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New International, August 1935

 

On Good Intentions

 

From New International, Vol.2 No.5, August 1935, pp.176-177.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

 

AN EXAMPLE of the hopeless position into which a false line of policy can drive a group is offered by the depths of contradiction into which the Lovestone group has now fallen, particularly in the face of the openly chauvinistic turn taken by the Third International. In a pre-convention discussion article printed in the Workers Age (August 10, 1936), K. Kalmen writes:

“While our draft resolution correctly attacks the present false position of the CI it fails in one respect – namely, in sharply differentiating the present false position of the CI from the traditional policies of social democracy. Why is this differentiation essential? If the CI is guilty of abandoning communist principles, if the CI is guilty of ‘social chauvinism’, if the CI is pursuing a ‘lesser evil’ policy then both the CI and the LSI are guilty of betraying the interests of the international working class and the only correct logical conclusion would be: ‘The Second and Third Internationals are dead as instruments for the furthering of world revolution and therefore we must issue the slogan for the building of a new, revolutionary International.’

“Would it be correct on our part to take this position? Is it correct to classify the present policy of the French and Czechoslovakian parties as ‘social chauvinism’? In my opinion it is not only incorrect but also confusing and misleading.

“While the practical results of this policy may lead to the same conclusions as that of the social democratic parties the position of the communist parties still flows from an international orientation, is a result of their devotion to the cause of proletarian solidarity, possibly falsely conceived, but still based on the desire and intention of defending the USSR, the only fortress of growing socialist construction. The position of the social democratic parties, however, was the result of their leaders’ desire to preserve the rule of their own respective bourgeoisie under the cover of vague and meaningless slogans of ‘Democracy vs. Teutonian barbarism’ or ‘Culture vs. Czarism’.

“The same applies to the ‘People’s Front’ slogan of the CI ...”

How fortunate we are that there is someone able to shed so much clarity on the subject. The difference between the socialist chauvinists and the Stalinist chauvinists, “the practical results of [whose] policy may lead to the same conclusions”, is that the latter, you see, are animated by ... good intentions. So are thousands of Fascist workers who join the Nazis in order sincerely to fight big capital, even capitalism, and for socialism. How do Kalmen and other Lovestoneites know that the Stalinists have “good intentions”? He has invented what Lenin, in 1921, declared that the ingenuity of mankind had not yet succeeded in producing: a “sincerometer” which measures the sincerity and intentions of persons. Only, Lenin added that such an instrument was not necessary in politics, for the political line was sufficient for a judgment. In the case of the Lovestoneites, their political line having failed to justify their position of “reforming the CI”, they must now resort to psychology and sincerometers.

 
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