First Published: Turning Point Vol. I, Supplement, July 1948
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Communist Information Bureau
This letter is addressed to you by the subscribed Communist groups in New York, publishers of the magazine, “TURNING POINT”, whose first issue we enclose. We write in reply to a ”Book Review”, signed by Jack Bering, in the June 1st issue of FOR A LASTING PEACE, FOR A PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY. We believe that Comrade Bering’s “review” gives a dangerously distorted picture of the role of the CPUSA in the fight against American imperialism. We are particularly concerned with the effect on the fight on comrades inside and outside of the Party against opportunism and bureaucracy in the CPUSA, of the dissemination, with the authority and prestige of the Cominform, of the demonstrably false statements and opinions contained in Comrade Bering’s article. The fact that in no proceeding issue had more than passing reference been made to the CPUSA, despite its strategic position as the Communist Party of the world aggressor, gives this article, which appears during the pre-convention discussion period, a climactic impact.
The basic error of which Comrade Bering is guilty is that he accepted at their face value self-adulatory statements made by CPUSA leaders in their plenum reports, failing to check them with well known facts which clearly show the declarations of these party leaders to be false.
Following the formation of the C.I.B. and the publication of its Declaration in this country, it became apparent that CPUSA had begun to lead a double life. Correct policies were stated in POLITICAL AFFAIRS, but these policies were not reflected in the Party’s actions. In its Jan. 1948 Issue, SPARK, publication of the P.R, Club (Expelled), one of our groups, stated that: “P.A. is read by a few Party functionaries who like to see themselves in print, and by various information gathering offices, but mainly it is printed for the consumption of the foreign CP’s in the hope it will mislead them.”
In June 1948, prior to the arrival in this country of FOR A LASTING PEACE, FOR A PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY # 14, FORE ’N AFT, published by another of TURNING POINT’S cooperating groups, made the following charge: “Since the 1945 Convention, and increasingly in the months since the organization of the Communist Information Bureau signaled the beginning of a new period, in which greater responsibility of individual Communist Parties to the world movement would be demanded, the CPUSA has followed a course of projecting a correct Marxist-Leninist policy in its theoretical organ, POLITICAL AFFAIRS, and to a lesser extent in the DAILY WORKER, while at the same time pursuing or permitting National Board members or CP trade union leaders to pursue a quite different course in the unions and other mass organizations. This device has the great advantage that it permits the Party leadership to establish a paper record of correct Marxist policies to forstall possible ”interference” from Belgrade, and at the same time to continue its chronic opportunist policies, and to shift to others by one means or another blame for the disastrous effects of those policies on working class unity,” Copies of both SPARK and FORE ’ N AFT are regularly sent abroad.
It has not been our expectation, even assuming that our statements has come to your attention, that you would accept them merely on our say so. There is no reason for you to place confidence in us or in our Declaration of Principles (as stated in the enclosed No. 1 issue of TURNING POINT) until we have been able to prove them by our own deeds. NOT that the CPUSA leaders have in some measure succeeded in their carefully contrived deception, we believe that we have a right to expect, that, in line with Marxist-Leninist methods of work, you will institute your own check to verify the statements of these leaders by their deeds.
We shall not attempt in this letter to submit a full indictment of the CPUSA National Beard as the wholly traitorous and cowardly social-democratic scoundrels which we are convinced the event will prove them to be. Instead we shall confine ourselves to showing in the case of certain key issues that known or ascertainable facts prove the Party’s actions to be clearly contrary to Marxist-Leninist principles, and usually to the “correct theoretical” policy as stated on occasion in POLITICAL AFFAIRS. It will become obvious as we proceed that Comrade Bering has studiously avoided any such verification of the CPUSA’s theory with its practice.
(1) THE CIO “NO INTERFERENCE” RESOLUTION. This resolution was adopted at the Atlantic City Convention of the CIO in Nov. 1946. It stated that the ”delegates resent and reject efforts of the Communist Party or other political parties...to interfere in the affairs of the CIO. This Convention serves notice that it will not tolerate such interference.”
CP leaders helped draft the resolution, a National Committee member, Ben Gold, supported it from the floor in the name of the Party, and the CP delegates voted for it unanimously. CP Labor Secretary Williamson was consulted in advance, and the DW acclaimed the action as a victory for “unity.” On Nov, 19, 1946, George Morris, D.W, labor “expert”, who was attending the CIO Convention wrote an article giving the background to the now infamous “CIO Resolution” Many here are Communists, among them well-known Communists, important and long-tried leaders of their respected unions, like Ben Gold of the Fur and Leather Workers Union whom Murray appointed in the committee of three ’lefts” and three ’rights” to solve the problem.”(our emphasis.)
He justified the creation of this monstrous resolution by Communists with:“ But the big consideration was the other alternative – a knockdown and drag-out fight, sharpened division and possibly splits in the CIO, more factionalism, possibly purges…”(our emphasis). It was the phantom of such “purges” which motivated the CP Jobholders in the CIO in refusing to fight that worst weapon of social-democracy – redbaiting, and which finally led not only to the very evils they supposedly hoped to bypass, but to the increasing defeats of the trade union movement in our country.
On Nov. 29, 1946 in the DW, Morris instructed us on the working of a united front:
“But there can be no doubt of the correctness of the action of the Communists and all ’lefts* in the convention by their agreement to vote for [to say nothing of writing – Editors] the statement after they succeeded in eliminating all the major damage that the right wing sought to include in it.
“That is how a united front works.”
An editorial in the D.W. Nov. 24, 1946 chortled:“The Communist and left wing delegates made a great and statesmanlike move In their determination not to let any outside issue split the convention’s unity.” This “outside” “phony” issue was the whole role and responsibility of a Communist Party to the workers in the trade unions.
In the master article on the “National Convention of the CIO” (The Worker, December 1, 1946, p. 13), John Williamson, National Labor Secretary of the CPUSA wrote:
“Since the conclusion of the convention, there has been discussion among Left Wingers, including individual Communists, as among all other workers. Some ask questions as to how Communists could vote for [and write – we repeat, Editors] the final compromise, which incorrectly and unjustifiably charged the “Communist Party with ’interfering in the affairs of the CIO’, There are even some who, despite the laments of the Riesels, Winchells and all of the newspapers think the Communists should have taken issue with the Center forces headed by Phil Murray [there are no forces to the right of Murray’s ACTU-controlled ’center’ forces – Editors] and still have fought this out on the floor, irrespective of all its consequences.
“We Communists know that we do not interfere in the affairs of the CIO or its affiliates or any other mass organization. The Communist Party itself has always been the first to declare it has no desire to interfere in the affairs of any mass organization.”
