William F. Dunne

The Struggle Against Opportunism in the Labor Movement – For a Socialist United States

A Contribution to the Discussion of Major Problems of Marxism-Leninism in Our Country

Chapter 8: The Theory and Practice of Deception of CP Membership and Workingclass

1. The program and leadership of the Communist Party of the United States make of it today a Communist Party in name only. The program with its central slogan: “Resurrect the Roosevelt policy” in various versions, has no basis in reality and does not express the immediate needs of the labor movement and the working class in this period of the offensive of monopoly capital, its 100 Wall Street corporations and their government against the working class and their living and social standards, wages, working conditions, political liberties. Such a slogan by focusing attention on the past instead of the present and future, minimizes the deepening economic and social contradictions of this post war period and hampers the organization of the basic working -class forces against the vast military program and the militarist and fascist menace inseparable from American imperialism’s drive for expansion and world domination.

In no way does this central homesick opportunist slogan express the world change in class relationships in favor of the democratic working class and socialist forces in general resulting from the crushing of the fascist Axis powers in Europe and Africa in World War II.

This slogan in its various guises is therefore the key to a policy and program which is intended to and does hand over the leadership of the struggles of the workingclass to the demagogic middle class leaders and capitalist class politicians and their “main peace time social props”–bureaucratic union officialdom. Their class role is to sugarcoat and thereby make palatable the bitter pills of speedup, poverty and militarist rule for domestic and foreign plunder and war which the monopoly capitalists and their government are trying to force upon American workingmen and women, Negro and white. This slogan places the Communist Party in the camp of “liberal” imperialism and objectively aids monopoly capital, militarism, labor repression and imperialist war.

2. This program and the leadership which has forced it upon the Communist Party, are anti-Marxist-Leninist and therefore anti-workingclass. In adopting this program of surrender to “liberal” imperialism, this leadership has betrayed the basic interests of the workingclass. Both the program of the “special” convention, July 1945, and that of the enlarged meeting of the so-called “National Committee”, July 1946, categorically reject the revolutionary task of winning the American workingclass for a socialist program as a major and immediate task of the Communist Party, These are acts of connected and continuous desertion of the theory and practice of Marxist-Leninism and thus constitute betrayal of the revolutionary class struggle and its major objective–Socialism.

3. The leadership which sponsors this class opportunist program differs in no fundamental way from that which cheered and followed Browder into open acceptance of the domestic and foreign program of our imperialist rulers in 1944-45. They differ in no essential because in both periods the Communist Party has been wrecked by a policy of “notorious revisionism” which puts the party in the capitalist camp, makes of it a reformist party which joins with parties having similar aims–to save capitalist imperialism, instead of politically preparing the workingclass to abolish it and establish the socialist system of production for common use instead of for profit and power of a small minority.

4. We declare that the “reconstitution” of the Communist Party in July 1945 was carried, out following the impact of the Duclos letter in such a way as to nullify the purposes of that document, i.e., by the same leadership which had peddled the Communist Party to the capitalist parties and dissolved it to please them. They first expelled Sam Darcy, (the only member of the National Committee at the time who had fought consistently the Browder surrender policy) to prevent as far as possible the exposure of their opportunist anti-C.P. and appeasement conspiracy at the coming rump convention and before the outraged membership. They continue this war on all members who reject opportunism and fight it.

Their campaign of slander and expulsion on a nationwide scale is the expression of the policy of appeasement of the capitalist and middle class enemies of socialism.

a) A rump convention of 94 delegates (all with minor exceptions guilty of betrayal of Marxist-Leninism and dissolution of the C.P. to appease the class enemies), then elected some 74 of their number to national leadership after fundamental discussion in the party press and state conventions had been deliberately confused, censored and suppressed.

b) The “special” convention was held at a time when some 10,000 party members in the armed forces or absent on war work were excluded from the C.P.; after all foreign-born members had been dropped arbitrarily from membership; after the C.P. in the South had been dissolved, dropping both Negro and white membership from the rolls. It was held after the CP. had been further de-proletarianized by the deliberate destruction of the industrial branches. All this was done in the name of “National Unity”–to appease enemies of the revolutionary forces of workingclass liberation and their heroic struggles within the framework of the war against the fascist Axis imperialist powers.

