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Assistance, Paul Kellogg, chairman, canvassed the interplay
of the new public services, their practical working relation-
ships, and specific problems in practice and cooperation.
On the first topic, interplay, a paper prepared by W.
Frank Persons, chief of the U. S. Employment Service,
outlined the basic approach of placement and planning and
the opportunities of the local employment offices to prac-
tice "the spirit and art of service on a personal basis" and
to become the nucleus for social and economic planning.

To this Ewan Clague of the Social Security Board added
a keen analysis of the unemployment cycle and a fresh
challenge to avoid the social waste of men slipping from
higher to lower levels of employment. Experience already
shows many points of weakness in our system which must
be strengthened if it is to function as a social and economic
force and not a doler-out of pittances.

In subsequent discussion John A. Kingsbury, admin-
istrative assistant of the WPA, burgeoned out from existing
services to a rigorous championship of a national health
insurance program and a plea for inter-agency cooperation
in our "complex social relief arrangements," so that "the
unfortunate individual will not be left suspended, torn
between the categories."

The plea for cooperation was brought down to earth by
Alexander Heron, director of industrial relations of the
Crown-Zellerbach Group of Companies, probably the
largest employers on the West Coast. The list of govern-
ment agencies with which this forest-product industry must
maintain contact covered a whole typewritten page to say
nothing of overlapping "paper work." If the industrialist
is confused the worker is completely bogged down in the
intricacies of laws, their meaning and their administration:

The fundamental problem is whether a political democracy
can adjust itself to carrying the burden of service which will
be expected of government during the next generation. Sim-
plification, coordination, uniformity, economic soundness, all '
are objectives which must be obtained by legislation and ad-
ministrative evolution. Long before this evolution can progress |
effectively there must be an effort to develop a friendly, in-
telligent understanding of the social security program in par-
ticular, on the part of the man in the woods and the man
on the farm, the man in the mill and the man on the street

A further call for integration and practical realism inn
compensation and placement services came from Richard
M. Neustadt, regional director for the Social Security v
Board in San Francisco, and a spirited plea for the basic


President Solomon Lowenstein

THE great test for American de-
mocracy in its competition with
the totalitarian ideal will come in the
comparison of what our method of life
can provide in the way of a higher
standard of living, of security of condi-
tion and of industrial democracy. . . .

Today there can be no doubt that if
we are to have industrial as well as
political democracy ways must be
found, under governmental compulsion
if necessary, for the working out of a
common program for the control of in-
dustry along democratic lines. We have
learned through mass industry, techno-
logical advance, agricultural improve-
ment, to develop a productive machin-
ery that is adequate to supply all the
needs of all our people at a very high
standard of living. We have failed ut-
terly to discover an equally satisfactory
distribution of the products of industry
and agriculture so as to produce such a
standard of living. . . .

Whether reforms are to be accom-
plished by changes in our forms of taxa-
tion, in our schemes of industrial or-
ganization or by other means is not
for us as a group of social workers to
say. Ours is not the expert's skill nor
the possibility of solving these prob-
lems alone. We have our own particular
knowledge gained in our immediate
work with the underprivileged who suf-
fer from the maladjustments in our
present system which we would gladly
pool with the specialized knowledge of

The Test of American

our legislators, our lawyers, economists,
industrialists and all others who can
contribute to the solution of these prob-
lems. But one thing we can say as
social workers and say with determina-
tion and conviction and that is that if
we are to remain a democracy, if we
are not to become a tyranny taking
over all the functions of life, regiment-
ing and regulating every individual and
every institution of communal life, we
cannot permit our people to starve, to
continue to go hungry and unem-
ployed. . . .

None of us would contemplate for a
moment, even at the cost of consider-
able suffering, giving up those political,
cultural and spiritual values which we
find in democracy. But we refuse to be-
lieve that democracy cannot 6nd meth-
ods equally efficient to those of the
dictatorships to bring about an im-
proved standard of living for all and
the reduction or elimination of unem-
ployment and the need for permanent
relief for the able-bodied and the will-
ing to work. . . .

