William F. Dunne
The step by step–but nevertheless rapid–political dissolution of the Communist Party of the United States by its defeatist leadership and program of appeasement which we have dealt with m material prepared earlier, is now shown with unmistakable clarity.
The following quotation from official statements of its general secretary at the recent meeting of the National Committee should remove any remaining doubts in the minds of the membership as to where the CP has landed. It is now nothing but a caricature of a Communist Party. Its political independence is a myth.
“What is required is the organization, in every ward and township, in every city and on a Congressional district basis, of some form of independent, political, legislative membership organization, as well as united front committees. Local coordinating centers comparable to and allied with the Conference of Progressives are important, but they are not enough. Independent united progressive committees for the city elections are extremely important also and must be promoted. But something else is needed, something which will result in building down below, everywhere, a grass roots mass membership political action organization.” (Dennis, Political Affairs, Special Plenum Issue, January 1947, page 11. (Our emphasis–last lines)
The “united front” pretense has been dropped. The CP membership is now ordered to organize another political party.
But the expulsion of Communists for “leftism” continues–it appears to be the only answer of these confirmed opportunists to the growing demand for a socialist program and placing the work of winning the workingclass for that program in its proper place–as the main, major and immediate task of Communists in our country.
The report of Eugene Dennis, General Secretary of the U.S. Communist Party to the July 16-18, 1946 meeting of the CPUSA National Committee, furnished the best basis for a picture of the development of the devastating effects of the opportunist policy within the U.S. Communist Party itself and in the organized labor movement and working class generally so far as CPUSA influence extends.
This report–unanimously adopted by the National Committee–furnished a basis for such an estimate because the analysis and program that are developed in it are in turn developed from the program adopted unanimously by the so-called special convention of July, 1945, at which the opportunist leadership of CPUSA “reconstituted” itself.
Dennis’ reports are also the best basis for an estimate of the defeatist role played by these revisionists in the organized trade union movement and in the broader activities of the labor movement on the electoral and legislative fronts. It will be seen that the attempt in the recent elections to herd the CPUSA membership, class-conscious workers and anti-capitalist forces into the Democratic Party in support of the candidates of one of the two parties of U.S. monopoly capitalism; the shameless unity with a block of Trotskyites, right wing Social Democrats, Association of Catholic Trade Union leaders and Christian Fronters at the recent CIO convention against the democratic trade union and political rights of the Communists and the CIO membership generally was already planned, prepared, and justified in the programmatic report of the “notorious revisionist” National Committee, July 16-18, 1946.
The programmatic report by Eugene Dennis to the meeting of the National Committee of the U.S. Communist Party and unanimously adopted July 16-18, 1946, setting forth the policy, program and tactical line of this leadership, is anti-Marxist-Leninist.
There is only apology for crass revisionism and rejection of the independent role of the CP. The central slogan is “resurrection of the Roosevelt program.”
This justification of the surrender of the independent role of the CPUSA to capitalist party demagogues and reformist trade union leaders has become the central task of Communist Party leadership today.
This leadership not only does not desire any “unfriendly criticism” of these, our allies, but will “declare war” on such “left wingers’, as do indulge in such criticism.
This CPUSA leadership has rejected the revolutionary essence of Marxism by postponing it to the distant future where, for all practical purposes, it is out of sight It proposes only such measures as meet the approval of the sup porters of “free enterprise,” These CPUSA leaders attempt to “convince and influence” the representatives of the capitalist class when, by straining credulity to the breaking point, sympathy with and support of even their most reactionary efforts for so-called “uplifting the working class” can be justified. (In this connection, the defeatist meaning of CPUSA’s “resurrection” of Roosevelt policy will be analyzed below.)
The political position of the present party program and leadership in relation to the genuine struggle for a socialist program, is best expressed by Marx:
“The programme is not to be given up but only postponed–to an indefinite period. One accepts it, though not really for oneself and one’s own lifetime but posthumously as an heirloom to be handed down to one’s children and grandchildren. In the meantime one devotes one’s ’whole strength and energy’ to all sorts of petty rubbish and the patching up of the capitalist order of society in order at least to produce the appearance of something happening without at the same time scaring the bourgeoisie... Instead of decided political opposition, general compromise; instead of the struggle against the government and the bourgeoisie, an attempt to win and to persuade ...” (Karl Marx, SELECTED WORKS, Vol. II, Pg. 629-31–our emphasis)
This vulgar revisionist political method is illustrated by the general secretary of the CPUSA, who declares:
“Furthermore... the militant workers must enlist the aid of certain political figures and groups who also happen to support various features of the administration’s imperialist foreign policy.” (Dennis Report, Political Affairs, Sept., 1946, Pg. 796–our emphasis)
Communists are thus put in the position of soliciting aid of imperialist demagogues who mouth deceptive “democratic” phrases in order to maintain in the workingclass illusions as to the classless nature of this government of the Monopoly Capitalists. This leadership has surrendered the major weapon of Communists–the revolutionary struggle to win the working class for a socialist program–as its main, central and immediate task and, by demagogic perversion of the united front tactic, is trying to lead the party membership into the reformist capitalist camp.
