CPUSA: Moscow's stooge

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Tue Apr 25 08:57:38 MDT 1995

On Tue, 25 Apr 1995, Scott Marshall wrote:

> >
> >The problem with the CPUSA is not that they got money from Moscow. We
> >never blamed the ANC for that, and in fact thought it rather to Moscow's
> >credit that it sometimes supported liberation movements.
> There was no "sometimes" about it - until Gorbachev it was policy. And it
> included much of the liberation struggles around the world. Unfortunately a
> policy that doesn't jive with your world outlook.

Well, we could talk about how the USSR squelched the revolution in Spain,
murdering anarchists and non-Stalinist Marxists like Nin, as documented,
e.g., in Bolletin's The Spanish Revolution or Orwell's Homage to
Catalonia. Soviet support for liberation movements was erratic, cynical,
and governed by Great Power Realpolitik and Soviet perceptions of Russian
national interest. It was, however, real within these limits, and the USSR
deserves some credit for that.

> Remember the charge that Honneker (sp?)


 had vast slush funds in Swiss banks?
> Remember how fast that charge was dropped? Know why the charge was dropped
> in his so-called trial? They sure as hell didn't want the truth to come out
> about what those solidarity funds were being used for.
> >
> >The problem with the CPUSA was
> >
> >(a) that it subordinated revolutionary internationalism to Russian foreign
> >policy, as in the Nazi-Soviet pact or the no-strike pledge in WWII;
> Maybe the SU should have just surrendered right away to the Nazi's and gone
> along with US and British schemes.

I suppose the secret protocal on the divisionb of Poland was part of the
defense of internationalk socialism, too.

In fact the USSR laid itself open to Nazi invasion by destroying the
Soviet offiver corps in the purges and ignoring well-documented evikdence
of the impending attack, frittering away any advantage it might have
gained in time.

 Funny I seem to remember that the
> overwhelming majority of US workers and trade unionists supported the
> temporary no strike pledge to defeat Hitler.

Which explains the wildcat strike wave in '43-44.

 And who on the left fought most
> effectiviely for the all union offensive against the corporations after the
> war - and which groups on the left supported the Reuther betrayal of that
> united front against the employers?
Not the anti-Stalinist revolutionary socialist left--the SWP, the Workers
Party, and other Third Camp outfits.

> >
> >(b) that it abandoned political independence based on the working class
> >for a position of supporting the "left" wing of the Democratic party;
> You've made this undocumented charge several times now so lets get into it.
> This is one of the main reason your friends in the CoC left the party
> because we *wouldn't* follow this policy. But that aside, lets examine the
> practice. We constantly run members as independents and on the Communist
> party line. The only major exception to this was in the aftermath of
> McCarthyism when it was just too much for us to get on the ballot.

True, thje CP does run people on the ballot. But lots of friends and
acquaintances of mine in the Michigan Party (which is not untypical from
what I hear from people elsewhere) are staunch supporters of, campaiugners
for, and employees of, Democratic Party hacks.

 We are
> constantly (including at this very moment) involved in lawsuits challenging
> ballot access limitations for third parties etc. We have in the last period
> elected Communists to some smaller offices as independents and one as a
> Communist to city council in Oregon. We were big in formingthe Progressive
> party and the American Labor Party in NY and the Farmer Labor party in Minn.
> and in countless other third party movments in all periods of our history.
> To my knowledge Solidarity, CoC, Communist Workers Party nor any other
> outfit you've been associated with has ever run any candidates for any
> public office. Non-participation in electoral struggles is to my mind a big
> mistake.

Solidarity participates in electoral struggles-ballot initiatives and
third parties. It's not a party, so it doesn't run its own candidates. The
CWP worked very hard for the Rainbow Coalition--an experience which drove
me into the position of political independence.

> Further I would say it is silly and unMarxist to elevate tactics in
> electoral struggle to principal. To say under no circumstances will we ever
> support any democrat no matter the issues or circumstances is sectrarian and
> silly.

Political independence is not a tactic but a point of principle--as Marx's
preamblke to the Rules of the First International says, "The emanciupation
of the working class can be won only by the working class itself."

> I was elected to the scvhool board in a non-partisan election - but
campaigned as a Communist - never crossed my > mind to run as a Democrat.

> >
> >(c) that it was extremelyt undemocratic in its internal organization and
> >sectrarian in its relations to other left organizations (leaving aside the
> >issues of fingering "Trotskyists" for Chekist assassination);
> Gee Justin, why can't we be friends - I wonder?

I've worked with Communists have am friends with some.

 Despite the charge against
> me of being religious - I still have trouble turning the other cheek. We
> have great relations with many left organizations - those who deal with us
> as equals not attackers. You have no idea about our internal life except
> what you've heard from those who left.

Not so. I know lots who are still in.  And why is the evidence of those
who left worthless? You haven't answered this objection,
either. >
> >

> >(d) that it apologized for a repressive totalitarian dictatorship ruled by
> >an exploiting stratum or class (as you like) of bureaucrats in the name of
> >socialism and in a way that discredited socialism among the American
> >proletariat.
> Huh...

Still don't get it, eh?

> >
> >All that said I agree with whoever it was who said that for all its
> >failing the CPUSA was the most effective mass socialist organization in
> >the USA after the Debsian SP, at least through the mid-40s, and that it
> >did a lot of good things. I don't think Party members should have nothing but
> >shame and regret for the failings of their outfit. They have many
> >accomplishments and have an honorable if deeply ambiguous record in the
> >annals of the American left. At the same time there is much to be ashamed
> >of and regret.
> Gee I just love being patronized by smart people. Don't it just gall you
> that shame, regret and repentance just don't seem to be in our vocabulary -
> if you had more than a superfical knowledge of us you'd know that criticism
> and self-criticism are very much in our vocabulary and far more effective
> for correcting mistakes than moralisms.

Some moral sentiment probably wouldn't hurt, when we are talking about
crimes as well as mistakes.

--Justin Schwartz

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