Socialist Unity: Trotsky’s Defenders as Stalinist Censors

On September 25, Andy Newman wrote a post on Socialist Unity about Gilad Atzmon that was a cross post of his own article due to be published in the Guardian the following day. I had ignored Newman’s article until September 30, and then I added a brief comment, at number 346 of a long thread. I became drawn into a long conversation. I criticised the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) for its involvement in the bannings of Jewish Societies at university campuses,  its denial of the ongoing genocide in Cambodia, as well as its repeated hosting of Atzmon.

But things got a little more interesting this morning when I criticised the policies of the Trotskyists in relation to WWII. I noted, accurately, that the Trotskyists were opposed to Great Britain and the USA declaring war on Nazi Germany. I added that if they’d had their way, the Trotskyists would have hampered the war effort for the Allies. Trotsky’s defenders who contribute to the site were not happy. They were spitting blood. Out they came  trying to defend Trotsky’s record. But my own response to the defenders of the Butcher of Kronstadt was deleted in a Stalinist fashion by Andy or one of his minions.

Andy Newman doubts/or tries to dispute my comments on the Trotskyists in WWII by quoting a small extract from a 1944 speech by Ted Grant. But this does nothing against Ted Grant’s position which he had earlier made clear: Grant was “Against ‘National Defence’”:

These preparations for war, and the mass butchery which will follow, can only bring hunger, misery and want to the workers of Britain and the world. A struggle must be waged in the Labour movement against all war preparations. [Emphasis added]

Grant, like the Trotskyist movement in general, had no interest in Britain or America joining the war to fight the Nazis. His interest, like that of other Trotskyists, was in the British working classes overthrowing Chamberlain/Churchill.

johng did no better. He linked to an interview with Duncan Hallas, a Trotskyist and SWP member, to suggest that Trotskyists fought in the war. But the reason Hallas was in the army was not because he volunteered or supported the war but because, as it says in the introduction to the interview, he was conscripted! Hallas had no choice. Both Hallas and the Workers International League were against the war because they thought it an imperialist war and he admits this in the interview.

iain brown also champions Hallas. He states that Hallas “enlisted in the RAF,and indeed led a rebellion inside it following the end of WW2 which was treason, potentially a hanging offence.” I guess it was lucky for the people of Britain that Hallas was not successful in leading a rebellion during WWII and convincing all the RAF pilots to strike and not defend our cities while the Nazis were bombing them.

The truth is, as I have previously mentioned, the Trotskyists opposed support for the democracies in WWII and put Great Britain and France on the same moral level as Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. At the 1940 Emergency Conference of the Fourth International the Trotskyists declared:

The victory of the imperialists of Great Britain and France would be not less frightful for the ultimate fate of mankind than that of Hitler and Mussolini.

This is sickening to read.

Trotsky himself believed that the chances for the revolution would be better if the democracies collapsed and the Nazis conquered Europe because “Hitler will have too many worries in Berlin to be able successfully to fulfill the role of executioner in Paris, Brussels or London.”

My comment, which included this information, was promptly deleted. After all, it’s not easy to defend Trotsky’s views on the desirability of Hitler’s victory. No wonder that on Socialist Unity, Trotsky’s defenders prefer to play the role of Stalinist censors.

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