5. This “reconstituted” leadership elected itself by deceiving the party members present at the “special” convention into believing that the entire leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had made more serious “errors” than had these defeatist leaders of the C.P. of the United States–who had “merely” adopted a policy of class collaboration, called upon the unions to abandon the strike weapon in peacetime, assured the workingclass of the U.S. and all other countries that American imperialism was no threat to their interests, and who had then, believing it had served its purpose of ensuring an end to the open class struggle in the U.S., dissolved the C.P. (1944-45).

This treacherous deceit was accomplished by:

a) Focusing attention of the convention, and the Party members on unspecified “mistakes” made by the leadership of the Soviet Union during the prosecution of the war–and not even mentioning the unparalleled achievements of the Soviet peoples, the Red Army and their leadership, or expressing gratitude in a 6500 word report. “Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer, and without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.”

b) It was accomplished by unprecedented slander based on political forgery, omission, and distortion of Stalin’s speech on “Mastering Bolshevism.” By suppressing the directives for the fight against Trotskyism–issued by the CPSU and quoted by Stalin at length, these revisionists “convicted” the entire leadership of the CPSU of failing to understand, expose and fight Trotskyism. This slander based on forgery was the decisive section of the part of the convention report dealing with the question of “mistakes” and “leadership.” On this basis of slander in turn based on political forgery, the conclusion was drawn for the Party membership that the entire CPSU leadership had made a “very” serious error; that “our” error was merely a “serious” one.

c) This deception of the membership was accomplished by reducing the glorious victory of the Soviet Union, its peoples, Red Army and its Communist Party over fascism to a series of “many serious errors”; having by political forgery and slander established that the CPSU leadership, i.e., its Central Committee, including Stalin, was guilty of more serious “errors” than American revisionist leadership which had deserted Marxist-Leninism and then liquidated the Communist Party, after having urged the organized labor movement to follow its example and surrender to the monopolists.

Let the American workingclass and the Communists among them be the judges: 50,000 copies of this treacherous slander based on forgery have been published and distributed to C.P. members and non-Party people. It is to be found in “Political Affairs” for September, 1945 and on Page 72 of “Marxism-Leninism vs. Revisionism” (Save the Mark!) republished February 1946.[1]

d) Deception was carried out by assuring the Party members that these same leaders, who had committed these crimes against the theory and practice of Marxist-Leninism, who had dragged the name of the Communist Party through the mire of class collaboration as a substitute for the class struggle before the eyes of the revolutionary and labor movements of the world, on the eve of the postwar crisis, that these leaders were not a “hardboiled group of incurable revisionists.”

The fact is therefore: The first gun in the campaign to minimize in this postwar period the tremendous feats of arms of the Soviet Union and its leadership when it bore four-fifths of the military weight of Nazi Germany, and to focus attention on its “mistakes”, was fired, not by the open propagandists of imperialism but by this “reconstituted” leadership of the CP.

The fact is therefore: The first gun in the postwar campaign to create distrust among workingmen and women of the leadership of the CPSU, to create doubt about its ability and integrity among Communists was fired by this “reconstituted” leadership of the C.P. This is wrecking, under the guise of “reconstituting” the Communist Party! This is, in practice, the theory that all corruptionists, i.e., those leaders whose program and actions lead to disaster and disgrace, should be given power again to avoid “decimation” of leadership because, after all, in spite of the wreckage in their train, they are leaders. Strange fruit, indeed!

6. These persons who call themselves the “National Committee” of the C.P. have no mandate from anyone except themselves. On the basis of their proven record of wrecking and their continued attempts to wreck the Communist Party of the United States, they are operating with counterfeit credentials. They are charlatans and traducers of Marxist-Leninist theory and practice. They are enemies of the struggle for a socialist United States.

Their writ no longer runs with class conscious workers, with Communists, inside and/or outside the C.P.

This crew of “hardboiled incurable revisionists” are not Communists by any Marxist-Leninist standard.

7. But even this self-elected “National Committee”, composed in the main of wreckers, and defeatists, is not the controlling force in the “reconstituted” CP. The actual control is in the hands of careerist lawyers with upper bracket incomes; all kinds of parasitic persons who salve their consciences and carve out well-paying careers by “supporting” the struggles of the workers and peasants in other countries providing this can be done “respectably”; persons, in various institutions whose high living standards are little affected by the ebb and flow of economic tides; union officials whose personal careers and incomes take precedence over all other issues and who have never uttered the words “Communism”, “Socialism”, and/or “class struggle” for more than ten years; persons who sneer at the idea of Socialism in the United States when all goes well, but who issue desperate calls for assistance to the few rank and file Communist Party members of their unions when they meet opposition; careerist politicians in various other parties who get elected–or hope to, with CP, aid, etc.

