Comrade Eduardo Artés of the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action)’s speech on May 9th, 2012, which has now been distributed in pamphlet form, is reproduced here in full:
Friends, comrades, and colleagues,
May 9th is a red letter day in the Soviet calendar and in the hearts of all communists and anti-fascists of the world, when the Nazi dream of “a thousand year Reich” fell and rolled in the dust. It is the day the red flag was raised by the Red Army in the heart of Berlin.
Today, as many in the West obscure the memory of May 9, 1945, insult socialism and seek to rehabilitate Nazi-fascist criminals, here in Latin America, in Chile, the Communists, the Chilean Communist Party (Proletarian Action) not only remembers this date, but studies those factors which brought it about. Far from a simple academic interest, we look to learn from it and thus make possible, in our own day, the overthrow of today’s imperialists; just as our comrades did with the brown beast, with Nazi-Fascism in the Great Patriotic War, in the anti-fascist struggle.
We must go to the root of the Soviet achievement — red, working class, and popular, as it was. For, it was certainly more than a simple victory; since attacked from all sides, many announced that the socialist state would be unable to withstand Hitler’s troops for even a month.
Many betted on the imminent defeat of the Soviet Union; in fact, openly proclaimed it. U.S. Congressman Martin Lice said, on June 24, 1941: “Within a month, Hitler will take over all of Russia“, and June 27th of that same year, the New York Post reported that “to save the reds from imminent defeat would require a miracle of biblical proportions.“
But there were not only propagandistic and overt pro Nazi-Fascists proclamations; within the “Allies”, Britain and the U.S., its reactionary circles, dreamed of destroying the Soviet Union. Winston Churchill, giving vent to his anti-communism, encouraged the fascists to destroy the USSR. He did not hesitate to call for “drowning the baby in its crib”, and in October 1942, before the Stalingrad counter-offensive said: “We have to stop these barbarians in the East, as far away as possible.” Of course, Churchill counted on the Nazi Germans to “stop” the Soviets, and not that the latter would resist, and then get to Berlin itself.
It is well known that both the U.S. and Britain, forced into alliance with the Soviet Union due to a broad world-wide democratic and anti-fascist movement, took thousands of petty little actions to hamper the resistance and the subsequent Soviet advance against Hitler’s troops. Among other criminal acts, the Western “Allies” repeatedly withheld valuable intelligence that could have saved thousands of civilian lives, the destruction of hospitals, schools, housing, food crops, military material, and of course the arms and lives of thousands of Soviet soldiers.
In 1943, in the very midst of the war, the Western “Allies” tried to reach an agreement with Nazi generals and redirect the war solely against the Soviet Union. Furthermore, at the end of the war, England, and particularly the U.S., protected a large number of Nazi officials and war criminals, transferring many of them outside Germany, even to Latin America, where they directly or indirectly gave their criminal experience to reactionary and fascist regimes, among others, that of Pinochet in Chile.
The U.S. brought home more than 180 German scientists, including their families, who were developing nuclear weapons and missiles for the Nazis. Today, without much trouble, we can say that both the U.S. and England had as a principle reason for their late and half-hearted participation in the anti-fascist coalition, preventing most of post-war Europe from having socialist regimes. They intervened to snatch popular victory away from the partisans in Greece and Italy, and from the Maquis in France. That is to say, to paralyze and destroy the popular guerrilla movements, which, led by Communists, were installing peoples democracies and socialism.
At that time, the dream of the so-called “Western democracies” vanished. This dream was to see the young proletarian state, led by genuine communists, defeated and destroyed at the hands of Nazi-fascism. The end of this dream brought on the class hatred of their wretched reactionary leaders.
That the imperialists, the U.S. and Britain, acted thusly was somewhat predictable. We need to remember this, so that no one gets lost when analyzing the behavior of imperialist powers. What can be said to have been surprising to some, and repulsive to all, was the similar behavior of someone who presented himself, in life, as an authentic proletarian revolutionary, but who as has been demonstrated, was only venting his anti-communist spleen – I mean the foolish actions and the miserable figure of Leon Trotsky.
