On Disarmament and War
Thesis of the Communist League of Struggle
1. The onrushing imminence of another world war, the development of pacifist degeneration in the ranks of the Communists as part of the general process of degeneration in the Comintern since the death of Lenin and the new factors which have arisen since the war make absolutely imperative a new thesis by the Communists on the question of war and disarmament.
2. It is as clear as crystal that a new world war is not only inevitable but actually at our very doors. Especially during the past two years have the contradictions of imperialism reached the breaking point. This breaking point appears both in the East (China) and in the West (Germany) and takes the form of violent conflicts which must lead to war. However, the breaks are not localized merely in these two places but show themselves everywhere (Ireland, Spain, Finland, Austria, India, Australia and New Zealand, South America).
3. At this time especially when the rise of fascism and the moves of Japan in the Far East place the Soviet Republic and the working class in great peril, the poisonous Menshevik speeches of Litvinoff and the policies of Stalin must be denounced. They demoralize and disarm the proletariat. They give aid to both the pacifist and jingoist capitalist chauvinists.
4. Starting out from the false anti-Leninist viewpoint of “general” disarmament the Stalins and Litvinoffs have abandoned the ideology of class struggle for that of class peace. The signing of the Kellogg Peace Pact which proclaimed the idea that the world was a “family” of nations and that the Socialist and capitalist nations must not fight with each other, the more recent declarations by Litvinoff reported in the press that France "at least during the past six months” had been a “force for peace". The statement by Stalin that the Soviets and capitalists could exist peacefully side by side and that the proof was that they have done so, and now the climax—the speech by Litvinoff at the latest “disarmament” conference proclaiming total disarmament as “the only way to end the war (!)” and calling for “partial disarmament” (but leaving all arms intact for the crushing of popular revolts) show plainly that the leaders of the Comintern have abandoned Marxism, Leninism, and are betaking themselves to nationalism of the worst kind via the theory of “building socialism in one country alone.”
5. These speeches and statements of Litvinoff, Stalin and the Comintern containing not the shadow of an exposure of the bourgeoisie, but class collaborationist through and through, flow logically from the theory of building socialism in one country. That theory, despairing of world revolution, contemptuous of the Communist parties elsewhere, utopian in its belief that capitalism would allow a country having an economic weight of at the most 10% of the total world economy to outstrip the old society without new and bloody world wars, that theory isolating the proletariat of the Soviet Union from the rest of the world, stands exposed as laying the basis for a new national socialism as treacherous and deadly as the national socialism of the Second International during the last world war.
6. The Communists cannot take the viewpoint of “general disarmament” or disarmament “in general". Lenin’s thesis is clear on this point:
“Thus the chief defects of the demand for disarmament is exactly that it evades all the concrete questions of revolution. Or do the supporters of disarmament stand for a completely new view of an unarmed revolution? …….Disarmament is precisely a flight from nasty reality but not at all a struggle against it.”
Particularly is this true for the U.S. where due to historical circumstances (wide-spread illusions of liberalism, lack of many wars fought on U.S. territory, lack of large colonies directly and openly owned by the U.S., the method of entrance into the last world war, etc.) and to the physical geographic isolation of the U.S. from the other great powers, the pacifists societies flourish and are used as a mask by the imperialists themselves to cover up their war preparations to an even greater extent than elsewhere.
Who is fooled by the slogans and phrases that “The Soviet Union Stands for Peace"? The hard-boiled militarists and fascists of a dying capitalism? --- No, it is the masses who are at the same time fooled and disillusioned. On the one hand they are fooled into hoping that through the disarmament conferences capitalism can reach “peace” from imperialist wars. And this at the very moment when armaments and preparations for war have broken all bounds. On the other hand, the masses are disillusioned with the internationalism of the Soviet Union at the very moment when an aggressive stand for the international revolution has become more imperative than ever.
