The American Communists Today
Parting of the Ways?
For the first time since its “Bolshevization” over three decades ago, the Communist party of the United States is facing a convention, to be held this month, which will actually decide party policy and not merely approve a decision laid down in advance. Today, the party leadership is in no position to present the convention with the traditional fait accompli; the leaders themselves are sharply divided, and the convention must choose among them. Still less can Moscow issue directives, as in the past, and have them automatically obeyed; one of the key issues before the convention is precisely that of the relation between American Communists and Moscow.
Of course, the monolithic exterior of the party has always concealed real internal fissures. Some of these related to questions of doctrine and tactics. More were in essence merely struggles for power; in these, ideas were weapons—and nothing more. Often enough the rival groups fought first, and only subsequently decided what they had been fighting about. In the 20′s, the fights still sometimes came to the floor at conventions; factional alignments in the American party reflected those in Moscow until Stalin succeeded in consolidating his personal dictatorship. But this did not mean that the convention actually decided between the contending factions. That decision came from Moscow, and the convention majority simply registered it.
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