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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(4 August 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 56, 4 August 1939, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Leon Blum Reveals His Role in Installing Daladier

In a recent polemic with a bourgeois opponent, Leon Blum speaks with startling candor about the part he has played in installing the current Daladier reaction as the political regime in Prance. Writing in Le Populaire on July 8, he boasts of “having done everything possible to insure a peaceful transfer of power (into the hands of Chautemps, Daladier’s friend) on June 20, 1937.”

“I left no stone unturned,” he writes, “to see that things were done just that way.

“If I had bucked the Senate, if I had decided upon resistance, if I had called upon the masses of the people for support of such resistance, indeed if I had only allowed the masses free play for their instinctive movement, very likely M. Wladimir d’Ormesson [the gentleman against whom the polemic is directed – P.G.S.] and his friends would have felt shivers creeping down their spines of the same kind as in May and June 1936 ...”

Nor is this said in a spirit of penitence.

“I have nothing to regret in my conduct of that time,” Blum adds. The former Premier winds up his article by reproaching “bourgeois of the type of M. d’Ormesson” that they simply dub as impotence “that which they should praise, they more than anyone else, as an act of wisdom.”

“Fortunately,” he concludes, “we are wiser than they.”

Fortunately, for the capitalist class, naturally. Not for the workers, certainly.

Daladier Plans Frame-Ups Against French Anti-Militarists

To the list of French anti-militarists arraigned before Daladier’s courts has been added the name of Lucien Weitz, youth leader of the Socialist Workers and Peasants Party (P.S.O.P.). Together with Marceau Pivert, Jaquier, Goldschild and Lafeuvre, other leading militants of this party, Weitz is charged with inciting the military to disobedience.

But, aside from that charge, the youth leader is also being prosecuted for “divulging information relating to an espionage case.” This latter charge is based on the publication of the following item in Jeune Garde, the paper which Weitz edited:

“Comrade Steve of the J.S.R. (Revolutionary Socialist Youth, French youth section of the Fourth International which recently merged with the P.S.O.P. youth) has been under arrest for more than a week; he is held in solitary confinement without the possibility of any contact with the outside world.”

From the charge, it is evident that Comrade Steve, as well as our comrades Rigal and Schmitt, whose case has been reported in this column repeatedly, are actually being framed-up as spies.

That some such kind of an amalgam is being planned is further confirmed by reports in last Friday’s paper of the arrest of a stenographer employed by the Senate military appropriations committee who is alleged to be a member of the “pacifist wing of the Socialist party which recently split away from the main body,” namely the P.S.O.P. The Senate stenographer is also held on an espionage charge. His name is linked in the newspaper dispatches with that of Otto Abetz, avowed Gestapo agent, who was expelled from France several weeks ago. The Daladier government has learned a good deal from Gestapo and G.P.U. frame-up methods.

Belgian Militants Appeal for Help in Miners’ Struggle

Some time ago we reported that the Belgian boss class locked out some 4,500 workers who stood their ground against downward revisions in the wage and hour scales when renewal of contracts came up in the Levant du Flenu mines.

The lockout is still in full force. Some 20,000 persons are on the brink of starvation. The reformist leaders of the miners union have remained absolutely passive. Only our comrades of the Belgian Revolutionary Socialist Party are carrying on a campaign for militant action. As the first need of the hour, they have launched the slogan of equal division of work among all the miners in the region in those mines which the lockout has not yet affected. It is a demand which has found a ready response among the active militants in the mines who know what demoralization of their locked-out comrades can mean for their whole movement.

Meanwhile our comrades, whose main base is in the mine regions, have encountered the greatest difficulty in raising the material means for their campaign. The miners who make up the bulk of the members of the party are penniless.

In a deeply moving letter, Comrade Walter Dauge, the leader of the P.S.R. has appealed to us here in America to come to the aid of the Belgian party.

The S.O.S. of our Belgian miner comrades must not be left unanswered. Collect and send in contributions for them to this column. They will be remitted at once.

Send all monies to Socialist Appeal, Att. Belgian Fund, 116 University Place.

Stalinists Attack Thomas Mann: End of Another People’s Front?

In line with the alleged negotiations between the Kremlin and Wilhelmstrasse, it is interesting to note the attack launched by the German Communist Party press against Thomas Mann, the well-known novelist. Up until very recently Mann has been played up by the Stalinists as the true prophet of the German People’s Front. No matter what inane, anti-socialist and anti-communist literary twaddle Herr Mann saw fit to bandy about, on the public platform or in print, the paid German agents of Stalin have always leaped to his defense.

Recently Herr Mann referred to certain similarities between the political regime in Russia and that in Germany, at a lecture in New York. For that speech, he has now been attacked by the Stalinist Runa-Korrespondenz of Zurich as a “lackey of American big business.” If this attack is at all indicative, it is as an adumbration of a change in line on the part of the bowdlerized Comintern. Apparently, the German “People’s Front,” always more of a caricature of those in France and Spain than anything else, is also about to be officially buried.

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