by Lyn Marcus (Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.),
published by the NCLC;
The articles from New Solidarity selected and edited for publication in this pamphlet are presented as a basic core of readings from our numerous contributions to the current worldwide debate over Moscow' s renewed emphasis on the Popular Front tactic. Our criticisms have already drawn not only an extraordinary reaction from the U.S. Communist Party (CPUSA), but a public attack on our tendency from a minor department of the Kremlin itself.
Beginning the last quarter of 1971, in explicit response to our criticisms of CPUSA efforts to form a Popular Front with New York' s union-busting Mayor John Lindsay, the Communist Party resurrected the Stalinist combination of vilification and hooligan assaults, which had scarcely been seen in the U.S. socialist movement since the Soviet 20th Congress. This public campaign against us has been internationalized by a recent [January 1972, note], precedent-breaking, fifteen-page polemic published in the Moscow journal, Neos Kosmos.
On the surface, the correlation of these two attacks might be judged a coincidence. In apparent support of a "coincidence" hypothesis, we show summarily that the Communist officials directly responsible in each of the two instances had special, independent local reasons for denouncing us. On such grounds it might seem extravagant to adduce a guiding hand of higher Kremlin authority behind such separate local occurrences.
In the U.S. case, despite the patently paranoid contents of the CP' s repeatedly published - and publicly discredited - slanders, the motive for Daily World and related CP lying does have a certain sort of immediate basis in the reality of that party's interests. In m ore candid moments, YWLL spokesman Jarvis Tyner and other CP officials have insisted on the real reason for the Daily World lies: the NCLC, they report, is the "main left danger" to the CPUSA.
There is no doubt that Tyner' s report is correct on that point. The CP leadership' s efforts to chide its YWLL youth group into errand-boy roles for selected liberal politicians and labor-fakers provoked seething proto-factional resentment among a significant minority of YWLL members. The Labor Committees' repeated and very specific attacks on day-to-day issues of such policies, presented in the working-class milieu in which YWLLers are most active, strike the CP exactly at the most vulnerable point of its credibility in the eyes of its best, and potential, recruits.
The Neos Kosmos polemic, appearing in a Moscow publication nominally representing the Central Committee of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece), is in the form of a response to a similar effect of our work in the Greek-language sector. Since early 1969, our Greek-language magazine, Epanastasi, continues to circulate regularly through "underground" conduits in Greece as well as among emigre circles in Europe and North America. This has caused considerable annoyance to KKE bureaucrats as well as those of certain other socialist factions. To this annoyance several of our socialist opponents, operating through their agents in several countries, have long since responded according to the prescription of Rossini' s famous "La Calumnia" aria, spreading the most fabulous accumulation of personal slanders and related lies through emigre-circle European cafes, in particular.
These features of the matter are all significant In a relative sense, but other, related evidence compels us to discard the more appealing "coincidence" hypothesis.
WHAT IS NEOS KOSMOS?
Neos Kosmos is nominally the offical monthly gazette of the Central Committee of the KKE. To the extent that such self-description of that journal is technically true, it is also a deliberately misleading half-truth.
Although there are, of course, certified rank-and-file members of the pro-Moscow KKE (the so-called "Koliyannis" faction) both in Greece and among European emigre circles, there is no pro-Moscow Greek Communist Party organization in the same sense that there is a semi-independent Communist Party for France, Germany, Italy, or the U.S.A.
The "Central Committee" of the Koliyannis KKE is a group of individual emigres duly anointed and maintained in office by the Soviet apparatus. The organization "supporting" this papier-mache "Central Committee" is mediated at last report by about fifty pie-cards operating in Western Europe on the Cominform payroll and expense account.
The pro-Moscow KKE has approximately the same degree of substance as a "party" as the Hungarian Communist Party of the 1920's and 1930's. During that period, the "central Committee" of the Hungarian Communists consisted of a collection of political amateurs who had made a travesty of an abortive 1919 revolution in their own country. Their principal function was that of disposable minor Comintern functionaries, put out on "plenipotentiary" organizational hatchet-man assignments by ECCI director Gregory Zinoviev and, after Zinoviev's Fall from Grace, by Stalin himself.
In conformity wIth this arrangement, the contents of Neos Kosmos are written in Moscow under supervision of the Soviet bureaucracy. The contents are printed in and distributed from Czechoslovakia to North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere out of Comintern funds. It serves as one of those perennial types of special "foreign language" Moscow publications whose contents may often be intentionally more significant as a channel for telegraphing a new turn in the general Moscow official line than to the internal affairs of the nation in whose language the journal is published.
