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The Initial Fruits of
the New Stalinist Turn

To Aid Wall Street’s War, Overnight the C.P.
Abandons Fight for Labor and Negro

(July 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 27, 5 July 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A “before and after” summary of the concrete slogans and activities of the Communist Party, as revealed in the Daily Worker for the week immediately preceding the Nazi assault upon the Soviet Union, and the week after, bold-faces the extent of the latest Stalinist betrayal of the class struggle.

The Stalinists have surrendered the fight on every battleground – on workers’ rights, on Negro rights, and. against the “imperialist program of war-time suppression and economic degradation.”

On June 17, William Z. Foster wrote a front-page editorial in the Daily Worker stating:

“... When President Roosevelt sent Federal troops against the aviation workers and broke their strike, it was a taste of the Hitleristic terrorism that Wall Street capitalists have in mind for the working class. These war-mongering imperialists, who dominate the Roosevelt Administration, are determined to compel the workers to accept lowered standards of living and restricted civil liberties, as part of their bigger plans to force the unwilling American people into a ‘shooting’ war.

“Roosevelt’s use of troops at Inglewood was not an isolated act of impatience with these strikers, but a considered phase of a developing anti-labor policy.”

What Foster Proposed aWeek Ago

What concrete conclusions did Foster draw from this absolutely correct analysis?

“Organized labor should draw the full political conclusions from Roosevelt’s use of troops against the Inglewood strikers. It should realize that an Administration which commits such a monstrous act is an enemy of the workers and cannot be supported by them ... Roosevelt’s whole line, dictated by Wall Street, is contrary to the most basic interests of the masses of the people.

“Labor therefore, on pain of disaster, needs to break its alliance with the Roosevelt administration, in the so-called ‘National Unity’. In its great new strength of more than 10,000,000 members, labor needs imperatively to begin an orientation toward independent political action, together with the farmers; against involvement in the imperialist war and in defense of the toilers’ economic standards and civil liberties ...”

What Budenz Said the Day Hitler Struck

On June 22, the day Hitler launched his attack on the Soviet Union, Louis Budenz, editor of the Daily Worker, explained the kind of political action the Communist Party advocated. Budenz declared:

“Thus, the warning of the Communist Party to labor – that the Roosevelt administration’s engaging in war abroad also entailed warring upon the workers at home – takes on flesh and blood. Its truth is visible in life before the eyes of the workers.

“What does such realization oblige labor to’ do? It makes it imperative that the workers strive more vigorously to take this country out of war. It makes it urgent that they recognize the Roosevelt administration as their enemy, bound in ‘national unity’ against them with the Bourbons and the Republican Party. It puts upon the immediate order of business for the workers, the inauguration of an anti-imperialist Farmer-Labor political party.”

The Daily Worker, June 18, four days before Hitler began his war on the Soviet Union, proclaimed editorially:

“The events of the past week – ‘labor’s blackest week’ – should serve to make more evident than ever the need for a new party of labor and the people ... What is needed is leadership and the organizational work which can weld these masses together in an anti-imperialist Labor-Farmer political party.”

On June 16, six days before the outbreak of the Soviet-Nazi war, the Daily Worker reported that the Stalinist-led left-wing of the New York American Labor Party was calling a city-wide convention to be held June 27–28 to consider “the most effective means in the September 16 primary of advancing the party’s program, to promote the election of the most progressive, efficient and honest anti-war administration possible for the people of New York City.”

What They’ve Abandoned Since June 23rd

On June 30, the Daily Worker, in a tiny and obscure item announced the postponement of the ALP convention to July 10. No mention was made of anti-war candidates.

The Daily Worker, since June 23, the day after Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, has not only discontinued all references to an “anti-imperialist” Labor-Farmer Party – it has ceased calling for “independent labor political” action” altogether.

The entire week preceding the beginning of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union, the Daily Worker was flooded with stories and union resolutions in denunciation of Roosevelt’s strike-breaking use of federal troops and the administration’s strike-breaking legislation and edicts.

The Daily Worker, June 21, featured a call by the “National Labor Committee against War, an American Peace Mobilization affiliate” asking all organized labor “to observe the week of July 27 to August 2 as ‘National Peace and Labor’s Rights Week’.” Since June 23, the “National Peace and Labor’s Rights Week” has disappeared completely from the Daily Worker, as have the “National Labor Committee Against War,” the “American Peace Mobilization,” and the resolutions and articles announcing Roosevelt’s strikebreaking.

On June 18, four days prior to the Soviet-Nazi war, the Daily Worker wrote in connection with the bulletin of Labor’s Non-Partisan League which attacked the anti-labor acts of Rooseveltt

“The acts which the LNPL castigates arise directly from the entire war drive of the administration. They are bound up integrally with that war drive, as the Daily Worker has repeatedly stated ...

“The anti-labor barrage of the administration, moreover, is ... a product of the ‘national unity’ which has welded together all the Wall Street monopolists in one common pro-war and anti-labor front ...”

