Chapter Thirty-Three: The Communist Party and the "Cold War" (1945-1951)

33. The Communist Party and the "Cold War" (1945-1951)

After the Communist Party broke the backbone of Browder revisionism, it took and maintained a sharp and clear position against the Wall Street-Truman war-fascist program of world conquest. As we have remarked earlier, the aggressive implications of the United States government's line were already obvious to Marxists during the war, in the hostile attitude toward our ally, the U.S.S.R. At its Emergency (thirteenth) Convention, on July 28, 1945, therefore, the Party warned that if the imperialist policies of American monopoly capital were not checked, there would be "new aggressions and wars and the growth of reaction and fascism in the United States."1 In the same vein, at its fourteenth convention, on August 2, 1948, the Party issued an even sharper warning against the war danger. The election platform then formulated stated the central issue in the coming elections to be "Shall America follow the path of peace or war, democracy or fascism?"2 And at its fifteenth convention, beginning on December 28, 1950, the Party declared that "The frenzied imperialist drive toward war and fascism has now entered a new stage,"3 that of actual armed aggression in the Far East.

During the post-war period the Party's main political line has been in favor of building a united front anti-fascist peace coalition, led by labor. All its individual policies have been based upon and interlocked with the people's general struggle against fascism and war. This policy has been founded on the conviction that the masses do not want war and can prevent it if they will but make their will felt. In this fight the Party has had to be constantly alert to combat remnants of Browderism among its leaders and membership and in its general ideological and political mass work.

As against the war policy of the Truman government, the Communist Party has militantly counterposed the peace policy of U.S.A.-U.S.S.R. collaboration. The Party has tirelessly pointed out to the workers and the masses of the American people that American-Soviet co-operation is the supreme political necessity of our times. It is the central means of preventing war, preserving and extending democracy, and opening the way to prosperity for the toiling masses. This policy would make the United Nations into what the peoples intended it to be, a body willing and capable of maintaining world peace, instead of the instrument for war that it has become under the domination of the United States. American-Soviet collaboration is the mutual desire of both the American and Soviet peoples, and it is also the settled policy of the Soviet government. The great obstacle to the two big nations living in amity is the policy of the monopoly capitalists of the United States, whose entire plan for world control rests upon the hope of a successful war against the U.S.S.R.

The Party has exposed and combated the individual phases of the Wall Street program of world conquest as they have developed in the post-war period. It immediately condemned the Truman doctrine as a fomenter of reactionary civil wars, directed toward the overthrow of the governments of peoples striving for democracy and socialism; it promptly stigmatized the Marshall Plan as cut from the same cloth as the Truman doctrine and as a gigantic attempt to chain Europe to the war chariot of American imperialism; and it showed that President Truman's "Point Four" proposals were nothing but a plan to further Wall Street's imperialist economic and political penetration of the industrially less developed areas of the world, and it also opposed the North Atlantic Pact and the Japanese treaty.

The Party vigorously opposed United States intervention in Greece; its interference in the national elections in France and Italy; its building of the North Atlantic war alliance; its armed support to Chiang Kai-shek in China; its shipping of munitions to the imperialist armies in Indonesia, Indo-China, Burma, Malaya, and the Philippines, with which to shoot down the rebellious peoples; its attempts to fascize Germany, Italy, and Japan, its ruthless oppression and exploitation of the peoples of Latin America; and its casting of the burden of war preparations upon the workers through inflation, high taxes, and so on. The Party has especially exposed the hypocrisy of the government's propaganda to the effect that the huge military preparations in the United States are "defensive." In its fight for peace the Party has shown real initiative and vigor.


The world struggle for peace and democracy, against the Wall Street aggressors, was given a powerful impetus by the conference in Warsaw, in September 1947, of the nine leading Communist parties in Europe; namely, those of the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia.4 This historic conference pointed out sharply the growing fascist-war danger, due to the aggressive policies of American imperialism. It stated that the world had therefore become divided into two camps: "the imperialistic and anti-democratic camp, which has as a main aim the establishment of world domination of American imperialism and the smashing of democracy; and the anti-imperialist and democratic camp, which has as a main aim the undermining of imperialism and the strengthening of democracy and the liquidation of the remnants of fascism." The conference called upon the peoples of Europe to defend world peace and their national independence against the imperialist aggressions of the United States, aided by its servile allies, the right Social-Democrats. The conference set up an Information Bureau to facilitate co-operation among the nine Communist parties.5