The question will not be solved by
relief alone. We need a reorganization,
preferably gradual and not revolution-
ary, which will remove anarchy from
our industrial relations and make them
subject to the same democratic proc-
esses as we have enforced upon the

government. Labor and capital must
learn to work together and to utilize
the government to determine those re-
lationships. We must recognize that in
a country of our extent and variety,
with freedom of commerce between all
its sectional divisions, state lines can-
not determine the conditions which
shall control industry. We must be will-
ing to admit a measure of governmental
control of industry that will remove
its barbarities, its lawlessness, its feu-
dalism and substitute orderly and
peaceful relationships in their stead. . . .
We must cease to consider great ag-
gregations of capital in corporate form
as comparable to an individual person
and to be treated as such. Instead they
must be understood for what they are,
great institutions of governmental pow-
er over the destinies of the men en-
gaged in them and therefore to be sub-
ject to such governmental control as
may be required. . . .

There can be no doubt that in our
great and hitherto successful country
there must be enough of intelligence
and wisdom, of statesmanship and good-
will on the part of government, of
capital and of labor to solve these puz-
zling and difficult questions in a spirit
of goodwill and of understanding. With
such a spirit we may hope for contin-
ued prosperity and for even greater
freedom than before for developing the
spiritual and moral powers of man
under a democratic form of life.

service "the lowliest of all public aids" from which the
others had sprung, from Benjamin E. Youngdahl, director
of public assistance, Minnesota State Board of Control.
Mr. Youngdahl holds that if the people are to be fed,
clothed and sheltered, direct relief for years to come must
be an integral part of our broad social provisions. It must
be regarded as a link in a chain. To the average citizen
"thi> welfare business" is all of a piece. "Let one social
program fail in a given area and they all suffer. Let one
ni of aid bog down in mechanics, and public sup-
port for all programs is likely to be dissipated in the easy

nnation, 'red tape.' "

The final morning of the conference three lively round
table, wrre led respectively by Albert F. Hardy of the
Washington State Employment Service; T. Morris Dunne,
chairman of the Oregon Unemployment Compensation
Commission, and Elmer R. Goudy, administrator of the
Oregon State Relief Committee. All three groups discussed

the current usefulness of interplay between public agencies
and the exchange of working information, and, looking
ahead, of responsibilities toward the persons served. Once
the overhang of mass unemployment is somewhat melted
responsibilities will reach out toward the physical and occu-
pational rehabilitation of displaced men and women, toward
vocational training for the oncoming generation and to-
ward employment planning in its long run phases.

With Fred K. Hoehler of Chicago as chairman, the
social action section plunged into robust cross currents in
public service. Organized labor, political parties, service
unions, taxes, works programs, employment services, pub-
lic health and medical care were in turn the themes.

The speakers included a senator, a congressman and a
state legislator, a regional director of the National Labor
Relations Board, representatives of Labor's Non-Partisan
League, the United Federal Workers of America, the
WPA, the Pacific Northwest Regional Planning Commis-

JUI.Y 1938


sion, the Public Administration Service, the U. S. Employ-
ment Service, state departments of public welfare, the
U. S. Public Health Service and so on. If any of the speak-
ers felt that this conference was stretching its tent-ropes by
inviting them in, they were reassured by rinding their kin
in ideas and experience in their audiences.

The ranking speaker, U. S. Senator Lewis B. Schwellen-
bach, has his base in two Washingtons. In the course of
the week he not only spoke at an important session, but on
a conference broadcast and at the dinner of the American
Public Welfare Association. At a social action session, he
drove home that political democracy and economic security
are complementary ; neither can be sure of the future with-
out the other. It is security of life and labor that gives
democracy its necessary footholds. It is through the agency
of government that Americans can control their destiny.

