William F. Dunne
On the eve of the postwar class conflicts (1944-45), the CP. leadership not only missed “such a decisive moment” to “intervene” [Engels–See previous Section] and do its best to rally and guide the workingclass and its organizations in struggle against the capitalist offensive but its intervention was in behalf of the interests of the imperialist rulers.
To these established facts–the denial of the class struggle; the acceptance of the “peace” program of monopoly capitalism and its government; the dissolution of the Communist Party by this leadership and its continued rejection of the struggle for a socialist program in the labor movement, can be attributed the present low political level and obscene opportunist exhibitions which are paraded as Communist strategy and tactics.
This revisionist leadership can continue to rend the heavens with cries of “left sectarianism,” “semi-Trotskyism” (whatever that means) and expel Communists who insist that winning the workingclass of the United States for a Socialist program is and must be the main and immediate task of Communists. Such acts and utterances solve no problems for Communists and the workingclass. It is not these expelled comrades who are responsible for the opportunist isolation of the Communist Party from the workingclass today.
That responsibility rests upon a leadership which deserted Marxist-Leninism, the Communist Party, and the workingclass, of which it was supposed to be the vanguard, by accepting the following statement of policy by Browder and others (and many other statements of similar import and political content): “Marxists will not help the reactionaries by opposing the slogan of ’Free Enterprise’ with any form of counter-slogan. If any one wishes to describe the existing system of capitalism in the United States as ’free enterprise’ that is all right with us, and we frankly declare that we are ready to cooperate in making this capitalism work effectively in the postwar period with the least possible burdens upon the people.” (Teheran and America, Page 21). On the basis of the defeatist analysis and policy stated above, the dissolution of the Communist Party was “theoretically” justified and the program of class collaboration and a no-strike policy in the “peacetime” postwar period urged upon the organized labor movement and in some industries and unions its endorsement was secured.
But the majority of the unions in spite of defeatist efforts to persuade them to adopt a policy that could have led only to their liquidation as fighting organizations of the working class (as it did in the case of the CP.) rejected this policy, although it did immense damage by hampering preparations to meet and counter the capitalist offensive on the economic front.
For the first time in history, a Communist Party, the CP. of the United States, had an official program and tactical line which met with the approval of the monopoly capitalists. The CP. was no longer in danger of being accused of “sectarianism” or “advocating revolution.” It was, no longer isolated–except from the workingclass.
It is still isolated in its “reconstituted” form. It has no program of its own because its revisionist leadership refuses to make it the proletarian party of Socialism and conduct its work in a Marxist-Leninist manner. The lack of faith of this leadership in the ability of the workingclass in the United States to understand, accept and fight for a socialist program if the necessity for it is explained to them in the course of all their conflicts with monopoly capital and its government, is the main reason for isolation and lack of Marxist socialist influence.
Behind all this is the belief, current in the CP., that Socialism is neither necessary nor possible in the United States because of “special” features of capitalist development in this country. This accounts for the ease with which this leadership was able to turn upside down the united front tactic developed by Lenin and applied, at the Seventh Congress for the ’ program of pre-war anti-fascist struggle, and thereby lead the Party to dissolution and disaster.
This explains the ease with which Browder, becoming bolder in 1936-37, was able to hand over the CP. to John L. Lewis, with its press and its cadres of organizers–without a single guarantee as to program or the political rights of Communists, and rank and file members in the unions. On the contrary, all the guarantees were given by the CP. The Party groups were abolished. The opportunist leadership agreed to make no fight even in Lewis' United Mine Workers for removal of the constitutional clause which lumps Communists with Ku Klux Klanners and Fascists and prohibits them from holding membership.
Communists were doing most of the agitational, propaganda and organization work for the CIO unions but they were no longer Party workers. The opportunist program and leadership made them into “pure and simple” trade unionists.
The first steel workers organization meeting called by Murray in Pittsburgh had to be organized by Communists because no one else had any standing among militant steel workers. (75,000 had been organized in the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel and Tin Workers by Communists and rank and file committees. They had been expelled by President Green of the A.F. of L.)
