Bolshevism or communism -United Workers Party of America

Source: http://aaap.be/Pdf/International-Council-Correspondence/Bolshevism-Or-Communism.pdf

Bolshevism or Communism: On the Question of a New Communist Party and the “Fourth” International. – Chicago: United Workers Party of America, 1934

I.

The step taken by the Left Opposition, which is intended to lead to a new communist party and a new international, is viewed by the United Worker’s party as a progressive sign, and was the viewpoint adopted by the U.W.P. when it rejected a policy of reforming the old corrupt Communist Party of the Communist International. We share with the Left Opposition the opinion that a new C. P., and a new International are a necessity. The invitation of the L. O. (Militant, Sept. 30, 1933)[1] for participation in the discussion on the formation of a new Communist movement was taken by the U. W. P. as a sincere move on the part of the L. O. in helping to clarify the labor movement. No other motives guide us, and our criticism is not a criticism for its own sake, but for the sake of the proletarian revolution. We have no bureaucracy that s engaged in a competitive struggle with the appratus of other organizations; we believe that the revolution is not a party question, but the job of the workers as a class, and we are willing to work in the actual classe struggle (in spite of theoretical differences) together with the L. O. as well as with all other proletarian groups, hoping that our policy will in the course of struggle be accepted as a successful one.

II.

The call for a new international and for new communist parties was issued by the Paris conference as the first step to compensate for the absolute collapse of the Communist International as a revolutionary organization that became clear to all real revolutionists after the German debacle. The U. W. P. foresaw this collapse of the C. I. many years before it actually took place and was for that reasons engaged in a struggle against the counter-revolutionary tendencies of the C. I. We did not only hold the position that the tactics of the C. I. were wrong, but we also fought for reasons of principle. We still think that a new communist movement must differ from the C. I. not only in tactics, but also in principle.

As the Communist Party of Germany puts the blame for the German fiasco on the Socialist Party, so does the L. O. blame mainly the Stalinist policy of the C. I. In the opinion of the L. O. the errors of the C. P. of G., the tactics of the C. I. the bad leadership of the C. I., must be responsible for the defeat of the German working class. Stalin’s stupidity, Stalin’s viciousness, Stalin’s cowardice (always meaning the Stalin bureaucracy as a whole) is compared with the intelligent leadership, the correct policy, and the revolutionary spirit of Trotsky and his following. In the main the whole question is practically boiled down to a question of bad and good leadership. That means the question of the proletarian revolution is put in the field of pure speculation, as no one can tell how long a leadership will be good, and when it will start to become bad.

The political line of Stalinism has failed – back to the successful policy of Lenin and Trotsky is the present basic policy of the L. O. Here a fractional struggle is elevated to world history. It is attempted to overcome the tendency toward world-wide fascism as a product of the permanent crisis of capitalism by a correct against an incorrect policy of a political bureau.

The success of Lenin and Trotsky is an historical one; it does not assure the same success in another period and under different conditions. “Back to Lenin” is absolutely meaningless as the fight for the revolution takes place in highly developed industrial countries. That is, under capitalism, in a permanent crisis, on an international scale. As far as Lenin is concerned he contributed toward Marxism no more and no less than the practical application of the Marxian call for a dictatorship, in a modified form, in a backward country. This modification was due to the backwardness of Russia and the weakness of its working class compared with the peasantry. To imitate the Russian experiences, to go back to that which gives Lenin value, is in a Marxian sense pure stupidity. The U. W. P. does not recognize such invented things as “Leninism”; it only considers Lenin as a Marxist who was not able to free himself totally from the influence of the degenerated so-called orthodox Marxism of Social Democracy. The U. W. P., instead of going back to Lenin, revives real Marxism in its original form before the epigones had destroyed its revolutionary value. We are not a Leninist but a Marxian organization. In our opinion a distinction between Stalinism and Leninism is impossible, as the first was the result, the actual outcome of the latter. So in our opinion, a distinction between Trotskyism and Stalinism is only possible on a purely conceptual, that is unreal basis. In reality this distinction does not exist, and the failure of the Trotsky group to differentiate not only on tactical questions, but also on questions of principle is more than proof for this.

