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The New International, November 1944

A. Arlins

Opportunism and Adventurism


From The New International, Vol. X No. 11, November 1944, pp. 365–369.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The October issue of the Fourth International prints a report, under the title The Real Situation in France (“By Our Paris Correspondent”) which deserves the greatest attention in more than one respect. [1] Whoever the author of this report may be – the interests of the movement as a whole do not allow us to pass over in silence the fact that it would be hard to write a skimpier and politically more grievous document than that of the “eye-witness.” In the analysis of what the author describes and what he presents as his appraisal or political view of the events, our interest is concentrated upon the two most important points.

The National Question

The first point is the by now fateful “national question.” It is no accident that the report on the occurrences in Paris is colored from start to finish by this question, which has impressed its mark upon the entire movement. The only astonishing thing is how unaware the reporter is of it, how incapable he is of coming to grips with it, and how helplessly he confronts the situation as a result of his false position. Nowhere can you find a clearer picture of what it means in practice to approach events without correct theoretical equipment. Nowhere consequently, can you discern more unmistakably the disastrous fault of those (we mean primarily the leadership of the Socialist Workers Party) who so obdurately and maliciously prevented the clarification of the extremely important national question and the problems linked with it. In the more than three years since the emergence of the national question, the SWP leadership has piled confusion upon confusion, and done everything in its power to stay off on the sideline of every event and to absent itself. The failures in this period are having catastrophic repercussions in the International and are crippling the remnants which were sparse enough to begin with. Judged by the results that three years of unified agitational, propagandistic and political work would have yielded without any difficulty, the SWP leadership stands out as exclusively guilty. The false consciousness, not only of the International but primarily also of the broad masses, may be traced directly to it. But for its pernicious attitude in the political and theoretical discussion of recent years, the report we are dealing with could scarcely have been written, let alone been accepted uncritically.

The National Question in Practice

It is convenient, cheap and possible for adventurism and pure opportunism alike, to see a “proletarian” revolution break out somewhere or other every week, as do the Militant and the Fourth International. This commits you to nothing more than a perpetual re-chewing and jumbling up of the same phrases, so that in the end nobody knows where he is at and simply lets the whole thing drop. Thus, the events in Italy, Poland, Greece, Yugoslavia, France, etc., were greeted and commented on in the same stupid way. The honorable article-writers of the organs named have the task, subsequently, of explaining why the “proletarian” revolution actually wasn’t one, or why it finds itself, as a result of the obstreperous facts, in its first, second, third and hurled-back stage, and how it will undoubtedly raise its purely proletarian head again any day now from that point on and achieve victory as surely as the Amen in the church. After having enjoyed this sublime spectacle, bathed in the sauce of the “defense of the Union” and the “United States of Europe,” for a good fifteen months, in the case of Italy, for example, its real content may now be tested in the example of France.

For years it has been clear to everybody who was not running around with an extremely thick board in front of his head, that the movement in France, Belgium, Holland, Poland, etc., would group itself around the so-called national liberation. Only the S.W.P. leadership has ventured to continue quibbling around about a situation which even comrade Daniel Logan describes as follows in the Fourth International:

Undoubtedly the Parisian workers carried along with them large strata of the petty bourgeoisie, not only its lower ranks, but also civil servants, students, sons and daughters of bourgeois families. The insurrection, the immediate objective of which was the overthrowing of the German yoke, thus took a “popular” and “unanimous” aspect. With its democratic and patriotic illusions, the atmosphere was somewhat reminiscent of that of the nineteenth century revolutions.

