The Life and Times Of Tony Pro

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The Life and Times Of Tony Pro

ROBERT S. GALLAGHER and RONALD SEMPLE

September 12, 1963
Max Ascoli’s “Reporter” magazine

UNION CITY, New Jersey

THERE was little ìn Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano’s past to prepare him for the battle now raging between U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Teamsters President James Riddle Hoffa. In the tough sidewalk world of New York’s Lower East Side, where Provenzano was born forty-six years ago of Sicilian immigrant parents, he had learned that the politician was a friend, not a foe. The friendship of the politician was easily bought by the really Important men in the neighborhood, who know and demonstrated that muscle earned money and respect. Brains, initiative, and raw courage were the ingredients of success along Monroe Street. And these were the lessons young Provenzano took with him in 1934 when he dropped out of P.S. 114 to drive a truck at ton dollars a week.

His relationship with the politicians he dealt with on his ascent to the twelfth vice-presidency of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America was a reflection of his early training and experience. He numbered many politicos among his allies. He could depend upon them for aid and influence, and in turn he supported them generously. He had nothing to fear from politicians until 1959, when he had his first bitter encounter with the tenacious counsel to the Senate’s McClellan Committee, Robert Kennedy. It was a hard lesson for Provenzano, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment forty-four times. The hearings, which culminated in the passage of the Landrum-Griffin Act, touched off the events leading to Provenzano’s indictment and subsequent conviction on June 11 of this year for extorting $17,100 from a local trucking firm. Should his appeal fail, Provenzano will serve seven years in prison and pay a ten-thousand-dollar fine.

Provenzano doesn’t believe he will go to prison. “Thank God for the appellate courts in this country,” he says. But whether or not Provenzano goes to jail, he faces other problems that will test the raw courage, initiative, and brains of one who has risen from humble beginnings to be an international vice-president of the Teamsters, a trustee of the powerful Eastern Conference of the union, president of New Jersey’s Teamsters Joint Council 73, and the absolute ruler of Local 560, the third largest (13,000) Teamsters local.

Provenzano insists he spends hours in meditation. His favorite spot is stop the former bank building purchased by Local 560 for its headquarters. There, on the roof is a massive coop to house Tony Pro’s racing pigeons the feathered symbols, of a less complicated youth on the East Side. The birds help Provenzano forget his various troubles: a pending Federal trial for bribery; a suit by the U.S. Department of Labor challenging Local 560’s election last December; the local’s insurgent. United Ticket, which nearly succeeded in retiring Provenzano in that election and prompted the ballot litigation; the murder of a young shop steward; the unsolved disappearance of the local’s secretary-treasurer; the constant presence of Federal agents; the local’s growing financial troubles; the desertion of his political allies; and, most important, the reaction to all this of his friend and boss, Hoffa, whose sense of loyalty to his friends is eclipsed only by his stronger sense of survival.

Democrat Provenzano seems puzzled by the zeal the Attorney General and his subordinates display in their efforts, which, according to the Department of justice, have led to 199 indictments and eighty-five convictions of Teamsters and their associates since the advent of the New Frontier. But he knows at first hard the tenacity of Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department, whose agents have questioned Provenzano’s friends, neighbors, and, he claims, his children in an exhaustive study of his lite and works. At the local’s headquarters, a records investigation is continued daily by the Labor Department’s Thomas Gilmartin, who spends his evenings explaining the intricacies of the Landrum-Griffin Act at St. Peter’s Institute of Industrial Relations in Jersey City. (The Institute’s student body numbers most of the United Ticket’s leaders.) Also nearby is Internal Revenue Agent Geoffrey Cheasty, whose brother, John Cye Cheasty, was the key witness in the government’s abortive attempt to convict Hoffa of bribery in July, 1957.

Provenzano’s extortion conviction by a Federal jury in Newark genuinely shocked the Local 560 leader, who last year was acquitted of a similar charge in neighboring Hudson County. He still faces a bribery charge of accepting his $27,000 Clifton, New Jersey, home as a gift from another New Jersey trucking executive. The jury’s decision also surprised many veteran courthouse observers who held little affection for Provenzano but thought the government’s case weak. They had predicted that the cherished judicial concept of reasonable doubt would save Provenzano. It did not. Teamster attorneys from the local to the international level used the jury’s decision to reiterate their belief that a prejudicial campaign is being waged from Washington to condition both press and public against the Teamsters, thus ail but eliminating their clients’ right to take advantage of reasonable doubt, even though they have managed to win more cases than they have lost.