And what action does the Daily Worker now propose against this anti-labor drive “bound up integrally with the war drive”?

Since June 23, the Daily Worker has not printed a word about all its campaigns, committees, projects, resolutions, etc., etc., to defeat Roosevelt’s anti-labor, strikebreaking war program.

What Stalinists Then Said on Fight for Negro Rights

One of the principal points of the Communist Party program two weeks ago was the fight.for Negro rights against discrimination in the war industries and the armed forces.

The Negro Job March on Washington, which had been planned for July 1, was criticised by the Stalinists, because they claimed the march did not have a militant-enough program.

The Daily Worker, June 16, featured an extensive article, which sharply denounced the leadership and motivation of the march on the following score:

“... (The March) is the supreme effort of America’s big shot businessmen to win the masses of the Negro people for the war program of the Administration ...

“Their supreme aim is to build up a nationalist movement among the Negro people, with Randolph as its leader, in an attempt to direct the healthy strivings of the Negro people for full equality, for full citizenship rights, into channels of support for the imperialist war ...

“But this march on Washington can become a real demonstration for the rights of the Negro people. To become that, the Negro people while giving support to the March, must make their demands known. They must first of all demand their right to live, a demand that cannot be realized by those who, with support of an imperialist war program, are consciously betraying the Negro masses. Therefore the Negro people must make their sentiments known. Opposition to the imperialist war! Demand that our country get out and stay out of the war! End Jim Crow in the ‘defense industries’ and armed forces!”

On June 22, the day Hitler started his march against the Soviet Union, the Daily Worker correctly denounced the Social-Democratic New Leader for placing the blame for Negro discrimination on “the American people.” The Daily Worker declared:

“This is a shameless whitewashing of the sinister anti-Negro capitalists who rule the country and want to plunge it into a shooting war ... Who issued the order officially up-holding jim-crowism in the armed forces, ‘the American people’ or President Roosevelt? Who continues to give contracts to ‘defense’ employers, who arrogantly refuse to employ Negroes, ‘the American people’ or President Roosevelt? Who refuses to enforce the constitutional rights of the Negro people, ‘the American people’ or President Roosevelt and the Department of Justice? To ask these questions is to answer them.”

On June 17, the Daily Worker declared:

“The President is the fountainhead of this discrimination and set the pattern himself ...

“... All of these and other vital rights of the Negro people and various minorities are being ruthlessly sacrificed by the President in the name of ‘defense’ ... The President spoke, therefore, not to end discrimination, which he could do, but to deceive the Negro people and their supporters into surrendering to the war program. Since this program is the root of the intensified violations of Negro rights, the fight against job discrimination necessitates opposition to every move of the President toward belligerency ...”

James W. Ford, the Communist Party’s “beloved leader” of the American Negroes, graced the front page of the June 17 Daily Worker with a solemn warning to the Negro masses:

“Backsliding on the part of the initiators of the March is in the making. With bitterness and fear Roosevelt and his agents are getting alarmed ... The Negro people must continue their fight against the whole jim-crow set-up. They must not allow any backsliding and turn-coating on the part of the initiators of the March to Washington.”

When Randolph did “backslide” and call off the march, one reason he could do so was that the Stalinists were now pro-Roosevelt. The Daily Worker, June 26, casually reported the fact in one paragraph in the middle of another story.

The Daily Worker and Ford have said not a word in criticism of this turn-coating. Since June 23, the Daily Worker has become dumb as a stone about the whole fight for Negro rights. Roosevelt has become a “defender” of the Soviet Union and is no longer, according to the Stalinists, the “fountainhead of this discrimination.”

Abandoning The Fight Against The Profiteers

Prior to June 22, the Daily Worker conducted an elaborate campaign against the high cost of living, the war tax program, and war profiteering.

On the high cost of living, the Daily Worker wrote, June 20:

“A well organized national fight against the high cost of living is in order, taken up by the trade unions and community organizations. But such a fight has to be, at the same time, a campaign to get this country out of the war. Let the trade unions tell the nation ‘to protect your living standards from high prices, you must battle against this war!’” (Emphasis in original)

On June 16, the Daily Worker said:

“Only the American people, and above all, the organized labor and progressive movement, united in militant struggle, can defeat the war and hunger plans of the Administration.”

Since June 23, the Daily Worker has carried one small article and one weak editorial on the question of food profiteering and high prices. Both appeared on June 27. Neither made a single reference to the war! The rising prices and profiteering, according to the new line of the Stalinists, grow out of a vacuum.

When the Daily Worker, just two weeks ago, was stating that the intensification of labor suppression, the increase in Negro discrimination, the higher prices and taxes were a direct product of Roosevelt’s imperialist war drive, and could be combated only by combatting that war drive, the Daily Worker spoke the truth.

Today, the Stalinists have dropped their opposition to the imperialist war drive and at the same time, naturally, have dropped their pretence of fighting for the rights of the workers and the oppressed minorities. Supporting the war drive, Stalinism must therefore support “the bitter consequences of the war drive.” (Daily Worker, June 16)

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