The Coming Dissolution of NATO
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is the greatest construction of military alliances ever created by the United States and has endured now over twenty-five years since the end of World War II. It serves as the military arm of a constellation of States known as the Organization of European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) within which a hardcore grouping operates known as the Common Market Community. The chief purpose of NATO is to contain, roll back, and destroy the Soviet constellation of States. NATO was part of a series of such alliances including CENTO, the Central Treaty Organization, and SEATO, the South East Asia Treaty Organization.
CENTO, embracing Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, with the addition of the United Kingdom and the close cooperation of the United States, soon collapsed. Conflict between Iraq and Iran, war between Pakistan and India, total stagnation and decay of Turkey, ending with the defusing of Turkish atomic rocket bases in return for similar concessions by the Soviet Union in Cuba, vigorous entrance of the Soviet Union in the Arab world especially around Iraq—these were the principal contradictions causing the end of CENTO.
SEATO, supposedly for the benefit of the Philippines, Pakistan and Thailand, but loaded with the membership of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France and the United States, was given a mortal blow in the Vietnam and Indochina wars that continued for a quarter of a century. SEATO is no more. Thailand has expelled U.S. military forces and bases in that country. The Soviets have greatly increased their influence in India, Bangladesh, and Burma. Anti-capitalist China has become an enormous power soon to absorb Taiwan. Today it is the Western Powers who are being contained, rolled back, and defeated.
Thus, only NATO remains as the last great international military alliance of the United States guarding Europe and guarding the Elbe River line between the East and the West. Embraced within NATO were originally almost all the countries of western and west-central Europe extending even to the Aegean Sea, namely: the United Kingdom, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, West Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, as well as the United States and Canada. Now Greece and Turkey are out.
Behind NATO stands the Organization of European Economic Cooperation (OEEC), bound in a set of close economic alliances with the United States and created at a time when war-exhausted, destitute, and famished Europe had to rely entirely on the United States for economic rehabilitation and modernization. The OEEC had practically the same membership as NATO except Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Turkey were allowed to join, Spain was not. The United Kingdom and Switzerland refused, while Canada was ineligible. The United States was affiliated by special treaty, but not a member. It was then that the United States set up its Marshall Plan with an initial allocation of $25 billion. Later the United Kingdom was to join the Common Market as a full member.
Under the provisions of the U.S. Economic Cooperation Act goods were to be sold and sent to these European countries by the United States with the national currencies of the buying countries withdrawn from circulation and held in special accounts. The goods, though technically “sold” were actually to be given as a grant and not as a credit or as a loan. The prices charged, however, were very high because U.S. prices were steadily rising at the time. In 1946-47 wholesale prices in the U.S. had risen by 33 per cent and in the following year by another 17 per cent. Thus, by the time the actual inauguration of the Marshall Plan occurred in 1948 the prices had been raised by a level of at least 50 per cent over what they had been only two years before. (The further rise in U.S. prices of 18 per cent during the years 1950-51 was the equivalent to a loss of gold and dollar reserves to the rest of the world of $3 billion.)
This export of goods rather than of grants in money from the United States served to stall off any possible depression in the U.S. and helped expand and develop its industries, especially the heavy basic industries producing capital goods so necessary for Europe and so vital to the war potential of America. The export also made Europe more familiar with and dependent on American machines and equipment, helped Americanize Western Europe, and facilitated the establishment of U.S. branch factories abroad with products already well known to the people.
The funds (called counter-part funds) used to purchase the U.S. goods were accumulated and set aside in each country to be used to finance public projects or loaned to private companies for capital formation, etc. They could also be used to develop overseas territorial production. In this way the United States could benefit as follows:
1) To oversee all the expenses of the governments involved so that no major governmental act could be performed without U.S. approval; all government books were open to the inspection to U.S. officials and full reports made;
2) To see to it that government expenditures were in line with U.S. policies; for example, the military expenses, the social security expenditures, the wages and other benefits paid to the workers, etc.;
3) Five per cent of the counter-part funds were to be used for U.S. needs in Europe. Thus Europe was to pay for the control and overseeing done by the United States as well as allow the U.S. to buy the strategic materials needed;
4) Territorial developments could ensure the necessary supply of vital raw materials on which the U.S. economy was dependent.
THE ANSWER of the Soviet Union to the formation of this formidable plan was to forbid the member States under its control to join the Organization of European Economic Cooperation but instead to form its own Eastern European Council for Economic Mutual Aid (EECEMA) and to build its own military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, embracing East Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania and the Soviet Union. Yugoslavia and Albania refused to join. Russian and Warsaw Pact troops have been used several times to keep in line such members as East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.
With Soviet opposition to the OEEC firmly established, followed shortly later by the Korean War, the U.S. decided that all OEEC countries receiving Marshall Aid were bound to remove Communist Parties from their councils of government. Thus the Communist Parties were ousted from the French and from the Italian governments despite the active roles that these parties had played in the victory for the Allied Powers over Nazi-Fascism.
Practically automatically all European governments were thus moved a step towards the Right. The socialists replaced the communists as the Left Wing of coalition governments, quickly giving their approval to such political moves as working closely with the Right Wing and centrist parties and joining them in working intimately with the United States. The International Federation of Trade Unions was split by separating OEEC trade unions from those controlled by international communism. The Americans formed their own International Trade Union Committee.
