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Notes on the PPS-in-Exile Congresses

Polish Socialists in Exile Map Fight

(26 July 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 30, 26 July 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Stalinist policy is driving towards the liquidation of the PPS (pseudo-Socialist Party of Poland) and its incorporation into the Stalinist Party, the PPR. The realization of this program signifies a complete “Gleichschaltung” of the Polish proletariat and the introduction of “monolithic” dictatorship in Poland. The Stalinists met with strong opposition among the workers in the pseudo-PPS as well as from the real Polish Socialists, the anti-Stalinist irreconcilables in and outside of Poland. It is from this point of view that we wish to discuss the recent congress of the PPS in England and Belgium.

The PPS congress in Great Britain had a preparatory character, preceding the general congress of this party in Belgium. Although the PPS in Great Britain has the oldest cadres and is the center of the party’s activities, its congress only embraced the PPS organization in Great Britain. Important sections of the PPS exist in France, Belgium, Germany, etc. The Polish population in France and Belgium is proletarian in its overwhelming majority, with the miners standing in first place. In Great Brittain, the Polish ex-soldiers, who have no desire to return to Poland today, have been incorporated in the mining as well as other industries, forming their own trade-union which is affiliated with the British trade unions.

The growth of the PPS among the Polish working masses in Western Europe and the British Isles is very significant, since the old Communist Party always had an important sector of its adherents among the Polish miners of France and Belgium. In the pre-war period, the mining areas of Northern France constituted a stronghold of the Communist Party, in which the Polish miners played an important part.


The importance of the PPS Congresses is indicated by the messages of solidarity sent to the British congress by the various Socialist parties, among them the Socialist parties of France, Holland, Rumania, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Russian Mensheviks, etc. Such Socialist figures as Saragat, Lombardo, Garosci, Marceau Pivert, sent letters of greeting to the congress in Britain.


The congress in Belgium called on the working class to resist the totalitarian “Gleichschaltung” and Russian imperialism, and maintain its loyalty to the independent PPS, leader of the democratic camp in Poland, in order to conduct a. struggle for “national liberation and social change in accord with the interests of the laboring masses.” In a resolution on the defense of human rights the congress protested against the forced labor camps in Russia, the Franco terror in Spain, and the white terror in Greece, calling for the liquidation of the concentration camps, the liberation of political prisoners, and the respect of human dignity and human rights.

In its international resolution, the congress condemned the Yalta and Potsdam Agreements, asking a return to the Atlantic Charter. “The struggle for the liberty of Poland is a struggle for the construction of the world according to the Atlantic Charter, which the workers’ movement accepted as its own, and is in accordance with the Four Freedoms which were proclaimed as the aim of the Second World War.” The congress condemned the reactionary tendencies among the Poles, a product of the national defeat, and on the other hand also condemned “the betrayal on the part of the Western Democracies of those ideals for which the people fought Hitler and fascism, their indifference to the fate of the nations of Eastern Europe, who made great sacrifices in the struggle against Hitlerism.”

In order to maintain peace, the congress called for the following:

  1. Transformation of the United Nations into an association of the peoples, with executive power and the capacity to adopt resolutions by majority vote, without having to bow to the veto power.
  2. Restoration of national independence to the oppressed peoples and their self-determination.
  3. The unification of Europe within the framework of the UNO.
  4. Extension of social changes.
  5. Elimination of wars of aggression and control of atomic energy (Baruch Plan).

The congress also went on record as opposed to the differentiation among the Socialist Parties, demanding the recognition of the parties of the Russian Zone, and the reorganization of the Socialist International.

As for the political tasks of the Polish Emigration, the congress opposed any change in the western frontier of Poland on the Oder and Neisse, at the same time rejecting the Eastern frontier embodied in the Curzon line, and demanding the reconstruction of Poland between its present Western boundaries and the Eastern frontier of Riga, that is, the 1939 boundary. The PPS considers the incorporation of German territories in Poland as just indemnification for the economic destruction of Poland by the Nazis.

