Comintern History Archive
The two pamphlets below were both published in 1942, the first by the Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain and the second as a reply to it by the Trotskyist Workers International League, the main component of the future Revolutionary Communist Party. Though the first by William Wainwright is known about and often referred to in conversation among Trotskyists, it is difficult to get hold of and few people have actually seen a copy. For this reason the text is being made available here as one of the finest examples of the Stalinist School of falsification and slander, a field with a good deal of competition, and which reflects no credit at all on its author who here reveals himself as an inveterate liar and mercenary. After a lapse nearly sixty years it has acquired a rich ripe comic flavour.
But readers will appreciate that this was not always so funny. The injunction that “They should be treated as you would treat a Nazi” or “Treat him as you would treat an open Nazi” could only be considered in the desperate war year of 1942, when many people had lost loved ones or had their homes destroyed, to be an incitement to murder any Trotskyist or indeed any ILPer.
Trotskyist folk-lore does not emphasise that Wainwright spent almost as much time in denouncing the pacifists of the ILP as he did of the Trotskyists and in making a dishonest amalgam between them. The ILP was of course far more important in numerical term than the WIL at that time and everybody would be aware of them. The POUM, they averred, was “Trotskyist” and that damned McGovern and his ilk. Reading this effusion one cannot help wondering at whom it was aimed. Surely broad sectors of the Labour party, even if they had never met a Trotskyist and knew nothing of Trotskyism, could see what utter bilge Wainwright was vomiting forth about Maxton and McGovern. Was this not somewhat counter-productive? The references to the two right-wing conservatives, Colonel Moore-Brabazon and Captain Margesson, relate to the vote in the Commons against the competence of the Churchill leadership at the time of the Tobruk disaster and when the British Empire was reeling from the loss of Singapore. Of course Churchill, though worried, won the vote by an overwhelming majority.
This pamphlet therefore would surely be more persuasive to rather apolitical patriotic pro-Churchill conservatives than in any sections of the Labour movement in which the tiny WIL was competing with the far larger CPGB. Or was it produced to persuade the Stalin government in the USSR that their British followers were up to the mark? Was it done simply for the consumption of foreign bureaucrats who knew little and cared less for the British working class, its moods and traditions? Certainly Noreen Branson in her History of the Communist Party of Great Britain 1941-51 (1997) never mentions the work thus passing discreetly over this episode. It is also ignored by George Matthews in Wainwright’s obituary, also reproduced here, which tells us though that “he never regretted his opposition to the war propaganda directed against the USSR”. This white-washing provoked Ian Birchall’s subsequent letter. Whatever was the reason for the undertaking it is an example of how degraded and degenerate people like Wainwright could become. And it is interesting that even Wainwright suddenly realises at the very end of his venomous outburst that calls to treat such people as Nazis might be counter-productive, not to say dangerous since “Many workers, trade unionists and Labour Party members, unthinkingly express views which sound Trotskyist.” That also suggests that the WIL was cutting with the grain among the best elements of the class.
The WIL’s reply is straightforward and the reminder of Soviet policy before July 1941, which were recent enough to be remembered by everyone, is good clean fun. To be fair, some of the imaginary quotes from Trotskyist papers could be regarded as an approximate, if crude, summary of what they were saying though as far as I am aware the Trotskyists never denounced the opening of the “Second Front”. Finally the prize of ten pounds, a large sum in those day to a worker, to be given “To any Member of the Communist Party who can prove that the so-called Quotations from Trotskyist Publications in their Pamphlet “Clear Out Hitler’s Agents!” are not Forgeries” or “To any Member of the CP who can show any page of this Pamphlet which does not contain a minimum of five lies”, was never claimed. Jock Haston always had a sense of humour.
THERE is a group of people in Britain masquerading as socialists in order to cover up their fascist activities.
The members of this group are very active. And dangerous.
They go among the factories, shipyards and coalfields, in the Labour,
Trade Union and Co-operative organisations. They try to mislead the
workers with cunning deception and lies. They hide their black aims with “red” talk. They sow doubt, suspicion and confusion, retard production and try to undermine the people’s will to victory.
They are called Trotskyists.
