Ted Grant

Communist Party Conference Prepares Post-war Sell-out

Written: November, 1944
Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 6 no. 8 (November 1944)
Transcription/Proofread: Maarten, 2007

The national conference of the "Communist" Party of Great Britain met on October 18th to 30th. It confirmed clearly that the Stalinists in Britain are preparing to continue the policy of class collaboration and sell-out to the bosses after the war, as they are already doing in Europe and all over the world.

On Vansittartism, the War, Post-war Policy at home and abroad - the same cynical, criminal course is to be maintained. Many sincere militants and large numbers of the Communist Party rank and file have persuaded, or tried to persuade themselves, that the policy of the Stalinists has been nothing but a "manoeuvre" to deceive the capitalists. But these workers must now begin to see where the Stalinist leadership is taking them.

The Conference of course came out with a demagogic programme for higher wages, even nationalisation of basic industries, and better housing. But on how to get that programme put into effect, the Stalinist leadership deliberately and with conscious dishonesty led astray their members and supporters within the working class.

These reforms, they pretended, could be put into force by collaboration with the capitalist class. Already during the war we have seen what such "collaboration" has meant between the Labour and Stalinist leaders and the capitalists in the Government. Promises of "equality of sacrifice" etc., have meant sacrifices for the masses and profits for the capitalists, while the Stalinists have systematically sabotaged the workers' struggles and acted as strike-breakers and blacklegs doing the dirty work for the capitalists. And the result? Palme Dutt, "theoretician" of the CP was compelled to admit, "their own (reactionary and propertied interests) profits had increased by leaps and bounds during the war." And it could not be otherwise. In war and in peace, the ruling class utilises its control of industry and the Government for the purpose of exploiting and gaining profits at the expense of the misery and poverty of the working class. And as long as the capitalist class and its representatives have any control, that is the policy they intend to operate.

The Stalinists have quoted extracts with pride from A.J. Cummings' article on the conference in the News Chronicle of 30th October. It is a sympathetic appraisal from a capitalist Liberal. Let us see how he regards the Conference.

"The Chairman's table was draped with the British and Russian national flags. The Tories might have held a meeting in the same place without removing a single decoration. "In effect it [Pollitt's speech] was a plea for the best possible co-operation of all classes and peoples to win the war against Fascism and to produce peace and order in the post-war world. It called frankly for 'economic co-operation between the capitalist and socialist world'."

"Labour had the responsibility of reaching agreement with Communists, Liberals and other Parties and groups of the Left..." "If he had had time to drop in, Mr. Churchill would have found himself in a patriotic environment; and he would doubtless have received an enthusiastic welcome."

No doubt Churchill would! As an arch-enemy of the working class and of Socialism, he could have expected a warm reception from the renegades on the platform.

Nevertheless in contrast to the American Communist Party, which has come out openly in favour of monopoly capitalism now and for the indefinite future, the British Stalinist leaders had to disguise the shameless sell-out to Big Business as much as they could. Not because their policy is any different, but because of the higher Socialist consciousness of the British working class, who are completely disillusioned with capitalism and seeking a solution to their problems in a change of the system.

The result was that Pollitt, Dutt & co. contradicted themselves over and over in their speeches. The Daily Worker of Oct. 30 reports Pollitt, for example:

"The market at home and abroad is boundless, he said, there need be no export problem for Britain if the policy of international economic co-operation is pursued alongside a domestic policy at home that is based on such a programme as that outlined in "Britain for the People." "The most far sighted capitalists understand..."

In the very next paragraph the lie is given to this picture:

"At the same time it is plain that the capitalists are bound by a thousand ties, not only by their habits of thought but by their immediate private interests to the old system of colonial rule and monopoly exploitation."

This is the law of class rule. The capitalists will fight tooth and nail to defend their right to exploit the masses in Britain and the colonies. Those who wish to co-operate with them must do so on their terms. Already at the end of the last century Lenin pointed out, in regard to Millerandism (the class collaboration and entry of Socialists into the Government in a capitalist ministry) that such collaboration would bring wonderful "plans on paper" which would never be carried out. Plans which were intended to deceive and fool the workers. These are the plans of Pollitt and co. They know very well, as Lenin tirelessly emphasised, that it is not a question of "good" or "bad" capitalists, but the workings of the capitalist system itself. And Pollitt & co. are quite well aware of the desperate position of the British capitalists. In this war, their Yankee "allies" have stripped them bare of most of their investments in South America and various other countries.

After the war, far from there being an idyllic period of co-operation between the capitalist states, there will be an intensified struggle for the markets of the world particularly by Britain and America. Roosevelt has proclaimed America's intention to treble her exports after the war. America can produce goods cheaper than Britain. The markets of the world are limited, while productive capacity has increased during the war; the only way out for British capitalism would be in a savage onslaught on the standard of living of the workers. Not pleasant co-operation, but bitter class struggles nationally and internationally is the stern prospect before the working class.

