Earl Browder

Teheran: Our Path in War and Peace

(1944)


Source: Book published by International Publishers, New York, 1944.
Scanned and prepared for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.
Proofread by Einde O’Callaghan (September 2019).


Contents

Foreword

Part I: A New World

I: Teheran Cancels Munich
II: Arms in the Service of Policy
III: The Guarantee of Teheran

Part II: The War Determines the Postwar World

IV: The Anglo-Soviet-American Alliance
V: Reconstruction of Europe
VI: National Liberation in Asia
VII: Africa and the Near East
VIII: Good Neighbors in the Americas

Part III: Postwar National Unity

IX: War Unity Requires Postwar Unity
X: Characteristics of American Capitalism
XI: Elements of an Economic Program
XII: Labor Unions in the National Unity
XIII: Democracy and National Unity

Part IV: The 1944 Elections – For Unity or Disunity?

XIV: Partisanship: A Costly Luxury
XV: Whom We Must Fight Against
XVI: The Changes in Communist Organization
XVII: What Marxism Contributes to America


Foreword

History is traveling with airplane speed. After this book was finished, at the end of March, and before it goes to press, events have gone beyond it in several important respects. I decided not to make last-minute corrections to bring it up to date. Let it stand as it was written, evidence of the speed of history in these days, for before the book reaches most of its readers many more changes will have occurred. The value of this book lies not in its registration of particular facts at the moment it was written but in its approach and method of dealing with facts in the process of rapid change. It is the change itself, and the accelerating pace of change, which is the biggest fact of the day.

We may briefly note some of the changes that have taken place during April. The deadlock in Italian political life was broken, and a new Cabinet formed on the basis of the six-party coalition of the Liberation Committee, thus finally realizing the aim set in the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers last October. In China, the long-brewing internal crisis came into the open in the highest Kuomintang circles, with the public demand by Dr Sun Fo for the beginning of democratization of the Chungking regime. In Mexico, the attempted assassination of President Camacho, happily frustrated, revealed as in a flash of lightning the menace of Hitler’s advance in the Western Hemisphere through the Argentine and Bolivian fascist dictatorships, of which the Mexican counter-revolutionary Sinarchist movement is a branch. In the International Labor Organization meeting in Philadelphia, the decision to exclude the Argentine ‘labor’ delegate as a representative of fascism, taken on the initiative of Vicente Lombardo Toledano and a united Latin American workers’ delegation, was a dramatic revelation of support to Secretary of State Hull’s policy; while the opposition to this move by Robert Watt, AF of L representative, was a shameful exposure of how bankrupt is that leadership which is ready to sabotage American foreign policy for narrow, factional, and reactionary considerations. The withdrawal of Mr. Willkie from the Presidential race, after the Hoover-Taft machine had demonstrated its control in the party primaries, sharpened all issues in the election campaign rather than settling any of them – and incidentally placed Mr. Willkie in a more powerful position to influence the course of history, if he is interested in that rather than immediate personal advancement.

These and many other developments all serve to confirm the major thesis of this book. It is my expectation that the course of events will continue to furnish such confirmation. The most important item in such expectation is, of course, the long-awaited opening of the Western Front against Hitler, which should be under way before my book gains general circulation.

Days of heavy strain, gigantic events, and deep-going changes in all aspects of life place a heavy burden upon our intellectual capacities. Old prejudices which had long seemed to give adequate guidance for many persons in meeting the problems of life are now demonstrating their inadequacy and yield only confusion. Old guide-posts are fallen, or are twisted to point crazily in all directions. Old maps are found no longer to correspond to the realities. The world is riding through a furious storm, and the rule-of-thumb technique of navigation helps but little if at all. Humanity must find some fixed star to guide its course.

The Conference of Teheran gave the world its needed point of orientation. This book is an examination of some of our most pressing problems, re-evaluated from the perspective of Teheran.

My previous book, Victory – And After, published in October 1942, gave but a brief glance at the problems of the postwar world. The present book must perforce give its major attention to these problems, because they have come to be of decisive influence in winning the war. We have found that America can throw her full force into the war, for an early and decisive victory, only to the degree that we can begin to define the shape of the world to which that victory will bring us.

The world is being shaped by blows of immeasurable violence. That was inevitable when the rise of Hitler was not halted in time. Hitlerism is an attempt to enthrone violence as the supreme law of life; it can be destroyed only by bringing greater violence to bear against it. But when the earth has been cleansed of Hitlerism, the deeper, more complex forces of history come to the foreground once more, as the immediately decisive factors, even as they remain the decisive background of the military struggle itself. These are the forces of the peoples of the earth, struggling to master nature, and to master the problems of their own social organization. Violence, and the instruments of violence, are not the all-decisive factor Hitler dreamed them to be; else there would be no rational explanation for the rise of the mighty Yugoslav Army of Liberation under Marshal Tito from the midst of a disarmed and crushed nation, which with bare hands seized from the enemy the weapons to defeat him. Nor could we understand the rise of the great Chinese liberation movement, of the Eighth Route Army and the partisans, who have borne a large portion of the war burden against Japan with arms wrested from the Japanese themselves.

Yes, there is indeed a tide in the affairs of men. It is the tide of democracy, of humanity taking charge of its own affairs, setting aside the pretensions of little strutting egomaniacs and privileged classes who claim Divine sanction for their violent and destructive efforts to rule mankind as a herd of milk cows and beasts of burden.

This book is an effort to help swell this historic tide of democracy.

* * *

While I must accept personal responsibility for the form and content of this book, and especially for any errors it may be found to contain, it is in a larger sense not a personal product but that of an organized movement, of the Marxists, the Communists, in the United States and the world. To the many thousands of unnamed contributors to the hammering out of its ideas, I must make acknowledgment. And finally I must note that my wife, Raissa Browder, shared in the labor pains that accompanied its production, beyond any ability of mine to define, and for which I can only express my love and gratitude.

Earl Browder

27 April 1944

* * *

Part I: A New World

Chapter I: Teheran Cancels Munich

At the close of November and the beginning of December 1943, there met in Teheran, capital of Iran, the first general conference of the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition heading the United Nations. The leaders of the three great powers, with their military and diplomatic staffs, surveyed the problems of the world at war. They arrived at common conclusions which were embodied in a joint declaration.

The Declaration of Teheran on its face represents one of the decisive turning points of history.

The policy of Teheran if taken at its face value cancels finally and forever the policy of the meeting in Munich, in September 1938, in which Prime Minister Chamberlain of Great Britain and Premier Daladier of France surrendered Europe to Hitler and Mussolini, making a treaty with them which condemned the world to its present ordeal of fire.

The policy of Teheran, as the opposite of Munich, provides the military guarantee for the elimination of Hitlerism from Europe, and the political guarantee of a stable peace to follow which will banish the scourge of war for generations to come. Upon our judgement of Teheran, therefore, depends our answer to all national and world problems.

Is Teheran merely another one of the interminable series of international conferences? Is the Declaration of Teheran merely another diplomatic document registering a momentary compromise between irreconcilably antagonistic powers? Or is Teheran in cold reality what it purports to be, a fundamental and long-term policy held in common by the three great powers signing it, which will shape the world for the next generations?

This is the fundamental question which every American must answer for himself before he can make intelligent judgement upon any other question of public life.

This book is from beginning to end an evaluation of the concord of Teheran, and of the consequences that flow from it.

At this point, therefore, I want to quote the text of the Teheran Declaration in full. I know that most American readers have a firmly fixed habit of skipping over long quotations from public documents, especially when they occur at the beginning of books, on the assumption that it is already familiar to them, and with the wish to get on to new business. So I must first give warning to the reader that he is probably one of the vast majority who have read the Declaration only once or not at all. It is impossible to discuss Teheran on such a slip-shod basis.

Consequently I make a serious request of my reader to read, and reread several times, the Declaration of Teheran at this point. If this is not done, then further time spent on the rest of this book will be largely wasted.

Here is the text of the Declaration:

We, the President of the United States of America, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and the Premier of the Soviet Union, have met in these four days past in the capital of our ally, Teheran, and have shaped and confirmed our common policy.

We express our determination that our nations shall work together in the war and in the peace that will follow.

As to the war, our military staffs have joined in our roundtable discussions and we have concerted our plans for the destruction of the German forces. We have reached complete agreement as to the scope and timing of operations which will be undertaken from the east, west, and south. The common understanding which we have here reached guarantees that victory will be ours.

And as to the peace, we are sure that our concord will make it an enduring peace. We recognize fully the supreme responsibility resting upon us and all the nations to make a peace which will command good will from the overwhelming masses of the peoples of the world and banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations.

With our diplomatic advisers we have surveyed the problems of the future. We shall seek the cooperation and active participation of all nations, large and small, whose peoples in heart and mind are dedicated, as are our own people, to the elimination of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance. We will welcome them as they may choose to come into the world family of democratic nations.

No power on earth can prevent our destroying the German armies by land, their U-boats by sea, and their war plants from the air. Our attacks will be relentless and increasing.

Emerging from these friendly conferences we look with confidence to the day when all peoples of the world may live free lives untouched by tyranny and according to their varying desires and their own consciences.

We came here with hope and determination. We leave here friends in fact, in spirit, and in purpose.

That is the concord of Teheran.

We can take it at its face value, and then try to understand all the far-reaching consequences that must follow. Or we can decline to accept it at face value; we can begin to make reservations of one or another kind, in which case also we must try to understand the far-reaching consequences of the opposite.

When we make this fundamental choice between the two ways to approach Teheran, it will be just as well to recall that Hitler also spoke to the world a few weeks after Teheran. What was Hitler’s answer to Teheran?

In his New Year’s message Hitler no longer attempted to deny that the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition holds the power in its hands to destroy him and all his works. He played his last aces which he hopes will still win the game. He threatened the world that his destruction would result not only in ‘a social collapse more disastrous than ever since the migration of peoples’, but also ‘an economic catastrophe of unimaginable scope’; that when his regime is gone, a third world war will come, either between Britain and the United States or between these two and the Soviet Union.

The only answer to Hitler is the concord of Teheran, taken as a realistic program of action which can and will be realized with all its consequences.

Any reservation to the complete acceptance of Teheran as the key to the present historical period can have only one consequence, namely, to open the door again for Hitler, to strengthen him and weaken us, to postpone our victory and increase its cost, and in the final analysis to reopen the whole question of whether victory is possible. Unconditional support to Teheran, as a realistic perspective and program of action, is therefore the only alternative to a return to Munich.

The Declaration of Teheran must be taken at its face value. It means what it says, and it does not mean anything else. Any attempt to find some mysterious or hidden meanings behind the frank and open words of this historic document can end only by falling back into Hitler’s trap, into Munichism. There are many far-reaching consequences that flow from the Teheran concord, but they can be unfolded to our understanding only when we begin with the unconditional premise that Teheran means what it says, that it does not mean anything different, that it must be taken as a whole, that we cannot accept one part of it and reject another, and that any other course is the path of surrender to Hitlerism.

There are still some persons who think that this is true only of ‘right-wing’ reservations to Teheran, but that there must be ‘left-wing’ reservations which are not only permissible but even necessary.

Such latest manifestations of the ‘infantile disorder of leftism’, as Lenin termed this kind of thinking, is even more damaging and dangerous than the common or garden variety of reservations. Behind their ‘left’, ‘radical’ or even ‘revolutionary’ coloration, while claiming to be the most intransigent of anti-Hitlerites, they perform the function of Hitler’s speech.

There is no such difference between ‘right and left’ in relation to Teheran. There is only acceptance or rejection of the Teheran program, and all forms of reservation, no matter what kind of ideological motivation is given for them, are weapons in the hands of Hitler.

The most typical of such ‘left’ reservations begin, for example, by saying yes, of course, we are all for Teheran, but the declaration of ‘complete agreement as to the scope and timing of operations which will be undertaken from the east, west, and south’ must not be taken as deciding the question of the second front; no, no, there will be no second front at all unless we all shout for it loud and long, more than ever!

This vulgarization of the second front issue, fully in the spirit of the most venal newspaper columnists, has even shown itself – I am most unhappy to state – among a few Communists. The secretary of one of our local organizations suddenly discovered, after Teheran, the urgent necessity of a mass campaign to demand the ‘second front now’; fortunately, the entire organization spontaneously rejected such a policy, and immediately rallied almost unanimously against the whole line of ‘reservations’. And here it was found that ‘one little reservation’ was only the tail of a big animal, a whole system of reservations which amounted to a complete negation of Teheran.

Imagine the joy in Hitler’s propaganda office in Berlin if it could truthfully broadcast to Europe that Americans, and American Communists in particular, have no confidence in the Teheran agreement – not in its military phase, its political phase or its postwar economic perspective!!! But Hitler has been denied this boon. Not only the Communists, but the majority of the nation, have confidence in the concord of Teheran.

Teheran represents a firm and growing common interest between the leaders who gathered there, their governments, the ruling classes they represent, and the peoples of the world.

Hitler frantically tries to convince the world that there is no such common interest, or that it is not strong enough to subdue the differences and old antagonisms. Radio Berlin tells the general public in Britain and America that Teheran represents a gigantic surrender of Churchill and Roosevelt to Stalin; at the same time it turns to the Soviet Union, to the colonial lands, and to the ‘left’ circles of labor and the middle classes, to cry out that Stalin has ‘betrayed the revolution’ to Churchill and Roosevelt for the sake of a bit of dubious military help.

Hitler’s helpers in Britain are equally those Members of Parliament who recently accused Churchill of ‘surrender to Stalin’ because Teheran resulted at once in a new joint approach to the problems of Poland and Yugoslavia, as well as the ‘leftists’ of the Independent Labour Party who accuse Stalin of ‘betraying the revolution’.

Hitler’s helpers in the United States are the leaders of the vicious opposition to Roosevelt in Congress, the whole camp of anti-Soviet agitators, the inciters of antagonism to Britain, as well as all the ‘leftists’ who cry suspicion and distrust of the Teheran concord, including those stray Communists who may fall into that trap through sectarianism or intellectual sloth.

‘For or against Teheran’ – this is the touchstone of American and world politics for the next period, until the principles of Teheran are realized in life to their full extent.

The Teheran concord furnishes the platform upon which can and must be gathered all forward-looking men and women of all classes and political ideologies, subordinating all other considerations to the single purpose of welding a firm and effective majority of the people and directing the nation and the world along the Teheran path.
 

Chapter II: Arms in the Service of Policy

At Teheran complete agreement was reached as to the scope and timing of military operations which will be taken from the east, west, and south against Hitler Germany by the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition. Such joint action has always been understood by all serious people as the sole guarantee of victory. From purely military considerations such joint coalition warfare has been both necessary and possible since 1942.

However, there is no such thing in history as great armies representing great nations moving from ‘purely military considerations’. Great military forces move in the service of policy. And when these forces represent a coalition, they move concertedly only to the degree to which each component power is directly attacked by the common enemy, plus the degree to which the coalition has worked out a joint policy, which means an agreement as to what shape the joint victory shall take so that it represents the vital interests of each member of the coalition.

From the standpoint of reaching the quickest possible military decision over Hitlerism, at the least possible cost, the opening of the second front in Western Europe was recognized by formal declaration as an ‘urgent necessity’ in 1942. But it is being realized only two years later.

The chief obstacles to the development of full coalition warfare were not military but rather political. The second front was awaiting not so much the military preparations but rather and more were the military preparations awaiting the formulation of joint policy.

Full agreement on the scope and timing of military action was reached in Teheran as an integral part of agreement on an over-all world policy.

The joint world policy could never have been agreed upon without the complete agreement on military action; but equally the joint military policy could never have been hammered out in the absence of the decisive points of an over-all agreement on the shape of the world that is to emerge from the war.

Such a joint policy, obviously, must be different from a policy developed by any one of the three main powers for itself alone. It must provide room for that which each considers absolutely indispensable, and provide for joint action at strategic points to provide an overall framework of postwar international order, sufficient to gain the cooperation of a working majority of mankind. In short, a joint world policy is a compromise. The particular features of the joint policy adopted at Teheran will be discussed in later chapters. At this point we will consider merely the question that it is a compromise, and what this means in relation to the stability of joint military action.

In the nature of things we will learn the detailed character of the military agreement of Teheran only as it unfolds in action, pending which it is the exclusive property of the high command. The only question which is of general political concern is the existence and effectiveness of agreement, after which the slogan ‘leave it to the experts’ is correctly to be applied. The military agreement is the guarantee of victory. It is operative in battle, in the deadly collision of large bodies of men armed with the mightiest modern engines of destruction.

Is there a danger that our full military strength will not be exerted because the joint policy it executes is a compromise policy in the sense outlined above?

In my opinion there is no such danger. This book as a whole is an elaboration of the soundness of Teheran, in all its aspects, as well as of the dangers which threaten the full realization of the Teheran policies and how these dangers must be defeated. To avoid the dangers we must be aware of them, we must not close our eyes to them, we must be prepared to fight them. For this purpose it is equally important that we do not conjure up imaginary dangers, that we do not expend our energies in fighting windmills.

I believe that Britain and America will really throw their full combined military strength against Hitler from the west during 1944. I have full confidence that the complete agreement of Teheran will be executed. The basis for that belief is simple and quickly stated. The national interest of Britain and America, as conceived by the ruling class in both countries, requires the full execution of the Teheran concord including its military phase. There is in this whole question no necessity of worrying about an unwillingness to ‘do something to help the Soviet Union’. That phase of the war is long past. Today the supreme necessity of Britain and America is to act to help themselves.

It is one of the elementary facts of life, which no ideology can modify and no other factors can fundamentally change, that the character of the postwar world will be largely influenced by those who win the war on the battlefield.

The joint Anglo-Soviet-American policy for the postwar world is entirely based upon the agreement to bring the war to a successful conclusion by the joint military action of the full force of the coalition. The Soviet Union has long been exerting its full strength. Britain and America must move into action in 1944 with full force, not because the Soviet Union demands it, but because their own interest demands it.

The question of full coalition warfare has become, for the Soviet Union, a question of shortening the war. For Britain and the United States it is still a question of winning the war.

Britain and America have fully as much interest as the Soviet Union, therefore, in moving into Western Europe with full force this year, without a moment’s delay. There are just as urgent reasons for the Anglo-Saxon powers to be anxious to consolidate the concord of Teheran as there is for the Soviet Union. It has become a matter of the baldest and most obvious self-interest, not only for the masses of the British and American peoples, but for the capitalists large and small, to make good the Teheran concord.

The alternative to Teheran is one which must give pause to all intelligent leaders of Britain and America, regardless of class or ideology. For it is an alternative of chaos and anarchy in a very large part of the world; it is really the perspective threatened by Hitler on New Year’s Day. In such a world, there is no place for either Britain or America as at present constituted. The British and American way of life must realize the promise of Teheran or face inexorable defeat in one or another form.

Only the fanatical, non-reasoning, reckless, desperate men of the type of Colonel McCormick and his friends dare to openly challenge Teheran and to welcome its alternative of international anarchy. They dare, for they are essentially men of chaos, fascists in heart and mind, petty tyrants by nature and ambitious to become great ones, men who sneer at the very word ‘humanity’, to whom ideas are merely clubs with which to beat down their fellows, men of the type of that true Nazi who said: ‘When I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun.’

For the great mass of Americans there cannot be the slightest doubt that Teheran represents their hopes and aspirations. There can be doubt only as to whether the issue can be placed before them with sufficient sharpness and clarity, that their minds can be cleared of the confusions and prejudices that stand in the way of their understanding.

It must be admitted that most American newspapers are not helping to place the program of Teheran clearly before the people. It must be admitted that the Colonel McCormicks wield powerful weapons of obscurantism.

It must be admitted that America has not yet freed itself entirely from the menace of a home-grown fascism.

It must be admitted that business-as-usual and politics-as-usual moods and tendencies are spreading to enervate the American war effort and stultify the American mind.

All these problems and difficulties, which remain in the way of America in her task to make good her military commitments under the Teheran concord, can and will be solved. The American people are sound and healthy and do respond to honest and courageous leadership. The American soldiers are as good as any in the world, and their technical leadership is on the whole of high quality which will be steeled in action.

The military phase of the Teheran concord is, we may conclude, not the main point of danger at this time in the great struggle to bring about the promise of that historic declaration. American arms are abundant and of high quality. These arms can be as strong as the policy in behalf of which they are wielded. In arms alone there is no strength, and when directed by evil or stupid policy they may become a deadly menace to the very nation which wields them.
 

Chapter III: The Guarantee of Teheran

There is nothing automatic about the Teheran concord which executes itself and relieves us of our worries and tasks. On the contrary, Teheran calls for the maximum of national and individual effort, materially and intellectually, if we would realize the high goal it sets before America and the world. There is only one guarantee for the achievement of the Teheran perspectives. That is a nation mobilized and organized in support of a system of detailed policies inspired and dominated by the Teheran objective and spirit.

Sound policies are the correct definition of national interest. They can be founded only in the accurate identification of friends and enemies, and in treating our friends as friends and our enemies as enemies.

This may sound trite and oversimplified, but it is the real heart of the most difficult problems facing our nation. It is no exaggeration to say that if the United States had clearly distinguished its friends from its enemies during the past ten years, and had acted upon that distinction, we could have prevented the present war entirely.

When a nation has been directed by unsound policy, followed to the logical and bitter end, it finds itself, like Italy today, in the dire situation of welcoming the outside force which tears it violently from the arms of the partnership in which it has expended its resources. Or like Finland under the Mannerheim regime, it finds itself the slave of the partners in crime whom it had invited into its house to carry out a common criminal purpose, and refused to withdraw from the venture even when it has finally learned that ‘crime does not pay’. Or, as in Germany, it has surrendered itself completely to its own criminal underworld and has not been able to find the inner strength to revolt even when faced with the alternative of extinction as a nation.

Our own country, the United States, has escaped the fate of drinking this bitter cup to its dregs. But we were also drinking of the poison of unsound policy for many years. We were deeply involved in the whole Munich business of unsavory and tragic memory, and we still have to complete the process of freeing the practical and detailed policies of our country from Munichism.

These are profoundly unpleasant recollections, and we return to them only to the extent that it is necessary in order to clean out some dangerous remnant of the past that still poisons our political life.

This war presents some of its most difficult problems for America in the form of continued confusion of friends with enemies. Let us quickly review some of these confusions as they show themselves in prevailing newspaper attitudes.

  1. The Finland of Mannerheim is spoken of as a ‘friend’, whom we are sacrificing to an ‘unfortunate expediency’, and for whose position we should have ‘deep sympathy’.
     
  2. The Polish government-in-exile, which is deeply entangled in collaboration with the Nazis, is dealt with as a protégé of Britain and America, while the rising democratic camp within Poland is spoken of as some ‘mischief-making of Stalin’.
     
  3. The long-delayed recognition of and help to Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia is explained, not as a correction of our policy, but as an unfortunate if necessary ‘concession’ to the Soviet Union; the Nazi agent Mikhailovich is glorified, even at the moment when Churchill consigned him officially to the ash can of history, as another friend whom the unexplainable misfortunes of war forced us to drop against our desires.
     
  4. They continue to delay application to Italy of the policy agreed upon at the Moscow Conference, while clinging to the Badoglio-Victor Emmanuel shadow regime which is hated by the Italian people almost as deeply as are Mussolini and Hitler; the coalition of Italian democratic political parties, the Liberation Committee, is still treated as a force hostile to us and not to be trusted, instead of being brought into the government as its vital part.
     
  5. In Spain they continue to support Franco, Hitler’s puppet, in power, while his international organization, the Falange, works in all Latin American countries as Hitler’s espionage network, and organizes uprisings against pro-United Nations governments, already having set up two definitely pro-Nazi regimes in Argentina and Bolivia.
     
