Volume 2 Number 3 ………………………………. March 19, 1932
1. THE GERMAN ELECTIONS
2. CURRENT COMMENT
3. THE LAUNDRY STRIKE IN QUEENS
4. ERRORS OF THE PARTY AND I.L.D. IN THE KENTUCKY STRIKE
5. COMRADE TROTZKY ON THE LABOR PARTY, ON “THERMIDOR” AND OTHER QUESTIONS
6. HOW YOUR WAGES ARE CUT
7. THE PROGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT IN THE U.S.A.
8. AN ANSWER TO WM. F. DUNNE
THE GERMAN ELECTIONS
The German elections have an enormous significance for the workers of the United States and the world proletariat. Germany today is the keystone of the capitalist arch. With its fall the whole structure collapses.
Feeding upon the German body are the victorious imperialist vultures wrangling among themselves but united in this purpose of sucking as much as possible from the German people. The convulsions of Germany are the convulsions of a diseased capitalism about to give up the ghost.
Everyone must understand that a revolutionary situation is brewing in Germany. The German masses, oppressed to the breaking point are mobilizing for the inevitable civil war. When this civil war starts, the fate of the whole world will hang in the balance. Soviet Russia will be drawn into the fight. The Red Army will have to aid the embattled German masses: for if the Fascists seize power in Germany in the West, and Japan presses through Manchuria in the East, then like pack of wolves, the whole capitalist world will march on Soviet Russia, the workers Fatherland, to destroy it.
For this civil war the capitalists of Germany are well preparing. This is precisely the principle reason for the great growth of Fascist and reactionary ranks. The outstanding lessons of the German elections are as follows:
1. A tremendous move to the Right—a tremendous growth of Fascism—have taken place. Fascism springs overnight from six and a half million votes to eleven and a half; to which must be added two and a half million votes for Duesterberg reactionary nationalist, and we reach the outstanding total of fourteen million votes.
What is the meaning of this? It means that the German bourgeois is growing more desperate and preparing to spring both against the workers and against the other imperialist powers. It means further that the petty-bourgeoisie is already mobilized by the Fascists and that these vacillating elements have lost faith in the workers leadership and have turned to Fascism. This in itself is a terrific indictment of the policy of the proletariat and a grave warning. 2. The treachery of the social-democrats has risen to monumental heights. The socialists again have shown that they can absolutely be relied on by the bourgeoisie as the staunchest supporters of dying capitalism. They have performed heroic deeds mobilizing the workers not for socialism but for Hindenberg, the Kaiser’s friend, royalist at heart, Junker, militarist, who sent millions of German toilers to their death. The Road to Socialism is “Hand in Hand with Hindenberg”—that is the new slogan of the socialists. The treachery of the Millerands in France in the early part of the 20th century pales before the monumental baseness of the German socialists.
The significant fact in all this is that the mass of workers still following the socialists did not desert them, but actually did vote—approximately eight million of them—for Hindenberg! What was the reason for this! Because the masses have come to distrust the Communist leadership. “Better Hindenberg than Thaelman for with Thaelman we must lose”—this was the feeling among the socialistic workers and masses.
3. The treachery of the socialists, great as it was, was actually matched by the truly gigantic blunders of the German Stalinist Communist Party. Here we see again to what Stalinism leads, namely to isolation and defeat. Instead of blocking the road to Fascism, Stalinism by its blunders really shortens the road.
The Communist Party should have offered to form a united front with the Socialists against Hitler and Hindenberg. The Communist Party should have even proposed a joint working class candidate on a class struggle platform. This would have caused a break of large numbers of German socialistic workers toward Communism. But the asinine theories that every worker not in the Communist Party is a “Fascist or Social-Fascist” prevents the Communist Party from making such proposals of united fronts.
The Communist Party has behaved so outrageously as to loose the confidence of vast masses of workers, which can be only partially compensated for by the fact that the terrible conditions are literally driving workers towards Communism. The Stalinist’s Antics in aping the Fascists by calling for a People’s Revolution”, its tactics of breaking up workers meetings that are not Communist, and its failure to form united fronts against the terrorist activities of the fascist “storm troops". Its pessimism that first Fascism must win before Communism can come about, the desperate bureaucratic regime within the Communist Party, all these blunders and Crimes have cost the German Revolution dearly. If not corrected, they will be fatal.
4. The consequences of the German elections will be very far-reaching. At present, the stage is all set for the Reparations Conference, which is to be held in June. Not for one minute must we believe that Fascism has sung its “swan song”, that it has reached the apex of its development and that it will now decline and wither away. Since when does Fascism depend on parliamentary ballots to seize power? Why should such an enormous growth lead to the decline of Fascism. What are the change in circumstances that would lead us to believe that Fascism is disappearing?