This was the program of unity with and support (with no guarantees for the party and for the working class) of the candidates of the Democratic Party in New York (the government party of U.S. Imperialism). These reports blasted the last hopes of many Communists–hopes that notorious revisionism and appeasement of the capitalist class and its middle class apologists were being rooted out of the CP. This is not the case. It has now appeared in a more dangerous form.
The reports attempt to conceal the abject desertion by this’ leadership of the revolutionary struggle to win the working class for a socialist program. It tries to do this by sprinkling pseudo-Marxist phrases over a program for continuing the U.S. Communist Party as a tail to the kite of capitalist and middle-class parties, mainly in the current government party (Democratic), but also in any other party where these incurable appeasers can make a “deal.”
The program therefore is merely the continuation of the dissolution of the CPUSA as the revolutionary political party of the working class, under the guise of “re-constitution” and “unity.”
The Dennis reports, wordy with that irrelevant detail typical of the worst type of eclecticism, center around the proposal for “the return to the Roosevelt policies.” This is the heart of the new revisionism. It has not even the crudely false factual and theoretical justification with which the older Browder revisionism tried to justify its betrayal, i.e. that U.S. capitalism had ceased to be imperialistic; that it had become a benevolent patron and protector of the exploited and oppressed throughout the world; that it stood ready to extend a helping hand to the working class and colonial peoples, provided the Communists and the labor movement of our country dropped their economic demands and rejected political struggle for a socialist program.
The outbreak of the class struggle involving millions of workers in the greatest strike wave in the history of our country (coinciding with the surrender of Japan) in answer to the new capitalist offensive against the workingclass, marked the beginning of the postwar crisis. It was no longer possible for the revisionist leadership to continue its deception with a program which openly had called for surrender of the strike weapon, class collaboration and submission to the imperialist ruling class.
Since revisionism is deception of the working class and since it attempts to deliver its Marxist-Leninist Party to the petty-bourgeois appeasers of capitalism, new methods to carry out such a program had to be devised. They were:
“When Marxism is adulterated to become opportunism, the substitution of eclecticism for dialectics is the best method of deceiving the masses; it gives an illusory satisfaction; it seems to take into account all sides of the process, all the tendencies of development, all the contradictory factors and so forth, whereas in reality it offers no consistent and revolutionary view of the process of social development at all.” (Lenin, State and Revolution, Pg. 19)
Both the substance and the number of urgent calls for the “restoration of the Roosevelt policy” make this the core of the revisionist program and the key to the understanding of the revisionist method of deception. This is the major proposal of the “leadership” of the CPUSA a year after the end of the war which crushed the fascist Axis powers and changed the relationship of class forces throughout the world in favor of the working class and its allies.
We are in a new historical period. But the revisionists would reverse history.
This estimate of the change in the relationship of class forces holds true for the United States in Spite of the fact that a revisionist leadership for some 15 years has carried on no mass campaigns to explain in a Marxist-Leninist manner the basic economic causes inherent in capitalism and multiplied in this postwar imperialist period–of skyrocketing cost of living, appalling lack of housing, the rapid deterioration of public health, shrinking educational facilities and especially the horrors of the new wave of terror against the Negro people, crises, war and sharpening class struggle. This estimate holds true in spite of the fact that for twenty years there has been no systematic and patient effort made to win the working class for a Marxist program of socialism.
This petty-bourgeois revisionist leadership claims that ”now** they have a Marxist-Leninist program. But even this claim is made in the hushed, conciliatory tone used by a borrower asking a banker to extend an overdue note. The claim is made only to quell the qualms of sincere Communist Party members and class conscious non-Party workers.
Page 784 of the printed Dennis report is devoted mainly to repeating a series of demands that the Roosevelt policy “be restored”; that it “be resurrected”; that “labor and the progressives must fight not only resolutely but flexibly (?) for the restoration of the FDR policy.” In fourteen other counted instances (and this by no means exhausts the list) this revisionist programmatic report calls for the “revival”, the “restoration” and/or the “resurrection” of the “Roosevelt policy” in both domestic and foreign affairs.
This is an attempt to reshuffle history as a mountebank does a deck of cards, to call for another new deal from a marked deck, to “resurrect” (unwittingly an apt word is used) a program of the government party of the ruling class adopted as a result of great mass struggles in a dearly defined historical period of crisis and depression and which was designed to:
(1) Protect the interests of monopoly capital and restore and extend its power after the crash, crisis and acute and chronic depression beginning in 1929, and lasting a whole decade up to the beginning of war prosperity based on the outbreak of war in Europe and the continuation of it in Asia in 1939.
This program was designed to overcome the effects of the unprecedented industrial and financial crisis in the USA which, occurring in the period of the chronic world crisis following World War I, had shaken world capitalism to its foundations; had reduced American monopoly capitalism’s prestige to shreds and tatters; had ended the dream of millions in the United States and of middle class, feudal and monopolist circles throughout the world, that American monopoly capitalism had solved the basic problem of its system (the problem of markets deriving out of the system of social production of goods on a vast scale and private ownership)–had at last produced the miracle of “permanent prosperity.”
