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George Clarke

Weinstock Uses Lie-and-Run
Technique to Dodge Debate

(21 February 1949)

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 8, 21 February 1949, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In recent weeks we have had an exhibition of the slander-and-run technique of Stalinism in the New York District Council 9 of the AFL Painters Union. When the Stalinist trial under the Smith Act began, Louis Weinstock, former Stalinist secretary of the Council, was reminded by The Militant and other papers of the scabby role he had played in the case of the 18 Trotskyists indicted and convicted in Minneapolis under the same law.

Weinstock stormed into the Council not to deny the charges – documentary evidence of his correspondence with the Department of Justice and the prosecutor, approving the Minneapolis convictions, made that impossible. Nor to honestly admit his crime against the principle of labor solidarity and try to explain it – that would be too much to expect from a Stalinist hack. What Weinstock wanted to know was why Martin Rarback, present secretary of the Council, had released the information to the press – that is, why Rarback didn’t cooperate in suppressing the truth!

The last thing Weinstock wanted was to be obliged to publicly defend his treachery. That’s why he turned down Rarback’s challenge for a debate with an SWP representative on the Stalinist and the Trotskyist trials under the Smith Act. Failure, to accept the challenge was a plain admission of guilt and for anyone else would have been a cause for silence.

But not for the Stalinist hacks. This was the time for the slander-and-run strategy – for abuse, mud-slinging, vilification, confus-sion, distortions and half-truths. Morris (“Filthy-Mouth”) Davis, Stalinist secretary of painters’ Local 848, was given the job of striking from caver without fear of being brought face to face with the accused and substantiating his charges and lies in a public debate.

Two mimeographed leaflets signed by him are now circulating in the painters union. They are a compendium of every Stalinist slander against Trotskyism since 1924, ranging from charges of Advocacy of “world revolution” to connections with “international fascism”; from “5th columnists for Franco, Mussolini and Hitler” to spokesman for “revolution” in Palestine. The mimeographed libel of “Filthy-Mouth” Davis follows the same pattern as the Protocols of Zion, which denounces the Jews both as “international financiers” trying to uphold capitalism and as revolutionists trying to overthrow capitalism.

Lack of space prevents us from dealing in this article with all of Davis’ falsehoods. We will only pick two examples – one a halftruth and one a downright lie – which are typical of the whole rotten stew.

1. Davis justifies Weinstock’s treachery by quoting from wartime resolutions of the Minnesota CIO and AFL conventions, both of which refused to support the struggle against the government’s persecution of the Trotskyists.

The aim here is to find partners-in-crime in the labor movement and at the same time to conceal the support to the pardon campaign given to the 18 Trotskyists by unions comprising 5,000,000 organized workers, non-Trot-skyist and non-Stalinist. But who controlled the Minnesota CIO during the war? The Stalinists! And who controlled the Minnesota AFL? Daniel Tobin, chief instigator of the prosecution against the Trotskyists and the Minneapolis teamsters!

But that isn’t all that “Filthy-Mouth” Davis omits. On Aug. 16, 1948, the Hennepin County CIO Council, the Minneapolis affiliate of the state CIO body, completely reversed its former position by adopting a resolution protesting the indictment of the 12 Stalinists and demanding the restoration of the civil rights of the 18 Trotskyists. Realizing the enormity of the crime it had committed against labor solidarity during the war, the CIO Council confessed that “such indictments have in the past been prosecuted for lack of a united mass protest of the labor movement as witness the indictments of the 18 Minneapolis CIO-Socialist Workers Party members in 1941.”

2. Now take a downright lie. Davis says that “the Trotskyites who advocated in 1934 to play ball with Governor Olson of Minnesota and hailed as a victory the sending in of troops to break the strike ...” The facts are just the contrary. The Trotskyist Dunne brothers and other strike leaders not only fought Olson’s martial law but they were thrown into a military stockade for violating it. The union leaders wrote as follows in the Northwest Organizer on Aug. 4, 1934, in an appeal to the local labor movement to declare a general strike against “military tyranny”:

“Never before in our time has such a direct and outright act of strikebreaking by military forces been witnessed. A dastardly blow has been struck at the very heart of the labor movement under the command of Floyd B. Olson, Governor of Minnesota.”

“Filthy Mouth” Davis goes back to 1934 because he is counting on short memories. But this is just a reminder that we haven’t forgotten the treacherous Stalinist role in the teamsters strike when the Daily Worker condemned the strike leaders as “counter-revolutionists” and “played ball” with Tobin who denounced the Trotskyists as “communists and radicals.” The Stalinist leaders continued to “play ball” with Tobin – and with Roosevelt – in obtaining the first conviction under the Smith Act by helping to send Trotskyists to prison.

Davis entitles his second leaflet “I refuse to be gagged.” Who is gagging you, “Filthy-Mouth” Davis? It must be Weinstock or Foster because it certainly is not us or even the leaders of the painters union. Get out from behind your smokescreen and let the workers judge your charges and those made against you in fair and open debate! Or stand condemned as liars, scabs, and frame-up artists unfit for honest workingmen to associate with!

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