[From The Militant, Vol. III No. 29, 1 September 1930, p. 6 & Vol. III No. 30, 15 September 1930, p. 6]
Problems of the Revolutionary Movement
A Statement of Views on Some Disputed Questions
By Albert Weisbord
(NOTE: We print here the essential sections of a speech delivered by comrade Albert Weisbord at the recent plenum of the Lovestone group. The National Committee of the Communist League of America (Opposition) has decided to publish the speech in the Militant. The second and last part of it will appear in the next issue of the paper, at which time the National Committee will append a statement of its views on the document of comrade Weisbord. The latter, as most readers are aware, was expelled from the Party a while ago for divergent views, and joined neither the Left nor the Right Opposition. The document below represents his views on the problems of the movement arrived at after a period of study and consideration.—Ed.)
4. With the world war and revolutionary wave that followed its wake, the epoch of imperialism entered a new stage qualitatively different from the one existing before (from 1900 to 1914). Distinctive of this new stage are the following: (a) the proletarian revolution is victorious in the U.S.S.R. (b), Post-war capitalism, with all its force, cannot get back to pre-war stability. The decline of capitalism cannot be stopped. All the attempts at “stabilization” become desperate efforts merely to slacken the tempo of the international revolution. This can be seen by the fact that, during this time, while some revolutionary situations are liquidated by the forces of international capitalism, yet some revolutionary situations cannot be liquidated and new ones constantly and repeatedly arise; concurrently a whole host of other situations begin to take on a revolutionary character. (Germany 1923, Bulgaria 1924, Estonia 1924, China 1925-27. England 1926, Austria 1928. India, China, Indo-China, besides Mexico, Nicaragua, Haiti, Puerto-Rico, Finland, etc.).
Situation Before and After War
Before the war, neither revolutionary situations nor actual revolutions could have been created by the activity of the socialist, revolutionary parties throughout the world. No matter how well or tirelessly these parties worked the bourgeoisie was too strong, the level of activity of the masses, generally speaking, too low to cause a given situation to become a revolutionary one. Basically, these revolutionary situations had to develop by themselves from the objective contradictions arising in capitalist society. When, during and after the war, these objective contradictions did cause revolutionary situations to arise, by that time the subjective factor had become so powerful as to be able to mature such revolutionary situations in a number of countries into actual revolutions. Today imperialism has become so much weaker, today, so close is the situation in a number of countries to be a revolutionary one, that it is possible for an international Communist movement, PROVIDED IT HAS A LENINIST POLICY, and especially now when it controls a state backed by 150,000,000 workers and peasants, to develop situations otherwise still non-revolutionary into revolutionary situations, in DIFFERENT countries at DIFFERENT times. (This does not mean that a C.I. can “order” a revolutionary situation in ANY country at ANY time). It is a fact that today, with the correct policy, it is far easier in many countries to disintegrate the capitalist armies, to ruin the prestige of the ruling classes, to expose the petty bourgeoisie, and to activize the masses to an extraordinary degree than before.
Every worker knows that, under some conditions, the activity of a Communist group can “develop” a strike situation, where without this Communist group, no such situation would have been “developed". Today the Communist Party (under some circumstances and with a Leninist policy) can be the decisive force both in stimulating the exploited and oppressed masses with the understanding of the impossibility of living in the old way and in helping to make the ruling class unable to govern as of old. Since the war the old power and might of the ruling classes have been irretrievably broken. Further, the experiences of 1918-23 weigh mightily on the memory of the masses—the ruling classes in many countries were unable to govern once before. Finally the Soviet Union with its tremendous economic and political weight will be able to throw this weight at times so as to help break the economic and political power of different sections of the international bourgeoisie at critical moments…..
5. What must be the cornerstone of Communist international strategy is the recognition of this qualitative change in imperialism. Today it is possible to have “sudden” changes to revolutionary situations, “sudden” revolutions. Today there has been raised to hitherto unheard of degree the decisive importance of revolutionary organizations, first as factors maturing ("creating") revolutionary situations and second, as factors changing revolutionary situations to actual revolutions (insurrections).
