French Trotskyists Under the Occupation
Source: La Vérité, October 15, 1943;
Translated: from the original for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) marxists.org 2011.
In France there were people stupid enough to be gleeful about the RAF bombardments of Germany. “That'll make those stupid Krauts understand. All of them are admirers of Hitler, all of them are more or less responsible for the war.” When peoples hate each other and reciprocally wish for each other’s deaths the dominant classes can digest their profits in peace.
Today France is suffering under the atrocious American bombardments in the name of the same principles. “That'll teach them, those imbecilic Frenchmen who honor Petain and tolerate Laval and who prolong the war by working for the Germans.” And “boom” on Petain and Laval! “Boom” on the policy of collaboration! And it’s the people that are murdered. Nantes is razed, the buildings and houses of the suburbs of Paris are crushed, the cities of the North completely disappear till not a single wall is standing. Blood, tears, and suffering, all to make us understand. It’s a labor of justice. In keeping with the immortal military principle whereby subordinates are rewarded in the person of their superiors and reciprocally: the leaders responsible are punished in the persons of innocent peoples.
And behind the flying missionaries of imperialist justice here come the demolition and clean up squads. No need to requisition the public works and building companies. This is work according to the rules: that is, for every worker who pushes around the ruins the bosses receive a profit fixed in advance. And for every ten workers the Department of Bridges and Roads in most cases pay for twelve or even fifteen. The supervisors, the engineers, and the architects are appropriately paid off.
Shift the ruins, boys; hunt through the debris of your destroyed homes, disaster victims! There’s still some businesses we don’t control. There is a certain justice in our misfortune, and we can happily pay the taxman.
And we see all the disinterested philanthropists come running. Masson’s freed prisoners take a little tour and after countless photos go back to their offices. Then the gentlemen of the C.O.S.I. arrive. It’s a matter of doing Hitler’s, Déat’s, and Doriot’s work, and not for free, it goes without saying. The inspectors are paid 6,000 francs monthly plus travel expenses in second class, as is only appropriate: they have to quietly spread propaganda.
The victims get a cold reception. In Brittany for example the unions of disaster victims are organizing outside the C.O.S.I. The maneuver won’t last long: there can be no question of substituting for the sympathy with one imperialist camp collaboration with the other imperialist camp.
Unite in defense committees.
Have them open for you the empty apartments of the bourgeois.
Impose complete reimbursement for all that has been destroyed.