Mail, October 10th 1932
WELSHMAN’S BID FOR PRESIDENCY
Thomas, The Socialist
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?”
replied without hesitation:
finest politician I’ve met in America is a fellow-Welshman, your Socialist
candidate for Presidency, Norman Thomas.”
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.
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
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?
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.”
is the situation here in New York?” I asked.
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
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.”
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
of his brains and personality our Welsh candidate has not the slightest chance
of being elected President on November 8th.
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
But if I
were an American I should certainly vote for Norman Thomas.