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Joseph Keller

Behind the Stalinist Campaign of Slander

(17 March 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 11, 17 March 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Earl Browder’s strikebreaking Communist (Stalinist) Political Association recently published a pamphlet entitled the Trotskyite 5th Column in the Labor Movement, written by the Daily Worker’s specialist in anti-Trotskyist red-baiting. George Morris. It is being distributed wholesale, especially in Minnesota where the Trotskyists won great renown as the organizers and leaders of the famous Northwest drivers movement.

This latest anti-Trotskyist stink-bomb, as its title indicates, compiles all the lies and slanders previously peddled against the Trotskyists and the militant labor movement generally, with some new poison-pen inventions for good measure.

Why have the Stalinists issued this pamphlet and intensified their ferocious slander campaign at this time?

Stalinist Motives

The Stalinists have sold their services to American Big Business, its government and chief political agent Roosevelt, as part payment for the diplomatic and military accord between American imperialism and the Kremlin bureaucracy. They are frantically endeavoring to convince Wall Street that they can be its most reliable' tools within the labor movement.

This traitor’s chore has become increasingly difficult because the worker’s resentment against the imperialist war and its consequences, particularly the antilabor policies of the Roosevelt administration, grows fiercer each day.

With the growth of this resentment, the ideas and program of the Socialist Workers Party appear more clearly as the only answer to the workers’ problems. For the Trotskyists represent the only serious political opposition within the working class to the labor-hating capitalists, their government and imperialist war program.

The Trotskyist prestige, moreover, has been tremendously enhanced as a consequence of the Minneapolis Labor Case frame-up in which Roosevelt railroaded to prison 18 leaders and outstanding trade unionists of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party who refused to surrender their socialist principles or to suspend their fight in defense of the workers’ interests.

Attack All Militants

Now that the Trotskyist leaders have been released from prison, the Stalinists are more than ever alarmed and fearful. They are hysterically attempting to counteract the growing influence of the ideas and program of Trotskyism and the widespread working-class admiration for the courageous stand of the Trotskyists. This has been especially evidenced by the support given the imprisoned Trotskyists by over 600 labor unions, representing more than 4,500,000 workers.

Morris even has the audacity to present as his chief witness against the Trotskyists the AFL Teamsters Czar, Daniel J. Tobin, who inspired the frameup of the 18 Trotskyist leaders. Tobin last week further distinguished himself as the only high union official to openly advocate continuation and enforcement of Roosevelt’s wage-freezing Little Steel formula.

The Stalinist attack is directed not only against the Trotskyists as the most conscious vanguard of the working class, but at every militant endeavor of the workers to better their conditions and defend themselves against the union-busting offensive of the corporations.

This is shown by the pamphlet’s emphasis on the particular aspects of the Trotskyist program which coincide with the militant sentiments of increasing numbers of American workers. The Trotskyists, Morris complains, want to “smash the no-strike pledge,” “sneer at joint labor-management committees as ‘speed-up’ instruments,” condemn the War Labor Board. They “shout loudly that management and labor cannot possibly have joint interests” and are “guided by a conviction that a new and sharp depression will follow the end of hostilities.” And – imagine! – the Trotskyists are even the leading proponents of an independent labor party. It is these ideas, ideas to which millions of the best unionists are becoming sympathetic, which Morris tries to smear as “fascist.”

Unholy Alliance

But the agents of Stalin are seeking to bridle not only the American workers. They are also aiding the Anglo-American imperialists to suppress the war- weary masses of Europe who are beginning to rise in revolutionary wrath against the capitalist war-makers and their system of exploitation. Today, in any country where the workers engage in independent struggle against their oppressive overlords, capitalist reaction labels them as “Trotskyites” and foully slanders the revolutionary workers who are the chief victims of fascism, as “agents of Hitler.”

Thus, the most appropriate name Churchill could think of for the Greek workers whom the Allied troops had massacred was “Trotskyites.” He claimed they were “worse than the Nazis.”

Churchill joins the chorus of the Stalinists who perfected this technique in the Moscow trials. These frameups were organized by Stalin’s secret police, the GPU, to discredit and falsify the real ideas of Bolshevism and to smear the genuine Marxist revolutionists as “Hitler agents.”

This latest scurrilous Stalinist pamphlet is therefore part of a worldwide campaign by the Allied imperialists and Stalin against the developing working- class upsurge and the predestined Trotskyist leadership of this revolutionary struggle.

To this end Morris spreads the infamous lie that the “Trotskyite Fourth International is shaping into a Nazi instrument.” To mention no other fact, this malicious invention is shattered by the report from France, published only last week in The Militant, which lists the names, dates and places of the imprisonment and executions of hundreds of Trotskyist fighters – French, German, Greek, Belgian – at the hands of the murderous Nazis.

Morris concludes with the threat that anyone associating with Trotskyists will be accused of “consorting with the enemy.” But workers who know the score are not likely to be fooled or intimidated by such threats or slanders. For they can see with their own eyes that it is the Stalinists who today join with the profiteering capitalists, the real enemies of labor, in every attack on the workers. The Stalinists advocate the permanent no-strike pledge. They support Roosevelt’s slave labor demand. The workers are fast learning that the Stalinists themselves are the most cunning and sinister agents of Wall Street within the labor movement.

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