The second Congress of the C.I. under the leadership of Lenin has declared "Proletarian Internationalism….demands….the capability and the readiness on the part of one nation which has gained a victory over the bourgeoisie of making the greatest national sacrifices for the overthrow of international capitalism". Now when revolutionary outbursts are taking place everywhere and the international proletariat looks to the Soviet Union, its Fatherland, and the Red Army for AID in these revolutions, at this very moment it is given the slogan “peace". “The sole aim of the U.S.S.R. is the building of Socialism within its territory”, etc. Such slogans can only demoralize the revolutionary proletariat and lead it to utter rout. It is another proof to the world proletariat that the Stalin regime considers them mere pawns in the game which Soviet diplomacy at the moment means to play.
10. What shall by the attitude and policy of the proletariat toward the armament plans put forth in their respective countries? Here first of all the proletariat must examine the concrete circumstances of each proposal historically conditioned by time and place. The proletariat cannot be against all wars or against all armament proposals. “One of the biggest in the formulation of the question e.g. concerning defense of the Fatherland, among certain “lefts” consists in adequate concreteness in the answer. It is much truer to say that in the PRESENT imperialist war defense of the Fatherland is a bourgeois reactionary delusion, than to advance a “general” proposition against “every” defense of the Fatherland. It is not true and it does not “hit” the immediate enemy of the workers inside the workers parties, the opportunists.” (Lenin)
While viewing the question concretely, however, all the more must the Communists pursue rigidly the policy of favoring those proposals which would arm and train the proletariat and toilers and disarm and demoralize the ruling class. At the same time it must always be made plain that the Soviet Union can never undertake wars with the motives of the imperialists --- wars of aggression for self-aggrandizement.
11. In the light of these principles the Communist League of Struggle
proposes the following concrete program of action:
1. The proposals of the Russian proletariat at the Disarmament conferences must no longer be “General Disarmament” or “Complete disarmament of all nations". It is not for us to demand the disarmament of China, of India, of the colonies generally, or of Russia itself. The Soviet Union must demand the disarmament of all the great powers (England, U.S., France, etc.) but not the disarmament of the oppressed nations, the subject nationalities and the colonies. The Soviet representatives must show that only when the workers are armed can there be really peace and propose as a method of securing permanent peace the arming of the workers and toilers generally. It is a fact that only when the workers and peasants seized arms did Russia obtain peace in 1917 and this fact must be hammered home to all the peoples as the sole method of obtaining peace. Such a policy in the disarmament conferences would bring a class line into the debates, awaken the masses as to the true role of the Soviet Union as the herald of peace.
2. Simultaneously with this demand for the disarmament of the big powers allowing only the people, workers and peasants, to be armed, the Soviet Union must make every effort to break up any attempt of the capitalist states to form a united front against it. For the Soviet Union to form alliances that break up the enemy, give a further breathing space to the Soviet Union, and aid the world revolutionary forces is a practical Leninist policy that especially now during the present crisis, when the capitalists states are fiercely fighting each other and capitalism is further disintegrating, must be pursued with the greatest vigor.
In America the proletariat must fight for the recognition of the Soviet Union and the extension of long term large scale credits to it. This is one of the best steps of launching a movement for the defense of the Soviet Union. Such a move is especially timely now in view of the depression and in view of the sharpened hostility between the United States and Japan.
3. The advance of Japan into Manchuria threatening the Soviet Union and the sharpening danger of war between Japan and the Workers Fatherland, places before the working class of the world the general question, what shall be their attitude in case of such a war, and the special question, what shall be the position of the proletariat of the U.S. in case of a war between Japan and the Soviet Union.
In regard to the general question we must declare that war against a country warring against Russia is objectively a progressive war furthering the world revolution and breaking up the camp of the enemy. The proletariat must not be against such a war. Quite the contrary, the duty of unconditional defense of the Soviet Union demands that the proletariat and its allies do all in their power to destroy the state which is at war against the Workers Fatherland.
Should the country fighting Japan then at war with the Soviet Union, be an imperialist country (U.S.) then it is the duty of the working class, while not opposing the war, which is objectively progressive, nevertheless strenuously to expose the imperialist aims and methods of the U.S. government in its conduct of the war and to strive unceasingly and by every means for the overthrow of the government of the U.S. so that the armed people can really wage this war successfully for the succor of the workers republic against the imperialist predatory powers attempting to destroy it.