The fatal error in the Communist “Majority Group” (Lovestone) is that it fails to see this fundamental feature of the present stage, and to make this feature an integral part of any American analysis.
Errors Of Party Leadership
The fatal error of the C.I. and its U. S. “leadership”, is that it caricatures and distorts the basic conception, not understanding it and indeed transforming it into a theory justifying putchism, making of the party a sect more and more isolated from the masses, more and more stifled by an absolutely sterile bureaucratic machine. The official C.P. “leaders” in the United States fail to see that an insurrection can come only after the development of a revolutionary situation and fail to understand that to develop this revolutionary situation one must follow a Leninist line of mass work, united front, work in reactionary unions, profound economic analysis, the understanding of the true relationship of American to international capitalist society, and the peculiarities of capitalist America; and that an end must be put to guesswork, phrase-mongering, to the fakery and lying in the leadership, to the theory of “fascism” and “social-fascism”, to the bureaucracy and violence, to the Trotsky deportations and Blumkin murders, an end to the theory of socialism in one country, to Anglo-Russian Trade Union Committee affairs, and Chiang-Kai-shek mergers, etc…..
7. Secondly, an analysis of the present situation shows that the contradictions are sharpening and the tempo of international revolution is rising (that is, the “partial and temporary stabilization” of capitalism is becoming weaker than before). The original position of the Communist “Majority” Group is here too unsound; while on the other hand, the very putchist distortion of this by the official Party leadership tends to hinder the process of the cracking of “stabilization” now taking place and to weaken the revolutionary forces. Far from stimulating the masses, the false policy of the C.I. actually acts as a brake on the masses.
8. The situation in America exposes in even clearer light the errors of the different Communist groups. The American section of Lozovsky-Stalin apparatus-men has never yet given up its “apex theory” and all that follows logically from it—namely, that American capitalism is on the decline, has reached its basic crisis with a general deep-going and widespread radicalization of the masses. To this has now been added the special twist that all members of the A.F. of L. are now full blown fascists and that all those expelled by the Stalin machine at once become secret police agents for the boss. To some extent the “Communist League (Opposition)” in America has limped uncritically after the Party (without, however, the added special twists). Though this opposition group gave up the “apex theory” yet it did so without having thoroughly exposed the errors inherent in it. And even today it still talks of “growing radicalization”, “deep-going process of radicalization” quite uncritically.
On the other hand, the “Majority” Group merely sees in fact “deep discontent". With this group the present economic crisis is IN ESSENCE a mere cyclical one. (it seems as if latterly a section of the Party too is violently swinging to the point of view) and the dogmatic statement is made with no appreciation of its rashness, that not only will American capitalism weather the present economic storm, but that it will rise to new peaks only to fall to new lows.
The true situation is that with the qualitative changes of post war imperialism, with the weakening of world “stabilization”, with the sharpening of the inner and outer contradictions of American capitalism, there can be no “mere cyclical crisis”, no “mere discontent”, but what we have to reckon with is a tenseness of relations, a restiveness of the masses which can enable a Communist Party WITH THE CORRECT POLICY to lead masses into such activity as to radicalize the masses. There is great POTENTIALITY NOT ACTUALITY of masses becoming radicalized generally and relatively quickly. But the foolish policy of the party only drives the masses further away from radicalization.
The American Crisis
9. The dogmatic statements -1. That American capitalism will weather the present economic crisis and 2. That it will rise to new peaks, utterly fails to take into account the international situation. It may be that due above all to the criminal policies of the C.I., this eventuality MAY OCCUR, but it is impossible to state so now as the sole solution. The “Majority” group fails IN REALITY to see that the economic crisis in the United States means economic crisis in many countries (for this group does not make such a view a VITAL part of its living work in America); that in some of these countries such a crisis if prolonged will lead to a real revolutionary situation, that a revolution breaking out in Europe may not only deepen the American crisis but will usher in a new and higher stage of the world revolution. Is such an alternative (or a number of similar alternatives which result in the ushering of a world crisis) Impossible? Quite the contrary! For Communists, the whole perspective for the United States must constantly and intimately be perated with this view……
11. Only by a Leninist policy are the Communists enabled to radicalize the masses in the United States. This policy means “To the Masses”, mass work in all its forms, formation of independent mass organizations where possible and necessary, the united front, work in reactionary trade unions and similar bodies, Labor Party etc. To accomplish such mass work it is necessary to Leninize the Party, namely to base the Party on the most exploited sections of the masses, to wipe out the bureaucracy (the liars and fakers) in the Party, to demand as an absolute condition and prerequisite to leadership 1. The tested ability to carry out mass work in a Communist manner. 2. The liquidation of the mountain of vulgar Marxism, and syndicalist-liberal conceptions and a real study of the basic works of the founders of Communism. 3. Profound honesty, integrity and courage.
