Despite the contributions made by Bill Bland to the communist movement it is not possible to ignore some serious errors of interpretation committed by him pertaining to the history of the international communist movement. As is known the victory of Nazism in Germany brought about a situation in which the perspectives of a revolutionary socialist offensive envisaged by the Sixth Congress of the Comintern of 1928 no longer held and it became imperative to reorientate the international communist movement towards a policy of defeating fascism. In 1934 Dimitrov and Stalin took the initiative to apply the tactics of united front in a new manner, especially through the popular front. During the course of the war they jointly refashioned the organizational forms of proletarian internationalist unity, dissolved the Comintern in 1943, established the International Information Department of the CPSU(b) and, later, the Cominform. Bill Bland rejected these policies even though Stalin had expressed his support for them, dubbed them as ‘revisionist’ and located these as the fountainhead of modern revisionism. Stalin was not directly or openly assailed on these questions but Dimitrov was categorized as an agent of Nazism and a tool of imperialism. Stalin had, it was argued, no role to play in the Comintern after 1928 which was controlled by a ‘revisionist majority’. By this contrived fiction artificially superimposed on the history of the Comintern the actual policies of Stalin were rejected and the ‘real policies’ of Stalin as interpreted by Bill Bland were counterposed in their place. We may also note the pronounced errors on the national and colonial questions. Bill Bland rejected the views of Lenin and the Comintern on the existence of the black nation with the right of self-determination in the USA. He also upheld the social-democratic theory of ‘decolonisation’ propagated by M.N. Roy by which it was considered possible for significant economic development, industrial advance and ‘decolonisation’ to take place in colonies such as India without the occurrence of a democratic revolution. This theory was rejected firmly at the Sixth Congress of the Comintern in 1928 and its falsity has been confirmed in the decades after 1947.
Bill Bland will be remembered by the communist movement for having devoted his entire adult life to the cause of communism, for standing by the principles of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin when almost the whole international communist movement was being penetrated and corroded by lesser doctrines, for having applied the principles of the classics to cognise the problems engendered by modern revisionism and to have sought out the path to communism in difficult times. If in these complex circumstances he sometimes strayed or erred in his interpretations these will be put to one side and all that is positive will form part of the treasure-house of Marxism.
Prof. Vijay Singh