The Right Wing Moves Closer
to Social Democracy

(August 1930)

From The Militant, Vol. III No. 28, 15 August 1930, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Since the formation of organized Right wing groups in the Communist movement, we of the Left Opposition have contended that an independent existence for any length of time of a current in the labor movement that swings between Communism and social democracy is out of the question. We pointed out that the Right wing groups (Brandler, Lovestone, Sellier, Hais, etc.) were developing to a logical conclusion the theory of Stalin-Bucharin according to which a socialist society could be constructed on a national scale. We warned that all theoretical thought and historical experiences spoke for the idea that these Right wing groups must necessarily go the whole way to the organized social democracy, return to the Stalinist camp, – or so far as the workers in it are concerned – find in the program of the Left Opposition the only revolutionary solution of the crisis in our movement.

To dispute this at the present time is to turn one’s back deliberately upon events and establshed facts. The recent period has produced a quantity of additional evidence to confirm our analysis.

A Heavy Defeat for Brandlerism

In Germany, the Right wing led by Brandler and Thalheimer has just suffered a crushing defeat in the Saxony elections. While the comrades of the Left Opposition – reserving their duty of criticism – carried on a campaign to have the Saxon workers vote for the Communist list, the Brandler group again sought to split the revolutionary ranks by setting up their own candidates. The result was that after weeks of boasting, the Brandlerites lost one-third of the votes cast for them at the 1928 Landtag elections. The demoralization subsequently created in the ranks of the Right wing is evident from a reading of the Brandler press itself. The Right wing workers, captivated by the fantastic ideas of Brandler and Thalheimer that the masses of Communistic workers would swing along, were left speechless by tine Saxony results.

The upshot is a thoroughgoing “revaluation of values” in the Brandler group. More outspoken voices are being heard for a second Party, or for unity with the Left social democratic splitters chipped off the parent body. The path adopted by the Brandlerites of moving away from the official Party – and from Communism – leads logically to the “advanced” step already taken by their French allies (Sellier, Dunois, Gelis & Co.), and further.

In France, as we have already reported, the Right wing has broken completely with Communism. The Sellier group has organized a purely parliamentary “Workers and Peasants Party”, adopting “legitimately” the Stalinist theories of such parties for the Orient. The absence of the very word “Communist” in their name is simply symbolic of the whole character of this movement. The policy of vacillating between the Communists and socialists, however, is very short-lived in France. Already, one of the leading members of the W.P.P. in France, Amedee Dunois, has formally joined the Socialist Party That this new draft of Frossards will yield up many more than one Dunois to the S.P. is manifest to anybody that reads its journal, Ca Ira.

The Czech Right Wing Travels Fast

But the most striking instance of the flight to social democracy by the international Right wing is furnished by its Czecho-Slovakian section, one flank of which has formally joined the socialist party bag and baggage. We refer to the so-called “Brunn Opposition” led by Dr. Ecer and Kovanda. These eminent companions of Lovestone and Brandler have now “gone to the masses” in precisely the manner we foretold some time ago.

That is not all. The second partner in the Czech Right wing the trade unions led by Josef Hais which split away from the R.I.L.U. have now been formally brought into the Czech national reformist trade union federation, i.e., the Amsterdam International. Lovestone is not a bit put out by this open capitulation; on the contrary, he greets it by writing (Revolutionary Age, No. 18):

“The campaign for trade union unity in Czecho-Slovakia has taken another step forward under the driving force of the Communist Opposition movement.”

But why was this “unity” not realized with the Red trade unions, still containing some 50-60,000 members and affiliated with the R.I.L.U.? Since when must unity be achieved by capitulation to the yellow banner of Jouhaux and Co? No answer to this from Lovestone. The fact remains that confronted with the choice of unity with the revolutionary trade union center or with the Amsterdam center, Hais chose Amsterdam.

The international Right wing hails this as an achievement for their policy of trade union unity. And it is. Their policy of unity for its own sake results in practise in capitulation to reformism instead of the realization of the revolutionary united front. It is interesting to note, parenthetically, that Hais’ treachery is too much for the stomach of at least one Right wing leader, Neurath, who does not deceive himself that the “unity” is a great step forward, but writes, in a bitter letter of reproach to Hais:

“An unconditional amalgamation with the C.O.S. (reformist federation) would have the practical significance of the heaviest blow against the revolutionary proletariat of Czecho-Slovakia.”

As for the third, “pure Opposition” group of the Right wing in Czecho-Slovakia, it has also contributed its quota to the social democratic party in the form of two of its leaders who, at the recent conference of the former, announced their formal retirement from Communism and return to the old, “solid”, love.

Who Is Disintegrating and How?

Our reader will recall the announcement by Lovestone – made all the more vociferously because there were no facts to base it on – that “the Trotskyists are disintegrating”. The events of recent months speak eloquently. They show who is really disintegrating, and where the particles are going. The Right wing is either capitulating to Stalin, as in Russia, or to the social democracy. The Left Opposition, denounced by Lovestone as “counter-revolutionaries”; “disintegrated Trotskyists” to which Lovestone now addresses hypocritical, humble and public appeals for a united front (and not-so-public appeals to and capitulatory negotiations with Musteite leaders), marches forward with renewed strength towards revolutionary unity.

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