Max Shachtman


New G.P.U. Frame-Ups Exposed;
Purge Continues

(December 1937)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 20, 25 December 1937, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Stalinist frame-up system continues to work at top speed. With brutal and monotonous regularity the firing squad of the G.P.U. mows down all the real and potential opponents of the Stalinist regime, concentrating especially upon all those old Bolshevicks who are a living reminder of the Russian proletarian revolution of 1917.

The Assassination of Karakhan

Hardly a day passes without a new report in the press of a sensational execution of individuals and groups of persons by the all-powerful bureaucracy. Now comes the news of the assassination of Leo Karakhan – assassination, because no serious or informed person can lend the slightest credence to the charge that this old Bolshevik, who served the revolutionary movement and the revolution itself for decades, even in the horribly distorted form of working silently for Stalin, was guilty of having provided Fascism with Soviet government secrets.

With Karakhan, the G.P.U. murdered seven others, including Aveli Yenukidze, another old revolutionist whose whole life was given to the cause of the working class, framed up on the utterly unbelievable charge of counter-revolutionary activity in alliance with foreign imperialism in his native Georgia.

G.P.U. Ravages Abroad

But it is not only with citizens of the Soviet Union that the counter-revolutionary terror of Stalin concerns itself. The murder of Nin, Berneri and Durrutti in Spain, and the imprisonment in. G.P.U. private dungeons of hundreds of other revolutionists, is adequate proof of the worldwide activity of the frame-up gang. The hectic attempts made to involve militant revolutionists in Minneapolis on the frame-up charges of gangsterism and murder, in connection with the slaying of Patrick Corcoran, is proof that the labor movement of the United States is not exempt from the sphere of the G.P.U.’s devastations. And now comes the latest attempt to frame up the whole movement of the Fourth International in this country, and comrade Trotsky – in connection with the “disappearance” of the two visitors to the Soviet Union who travelled under the name of Robinson.

The statement of our organization on the Robinson case, appearing elsewhere in this issue, gives a clear enough view of what is involved in the new frame-up.

I wish to add only a few comments, some of which involve me directly.

Stalinists Distort Interview

Soon after the news of the Robinsons’ “disappearance” was published in the U.S. press, I gave an interview to the New York Daily News in which I expressed a hypothetical opinion on the case, none other being possible in view of the meager details. The Stalinist news-hacks in New York immediately wired a completely garbled version of my interview to Moscow.

A few days later, the capitalist press here reported that the Moscow Izvestia printed a story announcing that I had declared the Robinsons to be “innocent American citizens,” and implying that the “American Trotskyists” must therefore have had early and conspiratorial contact with the “suspicious” Robinsons.

The Izvestia story is a typical Stalinist lie, woven out of the whole cloth! We challenge the C.P. gutter-press to produce a single quotation from any newspaper interview with Shachtman or any of his comrades in which the phrase “innocent American citizens” appears. We did not say this because, like the Stalinist prostitutes, we believe the “Robinsons” to be guilty, on faith and in advance, but because we do not know who they are, where they come from, what they are charged with and whether or not they are guilty of the charge ..., at least, not yet.

Lie No. 2: the report that the “Robinsons” visited comrade Trotsky in Mexico before leaving for Moscow. We challenge the Stalinists to present an iota of evidence to prove their charge. We state categorically that this story, appearing first in the capitalist press, was deliberately disseminated among Moscow newspapermen by the Soviet officials at the very time when these same officials were denying that they had the slightest knowledge of the whereabouts of the “Robinsons” or that they had any charges against them. Let the Stalinist penmen dare deny that the story of the “visit to Trotsky” was deliberately and lyingly inspired by the Moscow authorities!

Case of Juliet Stuart Poyntz

And a word of advice to the Stalinist liars when they prepare their “denials’’: For your own sake, let them be a little better than your statement on the disappearance of Juliet Stuart Poyntz.

We do not know what happened to Juliet Poyntz, where she is and how she came to be there – if she is still alive. But we do know enough about the unscrupulousness of the G.P.U. and its record in the Soviet Union, in Spain and in France, to be fortified against any “surprises” that may yet develop in this case. For the time being, we need only say that the first statement issued by the C.P. was not only false, but suspiciously false – for it declared that Poyntz had severed her relations with the C.P. in 1928, which was promptly disproved in the press by facts and photographs demonstrating her party membership for years after that date. The second statement of the C.P. – that Poyntz was not a party member after 1934 – is also a lie, for we know that she. spoke in public as a C.P. representative as late as 1935.

There is no perfect murder, it is said. However, that may be, the Stalinists are certainly incapable of a perfect frame-up. These clumsy, police-minded bureaucrats trip up at every other step. Their most recent attempts are no exception. The brand of “Frame-Up” is still engraved, ineradicably, on their brazen foreheads.

Max Shachtman

Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 20 November 2014