8. This leadership and its program which surrenders the CP. to the middle class and capitalist class parties has re-converted the Communist Party of the U.S. into a brake on the socialist development of the workingclass and into a force acting against the achievement of its destiny as the only class whose socialist victory will liberate all oppressed and exploited peoples–because of the decisive world position now held by the monopoly capitalist class of our country and its “executive committee”–its government.

Not Workingclass

The rank and file CP. membership in unions is a mere handful. The CP. was never more isolated from the workingclass than it is today. Never has it had less influence, in spite of the glorious achievements of the Soviet Union and the tremendous growth in membership and great increase in influence of Communist parties in practically every country in the world; in spite of the change of class relationships throughout the world in favor of the workingclass and its allies as a result of the crushing of the fascist Axis powers; in spite of the great national liberation struggles in India, China and Indonesia; in spite of the militant mood and nation-wide strikes in the U.S. of millions of workers in basic industry.

Its “coalitions” are merely the surrender of and by revisionist careerists to the demagogues of the middle class and capitalist class. Class conscious workers do not and will not join the CP. to be reconverted into reformists. Opportunism drives the masses away from the Party. Sectarianism takes the Party away from the masses. These “notorious revisionist” leaders have made a synthesis of the two which has wrecked the CP. and discredited Communist theory and practice in our country more than have the enemy attacks.

Not Communist Party

The Communist Party is submerged in the parties and movements of the middle class and sections of the capitalist class. It has been drowned by surrender of its independent revolutionary role and denial of its central task–winning the working class of the United States for the Marxist proletarian way out of exploitation and imperialist war–Socialism administered by a workingclass government in the interests of the entire working population.

9. What of the immediate issues? When and where has this “reconstituted National Committee” called upon the working class of the U.S. to exert its mighty organized economic power in a political manner to stop the preparation for a third World War? Where and when has it told the workingclass that it has the power to upset the war plans of the imperialists? Where has the leadership of the campaign for peace, when there is no peace, been left? In the hands of the demagogic middle class and capitalist defenders of the system of American imperialism (“American leadership,” “the American system,” “American way of life”, “free enterprise,” etc.)

10. The parasitic monopolies and their government are plundering and impoverishing the working class and lower sections of the middle class mercilessly–by inflation, speculation, taxation and militarism. Their instruments are the Democratic Party (in power) and the Republican Party–two-party sharing of capitalist government. What did this “reconstituted” leadership propose in 1946? “Wire your Congressman or Senator (Democrat or Republican)!” “Resurrect the New Deal!” Elect the candidates of the Democratic Party (Mead and Lehman) etc.–the imperialist party of Byrnes and Truman.

4,000,000 families, veterans, workers of all categories, Negro and white, need housing–in the richest country in the world–a country where no single building was damaged by enemy action. What is the proposal? Wire your Democratic or Republican congressman! Elect the candidates of the capitalist party now in power–the Democratic Party.

The health of the workingclass is at a new low level. At least 25 percent of the population need medical attention and/or hospitalization. All medical centers are jammed. There are no effective plans for general socialized medical relief–in the richest country in the world.

Opportunist Surrender

Wire your Democrat or Republican congressman. Vote for the candidates of the Democratic or Republican Parties of capitalism!

Vote for the candidates of the war parties to stop war!

Vote for the candidates of the parties of the class responsible for want in the richest country in the world–to put an end to want.

Vote for the candidates of the parties of the capitalists who sabotage housing until its monopoly fixed price satisfies their greed–to get housing.

Vote for the candidates of the parties of the monopoly capitalists whose profits can be made and maintained only by creating poverty–to end poverty.

Vote for Democratic and/or Republican candidates to get equal rights for 14 million Negro people, when the Wall Street monopolists who own these parties, and run them for their own interests, make super-profits every day by double oppression and robbery of the masses of Negro people.

Vote for Democratic and Republican candidates to aid the Chinese workers and peasants when the conquest of the Chinese people by gangsters puppets of Wall Street finance-capital to make more extended plunder possible, is a major plank in the foreign policy of the imperialists who own and control ”both parties.

