The Struggle continues!

The Struggle continues!

April 01, 2010

On the Dissolution of the Communist Party of the United States, by Jacques Duclos, Published in Cahiers du Communisme, April 1945




Earl R Browder, American Communist Party leader who at the close of WW 2 dissolved The US Communist Party and created in its stead "the Communist Political Association"


by Jacques Duclos

Published in Cahiers du Communisme, April 1945. Reprinted in William Z. Foster et. al.,Marxism-Leninism vs. Revisionism. (New York: New Century Publishers, Feb. 1946), pp. 21-35.






Many readers of Cahiers du Communisme have
asked us for clarification on the dissolution of the Communist
Party of the USA and the creation of the Communist
Political Association.

We have received some information on this very
important political event, and thus we can in full freedom
give our opinion on the political considerations
which were advanced to justify the dissolution of the
Communist Party.

The reasons for dissolution of the Communist
Party in the USA and for the “new course” in the activity
of the American Communists are set forth in
official documents of the Party and in a certain number
of speeches of its former secretary, Earl Browder.

In his speech devoted to the results of the Teheran
Conference and the political situation in the United
States, delivered December 12, 1943, in Bridgeport
and published in The Communist magazine in January
1944, Earl Browder for the first time discussed the
necessity of changing the course of the CPUSA.

The Teheran Conference served as Browder’s
point of departure from which to develop his conceptions
favorable to a change of course of the American
CP. However, while justly stressing the importance of
the Teheran Conference for victory in the war against
fascist Germany, Earl Browder drew from the Conference
decisions erroneous conclusions in no wise flowing
from a Marxist analysis of the situation. Earl Browder
made himself the protagonist of a false concept of
the ways of social evolution in general, and in the first
place, the social evolution of the United States.

Earl Browder declared, in effect, that at Teheran
capitalism and socialism had begun to find the means
of peaceful coexistence and collaboration in the framework
of one and the same world; he added that the
Teheran accords regarding common policy similarly
presupposed common efforts with a view to reducing
to a minimum or completely suppressing methods of
struggle and opposition of force to force in the solution
of internal problems of each country.

That (the Teheran Declaration) is the only hope of a
continuance of civilization in our time. That is why I can
accept and support and believe in the Declaration at Teheran
and make it the starting point for all my thinking about the
problems of our country and the world.
(Address at Bridgeport, Conn., Dec. 12, 1943.)
Starting from the decisions of the Teheran Conference,

Earl Browder drew political conclusions regarding
the problems of the world, and above all the
internal situation in the United States. Some of these
conclusions claim that the principal problems of internal
politics of the United States must in the future
be solved exclusively by means of reforms, for the “expectation
of unlimited inner conflict threatens also the
perspective of international unity held forth at Teheran.”
(Teheran and America, pp. 16-17.)

The Teheran agreements mean to Earl Browder
that the greatest part of Europe, west of the Soviet
Union, will probably be reconstituted on a bourgeoisdemocratic
basis and not on a fascist-capitalist or Soviet
basis.

But it will be a capitalist basis which is conditioned by
the principle of complete democratic self-determination for
each nation, allowing full expression within each nation of
all progressive and constructive forces and setting up no
obstacles to the development of democracy and social
progress in accordance with the varying desires of the
peoples. It means a perspective for Europe minimizing, and
to a great extent eliminating altogether, the threat of civil
war after the international war. (Bridgeport speech, The
Communist, January 1944, pg. 7.)

2 Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945]

And Earl Browder adds:
Whatever may be the situation in other lands, in the
United States this means a perspective in the immediate
postwar period of expanded production and employment
and the strengthening of democracy within the framework
of the present system — and not a perspective of the
transition to socialism.

We can set our goal as the realization of the Teheran
policy, or we can set ourselves the task of pushing the United
States immediately into socialism. Clearly, however, we
cannot choose both.

The first policy, with all its difficulties, is definitely within
the realm of possible achievement. The second would be
dubious, indeed, especially when we remember that even
the most progressive section of the labor movement is
committed to capitalism, is not even as vaguely socialistic
as the British Labour Party.

Therefore, the policy for Marxists in the United States
is to face with all its consequences the perspective of a
capitalist postwar reconstruction in the United States, to
evaluate all plans on that basis, and to collaborate actively
with the most democratic and progressive majority in the
country in a national unity sufficiently broad and effective to
realize the policies of Teheran. (Teheran and America, pg.
20.)

