From Workers’ International News, Vol.1 No.7, July 1938, pp.5-6.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The Popular Front or Peace Alliance received a further douche of cold water when the Co-operative Congress on June 8th decisively voted it down. “Dead, dead, dead is the Popular Front,” crowed the Daily Herald. Coming on top of the capture of the Liberal vote at the West Derbyshire by-election, the Popular Front passed into eclipse. But the Daily Herald buries it too hastily. The experience of France and Spain, to look no further back, shows that Popular Frontism flourishes only in the soil of mass unrest and Britain has not yet reached that phase.
In the face of these discouragements and defeats the Communist Party proceeds to ever more desperate expedients in the attempt to extract Popular Front milk from the British billy-goat. The Daily Worker has grown solicitous concerning the honour of the Union Jack. Chamberlain is depicted in a cartoon spreading the well-known “Symbol of Sacrifice” as a carpet for Fascism to trample. Before the horrified gaze of international socialism the Daily Worker shows the Union Jack with the Swastika superimposed upon it on Chamberlain’s orders. And to crown all, the North London Branches of the Communist Party publish a leaflet declaring: “Mosley, Friend of Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, marches under the Union Jack – while his fascist friends murder our seamen by bombing our ships flying the Union Jack.”
In the protection of “our” ships the Communist Party is finding allies in those stalwart defenders of “our” Empire, the Duchess of Atholl, Winston Churchill and Lloyd George.
The Red Duchess of Atholl it will be remembered united with Churchill in the diehard opposition against the Government of India Bill provisions to extend concessions to the Home Rule movement in India. In writing Searchlight on Spain she is actuated by the same diehard principles and clamours blood-thirstily for a stern line against Hitler, Mussolini and Franco. And William Gallacher, MP, in reviewing her book discovers in her “fine courage and deep understanding of the issues involved.” For proof, he invites you to read the book. To-day any friend of the Union Jack is a friend of William Gallacher’s.
Lloyd George, architect of the Versailles Treaty which laid the foundations for Hitlerism, organiser of the Black and Tan terror in Ireland, leader of British Imperialism in the great war, initiator of the anti-Bolshevik intervention in Russia – it is to this Lloyd George that the Communist Party extends its hand, to this Lloyd George and to Winston Churchill, champion of Indian repression, strike breaker in chief to the British bourgeoisie. If yesterday Churchill described the struggle between Trotskyism and Stalinism as a quarrel in the reptile house where the snakes and the crocodiles had fallen out, if yesterday Lloyd George hailed Hitler as the bulwark against Bolshevism, the Communist Party is to-day prepared to forgive and forget.
The Daily Worker of June 10th carries a front page article by Richard Goodman: Britain is Ready to Abandon Gibraltar. A map shows Gibraltar ringed with “enemy” batteries. “In plain and simple language the British are preparing to abandon Gibraltar to the Nazis.” The language is plain enough, in fact positively ugly. It is the language of social patriotism. British Imperialism is far too tame and sheep-like for the British “Communists” who take it upon themselves to present Chamberlain with a white feather.
“Once again, therefore, it is being pointed out that the first step to be taken – absolutely necessary before any attempt can be made to ‘win back Gib.’ is to seize the base of the aerial pirates, Majorca, just as some years ago British and American forces did at Bias Bay.”
Another of the boys of the bulldog breed, W. Wainwright, editor of Challenge asks in the Daily Worker of June 22nd, “What are we to do about the defence of our country?” In the same issue of the Daily Worker is printed a verse:
He thought he saw the Union Jack
The perturbation in King Street at the spectacle of Britannia on her knees, the solicitude for the honour of the Union Jack, the new-found Liberal friends, the incitement to seize Majorca, the discovery of “our” country and “our” ships – in what direction is this jingo howling leading the workers who support the Communist Party? In the direction of the Peace Alliance which is in other words the war alliance between the Kremlin and British Imperialism. The hirelings of the corrupt Moscow bureaucracy as assemble under the betrayed banner of Lenin on the red flag they daub white and blue, in the name of internationalism they incite the workers of one nation against those of another, in the name of socialism they preach rabid jingoism. The Third International has splintered into national chauvinism.
The attitude of Bolsheviks was and still is the attitude of irreconcilable antagonism to Imperialism, its flag and its “honour”, its wars of plunder and its preparation for future wars. Not by lining up behind the bourgeoisie but by independent class action by the workers can Fascism be defeated at home and abroad. When British Imperialism acts or refrains from acting it is always in the interests of safeguarding and multiplying its profits at the expense of the working class. This motive and this alone dictates its actions in Spain and in China, in Czechoslovakia and in Austria. The welfare of the working class is diametrically opposed to that of the bourgeoisie. Where they erect national boundaries it is our interest to smash them down, where they prepare wars it is our interest to guarantee peace by the fraternal collaboration of all peoples in a world federation of Socialist Republics. Only world revolution can guarantee peace by obliterating the root-cause of war, capitalism, imperialism.
To save humanity from being plunged into wars of mutual extermination workers must face up to the task of building the new Fourth International.
Last updated on 11.9.2005