In our opinion the policy of Stalin historically is not only defeated, but the whole Bolshevist policy, which includes Lenin and Trotsky, has found its logical end. The Bolshevism of all forms is bankrupt. The question is not Stalinism or Leninism, but Bolshevism or Communism. Instead of facing the question of Bolshevism or Communism, the L. O. in trying to build a labor movement on new foundations practically does (in spite of all criticism) nothing else but cover up the failure of the Bolshevik movement, which would have failed just as well with the policy of Trotsky as it has failed under the “leadership” of Stalin.

III.

To come to the principal difference we have against both fractions of Bolshevism – the Leninist-Trotskyist, as well as the Stalinist, we have to go back to the mechanical conception of materialism held by Lenin. Lenin’s conception saw in consciousness nothing but the reflection of the external world, a conception which led him to the underestimation of the role of spontaneity in history. For Lenin as for Kautsky, the socialist consciousness is not identical with the proletariat, but is brought to the workers from the outside. To bring this consciousness is the task of the party. To Marx, however, the class struggle is identical with class consciousness. Neither Kautsky nor his pupil Lenin could grasp this. In his pamphlet, “What’s to be Done”, Lenin writes:

“There can be no thought of a separate ideology matured through the working masses themselves in the course of their development. The history of all countries bears witness that the working class, of itself, is only capable of developing a trade unionist consciousness – that is, the conviction of the necessity of joining together in unions, of conducting a struggle against the employer, of demanding from the government this or that legislative measure in the interest of the workers, etc. The socialist doctrine, however, has proceded from the philosophical, historical, and economic theories that originated with educated representatives of the owning classes, the intellectuals”.

The whole labor movement up to this time had accepted class consciousness as identical with socialist ideology. As this organized ideology kept growing, that meant that class consciousness was increasing. The party expressed the strength of class consciousness. The tempo of the revolution was the tempo of the party’s success. Of course, the relations were conditioned on the willingness with which the masses accepted the party’s propaganda, but the masses themselves, without the propaganda, were unfit for conducting a genuine movement. The revolution depended on the correct propaganda; this in turn depended on party leadership and the genius of the leaders; and so, if only in a round-about way, history was after all, in the last analysis, the work of “great men”. But for Marx “it is not enough that thought presses on to become actuality, actuality must itself press on to become thought”. The proletariat as such was for Marx the actualization of the dialectic movement toward the communist society. Its material power is identical with its will as with its consciousness. For Marx, the proletariat is the actualization of philosophy; the proletariat’s existence, its life needs, its struggle, without regard to the ideological fiddlers. The wrong estimation of the role of consciousness has led the old labor movement, including the groups around the Fourth International, to an overestimation of the role of the party and, in the narrower sense, of the role of the individual in the historical process. The L. O. has not as yet freed itself from this wrong conception. It still errs in identifying itself with the revolution.

From our point of view the declaration of the L. O. that it still stands on the ground of the first four congresses of the “Comintern”, means that it stands on no ground at all, as the Lenin period of the Comintern already was based on a misinterpretation of Marxism, which lead not toward the development, but to a restriction of the real revolutionary forces of the working class. We cannot accept any one congress of the C. I. as a political basis, because all were the result of a wrong position on the quesiton of organization.

On the question of organization, we hold the position of Rosa Luxemburg, who in her controversy with Lenin (1904-1908) already foresaw the danger implied in the wrong theoretical conception of Lenin, which was adopted by the Bolshevik Party. History was proven that in this controversy Rosa Luxemburg had the correct position. The German defeat is the direct result of the wrong policy of Lenin and the Bolshevik movement.

