TOOLING AT GORKY
Soviet power plus American technique will build Socialism.
—front-page motto, Moscow Daily News, 1933
Walter Reuther began to think of himself as a Socialist once again after his brother Victor joined him in Detroit during the fall of 1930. "He got Walter all steamed up about the Socialist movement," remembered Merlin Bishop, Reuther's friend from Four-C Club days. "I think Walter had pretty well forgotten about it up to that point. He was a very frugal fellow and invested his money." 1
As the youngest of the Reuther boys, Victor had come of age when the family finances were in better shape. Thus he was the only Reuther brother to finish high school straight through and the only one of the boys who did not commit himself to a trade in his adolescent years. Unlike Roy and Walter, he had no passion for sports in high school: "Reading and debating were my loves," Victor later recalled. His temperament was closest to that of his father, Valentine, who called him "the professor." Victor would spend his spare hours after classes in the school library; he had "Patrick Henry tendencies," said a schoolmate, and he incorporated into his schoolwork many of the radical, iconoclastic themes Valentine loved to preach. He served as president of two debating clubs during 1929-30, his senior year, and it was for his forensic skills that his teachers chose him to deliver one of the graduation valedictories. Typically for a Reuther, his talk was entitled "The Blessing of Citizenship," and it celebrated, in patriotic language, the struggles of colonists, pioneers, and abolitionists to advance a progressive and expansive set of American rights. 2