Some Communist Quesions Answered
To the Editor, “The Socialist Standard.”
For the instruction of some readers, will 3>ou kindly deal with the following controversial matter in next issue of “Standard”?—
1. What is the view-point of the S.P.G.B. re claim of Communist Party to be the only correctly-poised party of the working class?
2. What is the real aim of the Communist Party in seeking affiliation to that anti-Socialist organisation, the Labour Party?
What is meant in reality by the phrase, “The United Front” as used by the Communist Party?
3. What does the phrase “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” infer?
4. Are Communists correct in saying that it is insufficient to use the word Revolution without also adding the prefix Violent?
5. What is your opinion of their historical knowledge in claiming that the first known revolution in history was the Capitalist overthrow of Feudalism?
6. That this was a Violent Revolution, so, consequently, the Socialist Revolution must of necessity be violent?
7. That the Communist Party being alone in preaching the slogan Violent Revolution, are the only class-conscious revolutionary working-class organisation?
8. And is there not every possibility of the Communist Party being driven underground, or even out of existence altogether, through their idea of correct tactics?
Even a brief answer to above matter would be welcome.
To answer fully the above questions would mean reprinting numerous articles that have appeared in the previous issues of the “Socialist Standard.” Among these may be mentioned articles in the January, February, March and October, 1923, issues, and in the January and March issues, 1924.
As our correspondent only asks for brief answers, the following may meet the present case. It should be noted, however, that the policy of the Communist Party is not a stable guide or definite pronouncement for their general activities. It changes with the ease and rapidity of a chameleon. Nor does it merely change. The policy of one day will contradict that of another, sometimes with ”violence” to both sense and logic :—
1. The Communist Party are not even incorrectly poised—they are not poised at all. They will follow any will-o’-the-wisp that offers them a chance of a little notoriety, whether it is a “United Front,” a shout about taxation, or an attack upon some misleader of the working class, whom they support at an election.
2. The real aim is to secure the jobs now held by the Thomases, MacDonalds, etc., whom they denounce one day and support the next, and to obtain a position of influence and leadership over the organised workers for the purpose of taking the bigger jobs such position may bring. The “United Front” means that the organised workers are called upon to unite in placing their organisations, their funds, and the full control of all matters, economic and political, in the hands of the leaders of the Communist Party. The reluctance of these workers to commit such an act of suicide for the temporary advantage of a few frauds is, of course, due to these workers being “bourgeois-minded.”
3. The only inference that can be drawn from this phrase as it is used by the Communist Party is that the leaders of that party should be given power to “dictate” to the rest of the community.
4. To establish Socialism a social revolution is necessary. Violence is not only not necessary, but, under favourable conditions, will not occur in such revolution. Even if violence did appear it would be due to the folly of the opponents of Socialism—like capitalists and Communists—and not by the wish of the Socialists.
5. Such “historical” knowledge is beneath contempt, and shows an ignorance even of the “Communist Manifesto” by Marx and Engels.
6. This claim is not merely illogical—it is ridiculous. Because under a certain set of conditions violence was used, this does not give the slightest reason for the claim that under different conditions it is necessary.
7. Merely another sample of the empty bombast of the Communist Party. Moreover, their claim is false, as they are not the only party to preach violence. Groups of anarchists have done so for years—with ghastly failure as a result.
8. The Communist Party apes a secret society now. Their Executive Committee not only meet but act in secret, and members are given orders to take certain actions, even relative to their private affairs, without having any consultation or voice in the matters. Members are expelled without the formulation or hearing of any charges, and often the member knows nothing of the matter till he receives the notification of his expulsion. The members are kept in ignorance of what schemes are being prepared, or what policies are decided upon, until they receive their orders from the head office. The antics of this pantomime secret society merely results in the bewilderment of the membership, while adding to the hilarity of the lookers on. If the Communist Party ever attempted to form a serious secret society their end would be swift and certain.
(Socialist Standard, March 1925)