(2) To shunt off the torrent of working-class militancy, the rising class consciousness and the great mass struggles of unemployed and employed which were overflowing the narrow limitations of capitalist-democratic legality, into channels least harmful to the economic interests of the monopoly capitalists and least dangerous to their political power.
(a) To prevent the rise of a powerful Communist Party in the U.S.–to sidetrack the struggle for socialism–to keep the rapidly growing and increasingly militant labor movement in the basic industries in the camp of monopoly capitalism and its two-party system of bourgeois-democracy.
(3) To prepare and perfect the alignments necessary to protect the fundamental interests of U.S. imperialism in a world m which war was already on the order of the day, at a time when the fascist Axis Powers seemed to be well on the road to world equality with or supremacy over U.S. imperialism.
(a) To accomplish the above tasks in such a way as to put the main burden of the war upon the socialist Soviet ally with the consequent maximum damage to its socialist economy; also, to conduct the war against the Axis powers in such a way as to reduce, after the war, the British imperialist rival to a subordinate level compatible with its survival as a satellite instrument and useful weapon against the Soviet Union, the working class population of the liberated countries, the colonial and semi-colonial peoples.
In the light of Marxist-Leninist method, this revisionist program submitted by Dennis commits the worst of all deception: It substitutes formal “democratic” pronouncements of the “Roosevelt program” for the dynamics of the class struggle–the clash of opposing social forces.
The Roosevelt program was designed solely to pull capitalism out of the worst economic crisis in its history with the least possible damage to its system. This program was applied by the current Democratic Party government of monopoly capital headed by Roosevelt. It was never a program for the working class; the working class received in various forms those immediate demands which its level of class consciousness and its organized power forced monopoly capital to concede–and only through the medium of nationwide mass battles.
Bureaucratic trade union officials, middle class intellectuals and other supporters of capitalism, now give Roosevelt and the Democratic Party–and the two-party system of monopoly capitalism–all the credit for the reform measures of that period. The facts are otherwise. That these dangerous illusions still persist in the labor movement proves nothing except that a CPUSA leadership already succumbing to revisionism did nothing to explain what had happened in terms of class relationships and the dire needs of U.S. monopoly capital, originating in its crisis-weakened domestic and world position; did not point out patiently and effectively that concessions made to the working class, to the Negro people, to the middle class “brain trusters”, during that critical period preceding World War II, were tactical necessities for attaining a major strategic ruling class goal: restoration of its prestige and revival of confidence in its economic system and bourgeois-democratic form of government.
This had to be done before U.S. monopoly capital could resume its drive for world domination–for which it had high hopes before the crash in 1929–and which it has now resumed and intensified.
Wall Street imperialism has taken this course not because Roosevelt died and the Democratic Party has changed its allegiance from the “people” to “Wall Street.” The Democratic Party has been the operative war party of finance-capital in two world wars. It is still one of the two capitalist war parties–and it still has the executive branch of the government machinery. The Roosevelt program made it possible for U.S. imperialism to secure its present premier position in the postwar capitalist world.
These were the major objectives of the “Roosevelt program.” The concessions and reforms were of a minimum character. Most of them, such as old age pensions, unemployment insurance, collective bargaining, etc., had been in force in England and Germany before the first World War. Those concrete aspects of the program which coincided in some respects to the immediate needs of the working class were forced into the program by the nationwide campaign of and for the unemployed; by the hunger marches; by the mass struggle for unemployment insurance; the drive for industrial unionism and the growing union strength in the basic industries (1929-38), for the legalization of collective bargaining. Recognition of and, later in the war period, material aid to the Soviet Union were in preparation for and conduct of a world war in which U.S. imperialist need for powerful military allies determined policy. Wall Street imperialism and its government now feel they no longer need such a program.
On Page 783 of Political Affairs for September, 1946–as if nothing had happened since 1936–Dennis appears as a champion of “American national interests”! However, Vandenberg, Earle, Bullitt, Byrnes and Dulles, “must be condemned for what they are–enemies of the United Nations cooperation, enemies of America’s national interests.” (our emphasis)
Now, what are these politicians of the Republican and Democratic Parties? They are the more outspoken representatives and propagandists for the program of the government of the Sixty Families who are the class enemies of the working class. They are not enemies of the United Nations “cooperation.” They are the organizers of reaction in the United Nations under the domination of U.S. imperialists.
They try to use U.N. as an instrument of U.S. imperialist policy to force the “cooperation” of weaker states; to mobilize the full forces of world reaction represented In the United Nations against the great majority of the population of such strategically located nations as Greece and Spain–against the Soviet Union.
This is the reality. The Dennis conception is typically anti-Marxist-Leninist. It tries to substitute for the class struggle inside each capitalist nation, and struggle for national ruling class interests between nations, the formal expression of this struggle–the echoes of the wide upsurge of anti-imperialist battles on various levels in debates of diplomats in the assembly of the United Nations.
