Daily Worker Decries Promoter
of the Amsterdam Congress

(January 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 4, 28 January 1933, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Out of the clear blue sky, we read the following comment under the International Notes written by “Robert Hamilton” in the Daily Worker of January 21, 1933:

“H.G. Wells, noted British novelist, has been engaged in a war of words with the London Morning Post, in which he endeavors to play the honest pacifist ... Strange words, indeed, for the author of the Outline of History! We recall this to warn workers of the two-faced pacifists such as H.G. Wells, who ten years after the World War shrieks his anti-war attitudes to the four winds, but keeps his mouth shut about the bombing of Irak tribesmen and Hindu revolutionists, and who will whoop it up for murder again when the next imperialist conflict breaks out.”

It would not be imagined from the violent tone of the Daily Worker that this is the first time that Wells has been endeavoring “to play the honest pacifist”. Were “Robert Hamilton” to give the full story, it would prove to be an inconvenient revelation of the fact that only a few months ago, the whole international Stalinist press was not only engaged in a big publicity campaign for H.G. Wells and his kidney, presenting him to the militant workers as “honest pacifists” but also in helping the “two-faced pacifists such as H.G. Wells” to “shriek his anti-war attitudes to the four wounds” through every megaphone the Comintern could put to his lips.

For Wells is one of the original signers of the Barbuse-Rolland-Stalin call for the notorious Amsterdam Congress which addressed itself to “all men and women of good will”. While the Bolshevik-Leninists of the Left Opposition were virtually driven from the tribunes of the international and national “anti-war” conferences, the Wellses of every country were hailed by the Comintern apparatus and press as “honest pacifists”, “sincere fighters against war”, “reliable friends of the Soviet Union”!

The Comintern abused the Opposition for demanding that an open call be addressed to the social democratic and reformist trade union organizations for a united front against the war danger. “We will not unite with the treacherous leaders.” But the “honest pacifist fighters” – with them they not only united in pathetic harmony, but they deluded – and continue to delude – the class conscious workers with the idea that the miserable masquerade of Amsterdam was a powerful weapon of struggle against imperialist war. We of the Left Opposition, even under the hail of calumny, warned that the petty bourgeois litterateurs, doctor’s, dentists, pacifists and generals without armies – represented nobody in particular and would add to the movement only deception and confusion. Wells is the first concrete example that the Stalinists themselves have been compelled to recognize – long after the fact and without any explanation. As a matter of fact, they “wisely” refrain from referring to Wells’ co-initiation of the Amsterdam Congress. It would be a little ... embarrassing.

If Wells is the first, there is no reason to think that he will be the last. The pamphlet recently issued on the Congress by the “American Committee”, announces that among the delegates “two were French socialist members of the Chamber of Deputies, Hamon and Poupy: another was Nicole, editor of Travail, a Swiss socialist paper. These socialists as a group passed a resolution in which they stated: ‘We decided to work zealously within our respective organizations to win them over for a united front against war, and for the defense of the Russian revolution’ ...”

Hamon and Poupy are still deputies; Poupy is even a member of the Permanent International Committee. As every two-year old child knows, France is the principal backer of Japan in its Manchurian adventure, and that in the most direct sense. What have Messrs. Hamon and Poupy said in the Chamber of Deputies – to say nothing about what they have done among the masses outside the Chamber – concerning the piratical war Japan is conducting in Manchuria, and the role of French imperialism in it? To our knowledge – nothing!

And the Amsterdam Committee itself, what is it doing about the erupting volcano in Manchuria which threatens to engulf the East in a new world war? It is doing the maximum it is capable of doing: nothing! The movement which was conceived as a joint substitute for the Communist struggle against imperialist war and the united front of all the workers for action against the war danger – proves to be impotent and passive when confronted by the first situation that calls for action. The Amsterdam Committee does not act – it cannot. It does not even speak. And what could it say about so acute and unambiguous a situation as the Manchurian conflict, what proposals could it make that would harmonize with the views of the Communists on the one hand, and the H.G. Wellses, Henri Barbusses, General von Schoenaichs and Ala Nazimovas on the other?

What the Opposition once said about the Anglo-Russian Committee, holds good for the Amsterdam Committee: At the moment of real crisis (when deeds are required and not merely words), as the danger of war and attack upon the Soviet Union becomes more acute, this Committee will reveal either its silent impotence or – its treachery of the illusions it aroused, or more accurately, of the illusions which the Stalinists aroused in its name.

Before the Communists are presented with new shocks in the form of the sudden discovery of new “Jingo H.G. Wells” (as the Daily Worker now calls him), this whole monstrosity of Amsterdam must be removed from the scene. Before the road can be clear, the obstacles must be cast aside. The Amsterdam masquerade is such an obstacle. The Communists must start from the beginning again. At the very outset, the party must renounce the opportunistic idea of forming a permanent organization with non-Communist elements for the “leadership” in the movement to educate the workers about the struggle against its oppressors. That is the function of the party alone. But the party must take the initiative in the formation of a muted front of all workers’ organizations, the socialist parties and the trade unions included, for a joint struggle based upon a minimum program of action, concrete and clearly defined, and not going (i.e., attempting to go) beyond the strict limits within which such a united front is inevitably circumscribed.

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