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Albert Gates

Ben Davis, No Labor Candidate

(29 October 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 44, 29 October 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Benjamin J. Davis, Councilman of the City of New York and a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party, is again that party’s candidate for the City Council. He is using the label of only his party in the present election because the Democratic Party and Tammany Hall which had put him on their ticket withdrew their endorsement under severe pressure from powerful forces in the local and national organization.

What kind of candidate is Davis? He is represented as a leader of the Negro people, an outstanding Communist who is devoted to the struggle for the emancipation of all who labor and are exploited. The labor movement and the Negro people are asked to support him because he represents the best interests of American labor in general and the Negroes in particular.

If this were true, then Davis would be worthy of the support of all the workers in this country. But the record is otherwise.

Who Is Davis?

Davis is a leading member of the Communist Party in the United States, a party which is in reality one of the international agents of Stalin and the Russian bureaucratic ruling class. The Communist Party reflects the interests of this ruling class, helps to perpetuate its power, defends its international interests and supports all its crimes against the Russian and. international working class.

In acting as a servile follower of the Stalinist bureaucracy, Davis has endorsed the most totalitarian regime in the world, a regime which rests on police terror, the concentration camp, convict labor and the cruel exploitation of its own workers and peasants.

Davis has applauded and approved Stalin’s imperialist policy in world affairs, which has thus far succeeded in subordinating to Russia’s national interests millions of people in Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

In the United States Davis is associated with every crime which Stalinism has committed against American labor. He was a blatant supporter of the imperialist war, exhorting the Negro people to give up their struggle for full economic, political and social equality on the ground that such a struggle would interfere with the war effort.

In return for this, Davis told the big lie to the Negroes that this was a war for “democracy” and the “Four Freedoms” and that the welfare of the race depended on its support to the bloody carnage which saw Negroes discriminated against and Jim Crowed in the American armed services.

This was only one aspect of Davis’ activities. He advocated class collaboration, the incentive pay system, called upon labor to give, up its basic interests during the war, supported all the rotten war measures which placed the burdens of the war economy on the shoulders of labor and became a supporter of imperialism.

This same Davis, however, was caught up in one of the numerous “changes of line” which often strikes the Communist Party with great surprise since these changes originate in the Kremlin and come without prior notice to the American Stalinists. In the upheaval which saw Earl Browder, the party’s leader for about fifteen years, practically excommunicated for his faithful execution of the Kremlin’s policies, Davis joined the long list of confessors, admitting that:

“I applied it (the Browder line) in all my work and most specifically in the field of Negro work, with resulting serious weaknesses in that work ... I did not detect the errors because I was not sufficiently mature and equipped as a Marxist, an inadequacy brought sharply to my attention by the impact of the Duclos article ... It is my opinion that bourgeois ideology influenced all on the Board (National Board of the Communist Political Association) who bear responsibility for the error.”

Now this self-confessed betrayer of the best interests of the Negroes and the workers in general asks that he should be supported as a representative of labor and the Negroes. This is indeed a grim joke to vote for a self-confessed misleader and betrayer of the interests of labor and the Negroes, a man who supports Stalin’s totalitarian regime under any and all circumstances, no matter how terrible are the consequences, for all the . workers in this country.

Those who say that Davis should be supported because he is a Negro only help to muddy up the water. A vote for Davis is not a vote for a Negro representative or a vote for the interests of the disfranchised, exploited, discriminated and Jim Crowed Negroes.

Davis, the Stalinist

A vote for Ben Davis is a vote for a leader of the Communist Party, a Stalinist, a representative of the Kremlin, a misleader of labor and the Negro people. Davis’ allegiance belongs first and last to Stalinism. All his activities are based solely apd exclusively on that allegiance, an allegiance to a party and a movement which is communist only in name but which in theory and practice is the greatest enemy of communism, the great social system which would forever banish exploitation/ wars, poverty, racial discrimination and racism in general.

Bearing all of this in mind, what can one say about the Socialist Workers Party, which endorsed the candidacy of the Stalinist Davis because “he is a Negro candidate on the ticket of a working class party,” despite his crimes, which they listed in great detail. We do not now have the space to discuss in detail this specious but false reasoning, but the reasons given by the SWP for their support of this Stalinist betrayer are extremely dangerous to the best interests of the labor movement.

This position has led the SWP onto dangerous opportunist grounds. Immediately after the Socialist Workers Party endorsement of Davis reached the headquarters of the Communist Party and the editorial offices of the Daily Worker, the Stalinist leaders replied by denouncing the Socialist Workers Party as “Trotskyist gangsters” and “agents of fascism,” on the theory that the whole world accepts their lies and frame-up methods. The Stalinist hooligans charged the SWP with trying to “split the Negro vote” by its endorsement of Davis.

That was to be expected from the Stalinists. What was somewhat unexpected was the extremely stupid reply of the SWP. Not wholly unexpected, however, since the line it adopted in reasoning out its support of Davis determined the kind of reply it would make.

Tammany’s Man

In The Militant of October 20, the SWP states, in rejecting the Stalinist charge that they are splitting the Negro vote:

“The Stalinists are so deeply involved in a shady deal with the bosses of Tammany Hall that they dare not tell the truth.”

Elsewhere it states that the Stalinists failed to denounce Tammany “because they are in a shamefaced alliance with the Tammany corruptionists.”

Yet, despite the fact that the Communist Party and its candidate Benjamin J. Davis “are so deeply involved in a shady deal with the bosses of Tammany Hall,” and are “in a shamefaced alliance with the Tammany corruptionists,” the Socialist Workers Party calls upon the workers to support Davis! They endorse and support a candidate and party who are “up to their ears in a deal with the Tammany ward-heelers!” (All quotations are from The Militant of October 29.)

In taking up the denunciation of the Stalinists, that the SWP endorsement of Davis aims to “split the Negro vote,” the SWP is led to charge the Stalinists with doing precisely that because the latter have endorsed Eugene Connolly, the Communist follower in the American Labor Party, who “is the white candidate of the Democratic Party, in Manhattan.”

Then asks The Militant: “Why do the Stalinists designate the white democratic candidate Connolly as their second choice instead of the Negro Democrat, Whaley? Isn’t that splitting the Negro vote?” This is really supposed to get the Stalinists. Its purpose is to show that it is not the SWP which is splitting the Negro vote, but the Stalinists themselves.

The truth is that the SWP is following an opportunist course in this Davis business. The answer to their policy is clear. No support to Davis, the Stalinist betrayer, of American labor and the Negro people.

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