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Left Opposition Excluded
at Anti-Fascist Congress

(June 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 32, 24 June 1933, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

On June 4 and 5, the European Anti-Fascist Congress, many times delayed and postponed, was finally held in the Salle Pleyel at Paris. The Daladier government had refused permission to hold the meeting anywhere outside of the well-known Communist halls. The restricted nature of the congress, lacking a broad working class base, did not allow for a mass protest and pressure to force the concession from the government to hold the convention in full view of the Parisian proletariat.

The “free lancers” – the Radical deputy Bergery, the novelists Andre Gide, Victor Marguerite, Henri Barbusse, the professors Prenant and Nejedly, etc. – naturally dominated the scene. The Stalinist Comintern bureaucracy, which improvised the whole affair, kept well in the background during its entire duration.

Daily Worker on Congress

Significant for the sham character of the whole business, is the reaction of the Stalinist press to it. The Daily Worker, for instance, did not even dignify the congress with a first page account, but relegated it to the back page. This speaks enough for the bureaucracy’s own lack of confidence in their doings. No decisions of any value were adopted, no discussion of fundamentals was permitted. Ceremony and flowery speeches – there is the sum total of the results achieved by it.

Left Opposition Excluded!

The International Left Opposition was officially excluded from the sessions. Behind the scenes, the bureaucracy built up an entire apparatus whose business it was to see that the Left Opposition’s voice be stifled, no matter from what quarter it may come. Direct reports are still forthcoming and it is not yet definitely known whether the Bolshevik-Leninists gained access by round-about ways or not. But from the preliminaries attending the meet, a distinct impression may be gathered of the fierce intent of Stalinism not to permit the Left Opposition to force it to give an account before the whole working class of the crimes it perpetrated against the German and the international proletariat in the tense mouths and weeks preceding the seizure of power by Hitler.

Slug Bolshevik-Leninists!

At a regional Anti-Fascist Congress in the Grange-aux-Belles (Red Trade Union Headquarters of Paris), Left Oppositionists, delegates from the Ligue Communiste and local unions were forcefully unseated and disgracefully battered by sluggers organized under the direct leadership of outstanding French bureaucrats.

At a second regional meet in Paris, not only were the delegates from the Left Opposition excluded, but bona fide trade union and mass organization representatives suspected of solidarity with the views of the Left Opposition were barred from the hall. Stalinist united front!

Nevertheless – Our Voice Is Heard!

It remained for a member of the Young Communist League of France to take the floor for a presentation of the views of the Left Opposition. That was entirely unexpected and consternation reigned in the ranks of the bureaucracy. Before the young orator could conclude his remarks with a declaration of concrete proposals put forward by the L.O., the bureaucracy organized a monstrous noise throughout several parts of the hall to drown out his voice. His counter-resolution received two votes, the Stalinist masquerade was not entirely airtight.

Why the Terror Against the Left Opposition?

Why the terror against the Left Opposition? Why this unheard-of determination on the part of the bureaucracy? A glance at one of the speeches is sufficient for illumination on this point. The German delegate Mueller, shoved to the forefront by the bureaucratic impressarios, had the following to say:

“If today Fascist terror is raging worse than ever before, it is not an indication of the strength of Fascism, but of its weakness (!). But it is also a sign of the rapid rise of the revolutionary wave.” (Daily Worker, Saturday, June 17, 1933.)

A Fabric of Lies

It is with such a fabric of lies and illusions that the Stalinist bureaucracy means to cover up its criminal shipwreck in Germany. It is upon this self-same rotten fundament of untruths that Stalinism proceeds to cover up its tracks before the working class of the world by speaking of preparations for a German general strike to overthrow Fascism now. It is their fear that the Left Opposition would tear the mask off their cynical, lying countenances and force through a discussion of the real state of affairs and those responsible for it that caused the Comintern bureaucracy to work so diligently to keep the delegates of the International Left Opposition away from its halls.

It feared the concrete proposals of the Left Opposition for the organization of the European Anti-Hitler united front from organization to organization, beginning with the problem of Austria and proceeding onto a wider plane. For the Stalinist bureaucracy is afraid of its own shadow. It has lost all actual faith in working class action. It is interested only in maintaining its own dwindling and undermined prestige. And for that purpose the united front masquerade à la Barbusse is sufficient for it.

But the last word has not yet been said. The Left Opposition will not allow the Stalinist organizers of defeat to cover up their already overflowing crimes with new crimes. The Left Opposition will continue to expose mercilessly the shameful maneuver at Paris and its Stalinist initiators. It will work tirelessly to make the truth known to the workers of the world and to organize genuine, effective united front action that meets the needs of the real situation.

* * *

As we go to press, we have at hand a dispatch from Paris, confirming the scandalous exclusion of the International Left Opposition and rendering a full account of the proceedings. The article will be published in the next issue of The Militant. – Ed.

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