Between 1938 and 1940, just when Soviet workers, peasants and patriots were preparing with great heroism and sacrifice to deal with the impending Nazi-fascist aggression, Trotsky argued that “the defense of the country can only be ensured by destruction of the autocratic clique of saboteurs and usurpers” and he insisted that “only the overthrow of the Kremlin separatist group can restore the military strength of the USSR. All who, directly or indirectly support Stalinism, all those who exaggerate the strength of his army, are the greatest enemies of the socialist revolution and of oppressed peoples. Only the Soviet proletariat rising against shameful new parasitic tyranny can salvage what’s left of the social foundations of the gains of October”.
Moreover, so that none can doubt the help and assistance given by Trotsky to the Nazis, in the midst of conflict, he once again, called for an uprising against the General Staff of the Anti-fascist struggle. Trotsky said that “the gains of the October Revolution can only serve the people if they can stir action against the Stalinist bureaucracy, as when acting against the Tsarist bureaucracy and bourgeoisie (…) this can only be achieved one way: through the rising of the workers, peasants and Red Army soldiers against the new breed of oppressors and parasites. To prepare a rising of this magnitude requires a new party, the Fourth International.”
Trotsky’s interests coincided well with that of the Nazis, he supported the cowards and opportunists who sought to bring the Soviet Union to its knees before the brown beast. What a shame for the reactionaries and fascists that Trotsky’s new party, the “Fourth International”, was not taken to by the working class in the Soviet Union, or by the working class in any country. If they had, perhaps the Great War could have been prevented, the Red Army would never have come to Berlin and the world today would be ruled by the Nazi-fascists!
The denial and negation of the USSR’s principal determinant contribution to the fight for freedom, democracy and socialism, was not heard yesterday, when it prosecuted the war against the Nazi-Fascist Axis, at a time when reactionaries the world over boycotted the USSR, but TODAY.
66 years after the glorious 9th of May, 1945, they continue to deny the fundamental role in the defeat of Nazi-fascism played by the Red Army of Workers and Farmers, guided by its Bolshevik leadership with Comrade Joseph Stalin at the helm. But the truth cannot be hidden forever, on the contrary, this stands out, like it or not — it is revolutionary.
Who can deny that the Soviet Union, the Red Army destroyed 80% of the German Nazi army in unforgettable battles such as Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Belorussia or Berlin; that 8 out of 10 soldiers killed in the war by the Germans, occurred on the eastern front; that of all the dead soldiers and civilians around the world during and following the war, a total of 50 million, 27 million were Russians. That was the tremendous contribution and sacrifice the land of the Soviets gave towards the defeat of the brown beast. The hatred and resentment of reactionaries around the world is understandable!
It is necessary to take into account the starting point of the Soviet state in its fight the war Nazi-fascism. Among many of the factors to consider: the earlier disaster for old Russia: the First World War; the backwardness of the peoples and nations that formed the Soviet Union under the old regime, with all the obscurantism and autocratic feudal remnants of tsarism; the recent nature of the revolution and seizure of power by the Bolsheviks, at the head of the worker-peasant alliance; the war against the intervention of the imperialist powers, which sought to restore Tsarism and drown in blood and fire the newly formed socialist state, a war that caused death and destruction and delayed the needed economic and social reconstruction demanded by the new society; and the resulting continued class struggle under the conditions of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Furthermore, a reactionary and imperialist subversion promoted by well-paid agents distributed throughout the vast Soviet territory, which, with the support of the overthrown classes, carried out terrorist attacks, which caused extensive damage to production, and even the assassination of important cadre of the proletarian state, and as a final millstone, the work of revisionist and opportunist saboteurs, not least of which was Trotskyism, which as had been proven, often acted in unity and coordination with reaction, and even with the Nazis.
How does one explain that, in those years, the Soviets defeated the destructive machinery of the world’s most devastating war? Reply, but say it loudly, proudly, like a Communist, so that the reactionaries’, imperialists’ and traitors’ ears rumble. Say that it was the patriotic and revolutionary determination of the working class, the peasants, and the Soviet peoples, resulting from the correct direction of the Communist Party with Comrade Stalin at the head; it was the result of the ironclad unity of the proletarian state, the Communist Party and the Soviets. There was no other, nor there another explanation for such a great feat!
