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A. Rudzienski

Eastern Europe Structural Changes

The Effect of Stalinist Occupation

(July 1947)

From The New International, Vol. XIII No. 5, July 1947, pp. 143–148.
Translated by Abe Stein.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the November 1946 issue of the Fourth International there appears an article by E.R. Frank on The Kremlin in Eastern Europe which is intended to represent the theoretical point of view of the Socialist Workers Party on the problems of the revolution in Central Eastern Europe. A resolution by the IEC of the Fourth International, which appears in The Militant of December 7, 1946, officially confirms Frank’s point of view. The resolution, which speaks of the proletarian struggle against both camps in Poland, Stalinism and the opposition, dedicates its entire exposition to the struggle against the legal and illegal opposition, defending in reality, the policies of the Stalinist-assassin regime and its economic and social “reforms.” What a handsome example of international solidarity with the blood-stained Polish proletariat and the rebellious poor peasantry! What loyal “critical” support of the Stalinist regime in Poland, which is as effective as it is “critical”! For if anything matters to Stalin today, it is not the support of his fifth columns, but rather the “critical” support of the “fellow travelers.” The tenor of the official resolution and Frank’s theoretical commentary places the authors of both documents in the ranks of the “fellow travelers,” in the ranks of the “critical” opposition to His Majesty, Stalin.

Let us speak concretely: Frank patiently explains to us various phenomena and phases of Soviet policy in the “sphere of Soviet influence.” As a consequence of the inter-imperialist agreements at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, the Red Armies occupy this part of Europe up to the Trieste-Stettin line. The Red Armies established new regimes based on the coalition between the collaborationist bourgeoisie, whom Frank calls “far-sighted” and “progressive,” and the Stalinist bureaucracy. The economy imposed on these countries has a mixed and bastard character, being based on a partial or almost complete state capitalism (Czechoslovakia) existing side by side with private property permitted by the Stalinists. The nature of the economic and social policies followed in these countries ranges from a coalition with the bourgeoisie to a “monolithic” government (my expression, not Frank’s – A.R.). In spite of the reactionary role of the Stalinists relative to the situation of the working class, in spite of a policy of robbery and plunder which Frank admits, he absolves the “Stalinist reaction” by virtue of the simple fact that “the overturn in Eastern Europe possesses many highly progressive features, the redistribution of land, the confiscation and nationalization of industry.” In brief, Frank attributes a decidedly progressive character to Stalin’s “social revolution” in Europe.

“If a social revolution signifies the transfer of power from one class to another, then certainly a social revolution (my emphasis – A.R.) was set in motion in Eastern Europe after the ‘liberation’.”

A neat example, indeed, of Frank’s “Marxist” reasoning!

In spite of its having realized this “social revolution,” Frank is not at all satisfied with Stalinism, above all the “Red” Armies. The advance of these armies awakened, according to Frank, the revolutionary consciousness of the workers who occupied the factories and formed workers’ committees in all the countries that the “Red” Army approached. According to Frank, it would seem that the Red Army is a revolutionary factor in Europe. But contrary to ordinary logic and contrary to all Marxist dialectic, this same army which “awakened the revolution” was transformed into a counter-revolutionary force which disarmed the workers, protected the bourgeoisie and capitalism, imposed governments of coalition with the bourgeoisie and the “bastard” regimes, protected private property and throttled the very same revolution which its approach accelerated and encouraged. In spite of all this, after imposing its government, Stalinism realized “progressive reforms,” a species of “social revolution” nationalizing industry and distributing the land. Not only this, it pushes the regimes of coalition toward the “left,” purging them of the bourgeoisie and the vacillating social-democrats, peasants, etc., in order to create a more “socialist” regime. To support this thesis, Frank takes up in detail the developments in all these countries and above all, in Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Hosannahs for the Quislings and the Far-Sighted Bourgeoisie