The main enemy of the U.S. workingclass, the enemy of whose determination to cling to economic and political power, the organized labor movement and the fourteen million people of the Negro national minority have had irrefutable evidence in this postwar period is not a foreign power as the fascist Axis was. The enemy of the U.S. workingclass is a part of the nation. It is the ruling class. In the U.N. its spokesmen voice its imperialist interests. The defeat of its program in our country means, not national, but class struggle. Petty-bourgeois prattle about the United Nations as an instrument of peace is a crime against the workingclass as long as UN is dominated by U.S. imperialism and its British minions.
The enemy of the U.S. workingclass is that class which by “chicanery and fraud” and by force has secured control of the banks, the natural resources and raw materials, transportation, the decisive industries, bringing into its orbit all production. It owns or controls the press, moving pictures, the radio. Its government is the national government. For Marxists, this is elementary–ABC. But continued emphasis on this fact is a fundamental need of the CP membership and the working class of the U.S., where defeatist, opportunist deception has concealed the class role of capitalist government for more than 12 years in this imperialist epoch.
More than ever is this continued emphasis indispensable when the capitalist class of the U.S. tries by the mobilization of all its powerful forces, and with an intensity never before seen, to enlist the workingclass in its drive for destruction by corruption and war of all governments and peoples who oppose its imperialist aggressions.
This programmatic, revisionist report consequently is based on the most misleading and dangerous conceptions in the whole arsenal of rotten liberalism! It is the false conception that this government–the capitalist-democratic form of imperialist government–a government operating solely in the interests of finance capital, has somehow betrayed the American people–“us.”
But this is not a government of or in the interests of the people of the U.S., if by “people” we mean the working population as against the minority of monopolist exploiters and oppressors. The government of monopoly does not “betray” the people; it deceives, robs, and suppresses in the interests of the capitalist class. It could not exist without these methods. It is the instrument by which the capitalist class and its allies preserve and try to extend their class rule for profit at home and super-profit abroad. Its “main function” is to maintain its class rule at home.
“Betrayal” is rather the crime that is committed by the leaders of workingclass parties who try to conceal this all-important fact from their class–by covering it up with reformist phrases and deceptive description of the ever cruder reality.
On Page 784 of the Dennis report appears this same habitual, non-Marxist conception of the class relationships in the U.S. and throughout the world; the same attempt is made to replace the class objectives of the labor movement and its allies–the economic gains, the strengthening of the organizations of labor against their class enemy, the end to imperialist aggression, and support for the struggles of the workingclass and all peoples oppressed or threatened by U.S. imperialism and its puppets–by the phrase, “our national security.”
The report says: “American-Soviet friendship–the key to Big Three unity and peace–must be fought for in a new and more forceful way, as the most vital prerequisite for protecting our national security and for ensuring the peaceful collaboration of the United Nations.” (our emphasis)
This is exactly what the chief spokesmen of U.S. imperialism say they are doing. This is the way they describe their objectives. They are all for “peace”–on the basis of the program of U.S. monopoly capital. Few people will disagree with the statement that Lippman voices the policy of the two-party government of monopoly capital, called by the uninformed and the unduly courteous, “the Truman Administration.”
In the Herald Tribune of September 7, 1946, Lippman wrote:
“That point is manifestly in the Eastern Mediterranean, in the direction of the Black Sea. For at that point American sea and air power can be brought within reach of the vital center of Russia, and can, therefore, most surely counteract the striking power of the Red Army. There it would be feasible for the United States, employing the kind of force for which we are best equipped, to redress the balance of power which has been radically upset by the demobilization of the western land armies, by the enfeeblement of Europe, by the disunity of China, and by the reorganization of the British empire... For it will take a long time to restore Europe, unify China and reorganize the British Empire.
“Our object in checking the expansion of the Soviet power is to give Europe, China, and the British Empire the time, the freedom from interference, and the opportunity, to solve their enormously complicated problems… The real need, however, is to check the Soviet expansion in order that their problems which invite expansion may be settled peaceably.
“... We must not, however, confuse our interest in cooperating with free men to construct a free world with the immediate and urgent problem of world politics which is to halt the expansion of the Soviet empire and to bring about a negotiated settlement of the conflict of power.” (Our emphasis)
What are the “enormously complicated problems” of the countries Lippman lists? They are the problems of new class relationships, the problems of the class struggle, of the social revolution at varying stages of development, which have arisen since the crushing of the main menace, the Fascist powers.
Lippman is calling for the restoration of class relationships throughout the world as nearly as possible on the basis existing before the defeat of the Fascist powers changed that relationship in favor of the working class and its allies. He, like Dennis, tries to set the clock back. But he bases his program on the relationship of class forces, not on chatter about the petty-bourgeois delusion that “peace” can be achieved on some other basis than that of class power, i.e. the “Pax Romana”– the “peace” of living death–or a new life for the world’s toilers, peace enforced by the power of the popular forces.