Not accidentally Trotsky loves to compare world events in relation to the revolutionary movement with similar situations that occurred in the course of the Russian Revolution. Like Lenin, he does not distinguish between the movement in industrial countries and the movement in Russia. He uses the Russian example in dealing with the revolution in western Europe and in America. In Russia, in the opinion of Lenin and Trotsky, it was the Bolshevik Party that lead the workers and peasants to success. It was the party that took control of the means of production. The Marxian slogan “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” became Dictatorship of the Proletariat, realized and exercised in the dictatorship of the party. Nothing else was possible in Russia. In order to overcome the difficulties caused by the backwardness of the country, the concentration of political power was a necessity, and this degeneration of the dictatorship of the workers into the dictatorship of the party necessarily led also to the bureaucratic Stalin regime. Yet, this was already built up under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky. This policy is still in favor with the L. O. They still recognize in the dictatorship of the proletariat nothing else but the dictatorship of the party, which means of the party bureaucracy. This position, the identification of the revolution with the party, makes the present tactical problems of the L. O. clear. They will not drop parliamentarism as long as the workers follow parliamentary parties. They will not give up the trade union tactic as long as the masses are organized in them. They are engaged in a competitive struggle with all the other organizations to get control over the masses, to have a large following, to direct as many as possible to bring the policy of the Trotsky group to a successful conclusion. The backwardness of the masses (in order to win them for the party) necessitates backward slogans. In the fight for the masses, reformism, opportunism will be accepted if necessary. The party is going to direct; and if this direction, as in the case of the German defeat, is a counter-revolutionary one, the masses follow their leaders in the counter-revolution.

The whole labor movement of the last fifty years was dependent on the action of its leadership. If the leadership was a failure, so were the masses that followed this leadership. The parties were directing the masses. The masses, alone, without the parties could do nothing. The initiative of the masses was entirely destroyed. A real united front of the workers in a struggle became an impossibility, due to the competitive struggle of the different organizations. With the growth of organization control became an impossibility. In spite of all these things, the L. O. has not yet changed its attitude on the question of the relation between the party and the masses.

The hope of the L. O. and the other groups around the Fourth International for a new movement of the old style will be crushed. New mass organizations dependent on a new bureaucratic leadership have become an impossibility. Illegal organizations are necessarily very small and not very centralized organizations. The labor movement will in the course of time become illegal in all other countries, as it has already become in Germany, Italy, Austria and Russia. The fact that there are still countries that allow the existence of legal labor organizations proves that in these countries the class struggle has not yet developed to a point where it is dangerous to the ruling class. What becomes of the idea that the party is an absolute necessity for the revolution under circumstances where the party can no longer function in such a way that it can influence large groups of workers? On the basis of the conception of the L. O. the answer would be that there will be no revolution. But for Marx the revolution is inevitable, because it is based not only on the productive relation of society, but on the development of the productive forces which underlie all forms of society. Even a period of barbarism would be of a historical character, a temporary defeat; progress must go on. What the L. O. has not yet grasped is the Marxian conception that all things are of an historical character, even the party. Because the party once was the expression of the growing revolutionary forces doest not mean that it will always be so. If the party can on one hand accelerate the general development and shorten the birth throes of the new society; it may on the other hand delay the development and act as an obstacle. Whether in the present situation the party can still be regarded as a center for the crystallization of the class consciousness can only be determined from present day practice. Here the L. O. will not be able to give an example where a revolutionary movement was dependent on the existence of the party. As a matter of fact, in the last thirty years, in all revolutionary uprisings not the party, but the commitees of action, the workers’ soviets were the real expressions of revolutionary consciousness. Wherever parties put themselves at the head of a movement, or identified themselves with it, it was only in order to blunt the edge. Neither the Social Democracy nor the Bolsheviks were able to conceive of a movement that they didn’t control. The weight of revolutionary decision must rest with the masses themselves and not with the party. The reform party ended with the social treason of the Second International in the world war. The “Revolutionary Social Democracy”, the party of Lenin, and the Third International went to their ignominious end in the collision with fascism. The acts of capitalism unmasked the pseudo-struggle carried on by these organizations.

