RECENT events in Hungary have brought home to thoughtful Catholics once again the ruthless determination of the Communists to destroy the Church and, in time, all traces of
The technique employed against the Catholic Church in Hungary has run true to form. It has followed closely the lines laid down by Lenin and Stalin which Communists everywhere follow with an almost terrifying consistency.
Cardinal Mindszenty, whatever
the outcome of his trial, has achieved this much already; much of the process of liquidation which is normally carried out below the surface has been brought right out into the open for all the world to see. It seems an appropriate moment, _ therefore, to examine the Commun
1st technique in some detail, for it more has much mo than a purely Hun garian application. It has been
used in Belgium before and may very well be used again.
When Communists deal with either enemies or allies they work be understood by anyone who at tempts to follow the news intelli gently to-day. And, since any allies the Communists may make will sooner or later be treated by them as enemies it means a single pattern in either case.
How it should be done is set out in broad outline in the Marxist classics. is elaborated at Communist study classes all over the world and is thoroughly understood by anyone who has spent any length of time with the Communists and knows how the teachings of Lenin and Stalin are applied in practice. Classic Lines Against
For this reason it is possible to foresee the lines along which they will work and to understand the underlying intention in almost every move they make.
Their treatment of the Church in Hungary to-day is proceeding along the classic lines. The technique they are employing there is fully understood by every Marxist and has been used in the past to destroy organisations they have wanted to get rid of-trade unions, political parties, cultural and other bodies
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country after another all over the world.
Its basis is to be found very largely in the writings and teachings of Joseph Stalin, who has been the great exponent of Marxist-Leninist
strategy and tactics in what he Bescribes as the epoch of the proletarian revolution and proletarian dicta
torship and in the books and speeches of Lenin himself.
When the Communists wish to destroy an organisation this is how they proceed:
First. they attempt to win the support of some, Of least, of the rank n
and file. By carefully chosen cant
they seek to make it appear that they and their future victims have really a good deal in common and that, therefore, it is Only COM/11011 sense 1 to achieve some measure of co iotnpeeiriett(tr. there are some who air taken in y it.
It is, I suppose, typical of the flabbiness of modern thought that there are some who will agree when
the Communist declares: We are admittedly. in different camps when it comes to the long-term fundamental issues. but we can. at least, agree on the urgent practical necessities of the moment." It was along such
lines that the Editor of the Daily Worker recently argued in an appeal to Christians to support one of the Party's current campaigns.
When such limited co-operation (" the united front from below ") is achieved a big first step on the way to success has already been taken. For it means a fundamental change in the " morale " of a section of the potential enemy forces. To convince the enemy that you are " not so had after all " when you are at war is to
reduce his fighting spirit very i con
siderably and to create doubt n his mind as to the necessity for the fight at O.
Secondly, they seek so " isolate" the leaders from the rank and file in order to render the latter leaderless -which is, I believe, considered excellent military tactics.
This may be done by means of spreading personal calumnies against individuals, by creating doubt as to their suitability as leaders or as to their personal integrity. In a world recovering from a war with Fascism, it is clearly useful to brand such leaders **Fascist," If there is any " evidence" that can be used in support of this it is built up, exag
gerated and distorted. If it does not exist it may have to he created.
I remember how eagerly as a Marxist opponent of the Catholic Church, regularly writing on such questions, I seized upon what appeared to be evidence of an association between Catholics and Fascists and the pleasure and excitement with which we used it in the columns of the Daily Worker. I remember, too, with pleasure now. how the worthlessness of that evidence gradually sank into my consciousness, setting me off on a path whose end is Rome.
Then in order to facilitate the destruction of the leadership, rifts in the ranks of the leaders themselves are watched for and worked for. Anything which can he construed as such is given the widest possible publicity. the broadest possible interpretation and the maximum possible embellishment, At the same time the campaign to discredit the leaders is built up amongst the rank and file and before long some are beginning to ask " I wonder. is there anything in what the Communists say. Is he really a Fascist ?"
Once such questions are even being posed a " positive gain " to use the Communist jargon has been registered. The charge has become one which is open to debate, It is quite simple and it works. Once you have set people arguing about it you have gone some way towards blackening your victim.
Again, if no evidence is forthcoming to make it possible to start such a campaign it will be manufactured and will be just as effective in the end.
Normally such a process takes time and several lines will be pursued simultaneously; the wooing of the rank and file: the isolation, discrediting and ultimate destruction of the leadership; the driving of wedges between the leaders to facilitate the process. At the right moment. when the process has gone sufficiently far, the job of developing new leaders, creatures of the party, within the rank and file or among the existing lesser leaders is started.
