Pamphlet Review: An Historical Coincidence
Appeal for the International Re-organisation of the Revolutionary Marxist Movement
‘Programme Communisté’ 3s.
Those interested in historical coincidences will find intriguing this pamphlet produced by a group which broke away from the Communist International in the 20s. For, despite having a Bolshevik vision of the socialist revolution (contempt for political democracy, armed uprising, vanguard party, minority dictatorship, terror, and all), on many issues Programme Communisté has come, quite independently, to conclusions similar to ours.
First, they know clearly what Socialism (or Communism) is: a world society based on common ownership with no production for sale, money, buying and selling, prices, wages, or profit. But they still favour ‘labour-rime vouchers’ as a form of rationing in the early days of Socialism.
Second, they recognise the capitalist nature of the Russian economy (and call the ruling class there the capitalist class), with its commodity-production, wages system, and capital accumulation; though, as dissident Bolsheviks, they subscribe to a ’degeneration’ theory of state capitalism.
Third, they refuse to advocate reforms or join others in doing so. arguing that on the political field socialists should be aiming solely at the capture of power for Socialism.
Fourth, they add that this “does not apply to the immediate and specific demands which arise from the concrete antagonism of interests between wage-earners and employers in the economic sphere”. So, like us, they draw a distinction between ’reforms’ and the day-to-day economic demands of the workers.
Fifth, they regard the second world war as ’imperialist’ and refused not only to take sides but also to join in ’anti-fascist’ fronts, saying that the way to combat fascism was not to join with pro-democratic capitalist parties but to oppose them as well as the fascists on a straight class or socialist programme.
We point this out only to show that some of our ideas are held by workers in other countries. Not, we hasten to add, that we would urge workers in France and Italy to support Programme Communiste. Far from it; as Bolsheviks they are peddling dangerous nonsense and we are as opposed to them as to all others.
This pamphlet cannot be recommended since it is badly translated from the French and besides is written in the difficult style of the early ’theses’ of the Communist International.