Official Organ of the Communist League of Struggle
(Adhering to the International Left Opposition)
SEAMEN PREPARE FOR ACTION
The Marine Workers Provisional Action Committee is broadcasting the following statement among the Marine Workers in different ports in the United States:
Today we have the greatest unemployment crisis that the world has ever seen. So far as the United States is concerned the crisis will grow greater and sharper the coming fall and winter. Make no mistake about it. Things are going to grow much worse the end of the year for the workers.
The employers are taking advantage of the terrible crisis, wages are being slashed to the bone. Hours are being lengthened. On many lines the two watch system is being established, crews are being cut down and work speeded-up. Working conditions have become absolutely unbearable. It has reached such a stage that in shear desperation the marine workers must strike back.
This fall and winter, then will see large strike struggles of the most bitter character breaking forth. Already we see the signs of this coming strike wave in the coal fields, in Penn., Ohio, Ky., W. Va., Ill., among the textile workers in Lawrence, Allentown, Rhode Island, Paterson, etc.: among the steel workers in Mansfield Ohio. If these workers can fight so can we. The marine workers in Philadelphia, in New Orleans, in Duluth already and in other ports have shown their willingness for struggle.
Among the marine workers themselves the greatest confusion exists. The workers are split up into many little unions. The International Longshoremen’s Association, the International Seamen’s Union, the Marine Workers Industrial Union, the Industrial Workers of the World all are fighting each other. In many places, such as in New York harbor even smaller groups exist. In the meantime the great mass of workers, 95% of us, are abandoned, helpless, to meet the attacks of the ship and dock owners.
What is to be done? First of all, all the advanced marine workers must band themselves together to raise again the banner of struggle against the bosses. Strikes must be led, marine workers organized. This is the primary task. If the incompetent and faker officials of the existing unions wont do it, we must do it.
Secondly, we must raise the cry: ONE UNION IN THE MARINE INDUSTRY. We are sick and tired of all these little sects dividing the workers. Let all the unions of the marine industry come together. Let us have complete amalgamation of all unions of marine workers. This is the second need of the hour.
We do not wish to destroy any union. We wish to amalgamate all the unions on a common, fighting program.
In order to raise the banner of struggle again, in order to prepare for the coming strikes and to organize them, in order to fight for one union we have organized a MARINE WORKERS ACTION COMMITTEE. Our aim is to mobilize all the active members of each union so that all the unions will come together to form one industrial union, and so that the unions will take on a fighting character and organize and lead the forthcoming battles of the marine workers. We must declare: OUT WITH THE INCOMPETENT AND FAKER OFFICIALS OF THE UNIONS WHO STAND IN THE WAY OF UNITY OF THE MARINE WORKERS IN THEIR STRUGGLES AGAINST THE BOSSES.
In the meantime we cannot stand idly by and see the marine workers betrayed and abandoned, unable to fight effectively. If the sects on the waterfront cannot organize and fight, we ourselves must do so. The Marine Workers Committee of Action, will organize the marine workers and carry on the fight. If we organize the marine workers, if we carry on good work, we will not send the workers into this or that or the other union. We must organize a temporary holding body, a local of our own, not in order to form a new union, but to see to it that the workers are protected, that strikes are efficiently conducted, while at the same time we are fighting for amalgamation of all unions in the industry into one on the basis of a common fighting program of action.
Fellow Marine Workers: Join US. Come to the conference to be held November 1st Sunday. 8 P.M. sharp at 212 East 9th Street, New York City. RAISE THE BANNER OF STRUGGLE AGAINST THE BOSSES!
FOR THE AMALGAMATION OF ALL UNIONS IN THE MARINE INDUSTRY INTO ONE INDUSTRIAL UNION WITH A FIGHTING PROGRAM!
JOIN THE MARINE WORKERS ACTION COMMITTEE!
Provisional Action Committee:
T. J. Bunker
S. J. Leone
J. J. Woods
Call or write: Marine Workers Provisional Action Committee, 212 E. 9th St. N.Y.C.
PATERSON SILK STRIKE BRINGS OUT THOUSANDS
N.T.W.U. Leads Workers in Struggle
PATERSON—On July 22nd the National Textile Workers Union called a strike in Paterson. For months (as we had pointed out in the June issue of the Class Struggle) the situation had been very favorable for strike action, due to the deplorable condition of the workers, in spite of the economic depression.
The general ripeness for strike action was rendered still more favorable by the fact that decisive strikes had broken out in the silk mills of Allentown, Pa. And Pawtucket and Central Falls R. I. The whole silk industry with 130,000 workers is concentrated in five regions (Rhode Island, Hudson County, N. J., Paterson, Easton-Allentown, Pa., and the Anthracite region) and with three of these five regions involved simultaneously in strikes, the possibilities for a national tie-up and local victories were good.
The four week Paterson strike has already shown that workers will strike in periods of depression, and when viewed together with the strikes in other textile centers and among the miners, the Paterson strike is a foreboding of bigger and more significant strikes that are yet to come. There can be no doubt but that we are approaching a big strike wave in this country.
Spreading the Strike.
When the strike was called in Paterson by the N.T.W.U., only several hundred workers responded. Soon however, the strike spread. On July 28th the Associated Silk Workers Union, an independent organization amalgamated with the United Textile Workers Union affiliated with the A.F. of L. also called for a general strike in Paterson. The driving force for this amalgamation was the Conference for Progressive Labor Action (Muste) and the Lovestone Group of Communists.
The Paterson employers did not object to this amalgamation for they felt that the weak Independent Associated Union could not handle the situation alone without the influence of the A.F. of L. and without united action of all the bosses agents in the field. So long as the Communists were not threatening, the bosses wanted two reformist insignificant unions in the field so as to divide and confuse the workers, and to make sell-outs and scabbery easy. But when the National Textile Workers Union begins to act, as we have seen in Gastonia, in New Bedford, and in Passaic, the bosses "holler” for the A.F. of L. and for a united front of all fakers.
Here we must note carefully the role of the C.P.L.A., as the cementing force aiding the Greens and the McMahons to sell-out the workers. The interesting terms of this amalgamation can not be elaborated here although they show to what lengths the A.F. of L. officials are now willing to go to unite all forces against the Communists.
At the time we go to press, the fourth week of the strike, it is estimated that there are about 1000-1500 workers behind the National Textile Workers Union and about 2000-2500 behind the Associated. Of the 14,000 broad silk workers, perhaps the majority have struck but most of the workers, stay at home and refuse to attend to the meetings of any of the unions.
What is the reason for this anomalous situation? The Paterson workers do not wish to scab, they do not wish to ignore the call of the picket lines, they fully realize the necessity for strike action and a strong union. But on the one hand, they know from bitter experience the strike breaking role of the U.T.W. and Associated officials and on the other hand, they have no confidence in the leadership of the N.T.W.U.
Demands for all Workers
While the demands of the Associated really covers only the weavers and ignores completely the poorer paid workers, the National Textile Workers Union has full and complete demands for all sections of the workers. These demands call for a 44-hour week (40 for night workers), a substantial increase in pay (really only a demand for a restoration of the wage before the wage cuts,) minimum wage, no more than 4 looms per weaver, no overtime, distribution of work, recognition of the union etc. The demands of the union are modest and comprehensive and no doubt have the overwhelming support of the workers. Instead of working out these demands before the strike, however, the Communist Party very foolishly put forward more radical demands from which it later had to retreat, and it was only after much vacillation and confusion that these demands were finally worked out.
Picketing began immediately. The National Textile Workers Union began to concentrate on the dye shops which employ 9,000 or so workers in and around Paterson. The workers of the Colt dye shop were “pulled” out by the National Union but they soon went back to work. No other dye shops have joined the strikers. Soon after the Associated joined the strike the workers of the key Dougherty mill were induced to strike and they joined the Associated. This was a great victory for the Associated. It is the first time that the workers of the Dougherty mill ever joined a union. The fact that they struck and joined a union speaks volumes for the conditions in Paterson. The fact that they joined the U.T.W. speaks volumes for the criminal way in which the Communist Party has handled the strike.
As in all strikes of this character, the police have been very partial arresting only or mainly strikers. And picketers of the National Textile Workers Union, (Clifton is an exception). The police now know that the strike is being decisively controlled by the bosses agents in the U.T.W. and Associated and so do not feel called upon to exercise their full might against the strikers. Nevertheless they take no chances and have already begun mass arrests of the N.T.W.U. picketers.
The Paterson strike has become a prism reflecting all the colors of the Communist groups in the United States. The Lovestone group has definitely raised the yellow flag of centrism, revolutionary in phrase, yellow socialist in action. Under the slogan of “work in the A.F. of L.” the Lovestone group has done its best to cover the treachery of the officials of the A.F. of L. It has provided the red paint for these fakers and sell-out artists and has proven to be only a cloak to hide the treachery of the reformists. Under the slogan of “unity” it rejects the united front with the N.T.W.U. and unites all forces to kill the N.T.W.U. In no way have the Lovestone Communists been different from the reformists in the C.P.L.A.
Try to Break Strike
Aided by the Lovestoneites the A.F. of L. officials have tried to break the strike. These bureaucrats did not want to strike; they tried to postpone the strike call; they issued pessimistic statements about the readiness of the workers to strike. As soon as the strike began the A.F. of L. officials began to talk settlements and have already settled shops for almost 1000 workers. These early settlements of a few minor shops tend only to demoralize the strike, and as was amply shown in the 1928 strike, these settlements last but a few weeks when the same old conditions prevail.
The whole orientation of the Associated officials is class collaboration with the bosses. These officials declare that it is the policy of the union to organize a Manufacturers Association to put “order” into the industry, to get “stability” etc. These schemes to organize the bosses are but part of the plan of the union heads to aid the bosses to rationalize the industry, and to speed up the workers, etc. the officials are trying to prove to the boss that a union pays bigger profits than no union. During the course of the strike all efforts made by the N.T.W.U. to have unity in action in the form of one strike committee, one central strike authority, one set of picket lines, etc., have been rejected. The reformist officials have done everything to split the strike and divide the workers.
Errors of the Communist Party
As for the Cannon group, it is non-existent in Paterson. Sitting in a quiet office, Cannon writes articles “warning” the party, but in Paterson, no one reads the Militant and no one ever hears of Cannon. Then if the workers do happen to do something good Cannon declares it was his influence that made them change! What a joke this is! The Cannons do not enter these fights because they are too old, because they do not wish to lose their jobs, because they are not used to being in fights, because their members do not demand this of them and they are used to getting leadership on a silver platter. But such leaders can only lead the International Left Opposition to destruction.
In Paterson, the Communist Party displayed all the general errors for which the party in now so well known. The workers have to pay heavily for the right wing errors of the Communist Party leadership. We can summerize the crimes of the Communist Party running the N.T.W.U. as follows:
1. Absolutely no effective preparation was made for the strike. The Party leaders thought that was necessary for a general strike was a general leaflet or two, and a general mass meeting and that is all. No shop committee’s had been built, no organization effected. Before the strike the Paterson union and the N.T.W.U. had been allowed to fall down to a mere handful. In the short time of eight months throughout the country about 6,500 members had been lost to the N.T.W.U. after the expulsion of Weisbord and Buch from the union. The Party leaders are not interested in building up a strong union. Their support comes not from union dues but from Moscow, and so long as cheerful dramatic reports can be sent over, what does it matter?
2. No adequate leadership was given the strike. Foster, Johnston, Minor, or such “big shots” are never seen to take responsible posts and to lead mass movements so that the workers can judge them. They are good to come in and make a speech especially when the movement has been “whipped up” for them, but they themselves are too yellow to appear in struggle. Instead they send in immature youngsters like J. Rubin who adds to his immaturity an incorrigible opportunism and an insupportable arrogance, to become “general” organizer. No real strategy was worked out for the strike. Instead of concentrating on key weave shops and winning them first, since it was a broad silk workers strike first of all, the Communists allowed the Associated Silk Workers to take the initiative away from them and to win over the workers of Henry Dougherty the key company in Paterson.
