WHEN 'PROGRESSIVES' MEET

Murray, Everett

When Progressives' Meet It's Just the Old CP Line Not Even Warmed Over By EVIRETT MURRAY CHICAGO, Ill THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY held its first convenuon in the summer of 1948 in a Philadelphia...

...The Progressive party is just down the drain...
...Abt came through with a performance of dazzling Ineptitude...
...Was it customary communist knowhow at work...
...for Molotov, Vishinsky and Boris, there were only the vague, undocumented four words sbout "mistakes...
...and several of them were heartened by the flexibility the Communists showed...
...and the resolution on agriculture brought protest from the few agrarian delegates...
...THE BEST INDICATION of the collapse of the Progressives was the impressive number of the party faithful who stayed away...
...here there were nothing but labor leaders without unions...
...Ah, the Hydrogen Bomb perhaps in capsule form the first fetid fruit of Klaus Fuchs's betrayal...
...For, in the heady, summer of 1948, a chorus of »hooked and angry boos rolled out when two Vermont delegates offered a resolution which said that the convention was not committed to the foreign policy of any nation...
...farmers without farms...
...John Rogge said much more this time snd his only response was a sullen, disciplined silence...
...Abt's apparent orders were to be flexible at any cost...
...The business of the convention was handled by John Abt, the Progressive party's general counsel, who once took refuge in his constitutional immunity from self-incrimination when asked to reply to charges that he had been a Soviet spy...
...Progressive party leaders shrouded even Mr...
...and the only reporter who exchanged words with him was hustled away...
...But at the same time they were appallingly cynical about the whole performance...
...All were baffled by the blond phenomenon...
...The horses, dogs and caribous all had platinum pelts...
...The women were wizened Lorelei Lees in quilted reefers...
...The non-Communist Progressives may stay because they have no place to go...
...That's how it went all the way through...
...by Saturday morning he was on his way to Des Moines . on a mission of private business...
...Everywhere they went they saw Stalin's version of Bikini goats men and women exiled to Novaya Zemlya for Operation Peacemonger, the code name for this lethal experiment Everybody they met was blond...
...When Progressives' Meet It's Just the Old CP Line Not Even Warmed Over By EVIRETT MURRAY CHICAGO, Ill THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY held its first convenuon in the summer of 1948 in a Philadelphia municipal hall with bunting provided by the Chamber of Commerce, amid television lights as uncomfortable as any mustered for the major parties, and with an audience which for noise and arrogance made the Republicans look stodgy and the Democrats look leaden...
...The very composition of this convention was proof of how far down the proCommunist movement has gone...
...There were inchoate acres of language attacking the American State Department...
...When, in the next sentence, he said that the United Steles was wrong about atomic control, there was extended applause...
...Even the MVD men assigned to the Operation were blond and so were their long fur mantels...
...It was hard to find a nonCommunist who did not admit that the Communist retreat was only tactical and who did not speak with utter frankness of how hard these people are to work with...
...The agents met at their rendezvous...
...The Communists who run it give every indication that they think so...
...Henry Wallace came for exactly an hour Friday night...
...The point of it all is that the party is going nowhere, and even the Communists know that it'll be a cold trip with wet feet...
...When he said that the CeznUorm was wrong about Tito, there was dead sllenos...
...And, outside of the American Labor party in New York, the Progressives have nothing...
...The odd thing was that the Communists did think they were concessions...
...The soul of the Progressive party is the Communist machine...
...The convention conceded that Soviet Russia is not above reproach, but every resolution it passed was straight down the Communist line...
...OF COURSE...
...The resolutions committee did its work so badly under his direction that the resolution on women's rights outraged the women...
...this time, the performance was sodden and inept enough to indicate that even the Communists were only going through the motions...
...THE LIMITATIONS of these concessions were best expressed by Leon Straus, of the CIO furriers, who announced that he was voting for them because "I personally don't think the Soviet Union needs any apologies...
...They showed thst oblique honesty best when O. John Rogge got up to give the only extended expression of non-Communist opinion that came to the floor of the business session...
...But, someone took the trouble to whip it up...
...and everybody admitted it, including the people who were outraged at similar reports only a few months back...
...the resolution on Israel annoyed even pro-Soviet Zionists...
...It showered the whole island with a strong bleaching solution HYDROGEN PEROXIDE the same stuff I used on the dizzy dames back home...
...C. B. Baldwin, the Progressive party's secretary, summed up the prevailing mood when he indicated that it would cut its slate of Congressional candidates in half this year...
...Immediately agents equipped with Geiger Counters, reams of litmus paper, and other scientific paraphenalia, parachuted to the area of the blast for a spot check...
...The temperature outside was zero and there were occasions when the atmosphere inside Chicago's draughty, dreary Ashland Auditorium was just as wintry...
...Wallace's brief visit in cotton...
...But Pressman didn't bother to show up last week-end...
...and left-wing writers without outlets...
...Judging from its consequences at the ballot box, the enthusiasm of the first Progressive convention was largely synthetic...
...Rogge get a standing reception when he started, and a distinctly diminished hand when he finished...
...The answer to the mystery was soon supplied by jt late arriving agent named Anatole, a former hairdresser from Sheepshead Bay...
...all overtures for a press conference were brushed off...
...The Communists 1n the convention bent over backwards to make concessions} they accepted a peace policy plank which admitted that "both sides in the cold war have made mistakes" and a sentence which said that "we are not apologists for Russia...
...But those very concessions were an indication of whet defeat has done to the American Communist movement...
...and, by every outward and visible sign, whatever hopes Henry Wallace has for the national political future have only the most tenuous tie with the Progressives...
...Everest Murray is the pseudonym el a natter who severed the Progressive convention fee a Mew York newspaper...
...There was, for example, not one figure of substance from the United Electrical Workers...
...Once the Progressive party was important enough to Lee Pressman to cost him his job as general counsel for the CIO...
...the mild criticism of the Soviet Union and a clause implying that Trotskyites deserve civil liberties sat very badly with most of the delegates...
...UE President Albert Fitsgorsld...
...The Progressives met again here last week in a deep freeze on skid row...
...The Stalin fire-cracker went oft in mid-air like a Roman candle...
...The men had radiant blond beards and blond hair...
...The Communists here disdained to conceal their true feelings...
...the party's co-chairman, has Jtrsi disappeared, to be replaced as a national Progressive officer by such labor giants as Hugh Bryson, president of the 3.000-member CIO sea cooks' union, and Christine Walker, the organiser of a minuscule UOPWA local in Detroit...
...The Blonde Bomb AVEST POCKET SEISMOGRAPH secreted somewhere in Nordkapp, on the Arctic tip of Norway, recorded" an explosion in the vicinity of Novaya Zemlya, a Russian island surrounded by the Arctic Ocean and Kara Sea...
...WALLACE IS GOING...
...Their Geigers ticked off nothing but the radiation emanating from their own wrist watches- Was it an atomic dud...
...BEN BLAKER...
...the non-Communist Progressives are as cynical ss they once were starry-eyed...

Vol. 33 • March 1950 • No. 9


 
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