At the same session, E. L. Oliver, executive vice-presi-
dent of Labor's Non-Partisan League, took the legislative
process apart and showed how the committee system of the
Senate and House is crucial to the potency of Congress
as a vehicle for the national purpose. A party, a point of
view, a widespread intent to achieve social and economic
ends, can all be hamstrung by the seniority tradition. His
conclusions were fortified by figures and his challenge was
to "gangway" for the creative will of the people.

The session on the question, Should Social Workers Or-
ganize? did not elicit the expected fireworks. On the con-
trary, a paper by Jacob Baker, president of the United
Federal Workers of America, himself not present, was a

reasoned exposition of objectives common to public services
and the unions of public service workers. Especially it pled
for the protection of white collar workers at a time when
government employment is expanding tremendously.
Recruited from the middle class, without industrial back-
grounds, these public employes need organized leadership.

Then came T. J. Edmonds, an executive of the Oregon
WPA, who first ran through the objections to unioniza-
tion selfish leadership, internecine strife, minority rule
and the like and then ranged into its values: as a hardy
instrument for securing better working conditions; collec-
tive bargaining as an impersonal, impartial medium which
can lift from the shoulders of the executive a staggering
load of individual grievances and decisions; the pressure
group as a vehicle for getting things done; the opportuni-
ties for discussion that make for self-expression and morale.

As leader of the ensuing discussion, Fred K. Hoehler in-
troduced Frank C. Bancroft, editor of Social Work Today,
who observed that Mr. Edmonds had made most of his
own points if from the other side of the table and under-
scored his belief that a public social service is as valid as
the physical and spiritual welfare of those who man it.

At another social action session which tackled the ques-
tion, Where Is the Money Coming From? Congressman
Voorhis, in absentia, declared that the United States can
balance its national budget any time the taxpayers are will-
ing to pay the price to preserve democracy. He presented
a seven-point national tax program designed to create
permanent public works and social security programs, and

I N Seattle Margaret Bondfield made
us all vividly aware of the implica-
tions of industrialism which, especially
on the Pacific, followed so closely on
the heels of settlement. In its half cen-
tury as a city, Seattle has become a
vigorous industrial center in a region
of lumbering and fisheries.

First woman member of a British
Cabinet, first woman president of the
British Trade Union Congress, former
Minister of Labor in a Labor Govern-
ment, Miss Bondfield epitomizes the
nascent forces at work in the oldest
industrial nation. Her theme at the
general conference session on July 26
was, New Forms of Power Its
Effect Upon the Lives of Workers.
Those new forms have brought the pos-
sibility of abundance to the world; but
"it is time we began to consider the
price we have to pay." First in the
list she cited the "tragedy of unemploy-
ment." Other items were the divorce of
the workers from skills and the tools of
production, the speed up, "instances of
petty tyranny under which the dis-
missal and engagement of workers be-

Margaret Bondfield

comes a completely haphazard process."
And, as her major charge, a distribution
of the national income so out of joint
with democracy that in England, for ex-
ample, where 75 out of every 100
persons belong to the wage earning
classes, a tenth of the population
engrosses nearly half of that income.

"No person or group of persons is
fit entirely to own and control the
means and instruments of production
on which millions of lives depend." To
utilize fully the abundance within our
grasp and to prevent the growth of evil
consequences, "the community must
first command the main levers which
control the economic machine."

Miss Bondfield's contribution was,
however, by no means limited to one of
protest and indictment. Short, vivid,
direct, she is a veritable modern coun-
terpart of the "encyclopedias in boots"
of our pioneering epochs. At her finger
tips, both as a labor leader and as a
public administrator, were all the op-
erations of the social insurances in

which England anticipated our Amer-
ican development by a quarter of a
century. She shared her experience and
sagacity right and left; and at the same
time rose to our "youthful vitality, to a
self-confidence ready to take risks, which
believes in itself and which will carry
the United States through its difficult
years." Her present American stay, to
last throughout 1939, made her espe-
cially conscious of the "splendid
achievements of the TVA," the con-
servation of natural and human re-
sources alike through the CCC, the
PWA and the WPA. Her two-way
conclusion was:

