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T. Stamm

A United Front from the Top?

(April 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 21, 1 April 1933, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

At the first session of the Congress Organization Committee of the N.Y. Free Tom Mooney Conference, in which Stalinists have the control, a serious discussion arose over the question of the united front. The question arose in connection with the problem of broadening the conference.

It was the unanimous sentiment of the Committee that the crux of the problem was the approach to the SP and AF of L. It was proposed to send a delegation to the SP City Central Committee and the AF of L Central Trades and Labor Alliance to invite them into the work of the conference. To bring them in, it was proposed to offer them a number of places on the Congress Organization Committee equal to the number held by any other single group. It was further proposed that the invitation specify that all participants agreed in advance not to “attack” other organizations. Nessin was elected to this delegation.

The Left Opposition which is represented on the Committee proposed that the Committee issue a leaflet to the Socialist and AF of L workers asking them to raise in their organizations the questions of why their organizations did not participate in the Conference and asking them to demand that they participate as organizations. This was voted down. The vote was one for; all the others against.

Following the rejection of our proposal, Winter proposed an open letter to the SP and AF of L embodying the proposal of the delegation. A lively passage of arms took place over this proposition between Nessin and Winter. Nessin was opposed to the open letter. He argued that we must give the appearance of sincerity to our proposal to the SP and AF of L. He was afraid that an open letter would frighten them away.

The Left Opposition proposed an open letter to the SP and AF of L asking them to appoint committees to meet with a sub-committee of the Congress Committee to work out the means of drawing them into the work of the conference. The motion was defeated. Winter’s carried.

As it stands now the party is swinging to the Right. The people who but yesterday thundered that the united front from below was the simon-pure Marxian version, are today beginning to tread in the steps of the Anglo-Russian Committee policy. From the united from below the Stalinist zigzag is moving toward the united front from the top. Therein lies the danger.

Bureaucratic Centrism cannot consistently carry out a correct policy. In the process of oscillating from the extreme of ultra-Leftism to the extreme of Right opportunism Stalinism strikes a point at which it appears to coincide with the Marxian policy of the Left Opposition. The Left Opposition strives with all its influence to hold the policy to the correct line. But the nature of bureaucratic Centrism makes this impossible for the Stalinists. They continue their course.

At the present the direction is toward the united front from the top. Left Oppositionists must be on guard.

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Last updated: 4 September 2015