To all this the present “theories” of “Fascism” and “Social-Fascism” give a death blow. These “theories” wiping out as they do all the Marxian-Leninist distinctions between fascism and regular bourgeois democracy mean 1. The reactionary unions are to be destroyed from now on, the workers in the A.F. of L., being hopeless fascists, (enemies of the working class. 2. The socialist and progressive workers being “social-fascists” are only secret agents of the fascists. These two must be destroyed. 3. The Communist opposition groups become full grown Mensheviks but worse, police agents, having no place in unions or other working class organizations. Any action against them up to complete physical extermination is justified. 4. The line between Communism and fascism theoretically becomes very thin for overnight; no matter how tested and loyal before, any Communist can become a police-agent Menshevik or fascist. Therefore the greatest violence and terror is theoretically justified not only against the “open police-agent Mensheviks” but against the members of the party, the possible police-agent Mensheviks of the future. 5. Since every tested member tomorrow can be a police-agent, Menshevik, revolutionary behavior in mass work is no longer a test for leadership. Any faker or apparatus follower can be a leader. Leaders are cheap and easily made. Distrust for the leadership follows. Cynicism not revolutionary idealism pervades the party. Double bookkeeping (see the hypocrisy of those who put forth the C.I. Address of 1929) becomes the rule. Correspondingly a contempt for the membership grows. Political sterility increases. No policies except those printed in Moscow with a militarization and robotization (Stalinization) of the Party. In this question the quotation from the recently adopted “C. P. Thesis” which declares “The need of the hour is clarity of instructions and promptness of executions” is illuminating of the process now going on within the party.
There can be no doubt but that the conscious holders of these theories, (Browder, Johnstone, Dunne and the rest of the Company) if they carry these theories to the logical conclusions and practices inevitably flowing from them, must degenerate to become the real renegades from Communism, indeed the real fascists of tomorrow!
[From The Militant, Vol. III No. 30, 15 September 1930]
(This is the final installment of the speech made before the Lovestone group plenum by comrade Weisbord in which he presents his views. The reply of the Communist League is appended.)
13. India: The basic slogans for the Communists today in India must be Lenin’s “Three Pillars”, that is, a basic slogan for the proletariat, (say the eight hour day) a basic slogan for the peasantry, (confiscation of the land) and the slogan of Democratic Republic. To these “three pillars” the slogan “Freedom for India” must be added. Only around all these slogans can the masses be effectively mobilized. It would be a gross error for the Communists to stress the slogan of Freedom for India alone as does the nationalist Indian bourgeoisie. The slogan for “Constituent Assembly” by itself is not incorrect but is incomplete and may be dangerous for it does not take into consideration the fact that British Imperialism can maneuver so as to make the slogan of Constituent Assembly a SUBSTITUTE for a democratic republic. The slogan Constituent Assembly can be used correctly only in conjunction with the slogan for a Democratic Republic.
The Slogan of Soviets
The slogan of Soviets can be appropriate only when a sufficiently acute revolutionary situation has been engendered around the “three pillars”, when the class struggle and civil war rages in the villages and towns. In this connection it must be emphasized that Soviets can be built even with the slogan of Constituent Assembly. The two slogans of Constituent Assembly and Soviets need not be antagonistic at all times. But what must be stressed is the actual organization of civil war in the village and town and the leadership of the proletariat in this civil war. Only the dictatorship of the proletariat in India can make permanent its revolution.
