Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

An S.O.S. To All Communists from the P. R. Club, C.P.

First Printed: October 1946
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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MIA Introduction: This leaflet was prepared and publicly distributed in October 1946 when Earl Price (referred to as “Comrade E” in the text), the leader of a Bronx Communist Party youth club, the P.R. Club (named after Paul Robeson),was threatened with expulsion. When the majority of the club rallied to Price’s defense, half the club, including its executive committee, was expelled. In 1947, the expellees began publishing a periodical called Spark.


Members of the PR, Club, Section 1, Bronx are being expelled!

Why then – has Wm. Norman, Org. Secretary of New York State called it “the best club in the Bronx”?

The P. R. Club has been condemned as disloyal to the Communist Party!

Why then – has it built the best Sunday Worker route in New York City?

The P. R. Club has been called an “enemy of the Party”!

Why then, in the recent drive to place the C. P. on the ballot did it complete its voluntary quota of 250 signatures (half the entire Section’s quota) in four hours?

* * *

This, is not an S. O. S. for us; it is an S. O. S. from us for the whole Party. Every Party member is aware of the mounting- expulsions, most of which are never publicized. Those expelled have reaffirmed their loyalty to the C. P. as well as the determination to keep building it as a Marxist party. No cries of Moscow gold, disillusionment with Marxism, or any of the other ”confessions” that mark the renegade exit are present in the expulsions of Ruth McKenney, Bruce Minton, Wm. F. Dunne, Verne Smith, Charles Keith and Sam Darcy. Instead, the National Board statement labels ”left sectarianism” without once discussing incidents or views. Whatever these views are, we feel that basically the expulsions are due to clashes between democracy and bureaucracy, collective policy and Browderism, honest attempts at Marxism and degenerate Revisionism.

Our own experiences give us an insight into the basic problems underlying the expulsion policy of the National Board. Although we organized the P. R. Club in December 1945, our members fought Browderism and opportunism long before the explosion of the Duclos letter. Here are a few indicative excerpts from a letter to Foster sent in Feb. 1944 when Browder was preparing to liquidate the Communist Party. These ideas are familiar now, but they were stated at a time when no voice in the leadership but Darcy’s openly spoke them:

“Despite much talk of dynamic Marxism, I think there exist Revisionism, Opportunism, Tailism and even a shoddy Pragmatism in some of the reports.”

“We have never placed ’immediate Socialism’ next on the agenda, and we were still a political party. Why then should a current reaffirmation of that cause a modulation to an Association? Lenin said it was impossible not to admit that ’no progress is possible without marching towards Socialism.’ ”

“The change from Party has been inadequately explained and I think it is wrong. This is one time when the Communist Party has to be a Party.”

From another letter written to the Secretariat in Dec. 1945 comes the following significant quote:

“It involves the principle of fighting for the integrity of the Party or giving in to the first bureaucrat who hisses ’factionalist’ at you. Foster should have fought Browder. By not fighting Browder and by not sufficiently criticizing himself on this point, he has given logical birth to a false attitude. What should be our attitude in any future case? A faulty understanding of democratic centralism and factionalism can always paralyze us as Foster was – when we should be actively opposing any vulgarization of Marxism. Only vigilance guarantees a good, wholesome Party.”

Those leaders lie who protest that they were about to reform voluntarily before Duclos exposed them. Read Gil Green’s more honest account of the change in C. P. A. Discussion Bulletin No. 2, July 3, 1945.

This is the heart of the problem today: how to destroy bureaucracy and revisionism. In a democratic party there is no room for factionalism; in a bureaucratic party all criticism is called factionalism. When democratic channels are closed, how can the rank and file comrade maintain his constitutional right and duty to criticize? We have found every Party channel closed to us as the following will explain.

* * *

Early this year at the Bronx County Convention, one of our delegates criticized Comrades Begun and Appel for omitting Negro concentration work from the Convention Agenda. She was practically forced from the microphone. Our delegate also criticized the undemocratic character of the Convention and had to fight very hard with other comrades of the Resolution Committee to get a resolution for Browder’s expulsion to the floor.