We absolutely do not object to attempts by international socialist organizations to establish functioning groups throughout the world by whatever available means. We object only to the political content of such a relationship to Moscow. That is another discussion; at this moment we are merely reporting a fact of significant bearing on the Neos Kosmos attack itself.
NEOS KOSMOS ATTACK
That general background for evaluation of the journal' s polemic against our tendency is brought forward by circumstantial features of the attack itself. The mere mention of our tendency by name in Neos Kosmos suffices to shatter a strict editorial policy of about thirty years standing. An entire m ajor polemic devoted to us in that journal - unthinkable, up to the moment it appeared.
In the post-war period, during which numerous non-CP socialist groups have proliferated in the internal and emigre Greek movement, Neos Kosmos has declined to acknowledge the existence, by name, of any such socialist opponent organization, except the "nationalist" ("Roumanian" or "Brillakis") organization of the KKE itself. Now, that journal suddenly devotes a featured article to debating a tendency which is, at least numerically, one of the smaller opponent organizations in that sector!
This does more than shatter along-standing Moscow editorial policy. At first glance, both the pro- and anti-socialist Kremlinologists would tend to judge that the occupants of the relevant Kremlin cubby-hole have suddenly lost their tactical senses. Yet, in such matters, Moscow is one of the least stupid and m ost bureaucratically "thorough" political organizations in the world.
The reasons for the violated editorial policy are obvious to any experienced politician - socialist or otherwise. For the sake of the less experienced reader, we sum up: by slyly refusing to be provoked into acknowledging the mere existence of small socialist opponent groups, Moscow's bureaucrats prevent themselves from foolishly donating the factitious advantage of Kremlin lime-light to those groups it is determined to isolate by a "conspiracy of silence."
Such a violated policy should not have been more strictly enforced for the Greek sector than at the present time.
Since approximately the turn of the present decade, although most socialist Greeks more or less loosely locate themselves in the periphery of either the pro-Moscow (Koliyannis) or nationalist (Brillakis) KKE organizations, there is virtually no functioning socialist party organization in Greece -- pro-Moscow, nationalist, "Trotskyist," "Maoist," or otherwise. (An ironic partial exception to this is provided for imprisoned leaders of the nationalist KKE by the topography of Colonel Papadopoulos , concentration-camp system.)
This atomization of the socialist movement in Greece and emigre circles alike is, of course, partially the result of police repression applied over a period of five years. It is at least equally the result of a widespread contempt for both the Koliyannis and Brillakis factions, because those leaderships followed during the 1964-67 upsurges sycophantic policies toward discredited "liberals," which policy is mainly responsible for the colonels' opportunity to effect the unopposed 1967 coup.
This state of socialist disorganization in Greece represents an extremely fluid and potentially unfavorable situation for the KKE leadership. These are the most-exceptional circumstances, usually offered in a national sector not more often than once in a lifetime, preceding possible losses of Communist Party left-hegemony to an opponent socialist group - at least, at the first instance mass ferment appears to demand large-scale socialist organization.
These are the special circumstances under which even a presently tiny socialist opposition group can imminently emerge as the left-hegemonic mass-based organization. For even a cubby-hole department of the Kremlin to focus Moscow lime-light on our tendency, to virtually certify us as the main serious alternative to the KKE, almost suffices to destroy the "coincidence" hypothesis by itself.
After all, the KKE had traditional, alternative means for "dealing" with our threat to it.
If our intervention in the Greek sector of the socialist movement were the extent of the problem confronting the pro-Moscow forces, the KKE "Central Committee" has well-established procedures, and precisely suitable organizational resources, to mobilize the customary sort of whispering-campaign of accumulated personal slanders and lies - already in effect against our tendency in Europe. No amount of mere hostility explains the Neos Kosmos polemic. Such generosity is not Moscow' s conception of effective opponent-work tactics.
Unless the reader absolutely insists that the "KKE Central Committee" has suddenly gone collectively insane, he must be open to the judgment that the Soviet officials involved elected to risk the factitious advantages in the Greek sector for overriding reasons elsewhere.
ThIs would strongly imply that Moscow had already written off significant Communist organization in Greece for an extended future period. That is almost certainly the case. It would also imply that Moscow has relegated the "KKE" apparat to "more useful duties" of an "Hungarian" variety. If both are true, as is most probably the case, then the explanation for the Neos Kosmos polemic lies principally in North America and Western Europe.
A few basic facts strengthen that judgment.