Finally we quote from the D.W. Dec. 21, 1946, p.9, “City CIO Backs National Convention Program, Internal Policy Statement.” Irving Potash, CIO Furriers Manager and CP National Committee member asserted “’I voted for the policy statement not because I considered it absolutely accurate insofar as my Party is concerned ’but because he deemed it essential to preserve CIO’s strength – giving unity against the enemies of labor who were trying to split and destroy the organization.” Ben Gold stated: “Our job is to implement and back the CIO program.” Michael Quill, (not yet anti-Communist), left-wing president of the Transport Workers Union and one of the three “drafters” of the resolution, “warned” said the D.W. that there is “no time for side issues”. Thus under the leadership and active support of the Communists, the Greater New York Council endorsed the redbaiting resolution. This resolution set the pattern of unprincipled retreats and ”unity” with the representatives of the bourgeoisie which have since been followed and which have culminated in the rout of the progressive forces in the trade unions. It encouraged and emboldened the reactionaries to enact the Taft-Hartley Law, whose anti-Communist affidavit and anti-political expenditure provisions were merely the legal expression of the doctrine of economism to which the CPUSA had already committed itself in this resolution.
The CP could believe this to be a “fair compromise”. But just how “fair” was it? It was supposed to put the CP and the bourgeois parties on an equal basis, but did it? Of course not; it has been used solely against the CP, whose ideas “interfere” with the plans of the bourgeoisie while those of the “other parties” are normal and unexceptionable, The Republican and Democratic ”Parties are bought, paid for and controlled by the big industrialists and bankers. Their function is to exercise political and if need be physical control over the working class and its allies for the greater profits of the capitalists. These parrties have unlimited resources at their command, and all the channels of public information and propaganda, habitually denied the Communists, are constantly at their disposal. Moreover Meet Americans have been indoctrinated with capitalist Ideology since childhood. Against this ideology, we have the job of “interference”; it is our opponents who can be quite content to rest their case behind a hands-off, “no interference” bar.
The CP should be the Party of the working class; the leader and defender of the masses. It has no purpose, no reason for being except to strengthen, to lead and fight for the workers, to educate, indoctrinate and increase the militancy and political understanding of the workers to the end that they will defeat and overthrow; the imperialists and take state power with a Workers’ and poor Farmers’ government which will build Socialism. And yet this miserable resolution, which the CP not only approved but even helped to draft, denies the right of our Party of the workers “equally” with the capitalist parties who want to enslave them, to exert political influence in the workers’ organizations. The consequences of this surrender in the name of “unity” were not unity but greater disunity, and a tremendous speeding up of the splitting tactics of the ACTUers and Trotskyites.
(1) Effects of the Redbaiting Resolution. The sharpened division and possibly splits in the CIO, more factionalism, possibly purges’which Morris and the CPUSA were “preventing”, began to take place immediately as a direct result of the “compromise for the sake of unity.” The CPUSA’s unanimous capitulation to redbaiting, its “pure” and “classless’ neutral view of the trade unions as spheres which need not be penetrated by Communist ideology led not only to their own demise in the trade unions but to the extraordinary impotence of a once powerful mass trade union movement. The following are only a few examples drawn from a veritable avalanche of proof of the disastrous results of the compromise resolution.
On December 1, 1946 the same date as John Williamson’s analysis of the CIO Convention in the D.W, the N.Y. Times carried an article: “CIO Pushes Action for Curb on Reds.” We quote at length because the facts presented became a pattern throughout the country: “A letter to all industrial union councils, written by John Brophy national director of CIO officials, emphasized that local bodies were not to take any independent action on foreign affairs. The councils were instructed to consult Mr. Brophy before committing themselves to affiliation with any organization that has not been recognized by the parent union. The technique that will be used to keep CIO councils in line with the policy laid down by the convention is now being applied in the reorganization of the central bodies in Cleveland and Milwaukee. In both cases Mr. Murray acted before the adoption of the Atlantic City resolution.
“The Cleveland council, according to CIO leaders, sent a fraternal delegate to the convention of a leftist organization. When the delegate returned with a report that the organization was Communist-controlled and should not have CIO support, the report was rejected by the council.
“In protest against this action, right-wing unions announced their intention of quitting the council. Mr. Murray sent Allan S. Haywood executive vice president of the CIO, to investigate. The latter persuaded all factions to agree on a resolution similar to the one that was later adopted at Atlantic City. This barred financial aid or affiliation with groups that had not been recognized by the national CIO.
“George de Nucci, Columbus regional director of the CIO, was appointed as administrator and plans are going forward for the election of a new set of officers.
“At Milwaukee, where there was a similar revolt by anti-Communist members against contributions to left-wing causes, Mr. Haywood again intervened at Mr. Murray’s direction. Pete Markunes, a CIO organizer, was named as administrator and a rule was established prohibiting donations or delegations to organizations not endorsed by the national CIO. A new election is scheduled for next Wednesday.
“In Pittsburgh, home of Mr. Murray’s own United Steel Workers, two left-wingers who had been nominated for election to the executive board of the steel city Industrial Union Council decided to withdraw after the actions at Atlantic City. Their declinations assured full right-wing control of the council for 1947, according to local union heads.
“The new rules for city and State councils make no specific reference, to Communists, but a headline in the December issue of Steel Labor official organ of Mr. Murray’s union, says unequivocally, ”Red Activity in Local Councils Barred by CIO.” The story itself says the rules are designed to control any Communist infiltration into CIO central bodies.
“The resolution on Communion in which the delegates to the convention said they “resent and reject efforts of the Communist Party or other political parties and their adherents to interfere in the affairs of the CIO” are reported under a banner headline, reading ’CIO Warns Communists: Don*t meddle in Unions’.”
The poisonous redbaiting of the “unity” resolution became the weapon not only of the reactionary Murray forces in the CIO, but the excuse of leftwingers and Communists as well. On Dec. 17 1946, the D.W. reported the endorsement of the CIO policy resolution by the General Executive Board of the UOPWA, a left-wing stronghold. In its enthusiasm for this resolution, the UOPWA board threatened:
“Any effort to impose the viewpoint of outside organizations on the membership of the UOPWA will be met with the firmest exercise of union discipline...”
Lewis Merrill, Communist President of the UOPWA then interpreted this resolution with the greatest of “orthodoxy” by resigning from the Jefferson School and the New Masses, (D.W. Dec. 10, 1946). The final outcome of this debacle was the resignation from the presidency of the UOPWA of Merrill “for reasons of health” on June 7, 1947 (N.Y, Times, June 8, 1947).