The policy of the nine-party Communist conference confirmed the anti-war line that the C.P.U.S.A. had been developing independently since its convention of 1945. The U.S. Party hailed the establishment of the Information Bureau as a much-needed center of co-operation. In view of the Voorhis law and other reactionary legislation in the United States prohibiting international connections, however, the Party decided not to seek affiliation with the new Bureau. 6


The Communist Party made the fight for peace the center of its work in the 1948 presidential elections. It supported the candidates of the Progressive Party, former vice-president Henry A. Wallace and Glen Taylor, Senator from Idaho. The new Progressive Party was organized as a national body early in 1948. At its Philadelphia convention of July 23_25. 3.240 delegates and alternates were present. The Progressive Party had a program calling for "peace, freedom, and abundance," but it put its main stress upon the question of peace. The new organization, due chiefly to the efforts of the progressive unions and the Communists, got on the ballot in 45 states, thus refuting the stubborn illusion that the third party could not get its candidates before the national electorate.

The Progressive ticket, although heavily opposed by the top A.F. of L. and C.I.O. leaders, nevertheless won considerable labor support. By July 1948, seven national unions, with a total membership of 549,000 were announced as officially backing the new party, while five others, with a membership of 873,000, were listed as active supporters.7  This endorsement came in the greatest part from C.I.O. unions.

Wallace at this time was advocating a peaceful collaboration between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. But the opposition was powerful, and the ticket polled only 1,158,000 votes. Many workers, although anxious For peace and sympathetic to the ticket, were caught in the "lesser evil" trap of the two-party system and were not ready to support a third-party movement. The relatively small vote greatly discouraged Wallace, and he later displayed less and less interest in the fight for peace. When the Korean war broke out he collapsed altogether and, swallowing everything he had said before, he gave his blessing to Wall Street's attempt to subjugate Korea and China. Later, he undertook to atone for his "sin" of formerly opposing militant American imperialism by redbaiting the U.S.S.R., the People's Republic of China, and the Communist Party in this country. Wallace's course, ranging from a show of radicalism to an abject surrender to the war program of big business, expressed the characteristic vacillating position of the petty bourgeoisie.

President Truman, to the surprise of nearly everyone, carried the 1948 election over the cocksure Dewey. What gave him victory was his elaborate pretense of being an advocate of world peace, which appealed to the peace-loving masses. No sooner was he re-elected, however, than he jettisoned his peace promises and redoubled his drive for a war against the Soviet Union. Into the discard, as useless baggage, also went his pre-election pledges for rent ceilings, civil rights of Negroes, price controls, repeal of the Taft-Hartley law, federal aid to education, slum clearance, low-cost housing, and the expansion of social security. To the reactionary Truman these reforms never had any validity, except to serve as demagogic bait to trap unwary voters.

The C.P. was historically correct in making peace its key issue in the elections, but in doing so it suffered from some errors and shortcomings, of both a right and a left sectarian character. There was a too uncritical support of Wallace, not enough exposure of the "lesser evil" danger, and an unskillful handling of the united front election fight. In particular the left-wingers in the unions fought inadequately against the Marshall plan, for peace, for friendly relations with the U.S.S.R., for independent political action. These weaknesses cut into the Wallace vote.

During the post-war period the Communist Party also carried on many important local election struggles. Thus, in Cleveland, Ohio, in  March 1947, A. Krchmarek, Communist candidate for the school board, received 64,213 votes, and in California, in June 1950, the well-known Communist, Bernadette Doyle, polled the big total of 613,670 votes on a non-partisan ticket as candidate for Superintendent of Public Schoolst In New York City, in the 1950 councilmanic elections the reactionaries, in order to defeat the Negro Communist councilman Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., had to abolish the city's system of proportional representation and also to rig up a Republican-Democratic-Liberal candidate against him. 

