The Western Socialist
Vol. 28 - No. 221
No. 3, 1961
When historians of the future complete the volume dealing with the history of our day, the section devoted to its seamiest feature will include a lengthy chapter on the Communists.
Communists are not new on the world scene. Marx and Engels in their earlier years regarded themselves as Communists and wrote a pamphlet which they called "The Communist Manifesto." In later years they used the terms Communist and Socialist, Communism and Socialism, without distinction.
But the Communists referred to here are not the ones recognized as such by Marx and Engels or regarded as kinsmen by modern Socialists. The Communists referred to here are those who assumed the name after the Bolshevik rise to power in Russia in 1917: the governing party in that country together with the "Communist Parties" they afterwards formed in many countries throughout the world. The path trodden by these Communists in 40-odd years has been both awesome and gruesome.
To ensure their hold on power in Russia they established a dictatorship which they falsely labelled "the dictatorship of the proletariat," a term that has sometimes been used by Marx and Engels. This acquisition became justification for the destruction of all political opposition in Russia and for endless iniquities both in Russia and elsewhere.
They set themselves up as the leaders of the world's workers, yet down through the years excepting for the governments of Yugoslavia and China, they have never varied or demurred in slavish obedience to the dictates of the Kremlin. In only one other way have they been equally consistent, namely in their opposition to the educational findings of Marx and Engels and of the Socialist movement. To them it has been necessary only to gain for themselves the support of the workers, however the means, and to this end they have considered it desirable to employ every kind of trickery, deception and character assassination known to politics.
So remote have they been from an understanding of Socialism that they readily accepted Stalin's claim of Socialism in Russia, and they are forever advancing in the name of Socialism, policies which ordinary capitalist politicians regularly pursue in the interest of capitalism.
From their earliest beginnings they have alternated between hostility and humility in their attitude toward Labor, Social Democratic and other parties seeking to reform capitalism; at one time showering these groups with foul abuse, at another urging that the workers support them.
For years they hailed Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and others of the 1917 Bolsheviks in the most extravagant terms as revolutionary heroes of the working class, then coldly murdered them as agents of the bourgeoisie.
They raised Stalin to the ranks of the deities, turned savagely on all who spoke of his butcheries, and allowed unchallenged not even the mildest of criticism — until after Stalin's death when Khrushchev spoke.
They supported both sides during the second world war. When the war started they called it a war against fascism and supported the western powers.* A month later they abruptly changed sides and demanded the acceptance of Hitler's peace terms. Then when Russia was drawn into the war they changed sides again and came to the fore as defenders of democracy.
Over the years they have opposed reforms and advocated them; opposed Labor parties and supported them; damned the League of Nations as a "thieves' kitchen" and joined it, as they also joined its descendant, the United Nations. They have scorned democracy, proclaimed acceptance of it, named some of their conquests "people democracies" and practiced the most ruthless dictatorship. They have opposed imperialism and practiced it, proclaimed the inevitability of war and preached peaceful coexistence, declared acceptance of Marxism and violated its teachings.
The Communists have in fact been on all sides of all causes except that they have never been other than an unqualified menace to the cause of Socialism, the one cause that serves the interests of the workers of the world and will ultimately send the dirty doings of Communists and other upholders of capitalism into oblivion.
* See The Western Socialist for Sept. 1939: "A Document of Betrayal," The Canadian Communists were a bit slower than their comrades in other lands, in accepting the new pro-Nazi line. (Ed. Comm.)