All parties so far demonstrated they were not instruments of revolution, but imposed their will upon the movement. Identification of the party with the revolution led to mass organizations at any price, for the party had to take the place of the mass movement. The L. O., still sticking to this old bolshevik conception, proves that it has not as yet based its policy on the existing objective conditions that make the party not a decisive factor in the revolution but a memory of the past. The conviction that capitalism yet may evade its doom, that the crisis may be overcome within the limits of capitalism and the old labor movement restored lurks in the L. O.’s ideology. It still thinks in terms of a powerful trade union movement and a continuation of the old parliamentary side show tactics. What other reason could it have to explain its sickening opportunism of today, as expressed so clearly and disguntingly by Trotsky in his “Only Way Out”. In chapter VII, dealing with the class struggle and boom period, he says the present crisis is not a permanent crisis, new booms are absolutely possible and may revive the labor movement. For him a capitalist boom means a boom of the labor movement also. But what kind of a labor movement? The old parliamentary and trade union movement of the past, that was an expression of expanding capitalism, which has passed and brought this form of labor movement also to a stop? How is it possible that Trotsky today, can still write in the “Militant” (XII-9-33):

“Democratic slogans and illusions cannot be abolished by decree. It is necessary that the masses go throught them and outlive them in the experience of battles – We, Bolsheviks, consider that the real salvation from fascism and war lies in the revolutionary conquest of power and the establishing of the proletarian dictatorship. You socialist workers, do not agree to this road. You hope not only to save what has been gained but also to move forward along the road of democracy. Good! As long as we have not convinced you and attracted you to our side we are ready to follow this road with you to the end. But we demand that you carry on the struggle for democracy not in words – but in deeds -. It is necessary to give the suffrage to all men and women who have reached their 18th birthday, also to the soldiers in the army. Full concentration of legislative and executive power in the hands of one chamber. Let your party open up a serious campaign under these slogans, – We Bolsheviks would retain the right to explain to the workers the insufficiency of democratic slogans, but we would honestly help you in the struggle for such a government; together with you we would repel all attacks of bourgeois reaction. More than what, we would bind ourselves before you not to undertake any revolutionary actions which go beyond the limits of democracy (real democracy) so long as the majority of the workers has not consciously placed itself on the side of revolutionary dictatorship.”

From the same logic one may say that fascist slogans and illusions also cannot be abolished by decree. So let the workers fight for fascism that they may become aware of the fact that fascism cannot solve their problems. Democratic slogans and illusions are a product of capitalism that must be fought by the working class as such. Capitalism cannot be outlived, neither can its phrases. In the course of struggle both must be destroyed. To follow the fight for democracy will result in the fight for an impossibility, because democracy is, on a purely political basis, nothing but a fetishism to hide the real content of bourgeois society. When Trotsky says: “real democracy” without saying that this can only be the result of a communist economy, which necessitates the dictatorship of the proletariat exercised by the soviets, this is political opportunism. If this policy could be accomplished (and it cannot) we would have another period of democracy in which the killing of workers is again exercised by the pillars of democracy, the political parties. The workers would have fought only to exchange their fascist murderers for democratic murderers. Because, as soon as democracy has overthrown the fascist regime a new bureaucracy would take over the government held before by the fascists. It would defend this position against real democracy, that means economic democracy. To raise or help to raise the slogan of democracy in a period of fascism does not mean the overcoming, but the strengthening of democratic illusions.

Here again, we have an expression of the mechanical materialism of Leninism: “As long as we have not convinced you”, – “we retain the right to explain” – “so long as the majority of the workers has not consciously placed itself on the side of revolutionary dictatorship” – These phrases of Trotsky show very clearly that for him the revolution is nothing else but a question of convincing the masses that Trotsky is right. After they are convinced, they will follow the party of Trotsky, which will then call for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Here history is nothing but education. Trotsky, the teacher, tells the masses if they have larned their lesson, they will do what the teacher has told them to do. But this conception is a joke, even if it has been the political concept of the social democracy for the last fifty years.