On Jan. 9, 1947, the N.Y. Times reported “CIO Speeds Fight on Communists”: “The Congress of Industrial Organizations, tonight prohibited State Councils from making gifts or sending delegates to organizations cither than a selected list of thirty-six groups...” These Included a list limited to the tastes of the social-democrats and the ACTU. It studiously omitted any organizations in which progressive forces were present to any degree. In April, 1947 Philip Murray added to these, Greek War Relief, and urged all councils to endorse the notorious campaign on behalf of the monarcho-fascist regime of Greece.
Every month, every week, every day showed new evidences of the destructive role of the redbaiting resolution. An Article in the D.W. on Feb. 11, 1947 gave evidence of just those ”splits” and ”factionalism” which the CPUSA was supposedly wont to avoid. The Bridgeport General Electric local of the UERMWA expelled 27 members for being ”Communists and fellow travelers”. The Executive Board of the UE, a left-wing union thereupon revoked the charter of this local. This was the ”unity” brought about by the ”unity” compromise.
On March 3, 1947, the D.W. reported the defeat of incumbent Nat Ganley, well-known Communist, in elections for business agent of the Local 155, United Automobile Workers.
Along with the resignations, the defeats, the splits, came the ”secession” movement on the part of right-wing elements in the unions. On Feb. 3, 1947, the N.Y. Times described this movement in the Mine, Mill and Smelters Union:
“The withdrawal movement, which has already won support of eight locals in Conn., three in Pa., and one in Md. is based on charges that Mr. Robinson [President] is a follower of the Communist Party line,”
This “withdrawal movement” culminated first in the resignation of Reid Robinson, Communist Party member, due to the pressure of these right wing forces who had the support of Murray and Haywood (center forces)(N.Y. Times, Mar. 12, 1947). This was ’facilitated by an “error’’ “frankly admitted” (D.W. Mar. 12, 1947) by Communist Robinson in seeking a loan of $5000 “from an employer with whom the union had bargaining relations”!!!
Finally the left-wing Mine, Mill and Smelters Union lost 30,000 workers, one third of its membership as “50 Seceding Unions Link Anew With CIO”, (N.Y. Times, April 27, 194). This group affiliated with the right wing Marine & Shipbuilding Union, to be known as the Progressive Metal Workers Council, and were “pledged to take an anti-Communist stand behind Philip Murray, National CIO president.”
One would suppose that at this point (if not before) the CP leaders would have recognized their mistake and begun fighting this resolution as well as Murray’s “center” forces. But on May 7, 1947, the Convention of the CIO United Packinghouse Workers, at the behest of its left-wing President, Ralph Helstein, adopted a resolution based on the original:
“We resent attempts to influence our actions and we will not tolerate efforts by outsiders, individuals or organizations or groups who attempt to infiltrate, dictate, meddle or interfere in any way with the functions of our organization.”(D.W. May 8, 1947)
This was supposedly a compromise based on a compromise because it did not mention the Communists by name, and “The statement was termed excellent by Herbert March, UPW district director, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party. ’We are determined to allow no false issues to divide us,’ March told newsmen. ’This statement is designed to curb red-baiting within our ranks as well as any outside influences attempting to interfere or split our union,’” (D.W. May 8, 1947, p.3).
Thus the resolution was supposed to be “all things to all men” but like the hundreds of others of its kind, it became merely an endorsement of the original resolution and strengthened Murray’s hand. On, June 28, 1947, in the elections for the District Council 9 Secretary-Treasurer Louis Weinstock, CP National Committee member lost to Martin Rarback, known Trotskyite, after holding this position for years.
On Dec. 7, 1947 a roll-call vote of 964 to 139 ousted the third vice-president James McLelsh of Newark, representative of the United Electrical Workers. He was the nominee of ’left wing’ elements at the convention of the New Jersey CIO, N.Y, Times, Dec. 8, 1947. The majority adopted a resolution which read:
“Communist and Fascist forms of government are totalitarian in concept…” and denounced the “interference in trade union affairs by members of the Communist Party and other Fascist adherents.”
Thus after one year the very formulation identifying Communists with Fascists against which the CPUSA “won a great victory” with its “compromise” became the accepted local Interpretation of many CIO councils and the “center forces” of Murray did not by any means demand any other interpretation. Since Dec, 1, 1946, we have witnessed the resignation and defection of one after another of Communist and left-wing leaders in the CIO, Michael Quill’s betrayal of the New York workers on the fare issue, the split in the NMU and the victory of the Curran forces, the resignation of left-wing leaders in the NY Newspaper Guild, the victory of the Reuther (Trotskyite, ACTU) forces in the UAW, the split in the NY City CIO Council are only a few examples of the fulfillment of the “sharpened division, and possibly splits in the CIO, more factionalism, possibly purges” which the “compromise resolution” was supposed to avoid.
The CPUSA redbaiting resolution has culminated at this writing in the sweeping defeat of the Party led forces in the National Maritime Union, a union built and manned by Communists—once one of the strongest and most progressive unions in the country, but now the most split. The current disaster in the NMU is the worst example of the CPUSA’s work. It is a logical result of the 1946 redbaiting resolution. In this election involving 246 posts, not one CPUSA candidate has been elected. This is remarkable when we remember that the CPUSA has until now held about 85% of all offices. The CPUSA cries that the Curran Rank and File Caucus has redbaited. True, but who wrote the original redbaiting into the basic policy of the CIO; who taught them redbaiting. It is not surprising that workers finally become confused in their attitude towards redbaiting when they observe the most potent redbaiting coming from Communist leaders. During the last 2 years, many comrades who foresaw this destruction in the NMU and fought for correct policies in the CP were slandered and expelled. So common a device has redbaiting become that some of the expelled comrades have also turned to redbaiting in Curran’s Caucus.
The defection from within, the approval of CP leaders of the various union resolutions, their resignations are indicative of the failure of the CPUSA to fight redbaiting. We cannot blame such actions on reaction alone, but on the National Committee’s surrender to and support for reaction.
The CPUSA’s redbaiting tactics have led to major defeats for the working class, first in the passage of the Taft-Hartley bill, in the defeat of the Packinghouse Workers in May 1948, the no-strike pledge of the Steelworkers Contract, the sliding scale provision for the General Motors workers in the UAW, the defeat through lack of support of the spontaneous political strike of the United Mine Workers, and in the fantastic bloodsucking prices which make a mockery of every wage increase.
Liberal organizations such as the AVC and NAACP followed the path of the CIO in condemning “Communism and fascism.” Without going further, have we not the right to ask whether the CPUSA stood fast at its outpost, refused to be blackmailed and intimidated, did not underestimate the strength of the working class, did not appease the forces of reaction? Had these CPUSA leaders “a courage worthy of the sons of the working class” or did they abjectly surrender their vanguard role (not for the first time) because of their bourgeois economism, their political “neutrality” in the trade unions, their opportunism and job-seeking. We were among those mentioned by John Williamson who insisted that we should have exposed and fought redbaiting instead of resolving it in refined form.