In the course of the campaign for co-operation some will have shown themselves to have come closer to the Communists than to the organisation with which they are publicly associated. Their motives may he good, they may simply have become the unconscious tools of the Communists, or they may be bad, seeing a future career greater than they had previously deemed possible as being more important than devotion to principle or loyalty to leaders. But the result will be the same in either case.
At the right moment, when the old leaders have been removed or driven out, the " stooge leaders " will be ptesented to the populace as the real leaders who all along have represented the best traditions, interests and wishes of the people. I can think of several Anglicans who might quickly be promoted under such circumstances and several Labour M.P.s who would soon he heading the Socialist wing of the SocialistUnity party in Britain. Such people, the Communists with their cynicism know quite well, can almost always be found, for human flesh is weak and some are stupidand some yield more easily to temptation than others.
With the " top" leaders out of the way, the rest divided, a new leadership created. and confusion spread among the rank and file, the mopping up is fairly easy.
It may take different forms according to circumstances. We were carrying such a process into effect inside the old Independent Labour Party fairly early in my association with the Communist Party and under the existing circumstances we found the creation of a multiplicity of unofficial bodies within the official one the best way of finally reducing the whole thing to a farce.
Under different circumstances, particularly in a country where the party is in power, a combination of propaganda, persuasion, coercion and downright terror may achieve the end more quickly and steer the rank and file into the appropriate fold.
In Czechoslovakia by the time of the February putsch the vast majority of organisations, outside the .Church, within the State had been either rendered leaderless, provided with fake leaders or were riddled through and through with quislings. It is obviously easier to employ such a technique, and certainly quicker, to political organisations than to the Church. But the same lines are followed and the same strategy and tactics employed, and only an understanding of what is happening can prevent the same results.
The Communists in Hungary are applying their Marxism in a way which must have the admiration and approval of Marxists throughout the world. The first stage through which they have already passed was clearly laid down by Lenin in the following words:
" The first round against religion, the opium of the people, occupies an important position among the tasks of the cultural revolution. This fight must be carried on persistently and systematically. The proletarian power must withdraw all State support from the Church, and abolish the influence exercised by the Church in the system of education and train ing organised by the State; it must ruthlessly suppress the counter-revolutionary activities of ecclesiastical organisations. " The proletarian power acknow ledges freedom of conscience, but at the same time uses all the means at its disposal to conduct anti-religious propaganda, abolishes the privileged position of the established Church and reforms the entire educational system on the basis of the scientific materialist conception of the world."
The aim of all this he gave as " The final emancipation of the toiling masses from religion."
Applying the technique which is used for all " enemy bodies" to working class organisations in particular, the Communist International gave the main strategic aim of the Communist Party as to " extend its influence over the majority of the members of its own class, including working women and the working youth.
" To achieve this," it said, " the Communist Party must secure predominant influence in the broad mass proletarian organisations . . trade unions, factory councils, co-operative societies, sports organisations. cultural organisations, etc. It is particularly important for the purpose of winning over the majority of the proletariat to capture the trade unions . . . to work in reactionary trade unions and skilfully to capture them, to win the confidence of the broad masses of the industrially organised workers. To relieve and remove from their posts the reformist leaders, represent important tasks in the preparatory period."
Later. the same strategy and tactics are urged " to develop the struggle against the leaders of the reactionary cliques of the Catholic Church " as one of the " most important strongholds of Fascism."
Both Lenin and Stalin in their writings have been brutally frank about the need for the use of repression if the Communist aims are to be achieved.
Thus Stalin, in his hook Leninism. discussing the application of Lenin's methods to the peasantry, declared quite bluntly that " repressions are a necessary element in the offensive."
He went on to warn that even this was not enough. that even though they " arrest and exile tens and hundreds of thousands of kulaks," it would be wasted effort unless they also proceeded to " blow up and liquidate " the productive sources upon which they depended.
On another occasion Lenin gave this word of advice: "When one enjoys an overwhelming majority of forces one can succeed by direct frontal attack, When forces are inadequate, detours, waiting periods. zigzags, retreats, and so on and so forth, may be necessary."
That last point explains the Chinese Communists' current " tolerant " policy towards the Church and the campaign in Britain to prove that the party is not hostile to religion.
For the suffering Catholics of martyred Hungary and their heroic Cardinal it is a case of the " direct frontal attack " in its most brutal form. And we shall see it developed in all those Eastern European countries where the party boasts an " overwhelming majority of forces."
But by understanding Communist methods and Communist aims we can ensure that such a situation never arises here.