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Labor Action, 20 May 1946



Why Is The Militant Silent?


From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 20, 20 May 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Several weeks ago Labor Action printed the statement issued by a group of trade unionists, intellectuals and members of the radical movement who addressed an appeal to the court which is trying the Nazis at Nuremberg, Germany. This appeal requested the court to interrogate the defendants and check their records to see if any evidence could be produced in connection with the infamous charges made at the Moscow Trials against the great revolutionary leader, Leon Trotsky. We of Labor Action and the Workers Party, confident of the complete socialist integrity of the greatest revolutionary of our time, Leon Trotsky, supported this appeal since we believed it would expose the inability of the Stalin government to produce a shred of credible evidence.

Subsequently, we printed a list of additional prominent individuals who signed the appeal. This appeal, be it noted, was reported in many leading newspapers in America it was also reported in most of the radical journals.

Thus far, one socialist newspaper has failed to print so much as a word about this matter – we refer to The Militant, organ of the Socialist Workers Party, a political group which behaves as if it had a patented monopoly on the ideas of Trotskyism. The SWP has not commented favorably or unfavorably on this statement; it has not even INFORMED its readers of the issuance of such a statement. Now it should be noted that this statement closely parallels one issued in England, which was signed by such prominent individuals as H.G. Wells and Arthur Koestler, and that the English statement was initiated in the Socialist Appeal, organ of the English Trotskyists. It should further be noted that a number of the continental Trotskyist parties have raised a similar demand.

We submit that The Militant owes its readers, and the SWP owes its members, an explanation. Why do they, who are so ready to announce themselves as the exclusive disciples of Trotsky, refuse to print a word of or about a statement issued in behalf of Trotsky's defense against the slanders of the Stalin dictatorship? Is it because, among the signers of the statement, there appears the name of Max Shachtman, national secretary of the Workers Party? Has factional animus against another Trotskyist group, that is, the Workers Party, so blinded them that they are unable to rise to the needs of the most elementary kind of united front action in Trotsky’s defense?

Or do they believe that it was incorrect for the signers in America – and their sister parties in Europe – to initiate this campaign? If so, why? Let them express their point of view, and the matter can be debated frankly and openly before the judgment of the revolutionary movement.

In any case, one thing is certain: whatever their point of view, The Militant and the SWP are pursuing a policy of silence which, in view of the importance of the matter, can only be described as shameful. They have failed to give any publicity to the statement; they have failed to comment on it or criticize it. Such behavior is unworthy of a serious revolutionary party, and its members and sympathizers owe it to themselves to request an explanation.

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