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The Program of the U.W.P.

Proletarian Party Offshoot Elaborates Opportunist Program

(January 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 3, 21 January 1933, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The United Workers Party, an offshoot of the disintegrated Proletarian Party Opposition has at last given birth to au eight-point program. Within the program there are many correct sentences and ideas but considered as a whole at is a miserable failure at an attempt to formulate a program. Where Marxism ideas are presented they are negated by other ideas within the very same paragraph. To the readers of the Militant it will be sufficient to give the essence of the “program” with a short comment to show its fallacy.

  1. The U.W.P. takes the stand that: “The crisis is permanent”. “We are living in a period of permanent crisis; capitalism throughout the world is collapsing.” “– no factors are operating to help capitalism overcome its present crisis.” This would be a hopeless situation for capitalism and we know there are no absolutely hopeless situations for the exploiters. The program fails to take into consideration the relation between the present decay stage of capitalism and the ebbs and flows within this period. The program lumps these two relations together which results in confusion and contradictions.
  2. The program correctly tells us that: “The only revolutionary class is the proletariat.” The program says the U.W.P. will not “make concessions to the agrarian and petit-bourgeois class” but “we will cooperate with any group or organization for the purpose of sharpening and deepening the class struggle.” If they mean concessions from the standpoint of principles we can agree but concessions to allies (Negro share croppers, etc., etc.) in our united effort to overthrow American imperialism, under the leadership of the workers and their party which retains its organizational independence in such united action, is essential. A program that does not distinguish between these two different kinds of concessions means that its writers have learned little from the Russian revolution and what has followed as well as what went before.
  3. The section dealing with industry has some correct points but repeats in different words the formula dealing with the crisis: “that no factors are operating to help capitalism overcome its present crisis”.
  4. The section dealing with unions leaves out most of the important factors of present day relations between the existing unions and the task of building new industrial unions. On unions, they say the following: “In the period of ascendancy of capitalism these organizations could succeed in obtaining results; but in the period of decline, no concessions can possibly be gotten.” A pamphlet could be written explaining the fallacy of this position and the harm it can do to the class if accepted. Capitalism will grant concessions to unions as the pressure of the working class upon its increases.
  5. The section dealing with unemployment errs mainly in omission, because, after all is said and done, nothing vital for the class has been said. No program, no tactics and no line of march for the class. The U.W.P. has been very active in the day-to-day work and for immediate relief but its program cannot be considered Communist. The needs of the class on the one hand and the limited “program” of the U.W.P. as applied in the Workers’ Councils on the other hand, condemns these Communists in advance.
  6. In speaking of the farmers the program says: “Although the farmers may at times become rebellious, due to the aggravated condition brought about by the agrarian crisis, their outlook and objective are always reactionary.” Again the U.W.P. does not understand how objective conditions force other classes to march parallel to the line of march of the proletariat toward the overthrow of capitalism. It is necessary to utilize this “reactionary” force of poor and middle farmers as allies in the struggle. To dismiss them as reactionary is false.
  7. This political party says the following about revolutionists participating in parliaments: “In this period of permanent crisis in America the tempo of collapse of capitalism does not permit the working class to waste time or energy in parliamentary participation.” This is false in general and equally false in the present period. The masses are moving to the Left but the overwhelming bulk is not yet, disillusioned with reform, and particularly its parliamentary form. It would be well for the U.W.P. workers to read Lenin’s Infantile Sickness.
  8. On the question of the International, which is the determining factor and the central point of every program the U.W.P. flounders and falls into the swamp of national reformism.

The position of the USSR and the Third International are such that any Right wing socialist could endorse it in substance. They conclude this section with the following words:

“The U.W.P. appreciates the progress made by the Russian Revolution, and the subsequent industrial development, but it remains critical of the Third International thrown lopsided by these special conditions. We look upon the working class movement as being international in substance and national in form. We are committed to the policy of forming the national movement to a position which will conform with what the international movement should be.”

They will leave the Third International and its factions to themselves and yet they are Communist “internationalists.” They appreciate the progress of the industrial development in the Soviet Union but will leave it to itself – until a revolution in another advanced country comes to its aid. Will they construct a national “international” movement? They use the concepts of the Communist Manifesto not for the purpose of helping correct the International and take themselves a more active part in the struggle within it; but in order to evade and avoid the whole struggle raging in the Communist International due to the Stalinist straight-jacket and revisionist program. They claim to be the party of the working class, the Marxian vanguard, and excuse their backwardness by turning upside down a phrase in the Manifesto. This phrase explains how the working class movement is, at first, national in form, though international in substance – a condition the vanguard must help overcome – and not use to hide, its weakness and impotence. The “international” position of the U.W.P. is national reformism.

We advise the members of the U.W.P. to study the struggle in the Communist International and discuss this with the members of the Communist League of America (Opposition) which is a faction of the Communist Party.

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