Source: International Press Correspondence, Vol. 14, no. 34, June 15, 1934
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive(marxists.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.
The Communist Party of Cuba held its historic Second Congress on April 20 to 22 at a time of great development of and perspective for the agrarian-anti-imperialist revolution in Cuba.
In spite of the ferocious terror unleashed by the national concentration government of Mendieta, in spite of the savagery of Col. Batista, army head, who attempted to prevent the Congress with bayonets, 67 delegates from the provinces, representing the lower organisations of the Party, gathered at the Congress. This meeting marked a great step toward the clarification of the basic tasks which confront the revolutionary movement in Cuba.
Called at the moment when the Mendieta government was confronted with a wave of mass protest against its fascist decrees evidenced in a series of militant strikes against the decrees, the Second Congress drew up a balance-sheet of the period of development of the Cuban Party since the First Congress.
Comrade Martinez, general secretary of the Communist Party, in his penetrating analysis, pointed out as the central perspective the rapid sharpening of developments leading to decisive struggles for Soviet power in Cuba, calling upon all the Party through the delegates to forge a Bolshevik Party. The development of strikes during the Congress confirms the perspective given by the report of the Central Committee to the National Congress.
The report of the Central Committee was very informative on the tremendous advances made by the Party since its first constituent Congress in 1925. Since its beginning the Communist Party of Cuba, which was then only a sectarian group, isolated from the masses, has forged itself through the struggle of the proletariat and under the leadership of the Communist International, into a Party with mass influence which is now entering on the road toward the winning of the majority of the working class.
The political thesis presented by the. Central Committee underlined the fact that the development of the Party has been possible only through the heroic struggle carried on against the dictatorship of Machado and Yankee imperialism, and through a ruthless struggle against all the tendencies foreign to Communism. The Party has achieved great results in its efforts to clarify the application of the line of the Communist International in Cuba, purifying its ranks of opportunist elements of the Right or “Left.” The implacable struggle against the Trotskyism which sprang up in Cuba a little before the fall of Machado and which held the counter-revolutionary theory of the impossibility of a revolution in Cuba without a proletarian revolution in the United States. This has worked out in practice as a constant collaboration of the Trotskyites eith the governments which followed Machado, in their carrying out a role of strike-breaking.
The Congress emphasised the correct strategy the Party followed in rooting itself in the basic proletariat of the country, particularly in the sugar industry. At the beginning of 1932, the Party commenced seriously to apply its plan of concentration in the plantations and mills of the sugar Industry, leading militant strikes which produced constant armed struggles against the rural guards of Machado. This helped the Party very greatly to head struggles against the feudal remnants on the land, struggles which culminated in the general strike of August, which overthrew Machado.
The delegation of the Second Congress demonstrated in large part the orientation of the Party toward the basic industries of the country, although it reflected at the same time all the weaknesses of the party among certain other sections of the basic proletariat, especially the railroad workers. Of the 67 delegates, 43 were workers. Of these, 13 were sugar workers, nine tobacco workers, six transport workers, two metal workers, and the rest were from light industries. There were only three peasant delegates, which demonstrates the serious weakness of the work of the Party in the countryside. Although insufficient, the presence of 14 Negro delegates indicated a more effective understanding of the Negro question in the ranks of the Party.
The second Congress severely criticised the weaknesses of the Party, especially the grave mistakes of August, 1933, which would have been disastrous for the revolutionary movement without rapid correction. In the report of the Central Committee, as well as in the political theses, these mistakes were underlined and characterised as social-democratic theory of the “lesser evil.” The mistakes consisted in calling upon the workers during the general strike of August to go back to work because it was necessary to choose “between Yankee intervention and a weakened Machado.” The Congress pointed out the necessity of an implacable struggle against the remnants of this theory, which still persists, as well as against the vestiges of anarcho-syndicalism, which is an obstacle to the winning of the masses for decisive struggles.
We must point out the weakness of the Congress reflected in the lack of a serious analysis of the causes for the lack of consolidation of the Soviets in the places where, the high level of the struggles of the workers and peasants culminated in the taking over of local power (Mabay, Jaronu). We must also emphasise the weakness of the struggle against Yankee intervention, which reflects not only the organisational deficiency of the Party, but particularly the lack of a revolutionary perspective.