The countries which were members of the OEEC had to pledge to each other to create the conditions and establish the institutions necessary for the success of European economic cooperation and for the effective use of American aid. These countries pledged themselves to support the following points:
1) the development of production through efficient use of available resources;
2 the drawing up and fulfillment of general programs for production and exchange of goods and services;
3) the maximum possible interchange of goods and services through efforts for a multilateral system of payments and relaxation of restrictions on trade and payments;
4) the study and establishment of customs unions;
5) the reduction of tariff and other barriers;
6) the achievement of currency and internal financial stability and sound exchange rates;
7) the fullest and most effective use of manpower.
Each of the OEEC countries also made the following agreements with the U.S.:
1) that the country utilize its resources efficiently, promote the types of production essential to the recovery program, take measures for financial stability, and reduce trade barriers;
2) that five percent of the counter-part funds could be used as costs of defraying expenses for the purpose of U.S. government administration and for the purchase of materials of which the U.S. had a deficiency, with the U.S. Government controlling the use of the counterpart funds;
3) that the country facilitate the transfer to the U.S. of materials the U.S. needed and to promote the production of such, inclusive of overseas territories, with appropriate arrangements to be made for the right of access by U.S. nationals to all parts of the country and overseas territories in question;
4) that the country facilitate the travel by U.S. citizens, furnish appropriate information to the US., and grant necessary privileges to missions sent out by the Economic Cooperation Administration.
Under this last point, a large number of American technical experts and missions were sent out under the Economic Cooperation Administration in order to check on the realization of the purposes of the Act. An Anglo-American Council on Productivity was formed; experts were sent to Greece and elsewhere, many industries were studied in France, etc. The advice given included not merely points on the efficiency of plant layout and equipment, but on the proficiency of labor, on the effective methods of skills, on labor-management operations, on employee morale, etc., including methods of determining job requirements, effective placement techniques, methods of upgrading and retraining personnel, apprenticeship training, and on-the-job training. The counter-part funds paid for a large number of junkets by trade union and management officials who came to play leading roles in their respective fields. Assistance was also given to national statistics and in accounting, including those in overseas territories.
All this was a far cry from the autarchy and self-sufficiency practices in pre-World War II and World War II days. It became the role of America to smash all the encrusted petty nationalism of Western Europe and to organize and integrate Western European economy into a powerful system under American domination for the coming struggle against the Soviets. At the same time shrewd yankee trading permitted great advantages for the U.S.A. as well.
How free trade was established among the OEEC members can be seen from the table below showing the liberalization of trade in percentage form.
PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL TRADE AS FREE TRADE Country June 1950 June 1955 Italy 54% 99% Greece 56% 95% Portugal 53% 94% Sweden 53% 93% West Germany 44% 91% Belgium & Luxemburg 59% 91% Netherlands 64% 91% United Kingdom 54% 85% France 58% 77%
Here two important points should be added:
1) The United States, of course, was given the same rights as any of the other OEEC countries, although not a member.
2) The Plan called for no such development of free trade with the countries under Soviet control. Even for 1952-53, the last year of the Marshall Plan, the Plan protected only 73 per cent of Western Europe’s pre-War imports from East Europe and only 80 per cent of Western Europe’s pre-War exports to be realized.
Thus Western Europe, while opening its doors wide to American imports, was to bar imports from Eastern Europe even though they might be very much needed, such as coal and grain, and could be bought much cheaper there. Later, with the Korean War, these rulings were to be made even more stringent.
At the very start of the Marshall Plan, as an immediate exercise of authority the leading Western Powers backed up by the newly-acquired atomic weapons of the U.S., forced the end of Russian-Polish seizure of German goods as part of reparations for damages sustained during the German invasion of those countries.
The doors of OEEC countries were also thrown wide open for American investors. Among the guarantees established by the European Cooperation Act, Section 111(b)(3) established the convertibility of the proceeds of new investment by private American capital to participating European countries. In short American investors were to be allowed to export their investment proceeds in dollars or other hard currencies, if they could, even though other investors could not do so. The result was a great burst of private American direct investments not only in Western Europe but in its overseas dependencies and throughout the world, the total jumping from $17 billion in 1949 to $29 billion in 1955.
The following figures illustrate the enormous changes that took place within the OEEC countries after the inauguration of the Marshall Plan. In round figures at the end of World War II in 1945, total U.S. merchandise exports were $12.5 billion with imports at $5.2 billion; at the end of the Marshall Plan in 1955, total U.S. merchandise exports were $14.4 billion and imports $11.5 billion; by 1974 merchandise exports were $97.1 billion and imports were $103 billion (in current money).
The international investment position of the United States had most drastically changed. At the start of the Marshall Plan total U.S. assets abroad were about $54.4 billion; at the end of the Marshall Plan they were about $65.1 billion; by 1973 they amounted to $236.1 billion with the net remainder, after deducting U.S. liabilities to foreigners, being $73 billion (in current money).
The figures for U.S. private long-term direct investments, in current money, show a total in round figures of $37.2 billion for Europe in 1973 with payments in interest, dividends and branch earnings amounting to $2.5 billion for that year alone. (Note that “direct” investments represent private enterprises in one country controlled by investors in another country or in the management of which foreign investors have an important voice. It does not include “other private” investments representing long-term miscellaneous holdings such as government or corporate bonds, interests in trusts and estates or bank loans.)
Nor does the above include U.S. government foreign grants and credits which during the years of the Marshall Plan totaled in current money, $55.1 billion and which from World War II through 1974 totaled about $163 billion net.
The formation of the OEEC permitted the United States to obtain all the strategic war and other essential materials it needed to import from abroad. The Marshall Plan allowed large quantities of strategic materials to be bought with cheap counter-part fund currencies: such as tin, cobalt, diamonds, flake graphite, tungsten, mercury, antimony, bauxite, columbite, corundum, fluorspar, potash. Also to be developed were petroleum resources, copper, iron, zinc, nickel, vanadium, mica, asbestos, beryl, bismuth, cadmium, zircon, barite, molybdenum, platinum, chromite, manganese, and uranium (for last item, uranium, figures are secret).
