Li Fu-jen

New Factors in Relations
Between Allies and Kremlin

(2 June 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 22, 2 June 1945, pp. 1 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

This is the second of two articles dealing with the changed international situation resulting from the defeat of Germany.

Growing friction between the Soviet Union and the Allied imperialists, as we noted last week, is a patent reality. But it is not the only reality. In addition to the issues that divide them, one vital common aim tends strongly to unite them. This is the prevention or suppression of the socialist revolution in Europe.

Churchill recognized the explosive quality of the European situation when in his recent speech he referred to the “frightful confusion” on the continent. By this he meant the moral and material decrepitude of capitalism and the new surging movement of the war-weary masses who are displaying their determination to end this destructive system.

Both Stalin and the imperialists know that a socialist Europe would sound the death knell of the usurping Soviet bureaucracy just as surely as it would signify the beginning of the end of world capitalism. They have, therefore, a common aim in “pacifying” Europe by counter-revolutionary action against the rebellious masses.

This common aim provides a powerful counter-weight to the friction between the erstwhile “Big Three” over territories. It is a deterrent to war between them, especially since such a war could very well precipitate that very revolutionary explosion in crisis-torn Europe which all these parties are most anxious to prevent.

There are additional strong deterrents to war at the present time between the Soviet Union and the Allied powers. Ravaged by the German invasion, the Soviet Union urgently needs a lengthy breathing space in which to repair war damage and restore its disrupted economy. For this reason, Stalin may be expected to make concessions on any minor issues where imperialist pressure is so strong as to threaten actual hostilities.

Deterrents to War

The imperialists, for their part, are also impelled to avoid an armed conflict. The working class of America and Britain are as weary of war as the peoples of Europe. A new war in Europe could touch off a gigantic movement of mass protest with revolutionary potentialities. The imperialists recognize this danger by the assiduity with which they try to keep up the pretense that they are seriously engaged in organizing world peace.

In considering the possibility that the present tendency toward an Anglo-American bloc against the Soviet Union may lead to a fresh imperialist assault on the Soviet Union, it is necessary to remember, also, that these two leading imperialist powers, despite appearances to the contrary, are by no means really united. On the contrary, there is a potent antagonism between them. In every corner of the globe their interests meet and clash. Their need to unite against their rival, Germany, forced the antagonism temporarily into the background. Even so, it flared up occasionally even before the defeat of Germany, notably at the Bretton Woods financial conference last fall. Now unity against Germany has given place to a temporary “unity” against the Soviet Union.

With the defeat of Japan, or even in the midst of the Pacific war, Anglo-American rivalry may come to the fore again in full force. From a commanding position in the Orient, the Yankee imperialists Will begin pressing their British competitors to the wall, not only in China – but in India as well. Anglo-American rivalry might well mature in a new war before armed conflict could grow out of the developing antagonism between the Soviet Union and the imperialists. And once again the Soviet Union might be lined up with one imperialist gang against the other.

U.S. Imperialism

American imperialism is bent on complete world domination. This is the source of its hostility both to the Soviet Union and to British imperialism. The American economy, more than any other, has outgrown the national boundaries and rests on the world market. With conversion to peacetime production, the terrible crisis of American capitalism – which the war interrupted but did not overcome – will return in all its devastating fury. The beginnings are already being felt in the growing unemployment. War – the grabbing of colonies, markets, spheres of influence – is capitalism’s only “solution.” So vast is the American productive capacity that nothing less than world domination will suffice to keep the capitalist economy running at all smoothly.

That is why Washington so firmly opposes the seizure of territories either by its imperialist rivals or by the Soviet Union. American imperialism must rule Europe in order to gain unhindered access to its markets. It must defeat Japan in order to establish its hegemony in eastern Asia. From that vantage point it must seek to pry open the great closed preserve of the British Empire and the weaker French and Dutch empires.

The Soviet Union with its large population and great natural wealth is another tempting prize. Because of its nationalized economy and the state monopoly of foreign trade, the Soviet Union is virtually withdrawn from the world market. The profit-hungry imperialists have never abandoned hope of being able to restore this vast territory to the world of capitalist exploitation, either by war or counter-revolution.

The United States, as the leading imperialist power, is the principal foe of the Soviet Union. After the first World War, before American imperialism had openly assumed its new dominant world role, the British imperialists took the lead in marshalling the anti-Soviet forces. Churchill was himself the principal inspirer and organizer of the inter-Allied intervention against Soviet Russia. This role now devolves upon the American imperialists, and as current' developments show, they have already begun to play the part.