Lippman is also, it will be noted, in favor of the “revival” of the “Roosevelt policy” of “direct diplomatic relations” and “negotiated settlement” with the Soviet Union.
But the world situation has changed in terms of class power. The fascist Axis has been destroyed, and so Lippman, instead of the veiled threat of withholding munitions and military support (the Second Front) implicit at all times in the Roosevelt policy but meaningless in the light of the world situation, calls for U.S. occupation of the Eastern Mediterranean–and for war, waged not by a fascist Axis but by the “democracy” of the U.S., if a “negotiated settlement” is not achieved.
It is not necessary any longer to argue as to whether Lippman speaks from first-hand knowledge. The sinister and ironical answer to the unreserved endorsement of the Roosevelt program for saving and strengthening monopoly capitalism, was the presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, “in the direction of the Black Sea” of the giant aircraft carrier, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and numerous other units of U.S. Naval power, sent there by Truman, Roosevelt’s choice as his successor, to preserve “peace.”
U.S. imperialism stands at the crossroads of the ancient sea highway of the Old World. (Standard Oil of New Jersey, Standard Socony–Vacuum in Middle East, Persian and Arabian tribal-feudalism in the service of petroleum democracy.) On the one hand, it threatens the Soviet Union with war, with atomic attack. On the other hand, it threatens with boycott, blockade, and war the working class and peasantry of the European countries who have declared in all the elections and violent class conflicts their intention to free themselves from the monopoly capitalist, feudal landlord systems which forced fascism, subjugation and slavery upon them.
Freed from U.S. imperialist pressure, bribes and bombs in support of the surviving imperialist powers, militarists, fascist and feudal-clerical forces, the working class of Europe will continue to liberate itself with a minimum of violence and bloodshed.
This also holds true for the workers and peasants of China, India and Indonesia and Africa. The main enemy of the progress of the millions of the world’s peoples toward economic, political and social liberation and higher cultural achievements is the imperialist rulers of the U.S., their government, and its program for world domination by all methods, including war.
This fact sets for Communists in our country and the working class and its allies, its historic task: to organize to defeat, by the use of every possible exercise of mass power, the program of their own imperialist rulers, and, by their struggle at home to win the working class for a Marxist program of socialism and fraternal fighting relations with the working class and oppressed peoples of all countries, to consolidate and lead these anti-imperialist forces to victory, which Marxist-Leninist theory, strategy, and tactics will make certain.
This is what Communist leadership must tell the U.S. workingclass day in and day out. But Dennis and his fellow revisionists, bent on appeasing both the middle class and the monopolists and with that lack of confidence in the workingclass that is the hallmark of defeatist liberalism, do not and will not tell them!
The alternative is submission of the workingclass and its main allies (the doubly oppressed Negro people, the exploited farmers) to the imperialists and their militarists. These are hard truths, but they must be stated and explained without stuttering and without weasel phrases in terms every working man and woman can understand.
No one in his right mind, certainly no Communist, believes that the Sixty Families and that section of the population living on their bounty–both the upper and lower-depths, the parasitic middle-class mobsters, openly and covertly in the service of monopoly capital and its government, and the declassed slum and gangster elements (i.e., the suborners and the shock troops of fascist forces) will ever order their relationships with the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics on the basis of “friendship.”
The indisputable evidence of this is the 7,000,000 Russian war dead; the 25 million homeless, and the devastated cities, towns, and villages from Leningrad to Stalingrad, from the Polish-Rumanian frontiers to the Volga and the Caucasus. This was the price paid for resisting and defeating four-fifths of Hitler’s armed forces, while the Second Front was promised and postponed but never organized for three long years–when formal “friendship” between the Soviet government and the U.S. government, headed by Roosevelt, was at its zenith. The united front of the workingclass of the U.S. and its allies is the force that will decide this issue of “friendship.”
Once more the revisionist fashion which sets the pattern for the program deliberately confuses diplomatic agreements made by the Soviet government with imperialist governments–and confuses attempts to reach such agreements with the actual political situation created by the continued existence and growth of the Socialist Soviet state and the rapid rise of powerful anti-feudal, anti-imperialist mass movements in the liberated countries and in great nations and among great peoples, as in China, India, and Indonesia.
The Dennis report talks in terms framed to spread and perpetuate in this critical period the most dangerous illusion, i.e., that appeasement of the middle class and outright representatives of monopoly capital in the Republican Party and in the Democratic Party now in control of the federal government machinery, will result in the formation of some kind of as yet undefined “progressive” electoral block based on the “resurrection of the Roosevelt program” and that this appeasement is the main task of the CP.
This “progressive” electoral bloc–or, as another phrase in the report has it, “the broadest possible democratic coalition”–is supposed to exert enough parliamentary pressure to force monopoly capital, its state and war departments, to abandon its drive for world domination.