Opportunities for participation by American capital were disclosed in French North African lead mining, French Cameroon tin mining, French Congo lead-zinc mining, New Caledonian nickel development, Celebes nickel development, Sumatra aluminum production. Note also such productions as germanium (Belgian Congo), kyanite (Kenya), palm oil, pepper, platinum, pyrethrum (Kenya), quartz crystals (Angola and Mozambique), quinidine, rape seed, rubber, sisal, talc (Sardinia), and tantalite (Belgian Congo). (All geographic names of countries are those of the times in question.)
Let us not forget also that another of the guarantees set in the European Cooperation Act provided that American ships had to participate in the shipment of cargoes from the United states paid for by ECA funds. Fifty percent of all the stuff transported was to be shipped by U.S. ships, if they were available. And this was done even though the rates on American ships were considerably higher than elsewhere. Of course, if the rates were “too far” out of line, the ships of other countries could be used.
Finally, the basic ideas of the Plan were supposed to include hard work, modification of nationalism, continued austerity, and policies that might involve personal discomforts. This meant that under no circumstances were the people to have a higher standard of living than that of pre-War times and that they were to be kept down as far as possible so that government deficits should not get out of hand. These policies were fully realized, although, thanks to such policies, Western Europe, especially France and Italy, found themselves with many strikes and demonstrations of workers on their hands. Europe had been placed on rations for the time being.
Through the European Payments Union established by the OEEC, a clearing house for mutual clearances of trade balances was organized which ended the former bilateral arrangements that had prevailed previously among the members.
THE STRUGGLE of the United States with the Soviet Union, which began even before World War II ended, naturally led the U.S. to look to Germany for support. Germany had amply shown what she could do to Russia with European backing. The trouble with getting full cooperation among OEEC members was that nazi racism had naturally led to a sharpened nationalism on all sides. To break these nationalist hatreds, so sharply prevalent in post-World War II Europe became the chief aim of the OEEC. This policy was sharpened with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 and the consolidation of the Chinese revolution.
In 1953, within the OEEC, a plan for a Coal-Steel Community was developed and realized with Germany at the head. This project united the coal-iron regions of the Ruhr and Saar with those of Alsace and Lorraine, and closely connected through a common coal-steel market the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg), France, Italy, and Germany into a common super-national industrial organization with common rules and regulations for production, distribution, financial control, labor regulations, etc.
Previous to this effort at the very start at the Marshal Plan the United States had urged the formation of a European Custom Union and when that could not be realized at the moment, supported the idea of a Benelux Economic Union and a Scandinavian Customs Union. The Benelux countries, however, failed to form a full Economic Union although they did take steps in the direction of a Customs Union. The Scandinavian countries, while not establishing a Customs Union, did create a common labor market among themselves, each country according its own social security benefits to the citizens of the other Scandinavian countries in its jurisdiction.
The Coal-Steel Community effort went much further, although it was limited only to the coal and steel industries and operated as a pilot project for future developments. With the success of this effort the stage was properly set for the next big move, the formation of the European Common Market.
The European Common Market was formed in 1957 to take in the same countries which had piloted the Coal-Steel Community project. The rules adopted included the following:
1) the abolition of tariffs and quantitative restrictions on trade to proceed gradually over a period of 12 to 15 years among the six members and the establishment of a common tariff according to a given time table;
2) common agricultural marketing schemes to maintain agricultural income in each member country;
3) freedom of movement for capital and labor at least on common bases;
4) liberalization of trade in service;
5) certain measures which may directly frustrate tariff removal (such as subsidies) prohibited or supervised;
6) harmonization of general economic and social policies, such as equal pay for men and women, a similar work week, holidays, etc.;
7) the establishment of a European Commission with powers to invoke escape clauses, abandon internal taxes, etc.; appeals from this Commission being made possible to a European Council of Ministers voting by majority vote on weighted ballots;
8) establishment of a supra-national Court of Justice, a supra-national European Assembly, a supra-national Committee on Monetary Policy;
9) creation of a re-adaptation fund for retraining labor;
10) creation of a European investment Bank of $1 billion to assist in financing economic development;
11) dependent overseas territories of member countries were to be associated to the Common Market and their exports were to come in free. The overseas territories could be given favored treatment for imports by the six members. A fund of over half a billion dollars was to be contributed by the member countries for investment in overseas territories.
12) the eventual objective was to be a full economic union; the final objective was to be a full political union leading to a United States of Western Europe.
There was no question but that this project of a European Economic Community, strongly fostered by the U.S., would tremendously further the hegemony of Germany throughout western Europe. German development of steel, engineering, hard goods production, etc., and her relatively better and more efficient methods were bound to spread German prowess everywhere.
With no tariff barriers in her way she might come to dominate all of Western Europe, leaving to France and to Italy relatively less important sections of the industrial division of labor and greater unemployment. Germany would thus realize the dreams of Hitler of organizing Europe.
West Germany stood to gain in several other great respects. First of all, by such European fusion she would force France, Italy, and the others to fight for her unification with East Germany and to support the coming struggle for restoration in full of her Eastern frontiers, including East Prussia taken by the Soviet Union and the land now claimed by Poland. Second, all the colonial territories formerly barred to Germany were now open to her goods and trade, her capital and men. Third, while previously disarmed, she would now have a formidable armed force at her disposal together with nuclear arms reinforcement. Fourth, as the most stable industrial power she could use her great strength to put down any revolutionary effort made by the working class of Europe. She was mortally afraid of French and Italian weaknesses in this respect and now she would be able to strengthen the internal front as well.
