Stalinism and the German Crisis

The Daily Worker Contributes Three Errors To a Serious Question

(July 1931)

Written: July 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 16, 25 July 1931, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: This work is in the under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists’ Internet Archive as your source, include the URL to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

The decisive influence exerted by the intervention of America in the stabilization of European capitalism, following the defeat of the German proletariat in 1923, was sufficient to establish its role as the greatest counter-revolutionary factor on an international scale. It is from this that the present attempt of Hoover, of which the moratorium proposals are a first step, derives its enormous Importance and calls for the most careful analysis by the Communists. Unless we see the thing straight, we cannot expect to bring forward in time the appropriate counter-measures. And it is here, just as in 1923 and 1924, that the blunders are being made by the official leaders.

Another Form of American Hegemony

The role of America as a “stabilizer” was greatly facilitated in the previous instance by the blunders of the Comintern. The present endeavors to hold off a revolutionary crisis, receive the same gratuitous assistance. Now, as then scientific analysis gives way to guesswork and insistence on preconceived theories which are refuted by the events themselves. And in this work, the American Stalinists distinguish themselves above all others. They bid fair to match the hegemony of American imperialism with a peculiar hegemony of their own in the realm of stupidity.

They are hindered from a correct approach to these great international events by a false theory which they have built around themselves like a prison wall. And, as though the theory of socialism in one country were not sufficient to hide the real international processes from them, they have superimposed upon it another one to make blindness doubly sure. Such is the purpose served by the theory of “fascism” and “social fascism” as the editorial comments of the Daily Worker illustrate.

In a previous issue we called attention to the failure of the Daily Worker to consider the German revolution in its first analysis of Hoover’s action and its purposes. In the issue of July 14th the leading editorial of the Daily Worker attempts to make good this “oversight”. In doing so, however, it makes at least three other mistakes, and leaves the original one uncorrected. The idea of a German revolution, which was left out of account entirely at first, is sprinkled throughout the editorial of July 14th. But in spite of that, the repeated references do not fit into the structure of the analysis. They stand out awkwardly, like “back-writing”, as though they were written in after the fact, to disarm criticism.

The mentioned editorial has the following to say:

“American workers should understand that the same reason which makes all imperialisms strive to turn Germany into an active foe of the Soviet Union, impels them to welcome a Fascist dictatorship in Germany and prepare for armed intervention against any proletarian revolution in Germany.”

Here are three fundamental misconceptions compressed into one sentence, a fairly high mark even for the Daily Worker. First they talk about the imperialist design to “turn Germany into an active foe of the Soviet Union.” Is not capitalist Germany by its very nature an “active foe” of the Soviet Union? Are not the two systems – the Soviet and the capitalist – irreconcilable? Lenin said, and every Marxist knows, that the two cannot live peacefully, that “the obituary will have to be sung either over the death of world capitalism or the death of the Soviet republic”. Is capitalist Germany not a part of world capitalism, is it something standing in between? For us the answer to such a question is obvious. And that is why we bank on the German revolution. That is why the capitalists who also approach questions on the other side from the same fundamental class point of view, strive primarily to avert it.

The Stalinists answer these questions in their own way. They are constructing socialism in one country. From this follows their theory of the “neutralization of the bourgeoisie,” and the division of the capitalist countries into “active foes” and ... friends. With such ideas, the prospect of revolution in a “friendly country” can easily be overlooked.

Imperialists and a Fascist Dictatorship

Second, they say the imperialists will welcome a Fascist dictatorship in Germany. This idea appears a number of times in the editorial. They insist on it continually. But, nevertheless, the imperialists do not have such a policy. At the present time, the main prop of Capitalism in Germany is the social democracy functioning through “democratic” forms. Its strength derives from the illusions of millions of workers in the democratic deceptions. It is absurd to think that the imperialists will discard this mighty bulwark against revolution as long as it serves its purpose.

Only when the majority of the workers turn away from the social democracy to the Communists, will the capitalists turn to the last resort – naked force expressed through Fascism. A Fascist dictatorship, by its ruthless abolition of democratic forms, would thereby turn away millions of workers from the support of the regime, and correspondingly undermine it. It has never yet been demonstrated that Fascism can have a stable endurance in such a highly industrialized country as Germany, with a powerful and well organized working class. The imperialist bourgeoisie whose fate is bound up with the fate of German capitalism, have no interest to plunge into this desperate alternative of their own volition. On the contrary, they have every reason to reinforce and support the social democracy and the parliamentary forms which have served them and saved them up to now. They will not risk Fascism till they have to, not even to justify the theories of the Daily Worker and the rest of the Stalinists.

The third mistake of the Daily Worker editorial, in which they tip their hat belatedly to the German proletarian revolution is embodied in the statement that the imperialists “prepare for armed intervention against any proletarian revolution in Germany”. Taken by itself and presented as a supplement to the present interference in German affairs, such a declaration of imperialist intentions would be self-evident. But the Stalinists, in offering it as the crux of the imperialist attitude toward the German revolution, distort the picture entirely. The imperialists are intervening now against the German revolution! They are doing so because they see it as the greatest danger in the present situation to the whole structure of world imperialism, and the most powerful reinforcement of the Soviet Union. The proletariat will be able to frustrate the maneuvers of imperialism only to the extent that it sees the heart of the problem with equal clarity. Stalinist theories and conclusions, which the Daily Worker raises to the apex of absurdity, contribute nothing but confusion to the question.

Last updated on: 5.1.2013