Ted Grant

A challenge to the Communist Party

Written: November 1941
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 4 no. 3 (December 1941)
Transcription: Harry 2007
Markup/Proofread: Emil 2007

25th November, 1941.

To the Secretary of the Communist Party

Your leading body has recently issued a slanderous statement to Branch Secretaries regarding the Socialist Appeal and the Fourth Internationalists in Britain. We denounce your assertions that the Trotskyists are, or ever have been, agents or supporters of Nazism or Fascism. Further, we challenge you to substantiate this document in public debate before the members of your Party and the workers of Britain.

The Sunday Dispatch has already made use of your document as justification for its attacks against worker militants in general and against the Socialist Appeal in particular. The manner in which it is presented, proves that your present policy closely coincides with that of the most reactionary clique in British capitalist newspaper publications. Tomorrow, these very people will be clamouring for the suppression of the Communist Party.

Your document indicates that the Communist Party of Great Britain is preparing to play the role of strike-breaker-in-chief and police agent for Churchill and his government. It is an invitation to the Government to suppress the Socialist Appeal and ban our organisation. But it also contains a directive to Communist Party members to commit acts of physical violence against Fourth Internationalists and salesmen of the Socialist Appeal. In your statement to the Young Communist League secretaries you state:

“We are too tolerant of these people. They are allowed to sell their paper Socialist Appeal outside meetings. They have even become members of the Communist Party and Y.C.L. We must be utterly ruthless with these people. They spread confusion amongst the working class and do serious harm to our Party.”

These are methods of fascist reaction and cannot but harm the working class movement. You cannot answer our policy in open discussion because this would result in the exposure of the falsity of C.P. policy and the correctness of the programme of the Fourth International. Fearing the ideas of Marx and Lenin which we represent, you resort to anti-working class methods of slander and violence. We appeal to the rank and file members of the C.P. and Y.C.L. not to be misled, but to conduct polemics on working class policy on the basis of open and comradely argument and discussion, and by these means find a way to the correct policy for the workers. We will not be intimidated by methods of hooliganism but will protect our right to distribute our propaganda among the workers.

In recent months, since the capitulation of the Communist Party to the Churchill government, many members of the Party have joined the ranks of the Fourth International. Your statement that Trotskyists have joined the Party would appear to be a reply to this reaction of party militants and a preparation for the intensified expulsions from the Party of all who oppose your present reactionary policy.

We are holding a meeting on December 21st at the Holborn Hall at 6.30 pm to expose the slanders of the pro-fascist Sunday Dispatch and of the Communist Party. An opportunity will be given to any spokesmen of the Communist Party whom you would like to nominate to justify your statements. Failure to avail yourself of this opportunity will brand you as slanderers and deceivers of the working class.

E. Grant

For the Editorial Board of the Socialist Appeal