From New International, Vol. I No. 2, August 1934, pp. 59–60.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
ONE of the most characteristic manifestations of the present crisis can be found, without doubt, in what is happening within the “proletarian” parties. Here it is hardly two months since the two bureaucracies – the Stalinist and the social democratic – vowed a mortal hatred of each other. Every means, every pretext was good for tearing each other apart and what is much worse, for mobilizing the various sections of the proletariat against each other to the exclusive benefit of reaction and Fascism. In order to evade the joint action imposed by the offensive of the class enemy, the social democratic bureaucracy first denounced the weapon of the united front as a pure “manœuvre” and proposed in its stead organic unity. Then it thought it necessary to use this “manœuvre” itself, by proposing the united front to the CI and by subordinating every circumstantial agreement upon national soil to an international agreement. At the end even this pretext fell away, and we see the social democratic bureaucracy of France signing a pact directly with the Stalinist bureaucracy.
The contortions of the latter have not been fewer. Just the contrary, armed with the theory of social Fascism and convinced that social democracy and Fascism were nothing] but twin brothers, it refused any united front of organizations and against it proposed the so-called united front from below. And as it was well guaranteed of its positions, all those who denounced its “theory” as gibberish, inconsistent and pernicious, were treated (the Bolshevik-Leninists know something about that!) as the spearhead of the counter-revolution. And today, this same bureaucracy which accused Doriot on February 12 of having made a bloc with the “social-Fascists” of Saint-Denis, itself makes a bloc with the social democratic bureaucracy, a bloc whose essential characteristics are the absence of any criticism and a mutual respecting of the two bureaucracies, with meetings and parades as the solitary weapons of struggle against reaction and Fascism. Still more: this same bloc is already considered, it appears as a first, but a decisive step towards the organizational fusion of the Stalinist party and the Socialist party, that is, towards organic unity.
It is impossible to assert, at this moment, whether this organic unity will or will not be an accomplished fact a few months hence. It is strongly probable that the two bureaucracies will encounter no little resistance along this path, resistance which will be all the greater the more the objective situation demonstrates that something besides palaver is needed to defend the bread and the liberties of the proletariat and to break the back of reaction. At all events, the mere fact that the problem is put should permit us certain considerations and certain perspectives.
The first consideration to make is the following: After 15 years of the existence of the Communist International, it seems to be hastening to put over the portals of its surviving section, the most important one, the French section, the inscription: Going out of business. It is the most striking avowal of the political, ideological and organizational bankruptcy of Stalinism. Bankrupt in every realm, the Stalinist bureaucracy is seeking its own safety not in a return to the Leninist policy, to which Soviet diplomacy in particular is opposed, but in a still narrower conjunction with the socialist bureaucracy. The irony of history pushes it to wanting to become; the Siamese brother of the “twin brother” of Fascism! If the “spirit” of the Pact, as everything leads one to believe, will be what presides over the “organic unity” (and without this spirit it would be impossible), it would not only be the materialization of twelve years of defeats, but would become a factor for new defeats of the proletariat. Indeed, the conjunction of the two bureaucracies will not occur and cannot occur on the ground of the consistent development of the struggle, but upon that of its limitation, within the framework which will suit Soviet diplomacy, on the one side, and French “democracy” on the other. If, up to yesterday, the revolutionary current found difficulties in expressing itself and in penetrating into the masses, the day on which the organic conjunction of the two bureaucracies will be an accomplished fact, these difficulties, from this aspect, will not be diminished It is not, therefore, by staking upon organic unity that the revolutionary current can develop, but by staking upon the action of the masses. This action will be dictated by the whole situation which is opening up before us.
Without believing, as do certain comrades, in decisive interventions of the antagonistic forces (workers and reactionaries) in the coming weeks, it is certain that the present “equilibrium” cannot last for long. But the action of the masses will be able to develop itself only to the extent that it will succeed in breaking the barrier of the two conjoined bureaucracies.
What are the means best calculated to aid the masses in breaking the bureaucratic barrage? At bottom, that is the problem to resolve. A certain number of comrades think that at the present hour, organic unity is progressive, because it blows up the old bureaucratic crystallizations and particularly the Stalinist bureaucracy, and this will better permit the revolutionary current to make its way. As a result, they draw from it the conclusion that it is necessary to get to the head of it in order not to be eliminated from the movement. We, on the contrary, think that organic unity will be the last intrenchment of the two bureaucracies which are in a fair way of being inundated.  That is why, instead of converting ourselves into partisans of this unity, we should denounce it right from the start, as well as the dangers which it permits of. The salvation of the revolutionary current does not lie, to our mind, along the road indicated by these comrades, but in the combination of our means in the following sense:
1. The manœuvres of the two bureaucracies striving towards organic unity do not express the will to action of the masses, but pervert it and aim at breaking it by draining it off into an impasse.
Last updated on 25 February 2016