Joseph Hansen

Browder – A Wall Street Agent
16 Years on Stalin’s Payroll

(23 February 1946)

Source: The Militant, Vol. X No. 8, 23 February 1946, p. 6.
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It’s official now. The National Committee of the Communist (Stalinist) Party has condemned as a traitor the man who acted for 16 years as chief lieutenant in America for Generalissimo Stalin. On February 13 the National Committee expelled Earl Browder “for betraying the principles of Marxism-Leninism and deserting to the side of the class enemy – American monopoly capital.”

The National Committee of 54 agreed unanimously that Browder’s line, the line slavishly followed by all Stalinists during the second imperialist world war, was a line of betrayal of the working class. And the 54 agreed unanimously on expelling this perfidious traitor Browder.

What could be more natural or logical than this unanimity of the 54 in condemning Browder? Weren’t these 54 only yesterday just as unanimously peddling Browder’s treacherous line? Didn’t these 54 Stalinist choirboys year after year just as unanimously sing the highest praises to their beloved leader Earl Browder?


“The struggle against Browder and Browderism now enters a new stage,” continues the official excommunication. “The struggle against Browder and Browderism is no longer a struggle against a trend in the Communist and labor movements. It is now a struggle against a deserter from communism, against an alien ideology and influence.”

Thus the political line faithfully carried out by Browder on Stalin’s orders has now been given the name of “Browderism” and baptized as an “enemy class ideology.” And thus have the rank and file – indignant at having had to sell Wall Street’s program to the workers – been tossed nothing less than the General Secretary of the party in the hope that this sacrificial scapegoat, fattened for 16 years will keep them quiet.

The General Secretary is not the only leading Stalinist who has recently joined the camp of monopoly capital. Victor Decavitch, a former leading official of the CIO United Electrical Workers, long known as a Stalinist hatchet-man in Ohio, has just become "industrial relations adviser” for the Federal Welding Company.

More Deserters

Edward F. Cheyfitz, former head of the CIO die casters, now merged with the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union, likewise long known as a Stalinist spokesman, is today “associated” with Eric Johnston, former head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And these are but two of the many such Stalinist careerists who have openly sold out to Big Business.

Can we forget Louis Budenz, editor of the Daily Worker? This chief of staff on the official organ of American Stalinism, abruptly announced October 10 that he had joined the Catholic Church and accepted a lucrative post at Notre Dame University. An official statement of the stunned Stalinist leadership characterized Budenz’ unexpected flight as “abandonment of the labor movement.”

Nor is Earl Browder the only General Secretary to be expelled as an agent of capitalism. His predecessor in this post, Jay Lovestone, was likewise expelled back in 1929 under similar circumstances.

The only other person to hold this highest post in the party was Charles E. Ruthenberg. He died in the spring of 1927. Thus two out of the three General Secretaries before Foster have been booted out in utter disgrace, denounced as agents of monopoly capital.

What Is Cause?

What is there about the Stalinist Party that permits scoundrels, traitors and tools of Wall Street to rise to the highest posts? Certainly it is not because of any remarkable contributions in the field of theory or because of superior ability or training. What has Browder ever written outside of obvious trash cooked to order of the Kremlin’s diplomatic requirements?

Likewise, it cannot be said these chiefs were elevated to their high posts because they enjoyed a mass following. Each expulsion has demonstrated their lack of roots in the labor movement.

After being kicked out, Lovestone lasted for a while as head of a small group that tried to get back on the Stalinist gravy train. In January 1941, however, the remnants of his group adopted a resolution to the effect that the best thing they could do in the interest of socialism was dissolve.

Only a Puppet

Browder after 16 years in office, leaves with far fewer followers than Lovestone. To make a livelihood, he has been compelled to enter the business world. Could there be more convincing evidence that he was nothing but a puppet lacking any of the real backing characteristic of working class leaders who enjoy genuine support among the masses?

It is highly instructive to compare the fate of these Stalinist flunkies with the fate of the Trotskyists who were expelled from the Communist Party in 1928. Lovestone was then General Secretary. At the head of a powerful party, his future seemed assured. When he railroaded through an expulsion of the Trotskyists he thought they would speedily disintegrate.

But the Trotskyists had a program, the Marxist program of Lenin and Trotsky. They fol lowed principled politics. They fought for political ideas and devoted themselves to the cause of the working class without thought of personal sacrifice. And they had a will to fight. In the very next week after their expulsion (October 27, 1928) they began publishing a paper, The Militant.

Although the Trotskyists lacked financial resources, and were only a handful, they knew that in the long run principled politics would win out. Within a few months they were given a token of the future. The high and mighty Lovestone who had sacrificed principles in his concern over the post of General Secretary was summarily ousted. Some of the workers in the Communist Party drew the correct lesson from this expulsion and joined the Trotskyists to fight for the program of genuine Marxism.

Today The Militant is the fastest growing labor paper in the country; and the Socialist Workers Party, organized by the Trotskyists, is forging ahead steadily, The SWP is deeply rooted in the American working class. It is from these class roots that it derives its sturdy independence and its great political stability.

The Stalinists on the contrary have no independent existence whatever outside of the Kremlin bureaucracy. They follow no program but that of opportunistic adaptation to the orders of Moscow. The task of these bureaucratic wheelhorses is simply to drag the party along in accordance with the shifts and changes of Stalin’s devious foreign policy.

Consequently the Stalinist machine develops only men who are pliable, men willing to fawn, servile tools without backbone or independence of character. These jelly-like creatures are elevated to the highest posts and then discarded without stirring a ripple in the working class. They are respected by no one, least of all the cynical Kremlin gang who manipulate them.

Not an Accident

Browder’s expulsion is not simply the consequence of an isolated individual degenerating politically. It follows from the whole system which has been built up in the Stalinist organization. The natural selection of leaders in this organization occurs in an environment of opportunism and corruption. People without moral standards or even elementary honesty become the leaders. This is the conclusion that must force itself on workers still remaining in the Communist Party. Browder's open desertion to Wall Street is not an accident but a link in the whole chain of decay.

A party that places at its helm leaders like Browder cannot serve the interests of the working class. Instead it constitutes a festering political sore. The present venomous attacks which Earl Browder’s former bosom companions are now levelling on the Socialist Workers Party are nothing but a barrage intended to prevent workers following the so-called Communist Party from seeing the truth – that only one truly revolutionary Marxist party exists in the United States, the Socialist Workers Party.


Last updated on: 19 September 2018