Such was the program urged upon the American labor movement and the entire American working class in the year 1946–by the “National Committee” of the CP.

For 1948 these strategists of confusion, defeatism and surrender in the ranks of the working class propose a “third party”, a peoples party, a “progressive party”, a “labor progressive party”, a “labor party”, etc. etc.–anything and everything but a Marxist-Leninist Party of the workingclass, working and fighting to win its class for a program of Socialism as the only victorious way out of mass robbery and imperialist war.

This whole program is a denial of the validity of Marxist-Leninism. It is a denial and rejection of the theory of Communism Parties as the leadership of the workingclass–the only revolutionary class. The organization of middle class parties or parties with the leadership in the hands of middle and capitalist class forces is not a major task of Communists. Their task is to win the working class forces in and around such parties and unite them for effective struggle against capitalism–for the socialist solution.

Origin of Reform Parties

Such middle of the road parties arise under the pressure of economic and political crises. Communist relations with such parties are tactical in nature. They cannot be a substitute for the major revolutionary task. This substitution is the essence of revisionism, inseparable from surrender to capitalist deception and becomes ever more destructive in this period of imperialism. The task of Communists is to win the working class for a Socialist program by destroying the illusions which keep workers to the camp of their class enemies–by giving the economic struggles Socialist content.

Working people will not break with their exploiters and their machinery of deception all at once. Some of them, perhaps most of them, will have to go through the experience of bankruptcy of reformist parties. Such parties, whose class outlook is in the main that of the capitalists, tend to take form in almost direct ratio to the rise in socialist consciousness among the workingclass.

Their Class Role

The class role of such parties is essentially to confuse and divide the political struggles of the workingclass and thereby aid in maintaining capitalism. With such parties, Communists can and will make election and other united front agreements, but never at the price of principle or at the expense of the working class and its proletarian party of Socialism.

Any unprincipled agreement or arrangement (such as was obvious in the practice of the CP. in the New York elections 1946 and has been for ten years of “notorious revisionism”) which strengthens and adds to the illusions concerning the “classless” or “benevolent” role of capitalist and reformist parties and capitalist government, is desertion of the workingclass and its immediate interest–and its Socialist objective.

This is not the way the irresistible forces of the workingclass of our country can be united and guaranteed the knowledge of effective strategy and tactics and resolute leadership for victorious struggle on all fronts against the fascist forces of monopoly capitalism and its feudal allies–and the system of monopoly capitalism. To try to separate these struggles, to create a theory of artificial “periods,” to reject systematic political preparation of the workingclass for socialism as inimical to unity against fascist forces, is to leave the major objective of the workingclass and its strategy and tactics to the defenders of monopoly capitalism.

This way lies defeat–not victory.


[1]Point (c) From that section of the main report, to the “Special” convention July 16-18, 1945, which “re-constituted” the CPUSA, dealing with “mistakes” and “leadership”:

“The distinction between Communist Parties and other parties of the people in this respect is that, armed with the science of Marxism-Leninism, the former make far fewer mistakes than any other group, and when they do commit errors, they frankly admit and correct them. Just a little while ago Stalin stated that many serious errors had been made in the U.S.S.R. during the prosecution of the war. And in his famous speech on “Mastering Bolshevism,” delivered March 3, 1937, when pointing out that the leadership of the Party made the serious error of failing to recognize the danger of Trotskyism, he said: (Our emphasis)

“’How can it be explained that our leading comrades, who have a rich experience of struggle against every kind of anti-Party and anti-Soviet trend, proved to be so blind and naive in this case that they were unable to recognize the real face of the enemies of the people, were unable to discern the wolves in sheep’s clothing, were unable to tear the mask from them?

“’They forgot Soviet power has conquered only one-sixth of the world, that five-sixths of the world is in possession of capitalist powers. They forgot that the Soviet Union is in conditions of capitalist encirclement...

“’This was a very serious error, as all will agree, and in the most advanced Communist Party in the world.’

”When errors are made by Communist leaders, and our error was a serious one, it calls for a check-over of the leading forces; but this must not be interpreted as a signal for the reckless decimation of the Party leadership. Such a decimation would be in order only if the Party should have fallen into the hands of a hard-boiled group of incurable revisionists, which is not the case in our Party.” (Our emphasis).