The Glockner Myth
Washington, however, was not the dateline on the publicity explosion that occurred May 24, the third day of the trial, when a truck driver was murdered ten miles away in Ho­boken. The police of that brawling waterfront city had no trouble identifying the twenty-seven-year-old man found sprawled on a sidewalk with three bullets in his back. A month before, they had questioned Walter Herman Glockner, Jr., about his role in the-stick beating of another citizen. It was the latest entry in a bulky police dossier dating, back to when he helped beat tip an off-duty policeman. At that time Glockner had been AWOL from the Marine Corps, which he had joined after quitting high school. He was then thrown out of the Marines with an undesirable discharge.

It was more difficult to recognize Glockner in the portrait in Life two weeks after his death. “His family called him Sonny; his friends know him as Hans,” the magazine reported. “He graduated from high school in Hoboken, served in the Marines and married his boyhood sweetheart.- This wholesome approach was unspoiled by the mention of his police record, his loansharking activities, or his tainted Military record. Instead Life justified devoting several pages to the murder by blandly announcing that Glockner was “the leader of a reform group” within Local 560 and printing opposing photographs of a weeping graveside widow and a chortling Provenzano, who has instructed his lawyers to start what he terms a “suitcase” against the magazine for eleven million dollars.

Life merely completed the public canonization of Glockner that began immediately after his death, when the afternoon newspapers described him as a “Provenzano foe.” This initial description was magnified edition by edition, broadcast by broadcast, to “bitter foe,” “out­spoken foe,” “martyred Teamster,” “key member of the United Ticket,” and the like, until Life ultimately elevated him to ‘ the leader” of the anti-Provenzano f forces. His certification as “a victim A’ the struggle for clean unionism” was provided the day after the murder, when government attorneys handling the Pro­venzano trial announced that Glock­ner, who was a shop steward at the truck terminal involved, was to have been questioned the next. week. No one explained why Federal officials had not talked to Glockner during the two years of pre-trial investigation.

No official at the local, state, or Federal level attempted to arrest the growth of the Glockner myth. Some even encouraged it. The normally tight-lipped Hudson County prosecutor, for example, was reluctant to reveal the slain man’s police involvements, plus his “limited loansharking” activities. He insisted that the information had no bearing on the case and asked that it remain unpublished for “the sake of the family.” He also stated, without prompting from the reporters and Life representatives present, that Glockner had been “honorably discharged from the Marines.

The myth of Glockner’s importance to the United Ticket vanishes with the statement of the insurgent leader, George Phillips, who reduces Glockner’s role in the bitter December election to that of an active “sympathizer.” Moreover Phillips, who claims to have been severely beaten twice in the past by Proven­zano enthusiasts, holds that the slaying was not a “union killing.” Phillips’s feeling- were never published, even though most reporters assigned to the Glockner case began to suspect within t few days that the role of the slain man in the anti-Provenzano movement had been exaggerated. Some tried unsuccessfully to alert their superiors, who had started linking the coverage of the murder with that of the extortion.

trial. Their apparent unconcern about putting Glockner, the murder, and the trial into perspective added weight to the brotherhood’s charge of mass conditioning. Weeks later Hoffa put it succinctly when he was asked if the press was still giving him trouble. “I never have any trouble with the working press,” he replied. —But these rewrite men and editors who never get out to see what’s happening well, I get hell from them all the way.”

The impact of the Glockner murder on the extortion trial was immediate. The defense asked for a mistrial. The prosecution renewed its request for a sequestered jury, which was granted. Provenzano now argues that the murder led to his conviction. Government sources close to the trial maintain that the murder forced the judge to approve the sequestering motion, thereby removing the jurors from outside “influences.” As for the possibility of the jury’s hearing about the slain Teamster, they point out that the sequestering¬ was under the export supervision of Deputy U.S. Marshal J. M. Jordan of Indiana, who was dispatched by Washington to New Jersey. Jordan had performed similar duty during Hoffa’s recent Nashville trial, which resulted in an indictment against the Teamster boss for jury tampering.

