DECEMBER 4, 1945
NEW YORK, Monday—I am beginning to feel that what we need above everything else, at the present time, is a calm evaluation of how much more we could accomplish if various organizations which are now divided and working against each other could come together and work cooperatively. To begin with, the continued division in the labor group between the AFL and the CIO is causing great confusion and no little harm to the advancement of labor. Because of that division, it is always possible for those opposed to any particular program to attempt to enlist either one side or the other in opposition. This is confusing to the public and, in the long run, damaging to the labor cause.
In the political and social field, it seems to me that much more could be accomplished if the various organizations would define their fields of work and appeal for help among themselves when results require cooperation in a number of fields. For instance, the National Citizens Political Action Committee—which is group of independent liberals working with whichever political party they think represents the best interests of the people as a whole—should give representation to all political groups wishing to cooperate on the same measures and objectives. It should also be able to cooperate with other organizations that do not take direct political action, but that work in the social and educational fields.
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Similarly, in the different states and cities throughout the country, we could survey a great number of organizations which have sprung up for civic, social, educational and international work. I believe far more would be accomplished if they could all sit down together and find out where cooperation would be valuable and in what fields each one was best fitted to take major responsibility. Instead of each one working for a limited objective, they could see the work that needed to be done in the state or city as a whole and allocate it in such a way as to accomplish the best results.
One thing which struck me in Detroit about the Michigan Citizens' Committee was that they did seem to have brought together groups working in different fields, or at least individual representatives of such groups. As a result, there was a degree of coordination in the general work for progressive government. The trend in the nation in the past few years has been, I think, away from what used to be called "charitable work," so that much of this type of work is now included in government programs. This means that churches and private agencies, in many cases, have to change their programs. In the case of churches, it may mean that the influence over people will be more spiritual and less material, and that may on the whole be good for our souls.
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Yesterday afternoon I went over to Greenwich House, where they are having an exhibition by local painters. It always gives me pleasure to feel that I live in a neighborhood where people are doing creative work in the arts. I was interested to find, among the prize winners yesterday, a young man from Australia who said he had chased me around many of the islands of the Pacific!