Picketed Smaller Shops
Although no preparations or any organization whatever had been effected in the dye shops, the few hundred “actives” in the union were forced to throw away their strength in front of the dye shops, and then only the smaller dye shops were picked on. Instead of relying on correct preparation, reliance was placed on mass picketing “pulling out” workers. But 70 workers or even 200 workers cannot “pull out” 400 at work who have never been approached before. The result of each “pulling” was purely negative, no one came out and those working even laughed at the picketers, some of them really wondering what it was all about. At one time 200 workers of the Colt Dye Co. were "pulled out” in this way. Almost at once they returned to work.
3. Lack of militancy in the strike. In time of depression strikes can not last too long. They must make up in intensity what they lack in duration. But in the Paterson strike in no respect regarding picketing did the N.T.W.U. really differ from the A.F. of L. When the police ordered the pickets not to sing, in many cases they did not sing. Often the picket lines were broken up into small futile lines. Not many workers could be induced to go on the picket lines. Indeed the Associated had much larger picket lines. It was they who carried signs “Don’t Scab". It was they who tested out the right to picket in Clifton and were clubbed and some sent to the hospital. It was they who were reported to have broken the windows of a mill where there were scabs, etc.
In no way could the workers distinguish between the reformist and the so called revolutionary union in the field. Quite the contrary, while Budenz and Holderman and Zimmerman of the Associated were arrested on the picket lines, not so the J. Rubin’s! Even the real local leaders (Lieb, Kotzebuk, Harris, Bart, Gershonowitz, et al) were not permitted much on the picket line. (on the opportunist theory that since they had been framed for murder, the best way for them to get out of their scrape was not to be seen before the masses, but to lay down!)
Did Not Win Associated Workers
4. Nowhere was the bankruptcy of the Party leaders seen so clearly as in their complete failure to win any of the workers of the Associated over to the N.T.W.U. The foolish “fascist” and “social f fascist” of the Stalin’s and Foster’s put a great barrier between the workers of the two unions. Violent language against the A.F. of L. without adequate proof, no effort to organize a left wing within the A.F. of L. (Leaving this entirely to the C.P.L.A. and to Lovestone), no effort to fraternize the workers of both unions, no effort to bombard the workers of the right wing unions with propaganda leaflets—a whole series of them being necessary, --- no effort to join in action the picket lines of both unions, and thus compel one picket line, to fuse the mass meetings of the Associated with workers of the N.T.W.U. who would demand unity, etc.
These failures prove the Communist Party was more eager to show the officials did not want unity than really to get unity in action in the strike.
5. Failure to build a real united front and complete lack of democracy in the union. This was no more clearly brought out than in the dealings of the Communist Party with the representatives of the Communist League of Struggle, Comrades Weisbord, and Buch. From the very beginning of the strike the C.L.S. offered its unconditional support to the N.T.W.U. In a letter to the N.T.W.U. the C.L.S. called on all the workers to rally around the union and win the strike and that the C.L.S. would do all in its power to help. This letter was never given to the strike committee. Although a united front committee had been organized and Comrades Weisbord and Buch were not allowed to be on this united front committee. All sorts of rumors were spread among the workers that Weisbord was a stool pigeon for the bosses and the A.F. of L. When Vera Buch went on the picket line, a Communist Party member went by her side outside of the line and hollered "Yellow dog, we don’t want you here, Yellow dog, get out of here, etc". When it will be recalled that only recently Comrade Buch had faced the electric chair for this very union and the workers knew this, it can be understood how the workers felt when this took place.
Weisbord beaten up
When Comrade Weisbord went on the picket line, the next day after being greeted warmly by the workers, a group of Communist Party gangsters began beating him up. When the workers rallied round, these gangsters fled. Several times gangs were sent out to get Weisbord. All the other members of the C.L.S. who went on the picket line regularly and who did everything they could to help the strike were also hounded.
After Comrade Weisbord had been arrested on the picket line and had come from the court house to the mass meeting of the workers, he was beset right in the meeting hall by gangsters organized by Steuben from New York. The workers in the meantime had very warmly greeted the appearance of Weisbord and wanted to know why he was not speaking and leading the strike. When this beating took place the indignation of the workers knew no bounds. One of the organizers, Batika took up a club and declared he wanted to see who would lay a hand on Comrade Weisbord.
The workers now know that Weisbord and Buch had been expelled without a union trial under the most outrageous frame-up. They are demanding a union trial for Comrades Weisbord and Buch, they are demanding a real democracy in the N.T.W.U., the end of the gangster slugging tactics. The Communist Party officials have become exposed as being petty politicians distorting Leninism, standing against the real unity of the workers, slugging workers, refusing to unite all those who really care to help.
In the meantime the influence of the Communist League of Struggle is growing by leaps and bounds. The Communist Party gangsters have been forced to retreat. When Gil Green, head of the Y.C.L. started to speak denouncing Weisbord as an enemy of the workers, even the chairman was forced to push Green aside and have him sit down. The workers began to boo and stamp their feet, and began calling on Weisbord to speak. Already the Communist League of Struggle has gone a long distance in exposing the false line of the party, and forcing the party to a correct stand.
Class Struggle Denied U.S. Mailing Rights
On May 24th, several days after the June issue of the Class Struggle had been sent through the mails, the Communist League of Struggle was notified by the United States Post Office that it had been denied second class mailing rights “because the application and other evidence in the case show that the publication does not meet the requirements of the law governing the admission of periodical publications to the second class mail matter.”
The May and June issues of the Class Struggle had been mailed under a temporary second class permit. When the U.S. Post office ruled that we were barred from the second class postage, it confiscated the money we had deposited pending the ruling on our application. To mail the paper at present, great additional expense is incurred by the Class Struggle.
When we used the temporary permit (May and June issues) only the bundle orders were sent out, that way our subscribers were protected from the government agents who are eager to lay their hands on the names and addresses of militant workers. While the Daily Worker, Revolutionary Age and the Militant help the government by making it easy for them to obtain the names and addresses of Communists and militants, the Class Struggle protects its readers to the maximum degree. The other papers are mailed in bulk allowing the names to be copied!
The Class Struggle in association with the Civil Liberties Union is making another application for second class mailing rights. Whether we succeed or not we will continue to publish the Class Struggle under any or all circumstances. The present issue is being put out under great difficulties, nevertheless we will carry on.
The fight of the Class Struggle is your fight—the fight of all militant workers. Now more than ever is its regular appearance necessary. Its suspension under the first blows of the U.S. Post Office would be a defeat for the entire American working class. The Class Struggle is a new paper, but already the government attempts to suppress it, for it well understands the role it will play in the future struggles of the American proletariat.
Will you help us fight the government attack? Will you reply to the post office ban—an indication of what we can expect from the recommendations of the Fish Committee?
The fight to publish the Class Struggle is not our fight alone, but also your fight! Whether you are employed or unemployed, help to your utmost! Funds are needed and needed now! Do not delay! Rush all money to the Class Struggle, 212 East 9th Street, New York City.
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Letter To Revolutionary Age
The following letter has been sent to the Revolutionary Age in reply to their letter to us!
“Almost a month after the banning of our paper from the second class mails we receive your letter in reply to ours calling for a preliminary united front conference of all Communist groups. You write us that you cannot attend such a conference but that we should send delegates to the committee elected for the defense of the Revolutionary Age.”
“In the first place, permit us to state we never agreed with the policy of the Communist League (Cannon group) not to send delegates to the conference for the defense of the Revolutionary Age. It is our opinion that this should be done by all working class groups, particularly Communists groups, since the attack on the Revolutionary Age was part of the attack by the government against the whole Communist movement. Differing from the Cannon group, we have stated in our theses: (Class Struggle, May issue).” “In the meantime the Communist League of Struggle must try to effect a united front so that all Communist groups can work together on concrete issues on the basis of the recognition of the Communist character of each group.”
“In the second place, the principle involved in the banning of the Class Struggle is quite different from that involved in the Revolutionary Age. In our case it is because we have refused to give the names and addresses of our subscribers of the paper to the Post Office. We learned with the greatest astonishment and indignation that the names and addresses of the subscribers of the Militant and the Revolutionary Age and of other papers have been turned over to the United States government by the responsible leaders of the respective groups. We consider such action on the part of the leaders of these groups as downright criminal. For our part we absolutely refuse to give the list of names and addresses to the Fish Committee to aid them in the raids and prosecutions that may be forthcoming. We are fighting that a paper does not have to submit these names and addresses before receiving second class mailing rights.”
“It is true that the government seized this ruling as a pretext in order to ban our paper because of its revolutionary views. But you must appreciate how important it is that the government does not register the Communists and their sympathizers and how necessary it is to make the fight the Class Struggle is now making.”
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“In your refusing to send delegates to a preliminary conference called by us, in your refusal for almost a month after the banning of our paper, to print a line about it in the Revolutionary Age, in your idea that the attack on the Revolutionary Age is the sole attack the government is making on the revolutionary press, your organization has shown an un-communist reluctance in engaging in the fight when other workers organizations are attacked. In this respect you follow essentially the line of the Cannon group, and of the official Party. However we are very grateful that weeks following the New York Times, the Nation, the World Telegram and other capitalist papers, the Revolutionary Age at last decided to print a line or so to the effect that the United States Government has banned our paper from second class mail.”
“We are very willing to send delegates to the committee for the defense of the Revolutionary Age. We propose that the committee’s functions be broadened. A new conference must be called, say within five weeks, to take up essentially the new attacks that have been made on the revolutionary press, particularly the attack on the Class Struggle and ways and means must be worked out so that not only the Revolutionary Age but the Class Struggle and all the other papers attacked may benefit by the work of the conference and committee.”
“We want the speedy calling together of the committee so that we can present our views and so that action can be taken on our proposals as soon as possible on these matters.”
Legal Murder In Harlan, Ky.
“We’ve got to put the cold chills of steel down the backs of the criminal element in the country” said States Attorney W.A. Brock of Harlan County, Ky., in much the same manner we presume, as his gunmen have been scattering the entrails of those “criminals” over the countryside with hot slivers of lead.
Upon thirty-five of these “criminals” (i.e. miners who dare to join the N.M.U.) Brock has pinned over 102 murder indictments. The coal operators are determined to teach the miner his place, and they feel that the electric chair is an excellent tutor. The trial of Bill Burnett, charged with murder is being rushed forward under the direction of the States Attorney and the openly hostile trial Judge D.C. Jones. The bosses will spend money and exert great effort to strap Burnett to the electric chair. We realize that Bill Burnett’s chances to escape being legally murdered are exceptionally slim and only the widest action on the part of the working masses can save him and the other miners of Harlan charged with murder from sure death. Judge Jones has already proclaimed his intention of having a carefully hand picked jury and it is peculiar that on the eve of the Sacco-Vanzetti murders, this prototype of Judge Thayer apes his progenitor almost word for word.
The I.L.D. is in the field (although the Militant seems to be unaware of this) working for the defense of the miners in the clutches of the boss controlled courts, but this defense of itself is not sufficient. A broad united front of all workers organizations is necessary for the execution of a real defense tactic. Remembering the martyrdom of Sacco and Vanzetti we the workers must exert our efforts to the limit to prevent in this case, history repeating itself.
All over the country are workers facing death and imprisonment for daring to resist the oppression of the boss. This terror that is sweeping the country is cementing the workers more firmly together and in sequence the workers are gaining in strength.
Big issues have arisen in the Kentucky mine war and it is far from being ended. The “hot seat” may burn the miners, the leaden slugs from the guns of thugs may tear their bodies while starvation and filthy jail emaciates them but the coal operators cannot break those workers spirits.
The “Class Struggle” Is Banned
The Communist League of Struggle (adhering to the International Left Opposition) may be a small group but already it has incurred the enmity of the ruling class. The Communist Party may call us counter-revolutionists; but the watch dogs of the capitalist class take no chances. They felt the weight of our group in Passaic, in New Bedford, in Gastonia. They do not want to feel its weight again if they can help it. They want to crush our group while it is still young and weak. While the other Communist papers now under the government ban received second-class mailing rights at least for a while, we were denied these rights at the very beginning.