The jury’s decision to convict Provenzano was basically a choice between the word of Provenzano and that of trucking executive Walter Dorn. A nervous, reluctant witness, Dorn testified only after receiving a safe-conduct writ to enter New Jersey without fear of prosecution. He said he had given Provenzano $1,500 in 1952 to buy labor peace at a new trucking terminal and then made monthly payments of $200 for six and a half years to maintain it. He swore he gave the monthly payments to Michael Communale, then an assistant Hudson County prosecutor, a figure in the local Democratic Party, and a friend of Provenzano’s. Since the statute of limitations had run out on whatever happened in 1952, the jury had to decide whether Communale passed the money on to Pro­venzano. Communale, who was fired as assistant prosecutor after his appearance before the McClellan Committee in 1959, said he did not pass the money on to Provenzano. He claimed that the $200 monthly payment was a retainer for his legal services, which he conceded were limited. Pressed by the prosecution, Communale said that he had once checked “superficially” on whether a proposed trucking tax would be passed by the New Jersey legislature.

Provenzano denied receiving any money from either Communale or Dorn. His appearance as a witness may not have done him much good, although lie would be recognized immediately as an important man back on Monroe Street in the Lower East Side. His flashy silk suits are expensive, his linen immaculate. A diamond sparkles on the little finger of his manicured left hand. His short, squat body still boasts more muscle than fat. But his face, unless graced by a smile, can be a masterpiece of malevolence. His eyes are hooded by drooping lids, and his mouth often contorts into a sneer. During the trial lie had several arguments from the witness stand with his attorney, and spent the recesses regaling the press by giving daily odds on his acquittal. He obviously charmed the reporters more than the jurors. They believed Dorn.

Attorney General Kennedy, of course, had taken a personal interest in the case from the beginning. Dur¬ing the trial he called his attorneys frequently to learn how it was going. What was said then is not known, but Kennedy did telephone his warm congratulations when Provenzano was convicted. His praise was duly reported. However, it would be foolish to exaggerate either the importance of Provenzano to the Teamsters or the significance of his conviction in the Justice Department’s drive against Hoffa. To describe Tony Pro as the Number 2 man in the Teamsters, as United Press International did during the trial, is to seriously overestimate him. And to suggest that Provenzano’s downfall would be a prelude to Hoffa’s is to vastly underestimate Hoffa.

During its deliberations the jury did wonder aloud once about the absence of one Anthony Castellito, whose name appeared several times in Provenzano’s testimony. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed that he was not available. Castellito has not been available since the night t of June 5, 1161, when the popular secretary-treasurer left Local 560 headquarters am drove off in his brown Cadillac into the missing persons files. Few believe that either Castellito or the car will ever turn up again. Castellito, whose police record dates back to Prohibition, had also sought refuge behind the Fifth Amendment b -fore the McClellan Committee in 1959. The United Ticket’s George Phillips hints that Castellito vas numbered high among Provenzano’s intra-union opponents.

Pro and Cons
Even without Cassellito, whose son has become a standard bearer in the United Ticket move Went, Provenzano has formidable troubles within Local 560, which he has headed since 1958 and controlled since the death that August of John J. Conlin, founder and ruler of the local. Several months after Conlin’s death. Provenzano soundly defeated an insurgent election challenge, despite his “coincidental” Federal indictment for extorts in two weeks before the polls opened. The balloting was marked by violence, including shotgun blasts into the house where the insurgents were conducting an election-eve session. Provenzano’s opponents reorganized as the United Ticket .and spent the next three years marshaling their workers and arguments. With a little more than half the membership voting last December, Provenzano was re-elected by a majority of 577, hardly a reassuring vote of confidence for the leader of a Teamster local with one of the best contracts in the nation.

Local 560 truckers earn from S6,000 to $10,000 a year, depending on their particular job, the steadiness of the work, and the amount of overtime. Most average about $7,000 annually in the tractor-trailer and switchers classifications. Sick Teamsters draw $65 a week for a maxi¬mum of twelve months, and the medical and dental plans extend to their immediate families. A driver with twenty years’ service can retire at fifty-seven with a $200 monthly pension. Death benefits start at $5,000. (Mrs. Glockner received a double-indemnity payment of $10,000, since the union ruled that her husband’s death was accidental.) Other fringe benefits include free eyeglasses for members and full college scholarships each year to four children of Local 560 members.

