Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Martin Nicolaus

Marxism or Klonskyism?

How the October League’s top circle, led by M. Klonsky, uses method of suppression and demagogy to consolidate Browderite line on way to its “founding congress.” A lesson by negative example in party-building.


4. Klonskyism and the Leading Role of the Party

The reverse side of the question of the liberals is the question of the leading role of the Party.

These two aspects are inseparable. To talk about aiming blows at the liberals without fighting to build Marxist-Leninist leadership, the leadership of the Party, is to talk without saying anything. Conversely, to fight for Marxist-Leninist leadership without fighting against the liberals is likewise empty noise, a sham.

Those who evade in various ways the basic duty of exposing and ousting the liberals as teachers and leaders of the proletariat will be forced also to evade and to downplay the basic leading role of the Party. To conciliate to the liberals, to cover up for them, means to promote them to leadership; and this, in turn, means to subordinate to them the leading role of the Party, to liquidate the Party’s vanguard role.

The fact that the Party is not yet founded, and that the existing forces are not yet capable of acting as the actual vanguard of the working class in fact, does not diminish the importance of this question. We must know very clearly what kind of Party we intend to build, what role we envision for it. In order to reach the point where the proletariat in its millions in fact follows the leadership of this Party, we must have the goal clearly and firmly in view from the outset.

What kind of role is envisioned for the party in the thought of Chairman Klonsky? It is a role of dodging and evading the responsibilities of Marxist-Leninist leadership, a role of pretending to lead while in reality surrendering leadership to other forces. Klonskyism on the question of the leading role of the party is a series of evasions and disguises for liquidation of the leading role of the party; Klonskyism is a series of ideological rationalizations for promoting the leadership of the liberals in place of the leadership of the liberals in place of the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party.’ Klonskyism, in a word, is Browderism; it is revisionism disguised as Marxism-Leninism, capitulation disguised as leadership, and liquidationism disguised as party-building.

Let us strip away, one by one, the disguises of Klonskyism.

A. KLONSKYISM DENOUNCES THE LEADING ROLE OF THE PARTY AS ’DOGMATISM.’ SEEKS FOR A ’THIRD KIND’ OF LEADERSHIP, NEITHER BOURGEOIS NOR MARXIST-LENINIST IN CHARACTER.

Either liberal (bourgeois) leadership of the working class and the oppressed nationalities or Marxist-Leninist (proletarian) leadership. This is how the question presents itself in the reality of the class struggle today.

The Klonsky circle, however, believes that this is a terribly narrow, “dogmatic” presentation of the question.

We have already seen the Klonsky circle’s phrasemongering on the question of tactical alliances with bourgeois leaders in trade union and community struggles, and we have seen the Right opportunist, capitulationist content of this shouting. The Klonsky circle, to listen to its rhetoric, does not want to approach bourgeois leaders even with a ten foot pole, and it rails and foams against the Leninist theory of temporary tactical alliances (in the proper conditions) as “Right opportunism.”

On the other hand, the Klonsky circle also rejects the idea that Marxist-Leninist leaders – the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party – is the only real alternative to bourgeois leadership. This idea it condemns as ”dogmatism.”

Only Marxist-Leninist leadership – the leadership of a genuine Party – deserves the trust of the working class and the oppressed nationality peoples. Only such leadership is reliable; and this holds not only for the climactic battle, the act of insurrection to seize state power and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, but also in the period of preparation for that moment, in the struggles for limited political and economic aims that enhance the fighting capacity of the working class. All other leaders – leaders who fight for the limited aim only in order to disintegrate the revolution, to oppose and to undermine the ultimate aim – will also betray the proletariat and the oppressed nationalities, later if not sooner, in the struggles for limited aims. This is a lesson of history. This is why we can say with perfect confidence that in the long run, the whole or nearly the whole of the U.S. working class will be brought to see that the leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Party is the only alternative to the treachery of the liberals and reformists. Even in the present period, when our forces are few and when our leadership chiefly takes the form of propagating ideas, of preparing public opinion, we must propagate both in word and in deed the truth that only the leadership of a Marxist-Leninist Party deserves the trust and confidence of the exploited and oppressed.