An especially vital election battle of this period and one full of significance in the fight to preserve world peace was that, in November 1951, of Vito Marcantonio, American Labor Party member in the House of Representatives from the 18th District in New York City. Marcantonio, the most outstanding labor member in the whole history of the American Congress, had won himself the violent hatred of all reactionaries. during his seven terms in the House. So they ganged up against him with a joint candidate on the Republican, Democratic, and Liberal tickets. The fight was an extremely bitter one. Marcantonio increased his vote from 38 percent in 1948 to 42 percent in 1950, but it was not enough to save him from defeat.


As the warmongering of reaction increased, the Communist Party initiated and supported many mass peace activities. It based its defense of the workers' living standards and democratic liberties (of which more in succeeding chapters) upon the general struggle to maintain world peace. These activities were greatly increased with the outbreak of the Korean war in June, 1950.

In the face of bitter government persecution, the Party took a forthright stand of opposition to this war of aggression against the Korean and Chinese peoples. This was in line with the fights made in our national history against other unjust wars. The Party declared on June 27th, the day when Truman, acting like a dictator, personally ordered the air force and navy (and later, the army) to attack the North Koreans, that the purpose of the war was "to conquer the peoples of Asia, to rob them of their natural resources, to multiply Big Business' profits from a subjugated world." The Party warned of the danger of a third world war and declared, "Hands Off Korea! Demand the immediate withdrawal of the United States warships and air force and an end to the shipment of arms to the puppet Rhee government!" "Not a cent, not a gun, not a plane for Wall Street's puppet regimes in Korea, Formosa, Viet Nam!" It called for "full support to the peoples of Korea, China, Formosa, the Philippines, Indonesia, Indo-China, Malaya, in their brave struggle for unity, for independence, for liberation." The Party demanded the seating of People's China in the United Nations and its recognition by the United States, and it proposed direct negotiations between the United States, the Soviet Union, and China for peace. 8

In taking this forthright stand against the reactionary Korean war, despite harsh government persecution, the Communist Party has acted truly as the Party of the working class and of the American people, bravely expressing their true anti-war sentiments and interests. The masses have hated this war from the outset, nor could all the intensive propaganda of the warmongers induce them to support it wholeheartedly.


As the Party reiterated several months later, the fight for peace is "the central, all-embracing task for the whole present historic period. The future of our nation, the welfare of our people depends on the outcome of this struggle." The Party followed a broad united front policy, stating, "We declare our readiness to work together with anyone, regardless of his political views, so long as he truly desires peace." 9 The Party demanded the withdrawal of American troops from Korea, hands off China, and the banning of the atom-bomb, and opposed the fascization and rearming of Germany and Japan. 10

On an international scale the great progressive mass organizations, which grew so rapidly at the close of the war, have been taking an active part in the fight against war. These organizations include the World Federation of Trade Unions, the Women's International Democratic Federation, and the World Federation of Democratic Youth. The general organized world peace movement is the World Congress of the Defenders of Peace. The widespread peace activities of these world-wide mass movements have had considerable repercussions and support in the United States. The Party has actively supported them.

The American workers and the democratic masses generally were greatly shocked by the outbreak of the Korean war. Many anti-war activities have grown up among them. The C.P. has supported these vigorously, but without the co-operation of the Social-Democrats, who are eagerly following the war lead of Wall Street. The women and youth are particularly active in the general struggle against war and fascism.

Among the more outstanding of the American peace movements and organizations, after 1948, were the American Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace in New York, on March 25, 1949, and the National Labor Conference for Peace, held in October 1949, in Chicago, of some 1,200 delegates, mostly rank-and-filers. The latter organization carried  on  considerable  activity,   forming local  councils  in  numerous cities. Another big demonstration was that near Peekskill, New York, on September 4, 1949, of 15,000 people, at which Paul Robeson spoke and sang and which was attacked by fascist-like hooligans. Then there was the organized circulation of the great Stockholm Peace Pledge, put out by the first World Peace Congress, held in Stockholm, March 15-19, 1950. Of the half billion signatures on this pledge, some 2,500,000 were gathered in the United States, despite arrests, beatings, and loss of jobs for signature gatherers. Shortly afterward came the even greater signature campaign for the Five-Power Peace Pact, which now has 600 million names. One of the most significant of the many mass protest meetings against the Korean war was that on August 2, 1950, in Union Square, New York, which was brutally dispersed by police violence. To the Second World Peace Conference, in Warsaw, November 16-22, 1950, was sent a delegation of 52 Americans, with  13  observers, including many outstanding liberals, trade unionists, and left-wingers. Among the groups represented at the Warsaw Congress was the American Women for Peace. This organization has carried on many anti-war activities, including the sending of a delegation of 1,000 women on October 24,  1950, to the United Nations to demand the ending of the Korean conflict. A further important domestic peace organization was the Peace Information Center. The head of this organization, the world-renowned Negro scholar and fighter, Dr. W. E. B. DuBois, 83 years old, was arrested as a foreign agent for circulating the World Peace Appeal.11