  6. Finally, and by no means the last example, there is the situation in China. They still support the original excuse of Japan’s invasion of China, namely, a supposed necessity to ‘suppress the Communists’, to dominate the national life of Republican China and to immobilize the largest, the best trained and equipped Chinese armies, and thus leave the Japanese with a comparatively free hand on the mainland.

On all six of these vital points of international policy, Secretary of State Hull is quite evidently feeling his way toward a realistic and practical policy more clearly in line with our obvious national interest and the concept of the United Nations. But he is seriously impeded and slowed down by heavy resistance within the United States itself, expressed by the great majority of the nation’s daily newspapers.

The heart of this confusion in America’s foreign policy is the persistence of a point of agreement with Hitler – the fear of the Soviet Union as the ‘menace of Bolshevism’, and the fear of the Communist movement in all countries as a ‘threat of revolutionary upheavals’.

The concord of Teheran provides the basis and starting point for the resolution of this basic contradiction in our foreign policy. The guarantee of Teheran is that we shall bring all our specific policies into harmony with its spirit and letter, which provide long-term confidence and collaboration between the capitalist democracies and the socialist democracies in international relations, and between all the democratic parties – including the Communists – within the nations.

The obstacles in the way of achieving this goal are almost entirely in the persistence of old prejudices and ways of thinking on both sides of the supposedly controversial questions. The realities of life are overwhelmingly favorable to the Teheran policy and its detailed working out in the inner political life of every member of the United Nations.

Teheran gives the key to victory, not only in Europe but on a world scale.

The conference in Cairo, between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Chiang Kai-shek, had tremendous importance which can be fully realized only in the perspective given by Teheran. It fixed the outlines of military policy against Japan, and by assuring China’s proper place in the postwar world it laid the ground for a Far Eastern political strategy along the lines more fully developed at Teheran for Europe.

In China, however, we are still faced with an unresolved major crisis within that republic which is the greatest single threat to our war effort in that part of the world. Only the bold application of policy similar to that worked out in Teheran can solve that crisis in the interest of the United Nations as a whole.

The forces of Chinese national resistance to Japan are still only formally united under Chiang Kai-shek. In fact they are two distinct camps, between which a ten-year civil war had raged from 1927 to 1937, and only in the face of Japan’s major invasion in 1937 have they achieved a precarious ‘unity’, one more closely resembling an armistice, but which has been often interrupted. Even this formal unity is in constant danger of dissolving into renewed civil war, a danger which has been especially sharp since the middle of 1943.

If this should happen it would be nothing less than a major catastrophe for the United States and Great Britain in the Pacific. It would be a major triumph for Japanese strategy and an enormous extension of Japanese power in China. It is a threat which the United States and Britain must avert if it is at all within their power to do so. It is the prime purpose of foreign policy to avert precisely such threats against our world position.

The Chinese problem presents on a gigantic scale the essential features of the problems of Europe, Africa, and Latin America, with the additional feature that the Soviet Union is not directly involved in the Far Eastern phase of the war. As it presents itself to the United States, it is a problem of finding effective means of uniting all our friends for the common struggle, and of avoiding everything that would play into the hands of our enemies. American foreign policy must perforce set itself the aim to promote and secure national unity within China for the war against Japanese aggression.

The objection is raised against such an American policy that it would constitute outside intervention in the internal affairs of China. But that is a sophistical evasion of the real problem. China and America are waging a joint war, in the course of which America has the duty to convince China that we are doing everything in our power to defeat the enemy and giving every possible material aid to China itself, while China has the duty to convince America that she is using all her forces, not merely a part of them, and that American materials sent to China are used by all Chinese willing to fight Japan, and not by some Chinese against other Chinese. Such problems must inevitably be discussed and settled jointly between the two powers. They are not the ‘internal and private affair’ of one of them. If it were America instead of China that had just emerged from ten years of civil war when she entered the World War, and if it were China that was sending materials to America, then it would be the Chinese who would perforce have to demand from America the guarantee of our national unity for the joint war effort, and against the relapse into the old civil war that would lay us open to the common enemy.

It is strange that such elementary propositions must still be discussed in the United States. It is a fact only because public opinion in America is still conditioned by prejudices which agree with the forces in China making for civil war. In the United States we still maintain in our laws and administrative practices the conception of the need to suppress the Communists as a subversive force, as an enemy of the nation. In our country this results in all sorts of distortions in our political life; but in China it raises the permanent threat of civil war, of the breakdown of the joint war effort. Obviously we cannot convincingly urge the Chinese to abandon prejudices to which we still cling in America.

The absolute necessity of unity by compromise in China exists independently of particular judgements on the merits of the issues which divide the two camps of Republican China. It exists because of the proved impossibility of achieving unity in any other way, and because continued disunity threatens us with Japanese victory. It is simply absurd to think that Chiang Kai-shek could now unify China by force, when he failed in a ten-year effort which had the active assistance of the Germans and Japanese, and the benevolent neutrality at least of Britain and the United States. The first and most important result of any effort by Chungking to wipe out the North-West China Autonomous Border Region by military means would be the seizure of power in Chungking by the pro-Japanese circles.

For Americans, however, the case for unity by compromise in China is made much stronger when we go behind the naked issue of the relation of forces and examine the relative merits of the two camps in the simplest terms of democracy. What is called the ‘Communist’ camp in China, because it is led by outstanding members of the Chinese Communist Party, is much closer to American concepts of democracy than is the so-called Kuomintang camp; it is closer in every way, including the wider scope given to ‘free enterprise’ in the economic life. And it is a thousand times closer to the needs and aspirations of the Chinese people.

These simple facts about China’s inner problems have been attested by every unbiased American witness who has made a report based upon first-hand observation of both territories. Our own American Lieutenant-Colonel Evans F. Carlson is outstanding among these, with his book Twin Stars of China; and in the current movie, Gung Ho, in which is recorded the first American offensive blow in the Pacific, can be felt the contribution of China’s heroic Communists to our own war effort. The latest evidence to the same effect is the remarkable book Shark’s Fins and Millet by Ilona Ralf Sues, a woman who took to China a set of preconceptions and a background entirely favorable to the Kuomintang, but whose several years in China transformed her into an eloquent champion of the regime of the North-West Autonomous Region as a true representative of democracy in China.

The final test of the question as to who are the true friends of America in China may be found upon examining what would happen in case all efforts to prevent civil war should fail and the struggle now threatening should actually break out. In what circles would Japan be able to recruit new Chinese allies to join their puppet Wang Ching-wei in Nanking? No one can possibly give any other answer than to point to the most powerful ruling circles in Chungking. What force can be depended upon to maintain the Chinese fighting front against Japan to the end, no matter what happens? No one can fail to point first to the Eighth Route Army and the North-West Autonomous Region.

These, America’s most reliable friends in China, have been carrying on half the fighting against the Japanese for several years. But they have received practically no money, arms, munitions or medical supplies from the central government in Chungking. On the contrary, they have been subjected to a blockade that cuts them off entirely from the rest of the country, a blockade which engages the entire attention of the largest, best-trained and equipped armies of the Chungking regime, which should be fighting the Japanese. Not a single gun, not a cartridge, from American lend-lease aid to China has reached the forces of the North-West Autonomous Region, but much American material has been used against them!

If we would begin to apply the principles of the Teheran concord to the Far East, as eventually we must, we would save the lives of untold numbers of American boys and bring victory much quicker. We would establish American military and consular representation in the China North-West Autonomous Border Region; we would insure that a share of American lend-lease aid, proportionate to their share of the fighting, reached those armies; we would urge, in the spirit of Teheran and the Atlantic Charter, the Chungking regime to respond to the oft-repeated appeals that have come from the Chinese Communist leaders for national unity and the beginnings of a democratic regime.

The Teheran concord is already in the process of solving the many stubborn problems of Europe which are, in essence, of the same nature as the problem of China.

The guarantee of victory and a stable peace for generations, that is contained in the Teheran concord, is valid to the degree that we also, the United States of America, mold all of our practical policies and our actions in all parts of the world in the spirit of that concord. Only in the practical policies of our own country can we find the guarantee of Teheran.

Teheran calls for the conscious and practical support of every person and every group and class. It must be implemented by an effective majority of Americans. Otherwise it will fail and all its promise will dissolve into the rising tides of chaos.
 

Part II: The War Determines the Postwar World

Chapter IV: The Anglo-Soviet-American Alliance

It is idle chatter to talk about the shape of the postwar world except as it can be shown to emerge from victory in the war. It is impossible to win victory in the war if we reject the kind of postwar world that must result from such victory. There is a necessity that inheres in the historical process which brings together into practical cooperation men and nations of the widest range of ideological conviction. It is upon that basis alone that the United Nations becomes a practical concept. It is upon that basis that the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance, nucleus of the United Nations, has become the central fact in history today.

Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt in Teheran found it possible to declare that their governments were determined to ‘work together in the war and in the peace that will follow’. It may be assumed that they found it possible to speak thus because they first found it necessary. Without the necessity it would most likely have been found ‘impossible’.

Many persons in America – even a few stray Communists – think that the three great statesmen went out of their way to borrow trouble when they dragged the postwar world into the consideration of how to win the war most quickly. ‘Sufficient unto the day are the problems thereof’, they quote, and want to know why we cannot concentrate on winning the war and leave the vexing problems of peace for the day after the war ends. The difficulty of such advice lies in the fact that it has already been tried, and experience had shown that it does not work.

In the two years from Pearl Harbor to Teheran, the coalition concentrated on prosecuting the military struggle to the exclusion of agreement on larger political issues. There is no reason to doubt that military plans were adequate in themselves. Even on the most difficult question of coalition warfare, the second front, military agreement was announced to the world as early as June 1942. But at this writing, almost two years later, the second front is still to be opened.

Why can we have more confidence in the military agreement announced at Teheran than in the agreement of 1942?

The chief reason why we can be sure that the second front will not again be delayed is the fact that in Teheran the military agreement did not stand alone but was founded in a common policy looking toward the shape of the world that is to come out of the war. Which is another way of saying that the second front was delayed not by military considerations primarily, but by political obstacles, by the absence of an agreement as to what to do with the victory that would be won by the second front.

The Anglo-Soviet-American alliance as a purely military arrangement was not strong enough to bring victory. It had to be deepened and buttressed in common policy, world policy, long-range policy embracing some key problems of the postwar world, before its military phase could become fully effective.

It will do neither ourselves nor the world the slightest good to scold or complain about this fait accompli of history. That is the kind of world we live in, and our job is to learn how our nation can survive the war crisis, salvage as much as possible of our prewar civilization, and get the world back upon the rails of progress once more, with our starting point the world as it is now.

Ridding the world of Hitlerism is a very difficult and bloody business. It is so difficult that in order to accomplish it we must begin to change one of the basic conditions out of which Hitlerism arose.

That basic condition which has to be changed is the division of the anti-Hitler camp into two parts which do not share any common program or perspective for the world as a whole – that is, the division between the socialist and the capitalist countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. Since neither side can be abolished by the other, the only way to bridge the division is for each to adapt itself to the other, to seek a program and perspective not out of their own desires and ideologies but from the possibilities of agreement between them which would preserve the most vital interests of each, and thus create the possibility to reconstruct the whole world order of nations.

There do exist such possibilities for agreement. We have the testimony of Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt, speaking jointly in Teheran to declare that they ‘have surveyed the problems of the future’, and that they ‘are sure that our concord will make it an enduring peace’. And the enduring peace, as they define it, is one which will ‘banish the scourge and terror of war for many generations’.

Can the effective majority of the American people rise to the heights of Teheran, and join whole-heartedly in the Declaration made in their name by Roosevelt, jointly with Stalin and Churchill?

There has been little open opposition to Teheran in America. But unfortunately the covert opposition is even more dangerous. American newspapers have led their readers to look upon Teheran as ‘just another conference’, the main purpose of which is just to keep things moving until there is another one to replace it. Even Wendell Willkie, whose enormously successful book One World had led many to expect better things of him, displayed a curious conception of Teheran as a place where some sharp horse-trading had taken place, speculating that if he had been there he could have driven a better bargain with Stalin and Churchill than had Roosevelt!

Mr. Willkie’s cynical remark may be nothing more than the automatic, unthinking, partisan sniping of a candidate for office against the incumbent, in an ancient but unhallowed American tradition; that would be bad enough, and would reveal some of the grave dangers our country will be experiencing as part of the 1944 election campaign. It is even worse if it becomes the basis of judgement of any important section of thinking Americans. For it delivers back to Hitler the weapon which Teheran was to strike from his hands, the weapon of playing upon supposed irreconcilable differences between the socialist and capitalist countries, as well as between Britain and America.

If Teheran was nothing but the scene of some sharp horse-trading in world politics then this whole book is worth exactly nothing or less – except as an argument that the Teheran we are describing must still occur if America and the world are to escape tragedy beyond anything yet witnessed.

For my part, I take the Declaration of Teheran at its face value. I reject the cynical evaluation of Teheran, whether it comes from Willkie or anyone else. And in every voice which raises doubts as to the validity of Teheran I hear an echo of Hitler’s speech!

Of course there were great difficulties confronting the Teheran statesmen. And of course there are great obstacles to be overcome in unfolding this concord. But the worst difficulty, the biggest obstacle, and the greatest danger to the Teheran concord is the failure or refusal to rise to the heights of vision and understanding that the concord is necessary, that it is possible, and that it represents the most vital interests of every nation and every people in the world without exception!

It is sad but true that even some Communists – not many – have fallen into the trap of a cynical evaluation of Teheran. Of course they give it a special slant. They boast what a ‘smart guy’ Stalin is, and how he ‘put it over’ on Roosevelt and Churchill; they explain confidentially that all the benefits that a Churchill can get out of Teheran ‘you can put in your hollow tooth’. Such persons are blissfully unconscious of the fact that they are but repeating the Trotskyites in reverse, and that both versions are copied from Hitler.

The greatness of Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin at Teheran was shown in the fact that they all operated on the higher level of statesmanship which searches for and finds the common interest which can be advanced by joint action, without any suspicion arising that one is trying to gain advantage at the expense of the other.

That which towers above everything else in international affairs, of course, is the tremendously improved position of Great Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States, in relation to all their problems, precisely as a result of Teheran. For Teheran represents that one factor without which the whole world is threatened with destruction – it is the one sure point in universal flux, it is the beginning of world organization in the midst of general anarchy. Every nation, every statesman, every individual who departs from the policy of Teheran will find himself walking off into a void. That is the final reason why we can have complete confidence in the lasting nature of the Teheran concord.

The broad outlines of the world policy which the Teheran concord initiates are obvious to all intelligent observers. It is rather sadly funny that the famous and intelligent Dorothy Thompson, in commenting upon my pamphlet evaluating Teheran, found that it was highly significant because ‘it was the voice of Stalin’ giving the inside dope on exactly what went on in the council chambers in Iran. I can assure Miss Thompson that so far as information is concerned I certainly had no more than she, and the difference between us lay entirely in what we did with our information after we got it into our respective heads. But it must be said that Miss Thompson, although from a completely wrong premise, came to the correct conclusion that the Teheran conference arrived at a real concord which is history-making in its significance.

It is certainly not necessary to have a secret pipeline to No. 10 Downing Street, the Kremlin or the White House, to know the general political outline of the concord. In fact, it is more correct to say that persons who depend upon ‘inside information’ show that they are incapable of understanding the generally known political facts of life. It is ‘outside information’ that is decisive.

The first necessity for a concord was that Britain and America accept the Soviet Union as an equal and agree on a common military program, which had not been done up to Teheran. In order, however, for Britain and America to make this tremendous turn of policy, they had to be convinced that a victorious Red Army would not carry the Soviet system and socialism on its bayonets to the rest of Europe up to the English channel. Once these basic concessions had been exchanged, the road was open for the settlement, by negotiation, of all detailed problems.

Cordell Hull at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Ministers gave the lead in demonstrating the possibility of arriving at the Teheran concord. His role was supremely important, for he was the chosen spokesman of the more reluctant and questioning sections of the ruling class of America embarking upon this new course. When Hull proceeded with confidence, the position of the most decisive and most conservative circles in America was registered. The President could then proceed to Teheran with the full assurance that he was acting for a national unity embracing the most responsible men of all classes and parties.

The Moscow Conference must therefore be considered an integral part of the Teheran concord. It will be of permanent value to review its achievements. The joint communique registered that ‘in the first place there were frank and exhaustive discussions of the measures to be taken to shorten the war against Germany and her satellites in Europe’ which were understood ‘to create a basis for the closest military cooperation in the future between the three countries’. It then proceeded to expand the agreement, in a paragraph which follows in full:

Second only to the importance of hastening the end of the war was the recognition by the three governments that it was essential in their own national interests and in the interests of all peace-loving nations to continue the present close collaboration and cooperation in the conduct of the war into the period following the end of hostilities, and that only in this way could peace be maintained and the political, economic, and social welfare of their peoples fully promoted.

Immediately upon the announcement of the Moscow agreements, I wrote an evaluation of them which, in the light of later controversies, I consider it important to repeat here for wider circulation. I summed up the significance of the Moscow Conference in these words:

The Moscow Conference of Foreign Secretaries came together as an exploratory conference, to pave the way for a future meeting of President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Premier Stalin. Before the conference care was taken not to arouse high hopes in the immediate results of its work, for it was generally expected that the most significant agreements could only be arrived at later in the meeting of principals.

Contrary to such expectations, the Moscow Conference itself formulated the basic agreements which already establish the line of march for the Coalition leading the United Nations. Its success was beyond all expectations.

The projected meeting of the chiefs of the coalition is not, however, rendered unnecessary by this success, nor is it likely to be postponed. Just as the gigantic victories of the Red Army, with the Anglo-American advances in Africa and Italy, and the air war over Germany, enlarged the successes of the Moscow Conference, so now the accelerated military victories, reinforced by the political blows of the Moscow Conference against the Axis and the appeasers, serve all the more to set the stage of history for the Roosevelt–Churchill–Stalin meeting to take further steps in the same direction…

The world has opened a new epoch in its history. (The Three-Power Conference at Moscow, The Communist, December 1943, written in early November)

Moscow-Cairo-Teheran were thus a unified series making up the whole picture we identify now by the single name of Teheran.

The outline of policy that emerges to give body and substance to the concord may be summarized as the freeing of the democratic peoples’ revolution in Europe, the sweeping away of absolutism, and the mobilization of the united peoples’ forces for their own liberation in cooperation with the great powers; the postponement of final decisions on economic and political systems for each of the liberated countries until victory is achieved, when each nation will be free to determine its own destiny without any intervention from outside its own borders; support to groupings and leaders within each country entirely upon the basis of their effective contribution to war against the Nazi invaders and to their own national liberation, and not at all upon ideological considerations or any desire to predetermine that country’s postwar destiny.

Such a policy requires from all who would pursue it the exertion of maximum force against the Nazi enemy and his quisling agents, which means also to minimize and if possible to eliminate completely all inner struggles within the national liberation front in each country. A broad all-inclusive anti-fascist camp must be established in each country, within which all relations are determined and problems settled by free discussion, free political association, and universal suffrage. Such a democratic national coalition within each country must be open to all who will fight the Nazis and submit to the common discipline, under the general world leadership of the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition, without any discrimination based upon conflicting ideologies.

This raises a fundamental problem for the United States which is still not clarified and settled, namely, the acceptance of Communists in the general camp of the democratic forces, without discrimination, and without exceptional laws, on the same basis as all other political tendencies.

This problem, in its domestic political aspects, will be discussed in detail in a later section of the book. But at this point it is forced upon our attention as a problem of our foreign policy. The best way to bring forth the issue is probably by way of very concrete example, complete with names and addresses.

Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Poletti is America’s ranking official in the Allied Military Government (AMG) in Italy. He is an American of Italian origin. In Italy it is he who decides our relations with the Italian Committee of Liberation, the six-party coalition of all Italian democrats, from Catholics to Communists. He uses his position in Italy to tell the Italian democrats that the United States demands they break up their united front, that they must expel the Italian Communists or they cannot be dealt with in any way. He justifies this demand by the similar position he occupied in the United States toward American Communists, which is the position of the Antonini-Pope-Dubinsky clique in New York’s labor and political movement. He says he cannot take one attitude toward the Communists at home, and then another and different attitude toward Communists in Italy. He rejects the application in Italy of the resolution adopted at the Moscow Conference of Foreign Secretaries. That is why not a single step has yet been taken by American forces in Italy to mobilize the Italian people to fight against the Germans. That is why the Italian front is ‘frozen’ at this writing, and our outnumbered American and British soldiers receive but limited assistance from the millions of Italians who are pleading for an opportunity to fight at their side.

Poletti’s friends, the New York Social Democratic Federation, adopted a special resolution urging our government in Washington to purge its institutions, especially those abroad, of all American Communists – and explained that this was necessary in order to prevent the carrying out of the policy of Teheran!!

In this little example we can see the type of stubborn obstacles to the realization of the Teheran policies, obstacles which arise directly out of our own domestic political life and seriously weaken the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance.

Another example: immediately following Teheran, the British Trade Union Congress issued a call for an international gathering of trade-union representatives from Allied and neutral countries to work out labor’s role in winning the war and reconstructing the world. Such a step is obviously necessary for the full success of the Teheran concord. It is precisely in America, however, that this step is rejected – by the Executive Council of the American Federation of Labor – on the ground that it is impossible to agree to collaboration with Communists in any form, and that the trade unions of the Soviet Union will send prominent Communists who also hold high offices in the Soviet government!!!

Clearly the road of Teheran, of the consolidation of the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance, for the winning of the war and a stable peace for generations to come, is not an easy road for our country to travel. We find that it is impossible to build a Chinese wall between foreign policy and domestic policy. We find that many of the most rigid and iron-bound policies that still rule in our country’s domestic life are fundamentally irreconcilable with the foreign policy of Teheran.

That only means that the policy of Teheran must be fought for; it will not come by itself from on high. Everything that stands as an obstacle in the way of victory and an enduring peace must be pushed aside. Teheran corresponds to American national interest, to the interests of all nations, great and small. There is no workable alternative, only international anarchy and chaos.
 

Chapter V: Reconstruction of Europe

Almost all of Europe west of the Soviet front is still in the grip of Hitlerism and must be torn from that bloody grasp in a deadly struggle, with fire and sword.

The shape of postwar Europe will be determined by the course of the struggle for its liberation.

Cordell Hull laid down this basic principle in 1942, when in a programmatic speech he warned the nations of Europe not to expect deliverance entirely from outside forces, that their rights would be conditioned also by the degree of their participation in the struggle for their liberation. The same warning was repeated by the Moscow Conference in the statement on Austria.

To state the same principle in a more blunt and crude form, the architects of postwar Europe will be chosen from among those who have demonstrated the greatest ability to kill Nazis, in some proportionate relationship to their performance of that task. This is one of the inescapable facts of life often lost sight of in America, where no newspaper columnist is so poor that he cannot produce a new map of Europe out of his own head at least once a month, and where a card-playing expert can turn out a chart of the postwar world in his spare time to the warm applause of women’s clubs, debating societies, sundry ‘intellectuals’, and the Book Review section of the New York Times.

Teheran did not cancel this principle of relating rights to responsibilities, but established a concord which includes it and works it into a modus vivendi for arriving at agreement on policy among all who are killing Nazis, so that they will not cancel out one another and, finally, turn to killing one another. Teheran was of historic importance because it was a concord between the three main powers engaged in killing the most Nazis to do it more effectively for an agreed-upon result.

Since we have no ambition to draw up omniscient blueprints, we can confine our discussion of the reconstruction of Europe to a few examples of the various ways in which the problem is being worked out, beginning with Poland.

