1. For a New Communist International
2. The Crisis in Cuba
3. The Strike Wave in the New Deal—Sylvia Freeman
4. German Perspectives—by Leon Trotsky
5. “Hot” and “Cold” Fascism
6. Two National Conferences—by Jack Bauer
7. Wilson and Roosevelt—Phil Lewis *********************************************************
FOR A NEW COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL
Since the death of the German Communist Party and the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany, it has become patent to all that the Communist International is dead and that the Left Opposition must take the initiative of building a new Communist International based upon the first four Congress of the Communist International and upon the eleven points of the Preconference theses of the Left Opposition. A Communist International that can organize only disasters and debacles can only be pushed aside as a worthless corpse. The International of Stalin is dead. It has had its August 4th in Germany. Long live the new Communist International of Lenin and Trotsky!
The whole course of events makes the new policy of the Left Opposition extremely timely and necessary. Our orientation towards all honest elements who are really moving to the left in these days of collapse of both the Socialist and Communist Internationals and in the period of the bankruptcy of capitalism, will enable these elements all the more to reach the objective, Communism. On our part supported by the program of Marxism-Leninism, with the experience of the Left Opposition behind us, and the leadership of Comrade Trotsky, we have the best guarantees that we will not succumb to opportunist tendencies, but we will really build an international capable of doing the job of ushering in socialism throughout the world.
The creation of a new Communist International and new Communist Parties throughout the world is the best way to defend the Soviet Union, which in spite of all of the degeneracy of the Stalinist bureaucracy still remains a workers state. The Dictatorship of the proletariat within Russia had given way to a dictatorship of Stalinist bureaucracy over the proletariat, but a dictatorship still operating within the framework of a workers state. It might have been possible to declare two years ago that there was a Communist Party in the Soviet Union. But today it is impossible to say so any longer. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union has been killed by the bureaucratic centrism of Stalinism. To save the Soviet Union, to reinstall the dictatorship of the proletariat we must build a new Bolshevik Party within the Soviet Union.
To build a new Communist International is a tremendous task. The Communist League of Struggle does not shrink from participating in this tremendous task. One of the psychological sources of opportunism is the fear of great tasks, that is the lack of faith in revolutionary possibilities. It has been the aim of our organization all along ruthlessly to eradicate any such fears within our ranks. All along we have fought for the independent activity of the Left Opposition, even when it operated as a faction of the Comintern and when our aim was to reform the Communist Party. It was precisely in this respect that we differed from other Communists who adhered to the views of the Left Opposition. The Communist League of Struggle is well prepared by its past to take the present step forward.
We are printing below a joint Manifesto of great importance to all revolutionary workers throughout the world. This Manifesto is signed by the Secretariat of the International Left Opposition, by the Socialist Labor Party of Germany, by the Revolutionary Socialist Party of Holland and by the Independent Socialist Party of Holland. To this Manisfesto the Communist League of Struggle earnestly subscribes.
The undersigned organizations, with full appreciation of the historic responsibilities which weigh upon them, have agreed to unite their efforts in order to work in common for the regeneration of the revolutionary proletarian movement on an international scale. At the base of their activity they place the following principles:
1. The fatal crisis of imperialist capitalism, which has taken the ground away from reformism (social-democracy, the Second International the reformist trade union bureaucracy) imperiously places before us the task of breaking with reformist policies, and of putting on the order of the day the revolutionary struggle for the conquest of power and for the installation of the dictatorship of the proletariat as the only way for the transformation of capitalist society into socialist society.
2. The task of the proletarian revolution in its very essence, has an international character. The revolutionary part of the proletariat has, however, for its task, in each country where the historic conditions are ripe, to lead the working class to the struggle for power. But the proletariat can construct an accomplished socialist society only on the bases of the international division of labor and of an international collaboration. The signatories therefore resolutely reject the theory of “Socialism in One Country” which saps to the very foundations of proletarian internationalism.
3. The Third International, having arisen from the revolution of October, which posed the fundamental principal in the epoch of imperialism and gave to the world proletariat the first lessons of revolutionary struggle for power fell victim to its servile dependence to the Soviet bureaucracy which degenerated in the spirit of nationalism and of centrism.
4. The offensive of fascism in Germany place the organizations of the working class before the decisive proof. Social-democracy once again confirmed the judgement that Rosa Luxemburg had given it. It showed itself to be but a stinking corpse. To overcome the organizations, the ideas and methods of reformism is one of the indispensable conditions for the victory of the working class over capitalism.
5. The events in Germany have unveiled with equal force the debasement of the third international. This is the result of the radically false policy of the Stalinist bureaucracy. The decisive influence of this bureaucracy upon the Communist International has had for its effect that the Communist International, called to awaken revolutionary forces throughout the entire world had become more and more an obstacle for the world revolutionary movement. In the conditions thus created by the politics of the Communist International, reformism was everywhere bolstered up and a frightful paralysis of action was provoked in the working class.
6. The conditions of world capitalism, the unbearable crisis which throws the masses of people into an unprecedented misery, the revolutionary movements of the oppressed colonial masses, the world danger of fascism, the perspective of a new cycle of wars threatening the destruction of the entire human civilization--such are the conditions which imperiously demand the reassembling of the proletarian vanguard into a new international. The signatories bind themselves to bend all their energies to the end that this international should be formed with the least possible delay upon the unshakable foundations of the theoretical and strategical principles posed by Marx and by Lenin.
7. Ready as they are to collaborate with all the organizations, groups, fractions which evolve really from reformism or from bureaucratic centrism (Stalinism) towards the policy of revolutionary Marxism the undersigned at the same time declare that the new international can not permit any toleration of reformism or centrism. The necessary unit of the working class can not be attained by a mixture of reformist and revolutionary conceptions, by an adaptation to Stalinist politics, but only by surmounting the politics of the two bankrupt internationals. In order to live up to its tasks the new international can not tolerate any deviation from revolutionary principle on the questions of insurrection, of the proletarian dictatorship, of the Soviet form of the State, etc.
8. The U.S.S.R. remains even today, by its social bases, by the dominant form of property, a proletarian State. The defense of the Soviet Union against imperialism and counter revolution from within is inscribed on the banner of the new international as one of its most important tasks.
It is precisely this revolutionary defense of the Soviet Union that places as imperative duty upon us to free the revolutionary forces of the entire world from the pernicious influences of the Stalinist Comintern and to build a new Communist International. It is only by making the international workingmens organization completely independent of the Soviet bureaucracy and by pitilessly unmasking its false methods before the working classes that a victorious defense of the Soviet Union is possible.
9. An indispensable condition for a fundamental development of the revolutionary proletarian parties on a national scale as well as on an international scale is the DEMOCRACY OF THE PARTY. Without the freedom of criticism, of election of functionaries from top to bottom, of control of the apparatus by the membership, there can not be a true revolutionary party. In choking internal democracy, bureaucratic Stalinism has choked the Comintern.
The new international, as well as the parties entering into composition, will therefore have to construct all its internal life upon the basis of DEMOCRATIC CENTRALISM.