The Greek diaspora, a part of the same millennia-old Levantine pattern merely epitomized by the Jewish legend, has distributed large proportions of the Greek-language population into every major commercial sector of the capitalist world - throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, etc. Subsumed by this, since the Greek population has perhaps the highest ratio of traditionally committed revolutionaries of any population in the capitalist world, there is a hardcore of such Greeks within the CPUSA, a large number of revolutionary Greek cadres in Canada, pockets of such persons in key Latin American cities, and so forth. Consequently, a monthly Greek-language official Moscow publication has the special collateral usefulness to the Kremlin of telegraphing a turn in the official line to the Central Committees of most Communist parties around the world. For this purpose, Neos Kosmos is almost as effective as, but more discreet than, Pravda itself.
"All this has the semblance of truth," the cautious reader protests, "but it can certainly only be your tendentious view of the situation. It is absolutely too much for me to believe that even a cubby-hole department of the world's second major power would trouble itself to reach around the world to attack an international tendency admittedly as bumptious but still small as the Labor Committees."
In the main, such "balanced opinion" overlooks two interconnected, essential things of world-wide importance today. It overlooks not only what Moscow sees as the urgent reasons for its renewed emphasis on the Popular Front tactic, but also what the Soviet bureaucracy considers to be vitally at stake for its state interests in securely imposing this tactic upon the left generally in every nation of the capitalist world - without exception.
The Kremlin has adopted what it, quite wrongly but nonetheless quite rationally, considers to be the vital urgency to its state interests of ensuring that the capitalists are not "unduly provoked" during the present period of deepening economic crisis and imminent political mass strikes. It views Popular Front tactics today as it did during the 1935-38 period. It considers them as a way of channelling the burgeoning class-struggle political ferment of a crisis- period into "safety-valve" liberal "protest" coalitions; thereby preventing a "socialist incitement" of the capitalists which might, in Moscow' s view, lead to an otherwise unthinkable military assault on the U.S.S.R. Therefore, Moscow considers that it must use every resource to ensure that such a Popular Front tactic dominates the political working-class struggle in absolutely every capitalist country.
The criticisms of "balanced opinion" overlook the related fact that since the May 1968 French general strike, Moscow has been fearful, to the point of near-paranoia, that some underestimated small socialist-opponent tendency will be able to gain enough mass-based left-hegemony in one or another major capitalist country to prevent the local CP from effectively isolating and de-fanging embryonic impulses toward giving political strikes an insurrectional direction.
In briefly developing the case for both points, we shall necessarily afford the reader an insight into certain of the most poorly understood features of the Science of Revolution. This is especially notable respecting the decisive role which can be potentially performed by even small cadre-groups under the special conditions of generalized political-social ferment.
WHAT IS THE " POPULAR FRONT' ?
According to the prevailing ordinary, and altogether mistaken, socialist and academic opinion on this subject, the "Popular Front" tactic is an original concoction of the Communist International's (August 1935) Seventh World Congress, as portrayed in Georgi Dimitroff's outrageously mistitled book, The United Front. A better informed, but inadequate alternative view locates the precedent for the Seventh World Congress resolutions in the Anglo-Russian Alliance, the 1924-28 Kuomintang bloc, and correlated features of the Stalin faction's policies during the 1923-28 period.
Official pro-Stalin doctrine, both of the Brezhnev and Mao Tse-tung varieties, supplies consoling argument for ignorant opinion by insisting, contrary to the mere fact of Lenin's famous "April Theses" of 19l7, and the Bolshevik Revolution itself, that the Popular Front is a natural outgrowth of unbroken traditions of Bolshevik policy respecting the principle of the development of socialist revolution "by stages."
The "theoretical" basis for the subsumed Popular Front tactic, the "theory of stages," was originally developed to the form in which it was promulgated under Stalin by the Russian Mensheviks, especially Martynov and Dan. In defending that policy during and after the Russian 1905 revolution, the Mensheviks not accidentally attacked their revolutionary opponents with arguments which might have been borrowed from the Russian counterrevolutionary liberal Miliukov; in any case, the name of "Trotskyism" given to these Menshevik' s factional opponents originated in the pages of Miliukov's The Elections to the Second State Duma.
It is perhaps representative of the intellectual poverty of Stalin and his sycophants that when they were compelled to defend Stalin's own defense of the old Menshevik "stages policy" during the middle 1920's, they resorted to what was handiest to be plagiarized for this purpose, not only Miliukov's invention of the epithet, "Trotskyism," but almost a word-for-word plagiarism of Miliukov's "stages theory" arguments against a socialist revolution in Russia itself! (It goes without further argument that the child which denies its own parentage thus certifies itself to be a bastard.)
The only element of half-truth behind the argument of an "unbroken" Bolshevik "stages" tradition are such facts as Stalin's adamant opposition to Lenin's "April Theses" and Stalin's implication in Bolshevik Pravda's public denunciation of Lenin' s call to the October 1917 Revolution. It is also true, even considering the specious apparent exception of the "Third Period," that following Stalin's emergence to power during Lenin's dying months, the old Menshevik "stages theory" was official Soviet Comintern and foreign policy alike: the same "stages which Martynov and Dan rather consistently their recurring support of the "liberal" bloc of counterrevolutionary opposition.
