I. A Report on the European Sections of the International Left Opposition.
II. Within the International Left Opposition.
III. Our Answer to the Statement of the National Committee of the Communist League of America (Opposition).
A REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN SECTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT OPPOSITION.
In the course of my trip through Europe which took me through practically all of the principal countries from Turkey to Spain, I was able to visit many of the sections of the Left Opposition and to talk to many of the leading comrades. The following report, therefore is the result of various conversations with leading comrades who vouch for the accuracy of these reports. It will be seen that the Left Opposition has grown up. It has propaganda groups in many European countries. In Greece, in Spain, and to some extent in Germany, it has passed the stage of mere propaganda and especially in the first two countries has carried on independent action on the working class that has placed the groups in Greece and in Spain really ahead of the official Communist Parties themselves. In practically all cases the leadership is composed of men between 30 and 40 years of age with several older comrades and a good sprinkling of youth. Such a combination offers a guaranty that both a continuity of revolutionary experience will be absorbed and a constant adjustment to new events made.
I speak of the “International Left Opposition” but in one sense I may say that such an International Left Opposition does not yet really exist as a well organized force. This is the most serious defect of the Left Opposition, the correction of which becomes the main immediate task before us. Two principal things are lacking to the Left Opposition. They are first, a collectively worked out and comprehensive program and platform of action, and second, an authoritative collective center. In considering these we must, constantly keep in mind that although the Russian Left Opposition began its fight in 1923 the majority of the other sections were not formed till after Trotsky’s expulsion and deportation in 1928 or so. The many internal fights these groupings went through, their different levels of development, their different problems and conditions all naturally would compel sooner or later the calling of an international convention.
It is a fact that this convention has never been called. We have the many and brilliant articles and books by Comrade Trotsky setting forth our viewpoint and guiding, us in our problems. However, in spite of the general correctness and value of those writings, they cannot replace entirely the collective labor possible through a congress and through a capable political executive. The result of this state of affairs is very serious and has been one of the chief reasons hindering the more rapid growth of the Left Opposition. There exists a multitude of vital questions which can not be touched by Comrade Trotsky in his writings. This compels the various sections to do one of two things: Either to ignore these vital questions—as for example the Communist League of America (Cannon group) does with the Negro question—waiting for Trotsky to speak, or to take a positive action not knowing what action is being taken in other countries and risking a criticism from Trotsky. In either case the prestige of the leadership of the National groups suffers. If this is continued the Left Opposition will tend to become either a grouping of rubber-stamp yes-men who will lose all semblance of independent Marxist character and who will tend to become like the pitiful Stalin functionaries, or on the other hand while subscribing formally to abstract documents each grouping will take its own independent position on national questions. We have seen both these tendencies strongly marked in the United States.
The second defect, the lack of an authoritative political center is linked up with the first and greatly aggravates the whole situation. In 1930 a few comrades came together and “chose” a political bureau and a secretariat. The political bureau never, functioned. The secretariat in Paris headed by Hill took on political functions. But it was not a very strong secretariat. It had not been chosen on the basis of merit after examination by delegates at, a Congress. It was this secretariat that in a most bureaucratic way excluded the Communist League of Struggle, our organization, from the Left Opposition and it was against this type of irresponsibility against which the Communist League of Struggle had to fight.
This secretariat, engaged in constant bickering could not last long. (At first Roemer acted as secretary in fact. Then Suzo, Mill and P. Naville succeeded him, Naville soon reigning and being replaced by Frank. The whole secretariat lasted one year in Paris.) It was moved to Berlin with another personnel chosen in the same obscure manner. But this secretariat also does not function well. Because of the lack of a strong central discipline and adequate system of reports and minutes, there exists the possibility of groups carrying out a right wing policy while waving the banner of the Left Opposition, Here again we are reminded of the American League.
It is all the more remarkable then that in spite of all this the Left Opposition is growing. This speaks volumes both for the basic correctness of our principles and the tenacious work of the various groups.
The strongest group seems to be in Russia. According to Yaroslavskys figures given out 1929-1930, the last ones issued, over 7000 Left Oppositionists were either in prison or in exile in the U.S.S.R. Actually there are many more and to this must be reckoned the host of sympathizers and formal capitulators. Each year new batches are discovered and imprisoned, but the work goes on. In spite of everything a hand paper—the Bolshevik Fighter—is put out and from time to time other illegal papers appear. The deportees have their own conspiratorial paper. Besides this the Russian Bulletin put out in Berlin has a circulation of about 5000.
After Russia comes Greece. Here the Greek organization, the Archic-Marxists organized in 1922 and only by a long process found themselves in 1930 affiliated with the Left Opposition. Due to its capable and energetic work the Left Opposition group there now is really stronger than the official party. It has 1500 members and operates both legally and illegally. Its journal issued three times a week with over 7000 circulation is legal. It also controls unions which are legal and has over 20,000 members. It puts out a theoretical journal called Masses which has a circulation of about 4000 and also a Greek-Jewish paper. In Athens, Paraeus and Saloniki are to be found the principal centers of the Left. It has also developed a good Jewish movement and has established a strong Marxist training school.
In Bulgaria the Left Opposition also dates from 1930 when a small group joined. At first the social composition was not very good but it rapidly increased its membership until now it is a real force even though compelled to operate illegally. Its legal paper, Osvodbodjenie ("Liberation") put out in Sofia at first a monthly now has become a weekly. As in Greece the Bulgarian movement offers much hope.
Roumania, Yugoslavia, Albania have no groups whatever. In Hungaria two years ago there was a big group of young comrades who had even a legal paper.
The situation in Czecho-Slovakia briefly can be recounted as follows. In 1927 a Zinovievist group was expelled by the Party which later formed a block with the right, split into two and then found its leaders, Mihaleo and Neurath capitulate to the Party. A part gravitated to Trotsky, a paper was issued the Iskra. Other little groups also existed and by mutual fusion (Frankel, Friedman tiny groups) at last a group of the Left Opposition was formed. It now has a few dozen members, putting out a paper Delnicka Politika from time to time. The group lives a meager sectarian existence. In Austria, when I visited it, there was no official section of the Left Opposition. There is the Mahnruf group putting out the paper with that name and having very few members in Wien and about 20 members in Gratz. This group is connected with Landau. Then there is the Arbeiter Stimme group led by Frey. According to Frey the history of this group is as follows. In 1922 the group began a fight against the right wing and by 1927 found themselves expelled from the Party. Several errors were committed however, one of them being that as a maneuver the group then passed a resolution against Trotsky. After this the group went down. It entered the Left Opposition only to leave it later because of an internal fight with Landau. Now the group wants to reenter the Left Opposition. It still has near 200 members with a semi- monthly paper, the Arbeiter Stimme, with a circulation of 1400…1800. It runs a school with 40-45 students and controls a club “Arbeiter Kultur Verband”, In my opinion the Arbeiter Stimme group should admit its error in leaving the Left Opposition because of internal struggle with Landau and on that basis should be readmitted into the Left Opposition.
