Fascist Trends in France … … … … … .S. Herman
The Impending Civil War in France… … …Albert Weisbord
Self Determination and the Negro Masses… … .Frank Griffin
Hitlerism Turns the Clock Back for Women … … . .Vera Buch
Results of the Elections and Perspectives… … … A.W.
Declaration of the Internationalist—Communists of Germany
The Cannon-Muste Confusion
The Jew, Capitalism and Communism (I) by A.W.
And Other Items
Fascist Trends in France
by S. Herman
In continental Europe fascism, open and brazen, is almost at flood tide. In France alone lies the hope of the world proletariat of administering a defeat to fascism before the large industrialists substitute it for the bourgeois democracy which has become too burdensome for them. Ever since Mussolini was put in command by the Italian bankers and industrialists, many of the greater French bourgeoisie have considered his example an excellent one to follow. The developments in France closely parallel those in Italy and Germany, and, of course, the French fascists imitate and occasionally improve upon the methods of their foreign models. At first it is necessary to point out some of the principal characteristics of the fascist movements, and with these in mind, one should get a clearer understanding of the situation in France.
Fascism stands for “national rebirth and grandeur”, for authority in the form of a strong state headed by a strong man, for the elimination of parliamentarism, internationalism and of all socialistic and democratic ideologies. Fascism exalts the state over individuals and classes, proclaiming itself to be neither proletarian nor bourgeois but national. The rights of an individual or a class, as such, are incompatible with the fascist notion that the state is all. Hence the state will decide what is best for the state, and the various classes and individuals must be guided accordingly. The state controls all political, social, military, economic and religious activities. The state alone determines what industrial conditions are most conducive to the welfare of the state. Therefore, the state will be the final judge in disputes between employer and employee. Fascism, in its nationalistic and demagogic fervor, berates even the international bankers.
Stripped of all its trappings, masks, parades, slogans, salutes and deceptions, fascism means only the most violent suppression of labor organizations and the elimination of the right to strike. Fascism will loudly sanctify the state as the state but without a word as to whose state it is. Let us now see to what extent these tendencies have manifested themselves in France.
The oldest French organization that has taken on a fascist nature, the Ligue de l’Action Francaise, was organized during the excitement of the Dreyfuss case under the leadership of Charles Maurras and Leon Daudet. Its policies were strongly nationalistic, monarchistic and Catholic. France for the French and not for the Jews and Protestants. It was bitterly opposed to democratic principles, the Rights of Man of 1789. Its shock troops, the Camelots du Roi (Hawkers of the King), have for many years been very well organized. In 1923 they wrecked the presses of the “oeuvre” and the Ere Nouvelle”, and fed castor oil to three left deputies. Although they had been in existence long before Mussolini’s rise to power, they did not hesitate to adopt some of his methods. The first official book of fascist doctrine, “Fascism”, written by Gorgolini, Mussolini’s mouthpiece, was published by George Valois under the auspices of the Action Francaise.
The organization was not considered a serious threat at the time because it found little response in the middle classes. The veterans, organizations were far more important than the Camelots who were mostly students with a penchant for violence. However, as time went on, they were systematically divided into groups and districts. They are armed, militarized and have many arsenals. Over ten years ago the Action Francaise formed corporations of workers and employers. In other words, they began to carry out the program of their hero, Mussolini. Leon Daudet, in his book, “Idees en Armes”, p 266, says: “To-day we must recognize the crushing superiority of Mussolini…who has had the great wisdom to preserve that incomparable force of political stability-the hereditary monarchy-the House of Savoy.”
Daudet would like a Mussolini to restore and perpetuate the House of Bourbon. He calls Briand, Boncour and Poincaro pernicious imbeciles for preferring their old “democ-soc-parliamentary fetish” to the cause of real peace by a Latin alliance. He would suppress parliaments, parties and universal suffrage from which, he says, we are dying. His aim is the continuity of the elite and of the aristocracy. Sovereignty should be taken from the people and given to the State and from numbers or rather quantity and be given to quality. He views Hitler as a menace to France but he likes his anti-semitism and says that the suppression of the Jews is just an episode in which Hitler is “only shaking off his lice". The main drawback of the Action Francaise is its monarchistic program. After all, it is more than 63 years since the downfall of Napoleon III and 85 years since the exit of Louis Philippe, and the average Frenchman cannot get enthusiastic over the idea of royalty, particularly when he thinks of the Duc de Guise as the next monarch. However, the Action Francaise recognizes this and trots out the king only on very special occasions.
In 1924, during the hectic period preceding the stabilization of the franc, the fascist movement received a strong impetus as the result of the gigantic demonstration in memory of Jean Jaures. 200,000 workers assembled to pay their respects to the founder of the paper “l’Humanite” and the bourgeoisie became terrified. A new political party, the Ligue Republicaine Nationale, was organized by big business with a base among the small business men. The pretext, to be sure, was that the Ligue was against both the “left” and the “right". This was very similar to the old bunk of Mussolini, who said, in 1922: “If the Italian capitalists hope that we shall give them abusive privileges, they will be deceived.” The same demagogy was used by the Ligue Republicaine Nationale. It was sponsored by Mille and, former socialist, and also these gentlemen-Flandin, Marin and Poncet who will be dealt with later on. The party advocated constitutional, administrative religious and social reforms.
At about the same time Pierre Taittinger organized the Jeunesses Patriotes (Patriotic Youth) as a subdivision of the Ligues des Patriotes headed by General Castelnau of whom more will be said. This group had two newspapers at its disposal, “Echo de Paris” and “Liberte". In the background was Andre Tardieu who will come more and more into the foreground with the passing of time. Camille Aymard an associate of Tardieu, had appealed to the war veterans thus: “Will you, who pierced the Hindenburg line, permit your road to power to be blocked by the line of Herriot-Blum, by the party of deserters and traitors?” This group strove for a national party and openly acknowledged its intentions to seize power. The model, of course, was Mussolini. Its program: “We must defend the small middle class, the small producers, the small pensioners, and the small French people.” Concretely, however they would go no further than to say that the program could be determined only in time by the changing circumstances. The plan for the workers was very vague, but included law and order everywhere, “in the street, schools and factory, all of which necessarily involved the elimination of strikes.
Numerous groups were formed of which only a few need be mentioned here. In Amiens, 1500 bourgeois organized and armed Ligue de l’Ordre et de la Conservation Sociale. There were some secret military societies called “La Legion". But the most important was the Ligue des Patriotes, led by General Castelnau, whose subdivisions were centrally controlled by the Conference des Ligues. Most of these occupied themselves in spreading red scares. They were not, strictly speaking, fascist organizations, but they helped spread fascist ideas throughout the country. Their program was largely anti-parliamentary and anti-Bolshevik. The predominant feature of all these groups was their anti-labor, reactionary tendency.
It should be noted that after the Jaures demonstration, the Action Francaise recruited thousands of members. During this period of fright, there was formed the Federation Nationale Catholique whose chief was the ubiquitous General Castelnau. Its base was among the peasants who were advised to be ready to fight against the cities. Along with this were the red scares and some murderous strikes breaking in which this organization took an active part. The Federation Nationale Catholique tends to fascist action because it serves the bourgeoisie in mobilizing the peasants, petty bourgeoisie and even workers in the defense of threatened privileges of religion. Very frequently, meetings of the Federation Nationale Catholique were called purposely to make the listeners swallow a speech by the Jeunesses Patriotes. Even the Federation’s Youth were used to transfer the Catholic Boy Scouts into the Jeunesses Patriotes. The leaders of the organization were General Castelnau of the Lique des Patriotes, Vallat of the Action Francaise and Taittinger of the Jeunesses Patriotes. By this time, 1925, we can see that the reactionary movement is not what it was in 1923, just a few isolated disorders. It was now launched on a wide scale, in all directions.
In November, 1925, came Le Faiscoau, the first openly and officially fascist movement. It was led by two former members of the Action Francaise, George Valois, who had broken with the Action Francaise because he claimed that it had “caused to be anti-parliamentary”, and Pierro Duncen, who had occupied important posts in the French General Confederation of Labor (socialist controlled) before the war. Its sponsors were Jacques Arthys, an industrialist of Northern France, and Hubert Bourgia secretary general of the Conference des Ligues, which has already been mentioned. They were supported by the Nouveau Siecle, a daily newspaper. It was different from all the other fascist groupings in that it set forth a rather clear doctrine and program. It was set up as an army and also as a Faisceau de Corporations. Each of the “corporations” was to include all these participating in the manufacture and sale of a given product. It, too, ran into difficulties along this line and went in for class collaboration as a compromise. During several strikes it distributed copies of the “Nouveau Siecle” which supported the workers. In this way they organized in industrial regions. Le Faisceau was the first organization to attempt to get a mass base among the workers and petty bourgeoisie. As a matter of fact, it organized six of its “corporations". It also penetrated into different veterans organizations. In reactionary Brittany, where the clergy is strongest, it acquired a large following. As part of its catch-all program, Le Faisceau also formed non-military and ladies auxiliaries. During all this time, the extreme right organs, Matin and"Journal”, were running many favorable articles on Italy. The organization was crippled in 1926 when its financial backers decided to drop Valois.
It should be mentioned that in 1923 Francois Coty, whom we know as the perfume magnato, acquired a per, “Lo Figaro”, for anti-communistic propaganda. When it appeared unsuccessful, Coty, in 1928, issued “l’Ami du Pouple” ("People’s Friend) and sold it below cost. This was his way of trying to obtain a mass base. Along with Daudet, he advocated Italo-French amity and the use of the idea of Lutinity as a rallying cry for fascism. He organized the Solidarite Francaiso which today is one of the largest fascist groups. Coty used to be a Radical- Socialist.
We can see how the fascist movements were developing. These organizations were by no means really unified even though there were interlocking directorships. It should be noted that the chief financial supporters of these groups include Marsal, a banker, Arthuys and Mathen, big industrialist, Poncet of the steel trust and present Ambassador to Germany, and most interesting of all, Serge Andre, a director of the large oil companies and also of the Societe d’Armements, one of the firms controlled by Sir Basil Zaharoff. And these were the men who proclaimed themselves the “defenders of the small middle class Frenchmen".
These were the first serious articulations of fascist tendencies. Before we consider the situation to-day, let us remember that in 1932 the Tardieu government was defeated and that a parliamentary majority was obtained by the “left”, known as the Cartel des Gauches, composed of the Radical-Socialists and the Socialists. The world wide depression had finally reached France, and it was a certainty that as far as France was concerned, it was only the beginning of the crisis. By the beginning of 1933 the worries of the industrialists were increasing and they began a long campaign of educating the French public against democracy. A good example of this is the long series of articles by Andre Tardieu entitled “Pour en sortir” (The Way Out"), which wore published in “L’Illustration” from February to November, 1933. Tardieu hammered away at democracy, socialism and parliamentarism, and at the same time held up Mussolini as a model worthy of emulation. Of course, he did not advocate fascism. Oh, no! He wanted to proceed by strictly constitutional methods. A comparison of his proposals with these made and carried out by Deumergue and Flandin will be very significant in connection with any discussion of developments along fascist lines.
Tardieu blames everything on the institution of parliament and he would drastically curtail its powers. His “minimum reforms” are (1) withdrawing parliament’s power to initiate expenditures; (2) granting the executive the power to dissolve parliament; (3) prolongation of parliament’s term of offico (making elections less frequent and increasing the time during which the executive may rule after dissolving parliament); (4) popular referenda on parliamentary acts whenever the executive sees fit (merely a stall to create chaos); and (5) defense of the state against the subversive tendencies of its own employees. Tardieu does not like interpellations. It is to be deplored that the chief of the government must be a perpetual defendant and be compelled to answer all the questions addressed to him in the Chamber. To him this is not control by parliament but rather obstruction. He would much rather have the executive accountable to no one. As to expenditures, he waxes very eloquent: “We must change the absurd regime which gives the controllers of expenditures the right to propose those demanded by their electors: we must change the pernicious regime which subjects the government to the tyranny of the elected.” One almost shudders at the gruesome oppression of the government by the governed.
Tardieu severely criticizes the Socialists and Radicals for allowing the country’s military strength to wane while Germany is rearming. The danger of invasion is emphasized. France is threatened both internally and externally. What should be done? It’s very simple, say Tardieu. Have the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies make a few slight changes in the working of the constitution. Concretely, it would read as follows: “The president of the republic may, on the demand of the premier (president du consoil), dissolve the Chamber of Deputies before the end of its elected term.” And similarly with the Senate. At present the Chamber can be dissolved only with the consent of the Senate, something which has happened only once, almost sixty years ago. Tardieu does not consider all this a threat to democracy because, he says, no executive would dare to dissolve a Chamber merely because it voted against his policies; the president would be guided by the wishes of the people. Furthermore, he would prevent all state employees from joining any trade unions or organizations. They must at all times be 100% “loyal to the regime". This is a very important matter because the number of “fonctionnaires” in France is enormous. After praising the efficiency of Mussolini and Hitler, he ends with truly fascist demagogy: “We must establish authority to save liberty.”