The CPUSA has never dared openly to admit its ghastly and incredible error in not merely accepting but actually of proposing (as a “reasonable compromise” of course) this resolution. The nearest it has come for the record (orally they have been more frank) is when Williamson, who was personally responsible, made a generalized self-criticism, which could be interpreted to apply, in the Plenum report which Comrade Bering has “reviewed”. The generalized criticism is a neat face-saving device, of which the CPUSA makes frequent and effective use. It eliminates the possibility of evaluating the causes, effects or personal responsibility for the errors in question or of guarding against their recurrence. It has however the great advantage of shielding the culprits from the responsibility for their crimes, thus safeguarding them from the possible loss of their “pie-card” jobs. “Throughout the years” reports Comrade Williamson, “at Conventions and Executive Board meetings, the Left has failed to assert its own initiative and fight for its own position. There was always a fear – and wrongly so – that fighting for one’s position, and registering it on major questions by vote, would break up the coalition.” That is the nearest to a public admission of its error that the CPUSA has been able after nearly two years to bring itself. Not one word of admission, either of the very grave effects of the “non interference” resolution, or of the Party’s responsibility for it, has been permitted to date to appear in the pre-Convention discussions printed in the DW. What kind of self-criticism is it which clamps a lid of silence on even the mention of such basic issues?
(2) United Nations Veto Resolution. At the N.Y. State CIO Convention in September 1947, the CP delegates voted for a foreign policy resolution which condemned “the excessive use of the veto power” by the Soviet Union and recommended that the UN Charter be amended to prevent it. This anti-Soviet, anti-Communist, anti-workingclass action by CPUSA delegates was defended and approved in two Daily Worker articles signed by Comrade Williamson (23 and 24 Sept,1947) and by two additional articles from the pen of Comrade Potash, also a National Board member (29 and 30 Sept. 1947). In his Plenum report, reviewed by Comrade Bering, Williamson says, “the left forces made a major mistake in agreeing to a resolution that called for modification of the veto principle in the UN,” a neat understatement of the fact that CPUSA voluntarily joined with the labor stooges of imperialism to reprove the Soviet Union. Williamson hides his guilt behind “Left forces”; makes no effort to explain this treasonable action or his complicity in it, and Comrade Bering in his review charitably draws a veil of silence over Comrade Williamson’s embarrassment.
(3) Failure to Seek Affiliation with the C.I.B. Comrade Bering quotes Comrade Foster’s laudatory statement about the Communist Information Bureau (PA, March 194-8, p 201-202) in full, except for the omission of one paragraph, an omission which Comrade Bering by a coincidence fails to indicate by his use of quotation marks. The omitted paragraph says that CPUSA, while in accord with the objectives of C.I.B., “does not deem it expedient at this time to affiliate...” If it was the intention of Comrade Bering’s “review” to give CPUSA’s top leadership a “build-up” to help it “consolidate its position” in the discussion period and Convention, rather than to give correct information, it is quite understandable that he should not care to bring up the question of why CPUSA prefers not to affiliate. We do not believe however that the C.I.B. is interested in having its press used as holy water to wash away the sins of unreconstructed opportunists.
We approve of Comrade Foster’s choice of a word to explain the National Board’s action in declining to affiliate. It is not “expedient”, he says. The question is not one of principle, but of expediency, of opportunism. It dare not associate itself, the Board admits, with the strong, incorruptible Parties of Europe, because its imperialist masters might be angered thereby. They would (to quote their own words; PA, Dec. 1947, p. 114-1) “seize upon such action as a pretext for provocations and repressions...” What would the authors of the Communist Manifesto, who wrote: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions,” – what could they say of cowards posing as Communist leaders, who dare not (by their own admission) assert their intention to coordinate the fight against the Marshall Plan for world domination by American imperialism with that of the militant workers of other countries lest someone accuse them also of militancy. Yet in Political Affairs (Sept. 194-8, p. 812) Foster hails the 100th anniversary of the Manifesto in these words: “...the progressive movement in this country could do nothing better, in order to secure a reliable guide to their policy in these difficult days, than to study carefully the scientific principles laid down by Marx and Engels a century ago in the famous Communist Manifesto.”
Despite Comrade Foster’s kind words for the C.I.B., the CPUSA failed to promote or encourage the sale of FOR A LASTING PEACE, FOR A PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY in this country prior to the appearance of Comrade Bering’s “review”. It has seldom been possible, for instance, to purchase current issues at the Workers’ Bookshop in New York, and few Comrades have seen it offered for sale-in the Party Clubs and Branches. What sales promotion has been done has been the work of the expelled groups, who have in some instances placed paid advertisements of it in the commercial press. That the CPUSA, which claims a membership of 70,000, has heretofore ignored the C.I.B. organ, fearing to help build its circulation lest you should become aware of and expose their utter faithlessness to their Marxist pretensions, requires as proof only a check of the circulation figures of the Cominform Organ for this country.
(4) Lack of Democratic Centralism. At the 1945 CP Convention Comrade Dennis explained how it had been possible for Browder to have led the Party down the primrose path of revisionist opportunism and bureaucracy as fellows: “Our errors arose because in our leading committees and methods of work we have not yet established genuine democracy and collective work. We have tended to fall into the trap of formal democracy and self-adulation. We have confused the forging of firm, unbreakable Communist Unity with the creation of synthetic unity, which curtailed criticism and self-criticism, which separated the leadership from the membership, and failed to draw most of our trade union cadres and the entire membership into the fullest formulating and executing of policies. This has played no small part in feeding and prolonging opportunism and bureaucratic methods of leadership and work.” (THE WORKER, July 1, 1945.)
In order to correct these mistakes, Dennis made the following proposal which was adopted by the Convention: “It is essential to institute everywhere full inner-Party democracy, based upon the principle of democratic centralism. For one thing it is necessary to put an end to that practice where new and major policies are suddenly and without consultation thrust upon our membership, and often upon the National Committee and the Board, as the line and settled decisions of our Ass’n.”
It should be noted that Comrade Dennis has been General Secretary of the Party most of the time since the 1945 Convention. Yet not one single step has been taken to implement this decision of the Convention based on Comrade Dennis own recommendation. Exactly the same lack of inner-Party democracy, of responsibility and responsiveness of the leadership to the membership, which admittedly led to Browder’s revisionism and liquidation of the Party, exists today. The leadership which shared with Browder the guilt for the Party’s opportunist deviations, and secured its reelection in 1945 by its pledges to establish real inner-Party democracy, has shown once again that opportunists are willing to make the most revolutionary promises in order to retain power, but without any intention of fulfilling these promises once their election has been secured.
