SA llrmAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1934 WORLD OF LABOR Lessons of the Spanish Revolution The massacres of workers continue.
After, the massacres and the Vienna says, the massacres and the Spanish days. This is a new defeat in the struggle of the workers against reaction in Europe, but a defeat whoeerevolutionary power strikes fear into the forces of the world counterrevolution.
Yes. On either side of the Atlantic, from the heroic Asturian miners to the thousands of fighters in Amsterdam and America the bourgeois counterrevolution has to reckon with the armed and tenacious resistance of the awakened masses. The blotting out of socialism which the bourgeoisie hopes to bring about by savage repression is everywhere shown to be a dream. The revolutionary workers movement, extending over the entire world may perhaps be retarded here and there by bloody reprossions but it can never be wiped out. But to overcome the defeats the rovolutionary proletarlan vanguard must be keenly alive to the epoch we are now living through, and especially to conditions in Europe.
Under the pressure of internal and international difficulties, the bourgeoisie in every country finds itself constrained to place itself on subversive and re actionary soil, that is to say, it is forced to abandon the soil of so cailed democracy and legality.
the bourgeoisie. as a whole, which causes civil war by arming fascism whose only issue on the international arena is a new slaughter of the people.
More than ever, the cannibalism of the ruling class on the one hand and the bloody sacrificw of the tellers on the other, should convince the people that there is only one method to abridge, to simplify, to reduce the deadly suffering caused by capitalist decay: revolutionary struggle. Struggle or death; revolutionary struggle or annihilation: in this manner the bourgeoisie, which is determined to destroy everything to save its doomed regime, irrevocably poses the question. Toilers, the example of Spain after that of Vienna, demonstrates again that the splendid heroism of the combatants does not suffice to assure victory over the enemy; undoubtedly physical force can only be defeated by physical force. With all our heart we are with our defeated brothers whatever their ten dency. But precisely in order to avenge the victims and to liberate the prisoners it is necessary to prepare the new struggle, and this preparation, in the first place, should consist of open implacable criticism of the mistakes and the weaknesses of the workers organizations themselves. After so many lies the proletariat needs the cure of truth.
The Spanish events should hclp the proletariat of other countries and particularly the French prolotariat to learn in the tire of their experience. The processes which are hatching in France have long ago taken a mature form in Spain.
The Socialist party, carried to power by the spontaneous revolution, made every effort to arrestit and to save the bourgeois regime. New revolutionary attempts were crushed. This policy of parliamentary socialism contributed in stabilizing and strengthening anarchism and syndicalism, two tendencies which are fatal for the revolution. The Stalinists, on their part, with their policy of social fascism (lid everything to repel the workers into anarchism or to kecp them in the parliamentary party.
It is this fatal triangle: social democracy, Stalin ism, anarchism, which has ruined the masses by doomlng to defeat a series of heroic attempts and by giving the reaction time to prepare and to arm itself.
The Socialist party finally understood (he mortal danger. It made serious preparations for struggle but in a few months it was not able to cfiace the fruits of its past policy. The anarcho syndicalists however, remained hostile to the socialist initiative and could not find anything better to do than to empty their rancor on the head of the revolution.
The reaction had thus gained the opportunity of free movement on the chess board by occupying one position after another.
But it would be futile to expect a new revolution now: it would be eqlmlly false to class Lerroux.
Gil Robles and the fascist groups in the same category. It is a matter of different classes and different political tendencies. Not the revolution is on the order of the day, but an internal conflict in the camp of those who have defeated the Spanish October. The party of the proletariat should carefully follow the internal relations in this camp, which is ten times more heterogeuous than Hitler camp and does not possess one one hundredth of the discipline of the Nazis. It. is superfluous to say that a sharp, even an armed conflict (which is hardly excluded. can again change the situation in favor of the proletariat.
Miserable phlllstines declare that military technique has emerged victorious from the revolution of the masses. They draw the conclusion that the armed struggle of the proletariat is condemned in advance.
Our conclusion is the direct opposite. Armed struggle which is the inevitable outcome of the class struggle of our epoch can only be victorious on the basis of a revolutionary policy which tests the cadres and wins the masses by giving them a clear analysis of the real situation.
