Tardy Acknowledgement

(February 1928)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 13, 27 February 1933, p. 2.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In the Izvestia, official Soviet government organ, of April 10, 1932, Karl Radek wrote an article proposing an alliance with American imperialism against Japan. Two days later, the statesmen of the Daily Worker, in enthusiastic salute to Radek’s proposal, denied the columns of this Communist paper with a rotten chauvinistic editorial. “This proposal”, it said, “means a new step in the peace policy of the Soviet Union.” In the Militant of April 16, 1932, we wrote that the editorial,

“completely devoid of a breath of proletarian revolutionism, is one of the most disgraceful pieces of cynical flirtation with chauvinism that has ever appeared in the Communist movement ... The Daily Worker, entirely consistent with the theory of socialism in one country, which means in practise the abandonment of every revolutionary principle in the alleged interests of defending the Soviet Union from military attack, picks up the Radek thread with all its implications elaborated upon even more shamelessly. Taking Radek’s cue, the editorial writer proceeds to address himself to the American ruling class in order to show it that its best imperialist interests lie in a break wth Japan and an alliance with the Soviets ... Now the party’s demand for the ‘expulsion of all Japanese diplomatic representatives from the U.S.’ becomes entirely clear ...”

For these sharp but entirely justified strictures upon the Stalinist politicians, we were at that time subjected to the vilest abuse. The ritualistic abjuration., – “counter-revolutionists, enemies of the Soviet Union, social-Fascists, renegades” – were spattered at us from every party tribune. Even the little Lovestone sect came rushing out of obscurity to give the Stalinists a “theoretical” foundation for their policy, equipped with all the trappings of a few Lenin quotations violently divorced from their context.

Ten months have passed since that dispute and we are now in a position to cast a balance – and what a balance! In the Draft Resolution for the Eighth Convention of the American party (Daily Worker, 2-1-1933) we learn with considerable astonishment and not a little gratification that:

“Extremely grave errors were committed by the Party when the robber attack of the Japanese imperialist armies in Manchuria placed the question of war before the American Party in a sharper and more real form than ever before ... While the Party correctly perceived that the contradictions between rival imperialisms must be utilized to the utmost by the revolutionary party, yet an inexcusably incorrect application of the correct principle was made in adopting for a period a conciliatory attitude towards the speculations of the bourgeois correspondents (What do you mean “bourgeois correspondents”? And Radek? – s.) about a possible ‘alliance’ between the U.S. and USSR, against Japan (Daily Worker, April 12), and by failure to distinguish between the correct Leninist utilization of antagonisms by a proletariat in possession of State power and the different forms such utilization by Communist parties in capitalist countries must take ... The incorrect application of the utilization of the contradictions between the imperialist powers tended to weaken our struggle against American imperialism. The campaign suffered further from a certain narrowing down of the mass movement because the Party mistakenly adopted as Party slogans those which were not the slogans of the conscious vanguard of the proletarian masses, but rather the slogans which express the unripe-revolutionary moods of the masses that are only now growing toward revolutionary consciousness (False! They were and are, right now, the slogans of the military chauvinist wing of the American bourgeoisie. – s.), slogans to which the Party must give conditional support but not put forward in its own name (‘Expel the Japanese imperialist representatives.’ etc.).”

Confused and unprincipled as is even this piece of “self-criticism” (not the least of its aims is to cover up the traces for the Moscow Stalinists), it is nevertheless a shamefaced acknowledgment that the criticism levelled against the Stalinists by the Militant was more than a little justified. We have no doubt that now, in view of the fact that we have been proved correct beyond dispute, the Stalinists will make up for it by multiplying their violent attacks upon the Left Opposition.

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