According to Frank, the Stalinist regime in Czechoslovakia is the “mildest” and the most “democratic,” thanks not only to the tolerable economic situation, since Czechoslovakia did not suffer as much from the ravages of war as the other countries, but above all, thanks to the “foresight” of the liberal bourgeoisie and the “progressive” middle class represented by the “far-sighted” Benes, who collaborates with the Russians in the introduction of the “social revolution” in Czechoslovakia. In order to support his “very Marxist” and magisterial thesis, Frank invokes the testimony of that well-known “Marxist” organ, the Manchester Guardian, during the period when the liberal section of the British bourgeoisie had illusions about the possibility of international collaboration with the Russians in order to save the British Empire at the expense of the peoples oppressed and subjugated by imperialism. What was advocated by this organ of British imperialism was the division of Europe into two spheres of influence, British and Soviet. Benes, who accepted this point of view, was then the “far-sighted” and “progressive” favorite of British imperialism. Today the Manchester Guardian, having lost its illusions about a “peaceful agreement” with Moscow, looks to a military alliance between Britain and the United States, and consequently no longer sings the praises of Benes. Today the very same “progressive” organ which the Marxist Frank relies on so much, would welcome more “audacity” and more opposition in the style of Mikolajczyk from Benes.

Frank’s remarks indicate that he knows as much about Czechoslovakia, its economic and political structure, as he does of the Czech and Slovak tongues, and of the principal actors in Czechoslovakian politics. After the Hussite revolution, the Czech people suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Hapsburgian Catholic reaction, and fell into a feudal servitude for almost four hundred years. During this period, the Czech nation almost disappeared, losing almost all of its national consciousness and its spirit of rebellion. In 1848, when all the peoples of Europe rose up against Czarism and absolutism, the embryonic Czech bourgeoisie supported reactionary Pan-Slavism, opposed the Polish and Hungarian revolutionaries, and defended the Hapsburgs and Metternich. Marx’s condemnation of this counter-revolutionary attitude is very well known. Masaryk himself, first President of the post-war Czech Republic) was a supporter of the Hapsburg monarchy until the years of Odboj (resistance). The steady decline of the monarchy, foreshadowing its inevitable defeat, convinced Masaryk of the necessity of Czechoslovakian national independence. This was the reason why this partisan of the Hapsburg monarch came to be the “father of the Czechoslovakian Republic.”The role played by the Czech legions against the young Soviet Russia should be known to Frank. The greater part of the Czech bourgeoisie, though not German speaking, always signed for the good old days of the Hapsburgs, because in those days Czech industry enjoyed access to wider markets than the small territory of the republic could provide.

When Hitler occupied the Sudetenland, the greater part of the Czech bourgeoisie favored peaceful collaboration with Hitler in order to save themselves from the Soviet Union, and with the hope of repairing the loss of the Sudetenland with the broader German markets. The same “far-sighted” Benes did not call the people to arms but to “order” and to “peace” and to accept the dictates of Munich. He turned a deaf ear to the outside world and did not create a government-in-exile before the situation had matured. The majority of the Czech bourgeoisie, led by Hacha, collaborated with Hitler, drawing all possible material advantages from the situation. Benes took upon himself the task of annulling the effects of this activity by. creating the pro-Allied government-in-exile. When the Russian Armies approached Slovakia, Benes, knowing the drift of the imperialist agreements at Yalta, chose to accept the Imperialist dictate and submitted to Stalin. As a consequence, he was spared a struggle, was given the post of president, and succeeded in saving part of the bourgeoisie. But in revolutionary and Marxist language this is not called “foresight” but naked, unrestrained and shameless opportunism; it is called the miserable betrayal of the people and the proletariat of Czechoslovakia, the betrayal of its social and national emancipation and of its future. An opportunistic bourgeois organ can call this “foresight” when it falls in with the interests of British imperialism, but not a Marxist who pretends to be a theoretician of the vanguard of the world proletariat. True, the political regime in Czechoslovakia is milder than in Poland, but it is also true that its control is more totalitarian. Thanks to the traitorous and Quisling role of Benes, Stalinism dominates all the key position without any competition. The elections gave a crushing victory to the Stalinist party. The old social-democrats have been eliminated. Fierlinger and Lausman, whom Frank admires so much, do not play any major role in the Czechoslovakian social-democracy. Hampel, Soukup, Falta and so many others have disappeared (Soukup was assassinated by the Nazis). Benes himself is but his own shadow, a puppet who is afraid to open his mouth. The Czech press writes that he is sick and will probably step down from the presidency. Frank should not take his own ignorance for “theory” and inform his readers so bady. Benes is not “far-sighted” but a Stalinist Quisling, Moscovite Hacha, a traitor. The “mildness” of Stalinist methods in the Czechoslovakian Republic is not due to the “foresight” of the bourgeoisie but to the lack of a revolutionary proletariat, of an internationalist Communist Party, of an aroused national resistance.

