William F. Dunne

The Struggle Against Opportunism in the Labor Movement – For a Socialist United States

A Contribution to the Discussion of Major Problems of Marxism-Leninism in Our Country


Chapter 1: The Economic, Social and Political Basis for a Socialist United States

We base our program for the political preparation of the workingclass of the United States for the abolition of the system of monopoly capitalism (imperialism) and the establishment or a socialist system of production and government as the main, immediate and central task of Marxists (Communists and Marxist Socialists) and the unification of these forces for this high purpose, on the following facts and conclusions:

1) All the material resources for a socialist economy are present, in our country in abundance–raw materials, industrial plants, power-producing enterprises, transportation, highly developed agricultural resources.

2) All the productive social forces are present to man a socialist economy and administer socialist government.

3) The workingclass of the United States (wage earning population and its families and dependents) is the great majority of our total population. With its close natural allies–the 14 million doubly oppressed Negro people, landless and debt-ridden farmers and city middle class of the lower economic brackets, it is the overwhelming majority of our population.

4) The monopoly capitalists (Wall Street banks and insurance companies, the 60 imperial families) now own and control the largest production system in the world. During World War II, all sections of this already huge network of industry expanded enormously. It produced far in excess of the needs of the armed forces of some 12 million without undue strain. It supplied much of the needs of the allies. It established bases all over the world whose respective productive capacity was greater than that of many of the smaller capitalist countries.

This enormous tonnage of raw and finished goods–whose sum total has never been even approached before–was produced without the normal influx of young labor reserves into the mass production industries but also when this section of the productive population as well as several million older trained workers, engineers, and technicians, were withdrawn for the armed forces. Their places were filled by inexperienced women workers and men of advanced age.

Labor Power and Production

There is little or no exaggeration in saying that if this same tonnage of raw and finished commodities had been used for production instead of destruction–in terms of industrial plants, mining machinery, light and power plants, railways, etc.–it would have been sufficient to industrialize (and modernize agriculture) the more thickly populated regions of the earth at least up to the technical standard of 1914-18 France.

5) The vast majority of our population live by, or are dependent on, the sale of labor power to industries and businesses owned or dominated by monopoly capital. They own no tools of production. They own no capitalist property by ownership of which others must work for them. This vast army of scientists, engineers of all categories, chemists, technicians, mechanics and laborers in all trades and occupations, and their dependents, make up the great majority of population.

Due to highly developed industrial organization and standardized techniques, the universality of motorized transport, the mechanization of agriculture, the transformation into industrial workers of huge sections of the agrarian and white collar workers by war demand for labor power, this majority of the population is the most technically capable and efficient in the world.

But its share of the “vast accumulation of commodities” it produces (wages, salaries) decreases. The huge surplus is the property of a small minority.

6) There Is no other capitalist nation or combination of capitalist nations capable of seriously crippling or hampering the development of a socialist system in our country by armed intervention and invasion as was and still is the case with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

7) With all this vast wealth of natural resources, unmatched industrial development and huge army of highly trained productive workers of all categories, peace time prosperity has been achieved for brief periods in our country in the last 23 years only as the result of markets expanded by preparations for two world wars and the demand created by military destruction on a world-wide scale. Five and one-half years of this period were devoted to two world wars.

The depression of 1913-14 was replaced by industrial activity resulting from the war demand previous to and after our entry into World War I. The United States became a creditor nation only during and after that war. Monopoly capitalist expansion in the U.S. after that war was the result of demand for goods and capital created by destruction of life and property unparalleled up to that time.

But the boom period was short lived, 1924-29. The subsequent crisis, depression, brief partial recovery, renewed depression, lasting ten years, was replaced by industrial activity again resulting only from preparations for the outbreak of and our entry into World War II.

There has been bloodstained boom and war prosperity now since 1940-41.

The truth cannot be hidden. In this fearful truth is to be found the reason why our country, undamaged by the war which wrecked the economy of the rest of the capitalist world, and severely damaged the socialist economy of the Soviet Union, emerging from the holocaust which consumed the material wealth and millions of mankind of other warring nations, with its industrial and agricultural capacity greatly increased, presents a paradox to the eyes and ears of the world’s peoples.