Since individual Teamsters are usually more concerned about salaries, fringe benefits, and job protection than the character of their officers and agents, the growing infra-union opposition to Provenzano indicates more deep-seated problems. Whatever the excellence of its provisions, a labor contract is only as good as its enforcement. About four hundred terminals are covered by Local 560, and some Teamsters claim that their terminals haven’t been visited by a business agent in three years. Provenzano denies this, but it remains a source of rank-and-file friction. Perhaps the explanation of the discontent is to be found in the rather arbitrary way Provenzano manages his huge local, Provenzano’s whim often becomes Local 560 policy. And often his whim leans toward nepotism and the unsavory associations Robert Kennedy had in mind when he spoke of Provenzano’s “Underworld connections.” After his close re¬election last December, Provenzano allowed the local—or at least the several hundred members who attended the meeting—to vote him a pay increase from $19,500 to $14,500. (He draws an additional $18,000 a year from his other Teamster posts.) But apparently a stronger gesture of confidence was needed. Several weeks later he was voted another $50,000 annually, which brought his total remuneration to $112,500, more than Hoffa’s or even that of the Attorney General’s elder brother. Provenzano then hired his brother Nunzio and a Salvatore Brugiglio as business agents at $18,500. Both have been convicted of arranging a “sweetheart” contract for a New York City employer. Another Provenzano brother, Salvatore, is also one of Local 560’s business agents.

Provenzano rejected the $50,000 raise at first and said lie had not made up his mind on the $25,000 one. Now lie says that lie has not rejected either, an indication that his personal legal expenses have been heavy. Moreover, the cost of defending the local against the legal actions brought by the United Ticket and the Federal government under the Landrum-Griffin Act has exceeded $300,000 since 1960 and threatens to spiral more as the pressure increases. With the addition of the lucrative salaries of the local’s officers and numerous agents (which the United Ticket’s opponents state are a greater incentive to the United Ticket leaders than the cause of clean unionism), the local’s fiscal situation is rapidly nearing the point where Provenzano may be forced to increase the $5 monthly dues substantially. Since the Landrum-Griffin Act requires a secret ballot on any revision of dues, this could be a moment of ultimate peril for Provenzano, not only in Local 560 but in his relations with the head of the Teamsters.

The Limits of Friendship
Hoffa has always been a good friend of Provenzano’s. It is said by some—but denied by Provenzano — that the friendship ripened in the days when Hoffa was making his bid to take control of the 1.4-million-member International Brotherhood. He enjoyed the support of both the Mid¬western and Western Conferences but not that of the Eastern, which is the largest. Provenzano, though a relatively unknown business agent at the time had valuable contacts in the Eastern Conference. He reportedly introduced Hoffa to some of its leaders, including one who controlled a ream of “paper locals” in New York City. Paper locals are important in Teamster politics because they vote as unit, without concern for the reactions of their members, if any.

The accuracy if this description of the beginning of the Hoffa-Provenzano friendship is not too important. By 1960, then were close friends. It was then that he ill-fated Board of Monitors, whit] was put in charge of the Teamsters following the 1959 revelations, ordered Hoffa to purge Provenzano and two others from Teamster officialdom. Hoffa replied by promoting Provenzano to an international vice-presidency. But increased opposition to Provenzano over financial problems and charges of mismanagement might strain this friendship.

An episode in Philadelphia this spring cannot be of much comfort to Provenzano. Raymond J. Cohen, an international trustee, was the boss of Philadelphia’s big Teamsters Local 107 until charges of mismanagement resulted in a serious movement to pull the local out of the Teamsters altogether. The rebel Voice of the Teamsters, a group backed by several AFL-CIO unions, proved a formidable threat. Hoffa quickly threw himself into the Philadelphia contest, and it was he, not Cohen, who succeeded in beating down the revolt. Then, while offering amnesty to Teamster rebels who might see the error of their ways, Hoffa cut Cohen’s salary and effected some instant reforms within the local’s administration. At the moment of victory, Cohen received no medal Instead he was virtually cashiered.

The Cohen incident seems to con¬tradict the post-trial predictions that Provenzano’s fall from power would, as the Ne-w York Times put it, “be a major setback” for Hoffa. Indeed. Hoffa might find the Local 560 situation easier to deal with. The United Ticket, which finds its Unity in its Opposition to Provenzano, entertains no such radical ideas as did the Voice group. There is even evidence that some of the insurgents have made informal attempts at a rapprochement with the international. The departure of Tony Provenzano might not make as much difference to the truckers of New Jersey as some of the more enthusiastic editorial writers have optimistically predicted.

Hoffa reported y rejected the insurgents’ offer. But negotiations can always be reopened if the local’s deficit spending, as indicated by financial reports filed with the Labor Department, forces Hoffa into immediate direct action. Many do not believe that Hoffa would risk disapproval of other large locals’ leaders by partitioning Provenzano’s barony. However, such a move might also serve as a warning to others to avoid hazards like those which snared Provenzano. At any rate, the Attorney General would surely be mistaken to overestimate either Hoffa’s loyalty to his old friends or his dependence on them.

