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The New Leader Doesn’t Tell the Truth
About Blum and Indo-China Freedom

(13 January 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 2, 13 January 1947, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the December 28, 1946, issue of The New Leader, there appears in the regular column which Liston Oak writes, Trends, a picture of Leon Blum, leader of the French Social Democracy with an accompanying caption: “LEON BLUM – Reaffirmed Independence for Viet Nam.”

The New Leader is a Social Democratic paper and Liston Oak is its managing editor, though he professes a certain organizational independence from the Social Democrats. Oak has made a specialty of writing preachments about “democratic values” and in a recent debate with Max Shachtman, chairman of the Workers Party, attacked Bolshevism for what he called its “undemocratic” practices.

Now there appears in his column this really remarkable caption under Leon Blum’s picture. At a time when Blum’s government is sending General Jacques Leclerc and several thousand troops from North Africa to aid in the suppression of the Indo-Chinese independence movement: at a time when the party of Leon Blum in conjunctlon with the MRP and the Stalinists has voted in the Chamber of Deputies for motions of support for the troops attempting to re-establish the control of French imperialism in Indo-China (see last week’s Labor Action for exact reports of this); at this time Liston Oak, the defender of “democratic values” carries in his column the outright falsehood that Blum reaffirms independence for Viet Nam.

We wish to ask Oak, and we are certain the entire radical public would be greatly interested in his reply:

Is not your “comrade” Leon Blum the Premier of the Government which has sent Leclerc, notorious for his previous record of antidemocratic suppression, to Indo-China to help smash the Viet Nam?

Did not your “comrade” Blum retract his pusillanimous statement in Le Populaire about freedom for Indo-China in favor of a statement urging its “freedom within the framework of the French union” – the favorite dodge of all supporters of imperialism?

And what will you, Liston Oak, and your New Leader with all its democratic pretentions now say about the imperialist record of the French Social Democrats who are going their (and your) comrades of the British Labor Party one better – though there have not yet been reports of your “comrade” Blum’s troops legally whipping Indo-Chinese the way your “comrade” Bevin’s troops legally whip Palestinian Jews?

For the question is, Liston Oak, what price “democratic values?”

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