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December 14, 1940 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1940-12-14

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Page TIgbt

P'E R S P E CT==E

BIG BUSINESS SITS DOWN
..Continued from, Page 3

portant points squashed. What had hap-
pened was that the defense Commission
had insisted that the items of complaint
be studied by a special advisory board.
When the board was through, the suit
had been emasculated. Could it be un-
American to point out that of the eleven
men appointed to the board, nine were
officers of Standard or Shell Oil Com-
panies and were precisely the individuals
against whom the suit would be filed?
Sabotage? Profits before defense?
In the other case, of Bethlehem Steel,
the federal labor laws have come in for
a good deal of fancy "rooking." Before
the Smith Committee investigating the
NRLB, Sidney Hillman of the Defense
Commission, backtracked from a state-
ment of his of October 1st that "From
this time on no contracts will be awarded
to any firms which violate Federal La-
bor Laws." Attorney General Jackson
was also whipped into line as indicated
by his statement that the government
could grant defense contracts to labor
"law violators. Quite a change from the
statement made before a previous hear-
ing that "It seems too clear. to admit
of controversy . . . that the findings of
the NRLB that an employer is in viola-
tion of the National Labor Relations
Act are binding are conclusive upon the
other agencies of the executive branch
of government." The Bethlehem Cor-
poration submitted inflated cost figures
giving it a profit of over $25,000,000 on
a 93 million dollar contract without run-
ning any risks. In regard to this, the
United States Attorneys point out, "The
government cannot agree that the law
sanctions profits amounting to more
than 27 per cent of the cost of construct-
ing vessels under contract without the
slightest risk of loss . . . and were co-
erced by the threat of withholding an
essential service from the government in
wartime." But, in addition to trying to

hold-up the government, the Bethlehem
Corporation has been indicted by the
NLRB for several violations of labor
laws. Un-American?
Comparative experiences in England
and France'show that monopolistic or-
ganizations cannot be entrusted with
national defense. In a letter to the NEW
AMERICAN, a progressive bi-monthly,
George H. Hildebrand, lecturer in econ-
omics at Wellesley, says, "Though the
British Tories claimed periodically ever
since 1936 that the armament pro-
gram was profeeding 'satisfactorily,'
and after Munich even became lyrical
about Britain's 'growing strength,' we
know now that there were no planes to
cover the troops at Dunkirque. We also
know that whereas the productivity of
French labor increased under the Pop-
ular Front, it declined abruptly under
succeeding ministries, and that even
with the relaxation of the social legis-
lation in the fall of 1938, it failed to
make any marked gains. We also know
that the coal traffic with Germany con-
tinued right up until the Spring of 1940.
No doubt exists any longer concerning
the suicidal implications of a war con-
ducted on the laissez-faire, 'business-
as-usual' plan. The right of profits is
placed before the national interests
when those who control capital are put
in charge."
Thurman Arnold, in his latest book,
Bottlenecks of Business, demonstrates
that the destruction of monopoly prac-
tices are necessary to the building of
an adequate defense with a minimum
drop in our standard of living. If the
curse of monopoly can be lifted, Arnold
says, "the necessity of preparing for de-
fense and the employment of men in
that effort may be the greatest stimu-
lus that we have ever had toward cre-
ating a new America."
"Scapegoatism" may well be an added

result of monopoly restricted defense
program. Lion Feuchtwanger, in a series
of articles in PM, New York's newest
daily publication, points out the "crim-
inal" attitude of the French government
in allowing fascists to start a wild cam-
paign against all refugees from central
European countries. He says, "The fine
art of paralyzing and embittering the
best friends of France and the keenest
enemies of Hitler had been developed to
perfection by the French government."
The imprisonment of aliens, it was said
to him, was to distract the attention
"of the population from those who were
really at fault and who were to be found
close to the General Staff and to the
government."
Military might is, of course, the first
thing that will suffer. In New Ways of
War by Tom Wintringham, the author
points out that the British Epeditionary
Force lacked hand grenades partly due
to fallacious military theories. "But
partly also because they were not prof-
itable. Any factory can make them . .
Because firms outside the 'ring' can
make them ... the price cannot be kept
up by a sort of monopoly and therefore
they have been neglected.
"Take another weapon. The Germans
have an all-purpose 88 mm. gun for an-
ti-aircraft work, anti-tank work and use
as field artillery. We have no such gun;
instead we have three different types,
one for eac; job. To produce three guns
is more profitable than to produce one
. . . Because it is more profitable we
made three types."
The proofs and facts run on but the
conclusion is the same. Acceding to the
demands of the capitalists means giving
unlimited profits and a more complete
hold upon the machinery of government.
If we permit this process the inevitable
results are that privately owned, com-
petitivo business will be swallowed up

by monopolies running amuck, and dem-
ocratic control threatened. Our national
defense needs and she maintenance of
the rights and secui,- of the American
people are paramount above everything
else. No Big Business sit-down can be
permitted. An appeasement policy is a
dangerous, unsatisfying, and unnecessary
program. Where monopoly interests con-
flict with national interests, there can
be no question of compromise.
To effect the best results for our
interests, to protect the American work-
er, farmer, professional and business
man, the national government should
undertake to build and equip industries
for national defense. Rather than "give"
them away, it should lease them to pri-
vate manufacturers for short periods.
This has already been done in some
cases. A vigorous enforcement of the
anti-trust prosecutions and the elimina-
tion of government contracts to firms
convicted or indicted for anti-labor
practices as certified by the NLRB would
help restore private competitive enter-
prise to increased activity. Furthermore,
the provision in the Conscription Act
giving our government the power to
operate and control recalcitrant in-
dustry should be used carefully but de-
cisively and firmly.
A program to protect American demo-
cracy by building national defense must
include the protection of American de-
mocracy by eliminating industrial bot-
tlenecks and monopolistic restrictions
here at home. The lesson of conquered
France and desperate Britain more than
amply demonstrates the need for com-
plete defense. Must we be next on the
list of conquered and desperate na-
tions before we realize that big profits
are secondary to security and life? Let
it not be said, for we shall not hear it,
that America could learn nothing from
the tragic examples abroad.