But why, you will ask, (in spite of this criticism of the position of the L. O. on the party question), does the U. W. P. still think the party is a necessity and presents itself as a party? For us, the party is only an instrument of the revolution, not the revolution itself! We subordinate the party to the soviets, for which the party is calling. The role of the party for us, is no more nor less than the role that revolutionary consciousness plays in history. It is a part of history, not history itself. We do not fight for the control of the workers, but for the control of society by the workers themselves, exercised not by the party, but by the soviets. We are not interested in the masses following the slogans of any party, but rather in the development of their own initiative by developing the soviets and increasing the power of the soviets. We hold that the actual class struggle – in spite of any kind of consciousness – is forced to go in only one direction, the overthrow of capitalism. If the workers act, they can only act in a revolutionary sense. In order to eliminate their increasing misery, nothing else is practically possible than the overthrow of the present regime. For a successful overthrow of the present regime, united action of the workers is a necessity. This united action is impossible on the basis of pure ideology. It cannot be reached by education, by convictions. This united front is only possible on the basis of actual struggle, and this presupposes a proletariat that is not restricted through the competitive struggle of organizations, but can act without being led away by some organization from a struggle to an illusionary fight. We do not tell the workers that we will lead them. We do not tell them what we have the only solution. We tell them that the only solution, to become free, lies with themselves; that they can overthrow capitalism by themselves, acting as a class; that they should not accept leadership, but lead themselves. Our propaganda leads to our own elimination. We fight for the organization of soviets, led by the workers themselves whom history forces in the right direction, as the only expression of working class power. The attainment of our objective means our elimination as a party.

In the death crisis of capitalism every class struggle, even based on a “pure trade unionist conception”, is the nucleus of a political fight for power. Capitalism is forced to fight the workers, regardless of their backwardness, as if it were dealing with the most revolutionary workers, and thus naturally forces the backward workers to fight, in spite of their backward ideology, as real revolutionists would fight. Capitalism not only creates its own grave diggers: it also shows them how to fight it successfully. We don’t fight for the party, but for the soviets, and fight in a two-fold sense, as an organization of agitation for communism and as a militant force to give an example to the workers how they must fight. We have no interest different from those of the working class; we are an expression of the fact that only minorities have grasped the points of the class struggle consciously, in spite of the prevailing ideology, and participate in this struggle in the interest of the working class as a whole.

Fatalism, you may say, or that this particular period has not yet arrived; and you may ask, what shall we do in the meantime? But this question proves that you have not yet grasped the Marxian dialectic that not only materialized the idealistic dialectic of Hegel but saw in the proletariat a productive power, the actual realization of the dynamic movement of present society. In the face of growing world fascism it will be a difficult task to explain what we are early birds. Not only in Germany, but with the increase of the crisis in all countries, the movement you are still building up will be absolutely destroyed. No matter how much success you may have in revolutionizing the American trade unions; no matter how many votes you may get in a coming election; no matter how many united fronts you build up by compromising with the socialists; no matter how many C. P. members you may get into your own organization; – all this will be pushed into discard before it has had a chance to become too big a nuisance for the capitalists. Hopeless then, the whole thing you may say, but if capitalism may be successful (and it will) in destroying the old labor movement, it cannot do away with the necessity of combining large numbers of the working class in the factories and industries. And out of this will arise the natural and only possible form of organization of the new labor movement. In the factories and industries alone will the workers be able to carry on the struggle, and as a result of this will arise the only things possible, committees of action, soviets. Here they are not divorced from the masses. Here they are not a bureaucracy with special interests; here they are workers under the direct control of their fellow workers in the industries and factories. They cannot, in the face of struggle, which they do not like, bring themselves to safety, in exile, as so many of the heroes of the C. P. of G. have done. The struggle of the soviets is identical with the struggle of the class. Whoever thinks that fascism with the destruction of the labor organizations can do away with the class struggle does not yet know Marxism. The class struggle is above all consciousness; it is the movement of progress in a class soviety; a movement that nothing can stop. The struggles that the L. O. carries on are not based on reality, but on tradition. The reality is the death crisis of capitalism, the overthrow of capitalism. The slogan, “All power to the Soviets”, in spite of the fact that for a long time it will only be a voice in the wilderness, still carries with it great revolutionary significance, insofar as all revolutionary struggles of necessity lead to soviets. Today, the struggles for wages, hours and conditions are struggles for the overthrow of the capitalist system. Why hide this fact?