When Pollitt, Dutt & co. say that the nationalisation of basic industry would solve the problem, that is true, if it is added that the country is not crippled by a huge debt in compensating the big capitalist parasites. Pollitt & co. are discreetly silent on this. But of course these demands are introduced to fool their followers. The Stalinists try and disguise their policy by confusing references to the need for a "Labour and Progressive" Government (while of course continuing to support the reactionary Churchill government).

But the whole deception was completely exposed at the Conference. Something went wrong with the carefully regulated "unanimity" with which CP conferences are run. One delegate from Wales, reflecting the uneasiness with which the best members of the CP regard this policy, demanded that there should be no co-operation with so-called "Progressive" Tories after the war. He moved an amendment, according to the Daily Worker, asking Congress to declare that,

"any formal alliance with progressive Tories would endanger working class unity" and that "where a Communist candidate would endanger the election of either Progressive or Labour candidate and let in a Tory, our party candidate should be withdrawn and every support given to the Labour or Progressive candidate."

The CP Executive rejected this and came out decisively and openly for support for the Tories. John Gollan, in reply to the debate,

"asked the Congress to emphatically reject the Abertillery amendment, the acceptance of which would be running away from the issues involved (!!). The amendment was perilously close to the line of the Labour Party in wanting to fight alone. It was impossible to reject allies in the struggle ahead".

Thus, with smooth phrases the Stalinist traitors try to conceal the real struggle ahead. All his life Lenin fought for the independence of the working class and its party from the capitalists. In Britain, the workers learned from many painful experiences the necessity for their organisations standing independent of the capitalist parties. Now the Stalinists try and undermine this.

Pollitt, in dealing with the war in the East, was compelled to admit that "the war against Japan is not looked upon with the same enthusiasm as the war against Hitler", because big sections of the working class can clearly see in the war against Japan a naked struggle for the colonial loot grabbed by British Imperialism in the past; as a fight for the right to enslave and dominate the colonial peoples of the East. The capitalists find it difficult to dress up the struggle in the Far East as a fight in defence of the interests of the masses. Nevertheless Pollitt and co., obedient to the dictates of Kremlin foreign policy, come out in full support of British imperialism in Asia as well as Europe.

To try and coat the imperialist pill of naked aggression and plunder, they hypocritically appeal to the,

"British Government (which) must undertake certain measures, which would lessen the sacrifice of British and American lives:"

"They must apply the principles of the Atlantic Charter to all colonial possessions; and give a solemn pledge to all the nations of the Far East that, in addition to freeing them from the yoke of Japanese militarism, we would assist in the immediate raising of their standards of life."

"We demand the immediate release of the Indian National leaders and the opening of new negotiations." (Pollitt's speech reported in the Daily Worker, October 30th)

Pollitt & co. know very well, that what determines the policy of a country is which class holds the power. The capitalists, who are responsible for the exploitation of the colonial peoples, control the Government today. It is their policy and their war which is being fought for. To ask them to put the demagogic provisions of the Atlantic Charter into effect, would be like asking Hitler to introduce democracy into Germany. The 5,000,000 Indians dead in the famine, and the new famine which is imminent - a direct result of the policy of British Imperialism - are an answer to this phrase-mongering. Pollitt and the other CP leaders know that such a policy is impossible while capitalism continues in control.

Moreover, if the Atlantic Charter is to be applied in the East, why not in the West? Far from advocating a democratic peace, the Stalinists are demanding a Peace which would make the Versailles Treaty's harsh terms seem reasonable, thus inevitably sowing the dragon's teeth of future wars. The capitalist press hailed with delight the shameful attitude which is official CP policy, that the responsibility for the war rests on the shoulders of the German people. In this way the Stalinists assist them in pulling the wool over the eyes of the workers. We know, as Dutt and the other ex-Communists know, that all the imperialist powers bear as much responsibility as the German imperialists.

Our Party, representing the teachings of Marx and Lenin; puts forward the demand for the Labour Party to reassert its independence from the capitalists. We fight for the Labour Party to fight for a majority at the elections. But even on this basis we do not deceive the workers into believing that this will solve their problems. We put it forward in order to mobilise and educate the workers in the struggle against the capitalists. This can only be a stage in the organisation of the workers for the overthrow of capitalism. But so long as capitalism remains, it will inevitably lead to war, mass unemployment, hunger and fascism.

Communist workers! Isn't it clear that your leaders and their policy are not Communist at all? That they have nothing in common with the ideas of revolutionary socialism as put forward by Marx and Lenin. Today only the Trotskyists, the real revolutionary communists, tell the truth to the workers and fight for workers' Power and Socialism! For a Socialist Britain in a Socialist Europe!