Pandelis Pouliopoulos

The Popular Fronts and Proletarian Policy

Translated into English by V. N. Gelis in 2001.

1. A New Phase in the Decay of Capitalism

The attack of Italian capitalism in Ethiopia in 1935, the general strike in France in June 1936, the civil war which is continuing in Spain and the gigantic armaments of all the great Forces show clearly that we have passed into a new general decline of the world capitalist system. The world has entered a new period of wars and revolutions. Inside this general crisis there is only one solution that can satisfy the interests of the proletariat and all the working masses: the conquest of political power from the working class and the utilisation of this power for the implementation of socialism.

2. How Can Power Be Generally Occupied

The working class can conquer political power only if it can use the method of independent class struggle. It must therefore, in whatever phase of today 's crisis, propose its irreconcilable opposition to the bourgeois class and the bourgeois state, with whichever form this manifests itself. The extent of the non-proletarian masses of the people can and must be won on the side of the working class and socialism. But this will be achieved only when the working class can be proven to move dynamically forward, a decisive and able leader in the independent revolutionary struggle of the classes against capitalism which disorientates these masses as well as the proletariat.

3. Popular front Equal Class Collaboration

Inside the lines of the workers movement the greatest obstacle to an independent class struggle are the methods and the ideology of class collaboration. This ideology is embodied above all in the slogans of the so-called Popular Front. They were used for the first time by the Communist International and its sections. These slogans found their theoretical expression in the resolutions of the 7th Congress of the Communist International in the summer of 1935. Very quickly this policy was espoused and propagated by the reformist (socialdemocratic) parties, as with many liberal parties in all the world.

The slogans of the Popular Front are new in form but very old in their essence. They represent simply and only the classical policies and methods of the cooperation of classes and truly in the more serious and clear form: a governing coalition of bourgeois and workers parties. The Popular Front, as with every form of class cooperation, is the negation of the independent form of class collaboration, is the negation of the independent class struggle of workers. With the Popular Front the working class abandons its own programme, in other words the programme of the conquest of power and the programme of socialism and it adopts the programme of the 'democratic bourgeoisie', in other words the programme of the defence of the regime. Blum in France openly declared that the Popular Front and his government have as an aim the continuation of capitalism.

1. The Popular Front and the United Front

The Popular Front has no relation with the United Front. The United Front is one of the main means of proletarian struggle. It is an agreement for common action on a given arena for a few common aims and it disavows absolutely every sacrifice of programme and principles, abandons every logic of the policy of the working class and the revolutionary party. The revolutionary party inside the United Front maintains maintains fully its programme for independent class struggle for workers and peasants power and for socialism.

On the contrary the Popular Front is a political coalition for general aims which predetermines that the workers party abandons the independent aims of the working class and it subjected the general aims of the bourgeois class in the name of bourgeois democracy. In today's practice this abandonment occurs essentially from the parties of the Communist International, not only essentially but typically. The ideological degeneration of these parties has today proceeded so much that they are openly discussing union with the classic party of socialbetrayers, inside a united party of reformist - "socialist", where the name communism would be lost even, after its essence was lost inside the policies of the Communist International. In radical opposition to the Popular Front the cooperation of classes, revolutionary marxism and the communist-internationalists propose the United Front of Struggle which can take aboard more broad masses in the progressive development of the struggles against capital and capitalist power.

1. Popular Front, Fascism and the Middle Classes

The policy of the Popular Front cannot give any decisive defense against fascism, as fascism has been proved to be the policy for which it advances unavoidably by decaying capitalism in its phase today, if the proletariat doesn't overturn it. Every other policy, apart from the overthrow of the whole of the capitalist system, not only is weak infront of fascism, but on the contrary makes the victory of fascism sure.

Truly the Popular Front is unable to mobilise the middle classes under the leadership of the working class without which it is impossible to achieve a victory for the workers. As the Popular Front helps the working class abandon its own independent programme and its independent class leadership, it leaves the middle classes a useful prey in the unriddled social demagoguery of the fascists and thus it must allow in fascism to have a mass base which is necessary to rise to power.