"If we can graft on to our respective
countries those great outstanding qual-
ities which distinguish them; if we in
Britain could be a little more adventur-
ous in our industrial development and if
you will accept more of our political
pattern the merit system from our
civil service and better coordination of
government and administrative functions
what a glorious democracy we could
present to the world as a counter blast
to this plague of dictatorship." P. K.



to pay the bill for them. On the same program, George
Yarn:*, i-hairman of the Pacific Northwest Regional Plan-
ning Commission, said:

We must not look upon taxes as an evil thing, nor upon
government as an evil thing. We must recognize in govern-
ment our one great common cooperative in which we are all
engaged, to be used for the proper distribution of income and
to regulate buying power. It is your business and mine to find
the answers to the questions which our democratic govern-
ment must answer if it is to survive. . . .

John A. Kingsbury, administrative assistant of the WPA,
brought from Washington a paper by Aubrey C. Williams
on the federal employment and relief program. Mr. Wil-
liams traced the progress of the program in terms of the
FERA and the WPA and discussed the theory of "pump
priming" and the economic relations of the work program
and its place in the capitalistic system: "We have set the
r for further progress which will not be complete until
the government can guarantee the right to work the
right to a job if not in private employment, then in
government works for the people."


Unions in Social Work showed their growth and clarifica-
tion of purpose. Only one year after its first definite merg-
ing of identity with trade unions, there was no doubt of -the
direction chosen by this group which once christened itself

uely a> "social work's rank and file." Not only were
those within the movement and outside it repeatedly
urged to espouse the cause of organized labor, they were
exhorted to "love, honor and obey," and not to expect,
as professionals, to shine as leaders. At the opening session
of the committee, E. H. Eby, of the University of Wash-
ington, Frank C. Bancroft and E. L. Oliver discussed
the place of the professional in the organized labor move-
ment. Altogether, he (the professional) came off humbly,
his cue being to find out what he can offer the labor union
movement in return for the implementation and protec-
tion which it gives him. Mr. Oliver, for twenty years in
the labor movement, asserted in a temperate and well-
reasoned address that social workers are needed and wel-
comed by trade unions, but certainly not at present as
policy-making leaders.

The meetings of the Committee on the Social Treat-
ment of the Adult Offender, Edgar M. Gerlach, chair-
man, had been planned meticulously to effect an orderly
and logical approach to the subject. The plan, similar to
that followed in Indianapolis last year, called for the
presentation, at an opening session, of three basic papers
on the social treatment of the adult offender in law, in
medicine, in the social sciences. Six groups carried on dis-
cussion definitely discussion during succeeding days, all
coming together for a final summing up.

Richard A. Chappell, acting supervisor of the federal
probation -.\stem, pointed out in the opening presentation
that criminal statutes, predicated on the idea that punish-
ment should fit the offense rather than the offender, often
place unfortunate and sometimes incongruous restrictions
upon the application of constructive methods of treatment.

Dr. Samuel W. Hartwell, professor of psychiatry at the
University of Buffalo Medical School, suggested that there
are certain individuals, constituting "problem cases" from
the standpoint of disciplinary, educational, medical and
social work techniques, whose conduct can be understood
and treated only through analysis of the unconscious drives

Sanford Bates

Executive Director, Boys' Clubs of A merica. Inc.

Let us see to it:

That wherever it it possi-
ble successfully to cure
delinquency through pro-
bation that we attempt to do
so, and to this end we de-
mand that probation be dis-
associated from political

. . . That the prisons and
reformatories devote them-
selves not to the cause merely of carrying out the penalty
of the law but to the more important and difficult task of
refitting their inmates for the resumption of life on the

. . . That we recognize parole as the inevitable and protec-
tive sequence to every prison term and demand that it be
properly understood, supported and administered.

. . . That in all these efforts we command the services of
the most intelligent workers, that we pursue the scientific
method, and that our object be the long time protection of
our country rather than exacting a payment for wrongs done.

