Felix Morrow

Stalinists Make Official Change
in Their Policy

(9 June 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 23, 9 June 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Felix Morrow Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

The “new” Stalinist line has now been handed down, a little more than a week after the May 24 publication of the article of Jacques Duclos, French Communist Party leader, which foreshadowed the latest switch.

The new line has been announced in the form of a resolution of the National Board of the Communist Political Association, published in the June 4 Daily Worker.

The signal from abroad – given by Duclos in his article, but in essence coming from the Kremlin – also gave the general outlines for the change. The CPA resolution closely follows the position of the Duclos article.

This article, signed by a leader of a party which has cabinet posts in the capitalist government of France, provided for continuation of the Stalinist support of “democracies” in the war.

Supports Capitalism

Likewise, the U.S. section of the Stalinist organization continues in its resolution its support of the American capitalist government and opposition to the attempt of the militant workers to regain the use of the strike weapon.

The crucial political sections of the resolution read as follows:

“It is imperative that the American people resolutely support every effort of the Truman administration to carry forward Roosevelt’s program for victory, peace, democracy and 60 million jobs.”

“Continue uninterrupted war production and uphold labor’s no-strike pledge for the duration.”

In actual practice, therefore, the present resolution continues the previous line of class peace with the capitalist government and the bosses.

The resolution, however, has two other outstanding features which the Duclos article outlined for it.

Threat of Opposition

  1. It threatens the capitalist class that the CPA will go into opposition if the Anglo-American-Soviet coalition breaks up.
  2. It promises the, militant workers that the CPA will go over to a class-struggle line after the war and pretends that even now the resolution provides for more militant activity than heretofore.

The threat to Stalin’s allies is undoubtedly the principal purpose of the new CPA resolution. With bottomless cynicism, the Stalinist parties are saying to the capitalist rulers: “We shall serve you loyally so long as you get along with our master in the Kremlin.” This is the bargain which the Stalinist leaders are offering the capitalist ruling class. That this is a betrayal of the working class is of little concern to the Stalinist leaders who callously use the working class as a mere pawn in the Kremlin’s game of power politics.

But in order to mislead the working class, it is necessary to keep a grip on the militant workers. This aim is undoubtedly the explanation for much of the pseudo-radical language in the CPA resolution. The Stalinist leaders find it advisable to yield somewhat to the pressure from below in order, the more effectively, to pursue a policy which is utterly alien to the militant desires of the Communist workers in their ranks.

The threat to Washington and London that they must come to terms with the Kremlin is made in language designed to make it appear that Stalin’s gains will also be gains for the world working class. Thus the second paragraph of the resolution complains correctly that “the economic and social roots of fascism in Europe have not yet been destroyed.”

But the resolution avoids saying what steps must be taken to destroy the roots of fascism. The roots of fascism are in capitalism itself, so that to destroy fascism one must destroy capitalism. But Stalin and his henchmen abroad want to preserve capitalism. Stalin fears the socialist revolution just as the capitalists do. That is why the decayed capitalist system is being propped up throughout Europe by Stalin and his allies.

The resolution’s empty generalities about destroying the roots of fascism are really designed to provide radical window-dressing for Stalin’s oppressive policy in Germany, which the resolution formulates as follows: “Make Germany pay full reparations in labor and in kind for the reconstruction of Europe.”

Anti-Labor Policy

Whatever happens meanwhile over the German question, the resolution makes clear that the CPA will continue class peace with American capitalism for the duration of the war against Japan. It supports this war and Will continue its anti-strike policy while avoiding its previous crass formula of “national unity” of capital and labor. The CPA resolution affirms exactly the same policy by calling for “the democratic unity of the nation” and cooperation “with the patriotic and democratic forces from all walks of life.” What these “forces” are the resolution does not say, except that it condemns the “du Pont clique in the leadership of the National Association of Manufacturers.” That leaves quite a lot of Big Business to continue “cooperating with.”

The resolution interlards this real continuing line of class collaboration with a series of promises and half-promises of a change to militancy, not only after the war but also immediately.

