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Joseph Carter

The Stalinist Congress of Social Patriotic Betrayal

Favors Coalition Gov’ts – Cheers “Lesser Evil” – Treachery Rules
Amid Hymns of Praise for Stalin ‘the Great’ Another 1914 Emerges

(August 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 34, 17 August 1935, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The tragi-comedy known as the Seventh Congress of the Communist International is now being enacted in Moscow. The stage settings were carefully prepared; the actors well primed. The world capitalist press laughs at the farce while the militant workers are amazed at the social democratic theme songs which the Comintern has accepted: social pacifism, social patriotism, capitalist coalition governments.

“No single previous congress has revealed such ideological and political unanimity as this,” proudly proclaims Dimitroff, giving eloquent testimony to the hand-picked nature of the Congress delegates. What was once the world staff of international working class revolution has now become a chorus for acclaiming the infallibility of Stalin.

Despite the tragic defeats of the past years, Stalin has constantly postponed the Seventh Congress of the Comintern. Though its statutes call for a congress every two years, the Third International congress is now meeting for the first time in seven years. Not even the destruction of the German working class organizations by Fascism, which impelled the Labor and Socialist (Second) International to hold an immediate congress, could cut short the criminal policy of Stalinism and lead to a congress which would put an end to its fatal course.

The Stalinists feared a Congress. Immediately following the German debacle the leading theoretical organ of the French Communist Party carried “critical” articles of the German Communist Party. These were denounced as “Trotskyist.” Doriot, leader of the St. Denis section of the Communist Party, drew some of the more obvious lessons from the German catastrophe – only to find himself expelled. In Czechoslovakia leaders of the Communist party mildly questioned the course of their German comrades – and were quickly quieted.

The “New Course”

Once “unanimity” was restored, the Thirteenth Plenum of the Executive Committee of the Comintern (December 1933) decided that the Seventh Congress would be held “during the second half of 1934.” However, this date and several others later set were also postponed. The reason: Stalin was preparing a “new course”; the Franco-Soviet Past was in the making. Once signed and then re-enforced by the infamous Stalin-Laval communique, one other task had to be completed before the Congress could be held, viz., an agreement with the French Social Democrats for organic unity between the Socialist and Communist parties with the proviso that the “Trotskyites” be expelled from the Socialist party and the Young Socialist League. This achieved, the settings were completed for the Seventh Congress.

The speeches at the Congress merely repeated what the director had ordered. In the name of a rejection of “stereotyped phraseology, pedanticism, and doctrinarism,” the essentials of revolutionary Marxism, abandoned in practice by Stalinism a long time ago, is now overthrown even as to theoretical formulations.

Dimitroff summarizes the “new task”:

“We must learn to interlink the tremendous doctrine of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin with Stalinist determination, with irreconcilability of principle against the class enemy and deviations from the line of Bolshevism, with Stalinist intrepidity in the face of difficulties and with Stalinist revolutionary realism.” (Daily Worker, August 15, 1935)

Let us examine this “Stalinist revolutionary realism.”

The Struggle Against Fascism

Wilhelm Pieck in his opening address declared:

“It is not immaterial to us what political system rules this or that country. Where parliamentarism and remnants of democratic freedom exist, there in spite of capitalist interference, where it is possible for open fighting organizations of the proletariat to exist, there we defend parliamentarism and democracy against fascism and continue to struggle for the proletarian dictatorship.” (Daily Worker, July 27, 1935)

This from a leader of the German Communist Party who yesterday denounced as “counter-revolutionists” those who called for a working class defense of democratic rights! Even after Hitler came to power the Executive Committee of the Comintern (December 1933) attacked the “contrast between democratic countries and the countries of the fascist dictatorship in principle.” Now the defense of parliamentarism and the contrast between Fascist Germany and the “democratic countries” is the main axis around which Stalinist politics revolve.

How is bourgeois parliamentarism to be defended against Fascism? By an “anti-Fascist people’s front.” Not the united front of the working class organizations for the defense of democratic rights, the arming of the people, the organization of workers’ militia against Fascism but a bloc of workers’ organizations with capitalist parties for the defense of parliamentarism. The model is the French People’s Front: the bloc with Daladier and the Radical Socialist Party. Daladier who, although he had a parliamentary majority behind him, on February 6, 1934, capitulated before the Fascists! These are the warriors against Fascism!

The People’s Front is to struggle for governmental power. Dimitroff told the Congress:

“A situation may arise in which the formation of a government by the proletarian united front or anti-fascist People’s front is not only possible but necessary, even before the revolutionary seizure of power by the proletariat. At the appropriate moment the Communist Party, supported by an upsurging united front movement, will seize the initiative in forming such a government. The Communist Party will actively support such a- government if the government has a platform against Fascism and reaction regardless of whether the Communist Party enters into the government or not.” (Daily Worker, July 27, 1935)

Support of a bourgeois “anti-Fascist” government! Nay, even participation in such a capitalist, coalition government!