THE BURNT LEMON
...Continued from Page 2

products slowly curdling. Blocky, stout,
devoid of all grace and curves, it could
be appreciated only by Roman Catho-
lics.
Around its front steps, which led up
to the chapel-entrance, a number of
street-rhildren were in the habit of play-
ing. Oscar enjoyed watching them be-
cause they yelled gleefully and wanton-
ly without a thought of the Catholicism
only a few yards behind them within
the closed doors.
They were dirty, wild children, with
loud shrill voices and unusual enuncia-
tion.
One late'afternoon, Oscar noticed that
they were daring each other to open the
mammoth door in order to advance a
few steps into the gloom within. Several
had already done so when he came
along.
But there was an even greater at-
traction exciting them. Just inside the
door stood the holy-water container on
its pedestal. (Oscar knew its purpose.
Someone had told him.) To be sure, it
did look like a drinking fountain; any-
one. Oscar had always growled when
he saw, before the door swung shut,
cutting off his view, the Catholics en-
tering and dipping their fingers into
it,
For the moment this object had
caught the attention of the ragamuffins.
The dare now concerned the fountain-
like holy water stoup. One of them, tak-

ing up the challenge, scampered in; and,
for the door was open, -Oscar could see
him thrust his dirty face deep into the
water, drinking voraciously. Marvelous!
But that wasn't all even, for then the
boy came running out, with two others
following, shrieking gleefully to thei
amazed and admiring rest:
"Jeez, he drank dat stuff!"
Yet Mr. Williams was coming out too,
dipping his fingers calmly, silently, the
holy water dripping from them in dull
sacred drops.
Oscar thought he would never recover.
Not only did he mutter and chuckle
grimly all the way home, but through-
out the week he could be heard now and
then growling laughingly, until he
thought of Mr. Williams standing there
with running fingers.
That came to a stop however. For
one day, well .. .
One day, one morning to be exact, Mr.
Williams came in as usual for his shave.
He had something in a brown paper
sack, and a vial, too, between his fingers.
Mr. Williams was perfectly silent until
Oscar was through shaving him.
Then, while still sitting in the chair,
h opened the sack and brought out an
orange object. It was the burnt lemon!
Mr. Williams had done it himself with a
match and the pilot light under his
kitchen stove. He was taking the vial of
water to the priest to be blessed. It
would be holy water-"dat stuff."

Mr. Williams smiled silently. Would
that be all? He asked that of Oscar. Os-
car the barber.
But Oscar knew his prudency. He
knew his Roman Catholics.
CERTAIN SECTIONS of Mr. Williams
upper neck had not had the proper
attention; in fact, had never been ac-
curately shaved, he decided; so with a
fine sweep of the cloth, and tucking-in
around the collar of the neck-towel, he
prepared to complete the job.
Oscar's movement in removing the
cloth always went more smoothly, per-
haps because he felt then that he was
revealing rather than covering up, that
he was unveiling a statue or something
else with Gottfried and Mr. Dorpenny
nodding meaningful approval.
It was his practice to make one last
general check-up survey before setting
to work. Everything was in prepared-
ness. White-clean, fresh cloth stretched
out evenly, covering quite enough of
Mr. Williams. Razor whetted, stropped,
and in position. Clean-white shaving
cream foaming in mug. Pole revolving
steadily. Fingers relaxed and poised.
Strop hanging free. Mr. Williams reclin-
ing easily, his head balanced on the slen-
der head-rest. All ready .. .
'If Mr. Williams is dreaming, I won-
der what it can be about,' thought Os-
car. Perhaps I an interfering with his
dreams. Good!'
After all, the head swings on the rear

neck-bones as if on a hinge. You notice
this if those members are exposed to
your inspection.
Then too, a razor. after the initial
flourish to bring it into position, if held
in one position, cuts one way. Drawn
obliquely to the neck it nips the fat
whiskers at their very throats. Drawn
down at right-angles to the neck the
effect is, of course, quite different. The
cutting then is naturally on a larger
scale.
But Oscar had a fresh towel to wipe
his face and hands with. This was Mr.
Williams the Roman Catholic.
Zip! the rush of the parting skin acts
just like a lady's zipper. Zip, ssip-p. A
rushing, smoothly' swish-zi-i-p-p-p. A
lushy, too sweet sound!
Mr. Williams sat straight up before
his neck-hinge yawned. But before his
head could fall swinging against his
back, Mr. Williams was climbing out
of the chair! He was that quick-a
Roman Catholic! Climbing out of the
chair. (Oscar had already snatched away
the towel.)
Climbing out of the chair, and not
even revolving, so Oscar kicked up the
foot rest, making him sprain his ankle
-almost.
Priests always tripped over their
gowns. It ran in Roman Catholics. We
all know about those Popes in Old Italy,
don't we? Well? ...
On his way out, Mr. Williams paid for
two shaves, nearly reaching the door ..

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