On the other hand, many months of legal appeals still separate Provenzano from a Federal prison cell. And he is confident that the local’s attorney, David Friedland, will succeed in turning back the Labor Department’s assault on the December election and simultaneously compel the government to reveal the extent and cost of its investigation of Local 560. Provenzano, whose rapid rise in the Teamster hierarchy paralleled Hoffa’s, denies vehemently that his boss had anything to do with his local election or has any say in its current opposition. This is less than accurate. A local Teamster leader without a friend in the international’s hierarchy is highly vulnerable. He might, say, find himself cut off from the brotherhood’s financial largesse, such as the huge political slush-fund grants that do not have to be accounted for. Or he might
I-find a petition submitted to the international by some of his own members, asking that his local be split up into smaller units. Should this happen, then Local 84, the five-hundred-man unit Provenzano reactivated last year during the United Ticket up¬rising as a possible refuge, could be¬come his Elba.

Hoffa must have the support of a strong, united international if he is to withstand the onslaughts of Robert Kennedy. He will do what is necessary in order to survive, and any¬one from the Lower East Side knows that it is sometimes necessary for a friend to get rough when the organization is threatened. Provenzano understands full well the dangers of becoming expendable.

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Jersey City 1949: Past Is Prologue ~ Mini-Documentary on the End of The Hague Era

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Past Is Prologue: Jersey City in 1949, End of The Hague Era from Proscenium on Vimeo.

This mini-documentary surveys the demise of the infamous political machine of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague. For 35 years, Boss Hague ruled New Jersey. His influence reached the highest levels of the Democratic party up to and including the FDR White House. In 1949, a team of opposition candidates known as the Freedom Ticket brought down the Hague machine by winning election to the City Commission. A former Hague lieutenant, John V. Kenny, became mayor. But unlike Mayor Hague, Kenny presided over a fractious City Hall. Challenges to his authority from fellow commissioner James F. Murray, Sr. led to divisions and conflicts within the new administration that would have been unimaginable during the Hague Era.

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Bob Dylan’s Tweeter and the Monkey Man

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souvenir1
Remember the line ” … the souvenir stand by the old, abandoned factory” in The Bob Dylan Song, Tweeter And The Monkey Man, off of the first Traveling Wilburys Album? Dylan sets the scene in Jersey City. Could he have been aware of Daisy’s open air Shop? It’s on Pacific Avenue, just off of Grand Street, Under the Turnpike, On the way to Liberty State Park and the Liberty Science Center.

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James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 – 1952)

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James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 - 1952)

By Joseph M. Murray

According to newspaper accounts, Murray was alone in City Hall. Mysteriously, all the city officials had left and the building was shorn of police protection. Many suspected Kenny of ordering the evacuation so as to put Murray on the spot, thinking he would panic and flee the scene. Instead, when the angry mob stormed the steps, Murray confronted them directly. He moved a desk into the entrance doorway, mounted it and declared: “That’s as far as you go.” In fact that was the headline of the article in the newspapers. He shamed the mob to a halt, demanding the leaders identify themselves. Then he instructed the leaders to come forward and follow him into the Commission chambers to state their grievances in a civilized manner. It was also a remarkable coincidence that the press were already on the scene, camera at the ready. It’s fair to say the whole event was staged by Kenny, but it backfired to Murray’s advantage.

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Steven Fulop reviews Hudson County Facts

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Below is the review that Steven Fulop gave my local folklore, Hudson County Facts. Though the booklet is sold on Amazon, you can read everything — plus lots more — at the Web Site.
# # #

An absolute great read! February 7, 2006
By Steven Fulop
I found myself constantly in disbelief that these cast of characters could actually exist even though each story is 100% true. This is a real quick and easy read that captures the reader with quick facts and stories from Hudson County’s colorful past from the first page. A great read and I’m looking forward to Anthony writing a sequel!

# # #

After I sent a copy to then Councilman Fulop, he emailed to relate that he’d received the envelope — without the booklet. He’d seen the sealed packet, so someone at City Hall was following the advice that I’d often heard as a child: “God helps those who help themselves.” Steve offered to pay for a replacement. As prestidigitation is the highest form of compliment in Jersey City, I just sent another.

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BBC documentary covers Anthony Provenzano, Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters and Organized Crime.

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BBC documentary discusses Anthony Provenzano of Hudson County, Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters, and the Mafia.

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David Friedland: I remember the period leading up to the election in the summer of 1949 when John V. Kenny first came to power.