With all this as a background, we come to the February rioting. There had been considerable disorders before February 6th, 1934. Chiappe, the Prefact of the Seine, had instructed the police to be indulgent. It was obvious that the Parisian police were working against the government and that is precisely why Frot removed Chiappe. Only fifty policemen were on the Concorde Bridge on February 6th. Chiappe had told Frot and Daladier that, if he was removed from office, he “would be in the street". The defense of the government was entrusted to the Gardes Mobiles (mostly Breton peasants), Gardes Republicaines and some colonial troops. The police had very little to do with it, comparatively speaking. With the cleanup of the Stavisky scandal as its slogan, the storming of the government buildings was attempted by the Action Francaise who were joined by the Jeunesses Patriotes and the Croix de Feu, all of whom were armed. The putsch was successful to the extent that it brought about the downfall of the government and the splitting of the left bloc, of the Cartel des Gauches, of the Socialists from the Radical-Socialists. (In March, Chiappe testified before a parliamentary inquiry that the riots were caused by armed forces of the left recruited by Frot, Minister of the Interior under Daladier. A classic example of cowardly demagogy and fear of responsibility.)
A strong man was not needed and they picked on “smiling” Doumergue, Cincinnatus taken from the plow. His reputation for integrity was greatly inflated for the occasion. But the dominating figure in the Doumergue cabinet was a gentleman with a very doubtful reputation, one who had participated in numerous shady deals and whose name was on Stavisky’s check stubs for 300,000 francs-Andre Tardieu. From now on everything was to be done by decrets- lois, executive decrees. The first step of the new government was to obtain control of the budget for the next three months and to adjourn the Chamber. A parliamentary commissions was appointed to make recommendations for “reform".
Meanwhile, let us note some significant developments. The Croix de Feu has become the most threatening fascist group in France. It sprang into great prominence in the February days. It is led by Colonel Robert de la Rocque and was at first composed of war veterans who had been decorated, then of other veterans and finally it has added the sons of war veterans. A few months ago they claimed 120,000 members. How true that is cannot be determined but undoubtedly their numbers have greatly increased. Their arch foe is communism. La Rocque promises to jump at the threats of the communists or socialists if they attempt to control the government. He says the same about the extreme right. The important point is that he professes no detailed program except a political cleanup and good leadership. La Rocque acknowledges himself as a fit candidate. “Power first”, then “reforms". Fight extremists, both reds and big business. How? One must wait and see.
In April, the National Council of the Confederation of War Veterans demanded that Doumergue undertake reforms of a moral, economic and constitutional nature or else they would impose their own program of “reforming the state". At the same time Vice-Admiral Schweren, president of the Action Francaise, and Maurice Pujo, editor of the “Action Francaise” and leader of the Camelots du Roi, told a parliamentary commission that they had recommended that their members arm themselves. In May, the Solidarite Francaise claimed 200,000 members. The Jeunesses Patriotes also grew much stronger. Doumergue’s commission proposed the following changes in the constitution: 1. That the president be empowered to dissolve the Chamber without the approval of the Senate, after the Chamber had been in session for three months; 2. That all initiative of financial matters be limited to the government.
Doumergue appealed to the nation on many occasions. He set himself up as the impartial, unselfish, self-sacrificing patriot. He called on everyone to cooperate for the welfare of France- that is to say, everyone except the Socialists and Communists whom he roundly denounced. He also asked that the office of premier (president du conseil) be given a constitutional status. (At present the premier is the creature of parliament and they can abolish his office at will) These proposals were too much for the left wing of the Radical-Socialists whom Herriot could not rally to Doumergue. Consequently, the Doumergue government collapsed and since the “right” did not consider itself strong enough to put its proposals into affect by force, a stop-gap, transitional cabinet was formed under Flandin who talks about new Deals a la Roosevelt. In the meanwhile the forces are lining up. On the one side we have the militant working class which takes great pleasure in breaking up fascist demonstrations which are becoming increasingly provocative. The capitalist press summarizes the situation very effectively, if not altogether truthfully, as follows: “To their efforts at propaganda, the Socialist and Communists have replied with counter-measures that result usually in fighting. In such fighting the police and Mobile Guards are inevitably on the side of the nationalist organizations since they remain within the law.” On the other side we now see several openly fascist organizations with hundreds of thousands of members, all armed, but not yet coordinated. Foremost among them are the Action Fracaise, Jennesses Patriotes, Croix de Feu and Solidarite Francaiso. Now the Wandel (munition makers) and Rothschild (bankers) families are openly sponsoring these “patriotic” organizations. All these groups are boring within the veterans’ organizations and have formed a Union Nationale des Combattants from among the various groupings. In casting about for a leader, it has been cynically but, nevertheless, very seriously proposed that the strong man will have to be ex-Marxist who still retains a strong grip on the crowd.
Perhaps the following are straws indicating the direction of the wind. The Chamber has just voted a tremendous sum for national “defense". On November 25th, throughout Paris, wholesale raids and arrests were made in a search for “undesirable aliens” and concealed arms. Meanwhile Herriot urges internal disarmament on the ground that the carrying of arms is a menace to the democratic right of free assembly. He knows that the fascists and the government will remain armed to the teeth. His remarks can be meant only for the workers who are preparing to defend themselves and when Herriot seeks to expose to the tender mercies of the fascists. At the same time, La Rocque, head of the Oroix de Feu, has announced “Our hour is drawing near. We are ready to take full responsibility.” Perhaps he is correct. It is more than a coincidence that all those manifestations are simultaneous.
The government of Doumergue has given way to the government of Flandin. In other words, the fascisation of France and the end of the Third Republic needs more preparation. The role of Flandin is to provide the necessary intermediary steps to crush democratic rights in France. The government of Flandin cannot last very long. In a short while it will have to give way to another government still further to the right.
The issues on which Doumergue fell were matters dealing with the destruction of the old democratic rights of the public and the establishment of an open “strong man” government that would pave the way for fascism. The Chamber would be deprived of its right to grant money, to initiate legislation, to control the Premier and Cabinet or to control the elections. This, in essence, is what the fight was all about.
The old coalition of the Radical-Socialists (petty-bourgeois democrats sympathetic to some degree of social reform) and the Socialists has been definitely broken. The Socialists are out of the seats of government. The turn of the Radical-Socialists is next. Instead of the “left” coalition, there is a “right” coalition that is emerging (conservatives, “republicans”, royalists, fascists) Simultaneously with the break with the Radical-Socialists, the ruling regime must split the Radicals as well, turning a great section of them away from the left groupings. Already a portion of the Radicals together with some of the “left” republicans are considering making peace with the forces of reaction. These fellows pave the way for fascism by their miserable capitulation and cowardice which are so characteristic of their class as a whole.
If this government of Flandin cannot last long it is because Bonapartism genrally which the Flandin government typifies, cannot last long in period of impending civil war. Bonapartism today is the mechanism by which the capitalist state move from democracy to fascism. It is characterized by a “strong-man” government which rests entirely upon the bayonets of the soldiers and arms of the police and government functionaries, but which none of the major parties of the different classes really wants. The government is more stop-gap, to keep order while the classes fight it out in the streets. However, in reality, it is more than a mere stop-gap, it is a step towards the fascisation of the government and the liquidation of democratic rights, it is the “cold” method of Fascism preparing its way to power.
The government of Flandin knows that it will be merely an instrument to gain time. This is evidenced by the fact that the efforts of Doumergue to change the form of government will not be openly repeated but mere “economic” measures will be attempted to stave of the ever-increasing crisis in France. The labor movement must understand that it must feverishly utilize this breathing space for its own advantage. The time to fight Fascism is not after it has seized the power, after Bonapartism has thoroughly consolidated the right and weakened the left, but before Fascism takes power, when it still is the stage of Bonapartism.
That the Flandin government will be powerless to alleviate conditions in France can be seen from even a superficial survey of the economic and political conditions now existing there. Although the world economic crisis did not hit France until 1931 when it did arrive it came with great force and sharpness. Business fell to 60% of normal, bankruptcies totalled 1500 monthly, unemployment rose to over 2,000,000. In spite of a great cut in foreign trade a huge import surplus amounting in 1933 to half a billion dollars, was accumulated yearly which could not be paid for without threatening the stability of the financial position of France. Having already a huge public debt of three hundred billion francs, say fifteen billion dollars, faced with new annual deficits, the French government was forced to take desperate measures to keep on the gold standard. The refusal to pay its debts to the U.S. has resulted in a sharp conflict with this country. The end of reparations from Germany has reduced French influence in Europe greatly. The failure of its debtors to pay on French investments and the drastic curtailment of tourist income have rendered French finances still more straitened. The attempt to reduce governmental expenses has resulted in a sharp internal conflict with elements of the petty-bourgeoisie who have been on the state payroll and who hang on to their jobs and income with ferocity. The tariff wars, the great loss in trade, the drain of gold from France, the great rise in militarist expenses made necessary by the tense political situation, all have placed the French ruling classes in desperate circumstances.
The high cost of living in France already has provoked riots and mass demonstrations. On the other hand should France go off the gold standard it would only make things worse for the masses. In a country where, after the war, already 80% of all debts were liquidated due to inflation and the stabilization of the franc at 20% of its old value, to go off the gold standard in France must lead to terrific social convulsions. On top of all this is the strained political situation in which all Europe finds itself. With Fascist Germany on its right and the new development of the Spanish Revolution on its left, France can be in no calm and peaceful state of mind.
On the foreign front, France is faced with terrific isolation and defeats. First of all, there is the great rise of Germany, with all the danger that this means for France. There is the loss of the Saar Basin, the loss of influence in Austria and its threatened Anschluss with Germany. The end of Versailles Treaty has meant a steady loss of influence over Poland and Jugo-Slavia which have, in fact, tended to gravitate towards Germany. Whatever remains in Europe of France’s old continental hegemony is menaced by the rise of Italian influence, in the Mediterranean and in the Danube. It is no wonder that it is France which most of all demanded and urged Russia’s entrance into the League of Nations. Yet the old balance of power which saved France during the last world war does not exist today. Today Italy is her rival, the U.S. has broken away, Russia, at bottom, is her deadly foe. To counter the loss of Russia, France at first attempted to patch up the fragments of an empire by a cordon of puppet states in Eastern Europe, ranging from Latvia to Roumania. But this patchwork has not held together. It is irretrievably broken into a thousand bits. France the victor, is being overwhelmed by her victory!
What is the labor movement doing in France to counter the threat of Fascism? There is no question that the masses will fight. Ever since the rise of Hitler in Germany there has taken placed an increased determination of the masses to struggle against Fascism. If, in Germany, both Socialist and Communists ran away without a fight, in Austria, the Socialists made at least a “last stand”, and in Spain they had learned already the lesson of not waiting too long before striking. In France the workers have been preparing for a far longer time and much more seriously than anywhere else.
The first step has been the liquidation of the Communist Unitarian Confederation of Labor (C.G.T.U.) And its merger with the Socialist controlled General Federation of Labor (C.G.T.). This means that all the trade union forces in France have been fused into one. Incidentally it is a confession on the part of the Communist that in all the period of their independent history, they have failed to accomplish their tasks and could not build up any revolutionary unions of their own. It is a further confession that the Red International of Labor Unions has given up the ghost. The R.I.L.U. is no more. Having lost all its European trade unions, Russian Communism is now further away from the international revolution than ever.
The second step has been the organization of the Front Commun, or Common Front, by both the Socialist and Communist parties. This new organization is not a united front, that is, it is not a case where two or more organizations send their delegates to a common meeting, each organization keeping its independence. On the contrary, it is a fusion of both organizations, the individual members of both parties coming to the general meetings and deciding all questions. All other groups are excluded. And mutual non-aggression pacts are entered into whereby neither the Socialist nor the Communist parties will criticize each other. Such a joint coming together can only lead to mutual combining of both parties into one. And this is the prevailing tendency today.
What a complete right about face for the discredited and hopeless Communist International? Only a short while age the Socialist party was considered “the left wing of Fascism”, the “chief enemy” of the workers and what not. Now actually fusion between the two is being realized.
As we wrote in the last issue of our paper: “Certainly this much is true, namely the united front between the Socialist and Communist Parties cannot wipe out the error of each, but rather multiplies all the errors. The cadres and apparatuses of both parties will not correct their false program and policies simply because they have agreed not to criticize each other but to come together with the purpose of fighting against Fascism and war. Rather, it must mean a further cementing of the yoke of bureaucracy of both sets of leaders upon the masses and an entrenchment of opportunism.
In this fusion between the Socialists and the Communists it is the Socialist bureaucracy that is given the leadership and it is the Communist Party that has abandoned the responsibility of the struggle.
But is it true that the Socialist Party of France can fight better than the Socialist Party of Austria? Certainly, we can not count on this. Again the lesson must be brought home that it is not enough to have masses of workers united within one organization. It is necessary to have a revolutionary direction for this organization.