Of course we are aware that in the event of one imperialist power (Japan) attacking the Soviet Union, there is great probability that the antagonisms among the imperialist powers (Japan and the U.S.) would for the moment be set aside in order to unite for concerted attack, drawing in other powers as well against the enemy of all capitalism, the working class of the Soviet Union. Such an eventuality becomes even more probable if events in Germany (such as a Fascist coup) should weaken the working class in Europe and thus open up a favorable opportunity to attack the Soviet Union from Europe as well as in the East.
In the case of Japan warring against the Soviet Union, or against the Chinese people and Chinese revolution, the proletariat of such imperialist countries as the U.S. must demand the complete abolition of trade with such aggressive country, and strive to stimulate strikes in the factories and transport industries to effect this abolition. It must demand the withdrawal of all armed forces of all imperialist countries, including those of the U.S. above all, from the colonial countries or workers republic. At the same time the proletariat must demand that “their” government aid the oppressed workers country or colonial people in every possible way, through credits, loans, gifts, supplies, and, if necessary, men. This demand must be raised in order to expose the true imperialist character of the government (which will not aid the oppressed people of the colonial country) and to point out clearly where are the friends and where are the enemies of the working class, and to whom aid must be given. It serves as a rallying point for those forces which wish to aid the world revolution and expose those which are against it.
Never must the proletariat forget to point out, under these circumstances, that the imperialist governments under which they live will never honestly carry out such aid as they demand to the attacked colonial peoples and workers republic and must strive to mobilize the rest of the toilers for the overthrow of “their” own imperialist government so as to really aid the attacked colonial people or workers republic.
4. The Proposal for Universal Military Training.—Here too the proletariat and toilers cannot take a “general” position. In the colonial countries (China, India, Nicaragua, etc.) where the imperialists rule through mercenary armies, here the demand for a peoples army, or universal military training, would arouse the masses to enthusiasm and fill the rulers with the greatest dread. The Communists must favor these proposals in such countries and try to realize them. In the European countries where for the most part the masses have become radicalized and where mass national armies were disbanded after the Russian soldiers had shown the way, here the Communists must not necessarily oppose universal military training. On the one hand the workers will obtain training and arms, but on the other hand they are already beyond the stage of needing training, (at any rate the older generation) having gone through the last world war, and are objectively ready for revolution. Here at appropriate moments (at revolutionary crises) the Communists must raise the slogan for Workers Militia as a transitional slogan to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. In such countries as the United States, on the other hand, the masses need the training and use of arms so as to prepare themselves for civil war successfully. On the other hand, the situation has not matured sufficiently for the slogan for workers military training to be understood at the present time. It is significant that the ruling class in the U.S. itself does not yet wish universal military training. Should it come the Communists must not oppose it, for the reasons given above.
5. In the United States the Communists must take clear positions in regard to other militarist proposals, the ROTC, the CMTC, and the National Guard. In regard to the ROTC, the Reserve Officer Training Corps, the Communists must present a steady opposition. All work within this bourgeois body must tend to its destruction and nullification. In regard to the CMTC or Citizens Military Training Camps, a different position must be taken. On the one hand these camps take in wide numbers of workers and train them in the use of arms. On the other hand, the workers are partially selected and given a thorough bourgeois training that puts them in an entirely different environment than a universally conscripted army would engender. Under these circumstances the Communists cannot oppose nor raise the cry of boycott of the CMTC’s nor yet advocate such camps, but must work within them raising the class line in every possible way. In regard to the National Guard, here the workers must do everything in their power to break and destroy this specialized armed force of the bourgeois state. This does not preclude work within this guard, slogans to favor the rank and file against the officers, e.g. election of officers, etc.
6. On the question of bonus to war veterans, too, the Communists must mobilize the proletariat along the lines of a class policy. It is not correct for Communists to mimic the American Legion Posts and merely advocate the bonus for all (including tens of thousands of policemen, detectives, secret service and other armed agents of the government who were formerly in the service.) Not the bonus for all, but the bonus for all war veterans not in the armed service of the State. This is the slogan that will focus the attention on the fact that the government uses the bonus as a means of building up a potential fascist army and means to harness the war veterans to its chariot for use against the workers.
