From The Militant, Vol. III No. 24, 21 June 1930, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
Equipped with thousands of dollars for preliminary expenses, the Senate has launched its star-chamber “investigation” into Communist “plotting” in the United States. The Hoover government, the National Civic Federation, and the American Federation of Labor are a single united front. With the ghost of the infamous Palmer presiding, cabinet officials, labor fakers, stool-pigeons, hungry politicians and the remainder of the unsavory crew burdening society, will testify to the existence of a “Red Conspiracy”.
Outside, in every city of the United States, members of an army of six million unemployed form in bread line. In the shops, relentlessly driven by the speed-up, workers face the menace of wage-cuts. Master-incited Southern mobs burn and lynch poor Negroes. Militant labor organizers of the unorganized and the unemployed in Gastonia, Georgia, California and New York are imprisoned, sent to the chain gangs, or threatened with the electric chair. But parasitical coupon clippers garner the biggest dividends in years. Congress stamps approval on a Tariff to assure the corporations still vaster monopoly profits. Military expenditures for the next imperialist struggle reach the highest peak in history.
The tribunals of the Spanish Inquisition sat in judgement over bourgeois protestantism. The Czarist autocracy sat in judgement over Russian revolutionaries. The United States Senate “investigates Communism”. The past is replete with judgements of the dying over the living of the forces of reaction over those of revolution. But when have such investigations and judgements permanently halted the advance of history or the development of the class struggle? The spectre of Communism which Marx marked as haunting the European bourgeoisie of 1848 has materialized in the Soviet power of today. Nor could any Holy Alliance, Romanoff Ochrana, massacre of Communards or strategy of Bismarck prevent it.
It needs no investigation to establish that international Communism is a greater danger to world capitalism than ever before. Communism is an open conspiracy. “The Communists have always disdained to conceal their aims”. We openly conspire to organize the workers for immediate improvements in their living conditions. We openly conspire to avail ourselves of every strike, every lockout, every demonstration to sharpen the edge of the class struggle, to lay bare the process of capitalist exploitation and government suppression
We openly conspire to rouse the workers to resist the mobilization plans for the next war by a revolutionary struggle for the defence of the Soviet Union. We openly conspire to separate the masses in the American Federation of Labor from the treacherous and bureaucratic misleadership of the William Greens and the Mathew Wolls. We openly conspire to organize the toilers of the United States for the proletarian revolution to overthrow the capitalist system and replace the business dictatorship by a revolutionary Workers’ Government.
But as a matter of fact the capitalist class has no illusions about the nature of the Communist conspiracy. The investigation is a cover for something else. The ruling class aims to master the deepening economic crisis and improve its position for a sharper attack on the world market and by an offensive for wage reductions. The employers are fully aware that as a result of the mass unemployment and the wage-cutting offensive, tens of thousands of workers hitherto faithful to the traditions of capitalist politics and the craft prejudices of the A.F. of L. will be radicalized by their experience of misery. They are further conscious that the leaven in the working class is the Communist movement, that the Communists understand the laws of capitalist economy and the fraud of bourgeois democracy. To suppress the Communists, to terrorize these proletarian leaders who croon no pacifist and liberal lullabies, becomes the entering wedge of the capitalist offensive against the whole working class.
In this situation very heavy responsibilities rest upon the leadership of the Communist Party. Sectarianism in these circumstances would be tantamount to political crime against the interests of the proletariat- The possibilities for the advance of the revolutionary movement are great. But to avail ourselves of this history opportunity, the Party must give leadership to a UNITED FRONT movement against the capitalist offensive. The Party will not be able to do so until it breaks with its present course of blind factionalism and adventurism. The situation must be soberly analyzed for what it is. There is no immediate “acute revolutionary crisis”. There are yet no “offensive revolutionary struggles” on the horizon. The masses have not yet deserted the labor bureaucrats and the social reformists. The capitalist class of this country has not yet lost its confidence and its power to rule. But the defensive struggles of the workers can with correct leadership become the starting point for revolutionary struggles in the future. The Party must weed out the verbiage of the “third period” or the Party will be wrecked for years.
The Left Communists (Communist League of America) are profoundly opposed to the present Party regime and its revisionist theories on an international scale. But in the interests of the promotion of the workers’ United Front, we are prepared to support every step that the Party undertakes for a concrete program of action against the capitalist offensive. Once started in this direction, we are confident that the momentum of the class struggle will vindicate to the Party membership the full justice not only of the strategy we advocate for the every-day struggle but the historical validity of the revolutionary Leninist principles which motivate our tactics.
Last updated: 13.10.2012