Testimony of Gitlow


[?] 12

secret, urgent

Comrades! Inasmuch as a resolution of the VI Congress of our American Communist Party concerning Comrade Bukharin's situation has become the subject of debate at this session of the plenum of the Central Committee of our fraternal party of the Soviet Union; and inasmuch as Comrade [Philip] Dengel has issued a statement on that subject which needs further elucidation, I consider it necessary to give the following information about the facts in this matter.

  1. The Central Committee of our party has more than once made clear and, in precise language, formulated into resolutions the fact that our Central Committee unreservedly follows the line of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolshevik) [VKP(b)]. ....
  2. Despite these repeated unanimous declarations by the Central Committee, the opposition in our party has mounted a campaign throughout the whole party--a campaign led by the chief All-American Bureau of the League of Trade Union Propaganda-- whereby they accused our Central Committee of supporting Comrade Bukharin in his fight against the policies of the Central Committee of the VKP(b). Our opposition asserted itself as the only "true supporters of Stalin" in America.
  3. At our congress, Comrade [Earl] Browder, speaking for the opposition, brought forward that same accusation and announced that they (the opposition) "will not let this congress off with just a declaration on this political question, but will force it to submit to an open vote the question of Comrade Bukharin's condemnation, naming him by name." We could not fail to understand the meaning of this announcement, for we knew that representatives of the ECCI [Executive Committee of the Communist International] served in fact as an integral part of the opposition faction, controlling its strategy at the congress.
  4. The same day that Comrade Browder made his disclosure, leaders of the Central Committee held an all-night meeting with representatives of the ECCI. At that meeting, Comrade Dengel told us openly that that the ECCI considered us adherents of Bukharin and that that fact influenced the ECCI in its assessment of the American question. We were informed that our repeated political declarations refuting that persuasion were insufficient to absolve us from this suspicion. We were told that our statements should be much more concrete, and that specific names should not be included.
  5. At the same time, the opposition at our Congress prepared a statement, publication of which was later demanded by the ECCI representatives. In that statement, for the first time in our party, the names of Stalin and Bukharin were specifically mentioned in a document concerning disputes in the VKP(b). The relevant passage said:

    "Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands at the present time rejection of the openly opportunistic viewpoint of right-wing elements in the German CP and in the VKP(b) represented by [Otto] Brandler, Frumkin, etc., and also the most energetic struggle against the pacifist viewpoint (Ewert, Ember- Dro, etc.) which are based on the interpretation given by Bukharin to the decisions of the VI Congress and on his article "Notes of an Economist" and on his speech at the Moscow conference dedicated to Lenin's memory, also titled "Lenin's political testament". Loyalty with regard to the Comintern demands unconditional support of the line of the ruling party of the Comintern, the VKP(b) and of its Central Committee, led by Comrade Stalin."

  6. Comrade [William W.] Weinstone, who worked under the direct supervision of Comrade Dengel and has never taken a single step without Dengel's approval, presented the statement, which further said:

    "The Congress supports the Central Committee of the VKP(b), under the leadership of Comrade Stalin. Further, inasmuch as Comrade Bukharin has been estranged for the last few months from the the Comintern leadership, in view of his position, in view of his vacillating stance in the struggle with right wing and pacifist groups in the Comintern; insomuch as Comrade Bukharin's position hinders the development of the ruthless struggle against right wing and pacifist groups, we therefore propose that the Comintern make a final decision on Comrade Bukharin's leadership of the Comintern."

  7. Given this situation, leaders of the Central Committee finally recommended that the Presidium of the Congress present the Congress with a resolution on the question of Comrade Bukharin's future work in the Comintern. Comrades Dengel and [Harry] Pollitt were both present at that session of the Presidium and at that session of the Congress at which the resolution was unanimously adopted; they absolutely did not protest it nor raise any question in conjunction with that resolution. Likewise neither of the two Comintern representatives made any remarks or posed any questions when the statements of Comrade Weinstone and the Opposition were presented to the Congress.

I offer these facts for the information of your Plenum.

With communist greetings,

Benjamin Gitlow

translated by [?] Reinshten and [?] Mikhailov


TRANSLATOR'S COMMENTS: This document was translated into Russian from English. It was supposed to prove to the Plenum that the famous resolution against Bukharin adopted by the American CP was, despite his protests to the contrary, a direct result of pressure on the part of Philip Dengel. ("I Confess," by B. Gitlow, p. 546.)