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Carl Davis

The Last in Series on Dissension in U.S. Stalinism

Why McKenney-Minton Quit CP

(30 December 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 52, 30 December 1946, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

We have dealt with the several viewpoints of the groups of people expelled from the CP. Whatever differences they may have with each other, they agree on the need for revising the whole course of the communist movement in this country. But what they understand by a revolutionary socialist position is diluted with Stalinism. They are really radical third-period Stalinists without the tradition of the Leninist party and international. Their initial error follows from the belief that the American Communist Party pursues a policy independent of the Kremlin and which is in opposition to the policies pursued by other communist parties.

In criticizing Browder for the formal “liquidation” of the party, they forgot entirely that the proposal did not in fact originate with Browder but with Stalin, and followed the “liquidation” of the Comintern. Yet they never stop to ask themselves: if it was wrong to “liquidate” the party in the U.S., was it correct to “liquidate” the international body of Stalinism? And if they answer that the latter was necessitated by national Russian interests, they will be supplying the answer to why Browder at the same time, carried out his policy. It was not necessary for Browder to receive direct instructions from the Kremlin; the signal was given to him by the action on the Comintern. And, since the Comintern was “liquidated” without consultation with all the parties included, Without a congress, or the official action of a delegated authority, what was wrong with Browder’s action? The ex-CPers have not really begun to think about their problems or their political course.

Stalinist Solar System

But more important than this: Do McKenny and Minton really believe that the CP in the United States operates independently from Moscow? If they do, they are more naive than we suspected. How, then, do they explain the role of Gerhardt Eisler, the GPU agent, better known to readers of the Daily Worker as Hans Berger? Any member of the CP above the level of a rank and filer, anyone who has had a measure of leadership on a state or national plane, knows that policies of the Communist parties are laid down, not in the national committees of these organizations, but in the Kremlin – that is why there is a deadly uniformity of Stalinist policy in all countries irrespective of the different conditions obtaining. Thus, the “third-period” policy of a “struggle for the streets” was adopted by all parties in all countries notwithstanding the different national conditions which prevailed. That is why the- policy of collective security initiated in the Kremlin determined the policy of all parties on the question of war and peace. In the same way, the Hitler-Stalin pact resulted in an overnight change’ in attitude toward Germany in the war which the parties adopted by a signal from the Kremlin.

To bring the matter closer to home, let us examine the above quote from the McKenney-Minton statement on the Duclos intervention. Anyone with an ounce of political savvy understands that Duclos did not make his public attack on Browder on his own initiative; it was a premeditated attack which originated in Moscow. The basis of the attack was not that Browder had been following a policy which was in conflict with Russian aims and that of other parties, but that he had gone too far. The French Communist Party under Duclos carried out the same kind of patriotic policy. But it carried out the policy differently and more cleverly than Browder because its roots in the French working class was stronger. In the case of Browder, he had become so fully identified with the opportunist anti-socialist line of Stalinism, that the party could not turn to a pseudo-militant policy in the labor movement and in political affairs under his compromised leadership. Stalin needed a strongly organized, well-knit and disciplined party to carry out his new foreign policy. That is why the change the emphasis in the party line was followed by Browder’s removal.

The present CP policies are based on ifs and threats to the American ruling class. But these threats, in turn, are not based on independent revolutionary socialist policy, but solely on the needs of the Russian foreign office.

Uniformity or World Stalinism

Do the ex-CPers actually believe that the present policies of the CP are conceived of and put into operation independent of the needs, interests, and direction of the Russians?

Do the ex-CPers actually believe that the policies of the European parties are fundamentally different from the policies of the American?

In our first article we cited the monotonous similarity of the policies of all parties: alliances with reactionaries and fascists; support of Badoglio in Italy, de Gaulle in France, King Michael in Rumania, Roosevelt in the U.S., and so on; opposition to factory committees, strikes, workers’ control of industry and production, and workers’ power; opposition to the propaganda, agitation and struggle for socialism. Every word of criticism which all the opponents of present CP policy and leadership make, can be made with equal force against every CP and more particularly against the Russian leadership.

The basic, fundamental error of these ex-CPers flows from their attitude toward Russia which they continue to regard as a workers’ state, as the fortress of world socialism. But if they were to examine and relate Stalin’s Russia with the Russian revolution, if they were to analyze Russia objectively, from the point of view of the needs and interests of the workers of the world, the meaning of socialist policy, the theory and practice of Leninism, they could draw no other conclusion but that the Stalinist state is the anti-thesis of Lenin’s Russia, that it has nothing in common with the workers’ revolution of November 1917, and with revolutionary thought and practice, with socialism.

Under Stalin, Russia became a new exploitive state. It imprisoned the Russian working class; it created a new category of slave laborers numbering in the millions. It replaced the international socialist policy of the early days of the revolution with a counter-revolutionary, anti-socialist policy. It subordinated the interests of the working class of the world, the struggle for world socialism, to the national interests of the new class power in Russia. And this it did by destroying the Bolshevik Party, the trade unions, the soviets, the cooperatives, the Communist International, and the outstanding revolutionary leaders.

Every party in the International which succumbed to Stalin’s leadership degenerated into anti-working class, anti-socialist organizations. It is true that they use socialist phrases and play on the traditions of the early Communist International. But in practice they have rooted out every healthy manifestations of revolutionary, socialist internationalism.

Break with Totalitarianism

When the ex-CPers begin to understand this, they will find that the cause for this degeneration lies in the new class power of the Russian bureaucracy and the general secretary of the so-called Russian Bolshevik Party, Joseph Stalin. Browder was not responsible for this degeneration. He merely adapted himself to it and became a victim of a Stalinist political zig-zag as did so many others before him. If these people will seek for what is wrong with the CP in this country, they will search forever and never find it. And if they hope to reconstruct a revolutionary socialist party in the USA as a genuine “Stalinist Party,” they will continue to betray the interests of the working class.

The reconstruction of a genuine revolutionary socialist party requires a new beginning on the basis of a return to Marxist-Leninist principles and a rejection of Stalinism. It requires an endless struggle against the corroding influence of Stalinism. The best interests of Stalinism in this country are represented by the cynical Foster, by his agent Dennis, and not by NCP, or McKenney and Minton.

The first time they really stepped out of line, they found themselves expelled from the party. Their strange views, despite repeated announcements of allegiance to Stalinism, are incompatible with membership in a totalitarian party. If these people want to make any political progress, If they want to devote themselves to an honest and sincere struggle for socialism, they will have to come to the Trotskyist movement, the only genuine, revolutionary socialist current in the world today.

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