Condemnation and Contempt for the Worker and Peasant Opposition

Frank evaluates the Polish situation in accordance with the same a priori schema, without drawing upon any other sources than the Anglo-Saxon bourgeois press or the Stalinists in the English language. The regime of bloody Stalinist terror is not explained as the product of an imperialist policy and the occupation of Poland, but as the result of the stupidity and lack of “foresight” on the part of the Polish bourgeoisie.

“Because the Czech liberal bourgeois is bending over back-ward to keep on friendly terms with the Kremlin, the People’s Front government has survived in more or less original form.”

Completely false, because Stalinist totalitarianism is almost as advanced in Czechoslovakia as in Yugoslavia, but by “cold methods.”

“In sharp contrast to Benes and his policy, the Polish government-in-exile in London, dominated by the same colonels who controlled Polish politics for two decades, remained obdurately anti-Soviet. Even in exile they continued their mad, adventuristic game of trying to play off the Western powers against Russia.”

This ignorance served up with so much assurance and arrogance to the poor readers requires historical explanation in order to set the facts down correctly. For almost four hundred years, Poland was not defeated by the Russia-German reaction. Not until the end of the 18th century and the beginnings of the democratic revolution did this defeat take place. And even then Poland’s defeat was not total in character, for as an ally of France she could still present certain conditions to the Congress of Vienna, obtaining a satellite state with a limited constitutional character. Each fifteen or twenty years, the Polish nobility and bourgeoisie rose up against the Russian autocracy, their struggle constituting the hope and inspiration of democracy and socialism in Europe. Marx and Engels supported this struggle without any reservations. Lenin gave the following evaluation of the Polish up-risings:

“While the popular masses of Russia and the majority of the Slav countries were sunken in a profound sleep,while in these countries there were no independent movements of the masses, the liberation movement of the Polish nobility acquired a paramount importance, tremendous in scope not only from the viewpoint of Russian democracy and democracy for all the Slavs, but for all European democracy as well.” (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 276)

With the defeat of the last revolution in 1894, the Polish proletariat assumed the role of leadership in the social and national revolution in Poland.

Although Frank is ignorant of this role, we do not have to explain to him that this proletariat gave rise to such leaders as Rosa Luxemburg, Tyszka Jogiches, Unschlicht, Kohn, Hanecki, Marchlewski, Dzierzynski, Warski, Koszutska, Domski, Dabal, not to speak of the prominent reformists in the Viennese, Berlin and later Polish parliaments (such as Daszynski, Lieberman, Purak, etc.). The Polish proletariat struggled against the Czars, against the “Colonels,” against the Nazis,and now with heroic valor that has no precedent, they defy Stalinism. [1] The Polish CP had to be liquidated and the old Polish Marxists assassinated like the Russian Bolsheviks. The underground and the Warsaw insurrection, whose backbone was the proletariat, was assassinated by Stalin-Hitler with the consent of the imperialists. Stalin could not appear in Poland as a savior, and had to introduce his government on bayonets. Frank says that Stalin came to an agreement with a provisional Polish government in 1944, a government composed of Stalinists, reformists, democrats and populists. I know all the actors and signatories to this agreement. There were no Social-Democrats there, outside of Drobner and Haneman, who could never represent the PPS (Polish Socialist Party), because they belonged to a small grouping of the NSPP (Independent Socialists) which they themselves liquidated before 1938. Now both are in opposition, Haneman in prison. There was no “democratic” party in Poland, its leader is an old “Colonelist” and apologist for the terror set in motion by Pilsudski and Rzymowski. The Peasant representatives were hardly there. Only GPU agents and “fellow travelers” appeared on behalf of the Stalinists. Such questions. Comrade Frank, must be understood, and if one does not know them they must be studied.

