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Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

“Labor with a White Skin Cannot Emancipate Itself Where Labor with a Black Skin Is Branded” – Karl Marx

Stalinist Propaganda

(18 October 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 42, 18 October 1941, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Our comrades in Newark, N.J., have sent us a copy of a leaflet issued by the Communist Party in that city, entitled A United America Can Defeat Hitler and addressed primarily to the Negro people.

In it the Stalinists follow the example set by the warmongering politicians who have taken advantage of Lindbergh’s Jew-baiting speech in Des Moines to try to make the war-mongers appear as advocates of racial equality and equal opportunity.

But, as in many other fields, the Stalinist propaganda is so crude and obvious in this leaflet, which is quite typical of most Stalinist propaganda, that it gives their game away completely.

“One look at Hitler’s friends in this country shows that they are also the preachers of hatred for the Negro people. Lindbergh and his pals are spreading the phony ‘racial’ theories which Hitler has spread over Germany ... It is no accident that Southern politicians like Senator Reynolds have lined up with Hitler. They see eye to eye.”

Now certainly Reynolds is an enemy of the Negro people and of the whole labor movement. He has for many years been associated with the red-baiting opponents of the trade unions, and was the organizer of a super-“patriotic” movement known as the “Vindicators” which spent most of its energy whipping up attacks on foreign-born workers. But in these respects there is nothing to distinguish him from most of the other politicians from the poll-tax states of the South.

There is only one thing that distinguishes him from the other Southern congressman, and that is that he belongs to the “isolationist” group, rather than the interventionist. At the present time, he is willing, for the sake of building up a pro-American fascist movement now and after the war, to exploit the honest anti-war sentiments of the masses. He is of course no real fighter against war; he stands wholeheartedly for the preservation of the system of capitalism which causes war.

But when the Stalinists speak about Reynolds, workers will naturally ask themselves, “What about the other Southern politicians who do not pretend to be opponents of the war, who are as a matter of fact, the most rabid advocates of the war program in Washington? Where do they stand on the racial question? With whom do they see eye to eye?”

The answer., of course, is well-known to the Stalinists, who published it hundreds of times only a few months ago when they were still opposed to the Roosevelt war program.

The Warmongers and the Negroes

Who are these other Southern politicians who are howling for the war? They are, almost to a man, cut in the mold of Pepper, Dies, Connally, et al. They are men who are elected year after year only because they deny the great mass of the workers, Negro and white, the right to vote. They are the men who by threat of filibuster and other kinds of pressure have prevented any kind of anti-lynch legislation from being enacted by Congress.

Only recently, Pepper, that great advocate of a “war for democracy”, arose on the floor of the United States Senate to declare:

“Whatever may be written into the Constitution, whatever may be placed upon the statute books of this nation, however many soldiers may be stationed about the ballot boxes of the Southland, the colored race will not vote.”

What do the Southern warmongers think about the Jim Crow laws of the South? What do they think about the laws and customs that segregate the Negro people in jobs, in church, in the armed forces, in every economic and social sphere and excludes them completely from participation in polities?

To ask these questions is to answer them. These pro-war Southern politicians not only strengthen and bolster segregation, but they are ready to stage another civil war if any serious attempt is made to destroy Jim Crowism. They did this long before the name of Hitler was heard of in this country. They intend to continue it long after Hitler is gone and forgotten.

These people see eye to eye with Hitler too, or perhaps it is more correct to say that Hitler sees eye to eye with them. Not on the war, it is true, but certainly on racial questions. To paraphrase the Stalinists, “one look at Hitler’s” imperialist enemies “in this country shows that they are also the preachers of hatred for the Negro people.” In this respect there is no difference whatever between them and men like Reynolds.

The Stalinists try to get support for the war by showing that the “isolationists” are enemies of the Negro people. That this is a false way of posing the question is shown by the fact that the interventionists are no less enemies of the Negro people.

Only we, the Trotskyists, can speak the truth on this question. We are opposed to all the enemies of the Negro people, and we don’t have to try to defend any of them.

We cite their records not to win support for a reactionary position, as the Stalinists do, but to show the hypocrisy behind their protestations about democracy and racial equality, and to show how the Stalinists serve the cause of a certain section of the enemies of the Negro people.

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Last updated: 21 March 2019