The most important concentration of peace forces, up to this writing, however, was the American People's Congress for Peace, held in Chicago, June 29-July 1, 1951, under the auspices of the American Peace Crusade. This vital gathering, held in an atmosphere of raids upon the Communist Party and of growing terrorism, drew together some 5,000 delegates —workers, farmers, small businessmen, clergymen, scientists, artists, and active political figures. Among them there were 1,500 Negroes and 1,000 young people, and over one-third of the Congress were women. C.I.O. unions sent 229 delegates and A.F. of L. unions 68. The Declaration of Principles of the Congress demanded the cessation of the war in Korea, an immediate conference of the great powers, and controlled disarmament and destruction of weapons of mass annihilation. The congress proposed to hold 100,000 peace meetings within the following few months and to send a petition of one million signatures to President Truman. A National Committee to direct the movement was elected, including such noted peace fighters as Paul Robeson, Rockwell Kent, and others; its chairmen were Dr. DuBois, Professor A. J. Carlson of the University of Chicago, and Professor Robert Morss Lovett, former governor of the Virgin Islands.

A significant event during this post-war period was the holding of the big civil rights congress in Washington, on January 15, 1950. The congress, assembling some 5,000 delegates, was initiated by the N.A.A.C.P. and endorsed by the A.F. of L., the C.I.O., and a host of churches and other economic, political, and civic organizations. The purpose of this conference was to support the civil rights program of President Truman, which the latter had cynically abandoned. A very significant post-war movement, too, among the Negro people is the National Negro Labor Council, formed in Cincinnati, October 27-28, 1951, at a convention of 1,052 delegates, speaking in the name of one million Negro trade unionists. Its general purpose is to break down Jim Crow, both inside and outside the unions, and to bring about a better working solidarity among the Negro and white members of the whole trade union movement. Along with its program of defense of the economic and political rights of the Negro toilers, the new Council also denounced the Truman war policy. William R. Hood is the Council's president.
Another important development during this period was the presentation to the United Nations in December 1951, by the Civil Rights Congress, of a protest petition in defense of the American Negro people. It was presented simultaneously, in New York by Paul Robeson, and in Paris by William L. Patterson. The document, entitled We Charge Genocide, is a powerful exposure of Jim Crow in the United States. A demand was made for U.N. intervention and relief.

All these pro-peace anti-fascist activities, which the C.P.U.S.A. has supported, have not been able to force the government to drop its general war policy, but they have nevertheless been of real service in shaping American public opinion, in halting the use of the A-bomb in Korea, and in letting in some rays of truth and humanity through the thick fog of imperialist war propaganda and brutality which now envelop this country. Their greatest weakness is that they have not yet secured solid mass trade union support.


In the growing atmosphere of terrorism, as the government's war program has developed through the post-war years, the Negro people have been a particular object of attack by organized reaction. This is because, in addition to their great militancy in all spheres of the people's struggles, Negroes especially have no liking for the war that American imperialism is now carrying on against the darker-skinned peoples of Asia. They largely recognize and speak out against the imperialist-white chauvinist content of this war. Hence, they have been subjected to many injuries and indignities. A characteristic example was the "race riot" of Cicero, Illinois, in July 1951, over an attempt by a Negro family merely to live in this "lily-white" town, famous for its bootleggers, prostitutes, gamblers, and open shop industries. Another example was the brutal bomb murder of H. T. Moore, N.A.A.C.P. Negro leader in Florida, and his wife in December 1951.

