Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Opposition Hits CP Anti-Socialism

First Published: The Militant, Vol. 11, No. 1, January 3, 1947
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Previous articles in The Militant have reported the expulsion for “leftism” of entire branches of the American Communist Party (Stalinist). This “leftism” was primarily opposition to the Stalinist leaders’ violations of the most elementary working class principles, above all their strikebreaking on the economic and political fields.

Thus, the CP machinists club in San Francisco was “liquidated” for refusing to organize a “rank-and-file” back-to-work movement during the joint AFL-CIO machinists strike. The entire executive board and many members of the leading CP group in the Bronx, the P.R. Club, were expelled because they mildly criticized the party’s “unconditional support” of Mead and Lehman, Democratic Party candidates in the New York elections, who were conducting an anti-Communist, anti-Soviet, war-mongering campaign.

However, the opposition groups which are organizing in the wake of these expulsions have not broken with the fundamental policies of reactionary Stalinism. In fact, they are seeking to prove they are the “best” Stalinists. They defend Stalin’s murderous bureaucracy in the Soviet Union. They uphold his counter-revolutionary policies in Europe and Asia. They support his collaboration with the imperialist powers against the revolutionary masses. They justify the Communist party’s betrayal of the American workers to Wall Street imperialism during World War II. They vie with the official CP leadership in red-baiting and slandering the genuine communists and revolutionary Marxists, the Trotskyists.

As yet, this opposition appears to be ted by petty-bourgeois intellectual muddleheads like Ruth McKenny and Bruce Minton or former CP bureaucrats like Sam Darcy and William P. Dunne, whose opposition is largely motivated by clique differences long existing in the top CP circles.

Nevertheless, this left-Stalinist opposition has revealed in its documents, now in our possession, the profound disquiet in the working class layers of the Stalinist Party. Above all, the proletarian elements are disturbed by the party leadership’s failure to advance a socialist program and its class collaboration with the political agents of U.S. imperialism.

This reaction to the reformist and class-collaborationist line of the present American Stalinist leaders is the more acute because of the campaign in the middle of 1945 leading to the expulsion of Earl Browder for “revisionism.” This campaign was designed to make Browder the scapegoat for the previous line of open support to Wall Street and to make it appear that the new shift to the “left” was genuine. The shift was dictated by the Kremlin merely to bring pressure on U.S. Imperialism after the end of the wartime honeymoon between Stalin and the “democratic” imperialists.

But the working class members of the CP took the shift for good coin. They expected the new leadership headed by William Z. Foster (the same as the old leadership minus Browder, Budenz and a couple of others) to conduct a struggle against capitalism and for socialism. They were quickly disillusioned.

One of the first signs of this disillusionment appeared during a municipal election campaign in the fall of 1945 in San Francisco. When the CP failed to run a candidate in its own name or put forward a program distinguishable from that of the capitalist party candidates, criticism was voiced.

In a document after they were expelled for this criticism, Frank and Anna Stout answered an attack against them by Max Weiss, a leading CP bureaucrat in California. They point out:

“In the course of the campaign questions were raised by comrades in the Party. Some questioned the nature of the program as one merely of what were termed ’reforms.’ The non-partisan nature of the campaign was also mentioned. Some asked why the Party did not come forward more boldly and said that the face of the Party was hidden. It was asked: Now that we have rid ourselves of Browderism, why don’t we more vocally advocate socialism?”

Analyzing Weiss’s arguments, they contend he “places the issue as either, or. Either for socialism or for immediate demands. But not both . . . Weiss’s position, like Browder’s is that of making capitalism work, while projecting socialism into the distant future. It has nothing in common with Marxism.”

The expelled executive committee of the Bronx P.R. Club, in “An S.O.S. To All Communists,” even naively complains that “during the war, we had the opportunity to explain to a sympathetic America the meaning of Socialism. Browder scuttled this opportunity by pickling Socialism for the far off future. Except for a token sentence at the end of a speech the party leadership does the same now.”

This reflects the typical confusion in the opposition groups. They fail to explain how the CP could whip up all-out support for Wall Street’s war, campaign for the speed-up and no-strike pledge, maintain “national unity” with the capitalists – and at the same time fight for socialism.

(This is the third in a series of articles on the present crisis in the Communist Party.)