The correspondent from France, too, arrives at the same statements of facts:

The general slogan was the purely nationalist one: “Out with the Boche”; and the general [!] idea in the minds of the insurrectionists who fought and died on the barricades was that the sole purpose of the uprising was the ejection of the Germans from the city ... The actual street fighting was done largely by the FFI (FTP and others) in the city itself, aided on the barricades by elements of the petty bourgeoisie (the local shopkeepers, functionaries, housewives, etc.) and workers in the proletarian districts (XIth, XIVth and other districts). [2]

All the complaints, lamentations, airy constructions (and above all the meditations on the “purely” proletarian slogans and tactics of the Fourth, as they appear in the heads of the S.W.P. leaders) thus had no effect whatsoever upon the fact that the entire movement was forced to orient itself on the national question, to pass, as it were through the national movement and to take on the character of a people’s movement for the elimination of the obstacle that was decisive for the time being. Theoretical understanding, in so far as it really aimed at advancing the labor movement and the Fourth, should have concluded from the very outset that under the given conditions there is no other means of standing the beaten labor movement on its own feet again. It should have been recognized that it was precisely the broad working masses and the oppressed strata in the first place who would necessarily be interested in national liberation, if indeed they were ever to gain the ability to express their desires and their hopes. The broader the mass movement, the better the situation for the labor movement and the Fourth itself, for it would then be all the easier to outgrow the control and the influence of the bourgeoisie and to fling aside its agents. The same theoretical understanding that recognized all this would naturally have to start from the simple fact that the elimination of national oppression, the expulsion of the foreign conqueror, was in itself a primary democratic demand, a necessary step under all circumstances, a goal that required realization in every case. If this goal could not be achieved, it is precisely the labor movement that would be unable to take a single real step forward. Still more: the expulsion of the German oppressor was the indispensable premise for the inauguration of a movement inside Germany, for a decisive weakening of Fascism, for a heavy blow against the German and Allied bourgeoisie.

An Example of Practical Propaganda

A Fourth International capable of doing more than covering heaps of paper with evidence of its incompetence and with patent nonsense, would therefore have promptly taken the leadership of the movement and conducted its propaganda somewhat as follows:

“German soldiers! We have no intention of tolerating German oppression on top of oppression at the hands of our own bourgeoisie. We have the burning desire to settle accounts with our own bourgeoisie and to run them out, but the German military machine stands in our way. You, German soldiers, are allowing yourselves to be placed by your bourgeoisie between us and our bourgeoisie – this obstacle we must remove, no matter what the cost. We say to you that we are fighting for a democratic aim when we come out for our national independence. We would continue the most unrelenting struggle for the principle of the right of self-determination of all nations at the very moment when we would get back the oppression of our own bourgeoisie. If you wish, we will press this principle to its very limit and to the point of paradox, by saying: It is a democratic right to be oppressed by one’s own bourgeoisie and to shake off foreign oppression, for oppression at home is an internal affair which we must settle ourselves and which is no business of yours. Only when foreign powers hinder the settlement of our internal affairs do you have the duty to rush to our aid and to defend our democratic rights. That is the only possible ‘just’ war. In any case, we consider your expulsion to be the pre-condition of the settlement of our internal affairs: we shall support any and every endeavor, even of our own bourgeoisie, in so far as it amounts in practice ‘to actual emancipation from your yoke. It goes without saying that we know what to think of our own bourgeoisie and we have our own view of the seriousness of its will in this fight. It is all a practical and not a theoretical question – what is important to us is the action and not the words. So, wherever die struggle for liberation actually flares up, we shall march in the forefront. Following the democratic rules, every stratum of society conducts the propaganda that corresponds to it, and each seeks to attain a majority in the competition of propaganda, otherwise it would be senseless to talk about ‘united action.’ So long as it is a question of an immediate goal, of a necessary partial advance, an act of commonly possible defense, etc., a ‘united front’ of the most variegated strata or classes is possible. The more elementally necessary the goal, the broader the front – that is the rule. [3] Perhaps you are real opponents of democratic principles and do not share our views. In so far as you impose your views and your system upon us by force of arms, we shall battle against you with force of arms for life or death. We call upon you to come over to us and to join us against the common oppressor, for it is the greatest disaster for the oppressed masses to continue letting their bourgeoisie bait them against each other. In every country, there are even corrupted, bedraggled, backward strata of workers who fight for the interests of the ruling class in case of a civil war and who stab their class comrades in the back. Should you act in the same way, we shall crush you according to the laws of civil war wherever we lay hands on you. At the same time we tell you what you may expect from us once we have driven you out and regained our freedom. We tell it to you now, loud and clear, so that the whole world can keep us to our word: We shall fight with all the means at our disposal against anybody violating your national independence and your democratic right to self-determination. History takes its implacable course and you will learn. We for our part do not believe we can improve anything if we allow ourselves to be misused the same way as you yourselves. Our aim, to be sure, is the United Socialist States of Europe and of the World. [4] However, it is up to you yourselves to decide upon joining this union – we haven’t the slightest idea of forcing you to do so.”

