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Paul G. Stevens

In the World of Labor

(18 May 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 20, 18 May 1940, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Will Stalinist Intrigues Lead Mexico to Bar Spanish Refugees?

A New York Times dispatch from Mexico City, dated May 6, carries the following news:

“Political agitation against the admission of further contingents of Spanish refugees has caused the Ministry of Government, in view of the approaching Presidential election, to issue an order that no more shall be admitted for the present.

“It is understood that 2,000 Spaniards, ready to sail from France for Mexico, have been obliged to return to concentration camps.”

It has been recognized for some time that in their shady maneuvers in Mexican national politics, the Stalinists are planning to concentrate Spanish Civil War veterans under their influence, for possible action in connection with the current election campaign. Apparently the above dispatch recounts the reaction in Mexico to such a move.

By their pernicious and underhanded intervention in Mexican politics, the Stalinists are thus endangering the very lives of thousands of distraught working class militants who had at last hoped to find refuge. Every friend of these militants must be aroused to expose and combat this reprehensible exploitation of their plight by the dastardly Kremlin clique.

Nevertheless, working class organizations and friends of the Spanish class war veterans cannot confine themselves merely to a condemnation of Stalinism in this affair. Letters, telegrams, resolutions, must be sent at once to the Mexican government urging that – while the need for protection against shady Kremlin intrigues is understandable – the crimes of Stalinism must not be visited upon the heads of the worthy Spanish refugees, innocent of any connection with this gang. In France, forced labor or enrollment in the Foreign Legion are the only alternatives for the heroic fighters against Franco. They must not be left at the mercy of French imperialism. The Mexican government must be urged to give every consideration to them and to distinguish between genuine anti-fascist militants and GPU agents in considering visas.

Labor’s Ranks in Motion as War Enters New Phase

Confirming the report given in these columns recently by our British comrade, the New York Times of May 6 carries a cable from London which gives the following precise information:

  1. The city council of Cardiff in Wales took the lead in denying the use of parks and other open spaces to “Communists.” Laborite members voted against this ban as a denial of the right of free speech.
  2. At the annual congress of the National Union of Distributive and Allied Workers at Blackpool, that union – while officially expressing concern against Stalinist propaganda – voted by a majority of 4,000 votes, to declare the “present war an imperialist war, waged in the interest of the capitalist class, and called on the whole trade union and labor movements to cease helping the government and use all their energy to end the hostilities.”
  3. The same union, according to the Times dispatch, “mustered its fullest strength on a resolution ending the electoral truce with the Chamberlain government, which was carried against the will of the union leadership.”

It looks as if the British working class has already surpassed the first stage – that of mere apathy – and entered on its second lap of anti-war struggle, that of militant protest. From publications of the Fourth International in England which have recently arrived here it appears that the third stage – that of organized action against the treacherous social-patriotic labor leadership – is not too far off. Next week we intend to go into greater length in dealing with British developments.

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