What will happen at the June Reparations Conference—is it believable that the Versailles Treaty in essence will be overthrown, that the German burden will be canceled, that the German Empire will be restored? The most one can hope for is a continuation of the moratoria temporally relieving Germany. If the crisis continues in 1932 as it did in 1931, this must play right into the hands of the Fascists. We must constantly keep in mind the words of Comrade Trotsky that the Fascist coup can come suddenly, that Hitler may be planning “surprises". We must constantly keep in mind the possibility of a further swing to the right of the German bourgeoisie and the possibility of reapproachment or coming together of both the Hindenberg and Hitler forces. The Fascisation of the governmental apparatus is quite possible should the international situation take a sharp turn for the worse for the German bourgeoisie. The German elections, far from mitigating the contradictions have really greatly sharpened them.
5. The German elections must result in a considerable shake-up in the Communist International as well. More and more, as the Communist defeat sinks in, will Stalin feel himself tottering, will the workers question the theories of “Socialism in one Country”, and the bombastic nonsence of the “Third Period” etc. The German workers and others will want to know how is it that the Russian Communist Party had “no time” to consider the German Revolution? If the missed opportunities of the German Revolution of 1923 led to a tremendous re-organization within the ranks of the Comintern, the present blunders must lead to a shake-up at least.
Stalin, as usual, will try to adapt himself to the coming storm. He will find new scapegoats, will make new compromises. The workers will demand the line of the International Left Opposition, Stalin will answer them by secretly sneaking the views of Comrade Trotsky while denouncing Trotskyism harder than ever. The great danger that the Communists must beware of, is a still further swing to the right. The Lovestones everywhere will make big capital out of the failure of Stalinism. But, such a swing to the right, a la Lovestone & Company must end just as disastrously for the workers.
Communists, Workers, only the Left Opposition has shown the way out. Support the Left Opposition. Join the Communist League of Struggle.
NEXT ISSUE—SPECIAL ARTICLE—IRELAND WAKES UP
Lovestone is now for Trotsky, no joke! In a recent issue of his sheet he declares it is just too bad that Trotsky is treated so roughly by Stalin. Lovestone would not even dream of acting like Stalin. What demagogy this is. It was Lovestone who first introduced the rough anti-Trotsky methods of Stalin into this country. Now he weeps crocodile tears over “Comrade Trotsky".
Why this change of front by Lovestone? Because he feels the impact of Stalin’s boot against his own rear. The Gypper got gypped, so he begins to holler against all gypping. The bureaucrat turns democrat. Evidently the members of Lovestone’s group are beginning to turn an ear to Trotsky and Lovestone must “adapt” himself to this.
But notice how Lovestone “adapts” himself. He says, “We did not act fair and square with Trotsky.” But does he show concretely HOW he acted wrongly and just WHY he was wrong? Just a few general words, like a Stalinist beating his breast in “self criticism”, Lovestone now says, “Trotsky is a Communist”, but does Lovestone condemn the antics of the comedian, Bert Wolfe, who in his spare moments off the Prospect Park Tennis Courts took the trouble to write a pamphlet (plagiarizing from Bucharin) to the effect that Trotsky was a counter revolutionist at least equal to the Jewish Daily forward, etc? Like a typical demagogue and opportunist Lovestone carries water on both shoulders. Trogsky is a “comrade” and a counter-revolutionist at the same time!
The workers are hailing Comrade Trotsky. To attract these workers, Lovestone begins to peddle something new, no longer “Anti-Trotskyism”, but “Unity” patent medicine. This year, Lovestone went into an even more elaborate “unity” convulsion or maneuver. A serious Communist, not a smartalek, would call together all the Communist groups to a conference, openly conducted, to discuss how all Communist groups could work together. We have always stood for this, as our theses and actions bear abundant witness. But this would not suit Lovestone. Trickiness, petty diplomacy, shyster double-booking-- these are the characteristics of the Right Wing. Lovestone no more wanted “unity” than Cannon or Foster. That’s not their racket. What he wanted was to get up a mass meeting to attract workers, put out the appearance that he was for unity while the other groups, of course, were the real splitters, etc. Unfortunately, the other groups always play into his hands. As usual, Cannon did not appear to carry on the struggle against Lovestone. No other group except ours appeared and our group was not allowed the floor on the ground we were not “recognized by Trotsky”, and if Trotsky did not recognize us, Lovestone could not. Indeed Lovestone has become a Trotskyite!