The National Question and Its Practical Consequences

This is naturally only a tiny clipping from the agitational and propaganda work that a competent organization would accomplish. What is saddening about the present situation is the fact that it is still necessary to explain to “Marxists-Leninists,” by means of examples, what it is all about. “Our” Paris correspondent, who described for us “the general idea in the minds of the insurrectionists who fought and died on the barricades” adds, with regard to the patriotic atmosphere: “In fact, the French Communist party ... deliberately fostered this mood.” Unfortunately, he does not spend a single word on telling us how our French section conducted its propaganda. In exchange, he gives us examples of how, for lack of theoretical understanding and correct analysis, the finest situation can be passed up:

The workers of the banlieue [suburbs] of the big factories, Renault, Citroen, SNAC, Gnome et Rhone, etc., did not in general [!] descend into Paris. They intervened in quite another way. They occupied the factories, arrested or forced the arrest of the collaborating directing factory personnel and in the most advanced cases prepared [prepared! Let us take note of this word!] the given factory to start production again under their control.

In most [!] factories the initiative was taken by Communist Party factory militants, and the Trotskyists. For example, at one [at one!] factory employing over 1,000 workers, about fifteen workers assembled at the plant. Among these were some ten CP members and supporters and two or three Trotskyists. These fifteen occupied the deserted factory [it certainly was a great exploit and an intervention in “quite another way” to occupy the “deserted” factory while the others “fought and died on the barricades”!], sent messages to call the workers to a factory meeting in order to elect a workers’ committee. [So these workers were sitting at home during the struggle, waiting for the “call”!] A “Commission d’Epuration” (Purging Committee) was set up to “try” all the collaborating managing personnel[to “try” this personnel was, it seems, again “quite another way” to participate in the patriotic atmosphere!], directors, managers, etc. Supply committees were likewise elected to take over the factory canteen.

And the “general” result of these daring undertakings? Ah, the general result is good, from one factory to the other:

The workers’ committees appointed new directors, foremen, technicians, etc., to work under their control and prepare [prepare!] the factories for the resumption of production; and they sent delegates to de Gaulle’s Ministry of Production, Ministry of Labor, etc., asking permission to start work and laying out detailed plans. They were told that it was impossible to start production as there was no power for the machines. The government, they were told, would appoint administrator-delegates to take over the factories whose directors had been arrested. In the meanwhile, nothing was to be done.

We call the reader’s express attention to the fact that Frank Lawrence devoted no less than three special articles to this report on The Real Situation in France in the Militant, and carefully deleted the sentences in the above paragraph which we have put in italics. The “real” situation, which he otherwise accomplishes with Hurray, must have appeared sort of dubious to him at this point. “Revolutionary workers took lead in Paris Insurrection,” he exclaims rashly. But for a man like him who (as we have said) shakes a “proletarian revolution” out of his sleeve every week, it must nevertheless be painful that the terribly revolutionary workers first “prepare” production, then ask the government for “permission to start work,” and are forced to acknowledge at the end: “In the meanwhile, nothing was to be done.” That, dear comrade Lawrence, is what comes of being so proud that Trotskyists occupy “deserted” factories, restrain workers from the tasks that correspond to the situation (instead of guiding them correctly) and thereby prove themselves conspicuously backward.