While charges of bureaucracy and lack of democratic centralism cannot easily be established at a distance of 5000 miles and by unknown comrades such as ourselves, we believe that certain conclusions may be drawn from statements which CPUSA leaders have made in print, as well as by what they have failed to say:
(a) In Dennis’ Plenum report (PA, March 1948, p. 217) he cites lack of criticism and self-criticism as the chief cause of the Party’s admitted errors: “Over the past two years, we made these mistakes, and vacillated on a number of questions because our Party did not always carry forward self-criticism and self-correction...especially in developing an effective political struggle against opportunism...” Thus Comrade Dennis admits that after three years at the Party’s helm, he and the other former Browder henchmen had taken no effective-steps to institute the inner-Party democracy, lack of which he had blamed for the errors of the Browder period. For three years he has honored his solemn pledges to the membership only in the breach, and now counting on short memories, places the blame for the new rash of opportunism on the very lack of democracy which he was pledged to correct.
(b) In the DW (10 and 11 Feb. 1948) Dennis summarized his Plenum report, later printed in the March PA. The second part of this summary (clipping of which we attach) contains a sentence which was deleted in the PA version, perhaps as being too revealing to foreign Communist Parties of the lack of democracy in CPUSA. Having blamed Party mistakes on lack of adequate criticism and self-criticism, he states that “there is a correct Party line and.,. a correct application of the Party’s main line and tactics.” He does not intend that there shall be any discussion on this point for he adds ominously: “Nor are we going to tolerate for one second the efforts of a handful of irresponsible elements to exploit our errors and weaknesses for factional purposes.” It should be noted that this statement appeared in the same article that announced to the membership for the first time the approximate date of the forthcoming Convention with its constitutionally decreed discussion period. Since the final decision as to who is irresponsible and what is factional rests solely with a leadership, which has itself strayed into the swamp of opportunism under Lovestone, under Browder, and now again under Foster and Dennis, the membership is not unaware of the meaning of Comrade Dennis’ threat. It knows that CP labor and mass organization leaders who openly violate the correct policies laid down in PA remain in favor, and are immune to disciplinary action. It knows that since the 1945 Convention hundreds of comrades have been expelled for “left opportunism” (sic), but none save Browder and a handful of his personal adherents for opportunism. The membership draws the conclusion therefore that Comrade Dennis’ breast-beating about lack of adequate criticism is a strictly phony act, put on for the benefit of foreign Parties. It knows that any forthright criticism of the Marshall Plan sellout, or of the dishonored promises of inner-Party democracy, for example, or any suggestion of pinning the blame for the Party’s disastrous course on the leaders who are responsible, will result in drastic disciplinary action. And the membership of course is right; all comrades who have expressed basic Marxist-Leninist criticisms, or who have shown lack of deference for the opportunist leaders in the recent period, have been summarily expelled.
(c) The DW of 22 May, 1948, as the pre-Convention period was about to start warned comrades that “the solution of internal problems” should not occupy too much of their critical attention. Again in the first discussion supplement of THE WORKER (20 June, 1948) Comrade Foster devotes much of his 1200 word contribution to further admonitions that criticism “must be carried on in a responsible spirit”;“that singling out individual errors or weaknesses....and then firing into them with both barrels is incompatible with Leninist self-criticism.” The criticism should be “comradely” in tone. “There must be appreciation of the Party’s success, as well as criticism of its failures. Only by evaluating our victories along with our defeats can we learn...from our Party’s experience.” Then, repeating himself for emphasis, he speaks once more of “irresponsible criticism” as a “general danger that must be guarded against” in the pre-Convention discussion. “To condemn (the Party) in unmeasured terms...can be very harmful.” And finally he warns against comrades expelled for fighting opportunism in the Party by name, and dismisses their indictment of CPUSA LEADERSHIP with the demand that “no such anti-Party stuff be permitted in our pre-Convention discussion.”
Is this the attitude of a Party which is eager to admit, correct and learn by its own mistakes, or is it a Party which fears, resents and is unwilling to tolerate criticism? We have quoted these admonitions to the membership because by their hysterical insistence that fault be found, if at all, only in “comradely” and “responsible” fashion, well-larded with praise, these leaders betray their knowledge that any basic Marxist discussion, untrammeled by threats of expulsion and phony rules of courtesy and deference, would result in their involuntary and overdue retirement from positions of leadership. Were the leaders of a Communist Party which based itself ideologically on Marxism-Leninism and organizationally on Democratic Centralism ever reduced to such a state of fright at the possibility (no matter how remote) of a really honest discussion? We doubt it.
(5) CPUSA’s Support for the Marshall Plan in the Trade Unions. In the Plenum report which Comrade Bering reviews, Foster roundly denounces the Marshall Plan. He calls it “the Truman Doctrine implemented with vaster funds and softer words”. “It is”, he says, “ruinous for Europe,... a war plan.” Similarly Dennis and Williamson attack the Marshall Plan with verbal lances. And yet at the National CIO Convention at Boston last fall, when they had a chance to make their opposition to the MP felt, Communist labor leaders voted unanimously for the plan and even stood and applauded General Marshall when he appeared at the Convention to accept their surrender. In the wake of Boston, Communist labor leaders followed the same pattern at state CIO Conventions all over the country, voting unanimously for the Marshall Plan in all cases. Here then we have the real policy of CPUSA on the Marshall Plan, not the pious words of opposition in Political Affairs, but effective support for it in the trade unions when the chips are down. These facts are well-known; the Daily Worker went so far as to try to defend the votes of the Communist delegates at Boston. Meanwhile, Murray, boasting, as a result of the Convention vote that he voiced the unanimous opinion of American labor, recorded a speech, misrepresenting the true aims of the Marshall Plan, which was beamed to Europe in 23 languages by the State Department’s Voice of America. And Carey, likewise making capital of the failure of Progressives to make a stand, started his Cook’s tour of Europe in an effort to destroy the WFTU. The unanimous vote in which CPUSA leaders joined was thus used by American imperialists as a weapon with which they tried’ to breach the unity of the European workers.