10. The undersigned have agreed to create a commission of representatives of all the undersigned parties to the end:
a) Elaboration of a programmatic manifest, charter of the new international.
b) Preparation of a study of the contemporaneous workers movement in all its organizations and all its tendencies.
c) Elaboration of these on all the fundamental questions of revolutionary strategy of the proletariat.
d) Permanent and systematic organization of the preparatory work for a new international; the transmission of the above mentioned material to all the organizations and all the groups bound or sympathizing to the initiators of the conference for the purpose of a fundamental and general discussion of the principles of the new international.
Secretariat, International Left Opposition
Socialist Labor Party of Germany
Revolutionary Socialist Party of Holland
Independent Socialist Party of Holland
Machado has been kicked out. De Cespedes has been kicked out. Grau San Martin is on the road to being kicked out. With lightening speed the Cuban Revolution has moved rapidly to the left. It has accomplished within the space of a few weeks what it took months and even years to accomplish in th Spanish revolution. Marx has well said revolutions are the locomotive of history. In the case of the Cuban Revolution it is a locomotive of the highest speed.
The speed and violence of the Cuban Revolution is easily explained by the class relations in Cuba. Once the terror of Machado has been broken there exist no strong internal force capable enough to curb the masses. The United States (acting through Welles) together with a section of the Cuban Bourgeoisie tried to set up a De Cespedes regime that in no way bettered Machado. However, De Cespedes, resting entirely upon the officers of the army and the bourgeois S.S. and Cuban cliques, soon was ousted by the students and soldiers.
On the surface of things it appears that the students and petty bourgeoisie are taking the leadership. But this is not really the foundation of the revolution. It was the general strike of the workers that accomplished the overthrow of the Machado regime. And it is now that the workingclass is showing ever more plainly that it and it alone must lead the revolution onward not only through the democratic stage but to the socialist stage, to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The soldiers have overthrown the officers. The officers are locked up in a hotel. They complain that discipline no longer exists in the army. New officers are being selected from the soldiers themselves (from the sergeants). But the soldiers are intimately associated with the masses of people. Greater and greater is the fraternization between the soldiers and the masses. It is precisely this that marks the difference between the soldier and the policemen. The soldier can be won over. He comes from and is part of the people. Not so the despicable, debased police. The revolutionaries instinctively understood this and have wrought great revenge upon the former Machadist police, who now hide in terror from the wrath of the people.
Already there has taken place a differentiation of forces. There is no doubt that the ABC, the party of revolutionary republicans, will split into a right and left wing. The right wing already showed some inclination to the De Cespedes regime. They wanted a dictatorial regime controlled by the bourgeoisie and the big property interests. The left wing wants a republic and immediate elections. There is no doubt also that within this petty bourgeois left wing there will take place a further differentiation, with a still smaller wing allying itself for a time with the mass of workers and calling for some sort of social reforms for the hitherto neglected and inarticulate toilers of Cuba. But this can come about only if the workingclass presses forward its own demands and raises its own banner.
The workers have already made great gains. The hitherto illegal trade unions have sprung into full like. The workers are accomplishing veritably miracles of organization. The union halls are armed with the guns seized in spite of the ABC. Great strikes have taken place. The workers have improved their conditions enormously and their demands grow bolder and bolder. At every step the petty bourgeois regime shows its futility and helplessness in dealing with the workers. In the countryside the agrarian workers are seizing the large estates and taking the foodstuffs for their own use.
The Cuban Revolution has already reached the position of a dual power existing within the country. The governmental regime of itself can not control the situation. It must look to the trade unions where the real power resides. Unfortunately, as in Spain so in Cuba the trade unions are infested with anarcho syndicalist, who slay the game of the “radical ABC and inform the workers that they must not try to seize state power, that they must not take command of the situation themselves but play a secondary role to the petty bourgeoisie.
In the light of the above situation what are the tasks of the hour?
1. The slogan of the soviets must be raised and soviets must actually be set up. Of course we do not mean that the Russian word “Soviets” must necessarily be employed. What we do mean is that the trade union must take the initiative to set up revolutionary Juntas made up of workers, peasants and soldiers deputies that will begin to take power in their own hands. It would be the greatest mistake for the workers to delay in building up soviets. It would be the greatest crime for the workers not to rely on their own forces but on such groups as the phrasemongering students or petty bourgeois radicals of the ABC.
2. The workers must begin to fight the sabotage of the capitalists and property owners. Not only must they demand free elections but they must answer all the counter revolutionary elements with the slogan “Arm the people". The trade union members and other workers must be armed. There must be a complete fraternization of the trade unions and the army. A new national guard must be set up in which every worker must play an active part. Every toiler with a rifle. Every toiler registered in the national guard. The national guard under the direct control of the soviets and trade unions. The national guard electing its own officers. The old regular army disbanded and fused with the national guard. All those in the national guard paid the regular trade union wages, this is the most important task before the Cuban working class at the present time.
3. The Cuban toilers and revolutionary Juntas must demand a vigorous prosecution of the struggle against those still fighting the Revolution. The officers must all be arrested and severely punished for their rebellion. The property of all the former Machadistas and the other rebels must be seized and confiscated. The country estates must be taken and the demands of the agrarian toilers satisfied. A whole program of agrarian reform must be laid out and carried out with the promptest despatch.
4. The workers must begin to raise demands in their own interests. It is not enough to fight for the eight hour day. Complete social insurance must be demanded, a social insurance that will guarantee to the workers a decent minimum standard of living whether they are employed of temporarily unemployed. The sabotage and lockouts of the employers must be met with the control by the workers over all production.
There is no question but such a line of conduct must lead to American intervention. The United Stated can no more lose Cuba than Great Britain can lose Ireland or Japan Formosa. The situation that then shapes itself in Cuba is a sort of enlarged Paris Commune. Against the foreign intervention of Yankee Imperialism the workers will have to mobilize the whole available population. The petty bourgeoisie will try to welch from the battle; the bourgeoisie will go over to the side of the U.S. But the toilers of Cuba can yet make a brilliant fight of it. If a real national guard has been formed and well armed, if the trade unions call all their men to the colors, if a real dictatorship of the proletariat is set up in the course of the fight, Yankee imperialism will have a hard time. The Chinese workers in the Chapei district of Shanghai have shown the world how difficult it was for Japanese imperialism to take a working class section. It would be the same in Havana. Not only in Havana but also in the interior the workers would be able to give a good account of themselves. It would take more than the marines corps to subdue the 4,000,000 thoroughly aroused Cubans. It would take the full strength of the whole U.S. National Army and Navy as now constituted to carry on the fight.
The Cuban situations can not be divorced from the masses in Mexico and Central and South America who look upon the “Prussian of the North” with the greatest hatred and bitterness. The Cuban toilers may well call on the Latin American people for help in their hour of need. The invasion of Cuba can stir up a hornets nest that may well make America think twice. We, the workers inside of the U.S. must redouble our efforts to support the Cuban revolution and to defeat the machinations of the U.S. government. Unfortunately, far too little has be done by the radical movement in this country as yet. It shows how much of imperialist beasts we still are.
In all of these struggles of course the essential need is a Party a Party and again a Party. It is impossible to expect anything from the Stalinists of Cuba except the repetition of the same errors that brought the Chinese Revolution and the German revolutionary movement to disaster. The task of building a genuine Communist Party in Cuba becomes one of extraordinary difficulty. The views of the Left Opposition must be spread and a real Communist organization following the line of Lenin and Trotsky built up.
