Contemptible Communist Propaganda Methods
It is not an accident that Communist propaganda methods in Great Britain have for many years fallen to a particularly low level of irresponsibility and dishonesty. They were tainted at their source in the Communist International.
Angelica Balabanoff, who after many years in the Italian Labour movement, held influential position in Bolshevik Russia, gives interesting examples of Communist methods even in the early days. She relates, for example, that as early as 1918 Lenin and others were prepared to use any means and instruments to gain whatever object they had immediately in view.
On one occasion Radek was busy forming Communist groups out of foreigners then in Russia as prisoners of war, with the object of carrying on propaganda in their own countries on their return.
Balabanoff found, however, that these alleged Communists were attracted to join the group by the favour and privilege membership carried with it, and “practicality none of them had any contact with the revolutionary or labour movement in their own countries and knew nothing of Socialist principles” (“My Life as a Rebel,” p. 233).
Balabanoff (who later broke with the Bolshevists over their use of such methods) says that two of the Italian prisoners “were about to return to Italy with special credentials from Lenin and a large sum of money. I had only to talk with them for a few moments in Italian to understand that they knew nothing of the Italian movement, or even of the elementary terminology of Socialism. I decided to go direct to Lenin with my protest.”
When she told Lenin of this and advised him that the Italians were “merely profiteers of the Revolution” and would seriously damage Communism in Italy, Lenin’s cynical reply was: “For the destruction of Turati’s party, they are quite good enough.”
It is but a step from Lenin in 1918 to the Communist Party of Great Britain now. For the achievement of whatever object they have in view at any moment, any men and any methods are deemed good enough.
Recently the Daily Worker carried on for weeks on end a campaign of denunciation of a small group called the British National Party. Hardly anyone would have heard of this obscure B.N.P. but for the Daily Worker’s campaign for their suppression as being Fascist sympathisers; but as a tactic what could be more useful to the Communists?
If only the Communists could persuade the credulous that this B.N.P. is a great and growing menace how easy to recruit members to the Communist Party to fight it!
So with characteristic irresponsibility the Daily Worker pursued its campaign. But irresponsibility has its pitfalls and sure enough the Daily Worker fell.
It announced in its issue of February 25 that the B.N.P. had booked Lysbeth Hall “in the name of the Socialist Party” for an Easter Conference. With what was a thinly disguised incitement to disorder the article opened as follows:—
A Fascist conference, meeting openly in the heart of London whilst lads give their lives fighting Fascism abroad. That is the prospect if present plant of the British National Party are allowed to be carried into effect (italics ours).
At this point it is important to notice a statement made in the House of Commons on March 18 by Mr. Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary. He said that the B.N.P. “is a small body with only about a hundred members, and in no way merits the importance recently attributed to it” (Manchester Guardian, March 19, 1943).
Yet the Daily Worker, which claims to know all about the B.N.P., not only published details of an imaginary conference being held by the B.N.P. but added the statement that “preparations are being made to accommodate some 500—600 delegates, for whom catering has already been arranged.” (Daily Worker, February 25.)
So the 100 members were going to send 500—600 delegates! Perhaps this throws light on how the Communists arrange their own conferences!
As was pointed out in The Socialist Standard for March (back page), the Daily Worker when called to account for the utterly false statement that we had had a hand in arranging the imaginary B.N.P. conference (the only Conference was our own, held in this hall for the third year running) published a brief and inadequate extraction, without apology. They, declined to publish a longer statement sent to them.
Another illustration of Communist malice and irresponsibility is afforded by a letter received by our West Ham Branch from the West Ham Branch of the Communist Party. It arose out of a challenge to debate.
Here is the letter, a. typical piece of Communist scurrility :—
Read the Daily Worker, World News and Views, and Labour Monthly.COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAINWest Ham Branch.115, The Grove,Stratford, E.15.February 23, 1943.
The Communist Party has NO dealings with murderers, liars, renegades, or assassins.
The S.P.G.B., which associates itself with followers of Trotsky, the friend of Hess, has always followed a policy which would mean disaster for the British working class. They have consistently poured vile slanders on Joseph Stalin and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, told filthy lies about the Red Army, the Soviet people and its leaders, gloated over the assassination of Kirov and other Soviet leaders, applauded the wrecking activities of Trotskyist saboteurs in the Soviet Union. They have worked to split the British working class, and are in short agents of Fascism in Great Britain.
The C.P.G.B. refuses with disgust to deal with such renegades. We treat them as vipers, to be destroyed.
C.P.G.B., West Ham Branch,J. Barker, Secretary.
Needless to say, none of the charges in the letter are true or have even a semblance of basis in fact. Doubtless even the West Ham Communists realise this well enough—hence their failure, when challenged, even to attempt to substantiate their letter.