The prewar Polish government signed its own death warrant when it furiously rejected all cooperation with the Soviet Union and threw itself into the arms of Hitler, participating in his rape of Czechoslovakia. It again rejected Soviet help shortly before the war broke out. As a result it was conquered in a few weeks when Hitler turned on his Polish ‘friends’. The Soviet Union stepped in and saved for the time the Ukrainian and Byelorussian territories that had been seized by Poland in 1920. Until June 1941, the Polish government-in-exile that had been formed in London had no perspective or function except to wait for something to turn up. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Sikorsky made a treaty with Moscow for the government-in-exile, and thereby already in 1941 gained a concord which, if it had been honorably carried out by the Poles, would have placed the government-in-exile in a very strong position.

But the exiled Polish leadership proved incapable of honorably carrying out its engagements. After forming a Polish army from among refugees and prisoners in the Soviet Union, equipping and arming them at Soviet expense, it refused to use that army on the Eastern front, and withdrew it through Iran into the Near East to do garrison duty for the British. It used its representation within Soviet territory to gather military information which later turned up mysteriously in Hitler’s hands, and to conduct defeatist and subversive agitation, the crime for which the ‘socialists’ Ehrlich and Alter were shot. And finally, the last straw, it joined in Hitler’s murderous provocation in connection with the Katyn forest massacre, a Hitler crime which the Polish exiles placed at the door of the Soviet Union, directly echoing Berlin. The Soviet Union broke off all relations with the Polish government-in-exile. Polish exiles remaining in the Soviet Union formed the Union of Polish Patriots, and began to build Polish army units to fight with the Red Army.

As the Red Army brings liberation in its march toward the borders of Poland, this traitorous government-in-exile has issued orders to its adherents within Poland to resist the Red Army when it appears, although for three years it had systematically instructed them not to resist the Nazis. There is a mountain of evidence from within Poland that these same gentlemen have been collaborating with the Nazis in the extermination of the Polish patriots who have carried on guerrilla resistance throughout this period.

The Polish government-in-exile makes a very simple demand on the Soviet Union. It only requires that the Red Army shall drive out the Nazis, return to Polish misrule the Ukrainian and Byelorussian territories liberated in 1939, and place the exiled gentlemen back into power over the Polish people with Red Army bayonets, so that they can continue on an international scale their vicious anti-Soviet activities. They depended upon the power of Britain and America to force these ‘little’ demands upon the Soviet Union, for, with all their blind arrogance, they alone are entirely powerless.

Teheran put an end to this cynical and dangerous and damaging game of the Polish reactionaries. Churchill announced in the British Parliament that his government considers the Soviet policy toward Poland eminently reasonable, and based upon an impartial British judgement enunciated as early as 1919. Unquestionably Washington will follow London in this inevitable course. The reactionary exiles are left suspended in mid-air, where it seems they are stubbornly determined to remain, at the end of a rope of their own weaving.

The prospects for the real Poland are, however, growing brighter with every passing day. The Red Army presses inexorably on, and with it the Polish patriot army under General Berling. When it enters Polish territory, there is not the slightest doubt that the Polish people will immediately set up their own organs of self-government, and join in the war with all their strength, participating fully in the task of their own liberation. Poland will emerge from its ordeal purified of its traitorous leadership that had brought it to ruin, strong in a people’s rule, a democracy it never before was permitted to develop.

The Polish exiles in London would never have entered upon their wild and suicidal adventure against the Soviet Union if they had not speculated upon separating and estranging Washington and London from Moscow. They fought violently against the concord of Teheran. Their only hope was disunity and the breaking up of the anti-Hitler alliance – in short, they were still speculating upon a victory for Hitlerism in Europe. Like all who fight against Teheran, they walked over a precipice.

In sharp contrast to the Polish, the Czechoslovak government-in-exile has played a constructive and consistent role. That should warn us not to make any general conclusions about all exiled governments. This government has its weak points, and serious ones, too, but it has never intrigued to weaken or break up the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance, nor tried to play upon speculative differences among the great powers. It has consistently stood for unity, and since Munich has shown a growing realization that its close collaboration with the Soviet Union is its best guarantee for a stable peace after this war is won. It stands upon a coalition of all democratic parties, including the Communists. The perspective of Czechoslovakia in the postwar world is clear and bright, and it can be dimmed only by slackness in the fight to realize victory, by slowness in taking up arms.

Yugoslavia offers another variation of the process of the liberation and reconstruction of Europe. In the spring of 1944, as this is being written, all of America is conscious of the amazing rise of a people’s government and army within Yugoslavia under the heel of the Nazi invasion, its miraculous military successes against the invaders and at the same time against the agents of King Peter’s government-in-exile in London. The name of Marshal Tito, the chief leader of this movement, has become a familiar word around the world. And finally Winston Churchill spoke up in Parliament, in a frank and generous acknowledgment of the great services of Marshal Tito and his government to the United Nations, and an equally frank renunciation of the traitor Mikhailovich.

How different this problem looked only a few months ago!

In order to give an illustration of how difficult America finds it to work out a correct policy toward European problems, I succumb to the temptation to break one of my rules and to tell an ‘inside story’. In October 1942 the Dubinsky-New Leader group in the American Labor Party of New York decided to pull a thorn out of their flesh by persuading Attorney General Biddle to suppress the Daily Worker. They decided that a good issue for this purpose was to charge that the Daily Worker was disrupting the solidarity of the United Nations by attacking General Mikhailovich, ‘our ally’. They placed the project before their close friend and associate Adolph Berle, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State. Berle enthusiastically agreed and placed the matter before Biddle, who called a ‘conference’ on the matter in the Department of Justice. The ‘conference’ after some embarrassed squirmings by some of its participants finally ‘agreed in principle’ to Berle’s proposal, but decided, before proceeding, to clear the issue officially with Military Intelligence and the State Department – both of which, fortunately for the Daily Worker, sent back word to ‘lay off’ Mikhailovich’s relations with Hitler which one subordinate described as ‘hot cargo’.

However, for more than a year thereafter, the American newspapers generally continued their vociferous support to Mikhailovich, and their equally vociferous denunciation of Marshal Tito and his associates whom they called ‘Communist bandits’. Our country was systematically being misinformed about Yugoslavia by all the newspapers, with the exception of the Daily Worker (and a few foreign-language dailies), although the British and American governments were from the very beginning fully informed about Mikhailovich’s treacherous dealings with Hitler and Mussolini. Only Louis Adamic’s sensational book, My Native Land, issued toward the end of 1943, with its devastating and unanswerable record of facts, finally broke the newspaper blockade on the truth about Yugoslavia.

Adamic’s book was soon followed by the equally sensational dispatches of CL Sulzberger from Cairo to the New York Times, revealing facts he had long known but had never dared to report before.

Obviously the unity of Britain, the Soviet Union and America in support of Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia, and the exposure of Mikhailovich and his government-in-exile as traitors dealing with the enemy, is a victory for the whole United Nations. What shall we think, therefore, when great American newspapers continue to speak of the decline of Mikhailovich as a ‘setback’ for America and Britain and a ‘disquieting victory for Stalin’? At the moment I am writing this, the current New York Times, through its military expert Hanson Baldwin, cites the rise of Tito as one of ‘many disturbing trends’ which are dashing ‘the high hopes for the postwar world that were entertained after the Moscow, Cairo and Teheran conferences’.

Did Hanson Baldwin and the New York Times really base their hopes of Teheran upon the idea that the great powers would unite behind Mikhailovich instead of Tito in Yugoslavia? Is it really in America’s interest to take on our shoulders the burden of fighting for the bankrupt and discredited collaborators of Hitlerism, placing them back into power over their peoples at the point of American bayonets, as a part of our military action to overthrow their old bosses, the Nazis? Is America really frightened at the rise of a virile democracy in Europe that can unite all the progressive groups and parties from the Catholics to the Communists? Is every victory for democracy in Europe really a ‘setback’ for British and American policy and a ‘victory for Stalin’?

If America cannot answer these questions clearly, with an emphatic ‘No!’ to the line of Hanson Baldwin and his kind, then indeed Teheran will have but a fleeting importance in history. For the line of Baldwin and his kind drives directly toward kindling vast civil war amid the ruins of Europe, which would continue and intensify even after Hitlerism is overthrown. In such a war Baldwin would align Britain and America with all the forces of feudal reaction and throw all the forces of popular democracy into the arms of the Soviet Union. This would mean that Britain and America would finally have to take on the job at which Hitler failed – the military destruction of the Soviet Union.

The concord of Teheran is designed for the specific purpose of liquidating finally and forever this ghost of Munich. It is to remove this contraposing of pro-Soviet against pro-Anglo-American orientation as a line of division within the countries of Europe, and to substitute for it a single pro-Anglo-Soviet-American orientation, that Teheran is necessary.

Our examples of the broad problem of the reconstruction of Europe are sufficient for us to pose its central essence for the whole continent, as it is expressed politically, with only detailed variations from country to country. For the purpose of argument in this book it is not necessary to continue the examination of one country after another.

One point further, however, is required to bring this central question of the reconstruction of Europe into sharp focus, in the light of American interests which are to be realized in the framework of Teheran. This has to do with European economy.

The economy of Europe before the war was already tightly bound up in a system of international cartels. This cartel system represented a fusion of monopoly capital and feudal and semi-feudal political power. It was the main channel of Nazi penetration into neighboring countries before the war, and was taken over by Nazi Germany completely, with the conquest of Europe, as the skeleton of the ‘new order’. Certain circles of British and American capital participated in this cartel system and have never broken their connections, hoping to take over and salvage it for their own purposes when Hitler is defeated.

This is the chief influence which brought Britain and the United States into commitments to Vichy France, to Franco in Spain, to the House of Savoy, to Mikhailovich and King Peter, to King George of Greece and his fascist advisers, to the Polish government-in-exile, etc, etc. It is a hundred times more serious an influence than Winston Churchill’s sentimental attachment to the principle of monarchy and legitimism. It is the main obstacle to the realization of the promise of Teheran.

The answer to this problem is not the simple trust-busting program, the abolition of cartels, to which the typical American liberals immediately turn. The capitalist world economy, so long as it lasts, will have as its dominant feature the great aggregations of monopoly capital grouped in cartels. The only workable alternative to this is the socialist system of the type developed in the Soviet Union.

The political and social framework of this European cartelized economy cannot, however, survive the defeat of Hitler, and cannot be taken over intact or in part by British and American capital. It must be completely dissolved, and the rising democracy of Europe is in the process of dissolving it now. For this political and social frame of the cartel system in Europe is made up entirely of the rotten remnants of feudalism, rigid oppression of workers and peasants, absolutism and authoritarianism, a military caste system, oppression of national minorities, and the suppression and domination of entire nations from outside. The sweeping away of all these relics of feudalism, which is the substance of the peoples’ democratic revolution in Europe, is a necessary accompaniment of the smashing of Hitlerism, and will give rise unavoidably to the reconstitution of European capitalist economy, including cartels, within an entirely new political and social framework.

It is the most stupid mistake to suppose that any American interest, even that of American monopoly capital, is incompatible with this necessary peoples’ revolution in Europe. As a matter of fact, this is the only way in which Europe can become the effective market which is absolutely necessary for American economy’s survival on a capitalist basis. The old Munich Europe must go into the bankruptcy courts of history and a new democratic Europe must take over, because – if for no other reason – only the new democratic Europe is capable of buying and selling on the world market, and paying its bills, in a fashion and on a scale necessary to fit, with America, into a single world order.

In order to place this issue in its baldest terms, understandable to the busiest and least thoughtful broker on the stock exchange, we can say that the problem of Europe is symbolized in the potential current market value of bonds sponsored by Mikhailovich, for which the lowliest American sucker would not bid a penny today, compared with bonds sponsored by Tito, which would fluctuate only with the stock market’s judgement as to the fate of all Europe. For it is clear that if Europe escapes a half-century of chaos, the name of Tito will rate higher in the American financial market than any other name in the Nazi-occupied countries. This is a very concrete measure to determine where the true interests of American capital lie in relation to the problems of Europe, its liberation and reconstruction.
 

Chapter VI: National Liberation in Asia

Outlines of a comprehensive policy for Asia began to emerge with the issuance of the joint communiqué on the Cairo Conference of Roosevelt, Chiang Kai-shek, and Churchill.

Japan is to be stripped of all territories which she has seized by military aggression; those stolen from China are to be restored to the Chinese Republic. Korea is to be free and independent.

With these objects in view, the three Allies, in harmony with those of the United Nations at war with Japan, will continue to persevere in the serious and prolonged operations necessary to procure the unconditional surrender of Japan.

Such is the essence of the Cairo Conference.

This agreement is supplemented by the established policy of the United States for a free and independent Philippines, and by the renunciation of all extra-territorial rights in China on the part of Britain and America, the cancellation of the ‘unequal treaties’ which for so long hampered and distorted Chinese national development.

Still entirely unanswered are the problems of the future status of considerably more than half of Asia – India, Burma, Indonesia, the Malay States, and Indo-China, with a population of more than a half billion.

It is entirely conceivable that the Cairo Conference provides a minimum common policy sufficient for the military defeat of Japan, since the guarantee for the smashing of Nazi Germany was established at Teheran, and Japan is thus isolated.

But it is not conceivable that Cairo is sufficient to give to Asia that stable peace, that long-term postwar perspective of international order, which is the heart of Teheran.

It is entirely impossible that Asia can be stabilized, after the defeat of Japan, upon any form of restoration of the old prewar colonial empire system. A stable Asia requires the rise of free and independent national states comprising all the principal peoples of the continent, and their inclusion into the main stream of world development, politically and economically.

So long as this perspective is not given jointly by the great powers, just that long are we holding on to the perspective that the Asiatic peoples liberated from Japan will again be subjected to the old Western colonial system; we are rejecting the partnership of the Asiatic peoples in the postwar world, and are offering them as an inducement to help defeat Japan only the dubious promise of ‘better masters’ to replace ‘bad masters’.

This clearly does not correspond to the best interests of America. Our country must obviously bear the main burden of the military defeat of Japan; the perspective of reconstituting the old colonial system makes this burden manifold heavier; but such a resurrected colonial system will not and cannot operate to the benefit of America, not even to the benefit of American monopoly capital.

Why then do we continue to carry this unnecessary and unprofitable burden?

Since the ultimate concession of national independence to the Asiatic peoples is inevitable, why not make that concession now when it will lift a considerable part of the Pacific war burden from our shoulders? Why not enlist Asia’s teeming millions into the active struggle for their own liberation? Let the Eastern nations earn their independence in battle against Japan, as China is doing, and not be forced to earn it later in battle against us or associated powers.

There is a stereotyped answer to this question: that the problems of national liberation in Asia are so complicated and so difficult that they cannot possibly be solved in the midst of war but must be postponed until they can be dealt with calmly and at leisure, after victory is won. That answer is entirely unacceptable to the peoples of Asia.

More pertinent to America’s position, however, is the fact that it should be entirely unacceptable also to the people of the United States.

In order to make this problem as sharp and clear as possible, I wish to proceed directly to its core, which lies in American and world economy, and by-pass for the time all other phases of the problem which are confused by ideological differences and preconceptions.

What are the economic factors which make it impossible for the United States to accept a policy of reconstitution of the old colonial empire system in Asia? The chief consideration is that America, with by far the strongest capitalist economy in the world, must have enormous postwar markets for its products, for which Asia provides the chief potential. These markets must be on a scale never before dreamed of, running into the tens of thousands of millions of dollars annually. Without such markets American economy cannot continue as a going concern; their rapid materialization in the immediate postwar period is a life-and-death necessity for the prevailing American way of life.

Asia under a reconstituted colonial system cannot begin to provide even a fraction of the market demanded by America. For a colonial Asia is a poverty-stricken, backward, agrarian Asia, reservoir of cheap labor and raw materials for other markets, but by that very fact precluded from realizing its potentialities as the kind of market America must have to absorb billions of dollars’ worth of our heavy industry products annually. The only kind of Asia that can provide America with the markets it must have is an Asia rapidly industrializing and modernizing itself.

If there is one fact demonstrated beyond dispute in the world’s economic experience, it is that a colonial regime is the deadly enemy of modern all-round industrialization. No nation has ever achieved or can achieve industrialization except upon the foundation of independence, unity, and self-determination.

A policy directed toward realizing a great market in Asia for American products must be directed, therefore, toward abolishing the colonial system and its replacement by a system of free, self-governing, unified nations. Colonial or semi-colonial regimes provide narrow and restricted markets, while independent, self-governing nations provide expanding markets.

American economic interest further influences our policy in relation to the inner political alignments of the Asiatic nations. While accepting unconditionally the principle of self-government and self-determination for these nations in their inner life, it still remains inevitably true that America will have an interest in what kind of internal regime each nation has, and must shape its policy in accordance therewith. And in this, also, we find the true course when we cling to the interest in an expanding market.

Consider the inner problems of China briefly from this point of view. Republican China is sharply divided into two camps which our newspapers glibly describe as ‘Kuomintang’ and ‘Communist’, or as ‘conservative’ and ‘radical’. Such a description carries with it the assumption that our capitalist America finds its own interests best represented by ‘Kuomintang’ or ‘conservative’ China, and that it must frown upon ‘Communist’ or ‘radical’ China. We have already shown in previous chapters how this assumption is contradicted in the military and political fields. Economic considerations serve even more powerfully to break down these old prejudices and assumptions.

It is a demonstrable fact that the economic policies characteristic of ‘Kuomintang’ China today are operating to defeat America’s interest in an expanding Chinese market, while the economic policies of ‘Communist’ China are those most favorable and conducive to an expanding market. The anti-democratic, authoritarian internal regime of ‘Kuomintang’ China is based upon economic policies which cultivate landlordism, speculation, market monopoly, usury, and all sorts of profit-seeking not through expanding the economy but by parasitically preying upon economy. The democratic internal regime of the North-West Border Region, the so-called ‘Communist’ China, is based upon economic policies which limit and reduce landlord exploitation, prohibit speculative hoarding and ‘cornering of markets’, give free play to economic enterprise in productive fields, defeat usurious practices, and encourage profit-seeking only through the expansion of production and in forms which raise the economic level of the entire community.

Is this, then, in reality a ‘purely domestic issue’ of China, toward which America is not entitled to have a policy?

America is providing, and will soon provide in much greater volume, munitions of war to the Chinese Republic. Is it really none of our business if these munitions are not used entirely against the Japanese, but a large part of them diverted to be used against a particular section of the Chinese people whose policies are closest to American economic interests?

America is providing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to the Chinese Republic, ostensibly for the purpose of stabilizing Chinese currency. Is it really none of our business when these funds are diverted to speculative hoarding of foodstuffs, to usurious loans, to manipulations in currency that create hundreds of new multi-millionaires and drive native capital out of all productive occupations by making them unprofitable, and inflict a wild inflation upon the Chinese people?

America is preparing to grant billions of dollars of industrialization loans to China after the war. Is it really none of our business that its government is dominated by men who reject the whole concept of industrialization, who extol the ancient patriarchal feudalism as the ‘golden age’ to which China must return, who find the source of all China’s ills in the ‘invasion’ of China by the ‘alien’ influences of science and democracy?

It is clear beyond any question that if America is to have any relationship whatever with China, we inescapably must make these problems also a part of our business; we must have a policy toward them. And this is all the more necessary since the policy that represents America’s best interest in China is at the same time the policy which represents a rising standard of life and expanding democratic self-government for the hundreds of millions of the Chinese people.

The essence of the problem of American policy is similar for all of Asia; it differs from country to country only in form.

In Indo-China, Malaya, Burma, and Indonesia the basic problem is overlaid with the vested interests of French, Dutch, and British colonialism. It is obvious that America will not and cannot carry through the Pacific war to victory merely to reestablish that old, corrupt and thoroughly decayed colonial system. And it is becoming obvious that neither can the problem be postponed for postwar consideration, without multiplying the cost of victory beyond any limit of toleration.

India, the only part of the colonial Far Eastern mainland saved from the Japanese first rush of conquest, presents the basic issue in its most complicated form. Here we have American armed forces directly serving not only to repel the common Japanese enemy and to prepare the reconquest of the occupied lands but also incidentally and against American interests to bolster up and perpetuate the British colonial government which is just as rotten, obsolete, and harmful as that which the Japanese had crushed with their first blows at Singapore and in the rest of the Far East.

Without going into any details of the problems of the British–French–Dutch colonial empire, it is obvious that any hope of an orderly, peaceful solution after the defeat of Germany and Japan will hinge upon the question of whether it is possible for British and American interests to be reconciled to one joint policy, which at the same time will release the forces of the Asiatic national liberation movement.

The main reason why the British cling so stubbornly to their obsolete colonial system is not to be found in the supposed innate conservatism or incapacity for change in the British character. Rather it must be seen in the fact that the British can see available no other instrument to avoid being overwhelmed by the gigantic forces of American capitalism. In a world of free markets as between nations, and bereft of their former colonial monopoly, British capitalists cannot envisage successful competition with their American rivals. This is an old fear of the British, but it has been multiplied a hundredfold by the spectacular expansion of the American productive plant during the war. Unless this well-founded fear of British capital can in some way be allayed there is not the slightest prospect of the formulation of a long-time joint policy for Asia.

A joint British-American political line looking toward the stabilization of Asia must, therefore, be founded upon an economic concord which will limit the play of free competition between them on the world market, within the framework of a certain guaranteed proportionate share to the economically weaker power. Without such a guarantee, that weaker power will under no circumstances voluntarily surrender its historical claims to colonial monopoly, and without such surrender there is not the slightest possibility of any prolonged period of peace.

Even this, however, cannot alone provide the framework of stability in Asia. The Soviet Union is not directly involved in the Far Eastern phase of the world war but she remains an Asiatic power of the first magnitude. Her active collaboration in any long-term framework of Asiatic relations is unconditionally necessary. The Anglo-American political and economic program for Asia must be of such a character that it would be underwritten and participated in by the Soviet Union.

Such a political and economic concord, formulated and announced to the world now, would bring several inestimable benefits to the world. It would disarm the Japanese bandits of their political slogan of ‘Asia for the Asiatics’.

It would immediately begin the enlistment of the national liberation movement throughout Asia as our active allies in the war.

It would dissolve the most acute contradictions between Britain and America which hamper the development of a joint strategy and tactics in the Pacific area.

It would promote the unification and democratization of China and the other Asiatic countries, and prepare them for an effective large-scale industrialization program to begin at the moment of victory.

It would establish the foundation upon which the Soviet Union could be brought into active collaboration in the stabilization of the Far East.

It would create the necessary preconditions, economic and political, in Asia as well as in Europe, for the realization of the promise of Teheran to banish the terrible scourge of war from the world for generations to come.
 

Chapter VII: Africa and the Near East

Africa remains the point of extreme unclarity in relation to long-term world policy. Its existing political and economic status contains no single major factor making for stability. Without venturing into the maze of detail that makes up the African picture, it may still be of value to see if it is possible to discern a possible long-time policy for America directed toward solving some of the major contradictions.

The overwhelming bulk of African territory and population are comprised within the British and French colonial system. This system is contradictory to the interests of America, it is certainly not looked upon with sympathy by the Soviet Union, and it is abhorred by China. At the same time it oppresses the native population of some 150 million, keeps a rich continent in extreme poverty, and prevents any evolution toward democracy and national independence.

‘Instability’ is written all over the African status quo. America, looking at Africa from the standpoint of her own national interest within the framework of the Teheran agreement and perspective for the world, must have an African policy – and there is as yet no such policy. America certainly has something to contribute to determining the form and content of Africa’s inevitable change in relation to the rest of the world and her own inner organization of life. But just what this American policy shall be is still to be determined.