The army of the revolution is not improvised at the minute, that struggle is forced on it by the enemy.
The working class must be prepared systematically or unremitting strugglqit must create the workers militias. That is the lesson that should be drawn from the Spanish events Civil war, like all war, requires methodical preparation, a firm and capable leadership. We know that only a revolutionary proletarian party can assure this leadership. But we do not draw the false conclusion from the fact that the existing parties of the two internationals, socialist and communist, have once again demonstrated their bankruptcy, and hence the necessity of new proletarian parties, that it is necessary first to build the new party in order to struggle against fascism. The proletarian vanguard has begun to build this party in struggle; and it is in this struggle that it. will grow in every country.
If the two internationals were capable of energetic initiative they long ago would have appealed to the working masses for the boycott against the butchers of the Spanish toilers. The negotiations in Brussels on the contrary, have demonstrated the complete bankruptcies of the two internationals, which still occupy the posts of leadership in the workers movement. While the workers in Spain battle arms in hand the delegates of the two bureaucracies from Moscow and Zurich hold fruitless and impotent negotiations in Brussels.
Workers, the road to victory still remains open to you. There is no time to lose. Unity of action is a step forward in barring the road to fascism. Eat In order that this unity of action be effective and efficacious it must not be limited to agreements between the tops, on the parliamentary sphere. it must involve and organise all the working people over the entire country; every barrier between the workers must be broken down; every worker no matter what his political opinion, can find himself in fraternal contact with his class brothers The workers all ance in Spain would have been able to oppose, and certainly would have been able to ofler a. much more stubborn and more effective resistance to the attacks of the troops of all Robles Lcrroux. if in advance It is Comrades Taylor and Terry, signatories to this statement were the organizers and leaders of the progressive opposition group which conducted a fight in the big electrical workers local number against the corrupt administrations of the local and of the International Brotherhood.
This remarkable fight, which attracted nationwide attention and claimed the life of one of the opposition members, resulted in the resignation of the International president, Breach. When renewed later, due to continued gangster methods employed by the local administration in shooting and wounding several of the opposition members. Taylor and Terry were the main organizers and leaders in a broad rank and file movement of many of building trades unions. The gangster officials were removed and convicted, much of the trade union racketeering was effw tively exposed and several of the progressive measures sponsored by the opposition were accepted by the electrical workers local union.
Comrade Taylor is a member of the (11. since 1926 and comrade Terry since 1930. Both are as active as ever in their leading capacities within the progressive trade union nim enienfrmEd.
a The present period demands the greatest decisivcucss and unity of action by the working class. The mistakes of the party both on the trade union and political field has resulted not only in retarding working class unity against capitalist reaction but has also served to strengthen the of hureaucrats and the social reformists.
The realization of the mistakes of the party, long ago transformed TIIE MILITAN NEW YORK. TRIBE UMONISTS QUIT JOIN MOVEMENT FOR JVEW PARTY IN ed. The strike conducted by the District Council and the independent strike movement led by local 499 created hesitancy in both camps. This condition was further and more seriously aggravated by the complete isolation of left wing influence and militnncy from the smite movement conducted by the )istriet Council. Independent strike action was smashed squarely on the head by Philip Zausner and his District Council No. Local 499 had its charter revoked and its members instructed to enter other locals.
The Painters Protective Association (rank and file opposition) will not so very quickly recover from this blow.
Aready ramblings of dissatisfaction with the party leadership issue from below! Many party members In sott tones and among themselves complain that Weinstock :irtiCIcs in the Daily Worker and the Rank and File Federatioulst proclaiming victorious achievements after each defeat do not by any chance turn defeat into victory but lay the groundwork for future defeats.
Weiustock believes in doing big things in a big way. He does not sit down with rank and file workers and together with them formulate policy. and tactics. No. Veinatock is a leader of the masses ven though he leads those very same masses completely out of the painfcrs union and into a state of dcmorallzation.
Local 27. Carpenters For years the party boasted about the good work of the party fraction within local 271. of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. he alrty fraction completely dominated local 2717. The members of the local paraded in the party line of march on May into tendencies alien to revolutiony Marxism. has finally forced upon me the conviction that my place is no longer in the ranks of the official Communist party. The impossibility of a free and frank discussion and a possible col eCtion of mistakes has strengthened that conviction.
