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David Coolidge

From Hitler to U.S. Chamber of Commerce

No Mystery in Communist Flip-Flops
– Party Serves Stalin

(19 June 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 25, 19 June 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Communist Political Association, once known as the Communist Party, has traveled, in three short years, from an alliance with Hitler and the Gestapo to one with Eric Johnston and his United States Chamber of Commerce. They are ready also to work with the police: federal, state or municipal. Their leader, Earl Browder, has come out full blast for capitalism, especially big capitalism (and the bigger the better).

Browder is opposed to Dewey for President because this is a big capitalist country and Dwey is not big enough to be President of a big capitalist country! He would do all right for Sweden, Costa Rica or Belgium perhaps! But for the United States, Roosevelt is their man. He is the only man big enough to head such a big capitalist country as the United States.

President Browder of the Communist Political Association is mightily concerned today with the European invasion by the United Nations. “The great day of liberation has struck,” according to Browder. The Allies have already “liberated Rome.”

On the home front Browder’s advice is:

“Everybody in his place, everybody doing his share. Not one minute must be lost; not one ounce of effort wasted.” Anyone who wastes a minute “does the enemy’s work.” This admonition presumably is for all the people.

But Browder has some special advice and warning for the labor leader:

“His is the supreme obligation to produce and produce and produce. History has called upon him to weld all men and classes who want victory, into the indissoluble whole. The working class will cast from its midst any false leader who seek to interrupt production ...”

Traitors to Labor

Browder and his Communist Political Association set the example by joining hands with the big capitalist oppressors of labor, the WLB and the whole Roosevelt government. Harry Bridges, one of Browder’s men, joins in the chase by proclaiming that unions should agree not to strike even after the war is over.

Browder wants the working class to suspend the class struggle and “weld all men and classes ... into the indissoluble whole.” He and his Communist Political Association tell the workers at Ford’s to forget this old scoundrel’s blackjacks, sluggers and anti-Semitism.

He tells the Negro and white sharecroppers of the South to make their peace with the cotton planters, to be willing to go back to their seventy-five cents a day wage of three years ago and to be satisfied with the miserable hovels of the cotton plantations.

The steel workers are admonished to forget about their demand for a seventeen cents an hour wage increase and toil away in the mills for whatever wage the steel barons see fit to pay.

The shipyard workers, who have been given the bum’s rush by the WLB, are to grin and bear it. All labor is to “produce, produce and produce” like slaves, for “the great day of liberation has struck.”

Browder, like some of the pro-war labor leaders, has nothing to say about the big employers and the war profiteers. He can’t because he is now on their side. He is a defender of capitalism and has forced himself into bed with Morgan, Ford, Mellon, Rockefeller, Weir and duPont. He and his Communist Political Association want to “weld all men and classes ...” together: tenant farmer and cotton planter, shipyard worker and Grace of Bethlehem Steel steel worker and corporation president. Browder and the Communist Political Association have a cure for any worker who is not willing to submit. He knows a way out for the big capitalist employers. The workers are to be called “seditionists” and “traitors”; “their place is behind bars; theirs must be a traitor’s fate.” This is Browder’s hint to the government and the big capitalist employers on how to handle militant workers who refuse to be slaves.

Browder didn’t invent this little scheme, but he knows how it operates, the big capitalist knew these oppressive tactics before Browder was born, the capitalist ruling class has used the club, the gun, the jail and the gallows against militant and revolutionary workers all through the history of capitalism.

Browder is fully aware of the ways that can be used to strangle unions and oppress militant workers and revolutionists. He knows how Stalin did it. He understands how to use the police, .the frame-up, kidnapping and murder. That’s the way Stalin did it in Russia when he faced opposition from militant workers and revolutionists. Browder and his Communist Political Association want to Import Stalin’s methods into the U.S.

