Jacques Doriot, William Wainwright and Denver Walker

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10/07/2015 by socialistfight

By Gerry Downing 10 June 2015

Recently I have encountered those who defend the record of the wartime Stalinists in Britain, particularly the charge that the British wartime Trotskyists were Hitler’s agents because they supported striking Kent coalminers and striking apprentices in the Northeast.

In first page, fifth paragraph the Introduction to his 1985 book Quite Right, Mr Trotsky, the late Denver Walker of the New Communist party says the following:

“Nor shall I suggest guilt by association with the leading French Trotskyist Doriot, who became an active collaborator with the Nazis and led a detachment against the Soviet Union from them; …”

Jacques Doriot was never a Trotskyist, in fact all his life he was a virulent anti-Trotskyist. The reason he was dubbed a Trotskiite was because, as recounted below, he called for a united front against the fascists. This was against the lunacy that the Third Period politics (where everyone was a fascist except the Communist party, liberal-fascists, Trotsky-fascists, etc.) had led to were they found themselves allied with fascists against the liberal government of Édouard Daladier, the leader of the Radical-Socialists as they did in Germany a year earlier against the Socialist Democrats. Wikipedia recounts the sorry tale:

“And showing the complexity of the situation and the general exasperation of the population, the Association républicaine des anciens combattants (ARAC), the unofficial French Communist Party (PCF) veterans’ association, also called for its troops to demonstrate on 6 February, though with clearly different aims.” [1]

The Wiki journalist clearly has no idea just what the “different aims” or what the ‘politics’ of the PCF were.

It is clear that Walker accepted this information from the 1942 pamphlet, Clear Out Hitler’s agents! An exposure of Trotskyist disruption being organised in Britain, By W. Wainwright in which he asserted as one of the charges against Trotskyists, which included trying to murder both Lenin and Stalin, the following:

“Accepted Nazi funds. Trotskyist leader Doriot now openly helping Nazis in France.”

The reply by the Workers International League (1942) was: Factory Workers BE ON YOUR GUARD, Clear Out the Bosses’ Agents!!

Ted Crawford, who put this material online in 2001, remarked;

“After a lapse nearly sixty years it has acquired a rich ripe comic flavour. But readers will appreciate that this was not always so funny. The injunction that “They should be treated as you would treat a Nazi” or “Treat him as you would treat an open Nazi” could only be considered in the desperate war year of 1942, when many people had lost loved ones or had their homes destroyed, to be an incitement to murder any Trotskyist or indeed any ILPer.” [2]

Ted Grant replied in more detail to the Doriot lie in Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 3 (December 1942) [3]

Here are some extracts from that document that sets the matter right:

“William Wainwright, modestly signing himself W.W., has written an article in World News and Views of November 21st 1942, the pretended purpose of which is to expose Jacques Doriot, leader of the fascist Popular Party in France.

In reality, following the time worn methods of the “Communist” Party, the real aim is to slander and vilify the Trotskyists.

First Wainwright pretends to believe that Doriot is a Trotskyist. He is as much a Trotskyist as Wainwright himself could be described a Trotskyist. Both have the same credentials, i.e. Doriot at the service of Stalin slandered and lied about Trotsky’s policies; now Wainwright jumps into the vacant space left by Doriot to fulfil the same purpose.

In order to understand this, it is only necessary to examine the biography of Doriot. He was one of the leaders of the French Communist Party from its earliest days. When the split came in Russia between Stalin and Trotsky, judging that Stalin would win, he supported him in the struggle and came out as a violent opponent against Trotskyism.

… Doriot was expelled in 1934, after the “Communist” Party had demonstrated, together with the fascists, for the overthrow of the Liberal Government on February 6th. He was expelled from the C.P. for proposing a united front against the fascist bands! But Doriot never joined the Trotskyists. Just the contrary. He continued his attacks against Trotsky and the Trotskyists. He had been corrupted too well by the cynical school of Stalinism. It was but a short step for him to go over to fascism and offer his services to the capitalist class. It is significant that on the road to fascism he tarried for a while in the Popular Front in France. For the whole of his political life Doriot fought against Trotsky and Trotskyism.”

In fact Doriot was expelled by Thorez on 27 June 1934, the very day that the PCF adopted the ‘United Front’, the policy that he was expelled for advocating! In fact it was not a real United Front of working class forces, as advocated by the Revolutionary Comintern (up to 1922) and Trotsky until his assassination by the Stalinists in 1940, it was clearly by 1935 a cross-class Popular Front with liberal capitalists and bishops which decreed the end of the class struggle! But his crime was not being pragmatic about the threat of fascism, it was not parroting every lie supplied by Stalin and Thorez.

Notes

[1] 6 February 1934 crisis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6_February_1934_crisis
[2] Comintern History Archive. Clear Out Hitler’s Agents , https://www.marxists.org/history/international/comintern/sections/britain/clear-them-out/index.htm
[3] Wainwright And Doriot—Birds of a feather. https://www.marxists.org/archive/grant/1942/12/wainwright1.htm

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