In the “credo” of the Klonsky circle, all the above is “dogmatism.” The documentary record of our controversy, week after week from beginning to end, shows that the Klonsky circle opposes the line that only a Marxist-Leninist Party deserves the leading role. It upholds in its place the line that not only Marxist-Leninists but also other leaders are worthy of the proletariat’s trust and reliance, and that the Party should preach this line to the proletariat.

SEARCHING FOR ’OTHER LEADERS’

The Klonsky circle says it doesn’t want bourgeois leadership; “God forbid,” it says, rolling its eyes. And at the same time it doesn’t “insist” on the leading role of the Party, either. It condemns temporary tactical alliances with bourgeois leaders as “right opportunist,” and it condemns insistence on the leading role of the Party as “dogmatist.” What it is looking for is a third kind of leadership, neither bourgeois nor proletarian in character. It wants a “middle kind” of leadership that will obviate the need sometimes to form tactical alliances, on the one hand, and the need to always build the leading role of the Marxist-Leninist Party, on the other hand.

Wouldn’t it be pleasant and agreeable if in this world there were such a kind of leadership? We would not have to fight the bourgeois leaders of the working class, we could just avoid their company. We would not have to fight to build a Party worthy of the name vanguard, we could just applaud the deeds of other leaders. Such an easy life is what the Klonsky circle aspires to.

In reality it is otherwise. The Klonsky circle’s dream of “other leaders” is a flagrant abandonment of that “class point of view” it howls and shouts about. ’In this world there are only two kinds of leaders: leaders who uphold and fight for the scientific outlook of the proletariat, namely Marxist-Leninist leaders, and leaders who uphold and promote the ideology of the bourgeoisie, bourgeois leaders. There is no third kind; and any advocacy of reliance on such “other leaders” is at the expense of the Party and is tantamount to strengthening the leadership of the bourgeoisie.

What Lenin had to say on this question in What Is To Be Done is quite clear, correct and applicable without qualification to our situation today:

Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is – either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a ’third’ ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree, means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. (LCW Vol. 5 p. 384)

Isn’t this terribly “dogmatic”? Either one or the other!? What an inflexible, narrow, “leftist” presentation of the question Lenin gives...

The Klonsky circle’s accusation that the line of either bourgeois leadership or M-L Party leadership is “dogmatism” – this accusation is precisely a case of the sort that Chairman Mao described (in “On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Among the People”), when he wrote:

The revisionists, the Right opportunists, pay lipservice to Marxism; they too attack ’dogmatism.’ But what they are really attacking is the quintessence of Marxism.

The leading role of the Party is of the quintessence of Marxism. The Klonsky circle’s preaching of reliance on other leaders is of the quintessence of revisionism.

In the course of the struggle, the circle headed by M. Klonsky was challenged to give illustrations and examples of the sort of “other leaders” they raised to a par with the leadership of Marxist-Leninists. They were challenged to defend this theory of theirs, to spell it out more fully and to try to cite the authority of the Marxist classics in its behalf.

In reply to these challenges, it did not dare give any illustrations or examples, to propose any names. It did, however, try to lay out its view a little more explicitly, and it did produce a very “classical” quote. Let us now have a look at these efforts of the Klonsky circle to dress up its theory of “follow other leaders” in presentable clothes to pass muster.

B. FIRST DISGUISE FOR BROWDERISM: THE THEORY OF THE ’HONEST WORKER.’ CAN HONESTY BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR MARXISM-LENINISM?

After denouncing all tactical alliances as “right-opportunist,” and then denouncing the leading role of the Party as “dogmatist,” the Klonsky circle delivered itself of the following memorable pronouncement:

But among the working class, our friends and allies are many. Lenin in What Is To be Done and elsewhere stresses that we should fight to promote honest workers to positions of leadership.

There is not space and time to untangle all the confusion of ideas in this principal thesis of the Klonsky “credo,” e.g. the confusion of ’friend’ and ’ally,’ the restriction of allies to the working class (what about among the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nationalities?), etc. The nub of the question lies in this phrase: “we should fight to promote honest workers to positions of leadership.”