The Popular Front policy, under various titles and in various dosages, has been the Soviet bureaucracy' s principally recurring policy ever since.
It is a grave mistake to imagine that the issue here is one of doctrinal differences as such. It is sufficient to examine any of Stalin's purported "theoretical" writings to disabuse oneself of the mistaken opinion that such a muddleheaded philistine as he cared much for systematical theoretical arguments, let alone the "idealistic" preoccupation of risking as much as a single kopek for the sake of a "sophisticated" doctrine. Stalin was in every respect a "practical man," whose conception of socialist theory never reached higher than a laundry-list of tactical precepts, and whose more self-satisfying cultural pursuits were located in boorish practical jokes epitomizing the anal level of Kulak humor.
It is not to be disputed that Stalin in his hey-day would butcher a man who merely failed to fawn upon every punctuation-mark in his "theoretical" proclamations. Stalin was not concerned for theory, but for the mere hint of a personal slight, for the merest hint of potential disobedience to his "practical" directives.
The modern Soviet leadership, thus reflecting the accumulated educational and administrative privileges of a state bureaucracy, is more fashionably toileted and not so obviously ignorant and crude in all res- pects as its fathers and grandfathers of Stalin's day. Nonetheless, its attitude toward socialist "theory" continues to agree essentially with Stalin's own. The Soviet Popular Front or "stages' policy is not comprehensible from the standpoint of doctrinal "idealism." It is a product of the philistine bureaucrat' s most cold-blooded practical calculation of his urgent business interests.
From the time that a potentially successful German socialist revolution was called off at the eleventh hour on Stalin's orders, in 1923, and ever afterward, the "stages theory" has been addressed to the edification of the credulous faithful, to rationalize most of the Comintern and state foreign policies which Moscow has adopted not out of theoretical convictions, but from its terror of an anti-Soviet alliance among enraged foreign capitalist governments. Stalin and his present successors alike have been understandably preoccupied with the continuing fact of Soviet military second-position in the world; their reactionary policies are rooted in the associated fear that socialist eruptions within the advanced capitalist sector would "provoke" the major capitalist nations to briefly subordinate their own mutual differences for a joint military destruction of the U.S.S.R.
Stalinist Comintern and Soviet state foreign policies of the 1923-28 period, throughout Europe as well as China, are one example; the Popular Front policy of the 1935-39 period is another, the shift from wooing the spineless liberal governments to the Hitler-Stalin pact was still another; the Popular Front policies which have recurred, in sundry doses for varying pretexts, from 1944 onwards are still another.
These are all mere episodes and facets of a persistent and contradictory underlying policy of the Soviet bureaucracy, of attempting to prevent a capitalist military gang-up on the U.S.S.R., by variously attempting to accentuate differences between major capitalist factions and by placating selected major capitalist factions, not only at the level of Soviet state relations, but - and here' s the issue - in terms of Communist Party activities within capitalist nations.
Although, as we have just indicated, the Soviet bureaucracy has kept a Popular Front policy at least simmering on the front burner throughout the 1942-72 period, during the past four years that particular pot is being brought up to the degree of boiling last generally seen during the 1935-38 and 1944-46 periods.
At the time of the 1969 conference, the Soviet bureaucracy emphasized its fear that the capitalist sector was plunging freshly into a general economic crisis. Under these emerging conditions, the Soviet leadership correctly anticipated the deepening economic crisis, and its inevitable correlatives of social and political crises, would increasingly impel the capitalist leaders toward a condition of bestialized rage. The Soviet bureaucracy also deduced, again with a certain degree of correctness, that these conditions of crisis lead ultimately toward the possibility of an otherwise unthinkable imperialist nuclear attack on the U.S.S.R. itself.
Since that time, all Soviet policy, both state policy, and the official line distributed to Communist parties around the world, has been more forcefully directed toward the goal of placating the maddened imperialist beast. The most energetic insistence on a Popular Front tactic by all local Communist parties now is an expression of that qualitative shift in Moscow' s immediate strategic perspectives.
The cases of Soviet policy respecting Cuba and Vietnam merely appear to offer contradictions. It is not excluded that the Kremlin would trade away both Cuba and North Vietnam under certain most extraordinary. last-ditch conditions. Up to that point. Moscow views the maintenance of its "geo-politicaI" balance of forces on a world scale as an indispensable basis for successful placating bargaining with its imperialist enemy. Like any shrewd and experienced bureaucracy, it reasons that the greater its strength, in those terms, the greater its opportunities for luring the maddened imperialist beast to those negotiations at which the monster is to be placated.