The “union” between Mikolajczyk and Lublin was dictated by the imperialists and repudiated by the Polish people. The furious resistance against Stalinism in Poland was not due to the lack of “foresight” on the part of the Polish bourgeoisie, nor of the London government-in-exile but to the revolutionary past and the revolutionary resistance of the Polish proletariat, whom no one has been able to subdue until now, neither the Czar nor the Colonels, neither Hitler nor Stalin. What is historically correct is that the government-in-exile is not controlled by the Colonels. The Colonels were overthrown in 1939 by Hitler. What arose was a government coalition between the national-democracy, the peasants and the Socialists, headed by Sikorski. After his death there came into being the Peasant-Socialist coalition, headed by Mikolajczyk. The government of Mikolajczyk-Kwapinski (PPS) was supported by the anti-Nazi resistance movement in Poland. The resistance movement and the Warsaw insurrection were crushed by Stalin, not because they were reactionary, but because they were to the left of the Russian bureaucracy. The Reformist-Peasant government, which would have realized the same state capitalism that Stalin is bringing about, but within the framework of national independence and respect for the bourgeois democratic rights of the proletariat, constituted a mortal danger to the Stalinist reaction and its bureaucratic regime. It represented a mortal danger because the possibility of opening the road to socialism would exist.

The opposition of the Polish proletariat and peasantry does not prove its backwardness, but rather its great historical experience and its revolutionary consciousness. To identify this opposition with that of the bourgeoisie is to render excellent service to Stalinism and the rest of the reaction. Furthermore, it is no longer certain that all the bourgeoisie supports the London government and opposes Stalinism. There is a strong group of National-Democrats in the Warsaw government, led by Grabski, old leader of the reaction, and a group of “Colonelists” headed by Ryzmowski, Szwalbe (now a “Socialist”), Kwiatkowski, etc. On the other hand, the government of London is led by the genuine PPS, ranging from men like Arciszewski, Kwapinski, over to the left wing of the PPS represented by Prager, Ciolkosz.

The Nature of the Anti-Stalinist Opposition

In Poland there are two kinds of opposition today: 1. The rightist and remnants of the bourgeoisie, and 2. The peasant-worker, led by the peasants and supported by the workers. The main forces of the reaction are to be found today in the Stalinist camp, including the former bourgeois collaborators. The Stalinist terror is not due to the reactionary opposition, but in the first place, to the worker-peasant opposition which threatens the foundations of the Stalinist regime. Mikolajczyk was ready to play the part of a Polish Benes, but Stalin required a government that was completely his own in Poland. Poland is not Czechoslovakia; the contradictions between the two imperialist camps make of Poland a sensitive nerve-center, and for this reason Mikolajczyk, with all his “good will,” who wished to create a government loyal to Moscow, though autonomous, was defeated. For a thousand years of its history Poland never engaged in any compromise on the issue of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. In 150 years of Russian domination, a pro-Russian government was never established, nor did the Russians wish to risk such a government, deeming their own regime necessary. According to Frank’s criteria, which considers it far-sighted for the Polish bourgeoisie to reach an understanding with Stalin, Colonel Beck was very “far-sighted” because he desired an understanding with Hitler and yielded Danzig and the Corridor to the latter. However, this agreement was rejected by the vast majority of the Polish people, with the workers and the peasants in the vanguard. It will hardly be possible to realize such a deal with Stalin either, even though a good part of the bourgeoisie, perhaps even the majority, so desires it. The workers and peasants, you see, are “short-sighted.”

