NOVACK KEEPS HIS MOUTH SHUT
News Line 13 January 1977. Page 3
George Novack, leading member of the [American] revisionist Socialist Workers Party, refused to say yesterday whether the proven GPU agent Sylvia Franklin was in the secret police of the Soviet bureaucracy.
He would not answer a point blank question on Franklin put by News Line at a London press conference. At this point Tariq Ali of the Pabloite International Marxist Group shut down the conference and refused further questions.
In yesterday’s News Line we published the Franklin dossier showing that while she was James P. Cannon’s personal secretary in New York from 1939 to 1947 she was in fact in the pay of the GPU.
We produced official court documents and Grand Jury indictments naming her as a co-conspirator in the spy ring of Dr. Robert Soblen.
But Novack and his colleague Joseph Hansen state that Franklin, née Callen, party name Caldwell was, is, and remains “an exemplary comrade”.
Novack’s only previous public remarks about Franklin were published in Hansen’s house organ, Intercontinental Press on December 6, 1975, when he said that there was no probative evidence to show Franklin was a GPU agent.
But now that incontestable proof has been brought to light by the International committee of the Fourth International (of which the Workers Revolutionary Party is the British section) Novack clams up and covers up.
The “veteran battler” – as yesterday’s press release called him – became a speechless mouse when her name came up. His cover-up is the same policy as his colleague, Joseph Hansen, and that is why the International Committee has indicted them both as accomplices of the GPU.
Yesterday’s press conference was called to release Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents relating to systematic, illegal harassment of the SWP in America.
The papers, many of them heavily censored, were obtained from the CIA in a multi-million dollar law suit launched by the SWP.
News Line asked if the SWP would ever take legal action in the US courts against the Soviet secret police to publicly expose its role to the working class. We referred to the spy trials of GPU agents Jack Soble and his brother Dr. Robert Soblen and Mark Zborowski, who set up the murder of Trotsky’s son. Novack lamely said: “The government itself had these people on trial …”
Ali said that the idea that the SWP could sue the Soviet police I a US court was “bizarre”. Asked why the Soble-Zbrowski trials hadn’t called for court intervention by the SWP, Novack said:
“We thought it was adequate to publicise these activities whenever they occurred. That was our political response to the activities …”
Asked which trials were publicised, Novack couldn’t answer. (in fact, none were!) Later he said that “Joseph Hansen wrote an article” on Zborowski. When challenges why they had not covered Zborowski’s trial in their publications, Novack lookedblank.
Then News Line asked whether Franklin was a GPU agent or a loyal member of the SWP. Ali answered by shutting down the proceedings.