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Paul Schapiro

Workers Forum

Discusses Meaning of Spy Scare

(6 September 1948)

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 36, 6 September 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).


The Congressional spy-scare hearings have as their primary purpose the inflaming of public opinion in order to render more easy the conviction of the Stalinist leaders so that the Smith Gag Law may be used on the morrow against all those opposed to War. The Republicans are also using these hearings to sell themselves as better agents of imperialism than the “inefficient” Democrats, but this is only rivalry within the family which is of secondary importance.

With a glow of moral superiority it is being, charged that Stalin maintained an espionage system in the United States at the very time that the United States and the Soviet Union were war-time allies. This is undoubtedly true, whether or not the testimony given at the hearings is true in every detail. But so, undoubtedly, did the Wall Street, government, in spite of the statements on both sides of undying friendship and eternal peace after the war.

Spying is, of course, going on in preparation for war. Recently, in reply to a demand by a Senate, subcommittee that it be allowed to see the confidential visa files of UN representatives, Secretary of State Marshall replied (N.Y. Herald Tribune, Aug. 14): “Much material in the files has been obtained by our diplomatic and consular establishments abroad from confidential sources which must be protected.” The reporter added, “It was learned that the State Department is concerned also with protecting sources within the United States government, and possibly, other governments.” So part of the work of United States ambassadors and military attaches abroad is spying. American intelligence, as well as Russian intelligence, uses tools in foreign governments.

Militant workers will observe With interest the revelations of instability of the Stalinist bureaucracy indicated by the flight of many of its representatives abroad and the disclosures of GPU activity against proletarian revolutionists, such as that made by Miss Bentley when she described the role Golos played in the murder of Leon Trotsky. However, they will not allow the spy hullabaloo to divert them from fighting the action of the government against the Communist Party, whatever its bureaucratization and the connections of its tops with the GPU. This action is merely intended to be a plunge through a soft sector of labor in order to out-flank the entire labor movement.


Paul Schapiro
New York City

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