Gordon Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(17 February 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 8, 17 February 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

How Daladier Was Really Welcomed in North Africa

Truth travels slowly indeed.

When Premier Daladier recently toured French North Africa in a national demonstration against Fascist Italy’s colonial designs, the press was full of accounts of the enthusiasm of the natives. Everywhere, every day of the tour, thousands of indigenous Tunisians and Algerians, it seems, manifested their loyalty to French “democracy.” To the initiated, this was very strange news. Why should the colonial slaves pay such vibrant homage to their imperialist overseers?

Only now, a month after the event, the real state of affairs is brought to light, on the basis of reports carried in the local Tunisian press. Everywhere, in Tunis, in Bizerte, in Bardo, in Bab El Khadra, the natives demonstrated under the banner of their nationalist organization, the “Destour.” Daladier was greeted everywhere with cries of “Long live the Destour,” “Down with the privileges,” “We demand a Tunisian Parliament.” In other words, the demonstrations were really for national independence ... and not for French “democracy.”

The balance sheet: Two “Destourians” arrested at Tunis and sentenced to five years of exile. Mass arrests at Bab El Khadra with blanket sentences of one month and fifteen days for women and two months for men. Nine arrested at Bardo with similar penalties. And so on down the line ... Demonstrations for French “democracy”? Pure mockery.

Naturally the Stalinists go along the whole hog “for the safety of the empire.” An indication of the success of their agitation for French imperialism may be gleaned from a recent election result in Algeria. In the vote for Municipal Councillor of Algiers, the candidate of the revolutionary Party of the Algerian People, Boumandjel, received 2,074 votes against 659 for the secretary of the Algerian Communist Party, Boukhort, who was running against him.

* * *

Sir Stafford Cripps Out on a Limb with his Popular Front

Sir Stafford Cripps, member of Parliament and of the Labour Party Executive, has been expelled from the British Labour Party for issuing a memorandum to local branches, over the head of the leadership, calling for a Popular Front policy “in order to oust the National [Chamberlain] Government.”

Always considered a left-winger, the previous attacks of the reactionary Executive had raised a large following for him among the rank and file. His adoption of the Stalinist People’s Front propaganda as part of his policy has reversed this relationship entirely in favor of the Labour party leadership. They now quote Cripps against Cripps and with especial effectiveness. What can this latest convert to the People’s Front reply to a quotation of his, which is constantly held up to him, such as this, in 1934:

“There must be no compromise over socialism, no coalition or arrangement with others who were not socialists. That way lay suicide.”

Or this, in 1935:

“The National Government had done quite well for a capitalist government ... There is really very little case at all for an alternative government within the capitalist system.

“I don’t think we should fix our eyes on the ex-Liberals and the middle class people, but that we should fix our eyes on the working class.”

His present position can only gain him the allegiance of the British Communist party, which has never amounted to anything and is now in even greater decline. Before the broad rank and file of the Labour party he appears, in view of his previous stand, as a ridiculous mountebank. Sir Stafford is out on a limb and so is his Popular Front.

However, as the reaction of British labor to the National Register (see the Socialist Appeal, Feb. 10) shows, the Labour Party Executive is not at all rid of healthy opposition to its reactionary policies, despite its advantage in combating Sir Stafford’s somersaults. Quite the contrary.

In addition to the Trades Councils listed last week as opposing the conscription plan of the Chamberlain government and its Labour agents, the following, in more important cities, have joined forces with them: The Trades Councils of Bristol, Derby, Brighton, Chichester, Kent, Dartford, Slough and Dundee, aside from numerous local unions and the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants. A revolutionary group in the Labour Party can do tremendous work now as a leaven in the ferment.

* * *

Glad Tidings: New Party of Fourth International Formed in Denmark

At the September Conference of the Fourth International, held in Geneva, Switzerland, there appeared among other representatives, those of the “Leninistisk Arbejdsgruppe,” a group of Danish revolutionists who had recently broken with Stalinism.

Equipped with the program of action adopted there, the Danish comrades returned to their homes to expand their activities in Copenhagen and in the provinces. The result of this expansion of activity has culminated in the formation of the Internationalt Kommunistik Parti (Internationalist Communist Party), Danish Section of the Fourth International. Our heartiest greetings and pledges of the warmest solidarity to the new Danish section of the World Party of Socialist Revolution!

Gordon Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 3 March 2016