You've heard of the Fifth Column. The Trotskyists are their allies and agents in the ranks of the working class.
They are a greater menace than enemy paratroops. Because they seem to talk the language of workers, wear similar clothes, and get themselves jobs in Britain’s factories, shipyards and pits.
The Home Guard has been taught a quick way to deal with enemy paratroops and spies.
You must train yourself to round up these other, more cunning enemies, on whom Hitler depends to do his work for him in Britain.
This book is a simple training manual. It will explain to you the tactics of the strange war that Hitler is waging in your factory, organisation and home. It is a war of politics and sabotage, the counter-part of the war of tanks, planes and guns.
The people of the world accuse the Trotskyists of these crimes against humanity:
|Russia||1918||Attempt to assassinate Lenin.|
|Attempt to assassinate Stalin.|
|1921||Organised spying for Germany in Soviet Union|
|1936||Contacts with Hess|
|Plot to take advantage of Soviet German war, overthrow government, seize power and give Ukraine to Germany and Eastern territories to Japan in return for services rendered.|
|France||Fought against Popular Front Government|
|Worked to destroy Franco-Soviet Pact|
|Accepted Nazi funds. Trotskyist leader Doriot now openly helping Nazis in France.|
|Spain||Staged armed uprising against Republican government at critical point in Spanish war against fascism. Opened sections of the front to fascists|
|Britain||Worked against Anglo-Soviet pact before the war. Supported Chamberlain’s Munich policy. Call for violent overthrow of Stalin and Soviet State. Aim to sabotage war production in Britain and hold up Second Front|
WHAT is a Trotskyist? Trotsky was a Russian who gathered around him an unscrupulous gang of traitors to organise spying, sabotage, wrecking and assassination in the Soviet Union.
They came together after the workers took power in Russia and had cleared out the capitalists.
They wormed their way into important army positions, working-class organisations, even Government posts. They plotted with the Nazis to hand over large tracts of their country once they had weakened it sufficiently to make its defeat quite certain.
In the event of war, they undertook to open the gates to the enemy.
Like Quisling in Norway, Laval and Doriot in France, they were promised positions in a Nazi puppet Government in return for services rendered.
They did a great deal of damage in Russia before they were caught. But their plot was unearthed. They were brought to trial. The guilty were executed or put in prison.
The whole world listened incredulously to the story that was unfolded at the Moscow trials.
It does not seem quite so strange today.
Do you remember Madrid and Barcelona, where the Trotskyists gave assistance to General Franco? Do you remember what happened when Belgium and Holland were invaded, when Fifth Columnists, who had hidden their real characters before, opened fire from the windows of their houses on their neighbours in the streets below? Remember France, where Doriot, chief Trotskyist, welcomed the Nazis with open arms, and is one of their most important men today?
It is time that Britain learned the lesson.
The Trotskyists want you to think they are advocates of a type of revolutionary political thought.
They are nothing of the kind. They have nothing in common with any organisation of the working class.
Trotsky’s men are Hitler’s men.
They must be cleared out of every working-class organisation in the country.
SCENE. The Supreme Court of the USSR. Radek, the Trotskyist, is in the dock. Vyshinsky, the Public Prosecutor, is cross-examining him.
Vyshinsky: What questions were raised in Trotsky’s letter to you?
Radek: The victory of fascism in Germany. The growth of Japanese aggression. The inevitability of these countries waging war against the USSR. The inevitable defeat of the USSR. The necessity of the bloc (the Trotskyist group. Ed.) if it came into power, to make concessions.
Vyshinsky: Excuse me, please. Inevitable defeat: how did Trotsky and you picture that? And what was your and Trotsky’s attitude towards defeat?
Radek: The attitude towards defeat was entirely positive because it was stated that this would create the conditions for the accession to power of the bloc, and it even stated more, that it was in our interest to hasten war.
Vyshinsky: Hence you were interested in hastening war and it was to your interest that the USSR should be defeated in this war? How was this put in Trotsky’s letter?
Radek: Defeat is inevitable, and it will create the conditions for our accession to power, therefore, we were interested in hastening the war.
(Verbatim official report of the trial of Radek)
This man was a Trotskyist. Men like him are working in this country today.