It is our belief that the illegal, extreme nationalist right wing will inevitably be annihilated by Stalinism, not because the latter plays a progressive role but because its reactionary and imperialist policies demand such a course of action. Economically, the bourgeoisie has already been annihilated. The second opposition to Stalinism, that of the peasants and workers, has a completely different character. The peasant movement of Poland is one of the most democratic in all Europe, owing to the agrarian structure of the country. Apart from the numerous agricultural proletariat, there exists in Poland an enormous preponderance of poor peasants, semi-proletarian in type, who account for almost 80 per cent of the rural population. The “kulak” in Poland was a stratum without economic importance. Only in Western Poland (Posen) were the rich peasants strong, thanks to the Bismarckian reforms. The Polish peasantry was opposed to Pilsudski and the Colonels, struggled against the Nazis, and now struggles against Stalin and his “state capitalism” (à la Frank). The “opposition” of the poor and middle peasantry to the “state-capitalist” monopoly of the bureaucracy is not reactionary but progressive, because the weakening of the Stalinist regime does not weaken the development of Poland toward socialism. The aroused opposition of the peasantry is also proof that the Stalinist agrarian reform did not have any great importance in Poland, and that, consequently, the famous “democratic revolution” is a fraud. The support given by the workers to the peasants is also proof that the Polish proletariat understands the reactionary role of Stalinism, a piece of evidence that supports our point of view. For this reason, we ought not to permit Stalin to annihilate Mikolajczyk and the peasants, but ought to defend them from Stalinism.

It is a fact that Anglo-Saxon imperialism tries to take advantage of the Mikolajczyk opposition for its own ends, but this does not mean that the worker-peasant opposition is a mere instrument of imperialism and represents the reactionary Polish bourgeoisie. The proletariat also has the right to lake advantage of the inter-imperialist contradictions for its own ends without being bound to either imperialist camp. The Polish people have no desire to serve as an instrument of imperialism, nor do they desire a new war which would take place on Polish soil. The Polish people remember well the British betrayal of 1939, the betrayal of 1944, when the Warsaw revolution was drowned in its own blood with the mutual consent of the imperialists and the advice of the Fourth International that the Warsaw insurrection subordinate itself to the Russian Army. But the petty bourgeois and peasant opposition, and even more so the proletarian opposition, has the right to take advantage of the inter-imperialist struggle, the Anglo-American pressure on Stalin, in order to conquer a margin of liberty and to lessen the pressure of Russian imperialism in Poland. Such a course should not be taken to represent the pressure of American imperialism. It is well to remember that Lenin also knew how to take advantage of the Entente’ s opposition to Czarism in 1917.

Briefly then: In Poland there are three broad camps – 1. The Stalinist reaction. 2. The reactionary nationalist opposition. 3. The peasant-worker opposition which struggles for a “new Poland, authentically democratic and socialist.” The rightist opposition is doomed to annihilation because it is reactionary and utopian. The peasant-worker opposition is to the left of Stalinism and therefore its defeat signifies our defeat. The opposition, whether it wills it or not, opens the road for Europe and Poland toward socialism. Our task is to combat the petty bourgeois-peasant illusions on the possibility of “peasant democracy,” that is, petty bourgeois, and to give a socialist and revolutionary consistency to this movement, laying bare the vacillations and ambiguities of Mikolajczyk. Behind Mikolajczyk’s back an anti-Stalinist, independent Socialist Party has been formed with a centrist-reformist character. It is our duty to fight at their side and to give them a developed revolutionary program. If we isolate ourselves from this movement and declare it “reactionary” we give aid to the Stalinists and close the road to revolutionary developments in Poland. This, the Fourth International and Comrade Frank ought to understand.

What Kind of “Social Revolution” Is Taking Place in Central Eastern Europe?