At the March 2nd State Youth Conference, our delegates, instructed by our club, severely criticized Comrades Gates, Weiss, Friedlander, and the Nat’l Committee for the continuation of Browderite policies on the youth question. Though he was ordered not to by the County Youth Director, our delegate spoke for the reestablishment of the YCL and exposed the confused status of the C.P. youth club. He warned against our crippling policy in regard to AYD, insisting that the AYD should be a broad, anti-fascist youth organization.

In Vets work we were in sharp disagreement with the blind Party policy as enunciated by Wellman, Goff, Gates, and the leadership, which underestimated the AVC. This involved NO disagreement with the importance of working in the Legion. At a State Veterans’ Conference, one of our comrades wanted to raise these questions but could not get the floor. Together with other Party veterans, we helped in partially correcting this wrong policy.

On May 30th, the P.R. Club voted (with one abstention and no opposition) to send a note to the National Committee and the Daily Worker, the substance of which follows:

“While progressives bluntly call the Truman Bill ’Fascist’, our editorials have studiously avoided that word. Since a remote allusion using that word in last Sunday’s Worker, the word has disappeared. It appears to be no accident, but rather a deliberate decision. We fear it is the result of some dangerous speculations concerning the coming elections which prevent us from being ’harsh’ on the Democratic Party. We all believe the Bill is Fascist; all but the D.W. call it that. Why?”

Soon afterwards, Eugene Tarle, the prominent Soviet historian said essentially the same thing speaking of the Truman Bill. It is irritating to note that the N.Y. Times printed this dispatch (which is quoted below), but the D.W. did not.

On June 2, 1946, a member of our club, whom we will denote as Comrade E, sent a letter to the State and National Committees criticizing them for opportunism, bureaucracy, and outright dishonesty. He accused them of quietly burying the spirit of the Duclos criticism and of bungling throughout our policy. This was a private letter not circulated by him. The Nat’l and State Committees have spread this letter despite their denials.

It became clear that the P.R. Club was a disturbing factor in the pleasant routine of Party bureaucracy. So the State and Nat’l Committees decided to eliminate this disturbance even if it meant destroying the P.R. Club. This has been admitted by a State Committee member who said, “Well, there just won’t be a club there, that’s all!”

On June 24th, the Section asked that the P.R. exec, recommend E’s expulsion. It refused. On June 27th, the Section demanded of the club that it expel Comrade E. The P.R. Club refused by the vote of 23 to 2 with 2 abstentions;– this despite the proven fact that comrades were warned that voting for Comrade E would mean their expulsion. At this meeting the Section Org. Sec. called the P.R. Club disloyal to the Communist Party.

Immediately after the vote, the Section Org. Sec. ordered E to be present at a Section Committee meeting the following night ”where you will be expelled.” At that meeting the Comrade asked for time to bring witnesses, but the Section Committee refused to even discuss the question of procedure till after discussing the case. Comrade E was forced to leave rather than allow himself to be arbitrarily expelled by a prejudiced group which knew nothing of the case and was ready to override the overwhelming decision of our club.

The Section Committee then ordered E to stop all party work until his case was settled by the State Committee, thus in effect, unofficially expelling him. Our club rejected this Section decision, stating:

“The P.R. Club, CP. disregards the decision of Section 1, Bronx, ordering Comrade E to cease work because it feels that the Section Committee acted unconstitutionally, no decision for expulsion having been made.”

One member of the Section Committee, the Literature Director, dared support Comrade E. He was removed from the Section Committee without a hearing for daring to vote as he saw fit. Two hearings were held before the deaf ears of the State Committee. At the first hearing, none of the more than 30 charges against Comrade E were proven. The State Committee did not once ask for proof. The second hearing dealt with Comrade E’s charges for censure against the Bronx County Org. Sec’y, Section 1 Org. Sec’y, and their ”mannequin”–to use Thorez’ term–in our club. Using names, dates, places and witnesses, Comrade E proved specifically many cases of secret caucusing, bureaucracy, open intimidation, threats, and slander against the P.R. Club and individual comrades, unconstitutional procedure and sabotage of P.R. Club work.

After a month, marked nationally by repeated expulsions designed to silence the upsurge of criticism in the Party (as admitted by Comrade Amter), E was expelled.