TROTSKYISTS oppose and hate the leaders of Russia. They want to see Russia defeated and Hitler victorious. They want to weaken Britain, Russia’s ally.
But they do not say what they are after. They thrive only if they successfully deceive.
They know that British people are tolerant, easy-going and ready to give everyone except an obvious fascist a hearing.
They therefore use every opportunity to put forward cunning arguments and propaganda, to try to lead the people down the road of defeat.
If you examine what they say and write, you will find that it all boils down to these six aims
1. Hold up supplies of arms to Russia.
2. Delay and sabotage the Second Front.
3. Hold up British production.
4. Undermine the Anglo-Soviet Alliance.
5. Destroy the confidence of the people and Forces in Britain’s ability to win.
6. Create conditions that will lead to a pro-Nazi Government in order to do a deal with Hitler.
If this plan were entirely successful, Hitler would win the war.
Even if only a tiny part of it were achieved, it would cost the lives of thousands of British workers in and out of uniform.
That is why you must equip yourself with the knowledge that will help you to pierce the Trotskyist deceptions, and expose them in their true colours.
Let us test some of their arguments, and see where they would lead the people.
The Red Army has lost its morale and is therefore unable to resist the Nazi armies ...
Stalin has sapped the strength of the Red Army by removing and executing over 90 per cent of the highest and most qualified commanders ...
from Trotskyist papers
THESE extracts come from the Trotskyist papers, and were spread by their speakers during the first months of the Nazi attack against Russia.
What was the purpose of these Nazi lies?
The Trotskyists hoped that people would think: “What’s the use of sending arms to Russia? It will be all over before they get there. If they do arrive, the arms will fall into enemy hands.”
Who else was trying to play this game?
Hitler, for one. Do you remember his boasts that Moscow would fall “before winter sets in”? Do you remember how the Nazis tried to get the world to believe that “Timoshenko’s army groups are in headlong flight,” and that “Russia as a military power is finished”? Do you remember how Hitler’s friends in Britain gave the Red Army ten days, then six weeks, then six months to live?
They all had the same idea: to dishearten the British people and to delay the arrival of reinforcements on the Eastern Front.
These arguments were made to look very stupid by the Red Army’s heroic and magnificent fight.
But lies work well until they are found out — and then it may be too late.
Speaking at an ILP conference in Glasgow, Mr. John McGovern.
The conference voted against a resolution moved by the Parkhead branch pledging it to assure the supply of all arms and equipment needed by the USSR.
Daily Herald February 2 1942
Mr. John McGovern, a leader of the Independent Labour Party, presided at the conference reported in this cutting. This organisation is riddled with Trotskyists, whose activities dominate it from top to bottom.
Why did they take this decision?
They cannot say: “Because we want to see Russia defeated.” They have to cover up their intentions.
They say: “We agree to send arms to Russia — but only under Workers’ Control.”
Russia is a Working-Class State. If Hitler were to win, the workers in control in Russia would be overthrown, and fascism installed instead.
The decision of this ILP Conference means that those who were present pledged themselves to try to stop tanks, guns, planes and every other kind of war material going from Britain to its ally bearing the brunt of the struggle.
Hidden behind their slogan: “Workers’ Control for Britain“ is the Trotskyist aim to smash Workers’ Control in Russia.
Which is what Hitler would pay them a fortune for — if they were successful.
It will liberate Europe from its present tyranny but will only establish a new tyranny.
from Trotskyist papers and speeches
Every week the Second Front is delayed is worth more than a fortune to Hitler: it is worth tens of divisions of men, hundreds of tanks and planes, thousands of guns.
That is why the Trotskyists and all Hitler’s other friends in Britain are so busy peddling their poison against the Second Front.
While Hitler is hurrying in Russia and Egypt, they are organising a delaying action for him in Britain.
If the Trotskyists went about saying “We Want Hitler to Win,” they wouldn’t get very far with their propaganda.
So they wave a red flag and put their case in another way.
They would like you to believe that there is no difference between Churchill and Hitler. That British troops will carry out the same brutal atrocities in Europe as the Nazis. And that Stalin, Timoshenko and the other Soviet leaders, who have called for the Second Front, are partners in a plot to install a new kind of oppression in Europe.