12. The Communist League of Struggle submits these theses and concrete proposals to the other Communist groups. It proposes that a series of joint conferences shall be held to discuss them so that a unified Communist Leninist program can be worked out.
New Charlatanry of the C.P. Leadership
(Earl Browder on the War Danger)
In a special article entitled “On Some Problems in the fight against the developing War Danger” published April 2nd in a special supplement of the Daily Worker, Earl Browder , “theoretical leader” of the Communist Party makes a slanderous attack on the thesis of the Communist League of Struggle on Manchuria (see Class Struggle Vol 1 No.4 Oct-Nov. 1931).
Before we deal with the views of the Communist Party speaking through Browder we must first understand that on the question of China the Communist Party has made a complete right-about-face. Never has a position been so completely refuted by life itself; never has a leadership been revealed so completely theoretically bankrupt as the Browder leadership of the C.P. To prove this we need only turn to the previous system of guesses on China put out by Browder on Nov. 3rd, 1931 in the Daily Worker: “What is Behind the Secret Pacts?”
In this Nov. 3rd “thesis” Browder wrote:
1. Japan enters Manchuria with the “sympathy and understanding” of the
United States. The antagonisms between Japan and the U.S. are no longer
real but only affected “…An agreement has been reached between the U.S.
and Japan for the division of China.”
2. Behind Japan stand also France, Germany and Italy, working together with the U.S. It is England against Japan.
3. The Cantonese are Japanese tools bought by Japan and are in a coalition with the American tools of Nanking.
4. Senator Borah speaking for American Imperialism had favored a Franco-American understanding.
We shall not stop to consider the other irresponsible remarks in this thesis, that Great Britain now has a Fascist government, that “more than 40,000,000 persons in the U.S. are without the slightest means of livelihood except the miserable crumbs of charity. Aside from these, the mere enumeration of the above points in Browder’s earlier “thesis” exposes the utter bankruptcy of the Communist Party. Not a single one of these guesses has come out correctly.
1. The Japanese adventure has brought clearly into relief the sharp
antagonisms between the U.S. and Japan, even leading to a movement for
the recognition of the Soviet Union, so as to ship arms and munitions there
2. Simultaneously it has become clear that England and France have been supporting Japan against the U.S. and the mere suggestion that these countries were cooperating with the U.S. is enough to cause laughter.
3. The Cantonese have come vigorously against Japan, broken with Nanking, and furnished the bulk of the troops in the battles.
4. Senator Borah’s speech aroused the greatest resentment in France against which country it was directed and far from cementing any alliance between France and the U.S. it really showed a rather strained political situation between them.
But now the former “thesis” is a thing of the past. A new one is brought out from the hat of the Party magician. Forgotten are all the former guesses as quickly as the confused wanderings of a dream. There is no discussion on the part of the Party members. No reasons are given for the change. Nor is it stated there is a change. Simply the new “party line” is handed down.
What is the essence of the new “thesis"?
1. The war in the Far East is primarily a mobilization of all forces
of imperialism against the Soviet Union. The main contradiction—in
fact the sole important contradiction in the world today is that between
decaying capitalism and the rising Soviet power.
2. The antagonisms among the various imperialist powers cannot be considered as a factor delaying the war against the U.S.S.R. and the partitioning of China.
3. The antagonism between the U.S. and Japan is recognized—"However sharp the struggle between American and Japanese imperialisms"—although it is considered as subordinate to the main antagonism.
4. France and her allies with Japan are trying to “play upon” the antagonism between the U.S. and British Imperialisms.
5. A regrouping of the imperialist forces is taking place, the outcome of which Browder cannot “see clearly".
Let us first clinch the contradictions between these two “theses".
1. The first one considered the United States as a tacit ally of Japan.
The last one recognizes an antagonism—even a sharp antagonism—between
these two countries.
2. In the first “thesis” the principal European countries,—France, Germany, and Italy, with the U.S. were secretly allied with Japan for an attack on the Soviet Union. This was the famous “secret pact". Now we are told something different, now France and her allies with Japan are trying to “play upon” the antagonism between U.S. and British imperialisms.