The campaign for and the election of “progressive” candidates of the two parties of monopoly capital on a program of “resurrection” of “the Roosevelt program” or the Wilkie program as an effective method of stopping war is deception of the working class. It would be no more deceptive–and infinitely less dangerous–to tell the labor movement that the only way out of the system of monopolistic robbery is a return to handicraft industry and the horse-and-buggy era.
War on the Soviet Union, on the people of China and the Mediterranean, the open use of armed forces, backed financially and diplomatically by Wall Street and its government (Standard Oil in the Middle East, China and Indonesia) against other peoples, will be prevented only by the united mass action of the working class of our country and its allies in every field of struggle of which electoral struggle is but one and that mainly of a preparatory character. To hand the leadership of this decisive struggle over to petty-bourgeois politicians is a crime against our class.
The Dennis report never mentions once that, with their dependents the “wage-earning population” makes up the great majority of the inhabitants of our country. This fact has a specially decisive meaning in the U.S., with its “democratic” traditions, and is worth repeating over and over again to a party membership which has been steeped in revisionist illusions for so long.
Many, if not most, of them believe that “isolation” and “sectarianism” mean failure to win middle-class and even capitalist class approval. Here we discover the touchstone which opens the secret vault, from whose hoard of revisionist gems selected specimens were displayed at the July, 1946 meeting of the National Committee of the CPUSA!
Nowhere in the entire report is the struggle to win the U.S. working class for a socialist program cited as an immediate, major task.
On Page 797, this central task is described as “... to bring forward its fundamental program for the eventual socialist reorganization of society.” It would indeed have to be a rabid red-baiter who would object to this fine bit of Fabianism.
The second reference is on Page 800. It says the CPUSA must “infuse all its work with its long range perspective of socialism.” This will surely make the tyrants tremble! It is our considered belief that even Harold Laski, the social-democratic leader of the British Labor Party, would gag at such a formulation.
The only other reference to winning the workingclass for socialism is on page 807, at the end of a passage where confusion is the only perceptible policy. It refers, in passing, to “our ultimate socialist program.”
Here we have again in our party that phenomenon inseparable from “notorious revisionism,” the method called, when the Marxist-Leninist opposition was fighting to save the party from the Pepper-Lovestone wreckers, “tipping your hat to socialism.”
“Eventual socialist reorganization of society,” “long range perspective of socialism,” “ultimate socialist program”–here is the new revisionism in excelsis. These are the only references to a socialist program in the entire eclectic, vulgarly opportunist report accepted unanimously as the party line by this revisionist leadership–operating in a country where the workingclass is the majority of the population.
What the entire leadership of the CPUSA has adopted in this report is a revival, in a new guise, of the whole program of bourgeois-democratic deception of the U.S. working class. It is the program which made it possible for “our own” monopolists and their government in the immediate postwar period, (San Francisco UN meetings) without organized political opposition from the CPUSA and the labor movement, to become both the bankers and the military backers of imperialist, fascist and feudal reaction and/or combinations of all three in conscript service in its drive for the rulership of the world by one imperialist government–“our own”–without effective working class resistance.
“... in order to relieve the bourgeoisie of the last trace of anxiety it must be clearly and convincingly proved to them that the Red bogey is really only a bogey, and does not exist. But what is the secret of the Red bogey if it is not the bourgeoisie’s dread of the inevitable life and death struggle between it and the proletariat? Dread of the inevitable decision of the modern class struggle? Do away with the class struggle and the bourgeoisie and ’all dependent people’ will ’not be afraid to go hand in hand with the proletariat.’ And the ones to be cheated will be precisely the proletariat.” (Karl Marx, SELECTED WORKS, Vol. II, p. 629.)
Dennis does precisely this.
The timorous redundancy by which he tries to avoid such fundamental issues as methods of struggle against imperialist war; the character of the present world crisis; the relationship of class forces in the U.S.; the central, socialist task of a Communist Party; his vague and contradictory references to “independent political action,” “third party,” “important” though limited forms of “independent political action,” “pro-Roosevelt peace forces,” “a new people’s party,” “a third, a people’s party,”“a new progressive party alignment,” “multiply their independent pro-Roosevelt activity,” etc., etc., ad nauseam–all these prove, without the wealth of additional evidence, that this is clearly another treasonable, revisionist program.
The monopoly capitalists and their government have made our country (and it is our country, although it is in the hands of the class enemy) into the financial center and arsenal of world counter-revolution: imperialist reaction at home, imperialist intervention and war abroad. Only in a united mass struggle of the workingclass to smash this program of slaughter and slavery does a popular peace and workingclass freedom lie. And only a program for the abolition of capitalism can rally the decisive working class detachments who alone can organize and lead such a struggle.
This is what Communists must tell American workers, and convince them of it in the course of our activity in all the day-to-day struggles for immediate needs.
There is no other alternative except to aid the petty bourgeois and bourgeois apologists to perpetuate the false and defeatist illusions by which they try to keep the working class attached to the capitalist parties and programs–to keep workingclass struggles within the narrow limits set by them and by which the workingclass is fooled year after year into placing government power in the hands of henchmen of the class which openly advocates throttling the labor movement, more production but a smaller share in wages–and war as the way out of ever more frequent economic crisis.
