Political Abuse of Unions

Westbrook Pegler

Spartanburg Herald-Journal/November 9, 1940

New York, Nov. 9—Some of the appeals for unity, now that President Roosevelt has been elected for a third term, suggest that those who make this plea were dishonest in their opposition during the campaign or would abandon principles for the sake of comfort.

The wrongs which the Willkie campaign attacked are as wrong today as they were last week, and President Roosevelt’s methods and associations have not changed. A President who would use the office of United States attorney general for a petty momentary political advantage, as Mr. Roosevelt did in obtaining a timely deportation order against Earl Browder’s wife, may be expected to misuse that high office or any other high government post again and again. That was a small incident in the fight and was overlooked by many, but it was very important as a sample of the morals of the New Deal.

The same deportation order could have been issued months ago or deferred until after election, but the New Deal had decided that the Communists had become a political embarrassment, and the mechanics of the scheme to deodorize the administration began to unfold several days before the President, in Brooklyn, finally disowned them and tried to put them into bed with Willkie.

First the national committee called attention to the fact that Browder had been convicted of a passport fraud by the New Deal. Next the attorney general came through with the deportation order whose political timing was obvious. Then the president completed the play in Brooklyn.

Prior to that the internal revenue had been used repeatedly for purposes of political harassment, and labor organizations, including that of Sidney Hillman, had resorted to the most flagrant coercion of citizens who are compelled by this administration to be members of the unions.

I have a card issued by local 163 of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers union of Troy, New York, actually commanding the members to attend a political rally for James M. Mead, the New Deal senator, on Oct. 22.

“All members must attend and be on time,” the command read, but the local organizer denied that the meeting was to be political in character, yet announced that those who failed to show up to hear the New Deal senator would be fined a dollar.

Ironically, although the union members showed up to hear Mead, he failed to present himself. These people are members of these unions by compulsion of the government, and now they find themselves under orders from the union bosses to pay political tribute to the party.

That sort of thing was wrong on Oct. 22, and it is still wrong, and to yield the point now in the name of national unity would be to promote the kind of unity that Hitler has and by similar methods.

The practice of maintaining a kennel of trained political polecats in high government office for the purpose of abusing every citizen who has the honesty and courage to oppose any political or executive outrage against minority rights and the Republican form of government is an important issue still. Officers and employees of the government have certain duties prescribed by law, and they should be deterred from using the prestige of their positions to persecute or harass citizens who happen to oppose policies of the government.

Willkie said it all when he remarked at the close of the struggle, “that the principles for which we have fought will prevail is as sure as the truth will always prevail. Don’t be afraid and never quit.”

The popular vote shows that more than 18,000,000 American voters ain’t reconstructed yet.

(Source: Google News, https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=SFOYbPikdlgC&dat=19401109&printsec=frontpage&hl=en)