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Daily Worker’s Anti-Labor Expert Writes

Old Lies in a New Pamphlet

(March 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 10, 5 March 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Apparently alarmed at the independence and the slowly but surely awakening class-consciousness of the American workers, the Stalin School of Falsification has produced a new pamphlet to instruct its followers and confuse trade unionists. The pamphlet is The Trotskyist Fifth Column in the Labor Movement, written by the Daily Worker’s (Communist Party newspaper’s) labor expert, George Morris.

The pamphlet abounds in lies. But before we can discuss the lies it is necessary to disclose the reason for them, which is found in the policy of the Communist Party, American representative of the Stalinist slavocracy in Russia.

Pre-1939 Honeymoon

Prior to 1939, before the war broke out in the invasion of Poland by the Hitler-Stalin partnership, the Communist Party lived at peace with the ruling class in the United States and other democratic capitalist nations. Here, they supported Roosevelt and plumped for American-Russian friendship. Motivating this friendship for capitalist democracy was the hope that the U.S., as well as Britain and France, would line up with Russia against Hitler in the coming imperialist war.

The Allied powers were not prepared for war, however and this resulted in Hitler’s “peaceful” aggression in Europe and “Munichism,” i.e., compromise with Hitler. The “democratic” nations had hoped that Hitler would war against Russia, not them. Russia feared that the Allied powers, instead of fighting Hitler, would join sides with Germany and jointly assault Russia.

At this juncture came the Hitler-Stalin pact. The Communist Parties about-faced. Since Stalin was now allied with Hitler, everything that would lead the Washington-London-Paris axis into War against Stalin’s ally, Hitler, was opposed.

Anti-War Phase

Overnight, the Communist Party became anti-war. Wrote Earl Browder, Morris’ leader, in the Daily Worker of September 13, 1939:

“The character of this war in no principal respect can be said to differ from that of the late World War. This war has nothing to offer the masses of any participating country except death and destruction, further miseries and burdens.”

In a speech delivered at Philadelphia Town Hall, September 29, 1939, the same person said: “The Communist Party has issued as the slogan of the day: ‘Keep America Out of the Imperialist War!’”

This present-day defender of American capitalism went even further in a speech of May 3, 1940, in New York City when he said:

“The second imperialist war, through the struggle of the masses to bring it to an end will give birth to a socialist system in one or more other countries.”

Note: dates are especially important in Communist Party history. In May 1940, the Stalin-Hitler pact was still in effect.

Since Roosevelt represented the war-makers in the U.S., the “third term” became hateful to the Communists. They even spoke for a third party. Said Browder in the introduction, to his book, The Second Imperialist War (the title is instructive), written (the date corroborates the line) May 13, 1940:

“... and the popular will can find no channel of expression until it breaks out of bounds of the traditional parties, and founds that third party which is quickly destined, as the issues mature, to find its modern Lincoln and become the first party of the land.”

We cannot resist giving a lengthy quotation from the former Communist Party presidential candidate, William Z. Foster, since it illustrates so well the Communist position of a few years ago:

“The claim of the Allied governments that they arc fighting this war for democracy constitutes only so much propaganda to lure the masses of their peoples and ours into supporting the war. The Allied powers did not fight for democracy during the World War (despite their democratic slogans) and they are not fighting for democracy now. What they are doing, even as they did in the World War, is defending the sordid interests of British and French imperialism against their great enemy, German imperialism. It is not a war of rival ideologies, but of rival imperialisms. Therefore, the Soviet Union is correct in supporting neither camp of the warring imperialists.

“If the British-French-American imperialists were to win this war, their course as the victors would be even more reactionary than it was after the World War. They would head for fascism, adapted to their various countries. This is because the capitalist system, already deeply decayed by its general crisis, will receive such a shattering blow from this war that the only way it can be held together even temporarily in the face of the rebellious masses will be through fascist terrorism.

“What will create a democratic Europe and a free world is not a victory of British and French (and American) imperialism, but the victory of the great world democratic masses of the people over all the imperialists.”

This sounds like a radical party, indeed!

This was no simple American deviation, either. (Anyone who deviates from the Communist Party line is “liquidated.” Liquidation means expulsion from the party or physical extermination.) Listen to Georgi Dimitrov, general secretary of the Communist International. The date is October 1939:

“For the working class there is only one true stand – irreconcilable, courageous struggle against the imperialist war, struggle against the culprits and vehicles of this war primarily in their own country, struggle to end this predatory war. This is the most just of causes, one dictated by the fundamental interests of the proletariat and all working people.” (Emphasis in original)

1941 Flip-Flop

Then in August 1941 Hitler attacked Russia. The Communist Party somersaulted. The war was no longer an “imperialist war” on the side of the Allies – not with Russia in the alliance. It became a sacred war for democracy. The Communist Party became the most vigorous defender of the no-strike pledge, labor-management peace, buying of war bonds, etc.

That is why the Communists attack not only Trotskyists, who have considered the war imperialist all the way through, but any militant, who defends the rights of the union against these patriots-come-lately.

That is why the Communists, publish the piece of filth, lies and slander titled The Trotskyite Fifth Column in the Labor Movement.

Let’s list the lies in fact first:

Trotskyists and Fascists

LIE No. 1 – “Among them [friends of the Trotskyists – Ed.] are the Norman Thomas Socialists, whose position is hardly, distinguishable from the Trotskyite; John L. Lewis’ agents, Coughlinites and Klan groups, all known; for their policy of sabotage of the war effort.”

First, we have always repudiated the Norman Thomas Socialists for their milk-and-water socialism, and, above all, for their backhanded support of the imperialist war.