That first CIO steel workers meeting was held in the Sons of Italy hall and Vito Marcantonio was the main speaker. At that time there was not a single basic industry where the broad foundations of the present CIO unions had not been laid by Communist organizers rank and file committees when the Party machinery was handed over lock, stock and barrel to John L. Lewis in 1935-36. After that, to hint that Lewis was less than God was to face expulsion from the CP. But it had been the Communists who had kept the spirit of struggle alive in the coal fields after Lewis had abandoned it from 1924 to 1933.
These are a few of the high, or low, spots of the process by which the CP. was finally led to its dissolution. The Party had lost its independence to such an extent that this leadership was both unwilling and unable to organize a mass campaign in the organized labor movement and other workingclass organizations to lift the embargo on shipments of munitions to the Spanish Republican forces by the Roosevelt administration.
No attempt was made to get unions to charter ships to run the blockade while members of the ill-equipped Abraham Lincoln Battalion and the International Brigade and the Spanish people died by the thousands trying to stop the Franco-Hitler and Mussolini divisions equipped with the most modern arms in the world. The campaign for aid to the Spanish Republicans was allowed to wax and wane according to how Roosevelt was reported to be feeling. “We must not embarrass the President,” said Browder.
The Roosevelt administration in alliance with the Roman Catholic hierarchy was far more responsible for the fascist victory in Spain which set the stage for World War II than was the British Tory government, but one will not discover this in the CP. literature of the time. With the United States’ government enforcing the embargo while the fascist governments had a free hand, the defeat of the Spanish republic was only a matter of time.
This refusal to place such major issues of the class struggle clearly before the workingclass–always a hallmark of revisionism at its worst–was carried into the war period. This resulted in the acceptance of the “soft underbelly of the Axis” theory which took such a deadly toll of American troops and left the Red Army to bear the main might of Hitler’s hordes.
The opportunist leadership choked off protest against the Petain and Darlan treachery. It raised no outcry against the deal with Bonomi and the 40 days of grace given the Nazis in Italy to reorganize their forces and launch a sweeping offensive against the Partisans. Both Browder and Sumner Welles assured the Chinese Red Armies and the 90,000,000 people back of them that the United States government was on their side and that they had nothing to fear–but they continued to be slaughtered and blockaded by United States-equipped Kuomintang troops.
No inkling was ever given the Party membership or the working class of the two-sided character of the war–a war of liberation for the popular forces in the capitalist and colonial countries, and an imperialist war for the interests of the ruling class and their governments–a war waged by American and British imperialists with the hope and belief that the Soviet Union and the revolutionary forces of the workingclass and its allies in the occupied countries would suffer such losses as would make impossible an effective struggle against both imperialisms for a long time to come–perhaps forever.
Out of this foul but fertile swamp, the seeds of opportunist appeasement sown before and during the war sprouted, grew and burgeoned into the poisonous plant whose miasma poisoned the Party and such sections of the workingclass as came under its influence.
Browder’s appeals, published in the New York Times and the Herald-Tribune and other organs of monopoly capitalism, soliciting their aid in “slaying the specter of Communism,” assuring them that Communists were willing to discuss the dissolution of their Party, his books “Victory and After”; “Teheran and America”, his Madison Square Garden speech in January 1944, his open efforts to secure the submission of Communist Parties in other countries to Wall Street’s postwar program, his incentive wage plan, and finally the dissolution of the CP and the open call to the workingclass to accept the program of monopoly capital, support the imperialist adventures of its government and abandon strike struggles for economic demands in the postwar period, were all one pattern–rejection of the Marxist-Leninist concept of the historical liberating role of the workingclass headed by its Communist vanguard.
It is useless for this present revisionist leadership, now that Browder has been removed and expelled, to say that they were bemused by this monstrosity of opportunist mediocrity they had created in their own images, and by his defeatist program. Only people who are petty bourgeois reformists in method of thinking, manner of living and social background, and who set up no safeguards in the way of imperialist corruption, could have accepted such a program.
Browder “showed them the way to promotion and pay” in middle class and capitalist circles and they poured out on him and his revisionist maunderings a constant stream of adulation that would have sickened an Oriental potentate of the Arabian Nights period. There was literature written during that period by many persons still in the revisionist leadership in which Browder is compared to Lenin and Stalin.
