Grace Carlson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Grace Carlson

Strike Leader Calls CP Story
“Pack of Lies”

(2 February 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 6, 9 February 1946, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

DETROIT, Feb. 2 – John W. Anderson, Secretary of the General Motors Citywide Strike Committee of Detroit, characterized the January 29 Daily Worker story that “GM Strikers Bar Trotskyist Paper for Aiding Corporation” as a “pack of lies”.

In an interview here today, John Anderson gave a full report of the action of the Citywide Strike Committee on the question of the distribution of The Militant at the GM picket lines.

At the January 23 meeting of the Citywide Strike Committee, Fred Fisch, a delegate from CIO United Auto Workers Detroit Transmission Local 735, introduced a motion that the Committee go on record as “discouraging the distribution of The Militant” to GM strikers.

Fisch backed up his motion by a reference to a recent action of Local 735’s Executive Board in barring The Militant from their picket lines. Last week’s Militant carried the story of this frenzied attempt of Fisch and other Local 735 Stalinist leaders to prevent their members from being influenced by the ideas of Trotskyism. This bureaucratic action reflected a well-founded Stalinist fear that Local 735’s members were eagerly welcoming the weekly analyses of the present strike struggles which they have been reading in the columns of The Militant, which has been distributed regularly at all GM picket lines.

Report Upheld

At the Citywide Strike Committee meeting, Fisch tried to justify Local 735’s attempt to suppress a workers’ paper by charging that The Militant had misrepresented facts about the strike. In particular, Fisch referred to a story in the January 12 issue, which reported a recent clash between the police and the strikers on the Transmission picket line. Fish claimed that The Militant’s report that “blows were exchanged” was false. However, John Anderson pointed out that at the time the incident occurred, Local 735’s delegates to the Citywide Strike Committee had made the same report to the Committee.

John Panzner of Local 235, Chevrolet Gear and Axle and John Anderson, who represents Fleetwood Local 15 on the Citywide Strike Committee, argued against Fisch’s motion. The dangers to the labor movement inherent in such an attempt to suppress the rights of free speech and a free press were pointed out to the members of the Citywide Strike Committee.

Packed Meeting

But the Stalinists from Local 735 had brought five delegates to the January 23 meeting of the loosely-organized Citywide Strike Committee. Each local is supposedly allowed only two delegates. Three of the Transmission delegates had never attended a Citywide Committee meeting before. At the poorly- attended January 23 meeting Local 735’s delegation was one- third of the total attendance, and Stalinists from other Detroit locals helped to swell this figure. In this packed Committee meeting, the Stalinist motion was declared to have won a majority in a voice vote.

Slanderous Lie

But William Allan’s statement in the January 29 Daily Worker that the Citywide Strike Committee had passed a resolution “barring” The Militant from GM picket lines because it is “of service to the corporation instead of to the strikers” is a slanderous lie! Not even in a meeting packed with Stalinists could such an accusation be made. The solid working-class character of The Militant is too well known to Detroit workers to permit of such an open piece of falsification and slander.

As reported in last week’s issue, Arthur Burch, Detroit representative of The Militant, has written to the Local 735 Executive Board, requesting an opportunity to appear at its next meeting or at the next membership meeting. In his letter, Burch pointed out that the action against The Militant was a “clear violation of labor’s democratic rights.” If permitted to appear at a Local 735 meeting, he promised to “explain the situation and answer any questions that you might care to ask.” No reply to this letter has been received to date.

Attempts Fail

Recent attempts of the Stalinists to bar The Militant from the Fleetwood picket lines met with ignominious failure. When a well-known Stalinist supporter raised the question of barring The Militant at a Local 15 meeting, with the charge that it was “Communistic,” there was so much opposition that he didn’t even dare to introduce a motion.

Meantime, the distribution of The Militant to GM strikers on the Detroit picket lines continues. Despite all Stalinist motions, the Militant distributors always receive a hearty welcome. Many subscriptions have already been obtained and this number will be greatly increased when the GM workers return to their jobs.

Grace Carlson Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers’ Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 18 September 2018