I assume that few words need be wasted in rejecting any idea of America’s shouldering her way into participation in the African colonial system alongside Britain and France. That was Germany’s role throughout the twentieth century, and contributed much to bringing ruin upon the world. It is so obviously contrary to America’s interest and ideology that it may be ignored.

An American policy for Africa, to be practical, must have certain features which we can already define with a degree of exactitude. It must be a policy which is made possible by America’s participation in it; that is, America must raise all Africa’s problems to a higher level by the very act of committing America to participation in their solution, making a contribution no other country could make. It must be a policy which does not weaken the relative position of Britain and France viz-à-viz America, either in the world in general or in specific relation to Africa. And, finally, it must be a policy which will immediately set in motion the economic and political advancement of the African peoples themselves. Only a policy which meets these three demands can be considered a practical American policy.

What can America contribute which would throw a new light on all African problems? America can underwrite a gigantic program of the industrialization of Africa, to be launched immediately at the conclusion of the war, at the first moment that America’s war industries can shift over to peace-time production. No other country could do this but America, and to have such huge markets as this immediately available after the war is one of the most pressing postwar needs of America. Such an African industrialization program would immediately furnish a basis for solving a thousand problems hitherto insoluble, and among them the most important problems.

British and French colonial interests would, of course, have to be thrown into the melting pot of such an industrialization program. Britain and France would have to receive compensation for their sacrifice of the colonial monopoly; but the fruits of industrialization are so tremendous that this is clearly possible. Both countries could be strengthened, rather than weakened, by the renunciation of their colonial claims.

The industrialization of Africa can be successful, in the final analysis, only to the degree that the African population is drawn into participation in the process and in its benefits. It must initiate a general and steady rise in the standard of life of the African peoples, commensurate with their participation in the work. There must be unlimited opportunity for Africans to advance into every post and function of the economic process, up to the highest. The entire population must be freed from all feudal and colonial bondage. An educational system must be inaugurated for the mass of the population, with specialized technical training for the most qualified. A system of local self-government must immediately be set in motion, looking toward eventual complete self-determination of each nation in Africa, with a time schedule for its completion.

With these measures it is possible to build a solid foundation for an industrialized Africa, which will guarantee its success; without them, the whole project would bog down in internal and international contradictions. A colonial and subject people cannot build or sustain a modern industrialized economy.

The old colonial administrations would have to be superseded effectively by a new type of organization, international in character, designed to create and maintain the conditions for successful industrialization, and to hand over governmental functions to the rising democratic institutions of the people step by step, finally disappearing from the scene entirely.

The Union of South Africa would be admitted to participation in the general continental industrialization, on condition that it create in its territory also that necessary equal status of the indigenous African peoples, which it now denies.

These are, it seems to me, the essential outlines of a program which America, and only America, could urge upon Africa and the world in the interest of all peoples concerned.

It would provide the immeasurable benefits of removing Africa from the role of cockpit of international rivalries, and transform it into a laboratory of international collaboration. It would bring a great and undeveloped continent into the mainstream of world advancement, politically, socially and economically. It would open up another of those huge markets for America and England, which are essential at once when the war ends if the world is not to plunge into another devastating economic crisis like that of 1929–33. And it builds another strong pillar in the structure of the United Nations which alone can save the world from threatening anarchy and chaos.

Closely related socially, economically, and politically with Africa are the Near Eastern countries of Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Transjordan, with the vital difference that in this area the preponderance of territory and population is already organized in national independent states, or is approaching independence. How deeply this area is involved in our whole subject is illustrated by the shrill and undignified controversies raging in America over a projected oil pipeline to be built to the Mediterranean by American money, and the more subdued, more dignified, but no less sharp differences between America and Britain on various phases of Near-Eastern economic development. Here also a broad regional program of economic development is called for, capable of reconciling national rivalries through international collaboration. Here, further, there is raised the whole question of the possibility of economic participation by the Soviet Union in such a program together with the capitalist lands.

It is only with the background of a great economic program for the Near East, supported by the great powers but fully adjusted to the national aspirations of the peoples involved, that any stable solution can be achieved in the matter of Jewish-Arab relations in Palestine. That is the necessary basis for dissolving the feudal remnants which dominate the social and political life of the Near East.

For Africa, as for the rest of the world, a realistic promise of such a postwar perspective would immediately strengthen the prosecution of the war, hasten victory, and lower its costs. It would enlist as active allies the mighty forces of a continent instead of leaving it as a vast collection of difficult problems.

The time is over-ripe for America to formulate its proposals for such a policy, secure the agreement of its allies, and proceed to gather the rich fruits of foresight, boldness, and energy in spreading the spirit of Teheran to the four corners of the world.
 

Chapter VIII: Good Neighbors in the Americas

It is a rather startling fact that in the opening weeks of 1944 it was in the Americas alone that Hitler occupied new positions of power, advancing in the Western Hemisphere at the moment when everywhere else he was being driven back. The pro-Nazi conspirators consolidated their control of Argentina, and reached out to seize Bolivia by a coup d’état. It is even more startling that the Bolivian pro-Nazi junta had reason to believe that it would be welcomed by Washington, since its agents occupied high positions of influence within the United States government and received support from the liberal and Social-Democratic press.

There is no doubt that plans had been made to extend this Nazi advance to several other Latin American countries. Even in Mexico, the notorious Sinarchista movement received open encouragement to overthrow the Mexican government from a high United States Catholic Church leader who was in that country ostensibly upon a religious mission.

Clearly all is not well among the good neighbors of the Western Hemisphere when world fascism, facing defeat in the rest of the world, can boldly advance in the American half. That advance would have gone much farther, had it not been for the vigilance and bold counter-action of two men, the United States Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, and the President of the Confederation of Latin American Workers (CTAL), Señor Vicente Lombardo Toledano. Cordell Hull scotched the Washington end of the conspiracy and Lombardo Toledano rallied the democratic and labor circles of all countries to the South, through a special meeting of the CTAL Executive Council in Montevideo with the participation of a delegation from the United States.

The offensive of fascism upon the American continent has been halted, but the conditions which made that offensive possible have not been corrected. It is toward such conditions, which give a base of operations to our enemies, that we must direct our national attention in order to work out policies which will change these conditions for the better.

There are three basic features of the present situation which are favorable to Nazi intrigue among the nations in the Western world. These are: 1) the failure of the United States to offer convincing evidence of the permanence of its good-neighbor policy, which is at stake in our 1944 elections; 2) the failure of the United States boldly to distinguish between its friends and its enemies, for example, its tolerance of the Falange, its willingness to dicker with the same groups which maintain relations with the Nazis and even bolster them in power, its cold and reserved attitude toward the rising democratic and labor movements of Latin America which are the most reliable friends of the United States; and finally, 3) the continued struggle between Britain and the United States for a preferred position in relation to Latin America’s postwar markets, a rivalry which confuses every issue and every alignment in Latin America.

It is not unavoidable that we muddle through the present world crisis under these unfavorable conditions, for it is quite possible for the United States, with the bold initiative of a correct policy, to change them into quite favorable conditions.

The purpose of this chapter is to indicate the main features of such a policy, which would deliver a moral and political defeat to the fascist enemy, hasten victory in the war, and provide a sound foundation to the postwar perspectives of Teheran in relation to our own half of the world.

Regarding the first point, the permanence of our good-neighbor policy, we have it in our power immediately to take the step which would give deepest assurance to all Latin America and simultaneously serve our own best interests. All that is necessary is an unconditional declaration that the United States recognizes in principle the nationhood of Puerto Rico, and is prepared to recognize its independent government as soon as this step can be arranged in consultation with the representatives of the Puerto Rican people.

Throughout Latin America such a step would be a smashing moral and political blow against all the nests of pro-Nazi intrigue and would go far to allay the pervasive fear of ‘Yankee imperialism’ upon which this intrigue feeds. The fate of Puerto Rico has come to be a symbol, in the eyes of 150 million people to the South, of the long-term intentions of the United States. So long as Puerto Rico’s two millions are ‘subjects’ and their land a ‘possession’ of the United States – and this condition is accompanied by extreme poverty, destitution, backwardness, and a complete confusion of perspective – just that long will the main body of Latin American peoples look upon the ‘good-neighbor policy’ as a temporary expedient of the United States to bridge over a period of economic crisis and difficulty with the Nazi–Japanese menace.

Such a step would be in the national interest of the United States, further, because it would dissolve the danger of creating our own ‘Ireland’ on our front doorstep. Among some circles of Puerto Rican life today, there is clearly evident the rise of an intransigent and unreasoning hostility toward the United States exactly parallel to the attitude of De Valera toward Britain, and that leads similarly toward tolerance and even the embracing of fascism. I have personally had to face serious symptoms of this development in my efforts to cooperate with Puerto Rican nationalist groups. It is certainly no solution for the United States merely to denounce and repress such nationalist developments, no matter how wrong-headed they may be. It is the task of our national policy to dissolve the conditions which give rise to such ‘De Valeras’, and to do it in time. Puerto Rican independence, granted now and ungrudgingly, will guarantee a friendly Puerto Rico, a real good neighbor.

A most important evidence of how Latin Americans respond to the good neighbor policy, and understand the historic significance of the war against the Axis, is to be noted in the deep moral influence that has been exerted throughout Latin America by the new paper, Pueblos Hispanos, published in New York by the famous writer and Puerto Rican patriot, Juan Antonio Corretjer. The clear understanding and deep conviction with which Pueblos Hispanos has set forth the interrelationship between Latin American national independence and victory of the United Nations over the Axis, and in placing the problems of hemispheric unity, has been a major contribution.

Regarding the second point: distinguishing between our friends and our enemies in Latin America. It still remains true that United States official policy in some aspects strengthens and encourages our enemies in Latin America while it rebuffs and discourages our friends. The United States helped Franco who came to power in Spain by the military destruction of the Spanish Republic – we refused to honor our specific treaty obligations to the Spanish Republic, and we hastened to recognize Franco the moment he got to Madrid with Hitler’s help; we maintain an Ambassador in Madrid who publicly praises Franco’s regime and apologizes for his organization, the Falange.

It is the Falange which operates as Hitler’s conspiratorial and espionage network throughout Latin America and the United States itself. Drunk with the idea of operating as an agency of victorious Hitlerism, the Franco government, as late as 1940, ‘put up official posters laying claim not only to Cuba and the Philippines, but to California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida’ (Thomas J. Hamilton, Spanish Dreams of Empire, Foreign Affairs, April 1944). Facing Hitler’s probable defeat, it is stimulating into desperate diversional activities every potential opposition to the United States, hoping to create a major crisis in the midst of the 1944 election campaign, and thus contribute to Roosevelt’s defeat, which is the main hope for salvaging a negotiated peace to preserve a base for fascism.

The facts are well known, but United States official policy still refuses to deal with the Falange and its sympathetic groups as an enemy in Latin America, but on the contrary persists in dealing with them as indispensable people who must be won over to our side by concessions and gentle treatment, and by joining in their hostility to the rising democratic forces.

It is an almost unbelievable paradox, but it is a hard fact, that the official United States attitude to the internal problems of Latin American countries shares with our outspoken deadly enemy, the Falange, a policy of hostility toward the democratic groups and especially toward the labor movement which is classified as ‘communist’ and therefore ‘suspect’. While open Falangists and sympathizers with Hitler find very little difficulty in traveling freely in and out of the United States, and some of them receive official invitations to speak at our universities, are given ‘distinguished service awards’, etc, most active anti-fascists and anti-Falangists are put on the official boycott list to be refused admission to this country. We continue to this day to treat our enemies as if they were friends, and our friends as if they were enemies.

It is a notorious fact, for example, that American diplomatic and consular staffs in Cuba discuss quite openly their sympathy with the opposition bloc led by Grau San Martín in the coming elections, and their distaste for the democratic bloc led by President Batista. Yet it is equally well known that Grau San Martín and his friends work with and are supported by the Falange. For our bigoted Americans, the Batista government bloc is damned beyond redemption by the fact that it includes the Cuban Communists and that a Communist sits in the Cabinet; it is not important to them that this democratic combination is also the party of adherence to the United Nations.

The most fantastic example of this official policy emanating from Washington is the vendetta that has been carried on against President Vicente Lombardo Toledano of the Confederation of Latin American Workers (CTAL). This went so far that men in the employ of the US government used their positions to lend semi-official color to a conspiracy to unseat Toledano from the presidency of the CTAL, hoping to replace him with their own chosen candidate, Ibanez of Chile. Failing in this effort they were to split the CTAL and set up a new labor federation in Latin America under the hegemony of Washington. All of which is solemnly justified in high circles on the grounds that Toledano is a ‘Communist’ – in the same fashion and on the same evidence that the Dubinsky-Rose-Counts group in the New York American Labor Party denounce Sidney Hillman and his associates in that party as ‘Communists’.

Fortunately, at least so far as Toledano is concerned, there are increasing signs that the real leaders of our government have called a halt to this insanity carried on by their underlings for so long. But we are still a long way from recognizing our friends and our enemies, and treating them appropriately, in the various countries of Latin America. Our country is still mentally entangled in the web of Hitler’s ‘Antikomintern’ propaganda in dealing with our neighbors.

The third deeply disturbing factor in the growth of good neighborly relations is the sharpening rivalry between Britain and the United States in relation to Latin America. It is a fact that forces itself upon the attention of all students of the Argentinian mess that the Anglo-American rivalry is a damaging factor second in importance only to Nazi penetration and dominance. The Nazi agents could never have come to power if Britain and the United States had not been at loggerheads, bidding for the adherence of the same pro-Nazi groups to their own separate ‘spheres of influence’, and agreed only in rebuffing the democratic and labor groups that really represent the Argentinian people.

These are some of the unpleasant facts of life, about which we are supposed to keep discreetly silent and to refrain from public discussion. Since the hush-hush policy has failed so disastrously in relation to Argentina, perhaps it is about time the whole business of British-American rivalry in Latin America is sanitated by the fresh air of some open discussion, to see how destructive it is to the best interests of all concerned.

The British are apprehensive of losing their hold on the Latin American markets to the United States; they are particularly indignant at the American efforts to force them to dispose of their Argentine investments to the United States to help finance their war needs. United States interests look upon Latin America as their own special preserve, in which their poorer British cousins are but interlopers who must be squeezed out to make way for the great American postwar drive for markets. Some Latin Americans seem to be content to have two great powers bidding against each other for their allegiance instead of but one great power which would lay down its terms in a ‘take it or leave it’ fashion.

Each corner of the triangle is under the illusion that it is advancing its own interest when it sharpens up the rivalry. In cold fact, all are cutting one another’s throats thereby. Anglo-American interests leave open the door for Axis intrigue, while limiting the total market by all sorts of monopolistic contrivances. The Latin Americans find their inner political life distorted by the rise of reactionary groups under the patronage of one or another great power, and their economic development hampered by all; while the lack of any recognized, organized common interest or program blocks the way to realization of the tremendous potential political and economic achievements which could benefit Britain, the United States, and the Latin American peoples at one and the same time, far beyond any possibility for any single one of them under the conditions of unrestrained rivalry.

It must be stated quite frankly that the responsibility for changing the existing relationships rests squarely upon the United States. This is the necessary consequence of the principle that responsibility goes with power. And not only is the United States the most powerful single factor in the Western Hemisphere, it is also the only one which can project a common program of scale and scope sufficient to submerge all special vested interests in its immensity.

What is clearly demanded by the situation is that the United States take the lead in proposing a common program of economic development of the Latin American countries. This should be planned now and set in motion immediately following the war on a huge scale in some degree commensurate with Latin America’s great reserves of land, raw materials, and manpower, and with the Anglo-American ability to furnish capital and create markets for heavy industry products.

Such a program, in order to be really held in common, must reconcile the interests of each corner of the triangle. For the Latin American countries it must provide the guarantee of scrupulously guarding their national independence, while rapidly raising their standards of economic well-being, and tending toward a balanced economy in each country, avoiding the evils of the old colonial system of monoculture, of extreme specialization. For Anglo-American capital it must provide a huge and sure market, in which a reasonable profit and amortization schedule is assured of fulfillment. Between the British and Americans there must be the dissolution of their unrestrained rivalry by the apportionment to each side of its share in the common project in some agreed relationship to past expectations and present abilities.

Unquestionably all the material prerequisites for such a program exist, as well as the technical ability to bring it into the blueprint stage of readiness for execution. What is still missing from the picture are the factors of moral and political preparedness. These must be created before the detailed blueprints can be brought into existence.

The possible fruits of such a program for all concerned are truly of immense proportions. For Latin America it opens the door for an immense leap ahead in progress, which in five or ten years would surpass that of the previous century. For Britain and the United States it provides the neutralization of their disastrous rivalry, by an unprecedented expansion of the available market. For the United States especially it contributes a large part of the answer to that all-important question as to whether we shall be able to keep our national economy in operation after the war in something like the scale achieved in wartime.

It requires an entirely new scale of thinking for American economists and statesmen. Instead of hundreds of millions of dollars in industrial exports to Latin America, we must plan for the thousands of millions annually. Nothing else can measure up to American needs for markets, or Latin American potentialities of development.

The United States will either meet the challenge of this historical moment with a breadth of vision and boldness of spirit that can encompass such huge perspectives or else our country will spend a generation finding a new road.
 

Part III: Postwar National Unity

Chapter IX: War Unity Requires Postwar Unity

If we could mobilize the full force of America for winning the war as quickly as possible while postponing the solution of postwar problems that might conceivably be the better policy. But just as in the field of international relations some basic agreement on the shape of the postwar world was proved to be necessary for the full development of coalition war so also in America’s domestic life the postwar problems more and more intrude themselves as factors in the maintenance of national unity for the war. The preservation of America’s war unity raises the demand for the extension of that unity into the postwar period. The problems of the future become operative in the present and demand some advance solutions.

Here are a few crude examples of how the process operates. The Board of Directors of a great corporation is considering its relations with the trade unions. An old member speaks, demanding that the management stop its policy of ‘appeasement’ of labor, break up the unions, and again ‘become master in its own house’. The manager answers that in this war emergency it is necessary to go along with public policy and deal with the unions, but promises that as soon as the war ends ‘we will put a stop to all this foolishness’. About the same time the trade-union executive board is meeting. A hot-headed member demands an immediate strike movement to secure action on the accumulated grievances which have been stalled for months. The president of the union answers him: ‘No, we can’t strike while the war is on; but the moment this war ends you can count on me being the first one to lead a real fight against the so-and-so’s.’ And from that moment on, both the company and the union are dominated by one thought – to get ready for the show-down fight that will break out the day after hostilities cease.

Multiply that example several thousand times, and then trace how the same principle works out in relation to all the various antagonisms and conflicts that infest our society; it becomes clear why an intolerable atmosphere of strain has been rising throughout America, even among those who seriously agree that the most important business is winning the war.

Add to this picture the fact that 1944 is a year which, according to our American constitutional system, automatically brings with it a national election, with a President of the United States to be chosen for the next four years, along with a complete House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate, not to speak of many state and local elections. All special-interest pressures on the government are alert and active to forward their own aims. All partisan and individual political ambitions are roused to fever heat. For them there seems to be little profit to be gained through unity, but much through a traditionally American knock-down-and-drag-out, free-for-all grabbing for power in the elections.

This situation seems as if made to order for Hitler’s friends in America. They are desperately seeking to create diversions, civil disorders of all sorts, to undermine and weaken the coming blow against Hitlerism with the opening of the second front in Western Europe. They aim above all to drag America out of the Teheran coalition, to cancel the perspective of a long-term alliance and a stable peace, which seals the doom of Hitlerism. They must break up American national unity, they must set American anti-fascists to fighting one another so that they will not be able to conduct the war to victory against Hitler.

In this spring of 1944, these forces of disruption in America are running wild with little check upon them; they are enjoying a real field day. They menace the future of our country and of the world. They must be halted and put under control. Direct repression of the disruptive forces in America, though it is necessary, is not the most important means of controlling the situation. In fact the defeatists and pro-Nazis count upon utilizing such repressions to increase the disorder and confusion in the country. The most important step that can be taken is to strengthen the spirit of unity and confidence among all truly patriotic Americans. If that can be accomplished, the consciously disruptive elements can be disposed of with little damage.

Thus does the consideration of winning the war make the further demand upon us that we now decide to extend the policy of wartime national unity into the postwar period for an indefinite term of years. This demand arises with equal force also from the Teheran perspective of a long-time stable peace, for an America convulsed with inner strife could not adequately hold up its end of the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance in the postwar world.

This is not an easy task. It is better that we approach it from the beginning as a goal very difficult to attain, that will strain all our moral and intellectual capacities. But it is equally requisite to banish all hopelessness and fatalism from our approach, that we be fully determined that the problem can and will be solved. With such an approach to our task we can and will find that course of action which, followed consistently, will unfold step by step the solution to our problem.

Most of what passes for postwar planning nowadays is not directly pertinent to the problem we have set ourselves to solve, and much of it is an obstacle because it champions one or another highly controversial idea. Therefore we will find it most profitable to start out with this rule: Our postwar plan is national unity for the realization of the perspectives laid down in Teheran.

This is disagreeable to all those who love planning for its own sake, and those with plans for special interests and projects. We must risk their displeasure, however, and hope to win them over at a later stage by helping them find a place in a larger unity which their plans may serve but cannot help create.

American national unity cannot be built upon a preconceived plan. It must be achieved step by step, by finding points of agreement in action which can reconcile formerly conflicting points of view and interests among classes, groups, and tendencies, that have hitherto been accustomed to fight out their differences.

The greatest danger we face is that within the democratic-progressive majority of Americans unity will be blocked by a confusion of conflicting plans, while the reactionary minority will ride into power by means of a unity directed to that single end. No plan is worth a cent unless it can unite behind it an effective majority of the nation, capable of putting it into action.

Among all the differences that tend to break up the unity of the progressive-democratic majority camp, the most irreconcilable is that between the perspective of America moving over to a socialist system, and the perspective that America will continue its present system without shifting to a fundamentally new base.

It is an obvious fact of American life that there is no existing or potential majority now that can be united on a program of action based upon the socialist perspective for our country. Even if we lump together all conflicting concepts of socialism, their adherents constitute a small minority. Therefore, we must state clearly and definitely that the practical program which can bring together the American majority in support of Teheran will accept the existing economic system as its base of operations and starting point.

It is my considered judgement that the American people are so ill-prepared, subjectively, for any deep-going change in the direction of socialism that postwar plans with such an aim would not unite the nation but would further divide it. And they would divide and weaken precisely the democratic and progressive camp, at the same time uniting and strengthening the most reactionary forces in the country. In their practical effect they would help the anti-Teheran forces to come to power in the United States.

Adherents of socialism, therefore, in order to function actively as bearers of unity within the broad democratic camp, must make it clear that they will not raise the issue of socialism in such a form and manner as to endanger or weaken that national unity. They must subordinate their socialist convictions, in all practical issues, to the common program of the majority.

This problem is not by any means a new one for adherents of socialism. Since the rise of Hitler to power in Germany, it has become more and more a central problem in gathering the forces that will remove this menace from the earth. And already in the summer of 1942, I forecast the emergence of the issue in its present form when I wrote:

The United States, if it successfully meets the cruel tests of this war and contributes its share to the victory, will almost certainly enter the postwar world as the strongest capitalist country and the political center of gravity of the capitalist sector of the world. It will have an enormously important role to play, therefore, in the family of nations.

The central problem of this postwar world will be that of whether or not the collaboration set up for the war, in the United Nations, can be continued and extended after the war to deal collectively with the problems of economic and political reconstruction of the world. Upon the answer to this question depends all further determination of the character of the postwar world.