In Poland a group only now is being organized and is putting out a paper. Up to now like Roumania and Yugoslavia, Poland had had nothing. This is also the situation, by the way, in all the countries of the Baltic with the exception of Russia and Germany.
In Germany the Left Opposition after many vicissitudes is again growing slowly but surely. The Left Opposition was expelled in 1927 and in 1923 Urbahns, Grylevich and Sholem organized a group called the Leninbund, This was split in 1929 over the question of the unconditional defense of the Soviet Union. While Urbahns got most of the 600 members to stay with him, 200 members went with Grylevich, Joko and Landau, who then were for Trotsky, Under the Landau leadership a new paper was issued, Der Kommunist and unity was effected with another group, the Wedding group. In 1931 a new split occurred, Landau being separated from the organization. Now the German Left is on the upgrade again. It founded a new paper—Die Permanente Revolution—first as a monthly and now as a weekly. The circulation is about 2600, with about 500 members in the organization well spread throughout Germany (except Bavaria) with strong centers in Berlin, Hamburg, Ruhr, Saxony, Middle Germany and Baden. The group is now carrying out independent action and participating in the life of the working class. In Oranienburg the Left Opposition was able to initiate and to lead a good united front movement against Fascism. In September a national conference will be held to take stock of the situation and to carry forward the work. The situation in Germany is overripe for a huge growth of the Left Opposition. Trotsky’s influence is enormous. What is needed is the end of picayune internal Squabbles and a bold independent policy of entering into all the battles of the working class.
The situation in France is a very good illustration of what the Left Opposition must make every effort to terminate. In all France in spite of the many sympathizers to the Communist League of France there were very few members. At one time there were five different groups claiming to be near Trotsky. To understand the situation it is necessary to give a bit of the history of the movement. In 1924 Souvarine was expelled from the party. He organized a group called the Communist Democratic Circle which now has about 20-30 members. A weekly paper was published called the Bulletin Communiste. Later the group became a study group, the paper changed to a monthly till 1930 when a new bimonthly review was issued “La Critique Sociale".
At the same time in 1924 a few months after he had joined the Party Monatte, former syndicalist, was expelled. He too put out a paper, now semi-monthly, called La Revolution Proletarienne. In 1926 Treint, then Zinoviev leader, was expelled. In 1928 he organized a group called “Redressment Communist” with about 50 members and as a fraction of the Communist Party of France put out a paper “L’Unite Leniniste".
In 1922, Paz organized a group for the Left Opposition and for a time was the official representative of the Left Opposition in France. Still there was no real organizing work done. Finally Claude Naville, one of the editors of Clarte, an organ close to the Party, and also a Party member, after a trip to Russia where he met Comrade Trotsky, organized another group and founded a monthly paper La Tutte de Classe with about 10 members. Thus there were five groups in 1928-1929 all negotiating with each other.
The deportation of Trotsky to Turkey rapidly changed this situation. After a visit by Roemer, Frank and R. Moliniere, Trotsky decided to break up these little groupings and organized around P. Naville a new official group. This marked the formation of the Communist League of France. Paz being dismissed as Left Opposition representative rapidly went to the right and soon joined the Socialist Party.
On the Trade Union field the Communist League quickly dissociated themselves from Monatte and built up a circulation of 1000 readers for La Verite and 800 for the Lutte de Classe, the theoretical organ. A Jewish paper was started, Klarkhieit, and had a circulation of 600-700, but it soon died.
In the course of the Trade Union work of the League differences arose with comrades Rosmar, Gourget and C. Naville who left the League (they were not expelled) and with 15 members have organized another group. They work with Landau and put out a mimeograph paper in 1931 called “Le Communiste".
Then Treint came into the Communist League of France but soon left (May 1932) with 5 or 6 members and organized another group. He has put out a typewritten “Bulletin de la Fraction de Gauche” his main point being that the Communist Party is not a Communist Party but a vague, revolutionary party and the Communist League of France must be the Communist Party and so we must organize a party within the Communist Party. Thus he was opposed to the Rakovsky statement.
Within the Communist League of France other differences arose on the Trade Union question, first the League headed by Mill against P. Naville, and the Italian comrades and later Mill switching his position, the League against Mill. The issues were (1). Shall we demand unity with the reformist unions on condition they take the line of the class struggle or only on the condition they allow complete democracy within the unions? The latter position being that of the League. (2). Shall the Communist League be bound by Decisions made by a trade union bloc, “The Trade Union Unitary Opposition". The League stressed the need of complete freedom of action for itself in all blocs. After being defeated Mill has practically left the organization, not taking any part in activity.
And now a new question arises regarding the Italian comrades, whether they are to enter into the French League to do work, except those needed for other work, or are they to remain an independent group.
From this report one can see clearly the weaknesses of the French Opposition. In spite of some very very propaganda the French opposition remains very poorly organized.
In Belgium the League organized in 1930 with Comrade Lesoel now has a considerable group of members with a good nucleus in Charleroi. It issues a semimonthly paper La Voix Communiste with a circulation of about 1000. It has a good basis for growth. In Holland and Portugal there are no groups. In Great Britain a few contacts exist. In Switzerland a group of 20 exists which puts out a monthly mimeographed bulletin. In France a new Italian Left Opposition has been organized in contradistinction to the “Left” Bordigiste. It consists of experienced members who under the leadership of Feroci puts out a mimeographed Bulletin.
It is the movement in Spain that offers the most encouraging results at the present moment. The group is really in existence a little over a year and in that time has accomplished considerable work. The first conference of the Spanish Left Opposition was held in Luxemburg in 1929 with La Croix and five other members present. In 1930 another conference was held this time in Madrid with about the same number of people (Nin, La croix, Andrade, Fersen) but it was only in the early part of 1931 that the Left Opposition really began to grow. The recent conference held in April 1932 with 25 delegates represented over 1100 members. Within a year it has put out a paper El Soviet now struggling to become a weekly, with 5000 circulation. It has issued a theoretical organ, Comunismo, with 1500 circulation and over 15 popular pamphlets have been printed with a large sale. A youth paper Young Spartacus recently appeared which it is claimed sells 2000 copies. In quality the Left Opposition is stronger than the Party (though not numerically: the Party having about 5000 members) and in many places the Left Opposition has groups where the Party does not (as in Salamanca). The last conference found the Left Opposition best developed in Biscay, Asturias, Castille, Andalusia, (Seville, Cadiz) Barcelona and Madrid. (However the group in Barcelona is numerically relatively small, considering the importance of the place).