Comrade Bering refers to Williamson’s statement that at the CIO Board meeting in January representatives of one and a half million CIO’ workers disclaimed the support they had given the Marshall Plan at Boston. “This made clear”, Bering quotes Williamson, “to the American workers as well as to millions of trade unionists throughout the world that the position of Murray, Carey and Reuther, who supported the Marshall Plan, does not represent the unanimous opinion of either the leadership or membership of the CIO”. Once Murray and Carey had performed their Judas task with the loyal collaboration of the CPUSA, the action of some members of the CIO Board in locking the stable after after the horse was stolen, however belatedly correct, could have only minor significance. The only thing that it made clear to the workers was that on issues as basic as the Marshall Plan the CPUSA leadership is a leadership of vacillation and confusion.
But the most amazing feature of this sequence remains to be told. Comrade Williamson, as National Labor Secretary of CPUSA, was present at the Boston Convention and personally directed the CP delegates to vote for the Marshall Plan. If Comrade Bering did not know this he was clearly unqualified to write the review; if he did know it, his failure to say so, while quoting with approval from Williamson’s diatribe against Murray, Carey and Reuther for their support of the Marshall Plan, was, at the very least, lacking in good faith.
(6) CPUSA’s Role in the Third Party. The Draft Resolution, prepared by the National Board for the Party Convention, states (PA, June 1948, p 506): “The Communist Party from the earliest days after the end of the war, understood that its traditional fight for a new people’s party directed against the two-party system of the monopolies had once more been placed by events as an immediate practical question before the American People, and acting upon this understanding, it boldly proclaimed the need for such a new people’s party.” Yet, as a matter of fact, nothing could be farther from the truth than that the Party took a forthright stand in favor of a new people’s party directed against the two-party system at any time, until Wallace had settled the argument by announcing his independent candidacy on Dec.30, 1947. Nor did the Party make any effort to assume a vanguard role in the emerging coalition. On the contrary it deliberately and consistently shunned the initiative with which it now seeks for the record to credit itself.
Thus Max Gordon (DW, 16 Nov. 1946) scolds the voters who had failed to vote because they could see no difference between Truman and the Republicans. And. earlier (20 Sept. 1946) he labeled the claim that there is no difference between a Truman and a Vanderberg “a dangerous tendency”. The Worker urged editorially (8 Jan. 1946) political unity of labor (with the Democrats) and denounced “professional red-baiters, Trotskyites, and phony Socialists (who) are whooping it up for a ’Third Party’ right now, in order to discredit the idea through premature actions.” The bitterest denunciation that the Party could bring against the PR Club, one of our cooperating groups, when it was expelled in Nov. 1946, was that it had made “one-sided attacks on the Democratic Party.”
More than a year after the end of the war Dennis wrote (PA, Sept. 1946): “The Republican Party is and remains the main party of reaction and monopoly capital, (and) the Truman administration is still sensitive to certain mass pressures.” This after Truman had smashed the railroad strike and proposed the “slave labor” Bill. And in February 1947 (PA, p. 118) Foster declared: “To defeat Republican reaction must be the major objective of the 1948 campaign. All other considerations should yield to this supreme necessity.” Including obviously the building of an independent new party. As late as August 1947 (PA, p. 675) Foster referred to the Republican Party as “the main party of imperialist finance capital”, as his contribution to clarity on the need for a new party.
But if the Party vacillated as to whether or not it was for an independent new party, it never vacillated on the tailist role which it proposed to play in such a party if and when it appeared. Bittleman was the chief theoretical exponent of this tailist position. He branded (DW, 17 Feb. 1947) as “leftist opportunism” (sic) the assumption that the People’s Coalition should “from the very outset be led and dominated by the most advanced sections of labor and the Communists.” To do so he insists would involve (just why he does’nt say) a direct fight for a socialist society, for which the American people are not ready. Therefore, he concludes, the hegemony of the movement must be relinquished to less advanced and more vacillating elements.
This is in direct contradiction to the specific directives on the People’s Coalition which Dimitroff gave American Communists at the Seventh CI Congress. “We should develop,” said Dimitroff, “the most widespread movement for the creation of such a party, and take a lead in it. In no case must the initiative of organizing the party he allowed to pass to elements desirous of utilizing the discontent of the masses, which have become disillusioned in both the bourgeois parties, Democratic and Republican, in order to create a ’third party’ in the United States as an anti-Communist party, a party directed against the revolutionary movement.”
Yet today precisely because CPUSA has deliberately avoided assuming the hegemony of the new party, because it has surrendered the initiative to petit-bourgeois elements, who are in steady retreat before the offensive of the imperialists, the Third Party is now teetering upon the very brink of the anti-Communist abyss. The N.Y. Times (3 July, 1948) now quotes Mr. Wallace as follows: “If the Communists would run a ticket of their own this year, we might lose 100,000 votes, but we would gain 3,000,000. I know if the Communists really want to help us, they would run their own ticket, and let us get those extra votes.” This contrasts strongly with Mr. Wallace’s refusal to red-bait or be red-baited only a few months ago. By remaining silent in the face of increasingly open red-baiting by Wallace, Taylor and others, by failing to bring forward its own independent program with the perspective of socialism, and by its unprincipled top-level deals with anti-Soviet supporters of the Marshall Plan, the CPUSA is courting disaster.
For years the CP-led American Labor Party (in New York) has been dealing away the workers’ support to such bourgeois, anti-working class politicos as Mead, friend of the London Polish Committee; Lehman, partner in one of the largest finance-capital banking syndicates; and the ferocious red-baiter, Mayor 0’Dwyer, on the strength of pro-labor promises which naturally were never kept. In fact 0’Dwyer, in connivance with the renegade labor leader, Quill, has just succeeded in placing a new, onerous burden on New York workers by raising the subway fare from five cents to ten cents. If the CPUSA were honestly trying to help the workers draw the correct lessons from these experiences, it could be expected to make a decisive turn away from these deals with the class enemy, but this is not the case.
The Marshall Plan is the main reliance of American imperialism today in its quest for world domination. As the Cominform Manifesto made clear, it was to coordinate and strengthen the fight against the Marshall Plan (and the Truman Doctrine, which is merely another figure in the same design), that the Communist Information Bureau was formed. From this it follows that American progressives must grasp the fight against the Marshall Plan as the main link in the struggle for the workers’ demands, for peace, against fascism and for the perspective of a socialist America. Despite its verbal, tongue-in-cheek support of the C.I.B., the CPUSA does not believe this. We have already pointed to its support of the MP at the trade union conventions, and to its refusal to affiliate to the C.I.B. We shall now show that the CPUSA is today committing itself to throw its support to Marshall Plan war-mongers in any situation where a promise to oppose the Taft-Hartley Act can be obtained.