The Cuban Crisis shows us that the absolute law of capitalism still remains the law of uneven development. In Europe there has been the collapse of the revolutionary forces and the victory of Fascism. One might think that this would apply in a straight line all over the world. But as a matter of fact in other parts of the world there has been a movement of the masses to the left and the reactionary forces have been overcome for the while. The outstanding example of this at present is Cuba. The Cuban masses show that the battle is not entirely one sided; that not only the forces of Fascism but the forces of the proletariat are girding themselves for the great international battle between Communism and Fascism that is now looming on the immediate horizon.
Everywhere we see a rapid spread of militant strike struggles and the movements of the masses gaining in momentum. Thousands of workers have been set into motion fighting against the unbearable conditions which are being intensified still further under Roosevelt’s New Deal. Already the Monthly Labor Review reports an increase of 100% in the number of strikes in May over those in April, with 300% more workers involved. The most conservative comparisons indicate a tremendous upheaval. From January to July, 1933, 552 strikes were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as compared to 452 strikes for the same period of the preceding year. In fact, not since 1926 have there been so many strikes reported for this period. In the period after the first blow in 1929 the workers were overwhelmed by the suddenness and intensity of the crisis. They were abandoned and left alone without an organized leadership. The result was a great drop in the number of strikes. But now we see the workers recovering and fighting back. This fact bears out Comrade Trotsky’s prediction that it is possible that the workers would begin to rise when there came a temporary lull in the crisis.
The bourgeois press recognize the widespread increase and states that “Labor Problems Are Increasingly Irritating". The Daily News Record of the textile industry is annoyed to note that whereas in 1932 only 92 textile strikes were reported, already in August 1933 the workers have participated in at least 175 textile strikes in all parts of the country from Louisiana to Vermont. Nor are these strikes movements of small groups only. It is true that hundreds of small strikes have acted as sharp pin pricks in the hi.es of boss class. But at the same time great masses of workers have begun to stir. We have already seen this year the Illinois strike of 60,000, the Brockton and other shoe strikes of 50,000, the strike of Cleaners and Dyers of 10,000, the strike of 15,000 agricultural laborers in California, the strike of 25,000 Underwear workers, and 10,000 neckwear workers, the strike of 15,000 miners lead by the Progressive Miners Union. A huge strike of painters is imminent. Compare with this crushing number the record of the past few years:
STRIKES INVOLVING MORE THAN 100,000 WORKERS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Even the “small” strikes have amounted to 100,000 workers in New York City alone at one time.
Many sections of the masses have been drawn in. In St. Louis and Chicago the Negro women formed the spearhead of the strike. In Monroe, Michigan, 1200 Negro and white workers of the Newton Steel Co., acting in the greatest solidarity, won their demands after a three day strike. In the Needle Trades strikes, women and youth made up a large number of the strikers. More than one-fifth of the workers in the clothing industry are children under 16 years. Thus in June we saw the brave struggle of the child workers in Allentown, Pa. Against the sweatshop conditions in the clothing industry. No part of the country remains untouched. The strikes involve all layers of society. Whereas in the first years of the crisis, 85% of the strikes took place in the needle, textile, building and mining industries, today every industry (except steel and building) is affected. In St. Louis 900 barge men strike. 5000 fishermen in Seattle win their fight for higher wages. The cannery workers express their solidarity with 10,000 fishermen in Astoria, Oregon, and strike in sympathy with them. Several thousand workers in the Vermont quarries strike against wage-cuts. Doll workers, shoe workers, longshoremen, printers, unemployed, agricultural workers, miners, metal workers, the strikes embrace all kinds of trades. Various movements of the petty bourgeoisie and non-proletarian elements have occurred. All over the country the farmers’ strikes have demonstrated the class connection between the agrarian and the industrial crisis. Movements of the home-owners, veterans, white-collar workers have been set in motion by the struggles of the proletariat.
It is important to note also that many of these strikes are spontaneous in nature, breaking out from the increased misery and the developing radicalization of the workers. The sectarianism of the TUUL resulting in its insolation from the broad strata of the workers, the inability of the Communists to penetrate the masses, or to fold and to educate the workers which are lead by them, has brought about an unusual growth of the independent union. The formation of the Progressive Miners union, the National Shoe Union, and hundreds of similar unions were formed, for one thing, because the Party failed to root itself in the masses, basing itself rather upon a paper membership, on forming unions which were simply pitiful caricatures of itself. The failure of the Party to have a perspective to see the rise of the workers’ struggles is another piece of damning evidence of the growing gap between the leadership and the masses.
Despite the obstacles which stood in the way of the workers the influence of the reformists and the A.F. of L., a mass unemployment, the insignificance of the TUUL, the strike-breaking role of the NRA, and the illusions connected with Roosevelt’s promise of “better times are coming"-despite these we find a growing strike movement broad in scope, both as to industry and to locality. Wherein lies the significance of this? In the fact that they point out to us the mass struggle ahead and that they are the expression of the developing fighting spirit and desire for unity of the workers.
The growing radicalization of the workers has its foundations in the structure of capitalism itself.
First, in the past four years of the crisis there has been a steady battering down of the wages of the workers, and increase in the sweatshop conditions and rationalization existing in industry. It is well-known, for instance, that during the crisis there has been an increase of workers between the ages of 16 and 17 who work, in many places 55 hours a week, for as little as $2 to $3. The Bureau of Labor Statistics admits that there has been an increase in low paid piece work especially where low paid workers (women, children, Negroes) are concerned. This is true not only in the industrial states, but also in the beet fields of the West where agriculture has taken on the aspects of factory work. These conditions have their repercussions in the desperate determination of the workers to fight, even when faced with the loss of their jobs. Improved technique in industry under capitalism causes both speedup and increased unemployment. It is precisely in times of crisis that rationalization increases. The American Wool and Cotton Reporter of September 7, 1933 states that under the NIRA in order to bring about “lower payroll expenditure”, the need for “efficient machinery” is greater than ever. “Latest model, most productive machinery must be utilized now. Old obsolete equipment must be thrown out…And that the industry is acting along its line is proven by the fact that all of the textile machinery builders are busy.” The following table from the Monthly Labor Review on the productivity of workers is eloquent enough:
1913 = 100 1928 -------------- 131.0 1929 (peak year)—134.3 1930 -------------- 140.2 1931 -------------- 146.8
The table is sustained by the reports from the workers themselves. A worker in the Piedmont Manufacturing Co., runs 118 looms. Already he has had two nervous breakdowns. This is cited as a typical case.
In the bituminous coal industry, an industry choked with its own contradictions of overcapacity, loss of markets to other fuels, competition, etc. there has been a mad race in the technological improvements. In the Union Pacific Coal. Co., mechanically loaded coal has increased from 4% to 80% in one year, Machine cutters, mechanized loaders, power drills, liquid oxygen explosive, to increase the productivity of the workers, glut the already overloaded market, and at the same time throw out thousands of workers from their jobs. But within the anarchy of the process awakens the consciousness of the worker, anxious to unite in his class fight.