The last conference of the Left Opposition accomplished a good deal and worked out elaborate theses on the situation in Spain, the position of the Left Opposition on the National and Agrarian questions, their relation to the Party and to the Syndicalists and on the Trade Union question. Within the Left Opposition differences are arising as to the correctness of the Spanish comrades but two things stand out clearly: 1. The great growth of the Spanish Left Opposition due to its bold independent working class activity. 2. The recognition it has received as the most dangerous revolutionary force in Spain. In Catalonia only the Left Opposition is illegal (the Communist Party is legal there) and the Chief of Police in a special brochure has declared that Spain must account it as a stroke of good fortune that the Communist Party has ejected the Left Opposition and that the Leaders of the Left opposition are not the head of the Party (see Maurice Karl: Communism in Spain pp, 91).
To recapitulate the press activity of the sections of the Left Opposition in Europe I bring forward the following table:
Russian-----------Printed monthly, Russian Bulletin with 5000 circulation Greece------------Printed 3 times a week Pali Ton Taxeon 7000 Jewish Paper, Proletarian, semi-monthly Theoretical review Masses 4000 Bulgaria----------Printed weekly, now, Osvodbojenie Poland------------new paper just printed. Czecho-Slovakia---Printed irregularly, Delnicka Politika Germany-----------Printed now weekly, Permanente Revolution 3000 France------------Printed La Verite, semiweekly now 1000 Theoretical organ, Lutte de Class 800 Belgium-----------Printed semi-monthly, La Voix Communiste 1000 Switzerland-------Mimeographed Bulletin, monthly French-Italian group-------Mimeographed Bulletin Spain-------------El Soviet, printed now put out as weekly 5000 Communismo, theoretical monthly 1500 Young Spartacus just out 2000
Besides this there is issued regularly a mass of mimeographed material. International Bulletins in four languages, internal bulletins, etc. Many of the sections have done valuable propaganda work in the form of pamphlets and books on various important questions.
In conclusion we may say that in Spain, Greece and Bulgaria the Left Opposition seems to be advancing rapidly, in Germany it is growing slowly but surely, while in other countries it is still in its first immature stages. The history of the Left Opposition can be divided into several phases. Up to 1928 there was no International Left Opposition but only a Russian section fighting for an internationalist position. After 1928, with the expulsion and deportation of Trotsky sections appear in various countries but it is only in 1930 that the really important groups became clarified (Greece, Bulgaria, Germany, France, Spain) and began activities as real sections of a Left Opposition. 1930 is also the year when the first attempt was made to organize an international secretariat and bureau. This marked the beginning of the third period of the Left Opposition, a period in which a number of the sections began to carry on independent activity and to grow.
Now we are ready to enter into a new phase of our development. This phase should be opened up with a real international congress and a collective political authority set up. The development of the left opposition since the first international conference (April 1930) has made it necessary and possible for the various sections to proceed as soon as possible from the state of a propaganda group solely to that of an organization which though a fraction of the Communist Party yet carries out independent action of the workers.
Wherever I stayed, as in Austria, Germany, France and Spain, I spoke to the Comrades on the American situation bringing home to them the position of the Communist League of Struggle. I am happy to say that everywhere I was treated in a most friendly fashion, the leaders assuring me that there was no principled reason why the Communist League of Struggle should not be part of the Left Opposition and why there could not be a unification of all Left Opposition forces in America. It is for our group to continue its loyal service as part of the Left Opposition until it is victorious.
Albert Weisbord—August 16, 1932.
1. RESOLUTION ON COMRADE WEISBORD’S REPORT ON THE EUROPEAN SECTIONS OF THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT OPPOSITION.
The Communist League of Struggle (adhering to the International Left Opposition) after hearing the report of its representative Comrade Albert Weisbord on the situation within the International Left Opposition, declares:
A. The convocation of an international Congress of the Left Opposition to be held some time in the near future is more necessary now than ever. This Congress must work out a collective and comprehensive set of theses and program and elect a strong political bureau that will really control and guide the life of the sections. To this Congress the Communist League of Struggle should be invited as a group loyally adhering to the views of the Left Opposition.
B. The Communist League of Struggle endorses the position taken abroad by its representative in continuing the policies of our organization in refusing to take sides in the controversies within the Left Opposition groupings such as in Greece (Spartacus group), France (Treint and Gourget groups) Italy and Belgium, since we lack sufficient information. Only when the Communist League of Struggle is officially a part of the Left Opposition and has all of the documents before it can be in a position to take up questions which to such considerable extent have been alleged to be questions of “democracy” within the Left Opposition etc. However, wherever on any given question sufficient information is at hand our organization can not refuse to take a stand.
To the above resolution we now wish to add that now that the Landau group in Germany (Der Kommunist) and in Austria (Der Neue Mahnruf) have issued an anti-Leninist and anti-Left Opposition “Draft Declaration” of principles, there can be no question of unification with these groups.
In regard to the groups which claim to adhere to the International Left Opposition but which are not “recognized” as such we wish to repeat our general standpoint that, without taking a stand in agreement with these groups we nevertheless believe that these groups should be permitted to be heard on the questions affecting them at the forthcoming international conference and that the conference itself should be empowered to take a stand on their respective questions.
2. STATEMENT OF THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE ON THE DRAFT DECLARATION OF THE “LANDAU OPPOSITION” OF THE COMINTERN.
Up to now we have not taken a stand on the “Landau question” since we were of the belief that it was concerned chiefly with disputes with the Left Opposition (headed by L.D. Trotsky) on questions on which we did not have much material and which seemed to us to be chiefly of an internal nature. Now, however, we can no longer keep silent in the face of the “Draft Declaration” and of the attacks which we have read in the Mahnruf.
Once upon a time there was a little group in Wien which all alone way back in 1922, undertook the struggle against International opportunism in the Comintern. Practically single handed it began its fight against the dragons of opportunism (Zinoviev, Bucharin, Radek, Stalin, Kameneff, et-al) who trembled in mortal fear. After ten years of struggle from this bard there grew up a great LEFT OPPOSITION OF THE COMINTERN. This is the fairy story of the “Landau International". Could anything be more ridiculous? If the frog continues to puff himself up trying to look like the bull, he will surely burst.
