Thursday, November 03, 2011

*From The Archives-The Struggle To Win The Youth To The Fight For Our Communist Future-No More Greenboros! Labor Must Smash The Fascists: Communist Workers Party Zigzags Between The Communist International-Derived "Third Period" And Popular Front Strategies (1980)-A Remembrance

Markin comment:

One of the declared purposes of this space is to draw the lessons of our left-wing past here in America and internationally, especially from the pro-communist wing. To that end I have made commentaries and provided archival works in order to help draw those lessons for today’s left-wing activists to learn, or at least ponder over. More importantly, for the long haul, to help educate today’s youth in the struggle for our common communist future. That is no small task or easy task given the differences of generations; differences of political milieus worked in; differences of social structure to work around; and, increasingly more important, the differences in appreciation of technological advances, and their uses.

There is no question that back in my youth I could have used, desperately used, many of the archival materials available today. When I developed political consciousness very early on, albeit liberal political consciousness, I could have used this material as I knew, I knew deep inside my heart and mind, that a junior Cold War liberal of the American For Democratic Action (ADA) stripe was not the end of my leftward political trajectory. More importantly, I could have used a socialist or communist youth organization to help me articulate the doubts I had about the virtues of liberal capitalism and be recruited to a more left-wing world view. As it was I spent far too long in the throes of the left-liberal/soft social-democratic milieu where I was dying politically. A group like the Young Communist League (W.E.B. Dubois Clubs in those days), the Young People’s Socialist League, or the Young Socialist Alliance representing the youth organizations of the American Communist Party, American Socialist Party and the Socialist Workers Party (U.S.) respectively would have saved much wasted time and energy. I knew they were around but not in my area.

The archival material to be used in this series is weighted heavily toward the youth movements of the early American Communist Party and the Socialist Workers Party (U.S). For more recent material I have relied on material from the Spartacus Youth Clubs, the youth group of the Spartacist League (U.S.), both because they are more readily available to me and because, and this should give cause for pause, there are not many other non-CP, non-SWP youth groups around. As I gather more material from other youth sources I will place them in this series.

Finally I would like to finish up with the preamble to the Spartacist Youth Club’s What We Fight For statement of purpose:

"The Spartacus Youth Clubs intervene into social struggles armed with the revolutionary internationalist program of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. We work to mobilize youth in struggle as partisans of the working class, championing the liberation of black people, women and all the oppressed. The SYCs fight to win youth to the perspective of building the Leninist vanguard party that will lead the working class in socialist revolution, laying the basis for a world free of capitalist exploitation and imperialist slaughter."

This seems to me be somewhere in the right direction for what a Bolshevik youth group should be doing these days; a proving ground to become professional revolutionaries with enough wiggle room to learn from their mistakes, and successes. More later.
Markin comment on this article :

Every year, and rightfully so, we leftist militants, especially those of us who count ourselves among the communist militants, remember the 1979 Greensboro, North Carolina massacre of fellow communists by murderous and police-protected Nazis, fascists and Klansmen. That remembrance, as the article below details, also includes trying to draw the lessons of the experience and an explanation of political differences. For what purpose? Greensboro 1979-never again, never forget-or forgive.

Although right this minute, this 2011 minute, the Nazis/fascists are not publicly raising their hellish ideas, apparently “hiding” just now on the fringes of the tea party movement, this is an eternal question for leftists. The question, in short, of when and how to deal with this crowd of locust. Trotsky, and others, had it right back in the late 1920s and early 1930s-smash this menace in the shell. 1933, when they come to power, as Hitler did in Germany (or earlier, if you like, with Mussolini in Italy) is way too late, as immediately the German working class, including its Social-Democratic and Communist sympathizers found out, and later many parts of the rest of the world. That is the when.