Second, prices have skyrocketed tremendously in the past few months. Every commodity show a steep rise. Figures for July and August would indicate a continued increase:
Feb.1933 May 1933 June 1933 Farm Products 40.9 50.2 53.2 Foods 53.7 59.7 61.2 Leather goods 68.2 76.9 82.4 Textile products 51.2 55.9 61.5
The standard of living of the workers, already brought down by a whole series of wage cuts, during four years of the crisis, is slashed still further by the inflationary policy of the Roosevelt regime. The experience of the crisis is leading its traces on the masses in the form of a growing radicalization. The ever increasing number of strikes indicate that the workers are beginning to answer the attack against their living standards; it show the desire for unity and the growth of a fighting spirit on the part of the workers.
Lastly, the nature of the Roosevelt regime must be considered as a cause of the rising strike wage. “Economics and politics are closely connected. This connection becomes especially evident in the epochs as the present. There is not a single important question of political life which does not concern not only the labor party, but the trade union, and vice versa.” This statement of the Third World Congress of the Communist International is especially applicable now, when, under the NRA every strike becomes a political struggle; when the workers must present his demands for higher wages, etc., to his boss who is in partnership with the state.
The illusions created by Roosevelt’s ballyhoo are being gradually shattered, and his record seen as one attack after another. At the same time that the government cries for a navy “second to none” and grants new subsidies to the capitalists, the workers have seen the establishment of a one dollar a day wage in the reforestation camps. They have seen the closing of the banks and the loss of their tiny savings. The $500,000,000 slash in the veterans’ allowances and the 15% cut in the wages of the government employees have not slipped past their eyes. The sharpening of the international situation, the deepening of the crisis at home and the necessity of blocking the workers efforts against unemployment, wage-cuts, inflation, and speed-up, has resulted in the introduction of the National Industrial Recovery Act.
The NIRA stands opposed to strikes brazenly, without any subterfuge. Yet at the same time that the NRA acts to break strikes, we see the surge and swell of the workers’ movements. At the time that the NRA seeks to outlaw strikes, general strikes are called which unite the workers of an industry into a mighty force. The great mass pressure is all around us. Right now the time is ripe for workers to join hands in their struggles. Only the khvostism of the Party prevents a linking up of these general strikes into one big general strike of limited duration to force social and unemployment insurance. We can have only contempt for a Party so bankrupt that when the masses are striking spontaneously, it can only limp behind vainly trying to breathe into itself the life and vigor of these strikes, we say, unequivocally, that the slogan of the general strike of limited duration is on the order of the day. The Communist Party is too lame to lead the workers. The workers rush forward over and past the Party.
The growing strike wave is evidence to the fact that many of the workers look past the NRA in fighting for conditions. The strike is their weapon for forcing demands from the bosses’ grip. Nevertheless, we must see that the vast majority of the workers still have illusions about the NRA. But in looking to the NRA the workers are looking to the state. They are becoming political-minded. As the workers see the whip lifted by the state acting for the bourgeoisie, as the workers see the gradual paralysis of their independent organizations, as the smiling mask of the NRA is ripped away and its real fascist nature revealed, when the pretty soap bubbles vanish then the economic strikes will become political strikes. Then the strikes will be blows against the NRA which placed such heavy burdens on the working masses.
After a conflagration it is difficult to settle down again; it is still harder to determine your new path after a great political downfall. A political party admits its defeat unwillingly, especially when it is itself in great part responsible to that defeat. The greater the defeat, the harder it is for the political mind to adjust itself, to establish a new perspective in order to work out the direction and tempo for further activity.
The history of wars and revolutionary struggles contains numerous examples of unnecessary defeats that were caused by the leadership not recognizing the seriousness of a fundamental defeat, but instead trying to cover it with temporary, futile attacks. In war new attacks often lead to the destruction of active military forces who have already been demoralized from past failures. In the revolutionary struggle the most vigorous and eager elements who have already been torn from the masses through past defeats, are sacrificed to adventurism.
The decision and determination to carry through an attack to the very end- the ability to recognize a defeat at the right time and to prepare the defense, these are two inseparable parts of a correct and mature strategy. Such a combination is seldom found. After every great defeat of the Revolution at least a part of the leadership continued to call for the attack in spite of the changed situation. After the revolution of 1848 Marx and Engels cut themselves loose from those immigrants who looked upon the defeat merely as an accidental episode. After the 1905 Revolution Lenin was forced to break with those comrades who continued to call for the armed uprising. The quality of the Marxist school of revolutionary realism consists mainly in the ability to prepare for every turn of events.
The present catastrophe in Germany is doubtless the most significant defeat in the history of the working class. There is a pressing need for a sharp change of strategy but the Stalinist bureaucracy persists along the same course. It calls “defeatists” not those who brought about the defeat, but those who from the established fact of the defeat draw the necessary conclusions. The fight over the perspectives of the political development of Germany contains extraordinary significance for the fate of Europe and the whole world.
In this connection we may leave the Social Democracy aside. Its treachery doesn’t even leave it the possibility of maneuvering for bureaucratic prestige. Its leaders never dared to do that which they had planned. After losing their heads politically they are now mainly worried about saving them physically. They have prepared their disgraceful defeat with their entire political course since the beginning of the Imperialist War. The attempt of the withering directorate to rescue the party from abroad, is doomed in advance: in the dangerous underground struggle no revolutionary will want to work under the leadership of exposed bankrupts. Once aroused, the political mind in the ranks of the Social Democracy will break new pathways. But for the time being this is music of the future.
Political interests now demand a free orientation to the Communist Party; As a mass organization it is completely destroyed. Still the Central apparatus maintains itself, distributes illegal and immigrant literature, calls Anti-Fascist Congresses and produces plans for the struggle against Nazi dictatorship. All the crimes of the defeated staffs find an unrivaled expression in this apparatus.
“The Fascists are kings for a day”, writes the official organ of the Comintern, “their victory is a short measured one, and in its wake will follow the proletarian revolution—the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat stands in Germany on the order of the day.” Continually drawing back, giving up all positions, losing their own followers—notwithstanding all this the Apparatus announces that the Anti-Fascist wave is rising, that voices are being raised, that it is necessary to prepare for the insurrection—if not tomorrow, in a few months. By this optimistic Phraseology the defeated leading staff encourages itself. The danger of this false optimism becomes all the greater the more the inner life of the German Proletariat is submerged in darkness. Neither facts nor statistics control the false political conclusions or disturb the peace of the Stalinist bureaucracy.
For proof of their comforting prognosis the Stalinists rely on the fact that Hitler “will not keep his promises". As if Mussolini had to fulfill his fantastic program in order to maintain power for over ten years! The Revolution is no automatic punishment of deceivers, but a complicated phenomenon which comes about only through the existence of a series of definite historic conditions. We know them well enough: no way out for and dismemberment of the ruling classes, rebellion of the petit bourgeoisie which has lost faith in the existing order, growing rebelliousness on the part of the working class, and last, a correct policy of the revolutionary party—these are the necessary political prerequisites for the Revolution. Are they present?
The possessing classes of Germany found themselves, during the last year, in a condition of the sharpest dissension. Today they all support even though with heavy hearts—Fascism. The antagonisms between the different industrial elements, as well as between the different industrials groups, is not settled; but it is a good example of the dictatorship which rules all antagonisms.