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I remember the period leading up to the election in the summer of 1949 when John V. Kenny first came to power. My father was an Assemblyman. I was 12 years old, less than a year before when, according to Jewish Law , I would perform my Bar Mitzva and become a man.

My parents were hosting a party for Frank Hague at our red brick home at 31 Reservoir Ave on October 7, 1948. President Truman was coming to Jersey City that evening to deliver what was expected to be a major speech.

Our home was filled with local Ward leaders and Committeemen and Women. So many people pressed together that it was difficult to move. Police cars and Fire Engines were parked outside our home, lights flashing, sirens blazing. It was cold outside, yet all of our neighbors were outside in the streets and sidewalks.

Suddenly, there was silence. It seemed as if everyone, at the same instant, stopped breathing. Time stopped. Boss Frank Hague entered our home with Mayor Eggers, escorted by the Chief of Police, and my father. They passed by me in the kitchen where I had been instructed to wait .

As they passed, my proud father introduced me to Hague “Mayor this is my son, David”

Hague was dressed impeccably, and looked stiff. He smelled like lilacs. He looked at me, put his hand on my head , ruffled my hair and imparted these words of wisdom: “Listen to your Father” he said ” be a Good Boy and….. Vote Democratic!”. Usually people smiled at me when they said nice things like that, but I clearly remember ……Hague’s face was flat and cold. Someone else patted me on my head, and they moved on.

We left in a motorcade to Lincoln High School where President Truman was to speak, escorted by police cars, motorcycles, the fire engine and firemen waving Vote Row “A” Banners. We were followed by a Kenny campaign car with a Loudspeaker insulting “There goes Boss Hague to put out his fires.”

I remember little of Harry Truman’s speech. It was difficult to hear. So I researched it and found it on Google. The Truman Library had a record of it.

There is no past.

David Friedland

……………………………………………….

JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY (At Lincoln High School, 10:37 p.m.) October 7, 1948

Thank you very much. I can’t tell you, I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for this Jersey City reception, and I want to pay my tribute to you, Mayor, and my good friend, Frank Hague, who got this thing up in so good a fashion. This is something to write home about. I have been in Rio de Janeiro, I have been in Mexico City, I have been in New York City, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco and Seattle and Denver. Call the roll of all the great cities in the country, and this tops them all. And, in each instance, I thought the next one could never be outdone, but here it is.

Your enthusiasm shows that you take your politics seriously. That’s the way it ought to be, because politics is your business. Politics is government, and you are the Government if you exercise the privilege delegated to you in this great Republic of ours. If you don’t take an interest in your Government and elect the right people, you have nobody to blame but yourselves.

Now, in 1946 only one-third of the people of the United States who had the right, exercised that privilege to vote. And look what you got. And you didn’t deserve a bit of sympathy for getting it because you did it to yourselves. You can’t do that this year. I am warning you, the people of the United States, that the voters are not going to make the same mistake this year that they made in 1946. This time you are going to come out and vote.

The registration is up in almost every State in the country. Labor has been doing great work towards getting out the vote. The workers know that they are in a fight to protect their basic rights.

This is everybody’s fight. It’s not labor’s fight alone. It’s also the fight of the white-collar worker, the professional man, the farmer, and all the people in the United States–the fight to preserve the gains made since 1933, when President Roosevelt took office. It’s a fight to buildup a greater future for all the people of the United States.

We are going to win that fight. We must win that fight. Too much is at stake in this election, my friends, to be indifferent about it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it makes no difference to you whether the Democrats or the Republicans are in control of the National Government–and don’t let any of your friends make that mistake. Remember what the last Republican administration did to you in 12 years: depression, unemployment, foreclosures and evictions, bank failures, veterans selling apples. They were told that they were going to be put into business. Well, they went into business-at the street corner selling apples. We have tried to profit from that experience in this Democratic administration.

And what did the Republicans do to help it? Did the Republican leaders care what happened to you in the depression ? Did the Republican administration provide the jobs you needed? Did they save your homes or protect your bank deposits? They either didn’t care what happened to you or they didn’t know what to do about it. They just sat and waited for prosperity to come from around the corner.

The Democrats took action. Prosperity couldn’t get around the corner until it had some help. It took a government that cared about the people, that had faith in the people. It took a government that was willing to try new ideas. It took a government that put human rights above property rights. You got that kind of government when you elected Franklin Roosevelt.