BROWDERISM WITH BLUE DENIMS ON

What we have here is really the Klonsky theory of “other leaders” (of a “third kind of leadership” dressed up in blue denims and wearing an honest face.

Let us get a grip on our historical context. We are in a period of intense ideological struggle prior to the founding of the Party. It is a time of many-sided struggles for theoretical clarity, for the correct strategy and tactics, for the drawing of sharp lines of demarcation in order that we may unite. It is a time when the strengthening or weakening of a “shade” can affect the course of political developments for years to come, as Lenin said; a time when a program is being hammered out, word for word, which is to serve as guideline for the Party’s activity at least up to the triumphal moment of the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The question of which class must lead has been and remains a smoldering one. The question of alliances is still to be clarified in all its ramifications. The question of trade union policy is being debated. The question of who may join the Party, and of the qualifications of leadership, is a decisive line of demarcation against revisionism. All are supposed to be reading Lenin’s One Step Forward, Two Steps Back, which explains the fundamental difference between a party that admits every professor and every striker, versus a Party built on strict Leninist principles. Subjectivism, that bane of small-circle existence, is supposed to be rooted out.

Such, approximately, is our context. And in this situation, the Klonsky circle – after hurling accusations of “opportunism” and “dogmatism” this way and that, lays down on the table as its answer to our burning questions the theory of “promote honest workers to positions of leadership.”

Which class shall lead? The class of honest workers. What ideology must play the leading role? Honesty. With whom are alliances permissible, and on what conditions? With other workers, if they are honest. Who may join the Party? Every worker, so long as he or she is honest. Who must lead? The most honest. How can we tell whether a line is genuine or sham? By whether or not the honest workers follow it. This, in so many words, is the catechism of the Klonsky circle, a few weeks before the founding of its party.

The nearer it comes to its founding congress, the greater the Klonsky circle’s ideological bankruptcy. The more it shouts “onward,” the more it relapses into the oldest and crudest of revisionist evasions. Let us, in order to criticize this retrogression, examine what is the role of honesty in politics, and whether honesty can be taken as a substitute for Marxism-Leninism.

PROLETARIAN HONESTY

The party of the proletariat has a clear-cut stand on the question of honesty. It insists on strict proletarian honesty in its ranks, and cannot tolerate double-dealing. Honesty is one of the outstanding characteristics of the proletariat as a class, standing in sharp contrast to the dishonesty that characterizes the rule of the bourgeoisie. The party appeals to and relies on the honesty of the proletariat as an important reserve in winning the masses of the workers away from opportunist leadership. The honest elements of the working class, who make up the overwhelming majority of the class, will in the course of protracted struggles inevitably come over to Marxism-Leninism and reject the leadership of the bourgeoisie.

At the same time, no genuine leader or teacher of the proletariat has ever put forth the line that proletarian honesty in and of itself can be a substitute for the scientific world outlook of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism. Honesty is a necessary basis, but it is not sufficient. Marxism-Leninism is not a character trait; it is a science. Any attempt to resolve questions of theory or line exclusively or even chiefly on the criterion of honesty is bound to fall into the pit of opportunism.

HONESTY AND THE GOTHA PROGRAM

This lesson, which Engels once summed up in the sentence, “honest opportunism is the most dangerous kind,” is based on bitter experience in the Communist movement. Marx and Engels, in the book Critique of the Gotha Programme, analyze one such experience; it is worth recalling here.

The Gotha program was adopted in 1875 (in the German town of Gotha) by a congress of “unity” between two long-hostile trends in the German working-class movement. They were the Lassalleans (after their leader, Ferdinand Lassalle), who had long promoted an entirely opportunist, petty-bourgeois and revisionist line; and the Eisenachers, led by Wilhelm Liebknecht, who formed the revolutionary trend in the German workers’ movement.

As it happened, the Eisenachers were nicknamed the “honest ones;” they called themselves the “honest” in contrast to the Lassallean opportunists.