Both contempt for and lack of Marxist theory and method show in almost every sentence and paragraph of the Dennis reports.
In every section in which he attempts to go beyond certain factual material, revisionist wording rather than exact Marxist terms are used; instead of sharply attacking the capitalist system, he complains and appeals, regrets and deplores. He never goes beyond workers’ present understanding of the class struggle. It is the duty of Communists to develop that understanding to a higher level, by using union militancy and experience as the starting point for further Marxist agitation, propaganda, education and organization. The vast knowledge and experience that the working class has acquired through its economic struggles must be explained in terms of Marxist-Leninist theory.
Frederick Engels, in his preface to the first English edition of Marx’s Capital wrote:
“... It is, however, self-evident that a theory which views modern capitalist production as a mere passing stage in the economic history of mankind, must make use of terms different from those habitual to writers who look upon that form as imperishable and final.” (Our emphasis)
The continued, deceptive, reformist emphasis in the Dennis report on the possibility of “curbing” and “restricting” the power of the gigantic monopolist corporations by bourgeois-democratic parliamentary methods strengthens the monopolies by developing and maintaining crippling illusions within the working class as to the classlessness of capitalist government as to government above classes rather than the reality, which is government by a class.
The workingclass and its organizations is the only class force capable of initiating, organizing and conducting united mass campaigns and sustained struggles to resist and at times administer severe defeats to the program of special extortions and tyrannies of monopoly capital. The middle class leaders whine at high prices and call for prosecution of monopolists by a government of monopolists, but the workingclass strikes.
The middle class leaders then turn on the workingclass. They blame higher prices on the higher wages won by the unions. They join in the demand of the propagandists of the giant corporations for more production and cheaper production.
“In the long run, workers can earn more only by lowering costs of production.” Footnotes to the Labor Crisis, PM, Nov. 24, ’46.)
They, politely, of course, threaten the working class with suppression:
“In many industries, especially those with small and marginal operators, to press far-reaching changes in wages and working conditions without some program for enabling industry to meet the bill is merely to push many businesses into bankruptcy and the middle class toward fascism.” (Ibid.) What lovely leaders of the working class! They blame, not the monopolists and their government, for their financial (and political) bankruptcy, but the workingclass they help to exploit.
These are the facts available to everyone who can read U.S. history. It is the Communist task to:
“... expose the utter falsity of its promises... unmasking, instead of admitting, the illusion-breeding demand that this government, a government of capitalists, cease being imperialistic.” Lenin, THE TASK OF THE PROLETARIAT, Page 33.)
But Dennis encourages these bourgeois illusions within the CPUSA and the working class by his lack of and opposition to a class-conscious ideology. He speaks of “people,” of “democracy,” of “the nation,” without making class distinctions. This is vicious nonsense from the Marxist-Leninist point of view. This form of government operates for the benefit of the capitalists. It, and the illusions created on this subject by purveyors of deception–ranging from revisionists of Marxism-Leninism to the chief spokesmen of the two big capitalist parties–are what keep capitalism in the saddle. This has to be made clear by Communists at all times. “... we must do the work of criticism... and free the proletariat from the spell of the ’common’ petty bourgeois delusions.” (Lenin, TASK OF THE PROLETARIAT, Page 8.)
As a state form, modern parliamentary government grew out of the necessity which forced the rising capitalist class to break through the restrictions of the feudal system based on agriculture and serfdom, with its hereditary landed nobility, clerical-monarchist state form, hampering its own development as the ruling class.
This new state form, with its wider popular base, enabled the developing capitalist class to enlist the aid of the new property-less wage-earning class in this struggle. At the same time, the increasing technical ability needed for manufacture and commerce, especially in factory production and the operation of power-driven machinery, compelled an increase in literacy and in the general educational, technical and cultural level among the workingclass. With the aid of the workingclass the rising capitalist class became the ruling class. These, in the main, are the economic and political factors on which the tradition of bourgeois democracy is based.
In the U.S., the absence of an aboriginal population that could be conquered and turned into chattel slaves or wage-earners, compelled the ruling class to resort to the importation of the one commodity lacking in this otherwise rich country for the creation of an independent capitalist economy–labor power. The abolition of Negro chattel slavery did not solve this problem for the victorious capitalist class. Mass immigration was encouraged and even organized.
The relative shortage of labor power and, at times, an absolute shortage, has been a major factor in the development of capitalist democracy in our country, not the “benevolence” of the capitalist class. Yet property qualification for manhood suffrage was not abolished until some 50 years after the Revolution–and then only by great struggles of the young labor movement. Free elementary education was won the same way. Woman suffrage was secured only by the most strenuous and sustained conflict.
The disfranchisement and terroristic suppression of Negroes in the South continues to this day, with but minor improvement. Great numbers of the working class and agrarian population are also disfranchised throughout the U.S. by arbitrary and complicated regulations; the widespread illusion that the “primary” system makes it possible for the “common people” to “capture” one or the other of the two parties of imperialism, makes even the exercise of the full rights of franchise for the working class and its allies more difficult in the U.S. than in any other country where the ruling class governs through its bourgeois democracy in its classic form.
