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Gertrude Shaw

A Stalinist House Organ in Disguise

Gathering the Facts About In Fact

(8 November 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 45, 8 November 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Communist Party, playing Joe Stalin’s politics in this country, has many ways of putting over its line.

The method of operating through “front” organizations is pretty well known to American labor.

However, it is not so widely understood that the Stalin-liners work hard at molding public opinion through “front” newspapers, magazines and pamphlets seemingly published by non-party people.

The fact is that the Daily Worker, the New Masses, the Morning Freiheit and the other openly Communist Party publications are but a small fraction of its total output. Scores of English and foreign-language publications “front” for the Communist Party.

A case in point is the four-page letterhead-size weekly calling itself In Fact. And to show how much it thinks of itself, it adds: “An Antidote for Falsehood in the Daily Press.” This sheet is – beyond the shadow of a doubt – a Stalinist wolf in sheep’s skin.

Who Edits In Fact

In the first place, its editor, George Seldes, has been a fellow-traveler since 1936. The why and wherefore of his sudden conversion from an enemy of everything Russian to a supporter of everything Stalinist are not clear. But the fact is indisputable.

Seldes was chairman of the Stalinist Citizens Defense Committee. He supported the American Peace Mobilization, which “fronted” for the Communist Party in the days when the Stalin line was to lighten Hitler’s burdens by keeping America out of the war. Frederick Woltman writes of Seldes in the November issue of the American Mercury: “As a matter of course, his name was prominent in every party-line document whitewashing the Moscow blood purges.”

This is the “unbiased” editor of In Fact. His associate editor is Bruce Minton, editor of the New Masses and a dyed-in-the-wool CPite.

Under Seldes, In Fact has been able to reach 100,000 readers. About these readers, Mr. Woltman writes:

“It is read not only by those who like to be referred to as intellectuals, liberals and progressives, but by many well-heeled conservatives. Many thousands of other Americans get slants and alleged facts indirectly, by word of mouth, through In Fact readers. All these people apparently think they are getting fresh ideas and inside information not to be had elsewhere. Most of them would be astonished, even horrified, to learn that they are getting substantially the same ideas and the same ‘facts’ available at any given period in the Daily Worker and the New Masses, frequently couched in the same familiar party-line phrases.”

But not only the above enumerated people fall for the disguise worn by In Fact. Needless to say, the Stalinist-controlled unions boost this camouflaged sheet. For instance, Curran’s International Longshoremen’s & Warehousemen’s Union passed a convention resolution that “All locals of the ILWU are urged to take advantage of club subscriptions offered by In Fact.” Other unions are also roped in.

At this year’s convention of the United Maritime & Shipbuilding Workers Union a resolution was sneaked in by the Communist Party faithfuls by which the whole convention went on record as recommending to all locals that they subscribe to this Stalinist sheet. The delegates, who had just thrown one of the Executive Committee members out of his high post for being a member of the Communist Party, unanimously and without discussion decided to boost a Communist sheet. Apparently the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing!

There is an infallible test of the Stalinist line: What was the attitude toward the war BEFORE June 22, 1941, and what is it SINCE that day when Hitler so violently ended the honeymoon period of the Stalin-Hitler pact?

In Fact Then and Now

During the period when Stalin was on Hitler’s side, In Fact smeared its pages against the “imperialist war,” went in for exposing “war-mongers,” lashed “British imperialism,” wrote of conscription as “one of the symptoms of fascism.”

This was not principled opposition to war based on the interests of the working class. It was simply rooting for Stalin’s team. For the exact opposite line was taken by In Fact after Hitler got off Stalin’s team.

Today in In Fact, Roosevelt is a democratic demi-god. During the Hitler-Stalin pact period, In Fact flayed the President’s “campaign to abridge democracy at home, his wish to force dollar imperialism down the throats of hemisphere nations.”

Today In Fact cannot find words bad enough to describe the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News and the other isolationist papers. But before June 22, 1941, these same papers were patted on the back by In Fact for being “anti-war” and “critical of British policy.”

These days anybody who comes out for the second front that Stalin is demanding immediately becomes In Fact’s kindred spirit, regardless of past relationships. Thus when Wendell Willkie returned from his global jaunt with second front ideas, In Fact regarded him as a right guy. Its readers are supposed not to know that before that pivotal day when Hitler parted company with Stalin In Fact considered Willkie “the closest thing to a native American fascist,” because he was trying to speed up America’s entry into the war.

Since it was launched in May, 1940 – in order to take on a pro-labor coloration – In Fact has been agin’ Wall Street and big business. It has always made much of so-called “exclusive” exposures of this or that big business scheme. But there is a difference.

During the Stalin-Hitler alliance period, In Fact shouted at Wall Street for wanting to push the country into the war. Today it howls because big business doesn’t push the war effort hard enough.

During the Stalin-Hitler alliance when Nazism was only a matter of taste in Stalinist policies – In Fact sported one labor policy; now it has another.

Then it oh-so-bravely refused to be “panicked into support of wage cuts, strike-breaking and abandonment of the Bill of Rights under the guise of a war for freedom and democracy.”

But today there is nothing In Fact likes better than the no-strike pledge. Taking away the very essence of labor’s Bill of Rights is democratic in In Fact when it is for the other party-liners. In Fact is among those Stalinist stalwarts who make little distinction between John L. Lewis, union head of the striking coal miners, and Fulton Lewis, Jr., radio spokesman for big business.

Obviously In Fact has changed its war line in the same unprincipled way as the Daily Worker, the New Masses and the whole kit and caboodle of the Communist Party – by order of the dictator in the Kremlin. Like the whole CP outfit, In Fact too hopes that this chameleon stunt – which brands it for what it is – has been forgotten, and that it can wedge itself into the labor movement to spread there the poison of Stalinism.

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