Since the end of the war the Negro people have been the target, among other outrages, of a number of particularly atrocious frame-up cases, on the usual fake charge of "rape." Where the lynch gangs used to hang or burn offhand Negroes whom they chose to accuse of crime, they now proceed to lynch them legally. A monstrously outrageous example of this was the electrocution in 1951 of the "Martinsville Seven"—J. Hampton, F. Hairston, B. T. Millner, H. L. Hairston, F. Grayson, J. C. Taylor, and J. T. Hairston—for a "rape" which never occurred. No white man in Virginia's history has ever been executed for rape; but not even a powerful mass movement of international protest could save these innocent Negroes from the hands of the legal lynchers. The execution of Willie McGee shortly afterward in Mississippi, also on a trumped-up rape charge, was a similar legal lynching. And at the present writing the country is being afflicted with the further shameful spectacle of the ruthless attempt to execute the "Trenton Six" Negroes—C. English, McK. Forrest, H. Wilson, R. Cooper, J. Thorpe, and J. MacKenzie— on the lying charge that they murdered a man. After a nationwide struggle four were freed, but two were given life sentences.

The Communist Party rallied to the defense of the Negro people in all these outrageous attacks, making several of the cases into causes of national and international attention. The Party worked on a united front basis with the Civil Rights Congress and other defense organizations. During the post-war years the Communist Party, in line with its keen appreciation of the profound political importance of the Negro question, has conducted a number of far-reaching theoretical discussions of this issue. One of these, in late 1946 and early 1947, was a self-critical survey of the Party's whole policy and activities in the Negro people's fight for economic, political, and social equality, and especially of the matter of their demand for self-determination in the South. The result was a clarification and general reaffirmation of the Party's line. On the complex question of self-determination the resulting resolution says: "In fighting for their equal rights the Negro people are becoming more unified as a people. Their fight for liberation from oppression in the Black Belt—the area of Negro majority population—is a struggle for full nationhood, for their rightful position of full equality as a nation."12 An important contribution to these discussions was Harry Haywood's book, Negro Liberation.

The Negro people are obviously developing a national consciousness under especially difficult circumstances. This consciousness is evidenced, among other things, by the former growth of the nationalist Garvey movement, by the huge expansion of Negro organizations, by the growing use of the term "people" instead of "race" by Negroes, and by many other manifestations. If the Negro people have not yet widely adopted the slogan of self-determination, this is fundamentally because they are a young, developing nation, in the midst of strongly repressive conditions. This slogan is violently opposed by every brand of reactionary and reformist, Negro and white. Besides, the Negro people are still heavily afflicted with bourgeois-democratic illusions, even as, for similar but not identical reasons, the great mass of the working class has not yet accepted the slogan of socialism.

Another vital theoretical discussion of the Negro question by the Party related primarily to the important matter of white chauvinism. The discussion took place around the report of Pettis Perry to the National Committee on April 24, 1949. This penetrating and frank discussion brought to light many of the subtle manifestations of the systematic ideological and physical persecution of the Negro people. It restressed the fact that the white workers are often deeply penetrated with the poisonous white chauvinism, and even the Communist Party itself has to be on constant guard against its infection. This was one of the most important discussions in the entire life of the Party, and the reports of it occupy the full June 1949 issue of Political Affairs. The general result is a much greater alertness on the part of the Party's leadership and membership to the major danger of white chauvinism within the Party, the labor movement, and society generally.

In the debates the Party laid great stress upon the fact that the leadership by the Negro proletariat is indispensable in the fight for emancipation of the Negro people as a whole. This especially requires the building of strong organizations, such as the Negro Labor Councils, and the development of thorough-going co-operation with progressive white workers.  It necessitates, too, a persistent fight against petty-bourgeois nationalist influence in Negro ranks.  But, above all, it implies a powerful Communist Party.

In these summations of its Negro policy the Communist Party, despite many shortcomings in its work, registered justifiable pride in its prestige among the Negro people and in the splendid body of Negro Marxist-Leninist leaders that it has succeeded in building up during its many years of devoted struggle around this question. The percentage of Negro members in the Party during the post-war years was as follows:   1946—percent; 1947—17 percent; 1948—17 percent; 1949—14 percent; 1950—15 percent.


