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Carl Davis

On the Group Recently Expelled from the Communist Party

Ex-CPers Indict Their Party
as Anti-Socialist

(9 December 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 49, 9 December 1946, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

Several weeks ago, we published reports of the expulsions of members of the Communist (Stalinist) Party because they would not accept the “new line” of the Foster-Dennis leadership which has replaced Browder. Among the expelled were such old-timers as William F. Dunne and Verne Smith; a group in the Bronx; and two intellectuals, Ruth McKenney and Bruce Minton. The expelled were charged with organizing a “factional struggle” against the “political line” of the party and advocating “ultra-leftist” views. As outlined in the statement of the National Committee of the CP, these views denied the possibilities of establishing peace under capitalism and asserted that imperialist war was inevitable so long as capitalism existed. The expelled had also asserted that the struggle for socialism must be the main aim of the party and denounced the deals which the CP made with the Democratic Party.

We have at hand several copies of a bulletin called NCP Report, issued by the New Committee for Publications. The people associated with this bulletin are evidently among those who were expelled during the “purge” of recent weeks. Whether they include Dunne, McKenney or Minton we do not know. The bulletin is an interesting exhibit of what happens to people who join the Stalinist Party in the belief that they are entering a revolutionary socialist organization devoted to the interests of the working class. For the bulletin not only reveals the anti-working class degeneration of Stalinism; it also discloses that those who have broken with the party have themselves been deeply scarred with Stalinist ideology to the point where their program and struggle is, in reality, as anti-socialist as it is ludicrous. The fundamental aim of NCP Report, for example, is “to do what we can to help bring about socialism, in the whole world, and hence, (a) to support socialism in that country where it is already established (Russia), and (b), to work to bring about socialism in the U. S. ...

They are against the CP in the United States because it is “anti-Marxist,” distorts the teachings of Stalin, and has become an anti-socialist organization. The NCP group wants to build a “Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalinist Party in the United States.” In answer to a question: “Will you not undermine confidence in the leadership of the Communist Party USA and shake the unity of CPUSA?” they answer:

“Yes – that is exactly what we want to do. We wish to undermine confidence in the leadership of CPUSA because this leadership is politically rotten. We wish to ‘shake’ the ‘unity’ of CPUSA, because facts have already fully demonstrated – for all who wish to see – that this ‘unity’ is based on support of capitalism and refusal to fight capitalism.” (Emphasis in the original)

Confusion Abounds

It should be clear to the naked eye, that this group is not a Browder group, protesting the fate of the erstwhile leader of the American Stalinists. On the contrary. Evidently they had hoped that the ousting of Browder and his replacement by Foster and Dennis would result in a complete reversal of the pro-imperialist, pro-war policies which the party pursued during the military alliance between the U.S. and Stalin’s Russia. Now, these terribly confused people find that Foster pursues fundamentally the identical line which Browder reputedly originated.

But it is obvious that these former members of the CP do not begin to understand what happened in their party and how the Communist Parties of the world are nothing else hut the agents of Russian foreign policy. Browder was dumped because he sold himself a bill of goods about the future peace and prospective relations between the United States and Russia. Browder misunderstood Russian strategy and took it for real coin. Thus he got far out on the limb, and when the post-war period demonstrated how untenable was the Browder line, he could no longer be retained as the head of the party. From now on, even though the American party might still pursue a class collaborationist policy, might still support the Democratic Party, and still, in the minds of gullible rank and filers, postpone the fight for. socialism, a struggle they never even intended to pursue, they carry out this “Browder (read: Stalin) line” only with a cover of “militancy,” exploiting the best sentiments of the worker. Other than that there is no real differences between the two leaderships: they are both composed of hand-picked leaders, chosen in the Kremlin, whose main purpose is to carry out such a policy at home as will redound to the benefit to the Russians in their struggle for world power. Browder now, complements, from the outside, Foster’s leadership inside the party.

A blind spot of the NCP is its sincere belief that the American Stalinist Party lives an independent existence, and that whatever policies it pursues are of its own making. Misguided people: every important step taken by the Stalinist in this country is decided abroad. If Browder, subverted the socialist program; Foster has done the same (according to their own charge). Browder is deposed, but unlike formerly deposed opponents of Stalinism, he is invited to Russia, feted there, made a representative of book publishers, and uses his position to carry on pro-Stalinist propaganda outside of the CP.

In a sense, therefore, Browder can be even more useful than Foster and Dennis. NCP has to explain why Browder, whom they consider the originator of the Foster line, was not pilloried by Stalin. And if they think about it at all they will discover that what is wrong with the Communist Party originates not on the 9th floor of East 12th Street in New York City, but in Moscow.

“Teachings of Stalin”

To bear out their contention that the American Stalinist Party is anti-socialist and pro-capitalist, the NCP group cites a series of unrelated facts which purport to prove the revisionist nature of the politics and practices of native Stalinism. While the recitation of the indictment coincides in a confused way and to a small degree with revolutionary socialist criticism of Stalinism, as a whole it reflects the utter confusion of the NCP. This group is obviously groping in the dark. And it will continue to grope hopelessly so long as it retains the illusion that Russia is a socialist state, Stalin is the leader of world socialism, the Communist Parties of the world are revolutionary socialist parties, but the American Stalinist Party is an aberration, totally different in principle and practice from the movement to which it is affiliated.

One example will suffice to show how completely disoriented this group is: Their most damning charge against the Foster-Dennis leadership of the Communist Party is that it has falsified the teachings of Stalin in order to give theoretical justification for their “pro-capitalist policies!” Thus, the group reflects a really curious specimen. It has broken from a Stalinist Party in order to fight for a “real Stalinist Party.”

In doing this it has brought to light several interesting aspects of CP policy and conduct which we will relate in another article next week. We shall also trace the evolution of such a group as this and what it signifies for the revolutionary socialist movement.

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