Lovestone Group and the Opposition

A Political Swindle Exposed

(March 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 16, 6 March 1933, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The current issue of the Workers Age, organ of the Lovestone Right wing, contains the following attack upon the Opposition which we quote in full:

“But the most pitiful figure is cut by the Trotskyites. They, who not so long ago (Militant, July 25, 1931) insisted that it is ‘absurd’ to think that the ‘imperialists will welcome a Fascist dictatorship in Germany’, who sagely informed us that ‘on the contrary, they (the imperialists) have every reason to reinforce and support the social democracy and parliamentary forms’, who were so sure (In 1931)! that ‘it has never yet been demonstrated that Fascism can have a stable endurance in such a highly industrialized country as Germany’, these people, who later (Militant, Nov. 12, 1932) saw the “Nazi social reservoir of voting strength well nigh exhausted’ so that the Hitlerites ‘must strive to fulfill their aims by violent seizure of power’, these people who branded as ‘opportunism’ the first calls of the Communist Opposition for a united anti-Fascist front, these people who even today (Militant, Feb. 24, 1933) regard Hitler as the ‘screen’ for Hugenburg, who can hopefully assert that ‘the chief instruments of power are not in Hitler’s hands’, who echo the official Communist party that ‘the social democracy is the most important prop of bourgeois domination’, under all, circumstances all the time, these same people now have the audacity to declare (Militant, Feb. 4, 1933) that ‘the Left Opposition was the first to sound the alarm signal that Fascism was threatened (?), that it had to be met by a united front of all workers organizations!’ Is this merely shabby self-deception or is it outright political swindling?”

Not bad, what? More exactly, it might be bad if it were all true. But when the Lovestone press “quotes” the Left Opposition, the very first thing to do is to take it for granted that it is deliberately misquoting us, distorting our point of view, or resorting to slight forgery. The present instance is a case in point. Let us examine from the files of the Militant the sections presumably quoted by Lovestone, so that one may judge who is engaged in “outright political swindling”.

Here is what the Militant of July 25, 1931 really said:

”At the present time, the main prop of capitalism in Germany is the social democracy functioning through ‘democratic’ forms. Its strength derives from the illusions of millions of workers in the democratic deceptions. It is absurd to think that the imperialists will discard this mighty bulwark against revolution as long as it serves its purpose. Only when the majority of the workers turn away from the social democracy to the Communists will the capitalists turn to the last resort – naked force expressed through Fascism. A Fascist dictatorship, by its ruthless abolition of democratic forms, would thereby turn away millions of workers from the support of the regime, and correspondingly undermine it. It has never yet been demonstrated that Fascism can have a stable endurance in such a highly industrialized country as Germany, with a powerful and well-organized working class. The imperialist bourgeoisie whose fate is bound up with the fate of German capitalism, have no interest to plunge into this desperate alternative, of their own volition. On the contrary, they have every reason to reinforce and support the social democracy and the parliamentary forms which have served them and saved them up to now. They will not risk Fascism until they have to.” (Our emphasis)

All the difference in the world, isn’t there! Now, the Militant of November 12, 1932:

”As we have pointed out previously in these columns, the Hitlerites cannot hope to arrive in power by the smooth parliamentary train. The preceding election already indicated that, so far as elections are concerned, the Nazi social reservoir of voting strength was well-nigh exhausted. Not a parliamentary movement in the ordinary bourgeois sense, the Fascists must strive to fulfill their aims by the violent seizure of power and die more violent extirpation of all proletarian movements and institutions. Or, if the necessity for such a step is obviated by the collapse of the proletarian movement – as happened in October 1923 – the bourgeoisie saves itself the expense of the inevitably ensuing sanguinary conflict, a period of ‘stabilization’ sets in, and the Fascist movement begins to decompose. And with it, the revolutionary proletarian party, From this it does not follow that the Fascist danger to the German proletariat is now eliminated, or even definitively on the decline. Such a conclusion can be drawn only by those for whom the class struggle begins at the ballot box and ends with the parliamentary mandate.” (Our emphasis)

Now, finally, for the Militant of Feb. 24, 1933, containing the article by comrade Trotsky:

“Hugenberg’s government represents the quintessence of social parasitism. But just because of this, when it became necessary, in its pure state, it became impossible. Hugenberg requires a screen. As yet today, he cannot hide behind the mantle of a Kaiser, and he is forced to resort to the brown shirt of the Nazi. If one cannot obtain the sanction of the highest heavenly powers through the monarchy for the property owners, there remains the sanction of the reactionary and unbridled rabble. The investiture of Hitler with power served a twofold purpose: first, to decorate the camarilla of property owners with the leaders of a ‘national movement’; and secondly, to place the fighting forces of Fascism at the direct disposal of the proprietors.”

Further on in the same article:

“When the official Communist party states that the social democracy is the most important prop of bourgeois domination, it repeats only that idea which served as the point of departure for the organization of the Third International. When the bourgeoisie invites it to power, the social democracy casts its vote for the capitalist regime. The social democracy tolerates (suffers) any bourgeois government that tolerates the social democracy. But even when completely discarded from power, the social democracy continues to support bourgeois society, recommending to the workers that they conserve their forces for battles, for which it is prepared never to issue a call. By paralyzing the revolutionary energy of the proletariat, the social democracy provides bourgeois society with an opportunity to remain alive under conditions when it is no longer capable of living, thus turning Fascism into a political necessity.”

As for branding the Brandlerist theory and practise of the “united front” opportunist, the Left Opposition pleads guilty. In theory and practise, Brandlerism has already been tested: in 1923, when it led the German working class to defeat and demoralization, as attested, among more decisive things, by dozens of articles and speeches by the same Lovestone, from 1923 to 1929!

While we are on the subject of Messrs. Swindlers and Forgers of the Lovestone group, it is instructive to point out that in their whole “critical review” on the theme of the German crisis, Lovestone does not mention by a single word the role of the Communist International and its “leader” Stalin! Not a word about the criminal silence of the C.I. Not a syllable about Stalin’s treacherous muteness on what is happening in Germany. And for cause! Lovestone gives a fig for the German revolution. Bah! He’s against Browder and Co.; he’s for Stalin, whom he zealously offers his services as flunkey-in-chief in the American party for the international Stalin apparatus. Therein, for him, lies the wisdom of the books and the sense of philosophy and the beginning of all good and proper things.

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