On May 28, 1949, in Chicago, the left-wing youth of the United States organized the Labor Youth League. The L.Y.L., which continues the traditions of the Y.C.L. and the Marxist youth movement generally, educates the young men and women of the working class in the spirit of socialism. The L.Y.L. has a fundamental role to play in the decisive "battle for the youth," advancing the unity of young people to prevent their regimentation and slaughter on the altar of Wall Street's imperialist ambitions. The most important publications of the Marxist youth in the United States are New Challenge and New Foundations, a student publication. The national chairman of the L.Y.L. is Leon Wofsy.

In the stormy years since its foundation, the L.Y.L. has taken an important part in the great struggle for peace, particularly in relation to the Korean war and the fight to prevent the militarization of America's young people. The League has conducted various demonstrations, and it collected half a million signatures for the Stockholm Peace Pledge. On November 24, 1950, it rallied 5,000 youth in an anti-war demonstration in New York. It has sent delegations to the great world youth festival of the W.F.D.Y. Roosevelt Ward, Negro youth and leader of the L.Y.L., was arrested in the summer of 1951 on a trumped-up draft charge and sentenced to three years in jail.


The conditions and struggles of the national groups and minorities in the United States have always been a subject of close concern to the Communist Party. This has been even more the case since World War II, when these sections of the population have been under heavy fire from the forces of reaction. The Party devoted much attention to the malignant attempts to deport non-citizen, foreign-born workers, many of them in this country for up to half a century. It also started to defend the cause of Mexican-Americans in the Southwest, who number some three million and suffer from Jim Crow-like persecution.13 It began, too, to interest itself in the bitter plight of the American Indians, who have been practically ignored by the labor movement throughout its more than a century of existence. 14 The Party has also been on the alert to combat every manifestation of anti-Semitism. Its most important struggle on the Jewish question, during the post-war years, turned around the issue of the foundation of the state of Israel.15

Prior to World War II there was a considerable movement among the world's 16,600,000 Jews, launched by Theodor Herzl in 1897, for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The brutal slaughter of about six million Jews by Hitler before and during the war stimulated this movement. It became very powerful and developed into an acute international issue. The Arab governments of the Near and Middle East, controlled by reactionary landlords and dominated by British imperialism, violently opposed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Great Britain, eager to keep its grip on the whole area,- also opposed such a state. American imperialism, seeking to control the British as well as the Arabs and Jews, blew hot and cold on the issue. The only true friend of the Jewish people in their fight for national freedom was the Soviet Union, which steadfastly supported the setting-up of the longed-for homeland of the Jews. The United Nations, torn by conflicting imperialist interests, backed and filled on the question. Eventually, the Jewish masses themselves virtually settled the matter by establishing the Republic of Israel, in May 1948. They then defended their government, arms in hand, against the British-inspired attacks from the neighboring Arab governments. Zionism, which dominates this situation and pretends to speak in the name of the Jewish people, expresses a bourgeois-nationalist ideology. In the past it collaborated chiefly with British imperialism; now it works with American imperialism, and the latter has finally come practically to dominate the new state of Israel.

Within the United States, which has approximately five million Jews, the question of Palestine became an important political matter, with the Truman Administration, tongue-in-cheek, endorsing the proposed Jewish state. Rich Jews—Zionists—in alliance with right Social-Democrats, controlled the pro-Israel movement in the United States, and both groups played the game of American imperialism. The Communist Party took a very active part in the whole struggle. In general it fought for the creation of the new state, for an understanding between the Jewish and Arab peoples, and for co-operation between Israel and the U.S.S.R. and generally with the peace forces of the world. The Party laid emphasis upon the leadership of the Jewish workers in the movement, both in Palestine and abroad. The Party militantly opposed the violence of British imperialism against the Jewish people, and it especially combatted the trickeries of American imperialism and of its Zionist and Social-Democratic allies. The American Communists and other left forces were a constructive force in the long, bitter, and complicated struggle,16 despite some failure to fight aggressively to preserve Israel from imperialist domination, particularly domination by American imperialism. In this work some sectarian mistakes also were made and some traces of bourgeois nationalism crept in.