The original charges against E had revolved about failure to carry out party policy, factional and anti-leadership activity. Later these were quietly chloroformed by the Section in favor of ONE charge: Comrade E. walked out of a Section Committee hearing. Later this oversimplified mess was chloroformed in favor of a varied selection of ten previous charges overhauled to include the organization of non-members against the National Committee. The State Committee finally chloroformed this over-complicated mess and expelled E on the following: disagreeing with Party policy, developing and propagating a petty bourgeois, Trotskyite, leftist line, factionalism, slander, and organizational connections with other anti-party groups.

The above charges are of the same type that was hurled in the Browder case to silence criticism. Only the first charge is true, but this is no ground for expulsion since E consistently carried out the Party policy (wrong or right) while attempting to change it via the correct channels. Stalin says that democratic centralism does not exclude but presupposes disagreements. The last charge is only a reflection of the actual opposition within the Party to the present policy.

After reading the State Committee decision to the Club, Comrade Amter insisted that the club vote either for Comrade E, or for the Communist Party. The P.R. Club stormed the insult of such a motion and forced Amter to retreat to a vote on accepting the State Decision expelling Comrade E. To prove its good faith and to expose the machinations of the State Committee, the P.R, Club unanimously (including the vote of E) accepted the State decision. Immediately after this, 19 comrades signed a personal appeal to the Nat 1 Committee for the reversal of the State decision.

The National, State, County, and Section Committees have grilled and intimidated our club, attempting to change our decisions by fake transfers in, and mass expulsion out. Our whole Executive Committee was removed, but this removal was not recognized by the club.

The club was called to the State office recently and separated into three rooms. In one room, our esteemed leaders put those they considered dangerously factional. In one room, our esteemed leaders put those they considered dangerously factional. They were shouted at and threatened with the expulsion of themselves and the whole club. In another room sat the caucus of the “faithful” stooges –inactives who have become active in the current gossip and witch hunting festivals and will soon revert to still life. This room planned more sabotage of P.R. Club work. In the third room were put the “confused” plus a few of the “faithful” to confuse the ”confused”! It all resembled Gestapo methods.

At the present, caucuses plan the removal of the elected executive committee and the expulsion of four more members.

The remarkable thing is that in spite of the sabotage of our work and morale, our comrades worked all the harder and improved some aspects of our work. We raised our Worker route to 200. The Daily Worker has boasted of some Sections that reached 150, but they refused to print the fact that our club alone did better than the best section. The most important proof of our attitude is our record of work. We have excellent working connections with every group in our neighborhood from settlement house and church to civil rights and vets’ organizations. We sent the highest percentage to Jefferson School in the county, issued 1000 leaflets per week, had an educational every meeting including a class in the History of the C.P.S.U., a study circle in between Jefferson School terms based on the works of Lenin. We order and distribute a ”Political Affairs” to every household in our club. At the present time, it is the very people who are now threatened with expulsion, who are collecting the most Party election pledge cards, although they do not agree with the election policy of our National Committee.

* * *

What has Marxist party to fear from its most loyal, hardworking but critical members? The real enemies of the party–like Louis Budenz–fatten up, then quietly leave for more lucrative jobs without ever being exposed by our “vigilant” leadership. When we speak bluntly and demand our Party constitutional rights, B. Chester of the State Committee answers as cynically as Bilbo lecturing on the 14th amendment:

“When a man commits murder, we don’t worry about an overturned lamp.” (Translation: When a club criticizes harshly, “we don’t worry” about its constitutional rights.) The State Committee has intimidated, bribed, maneuvered with secret caucuses, and expelled to crush our criticism. As they lick the boots of the “more sober-minded sections of the ruling class”, they would have us lick their boots. “We want subordination!” cried William Weinstone at our meeting.

The pages of the Daily Worker are closed to us by a clique which elected itself. (A Nat’l Convention of 94 ”Democratic Centralists” elected a Nat’l Committee of 74 ”Democratic Centralists.” Were the other twenty awarded consolation prizes?) All this in the name of democratic centralism and unity! The Nat’l Com. tries to frighten the Party into a policy of class collaboration by its cry of Unity at all costs! They will brand this document as Beelzebub’s own in the name of unity. But haven’t we been terrorized once by that cry from Browder? And wasn’t the answer plainly given by Jacques Duclos: “In truth, nothing justifies the dissolution of the Communist Party.”

