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Henry Judd

American Facelifters Work on Stalin

Now “A Kindly Man With Grey Hair”

(December 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 49, 8 December 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Joseph Stalin, having invoked the name of God during the course of a toast blessing the efforts of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is now awaiting the result of his invocation. Was it all “in vain,” or will the rocky Arsenal of Democracy open up and gush forth its supplies of tanks, planes and guns in an endless flow?

Certainly the preliminary results seem to have been propitious! The British, have opened up the long-hoped for “Second Front” in North Africa; transportation to Russia by way of Iran and India is working with smoother efficiency.

Perhaps there is something in this prayer business after all!

It is not surprising to witness the sudden “conversion” of Stalin. This criminal assassin of the Russian people, who has destroyed root and branch of the original workers’ democratic state established in Russia, has placed the destiny of the bureaucratic class which he leads entirely in the hands of the Anglo-American war camp. Just as Petain and Il Duce do the bidding of Hitler, so Stalin must do the bidding of Roosevelt-Churchill.

Professions of religious faith are minor aspects of the political obligations Stalin must assume. To a sinister and permanently corrupted individual such as himself, problems of sincerity have no reality. Stalin is sincerely “converted” to whatever may help perpetuate his crumbling regime. Tomorrow, if it would secure, him a few more tanks and some oil, he would join the Society of Jesus or don the robes of a Dominican monk!

American capitalism works hard to fulfill its part of this deceitful bargain.

Stalin has been handed over, to the beauty specialists of our “political Hollywood.” He is to be glamorized, re-built along approved American lines. None but experts can work, at this task.

His mustache must be trimmed, his face lifted, the cold mask replaced by one belonging to a kindly old gent (with graying hair), who only loves his country. The voice that once sentenced thousands of revolutionists to the execution squads now becomes strong and mellow, filled with patriotic overtones and gentle expressions in the manner of Charles Boyer. Trust our specialists – they are vastly experienced.

First come the officials and diplomats. Harry Hopkins, Joseph Davies and Averill Harriman return home with words of ecstatic praise for the man and his regime.

Not to be outdone, Messrs. Churchill and Berverbrook utter mouth-filling words of Victorian praise for the genial and unconquerable “Defender of the Faith,” the doughty warrior and “Defender of the Realm.”

The assassin of the Old Bolshevik Guard – specially skilled in the arts of frame-up and mass terror – becomes, in the words of an American diplomatic representative at Kuibshev “a kindly old gentleman with graying hair”!

To add finishing touches and a more polished air to the new portrait, hoards of ex-Stalinist liberals, journalists and fellow travelers set to work. No longer “disillusioned” (for Stalin has finally joined up with a world-wide Popular Front) they forget the crimes which they (or some of them) exposed a few brief months ago and revert to yesterday’s hypocritical game – apologists for the totalitarian regime of Moscow-Kuibishev. Duranty, Sheehan, Fischer, Ralph (“I Came, I Saw, I Interviewed”) Ingersoll, Hindus, etc. A collection of journalistic hacks worshipping at the same shrine of World War II.

Washington society vies for admission tickets to Russian Embassy balls; New York debutantes make their debuts at affairs for “Russian Medical Aid”; Russian films of the Stalin vintage are revived wholesale; a hundred radio stations play folk music (Cossack music is most popular); Tschaikowsky is played, swung, recorded and canned; the Stalinist intelligentsia is dizzy with success.

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