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5
Labor

THE PROBLEM of labor today is surcharged with emotion and dangerously sharp cleavages. Men more zealous than wise are trying to label the Democratic Party the exclusive friend of labor, and the Republican Party its inveterate enemy. The source of this theory is not difficult to discern. Labor leaders feel that before the advent of the present Administration labor did not get a fair break, and that previous Republican administrations gave consideration solely to a business point of view. Today, on the other hand, many industrialists believe with almost fanatical intensity that the present Administration sees everything exclusively through the eyes of labor, and plays politics both with and within labor.

There is considerable truth in the viewpoints of both.

However, nothing inherent in the nature of the two parties justifies the roles that propagandists have sought to assign them. Assuming that there are in the Republican Party a few nineteenth-century industrialists who still believe that labor is a commodity, every one of these has his Democratic counterparts in the Smith-Connallys who devote their energies to baiting organized labor.

But the Republican Party has allowed itself to be put on the spot on the labor question. It has done so by failing to appreciate sufficiently that for labor the essential content of freedom is different in today's industrial society from what it was in the agricultural society of an earlier age. Men no longer able to own, or to aspire to own, small businesses and farms have sought new solutions for a need which all Americans must respect -- the need to control for themselves the circumstances which dictate their working lives. However much the present

-16-

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