In truth, nothing justifies the continuing sacrifice of our party to opportunism. Lenin conducted a life-long struggle against this bourgeois tapeworm within the Marxist movement. It is for this reason that we are forced to state the facts of our case in this S.O.S.

* * *

Point one in a Communist agenda today should be the fight to stop the planned war against the Soviet Union. In his Fulton speech, Churchill became the basic theoretician of the anti-Soviet war and of atomic power diplomacy. Speaking of the Communist menace, Churchill said that ”. . . we have at least a breathing space to set our house in order before the peril has to be encountered . . .” Breathing space means to him the time left to fight the Soviet Union before she develops atomic power ”equality.” Churchill thinks he must fight the S.U. someday–the sooner the better. This has become the guts and the metronome of the Byrnes-Bevin get-tough policy. Of course, when the S.U. demonstrates her atomic development one day soon, the Anglo-Saxons will sadly settle back into slightly longer range, more ”polite” war plans. Then, perhaps, the whole world will have a breathing space.

Our National Committee prefers to take the “breathing space” immediately. It has declared itself a dividend and clipped a few coupons of complacency from Stalin’s recent answers to reporter Werth’s questions. Stalin’s bold, confident, but not complacent answers come at a high point in war preparations and deliver a subtle, complex blow for peace. It is unfortunate that our National Committee has misinterpreted and misused these answers in order to justify an election policy which supports too many ”military and political adventurers.”

Stalin, the most consistent and most ingenious warrior for peace, always carefully separates the warmongers from the people–who can secure peace. As he exposes the weaknesses of the warmongers, he still cuts through the dangerous complacency of the peace-loving. In his Order of the Day on February 22nd, Stalin said:

“Having ended the war by victory over the enemy, the S.U. has entered into a new peaceful period of its economic development.”

One can immediately hear the ghosts of Browder saying: Aha – you see – no danger of war. But as he always does, Stalin rounds out the picture with:

“In the new condition . . . the Red Army must make the borders of our motherland impregnable against enemies.”

Stalin speaks bluntly in the March 13th Pravda interview:

“... He has friends not only in England, but also in the U.S.A. . . . There is no doubt that the setup of Mr. Churchill is a setup for war, a call to war with the Soviet Union.” Again Stalin restates his belief in peace: ”I do not know whether Churchill and his friends will succeed in organizing a new military expedition against eastern Europe. But if they succeed in this, which is not very probable since millions of common people stand on guard over the peace, then one man confidently says that they will be beaten, just as they were beaten 26 years ago.”

The same picture of the war danger and the power of the people for peace is made again in Stalin’s answers to Eddy Gilmore (Mar. 22, 1946).

“I am convinced that neither the nations nor their armies are seeking another war ... I think the ’present fear of war’ is being brought about by the actions of certain political groups engaged in the propaganda of a new war and by these means sowing of discord and uncertainty . . . not a single action on the part of the advocates of a new war” must ”pass without due rebuff on the part of the public and the press ...”

These earlier comments shed light on the answers to Werth. Stalin believes that millions of common people can keep peace. And he answers the get-tough policy of Byrnes with implied ridicule: ”I do not believe in the danger of a new war.” It must be insulting to Byrnes that he cannot worry Stalin. In the earlier statement of March 13th, Stalin stated the Anglo-Saxon attitude:

“Recognize our lordship voluntarily and all will be well. In the contrary case war is inevitable.”

That is the get-tough policy. Stalin’s answers recognize no lordship and still refuse to consider war inevitable. Why? Stalin says in effect: we know the Byrnes-Bevin axis wouldn’t attack us because it couldn’t win, but we know it’s trying hard anyway! What indication does Stalin give that the Byrnes-Bevin axis wouldn’t attack because it couldn’t win? The following:

“I don’t think the ruling circles of Great Britain and the U. S. could create a capitalist encirclement of the U.S.S.R. even if they wished to do so.”

“I do not consider the atom bomb to be a serious power.” “Monopolist possession of the atom bomb cannot last long and use of the atom will be prohibited.”

