Communism: Story of the Communist Party

By Guy Aldred (1935)

Revolt Library Anarchism Communism

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(1886 - 1963)

Scottish Bakuninist and Anarcho-Communist from Glasgow

: Guy Alfred Aldred had worked ceaselessly at his propaganda, writing, publishing and public speaking, he took on injustices wherever he saw it. He had spoken at every May Day for 60 years except the years he spent in prison. (From: Glasgow Caledonian University.)
• "To dream of a society not founded on the 'law of constructive murder,' of a social state in which all are brethren and peace and good fellowship prevail, of a society founded on truth and freedom, is to become an enemy of the society that is, and to be regarded as a dreamer of the most fanatical type." (From: Studies in Communism.)
• "It is only the effect of this menace, only the fear of the power of the revolutionary agitator outside parliament, that persuades the capitalist class to tolerate the presence of Labor members inside." (From: Socialism and Parliament.)
• "Anti-Parliamentarism is now the recognized Socialism of the Proletariat." (From: Socialism and Parliament.)

Chapters

29 Chapters | 51,539 Words | 336,670 Characters

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It was not my intention to write a history of the Anti-Parliamentary and Communist movements. Certainly, I had no intention of publishing such a work. I had a number of completed manuscripts on my hands and I did not wish to write a new work whilst these writings were unpublished. In addition to which, I was jealous to collect the political essays that l had published in fugitive form during the past thirty years. A conspiracy of circumstances compelled me to sacrifice these ambitions to what seemed to be the usefulness and well-being of the proletarian struggle. For a short time in 1934 I resumed my old missionary activity. I visited Leeds, where I spoke under the auspices of the Leeds Anarchist Group, since defunct. In Aberdeen I conducted an intensive campaign, speaking on a free platform, enthusiastically sponsored by the local I.L.P. A very short campaign was conducted in London, where an endeavor was made to rally sections of the old movement with which I had... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Communist International was founded in Moscow in 1919. The February Revolution of 1917 had recalled from exile and imprisonment a number of Anarchists who co-operated loyally with the Bolsheviks to effect the October 1917 Revolution. By the time that the Communist International was organised, the persecution of these Anarchists by the Bolsheviks had begun. That persecution continued all the time that Trotsky was an outstanding member of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Lenin, of course, was as much a party to this persecution as Trotsky. This fact has to be borne in mind when one considers that a distinction is made by the Trotskyists between the first five years of the International and the latter period dating from 1924. It is claimed that from 1919 to 1923 the Communist International was a virile, growing movement and that its authority and prestige rose in every land under the guidance of Lenin and Trotsky. In the course of the next nine years the Moscow Internationa... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Left Opposition rose in the Soviet Union, and took shape as a distinct grouping in 1923, headed by Trotsky. At that time, the Soviet Union was passing through what Trotsky termed, “ the scissors crisis.” This was the crisis of the relative prices and therefore exchange values of manufactured articles and agricultural products. The problem was to bring prices in both sectors into harmony. Inability to solve this problem developed a crisis of unemployment, need, and resulting proletarian discontent which reflected itself in the Communist Party in the expression of dissatisfaction on the part of the members. The NEP had been put into effect in 1921. This had eliminated the atmosphere of War Communism from Russian economy, but it had not destroyed the spirit of dictatorship and military tyranny politically. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat really meant the Dictatorship of the Communist Party and this meant the Dictatorship of an inner circle within the party. The m... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The situation in Germany in the autumn of 1923 was favorable to the rise of a revolutionary proletariat. But the Communist Party conducted a relentless war against the Anti-Parliamentary K.A.P.D., which had been born in 1920, owing to the collapse, as an organization of struggle, of the K.P.D, favored by Moscow, and used the romance of the Russian Revolution as a shield for its own arrogant ineptitude. The German bourgeoise was able to extricate itself from an “ inextricable situation,” as Trotsky said, because the Communist Party did not realize that the position was “ inextricable,” and so failed to act. The revolutionary crisis was reached in October, and the Communist Party went on recruiting, and remained passive, admiring its accumulation of dead forces. It developed no initiative and watched the bourgeoise overthrow of the Socialist-Communist coalition of Governments in Saxony and Thuringia. At the critical moment, the Communist leaders retreated an... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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As late as the 5th Congress of the Comintern, in 1924, Stalin, Zinoviev, Bucharin, and other Trotsky-baiters, denied that the German defeat had given the bourgeoisie of Central Europe the breathing space it sought and needed. They defined it as a mere episode and declared that the Opposition had lost faith in the Revolution. It was but a step from this denunciation to the assertion that the revolutionary situation was right ahead. From this flambuoyant optimism, Stalinism progressed rapidly to the pessimistic belief that the Revolution in Western Europe was postponed indefinitely. The Stalinist bureaucracy became the liquidators; and so they developed the absurd theory of “ Socialism in One Country.” By its very formulation, this theory registers the fact that its authors had lost faith in the world revolution. “ Socialism in One Country “ is the doctrine of capitalist stabilization. Losovsky, as head of the Red International of Labor Unions, de... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Stalinism continued its rake’s progress of German debacle and “ Socialism in One Country,” by pursuing a policy of studied disaster in connection with the British General Strike of 1926. This British policy was the inevitable consequence of the Comintern’s German fiasco and its Russian absurdity. Supporting Stalin’s statement that the German proletariat had suffered no defeat, Zinoviev advised the 5th Congress of the Comintern, 1924, that Germany was “ approaching a sharpened civil war.” This was not a discredited prediction, but a braggart’s gesture of bad faith; for the time of prediction had passed and the facts told their own tale of counter-revolutionary triumph. It was not possible for the leaders of the Comintern to save their faces by crying in more trenchant tones their slogan of hysteria: ” Socialism in One Country.” To maintain their hold on the Russian proletariat, and to ram... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The collapse of the great Chinese revolutionary movement of 1925–27 is a standing historical condemnation of the Communist International. Clothed in the formal authority of the Russian Revolution and the Comintern, Stalin and Bucharin prohibited the Chinese proletariat from struggling for power. They used the prestige of the Russian Revolution to destroy the Chinese Revolution and they employed the Soviets of Russia to prevent the formation of the Soviets of China. They made history both repeat and parody itself; for they played exactly the same part during the Chinese struggle as they had played in the Bolshevik discussions from April to May 1917, when they objected to the very insurrection that made possible finally Stalin’s rise to power. They translated Menshevism into the language of Chinese politics. Napoleon III, as Marx said, was the nephew burlesquing the uncle and his coup d’etat was history repeating itself ; once a tragedy, and then a farce. Stalin a... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The struggle of the Trotskyist Opposition for planned economy lasted from 1923 to 1928. Plan was introduced into Soviet economy in July 1920. The entire railroad system was a wreck, and Trotsky was given the job of restoring transportation. His famous “ Order No. 1042 “ was the first of a series of systematic decrees instructing measures which evolved order and regularity out of collapse and chaos. Lenin described Trotsky’s measures as examples of what had to be done in other branches of industry. Trotsky reported to the 8th Congress of the Soviets and with Emshanov prepared a thesis on the need for a plan in economy. This thesis was defended by Lenin. By 1923 Lenin had withdrawn from the party council and Trotsky stood alone in the Executive Council of the part y in defense of planned economy. He insisted that the only material foundation for Socialism in Russia was the development of large machine industry, particularly in the realm of agriculture,... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The ebb tide of reaction was reached by the end of 1927. The outlook of the international proletariat was turning towards the Left. Early in 1928 the “ bloodless Kulak uprising “ disturbed the Russian workers and pressed the party leadership towards the Left. Stalin felt the time had come to sacrifice the Right Wing. He made cautious attacks upon obscure representatives and so undermined the authority of his intended victim, but he did not make his frontal attack upon the Right Wing leadership until 1929–30. He then attacked Rykov, Bucharin and Tomsky, and presented these three leaders to the workers as the banner-bearers of the capitalist restoration. Zinoviev’s successor, the head of the Communist International, the head of the Soviet Government, and the leader of the Soviet Trade Unions, the man who had been so prominent in the Anglo-Russian Committee, were denounced by Stalin as the agents of the Thermidorian counter-revolution. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Stalinist period of “ gorilla “ adventurism commences with the 9th Plenum of the Communist International early in 1928. It based its arguments on a complete misunderstanding of the importance of parliamentarism. The vote cast for the Communist Party in Germany had increased. So also had the vote cast for the Social Democracy. This voting was interpreted as a first sign of working class resurgence. Inspired by this illusion, the 9th Plenum turned its eyes towards China, and there discovered the rise of a “ new and higher “ stage of the Chinese Revolution. At this time China was in the throes of counter-revolution. Undisturbed by the Chinese tragedy and incapable of visioning what was to happen in Germany, the Plenum announced through the medium of Thaelmann and others, that the working masses throughout the world were becoming “ more and more radicalized.”. It is to be believed, and hoped, that in the cour... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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When the Stalinists are accused of assassinating the German working class struggle they explain that on various occasions between 1925 and 1933 they proposed a United Front with the German Social -Democrats. Their assertions in this matter must be correlated to their charge against the Social Democrats in 1924 of being the enemy of the working-class and in 1928 of being the Social-Fascists. The indictment of Social Democracy as a political principle or organization is correct. Social Democracy has ever been the enemy of working-class struggle and was so in the days when William Liebknecht organized the famous union of Marxians and Lassalleans, and Engels flirted with the alliance whilst Marx denounced the Anarchists and in most instances wrongly denounced them. This acknowledgment of a simple political fact does not mean to say that the Social Democratic worker has any more to gain from the perpetuation of capitalist society — or is any less its... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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It was impossible for the Communist International to destroy the Chinese revolution, the British General Strike, and two German revolutions, without developing a proletarian retreat in Soviet Russia. The fact that the Kulak problem still remains demonstrates the fallacy of regarding Soviet Russia as the workers’ fatherland. The Trotskyist elements, down to their liquidation in 1935, maintained that Soviet Russia was still the socialist fatherland, notwithstanding the errors of Stalinism. But the Trotskyists clung to the idea of the reform of the Third International and of the official Communist Party in the Soviet Union until 1933. It was left to the anti-parliamentarian elements to proclaim correctly, years before, the death of the Third International, and the necessity either of a fourth or a new international, or else of no formal international at all. The anti-parliamentarians were divided on this question, for although they all wished to link up the revol... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