If the United Nations as a center of world collaboration can be continued and extended it is possible to hold out the realistic perspective of a rapid healing of the terrible wounds of the war, and great strides forward in attaining for all peoples those goals of cultural and economic advancement indicated in outline in the Atlantic Charter. It will then be possible to minimize those upheavals and civil wars which are generated in the course of the international war and which tend to break out on its termination; it will be possible to find a maximum degree of peaceful and orderly development for all nations. (Earl Browder, Victory – And After, International Publishers, 1942, p. 251)

The perspective which in 1942 I was able to deal with only as a desirable possibility has now, with the Moscow and Teheran conferences, become a practical program of action for the world, given over the signatures of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin. If we believe this program is realistic and desirable, then all our plans will be directed toward making it work.

Whatever may be the situation in other lands, in the United States the consequence of Teheran means a perspective, in the immediate postwar period and for a long term of years, of expanded production and employment and the strengthening of democracy within the framework of the present system – and not a perspective of the transition to socialism.

That is the only possible foundation for a program of national unity in America for the war and the postwar period.

Therefore, the policy for Marxists and all adherents of socialism in the United States is to face with all its consequences the perspective of a capitalist United States in the period of postwar reconstruction of the world, to evaluate all plans on that basis, and to collaborate actively with the most democratic and progressive majority in the country in a national unity sufficiently broad and effective to realize the policies of Teheran.
 

Chapter X: Characteristics of American Capitalism

The American national unity which we have under examination of necessity includes, and must include, a decisive part of the big capitalists, that is, the men who exercise immediate and effective control of the national economy. This fact predetermines many features of the program under which it will operate. It will clarify many problems, therefore, if we look at some of the characteristics of American capitalism and its leaders.

First of all, it would be well to clear up a certain paradox which gives rise to many confusions. The paradox can be stated in this form: that American capitalism is the most advanced in the world, but not the most mature. It is the most advanced, in that it is the strongest, it has brought the technique of production to its highest known point, and it has carried over and preserved the least proportion of pre-capitalist social, political, and economic forms. It is not the most mature, in the sense that it does not exhibit the full evolution of its inherent tendencies of development, it retains some of the characteristics of a young capitalism, and lags in self-understanding and self-consciousness.

This relative immaturity of American capitalism finds a typical expression in its clinging to the slogan of ‘free enterprise’ as tightly as a savage to his fetish. The slightest disrespectful attitude toward ‘free enterprise’ will rally American capitalists into a solid bloc of defense quicker and more thoroughly than any other thing. European and even Canadian capitalists are much more tough-minded and realistic, and much less bound in their programmatic thinking by this formula. But for American capitalists on the whole ‘free enterprise’ is sacred and untouchable, especially in word and theory, although departures in practice may be winked at if they are curtained by a decorous reticence or a polite pretense that they are really not departures.

We cannot, of course, adopt into our method of thinking this fetishism of ‘free enterprise’. But we do face the necessity, in the process of arriving at a program for a democratic majority of Americans that includes a substantial section of the capitalists, to take it fully into account and avoid any direct challenge of its validity. The problem is somewhat similar to that of religious freedom and tolerance, which demand a respectful attitude toward any and all religious beliefs and the persons who hold them, even though one is under no obligation to accept any of them as his own.

The enemies of the Teheran program in America are rallying their forces under the slogan of defense of ‘free enterprise’, the home, motherhood, religion, and national sovereignty. The slogan they rely upon to gather the capitalists to their side is the slogan of ‘free enterprise’. And they hope thereby to throw confusion into the democratic-progressive camp, for most of whose participants also ‘free enterprise’ has the same sacred character as home and mother, for they imbibed the ideology with their mother’s milk. ‘Free enterprise’ is an affectionate pet-name for capitalism. Since we Marxists, who are convinced socialists, are accepting for a long period the necessity to cooperate in making capitalism work in America for the benefit of our people and the world, it would be rather stupid of us to gag at the necessity to listen respectfully to its pet-name ‘free enterprise’. Therefore, we declare in advance our understanding that the democratic-progressive camp to which we adhere will adopt the defense of ‘free enterprise’, that we understand this term as a synonym for capitalism as it exists in our country, and that we will not oppose it nor put forth any counter-slogans.

Since this is one of the necessary steps to the consolidation of an effective majority around the program of Teheran, we will help in every way to remove the false and confusing issue of ‘free enterprise’ from the whole election campaign in 1944.

It is necessary to take note further that the nostalgia of some American capitalists for an earlier period in their own system, expressed in the clinging to ‘free enterprise’ as a slogan, has its counterpart in a violent aversion to going forward to any higher stage in the capitalistic form of economy. They are unable to distinguish between state capitalism, which is a stronger form of organization of their own beloved system, and socialism, which is the abolition of capitalism. They oppose the one with almost the same fervor as the other. That is why the democratic-progressive camp in the 1944 elections could not win the country if it sponsored even a mild program of government-ownership of the banks, railroads, mines, public utilities, and so on, although such measures would greatly improve the efficiency of capitalism and make it better able to meet its problems.

Even under the enormous pressure of the war, which cries aloud for a more effective government intervention in rationalizing economic life (a necessity which was put into documentary form in the reports and proposals of the Tolan Committee in the House, the Kilgore-Pepper Committee in the Senate, and the bills introduced in both Houses jointly by the heads of these committees), President Roosevelt did not consider it expedient to exercise his powers in that direction nor did Congress take action. Even the President’s mild ‘seven-point program’ against inflation was rejected by Congress, at the price of a chronic and damaging labor crisis and the growth of a dangerous element of instability in the national economy. Probably the President was correct in judging that any further pressure in that direction would cause disaffection from the war effort among capitalists, whose prejudices would be outraged, and that would do more harm to the war than the increased economic efficiency would do good.

Even more dangerous to effective unity of the democratic-progressive majority, however, is the tendency of some liberal and middle-class circles to adopt the slogan of ‘free enterprise’ too literally and enthusiastically as a slogan of action, and propose to put it into effect as a program of breaking up the trusts and monopolies and abolishing cartels. That would result in throwing the capitalists as a group into the reactionary and defeatist camp just as surely as would the rejection of their slogan of ‘free enterprise’. The former would outrage their material interests as sharply as the latter would their souls. They take their ‘free enterprise’ much as they do their Christianity – they will not permit it to be questioned, but it is for ceremonial and holy days, not for practical application on ordinary workdays. Therefore any trust-busting in the program of the democratic-progressive camp would have to be obviously ceremonial and ineffective in nature, not alone because it is impossible to unscramble the eggs and return to a previous stage of development, but for the more immediately practical reason that otherwise the capitalists would be united as a class against it, and it is impossible to win the 1944 elections against a united capitalist class.

The cold fact of the matter is this: that ‘free enterprise’ today in America means in practice the freedom of capital to concentrate and centralize itself in ever larger units, in the form of trusts, combines, and cartels, which constitute the highest development of monopoly.

After this war is over, the monopolistic character of American capitalism will be further accentuated. Not less than 70 per cent of the nation’s tremendous war production is in the hands of the hundred largest corporations, and about half is produced by the ten leading giants. This tremendous stride forward in the concentration and centralization of the national economy will not and cannot be undone, and to propose and discuss breaking up this development is an occupation only for chatterboxes, for idle people who love the sound of their own voices and have nothing else to do but talk.

To understand the inevitability of the centralization of capital does not mean to surrender to the free exercise of all the tendencies of development shown by the great trusts and monopolies. Along with the higher technology which gives monopoly capital its strength develop parasitical tendencies which work in the opposite direction, sacrificing technical progress in favor of intensified exploitation, gobbling up small capital by bandit-like raids upon it, setting its own narrowly conceived interests above national interest, and so on; these parasitical tendencies unless sharply checked drive the whole capitalist system into more rapidly recurring crises. Small business must be protected and given a chance to develop, above all in those fields in which trustified capital does not hasten but even retards technological progress.

Regulation and limitation of monopoly capital, in a society in which it plays a dominant role, are not simple and easy matters. If big capital unites its forces against the rest of society, and fights for unrestricted domination, then it is extremely doubtful whether it can be regulated successfully, short of a major political and social struggle, and a crisis resulting in a socialistic system replacing the present one.

If, however, in the ranks of big capital there is a sufficient number of men of vision and understanding who recognize the suicidal results to their own system that inevitably flow from a failure strictly to subordinate its operations to a broadly conceived and definitely planned program of national and international expansion of well-being for all – then such men, integrated in or working with the democratic-progressive camp of the people, can become the decisive leaders of big capital in a maximum of self-limitation to meet a minimum of governmentally-imposed regulation that will effectively curb the anti-social and anti-national tendencies of big capital, sufficient for it to participate in the national unity in support of the program of Teheran.

There is a growing volume of evidence that there are such men of vision and understanding in the ranks of big capital. Their number will grow, and their initiative and leadership will become stronger, to the degree that it is made evident that there exists a practical platform upon which they can unite, and are uniting, with the broad democratic-progressive camp inclusive of the organized labor movement, which promotes the general interest of the whole nation. We must all learn to welcome their appearance, and prove in practical life that such cooperative effort in the spirit of national unity is both possible and profitable. Nothing can be more fatal for the perspective of Teheran, so far as the United States is concerned, than an attitude of uniform and undifferentiated hostility to the ranks of big capital from the side of the labor and liberal sectors of our democracy. That only drives the intelligent capitalists back into the arms of their most reactionary fellows, and unites the most powerful group in American society solidly against all progress.

There can be no effective national unity in America to secure and unfold the program of Teheran that does not include big capitalists able to fight for and win at least a certain minimum of participation on the part of their whole group.
 

Chapter XI: Elements of an Economic Program

Political programs must in the final analysis find their foundation in economics; and an economic program must find its expression in a political framework. The political and economic aspects of life are mutually interrelated in the closest fashion, and any changes in one almost always result in corresponding adjustments in the other. It is necessary to repeat this truism, for the benefit of those vulgarians who speak glibly of the ‘purely political’ character of the concord of Teheran.

America must find an economic program that corresponds to its role as a major partner in the Teheran concord. Such an economic program cannot be sucked out of one’s fingers, or ‘invented’ by the brilliant imagination of a solitary genius. It must be built up from the given factors of American economy as we find it today, including the class structure of our society and its political institutions, in connection with the surrounding world. It must find a point of common interest of the different classes involved in national unity, and build from that point. This method will win a maximum of agreement, and rouse a minimum of opposition, from the various groups and classes, among which the chief role is played by the business men (industrial and financial capitalists and their managers) and the working classes (industrial labor and the farmers). Such a point of common interest has already been disclosed in public discussions, in the demand from all sides that American economy must be kept in full operation in the postwar period.

This is decidedly a departure from orthodox economic thought in our country. It is worthwhile, in order to realize that it really is something quite new, to remind ourselves that as late as 1942 the American Academy of Political and Social Science took a position exactly opposite to this, stating that the unquestionable axiom at the basis of all thinking about postwar economics must be that ‘the national income will drop almost overnight to one-third or one-half of its war peak’. In 1944 no institution or individual will publicly defend such a thesis. Today all voices are silent except those who demand guarantees that American economy operate at capacity in the postwar period.

Let us see, first of all, if it is possible to fix the main outlines of this problem before us in very simple terms, so that we do not get lost in the immense forest of its details.

Full postwar operation of our national economy means, at a minimum estimate, that the national income in terms of production of goods and services shall be maintained at the level reached in the war (which in 1943 was 188 billion dollars, and in 1944 is expected to surpass 200 billion). This figure requires adjustment upward to the extent that demobilization of the armed forces results in a net increase in available labor power, but may be taken as a roughly approximate minimum.

The central problem is represented by a part of this total, which is the 85 to 90 billion dollars of governmental war orders. With the end of the war, this market will suddenly and automatically disappear except to the degree that it is artificially extended as a relief measure. Our problem, in the main, is thus one of finding an immediate substitute for the war market in terms of peacetime goods. All thinking and planning not directed to this central problem is of auxiliary significance only. While the Baruch-Hancock Report speaks of 50 billion dollars of strictly war materials as the measure of the reconversion problem, it seems to me necessary for our purposes to fix our measure by the character of the market rather than the character of the goods, for the latter measures only the technical problem of reconversion, while the former – the total war market – measures the real economic problem. There is the same economic problem in replacing the market for consumers’ goods used for war purposes as there is in replacing the market for weapons and munitions.

The first feature of the problem that forces itself upon our attention is its tremendous size. This war created for America a special market almost twice the volume of our total national income in 1932. To replace this special war market, we must find entirely new markets which were never conceived in peacetime before – about twice as large as the entire American market at the height of the economic crisis.

Where can such tremendous new markets be found, and how?

We cannot begin to approach a problem of this unprecedented size by merely stepping up the intensity of our nation’s prewar approach to the problem of markets. It is obvious that to realize such extraordinary markets we will of necessity have to resort to extraordinary methods and forms.

This becomes even clearer when we begin to break down the problem into its various main parts. First of all, let us examine some features of the two main fields of potential markets, foreign and domestic.

The foreign market demands our first attention for a variety of reasons. The first great postwar needs of the world, the feeding and rehabilitation of war-ruined peoples and the reconstruction of their shattered economies, are all problems of foreign trade so far as American economy is concerned with them. And within our economy, the most pressing need of markets for heavy industry, machinery, etc, obviously must be satisfied abroad first of all, since the war itself presented America with an unprecedented leap forward in capital investment instead of its destruction as in other lands. In plant capacity our economy will be facing relative surplus rather than scarcity. These two factors alone are sufficient to establish the primacy of the foreign market for America’s immediate postwar economic perspective.

In what proportion must the foreign market contribute to the rough total of 90 billion dollars annually for which we must find new markets? The mere posing of this question reveals the ridiculous inadequacy of all prevailing orthodox thought on the question. For an examination of current estimates for America’s postwar trade reveals that the average is around four billion and the most optimistic variants do not exceed six billion dollars per year.

Against such tradition-bound thinking on this problem I do not hesitate to declare that American industrialists and economists must, as a condition for the survival of their prevailing system, expand their concept of the foreign market by a thousand per cent. Instead of the prevailing average estimate of four billion, they must begin to make realistic plans for at least forty billion.

In previous chapters dealing with the various chief regions of the world I have endeavored to give some advance indications of their potentiality in America’s foreign market problem. Let us at this point, then, see if we can draw a preliminary rough outline of how an American export program of forty billion dollars per annum would look when spread over these new markets.

Arbitrarily assuming that our foreign trade program will reach half the population of the world, and its spread would be roughly in proportion to population, then the share per unit of population of each area involved would be around $40.

Again arbitrarily assuming that we involve half of Asia and Europe, and all of Latin America and Africa, and assigning a small part to the Soviet Union, the distribution among the main areas would look something like the following:

Latin America

$6,000,000,000

Africa

$6,000,000,000

Asia

$20,000,000,000

Europe

$6,000,000,000

Soviet Union

$2,000,000,000

Total new markets      

$40,000,000,000

The easy and obvious answer to all this is that it begins and ends with arbitrary assumptions, and is easier said than done.

It is not difficult to prove that all this is impossible, according to accepted standards of economic thought. When one has finally proved that it is impossible, however, he finds himself in the embarrassing position of having proved that all hope of full employment in America after the war is an illusion, that our country is doomed to a catastrophic economic crisis, that the promises of Teheran cannot be realized, and that there is no hope for this country or the rest of the world except to follow the Soviet Union to socialism. If it is really impossible for America to realize something like the above imaginary table of foreign trade figures, then the Soviet Union will be the only big country in the world able to give full postwar employment to its people.

We cannot make the foreign markets side of the problem any easier by shifting more of the burden over to the domestic market side. For when we come to it we will find the expansion of the domestic market even more stubborn in the face of all orthodox economic thought.

I cannot reconcile myself, however, to the defeatist approach to the markets problem that is characteristic of American economists. It seems to me that many of the obstacles that disturb them most exist only or largely in their method of thinking; they are self-imposed limitations. It is necessary for the capitalists and their professors of economics to make a real effort to rise above these self-imposed fetters, in order that the American economy shall not be thrust into crisis.

The most serious obstacle to the realization of the need of a huge foreign market is the dogma that prohibits the government from exercising any major role in economic affairs. Once it is accepted that the United States government should play as bold a role in securing foreign markets as it is playing in winning a foreign war, then the problem would look entirely different.

Let me repeat at this point that I am not challenging the system of ‘free enterprise’ and private initiative. I am entirely willing to help the free private enterprisers to realize the forty billion dollar foreign market that is required entirely and completely by their own chosen methods. But when they tell me that this is an impossible task, that they cannot do it, then I refuse to agree to ride along with them over the precipice, I insist that if they cannot create the markets in their chosen way they must find a new way; if they do not know how to do it, someone else must show them how. The main point is that one way or another, foreign markets on the scale I have indicated must be realized, they are an inescapable necessity for American postwar economy.

To the degree that private initiative and ‘free enterprise’ fail to solve this problem, to that same degree the United States government must assume the responsibility to perform the task, with the same all-out determination with which it is committed to victory in the war. The government can do it, if ‘free enterprise’ fails to meet the challenge and bogs down on the job.

Our government can create a series of giant industrial development corporations each in partnership with some other government or group of governments, and set them to work upon large-scale plans of railroad and highway building, agricultural and industrial development, and all-round modernization in all the devastated and undeveloped areas of the world. America has the skilled technicians capable of producing the plans for such projects, sufficient to get them under way, within a six-month period of time after the decision is made. There is not a government in the capitalist or colonial world that would dare refuse or withdraw itself from such a partnership, once the United States made clear the benefits that would accrue to all concerned. The scale of financing would have to be no greater than that already adopted for the war, and instead of resulting in destruction of life and wealth, it would immediately bring about a great improvement of life and start great streams of new wealth flowing throughout the world that would soon far exceed the initial investments. On a world scale the combined projects could be self-liquidating in the period of a generation. They would become the best investments the American capitalist class had ever made in its whole history. Over and above the profits in money, which would be the immediate incentive for American capitalists, such a program would provide the inestimable profit of securing the generations of peace and well-being in the world promised at Teheran.

Expansion of the domestic markets on a scale approximately the same as that envisaged for foreign markets must be achieved also in the immediate postwar period. This is a much more difficult problem than that of foreign markets.

There is, first of all, no room in our capitalist America for any huge program of capital investment in expanding the productive economy by the tens of billions of dollars annually, such as we envisage for abroad. The war itself has already brought us expansion of our plant capacity far beyond the possibility of our present visible market – once the war market has dropped from under it. The utmost development of ‘public works’ and road-building programs, etc, will be but a drop in the bucket of our need for markets. Everything that can be done in the way of new capital investment will fall far short of filling the gap left by the vanished war market, and at the same time will intensify the problem by further increasing productive capacity.

The limitation on the domestic market is the limit of the purchasing power of the population. Obviously there is a part of the population which has no financial limit to its purchasing power, for there exists $77 billion of ‘idle money’ according to government experts (see Senate Document No. 106, Seventy-Eighth Congress). But those who hold this huge sum without employment have themselves doubtless reached the limit of their ability to consume. They furnish an additional market only in the role of capital investors. It does not expand the domestic market by a single dollar to expand the purchasing power of those who already purchase everything their imaginations can suggest; what is necessary is to expand the purchasing power of those who at present need and wish for more than they are able to purchase. They are not difficult to find, inasmuch as they constitute the great majority of Americans.

There is no lack of purchasing power ‘in general’ for the indefinite expansion of the domestic market. The only difficulty is to stir the existing purchasing power into activity, since those who control its disposal have for one or another reason lost their incentive to keep it active. Idle purchasing power, idle money, is the factor that threatens to kill the domestic market and with it our whole existing economic system. The desire to purchase has become separated from the power to do it, and the two must be reunited if there is to be any expanding domestic market.

Since there is apparently no room for huge domestic capital investment in productive plants, at least until the product of existing plants has found a more stable market and our surplus of plant capacity has disappeared, there remains only one more possibility of a productive domestic investment. That would be an investment in the human factor of production, an investment in raising the quality and the capacity of the producing population. There are two main channels through which a productive investment of capital can be made in raising the level of the producing population; one is through large-scale government policies of educational, health, and general environmental improvement, including the whole gamut of social insurance features; and the second, more congenial to the traditional mode of thought, is through measures to raise the income of individual producers on a broad enough scale as approximately to double the annual purchasing power of that strata of the population which habitually exercises that power immediately to the limit of their ability.

I am arbitrarily ruling out of consideration another possible solution of the domestic market problem. That would be for the class which holds the effective purchasing power in its hands to buy up all surplus commodities which cannot otherwise find a market, and simply destroy them. From the strictly economic viewpoint, this would provide just as effective a market as does the war, and with the same general economic result. But it would be politically very dangerous, almost as dangerous as permitting tens of millions to go without jobs, and would become the breeding ground for all sorts of social and political disorders. No, it seems as if there remains no way by which American economy can possibly continue to function unless it finds a way to distribute its products more generally and generously among the masses of producers. This problem has gone beyond the field of ethics and politics to invade the arena of the most hard-boiled and cold-blooded economics.

This goal, approximately to double the purchasing power of that part of the population which would use the power, cannot be achieved through the normal operations of ‘free enterprise’, that is, through the accumulated decisions of individual private enterprisers. It would be unprofitable for any private enterprise to work on that basis, unless and until all enterprises did the same. It is profitable only on a general social scale, but is distinctly unprofitable to a single enterprise in competition with others which do not follow the same policy. It can be realized, therefore, only to the degree that it can be enforced generally as a public policy, with the powers of government behind it. It can be accomplished within the forms of ‘free enterprise’, but not by reliance upon the initiative of the private enterpriser.

The main channel through which public policy must work is, obviously, in the raising of the wage level, since the overwhelming majority of the employed adult population are wage earners. It must be recognized, to begin with, that higher wage levels are not a special interest of the labor movement, but a national interest of the entire population.

There are three angles of approach to the task of generally raising the wage level, which may profitably be employed and arouse the least initial difficulties. They are: 1) raise the ‘floor’ of the required minimum wage in all industry; 2) apply the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ by scaling up all substandard wage rates to the highest standard in each particular field; 3) open up the ceiling that now exists over wage standards, by a general application of a guaranteed annual wage and the incentive-wage principle, not only to individual production but to plants and whole industries. These measures energetically applied under the leadership of a Wage Board, and with the reasonable cooperation of management and organized labor, would already go a long way to initiate and stimulate the whole process.

It is not my purpose to attempt any detailed and complete answer to the problem of how to double the purchasing power of the main bulk of the population. My immediate goal is achieved when I establish the fact that this is absolutely necessary to the expansion of the domestic market, that without such expansion our existing economic system is doomed, and that therefore to accomplish this is in the national interest, the interest of all classes and not merely of the workers. Once it is approached as a national task, in the national interest, the problem will yield to the combined intellectual powers of the country.

This is but the opening phase of the domestic market problem. Even to have its chief features before us we must now take note that our foreign market took up only temporarily its half of the burden of replacing the war market, even if we fully realized the project on the scale outlined here. Temporarily and partially the foreign market answers our problem, but only to the extent that it is carried by American investments abroad and American long-term credits. To the degree that these investments and credits earn a profit or are amortized, there is the further necessity that our country receive this revenue in the form of imports of goods from abroad. The extent to which America actually receives payment from abroad for its exports in foreign trade, and profits thereon, is the measure to which the domestic market must be further expanded beyond the scale which we previously considered. Since our economic system hinges entirely upon the act of payment for value received, the foreign market problem inevitably returns to merge with the domestic market problem, with only the delay of the term of deferred payment, and augmented by the extent of the profits earned in the transaction.