The fusion of the Socialist and Communist parties places all the contradictions within the militant workers ranks on a higher plane. So far as the combine bureaucracies are concerned, the fusion of organizations operates really to prevent the united front in action, in the streets. The officials get together and talk. Promises are made. Hopes are raised. Meanwhile precious time passes. Nothing is done. The fused labor fakers act as lightening rods to ground the electrical discharges of the class struggle.
On the other hand the militant workers are actually brought closer together. If the weight of the bureaucracies is now heavier, on the other hand, the strength of the working class to throw off this weight is greater. The tension between the two has moved to a higher notch.
It is at this very moment that the French Communist League of the old Left Opposition chooses to liquidate its organization and to run into the Socialist Party. This means in fact to give a terrible blow to any revolutionary direction that the masses might be able to have. Had the French League been independent, had it decided to participate in all of the class battles now opening up, had it a tested cadre of leaders and members instead of literary phrase-mongerers, then in the course of the battles, the masses would have demanded the inclusion of these foremost fighters of the French League into the united front. They would have rallied round its organ and banner and slogans. The French League had tremendous possibilities of growth which now have been lost.
Instead of carrying on this independent revolutionary work, the French League and the International Secretariat have tried to cover up the Socialist party with red paint and to give illusions to the workers that these organizations are fit revolutionary instruments for the workers to seize and to hold power.
If the workers are to win in France miracles of organization and activity are necessary. They will have to organize their combat defence guards, to prepare for the general strike, to arm the people, to lay the basis for Soviets and the slogan of Dictatorship of the Proletariat and to prepare for the insurrection. At the same time they will have to overthrow their own chief staffs of leaders, Socialists and Communists. In the Soviets a new leadership will have to be born that will organize a proper revolutionary vanguard strategy and tactics and will be able to dominate the Soviets and win the day.
Can the workers accomplish these miracles? Certainly the capitulation of Trotsky and the International Secretariat will make it much harder for the workers to be victorious. However, it is far too early to declare that the victory must be with the bourgeoisie. Plainly, the workers mean to fight to a finish. And there can be no half way measures. Either the dictatorship of the proletariat, leading to European revolution and world war immediately, or Fascism which in turn leads to world war and revolution. At the end of the road, in any event, will be inevitable Communism.
What is self-determination and its relationship to the Negro masses? Or why is it necessary that the Negro masses should fight for self-determination? And if so will this lead to nationalism? These are questions that have become posed very sharply within the working class movement. The failure to understand the Negro problem in bourgeois society, the treacherous role and tactics that are used against the Negro masses to suppress them and to keep them down and the whole misinterpretation of the question of self-determination of the Negro masses have led to confusion on the whole Negro question.
The first point that the working class must understand in regard to self-determination is that it is up to the Negro masses to decide this question and not the white workers or any individual. In the “Militant” of October 20, 1934, James W. Watson very bitterly attacks the right of self- determination basing his argument on the mere demand for social, political and economic equality for the Negroes. Do the Negroes want social, political and economic equality? Yes, and we will fight to the very end for it. But what Comrade Watson fails to see is just how we are going to get it. He goes so far as to say that the slogan of self-determination has created a general feeling among the Negroes that they are a nation, thus leading to a nationalist sentiment. And here Watson completely overlooks the fact that it is the bourgeois policy of the white ruling class, carried out so sharply by the white working class that has prepared the ground for any such nationalist feeling among the Negroes. It is white chauvinism that breeds nationalist tendencies among the Negroes. Let Watson spend his time fighting the white chauvinism that ridicules the Negroes’ right to self-determination rather than fight the natural reactions of the Negro masses.
Watson accused the Communist Party as the ones guilty of developing the theory of self- determination for the Negro masses. Here we must remind the comrade that it was not the C.P. who first brought forth this theory. We must recognize the facts that as far back as 1863 the struggles of the Negro masses were for freedom and self-determination. The whole line and tone of Watson’s article give the impression that the Negroes are inferior to the working class generally.
In this bourgeois society that we live in today the Negro masses ask no sympathy from the working class movement. The slogans for social, political and economic equality have proven themselves to be only phrases used by the petty-bourgeoisie to cover up their chauvinistic attack upon the Negroes. By bribes of “equality” often an individual Negro who may have some influence among the Negro masses in induced to give up the real fight for the entrance of the Negroes as a mass into the struggle and becomes an opportunist.
We must not underestimate the petty-bourgeois theories that still exist within the workers that make up the working class movement. With such a policy of giving “equality” but not the right of self-determination to the Negro masses, the white workers will be able to cover up themselves and can become political white chauvinists. The slogan down with the right of the Negro masses to determine their own lives can mean only demoralization and defeat not only to the Negro masses but to the working class as a whole. Watson’s policy can have a very dangerous effect upon the white workers, even through the Negroes want “equality".
The theory has already been developed among the workers that the sharper the crisis, the closer the Negroes may move to the working class movement. With this theory has gone the idea that the Negroes must fight together with the whites and that whites do not have to concern themselves with special Negro problems. This is a false conception. It is true that the Negro feels the effects of the crisis the most, but in no way will the effects of the crisis draw him closer to the white working class movement unless that movement fully understands the Negro problem and will fight for the Negroes’ right to be equal to others, even to the point of leaving.
Comrade Watson distorts the facts concerning the Pacific movement, recently organized in this country by Japanese agents seeking to win the support of the Negro masses in case of an imperialist war. He says the Japanese have taken over the theory of black republic. This move on the part of the Japanese government is nothing for a revolutionary organization to play with. It shows that the Japanese imperialists know their business and how the slogan of race equality can play right into the hands of the interracial movement of the Japanese government
Watson concludes his article by raising the cry for the building of a new revolutionary workers’ party, the Fourth International. With such a policy and theory, however, the Fourth International would be not an international of the Negro proletarians but an international of all the Negro Petty--bourgeois opportunists, thus bringing about a sharper antagonism among the Negroes.
Even in the revolutionary movement today the Negro meets with a bitter rejection on the question of social, political and economic equality. The Negroes know and understand well the road to social, political and economic rights. It will not be such bourgeois phrases that will win him over to the Fourth International. To win the confidence of the Negroes for the working class movement, it depends upon how sincerely the white workers will persist in their struggles in which the Negroes will see their own interests best carried out And we can assure ourselves that it will not be such political maneuvers as embodied in the mere slogan of “equality". Only when the white working class has gone through a hard and bitter struggle in which all the corruption of this bourgeois society will be burned out of it will the white working class be able to gain the respect of the Negro workers.
The question of self-determination of the Negro masses must and will be determined by the Negroes themselves. Anyone who stands in the way and refuses to support such a struggle will be shoved aside and destroyed as an enemy of the working class. The fight for self- determination weakens the entire bourgeois society; it prepares the basis for the social revolution. Any struggle undertaken by the Negro workers under this society is a progressive move. Such a struggle for self-determination does not mean that the Negro is moving to nationalism. It only is the expression of his hatred against bourgeois society. It is his only guarantee that he may be sure that the new society will not be like the one in which he is living today.
Nationalist tendencies do not come from the Negroes’ struggle for liberation. They are foisted upon the Negroes by the white workers who constantly carry out the policy of the bourgeoisie in its terrible brutal form in suppressing the Negroes and keeping them down. From this dreadful policy has been bred that acute danger to the working class movement-white chauvinism.
Chauvinism is a deep-rooted bourgeois theory that can express itself in may ways. But no matter in what way it may express itself, it strikes very hard upon the Negro masses. In a critical moment like today, when the working class is being forced down into misery and poverty, these attacks have a great effect upon the Negroes. The white workers will put forward all kinds of slogans to try to win the Negroes to their side. However, it is very easy for the Negroes to sense the difference between demagogy and sincerity, owing to years of participation in the struggles side by side with the white workers. In 1863 the Negroes were promised land and freedom, in the last world war they were also to get freedom and justice and the same rights of anyone else. History has proven that in all cases the white bourgeoisie has used the Negroes by coming before them when it was in danger, promising them everything but giving them nothing but the same old brutal treatment. Thus, the most fundamental feeling the Negroes have is distrust for the whites as a whole, owing to the long bitter years of experience when they were used by the bourgeoisie to accomplish its aims, only to stamp the Negroes back into the mud again.
The Negro masses move towards self-determination not because they desire to be off by themselves. Before the revolution the white workers make many promises to the Negroes, but are there any guarantees that the white workers will behave any better after the social revoltuon than the present bourgeois society? This answer can only come when the whites prove their sincerity by putting up an unrelenting determined struggle against all bourgeois theory that exists within them. Such a fight can be conducted when the whites support the struggle of self-determination of the Negro masses. In such a struggle, all forms of chauvinism and nationalism will be broken down. The working class of America cannot carry out a successful and effective revolution until the Negro masses have won their democratic rights. In the struggles of the Negro masses for their social and democratic rights, there will come that class fraternity and understanding that proves that the working class is preparing the ground for Socialism. Through such an effective struggle it will be possible to turn the national revolution into the social revolution. The struggle for self-determination for the Negro masses will lay the foundation for Socialism. The Negroes of America are a nation, as far as the Negroes themselves are concerned; as far as America is concerned, they are a national minority. Therefore, the Negroes, we can be sure, will rally under the banner of self-determination and go forward to the overthrowing of the bourgeoisie and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Fascism is not revolutionary in basic sense of the word since it makes no change in the property relationships, and its “revolution” consists only in a change of the form of government. In its demagogic program before seizing power, in which the shoddy of reformism is interwoven with the real Fascist stuff, it poses as a progressive force. However, the operation of the whole movement is in fact definitely reactionary. The Nazi agrarian policy, which greatly strengthens the juker class and creates semi-serf like conditions for the peasantry, the anti-labor movement, the subsistence-farm movement and the policy for the woman, are all evidence of the reactionary texture of Fascism.
“Back to the home” at one stroke turns the clock back one hundred years for Germany’s womankind of all classes. For the working class it is one of the strands in the choking net of contradictions in which Fascism strikes desperately but vainly to get above the crisis, in which national self-sufficiency fights the international market, militarism beats against an increasing political isolation and the fantastic theory of the pure German race strives to robotize a class best trained of all in Marxist thinking. So unstable is the capitalist regime, whether Fascist or democratic, so sudden and violent are the contradictions and fluctuations today, that overnight, for example, upon the outbreak of a war, the policy for women would have to be revised and the women now driven out of jobs would have to be placed back in them. Conversely, in the United States, where for some time owning to the crisis a campaign against women going to work has been carried on, it would not take many more changes to see inaugurated a Hitler policy here.
Fascism aims at complete state regulation and control of all forms of life within the nation, at the complete subordination and discipline of the individual who is supposed to live only for the state. “Du Bist nichts” ("You are nothing") the signs in the forced labor camps, daily remind the workers, men and women, that the miseries of their life are not supposed to concern them. The role of the women has been officially laid out for them; they are to be the homemakers, the bearers and rearers of numerous children of pure, unadulterated German stock to be enrolled int eh ranks of der Fuehrer’s armies.
Unemployment is the chief force behind this policy. In their desperate efforts to make jobs, or, rather, to appear to make them, the Nazis have driven hundreds of thousands of workers out of the country through racial and political persecution. They have driven the Jews out of the professions, hundreds of thousands of “Marxists and trade-unionists” have been herded in concentration camps, many thousands more have been drafted for forced labor on public works or on subsistence farms. The youth (boys and girls from 16 to 25) have been packed off to labor service camps. Still nothing is enough to fill the bottomless hole of unemployment.
German women have been working outside the home for many years. As far back as 1907 there were already over nine million woman wage-earners. In many lighter factory occupations and in clerical lines (as in the U.S.) They outnumbered the men. It was fairly common, since the crisis, for the woman to be the only breadwinner of the family inasmuch as the man could not find a job, just as it is here today. The drive to oust the women from jobs began in the provinces in the fall of 1933, and rapidly spread in scope through a series of decrees. It worked out along the following lines: 1. Wives of men in the civil service also at work had to relinquish their jobs in favor of men. 2. Women in the civil service posts were to retire wherever possible. 3. A drive against “multiple” earnings meant that women wage-workers of all sorts were pressed to give up a job to a man, either to husband or fiance, or if he were already working, to some other man. 4. Women have been given the cold shoulder in professions where they were already practising. 5. Enrollment of young women students in the universities has been restricted to a small percentage of the applicants, thus automatically cutting off most of Germany’s female generation from the possibility of an intellectual life and of training for a profession. This situation reminds one of the position of Jewish students in Czarist Russia or of the position of women in all countries one hundred years ago, before capitalist development expressing itself in the feminist movement had forced open the gates of colleges and professional training schools.