Second, while we support the militant struggles Lewis has made in behalf of the miners in contrast to the cringing policies of the CIO and AFL leadership, we lambaste the bureaucratic way he runs his union, his own pro-war stand and his support of Republican capitalist politics as opposed to the Democratic capitalist politics of the Communists.

Third, the attempt to associate us with Coughlinites and fascist elements is an old Communist lie, written by journalistic prostitutes.

Trotskyists and Militants

LIE No. 2 – “A sample of Trotskyist provocation was the shutdown of the Johnsville, Pa., plant of the Brewster Aeronautical Corp. for a week ... The Trotskyites in the leadership of the union, Local 365, UAW, felt that a U.S. Navy oath thereby superseded union discipline and called out the 6,000 workers on strike against the Navy.”

Local 365 was led by militants opposed to the no-strike pledge, not Trotskyists. The Communists here identify in customary fashion all opposition to them as either “Trotskyite,” “fascist” or “Trotskyite-fascist.”

LIE No. 3 – “Or take the case of the Detroit ‘soda pop’ war. The dispute originated when a Trotskyite in charge of the Detroit affiliate of Samuel Wolchok’s Retail and Wholesale Union provocatively entered the field of the AFL’s Brotherhood of Teamsters with a claim of jurisdiction over a couple hundred Pepsi-Cola deliveries. Other Trotskyites at the head of a UAW local in the Highland Party, Chrysler plant, came to the aid of their associates in the retail union by bodily ejecting AFL soda pop deliverers from the plant ... From there the Trotskyites, in alliance with the Socialists, rushed to other plants to develop more shutdowns:” Etc., etc.

False again. The same technique is used here as in Lie No. 2, identifying union militants with Trotskyists.

LIE No. 4 – “The perfect team is where an employer is of the most rabid reactionary stripe, like the America Firster, Sewell Avery, head of Montgomery Ward; while the union is under Trotskyite control, as proved to be the case in the well-known Montgomery Ward dispute in Chicago. In such a case the employer and union officials have far more in common than in dispute.”

The union is not under Trotskyist control. And let George Morris try to tell the Montgomery Ward strikers, as well as their allies among the auto workers that they “have far more in common than in dispute” with Sewell Avery! Morris, of course, “forgot” to mention that Bridges, the Communist trade unionists, the Communist Political Association and the Daily Worker scabbed on the Ward workers!

Briggs Local 212

LIE No. 5 – “Briggs Manufacturing, Local 212, Detroit, has been one of their [Trotskyists’ – Ed.] outlets for a long time. Hardly a week passed without several strikes at that vital war plant. The delegates of this local were the very center of the so-called ‘rank and file’ combination at the 1944 Grand Rapids convention of the UAW, where they worked to kill the no-strike pledge.”

Here the Communists join the industrialists and manufacturers who are carrying on a campaign against the militant Briggs Local – which is not, however, an “outlet for Trotskyites.” What few Trotskyists there were at the UAW convention joined with the heroic, progressive minority to defeat the pro-employer no-strike pledge. True. But it was the uncorrupted (by Communists or bosses) rank and file which pushed through a referendum vote on the no-strike pledge.

“Union Wrecking”

LIE No. 6 – “At the Federal Shipbuilding Corp. yards, Kearny and Port Newark, N.J., a large union was whittled down to a membership of 5,000 under their control. Several months after they were cleaned out, the union grew to be the largest affiliate of the IUMSWA, with more than 20,000 members.”

This is pure, unadulterated falsification, from beginning to end.

“Nazi Agents”

Then a whole series of lies, distortions, half-truths and falsifications is strewn throughout Morris’ pamphlet. Many of these allege that Trotsky and his followers in Russia collaborated with Nazi Germany and Japan against Russia. The American Communists follow here in the footsteps of Stalin. Stalin staged phony “Confession” trials in Russia and executed all his opponents, Trotskyist and otherwise. American and French commissions of inquiry examined Trotsky and found him unqualifiedly innocent of Stalin’s frame-up charges. But a henchman of Stalin, a member of the Russian secret police, finally murdered Trotsky, as his fellow-socialists had been murdered by other agents of Stalin in many countries.

Stalin got rid of Trotsky, as he did all revolutionary opponents, because Trotsky and the others still stood for world socialism, for the cause of the workers, without subordinating that cause to the aims of Russia.

The Communists oppose the Trotskyists and all militants in the labor movement today because the latter stand foursquare for the rights of labor, as opposed to collaboration with the bosses for the benefit of Russia.

Reason for the Lies

To genuine socialists and communists, the war is still an, imperialist war – a war for the redivision of the world and not for “democracy” – and it hasn’t changed just because Russia is on “our” side.

To genuine socialists and communists, the only war worth fighting is still on behalf of the toilers and exploited of mankind – in the labor movements of every country, against all the capitalists and fascists and exploiters, Russian, German, British, American.

Morris’ pamphlet was written to push back the rising tide of militancy in the labor movement. The fear of death was thrown into the Communists by the decision to take a referendum by the UAW convention. They would rather foist upon the labor movement a permanent no-strike pledge such as proposed by their west coast spokesman, Harry Bridges.

The Communists are the main danger in the labor movement today. They\subordinate every interest of labor to the interests of so-called “national unity,” because this nation is in the same camp with Russia. They therefore try to identify all militants with Trotskyism, and the latter with fascism.

Trotskyism, however, means a clean-cut fight for labor’s interests, no compromise with the bosses, no support to the capitalist political parties, democratic trade union practices, and the perspective of socialism. No amount of lies can crush this truth.

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