1. Popular Front and Democratic Demands

In today's daily economic and political struggle the policy of class cooperation of the Popular Front is a big block in the militant, in other words decisive, carrying out of struggles for partial, immediate demands of the exploited. It attempts to calm down the daily struggles with slogans of 'social peace' (this is today the slogan of the parties of the Popular Front in France, especially that of the stalinists, this is also the new programme which the new government of Soitan declared). The Popular Front is based ever more on the bureaucratic and 'legal' methods of the bourgeois state, sends the workers to bourgeois institutions of goverment mediation, the civil service, the bourgeois judiciary etc. so as to stop every struggle for daily demands, or to direct in such a manner so this struggle doesn't intensify and doesn't deepen the class consciousness of the workers. >From this policy the class struggle of the proletariat leading the other exploited layers of the population for the democratic demands for as long as they are maintained in the capitalist system. With this struggle - which is not based at all on forgetting the basic nature of bourgeois democracy as a concealed dictatorship of capital upon the working people - we help the consciousness of the backward masses and we occupy more positions for the organisation and overturn of capitalist power. These positions, freedom of speech, meeting, unions etc. can be occupied by workers with their independent class struggle, but never with the alliance and will of the parties of capital even those of the most 'democratic' against their will. The Popular Front doesn't combine the struggle for democratic freedoms with the aim of the socialist revolution of the workers, but uses them as a means to bind the masses with bourgeois democracy which it claims is above classes. Thus it doesn't only wipe out the basic aim of the period from the consciousness of the masses, but it deceives them even today with the relative gains and their current situation. In France the Popular Front in the name of this typical 'popular democracy' worsened even more the economic situation of the workers with the undervaluation of the national currency and the movement of overvaluation which was unleashed on behalf of business, after it deceived us all with the so-called 'social reforms'. The police killed in May workers in Clisy who went to dissolve fascist meetings and the stalinists called yesterday the workers in the countryside to consider the police of the Republic their own, their only enemy being the bosses, as if the police of the bourgeois democracy wasn't an organ of the ruling class of

the bosses!

1. Popular Front equals a Bourgeois Governing Coalition A concrete measure of the policy of the Popular Front is the creation of bourgeois coalition governments, where worker leaders alongside the bourgeoisie are to be found, have behind them the General Councils and all the mechanism of the bourgeois state. Such goverments we understood many times after the war and the problem of ministerialism, in other words the ministerialism of the workers leaders, has inside the labour movement a long theoretical and historical tradition. Such governments cannot under any conditions aid the interests of the working class and workers in general. The government of the Popular Front, is like every other governing coalition, a form of bourgeois government, a particular appearance of the bourgeois state. State and government are the central executive power of the ruling social class. Entering a capitalist government, under any conditions, the workers parties become managers of political power on behalf of capitalism. As such they are obliged to act in such a manner where they block and in the critical moments strangle the revolutionary struggle of the workers for the conquest of power and for socialism. As such such a struggle cannot be understood without an irreconcilable struggle against every form of capitalist power. From this antagonistic internal logic do we have the counterrevolutionary character of the governments of the Popular Front.

1. Popular Front and War

There is no greater political deceit from the one that apparently the declaration that the Popular Front saves Europe from the danger of a new war. From their very nature the Popular Fronts and their governments as organs and managers responsible for power of a capitalist country eg. as imperialist France, cannot but be a preparatory organs of the new imperialist war, which by mathematical necessity is unavoidable, if the capitalist regime isn't overthrown. The government of the Popular Front in France executing faithfully the instructions of the General Council and having in the war ministry trusted organs of french imperialism (Daladie and Co), has surpassed every other bourgeois government in France for the chase of war armaments.

The parties of the Popular Front, especially the stalinist one have unleashed a shameless nationalistic and chauvinistic propaganda, preparing thus psychologically and ideologically the masses for the new slaughter. With the excuse about the 'defence of democracies', the war for 'concrete security' and the struggle for 'democratic' imperialist forces against fascist imperialist Powers, don't prepare anything apart from the generalisation of the war, the pulling of the proletariat on the side of one of the warring coalitions. In other words they are preparing nothing more than the generalisation of the war and the binding of the proletariat to one of the warring factions. In other words they are preparing openly -in common stalinists and socialdemocrats - a betrayal of socialism incomparably more frightful and terroristic in human blood from the historic betrayal of the 2nd International in August 1914.

