BY MIKE ALEWITZ

December 9, 1941 – Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first official use of the army in World War II was not directed against Japan, but against U.S. workers.

The day after the U.S. officially entered World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt sent U.S. army troops against striking autoworkers in Inglewood, Calif. Three thousand soldiers, with fixed bayonets, cleared a one-mile radius around the factory of North American Aviation Co., a subsidiary of General Motors.

Roosevelt was the worst strikebreaking president in U.S. history. Throughout the 1930s, hundreds of striking workers were killed, thousands wounded and tens of thousands thrown into jail. In 1934, Roosevelt’s first full year in office, 52 strikers were murdered—one every week.

The myth of Roosevelt as a progressive, “friend of labor” is a ruling-class invention. Not surprisingly, in one of their presidential debates, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders claimed Roosevelt as their most admired leader. (In the case of Sanders, he afforded equal admiration for white-supremacist Winston Churchill).

Donald Trump’s xenophobic actions of Muslim exclusion and building walls follows in the tradition of the “progressive” FDR, who ordered the internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans into concentration camps.

The candidate-tools of Wall Street have always been fashioned and packaged in corporate boardrooms—then sold to us with the help of servile labor officials and intellectuals.

*****

Image: THE BATTLE AT BELL HELICOPTER. Detail from: THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED AUTO WORKERS UNION (UAW) 7′ x 10’ panel by Mike Alewitz / 1989. The image is based on a photo of a woman striker wielding a club on a picket line during the 1949 UAW strike against Bell Helicopter. (The mural was suppressed by the UAW and never exhibited).