At the Gotha Congress, unfortunately, these “honest ones” – out of an honest desire for unity within the German workers’ movement, no doubt – capitulated lock stock and barrel to the worst opportunist theses of the Lassalleans and adopted them into the united program signed by both trends at the conclusion of the congress.

Amidst the ringing of bells throughout the Western European workers’ movement to celebrate this “victory for unity,” Marx and Engels sharply polemicized against the “unity program” adopted at Gotha, and subjected its theses to a searing examination. They were for unity, but based on principles.

Engels’ comment on this revisionist program is that “The honest ones have once more been cruelly gypped by the dishonest.” As for Liebknecht, who engineered the surrender of the “honest ones” to opportunism, Engels readily grants that Liebknecht was “surely honest.” But, he adds, “he (Liebknecht) has always been confused theoretically.” (Critique of the Gotha Programme, Peking, pp. 38, 77.)

Liebknecht, the honest leader of the honest trend in the workers’ movement, led his followers into revisionism. This was a valuable lesson for the communist movement. It showed that, just as Marxist-Leninist theory is valueless if it does not unite with the honest stand and fighting spirit of the proletariat, and can even be used to cover dishonest aims, so proletarian honesty is nothing if it is not guided by Marxist-Leninist theory, and can even serve as a cover for revisionism.

Honesty is essential. But it is no substitute for theoretical clarity, for Marxism-Leninism.

REFORMISM ALSO DEVELOPS HONESTLY

The overwhelming majority of the proletarians in the U.S. as elsewhere are honest people. To imply, as the Klonsky circle does, that honesty is so rare that those who possess this trait should be promoted to leadership positions – this really shows a low estimate of the moral character of the proletariat. But this is not even the main point that the Klonsky circle overlooks. What it systematically evades in its thinking is the fact that the whole working class under capitalism spontaneously, entirely honestly and without malice becomes imbued with one or another form of bourgeois ideology, most especially liberalism, reformism, trade unionism. Marxism-Leninism does not arise spontaneously, it must be “brought from without,” as Lenin said. To promote to leadership workers who are not Marxist-Leninists, but rather “honest” (which, by the way, is not very flattering to Marxism-Leninism, any more than to the moral character of the working class) – this means, inevitably, to promote liberalism, reformism, trade unionism to leadership.

This is the political content of the theory of “honest-workerism.” It is revisionism with blue denims on; it uses “honesty” as a cover for liquidating the leadership of the Party.

C. SECOND DISGUISE: THE MANTLE OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL. HOW KLONSKY ’QUOTES’ LENIN AGAINST LENINISM.

Having seen how Klonskyism uses “honesty” as a way of liquidating Marxism-Leninism, we will now proceed to see how Klonskyism also uses Marxism-Leninism in a way that is neither Marxist-Leninist nor honest.

The Klonsky circle’s “credo” asserts that Lenin fathered “honest-workerism” in What Is To Be Done. Perhaps comrade Klonsky confused the passages in that work where Lenin quotes the Economists with Lenin’s own words; it has happened to others. In any case, so far no proof of this assertion has been submitted. The Klonsky “credo,” however, also asserts that Lenin propounded such a doctrine “elsewhere,” and this elsewhere turns out to be Lenin’s “Theses on the Fundamental Tasks of the Second Congress of the Communist International,” dated July 1920 (in LCW Vol. 31, pp. 184-201). The Klonsky circle, it is plain, has the ambition of draping its theory of “other leaders” – neither bourgeois nor Marxist-Leninist – not only in denims but also in the authoritative mantle of the Third International.

Here is the passage from what work on which the Klonsky circle based its case:

The more complete, lengthy and firmly established the rule of bourgeois democracy has been in a given country, the more the bourgeoisie will have succeeded in securing the appointment to such leading posts of people whose minds have been molded by it and imbued with its views and prejudices, and who have very often been directly or indirectly bought by it. These representatives of the labor aristocracy, bourgeoisified workers, should be ousted from all their posts a hundred times more sweepingly than hitherto, and replaced by workers – even by wholly inexperienced men, provided they are connected with the exploited masses and enjoy their confidence in the struggle against the exploiters.” (p. 191)

There! Isn’t it obvious now that the line of promoting only Marxist-Leninists to leadership is just so much “dogmatism”? Doesn’t Lenin say even “wholly inexperienced” workers should be put in leadership? Such, at least, is the conclusion which the Klonsky circle drew from this passage.