3. Browder was very definite in his first “thesis” about these alliances. But now “there is taking place a regrouping and shifting of forces….it is impossible to see clearly the final alignment between the imperialist powers.”
Needless to say, there are given no economic not political reasons why these alliances should take place. Laval’s conferences with Hoover --- probably having to do with the question of reparations—appears to have been the base upon which the whole fantastic scheme of the “secret pact” built itself up in Browder’s feverish brain. Charlatanry takes the place of analysis.
The next question is: has there been a change in objective events, that calls for a different analysis? But in such a case the author of the thesis would himself explain the change, in order to justify his new conclusion. Not so here; the second “thesis” simply flatly contradicts the first.
Is there at least an advance towards a more correct line? Here we must examine the theoretical basis of this “thesis". It rests upon the belief that in the present period antagonisms among imperialist countries have become completely subordinate to the antagonisms between the Soviet Union and the surrounding capitalist world. This means that there cannot now be a war between imperialist countries, there can only be a war of attack against the Soviet Union, by the combined imperialist powers. The antagonisms among the various big powers in the East cannot even be considered as delaying the war against the Soviet Union and the partitioning of China.
That the Communist League of Struggle appreciates to the full the danger of attack on the Soviet Union is proved by our various articles on the Chinese situation as well as on the elections in Germany. We quote here from our thesis on Manchuria: published last November (Class Struggle Vol. 1 No. 4)…."Victory by Japan, on the one hand would intensify all imperialist rivalry in China; on the other hand is a direct threat against the Soviet Union. The imperialists still smart under the stinging defeat the Red Army administered to the Chinese military generals and to imperialist diplomacy over the Chinese Eastern Railway. The seizure of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia offers imperialism a consolidated base of attack against Russian-Chinese trade and against the Chinese Eastern Railway. It is a thrust to split Siberia, a menace to Outer Mongolia (under Soviets) a move at Turkestan and a threat of outflanking the Communist forces within China. Victory by Japan imperils the whole Soviet Union, the Workers Fatherland. Against such a victory the proletariat of the world led by the Communist International, must fight".
To think however that this is the only danger of war is to be blind to the welter of intrigues and clashing interests, particularly where China is concerned, which the crisis has rendered all the sharper. It is to repudiate the theses of the third Congress of the Communist International which declared that the principal antagonism in the world was that between Great Britain and the U.S. and predicted that this antagonism will come to a head in the Pacific and will be fought out through Japan. We recognize that in the intervening period since the third Congress (1921) the growth of the Soviet Union has pushed forward the Soviet-capitalist contradiction, but we are still in a world where capitalist interests predominate, where Soviet trade is at the most 10% of the worlds whole, and where capitalist antagonisms are still pregnant with the danger of war. The principal antagonism among capitalist powers brought to the fore in the Far East is that between the U.S. and Japan.
“Due to conflicting imperialist interest in Manchuria war may result between the United States government and Japan, especially if the Soviet Union has not yet entered the conflict. It is clear that such a war between the United States and Japanese governments will be a war between two robber governments over the question which will rob and plunder China. It is clear that the American government reeking with the blood of the Chinese masses cannot aid the Chinese masses. Not in the least fooled by the hypocritical phrases that will be employed by the United States government, the American working class must do all in its power to overthrow United States capitalism just as the Chinese toilers must overthrow the Chiang Kai Shek and other military cliques. Only a workers government in the United States can effectively war against Japanese imperialism, can effectively support the Chinese and Russian revolutions.” (Thesis on Manchuria—Class Struggle—Vol. 1 No. 4) That a war between the U.S. and Japan, at a time when Japan is preparing actively for war upon the Soviet Union, seems obvious.
What after all is the basis for the blindness in the Browder “thesis” --- a blindness which led to a delay on the part of the Party even to see the menace to the Chinese masses, so that the first slogan issued was only that of defense of the Soviet Union and only later was it realized that the Chinese masses must also be defended. This blindness is traceable to the dangerous attitude of the Communist leaders of the Soviet Union itself, an attitude which infected the whole Comintern: the obvious intention of the Soviet Union to stave off attack at any price—even to the extent of pacifist propaganda and disarmament demands—so that it may be left free to continue its own industrial development. In other words, here too, the Menshevik theory of building Socialism in one country vitiates the attitude on the war danger. The main slogan becomes on any and every occasion: Defend the Soviet Union, while complete blindness prevails to such threatening developments as the friction between the U.S. and Japan, or the rise of fascism in Germany.