To speak of “democracy” in the U.S. as this revisionist leadership does–without regard to these decisive facts–is to aid in the deception of the workingclass.
The fact that all Marxist-Leninists know that the capitalist-democratic form of government affords the most favorable setting for the working class in its defensive battles and for the development of its revolutionary struggle for socialism does not mitigate the deception practiced by these revisionists. On the contrary, precisely because Communists are the most vigilant and vigorous defenders of bourgeois-democratic rights of the workingclass and all exploited and oppressed sections of the population, and fight resolutely for their extension, it is all the more necessary, clearly and patiently, to convince our class of the danger in the illusion spread by capitalist propagandists, petty-bourgeois careerists and corruptionists, to the effect that capitalist democracy by itself affords the opportunity and the machinery to end the exploitation and oppression of a workingclass in the majority by capitalists in the minority.
This illusion is one of the most effective weapons in the arsenal of capitalism.
It has been strengthened among CPUSA membership and, to the extent of its influence in the labor movement, by the vulgar “Americanization” of the CPUSA begun by Browder in the early ’30s, and now continued by this revisionist leadership.
This method consists, in the main, of glamorizing petty-bourgeois politicians, urban and agrarian, of the pre-imperialist epoch and present period, and of playing down the labor movement and its militant and revolutionary leaders. The false theoretical values of this method have been exploited to the limit, and great harm has been done to the revolutionary struggle to convince the workingclass of its own irresistible strength and historical liberating role–and the need to be conscious of it.
The revisionist leadership which, by unanimous vote, foisted the Dennis reports and their anti-Marxist-Leninist program on the Party membership, will say that the views expressed above are “sectarian” or “leftist-sectarian,” that they represent “cancerous leftism,” that “isolation” of the Communists from the labor movement and the workingclass would result from such forthright Marxist definition of the central issues of the class struggle in the United States at this time.
As for isolation–although this is not the place to go into the matter in great detail–it must be said here that one must go back 20 years to find a time when the CPUSA had less influence, less membership, and when its press had less circulation; one must go back to the Lovestone-Pepper period of the late ’20s, when a similar defeatist program and a politically pretentious but bankrupt opportunist leadership was as destructive of working class and Party morale as it is today.
We are Marxist-Leninists. We are revolutionists. We are Communists.
We are trying to raise the level of understanding of our class of the decisive, revolutionary role of liberation which capitalism, by creating the workingclass, has placed upon it. “The proletariat is the gravedigger of capitalism.” We appeal to its strength, not to its weakness.
It is seemly, therefore, to conclude this exposure of the anti-workingclass and anti-Marxist-Leninist deception in the Dennis programmatic report, adopted unanimously by this revisionist “leadership” of the CPUSA, with a statement on this practice as it affects the movement toward liberation of the working class; an estimate of the origin and result of this criminal deception of the workingclass written by one who rates with Marx, Engels and Lenin, as one of the greatest teachers and strategists of the liberation struggle of the international workingclass and its allies, the doubly oppressed national minorities, the colonial and semi-colonial peoples:
“The chief endeavor of the bourgeoisie of all countries and its reformist hangers-on is to kill in the workingclass faith in its own strength, faith in the possibility and inevitability of its victory, and thus to perpetuate capitalist slavery. For the bourgeoisie knows that if capitalism has not yet been over thrown and still continues to exist, it owes it not to its own merits but to the fact that the proletariat has still not faith enough in the possibility of its victory. It cannot be said that the efforts of the bourgeoisie in this respect have been altogether unsuccessful. It must be confessed that the bourgeoisie and its agents among the working class have to some extent succeeded in poisoning the minds of the working class with the venom of doubt and skepticism.
“If the successes of the working class of our country, if its fight and victory serve to rouse the spirit of the workingclass in the capitalist countries and to strengthen its faith in its own power and in its victory, then our party may say that its work has not been in vain. And there need be no doubt that this will be the case.” (Stalin, LENINISM, Page 478.)
The change in class relationships throughout the world in favor of the workingclass and its allies has developed as a result of the crushing of the Fascist Axis, the victory of the Soviet Union and the rise of powerful democratic revolutionary forces. These facts, coupled with the brazenly aggressive role of the imperialists of the U.S. as the bankers, munitions makers and militarists for reaction and counter-revolution everywhere, puts on the first order of the day for Communists the revolutionary task of dispelling the bourgeois illusions of which Stalin speaks of destroying the defeatist influence of the “reformist hangers-on.”
Our main and immediate task is the winning of the workingclass for a socialist program as the only victorious way out for the working class and all exploited sections of the population; of organizing and conducting Communist work in the daily struggles in full accord with our immediate major objective and Marxist-Leninist theory, strategy and tactics–the speediest possible political preparation of our class for its historic task, at the head of all other exploited classes, of establishing a socialist system in our country.