The government wants to do two things: 1. Register every Communist and Communist sympathizer in the United States. 2. Obliterate the views of the Communists from the face of the earth. When a workers paper applies for second class mailing rights, the Post Office demands the editor turn over a list of the names and addresses of the subscribers of the paper. That means, especially in the beginning, the names and addresses of every member and sympathizer of the group. When the group does that, only then does the government proceed to attack the paper openly for its views.
We have refused to do just that. We have absolutely refused to give the name and address of a single subscriber of our paper to the post office. We have learned with the greatest astonishment and indignation that the Cannons, the Lovestones, and other so-called Communist leaders ACTUALLY HAVE TURNED OVER THEIR SUBSCRIPTION LISTS TO THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, TO THE FISH COMMITTEE!
Comrades, workers, do you know what that means? It means that your own leaders have turned you over to the enemy. It means that when the new Red Raids and new attacks come, the ruling class knows just where to find you. It will be no trouble at all, thanks to the leaders to whom you so confidently entrusted your name and address.
Here is a striking example of the criminal amateurishness of the Fosters and Lovestones and Cannons. In order to save the few cents in mail they are willing to turn over their membership lists to the capitalist government. These people head the revolutionary movement only to behead it. If they were stool pigeons they could not do worse.
But what will you workers say when you learn that members of these groups actually attacked us for our stand. That we were told by one Cannonite we should turn over our lists, since they had done so? We can understand that from Mr. Baldwin of the Civil Liberties Union, but we cannot understand it from a Communist. Other “Communists” wisely advised us that since, that if we used the second-class mailing rights, we would have to mail through one station only and the government clerk could easily copy the names and addresses of our subscribers from the wrapper we might as well turn over our lists directly. We wish to declare that none of our subscribers need worry on that score. No subscriber who in any way needed to be protected has been sent a paper through the mails second-class. We sent our mail out either first class or third class in such a way that it is practically impossible for the post office clerk to copy our readers names and addresses.
What will you workers say to the fact that when we wrote to the official Communist Party and to the other Communist groups about the post office attack and called them to a preliminary conference on joint action on this and other matters, the Communist Party and the miserable Cannon group never even replied to our letter? To this day the “Daily Worker” has not a word to say on this attack. A long time after the event, weeks after the “New York Times”, the “Nation”, the “World Telegram” and other capitalist papers featured the news prominently, the “Revolutionary Age” and still later the “Militant"—at last mentioned the fact in secondary articles.
The “Militant” story finally appeared in the July 18th issue. This story really aids the government attack against us. The “Militant” writes that the post office denied us second class mailing rights because we did not have enough subscribers. The truth is, the post office denied our application because we would not turn over our names and addresses to it. Then to climax its lies, the “Militant” adds that the “Class Struggle” has been suspended. Of course, Schactman and his friends would like nothing better than our death. In this they agree with the government. For foreign consumption the Schactman’s call for a united front against the governments attacks. Yet they never even answered our letter calling for such a united front.
These events have taught us still more the bitter lesson: these Cannon’s, Lovestone’s, Foster’s, must be driven out of the Communist movement!
Johnson, Morgan, Alternate Executive Committee Members
J. B. Johnson and Llewellyn Morgan have been elected as alternate members of the Executive Committee of the Communist League of Struggle.
Comrade Johnson has been active in the labor movement of England, New Zealand and the United States for the past 19 years. Comrade Johnson joined the International Seamen and Firemen’s Union of Great Britain in 1912. In 1914 he became a member of the Sheep Shearers Union of New Zealand. From 1914 to 1919 he was in the British Navy. After the war he rejoined the Brotherhood of Railway Shopmen and participated in the nationwide strike. In 1929 he became a member of the Marine Workers Industrial Union, of which he is still a member.
Comrade Morgan was a member of the South Wales Miners Federation from 1916 to 1922. In 1923 Comrade Morgan became a member of the United Mine Workers of America. Since 1926 he has belonged to the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.
Continue the fight for the Scottsboro Boys!
By the International Labor Defense appealing the verdict to a higher court, the eight Negro boys sentenced to death in Scottsboro, Ala. have a temporary reprieve. Until the high court of the state of Alabama acts, the youths condemned to the electric chair on a frame-up charge are secure, (provided of course, a lynch mob does not break into the jail and hang them). Further violence against the Negro masses is in the recent murdering of three workers in Chicago at an unemployment demonstration.
Two lessons should be learned from this case. First, that like all other petty-bourgeois organizations, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, in a critical situation shows its true colors. Even such a so-called “radical” as William Pickens, who first favored a militant fight to save the lives of the eight boys, is now doing his best to send thei to their graves. Although Pickens, Walter White and the rest of the N.A.A.C.P. tribe claim that they favor the liberation of the prisoners, their every action proves just the opposite. In real Uncle Tom fashion, they lick the boots of the Ku Klux Klan elements, hoping that they will be so kind as to free the boys! As their attorney, they chose a member of the Ku Klux Klan!
Yet Herberg, editor, Revolutionary Age writes for the Crisis without a word of criticism.
As to the International Labor Defensa and the Communist Party which began the campaign for the freedom of the boys and are today still in charge; they have shown a narrow policy in their activities which is a menace to the success of their plan.
Although the I.L.D. stated that it wanted a broad united front to free the boys and although the Daily Worker printed many editorials in a similar vein—actually it is conducting its work in a sectarian manner. The Communist League of Struggle had delegates at the New York conference for the Scottsboro defense and pledged money and full resources. While our aid was not openly denied on the floor, all of our offers have since been ignored. Our letters pledging funds, etc. have not even been answered.
The militant workers must save the Scottsboro boys! The Negro masses must repudiate the murderous role of the N.A.A.C.P.! The recent Chicago "riots” show how the Negro’s can really fight.
The Communist workers must condemn the criminal line of the I.L.D.!
All those who believe in snatching the eight boys from the electric chair must unite their forces! Let us save them from the clutches of the master class!
* * *
The Centralia Meeting A Valuable Lesson
A clear indication of the tactics and program of the Lovestone and Cannon groups as opposed to the Communist League of Struggle can be found by examining the Centralia protest meeting arranged by the I.W.W. and held in Union Square on June 13.
The C.L.S. as well as the Lovestone and Cannon group were invited to have speakers at the meeting, the chairman, a member of the I.W.W. announced that the official Communist Party had not been invited to participate. The Cannon group, which had accepted the invitation only as a gesture, immediately used this statement as an excuse to withdraw. They sent a written message to the chairman stating that they would not speak, (Cannon had been advertised to speak but actually Swabeck scheduled to represent that right wing outfit). Cannon will not speak at any open air meeting, on the ground that he may lose his job! A fine example for a “leader” of the Communist "vanguard” to set for the members and sympathizers of this group.
The Communist and left wing workers at the meeting were angry at the sectarian attitude taken by the I.W.W. When Weisbord, representing the C.L.S. spoke, he sharply attacked the line adopted by the I.W.W. officials and called for a real united front including the official Communist Party. This brought tremendous applause from the assembled workers, members of the official Party joining in the demonstration!
While Cannon and Swabeck adopted a policy of retreating from the workers and leaving the I.W.W. in command of the situation, the C.L.S. adopting a Leninist position stood its ground in the united front and attacked the wrong line of the I.W.W. before the workers.
Weisbord linked up the arrests of the Centralia workers with the general offensive against the labor movement in 1919 and called for the organization of the unorganized at the present time. Vera Buch also spoke as a representative of the C.L.S. and compared the Centralia case with Gastonia.
Gitlow of the Lovestone group did not criticize the wrong line of the I.W.W. nor did he mention any of the present accomplishments of the Communist movement.
Let the militant workers use this one meeting to make their choice: either the right wing lines of Cannon, Lovestone and the official Party, or the Leninist position of the Communist League of Struggle.
* * *
Marxian—Leninist Education in the United States
Although hastily arranged in March when the Communist League of Struggle was organized, the classes of our workers school have been unusually successful. More than 30 workers attended the class in volume one of Marx’s Capital, the most popular of them all.
For the Fall term, our School has an ambitious program—ten classes in all. For the first time in the history of the American labor movement, classes in the three volumes of Capital will be taught. There will also be a class in the works of Lenin; a complete study of the writings and teachings of the foremost revolutionary leader of the 20th century. Another course never before given for American workers will be one on the theses and resolutions of all the congresses of the Communist International. Other classes will take up the history of the American working class, dialectical materialism, problems of strike strategy and tactics, political trends in the labor movement, workers correspondence and public speaking.
It is indeed significant that only the Communist League of Struggle, which emphasizes the importance of mass work as opposed to the sectarianism of Cannon and Co. cloaked under the slogan of “propaganda society,” likewise stresses the importance of education in the fundamental works of Marx and Lenin. To us there is no dividing line between education and practice. They both work together.
For the first time the Communist and left wing workers in the United States have an opportunity of an all-inclusive working class education by attending the classes of our workers school. We hope to have a minimum of 100 students. Registration starts August 15, and all workers who want to be fully equipped to participate most effectively in the class struggle are urged to register for several of the classes.
* * *
Maurice Malkin Rejoins the Party
Maurice Malkin, the first rank and file worker expelled from the Party in 1928 for supporting the line of Leon Trotsky and the Left Opposition has broken with the Cannon group and reapplied for membership in the Party.
Why has Comrade Malkin taken this step? Disgusted by the sectarian line of the right wing Cannons and Schactmans and deprived of any responsible work in the Cannon group because its leadership knew that he had sharp disagreements with them. Comrade Malkin in sheer depression has asked to be taken back into the Party.
We feel sure that Comrade Malkin realizes that the Party under the leadership of the Stalin’s and the Foster’s will not carry out the line of Lenin, the program of Marxism. Malkin’s capitulation is a reaction to the bureaucratic actions of the Cannons.
When the writer was up for expulsion in the Cannon group for opposing its sectarian line, its national committee forced Malkin to speak and vote for this expulsion. Here are real Stalin methods for you!
My Expulsion from the Communist Party
The reasons for my expulsion from the Communist Party are still a mystery to many party members and sympathizers. My expulsion is not a personal matter. It has given our enemies many a good laugh, as for example, the Jewish Daily Forward. It is a good example of the rudeness and disloyalty of Stalin and his henchmen, and the corrupt bourgeois methods with which they have dominated the Party.
When I joined the Communist Party in 1924, I had at once been forced to plunge into the factional fighting then raging within the Party. Ostensibly the fight was over the question of a Labor Party. But the methods used by the various cliques (Foster, Cannon, Lovestone, Weinstone) soon demonstrated that this was not a Communist fight but an unprincipled fight for power. On the one side stood a group of intellectuals, MELAMUDS (Hebrew teachers) e.g., Bert Wolfe, Bert Miller, Weinstone, Bedacht, Stachel, et. al. On the other side stood a group of MANDARINS (bureaucrats) who had learnt well all the corrupt practices in the A.F. of L. and who were carrying them into the party (Foster, Johnstone, Cannon, Dunne, et. al.)
It was for this reason that as soon as I had registered my opinion with the Ruthenberg group that I left all these factional wranglings and taking the Comintern slogan “To the Masses” seriously got a job in a textile mill, learned how to weave silk, transferred to Paterson and began the work of organizing the masses and building the party.
Up to the time of my expulsion, no one had accused me either of socialist opportunistic tendencies or of an incorrect line in these strikes, or of a wrong attitude to my work, or of bureaucratism.
Why The Expulsion?
How, then, could it be I was expelled, the incredulous reader will ask? Yet the answer is relatively simple. The longer I remained in the Party, the higher up I went in the Party councils, the more I saw of the most rotten corrupt Tammany Hall practices engaged in by all the factional cliques inside the Party. The more I participated in mass work, the more I saw the yellowness, the incapacity, the frivolity, the opportunism of those so-called “Communist leaders". I began a struggle against the charlatanry of the unprincipled factional fighting, against the bourgeois conduct of our “leaders". I began to demand that the leaders of the Communist Party go into mass struggles also and take serious responsible posts in the thick of the fight.
