History,  Trots

From the Vaults: CPGB, August 1942

One thing that is true about the Trotskyists is that they never supported Britain and America’s war effort against Nazi Germany. While the Allies were fighting against Nazi tyranny, the Trotskyists were calling for workers in Britain to strike. The effect of this was to hamper the war effort. It is therefore no surprise that opponents of Trotskyism argued that the Trotskyists were acting in the interests of the Nazis and were in fact “Hitler’s agents.”  The extract below is from a small pamphlet produced by the Communist Party of Great Britain in 1942 which had that exact line.

Clear out Hitler’s agents!

An exposure of Trotskyist disruption being organised in Britain

W. Wainwright

Published by the Communist Party of Great Britain, London W.C.2

August 1942

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….

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….

They have no policy or principles. They say one thing to one lot of people and a completely different thing to another. They change their argument according to the nature of their audience. But if you examine everything they say and do, 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….

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….

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….

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 [a leader of the Independent Labour Party], 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….

[T]he 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….

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.

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….

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….

British Trotskyists… 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.

What to do with the Trotskyists

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, Co-op. or any other organisation for which trade unions are responsible, such as the N.C.L.C. Expose him and see that he is turned out.

NB. I have copied my extract from an original pamphlet. Either a slightly different version of this pamphlet, or an incorrectly transcribed version of the same pamphlet, has been made available on the Marxists Internet Archive.