Andrzej Rudzienski Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Juan Rey

Whitewashing Nazis

Reply to SWP Apologetics for Bolivian Trotskyists

(November 1949)

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 49, 5 December 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Socialist Workers Party’s paper, The Militant, of October 31 has published a “refutation” signed by J. Gomez, of my articles on the mistaken and criminal political line of the POR (Revolutionary Workers Party), Bolivian section of the Fourth International. This article not only reveals an extreme ideological poverty but provides one more proof of the correctness of my criticism of the POR Trotskyists.

Undoubtedly Gomez was officially instructed by the POR to answer my “slanders,” and he not only admits the alliance between the POR and the MNR (Revolutionary Nationalist Movement) and defends the program of a “united front” proposed by the POR of itself, the MNR (Nazis) and the PIR (Stalinists); but also reveals the POR’s role as lackey to the MNR, affirming that this bastard of German Nazism and Argentine Peronism is not a Nazi party, but a typical South American “bourgeois-nationalist force.”

Whitewashing the MNR

Gomez writes: “The MNR is not a ‘Nazi’ party, as Rey claims, but a bourgeois-nationalistic force with roots in the trade unions, particularly in the Miners Federation, headed by Juan Lechin. In a semi-colonial country, a trade-union leader like Juan Lechin performs a much more progressive role than a Walter Reuther, before whom Labor Action grovels.”

Nothing confirms my criticism of the POR so much as this quoted admission. The “Revolutionary Nationalists” of the MNR, unlike the Peruvian APRA and the Venezuelan Dem-. ocratic Action, came (together with the Military Lodge “Radepa”) out of the German military school. Their teachers were Roehm, later “fuehrer” of Hitler’s stormtroopers, the Nazi ambassador in Bolivia, Wendler, the German general, Kunz, and finally Elias Belmonte, who learned Nazism in Berlin, etc. Of course the “Revolutionary Nationalists” do not represent a pure type of Nazi party like the Hitler party, since Bolivia lacks the substructure of capitalist monopolies, etc., but it is an offshoot, a Nazi “graft” in Bolivian soil, a native Nazism to a greater degree, perhaps, than Argentine Peronism.

Haya de la Torre’s APRA in Peru and Betancourt’s Democratic Action in Venezuela have different origins, having emerged from the degeneration of the workers’ movement which had previously been revolutionary in character, and they do not have any links with German Nazism. The “dictatorial elements,” common’ characteristics of these tendencies, invoked by Gomez, decide nothing. The Peronist government succeeded in carrying through its totalitarian coups against the Peruvian APRA and the Venezuelan Democratic Action, while the Nazi MNR was overthrown by a popular revolution led by the Stalinist PIR, in which the POR itself participated.

In power the Nazi MNR was the hangman of the Bolivian proletariat and introduced the official totalitarian monopoly of the trade-union organizations. Lechin Received the secretaryship of the miners’ union from the hands of the Villaroel government, like all the other totalitarian bureaucrats.

When the MNR was ousted from governmental power. Lechin knew how to turn the union (with the POR’s help) into an instrument of the MNR’s periodic revolts. And it was not the MNR which directly guided the unions but Lechin, counselled by the Trotskyist Lora, who transformed the workers’ strikes into powerful weapons at the service of the MNR and Peron.

Is Lechin A Reuther?

This criminal and adventurist policy led to a terrible defeat of the mining proletariat that ended in a massacre of the workers. And as if this were not quite enough,.the POR, called for a united front of the POR, the Nazi MNR and the Stalinist PIR for the “social revolution,” precisely in those days when the Nazi uprising occurred, militarily well organized and financed by Peron. Judge, readers of The Militant, whether this was a betrayal of the proletarian cause or not!

The Marxists and independent workers advised the mine workers to follow an independent socialist policy directed against the Nazi uprisings, against the Nazi-Stalinist alliance and against the mine union leadership as well, in order to free the trade unions from the Nazi-Stalinist dictatorship which led the proletariat to disaster and fomented the reaction. Events have confirmed this point of view.

Finally, on the subject of personalities: without .praising reformist leaders of the Reuther type, they owe their positions to. the support of the workers themselves and are not the creatures of a totalitarian government. Lechin was an infamous adventurer- of small stature and much cunning, a bureaucrat. Lora of the POR was his adviser and social “conscience,” and was indebted to him for his parliamentary seat. The alliance between Lora and Lechin was the key to the “alliance” between the MNR and POR, a typical South American phenomenon. In Bolivia, “personalities” play an enormous role.

The criticism directed against the POR is completely impersonal. It was not directed against personal enemies but against political opponents. It would have beep a crime to remain silent.

Lima, November 1949

Andrzej Rudzienski Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 10 December 2022