Over a long period, then, the problem of the replacement of the war market becomes entirely a problem of finding ways and means whereby the American people can themselves consume the equivalent of the whole product of our national economy. In the final analysis the American people cannot produce any more than they are able to consume. We have such tremendous productive power that for some years it was clogging our national gullet and threatening to choke the nation. The war temporarily saved us from suffocation under our surplus, and further expanded our productive powers. Our postwar economic problem is in the last analysis simply this: to expand the gullet of American consumption to the size of its productive capacity. We must accomplish this, or else. In the words of Mr. Beardsley Ruml, who will not be suspected of any subversive intentions against ‘free enterprise’:

Today most businessmen agree that the elimination of mass unemployment is the first requirement for the postwar period. Many will go so far as to agree that unless mass unemployment can be eliminated under a system of private business enterprise, private business enterprise will be supplanted by some other arrangements for the production and distribution of goods and services. (Address before American Retail Federation Annual Meeting, 29 February 1944)
 

Chapter XII: Labor Unions in the National Unity

Labor unions are an indispensable feature of democracy, as of national unity, for the war and postwar periods. In America they have not as yet gained their necessary and rightful position. The task of strengthening national unity involves strengthening the labor unions, further uniting them, and securing their participation in all public affairs up to and including national and international policy-making and administration.

This is true because no other means have been discovered, in any way comparable to what labor unions have done, whereby that great body of the population that lives by working for wages, which in America makes up a decisive majority, can emerge from isolated individual helplessness and political passivity. Labor unions are the main instrumentality through which the wage workers become active citizens. One infallible measure of the vitality of any democracy is the degree of labor union growth and participation in public life.

In principle labor unions are thus recognized in America, but in practice we lag far behind Britain, for example, not to speak of the Soviet Union which operates on a different system – socialism – and is therefore not so directly comparable.

We must welcome every manifestation from among the leaders of capital when they recognize the permanent and growing role that must be accorded to the labor unions. Among the most important examples I have taken particular note of the utterances of Mr. Eric A. Johnston, President of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. In an address on 27 April 1943, Mr. Johnston said:

The recognition is growing that labor organizations, when formed and administered with a sense of public responsibility, can be a useful cooperative element in making the nation’s productive machine more efficient. Labor, in a sense, is going through the same process of growth and adjustment through which management has passed, and can learn a lesson from our experience.

Mr. Johnston has recently elaborated this thesis in a speech which attracted wide attention and comment.

The most positive side of Mr. Johnston’s formulation lies in his speaking of labor unions and management on the same plane, abandoning the traditional approach ‘from above’ which carries an unfortunate reminder of the old ‘master and servant’ relationship against which labor had to fight for so many decades. There is in Mr. Johnston’s approach a tacit assumption of equality of status between labor and management which, if generally established, would be a great step in progress for our national unity.

Neither can there be any objection to his emphasis upon the public responsibilities of labor unions. All serious-minded labor leaders, as well as the union membership, more and more unite in assuming public responsibility for all the consequences of their words and acts in the light of national interest. It is extremely doubtful if Mr. Johnston could substantiate a claim to a better record by management and capital, but we will not attempt to make any comparisons which would only stir dispute. The labor unions – with but few exceptions, chiefly the irresponsible John L. Lewis and his admirers – have given a truly magnificent example of maintaining the no-strike policy in the face of intolerable provocations by employers, sabotage by Congress, and much bungling by some governmental agencies. It would help a great deal if Mr. Johnston would also speak out publicly against those of his fellow-capitalists who take an irresponsible attitude in dealing with labor. With all these comments, however, we must still emphasize labor’s agreement with Mr. Johnston’s demand for labor to assume more public responsibility, which the foremost labor leader, Philip Murray, has urged and practiced most definitely.

A serious possibility of dispute with Mr. Johnston arises in his careful limitation of labor’s role to that of ‘making the nation’s productive machine more efficient’. That is an important role, but if Mr. Johnston interprets his formulation narrowly, to exclude labor’s right and duty to an active political role also, then indeed we, of the camp of labor, have a bone to pick with him. We cannot accept any tendency to limit the range of labor union interests and activities beyond the limitations that apply to all citizens.

The key to the new features of labor’s role in national unity that must develop in the postwar world lies in the new approach to the problem of raising wage standards, which we placed in its general economic setting in the previous chapter. That is that the nation as a whole must adopt as its own the project of raising the purchasing power of the population, which for the majority, the wage workers, means raising wage standards. This task, which was formerly in the main a peculiar task of the labor unions alone, with only incidental help at times from government, and general opposition from capital, must in the postwar period become a national aim to be pursued by all classes and institutions with the same determination with which we now conduct the war.

Is it mere day-dreaming to think that after the war America may accord the labor unions a new, high, place in the national unity by making their central task the general rise of the wage standard, a task in which the whole nation joins?

The New York liberal newspaper, PM, has accused me of ‘betrayal’ for speaking of such a perspective, and contends that American capitalists are so congenitally reactionary and stupid that there is nothing left to do but defeat them in a general battle, that I am proposing ‘to avoid a conflict by not hitting back if someone smacks you in the teeth’. Others have expressed similar opinions, the Trotskyites, the Norman Thomas socialists, the Dubinsky outfit, the Reuthers, and John L. Lewis.

Of course, I cannot give any guarantee that labor unions will be accorded their proper place in postwar America. I cannot promise anyone with certainty there will not be a new ‘open shop’ and ‘American Plan’ drive to smash the labor unions after this war, such as took place in 1919–21. It will be the capitalists themselves, in the final analysis, who will make this decision. And if that happens labor must be prepared to defend itself. I am not a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, and his doctrine of non-resistance to evil will find no serious converts in the ranks of labor.

I insist, however, upon the desirability that labor, in its own enlightened self-interest, shall take a responsible position on this question, that labor shall not passively and fatalistically drift with a tide that goes toward such major conflict, that labor shall make clear beyond all question that such conflict is not the desire or aim of the labor movement, that labor shall publicly do what it can to avoid such conflict. If a major class struggle in America is really inevitable after the war, to disrupt our hopes of peace and prosperity, let it be clearly established before the world that the responsibility does not rest with labor but with labor’s enemies.

In my own humble opinion this course is both the best way to avoid the struggle if it is possible, and to prepare to win the struggle if that should prove necessary.

Are there to be found serious evidences that capitalist circles are moving, or can be brought to move, in the direction of such a national unity that includes the labor movement, with such a program of generally raising wage standards?

There are a multitude of such signs. I will select but one of them for critical examination, from the same Eric A. Johnston already quoted. From the same speech I take the following:

We have mastered the art of mass production. It now remains for us to master the art of mass distribution, so that the products of our magnificent industrial machine may be ever more widely spread among all our people. This is no longer a pious wish. It is a concrete necessity. We are geared for an unprecedented output of the essentials of life as well as the refinements of living ... To absorb that tremendous output, business and labor and agriculture must cooperate to maintain full employment, high wages, and maximum purchasing power.

This, from the President of the United States Chamber of Commerce, from the chief crusader for ‘free enterprise’ and private initiative, is a general programmatic aim as good as anything I have seen from a labor leader. It is good enough for me. The only possibility of disagreement with Mr. Johnston is in the choice of the means best calculated to achieve the aim.

Do Mr. Johnston and his fellows mean what they say?

The only known way to test sincerity is the test of action. Let the labor movement accept Mr. Johnston’s program and put it to the test. If it works, well and good. If not, the bluff will have been called, and labor will at least be in a much better tactical and moral position than if it had unthinkingly followed PM and similar shallow minds.

For my part I do not hesitate to accept Mr. Johnston’s words as a sincere statement of aims.

Labor’s difficulties with Mr. Johnston and his fellow-thinkers will be in agreeing upon the form and methods of accomplishing the agreed aims. But in this field there is no necessary deadlock of differences. For these thinking capitalists, although they confine their dogmatism to generalities, display on concrete measures a high and growing flexibility of thought. This may be illustrated by a few more quotations from Mr. Johnston:

Too many of us talk of capitalism as if it were an absolute – the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. Too many of us talk of competition as if it were an absolute, without degrees and shadings. Nothing could be more misleading or harmful. Along with our spirited defense of the basic free-enterprise concepts must go an intelligent appreciation of this continuous evolution.

Only the willfully blind can fail to see that the old-style capitalism of a primitive freebooting period is gone forever. The capitalism of complete laissez-faire, which thrived on low wages and maximum profits for minimum turnover, which rejected collective bargaining and fought against justified public regulation of the competitive process, is a thing of the past.

In a previous speech, Mr. Johnston, setting forth the necessity of full production and employment after the war, and asking capitalists to undertake that responsibility, concluded with the warning: ‘Otherwise, government will do it’, and demanded ‘a new order of cooperation between government, management, labor, and agriculture’.

The labor movement can very easily, on the basis of such pronouncements as these of Mr. Johnston, arrive at an agreed practical program, which grants to the capitalists the maximum initiative in working out the problem of distribution in their own chosen way, if the capitalists can agree that the program also includes provisions whereby the government steps in to make good any gap that is left open. Mr. Johnston has already expressed such an agreement. He said: ‘No American president will ever again permit American citizens to be unemployed. They will be employed by business or they will be employed by the government.’ And as to labor’s role, he said: ‘By cooperation I do not mean surrender, either by business to labor or by labor to business.’

The labor union movement must have confidence in its own strength and intellectual capacity in order to set itself the task of working out its problems in such a national unity, without a general recourse to the trial by battle to decide disputes. For of course disputes there will be aplenty, and it would be the height of folly to assume that the mere agreement to cooperate will settle all questions. Quite the contrary, the real fun will begin only when some basic agreement begins to take shape.

The darkest cloud on the prospects of labor finding its proper place in the postwar national unity is the fact that such unsatisfactory achievements mark our wartime efforts in that direction. Labor has not been welcomed generally at the points of policy-making or administration of the war effort, and the handling of the wage problem has been grossly unsatisfactory. And while labor, chiefly because of its disunity, bears some degree of responsibility, it is still the main fact that from the ranks of capital has come sharp resistance and little help to the finding of a proper answer to the problems.

If Mr. Johnston, and like-minded spokesmen and leaders of capital, truly desire a cooperative relationship with labor in the postwar world, they should move in a much more decisive manner than hitherto, to achieve it now, during the war. For the war experience will have a serious effect upon the mood and attitude of labor as it enters the postwar period.

It must be said quite frankly and sharply to all leaders of government and business that labor in general has the feeling that capital has taken it for a ride in this war, that national unity and cooperation have been more honored in the word than in the performance, that for labor it has been in practice too much a matter of shutting its mouth and taking orders, under the compulsion of wartime discipline. Labor’s patriotism had been deep and strong enough to take it without too much complaint while the war is on. We had better understand, however, that this is accumulating heavy strains that are not conducive to orderly cooperation after the war.

Business and government could do much, now, to improve this situation. More serious consultations could be had with labor. And especially much could be done to improve the wartime handling of the acute wage problem, which would strengthen the war effort, improve morale in this period of opening up the Western Front with its inevitable high casualty lists, and close many doors against disrupters of national unity like John L. Lewis and his friends.

The handling of wartime wage policy has been marked by dogmatism and rigidity.

Labor has conducted itself as the army of production. It feels that this army needs as careful provision for its needs as is possible after the army in the camps and on the battlefields has been provided for. It feels that the only legitimate reason for any shortage of food, clothing, homes, and social services to the army of production would be an actual deficiency of these things in the country that could not be made up by organized attention. Labor feels that it has not received attention in this spirit. This neglect has shown itself above all in the wage policy.

A review of our wartime wage policy is needed, and measures taken to keep wages in some constant relation to prices; to insure a running process of correction of inequalities, striving toward equal wages for equal work; and to expand earnings in some rational and stable relation to expansion of production. The aim should be to convince each worker, and each group, that they are not the victims of arbitrary caprice and unthinking application of blanket formulas, but that government and management are constantly striving to approximate a commonly accepted standard of just compensation in terms of making available the existing supply of commodities and services. It should be demonstrated beyond doubt that failures to achieve such a goal are the result of shortages caused by the war and not the result of poor organization, rigid policy or bad faith.

If serious efforts were made along these lines, there would be very little discontent in labor’s ranks, and very little strained relations between labor, government, and management. And this would be also the best possible prelude to facing the problems of the postwar period in a cooperative spirit.

I assume that it is unnecessary to repeat the established tasks of the trade unions, including the organization of the unorganized and the fight for unity. The role of the trade unions, in all respects, becomes more important than ever before to the degree that we achieve the postwar perspective here set forth.
 

Chapter XIII: Democracy and National Unity

Many conflicting views and interests must learn how to come together on the basis of compromise in order to maintain national unity. That is the way our democracy works. But there is a line beyond which compromises are not permissible. That is the line of basic democratic principles, the compromising of which can bring only false appearances of unity behind which operates the destruction of all possibility of unity.

Hitler has made no secret of his hope that disunity in the United States would enable him to triumph over us as it enabled him to triumph over France.

An essential part of any program for national unity is, therefore, to overcome those disuniting factors which Hitler was expecting to work for him, and which are now making diversions to weaken the expected opening of the second front soon. That is equally important for the postwar period after Hitler has been liquidated, for, as has become clear, unity will be equally necessary then.

Hitler created his ‘fifth columns’ by manipulating and inciting elements of disunity which already existed in the nations he crushed. His chief means to this end were the doctrines of racial superiority, and the ‘Antikomintern’.

The ideological threads of Hitler’s doctrines acted like fuses to set off the explosion of hidden mines already existing in the American social structure. It is not enough merely to prevent Hitler from exploding these mines now; we must also set ourselves the task of removing all fuses from these mines, and removing the mines themselves, so that they will not explode later on and destroy our postwar plans.

Hitler’s doctrine of the ‘Herrenvolk’, or racial superiority, leads directly to three explosive relationships in America, which are fundamentally subversive to our democracy, which must be fought against uncompromisingly until they are destroyed. These are: 1) Jim Crowism, or the systematic denial of equal rights of citizenship to Negro-Americans; also extended to others, as, for instance, the Mexican-Americans; 2) the poll tax, that system of putting a tax on the right to vote, which exists in eight southern states to disfranchise the majority of voters, white and Negro, although primarily designed against the Negro only; 3) anti-Semitism, the system of hostility, discrimination, and segregation against the Jewish population of America, with its roots going back to the Middle Ages, and now growing like a wild weed in our garden, under the intensive cultivation of Hitler-like forces.

During 1943, America witnessed some startling examples of the disastrously explosive qualities in the situation created by Jim Crow policy. The Detroit riots, in which thirty-five Negroes were slaughtered on the streets by mobs, a great center of war production disrupted, and the entire country thrown into a state of apprehension, was the worst example. Harlem gave another example shortly after. In Los Angeles, sporadic street fighting for days was directed against the Mexican population, derisively identified as ‘zoot-suiters’ after their fashion of dressing. In hundreds of localities, North and South, minor disorders occurred. Literally thousands of instances of violence directed against American soldiers in uniform because of the dark color of their skin have been reported. All this arises directly from the soil of a legally established and socially supported system of denial of equal rights of citizenship, although equality is guaranteed to all by the Constitution of the United States in a special amendment which has never been enforced.

Apparently the virulent source of Jim Crowism is the former slave territory of the South, where the principle of ‘white supremacy’ is set forth in legal form, in language as bold and shameless as Hitler ever used.

Some study of the problem quickly reveals, however, that the southern obscurantists are able to maintain their Hitler-like system only because of the support they receive from the North, and even from ostensible opponents. Jim Crowism as a system of thought and practical action has permeated from its breeding places in the South to the entire country, infecting it dangerously.

As an example of how this works, I turn to an issue of the sober, conservative, and respectable New York Times, of perhaps the highest prestige among American newspapers. On 3 August 1943, right after the Detroit and Harlem riots, this paper carried an editorial of considerable force, defending the Negroes of America under the slogan: ‘If there is discrimination against anyone on account of race or religion, then no one is secure.’ This was most admirable, and if consistently followed by the Times and all those circles the Times represents would quickly remedy our whole sickness in this question.

But in the same issue of the New York Times, on the same page and written by one of its star writers, Mr. Arthur Krock, was a signed column which flatly took the opposite position, and defended the whole doctrine of racial supremacy. Mr. Krock gave unconditional defense of Jim Crowism as simply a recognition of ‘the facts of nature’. He said all trouble arises from opposition to this system, which he characterized as the work of ‘political demagogues of both colors’. He denounced the principle of equal citizenship, as set forth in the Constitution, as a ‘poisonous and explosive doctrine’. He expressed the opinion that ‘the majority’ of Americans ‘is unalterably opposed’ to the granting of equal status before the law to Negro citizens. He declared this system cannot be modified by political action, that it can only be modified by making sure that it is administered ‘in the light of the lamps of justice’.

This startling example of the racial doctrines of Hitler being defended for America in the columns of the New York Times is all the more disturbing in that very little attention was paid to it. It was taken for granted, as another of those ‘facts of nature’. The other editor who wrote in the same issue that ‘if there is discrimination against anyone on account of race or religion, then no one is secure’ did not protest publicly against Mr. Krock’s column, nor did anyone else so far as the record is concerned.

The horrible suspicion arises that perhaps Mr. Krock was the author of both the editorial and his signed column! Perhaps the signed column was merely the detailed explanation of what is really behind most of the fair-sounding calls for ‘justice and equality’ which are not accompanied by a practical fight to realize them now!

Mr. Krock’s position on Jim Crowism is the exact American equivalent of the ‘moderate’ Nazi attitude toward anti-Semitism in Germany. For example, Dr Hjalmar Schacht, for many years Hitler’s finance minister, has been reported to ‘deplore’ the ‘excesses’ of the Nazi pogroms against the Jews, in words which could have been a German translation of Arthur Krock’s words. Dr Schacht also explained that the ‘deplorable excesses’ were caused by the ‘poisonous and explosive doctrine’ of democracy; he also saw in the ghettos merely a recognition of ‘the facts of nature’; he also wanted the Nazi doctrine to be administered ‘in the light of the lamps of justice’.

Just as Dr Schacht’s ‘moderate’ version of anti-Semitism served merely to give a respectable face to the most murderous pogromist Nazis, so also does Mr. Krock’s ‘moderate’ Jim Crowism merely serve as cover-up for all the organizers of riots on the streets of American cities, and for the deep split in American national unity that comes from excluding ten per cent of our population from the protection of the Constitution.

Dr Schacht was always outraged by the charge that he, the impeccable gentleman and humanitarian, could be held responsible in any way for the ‘excesses’ of the Brown Shirts. So also will Mr. Krock complain that he is being smeared when we expose his close affinity to both the lynchers of America and the pogrom-makers of Germany. But in both cases it is inescapably true that the open criminals obtain the courage and power for their crimes from the ‘respectable’ men who furnish them justification and opportunity. And for every Krock who openly propagates the doctrine of racial superiority, there are thousands who are acclimated to such ideas as ‘normal’, to be accepted without challenge.

It is not with abstract ideas that we are dealing; these are forms of social and political relationships, the warp and woof of national unity for the war and postwar periods, or the destruction of that unity. They are decisive factors in our military power, and in our relation with the family of nations in the postwar world. It is a very shallow and vulgar understanding of democracy which contents itself with a ‘humanitarian’ rejection of the worst manifestations of racialism, but completely fails to see that the whole system of racial supremacy is a weapon for the destruction of our country, and that we must defeat it as ruthlessly as we must wipe out Hitler’s armies.

It required the harsh necessities of war to begin to blast America out of its smug acceptance of the poison of racialism. It was the shortage of manpower for war production that put punch into the President’s Fair Employment Practices Committee, which began to break down some of the worst obstacles to the employment and advancement of Negroes, Jews, Mexicans, and other minorities. It was the intolerable burden, placed upon our Army Staff, of organizing two separate armies instead of one, that finally began to break down Jim Crow in the armed forces. All our high ideals were very ineffective until they were reinforced by the cruel compulsions of a war for survival.

Our General Staff began to build our ten-million army without questioning its established tradition of Jim Crow. It soon found this practice of segregation the greatest single obstacle to building an effective army; it doubled every existing problem and created many new ones. It split what should be a unified army organization into two, on an issue that has nothing to do with military practice or theory. Our ten per cent Negro population, instead of adding that proportion to our military strength, was turned into a multiplication of our difficulties. The Negro was inducted into the status of ‘problem’ instead of the status of soldier.

Efforts to give a functional basis to segregation, by assigning Negro units to the role of ‘labor battalions’ in keeping with assumed inferiority, merely intensified the difficulties and brought them to the boiling point.

The first point at which the necessities of war broke down the Jim Crow system was in the training of specialized services and officers’ corps. The complete imbecility of a duplicate system of training officers’ cadres served to knock out Jim Crow from this phase of the war effort early in the war. The most hardened champion of white supremacy could not continue to defend this obvious military stupidity with its disruptive results. For a long time now, we have been training white and Negro together for specialized services and officer’s rank, with excellent results in every respect. This is a complete moral defeat for Jim Crowism, for if there were the slightest ground for the theory of racial superiority it would be manifested first and above all in the sphere of higher technical training.

It is a military impossibility to build an effective army on the basis of two categories of citizenship, first and second class. If we are going to have second-class citizens, we will have to exclude them from the army. An army can be built only on the foundation of equal citizenship!

Our American democratic political principles and morality, which were denied application to the Negroes on their own ground, thus gain their revenge by reappearing as military necessity!

Meanwhile, a penalty has been imposed upon our country for its original violation of principles, and for its continuation with the main body of Negro troops. The Negro ten per cent of our population has been roused to high indignation against the treatment of its men in the armed forces, and this has not been allayed by the improvement in officers’ and specialized training. National unity has been damaged. Our military power has been weakened. The price of victory has been increased. Above all, in its long-time effects, America has assumed in the eyes of our allies – of whom a majority are of the colored races – the stigma of the doctrine of ‘white supremacy’, the stigma of racialism indistinguishable from that of Hitler. The damage to America, now and after the war, is beyond computation.

The poll-tax laws are an outcropping of the racialist doctrine which has spread over – probably with design, but at any rate most effectively – to disfranchise over five million white as well as about the same number of Negro citizens, the great majority in the eight southern states in which the poll-tax prevails. If the Constitution were the effective law of the land, rather than a mere declaration of good intentions, any and every Federal Court in the poll-tax states would provide immediate relief for any citizen disfranchised thereunder, for they are flagrant violations of the Constitution. The Federal Courts have taken the position, however, that the Constitution can be enforced in this respect only if, when, and to the degree that Congress passes specific legislation directing that this be done. Therefore the simplest democratic right of citizenship, the right to vote, still awaits the action of Congress for the large majority of citizens in the poll-tax states.

I will not spend words here to enlarge upon the subject of how the poll tax distorts and falsifies our entire domestic political life, how it places our whole country at the mercy of a relatively small circle who monopolize political power in the South, giving them an influence and power out of all relation to their position in the nation. Rather I will pass at once to another feature of the poll tax, to which relatively little attention has been given, but which is so important that it involves the position of America in the whole world. That point is the relation of the poll tax and racialism to America’s prestige and leadership in the family of peoples, in the United Nations.

The majority of nations, and the majority of their population, are not white but are of the colored races. Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Africa are almost entirely non-white, and Latin America is largely the same. The doctrine of ‘white supremacy’ is to this majority of the world a symbol of their own enslavement. They have suffered intolerable tortures for generations in the name of ‘white supremacy’. The only serious political weapon that Japan wields against us in the Pacific is the claim that she fights against this ‘white supremacy’ which all the colored nations fear and hate. In addition to this, the most populous territory of whites, and the greatest power next to the United States – that is, the Soviet Union – unites its white majority with its colored minority in a system of absolute equality, and looks upon all doctrines of racialism with the greatest detestation. The balance of power in the world has turned overwhelmingly and unconditionally against the doctrine of ‘white supremacy’. The forces that will shape the postwar world are overwhelmingly committed to the doctrine of racial and national equality and the brotherhood of man.