During the last period the German petit bourgeoisie steamed like a kettle. But at the same time there was an element of social danger in the fact that it was demoniacally possessed of a spirit of nationalism. Today it has gathered itself around a regime that has risen on its back; it is held in check by a military force which comes our of its very heart. The middle classes are to be the main mercenaries of the regime. The conclusion is clear: as far as the great and petit bourgeoisie are concerned the preconditions for a revolutionary outburst no longer exist.
In the case of the working class the catastrophe is no less significant. In the course of a few months it showed itself, because of the blunders of the leadership, incompetent to defend its powerful legal position before the attack of the Counter-Revolution. Now, on the day after the breakdown, it is still less ready for an attack on the powerful legal position of National Socialism. The material and moral factors have changed sharply, completely—and unfavorably—the strength of the proletariat. Must one still prove this? The Communist Mass Party is no longer in existence; its leadership is exiled, jailed or killed; and the Apparatus stifles all criticism. What, therefore, does it mean that, “the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat is on the order of the day"? What can one understand here by the term “day"?
It is not difficult to foresee the sincere as well as the hypocritical “unmasking” of our pessimism: lack of faith in the creative strength of the Revolution, etc. Cheap approaches! We know as well as anybody that Fascism represents a historically lost cause. Its methods can bring about only unstable results. One can overthrow dead classes only with the help of force. But the proletariat is the main productive force of society. For a time it can be defeated. Forever to enslave it is impossible. Hitler promised to “train” the workers. But he is forced to introduced a pedagogical dexterity which is worthless even for the training of dogs. Against the irreconcilable enmity of the workers Fascism will unavoidable break its head. But how and when? A general historical perspective does not answer the burning question on the political horizon: what are we to do now—and especially what are we to discontinue doing—in order to prepare and accelerate the smashing of National Socialism.
Counting upon the immediate revolutionary effect of Fascist repressions and material privations presents a very good example of vulgar historical materialism. Of course, “existence determines consciousness". But that does not mean the mechanical and immediate dependence of the consciousness upon superficial circumstances. Being changes into consciousness following the laws of consciousness. Similar objective facts can produce different, and often contradictory, results—depending upon general conditions and preceding events. So in the course of human development repressions often call forth revolutionary uprisings. But after a victory of the Counter-Revolution repressions often blow out the last flickering of protest. A domestic crisis is capable of accelerating the revolutionary explosion, and this has happened in history more than once; but should it break out after a severe political defeat of the proletariat, then the crisis can only strengthen the phenomena of decay. Concretely expressed: we cannot expect immediate revolutionary conclusions for Germany because of the deepening and sharpening of the industrial crisis. Indeed it can give a longer life and preponderance to the opportunist streams within the proletariat. But after a long period of crisis and reaction the contradictions can mount to such a Konjunctur which will arouse the workers to action and push them on the road to struggles. We hold such a variant to be more likely from many points of view.
(To be continued)
When most people conceive of fascism they conceive of it solely in the Italian style. There is a march on Rome, there is open civil war during which the fascists club, burn and murder their way into power, etc. If this actually did happen in Italy this was due to the fact that the workers had already seized the factories but due to their blunders and immaturity had not been able to seize and hold power. The result was that they were able to convulse and paralyze the country but not able to solve the problems before them. In such a period the bourgeoisie, white with fear and hysteria, are yet given the opportunity for mobilization of their forces and unification of their ranks against the threat of the red terror. It was in such a hotbed of passions that Fascism a la Mussolini was born.
However it would be a great mistake to conceive that Fascism must come about only in this way. The example of Germany shows us 1. First, that the bourgeoisie does not have to wait until the workers are actually in motion. It is sufficient for fascism to rear its head if there is the DANGER of the workers actually seizing power, if there is the DANGER of a revolutionary situation approaching. 2. Second, that if the situation warrants it, fascism can come not only from “below,” not only through the mechanism of mass party, program, street violence, etc but also from “above”, from the gradual fascisation of government coinciding with the fascist movement from “below". It is this second method of bringing fascism into existence that we can contrast as “cold” fascism in opposition to the “hot” fascism in Italy.
If we examine the European political situation as it is today, we can state it is the “cold” method of fascism that will appear everywhere. This has been true in regard to Austria. The Austrian situation differs radically from the German in this respect that in Austria the workers have not threatened to seize power. There has been no internal revolutionary situation as there was in Germany. The workers in Austria have been thoroughly paralyzed by the opiates of the Socialist Party. The Communist Party had never been more than a ridiculous sect. Austria itself, bolstered up by the international bourgeoisie, a pawn in the struggle between Germany and France, certainly had no fear of the proletarian dictatorship. Rote Wien was of that pale yellow variety which is quite content with beer, pretzels, whipped cream and cooperative houses. Nevertheless the Nazis, torn as they have been between their loyalties to the house of Hapsburg and the House of Hohenzollerns are making steady progress and Dollduss represents that bonapartist regime that is preparing the way for fascism “coldly,” gradually. There is taking place, as we have shown in the last issue of the Class Struggle, (see International Notes) a steady fascination of the Austrian regime. One thing is clear: Up to now we have believed that fascism comes about because the workers within the country are threatening to seize power. Austria shows us that the threat need not be within the country; it is enough if the line-up between capital and labor internationally is reaching a crucial point for the countries which stand in the direct path of struggle and that represent weak links in the capitalist chain to turn to fascism.
Let us summarize: In Italy fascism arose after the workers took to the streets; in Germany it rose when there were only THREATENING to take to the streets; in Austria, when there was only the POSSIBILITY of such action due to international events, but more immediately due to the necessity of fascism to clear the arena internationally and to prepare the attack against the Soviet Union. In Germany and Austria, then, it was natural that “cold” fascism should play a considerable role.
But fascism cannot rest with a conquest of Mittell Europa. It must begin to penetrate with its philosophy, the capitalist countries of the entire world. If it begins with agrarian second-rate countries, it soon continues with industrial countries (countries defeated in the last world war) and will end up as a force in the leading industrial victorious imperialist powers of the earth. The twentieth century will witness the titanic struggle of two vast political forces, fascism and communism for world supremacy.
Already, even in England, we see the beginnings of fascism both from the “top” in the form of the “national” government and from “below” in the formation of fascist mass movements. The great British General Strike of 1926 was a warning which the bourgeoisie never forgot of what the labor movement in Great Britain could do. The mutiny in the fleets the rising discontent, the disillusionment of the workers with capitalist promises and the general swing to the left (witness the attempts of the I.L.P. to join the Communist International) are further signals which the ruling class in the “tight little isles” are not ignoring.
Not only in England but also in the United States we see the germs of fascism in the Roosevelt regime (especially illustrated in the National Industrial Recovery Act) The NRA is not merely “accelerated State capitalism". It is State capitalism with definite fascist forms. There has been a good deal of vacillation in the ranks of the radical movement as to whether Roosevelt is actually moving in the direction of fascism. The Herbergs of the Lovestone group who know their Marxism as others memorize the multiplication table, believe that fascism cannot arise without a strong labor movement threatening the capitalist class of that country. Such a view gives the most dangerous illusions to the working class and is based upon a totally false conception of the present situation in America and throughout the world.