To be sure: anyone who is as “radical” as an SWP theoretician must necessarily be a full-grown opportunist in practice and shrink from the consequences of the national question. God gave him a post so as to deprive him of political understanding which would have enabled him to make an analysis of the situation as a whole and led him to perceive that: with our propaganda and our program at our back, the movement may take on as “national” an appearance as it will. As soon as it has reached its goal, it will disclose its class character and automatically (for that is the secret of the situation as a whole) move beyond itself. It is necessary to estimate the movement, to utilize the situation intelligently, and to direct the workers where the revolutionary consequences of the movement must stand revealed. We must not occupy “deserted” factories, but seek in living struggles to take over the leadership and lay hands on the real weapons which decide the question of power.

“Dual Power” as the Result of the National Movement

“Our” Paris correspondent and comrade, Lawrence, show us the best way of not understanding anything whatsoever:

The FTP and [!] workers had to arm themselves mostly from arms captured or stolen from the Germans. Secondly, the Stalinists urged the workers to leave the factories and join the Maquis, where invariably the workers were integrated under the leadership and control of ex-officer cadres.

Although the armed workers had all the less need to listen to the advice of the Stalinists (and in case of need had nothing to fear from the ex-officer cadres, once arms were in their hands) the better they were taught by the Trotskyists, “our” correspondent got scared to death at the mere word “ex-officer” and proclaimed triumphantly:

The Trotskyists, on the other hand, urged the workers to stick to their factories [which was a shameful thing to do to the workers fighting on the barricades] which were their stronghold and not to allow themselves to be dispersed and thus lose their class coherence.

“Our” Correspondent must be, it might well be said, in damned great need of “class coherence” if he has it in the factories (where meanwhile “nothing was to be done”) and loses it the very minute he finds himself among the same fighting workers on the barricades. In return, we now hear phrases about “own class organs” and see “our” policy in all its pitiableness:

Thus, although the Paris insurrection took place under nationalist, “classless,” slogans [in passing, a proof of the great influence of “our” correspondent!] and although all tendencies in the Resistance Movement, from ultra-reactionary royalists to the Communist Party, tried to give it a national and classless character, from the very beginning the working class, basing itself on the factories [further above, however, “our” correspondent reported that “the” working class, in the persons of the workers of the XIth, XIVth and “other” districts did “the actual street fighting” and therewith were on the barricades “from the very beginning”] spontaneously threw up its own class organs – factory committees, factory militias, etc. – and began to put forward class demands, thus creating the elements of dual power.

Thus “creating” the “elements” of dual power! The only trouble is that the “real” dual power in the “real” situation in France lay elsewhere:

In the districts (arrondissements) of Paris, a form of dual power as between the Resistance forces (mostly Stalinist FTP) and the de Gaulle authorities exists[exists!]. During the fighting, detachments of the FFI, FTP, etc., took the local town halls by storm and once the Germans were ejected, contrived to occupy them and to assure the municipal services. At the same time, housewives’ committees sprang up to control the food rationing.

Thus, “our” correspondent clings to the factories and is creating “elements,” while the fighting workers are establishing the dual power. He does this because he does not want to go along with the “purely” national liberation, may it have ever so much the peculiarity of leading to genuine power. Unfortunately, this is not the way to reinforce the existing dual power. Less so is it the way for the Fourth to win influence, to bring the masses on to the right political path, and to take over the leadership in the struggle against the assaults of reaction upon the dual power. The report says:

Undoubtedly the French Communist Party had a decisive influence on Paris and on the course of the insurrection ... If [!] it had pursued a policy of “Build Soviets everywhere” and actively pushed the workers’ committees, etc., and called upon the workers to build up their committees as the basis of workers’ power as an alternative to the Provisional Government, the insurrection would have very quickly developed into a workers’ revolution. In fact, all the necessary conditions for a revolutionary situation existed, except for the presence of a sufficiently strong revolutionary party.