This was the real reason for my expulsion: my declared lack of confidence in the leadership and my demand that no one reach leadership unless first having participated in mass struggles and behaved as a foremost Communist in those struggles. However, the Party leaders could not give this for the reason for my expulsion. They had to find other reasons. And so they resorted to lies and to the frame-up.
The first charge made against me was I was a Lovestoneite. Here are the facts:
1. With the death of C. E. Ruthenberg I separated myself ideologically from all groups. For this I was removed by Lovestone from Detroit where I was District Organizer at the time, and not made a member of the Central Executive Committee.
Broke With Gitlow
2. Sent to the Profintern congress in 1928 I there broke formally with Gitlow and presented my own opinions of the defects of the American Communist Party. When the 6th Congress of the Communist International was held I sent across my own views disagreeing with Lovestone on the question of the strength of American imperialism, radicalization, trade union tactics etc. (Letter to Lovestone C.P. secretary, June 11th 1928).
3. Throughout my trade union work I constantly fought the opportunism of Lovestone in Passaic, in New Bedford, in Paterson, in Detroit, etc.
4. Before the 1928 convention I wrote a programmatic article which appeared in the Daily Worker (January 1929) and which had in its title the slogan: "Criticize the too many right wing errors of the C.E.C.”
5. When the open letter came with the organizational instructions calling for the removal of Lovestone, while very much opposed to Foster as being just an opportunist as Lovestone, I welcomed this removal as a blow to opportunism and unprincipled factionalism (Letter to Party Secretariat, March 15th 1929).
6. After the removal of Lovestone I sent the following telegram: (May 25th) “Comintern address very timely and necessary. It definitely smashes the old clique rule of the petty- bourgeois politician officialdom. The Political Committee decision printed Monday’s Daily Worker not strong enough.
“It did not emphatically condemn as it should have, the anti-Comintern slanderous splitting policy of Lovestone, Gitlow, and all others involved. Whole Party must intensify the struggle to clear out all remnants of rotten opportunism inside the Party. I am convinced the whole rank and file now no longer misled are now completely and enthusiastically for the C.I. policy".
Did Not Print Telegram
This telegram was never printed. The Stachels and the Minors, good swindlers for Lovestone, feeling that this telegram was directed at them were already laying the basis for the frame-up, my expulsion as a Lovestoneite.
7. Finally here is part of the text of a resolution drawn up by me in Gastonia June 11, 1929 (and signed by Jim Reid of the N.T.W.U.
“1. We enthusiastically welcome the open address of the C.I…….We strongly condemn the anti-Comintern slanders…….of Lovestone…….
“2. Our main tasks while fighting all splitters of every description now are the cleaning out of all remnants of factionalism and rotten diplomacy within the Party and the throwing of our entire and leadership into mass work.
“3. In accomplishing our tasks we must recognize the most serious mistakes, yes, crimes that our leadership has perpetrated. The present leadership not only has kept our party an isolated sect, but it has for years continuously misled the honest proletarian members of our party, driving away many thousands of them from our party.”
8. When after I was expelled, Herberg of the Lovestone group tried to capitalize on it, and in an article in the right wing International Bulletin claimed I was supporting the opposition. I wrote the following letter to Herberg and to Brandler (May 21, 1930)—a letter which Brandler printed but not Herberg. “Everyone knows that I was removed not because I supported the opposition, but quite the reverse, because I declared the present leadership (Foster et al.) was in essence no better than the opposition. Further it is equally well known that I am not a member of the opposition and differ from it on many questions.
The Desertion Charge Exposed
The second charge against me is that I deserted my post in the Textile Workers Union at a critical moment of the struggle in the South. What are the facts?
1. On June 5th, two days before the shooting took place in Gastonia, I had informed Foster that due to my complete lack of confidence in his opportunist leadership, due to the fact that the C.I. called for a struggle against the petty-bourgeois rotten diplomacy which he embodied (see C.I. address 1929). It was impossible for me to accept responsibility for the textile work and that I would tender my resignation at the next meeting of the union fraction as party representative, and what would follow as a matter of course as national secretary of the N.T.W.U.
2. On June 7th the shooting took place. As soon as I heard of it, June 8, I at once got the party secretariat to meet and I made the motion that “I should proceed immediately to Gastonia to stay a minimum of three weeks to take charge of the situation in the field until matters became normalized and the crisis due to the murder frame-ups was over” (Minuets Secretariat June 8th, 1929). The secretariat passed this motion but decided I could leave Sunday June 9th as the National Executive Committee of the N.T.W.U. had been called in for June 8th and 9th. I again informed the secretariat I would announce my resignation as party textile representative to the Communist fraction which was to meet before the N.E.C. meeting of the union.
Motion Voted Down
3. On June 9th the Communist fraction of the N.E.C. met. They approved the decision that I go to Gastonia. I then moved that I be given a leave of absence till the union convention, it to be understood to mean resignation. BUT THAT THIS WAS NOT TO TAKE EFFECT TILL MY RETURN FROM THE SOUTH. The Communist fraction (present Keller, Reid, Dawson, Chernoff, Michelson, and others), UNANIMOUSLY VOTED MY MOTION DOWN. As a Communist I accepted the decision. I DID NOT OFFER MY RESIGNATION AT THE N.E.C. MEETING OF THE UNION.
4. On June 9th I immediately left for the south, having given up my room and stored my things. A large group of Comrades saw me to the train. Jim Reid and Ellen Dawson went with me.
5. I arrived in Charlotte, N.C. Monday morning June 10th. A large party fraction was there (among others, Poyntz, WagenKnecht, Dunne, Crouch, Trumbull, Reid, Dawson). At the fraction meeting I moved that Reid, Dawson and myself at once enter Gastonia in spite of the great danger of lynching for the workers must see that the union is not afraid. Dunne moved that only Poyntz go on the ground that she is a woman and would not be lynched and also on the “political” ground that it is now a defense case and the I.L.D., not the union must take the lead. When this motion seemed doomed to fail, Dunne moved another that only one person go at a time and he presented a list (with himself not too far in front). Taking the authority given me by the C.E.C. as textile representative I declared that the union representatives would go in first and that settled the matter.
Return Is Demanded
6. The next morning June 11th , Reid, Dawson and I were all ready to go from Charlotte to Gastonia when we received a telegram to me signed by Robert Minor, the acting secretary of the Communist Party and dated June 10th. The telegram read: “You are instructed to return immediately.” As soon as possible I called a fraction meeting to take up this telegram. The fraction unanimously decided I should not return, that it would harm the work very seriously as I was the only one with central authority in the field for the union. When we informed the secretariat in New York we received two long distance phone calls categorically demanding I return by the next train. There was nothing to do but for me to return.
7. As soon as I returned to New York City I demanded that I be allowed to go back at once. The necessity for my immediate return to Gastonia was made greater when soon after both Ellen Dawson and Jim Reid returned. This meant that there was absolutely no union organizer in the field at all. And this condition remained until only 10 days before the trial. It took Bill Dunne over 14 days before he ventured to go into the city of Gastonia from Charlotte. To my plea to be allowed to return, the secretariat merely ordered me to stand trial before it next week.
Charged With Running Away!
What was my astonishment to learn when I appeared before the secretariat that I was charged with running away from the south! And it was for this I was removed from the C.E.C. and suspended from the Party, later expelled by the C.I. How shall we designate this if not by the term frame-up?
8. Soon afterwards the Secretariat ordered a fraction meeting of the N.T.W.U. At this fraction meeting Foster appeared and in the name of the Party Secretariat demanded that I resign as national secretary of the union and that he fraction vote for it. There followed a long discussion. The fraction was not quite in harmony with this policy but after I declared that I would not fight the order of the Secretariat, the fraction agreed. At the N.E.C. meeting of the union I resigned. Now I am charged with resigning from my post and expelled for that reason!
9. Later the N.T.W.U. called a national convention in Paterson. I came to the meeting. I was met at the door by a party committee who told me that it was party orders that I was not to enter the hall as I was under suspension and they thought the workers would give me an ovation, thus upsetting the party’s plans for my elimination from the union. As a disciplined Communist I obeyed. The next day in the Daily Worker there appeared an article by Amter charging me with being too yellow to appear to face the charges! And this while I was officially still a member of the party and under its discipline!
(to be concluded)
The Crisis in the International Left Opposition
The Communist League of Struggle in its recent statement has raised a demand for the ousting of the present International Secretariat of the Left Opposition. While our statement was based upon the dealings of the Secretariat towards our group, yet the situation internationally substantiates our attitude. The Left Opposition finds itself now in a crisis characterized by deep dissension and by splits in some of the most important countries. Among all the local and national questions which determine these splits, among all the welter of personalities in the groups there runs a common thread throughout in which we may distinguish two points: (1) opposition to the International Secretariat for its bureaucratic, Stalinist line. (2) Criticism of the Left Opposition groups as being too close to the line of the official Communist parties.
Split In Germany
In Germany, a split has recently occurred in the United German Left Opposition which was built up in 1930 on the basis of a section of the Urbahns group and several other local opposition groups. The Leipzig Executive, headed by Comrade Well, now has the support of the Secretariat and of Comrade Trotsky, and the Berlin Executive, has now become “unofficial” with its leader, Kurt Landau, bitterly attacked by Trotsky. Landau is accused of factional intriguing, of struggling to maintain power rather than to support principle, of being in league with other groups not in the good graces of the Secretariat, as the Gourget in France and certain Austrian sections. Landau charges the change in leadership in the German opposition has been made mechanically from above, against a majority vote of the membership. He claims the Secretariat has withheld from publication documents he sent them. He attacks the Leipzig group as sharing the errors of the official C.P., first, in the question of fascism, not sufficiently realizing its menace, believing it to be weakening and second, on its attitude towards the Soviet Union, being insufficiently aware of the dangers developing within the proletarian dictatorship, not understanding the “elements of dual power.”
In France, the Communist League (a group developed later than the early Treint and Paz groups and not sharing the errors of these), has recently sustained a split. A group led by Comrade Gourget has split away following upon the disastrous tactic of the new Molinier-Frank leadership in the miners strike, of issuing a slogan of “Back to work in a body” at a time when the strike was holding its own and the union issuing a call for extension of the strike. This is not however the only issue.
The Gourget group were formally in leadership, but were accused of syndicalist tendencies by the Secretariat, and were removed and supplanted by Molinier-Frank. Trade union policies (especially in regard to the “Unitary Opposition” in the radical federation of labor (C.G.T.U.) have been a bone of contention. The Gourget group have been accused of breaking down a Communist line by taking in all workers into the Unitary Opposition, of being close to Monatte, the syndicalist. On the other hand, this group accuses the other of making the Unitary Opposition so narrow as to take in only members of the Communist League (Opposition). When the Comintern made its turn to the right in 1930, there was a dispute as to the nature of this turn. The Gourget group considered it an opportunist turn, to be sharply fought; the other side hailed it as a correction of the line.
The opposition of the Gourget group goes deeper, however, than national questions. It attacks the International Secretariat, while maintaining adherence in principle to the Left Opposition. It charges the Secretariat with bureaucratic dealings of a Stalinist character, in removing old and installing new leadership’s, of withholding frank discussions, as to the splits in different countries, of supplanting the International Bureau, etc.
The Austrian Groups
In Austria all three groups are now outside of the official Left Opposition. Let us quote from a letter from Comrade Frey and 16 other comrades, to the International Secretariat: (Militant, Jan 15, 1931) “Since their visit to Vienna, we announced to comrades Molinier and Mille that while being in political agreement—the political agreement still exists now --- we have for some time considered with growing doubt and without confidence the false and dishonest organizational methods which Comrade Trotsky and the International Secretariat employ in practice…….. Consequently, we formally withdraw our adherence to the International Left Opposition.”
Upon the local questions of all groups, lacking as we do complete information in most cases, we do not feel equipped to take a stand. (Certainly the meager, vague articles in the International Bulletin help but little.) However, in regard to the International Secretariat, the attitude of other groups appears to substantiate our original stand.