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We cannot leave this column, without a reference to our friends, the leaders of the Cannon group. For three years, they have sat, thinking profoundly on the Labor Party question. Finally, when the seat of their trousers was about worn out, they were able to reach a solution. The wise men arose, drew breath deeply and cried, turning to the East, to Turkey, to Mecca: “NO LABOR PARTY". Thus spoke the prophets, And at once they sent their nuncio, Mohammed Maxy to Turkey, to the Holy Land, to speak direct with the Master. They returned beaming, they had convinced the Master. But, alas for the prophets, now comes Comrade Trotsky and writes: YES, LABOR PARTY.
But does this bother the heads of the Cannon group? Not at all. Already they have written that this was always their position. They reprint the views of Comrade Trotsky with praise. Labor Party? Sure Labor Party, always Labor Party, Hurrah Labor Party! And soon Cannon will amend this to cry “Farmer Labor Party” as he did of old. Emir Cannon and Mohammed Maxy will sleep quietly again for does not the Koran say: Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand is doing?
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By the by, we have heard that Comrade Trotsky has given both Mohammed Maxy and his conferee, Glotzer, a terrific bawling out, by name. Out with it, Maxy what’s it all about? Are you hiding the writing of Comrade Trotsky from the membership and the workers? It really does seem that all of Cannon’s old friends are deserting him. Now it is Bill Dunne. After all the secret double-bookkeeping to which Cannon tried hard to keep Dunne as a “friend”, it seems Bill cared more for his job, than for the kind of friendship Cannon had to offer. After three years of quiet “principled” friendship, Cannon is forced to a break. It is tragic.
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We have been complimented recently by having a visit from one of the secret police of the Brooklyn, Navy Yard. It seems the authorities are a little annoyed by the functioning of our shop nucleus and the regular issuance of our shop paper, the Red Dreadnought.
This dumb dick actually wanted to join our organization. He told us he was a good printer and could help us very much with our papers. Fortunately, we were able to unmask him speedily and in good style. It is very plain that the bourgeoisie do not look at us, eye to eye with Lovestone and Cannon. They do not do any sneering, but have studied the class struggle a little more diligently than our so-called revolutionary leaders.
THE LAUNDRY STRIKE IN LONG ISLAND
The Communist League of Struggle has to its credit the fact that through its aid a victory was brought about of the strike of the laundry workers in the Rogers Shirt Laundry of Flushing, Long Island.
The strike was against a ten percent wage cut which was not the first one for the workers had been cut before by 20%. The boss, Mr. Rothman had told some of the workers previously that their wages would be cut five percent, but when they received their pay, the workers found that their wages would be cut ten percent. This meant that their wages would be far below a living standard for a family bread winner. Upon one of the workers expressing his indignation at this new pay cut, he was immediately fired by the boss. The next day, on March 9th, the strike took place for the reinstatement of the worker fired and for the restoration of the old wage scale.
The boss, like all exploiters, had made it his policy to provoke national and racial hatreds, telling stories of one worker to another in order to antagonize one worker against another. In this way he tried to divide the workers, making them feel that if some would strike the others would scab. At all times the boss had kept the girl workers separate from the men workers, giving them different pay and trying to make them feel that they could not work together with the men. To keep this division alive, the boss did not cut the wages of the girls when he cut those of the men workers.
During the course of the strike the workers learned to burn up these racial antagonisms, which the boss had tried to put into their heads. Following the correct lead of our comrades, the men workers were able to stick together, and to bring out these scabs, whom the boss tried to bring in. The workers built up a good picket line from early morning to late to meet the scabs when they came out. They turned back many scabs. They elected a good strike committee. They created a strong boycott against the laundry boss. They joined the Laundry Workers Industrial Union. In the course of the fight they learned many lessons of industrial solidarity, learned the full trickery of the boss and the means to which he would go before giving in to them.
By militant action, within less than a week the strike was completely won. The employer was forced to return the old pay scale, forced to reinstate the man fired, forced to recognize the union shop committee.
Lessons to be Learned
However, in spite of this victory, several lessons must be learned by the workers who have returned. The first lesson is that they failed to bring out the girl workers. This can be traced not only to the policy of the boss but the bad policy of the men workers in underestimating the necessity of men and women sticking together. The men had too much of a feeling that they were superior to the women. The pay of the women workers was much less than that of the men, yet the men never fought for a raise for them. In fact, when the strike was declared, the women were not consulted at all, and even in the first day of the strike, no effort was made to bring them out. The workers have learned through the strike to appreciate the role of the women and one of their first tasks must now be to get the girls into the union.