In the first place, the case of Austria shows that we must look at the international situation and not merely limit ourselves to the confines of one country alone. If the struggle internationally is reaching its highest pitch, if fascism in order to hurl itself against international communism must clear the hinterland from all its enemies, then fascism may come about in a particular country, even though the workers are not threatening to take power there. It is characteristic of the Lovestonites that they view politics nationally only.
In the second place, the employers have learned something from the struggles of the past. They will mobilize their forces now without waiting for the workers to attempt to seize power. They will mobilize their forces even when there is the PROBABILITY or the DANGER that the workers may move to insurrection. In the present tenseness of world relationships, in the present period of sudden and violent economic and political fluctuations, the employers would be fools not to be prepared for any sudden political onslaught that may affect their power.
It is true that fully developed fascism would not arise without the fear on the part of the ruling class that their power would be lost. But we have never said that Roosevelt represents fully developed fascism. We say that Roosevelt is laying the basis for Bonapartism on the road to fascism; that we have at present the signs of fascist tendencies the germs of fascism. He who does not see this is either a fool or a knave. Certainly the Stalinites in the past have made a ridiculous caricature of political analysis. They have called everybody indiscriminately fascist. But the fact that Stalinism did not know the difference between fascism and democracy does not mean that when fascism is really on the way the true Communists should not issue the call of warning in time. It is one thing to cry “wolf” when there is no wolf, it is another thing to cry wolf when the wolf is not yet in the fold but far off on the hilltop. It is too late to declare, after fascism is already here, that fascism is here. In the present period of world affairs especially, it is our duty to get the scent of the animal when it is still far off and to prepare to meet the wolf of fascism in time. In this we show that we do not kowtow to the events after they take place but know how to understand the laws of motion of capitalist society and to understand in what direction we are moving.
The Lovestonites have no faith in the masses. They do not believe that in America we have the potentialities for deep-going and general radicalization. They do not believe that America is at a great turning point of its history, that its politics are undergoing a “Europeanization” and that class lines are openly beginning to appear in the American horizon. They do not understand that in the third decade of the 20th century these class lines will follow the battle line of either Fascism or Communism and that middle lines will be wiped out. Hand in hand with their failure to see that the American masses are awakening, that they are moving in a collectivist spirit and that 19th century individualism is more and more disappearing, hand in hand with their failure to see the enormous revolutionary possibilities in the class relationships in America at present, goes the Lovestonite view that the germs of fascism will not appear in a situation where there are the potentialities for sudden and deep-going radicalization.
It is for this reason too that the Lovestonites oppose our slogan for a general strike of limited duration for social and unemployment insurance as being premature. They believe that the masses are not ready for this slogan, that the workers are docile and servile and that America will get out of the crisis to rise to new peaks of prosperity never reached before. We, on the other hand, take the completely opposite position. To us there is a great potentiality of radicalization of the masses; in this period the slogan of a general strike to compel Congress to act would meet with great response; the employers understand well the dangers of the present situation for them and are meeting these dangers with the beginnings of fascism which alone can get them out of the world menace of Communism.
Let us now make a final summary: Where the workers have struck there we have “hot” fascism (Italy); where the workers were preparing to strike we have the combination of “hot” and “cold” facscism (Germany and this is true even though the struggle is not yet within that country but must involve that country (Austria). Where the workers are moving to the left and there is the possibility of the workers being radicalized suddenly and acting in their own behalf there we have the germs of fascism and fascist tendencies both from “above” through the beginnings of the fascisation of the apparatus of government, and from “below” through the foundation and emergence of mass fascist parties (England) America limping as usual after England shows the same tendencies but at present more from the top (Roosevelt) than from the bottom (khaki shirts, Ku Klux Klan, etc.) ********************************************************
(Ed. Note: the present article while signed by Comrade Bauer is the joint product of comrade Weisbord and Comrade Bauer who were present at both conventions.)
Within the space of about a week two national labor conferences were held: One at Cleveland (August 26-27) to Defend the Trade Unions and another at Chicago (Sept.2-3) for the formation of a Labor Party. Both were miserable comic fiascos. In both cases there were the anxious little clicques, vaguely sensing the coming of the class storms around them peering out from their respective hiding places to see weather the working class was there, hiding their disappointments with brave words and double-strength back-slapping.
I. THE CLEVELAND CONFERENCE
Here was a conference in which the Communist Party and the Conference for Progressive Labor Action tried hard to capture each other and only succeeded in imprisoning each other. The conference itself showed how the Stalinites had degenerated. If in 1931 Browder was hollering “capture the streets, kill the social-fascists". By 1933 there was nothing to capture for the party, except the “Social-Fascist” Muste and even this could not be done. If in 1929 the TUUL could be launched with tens of hundreds of delegates and a very rosy future, by 1933 the question was insidiously raised of liquidating the TUUL entirely before a delegation that at no time numbered more than 350 delegates present. Enough is said when we say that Stachel was the chief reporter.
There was no one there besides the Communist Party and the CPLA. From the point of view of the CPLA it was a united front from above from the point of view of the Party it was the old united front from below. Muste and the others of the CPLA had had their conferences with the leading party committees. They had reached their understandings. When the delegates of the Communist League of Struggle arrived on the scene the CPLA joined hands with the Party in excluding them (for it would break up the existing agreements, it would throw a monkey wrench into the existing pacts which were to be drawn up) In their efforts to capture the Party the CPLA wanted no Left Opposition issues raised. On the other hand from the point of view of the Communist Party, their leaders had decided no political organizations would be allowed but only trade union bodies and umemployed groups. Muste spoke for the teachers union but not as a politician. It was the “new deal” method of the Stalinites to get a united front “from below” to get the mass organizations without getting theoretical opposition. Alas for the Stalinites, the only “below” they got was their own paper organizations and those of Muste. One must admit that they had sunk low indeed to get this “below” The A.F. of L. locals were conspicuous by their absence.
In fact the Stalinites have definitely given up the hope of ever getting AFL locals to their conferences. The call itself called on the AFL central bodies to attack the AFL central leaders. The hall was plastered with signs attacking the AFL itself. The real purpose of the conference was to try to get Muste into the TUUL and so to “broaden” the TUUL. Muste, on the other hand, playing the game like the ILP in Great Britain, was quite coquettish, quite willing to be courted but made only one condition--the TUUL should be liquidated as a base and a new center set up, in which the CPLA could really get a “new deal". Sadly the Stachels and the Browders declared they could not agree to such a line, that if the CP and the CPLA were to lie down side by side, the CPLA must lie inside the belly of the CP.
During the general discussion Gerry Allard, long time member of the Communist League of America who is now with Muste, played a particularly compromising role. He praised the party fakers, he praised the Muste leaders, he allowed Stachel to put his arm around him on the platform and in return beamed and glowed all over in his speeches, to the effect that “Bother Weistock” was a great militant, “Brother Stachel” could not be blamed for the debacle of the National Miners Union, that generally he took off his hat to the TUUL for the great step forward they were just making. Taking off his hat to Muste, taking off his hat to Stachel, poor Gerry Allard--well meaning but befuddled mine worker stood gyrating on the platform now to the right, now to the left, each time moving in narrower and narrower circles.