Our commemoration of the defeat of Nazi-fascism would be incomplete if we do not recall the great ramifications, at all levels, which this victory had on the communist movement and revolutionary movements for democracy and freedom worldwide. For example, it brought the global struggle for decolonization to a new level, contributing significantly to the emergence, among others, of an independent India, the birth of the People’s Republic of China and the countries of Popular Democracy in Eastern Europe. The struggles for national liberation and sovereignty properly became part of the struggle for socialism, as these occur in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.
As part of our tribute to the 66th anniversary of May 9, 1945, we believe that is absolutely necessary to highlight the line Popular Front line agreed to at the Seventh Congress of the Third International, or Comintern, held in Moscow in July 1935, and the formulations and report approved there, the report of the outstanding communist Georgi Dimitrov.
The first thing that needs to be understood, in all its dimensions, is that it was a tactic which, together with supporting democratic regimes and uniting with anti-fascist forces, brought the fight against Nazism and fascism to a new level. It was a clear expression of the approach and progress to socialism, and this is because it was formulated by the Communist International, whose analysis was that of true socialism, scientific socialism, utilizing the existing Soviet experience of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Popular Front policy permitted the overcoming of, among other deviations, the sectarian policy of the German Communist Party, which equally combated Social Democracy and fascism. Although that party cannot be said to be that is responsible for the triumph of Hitler in 1933, that mistaken policy facilitated his rise.
Popular Fronts were born and grew challenging the spread of reaction, and in the heat of battle against fascism. Fascism was already a reality during the global crisis of the 30′s. Fascism had consolidated its hold in Italy, then in Germany. The fascists were presented as saviors of “national values”, which were being destroyed by bourgeois democracy and Marxism. Fascism, based on the more conservative bourgeois layers, sought as its primary aim, curbing and destroying the progress of the struggle for socialism represented by the world’s communist parties and, especially, the example of the emerging Soviet Union and its Bolshevik leadership under Stalin, which was the natural orientation of workers and peoples, both in the developed capitalist countries, and in those of dependent capitalism.
This Popular Front line not only had to face the intense fascist reaction against which it was formed, but also against Trotskyism, that eternal ally of reaction, which accused the Popular Front of abandoning any independent political action of the proletarian class. The Trotskyites did not understand or did not want to understand, that the Popular Front policy came from the proletariat for the unity of all anti-fascist forces.
We must bear in mind, that Trotskyism’s opportunistic criticism was supported by some revisionist practices, clear and specific deviations that were expressed in some communist parties, when implementing the Popular Front policy. A good example of this can be found in the old “Communist” Party of Chile, which made a strong shift towards the Right and towards revisionism, during the period of the Popular Front policy, falling squarely within the opportunist views held in those years, by the Secretary General of the Communist Party USA, Earl R. Browder; who as a result of this deviation, was expelled from the Communist movement, not only by the Third International, but by the Communist Party, USA itself.
One has to remember the efforts of Ricardo Fonseca to defend the proletarian revolutionary character of the Popular Front. He upheld the principles of Marxism-Leninism within the “Communist” Party of Chile, assumed the General Secretariat of the party, and defeated the former secretary general (forced to resign), Carlos Contreras Labarca, who was deeply committed to the ideological and practical deviations of the Browderist right. Luis Corvalan, who after the death of Ricardo Fonseca, on July 21, 1949, adopted the positions of Browderism and its ideological sibling, Khrushchevite revisionism – the greatest tragedy of the contemporary international communist movement. Moreover, during the defeat and slaughter that marked the fascist coup in Chile in 1973, Corvalan himself wrote that “Browderite revisionism made a dent in our party, weakening its ability to fight imperialism and weakening its role as vanguard of the working class in the struggle for its interests. Additionally, it tended to disarm the party ideologically in face of the immediate post-war struggles it would face.”
It is clear that, although there was no final victory, efforts were made within the “Communist” Party of Chile, by Marxist-Leninist to uphold the Third International and the Popular Front line. Therefore, the fraudulent efforts made by Trotskyites to present the Popular Front and its legal practices as a revisionist concept leading to the abandonment of the proletarian revolutionary path, are nothing but a hoax.