Because of their under estimation of the role of the women workers, the strikers went to get “sympathy” from the other hand laundries and to create a “boycott” not realizing that their main immediate job was to get the strike one hundred percent effective. The second big lesson, now that the strike is won, is to build the union. Every effort must be made to win all the workers, men and women, white and colored into the union. The boss will wait only for the next favorable opportunity before trying to break the union and to cut down the wages again. The workers must guard against this all the time. They must be ready to strike again and even harder. But this can be done only if they now make every effort to close the gap between all the workers, men and women, white and colored.
One of the ways that the men workers can use to show that they mean to fight for the interests of the girl workers as well is to propose to add some of the girls, especially the colored girls, to their shop committee. In this way they will make it clear that no interests of any section of the workers will be ignored.
A third job before the workers is to spread the idea of unionism to all the other laundry workers in the neighborhood or those with whom they are in contact. The workers must not rest for the bosses will not rest. Unceasing union propaganda and organization must now go on until all the laundry workers are in one big fighting industrial union.
As soon as the fight began the workers called on the Communist League of Struggle to help. We can truthfully say that due to the loyal help of the Comrades of the C.L.S., the workers were able to put up such a good battle to win their strike in such a fine manner. This is a lesson that the members of the sterile Cannon group can well learn.—Sam Fisher
ANOTHER “UNITED FRONT”
On Sunday, March 13th, was called in Irving Plaza, New York City, a “universal front” conference for the Defense of the Soviet Union. No invitations were sent to the Communist League of Struggle or other opposition groups but we were able to secure credentials and our group sent delegates there.
There were 453 delegates present. Of this number only ten represented the A.F. of L. 119 represented the I.W.O., a purely party affiliate; 46 represented workers clubs controlled by the party, etc. There were only two Negro delegates, and they represented the strictly Communist League of Struggle for Negro rights. Imagine, only two Negroes! About 60 delegates represented the F.S.U. There were no delegates from the Socialist Party, or any other right wing organization present.
The main speaker, Marcel Scherer spoke for two and a half hours repeating over and over again, the Soviet Union, Five Year Plan, etc., about the danger of war between the U.S. and Great Britain, etc. Trotsky was branded as a counter-revolutionist, an enemy of the Soviet Union. The speaker forgot that Po, a Chinese delegate had said that the success of the Soviet Union or its defense depends upon the success of Soviet China. This is Trotsky’s program, that the Soviet Union rests upon the actions of the proletariat outside the Soviet Union. Let us stress again that as far back as 1921 at the Third Congress of the C.I., it was emphasized that defense of the Soviet Union depends upon the victory of the proletarian revolution in other countries.
When the question of organizations wanting to speak came up, every organization, wanting to speak had to present their names on a slip of paper. After skimming through the names, my name and our organization were found. We were called outside to answer certain questions. Every answer we made seemed satisfactory except when we were asked if we accepted Trotsky and others as counter revolutionists. To this we answered in the negative. Our organization, the Communist League of Struggle, was mentioned before the delegates and they were told that we did not agree that Trotsky was a counter revolutionist. Without a discussion permitted the Party misleaders forced a vote to unseat us.
Is this what the Party calls a “United Front conference?"—Maurice Ward
THE ERRORS OF THE PARTY AND I.L.D. IN THE KENTUCKY STRIKE
(See article by Tom Johnson in the Daily worker, March 9,10,11, 1932)
by Vera Buch
Every strike led by the Party yields a fertile crop—of what?—of achievements, of victories?—no! A fertile crop of confessions of errors. The back numbers of the Daily worker are full of them—at least one for every strike and all alike.
This time the confession comes not from a Jack Stachel, whining as though in the synagogue, smiting his breast, with his tongue in his cheek and one eye cocked towards Moscow, meanwhile to see what will be the effect there. When an active organizer in the field like Tom Johnson, exposing errors writes, we listen with more respect than to the Stachels, Browders, Johnstones.
Here is a comrade carrying a heavy responsibility, with no help from the center of the Party, at a critical moment appealing for correction of mistakes before it is too late. Disillusionment with the leadership of the party must inevitably come to such active party workers who plunge into mass work. It remains for these comrades to push their analysis to the roots of the failure and to see that with such leadership mistakes CANNOT be corrected, but the same mistakes MUST be made over and over again.
