Max Shachtman

Who is Behind
The Conspiracy to Suppress
Labor Action

We Charge: The Communist Party Liars Are Behind
the Conspiracy to Suppress Labor Action

(October 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 43, 26 October 1942, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

There is a conspiracy afoot to suppress our Labor Action.

We know who is behind it and we know why. Every one of the growing number of our readers should know, too. And they, in turn, should acquaint every workingman within their reach of the facts. Why? Because this conspiracy is not confined to an assault upon the rights of Labor Action. It involves the rights and interests of the whole labor movement.

What is the conspiracy?

It is a plan to give a “legitimate labor” cover to an attack upon the right to a free press – and, as we shall show, an attack with a purpose. Labor Action has been telling the damaging truth about conservative and reactionary forces. They can’t answer our exposures. So they seek to; frame us, to gag us, to bury us.

For example:

At the recent national convention of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers of America, a vicious resolution against Labor Action was railroaded through at the very tail-end of the sessions, with three-quarters of the delegates unaware of what was being put over. That resolution had the audacity to attack Labor Action as a “fifth column” journal, promoted by “Nazi agents,” and called upon the government to “investigate” our paper. Of course, even before this “investigation” has taken place the resolution already called upon the government to suppress Labor Action!

There was only one paper in the country that went out of its way to give special prominence to this resolution and to cheer itself hoarse. That paper was the Daily Worker, spokesman of the Communist Party in this country. Make a mental note of that.


A little paper called Shop News, published in New York by Local 450 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Sperry Division, followed right behind the Shipbuilding Workers Union convention resolution with an inflammatory article against Labor Action, in the issue of October 2. The article is hysterical with praise of the resolution. Listen to what it writes:

“Intelligent people who are loyal Americans cannot be misled by the obvious attempts of the mysterious editors of Labor Action to slow production and throw discredit upon the all-out: war effort of President Roosevelt and other government leaders. The secrecy concerning its origin is in itself proof that the paper’s motives do not invite investigation. The CIO and all other organizations interested in the preservation of America as a bulwark of democracy demand such investigation NOW!!”

All right, gentlemen, we will come back to these three sentences. For the moment we point out this fact, which is known to every active union militant in New York: The organizing staff of the Sperry local of the UE union, which is only now having an election of regular officers, is dominated by the Communist Party – to the detriment of the union. So is the editorial staff of the local union paper, Shop News. Make another mental note of that. Further:

A few weeks ago the United Rubber Workers of America had its national convention in Akron, Ohio. As an inseparable part of the American labor movement, as the voice that expresses the feelings of thousands of workers, Labor Action addressed itself to the delegates of that convention on the problems facing the rubber workers and their union. As usual with us, we didn’t mince words. We called a spade a spade. Emphasizing, as always, our unflagging allegiance to the principles, the interests and the institutions of the union movement, we exercised at the same time the right and duty to point out some of the shortcomings and weaknesses of the union which are due to the rotten policies of belly-crawling and surrender practiced by many union leaders. These leaders could not and cannot answer our indictment of their policies, which have cost the members so dearly in the loss of rights and the loss of living and working standards. So they figure on turning over the job of “answering” us to – the cops. This time, to be sure, they didn’t adopt a resolution against Labor Action. The only reason why they didn’t is revealed by Robert H. Stopher, columnist for the Akron Beacon-Journal, in its issue of October 4. He writes;

“Delegates to the rubber workers’ convention considered asking the FBI to investigate the paper’s (Labor Action’s) sponsors but finally decided not to do so on the theory that the Trotskyites would be flattered by the advertising ... It is believes here that the FBI already has Labor Action’s editors and backers under surveillance.”

Who was pressing the “delegates to the rubber workers’ convention” to adopt a resolution asking for the muzzling of Labor Action? The representatives of the Communist Party!

Communist Party Behind the Drive!

Behind this drive to suppress our paper is the American representative of the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Kremlin, the Communist Party. That’s why it is an organized and systematic movement. That’s why it appears wherever the Stalinists have any power in the union movement.

Why do they want to suppress us? Because they know that we have their number. They Know that we fight them tooth and nail, and that we make no deals with them. They know that they cannot bribe us or intimidate us, as they have succeeded in doing with others. They know that we always tell the truth about them, whether they are allied with Hitler in the war, as they were for almost two years, or allied with Anglo-American imperialism. They know we fight every effort they make to seize control of the American labor movement and make it a docile tool of the reactionary rulers of the Russian people.

They cannot answer the truth we tell, so they tell lies about us, as they have always done about our Trotskyist comrades in Russia. They cannot answer our arguments with honest counter-arguments, so they try the frame-up system against us, just as their bosses in Moscow frame up every honest working-class critic and opponent. They cannot dispose of us here with their blood-stained GPU, as their bosses have been doing with the best revolutionists in Russia, so they call upon the police of American capitalism to do the job for them.