The slanders against Trotsky in which Browder’s article indulges, are conducted with the usual distortions. It is declared Trotsky had assured the world that Japan will “not decide to take a directly aggressive action against the U.S.S.R.” Trotsky’s explanation is of course not given, that Japan is for the moment consolidating its position in Manchuria for future attack. Nor is there mentioned the brilliant analysis Trotsky has made of the situation in Germany, proving that if the Fascists are permitted by the criminal negligence and failure of the C.I. leadership to seize power in Germany, there is serious threat of annihilating the working class organizations there, which would break down the best line of defense against the Soviet Union and hence open the way for concerted imperialist attack.
The statement that the “Social-Fascists” (so-called) “Trotskyites and Brandlerites” are calling for fight only against American imperialism can certainly not be applied to the Communist League of Struggle which in its Manchurian thesis called for fullest support of the Chinese masses and Chinese Soviets, for Defense of the Soviet Union, for withdrawal of all imperialists from China, for support by the Soviet Union of the struggle of the Chinese masses to drive out Japan.
Finally we come to the vicious attack on the C.L.S. directly. “The same purpose of paralyzing the mass revolutionary activity for the defense of the Chinese people and the Soviet Union has the counter-revolutionary theory of Weisbord and his little clique that of raising by the Communists the demand for American imperialist war ships under the direction of Hoover to convey American capitalist ammunitions to the Soviet Union in China for a revolutionary war.” (Browder article)
On the contrary, the Communist League of Struggle alone has advanced concrete demands for the aid of the struggling Chinese masses. A full quotation from our thesis on Manchuria will be enough to refute to the hilt these slanders. “The proletariat and Communists in the United States have a particularly grave responsibility. First of all the working class demand HANDS OFF CHINA BY THE IMPERIALIST PLUNDERERS—STOP THE DISMEMBERMENT OF CHINA. But the American proletariat must go further than this. It must demand the IMMEDIATE RESTORATION TO THE CHINESE PEOPLE OF ALL CONCESSIONS SEIZED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. It must demand the IMMEDIATE LIBERATION OF THE PHILIPPINES AND OTHER COLONIES OF THE UNITED STATES and aid revolts there. It must explode the hypocrisy and chicanery of American pretensions and must thoroughly expose the imperialist aims of the United States Government ….Secondly, the American workers must raise the slogan: FULL AID TO THE CHINESE MASSES (ESPECIALLY THOSE IN SOVIET CHINA) IN THEIR STRUGGLE AGAINST IMPERIALISM (Japanese, American and others.) Supporting the Chinese people, the working class must demand the complete prohibition of Japanese trade to this country. Simultaneously the workers must demand that large military supplies be given the Chinese people (Soviet China). The shipment of these supplies must be defended at all costs even if necessary WITH THE WHOLE ARMED MIGHT OF THE NATION.”
Now we refer the reader to a similar section in our recent thesis on war and disarmament (published in the present issue): end of page 5: “In the case of Japan warring against the Soviet Union….and following. Here it is made plain beyond a doubt that no illusions are possible that the United States government will carry out the proposed demands, but that the United States Imperialists will become thoroughly exposed. Compared with the full, concrete demands and practical working out of the thesis of the Communist League of Struggle, all statements of the official Party on this question, which merely repeat the same few empty slogans, are hollow as gas balloons. They serve only to expose again the complete bankruptcy of the leadership.
A Worker Looks at Food
Food is that substance or substances for the lack of which so many workers and their families are today weak and ailing. In the best of times, food is a gypping proposition where vast profits are made by the manufacturers and chain-stores and where workers lose out.
