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Albert Parker

Why the C.P. Attacks the ‘Double V’ Campaign

(4 April 1942)

From The Militant, Vol. 6 No. 14, , 4 April 1942, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Stalinist treachery is not confined to the trade unions alone – it extends into and seeks to disrupt progressive struggles everywhere. Just as they try to get the workers in the trade unions to give up the struggle for their rights, so do they try – in the name of their new-found patriotism – to soften down the struggle of the Negro people for equal rights.

The Pittsburgh Courier, a few weeks ago, began a campaign known as the “Double V”, which stands for “double victory for democracy at home and abroad.” Several other Negro newspapers and many Negro organizations have endorsed this campaign, saving that a victory in this war will not be adequate or satisfactory unless democracy is also victorious at home.

This is certainly far from a radical or anti-war slogan. As a matter of fact, for many people it is only a cover for unqualified support of the war.

But even so, the Stalinists are opposed to it – because it places the struggle against Jim Crow in this country on the same plane as the war against the Axis!

Last week, at a symposium on the Negro press in New York, Eugene Gordon, Negro writer for the Daily Worker, came out against the Double V slogan because “Hitler is the main enemy” and “the foes of Negro rights in this country should be considered as secondary.”

The other Negro newspapermen present – who also support the war – sharply disagreed with Gordon’s position on this question, The reason for this is not that they are more radical than the Stalinists, but that they are more dependent on Negro rank-and-file sentiment than the Stalinists are.

They know how hard it would be to fry to sell the Negroes a paper, claiming to represent their interests, which told them that their struggle for equality is “secondary.” They know how the Negro people would repudiate a paper that tried to convince them that Hitler is their main enemy when they can still feel on their backs the oppression of the American Jim Crow ruling class.

The Stalinists, on the other hand, don’t care a hang about the interests or aspirations of the Negro masses – they are in no way dependent on them. Their policies are decided for them not by what the masses want or need, but by what the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union wants or needs. Stalin has told them to support the war and to crack down on any movement or group that conducts a struggle which might interfere with the bosses in their conduct of the war. That is why they now have the impudence to lecture to the Negro people that their struggle for equality is “secondary” – a sight which must indeed gladden the hearts of the poll taxers, lynchers and advocates of “white supremacy!”

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