Guy A. Aldred Archive
Transcription/Markup: Andy Carloff
Online Source: RevoltLib.com; 2021
The Stalinist period of “ gorilla “ adventurism commences with the 9th Plenum of the Communist International early in 1928. It based its arguments on a complete misunderstanding of the importance of parliamentarism. The vote cast for the Communist Party in Germany had increased. So also had the vote cast for the Social Democracy. This voting was interpreted as a first sign of working class resurgence. Inspired by this illusion, the 9th Plenum turned its eyes towards China, and there discovered the rise of a “ new and higher “ stage of the Chinese Revolution. At this time China was in the throes of counter-revolution.
Undisturbed by the Chinese tragedy and incapable of visioning what was to happen in Germany, the Plenum announced through the medium of Thaelmann and others, that the working masses throughout the world were becoming “ more and more radicalized.”. It is to be believed, and hoped, that in the course of time this statement will become correct. As an observation of what was occurring in 1928, it left much to be desired in the matter of accuracy.
The sixth Congress was held in the middle of 1928. It carried the absurdities of the 9th Plenum a step further. Trotsky presented to this Congress a warning against the light-minded conception of an automatic horizontal progress of the revolutionary movement throughout the world. This warning was not permitted by the official faction to be passed on to the assembled delegates.
The sixth Congress had several points of similarity with the fifth, which was held in 1924, after the defeat in Germany. On the questions of the nearness of revolution, the relation of social democracy to Fascism, Bolshevisation, and the Right danger, the 1928 congress merely parodied that of 1924. For example, the German revolution having experienced defeat, the 1924 Congress declared that no defeat had occurred, that the German revolution was right ahead. The Chinese revolution having met with disaster, the 1928 Congress acknowledged no defeat, but declared that the Chinese revolution was right ahead. In 1924, social democracy was declared to be “ the most moderate wing of fascism,” and in 1928 all socialists and noncommunist party elements among the workers were termed “ Social Fascists.” In 1924 the Congress celebrated the victory of “ Bolshevisation “ at a time when the various “ Bolshevist leaderships “ imposed on the national sections were undermined. In 1928 the victory of the “ unified communist international “ was celebrated, whilst the most violent internal struggles were being fought behind the scenes, and the destruction and exile of the right wing was being planned. In 1924, with much ultra-leftist palaver, the fifth Congress made a pretended move to the left, and then swung completely to the right, and entered on the miserable opportunist period of the Anglo-Russian Committee, and the Chiang Kai Shek alliance, the anti-Imperialist league, etc. In 1928 the sixth Congress endorsed adventurist conclusions only to consecrate the revisionist theory of “ Socialism in One Country,” with the terrible international consequences that we have discussed.
The 1928 struggle against the “ Right danger “ was a triumph of hypocrisy. It was launched at the sixth Congress by Bucharin, the international right wing leader, after he had resisted the campaign at the fifteenth Congress of the Russian party. Rumors of disagreement were dismissed as “ Trotskyist slanders “ by the very spokesmen who were crushed organizationally immediately after the Congress, and either expelled outright or saved temporarily from expulsion and execution by hurniliating capitulation. The leaders of the sixth Congress, like those of the fifth, met with a speedy end, once the Congress had concluded.
At the sixth Congress, Stalin made a special report to the Council of Elders, and introduced a resolution signed by himself, Bucharin and every other member of the Political Bureau, declaring that they “must emphatically protest against the circulatior of rumors that there are dissentions among the members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.” The assembled marionettes listened solemnly and approved enthusiastically of this ludicrous deception. A few months later, Bucharin, the political leader of the Congress, the reporter on the program, the president of the Comintern, with Stalin, the concoctor of the absurdity, was denounced as the leader of the capitalist restoration tendency in the Soviet Union. The right wing was expelled in every country in the world. In the United States of America, Lovestone, Gitlow and Wolfe were expelled as agents of the American bourgeoisie. In India, the notorious Roy, who had made a livelihood denouncing Trotsky as an agent of Chamberlain, was expelled on the charge that he was an agent of Chamberlain. The right wing was cut off in Sweden, France and Czechoslovakia; and in Germany, Brandler and also Ewart were banished from the Comintern.
To any sane mind the declarations of the 9th Plenum, with the commentary of the events of the months following, would have proved a warning against further absurdities. The limits of Stalinist absurdity were not reached even when the Kremlin counter-revolution made its 1939 pact with Hitler, and its 1942 pacts with Churchill and Roosevelt.
The Stalinists were not only undismayed by the events of 1928, but they drew positive inspiration from all that had happened. At the 10th Plenum, in 1929, Molotov celebrated the expulsion and exile of his colleagues of the year before by proclaiming what the Stalinists term “ the third period,” or the constantly increasing radicalization of the masses, simultaneously in every country. There can be no fourth period, declared this communist clown, for the third period ends the revolution. One might suspect the revolution was ended, but not in the sense that Molotov meant us to understand his words. Actually, Molotov was preparing the Communist Party for the rise of Hitlerism in Germany.
Losovsky supported Molotov. He explained that the “ heightened political sensitivity, of the broad masses is a characteristic sign, of the eve of revolution.” Moireva, a member of the E.C.C.I., declared that the world situation recalled the Russian July days, that were the precursors of the October revolution. France was said by this imbecile speaker, with the applause of the assembled congregation, to be destined to head the revolutionary prospects of this third period. The double menace of this French absurdity, and of this period nonsense, was to be found in the fact that from the theory of the third period flowed the theory of Social Fascism which divided the working class movement in Germany during the critical rise to power of Fascism; whilst the fantastic predictions concerning France caused the communist elements in Spain to be taken wholly unawares by the Spanish uprising. This prediction explains why the Comintern had no Spanish policy. It was looking to France for a lead at a time when the French workers were utterly incapable of leading.
Although the theory of Social Fascism did not assist the working class struggle, it justified the entire policy of the Communist International. This was a more important matter to Stalin, Manuilisky, and Bela Kun, that master strategist of the Hungarian revolution, than the emancipation of the workers.
Bela Kun declared that the social democracy, from top to bottom, leader and commonest member, all along the line, was a fusion with the capitalist state. The essential value of this theory was that it justified the “ United Front from the top” with Chiang Kai Shek and Purcell, and later it justified also the total negation of the United Front with working class elements organizing the social democracy. According to this dogma, it was the essence of Bolshevism to maintain a united front with proved strike breakers in return for their “ struggle to defend the Soviet Union.” This was the “ second period.” But in the third period, the Soviet Union, not requiring the same defense, the communist must repudiate all social democrats from Purcell to the unemployed socialist worker because all were fascists.
Stalinism employed the Social Fascism formula to link together the two mutually supplementary periods of its blunders and crimes, and idealized the disorder of its activity in order to encase itself with a protective glamour. The third period, the period of so-called revolution, became in reality the period of the most triumphant counter-revolution, and witnessed the assassination of the German revolutionary movement.