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A. Rudzienski

Stalinism Launches New Attack on Working Class

Liquidate Polish “Shadow Parties”

(21 June 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 24, 21 June 1948, p. 4.
Translated by Abe Stein.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In defending the democratic peasant movement against the terror of the NKVD (Stalin’s secret police), we have always maintained the thesis that behind the fighting lines of the peasant trenches stands the line of the anti-Stalinist workers. While the Stalinist secret police were engaged in the destruction of the peasant party, the workers’ movement enjoyed a relative “pieredishka” (breathing spell), since the Stalinist bureaucracy was incapable of attacking on all fronts at once. With the liquidation of the independent peasant movement, the Stalinist reaction struck out directly against the remnants of the independent workers’ movement. Now we are witnessing a naked frontal attack against both the illegal opposition of the authentic PPS (Polish Socialist Party) and the pseudo-PPS, a shadow-party created by the Stalinists themselves.

When the Lublin Committee was created in 1944 as an instrument of the Russian invasion and occupation of Poland, it had to support itself on usurping groups selected by the NKVD. These groups adopted the names of the traditional parties in Poland, that is to say, of the Communist, Social-Democratic, Populist, and Democratic Parties. Notwithstanding the fact that there existed an authentic resistance movement supported by the main political tendencies in the country, these usurping groups, with the aid of Russian bayonets, imposed the falsified and artificial political structure of shadow parties with the aim of demoralizing the masses and disorienting and breaking the anti-Nazi resistance movement of Poland.

Thus, in place of the dissolved CPP (Polish Communist Party), whose leaders had been assassinated by the NKVD, there was formed the PPR (Polish Workers Party), led by none other than the head of the NKVD and hangman of the old Communists, the current “President” of Poland, Bierut. Similarly, the pseudo-PPS was formed even while the authentic PPS in Warsaw shed its blood in struggle, even while it continued to issue its traditional organ Robotnik. This artificial political structure manufactured by the police, this work of provocation brought into being by the Stalinists was imposed on the proletariat and the Polish people as an “ersatz” (substitute) for the authentic political structure elaborated at the end of the last century. This work of the Stalinist “Okhrana” was necessary in order to give “political” veneer to “popular democracy” in Poland. In reality, we can objectively say that the PPR is not a political party but a police organization. As for the pseudo-PPS, instead of being a real party, it can be more accurately described as a shadow party by means of which the Stalinist police tried to deceive, demoralize and oppress the Polish proletariat. All of this artificial structure is a gigantic provocation, an enormous Stalinist fraud.

Liquidate Shadow Parties

Nevertheless, in spite of this police fraud, a social phenomenon without precedent in the history of the Stalinist counter-revolution occurred in Poland. The elemental peasant opposition succeeded in breaking the police-fostered peasant organization and forming its own legal party. The old PPS attempted to do the same, trying to form an independent socialist party, but the NKVD forbade it. Nevertheless, the spontaneous opposition of the working-class masses filled the shadow party of the pseudo-PPS with a spirit of opposition, a spirit of struggle, which threatened the bases of the regime and the police structure of the shadow parties. Although in the beginning, this creation of the Russian police served the regime as a means of breaking the underground resistance, with the passing of time, with the growth of a new workers’ opposition to the regime, it became a danger to the Stalinist dictatorship. This phenomenon proves that there is no totalitarian terror, Nazi or Stalinist, which cannot be overcome by a workers’ opposition, whether spontaneous or organized. Precisely this fact was demonstrated in both Poland and Czechoslovakia, to cite the clearest examples.

For this and other reasons, the NKVD was compelled to liquidate its own work of provocation, to liquidate the artificial structure of the shadow parties, in order to erect on their ruins the absolute rule of Stalinist totalitarianism. If on the one hand this signifies a step further along the road of Stalinist reaction,on the other hand it reveals the weakening, the narrowing of Stalinism’s social base as it faces the growing workers and peasants’ opposition.

