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Henry Judd

World Politics

(29 March 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 13, 29 March 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Neither Washington nor Moscow”

A new political trend that may well prove to have great significance has been born within the past few weeks in France. This new political front, known as the RDR (Rassemblement Démocratique et Révolutionnaire – Revolutionary Democratic Front) has been initiated by a group of leading French intellectuals, writers, former leaders of the resistance movement, left-wing Socialist Party members, etc. Some of the prominent figures who are active in its ranks are Jean-Paul Sartre, famous existentialist doctrinaire, and the well-known writers Camus and David Rousset, author of the excellent concentration camp study, The Other Kingdom.

The RDR is born of the reaction against the threat and menace of Stalinism (it is highly important to note that many prominent French intellectuals, previously deeply infected with Stalinism, are revolting against it) and the corresponding reaction against the hopelessness of Leon Blum and his Socialist Party. Politically and organizationally, it is, we hear, now being reinforced by the adherence of two substantial groups recently resigned from the Socialist Party. These two groups are the Socialist Youth (JS) and the Revolutionary Socialist Action group (ASR), whose leader is the well-known left Socialist, Dechezelles. Both groups have signed the original manifesto, as has the leadership of the Trotskyist minority faction which is opposed to the sectarianism and sterility of the PCI (French Trotskyist party) leadership.

Although it would be premature to predict future developments, it is possible that we are here witnessing the creation of a new, large and broad centrist political movement in France. Such a party, beginning as a broad socialist movement opposed to Stalinism and social democracy, and oriented against the squeezing of France between Russian and American imperialisms, ‘might mark the revival of independent socialist politics in France. Naturally, this party would be politically confused and composed of many diverse elements, ranging through Christian Socialists, pacifists, intellectuals, militant socialists, etc., but its existence would, mark a new stage in French politics in that it would break up the tendency in France to crystallize into hard and fast Stalinist or de Gaullist lines. The RDR has a voice in the daily newspaper, Franc-Tireur (published daily in Paris, with a tremendous circulation among workers), and partial support from the daily paper, Combat – both resistance-movement born publications.

Labor Action will report on this movement further as we receive details from France.

Stalinism and the Fourth International

We have previously commented on the startling and widespread trend within the ranks of the Fourth International to capitulate, one way or another, to Stalinism, particularly on the issue of the Stalinist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia. The hypocritical evasion of all issues involved in this question has best been illustrated in The Militant, organ of the Socialist Workers Party. We have already commented on this. The French PCI (Parti Communiste Internationaliste) in its paper La Vérité (The Truth) has engaged in the same evasion. The official magazine of the Fourth International (Quatrième Internationale), in its January 1948 issue, published a few weeks before the events, contains the fantastic prediction, in a report on Czechoslovakia, that the capitalist class of that country has the greatest powers of resistance of any country within the Russian sphere because it has the best and closest ties with the Western imperialisms!

It has remained, however, for the English Revolutionary Communist Party, English section of the Fourth International, to come out with the most unashamed pro-Stalinism of all. The current issue of its paper, Socialist Appeal, contains an article by the party’s leading spokesman, Jock Haston, the sole dubious virtue of which is its honesty and forthrightness in contrast with the American SWP. Hailing the Stalinist seizure of power in Czechoslovakia with the words that an “important working class victory has been achieved in Prague,” this desecrator of every idea Trotsky ever held publishes his piece under the heading of “Capitalists Routed in Czechoslovakia”! True enough – along with every semblance of dempcracy, a free labor movement and political organizations including his own Czech comrades!

How refreshing to turn away from this shameful and revolting capitulation to Stalinism and to read a statement issued by the Irish section of the Fourth International, the Revolutionary Socialist League. It gives Haston and his co-thinkers a fitting answer:

“What, then, should be our attitude to the events in Czechoslovakia? Should we, in the name of ‘going with our class,’ condone the coup d’état and even embellish it as a kind of bureaucratically sponsored workers’ revolution? Or should we not admit that it is not an ‘important victory’ but an important defeat that has been inflicted on the Czech workers, notwithstanding the fact that 100,000 class-conscious Prague workers paraded the streets in defense of the new regime? Trotsky, in 1939, harshly condemned the Kremlins seizure of new territories, the progressive content of which (nationalizations!) was far outweighed in his opinion by the conception of a bureaucratic revolution, organized by the Kremlin, which these seizures would engender among the international workers. However, the basic reason why we are absolutely against a Stalinist state regime anywhere is because the free working class movement is sooner or later crushed out of existence; and the mobilization of the workers for the struggle for proletarian state power is thereby rendered immeasurably more difficult. It is against the political vanguard that Stalinism wreaks the greatest havoc. Without this vanguard, however, the socialist struggle cannot prevail.”

The same tendency toward surrender to Stalinism is seen in country after country. We cite some recent examples. The Greek Trotskyists, in a resolution published, in the January issue of Quatrième Internationale, call for critical support to the Stalinist Markos government of that country and urge the workers to fight in its armies. The Ceylon Trotskyists join in political united fronts with the minute Stalinist party of their country. The Trotskyists of India form a nationwide united front, on a broad scale, with the Stalinists and various Stalinist-front organizations of their country. In Bombay they vote for the Stalinist candidates in municipal elections, rather than for Socialists. The same story is repeated elsewhere, in different forms. One of the unexplained phenomena of the day is why the American SWP did not support Wallace! Perhaps this sign of independence will shortly be corrected.

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