. . . That even as we resolutely set about to bring the
prisons of the country to higher standards we never fail to
look through and beyond the prison until we recognize crime
in all its ramifications as a social problem, as a problem that
cannot be solved by the government alone but only by the
participation of all character building agencies reinforced by
the intelligent and highly motivated and unified determina-
tion of our communities themselves.

which motivate their behavior: "Members of the medical
profession in the past have often erred either in declining
any responsibility for understanding and treating the crim-
inal, or, conversely, in insisting that they alone could
understand and treat him."

In a provocative paper at the opening session Saul D.
Alinsky, sociologist at the Institute for Juvenile Research,
Chicago, contended that researches into the causes and
treatment of criminality show that the bases of crime are
to be found not so much in individual abnormalities as in
the framework of social organization, and that the nature
and extent of criminality in fact reflects the character of
that social organization. It took courage for Mr. Alinsky
to tell this audience that: "The approach to crime as a
problem of the individual is an approach which is in com-
plete contradiction to accepted research findings."

The discussion groups concerned themselves with six
specific types of offenders: the alcoholic, the mentally defi-
cient, the drug addict, the prostitute, the psychopathic and
the habitual. The consensus of opinion seemed to be that
there is an amazing lack of understanding of these of-
fenders as individuals and of those factors which have pro-
duced them. With respect to treatment we in the twentieth
century are still punishing sick people, attempting to train
stupid people, and preaching to confirmed criminals. We

.11 I V 1938


maintain indecent housing and working conditions, deny
V>iith opportunities for wholesome recreation and then are
amazed and indignant at the tragic results.

Notwithstanding the rather pessimistic note heard in
many of these meetings it was clear in the final session that
participants had found it a wholesome experience to "let
down their hair" and admit how little they really know
about this troublesome person, the adult offender.

;<>ns of the section on public welfare administration,
David C. Adie, chairman, were full of meat and in gen-
eral eminently practical. Audiences, a combination of vis-
itors and young supervisors, were preponderantly western.
The sessions were healthy with discussion close in to the
problems of the day by day job. The voice of the trade
union enthusiast was occasionally raised.

In a discussion of professional and lay aspects of public
welfare administration, Charles F. Ernst presented an able
review of the task of the state administrator, concluding:

The job of the administrator of 1938 comes closest to that
of the architect. He tries to find out what the people want
and works out a satisfactory set of specifications which will
give them what they want within their ability to pay for it.
He designs, he plans, continually searches for more effective,
workable methods to produce satisfactory and lasting results
and finally, through and with an organization of qualified
artisans, he builds.

At the same session Pierce Atwater of the St. Paul
Community Chest charged social workers with wasting
much time in advocating lay boards for the purpose of
"keeping public welfare administration out of politics," but
of failing to recognize that "only through political action
were departments of public welfare created. . . . Our in-
terest lies in keeping political manipulation out of the field
of work."

Meetings on the job of the case work supervisor and the
visitor brought out distinguished papers by Josephine C.
Brown of the VVPA, and Martha Chickering of the Uni-
versity of California. Miss Brown outlined in detail and
with much insight the qualifications of a good supervisor,
and the difficulties he must face:

A few of his qualifications for this exacting job are physical
health, ability to handle pressure without confusion, emo-
tional adjustment, self-discipline, maturity of judgment and
freedom from prejudice. . . . He must see the people not
merely in terms of eligibility for specific forms of assistance,
but as possessors of an inherent right to share in the oppor-
tunities and benefits which are essential to our new concep-
tion of public welfare.

In discussing, What a Visitor in a Public Agency Should
Kmm . Mi-^ Chickering emphasized that the social worker
in a public agency must accept the disciplines of the pub-
lic service. He or she must know and accept the law,
must know community resources and seek to provide the
client with all necessary services, but must not try to

Online LibrarySurvey AssociatesSurvey midmonthly : journal of social work (Volume 74) → online text (page 62 of 109)