Will the Soviet Union Join
the League of Nations?

(June 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 23, 9 June 1934, p. 3.
Transcriebd & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The policy of socialism in one country is reaping a new and mighty success. The Soviet Union is about to be accepted into the League of Nations. At the same time that Sarraut and Doumergue are deporting Trotsky from France, the French foreign minister Barthou is negotiating with Litvinoff on the condition for the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations.

The existence of the League of Nations was in reality seriously endangered. Japan and Germany had once more convincingly proved its impotence, even Paraguay and Bolivia flouted it. The differences between France and England threatened to tear it asunder. The League of Nations explodes – a harsh melody in the prelude to the witches’ Sabbath of the coming World War. For the immediate present, however, the open collapse would have meant the destruction of all the efforts of French diplomacy of the post-war period, would have destroyed the very last vestige of France’s hegemony on the continent. As a result it is for French foreign diplomacy a matter of tremendous importance to save the League of Nations and pour new life into it. The preservation of the League of Nations means for France the preservation of the system of Versailles, the stabilization of the French brigands peace. This French policy now finds a new support in the Soviet Union. The acceptance of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations lends this bankrupt institution a new shimmer. At best only the Swiss Cheeses and the Dutch Cleansers fear the Soviet Union as a revolutionary force whereas the French bourgeoisie has already long ago realized the truth of the statement which a Russian “revolutionary” diplomat sarcastically expressed to Paul Boncour, “You ought to be happy that a Communist Party exists in France, otherwise the revolution would long ago have been made.”

Petty Bourgeois Pacifists Greet This Move

Not for nothing does the fight against real proletarian revolutionaries, against Trotsky and the Fourth International, find Stalin and Doumergue allied with each other. The social traitors and petty bourgeois pacifists of all countries, however, become positively ecstatic as a result of the move of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union prevents the bankruptcy of the petty bourgeois policy of pacifism from becoming too apparent. Henderson’s pleasure trips in the name of disarmament will now be backed by Litvinoff’s authority. Moreover, the leftward trend in the English proletariat pushes the Labor Party politicians directly toward the formation of a new Anglo-Russian Committee. All the easier for them if the League of Nations now assumes this role.

And how can the official Communist parties of all countries condemn the reformists and their petty bourgeois pacifist qualities which objectively furthers imperialism and militarism? If the imperialist powers, France and England have become “guarantors of world peace” in the eyes of the Soviet Union, and the maintenance of peace at any price – even at the price of abandoning revolutionary policy – is held up as the supreme aim of Soviet foreign policy, how can the French Communists still attack French imperialism and militarism? French militarism, plundering and bloodily suppressing Tunis and Morocco, English imperialism, enslaving defenseless Indians and fellahs have become in the terminology of Soviet diplomacy, guarantors of peace!

What Will the Comintern Do?

With this we have arrived at the most important problem which is connected with the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations, – namely, what are the consequences of this step for the Comintern? Characteristic, by the way, of the incredible decay of the Comintern and the scorn with which Stalin treats it, is the fact that the Daily of the Danish Stalinists, the Copenhagen Arbejderbladet reports the interview of Barthou with Litvinoff a day later than the bourgeois press, adding to the caption “THE SOVIET IN THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS” a question mark. This question mark reveals far more deeply the pitiful political role which Stalin’s Comintern hirelings play than ten theoretical articles of ours could do. The Soviet Union enters the League of Nations! Should that not be discussed beforehand in the Comintern and all its sections even down to the lowest unit? Should not a world congress or at least an enlarged E.C.C.I. plenum pass a resolution upon this? Or is it no concern of the revolutionary workers of the world, what sort of a foreign policy their fatherland is pursuing? In place of this, news of this import appears in the Communist press with the introduction “according to the bourgeois press”! And the revolutionary editors are not even conscious of their miserable role.

And what sort of a policy will the Comintern pursue from now on as regards the League of Nations? Did not the Dutchman Wijnkoop – another miserable capitulator of the Comintern – under the pressure of the revolutionary criticism of the League of Nations by our comrade Sneevliet in the Dutch Parliament only a few months ago deliver a thundering attack against this instrument of the French, English and Dutch imperialists “dropping with blood and dirt”? What will the poor Wijnkoops of all countries do now? They will have to learn by heart the foreign policy speeches of their colleagues of the “social-fascist” faction. Must not the result of the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations force the French Communists into a truce with their own bourgeoisie?

What the German Stalinists Say

And just at the same moment – in the Rundschau of May 9th – appears the “revised program of social and national liberation” of the Central Committee of the C.P.G. Once more seven whole paragraphs are dedicated to the “peace of infamy of Versailles” which Hitler cannot get rid of. These formulations, close with the words:

“The proletarian revolution, the revolutionary working class, under our leadership: that is, the one and only force which can smash the brigands treaty of Versailles, do away with all the burdens of tribute (we wonder if some day the news will get to Heckert’s ear, that Germany has for a long time not paid one pfennig. – W.H.) and open the gates of the empire for the voluntary union of all toiling Germans (only for the Germans? Perhaps according to the principle, ‘A German is he who is an Aryan’? – W.H.)”

To set up the liberation from the Versailles Treaty as one of the chief aims of the proletarian revolution in Germany in the present situation means that one must support a possible war of Hitler’s which has this as its goal. It means objectively lending the services of a helper’s helper to the Fascist neo-imperialists.

Thus appear the results of ten years’ theory and practice of “socialism in one country”. A complete destruction of proletarian internationalism, the ideological preparation of a transition of the Communists to the camp of its own bourgeoisie.

Need for Fourth International

For the honest proletarian revolutionaries in the ranks of the Third International, however, the entry of the Soviet Union into the League of Nations will be an eye-opener to the necessity of the new revolutionary Fourth International which wages an unyielding international battle against the imperialists of all countries. The workers will recognize more and more that only a battle of this kind can really save the Soviet Union from destruction. The Doumergues, Baldwins and Mussolinis will in a serious test prove themselves far more unreliable “supporters” of the Soviet Union than the Chiang-kai-sheks, Wang-tin-weis, Purcells and Citrines in the years 1925 to 1927. It will be one of the duties of the new International to take away the commanding posts of the first proletarian state from the opportunistic servants of international imperialism in order to fill them with determined proletarian world revolutionists.

Last updated on 28 April 2023