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Martin Abern

The “Ideological” Campaign

(December 1928)

From The Militant, Vol. 1 No. 2, 1 December 1928, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The “Ideological Campaign” is on in full swing. Resolutions supporting the C.E.C. in its expulsion of Communists from the Party are being adopted in various places.

One street nucleus in Pittsburgh, without defining or explaining a word of a single fundamental issue raised by the Opposition Communists, manages to use such expressions as “counter-revolutionary”, “social democratic”, “menshevik”, “renegade”, nine times in two sentences totaling 19 lines.

The resolution of the Kansas District Committee does not mention the expulsion of two pioneer Communist fighters, Buehler and Kassen, from the D.E.C. and the Party for fighting the expulsions, but does manage to betray its complete lack of knowledge of the position of the Russian Opposition. For instance, it accuses the Opposition of stating that Socialist construction in the Soviet Union is a myth, “when all facts available prove the steady development of the socialist production.” Well, who says otherwise? The issue is: Can the development proceed faster? To what extent? By what means and on what basis is the socialist economy to be developed further? What are the limitations? Can there be the development of a complete system of socialism, as the Draft Program of the Comintern states, without the aid of the proletarian victory in one or more European countries?

What does the Russian Opposition say on this point?

“The domestic problem is, by strengthening ourselves with a proper class policy, a proper inter-relation of the working-class with the peasant, to move forward as fast as possible on the road of socialist construction. The interior resources of the Soviet Union are enormous and make this entirely possible (Our emphasis). In using the world Capitalist market for this purpose, we bind up our fundamental historical calculations with further development of the world-proletarian revolution. Its victory in certain leading countries will break the ring of the capitalist encirclement, and deliver us from our heavy burden. It will enormously strengthen us in the sphere of technique accelerate our entire development in the city and village, in factory and school. It will give us the possibility of really creating socialism ...” (The Platform of the Russian Opposition, pp. 86–87, The Real Situation in Russia, Harcourt, Brace and Co.).

We quote the above now only to call attention to the absurd manner in which “Trotskyism” is being “discussed” without for one moment examining the actual economic, tactical and political proposals of the Russian Opposition. Unfortunately they have been largely suppressed. But through the columns of The Militant the American Communists will have the opportunity to judge for themselves. Then we are confident the resolutions will change their tone and character.

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