For the how, the substance of this article points the way forward, and the way not forward, as represented by the American Communist Party’s (and at later times other so-called “progressives” as well, including here the Communist Workers Party) attempts to de-rail the street protests and rely, as always, on the good offices of the bourgeois state, and usually, on this issue the Democrats. Sure, grab all the allies you can, from whatever source, to confront the fascists when they raise their heads. But rely on the mobilization of the labor movement on the streets to say what’s what, not rely on the hoary halls of bourgeois government and its hangers-on, ideologues, and lackeys.
From Young Spartacus, May 1980, No More Greenboros! Labor Must Smash The Fascists: Communist Workers Party Zigzags Between The Communist International-Derived "Third Period" And Popular Front Strategies (title edited for educational purposes-Markin)

November 3: Five members and supporters of the Communist Workers Party are massacred in broad daylight by KKK/Nazi scum in Greensboro, North Carolina. The fascist guns are aimed at every black, leftist and trade unionist. A Nazi draws 43 percent of the vote in the Republican primary for North Carolina attorney general, almost winning the election. His program: the Greensboro massacre.

Response to the Greensboro Klan killings is swift. Emboldened, the KKK threatens to march in the black and union town of Detroit. In a demonstration initiated by UAW militants and the Spartacist League, five hundred protesters, mostly black auto workers, rally November 10 in Kennedy Square chanting "The Klan Won't Ride in the Motor City!" The Klan does not march.

The Nazis announce that they will "celebrate" Hitler's birthday in downtown San Francisco. Trade unionists and the Spartacist League/Spartacus Youth League initiate the April 19 Committee Against the Nazis (ANCAN) and call for a mass demonstration at Civic Center to crush the fascist threat. The broad support for ANCAN, especially from the labor movement, forces the city government to cancel the Nazis' rally permit and the Nazis announce they will not march. Over 1,200—including a powerful trade union component representing over 22 unions—rally. The Nazis do not show their faces.

The labor-centered anti-fascist mobilizations in Detroit and San Francisco were a far cry from the liberal, preacher-dominated mobilizations supported by much of the left since Greensboro. The five slain members of the CWP are indeed martyrs of the entire working class. The entire labor movement must defend the six CWP friends and supporters who, after surviving the Greensboro massacre, face charges of felony rioting. Nevertheless, the CWP chose to split away from the main anti-fascist mobilization in San Francisco and to appeal to the city mayor rather than the power of the organized labor movement to stop the Nazis. The CWP later wrote about the April 19 demonstration:

"San Francisco's Civic Center and UN Plaza were filled with fiery masses. So strong was the spirit in the march and rally, the cowardly fascists dared not show their faces. They knew if they had, the masses would surely have smashed them."

— Workers Viewpoint, 12 May

The article goes on to cite "the leadership of the CWP in the San Francisco Coalition to Stop the Klan/Nazis" (SFC). But what Workers Viewpoint failed to mention was:

• That the April 19 Committee AgainstNazis, initiated by trade unionists and
the Spartacist League, organized and led the rally in Civic Center—site of
the Nazis' planned "birthday party" for Adolf Hitler

• That the ANCAN rally was endorsedby a broad array of unions and union
leaders, left and minority organizations and prominent individuals

• That if the Nazis had shown up, the CWP wouldn't have been among the
outraged masses who would have smashed them, because their sectarian
rally of at most 400 was at UN Plaza, several blocks awayl

"A Heavy Lesson..."

In Greensboro, the CWP found out what role the cops, courts and capitalist state apparatus play in defense of the fascists against leftists, union organizers and blacks. As reported to Blanche McCrary Boyd in the Village Voice (26 May) by CWP spokesman Nelson Johnson, the Greensboro cops insisted that the marchers be unarmed when the CWF applied for its parade permit. The deep illusions that the CWP has in the bourgeois state are revealed as Johnson is quoted as saying:

"It was a heavy lesson. We made a complete and total mistake. They kept insisting how they would protect us, so we thought the cops were planning on violence, that if there was going to be trouble it would be because they would plant a provocateur or something— And it was eerie, you know, when we got here. After all this discussion, where were the pigs?"

According to the Voice article, the cops turned over a copy of the parade permit to a known Klan member. The cops knew where the KKK/Nazis were assembling, that the Klansmen were armed and intended to follow the CWP march route. There is overwhelming evidence indicating that the cops were complicit in the massacre. Meanwhile, a North Carolina grand jury has indicted the Greensboro Six on charges of felony rioting, while the KKK assassins are walking the streets. The CWP itself charges the state with conscious complicity in the murders.

