Charles Curtiss Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Charles Curtiss

Father Manuel and Comrade Epstein

(February 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 3, 1 February 1931, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

423 Delmar St.,
San Antonio, Texas

This legend, illustrated by a picture of the Virgin Mary and the Christ Child, encircled by a host of angels, is inscribed on a calendar hanging from the wall of many Mexican workers’ homes in San Antonio.

God’s sun has rarely shone on so pious a creature as Father Manuel. A perfervid proselyte, a man of piety and devotion. A true defender of the catholic faith.

“I went to six o’clock mass this morning,” he reproaches his customers, “why were you missing?”

“Verily, God must be in him”, murmurs every good catholic, leaving him with a benediction.

The good people of the Catholic fold in San Antonia know him as Father Manuel when he changed his personality by a draught of the magic chemical. And even so is Father Manuel. At the stroke of six, the holy father is wondrously transubstantiated, out of the body of Christ, and into the person of Comrade Epstein, leader of the San Antonio branch of the Communist Party of the United States, section of the Communist International! Hard to believe? But it is nevertheless true.

Mr. Hyde, in his transformation, would trample children to death in his road rage. Comrade Epstein tramples underfoot the Trotskyist traitors. The welkin rings with his denunciation of these counter-revolutionists! How he demands their blood – nothing less! Just as he affirms his faith in Pius XI up to six o’clock, he affirms his faith in Stalin I after six. He shuns the sullying contact of the infidel before six, and of the Negro and Mexican “ignorant workers” after six. The sacred fire burns within him at all time.

At six in the morning, he is again transubstantiated. Comrade Epstein once more becomes Father Manuel. Again, like a humble friar, he wends his way from door to door, urging the benighted to greater piety and selling them his crosses, rosaries, medallions and holy pictures. Of such is the Kingdom of God. This is the resurrection and the faith.

This is a true picture of a party member in San Antonio. We invite the Daily Worker to challenge it. The rest of the party membership there is not much better. They make an economic living by fleecing the Negro and the Mexican, and save their political soul by shrill protests of loyalty to the latest party “line”. It goes without saying that they consider Trotsky worse than wrong. How long will this rubbish be tolerated in the party?

* * * *

After this was written, the Daily Worker published a statement announcing the expulsion of Epstein. The other Epsteins of varying shades remain. It is barely necessary to add that the statement also makes an attack on the “Trotskyists” and on comrade Curtiss in particular. The attacks on the Opposition are not new; they are an unoriginal repetition of Father Manuel’s political philosophy. The attack on comrade Curtiss is, of course, a typical Stalinist “payment” to the Opposition for the crime of having pointed out in time an open sore in the movement which the Stalinists themselves only discover long afterwards.

Charles Curtiss Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 5.12.2012