“Lack of preparation” is the first error signalled in these articles. This was the glaring error of the Paterson silk strike, of the Lawrence strike, of the Pittsburgh coal strike. How can the Robert Minors, the Earl Browders, the Stachels and Weinstones know that a strike must be prepared, when they have never even smelled a strike at the greatest distance? And why should they suffer and bear the brunt of the bosses’ terror when they can send the Tom Johnsons there? They can send a report to Moscow, praise the achievements of the Soviet Union, and all will be well with them. They obtained their leading posts in the Party not through their good conduct in leading the struggles of the workers, but through factional maneuvers. They retain their posts through lackey-like support of the leading clique in Moscow. What is a Kentucky strike to them?
“Lack of forces, lack of support”, is the next great weakness, I see again the first days of the Passaic strike, the frantic pleas to the center for forces, pleas, which were answered only when the strike became exciting, when it got into the newspapers. I live again through the Gastonia strike, where a few loyal comrades struggled against great odds to build something, completely deserted by those noble “leaders” at the center of the party. “Don’t get excited”, was always their answer to our desperate long distance phone calls: “Our pocketbooks are empty; our relief store is empty; we must have money and forces to carry on our work.” They faced no starvation, no jail—they sat pretty".
Failure to put forward the party, failure to build the party, failure to develop leadership in the field, how familiar all these things sound! These errors have merely been made in every single strike conducted by the party. These same errors have been freely confessed and “analyzed” in every single strike. And what is the result?— Zero!
The ILD likewise is shown up in a deplorable light in this article. “The ILD simply isn’t to be found”, in the Kentucky strike, says Comrade Johnson. How well I remember in the soft coal strike of 1927-28, the complaints of the miners that the ILD gave no help, that it was “not to be found”, in the field, and in the New Bedford strike of 1928, not once did Cannon, then National Secretary of the ILD, appear in the field of battle. He sat pretty in New York! Then it was Cannon, who was head of the ILD; now it is Louis Engdahl. Is there any difference? And we must ask, what is the function of the ILD today, is it to be the shield of embattled workers facing terrific bosses’ terror, or is it to fight Trotskyites in New York?
Both the Party and ILD today, so far as their central apparatus is concerned, are bureaucratic machines, appendages of the Stalin apparatus of the CI. It is useless to look to them for correction of errors, for appreciation of mass work, for correct leadership. There are still in the party plenty of devoted comrades, the real revolutionists, who go into the field and give there all to prepare the revolution. It is through the work of such comrades that heroic efforts of the masses like the Kentucky Strike can take place, in spite of the party leadership. These comrades are never raised to the central leadership of the party, but are sent from one strike to another, always bearing the brunt of terror, always working without support. And however hard they try, always their efforts are brought to nought through the failures and crimes of the party leadership.
These comrades need to get at the rest of the failures; they need to brush aside the smoke screen of lies the party has spread around Comrade Trotzky; they must study the position of the Left Opposition, and of the Communist League of Struggle; they must join our fight to oust the bureaucrats from leadership. In no other way can they hope for errors to be corrected.
COMRADE TROTZKY ON THE LABOR PARTY, ON “THERMIDOR” AND OTHER QUESTIONS
Comrade Trotzky’s interview, published in the New York Times of March 5th, contains statments on the present world situation which every radical worker should read.
We are especially interested in Comrade Trotzky’s prediction of the rapid rise of a Labor Party in the United States. “The emergence of a Labor Party”, he says, “is inevitable". (Our emphasis—V.B.) It may begin to grow with an “American tempo” leading to the liquidation of one of the two old parties, just as the Liberals have disappeared in England.”
For the Communist League (Cannon Group) to claim this view as theirs (see Militant, March 12—“Our Position") is enough to make a cat laugh. We challenge the Cannon group to produce a single statement of theirs in line with this prediction of Comrade Trotsky. We point to the following statement from their thesis, (Militant, July 25)—very much out of line with it. “Moreover, it (the question of working within a labor party) is a matter which has less of a timely significance today—even abstractedly—than in past years, since there is no substantial movement at all for a Labor Party in the 1932 elections.” After a hesitation of three years, the Cannon group comes out with a statement on the labor party, which is thoroughly equivocal in estimating whether a labor party will arise and avoids entirely, stating whether the Communists must work within the labor party, if it does arise.
Contrast this statement with that of the Communist League of Struggle (thesis adopted March 15, 1931). “The Communists at this time especially, must not drop the slogan of a Labor Party. This slogan was approved by the Comintern during the time of Lenin. It is still correct to view the labor Party as a most important form of the united front (really as an integrated series of united fronts). The present political situation makes it not unlikely (though the formation of a Labor Party is not inevitable) that it will soon again be an important issue before the workers.”
