French Communist Party 1927
Written: by Henri Barre, Louis Beors, Marguerite Faussecave,
Suzanne Girault and Albert Treint, November 22 1927;
Source: Cahiers du Communisme, Special issue, 1927;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2005.
For the Leninist Unity of the Party and the International
Stalin began the split.
As Lenin predicted in his testament, Stalin is leading the Russian party to a split.
Up until now the split methodically prepared by Stalin and his partisans appeared as a threat. Serious, beyond a doubt, but not imminent.
But now the Stalinist split is in the process of being realized.
Stalin expels Russian militants in the hundreds. He has members of the party thrown in prison. He has thrown from the party the two chiefs of the Leninist opposition: Zinoviev and Trotsky.
Stalin thus shows his decisive wish to carry out to completion the split he began in the Russian party and the International.
Stalin, who incidentally is wrong in the extreme, thinks he can thus tranquilly pursue his opportunist policies in the USSR and on an international scale.
In a party with a proletarian base and of communist principles opportunism can only make its way and maintain itself by falsifying information and squelching discussion, thus making it impossible for the communist masses to elaborate a correct policy and to control the activity of its leaders.
Capitulation by Stalin before the traitors of the General Council during the Anglo-Russian Committee in Berlin last April, capitulation by Stalin before the Chinese bourgeoisie and its generals; an ever more accentuated retreat before the kulaks, the Nepmen and the bureaucrats internally, before British and world imperialism externally; a policy recognizing Tsarist debts, putting in danger the monopoly on foreign commerce and shaking the foundations of the dictatorship of the proletariat: it’s against all this that the best communists in the USSR and the whole world are rising up.
In order to develop these evil policies, Stalin and his partisans in the International ceaselessly aggravate an internal regime of oppression and bureaucratic submission.
Such a regime is nothing but a caricature of the democratic centralism preached and applied by Lenin.
Such a regime represents, not the iron discipline of the communist vanguard of the proletariat, but the growing and increasingly brutal pressure exercised by the classes and social strata hostile to the proletariat and against its communist vanguard.
In France the nucleus that is currently leading the party has just furnished a typical example of the methods of bureaucratic squelching and of the splitting designs of the partisans of the Stalin group.
The last Central Committee, that of November 9 and 10, was convoked under unheard of conditions of irregularity and scandal.
The leading nucleus of the party abused the secret character of the Central Committee in order to substitute for it an assembly composed in an absolutely arbitrary manner.
Many members of the Central Committee only received their convocations a few hours before the meeting.
The meetings were arranged in such a way as to render it impossible for a number of members to find the meeting place and participate in its work.
This was even the case for Renaud Jean, who is nevertheless a member of the Political Bureau.
As concerns our comrade Beors, the scandal went beyond all limits.
Comrade Beors is currently the only member of the Central Committee who works in a factory.
He wasn’t convoked.
Having presented himself at the party seat, it was officially declared to him that “there isn’t a meeting of the Central Committee” and that “he can return to his factory.”
The party secretariat now claims that Beors was removed because, subject of serious accusations, he has been referred to the Control Commission.
It is true that for months Beors has been the object of an abominable slander campaign, as it is increasingly the custom to carry out against the opposition in Russia and in the whole International.
But it was Beors who, in order to sweep aside the calumnies, himself demanded to be brought before the Control Commission. It was only after much resistance that Beors finally obtained the possibility of justifying himself before the Control Commission.
And the latter, at the moment when Beors has been arbitrarily removed from the Central Committee, has not yet rendered its verdict on the affair.
With such methods calumny becomes all-powerful. There is no need for proof when you are dealing with an oppositionist.
This is how the leading nucleus of the Party treats a factory worker, a member of the Central Committee, guilty only of not servilely bowing before Stalin’s opportunism and his partisans in France.
The convocations addressed to those who hadn’t openly been removed had no ordre du jour.
At a time when the most serious questions are being posed before the party and the International no document allowing their in-depth study was given in advance to the members of the Central Committee.
On the other hand, the privileged or lucky ones who made it to the pseudo-Central Committee received a packet of majority documents so voluminous – several hundred pages – that an attentive reading of them would have required several days of work.
In the eyes of no honest member of our party can this pseudo-Central Committee be assimilated to the true Central Committee that came out of the Lille Congress.
It’s a matter of an assembly arbitrarily composed by the leading nucleus of the party, an irregular assembly arbitrarily substituted by it for the regular Central Committee.
Every honest member of the party will proclaim invalid the decisions that came out of this irregular assembly.
It should be noted in passing that the fact of having convoked the Central Committee at the public seat of the Paris region shows the complete fiasco of the ridiculous attempt at clandestinity realized by the leadership.
And it’s this pseudo-Central Committee that, among other decisions, most of which remain unknown to the party, has just pronounced the expulsion of Treint from the Central Committee.
All the healthy forces in the party will raise the most energetic of protests against this expulsion.
In the first place, the expulsion of Treint, from the sole point of view of communist legality, is against the statutes.
If in the past analogous measures were taken it was, not in violation of communist statutes, but in violation of old social-democratic statutes in contradiction with those of the International.
The Lille Congress placed the Party’s statutes in harmony with those of the International, and barely has a year gone by and the opportunist leadership of our French Party, in the interests of the Stalin group, already deliberately violates the party charter.
Treint sent to Leboursier, a member of the Party, a non-secret document written by him and addressed to the Executive of the International. Even though this act has no fractional character, Treint was condemned for it by the August Central Committee. This act can thus not serve as the basis for his expulsion.