Accompanying thy ousting of women from jobs and their exclusion from the professions has been an ideological campaign training the women to think of themselves as wives and mothers only, helpmates of men and rearers of children, out of place in the factory, office or schoolroom. Marriage and childbearing are given great encouragement, as in Italy. Government loans (in the shape of a voucher for the purchase of furniture) are made to engaged girls (and, of course, they must give up their jobs to their fiances); 25% of the loan is cancelled upon the birth of each child. All sorts of home building schemes are afloat. Mass marriages take place where a few dozen or hundreds of couples are paired off at once (one of the most striking demonstrations of the Fascist collectivist policy). Prizes for big families are offered. (The present adult generation being destined for speedy removal via the trenches in the next war, replacement must be assured.) Sports and Nazi sport organizations are encouraged for young women, with a view of training them for healthy motherhood.
The whole Fascist labor policy is involved here. Half of the population, including the working class women, are driven backward into isolation, helplessness and stupidity. The women are cut off from the working class at the point of production, where they could organize effectively together with the men workers, where they could struggle to overthrow the yoke of capitalism.
Machinery took women out of the home at a time when the home was a center of production, where there was at least a productive function for them. The flooding of the labor market with armies of helpless women and children, which accompanied the industrial revolution, tore down the labor standards of the craftsmen, lengthened hours to an inhuman point and lowered wages. Generations of struggle have not sufficed to assimilate these groups fully with the army of men workers, as the lower wages of women and youth testify. Work at the machine placed an almost unbearable burden upon the back of the wage-earning woman, who still had to do her housework and care for her children in the hours after work. At the same time, it brought woman into mass contact with the organized working class, forced her also to organize, to become class conscious, to throw her strength into the struggle to free humanity. The feminist movement, a movement of middle-class women, which struggled hard to get democratic rights for women, the right to vote, to speak in public, to obtain education, to enter the professions, etc., rested upon the backbone of the women laborers in the factories who were too burdened to obtain many benefits from he advancement of their sex. Hitlerism with one blow has wiped out all advances obtained through women’s participation in production, and her political and social gains of the last century. It is a reactionary policy which can mean only a great set-back for the entire working class. It is part of the labor policy of crushing, robotizing and regimenting workers.
Mussolini’s policy towards Italian women has been very similar but has not brought about such a striking change in the life of the country, since in Italy, an agrarian and Catholic country, the women had not advanced so far. They never had the network of organizations the German women of all classes had built up for themselves. There was nothing to compare with the German Marxist-trained working class, in which the women had their share, with their own newspapers and meetings, as well as taking part in the demonstrations and movements of the working class as a whole. The German working class women were first in organization and class consciousness. In the U.S., on the other hand, while the organization of working class women falls behind that of the republican Germany, there is a higher status of women in the home and a higher standing in society generally, thanks to the colonial history of America, the freedom from feudal heritage, the great demand for labor and other peculiar American conditions.
The Hitler policy towards women proves the frailty of the achievements of feminism under capitalism, and the impossibility for any oppressed group in society to free itself except through a fundamental change in the property relations, that is, through the proletarian revolution. Soviet Russia, notwithstanding the degeneration of the Stalin regime, has achieved enough to point the way to freedom for womankind. At one stroke the first Soviet constitution granted full political and legal equality to women. This is an act of progress which time can never tear down, regardless of what the fate of the Workers’ State may be. The fullest freedom to work, to be trained and to take part in all social and political activities is now the Russian woman’s. At the same time, some beginning has been made towards solving the working woman’s most strenuous problem-the care of the home and children. Factory nurseries and community kitchens point the way out here. (However, we must add that under Stalin there have been retrogressive steps taken in regard to women in Russia as well as in regard to the workers generally).
The Fascist policy towards women’s status is something to make the whole working class strive with might and main to prevent a blow against one of its most vital parts.
The “New Deal” had a sweeping victory in the recent elections. The Democrats increased their Senatorial representation from 60 to 69 and maybe 70 members; the House elections gave them 322 seats where formerly they had 309. The number of Democratic Governors increased from 39 to 40, while other Governors (Olson and La Follette for example) posed as friends of the New Deal. Considering that in the off-years the opposition parties generally gain at the expense of the party then in office, the fact that the Democrats polled over 16 million votes out of the 30 million cast shows the extent of the sweep.
Just before the elections a bankers’ conference was held which decided enthusiastically to support the New Deal and the Roosevelt regime. This mutual love-making feast between Roosevelt and the bankers was heralded far and wide throughout the entire press of the country. It was a sign that big business, having increased its profits by 600% in the past year and having obtained innumerable economic and political advantages, was leading its old Republican moorings and getting behind the present administration. The vote for the Democrats was not due to a popular landslide but rather owing to the abandonment of the traditional Republican party by the large industrial and financial magnates of the country.
It should be kept in mind that in the present election the great mass of proletarians did not vote, not the Negroes, not the foreign-born, not the migratory and unemployed and the others disenfranchised by the millions and one ways that American capitalism has know how to disenfranchise the unskilled, propertyless worker in the U.S. Of a population of 130,000,000 of which the vast majority are over 21, only 30,000,000 voted. These 30,000,000 represented in the main, the petty-bourgeoisie and upper layers of the skilled proletariat, certainly not the poorest sections of the working class and toilers of the nation.
The vote that was cast, then, was a vote peculiarly susceptible to the pressure from big interests and big property and not entirely hostile to that pressure. If the Republican Party lost out our conclusion must be that big business wanted it to lose, that the Republican Party can no longer fill the bill.
The Republican party, in the last election, could offer nothing but the old worn out phrases of rugged individualism. It could only point back to Hoover and declare that it was for the best interests of American capitalism to return to the days of laissez-faire. The Republican Party appeared as the party of Jeremiah Bentham, fully as out of date as his outworn shibboleths. The American people could not return to the criminal irresponsibility of the days of Hoover. The old individualism is no more the essence of America. Social responsibility, collectivism, national perspective and organization is on the order of the day.
All that the Republican Party can do is to call attention to the high taxes that exist and demand their reduction, failing to see that it is precisely the high taxes that are preventing matters from growing infinitely worse and the people taking matters into their own hands. The Republicans are living in a by-gone era. They do not understand the tense relationships that exist among the classes, the general radicalization of the masses that is taking place. If the Republicans continue such a course they are doomed. The big business elements in the Republican party must join the big business elements in the Democratic Party, especially if that party can slough off its more radical sections.
To the bankers and big industrialists, social responsibility means the dole system in return for the complete disciplining and regimentation of the workers. It means the complete fusion of big business with the State and the acceleration of State capitalist tendencies as the sole road by which the capitalist can save his investment and guarantee to himself a safe and steady income. In these days of threatening war and growing Fascism, this is no time to play around with the idylls of individualist pastoral life. Stern realities demand the complete mobilization of the entire national forces in order to overcome the obstacles in the way of American imperialism. In short, big business and the bankers are on their way to Bonapartism and Fascism.
For the mass of small property owners there could be no return to the sterile days of unprotected individualism. Security, protection, order, these are the crying needs of the day, for them. The line of the New Deal was the line of the EPIC plan in California, the realization of various egalitarian Utopias which they had schemed as the way out. The mass of petty- bourgeois voted for the New Deal in order to save their homes, their property, to obtain social insurance and security, to keep their relief doles. There is no doubt that compared to the Hoover regime, the Roosevelt outfit was able to outdo itself in promises and specious illusions.
The sweeping mobilization of large and small property elements behind the New Deal has put the Republican Party in a crisis. If it remains chained to the chariot of individualism it must go under and be destroyed as a mechanism of fooling and winning the support of the masses of people.
We have very advisedly talked of the victory of the New Deal and not of the Democratic Party. The vote was not for the Democratic Party but for Roosevelt. Just as the judicial and legislative departments of government are giving way to the executive, so the party is giving way to the leader and the leader is building his own apparatus and program independent of the party. The party, as such, simply follows along as best it can. Strange as it may seem at first sight, the Democratic Party has not been strengthened but actually weakened by the elections. Around the strong man Roosevelt there are gathering within the Democratic party two alien and antagonistic forces. On the one hand, there is big business, the trusts and imperialist capital. They look at Roosevelt as a stepping stone to Fascism. Then, there are the trusting petty- bourgeois element who see in the New Deal some sort of Socialistic egalitarianism and release from debt; some sort of organized painless capitalism.
Indeed, the last election has witnessed quite a determined attempt on the part of the petty- bourgeoisie to capture the Democratic Party. Upton Sinclair polled close to a million votes in California on such a program. Still trusting in Roosevelt these petty-bourgeois masses will wait for him to move to the left. As Roosevelt must swing to the right, within this heterogeneous Democratic Party a split eventually must take place.
In between the right wing of finance capital and the left wing of the small proprietor, is Roosevelt himself who receives the acclaim of both as he is the necessary link binding the two together. Nevertheless the spindle legs of even a Roosevelt will not be able to brace these two antagonistic classes apart. It is clear that the mandate received by Roosevelt in the election and the solid support given him by the wealthy elements will allow him to swing heavily to the right. His statement banning all social legislation but that dealing with unemployment is good proof of how Roosevelt understands the meaning of the election returns.
That the Roosevelt administration is not an illustration of completed Bonapartism but only incipient Bonapartism, is solely due to the fact that labor, has not organized its own party. The moment labor does organize its own party, then sections of the petty-bourgeoisie (Upton Sinclair variety) will fuse with the labor party and try to dominate it. The Republican right will enter into the fight together with the Democratic right and move violently to Fascism, swinging with them large elements of the petty-bourgeoisie. These are the possibilities that are opened up by the election.
The possibilities for a Labor party have been greatly improved by the leftward movement within the American Federation of Labor. There is no doubt that the needle trades and textile unions would swing in that direction at once. The situation within the A. F. L. is more fluid than it has been for a long time. This move for a Labor Party will be hastened by the big vote cast by the radical petty-bourgeoisie in California, in Wisconsin, in Minnesota and elsewhere throughout the nation. Sharp direction will be given the movement by the breaking up of the Socialist Party.
The vote for the Socialist party was the ordinary vote, 100,000 in New York State, say three-quarters of a million throughout the country. It is a sign that the masses, in spite of their discontent, are passing the Liberal-Socialist Party and going their own way. Far from strengthening the Socialist Party, the elections have brought to a still sharper struggle all the splitting tendencies within it which the Detroit Convention of that party revealed so clearly and upon which we elaborated in our August 1934 issue of the Class Struggle. At that time we wrote: “Should the right wing split, it will be followed by the chief officials and trained functionaries of the party, the press and Rand School apparatus and the trade union contacts. In that case the more likely alternative is that this group will concentrate on building up a “Labor Party". They will become the political guide for the A. F. L. They will swing still further to the right and lose the right to call themselves even “Socialists".”
Should the Labor Party in the U.S. actually be formed through the activities of these right wing Socialists there will be established a highly important difference between the Labor Party of Great Britain and that of the U.S. The British Labor Party was organized by elements all of them moving to the left. The Labor Party in the U.S. will have been organized by groups fleeing the revolutionary movement. It is well to bear this possibility in mind.
Should a Labor Party be organized, of course it will bring into the sharpest relief all the class forces that we have spoken about. The Democratic party will split, the right wings of both Republican and Democratic parties will move towards collectivism in the form of Fascism. The petty-bourgeoisie will be sharply divided, some going with the Fascists, some with labor. Inside the labor movement a strong revolutionary current will make itself manifest. The Europeanization of American politics will be well on the way.
As for the influence of the Communist Party in the last elections, it was absolutely insignificant. Here, too, it is plain, that the American proletariat is passing by the Stalinists. A note of comedy was struck by these clowns in the labor movement, Cannon, Shachtman and Company. They insisted that James P. Cannon should run for Governor. The “Militant” for weeks screamed “vote for Cannon for Governor". But Cannon turned out to be only a penny pop-gun. The “Militant” discreetly refuses to tell how many voters voted for these treacherous elements.
In the meantime, Roosevelt will use his mandate to put over further measures of inflation, some permanent form of the N. R. A. with its disciplining of labor and its compulsory arbitration, and some form of work-relief which will illustrate the nationalization of at least one productive force, namely labor.
TO ALL READERS OF “UNSER WORT”
TO ALL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE LKI
The first 48 numbers of “Unser Wort” were published by the regular leadership of the German Internationalist-Communists, that is to say, from No. 12, by the Foreign Committee. No 48 has been issued without authority by a minority of the Foreign Committee which has arrogated the leadership to itself.
The fact that the administration happens to be in its hands makes it possible for this minority, by this trick, to apply the funds of the organization to the publication of the paper.
To accomplish its usurpation this minority took advantage of the decision of the Foreign Committee to withhold the publication of “Unser Wort” for three weeks for the purpose of saving money for a pressing need of the organization.
The challenge to the authority of the Foreign Committee by this minority, through “cooptation” is all the more peculiar because there is not a single regularly selected member of the Reich Conference represented on this minority. We are forced into a further recital of the unpleasant circumstances because entirely inaccurate statements have been put into circulation.
Since we have been robbed of the opportunity of expressing our views, as regular leaders, through the paper, (Unser Wort), we have been compelled to resort to this method of publicly informing the workers of the political reasons which have led to the split of the German leadership.
Theories for the Entrance of the French League into the S.F.I.O.