There is a basic difference between the Democratic and Republican Parties. The difference between the Republican way of meeting a depression and the Democratic way of meeting a depression is typical of the fundamental differences between the two parties. The Democratic Party has always been the party of progress and liberalism, the party that puts human rights first. The Republican Party has always been dominated by the forces of reaction. They want to go back to their own peculiar concept of government, even though it is completely out of line with modern conditions.

The people of this country can hope to get forward-looking government only through the Democratic Party.

The best way to decide how to vote is on the record: first, I want to emphasize again that what the Government does makes a great difference to you in your everyday life. It touches every individual in this Nation; two, you can do more for yourselves by going to the polls to vote on election day than you can possibly do any other way.

This is your fight. I am only waking you up to the fact that it is your fight. You better get out and help me win this fight or you’re going to be the loser, not I. If you vote the Democratic ticket, you vote for yourselves and you vote for your best interest, and you want to be sure to vote the way that will do you the most good for yourselves and for the country. The only intelligent way to vote is on the basis of the record. I want to see it done that way because I know that our party has the best record.

The record shows a clear pattern. You hear a lot of speeches that try to confuse the record, but the main outline of the record is clear. The Republican Party has consistently worked for big business. The Democratic Party has consistently worked for all the people.

Now, let us take the question of high prices. I don’t need to tell you how big a problem high prices are and how much they hurt you. During the war, when it was a harder job than it is now, the Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress stabilized prices. The Democrats protected you against excessive prices until the Republicans in Congress led a successful fight to destroy price control. That Republican 80th Congress has repeatedly refused to restore the power to hold down prices. They have protected the excessive profits for big business but they haven’t protected the buying power of your wages and salaries.

The record is clearest of all a little further along. Republican favoritism for big business is shown most clearly by repeated attacks on the workers. This affects all workers, whether or not they are members of unions. Big business wants to keep wages low.

For years the Republican Party has been the ally of big business. The workingmen and women have turned to the Democratic Party, which has always been the workingman’s friend.

Labor suffered under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. The false prosperity of the 1920’s crumbled because workers, along with farmers, were getting the little end of the stick. The Republicans would like to give the farmers and the workers the little end of the stick again. If you are fool enough to accept that little end again, you ought to have it.

That era of the 1920’s was the era of the open shop and the yellow-dog contract; and the reckless use of labor injunctions. The strength of labor unions was reduced to less than 3 million members. Sweat shops abounded and child labor was the order of the day. When the crash came, labor suffered the brunt of it.

In 1932, more than 12 million men and women were unemployed. Wages-for those lucky enough to have jobs–were about 45 cents an hour.

In 1933, this Government got a President and a Congress with a heart. They cared something about labor. They cared something about the farmers. They cared something about the people–more than they did about money.

The Democratic Party set out to do something for the people and did it. We did something for labor, not at the expense of anybody else but to round out a program for the good of all the people. We gave real protection to the right of workers to join together in their own unions. We gave national recognition to the right of collective bargaining. We established a minimum wage and outlawed the sweat shops. We saved homes from foreclosures and helped to provide new homes on terms that workers could afford.

If you remember, back in 1932, 123,000 farmers were kicked off their farms. Last year, there were less than 800 who couldn’t pay the interest on their mortgage. People were pushed out of their homes so fast that when the Democrats came in, they had to form the great Home Owners Loan Corporation which saved millions of homes for millions of people. The Republicans didn’t do anything about it.

We provided protection against the loss of earnings due to old age and death.

The Democratic Party gave the country a New Deal. And that New Deal paid off too. It was good for the country. It was good for labor. It was good for the farmer. It was good for every citizen in the United States.

There is this difference: We have 61 million, nearly 62 million people at work in this country today. There is nobody walking the streets, hunting for a job. If a man wants a job, he has the opportunity. The farmers are in the most prosperous condition they have ever been in in the history of the world–and they are not in that condition at the expense of the country. Farmers and labor go along side by side, and when they are both prosperous the whole country is prosperous and everybody profits by it. The big corporations that they talk so much about have made more money in the last three than they ever made before in history–and that’s money made after taxes. And yet they cry about it and say that we are trying to hold them down. Why, they are in better condition now than they have ever been in history.

Now, when a man does work these days, his hourly pay is about three times as much as it was in 1932. Now, labor unions have 16 million members, and that’s a good thing for the whole country. Some people have complained that the Democratic Party paid too much attention to the things that labor wanted. I’m going to confess something to you; I’ve gotten a lot of advice from labor leaders, and most of it has been good advice. When it wasn’t good, I didn’t take it. They have the welfare of the country at heart just as much as anybody–and I will say, a great deal more than a lot of people. And I intend to keep getting advice like that for the next 4 years.

