Guy A. Aldred Archive
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source: RevoltLib.com; 2021
In February 1941 a People’s Convention, so called, was arranged in London, to organize a movement for a People’s Government, also so-called. The aim of this People’s Government was said to be peace. The convention was boosted in the Daily Worker. Shortly after the convention, the Daily Worker was suppressed.
The Convention Call, addressed to workers, socialists, trade unionists, the lower middle class, “ democrats and anti-fascists,” was signed by a long list of names which read like a roll call of the Communist Party. No non-Stalinist organization endorsed the Convention.
The Call presented the immediate line of the British Communist Party. The Tory Government was denounced for helping to place Hitler in power, and for getting the country into war ; for profiteering, high prices, and taxes ; for inadequate air raid protection. The Churchill Government was attacked for its failure to grant national freedom, and for its “ scarcely-concealed hostility “ to the Soviet Union. The Labor Party leaders were criticized for their participation in the coalition government.
The Convention Call demanded friendship with the Soviet Union, a People’s Government, and a people’s peace.
Every intelligent Socialist and Pacifist, every thinking working man and woman knew that the real purpose of this Communist Party Convention was to advance Stalinism. They knew that the policies of the Communist Party before and since the present war were and are dictated by the reactionary interests of the Russian Stalinist bureaucracy.
Before the present war when Stalin was flirting with the democratic imperialists of Britain and France, the English Stalinists were anxious to force the imperialist democracies into war against Hitler. When the present war broke out, the Communist Party of Great Britain was resolutely pro-war. So were the “ Communists “ in the Paris Chamber of Deputies who voted for war credits. The Central Committee of the party issued a statement in September, 1939, calling for “ support of all necessary measures to secure the victory of democracy over Fascism. ”
The Stalin-Hitler pact took Gallacher and Pollitt by surprise. But they still expected, childishly, that the Soviet Union would remain allied with British and French capitalism. In the first days of the war, the Communist Party executive summarized the situation for the enlightenment of Daily Worker readers thus : —
“ Indeed, the essence of the present situation is that the people have now to wage a struggle on two fronts. FIRST, TO SECURE THE MILITARY VICTORY OVER FASCISM; SECOND, TO ACHIEVE THIS, THE POLITICAL VICTORY OVER CHAMBERLAIN AND THE ENEMIES OF DEMOCRACY IN THIS COUNTRY. These two aims are inseparable, and the harder the efforts to win one, the more sustained the activity to win the other. ”
Moscow advised the British Party that their line was wrong. The Stalin-Hitler pact meant that the British “ Communists “ must oppose the British Government and the war. The “ Communist “ yes-men did as they were ordered ; they opposed the war with the same intelligence and the same sincerity as they had exercised in supporting it ; they opposed the war as hirelings, compelled to obey their masters’ orders. In this spirit of serfdom and hire-purchase they organized the People’s Convention, a convention which ought to have commanded no respect from any decent, thinking man or woman.
Of course such a volte-face did not command complete adherence. The much-boomed Left Book Club went west. The People’s Fronters, Harold Laski, John Strachey, Aneurin Bevan, Victor Gollanz, remained faithful to the pre-war tune.
In line with the pro-Hitler policy, the Communist Party urged the national independence of the colonial peoples. This was not a principle but a tactic in line with the dictated changed allegiance. Previously, when Stalin was allied with the democratic imperialists, the Stalinists were told that the national independence of the oppressed peoples had to be subordinated to “ collective security “ against Hitler “ in the interests of defeating fascism, the mortal enemy of the working class, “ to quote the words of a leader of the Communist International, Manuilsky (March, 1939).
The British Communist Party issued a statement on “ The Colonies and Fascism, “ elaborating on the idea that the “ main enemy “ of the British colonials was not British imperialism but rather German Fascism. It denounced the very propaganda it advanced after August, 1939, by averring that such propaganda, in the name of repudiating existing imperial domination, in practice acts as the apologist of fascist aggressive aims in relation to the colonial peoples. “ (Labor Monthly, August, 1939).
As soon as Stalin’s henchmen adjusted themselves to their Fuehrer’s alliance with German Fascism, they wrote a new statement (” The Colonies and War “) condemning Britain’s attempt to drag the colonies into the war (that is, the policy they themselves had advocated), forgetting about their old bogey of Fascism as the “ main danger “ in the colonies, and hypocritically announcing that “ Communists have always fought for the right of all peoples to complete self-determination....” (Labor Monthly, December, 1939).
The Communist Party old line called for a “ People’s Government, “ a coalition of the Labor Party, Liberal Party and “ anti-fascist conservatives “ such as Eden and Churchill — which in alliance with the Soviet Union would wage war “ in defense of democracy against fascism.”
In February, 1941, they called for “A People’s Government, truly representative of the whole people and able to inspire the confidence of the working people of the world “ and for “ a people’s peace that gets rid of the causes of war.”
What did this Communist Party “ People’s Government “ mean? It meant any British government which formed a military alliance with the Soviet Union. All the rest was mere verbiage. So long as the Churchill Government did not serve the interests that governed Stalin and dictated his policy, the Communist Party was against the war and for a Hitler peace. When the Churchill Government served the interests of the Soviet bureaucracy, then the Stalinists once again became ardent upholders of the Union Jack. The genuine question of peace and commonweal, the real economic interests of the working class, has no place in the Communist Party program of thought and action. It is the subsidized party of the Soviet reaction and ought to command no respect and no support from the workers in Great Britain.