During the post-war period a major phase of the work of the Communist Party, through its press, schools, and so on, has been to expose and combat the complex and hypocritical demagogy by which the big capitalists, through their government, press, radio, church, labor bureaucracy, etc., are pushing the nation toward war. This poisonous war propaganda has undoubtedly confused vast masses of the people, including large sections of the working class. The Party's educational campaign involved fighting such "big lies" as that the United States is a non-imperialist country; that its foreign policies are based on the defense of democracy; that its economic system is "exceptional" and does not suffer from the decay common to capitalism in other countries; that the U.S.S.R. is "red imperialism," and the like. In this ideological work the Party also made an extended theoretical analysis of Keynesism, which forms the economic basis of American government policy in this period.

The late Sir John Maynard Keynes, noted British bourgeois economist (see Chapter 21), took issue with the current capitalist economic dogmas to the effect that the capitalist system was a self-regulating mechanism that automatically overcame its own internal crises. Keynes argued that with the development of the productive forces into modern monopoly the economic system at the same time produced a tendency to restrict capital investment and therewith had exposed itself to profound economic crises and huge chronic mass unemployment. This situation, if uncorrected, he said, could lead to revolution and socialism.

Keynes therefore proposed that capitalism could overcome this basic flaw, achieve full employment of the workers, and proceed on an upward spiral of development, if the government stimulated capital investment in various ways, principally by subsidizing industry. This, in brief, was his theory of "progressive capitalism." Keynes, in seeking to avert the cyclical crises of capitalism, also undertook therewith to cure the general crisis of the whole capitalist system.17

Keynesism is the bourgeois economics of the period of the general decline of world capitalism. It forms the basis of the economic policies of all the leading capitalist countries, including the United States. It is also reflected in the United Nations. Recently, a committee of U.N. experts, charged in 1949 with bringing in measures to enable affiliated states to assure full employment of their workers, submitted a typical Keynesian program. The committee consisted of leading capitalist economists from Great Britain, France, Australia, and the United States, and its report was unanimous.18 This ambitious report proposed nothing less than the "management" of the economies of the various capitalist countries and of the world as a whole, so as to avert cyclical crises—a project wholly unrealizable under capitalism.

Keynesism has come to be widely, if not generally, accepted in American bourgeois circles—among liberals, labor leaders, Social-Democrats, and also big capitalists. It has also deeply penetrated working class ranks, which is its greatest menace. Varying interpretations have been placed upon Keynesism by different groups. Wallace, Browder, Murray, Reuther, Green, and such liberal and labor advocates of "progressive capitalism," argue in theory, if they do not apply it in practice, that capitalism can and must save itself through an expansion of the market for commodities by various reforms supposedly designed to increase somewhat the purchasing power of the masses. They swallow whole Keynesism as bourgeois reformism. But the big capitalists, although they may even sneer at the very name of Keynes, nevertheless express their own Keynesian conceptions through the huge armaments program. Their theory and practice of how to keep sick capitalism going is by producing gigantic quantities of munitions at government expense and by eventually precipitating war. This Keynesian conception is extremely profitable to the capitalists at present, and it fits right in with their program of imperialist expansion. In practice the "liberal" Keynesians go along with this armaments program.
Keynesism fails to prevent periodic capitalist economic breakdowns because it leaves unchanged the basic cause which brings about these crises. This is the private ownership of industry, with its inevitable exploitation of the workers, anarchic character of production, monopoly practices of the trusts, imperialist robbery of the colonial peoples, and violent trade rivalries among the capitalist powers. Keynesism, with its government subsidizing of industry, dabbling with the tax structure, etc., leaves all the basic capitalist weaknesses uncured. Hence, the cyclical crises remain unconquered. Only socialism, with its social ownership, planned economy, and production for social use instead of private profit, can finally abolish economic breakdowns and insure permanent full employment.

The Roosevelt "New Deal" was Keynesism, with American adaptations. It did not, however, as we have seen, bring about industrial recovery. This recovery took place in its sick and distorted form, only with the outbreak of war in Europe and the growth of huge munitions production in the United States. The Truman "Fair Deal," or "managed economy," or "welfare state," which is essentially an application of Keynesism, was, despite the expenditure of immense amounts of government funds here and abroad, heading straight into a profound economic crisis before the present arms race began. This is giving industry a shot in the arm, but is only postponing briefly the inevitable economic smashup.