What indication does Stalin give that there is a dangerous drive toward war? His answer “Yes” to the question: ”Do you consider the speediest possible withdrawal of all American troops from China essential for future peace?” Also ”... and I think demilitarization and democratization of Germany would be quite the most powerful guarantee for the establishment of a solid and lasting peace.” But this is exactly what we do not have, and what Byrnes is doing everything in his power to prevent! Note that immediately after his statement of disbelief in the danger of a new war, Stalin brands the warmongers:

“It is only military and political adventurers who are talking of a new“ war today.”

Always, Stalin’s statements are a two-edged sword. They strike terror into atomic hearts on the vital question of the atom bomb itself, with the implication that the S. U. is not far from destroying the monopoly and outlawing the production of the atom bomb. At the same time these answers weaken the Bevinses and reassure the people of Europe whom Byrnes is trying to blackmail. Perhaps the most subtle statement of the strength of the Soviet Union was Stalin’s last answer: ”Communism for one country is quite possible especially in a country like the Soviet Union.” If it were not absolutely indestructible, the S. U. could not possibly contemplate the transition to Communism.

So that the peace loving people will not relax, the S. U. continues to point out the dangers of war. Thus in an article by M. Rubinstein published after Stalin’s answers, ”New Times”, the Soviet journal on foreign affairs, points out in its October issue that in the U. S.: ” . . . preparation for an atomic war is being carried on openly beneath the eyes of all the world.”

Robert Thompson believes only in the Browderist divisions of the “sober-minded sections” of the ruling class as opposed to a ”few reactionaries”, and places his faith in peace in these ”broad sections of the ruling class”. These broad sections are united behind Byrnes, but in his wish to justify the present election policy of the CP., Thompson refuses to analyse where these ”broad sections” really stand, because that would expose the fact that in this election the CP. supports the very warmongers, the supporters of Gen. Anders, the defamers of Yugoslavia, that Stalin warns against.

We have dealt in some detail with the Stalin answers in order to counteract the D.W.’s current misinterpretations.

* * *

Throughout the world democracy and Socialism are on the march. But wherever progressive peoples turn, there is an American battleship, army or airfield. The Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party says: (October Political Affairs) ”It is well-known that without the so-called ’aid to China’ by the American reactionaries our country would have long ago attained democracy and it would be impossible for civil war to break out at all or continue.”

There is war in China. What Spain was to World War 2 China may be to World War 3. What Italy and Germany were to Spain, we, the United States are to China. Listen again to the Chinese CP.

“It is therefore evident that the existence of the Chinese nation is threatened both by the Chinese and foreign reactionaries who are plotting together to transform China into an inferno, a colossal concentration camp, a colony and a base for new imperialist wars of aggression.” All the world knows these aggressive aims are pointed at the U.S.S.R.

As we hated Italy and Germany, so all the world will hate America. The Chilean C. P. accuses the U. S. of using American battleships to terrorize its people who have just elected a Leftist president. American battleships rammed democracy out of Greece in the recent elections. The people of Trieste are beaten by American M.P.’s, and Yugoslavia, a land of heroes, is painted as the new fascism.

We have troops in 56 countries, we prepare an Arctic offensive and winterize our B-29’s, flaunt long distance B-29 atom bomb runs in the face of the world. We are unifying our military standards and specifications with Britain– a real Anglo-Saxon unity, and we have a cache of atom-bombs there. A recent Navy circular in recruiting veterans for the Naval reserve hints:

“Future military service is not impossible.”

We have counter-revolution ready, waiting our instructions all over the world. The U. S. prepares Germany for a ridiculous return bout with the S. U., quite the opposite of what is promised as the “most powerful guarantee of peace.”

We are the Communist Party of the Aggressor nation. We have the responsibility of smashing our country’s war plans.

What has the CP. leadership done about the danger of war? Very little–and logically so–because it does not believe in it. During the WFTU month of aid to free Spain, the workers of countries as far removed as Korea and Norway struck to protest for Spanish freedom. In Brazil, seamen were murdered for refusing to load ships for Franco. In the U.S. workers were not even asked to use their power in demonstrations and stoppages.

The British C. P. picketed the U. S. embassy in protest against our gangup on Yugoslavia. We didn’t. We haven’t done a damn thing to help our Chinese comrades. Our whole country should be up in arms against the use of American troops and arms in China. But the National Committee does not even include this in its main report at the July plenum. The leadership, militancy, and perspective of a fighting Communist Party is missing from the American scene.

