James P. Cannon

SWP Demands Stalin
Release Political Prisoners

(July 1941)

Published: The Militant, Vol. V No. 27, 5 July 1941, p. 1.
Source: PDF supplied by the Riazanov Library Project.
Transcription/Mark-up: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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The release of all the Trotskyist and other pro-Soviet political prisoners, so that they may be able to take their rightful place in the front ranks of the defenders of the Soviet Union, was demanded of Stalin by the Socialist Workers Party, in a telegram sent Tuesday.

Addressed to Constantine Oumansky, Soviet Ambassador at Washington, the telegram asked him to convey the following message to Premier Joseph Stalin:

Trotskyists all over the world, now as always, are solidly for the defense of the Soviet Union. In this hour of grave danger to the achievements of the October revolution, we demand that you release all Trotskyist and other pro-Soviet political prisoners who are now in jails and in concentration camps, to enable them to take their proper place in the front ranks of the defenders of the Soviet Union. Your crushing of workers’ democracy has increased the terrible danger to the Soviet Union. We demand the revival of Soviet democracy as the first step in strengthening the struggle against German Nazi imperialism and the capitalist world.


James P. Cannon,
National Secretary,
Socialist Workers Party

Among the political prisoners in Stalin’s concentration camps are thousands of Red Army officers trained by Marshal Tukhachevsky (shot in 1937), who ably reorganized the Red Army on Blitzkrieg lines.

The best of the Bolsheviks are dead, murdered by Stalin. The most supreme tragedy of all for the Soviet Union is that Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army, was murdered on August 20, 1940, by Stalin’s GPU. The rest of Lenin’s Political Committee was destroyed by Stalin in the Moscow Trials.

But those political victims who survived and who are now in concentration camps and jails are available and willing to defend the Soviet Union. They must be released! Every worker should raise his voice to demand that these, the best defenders of the Soviet Union, be permitted to take their place in the front ranks.

Last updated on 22 May 2016