The Communists must make plain to the masses the role of the nationalistic Indian bourgeoisie and the role of Ghandi as an agent of this class. Not only the experiences of 1921 must be gone over, but all the treacherous actions of the present Ghandi campaign, (the saib campaign, the anti-machine movement, passive resistance, opposition to workers, record at the Nationalist Congress, etc., etc., etc.) must be elaborated. Simultaneously mass movements in town and countryside against native usurer, gentry kulak, bourgeoisie, must be effected. By no means must the Chiang-Kai-shek disaster be repeated. The criminal negligence of the C.I. in failing to build the Communist Party, but in building worker-peasant parties instead must be speedily liquidated. It is clear it is not OUR business to organize peasant parties.
It is clear that the main task of the Communists must be the stimulation of the masses around the “three pillar” and freedom slogans. These movements are directed against both native and foreign rulers and bourgeoisie who may desire a nationalist revolutionary movement under the sole slogan of “Freedom of India” from the British. Nevertheless, and this is most important to understand, so long as a section of the nationalist Indian bourgeoisie is fighting British imperialism under the slogan of Freedom of India from Imperialist rule, so long as this movement unleashes the energy of the masses which otherwise could not be unleashed and so long as the masses have not been actively mobilized around the correct slogans and while the exposure of the native bourgeoisie is but in its incipiency, it would be manifestly incorrect for the Communists not to enter or to struggle for a national revolutionary front against British Imperialism even though this national revolutionary front would temporarily contain sections of the nationalist revolutionary bourgeoisie (whom the masses follow) even though the sole slogans were “Freedom for India” from British Imperialism and even though later the united front would have to be broken by the development of the class struggle in the villages and towns of India. The center of the attack must be against British Imperialism and its conscious reactionary agents within India.
The crime of the C.I. in China (and this opinion is not in contradiction with the basic opinions of comrade Trotsky, it seems.) was NOT that the C.P. of China joined a national revolutionary front, but that the C.I. SUBSTITUTED the Kuomintang for the Communist Party, succumbed to Sun Yat Senism, introduced class collaboration against the class struggle, sacrificing the class struggle to this national revolutionary front against foreign imperialism, failing to raise the “Three Pillar” slogans and thus leading the civil war in village and towns on concrete demands of the masses against the native exploiters as well. The policy today must be: a national revolutionary front which later will be broken by the progress of the class struggle in India under the leadership of the proletariat (through its Communist Party) in alliance with the peasantry on the road to the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Problem In China
14. Here too the slogan of the Constituent Assembly is still correct, although it is apparently incorrect to state that the Chinese revolution is still on the wane. Here the mobilization of workers and peasants on concrete issues can lead to such an acute revolutionary situation that Soviets can be formed.
It is dubious to say, as do some members of the International Left Opposition that the present guerilla warfare going on in China today is wrong and not to be supported. Under the present conditions, if the facts are that masses of desperate peasants are ready to take up civil war in the countryside, the Communists must stimulate, support, organize and lead such a movement. On the other hand, it must be clear that no matter how much the Imperialists and native Chinese rulers may be weakened, armed peasant bands cannot take the place of mass peasant uprisings, the peasant movement can not take the place of a proletarian struggle, and peasant “Soviets” cannot replace the dictatorship of the proletariat.
15. The colonial revolutionary situation in China and India are of the greatest importance to the rest of the world, and to the United States especially. How can we foresee that the United States will “weather the economic storm” and “reach the new peaks” unless we foresee already the complete and sudden crushing of the revolutionary wave in the Far East. It is the rankest opportunism to fail to connect in the most intimate way the revolutionary situations in the East with the immediate perspective of the United States. All of the Communist groups suffer from this opportunism more or less. Unless this view is corrected it will be true that the revolutions will be defeated, but it will be the Communists who will have aided unconsciously the hangmen both in the East and in the West.