To put the Teheran policy into practice, Earl
Browder considers that it is necessary to reconstruct
the entire political and social life of the United States.
Every class, every group, every individual, every political
party in America will have to readjust itself to this great issue
embodied in that policy given to us by Roosevelt, Stalin and
Churchill. The country is only beginning to face it so far.
Everyone must begin to draw the conclusion from it and
adjust himself to the new world that is created by it. Old
formulas and old prejudices are going to be of no use
whatever to us as guides to find our way in this new world.
We are going to have to draw together all men and all groups
with the intelligence enough to see the overwhelming
importance of this issue, to understand that upon its correct
solution depends the fate of our country and the fate of
civilization throughout the world.

We shall have to be prepared to break with anyone
that refuses to support and fight for the realization of the
Teheran Agreement and the Anglo-Soviet-American
Coalition. We must be prepared to give the hand of
cooperation and fellowship to everyone who fights for the
realization of this coalition. If J.P. Morgan supports this
coalition and goes down the line for it, I as a Communist am
prepared to clasp his hand on that and join with him to realize
it. Class divisions or political groupings have no significance
now except as they reflect one side or the other of this issue.
(Bridgeport speech, January 1944, The Communist, pg. 8.)
Browder’s remark regarding Morgan provoked
quite violent objections from members of the American
CP. Explaining this idea to the plenary session of
the Central Committee, Browder said:

...I was not making a verbal abolition of class
differences, but that I was rejecting the political slogan of
“class against class” as our guide to political alignments in
the next period. I spoke of Mr. Morgan symbolically as the
representative of a class, and not as an individual — in which
capacity I know him not at all. (Teheran and America, pg.
24.)

As Browder indicates, creation of a vast national
unity in the US presupposes the Communists would
be a part of this. Thus, the Communist organization
must conclude a long-term alliance with far more important
forces. From these considerations, Browder
drew the conclusion that the Communist organization
in the US should change its name, reject the word
“party” and take another name more exactly reflecting
its role, a name more in conformity, according to him,
with the political traditions of America.
Earl Browder proposed to name the new organization
“Communist Political Association,” which,
in the traditional American two-party system, will not
intervene as a “party,” that is, it will not propose candidates
in the elections, will neither enter the Democratic
or Republican Party, but will work to assemble a
broad progressive and democratic movement within
all parties.

In his report to the plenary session of the Central
Committee of the CPUSA, Browder spoke in detail
of the economic problems of US postwar national
economy, and their solution on the basis of collaboration
and unity of different classes. Browder indicated
that American business men, industrialists, financiers
and even reactionary organizations do not admit the
possibility of a new economic crisis in the US after the
war. On the contrary, all think that US national
economy after the war can preserve and maintain the
same level of production as during the war.

However, the problem is in the difficulties of
transition from wartime economic activity to peacetime
production, and in the absorption by home and
foreign markets of $90 billions in supplementary merchandise
which the American government is now buying
for war needs. In this regard, Earl Browder claims
that the Teheran Conference decisions make possible
the overcoming of Anglo-American rivalry in the
struggle for foreign outlets, and that the government
of the United States, in agreement with its great AlDuclos:
On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945] 3
lies, and with the participation of governments in interested
states, can create a series of giant economic
associations for the development of backward regions
and war-devastated regions in Europe, Africa, Asia and
Latin America.

As to extension of the home market, to permit
absorption of a part of the $90,000,000,000 worth of
merchandise, Browder suggests doubling the purchasing
power of the average consumer, notably by wage
increases.

Marxists will not help the reactionaries, by opposing
the slogan of “Free Enterprise” with any form of counterslogan.
If anyone wishes to describe the existing system of
capitalism in the United States as “free enterprise,” that is
all right with us, and we frankly declare that we are ready to
cooperate in making this capitalism work effectively in the
postwar period with the least possible burdens upon the
people. (Ibid., pg. 21.)

Further, Browder claims that national unity
could no more be obtained by following a policy based
on slogans aimed at the monopolies and big capital.
Today, to speak seriously of drastic curbs on monopoly
capital, leading toward the breaking of its power, and
imposed upon monopoly capital against its will, is merely
another form of proposing the immediate transition to
socialism. (Ibid., pg. 23.)

In his closing speech to the plenary session of
the CP Central Committee in January 1944, Browder
tried to base himself on “theoretical” arguments to justify
the change of course of the American CP. Also he
expressed his concept of Marxism and its application
under present conditions.

Browder thinks that by pronouncing the dissolution
of the CP and creating the CPA, the American
Communists are following a correct path, resolving
problems which have no parallel in history and demonstrating
how Marxist theory should be applied in
practice.

