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Henry Judd

World Politics

Uncle Joseph and Cousin Henry

(31 May 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 22, 31 May 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Henry Wallace was speaking at a radio broadcast when the news of Stalin’s response to his “open letter” came through. A bulletin on Stalin’s statement was handed to him. According to the United Press report,“in a voice quavering with emotion, Mr. Wallace said he was ‘overwhelmed.’”

“I am humble and grateful to be an instrument in this crisis, in having been able to bring about this offer for a settlement of our differences,” he said huskily.

We can appreciate Henry’s emotion! This leader of the army of Giddeonites has received his long-awaited sign of recognition from on high for his good deeds, and he is stirred to the depths of his being. Swept away by the evangelical side of his campaign (ably stirred up by the group of cynical Stalinists who surround and direct his every movement), Henry has evolved steadily since the launching of his crusade in the direction of becoming a full-fledged neo-Stalinist. He means it, every last word of it!

It would be a huge joke, this sucker game, if so many serious matters were not involved. On one side we have a naive, slightly ridiculous figure (precisely because of his oh so obvious sincerity) feeding carefully toasted and browned questions into the mouth of the experienced, shrewd and receptive Holy Father himself – the fatherly Deity who can be both stern and kindly, and speak with forked tongues of lightning or as gently as a Biblical ewe. “You are truly for peace, are you not?” asks cousin Henry, “Why of course,”i s the kindly response. “Then let us have a general reduction of armaments, outlawing of all methods of mass destruction, resumption of unrestricted trade, free movements of citizens, students and newspapermen between and within the two countries” (that is what Stalin gagged at, slightly, when in his reply he wrote that, “... nor can it be said that certain formulations and comment, in the open letter do not need to be improved ...”). To which benevolent Joseph promptly replied that, “... Mr. Wallace’s program could serve as a good and fruitful, basis for such an agreement ...”

Behind the “Peace” War

The Kremlin has launched a gigantic, international“peace” campaign and all its stooges are singing the melody, in or out of tune. The campaign, as we indicated in last week’s Labor Action, is not entirely without a real desire to re-open negotiations with American imperialism and attempt to settle specific issues. When Stalin says he is for “respect for the sovereignty of individual countries and non-interference in their domestic affairs,” that is simply his Wallaceite way of saying to America, cannot you agree to stay away from the Russian-occupied and dominated land of Eastern Europe, the Baltic and the Balkans? Stalin is not only anxious to give cousin Henry a helping boost; far more important for him is to attempt to maneuver American imperialism into a momentary and satisfactory settlement of at least the outstanding issues. Stalin lists the principle issues in his letter:

But while cousin Henry is only too keen to talk, ask more stooge questions and burble and gurgle with joy over the words of his Heavenly Father, the voice in Washington – where real power resides – is silent. From the center of imperialism there is only rebuff and reiteration of the “no negotiations” statement. Truman has no intention of seeking a settlement until, at the very least, the effectiveness of the Marshall Plan in operation has been such as to restore a stability and balance in Europe so great as to give America the upper hand in such negotiations, while simultaneously robbing the Stalinists of all powers of initiative. This is patent.

The situation of last year and early this year, where Stalinism could knock off such countries as Czechoslovakia at its ease, must be reversed before Truman and Marshall will settle down to horse-trading. That may take a year or so. It is this fact which so embarrasses Truman and which enables cousin Henry to work to the hilt his demagogy of “Peace Crusader,” encloaked in a white robe from on high.

When and How to Use UN

“Only through the UN will we talk,” says Marshall. A sidelight on the role of the UN in international affairs is provided by this. Everybody knows that when and if there is ever to be a deal worked out, the UN will have as little to do with it as it has to do with bringing peace to Palestine. If they are ever to be, negotiations will take place precisely as Stalin now proposes, with hardened experts of both powers swapping back and forth over a table. When it was convenient – that is, when American imperialism was anxious to make settlements – it ignored the existence of the UN (over Germany, Palestine etc.). During that period, Stalinism demanded the settlement of all issues through the UN because, actually, it wanted nothing settled! Now the situation is reversed, and Stalin wants to talk facts and turkey, but the opponent wants to run to the UN!

And so the game will proceed, month after month and year after year, through winding and torturous ways. Many a cousin Wallace will be nudged into life, built up to ask his stooge questions and then tossed away by Stalin. Many a proposition and counter-proposition will be launched, examined and tested before the ultimate eventuality of war must be faced. But none of this means peace and this must be recognized by all of us. World Stalinism and American imperialism are irreconcilable in the end, and cousin Henry’s emotional tittering only blinds the fact that what is needed is a complete break, with equal resoluteness, with both. The real function of the cousin Henry of this particular moment was well stated by Stalinist foreign expert, Joseph Starobin, in his Around the Globe column in the Daily Worker. He remarked that Stalin’s note was also addressed to the Republican candidates, “... particularly in view of the likelihood of a Republican presidency next January.” Uncle Joseph would gladly part with cousin Henry’s last Gideon Society Bible if he thought he could get Taft in the White House!

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