It is false that Treint had negotiations with the Ruth Fischer group or with French Bordigists.
It is false that Treint tried to procure the addresses of union militants.
It is false that Treint used the apparatus of the ARAC to support his policies.
All of these accusations rest on nothing. They were cast about only to put pressure on the members of the Central Committee in order to more easily obtain Treint’s expulsion from them.
The most characteristic of these baseless accusations is that which holds Treint responsible for the publication of a pamphlet by Comrade Gaston Faussecave, a pamphlet that reproduces important documents by the Russian Opposition.
This undisciplined act committed by Gaston Faussecave should not only be judged from a formal point of view. Those truly responsible for this act are our opportunist leaders who, in contempt of their precise and repeated commitments have refused to provide the party, which dozens of times expressed its wish to know them, the essential documents of the Russian opposition.
It is not against Gaston Faussecave that sanctions should be taken, but against those who hide the truth from the party.
In the face of the irregular pseudo-Central Committee of November, in the face of the scandalous procedures of pressure and falsehoods through which Treint’s expulsion were obtained and refused by the regular Central Committee of September, we proclaim that expulsion null and void, and against it we call out to the entire party, fully informed and regularly consulted.
Despite all the pretexts invoked to remove Treint from the Central Committee, the real reason for that shamefully arbitrary act should be sought in the political declaration he addressed last August to both our party’s Central Committee and the Executive of the International, a declaration which pronounced itself energetically against the policies of the Stalin group in China and the USSR.
We proclaim ourselves in solidarity with the political opinions expressed by Treint in his declaration.
Before the ever more serious opportunist errors, before the increasingly arbitrary repressive and openly schismatic measures of the Stalin group in the USSR, as in all sections of the International, we consider it our imperious duty as Communists to express our point of view on the great national and international questions that are being posed before the entire International in order for it to be submitted to the examination of the party.
We should have presented our platform at the last Central Committee.
Our document would already be in the hands of the leadership if the irregular and scandalously arbitrary procedures employed by the leading nucleus hadn’t prevented the holding of a regular Central Committee.
The threats of expulsion from the party brandished at the end of the resolution of the last pseudo-Central Committee against several comrades guilty of being in solidarity with the Russian Opposition, show the determination on the part of the opportunist leaders in France, like that of the Stalin group in the USSR, to empty the party of any oppositional and Leninist elements before beginning a discussion on the opportunist and schismatic policies knowingly practiced both here and there.
The proof of this is indisputably furnished by the decision taken to begin the discussion on the expulsions of Trotsky and Zinoviev in the French party only after the Russian party congress, prepared by Stalin, will have aggravated the regime of mass expulsions, thus permitting the split to be completed in practice.
The French party should rise up against any diversionary maneuvers that mask the imminent peril of the split that Stalin is preparing to complete.
The “open letter” addressed to the members of the party by the last pseudo-Central Committee is a typical example of these diversionary maneuvers.
This “open letter” belatedly and insufficiently recognized a small part of the errors committed, only to again delude the workers, who are beginning to see things clearly in order to rally them to the opportunist leadership of the party and to turn their attention from the split that Stalin wants to carry out, in the USSR at first, and then in the International.
In the USSR the preparations of the 15th Congress of the Russian party are being carried out in conditions that are a challenge to the entire Bolshevik past of the party.
The Communist masses know nothing of the political opinions of the Opposition. Stalin substitutes for discussion an abominable campaign of slander in the whole International.
The Leninist opposition has nothing in common with the White Guard plots fabricated by one of Stalin’s agents provocateurs.
L’Humanité published the ignominious article by Vaillant-Couturier on this subject. But it hides the accusatory, clear and categorical denial by Zinoviev and Trotsky.
The pseudo-Congress of the Russian party that is going to meet December 1 is being prepared outside of any discussion, through mass exclusions, imprisonments, slander campaigns, and exile.
Supported by an entirely bureaucratized apparatus, which in reality makes decisions on its own and imposes on the party the ideas of the leading fraction, Stalin was able to declare to worker delegations made up of those of no party, socialists, and the Confederated, that the Opposition will have no delegates at the 15th Congress.
Nevertheless, no one can deny that the opposition within our brother party of the USSR has many partisans. A Congress not convoked under the sign of the GPU, which tracks down not counter-revolutionaries but true Communists, would be capable of working at the indispensable and urgent rectification within the Russian party.
But Stalin, in order to maintain his opportunist policies, and despite the growing discontent of the workers and poor peasants, is ridding himself by all possible means of all revolutionary and alert elements of the Russian party, and is preparing to dictate to the 15th Congress those measures permitting him to complete the split.
At the current time the salvation of the Russian party, of the International, and of the Russia revolution is in our hands.
All sincerely revolutionary elements should rise up with all their energy against the split wished for by Stalin in the USSR, in France, and in the whole International.
No one must be allowed to make the party of Lenin an opportunist party, emptied of its left elements and amputated of two of its best leaders.
The International cannot be allowed to be increasingly led by former Mensheviks and Social Democrats like Martinov and Smeral.
At present the gravest responsibilities weigh on each of us.
Before the crime can be committed we are issuing a cry of alarm.
We are persuaded that all the healthy elements of our party, that all the sincerely revolutionary elements, will raise their voices without delay and will know how to make themselves heard.
Down with the Stalinist split!
Long Live International Leninist Unity!
Henri Barre, Louis Beors, Marguerite Faussecave,
Suzanne Girault, Albert Treint
Members of the Central Committee
Paris November 22,1927