JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
I'm a day late for this post, but the pamphlet just surfaced this morning, and so I will go ahead with the May Day post on May Day Boxing Day. The pamphlet was written by Louis Budenz, who at the time was a Communist and editor of the Daily Worker, as well as a useful agent for the U.S.S.R. The pamphlet is liberal for the time (especially in regard to "Negro Freedom", but goes quite a few steps further to denounce the FDR re-election in order to ensure an isolationist/neutral path for the U.S. This was also the case for John L. Lewis, who advocated a similar stance--he was at the time in 1940 the leader (and founder) of the CIO and had been a champion of Roosevelt's from the mid 1930's (the CIO being the largest single contributor to the FDR re-election in 1936). Things got very messy with the war and the labor unions peeled away from Roosevelt--this was particularly true for the CIO which received a lot of economic support from the far-left and Soviet sympathizers. Part of the issue in 1940 so far as the war goes is that the Soviet Union was allied with the Nazis, so supporting a war effort against Hitler would be working against the Soviet Union. Lewis was vehemently apposed to not only U.S. involvement, buy also loans and war industry help to Britain. He advised his CIO members to vote against FDR in 1940, except few listened--membership voted 85% for Roosevelt, at which point Lewis took his ball and went home, leaving the CIO but taking the United Mine Workers with him, cleaving them away from the CIO. Things changed once Hitler attack the U.S.S.R. in June 1941, though Lewis was still a pain in the ass, advocating strikes during wartime, which was a verbotten thing. So far as Budenz goes, he too changed his tune once the Soviet Union was attacked, and after the war became a very vocal anti-Communist--a paid anti-Communist, collecting money from the F.B.I. for the stuff he knew about the CPA. He wound up testifying against a lot of people in the 1950's, and was much admired by Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
So. May Day was a labor-rights thing years ago, much more so than it is today, where it seems to be an anarchy/anarchist something or other. May Day 1940 was not such a pretty thing.