Marxism never was a series of dogmas and formulas;
it never was a catalogue of prohibitions listing the things we
must not do irrespective of new developments and new
situations; it does not tell us that things cannot be done; it
tells us how to do the things that have to be done, the things
that history has posed as necessary and indispensable
tasks. Marxism is a theory of deeds, not of don’ts. Marxism
is therefore a positive, dynamic, creative force, and it is such
a great social power precisely because, as a scientific
outlook and method, it takes living realities as its starting
point. It has always regarded the scientific knowledge of
the past as a basis for meeting the new and unprecedented
problems of the present and the future. And the largest
problems today are new in a very basic sense.
We have more than ever the task to refresh ourselves
in the great tradition of Marxism, completely freeing
ourselves from the last remnants of the dogmatic and
schematic approach....

True, according to all of the textbooks of the past, we
are departing from orthodoxy, because none of our
textbooks foresaw or predicted a long period of peaceful
relations in the world before the general advent of socialism.
(Ibid., pp. 43-45.)

The new political course outlined by Browder
found but few adversaries among the leading militants
of the CPUSA. At the enlarged session of the Political
Bureau of the Party, those who spoke up violently
against Browder were William Foster, President of the
CPUSA, and Darcy, member of the Central Committee
and Secretary of the Eastern Pennsylvania district.
Foster expounded his differences with Browder
in two documents — in a letter to the National Committee
of the CPUSA and in his introductory speech
to the extraordinary session of the National Committee,
Feb. 8, 1944.

In these two documents, Foster criticizes
Browder’s theoretical theses regarding the change in
character of monopoly capital in the USA, the perspectives
of postwar economic development as well as
Browder’s position on the question of the Presidential
elections.

In his Feb. 8 speech Foster also attacks those who,
on the basis of Browder’s theses, suggested that strikes
be renounced in the postwar period.
But in neither one of these documents did Foster
openly take a stand against the dissolution of the
Communist Party.

In his report Comrade Browder, in attempting to apply
the Teheran decisions to the United States, drew a
perspective of a smoothly working national unity, including
the decisive sections of American finance capital, not only
during the war but also in the postwar; a unity which (with
him quoting approvingly from Victory and After), would lead
to “a rapid healing of the terrible wounds of the war” and
would extend on indefinitely, in an all-class peaceful
collaboration, for a “long term of years.” In this picture,
American imperialism virtually disappears, there remains
hardly a trace of the class struggle, and Socialism plays
practically no role whatever. (Foster Letter to Members of
NC.)

Foster violently criticized Browder because the
4 Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945]
latter, while outlining a new course in the activity of
the American CP, had lost sight of several of the most
fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism.

It seems to me that Comrade Browder’s rather rosy
outlook for capitalism is based upon two errors. The first of
these is an underestimation of the deepening of the crisis
of world capitalism caused by the war. When questioned
directly in Political Bureau discussion, Comrade Browder
agreed that capitalism has been seriously weakened by the
war, but his report would tend to give the opposite
implication. The impression is left that capitalism has
somehow been rejuvenated and is now entering into a new
period of expansion and growth. (Ibid.)

According to Foster, world capitalism can surely
count on a certain postwar boom, but it would be
wrong to think that capitalism, even American capitalism,
could maintain itself at the production level
attained in wartime, and resolve,, in a measure more
or less satisfactory to the working class, the complex
problems arising after the war.

Without diminishing the importance of the Teheran
conference, Foster considered, nevertheless, that
it would be an extremely dangerous illusion to think
that Teheran had in any way changed the class nature
of capitalism, that the Teheran conference had liquidated
the class struggle, as it appears from Browder’s
speech. The fact that capitalism has learned to live in
peace and in alliance with socialism is far from meaning
that American monopoly capitalism has become
progressive and that it can henceforth be unreservedly
included in national unity in the struggle for the realization
of the Teheran conference decisions.

The class nature of imperialistic capitalism [Foster
asserted] is reactionary. That is why national unity with it is
impossible. The furious attack of these circles against the
democratic Roosevelt government — does this not supply
a convincing proof? Can one doubt, after that, that the
monopolist sections in the US are enemies and not friends
of the Teheran decisions as Earl Browder thinks?

The dagger in this whole point of view is that, in our
eagerness to secure support for Teheran, we may walk into
the trap of trying to cooperate with the enemies of Teheran,
or even of falling under their influence. Trailing after the big
bourgeoisie is the historic error of social-democracy, and
we must be vigilantly on guard against it. (Ibid.)
Foster also criticized Browder for his attitude
toward the National Association of Manufacturers,
which is, in his opinion, one of the most reactionary
organizations of monopoly capital in the US. However,
Browder thought he had to approve a certain
number of the economic measures of this association.