America has a great potential role of leadership and participation in this great world movement. But America cannot realize that role while she continues to carry the burden of the South’s ‘white supremacy’ doctrine with all its consequences of Jim Crow, poll tax – and, above all, with the predominance in Congress, in the Army, and in our diplomatic service, of men who are rabid exponents of this doctrine in theory and practice. If America is to play a role of leadership in this new world, she must begin to retire from public life, and especially from all contact with her partners in the United Nations, all individuals who are afflicted with the poisonous doctrine of ‘white supremacy’ and are obligated in any way to the semi-feudal institution of the poll tax. Our partners of the United Nations will find it simply impossible to get along with such mentality, or to trust a nation that is led and dominated by such minds.

The ominous rise of a wave of anti-Semitic agitation and hoodlum actions that has recently swept over the United States shows how ill-prepared is the American public mind for the problems of our day, how deeply the Jim Crow mentality had poisoned our national character. For anti-Semitism as it expresses itself today in our country is a direct importation of Hitler’s agents, for purposes of Hitler’s war against us, and we have shown as a nation a sorry fumbling, stuttering, embarrassment, and incapacity in face of the invasion.

Every expression of hostility to Jews as a group, or because of their race or religion, is today the stigma of a man who is psychologically and politically acting on behalf of Hitler’s program of conquest of the world. America has been that country which, second only to the Soviet Union, was most free of this ancient social poison which Hitler dug up out of the ruins of the past. Yet America, while at war to destroy Hitler, has been invaded more effectively by anti-Semitism transmitted by Hitler’s agents than were even some of the nations ruled by his Quislings. Where else outside of Germany has there been such wholesale desecration of Jewish cemeteries, defacing of synagogues, and hooligan attacks upon the persons of Jews because they are Jews? America must feel a deep shame that such things can happen here!

The ‘white supremacy’ doctrine with its outgrowths of poll-tax strangling of democracy, Jim Crowism, and anti-Semitism, and other variations such as anti-Catholicism, constitutes one of the main and most damaging attacks upon American national unity, and upon America’s prestige and leadership in the world.

One of Hitler’s greatest diplomatic triumphs was the successful operation of his ‘Antikomintern’ in America, raising the ‘red scare’ to a dominating position in American political and social life. Future historians will find in the role of Martin Dies in America’s preparations to meet the world crisis one of the richest and most complex examples of political hysteria dominating a great nation. Martin Dies seized in Hitler’s ‘Antikomintern’ line the instrument that made him powerful enough to dominate Congress and the newspapers, defy and vilify the President of the United States, challenge the basic tenets of common sense, and win respect by being extremely absurd. No wonder a large part of the world believed that Hitler possessed some magic ‘secret weapon!’

There is not the slightest doubt that the ‘red scare’, the fear of the Communists, which paved the way for the Axis attempt to conquer the world, was in America almost entirely compounded of fear and hatred toward the Soviet Union. For, regardless of merits or demerits, the Communist movement in this country has never been strong enough to constitute any challenge to the existing order, and for many years it had not even been challenging in the tone of its public pronouncements. Because American Communists advocated in season and out that our country should cultivate friendship and an alliance with the Soviet Union, all the fear and hatred that existed against the Soviet Union were concentrated against the Communists here, as the alleged ‘agents of a hostile foreign power’.

Since the ‘red scare’ is by no means yet dead, it is quite important to understand what makes it tick, of what it is composed. For what earthly reason should Americans feel afraid of the Communists any more than other American minority political groupings which have always been taken for granted?

Let us go back to 1938, in the fatal months that led up to the Munich surrender. What was the burden of the ‘red scare’ then? My scrapbook yields me the perfect answer in the form of a cartoon published by the newspaper chain of Roy Howard, arch red-baiter. The clipping is from the New York World Telegram of 2 July 1938, in which the famous cartoonist Rollin Kirby depicts his conception of ‘unmitigated gall’, in the form of Earl Browder standing between the Kremlin and Washington, waving the Soviet and American flags, and shouting, ‘Three cheers for the RED, white and blue.’

Making due allowance for a cartoonist’s distortion, and the fact that the intention was hostile, this cartoon is a fairly accurate characterization of the chief thing which I and all American Communists had been doing for years, namely, calling America to friendship and alliance with the Soviet Union. In July 1938, that was sufficient to call down contempt and hatred on us, and brand us as men of unmitigated gall.

What was wrong in proposing in 1938 that alliance which is now realized, and which if realized a few years earlier might well have prevented this war?

Those who still, in 1944, agitate the old ‘red scare’ thereby reveal that they are opposed to the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance, consider it a mistake, and want to end it as quickly as possible. If they no longer say this openly, it is only because this is not a moment favorable to frankness on their part, so they find a thousand other reasons than the real one. Today they even deny this motive, but it nevertheless remains.

The attempt to cover up the real motive behind the ‘red scare’ leads to some fantastic mental contortions. Take, for example, the case of the chief exponent of the ‘Antikomintern’ thesis in the present Administration, Attorney General Biddle. He refuses to accept the Supreme Court decision in the Schneiderman case, which cut the ground entirely from under his notorious ‘Bridges decision’ based on the red scare in its most typical Nazi form. He steadfastly refuses to permit the Communist Party’s refutation of his Bridges decision to be admitted into court for consideration, but demands that the courts pass on his action without permitting the most important party to the case to be heard at all. And on 5 March, in a speech in New York, he is reported to have made the following extraordinary defense of his attitude:

American Communists are deeply resentful of the government’s attitude toward them in deportation and denaturalization proceedings. They profess to be unable to see how we can fight side by side with Russia, admiring her magnificent courage and tenacity, and at the same time object to the spreading of Communist ideas in this country. Yet we would certainly raise no objection to Russia’s preventing the spread of American political ideas in her own great land; we would regard that as Russia’s own business ...

Does Russia tell her people that her alliance with the United States involves her allegiance to the freedoms of democracy, to the theory of free competitive enterprise? Does Russia tell her people that her alliance with Great Britain involves her establishing a constitutional monarchy? Of course not… Here, then, is no inconsistency, there can be none, except in the minds of Communists, who resent and will continue to resent the determinations we make to govern our own society because such decisions may also affect their somewhat dubious status. (New York Times, 6 March 1944)

I wish to challenge Mr. Biddle on his philosophy, his law, his logic, and his politics. I wish to prove that Mr. Biddle in his fight against American Communists has picked a quarrel not only with us; he has challenged fundamentally the American philosophy as expounded by Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt; he has challenged American law as expounded by the Supreme Court; he has violated every recognized system of logic; and he has challenged the fundamental world policy of the United States government, and brought joy to the hearts of our enemies all over the world. I wish to establish the contrary thesis to Biddle’s, namely, that the persecution of Communists for their political opinions is not merely the particular concern of the Communists, any more than the persecution of Jews on account of their religion is a matter of concern only to the Jews, or the persecution of Catholics a matter only for the Catholics to worry about, or the Jim Crowing of Negro citizens only a matter concerning the Negroes; but on the contrary, every one of these systematic attacks upon minorities is a denial of democratic rights to all citizens, a distortion of our country’s entire political life, and a menace to the successful prosecution of the war.

Mr. Biddle says that to permit persons who support and hold Communist ideas in the United States means for Americans to lose our power ‘to govern our own society’; by the same token, then, he should also deport and denaturalize all those who support the idea of the British monarchy – but this he does not do. He has proposed to denaturalize only Communists and Nazis. What does that mean? The meaning is clear – and it has been elaborately stated by Biddle himself in his documents – that Biddle is acting upon the assumption that Communist-led and Nazi-led countries abroad are equally the enemies of the United States, and that any Americans who sympathize with either are enemies within to be dealt with as enemies. He has defined as a ‘Communist’ any person, no matter what his politics may be, who before 21 June 1941, publicly expressed friendship and support for the Soviet Union and advocated a Soviet-American alliance. He is assuming that despite America’s present alliance with the Soviet Union, and the declaration of Teheran that this is a long-term alliance, soon this relationship will be turned into a hostile one, and that Americans who have demonstrated a long-time persistent friendship to the Soviet Union cannot be trusted to be loyal to their own country.

Mr. Biddle thus violates American philosophy, which holds, in the words of Jefferson, ‘that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression’. According to Mr. Biddle, if the minority is a Communist one it has no equal rights.

Mr. Biddle thus violates American law, as the Supreme Court sharply reminded him in its decision on the Schneiderman case, the only clear test of Mr. Biddle’s case against the Communists in which Mr. Biddle and the lower courts which followed him were reversed and their theories condemned.

Mr. Biddle thus violates every system of logic, for he has substituted his own personal hatred and prejudice against the Communists for reasonable argument. He defends discrimination against Americans on the grounds that since we would have no right to object if the Soviet Union discriminated against Russians who admired America, therefore Americans have no right to object to discrimination against Americans who admire the Soviet Union; he violates logic when he assumes we must either persecute the Communists or adopt communism.

Mr. Biddle violates the foreign policy of the United States by proclaiming that our ally, the Soviet Union, is really our fundamental and life-long enemy. Now it may be true, as Mr. Biddle claims, that the Soviet Union has no right to question Mr. Biddle’s conduct of his office in the United States – but the Soviet Union will certainly have to take note for its own information of the fact that the Attorney General of the United States writes into his legal briefs the theory that any American who holds opinions coinciding with those of Soviet leaders is thereby, ipso facto, a traitor to his own country. But, above all, Americans must take note of the fact that their own Attorney General holds the same attitude toward the Soviet Union that made the names of Bullitt and Berle notorious throughout the world. It is not an accident that Mr. Biddle is a close personal and political friend of Bullitt and Berle. The 3-B’s are the three musketeers of anti-Sovietism in America, and their fire at American Communists is only a masked attack against the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance.

Every American who would uphold the tradition of Jefferson who abolished the infamous Alien and Sedition Acts; every American who prefers the Supreme Court’s interpretation of law to Mr. Biddle’s; who does not enjoy obscurantism taking the place of logic in our country’s highest legal office; and who wants to build the long-term peace and friendship pledged at Teheran – every such American should join in rebuking all forms of ‘red scare’ in our country, whether it comes from Mr. Biddle, Colonel McCormick, Hearst, or from Hitler himself.

To sum up: a program of national unity demands a basic defense of democracy, the unconditional right of the majority to rule, and the unconditional duty of the majority to defend all those minorities which, combined, form the majority of America. This demands the abolition of Jim Crow, and the securing for Negro Americans that unconditional equal citizenship guaranteed by the Constitution. It demands the abolition of the poll tax, and all other forms of restricting the franchise. It demands the outlawing of anti-Semitism, and all forms of racial supremacy theory and practice. It demands the defeat of the newly arising trends of anti-Catholicism, which once before, in the days of the Know-Nothing movement, did such harm to our country. And it demands the final elimination of Hitler’s ‘Antikomintern’ and the ‘red scare’ from American life, with the repeal of all exceptional legislation directed against the Communists.

These are some simple and elementary measures of defense of democracy. To compromise or abandon this defense of democracy would mean to give ground to Hitlerism at home while we are engaged in smashing it abroad. These demands, therefore, are the concern of all patriotic Americans and a necessary part of any program of national unity.
 

Part IV: The 1944 Elections – For Unity or Disunity?

Chapter XIV: Partisanship: A Costly Luxury

The United States enters the most crucial hours of the war, our soldiers about to go into battle in great numbers for the first time, with a national election on our hands.

We are the only nation with such a rigid constitution that elections come at set intervals without regard for the actual problems with which the nation is confronted. In this, as in so many other matters, we must take our world as we find it, and do the best we can. Certainly we cannot take time out from the war to amend our Constitution, which would be a much bigger job than handling a national election.

It is no use pretending, however, that the necessity to conduct elections this year is anything less than a very dangerous strain on the national unity which is required for victory.

If the 1944 elections are carried through in the usual American spirit of recklessness, abandon and irresponsibility, as a wild scramble for power, then indeed they may have the most fatal consequences to all hopes for early victory and a long peace. Partisanship in the 1944 elections, if it becomes the dominant spirit, is a most costly luxury which we cannot afford.

The biggest domestic problem of the United States is therefore how to subdue and control the threatening spirit of unbridled partisanship in the election campaign. It is the problem of how to conduct a national election in the spirit of national unity. It is a very complicated and difficult problem.

Our country faced a similar problem in 1864, in the final phase of the Civil War. Lincoln was only beginning to emerge as master of the heart-breaking difficulties of the war; he faced a hostile coalition in Congress which divided his own party and gathered into one phalanx all the special interests, prejudices, defeatism, frustrated greed, and disappointed personal ambitions which raged against the President. His opposition demanded that he retire from office as the price of any internal peace. Lincoln must have been sorely tempted to take the opposition at its word and return to private life; he was worn out and heartsick, and foresaw for himself personally nothing but intensified suffering as a result of continuing the fight. But he also saw clearly that his retirement would contribute nothing whatever to unite the nation; on the contrary, it would incite the southern rebels with new hopes and increase the difficulty of the war, it would deliver his own party to a chaos of conflicting ambitions and interests, and it would thereby seriously endanger the whole purpose of the war – to maintain the Union on the path of historical progress.

Lincoln decided, against his personal interest and inclination, to accept the 1864 Presidential nomination, and transform the election campaign from a source of disunity in the nation into a means of reuniting the nation. He assumed the task of winning a national election without partisanship, by rising above party lines, and yet without conceding an inch to the opposition in questions of principle. He carried the principle of non-partisanship so far as to substitute a Union coalition for the Republican Party, and took the Union Southerner, Andrew Johnson, as his running mate, to the rage of all partisan Republicans. He confronted and confounded every special interest and pressure group, as the only way to find national unity and the national interest. And he won, in the only way it was possible to win, thereby winning also a special place of glory in our history.

In 1944 Franklin D. Roosevelt faces a problem which is extraordinarily similar to that faced by Lincoln.

Many of my readers will come to this book only after the Republican and Democratic national conventions have already met, chosen their candidates, and adopted their platforms. Some of the things I now propose to discuss will doubtless by that time seem at first glance like ancient history, so swiftly do our country and the world travel nowadays. Yet it seems to me that there will be a certain value in reminding ourselves next September and October how the problems of the elections looked at the end of the previous March.

At this writing the decisive question is that of whether Roosevelt will accept the nomination. This is not a question the President can decide for himself. He can neither seek the nomination, nor can he be an active campaigner if he accepts the nomination. He is carrying on his shoulders one of the biggest loads any mortal has ever assumed; he is the Commander-in-Chief of the strongest nation in the world, in the critical moment of the bloodiest war ever waged in history. He knows that the country can least of all afford the luxury of himself in the role of unsuccessful candidate, yet the only contribution he can make to winning the election is to enunciate correct policies and concentrate on winning the war. Before he can make up his mind to accept the nomination he must be given convincing evidence that the country wants him, and that it will elect him without requiring him to neglect his war duties for those of a campaigner for office. If he will have to seek the office, he cannot accept the nomination. In 1944, Roosevelt can be a candidate only if the people really make it clear that, in the old phrase, ‘the office seeks the man’.

There exists a serious psychological barrier to such a development. Roosevelt has exercised such a dynamic leadership over the years that a fixed habit has developed in the country, among both friends and enemies of the President, to await his initiative before deciding upon the correct response to any problem. This habit must be broken if Roosevelt is to be the candidate, and now the initiative must come from below, not from above.

Perhaps, then, we should consider for a moment whether, since Roosevelt has such virulent enemies not only among Republicans but even in his own party where disloyalty is rampant, the way to national unity is for him to announce his retirement?

A moment’s consideration will reveal how disastrous such a course would be for the nation. Not unity would result but the launching of our country upon an uncharted sea of boundless factionalism.

Without Roosevelt’s guiding hand, the Democratic National Convention would be a deadlocked maze of irreconcilable factions, out of which a leadership would emerge something like the ‘Ohio gang’ that seized the deadlocked Republican Convention of 1920!

The Republican National Convention, freed from the pressure of Roosevelt’s candidacy, would be a field-day for machine politics running wild. The Hoover-Taft-Vandenberg crowd would be riding high, wide, and handsome, and Wendell Willkie’s prospects would disappear like the proverbial snowball in Hades. Even Dewey, now the white-haired boy of the machine, would find his forces melted away to the proportions of one faction among many. Out of the mess would come as candidate the present dark-horse, Senator Taft, or even Herbert Hoover or Vandenberg – and with excellent prospects of victory!

Something along this line would be the inevitable result if President Roosevelt withdrew from the elections.

It was the recognition of these facts as early as the summer of 1943 that then led the most farsighted sections of the labor movement to launch the popular demand that Roosevelt be a candidate in 1944. That was no narrow and partisan attitude on the part of labor, for it had the most burning grievances arising out of the conduct of the war, and it was being appealed to by demagogues of all sorts who promised labor all its heart could wish tied up in tissue paper and a blue ribbon! No, that was a demonstration that labor was measuring up to its responsibility as the backbone and representative of the whole nation. Labor correctly understood that this was no question to be left to the individual decision of Roosevelt, that this was a question of national service, in which the nation calls and the individual must respond in the position in which the nation needs him.

The people must make Roosevelt’s campaign for him. It must be a non-partisan campaign. It must be a campaign for national unity, to win the war, and to realize the Teheran perspective of a long-time stable peace. It must not be left in the hands of the old political machines, which know how to campaign only in the old tradition of shrill billingsgate against the opponent and rabid partisanship for a professional association of politicians. It must not arouse and sharpen old alignments and prejudices, but must reach across them and dissolve them, and weld a unity of patriotic citizens that will shatter the old traditional Republican-Democratic lines of division, the ideology of sharp class divisions, the Old Deal-New Deal feuds, and every other barrier that stands in the way of realizing national unity.

The extraordinary emergency in which our nation finds itself calls for an extraordinary manner of handling the 1944 election, in order to transform it from a threat against national unity into a means of uniting our nation on a higher level.

If this is to be achieved, the masses of the people must learn how to make extreme partisanship unprofitable to those who exhibit it. They must find the way to slap down the loud-mouthed demagogue, to expose the wily maneuverer, to retire the old machine politicians to the background, to begin to bring forward a new type of leadership.

For this purpose, the people, and especially that largest part of the people which is ‘labor’, must build their own organizations for political action, beginning in the neighborhoods and wards, extending to the districts, towns and cities, to the states, and to the nation as a whole. These organizations should be non-partisan, taking their stand on issues and judging men and candidates by how clearly and forthrightly they take their stand on these issues, and without valuing the political partisan label that may be attached.

The great body of independent citizens must be organized to subordinate the political machines of both Democratic and Republican Parties, for these old machines have become a vested interest in themselves, divorced from the people, and neither one of them can be relied upon by the people.

Along these lines the people can most effectively influence the two great national conventions which will choose the two chief candidates for the Presidency. By conscripting Roosevelt for the duration, they can insure that the defeatists and reactionaries will not control the Democratic Convention. Thereby they will also assure that at least the defeatists will not have an entirely free hand in the Republican Convention. They can retire from Congress the irresponsibles and defeatists of both parties who have ganged up against the President and his program for victory and a stable peace; they can bring forward new and better tribunes of the people, in both parties, who will restore the prestige of Congress, and unite that body as the representatives of a united people.

The program of Teheran is at stake in the 1944 elections. All those who would fight to realize that program should be united regardless of previous differences and antagonisms, against those who oppose, undermine, or cast doubts upon that program for victory and a stable, peaceful, and prosperous world for some generations to come.
 

Chapter XV: Whom We Must Fight Against

Non-partisan struggle for national unity, which rises above party lines, is still, in the final analysis, a fight for and against candidates. How do we recognize whom we must fight against?

Let us get down to names and addresses at once, with the selection of some outstanding examples of the kind of men we must fight against.

Senator Wheeler of Montana and Representative Dies of Texas are the prize examples from the Democratic Party side of Congress. Senator Taft of Ohio and Representative Jessie Sumner of Illinois are a typical pair from the more numerous Republican examples from which we have to pick.

They are people who bear a profound hostility to the Anglo-Soviet-American alliance and to the Teheran concord. They have always felt that America should come to some kind of terms with Hitler, that we could profitably ‘do business’ with him. They are determined that we shall not ‘do business’ with the Soviet Union if they can break it up, and they wish relations with Britain only if it is on terms they lay down, which includes an Anglo-American alliance against the Soviet Union. Martin Dies has long been the chief representative of Hitler’s ‘Antikomintern’ in the United States. Jessie Sumner introduced a resolution in Congress demanding the cancellation of the Anglo-American invasion of Western Europe. They are all vehement shouters about the ‘red menace’. They all vote in Congress to defeat key measures of the President’s war program. They all find the greatest menace to America and the world in the ‘dictatorship’ of Roosevelt.

To extend the identification further, they are the poll-tax Democrats of the South and the Republicans of the North, who formed a coalition in Congress to deny our soldiers the right to vote in the 1944 elections through a Federal Government ballot, which is the only practical way, and substituted a fraudulent measure which will disfranchise nine-tenths of the armed forces.

In the field of the press, this camp of the friends of Hitlerism find their outstanding representatives in the Chicago Tribune of Colonel McCormick, the New York Daily News of J.M. Patterson, the Washington Times-Herald of ‘Cissy’ Patterson, and the entire newspaper chain of William Randolph Hearst. These are the worst, but it must be said that their poison penetrates most of the large city dailies all over the country to a greater or lesser degree. They are the modern equivalent of the Copperhead press that Lincoln had to deal with in his time, and which he sometimes found necessary to suppress by military authority. They are purveyors of treason and defeatism.

Wendell Willkie displayed a fundamentally sound American instinct when, during his primary campaign in Wisconsin, he declared he was proud to have Colonel McCormick and Hearst as his enemies, and that the Republican Party would surely lose and deserve to lose, if it nominated a Presidential candidate acceptable to these two worthies. So long as Willkie sticks uncompromisingly to that line, and carries it to its logical conclusion by not winning for himself the endorsement of McCormick and Hearst, he must be counted in the camp of national unity whatever his mistakes may be on other questions. No other name besides that of Willkie mentioned for the Republican nomination is not acceptable to McCormick and Hearst.

The lunatic fringe of the defeatist camp is expressed in the organizations headed by Gerald L.K. Smith, of ‘America First’ and Ku Klux associations, and his new friends, Father Coughlin and Father Curran, the clerical fascists. They are the ‘storm troop’ variety, openly carrying the Hitler agitation in all its forms, with a minimum of camouflage. By locating their friends, it is easy to identify many more hidden representatives of the defeatist camp, to add to our list of those we must fight.

Within the labor movement the chief exponent of defeatism and Nazi-like ideas is John L. Lewis, the boss of the United Mine Workers Union. Lewis is the commander of the ‘fifth column’ in the ranks of labor. It was Lewis who was responsible for the heaviest setback experienced in 1943 by America’s war effort. He manipulated the grievances of the miners to prevent their peaceful settlement, which was quite possible, and carried out a series of unnecessary and damaging strikes. The harm done to the cause of labor was exceeded only by the harm to the war effort, to the national morale, and by the encouragement it gave to Hitler.

We must not forget the 1943 experience with Lewis, for he is preparing to emerge in the 1944 elections as a ‘spokesman for labor’ in another effort to disrupt unity and give help to the camp of defeatism and a negotiated peace. It is therefore timely to recall the basic issues of the 1943 battle with Lewis.

