Friday, July 17, 2009

Healyite Slander Mill Grinds On (1977)

Workers Vanguard No. 176 (7 October 1977)

Healyite Slander Mill Grinds On

The Healyite gang has struck again. As part of the latest installment in its disgusting two-year smear campaign against SWP chief and ex-Trotskyist Joseph Hansen, the British Healyite Workers Revolutionary Party, has published (News Line, 30 July 1977) what it melodramatically terms “the most incriminating document in the history of the Trotskyist movement.” The Healyites' latest exhibit is a two-sentence letter, evidently written by Hansen to one George P. Shaw, the U.S. consul in Mexico City in 1940.

This letter is cited as unimpeachable “evidence” that Hansen secretly collaborated with the FBI. to “shield known GPU agents” responsible for the assassination of Trotsky in 1940. It is backed by other “damning” corroborative testimony, such as the following quotation, dramatically blown up and set against a black background in News Line:
Mr. Joseph Hansen, secretary to the late Leon Trotsky, called yesterday to ask for a picture of Trotsky's assassin. I told him I would be glad to see if we could give him one.”
- U.S. Embassy in Mexico City
Of Hansen's meeting with an embassy official, News Line howls.
There is nothing to rival it in the annals of the world Trotskyist movement: a secretary of imperialism's most feared enemy is walking in and out of the American embassy and holding private discussions with the FBI's head men in Mexico City!”
News Line implicitly acknowledges that the entirety of its “case” for Hansen's involvement as an “accomplice” in the Trotsky assassination rests on the alleged “secrecy” of Hansen's contact with the police agencies of U.S. imperialism. The article concedes that “It is true that other members of Trotsky's household also visited the U.S. Embassy – Albert Goldman and guard Charles Cornell among them.” The article further admits that Trotsky himself met with Robert G. McGregor, the same embassy official with whom Hansen supposedly met. The difference, claims News Line, is that “Trotsky made no secret of his meeting with McGregor.”

The Healyite's “expose” of Hansen, they boast, will “certainly be news to every member of the SWP from the oldest veteran to the youngest rank-and-filer.” We doubt it. The “most incriminating document in the history of the Trotskyist movement” has a return address on it. That address is 116. University Place, New York City. This is not a secret – or even a private – address for the correspondence which Hansen was supposedly trying to hide from the Trotskyist movement, but the public headquarters of the SWP! We would be surprised indeed if any correspondence routed through this mailing address could be “news” to the SWP.

Hansen has much to answer for before the working class: his role as a leader of a reformist organization which has become a roadblock to the construction of a Trotskyist party. But there is no evidence whatsoever of any unauthorized contact or “collusion” by Hansen with the FBI or GPU. Rather, it is perfectly clear that Trotsky and the SWP assigned Hansen to undertake such confidential contact on behalf of the movement and the Healyites are simply exploiting this fact, which for self-evident security reasons would hardly have been officially noted or bandied about at the time. It is the Healyites who, with their cop-baiting smear campaign, have made themselves “accomplices” of the Stalinists' half century of slander against the Trotskyist movement.