For the past eight years have hm u engaged in trade union work.
The major portion of my activity has been confined to the of Building Trades Opposition. will therefore confine my statement to this aspect of party work. Inth Action sued the slogan of independent tion over and above the heads of the bureaucrats. The party frac tions everywhere were instructed to conduct independent strike action. Assuming for a moment that the slogan of independent action is correct, it is therefore logical to conclude from the content of the slogan itself, that the opposition forces within the trade unions are pi olx rly organized to conduct in dependent action over and above the heads of the bureaucrats.
The use of this slogan in the course of the actual struggle. however, soon convinced us that the party fractions within the trade unions were not only conducting independent struggles over and above the of bureaucrats but that those struggles were also carried on over and above the heads of the rank and file workers themselves.
Indifference to the organizational strength of the Opposition in the practical use of the slogan independent action soon resulted in liquidation not only of weakly nr gnnizcd opposniou groups and party fractions, but of entire local unions.
Local 499 Painters glaring example of the results of independent strike action will he found in reviewing the recent activities of the party fraction in Local 499 of the Painters, Decorators and Paper Hangers of America.
in the recent painters strike called by the ofilcials of District Council No. Local 499, under the influence of the party fraction, led the movement for independent strike action. organized its own picket lines, pulled jobs and conducted strike action over and above the heads of the bureaucrats.
Naturally much confusion result It had organized the tolling popu fatlon into fighting formations in every factory and every workers district.
Unity of action! But that should signify: preparation of the masses for the inevitable struggle. Form the workers militia. No more proletnrian massacres, but the organization of a victorious struggle.
Meetings. resolutions are useful for the Spanish proletariat in grips with frenzied reaction on the condition that this sympathy becomes active and energetic Petitions and meetings leave the Spanish bourgeoisie as well as those of other countries indifferent. In face of the cannibalism of the counter revolution let us organize our united front of struggle; let us create our workers militia. Long live the armed struggle of the Spanish workers! Long live the proletar ian power! Long live the IVth International, organizing the proletarian vanguard of all countries for the victory of world socialism. Tho International Sendai lat, International Omar int Imus The party some few years ago is. Day. supported the party rampuigns and sent delegates to the Hunger Mnrchcrs. All went well until the party considered the tempo of activization too slow and insisted upon independent action for local 2717. From then on it was independent action for local IZIIT both against and over the heads of the District Council in.
New York and the Executive Council of the Brotherhood.
In the conflict with the District Council the party instructed its: fraction in local 2717 to prevent the local from paying per capita tax to the General Office of the brotherhood. But the General Office with the help of the District. onncil simply liquidated the local.
Local 2717 a single local one out of more than 25 locals in New York City and vicinity, was forced into independent action.
Had the party fraction within local 271? coupled the fight with a program, on an mitt local ha. s, dealing with such demands as (1)
lower dues. 2) protection of the union standing of the unemployed. ii) free speech and democracy. 4)
reduction of the salaries of officials.
both the party fraction and local 2717 would today be on firm ground! Such a program if properly applied on the basis of mobilizing nll locals, should have resulted in the creation of a broad rank and file infer local movement capable of effectively dealing with the corrupt officials of the New York District Council and of transforming the local unions into fighting instru»
ments of the workers.
What is theresult of this kind of independent action. In both instances those of the carpenters local 2717 and pointers local 499, the left wlng had obtained a strong basis.
Two local unions under its influence thus provided a good beginning for a serious fight against the reactionaries. It could have been extended by careful building of left wing groups in the other locals, cementing them all together and fighting on the basis of remaining within the of But the party followed the policy of cap ture and split with the result that it captured nothing, stands discred.
ited as a splitter and its fractions are now almost completely divorced: from the rank and file. They are a negligible factor in the life of the unions.
The position of the corrupt of officials has been strengthened at the expense of the rank and file into whose ranks temporary demor alization has set in as a result of the series of defeats prepared by the advance guard of the working class.