SUPERIOR to all these considerations, however, were the basic objects and aims of the United States. She saw the East Bloc constantly growing by leaps and bounds and in the long run destined to overtake and surpass all of the world’s capitalist powers. She had to make an effort to organize all forces against the Soviet Union and thus to increase the power of each European capitalist country so as to give them the best methods of production and the highest military striking strength. She did not aspire to any European territory for herself. She could raise the goal of a United States of Europe as a motivating ideal to inspire Western Europe to capture and ingest as many of the Central and Eastern European countries as possible.
On the other hand, paradoxically enough, what the United States was doing was financing a program which was directed largely toward the reduction of its own exports. It faced the prospect of having a Europe with huge surpluses and excess productive capacity partly in competition with its own. A greatly rebuilt capitalist Europe must perish if it does not have international outlets for its exports. It can not find these outlets in the United States, nor will it be able to win in any competition with U.S. economy in world markets. Thus the ultimate destiny of such a European Community is either to choke to death or to fight for elbow room, not with the United States but with the Soviet Union. From the U.S. point of view, Europe is expendable. To insure this a new European Atomic Energy Agency (Euratom) was proposed and Europe furnished by the U.S. with atomic weapons. Needless to say, Soviet Atomic rockets pointed West were to hold all Western Europe paralyzed.
WE CAN now see what a tremendous development NATO was designed to protect. Were NATO to be destroyed the consequences would be enormous and disastrous for the United States. For one thing the United States would be effectively driven out of Europe as she has been driven out of the heart of Asia, and reduced to a power omnipotent only in the Western Hemisphere. This, in turn, would spell a crisis in American economy and political life. The danger of nuclear war would be avoidable only if this destruction of U.S. power went along with an enormous growth of people’s power in the rest of the world.
That NATO forces can be in serious trouble could be seen in the breakdown in the Eastern Mediterranean because of military fighting between Greece and Turkey; in the breakdown in the Western Mediterranean flank because of the social revolution in Portugal (the possible revolution in Spain would effect only the special arrangements between Spain and the United States since Spain is not a member of NATO). NATO breakdown could be seen in the middle Mediterranean where Libya grants bases to the Soviet Union, where Algeria favors the Soviets, and where Italy shows half-heartedness.
Faced with the logic of the situation the Great Powers statesmen called for a “detente” or a relaxation of tension. It began with the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) talks to limit nuclear arms proliferation and to end the race to expand the nuclear threat to uncontrollable limits. No treaty has as yet been signed, with each side accusing the other of cheating on what was verbally agreed. In the meantime production of newer and more effective weapons is steadily being researched and realized.
Later, in 1975, 35 heads of State met in Helsinki in pursuit of “detente,” to ease the tension on human rights and international travel and communications. The occasion was used in the West to excoriate the emigration policies of Russia, especially in regard to the Jews, and to denounce again the Berlin Wall. The conference, known formally as the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, had long been sought by the Soviet Union as final recognition of Europe’s post-War boundaries, particularly the partition of Germany and the incorporation of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania into the Soviet Union. At Helsinki the statesmen agreed on several broad humanitarian provisions including the reunification of families, the right to enter and leave countries regularly on family visas, marriage across national lines, treatment of journalists, etc. Despite all the verbiage, the effects have been minimal up to now. For each side “detente” has been a strategic maneuver of the cold war. At Helsinki the unenforceable concessions made by the Soviet Union were as nothing compared to the definitive recognition of the new European boundaries established by the Soviets after World War II. East and West Germany have now recognized each other as separate States entitled to existence.
“Detente” is part of the great diplomatic offensive by the Soviet Union in Europe which it hopes will remove all U.S. troops, planes and atomic rockets from Europe and liquidate NATO. In the very early days of the “cold war” it was proposed by the then Polish Minister that Europe be left alone militarily by both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and that both sides withdraw their military forces from the continent. This, of course, could not then be accepted by the U.S. at that time because the withdrawal by the numerically superior forces of the Soviet Union would mean a withdrawal of but a few hundred miles to the East, with easy ability to return, while the U.S. withdrawal meant an extremely costly withdrawal across the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of miles, with very little chance of return. Furthermore, U.S. troops were the best guarantee that the “gentlemen’s agreement” made with Stalin at Yalta that Europe was to be divided into two spheres of influence, East of the Elbe be maintained. With strong Communist parties in Italy and in France, and with capitalist Europe substantially weakened, revolution could be staged that would win all Europe for the Soviets. Each side tried to strangle the other.
The struggle by the Soviet Union under the guise of “detente” began long ago and took the following features:
1) Finland was neutralized and forced into a position of being a “friendly neighbor” to the Soviet Union. Finland and other States on the Baltic were not to join the Common Market, nor was Finland to join the OEEC. Sweden never joined NATO.
2) Austria was also neutralized and forbidden to join the Common Market; nor could Austria be part of NATO.
3) The East-Central Powers such as Poland, East Germany, Hungary, and Rumania were overawed by Russian military might to give no comfort to forces of the West. They could not join the OEEC or the Common Market, they were not to allow Radio Free Europe to penetrate their air space. The doctrine was established that Warsaw Pact troops could police the discipline of the East-Central States by invasion if need be. A severe attack was launched against the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency which supported Radio Free Europe.
