K. Michaels

On Our Programme

(November 1954)

From Socialist Review, Vol. 4 No. 3, November 1954, p. 6.
Transcribed by Ian Birchall, Nina Kidron & Richard Kuper.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

This is the ninth in a series of articles devoted to the elaboration of the programme outlined on the back page of the Socialist Review. This article deals with point 11. – Editor

Socialist Foreign Policy

Tory foreign policy has become the public relations officer of the American State Department. When Dulles can’t bully the French people into accepting E.D.C., Eden wheedles them into the London Treaty. When Dulles finds the American working class firm in their opposition to committing their boys to slaughter on the Continent, Eden promises four divisions and an air-force from Britain. When Dulles finds the people of Europe and America solidly opposed to becoming involved in the dirty war of French Colonialism in Indo-China, Eden saves the situation at the Geneva Conference. Eden and Dulles – one tune in two voices.

This is not surprising, for the problems of Capitalist Britain are a replica – on a smaller scale – of the problems of Capitalist America. When a slump hit America in 1949, it hit Britain too. The solution that the American Capitalists found for the slump – mammoth government expenditure on arms and the opening up of the “ hot war ” in Korea – saved British Capitalism from a crisis too. British Capitalism might have been satisfied with an arms race only and might have left the Korean War alone, but where its mighty brother pays the piper, he also calls the tune.

With a slump and attendant unemployment closing in on one side and aggressive State Capitalism of the Russian Bloc threatening from the other, there is only one solution for the British rulers – arm, and arm again. And the one factor that gives this solution any possibility of success is an alliance with the tremendous industrial power of American Capitalism. No wonder the Economist considers that “the touchstone of all that is proposed or agreed in London (or elsewhere – K.M.) must be the question: will it strengthen or weaken the bonds between the United States and its allies?” (25/9/54).

But what about the co-existence that the ruling classes on both sides of the Iron Curtain are talking about? Yes, they talk about it, but when it comes to practical steps, they force Germany into keeping an army of over half a million men against the will of the German workers and, on the other side, publicise Marshal Bulganin, Russian Defence Minister’s statement: “We have no right ... to console ourselves that our army is the strongest in the world ... It would be an unpardonable mistake if we did not strengthen our armed forces.” (Speech of March 10).

Co-existence can mean nothing but a detente as long as foreign policy is just a reflection of the internal stresses and strains of the class societies of both East and West. As long as such class societies exist, British foreign policy will be subservient to Washington.

Only a Socialist Britain, united with a Socialist Europe, can present an alternative foreign policy. Only a Socialist Britain can call on the American and Russian working classes to overthrow their present exploiters and realise in practice the slogan of Neither Moscow nor Washington, but International Socialism!

Last updated on 16 February 2017