Written: July 1941
Source: Workers’ International News, vol. 4 no. 8 (August 1941)
Transcription: Emil, December 2007
Markup/Proofread: Harry, 2007
We print below the correspondence between ourselves and the Daily Herald arising from a report which appeared in the issue of July 16th on the arrest of our American comrades. In the past it has been the prerogative of the Stalinists to slander and vilify the internationalist wing of the labour movement by amalgams and frame-ups. Now we see the defenders of ‘democracy’, who held up their hands in horror at the methods of Stalin in the Moscow trials, descending to the same level. The refusal to publish our refutation, even accepting that this report was ‘included accidentally’, shows what will be the position of the internationalists in the coming period. It is the duty of all Labour Party members, socialists and Trade Unionists to fight against such methods of political struggle in the labour movement.–Editor.
Workers’ International League – Fourth International
Publication: Workers’ International News
61 Northdown Street
21st July, 1941
To the editor,
It has been brought to our notice that the issue of the Daily Herald dated 16th July, 1941, features a report of the trial of 33 German spies. In this report is contained an amalgam of another, an entirely separate trial, which is in no way connected with this spy case.
This may be accidental or otherwise, but it gives a slanderous impression that the trial of the American leaders of the Minneapolis General Drivers’ Union, Local 554, also leaders and supporters of the Socialist Workers’ Party (Fourth International), is linked together with the spy trial.
With the trial of the Nazi spies, who will receive their deserts, we are not concerned. But whatever one’s opinions of the politics of the revolutionary socialists, they cannot in any way be tarred with the dirty brush of Nazism. They stand for international socialism, “…accepting as an ideal formula the Russian Revolution of 1917”, and are implacable opponents of Hitler and what he represents. To link them up in this manner is on a par with the slander against Lenin of being a German spy.
This libellous report damages and casts credit not only on these 29 Trade Union leaders and the thousands of workers they represent, but also reflects on the whole international socialist movement of the Fourth International, including its British followers who stand irreconcilably for the overthrow of Hitlerism and for the defence of the Soviet Union, and advocate that only a workers’ government in Britain can achieve those ends.
We trust that the official organ of the British Labour Party will take Immediate steps to dispel the false impression which the report, whether deliberately or accidentally, conveys to the British working class. In the interests of political honesty we demand the unabridged publication of this letter. Failure to comply with this will brand the Daily Herald as a dishonest and slanderous journal.
Signed: E. Grant,
For the Executive Committee,
Workers’ International League.
Copy of reply from the Daily Herald, July 23rd, 1941:
Daily Herald Editorial Office,
2-12 Endell Street,
Workers’ International League,
61 Northdown Street, N.1.
I have made a full enquiry into the matter raised in your letter of July 21st, and I find that the indictment against 29 leaders of the Minneapolis General Drivers’ Union was included accidentally in our report of the trial of alleged Nazi spies.
I cannot agree with you that this is in anyway damaging to the Minneapolis Union leaders, since they were not mentioned at all in the report. In these circumstances I see no point in drawing further attention to the matter by publication of your letter.
Percy Cudlipp, Editor