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42 43 THE WORKERS COUNCIL THE WORKERS COUNCIL May 1, 1921 MAY 1, 1921 TOWARDS CLARITY Plea for the Proletarian Party By JOHN KERACHER Almost two years have passed since the big split country shows no sign of collapse in the immediate in the Socialist Party that brought into existence future; at least there seems to be no evidence of other parties claiming to be worthy of the support weakness. It may be a case where the wish is of the laboring masses. In looking over this period father to the thought. There is a tendency in some one has no difficulty of observing the numerous of these manifestos to lose sight of the political inistakes that have been made, but we would be factor and lean towards the anarchist position. We blind indeed if we did not at the same time note must not forget that the first thing which the wonderful progress in the development of revolu workers must do is to raise the Proletariat to the tionary understanding.
position of the ruling class. We must gain control To say that the split took place too soon, that it of the political state. With a few exceptions the would have been better had it come two years later manifestos which have come to our attention have is to state an obvious truth. Also it is easy enough either ignored or slighted this factor.
to blame those, who through revolutionary fervor, It will be remembered that in those days a reguforced the issue within the Socialist Party before lar epidemic of Mass Action broke out, a form the rank and file was ready. But history is not of left sickness that the movement has more or made according to a perfect, preconceived plan. less recovered from.
Especially is this true of working class movements. The Michigan Group opposed this substituting The workers learn through mistakes. The forward of slogans for revolutionary principles and the moving vanguard may stumble and fall, but stunned careless use of such catchy revolutionary sounding at first, they rise again and, profiting from their phrases as Mass Action.
experiences, move forward steadier and firmer.
With the signing of the Armistice in November, In the period between the expulsion of the Left1918, when the Proletarian Revolution in Russia Wing elements and the organizing of the Communist Parties great enthusiasm prevailed, and a was fully a year old, there began a movement within the Socialist Party which in the course of deal of controversy over tactics. Many of us in our partisan stand failed to learn from other time developed into the Left Wing of late lamented memory.
groups. In spite of the fantastic Mass Action The Left Wing, in spite of its mistakes, was a program of the Left Wing there was much to be learned from it. On the other hand, the Massmovement in the right direction, a decided advance actionists could have learned a deal from those over the chat! vinism of the Socialist Party official who insisted upon participation in parliamentary position. The objective was to Capture the Socialist Party for Revolutionary Socialism. It was elections, it might have kept them out of the imnot long, hnwever, until it became quite apparent possible position they are now in with regard to (to those within our ranks who had done any sethis important tactic.
The literature that has come from Russia has rious thinking and study of Marxism) that those done more to clarify these tactical questions than who were to do the capturing did not themselves iinderstand Revolutionary Socialism. The weapons anything that has been written in this country.
with which they hoped to capture the Socialist Especially is this true of Lenin works, The State and Revolution, The Proletarian Revolution, Party were little more than revolutionary wind.
and Leftism, the Infantile Sickness of Communism.
The only element within the Left Wing yet not The Infantile Sickness might have been written properly of it that offered any criticism of the with the American Movement in mind, so well does windy policy, laste and confusion, that was develit fit the mistakes made by the Left Wing.
oping at an overwhelming speed, was the MichiBut where are those who were formerly the Left gan Movement.
In the Proletarian (May, 1919) Dennis Batt Wing? Have they profited by their mistakes? Are said: As one looks over the different Manifestos they willing to correct the present mistakes?
which have recently been issued, the thought arises Many who once played a leading part are no that there is a danger that the Left Wing tendency longer with the movement; others have left the now developing may swing to the other side of the country; some are in prison. The bulk of the memarc and become as reactionary in cne direction as bership that moved to the left is not affiliated with the fight is in the other. Space does not permit a any party now. Of those that remain, the majordetailed analysis of the various manifestos, yet a ity, including practically all the foreign language general tendency may be noted. All seem to be groups, are underground. In the open, the Prolepredicated upon the idea that the revolution is just tarian Party, composed at this time of Englisharound the corner. They seem to lose sight of the speaking branches only, takes its stand upon the fact that the capitalist system as it exists in this conditions laid down by the Third International with a manifesto and program which is a complete This article is an expression of the writer opinion. endorsement of these principles. The manifesto is The Editorial Board, of course, does not assume any quite long and covers all essential tactics. The responsibility for its viewpoint or conclusions.