For all these reasons, the Trotskyists say, you must prevent a British invasion of the Continent.
Which means: Let Hitler go on fighting his enemies one by one.
Do you remember Colonel Moore-Brabazon and Captain Margesson?
They were thrown out of the Government by public pressure because they fought against the plan for a Second Front.
When Margesson went, Mr. James Maxton, a leader of the Independent Labour Party protested and defended him: “I have never seen anything wrong with the conduct of Captain Margesson in doing his job,” he said. (Parliament, February 24, 1942.)
Maxton and his partners do not want a Second Front. They don’t want to fight fascism at all. “Man’s struggle should be a struggle of the intellect,” he told an audience in Glasgow (December 18, 1941). “The struggle that is wanted in our day is not the struggle that takes us on to the battlefield,” he said.
They won’t fight fascism — but they'd jump at the chance of sending men to fight against Russia.
In 1938, an International Organisation [The so-called International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity.] of which Mr. Fenner Brockway was General Secretary, called on Trotskyists all over the world to assist the “forces in Soviet Russia which are struggling against the Stalinist bureaucracy.”
Today, Doriot, French Trotskyist, has organised a detachment of troops to fight Russia.
Mr. Fenner Brockway’s organisation tries to do the next best thing: to delay, the opening of a Second Front in Europe.
Five-Finger Print of a Trotskyist
Why increase the bosses’ profits? Strike for higher wages.
from Trotskyist papers and speeches
The more arms we get, the stronger we will be to smash the Nazis.
The less arms we have, the better Hitler likes it.
So the Trotskyists try their hardest to hold up the production of arms.
Again they use the trick of waving a red flag. They talk about the boss’ profits. They try to take the heart out of the workers. “Why slave when you are only piling up money for the boss’?” they say.
They want you to go slow, not to give your best work, to be misled by their stalk of strikes and the boss’ profits into sabotaging our troops and the Red Army.
They want you to do in Britain, what the French, Dutch, Polish and Norwegian workers are doing on the Continent.
But whereas Europe’s workers are holding up supplies for the Nazis, the Trotskyists want you to hold up the weapons that will smash the Nazis.
Strikes are organised against Hitler in France. The Trotskyists want to cancel out these efforts against Hitler by organising strikes in Britain.
Europe’s workers are fighting and dying to help Britain to get ahead in the race to produce more arms. The Trotskyists want to offset all their courageous activity.
Arms, not arguments, is what our soldiers and the Red Army men need. Soviet workers don’t worry if profits have been made on a tank sent from capitalist Britain.
To them and to our lads in Egypt and to the men who will invade the Continent, a tank is a tank, and the more they get, the better they like it.
Who else wants to hold up British production, besides Hitler and his pro-Nazi friends?
Some coalowners would like to hold back good seams of coal until after the war. Some shipbuilding magnates are against expanding their industry because the cost of upkeep after the war would cut down their profits. Some steel manufacturers want to keep output down because scarcity raises prices. They also are worried about their post-war profits.
The Trotskyists, by their cunning talk, are helping these profiteers.
Even if you did conclude a pact with Russia it would in my estimation give no real aid. Hansard August 24, 1939
THIS cutting comes from the Official Report of a Debate in Parliament on August 24, 1939. The speaker was Mr. John McGovern of the Independent Labour Party.
Nor is the Trotskyist opposition to an Alliance with Russia new.
Mr. McGovern and his associates were foremost in this country in their opposition to the Peace Front with the Soviet Union which could have prevented war ever from starting. Instead, they backed Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement and building up Hitler.
“Do the Government believe that in the event of a pact being successful the Russian Government are willing to place their forces behind this country in any struggle which may take place?” asked Mr. McGovern (Parliament, June 26, 1939).
“The Labour Party,” he protested, “are trying to foist Russia on to this country.” (July 5, 1939).
To-day, Britain has at last formed an Alliance with the Soviet Union. An Alliance which will mean the salvation of humanity.
But the Trotskyists go on with their undermining work.
