Gareth Jones

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The Western Mail, October 10th 1932





Norman Thomas, The Socialist



My American journalist friend suddenly stopped as we were walking through the brilliantly-lit streets of Broadway, and asked: “Say, what man in our rotten political life has struck you most of those you’ve met?  Was it Herbie Hoover In the White House?  Was it Secretary of State Stimson?  Was it cigar-chewing Al Smith of the New York sidewalks? Or who?”


I replied without hesitation:  


“The finest politician I’ve met in America is a fellow-Welshman, your Socialist candidate for Presidency, Norman Thomas.”


Norman Thomas has carried the fighting spirit of Wales into the sordid political battleground of America.  He is the champion of honesty and the deadliest enemy of the gangster and of graft.  In his struggles to purify American city life he combines the fervour of a revivalist with the intellectual keenness of a Welsh philosopher.  


You can see the Welshman in him as he speaks, although the voice is that of a cultured American professor, and although he was born in Ohio.  His love of arguments, his sharp retorts, and his puritanical background have surely been bestowed upon him by generations of Nonconformity, because both his grandfather and his father were Welsh preachers, and he himself was a Presbyterian minister and still preaches.  

In his Office


Norman Thomas is an enemy of capitalist America.  It was, therefore, of special interest to visit him in New York this year at a period when even the most capitalistic of Wall Street men were prophesying complete collapse of the economic system within tree months.  What would Norman Thomas say, I wondered, as I walked towards his office?  


I entered his simple room and there I saw him, a man of 48 years of age, with two features, which impressed one namely, a keen, sympathetic smile and penetrating blue eyes.  Whatever his enemies, such as ex-Mayor Jimmy Walker and the gangsters, may say of him, no one denies his charm.  Those sincere eyes of his flashed as he said: “No civilised country in the world is treating its unemployed so brutal as we in America.”  


“What is the situation here in New York?”  I asked.


“We have almost a million out of work in this city alone, and less than a quarter of them have received relief.  There is one thing that has saved us from grave riots, and that is the generosity of the poor to the poor.  Think of it in rich America!  No country in the world has seen such a breakdown of everything.”  

American Fascism


Norman Thomas spoke of the wild and criminal lending of the Wall Street bankers.  He was alarmed at the spread of nationalism.  “Capitalism,” he said, “is going nationalist instead of internationalist.”  He blamed the politicians of America for demanding the payment of the war debts from Britain.  “American politicians are demanding the impossible when they say: “Europe must pay us, but we won’t take her goods!’  You cannot get your debts paid if you put up high tariffs to stop the goods coming in.  And nations can only pay in goods or in gold, and we’ve already got too much gold.”  


Norman Thomas ventured an interesting possibility for the future.  He said: “The scene is well set for the development of American Fascism.  If a strong man comes, there will be Fascism.”  

Not a Chance


In spite of his brains and personality our Welsh candidate has not the slightest chance of being elected President on November 8th.   


Roosevelt, the Democrat, will probably beat Hoover, and Thomas will be lucky if he obtains more than a couple of million votes out of an electorate of nearly sixty million.  


But if I were an American I should certainly vote for Norman Thomas.  








Dollar,  Yo-Yo.


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