Glotzer Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Albert Gates

Labor Beware the Latest Communist “Turn”

(June 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 24, 11 June 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The American Communist Political Association, under directives from the Kremlin, has adopted a new line calling for greater militancy in the labor movement and prosecution, of the class struggle against “reactionary monopoly capitalism.”

Last week we pointed out that this was inevitable since the criticism of its policies by Jacques Duclos, leader of the French Communist Party, emanated from Moscow and that the leaders of the CPA would interpret it correctly as an instruction to alter the program of the Association.

The leadership of the American Communist Party responded like trained seals. The fact that the New York Telegram disclosed the whole affair brought it into the open. But the change had been taking place “gradually,” a course already decided by the National Board of the CPA.

The National Board accepted the substance of Duclos’ (Stalin’s) criticism that the party under Browder’s leadership was following a false policy and that a revision of its program must take place.

The National Board of the CPA met on June 2, and adopted a resolution entitled: The Present Situation and Next Tasks. The interesting feature of the report on the meeting is the disclosure that Browder, the party’s secretary, voted against the resolution. In addition to him, Roy Hudson, the party’s commissar, who enforced the Browder “line” in the union movement, abstained from voting. These two were mainly responsible for the execution of the policies ot the organization. Subsequently, Hudson announced that he favored the resolution, his hesitation arising from his desire for clarification on some of its points.

The fact that they were mainly responsible does not mean that the other members of the committee were in opposition to the policies. With the exception of Foster, who disagreed but decided not to fight the line or to bring it to the attention the the party, and Sam Darcy, who was subsequently expelled from the Central Committee and the party, the National Board supported Browder and carried out “his” line with enthusiasm and great energy.

Several things must be kept in mind in order to understand this switch in the American Stalinist-Communist policy.

  1. The “Browder line,” as we explained last week, was not Browder’s personal policy. It was the Russian line applied to the United States and in its essential features was applied by all other Communist organizations in the world. When Browder advocated labor-capital peace, support to Roosevelt in the election, national unity, full prosecution of the imperialist war, support to the capitalist ruling class, he responded to Russia’s needs in the war. They were to cement the alliance of the United States and Great Britain with Russia.
  2. But when Browder advocated class peace and declared that the struggle for socialism had to be postponed because it was an unreal perspective, or when he declared that labor must support “free enterprise” and capitalism in general, he did what every other Communist leader in the rest of the world did.

The one difference between the conduct of the other parties and the American CP is that the American organization formally dissolved its party, transferring it into a political association in order to deflect criticism and suspicion that it did not really mean its new policy of denying the class struggle in favor of class unity.

Russian Diplomacy Rules

As long as relations among the Big Three were fairly amicable and their differences seemed to be resolving themselves at Teheran and Yalta, no criticism was made of Browder. But the moment these relations became sharpened by the end of the European war and the necessity to decide the division of the spoils practically, Stalin ordered his foreign battalions to change their policies to conform to the new international situation.

The Stalinist rulers in Russia keep their fingers on the pulse of the affairs of the Communist organizations and make certain that they do not step out of line. Browder’s previous policies conformed to Russian needs and that is why for a period of two years nothing whatever was said in the, way of criticism, of the “line.” Only now, when the San Francisco Conference discloses the sharp and sometimes irreconcilable differences between Russian and Anglo-American aims, does it become, necessary to instruct the American Stalinists to change their line. This is a form of blackmail that Stalin uses to force his policies on his opponents or to obtain a favorable compromise.

What Resolution Says

In Part One of its resolution, the National Board calls for the prosecution of the war against Japan to the end. But even here they lay the basis for a further “radicalization” in

the event; Stalin cannot reach agreement with Churchill and Truman and alters his Far Eastern policy. In reply to a question put to him at a mass meeting, Browder stated:

“It is premature to say whether the Japanese war will become an imperialist war.”

In the minds of Stalin’s followers it will become such a war when Russia finds it cannot go along with the Allies in the Far East or openly challenges their policies. The basis for such a change is contained in the sharp criticism of San Francisco on the ground, that Britain has taken the lead in establishing its program and in changing the American foreign policy from the one advocated by Roosevelt to the position of the “reactionary State Department,” Therefore:

“It is imperative that the American people resolutely support every effort of the Truman Administration to carry forward Roosevelt’s program for victory, peace, democracy and sixty million jobs.”

The Communists are taking upon themselves the defense of Roosevelt and his policies against the “reactionaries”! This is really preparation for the full application of the change in line toward greater militancy in the labor movement and the prosecution of the class struggle in the interests of Russia. But if Big Three relations are improved and no such change is needed, the Stalinist representatives in America can always point to their resolution to show that Roosevelt’s policies are being carried out and the Allied-Russian coalition has been strengthened.