He accepts its central slogan, that of “free private enterprise,”
which is in reality basically reactionary and
contrary to the Roosevelt policy. What is more, Browder,
counting on seeing workers’ wages increased 100
percent after the war, invites US monopolists to share
his good intentions and says to them: “[You] must find
the solution in order to keep their plants in operation.”
Citing these words of Browder’s, Foster declared:
In my opinion, it would be a catastrophe for the labor
movement if it accepted such a plan or such an idea, even
if only provisionally. Starting from a notoriously erroneous
conception, that US monopoly capitalism can play a
progressive role, Comrade Browder looks askance at all
suggestions tending to subdue the monopolies, whereas
the CP can accept only one policy, that of tending to master
these big capitalists now and after the war. In calling for the
collaboration of classes, Browder sows wrong illusions of
tailism in the minds of trade union members. Whereas the
job of the trade unions is to elaborate their policy and dictate
it to the big employers.

As to the problems of postwar organizations,
Foster repudiated all illusions regarding the self-styled
progressive role of monopoly capital. America, Foster
declared, will emerge from the war as a powerful state
in the world, the industrial magnates will be rather
inclined to dictatorial acts than to compromises, and
it is hardly likely, he added, that we can expect a progressive
program from them.

So far as the bulk of finance capital is concerned,
starting out with a prewar record of appeasement, it has, all
through the war, followed a course of rank profiteering and
often outright sabotage of both the domestic and foreign
phases of the nation’s war program, especially the former.
While these elements obviously do not want the United
States to lose the war, they are certainly very poor defenders
of the policy of unconditional surrender. In the main, their
idea of a satisfactory outcome of the war would be some
sort of negotiated peace with German reactionary forces,
and generally to achieve a situation that would put a wet
blanket on all democratic governments in Europe. (Ibid.)

Foster thinks that Browder is right when he says
that the question of socialism is not the issue of the
present war and that to pose this question would only
result in restricting the framework of national unity.
But considering the fact that the successes of the USSR
will increase the interest of the masses in socialism,
Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945] 5
the Communists must explain to the workers the importance
of the socialist development of our epoch and
the way in which it concerns the US, for otherwise the
Social Democrats could represent themselves as a part
of socialism.

The enforcement of the Teheran decisions, both in their
national and international aspects, demands the broadest
possible national unity, and in this national unity there must
be workers, farmers, professionals, small businessmen and
all of the capitalist elements who will loyally support the
program. (Ibid.)

Foster’s letter to the National Committee and
his speech at the extraordinary session of the National
Committee on Feb. 8, 1944, against Browder’s line,
provoked violent criticism from those in attendance.
Most speakers rejected Foster’s arguments and supported
the “new course” of the CPUSA outlined by
Browder.

Speaking during the meeting against Browder,
Darcy said that in his opinion Foster’s speech was not
aimed at diminishing Browder’s authority. Like Foster,
Darcy violently criticized the interpretation given
by Browder of the Teheran decisions and asserted that
the political agreement of the big three powers who
constitute the Teheran conference should not be considered
as an agreement on the principal post-war economic
problems.

Afterwards Darcy was expelled from the Party
by the Congress on the proposal of a commission
named by the Central Committee and headed by Foster,
because, as the decision says, by sending to Party
members a letter containing slanderous declarations
on Party leaders, he attempted to create a fraction
within the Party, and because he submitted the letter
in question to the bourgeois press.

After the extraordinary session of the National
Committee, a discussion on Browder’s report to the
plenary assembly of the Central Committee was
opened in the basic organizations of the Party, in regional
congresses and the Party press.

According to information published in the Daily
Worker, after the discussion the organizations and regional
congresses of the Party unanimously accepted
Browder’s proposals. As to Foster, he declared at the
extraordinary session of the National Committee that
he did not intend to make known his differences with
Browder outside the Party Central Committee.

The Congress of the CPUSA [12th National
Convention] (held May 20, 1944) heard Browder’s
report in which he expressed his opinions regarding
the political situation in the US and he proposed adoption
of a new course in the policy of Communists of
the US.

Proposing a resolution on the dissolution of the
CPUSA, Browder declared:
On Jan. 11 the National Committee of the Communist
Party in the interest of national unity and to enable the
Communists to function most effectively in the changed
political conditions and to make still greater contributions
toward winning the war and securing a durable peace,
recommended that the American Communists should
renounce the aim of partisan advantage and the party form
of organization....

With that purpose, I propose in the name of the National
Committee and in consultation with the most important
delegations in this Convention, the adoption of the following
motion:

I hereby move that the Communist Party of America
be and hereby is dissolved.... (Proceedings, pg. 11.)
After having accepted the resolution on dissolution
of the CP, the Congress of the CPUSA proclaimed
itself the Constituent Congress of the Communist
Political Association of the United States and adopted
a programmatic introduction to the Association’s statutes.

In this introduction it is said:
The Communist Political Association is a non-party
organization of American which, basing itself upon the
working class, carries forward the traditions of Washington,
Jefferson, Paine, Jackson and Lincoln, under the changed
conditions of modern industrial society.