(French Section of the Socialist International -Ed)
The crisis in our organization was caused in the beginning of July by the proposal of some comrades in the leadership of our French organization and of the International Secretariat to merge the French League with the Social Democratic SFIO as a fraction. This proposal is itself a pure tactical proposal and MIGHT have been necessary and correct at a given time, that is, if the status of the SFIO was entirely different, as well as that of the entering organization, and the International which is in back of it. Everything considered, we do not think that conditions call for such a proposal. And such tactic, carried out at so inopportune a time, is supported by such arguments as misrepresent the real situation. The misrepresentation of the situation almost inevitably involves the misrepresentation of principles and leads to a policy which is helpful to those opposed to the revolutionary movement. Nothing makes our generalizations clearer than a brief examination of the main arguments advanced by those advocating the merger with the SFIO.
Here is the first argument: “The united front has come to pass and there is not other way of participating in it except by entering the SFIO.” There is no worse half-truth than the first part of the statement. Not the united front has come to pass but a pact of the two bureaucracies for suppressing the real struggle against Fascism, etc., and for a joint campaign in municipal elections. It is exactly that which we must tell ourselves and the workers. Spain and Belgium show that there is a different way to participate in the maneuvers of the bureaucracies. That, in the last analysis, merging with the SFIO is the best means of overcoming these maneuvers and changing the basis of the united front is not at all certain. On the contrary, everything is against it.
Argument No. 2: “The League (as the other section) have developed into propaganda groups. They are isolated, without a milieu. It is not enough to have correct ideas. They must be brought home to the masses and tested in the experience of the masses.” This argument, though it has considerable weight in various sections of the LKI (Internationalist-Communist League-Ed) even if recently discovered, is certainly quite inadequately based upont the “objective situation". It has only the evil consequence of a capitulatory entry into the SFIO. For that does not mean a union with the masses, but, at best, can lead only to the result that, which a milieu might be acquired, nevertheless no longer would correct ideas be tolerated, all of which is still a sorry state of affairs. The task lies in carefully considering the ways of contacting the masses without capitulating and without improvisations conceived in panic.
Argument No. 3: “The united party means historically, it is true, a step backward, but considering the present conditions, the banal, sentimental and meaningless fraternization is a mighty step forward. Our entry into the SFIO is the correct, timely preparation for the united party.” The united party is neither a “sentimental, banal and meaningless” fraternization, nor is it a mighty step forward; nor is the merger with the SFIO the way to a united party.
The discussion of the question of the united party is the most subtle and harmful maneuver of both bureaucracies to keep the workers from the necessary united front ACTION. Through the united party the two bureaucracies plan to hold in the palm of their hands the masses who are anxious for a struggle, in order jointly to betray them, and to be ready jointly to win them over to the defense of the fatherland. The united party means the end of the slogan of revolutionary seizer of power and revolutionaries even in those workers’ strata which, in spite of those doctrines (of the bureaucracies) are defending themselves. The united party is the expression of the most reactionary depression sentiments of the German defeat. The entry into the united party can, in spite of all, at a certain time, be unavoidable and possible. The propaganda for the “mighty step forward” of the united party, instead of the determined struggle against those harmful illusions on the basis of the Hungarian and Austrian experiences, instead of the determined struggle for united front ACTION, is the complete capitulation before centrism in its classic form, the most treacherous abandonment of Leninism, and the most colossal misleading of the workers, which can be conceived at this time. It (the propaganda) must repel even the most advanced workers from the organizations which takes this view point. It means the participation in the preparations for the defeat.
Argument No. 4: “We were ready to unite with Doriot, S. A. P., etc. Why should we not now join M. Pivert?” (Doriot is a French Communist leader who broke with the French Communist Party on the question of the united front; the S. A. P. is the Socialist Labor Party of Germany; M. Pivert is a left Socialist leader-Ed). Besides considering the comparison of S. A. P.—Pivert neither funny nor correct, we think it is one of the numerous and altogether usual sophisms to compare a union with Leon Blum and one with Pivert-Zyromeki.
The Reflection of the SFIO in the Distorted Mirror of Liquidation
Finally, it can no longer be concealed as a matter of concrete fact that it is not a question of entering either the united front, or the united party, or a party of Doriot or Pivert, but the SFIO just as it is, as member of the 2nd International. Therefore, a position had to be taken on the SFIO. And this is it:
“The SFIO has become a centrist party. If we entered the centrist ILP, why not also the centrist SFIO?” Centrism is a good Marxist concept. It allows itself, through constant abuse, to be degraded to a tiresome and stupid platitude, as do all other Marxist concepts. It is not a matter of mere “centrism” but the specific “centrism” of the SFIO. This (centrism) confines itself to the framework of the 2nd International just as that of the ILP broke through that framework. Therefore it must be quickly decreed that:
Reformism, 2nd International, etc., are formulas of yesterday.” Unfortunately, these “formulas of yesterday” prove themselves thoroughly alive, operating and corrupting as every day of the life of the 2nd International and the SFIO indicates.
The show-piece of the SFIO-centrism is its united front policy, particularly in the case of meeting for Bulgaria, Tunia, etc. and in more complete inactivity. Particularly … this antithesis of the “revolutionary” united front policy of the SFIO with its simultaneously rehearsed parliamentary-democratic cretinism shows the prejudice of those liquidators against the simplest Marxists criteria. The united front policy of Blum is only the other side of the same reformist medal. In another way, and with other means, but with the same purpose and the same result, he is bringing about the soporification and disarming of the working class before the bourgeoisie. To extenuate that, means, willingly or unwillingly, to be his accomplice.
But the inner democracy of the SFIO grows in proportion as that of the bourgeois state lessens.” This theorem, which is entirely false and is based on the union of the Neos and which completely overlocks the fact that simultaneously the left “Action Socialiste” was expelled, envisages, for the first time, the inner regime of a party as a thing entirely detached from its policy, and takes no notice of the fact that the inner democracy of the SFIO is necessary and useful for putting through a false policy of inactivity, and that it stands out prominently only so long as it fulfills these functions.
“The SFIO is now no longer the main support of the regime.” But on what else, then, is the present regime based if not on the equilibrium of the two groups and since when has the SFIO not borne that full responsibility for it, particularly when “all depends on its further development.”
“The SFIO is entering a life and death struggle with fascism.” As far as the fascists are concerned, they will undoubtedly do everything to bring death to the SFIO. But will it fight? One must warn the workers on the basis of the German and Austrian experiences that those parties will fight instead of lulling them into illusions. Precisely from this arises the necessity for the new party. But even the thought of the new party and the new International is liquidated through this change in spite of all lip service. Whoever still has any doubts, should study attentively and frequently the preparations for liquidation as acknowledged by the Verite of September 14th in its programmatic article, designated CC. The following appears:
The fate of the proletariat, in our time, depends largely on the determined manner in which the Social Democracy will in the short space of time which events allow, break with the bourgeois state, change itself, and prepare for the decisive struggle against fascism. The fact that the fate of the proletariat can so depend upon the fate of the social democracy is the result of the bankruptcy of the Communist International as the leading party of the international proletariat and also of the extraordinary sharpening of the class struggle.” (Here, logically, must be added “and the bankruptcy of the L.K.I.") Now, since things are so, nothing is left to be done but to fight for the reform of this famous social democracy and to defend this last stronghold of the proletariat. And that is precisely what our joiners are doing. They have, in spite of all their phrases, again become the left opposition. But this time of the 2nd International. Besides playing with miracles, they have hopes even for the greatest of all miracles. In the honest endeavor to prevent the victory of fascism, they help to prepare for it. The point of departure for the propagating of the 4th International was the bankruptcy of the 2nd and 3rd, the hope (of the 4th International) lay in all the living forces inside and outside of both Internationals. Of that nothing is left, but the recognition of the bankruptcy of the 3rd International. “Inexorable struggle against Blum” was the slogan at the time of joining. Inexorable struggle against the Stalinists is all that can be observed.
That has as much to do with Leninism as the latest performance of Dan. (old Menshevik- Ed). But it is in absolute contradiction to everything which the Bolshevik-Leninists correctly said until yesterday!
War theses. Thesis No. 29: “The incompatibility of the social democratic policy with the historical tasks of the proletariat is at present incomparably deeper and sharper than at the eve of the imperialist war. The struggle with the patriotic superstitions of the masses means, above all, the implacable struggle against the 2nd International as organization, as party, as program, as banner.” (June, 1934!)
“Formulas of yesterday". NO! But the formulas of today are the necessary consequences of a false tactic.
After every effect to avoid useless refinements, we cannot characterize this orientation as anything but a capitulation and liquidation. It is a complete ideological capitulation before the 2nd International. As to liquidation; the self-supporting organization is not only liquidated organizationally, as a practical matter, but it is even deprived of its political right to live. Further liquidation: in spite of that, the new views on the question of the united party and the character of the Social Democracy are accompanied by the old formulas of the role of the party, Fourth International. For, it is not treated according to the old formulas but according to the new views and it is the treatment alone that counts. Further liquidation; there is no question here of an incidental tragedy of a small group, but of a part of the larger liquidation process, which has embraced the whole communist movement and which causes the Stalinist more slowly and more weakly, but no less plainly to capitulate before the 2nd International and to disavow the role of a revolutionary party.
The practical steps were of the same stamp as the theory. This is not the place to set forth again by what methods half of the League in the last two months was brought to the stand-point of the “entrance”, while the other half was excluded. How this fact was published as the “decision of the majority”, you judge for yourself. Thereafter, they entered the SFIO “Vrit” contained the following declaration which stated everything that we had predicted theoretically:
“At its third national conference the French Bolshevik-Leninists, after examining the situation and the status of the workers movement, have corroborated their beliefs that the program and methods of Leninism, which have formed the basis for its action are even more needed by the proletariat to combat Fascism, to defeat capitalism and to advance to a socialist society. The Bolshevik-Leninists affirm that since the February events, the two large parties which appeal to the working class have accepted the solution of the united front, for which we have struggled for many years, without giving it the active meaning which the reactionary menace makes necessary. In any event, a radical and extensive new grouping of the French working class has begun and the political outline is appearing in the process of uniting. The Bolshevik- Leninists want to participate in the broadest way in this new grouping for a single revolutionary party of the proletariat which can take place only in action, in the preparation and criticism of the action. To continue, in the present circumstances, as a small independent group will not allow us, with efficacy, to play the role which the difficult situation demands. Therefore, we have decided to enter the Socialist Party, just as we are, with our program and our ideas. In the ranks of the Socialist Party, side by side with the revolutionary workers of the French working class, in the common struggle against the bourgeoisie we wish to work out with them the best means and the best methods of liberation from the chains of capitalism. In entering the Socialist Party the Bolshevik-Leninists claim only the right to take part in its action and, as every other tendency, to defend the ideas which have been developed in years of struggle. The obligate themselves to be disciplined in revolutionary action. The Bolshevik-Leninist urge all sympathizers to convert their sympathy into joining and to fall in line. Comrades! Unite in the ranks of the Socialist Party for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Without renouncing our past and our ideas, but also without any group-mental reservation, speaking out plainly, we must enter the Socialist Party; not only for the sake of appearance, not for experiments, but for a serious revolutionary work under the banner of Marxism.”
The ambiguous revolutionary phrases of this declaration can be of help only to the Socialist bigwigs of all lands who can say, “See! Even these people are with and for us.”
To follow the evolution of the joiners it is not pointless to compare with this declaration the draft of a declaration which was proposed even in the beginning of July for the purpose of making the idea of merging acceptable.
“Our views have been fully confirmed. The united front is coming on the road of the masses. We want to take an active part in it. The only possibility for our organization, under the present circumstances, to participate in the masses’ united front is entry into the Socialist Party. We consider it, as formerly, necessary to struggle more than ever for the principles of Bolshevism, for the formation of a really revolutionary party of the proletarian vanguard, for the 4th International. We hope to convince the majority of the Socialist as well as the Communist workers of that. We obligate ourselves to carry on this work within the framework of the party, to subject ourselves to its discipline, and to preserve the united action.”
The real character of the merger can be understood only through the infamous closing passage of the leading article of the “Verit": “Socialist fighters! We have rejected the idea ‘break through the SFIO by all means’ which was proposed by certain comrades who are no longer with us (barred in the original). We think that the Socialist Party can play an important role in the new grouping and in the actions of the revolutionary forces in France. To this task we bring our activity. You can count on it and on our revolutionary discipline.” It is therefore only logical that the first “action” of the joiners of the SFIO was an exclusion motion against an old member of the League who “was not honorably disposed towards the Socialist organization.”
A hot dispute arose in the League as to whether they should enter the SFIO with their banner unfurled or rolled up. That is the German way of saying it. Just as the blessed Weimar Republic patched a small black-red-gold jack in the corner of the black-white-red flag, so there flutters before the League the yellow-rose flag of the SFIO with a little red spot in the corner. The further progress of the flag affair should not be lacking in parallels.