The quality of food is determined by many factors, each one of which must be closely watched and understood. One of the most important of these is the adulteration of food and food products. Another is the improper preparation of food whether the worker eats in restaurants or at home. In restaurants the capitalist system which is interested in profits, not in the workers health, means poorly prepared food, of low quality. In the home where the wife also works, it means fried food, canned food, anything that can be prepared in a few minuets.
The adulteration and disguise of food takes place in many ways, some of the most flagrant being the use of sulfur dioxide and benzoate of soda as preservatives, of coal tar dyes and flavors, of such soothing substances as borax formaldehyde and salicylic acid, of alum in baking powder and yellow color in place of eggs, etc. Science has condemned the use of white flour, white sugar and white rice, but the manufacturers spend millions of dollars in advertising to foist these denatured food products upon the public. The Pure Food Laws are supposed to protect the consumer but as the ruling class controls all agencies of the law, these laws are enforced as best suits the profits of the manufacturers. Pellagra in the Southern states tells a terrible tale not only of lack of food but of a diet of white flour biscuits, gravy and beans, lacking in fresh, green foods.
One of the greatest abuses in food preparation in the last decade is the tremendous speeding up of the food workers. Competition in the food business is very keen. In order to make a profit, the restaurant owners place additional burdens upon the food workers. They employ less cooks, waiters, and waitresses, lengthen hours, combine jobs, etc. Another is the use of left-over foods taken from the returned plates. This is especially so in those places where workers must eat, the Busy-Bees, Coffee Pots, Lunch Rooms, etc. In these places the scraps of butter are returned and re-used, uneaten pieces of bread are made into puddings, portions of vegetables into soups, pieces of meat are picked out and made into hash or stew and sold again.
The health conditions of food workers are among the worst. Condemned to toil in dirty, unventilated and over-heated quarters they suffer greatly from T.B. rheumatism, fallen arches, nervousness, etc. The organization of the food workers is still an unsolved problem, for which active efforts must be made.
L.D. Trotsky On the Disarmament Question
1. The fundamental cause of the crisis can be put in one word: capitalism. The special character of this crisis is explained by another notion: Imperialism, that is to say, monopoly capitalism which is beginning to put reify in its own blind contradictions. The rise and fall of Ivar Kreuger symbolize all present day capitalism. The official moralists when all is done hurl their thunderbolts against the match king. But he could answer: why did you allow me to dispose at my own will of the productive forces of which should be serving human society, under its own direction?
Will the world capitalist order overcome the present crisis? The answer depends upon what is understood by the term crisis. Variations of conjuncture accompany the whole history of capitalism. In past epochs, the curve of capitalism was rising through all the variations in conjuncture. Today, it is falling. This does not exclude further variations of conjuncture in the future. On the contrary, such are inevitable. But the sharp present crisis can be softened only by leading into a higher paroxysm in the following stage which is not far off. All this extremely painful process can be ended only by a transformation of the whole social system.
2. Have I any hopes for the success of the Disarmament Conference? Not in the least. But in that, I am hardly an exception. The French plan is characterized sufficiently by the fact that it is presented by the Tardieu government. At the same time that France supports the bloody work of Japan in the Far East, Japan gratefully supports the pacifist initiative of France at Geneva. A lesson beyond compare for all peoples! France’s plan aims to create, under the cloak of the League of Nations a new entente with the sole aim of stabilizing the hegemony of French finance capital with the aid of the “international” army.
But the American plan also opens up no perspective. The present war are not conducted with the arms which the belligerents possess on the eve of the war, but with those which they manufacture in the course of the war itself. From this point of view the U.S. has given a lesson to the whole world and especially to Germany. The outcome of the future war will be determined by the technical capacity of the warring countries. The higher the industrial development of a country, the more this country is interested in provisional limitation of armaments; then it will really be easier for it than for its adversaries to equip its army with everything necessary.
At the best, the Conference will end with hollow formulas. The inevitable failure of the Geneva Conference will constitute a new impulse for the armament race and will increase the danger of war.