The USSR Today

There is, of course, a world of difference between the Soviet government in the years after the first World War and today. The Soviet government of Lenin and Trotsky was a revolutionary workers’ government, pursuing a bold socialist policy at home and abroad. As such, it incurred, the violent hatred of the exploiting classes in every land. Churchill and his gang tried to wreck the Soviet government because it was a revolutionary menace to capitalist society.

Today, by contrast, the Soviet government of Stalin is at one with the imperialists on the fundamental class issue. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union has steadily degenerated. One after another, the great gains of the Bolshevik revolution have been destroyed, together with the Soviets and the Bolshevik Party, whose leading figures were all murdered by Stalin. The Stalinist regime is a vicious enemy of the Soviet masses and of the international working class. Stalin, Churchill and Truman stand together on the same class battle line – the battle line of the oppressors and exploiters of the working class. If today the imperialists still harbor hostile designs against the Soviet Union, it is not because the Stalin regime is a menace to their rule, but because the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, by widening the world market considerably, would give the capitalist system a new lease on life.

Consequently, while striving to insure itself against destruction by the socialist revolution, the Stalinist bureaucracy must still concern itself with the menace of the imperialist world. The nationalized economy established by the Bolshevik revolution is the source of the power and privileges of this bureaucracy. They defended it against yesterday’s attack of the German imperialists. Unless the socialist revolution ends both imperialism and Stalinism, or Stalin completes his counterrevolution by liquidating the nationalized economy, the Kremlin gang will be compelled at some time to take up arms again to defend the Soviet Union against the imperialists.

The debilitated Soviet Union, whose casualties in the war with Germany are estimated as high as 15 millions, now faces the undiminished might of American imperialism, plus the not inconsiderable power of imperialist Britain. With Germany prostrate, no great power now lies between the Soviet Union and the imperialist states of the West. How is Stalin trying to guard against this menace?

Stalin’s Policies

The Kremlin dictator long ago abandoned the revolutionary method of defense of the Soviet Union, namely, reliance upon the international working class and the promotion of the struggle for socialism on a European and world scale, which was the method of Lenin and Trotsky. Stalin’s policies in Europe and throughout the world are completely counterrevolutionary. The usurper in the Kremlin fears the revolutionary masses just as much as the imperialists do.

Nevertheless, preparation must be made against a new imperialist assault. Stalin’s method is to establish on the periphery of the Soviet Union a ring of “friendly” buffer states, in, the expectation that when war comes again these territories will absorb the first shocks and perhaps serve to keep the fighting outside the Soviet borders. The worthlessness of this policy has already been revealed. Stalin joined with Hitler in the partition of Poland and incorporated eastern Poland into the Soviet domain. This did not prevent a devastating war on Soviet soil. A multiplicity of buffer states will not prevent it either.

Within these buffer states in eastern Europe and the Balkans, Stalin preserves the capitalist property and profit system and sets up reactionary puppet governments to rule over the people. He cannot nationalize property in these countries and thereby unite their economy with that of the Soviet Union, for such a step would antagonize Stalin’s imperialist “friends” and perhaps precipitate a new war against the Soviet Union. It would, moreover, tend to encourage the workers in the rest of Europe to rise up against capitalism – the very thing Stalin is striving to prevent. Nonetheless, Stalin’s territorial seizures collide with the aims of the Allied imperialists, because the latter want to fit Europe into their own overall plans. Stalin’s plans cross and interfere with theirs. This is the source of the present friction.

Seeds of New Wars

Thus on the morrow of the “peace” in Europe, fresh seeds of war are already germinating. The capitalist world is armed to the teeth. In the corridors and back rooms of secret diplomacy, in the Kremlin as in the chancelleries of capitalism, there is move and counter-move, trickery and double-dealing – all laying the groundwork for another fearful war. The masses are not consulted. Everything is done behind their backs. The evil maneuvers of the oppressors of mankind will not bear the light of day. Germany’s defeat, we were told, would prevent a third world war. Today we are told that a harsh “peace” for Germany is the only way to prevent a third world war. The treaty of Versailles was “too soft.” This is a lie!

Germany’s defeat has not removed and eliminated international antagonisms. It merely shifts their focus. There is no talk of disarmament. Against whom will the mighty mobilized forces of imperialism be used henceforth? Obviously they won’t be needed against prostrate Germany, or against Japan, when that country, too, has been defeated.

The truth is that international antagonisms, far from softening, grow more acute with the ever- speedier decay of capitalism. Every single problem of any magnitude must be submitted to the bloody arbitrament of war. Just as germs and their resultant diseases are inseparable, so capitalism and war are inseparable. Only the socialist revolution, the utter destruction of capitalism with all its chaos and rivalry, can usher in a world of true peace and progress.

Last updated on 7 November 2018