In the first place, what is this Secretariat, who composes it, where did it get its authority? Why the mystery, the withholding of names? (Is it in order that these may be changed frequently, may be manipulated?) Where is the free and full discussion of issues on the basis of which alone a correct line can be developed?
The German crisis comes to light only in Comrade Trotsky’s sudden bitter attack upon his former representative, Landau, the French split in the vague, puerile article of Bulletin number 5.
On the American question, the statement of our group has exposed on the part of the International Secretariat trickery and factionalism of the worst sort. Knowing the sympathy for the Communist League of Struggle which prevails in certain sections of the Cannon group, the Schachtman clique in New York got the Paris clique to repudiate our group—of course, just before the Cannon convention comes off in order to kill this sympathy.
The Secretariat has never communicated with our group so much as by a single word; our paper, our thesis, they have completely ignored. If we are to be condemned by these great revolutionists (so great that their names, their records, cannot even be known) then surely this should be on the basis of a wrong line of our thesis, not on a mere speech of Comrade Weisbord before a meeting of the Cannon group before the C.L.S. was formed.
The Communist League of Struggle is in agreement—and even the Secretariat must admit that we are in agreement—with the basic programmatic questions which divide the Left Opposition from the Stalin and “Right” groups, on the question of building socialism in one country, on permanent revolution, and in the strategic and tactical questions which flow from this (Chiang-Kai-Shek, Anglo-Russian Trade Union Council, rate of development in the Soviet Union, etc.)
“Nay more, we alone have actually carried forward the theory of permanent revolution in the most vital question that faces the American Communist movement—the Negro question.”
The Secretariat declares us to be “filled with confusion” upon “other questions.” If these “other questions” are so vital, so programmatic, why are they not declared so? Why does the Secretariat not analyze our thesis in order to prove our “confusion?”
Want to Do Mass Work
Our real crime after all—and the chief basis of our differences with the Cannon group—is that we desire to do mass work. The ridicule and silly playing with words with which the Secretariat distorts our views on this question cannot hide our real achievements in this field both past and present. Do we see the Cannon group active as our group has been in the Pocketbook workers strike, in the Paterson strike, taking part in every united front of workers into which we are able to penetrate? And did not Trotsky himself write the Cannon group upon the occasion of the Militant first becoming a weekly? “In America, the situation is closer to that in Belgium than to that in Germany. The essential task of the American Communists consists of direct action upon the revolutionary elements of the class”
We are accused of wishing to form an “independent party” (God spare us, an Urbahns deviation!) But our thesis makes it plain that we fight for readmission of the C.L.S. as a group into the ranks of the official party. But instead of sitting in an office and from a safe place on the sidelines solemnly “warning” the party (which cares so much for our warnings, oh yes!) of its errors, we believe it necessary to participate ourselves in the struggles of the workers, in order to demonstrate in deeds the correctness of our policies.
Our adherence is not to this petty, scheming Secretariat, with its false line: we demand the ousting of such a Secretariat. We demand honest and full discussion on all questions of differences among the Left Opposition groups. We adhere to the basic principles of the Left Opposition promulgated by Comrade Trotsky, principles which we consider to be Leninist; for the rebuilding of the Comintern, for the annihilation of the false and dangerous national socialist theory of building socialism in one country, for the transformation of the Left Opposition into a real fighting force capable of carrying out its historic task so that leadership may be provided to carry the proletarian revolution throughout the world to victory!—V.B.
Trotsky’s New Thesis on Russia
Statement of the Communist League of Struggle
The Communist League of Struggle cannot accept in its entirety the thesis of Comrade Trotsky on the Russian question. While we are in agreement on some fundamental points, yet the new thesis by Trotsky contains many inconsistencies and theoretical implications impossible for a left section of the Communist movement to adopt.
We are in hearty accord with Comrade Trotsky as we have been in the past on the following points:
1. That the Soviet Union is a workers state, that the dictatorship of proletariat still exists in the S.U.
2. That we must rally to the unconditional defense of the S.U.
3. That the growth of the socialist construction in the S.U. must only accentuate the basic contradictions of the transition period (contradictions between town and country, contradiction between general backwardness of Russia and the tasks of socialist transformation and finally contradictions between the existence of the workers state and its encirclement by world capitalism.)
4. The growing development of the economic strength of the S.U. makes all the more necessary the dropping of the false theory of socialism in one country, binds still more closely together the S.U. and the rest of the world and shows still more clearly the reliance of the dictatorship in the first workers state upon the international proletariat.
5. Correct also are the points made by Comrade Trotsky that it is impossible under the present conditions in Russia to liquidate the kulak as a class; that collectivization under the conditions prevailing in Russia cannot mean socialism, that the methods used by Stalin have increased the disproportion in the five year plan.
Maintains There Is No Party
Here however our agreement with the thesis of Comrade Trotsky must come to an end for this thesis goes far beyond the above points. Comrade Trotsky maintains that there is no longer a party in the S.U. today but only an apparatus whose chief is Stalin. According to this thesis, in the period from 1923-1931 there took place a complete liquidation of the dependence of the apparatus upon the party and the plebiscitory degeneration of this apparatus. In the first place, the thesis of Comrade Trotsky is filled with inconsistencies on this question. In one part of the thesis he declares the C.P. has been crushed by the bureaucracy, that it is “the incontestable fact that the C.P. has ceased to be a party". In another part he says that the bureaucracy is no longer dependent upon the party, thus declaring that there is a party, although no longer in control of the apparatus.
Can there be a proletarian dictatorship, or even a bourgeois “democratic” state without a party? This is impossible. Comrade Trotsky adduces no theoretical argument how there can exist a proletarian dictatorship or even a bourgeois democratic state without a party, for if the C.P.S.U. has been strangled and there is no other party in existence then we have the singular phenomenon of the S.U., a workers state, without a single party. Every class that comes to power must express and realize its interests through a political party. The political party represents the quintessence of the interests of the class. It is possible to have a democratic state with many parties. It is further possible that no one party will be dominant for the while but that there will be temporarily a complete equilibrium of classes and of parties so as to give rise to a personal dictatorship (Bonapartism). To conceive of the proletariat putting forward a coordinated plan and achieving successes of socialist construction without a party is impossible.
And here we meet with another inconsistency in the thesis of Comrade Trotsky. On the one hand he agrees that there have been gigantic successes, unprecedented tempos of growth as expressed in the five year plan, that show the might of the socialist method of economy. Further he agrees in one part of the thesis that “without the party socialistic construction is not possible in the transitional epoch” and yet the central thesis of Trotsky is, that the socialist reconstruction that has and is taking place has taken place without a party.
On what basis can it be said that the C.P.S.U. is not a PARTY? Certainly the C.P.S.U. has all the forms of a party. It is an independent organization of the vanguard. In and around the C.P.S.U. is the vanguard of the proletariat and of the toiling masses. Lenin has laid down the characteristics that enable us to tell when such an independent organization of the vanguard is actually a PARTY. If the organization has a mass following and is supported by the masses, if the organization reflects the interests of the masses, if the organization answers every question on every phase of the struggle, then it is a party. Certainly the C.P.S.U. lives up to these characteristics. If it be said that under Stalin the C.P.S.U. does not reflect the basic interests of the masses, we must declare that the C.P.S.U. has been able to maintain still the dictatorship of the proletariat and whatever may be the blunders and crimes of the C.P.S.U. leadership, the C.P.S.U. still reflects on the whole the basic needs of the proletariat.
Comrade Trotsky declares there is not a trace of party democracy. Local organizations are selected and automatically reorganized by secretaries. Local secretaries are appointed, Congresses arbitrarily postponed, delegates selected from the top, every spark of those features which go to make up the nature of a revolutionist crushed; Blumkins are shot down, Bessedovsky’s direct the purging of the party, etc. We submit (1) that this evidence is exaggerated. (2) That while some of the above is true in part, yet this is not decisive as to whether there is a party.
Comrade Trotsky maintains that in the S.U. the “apparatus” has strangled and supplanted the party. This is an unfortunate and ambiguous expression. The implications are that there is a completely uncontrolled bureaucracy so huge as to crush the expressions of the proletariat. In the first place we must point out such an “apparatus” would no longer be a mere “apparatus” but a political party. Such a political party would be a petty-bourgeois party, composed of careerists and bureaucrats of all sorts, representing the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois elements in the S.U. To state that the apparatus now uncontrolled has strangled party is to state that a petty-bourgeois party is heading the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the same as to say that there is a DICTATORSHIP OVER THE PROLETARIAT BY THE BUREAUCRACY WHICH UP TO NOW IS STILL IN THE INTERESTS OF THE PROLETARIAT. Such a position is absolutely impossible for a Leninist Communist group such as the C.L.S. to hold.
Democracy Under Dictatorship
It must be firmly borne in mind that so long as there exists a dictatorship of the proletariat it means that a far wider democracy exists than could possibly exist under the bourgeois. In the transition period between capitalism and socialism, known as the dictatorship of the proletariat, already heavy blows are given are given the state and the state begins to wither away. This is seen in the fact that the people are fused with the army and the state functionaries. There is far less bureaucracy in any state where the workers rule than in any developed bourgeois state. We must bear this in mind as the background to judge the effects of the growth of bureaucracy which undoubtedly to a very great extent has increased under Stalin.
Secondly, is it possible that a petty bourgeois enemy class party can lead the dictatorship of the proletariat? (The “apparatus” uncontrolled by the proletarian party, is such a petty bourgeois party both because it reflects the interests of the property holders and because also the bureaucrats themselves are part of a class—part of the petty bourgeois). If this were possible, and it could not be for any length of time, it would mean that the enemy class had given the most crushing blow to the proletariat, crushed its leading party and substituted its own party for the party of the proletariat. It would mean that the dictatorship of the proletariat is so badly weakened that it is on its very last legs about to succumb to the blows of the victorious property classes. Such a viewpoint overestimates the strength of the enemy and underestimates the proletarian forces in the U.S.S.R.
Our conclusions then are in this regard:
1. There is in the U.S.S.R. still a proletarian party, a Communist Party.
2. There is no petty bourgeois party controlling the state.
3. In spite of the unwinding of the revolution under Stalin, there is still far greater democracy, far less bureaucracy in the U.S.S.R. than in any capitalist state.
4. Here we must also point out how correct the C.L.S. was in never adopting Trotsky’s theory of “Centrism.” Centrism cannot be the designation of a Communist grouping or tendency. Centrism is not a tendency that vacillates between the right and the left. As Lenin defined it, it was a YELLOW SOCIALIST TENDENCY, revolutionary in phrase, opportunist in practice.
In one part of this thesis, Comrade Trotsky declares that the “right wing” Communists represent the Thermidorian tendency, the “centrists”, (Stalinists) the Bonapartist tendencies. Then he declares that Bonapartism is a more open, riper, manifestation of bourgeois counter revolution than Thermidor. This would mean that the “center” is more bourgeois than the "right.” But on the contrary, the “right” is supposed to be more bourgeois than the “center"; indeed in another part of the thesis, Trotsky says that the “right” is a bridge from the “center” to counter revolution! This analysis seems to the C.L.S. to be a confused one. We do not see any ultra-left tendency internationally but we do see two right wing tendencies, each with its different phrases and forms yet both right wing; and we also see the International Left Opposition.
Finally we raise another set of questions:
If there is no party in the S.U., then why is it not the task of the International Left Opposition to build one? If there is no party in the S.U., is there a Comintern? And if there is no Comintern, must not we build another one? Here again, Trotsky apparently does not draw the conclusions from his premise. He still maintains his old stand that the opposition fights as a fraction for the reform of the Comintern. This is also the position of the C.L.S.
We declare: (1) There is a Communist Party in the S.U., and there is a Comintern. (2) Our job is to be a faction of this Comintern and C.P. (3) However, we can do our task only by independent action on the working class and mass work. This is the only way to correct the party.