4) A strong wall was built dividing Berlin to prevent any penetrations of East Germany by the West and to block the escape of East Germans. Finally by dint of unceasing pressure, East Germany and West Germany were induced to sign a treaty recognizing each others boundaries as permanent and inviolable. Former nazi Germany was permanently split into two.
5) Turkey was progressively neutralized and paralyzed. Soviet Union vessels had unobstructed passage through the Bosphorus to the Mediterranean. The Soviet Union was allied to Arab States surrounding Turkey. After the Cuban rocket crisis, Russia compelled the defusing of the American bases planted in Turkey to threaten the Soviets from the South. The breakdown of NATO in the Eastern end of the Mediterranean is simply illustrated by the open preparations carried on for war between Greece and Turkey, first over Cyprus and now over oil in the Aegean Sea. These two countries seemed at times a hairbreadth away from full-scale war.
ALL THESE defensive measures under “detente” having been successful, the Soviet forces can now proceed to the offensive. This has been most appropriately tied to the general economic depression that hit especially the United States after its Vietnam and Indochina debacles. The depression spread to all Western Europe, particularly strongly felt in Italy, France, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal.
Portugal burst into popular revolution: the old fascist dictatorship of Salazar and Caetano was overthrown as the military under General Antonio de Spinola took the reins of government and declared that Portugal would give up its African conquered territories of Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Angola. The military hinted that it would like to have recognition from the Soviet Union and would allow the Communist Party leaders in jail, abroad, and in exile to build their organization freely. Such action would mean the complete loss of the Western Mediterranean to NATO and caused immediate alarm in the United States. Under the Policy of “detente” however, the Communist Party of Portugal became very willing to follow the military and to declare the Party would not seek Portugal’s withdrawal from NATO. And this for a very good reason: The Communists wanted to learn all the secrets of NATO before destroying it and this they could do as part of the Portuguese government taking part in the inner working of NATO itself.
Spain also went into a crisis with the death of the fascist General Franco. Under the new King Carlos, Spain, too, has been forced to modify its stand towards the Communists who now declare the wish to carry on the new “Eurocommunist” line of no violent revolution. They are willing to work for Spain getting into the Common Market.
The severity of the depression has forced all the capitalist developed countries to expand their foreign trade. One form of increasing exports was to press the exports in arms and war materials. For the United States, for example, the chief items in export trade besides wheat and corn are sales of military, nuclear, and electronic equipment and of airplanes. But this has not been enough. What also has resulted is a great increase in East-West trade, as can be seen in the below (box) figures referring to the U.S. alone.
---------------------------------------------------------------- Exports and Imports of Merchandise by U.S. to and from Communist Areas of Europe. (In current money) Item 1960(in millions) 1974(in millions) Increase Exports $194 $2,230 1,150% Imports 84 1,007 1,200% To these figures must be added the trade between OEEC and the Eastern European Council for Economic Mutual Aid. ----------------------------------------------------------------
The economic depression having drastically affected Italy, has caused a great shift in the political spectrum to the Left. The Communist Party is now only a small distance behind the leading Christian-Democratic Party, so that the country can not move without some support from the Communists who insist that now they mean to become part of a coalition government, either in a common front with the Socialists, or in an alliance with the Christian-Democratic centrists. The old alliances have become bankrupt and will no longer work. Some drastic social and economic changes are due in Italy. The Communist Party of Italy declares it is no longer bound to follow Russia blindly and will go its way to victory. Similar declarations have been made by French, Spanish, and other Communist parties. The old Communist monolithism attacked first by Tito of Yugoslavia has now broken down completely.
The big point to remember is that under its statutes and practices no member of NATO or of the OEEC can have a communist party in its government. Either the State in question must leave the Treaty Organization or the organization must be dissolved and reformed without such a State. The matter must soon come to a decision since the Italian and French parties press on.
We must understand the basic reasons for this ruling by NATO. The secrets of NATO are vital to its very existence. They include the new research and development, new munitions and equipment, new practices and procedures, the strategy and tactics to be pursued, information about the other side, hordes of secret agents, spies and counter spies, deployment of forces, number of submarines and where placed, training of troops, numbers of troops stationed where and their stage of preparedness, funds available, what individuals are in charge, how each country participates, placement of atomic weapons, etc., etc. To get this information means for the Soviet Union to win the world. By getting into NATO the communist parties can win the world without firing a shot. Is Paris not worth a Mass? With this to gain can not the communists feel classical revolution is no longer needed?
As we have seen, the communist parties seeking to be part of a capitalist government no longer declare they wish to destroy NATO or the OEEC or the Common Market but are calling themselves Eurocommunists, who wish peacefully to participate in and create a real detente of Europe, exclusive of the Soviet Union and the United States. This is the new position for communism. Is it a ploy or a real effort? This calls for an extensive analysis.
IN l919, following the victory of the Russian Revolution and the ensuing military intervention of that country by capitalism, the call was issued by the Bolsheviks for the first Congress of the Third International under a program which called for the dictatorship of the proletariat, the smashing up of the old State, the arming of the workers, and the disarming of the bourgeoisie. It announced as the function of the dictatorship the ushering in of socialism. Finally, the call openly declared its purpose to smash the Right Wing of the socialists, to break away the socialist workers from the centrist leaders and to win over the revolutionary elements to the new Communist International. The program took pains to stress that “the interests of the movement in each country are to be subordinated to the general interests of the revolution from an international point of view.”
The International legitimately started out with great prospects. The leaders of the Bolsheviks could count two factors promising much in their favor: first, the unprecedented power at their disposal, and second, the unique objective situation in which they found themselves. Communists now had the opportunity to use their power in the Soviet Union both economic and military in order at given moments to change the whole history of the world in favor of communism.
