Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Profound Crisis Inside the Communist Party Revealed In Wave Of Expulsions For “Leftist” Opposition

First Published: The Militant, Vol. 10, No. 45, November 9, 1946
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

A profound internal crisis is convulsing the American Communist Party (Stalinist).

The recent publicized expulsions of such prominent members as William P. Dunne, Verne Smith, Ruth McKinney and Bruce Minton gave only a hint of the purge sweeping through the ranks.

Members are being summarily expelled by the dozen from some branches, according to reports. Virtually all expulsions are on the grounds of “leftist deviations”–primarily opposition to the Stalinist leaders’ continued support of capitalist politicians.

The conflict within the CP is revealing itself openly in a number of unions where known members of CP fractions are opposing each other’s policies or flouting the party’s line on various questions.

This crisis, which can no longer be concealed, directly reflects the growing awareness of worker-militants in the CP that their leaders are playing an utterly cynical two-faced role. These leaders claim the party is for the abolition of capitalism and establishment of socialism. That is the basis on which members are recruited. But the pro-capitalist program of action pushed by the Stalinist leaders belies their anti-capitalist claims.

Words and Deeds Conflict

This contrast of words and deeds is sharpened today by the ever more glaring crimes and failures of capitalism. And it comes after the Stalinist leaders demonstratively expelled Browder for the very policies they pursue today and after they have assured the CP ranks that they want a return of the party to a revolutionary road.

During the war, the CP openly allied itself with the capitalists. It helped break strikes, pushed the speed-up, side-tracked the struggle against Jim Crow, urged a permanent no-strike pledge, and even dissolved itself as a party. Workers, disgusted by the CP’s fink role, left it by the thousands. The party was becoming thoroughly discredited.

As the war came to an end and the conflict between the Soviet Union and U.S.-British imperialism began to reassert itself, the Stalinist leaders realized they would have to make a tactical shift to the “left” If they wanted to retain or recover Influence among the leftward moving workers.

To dramatize the shift and cover up their own guilt, the CP leaders blamed their betrayals all on Browder. They had all gone along 100 per cent with the so-called Browder line–it was the world-wide line of Stalinism determined by the Kremlin. But they dumped all responsibility on Browder and expelled him.

For a time they talked about destroying all traces of Browder’s revisionism of Marxism. They were not only going to restore the CP as an independent party but Would return to a “true” Marxist-Leninist program. They were also going to show by this, they said, that the CP is a democratic party where the members can discuss and change the policies and even the leadership.

When the CP was reestablished, many of the members recruited during the war on the program of “national unity” with the capitalists dropped away. But many of the present CP members were recruited during the last year and a half on the basis of a rejection of “Browderism” and a promise to follow a Marxist, a revolutionary, line. These new members Joined because they believed the CP would lead the fight against capitalist reaction–the attacks on labor’s rights and living standards, militarism and the threat of a new world war against the Soviet Union.

Radicalism Is Just Talk

These workers are finding that the Stalinist leaders merely talk more radical than Browder. But their program of action, on both the economic and political front, is fundamentally no different than Browder’s.

Thus, the Stalinists complain about rising living costs, the profiteers and their government agents. But in the unions they refuse to advance any program of militant struggle against the effects of inflation.

On the contrary, they have taken the lead in opposing the simple and necessary demand, for which the Trotskylsts fight, that an escalator clause be inserted in all union contracts to provide a sliding scale of wages that will rise automatically as the cost of living goes up.

Using the most blatant kind of distortion and evasion, the Stalinist leaders attack this demand. Instead they have urged the workers to depend merely on the government’s OPA and futile buyers’ strikes. Moreover, the Stalinists are trying to hang onto Philip Murray’s coat-tails in the CIO. He opposes the sliding scale demand because it cannot be secured without a real struggle against the employers and government. To stay in Murray’s good graces, the Stalinists refuse to advocate any action he will not endorse.

On the political front, the treacherous role of the Stalinist leaders is even more glaringly revealed. They are continuing the Browder line of supporting capitalist party candidates and opposing the building of a labor party.

They are calling on the workers to vote for candidates of the Democratic Party of the big city bosses and Southern lynchers. In New York State, for instance, they ask the workers to vote for Mead and Lehman who have publicly repudiated CP support with vicious red-baiting statements and have proclaimed their endorsement of Wall Street’s “get-tough-with-Russia” policy.

Honest Workers Disgusted

It is not surprising, therefore, that honest and militant workers lured into the CP on the promise of a fighting program against capitalism are bewildered and disgusted. But any attempts they make to discuss the CP leaders’ betrayals are being answered with. slanderous denunciations and bureaucratic expulsions.

Simultaneously, the Stalinist leaders have intensified their goon-squad assaults upon Militant distributors and their slander campaign against the Trotskyists. This has a two-fold purpose. To poison the minds of the CP members against any investigation of the program of Trotskyism, the genuine communist movement. And to warn dissidents of the kind of treatment they can expect to get if they question Stalinism or are expelled from the CP.