SOMETHING HAS BEEN LEFT OUT

But hold on! Let’s study more deeply! The reader who makes an independent study of the text instead of taking the Klonsky method of quoting on faith will find, as I did, that the Klonsky interpretation has left something out. It has left out, to begin with, the sentence immediately preceding the point where it begins its quotation. Here is that sentence, with emphasis added:

Hence, preparation for the dictatorship of the proletariat entails not only explanation of the bourgeois character of all reformism, of all defence of democracy, while private ownership of the means of production is preserved; it entails, not only exposure of such trends, which are in fact a defence of the bourgeoisie within the labor movement; it also calls for old leaders being replaced by Communists in proletarian organizations of absolutely every type – not only political, but also trade union, co-operative, educational, etc. (p. 191)

Then follows directly the passage on which the Klonsky circle relies.

What is Lenin’s point? Is it that communist leadership can be replaced by the leadership of others than communists, as the Klonsky circle asserts? Is it that there is no need for the Party to be the leadership of every kind of mass organization, as the Klonsky circle believes? Just the opposite! Lenin is insisting that all the other kinds of leaders of all the workers’ organizations must be replaced by Communists – even if this means that leaders with great skill and experience (at peddling liberalism and reformism) will be replaced by Communists who have no experience in leading posts.

Far from making any concession to the doctrine of “other leaders,” as the Klonsky circle pretends, Lenin is in reality hammering home the point that “reds” must replace all other kinds of leaders, even if this means a sacrifice of ”expertise.”

This point is so basic to Leninism that Lenin fought to have it included, with success, in the basic framework of the Third International. It ’ forms Paragraph No. 2 in Lenin’s “Terms of Admission into the Communist International”:

Any organisation that wishes to join the Communist International must consistently and systematically dismiss reformists and ’centrists’ from positions of any responsibility in the working-class movement (party organizations, editorial boards, trade unions, parliamentary groups, co-operative societies, municipal councils, etc.), replacing them by reliable Communists. The fact that in some cases rank-and-file workers may at first have to replace ’experienced’ leaders should be no deterrent. (Vol. 31, pp. 207-8, emphasis added.)

Dismiss “other leaders”! Promote Communists to positions of leadership! That was the Leninist line, which the Klonskyite method of quoting Lenin has conveniently ’overlooked.’ The Klonsky method amounts to trying to quote Lenin against Leninism, in order to try to drape its liquidationist line in the mantle of the Third International. Whose mantle is it, in fact, that the Klonsky circle has adopted? The doctrine of “honest workerism” and of a “third kind of leader” was in fact the cloak of the Russian Economist trend, which grew up under the influence of Bernsteinean revisionism. The opportunist doctrine and practice of downgrading the leading role of the Party was a direct factor in the gradual corruption and then the total betrayal and degeneration of the parties of the Second International.

D. THIRD DISGUISE: THE MASK OF ANTI-REVISIONISM. OR: KLONSKYISM CONVICTS ITSELF IN ITS OWN WORDS OF BROWDERITE REVISIONISM.

We saw above, on the question of tactical alliances in trade, union and community struggles, that the Klonsky circle maintains two sets of dishes, one for show and the other for real. On the question of “promote other leaders” there is the same two-facedness, the same contradiction between the line put out for display and the line enforced internally.

Let us return to the series of articles on the trade union question. We will see there a fine show of anti-revisionism on the issue of Marxist-Leninist leadership vs. “promote other leaders.”

“In the difficult battles to revolutionize the trade unions,” – it says there – “it may sometimes be necessary to make tactical alliances with certain labor leaders. But it is never permissible for communists within such an alliance to abandon independent communist agitation and propaganda, tú rely on these leaders, or to liquidate the tasks of building and consolidating revolutionary oreanization in the form of party cells and networks.