Exemplary of Moscow' s state of mind is its strange, actually hysterical insistence on the point that the present situation involves emerging "inter-imperialist rivalries."
It is acknowledged that this merely seems to concur with the official account of the world offered by most pro-capitalist and non-CP pro-socialist spokesmen in the capitalist sector. It is impossible to precisely estimate how many leading capitalist officials actually believe this children' s fable, since the cultivation of nationalist delusions among the ruled is an essential ideological task of all enlightened capitalist self-interest. Accordingly, we expect credulous children among the ruled, such as M. Ernest Mandel, to repeat their own versions of such nonsense.
The Soviet state, which devotes massive bureaucratic resources precisely to compiling intelligence on the workings of the Dollar Empire, could not tolerate such idiotic myths unless it were impelled to blind itself to massive contrary factual evidence in the interests of some self-consoling hysteria.
(The evidence alluded to might seem to be contradicted by the current centrifugal tendencies in the Dollar Empire to fracture itself into several competing blocs arrayed behind hastily-erected sectoral barricades of Himalayan tariffs, water-tight exchange controls, and similar artifacts of protectionist imbecility. The truth shines through the specious evidence, in the pervading implication of all such atavistic shenanigans: the attempt to apportion today's capitalist world into competing blocs can occur only as the result and expression of total worldwide collapse of capitalist economy. The evidence for "inter-imperialist rivalry" merely demonstrates the opposite: today' s capitalist accumulation can exist in a state of inter-imperialist rivalry - only by ceasing to exist.)
Moscow's current state and Popular Front policies do demand hysteria. Moscow desperately needs to believe that it can substantially minimize the growing potential threat of imperialist attack on the U.S.S.R. (during the late 1970's) by again playing one "imperialist power" against another, as it attempted to do during the 1930' s. Bureaucratic centrists, lacking the slightest faith in the real revolutionary potentialities for socialism in the mid-1970's, Moscow therefore desperately needs to believe in the non-existent alternative: that the state of the world, into the late 1970's, permits it to resort to the same sort of Soviet inter-imperialist maneuvering exemplified by its alternation between Popular Front and Hitler-Stalin pact during the 1930's and 1940's.
BREZHNEV'S U.S. POLICY
The point of the Popular Front tactic for Moscow is adequately dem onstrated by considering the Kremlin' s current two-fold policy toward the U.S. itself.
On the state level, the Soviet tactic, not-accidentally emulated by the Maoist bureaucracy, is the attempt to placate Nixon & Company with the capitalist proceeds of the Nixon-Brezhnev negotiations The soviet bureaucracy, of course, seeks to secure a military detente and a lifting of the U.S. blockade against Soviet imports of critical categories of foreign capital - it incidentally flouts its own "inter-imperialist rivalry" nonsense by negotiating with the peripatetic Mr. Henry Kissinger for the privilege of importing such critically needed capital from Western Europe and Japan as well as the U.S. itself. It also attempts to buy such concessions from Nixon by offering him massive economic advantages at lust the juncture that the entire Dollar Empire most desperately needs such markets in the U.S.S.R.
We do not object entirely; were we heads of Soviet state, we would be unfortunately compelled to seek such inter-state deals and endure similar concessions. The Popular Front tactic is another matter.
At the same time it entertains Mr. Kissinger, Moscow reaches for what it regards as better future options from within the internal capitalist politics of the U.S. It accordingly instructs its Communist Party here to curry favor with a more "liberal" capitalist faction than that likely to emerge from the Republican Party.
Its first disgusting such suggestion, made through no less official organ than the pages of Pravda, was that the CPUSA dedicate itself to the presidential aspirations of New York City's welfare slave-driving, rent-gouging, union-busting mayor, John V. Lindsay. When the Pravda endorsement of Lindsay failed to sway the Democratic primary elections in Florida and Wisconsin to the desired effect, the CPUSA turned its forces to suPport of the second choice, the Reverend senator George "wage-freeze" McGovern.
Although CP Presidential candidate Gus Hall no doubt prays long and passionately by his bed each night for the election of McGovern, the purpose of Soviet policy does not depend on the successful outcome of that Reverend gentleman's personal ambitions. Moscow is using its support of McGovern to reassure all capitalist factions, Mr. Nixon's included, of two essential things. Firstly, that the CPUSA will absolutely honor the terms of any counterrevolutionary deal the Kremlin makes with any capitalist faction. Secondly, not only is the CPUSA not about to organize "provocative" working-class political struggles itself, but it will also use its physical and related resources to crush any other socialist organization which threatens to exploit the deepening capitalist crisis to stir up "dangerous" working-class political ferment.