Since everything they do and say is measured by the degree of unity between the Big Three, it is easy to see how their policies are dependent upon the international situation.

Part Two of the resolution develops a program for America in building the peace and meeting the problems of the reconversion period. Here too the program is provisional. The section on the peace is a restatement of Russian foreign policy which in many aspects parallels Roosevelt’s policies. The section on the home front borrows from Roosevelt’s program and the CIO dealing with full production and jobs.

This program can be used in two ways: a peaceful, persuasive discussion and appeal for its adoption, depending upon Russia’s good relations with the United States and Great Britain; or a militant class struggle policy, punctuated by strikes, demonstrations and general militancy in the labor movement. The latter method will be used if Russian relations with the United States and Great Britain deteriorate.

The latter part of the resolution takes the previous Communist policy apart, because the dissolution of the party makes it difficult for the American Stalinists to carry out any change in line with the same effectiveness as when they had an active party functioning. All signs therefore point to the resurrection of the party to meet the needs of this changing policy.

Labor! On Guard!

Labor must be on guard against the Stalinist-Communist menace. “Whatever the degree of change that follows in their policies, it must never be forgotten that these changes arise not out of any interest in the well-being of the working class, its progress or defense of its interests and the struggle for its emancipation from exploitation by capitalist imperialism. The sole aim of the Communists is to serve the interests of Russian foreign policy!

When Stalin finds it expedient to make a pact with Hitler, the Communists all over the world support that alliance.

When the requirement of that pact calls for hindering the Allied war effort and agitating against them as imperialists and war mongers, the Communists carry out that policy by calling strikes, impeding production, denouncing Roosevelt and Churchill and defending Hitler and Germany as victims of imperialism.

When Hitler attacks Russia and Stalin joins the Allied coalition, the Communists all over the world become jingoists, fight against the interests of labor, support capitalism in the prosecution of the war and in general do everything to advance the imperialist interests of the Allies against the imperialism of the Axis.

And now that difficulties have arisen among the Big Three and the war in Europe is over, the Communists respond to Russian interests by preparing a switch in policy that will assist Stalin. If that means great militancy in the labor movement, his American representatives will faithfully carry out that line regardless of its consequences.

That is why labor must be on guard. Stalinism remains the worst enemy of the working class. Labor must continue its independent struggle for the advancement of its interests. But this can be done only by the most vigorous and vigilant struggle against Stalinism.

These are only some of the things to be remembered. But they all reveal that the Communists in the labor movement act against the best interests of labor. The present change of line may confuse many workers. The task of progressive and conscious workers is to explain to the mass of labor why Stalinism remains the gravest danger to the working class.


(Three weeks before the Communist Political Association changed its line and on the occasion of Earl Browder’s 54th birthday he was eulogized in the following way):

“Your bold, mature Marxist leadership has enabled our movement to make a lasting contribution to our nation ...

“When the history of the turbulent and convulsive past decade is finally written, the work of the American Communists will constitute a proud and significant part of the record, thanks in large degree to your profound Marxist leadership ...

“Because of the policy your leadership inspires, the Communist movement has strengthened its role in the life of the nation and has helped the American labor movement as a whole to make itself a powerful force for the victory ...

“On this occasion we recall your constant injunction that we raise ever higher our standards of work, thought and study and never cease to strive for the mastery of Marxism. Felicitations and warmest wishes for many long years of health and leadership.”

– By John Williamson, secretary of the CPA, on behalf of the National Board of the CPA, May 20, Daily Worker


(From the resolution of the National Board of the CPA, adopted on June 2, sharply criticizing Browder’s leadership and policies):

“... Today we Communists must not only learn from our achievements in the struggle against fascism, but also from our weaknesses and errors. In the recent period, especially since January, 1944 (during the triumph of Browder’s “Marxist” policies – Ed.) these mistakes consisted in drawing a number of erroneous conclusions from the historic significance of the Teheran accord ...

“This revision of Marxist-Leninist theory (by Browder’s “profound Marxist leadership” – Ed.) regarding the role of monopoly capital, ... led to other erroneous conclusions, such as utopian economic perspectives... it also led to tendencies to obscure the class nature of bourgeois democracy ...

“The opportunist errors which we were committing ... adversely influenced our work ... We were, however, readjusting ourselves too slowly to new world developments (Anglo-American-Russian conflicts – Ed.), because we failed to understand the basic opportunist errors that had crept into our policies.”

Top of page

Labor Action 1945 Index | Writers’ Index

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism | Marxists’ Internet Archive

Last updated on 15 February 2016