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The Militant, 31 January 1942

Stalinists Open Up a New Slander
Campaign Against the Trotskyists

Their Own Statements Refute Their Latest Lies
About Minneapolis Trial

From The Militant, Vol. 6 No. 5, 31 January 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In recent weeks the Stalinists have opened up a campaign of slander against the Trotskyists, denouncing them as “fifth columnists” and “agents of Hitler.” These latest denunciations are part of the Stalinist drive to use the war, and the hysteria created in such a period of reaction, for the purpose of suppressing all working class opposition to Stalinist policies.

On Jan. 18, the Sunday Worker printed a story from Mexico, telling of the opening of a new drive by the Stalinists against Trotskyists and other non-Stalinist groups and figures in the labor movement there. Acting as the front for this lynch campaign are a small group of Mexican deputies, headed by the Stalinist, Carlos Zapata Vela.

Grandizo Munis, the only actual Trotskyist named by the Mexican Stalinists, was General Secretary of the Spanish Trotskyist movement, was arrested by the SIM (Spanish branch of the GPU) during the Spanish Civil War and held in prison for more than a year while the SIM tried unsuccessfully to obtain a false confession from him. Munis has answered in the Mexican daily, El Universal, the slanders of the Stalinists. We reprint Munis’ article below, and have nothing to add to its able analysis, of the current GPU campaign.

Comrade Munis, showing how the GPU prepares the ideological groundwork for its murderous work, cites a case of an obvious GPU agent, “John Willes”, who stated in a Washington dispatch to the Mexican daily, Excelsior: “The celebrated trial in Minneapolis against the leaders of the false Socialist Workers Party brought out the intimate connection that existed between them, headed by the successors of Leon Trotsky and earlier by the latter himself, and the agents of the German Gestapo.”

Disproved by Indictment and the Court Record

Every honest person who knows anything about the federal prosecution of the members of the Socialist Workers Party and Local 644-CIO in Minneapolis, knows that “Willes’ ” statement is a lie. Not even the Daily Worker in this country has yet dared to make such an allegation, which is disproved by the records of the trial, which show that the Trotskyists were prosecuted solely because of their adherence to revolutionary Marxism.

But while the Stalinists in this country have not dared to make statements in their press like those of the Mexican Stalinists, there have been increasing reports in recent weeks of similar oral statements made by Stalinists on the floor of trade unions when representatives of the Civil Rights Defense Committee have appeared to ask the unions for their moral and financial support for the Minneapolis defendants.

One need only produce the official statements of the Stalinists in the Daily Worker before and after the trial to refute the lies which Stalinists are uttering at these union meetings.

After the indictment of the Trotskyists in Minneapolis, the Daily Worker (Aug. 16, 1941), examining the text of the indictment, complained because the Trotskyists were being prosecuted not as fascist agents, but as revolutionists:

Out of Their Own Mouths

“Were the indictment one which charged the discredited band of Trotskyites with the actual offenses committed and plotted against the American people, the entire labor movement and all liberty-loving Americans could not but unreservedly support it. But this is not the nature of the government indictment of the Trotskyites ...

“... the Trotskyites are not being prosecuted for what they really are — agents of fascism, but instead as so-called ‘revolutionaries’ ...”

And after the trial, the Daily Worker (Dec. 19, 1941), reviewing the government’s case, was still making the same complaint.

“Their fifth column service to Hitlerism through spreading disunity in labor’s ranks, trying to undermine and weaken the all-out defense effort, and viciously inciting against the Soviet Union received little attention (from the prosecutors at the trial). Instead, the ‘radical’ mask under which all this was carried on was taken at face value by the prosecution, and the Trotskyite pretense of being a militant working class organization was used to obtain the first conviction under the reactionary Smith Act ...”

In a word, the Stalinists wanted the Minneapolis trial conducted as a Moscow trial and bitterly complained because the government insisted on prosecuting the Trotskyists as revolutionists. But now, in attempting to prevent the mobilization of the labor movement for an appeal to higher courts of the convictions in the trial, the Stalinists are pretending that the government gave them the Moscow trial they had vainly sought!

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