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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(30 March 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 13, 30 March 1940, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

New Recruits for Australian Section of Fourth International

Our comrades of the Communist League of Australia (Section of the Fourth International) are steadily evincing signs of rapid growth. Their bold revolutionary work, carried on under wartime pressure, is attracting widespread support from a working class which has a tradition of anti-war struggle. The anti-war resolution which, the newspapers here report, was adopted last week by the New South Wales Federation of the Australian Labor Party, despite the rabid opposition of the party’s leadership, may be regarded as another indication of the trend.

The League’s official organ, the Militant, in its February issue, reports that the Boot Trades Union has endorsed our comrades’ call “for steps to be taken to develop organization to provide working class resistance to any future attacks on the workers’ already limited rights.” The Trades and Labor Council of Sydney is to act on the union’s recommendation shortly.

Two organizers of the League have been sent to Melbourne which, the Militant reminds us, “was the center of the anti-war movement” in 1914–1918.

Recruitment to our ranks from the disillusioned ranks of the Stalinist party is continuing apace in Australia. Aside from numerous worker-militants, prominent C.P. intellectuals and leaders are rallying to the banner of the Fourth International. Among the latter, aside from J.N. Rawlings and Guido Barachi, whose break with Stalinism was reported here some time ago, Jack Kavanagh and Betty Roland have now publicly declared their stand. Kavanagh is a former leader of the Communist Party of Australia and Betty Roland is that country’s leading playwright. In a statement issued by her and published by the Communist League, Betty Roland says:

“Naturally, my disillusion has not been confined to the leadership of the C.P. of Australia, as I realize that events here, as in all sections of the Communist International, have their origin in Moscow. And, while I recognize that the U.S.S.R. is still a workers’ state and still retains the principle achievement of the October revolution, i.e., the socialized means of production, nevertheless the present leadership under Joseph Stalin is the enemy of that workers’ state, and, unless speedily deposed, will certainly bring about the destruction of the gains of October and betray the Soviet Union into the hands of the capitalist class, as they have betrayed the revolutionary cause in so many other parts of the world since they came to power.”

The February Militant also publishes a statement of the Communist League on Stalin’s Assault on Finland identical with the resolution on the Soviet-Finnish war adopted by the Political Committee of the Socialist Workers Party.

New Publications of the International in Other Countries

In spite of the censorship, publications of our sections in other parts of the world manage occasionally to reach the office of the Appeal.

Especially gratifying in this respect, is the fact that comrade Leon Trotsky’s great work The U.S.S.R. in War is enjoying widespread attention. The pamphlet has now been issued in England, in Belgium, in Switzerland, in Denmark and in South America. The French edition, published by our comrades of the Belgian Revolutionary Socialist Party, contains a preface applying its political conclusions to the recent Soviet- Finnish War. In Denmark, it has appeared as a special issue of Klasse Kamp, the official publication of our section there. The German edition is published along with Trotsky’s later work, Again and Again on the Character of the U.S.S.R. in Der Einzige Weg, theoretical organ of our comrades in Switzerland. In South America, the pamphlet was published by Clave, monthly theoretical review of our Latin American comrades.

Among other publications received are the following:

“Whilst vicious attacks are being made on the rights of trade unionists, whilst wage cuts are proposed by the City of London, our most responsible trade union official, Sir Walter Citrine, goes to Finland to solidarize himself with the bloody butcher Mannerheim. This mission is obviously one inspired by the National Government. The visit resembles that of J.H. Thomas and Henderson in 1917, when these labor fakers were sent by Churchill to Russia in order to induce the Russian toilers to continue the struggle on the side of the allies ... We have chosen our place in this struggle. It is on the side of the Soviet Union and against Chamberlain, Daladier and Roosevelt ... We realize that the treacherous policy of the Comintern is now bearing fruit. The Soviet Union is now in danger, and she has very few friends left in the working class movement of the world. But it is the duty of revolutionists to explain patiently that Stalin has not yet succeeded in destroying all the economic and political conquests of the October revolution ... Move in your trade union branches resolutions against Citrine’s visit to Finland ... No Intervention Against Russia! For the Defense of the U.S.S.R.!”

That this sentiment is gaining ground in England is indicated by the report, carried in the press this week, of the strong anti-war resolution adopted by the national convention of the National Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks. The action of the Scottish Division of the Independent Labor Party, on which we commented last week, is another indication.

The revolutionary anti-war stand of the Fourth International is making itself felt despite the war-mongering of the social patriots and the confusion spread by the centrists of the I.L.P. and its similars.

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