It is superfluous to repeat that we, Leninists, Communists and the German organizations which we represent, have and will have nothing in common with this theory and practice. It was because this was well known that we were robbed of the opportunity of telling this to the workers in “Unser Wort".
All along we have viewed our past work not uncritically, particularly after these “surprises”, just as everyone does who searches for the truth in the uncertain despair of past events. But we stand, as before, firmly on the principles of Leninism. As these can be frankly represented in France at present only by an independent organization, it is necessary to fight for such an organization by all means. Anyway, the unrealistic policy of the LKI, in view of the objective factors, has led to a dangerous isolation of the revolutionary elements. This must be overcome through active work in all mass organizations.
The turn about of the French League presents an international question in three ways. Therefore, it was inevitable that these questions had to lead to a crisis in those sections in which Internationalism is more than an empty phrase. Once raised, even when limited to France, the question compromises the whole international organization. To the other organizations its objective harm is particularly great in view of the especial significance of the French situation. Ultimately the turn about must inevitably assume an international aspect, even if this was not forseen by the leadership of the LKI. The indications of that are unmistakable. (Letter 5, Proposals for Spain, CSR; tendencies in Poland and Germany.) All of the arguments brought forward in support of the action in France have the same weight for a whole group of countries: United front (of the leaders); “left” SP; left development which exists, at present, at least in Spain, Italy, Austria and North America. Above all, however; if the SP is the only protector against Fascism and if the propaganda organizations of the Bolshevik-Leninists have no right to exist alongside of the large parties, then the same is true for the whole world. How quickly and how consistently the international leadership will make its orientation international is of secondary importance. That an international orientation is involved is undeniable and all protestations to the contrary carry at least the unpleasant after taste of a complete lack of understanding of its own policy.
The extent to which an international orientation is involved appears with greater clarity from the above quoted article. The article gives two new perspectives forthe 4th International: either through a union of the 2nd and 3rd Internationals or through the “radicalizing of the proletarian nucleus of the Socialist Party and the disintegration of the Stalinist organization.” (In plain German, through the development of the 2nd International.) Just as, in the course of the last year, there was substituted a realistic analysis of the future of the 4th International for shapeless illusions and for (what to-day seems grotesque) provocative attacks on people like Paul Louis and the leadership to of the ILP and the NAP whose most brazen centrism will at a not too remote time affect the new theories of a few “Bolshevik-Leninists”, so, to-day, one becomes, after a fashion, “concrete”, something which eliminates the idea of the 4th International as well as the further existence of the JKI. For, why should the LKI continue to exist if the 4th International can come about only either through the union of the 2nd and 3rd Internationals or through the 2nd International? Do we still have to repeat, miserably, that “only a tactical change in France” is involved? It is clear that the cadres of the 4th International will be formed and built up in all the organizations of the proletariat. It has been clear for a long time that the way to a 4th International will be very long, laborious and devious, and that only a considerable success of the revolutionary movement, and not hasty improvations can lead it out of the preparatory period. But it is nevertheless clear—and we, fortunately, are not bound fraternally to anyone so as “not to be able to say what the situation is”—that the 4th International can be built only by the most bitter struggle against both Internationals, whatever from the struggles may take.
The victory over the 2nd and 3rd Internationals is the historic task of the 4th International, which task no miracle can obviate. To make this clear to their adherents, instead of concealing it in ambiguous formulas, is the task of the Leninists. Only on this basis is it of any use to discuss tactics.
The development in France as well as in Germany would have been different if the International Organization had shown that it was really performing its duties. Until to-day, however, it has not yet really gone to work. Although actually a majority of the sections were against the merger, this fact could in no way be expressed or insisted upon, a peculiar and not hopeful symptom for a change of this importance. Abroad, there appeared a declaration in the Belgian and Dutch organs that, while the comrades of those countries were entirely against the change, nevertheless they were inclined “to let the French comrades get their own experience.” That appears to us to be even worse than a consent to the change and is a form of “Internationalism” which threatens to break up the International Organization. The future of the LKI depends upon the extent to which it retains and adheres, organizationally and politically, to the basis of Leninism, and on the extent to which it is in a position to learn from its experiences, on the one hand, and on the other, to reject liquidating tendencies.
The German organization is confronted with certain political and organizational facts which compel it to concentrate all its powers on the analysis of the situation. There is the turn-about of the two bureaucracies and the general liquidating stream of capitulation in the French League and in a part of the international leadership. There is the collapse of the International and the split of the German leadership. Not one of these things can be considered a part from any others. The appearance of streams alien to Leninism must lead to differentiations and even to organizational consequences even before things will come to the same pass in Germany. (But tomorrow they [the capitulators—Ed.] will play the same role there. There can no longer be any question about that.) In a certain measure that is good, for, just as the decision on the German questions must correspond to the concrete situations, so must that decision follow from a firm revolutionary basis and not be falsified through left social democratic ideas; just as much as it must take reality into account so little can its fundamental aim be attacked. For a new C.P. and a new C.I. To go further, it is not sufficient to reject the errors made to-day in the policy of the LKI, but, at this turning point, their cause and roots in the past must be exposed and made clear in order that we may judge to what extent the confusion of bankruptcy and the paralysis of the LKI are due to the objective circumstances. This discursion and this clarification should be carried on as quickly and as thoroughly as possible in the organizations so that the way will be clear to begin the work for a new Party and a new International, without being burdened with the old and new errors. In the meanwhile, to assure further political work, to preserve the international connection of all real Bolshevik-Leninist and to contribute unremittingly to the working out of all international questions, these do we consider as our tasks and duties from which all usurping maneuvers cannot divert us.
September 20, 1934.
Foreign Committee Internationalist Communists of Germany
Bauer, Lehmann, Stahl, Eiffel, Schmidt.
Like the American Negro, the Jews are not a nation but a peculiar national minority torn from their ancient homeland to settle elsewhere. In the ordinary type of national minority, such as the Poles in Germany or the Coratians in Italy, we have the example of a former nation rooted in a country and a soil of its own, with common traditions and relationships, which has now been conquered and reduced to a status of a minority within another nation. But in the case of the Jew, for two thousand years now, there has been no State, no national polity, no system of economic and political relationships that ordinarily go with the term “nation".
It is true that the Jews at one time did constitute a nation and thousands of years ago had a homeland and a State. The loss of this homeland was due not only to defeat in war and conquest by other nations but also to economic inducements that led the Jews to abandon the soil and to become merchants and usurers for the world. Losing their status as a nation, the Jews became an international subdivision of labor and, in the interstices of the old Roman world of slavery and agrarian production, fulfilled since antiquity the functions of merchant and money lender. Not compulsion alone uprooted the Jew and drove him from country to country but the love of money. Wherever gold was, there was the Jew.
There was nothing inherent in the blood of the Semites or Hebrews that they should turn to the circulation of commodities to barter and exchange, for their livelihood. It was the force of circumstances. Asia Minor stood at the very center of world trade in ancient society; it was the focal point of all the caravan routes, the fulcrum between East and West. As the Roman Empire grew, as the social order became stabilized and regulated, the vast, expanding surplus products of this Empire could find its outlet only through the Near East and thus, in the main, through the Jews. With the development of commerce came the rise of money and credit which rapidly grew in importance with the widespread network of roads, ports, markets, cities and the establishment of law and order.
The conversion of money and credit into money capital and merchant capital with the institution of profit, rent and interests, enabled the Jew to escape from his provincial position and to take a bird’s eye view of the whole ancient world. Placed at the center of trade, he could not be far from the center of culture. Little wonder that the Jew was the first to develop an all embracing system of monotheistic religion in the Mediterranean world of antiquity. Little wonder that Jewish philosophy began to rival even the Greek and synagogues became privileged centers throughout the entire Empire. More and more, as the Jews lost their nationality, they became a class, a merchand and money-lending class, and were able to insinuate themselves into the highest society.
Just as gold is a commodity, pushed out of the family of commodities to become a special article by itself, so the Jews were pushed out of the family of nations to become a unique national minority. The sphere of operations of this minority was not in production, but in circulation and exchange. Its homeland was not one country but wherever money had a function. Its residence was not the countryside but the cities. Ever sensitive to change (and exchange) the Jew was constantly poised for flight.
What was the relative position of the classes in antiquity? The main process of production, agriculture, was relatively untouched by capitalism since slavery was the rule. Production generally was for immediate consumption and not for exchange. Technique of production advanced slowly. Both masters and slaves were bound to the level of agrarianism. For the landowners progress consisted in one thing—further conquest of colonies, lands and slaves. It was these landowners who built up the Roman State and developed their art of statecraft. In proportion as the power of the rulers grew to magnificent heights, the hopelessness of the slaves grew to utter dejection. Their despair took the form of Christianity, the rationale of the hopelessness of the present world.
Because Christianity began as an asceticism that challenged the whole morality of the ruling class and presupposed a power greater than that of the Roman State, it was at first persecuted by the Caesars. However, as the palsied hand of the Romans became more enfeebled, as the ruin of the Roman Empire grew apace, as it became clear that Christianity (as an expression of the hopelessness of all revolt and the sheepishness of the slaves) did not have as its object the liberation of the slaves here and now, but rather to make the slave a more docile and acquiescent to their lot, then could the ruling class eagerly embrace Christianity and, under the banner of the cross call upon their slaves to resist the invaders who were threatening their power. In the name of Christianity landowners and slaves united to defend the power threatened by the barbarians. Thus, in fact, Christianity never did set up a mundane equality. It did not disturb the relations of master and slave.
However, this could not be the case with the religion of the Jews. Judaism could not be the religion of the agrarians, whether master or slave. Living constantly in a world of cash, in a sphere where only the present counted, the Jew could have no need for a paradise of future world of eternal happiness. Immemorial mythology had to give way to a sort of practical materialism which, relatively, makes up the texture of Judaism. The grey Jewish ritual, stripped of all the warm color and music natural to those in close communion with the soil, could not appeal to the mass of villagers.
Breaking into the economic and cultural relationships of the countryside, the Jewish merchant and trader could appear only as an outsider and an intruder. To the closed village life the Jew represented the “outside world” and was tolerated not only because he was needed but also because he kept to himself and did not try to proselytize others to his arrogant, egalitarian religion.
The ethical essence of Judaism is its call for “justice” and its “eye for an eye” standard. If the Jew stressed “justice” and equal treatment, this was only the religious formulations of the need of the merchant with his market standards. In this ethic of “tit for tat” the superior city dweller certainly would not come off second best to the country habitant. The slogan “equal for equal” befitted the Jew who knew well how to enforce his bargain as an experienced trader.
In the ancient world of the Roman Empire the money and merchant class was far from inferior to the ruling landlord groups. On the contrary, the former were the harbingers of a new and superior economy. On the one hand the level of technical development had not risen to the plane where agriculture could give way to industry and chattel slavery to the wage-slavery of capitalism. The merchants, therefore, and thus the Jew in particular, while vital and necessary to the ruling class, could not challenge the rule of that class but could only become the privileged handmaidens and supporters of that class.
If the slave through Christianity made “love” the keynote of his religion, it was most natural that the Jewish merchant should make “justice” his shibboleth. In the days of oriental despotism and unlimited dictatorship of the Caesars such a cry for “justice” could be allowed only because it was very limited in scope. The Jew called for “justice” for himself. What would have happened to the Roman world had the Jew attempted to fight for “justice” for the slaves? The Jew would have been compelled to act the part of the professional revolutionists and leader of the slaves in rebellion against their masters.
Such a role it was not in the interest of the Jew to play. The usurer and merchant lived from mulcting the countryside as a whole. It was to their benefit to see that the master robbed his slaves of more and not of less, so that the moneyed man could filch still more from the landlord in the shape of usury and trade. In short, the merchant and trader could not ally himself to the propertyless slave but only to the landowner and slaveholder, his best customer.
It was the Jew, then, who became the unofficial partner of the patricians in robbing the masses. Between the ruling class, rooted to the soil, and the Jew there developed a division of labor which was bound to affect the whole life and traditions of the latter. If the landlord lived in a world of relatively stagnant technique, where life moved slowly and changed little, it was not so with the Jew who went every where, dealt with everyone, knew everything. If the patrician came to the city to rest and to enjoy himself, but really felt his home in the country, for the Jew the city was not his place of rest, but his place of work, that is, his place of life. If the rulers won power by force, the Jew gained wealth by cunning. The job of the Jew was not to conquer the forces of nature, but to know mankind; not to work on things, to know the arts and crafts, but to work on man, artfully and craftily.
The merchant class generally, and the Jew in particular, was able to produce the intellectuals of antiquity. The Jew knew many languages. He knew the customs of many people, their psychology and physiology. He could be their doctor, their lawyer, their professional. This division of labor still remains with the Jew.
Compared to the boorish lout of the landowner, the Jew represented the essence of intellect and cunning. Superior to the landowner and yet not his master, wealthy, and yet not part of the ruling class, busy in the productive process and yet divorced from it, the Jews remained in the ancient world a group apart, progressive and reactionary, breakers of the old gentile relationships and harbingers of capitalism, on the one hand, yet consolidators and supporters of all that was of the ruling class and its State power.
