Written: September 1942
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 4 no. 12 (September 1942)
Transcription: Francesco 2008
Markup: Manuel 2008
The Sunday Dispatch is continuing its slander campaign against the Socialist Appeal. Under the title “Socialist Appeal still at it” the story is revealed of how “directives” from Germany are transmitted to the British Trotskyists through a “workers’ challenge” station.
If this were true, surely the Sunday Dispatch's diplomatic correspondent, the author of the article, would have supplied more details, such as the time and the date. Surely he would have notified the police, and formal charges would have been made against the Trotskyists.
But the pro-fascist Sunday Dispatch does not pursue the policy of truth. Taking a leaf out of the book of their mentor Hitler, they base themselves on the axiom: the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be believed.
The whole style, the whole method of presentation, the falsifications and the distortions, the amalgam dishonestly linking the policies of the I.L.P. with that of the Trotskyists, all these savour of the familiar methods of Stalinism. Unable to attack the real ideas of Trotskyism, the Communist Party and its new-found ally, the Sunday Dispatch, attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the workers by confusing the policies of two different working class parties, and link us both up with Hitler. It is clear that the article is written by an ardent supporter of the Communist Party.
Indeed it could have been written with the pen of W. Wainwright himself, the author of “Clear Out Hitler’s Agents”.
The entire article is based on falsification and slander. Our political position has been and is openly proclaimed in the pages of the Socialist Appeal.
The charge that we would seek a compromise peace with Hitler is reduced to a despicable lie upon one reading of any issue of the Socialist Appeal. We alone in the labour movement warned of the disastrous outcome of Hitler’s coming to power. Trotsky alone, advocated the policy which would have prevented Hitler’s rise, the policy of the united front of all working class organisations which was attacked by Stalin in the following terms:
“It is significant, that Trotsky has come out in defence of a united front between the communist and social democratic parties against fascism. No more disruptive and counter-revolutionary class lead could possibly have been given at a time like the present.” (Daily Worker, May 26th, 1932.)
Both the Sunday Dispatch and the Communist Party attempt to depict the resolution of the Glasgow I.L.P. which voted against the supply of arms for the U.S.S.R., as a Trotskyist resolution.
This is somewhat stupid when Point 1 in our programme of demands is “the immediate despatch of arms and material to the Soviet Union under the control of the Trade Unions and Factory Committees.” In any case, the defeating of this resolution arises, not from any lack of desire on the part of the I.L.P. to assist the U.S.S.R., but from the sectarian attitude on their part, for which the Trotskyists have always criticised them. In the July issue of the Socialist Appeal, Marc Loris writes on this point:
“At the I.L.P. National Conference an amendment was presented asking for the ‘advocacy of the production and transport of war materials to the Soviet Union under workers’ control.’ The idea of tying the defence of the Soviet Union to the class struggle of the English workers is excellent. The slogan has an offensive character as much against the English bourgeoisie as against its agents, the Labourite and Stalinist leaders. But the leadership of the I.L.P. hastened to oppose this proposition. The arguments of its spokesmen were, taken as a whole, that the proposals are impracticable. Thus the I.L.P. leaders reveal once more their total incomprehension of the dynamics of revolutionary action. How render ‘practicable’ tomorrow that which is ‘[im]practicable’ today?”
“They have no idea. They find it very ‘practicable’ to praise the ‘statesmanship’ of Stalin, to insult Lenin by attending fraudulent ceremonies; but to call on the English workers to demand an accounting from the capitalists on aid to the Soviet Union, that is ‘impracticable’!”
On the question of McGovern’s attitude towards Munich, which the Sunday Dispatch triumphantly uses, and which the Communist Party never fails to use, the Trotskyists have always criticised the I.L.P. on this question. It is one of the points which separates us. This position springs from the pacifist and centrist position of the I.L.P. But at any rate, we stand, whole-heartedly with the I.L.P. against the foul allegation that this springs from the desire to help Hitler or Fascism. The accusation is one that only the pen prostitutes of the pro-Fascist Sunday Dispatch or the Communist Party falsifiers would dare to make.
The ignorant reference of the I.L.P. defending the “Trotskyist” P.O.U.M. in Spain is typical. The P.O.U.M. was never Trotskyist as they claim, but precisely the Spanish version of the I.L.P. So it is natural that the I.L.P. should defend its policies. We on the other hand consistently criticised the policies of the P.O.U.M. for its participation in the Popular Front Government which lead the Spanish workers to their defeat.
In their frantic efforts to besmirch the revolutionaries, the Stalinists are willing to use any methods and any pro-fascist people or paper to suit their ends. And what is the record of these new found friends and comrades-in-lies? These people who now accuse the Trotskyists and the I.L.P. of assisting fascism, are the very ones who have consistently supported fascism and reaction throughout the world. The question of Munichism is one on which they should keep silent. It was the Sunday Dispatch more than any other paper, which supported Chamberlain at that time. And precisely because they wished to help Hitler. They openly said so! The reference to Spain is even more injudicious. When the P.O.U.M. was fighting on the barricades against Franco, they supported this butcher as the saviour of Christianity and civilisation! Their tender regard for the Soviet Union which they now manifest, is shown for the hypocrisy that it is by the fact that they incited the British government to allow a free hand to Germany in the East.