One of the worst things that ever happened was the election of that Both Congress. That interrupted our progress.

I have talked a lot about this Republican, “do-nothing” 80th Congress, and there is a very good reason for my talking about them. That Congress has shown clearly what we can expect from the Republican Party. That’s the reason I’ve been going after them hammer and tongs.

So far as labor is concerned, the Republicans made this very clear. They passed the Taft-Hartley to weaken the strength of labor unions. They refused to increase the minimum wage above 40 cents an hour, although 40 cents will only buy about as much as 23 cents would buy when the minimum wage law was first passed. They wrecked the Labor Department. This tells you what to expect from them in the future.

They have done the same thing to the farmer. They started in to wreck the farmer, just as they have tried to wreck the laborer.

And the record of the 80th Congress is the handwriting on the wall–“MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.” They better beware.

Do you want an even stronger labor legislation than the Taft-Hartley law? Do you? Then you better not vote the Republican ticket. Do you want to return to sweat shop wages in the United States? All right-vote Democratic. Do you want your social security benefits endangered? Well then, you better not vote Republican. Do you want to play second fiddle to big business? All right–vote the Democratic ticket on the second of November.

The Democratic Party offers you another choice. You can apply the same test to the Democratic Party that you apply to the Republican Party. What does the Democratic Party promise you, and does its past performance back up those promises? The record of the Democratic Party is a record of performance. All we ask is that you look at the record. The record shows that you can count on the Democratic Party because it is your party, the people’s party.

What do you want your Government to do ? Do you think the minimum wage ought to be more than 40 cents an hour? All right–vote the Democratic ticket. Do you think the Taft-Hartley Act ought to be replaced by a law that gives labor a fair deal ? All right, remember–vote the Democratic ticket on the second of November. Do you feel that social security benefits ought to be increased? Vote Democratic. Do you believe in a government that puts people ahead of property, that thinks the little fellow has just as many rights as the big fellow? All right–then you better vote the Democratic ticket.

Now, this, my friends, is a great Nation. This is the greatest Nation in the history of the world, the greatest Republic the sun has ever shown upon, and we got that way because we have a government of and by and for the people.

This Government believes in ideals that are an inspiration to people all over the world. Our great economic strength is the bulwark of democracy through the whole world. Our opportunities and our obligations extend far beyond our own shores. We can contribute as no other nation ever could to building a peaceful world. And, my friends, peace in the world comes before everything else.

I wish to repeat: I work for peace and I pray for peace because it’s much more important to have peace in this world than for me to be President of the United States. But, we can make our full contribution to peace only if we maintain a strong and vigorous democracy at home. To do that, we must fight for the great causes in which we so deeply believe–for equal treatment and equal opportunity for all the people. A return to reactionary government in the United States would be a tragedy not only for this country but for the whole world and every person in the world.

My friends, we just can’t let that happen. It will not happen if the people of America turn out in full force on election day. That, my friends, is your sacred duty. You owe that to the country.

Remember, the second of November is the day of destiny. Be sure you vote on that day and send this country down the right road.

# # #

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Ray Velazquez represented Jaime Vazquez in the assault trial against Hudson County hate monger Hal Turner.

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Ray Velazquez represented Ray Velazquez represented Jaime Vazquez in the assault trial against Hudson County hate monger Hal Turner. November 8, 2010, both Ray Velazquez and Jaime Vazquez are running for the two Jersey City Council At-Large seats on the ballot.

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Flip Wilson’s family’s supermarket tabloid coverage

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In the early ’70s, Jersey City residents watched the Flip Wilson show with a special sense of pride, as the comedian was born and raised there. That feeling became significantly diluted after a supermarket tabloid revealed that Wilson had Jersey City relatives living on welfare. A neighbor related that the coverage was unfair. Flip Wilson had bought his kin homes and businesses, but through bad habits they had lost everything.

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Mayor McCann: No homeless in Jersey City

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When Mayor McCann claimed that there weren’t any homeless people in Jersey City, the Jersey Journal frontpaged a picture of Vinny Buchelle standing in front of his wrecked Volvo bunk. The headline read, “Vinny Calls Abandoned Car Home.”

The regulars at the Tunnel Bar wondered if Vinny’s little taste of fame had warped what few brain cells remained after decades of electric shock treatments and heavy drinking.

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