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The New International, May 1935

 

“The Defense of Democracy”

From New International, Vol.2 No.3, May 1935, p.112.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

 

THAT WAR is terribly close today need not be stressed to NI readers. Daily press reports confirm this estimate with deadly precision. Of cardinal importance in this regard is the attitude and policy of the working class parties towards their own governments before and during the imperialist war. The following paragraphs quoted from the pamphlet War and the Fourth International are highly instructive in shedding light on the Marxist position on this question.

18. The sham of national defense is covered up wherever possible by the additional sham of the defense of democracy. If even now, in the imperialist epoch, Marxists do not identify democracy with fascism and are ready at any moment to repel fascism’s encroachment upon democracy, must not the proletariat in case of war support the democratic governments against the fascist governments? ...

19. A modern war between the great powers does not signify a conflict between democracy and fascism but a struggle of two imperialisms for the re-division of the world. Moreover, the war must inevitably assume an international character and in both camps will be found fascist (semi-fascist, bonapartist, etc.) as well as “democratic” states. The republican form of French imperialism did not prevent it from basing itself in peacetime on the military-bourgeois dictatorship in Poland, Jugoslavia and Roumania, as it will not prevent it, in case of necessity, from restoring the Austro-Hungarian monarchy as a barrier against the unification of Austria and Germany. Finally, in France itself, parliamentary democracy, already sufficiently weakened today, would undoubtedly be one of the first victims of war if it is not upset before its start ...

21. “The struggle for democracy” in time of war would signify above all the struggle for the preservation of the workers’ press and of workers’ organizations against unbridled military censorship and military authority. On the basis of these tasks the revolutionary vanguard will seek a united front with other working class organizations – against its own “democratic” government, but in no case unity with its own government against the hostile country.

 
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