17. The situation within the Soviet Union, our fatherland, must be of the utmost concern for us. The difficulty and delicacy of the subject must not lead to less discussion but to more. There is no question but that, on the whole, here comrade Trotsky was correct both in stressing industrialization and the necessity of a “plan”, and in proposing an intensification of the war on the kulak. When there is recalled Bucharin’s slogan to the peasantry “Enrich yourselves” and how there was solemnly discussed in Russia the possibility of the “kulaks growing into socialism”, when there is recalled the arguments that any plan of industrialization was too “premature” and would lead to terrible catastrophes and “war in the village”, when there is recalled how backward the original industrialization plans were and how far the masses outstripped the “Party leaders”, then the conclusion is ripe that the attack on comrade Trotsky on this question only hid the Right opportunism of the Stalin-Bucharin regime.
The Five-Year Plan
The five year plan, belated as it was, and its speedy execution, mark a tremendous step forward. The industrialization of the Soviet State must tend greatly to strengthen the revolutionary movement and tend to hasten the end of capitalism. But the economic progress of the U.S.S.R. does not BY ITSELF NECESSARILY lead to an advance of the world revolution. If with such an economic advance there should be fastened upon the Communist Parties still more of the theory of building socialism in one country, if this should lead not to an international but a national viewpoint, if this should in turn lead the C.I. leadership to playing with and a sacrifice of foreign sections of the C.I., if this should fastened the hold of the bureaucrats still more, if this should lead to Trotsky deportations and Blumpkin murders and violence to every Communist opposition movement, then indeed it is possible to state that unless the Communists throughout the world (aided by the very economic advance of the Soviet Union) can guard against this degeneration from Leninism it is possible to have an economic advance of the Soviet Union simultaneously with a setback to the world proletarian revolution. Trotsky’s exposure of the elements of Thermidor generating within the Soviet Union is absolutely correct.
18. The Comintern today is in a profound crisis. The narrowing down and great loss of prestige of the C.I. and the mass expulsions show how deeply opportunism was part of the Communist movement. The formation of three different separately organized international Communist groups speaks of the disintegration of the movement. But it also marks a step forward since such a situation exposes the rottenness in all groups, hardens the real Leninists and prepares the way for new advances.
We owe it primarily and above all to L. D. Trotsky for exposing the situation since Lenin died, for bringing to light the Testament of Lenin which the other leaders had deliberately hidden, for exposing the forgeries of Lenin’s writings attempted, and for bringing to light many facts of Party history concealed by the bureaucrats from the membership.
However it seems that comrade Trotsky is incorrect in designating the struggle between Bucharin and Stalin (and the national groups around them) as one between “Right” and “Centrist” tendencies in the Communist movement. It is in reality a struggle between two forms of the “Right". Both philosophically and politically the conception of a “Centrist” COMMUNIST wing is wrong. Centrism can be used as designating Socialists but not Communists. This was Lenin’s usage of the term. Practically, it gives the illusion that the “Centrists” are more to the “Left” than the “Right” and that “Centrists” ‘are more easily swayed and have no real policy of their own.
19. In the United States, the disintegration of the Communist Party has exposed three groups with definite Right wing tendencies. The putschism of the official Communist Party factionalists is not the wrong estimation of those too impatient and too eager to struggle, but a deliberate make-believe to conceal their utter Right wing bankruptcy. The theory of building socialism in one country, their attitude on colonial questions, their deliberate isolation from the masses, their conception that leaders of a Communist Party can be liars and fakers trying to bluff both Moscow and the membership, and can reach leadership without ever having been called to carry out responsible mass work in a Communist manner before becoming leaders, their violence against Communist groups, these are some of the things that show on what road this clique marches.
The Communist “Majority” group (Lovestone) shows just as bad tendencies. The failure to analyze international questions (China, Russia, etc.), and to link up these questions in the closest degree with questions of the United States; the “Right” line when these questions are approached, the wrong estimation both of the whole present period of post-war capitalism and of the present situation inside and outside the United States and the complete failure to understand the many Right wing mistakes (including the methods of dealing with the Trotsky opposition) that were committed by the leaders of this group as leaders of the Party. These are but part of the evidence to show how firmly rooted the Right tendencies of this group have become.