* * *

The American people do not want war. But when Wallace voiced the hope for peace, he was removed from the leadership of the Democratic Party. Internally the U.S. isn’t quite ready to go to war. Our imperialists must turn the U. S. into the worst case of Fascism in history before they can go to war against the S. U. But our N. C. refused to even call the Truman Bill fascist. In June, Eugene Tarle, writing in “Red Star” said that fascism was on the march in the U. S. seeking to crush the working class as it did in Germany preparatory to imposing a “Pax Americana” which he compared with the “Pax Germania which was to be proclaimed by the Germans within the walls of conquered Kremlin.” “The first indispensable step toward preparing a 3rd World War” is ”trying to strangle American workers with anti-workers legislation.” “To begin a big war in our time the preliminary work of preparing strategic bases is not enough. An internal job must be done at home.”

That internal job is destroying the unions and progressive organizations, illegalizing the C. P. (the Chamber of Commerce is leading this drive now), terrorizing the Negro people, forcing the veterans back into the army, militarizing the youth, and regimenting the scientists.

Basically Fascism would be a prerequisite for the waging of an anti-Soviet war. Dimitrof stated this way back in 1935:

“They are striving to forestall the growth of the forces of revolution, by smashing the revolutionary movement of workers and peasants and by undertaking a military attack against the S. U. the bulwark of the world proletariat. That is why they need fascism.”

This, exactly, is the position of the United States government today.

The C. P. leadership has done little to smash the preparations for Fascism in the U. S. How much leadership have we given to the formation of a national organization against war and fascism ? Have we helped the youth develop a broad anti-fascist organization? There are no American Youth Congresses today–no American Student Unions. We have fumbled the ball, confusing the AYD into something neither fish nor fowl. We dangerously underestimated one of the two most progressive Vets organizations–the AVC.

* * *

The coming elections could have been an important battlefield on which to cripple many plans for war and fascism. A real utilization of pressure and the contra dictions inherent in Capitalism could have helped split the reactionary coalition. Instead the CP. declared a ”moratorium” on pressure and issued “blank checks”, hoping that this gentlemanly attitude would preserve slight differences in the ruling class. A Marxist-Leninist analysis of an election should not get swamped in the trivial differences between candidates representing the same program and interests. It should strip the lies, deflect the misleading, indecisive factors, and spotlight the real truth. Always present, acting as an X-ray, should be an understanding of the “irreconciliability of class antagonisms” and of the function of the state as the instrument for the suppression of one class by another.

At present, both major parties are united on the same foreign policy – to crush Socialism and dominate the whole world. For some time before and during the war there were some important differences between the Democrat and Republican Parties. The Democratic party often represented that part of the bourgeoisie which was willing to appease the working class slightly. The Republican Party did not even stand for that. At least Roosevelt gave a limited lipservice to collective security. Now, the very slight differences between the two parties are only temporary. The promises of Mead and Lehman to protect labor last only to the point where their basic world policy is affected. The Brynes imperialist foreign policy leads to fascism at home. The “progressives” who have come to support the Byrnes foreign policy will soon (if we don’t start the pressure now) come to support the Bilbo domestic policy.

Because we support him, it has become our disgrace that Mead supports the Polish fascist General Anders, that Mead succeeded in getting the State Dep’t to protest to Yugoslavia about the sentencing of Archbishop Stepinac, that Mead (in the company of Ives, Dewey, and Lehman) applauds a Pulaski Day parade with its floats showing Russian soldiers bayonetting Poles, and that Mead does not demand the withdrawal of U. S. troops from China. Unless the C. P. counsels pressure and only qualified support for these men (and it is not too late to do some good), it will encourage and even hurry their reactionary plans. Can these class conscious politicians, whom the spectre of Communism sends into a frenzy of atomaine poisoning, be moved by “cajoling” as suggested to our horrified ears by William Weinstone? Absolutely not. Only one thing counts: demonstration of the strength of the working class. Even ”Vote Communist” is neglected in the D.W.’s editorials.