American Keynesism, whether known as the "New Deal," 'Fair Deal," "managed economy," "progressive capitalism," the "welfare state," or just the arms program of big capital, is an instigator of gigantic munitions production, and it gives a new and more sinister impulse to war itself. It is no accident that Truman, Wallace, Green, Murray, et ah, the so-called liberal advocates of Keynesism, however they may name it, are at the same time militant warmongers. President Truman threw the reforms proposed by his "welfare state" into the wastebasket when Wall Street called for war production. Fundamentally reactionary, Keynesism dovetails with the drive of American imperialism for world conquest. It is the path to war, the way to mass slaughter and economic disaster.

As against reactionary Keynesism, the Communist Party stresses its constructive economic and political program. It points out that the way the workers of America can secure the maximum employment and generally conserve their economic interests to the greatest extent possible under the capitalist system, is not along the fatal Keynesian path of munitions production, but by developing a solid mass struggle for the increase of real wages, the shortening of working hours, the development of social security, the carrying out of needed public works, and the achievement of various other economic reforms. But so long as capitalism lasts, the Party warns, the workers will be plagued by economic crises, mass unemployment, and low living standards. The only way these deadly evils can be finally done away with is by the abolition of the capitalist system. The power of monopoly capital, the breeder of destitution, fascism, and war, must be curbed and finally broken. To carry through this program requires a great strengthening of the working class and its allies economically and politically, the progressive nationalization of the main industries, and eventually the establishment of socialism.  Not Keynes, but Marx, points the way to prosperity and peace.


The Party, with its new leadership, established at the Emergency Convention in 1945, has met successfully the hard tasks placed upon it by the complex problems of the post-war years. In addition to the daily struggles in defense of the interests of the workers and the Negro people, it has had to deal with three big overriding tasks characteristic of this post-war period.

The first of these, chronologically speaking, was the elimination of the opportunist poison of Browderism. This disease, continued over several years, had seriously infected the Party. But the new leadership resolutely attacked the problem and has definitely established the Party on Marxist-Leninist principles. An active two-front fight was conducted against right and "left" opportunism in all their forms, including various brands of renegades.

The second and most decisive of all tasks of the post-war period has been the fight against the world war that Wall Street is attempting to organize, and specifically the war in Korea. This fundamental responsibility, too, the Communist Party has met in a Leninist manner, displaying real political initiative in its fight for peace.

The third task confronting the Party in the post-war years has been the defense of its own organization and rights, and therewith the whole body of democratic rights, against the attacks of reaction, which would destroy the Communist Party and force the United States into fascism.   But more about this key struggle in Chapter 35.

These are most crucial years in the history of our country and the world. The Communist Party of the United States, although still limited in strength and resources, is meeting this situation in a genuine Leninist manner, as the vanguard party of the working class. This is why the Party is under such fierce attacks and why Eugene Dennis and so many others of the Party's leaders and members are being railroaded to jail. 

1 Political Affairs, Sept. 1945. 
2 Political Affairs, Sept. 1948. 
3 Political Affairs, Jan. 1951.
4 This was before it was evident that Tito had turned traitor to socialism.
5 See Resolutions of the Nine-Party Communist Conference, in Political Affairs, Nov. 947-
6 Statement of National Board, C.P.U.S.A., in Political Affairs, Dec. 1947.
7 Labor Research Association, Labor Fact Book 9, p. 153, N. Y., 1949.
8 Daily Worker, June 28, 1950.
9 Daily Worker, June 28, 1950.
3 Main Resolution, Fifteenth Convention, C.P.U.S.A., in Political Affairs, Jan. 1951.
10 Labor Research Association, Labor Fact Book 10, pp. 27-30.
11 The Communist Position on the Negro Question, p. 11, N. Y., 1947.
12 Political Affairs, May 1949.
13 Foster, Outline Political History of the Americas.
14 A.B. Magil, Israel in Crisis, N. Y., 1950.
15 See Alexander Bittelman in Political Affairs, July 1945; July 1947; Jan., Feb., Aug, 1948; A. B. Magil in Political Affairs, March 1949; John Williamson in Political Affairs, July 1950; Resolution, C.P.U.SA., in Political Affairs, Nov. 1946.
16 For discussion, see Political Affairs horn Jan. 1948 through Feb. 1949, and Jefferson School of Social Science, The Economic Crisis and the Cold War. 
17 O. Nathan in Science and Society, Summer 1951

Chapter 34

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