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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(27 January 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 4, 27 January 1940, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Greetings to Illegal Organ of French Comrades

L’EtincelleThe Spark – organ of the French Fourth Internationalists is appearing regularly! From the November, and December issues of the paper, which have just reached these shores, we get a picture of close contact with the masses of workers, the poilus and the French colonials as well as of intensive activity on the part of our valiant comrades. L’Etincelle appears illegally and is bound up with tremendous sacrifices. That it appears at all is a tribute to the heroism of the comrades engaged in the work. That its pages are filled with a wealth of pertinent information and with pungent revolutionary directives is a token of the vitality of our movement.

Our warmest fraternal greetings to L’Etincelle, a great pioneer in the struggle for the Socialist United States of Europe, a powerful front-fighter against imperialist war!

News from the Front – Uncensored

From the organ of our French comrades we cull the following items which show what is really going on at the front:

In the Navy – the Same Rebellious Spirit

* * *

Dissolution of the Federation of Technicians by the C.G.T.

The Federation of Technicians had taken a clear revolutionary position right from the start of the war. It had opposed the Stalin-Hitler as well as the Paris-London-Warsaw pacts. Unable to discipline the Federation as part of its police-controlled anti-Stalinist drive in the unions because of the Technicians’ well-known opposition to Stalinism, the C.G.T. (General Federation of’ Labor) officialdom has finally decided to expel the Technicians for “delay in payment of its per capita.”

Arrests of Workers in the Factories

Militants are being arrested right at their place of work in the Paris district. In the “Lorraine” factory (whose protest actions were reported in a previous column) the cops have been picking militants off one by one, taking them away in their work clothes. At the Mureaux factory the whole shop committee (non-Communists included) has been sent to the front after a period of imprisonment. At the Gnome et Rhone factory the militants are sent to the barracks under guard – and often directly to the front – long before their ninety days’ period (of assigned work) is up.

Our comrades are carrying on a vigorous campaign against the arrests in the factories, against the persecution of the Communist Party militants by the police and the trade union fakers and for the maintenance of trade union unity – the right of the local unions and shop councils to retain their regularly elected officers even if these are Stalinists. The campaign is bearing fruit with a steady influx of former C.P. militants into the ranks of the Fourth International.

Class Struggle Continues in Germany – Despite Hitler Terror

In the great Siemens automobile works near Berlin the workers are demanding the return of the eight-hour day and increases in wages. Illegal leaflets are circulating in all departments under the heading: We Don’t Want to Work for the War! Soldiers, Refuse to Shoot!

In several munitions plants in the same area the following slogan is found inscribed on walls: “To Fight for Higher Wages Is to Fight Against War!”

Demonstrations by Workers and Women in Vienna

At a munitions plant in the proletarian quarter of Brigittenau in Vienna, a protest resolution of the entire personnel against the non-payment of overtime was adopted at a shop meeting and transmitted to the “Labor Front.” The former shop committee men were subsequently all arrested.

At an “educational meeting” of the Nazi party in the Ottakring section, women interrupted the speaker, Nazi-leader Krebs, with continual complaints about the difficulty they encounter in buying food staples. Several women were arrested.

At the Karmeliter Market there was a demonstration of housewives who formed lines displaying empty baskets and shouting: “We thank our Fuehrer.”

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