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A. Rudzienski

Threat of a New Civil War in Poland

Russia Wars Against Polish People

(28 February 1949)

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 9, 28 February 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In December 1948 there took place the “unity” congress between the two “workers’ parties,” the PPR and the pseudo-PPS. [PPR is the Stalinist “Workers Party” and by “pseudo-PPS” the writer is referring to the section of the Socialist Party which went over to the Stalinists and remained legal.—Ed.]

Although the Stalinists declared that the split in the workers’ movement between reformism and Marxism, between nationalism and internationalism, was now healed, the fusion congress in reality represented the funeral of the Polish workers’ movement, crushed by Stalin’s secret police. The role of hangman and gravedigger fell to Boleslaw Bierut, puppet president of Poland by grace of his boss, Stalin. Our readers will recall that Bierut was chief of the Polish section of the GPU, informer and hangman of his former comrades, liquidator of the Polish Communist Party and assassin of all the prominent Polish Marxists and revolutionaries.

It was to this creature that Stalin entrusted the task of teaching “Marxism-Leninism” to the Polish proletariat and of engaging in a critical evaluation of the 70 years of revolutionary workers’ struggle in Poland. It is well known that the Polish workers’ movement divided into two tendencies in the ’80s of the last century: one, represented by the PPS (Socialists), argued for the reconstruction of Poland as the first point in the socialist program and its separation from Russia; the other, represented by the SDKPL (Social-Democracy of Poland and Lithuania), with Rosa Luxemburg as its leader, struggled for the social revolution in all Russia, upheld an internationalist criterion and argued for the union of the Polish and Russian proletariat as a condition for the liberation of both.

In her struggle against Polish nationalism, Rosa Luxemburg fought the program of national independence for Poland, Marx and Engels’ old slogan, and counterposed to it Russo Polish revolutionary solidarity and the autonomy of the historical territory of the Polish-Lithuanian state.

Although Rosa Luxemburg’s opposition to the program of national independence stemmed from her struggle against a diseased nationalism and from her program of international socialist revolution, as the very name of the SDKPL indicates, Rosa Luxemburg defended the historic rights of Poland to all the territories which belonged to her before the partitions beginning in 1772.

Purpose of Conference

Now Bierut is attempting to utilize the internationalist program of the SDKPL for the vile aims of Russian imperialist policy, using the “internationalist” banner against the social and national resistance of the oppressed Polish people. The new party, the PZPR (United Polish Workers Party) is usurping not only the inheritance of the SDKPL. but also that of the CPP and the Left-PPS (formed in 1906 by Koszutska, Walecki and others as a reaction against Pilsudski’s faction).

Needless to say, the fusion congress was empty of ideological content and devoid of theoretical discussion, the main “theoretician” being none other than one of Stalin’s police. The ex-secretary general of the pseudo-PPS, Cyrankiewicz, presented some “self-criticism” in the name of the pseudo-PPS, severely attacking the past of the PPS. The secretariat of the “united” party is composed of Bierut, as president, and three secretaries: Zambrowski, Zawadzki and Cyrankiewicz, the first three being members of the defunct Stalinist Workers Party (PPR). In both the politburo and orgburo, as well as in ihe Central Committee, the pseudo-PPS has a minority representation of about 30 per cent. There are no longer any obstacles to hinder the secret police in effecting their frontal offensive against the Polish peasantry, in expropriating and "collectivizing it in the Stalinist manner of the Ukraine.”

This purpose was again confirmed by the new polemic against Gomulka delivered at the “unity” congress by one of his former supporters, Kliszko, by Bierut’s statements and the declarations of Radkiewicz, Minister of Security (Bezpieka), who threatened the “reaction” (the opposition) with reprisals for attempts against the agricultural cooperatives and collectives already established. (It is interesting that the Polish peasantry sees in the state farms a continuation of the hated latifundia system and rebels against them.) Radkiewicz accused the opposition of direct dependence on the United States, and of carrying on espionage in its behalf.

Mass Arrests

The reports of the world press confirm Radkiewicz’s threats, since a short time ago new mass arrests of former soldiers in the underground army were made in Warsaw, on the ground that they were preparing new terrorist attempts against the government. Until now, all the opposition parties have abstained from an active and armed struggle against the regime. It would appear that the supposed attempts are the work of the Stalinist police itself.

The class struggle, the social war, grows sharper in Poland. A civil war of the bureaucracy against the worker and peasant masses, with the aim of despoiling them of their remaining possessions and reducing them to the level of slaves, is on the order of the day. It is a war of Russian imperialism against the oppressed Polish people.


