J.R. Johnson

French Workers Revolt Overthrows Nazis; Allied Propagandists Worried

Paris Masses Did It Themselves!

(September 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 36, 4 September 1944, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

The ruling class is very disturbed at the praise which the world is showering upon the French Forces of the Interior. A dispatch from London in the New York Times of August 27 expresses clearly, first, the “world-wide” reputation of the French Forces of the Interior, and then goes on to say:

“However, so lavish has been the praise showered on the FFI and so highly colored are the accounts of some of its operations that the part played by this magnificent guerrilla force in the present campaign is becoming distorted and even exaggerated.”

And what is it that is griping them? “At the same time the brilliant military achievements of the American and British soldiers have become somewhat obscured.”

The British and the Americans want the people of France and the world at large to see their imperialist armies, if not one hundred, at least ninety-nine per cent, as the great liberators. That is to be the cover for the domination which they propose to impose.

Odds Against Underground

The London correspondent goes on to say what is the simple truth, that the FFI have not got heavy arms and therefore cannot be used against the German army. That the FFI has not these arms and is as poorly armed as it is, is not its own fault. Anglo-American imperialism consistently refused to arm it properly despite appeals, not only from the underground leaders themselves, but also from de Gaulle and his so-called provisional government in Algiers.

But no lack of arms must dim the glory of the underground movement and what it has contributed to the liberation of Europe from Hitlerite terrorism. This sniping by the ruling class against the global salute to the magnificent popular masses of France is merely a continuation of their policy of giving all credit to the imperialist armies. Thus, they try to embellish the naked imperialism of the war and to disguise their plans for the subjugation of the European people. In reality, the resistance of the millions of the European people to Hitler’s domination of Europe has been a factor of incalculable importance in his defeat. The working class in the United States and all the world over should bear this firmly in mind, and assert it on every possible occasion.

There are some three hundred million people in Europe who have been under the domination of Hitler. Suppose these masses of workers and peasants had behaved as most of their native rulers did – what would have happened? Hitler would have had an enormous source of manpower for his armies. The million French soldiers who are now interned in Germany, if they had listened to the propaganda of Laval, would have become soldiers in Hitler’s armies. He would have been able to get three or four million more soldiers from Europe. Instead of the constant resistance he met, Hitler would have been able to mobilize scores of millions of workers to produce at the high rate and in the organized manner which characterized Germany before the Nazi regime began to crack. The hundreds of thousands of German soldiers he was compelled to use as German garrisons would have been available for service elsewhere.

That would have been assistance enough. But it is only one part.

Masses Said “No” to Nazis

The mere fact that the masses of the European people gave such a resounding “No!” to Hitler’s “New Order” and refused to follow the large numbers of the possessing classes who were willing to support him – this was a great contribution to the liberation of the continent from Nazi tyranny. This should be added to the magnificent work of the FFI in the actual military conflict which is now taking place.

This is the true glory of what has taken place in France. And this is what in every part of the world has been celebrated by the popular masses everywhere, The reports that come in show joy not only at the driving out of the hated Nazis from Paris, not only joy that the wonderful city has been spared from destruction, but they show also the deep satisfaction of people everywhere that the masses of the Parisian people themselves fought to accomplish this great task. The uprising in Paris in particular shows that in France the great popular masses were never crushed by Nazi tyranny. THE PEOPLES of Europe in particular who are waiting their turn have gained a wonderful impetus toward taking their national affairs into their own hands by this magnificent action of the French resistance as a whole and the common people of Paris in particular.

From its own point of view the capitalist class correctly snarls and grumbles about the praise that people are giving to the FFI! It recognizes mass revolutionary action anywhere and under any circumstances as a threat to its authority and prestige everywhere. We, on the other hand, welcome it, though, as Labor Action has pointed out many times, the nationalist revolutionaries are in very grave political danger from their very association with these imperialist robbers.

New Battles Ahead

The great battle that will take place in France henceforth is to crush these splendid fighters and reduce them once more to a condition where they can do nothing but take orders from the capitalist government in the same way as they took orders before 1939 from the French governments, which led them to destruction. The working class, which has greeted their efforts so spontaneously and so generously, must realize that such feeling is not enough. The French people and the other peoples in Europe are just beginning their struggle for complete freedom, complete independence.

The organized workers of the U.S.A. must not only resist the malicious propaganda of Anglo-American imperialism, but must take organized steps to resist the chains which Anglo-American imperialism and European reaction are now forging for the European people.

Last updated on 15 December 2015