(2,117 Words / 13,379 Characters)
The destruction of Soviet Russia as the land of Sovietism and the temporary stabilization of capitalism is said by the Trotskyists to date from the death of Lenin. The process most certainly has been speeded since that time. There can be no doubt that Stalin perpetuated and developed the undermining of the Soviet Republic. Trotsky was quite wrong too make Stalin solely responsible. The present demi-god of Russian bureaucracy but continued the work Lenin began. Stalin hastened the degeneration. That degeneration was the inevitable product of the defeat of the German Revolution in 1923, and the subsequent isolation of the Soviet Union. It is possible that Lenin’s reaction to the 1923 movement would have been distinct from that of Stalin and more useful to the general revolutionary cause but it is certain that, as regards the collapse of Socialism in Russia, Stalin had an able master in Lenin. The world situation from 1918 to 1921 was favorable to the myth &mdash... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Just after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Marx reasoned : “ Germany will become a formidable rival of England, but the French bourgeoisie, distrusting England, will seek an alliance with Russia. French loans will develop islands of Capitalism in the sea of Russian feudalism, but if and when European war comes, neither Russian Capitalism nor its currupt feudalism will be strong enough to survive the shock. Power will pass to the workers and peasants, with the possibility of the revolutionary elements giving the next important impulse to social advance.” This was a wonderful prophecy, based, of course, upon knowledge, as all prophecy and vision is. It is a pity that the important impulse to social advance given by the Russian Revolution was not sustained. Lenin, as a faithful Marxist, in the first days of the Third International, notwithstanding his amazing compromises, did exp... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The purpose of this chapter is not to discuss the activity of the Anti-Parliamentary movement that was conducting a vigorous propaganda in England and Scotland during the year 1927. That was merely part and parcel of the general movement that had been conducted in Britain since 1906, and of which some details are given in the appendices to my pamphlet Socialism and Parliament, Part I. In this chapter my desire is to trace the evolution of the Anti-Parliamentary movement in Germany and Holland and also of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Opposition groups in the Soviet Union. The period covered is confined to the year 1927, because during that year, the British movement was brought into contact with the movement on the continent of Europe, and first hand information was published in the columns of The Commune from March to October, 1927, Volume II. In The Communes mentioned I published a most interesting correspondence from German and Dutch... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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At the time of the Russian Revolution, I was incarcerated still in Wandsworth Prison for resistance to military service. I was not released until Tuesday, January 7th, 1919, under the Cat and Mouse Act, after 14 days’ hunger strike, following upon a long period of work and discipline strike. I was rearrested on Sunday, March 19th, after an extensive Anti-parliamentary campaign in Scotland, at the conclusion of a meeting on Clapham Common. I was returned to Wandsworth Prison and again went on hunger strike, being released four days later. No further attempt was made to rearrest me under the Cat and Mouse Act and I subsequently received my complete military discharge. I was arrested again on Wednesday, March 2nd, 1921, illegally in Shepherd’s Bush, London, under a Scotch warrant. At this time Bakunin House, Glasgow, the Anti-Par;liamentarian headquarters was surrounded and raided by armed police, and at the identical moment... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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On Friday night, January 28th, 1921, three separate Communist Parties gathered together in Leeds. The following morning these three Communist Parties ceased to exist, and a new Communist Party, claiming to be the only revolutionary party in Great Britain, an active disciplined section of the 3rd (Communist) International was born. The conference that brought it into being was called by the International Executive Committee at Moscow. This was not the birth of the Communist movement in Britain that had been inspired by the Russian Revolution. On the contrary, as time has shown, if it was not the end at least it was the beginning of the arrestment of the revolutionary movement. It represented the passing from Communist propaganda to Communist illusion. This unfortunate official fusion and domination of the Communist movement in Britain did not come about all at once. Coming events cast their shadows before; and it is not uninteresting to note tha... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Anti-Parliamentarism, as distinct from Anarchism, was pioneered in Britain by William Morris. He was seconded by Belfort Bax. Both contributed excellent work to the proletarian struggle, but neither had the courage to last the distance as revolutionary pioneers. They compromised with the parliamentarians and returned to the ranks of the Social Democracy for the sake of fellowship, and hecause they could not bear being in exile. Trotsky would have termed them the “ Capitulators.” The story of William Morris, and his Anti- Parliamentarian activity, is told in detail in my Pioneers of: Anti-Parliamentarism. It need not be repeated here. Finally Morris broke from the Anti-parliamentarian Socialist League and formed the Hammersmith Socialist Society, which, according to its prospectus, “ will disclaim both parliamentarism and Anarchism.” It was in Hammersmith that the ploneer work of the Anti-parliamentarian Communist Propag... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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It was my intention to append to this pamphlet the manifestoes issued by Mjasnikov, on behalf of the Russian Anti-Parliamentarians, with details of Mjasnikov’s struggles and imprisonments, in Czarist and in Bolshevik Russia alike. Space does not permit such an indulgence. The reader is referred, therefore, to the columns of The Commune for 1927, meantime, for the account of Mjasnikov’s career, ideas and activity. 1. ANTI-PARLIAMENTARISM 1N HOLLAND In May, 1927, The Commune translated and published the leaflet that was broadcast in Holland by the Anti-Parliamentarian comrades there, exposing Russian Imperialism and denouncing the Soviet Government for providing the German bourgeoisie with arms. The leaflet read as follows : — FROM THE PAPERS. RUSSIA PROVIDES THE GERMAN BOURGEOISIE WITH ARMS. In November, 1926, the “Manchester Guardian” published a report th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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1n the Glasgow paper, The Worker, for September 30, 1922, W. Gallacher, who was later to become M.P. for Fife, published an article entitled The Revolutionarry United Front, in which he praised Ritchie, who was afterwards to become a Glasgow Labor Bailie and then a discredited municipal corruptionist, at the expense of various persons including myself. That article is only referred to in this Appendix because of a reference that Gallacher made to John McGovern, then an Anti-parliamentarian and now M.P. for Shettleston. Gallacher’s reference is as follows : — J. McGovern, who a week ago was talking to me about joining the Communist Party, has once again found grace, and drawing his revolutionary cloak around him, has publicly shed tears over my awful fall. Here, at any rate, is sufficient revolutionary material for a start. Here is a task for Aldred who wants “ A Revolutionary United Front.” Let him invite these, and whatever... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Russia, or the Soviet Union, became a member of the League of Nations in 1934. Her membership was championed by France and Britain. The commander of her air force was welcomed during summer of 1934 at Hendon to witness the imaginary bombing of London. For the first time since the revolution, military attaches were exchanged between London and Moscow. Prior to her entry into the League, the Soviet Union concluded an alliance with the French government that limited her to the French military and political system. During the same year the Soviet Union concluded an agreement with the United States of America in which it gave a distinct pledge not only against the conduct of Communist Party propaganda on American soil but even a pledge against protecting such propaganda when conducted on Soviet soil. All this was a normal consequence of the development of Capitalism in Russia. I would make no mention of the development of that Capitalism if it were not for the fact that the Communist... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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It was contended by Mjasnikov and other Anti-Parliamentary Socialists or Russian Old-Guard Bolsheviks that the diplomacy of Lenin was a negation of Communist first principles and that it implied the subsequent developments of Stalinism. Over 50 years ago, Peter Kropotkin wrote a short series of essays entitled “ Revolutionary Government “, in which he not only anticipated the Russian Revolution but foresaw its Capitalist and diplomatic development. Whether we accept the contention therein advanced and since developed by the modern Anti-Parliamentarians, or whether we accept the view of the Trotskyists that Stalinisnl is a corruption of Leninism, it is certain that the Russian Revolution entered upon an era of respectability, conservatism and definite Anti-Socialism long before 1934. This was made clear not only by its loans, profits, and concessions, but also by the treaty it concluded with the United States of America in November, 1933. In this essay I but draw atten... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The purpose of the present article is to put before British working-class readers the facts concerning the development, of Capitalism in Russia. Once these facts are realized, it will be seen that to pretend that Russian Capitalism is some kind of Socialism is ridiculous. Russian industry has been entirely capitalistic for a long period. There exists in Russia to-day a propertyless class of wage earners, a class of capitalist investors, and concessions worked by foreign capitalists. The Manchester Guardian for July 27th, 1928, reported that the internal loan issued by the Russian Government for the purpose of financing industry and agriculture that year was £52,000,000. It represented half of the total amount devoted that year by the Russian Government to economic development. Half the 1928 loan carried 6 per cent. interest plus lottery prizes. Half carried no interest, but there was a premium on repayment. The Sunday Work... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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By a Special Decree dated 29th July, 1942, three new high orders of merit were introduced for the Soviet army in the names of three national heroes of the old Imperial Russia. In spite of lavish decoration of red gold enameled stars and other Soviet symbols, the names of Count Souvoroff, Prince Koutouzoff, and Prince Alexander Nievsky are those of representatives of the old Czarist Imperial Nationalism. The order of Prince Koutouzoff is coined of pure gold in the shape of a five-pointed star. The center disc of white enamel is surrounded by a wreath of laurels and oak leaves and as if trying to blot out the tower of the Kremlin with its red enamel five-pointed star is the gold image of Prince, Koutouzoff. At the sides are the simple words, Michael Koutouzoff. This order is in two grades, and is awarded to army commanders and divisional officers for stubborn resistance and strategical retreats. The order of Count Souvoroff is made of platinum... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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In February 1941 a People’s Convention, so called, was arranged in London, to organize a movement for a People’s Government, also so-called. The aim of this People’s Government was said to be peace. The convention was boosted in the Daily Worker. Shortly after the convention, the Daily Worker was suppressed. The Convention Call, addressed to workers, socialists, trade unionists, the lower middle class, “ democrats and anti-fascists,” was signed by a long list of names which read like a roll call of the Communist Party. No non-Stalinist organization endorsed the Convention. The Call presented the immediate line of the British Communist Party. The Tory Government was denounced for helping to place Hitler in power, and for getting the country into war ; for profiteering, high prices, and taxes ; for inadequate air raid protection. The Churchill Government was attacked for its failure to grant national freedo... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The following exposures of the C.P. were made in The Commune. References do not include articles since embodied in my pamphlets : Sept. 1925.- “Yes, Honor This.” Tillett’s War Record Exposed; Oh ! That United F’ront ! Record of the contempt the C.P. was bringing on Communism; Red Hubbub; Saklatvala’s Honor; Fighting Free Speech. The Anti-Parley Way. Oct.- The Passing of Leninism; What They Have Said (Further word against Tillett) ; Liverpool Limelights (acc. Tillett and C.P. Liverpool Conference). Nov.- Communism Suppressed in Soviet Russia; Communism, Militarism and Sedition (Account of Conditions in Soviet Russia in relation to Opposition and Anti-Militarism) ; Persecution of Mjasnikow ; Leninism Supreme (Account of Berlin Soviet Feast and Toasts, etc., Sunday, Nov. 8, 1925). Dec. Soviet Trial (Summary and Review) ; Sedition and Charlatanism (C.P. eulogies of Tillett expo... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Council was my fifth paper. The first number was issued in October, 1931, and the last in May, 1933. Explaining its purpose in the first issue, I declared : — It (” The Council “) applies the Anti-Parliamentarian principles and vision we promoted in the “ Herald of Revolt “ (1910–14) and “ Spur “ (1914–21). It concludes the exposures of Parliamentarism and reformism of the “ Commune “ (1923–29) with a definite program of working-class unity and action.... Our aim and method of propaganda will include the following points of advocacy: MEETINGS.- We shall announce FREE all meetings of every organization affiliated to the Glasgow Council of Action. In the event of disputes arising about meeting places between various organizations, we shall be guided by prior claims. We shall also refer the matter to the Council for decision. We hold decisions of the Council as to the... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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On August 23, 1939, Ribbentrop, the German Foreign Minister, signed, in Moscow, a Pact of Friendship, freeing Germany from all fear of attack by Russia. The pact was broken, without warning, at dawn, on Saturday, June 22, 1941, when Hitler Invaded the Soviet Union, without troubling to make a formal declaration of war. Stalin faithfully kept the pact to that date. The Communist Party of Great Britain and also the Communist Party of the United States and the other English speaking nations insisted on Peace Conventions. After the Hitler invasion of the Soviet Union, these parties, under Moscow direction, denounced Fascism and Pacifism, and demanded Second Fronts, etc. In my view, their patriotism was like their former pacifism, insincere and dictated. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Moscow announcement, abolishing the Communist International, was made on Saturday, May 22, 1943. Naturally the Communist Parties in Britain and the United States were not consulted, but they went through the farce later of agreeing to their own dissolution. This pamphlet was printed at the time and its tone could not he altered. The Moscow announcement justifies the entire polemic of this pamphlet and my consistent opposition to the Third International, in the name of Communism. It gives point to the criticisms and comments that I have published consistently since 1919. These can be collected later in separate pamphlet form. When reprinted, this pamphlet will need to be altered, to the extent that its text will become historical. Also, the Communist International having been relegated to the Museum of Curiosities and criminal anti-working-class relics, much of the argument advanced is no longer necessary. What was reasoning calling for consideration and acceptan... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

Chronology

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May, 1935
Communism — Publication.

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September 10, 2021; 5:07:59 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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