Threat of New Mass Deportations

Some two months ago Warsaw was the scene of a trial before a military tribunal of representatives of the workers’ opposition, leaders of the authentic Socialist Party, headed by C. Puzak, ex-prisoner of the czar in 1906, in Schlusselberg, former secretary-general of the PPS in independent Poland, ex-president of the National Council (underground parliament during the Nazi occupation), one of the leaders of the Warsaw uprising of 1944, captured and condemned before a Stalinist tribunal in 1945.

Puzak answered the accusations, of the MVD [secret police] with scornful silence, and was condemned to ten years in prison, a sentence which was reduced to five years by virtue of an amnesty. Puzak broke his silence to declare that he could not and would not alter his beliefs. The trial of the PPS accompanied the liquidation of the pseudo-PPS and its fusion with the Stalinist Workers Party (PPR), just as the trial of the Polish resistance government in Moscow in 1945 accompanied the creation of a Polish government of “national unity,” a regime formed under the auspices of the three imperialist powers and which Mikojajczyk, the peasant leader, and Stanczyk of the PPS joined.

The methods of the MVD are contemptible and odious in their cynicism: one hand applies the whip to the rebels, the other scatters crumbs as a reward for capitulation to the cowards and opportunists.

Profound Meaning

The trial has a profound political and practical significance: the Polish people have been accused before the bar. of the MVD of aspiring to national independence and social emancipation. With whip in hand, the MVD has ordered it to accept dependence on Russia and national and social servitude as the ideal of “true, national independence.” For this reason, it falsifies and twists history and the glorious tradition of the Polish workers’ movement, especially its revolutionary branch, represented by the SDKPL, the party of Rosa Luxemburg.

The practical purpose of the trial is to aid in the domestication of the proletarian and peasant masses of Poland, with the ultimate aim of incorporating Poland directly into Stalin’s Russian empire. After the “fusion” of the two “workers’ parties,” the most important problem remains the destruction of the economic independence of the peasantry, the expropriation of its means of production by the totalitarian bureaucracy, in order to reduce it to a slave of the Stalinist state.

Although the enormous majority of the Polish peasantry are poor, possess small holdings and need state aid, the Stalinist government strives to destroy the peasantry by all possible means. This reactionary, anti-peasant program is masked by beautiful slogans of “socialist cooperation and collectivization,” when the technical base of Polish agriculture is far from such a possibility.

Poland today possesses between 800 and 1,000 tractors, whereas the socialization of the land calls for around 200,000 tractors. The collectivization of agriculture can only be a product of the technical development of the nation and not of Stalinist “ukases.” But the bureaucracy is implacable in its war against the laboring masses of town and country; its imperialist policy demands complete subjugation and oppression without limits, in order to crush each and every seed of resistance.

Calm Before Storm

This resistance on the part of the oppressed people even penetrates the politburo of the official Stalinist party. In a politburo session, the leader of the more capitulationist tendency toward Moscow, Berman, called the attention of the Russian MVD representative, Malinov (always present at the Polish session) to the fact that the return of the deported soldiers of the Polish underground army, the AK, from Siberia to Poland would placate Polish opinion. Malinov cynically told Berman that he did not think it would take place since it would not be in accord with “the interests of the Polish proletariat," because the “AKites” were working well in Russia (“re-educating themselves”), and that Comrade Berman “could study this at first hand in their company.” Thus spoke the representative of the GPU to a puppet leader of Polish Stalinism.

In another session, when the problem was posed of purging the pseudo-PPS before proceeding to the fusion of the two parties, the same Malinov cynically declared: "If the interests of the proletariat demand it, we shall deport 300,000 oppositionists to Russia; I can assure you that the USSR will aid you in carrying out this task.” A sepulchral silence accompanied Malinov’s cynical statement.

Today this sepulchral silence covers the partitioned, subjugated and oppressed country like a mantle of snow. “Order reigns in Warsaw” as in the times of Nicholas I, II and III. But it is the calm before the storm. The bureaucracy is preparing for the final assault on the peasantry.

It is a whim or, more precisely, a paradox of history which has decreed that under the existing conditions the peasant holding should become the last bulwark of national independence and political liberty. The relative economic independence of the poor and middle peasantry stands in the way of the greedy expansionism of reactionary totalitarianism and defends the laboring masses of town and country from the subhuman exploitation, oppression and subjugation by the totalitarian bureaucracy.

Malinov, the cynical Russian overseer and spy at the sessions of the Polish politburo, presents the program of deportation of 300,000 oppositionists to Russia, if “the interests of the proletariat demand it.” The laboring masses of Poland know already what this means.

But the day will come “when the people shall straighten their bent backs, and make the little czar (Stalin) and the other masters run,” as the old Russian song has it. And this day is awaited not only by the mistreated Polish people but by all the peoples subjugated and oppressed by the Stalinist autocracy, including the Russian people.

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