Felix Morrow

Communist Int’l Preparing to
Abandon “Anti”-War Policy

We Must Fight Its Support of Wall Street’s Imperialism

(13 July 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 28, 13 July 1940, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Panic-stricken by the consequences of the Stalin-Hitler pact which so enormously facilitated German imperialism’s conquest of Europe, the Kremlin is embarking on a new orientation – toward an alliance with the imperialist enemies of German imperialism, above all with the United States.

As always in its bargaining with the imperialist powers, the Kremlin is offering the services of the Communist International to those whom it woos. From 1935 until August, 1939, the Kremlin sold the Comintern to “the democracies”: then it sold the Comintern to Hitler along with oil and manganese; and now it is offering the services of this corrupt prostitute to American imperialism.

Each time the Comintern is offered up for sale to the imperialists by the Kremlin’s ambassadors, the private negotiations are accompanied publicly by a deliberately-created atmosphere of confusion, of mixing the old line with the new for months, so that the Communist party rank and file cannot see what is happening. The way for the new line is paved by a series of hints which appear buried in the Stalinist press amid shouting along the old line; there is no explicit announcement of the new line as it is brought more and more to the fore; finally step by step it replaces the old line altogether. Thus, step by step, the deceived rank and file of the party is maneuvered from one foul line to a new one.

This time the Stalinist leaders are certain to be more cautious than ever in switching to the new line, for now they must get their followers to leave an avowedly anti-war line for a line of support of American imperialism’s foreign policy – and that policy, every child knows, is a war-making policy whether that war policy is carried out by American imperialism and her capitalist satellites alone or whether that policy is supported by the Kremlin. Followers of the Kremlin in 1935–1939 could still be deluded to believe that “collective security” was a “peace policy”; they can scarcely be persuaded to accept that at this stage of the war! This difficulty imposes extreme caution on the Stalinist leadership in putting over the new line.

New Line Tried on the Youth

The most explicit statement so far of the latest turn was made Saturday morning, July 6, at the American Youth Congress, by Mac Weiss, head of the Young Communist League. The perplexed delegates – the vast majority of them young YCL and CP members or sympathizers – prepared in their localities for the Congress along the “isolationist” and “pacifist” line, suddenly heard Weiss declare:

“The people of the U.S. must collaborate with Russia to stop Hitler. I want to associate myself with the great mass of American people who feel that the conquests of Hitler represent a serious menace to the United States.”

Non-Stalinists immediately pressed Weiss for an explanation ’of his change of line. All that Weiss could lamely say was: “If there is a change of line, perhaps the explanation should come from those who once favored a moral embargo against Russia and now favor sending Russia tools and machinery.”

An extraordinary argument! The Kremlin’s foreign policy according to Weiss is in the hands of the White House! Roosevelt’s release of some tools and machinery previously ordered by Russia but held up, is enough to cause a reorientation of the Kremlin – and of the Comintern.

Weiss’ statement was perplexing, however, only to his own followers. Others had noted the beginnings of a new turn in the resolution on foreign policy which had been introduced by the Stalinist fraction and which the Youth Congress adopted (of course) by a vote of 384 to 19.

Instead of a resolution along the line of recent Stalinist agitation – one which would declare unalterable opposition to any war engaged in by a capitalist government of the United States, a denunciation of Roosevelt’s “national defense” program, etc. – the Stalinist tops introduced a resolution which said:

“We declare our readiness to contribute to the maximum our energies, our services and IF NEED BE OUR LIVES to the great task of DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY and our democratic rights against any Attack of enemies from without and against any betrayal from within, as in France.”

Although continuing a perfunctory opposition to compulsory military training, the resolution declared that youth would make the sacrifice required by war “only in a just cause.” Stalin and Roosevelt, or Roosevelt’s sucessor, will naturally determine that “just cause.”

It is typical of the hypocritical and deceitful Stalinist method of changing political lines that the Stalinist short and casual report on the adoption of this resolution (Sunday Worker, July 7), does not quote the key paragraphs which we have quoted from the resolution.

First Hints of the New Line

The first hint of the new line came on June 16, when France asked for the armistice. Whereupon Israel Amter, addressing the YCL convention that day, declared that the Kremlin’s occupation of the Baltic countries “is also furthering the interests of the workers of France and the rest of Europe by weakening Hitler’s position on his eastern front.” (Daily Worker, June 17).