The CP, by its very nature, and the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, could not but play an altogether different, counter-revolutionary role.

The existence of a sufficiently strong revolutionary party is rightly counted here among the necessary conditions of a revolutionary situation. [5] Should such a party be lacking, the problem is to create it in the course of the events or else to perish. There is no point in philosophizing on what would have happened “if the Communist Party, etc. We have seen, in any case, that the intentions of the Communist leadership and the mass movement are two different things and that they produced, in the political reality, the phenomenon of the existing dual power. The task, therefore, was to find a basis in the objective dialectic of the situation and the events, to separate the masses from the Communist leadership through the sweep, of the movement, and to create the broadest foundation for the genuine dual power. To achieve this, however, the masses should have been summoned and accompanied to the “town halls” which were stormed. The report shows dearly that the dual power in the town halls, in spite of the Communist party, is the main target of the assault of the reaction.

It is very nice to see the counter-revolutionary interests of the Soviet bureaucracy unambiguously nailed fast in the Militant. But once again, it is unfortunately not a matter of the Communist party but of the mass movement and the objective logic of things which made it possible to discredit the Communist party before the masses. The report confirms this immediately:

By pursuing a “Popular Front,” national unity policy, and calling for a purely “national” insurrection, by exciting to the highest pitch the nationalist and chauvinist sentiments of the masses, it [the CP] confused the class issues in the minds of the workers. It now finds itself on the horns of this dilemma: It is faced with an offensive by the reaction to liquidate – ‘legally” and peacefully if possible – the duality of power, and it is equally afraid of leaning on the support of the masses.

Now instead of mobilizing all forces for the defense of the “duality of power” and to squash the CP with its dilemma in struggle against the reaction, the correspondent unfolds “his” program:

The Trotskyist organization, on the other hand, calls for strengthening of the workers’ committees in the factories and their coordination on first a local and then a regional and national plane. It points out that the only way of legalizing [!] the power of the municipal councils is to base them on the “district committees,” on the housewives’ and factory committees, through democratic elections, thus confirming them as the real expression of the will of the masses. It is because these demands correspond to the needs of the situation and the real interests of the masses that they are being followed even by rank and file members of the CP in the factories. In several big factories of the Paris region, the initiative in occupying the factories and forming the workers’ committees was taken by the Trotskyists who received the support of the CP militants. In such fluid conditions as existed in Paris, it has been shown by the experience of the French Trotskyists that a small body with a correct orientation [presumably in a deserted factory where meanwhile nothing is to be done!] can definitely contribute to the development of the situation.

In the interest of the cause we wish to make this prediction here: If the report really reflects the policy of our French friends and their views, they are on the best road to committing political suicide. We say this in the first place to the SWP leadership and we shall remind them of our prediction later. In actuality, the simplest problems still remain unsolved, and the national question is far indeed from vanishing from the scene. This has become clearest in Belgium, where, with reference to the interventions of the Allies, the positively classic phrase has been uttered: We took up arms against the Germans – we can do it again!

Meanwhile, our friends seem determined, according to the report, to add physical suicide to political. This appears from a passage which constitutes the second point in the report of interest to us. This point may be called:

The “Legalized” and “Democratic” Selection of Your Own Butcher

In the Conclusions, the correspondent comes to the “problem that poses itself in France.” The “problem” is a simple question with him, which we put to ourselves, too, after reading the report: “Who will triumph?” After having reflected on a few more things, and then recognized the struggle for all democratic liberties at least correctly (even if without indicating the “how”) as being “in France today of paramount importance,” the correspondent still does not seem to feel just right about his many factory committees. Suddenly disturbed by the gloomy presentiment that the struggle for democratic liberties is after all also a practical question, he writes a postscript at the end of his report. Comrade Frank Lawrence, in his three articles, again deemed it wise not to quote this postscript. However, we cannot make him a present of it, for as a practical conclusion it is a declaration of bankruptcy and of “paramount importance”:

If in Britain the question for the coming period is “Labor to Power,” then in France one might similarly say: “Thorez to Power,” and let the masses in each case learn from their own experience.