It may be argued, “Trotzky does not say, the Communists must work within the Labor Party.” But we know very well Comrade Trotzky’s views on the united front; we know that if a mass Pabor Party should develop, it would be against all Trotzky’s theory and practice to say, the Communists need not enter it.
Trotzky’s statement on “Thermidor” gives a crushing blow to the distortions which both the Stalin and Lovestone groups have spread on this question. He states clearly: “What I have asserted and do assert is that there has grown up on the basis of the October revolution a powerful bureaucratic stratum in which both active and passive Thermidorian tendencies are very strong. However, their victory is still far off. The opposition to these tendencies consists of a struggle for the independence of the Communist Party, the trade union and the Soviets and for their vigilant control over the bureaucracy.”
We must point out, too how correct we were in rejecting Comrade Trotsky’s formulations in his thesis on the situation in Russia, to the effect that the Russian Party no longer existed. We declared that this statement was exaggerated, and that Trotsky himself did not draw the conclusions which would flow from such a stand. The Cannon group with its usual subservience lapped up this statement and spread it, while we see now that Trotsky himself is not using this formulation.
On the question of the crisis, it seems to us that the views of our group are closer to the views of Comrade Trotsky than are any others. Trotsky says, “In asserting the dictatorship of the dollar over the whole world the ruling class of the United States will introduce the contradictions of the whole world into the very basis of its dominance. The economy and politics of the United States will depend more and more directly upon crises, wars and revolutions in all parts of the world". Compare this with our theses (Section II par 8) Far from being removed from the contradictions convulsing the world, the United States has become a definitely indissoluble part of world capitalism, world markets, world division of labor. A crisis in the United States rapidly affects the rest of the world. Every disturbance abroad is reflected at home.”
Again, Trotsky states: “Even though the automatic working of the laws of the market lead to a softening of the crisis in Europe after a year or two, the crisis will return again in a comparatively short time with redoubled force". Compare with our thesis (Section II par 11). “The economic effects of the crisis must only greatly aggravate the very causes that lead to the present crisis and lay the basis for still more catastrophic crises in the future.”
Of the highest importance at the present time is Trotsky’s explanation of the correct program for the Communists of Germany. He proposed a united front with the Social Democracy to fight the Hitler menace.
He writes: “The Communists ought to propose to the social-democrats and to the trade unions led by them a program of cooperative, practical struggle against the attacks of the fascists. The social-democratic masses quite sincerely desire to wage such a struggle. If the leaders refuse they will compromise themselves in the eyes of their own masses. If the leaders agree, the masses in practical action, will go beyond their leaders and support the Communists. One must learn to make use of disagreements in the camp of opponents and enemies, etc.”
The Communist Party, while abandoning the policy of the united front covers up this abandonment with talk of “united front from below”—a united “with the workers in the shops". With six and a half million registered unemployed in Germany—not to speak of masses of the petty bourgeoisie, who are also following the social-democracy- the complete futility of trying to reach the masses only in the shops is plain. The danger of capitulation on the part of the German Communist Party is dealt with elsewhere by Comrade Trotsky. *******************************************************************
HOW YOUR WAGES ARE CUT—THE NEW SALES TAX BILL
(reprinted from Volume II No 2 of the Shop Paper “Red Dreadnought")
Your wages are being cut in many ways, sometimes openly, sometimes secretly, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, in so many ways that most workers are not aware of all of them. For this reason we want to point them out.
1. Direct wage cuts. This means a direct reduction in hourly pay piece rate, or weekly wage.
2. Lay-offs where the worker loses part of his pay or all of his pay when he is laid off.
3. Speed-up systems and longer hours, where the worker loses so much more energy than before, is worn out more and quicker, but does not get any incrase in pay to buy the extra food and protection needed by such a worker. The result also is greater number of accidents, more sickness, with its disability and loss of pay.
4. Increase of Tariff Rates. the tariff now is the highest in the history of the United Sates. This means that all stuff imported, a good partof which enters into the consumption of the worker, is taxed and a higher price must be paid for it.
5. Income Tax. The new bill proposed in Congress means that the income tax will be increased and will also include a great mass of workers also The only personal exemptions to be allowed are for incomes from $1500 to $1000 a year for single men and $3500 to $2500 for heads of families. The cost of “bad times” is being placed on the workers.
6. Internal Revenue Taxes. The bosses’ government, to pay for the huge salaries of the grafters and crooks in office, are now going to tax all moving picture tickets over 25 cents 10%. All messages by telephone or by telegraph over a small amount, will be taxed five to ten cents the greater part of the tax falling on the small consumers and not on the big companies. Malt syrups will be taxed 5%, grape concentrates 4% of their value, etc.
