Andrzej Rudzienski Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

A. Rudzienski

Rebellious Spirit Penetrates
Polish CP Ranks

Purge Looms as Demotion of Gomulka, Would-Be “Polish Tito,”
Reflects Impact of Popular Discontent

(20 September 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 38, 20 September 1948, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

As we informed the readers of Labor Action last week, the division in the politburo of the Polish Stalinist party has become public knowledge. (Last week’s Labor Action carried a detailed story by Comrade Rudzienski and a front page news item on the latest developments, including Gomulka’s recantation. – Ed.) The London Daily Telegraph printed a story of Gomulka’s confinement which was denied by the Observer, whose correspondent readily accepted the official version that Gomulka was suffering from “neurasthenia” and a “throat ailment.” Of late, there are a great many sick people in the Stalinist camp: Zhdanov, Benes and Gomulka, not to speak of the lesser fry.

However, the official communique of the PPR (Stalinist party) has lifted the veil of rumors, and without circumlocution of any kind or medical diagnosis reveals that the ex-secretary general of the PPR and vice-premier of the government represents a nationalist-right wing deviation which has been expressed in the following points: 1. Refusal to condemn Tito and to support any drastic measures against Yugoslavia by the puppet government of Poland; 2. resistance to the collectivization of the Polish countryside and the “socialist offensive” put forward by the “left” faction of Berman, Mine and Zambrowski; 3. revelation of the “secret” that Gomulka voted against the majority in the sessions of the politburo.

As a consequence, Wladislaw Gomulka, the unfortunate candidate for the role of the “Polish Tito,” has been demoted and replaced as secretary general of the PPR and vice-premier of the puppet government. The Warsaw politburo has instructed “President” Bierut to “assume an active role in party work and reintegrate the ranks of the buro.”

Historic Background

In our previous article, we explained the economic basis for the “schism.” Now we must review the historic antecedents. In the old Polish Communist Party there were two factions, the “majority” and the “minority.” The first supported the thesis of “two stages of the revolution,” and the second favored the complete “Stalinization” of the party and the “revolutionary offensive.” The GPU first destroyed the majority in 1928–29 because, in spite of its false theory of two stages, it represented the independent tradition of the Polish workers’ movement and wished to maintain the independence of the party against the GPU. The second tendency was destroyed in 1936 under the accusation of being a “Trotskyist opposition” after having allowed itself to be used to liquidate the independence of the CPP.

Yet when the Russian army invaded Poland, the old theory of the “historic right wing” of the CPP on “two stages” was taken out of the archives, dusted off and proclaimed “popular democracy.” Stalin has no scruples about appropriating the heritage of his victims and profaning their corpses. In this climate of “Stalinist magnanimity,” the role of the mediocre Gomulka grew to the skies as the leader of “popular democracy.”

In his youth Gomulka had belonged to the majority faction of the CPP, and after its condemnation had obediently passed over to the position of “consolidation” of both factions ordered by Moscow. As an epigone of the “majority,” Gomulka knew better than others how to interpret and execute the phase of “Stalinist magnanimity” toward the Poles, in order all the more easily to destroy and decompose the Polish underground resistance which was led in the main by the Populists and Socialists of the real PPS. As in Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, Gomulka wished to form a “national democratic front” but did not succeed in realizing his “great idea.” A mediocre little man, a failure in college, a man pushed toward the proletariat through lack of intellectual capacity, afterward a union bureaucrat and CPP functionary, he reached the dizzy height of having a compilation of his writings published under the title Struggle for Popular Democracy in Poland, a book which will surely be used as evidence against him. His is the typically ephemeral career of the Stalinist puppet.

Threatened by Tito’s resistance, Stalin now demands the complete incorporation of Poland into Russia, thereby overthrowing Gomulka and elevating his adversaries, Berman, Mine and Zambrowski. To justify this turn, Moscow has drawn from the archives the “minority” theory of the “socialist offensive” and, going even further, the. revolutionary traditions of the SDKPL (Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania) and the heritage of Rosa Luxemburg.

Moscow Offensive

Now Polish nationalism and poor, mediocre Gomulka are the target of a furious Moscovite offensive. The ideological execution of the new turn is entrusted to Berman and Zambrowski, both “minorityites.” Zambrowski and his obedient follower, Cyrankiewicz, secretary of the pseudo-PPS, proclaim “internationalism” against “limited Polish nationalism.” They proclaim the “national independence of the new type” consistent with “national sovereignty supported by the USSR.”