The favorable objective position of the communists can be appreciated best by contrasting their environment with that before World War I. Prior to the War, neither revolutionary situations nor actual revolutions could have been created by the activity of the socialist revolutionary parties throughout the world. No matter how well or how tirelessly these parties worked the bourgeoisie was too strong, the level of activity of the masses, generally speaking, too low for the revolutionary parties in and of themselves to change much the objective scene. Basically, the revolutionary situations had to develop by themselves, from the objective contradictions in capitalist society. Thus the role of the socialist parties had to be a more or less quiescent one, in which the activity was mainly that of day-to-day propaganda and organization rather of the planning of insurrection.
However, when, during and after World War I these objective contradictions caused revolutionary situations to arise, by that time the subjective factor: namely, the revolutionary party, had become so powerful as to be able to mature revolutionary situations in a number of countries into actual revolutions. In other words, before World War I conditions in most countries were not revolutionary, and no action of political revolutionists could make them so. After World War I, in many countries, so weak had imperialism become, so near was the situation to a revolutionary one, that the action of a strong revolutionary organization with a correct policy could be the very factor to precipitate a crisis; or, if the situation was already revolutionary then the proper action of a strong party of the proletariat could cause it to mature into an actual outburst of insurrection: or, finally, once the revolution had started, the very presence of such a party might mean the difference between success and failure of the revolution. These were the qualitative changes that had taken place in world politics.
During the first revolutionary post-World War I wave, there was a possibility for the advanced proletariat with the correct policy in many countries to disintegrate the capitalist armies, to ruin the prestige of the ruling classes, to expose the petty bourgeoisie and to activize the masses to a high degree. For the first time in history the communists had to some degree the ability to pick their time and place of battle, and to prepare their forces accordingly in advance. The communist party in one country or another could have been the decisive force, both in stimulating the exploited and oppressed masses with the understanding of the impossibility of living in the old way, and in helping to make the ruling class unable to govern as of old. Since World War I, the old power and might of the ruling classes had been irretrievably broken. Further, the experience of 1918 to 1923 weighed heavily on the memory of the ruling classes for they had been unable to govern in many countries during that period. Finally, the Soviet Union with its tremendous economic and political weight, could have thrown its forces at times so as to help break the economic and political power of different sections of the international bourgeoisie at critical moments.
From this it followed that the task of the hour was the creation of the sort of tested Party which Leninism implied. The Third International therefore, saw as its chief task not so much to transform the objective circumstances, which were revolutionary enough, but to change the subjective factor, the lack of will and science in the working class as manifested in the lack of a genuine Party. Just here, however, a certain uneven development was to play havoc with the Third International! The contradictions of world capitalism were to create revolutionary situations faster than they could create Parties capable of solving the problems favorably for the workers. The building up of the Party, or subjective element, was slower than the creating of revolutionary situations due to the breakdown of society. As put it in another way, the rate of breakdown of the old social order was faster than the rate of building up the elements of the new: thus breakdowns occurred without the proper facilities being present to construct on a new basis. Politics was lagging behind economics: economically the world was ready for collective socialized ownership of the means of production and distribution but politically men’s ingenuity had found no means as yet of bringing this about and of releasing the productive forces.
The situation was further complicated by the fact that there was an uneven development politically among the different sections of the working class. For the Russians, for example, the creation of the Party was relatively easy, just as the conquest of power for them was comparatively simple. But for the Western industrial workers, the creation of a real Communist Party is extraordinarily difficult, as difficult in proportion as the accomplishment of the revolution itself. If, later, we shall find the Russian Bolshevik Party breaking down, this was a sign that in Russia the workers were able to win power smoothly enough but found it infinitely harder to grow into socialism. In the West, however, once the Party is built and the workers have taken power, there can be no such degeneration, but the speedy smashing of capitalism.
To materialists, this sort of situation can come as no surprise. Always they have postulated the fact that mind limps after matter, that material changes develop for some time before psychological reverberations become attuned to the new interplay of forces. Just as it is the material forces that decide and mold the minds of men, however, so in the long run the political understanding of the proletariat will catch up with the new events.
Not only did Russia need the world revolution to rescue it, but Russia could also succor the world revolution if the forces were utilized properly. The world revolution had in Russia its greatest reservoir of strength and power which could become decisive in any engagement. Naturally, all this presumed that Russia was directed by communist forces with a genuine revolutionary policy. The recognition of the qualitative changes that had taken place in world politics should have been the cornerstone of the strategy of the Communist International. But should the leading groups in Russia no longer maintain a revolutionary attitude, should they succumb to capitalist pressure and embrace nationalism, abandoning the world revolution for their own presumed safety, then it might well result that the enormous weight and power in the hands of a now degenerate Communist Party would be used not to further revolution but to destroy it, not to build world soviets, but to prevent them. The Russian Revolution could become a great force to prevent and to crush the world revolution. This in turn would lead to the collapse of the Russian Revolution and would force the proletariat to begin all over again, although from a higher plane.
THE SECOND Congress of the Third International met in Moscow in August, 1920. One of the chief tasks of the Second Congress was the organizational one of eliminating those parties which were really not communists and of giving definite form to the Communist International. The principal polemics and resolutions, therefore, pertained to the questions of conditions for admission to the International and of parliamentarism and democracy.
In its statutes the Congress of the Communist International declared:
The aim of the Communist International is to organize armed struggle for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the establishment of an international Soviet republic as a transition to the complete abolition of the capitalist state. The Communist International considers the Dictatorship of the Proletariat an essential means for the liberation of humanity from the horrors of capitalism and regards the Soviet form of government as the historic necessary form of this dictatorship… . The Communist International breaks once and for all with the traditions of the Second International which, in reality, only recognized the white race. The task of the Communist International is to emancipate the workers of the whole world.
