Workers' Liberty #59


What is Irish Republicanism?

Trotsky on worker-peasant parties

From "Critique of the Draft Programme of the Communist International", 1928.

Leon Trotsky

Beginning with 1924.... Stalin advanced the formula of the "two-class workers' and peasants' parties for the Eastern countries". It was based on the self-same national oppression which served in the Orient to camouflage opportunism, as did "stabilisation" in the Occident. Cables from India, as well as from Japan, where there is no national oppression, have of late frequently mentioned the activities of provincial "workers' and peasants' parties", referring to them as organisations which are close and friendly to the Comintern, as if they were almost our 'own' organisations, without, however, giving any sort of concrete definition of their political physiognomy; in a word, writing and speaking about them in the same way as was done only a short while ago about the Guo Min Dang...

Although the idea of the two-class parties is motivated on national oppression, which allegedly abrogates Marx's class doctrine, we have already heard about "workers' and peasants'" mongrels in Japan, where there is no national oppression at all. But that isn't all, the matter is not limited merely to the Orient. The "two-class" idea seeks to attain universality. In this domain, the most grotesque features were assumed by the... Communist Party of America in its effort to support the presidential candidacy of the bourgeois, "anti-trust" [anti-monopoly] Senator LaFollette, so as to yoke the American farmers by this means to the chariot of the social revolution... According to Pepper's [American CP leader's] conception, a party of a few thousand members, chiefly immigrants, had to fuse with the farmers through the medium of a bourgeois party and by thus founding a "two-class" party, insure the socialist revolution in the face of the passivity or neutrality of the proletariat...

There remains only for us to recall that the idea of a workers' and peasants' party sweeps from the history of Bolshevism the entire struggle against the Populists (Narodniks), without which there would have been no Bolshevik party... In order to arrive at a revolutionary alliance with the peasantry - this does not come gratuitously - it is first of all necessary to separate the proletarian vanguard, and thereby the working class as a whole, from the petty bourgeois masses. This can be achieved only by training the proletarian party in the spirit of unshakable class irreconcilability.

Back to the contents page for this issue of Workers' Liberty

Back to the Workers' Liberty magazine index

[ Home | Publications | Links ]