They Are the Ones Who Praised Hitler

Just read again the sentences we quoted above from the Shop News, which they control. Every word of it reeks with the style of the trained Stalinist liar and frame-up expert.

It talks piously about ‘’intelligent people who are loyal Americans.” The only thing the men it represents are loyal to are the interests of the Stalinist clique in Russia! Do they think workers are SO stupid, SO short in their memories, that they have already forgotten where these people were and what they were doing in the first period of the war?

Aren’t THEY the ones who praised to the skies the unholy alliance between Stalin and his pal Hitler? Aren’t THEY the ones who praised to the skies the rape of Poland, which the bandits divided between themselves, splitting the loot? Aren’t THEY the ones who praised their master-paper, the Moscow Izvestia. when it wrote that “fascism is a matter of taste”? Aren’t THEY the servile followers of Stalin who said his alliance with Hitler is “cemented with blood”? Aren’t THEY the ones who praised Russian Foreign Minister Molotov when he said that the alliance with Hitler is based on the “fundamental state interests of the USSR and Germany”? Aren’t THEY the ones who praised Stalin when he said that “it was not Germany that attacked France and England, but France and England that attacked Germany, thereby assuming responsibility for the present war”? Aren’t THEY the ones for whom that same Moscow Izvestia spoke when it wrote, on October 9, 1939, that “to undertake war ‘for annihilation of Hitlerism’ means to commit criminal folly in politics”?

And it if these Stalinists, with their abominable record, who have the unmitigated effrontery to label as “fifth columnists” those who, like us of Labor Action, have NEVER wavered for an instant in their uncompromising hatred of Hitlerism, of fascism, of the Nazis; who NEVER apologized for them, who NEVER pleaded their case, who NEVER made an alliance with them.

The Stalinists want to have us suppressed because THEY know OUR banner is without a stain and because WE know WHO they are and WHAT they are!

There Is No “Mystery” About Us

Like the lying frame-up artists they are, they speak slyly about “the mysterious editors of Labor Action” and “the secrecy concerning its origin.” There is no “secret,” there is no “mystery.” They know who we are at least as well as we know who they are. They know who owns Labor Action, who edits it, who writes for it, who “sponsors” it. Earl Browder, boss of the American Stalinists and director of the drive against us, knows particularly well who we are. They just PRETEND that we are “mysterious” people in order to further their dirty conspiracy to mix us up with the very Nazi movement with which their master was allied for two solid years.

The undersigned is known to Browder and the Stalinists. He was one of the founders of the very Communist movement in this country which Browder and his cohorts have distorted and betrayed. The undersigned was one of the editors of the Daily Worker back in 1926 and 1927 when it was still a working-class, revolutionary paper. The undersigned was a delegate to Communist conferences in Moscow from the American movement when Moscow was an international working-class center and not an international center of reaction. The undersigned was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party when he and his comrades were expelled from that party by Browder & Co. for the “crime” of Trotskyism, which is the name the Stalinists apply to socialist internationalism. The undersigned has been active ever since that time, that is, Singe 1928, in the Trotskyist movement, speaking, writing, organizing, always operating on the principle which is held by all the sponsors, friends and supporters of Labor Action: “The working class and its interests – first, last and always!”

The editor of Labor Action is known to the Stalinist gang, too. They know of his membership for years, since 1924, in the Communist movement of this country, when it WAS a Communist movement and not a racket of the Stalinist commissars. They know that he too has been publicly active for the past twelve years, since his expulsion by the Stalinist bureaucracy for the crime of thinking for himself, in the Trotskyist movement.

The labor editor of Labor Action is known to the Stalinists. They know of his long years of untainted service to the labor and socialist movements. They know of his years as one of the finest leaders of the unemployed movement in this country. They know of his work in founding the American Workers Party in 1933, of his activity, subsequent to that time, in our Trotskyist movement. They know of his service to the great CIO movement in his capacity of organizer for the Steel Workers Organising Committee in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

They know the records of all the rest of us, as well, and they know that there is not an unclean spot on any of them. Because Labor Action, like the Workers Party, which wholeheartedly supports it, will not for a single moment tolerate in its ranks any faker or careerist or shady character or mercenary politician. They will not tolerate anybody who is not unreservedly behind the working class in general and the organized labor movement in particular – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The Stalinists know the truth about us, but they refuse to tell it. And because we know the truth about them, they refuse to have us tell it! That is why they want us suppressed and wiped out by police action!

Next week we will show how the Stalinists have combined with non-Stalinist union leaders against Labor Action; what that combination means to the workers and their unions; and what every militant and class-conscious union militant can and should do about it.


Max Shachtman

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Last updated on 3 October 2014