Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

New Opposition in Stalinist Party

First Published: The Militant, Vol. 10, No. 51, December 21, 1946
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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In recent issues The Militant has reported evidence of a growing internal crisis convulsing the Communist Party (Stalinist). This crisis has been most clearly reflected in a new wave of bureaucratic expulsions.

What is unique about the present situation is that for the first time in 16 years such expulsions are meeting organized resistance.

Several groups of expelled members, all tossed out for criticizing the opportunist, pro-capitalist policies of the CP leadership, are trying to continue an organized campaign against these leaders and policies.

They are issuing bulletins and documents addressed to the CP members, bitterly denouncing the Stalinist leaders and calling for an organised opposition. There is clear indication they are finding support within the CP ranks.

Publications and documents of several of these dissenting groups have come into our possession. They throw new light upon the betrayal and corruptness of the Stalinist leaders.

These documents show further that within the working-class layers of the CP there is a genuine desire for a revolutionary Marxist program and a party that will lead the workers to socialism. At the same time, this opposition, steeped in the falsifications and miseducatlon of Stalinism, is terribly muddled and confused. Their claim is that they are fighting for “genuine” Stalinism against the “distorted” and “falsified” version peddled by the present CP top leader, William Z. Poster, and his expelled predecessor. Earl Browder.

One of the opposition groups calls itself the New Committee for Publications. This group, functioning since last March, is circulating inside the CP a regular bulletin, published in New York, called the NCP Report. Its purpose, as stated in the first issue dated Oct. 28, “is to bring about the establishment of a real Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist party in the U.S.”

Another document, called An S.O.S. To All Communists From The P.R. Club, CP., is being widely circulated in printed form in New York City. The P.R. Club was previously, described by the CP’s New York State Organization Secretary as the party’s “best club In the Bronx.”

This statement, signed by the club’s Executive Committee, reveals that a large section of the club has been expelled for refusing to expel a member who directed a letter of criticism to the CP State and National Committees “for opportunism, bureaucracy and outright dishonesty.”

In San Francisco a group of CP members drew up a programmatic criticism of the party’s municipal election campaign in the fall of 1945 and the subsequent bureaucratic blows rained on them for daring to criticize the party’s support of capitalist politicians.

Another San Francisco document, issued by a group of machinists whose CP club was ruthlessly “liquidated,” Is In some respects the most revealing of all and shows how the main blows of the party’s top bureaucracy are falling on the proletarian sections of the CP.

It describes how the CP tried to break the strike of Local 68, International Association of Machinists, last fall in San Francisco. “After issuing perfunctory approval of the strike demands as ’just’, the CP began to break the strike. It issued leaflets and had articles published in People’s World openly advising the machinists that they couldn’t win the strike and urging them to go back to work!”

The CP machinists were directed to “attack the strike leaders as Trotskyite, which was a damned lie as usual, and to demand a rank-and-file committee to lead a back-to-work movement.”

When these CP workers refused to act as strikebreakers, “the branch was liquidated in the usual smart manner.” At the very end of a meeting, “the liquidation of the branch was announced, with a ruling: ’There will be no discussion of this.’ Expulsions came thick and fast.”

The substance of the criticism made by all these groups is that the American Stalinists are “not fighting for socialism,” they are continuing the “revisionism of Browder,” they play ball with the capitalist: parties and refuse to campaign for a labor party. The dissenters usually dig up obscure, early quotations of Stalin to prove their points.

But it is clear that the workers in the CP are finding it ever more difficult to stomach the dirty, treacherous chores the party leaders are assigning them.

(This is the first in a series of articles on The Crisis in the Communist Party.)