To present the slogans “Labor to Power” and “Thorez to Power” as “similar” and to help raise Thorez to power, is positively the pinnacle of opportunistic, thoroughly irresponsible adventurism. First, they have a “correct orientation,” then they contribute “definitely to the development of the situation,” talk down to the masses pedantically according to all the rules of political ultra-leftist sectarianism, and then speak up in a decisive question in exactly the same way as someone who in his innocence has nothing whatsoever to say: “Let the masses in each case learn from their own experience.”

The masses, however, learn from their own experience only if they are enlightened at the same time by the revolutionary organization on the meaning of the events. Secondly, the necessity of this experience in the situation as a whole must be motivated, i.e., it must be an inevitable and historically still possible experience. While in England the slogan “Labor to Power” as the next stage after the fall of the Churchill regime is obvious, and has not the slightest thing to do with the rule of the GPU in England, the question in France is the direct reverse. The secret of the situation as a whole, which the SWP has passed by in absolute blindness for three and a half years, consists, among other things, in the fact that the national movement in France has already exhausted the inherently limited experience with Stalinism. [6] The development is now moving more every day in the direction of the accentuation of the antagonism between the French bourgeoisie, the Allies (the continuation of the national question in modified form) and Stalin. In such a situation, which brings Stalinism, in the national question, too, into direct opposition to the interests of the masses and robs it of all possibilities, the French Communist party can become only what Jacques Doriot once tried to make of it: its paid agents, its unemployed, its petty bourgeois and slum-proletarian support (it was infinitely richer in these elements as far back as 1936 than certain “analysts” know), and the rest of its hireling crew will supply the armed storm-troops of the Bonapartist-Fascist reaction and bloodily crush the masses in the name of the Stalin-deGaulle alliance or other combinations. The abstract formulation of the correspondent can even be accepted, when he answers the question “Who will triumph?” in these words:

Will it be the workers and peasants through the development of their own class organs, workers’ committees, peasants’ committees, etc. – into a Soviet government – or will it be the bourgeois reaction in the form of a military Bonapartist dictatorship? There is no middle road possible.

There is no middle road possible, and yet the absurd contradiction does not lie primarily in what the correspondent continues to say:

A Constituent Assembly might be elected, but the internal contradictions and antagonisms in France are too acute to permit of Prance going through a more or less lengthy period of parliamentary democracy. Even before the elections for a Constituent Assembly can be held, it is quite possible that the contradictions will have developed to a stage that makes the holding of “free” elections impossible.

The thing becomes absurd only when the correspondent seeks to issue the slogan “Thorez to Power” in such a sharpened situation, and does not know that its realization signifies the rule of the GPU in France. As to the political program of the French section of the Fourth, the report does not whisper a single word. The vastly important question of foreign policy in the form of the French colonial question seems to have been “dealt with” only by Jacques Duclos. Evidently, they think they have plucked the stars out of the sky when they talk about “own class organs,” of A-committees, B-committees, C-committees, “Soviet government” and similar window displays. But you don’t show the remotest feeling that the problem now boils down in practice, in this accentuated situation, to counterposing the masses to the program of the Stalinist-bourgeois reaction, and to preventing the adventure with Thorez at any cost. Mutatis mutandis, things stand today in France the way they did in Germany twelve years ago.

There we had a “communist” party whose leaders, in the interests of Stalin, contemplated handing the German masses over to the hangman Hitler. These rascals in the leadership boasted loud and long, and lulled the masses with the assurance: “Just let Hitler come to power. He won’t keep it for as much as four weeks and then – then it will be our turn.” And it was “our” turn indeed! Namely, in the concentration camps, on the scaffold, in the prisons, in the mass graves of the battlefields of the second world war!

