Felix Morrow

Stalinists Paving Way
for New Shift in Line

(2 June 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 22, 2 June 1945, pp. 1 & 5.
Transcription/Editing/HTML Markup: 2018 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Felix Morrow Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

The Stalinist movement in the United States, at a signal from abroad, is preparing to make another about-face in its political line. The signal appeared in the May 24 Daily Worker, an article by Jacques Duclos, a leader of the French Communist party, criticising some of the policies of the American party.

Duclos’ lengthy article is entitled On the Dissolution of the Communist Party of the United States, and pretends that his principal objection is to the “dissolution” of May 20, 1944

when the American party changed its form to that of the American Communist Political Association. But the real point of his article is his statement that “one is witnessing a notorious revision of Marxism on the part of Browder and his supporters, a revision which is expressed in the concept of a long term class peace in the U.S., of the possibility of the suppression of the class struggle in the postwar period and of establishment of harmony between labor and capital.” (My emphasis.)

In short, Duclos is saying that a new line is needed now that the war in Europe has ended.

Duclos’ article is accompanied by a foreword by Earl Browder in which, far from defending himself against Duclos’ criticisms, he chimes in, saying: “It has been clear at all times that the end of the war in Europe would require a fundamental review of all problems by American Marxists.”

Same Basic Line

Far from this being “clear at all times,” it has been the line of Browder and the Communist party that the end of the war would bring no change in line. As the numerous quotations from Browder in Duclos’ article show, Browder has been insisting at least since December 1943 that “national unity” of labor and capital can continue in the capitalist “democracies” after the war thanks to the “principles” accepted at Teheran and Yalta by the U.S.-British-Soviet coalition.

But if Browder lies, so does Duclos. No more than the American party did the French party warn the workers of the need for continuing the class struggle after the war. This masquerade could have been played the other way around, with Browder writing the same kind of an article about the French party, and of all the other Communist parties. For all followed the same basic line, and all likewise are now preparing to change the line. They all performed in unison, at the command of their master in the Kremlin.

Duclos tries to cover up this fact by writing:

“According to what is known up to now, the Communist parties of most countries have not approved Browder’s position and several Communist parties (for example that of the Union of South Africa and of Australia) have come out openly against this position, while the Communist parties of several South American countries (Cuba, Colombia) regarded the position of the American Communists as correct and in general followed the same path.”

This is the first the world ever heard of the fact that any other Communist parties did not approve Browder’s course. And even at this late date Duclos can only cite “for example” the small and unimportant parties in South Africa and Australia. We safely hazard the guess that even these two “have come out openly” on this question only very lately – Duclos discreetly doesn’t tell us just when they did so. The fact is he lies when he says that “the Communist parties in most countries have not approved Browder’s position.”

Postwar Class Peace

The basic point of Browder’s position to which Duclos now objects is the idea of postwar continuation of class peace. We shall cite below documents showing that this idea was also the position of Duclos’ own party and of the British Communist party. The crimes committed against the American working class by Browder are identical with the crimes committed against the French and British working class by Browder’s opposite numbers abroad. In each case they were committed in the name of a “national unity” of capitalists and Workers which was to endure also in peacetime.

The Browder line to which Duclos now objects was issued at least as early as December 1943. Why did it take Duclos until April 1945 to write an article criticising Browder?

The answer is that until yesterday Duclos’ own party was saying, in terms of the French situation, exactly what Browder has been saying. As a matter of fact, such change in the line of the French party as did occur after Browder’s articles of December 1943 was in the same rightward direction as Browder was taking.

Only a few months ago, in January 1945, the leader of the French party, Maurice Thorez. returned to France from Moscow. At a meeting in Ivry of his central committee on January 22, 1945, Thorez made a speech which was widely distributed in pamphlet form under the title, For Unity, Struggle, Work. The party’s daily, l’Humanité, thereafter in its editorials incessantly repeated Thorez’ slogans at Ivry.

