Norm Bully Interview notes

Norm Bully  Aug 8, 1974

TAPE ONE
SIDE ONE

long-time local flint, family worked buick from 1907
Father french canadian socialist, active organizer knew Norman Thomas
HABITUS SOCIALISM  RETURN TO
active in dem party, delegate
al family catholic, except me, atheist
what I think dad thought
311
dad had 3rd grade education developed tuaght himself, became supervisor
helped open up new plants, developed skils on the job.
Dad had natural curiosity, great repsect for education, he taught himself, dug up info from others, asked questions
learnd to use metric system, micrometers, all the tools
good mechanic
dad set up garage, he just learned


437  drinking was base for organizing--in bars
475  ethnicity and bars
poles in the north
souherers on west side little missori we called it located on kersely and cort down by the river
role of church
polacks and frogs  no hostility
597
and wh had the plloacks, the humkies, and the wops
ind geography
WASPS
asnyone not catholic was a foregner
1050


on leadership
STATUS CONSCOUSNESS OF PROTESTANTS VS. RICH-POOR OF E. EUR CATHOLIC PEASANTS 1145
they had a broader understadnig of social issues slave and master
"You didn't see a Syrian who was jealous of another syrian because he had a better car, or had a newer house . . .   but Engish and Scots
re. Communists 1236 supplied lieadership, knoew what they were doing, others were led (even NB)
----------------------------------------
PF: running down each of the plants in flint, social comp
NB: rundown of plants  1325
Fish 1 at south end of flint; buick at north
chevy & fish 2
transmission where i ws working at time
about 30 buick buildings
ethnic breakdown, comments on skilled
SIDE TWO
190   NIETZSCHE UBERMENSCH
ethnic stuff
1590
PF: may be a common outlook & culture tht informs their outlook
{pf on habitus}
NB: Fine just gives you facts, but you dont understnad what happened 1759
CP  1780  on John Anderson  Ganley  BILDUNG  REUTHERS, SILVER GOOD OLD SOCALIST BUDDY 1934 I was pres of young socialist club
ON SP 
1975


PF ON LEFT RIGHT SPLIT
CP & SP backed off from Trots, on hitler stalin pact
Trots were outsdiers, CP accepted during the war; after cp had to run

ON CP IN PLANTS  2325

NEVER HAD MORE THAN 30 CP MEMBERS IN BUICK
After war hungarians, etc. became american, anti commie, even if cp before
many of cp deserted labor movement, became supervisers
PF: 1943 Addes at convention Buick voted left--damn right

TAPE 2   DUPLICATE!!!!!  HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

TELEPHONE 12-3-75
SIDE ONE

buick out because of fishcer
most leaders were catholics geiger, ryan fitzgerald, McGill all catholic had common bond of being catholic.  they were the real active in the plant organizers.  this was city wide, close with other cathlic; whole group of catholic activists, 1936-7

most of em came about 35 36
most were ed geiger, assembly line; ohnny mcgill, soutern illl coal fields, auto driver drove cars off line; fitzgerall and ryan worked in crankshaft production machineoperators; swanson, hawk, milton came out of crankshaft dept, not all cathoic, but many were, all non-skilled guys. 
Had some skilled guys out of tool room
almost everything was non-skilled
there was a left wing presence, came from outisde the plant, were organiers who came in here, like Mortimer, genski . . .
most of the leadeship that came out of the shop wre anti-communist
184
they didnt realize it at the time because a lot of them didnt know what was going on at the time, they werent that sophisticated; they accepted all kinds of leadership, anything . .  as soon as they understood . . they wre anti everything, anti radical
they were pretty militant themselves
aquite a few socialists played a role in the plant; SP
none of top ranked leadeship were soclaist (geiger, ryan etc)
NB was committeemen
Kermit Johnson inside chevy 4, not as big a leader as his wife was
jimmy whidmark and bruce widmar, bobby o'dowd they were CP, tried to recruit Bully into CP
CP better orgaized than SP, latter not organized in the same manner.  nobody came in who was SP; they were already there. 
349


