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Lessons of United Front

Hugo Oehler

Lessons of the United Front

(August 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 40, 26 August 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

(Concluded in this issue)

Political Blocs (Extra-Parliamentarian)

The united front of working class organizations and a political bloc of two organizations against other organizations are two entirely different things. The same elements enter into both but the relationship is entirely different. It is one thing to call a united front of all organizations and find one or more refusing to join. It is another thing to form a political bloc between two organizations as a united front.

The difference between a united front and political blocs as FORMS of united action cannot be settled within the frame work of the discussion on the question of the united front tactic. The differences between two forms can only he understood properly when the theoretical and political questions underlying the question of the united front are considered. It is often possible for organizations of opposite theoretical positions to momentarily pose tactical questions in the same light, as far as surface indications reveal. Such “similarity “ is not sufficient grounds for a political bloc. Such a “united front “ would only result in blundering and confusing the basic theoretical and more fundamental differences between these organizations. Such is the question and relation of the Right, Centre and Left Opposition.

The question of a revolutionary bloc, such as Communists and colonial revolutionists is a two fold question of program and limitations, and the frame work of the united action.

The Marxian Concept of the United Front

The purpose of the united front is, (1) to bring to bear the greatest amount of working class pressure possible against the capitalist system, and, (2) to gain our class objective and immediate class interest, (3) to train and educate the masses and their organizations in action, (4) to expose in action all misleaders, agents of the capitalists, and opportunists, and (5) to win the rank and file to class struggle and revolution under the leadership of the Communist Party. This leadership cannot be guaranteed In advance, it must be won in action. The united front must at no time result In a compromise on principles.

The united front is (1) a temporary agreement, (2) between working class organizations, (3) on immediate demands, (4) in action, (5) where each organization retains its organizational independence, (6) refrains from slander and personal attacks, (7) but maintains the right of minority expression and political criticism, (8) no exclusion of working class organisations, (9) and where continued effort must be made to bring into the united front those organizations that refuse to participate.

The organization with a Marxian program has nothing to lose and everything to gain by united action of the working class. Marxism will stand all tests in theory and practice.

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Last updated: 24 October 2015