IV.

What does the L. O. consider as its fundamental differencies in principle from the C. I. that forces it to call for a new international? Against the theory of socialism in one country, it sets up the theory of a permanent revolution. The permanent revolution can only be a reality on the basis of the death crisis of capitalism. This would mean that captialism can continue its existence on an interntional scale only by the absolute and general pauperization of the working class. It is forced to wage a continuous onslaught on the living standard of the working class, forcing the latter to constant warfare in order to exist. This general and absolute pauperization of the masses brings on a more extensive and intensive struggle, and on the basis of quantitative changes produces qualitative results, leads directly to revolution. But in spite of the slogan of a permanent revolution. the L. O. does not recognize the present crisis as the death crisis of capitalism. It still believes that the workers inside the system can fight to maintain their living standards. However, in the present crisis it is an impossibility for the workers to better their conditions. The situation of the workers will become worse all the time. This sets the objective condition for a revolution and for nothing else. The slogan of a permanent revolution, without adopting the view that this is the death crisis of capitalism is a meningless phrase, that cannot be considered as a principle and that we do not consider as such. The “permanent revolution” must be a relity in order to make it into a slogan. The slogan alone does not make the revolution permanent. But if the L. O. considers the permanent revolution as a reality, how then, can they explain their present tactics, which still are the same as they were before the Bolsheviks took power in 1917? But the slogan means everything to the L. O.; the reality, the permanent crisis, nothing.

The distinction the L. O. makes between the Stalin regime and the Soviet Union is an artificial one. It does not exist in reality. Both the Stalinists as well as the Trotskyist are defending the Soviet Union (which is not a “Soviet” Union) and both are willing to engage the international working class in this defense work. Only the ways and means of the defense are causing the division between the C. I. and the elements around the Fourth International. It is a purely tactical question. The L. O. is afraid Stalin will not successfully defend the “fatherland of the workers”. “The unconditional command that every worker defend the soviet state against imperialism, as well as against internal counter-revolution”, which is put forward in the “eleven points” of the L. O. puts the latter against any communist organization in Russia, which may propagate the overthrow of the present form of state capitalism in order to establish communist production and distribution. To call the international working class to the defense of the Soviet Union, means also, in the present stage of Russian development, to prepare for a new 1914. There is no possibility any more, of a general onslaught of all capitalist ntions on Russia. In the coming war different blocs of states will oppose other blocs, and Russia will be in one or the other. It will fight on the side of capitalist allies and force workers to fight once more for capitalist interests. The defense of the Soviet Union can not be included any more in the program of a revolutionary organization. The U. W. P. does not recognize a fatherland of the workers. It fights under all circumstances the bourgeoisie of its own country. It will support only the proletarian revolution in Russia, which will have to do away with the present form of state capitalism.

We do not as the L. O. does, recognize in Russia a workers’ state that is an instrument for building up socialism in Russia. The most essential character of a workers’ state is its destruction of the old bureaucratic apparatus and that the whole political and economic process is carried through by the proletariat directly in the soviet organization. But in Russia the soviets were more and more restricted; more and more of the functions they first performed had to be relinquished to the party bureaucracy. The Leninist goal: “state capitalism under the control of the workers”, has cut ou the workers entirely; what is left is state capitalism. The bolsheviks have destroyed not the bureaucracy, but the beginnings of communism.

By speaking of a workers’ state the L. O. practically strengthens the counter-revolutionary influence of Russia on the international labor movement. The fact that the productive relations in Russia are based on capital production prevents the building of socialism, and in Russia, as well as in all other countries, leads to crisis and collapse. It is impossible to build socialism under capitalist relationships and the production of surplus value. For this reason the L. O. has so far not approached the Russian question from the basis of the Marxian theory of value, but always form that of mystical belief. What the L. O. really does with the phrase, the “workers’ state”, was expressed in 1925 by Bucharin in a speech at a government conference:

“If we confess that the enterprises taken over by the state are state capitalist enterprises, if we say this openly, how can we then conduct a campaign for a greater output? In factories that are not purely socialistic, the workers will not increase the productivity of their labor.”