It seeks effective application of democratic principles
to the solution of the problems of today, as an advanced
sector of the democratic majority of the American people.
It upholds the Declaration of Independence, the United
States Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and the
achievements of American democracy against all the
enemies of popular liberties.

It is shaped by the needs of the nation at war, being
formed in the midst of the greatest struggle of all history; it
recognizes that victory for the free peoples over fascism
will open up new and more favorable conditions for progress;
it looks to the family of free nationals, led by the great
coalition of democratic capitalist and socialist states, to
inaugurate an era of world peace, expanding production
and economic well-being, and the liberation and equality of
all peoples regardless of race, creed or color.

It adheres to the principles of scientific socialism,
Marxism, the heritage of the best thought of humanity and
of a hundred years’ experience of the labor movement,

6 Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945]


principles which have proved to be indispensable to the
national existence and independence of every nation: it looks
forward to a future in which, by democratic choice of the
American people, our own country will solve the problems
arising out of the contradiction between the social character
of production and its private ownership, incorporating the
lessons of the most fruitful achievements of all mankind in
a form and manner consistent with American traditions and
character.... (Preamble, Proceedings, pp. 47-48.)

The Constituent Congress of the CPA adopted
a main political resolution, “National Unity for Victory,
Security and a Durable Peace.”

The resolution points out the exceptional importance
of the Teheran conference decisions for victory
over the aggressor and establishment of a lasting
peace. It calls for reinforcement of national unity as
the necessary conditions for their application.
By national unity is meant union of all patriotic
forces from Communists, Laborites to adherents of
the Democratic and Republican parties. All ideological,
religious and political differences must be subordinated
to this unity. The resolution stresses the exceptional
importance of the 1944 elections on whose
results depend the country’s unity and destiny. It recognizes
the increasingly important role of the working
class in national unity, its growing activity and its
political influence.

The resolution flays the reactionary policy of
groups led by DuPont, Hearst, McCormick, characterizing
this policy as pro-fascist and treason, and calling
on the American people to struggle against these
groups.

The resolution then says that the majority of the
American people are not yet convinced of the need for
a more radical solution to social and economic problems
with the aid of nationalization of big industry or
by means of establishing socialism.

That is why, the immediate task consists in obtaining
a higher level of production in the framework
of the existing capitalist regime. With this, private
employers must receive all possibilities to solve the
problem of production and employment of labor. Solution
of these problems is likewise, in the first place,
linked to the maximum increase in the American
people’s purchasing power and extension of foreign
commerce. If private industry cannot solve these tasks,
the government must assume responsibility.

The resolution expresses itself against anti-Semitism,
anti-Negro discrimination, calls for the outlawing
of the “fifth column” and for the banning of
calls by the latter for a negotiated peace with the aggressor.
The resolution concludes:

For the camp of national unity, which is composed of
the patriotic forces of all classes, from the working people
to the capitalists, rests and depends upon the working class,
the backbone and driving force of the nation and its winthe-
war coalition.... It requires the extension of labor’s united
action of the AF of L, the CIO and Railroad Brotherhoods. It
requires the most resolute development of labor’s political
initiative and influence, with labor’s full and adequate
participation in the government....

...we Communists, as patriotic Americans, renew our
pledge to the nation to subordinate everything to win the
war and to destroy fascism.... (Resolutions, pg. 7.)
In addition to the resolution on “National
Unity,” the CPA Congress passed a series of other decisions:
on transition from war to peacetime production;
on international trade union unity; on the CPA’s
wage policy; on political life as it regards demobilized
veterans; on work among women; on farmers; on the
situation in the southern states; on suppressing the poll
tax; on the fight against anti-Semitism; on unity among
countries of the western hemisphere and on the 25th
anniversary of the Communist movement in the US.

The congress unanimously elected Browder
president of the CPA.

The CPA Congress addressed a message to Comrade
Stalin and the Red Army saying especially:
In every American city and village, every factory and
farm of our great land, men and women and children of all
classes speak with wonder and deep gratitude of the heroic
achievements of the Soviet Union and its valiant Red Army.
Every day since the brutal and treacherous common fascist
enemy violated your borders on June 22, 1941, more of the
American people have come to know and love your leaders
and your people.

The political and military leadership of the USSR and
its mighty Red Army is applauded not only by our great
political and military leaders, but by our workers, farmers,
businessmen, professional people, artists, scientists and
youth. The appeasers of the Hitlerites and the enemies of
our common victory, who have been trying to frighten us
with Hitler’s “Soviet bogey,” have not succeeded in blinding
our people to the realities. Your deeds daily speak with an
authority that drowns their poisonous words.

