Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Crisis In Communist Party: Aims Of Dissident Leaders

First Published: The Militant, Vol. 11, No. 7, February 15, 1947
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The rise of an organized opposition inside the American Communist Party (Stalinist), which has led to wholesale expulsions, reflects a growing revulsion in the working class layers of the party to the leadership’s continued betrayals.

CP members in the union feel the contempt of the best militants. They cannot answer the arguments of class-conscious workers about the CP’s notorious political zigzags: its strikebreaking during the war; its collaboration with capitalist politicians; its bureaucratic methods.

They can see, moreover, that the expulsion of Browder has not changed anything fundamentally in the CP. The same old gang holds the reins, minus Browder who is sitting on the sidelines as an official “business” representative of the Kremlin Maybe the phrases of the “new” CP leaders are a bit more “leftist.” Their policies and actions are as treacherous as before.


But the chief spokesmen for the discontented elements show in their published documents and writings no real understanding of the basic political falseness of Stalinism. They have broken with the official American Stalinist leaders. But they are still proponents of Stalinism.

The main grouping of the CP dissidents appears to be the New Committee for Publications, which puts out the NCP Report, a clearing house for left-Stalinist criticism of the CP. It makes clear that “the central purpose of NCP” is “to bring about the establishment of a real Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist party in the U.S.” Of course, Marxism-Leninism and Stalinism are at opposite poles.

Expelled CP’ers like William F. Dunne, Ruth McKenney and Bruce Minton, principal contributors to NCP Report, are former CP functionaries. They have long records of opportunistic adaptation to CP policies. They reveal their opportunism even as oppositionists.

We read in the Joint statement of Ruth McKenney and Bruce Minton, for instance, that “long before Comrade Duclos spoke out, we had come to hate and despise the Browder policy of liquidation and treachery . . . But neither of us spoke out. We thought discipline required us to be silent.” They are still silent about the Stalinist support of the imperialist war.


William P. Dunne, in his statement ’Revisionism In Excelsis,” finds the existence of “a revisionist leadership for some 12 years” in the CP. But he doesn’t explain how this fact was lost for so long on Stalin’s Third International. And he, too, is silent on the Stalinist support of U.S. Imperialist participation in World War II.

Why should a dyed-in-the-wool Stalinist of 20 years’ standing like Dunne go into opposition at this late date, especially since his politics haven’t changed fundamentally? The answer is: He has become convinced that the American Communist Party can no longer serve the interests of Stalinist politics.

Elements like Dunne are apparently convinced that the American CP is too discredited to win the overwhelming support of the American working class. They see that the CP does not grow. That it has a continuous huge turnover of members. That everywhere it goes among the most politicalized workers its infamy has preceded it. Therefore, they want a new Stalinist party which will no longer bear the record of ill-repute of the present Stalinist party. They want to present Stalinism in a new cellophane wrapper and under a different trade name. The American CP dissidents see the huge growth of some of the European Stalinist parties. They are discontented with the stagnation of the American par ty. Thus they point out, for instance, that the French CP “wins hundreds of thousands, millions, of supporters” while the American CP “ends up thoroughly isolated from the proletariat and the masses generally.” They falsely claim that this strength of the French CP is due to its “struggles against capitalism.” (NCP Report, Nov. 18, 1946.)

It is true that the European Stalinist parties have attracted millions who wanted to fight for socialism and believed that the Stalinists would lead that fight. But these parties have cruelly abused the faith the masses placed in them; in every country they have formed coalition governments with the capitalists and supported capitalist measures against the workers.


What the American left-Stalinists are really pointing out is that the European Stalinist parties are not as yet discredited like the American CP. They hope to build a party like those in Europe by getting together a new Stalinist machine in this country.

It is necessary, however, for the opportunist CP opposition leaders to spread the fiction that the European parties are politically different from the American CP. Otherwise they could not limit their criticism to the present American Stalinist leaders. They would have to trace the source of the disease in the American CP to the germ of Stalinism itself. Then they would not speak of building a new Stalinist party. They would turn instead to the already existing and genuine Marxist-Leninist party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Trotskyists.