good reason to know that when Bumble goes anywhere he's likely to horse-trade with somebody else's property. It is inconceivable that a normal British statesman would think of trading off Tunisia to Italy, for it would finally give Mussolini the power wholly to close the Eastern Mediterranean. But Bumble has done so many astounding things that even this now seems quite possible. M. Daladier may very well wake up shortly to find that Bumble has given away Tunisia for him.

What France obviously must have if she is to be saved from becoming a mere satellite of the Rome-Berlin axis is a strong government which can command the united support of all patriotic Frenchmen. And manifestly M. Daladier, with Munich behind him, does not qualify.

How Does He Know?

Mr. Dies, the excited man with the anti-American investigation, demands that Cordell Hull prosecute, among others, the American Civil Liberties Union for not having registered as a lobby maintained in this country by a foreign government. Mr. Dies is quite certain, he says, that the ACLU is a "front" organization for the Third Internationale, which is to say Moscow. How Mr. Dies is so certain does not appear. He offers no evidence save the hot opinion of a lot of people whose opinion is obviously worth nothing. And certainly the record of the organization in this country does not very well bear that out.

The outfit has some Reds and Pinks on its list of supporters. But it has also plenty of people who don't answer to either description. And if it has defended Communists, it has also defended Jehovah's Witnesses and even Liberty Leaguers. And at this moment when it is defending the right of Mr. John Strachey to land in these states, it is also busily engaged in defending the right of free speech and assembly for the German-American Bund in New Jersey.

Mr. Hull is a sensible man and we don't expect that he is going to pay any serious mind to Dies. Though what we should really like to know is how Mr. Dies knows that it is the Reds and not the Fascists who are backing the ACLU. Does he propose the principle that to be for civil liberties for such people as Reds and Nazis is ipso facto to be a Red on your own account?


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