It is never permissible to rely on other leaders! How well the Klonsky circle can put the matter, when writing for external consumption. ..

In all the key CIO drives, it was communists who organized the workers, planned strike strategy and mobilized support in workers’ communities. Even CIO misleaders like John L Lewis and Philip Murray, who had been part of the old guard officialdom of the AFL until 1935 were forced to acknowledge that communists were indispensable to the CIO campaigns ...

In the course of the CIO drives, serious errors were made under the growing influence of Browder, then CP general secretary. Browder cultivated and then consolidated the rightist errors which had begun to emerge when the party turned to mass agitation in the late 1920s and early ’30s. The down-playing of communist aims and independence served as fertile ground for Browder’s revisionism. (Note: were there no rightist errors before the Party turned to mass agitation? Is agitation really synonymous with downplaying of communist aims? – M.N.) Browder opposed communist work on the basis that it would ’antagonize’ the CIO bureaucrats. To advance his treacherous objectives, Browder spread illusions about the CIO misleaders, praising them as well as Roosevelt new-dealers as saviors and heroes of the working people.

’PROMOTE OTHER LEADERS’ IS BROWDERISM

In sum, Browder spread illusions among the masses about “other leaders,” about leaders other than Marxist-Leninists; he promoted such others to leadership and taught the proletariat to rely on and to trust such other leaders.

How incisively the Klonsky circle (in public) brands the Browderite theory of “rely on other leaders” as “treacherous”! How concisely the Klonsky circle points out (in public!) that this doctrine inevitably serves to liquidate the leadership of the Communist Party, and ultimately to liquidate the Party itself . . .

And yet at the same time the Klonsky circle (in the internal life of its newspaper and its organization) promotes and demands submission to precisely this same foul line that it brands as revisionist (in public).

The Klonsky circle convicts itself in its own words of Browderite revisionism.

The Klonsky circle has degenerated into political double-dealing, political hypocrisy. It puts on the mask of “anti-rightism,” of “anti-revisionism” and “anti-Browderism,” but – just like Browder himself – it cultivates and screens the right-opportunist strain within the organization. This is an extremely rotten situation within the October League’s top leadership, and constitutes a cancer eating away at the insides of the whole organization.

In direct proportion as the Klonsky circle advances, in outward appearance, toward its party, it is degenerating inwardly into Browderism. Browderism means that a revisionist line nestles at the very top of a revolutionary organization; it means that a policy of capitulating to the bourgeoisie is being promoted from within the highest echelons of the General Staff of an army dedicated to overthrowing the bourgeoisie; it means that the chief engineers on a great work site for building the Party are pursuing a line of wrecking the Party. Such was Browderism 40 years ago; such is Klonskyism today.

E. BROWDERISM ILLUSTRATED: KLONSKYISM PRAISES BROWDERISM AS ’MARXISM’ AND CONDEMNS MARXISM AS ’DOGMATISM.’

The Browderite decay which the Klonsky circle promotes, and to which it demands submission, cannot be prevented from seeping out, like sewage, into print. Just as flowers fall off, do what one may, so seepage will happen when there is foulness inside.

One small but smelly example of this leakage is to be found in the conclusion of the Klonsky circle’s sumup of the United Mine Workers’ convention in Cincinnati, and in its editorial on that event, both in The Call No. 23 of Oct. 11. It is one example among a number that could be cited. I choose it because it appeared in The Call in the same week that Klonskyism composed its internal “credo,” and illustrates in a concrete particular case what the general theses of the “credo” boil down to.

The article says:

... the present leadership (all factions included) is working in the interests of the bosses, preaching class collaboration and opposing the miners1 most precious right – the right to strike.

It is the leadership that is emerging from within the ranks themselves, the leadership that Miller, Trbovich and the rest are so badly trying to red-bait out of the UMW with their anti-communist frenzy, that will point the way forward in years to come.

The line of this last paragraph, according to the Klonsky circle, is “Marxism-Leninism,” and they would not hear any criticism of it.

