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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(16 June 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 42, 16 June 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Are Our French Comrades Facing an “Espionage” Trial?

Last week we gave several instances of the wave of persecution unleashed against the anti-war forces in France and its colonies. As a result of the rebellion among the soldiers of the Maginot Line against the indefinite retention of the reservists, which we reported in this column, the persecutions have multiplied. In addition to numerous local headquarters, the central offices of the Socialist Workers and Peasants Party in Paris have since been raided twice. Similar raids have been made on anarchist and syndicalist centers throughout the country. But more startling than all these incidents is the case of our comrades Steve and Rigal, young militants of the French section of the Fourth International.

Steve and Rigal have been held incommunicado since their arrest several weeks ago. They were arrested for anti-militarist articles appearing in our press and all efforts to see them up to the present have been unsuccessful. In the name of the coming war for “democracy”, the most elementary democratic rights are thus being abrogated even before the outbreak of hostilities. Outrageous as this procedure is, the rumors being spread about the case are even more alarming. As in the case of the rebels in the colonies, according to certain sources, the government is going to try the revolutionary anti-militarists under charge of “conspiring with foreign powers.”

If the frenzied lynch-agitation of the Stalinist Humanité and its parliamentary expert on military affairs, Gitton, are any indication, a frame-up espionage trial against Rigal and Steve is being cooked up behind the scenes. Already the recruiting sergeants for imperialist war in the ranks of the French labor movement are every day hatching amalgams in their press between the P.S.F. (Colonel LaRocque’s Fascist French Social Party) and the “Pivertists-Trotskyists” in preparation for frame-ups.

Of course, our French comrades are not being intimidated by this campaign. They are carrying on their anti-militarist work with even greater vigor than before. But the whole revolutionary movement of the world must stand ready to aid them against the frame-ups and persecutions which French “democracy” and its Stalinist and reformist agents are hurling at them.

Revolutionary Socialists of Ceylon Mark Important Advances

Among the signs of revolt against British war preparations in the colonies, we recently cited the struggle of the Socialist Party of Ceylon. As we pointed out at the time, this party has consistently opposed “collective security” and at its recent national conference adopted a resolution on war which affirmed the revolutionary class struggle as the only means of fighting against war.

That the Ceylon masses have responded to this policy is attested to by the fact that the party has since elected two members to the State Council and combined its parliamentary activity with powerful street demonstrations in Columbo and other towns. The Ceylon Socialist Party celebrated May Day by converting its weekly paper into a daily. Our heartiest congratulations and warmest greetings of solidarity to the revolutionary socialists of Ceylon!

Unspeakable Stalinist Attacks Against Revolutionary

The Stalinists in France are leaving no stone unturned to make life as miserable as possible for the revolutionary Spanish refugees who have found a precarious and temporary asylum in that country. Because of the revelations of these refugees, which exposed the counter-revolutionary role of the Kremlin in Spain, the G.P.U. agents are redoubling their efforts to silence these opponents by even more despicable methods than they have employed hitherto.

These assassins of Erwin Wolf, Nin and Moulin now have the unmitigated nerve to accuse Spanish anti-Stalinists of plotting the assassination of a Stalinist deputy, André Marty Nor do they confine the accusation to their press. They have taken it directly to Albert Sarraut, Minister of the Interior, whom they not so long ago characterized as the arch-Fascist in France. Furnishing him with lists upon lists of their opponents among the refugees they have demanded that he round them up and hold them for trial.

The bloodhounds of the Kremlin hope by this means to cover up their crimes in Spain They will hardly succeed. As with their other crimes, here too truth is on the march.

* * *

An excellent account of the civil war in Spain, submitting its experiences to the searchlight of Marxist analysis, has just been published by our French comrades in a special issue of their theoretical review, Quatrième Internationale The pamphlet is entitled L’Espagne Livrée: Comment le Front Populaire a ouvert les portes à Franco (Spain surrendered: How the People’s Front Opened the Gates to Franco). The author is M. Casanova, one of the leaders of the Spanish section of the Fourth International, whose miraculous escape from Spain was related in the Appeal last March. Pioneer Publishers is planning to publish it in English soon. Its appearance is another important blow directed against Stalinism and will be invaluable in educating the cadres of the new revolutionary International.

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