In the vanguard of this policy alongside international Socialdemocracy is the nationalistic degenerated soviet bureaucracy which founded an absolutist regime above the soviet proletariat and it starts from the utopian idea that it can save the soviet state of the October Revolution from the imperialist attacks only if it allies itself militarily with French imperialism. This bureaucracy dissolved the Communist International as an international organisation of the revolutionary proletariat and it made it dependent on the nationalistic policy of Russian diplomacy.

Only a successful organisation of the victorious revolutionary struggles for the overthrow of power of the imperialist capitalists in the West, under the direction of a truly revolutionary international organisation - 4th International - is it in a position to save Europe from the new war chaos which we are being led to at full speed ahead, to revitalise the internationalist and revolutionary potential of the German and Italian proletariat which the disgusting nationalism of stalinism and the Popular Fronts on the contrary aid the demagoguery of Hitler and Mussolini. Only such a policy can under the concrete conditions aid the USSR, opening up on its interior a new period of re-birth of the first revolutionary and internationalist enthusiasm of the years 1917-1920 and the freedom of the country from the bureacratic absolutism.

On the contrary the politics of the Popular Front, a barrier to the European revolution, subtracts on the contrary the most valuable and only sure ally of the USSR, a strong, internationalist solidarity and revolutionary educated international proletariat which is a guarantee for the gains of the October Revolutionary and incomparably a more powerful ally from every military alliance with capitalist Powers, an alliance with a doubtful stability in critical times, as experience has shown.

1. The Popular Front is the Basic Issue Today

For every proletarian, for every communist-internationalist and for the new revolutionary party we are creating, in all the world and especially in Greece, the issue of the Popular Front today surpasses in importance all the other issues of the workers movement, as every other problem can be solved today with the criterion of the position which we take opposite the Popular Front. Either for the struggle against the war, or for the struggle against the royalist dictatorship and against fascism or for any other important sphere of political action, our stance will be dependent from the position we take with respect to the Popular Front. It is enough to note that the vanguard of the policy of the Popular Front have today become the Socialist and Communist (stalinist) parties of Spain, a country which can be found in a civil war and France, a country which is on the verge of a decisive social and political crisis and where the issue of power becomes more immediate and demanding. In relation to the popular Front must every conscious proletariat, every communist take a clear position, an independent line without wavering.

1. Historical Experience

The lessons of historical experience reveal with the most undoubtful way, as well as the lessons of marxist theory, how bankrupt and how counterrevolutionary is the policy of the cooperation of classes and the coalition governments called either a Popular Front or something else. All the history of the world labour movement has shown quite clearly that this policy has led to defeat and to disaster for the working class, the victory of capitalist counterrevolutionary reaction. This policy of cooperation of classes led, as we all know to compromise of the labour parties infront of the imperialist war of 1914. Coalition governments were created by the labour parties after the war (1918 and 1923). Both times this led to a defeat of both German revolutions and we saw the socialdemocratic management of capitalist power reaching to the end of their logical consequences to the murderous execution of the revolutionary leaders of the German proletariat, Liebknecht and Luxembourg. Equal to today's popularfrontist policy was also the policy of the Communist International in China which subdued the Chinese workers and peasants to Chiang Kai-shek and the bourgeois party of the Kuomintang. This policy everyone knows led in 1927 to the defeat of the Chinese revolution and the mass executions of the revolutionary Chinese workers from the ally of stalinism Chiang Kai-shek. The policy of class cooperation of the German socialdemocrats is being shared with the pseudoleftist infantilism of the German Communist party and its political responsibility for the victory of Hitler in 1933.

1. The Russian Experience of 1917

A classical historical example of a Popular Front was the Provisional Government of Kerensky in Russia in 1917. In this took part parties which represented workers and peasants (mensheviks-socialrevolutionaries), with the exception of the only revolutionary proletarian party, the Bolshevik Party. If the Russian October Revolution won, this is due only to the independent policy of the Bolsheviks in relation to the governing coalition, who as managers of bourgeois power could not serve the interests of the proletariat, but on the contrary strangle in blood in June and hunt their leaders. A parallel government today are the main backers of coalitionism in France and Spain in the name of .bolshevism. The Bolshevik Party came into a revolutionary conflict with this imperialist government which continued the imperialist war. The workers of Russia in November 1917 took power overthrowing the Provisional Government of Kerensky.