Analyzing Russian economic policy in occupied Europe, Frank arrives at the conclusion that generally speaking, a “state capitalism” of various degrees of perfection and completion is being set up. He attributes “highly progressive” virtues to the Stalinist nationalization of industry, forgetting that this nationalization is reactionary because it serves the aims of Russian imperialism: plunder, robbery and spoliation for the purpose of “primitive accumulation” of capital (courageous Frank! He always sees some progress). He also estimates the progressive worth of the Stalinist agrarian reforms to be considerable, arguing, however, only on the basis of the figures emanating from Stalinist sources and taking the official declarations of the Stalinist ministers for good coin. For these reasons, Frank, though he analyzes the political crimes of the “Stalinist reaction” (bravo, bravo), absolves them for the fundamental reason that Stalinism realizes, in the Marxist sense, a “social revolution,” “if the social revolution signifies the transfer of power from one class to another.” (Here Frank recognizes the Stalinist bureaucracy as a new social class, thus tacitly accepting Shachtman’s theory, nothing more and nothing less!) For this reason, Frank gives “critical support” to the Stalinist bureaucracy’ against the anti-Stalinist opposition (Frank does not distinguish between the reactionary bourgeois opposition and that of the worker-peasants) classifying the entire opposition as “reactionary.” Accepting for a moment Frank’s logic, we ask: What kind of “social revolution” occurs under Russian occupation? Are there two kinds of revolution in our time – socialist and bourgeois-democratic? The Stalinists proclaim that they are realizing a phase of the “democratic revolution.” If Frank accepts this point of view, he ought to demand the liquidation of the Fourth International and request admission into the Stalinist Party in order to aid with his critique the realization of this so “highly progressive” social revolution. If the GPU does not accept him, then he ought to transform the Fourth International into a pro-Stalinist party, which from the “critical” point of view will support Stalin’s so “highly progressive” historical realizations.

A considerable Marxist political literature and the experience of the most important Communist parties of this region of Europe, the Polish, German and Czech parties, teach us that the democratic revolution terminated in these countries in 1918–20, with the liquidation of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian feudal empires, with the setting up of the national bourgeois states, with the agrarian reforms in Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, etc. The figures of the agrarian reform in Poland demonstrate the much greater sweep of the bourgeois agrarian reform than that of the Stalinists. The Polish Republic distributed more than 3,000,000 hectares, the Stalinists only 1,300,000. The Polish agrarian reforms began in the Western part in 1821, in Austria in 1848, in Russia in 1864. There were much larger estates in Eastern Prussia, Pomerania and Mecklenburg than in Central Poland, yet no one dares affirm that Germany was a feudal country. The agrarian reforms in the Baltic countries, in Rumania and in Czechoslovakia were much more “radical” than in Poland itself. The first regimes established in these countries were bourgeois-democratic, for the first time in history. In Hungary, a short-lived socialist regime was established. In Germany, attempts were made to put such a regime in power. The programs of the Communist Parties in their best days, whether Polish, Czechoslovakian or German, were: The socialist revolution is on the order of the day. If Frank accepts the Stalinist theory of a “democratic revolution” then he betrays the Marxist program. The truth is that Frank is simply impotent before this crucial problem. With his theory of “mixed economies” and the “bastard” regime of property forms, and the Stalinist “social revolution,” Frank has stumbled into a blind alley. What kind of a revolution is it, Comrade Frank, socialist, bureaucratic or bourgeois? The workers of Europe as well as ourselves desire an answer.

We believe that the democratic revolution was completed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Germany, Rumania, Hungary and Yugoslavia in the years 1918–20. The weak and sickly native bourgeoisie and its capitalism gave way to twentieth century Bonapartism in these countries and evolved toward an imperfect totalitarianism which fell under the influence of German fascism (Pilsudski in Poland, Horthy in Hungary, the dictatorship of King Alexander in Yugoslavia, etc.) This type of regime was not pure fascism because it lacked the capitalist and imperialist base, par excellence, of fascism as in Germany. The German occupation signified the “totalization” of this reactionary process. However, the German defeat liberated the social movement of the masses which tended toward socialism. What kind of a movement was this? Frank himself replies, a socialist movement, a forerunner of the “socialist revolution.” it would seem. It was not Stalin’s army, then, which liberated the social movement of the masses, but the historical situation, the completed democratic phase and the necessity of the socialist revolution which liberated this movement. The “Red” Army represented the march of the “Stalinist reaction,” the march of the Stalinist counter-revolution which replaced the Nazi counter-revolution. The ingenuous belief of the masses in the revolutionary role of the Red Army cannot be identified with the real, reactionary role Of this army, Comrade Frank. The role of the Red Army was clearly counter-revolutionary, its mission was to crush the social movements of the masses which tended toward a socialist revolution, the only revolution possible in any part of Europe.