Still Against Strikes

In the trade unions, for example, the resolution no longer urges support of the labor- management committees of which the Stalinists hitherto have been the warmest supporters. The Daily Worker a few days ago carried the news that two Stalinist-controlled locals had withdrawn from a labor-management committee. Without directly condemning the Little Steel formula, the resolution calls for an immediate 20 per cent wage increase. Likewise it calls for no reduction in weekly take-home pay when overtime is eliminated, etc. All this is negated for all practical purposes, however, because the key weapon with which the unions can fight for these things is rejected by the resolution – wartime strikes.

In the international arena the resolution raises many radical slogans. It calls for “a free democratic Asia with the right of national independence for all colonial and dependent peoples.” But this is hypocrisy, for the Stalinist leaders well know that the Truman administration is openly committed to seizing control of the colonies it is wresting from Japan, to maintaining strategic bases in the Philippines which will nullify her formal independence, etc. The first step toward seriously fighting for colonial independence would have to be political opposition to the imperialist government. But the GPA resolution, on the contrary, commits it to support of that government. The same criticism applies to the resolution’s call to “put an end to Anglo-American intervention against the peoples such as in Greece, Belgium and Italy.” It is impossible to fight against the basic policies of the government while one is supporting that same government.

The resolution pretends one can do both at the same time. It treats each objectionable action of the Truman administration as accidental “mistakes” which can be corrected by the pressure of “the patriotic and democratic forces from all walks of life.” But one has only to list the Administration’s actions to which the various sections of the resolution object – the government’s policy on China, Argentina, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Italy, Germany, the “many recent actions of the State Department;” the government’s failure to curb monopolies and cartels, etc. – to see that the alleged “mistakes” add up to the basic policy of the Truman administration. The resolution’s pretense that these “mistakes” can be corrected by supporting Truman is hopelessly illogical. What is involved, of course, is not an error in logic but a coldly calculated program of continuing support of the government while deceiving the workers with radical talk.

In addition to radical-sounding slogans, the resolution creates the impression of an actual immediate change of line by repeating the Duclos article’s criticism of Browder’s policies. Browder, who never initiated anything in his life, much less in his past two decades of servile obedience to the Kremlin, is being made the scapegoat for a past policy which essentially still continues.

For example the resolution (without naming him) accuses Browder of “tendencies to obscure the class nature of bourgeois democracy.” What, however, can more serve to obscure the class nature of bourgeois democracy than the resolution’s support of Truman? And its failure to state that his bourgeois-democratic government is, as Marx put it, nothing but the executive committee of the capitalist class?

On the Colonies

Similarly the resolution chides Browder’s support of “the possibility of achieving the national liberation of the colonial and dependent countries through arrangements between the great powers.” But the same resolution calls for independence for Puerto Rico and Asia as part of a program for the Truman administration of which the Stalinists are going to remain loyal supporters. In short, the resolution repeats the basic errors of which it pretends to accuse Browder.

Coupled with new slogans and criticism of past policy is a third device to create the impression of an actual change in line: a purge of the leadership. “We must refresh and strengthen the personnel of all responsible leading committees,” says the resolution.

Browder himself – who is listed as voting against the resolution, the first time in many years that something wasn’t unanimous – appears slated for demotion. One should not think for a moment that Browder is really resisting the new shift in line. He has somersaulted with the greatest nimbleness each time the line has changed. On June 22, 1941 for example, the “imperialist war” became a democratic war for him overnight. Precisely because there is no actual present change in line, however, the maneuver requires scapegoats in order to give it the semblance of a change.

‘Inner Democracy’

“We must establish genuine inner democracy and self-criticism throughout our organization,” says the resolution. This is quite an admission about the past, but scarcely means that the totalitarian regime inside the CPA will be relaxed.

A semi-weekly bulletin is to be issued as a supplement to the Daily Worker during the membership discussion of the resolution. We safely hazard the prediction that not a single contribution in the bulletin will go beyond the criticism contained in the Duclos article and the resolution. No one will be permitted to question any part of the basic Stalinist line: support of the imperialists in the war, continued support of the war against Japan, participation of the Stalinists in capitalist governments, the use of slave labor, etc. From beginning to end, the whole business is a masquerade in which no honest worker’s voice will be given a hearing.


Last updated on: 7 November 2018