This was only the beginning because superlatives were soon exhausted. It was then decided that Browder could be compared only with Browder. Any other comparison ran the risk of underestimating the peculiar quality of his genius.
A careful reading of the purposely lengthy quotation from Manuilsky’s report on Engels to the 7th World Congress will show clearly how Browder and his revisionist colleagues arrived at this stage by exploiting all the opportunist possibilities in the correct anti-fascist democratic front program and ignoring and concealing from the CP membership the grave dangers facing it. Cooperation with the powerful American capitalist class replaced Communist independence and vigilance. Opportunism of a type never before accepted by Communist leadership poisoned the CP. Some repetition will do no harm here:
“Unity is an excellent thing as long as it is possible, but there are things more important than unity.” (Engels–original emphasis).
“I think it is necessary to recall these words of Engels precisely at the present time when here we are holding aloft the banner of the political unity of the international workingclass.” Report on Engels in Struggle for Revolutionary Marxism.–See previous Section.
The prostitution of the Leninist tactic of the united front and the constant utter perversion of the concept of workingclass unity as in the recent elections (especially in New York State where at least three-fourths of the CP membership is located and where its headquarters are) is proof that the leadership which calls itself Communist is engaged more actively than ever before in revisionist attempts to deceive the membership and the workingclass. Never were these attempts exceeded in their fraudulent character by anything in the same field under the Browder regime.
Browder rejected the program for winning the workingclass for socialism and admitted frankly that he WAS against any fight in the postwar period against monopoly capital. The present leadership has merged the CP with the demagogs of “free enterprise” and rejects as its main and immediate task the struggle for a Socialist program under the guise of fighting the monopolies. Their opportunist acts and utterances prove the contention made in other sections of this document, sections which were written before the elections, some of the analysis and conclusions having been written even before the ̶campaign” began:
First: By withdrawing the CP candidate for governor–the key office–this revisionist leadership disfranchised everyone who did not want to vote either for Dewey or Mead, all who did not want to vote for gubernatorial candidates of either of the two capitalist parties.
Second: By withdrawing CP candidates for governor and senator, by having no candidates for these offices, they betrayed the interests of the Party and the workingclass. The CP, with the slogan of “resurrect the Roosevelt program,” exerted all its efforts to influence the workingclass to support the major candidates of the Democratic Party, the party of Truman and Byrnes, one of the two parties of Wall Street imperialism.
It makes not the slightest difference, except that the deception is more elaborate, that the American Labor Party was one of the instruments used to achieve this result and assist in the betrayal. Perversion of the struggle to win the workingclass for a Socialist program can go no further when workers and intellectuals are asked to join the CP, to join the ALP, to vote for outright and acknowledged representatives of one of the two parties of the capitalist class and that party the one carrying federal authority in the drive for world domination.
Third: By withdrawing its candidate for governor, this leadership prevented the CP from becoming a legal electoral party in New York–the key state in the 1948 elections–for another four long years except by the arduous and uncertain method of petition. (Parties go on the official ballot automatically in New York only by polling the required percentage for the office of governor.)
Fourth: The election returns proved that ̶unity” like charity was used to cover this multitude of sins. Withdrawing its candidate for governor was explained to the CP membership as necessary to preserve the “democratic coalition”; nothing must be done to jeopardize Mead’s chances of election. Two months before November 5th, it was clear that Dewey would carry New York by at least 350,000 votes. Truman and Byrnes had made sure of it. Dewey beat Mead by 680,000 votes. How could a CP gubernatorial candidate have endangered Mead’s election chances? Not only was the “broadest possible democratic coalition” defeated but the CP section of it was discredited and disgraced before the eyes of class conscious workers of the state and nation. The combination of opportunism and contempt for the intelligence of working people took a cruel toll.
Fifth: This “reconverted” leadership, in an effort to quell the anger of the membership and nonparty supporters is using the same type of political forgery used at the “special” convention to convince the membership that its revisionist treacheries were no worse than alleged “mistakes” made by Stalin and the entire leadership of the CP of the Soviet Union, i.e., the method of political forgery, (see later section.)
The election statement of the National Board of the CP signed by Foster and Dennis makes the claim that the campaign “made clear the issues, promoted the unity of labor and the people and doubled our Party vote.”