The Communist league (Opposition) also has shown definite “Right” tendencies. But the Right tendencies have NOT flowed from comrade Trotsky and the International Left Opposition ---now that the true position of the “Trotsky” opposition is known—but are peculiar to its American section. The May 1929 factional platform, the passivity and sectarian leanings, the absolute and complete lack of self-criticism and failure to see that the Cannon faction within the Party was as un-Leninist as any of the others, these defects flowed from the fact that the American section of Left International Opposition was too close to but a reconstituted Cannon faction in the beginning of its formation. However there must be admitted the great service such a faction did render in the publication and popularization of the principles of the Left International Opposition.
The crying need of the hour today, is absolute ideological intransigence, plus the working together of all Communist groups. One of the crassest forms of opportunism was the factional unity attempted in the Party in 1928 (and before) and which was only the obverse side of the unprincipled factionalism that had existed before merely in another form. The correct solution of the momentous questions of the day on the basis of Leninism stand above all questions of formal discipline.
At the same time all Communist groups must work together on the basis of the recognition of the Communist character of each group. The Communist “Majority” opposition group and the Communist League group by working together can help to reestablish mass work and to resist the violent tactics of the Party officialdom. They can help to separate the Communist movement as a whole from the Mensheviks and can deal a death blow to the theory of “fascism” and “social-fascism” thus winning the advanced workers to a Leninist conception of Party democracy. Only such a working together of Communist groups can raise those fundamental principles of Leninist organization that can reconstitute an International of Lenin.
[From The Militant, Vol. III No. 30, 15 September 1930, p. 5 & 8]
A Reply To Comrade Weisbord
The speech of comrade Weisbord at the plenum of the Lovestone faction is significant as an example of a strong trend in the Communist movement to consider again the fundamental principle questions in dispute, and to draw closer to the Marxist standpoint of the Left Opposition. The recent adherence to our group of some of the best militants in the official Party, the winning of a section of the youth comrades who formerly followed the Lovestone group, and the present attitude of comrade Weisbord, for years a supporter of the Lovestone faction,—these are incontestable facts which demonstrate that the Left Opposition in the United States continues to be the rallying banner for ever-increasing numbers of revolutionary Communists.
They are facts which by themselves are sufficient answer to the pitiful declarations in the camp of the Right wing and the Centrists about our “disintegration”, repeated solely for the purpose of retaining domination over militants whom the barrage of anti-"Trotskyism” alone has prevented from endorsing our views.
In this sense, the Communist League of America (Opposition) welcomes the statement of comrade Weisbord. At the same time, it is imperative to indicate some extremely serious defects in it, also typical of a certain confusion that exists in the ranks of many militants who are drawing closer to our point of view. It is not a question here of a number of relatively minor differences of opinion, which are quite admissible within the ranks of the Opposition itself. Nor do we raise the question of criticisms made by comrade Weisbord, which, in any case, can be discussed and solved on the basis of comradely argument and internal democracy. More fundamental questions are involved.
The Need for Clarity
The Communist League is the Left wing of the Communist movement, a faction fighting for the reconstitution of the Communist International on the unshakable foundations of Marx and Lenin which have been systematically undermined by Stalinism. As a faction, its base is necessarily narrower than that of the official Party and its requirements more stringent. Without wasting arguments on the philistine contentions of the Right wing concerning our alleged “sectarianism” (i.e., our insistence upon revolutionary principle), we must establish at all costs a thorough clarity in all fundamental problems of the movement, since without that, it is impossible to point the correct road for the movement and help the revolutionary workers in and around the Communist Party tread this road by unloading their artificially appointed “leaders” and their baggage of pernicious theories. That is why, particularly in the case of Weisbord, a comrade who has occupied prominent posts in the work of American communism and is not in the same position as a new-comer or rank and file worker in the movement, all unclarity and confusion must be energetically opposed.
They exist in Weisbord’s views on the problems of the Indian and Chinese revolutions and the relations of the various groups in the movement. What comrade Weisbord entirely fails to see in connection with the guerilla warfare in China is the character of the period. It is not a question of “right” or “wrong” in the Chinese guerilla warfare, but of what period we are experiencing in China. Neither Stalinism nor the Lovestones recognize that their Menshevik policies during 1925-27 led to the victory of counter-revolution, the recession of the revolutionary wave, and the virtual decapitation of the Communist movement.