In order to keep out pseudo-communists the Congress worked out 21 conditions to be put to every party desirous of affiliation. The following conditions were included:
The propaganda of the Party must be thoroughly communist. The press must be edited by reliable communists and must be controlled by the central executive. Special attention must be given to the detailed and particular denunciation of the reformists. All reformists in the Party must be removed from any post they may have and communists must replace them. Since the class struggle in almost every country of Europe and America was declared to be reaching the threshold of civil war the Parties must do illegal work. Especially important was steady and persistent work in the armed forces of the capitalist governments. (NATO now included.)
Systematic work also must be conducted among agricultural laborers. Social pacifism must be fought. All centrist leaders must be expelled. All Communist Parties must fight for colonial independence. Revolutionary fractions must be formed in all reactionary trade unions and other mass organizations of the workers. In the Party iron discipline must prevail on the basis of the principles of democratic centralism. Every effort must be made to cleanse bourgeois elements from the ranks of the Party. Special attention must be given to the character and work of the parliamentary groups which have great tendencies to commit acts of collaboration with the capitalist enemy and to carry on their work only in parliamentary debates. All parties would have to change their names to take the name Communist Party of their respective country. They must pledge themselves to give aid to the Soviet Republic in every possible manner.
An end was to be made to the platonic internationalism of the Second International where the center was hardly more than a post office box and where international discipline and solidarity never had existed. The Communist International was to be really a world Communist Party and the same discipline and close cooperation would exist internationally as had existed in Russia.
The Second Congress took note of a tendency in its own ranks to become conciliatory to the centrist socialists who were posing as being ‘’almost” communists. This was the Principal danger of the moment and had to be ruthlessly fought. It was natural that the Second Congress paid much attention to the relation of communists to parliamentary activity. During the time of the Second International many social reform measures had been obtained through parliamentary action giving the illusion that the capitalist State eventually could be turned into a workers’ State by such action alone. But now such tactics were considered out of the question. Said the Theses of the Second Congress: “Parliament at present can in no way serve as the arena of a struggle for reform, or for improving the lot of the working people, as it was at certain periods of the preceding epoch.” The center of gravity of all revolutionary work would have to be outside of the parliament.
The Theses declared that parliamentarism is the rule of the bourgeoisie and can not be a form of communist society nor can it be a form marking the transition from capitalism to workers’ rule.
Parliamentarism cannot be a form of proletarian government during the transition period between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat. At the moment when the accentuated class struggle turns into civil war, the proletariat must inevitably form its state organization, as a fighting organization which cannot contain any representatives of the former ruling classes. All fictions of the ‘national will’ are harmful to the proletariat at that time… . .The only form of proletarian dictatorship is a Republic of Soviets.
Since bourgeois parliaments must be smashed in favor of soviets, parliamentary activity could be only of a sort to destroy parliaments from within. The capitalist parliament could not be ignored, since its destruction was part of the political struggle for the seizure of power. The fundamental method of destroying the capitalist State was that of mass action, but it was not incorrect to try to utilize all legal and bourgeois democratic positions to accomplish the same end. Work in the capitalist parliaments was precisely such legal work as could be engaged in favorably. Where a communist was elected to parliament, he could use the platform to put forth revolutionary propaganda to expose the chicanery and fraud of capitalist democracy and to provide a center for the ideological unification of the masses. Parliamentary activity was also a good way to reach the backward strata of the masses who retained illusions about capitalist democracy.
Of course electoral campaigns were not to be carried on with the view to securing the maximum number of votes, but rather to launch issues and to use parliamentary positions to push forward the mass work. Where communists were in the majority in local government bodies, their duty was to carry on revolutionary opposition against the central government, to arm the masses in their district, to aid them economically in every possible way, to expose capitalist democracy, and to develop revolutionary propaganda. In some cases they were to substitute workers’ councils, or soviets, for the municipal administration to which they had been elected.
Because of the danger of opportunism in parliamentary work, the Second Congress put forth detailed instructions on revolutionary parliamentarism. The communist deputy must not consider himself a “legislator” separate and apart from the people. His function was not to bolster up capitalism or to worry how to make bills correspond to the law of the land. In parliament he had to consider himself an outpost of the proletariat inside the camp of the enemy. Not expert lawyers calling themselves communists, but plain workers should take the floor of parliament and speak their minds, denouncing the reformists and challenging capitalism.
What has happened to these brave untouchable “principles” of the Second Congress? First, the Soviet Union, having been defeated in spreading its revolution, was pushed back into nationalism. Under Lenin, in 1921, a New Economic Policy was adopted to develop Russia by bringing in foreign capitalism, all profits guaranteed exportable. It is clear that in return the Communist International would have to promise to forego fomenting revolution in such friendly capitalist countries. Lenin was soon followed by Stalin who in consideration of favored treatment by Hitler, totally destroyed the Communist International and all truly revolutionary parties. Later Stalin agreed to turn over Yugoslavia and Greece to the victorious Western Powers and put down all mass revolutionary attempts West of the Elbe (especially in Italy and in France) in return for his sphere of influence East of the Elbe. Russia was also to be given a free hand in China, only to be thwarted by Mao-tse-tung.
Rejected by Russia, Yugoslavia was the first to raise the doctrine that it did not have to follow the lead of Russia and that democratic centralism did not mean unquestioned obedience to a foreign power, even Russia. Soon thereafter the bitter exploitation by Stalin of his satellite countries forced them to rebel. They also thought that each nation could seek its own way to socialism without brutal Russian dictation. China and Korea, followed by Albania, also felt the whip of Russian leadership and broke away to pursue their own paths. These were the fruits of Stalinist nationalism.
