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The daily worker. [volume], August 08, 1925, New York Edition, Magazine Supplement, Page 3, Image 9
The daily worker. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1924-1958
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
Are the Finns Social-Democrats?
(Continued from page 2) tile short cuts* which, in a final analy sis at*e nienshevlki tactics pure and simtddi inore simple than pure. We fought against that policy, but when our party decided in favor of such ah adventure) like good Communists we obeyed. And then when several Un succesful attempts were hiade and the party with the aid of the Comintern finally rejected such a policy, we were delighted. And we hoped that at last our party has gotten over its men sb'evism and leftism and begins to work earnestly for Communism. But our joy was short lived. Our party executive was split. A major ity and a minority began functioning and theses after theses were given out! declaration on principles and pol icies, statements and “facts for work ers” were given out, even personal at tacks appeared in our party organ. And the only given reason for all of that was: "shall we continue our (men shevikl) policy of advocating the farmeiMabor party” when historical and purely American objective factors are against that kind of policy. Ninety nine per cent of our membership Is Cannon Replies to Henry Askeli By JAMES P. CANNON. Comrade Askeli’s article follows the two statements published by the Fin nish Branch of Superior and is direct ly related to them. The Central Ex ecutive Committee has declared that these statements contained a non- Communist tendency and represented the beginning of an ideological prepa ration for a split in the Party. Com rade Askeli’s article is another mani festation of this sentiment. It shows the same tendency in a clearer form - and forces us to draw the conclusion that it amounts to an attempt to sub stitute a program of his own for the program of the Party and the Com munist International. At the moment when the serious Communist workers are striving to unify their ranks on the platform of the Communist Inter nation, Comrade Askeli comes forward with an attack on the Communist In ternational. Such propaganda tends to discredit the Communist Interna tional before the membership. Comrade Askeli has presented a platform without one sound Commun ist plank in it. No one can accept this platform without first throwing away the platform of the Party and the Communist International. The loyal followers of the Communist In ternational in the party, and espe cially those in the Finnish Federation, 1 have no choice but to take up at once the most resolute struggle against the political platform of Comrade Askeli. The unity and integrity of the Party demand such a struggle. Incitement Against the C. I. The Communist International is the most priceless acquisition of the revo lutionary proletariat of the world. The authority of the Communist Interna tion is the surest guarantee that the unity of our party will be preserved and strengthened, that disintegrating opportunism will not be allowed to get a string foothold, that mistakes will be corrected and that faltering leadership will be assisted, strength ened and equipped for its tasks. To make a breach between the party and the Comintern is the aim of those ele ments in all countries who shrink from the implications of a policy of determined revolutionary struggle. Comrade Askeli is following a policy which leads in this direction. His at tack is directed first of all and above all at the authority of the Communist International. He opposes in a more or less direct way all the propositions put before the Party by the Commun ist International in its recent deci- 1 sions. He then unites his opposition to the varlqus specific proposals of the Communist International into a com plete and systematic opposition with the declaration that he wants a Cen tral Executive Committee with suffi cient "nerve’’ and "responsibility” to against that kind of policy. “Let’s be something first. Then talk about man euvering and federating with the other groups.” This Is what our federation rank-and-filers say. Our membership does not want the high sounding phrases and useless talk about the absolute and correct Communistic pol icies. We know that the correctness of all the policies of the labor move ment is only relatively true and cor rect. Then when some group of mem bers talk that they are suitable ma terial for the party leadership, be cause they are true Marxians, and scientific analysists of the conditions, honest, sincere, and characterize themselves with all kinds of adjec tives, it reminds us of the controversy we had in 1913 and 14, when we also had such big headed members, who were badly stricken wltn Infantile sickness and the leadership bug. The amusing feature aeout this con troversy is that the minority of the party Is so deadly against us, and de nounces us with very hitter terms. They have been busy colletcing evi dence that we are supporters of "Loreism.” Os course they are doom ed to fail in their efforts. We have "settle questions without foolishly ap pealing to higher bodies on every lit tle question.” The practice of the Central Executive Committee in turn ing to the Communist International for advice and guidance and for the solution of disputed questions appar ently does not commend itself to Com rade Askeli. He regards it as “Hesita tion, indecision and a vacillating policy”, which, he says, is “destructive and must be done away with.” What is such talk but incitement against the Communist International? And what could be its effect, but to lead to a break between the Party and the Communist Internation? To let the Party become the prey of disin tegrating tendencies and render it powerless? Lore ism. With such an attitude of general opposition to the Communist Interna tional, it is quite logical for Comrade Askeli to find himself out of line with its specific decisions on the situation in our Party. The Comintern has put before the Party as one of its most important tasks the liquidation of the opportunist ideology of Loreism. Com rade Askeli has nothing to say on this question, except to deny the accusa tions of sympathy with Loreism. The open statement and direct attack on Loreism which all leading comrades should make without hesitation or eva sion is lacking. On the contrary the article makes many concessions to Loreism. Comrade Askeli says the Finnish Federation got rid of the right wing elements and the ideology of the two and one-half international at the' time of the split with the Socialist Party. We are confident that the overwhelm ing majority of the membership of the Finnish Federation will demon strate that they have broken so de cisevly with this ideology that no one will be able to lead them back to it. But in the light of this article we can not be so confident of Comrade Askeli. A remnant of this ideology has found its way into his article. The Labor Party. Our most important political ques tion is the question of the Labor Party. The future growth and devel opment of our Party is indissolubly bound up with the solution of this problem. The first decisive, steps of the American workers in constituting themselves as a class, and entering the political arena as such, will be taken thru the medium of a Labor Party. The solution of the Labor party problem is therefore