Rival Unions The creation of rival unions has been the party policy during the last several years and it is a sore spot which spreads its poison throughout the of Building Trades Opposition. By rival unions mean the artificial creation of new unions where the of already has a mass basis. The Independent Alteration Painters Union (T. ll. was organized some few years ago, with a wage scale and working conditions below that of the Brotherhood (A. of The Independent Alteration Painters Union grew rapidly in the first stages of its existence.
In the course of time there developed vicious warfare between the Brotherhood and Independent Union for the control of Alteration paintshops. In the course of these struggles the membership of the Independent union gave a good ac.
count of themselves. The rank and file proved themselves militant fighters against Zausner paid gangsters.
Zausner and his District Council No. lost no time in denouncing the Communists within the Brotherhood locals as dual unionists whose intention it was to split the Brotherhood. Zausner attempted to convince the rank and file that while their families were denied the necessities of life due to unemployment, the Communists had on gnnized it dual union with a wage scale and working conditions below that of the Brotherhood. thus further deepening their own misery.
In the attempts to blacken the Communists with the material supplied to him by the Party leadership, Zausucr was partly successful. Thus the prestige of the party members among the rank and file was lowered.
In the latter part of 1933 Zaus ner created his famous organizing campaign. Many hundreds of workers joined the Brotherhood. Had the original and correct policy of the party into the of not been renounced and had the party members in the Brotherhood locals themselves developed a broad rank and file movement for the organization of the unorganized, the entire membership of the Independent union could have had the possibility of joining the Brotherhood locals and thus greatly strengthened the left wing.
Some four or fivl weeks ago, at a meeting of the leading building trades faction. of which at the time they were members. comrades Tay lor and Torry quoted William Foster pamphlet Organize the Unorganizcd. which was printed in 1926.
Those comrades pointed out their agreement with the major portion of the section in Foster pamphlet dealing with the danger of dual unions. in answer to the asser tions of the comrades, the secretary of the of Building Trades Oppmltion, stated. that Foster pamphlet was written in 1926 and therefore cannot apply today! real left vinger would answer that this position was correct then and is correct now. But com.
rades Taylor and Terry were, accused of having adopted Lovcstonc position on dual unions which of course (lid not clear up the matter at all.
Tho artificial creation. of rival unions has been a party policy for years. it has been the Comintcrn policy under the Stalin regime. Its disastrous results have been divi«
sion and splits in the ranks of the organized workers. isolating the militants from the mass movement, discieditlng them and strengthening the hands of the reactionary of officials. At this moment when the masses are actually going to the of unions the party is up a blind alley with its trade union policy. If is proceeding to liquidate its unions. not by an orderly retreat attempting to again entrench the militants in the mass unions, but by a route which will make the left wing elements impotent for a long time to come.
Thus the failure to correct a false policy in time leads to new serious mistakes.
Bureaucracy Some few weeks ago a member of the of Committee appeared at the meeting of the electrical workers opposition ostensibly to get support for a dance arranged by the committee. lie immediately informed the chairman that his topic for discussion was to be Affiliation of the Electrical Workers Group to the of Committee.
This raised a storm of protest from the chairman and other leading members of the opposition. The question of the electrical workers afliliatlon to the of Committee was never brought to the attention of the electrical workers fraction. Nor was it first submitted to the executive committee of for consideration. The leaders of the of Committee tried to catch the workers by surprise. as it were.
Comrade is a member of the District Bureau of the GP.
and a member of the painters fracTHE INTERNATIONAL VOBKERS SCI 00L announces a series of 12 lecture classes by MAX SHACHTMAN on The History of the Co nmunlst League (Trotskyists)
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tion. Through the initiative of the comrades and Weinstock a leaflet was distributed amongst painters signed in the name of the 0p posltion and calling for the defense of the Soviet Union.
This amazed comrades. Taylor and Terry (and not them alone as has since been learned. These comrades thereupon questioned comrade as follows: Was the leaflet calling for the defense of the Soviet Union discussed and then authorized by the Opposition? No. Then why was it issued in the name of the Opposition? Some times it is necessary to do things over the heads of the rank and file and thus force a discussion of the issue.
That is how the bureaucracy defends the Soviet Union.
