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Henry Judd

Stalin Acts to Enslave Czechoslovak People!

(1 March 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 9, 1 March 1948, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

FEBRUARY 23 – Moving with the speed and organized ruthlessness of totalitarian movements, the Czechoslovakian Stalinist party is openly seizing total power over the country and its 6,0000,000 people. Openly discarding all pretenses of legal action, within the framework of the Czech constitution, the armed gangs organized by the Stalinist leaders have launched a reign of terror and arrests throughout the land. The aim is to create a majority of Stalinist supporters in the Czech Parliament by the expedient pf liquidating enough opponents to get this “majority.” Then an all-Staiinist government will be proclaimed and put forward as the legitimate government of the nation.

Action committees of the Stalinist machine are arresting hundreds of non-Stalinist political officials, beginning with top ministers of all parties and ending with the smaller officials of local and city administrative bodies. Opposition newspapers and magazines are being silenced by outright seizure, confiscation or the refusal of Stalinist-controlled printers’ unions to publish them. Police and soldiers, all dominated by the Stalinists, and backed up by armed gangs, have occupied the headquarters of all parties, including the Social Democrats.

The Stalinist Minister of the Interior, Nosek, is the directing hand behind this seizure of power. Directing the police forces and supplemented by the party machine of the Stalinists, Nosek has ordered all local officials and political representatives to take their orders from the local Stalinist leadership.

Simultaneously the National Labor Organization, entirely controlled by the Stalinists, has been ordered to take over all factories and businesses having 50 or more workers. The seizure of Czechoslovakia by the Stalinists is proceeding along several lines at the same time – seizure of the state power and its administrative branches; seizure over the country’s entire economic system and strangulation of all opposition political tendencies.

The Stalinists mobilized their forces on all fronts, including a carefully controlled one-hour strike of the labor movement.

Brutal Counter-Revolution

Little or no resistance has been offered as yet to the various moves organized by Stalin’s supporters in Czechoslovakia. The various capitalist parties are completely routed, terrorized and incapable of lifting a finger to stop the march of the totalitarians. President Benes will undoubtedly fall into line and accept the; Stalinist government as the “legal power, ” thus actually facilitating its taking over of the nation.

As for the Social Democrats, until now in close political and governmental alliance with the Stalinists, they have signified their readiness to join the Stalinists. The most pro-Stalinist leader of the Social Democrats, Fierlinger, has become head of the party and will fufill his function of giving the Stalinists a majority of the votes in Parliament.

There seems no force capable of halting the Stalinists and preventing them from, setting up their reactionary dictatorship over Czechoslovakia. Stalin has given the order to bring the unhappy land firmly within the area blocked off by the Iron Curtain and to create exactly the same type of regime that exists in Poland, Yugoslavia and other lands of the Stalinist empire.

What is taking place in Czechoslovakia is a brutal counter-revolution that will mean the final destruction of whatever political liberties and democratic rights have remained until now. It can only end with the imposition of a new, bloody GPU-Stalinist dictatorship upon the Czech and Slovak peoples. It will mean the destruction of the country’s labor movement. It has nothing in common with socialism or the winning of workers’ power.

How significant is the fact that when the Stalinist leaders ordered the unions to seize the factories, they commanded them to hold the factories only until the government administrators (that is, the Stalinists) arrived to take charge of affairs. Czechoslovakia will rapidly assume all the characteristics of Stalin’s Russia and other lands where police rule, dictatorship, secret police and political gangsterism reign supreme.

Before the eyes of the world, the Czech and Slovak peoples are being enslaved by force and violence organized on a sinisterly effective scale. Let the labor movement of America and other countries speak out openly in condemnation, without equivocation, of the scene now unfolding in Czechoslovakia. This is reaction and counter-revolution, open and undisguised.

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