We believe it is only necessary to state a few of the high points of the case made by Landau himself to show that here no serious reply is necessary but only laughter.
A. Landau claims that he is the real “Left Opposition”, that the others merely comprise a block of Mensheviks headed by Comrade Trotsky who is still the great expert at building “August blocs".
B. Landau attacks the Fourth Congress of the Comintern (1922). Here he believes, is the source of opportunism. For Landau, Lenin is also an opportunist who theoretically at least, snares responsibility for the German defeat of 1923. To Landau, Lenin’s conception of the workers and peasants regime, a conception that enabled him to work in the closest relation with Trotsky and to conquer power for the proletariat in an agrarian county, is also an opportunist conception. Perhaps if Lenin had listened to the little brave group in Wien things would have been infinitely better.
C. Landau attacks the reorganization of the Party on the shop nuclei system as the basic opportunist concept in organizational questions. Landau is attacking not how the reorganization actually was effected in different countries but he is attacking the Third Congress of the Comintern (1921) and the whole history of the Bolshevist organization as well.
We would like to know what has this Draft Declaration got to do with Leninism or with the International Left Opposition? Up to now we were for an international conference at which Landau would be given a hearing for his point of view. Now that he has at last printed his point of view, we can categorically declare that his entrance into the Left Opposition would bring only the rankest Menshevist confusion into the ranks of those who determined to carry forward the banner of Leninism in the present period.
3. AN ANSWER TO LANDAU.
In the September number of Landau’s German sheet there appears a statement about our group which merits a reply. The Landau statement raises the following points: 1. That we were “connected” with the Landau group. 2. That the Landau group “broke” connections with us. 3. That the cause of the “breach” were the “sharp differences” with all of these claims are false.
Not being officially in the International Left Opposition ourselves we were interested in all the other groupings such as Landau’s which claimed to be adhering to the Left Opposition and which were not “recognized". In August 1931 we sent two letters to Landau sending him our thesis and asking him his opinion and requesting him to bring this thesis if he were in agreement with it and also informing him that we had been wrongfully treated by the Secretariat at that time under the direction of Mill. We declared that we would fight for a position that there should be called an international conference where the groups claiming to adhere to the International Left Opposition should have the right to be heard. In November we sent another letter to Landau stating to him that his criticism of our thesis, which we had received, except on the point of the Labor Party, was based, so it seemed to us, on his faulty translation of the English Language, because we did not stand for the points he thought we stood for. On the question of the Labor Party Landau took the position that if the Labor Party is organized on the basis of trade unions, the Communists must NOT enter and work within it, even though they keep their independence. On this question we disagreed with Landau and in accord with Comrade Trotsky we still do. While it is not the duty of the Communists to raise the slogan of the Labor Party and to help organize it, it certainly is the duty of the Communists at the present time, if such a mass Labor Party should be organized on a federated trade union basis, for the Communists to work within it.
We should keep in mind when we read Landau’s claims of “sharpest differences” on the Labor Party question that all the time he was in the International Left Opposition he was in the friendliest contact with the leaders of the American League who also at that time had our position. Carried along by the ideas of Comrade Trotsky Landau constantly tries to prove that he has “preceded” Trotsky.
However, what is important in the present connection is the fact that in our reply we plainly stated: The thesis you sent us is being translated (rather slowly) by comrades who know German and will receive careful study. Our opinions on it will be communicated to you later. We have not yet taken a stand on the questions agitating the foreign groups, due to our very incomplete information about them.
This is the whole of our correspondence with Landau. It is characteristic of Landau that he dishonestly pumps this up to mean “connections” that he wrote in one of his previous issues that he had “connections in America” and that he had “reports from America” to his “international conference". Where we see that it was not Landau that “broke” connections with us but that it was we who refused to become “connected” with a group whose principles we did not know.
Finally we wish to call attention to the exaggerated language that Landau uses. Knowing practically nothing whatever about us, like a provincial who is dizzy by his first visit to the capital city, Landau in his mind moves from Continent to Continent passing judgment and hurling pompous phrases. Such an attitude makes difficult any possibility of working with such elements as Landau represents.
4. SUGGESTED ORGANIZATIONAL STATUTES FOR THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT OPPOSITION.
A. The development of the International Left Opposition since the first international conference has made it necessary and possible for the various sections to proceed as soon as possible from the state of propaganda groups solely to that of organizations which though functioning as fractions of the Communist Party yet carry out independent action among the workers. This method can prove one of the most effective in convincing the Party members of the correctness of our course.
B. The development of our groups as organization along lines that will enable them to carry out their tasks makes it necessary that the groups follow carefully the general decisions on organization laid down at the 3rd Congress of the Comintern.
C. The membership of the sections of the International left Opposition must be carefully selected so as to include really vanguard elements. Proletarian applicants should undergo a probationary period of one month before membership can be obtained. For all others (non-Exploiters of labor) a three months probationary period shall be established. Where tested revolutionary fighters apply, the probationary period may be eliminated by special decision of the section.
D. The basic unit of the sections must be the nucleus. Every effort must be made to build shop nuclei and wherever possible issue regular shop papers.
E. The members of the sections must now seriously enter into the work of penetrating all mass organizations of workers open to them. Every member must be in a mass organization of workers carrying out the policy of the Left Opposition. The greatest attention must be paid not only to building fractions within the Communist Party (that goes without saying) but also to form fractions in the trade unions and in other workers organizations of which our members are part.
F. In every demonstration and action of the working class the Left Opp. must be part physically and energetically taking part in the every-day struggles of the masses.
G. On all concrete questions advancing the interests of the working class the sections of the Left Opposition must try to effect and to participate in united front groupings with other labor organizations.
H. Every effort must be made to develop well trained cadres who have gone through the concrete daily mass struggles of the workers and who have behaved in a Communist manner in those struggles. Those members who qualify in such work must be brought into the leadership of the sections. On the other hand it is quite possible that in the various sections individuals exist in the leadership who have not participated personally and in a responsible manner in such mass struggles. This defect must be remedied both so as to insure the leadership can keep the necessary confidence of the members and the Left Opposition keep clear from all taint of the bureaucracy and so that the ability of those very individuals be increased and strengthened.
Prinkipo, May 1932.
Endorsed by the Communist League of Struggle,
New York, August 1932.
