On the “Sectarians” ...

(March 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 5, 1 March 1931, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

“As a result of the situation (in the French trade union movement) a strong movement for trade unity has developed in the ranks of labor. Recently this movement reached organizational expression. A committee has been established, made up of representatives of Left wing elements in the reformist C.G.T. and of opposition elements in the revolutionary C.G.T.U. (revolutionary syndicalists, supporters of the Workers and Peasants Party, etc.), for the purpose of developing the movement to amalgamate the two trade union centers and establish one trade union federation in France. This movement has already made considerable headway. It is significant that this movement has met with the determined resistance of the ‘Unitary Opposition’ in the C.G.T.U. which is the shadow of the French Trotskyites. These people always prate of ‘united front’ and of ‘unity’ but when it comes to concrete questions they take a position absolutely indistinguishable from the official R.I.L.U.” – Revolutionary Age, 12-20-1930.

“The Revolutionary Age of December 20, 1930, reported on the appeal recently issued by a group of members of the C.G.T. (reformist trade union federation), of the C.G.T.U. (Red trade union federation), and of autonomous union organizations for trade union unity, the formation of one united trade union federation in France. Whatever may be the errors contained in this appeal (a syndicalist non-political orientation), the course towards trade union unity is certainly correct and corresponds to the interests of the French, working class. The old leadership of the Trotskyist group ‘hesitated’ a little on this question and seemed about to give way in the direction of trade union unity. But Trotsky discovered this deviation from Trotskyism in time!” – Revolutionary Age, 2-14-1931.

So much for Lovestone, who so frequently over-reaches himself in his anxiety to find allies for “mass work”, for “unity”, – and for the liquidation of Communism. We learn from him that the new movement for surrender to French reformism is following a course which is “certainly correct” – despite a trifling error or so – while the infernal Trotskyists who always “prate of unity” are the only fly in the sweet ointment of unity. Now let us hear from Herr Brandler, Lovestone’s German colleague, who, if he is not less anxious to liquidate Communism in the interests of reformism, is at least a good deal more cautious than Lovestone, especially since he has more than half an eye cocked towards a possible reconciliation with the Stalinist apparatus. In the German Right wing organ, we read the following about this same French movement which inspired Lovestone to such praise:

“If the theoretical basis of the trade union unity agitation of the 22, as they are generally called, is thus thoroughly false and indistinct, then its action in the present situation leads to nothing less than a capitulation before the reformism of the majority of the C.G.T. leadership and to the enlistment in the anti-Bolshevist from of imperialism together with the whole Second International. The struggle is only one-sidedly conducted against the leadership of the Communist Party of France and the C.G.T.U., but in no case against reformism in the C.G.T. ... It is not only the wrong manner of intervention of the present Comintern and R.I.L.U. leadership in the affairs of the organizations, that is attacked, but in reality the conceptions of Communism ... The French working class must have its attention called to the fact that the road of Monatte and his comrades leads to reformism, to anti-Bolshevism and by that to the struggle against the proletarian revolution in France and other countries.” Gegen den Strom, 2-14-31.

The contributor to Gegen den Strom has his own reasons for taking the position he does. For the moment it does not concern us here, except to remark that the German Right wing’s observations on the French situation reek with hypocrisy, when one considers its fervid flirtations with the French P.O.P., which is such a staunch supporter of the “new movement” towards reformism. What does concern us here is the characteristic attitude of Lovestone, which is in no essential different from that of the Right wing slides back another pace from Communism towards reformism, it covers up this retreat to the social democracy by barrage of criticism of ... the Trotskyist sectarians. In truth, it is now axiomatic that whenever you read an attack upon Left Opposition’s “sectarianism” in the Right wing press, you may be certain that the Right wing is seeking to conceal a new step in the liquidation of Communism.

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