The details of this maneuvering are, of course, an intriguing study in them selves: We have summed up only what remains essential in any tactical variation on the same Popular Front theme.
There is an element of "sincerity" in the CPUSA's occupation with such naked class treachery. Moscow, which automatically regulates the political heart-beat of Gus Hall & Company, is "sincerely" terrified that some underestimated small socialist organization in North America or Western Europe will succeed in stirring up enough dangerous agitation to "incite" the capitalists to a state of rage over the menace of any sort of socialist organization - or state.
Moscow, out of similar "sincere" concerns, directed its GPU units to assassinate any Spanish revolutionaries who attempted to organize a socialist defense policy during the Civil War - it acted out of fear that such leftists would "incite" the British and French to look favorably on a Nazi invasion of the U.S.S.R. Moscow is seized by a redoubled fear of the same sort of "provocations" today.
HOW IT WORKS
Moscow is absolutely not stupid nor paranoid in imagining that its tiny CPUSA can deliver substantial counterrevolutionary services to capitalists in the U.S.A. Only the most ignorant and hysterical of capitalist politicians, or UCRA-like academic "political science" ideologues, would refuse to consider arguments to this point.
The process by which an initially tiny vanguard group can organize a socialist transformation under conditions of deepening capitalist social-economic crisis is a matter of exact science in the proper sense of science. The same applies in corollary to the science of counterrevolution. The Stalinist Popular Front tactic applied even by a tiny but left-hegemonic CP can prevent THE DEVELOPMENT of a major revolutionary threat, provided that the CP uses its relatively advantageous resources to isolate and de-fang potential revolutionary mass movements in their embryonic stage of development.
Where repression by capitalist police and related agencies attempts to accomplish the same result, that repression itself tends to defeat its ends by rallying the radicalized section of the population to greater identification with the organization and ideas of the victimized groups. When the Communist Party accomplishes what is in effect the same counterrevolutionary repression of its left opponents, the result of such a Popular Front-based hooliganism by the relatively left-hegemonic CP organization discredits and demoralizes the potential for socialist organization. The case of France after 1937 is exemplary. It is in that sense that a tiny but relatively left-hegemonic CP's Popular Front tactic performs a counter-revolutionary service of great importance, which no capitalist agency per se could match.
If a Communist Party following a Popular Front policy did not exist; a really enlightened capitalist police agency would take special pains to create it.
At each point of the development of a new capitalist crisis, there is a determined proportion of the entire population which is potentially recruitable to some revolutionary-socialist organization. At each successive point of intensification of social crisis, such definite ratios are as characteristic of the affected larger populations as parallel shifts in the definite values of suicide rates, family formation rates, and other key sociological parameters.
These determined, radicalized social strata are not merely a lawful product of the larger population, but they have a reciprocal active and decisive effect, as institutionalized formations, on the way in which the radicalizing process within the larger population proceeds. This is the key to the counter-revolutionary potential of even a tiny - provided relatively left-hegemonic - Communist Party.
THE REVOLUTIONARY VANGUARD
The decisive constituents of the radicalized strata are of two special social types, distinct from the larger number of mere radicals of which they seem, only superficially, a mere part.
The most sensitive and earliest revolutionary ferment as such naturally appears from among Young intellectuals of the special disposition for a rigorously systematic overview of the world process as a whole. Unfortunately, these individuals appear at the doors of socialist organizations in the company of a larger number of essentially unassimilable petit-bourgeois radicals, and therefore few of the more ignorant socialist leaderships have failed (favorably or unfavorably) to confuse the potential revolutionary intelligentsia with petit-bourgeois radicals generally.
The majority of petit-bourgeois radicals, typified by the general run of New Left Youth of the past decade, are merely enraged liberals. This general type is unable , even under the most radicalizing impulses, to break with the muddleheaded peasant-like mentality characteristic of their parents' social class. They will tail after black militants one day and McGovern the next without a twinge of conscience in the transition, and will follow the working-class struggle only as quickly, under conditions of mass political strikes, as they immediately desert the same workers' movement the instant this, too, seems the opportune thing to do. This has been dem onstrated beyond doubt in every radical upsurge of the past century and a half.
Only a tiny ratio of petit-bourgeois radicals in general represent potential intellectuals of the special type best typified by Marx, Engels, Wedemeyer, Luxemburg, Lenin, and Trotsky.
This smaller stratum of radical Youth, the potential revolutionary intelligentsia, provided it washes itself free of the swamp and slush of New Left muddle-heads around it, represents the uniquely qualified initiating force, capable of developing needed program, which has always - necessarily - been decisive in the creation of later working-class socialist organizations.