But all these were countries where the communists had full power and had established their “people’s democracies": what about the communists in the important industrial countries of Western Europe and in the Common Market? What were the role and perspectives for such communists? They could not organize proletarian revolutions because Russia forbade this after Yalta. There were several times, for example, when the Italian Communist Party could have seized power, especially in 1948 when Togliatti, Communist Party secretary, was shot in an attempted assassination, but instead of moving forward to the seizure of power from the base of the broadest possible general strike that had broken out paralyzing everything in the country, the Executive Committee of the Communist Party was forced to crawl on its belly to De Gasperi, Premier, to ask him how they could cooperate to break the general strike and to send the workers back. The Russians had made it plain that an Italian revolution meant general war, that U.S. troops were in Trieste, that Russia was not in a condition for war against a nuclear power at that time, and finally that since the war would be fought mainly by Russians and not by Italians, the Russians would tell them when to have the revolution and dictate the time and place of battle.
THERE was no question about the cogency of such argument, but it meant that the communist parties of the West were reduced to defending the Soviet Union, to wait for war, and to play no role in setting up a proletarian revolution which was more than ripe. The communist parties were thus forced into parliamentary social reform movement as their only principal outlet of energy.
How ripe the time was for the end of capitalism in Europe could be seen by noting the following basic World War II changes:
1) Under Hitler’s national socialism large numbers of capitalists had been expropriated, many jailed and killed, unless they actively cooperated with the nazis.
2) At the end of the war many capitalists who had collaborated with Hitler were forced to flee or were punished.
3) In many cases the workers themselves took over; in some cases the plants were nationalized with the union having much to say. From this time on, workers had much to say not only about their own conditions but about general management and economic problems. As the prestige of the old capitalist employers sank to unprecedented depths, that of the workers rose, not only in France and Italy, but also in Germany and Scandinavia.
4) In addition, the driving out of the capitalists in East Central Europe could not help but affect the workers in Western Europe.
5) The downgraded European capitalist not only lost full control over his factory and workers at home, but he became practically disarmed as Russia hastened to turn its atomic rockets to strike every capitalist industrial center in a few minutes.
6) But most wounding to his chauvinism and prestige was the loss of all his colonies and conquered territories in Africa, Asia, and the rest of the world.
7) The European bourgeois was also kicked in the ass by his American competitors who operated like a tape worm to eat his vitals through U.S. based supra-national monopolistic corporations. It would not be an act of treason to the old principles of nationalism for the workers of one country (France) to expropriate the plants of U.S. supranational monopolies. In fact, here was one of the basic reasons for the European bourgeoisie to retain its nationalistic behavior.
8) But what good is a ruling class that can not declare war? And there is no future in war these days for Western Europe itself except as puppets for the United States.
Placed in a strait jacket by the Russians but favored by the growing relative power of the people, the Communist Parties of the West grew under a program of social reform. As they grew they also became more like their Socialist Party competitors. The Italian Communist Party, favoring the former Catholic priest Gramsci over Lenin, began to raise the old socialist position that it was possible to take over power peacefully through parliamentary activity. Working in that direction it has grown to the point where it threatens to become the greatest spokesman for all the people and take over the government. In their case one would think the ruling class would not give up power without a civil war and call in the army to do in Italy what was done most recently in Chile. But the Italian army would have to be supported by NATO and this would bring on nuclear war. And this Europe can not possibly tolerate, especially Italy.
Thus it can be seen that the old Socialist Party doctrines of peaceful penetration, utilization of democratic procedures, social reforms, trade union pressures, general education, parliamentary activity, coalition with other parties, etc., have been received and the Theses of the Second Congress of the Communist International forgotten. Previously, any Communist Party trying this would have been torn to pieces in the process by the most bitter internecine infighting led by the Russians. If, today, Communist Parties can call congresses and adopt such measures unanimously one can be absolutely sure this is the new line of Moscow in which the new strategy is timely in the light of the economic depression (financial bankruptcy in the case of Italy), the mass discontent, the coming efforts for a political European Union etc.
The strategy of the Russians apparently is to use these Communist Parties practicing nonviolence and peaceful coexistence, to get into the governments of Western Europe, to get into NATO, to learn the secrets of NATO, to destroy NATO. This strategy, directed by the Russians has every chance to be successful. NATO will be penetrated and NATO will have to be dissolved during this very decade.
The imminent dissolution of NATO places the United States under some very disagreeable alternatives. It can reform NATO and take with it the die-hards who want war with the Soviet Union. But on whom can the U.S. count: West Germany? the United Kingdom? These two could not possibly be compromised in that fashion as they are far too vulnerable. Another possible alternative is for the U.S. to slink away to be circumscribed by the Western Hemisphere and to play a secondary world role until its economic and political collapse. A third possibility is for both the U.S. and the Soviet Union to compete economically for the markets of this new United States of Europe.
It seems clear that the Warsaw Pact will also fall, since it will no longer be needed with the dissolution of NATO. There is not the slightest anticipation that Warsaw Pact troops, led by Russians, plan to extend their power and conquer all Europe. This the East-Central proletariat as well as that of the West would never allow. On the contrary, with the break-up of the Warsaw Pact, Russian domination over the East-Central States would become obsolete and the way lies open for East and West Europe (most likely at first with the exclusion of the Soviet Union) to get together not only economically, but also politically. The formation of a United States of People’s Europe will be a great step forward.
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