Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Crisis In Communist Party: Dissidents Hit CP Election Policy

First Published: The Militant, Vol. 11, No. 4, January 25, 1947
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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One of the major “crimes” for which many Communist Party (Stalinist) members have been expelled in the past year is then-criticism of the party’s continued collaboration with the capitalist political machines and politicians.

The documents of these various left-Stalinist dissident, groups give an inside picture of the dealings of the Stalinist leaders with the most corrupt, capitalist politicians. These documents, at the same time, disclose the confusion in the minds of the dissidents themselves. They themselves are still infected with Stalinism and reform illusions.

The criticism within the CP of Stalinist class-collaboration politics reached its sharpest form during and after the last national elections. It centered particularly around the CP election policy in New York state.

The New Committee for Publications in its Nov. 11, 1946 issue of NCP Report, a bulletin that serves as a clearing house for CP opposition views, states:

“The U.S. Communist Party did its best to deliver its vote to the American Labor Party. The ALP in turn did its best to deliver its vote to Mead and Lehman. Both Mead and Lehman openly proclaimed their support of President Truman’s imperialist foreign policy.”

This same group, the NCP, while condemning the class-collaboration politics of the American Communist Party, covers up the same type of politics in the European Communist Parties. The Nov. 18 NCP Report thus claims “the Italian Communist and Socialist Parties have already boldly announced their political aim of bringing the Italian working class, in alliance with poor farmers and others, to political power . .. The French Communist Party is also clearly on the verge of an equivalent step.”

Now, everybody knows the Italian and French Stalinist parties are practicing class-collaboration right in the capitalist governments with the capitalist parties, serving as major props of the capitalist rulers. But the CP oppositionists delude themselves that only the American party is “revisionist” and “anti-socialist.” They conceal the fact that the whole worldwide Stalinist movement is cut from the same cloth by that master-tailor of betrayal, Stalin himself.

Oppositionists like Ruth McKenney and Bruce Minton, expelled CP leaders, attack the official Stalinist leadership for “tailing behind bourgeois allies” and call for the building of an independent Labor Party. At the same time, they see nothing wrong in just a little bit of collaboration with “bourgeois liberals.” They write that “the election of people’s candidates to Congress in 1946 must be part of our Communist Program,” only this is “far from sufficient.” (NCP Report, Nov. 4, 1946.)

“People’s candidates” is the classic term to cover up capitalist candidates who seek labor’s support.

Another group, the expelled leaders of the Bronx P.R. Club of the Communist Party, in their document “An S.O.S. To All Communists” complains only of the manner in which the CP supported Mead and Lehman. “Unless the CP counsels pressure and only qualified support for these men, it will encourage and even hurry their reactionary plans,” say these dissidents. They object primarily to the fact that the CP gives unconditional support to capitalist politicians.

Similarly, Vern Smith, expelled California CP leader, answers charges of “leftism” against his criticism of CP election tactics in San Francisco, by explaining:

“Nobody would have objected to CP support of bourgeois liberal candidates, if it were made clear that this is solely election tactics, a choice of the only available names for which you could vote, the CP not being on the ballot ... if there were not illusions sown about the goodness of the chosen capitalist candidates.” (NCP Report, Jan. 13.)

Criticize capitalist candidates–but vote for them!

Some oppositionists, like William F. Dunne, now go so far as to admit that Roosevelt’s program was imperialist and in the interests of monopoly capitalism. But it is significant that not one of them directly condemns CP support of Roosevelt for president or Stalinist aid to Roosevelt’s war program.

Dunne even speaks of a “revisionist leadership for some 12 years” in the CP. (NCP Report, Dec. 9, 1946.) But he carefully leaves it at that. He does not want to explain how the leadership of the entire Third International failed in all that time to take note of the American CP’s revisionism. If Dunne followed along that line of reasoning, he would inevitably find the source of the revisionist, anti-Marxist, class-collaboration politics of the American CP not in Browder or Foster – but in Stalin who dictated the line of Ithe Third International until he liquidated it.

But Dunne, like all the CP dissidents, is still a Stalinist. Therefore his criticism of CP pro-capitalist politics ends where it should really just begin.