AUGUST 30, 1946
HYDE PARK, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon I was driven up to Kingston, N.Y., stopping on the way to see Mrs. Richard Gordon about the West Park flower show which I agreed to open next week. This is a small show in which my mother-in-law, Mrs. James Roosevelt, always took an interest, so I am glad that they are having it again now that the war is over.
We reached Kingston in time for dinner with a group of labor people who were putting on a joint rally which included various AFL and CIO local unions—as many of them as cared to participate.
These rallies are for the purpose of awakening the interest of the workers, not only in what they want, but in the methods by which they can obtain their objectives. This results very quickly in the realization that there is only one way to get at the root of problems, and that is through political action. In order to use political power intelligently, the workers must know more about the people who represent them in government, their records in and out of office on public questions, and how they themselves feel on the problems confronting the nation today.
I think it is inescapable that, as this education proceeds, workers will realize that their interests cannot remain centered in labor questions only. They are consumers also and must look at all questions from the point of view of the general economic welfare of the nation, which ties their interests to those of unorganized workers and of employers and farmers. I heard someone say once that it was impossible for producers and consumers to have the same interests. But it seems impossible to me to divorce these interests, since most of us are both producers and consumers.
* * *
The real difficulty lies in the distribution of the ultimate profits. That is a question which, I think, should be widely discussed. In the past, the worker has often felt that his share was not commensurate with the share enjoyed by management or capital in our country. Yet the need for management and the need for capital is apparent to all.
In countries such as Great Britain, where certain industries will be government-owned, the problem still does not disappear, because the question of what proportion should go to the workers and what to the government will still be present. Even though we may feel that everything which goes to the government returns eventually to the citizens, we know we have to help decide in what manner it is returned to us, and this is bound to bring discussion and varied opinions. This same difficulty is bound to arise even in Russia as they progress and as the people achieve a higher standard of living.
It seems to me, therefore, that throughout the world, this problem will bear long discussion and probably constant adjustment if progress is to be made.