None of these statements is true but here we deal only with the third and last: Ben Davis, Negro, Communist Party candidate for Attorney General, polled 95,000 votes out of a total of some 5,000,000 ballots. In the last elections to the New York City Council, to which he was elected, he and Cacchione, Communist Councilman, polled 123,000 first choice votes (proportional representation) in only two boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
In 1938 the Communist candidate for Congressman-at-Large polled 105,000 votes. The “doubled vote” is a plain fraud. It is given some plausibility only by taking the CP vote for governor in 1942, a war year, when the CP could muster only 42,000 votes and failed to qualify for an official place on the ballot.
Sixth: Nothing is more certain than the final Socialist victory of the workingclass, that had the CP in this campaign ran a candidate for governor like Ben Davis and thrown its full resources into such a campaign with a program of Socialism as the final way out of the cumulative horrors of capitalism, and the only way to end war forever, as its central propaganda slogan, that it could have secured a minimum of 250,000 votes. Communist influence would have been increased decisively| the workingclass and the Negro people would now have another popular political leader of national calibre.
But this kind of campaign would have laid the basis for the CP becoming a mass party with decisive influence in future popular election coalitions. This is exactly what this revisionist leadership does not want. This would have necessitated the organization of the struggle to win the workingclass for a socialist program. To this, these opportunists are opposed because they, do not believe in the advisability of such a struggle. They try to conceal this defeatist conviction by saying that the workingclass is not “ready” for it and that it would “isolate” the Communists.
What does this revisionist leadership have to say now following the disgraceful defeat to which it led the CP and those workers who followed it?
It does not indict clearly and mercilessly the Democratic Party as one of the two parties of finance-capital, although Mead, and Lehman, Democrat candidates for governor and senator, pledged full support “to the forthright foreign policy” of President Truman. These spokesmen of the capitalist class were also the Communist Party candidates. They were also the American Labor Party candidates. This is what Foster and Dennis and the National Board of the CP describe in the official statement in The Worker, November 10, 1946, as “welding an all-inclusive unity from FDR Democrats to Communists.”
This is the way these defeatist demagogues of revision describe the maneuver by which they put the CP in the camp of the class enemies of the workingclass, gave aid and comfort to reaction and by this demagogic creation of confusion and demoralization in the ranks of the workingclass contributed to the victory of the Republican Party–another wing of the imperialist war forces.
Does this revisionist leadership make any attempt to explain the election results in terms of class forces and class alignments? It does not. It “puts the blame on Mame.” Truman is the villain. In the best style of the petty bourgeois apologists of the capitalist two-party system, Dennis and Foster avoid any reference to the Democrat Party as an imperialist party (to which the CP has been nothing but an appendage for a decade), and accuse Truman of surrendering “to the GOP instead of meeting its attack.”
Such a statement is based on the assumption that Truman as Democrat Party President of the United States owes allegiance to the workingclass and the “common people” generally. This of course is not the case and if Marxist theory had not been discarded long ago by this revisionist leadership it would not even be necessary to labor the point. Truman has not betrayed anyone–least of all the monopoly capitalist masters of the Democrat Party. Truman simply carried out the instructions given him by the spokesmen of the monopoly capitalists who own and run the Democrat party, and who feel that middle class New Dealers and trade union officialdom can do a better job of maintaining illusions concerning the two-party system as spokesmen for the opposition.
Deception of the workingclass and its allies, and more especially of the doubly oppressed Negro people who, from bitter experience, understand the class character of the Democrat Party and the Truman administration far better than do Foster and Dennis, consists in uttering the following falsehood, designed to conceal from CP members and the workingclass the outright imperialist character of the Democrat Party:
“Instead of defending the FDR policy of American Soviet friendship, the rock of Roosevelt foreign policy, Truman betrayed this by letting Senator Vandenberg, Roosevelt’s chief enemy in foreign policy, impose the monopolies’ ’tough line’ on the country. Instead of fighting for price controls and orderly return to peace time production, Truman turned the country over to Taft inflationary profiteering after a few futile gestures.”
“Thus, Truman broke the FDR-labor-progressive coalition which had defeated Hooverism for more than a decade. He opened the gates to it by his appeasement of and surrender to it. This is the first major reason for the present GOP electoral victory which could have been avoided by a bold struggle against the Hooverites along the lines of the FDR platform and on the basis of the FDR-labor-progressive coalition.” (Our emphasis).