5. STATEMENT OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SPANISH COMMUNIST LEFT.
(translated from La Verite, September 22, 1932)
The adherents of Rosmer in France and Landau in Germany have wished to profit from the decisions taken in our national conference in order to fight the International organization of the Left Opposition in changing the meaning of the decisions and in giving them an importance which they do not have.
In order to end a situation which can serve only to hurt our organization we have to declare:
A. Beyond doubt, our organization has no political difference with the I.L.O. and we have accepted and accept the Communist discipline of our organization.
B. At our national conference we have voted a resolution for the calling of an international conference of our organization and we have defended the idea of, permitting the groups excluded or separated from the organization because of differences with the leadership of the section of their country or of the International, to make the defense before the conference; but we have never defended the idea of an international conference to which the groups excluded or separated would be able to intervene with the same right as the legitimate organizations. Only, in order to defend themselves / their particular case and in demanding their intervention in advance /one would be able to admit their presence to the conference, which is quite different from the news published in the organs of Rosmer and Landau.
C. We have criticized what we consider as erroneous in the organization but this does not mean that we do not wish to accept the discipline of our organization and still less that we were not in accord with the ideas of our International organization with Trotsky and with the International Secretariat. We have always expressed our point of view on the different problems of our international organization but we have accepted the voice of the majority of our organization and it is necessary to underline that it is on the questions of detail and of organization and not on political questions that we have had divergences with the point of view of the International Secretariat and of Trotsky. To profit by this in order to fight our international organization is to make dishonest and uncommunist maneuvers. There is no doubt that we have nothing to see with the Landau and Rosmer groups and we consider that the path that they have taken is not the most facile for a return to the organization. The fact that we have asked that the defense of the groups excluded be heard does not mean that we were in accord with them, but what we wish by this is to permit the comrades to defend themselves in accordance with the democracy of our organization.
We request the national sections of our organization to publish this resolution in the press in order to hinder the maneuver that some elements wish to make with our name with more or less bad faith.
6. AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT IN THE FRENCH LEAGUE.
In the paper of the French League, La Verite, of September 22, 1932 there is given a resolution of the Enlarged Executive Committee on the tasks of the French Communist League (Opposition) this resolution, after stating the actual situation in France and the continued disintegration of the Communist Party of France, in spite of the favorable opportunities, goes on to enumerate the following important tasks: 1. The support of a weekly paper. 2. The development of the work among the youth. 3. The increased tightening of the discipline and morale of the League. 4. Preparation for the forthcoming National Conference. However most important of all, the French League states it is necessary to make a determined organized effort in the DIRECTION OF MASS WORK.
The resolution states: “The ideas of the left, of Marxism, of the real program of the Comintern have penetrated the ranks of the party. But this activity has been directed only by still restricted kernels and often by isolated militants. Aside from polemics, aside from education in the light of the great international events, there is still lacking a sufficiently patient and boldly rooted action within the economic mass organizations of the working class. Above all is it here a question of Trade Union Action. The enlarged executive committee calls all the militants of the left place in the first rank of their activity, trade union action which will bind the Marxist vanguard to the largest layers of the working class. IN ALL THE FEDERATIONS IN THE GENERAL UNITARY CONFEDERATION LABOR, IN ALL THE REFORMIST TRADE UNIONS WHERE THE OPPOSITIONIST FIGHT, THERE MUST BE ORGANIZED OPPOSITION GROUPS WHICH CARRY ON THEIR ACTIVE AND DAILY WORK IN THE TRADE UNION FIELD AND WHICH DEFEND STEP BY STEP THE CONCEPTIONS AND PROPOSITIONS OF THE LEFT IN THEIR TRADE UNION ACTIVITY ABOVE ALL IN RESPECT TO THE POLICY OF THE UNITED FRONT AND TRADE UNION UNITY ON WHICH QUESTIONS THE Executive committee confirms entirely the positions adopted hitherto. Trade union bulletins must be published to the degree possible. A responsible comrade is charged to Centralize all the trade union work of the league in coordinating it on a national plan.”
(Editors- Note: The Statement of the National Committee of the Communist League of America (Opposition) was printed in their official organ, the Militant, of October 1 and October 8th, 1932. Unfortunately, due to the smallness of our Paper, we cannot reprint this statement. We urge all our readers to get the Militant of these dates).
OUR ANSWER TO THE STATEMENTS OF THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE OF
THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF AMERICA (OPPOSITION)
STATEMENT OF THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE
(adhering to the International Left Opposition)
The recent statement of the National Committee of the Communist League of America (opposition) on the Letter of Comrade Trotsky and the reply of the Communist League of Struggle, in spite of the disagreements we have with it, has brought us a step nearer to unification. We note that in the opinion of the “National Committee” our reply to Comrade Trotsky constitutes a “turn in the direction of the Left Opposition on the most important principle questions.” and that “…we can be assured that some, if not all, of the Weisbord group (The Communist League of Struggle is designated here, note) will find their way to complete fusion with us. And it goes without saying that the National Committee willdo all in its power to facilitate and hasten this process, without putting unnecessary obstacles in the way or imposing unreasonable conditions.” Further the “National Committee” declares: “The general direction of Weisbord and the comrades associated with him, over a period now of several years… has been toward the Left Opposition.”
Yet we note, that in spite of this step forward, the “National Committee” rejects our offer for both organizations to come together on a basis of the basic principles of the International Left Opposition, and on Comrade Trotsky’s letter and our reply to it. The “National Committee” states: “We do not regard its letter to Comrade Trotsky as adequate….we deem a restatement by the Weisbord group (The Communist League of Struggle is meant here) an essential preliminary to further steps of unification.
We do not intend to enter here and now into the many secondary questions raised by the “National Committee". We intend to stick to the principal issues. Nor do we intend to engage in a long series of letters each running into many pages. Long ago we declared our willingness to meet with the committee of the Communist League of Am. Our offers have been steadily rejected. We regard this “long-range” tactic of endless letter writing as a maneuver to delay discussions that could lead to unity.
In his last letter to us, Comrade Trotsky raised three principal points: 1. The question of the Labor Party, 2. The question of Centrism and 3. The question of mass work. As the “National Committee” evidently has not basic differences with us on our position on the Labor Party we shall turn to the other two points.
