From The Militant, Vol. V No. 9 (Whole No. 105), 27 February 1932, pp. 3 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
In the February 19–20 issues of the Daily Worker, there finally appears the American edition of the latest Stalin tragicomedy – entitled For Political Decisiveness and Clarity in Our Anti-War Activities (the European title was something like Against Rotten Liberalism, Against Trotskyism – the Vanguard of the Counter-revolutionary Bourgeoisie) a version rendered by one, Sam Don.
The cast has not yet, it appears, been selected. But it should not be difficult to find a few native talents, American Slutskys, and even Yaroslavskys, what with the unemployment raging everywhere and the dramatic industry, we gather, not being excluded. For the present, however, we shall restrict ourselves to the text.
The prologue which constitutes part of the monolog given by Stalin himself at the Sixteenth party congress of the C.P.S.U., still leaves us fairly cold, the accompanying comment reminds us somewhat, by its structure, of the ancient coribantes. It is unclear just what is being driven at until we read (at last) “To disarm and dissipate the revolutionary forces, the bourgeoisie brings into play and makes use of ‘Trotskyism – the vanguard of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie’ (Stalin)”. Being interested to an extent, we wonder: just how does the bourgeoisie do all this? We do not have to wait long for an answer: The Militant, in the pre-conference theses of the American Left Opposition, says that the Soviet Union is not immune from the convulsions of the world crisis!
“What is the class meaning of the above statement?”, soliloquizes our Don. “To carry out the main aim of our class enemies, the armed intervention against the Soviet Union!” Nothing less. Isn’t it clear? Clear as mud.
As a contribution to “political decisiveness and clarity in our anti-war activities”, these profound words probably have no equal. Every worker will grasp this: not the Japanese looters, not the French reactionaries not the gentlemen brigands of Wall Street, but Trotsky and the “Trotskyites” – “the vanguard of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie (Stalin)” – are the war-mongers to be feared by the whole proletariat.
And how does “Trotskyism” – “dissipate and disarm the revolutionary forces”? Simple. By pointing out the Thermidorian danger involved in the theory of socialism in one country – while Stalin and Molotov find a place for Groman and Ossachi and Ramsin in the economic councils of the Soviet State. By pointing concretely to the danger facing the Soviet Union in the event of a Fascist overthrow in Germany – while the Stalinist press chokes itself on unintelligible and confused abstractions, and doesn’t mention the German situation by as much as one word. By analyzing the factors making for revolutionary solutions to the critical situation in the Far East – while the Stalinists lull the masses with the legend of a still to be achieved Soviet China.
But, enough of this. Does Don think he is fooling anybody but himself, when he takes quotations from The Militant out of their context, when he picks on half-sentences and isolated phrases? Is it not a sign of the weakness of his own political position that he finds himself incapable of coping with the complete idea of an opponent? Why should he avoid explaining the lines accompanying the quotation he makes from our thesis, why doesn’t he complete the quotation? That part in our thesis (The Militant, July 25, 1931) reads:
“The Soviet Union, too, which has not and cannot be liberated from the pressure of world economy has also felt the effects of the international crisis, to a far more limited extent than the capitalist countries it is true, but it has been influenced by them, nevertheless. The radical international decline of commodity prices has seriously affected Soviet exports, that is, its growing connection with the world market which becomes an increasingly important factor in the development of its machino-facture.”
Can Don prove that this is not true? Is it an act of dissipating and disarming the revolutionary forces, when on the basis of this fact, as well as on the basis of the fact that “Yet, the successes and advances of the Soviet Union stand out even more prominently in contrast to the universal anarchy and decline of capitalists economy ... the advances toward the socialist ideal are being made clear to ever greater millions throughout the world” (same thesis), the Left Opposition proposes to the American working class the slogan of a demand for long term credits to the Soviet Union? The Dons and the other sycophants of the Stalinist court have only one answer: What we say is against the theory of socialism in one country. And that is quite true. For it is this same theory that prevents our Communist International from utilizing the tremendous opportunities offered by the present situation for revolutionary action. It is this same theory which acts as a paralytic stroke on the entire Communist movement, in the face of impending social convulsions in Germany and the Far East. It was the theory of socialism in one country that was responsible for the opportunist Anglo-Russian Committee and the subsequent betrayal of the British General Strike in 1926, and that is something very hard to forget.
And it is this same theory which makes Stalin and all his little Dons so violently antagonistic to the Communist slogan of a Soviet United States of Europe. All of Europe has been wracked violently by the reparations problem, by the tariff conflicts ever since the war. For the past two years especially, has this problem been in the forefront of continental politics. The capitalist powers have shown themselves incapable of coping with the problem, the American stranglehold on European economy has been tightened, the only result of the efforts of the bourgeois powers has been an advance in the preparations for a common attack against the Soviet Union. But, nevertheless, if we believe the Dons and their master, the slogan for a Soviet United States of Europe is counter-revolutionary. Why? Because “the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics ... is the central problem of world politics today”, is the very enlightening answer of the Stalinist scrivener. Why? – Because the disorientated Stalinist apparatus, smitten with the dreadful disease of national socialism, fears a social upheaval in Western Europe, lest it should infringe on the Five Year Plan in Russia. But let them beware! Treachery to the cause of the world revolution can only be paid for by an inevitable failure of the Five Year Plan and socialist construction in Soviet Russia, which can be guaranteed by an extension of the proletarian world revolution alone.
Finally, this despicable scribbler, whose masters gave actual aid to Chiang Kai-Shek in the crushing of the Chinese proletariat in 1925–27 by the infamous “bloc of the four classes”, while Trotsky was being shouted down as an ultra-Leftist for demanding the creation of Soviets, dares accuse the closest comrade of Lenin, of being “against a Soviet China”. Cheap slanders cost these people nothing. For concrete analysis, they can very easily substitute a quotation from Stalin; for Communist arguments, they can easily substitute a few of the “great master’s” pet epithets. Just why Trotsky’s slogan of a Constituent Assembly – issued as an immediate demand for the purpose of once more rallying the Chinese masses after their crushing defeat by the Kuo Min Tang (with the direct aid of Stalin-Borodin-Martynov) – is a “counter-revolutionary thesis”, our Don does not bother to explain at all. Nor does he as much as utter a word of explanation as to why the Chinese proletariat, up in arms against the imperialists in 1926, is not to be found leading the struggle against the Japanese plunderers. It is much more comfortable and a great deal less embarrassing to resort to the legend of a “Chinese Soviet Republic” and to exaggerate the strength of the “Chinese Red Army”.
These slimy and excitedly incoherent attacks against “Trotskyism” are part of a renewed and wide-spread campaign by the Stalinist faction against an evil they have a thousand times over again declared dead and buried. It is Stalin’s treacherous answer to our question regarding his attitude towards the White Guard murder plots against the organizer of the Red Army. It is Stalin’s manner of encountering the mounting current of sympathy for the ideas of the Left Opposition everywhere, and especially in the Soviet Union, But he will not succeed. All the tens of thousands and even millions of posters “Against Trotskyism – the vanguard of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie” will not stem the tide of rising revolutionary conviction in the Soviet factories. Great social developments, tremendous opportunities for Communist action are unfolding before the international proletariat. “Trotskyism” – Leninist Bolshevism will live and come into its own once more, despite the desperate and helpless efforts of the Stalinist revisionists. The new wave of the world revolution will sweep away the Statins and all the dungheaps of Dons and. Browders with them.
Last updated: 17.5.2013