They cast suspicion on the leaders of the Soviet Union. They utter the same kind of slanders that pour out of the Nazi lie factories in Berlin against Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. They spread foul rumours of a possible British or Soviet separate peace with Hitler. They play on the people’s impatience for the Second Front by sneers that we intend to fight to the last Russian, while at the same time they do everything they can to stop the Second Front from being opened.
Who else, in addition to Hitler, intensely dislikes our associations with Russia?
There’s Major Cazalet, former member of the Friends of National Spain, an organisation which collected cash for fascist General Franco.
There’s Lord Phillimore, formerly Chairman of the same organisation and collector of funds for fascist General Mannerheim in Finland.
These are the people, and there are others like them, whose activities receive the support of the Trotskyists and the ILP.
THE Trotskyists aim to undermine the confidence of the people and the Forces in Britain’s ability to win.
They go around whispering: “What are we fighting for?”
Mr. Maxton, too, told an audience in Glasgow: You will bleed yourselves white in this war, and at the end, you will be so sick, you won’t care whether you have won or lost.
Every Nazi victory is used by them as an opportunity to run down Britain, to attack the Government, to dishearten the people, and to paint a picture of the impossibility of facing up to the fascists.
They want you to believe that the fight is hopeless, that the whole Government is rotten, that Germany has a monopoly of military experts.
In the debate on Libya, the ILP members lined up with those who were trying to bring about the Government’s downfall.
The British people are fighting for dear life against the most cunning, brutal and treacherous enemy of mankind. The Nazis, wherever they have conquered, have destroyed the trade unions, the cooperatives, the Labour and Communist’s Parties, all organisations of the people and have instituted a rule of terror against the population.
We are fighting, not only to liberate the peoples of Europe and to enable them to restore all their working-class organisations, but to defend our own trade unions, our own organisations that have been built up by years of sacrifice and struggle.
Victory means the possibility of going forward to create those conditions that will lead to socialism.
Defeat means the end of working-class organisations, and goodbye to all ideas of socialism for generations.
That is why the Trotskyites do everything they can to dampen down the peoples’ enthusiasm, resolution and will to win, by their lies about the aims for which this war is being fought.
BRITISH workers want to get the best possible output of war materials. They want to see this country fighting the total war of a free people in arms. They are quite naturally impatient at the slow way Britain is getting into her stride, angry at the waste they see, bitter at the mistakes that take place.
They look at Russia, and see that Socialism is a more efficient way of running a country than is capitalism.
This is when the Trotskyist enemy of Russia comes round with his poison.
“You want to get efficiency in industry?” he asks. “You will never do it under capitalism,” he says. “First you must abolish capitalism, and get Workers’ Control, Socialism.”
Why do they say this?
Not because they want Socialism. All they want to do is to stop everyone pulling together in the fight against fascism. They want to disrupt the unity of the British people. They want the workers to fight Churchill instead of Hitler.
Would this bring Socialism? Of course not. It would give fascism its chance.
Hitler would be able to carry on his attack on Russia without fear of a Second Front in the West; and after weakening Russia, he would then be able to turn on Britain.
Instead of Socialism, British workers would get Nazism.
That’s the plan of the Trotskyists.
They know that to defeat Hitler, every section of the people, Conservative, Liberal, Labour and Communist workers, middle-class and capitalist class, must fight as Allies in a united struggle against their common enemy.
We want socialism now. Trotskyist papers
They know that Hitler won his victories in the past because of the divisions inside the countries he attacked.
They aim to sow those divisions in Britain, to prevent the national unity of the people from presenting a solid front against fascism.
What kind of a Government would they like instead of the present one? Mr. John McGovern, of the ILP, gave us a clue: “If I had to choose between Hitler and the Prime Minister, I should not know exactly on which the choice had to fall.” (Official Report of Parliamentary Debates, July 1, 1942.)
This is the man who waves a red flag and calls himself a “socialist.” He had no difficulty in making up his mind to support Chamberlain when he was backing Hitler.
He is against Churchill: Churchill signed the Anglo-Soviet Alliance. He backed Chamberlain: Chamberlain opposed this Alliance and built up Hitter.