The Franco-Japanese policy, the warlike one as well as the “pacifist”, is directed always more and more openly not only against China but against the Soviet Union. That Litvinoff at the Geneva Conference expresses the honest will of the U.S.S.R. not to resort to war, cannot be doubted by any attentive observer. But I should like to hope that the Soviet delegation will find a moment to pass from technico-pacifist proposals which, even from a pedagogic point of view, have not much importance, to a more active policy, that is, to tell the Conference openly how things are, and thus to warn the peoples of the threatening danger. For, if there is a force on our planet which can “limit” armaments on land and sea, it is the will of the masses of the people.
3. The rumors of the press as to my near return to the U.S.S…..do not rest upon any serious foundation. It is rather a case of inventions caused by the strained general situation. It is needless to say that that fraction to which I belong will place itself entirely and completely at the disposition of the Soviet Government. As a precedent, it may be shown that at the time of the civil war, in 1918-20, Stalin, Voroshiliov, and others were in sharp opposition to the methods of conducting the war which I was following in full accord with Lenin, which did not prevent the oppositionists of that time from taking an active part in the struggles.
Not Unity At Any Price!
When we read the revelations in the Militant about the Lovestone unity negotiated, we wondered: How is it Cannon is so close to the Lovestone inner policies? How come the intimacy? But now we see that Cannon, green with envy, feeling that if Lovestone has a show—or part of a show --- to get back, maybe he has one too, proceeds to prostrate himself upon his belly, offering anything if only he can get back into the Party. The statement by the National Committee of the League “For the Communist Unity of our Party” is about the limit for groveling sycophancy. Beyond the weak remark: "we do not share the views upon which the present line of the party is based”, there is not indication whatever of any determination to struggle within the party until the victory of the Left Opposition prevails over the Stalin leadership. Only the most self-abasing expressions of loyalty such as ….."…..we put no conditions whatsoever …..” “we have never attached any conditions to our collaboration and support”, etc. No demand for the reinstatement of Comrade Trotsky and other leaders of the Left Opposition! No stand on the membership of the other Communist groups! (Even the Lovestone group took a stand on this question, and expressed its intention to fight for the admission of the German and other oppositions). Does Cannon think by such capitulation he can get back his soft jobs in the movement to the tune of 45 per?
We restate once more the position of the Communist League of Struggle on unity, many times communicated to the other communist groups, but always either unanswered or rejected: (From our thesis of April 1931) “In regard to the utterly corrupt leadership of all three right wing groups our position must be to eliminate them entirely from all influence in the Communist ranks. In regard to the groups themselves, since they are after all Communist groups, we must fight that the members of all groups be readmitted into the Communist Party, not as groups but as individuals. The Communist League of Struggle, however, can never abandon its grouping until the right wing policies of all these groups are defeated and a Leninist line carried out…..In the meantime the Communist League of Struggle must try to effect a united front so that all Communist groups can work together on concrete issues on the basis of the recognition of the Communist character of each group".
Two Conventions—and a Plenum
The new platform and resolutions adopted by the S.P. convention represent a clever piece of chicanery. One might say at first glance: the Militants have won. But this is not the case, rather it is the pressure of the masses with their untold miseries which is forcing the adoption of red phrases by both militants and old guard. The S.P. is going in heavy for the coming election, and if red phrases will get the workers vote, why not?
This change of face in the Socialist Party is all the more dangerous considering the failure of the Communist Party to make headway in spite of the most favorable objective conditions. The party makes heroic efforts. Such things as its leadership of the Colorado beet workers strike, the Kentucky miners strike, its championing of the Negro masses, indicate the militant orientation and basic soundness of the Party membership. That there is communist sentiment among the masses is indicated too by many things,—by the large 1st of May demonstrations, by the following of the Party in demonstrations of the unemployed, notwithstanding the murderous police terror, etc.
But behind all the splurge which accompanies the Party nominating convention, stand the cold facts revealed in the Plenum. “Bureaucracy” and sectarianism the chief defects”,—100% turnover of membership,—circulation of the Daily Worker decreasing, etc. The same tale of failing influence of the C.P., of gain of the social-democratic influence, greets us in every country. It is not shoutings of the leadership, confessing their faults, (but never in the least correcting them) that will remedy the situation. Only an awakening of the Party membership can do that. To bring about this awakening is the task of the Communist League of struggle.