The breakdown of the Roman Empire through the barbarian invasions led to a different system of society, feudalism. However, while the West fell, the East still remained, and the Jew still kept his ground in Byzantine. In all the chaos and turmoil throughout the world, not only the Catholic church, but the Jew, also, kept a certain continuity and tradition. All during the dark ages and period of feudalism the Jew remained the city dweller, the intellectual, the professional, the merchant, the usurer, the trader.
But now there was no longer the closed world of the stagnant Roman Empire with one law and one control. The rise of serfdom coincided with the development of handicrafts and agriculture. Trade was later accelerated by the Crusades and the accompanying technical successes again offered a place to the Jew who continued to be the expert in the circulation of commodities and of money.
The circulation of commodities still remained a secondary process in an agrarian world and again the Jew appeared not as a conqueror, but an aide. Now the gap between the cultured city Jew and the boorish land baron appeared still greater than in ancient society. To develop his trade, the Jew had to become an active factor in suppressing the robber barons of feudalism. The merchant capitalist and money lenders, not having control of the State power himself, was forced to support one of the robbers, more powerful than the other lords, to control the State for the benefit of capitalism. Therefore, the Jew supported the Absolute Monarchy against the feudal barons and became a mighty lever to overthrow the old feudal society and to establish an Absolute Monarchy favorable to commerce and to trade.
Again we see the Jew as both progressive and reactionary. Insofar as he is the active inspiring force changing feudalism to capitalism, so far does he help tremendously to release the productive forces of society. Towns, roads, markets, commerce, again spring up. Science and culture advance with rapid strides. The national State is consolidated. But insofar as the Jew supports the State, using the State for his own purposes, and is the financial backer of the State, whether the State is an Absolute Monarchy or Constitutional Monarchy, the Jew bolsters up and gives full adherence to an oppressive agency against the masses. In all the revolutions, therefore, where it is a people’s revolution against Absolute Monarchy, (17th, 18th, 19th centuries) the Jew stands against the people.
In this period the Jew is welcomed everywhere, in Germany, in Russia. He is the herald of commerce, of goods and trade, of development of the country, of stable law and government, etc. He is given special privileges and concessions. He is made an element apart from the rest. Such was the situation, in the main, till the 19th century.
In all countries, the Jew was a minority. But, unlike the American Negro, he was not merely and oppressed minority, but was a minority of oppressors as well. As financier, capitalist, merchant, the Jew took his part in the spoliation of the country. It is for this reason that the Jew could be allowed the arrogant custom of telling the majority of the people of a country that their food was unclean and that they belonged to an “inferior people". Nevertheless, the Jew paid dearly for this habit of action. At any moment the native rulers could arouse the population against the Jew, apparently because of the arrogant and special rites of the Jew, but really because the Jew was draining too much profit from he native rulers, beating them in competition and forcing them to use the measures of anti-Semitism in order to recoup their losses and to recover their standards.
For close to 2,000 years the majority of the Jews have been divorced from the land. The wholesome communion and nature that agricultural production implies has been lost to them. All- rounded development cannot be theirs. They lack a certain robustness, a healthy relation to nature that should be the heritage of all peoples. Among agrarian humor is often jovial and hearty. Jews seldom display such humor. With the Jew, humor is a generally at the expense of others, in derogation of others, back of which is the contemptuous superiority which the city professional feels for the country lout. To be better than the king and yet never king, this is a bitter pill to swallow. Yet this has been the lot of the Jewish minority in relation to the ruling cliques within each of the backward countries where they first penetrated in the course of their businesses. Such a role must have its reaction on Jewish character itself, leading to certain negative, critical, psychological traits.
For centuries the Jew has been forced to live in countries where the majority of the people considered him an outsider. Travelling from one country to another, always a national minority, the Jew has been forced to adapt himself as much as possible to his environment. Hence the adaptability, the sinuosity, of the Jew. Since he is divorced form the soil, from the people and from the productive processes, his adaptability was forced to become theatricality. The Jew makes a fine actor, good in drama, better in vaudeville and burlesque.
The theatricality and vaudeville character of the Jew is intimately connected with the basic fact that though the Jew can help make history for other peoples, he has no history himself. History is the record of social struggles of peoples, their steady evolution. What history have the Jews? As though condemned to eternal punishment, the Jews have eternally pursued the same paths, buying, selling, buying, lending, collecting, collecting, lending. Separated from production, they became separated from the real movements of life directly based upon production. Contrast the Catholic cathedral with the Jewish synagogue hidden away often in some obscure basement, or with the burlesque theater turned into a synagogue for one of the Jewish holy days. Is it not plain that the Jew has but one tense, the present? If the Jews appear historically “old” it is because they do the same thing all the time. This gives them their “stiff-necked” character. For them, time stands still. But history does not mean stopping the clock.
Traditionally, the Jew has been outside of the mores and morals of the country where he lives. With him, the idealism of the middle ages, the permanent myths which idealized the stagnant productive conditions, could not flourish. The instability, the hectic mobility of the market place was his very breath of life. And as his raison d’etre was money, gain, so did he have no sympathy for the traditions and customs of the country to which he was forced to adapt himself but which he could not feel himself a part. Not understanding these traditions and morals, he was willing to buy and sell them. As capitalist, he was able to break up the old family with his trade and commerce and to revolutionize the relations of the country; he was able to find the true value of every variety of morals in the market place. As merchant and trader, the Jew was unmoral, beyond morality. With the objectivity of the hawker, he was able to appraise the value of all that anyone holds dear. All idyllic relations were transformed into a cash nexus. Has the the Jew an unenviable reputation in Europe as composing the rings forming the international clearing houses for prostitution?
In all of this work the term “honor” had to be foreign to the merchant or to the usurer, and to the Jew in particular. “Honor” is based on long social relationships idealized by time and sunk deep in the texture of a people or nation in their course of development. It implies social responsibility and social standing. How could the relations of primitive Communism, when the honor of the tribe and clan meant everything to the individual, or the relations of feudalism, of mutual dependence of knight to serf and vice versa, have anything in common with the men of the market place?
Dispossessed of State power, the Jew could be the politician, the statesman or administrator, but not the ruler. His only role could be to try to work within the State, to control, neutralize, or appease it. If we must declare that the State is an instrument of oppression to keep the lower classes down, an instrument of force directed against the toilers, whether workers or peasants, then we must also declare that the Jew, having no State of his own, could never symbolize this instrument, or represent war, force, or armed repression. Armies prisons, brutal physical force were not his methods of work. Whatever one may think of him as a cunning fellow, one can hardly think of the Jew as soldier.
The General Membership Meeting of the Communist League of Struggle, on December 2nd, 1934, unanimously expelled Weser from the organization for unprincipled slanderous factional fighting, for a whole series of acts of sabotage culminating in a cowardly and base desertion of his post in the Paterson Dye Strike, for refusal to answer to charges when brought before the Executive Committee of the organization, for making off with the physical property and lists and files of the group and for openly declaring that the Communist League of Struggle must be destroyed as a counter-revolutionary group.
The Communist League of Struggle can only improve itself by the unmasking and expulsion of such slum elements from its midst.
Hand in hand with the shameful capitulation and liquidation of Trotsky and the International Secretariat, the Cannon group, like rats leaving the sinking ship of Revolution, have also run away. The intrinsic honesty of a Trotsky could openly write: “The successes…are obviously much smaller than any of us had hoped.” “We merely admit honestly that our organization is too weak to establish for itself a practical independent role in the struggles that are looming ahead of us…” The Cannon group, on the contrary, with the bravado of the typical American bourgeois braggart, transforms every step backward into a mighty step forward--in phrases. Every act of liquidation becomes a mighty merger and great fusion of revolutionary groups. Past masters in the art of lying and factional fighting, the Cannons have taken to systematic lies to hide the real situation. By means of bombast the leaders try to cover up the complete and utter bankruptcy of that group which was supposed to be the left of the left of the Communist movement.
The Communist League of Struggle was well aware that the Cannons would eventually go back to the gutter whence they came. It was no surprise to us that the Cannon and Muste groups have come together. Both belong together, both will disintegrate together. Sooner or later they will find themselves side by side with the Socialists of the Norman Thomas “militant” type, of which Muste is only another variant.
The Cannons have already prepared the ground for further liquidation. They spoke in Minneapolis to a select few of the members declaring that it was a question worthy to be considered whether the American League should join the Socialist Party. They believed that it was possible to reform the Socialist International (see exposure of Daily Worker, October 17th giving letter of Spector re Cannon). They urged the Spartacus Youth League to enter the Young People’s Socialist League, the Spartacus Youth representatives making open love to the leaders of the Y.P.S.L. in the last anti-war demonstration. They marched with the Socialist Party on May Day, declaring here is where the revolutionary masses are, Cannon taking pains to answer the praises of the right winger, Charles Solomon, with great praises for the Y.P.S.L. The Cannons made an active alliance with the fakers of the A.F. of L. in Minneapolis; one of the members, Grant Dunne, actually was reported as seconding the motion of the A.F. of L. which praised Governor Olson. This report Grant Dunne himself never denied, leaving it to the little liars in New York City to answer for him. The American League leaders heartily endorse the action of the British League in liquidating and joining the Independent Labor Party. They give three cheers for the French League for liquidating and joining the French Socialist Party. At the same time they save their most bitter attacks for those still around the Communist Party. It will not be long before organization catches up with theory as their Menshevik program has already caught up with their Menshevik practice.
The fact is, the Cannon group has given up its international leadership and organization; its brother sections have fled into reformist organizations; it has lost its program and its morale. From boasting that it was the Left Opposition to the Communist Party it has been reduced to boasting that it is the Left Opposition to the Socialist Party. Already some of the Cannonites have split and joined the Socialists. The others are not far behind.
The disgusting character of the boastfulness of the Cannons can be seen from an analysis of the American Workers Party (Muste Group) which they have joined. The real beginnings of the Muste group, as such, dates from the time when Muste entered the A.F. of L. to give some “education” to the bureaucracy in power. There had been started by the Communist Party a strong Trade Union Educational League that was making inroads into the A.F. of L. and mobilizing a sort of leftwing to fight for amalgamation, democracy in the unions, and such relatively mild issues. To counter these aggressive moves on the part of the Communists, the A.F. of L. officialdom was willing to use Muste. Muste could train the budding fakers how to deal with revolutionary tendencies inside the labor movement. Against the “educaton” of the Communists, Muste, with the help of the A.F. of L. bureaucrats and liberal elements, set his own “Brookwood education".
From its very beginnings, therefore, the Muste group existed as a lightening rod to lead the discontent growing among the workers through safe channels into the ground. In order to do this, Muste had to pose as being “natural” and sort of above the class struggle. In reality, this “fighting parson” did his best to destroy the Communist movement. The role of Muste was no better displayed than during the Passaic Strike of 1926. It was Muste who worked overtime to get the strike ditched. It was he who was made the intermediary with the A.F. of L. fakers, who brought in reports that if Weisbord were only removed, the A.F. of L. would recognize the Communists, the strike would be settled in short order, etc., etc. Muste was the ministerial missionary for the labor bureaucrats to scuttle the strike.
However, the entrance of Communists into the field of organizing the unorganized and the creation of new unions, coupled with the continued prosperity and the move of the A.F. of L. to the right, soon compelled Muste to find a new line. Although the “education” handed out by Muste at Brookwood was of the John Commons and David Saposs Liberal-Labor variety, it was found too “left” for the officialdom of the A.F. of L. who set up their own Workers Educational Bureau--without A. J. Muste. This was more than human flesh and blood could stand-and Muste turned left. Aping the Communists again, who had turned from education to action, Muste organized his Conference for Progressive Labor Action, made up of Socialists and Musteites who conceived that the ultimate in revolutionary action was to organize a Labor Party in the United States where they could play the role that the Independent Labor Party was playing in England-or rather Bernard Shaw.
Way back in 1931 we made an effort to expose these opportunists. In Vol. I, number 2, 3 and 6 of the Class Struggle we gave some excerpts and quotations from the writings of Muste, Budenz and others as culled from their official organ, “Labor Age". If the reader will excuse us we shall give a brief outline of the position that these people took on the most important question of the day.
I. On International Questions>
1. How Soviet Russia was “defended” “There may be substantial reasons for Russians thinking that the world is arming against them, but we who are on the outside think these fears are groundless". ("In Other Lands”, Labor Age, Feb. 1931).
2. Why Russia should be recognized--"We call for recognition of Soviet Russia by the U.S. as sound business policy in this era of depression” (Official Statement of the C.P.L.A., Labor Age, Jan., 1931.)
B. Great Britain.
1. “The British Labor Party government was brilliant, bold and courageous on foreign affairs.” ("In Other Lands”, Labor Age, Feb. 1931)
2. The Labor Age, Feb. 1931 editorial congratulated MacDonald on the results of his India London Conference. It also praised Gandhi for it was due to Gandhi that such a “substantial” move forward was made. The editorial also congratulated MacDonald, Ghandi and any one else involved, that “the disturbance in India did not assume such serious proportions while the Round Table was meeting so as to destroy its effectiveness completely".