We can only warn most emphatically against a repetition of the German adventure in France, where Hitler’s r61e has shifted directly to Stalin’s agents. “Thorez in Power” would be the most grewsome and bloody reaction France has ever seen. If a slogan crops up along this line, what must be done is precisely what the German “communist” leaders prevented in the case of Hitler: Battle against the Thorez-Stalin system to the victorious end! Woe to the masses if, on the counsel of the “Trotskyists” they go through their allegedly “own experience” with Thorez, which will only be the experience of their incompetent counsellors. They, along with the Trotskyists, will have to pay dearly for it, all too dearly. In all seriousness: we most cordially hope that the French masses will send such schoolmasters packing to the devil himself, and never allow them to gain influence over themselves. May they cry out. Draw back, and hold still in your wretched impotence, but do not suggest to us in the name of a great man and a great goal that we fling ourselves into the arms of our own butcher!


1. The same report, signed Girand, appeared in the supplement of The Socialist Appeal (organ of the British section of the Fourth), mid-October 1944, Vol. 6, No. 7.

2. In this curiously vague report, the question arises: Where were the workers, especially of the XIXth and XXth districts?

3. We have inserted the remarks about the united front and united action here in order to titillate certain “theoreticians” who have discovered in our attitude toward the national question nothing more and nothing less than a “People’s Front policy.” These super-wiseacres, who freely give instructions in the ABC of Marxism, actually have no idea of what the ABC of Marxism consists. We will therefore enlighten them on the “People’s Front” in a subsequent article.

4. But, it should be added: We are not SWP theoreticians and we do not write about the “reactionary boundaries” of the national states when the bourgeoisie is destroying them for reactionary reasons and in the interests of preserving its rule. It is independent and free “states,” and not enslaved peoples, who enter voluntarily into a union.

5. Comrade Frank Lawrence, in his three articles, does not concern himself with the problem of the existing: “dual power” either. This time he too is forced to acknowledge what we sought in vain to prepare the SWP leadership for: “... the uprising was a genuinely popular revolt in which various class forces participated.” For that, he pursues his playing at revolution all the more zealously, unconcernedly ignores the necessary conditions, and proclaims: “The second (!) stage of the revolution which erupted (in Frank’s head!) last August is now opening.” As we learn from him, The Militant has “presented in previous issues” this estimate of the French situation. Who can still marvel at the blithe optimism of The Militant?

6. Frank Lawrence himself knows this and quotes Jacques Duclos, who unfolded the “program” of the CP, whose secretary he is, to the correspondent of the London Evening Standard on September 15:

“French capitalists are ‘Idiots’ if they are afraid of Communism. We are not even interested in the question of a forty-hour week. As far as we are concerned, the workers (the very language shows the manner in which this swine of a “communist” simply disposes of “the workers”) will work sixty hours weekly if it is necessary for the rehabilitation of France.” Duclos disposes of the French colonial peoples no less “communistically”: “The natives in the majority of these colonies are backward people” (whereas Duclos is in addition a common criminal) “and it is France’s responsibility to give them a helping hand.” And then says this “communist,” who helps hang the colonial peoples again with his helping hand, with regard to the Stalinists in Indo-China. “they would not be “opposed to French troops fighting to regain it for France.” – Is it still necessary to emphasize that this program already gives more than can be obtained from all the “experience of the masses” that our correspondent has in mind? Frank Lawrence simply commits a political crime when, on the one hand, he stigmatizes the exclusively counter-revolutionary possibilities of Stalinism in France, and on the other hand, passes over the disastrous slogan of his correspondent in diplomatic silence. Such a thing is possible only with people who settle their political problems and discussions (as at their last “convention”) with brutality and the “iron hand of discipline,” which is Father Stalin’s special stock-in-trade.

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