On August 23, 1939. Stalin shocked Communist partics all over the world when he signed a pact with Hitler. 'The Daily Worker' missed publication for one day until the new line was handed down. Said the new line was "Fascism was no longer a threat" ... it was only a matter of 'taste.' Nazis ceased to be beasts, and any opposition to Hitler was branded as detrimental to the cause of 'world revolution.' The new slogan of the American CP was "The Yanks are not coming" as the Nazis and the Communists embraced in old Moscow. In Old Moscow was written by Walter Gourlay under his party name Walter Cliff. Friedland met Gourlay while he was living in Staten Island. "He recruited me to the Shachtman group," he said. "He wrote beautiful polemical parodies. 'In Old Moscow' was one of his songs. We used to build skits around these things - whole skits - and that was only one of the songs we used. This would have been around 1941."
Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records, BCD 15 720 JL, 1996, pp. 195-197.
First released on Joe Glazer & Bill Friedland, "Ballads for Sectarians" (Labor Arts, late 1951 or early 1952)
In old Moscow, in the Kremlin,
In the fall of thirty nine.
Sat a Russian and a Prussian
Writing out the party line.
Chorus:1Leon Trotsky was a Nazi,
Oh my darling, Oh my darling,
Oh my darling party line.
Oh, I never will desert you
Cause I love this life of mine.
Oh, we knew it for a fact.
2Pravda said it, we all read it
Before the Stalin-Hitler Pact.
Once a Nazi would be shot, see.
That was then the party line.
Now a Nazi's hotsy-totsy,
Trotsky's laying British mines.
Now the Nazis, without Trotsky,
[ALTERNATE: Now the Nazis and Der Fuehrer]
Stand within the party line.
All the Russians love the Prussians
Volga boatmen sail the Rhine.
1Trotsky, Leon: In a series of frame-up trials held in Moscow in 1936-38, the co- architect of the Bolshevik Revolution, first Foreign Commissar, founder of the Red Army and Commissar for War (1918-1925) was 'proved' to have been an agent in the pay of various foreign governments, including Hitler's Germany. Once Hitler became an ally of Stalin, the latter accusation became somewhat 'inappropriate.'
2Pravda: The official party organ in the Soviet Union.
Ronald D. Cohen & Dave Samuelson, liner notes for "Songs for Political Action," Bear Family Records, BCD 15 720 JL, 1996, p. 196.
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