The key issue was labor’s relation to the war. Lewis took the position, and for a time gathered a menacingly large volume of support for it, that labor has no basic policy toward the war. He argued that the no-strike policy was only a concession to the employers and government, to be upheld only if he, Lewis, found it convenient to do so – that is, that winning the war was the aim of employers and government but really no business of labor itself which had other things in mind. This position is essentially one of defeatism; for if labor does not understand the supreme importance of victory in the war, accept the war as its own, then it follows inevitably that labor must look upon the hardships and sacrifices of war as senseless burdens imposed upon it against its will; and the war therefore something to be opposed by labor, to be resisted and disrupted and brought to an end without regard to victory. And that is the logic of everything that John L Lewis did and said, and the logic of what he will do in the 1944 election campaign.

Labor supports the war because it knows that only victory will save labor from slavery here and in most of the world. It is impossible to win the war if America’s economic and political life is torn by big strike struggles. Therefore the labor union movement undertook, as its own policy and not as a concession to others, to refrain from the use of its natural and legal weapon, the strike, so long as this emergency existed. Labor would have had to follow this policy even if the government had been anti-labor, so long as the latter conducted the war to victory; but it was much easier to follow this policy, since the anti-labor forces control only the Congress, while the Executive – the decisive branch of government in wartime – is definitely friendly to labor and in alliance with labor.

Lewis’ defeatist and anti-war policy, far from being an advancement of the miners’ interests at the expense of the war, was really against both the miners>’ interests and against the war. The government offered a policy in 1942 that Lewis and the owners rejected which was essentially the same as that finally adopted in 1943 after several harmful strikes, and which Lewis then claimed as a victory. If it was a victory, it was one that the miners were denied a year earlier by Lewis himself! But Lewis’ main aim had been the strike; it was his success in creating the strikes that he considered the victory, and not what the miners received for they could have gotten the same thing sooner and without strike.

Lewis was acting in collusion with the short-sighted and greedy coal owners who were using him to break down government price control measures and limitation of profits. In the midst of the most damaging strikes Lewis received the warmest public endorsement from the employers he was supposedly striking against. The Wheeling Intelligences, spokesman of reactionary mining capital, in its issue of 1 June 1943, said:

For our part we would rather see John Lewis at the head of labor in the United States than any other man. His very strength is what we need. We consider him not only the strongest but the safest labor leader in the nation.

All the defeatist and pro-Nazi press in the country rallied to the support of Lewis. They made him a ‘hero of labor’, and praised him to the skies. The Chicago Tribune, arch foe of labor and the war, was highly pleased with Lewis. Labor as a whole got a black eye, the very papers that praised Lewis also incited the armed forces into hatred for labor because of the Lewis strikes, and anti-labor legislation was passed in Congress making the whole situation still more difficult.

Let us remind the labor movement and the whole country of these facts when John L. Lewis steps forward in the 1944 election campaign to continue his work as a ‘labor leader’.

All the unsound and disruptive influences in the labor movement gravitate toward and around John L. Lewis. It is no accident that it was David Dubinsky, head of the Ladies Garment Workers Union, who initiated the move to bring Lewis back into the AF of L with the active collaboration of Hoover’s friends, Woll and Hutcheson. Dubinsky has a natural affinity with Lewis, despite his desertion of Lewis when the latter still headed the CIO, and despite Lewis’ notorious anti-Semitism; that affinity is a common opinion on the war. Dubinsky is an outspoken sworn enemy of the Soviet Union, and has publicly expressed the hope that America would help destroy the Soviet government. His friend Chanin wrote in January 1942, and Dubinsky publicly endorsed in April 1943, this statement:

The last shot has not yet been fired. It will still be fired. And the last shot will be fired from free America – and from that shot the Stalin regime, too, will be shot to pieces. (Publication of the Workmen’s Circle, Friend, Vol. 33 No. 1, January 1942)

All persons with such burning ambition to ‘shoot to pieces’ the ‘Stalin regime’ inevitably move toward an alliance with the greatest of all efforts in that direction – Hitler’s regime. That is why Dubinsky and his political group around the Jewish Daily Forward and the New Leader support the Polish government-in-exile – because it also wants to ‘shoot to pieces’ the Stalin regime; that is why they support Mikhailovich in Yugoslavia and calumniate Tito as a ‘Communist bandit’; that is why they praised Cordell Hull to the skies when they thought he was against the Soviet Union and became his bitterest enemies when he led in the adoption of the Moscow Agreement; that is why they are furious against Teheran; and that is why they have been moving into opposition to Roosevelt on all issues. And that is also why, in blind fury, they tried to split the American Labor Party when the Hillman forces, which really support the President, won the primaries and elected its controlling State Committee.

Scratch a Soviet-hater in 1944 and you will find also a Britain-hater, and one already on the verge of treason to America. That is another good guide for finding those who must be fought against in the 1944 election campaign.

Yes, there are plenty and to spare of domestic enemies.

But we must beware of locating our enemies by the old labels of Republican, Democrat, capitalist, monopolist, and so on. In all such categories there are friends and enemies, and when the whole group is attacked this only strengthens our enemies and weakens our friends. And it also ignores the existence of enemies who cover themselves with the mantle of ‘labor’, who are just as vicious and irreconcilable as the enemy who is a ‘capitalist’.

The order in the 1944 election campaign can be taken from the tradition of our War for Independence: ‘Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.’ Make sure you have a real enemy in front of your gun before you pull the trigger. Don’t shoot wildly and in the air. We need a sure and steady aim at the right targets in this battle of America.
 

Chapter XVI: The Changes in Communist Organization

The organized Communists, or Marxists, of our country consider that the perspective and tasks which have been opened up by the Teheran concord are so basic and new that as a consequence some important changes are called for in our form of organization and methods of work. Final decisions are still to be made at a National Convention in the month of May. But already the nationwide discussions have revealed such unanimity of opinion that the main outline of the decisions to be taken can be given accurately in advance.

American Communists are relinquishing for an extended period the struggle for partisan advancement for themselves as a separate group, which is the main characteristic of a political party. The Communists foresee that the practical political aims they hold will for a long time be in agreement on all essential points with the aims of a much larger body of non-Communists, and that therefore our political actions will be merged in such larger movements. The existence of a separate political party of Communists, therefore, no longer serves a practical purpose but can be, on the contrary, an obstacle to the larger unity.

The Communists will, therefore, dissolve their separate political party, and find a new and different organizational form and name, corresponding more accurately to the tasks of the day and the political structure through which these tasks must be performed.

There will no longer be a Communist Party in the United States.

People who had been loudly demanding that the Communist Party should dissolve have been strangely disappointed now that their demand is being realized; they now say that it doesn’t make a bit of difference, since there will still be Communists and they will freely associate for common work in another form. Evidently what they wanted, and still want, is that Communists should be required to commit suicide! A certain Dr Counts, who but a few months ago published a whole book to prove that the Communist Party should dissolve, has suddenly changed his mind without any explanation and is equally vociferous in his demand that the Communists must be required to have their own separate party whether they wish it or not! Perhaps if history did not thus provide its own comic relief, it would be too oppressively serious for human nature.

Of course the Marxists, the Communists, will have an organization. But it will be non-partisan in character.

The political aims which we hold with the majority of Americans we will attempt to advance through the existing party structure of our country, which in the main is that of the peculiarly American ‘two-party system’.

In my book Victory – And After, published in 1942, I gave an extended analysis of the two-party system and its workings. I showed how the Democratic and Republican Parties had become semi-official institutions, buttressed in laws and customs which rendered difficult if not impossible the rise of new major parties. The complex and ever-changing currents of American political life have been channelized into these traditional forms which took shape in previous periods and in response to issues and political relations now long obsolete. The result is that today’s political issues are fought out, not between the two parties, but within both of them. The adherents of a party are bound together by tradition rather than a common current agreement, and a growing portion of the population, now more than a third, identify themselves as independent of both parties, choosing between them not en bloc but anew on each office and issue presented for decision.

No one can predict anymore which party has the majority in the country, because neither has a stable majority at any time. The independent voters who ‘split their vote’, and who agree with neither party as a whole, hold a growing balance of power. Their role is enhanced by the system of ‘direct primaries’ whereby in many states the government itself conducts the election of party leadership and candidates for public office, and in which any citizen can participate (sometimes by registering in a particular party, in other cases simply by choosing which ballot he will use when he enters the polling place).

We need not debate the question as to whether this is the best possible electoral system. It is the one we have, and there is no early perspective of any fundamental change. Our task is to do everything possible to make it work for the benefit of the nation.

Several ambitious attempts have been made in modern times to break out of this political strait-jacket of the two-party system, when it was too obviously and drastically falsifying the political relations within the country. Such attempts were the Teddy Roosevelt ‘Bull Moose’ movement of 1912, and the LaFollette movement of 1924. These revolts were of the most tremendous political significance, and hastened many modifications of the two-party practice, but they were not organizationally successful and brought no permanent major changes in the system.

The Farmer-Labor Party of Minnesota broke away from the Democratic Party in that state, and had a successful but brief career; but in 1944 it has almost unanimously decided to fuse once more with the traditional Democratic Party, finding the complications of a three-party system in their state an obstacle to unity. The Progressive Party in Wisconsin experienced some short-lived successes, but soon disintegrated under the Nazi-imitating leadership of Phil LaFollette.

In New York the American Labor Party has been able to rise to an important role because the state election laws, unlike most states, permit of fusion between parties by the expedient of naming a common candidate for the particular office, with the vote of both tickets being combined for the final count. The ALP has been able, therefore, to maintain a coalition with the Democratic Party in national elections, with the Republican Party on some particular state offices, and run its own candidates for other posts, thus furnishing a very valuable organizational weapon for the independent voters. How precarious is its position, however, was shown when a bill was introduced in Albany to change the state election laws to prohibit a candidate from appearing on more than one ticket – that of the party with which he is registered. The bill was not adopted, but if the Republican majority in the legislature had considered it sufficiently in their interest, nothing could have prevented them making it law and thereby destroying the efficacy of the American Labor Party as it now operates. Thus the ALP is always at the mercy of whichever other party controls the state legislature.

The Communists are not joining any existing political party as a group or organization. They are joining the body of independent voters who choose the best candidates from among those put forward by all parties. Individual Communists are at liberty to register under any party designation they see fit, in a way the independent progressives with whom they habitually associate may judge best.

The new organization which the Communists establish for their common non-partisan activities will take over and continue all those educational-political activities formerly carried on by the Communist Party, dropping the party-electoral features which embody the struggle for partisan advancement.

A name for the new Communist organization has not been agreed upon at the time this book goes to press. There is general agreement that the name will be something like American Communist Political Association. Another suggestion that will be considered is Non-Partisan Political Association. The issue as between two such names is that of whether the term ‘Communist’ should be continued. This is a question as to what is most expedient: to emphasize the long-term political character of the organization in its name or to emphasize its method of work with the broad democratic-progressive majority of the American people. In any case, the American public will be in no doubt whatever as to who are the Communists in our country, what they think, where they are, and what they are doing. Communists have never been known as persons who habitually and by choice dissolve into the general landscape.

There has been in some quarters a misconception that the change in Communist organization and practice would mean that no Communist would henceforth run for office. That is no more true for Communists than it would be for other independents with whom we are joining our efforts. It does mean, however, that Communists will not run for office as the nominees only of their own group, and on a purely Communist platform. If a Communist is nominated for office it will be an act of broad circles of independent voters, similar to the naming of Benjamin J. Davis Jr. and Peter Cacchione to the New York City Council, in which case the candidates represented a circle of unity much larger than all but one or two of the entire list of candidates. Whenever a Communist will properly represent and help weld the larger unity by accepting a nomination, there will be no hesitation to run for office.

We may sum up the whole question of the changes in Communist organization and procedure by saying they are guided by the single thought – to make the Communists more active and efficient participants in the unification of the American working class and the nation as a whole, to fight for progress and enlightenment, for victory in the war and for a durable peace of prosperity and freedom.

We know from our own experience, and from the experience of most countries of the world, that the Communists have a great and growing contribution to make to our own country, the United States.
 

Chapter XVII: What Marxism Contributes to America

Many commentators, each with his own ax to grind, have interpreted the policy being developed by American Marxists as the abandonment of Marxism. Those who have been most hostile to Marxism in the past now rush to its defense against the ‘treason’ of the Marxists to their own doctrine. Even the dignified old New York Times said it had lost its last shred of confidence in the Communists who had betrayed their own teachings.

This touching concern for the fate of Marxism, on the part of those who formerly, to say the least, sadly neglected it, is very interesting. It deserves an answer from the Communists.

The present policy of American Communists is directed single-mindedly to the solution of America’s problems in the major crisis of all history. It should be discussed primarily from that point of view. If it contributes seriously to that purpose it is correct, if it fails in that purpose it is incorrect.

Since this book has expounded the merits of our policy in terms of the world situation, and America’s position in it, we can afford to give the last word to the question: ‘What has Marxism to contribute to America?’ In the answer to that question is the answer to those who say that Marxism has been abandoned.

Marxism is the application of science to the solution of political problems. It takes up such problems as particular points in the process of history as a whole, which it assumes follows certain principles of development, certain laws of motion, which can be observed and charted and understood. It sets itself the task, on the basis of such an understanding of the principles of history, better to equip mankind to control and guide history-in-the-making today, which for us is made up by America’s decisions on our current national problems. If Marxism is truly a science in this sense, it must today first of all correctly answer the problems posed by the war.

A gentleman recently remarked to me: ‘I can understand your policy as one designed solely for winning the war; but I don’t understand what, as a result, has become of Marxism.’ I answered him that I was glad he understood what was necessary to win the war but that I was sorry he misunderstood Marxism as a theory of how to lose the war.

Marxism is today, for America, first of all a guide to victory in the war. Since victory is the supreme necessity for the American people, Marxism will stand or fall by its contribution to victory. If Marxism did not help, if it were even an obstacle to victory, then indeed we could ask: ‘What has become of Marxism?’ But if Marxism proves the greatest help, then it has passed the highest test and it has a great future about which we need not worry.

The program presented in this book for America is a product of Marxist training and thought; it is guided throughout by the principles of Marxism. If that program is sound, it is a victory for Marxism, and is ‘orthodox’ in the sense of being true to basic Marxian principles.

It is true, of course, that this is not an ‘orthodox’ Marxian program in the sense that it reproduces old policies and formulas used by Marxists in the past for different historical situations. No, it is unprecedented and therefore unorthodox. But if we are living in an unprecedented situation, it follows inevitably that a scientifically correct policy for it must be an unprecedented policy. If the policy were orthodox, in the sense of following an established pattern, that would be proof that it was wrong; if it is unprecedented that only means it may be correct.

Whether our policy is correct must be proved by an examination of its merits in relation to the situation as we find it. And the final proof must be found in action, by its successful application in life.

It is the supreme purpose of Marxism to guide the emergence of unprecedented programs of action. Marxism is not a set of dogmas, and all who try to reduce it to that are trying to destroy Marxism. That is why Karl Marx himself once declared, in a moment of impatience with some of his disciples: ‘I am no Marxist.’ Marxism produces orthodox programs only for ‘orthodox’ situations. But the most decisive moments of history are the unprecedented ones for which an orthodox program spells failure.

Marxism sees history as a process of constant change. That is why real Marxists, not dogmatic ones, are usually the first to recognize and correctly evaluate a new situation.

The greatest contribution Marxism has to make to American thought is to help it escape the fetters of dogmatism. I make that statement in the full consciousness that most American liberals will greet it with ridicule, for our liberals believe it is they who have the free minds and that it is the Communists who have mental fetters. The issue is worth a deeper investigation.

In a recent discussion I had with an editor of the liberal newspaper, PM, he complained to me that ‘Communists in general act as though they had just been in conference with God’, and that explained why liberals and others are embarrassed by the Communists and don’t like to have them around. I answered that it seemed to us that what the liberals objected to was the idea that any word at all had come from God since the last message they received some generations ago. That, in terms of the American fad of ‘wisecracks’, states the philosophical issue between Marxism and liberalism. The Marxists believe that truth is ascertainable, and when discovered should be energetically spread as widely as possible; the liberals believe that there are from two to a dozen equally valid answers for every question, that the best we can do is obtain a choice among them free from special interest, that drawing lots among the possible answers will furnish as high a degree of success as any other method. The liberal has rejected the single dogma of authoritarianism, only to substitute for it the contradictory dogma of equal authenticity for plural answers. They think their minds are free because they hover about the plurality of answers to the questions of mankind without any guidance; they are free to follow any caprice of the moment. But such freedom is a pure illusion, for only by chance and against great odds can it produce the solution to the practical problems of life. It is the opposite of the scientific method.

The highest contribution Marxism has to make to American life is the introduction of science into politics. It is the substitution of the method of blind trial and error by the method of scientific theory which projects the new and unknown out of the old and known. It is the understanding of the world in motion, and of the laws of motion, which makes possible the anticipation of that which has not yet come into existence, so that the human mind is not confronted with a constant succession of surprises for which it has no preparation.

One of the comic features of public life in America is the strained effort of the newspapers to picture the Communists as always being taken by surprise by every turn and quirk of events, as embarrassed by everything new. This elaborate pretense is used to cover up the surprise and embarrassment of the ones who use it, and not of the Communists, and is maintained only by an equally elaborate falsification of the real position of the Communists. It is practically impossible in America to obtain the slightest idea of what the Communists say about any important question, except in the Communists’ own publications. All others, newspapers, magazines, books, lectures, radio, etc, while speaking often and at length about the Communists, always take the greatest pains to hide and distort what the Communists themselves have to say.

A most interesting example of this was the treatment given my book Victory – And After published in 1942. There has been literally not one single attempt made in print to analyze and criticize the thesis of that book. The few pretenses made in that direction (American Economic Review, September 1943; and Annals of the American Academy, March 1944) use the old device of assuming that the book, because it was written by a Communist, is nothing but apologetics for the Soviet Union, and then ignoring everything except what could be twisted in that direction. Every expression of recognition that the Soviet Union is a major factor in the world is taken as a substantiation that the Communists’ ‘concern for the future of Russia’ makes them opposed or blind to the interests of America. The mere stating of the formula is to dispose of our viewpoint with finality.

I can already predict the content of almost all reviews of this present book. Its obvious character, which is a sharp demand for American leadership in the world, and an exposition of how that leadership can be exerted practically, will be entirely hidden under the formula: Browder glorifies Teheran because Stalin was there; he refused to glorify Quebec because Stalin was absent; QED, Browder is merely a stooge of Stalin, so don’t pay any attention to what he says. Such is the degeneracy of American public discussion concerning the viewpoint of the Communists in our own country.

So long as this approach dominates the public attitude to the Communists, there cannot be any sound public opinion about any problem. It is not a question of claiming that the Communists are always right, or even that they are right about any particular thing. The point is that the method of thinking about the Communists is such that it falsifies the whole body of national thought and distorts the whole course of American public life.

Just suppose – dread thought – that the Communists might happen to be correct about one important point! Even according to the theory that the Communists are usually wrong and to be combated most energetically, it still remains possible that they might be correct once. But according to the prevailing attitude in America, that would be disastrous for it would mean that thereby the country as a whole is automatically excluded from taking the correct position on that point. Unless this is changed, the only way the Communists could contribute to the welfare of their country would be through the expedient of always carefully taking the wrong position, in the hope that the country would thereby be left free to take the correct position, if by accident someone else might bring it forward! This is a well-developed theory in American intellectual life, known and honored under the name of the ‘Kiss of Death’. Even the most worthy cause becomes anathema, once it has received the ‘Kiss of Death’ of approval and support from the Communists! The journalistic unmentionable, Frederick Woltman, issues public orders to some of the most powerful men and women in America – and they jump to obey him with an alacrity they would never display to an order from the President of the United States!

The Marxists, by their very existence, make an invaluable contribution to America by revealing the presence of this intellectual poison gas which can destroy America. If the Marxists did not exist, it would be necessary for the nation, in its own interest, to invent them. One Marxist among ten thousand other citizens will infallibly reveal by his presence the degree to which that society is endangered by the cult of irrationality, of obscurantism – the breeding ground of Hitlerism – for it will all stir into virulent recognizable activity at a single Marxist touch. Without the Marxist, the poison gas proceeds to do its deadly work, silently and unrecognized, until it is too late.

When Americans have once learned to deal with Marxists, with the Communists, rationally and without hysteria, and consider their views on their merits like those of all other citizens – to be accepted or rejected without regard to their point of origin – this will indeed be a red letter day in the progress of our country and the world.

Under present conditions, it is dangerous even to speak of a ‘red letter day’, for that word ‘red’ will already have done its dirty work and the ‘day’ is one for Martin Dies and his Congressional Committee to investigate!

If anyone should suspect that I am the author of this lampooning grotesquerie, allow me to refer them to the rules of the United States Civil Service Commission on how to locate subversive elements for removal from the public service; there they will find that ‘an advanced degree of patriotism’ is enough to bring one under suspicion. It seems that it is only Marxists who systematically draw all the logical conclusions of a ‘war for survival’, and therefore it becomes dangerous for anyone else to do so. It is the American parallel of the situation in China, where students, suspected of being Communists and therefore in danger of the concentration camp, throw off suspicion by neglecting their work and going to bawdy houses, which at once clears them in the eyes of the Chinese FBI and establishes them as safe and sane respectable citizens.

It is a formidable task which American Marxists have undertaken: to educate their country to an understanding that Communists are human beings much like all their fellowmen except that they have found some interesting new methods of thinking.

The task must be accomplished, however difficult it may be, because – above and more immediately than in questions of domestic policy – America will find itself entirely incapable of solving its problems of foreign policy if it is hysterical at the cry of ‘Communist’. The Communists are an inescapable part of the world picture now, and if America is going to play a serious role in this world, we will find it necessary as a nation to deal with Communists of other lands without growing purple in the face, screaming, kicking the floor, swooning, or displaying other signs of irrational fear. There is no better place to begin to learn this lesson than right here at home with our own domestic species of Communists.

In the course of dealing sanely, objectively, with Communists both at home and abroad, America will gradually and painfully begin to unlearn all its false indoctrination about what is Marxism; we will learn that the picture of wild-eyed, sentimental, extremist, unbalanced, destructive, blood-thirsty, intolerant, dogmatic agitation for revolution-at-all-costs without regard for national interest or patriotism – the picture that has been pounded into their brains by a generation of high-pressured all-persuasive propaganda – is false and the opposite of the truth.

They will find that the Marxists, the Communists, are very calm and sane. Rather than sentimental, they are reasonable. Rather than extremist, they are realistic. Rather than unbalanced, they have learned how to keep their balance amid earthquakes and storms. Rather than destructive, they have learned how to build in the very midst of chaos. Rather than bloodthirsty, their whole philosophy and practice is an expression of the brotherhood of man. Rather than intolerant and dogmatic, they have raised patience to a high art, and flexibility to the level of principle. They never play with the concept of revolution, as some sort of interesting adventure or parlor game; and they always base all considerations of policy squarely on the foundation of the national interest. And with it all the Marxists have a system of thinking which throws a new and deeper light upon the problems of all the peoples of the world, a light which all can share regardless of how they think, if only they will try to think straight.

America’s greatest necessity, in this period of world crisis which places every nation to the test, is to learn how to think straight and fast. If we continue to base our political thinking on myths and prejudices, or if we learn the realities of the modern world too slowly to keep pace with history, then nothing can save the America we know from a long period of catastrophe.

If we can face realities without flinching, and revive in modern terms the grand tradition of Jefferson, Paine, and Lincoln, then America can face the world united, assuming a leading and indispensable part in the collective task of the salvation of mankind, as set forth at Teheran.

Teheran showed us our path in war and peace. We must learn how to travel that path, without deviations, to its glorious end.

 


Last updated on: 6 September 2019