The second main stratum of potential socialist leaders is composed of a certain type of worker, the trade-union organizer and rank-and-file leader of trade-union and related class struggles. The ratio of viable cadres to muddleheads among radicalized workers is much greater than among petit-bourgeois radicals. As a result, even in the U.S., with its enormous petit-bourgeois class, the absolute number of potential working-class socialist leaders is far greater than the possible number of such leaders from petit-bourgeois strata.
It is the ability of the initiating intelligentsia to attract and recruit significant numbers of such worker-cadres which ultimately and decisively determines the potential for socialist transformations.
To the extent that a majority of these two such exceptional social strata are able to mobilize themselves program matically as a vanguard formation under conditions of deepening capitalist social-economic crisis, there will ultimately follow a rapid coalescence of a broad mass of working people around such a vanguard and its program - under conditions of political mass-strike potential. If such a vanguard is oriented to focussing the local expressions of class struggle toward classwide organized struggle around a competent program of classwide interests, any new period of generalized class struggle leads quickly (on the historical scale of time) to the preconditions for socialist transformation.
GUS HALL'S COUNTERREVOLUTION
To demonstrate in detail how even a tiny Communist Party is able to deliver invaluable counterrevolutionary Popular Front services to a capitalist government, we need merely trace out the result if a relatively left-hegemonic organization, representing a majority of the vanguard strata just identified, is turned against the efforts of a minority of the same strata, for the purpose of aborting the pro-socialist mobilization of broader class forces.
To emphasize the most relevant point: not only do the vanguard strata of any moment of the process represent a distillation of that radicalizing process, but they also represent the means of access to the broader layers of the next such persons to come into the movement. The individual cadre is not merely a product of the social process, but also a local conduit for the process of organizing still-broader layers around him. If a majority of such individual conduits to the large mass can be effectively sealed off from socialist organizing efforts, by being coopted into a Popular Front betrayal - and thus, ultimately be demoralized - this in itself will tend to abort the possibility of organizing a sufficiently large vanguard of the class to thus mobilize a majority of the class and its political allies at the decisive moment of capitalist crisis.
This is demonstrated in a related way by considering the reasons that the Kremlin today usually - and, rightly - considers the "official Trotskyist" organizations a mere nuisance rather than a threat like that of the Labor Committees.
The difference between Trotsky and the "Trotskyist" organizations on this point is located in tragic irony, in Trotsky's unsuccessful efforts to radically change his followers' centrist tendencies on the very eve of his assassination. Trotsky, using the same line of argument we have just summarized - the line of argument which made him actually a profound danger to Stalin - insisted that no revolutionary movement could be developed without going through the majority of viable CP members to the peripheries around them. The Cannon leadership of the SWP, thus merely veering toward the same wretched error more perfectly embraced by Schachtman, insisted that SWP policy must continue to be that of "by-passing" the CP to go directly to the "political virgins" among militant trade-union members. To which Trotsky replied, with prophetic warning of the ultimate insignificance of the "Trotskyist" organizations, that the Cannon policy meant a political adaptation to the backwardness of those workers who opposed the CP mainly because they were more politically backward than CP members and immediate peripheries.
The apparent exception demonstrates the rule. The CPUSA leadership did, abortively, begin to launch its present resurrection of Stalinist methods not against the NCLC, but against the SWP. This occurred during a twelve-month period of 1969-70, when the YSA was enjoying a very rapid recruitment at the expense of defunct SDS. Tracts and public addresses against the SWP-YSA briefly flourished, rehashing criminal Moscow-Trial incitements from the notorious old tract, Trotskyism - The Inside Job. It was aborted almost as quickly as it had begun.
During the 1969-70 period the CP leadership was occupied in attempting to recruit a new CP youth organization for itself - momentarily picking over the same remains of SDS on which the YSA was flourishing. The effort mainly failed. The CP sighed and gave it up. It constituted the YWLL, and shifted its recruitment perspectives toward working-class strata, thus lacking any point of continuing confrontation wIth the petit-bourgeois-oriented YSA. The illusory organizational threat posed by the SWP during 1969-70 thus proved itself to have been the result of a temporary CP mislocation of its effective recruitment perspectives.
To constitute a real threat to the CP, a socialist opponent group must effectively direct its efforts to the new recruits and peripheries on which the Communist organization' s existence depends. Any opponent socialist organization which prefers to "by-pass" the CP is only a nuisance, not a real threat either to the organization or Popular Front policies of the Moscow-led parties. (Even so, Stalinist hooliganism, once initiated against any socialist will soon be automatically directed against the SWP.)