1. The Popular Front in France

The cooperation of classes and the coalition government wore new clothes and took new exams - History itself placed them in a decisive test. In France the Popular Front threw the Socialist and Communist Party bound the workers with the Radical-Socialist Party through the Radical-Socialist Party they were bound to French imperialism. France today is in the middle of a developing revolutionary crisis. The policy of the Popular Front blocked the French workers in stabilising their independent class power. It allowed the fascists to mobilise unnaided for their action for the concentration of weapons for the distribution of their ideas inside the middle classes. Inside this course the electoral failure of Doro in the vicinity of Sain-denis is an event which reveals the instinctive resistance of the workers to the danger. Fascism nowhere got to power through the ballot box. Blum accepted the leadership of the Popular Front bourgeois coalition and thus became the main executor of the directives of French imperialism. The crazy logic which is supported by the Socialist and Communist party showed the true nature of the Popular Front government. Not only in bloody Clisy but everywhere the government sends the army and the police to attack the striking workers. It closes workers newspapers ('Workers Struggle') It introduces laws for compulsory arbitration, it doesn't allow worker volunteers to go to Spain to help their Spanish brothers. It strangles with the use of force the insurrections of the oppressed subjects of French imperialism in Syria. It tortures the revolutionaries in French Indochina. It maintains one of the most reactionary generals in French Morocco in control. It undertakes to create the biggest programme of armaments which French imperialism has ever done. In all fronts it is preparing dynamically a world war for this particular imperialism. The general weakness and hesitation of the Popular Front government in France was revealed in total contrast towards the decisiveness with which last January it threatened war with Germany over French Morocco, its most important colony.

As it showed clearly its inability to make life better for the workers leading to a bankruptcy of economic and public policy, Bum started to be attacked by his bourgeois allies, the radical-socialists of the Assembly. The new government of the popular Front even more clearly, even in its composition shows that it is an enemy towards the working class. (The new minister Saro: "The economic and social policy has worsened tremendously, which have been born from the instability in the world of labour. Only increased productivity of national productive activity should pay with the capability of social reforms") The cost of the crisis which convulses French capitalism today, like Blum and Sotan will call the working masses to pay for them in a new undercutting of the French franc, new taxes and overvaluations of the profiteers. Behind Sotan the bourgeoisie has prepared either its national coalition, or it is unable to control the insurrection of the working class and if unable to control the insurrection of the working class to lead to a military or fascist dictatorship.

But the deeper meaning of the Popular Front is that in reality it constitutes a valuable organ of preparation for a new imperialist war. The Popular Front poses - and not only in France, but in all the bourgeois democracies - the basis for a 'National Front', for national unity. In other words the unity of all the classes under the leadership of the bourgeois government for the support of an imperialist war. This was clearly shown when the leader of the French Communist Party Thorez asked for a replacement of the Popular Front with a National Front. Anyway the complete chauvinist declarations so much of the Socialist as well as the Communist Party in

France for the 'unity'

of all the French nation against the threats of Germany show why firstly the Communist International, used the slogan of the Popular Front. The soviet diplomacy, which has totally subdued the Communist International, is asking for allies for the coming war and that it why it gives guarantees to the bourgeois governments that revolutions will not occur in their countries. This is precisely the guarantee given by the counterrevolutionary policy of Popular Fronts, if the forces accept a military alliance with the USSR or they hold neutrality in the new war.

