From Fourth International, vol.5 No.11, November 1944, pp.350.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
Twenty-four years after Lenin formed the Third International (Comintern) for the purpose of extending the Socialist revolution from the Soviet Union to the major capitalist countries of the world, Stalin has decreed its official liquidation. The task set for the Comintern by Lenin remains wholly unfulfilled. Instead, the workers of the world have suffered a series of crushing defeats and capitalism has plunged humanity into another imperialist holocaust.
For these catastrophic defeats, and this major setback to Socialism, the Comintern must bear a great share of the blame. It has not lacked either the numbers, or the organizational principles, or the traditions to lead a successful struggle for Socialism. On the contrary, its numbers in Germany, France, China and elsewhere at the moment, if we can believe them, even in Australia, have far exceeded those of the Bolsheviks of 1917. Many thousands of militant workers have passed through its ranks. It inherited the enormous prestige of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. It has failed because it has refused to follow an international working class policy and instead it has subordinated itself to the directives of the bureaucracy of the USSR. The bureaucracy has been determined at all costs to maintain the status quo of the USSR, internally and in the field of world politics, even if it means disaster to the workers of the rest of the world. This policy has reached its logical conclusion in the abandonment of even the pretense of interest in the revolutionary movement in the rest of the world and the reliance instead on the pact with the labor-hating Anglo-American imperialism.
We do not dispute that the failure of the revolutionary wave to extend beyond the borders of the USSR in 1917 and the consequent isolation of the Soviet Republic, made it inevitable that the leaders of the country should maneuver between the encircling capitalist states, playing upon their mutual antagonisms, and even making pacts with one group against others. This need was recognized by Lenin and Trotsky. The crime of Stalin against the working class has lain in forcing the various national sections of the Comintern to vary their policies in accordance with the temporary expedients of the foreign alliances of the USSR. But the fault lies not only with Stalin; only leaderships placing career before principle could allow the organizations, of which they were important members, to be so played upon.
But once granting the complete control that the ECCI had over the local sections and the domination of that committee by the bureaucracy of the Soviet Union we can understand the unprincipled changes, first to “Social Fascism,” then to the “Popular Front,” then to the line “against imperialist war,” then to the call for a “Just Peace,” finally to the call for the cessation of the class struggle in the interests of the “democratic” powers and the dissolution of the Comintern itself. It is not to be wondered that some of the finest elements of the working class, despairing of following these violent zigzags, have become disillusioned and apathetic.
Because for the moment it is in the interest of both the USSR and the Allied imperialists to unite in a military pact against German imperialism, the Communist Party of Australia is devoting itself to tying the Australian workers to the war chariot of “our own” capitalist class. They have declared a state of class peace with the capitalists, they call for class collaboration and national unity, they cripple strikes and support industrial and military conscription, in short, they are acting, in De Leon’s phrase adopted by Lenin, as “labor lieutenants of capitalism.”
The Communist Party justifies this policy by the need for the defense of the USSR. As we have shown earlier and as was stated by Lenin, Trotsky – and Stalin himself in his revolutionary days – the USSR can only be defended by the resurgence of the revolutionary wave in the major capitalist countries of the world. The Allied imperialists aim at the winning of their war and the reduction of the USSR to a subordinate political and economic position. Their plans against world Socialism can only be defeated by the revolutionary activity of the workers and colonial peoples of the world. Opposition to imperialist war itself must be the basis of this activity while the war lasts.
The slogan “national unity” can mean nothing but the subordination of the whole community, especially the working class, to the war needs of the capitalists, who control all sources of economic and political power. That is why the capitalists themselves lead in the call for unity and promise that all will be arranged after the war is over.
The Communist Party of Australia is finding increasing difficulty in pursuing this policy of national unity in the face of the steady movement of the workers towards the left under the pressure of the war. It is in precisely those organizations, such as the Miners and the Waterside Workers Federation, in which the Communist Party has control of the apparatus, that its troubles are greatest; the workers hostility most intense. These are merely a prelude to the inevitable widespread disillusionment that is coming to the militant workers as to the ability of the Communist Party to lead the working class to the attainment of Socialism. And that the Communists can see the writing on the wall is shown by their lying attacks on the members of the Fourth International whom they label with venom, “Trotskyists.”
The Fourth International of which the Revolutionary Workers Party is the Australian Section, began as the Left Opposition within the Comintern, developed during the “Third Period,” the period of “Social Fascism,” and was formally founded at an International Conference in Switzerland in September 1938.
It grew steadily in strength until the present war outlawed its sections, all of which courageously adopted and stood by a policy against imperialist war and for a revolutionary peace. The German onrush dislocated all work on the [European] continent, but evidence, mostly of executions, consistently comes through showing that the sections have revived and are in the van in the fight of the European workers against the regime of German fascism.
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In Australia, as in the rest of the world, as the workers realize in practice the effects of the social patriotism of the labor parties and of the maneuvers of the “Communists” so must they turn to the only revolutionary socialist party, the Revolutionary Workers Party, and towards the revolutionary socialist international of the world today, The Fourth International.
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Last updated on 12.9.2008