This then is the real meaning of Comrade Winston’s plan, which Comrade Bering quotes in perhaps innocent approval, to make the Taft-Hartley Law a leading issue of the election campaign. In terms of practical politics this is a slick way of saying that CPUSA is ready to ditch its “opposition” to the MP in favor of any pro-MP candidates who will give lip-service against the T-H Law. Because we believe that the election campaign, we will attempt to show the development of this idea by means of quotations from Party spokesmen. You will note that up to and including the present time, when the first of the treacherous deals has already been consummated, they never come right out and say in so many woras that they are ditching the fight against the MP.
Two weeks after Wallace announced his candidacy George Morris wrote in the Daily Worker (12 Jan. 1948): “Regardless of differences on a presidential choice, unionists can unite on the Congressional elections. The objectives really within the reach of labor can be won, (original emphasis). It would be a tragedy if differences in the political campaign (I.E. the fight against the Marshall Plan and for peace...Editors of TURNING POINT) harmed labor’s immediate struggle for wage increases and against encroachments of the Taft-Hartley Law...” This is of course undisguised economism.
In its January 1948 issue, Political Affairs said editorially (p. 9-10): “The supporters of the third party ticket, where they find it advisable to support a Congressional candidate of one of the old parties, despite the fact that this candidate does not support the third party ticket, will be able to do so.” We should like to make clear at this point, what is well-known in this country, but perhaps not equally so abroad, that there have not been and are not today any Congressmen or Congressional candidates other than those who are supporting the Wallace candidacy, who are opposed in principle to the Marshall Plan. The only other objection comes from those who for reasons of economy wish to reduce its scope, but not to change its objectives. By consistently ignoring this postulate, the Party’s spokesmen have sought to gain credence for the idea that additional support for labor’s immediate demands can be mustered without compromising the most basic premise of a correct Communist position in the elections. To speak of finding it “advisable to support a candidate of one of the old parties” is therefore merely to say that the CPUSA is ready to have its support counted for the Marshall Planners and against world working class unity, in exchange for the promise of a sop to American workers.
In his Plenum report (PA, March 1948, p. 212-213) Dennis succeeds in muddying the question further: “...progressive and militant workers… must not make the sole test for united action the issue of support for Wallace and the third party. On the contrary the acid test for common action is provided in each case by the issue – whether it is for wage increases, or against the Marshall Plan, etc.” Note that he doesn’t say “for wage increases and against the MP, but “for wage increases or against the Marshall Plan.” Williamson in his report (Ibid, p. 231) recommends “support of various Congressional and other local candidates who are being supported irrespective of their position on the Presidential candidates,” (meaning also, irrespective of their position on the Marshall Plan and the question of war or peace – Editors, Turning Point). And again (PA, June 1948, p. 522) Williamson repeats: “... it is necessary to find a basis for common action with those who can not yet be won over to the new party. This is possible on Congressional candidates even where there is as yet no agreement on the Presidential ticket. Such unity...will strengthen labor’s fight against the Taft-Hartley Act...”
So the theoretical groundwork has been laid, and now with the elections only four months away, the time for deals has arrived. We attach hereto a clipping from The WORKER of 4. July, 1948 – “A.L.P. for Celler.” Congressman Celler has voted for the Marshall Plan in the past and he is for it today. In fact, ironically enough, a news item in the N.Y. Times, July 11, 1948, titled “Celler Backs Marshall” indicated that Celler not only supports Marshall – but he supports him for Vice-Presidency on the Democratic ticket. Yet the Communists who direct the affairs of the A.L.P. have agreed to insure his reelection in return for promised efforts to amend the Taft-Hartley Law. You will note however that THE WORKER omits mention of Celler’s MP record, hoping that CP members and the workers will have forgotten, and will not therefore confront it with the sordid fact £hat the CP is again, as in the past, supporting the Marshall Plan.
The Democratic Party has now put a promise to repeal the Taft-Hartley Law in its platform as sucker bait for American workers. If the Democrats meant what they say they wouldn’t have voted to override the President’s veto in the first place. If the Third Party makes the repeal the main issue of the campaign and soft-pedals the real issue between the workers and the capitalist parties, the fight for peace and against the Marshall Plan, as it is doing, it will be taking the proffered bait and the workers will really be hooked. For then there will be little real difference in principle between the Wallace Party and the Democratic Party. In the absence of principled differences, millions of voters will see little reason to change their traditional votes for the Democratic candidates and will vote for Truman as the “lesser evil” against Dewey. Thus the tremendous opportunity to establish a strong, permanent party of the workers and poor farmers and led by the working class would be lost. And yet this is precisely the program of planned defeat to which the CPUSA leadership has been giving its consistent “theoretical’ support, and which it is now taking the lead in putting over in deals.
Thus when Comrade Winston (with Comrade Bering’s approval) says:
“A new type of anti-war coalition is emerging, the new Third Party headed by Henry Wallace,” he is telling the truth. It is indeed a new and very strange type of anti-war coalition, which is rapidly being transformed into a supporter of Marshall Plan warmongers. It is a coalition differing from a true People’s Front party in that there are virtually no working class elements in its leadership. The dangers which such a party faces, the dangers of which Dimitroff warned, can be avoided only by a prompt and complete about-face by CPUSA in renouncing its tailist role to professional and petty bourgeois leaders, by taking the initiative in organizing the party among the working class, by refusing to relinquish its own independent role and program, and by refusing and smashing all unprincipled vote-getting deals with Marshall Plan war-plotters.
The whole pattern of CP leadership double-talk, climaxed by the Celler deal (to be followed no doubt by dozens or hundreds of similar deals as the campaign waxes) indicates however, that far from-acting on Dimitroff’s long-neglected advice, to rescue the Third Party from the imminent danger that it may become an anti-Communist party, CPUSA is determined to insure and lead the way to that disaster by its continued compromises with the agents of the big bourgeoisie, and particularly by its willingness and even eagerness to surrender the fundamental basis for a real People’s Coalition, the fight against the Marshall Plan and World War III.
Despite lip-service to the Declaration of the C.I.B,, the CPUSA by Its actions thus shows that it is In fundamental disagreement with the Declaration’s analysis. That analysis showed the main division of the world today into two opposing camps, the camp of reaction led by American imperialism, and the democratic camp, led by the Soviet Union and in eluding the new democracies of Eastern Europe and the strong Communist Parties of countries like France and Italy. The Declaration analyzed the objectives of each camp and projected a rigorous program for the camp of democracy and peace. The core of this program is the fight against the Marshall Plan and its alter ego, the Truman Doctrine.
For American Communists to fail to apply this analysis in such a way as to find the fight against the Marshall Plan a focal point: for all their work is nothing less than deliberate sabotage of the Cominform Declaration, and of world working class unity. Yet, as the record quoted above clearly shows, CPUSA has not only failed (or more exactly refused) to project the fight against the MP into its program and tactics in any field whatsoever, except the ”theoretical” utterances in PA and occasionally in the DW, but It has organized important support for the Marshall Plan on the trade union level, and has now committed itself to do the same thing in the national elections.