1. The Popular Front in Spain

In Spain the Popular Front and its policy was as equally destructive as also in France. With the electoral agreement of 1935 the Spanish workers were pushed far away from the revolutionary path. The government of the Popular Front, which took power in 1936, found itself in front of a tremendous social crisis, unable to take whatever measures for the interests of the workers. On the contrary despite it being supported by all the existing labour parties, was forced from the beginning to send the police against the peasants who on their own had occupied the big landowners property, against the striking workers, to attack workers newspapers, to oppose every attempt for the arming of the workers and peasants. In the meantime reaction is preparing its forces and unaided from the government it is laying down its counterrevolutionary plans. When reaction raised the flag of the counterrevolution in July, the first act of the government was to attempt a compromise with it. Only the fear of the masses in the streets stopped the government compromising and forced it to call the people to weapons. The great opposition of the workers and peasants in all the stages of the struggle, was blocked even from a military viewpoint and above all from a political point of view, from the Popular Front government. The Spanish crisis cannot be solved for the interests of the working masses but only when the power is taken in the hands of the independent committees and the councils of the workers and advanced towards their independent path towards socialism. The government of the Popular Front is a bourgeois coalition government. The entrance of socialists, communists and anarchists in the government swayed aside in the most crucial period of struggle the issue of the creation of a new revolutionary force inside Spain. The same is true for Catalonia, where the revolutionary situation was more advanced, the entrance last autumn of all the workers organisations in the bourgeois government of the Popular Front became an obstacle to the revolutionary advancement of the workers and made impossible a victorious defence against the counterrevolution. Even the POUM whilst correctly opposing to the slogan of Caballero "Democracy or Fascism" the correct slogan "Capitalism or Socialism", whilst in practice refused its slogans of last year and it also entered Cobany's government also blocking the progress of the catalonian revolution.

The main fault regarding the disastrous policy of the Popular Front in

Spain falls on the bureaucracy of the USSR. Firstly, as it controls and directs the vanguard of this policy the Communist Party of Spain. Secondly because in support of this policy has been the soviet government. So as to place a block to the development of the proletarian revolution it reached the point of demanding the expulsion from the Catalonian government the POUM and its strangulation in blood, giving in return material support from the USSR.

1. The Crisis Develops

The policy of the Popular Front now enters into a crucial phase so much in Spain as in France. It starts to take into account quite seriously with the movement of the working masses which automatically rises up and threatens to pass above the heads of the counterrevolutionary leaders and their bourgeois allies. That is why it takes bloody measures against this movement, whilst internally the Popular Front is experiencing a degenerative crisis handing over decisive positions of the government to more and more right-wing and reactionary elements within the coalition.

Under the pressure of the governments of Paris and London and soviet diplomacy, caballero who represented workers unions inside the government, it falls as it wasn't able to contain the movement of the armed workers and to disarm them to the dictatorial power of the bourgeois coalition and that of the officers. The new popularfrontist government, without Caballero is greeted with demonstrations of the workers. The attempt at disarming the Catalan workers collapses due to their decisive resistance. The Valencia government unleashes their military terrorism with its own officers and army in Catalonia, dissolves the POUM and arrests as 'traitors' its cadres. In the end, infront of the resistance of the unionized workers, who were experienced from last year and refused to enter the game of coalition government, cobany's with the aid of the stalinists and Valencia declare essentially a dictatorship. But the fronts are guarded by the armed workers which will not accept for their revolutionary movement to be strangled easily.

The same goes for France. A new wave of striking mobilisations and occupations we must wait for against the measures which unavoidably Sotan takes so as to throw on the backs of the workers the extent of the soicioeconomic crisis. Foreseeing precisely this threat the French bourgeoisie with its radical lackeys in the Congress prepared for the overthrow of Blum the groundwork for a 'dynamic' government which will crush 'anarchy'. The workers will not be able to be satisfied with the promises of the leaders of the Popular Front which will be so clearly proved to be fake. The developing united revolutionary front amongst the Workers Internationalist Party of France and the revolutionary left of the Socialist Youth and anarchosyndicalist organisations has today all the essential ingredients to win on its side all the disillusioned masses from the Popular Front before they fall to fascist demagoguery. Inside the advancing decisive events of France and Spain we will place on the consciousness of broad working masses the first great parties of the New Revolutionary