War In The Coal Fields by Vera Buch
Striking by tens of thousands in five different states, the coal miners have been once more in the vanguard of the struggles of the working class. This time, it is a grim and bitter battle against starvation, with more than three score people killed, including both miners and deputies, with 35 miners in Kentucky now facing death on a mass murder charge, with gassing of women and children, brutal clubbing’s of picket lines, and terror in a hundred hidden nerve-wracking ways, lying in ambush throughout the strike fields.
The coal strikes show on a reduced scale the forces now at work within the American Labor movement as a whole: mass workers resistance against the effects of the crisis, the A.F. of L. in a strike breaking role of fake settlements, the Conference for Progressive Labor Action active in shunting the rank and file resistance into ineffective channels, the National Miners Union revived and leading masses but seriously handicapped by the accumulation of its errors past and present.
25,000 Miners Strike
In Western Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, and the panhandle section of West Virginia, some 25,000 miners have been on strike under the leadership of the N.M.U. This strike at the time of writing has come to a halt, but it is possible that with correct tactics it may be revived and extended. The Communist Party’s confession of errors (published in the Daily Worker of Aug. 3.) brings to light a whole list of serious blunders which however it fails to trace to their source. Nor are the chief shortcomings touched upon. The complete lack of a worked-out strategy for this strike would make success difficult even were there present proper preparation for the strike (as there was not), even were there functioning nuclei of the party (as there was not), even were there prompt mobilization for relief and defense work (as there was not), even were there correction of all the many errors mentioned in the Daily Worker. What was necessary was the mapping out of the mines of the most important soft coal companies, the Carnegie Co., the Pittsburgh Terminal Co., the Frick Co., etc., and systematic concentrating upon these mines with a view to developing pit committees and of pulling the mines out on strike. Instead, the union and party leaders trailed the movement of the workers and forces were spent in running after little strikes in unimportant mines, striking little companies which will soon be out of business anyway. The hunger marches which the Daily Worker boosted as such a mighty achievement were in reality one of the prime means of breaking the strike. At a critical moment, when there was every need of extending the strike through picket lines to strategic mines, hundreds of men, women and children were dragged miles over hot roads wearing out energy in a futile, meaningless show….. for what reason?—to convince them that the government will not relieve their hunger—which fact their empty stomachs had taught them many months before.
Adopt “Rolling Wave”
Now, tardily, a “new” strategy is outlined (see Daily Worker of Aug. 15th) which is none other than the “Rolling Wave” first brought forward in 1929, in Gastonia, by Comrade Albert Weisbord. The essence of this strategy is that where the workers forces are weak and unorganized, in trustified, widespread industries where means are lacking for concerted, general strike action, it is necessary to strike in layers, so to speak, spreading from one mine or mill to another, not simultaneously but a section at a time, with strikes renewed after a time in old sections where the strikers became tired and went back to work but were still loyal to the union. In 1929 this policy was turned down with hoots and sneers by the Foster’s and Bill Dunne’s (and in its place, in the southern textile work they proposed a plan for a general strike of 300,000 workers (on paper) with, in actual fact, no strike action whatever, even with workers told to go back to work who came to the union for leadership in strike, with the result that the textile work in the south was completely killed. Whether the “rolling wave” of strikes will succeed in the coal fields depends upon the persistence of effort which the N.M.U. puts into it, as well as upon the correction of the errors mentioned above. But the chief error, and source of all other errors, never of course mentioned by the Daily Worker, is the keeping in leadership in the Communist Party of officials (the Foster’s, the Bedacht’s, the Browder’s, the Minor’s) who lay down the course the workers must follow in strikes, but who themselves since they were Communists never took part in a struggle of any sort, who toady to Moscow in order to keep their jobs and are totally unfit to lead the workers in any struggle little or big. So long as these leaders remain, all strikes led by the Communists must be followed by “confessions of errors"—and the errors must always be the same (see Party statements on the Lawrence strike, Eagle pencil Co. Strike, etc.)
Harlan Workers Militant
The Harlan County, Kentucky strike continues in a state of siege with attention chiefly focused on the mass murder trial of 35 miners now going on. Starting spontaneously as a mass movement against starvation, the Kentucky strike has seen first the organization of a local union, the entrance of the A.F. of L. for the benefit of the coal companies, now the N.M.U. organizers winning some influence and the I.W.W. likewise active to a certain extent. The claims of The Industrial Worker and of Industrial Solidarity that the whole Kentucky strike field is solid for the I.W.W. are entirely unfounded and illustrate only the methods of the leaders of that organization of keeping their hold upon the organization by fraud and deceit.
In West Virginia, Kanawha fields, the strike of several thousands of miners continues under the influence of the Muste group, with a local organization formed, the W. Virginia Mine Workers Union. This strike is not in a decisive section and must encounter insuperable obstacles unless Logan County and Southern W. Va. are also struck.
Looking over the complicated situation, we are struck first by the division of the workers forces. Three main influences are at work: (1) the A.F. of L. (United Mine Workers) in a state of disintegration, still maintains some hold upon the miners of the Anthracite and Illinois, with remnants of influence elsewhere. The decadence of the U.M.W. is testified to by the Rank and File Miners Movement of Illinois (under the influence of Hapgood, Howat, Ameringer, etc.) Which declares itself alike opposed to the Lewis machine and to the N.M.U. In Northern W. Va. the operators pay the men if they join the U.M.W. (2) The Progressive forces, including the above Illinois movement and the W. Virginia organization. The St. Louis convention held a few months ago, failed either to unite the progressive forces or to split away the Illinois group entirely from the AFL notwithstanding much rank and file sentiment for a new union. (3) The National Miners Union is a factor only in the Penn.-Ohio region. Thanks to the false polices of 1929-1930, when the “third period” fever was rampant in the C.P. the progressive miners were driven away from the N.M.U.
Party Ordered Split
In the Anthracite, where there was no N.M.U., instead of building left wing groups in the U.M.W., the party ordered its members to split and to join the N.M.U. (thus driving some to Lovestone). In Illinois, the boycott of the progressive convention of last year, the denunciation of the “social-fascists” (see Bill Dunne’s articles in the Daily Worker), combined with the miserable failure of the strike led by the party, killed completely the influence of the N.M.U. in this territory.
The need of the hour is united struggle. Certainly it is useless to tell the miners in Illinois or the Anthracite simply to join the N.M.U. It is necessary to form united front committees of action taking in the active, rebellious miners of all shades of opinion, with the program of militant struggle upon which the N.M.U. was founded. Notwithstanding all errors, the N.M.U. is the only organization in which there is any hope of initiating such a move for unity.
A word is necessary as to political roles in the miners struggle. With the C.P. we have sufficiently dealt. The Socialist Party has made some efforts to collect relief, which it gives to the Kanawha field and to the A.F. of L. The Lovestone group has played a contemptible role, sneering at the Penn.-Ohio strike, failing to see behind the party’s errors a genuine mass movement of workers.
The Communist League of Struggle in the first issue of the Class Struggle correctly analyzed the miners situation. We are for struggle to the death against the Lewis machine, for unity in action of all fighting miners behind a militant program, with the N.M.U. taking the lead, for an amalgamation of all the miners organizations outside the U.M.W. on the basis of such a fighting program, for correction of the errors of the N.M.U., for all possible support to miners now on strike, and for a broad, united mass defense of the 35 frame-up Kentucky miners.
Cannon—ILD Aid Morgenstern—Goodman Conviction
By his policy of refusing in time to call for a united front for the defense of Bernard Morgenstern and Leon Goodman, members of the Cannon group who were convicted under the Flynn sedition act in Philadelphia on June 24, Cannon gave aid and comfort to the prosecution. After the International Labor Defense refused to handle the defense of the two workers because they are “Trotskyists,” Cannon, Shachtman, and Co. In line with their usual sectarian policy refused to call a united front conference for the defense of the two militants.
Both the Cannon group leadership and the Stalinized I.L.D. must be sharply condemned for their action. The I.L.D. refusing to conduct the defense, showed that it is only an organ for the defense of those who accept Stalin’s national socialist program.
As soon as the Cannons and Shachtmans saw that the I.L.D. would not defend Morgenstern and Goodman, it was their duty to call a conference of working class organizations to take up the case. The conference should have fought the case in court on a working class basis, also aroused mass sentiment for the defense of the two workers. If the I.L.D. will not defend militant workers, they must be defended in spite of the I.L.D. If the I.L.D. continues its policy, then the opposition groups and their sympathizers must consider the advisability of the formation of a new labor defense organization that will defend all workers arrested for participation in the working class struggle.
The members and sympathizers of the Cannon group must sharply condemn the shameful role of their “leadership” in the Morgenstern-Goodman case. By waiting until after the conviction to organize a defense committee the Cannons and Shachtmans played into the hands of the enemy. Conferences must be held in New York, Chicago and other places. Let us save Morgenstern and Goodman from long prison terms! ---P.
Communist League of Struggle
212 East 9th Street, New York City
1.—History of the class struggle in the United States. Instuctor:
Sylvan A. Pollack. 4 months.
September, October, November, December—7:30-8:30 p.m. Fee $3.00 Course starts September 14th , Mondays.
2.—Karl Marx’s Capital—Volume I—Instuctor: Vera Buch. 3 months, September, October, November, December—8:30-10 p.m. Fee $3.00 Course starts September 16, Wednesdays.
Volume II—Instuctor: Albert Weisbord. 2 months, December, January, February—8:30-10 p.m. Fee $2.00 Course starts December 16th, Wednesdays.
Volume III—Instructor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, February, March, April, May—8:30-10 P.M. Fee $3.00 Course starts February 17th Wednesdays.
3.—The Thesis and Resolutions of the Congresses of the Communist International. Instuctor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, September, October, November, December—8:30-10 P.M. Fee $3.00 Course starts September 17th, Wednesdays.
4.—Dialectical Materialism. Instructor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, December, January, February, March—8:30-10 P.M. Fee $3.00 Course starts December 17th, Thursdays.
5.--- The Works of Lenin. Instructor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, March, April, May, June—8:30-10 P.M. Fee $3.00 Course starts March 17th, Thursdays.
6.—Problems of Strike Strategy and Tactics and of Trade Union Organization. Instructor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, September, October, November, December --- 3:00-4:30 P.M. Admission ten cents each session. Course starts September 19th, Saturdays.
7.—Political Trends in the Labor Movement. Instructor: Albert Weisbord. 3 months, December, January, February, March.—3:00-4:30 P.M. Admission ten cents each session. Course starts December 19th, Saturdays.
8.—Workers Correspondence. Instructor: Vera Buch. 2 months, September, October, November.—7:30-8:30 P.M. Fee $1.00, where student takes another course; otherwise $1.50. Course starts September 17th Thursdays.
9.—Public Speaking. Instructor: Sylvan A. Pollack. 2 months, November, December, January—7:30-8:30 P.M. Fee $1.00 where student takes another course; otherwise $1.50. Course starts November 18th, Wednesdays.
10.—English. Classes will be held as soon as the registration warrants. Competent Instructors. Fee $1.50. Two months course.
Note:—Where student takes two or more classes all $3.00 courses will be reduced to $2.50.
Special rates for workers organizations.
Of paramount importance are the revolutionary situations in Spain and in Germany.
In Spain the revolution is still progressing, still moving forward. The King has fled; the constitutional royalists do not dare to appear openly; the clericals are on the run; a Radical Socialist coalition composes the government; the great mass of poor are moving to the Socialists politically and to the syndicalists in the trade union field; the left wing in the Socialist Party is growing stronger; wide, deep, strikes are showing the might of the masses.
The Radical Socialist coalition can not solve the basic questions of the revolution; not the ararian question, not the national question, not the religious question, not the question of improved conditions for the masses. Today the masses still have enormous illusions concerning the “revolutionary government” of the Radicals and the Socialists. Tomorrow the masses must become disillusioned. King Capital will remain; landlordism and chauvinism will still be as dominant as ever. The masses then must take to the streets. Spain will yet see and in the very near future, bitter, bloody street fighting.
