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C.P. Holds Extraordinary Conference
to Whitewash Bureaucrats’ Failure

(July 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 35, 15 July 1933, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The defeat of the German working class by Fascism through the betrayal of social democracy and Stalinism has already had its repercussions in the Communist Party of the United States. The revisionist policies of Stalinism having already sapped the main vitality of the American party, it was shaken from top to bottom by this repercussion. The Stalinists do not realize the cause, but they do see the effects.

An acute party situation has been revealed. An extraordinary party conference was called to cope with this situation. The conference has issued an open letter to the party members.

The open letter is the most confused, worthless piece of trash ever issued by an extraordinary party conference. It is an attempt to prevent the disintegration setting in, in the party, at a rapid pace due to the defeat of the German proletariat and the smashing of the Communist party in Germany. It is an attempt to cover up, to prevent a real analysis from being made, to prevent an understanding, and to enable the bureaucrats to retain their hold upon the party and the apparatus.

The party fathers admit that they are guilty of every crime imaginable in not carrying out this, that, and the other Plenum resolution. According to their own report they have failed in every field of activity. Why has the party failed? “Because we have not carried out the Plenum resolution.” What must the party do to correct these errors? “The party must increase its activity, must intensify its work in the shops and basic industries.” Such in brief is the sum total of the open letter of the American Stalinists.

A review of the party conferences and plenums since the Stalinists have had power reveals a whole series of admissions of failure and errors – “because the line was not carried out” – always accompanied by a conclusion that more activity is needed to overcome these shortcomings. From ordinary mistakes they have at last arrived at extraordinary mistakes, in the present open letter.

The party is instructed to make “a RAPID TURN to revolutionary mass work among the decisive section of the American industrial proletariat.” Every plenum and conference ordered a NEW TURN, they have been constantly turning, but they have not yet turned the corner. The “extraordinary” analysis of class relations in America on the one hand informs us that there “is a new severe attack of the bourgeoisie on the toiling masses,” and on the other hand, that there is a “serious beginning of a revolutionary upsurge of the masses.”

Every plenum and conference of the Stalinists had informed us that there is a beginning or a revolutionary upsurge. This revolutionary upsurge of the American workers has confronted us in every resolution for the last several years and in this same period the working class has been driven back in disorderly retreat by the capitalist offensive.

If the Stalinists were able to distinguish the hind end of a class battle or a revolution from the front end; or an offensive from a defensive struggle, they may be able to get somewhere, but they do not.

The further disintegration of Stalinism on an international scale after the defeat of the German party and on the eve of the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States is further shifting the party to the Right, to opportunism. The retreat from their ultra-Left course to the Right will be covered up with empty phrases about revolution and revolutionary upsurge.

The Marxian position of the Left Opposition on the German events has gained many new recruits and many more sympathizers within the party and around the party for the Communist League of America. The crack in the Stalinist apparatus is widening. The open letter of the Extraordinary Conference is an attempt to head off the revolt against Stalinism and keep it in safe channels.

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Last updated: 24 October 2015