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Why the Stalintern Was ‘Dissolved’
and What Its Next Plans May Be

(May 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 22, 31 May 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Nobody in his right mind believes that the “dissolution” of the Stalinist International actually means that Stalin is going to dispense with the services of his servants in the various Communist Parties throughout the world. It is true that Stalin has an infinite contempt for them. He always has had. Long before he completely fastened his hold on the International, and converted it into an arm of the Russian Foreign Office, Stalin spoke contemptuously of the International and the Parties in it. However, it is not at all unusual for masters to have an utter contempt for their servants – even where these servants are most indispensable. It is further true that as a COMMUNIST International, the CI was dissolved (more accurately, destroyed) a long time ago.

Stalin needs his servants. For example, he finds it most useful to have parties which will be for or against war in their, respective countries, according to what Russia’s national interests dictate. Further, these parties are useful to him as supplements to the GPU and as destructive instruments inside the working class movement to prevent its development on a socialist path. Socialism is as great a menace to Stalinism as it is to fascism and international capitalism. Thus, the first point to establish in connection with the “dissolution” is that in one form or another the Stalinist parties will continue to operate – and to operate under the orders of the Kremlin.

Why, then, the gesture of formal dissolution? There are many reasons, among which the most important are:

One Gesture for Another

1. It is a gesture to the United States and Great Britain designed at helping these countries counteract Hitler’s “anti-Bolshevik” propaganda. Hitler knows that Stalin is as much a Bolshevik as he himself is – which is to say, no Bolshevik at all. However, he finds it a valuable propaganda weapon. Roosevelt and Churchill, therefore, welcome a gesture which enables them to counteract Hitler’s propaganda among those unregenerate and diehard sections of their own capitalist class which are irked by the alliance with Russia.

2. It is a half-promise that in the occupied countries the Stalinists will string along with the Roosevelt-Churchill plans for those countries – for the present, anyway. The occupied countries are a thorny problem for the Allied imperialists. They confront a multitude of problems – conflicts of interest between the would-be rulers (for example, de Gaulle and Giraud), and so forth. Not the least of these problems is the potential influence of the Stalinists who have the only forces that approximate disciplined organization.

3. It is, consequently and in general, a token of good will given to Roosevelt and Churchill in return for similar gestures, and concrete assistance, given Russia. No doubt this dissolution has been under discussion for a long time – not with the Stalinist parties (which, in this country, at least, were yelling up to the day of the announcement that the demands in the capitalist press for the dissolution of the Stalintern were the inspiration of arch-reaction), but with the Allied diplomats.

Under lend-lease, Roosevelt has sent Stalin such offerings of good will as the production of that monstrosity of monstrosities – the movie, Mission to Moscow. He even sent Joseph Davies, who helped the movie producers commit mayhem on his bad-enough book, on a second mission to Moscow – together with a print of the movie. (Stalin on viewing it said it is “wonderful.” It is – for him!) We are not saying that the movie led to the dissolution. Imperialist politics are not that simple. But the sequence of events, which include the production of the movie and the second visit of Mr. Davies, undoubtedly are related to the gesture. Far more importantly, of course, more substantial agreements were no doubt exchanged – possibly boundary agreements, possibly agreements on the locale of the second front (Stalin is dead-set against the Balkans as the place), possibly offers of increased supplies. We don’t know, and won’t know until we see what actually happens, or until the workers of the world open up the secret archives of their government and read, for example, what was in the note Roosevelt sent to Stalin through Davies.

Guard Against the Menace!

4. Finally, and of equal importance, the dissolution of the Stalintern is probably part of a scheme to integrate the Stalinist parties into other mass working class movements or parties – socialist or general peoples’ parties – with the aim of directing them into Stalinist channels. In England, the Communist Party has already asked for admission to the Labor Party. In France, the Stalinists have officially affiliated with the de Gaulle movement. It is possible that, at a later date, with France freed of Hitler rule, and with the certain development of a mass socialist party, the Stalinists will seek to fuse with, or enter into, such a party. In this country there is no mass party for them to enter, unless they create such a party through something like the American Labor Party.

Many left socialist leaders and ranks may welcome such a move as a rebirth of the socialist movement. It must consequently be pointed out that this is an incalculable menace. To allow the Stalinists into the socialist movement is to give them an opportunity to behead it. They are the mortal enemies of socialism – not the ranks who may have been misled into believing that the Communist Parties stand for communism, but the Stalinist parties themselves which stand for nothing else but for a particular brand of reaction. Regardless of the “dissolution,” it is as certain as death that Stalinists the world over will continue to be organized and will continue to work under the directives of Moscow through some committee or front organization.

Thus, dissolution or no dissolution, the menace of the Stalinists remains – and it remains the task of socialists and other militants to drive these union wreckers, GPU assassins and Kremlin servants out of the labor movement.

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