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The New International, September 1947


Dave Jeffries


IKD and the Polish Question


From The New International, Vol. XIII No. 7, August 1947, pp. 190–191.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The following is a letter received from a representative of the IKD, whose views on the Polish question are clearly evident by the position it states. We are publishing this letter not only, or primarily, because we are in agreement with its general point of view, but also because it is our policy to print such discussion material within the limits of our technical resources whether we necessarily agree with the point of view or not. In the present case, we regard the material as a contribution to the world-wide discussion by the revolutionary socialists on the most important questions of the day. – Editors

To the New International:

There is no getting away from the fact that the very best revolutionary intentions have never yet prevented the most shameful capitulations to reaction. Politics, like every other process, has a logic, and the most innocent-looking path can lead inexorably to the lower depths. For this reason it is not the affair of the political analyst to deal with subjective motives – the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

The foregoing paragraph is a necessary introduction to a frank commentary upon the resolution The Situation in Poland adopted by the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International, for the position taken in this resolution represents a full-fledged capitulation to Stalinist imperialism.

But capitulatory though it may be, the position of the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International is a thoroughly consistent one. Having said A, B and C, this leadership of the Fourth International does not hesitate to recite the rest of the alphabet. Having pronounced Russia a “workers’ state” and therefrom analyzed its role in Eastern Europe as “progressive” and “revolutionary” (all qualifications aside) it now has taken the next inevitable step and declared any anti-Russian opposition in these countries that is not clearly labelled “Trotskyist” as “counter-revolutionary.” Without offering one particle of evidence, and without so much as a single qualification, the lEC declares the entire Polish underground movement against Stalinism to be reactionary and undeserving of the slightest revolutionary support. With this declaration it has abandoned all possibility of influencing political developments in Poland and thrown itself into the arms of Stalinism.

The resolution proceeds by assuming, not proving, that the underground in its majority (in fact in its entirety) is “in the service of the bourgeoisie and imperialists.” Like the Stalinists, it amalgamates the scattered and unimportant fascist formations with the genuine mass underground movement into which all oppositional workers and peasants are driven by the repression. It mentions the New International editorial giving critical support to the national movement, but it does not refute or even mention the series of articles in Labor Action by A. Rudzienski, articles that demonstrated irrefutably that the opposition to the Warsaw regime is for the most part of a progressive proletarian and peasant character. It calls this underground “pogromist” and ignores the mountain of facts that have piled up to prove that responsibility for the wave of anti-Semitism in Poland lies first and foremost with the Stalinists. In other words, it whitewashes the Quisling regime with one hand and tars the opposition with the other.

How do the authors of the resolution differentiate themselves from the Stalinists? By showing that they are “better” and more efficient! A slander? Then listen: “It (the Fourth International) will try (!) to show the proletariat that the autonomous revolutionary struggle of the masses against reaction wins much more decisive successes, and at infinitely less costs than the Stalinist police action against it”! In other words, we recommend ourselves as able to accomplish the revolution more efficiently than the GPU! We do not object, you understand, to the Stalinist “police action” on the grounds that it is reactionary and destroys the masses’ liberties – it is just too “costly.” The main center of reaction is not in the Warsaw regime itself. Far from it, this regime is credited by the IEC with struggling against reaction! The IEC’s main concern is that Stalinism may canalize “to its own profit the anti-fascist feeling of the masses” – this at a time when the only totalitarian fascist-like force oppressing the Polish masses is precisely Stalinism itself.

And so the resolution proceeds, declaring that it is in the forefront (the resolution’s emphasis) of the struggle against the underground, but nowhere putting itself in the forefront (even without emphasis) of the struggle against the Stalinist government. Thus despite all qualifications and conditions, the IEC appears as defender and apologist of a regime which rivals the most reactionary in Polish history. Instead of rousing the Polish population to rise up in armed struggle against Russian imperialism and its Warsaw quislings, the IEC directs its principal blows at the revolutionary underground that opposes the government. It has already announced that in a showdown it will be on the “Red army’s” side of the barricade!

With this capitulationist line, the IEC’s influence in Poland is guaranteed to fluctuate around zero. It is not over-optimism, I think, that every Polish revolutionist with the most elemental political intelligence will know on which side to place himself. It will not be on the side of the unspeakable Stalinist counter-revolution. It will be alongside and in the forefront of the long-suffering Polish people who are striving to settle accounts with the most vicious police dictatorship in all history.

Dave Jeffries

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