In one of the many articles which they published by Sir Oswald Mosley on their ideal of a fascist Europe of the future, he openly called for Germany to be allowed to attack the Soviet Union. Britain would gain the advantage from this by the mutual exhaustion of both Germany and the Soviet Union. This is, in fact, the secret policy of the Sunday Dispatch and its backers today.
While the revolutionaries were waging a struggle against fascism in all countries of the world, what was the attitude of the new knight errant of the holy struggle against fascism?
While the brown murder, bands were murdering the worker-militants (including the Trotskyists) and destroying the trade unions with terror and torture in the first moments of fascism in Germany, here are some samples of what the Sunday Dispatch was saying. In October of 1933, Geoffrey Harmsworth wrote:
“…The passionate sincerity of Hitler cried aloud. This was no cheap tub-thumping political firebrand but a fervent patriot and a realist. It is monstrously untrue to say that the Storm Troops and Brown Shirts are a new German army in disguise. Germany does not want another war.…”
In an article of October 22nd, 1933 by Colonel T. C. R. Moore, M.P., we were told by the Sunday Dispatch:
“Germany welcomed her saviour, and largely owing to the obviously sincere and single-minded appeal of his policy he is today the adored leader of certainly 90 per cent of the German population. Eight months ago Herr Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich. Today, and I now speak of experience barely a week old, the whole atmosphere of Germany has changed. Sobriety has replaced licence, patriotism has usurped Communism, virtue has abolished vice.”
“The servants of the law have crushed the masters of the gun. Women and children are safe; animals are mercifully treated; social services have received a new impetus…”
This is how the Sunday Dispatch smoothed over and justified the horrible atrocities of the Nazis. The article continues:
“These are some of the changes I have seen, but I realise that in making these changes there has been unjustified persecution, misery and suffering caused to many innocent German nationals of varied creed and faith. But experience has taught us to be tolerant of the ways of revolution. Eggs must be broken to make an omelette. Suffering is inevitable in the reconstruction of a State.”
“But if I may judge from my personal knowledge of Herr Hitler, peace and justice are the keywords of his, policy, and given time, the support of his people, and the goodwill of his colleagues, he will carry that policy to success.”
On December 31st, 1933, the Dispatch published a special feature article by Mussolini, “The Whole World Going Fascist?” To come closer home it was the Dispatch and the Daily Mail which were among the principal backers of Mosley and his black-shirt thugs in their attempt to organise fascism in Britain. Their pages were opened to Mosley and they gave him every possible publicity. On January 21st, 1934, on a special page was a picture of Mosley and a signed article by him entitled: “Why We Wear The Black Shirt”:
“The Blackshirts have faced and overcome the Socialist bullies of the razor, the knife, and the broken bottle, by standing together and fighting in the ordered ranks which the Blackshirt makes possible. England already has to thank them for breaking the Red Terror of the streets, although greater ordeals may yet await them.”
“Thus we wear the Blackshirt for that combination of ideal and practical reasons which is so characteristic of the faith of fascism.”
An ecstatic editorial of the same date was entitled, “The Blackshirts are coming.”
Thus they supported the paid thugs and hooligans in the ranks of Mosley's bands in their efforts to create an organisation to destroy the workers' movement and rights in Britain. On January 28th, 1934, they wrote this description of Mosley:
“To the world Sir Oswald Mosley; to Blackshirts, the Leader.”
“He quests for a better, healthier, happier England like a King Arthur Knight for the Holy Grail.“
On May 21st 1934, this rag proudly announced that:
“The editor has purchased a limited number of seats to be presented to Sunday Dispatch readers for Mosley's Olympia Meeting.”
On the brutal thuggery at the fascist meeting in Olympia, which provoked an outcry in nearly the whole of the British press, the Dispatch headlined an article by G. Ward Price, friend of Hitler: “No Communist Badly Injured. But Blackshirts still in Hospital. Elaborate ‘Red’ Plot Miscarries. Armed Interrupters Wreck Meeting.”
Their leader of June 17th, 1934, was headed “Mussolini-Hitler Talks-Hopes For Peace” in which they say of these fascist gangsters:
“However that may be they have this in common. That each is the beloved leader of a great nation that regards him as its saviour and to which his lightest word is almost a divine command.”
Their support of the Japanese militarists, of Hitler, of Mussolini was continued right up to the outbreak of the war. Now these gentlemen, aided, abetted and supported by the Communist Party, have the audacity to slander the International Socialists. Tomorrow they would favour a deal with Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, if it suited the interests of their masters, the capitalist class. If the capitalists were threatened by the working class they would be the first to appeal to Hitler for help, just as their equivalents did in France. From this yellow rag the workers expect nothing different. But that the so-called Communist Party should assist and aid reaction by the peddling of slanders against the revolutionaries, is a danger and a warning to the workers. They have linked themselves up with the most reactionary and pro-fascist section of the ruling class in this country, and the most foul anti-working class section of the capitalist press.
In the eyes of all honest workers the role of the Communist Party is becoming clear. It is becoming clear too, that the reason the Communist Party and the Sunday Dispatch attack us is not at all that they think we are “pro-fascist”; it is our programme they fear. Despite the smallness of our numbers at present, they know that ours is the only programme which represents the interests of the working class; the programme of working class struggle against fascism at home and abroad; the programme which will lead to Socialism.
In the teeth of the barrage of lies and slanders we are unafraid. We base ourselves on truth and honesty. We base ourselves on the interests of the working class. No matter the obstacles placed in our path, our programme will find the road to the workers, and the workers will find the road to our programme.