* * *

The “notorious revisionist” leadership which, while lolling in war prosperity in a country which suffered no damage from enemy invasion, had liquidated the CP and pledged allegiance to the postwar program of the monopoly capital rulers, led off on the subject of leadership by twitting the leadership of the socialist country which suffered the greatest human and material losses in its resistance to the fascist hordes; about “many serious errors made in the USSR during the prosecution of the war.” Careerist and revisionist degradation can get no lower than this, one would think.

But political forgery, distortion and omission is resorted to that these admitted opportunists might escape the righteous anger of the membership by picturing the entire leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as having made “a very serious error” in the struggle against Trotskyism. The internal and irrefutable evidence of this sordid piece of deception (unprecedented in the history of Communist Parties) is in this report itself and in the pamphlet from which the alleged quotation is made: “Mastering Bolshevism.” Stalin never expressed the views this political forgery assigns to him.

On Page Three of this pamphlet (New Century Publishers) Stalin says, in the fourth paragraph: “Third, some of our leading comrades, etc.” (Our emphasis). In the above alleged quotation, this statement is omitted entirely. By this decisive omission, and by picking up the sixth paragraph as the opening quotation, Stalin is made to indict “our leading comrades” i.e., the entire Central Committee of the CPSU, The phrase “our leading comrades” means the Central Committee in every Communist Party in the world.

To find the second paragraph (taken with the noted omission from Page Three) of the quotation in the report (unanimously adopted and collectively compiled) one must read through “Mastering Bolshevism” to the second paragraph on Page Seven.

This is not just a careless oversight we encounter now. Neither is its significance in proving deliberate effort to compile this political forgery of a report by Stalin on a matter of world importance, a matter of textual omission, It is the forgery both of text and history.

On Pages 4, 5, and 6 of “Mastering Bolshevism” is the indisputable record of what “the leadership” i.e., the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union did and called upon the CP membership to do in the struggle against Trotskyism, “the agents of foreign powers,” and “against spying and terroristic activity” of the Trotskyite-Zinoviev block–in the years 1935-36. Here is the record printed on those pages of “Mastering Bolshevism” the utterers of this forgery had to read in order to put together the false and slanderous indictment of the Central Committee of the CPSU:

“The Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. in its closed letter of January 18, 1935, regarding the foul murder of Comrade Kirov, gave a resolute warning to the Party organizations against political complacency and parochial gaping. It says in the closed letter:

“We must put an end to opportunist complacency arising from the mistaken presupposition that in proportion to the growth of our forces the enemy will grow ever tamer and more inoffensive. Such a presupposition is basically wrong. It is a belch of the Right deviation, which assured everyone that the enemies would quietly creep into socialism, that in the long run they would become real socialists. It is not the business of the Bolsheviks to rest on their laurels and stand around gaping. It is not complacency that we need but vigilance, real Bolshevik revolutionary vigilance. It must be remembered that the more desperate the position of the enemies, the more willing they will be to seize on extreme measures as the only measures of doomed people in their struggle against Soviet power. We must remember this and be vigilant.

“In the closed letter of July 29, regarding the spying and terroristic activity of the Trotskyite-Zinoviev block, the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U. called on the Party organization to show the maximum vigilance, to be able to recognize the enemies of the people no matter how well masked. It says in the closed letter: ’Now when it has been proved that the Trotskyite-Zinoviev scum unite all the most bitter and sworn enemies of the working people of our country–spies, agents provocateurs, diversionists White Guards, kulaks, etc.–in the struggle against Soviet power, when every distinguishing mark has been obliterated between these elements on the one hand and the Trotskytes and Zinovievites on the other, all our Party organizations, all members of the Party must understand that the vigilance of Communists is necessary in every field and in all situations. An indispensable quality of every Bolshevik in the present conditions must be the ability to recognize the enemy of the Party no matter how well he be masked.’

“So signals and warning were given.

“What did these signals and warnings call for?

“They called for the liquidation of the weakness of Party organizational work and the conversion of the Party into an impregnable fortress into which not a single double-dealer could penetrate.

“They called for putting a stop to the underestimation of Party political work and making a resolute turn in the direction of strengthening such work to the utmost, in the direction of strengthening political vigilance.” (Mastering Bolshevism – Bottom of Page 4, all of Page 5 and top of Page 6.)