As an example, and in order to clear away some more of the lies put forward about the Popular Front policy, one should examine the program supported by the Popular Front in Spain, which, as can be seen, did NOT in any way entail “a waiver of class independence” : The Republican Party, Republican Left, Republican Union and the Socialist Party, General Workers Confederation, the National Federation of Young Socialists, the Communist Party, the Unionist Party, the Workers Party of Marxist Unification, while safeguarding their doctrinal principles, came to an understanding and a common political plan to strengthen electoral lineup and the standard of governance needed to develop the Republican left with the support of labor in the case of electoral victory…
Today there is no longer a Soviet Union nor a strongly led world Communist movement, based on firm Marxist-Leninist positions, openly engaged in a multi-faceted battle against imperialism and reaction, against opportunism and revisionism — and their cousins, the Trotskyites. But, there are still communist parties and revolutionary organizations which adhere to the path of revolution and socialism. We seek to work to unite the revolutionary labor movement on a Marxist-Leninist, anti-imperialist and internationalist basis. These are the forward steps of today’s anti-fascist, democratic, popular and socialist struggles.
We are currently undergoing major mass protest movements among workers, peasants and youth, ranging across five continents. Lately, after the great workers’ demonstrations in Europe against unemployment and the capitalist crisis, we witnessed the uprising of the Arab peoples in the Middle East. The flags of freedom, against neo-liberalism, and for the revolution and socialism, are waving in the hands of millions, adding to the heroic and long Palestinian struggle against Zionism and imperialism.
Today there are societies that are undergoing a remarkable struggle for national sovereignty, for the right to the social development of their people. These are born and are driven forward by broad popular democratic mass movements, and within them, revolutionary and communist forces, with various levels of revolutionary development and proletarian political understanding. They are making efforts to properly address immediate tasks, while reaffirming the perspective of socialist revolution.
Bolivia and Venezuela, their governments, stand out in our Latin America, in opposition to imperialist and hegemonic designs, in demanding respect for their sovereignty. They join the heroic struggle that, for over half a century has inspired the Cuban Revolution. Elsewhere, in the same direction, we have the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nepal, and Belarus; all of them are engaged in a broad movement for national and popular rights and against capitalist imperialism.
We are clear about what happens when one cuts or abandons the ideological struggle in the face of bourgeois enemies. We should not care how these may be disguised, whether in leftist or rightist garb, we must give battle. The fall of socialist regimes, though momentary, is the leading example of where betrayal and revisionism leads. However, the wheel of history will not stop, and these countries, including those who were part of Lenin’s and Stalin’s USSR, will come back to the future, socialism.
In the present struggle against the imperialist powers we have the experience of fighting Nazism and Fascism, and the experience of the Popular Front. These, which we have commemorated today, are a rich source of lessons in seeking to resolve the principal contradiction of the period in which we live and in bringing about a broad, anti-capitalist, mass movement, and a socialist victory. That is why we must beware of petty-bourgeois attitudes and positions; falsely leftist, which prefer to shake hands with the most reactionary rightists. Instead, we must make alliances with those sectors which, although objectively not Marxist-Leninist, are anti-imperialist and progressive, are in contradiction to and oppose imperialist hegemony. Likewise, we must especially beware of those who get carried away by excessive enthusiasm or are simply dedicated to sowing confusion; those who see “socialism” everywhere, confusing the contradictory processes of the struggle for national sovereignty and popular rights as automatically being socialist; and, not seeing them for what they are — part of the general fight for the revolution and socialism.
Petty bourgeois radicalism plays at revolution by attacking all those who are not with their maximum “program”. Whether they call themselves Trotskyites or not, whether they realize it or not, they act just like Trotsky. These appear different from the Khrushchev revisionists and their submissive and conciliatory false Parliamentary roads, but they are brothers in sowing confusion, liquidationism, and betrayal. They are the fifth columns of reaction. Embedded in the labor and peoples’ movement, they boycott the anti-fascist struggle, they deny the victory of the workers and peoples, and they deny the exploits of the Red Army, with Comrade Stalin at the head, which in its day destroyed the reactionaries’ dream to impose Nazi-Fascism on all mankind.
Comrades, the workers and peasants, the people, the democratic and revolutionary forces, and the Communists were yesterday able to defeat Nazi-fascism. Today, let us arise and defeat imperialism. Let us achieve socialism.
Long live May 9, 1945!
Long live the Red Army and Communist Party of Stalin!
Long live the correct, proletarian, and revolutionary Popular Front!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
Long live Marxism-Leninism!
Workers and peoples of the world, unite!