Here, as by Bucharin, the position of the L. O. expresses itself as the creation of a new ideology in order to hide the fact of the increasing exploitation of the Russian workers by the bureaucracy of the ruling party. It is again the fight of a party to wrest the power out of the hands of a certain group in order to exercise the power for their own benefit. A change of exploiters, but not the overthrow of exploitation.

The stand the L. O. takes on the tactical question of the united front policy, the trade union question, parliamentarism, etc., cannot be approved by the U. W. P., as this is not a realistic policy, but an expression of the fact that tradition always hinders the development of a real revolutionary policy. By helping to build up the present trade unions in the U. S., you merely help to build up an instrument that will be used by the coming American fascism, as the German trade unions were used in 1914 to bring the workers in line with the policy of German imperialism, or to force passivity on the German working class in 1933. The duty of the revolutionist is not to build up trade unions, but to destroy them, or weaken their influence, and prepare the workers to organize themselves as a class on the basis of factories. If this is impossible today, it will become possible and necessary in the future, and the necessity will be seen earlier by the workers if their attention is brought to this. On the basis of trade unions, a real united front of the workers becomes impossible, as the trade union is only an expression of different interests of different groups of workers. But the class must be led in action. This forces a policy which deals with class questions and not with group interests.

If parliamentarism was once a policy of the working class movement; it is at the present time absolutely meaningless. If the struggle for the vote was once a political struggle; it is now a pseudo-struggle which merely distracts attention from the real one. If the old labor movement already went down in parliamentary cretinism, then the present demand for parliamentary activity is a crime. The struggle against parliamentary cretinism waged with such a show of bitterness by the “revolutionary parliamentarism” ended in “revolutionary parliamentary cretinism”, that in its eagerness to restrict action inscribed on its banner (1933): “Not Hitler – Thaelmann will give you food and work! – Answer fascism on March 5, elect Communists”. For this thousand of workers have gone to concentration camps, and thousands more have been killed. You mean to say that the parliamentarism of the L. O. will not lead to his? How can you convince us? The C. I. said the same thing? We will not engage in speculation – you are honest or not. For the need of today is the quickening of mass initiative and the development of the direct action of the workers, a need which is being diverted into innocuous channels through parliamentary activity. Parliamentarism, including the “revolutionary” brand, is class betrayal. And we need not be directed to Marx: Marxism would not be Marxism if the proper task of the labor movement in the time of Marx and Engels, was still its proper task today.

The united front policy we are engaged in is not dealing with corrupt organizations, but with the working class. We do not recognize slogans from below or from above, as of any significance, as the united front of the workers can really only be established above all parties in the struggles led by committees of action.

V.

We regret very much that the L. O. was not able to base its call for a new party and a new International on new principles and on a real Marxian basis. But we hope that in the process of the class struggle, the L. O. or the New Communist Party, will see our points more clearly and make a further step toward class policy. Up to this point, it is not possible for us to recognize in the present Paris set-up or in the L. O. of this country the formation of a new communist movement. We can only line up with an organization which adopts as a principle and a tactic, the the recognition of the presente crisis as the death crisis of capitalism. The necessity of a proletarian revolution as the only way to escape a situation of world wide fascism. The recognition of state capitalism in Russia, and with that the call for the overthrow of the present system in Russia by the revolutionary proletariat of Russia.

The recognition of the political party as only an instrument of revolution, subordinated to the soviets.

The fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat exercised by the soviets, not by the party.

The establishment of communism, with the means of production not centralized in the hands of the state, or party, but in the hands of the soviets, which means the producers themselves.

For real communism and against state capitalism.

A party and an international with such a program will find the U. W. P. in its ranks.


[1] The invitation was a magnanimous gesture not to be taken seriously. The “Militant” declined publication of our critique under transparent subterfuges. Obviously the Trotskyites desire not criticism but worshiping of their “Old Man”. Their public invitation to participate in the discussion is thus stamped as cowardly hypocrisy.

All transcriptions were done by Felipe Andrade. Did you find any mistakes? Suggestions? Send e-mail to:
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