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Carl Davis

Wm. Dunne Expelled by Stalinist Party

(14 October 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 41, 14 October 1946, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

William F. Dunne is the most recent prominent Communist Party member to be expelled in the current drive of the Foster-Dennis leadership to to whip the membership into line behind the new policies of American Stalinism. Of the latest group of people so expelled, McKenney, Minton, Smith and Dunne, the latter is by far the most important. Not so much for what he counted in the Stalinist Party of today, but for his past.

Dunne came out of Montana as a leader in a state dominated by the copper interests. He brought with him to the young and militant Communist Party of twenty-five years ago the spirit of native American working class struggle and rose quickly in the leadership of the organization. At one time he was co-editor of the Daily Worker; at all times he was one of its leading trade union functionaries. The. protracted factionalism of the Twenties and the subsequent Stalinization of the party had a corrupting influence on this man. Charged with personal weaknesses fatal to a working class leader, Dunne was removed from leadership of even a Stalinist party which is notoriously corrupt politically.

For some years Dunne was completely out of Stalinist political life but he was maintained by the party, as they say, in the hope that he would rehabilitate himself and be of service to them. But apparently Dunne was never able to rehabilitate himself, even in the cause of Stalinism. The party was never able to make the use of him it desired in championing its anti-working class politics and practices. But this was not due to any serious political reasons. Dunne never really understood the nature of the struggle of Trotsky against Stalinist degeneration in the early days of the struggle. He finally found his way to support Stalin. But before that he once wrote back gleefully from Moscow in 1926 that “Trotsky was back with a vengeance.” Perhaps the Stalinists have never forgotten this and have inscribed it in his dossier.

But now, in the concrete situation arising out of the struggle against Browderism, which is only more blatant Fosterism – or, rather, the continuation of Stalinist policy in America with new emphases growing out of the new world political relations – Dunne was caught up with as an “oppositionist” to party policies from the “left.”

Still trying to mobilize the party behind the swift and sudden removal of the “beloved leader, Browder,” Foster finds it necessary to carry on the fight against what he calls the “left” in the party, those who advocate what they think is a class struggle policy. Since it is a totalitarian party, the CP finds it necessary to denounce its new victims for having advanced the “petty bourgeois, anarchistic slogan of ‘freedom of criticism’ to facilitate their propaganda of views hostile to the party.” And the party must carry on the fight against “both Browder revisions and ‘left’ sectarianism (which) challenge the basic strategy and tactical line which our party has worked out ...”

It is the same old story: Against the so-called right and the so-called left in what is actually a struggle inside of a movement which is as a whole anti-working class and counter-revolutionary. Even the criticisms of the Dunnes, Smiths and McKenneys flow from basic Stalinist premises. Most If not all of these people have lived too long with Stalinism, have too long endorsed its crimes against the working class to be of any service to socialism. They are in essence Stalinist hacks who stepped out of line and were, therefore, the victims of procedures characteristic of this movement.

We can only repeat what we wrote in our editorial of two weeks ago:

“Thus, the American Communist Party pursues an imperialist policy, completely subordinated to Moscow, and cannot tolerate the slightest differences of opinion within its ranks. The effort made to paint William Z. Foster with a leftist brush fails completely. It is obvious that the switch to him was made because Browder was so compromised that the present policies could not have been inaugurated under his auspices.

“The McKenney, Minton and Smith expulsions, however, reveal that underneath the heavy bureaucratic crust that covers the Stalinist Party, dissatisfaction takes place even to the point of struggle against the leadership and its policies. There are thousands of militant workers in that party who can and must be won away from its counter-revolutionary, anti-working class environment.”

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