The Great Fear

The spokesmen of monopoly capitalism and its government in our country, their press and radio, their analysts and commentators, present to the world a picture of the highest monopoly capitalist and government circles in the richest country in the world in the grip of a great fear. Their worldwide offensive in behalf of “free enterprise” is in fact a not too brilliant defense. No one knows the weakness of the case for “free enterprise” better than the highest circles of its beneficiaries.

Two things they know very well indeed and their fear is justified because it is based not on danger from foreign attack–imperialist or Communist–but on fear of the great majority of our people, workingmen and women, Negro and white:

The monopoly capitalists and their advisers know better than anyone else that their “free enterprise” is not free at all. They know better than anyone else that its objective is to destroy the last vestiges of free enterprise remaining from the pre-monopolist, pre-imperialist era. They know also that to the liberty loving peoples of the rest of the world they appear as the main support of feudal, fascist and imperialist reaction.

The monopoly capitalists know, and their fear of the workingclass is based, and rightly, on the fact that more of our class are reaching the correct conclusion about the economic, political and military history of the last 30 years–in the lifetime of men and women still young.

That correct conclusion is: The system of monopoly capitalism in our country has been able to achieve a precarious stability in the last three decades by one method and one method alone. That method is war on a world scale.

Twice in 27 years the gigantic accumulation of goods–“mountains of commodities”–have been destroyed by wars which replace these mountains of commodities, for which there were no buyers, with mountains of corpses.

The men and women whose bodies made the mountains of corpses were the men and women who had produced the mountains of commodities. There were such great mountains of commodities for which there were no profitable markets that it was necessary to slaughter millions of human beings so there would be fewer buyers.

This is the mass homicidal lunatic logic of free enterprise (capitalist imperialism and its defenders) in our country–the richest country in the world, the most blessed by nature.

The bloody mud of the worldwide battlefields is not yet dry. But mountains of commodities are beginning to accumulate in our country again. Once more the defenders of free enterprise are preparing the minds of workers, who produce the “mountains of commodities” to permit again the conversion of their bodies into mountains of corpses.

This is our case for a program for a socialist United States–the only victorious, sane and final way to end monopoly capitalism and the effects of its lunatic economic logic–mass destruction to maintain prosperity.

Pre-monopolist capitalism produced small wars. Monopoly capitalism produces world wars. World wars can be postponed but they cannot be prevented under the system of monopoly capitalism. War, and the preparations for war, is an inevitable product of this system and has now become the normal market outlet for the “vast accumulations of commodities.”

But it is not inevitable that the system of monopoly capitalism continues to exist. The grip of the monopolists by means of their ownership and control of the means of life, their domination of government to maintain their power to rob and rule can, must, and will be broken.

Take Power from Them

The natural resources and the means of production now in their hands, and which are the source of their economic and political power, must be taken from them–and become public (social) property. Socialist government will plan and administer social production. Government power now in the interests of the monopoly capitalist minority becomes government in the interest of the vast majority–workingmen and women.

This is the program of socialism and this is the only way out of the murderous maze into which monopoly capitalism has plunged our country and the world twice in 27 years.

It will do it again unless it is abolished and a socialist system established by a politically conscious workingclass, aroused and made resolute by full knowledge of the truth–that history has made it possible for the workingmen and women of the United States, by freeing themselves, to end the horror of fascism and war forever–and liberate the working people of the whole world.

No such glorious destiny and decisive role has ever been given to the workingclass of any other country–and to its most advanced detachments–Communist and Marxist Socialists.–WFD.

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(3) NoteŚLabor Force: 60,980,000 (Does not include armed forces, 8,000,000 executives and self-employed.) Approx. US pop. 141,000,000. Labor Research Assn., Nov., ’46.

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Then and Now: 1870-1947

“The police-tinged bourgeois mind naturally figures to itself the International Working Men’s Association as acting in the manner of a secret conspiracy, its central body ordering, from time to time, explosions in different countries. Our Association is, in fact, nothing but the international bond between the most advanced working men in the various countries of the civilized world. Whenever, in whatever shape, and under whatever conditions the class struggle obtains any consistency, it is but natural that members of our association should stand in the foreground. The soil out of which it grows is modern society itself. It cannot be stamped out by any amount of carnage. To stamp it out, the Government would have to stamp out the despotism of capital over labor–the condition of their own parasitical existence.” (Karl Marx–Address of the General Council of the International Workingmen’s Association to the Members of the Association in Europe and the United States, 1870–The Paris Commune)