The readers of Labor Action will agree that this is truly a strange sort of sovereignty. Stalin’s noisy bullies and hirelings invoke the glorious tradition of the SDKPL and the CPP, as well as the teachings of Rose Luxemburg against “Polish nationalism.” They seem to forget that the leaders of the CPP and the disciples of Rosa Luxemburg were assassinated because, in the name of internationalism and the revolutionary traditions of the Polish workers’ movement, they tried to conserve the independence of the Polish working class against the Stalinist counter-revolution in Moscow.

The Stalinist dogs lie when they argue that the SDKPL, the party of Rosa Luxemburg, favored the incorporation of Poland into Russia. Rosa Luxemburg never proposed the subjection of Poland to Russia but called for the unity of the Polish and Russian Revolution. The very name of the party, “Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania,” sharply underscores the political, economical and cultural unity of the territories historically Polish since 1772, that is, the territories bounded by the Dnieper. And this was the point of view as well of Marx and Engels.

The traditions of the SDKPL, the teachings of Rosa Luxemburg and the program of Marx and Engels were all opposed not only to the Russian penetration of Poland but to partition of Poland, which ultimately took the form of the famous Curzon line invented by the British imperialists and demanded the complete independence of Poland, Lithuania, the Ukraine and White Russia, and their complete separation from Russia.

To carry out its reactionary offensive against the Polish working class. Polish socialism and an entire oppressed and exploited people, the GPU uses the “minorityites” Berman and Zambrowski, invokes the “glorious traditions” of the CPP which Stalin himself buried, and even resurrects the ghostly shades of the assassinated CPP leaders. It tries to unleash an offensive against “nationalism,” against the “reformism and social-patriotism of the PPS” when the latter strives to struggle precisely against the Great-Russian nationalism and imperialism headed by the Stalinist reaction.

Enter the Police Agent

The Warsaw puppet politburo has instructed “President” Bierut to take Gomulka’s place. Bierut (Bienkowski-Rutkowski) is Stalin’s ex-police agent, chief of the Polish section of the GPU in Moscow, betrayer and hangman of the leaders of the CPP, Varski, Horvitz-Walecki, Koszutska, Zarski, Zdziarski, Wojewodzki, Dombal, Lenski, Prochniak, Huberman (brother of the musician) and so many, many others. The hangman, Bierut, has been instructed to skillfully “liquidate” the “Polish nationalist deviation,” “Polskaya miatiez” (Polish rebellion) so hated by the Czars and the Stalinists. We are, therefore, confronted by a police offensive, a Stalinist “purge” in Poland.

Proletarian and petty-bourgeois resistance in Poland penetrates the ranks of the Stalinist party, proving the social and political weakness of the invader’s regime. Although this resistance, this popular rebellion, cannot attain the Yugoslavian level, threatened as it is with physical destruction, its presence constitutes the proof that the crisis of the regime has penetrated to the “ruling heights.” Until now the Stalinist regime has no more succeeded in destroying the underground resistance than did the Nazi regime. It seems that no matter how perfect a police regime may be, it cannot destroy the will of a people to struggle.

Benes, Gomulka, Zhdanov and Tito are names and phenomena that mark the rifts and perhaps the decomposition of the Stalinist regime. In any case, they prove the existence of its crisis and its transitory character.

There would appear to be a contradiction between Zhdanov’s death and the Stalinist offensive in Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Balkans. Zhdanov’s death would seem to indicate a Russian withdrawal in Western Europe, particularly in Germany, and concessions to capitalism. Stalin enjoys offering heads on a platter to his “Wartime Comrades,” to his adversaries whom he wishes to deceive. War in the immediate future not having been decided upon, Stalin offers Zhdanov’s head in order to deceive the Anglo-Americans. He may perhaps make concessions in Berlin and Western Europe. And he may try to “arrange matters” with Tito in the Balkans.

But meanwhile he consolidates his positions in conquered Europe. The complete incorporation of Poland, Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria constitutes the condition sine qua non of a new offensive against his imperialist rivals, perhaps a world war which can be precipitated by the process of decomposition in the Stalinist empire.

Andrzej Rudzienski Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 8 October 2018