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9 Factionalism and Mass Work, 1925–7

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Chapter Summary

In the period 1925-7, the intervention of the Comintern qualitatively shifted. Just as with Bolshevisation, the intervention of the Comintern, while promising an end to factional warfare, manipulated factionalism for the benefit of its own increasingly Stalinist leadership. The Executive Committee of the Communist International (ECCI) played factions off against one another, and kept the factional cauldron boiling. Combined with the apparent strength of American capitalism amid the prosperous 1920s, factionalism created a cynicism among many leading cadres. In the pursuit of power within the party, subservience to the Comintern apparatus and Stalinist dogma became paramount, instead of the revolutionary programme that had animated the early Comintern. In mid-1928, the stylish Labor Defender's circulation reached 22,000. The Passaic strike and the International Labor Defense (ILD) demonstrate the potential of the Communist Party's mass work, and they demonstrate how factionalism and the accompanying political unclarity hindered this work.

Keywords: Bolshevisation; Communist Party's mass work; ECCI; factionalism; International Labor Defense (ILD); Passaic strike



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