This statement is a lie from start to finish. It is opportunist demagogy at its worst because it does not give CP members and non-party workers the true reasons for the political situation in the United States. It does, however, give (inadvertently) the true reason for the ease with which the government circles of the 60 families were able to change their domestic and foreign tactical line since the end of major military operations: The reason is that the Communist Party revisionist leadership and those reformist middle class intellectuals and trade union bureaucrats who welcome and applaud this demagogy have been poisoning the labor movement and the entire working class with this and similar social-democratic distillations for over ten years–seven of these years being the period of blood-stained war prosperity with blurring of class lines and destruction of political and moral standards.
This is the “main major” reason why the CP has become a party of reformist capitalism and this is the “main major” reason the organized labor movement politically is still in the camp of its exploiters–this is the “main major” reason why so many of the 14,000,000 Negro people are still in the camp of their oppressors.
Elsewhere in this document we explain in some detail the mechanics of the treachery to Marxist-Leninism–and the class struggle without which no socialist victory is possible. It is enough to say here, to avoid repetition, that the “Roosevelt program” was a program to salvage, strengthen and advance the interests of the 60 imperialist families–the rulers of the United States.
It was necessary to engage in an elaborate program of concessions to the workingclass and its allies, to divert the rising socialist consciousness during the crisis and depression of 1929-39 and keep the rapidly growing organized labor movement on the side of “free enterprise” and the capitalist imperialist system. In most of this, the program was successful.
Roosevelt himself may or may not have been more farsighted than other capitalist party leaders. But in one thing he was indisputably more clever than any of his predecessors–and probably more than any of his successors. He saw that the most skillful and unscrupulous apologists for and defenders of capitalist imperialist interests are the social democrats of one variety or another, the careerist middle class intelligentsia and trade union bureaucrats.
With their aid he was able to enlist even the services of the leadership of the Communist Party–an unexpected but welcome addition to the reformist-capitalist forces. He understood and acted on the basic fact, with an almost cynical pragmatism, that capitalism in the U.S. could afford reform–that reforms are cheaper than revolution, if you can afford them.
The political specialists who speak for the National City Bank, the Chase National Bank, General Motors, the Duponts, the Association of American Railroads, General Electric, Ford, Big Steel and little Steel, American Telephone and Telegraph, the giant light and power holding companies, Standard Oil and the House of Morgan, etc. are convinced by reason of the dominant position the monopolists and their government of the U.S. have secured through the crushing of the Axis powers, that they no longer need the Roosevelt program.
What they want and will try to secure by every means, including another world war, is expansion. Without vast new markets, conquest of gigantic new fields for profitable capital investment, new sources of cheap raw materials, monopoly capital in the United States is doomed, in spite of its apparent stability and power. There is not the slightest possibility of monopoly capitalism in this country solving for any long period its major contradiction–astronomical postwar productive capacity and the shrinking domestic and world market–by any program which will leave the system intact. These are the forces whose efforts to maintain their domination over the workingclass produce a Hoover, a Roosevelt, a Truman or a Dewey–and the conditions which leave no way out for the workingclass except Socialism or submission and slavery.
What does this opportunist leadership of the CP propose? Does it at all times tell the CP membership and the workingclass that Socialism is the only final and victorious way out of the bloody military shambles into which the 60 families and their government are trying to drive them? This is the “main major” task of Communists; do they make the political preparation of the workingclass for socialist struggle their main task?
They do not. They give the workingclass no inspiring goal beyond the ceaseless, bitter and exhausting struggle for economic reforms whose benefits are cancelled out by the system of commodity production. Consequently they do not tell the workingclass of the life and death necessity for a socialist system–how to achieve Socialism.
Neither do they indict the Democrat Party of monopoly capital by so much as one word in the statement signed by Foster and Dennis for the CP National Board. Truman is the traitor, they say. He is not a traitor except in the minds of disappointed middle class careerists, professional office holders, revisionists–and workingmen and women who have been deceived by these demagogs. But this does not excuse the continuation of such vicious deception. Truman has tried to follow the advice given him by the advisors of the capitalist class who boss him and their Democrat Party. He is an enemy of the workingclass. We must look elsewhere for the evidence of political treason.