And in preparation for such a “people’s government” the Communist parties are to seek organic unity with the Socialist party. Even for the United States this step is contemplated. Earl Browder informs the Congress that:

“In the process of the struggle we will eliminate the prejudice among the Social Democratic masses that the Communists are splitters of the labor movement, we will further their healthy desire for unity, and discuss with them the question of organizationally uniting all the adherents of socialism.” (Daily Worker, August 13, 1935)

The time-worn centrist prattle of organic unity of “adherents of socialism” is now the slogan of the Stalinists! Fascism and Struggle Against War On the struggle against imperialist war, the Seventh Congerss again repeated the social patriotic program of social democracy. Pieck declared:

“Should German fascism attempt to conquer the small European states, their war against Fascism will be a righteous war which we will support.”

What is this but a plagiarism from the Vanderveldes and De Mans, the Belgium patriots? But, the Stalinists reply, in the last war the small nations were pawns in the hands of the imperialist powers. Quite right! And what reason is there to believe that a war of German Fascism against the small nations today will not involve imperialist powers on both sides?

But, they reply, German Fascism’s attack on the small nations is the first step towards an attack on the Soviet Union. Quite true. However, if France despite the contrary assertion by Maurice Thorez, is an ally of the Soviet Union, the war will be an imperialist war in so far as imperialist France is concerned.

In his War and the Second International (1916), Lenin made this clear when he declared:

“In brief, war between imperialist great powers ... or a war in alliance with such powers, is an imperialist war.”

Perhaps for the Stalinists this is “stereotyped phraseology, pendanticism and doctrinarism”! For Marxists it is an essential of the revolutionary program against war.

The French Stalinists are ready to support imperialist France if it is allied with the Soviet Union against Fascist Germany. “Defense of democracy against Fascism,” “national defense of our country” are now the joint slogans of Stalinism and Social Democracy.

Only yesterday, after Hitler’s victory the Thirteenth Plenum of the Comintern (December 1933) declared in its theses:

“The French Socialists (as well as the social democrats of Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc.) carrying out the ‘sacred unity of the nation’ under the slogans of ‘defense of democracy,’ and ‘defense against German Fascism,’ actively participate in the preparations for war against Germany.”

Perfect! And now the French Communist Party accepts the same program and proposes organic unity so that the “sacred unity of the nation” can be more effective! The Stalinists, whether French, Czechoslovakian, Polish, German, of American now speak about “our country” in the same sense as the social democrats. The dictum of Marx that the working class has no country under capitalism has been replaced by the social patriotic nationalist conception.

Even the Stalinist Sixth Congress of the Comintern (1928), in its resolution on war, declared on this score:

“The proletariat has too country until it has captured political power and has taken the means of production from the exploiters. The expression ‘national defense’ is nothing but A catchword, and mostly a petty bourgeois catchword to justify war.’’

The Stalinists further consider, for example, that the French army, could be supported if the Fascist officers are ousted. The same theses of the Sixth Congress stated:

“In imperialist states the attitude of the proletariat towards armies is determined by the following:

“No matter what their form of organization may be, armies are a constituent part of the bourgeois state apparatus, which the proletariat, in the course of its revolution, must not democratise, but break up.”

To repeat this conception in the French Communist Party today is considered “anti-Soviet” and sufficient grounds for expulsion!

“Organizational Decentralization”

The Congress resolution on Pieck’s report contains the following instructions to the Executive Committee:

“While shifting the main stress of its activity to elaboration of the fundamental political and tactical lines of the world labor movement, to proceed in deciding any question from the concrete situation and specific conditions obtaining in each particular country and as a ride to avoid direct intervention in internal organizational matters of the Communist parties.”

The aim of this section is twofold: first, to permit the Communist parties in different countries to pursue diverse tactics depending upon the division of nations into “pro-Soviet” and “anti-Soviet”; and second, to permit organic fusion with the Socialist parties, leading to the organizational liquidation of the Comintern, at least in its present form.

The second aim is brought out clearly in the statement of Dimitroff in another connection:

“We are even ready to waive the formation of Communist fractions if necessary in the interests of trade union unity.” (Daily Worker, August 15, 1935)

Already, the provision for the prohibition of political groups in the trade unions have been accepted by the French Stalinists as a condition for unity between the reformist and Stalinist unions in that country. Trade union fractions have always been considered a principle of revolutionary party organizations. It still remains a principle. But the Stalinist parties are no longer revolutionary organizations!

Social patriotism, class collaboration, ministerialism or capitalist coalition governments, these are the policies of Stalinism! Treacherous betrayal of the working class can be the only result; betrayal on a far larger scale than we have witnessed in the last ten years of Stalinism. Only one instrument can stop such betrayal: the world party of revolution, the Fourth International.

Around this banner, tens of thousands are already rallying. The proceedings and decisions of the Seventh Congress will open the eyes and minds of thousands of others. It is becoming clearer to the more advanced workers that the Comintern is no longer the International of Marx and Lenin.

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