On questions of internal policy, the congress declared the current president of the Polish government-in-Exile to be holding office illegally and against the will of the working people, and called on the Polish democracy in exile to reconstruct the democratic bases of political representation in the Polish emigration. However, the congress did not challenge the present London regime, and did not call for the formation of a second government or national committee.

The congress considered the principal tasks in the emigration to be:

  1. To unite all the Socialists in the PPS.
  2. To develop a free Polish and International Socialist thought.
  3. Unification of the Polish democratic camp as a guarantee that after the liquidation of the puppet regime there shall be no return of the political and social reaction.
  4. To carry to a finish the unbreakable struggle against Russian imperialism and its agencies in order to restore the independence and liberty of Poland.

In conclusion, the congress greeted the creation of the State of Israel and called for an end to the spilling of blood and the establishment of fraternal relations between the Jewish and Arab peoples.


Having reviewed the most essential parts of the resolutions of the PPS congress in Belgium, it is not difficult to see that these resolutions have a typical social-democratic character, with all the corresponding mediocrity, half-remedies and petty-bourgeoisie illusions.

However, what is important in these resolutions is the call for an open and unbreakable struggle against the Stalinist reaction and Russian imperialism in Poland, and against the national enslavement of the country, worthy of the revolutionary traditions of the Polish working class. But in order to realize these aims the congress turns to the UNO and calls for its transformation into an association of free peoples so that the world may be reconstructed according to the Four Freedoms and the principles of the Atlantic Charter. How incurable remains the innocence of the social-democrats! They still want to reform capitalism and imperialism notwithstanding all the kicks they have received. We lament this tendency very much since it means that the PPS is irremediably sliding into the capitalist camp, although it strives to “unify Polish democracy as a guarantee against capitalist restoration in Poland.”

In any case, the PPS remains a bastion in the struggle against Stalinism in Poland, a very powerful factor, the only real force in the camp of the petty-bourgeoisie and the working-class. On the domestic terrain, the PPS struggles on two fronts, against Stalinism and against the Polish Right. International Marxism will undoubtedly view this position with sympathy and will support it despite all the vacillations and opportunist errors. But on the field of international politics, the congress did not maintain a “third position,” sliding into the capitalist camp. And here we must define the positions and combat the pro-capitalist positions of the PPS, explaining them to the Polish workers in the United States and Europe.


The resolutions are the result of the struggle and compromise between two factions in the party – Arciszewski’s right-wing and Zaremba’s “left.”

In spite of the revolt of the Right against Thomas Arciszewski, ex-chief of the Polish government, the congress did not decide to join Mikolajczyk in forming a national committee in the United States, dependent on the American State Department and opposed to the present right-wing London regime headed by Zaleski. Mikolajczyk’s stock is not very high at the present time, and is opposed by the “independence” faction because of his capitulation to Moscow. Capitulation to Moscow has an odor which kills. This is why the PPS refrains from entering into alliance with Mikolajczyk and maintains an independent position towards the right wing London regime. There is much sympathy for Mikolajczyk and the Feasant Party in the PPS, but the decision of the Congress reveals Mikolajczyk’s political isolation.

Similarly, the pre-congress proposals made by Zaremba for accepting the revision of Poland’s Eastern boundary as a basis for an understanding between the Poles and the Ukrainians and White Russians was rejected by the congress which called for the Eastern frontier of 1939.

Nevertheless, Zaremba was elected President of the Party Council and a member of the Central Committee, which is composed of the following: Arciszewski, Pehr, Kwapinski, Ciolkosz, Drawiec, Bialas, Mrozkiewicz, Zagorski and Polowiec. Outside the old guard, there are many new names hitherto unknown in Polish national politics.


In order not to abuse the readers patience, we leave for another time a detailed analysis of the role of the PPS and its activities. But one thing is certain, the congresses of the PPS were a tremendous challenge to the Kremlin and a severe blow to Polish Stalinism.

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