II. General Perspectives.
A. Said Budenz: “in 25 years we shall have a revolution. Even now there is growing unrest. Russia will cause more unemployment and since war will be an alternative we must prepare for it by using Ghandi’s non-resistance method plus an increase of international ‘thought’". ("We Head for Revolution”, Labor Age, May, 1930)
B. “I do not believe that this condition (unemployment crisis) has as yet produced any great amount of bitterness or a desire to revolt. I do not see any indication that the workers as a whole are really for action on the trade union or political field.” (Muste, “The Labor Outlook”, Labor Age, Feb, 1931.)
C. “…the generation of American workers which has come to industry since 1914 is more illiterate and ignorant about political and economic matters than any other working class in the world or than the American working class itself in any previous period.” (Muste, Labor Age, October, 1931)
III. The War Program of the C.P.L.A.
(Here we quote from our article, Vol I, No 2, of the Class Struggle, June 1931) “In the August 1929 issue of the Labor Age, there is an article by the very chairman of the C.P.L.A. himself…His article is entitled ‘No More War’ and in this article Muste pretentiously works out a whole program how to fight war. Here it is
"(a) eliminate war books from the schools;
(b) get your children to join Pioneer Youth Organization (the liberal, socialist, pacifist outfit)…;
(c) oppose the ROTC and CMTC…; (d) The slogan is raised: ‘Not a cent from labor for military training AT LEAST (our emphasis) so long as one solitary striker has less than enough to support himself and his family in decency…’
(e) No private manufacture of arms…(Muste in short is for a rationalized, nationalized manufacture of arms so that the U.S. will be better prepared for the next war).
(f) Get your Congressman to go against increase of military establishment. (…note it is only an INCREASE in funds for armament).
(g) Against conscription … ;
(h) ‘We must insist … our government cooperate with other powers with the utmost energy and speed in order to reduce not merely limit disarmaments. In view of the signing of the peace pact, it is almost as silly to spend hundreds of dollars for national defense as it would be to increase expenditures for that purpose.’”
IV Trade Union Work
A. Attitude to the A.F. of L. bureaucracy. Various issues of Labor Age praise to the skies such labor fakers as Farrington, Fishwick, Walker, Green, McMahon, Gorman, Hoffman, Zaritsky, Wolff, Laderman, Spector, Dubinsky, Hochman, Schlesinger, Broach, etc.
B. Attitude to Communists—
1. “Communists are Strike-breakers”, title of an article by Budenz, Labor Age, Jan., 1930.
2. “The C.P.L.A. does not promote or countenance the formation of so-called ‘nuclei’ groups of workers in labor organizations who act under instructions and orders from an outside agency and carry out its behests.” (Official C.P.L.A. Statement, August, 1929)
3. Labor Age, Jan., 1931, approvingly quoted Green’s remarks “If there is any such thing in America as class war then it is the class war between the A.F. of L. and the Communists.”
C. C.P.L.A. Strike Record.
1. In New Bedford Strike, 1928, took sides with A.F. of L. officials against the Communists to sell out the strike.
2. Aided the Wolffs and Ladermans, officials of the pocket-book workers union to defeat the workers.
3. Aided the officials fo the Full Fashioned Hosiery Workers to allow the bosses to give 20% wage cuts, to force a great speed-up upon them, to break union control over the shops.
4. Prevented the proper formation of the Progressive Miners Union in Illinois and the coming together of all the independent miners unions into one.
5. Sell-out policy in the 1931 Paterson Silk Strike.
V. Unemployment Work—
A. Got together into a “Research Committee” to save labor, such representatives as Tugwell, Brissenden, Mitchell, Chase and others now part of Roosevelt’s apparatus.
B. Advocated as a “short term measure” a census of the unemployed to be taken BY THE POLICE (See editorial, Labor Age, April, 1930)
C. Here, again, we quote from Vol I, No. 3 of the Class Struggle. “The C.P.L.A. drew up a Bill for social insurance. Shall workers out of work get full wages? Oh, no, the CPLA is for 40% only of the wages to be given the worker …Should workers draw this big pay while out of work? Oh, no … Only half a year can you draw this pay … Should the unemployment fund be administered by labor? Not for the CPLA. They declare openly their solidarity with Senator Wagner and Governor Roosevelt. That’s how ‘progressive’ the CPLA is and in order to help Roosevelt to become the next president, the CPLA wants the unemployment administered by the State Department of Labor supervised by two workers, two employers … and one ‘public’ representative, all to the chosen by the Governor.”
This, then, was the Muste group up to 1932. In 1933 the crisis, growing deeper threw these de-classed intellectuals into convulsions. The Socialist Party was lagging behind even Roosevelt’s New Deal and Tugwell, Muste’s friend. A fight ensued between the Socialist wing of Brookwood and the CPLA and the Muste wing. The Muste wing came out for a new party, an American Workers Party. The Socialists then kicked them out of Brookwood. In 1931 the Muste group had gravitated towards Lovestone, by 1933 they were flirting with the Communist Party. By the end of 1933 they had veered away from the Communist Party, fearing to be swallowed up, only finally to become married to the Cannons.
In this process the Muste group also lost their old trade union contacts and whatever influence they had been able to muster. By means of Communist baiting and a great show of nationalism, Muste had been able to play a slight role within the trade union movement through financial subsidies from wealthy liberals and similar elements. Now his contacts were reduced to a few trade union bureaucrats and renegade Communist elements. By means of a lot of American flag waving, the Muste group was able to make some sort of bluff in unemployment work in Ohio (everyone will remember the really scandalous Columbus, Ohio, Unemployed Convention, where the Muste Leagues representatives were exposed as open agents of the capitalists) a bluff, which like Cannon’s Minneapolis Model Strike has now been handed down as a legend.
The fact of the matter is that Muste’s membership is largely a joke. We challenge Muste to show a single functioning branch in Pittsburgh, or Philadelphia, or Boston. We have just investigated Chicago. THERE WAS NOT EVEN A SINGLE MUSTE MEMBER IN THE WHOLE CITY OF CHICAGO. In New York City, the forum where Muste spoke was attended by less than 35 people. This American Workers Party, evidently, was neither American nor Workers nor Party. Yet, with typical American chicanery, this “sincere ex-minister” tries to tell people that he has at least 600 members, at a forum in New York he stated there were 2000 members in the new party, etc. Perhaps they have counted in all those who ever attended their forums and multiplied the number by the telephone numbers in their office.
However, if the Muste group lost workers, they gained Max Eastman, Sidney Hook, Calverton, Ludwig Lore, Salutsky-Hardman and others of their kidney, either as members of working sympathizers.
In conclusion, we quote from our general theses: “Of all the centrist groupings, the American Workers’ Party is the most heavily laden and nearest to out-and-out bourgeois Liberalism. This party is not a split-off from any of the old Marxists Internationals. On the contrary, all its life, it has fought Marxism and openly fights it today. It is not even as revolutionary in its program as the left wing within the Socialist Party. It has very few members … filled with rank nationalist and chauvinist poison, having over a decade of ardent struggle against the Communist International behind it, the American Workers’ Party represents the most irresponsible and vacillating element withing the revolutionary section of the working class.
“The Cannon group is now coming to an end. In spite of its adherance to the Internationalist Communists, from the very start, we carried out a ceaseless struggle to expose it as a fake “left” centrist group that used Trotsky as a mask to cover up its right wing sectarianism and now has completely collapsed.
“The whole history of the Cannon group leadership made it entirely unfit to carry out the principles of the International Left Opposition in this country. Forming one of the most unprincipled factional cliques inside the old Communist Party, the Cannon leadership took a right wing stand on most of the important questions of the day. It was the Cannon-Hathaway clique that raised the theory that the farmers must lead the workers in the Labor Party movement. Cannon was the first to make an alliance with the opportunist Pepper (1923) and was the first to unite with Lovestone against Trotsky (1925). The Cannon leadership was violently opposed to the organization of the unorganized (Passaic Strike 1926) and generally worked hand in hand with the other cliques in criminally mishandling the Party. Shrinking into the International Labor Defence, the Cannon bureaucracy helped to break the New Bedford Textile Strike of 1928 by their terrible “defence” tactics.
Since its formation as a separate group, the Cannon leadership has amply demonstrated its crazy caricature of Marxism. It kept up its unprincipled factional character by tacit united fronts with Max Eastman, Ludwig Lore, Bill Dunne, Sidney Hook and other enemies of the workers. For years it stubbornly refused to enter into mass work or even into any united front work when the Communist Party was not present. On most of the American questions, the Cannon group has taken essentially the same position as the right wing Lovestone group.
“Both the Lovestone group and the Cannot group agreed on the following basic points:
(a) both refused to see Fascist germs in the Roosevelt regime and saw merely “State Capitalism";
(b) both refuse to see the radicalization of the working class;
(c) in regard to lynching, both support the policy of fighting for Federal anti-lynching bills and fail to understand how lynching can be used for the class struggle;
(d) both groups had an incorrect unemployment program in which they ridiculed the idea of raising the slogan of a general national strike of limited duration to compel unemployment insurance. Both groups fought against any unemployment policy that would direct the workers to the warehouses and food supplies rather than to City Halls and “demonstration marches” to Washington. Both were against the slogan: Fight the Lockout by the General Strike. Open the Warehouses to the Hungry, Open the Factories to the Unemployed.
(e) On the trade union policy, both leaderships hollered “Back to the A.F. of L". Both did their best to liquidate the revolutionary unions and to destroy them. Both refused to recognize their duty to organize the unorganized and make the slightest effort to carry out this task. Inside the A.F. of L. both leaderships carried on the most corrupt and treacherous conduct. The actions of Zimmerman (needle trades) and Keller (textile) were easily matched by the outrageous conduct of the Cannon group in the New York Food Strike and in the Minneapolis Drivers Strike. The Cannon- Lovestone policies were most dangerous of any and cause incalculable damage to the working class of those sections.
(f) On the Negro question, both groups have taken an out-and-out White chauvinist policy, denying the Negroes the right of self-determination, the Cannon group actually going so far as to print letters from South Africa denying self-determination even to the Negoes of Africa!
(g) Both the Cannon and Lovestone centrist groups believe in turning over the names and addresses of their subscribers to the U.S. government thus materially aiding the government in making arrests and raids on the militant forces whenever the government decides to do so.
(h) Both groups carry on the same unprincipled factional fighting within their groups, the same rotten cliquism and failure to test their leaders exist in both cases.
In the light of all this similarity between the Cannon and Lovestone groups we can strike the balance and declare that the Cannon group was only another variety of Meneshevism.
“The merger of the Cannon group into the Muste American Workers’ Party is a final act of liquidatory Menshevism. From Leninism to the camp of the counter-revolution, that is the fitting course for the American League. Up to the time of the fusion and liquidation of the International Secretariat, in order to place the American question before the International Secretariat, we had been in favor of joining the International Secretariat grouping even if we had to be part of the American League. Now, however we must break sharply and categorically from such a policy. The revolutionary working class can carry forward its task only by the sternest repudiation of such treacherous conduct of the Cannon group.
“The fusion of the Cannon group with the American Workers’ party enables the Muste and Cannon fakers to cement their hold upon whatever genuine revolutionary elements may have been found within their ranks and influence. Thus the Cannon-Muste fusion is a consolidation of the fake-centrist elements in the revolutionary movement. It is on a par with the return of the Lovestone group back into the Stalinist Party and the crawling of Gitlow back into the Socialist Party. The actions of the Cannon group will make more difficult the task of winning the militants around the Communist Party around to the position of the Internationalist Communists.
The one favorable aspect of all these capitulations and fusions with the opportunists is that it greatly clears the political atmosphere and allows the Communist League of Struggle to carry on its revolutionary work better than ever.”
(In the next issue, there will be a final article on the new “Workers Party”
General Amedley D. Butler has issued a solemn warning to American democracy which it behooves the working class of this country not to forget. The fact that Wall Street was ready to furnish, as a mere beginning, three million dollars in order to organize a genuine American Fascist movement in this country, is no joke. Labor must wake up to the fact that it must take on a fighting character if it wishes to prevent Fascism in this country.
To imagine that a Fascist movement will not be organized in America is to have the illusions that either the employers will give up their power without a fight, or that the radicalization of the workers is not a fact and will not lead them to revolutionary actions. Neither of these premises is correct.
This is an era of sudden and violent political fluctuations, of violent class struggles. The American workers are becoming radicalized and the American bosses will not be caught unprepared. Step by step they are moving to Fascism.
Now is the time to organize the united front of all labor organizations against Fascism, to demand a complete embargo of Fascist goods and a dismissal form this country of all Fascist ambassadors and envoys. Now is the time for labor to organize its combat troops, its red front fighters, to prepare its general strikes, to raise the slogan boldly: FOR A WORKERS SOVIET GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES!