Written: December 1942
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 3 (December 1942)
Transcription: Harry 2007
Markup/Proofread: Emil 2007
[Editor's note: This was written in response to William Wainwright’s article Clear Out Hitler’s Agents! The Workers’ International League also issued a reply: Clear Out the Bosses’ Agents!]
William Wainwright, modestly signing himself W.W., has written an article in World News and Views of November 21st 1942, the pretended purpose of which is to expose Jacques Doriot, leader of the fascist Popular Party in France.
In reality, following the time worn methods of the “Communist” Party, the real aim is to slander and vilify the Trotskyists.
First Wainwright pretends to believe that Doriot is a Trotskyist. He is as much a Trotskyist as Wainwright himself could be described a Trotskyist. Both have the same credentials, i.e. Doriot at the service of Stalin slandered and lied about Trotsky’s policies; now Wainwright jumps into the vacant space left by Doriot to fulfil the same purpose.
In order to understand this, it is only necessary to examine the biography of Doriot. He was one of the leaders of the French Communist Party from its earliest days. When the split came in Russia between Stalin and Trotsky, judging that Stalin would win, he supported him in the struggle and came out as a violent opponent against Trotskyism. Faithfully and cynically carrying out the policy of Stalin, he helped carry through Stalin’s policy in 1925-1927, which led to the defeat of the Chinese revolution. It was here that he learned to practise the habit of lies and deception in the interests of the Stalinist “line”. When on a delegation representing the Communist workers, instead of warning the Chinese workers and peasants against the role of Chiang Kai-Shek and the Chinese capitalists, who would betray the revolution and slaughter the masses, Doriot kept silent. He kept silent to cover the policy of his then master Stalin. Just as Wainwright today covers up the crimes of Churchill, De Gaulle and Co. for the same purpose.
Doriot was sent by the Communist International as a member of an international delegation on a mission to China. This mission “passed through town after town where the unions had already been driven underground, and in Kanchow they received detailed reports on the murder of Chen Tsang-shen, a local trade union leader killed by Chiang’s orders only a few weeks previously.” (Tragedy of the Chinese revolution, by H. Isaacs) Doriot, after the betrayal of the Chinese revolution, wrote: “The Kanchow incidents taught us a precious lesson. We knew from that moment on—well before the split—that the conflict between the bourgeoisie and the Chinese working class would take on the bloody forms it has since assumed…” But, in obedience to Stalin’s policy, he kept silent on this and attacked Trotsky and the Trotskyists, who were warning the workers precisely of the inevitability of what happened.
From 1927 to 1933 he faithfully followed the policy of the Communist International, which made the victory of Hitler inevitable: the policy of denouncing the Socialists as Social Fascists and refusing a united front with them against fascism. Doriot in France denounced Trotsky as a social fascist and counter revolutionary, as obediently as the rest of the hacks in the Comintern, for demanding a united front of Socialists and Communists to prevent Hitler from coming to power.
Doriot was expelled in 1934, after the “Communist” Party had demonstrated, together with the fascists, for the overthrow of the Liberal Government on February 6th. He was expelled from the C.P. for proposing a united front against the fascist bands! But Doriot never joined the Trotskyists. Just the contrary. He continued his attacks against Trotsky and the Trotskyists. He had been corrupted too well by the cynical school of Stalinism. It was but a short step for him to go over to fascism and offer his services to the capitalist class. It is significant that on the road to fascism he tarried for a while in the Popular Front in France. For the whole of his political life Doriot fought against Trotsky and Trotskyism.
But to return to Wainwright. Having failed with his forgeries and lies in the pamphlet Clear Out Hitler’s Agents, to convince the workers and even the advanced workers in the C.P. itself of the truth of the slander that Trotskyists are fascists, Wainwright attempts, by a new series of quotations, to prove that the policy of the Trotskyists is the same as that of Doriot. This time he selects passages from the Socialist Appeal. Let us have a look at these “quotations”:
“The Treaty between the Soviet Union and British Imperialism…is primarily a conspiracy.” (Socialist Appeal, July 1942)
Now read the Socialist Appeal of July 1942, from which this is taken:
“The ruling class is not interested in the defeat of ‘Hitlerism’ as such. They are concerned only once and for all, with destroying the power of their German rival and obtaining domination of Europe and as much of the world as they can hold.
“The defeat of Hitler opens out the prospect of revolution in Germany and in the whole of Europe—a revolution which could not fail to spread to the British Isles. The ruling class has collaborated with the Soviet Union only because of the way in which Russia has fought the war as a “national” war and not as part of the international struggle of the working class.
“It was because of this that the imperialists of Britain and America could even afford themselves the luxury of giving the Soviet Union a certain amount of aid. But they now desire further guarantees that after the war their position of domination will be firmly entrenched throughout the world—i.e. that the revolutions, which are inevitable in Europe, should be crushed. This is the meaning of the treaty between the Soviet Union and British imperialism. It is primarily a conspiracy against the German and European working class.”
This quotation speaks for itself. Let us examine the second quotation, selected by Wainwright:
“We have resolutely opposed the policy of ‘pressing’ Churchill for a Second Front.” (Socialist Appeal, November 1942)
Now read the Socialist Appeal from where this is taken:
“As against the short sighted policy of support for Churchill and Roosevelt, we have urged the independence of the labour movement from the capitalist class: we have fought for workers’ control of the sending of arms to Russia; and we have resolutely opposed the policy of ‘pressing’ Churchill for a Second Front, knowing that such a military move would be undertaken by the imperialists at the moment of their own choosing for their own aims of dismembering the Soviet Union and stifling the European revolution by wresting control from their hands.”
It will be observed that Wainwright has to pretend that these quotations are the beginning and end of sentences and for this purpose he obligingly adds full stops and capital letters where none exist! Just an old fashioned Stalinist custom! Wainwright uses his quotations to “prove” that the Trotskyists are in favour of fascism and opposed to the Soviet Union. One glance at the Socialist Appeal reveals that the articles were directed to demonstrate the real policy of Churchill and the British ruling class and the dangers to which the false policy of Stalin and the Comintern were leading the Soviet Union and the world working class.
Leaving aside the question of whether the opinions and ideas were correct or not, that was the point of view which we revolutionary socialists hold, and we firmly believe events will prove us correct. We claim this is the Leninist point of view. Why then did this Stalinist hack have to resort to lies and deliberate misrepresentation? If our point of view is incorrect, surely it should not be too difficult to prove this? Here we get the difference between Leninism and Stalinism. Marx and Lenin prided themselves on the fact that never once in the thousands of articles and books they wrote, did they distort or lie on the position adopted by an opponent. And indeed it would be impossible to ever find a lie or perversion in the writings of Marx or Lenin. And for a very simple reason. They were so convinced of the correctness of their policies, that they knew any worker comparing their ideas with those of their opponents could not fail to arrive at the conclusion that they were right. Lenin even advised his supporters among the workers to read his opponents! Furthermore, he taught that lies and slander were the weapons of capitalist reaction. The weapon of truth is the most powerful weapon of all.
It is this tradition which Trotsky handed on to the Fourth International. Stalinism resorts to the methods of lies and slander. Wainwright, as a Stalinist, is without honour, without truth and without conscience. Methods such as these can only train and create…Doriots!
As for us, we shall continue on the path of Marxism. No amount of lies, slander, or persecution will prevent us from answering the capitalists and Stalinists with the weapon of truth. And in spite of all, the truth will prevail. Our policy and ideas will become the policy of the working class, including the majority of the rank and file members of the Communist Party.