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The Militant, 14 April 1945

Urge Labor Inquiry on Stalinist Slanders

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 15, 14 April 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


LOS ANGELES, March 28. – In a widely-distributed four- page leaflet, the Socialist Workers Party here this week publicly challenged six local CIO officials to furnish factual proof before an impartial labor commission of slanders they circulated against the Trotskyists.

The six union officials permitted the circulation of a letter, bearing their typewritten signatures, which endorsed the Stalinist pamphlet, The Trotskyite 5th Column in the Labor Movement, as the “best exposé of the Trotskyists in the labor movement ever called to our attention.” Among other scurrilous lies, the pamphlet calls the Trotskyist fighters against fascism “agents of Hitler.” (See the March 17 issue of The Militant for our reply to this poison-pen product.)

Their letter was part of a reactionary campaign in the unions, led principally by the Stalinists, in opposition to the election campaign of Myra Tanner Weiss, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor. It bore the signatures of James L. Daugherty, Utility Workers Organizing’ Committee; Carl Brant, United Electrical Workers; Oliver Boutte, National Maritime Union; Wyndham Mortimer, Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers; William S. Lawrence, Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union; and C.R. Brown, Marine and Shipbuilding Workers.

Demand Proof

The Trotskyist answer to this latest Stalinist attack under a trade union cover is titled Union Democracy or Stalinist Frame-Ups – which Shall Prevail?

“The ‘six’ now face a ticklish problem; how are they going to prove the vile slanders and charges they have made against devoted members and leaders of the CIO?” declared the SWP statement.

“George Morris’s pamphlet which they endorse is simply a compilation of all the lies and slanders previously peddled against the whole militant labor movement with some new poison- pen fabrications. But George Morris is accountable to no one but his Stalinist paymasters.

Campaign Against Militants

“The ‘six’ must answer to the workers in the CIO. Clearly; they hope that no one will call them to account. They hope the Stalinist machine will provide immunity and protection. But their hopes are in vain! Members of the CIO are demanding proof. The ‘six’ have taken responsibility for charging their opponents in the labor movement with being Nazi spies. Present your proof! Back up your slanders with evidence or remain branded as irresponsible tools of the Stalinist frame-up machine.”

The SWP statement explains that this Stalinist-inspired attack is part of a campaign to curb the struggles of militant labor against:

“... the WLB runaround, the no-strike pledge in the face of the no-let-up attack of big business, the rising cost of living and tax- slashed paychecks; in a word – the whole ‘equality of sacrifice’ fraud.

“There is good reason why they single out the Socialist Workers Party for attack. This is the party to which the militant workers are turning. This is the party of revolutionary socialism – the vanguard of the world labor movement.”

The SWP leaflet recites a number of cases of Stalinist frameup and slander against “Los Angeles CIO union locals and officials who are at present challenging the Stalinist domination of the CIO in California!” This even went to the extreme of labelling as “Trotskyists and a bunch of spi es” the members of the United Automobile Workers Council who refused to vote support to the Yalta Conference decisions “before knowing what these decisions were.”

Pointing to the support of millions in the labor movement for the 18 Trotskyists imprisoned in the Minneapolis Labor Case, the SWP statement asks: “If the Trotskyists are spies why have 4½ million workers rallied to their support through 600 unions, liberal and Negro organizations?”

Defend Union Democracy

“Let William S. Lawrence, one of the ‘six,’ explain how three locals of his union, the Longshoremen, including Harry Bridges’ own Local 1-10 in San Francisco, also supported the Trotskyist defendants on the labor defense issue and donated over a hundred dollars to the defense.

“Let C.R. Brown, another of the ‘six’ explain for what reason his own Local 9 of the Industrial Union of Marine and Shipbuilding Workers endorsed the defense of the Trotskyist leaders.”

Concluding with an appeal to the CIO membership, the SWP statement says:

“The life of the labor movement depends on the maintenance of union democracy. Irresponsible slanders and ruthless frame-up methods must be stopped. The ‘six’ must be called to appear before a special commission of inquiry to present their proofs – if they have any. If they fail to do so, the labor movement will have every right to call them by their right name – tools of the Stalinist frameup machine!”

This statement was distributed at a number of union gatherings this week, including a meeting at the Philharmonic Auditorium to hear UAW President R.J. Thomas report on the World Trade Union Conference and, to the quarterly UAW West Coast Conference.

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