When Chamberlain signed the Pact with Hitler at Munich, Mr. McGovern said: “Well done thou good and faithful servant” (Hansard, October 6, 1938). Mr. Chamberlain’s policy of “appeasement,” he described as “the road of peace.” (September 3, 1939). His partner, Mr. Maxton, was equally emphatic with his praise for the Munich Pact: “I congratulate the Prime Minister (Mr. Chamberlain) on the work he did in these three weeks.” (October 4, 1938). “On an occasion like this I do not wish to say a controversial word, but simply to agree with the step which has now been taken.” (September 28, 1938).
Mr. Maxton defended Hitler’s aggression with, “What objections can you have to Herr Hitler wanting to defend the people of his own race and of his own nationality wherever they may be?” (October 4, 1938).
Their whole record is one of support for the most reactionary pro-fascist forces in Britain and for the Nazis abroad.
“We were ridiculed when we stood for peace when Abyssinia was conquered ..... When Czechoslovakia was over-run we wanted peace, and we were called Chamberlain’s Allies and Hitler’s Allies,” said Mr. McGovern (Hansard, October 3, 1939).
“I was in favour, as Hon. Members know, of non-intervention on the Abyssinian issue,” said Mr. Maxton (Hansard, April 14, 1937).
When Spain was invaded by Mussolini and Hitler, the Trotskyists and the ILP were attacking the Spanish Peoples’ Government and backing the organisation of fascist spies and Trotskyists working for General Franco behind the Republican lines, which covered up its real aim by calling itself the “Party of Marxist Unity” (POUM.).
Mr. McGovern summed-up his policy: “If we say to Mussolini, ‘You must withdraw these troops, and if you do not we will use our power to see that supplies are cut off; and we are prepared to use every pressure against you,’ then Mussolini will be driven into an enlarged war. Am I going to advocate that the people of Britain must go into Spain and fight on behalf of the Spanish Government? Am I to say that they are to go into China and fight for the Chinese? Am I to say they are to go into Abyssinia and fight on behalf of the Abyssinians? The test is: ‘Am I prepared to go myself?’ and I say ‘No’” (October 21, 1937.)
At the time when it was still possible to stop fascism’s march across Europe by presenting the firm united front of all peoples, the ILP, like the “appeasers,” raised the bogey of war to try to frighten Britain into passivity and inaction.
Today we are paying the price.
Guernica has been followed by Coventry, Lidice and the other towns and villages of the countries that have been plunged into war by the pro-Nazis who covered up their aims by shouting the slogan of “Peace.”
THERE’s an old saying: “Never judge a pudding by the shirt you boil it in.” Also: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
Apply these sayings to the Trotskyists.
The pudding is their so-called policy. The shirt is a red one, to cover up what’s inside the pudding.
Those Spanish workers who ate the Trotskyist pudding have found out that it was poisoned alright. So also have the workers of France.
It is an old, old trick, that the Trotskyists use.
Hitler and Goebbels use it. They call their party the National Socialist Workers’ Party. That’s what “Nazi” stands for. It is neither national nor socialist. German workers are finding out the lie today.
Spanish Trotskyists called their organisation the Party of Marxist Unity. It worked for the fascists.
French Trotskyists called theirs the People’s Party. It sold the people to Hitler.
British Trotskyists call themselves “Militant Socialists” and other titles of a similar character. They are neither militant nor socialist, but the very reverse. The Independent Labour Party has ceased to be independent or labour, but carries out a policy which Hitler couldn’t better.
So don’t be taken in by the red flag, the red tie, the socialist sounding speeches and articles.
Ask yourself: “Where will this lead me? Whom will it help?” and you’ll be able to see through the Trotskyist trickery and deception.
Don’t say to yourself: “ It’s a good thing there aren’t many of them in this country. We don’t have to worry.”
It is true that the Trotskyists are few in number. But they started in a small way in other countries too. They were not rooted out in bane, and were able to deceive many people, who discovered their treachery when it was too late.
In France, the Trotskyists are led by Jacques Doriot, who was thrown out of the Communist Party which discovered in time what manner of man he was.