As the relentless offensives of your mighty forces drive
the Nazis from your soil, bringing nearer the day of your
common and final victory over the Fascist enemy, we grow
ever more conscious of our enormous debt to you, the
Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945] 7
leaders and fighters and peoples of the great Soviet land.
The names of your liberated towns and villages are daily on
our lips, the name of Stalin and the names of your countless
heroes enshrined in our hearts.

Daily more and more of our people understand why it
is that yours, the world’s first Socialist state, has given the
world such an unparalleled example of unity, heroism,
individual initiative and a new discipline in the art and science
of warfare.

All patriotic Americans are determined to strengthen
still further the concerted action of the United Nations, and
its leading coalition of our country, the Soviet Union and
England on which our assurance of victory rests. They are
determined to continue and deepen this coalition in the
peace to come and to extend the friendship among our
peoples which will cement the alliance of our two powerful
nations as the mainstay of victory, national freedom and an
enduring peace.” (Message to Stalin, Proceedings, pp. 13-
14.)

After the Constituent Congress, the leadership
of the CPA waged a campaign of explanation on the
aims and tasks of the Association.

In one of his speeches Browder said:

...That is why we dissolved the Communist Party,
renounced all aims of partisan advancement, and regrouped
ourselves into the non-partisan Communist Political
Association. That is why we are ready and willing to work
with any and all Americans who place victory in the war as
the first law, and who move toward such a minimum program
as we have outlined for the solution of our postwar problems.
This is why we do not associate ourselves with any other
political party, but rather with the most forward-looking men
in all parties. (“The War and the Elections,” Daily Worker,
June 18, 1944.)

Explaining the functions of the CPA, its Organizational
Secretary, [John] Williamson, declared:

As regards the functioning of the Association, we
emphasize that this means manifold increase and
improvement in every aspect of political-educational activity,
on a national, state and local club basis. We must become
known as an organization whose grasp of Marxism provides
us with correct answers to the complex political problems
confronting the people. While the members belong to, and
are active in, every type of mass organization — political,
economic, cultural, fraternal, etc. — the Association in its
own name will speak out boldly and with initiative on all
issues and policies.” (Williamson, Proceedings, pp. 55-56.)

The practical activity of the CPA since the Congress
was subordinated to the principal task of the hour:
active participation of the CPA in the 1944 election
campaign.

The national CPA Congress unanimously
backed Mr. Roosevelt’s Presidential candidacy. In their
speeches, Browder and the other leaders of the CPA in
the named of the CPA supported Mr. Roosevelt’s
fourth term. The regional-state organizations of the
CPA and local clubs carried on an active propaganda
campaign in favor of Mr. Roosevelt and congressional
candidates favorable to Mr. Roosevelt.

On Sept. 25, 1944, during a meeting called by
the New York CPA on the 25th anniversary of the
Communist movement in the US, Browder said:
...every group, however small, just as every individual
has the same supreme duty to make its complete and
unconditional contribution to victory. We must give not only
our lives, but we must be ready also to sacrifice our
prejudices, our ideologies, and our special interests. We
American Communists have applied this rule first of all to
ourselves.

We know that Hitler and the Mikado calculated to split
the United Nations on the issue of Communism and anti-
Communism; we know that the enemy calculated to split
America on this issue in the current elections, and thus
prepare our country for withdrawal from the war and a
compromise peace. We therefore set ourselves, as our
special supreme task, to remove the Communists and
Communism from this election campaign as in any way an
issue, directly or indirectly.

To this end we unhesitatingly sacrificed our electoral
rights in this campaign, by refraining from putting forward
our own candidates; we went to the length of dissolving the
Communist Party itself for an indefinite period in the future;
we declared our readiness to loyally support the existing
system of private enterprise which is accepted by the
overwhelming majority of Americans, and to raise no
proposals for any fundamental changes which could in any
way endanger the national unity; we went out into the trade
unions and the masses of the people, straightforwardly and
frankly using all our influence to firmly establish this policy
of national unity; we helped with all our strength to restrain
all impulses toward strike movements among the workers,
and to prepare the workers for a continuation of national
unity after the war....

As spokesman for American Communists I can say for
our small group that we completely identify ourselves with
our nation, its interests and the majority of its people, in this
support for Roosevelt and Truman for President and Vicepresident.
We know quite well that the America that Roosevelt
leads is a capitalist America, and that it is the mission of
Roosevelt, among other things, to keep it so. We know that
only great disasters for our country could change this
perspective of our country from capitalism to that of
socialism, in the foreseeable future. Only failure to carry
through the war to victory or a botching of the peace and
failure to organize it, or the plunging of our country into
another economic catastrophe like that of the Hoover era,
could turn the American people to socialism.