But did the CWP learn this "heavy lesson," paid for so expensively with the blood of its comrades? Amazingly, confronted with the need to mobilize
against the Nazi Hitlerfest in San Francisco, the CWP runs to... the state! Defending the CWP "strategy" of calling on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to revoke the Nazis' permit and endorse their SFC demonstration, a CWP supporter speaking at an SL forum in San Francisco April 25 argued that contradictions within the ruling class could be exploited by demanding that "anti-fascist" politicians take a stand. As stated in their paper:

"At times, this means uniting with certain low-level politicians such as those in the City Council. It also means utilizing the differences and contradic¬tions among the enemy, such as pressuring the government to take a stand against their fascist tools. That's why the Communist Workers Party is asking the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to endorse the upcoming April 19 anti-Nazi demonstration."

— Workers Viewpoint, 19 April

"People's Front" or Independent Working Class Action?

Adventurist actions of a handful of militants and abject reformist appeals to the "liberal" bourgeoisie and its state are but two sides of the same coin. Both are based on fundamental pessimism that the enormous social power of the working class can be brought to bear in the struggle against the fascist threat. When the CWP-led SFC foreswore any confrontation with the Nazis on April 19, it claimed that the working people of San Francisco were unprepared. The ANCAN rally showed that it was the reformist policy of the CWP which was found lacking—not the determination of the labor movement and oppressed in the Bay Area.

The refusal of the social democratic and Communist parties of Germany to mobilize the working class in a united struggle against fascism independently of the capitalists paved the way for the Nazi victory in 1933. The CWP mirrors the policy of the Stalinized Communist International after 1935 when, following the spectacular failure of the "Third Period" sectarian adventurism, Dimitrov's class-collaborationist"United Front Against Fascism" was adopted. Having abandoned the struggle for proletarian revolution, the European CPs sought a political bloc with the "anti-fascist" capitalists. In his report to the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, Dimitrov put it thus: "Now the toiling masses in a number of capitalist countries -are faced with the necessity of making a definite choice, and of making it today, not between proletarian dictatorship and bourgeois democracy, but between bourgeois democracy and fascism."

The bloody consequence of this policy in Spain in 1937—where the Stalinists disarmed the proletariat and crushed its revolution in order to maintain their "anti-fascist" bloc with what Trotsky called the "shadow" of the bourgeoisie—was the Francoist victory. Spain in 1937, Indonesia in 1965, Chile in 1973—in each case reaction triumphed and the proletariat was led to bloody defeat under the banner of the popular front. The Stalinists promulgate the absolutely false conception that a basic social conflict exists between bourgeois democracy and fascism. But fascism appeared in Europe following World War I as a necessary development of the epoch of capitalist decline and decay—a last resort of the bourgeoisie when it is no longer possible to rule through normal parliamentary measures. The popular front is simply another bourgeois solution to the conditions which lead to fascism, a period when the bourgeoisie is unable to crush a combative working class with the "legal" mechanisms of bourgeois terror. At the same time, the working class movement lacks the revolutionary leadership to resolve the ensuing social crisis on its own terms through the establishment of its own state power. The popular front—by inviting the workers' misleaders into the capitalist government—is the mechanism by which the bourgeoisie disciplines the workers through the reformist and Stalinist parties. The demoralization engendered in both the working class and petty-bourgeoisie by the popular front experience opens the road for fascist reaction.

The Trotskyist strategy to smash fascism is counterposed to the opportunist/adventurist- zigzags of the Stalinists; the April 19 anti-Nazi mobilization was a historic reconfirmation of the Trotskyist program by uniting workers, minorities and socialists to stop the Nazi threat. No faith can be placed in the bourgeois state which covers for the KKK/Nazi butchers, indicts the leftists, and uses every "anti-extremist" law to persecute the left and working class movement. There is no substitute for the independent action of the organized proletariat.