It is to be found in unmistakable form in almost every, paragraph of the Foster-Dennis-programmatic election statement, but one or two quotations are enough to show that the “main major” task of this revisionist leadership is to keep the CP and the American labor movement in tow to appeasers of monopoly capitalism. This does not involve any contradiction between such purposely vague formulations as “a new political alignment leading to a new peoples’ mass party.” “This,” they say, “will require labor’s leadership.” This is chicanery. It is like the well-known riddle about the elephant and the canary–it is stuck into this election statement to make it harder for the workingclass to understand. As they say themselves:
“The political forces which emerged in the last stages of the elections–the Wallace forces, the Chicago Conference of Progressives, the LaGuardia-Newbold Morris Republicans, and particularly the CIO, PAC, and other independent groups–have the platform on which to begin the organization work that will guarantee the running of a progressive pro-Roosevelt candidate for President in 1948.” (Our emphasis).
Where is “labor’s leadership” in this reformist-capitalist set-up? Where is the independent program of the CP? Where is the program for winning the workingclass for the socialist way out?
The concluding sentence of the CP National Board statement undoubtedly establishes a new low record for nostalgic revisionism by persons posing as Marxist-Leninists:
“The forces and program exist now which, if united and applied, can restore the political life of America to the Roosevelt path.”
The political and organizational essence of this last sentence and all that goes before it can be condensed into one slogan which expresses it concisely: “Turn your face toward the past and your pratt toward the enemy.”
The Foster-Dennis statement puts the CP at the tail of footloose middle class and disgruntled bourgeois politicians, mainly Democrats with a scattering of Republicans. It accepts their program. It discards the independent role of the CP. The Dennis-Foster statement does not even call on workingmen and women to join the Communist Party.
There is little more to be said except to fix responsibility and draw a final conclusion: Dennis and other close associates in the conspiracy to wreck the CP did their best to spread political corruption in the CP and prepare the way for its dissolution.
During the whole period under consideration, concrete instances of political corruption multiplied. Out of this and as part of it, came the most notorious informer and provocateur in the history of the workingclass movement in our country–J. B. MATTHEWS, former chief investigator of the Dies Committee. He was brought into the center of the CP work by this leadership. He was the white-haired boy of Browder and his clique. To cast doubt on him was to be branded as a disrupter. The assets he had to sell to the Dies Committee and its labor-baiting backers were acquired as a privileged comrade and co-worker of the opportunist Political Committee of the Communist Party, U.S.A.
Louis Budenz was another prized acquisition of this wrecking crew. In partibus infidelium, inter spem et metum, Christo et Ecclesiae et imperium in imperio, he labored ten years for the hounds of God, while keeping his Trotskyite connections. Elevated to the managing editorship of the Daily Worker, he was part of the parade of shady figures which marched through the editorial staff during a whole decade. To express doubt of Budenz’s devotion was to court expulsion. There was Casey, (Glazier) of odoriferous memory, another Daily Worker Managing Editor, recruited from the lower social-democratic depths of the New York Times; Rushmore and Honig from the anti-labor incubators of the Hearst Press–and others.
These persons, living symbols of moral and political corruption, were brought in, built-up and promoted for one main purpose, i.e., to combat the Communist forces in the Party who would not accept opportunism, step by step revision of Marxist-Leninism, and the political dissolution of the CP into an appendage of the John L. Lewis bureaucracy and demagogic careerist politicians of the two capitalist parties. Now we are witnessing the political dissolution of the “reconstituted” Communist Party. This is a matter of the utmost seriousness for the workingclass, all anti-imperialist forces of the United States, and of all countries.
Far more serious is the fact that this is the sign manual of surrender to enemy class forces who are trying to extinguish Marxist thinking in the labor movement. These anti-social forces are trying to deprive the workingclass of Marxist theory and leadership and prevent the creation of a workingclass committed to a socialist program.
It is part of a deliberate and well-organized attempt to compel the majority of the population of our country, the workingclass and its allies, to foreswear their socialist destiny–in a country where the natural resources, the productive capacity and the social forces needed to reach this goal of liberation are present in the greatest abundance.