Editorial Notes

They Say It With Flowers

(August 1931)

Written: August 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 18, 8 August 1931, p. 4.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
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The exponents of Bolshevik self-criticism are at it again and true stories stranger than fiction are unfolding themselves on the pages of the Daily Worker for anyone to read if he will and to understand if he can. Kuusinen precipitated the latest orgy with his recent article entitled, Are the Decisions of the E.C.C.I. Plenum to Remain on Paper? They should have, but they didn’t. And now we are hearing a rollcall on the results. The head men of the C.E.C. have evidently called on all the District Committees to explain – at length, of course – which district applied the line of the XI Plenum most faithfully and which got the worst results. The Chicago D.E.C. bids for the prize in the latest Stalinist competition with a resolution in the Daily Worker of August 1, which covers almost a whole page Of the paper. The report is long and, in its own way, good.

The resolution of the district leaders bristles with accounts of “weaknesses”, “failures”, “opportunism” “Leftist mistakes”, “dissolution”, “demoralization” and “collapse” In every field, all related with the gusto and enthusiasm of a hypochondriac boasting of his diseases The section devoted to the Southern Illinois mining fields is a fair sample of the whole document. They were busy there and they have results to show for it. The achievements claimed in the resolution include the following:

“(a) Failure to mobilize the Illinois miners to struggle and spread the Orient strike, (b) Decline of our influence in the Orient strike, (c) Dissolution of the four locals of the N.M.U. (d) Dissolution of five units of the party, (e) General weakening of our position in the Illinois fields.”

This, we contend, is pretty close to a hundred per cent efficiency in the work of clearing out the sprouts and shoots of Communist influence. The grasshoppers in a Dakota field could hardly make a cleaner sweep. And how do the Chicago Stalinists account for this result? Do they re-examine the policy that produces such a devastation? Not at all. “The District Bureau”, they say, “has made generally correct decisions on work in the mining field.” This they call “self-criticism” and on top of it they add: “Self-criticism is that particular method of work by which we improve all our methods of work.” They say it with flowers.

In the political struggle we grow accustomed to much, and we are ready to believe that this incredible document was really adopted, that is not a forgery elaborated to make fun of the party. But when the Daily Worker introduces the resolution with the statement that it is “an example to other districts – not only to follow, but to excel”, it goes too far. How can that record be excelled?

Last updated on: 13.1.2013