Reprinted from the May 1940 issue The Western Socialist, page 41.

S.L.P. EVADES ISSUE

A short time ago we approached the publishers of The Weekly People official organ of the Socialist Labor Party, with a view to exchanging our respective publications. The following letter is their reply to our request.

February 14, 1940

Sir:

We have received your letter of February 8 in which you ask us to exchange the Weekly People "regularly" with the so-called Western Socialist. A copy of the said Western Socialist has also been received. After reviewing this publication we wonder whether we should marvel at your brazenness, at your stupidity, or at your utter naivete.

On page one of the sheet sent us you list extracts from statements made by several parties and groups, including some from the Weekly People of December 16 and December 23. These extracts are supposed to prove several things, including bewilderment, etc., on our part at the betrayal of Marxism by Stalinism. You comment as follows: "None of the above parties are without a country. All of them pledge allegiance to the National (capitalist) interests of either Russia or Finland, but none support the CAUSE of both the Russian and Finnish workers for the overthrow of their respective capitalist masters."

This is as stupid as it is mendacious as far as the Socialist Labor Party is concerned. Why you should conclude that there is any profit in such unscrupulous and infantile lying, we do not profess to understand, but then there is not sufficient incentive offered us to make much of an effort to understand why such creatures as yourselves should want to lie so brazenly. Perhaps the simplest explanation is that rodents naturally do the things expected of rodents.

Obviously we have no desire to "exchange" papers with you. Exchange presupposes giving value for value. You would be getting the better of the bargain. We see no reason why mendacity and general depravity should be specially rewarded, and least of all by the victims of your stupid mendacity. Your paper has landed in the waste-basket where future issues (if any) will be likewise consigned.

WEEKLY PEOPLE

That our request was refused is of small moment. It is the privilege of the Socialist Labor Party to do as they see fit with their publication, even to the point of having writers such as the one above, specialists in abuse and vituperative. What is of importance is the accuracy or inaccuracy of the many charges made against us by the writer of the above letter.

The most important charge made, is that we are "mendacious." This is based upon an article that appeared in the January issue of The Western Socialist entitled, "Finland -- The Acid Test." In that article we took the allegedly working class parties in this country and quoted from their official organs their attitudes on the Russian-Finnish war. However, we did not merely print these quotations and leave it at that. Following the quotes we stated:

Applying the acid test of scientific socialism to the above programs, their anti-working class nature is revealed. None of the above parties are without a country. All of Hicm pledge allegiance to the national (capitalist) interests of either Russia or Finland, but none support the CAUSE of both the Russian and Finnish workers for the overthrow of their respective capitalist masters.

They all support capitalism cloaked in the idealogical garb of "state socialism" (C.P.); "government ownership" (S.P.); "a proletarian nation" (S.L.P.); a "degenerated and warped workers' state" (Trotskyites, R.W.L.. and etc). They do not understand that so long as the means of production are in the hands of private, corporate, or state owners, and the relationships of wage-labor and capital, production of goods for sale with a view to profit, and property rights exist, the workers remain in economic slavery.

They all reject the materialist conception of history by praising or blaming Stalin for the salvation or betrayal of the Workers' Fatherland. They are unaware of the fact thai Russia, like Finland, is not, and never has been, a workers' country. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (like the Social-Democratic victory in Finland in 1916) was the consummation of the revolution overthrowing a predominantly Feudal economy and establishing capitalism, the only system possible in view of the material conditions (a backward productivity and an overwhelming peasant population). Stalin's measures are but normal expressions of the inevitable needs of an expanding capitalist economy.

To summarize the party programs in brief:

The Communist Party gives further proof that its ever-changing policies are dictated by the internal and external needs of capitalist Russia.

The Socialist Party, which until recently idealized the government ownership of Russia, crosses the border to support the workers slaughter for the preservation of "cooperative" Finnish capitalism. At home, the Socialist Party identifies the U. S. government as its own, and presumes to guide it in the matter of the Finnish debt.

Unable to fathom "the enigma of Russia," the Socialist Labor Party seeks mental solace and retreat in the cloistered realm of "morality."

("Nominally the U.S.S.R. is a proletarian nation and it is in the light of proletarian morality that she must be judged." Weekly People, Dec. 30, 1939)

... Only the position of scientific socialism can stand the acid test of history.

We have taken the trouble to reprint the second part of our article for two reasons. Our first reason is to show that if there is any duplicity our Socialist Labor Party critic is guilty of such action. By merely taking the quoted part of our article and omitting our criticism of it he has completely evaded the issue. Our second reason should be obvious to our readers, in that it will be noted that in our condensed criticism we have not indulged in name-calling or abuse of those we criticise.

How does the Socialist Labor Party writer meet our criticism? By an analysis of our claims? By a refutation with facts? By quotations from their press to prove we are in error? The party of alleged Scientific Socialism meets our claims with a barrage of abuse and name-calling. We are informed that we are "stupid," "mendacious," "unscrupulous," etc. It maybe that we are all of these things, but merely tagging such epithets upon us is hardly proof. If anything, the use of such language is proof that the writer of the Socialist Labor Party has no case, and having no case, must cover his weakness with studied abuse.

Our columns are always open to our critics, and should our critic of the Socialist Labor Party find it possible to bridle his passions and send us an objective criticism of our article, we will be only too pleased to print it.