For these reasons, at the last congress of the pseudo-PPS in Wroclaw (Breslau), Stalin’s police agent, the secretary-general of the PPR, Gomulka raised the question of the fusion of the PPR and the pseudo-PPS in a “single workers’ party.” This Stalinist offensive met with open opposition on the part of the delegates. It is noteworthy that these delegates were, of course, carefully chosen before their election. Thus, one of the government parties created by the NKVD transformed itself into an exponent of the spontaneous, silent opposition of the worker masses to the regime of occupation and oppression. So paradoxical was the situation that the present Stalinist agent in the pseudo-PPS, Cyrankeiwicz, also puppet-premier of the Warsaw government, was compelled to recognize the fusion of the pseudo-PPS and PPR as being premature in order not to engage in open conflict with the delegates to the congress. After this cynical maneuver, the congress was cynically deceived by the naming of a secretariat composed of Cwik as secretary-general, and Reczek and Rusinek, who gave the NKVD full guarantees of blind obedience.

Qualified Assassin

This “secretary-general,” Cwik, is an old “friend,” an old member of the CPP, later an agent of the GPU in the left-PPS, and finally an agent of the same GPU in the London PPS during the war. Now he continues his role as an agent-provocateur in the pseudo-PPS. There are men born to be puppets, and to this class of human instruments belongs the unfortunate Wlodyslaw Cwik. Under his police rule, the pseudo-PPS will soon end in the Stalinist gas-chamber or in front of the “stienk” (wall) as a target for an assassin’s bullet. And this police agent, this puppet without brain or heart, has the insolence to write in the organs of the pseudo-PPS that, the “development of the party is leading to a careful scrutiny of the activities of diversionist elements recruited from the underground circles of WRN (Freedom, Equality and Independence) which will end in their complete elimination and isolation from the masses.” (Robotnik – Warsaw)

How smooth is the professional jargon of the expert assassins and hangmen, of Stalin’s police-dogs! Even without personally knowing this “gentleman” be spattered with Stalinist filth, by reading his writings one can at a distance detect the odor of a “technically qualified” and highly expert assassin.

While the miserable dog, Cwik, is assigned the concrete police job, the “theoretician” of the PPR, Zamborowsky, member of the Politburo, declares in the official organ that the fusion of the PPR and the pseudo-PPS will constitute a new stage of unification for the workers’ movement, indispensable in the march toward “popular democracy.” And the other puppet-member, Cyrankiewicz, against his own position taken at the congress, declares the necessity of a rapid fusion and attacks the authentic leaders of the real PPS, Ciolkosz and Zaremba, as “spies,” “fascists” and “right-wing socialists.”

Mass Arrests

All of this is carried out to the accompaniment of the arrests en masse of the independent socialists, of “Moscow Trials,” assassinations and tortures in the prisons. The leader of the Polish trade unions in the pre-war period, Zdanowski, the PPS underground activist, Janina Paydak, wife of one of the 16 resistance leaders condemned in Moscow, Bryja, peasant leaders and many others less well known, have been assassinated by the “security” and their remains returned to their families in sealed coffins.

The physical “liquidation” of the authentic socialists and leaders of the real PPS is a preliminary condition for the “purging” of the shadow PPS, for the carrying out of the police“scrutiny” decreed by Cwik. Horrible and loathsome is the picture presented by the Stalinist regime in Poland.

With the Stalinist turn “toward the left,” which for us is only an even more profound turn toward Stalinist reaction, the Stalinist regimes in the occupied zone of Europe are moving toward a “monolithic” structure, toward an open police dictatorship. The police structure of the shadow parties, agencies of the NKVD, has been outgrown by the spontaneous opposition of the masses who unmasked the Stalinist deception; has been outgrown by historical development, and now the NKVD is compelled to “liquidate” its own police creation.

Support Opposition!

Years ago, the Trotskyist and Bukharinist opposition was liquidated without awakening spontaneous opposition among the masses. Now it is different; the liquidation of the pseudo-PPS in Poland, of the Czech Social-Democracy, is provoking an oppositionist reaction among the workers. The authentic PPS continues to struggle as much inside as outside of Poland, and has the spontaneous support of the masses. The Social-Democrats have constituted an international socialist bureau of the parties in the Soviet zone.

It is the obligation of the revolutionary Marxists to support this movement of opposition and to defend the Social-Democrats against Stalinist persecution. It is our obligation to fight against the liquidation of the pseudo-PPS, which has become dangerous for the Stalinist dictatorship. But it is also our obligation to teach the masses that the resurrection of the old Social-Democracy is impossible, since this political force is being absorbed on the one hand by the Stalinist bureaucracy, and on the other by the pro-capitalist Labor Party, and reduced to an agency of capitalism.

Only the program of the third socialist front, the program of world socialism, can open new roads after the defeat, each day more imminent, of Stalinism.

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