At about the same time, the Klonsky circle attacked as “dogmatism” the conclusion of a different article, this one on the Steelworkers Union convention in Las Vegas. This says:

To make the USWA a fighting organization for the working class takes leadership of a different kind than Sadlowski, Miller or the revisionists. It will take genuine Marxist-Leninist fighters who lead the workers not only in the everyday struggles against the companies, but onward to the liberation of the working class as a whole. The building of an organization of such leaders in the heat of the struggle in steel and elsewhere – the building of a genuine communist party – is an immediate task, the urgency of which is underlined again by the reformist, opportunist treachery of the fake ’insurgents’ at Las Vegas.”

This, according to the Klonsky circle, was dogmatism.

These two conclusions contain diametrically opposed line on the question of leadership. Where will the leadership come from that will point the way forward in years to come? Two answers. One says it will come through the building of a genuine Marxist-Leninist Party – and the other line (the Klonskyite line) says that the leadership “is emerging from within the ranks themselves.”

The line that the vanguard of the working class will just emerge from “the ranks themselves” is the crassest Economism. It is part and parcel of the line of “honest-workerism,” of preaching reliance on “other leaders,” and other Klonskyite and Browderite formulas to mask liquidation of the leading role of the Party.

The odor of this seepage grows even fouler when we consider who, precisely, this “leadership emerging from within the ranks themselves” consists of, and who are these forces that “Miller, Trbovich and the rest are so badly trying to red-bait out of the UMW,” as the article puts it. The editorial in the same issue informs the reader that the UMW bureaucrats are trying to red-bait out of the union not only the genuine Marxist-Leninists, but also the whole range of political tendencies to which the editorial – bending way over backwards – refers as “communists,” “left-wing” and “militants.” Namely the revisionist CPUSA, the Trotskyites of different stripes, as well as the up-and-coming reformist misleaders who are not yet in the present top leadership of the union, i.e. the future Arnold Millers in their embryonic stage of development – the Klonsky circle would call them “honest workers.” Strictly speaking it even includes Miller himself in part, since it was at him that the original blast of red-baiting was aimed (by Trbovich).

Phew! Indeed and in truth, this leadership that is “emerging from within the ranks themselves” stands a serious chance of “pointing the way” in the years ahead. It will point the way toward more revisionism, more Trotskyism, more reliance on the liberals, more reformism, more treachery, more conciliation and capitulation to the capitalist dictatorship.

CULTIVATING TOMORROW’S WEEDS

This is what the Klonsky circle considers pointing the way “forward” in the years ahead! Just as Browder did, the Klonsky circle flatters and cultivates these “other leaders” even when they are still relative unknowns, little seedlings hardly sprouted out of the ground. Klonskyism, precisely like Browderism, applies water and fertilizer today to the little seeds of tomorrow’s big poisonous weeds.

The Klonsky circle’s solicitude for the growth of these shoots, however, is ultimately a wasted effort. They will grow with or without the tender care of the Klonsky circle. All that is required for these foul weeds to “emerge from the ranks themselves” and to rise to the leadership of the spontaneous movements of tomorrow is that Marxist-Leninists should do nothing to combat the spontaneous tendency.

The Klonsky circle condemns Marxism-Leninism as “dogmatism,” and it praises Browderite revisionism as “Marxism-Leninism.” It is not surprising therefore that the Klonskyite editorial in the Oct. 11 Call calls the revisionist, Soviet social-imperialist, social-fascist rag, the Daily World, a “left-wing newspaper,” and that it makes an appeal to the arch-anti-communist, Gus Hall, to “fight anti-communism.” Throwing out the window the policy of “no united action with the CPUSA,” this editorial issues an invitation to the revisionists to join with the OL in a common front in defense of trade union democracy. Is there anything surprising in such an appeal by the Klonsky circle? Not a thing. Anyone who praises Browderism as “Marxism”, and denounces Marxism as “dogmatism” will naturally and inevitably be led to look on the revisionist CPUSA as an ally. All the shouts of “Death to Revisionism” and similar “bloodcurdling” rhetoric are only a cover – only yet another disguise – for the festering revisionist foulness at the pinnacle of the October League.