1. The Popular Front in Greece.

In Greece the policy of the Popular Front, prepared ideologically with the decisions of the Central Committee of the KKE in January 1934, had as its first result the irrevocable dissolution of the old KKE into an amorphous mass of confused friends of the USSR and proletarians under the directorship of a careerist bureaucracy and irresponsible pettybourgeois democrats, totally foreign to the historical aims of the labour movement. As in our country there weren't any pettybourgeois democratic parties worthy of their name, they created them with their fantasy, placing them in charge of an essentially non-existent "Popular Front" common political chameleons like Sofianopoulos. Thus the KKE itself appearing in a technical manner with the form of the Popular Front gave its support inside Parliament to the big reactionary party of liberal capitalism which under its government the working class and the peasants felt the biggest oppression and exploitation. Through him they supported the general Metaxas in the government, allowing to him to prepare quite easily today's dictatorship. Allying themselves with the Liberal Party in 1935 and disagreeing with the United Workers and Peasants Front against the Restoration, the KKE aided the venizelites in deceiving the antimonarchist masses and in preparing thus clearly from 1935 (May) their compromise with the ousted King and to restore him. When he was restored the Popular Front (KKE) circulated to the masses destructive deceit that a new period of liberalism was opening up and they officially went and bowed at the Palace. When finally the great mobilisation of Thessaloniki and the movement of the panhellenic striking movement, which was helped wholeheartedly by the pettybourgeois and the poor peasants, showed in May 1936 that the working masses were ready on the basis of their own forces to disrupt the plans of the royalist Metaxas dictatorship, the Popular Front in alliance with the MP's of the venizelite party disrupted the movement of the workers and thus gave to the candidate dictator a sure victory at the same moment when his position had weakened to a great extent and had been shaken by the attacks of the workers. The victory stood decisive for the establishment of today's royalist dictatorship of capital. Today the KKE-Popular Front disagrees wholeheartedly the proposals of the United Organisation of Communists - Internationalists in Greece for the convocation of a United Front against the Dictatorship and orientates all his policy towards an alliance with the officers of Plastiras ('anti-fascists') alongside the bourgeois parties. It is quite clear that the first ones in the name of Democracy made the dictatorial coup of March 1935, whilst the second ones, layed the paths towards Restoration and the dictatorship, now they are all going towards the Palace and are asking their return to power, giving in return the promise to continue even more fiercely the crushing of the workers movement and to legalise even with a constitutional decree a large part of today's current dictatorship of the throne.

This policy of the Greek Popular Front (KKE) is confounded by the relentless nationalism with which the party asks the workers to swallow. This is a consequence of a general policy of soviet diplomacy: a 'strong' Greece on the side of the Frenchsoviet Agreement for the new war. From here onwards the extensive patriotic intensities which many times take on board a comical character and only recently led the KKE to the disgusting spectacle of participating through its student organisations in the national celebrations and university parades which were organised by Metaxas. A clear backtracking of the ideology and the method of the Popular Front is today presented in Greece by the Archeiomarxist party. Only that with its declarations it appears that it is for an independent class policy of the proletariat for the United Front and against class collaboration, whilst in practice it went against the united front which EOKDE proposed it and now from its paper it starts to clearly speak about an alliance with all the bourgeois parties against the Dictatorship. Thus it reveals its deep opportunist character of the party which is recognised immediately by the Unifying Congress of the EOKDE.

1. Why we Fight

In front of the world crisis, in this new period of wars and revolutions where according to every chance the fate of humanity will be decided, the communists-internationalists of the world and alongside them the communist-internationalists of Greece, under the flag of the 4th International, declare an irreconcilable opposition against all the forms of class cooperation and a governning coalition and therefore an irreconcilable opposition to the policy and the methods of the Popular Front. They oppose the policy of the Popular Workers Front. They oppose the policy of the United Workers Front, which is the best tactic for creating the revolutionary unity of all the workers, so as to rally the non-proletarian elements on the side of the workers struggle (Workers and Workerspeasant Alliance) They declare that the world today is confronted by only one dillemma: Capitalism or Socialism and not the dillemma which they want to present such as the one between Democracy and Fascism as is the theory of the Popular Front.

Independent revolutionary struggle for the establishment of the socialist Government of workers and peasants - this is the direction of the struggle in the period we are passing, thus only will the workers be saved from the destruction and fear of war. A United Front of Struggle for the overthrow of the royalist dictatorship in Greece, for the imposition of the immediate political and economic demands of the workers and for the swift preparation of workers and peasants power, that is why we call the Greek proletariat to struggle today.

Athens, June 1937

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