OPERATION MOP DOWN: THE NCLC - FROM HYSTERICAL ANTI-STALINISM TO STALINIST HYSTERIA
INTERNATIONAL WORKER EDITORIAL [Vol. 2., No. 9, March 1975]
In the past two years the National Caucus of Labor Committees has come from the extreme cynicism of "orthodox" and sectarian Trotskyism-which condemns any social formation which isn't 100 percent "pure revolutionary" and calls for all organizations remotely connected with the international movements growing out of the Stalinist tradition as sellouts and betrayers-to now being uncritical supporters of the advanced sections of the Soviet-aligned wing of world Stalinism. The petit-bourgeois insanity, which is known as the official line of the NCLC, has run full circle since the launching of "Operation Mop-Up" against the Communist Party (CP) in early 1973.
The Labor Committees now realize that Operation Mop-Up was a mistake; it was a mistake to mop-up the leading local representatives of international Stalinist ideology (according to the Labor Committees' latest turn), not because mopping up a serious obstacle to the NCLC's attainment of "left hegemony" was wrong in principle, but because they chose the wrong victim.
The political considerations of the NCLC's right turn are made crystal clear in their January 20th front page editorial entitled "Emergency Tactical Action for the Present World Situation," whose concluding section on "united front" contains the following key passages:
"This tactic points to a more basic issue: the establishment of an international programmatic united front among key workers' political vanguard forces. We propose that we aim toward the development of such collaboration among the Communist Parties, left-wing social democratic forces, and the ICLC (International Caucus of Labor Committees) . the proposed course is to aim for the future establishment of a single international workers party.
"This tactic, we propose, should include a concerted calculated effort to disband the various Maoist, Trotskyist and anarchist groupuscules infesting the European and North American Left. These groups are in fact either direct creations of the CIA, Tavistock Institute, et al., or are effectively controlled by imperialist political intelligence agencies. They represent a danger not because of their numbers or influence but as a cover for secret police-engineered provocation."
Proposing a "concerted effort to disband the various Maoist, Trotskyist and anarchist groupuscules" means organizing the Moscow-aligned CPs to mop-up all of the groupings to the left of them-with the exception of the left factions of the mass-based Social Democratic Parties and the ICLC.
Now they realize that the way to shock the CP into either playing a progressive role or stepping aside to let the NCLC take its place is not to mop up the CP but to join with it in a united front to mop up the Trotskyists, Maoists (and anarchists too, for good measure).
These are the real, political considerations behind the Labor Committees' most recent turnaround, which has resulted in their Left Stalinist analysis of the Indochinese Revolution, as well as their chasing after the European CPs.
At the same time as the Mop-Up attacks, the NCLC "exposed" the so-called "Brandt-Brezhnev Deal" to sell out the international working-class movement and attacked the Provisional Revolutionary Government (PRG) of Vietnam as unable to consolidate the majority of areas they had liberated. Brezhnev was identified as the leader of a restorationist faction, which had seized control of the Kremlin and the Paris Peace Accords over Vietnam as a sellout under which Thieu could successfully mop-up the remaining strongholds of PRG resistance. In the summer of 1973, the NCLC cynically attacked the PRG for not being able to insure the safety of more than 10 percent of the South Vietnamese inhabitants, leaving them unable to rely on PRG forces for protection from retaliation when puppet troops retook their villages.
A gloomy picture of sellout and betrayal was pointed, which exposed the Paris treaty as a disguised form of slow surrender and which predicted the total mopping-up of the last vestiges of PRG resistance.
But today, the NCLC has made a 180-degree shift, lauding the current North Vietnamese-supported PRG offensive as part of a concerted regional plan for Indochinese socialist reconstruction. They now hail North Vietnamese leadership as self-conscious revolutionary vanguard fighters for international socialism, whose program provides for expanded reproduction through heavy industrialization.
A February 3, 1975 New Solidarity article by Don Sneider, entitled "Indochina: Rocky's War or Socialist Reconstruction," counterposes the PRG program to the Chinese emphasis on labor-intensive agriculture and moral incentives.
Sneider identifies this alleged North Vietnamese line with that of the PRG. In so doing he not only gives the North Vietnamese a political blank check of uncritical support, but sows illusions about the ideological identity between the North Vietnamese Workers Party and the PRG-a highly suspect analysis for which he presents no evidence.
The Labor committees has also praised the. French CP's split with the French Socialist Party (SP) as a qualitative revolutionary breakthrough, which puts them in the vanguard of the world revolution. They even go so far as to praise the alleged "left turn" of the traitorous Portuguese Communist Party, which leads the workers to support the pro-NATO military junta.
The Trotskyist groupings in this country are among the only organizations aside from ourselves which did not consider the Labor Committees "fascist" for what they did to the CP-because they know what the CP in this country and throughout the world has done to Trotskyists for decades. Though Operation Mop-Up was a psychotically motivated tactical blunder (and was one of the means of consolidating an authoritarian Stalinist internal structure within the NCLC), there is nothing wrong in principle with mopping-up the CP or any other organization which threatens to deliver the working class to the fascist chopping block. Although it is possible that the CP will function in this way it is incorrect to have assumed that this is how they were functioning in 1973 or, for that matter, now: All serious left groups must do everything possible to prevent such an outcome.
But now the LC has become a Stalinist organization through and through, not only in their organizational structure and sectarian tactics-which Operation Mop-Up exemplified-but also in their politics.
If the Rockefeller cabal was conspiring about any way to insure their victory, they could find no better solution than the NCLC's new Mop-Up proposal. The absolute hegemony of world Stalinism over all of the workers' movements in the advanced sector means death to the international socialist revolution. In capitulating to the CPs and encouraging them to mop-up all of their potential political opposition, they are doing everything they can to bring about such a situation.
The so-called "Maoist, Trotskyist and anarchist groupuscules," which the NCLC proposes to disband; consist of the entire working-class movement, which is neither psychopathically aligned with Soviet leadership nor tied to the ruling class. Among them is to be included the International Workers Party, as well as all of the nonsectarian tendencies that would even consider united-front action with the IWP. In the case of Portugal, it includes those groupings who are organizing the workers against the CP-supported pro-NATO government. (Even the so-called "Maoists" in Portugal are anti-NATO). In the case of Vietnam, it includes those thousands of "Trotskyists" who led the working-class movement in the cities, and whose mopping-up by Ho Chi Minh and company has prevented the PRG from being able to consolidate their hold on even one major city in South Vietnam-after so many years of fighting since it was the Trotskyists who held workers' allegiance in the cities.
The Labor Committees are the catalyst, not to excite the CPs to lead the revolution, but to return to the darkest traditions of Stalinism; traditions which they have only partially overcome. Whatever possibility may exist for the CP's making a positive contribution to international socialism; would be destroyed if 'they were to take up the ICLC's proposal for a fratricidal war against the rest of the Left. If they agree, then the Left's fascist baiting-which was rained upon the NCLC for Operation Mop-Up-would be further confirmed.