We do not want disaster for America, even though it

8 Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945]

results in socialism. If we did, we would support Dewey and
Hoover and Bricker and their company. We want victory in
the war, with the Axis powers and all their friends eliminated
from the world. We want a world organized for generations
of peace.

We want our country’s economy fully at work, supplying
a greatly multiplied world market to heal the wounds of the
world, a greatly expanded home market reflecting rising
standards of living here, and an orderly, cooperative and
democratic working out of our domestic and class
relationships, within a continuing national unity that will
reduce and eventually eliminate large domestic struggles....

That is why American Communists, even as our great
Communist forebears in 1860 and 1864 supported Abraham
Lincoln, will in 1944 support Franklin Delano Roosevelt for
President of the United States....

As to Browder’s attitude toward the Soviet
Union, he highly appreciates the USSR’s role in the
United Nations system and in the work of finally crushing
Hitlerite Germany and establishing a lasting peace
after the war. Browder stressed more than once that
the Soviet state built by Lenin and Stalin constitutes
the irreplaceable force which saved the world from fascist
slavery and he called for it to be made known to
all Americans all the wisdom of Leninist-Stalinist
theory that made the Soviet Union great and powerful.

From an organizational point of view, the CPA
structure is as follows: the basic organizational cell is
the territorial club whose general meeting is called once
a month. Between general membership meetings all
the work planned by the club is carried out by its committee,
made up of the most active members. The clubs
are subordinated to regional CPA councils. The leading
organization of the CPA is the National Committee
elected for two years at the Association Congress.
The Association’s President and 11 Vice-Presidents
elected by the Congress comprise the permanent leading
organization of the Association.

The CPA Congress set forth maintenance of the
principle of democratic centralism as the structural
basis of the Association. Williamson, CPA Organizational
Secretary, explained to the Congress in these
terms the application of the democratic centralism
principle of the CPA:

...While maintaining a structure and minimum
organizational requirements compatible with the character
of a Marxist political educational association, we must grant
greater autonomy to the lower organizations, emphasize
that democracy is a two-way street from top to bottom and
bottom to top, and eliminate all rigidity of organization.
(Williamson, Proceedings, pg. 58.)

The National Congress of the Political Association
adopted the CPA constitution in which it said
that everyone who wishes to belong to the CPA accepts
its program and its line.

Explaining who can belong to the Association,
the Daily Worker wrote:

We can ask of the new applicants to membership in
the Party only loyalty to the principles that are already
comprehensive to all workers, devotion to the most basic
duties of action today; plus a willingness and eagerness to
study the program and history and the theory which will
make them thorough Communists. And above all a
willingness to fight, to sacrifice in the war of mankind against
Nazi enslavement is the first requirement for entering the
Communist Party. (Minor, Daily Worker, Feb. 1944.)

At the time of its dissolution the Communist
Party of the United States, according to Browder’s declaration,
had 80,000 members without counting the
10,000 Party members in the army. According to the
Congress decisions all members of the CPUSA are
members of the CPA and must register before July 4,
1944. As the Daily Worker announced up to July 16,
1944, hardly 45,000 persons had been registered.
Without analyzing in detail Browder’s full position
on the dissolution of the CPUSA and creation of
the Communist Political Association, and without
making a developed critique of this position, one can
nevertheless deduce from it the following conclusions:

1. The course applied under Browder’s leadership
ended inn practice in liquidation of the independent
political party of the working class in the US.

2. Despite declarations regarding recognition of
the principles of Marxism, one is witnessing a notorious
revision of Marxism on the part of Browder and
his supporters, a revision which is expressed in the
concept of a long-term class peace in the United States,
of the possibility of the suppression of the class struggle
in the postwar period and of establishment of harmony
between labor and capital.

3. By transforming the Teheran declaration of
the Allied governments, which is a document of a diplomatic
character, into a political platform of class peace
in the United States in the postwar period, the American
Communists are deforming in a radical way the
meaning of the Teheran declaration and are sowing
Duclos: On the Dissolution of the Communist Party [April 1945] 9
dangerous opportunist illusions which will exercise a
negative influence on the American labor movement
if they are not met with the necessary reply.

4. According to what is known up to now, the
Communist Parties of most countries have not approved
Browder’s position and several Communist
Parties (for example that of the Union of South Africa
and that of Australia) have come out openly against
this position, while the Communist Parties of several
South American countries (Cuba, Colombia) regarded
the position of the American Communists as correct
and in general followed the same path.

Such are the facts. Such are the elements of understanding
which permit passing judgment on the
dissolution of the American Communist Party. French
Communists will not fail to examine in the light of
Marxist-Leninist critique the arguments developed to
justify the dissolution of the American Communist
Party. One can be sure that, like the Communists of
the Union of South Africa and of Australia, the French
Communists will not approve the policy followed by
Browder for it has swerved dangerously from the victorious
Marxist-Leninist doctrine whose rigorously
scientific application could lead to but one conclusion,
not to dissolve the American Communist Party
but to work to strengthen it under the banner of stubborn
struggle to defeat Hitler Germany and destroy
everywhere the extensions of fascism.