7. Manufactures Tax now imposed on the great mass of consumers. A 2 1/4% tax is now being proposed by the state, to pay for the increased expeses and to prepare for the next war, on all manufactured goods, with few exceptions, that the working and poor people have to buy. Do you know what this tax means? This tax means a big increase in prices of all articles. It means a rise in the cost of living. In a time when many workers have been cut in wages and millions are out of work when those at work have many dependents to support, at this very time the capitalists, through their agents in Congress throw the heaviest pressure on the masses. And this bill will be voted for both by the Republicans and the Democrats. Make no mistake about that.
8. Inflation is another way to cut wages. By inflation the value of money falls and prices rise. The bankers and the government are trying to effect this also. In this way the wages that the workers receive cannot buy the same amount of stuff as before. It is a real cut in pay.
9. Cut down in public appropriations. Schools are not being built, no libraries are being constructed, or hospitals supported. Relief funds are being stopped. All this represents an income that the worker generally receives, but which at the present time has been cut down to a minimum.
The workers, in supporting the Communists, carry on a war against all wage-cuts no matter what their form.
THE PROGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST MOVEMENT IN THE U.S.
The recent murder of four unemployed workers and Communists in Detroit shows not only what the starving workers can expect in the United States, the moment they begin to fight for bread, but shows also that the Communists are deep among the workers, doing their bit to lead the way to the overthrow of capitalism.
When the Communist movement was first organized in 1919, it was not much rooted in the American working class. We can trace the progress of the Communist movement as it took part in five big battles, now history.
1. The Passaic Strike of 1926. This strike was a great milestone in the history of the advanced working class. At that time the Communists were still timid, still afraid of the masses, afraid to go out and organize the great bulk of unorganized workers into fighting unions. The Passaic Strike opened a new path. The Communists no longer could turn back from their historic duty of building fighting unions of unskilled and oppressed workers and of digging in deep among the poorest paid elements of the working class.
2. But this was only a beginning. The Gastonia Strike in North Carolina in 1929, showed the Communists growing bolder and entering the heart of the open shop Southland. Not only in New York City, not only among the foreign born workers, but among the poorest Americans of the South, Communism began to get a foothold. This was a great step forward. This good work has been continued in the recent Kentucky-Tennessee strike.
3. The Scotts-Hill Alabama shooting. This was a great step forward when the Communists began to organize not only the poor white workers but even the poorer Negro farmers of the South, the Share-croppers whose lives are little better than those of slaves or serfs. The organization of these poor tenant farmers was met with the greatest hostility by the white plantation owners, who retaliated by shooting up an organizer and members.
4. The Chicago massacre of unemployed Negro workers marked another plane of the struggle. Here we see the Communists fighting and leading the masses of unemployed Negro workers. Under the leadership of the Communists the Negro masses showed they could fight side by side with the white workers in spite of all the prejudice and force that the enemy tried to use against them.
5. The late Detroit massacre takes us to another plane of struggle again. Now in the third year of the economic depression the masses are ready to fight. They are ready to get into action so that the necessities of life shall be theirs. Again we see the Communists in the lead. From now on Detroit must teach the Communists that the workers want to fight and the workers, that if they want to get bread they must face bullets. Petitions, signature campaigns, etc., are only devices to mobilize the working class. The unemployed movement must take on the character of sharper and sharper demonstrations. This hard and bloody road is the only road that can bring results.
In all this work, the Communists have made many and big mistakes. These mistakes must not be covered up. The function of the Communist League of Struggle has been to point out these errors and to strive to correct them. For this function we need the support of all workers.
AN ANSWER TO WM. F. DUNNE by S.F.
Whenever “Bill” Dunne writes an article we always have to consider under just what circumstances he wrote, whether he was in his right senses or under the influence of fire-water. When he wrote his recent article against Comrade Trotsky, however, it was simply a case of a boot-licker trying to keep his job.
According to “Bill” Dunne, the Associated Press is one of the most useful agencies of American Imperialism. We have no differences with him on that, but how can he explain the fact that only recently Stalin broke his “ban” and gave a long interview to both the Associated and United Presses? If it is wrong for Trotsky to write for the bourgeois press why is it right for Stalin? Not that we say Stalin should not have done so, but even a fool knows that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The real question is not whether Trotsky should reach workers and the Dunnes who read the capitalist press, but just what does Trotsky write in his articles.
