San Francisco (Oct. 12)
The American Federation of Labor, which is holding its annual convention here, stood committed today to prosecute with all the vigor at its command the boycott of Nazi Germany, which the Federation endorsed one year ago and which was unanimously re-endorsed yesterday.
The Federation also urged full labor support for the newly created “chest for the liberation of the workers of Europe.”
In approving the recommendation of the resolution introduced by the boycott committee, the convention also went on record as favoring whole-hearted support for the “victims of Fascism, and particularly to refugees from Fascist countries and those brave heroes of labor who, in spite of the tremendous risks involved, continue to hold the thread of labor solidarity and labor organization within the Fascist countries.”
GREEN DENOUNCES NAZIS
In a moving speech in support of the boycott committee report, President William Green, a staunch advocate of the boycott, pleaded for aid for the refugees from Fascist countries, condemned the Nazi regime for its persecution of the Jews, and declared that the labor movement would continue its fight until freedom has been restored to the persecuted workers and the Jewish people in Germany.
“We cannot be true to labor and to ourselves if we remain complacent when our brothers in other lands are being persecuted because they demand freedom,” he said.
“We can appreciate our own freedom when we learn about the sufferings of the Jewish people in Germany.
“We protest with all the power we possess against the treatment which has been accorded our fellow trade unionists in Germany, and the Jewish people as well.
BATTLE TO CONTINUE
“We will continue our protest until the merciless dictatorships in Germany and Italy are wiped out. I cannot reconcile modern civilization with the persecution and murder that is going on in Germany. We will do everything in our power to bring back freedom to the trade unionists and the Jewish people in Germany.”
A special committee, consisting of Joseph P. Ryan, president of the Central Trades and Labor Council of New York; John Fitzpatrick, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor; and Selma Borchard, of the American Federation of Teachers of Washington, drew up the report which was approved by the convention.
In commenting on the report, the resolutions committee declared that it had confirmed, beyond any possibility of contradiction, that since the advent of Nazism, the condition of German workers has become intolerable; that wages had been reduced, work hours lengthened, living costs and taxation increased and that the last vestiges of the once powerful trade union and cooperative movement in Germany had been wiped out by the ruthless cruelty of the Nazi regime.
PERSECUTION GOING AHEAD
“Trade union workers and officials, as well as their families, are still being persecuted, incarcerated, thrown into concentration camps and robbed of any chance to make a livelihood,” the report stated.
“The press, the theatre and the universities have been forced to serve nothing but the ends of the Nazi party, and all true religion is considered by the present rulers of Germany as inimical to their power.
“Measures against Catholic organizations continue in their severity. The Protestant church has been put under a dictator against the wishes of the clergy.
“The Jews continue to be hounded and abused in a most inhuman manner. The continued growth of Nazism and Fascism is constantly increasing the danger of a new war and is causing increased armaments throughout the world.”
CITRINE SPEECH INFLUENCE
The stand of the convention, it is thought, was strengthened by the sweeping condemnation of Hitlerism and Fascism made at an earlier session by Walter M. Citrine, secretary of the British Trade Union Congress and president of the International Federation of Trade Unions.
The British labor leader called for a continuation and for an extension of the boycott against Nazi Germany, declaring that the boycott was the only effective weapon with which to fight Nazism.
Citrine was also instrumental in the formation of a fund to assist in the liberation of European workers.
An earnest appeal to the convention to affirm the boycott policy of last year was also made by B. C. Vladeck, head of the Jewish Labor Committee.
Pointing out that an attack against the Jews was “always a prelude to an attack on the freedom of labor,” Vladeck declared that “it is hard enough to be a Jew, but it is doubly hard to be a Jew and a worker.
“Whether ##be in Germany, Poland, Austria, Rumania or Latvia, the Jewish worker, the Jewish craftsman, the Jewish little man, is the first to pay the penalty.”
“On March 3, 1933, Hitler’s right hand, Goering, said in a speech at Frankfort: “My strategy does not suffer from judicial considerations, or bureaucratic obstacles. I need not exercise justiceâ€”my business is to uproot and destroy.”
“Of all the promises made by Hitler, this is the only one the Nazi government lived up to.
UNIONS ARE DEAD
“Everything has been uprooted and destroyed. The Labor Unions are dead. The powerful cooperative movement is destroyed.
“The press no longer exists; 1,031 publications gave up within the last twenty months. The spirit of freedom, of research, of learning, of progress has been crushed.
“But neither the workers of Germany, nor the workers of the rest of the world, can reconcile themselves to this threat to their very existence, and I am certain that the American Federation of Labor will not only continue its policy in regard to Fascism and Nazism as established at last year’s convention, but will strengthen and broaden this policy with greater support, both morally and financially,” Mr. Vladeck concluded.