From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 38, 22 September 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
British capitalists, bankers, importers and exporters are spending sleepless nights. Nor is it the sound of falling bombs or ack-ack fire that is keeping them awake. It is the muscling-in job that is being performed on them by their American rivals and competitors. British exporters are facing the almost total loss and collapse of their foreign trade markets.
The new Anglo-American trade agreement which was signed last week means that the British will not attempt to sell any materials they produce – and which they are also obtaining from America under the terms of the Lease-Lend Act – on the world market in competition with America. The goods which Britain receives from America will be used only according to American instructions!
The longer the war continues the more dependent does England become on American supplies. This means that in a year or two – at the present rate – the United States ruling class will be in a position to dictate to Britain how she shall run her economic and commercial life; with whom she shall trade; what she shall charge for goods, etc. American capitalists and imperialists will be able to order their British rivals out of any part of the world where competition is not wanted (and where is it wanted?). If the British protest, Roosevelt can threaten to cut off supplies!
Naturally, the American government will not apply this agreement too rigidly or rapidly. To do so would force a large section of the British ruling class into seriously considering a capitulation to Hitler as a “lesser evil.” Britain must be kept alive – so that the Americans can inherit their Empire rather than the German rivals.
The British Board of Trade has been besieged by protests and complaints from English businessmen. Its answer has been to warn that the worst is yet to come! The question of tariffs, import duties, replacement of the sterling standard by the gold dollar standard, etc., has yet to be settled. The demands of the American capitalist class have only begun.
One British journalist has proposed that an Anglo-American committee of business men be set up to explain to both groups of business men what is going on. Labor Action hereby formally offers to explain what is going on – free of charge and without a committee, either.
One set of imperialists and capitalists is moving in on the territory of another set which has its back to the wall. Sentiment and morality have nothing to do with it. It is a struggle for trade, markets, colonies and the like. The Americans are away out in front at the moment and are threatening to give their British blood-brothers and “allies” a royal gypping, the like of which the world has never seen!
Last updated: 4.2.2013