Election 1940: Thomas Condemns Both Parties as 'Fascistic' (11-2-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 2, 1940)

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MAJOR PARTIES ARE FASCISTIC, NORMAN THOMAS SAYS HERE

Both the Republicans and Democrats have adopted the leadership principle of Fascism by letting their candidates make their own policies, declared Norman Thomas, Socialist candidate for President, in a speech at Carnegie Lecture Hall last night.

When the major parties held their conventions, the one most vital issue before the American people was peacetime military conscription. Yet neither party mentioned the subject in its convention.

They left the matter entirely in the hands of their leaders, Roosevelt and Willkie, respectively, and they, after the convention had adjourned, announce their support of conscription.

Says Campaign’s Phony

Thus did they make this a phony campaign as between the parties, and what is worse, thus did they establish the leadership principle appropriate to a Fascist state.

That incident is typical of the whole campaign. For all its sound and fury and personal bitterness, there are no differences of importance, not even temperamental differences of importance, between Messrs. Roosevelt and Willkie.

Both of them are agreed on all steps short of war in order not only to aid England, but the British Empire. Neither of them have carefully defined steps short of war.

Neither Cares for Platform

The only criticism either has of the other concerns his trustworthiness. Neither major candidate cares much about the platform and neither platform goes to the root of the matter. Of course, it’s a phony campaign!

Indeed, it is so phony that the Gallup poll actually asserted that the people would have no chance to vote on the issue of peace or war on the ballot. This is false, because emphatically the people have a chance by voting the Socialist ticket to vote for peace.

Sees No Differences

It is not merely in the all-important issues of peace or war that this is a phony campaign. It is phony on domestic issues.

The differences in the party platforms are inconsiderable, and nobody pays much heed to the party platforms anyway.

Mr. Willkie has by now endorsed all the specific reforms which Mr. Roosevelt originally appropriated in large part from Socialist immediate demands.

He is critical of Mr. Roosevelt’s power, but wants that power himself. Certainly he has never criticized the worst extension of that power, namely, the right that the President now has to send our conscript sons to fight anywhere, at least in this hemisphere, without declaration of war.

Sees Ballot 'Monopolized’

It’s a phony campaign in that it has seen immense progress toward the monopolization of the balance by the Republican and Democratic parties, between whom, as we have seen, there is little difference.

As matters now go, within the next four years it will be made impossible for a new party or minority party to get on the ballot in enough states to make that effort valuable.

The only way to remedy this is by a mighty protest of those who still love democracy. The way to make that love of democracy most apparent is to vote the Socialist ticket.

Actually, the same sort of capitalism, has really captured both parties. It is the capitalism which consciously or subconsciously, having failed under the New Deal and Old to conquer unemployment at home, turns toward expansion through imperialism, arms economics and war.

The Socialist Party asserts that there is yet time for the people to choose the way of a triumphant democracy, a democracy which will give its whole attention to the conquest of poverty and the establishment here on this great continent of a nation which will be a fellowship of free men. It is to this end that our platform and our program are directed.

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