The Second Congress of the Communist party of Cuba placed very sharply the question of realising transitory slogans: worker control, confiscation and distribution of the land of the Yankee and native landlords, as a lever for higher struggles toward taking over power and the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ government. Discussion around this question was very weak in the Congress.
The great weaknesses of the Party in the face of the problems of revolution were laid bare. The danger of a setback in the struggles of the peasants, because of the slowness with which the Party organises the agrarian struggles and the winning over of the peasants as the most revolutionary ally of the proletariat, was sharply pointed out. The central slogan launched by the Central Committee and confirmed by the Congress was that of the preparation for and organisation of taking over the land and its distribution among the peasants, agricultural workers and soldiers; the organisation of peasant committees as well as the strengthening of the Party organisation among them.
No less sharply placed was the question of winning over the Negro masses. The Congress severely criticised the tendency to hide the face of the Party before the Negro masses and the resistance to bringing into the Party Negro workers and peasants who showed a desire to enter the Party (Oriente). Especially did the Congress point out the necessity of a greater clarification of the Negro question as a national rather than a “racial” question, typified; in the slogan for self-determination of the Negroes In the Black Belt of Oriente province.
The general report of the Central Committee and the special emphasis on the military work of the Party revealed serious weakness in activity among the armed forces. In the armed struggles which developed during the military occupation of the mills in the last zafra (sugar harvest), the agitation among the soldiers resulted in fraternisation, including the refusal on the part of many of the soldiers to fire on the strikers. In spite of this favourable situation, the Party, as pointed out by the Congress, has made only the barest beginnings of work among the army. Organisation of committees of soldiers and the recruiting of soldiers into the Party was taken up as an urgent task.
The delegates gave their serious, attention to the trade union report. The tremendous extension of the C.N.O.C. (Cuban National Confederation of Labour) during the course of the last three months had resulted in an increase of workers organised in revolutionary trade unions from 12,000 to 431,000. The victory achieved by the Party in the extension of the C.N.O.C. and its historic Fourth Congress, held in January, 1934, placed in the forefront the slogan and practical realisation of the winning of the majority of the working class. The great political and organisational weakness of the millions was also brought forward, as was the pressing need of strengthening Communist fractions in the unions. The Congress raised the slogan of the preparation and organisation of mass political strikes.
On the basis of a concrete and correct analysis of the present situation in Cuba, the Congress called the attention of the whole Party to the danger confronting the revolutionary movement in the growing influence of Grau San Martin and Guiteras among the working class and peasantry, especially in the interior of the island, as well as the influence of the reformist leaders (railroad). The urgent necessity of unmasking them and carrying on a struggle against their influence, counterposing to the “leftism” of Grau and Company the programme of a workers’ and peasants’ government, was stressed.
Among the immediate tasks set by the Congress were: The concentration of the Party on the reformist railroad unions where an increasing revolutionary opposition can be found, and concentration among the port workers as well as among the workers of certain strategic enterprises, such as telephone, electricity, etc., where the work of the Party has had only a weak beginning.
The strengthening of our influence among the petty bourgeoisie and especially among the students, who are going more and more to the left, was pointed out as an immediate necessary task.
One of the best reports was that given on the youth work of the Party which showed the influence of the Party among the masses of working youth. The weaknesses of the Young Communist League were singled out and were almost entirely reflections of the weaknesses of the Party.
An important task undertaken by the Second Congress was the decision unanimously adopted for the creation of a mass daily newspaper capable of agitation and propaganda on the programme of the Party, guiding and organising the Cuban toiling masses in their daily struggles, raising their political level and winning them for the agrarian anti-imperialist revolution for Soviet power.
For the realisation of the numerous tasks outlined by the Congress, the most important subjective factor was dwelt upon, the consolidation and extension of the Communist Party of Cuba and its transformation into a mass party: strengthening its iron discipline and breaking. with all the deviations which can obstruct the march toward the victory of the revolution.
Before the closing of the Congress, the delegates heard the greeting of the delegate from the Communist Party of the United States, Robert Minor.
The Second Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba before electing a new central committee unanimously adopted the political resolution and sent its greetings to the following brother parties: The Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. and to Comrade Stalin; to the heroic German Party and its leader, Comrade Thaelmann; to the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Red Army; to the Communist Parties of South America and the Caribbean and to the Communist Party of the United States.