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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(17 March 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 16, 17 March 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A Wave of Persecutions Hits the Polish Trotzkyists

On February 14, the French news agency “Havas” carried the following dispatch over its wires from Warsaw:

“A wide-spread police action has been undertaken against illegal political groups. More than a hundred persons have been arrested and forty-seven are still being held. The police action appears to be directed against Trotskyist elements in the main. In the course of the raids, leaflets and proclamations of the Fourth International were seized in large quantities.”

This reign of persecution unleashed against our Polish comrades is of particular significance in view of preceding events. As reported in these columns, Moscow dissolved the Polish Communist Party last July. The formal dissolution of this Comintern section followed the physical extermination of scores of Polish leading militants during the Stalinist purges in Russia since 1936.

Immediately after the dissolution of the C.P.P. was announced, the Polish Trotskyists issued an appeal for the reconstitution of the Polish Communist Party on the basis of the platform of the Fourth International. They undertook this step under the most dangerous circumstances. The fascist police of Poland was constantly at their heels, aided by the Stalinist agents who openly denounced our comrades to them in the press.

Nevertheless, the Polish Trotskyists carried on widespread activity with excellent results. Several weeks ago they were able to hold a successful conference at which a whole series of important documents were adopted. It was shortly after this conference that the police, encouraged by reports from Stalinist stool-pigeons, launched the drive reported by “Havas.” How hard the organization has been hit cannot be said as yet. Reports are too scant. But, although a large number of leading comrades have been jailed, the Polish section of the Fourth International has already established a name for itself as the only revolutionary organization in the country. Its growth can be impeded by police persecutions, but it cannot be stopped. Our most heartfelt feelings of solidarity to the brave illegal Bolshevik fighters in Poland! The victorious revolution of the Eastern and Central European working class will avenge the dastardly murders of their leaders and the stool-pigeoning betrayal of their militants by the Stalinist agents!

Revolutionary Socialists of Ceylon Show Way to Fight Fascism

Particularly gratifying these days is the fact that the oppressed of the colonial countries refuse to be fooled by either Stalinists or social democrats in the so-called Mother countries regarding the line-up of the democracies against the totalitarian states for the coming war.

Among those most clearly outspoken against the fraud of the “democratic front” are the militants of the Ceylon Socialist Party. This party has been carrying on a persistent struggle against the British ban of trade unions on the island, against the pussyfooting of the Ceylon National Congress in its dealings with the British colonial office and for democratic rights. Recently the party held its annual conference, at which 500 delegates were present. Among other resolutions adopted was one on the Munich “peace.” It is in this resolution especially, that the Ceylon revolutionary socialists speak out in a voice which cannot but arouse the attention of the workers misled by Stalinism and social reformism in the imperialist countries. The resolution concludes by “proclaiming to all colonial peoples and to the international working class, that in successful colonial struggle against imperialism lies not only freedom to colonial peoples, but also the main attack against fascism; for finance capital draws its greatest strength from the exploitation of colonial peoples.”

Daladier Hits at French Revolutionists While Chamber Talks of “Amnesty”

While the French Chamber of Deputies is preoccupied with debates regarding the granting of amnesty to all those arrested during the general strike last November, the Daladier government, helped into power by the disastrous Popular Front, becomes particularly vicious in its attack against the revolutionary press.

On February 7, comrade Suzanne Charply, former editor of Revolution, the organ of the Fourth Internationalist youth in France, was condemned to ten months imprisonment and a 2,000 franc fine. The charge was that an article in the paper incited the military to disobedience.

On Feb. 13, comrade Loret, editor of La Lutte Ouvrière, the weekly paper of the Internationalist Workers Party (P.O.I.), French Section of the Fourth International, was hailed into court for an article giving the revolutionary defeatist position of the P.O.I, in the course of the frenzied, social-patriotic days of the September crisis. His case is yet to be tried.

Daladier, the hero of the Popular Front and the conqueror of the general strike, knows whom French capitalism has to fear. All aid to the French Fourth Internationalists, under attack from the capitalist government, in the front ranks of the working class struggle!

Winston Churchill as Guest of Soviet Ambassador Maisky

On Tuesday, February 21, that arch-jingo of British imperialism and earliest of enemies of the October revolution, Mr. Winston Churchill, was an official guest at a dinner given at the Soviet Embassy in London by Ivan Maisky, former White Guard and present incumbent in the ambassadorial position.

Apparently there was some confusion as to whether Mr. Churchill had turned left or whether Mr. Maisky was merely renewing acquaintances.

A commentator in a rather conservative British labor paper reassures his readers with the following contribution on the subject:

“Churchill’s visit to the Russian Embassy must not be taken as confirmation that he has joined the Communist party. He is regarded as being too far to the Left for that yet.”

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