[Marxism] Shachtmanites during WWII

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 6 14:20:18 MDT 2013

Comrades can check out for themselves what kind of issues their 
newspaper was covering after the split with Cannon:


Mostly there's nothing but the table of contents for each issue but 
there are some articles as well, like David Coolidge's Aug. 12, 1940 
article titled "Big Business Wrests Huge Profits Out of Preparations for 
War". It states:

They will do all of these things with these war profits just as they did 
during and after the last war. They will seek to cover up and hide their 
waste and luxury by claiming that their gaudy social affairs are for the 
benefit of European refugees. What refugees? For the sons and daughters 
of the workers of England? No. The children who are coming today arrive 
with their nurses arid governesses and tutors. J.P. Morgan comes down 
the gang-plank with little eleven year old Lord Primrose and takes him 
to his estate to be safe from Hitler’s bombs.

All of these things happen while 70,000 black and white forest workers 
labor for as little as ten cents an hour. While whole families work in 
Minnesota lumber camps for $10 a week. While thousands of Negro workers 
are chained to the slave farms of the South and New Jersey. While 
unemployment remains at 10,000,000. In a country where the mother in an 
unemployed family kills herself and six children because the family has 
nothing to eat. Their only comfort was a headstone for the graves paid 
for with money collected by the neighbors.

This is by no means the whole story. But this is enough. Every worker 
knows full well what the next move is. The main task is to get those 
profits into the pay envelopes of the workers. This doesn’t require long 
arguments with the bosses. What is required however is stronger union, 
unification of the labor movement, a greater militancy and determination.


And what did Cannon predict about this "petty bourgeois opposition"? In 
a 1939 letter to Dobbs, he claimed: "I characterised—and, by God, I was 
right!—the offensive against the Soviet Union inside our party as 
nothing but a craven capitulation to the pressure of bourgeois public 
opinion. I said that a party which yields to this pressure already 
before the actual war begins would never be able to stand up when the 
real beat is turned on. You see, we didn't get along very well together 
at all."

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/cannon/works/1940/party/ch05.htm

So, where is the evidence of this yielding to pressure?

The answer: you won't find any.

I should also mention that 5 years after the split the Cannonites and 
the Shachtmanites opened up discussions about reuniting. I guess the 
gangrene wasn't terminal. But the sectarianism--which might be likened 
to impetigo--was.

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