platform is brief and reads as follows: The Proletarian Party has for its immediate aim the dictator that it is their intention to remain an underground ship of the Proletariat, with all political power in party for years to come. This is not only an obthe hands of the working class; for its ultimate aim vious mistake but a violation of the conditions laid the communist society, based upon the common down by the Communist International.
ownership and democratic control of the means of That parliamentarism is not historically outlived wealth production.
for the American masses is plainly to be seen by the This party is in a position to live up to the par result of the last Presidential election when about lianientary requirements of the Third International; twenty five million votes were cast. The gauge of it has recently added several new locals and has a maturity, universal suffrage, that Engels speaks of, future, even if unity is not effected between the as reaching the boiling point, as far as the workers of Communist elements. Of the Communist Parties this country are concerned, is nearer to freezing it is difficult to speak, for various reasons. It is point. This important feature in the struggle here difficult to tell how they stand in membership, but is so lightly brushed aside by those parties that it it appears that the Communist Party, although shows plainly that they have not fully recovered numerically the largest, is almost entirely made up from their left sickness.
of Russians and Lithuanians, and has practically no Open contact with the working masses, propaEnglish speaking members.
gating the principles of Communism and the name The United Communist Party, although of the party in their midst, is the way to win the smaller, apparently has a minority section of Eng support of the working class and turn it against the lish speaking members. These two parties which, capitalist system.
during the Palmer raids in January, 1920, organized Now a few words in conclusion about the So underground (in many cases the membership cialist Party and also those who have no party came out of prison with their structure of organ affiliation at this time. Within the ranks of the ization already formed) followed their natural bent Socialist Party there has developed a rank andand repudiated parliamentary action entirely by file demand for unqualified endorsement of the adopting a platform of insurrection.
Third International. Under pressure of this deSince the issuing by the Third International of mand some of the old leaders may try to profit by the twenty one conditions for party affiliation, leading a new Left Wing to victory. We may these parties have changed their policy somewhat. witness another attempt to capture the Socialist Especially is this true of the United Communist Party for revolutionary Socialism. Marx tells us Party, whose latest program is a great improvement in his Eighteenth Brumaire that history repeats over their former left sickness. They may now be itself, once as tragedy and again as farce. The considered to be more or less convalescent, although first attempt was tragic enough, are we now going still quite outside of the requirements of the Comto witness the farce?
munist International.
Those who are now outside of party ranks, or On the important matter of participation in par those who are ready to change, would do well to liainentary elections, their program entirely begs combine their efforts in the building of a sound the question. Still the advance towards a sound Communist movement in harmony with the present tactical position is marked.
developments in this country. The Proletarian The old contempt for those who favored study Party has shown the way. There is no need for classes for party members has disappeared and more organizations as it will only result in making they are really trying to understand and teach the unity of the truly revolutionary elements more Marxism. The implication, however, still clings difficult.
Significance of the Order of the Red Flag Speech by the Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs, Comrade Trotzky Comrades: our midst who, with their bravery, heroism and The All Russian Central Executive Committeeenergy, have served more than others the common the highest power in Soviet Russia has created sev cause of the proletarian revolution, eral months ago a special emblem of distinction for And why shall we not distinguish these heroic solthe bravest and most self sacrificing fighters in the diers who, with self abnegation, are bravely shedRed Army the Order of the Red Flag. One may ding their blood for the proletarian cause?
wonder what difference there is between this Order The Order of the Red Flag does not mean that and those of the old Czar or any bourgeois army. a given soldier is isolated among the others. No!
No, comrades, the apparent similarity is only in There is inscribed on the Order: Workers of All the name.
The meaning of it is quite different. Countries, Unite! This inscription serves as a Decorations in bourgeois armies serve for the repre constant reminder that our cause depends not on sentatives of the possessing classes as means for individual soldiers, nor even on the whole army, further gains, for more and higher distinctions, and but upon the entire working class, and not only the for advancement in social status.
Russian, but the workers of the world. This order Our decoration, on the other hand, does not offer serves also as an appeal to the conscience of all.
any special privileges or bounties. We erect monu Look at the most distinguished and do likewise.
ments to our fallen fighters. We write odes out Let her be among us competition only in the bravest. For there is a desire in the human heart heroism, bravery and self sacrifice in the struggle to pay homage with love and devotion to those in for the cause of the International Working Class.