the CP sent people in, they came with the Genskis
Reuther came in same as Genski frm outside
SP werent tht closely organized and didnt wrk that closely together.  They wre a social miliue just like the catholics were
50 SP in Flint; Buick 15-20 good ones who were active
none from southern Ill; most were foreign born (mostly hungarian french canadian; hunarians real activde and dedicated but not leaders
They were solid rank and file, but they could mobilize the rest of the rank and file
500
5 or 6 SP local native american
SP not the organizers, sort of a backbone group, stiffened up things
SP were part of native american radical tradition, depression realted
SP became more active, never was a united identifiable, very loosely
not organized as well as the Masons.  Masons was oneof the best organized groups we ever had, and still is; usally they were with mangement, an obstacle to unionists
not too many CP in buick before 36-7; native americans didnt have the background, the schooling, the teaching, it ws just a belief, not leaders
no real leaders in Buick CP
O'Dowd and Widmark came into UAW as soon as labor started to organized, came in 34-36, 37
We had been messing around with organization from 1929 on . . . 1934 was aborted by AFL.  these guys were all moving in
guys coming in from the outside--probably 30 Communists--all of them were native american, none foreign born.  a lot were second generation.  A lot were scots irish, engihish, sweidish--several from CCNY
most of em had beter than average education, but only one or two had degrees.  Most of them had some eduation above high school, but not gotten degree.  they were never happy with their lot in life, to little and to much  785

I give them (CP) credit for most of the organzing  that was done--these colonizers---were instrumental in helping to build the union--hell uv a good job
They practically operated the union for the first year and a halftwo years.  They gae the leadership.  When we got our foot in the door and got some experence, we found out that we ran into some basic diffrerences in philosophy.  Still solidarity, then after a couple of years, we begin to kind of shove them out.  Most of the people in the plant didn't accept them once they became identified as commies, and people started backing away from them.
855
Then we already had the union organizede and we developed some of our own leaders
 . . . .
1414
on CP stalin-hitler pact; CP alienated most of their frends re war in europe
Bud Simons quit, went to work for UMW dist 50!!!   1533
CP alien force in Flint
PF: Simons, Moore & Devitt: Irene Marinovich  Ganley NY pol element in CP; Anderson and Irene deper roots in labor movement  PF on Irene vs. NY
Bud Simons, Johnson something like Irene
Trots strnger than CP--25 CP, 25 Trots
we had some trots in Buick
PF: compare trots and CP: everybody in plant lumped them together
at one time the commies gave us effective leadership, the trots were more distruptive, came in a little later.  by that time I was tryng to use one against the other, late thirtes eraly forties-jus about 40
SP unable to recruit new members
SP were there working
CP & Trots leaders and outsiders
some of the commies were home grown, auto ind people
Simons probly scotch irish or english; O'Dowd irish protestant
eng irish scots scand  home grown commies
trots more eastern europe and jewish young students


TELEPHONE 12-3-75
SIDE TWO

I REF IRWIN BAUER A LOT
re. Larry Jones (associated with trots) & Bill Genski
Bully: I didnt like the social order, etc.  Pretty defininte radicalism, everyone was unhapy and unsatisfied
We had a champion (FDR) it was not capitalism we were after, it was a voice, participate, wanted to be in have a voice
I remember FDR and Ma Perkins secy of labor--what a big deal that was for us.  Finally we had somebody inthe cabinet on our side.
PF: you mean Perkins?
NB: yeah
PF: gettng perkins in there really had an impact on the shop floor?
NB: it sure did, ma perkins ws ours, we thought.
160  more!!!
when they started attacking FDR
FDR was more than a man, he ws the whole damn thing.  he ws part and parcel of the whole indutrial revolution.  When you started criticizing him, boy you ran into trouble.
PF:
NB: I'll tell you what.  in the plant God was second, Roosevelt ws first. . .  god second, and then come John l lewis. then Homer Martin
 . . .
Anybody that attacked roosevelt really got in trouble.  thats where father coughlin got in trouble, thats were all these guys got in trouble

NB: ameican worker solidly for our typoe of govt, for capitalis. 

the thing that symbolized evel to us ws the stock market

tremendous feeling of accomplishment and hope
not until FDR got elcted was he thought of as champion
talks about impact of first 100 days
we didnt identifiy as uaw , but as cio (unclear)
rembmer john Dillon
talks about Paul Silver
Emil still has rep of being real rank and filer