The fact that all the members of the Communist
Party of the United States did not sign up automatically
in the Communist Political Association shows
that the dissolution of the Party provoked anxieties,
perfectly legitimate.

In the United States the omnipotent trusts have
been the object of violent criticism. It is know, for instance,
that the former Vice-President of the United
States, Henry Wallace, has denounced their evil doings
and their international policy.

We too, in France, are resolute partisans of national
unity, and we show that in our daily activity,
but our anxiety for unity does not make us lose sight
for a single moment of the necessity of arraying ourselves
against the men of the trusts.

Furthermore, one can observe a certain confusion
in Browder’s declarations regarding the problem
of nationalization of the monopolies and what he calls
the transition from capitalism to socialism.
Nationalization of monopolies actually in no
sense constitutes a socialist achievement, contrary to
what certain people would be inclined to believe. No,
in nationalization it is simply a matter of reforms of a
democratic character, achievement of socialism being
impossible to imagine without preliminary conquest
of power.

Everyone understands that the Communists of
the United States want to work to achieve unity in
their country. But it is less understandable that they
envisage the solution of the problem of national unity
with the good will of the men of the trusts, and under
quasi-idyllic conditions, as if the capitalist regime had
been able to change its nature by some unknown
miracle.

In truth, nothing justifies the dissolution of the
American Communist Party, in our opinion. Browder’s
analysis of capitalism in the United States is not distinguished
by a judicious application of Marxism-Leninism.
The predictions regarding a sort of disappearance
of class contradictions in the US correspond in
no wise to a Marxist-Leninist understanding of the
situation.

As to the argument consisting of a justification
of the Party’s dissolution by the necessity of not taking
direct part in the presidential elections, this does not
withstand a serious examination. Nothing prevents a
Communist Party from adapting its electoral tactics
to the requirements of a given political situation. It is
clear that American Communists were right in supporting
the candidacy of President Roosevelt in the
last elections, but it was not at all necessary for this to
dissolve the Communist Party.

It is beyond doubt that if, instead of dissolving
the Communist Party of the United States all had been
done to intensify its activity in the sense of developing
an ardent national and anti-fascist policy, it could very
greatly have consolidated its position and considerably
extended its political influence. On the contrary,
formation of the Communist Political Association
could not but trouble the minds and obscure the perspectives
in the eyes of the working masses.

In France, under cover of Resistance unity, certain
suggestions for the liquidation of the party have
been circulated, with more or less discretion, during
the last months, but non among us has ever thought
of taking such suggestions seriously. It is not by liqui10
dating the Party that we would have served national
unity. On the contrary we are serving it by strengthening
our Party. And as far as the American Communists
are concerned, it is clear that their desire to serve
the unity of their country and the cause of human
progress places before them tasks which presuppose
the existence of a powerful Communist Party.
After the Teheran decisions came the Yalta decisions
which expressed the will of the Big Three to liquidate
fascism in Germany and to help the liberated
peoples to liquidate the remnants of fascism in the
different countries.

It is scarcely necessary to recall that the material
bases for fascism reside in the trusts, and the great
objective of this war, the annihilation of fascism, can
only be obtained to the extent in which the forces of
democracy and progress do not shut their eyes to the
economic and political circumstances which engender
fascism.

The American Communists have an especially
important role to play in the struggle taking place between
the progressive forces of the earth and fascist
barbarism.

Without any doubt they would have been in a
better position to play this role in the interests of their
country and human progress if, instead of proceeding
to dissolve their Party, they had done everything to
strengthen it and make of it one of the elements of the
assembling of the broad democratic masses of the
United States for the final crushing of fascism, that
shame of the 20th Century. It would be useless to hide
the fact that fascism has more or less concealed sympathizers
in the US, as it has in France and other countries.

The former Vice-President of the US, Henry
Wallace, present Secretary of Commerce, said rightly
that one cannot fight fascism abroad and tolerate at
home the activity of powerful groups which intend to
make peace “with a simple breathing spell between the
death of an old tyranny and the birth of a new.”

The Yalta decisions thwart these plans, but the
enemies of liberty will not disarm of their free will.
They will only retreat before the acting coalition of all
the forces of democracy and progress.

And it is clear that if Comrade Earl Browder had
seen, as a Marxist-Leninist, this important aspect of
the problems facing liberty-loving peoples in this moment
in their history, he would have arrived at a conclusion
quite other than the dissolution of the Communist
Party of the United States.

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