Gerry Healy


A Bad Case of Fleas

News Line 24 August 1976

What We Think

   When the Workers Revolutionary Party held its London Rally (15 August) to commemorate the 36th. anniversary of Trotsky’s death, the revisionist International Marxist Group sent along its “theatre critic”.

   This in itself expresses the sick political cynicism of the revisionists. They are not politically capable of holding a meeting in Trotsky’s name. It would present practical problems too since it would require special arrangements with the GPO to book a suitable telephone booth.

   (The revisionists are so starved of an audience these days that Tariq Ali appeared with Private Eye writer Auberon Waugh on TV last night and on Thursday night he will be appearing with Private Eye printer Tony Cliff of the state capitalist International Socialists group in Blackburn.)

   Three thousand trade unionists and youth attended the Workers Revolutionary Party’s commemoration meeting. They voted, with two objections (presumably the “theatre critic” was one of them), to support the call for an international commission of enquiry into all the circumstances of Trotsky’s assassination by the GPU.

   The resolution also called for an investigation into the role of Joseph Hansen and George Novack of the American Socialist Workers Party.

   Due to investigations carried out by the International Committee of the Fourth International, these two men have emerged as accomplices of the GPU. It has been shown beyond doubt that they have systematically covered up for known GPU agents, shielded them from investigation and exposure, and suppressed evidence relating to GPU activities inside the Trotskyist movement.

   The indictment of Hansen and Novack as accomplices of the GPU is based upon documents, testimony and interviews compiled by the International Committee and now published in book form (How the GPU Murdered Trotsky, New Park Publications £3)

   The “theatre critic” completely ignores the evidence. He has to, since his group cannot answer it. He makes the sweeping statement that the indictment against Hansen is “refuted by volumes of testimony ranging through various Trotskyist activists to Ken Coates and Tamara Deutcher.”

   He is a liar. There are no “volumes of testimony” rebutting our indictment. All we get in reply is lies, evasions and heaps of slander. And who are the various Trotskyist activists he refers to? Surely not the notorious renegades like Wohlforth and Thornett or the wretched lapdog Blick or the pensioners from the class struggle John and Mary Archer?

   In passing, let us say that what Coates from the Bertrand Russel “Peace Foundation” and Mrs. Deutcher say cuts no ice with us. It is like threatening us with the wrath of the editor of Trubune.

   Instead of invoking the slanders of others, we direct the IMG to the challenge that we issued more than six months ago. (Workers Press 3 February 1976). We challenged the IMG to answer point for point the charges outlined against Hansen and Novack. No reply has been forthcoming. All we get is this contemptible bit of cynicism.

   We call attention to two central charges in the indictment and ask the “theatre critic”, Red Weekly, Tariq Ali or anyone else in the IMG to answer.

   In “Security and the Fourth International”, published last August and September, we produced evidence to show that Hansen met a GPU agent in New York in 1938 for a period of three months.

   Hansen replied (Intercontinental Press 24 November 1975) saying this was a “geyser of mud”. He now admits (Intercontinental Press 9 August 1976) that he did meet the agent whom he “chanced to meet in the street”!

   This proves our charge completely! Hansen did suppress from the Trotskyist movement for 36 years information about his contacts with a GPU agent.

   Hansen continues to cover for Sylvia Franklin (Callen), who was the late James P. Cannon’s personal secretary during the 1940’s. The International committee has produced irrefutable evidence that she belonged to the Soblen spy ring. She was an unindicted co-conspirator in Soblen’s trial in New York in 1960. Hansen still maintains that Franklin is “an exemplary comrade”. Why? Can the “theatre critic” explain why Hansen covers for someone who appeared on a grand jury indictment sheet with Lavrenti Beria and then gave state testimony to the FBI? Why does he cover for a double agent?

   It is a mark of the deepening degeneration of Pabloite revisionism that not one of its myriad groups has felt obliged to take seriously these historic questions and answer them – let alone support the call for an international enquiry to clear them up.

   Like fleas they are jumping onto the back of Hansen. It has not yet occurred to them to ask what happens when this meal ticket sinks.