As in the New York City Conference, the Cleveland National Conference was called for the express purpose of fighting the N.R.A. a political measure containing the germs of fascism. And yet political parties were excluded from the call. Our comrades (according to the unanimous report of the Credentials Committee) were not even allowed to be seated as fraternal delegates. In this way the Communist Party commits suicide. It tells the workers that it cannot enter into their day to day struggles and leaves a tremendously important task of fighting fascism to a primitive organization like the trade union.
But a very significant thing happened in this respect. Before the Sunday afternoon session we had passed out a leaflet containing our criticism of the conference and program. This leaflet showed clearly the necessity of allowing political groups to be represented. At that very same session Earl Browder was forced to come out and speak for the Communist Party in spite of the fact that political parties were barred. Like a typical Stalinite bureaucrat Browder stressed the importance of criticism and impressed the delegates with the fact that the CP always welcomes and encourages criticism. Yet Comrade Browder cannot be unaware of the fact that the members of the CLS were attacked while distributing leaflets and some of them torn up. He also forgot how one of our comrades had been elected a delegate from local 2-3 of the Workers Committee of Unemployed but the Communist Party controlled executive of that local brazenly denied the election and appointed one of their own instead.
Our analysis of the Roosevelt regime as one having Fascist tendencies was not accepted at the New York Conference and was barely mentioned by only one of the speakers there. But at this conference the word “fascism” was very conspicuous. Mother Bloor, Budenz and Muste spoke of the Fascist attacks of Roosevelt. Not only that but the resolution speaks of the N.R.A. developing into a fascist attack on the trade unions and draws an analogy between this and the actions of Hitler. If this is so then all the more reason why political parties should be represented at such a conference. But neither Muste nor the CP have any clear analysis of these fascist tendencies. Events have reached the stage where they must recognize them, however, just as Browder was forced to conduct and speak in the name of the communist Party. But both are done in such a way as to hamper real action. Their use of the term fascist does not lead to a definite program of action and Browder’s speaking as a Communist was done in a bureaucratic fashion; no other political groups being present (with the exception of the CPLA) and no representative workers to choose among them.
As for a revolutionary program of action, there simply wasn’t any. Amter demanded a “struggle for the bill” and the resolutions committee pointed out that we could achieve the Bill through the initiative and referendum, a signature campaign and petitioning Congress; a thoroughly sterile and opportunistic program and one which should make the class conscious worker ask himself: “Is a Party which bases itself upon this sort of thing the revolutionary party of the proletariat?
Much was said about the unity of employed and unemployed, but how are we going to achieve this? Amter dramatically and to the accompaniment of great applause, said that the most powerful slogan against the NRA is the unity of employed and unemployed for unemployment insurence. True enough, Amter, but the point is precisely this: how are we going to achieve this unity? Here again the CP shows its khvostism. The resolution recommended the organization and support of strikes. In the fifth year of the crisis, at a time when there is a rising strike wave throughout the country, the CP follows the process by confining itself to the organization and support of local strikes. We mean to organize and to lead the process. We mean to achieve really the unity of the employed and unemployed. We mean to take a real step forward in the revolutionary development of the American proletariat. And we do this by raising the slogan of preparation for a General Strike of Limited Duration to compel social and unemployment insurance and to smash the NRA and the Fascist moves of Roosevelt.
The most interesting feature of the conference was the report of various delegates of the actual struggles that were taking place throughout the country. In the steel industry six strikes had been won by the left wing since the NRA had been enacted. It was claimed that over 6,000 members had joined the union. While this was an exaggeration and while the Left Wing had acted disastrously in the strike last year in Warren Ohio yet it was a fact strikes had been won in Weirton, in the Hays Body plant in Grand Rapids etc. In the Packing houses a movement forward was taking place in South St.Paul. In the Shoe industry all over the country there were strikes (of course not all under the control of the Left Wing). It was reported that over 220 locals of the carpenters union had endorsed the social insurance bill etc. There was no doubt that throughout the country there was taking place a great wave of unrest. But alas it was also crystal clear that these movements were not represented in the conference and that Stalin stood naked in the market place, a prostitute without lovers.
The last day saw the conference take up separate industrial reports. In the textile industry the same monstrous error made in New York conference was repeated. Anne Burlak demanded a guarantee from the government of at least 30 hours of work a week. We have previously pointed out the opportunism of such a slogan and how it aids the boss in his speed-up system. The CP in supporting this kind of a “We Want Work” slogan is laying the basis for fascist enforced labor. Is it necessary again to point out that our slogan is for a minimum wage and for a guarantee against working TOO MANY hours?
In the steel conference there was a split because the Musteites refused to recognize the Steel and Metal Workers Industrial Union (the longer the name, evidently the fewer the members) as THE coordinating center. In the Miners Conference they finally agreed to use another base, and not the National Miners Union. Both of these conference were the longest and most important of the convention.
But here we have a significant development in the CP. If a “social fascist” like Muste can be taken into the TUUL on what grounds can the “Trotskyites” be barred? If the Stalinists’ purpose (as expressed at the conference) is a federation of unemployed organizations and if, as Amter stated, the workers choose the communists to lead the unemployed councils, why were we bureaucratically expelled from the unemployed councils as members of the Communist League of Struggle? If this really was a united front conference why did the CP prevent us by trickery from attending as delegates?
In answering these questions we must see clearly that the bureaucracy of the CP has involved itself in all sorts of contradictions. To one who knows the CP from it earliest days a striking fact at the conference was the 100% turnover in the party membership while the old cliques remain in the leadership. This is one proof of the fact that we do not as yet have a genuine CP in America. The bureaucratic leaders (untested in the struggle) call only “fake” united fronts in which they are sure of controlling the situation. They are afraid to be exposed. But the fact remains that the American revolutionary movement must purge itself of such leaders. This narrow unrepresentative conference showed their complete bankruptcy. And we are more than ever convinced that the first prerequisite for the building of a real revolutionary party in America, is an uncompromising struggle against the bureaucracy withing the CP.
THE CONFERENCE OF THE LEAGUE FOR INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ACTION IN CHICAGO
“I’m a great admire of Roosevelt and approve of the administration since March". With these words professor Paul H. Douglas opened the Conference for the formation of a Labor Party. The scene was the University of Chicago and the audience that listened to these historic words were a conglomeration of judges, mayors, lawyers, and their aged and bejewelled wives, petty politicians and bureaucrats of various sorts all but workers or dirt farmers. With very little exception no one represented a trade union or other workers organization. Everybody spoke for himself. It was a positive joke.
Yet it was before this trash that Gitlow very eloquently denounced “mere words” and called loudly for “action". It was before them that Vivian Miller, Lovestoneite, could get up and say: “a new party is necessary". “The workers obviously do not want the socialist and Communist Parties. Do not put into the platform the abolition of the capitalist system because the workers are opposed to that. Just have immediate demands if you want the workers to follow you". And it was before this assemblage that Mandel (falsely claiming to represent a Brook Edison Workers organization) and Salutsky-Hardman and Gitlow cringed and kowtowed only to be, in the end, thrown away like washed out rags.