The great danger is that there is no Communist Party in Spain. This means that there are possible sporadic outbursts, blind revolts, blundering fights, but no organization no leadership, no theory. And without these the proletariat must go down to defeat.
* * *
Says Comrade Trotsky: “For a successful solution of all these tasks three conditions are required: a party, once more a party, again a party.”
“How will the relationship between the various existing Communist organizations and groups be arranged, and what will be their fate in the future? It is difficult to judge from afar. Experience will show. Great events unmistakably put to the test ideas, organizations, and people. Should the leadership of the Comintern appear incapable of offering anything to the Spanish workers except a wrong policy, apparatus commands and splits, then the genuine Communist Party of Spain will be constituted and tempered outside of the official work of the Communist International. One way or another—a party must be created. It must be united and centralized.”
Following along these lines the International Left Opposition made proposals for unity to the official Communist Party of Spain, but of no avail. Stalin would rather lose the Spanish Revolution then unite with the Communists in the International Left Opposition in a common fight against the common enemy. This is the rudeness and disloyalty of Stalin of which Lenin speaks in his testament calling for the removal of Stalin.
What if the Communists demoralized by Stalin do not live up to their mission and the masses do not find authoritative leadership? Then says Trotsky: “The awakened hopes would very quickly be converted into disappointment and exasperation. A condition would be created in Spain reproducing to a certain measure the situation in Italy after the autumn of 1920. If the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera was not fascist but a typical Spanish dictatorship of a military clique supporting itself on certain parts of the wealthy classes, then with the conditions pointed out above—the passivity and hesitancy of the revolutionary party and the spontaneity of the movement of the masses—genuine fascism would find a base in Spain. The big bourgeoisie would conquer the unbalanced disappointed and despairing petty bourgeois masses and would direct their revolt against the proletariat. Of course we are far from that point yet. But no time should be lost.”
In our theses we have stated, “Nor is every reactionary movement fascism. Fascism is not royalism, though royalists may be fascists….” An interesting question arises whether the reactionary movement supposed by Comrade Trotsky will be royalist or fascist (either of the royalist or non-royalist type). In our opinion this will depend upon the relationship of forces and the intensity of the revolutionary movement and the nearness of its success, and upon the international situation.
* * *
Situation In Germany
For weeks the press has been speaking of the economic collapse of Germany. This impending collapse was brought forcibly to the worlds attention by Hoover’s moratorium plan. Only a short time before, on May 5th, Mellon had declared in a speech that everything was in sound condition in Europe. Now that the crisis is clear to all, and even Hoover’s moratorium can not save the situation and panic is raging in Germany, Hoover tells us that the acute financial crisis in Germany, a result of the excessive withdrawals of capital, shows a lack of confidence which, however, is not justified by the economic and budgetary situation of the country. Nevertheless Hoover and the American bankers continue to share this lack of confidence for they refuse to extend the short term credits of $100,000,000 to long term ones.
The seriousness of the financial panic in Germany cannot be denied. The rate of interest rises in one day 2% to 5% to 7%. First class loans bring 9% to 11%. The discount rate rapidly jumps to 15%. A steady drain of gold from Germany to the extent of $10-$15,000,000 a day, a tremendous of the exchange value of the mark, the deep plunge of the gold reserve of the Reichsbank to the minimum necessary to cover the currency notes, all are straws to show how the winds are blowing. The increasing number of bankruptcies are now reaching for the largest concerns of all in Germany. The biggest textile company—Wolkkammerei with a loss of 200,000,000 reichsmarks. There fails also, the Damstadter Bank, one of the greatest capitalist institutions in Germany. The Reichsbank itself is on the verge of bankruptcy. The $150,000,000 short term credit rushed to Germany is being rapidly drained. Private hoarding has begun.
The German crisis is having a tremendous effect on all the countries of the world. It compels the United States to demand a moratorium on reparations and war debts. The U.S. takes the lead first, because it can stand the moratorium best; second, because the postponement of reparations means that Germany can pay the interest on her private loans—mostly owed to U.S. bankers and amounting perhaps to $250,000,000 or so; third, because it is to the interest of the United States to maintain Germany as an ally against Great Britain and as a key state against Bolshevik Russia. In the moratorium the United States enters world affairs as the greatest world power with decisive weight.
* * *
The moratorium plan of Hoover dramatically exposes the insoluble contradictions within the capitalist camp. “Defeated” Germany has to be “saved"; the “victorious” allies spring at each others throats. Due to the French opposition to Hoover’s plan, the moratorium is but for one year, the payments with interest to start in 1933 and to be paid in 10 years, the money to be used for economic purposes only, all the terms of the Young Plan of slavery to be preserved, railroad bonds of Germany to be held to be held by the allies, the question of deliveries in kind to be deferred, and the allies of France (Poland, Yugoslavia, etc.) Not to be hurt by the moratorium, the Austo-German Anschluss to be killed. All this means that Germany gets very little relief. Indeed by the transference of railroad bonds, Germany gets still deeper into debt. The problem of the inability of Germany ever to pay the reparations still remains unsolved.
The second effect internationally of the German crisis is to deepen still further the world crisis. For a time the central banks of Austria, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Danzig have to close their doors. As Germany goes so will all Mittel Europa.
Lack of confidence in Germany means, with little exception, lack of confidence in Europe and at once a drain of gold occurs in England, reaching on July 24th, the unprecedented amount of $25,000,000, daily. The bank rate is feverously raised from 2½ % to 3½ % to 4½ % but to no avail. The crisis deepens throughout the world. “Stabilization is cracking, a world revolutionary crisis is in the making.
The effect of this new panic on the toiling masses, coming as it does on the shoulders of a two year old gigantic economic crisis has been truly terrific. In Germany for a time unemployment insurance stopped, wages were not paid, a run began on some of the savings banks. Soon inflation will begin and the misery of the masses will be extraordinarily accentuated. Whatever relief has been given the German capitalists has been at the price of a new attack against the Communists. Since the moratorium a new and particularly sharp drive has been launched against the Communists in Germany. Party centers have been closed, the leading Communist paper suspended, many Communists killed in the streets, etc. Every effort will now be made to drive the Communist Party of Germany underground and to move against the Soviet Union.
* * *
Germany today stands at a great historical turning point. Before the German ruling class stands the alternative: either imperialist power or a colony. Before the German masses stands the alternative: either Fascism or Communism. Like Samson of old, the German bourgeois stand ready to pull down the pillars of all capitalism before they will submit to a colonial status.
The German ruling class has not as yet paid a cent of reparations with its own money, it has built a more mighty economic machine than it ever had before, it has regained its population: the Ruhr has been liberated, an Austro-German alliance cemented; a new German navy is arising. Now is the time to strike down the hated Versailles treaty, according to the German capitalists. For now Bolshevism menaces; now the crisis has weakened the capitalist states and divided them. The Fascist movement is the very embodiment of these desperate imperialist hopes. The fascist movement is growing and is even aided by the government. The German bourgeoisie is willing to pay for its liberation by the slaughter of the Communists if a bargain can be made.
But the French capitalists cannot bargain. The French bourgeoisie can not tolerate a new German imperialism even stronger than before. The day Fascism wins Germany, that day sees the mobilization of the French troops on the Rhine. Communism, the French ruling class can handle through its economic might and military troops, through its Poland’s Czecho-Slavakia’s, Yugo-Slavia’s, and Roumania’s. The analysis of Lovestone who sees with the victory of Fascism in Germany only a united front against the Soviet Union, and does not see the inevitable conflicts among the capitalist rulers themselves, must be repudiated as completely false.
The actual colonization of Germany is creating a revolutionary situation. The strength of Communism increases. Should Fascism take power it will be (not as in Italy or as may be in Spain) AFTER the proletariat has been wearied and weakened, but while the workers are still fresh and have great reserve power. The only danger is lack of a genuine Leninist Communist Party. The theory of socialism in one country, the degenerate internal regime, the theory of a “Peoples revolution” and that fascism is on the decline, spell disaster for the Communist Party. The workers must make every effort to build a sound International Left Opposition section in Germany that will be able to correct these errors.
The CPLA Program ‘Acceptable to the Communists’—Gitlow
(This statement appeared in the “Revolutionary Age”, organ of the Lovestone
Issue of Dec 13, 1930)
(concluded from last issue)
IV International Views of the C.P.L.A.
From the war program of the Conference for Progressive Labor Action, we turn now to the international views of that organization as published in its official organ Labor Age.
1. Russia. Up to very recently never once does the C.P.L.A. or the Labor Age call for the unconditional defense of the Soviet Union. Quite the contrary, the Labor Age boosted the enemies of the Soviet Union and derided the fears of the working class that the capitalists meant to attack Russia. Says Pat Quinlan in his standing column “In Other Lands": (Feb. 1931, Labor Age) “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.”
This is the way the C.P.L.A. “defends” Russia. May our enemies have such “defense". At this very moment it was being exposed in Moscow that the “Socialist” Quinlans themselves were aiding intervention in Russia.
The C.P.L.A. did call for recognition of the Soviets by the U.S. government, but for what reason? Here is the official statement on Russia by the December Eastern Regional Conference (Labor Age, Jan. 1931) “WE call for recognition of Soviet Russia by the U.S. as sound business policy in this era of depression.” The C.P.L.A. you see are good business men!
2. If you are sick of the way Russia is treated, let us give you the views of these great “Internationalists” on Great Britain. In the Feb. 1931 issue of Labor Age, Quinlan “socialist” and “international expert” for the C.P.L.A. summarizes the work of the British Labor Party government. He declares: “The British Labor Party government was brilliant bold and courageous on foreign affairs.” No more, no less. And what is the evidence?
(a) The British Labor Party government kept the Empire together! This is great “progress” indeed. Let the Irish masses, the colonial slaves Great Britain rejoice. The Empire has been kept together! (b) Secondly, says Quinlan, Egypt has been “soothed"! The British troops under the imperialist British Labor Party have murdered thousands of toilers in Egypt. Massacres have occurred again and again. All militant labor unions or peasant organizations are stamped out. The iron heel of the British imperialists has ground into the very flesh and blood of the Egyptians. But to the Labor Age—Egypt is “soothed.”
(c) Thirdly, according to Quinlan, a working basis has been established with the dominions. In the first place, this is NOT so, witness the breakdown of the recent Imperial Conference with the Dominions in London. Secondly, all that was attempted was a business deal between the British capitalists and the capitalists in the Dominions. Facing war with the U.S., Britain is feverishly striving to avoid the break-up of its Empire, so as to fight more effectively. But can the Labor Age point out one way in which the workers of the Dominions were aided by Britain?
* * *
(d) Fourthly, says Quinlan, central Africa was “consolidated” under the regime of the British Labor Party government. And this is hailed by him as a great achievement. Every worker knows that this “consolidation” was part of the effort of the British Labor Partry to cheapen the cost of enslaving the Negroes and to render their slavery more certain. What an achievement for “Labor"!
(e) Quinlan gives a fifth bit of evidence of this “brilliant, bold, and courageous policy” of the British Labor Party government on foreign affairs. It is the “great diplomatic triumph in Mesopotamia.” Lest the reader not know of this “triumph” we wish to remind him that in Mesopotamia there are rich oil fields. France wanted ti seize control through a monopoly of the pipe lines. The British Labor Party, always a watchdog of the British capitalists, made the French back down and share the plunder with the British oil magnates. This is the “triumph” of labor. It is based on the slaughter of the Mesopotamian masses.
(f) According to the C.P.L.A. MacDonald did not jail and shoot the Indian masses. This is but Communist propaganda against the Muste’s of England! The Labor Age (Feb. 1931) in an editorial examines MacDonald’s policy in India and finds it good. This editorial congratulates MacDonald on the results of his India-London Conference. It also praises Gandhi, for it is due to Gandhi that such a “substantial” move forward was made. The editorial also congratulates MacDonald, Gandhi, and anyone 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.” And Quinlan tops this off with the statement in his column that the British Labor Party government has “almost solved” the Indian problem! (By the way, this is the same Pat Quinlan whom Bill Dunne placed on the Daily Worker staff in 1927 as an “expert” on the labor movement).
