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Daily Worker on Dobbs

(26 July 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 30, 26 July 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following is the Daily Worker comment on Dobbs’ radio speech, appearing in its July 13th issue:

Last week Farrell Dobbs was awarded 15 minutes of WCBS time to speak on Why Labor Needs Its Own Party. Dobbs is a Trotskyite and candidate for President on the Socialist Workers Party ticket.

His speech was an object lesson on how to disorient people from the major issues. After an introduction in which he characterized the two major parties as Tweedledum and Tweedledee – leading an unsuspecting audience to await a positive program – Dobbs got to the meat of his talk. This was an all-out attack on Wallace and the Third Party, an attack which made his comments on the Democrats and Republicans fade into the background.

The purpose of the attack on Wallace was clearly to split the coalition behind the New Party by characterizing Wallace as a “capitalist” and an “imperialist.” Then Dobbs made a direct bid to split away Negro support of the Third Party and direct it into the channels of phony “independent action.”

His call to people to “take the road of independent political action to establish a workers and farmers government,” was primarily a call to split and sabotage the New Party and deprive the people of their only weapon against Wall Street imperialism.

In the box above, we publish in full the Daily Worker attack on Farrell Dobbs’ radio speech, Why Labor Needs Its Own Party. The text of Dobbs’ speech appears in the next column. The Daily Worker’s bleats show Dobbs’ speech hit. the Stalinists where it hurts.

They don’t mind Wallace being attacked for what he isn’t – that is, a “red,” an “anti-imperialist,” etc. That’s the phony bill of goods the Stalinists have been trying to sell. But Dobbs exposes the real Wallace – the millionaire demagogue who is trying to build a third capitalist party to head off a genuine labor party. Dobbs exposes the fakery of Wallace’s “anti-war” program.

That’s what the Daily Worker calls “the meat” of Dobbs’ talk – and finds it tough chewing.

It’s especially tough because many sincere workers caught in the mesh of the Stalinist machine are beginning to raise questions about Wallace. Many of them who heard Dobbs’ talk undoubtedly think his characterization of Wallace as a capitalist and a defender of capitalism is 100% correct. Wallace himself has publicly boasted he is “the best defender of capitalism.” He has likewise publicly stated that once war comes, he will “naturally”’ support U.S. imperialism.

The present Stalinist leaders have been leaning heavily on radical phrases. They even manage now and then to pay their verbal respects to “socialism.” But many CP members and sympathizers are beginning to suspect that the “socialism” of the present Stalinist leaders goes no deeper than Browder’s, who was demonstratively expelled for his pro-capitalist “right deviations.”

They must surely ask what’s wrong, for instance, with Dobbs’ call to the people to “take the road of independent political action to establish a workers and farmers government?”

The Stalinist leaders are trying first of all to stifle internal complaints about the party’s opportunist course by the traditional methods of bureaucratic intimidation. That’s the real purpose of this hysterical – and self-exposing – outburst against Dobbs’ speech. It’s designed as a warning to anyone in the CP who criticizes the Wallace move that he will be tagged as a “Trotskyite” and kicked out of the Stalinist party.

There’s been a slew of such expulsions already.

It appears the “Trotskyite” virus is spreading. The July 11 Sunday Worker uses an entire page to exorcize this malady under the screaming headline: Fight Against Trotskyite Wreckers in the Pacific Northwest District.

It seems one such “wrecker,” who “agitated for so-called ‘freedom of criticism’ as a cover for disruption,” has already been expelled and this is a warning to others that the party is “capable of dealing” with all such elements. In fact, the article warns that the Stalinist leaders are well aware that:

“Some of the more recent developments demonstrate beyond question that there exists at the present time an organized attempt to penetrate and destroy the Party, headed by a clique of Troskyites.”

Yelling “Trotskyite,” however, doesn’t seem to be as effective as it once was. Because the Stalinist bureaucracy, is forced to defend itself programatically against the internal criticism.

Thus, in answer to the criticism that the CP is adapting itself completely to the pro-capitalist program of Wallace, the July 16 Daily Worker carries a lengthy article by Simon Gerson which claims that “in building this great new coalition (Wallace party) we Communists will do our share. Our Socialist outlook and firm conviction that only a Socialist reorganization of society can bring permanent peace, security and prosperity are no barriers to cooperation with persons of non-Socialist convictions in creating this great new alignment.”

The key sentence then follows: “We of course will freely advance our own fraternal criticism of policies within the great coalition.”

The July 17 N.Y. Times quoted this sentence in a story headlined: Communists Plan to Use Wallace – Gerson, State Leader, Sees Socialism as First Goal by Means of Third Party.

On July 19, the Daily Worker charged that the Times had “distorted” Gerson’s statement. Gerson is once more quoted, this time saying the Wallace party “is not by its very nature” a socialist or communist party “and we are not seeding to make it one.”

One word from the N.Y. Times and the CP’s “socialism” flew out the window. The Stalinists are mobilizing for Wallace’s avowedly pro-capitalist program, and not the other way around. And that’s just what Dobbs said in his speech. No wonder the Daily Worker raves. Nobody likes to be stripped bare in public.

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