Speech by Thorez

We cite but a few examples showing that Thorez was for class peace not only for the rest of the war – which was already in its closing period – but for afterward as well.

Calling for a “great French army,” Thorez said: “Cadres are lacking, it is said. Nevertheless, we do not lack worthy officers, including those who let themselves be misused for a certain time by Pétain and who only ask to rehabilitate themselves and to do their whole duty to France.” (Page 11) In other words, Thorez’ “national unity” included also the reactionary Pétainist officers who in the class struggle after the war would lead the troops against the working class.

In four years of underground struggle, the workers had won the right to the arming of the people, the sole guaranty against a new rise of reaction to undisputed power. De Gaulle was trying to disarm these underground militias. And he got complete support from Thorez:

These armed groups had their reason for being before and during the insurrection against the Hitlerian occupation and its Vichy accomplices. But the situation is now different. Public security should be assured by the regular forces of police established for that purpose. The Civic Guards (militias) and, in general, all the it regular armed groups should not be maintained for long.” (Page 19)

Unity with Capitalists

As if this were not clear enough, Thorez declared in l’Humanité of February 3, 1945 (the day before it had appeared in the Catholic daily, Temps Present, as an interview with him):

“There is one government, there should be only one army; there should be only one police, one only.

“In the same way, the Committees of Liberation should not substitute themselves for the administrations.”

Now, chiding Browder, Duclos pretends that there is a distinction between “national unity” and unity with the big capitalists, and that the French party never followed the latter. He says to Browder: “We too, in France, are resolute partisans of national unity, and we show that in our daily activity, but our anxiety for unity does not make us lose sight for a single moment of the necessity of arraying ourselves against the men of the trusts.” In answer, Browder could easily show that he and the Daily Worker have likewise made fulminations against the trusts. That kind of talk is cheap and easy.

But basically “national unity” always means unity with the big capitalists too, as is clear from that same speech of Thorez, when he said:

As under the occupation, we want, in order to win the war, to act in concert with all good Frenchmen, workers, employees, EMPLOYERS, intellectuals, peasants. All aren’t communists, socialists. Why would we want to impose upon them our program, the program of communism?” (p. 20)

British C.P.

That is precisely what Browder said in the quotations which Duclos now pretends to find objectionable.

As for the British Communist party, one month after Thorez’ speech at Ivry, its executive committee sent a letter to all British party branches, dated February 21, 1945. This letter so outraged some members that they provided a copy to the British section of the Fourth International, the Revolutionary Communist Party, whose organ, the Socialist Appeal published the substance of it in its mid-April issue.

The Stalinist letter dealt with “postwar policy” in the light of Stalin’s conference with Roosevelt and Churchill in the Crimea. It declared that the Tories had basically changed their policy: “Crimea represents a victory for the anti-fascist forces over the pro-fascist policy which hitherto dominated the Tory Party.” Proof? This is “revealed in the leading role adopted by Churchill and Eden as the two present dominating personalities in the Tory party.”

From this the Stalinist leaders concluded that, as against the Labor Party plan for a postwar abandonment of the coalition and an election campaign for a Labor Government, the British Communist Party should advocate a postwar formula of a “Labor and Progressive Government,” i.e., continuation of the coalition.

The principles of Crimea would “guarantee the same united use of the world’s productive forces in peace time as has taken place during the war.” In other words, “the same united” cohabitation with the capitalists in peace as in war.

We see, then, that the policy pursued by Browder differs not at all from that pursued by his French and British counterparts. All of them, at the orders of the Kremlin tried to keep the workers subordinated to the capitalist masters. All of them, in carrying out this vile policy, did things the effect of which will be felt by the workers long after the war. One need only think of the terrible consequences which may yet result from the disarming of the French workers.

Duclos’ pretense that Browder carried on a policy different from the others is a deliberate falsehood, aimed to conceal the anti-working class policy pursued in unison everywhere by the Stalinists.


Last updated on: 7 November 2018