Because they consider the defeat of the Chinese revolution as a passing or already passed “episode”, the policy of putschism is systematically advocated or condoned by them. They fail to see the need, particularly now in a period of depression of the workers, of re-awakening them, regrouping them by means of democratic slogans, centering around the demand for a Constituent Assembly. At the same time this cheap “Leftism” is supplemented by the outright Menshevik perspective of the “democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”, i.e., a new Kuo Min Tang scandal, a new Kerenskyism.
It is these questions of strategical and tactical significance that must be decided in the Chinese revolution. Only by establishing a sound foundation on them can the present guerilla warfare be estimated correctly, in its proper place, and not in the ambiguous manner into which comrade Weisbord falls.
An Ambiguous Position on India
The same ambiguity exists in Weisbord’s words on India. Side by side with perfectly correct formulations are to be found perfectly confused ones, particularly of the relations of the proletarian movement with the national bourgeoisie. The primary problem of the Indian revolution is not one of an alliance with the national bourgeoisie, but of how to shatter every bit of faith of the masses in that leadership, how to make them rely upon themselves exclusively, to drive the national bourgeoisie (Ghandism in all shades) relentlessly out of the movement. The native bourgeoisie is the principal brake on the popular masses; it is the last and most substantial prop of British imperialism in India.
The economic and political needs of the native bourgeoisie leads them into a dispute with the British imperialists which “unleashes the energy of the masses". But so did Kerensky “unleash the energy of the masses". And like him, the Ghandists at the same time fetter the energy of the masses. A genuine unleashing—and proper direction—of the energies of the masses can happen only by fighting as mercilessly against the national bourgeoisie and for the independence of the proletariat (which alone enables it to lead behind it the peasantry) as the Bolsheviks fought against the Kerensky and Menshevik compromisers in 1917. This must be repeated and repeated until it penetrates every fiber of the Indian revolutionists.
It is with comrade Weisbord’s proposals on the various groups in the movement that the Left Opposition has its sharpest disagreement. Advocacy of such views by a leading comrade is contrary to all we stand for. “All Communist groups must work together on the basis of the recognition of the Communist character of each group. The Communist ‘Majority’ group and the Communist League group by working together can help re-establish mass work …. they can help to separate the Communist movement as a whole from the Mensheviks”, etc., etc. This is false from beginning to end.
We recognize the Communist character of the Right Wing only insofar as it still groups a number of good Communist workers whom the incompetent Centrist bureaucracy was unable to hold. We contend that the Right wing now occupies a position midway between social democracy (Menshevism) and Communism—not for long, it is true, as is shown by the passage of some of its leading strata directly into the camp of Amsterdam and the international of August 1914.
How can we, the Marxist wing of the movement, unite with this semi-Menshevik wing (a bloc which under present conditions would mean a movement directed against the official Communist movement), in order to “separate” the Communist movement as a whole from the Mensheviks"? How can a bloc with the Right wing “reestablish mass work”, when it is the whole philosophy of the Right wing that has brought the Communist movement into such isolation from the masses (Chinese revolution, British general strike, India, etc., etc.) into opportunist swamps from which Centrism is now trying ineffectively to issue by means of the ultra-Leftist rope?
Road to Ruin, Not to Victory
Such a policy, combined as it is with comrade Weisbord’s entirely false estimate of Centrism (his denial of it, in fact) is the shortest road to destruction for the Left Opposition and a disavowal of its historical function. This is clear from all the experiences of the Opposition in Europe. Our road is not that of Urbahns, Pollack and Paz who only discredited the Opposition and reduced what they controlled to hopeless sects.
On the basis of his present views on a number of vital questions, the national committee has decided that it cannot accept comrade Weisbord for membership in the League. At the same time it expressed the hope and desire that further reflection and discussion would make it possible for comrade Weisbord to find his place as a fighter—and a valuable one—in the ranks of the Opposition. We have welcomed this discussion and the criticisms made by comrade Weisbord, particularly because it offered the opportunity for a recapitulation of our point of view. At the same time, the national committee decided, in view of Weisbord’s closeness to the views of the Opposition, to invite his collaboration in fields of work conforming to his position.
Communist League of America (Opposition)