I. THE QUESTION OF CENTRISM.
We believe that our statement that “On the general question of Centrism we feel that our differences are not very great and in some respects are only of a formal character” will be agreed to by Comrade Trotsky himself. What is the specific question involved here? It is whether the term “centrism” shall be given to a Communist wing as well as to a left-Socialist deviation, or should the term be confined only to the latter type (as Represented for example by Kautsky, Adler, et al). Comrade Trotsky answers that the word “centrism” should cover ALL deviations both of a socialist and Communist character, between the official camp of reformism (Social Democracy) and Communism (The Left Opposition). This means that not only the S.A.P. in Germany but the Lovestone group and the bureaucratic centrist group of Stalin are all “centrist". Of these groups, which differ among themselves, which one is the “nearest” to us, the Left Opposition, depends above all not on the formula of these groups but on their dynamics. And for this a concrete study of each group as part of its actual historic environment is necessary. We believe Comrade Trotsky’s analysis has very little in common with the formulae often bandied about in the Communist League of America, such as “We can unite with centrists but not with the Right". “Centrists are nearer the Left than the Right” etc., when by the term ‘Right” is meant Communist groups whom Trotsky also places in the broad category “centrist groups.” In this respect our views were closer to Comrade Trotsky’s than those of the American League. That is why it is correct to say our differences with Comrade Trotsky on this general question were mainly formal.
We find this analysis of Comrade Trotsky on Centrism very helpful and an analysis which we are quite ready to accept as it gives us a better understanding of actuality than before and corresponds better to the needs of the moment. We are no longer in the period of 1919 when it was necessary to split sharply all Communists from the Socialists. This process has been done. What is necessary now is to raise clear and high the banner of the Left Opposition as separate from all the other groups, That is why we are ready to change the terminology by which centrism meant a Socialist trend, a terminology followed by Lenin AT THAT TIME, for the one proposed by Comrade Trotsky. In this respect Comrade Trotsky only continues the method of Lenin under new circumstances that call for different conclusions.
The “National Committee” states that on this question of centrism we have not taken a self-critical attitude. This is not quite so. In our reply to Comrade Trotsky we declared: “We do not wish to deny that in the course of existence we have made some serious errors both in our general program (for example on the Labor Party question, OUR MISTAKE IN ALLOWING THE IMPRESSION TO GET ABROAD THAT WE WISHED A BLOC WITH THE RIGHT WING (our emphasis) and our mistake in ignoring on certain questions the great critical activity already done by the Left Opposition, etc.) And in our practice.”
The “National Committee” again affirms, in spite of our denial, that we were for a Bloc, that is a general vague alliance, with the Right Wing. And to prove this the National Committee quotes, not from the theses of the Communist League of Struggle but from an article of Weisbord BEFORE THE COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE WAS ORGANIZED. Knowing the false interpretation that the leadership of the American League had previously placed on this draft article, the group deliberately changed the original formulation so as not to allow this false interpretation to gain ground. It is significant of the method of the “National Committee” that it does not take the formulation of the whole group but of a previously written “DRAFT” (it was marked “DRAFT")statement of one of its members. And in this connection we must point out how the “National Committee” has constantly slurred and underestimated our organization and its entire membership by constantly insinuating that it consists of only one person. It is a mystery to us to find out just how these methods can raise the influence of the International Left Opposition in America.
What was the point and essence of Comrade Weisbord’s draft statement since it is this draft that is given as proof that the Communist League of Struggle and the American League can not get together. Comrade Weisbord stated in essence what we have stated in our reply to the letter of Comrade Trotsky, namely that it is quite possible that circumstances may arise where it will be advantageous for us to form a united front including the Right Wing even where the Party refuses to join or even fights it, and that the results of such a united front could be to reestablish mass work and even to help reform the Communist Party. Is this denied by the “National Committee"? But the “National Committee” itself organized such a united front with the Right Wing (Lovestone, Muste and Co.) in the Marine case!
Here is what the “National Committee” thought of the work of this united front with Lovestone on the Marine case: “The meeting is expected to be the starting point for a really popular development of the movement through public agitation” (Militant Dec. 26, 1931). In the same issue of the Militant, according to J.P. Cannon, this united front with the “right” was having the result that the honest and class-conscious elements in all workers organizations are asserting themselves in favor of a united movement to defend the victims of the frame-up…Every day sees new forces recruited for the fight".
In the Militant of Jan. 2, 1932, we read “All the activity of the committee has been carried on under the banner of the united front of labor against the frame-up system. The correctness of this policy and the effectiveness of the appeal for the imprisoned workers was indicated by the response that has already been gained. Organizations and groups having the widest differences on many questions of principal and tactics are uniting for a common fight for the imprisoned marine workers FOR THE FIRST TIME IN YEARS WE SEE THE SIGNS OF A GENUINE UNITED FRONT MOVEMENT TAKING SHAPE” (our emphasis).
Here is what the Militant of Jan. 16th, 1932 had to say about the work of this united front with Lovestone and Muste without and against the Communist Party: “For the first time in years New York workers belonging to various political tendencies met together, swayed by a feeling of genuine working class solidarity in the face of the vicious class enemy… All speakers were well received. Despite the manifold political shades and colors all appeared united to prevent the capitalist class from taking advantage of the dissensions within the working class for their own ends. The meeting represents a commendable attempt to close the ranks in warding off the blows of government oppression of workers and workers institutions… The absolute necessity of action in cases such as that of the three marine workers will not fail to awaken the workers, Communist and non-Communist to proletarian solidarity… The force of united working class defense is irresistible".
And in the very same issue J.P. Cannon wrote about this meeting of the united front with the right centrists: “No single event in recent years has done so much to raise the hopes of the radical workers that a way can be found despite all the differences between the various organizations and groups for the radical workers to get together for a united fight against the class enemy”
“This meeting like the defense committee which sponsored it was an experiment in cooperation on a single issue of the class struggle, the defense of persecuted workers. No one can deny that it made a good showing. The hall was packed to the doors and the sentiment for unity on this theme, Militant unionists, communists, anarchists, syndicalists and socialists were represented on the platform as well as in the audience. The chief feature of the whole affair and the one that determined its enthusiastic spirit was the formal appearance of a united front. There is every reason for the partisans of the united front among whom we belong to regard the demonstration as a significant step forward.”
This was the flowery language used by the “National Committee” members at their first attempt to form a tiny united front movement. We do not wish at this moment to go into the cause of the Marine Defense Committee and the manner in which the “National Committee” conducted their end of this united front. At the proper time we intend to show that in this affair the American League was forced to act as the red paint to cover the naked treachery and vicious adventurism of the Lovestone Right Wing group on the waterfront and that on no occasion did the American League leadership distinguish itself from the Right Wing elements in the Defense Committee. We do not wish to show here that the “National Committee” even tried to use the Defense Committee to build a sort of new labor defense body as a counterweight to the International Labor Defense, but what we do want to point out is that HERE WE HAVE THE “NATIONAL COMMITTEE” ITSELF DECLARING THAT A UNITED FRONT WITH THE RIGHT CAN BE FORMED ON A GIVEN ISSUE THAT WILL AROUSE MASSES AND REBUILD A MASS DEFENSE MOVEMENT ON CORRECT LINES AND REFORM THE PARTY IN SPITE OF THE PARTICIPATION OF THE RIGHT WING.
