FEBRUARY 25, 1948
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—The recent convention of the Americans for Democratic Action in Philadelphia, where I spent twenty-four hours, was to me quite an astonishing evidence of the desire of liberals to get together, talk out their problems and hear from people whom they respect. It was a gathering from many different backgrounds; and I was glad to see that intellectuals and labor leaders could meet, argue the problems of the day and come to an agreement that their concerns were very similar.
On the whole, I was greatly encouraged because there were a great many young people there, and people who were willing to give money to keep the organization going and also hard personal work to make it a greater force politically. A nonpartisan group of liberals that is well organized, and growing as quickly as the ADA is growing, should be able to exert a great influence in the elections this year.
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It is only such a group that can oppose Henry Wallace without being accused of self-interest. Since the third party claims to be the only group interested in liberal candidates and liberal programs, it is well to have another group to set a different standard to which the liberals of this country can rally.
Many of the leaders in ADA worked as closely in shaping the national policies that met the various crises, both on the domestic front and on the war front from 1933 to 1946, as did Mr. Wallace. Some of them might be able to point out a number of occasions when Mr. Wallace was more on the conservative side than on the courageous, liberal side of certain questions.
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Judging from the statements of C. B. Baldwin, campaign manager for Mr. Wallace, the test of a liberal by the third party will not have anything to do with his stand on domestic questions. Any one who favors the Marshall Plan is automatically ruled out. And the party is ready to elect reactionaries, on this basis, in preference to those who may differ with it on this one count but who measure up to the standards of the best labor, farm and social interests on the domestic front.
I think it would be highly educational for Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Wallace to take a little trip to the Kremlin, and try to work out with Premier Stalin an exact plan which they feel would insure peaceful cooperation between the USSR and the USA. They have dealt so far only with people who have agreed with them. The American Communist is so amenable when he wants to use someone that he is not a good test. When you are negotiating concrete situations with the Russians, the picture is very different. And it is hardly fair for the third party to promise very much to the American people when they have nothing from Moscow on the dotted line which gives them any hope of carrying out their promises.