Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Editorial: The Case of McKenney and Minton

First Published: Labor Action, Vol. 10, No. 39, September 30, 1946
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Daily Worker, official organ of the Communist (Stalinist) Party of the United States, announces t he expulsion of Ruth McKenney, author of the best seller “My Sister Eileen,” her author husband. Bruce Minton, and Verne Smith, old-time party member and a former editor of the Daily Worker. The charges against them are that they opposed the new party “line.”

In the case of McKenney and Minton, it was said that they opposed the party thesis that it was possible to win the peace under capitalism and they argued that war is inevitnble under capitalism. The statement on their expulsion also stated that they wanted a “class conscious” labor party. Verne Smith is charged with being a “leftist” and following a “Trotskyist line,” that is, a militant policy in the labor movement.

We are in no position to comment on the actual ideas advocated by these people because we have not seen their writings or resolutions. We know nothing of what they stand for except that they are in opposition to the line of the party. In the totalitarian Stalinist movement that means expulsion and excommunication. You cannot disagree with the Stalinist Line, no matter how quickly or often it is revised or how contradictory it may be; no matter if on one day you advocated the policy of one leader (Browder’s) and on the very next tried to continue it; when that leader was summarily ousted and expelled from the party.

Those who expected that the expulsion of the opportunist Browder would mean fundamental change in the Stalinist line, a return to the old abandoned revolutionary, militant policy, are surprised to find that the new line is very uneven: a militant policy in the unions, an opportunist pro-capitalist policy in politics. This merely confirms what we have always said about the Stalinist Party: it is an agent of the Kremlin; its policies conform to the needs of Stalin’s foreign policies. It suits Stalin today for the American Stalinists to pursue a militant policy on the economic field and thus threaten and blackmail the government to adopt an “appeasing” foreign policy toward Russia. At the same time this calls for a policy of seeking political alliances in the Democratic Party to prevent that ruling party from lining up solidly with the more determined U.S. imperialist opponents of Russian imperialism.

Thus, the American Communist Party pursues an imperialist policy, completely subordinated to Moscow: and cannot tolerate the slightest differences of opinion within its ranks. The effort made to paint William Z. Foster with a leftist brush fails completely. It is obvious that the switch to him was made because Browder was so compromised that the present policies could not have been inaugurated under his auspices.

The McKenney, Minton and Smith expulsions, however, reveal that underneath the heavy bureaucratic crust that covers the Stalinist Party, dissatisfaction takes place even to the point of struggle against the leadership and its policies. There are thousands of militant workers in that party who can and must be won away from its counter-revolutionary, anti-working class environment.