Since the American League is interested in self-criticism we would like to ask if the “National Committee” still believes it was correct not to form united front committees for the release of Morgenstern and Goodman, that it should not have participated in the united front called by the I.W.W. on the Centralia case and by the Socialist Party on the Mooney case. Does not the “National Committee” know that it was OUR GROUP ALONE THAT UPHELD THE MANNER OF THE LEFT OPPOSITION IN THESE CONFERENCES AND THAT WE ALONE FAUGHT THE RIGHT WING LOVESTONE GROUP? Constantly distorting the statements of Comrade Weisbord and going back to plain gossip for quotations from articles written before our group was organized, the “National Committee” uses this method to cover up all its errors on the united front work, errors that have cost the whole Left Opposition dearly and left the movement stagnant for a long time.
II. THE QUESTION OF MASS WORK.
On the question of mass work we do not wish to repeat what we have said in our reply to Comrade Trotsky but we cannot help noting the resistance on the part of the “National Committee” to this part of Comrade Trotsky’s letter and to its lack of self-criticism when it blames its lack of mass work solely upon the lack of means. Always people have blamed their failure to do their duty upon “Lack of resources, the concrete situation of the moment, the relation of forces” etc. However, the “National Committee” actually goes much further than this. It declares in its statement: “We always considered the question as part and parcel of the means of the organization, its resources, the concrete situation of the moment, the relation of forces and ABOVE ALL THE FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPALS OF OUR FACTION"(our emphasis). What does this mean? It can only mean that if no mass work was done it was because mass work was against the “FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPALS OF OUR FACTION". It means that in the program of the American League and of the International Left Opposition, the “National Committee” has discovered “fundamental principals” which mitigated against its entrance into this or that phase of mass work. If this is not the essence of sterile sectarianism then we do not know what constitutes it in principle. We wish to remind the “National Committee” again of the words in the letter of Comrade Trotsky that declare: “The Left Opposition… puts forth propaganda not in a sectarian but in a Marxist manner, that is to say upon the basis of participation in all the life of the proletariat…” In this letter Comrade Trotsky intimated that if the American League had not done mass work we must remember that mass work depends upon NATURAL CAPACITY, EXPERIENCE, AND INITIATIVE. In this way Comrade Trotsky gave a characterization of the leadership of the American League by tracing to its roots why the American League had not engaged in mass work. It is too bad that the “National Committee” overlooked this warning.
We are happy to note that the “National Committee” has decided to make a turn in this direction. It is this that makes us feel even still more that a unification between both organizations should take place. It will be one of the contributions of our group to aid in this new turn.
The Communist League of Struggle is criticized for the actions of Comrade Weisbord in the Textile Unity Committee WHICH WAS CREATED AND WAS LIQUIDATED BEFORE OUR ORGANIZATION WAS FORMED, and which, by the way, never appeared or worked in Paterson. As for the Marine Case, our organization NEVER TOOK OFFICIAL ACTION UPON IT, nor were we ever asked to do so by the Defense Committee which, against the wishes of the prisoners actually prevented mail from reaching us, one of the members of the Defense Committee even stealing the mail from our letter box! We do not wish here to discuss these two matters. However we shall not let them drop. Once unification is effected, we shall demand a full hearing on the action of Comrade Weisbord on the Textile Unity Committee, and on the whole affair of the Marine Case.
III. OTHER QUESTIONS.
We turn now to other questions mentioned in the statement of the “National Committee". The “National Committee” actually defends its turning over the names and addresses of its members and subscribers to the United States government. First of all the “National Committee” calls our criticism exaggerated and says this is a question of “second” or “tenth” order. Here we have a terribly patent example of the amateurishness of the “National Committee” an amateurishness that could lead to the veritable beheading of the movement. Is the question of the protection of the members of a vanguard Communist organization from the police a “secondary” question, or worse still, one of a “tenth” order? Even the slightest acquaintance with Leninism should teach one that THE CREATION OF AN ILLEGAL APPARATUS EVEN IN TIMES OF LEGALITY is a capital question. We shall not rest until this exposure of revolutionists to the U.S. capitalist government (which already has deported and removed over 100,000 “foreigners and reds” last year alone) is completely ended.
The “National Committee” defends their act by declaring: “He (meaning the Communist League of Struggle, note) could just as logically object to the filing of Communist petitions to put candidates on the ballot for they are signed with names and addresses by thousands of workers sympathetic with the radical movement.” It seems that we must patiently explain to the “National Committee” that THOUSANDS OF WORKERS do not mean HUNDREDS OF COMMUNISTS, that in the one case the Communists are protected by the masses, in the other, the Communists are thoroughly exposed; that in the one case we are dealing with the parliamentary illusions which the masses have so that there are different traditions concerning the ballot papers, on the other hand we are dealing with a DELIBERATE CONTRIVANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO CATCH THE VANGUARD; that in the one case the workers know when they sign that the papers will be turned over to the State and for that very reason many workers refuse to sign, while in the other case, no one is told that their names, which in most cases they want kept secret, will be turned over to the State. Finally, if we do not get ballot papers signed we lose something very valuable, THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN while in the other case we lose ONLY A FEW CENTS.
The “National Committee” argues that this has been always done by the “labor movement.” But the “National Committee” knows very well that the American League is not the broad labor movement but a small part of the Communist group, a narrow group especially attacked by the government. We do not wish to give the impression that our political estimate of the American situation is that we shall soon be driven underground, but we would be rank amateurs if not worse to facilitate the work of the U.S. government in registering and tracking down every Communist and sympathizer. It is true that when some of the members of the “National Committee” were at the head of the Communist Party and Young Communist League this was done also; but when will the “National Committee” learn that the American League is not a reconstituted Cannon (or Shachtman) faction of the party but part of the International Left Opposition headed by L.D. Trotsky whose principles represent in the U.S. A BREAK WITH THE PAST?
We wish to emphasize this point. We shall fight in the sharpest manner against any theory that tells us we are only joining an enlarged and developed “Cannon (or Shachtman) faction.” This is the best way to kill the Left Opposition in America. All of us who reach the principles of the Left Opposition can declare that in one way or another we were prepared by our past for our entrance into the left opposition. However it is not this phase that must be stressed, but rather how incorrect we were when we were in the Party, and how we now make a break from all the old bureaucratic methods of which we were more or less a part. This is the side that must be stressed, this is the honest critical way by which we can win the best workers of the Party to us.