Neither the Communist Party nor its Popular Front policies can be effectively by-passed. There is no possibility of socialist transformation in any country in which a CP is relatively left-hegemonic until a revolutionary socialist organization mobilizes itself to go through the CP, to march over the CP it, defeats head-on, to mobilize that majority of potential vanguard strata which the CP otherwise will flush down the political water-closet of the Popular Front.
THE CP ATTACKS US'''
Because we represent such a policy, Moscow has identified our small international tendency as a leading danger to its interests. It reacts against us, not because it is foolish, because it is the most astute counterrevolutionary agency by far in any part of the world. Apart from passing aberrations, it rightly pigeon-holes the extant "official Trotskyist" organizations as a mere nuisance to it, and proceeds to examine the left horizon for signs of some small, but established, other socialist tendency embryonically qualified to assume the potentially dangerous role that the then infinitesimal Trotskyist movement threatened to play as long as Trotsky lived.
The Kremlin is astute enough to recognize that the historical process tends not to tolerate a vacuum in such matters. If it ever doubted this, it recognizes France of May 1968 as a bellwether of the source from hiich a potential such threat might come. Fortunately, it sighs, there was no effective organized tendency on the scene in May, 1968 to realize the enormous potential of that movement. "Do such potential threats nonetheless exist ?", Moscow inquires.
Then, it discovers our tendency' s existence - beginning to study us closely, among other groups so surveyed about two years ago, It watches and judges, with the hog-bottomed patience only a bureaucracy can muster. It watches us grow, and grow stronger after each internal factional struggle, watches us thrive on each external factional struggle. Over the period it sees us grow more rapidly and consistently than any new socialist organization but its own West German DKP. It watches our influence beginning to take organizational and proto-organizational root in other European countries; in their efforts to combat us our ideas begin to influence the agenda and form of discussion of even our various socialist opponents. We sting the Kremlin severely in two of its minor appendages, the CPUSA and the KKE. It sucks the injured fingers, concluding that this nasty little group is potentially dangerous.
The bureaucracy plods to a conclusion. Memoranda finally complete their involuted rounds through proper channels, and arrive at the proper office suitably stamped and initialled, with supporting documents and inter-office notations duly attached, stamped and initialled, each in the proper fashion. The bureaucracy grunts, rubs its collective nose, sniffs, harrumphs, scratches its ear. "This," it decides, "is exactly the sort of problem which could become the plague we fear." It sighs with self-satisfaction at this judgment: only a patient and monstrous bureaucracy could have located such a potential danger in time. The system works: "With our bureaucratic thoroughness we have successfully carried out our assigned task of discovering the potential enemy."
The hog-rumped bureaucracy decides: "We attack this organization, and in so doing, we have warned every Communist Party in the advanced capitalist sector of the kind of threat it must watch for, and stamp out at all costs, in its own assigned area of responsibility. By attacking this group we will mobilize all Communist organizations to deal with all similar threats emerging anywhere. Praise Stalin! Crushing such problems in embryo, we shall successfully carry out our Popular Front policy for this decade!"
Kremlin authorization of the chosen form of polemic against the Labor Committees is not an attack on our organization in and of itself. We are attacked as an exemplary specimen of a broader species of opponent-socialist organization, a new, dangerous species which the Kremlin is in the process of now mobilizing all CPs to attack in embryo, by an indiscriminate use of Stalinist gangster methods. It attacks us in particular not necessarily because it fears that our tendency, in particular, will suddenly become a major threat to it on a world scale. It fears that our success in attacking it in two locations will encourage other tendencies to emulate us.
Like any police-agency, which the Kremlin in large measure is, it fears that if it tolerates any successful assault on the sanctity of its badges, others will be encouraged to attack its minions elsewhere in the same way.
In its eyes, our organization has "stumbled across the gimmick," the "modus operandi" to which Communist parties are vulnerable in this period. The bureaucracy moves to "correct" the situation.
That "gimmick" is not the articles in this pamphlet as mere articles. Trotsky' s brilliantly devastating criticisms of the Popular Front policy have represented little danger to the Kremlin in the hands of today's "official Trotskyists." What is dangerous to the CP is this sort of devastating criticism in the hands of a political tendency effectively developed and mobilized to make such criticisms a practical danger to the CP in terms of its own membership and peripheries. That, the bureaucracy reports in Neos Kosmos, is the damned Labor Committee tendency.
As to exactly why the selection, development and activities of Labor Committee members makes them a serious danger to the Communist Party, and the different corresponding qualities of the SWP makes it relatively a mere nuisance, that important point on cadre-development involves a somewhat different topic which will have to be reported in another location. It is not the mere instrument that Moscow fears, but the hand and brain which has proven its competence to forge and use the instruments of its own making. For that, they feared Trotsky, but not today' s "Trotskyists." For that, they fear us.