of incalcu able importance. It is in fact the key to the American Labor movement. Every member of the Party must un derstand this. The Enlarged Executive Committee of the Communist International has solved the Labor Party problem, cor no opportunistic tendencies, but neith er have we any leftist tendencies, which are just as bad. Some of the minority comrades descended so low as to peddle lies about us. And these slanderers and character assassinat ors have been converted only recent ly to a Communistic way of thinking. Now they are usurping the authority to denounce us, who have worked faithfully the last twenty-five years for revoltuionary socaillem and Com munism. What do We Want Now? I feel confident that I speak for every one of our federation members when I say that we want: 1. Immediate cessation of factional ism. Organized groups whtch are eat ing the life out of the party, must be liquidated. And we pledge ourselves to see that machines are liquidated and machinists disciplined, or ex pelled 2. Only one executive committee, not two, like we have now. We must get over the idea of having a group or factional representation in our ex ecutive committee. We also want an executive commit tee with nerve, and a sense of re recting the past mistakes of all groups 1 in the Party and laying down a clear political line for the immediate future. It is of the utmost importance that every leading comrade take a clear and unequivocal stand on this ques tion. Mistaken conceptions of the past must be openly acknowldeged and resolutely put aside. The whole Party, as one man, must consciously swing its energy into the Labor Party move ment according to the policy of the Communist International. In order to make this possible all leading com radeship, the, Party, find, in the Federa tipps jnust have a unified point of view. A negative or half-hearted at titude is not permissable. Comrade Askeli confines his remarks on this question to a couple of sen tences that only serve to confuse the issue. He speaks of the questions of the Third Party Alliance, the Farmer- Labor Party and the present Labor Party policy of the Party, making no distinction between them. He throws them all into one pot, labels them all “maneuvers” to be avoided and then concludes with the assertion that “99 per cent of our membership is against that kind of policy.” Such a method of presenting the question can only confuse the comrades. “Maneuvers.” Political adventurism, maneuvers that are not based on a true analysis of all the factors in the given situation, are very dangerous for a party. But to proceed from this premise to a re jection of all maneuvers is to falsify and distort the Leninist standpoint. One of the most incorrect and harm ful aspects of Loreism is its opposi tion to maneuvers* and its undialectic conception which arbitrarily separates : organization and propaganda from ac tion and maneuvers. Askeli makes this error when he says, “We are < strong for organization and education. 1 Maneuvers do not, in our opinion i make the Workers Party.” This con- ' ception is wrong. A fighting Commun- ' ist Party cannot be built upon it. 1 Organization and propaganda, ac tions and maneuvers, must be united in an organic whole. Without ability to maneuver there is no capacity for action and no real Communist Party. The paralyzing dogma of "no man euvers” must be eleminated from our conception at all costs. The great leaders and teachers of Leninism are 1 constantly pressing this idea as a life ] and death struggle to the Communist Parties. Only recently, the Executive 1 Committee of the Communist Inter- 1 national was obliged to adopt a special 1 resolution against the doctrine of "no 1 maneuvers'’ which was threatening to ‘ paralyze the Communist Party of Ger- 1 many and which had already lead It 3 sponsibility, and Communistic under standing, so that they can settle ques tions, without foolishly appealing to higher party bodies on efery little question. Hesitation, indecision and a vacilation policy is destructive and must be done away with. 3. We want the shop nuclei form of organization, not so much that it is practical, tried and true, but be cause theoretically it appears practic al and true and this must be shown. 4. We do not want the language fed erations in the party. All language federation must remain Communistic propaganda organizations, working in dependently under the ideological leadership of the Workers Party. In conclusion, I want to say that our slanderers have no patent or copy rights on Communism. They have no exclusive rights on Communistic understanding. They, as well as all of us, make errors. I do not wish to leave the impression that our federa tion has not made any errors. We have made numbers of errors, but we have also done something. Those pure and good "Marxians” that do notl do anything may remain free from' any human errors, but in my estima tion they are bum Communists. ‘o the most serious errors in connec tion with the question of the monar chy. “The Communist Party of Ger many must learn how to maneuver,” said the resolution of the Communist International. Our Party must also learn and in order to do so it must reject the standpoint which is present ed by the article of Comrade Askeli. Shop Nuclei. The Bolshevization of the Party im plies reorganization on the basis of shop nuclei. Our Party is confronted with collossat difficulties in this re spect on account of its small member ship and many national divisions. The success of our campaign to construct the Pgrty on the shop-nuclei basis re quires the active, conscious and whole hearted support of the leading com rades of the various federations. Com rade Askeli does not give such sup port. He gives the shop nuclei form of organization only a negative en dorsement and attempts to discredit it in advance with the statement' that he favors it, “not so much that it is practical, tried and true, but because theoretically it appears practical and true and this must be shown.” The transformation of our Party from the sociali-democratic form of organiza tion to the Communist form of organ ization, built in the work shops, will never be accomplished by such a skep tical attitude. The position of Com rade Askeli amounts to opposition to shop nuclei, under the flag of lip-serv ice to it. The Party must oppose and reject this standpoint. The Federation Question. The Communist International and the Central Executive Committee of our Party have come to the definite conclusion that the existance of sepa rate language federations must be done away with. The language feder ations must be fused into a single centralized party. The organization letter of the Communist International gives detailed and specific instructions on this question; and the resolution of the Party commission takes a clear and definite stand for the com plete centralization of the Party and the complete abolition of the present federation form of the organization. The energetic carrying out of these resolutions is an indespensible part of the process of Bolshevizing the Party. On this vital question as well as on all the others raised in his article. Comrade Askeli takes a wrong stand. The letter of the Communist Interna tional and the resolution of the parity commission, provide for the recon struction of the present language branches as non-partisan workers’ clubs. The proposal of Comrade Askeli to maintain the federations on (Continued on page 8.)