Editorial Notes

Miller Goes Over to Muste

(March 1931)

Written: March 1931.
First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 5, 1 March 1931, p. 2.
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When a man bites a dog – that’s news, said Dana; and on the same principle that the unusual is always interesting, when a man goes so far to the Right that he gets expelled from the Lovestone faction, the incident deserves a little notice. Such it seems is the fate – or the fortune, if you prefer – of the well-known Bert Miller and a half dozen or so others who have pooled their intellects in order to produce one great thought. The thought is that the way to serve the cause of Communism in America is to join the Muste organization (the C.P.L.A.) without further parley and to accept its platform. So much we learn from the last issue of the Revolutionary Age in which Ben Gitlow reads Miller out of Lovestone’s organization for the preservation of Leninism as Lenin never knew it.

This matter has been a topic of conversation on Fourteenth Street for quite a while and (the facts were well known before the item appeared in the paper. There ere people who, on the grounds of fair play, sympathize with Miller and consider his expulsion a frame-up, or at least a miscarriage of justice. Crime, say these exponents of the Rights of Man, is qualitative not quantitative. If a man is not put in jail for stealing a nickel why should he be arrested for taking a dime? If one is not penalized for mistaking Lovestoneism for Communism, he should not be condemned for making the same error in regard to Musteism. It is only, they say on Fourteenth Street, a question of degree.

Miller’s mistake however, from the Lovestoneistic standpoint, is a mistake of tactics. He wants to walk directly to the point of objective instead of circling around to it. In this he violates the traditions of the Lovestone faction; and, moreover, he spoils the strategy. The Right wing movement, it is true, is a break with Communism and a new bridge to social democracy. But there are some Communist workers in the Right wing camp – driven there by the crimes and absurdities of the party leadership – who do not know this yet. They have to be prepared and maneuvered step by step. Lovestone understands this and leads his movement accordingly.

Miller, who is different only because he is dumber, doesn’t understand it. He wants to go too fast. Therefore he had to be pushed out and the gate was slammed behind him with a loud and virtuous bang. “He is breaking with Communism”, cries Gitlow with crocodile tears in his voice. But the case is not really so bad for Miller and he need have no fear of a permanent separation. The whole character of the propaganda and activity of the Right wing is an assurance that they will catch up with and rejoin him after a while.

Miller, the recruit of Musteism, which is nothing but a wing of social democracy, served his novitiate in the war against counter-revolutionary Trotskyism. As the District Organizer in New York, he put his whole little heart into that crusade. He was the organizer of the slugging squads which attacked our comrades on the street and broke up the meetings at the Labor Temple. Now already, and quite logically, he has developed further the implications of that struggle. This is all true to form. The campaign against the Left Opposition was for him, as it has been for many throughout the world, the starting point and the transition stage for a transfer of class allegiance.

The fight against the Left Opposition has been the training school for treason to Communism. Bessedovsky fought Trotskyism valiantly. He was rewarded with Rakovsky’s post as ambassador to France, and then he jumped over the fence of the embassy into the arms of the white guards. Agabekov, a tried warrior against Trotskyism, took the place of the murdered Blumkin shortly before he passed over to the camp of the class enemy. The bottoms of many a soldier in the war against the Left Opposition throughout the World are already firmly wedged into the functionary chairs of social democracy.

Tell us, tell us, Communist workers,why do so many Trotsky-killers turn out to be social democrats and white guards?.

Last updated on: 5.12.2012