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Albert Parker

The Negro Struggle

Why Stalinists Slander Us

(5 April 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 14, 5 April 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

If readers of the Communist Party ‘s Worker of Mar. 28 were confused after they finished reading Benjamin E. Davis’ column, then they were in just the state the author tried to get them. The article is a denunciation of Almena Davis, editor of the Negro weekly, Los Angeles Tribune, because she attacked Claudia Jones, Stalinist leader who is threatened with deportation to the West Indies, and cynically expressed “indifference” to her fate.

Then, suddenly, Benjamin Davis switches over into an attack on Trotskyism,, making the fantastic (and familiar) charge that it “is a synonym for corruption, political degeneracy and service to reaction and fascism,” and inventing a new lie – that the “Tribune is a net of Trotskyism” and that Almena Davis is a Trotskyist!

Readers of The Militant know that we Trotskyists, despite our opposition to the Stalinists, have strongly protested the deportation campaign against Claudia Jones, and her associates and have called on labor to put an end to the government’s witch-hunt campaigns. And readers of the Los Angeles Tribune know that it has nothing in common with the Trotskyists; for example, the Tribune supported the recent imperialist war (as the Stalinists did) while we opposed it from beginning to end.

Why do Benjamin Davis and the other Stalinists resort to such monstrous (and easily disproved) slanders against the Trotskyists? Because that’s the only kind of “answer” they can give to our political arguments and program. Because they are afraid to let the Negro people know that the Socialist Workers Party program is the only way to end capitalist wars, fascism and race prejudice.

* * *

A reader says: “After reading your laudatory remarks about Caste, Class and Race by Oliver C. Cox, I naturally wondered what your criticism of it was. You say that ‘some of the points Dr. Cox tries to make are not acceptable to Marxists.’ Why didn’t you indicate what they are?”

We are concentrating for the time being on calling attention to the virtues of this book, in order to help it get the kind of audience it deserves. But we obviously did not seek to hide the fact that it has shortcomings and weaknesses.

On the political field, for example, the author’s attempt to “simplify” Marxism leads him to numerous serious errors in discussing recent political developments, especially in his treatment of Roosevelt and the New Deal. Dr. Cox is by no means a Stalinist, but his apparent lack of acquaintance with political labor problems and strategy causes him to accept many of their estimates which are in direct conflict with Marxism.

We repeat, however, that the book’s positive qualities and contributions to an understanding of race prejudice far outweigh these and other faults.

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