From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 33, 16 August 1943, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.
Every ruler, every ruling clique in Europe which is waging war, must now save itself from being in the position of Mussolini. This is a symbol of the pointlessness, the destruction and the misery of the war.
It is not only the dictator who has fallen. All who ruled with him have gone. And the great body of their supporters have no defense against the people except such as Anglo-American troops give to them.
But if every ruling class does not want to be in the position of Mussolini and the fascists, still less does it want to be in the hopeless position of Badoglio and the House of Savoy. These have repudiated Mussolini and his policy, but say that they will continue Mussolini's war. Their position is absolutely hopeless. Where Mussolini could not make war they cannot. All that they can do is to draw upon themselves the full consequences of the ruin which Mussolini has prepared. The longer they wait, the . more catastrophic the debacle and the more impossible their own position becomes before the people.
Not to be Mussolini. Not to be Badoglio. That symbolizes the problem of the European ruling classes. To make as rapid as possible an unconditional surrender in order first of all to gain the support of Roosevelt and Churchill against the revolutionary people, and also, if possible, to appear before the people as active fighters for peace.
Even before the fall of, Mussolini this division within the war-making class of Europe had already appeared. There were persistent rumors of peace feelers to Britain and America and of split in the Hungarian cabinet over the continued support of Hitler against the war-weariness of the Hungarian people.
In every satellite power in Europe there is this conflict between those like Mussolini and Laval who have to go on because no peace can be made with them, and those who are not so openly committed to Hitler and must seek ways and means to save their own hides.
All these would-be saviors of society are not specifically concerned about the conflict between Anglo-American and German imperialism. They can come to terms either with the one or with the other. Their main preoccupation is to make peace early enough to prevent the disintegration of the armies and the state, which opens the way for social revolution.
However, these intriguers, although they have to face the possibility of destruction by the powerful military apparatus of Germany, are not isolated. Inside Germany itself we must expect the rapid development of precisely such tendencies within the ruling class. Hitler, Goering, Goebbels and their immediate entourage must fight to the end. But the German capitalist class must avoid carrying the war to the stage where the German workers, like the Italian workers, take to the streets against them. The German workers will not be as handicapped as the Italian.
Caught between Anglo-American and German armies, the Italian workers have not been able as yet to do a thorough job of cleaning up the gang of thieves who have ruined the country during the last twenty years. The German working class will be in no such situation. When it begins to settle accounts with German fascism, the more thoroughly it does so the greater will be its opportunity of escaping punishment for the crimes of fascism.
The German capitalist class has already begun the process of dissociating itself from Hitler. Early this year there was a drastic purge of the German army and the diplomatic circles. The German ambassador in Spain died in mysterious circumstances. Both facts and rumors are going to thicken henceforth. Already it is said that Von Brauchitsch is imprisoned. Whether that is so or not, that struggle among the German rulers is inescapable.
It is these things which paralyze military commanders and bring wars to an end. Once the Italian people took to the streets, the German, ruling class could not fight with the unanimity and singleness of purpose of. former days.
Stalin, who is in closest touch with the European situation, has recognized these inevitable developments. His Free German National Committee is no more than a basis outside of Germany to act as a rallying center for those anti-Hitler capitalist elements in Germany which wish to maintain the stability of German capitalism at the expense of the German working class.
In this frantic struggle of bankrupt and discredited ruling classes, to throw up new leaders who will hold the working class down, Franco of Spain and Salazar of Portugal occupy key positions. Franco in particular must know that the fall of Mussolini and the fall of Hitler signify in the minds of all Europeans, and above all, of Spaniards, the ultimate fall of Franco. It is to his advantage therefore to facilitate the emergence of groups in each country masquerading as lovers of peace, enemies of the German domination of Europe and willing and humble agents of Anglo-American capitalism.
Franco is in the "fortunate" position of not being responsible for having taken his country into war and led it to that particular kind of ruinous defeat. For that very reason he offers an admirable base for intrigues by Roosevelt and Churchill to prop up the tottering regimes in Europe and save them from the wrath of the working class.
This was the meaning of Roosevelt's unconditional surrender slogan at Casablanca. That far-sighted counter-revolutionist offered to the ruling classes of Europe support against their own working class in return for complete military surrender. We are going to see now, first, the frantic efforts to take advantage of the offer and, secondly, Churchill and Roosevelt doing their utmost to facilitate them.
No one can predict all that will happen in Europe. But henceforth, some of the greatest battles that will be waged there will be the battles of the classes. And in those battles the imperialisms of the world, together with Stalin, will find their differences not so great as to prevent their common front against the progressive aspiration of the oppressed masses.
Last updated on 12 June 2015