These are only some small examples of party bureaucracy. The real situation in the party is that no democracy exists, no criticism of the leadership or its policies is tol erated, thus resulting in a large turnover of membership.
Political Work Although absorbed. in the trade union work did however closely observe the work of the party and the Comintern on the political field. The discerning comrade was able to see a constant degeneration in what the party and Comintern term Leninist theory and practice.
Zinoviev, reporting for the Exe cutive Committee of the at the Fourth Comintern Congress, said the following about the United Front. The United Front means the lending of the working masses in the daily class war. It means that we are ready to march against capitalism side by side with all workers, be they Anarchists. Syndicalists, Christian Socialists. So cial Democrats, or whatever you please to join forces with them in the daily struggle. We accept the fan that we shall often have to sit at the fable with the treacherous leaders. The foregoing is what the United Front means and nothing else.
Lcnlu nttended the 4th Congress of the Comintern. If there was anything alien to Leninlsln in the above explanation of the meaning of the United Front why did not Lenin or any other member of tho tell Zlnoviev that he was wrong: that there is only one united front and that is thc nlted Profit from below.
Obviously Zinovicv stated the Leninist position on the united front.
On Oct. 22. 1918 Lenin stated the following. Considering the power and the degree of organization of the Govmnn proletariat. we may believe that the German revolution will solve a hundred international problems. We must not forget that Germany forms the most important link in the revolutionary chain. The success of the world revolution dcpends to the greatest degree upon Germany.
But the process of Building Socialism in one country cannot be interrupted, though what happens to be at stake is the German revolution, upon which the success of world revolution depends.
Revision of the Leuluist United Front coupled with the treachery of the Social Democratic leaders: Stalin Socialism in one country. the insane theory of Social Fascism. the retreat from revolutionary infernalionnlism, those among others, are, the reasons that made it possible for Fascism to assume power in Germany.
How did the Stalin dominated In tel national greet the ascension of Hitler to power? In the usual manner. Every defeat of the proletariat is proclaimed a weakening of international capitalism. The Farcist reaction is not proof of bourgeois strength, but weakness. hc bourgeoisie has chosen Fascism, terror and war, because the working class has grown stronger. Communist Youth Pravda, March ii. 1934. The downfall of the German proletariat proved to be the downfall of the Comintern. it is now new essary to build :1 new party and a Fourth international. We hope to help in the process of building both!
The Communist League of America and the American Workers Party are about to achieve organic unity as a step towards the creation of the New Party.
We have carefully studied these efforts for the creation of the new party, with which we are in agree ment. The proclamation of the New Party will be a festival occasion for the American working class. JACK TAYLOR. t.
STATMENT 0F COMRADE ALFRED TERRY Not desiring to repeat what has already been said in the nbovo statement of Comrade Jack Taylor. take this opportunity of stating that withdraw from the ranks of the official for the reasons stated in the above document.
The above statement coincides with my personal experiences as party member and in particular my ex.
perlences along trade union lines. ALFRED TERRY.
FAG! QUESTION BOX llK AG Question: What is the Marxian basis of the theory of the inevitability of the social revolution? Is this theory fufn istic and, being sure of ultimate victory.
docs it pacify the working class in its struggle :lgaiusl capitalism. Answer: There is no inevitability, in Marxian theory, in the sense that thc working class whether they struggle or not MUST be victorious. It is not only not theoretically excluded. but even a probability for the present historical epoch, that the failure of the proletariat to build revolutionary parties and seize power in time may result in the victory of ra action on a world wide sonic (fascism, destruction of the Soviet Union, ctr 1 and in such a destruction of illl world productive forces (imperialist wars.
restriction of production to a minimum inside national houudurh ctc. that humanity may be set back for many years. it is of course difficult to imagine that the working class will not eventually destroy the capitalist system since all the laws of motion of present day society tend in this direction.
only in this HISTORICAL sense can the social revolution lu conceived as inevitable. There are no guar ulltces. however. as to when or under what circumstances ll will take plucc.
