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James M. Fenwick

Off Limits

The Stalinists Woo the Vet

(11 November 19464)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 45, 11 November 1946, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

Like the average militant worker, when the veteran begins to think seriously about polities, and the hypnotism of the Democratic and Republican parties wears off, he will often turn to the Communist Party. For him the Communist Party embodies that unclear but earnestly desired vision of a better world usually summed up in the word “socialism.”

Thanks to tradition, the anti-capitalist role of the “Communists” in Europe, certain seemingly progressive aspects of the CP program, and the crude election propaganda with which the nation was doused during the recent election campaign, the Stalinists have been made to look like very radical fellows.

And, indeed, on paper at least, it would seem to be true. In their pamphlet Who Ruptured Our Duck? they come out for the following immediate demands: low cost housing, maintenance of OPA rent ceilings, jobs for all, decent wages, a 65 cent minimum wage, a permanent FEPC, $25 a week unemployment compensation, a bonus, cash terminal leave payment, abolition of the draft, withdrawal of U.S. troops from all countries except Germany and Japan, cessation of the manufacture of atomic bombs, etc. The program is certainly nothing startling but it is beyond that of the capitalist parties.

For the realization of this program the creation of a third party is proposed. The final objective is stated to be socialism.


That would seem to be a pretty progressive program. It is – on paper. But that’s the program for the sheep. What the program is in practice is entirely another matter. It can be clearly seen in the events surrounding the recent Stalinist-led occupation of the State Senate chamber at Albany, New York.

Seventy-two veterans demanded in this demonstration that Governor Dewey call a special session of the legislature to appropriate $800,000,000 for desperately needed housing. Dewey naturally refused. The veterans then lamely concluded the demonstration by condemning Dewey and congratulating Mead, Dewey’s Democratic opponent for the governorship, “for his promise that if elected he would use most of the $517,000,000 state surplus for veterans’ housing.”

Offer Mead in Place of Dewey

Thus the veterans who had marched from the railroad station chanting “No more promises, we want homes” wound up supporting a promise – an election promise, at that! – by Mead on behalf of a party whose record on housing is not a whit superior to that of the Republicans.

This policy of support to the Democratic Party is a national one and is persisted in even where the very much embarrassed candidates repudiate the CP support in the vilest terms.

In other words, for all its avowed turn to socialism, guaranteed by the expulsion of the “right-winger” Browder and the elevation of Foster to the party leadership, the CP today serves as one of the props of one of the main capitalist parties of this country.

How did this come about?


Two facts have to be understood: (1) the CP is not a revolutionary socialist party, and (2) it serves only the interests of the bureaucracy in Russia. That is why it should be referred to as a Stalinist Party and not as a Communist one.

Right now the Russian bureaucrats, for all their apparent bluster, are interested in avoiding war against Russia. To achieve this they will use any forces of whatever character who may be opposed to current U.S. foreign policy or who are less ferocious in their attitude toward Russia than the rock-ribbed reactionaries.

That is why they support persons like Pepper, Ickes, or Wallace, and large sections of the Democratic Party. This explains their current anti-war stand. They are not opposed to war; they are opposed to the U.S. waging it against Russia. They’re not opposed to the use of the atomic bomb; they’re opposed to its exclusive possession by the United States. They are for the withdrawal of United States troops from abroad – but not of Russian troops. And so on ...

For the welfare of the United States vet they have very little interest. For them, their program of immediate demands which has been drawn up for the vet has nuisance value in mobilizing opposition to U.S. foreign policy in regard to Russia. And little more.

Tool of Russian Bureaucracy

The Stalinist Party is the tool of the Russian bureaucracy. In the period of the Hitler-Stalin pact the CP was opposed to the war. For the soldier they raised the slogan, “The Yanks are not coming!”

When Germany attacked Russia they overnight became the most brazen patriots. Now that the U.S. is orienting toward war with Russia they are again in opposition. At no time have the policies of the Stalinists served the interests of the American worker.

They do not fight for socialism.

They fight for bureaucratic collectivism, whose regime is as brutal as that of any capitalist one which has ever existed.

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