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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(3 March 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 12, 3 March 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Ukrainian Social Democrats Leave 2nd International for ... Nationalist Intrigues

Last September’s crisis showed up the so-called Labor and Socialist International (Second International) as a pretty hollow shell. Shortly after Hitler’s reorganization of Czechoslovakia, the Czech social democracy quickly crumbled away from even this shell. It is now becoming moth-eaten in addition to hollow. The latest recruits to post-Munich nationalism within its ranks are the Ukrainian social democrats.

Meeting in conference at Prague (significantly enough) on Nov. 5 last, the Ukrainian Social Democratic Labor Party adopted a resolution withdrawing from the Second International. The L.S.I. Secretariat has just made this resolution public. Stating the view that the Ukraine has undergone “profound modifications” in the last twenty (!!) years which make the reorganization of a new party necessary, it declares that, in order to build such a party, they “must begin by avoiding all ideological obstacles” and therefore withdraw from the L.S.I.

Obviously, the “modifications” of the last twenty years boil down concretely to the revival of Ukrainian nationalism under the aegis of Hitler’s Ostorientation (drive to the East). The Prague resolution is, therefore, merely an announcement of the unhampered participation of the Ukrainian social democrats in the newly-hatched national intrigues. The Second International pours grist to the mill of the Fascists in even more than an ideological sense.

* * *

French Party of Fourth International Forges Ahead

As reported here last week, a minority of the comrades in the French section of the Fourth International joined the Socialist Workers and Peasants Party (P.S.O.P.) in their desire to bring about a fusion of forces between this sizeable split from the French social democracy (which is recruiting adherents from other groups who have become disillusioned with the Popular Front) and the Fourth Internationalists. This minority took the drastic step it did because of its anxiety over the time element, regretting that the leadership of the P.S.O.P. had not reacted favorably to proposals for a formal unification put forward by the Internationalist Workers Party (P.O.I.), the official Fourth International party in France. The latter is proceeding with its campaign for such a formal joining of forces with even greater vigor than before.

Joint meetings between P.O.I. and P.S.O.P. groups for the purpose of carrying on united front actions are being held regularly in many parts of Paris, in the Citroen and Renault factories, and in many cities in the provinces. Among the latter, the activity of the P.O.I, comrades in Strasbourg is particularly noteworthy.

In Strasbourg, chief city of Alsace, our comrades have had a particularly hard task in combatting the Daladier policy of rapprochement with Hitler Germany, In Alsace, the German nationalists have been bringing tremendous pressure to bear in favor of the Daladier regime.

Our comrades have carried on a highly successful campaign against it and for the revolutionary position of the Fourth International. A printed paper, Die Rote Fahne has appeared as the official organ of the group. 12,000 leaflets were issued by the group calling for the November general strike and same amount of leaflets were issued drawing the lessons of the strike’s betrayal by Jouhaux, Blum and the Stalinists. Both the Rote Fahne and the leaflets got an excellent reception from the German-speaking working class of Alsace. As a result the group has grown rapidly, drawing behind its leadership the militants of the P.S.O.P. Needless to mention, the German nationalists and clericals are pouring out their daily wrath on our comrades and their valiant paper, calling for its suppression by the Daladier government.

* * *

Behind the “Appeasement Policy” of the Chamberlain Government

Some weeks ago we pointed to the opposition of British labor against the “National Register” as one important factor in explanation of what appears to be capitulation before Hitler on the part of British imperialism. Another phase of the background behind Chamberlain’s “appeasement policy” is the situation in the British colonies, above all, in the largest of the colonies – India. Seething rebellion, cropping to the surface in powerful spasms, marks the scene there. Here is a brief review of only a select list of incidents:

These are only a few samples of the Indian ferment. Is it any wonder Chamberlain is for “appeasement”?

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