Finally, the “National Committee” states: “We do not like the official regulation.” Is it a matter of LIKES? Has the American League really protested against the regulations? Quite the contrary. When the U.S. government deprived the Class Struggle of second class mailing rights in May the Militant waited till July 18th, 1931 to say a word about it (months after the N.Y. Times, N.Y. World, the Nation, and even the Revolutionary Age of the Lovestone group); then the Militant hid the true issues of the case and declared that our paper was suspended anyway just at a time when we were going to press with our next issue. Not likes or dislikes but STRUGGLE determines events and incidentally the character of the “National Committee.”
The second question which we have raised is the Negro question. We must not hide the fact that on this question the sharpest struggle can break out in the American Communist movement. The American League has been in existence over four whole years. In all this time it has seen fit to be quiet officially on such an important question as the Negro question in America. We declare this “quiet” is a token of rank white chauvinism. What kind of a question is it that its solution can be delayed for so long, that the “National Committee” can find time to solve this or that question but not the Negro question? Is it true that the “National Committee” was “studying” this question all the time? This is NOT TRUE. To whom did it assign this work in 1928, in 1929, in 1930, in 1931, in 1932? Why have they not brought in reports? If the matter is so serious this should be the reason for the greatest attention to be paid to it and full and open discussions held. But the “National Committee” seems to be too busy for this. Instead, the “National Committee” is carrying on a factional fight that, according to their own words, turned the last plenum into a “scene of the sharpest struggle” (see Internal Bulletin No. 1 pg. 2) over such “vital” questions as Why should Pasky, Gordon, and Clarke be accepted on the “National Committee” and what did Carter write on Engels in the Young Spartacus? We quote from the resolution presented by George Saul, a member of the American League: “Along its present lines, failing completely to consider the several political issues that have to do with the eradication of the barriers to further growth of the league (…Marxian analysis of the many social questions on which the League has not yet taken a stand, NEGRO QUESTION, agrarian question, etc)…the present factional fight does not contain an answer to the needs of the League” (our emphasis).
There are some other questions which we do not wish to enter into now but which we shall take up when both organizations get together. We can not let go unchallenged the statement that the nucleus of our group originated in the Right Wing of the Party. We shall put to the membership the facts of how the “National Committee” broke collaboration with Comrades Weisbord, Buch and others and set up artificial barriers to drive them away from the Left Opposition. We shall demand that the American League go into the roots of the matter as to the raid on our headquarters and the protection of the culprits by the “National Committee.”
Finally, we want to deal briefly with the statement that we have been guilty of “paltry maneuvers” instead of sincere offer’s for unity. The charge is made that we have gone over the heads of the “National Committee” to the branches. This is positively not so, as the National Committee knows for we sent copies of all letters sent to the branches of the American League to the National Committee itself and asked for the cooperation of the National Committee. If we wrote to the branches and held an open meeting, it was because for months the National Committee never answered our letters, indeed some letters it never showed to the membership. Is it any wonder that we had to address the membership directly? In this connection we must expose the fact that the “National Committee” dared to order its membership not to attend our open meeting and threaten to expel those members attending. So great was the reaction of the membership to this typical Stalinist decree, reminiscent of the days of Lovestone, that the membership of the N.Y. Branch actually passed a motion CONDEMNING THE NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR WITHHOLDING THE DOCUMENTS AND ALL MATERIAL.
It is not for the “National Committee” to accuse us of “maneuvers.” We retort that this itself is only a maneuver, a maneuver to side-track the discussion from principal ones raised by Comrade Trotsky to secondary ones. That the “National Committee” is capable of this, we get from their own writings. In their “Internal Bulletin No 1.” the National Committee declared that a document submitted by Abern, Glotzer, and Schachtman was “filled with personal accusations and slanders” (pg 2) and the “National Committee” calls on the membership “to condemn and repudiate the unprincipled methods and this irresponsible trifling with the responsibilities of leadership” (pg 3). In Bulletin No. 2 “Shachtman, Abern, and Glotzer speaks a great deal about unity and the avoidance of faction struggle, but the contentions in the document and their motions since the plenum speak a different language” and again that Shachtman “poisoned the atmosphere” with his “foul accusations".
In “Bulletin No. 3” Shachtman accuses Cannon and Swaback of using language that is used by Stalin in inner party disputes and also of “underhanded insinuations” (pg 10) and on the same page he states that Cannon is guilty of “patent falsehoods” and of “frame-ups.” On page 11 Shachtman writes: “It is very clear what Cannon is aiming at, I know it all too well. To TALK CONSTANTLY ABOUT “COLLABORATION” AND TO DO EVERYTHING TO RENDER IT AS DIFFICULT AS POSSIBLE IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE” (page 10-our emphasis). To feel that both Cannon and Shachtman and the other members of the National Committee should know each other very well by this time, far better than we know them. Can we be blamed for being cautious in our dealings and seeing to it that all the members know the issues directly ESPECIALLY WHEN THE LETTER OF COMRADE TROTSKY TO US WRITTEN IN MAY AND PRINTED IN GERMAN AND FRENCH WAS NOT PRINTED HERE UNTIL SEPTEMBER?
We feel that the charges of the National Committee to us on the question of “unity maneuvers” deserve that we print what George Saul stated in his resolution: “The truth is that neither has there been or is there at present enough genuine Bolshevik self-criticism within the League as a whole and within the National Committee of the League especially. There has been and is a shrinking from responsibilities, tailism instead of leadership, criticism in the other fellow instead of self-criticism, flippancy rather than persistency, sensitiveness that borders on childishness.”
Here is the language that the leaders of the American League employ about each other. Here is expressed what they think of each other. Far from discouraging us, however, such an exposure of the true facts makes us only more determined to do all in our power to effect a fusion, SO AS TO SAVE THE INTERNATIONAL LEFT OPPOSITION IN AMERICA from disaster. We urge the “National Committee” not to delay our unification further.
We do not intend to let our fusion with the American League start such a factional fight, in spite of these statements of the “national Committee” so as to paralyze all work. Far from it. We are convinced that our fusion will mark the good growth of the League and place it on a new plane of development.
Let our joint committee’s meet without delay. There exists no valid reason for continued separation of the two groups adhering to the International Left Opposition in America.
COMMUNIST LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE
(adhering to the International Left Opposition)