Because the world is clamoring to learn about Henry Wallace!

On the issues, he [Norman Thomas] added, the Socialists may agree with Mr. Wallace, “but we are obliged to reject any bid for leadership in democracy by the apolotist for the slave state of Russia, and the preacher of peace by blind appeasement.” (5-10-1948)

BOOL-YAH! “And those who supported Henry Wallace chose him because they and he were fellow travelers of communism and the Soviet Union. (Please don’t roll your eyes. Wallace’s Progressive Party was a pure creation of the Communist Party.)” indeed! Or so says… the Socialist Party. Who are not uncoincidentally, competing for many of the same voters as the Progressive Party. Never mind. As the Socialists of 1948 point out, one of the first acts of any nation that falls under the Communism of the Soviet Union is the destruction of the nation’s Socialist Party, or the “submerging” of the Socialist Party into Communism, the slave-state.

Now then, here’s what the New York Times saw when they looked into “Why They Join the Wallace Crusade”, 5-23-1948… where we find the Wallace meetings described as at one part a Religious Revival meeting, at one part PBS pledge / auction, and something shorned by all respectable members of the community they intrude into.

Two notes predominate in these warm-up preliminaries. There is the note of earnest, almost fearful desperation sounded by the political amateurs who have been attracted to the Wallace crusade. There is a heavy preponderance of these in evidence at all the meetings: GIs, Negro business and professional people — who, suddenly obsessed with the crisis in world affairs have turned their anxiety to collective action. There is the note of angry defiance by the more seasoned and politically sophisticated Union ment and office seekers: they condemn the existing order and seek tangible means of building a new one. The combined effect whips the audience, already receptive to such stimuli into spontaneous outbursts and “amens”. […]

A Wallace rally, at least as I have observed, brings out a heavy preponderance in the college and GI brackets. There are scores of boys with bristly crew haircuts wearing sports jackets and open collar shirts, and girls in oxford, bobby sox, and dirndls. Some of them seem to be the precocious upper crust of the jitterbug set. Others, a little older and more soberly dressed, have been through the war and now have their first job or their first baby. This is their first, tentative immersion in politics, and it’s a zestful business. The new party speaks to them through simple, action-packed symbols. It paints right and wrong in bold primary colors that leave no doubt about who are one’s friends and who are one’s enemies.

[Well, the comic book — all in four color for a dime — has been in existance for about a decade, and um… wait. This isn’t Batman, and it isn’t the Republican 2004 Convention, so what is he talking about?]

“The old parties just haven’t got the know-how to run the country in an atomic age,” one of Wallace’s followers, who probably did not antedate the New Deal by more than a few years, told me after Kansas City meeting.

A young veteran and his wife were standing nearby. They have bought a little clearning and pressing shop in an outlying business district but are still with the wife’s parents. I asked them what got them into the movement.

“Well,” the husband answered hesitantly, “it’s like he just said about the Republicans and the Democrats. I think if they keep on running things, they are going to wind up having a war with the Russians.”

“And we won’t ever be able to get a house,” his wife added.

Ba-de-dum! War with Russia and atomic destruction, followed by economic insecurities.

[…] Serious politics apparently is still a pretty esoteric business on many campuses and is confined largely to the graduate students and particularly to the older men who are in school under GI educational grants. I was told at Columbia that most of the Wallacites were “foreigners” from the North and East. The native-stock majority regards such striving rather disdainfully and takes its political cues, if any, from the predilections of its parents.

There is a joke in Jon Stewart’s America: The Book, in the graveyard of dead political parties, with the grave posting for Henry Wallace’s Progressive Party: “We swear we’re not all Jews!” Is that the “foreigner” element they’re talking about? I don’t know. I note that Einstein had a blurb for Wallace’s sort-of-campaign book of 1948, and invite you to make of that what you may. As for the campus apathy: (1) Wait a couple decades. (2) The voting age was 21. The people who concern themselves on a campus with politics are thus likely going to skew older — the GIs and the Graduate students, if you will.

Industrial communities will turn out a large and demonstrative crowd of workers for Wallace meetings, particularly if certain of the CIO unions are locally represented. In Kansas City, Mr. Wallace inserted a long peroration on police brutality in his speech which brough thunderous applause. Just the3 week before, the local police had smashed up the headquarters of the CIO Packinghouse Workers Union which had been direction a strike against Kansas City packing plants. In Peoria when he arrived, the CIO farm equipment workers had just initiated a strike against the huge caterpillar tractor company works. Two thrids of the audience of about 600 who hears Mr. Wallace that night were from the picket lines.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. The more “militant” of the Unions supported Wallace. The others ran as far away from Wallace as possible, and went for Truman. Come to think of it, they probably endorsed a few Democrats who voted for Taft-Hartley while they were at it… that anti-union bill that Truman vetoed which was then overrided. Damn ye, Taft! Damn ye, Hartley! (This Senator Hartley father of one of the more bizarre comic book cartoonists — fundamentalist Christian Archie Comics as well as a biography of Chuck Colson– but that’s another story.)

[…] One suspects that some of them are Townsendites, coming to see if this latest political messiah will redeem their pension hopes. But a great many more, apparently, are the parents of sons who already have gone through one war or who may be of draft age for the next one. They come in a mood of skepticism — they have known other promises of “peace in our time” that were broken byt are hoping against hope to be convinced. They listen intently, applaud politely, but seem to reserve judgement. Few were observed signing the pledge to work for the new party.

I left out the part looking into the black contigency, who are described as just a little bit past “token”. “Less strident” than the “demagouges” that make up the white Wallacites, and just trying to advance the civil rights program past Truman’s careful careful nudgings. That’s how the article describes them, rather politely. Speaking of polite society:

Finally, in each of the meetings, there was to be seen a scattering of professional people, ministers, college professors, business men and women — “genuine liberals from the right side of the railroad tracks” as some one described them — who were there in some instances, at least, at the pearl of their standings in the community.

Wait. A few normal individuals supported Henry Wallace? Sheez. The Communists really did infiltrate all of the United States society. Sigh. Too bad there weren’t any beatniks to speak of in 1948. For Nader, we can toss in the WTO “anarchists” of Eugene in Seattle as a prototypical dirty shady character who makes up the Naderites. In 1948, these sort of counter-cultural Wallacites seem to be strikingly… clean-shaven.


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