Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Browder vs. Browder

First Published: The New Masses, Vol. 56, No. 12, September 18, 1945.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In your issue of August 14, Dorothy June Newbury correctly answered the argument of Carl von der Lancken who had supported Browder’s revisionism on the grounds that the nature of finance capital is not necessarily permanent but is subject to dialectic change even under capitalism. What is significant is not so much the argument itself as the fact that such perversions of Marxism are so widespread even among people who call themselves Marxists.

The best answer to this fallacy that I have ever read was in a speech made several years ago by one of the leaders of the Communist Party. I quote, with approval and respect:

“In our approach to the masses whom we are striving to win, to organize, to mobilize for the revolutionary struggle, we must always be tolerant and patient as well as stubborn and persistent. But in the field of revolutionary theory, to accomplish our main task of winning the broad masses, the majority of the working class for the proletarian revolution, we must be resolutely intolerant against every deviation in theory, against every effort to revise Marxism and Leninism. This theoretical intransigence, this unyielding adherence of the Communist movement to the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism is not sectarianism. It is not dogmatism. It is the necessary precondition for the smashing of sectarianism, of all opportunistic tendencies in the working class.”

I doubt if even von der Lancken would accuse the speaker of sectarianism. For these words were spoken on Dec. 9, 1932 at a mass meeting called to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Workers’ School – by Earl Browder!

Philip Pollack

P.S.: Maybe that explains it: we had a Workers’ School that really educated the workers in the science of Marxism then!