As to any idea Illat Marxian theory pacifies the workers. Marx stated his concept as follows. What did was to prove the following. 1) That the existence of classes is connected only with cer tain historical struggles which are characteristic of the development of production. 2) That class war imliapcusably loads to tho dictatorship of the proleluriat. Quotation by Lcnin in State and Revolutimi. flow can this pcrspectivc he considered as fatalla tic? What is if that loads to the proletarian dicta tor hlp. lnos War! II the proletarians were to sit at home then they would not be participating in the class struggle and the failure to achieve emancipation won :1 be assured.
Even though he docs not make it out of the whole cloth. man makes his own history.
Quortion: inn Social Democracy atwent the theory of inevitability?
Answer: This is a rather peculiar question since the Social Democracy is not revolutionary but reformist. Since it rejects the Dictatorship of the Proletariut, it certainly cannot be incensed of saying that this is inevitable. However. it tells the workers that if they make proper use of the ballot box and elect to power Socialist candidates, the latter can and will then legislate the social revolution into being. One can with justice. therefore, say that the Social Democracy claims a Socialist Society to be inevitable provided that the workers don forget to vote Socialist on emotion day. HARVARD Qucstion: Shouldn the question of Self Determination of the lllnck Bolt be left to he settled by tho Negro workers themselves after the Revolution?
Answer: if he slogan of Se Determination is rejected. if (lllf accepts the position that the Negro problem. in the is NOT that of a suppressed NATIONAL minority. your question, of course, bovoincs incauiuglms.
It the rover so, position is adopted, however, the slogan would have to be advanced now since (1) our program is merely the formulation of the blatoric nocds of society in every stage of its development. 2) acceptance of the slogan would imply our recognition that tho Nccrocs have National aspirations, of progressive ualu llilli (8) even though the present reactionary position of capitalism makes the solution of the unfinished problems of the bourgeoisdenuwratic revolution the task of the proletarlan revolution. 19. National independence) it is pre ciscly because of this fact that the struggle for these unfinished tasks becomes a lover toward the winning of proletarian power.
It must again ln repeated that a direct answer to the quvslloil depends upon the attitude which one has to the slogan. and we do not wish to anticipate uu national ooufcrcnw which will very shortly take dofiullc position on it. 1 Hui B, CHICAGO Qllesflon: What part did the civil servants and the Federation dos iv uuctionnircs play In the French general strike of February?
Answer: IWI are informed by a comrade who was in Paris at the time that the civil servants were not culled out, and, because of the nature of the strike (a one day demonstration. there was no way of getting thoir attitude to trip notion. Subsequent to that time. however, they have been taking a very active role in demonstrations etc. since the government economy program is being carried out chiefly at their expense. Pardon the delay in answering. Search through the files of both the radical and the capitalist press failed to disclose the information. a 1: o ll, BRONX anfltion: What is meant by Bonapartism?
Alllln er: By this we usually mean a form of capitalist state power. without mass support, which bases itself upon the military, the police, and the bureaucracy and is able to do so because the hostile classes in society arc balanced against each other, ucithcl camp being able nor willing to upset the equilibrium which would result in a civil war, un106. as was done in Germany by the leadership of the and. the opposing camp capitulates without a fight. it is usually a precondition, if a Bounpartist regime is to last. for any length of time.
that the lllsscs shall have mutually exhausted each other in struggle. it is apparent from this general description of this historical phenomenon that the variety of forms which it can take are many and that it represents an uustuh e form of power com parable to a ball balanced on the top of a pyramid. PS. Haven you read Trotsky pamphlets. a u Acknowledgement «Your editor wishes to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of a letter from Comrade ii. Sorc of London. England. in which he submits to us. from another source. Communist International, No. 18, published by the some quotation from Lenin The Third international and Its Place in History that was sent in by Comrade MacDonald and published in the Question Box of Nov. 3rd.
a a o Ferret lion: An unfortunate tylmgraphical error appeared in the Question Box of last week. statement which was printed as. ships of all capitalist oouufr including the should have read. including the Sui.
November New international Out The November issue of the New International is just. off the press! Got your copy early. The October issue was completely sold out. Among the contents in this issue are letters from Marx. Trotsky and Rakovsky on Russia, a letter from Spain. an article on the Negro question. book reviews. archive material etc. etc. etc. 15c per copy; 50 a year. for seven issues.