These are the unspeakable international views of the C.P.L.A. How any worker, not an out and out imperialist, can accept these views is wholly incomprehensible. These are not the views of class-conscious men, nor even of “progressives". they are the views of Labors enemies.
V. The Grand Program of the C.P.L.A.
When the C.P.L.A. was first originated in 1929 “Action” was far from the minds of Muste and Co. What was needed, said they, was “education". "Go to Brookwood, get educated.” This was the road to freedom. In an official C.P.L.A. statement (Labor Age, August 1929) it was declared:
“The fundamental purpose of the C.P.L.A. is an educational one, education for action.” thus from the very beginning the workers were to get not action but “education". If the “education” was through action it would not be so bad. But here Brookwood education is counterposed against action. Action is choked by Brookwood “education". Let us look at this “education".
1. Muste writes an article (Nov. 1929, Labor Age) entitled “After Toronto What?” dealing with the needle trades. The officials of the needle trade union were gloating over the elimination of the Communists from the union. The Communists are “destructive” (want to fight the boss). The A.F. of L. is “constructive” (wants to have peace with the boss). Muste says: “It is perhaps hardly necessary to repeat that we fully realize that organized workers cannot take a negative or destructive attitude toward the operation of the industries upon which they depend for a living.” Now we see Brookwood education! It is “constructive". i.e. looks after the business of the boss.
2. In December 1929, Budenz writes in Labor Age on the Green-Hoover Pact in which Green agrees to have no strikes and to make no wage demands.
“This is much the same as a love-lorn young man promising forever to give up the girl of his dreams. It may be a noble gesture. But it scarcely helps the promisors. Notice Budenz’s “education": Green is not a traitor to the workers, he is but a “love-lorn young man.” His treachery is a “noble gesture.”
3. With the growing crisis in 1930, Labor Age “education” became more frightened. “Action” was beginning actually to be seen. The March 6th demonstration of the unemployed showed the temper of the workers. Budenz (May 1930, Labor Age) tries to head off the revolution with an article "We Head for Revolution” Says Budenz: In 25 years we shall have a revolution (thanks). Even now there is growing unrest. Russia will cause more unemployment (This is good “education” a la Fish Committee) and since war will be an alternative we must prepare for it by using Gandhi’s non-resistance method plus an increase in international “thought". Here again we see the Labor Age “education". It is education against Action.
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4. But let us finally hear Muste himself (Feb. 1931, Labor Age) in an article, “The Labor Outlook": “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.”
But do not be alarmed, dear reader, Muste goes further than this. He is going to “prove” his point. Why is he an “educator” if not to “prove” the workers want no “action"? Here is his “proof":
(a) Says Muste, prosperity came to an end recently. The crisis began the middle of 1929. Muste is writing in February 1931, but for him it is a very short time.
(b) Secondly, Muste states, there was a big increase in wages 1920-1925 before the crisis. This is a downright lie. Only a Hoover apologist could ever dream of stating this. Even Hoover’s Committee (See its report “Recent Economic Changes in the U.S. 1929") declared real wages advanced 1923-1928 only 2% a year. Even this statement is false (See our theses May issue, Class Struggle) but even if true, this is not a “big increase". And according to Muste, the big increase began 1920 and not 1923. 1920 was a year of great wage cuts as a matter of fact. And 1921-1922 was a year of crisis. That is why Hoover’s prosperity report began with the year 1923. Yet Muste thinks that there was a big increase in wages 1920-1925!
(c) Thirdly, Muste says, the 1920-1921 depression was relatively mild and short. Another Hoover lie. As a matter of fact, the depression was so sharp a special committee was formed to investigate it. It was the deepest crisis in the history of the U.S. up to that time. Over 5 ½ million men were out of work. A mild crisis indeed!
(d) The fourth reason why workers are not “active” today (Feb. 1931) is that the workers today, according to Muste, are more illiterate and ignorant than any previous generation of American workers. And this reactionary twaddle is called “workers education".
But let us give Muste’s great conclusion:
“There is at the moment much more rebellion and much more eagerness for a new political alignment among the intellectuals than there is in the Labor movement.” There you have it. That’s progressive labor action for you.
VI The C.P.L.A.’s Unemployment Program
Space forbids us to deal with the Muste conception of the Labor Party or his way of organization of the unorganized, or his queer ideas as to the relationship between politics and economics. This would make a humorous and delightful article in itself. However, we simply cannot leave the C.P.L.A. without dealing with its unemployment program.
In 1929 the greatest economic crisis in our history struck the U.S. Here was a chance for “education". The C.P.L.A. called for an end to capitalist anarchy. Repeating the New York Times, Muste (Jan. 1930 Labor Age) said Hoover’s Big Business conference should have been called earlier before the “damage” was done. If this conference had been called earlier, no doubt the “damage” could have been prevented. (Thesis No. 1—Brookwood education).
But Muste is a man of “action". He rushed to get together a “Research Committee” composed of such bourgeois “economists” as Brissenden, Tugwell, Mitchell, Chase, et al. Based on this “Research” the Conference for Progressive Labor Action put out an official statement. (Feb. 1930 Labor Age) Do you want to know how to eliminate such recessions as the present?—then control the capital issues and loans of working capital. This is the fundamental problem (Thesis No 2—Brookwood education)
You see if you stop new capital issues, in this way you stop competition, according to the new “economists” and if you stop competition, you stop overproduction. Since we have overproduction now, if you don’t let any more corporations to be formed, then presto—no more crisis. This little shopkeeper, miserable petty-bourgeois phantasy is called “workers education” on unemployment.
And the first place to stop competition, according to the C.P.L.A. is in the “sick” industries, coal and textile. That’s the way to make them well, don’t you know? The national government is to intervene to do it too.
Finally, the C.P.L.A. says the fundamental problem is better “dispribution” of the national income. (Thesis No. 3—Brookwood education) Nothing about wiping out the Capitalist system, nothing about the exploitation of the worker. The C.P.L.A. rushes to tell the capitalists how to put things in “order” to eliminate competition, to give workers a little more to stave off the revolution. This is the C.P.L.A. program. May we tell Lovestone and Co. who find this program “acceptable” that it is the exact theory of the Fascist Party in Italy?
The C.P.L.A. was not content with this statement of the question. It worked out some immediate demands. One of them called “short term measure” is for a census of the unemployed by the POLICE. (Editorial, Labor Age, April 1930). Let the police take the names and addresses of all unemployed, especially of the militant and Communist unemployed. It will do these unemployed good. Maybe the unemployed will decrease in numbers thereby! Here the C.P.L.A. becomes the very labor agents of the Fish Committee. Muddleheadedness is here viciousness.
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But even this was not enough. The C.P.L.A. put out an official pamphlet on unemployment (Mufson: “Why Unemployment Insurance?” see Labor Age, Feb. 1931). Why unemployment insurance? Let Mufson tell you: Because it is good business to increase the buying power of the masses. But business is run for profit and how business can be “good” under capitalism if workers are paid more and thus profits are less, is a mystery only Henry Ford and Mufson can explain.
The C.P.L.A. drew up a “Bill” for social insurance. Shall workers out of work get full wages? Oh, no. The C.P.L.A. is for 40% only of the wages to be given the worker. Thus if you worked in a five and ten cent store and got $15 a week, live on $6. It will keep you from being lazy. Should workers draw this big pay while out of work? Oh, no. That also is too radical! Only half a year can you draw this pay. If you are out of work a whole year, you don’t have to follow Brookwood education, see? Should the unemployment fund be administered by labor? Not for the C.P.L.A. They declare openly their solidarity with Senator Wagner and Governor Roosevelt. That’s how "progressive” the C.P.L.A. is, and in order to help Roosevelt become the next president, the C.P.L.A. wants the unemployment fund administered by the State Department of Labor supervised by two workers, two employers (be fair, the employers too never work, they are also “unemployed"), and one “public” representative, all to be chosen by the Governor.
Good Governor Roosevelt, he will be fair! Good Tammany Hall, it will pay unemployed workers! Not a cent will stick tk its fingers. Not a cent will be used against the workers. Hurrah for the Deiocratic Party and the C.P.L.A.!
Of course, this unemployment pamphlet could not end without telling the workers what to do. Do you want to get relief? Don’t have militant street demonstrations. Do this: 1. circulate petitions. 2. write tour Congressman. The renegade Bert Miller way, the C.P.L.A. way to salvation.
Now we are at the end, dear reader. We have seen the Conference for Progressive Labor Action is neither progressive, nor labor, nor for action (except against the workers). In our theses (Class Struggle, May issue) we have declared “The historic role (of the Muste group) is to serve as decoy ducks to enable the A.F. of L. and the Socialist Party to continue to mislead workers moving further and further to the lebt. The Communists while free to unite with them on certain issues must sharply attack them at all times.”
But what shall we say about the Lovestone group, that never really attacks them, that far from exposing the treacherous role of the C.P*L.A., gives a “left” cloak to them? The Revolutionary Age filled with criticism against the Communist Party, has no criticism for Muste.
We have gone into such lengths into the program of the C.P.L.A. not because Muste must be exposed so much but because Lovestone must be exposed. He is far more dangerous than Muste. If this article helps to liquidate the Lovestone group, and to drive the Lovestones out of the Communist movement, it will have accomplished its work.
The Red Dreadnaught Is Launched
The first issue of the Navy Yard shop paper the Red Dreadnaught has been successfully issued and its sister ship the second issue, is now “under weigh". The Red Dreadnaught is the written expression of the first shop nucleus under a Communist banner that has ever been formed in the Navy Yard. Accurately aimed salvos directed at the Navy Yard bosses has resulted in some correspondence from the workers in the “favored” industry. The growing discontent of these “favored” workers is beginning to find articulation.
Hoover’s economy begins of course with the workers wages and many despicable tricks typical of the bosses are practiced. Laying off mechanics rated as First Class and re-hiring them at Second or Third Class is a favorite dodge. Safety appliances are inadequate and the burden and the burden of blame in an accident is upon the worker injured. The worker who receives a minor hurt will invariably nurse his wound until he can get relief from an outside source, rather than go to the dispensary, as a couple of trips to the dispensary will probably mean loss of job for the worker according to a recent decision recently handed down from the Admiral. The Red Dreadnaught carried the following demands drawn up by the Communist League of Struggle shop nucleus; (1) Seven hour day. Five day week. (2) Unemployment insurance for those laid off. To be paid by the employer. (3) More safety appliances. (4) Payment for time it takes to muster. (5) If sent home due to weather, no reductions from pay or vacations. (6) Better work clothes. (7) Against fingerprinting and photographing of worker. (8) No firing at will by tha employer. (9) Suspension charges before a workers committee. (10) Old age pensions to be paid by the Navy Yard. (11) Recognition of the Union.
The significant fact that this is the first Communist shop nucleus to be formed in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is but reflection of the attitude of the other Communist groupings. On the one hand, the failure of the official Party and on the other, the refusal of the Cannon-Shachtman sect to participate in mass work.
N. M. P.
Y. C. L. Convention
The position of the Communist League of Struggle was presented to the recent sixth national convention of the Young Communist League in a statement signed by Allen Abbott, George Lawson and Henry Rowley, three young workers expelled from the Y.C.L. for supporting the program of the C.L.S. Mimeographed copies of the statements were distributed at the convention hall and created quite an impression on the delegates and other Y.C.L. members present.
The statements concluded:
“Our leaders must first stand the test as acting as Communists in mass struggle before attaining leadership. We must fight for the carrying out of Lenin’s program which he laid down in the program and theses of the C.I.’s first four Congresses and which are contained in the program of the Communist League of Struggle (adhering to the International Left Opposition).”
“Comrades, for these views we have been expelled from the Y.C.L. Join us in our fight. Demand our reinstatement. Demand the reinstatement of Comrade Trotsky and of the comrades of the Left Opposition to their rightful posts. Demand the reinstatement of the members of the Communist League of Struggle in the Party and the League.”
“Fight for the carrying out of Lenin’s testament.”