The theme for the conference was set by such keynote speakers as Judge Wirds of Minnesota who said that Jesus Christ was the greatest who ever lived and Mayor Mahoney of St Paul who liked the looks of the audience and thought the NRA a wonderful step in advance, General Coxie came to life here with a currency Panacea for doing away with all our social economic and political ailments. The question of power was glossed all over. All they needed was 51% of the voters. The main thing that troubled them was what to do once they got power. And that was worked out in their program which I shall come to later. V.F.Calverton was there to talk to the Mohoneys and Wirds about the necessity of theory in the labor movement. In order to help the revolution still further his secretary copied the names and addresses of all the delegates (about 250) so that they would subscribe for the Modern Monthly. There was also a very profound discussion over whether the next society should be called “the cooperative commonwealth” or the “new social order". Also one on which term should be used, “radical change” or “revolutionary change". One fellow suggested the submission of a constitutional amendment for government ownership and control of industries which would solve the whole problem. Immediately someone arose with a brighter idea. Why not pass an amendment which would make it possible for the whole constitution to be changed like ordinary statute law?
The conference was called to consider the organization of a new party, a Farmer-Labor party, but when the organizers took a look at what they got they felt they would “have to wait a bit". The “Left Wing” was made up of such people as Salutsky-Hardman, Mandel, Gitlow, each representing nobody, who wanted a Farner-Labor Party organized and talked about a class base. They were quietly kicked aside in favor of a program that in reality supported the NRA, that could be used by a Fascist group, and that was intended to be the vehicle to give every lousy political faker who wants a job, a chance to take a ride to Washington. Unfortunately for the muddled -heads and vicious elements who made up the conference they have come upon the scene too late.
At the last session there took place the most significant discussion of the entire conference. After the organization committee delivered its report the question arose as to who should be eligible for membership in the future Farmer-Labor Party if and when it should ever be formed. It was then that the problem of what to do about the Communists arose and the real temper of the conference showed itself. In the beginning the discussion limited itself to suggestions and no motion was made. The renegade Mandel (Bert Miller) agreed with Professor Douglas that the communist Party should be excluded. Remuglia (former C.P. member) and Bingham argued that it was unnecessary to exclude the members of any particular sect “because our conduct will expose the idiocies of the Communist Party".
Up to this point no one had defended the Communist position and exposed the conference for what it really was. Then Comrade Weisbord was given the floor. He stated the position of the Communist League of Struggle in reference to a Labor Party which is that we will not take part in the organization of one because only a real Communist Party can solve the problems of the working class, but should a real Labor Party be formed we will work within it. At this conference we were present merely in the capacity of observers but had to protest against the talk of exclusion of the Communist Party. In a tone which showed his complete contempt for the professors, judges, mayors, lawyers, faker politicians etc present Comrade Weisbord pointed out the absolute futility of such a group which was going to exclude from a Labor Party the most militant section of the working class.
This got under the skin of those present. Here was someone (and the only one) who not only did not apologize for the Communist position but turned the attack against them. Mayor Mahoney and Judge Wird had to talk about their sincerity, honesty and experience as a prerequisite to their right to exclude the communist party. Professor Douglas had to do the same as he excitedly made the motion that all members of the Communist Party and affiliated organizations be barred from membership! In speaking against this motion Gitlow had to say that “it is our duty to exclude the Communist Party from this convention". This sounds like the road to renegacy. Salutsky thought the Communists as harmful as could be but thought it not wise at present to exclude them. Among those who spoke in favor of excluding the Communist was that liberal editor-emeritus of that most excellent magazine the Nation—Villard. Although the motion was at first defeated it was later passed in the form of a resolution due to the heroic actions of such as Mandel, Hardman, Gitlow, Ramuglia and such.
The conference accepted the report of the organization committee recommending that local contacts be established and consolidated looking forward to the calling of a convention within a year for the purpose of forming a national farmer-labor party.
Thus we can see that this was not a “labor conference". On the contrary the talk about “preventing revolution” giving the NRA a chance” attacking Russia and stressing nationalism and Americanism, excluding the Communist Party and the Petit bourgeois intellectual political membership—all of these factors show that this conference could very well become the basis of a fascist party.
1. Woodrow Wilson: “Liberal” president
1. F. D. Roosevelt: “Liberal” president
2. W: Granted dictatorial powers because state of war existed.
2. R: Granted dictatorial powers on theory that state of war exists against depression.
3. W: Use of demogogic slogan to win support for war, “To make the world safe for democracy".
3. R: Use of demogogic slogan to win support for N.R.A., “to increase power and restore prosperity".
4. W: Administration referred to as the New Freedom. Wrote book with the title, “The New Freedom,” proving that the economic order under Wilson has undergone a “revolutionary” change.
4. R: Administration referred to as the “New Deal” and Rooseveltian revolution". Wrote book called “Looking Forward”, proving that the economic order under Roosevelt has undergone a “revolutionary” change. (It is interesting to note that “Looking Forward” enjoys immense popularity in Fascist Germany. It is conspicuously displayed side by side with Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in German bookshops, and has a circulation second to Hitler’s).
5. W: a) General Johnson, author of conscription draft act appointed by Wilson.
b) Bernard Baruch, banker and war profiteer influential friend and advisor of Wilson. Director of War Industries Board
5. R: a) General Johnson, dictator of N.R.A. appointed by Roosevelt.
b) Bernard Baruch, influential friend and advisor of Roosevelt. Unofficial president of U. S. Reputed author of N.R.A.
6. W: Under smokescreen of class collaboration, (cooperation of labor leader, Gompers of the A.F.L., and Socialists, with the banker Baruch and other capitalists) the government facilitated support for mass murder.
6. R: Under smokescreen of class collaboration, (cooperation of Green and Lewis of the A.F.L. and the Socialist, Hillman and Dubinsky, with General Johnson) government facilitates support for N.R.A. and prepares way for Fascism.
7. W: Conscription of labor. Slogan: “Work, fight or go to jail".
7. R: a)Regimentation of labor. N.R.A.: regulation of wages and hours. Strikes outlawed. Purpose, to smash militant trade unions. Statement of Chief Ispector O’Brien, henchmen to N.R.A., N.Y.C. dictator, Whalen:- “Any interference with the N.R.A. …….. is in the nature of a conspiracy against the U.S.".
8. W: Expenditure on war armaments—largest item in government budget.
8. R: Military expenditure (1933—$1,598,000,000). (The War Department costs about a million dollars to operate.)
9. W: War psychology used to stir up support for war. All organs of propaganda subsidized by government for war hysteria. Appeals to patriotism in talks, songs, press and movies. Use of patriotic posters and symbols. (Poster of Uncle Sam with pointing finger, with caption, “Have you done your bit") American Flag, portrait of Wilson.
9. R: War psychology used to stir up support for N.R.A. All organs of propaganda placed at disposal of government. Appeals to patriotism in songs, press, radio and “talkies”, particularly the latter two. Statement of Dean Ackerman of Columbia School of Journalism in recent World-Telegram, “By concentrating upon the radio and motion pictures in his “symphony of action” and by discouraging free discussion of economic policies, General Johnson has swayed the masses------” to accept the N.R.A. Use of patriotic posters and symbols. Blue Eagle, American flag, portrait of Roosevelt. (Same poster of Uncle Sam with pointing finger used during last war, with caption, “Have you done your bit”, flashed on screen of Loew’s theatres to increase sentiment for N.R.A.) Attempts of government through its influence in the movies, to reorientate masses’ peace psychology for war. Motion pictures representing this change, “Gabriel Over the Hours” and “The Fighting President".