Class Struggle and Goo-Goos
MOST New York workers and liberals were not unhappy to see Jimmy Walker leave the scene. Hizzoner had been brutal and callous to the unemployed, a notorious devotee of la dolce vita and a devious grafter. While there had been some liberal protests at Walker's attitude to the jobless, it was only after his grafting was revealed that he was finally driven from office. The Unemployment Councils had fought Walker and the Tammanyized relief administration from the start, but when the opposition front was broadened he was forced out. It needed that combination of Left, working-class forces and sections of the middle class (and a split at the very top of the city's powers) to effect change. In practical terms it was seen as an informal united front of the Left and the goo-goos (the derisive term used by Tammanyites to describe the "good government" crowd).
Pete and the Communists pondered the lessons. It became clear that it was possible and necessary to build an alliance between labor battling for relief, jobs, decent wages and working conditions on the one hand, and the civic reformers seeking "clean" and "efficient" government on the other.
Not that Pete had illusions about the goo-goos. He knew that while some were men and women of genuine social conscience, supporting the abolition of child labor, improved tenement-house laws and factory inspection regulations, many were wealthy businessmen, lawyers and realtors interested primarily in lowering property taxes. Pete knew that most of them did not worry overmuch about labor's problems and some were even large employers of labor.
Pete also knew that by and large the labor movement did not worry about good government in the abstract. Strict enforcement of the building code and sanitation regulations and competent medical care at public clinics did not have the same urgency in workers' minds as did unemployment relief and jobs. But Pete came to the conclusion that all were