He opposed the People’s Front in France. His argument was: “I don’t want workers to associate with capitalists.” He slandered the Soviet Union, and was in the front ranks of the attack against the Communist Party. When the People’s Front Government suppressed the fascist party, Doriot formed a New Party which the fascists joined so that they could continue their work.
Now he is completely unmasked. He is Hitler’s best assistant. He runs a paper for the Nazis, and leads the fight against the brave people who are resisting the fascist enemy, handing them over to the fascist executioners.
The Trotskyists disrupted French unity against fascism: now they support unity with fascism against the people.
In Spain, “The main enemy of the people in the rearguard are the Trotskyists: they are the bitterest enemies of our cause, the direct agents of Franco in our ranks,” said Jose Diaz, Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party (Report to Central Committee, 1937).
The Trotskyist organisation was called the POUM. Of them, the Valencia Socialist paper wrote: “Spies and traitors! When will we have done away with them or when will they have done away with us? Are they spies in the service of a party, or is it a party in the service of spies” (October 24, 1937).
And again: “The POUM is the refuge of spies . . . the most dangerous acts of sabotage have been entrusted to two spies who are members of the POUM. The most dangerous of those who have been arrested belong to this party.”
Mr. Maxton, however, supported this organisation. “The POUM .... is a political party of the same viewpoint as my own party in this country” (House of Commons, January 19, 1937).
And Mr. Fenner Brockway handed Gorkin, leader of the POUM, the sum of £100 at a meeting in Brussels in 1936, “to be placed at the service of the POUM in their struggle” (Official Report, published in London at the ILP Headquarters).
Under the slogans of “Workers’ Control,” the POUM succeeded in hampering production for the Spanish fight against fascism. Under the slogan of “Collectivise the Peasantry,” they sent armed bands to shoot peasants who did not agree with communal farming, with the object — in which they largely succeeded — of preventing the harvesting of crops and the cultivation of food. At a critical moment for the Republican Government, they staged an armed uprising in Barcelona.
The Trotskyists and the ILP in Britain still boast of their support for the POUM, and are defending the fifth columnist activities of its leader, Gorkin, who has now made his way to Mexico.
The Trotskyists pretend they support Russia but disagree with Stalin’s leadership. This is only another cover to hide their aims.
Right from the first days of the Russian Revolution the Trotskyists have tried to bring about its downfall. Before the Russian workers took power, the Trotskyists tried to lead them to defeat.
The Independent Labour Party has conducted a consistent campaign of lies and attacks against the Soviet Union. Philip Snowden, one of its former leaders and partner of Ramsay MacDonald, wrote some venomous attacks against the young Soviet Union in the Labour Leader (the forerunner of the New Leader). When the editor protested, she soon found herself out of the editorial chair. They protested when the people of Menshevik Georgia, which they called an “ILP State,” and which plotted with the Interventionists to restore capitalism in Russia, drove out the traitors and joined the Soviet Union. They protested when the Trotskyists and other fascists were brought to trial in Moscow.
Now the British Trotskyists are trying to carry on the work the Russian Trotskyists left undone, and are actively engaged in a campaign designed to bamboozle the British people.
Don’t under-estimate the danger because of their small numbers.
Be on the alert for the Trotskyist disruptors.
These people have not the slightest right to be regarded as workers with an honest point of view.
They should be treated as you would treat a Nazi.
Clear them out of every working-class organisation and position.
FIRST Remember that the Trotskyists are no longer part of the working-class movement.
SECOND Expose every Trotskyist you come into contact with.
Show other people where his ideas are leading. Treat him as you would treat an open Nazi.
THIRD Fight against every Trotskyist who has got himself into a position of authority, either in your trade union branch, local Labour Party or Co-op. Expose him and see that he is turned out.
Many workers, trade unionists and Labour Party members, unthinkingly express views which sound Trotskyist. Don’t confuse these honest but muddled opinions with Trotskyism.
The real Trotskyist is a bitter enemy of Stalin and the other trusted leaders of the Soviet Union. That’s his fingerprint, whatever else he may say. And that’s how you can spot him. As for the people who are genuinely confused, your job is to explain. Explain. Explain. Get them to read this booklet. If they haven’t time, explain what is in it to them.
Reply by the Workers International League 1942