When one recalls the Reichstag fire trial, the denunciation of poor, simple, executed Van der Lubbe, the applauding of Dimitrov, the denunciation of Trotskyists, and others as Social Fascists, and then thinks over the Stalin-Hitler Pact, one is amazed at the perfidies of “ Communism “ and “ Socialism.” On the occasion of the Twenty-third anniversary of the October-November Revolution in November, 1940, Stalin prohibited the raising of a single anti-fascist slogan in the Soviet Union. Likewise taboo were any and all anti-war or anti -Imperialist slogans. Any mention of fascism, war, imperialism, victims of fascism, colonial peoples, class-war prisoners, refugees, was proscribed. In the 42 official slogans issued by the Kremlin for the November 7th celebrations there was not even a direct reference to capitalism.
The only reference to the world situation was contained in the following slogan : “ Long live the foreign policy of Peace between Peoples and Assuring the Security of our Fatherland ! ”
This meant, in other words, “ Long live the Hitler-Stalin Pact ! ”
Even such a ritualistic slogan repeated for years as “ Long Live the Soviet Power in the Whole World ! “ was omitted in 1940.
The People’s Front Policy started in 1938. At this time, even, the Kremlin was selling oil to Mussolini for the massacre of Abyssinia. Yet Stalin issued these slogans for the celebration of the Eighteenth Anniversary of the November Revolution : —
“ Our Flaming Greetings to the Proletarians and Toilers of France, the Vanguard Fighters Against Fascism, Against Imperialist War! ”
“ Bolshevik Greetings to the Revolutionary Proletariat of Germany! Long Live the Heroic Communist Party of Germany! Long Live Comrade THAELMANN! Let Us Tear
Him From the Clutches of the Fascist Hangmen! ”
“ Bolshevik Greetings to the Popular Masses of Abyssinia, Courageously Defending Their Independence.”
“ Fraternal Greetings to the Heroic Working Class and all the Toiling Masses of China. Long Live the Communist Party of China! ”
“ The Imperialists are Dividing and Enslaving China! Greetings to the Chinese People Fighting for Their Emancipation and Independence! ”
The Kremlin dictators later shook hands with “ the Fascist hangmen.” Allied to Japan, the same dictators had no time for the Chinese struggle.
In 1935, Stalin launched so many slogans against Fascism, that to do them justice we would have to devote several pamphlets to their reproduction. Here are a few selected at random : —
“ Fascism is the Most Savage Offensive of Capitalism Against the Toiling Masses!
“ Fascism — this Means War of Aggression!
“ Fascism-This Means Hunger, Poverty, Misery!
“ Down With Fascism! Down with Capitalism!
“ Fuze Into a Single United Front For the Struggle Against
“ Fascism — The Bitterest Enemy of All Peoples! ”
In 1940, there is a complete silence as to Capitalism and Fascism. The 42 slogans are mostly “ greetings “ and injunctions to the workers, engineers, and technicians, calling for increased production from crops to metals, calico to buildings, culture to chemicals.
Another set of slogans simply raised “ demands.”
“ Create Mighty State Labor Reserves for Industry and Transport!
“ Long Live the October 2nd Laws Instituting Child Labor in the Soviet Union!
“ The Struggle Against Laggards and Disorganizers of Production is the Struggle for Strengthening the Might of Our Fatherland and Its Red Army. Long Live Labor Discipline and Exemplary Order in the Enterprises of Our Fatherland! ”
This was asking the workers to give revolutionary cheers for Fascist Labor Laws that enslaved them : for child labor, above all things !
The “ Long Live “ slogans related to Trade Unions, Konsomols, Soviet Intellectuals, all of which had been purged during the previous mid-summer. Two slogans in this 1940 celebration merit special mention.
There was a sudden and rather unexpected reference to “ Our Socialist Espionage Service — the CHEKA.” This was in connection with a slogan calling for the strengthening of the Red Army. The Cheka arose during the civil war. It gave way to the O.G.P.U. This name became so abhorrent that the secret police department was renamed the N.K.V.O. In 1940, with a Fascist alliance, we had the return to the name more significant of terror than the G.P.U. — the CHEKA ! This was and is a direct threat of intensified police terror and martial courts.
The second slogan was : —
“ Let Us Unfold the Criticism of our Inadequacies! Let Us Strengthen Still More the Might and Organized Power of our State! ”
This slogan was not a slogan of Socialism but of Fascism; a slogan of centralized power, of a totalitarian state. It is a slogan of falsehood, persecution and tyranny.
And so we were brought from the “ Communist “ War-Zig to the “ Communist “ Peace-Zag. In neither instance was the well-being of the working classes, or the final peace and commonweal of the world, the inspiring consideration of the slogan-mongers or hireling apologists, for the Soviet Union. The “ Communist “ zig-zag policy is one of corruption, persecution, betrayal, and dishonesty. It is not Communism but Capitalism ; not peace but militarism ; not proletarian but power-mongering and power-pandering; a policy of exploitation and outrage. The Stalinists have no place in the proletarian struggle.