Dunne complains that Comrade Trotsky said the Stalin regime is tottering. But that was not all that was said. Evidently Dunne does not want the workers to know what Trotsky really said, falsification being his strong point.
What Comrade Trotsky really said, was “The Soviet regime is the regime of the proletarian dictatorship. The Stalin regime is a bureaucratic perversion of the Soviet regime. It is with the aim of strengthening and developing the Soviet system that I wage a struggle against the Stalin regime.” Count Tolstoy, Hamilton Fish, or Matthew Well, do not fight to strengthen the Soviet regime, they fight to destroy it. Comrade Trotsky fights to strengthen it. But what does Dunne care about the facts?
Of course, to Dunne, Trotsky is the “counter revolutionist". This old A.F. of L. faker talks about “counter-revolution". We will wait to see how Dunne’s record shapes itself. We wonder whether he will repeat his Gastonia actions. As for Trotsky it is a fact that no capitalist country wants to admit him, even to cure himself, for they, like the Dunnes want him dead. Only Kemal Pasha, the butcher of the Turkish workers by agreement with Stalin can keep Trotsky a prisoner on the Island of Prinkipo.
Dunne accuses Trotsky of “organizing internal warfare against the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the five year plan". Any worker with common sense will understand that if Comrade Trotsky had wanted civil war, he would not have given up without a civil war, his strategic post as head of the Red Army at a time when he was at the height of his power.
As for the five year plan, it was the Left Opposition, which fought for it. This was the reason for the removal of Comrade Trotsky and for calling him a “super-industrialist". At that time, Stalin and Bucharin were saying to the peasants, “Enrich yourselves". The successes of the five year plan were accomplished despite the bureaucratic methods of Stalin and his creatures. The five year plan BOTH STRENGTHENS THE SOVIET REGIME AND MAKES THE BUREAUCRACY TOTTER.
Dunne yelps, “Trotsky tries to place on his own shoulders the mantle of Lenin.” It was Lenin HIMSELF, who in his last testament—still suppressed by Stalin to this day—who placed the mantle on Leon Trotsky. Lenin demanded Stalin’s resignation as General Secretary and declared in effect that it would be the ideal thing for the movement, if Stalin and Trotsky could work together, one the head and the other the hands; but they could not work together, therefore we have to pick Comrade Trotsky for a head could invent hands, while the hands could not invent a head. Stalin was like a cook who cooked peppery dishes.
Dunne grows indignant that, “Trotsky accuses the Leninist leadership of the C.P.S.U. of falsifying revolutionary history". Trotsky does not have to go too far—the very creature who wrote the article against Comrade Trotsky is a good example of Stalinist “truthfulness".
According to Dunne, Trotsky is to be condemned because he admits he writes history as he sees it. Trotsky does what every Marxist would do: State the facts and give his own Marxist, interpretation. There is no such thing as an impartial interpretation. It is only a Dunne, rotten with liberalism, who would raise such a point.
The very hysteria of Dunne’s article shows that the Stalinist bureaucracy is tottering. Dunne howls that even the slaughter of the Chinese masses cannot stop Trotsky from attacking the Soviet Union. But, who is responsible for the slaughter of 100,000 of the best of the Chinese proletariat? A week before the blood bath of the Shanghai workers, at a meeting of the Moscow functionaries, Stalin said, hand in hand with Chiang Kai Shek, we shall accomplish the revolution. Comrade Trotsky warned that within the next two weeks, Chiang Kai Shek would slaughter the workers.
But how can Stalin be tottering, whines Dunne, when the revolution is successful? How can success for the revolution bring defeat to its leadership? But, who said Stalin led the revolution? What Trotsky said was that the Stalin apparatus in its struggle for dominance, has carried the bureaucratic regime to its extreme. “I want especially to emphasize this fact: The economic successes as frequently happens in history, have not strengthened but on the contrary undermined the position of the ruling stratum because it was accomplished despite them.”
Dunne makes a lot out of the coincidence that the Czech-Slovak government allowed Trotsky to come in for three months. But we should keep in mind that this happened after the reactionaries had made sure of the results of the German elections due to the blunders of the German Stalinists.
Dunne does not have to fear. The Left Opposition will defend the Soviet Union unconditionally against its enemies both from the outside as well as from the bureaucracy within. That is why Comrade Trotsky gave the interview.
Spring Courses of the Workers Schools at 212 East 9th Street:
Mondays starting March 22—Capital Vol I, with Vera Buch.
Thursdays starting April 7—Works of Lenin with Albert Weisbord.
At the LABOR TEMPLE, 14th St. and 2nd Ave.
History of the Class Struggles in the United States with Vera Buch.