CWP: Revolutionary Verbiage, Liberal Practice

As Stalinists, the CWP has never rejected class-collaborationist blocs in principle. The CWP and its predecessor, Workers Viewpoint Organization
(WVO), eclectically adopted "Third Period" Stalinist verbiage including the dogma of "social fascism." In 1974 Workers Viewpoint polemicized against the Dimitrov/Stalin "united front against fascism":

"...we disagree with comrades who uphold the united front against fascism as the strategy for the present— We, however, feel that even though the menace of fascism is increasing due to the changing material conditions, the ruling class at this point still holds the same strategy."

— Workers Viewpoint,
September 1974 (emphasis in original)

In 1975, in a tawdry defense of its opposition to busing in Boston as a minimal means to achieve school integration, the WVO labeled the "'liberal' bourgeoisie" as "even more dangerous." The May 1975 issue of Workers Viewpoint dribbled on that "In the busing issue, the split of the working class signals a greater menace of fascism than the K.KK, the Hicks and Kerrigans." According to the infantile and reactionary raging of Workers Viewpoint, everything from busing to "decadent" movies like Polanski's Chinatown to democratic rights for homosexuals is considered a liberal plot for "fascisation." Most recently the CWP joined the social-democratic Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee and right-wing bourgeois feminists (!) to demonstrate against Deep Throat at Harvard

That the defeat of busing in Boston and Louisville by racist reaction, the reactionary anti-homosexual campaign of Anita Bryant and, most importantly, Carter's anti-Soviet war drive have fueled the growth of the fascist organizations should be obvious. The workers movement can have nothing but contempt for so-called "communists" who align themselves with the most reactionary forces in U.S. society as the CWP has. Now, it wants to turn toward the "liberal" bourgeoisie it accused of being responsible for the "fascisation" of America. But liberal politicians don't provide much aid to the CWP's popular front illusions. Even the New York Times, organ of the "enlightened" bourgeoisie, tried to pass off the broad daylight assassinations of the CWP 5 by the fascist filth as a "shoot out" among "extremists" of the right and left. On the one hand, the CWP blocs with reactionary bigots like Hicks and Anita Bryant and on the other with the "progressive" union-busters on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. No matter which wing of the bourgeoisie they capitulate to, the CWP's Stalinism renders it a roadblock to effective mobilization of the labor movement to crush the fascist threat.

American fascism is not simply fueled by racism but represents the extreme right-wing, militant fringe of Carter/ Brzezinski's anti-Soviet war lust. The restoration of the draft coupled with the imperialist war drive opens up those possibilities further.
Defend the Greensboro Six!

On November 3, 1979 Klan and Nazi thugs poured gunfire into an anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. When this murderous cold¬blooded assault was over, five members and supporters of the Communist Workers Party were dead and many other demonstrators were wounded.
Films of the massacre shown on nationwide TV demonstrated beyond doubt that the fascist gunmen systematically went for prominent CWP supporters. This was no "shootout," as it was labeled by the capitalist press. It was cold-blooded murder in broad daylight!

Now "felony rioting" charges have been leveled against six survivors of the Greensboro massacre! The Greensboro Six—Nelson Johnson, Rand Mandella, Lacie Russell, Alan Blitz, Dorothy Blitz and Percy Simms—are supporters or friends of the CWP.

Mass mobilizations of black people and the labor movement are urgently needed to demand, "Drop the charges against the Greensboro Six! Jail the Klan Greensboro Murderers!"

The Partisan Defense Committee (PDC) is" a working-class defense organization in accordance with the political views of the Spartacist League.

The PDC has contributed to the Greensboro Justice Fund. Young Spartacus readers are urged to send donations to: Greensboro Justice Fund, P.O. Box 2861, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10017.

Young Spartacus reprints below a telegram sent by the Partisan Defense Committee in defense of the Greensboro Six

Western Union Telegram

Michael Schlosser
Guilford County District Attorney 1 Governmental Plaza Greensboro, N.C. 27401


Toni Randell
Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal St. Sta. Mew York, NY 10013

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