This approaching, almost imminent, socialist revolution was repulsed by the counter-revolutionary leagues, this time the Stalinists, and a “bastard” regime installed with “mixed economies” and a coalition between the “far-sighted” bourgeoisie (how nice) and the Stalinist bureaucracy. If this regime cannot be democratic because the democratic stage has already been concluded, according to Marxist theory and program, then it can only be a socialist revolution or the counter-revolution. We affirm that it is a Stalinist counter-revolution which realizes this “state capitalism,” the rule of Russian imperialism which carries out the sack and spoliation, the “primitive accumulation” of capital; it is the reactionary Stalinist dictatorship which engages in the persecution of the worker and peasant masses, the savage terror against the Trotskyist opposition and the elemental opposition of the workers and peasants. For us, the “capitalism of the state,” with its “nationalization of industry,” with its “agrarian reform,” signifies neither “progress” nor a “highly progressive social revolution,” but the only possible form of the imperialist counter-revolution which can forestall the socialist revolution in this part of the world. For this reason, we distinguish between the reactionary and bourgeois opposition and the socialist, worker-peasant opposition, albeit elemental, to Stalinism. For the same reason, we consider the Stalinist regimes, “combined” with the “far-sighted” bourgeoisie, as centers of reaction and counter-revolution, which we must combat tirelessly and without truce until the death. We support the elemental opposition of the proletariat, peasantry and lower middle classes against this Stalinist “revolution,” with the aim of opening the way toward progress, toward a socialist revolution that is the antithesis of Stalinism.

The same Comrade Frank who admitted the “capitalism of the state,” the “primitive accumulation of capital,” the “Stalinist reaction,” fell into a lamentable eclecticism, attributing to these phenomena a “highly progressive” role. Worse still, the Marxist who aspires to lead the world movement against Stalinism, gave frank support to Stalinism against the workers’ opposition, the progressive opposition of the workers and peasants. This high dignitary of the socialist revolution, this Marxist “without stain or fear of reproach” turns out to be an eclectic centrist, a “conciliator” in the style of a Kautsky in the year 1947, an objective ally of the world counter-revolution, represented in Central Eastern Europe by the “Stalinist reaction.” For him the counter-revolution is identical with the “socialist revolution” and the worker-peasant opposition, still elemental, still groping, and still without revolutionary leadership, is synonymous with the “bourgeois-capitalist reaction.”

This is indeed a lamentable tragedy, or tragi-comedy of errors, Comrade Frank. Were you to lead the struggle of the Polish or German anti-Stalinist and potentially revolutionary workers and recommend that they support Stalinism because it fulfills a “highly progressive” mission, a mission that is in its essence a “social revolution,” these workers would give you a thrashing, and with good cause. Unfortunately, it is you who at this moment administer the blows, treacherous blows (although we acknowledge that it is done without conscious intent) to the proletariat and poor peasantry of Poland who, for the moment, support Mikolajczyk because he is the only one who resists the very Stalinism which the “Marxist” Frank supports. It is to end this tragi-comic situation that we must try to knock some sense into his thick and stubborn skull. Perhaps the stars that will light up under his skull will bring some light into his blind alley. If our effort succeeds It will help prevent the defeat of the revolutionary proletariat and rebellious peasantry who struggle against Stalinism, and against whom Frank wishes to strike a mortal blow because he cannot distinguish them from the capitalist reaction.


1. For Lenin, the Polish nobility’s movement of liberation against Czarism was revolutionary in “gigantic form”; for Frank, the worker-peasant opposition, basically revolutionary against the “Stalinist reaction,” is counter-revolutionary, is an agent of American imperialism. What an aberration of logic, an aberration toward Stalinist reaction, an anti-working class and anti-socialist aberration.

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