The C. P. leadership has not yet regained confidence in the working class. It calls “Wolf! Wolf!” at every point. “Wait for Wallace, Ickes, and Murray.” Wm. Weinstone told us: ”Pat Lehman on the back; say, go a little further, friend Lehman”–like a proud papa to his baby. Lehman, himself, is the proud papa of a baby–the third largest American banking house. At least Lehman cannot betray the working class as a member of it; Wm. Weinstone, however, does with his “big deal” psychology.

* * *

The workers, Negro and white, to whom we sell the “Worker”, are not so blind as the Party leadership. They want a third party. But the C. P. is so busy apologizing for Mead and Lehman that it cannot help in the ground work for such a party. At the present the American worker knows too little about Socialism to recognize it as the solution to his worries. That is the work the C. P. must start now. But at the same time it is no contradiction to give leadership to the third party movement of the workers, farmers and the middle class. It must be a champion of the Negro people. It must not play the part of diverting the revolutionary development of the people. The C. P. leadership believes, like the Narodniks in Czarist Russia, that only heroes make history–that only leaders develop parties. Therefore it begs the workers to wait for Wallace and Murray. We should point out that we will back men like Wallace when they are right and criticize them when they are wrong. At the critical point they must choose to throw their lot in with that of the progressive masses–or be discredited. Although Dimitrof wrote this eleven years ago, it applies to America today:

“We should develop the most widespread movement for the creation of such a party (Farmer-Labor), and take the lead in it. In no case must the initiative of organizing the party be allowed to pass to elements desirous of utilizing the discontent of the masses which have become disillusioned in both the bourgeois parties, Democratic and Republican, in order to create ’a third party’ in the U. S. as: an anti-communist party, a party directed against the revolutionary movement.”

The A.L.P., as well as every other progressive organization in America, reflects the theoretical weakness of the C. P. and the absence of militant leadership. The A.L.P., a proven force, has somehow spent some of its power. It comes close to losing identity. Realizing this, Boss Flynn has ordered every Bronx Democrat to refuse A.L.P. support. The drive to bury the A.L.P. is on. Why?–because the A.L.P. put itself in the Democratic Party’s pocket and fell asleep, losing its independent role and its bargaining power. This can all be remedied–if we don’t wait too long.

* * *

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. At a time when this fake meat shortage demands that we expose the bankruptcy of the capitalist system, the ”Daily Worker” uses it only as a club against the Republican Party. A Marxist newspaper should contrast Socialism with Capitalism; it should envisage a Socialist America. In the same way, it should explain that the freeing of a Schacht is deeper than the mere association of Dulles and Schacht. It is the justification of the capitalist class in making wars.

Whereas in Europe Socialism is in the mind of every worker, in America the Communist Party has surrendered the ideological front to the bourgeoisie. Unless we always advance the slogan of Socialism, how can the American people progress ideologically towards Socialism? The struggle ”for ”immediate Socialism” would be incorrect (though not half as dangerous as the dissolution of the C. P.). The ”immediate and consistent struggle for Socialism”, however, must be a continuous principle visible in every issue of the Daily Worker and climactic in every speech. We must prepare the working class for what is ahead of it–a disastrous economic crisis that will give a halo of prosperity to the memory of 1929.

In pragmatic America where the traditions of Sam Adams, Jefferson, and Paine, Lincoln and Stevens, Altgeld, Parsons and Debs are banished from the textbooks, where theory is ridiculed, the C. P. must be the leader of a cultural renaissance. We must spread the works of Marks, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and all great minds and cut the tentacles of America’s drab gift to the lesser philosophies of the world–”corny” Pragmatism. We must attract the best of the intellectuals, and we must have the best to offer them in honest philosophy, freedom, and intense love of learning.

We must become the vanguard–the most advanced, conscious section of the working class. Our leadership has lost its zeal. It contemplates the prospect of Socialism in a “business as usual” manner–everything in its good time. A rather gloomy outlook! Can such men act as the general staff of the working- class, anticipate the moves of the enemy, advance or retreat at the correct time? The working class must rely only tea its own theory and its own leaders in order to’ fulfill its role as the class which overthrows capitalism and institutes Socialism. Lenin said in ”What Is to Be Done”:

“Either bourgeois or Socialist ideology. There is no middle course . . . Hence to belittle Socialist ideology in any way, to deviate from it in the slightest degree means strengthening burgeois ideology.

