Two Soviet messages to the CPUSA in 1939

From Philip J. Jaffe, The Rise and Fall of American Communism. Introduction by Bertram D. Wolfe. New York: Horizon Press, 1975, pp. 45-47. Emphasis added. (Note: The abbreviation "CPSU", and the fuller form, "Communist Party of the Soviet Union", were not the official name of the Soviet Party until the 19th Party Congress in October, 1952. But they were the official English translation of the Soviet Party's official name, which was "All-Union Communist Party (bolshevik)". For example, the English translations of the Moscow Trial transcripts, published in Moscow in the 1930s, use the abbreviation "CPSU". - GF)


(Latter part of September, 1939)

What sort of changes:

1. The War is driving the capitalist world into a phase of most acute and profound crisis. Now it is not only a matter of fascism but of the existence of the entire capitalist system. Fascism is now secondary; the main and basic thing is the struggle against capitalism, against bourgeois dictatorship, regardless of what mask or what hypocritical slogans are employed in both belligerent and neutral lands to cover imperialist aims.

2. The War is the most acute manifestation of imperialist atrocities and reaction. During the war, the bourgeoisie of "democratic" lands is trying to reach the level of fascism (see France outlawing CP), adopting attitude to USSR more hostile than that of fascist states. The bourgeoisie of all states equally guilty, equally dictatorial. Consequently "democracy against fascism" disappears. Thereby is undermined the "democratic front". USA will not be an exception. Even remaining neutral, USA with powerful financial oligarchy, will inevitably take the path of intensifying reaction, if only because it knows that war raises the issue of its overthrow.

3. Now opening up is wider perspective than defense of remnants of bourgeois democracy. We would be pedantic, not revolutionaries, if we should cling to old slogans of peoples front, democratic front, when the foundations of capitalism are being undermined. Top leaders of Social Democracy will all more rapidly cross over to reaction, the more powerfully the idea of storming capitalism matures in the masses. Tasks now are: bringing united militant action of working class, strengthening alliance with farmers by independently mobilizing against reaction and exploitation. Must cease to trail in wake of FDR, adopt independent position on all fundamental questions. Against entering war, because we do not want people to die for imperialist exploiters. But this is not identical with "neutrality" of American bourgeoisie, which is not anti-imperialistic but is dictated by rapacious strivings to use European war to strengthen its own positions, thrust competitors out of markets, become predominant on oceans, sovereign over other states exhausted by war. Lifting embargo because wants to profit from afflictions of other nations. Must adopt independent position towards [John L.] Lewis. No collusion, on contrary, everything done to avoid expulsions etc. But steadfastly defend principles, criticize in appropriate tone all half-heartedness, so that masses see difference between CP and others. New tactical lines: a) Imperialist war, unjust, equally reactionary both sides. Not war of democracy against fascism, but of reactionary imperialist Germany against the reactionary imperialist states of Britain, France and Poland. Question of who first attacked is of no importance; main thing is, it is war for imperialist domination. b) War is continuation of the struggle between rich states (England, France, USA) which are backbone of capitalist system, and the "wronged" states (Germany, Italy, Japan), which by their struggles for redivision are deepening and sharpening the crisis of the capitalist system. c) Bourgeoisie of Britain and France cover up their war of plunder with legend of "anti-fascism"; Germany with story it is fighting remnants of unjust Versailles. d) Poland was reactionary multi-national state, built on oppression of Ukrainians, Byelo-Russians, Jews, disintegrated by corruption of ruling classes. International working class had no interest in existence of such a parasitic state. e) Soviet Union by coming to the aid of working people of West Ukraine and Byelo-Russia, has extricated eleven million people from hell of capitalism, linked them up with socialism, freed their national and cultural development, rid them of the danger of foreign enslavement. f) War created new international situation. United Front and People's Front lose significance. Tasks, bold struggle against war, no credits, fire against bourgeois dictatorship of own country, ruthlessly expose Social Democracy which has joined the camp of reaction; expose bourgeoisie as war speculators and freebooters; hold high the banner of proletarian internationalism.



(Early October, 1939)

Historic change and maturing of international situation. Issue no longer democracy vs. fascism and aggression. No longer merely relieve burden of capitalism, but end it. This main conclusion flowing from imperialist war. Requires changes in policy and tactics. At time of Munich this was not our idea. Then we tried to build anti-fascist peace front against fascism and aggression to include USSR. But opening of imperialist war entirely changes the situation. Basic aim of war is redistribution of world. Robber bandit war from which working class obtains only death. Cannot support it directly or indirectly. All Communists must ceaselessly expose outright imperialist nature. Must unmask "anti-fascist" demagogy of Chamberlain and prevent the mass anti-fascist sentiment built up by us from being used for imperialist aims of Chamberlain and Daladier. No longer simply fight against fascism, but against capitalism as a whole. Previously the working class tried to build peace front against fascism. Now must gather all forces against imperialist war and in its course and process, lead and work step by step to abolish capitalism. This does not mean that now say proletarian revolution. But through constant struggle, by unmasking the imperialist bourgeoisie and its demagogy, by showing up Social Democracy, other slogans will be developed. In course of war, must consistently advance slogans which lead toward end of capitalism and all fascism and war. Change in situation class relations. Modify policy accordingly. Communists must never for a moment separate from working class. Must expect big opposition from imperialist bourgeoisie. Take every step to protect legal existence. New situation changes our relation to FDR, always understanding main enemy is camp of imperialist bourgeoisie. But much depends on FDR. CP must be more independent, incisive and critical, especially of all bad moves on war. FDR may want to help Chamberlain and Daladier. Big task to unmask fake neutrality which covers help to Japan against China, etc. Must stop imperialist bourgeoisie of USA from providing others, enriching itself, and later entering to save crumbling capitalist system. So far US has not entered. Thus policy cannot be same as in Britain and France. But entry is not excluded. As capitalist system weakens as result of war, then American bourgeoisie will move fast to save world bourgeoisie from growing working class opposition and proletarian revolution. Evident big job faces CPUSA especially to prevent anti-fascist sentiment going to support Chamberlain and Daladier, while also preventing least aid to Hitler. Not simple and easy. Some Communists may hesitate, but working class will agree. Next period is test of fire. Out of it grow strong, matured. As to Polish Government: It is not the historic one Marx and Lenin defended, whose unity, independence and freedom they worked for. Not creation of the people, but vassal of British, French imperialists, set up mainly versus USSR and against proletarian revolution. Together with Roumania had agreed to attack USSR when Chamberlain said the word; semifascist, oppresses working class, denies democracy, itself imperialist, participating in partition of Czechoslovakia. Two-fifths of population other peoples. Under direction Chamberlain rejected aid of USSR. Poland can win freedom and independence now only by socialism. How did imperialist war come? Obviously imperialist bourgeoisie responsible. Communists and USSR did everything to prevent. But Chamberlain, Daladier, Blum blocked peace front because they aimed at war versus USSR. Now war has come, what? Play with their loaded dice? No. Working class must now prepare to clean up whole capitalism, must never live from hand to mouth. Where greatest base of imperialist bourgeoisie? England, France, Germany, USA. Benefit to working class if they are weakened. Hitler without knowing it leads to shattering bourgeoisie. No interest in either. Workers must study CPSU but never imitate. Days change, so needs.