Before the Line Changed

But while Browder and his ex-“Communist” Party are yelling for the “doom of the Hitlerites,” about “our national destiny,” “the unity of our nation,” “our Commander-in-Chief, President Roosevelt,” “our troops,” and “we Communists” who “stand sjde by side with all patriots,” we can’t forget another Browder another period of “we Communists.” Listen to this same Earl Browder speaking in Philadelphia on September 29, 1939:

“What kind of war is this, for what is it being fought ... The Communist Party has issued as the slogan of the day: ‘Keep America Out of the Imperialist War.’ ... Both sides (England and Germany – Ed.) are equally guilty ... The American people do not want to cast in their fate with the rotten and corrupt British and French Empires ... The fight for a peace policy in the United States today is ... a fight to keep the United States out of any involvement in this imperialist war, that means, to keep the United States from any involvement not only in a military way but from any involvement in economic and political support and sympathy. The victory of either one of these gangs of imperialist bandits will be a defeat for the people of their own country and for the people of the world. The only possible victory of the people will be the overthrowing of the bandits at the head of both camps. We can support neither one side nor the other in the imperialist war. The former distinction between the fascist and democratic nations has lost the meaning it once had, and is rapidly losing any serious political meaning at all.”

On the matter of war profits, Browder had the following to say in this same speech: “The longer it lasts the more profits. Even President Roosevelt made his bow to this motive in his message to Congress ... Profits from this war will not do America any good ... Forces ... will drag America into the war when profits can no longer be made only from Europe but will have to be squeezed out of the blood of American boys. ... Stop this imperialist war! – before they have a chance to drag us into it.” This was Browder in 1939.

At its 1940 convention, the Communist Party told its members to oppose the war. The party platform said that its members were to “combat the imperialist policies and acts of the President, the State Department and Congress to spread the war and to involve the United States in it .... Not a cent, not a gun, not a man for war preparations and the imperialist war ... Resist the militarization and armaments program of the Administration and Congress.”

This was Browder and the Communist Party in 1940. Then the cry was “Stop this imperialist war!” Now “he who whispers ‘negotiated peace’ is a traitor and deserves a traitor’s end.”

Then it was “resist the militarization and armaments program” of Roosevelt, today it is “produce and produce and produce ...”; cast out “any false leader who seeks to interrupt production.”

The Hitler-Stalin Pact

Those were the days of the Hitler-Stalin pact which Browder and the Communist Political Association would like to have us forget. They would like us to forget this blood pact between the fascist butcher Hitler and his friend in the Kremlin, Stalin. Browder today would like to wipe put the fact that this criminal contract between Stalin and fascism gave the go-sign to Hitler to invade Poland and initiate the Second Imperialist World War. Browder would like us to forget that Molotov, Stalin’s Foreign Minister, said that “fascism is a matter of taste.”

Why this double talk from Browder and the Communist Political Association? Why was this war imperialist in 1940 and a war of liberation in 1944. Wasn’t England fighting Germany in 1940 and wasn’t the United States supporting England then, even before Japan attacked at Pearl Harbor? Aren’t American capitalists seeking profits today from the war just as they were in 1939-40? Are the Chamber of Commerce and the Nation’al Association of Manufacturers any friendlier to labor today than they were in 1939-40? Is Roosevelt a greater democrat than he was in 1939? Is the Roosevelt of the national service act more pro-labor than the Roosevelt of the New Deal? How can the British army in Greece or Africa be an imperialist army and suddenly become a democratic army of liberation in Italy and France? What had changed capitalism in the past four or five years? The workers should have been against capitalism and monopolies in 1939, but according to Browder we should support Eric Johnston and his United States Chamber of Commerce in 1944.

Browder can chant once more: “Our line’s been changed again.” The line was changed when Germany crossed the border into Russia in June 1941. When fascist and imperialist Germany attacked totalitarian Russia in 1941, the war changed, according to Browser and the Communist Party. It was no longer an imperialist war but a great crusade for world democracy, with the totalitarian butcher, Stalin, wearing the crown of the world’s greatest democrat. England still held India and Africa, the U.S. was out to grab whatever could be wrenched from England or any other power; the kings and queens and .presidents of Norway, Holland, Belgium and Czecho-Slovakia were panting to return to Europe and resume operations exploiting their own workers and the colonial peoples. But, according to Browder, the war was now no longer imperialist but a magnificent crusade for democracy, religion, the rights of small nations and the brotherhood of man. And all this was true because, and only because, Germany had invaded Stalin’s Russia!

The only answer that can be given to this swift somersault is the one we give: Browder and the American Communist Party changed because Stalin changed.

Labor Must Spurn Them

How can labor have any confidence in these people? How can any worker join with or follow them? What shall it profit the working class to follow a gang like Browder’s, which seeks to tie them to “imperialist war,” to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and to American capitalism?

Who are the real traitors? The Browders with their Communist Political Association and their praise of capitalism and imperialism. They are the traitors whom the working class “will cast from its midst”!

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Last updated: 17 October 2015