Three days later William Z. Foster gave the next hint. For seven months the Comintern press – in the democratic countries – had been denouncing the idea of supporting the defense of a capitalist country. Foster himself had been writing little homilies about the responsibility of all capitalisms for war and that socialism is the only way out. Now, suddenly, Foster offered “a program of national defense” as opposed to that of Roosevelt. The maim point was the demand for a “peoples’ democratic government.” Foster recalled:

“The Communists always vote to furnish arms to such democratic governments, as in the cases of the first popular front government in France, and the democratic people’s governments of Spain, China, Mexico, Chile and Cuba.” (Daily Worker, June 20)

Foster Recalls Roosevelt Support

This was the first time in seven months that any Stalinist spokesman had recalled the awkward fact that the Stalinists had voted arms to Daladier-Blum. Four days later Foster recalled another fact unmentioned for seven months. He asked the question: “Doesn’t Roosevelt’s pro-war policy show that the Communist Party was wrong in giving support to the New Deal?” And he answered:

“Our Party had to back up such tendencies as the Roosevelt government was then showing towards a policy of collective security and more democratic relations with the countries of Latin America. This in spite of the fact that Roosevelt was then and is now a defender of capitalism. He has today completely abandoned his reform program and is promoting an imperialist war policy. What our Party supported was not Roosevelt’s capitalism, but the progressive measures and concessions in his program.” (Daily Worker, June 24)

Why should Foster recall this? For no other reason than to pave the way for again supporting Roosevelt or his successor.

Browder Reprints Embargo Demand!

Three days later came a really broad hint, in the form of the reprinting by the Daily Worker, June 27, of an article by Earl Browder dated October 11, 1938, i.e., when the Comintern had been on the “peoples’ front” line. The article includes, among others, these significant paragraphs:

“Thus the menace of fascism, hitherto considered by the U.S. as primarily a European problem, becomes wo r id-wide and directly strikes against the national interests of the U.S.A, and against American democracy ...

“Hitler has long been fighting against America’s influence in Latin America by means of economic and trade war. United States laws already provide weapons of economic self-defense against such aggression by means of raising customs duties or placing an embargo on trade with the offending nation. These laws have not been applied to Hitler Germany. A mass demand for an embargo against Hitler Germany must be raised, with motives of American self-defense pressed equally with those of solidarity with the victims of violent aggression.”

Why is Browder’s demand for governmental action against Germany reprinted now? Because that will be the line shortly. Not merely for an embargo now – that is already pointless – but for the only further governmental action possible – war.

The unfolding of the new Stalinist line has gone on, of course, not only here but in Latin America and Europe. As a matter of fact the very first hint of the new line came in Mexico, a month ago, when Lombardo Toledano, front for the Stalinists, suddenly made a pro-Ally speech after six months of preaching the Stalinist line against the “democracies.”

British Stalinists Now Pro-War

In England the new line is already much farther advanced than here. On June 22 the British Communist party issued a manifesto which dropped all mention of the “stop the war now” slogan which previously had been the chief slogan of both the French and British parties, and instead raised the cry for ousting of all “Munich-men” from the government, i.e., the formation of a government which would fight the war to the end. The manifesto was naturally adorned with the usual “radical” embroidery to make the demand sound “revolutionary,” – nationalization of industry, etc. – but that they are merely embroidery is indicated by the dispatches from London subsequently published in the Daily Worker, reporting resolutions adopted by the British unions along the new line: all they ask for at bottom is removal pf the Chamberlain wing of the Conservative party.

In a word, the Comintern is now being sold to the “democracies” again. Tomorrow the Stalinist spokesmen will be swearing that they have never changed. Tomorrow? Pardon me. Already today, Oakley Johnson writing on the capitulation of France, says: “The Communists, on the contrary, fought like tigers to stop Hitler, as they have been fighting to stop him for seven years. Thorez in Frapce – like Browder in the U.S., like Thaelmann in Germany before 1933 – fought against Hitler, against Hitler’s appeasers, against Hitler’s imitators.” (Sunday Worker, July 7). And the day after, Oakley Johnson and similar hirelings will swear that Stalin never made a pact with Hitler.

Fight the New Betrayal!

In Europe, where the counter-revolutionary consequences of the Stalin-Hitler pact and the Comintern line it dictated were plain to see, the best of the militant workers left the Stalinist parties. In America, however, it was mainly the petty-bourgeois elements who then broke with the Communist party Under the pressure of bourgeois-democratic opinion. On the other hand the militant workers in ,the party closed their eyes to the pact and welcomed eagerly the “anti-war” aspects of the turn away from the democracies. At least, they thought, the American Communist party will fight against U.S. entry into the war.

Now these militants will have a rude awakening. They will now be called upon to abandon the “anti-war” line and adopt a line supporting American imperialism. The bureaucrats will welcome the new line, for it will mean a halt to conflict with the bourgeois-democratic opinion. But the many militants in the Communist party have no desire to end their conflict with bourgeois-democratic opinion; they joined the Communist party precisely because they want to fight the bourgeoisie.

We must warn these workers in time of the new betrayal which is being planned. We must help them stand firm against support of American imperialism and its war policy.

Last updated on 23 May 2020