The C. P. shrivels when it forgets this. When it sacrifices its independent, vanguard role, it betrays the working1 class to the bourgeois. That is exactly what the C. P. is doing. It dulls the militant edge of the working class, fosters the illusion that ”cajoling” rather than pressure influences the ruling class, and it betrays its brother Parties and Peoples throughout the world–from Iceland to Indonesia.

* * *

With the disbanding of the Communist International, the C.P.U.S.A. made an uncalled–for fetish of isolated independence. Today, more than ever, the American Party could gain immeasurably from a reconvening of the C.I. The C.P.U.S.A. could help prepare for this by suggesting the calling of a Western Hemisphere Conference of Communist Parties. The British CP. has already taken steps to convene the C.P.’s of the British Empire.

We have not attempted to produce a blueprint. We are trying to pry open some discussion in the Party. We are confident–unlike the Nat’l Committee–that the correct policy is a collective policy and that only a democratic Communist Party can guarantee such a collective and correct Marxist-Leninist policy. During the coming months, as this discussion crystallizes, all Communists should contribute to the exchange of opinions.

But aren’t we exposing a split in the C. P.? Exposing the mistakes of our Party earns us the respect and the trust of our friends, worries our enemies, and cleanses us. Our mistakes cannot be hidden anyway since Party policy is no secret. Though the “woltmen” of the press will chortle on the surface, they will really worry at the prospect of a more militant, self-critical CP. On the very title page of “What Is to Be Done?”, Lenin quoted from Lasalle’s letter to Marx:

“Party struggles give a Party strength and life. The best proof of the weakness of a party is its diffuseness and its blurring of clear-cut differences. A party becomes stronger by purging itself.”

Individually and as a Club, we refuse to recognize the continuing expulsions. Why should we timidly acknowledge the inquisitional discipline of cynical leaders who justify all sins with the term: ”Decisions!” We will continue Party work in our neighborhood–recruiting, educating and taking part in all progressive struggles. The study of Marxism will carry the new responsibility of ”organizing mass criticism from below” (Stalin’s “Tasks of the Youth”). We will help excavate the true meaning of Democratic Centralism and revolutionary discipline from the writings of Lenin, Stalin, and Zhdanov–not from the ersatz interpretations of our bureaucracy. “Comrades of the Nat’l Committee: Quick! Hide the books as Browder did for these books shall cause a tidal wave that will reach even unto the Ninth Floor” (Nat’l Committee Headquarters). We hope to see this tidal wave of thought and discussion sweep our members, the loyal expelled members, and the near million who have come close or passed through the Party and stayed away.

* * *

The recent epidemic of expulsions has rung the bell for the “First Round” which is marked by individual, uncoordinated attempts to improve the Party and the first interchange of opinions. The appearance of a Marxist publication will mark the end of the “First Round” and the beginning of the “Second Round”. This publication, serving as an American ISKRA, will be a vehicle for ideologically and physically contacting and unifying a Marxist core in and around the Party. It will reflect the broadening trend against opportunism in the Party. The “3rd Round” is the showdown: the emergence of a Marxist policy and leadership in the Communist Party. The Dennises, Stachels, and the rest of the Board of Directors of Browder Inc. will be bankrupt. Our switchy leaders led by the master switcher Jack Stachel (who has survived his key positions with Gitlow, Lovestone, and Browder), will not switch so easily this time. We will string a high barbed wire fence between Marxism and revisionism during the coming months, and those leaders who attempt the famous last minute jump will tear their well-tailored disguises and expose their naked ideologies for the whole world to see.

Think a lot over from the beginning. There is eclectic-liberal thinking galore these days, but there is also Marxist scientific thinking. There are valuable lessons in Lenin’s “What Is To Be Done” and “State & Revolution”, Stalin’s “Foundations of Leninism” and “Tasks of the Youth” and the “History of the C.P.S.U. (Bolsheviks)”. In the course of your work, try to correct what you think is wrong, and you will learn much from the frenzied antics of a disturbed bureaucracy–as we did.

Our appeal is simple: think – and as soon as possible act. Your agreement with the ideas in this statement is not a necessary preliminary to our common effort to produce a reputable C. P.

Correct policy will come out of collective policy. We all have a part in that.

We hope to hear from you.

Towards a Marxist Communist Party and Socialism in our time.