JULY 25, 1945
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—Earl Brown's article in the July Harper's, called "Detroit's Armed Camps," has furnished me with some rather interesting reading, though it was also disquieting. I hope everyone not only reads the article, but thinks about it as it applies to his own community.
It isn't only Detroit that has such conditions as Mr. Brown describes. They exist in many other places, but I am quite sure that in the final paragraph Mr. Brown puts his finger on the really important thing which must happen throughout this country. "Some employers," he writes, "are convinced that management must cooperate with labor if either one is to survive and profit—the sooner each side mends its ways the better off everybody will be. For with industrial relations in their present battered state, and with racial friction more tense than it has ever been before, an explosion in Detroit might set the whole country on fire."
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The same could be said of any other large industrial center. We need to discipline ourselves to see things from other people's point of view as well as from our own, and that is what management and labor boards in every factory would help us to do. There is some pretty plain speaking in this article about the faults of management as well as of labor. That is as it should be, for while many of us see faults on either one side or the other, it is really important that we see the faults on both sides.
I read a long letter in one of the papers the other day by Russell C. Leffingwell, which was on the whole very wise and fair. But the last paragraph left you with the thought that labor, alone, needed reform. I find this thought frequently repeated in things which I read, and yet the reforms must come on both sides. One thing we must always remember: There is seldom any great difficulty in getting management's side of any story printed, but when it comes to getting labor's side into print, that is a very different question. I could almost tell you beforehand the very few papers which will usually print both sides.
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I have just finished Dan Wickenden's "The Wayfarers," one of the few novels I have read recently. It is very well written, the characters are well drawn and the story is real and vivid. But I could not help feeling, perhaps because I get so much of the reality of life flung at me in the mail day after day, that I did not care to spend quite so much time reading about people's failures. So few of these people come out triumphant. I think it is the people who come out triumphant no matter how many mistakes they may make on the way, and are finally at peace with themselves and know what they really want of life, who help us to live our own lives more successfully and hopefully.