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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(2 June 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 38, 2 June 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Fourth Internationalists Organize Anti-Nazi Fight in Denmark

It is fast becoming a fact that wherever there is organized, militant struggle against fascism, there the Fourth Internationalists will be found at the forefront; wherever a section of the Fourth International exists, there the fascists cannot take to the streets without facing battle.

The Socialist Workers Party brought the masses into the streets to meet the provocations of the Nazi Bund and the various home-baked varieties of fascism in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the course of the past year. The Revolutionary Socialist Party of Belgium stopped Degrelle’s Rexists in their tracks in one mining town after another, when the fascists attempted to penetrate the proletarian strongholds of the Borinage region. And now, word comes that the newly organized section of the Fourth International in Denmark, the Internationalist Communist Party whose formation we greeted in these columns but a short few months ago, led a successful counter-demonstration against the Danish Nazis in Copenhagen on May 1.

Close to the German border and thus more arrogant than elsewhere, the Danish Nazis provocatively announced a mass meeting in one of the city’s public squares on the workers’ holiday. The social democrats and the Stalinists responded to this challenge in their usual cowardly fashion – they demonstrated under the national flag in a park miles away from the Nazis. Only our Danish comrades took up the challenge. Thousands of leaflets calling for a counter-demonstration were distributed by the I.C.P. throughout Copenhagen on the day before the demonstration and, on May Day, at the rallies of the Stalinists and the social democrats.

Everywhere the appeal was greeted enthusiastically. Fifteen hundred workers joined the I.C.P. in active combat at the Nazi meeting. Although the police protected the latter, they could not make themselves heard. Every speaker was pelted with a multitude of projectiles from the crowd, which was well-equipped with rotten eggs and ripe tomatoes.

In this action, the I.C.P. for the first time brought into the public streets of Denmark the transitional slogans of the Fourth International. Inscribed on placards, they were greeted enthusiastically by the assembled workers. Altogether, it was an auspicious baptism in action for this fighting infant in the ranks of our international.

More power to the Danish Bolshevik-Leninists!

Ranks of French “Labor” Leaders Split by Munich Crisis

Some time ago, this column indicated the rift created in the ranks of the major Frencn labor organizations after the September crisis. In the General Federation of Labor (C.G.T.) the formerly militant syndicalist minority – the “Amis de Syndicats” – countered the Jouhaux-Stalinist war-mongering with nothing but a pro-Munich type of “pacifism”. In the official Socialist Party (S.F.I.O.), where Leon Blum joined the Stalinists in their pro-war line, the crisis brought forward the pro-Munich tendency of Paul Faure. Now the rift has widened considerably.

The syndicalists, with their blind apathy toward politics and their superficial anti-Stalinism, were bound to flounder into dangerous waters. At first, their agreement with the Flandin-Bonnet group of capitalist “Munich-ois” appeared to be a mere coincidence. When their pamphlets were reprinted in the press of this imperialist gang, that should have been cause for them to pause. It was, but instead of re-evaluating their phoney kind of pacifism, they began to “reconsider” ... their syndicalism.

They have finally arrived at a conclusion which makes their class collaboration no better, and in a sense even more dangerous, than that of Jouhaux and the Stalinists whom they have been fighting for years. Joint meetings with the bosses’ association representatives “in the general interest of the country” have been organized by such prominent syndicalists as Georges Dumoulin and Delaisi in the North, where they are in control of the unions. Dumoulin writes in their paper, Syndicats, with a cynicism characteristic of those whom he has fought in the past:

“There are, of course, some risks ... We haven’t abandoned a particle of our class feelings; we merely think that, like everything else, the class struggle has changed. It has taken on new forms. In every case, constructive work requires collaboration and no durable construction is possible without loyal collaboration ...”

The syndicalists are thus well on their way into the camp of the Munich group of French capitalists, just as their Stalinist opponents have already lined up with the pro-war group.

Paul Faure Lines Up the S.P. against Blum

In the S.F.I.O., the same tendency is reflected in the struggle between the Paul Faure and Leon Blum factions. Under the cry that “the heavy obligations imposed by national defense are serving as a pretext for a policy of social reaction”, Faure demands, not a denunciation of national defense by coalitions with the capitalist parties ... but a break with the Stalinists on the part of Leon Blum and the Socialist Party. Having been the general secretary of that party Paul Faure lined up a large majority at the party convention last week-end in a test vote on whether to debate a resolution on this subject which he had presented and the National Committee had suppressed. Faure does not yet openly propose alignment with the Flandin-Bonnet group of French capitalists. But his stand in the Munich crisis leaves no doubt that he is headed in the same direction on the political field as the syndicalists are on the trade union field.

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