In the face of these self-evident gaps between the words and deeds of the CPUSA leaders, in the face of their craven excuse for refusing affiliation with the C.I.B., of their abject surrender of the fight against the Marshall Plan, and their complete renunciation of the class struggle, Comrade Bering reports: that “the American Communists with a courage worthy of the sons of the working class, are resisting firmly the onslaught of reaction.” It would indeed be difficult to formulate a conclusion less justified by the facts. That the CPUSA contains many personally courageous members is incontestable, but they have been confused and betrayed by their dishonest and cowardly leaders, audit should be noted as a contributing cause in the Party’s debacle that, contrary to the implication of Comrade Bering’s statement, not more than a third, and perhaps a good deal less, of the CPUSA are members of the working class or so regard themselves.
In conclusion Comrade Bering says; “There is not the slightest doubt that by firmly and resolutely relying on the working class, by subjecting short-comings to criticism and self-criticism, and by drinking deep of the fount of Marxist-Leninist theory the CPUSA will be able to head the struggle of the working people of America against the warmakers for peace and democracy.” Precisely so; if the CPUSA leadership should suddenly start doing all of these things which it is now refusing to do, it might quickly become a real CP and cease to be a social-democratic party as at present. The CPUSA leadership will never follow this advice. The not-so-innocent fallacy of Comrade Bering’s article lies in the fact that it implies, not only without proof but without the possibility of proof, that CPUSA is resolutely following the path of Marxism-Leninism, when the exact opposite is the tragic but demonstrable truth.
The publication of Comrade Bering’s article has been a distinct disservice to the workers’ cause in America and even beyond. It has given class-conscious workers incorrect and misleading information as to the role of the CPUSA in the fight to defeat the war plans of the imperialists. By bolstering the false claims of CPUSA leaders with the authority and prestige of the Communist Information Bureau, it has confused and weakened and discouraged the forces inside and outside of CPUSA striving for a bona-fide CP, based precisely on the C.I.B. Declaration which the CPUSA sabotages. At the same time it has strengthened and encouraged the cowardly and corrupt CPUSA bureaucrats who are determined to stifle inner-Party democracy and to perpetuate their own oligarchic rule, on the one hand, and on the other the anti-People’s Coalition “leftists” and Trotskyite scum who gleefully magnify and distort the slightest error in their desire to malign and discredit the Cominform and through it the Soviet Union.
The bad effects of the Bering “review” on these various forces may be summarized as follows:
(l) Confusion in what we believe to be the correct trend in the expelled movement. The appearance of Comrade Bering’s article has undoubtedly resulted in a temporary setback for the efforts of these comrades and groups, expelled from CPUSA for fighting its opportunism and lack of inner-Party democracy, who are now trying to achieve ideological unity in preparation for a formation of a real CP. The level of Marxist-Leninist understanding of Comrades in and out of the Party is very low. Many in the “correct” expelled movement in particular, have realized as a result of their bitter experience their need for a correct orientation. While CPUSA was boycotting the Cominform Organ, and students were being thrown out of the Party-sponsored Jefferson School for circulating it, the “correct” expelled groups were not merely promoting it, but basing their program on it.
Naturally in this situation, the Bering “review” came as a shock. Some members have not unnaturally become temporarily confused, uncertain of their ability to evaluate actions in terms of Marxist theory. We do not share the lack of confidence of some panic-stricken Communists. We are confident that most expelled comrades will weather the storm with full faith in the Cominform’s Declaration and leadership, and whatever influence we have will be used to insure that result. We do feel, however, that a serious error has been made. After more than six months of the Cominform’s silence on the CPUSA, Jack Bering, without preparation – and it seems to us illogically – has now intervened on the side of the opportunists. Comrades in the expelled movement are justifiably confused and ask: “Where has Comrade Bering been keeping these ’courageous sons of the working class’ that he now pulls out of his hat to disrupt the fight against opportunism, and will he perhaps explain just how they ’are resisting firmly the onslaught of reaction’?”
(2) Confusion of the CPUSA membership. Many comrades in the CPUSA are keenly aware of the Party’s opportunism if not of its extent. They oppose it increasingly as their understanding grows, despite the fact that they are isolated or expelled by the bureaucracy as soon as they give clear expression to their doubts. Just as the threats of the leaders have been multiplied with the approach of the Convention, so also the resistance of the membership to the denial of democracy and the refusal of the leadership to accept real criticism is increasing. At this precise interlude of the pre-Convention discussion Comrade Bering perpetrates his hoax through the pretence of a book review.
The timing of Jack Bering’s article has tended to disrupt and sabotage the pre-Convention discussion; it has tended to inhibit any effective criticism of the bureaucrats before or at the Convention. Just as CP comrades were becoming convinced that the Party and its leadership must be judged by the deed and not by the document, Comrade Bering, with the prestige of the CIB organ, succumbs to the document.
(3) The Incorrect trend in the expelled movement. Certain anti-People’s Front and Trotskyite chaff in the expelled movement who have already done much harm in sowing ideological disunity among expelled members have been encouraged by the Bering article. These elements depend chiefly on anti-Soviet and anti-Cominform innuendoes to destroy confidence in the world working class movement and especially in the SU. They are enjoying a “field day” as a result of the Bering article. The patently incorrect conclusions of Comrade Bering are used on them to throw doubt on the competence of foreign parties with respect to American politics.
(4) The CPUSA Leadership. The top leaders of CPUSA are encouraged to know that their “double life” tactic has succeeded in deceiving someone overseas. They will feel all the freer to carry out their hypocrisy.
(5) Deception of European Communist and Workers. The Bering review misleads European Communists into believing that they have as Allies in the aggressor nation (USA) a steadfast and incorruptible Communist Party capable of carrying on a resolute and principled struggle against the Imperialist war-mongers. Such misinformation may lead to serious miscalculations.
It is exactly for the prevention of shock and demoralization that we write this as an open letter. We hope that it will serve not only to present our attitude to the CIB, but to help some uncertain comrades in the U.S. to retain their balance until the error is corrected.
We remind Comrade Bering of Stalin’s warning: “Who save hopeless bureaucrats, can rely on paper documents alone? Who beside archive rats does not understand that a party and its leaders must be tested first of all by their deeds and not only by their declarations?”
We hope and firmly believe that the Cominform will repudiate Bering’s “review”. Our groups will continue to base ourselves on the Cominform Declaration and utilize the Cominform Organ in all our work.