Charles Rappoport

The International Situation

Franco-Polish Imperialism

(23 October 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. I No. 3, 25 October 1921, p. 21.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2018). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

French and Polish imperialism are securely bound one to another. The common position of both countries is the determining factor in this alliance. Both France and Poland are in the hands of nationalist and militarist reaction which exist upon war and will die in war. In neither country are the industrial capitalists at the helm. In France the power is in the hands of a parasitic, plunder-greedy capitalism, the capitalism of great national loans, of colonial adventures and limitless conquests. In Poland, on the other hand, there prevails a blind, megalomaniac nationalism and bitter hatred of Soviet Russia.

France has is own viewpoints, its own particular egotisms. To France, Poland means a substitute for Czarism, whose fall it still bewails in bitter tears, as it mourns its milliards lost for ever in its Russian loans. Poland is to constitute the second claw ol the pincers that is to choke Germany to death. Furthermore, it is to serve against Soviet Russia as a gendarme and perpetual disturber of the peace. Finally, it is to preserve France front isolation and guarantee its safety.

France entertains two dominating fears, two serious misgivings. It distrusts the victory which has been characterised by its father, Clemenceau, as a “Pyrrhic Victory”. And it distrusts its great “friend and ally”, England. France realises that, in spite of all nice words to the contrary, it was defeated in the last war. It recognizes that 25 countries, five continents and America’s warships and billions were necessary to save it from defeat. It perceives the steady diminution of its population. In 1919, a year of peace, it could record the the trifling increase of 300,000 in the number of deaths.

As far as the “Entente cordiale” is concerned, it is now only a memory, a diplomatic formula. Scarcely a week passes by without a new disagreement with England arising. The treaty of alliance which was promised during the Versailles conference in order to divert the aspirations of the militarists from the Rhine has fallen through. Lloyd George was more cunning and cautious than Clemenceau. He had set one condition as the price of the conclusion of the alliance: ratification by the United States. As the latter carefully withdrew from the European wasps’ nest, Lloyd was able to retract his promise.

Official France has literally lost its head. It has decided to purchase an ally: Poland. M. Millerand is to-day President of the French Republic only because he made people believe that it was his military and financial assistance that stopped the Red Army at the gates of Warsaw. In their incapacity to pursue a policy based on the common interests of the working-classes of all nations the reactionaries are blindly, ignorantly and conceitedly clinging to the fictions greatness of Poland and drag the actual economic corpse of that country with them in order to save themselves.

The war industries of France are working uninterruptedly for Poland and Roumania, which is considered merely as an auxiliary of Poland. They are deliberately taking the chance of falling out with England over Upper Silesia. Germany is left completely ruined and absolutely unable to pay the milliards which are counted upon to save France from bankruptcy, which in reality, if not legally, is already consummated. And all that for the sake of Poland’s enlistment. Gribouille Pellmell is the director of France’s foreign policy. In other words, France is ruining itself in order to be protected against the German danger.

Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the reaction in France greeted the war as a means to the re-establishment of their rule – the rule of the church and the landowners. They dreamt of a complete victory, of a collapse of the republic. This dream has been only half realized. It has suppressed the republicans turned nationalist more than ever; it has emptied the republic of its republican content; it has resumed diplomatic relations with the Vatican. It has not subverted the officialdom of the republic, however. The latter, in order to hold their positions, have abandoned their convictions. The reactionary ideas have conquered hut their supporters stand outside the door, unsatisfied and unfed ...

There is also a predestined psychological relation between French and Polish imperialism. It is their common romantic, sentimental character. The German, English, American and Japanese imperialism is realistic and practical – it knows how to translate itself into silver and gold coin. The French and Polish imperialism has this particular attribute – it ruins its country without yielding it anything but grievous burdens and privations.

That is imperialism on credit, the imperialism of the dazzlingly splendid beggar, who, in order to glitter in society in gala dress, at home lives on bread and water. They are poor fools, hiring fulldress clothes, borrowing tableware from the neighbors, giving elaborate balls, thus going bankrupt. Before the war France was the banker of the world. To-day it is more and more the world beggar. Instead of rebuilding its ruins, it is piling new ones thereon. It is spending five and six times as much for its army as before the war, not counting the war expenditures in Africa and Asia and leaving out of the account the sums that it is pouring into the Danaid sieve – Poland.

France believes that thru its alliance with Poland it will be able to destroy Soviet Russia. The exact opposite will occur. The monarchist republic of MM. Millerand, Briand, Charles Maurras and Léon Daudet will be annihilated. It is not the voice of healthy human reason, as Voltaire defined it, that is the decisive factor on the Quai d’Orsay (Foreign Office). It is the voice of Dmosky, Hervé, Bourtzeff, the standard-bearers of the Russo- Polish White Guards that is heeded by Philip Berthelot, the evil genius of French foreign policy, the lackey of reactionary high finance. This policy has gone bankrupt, just as the Chinese Industrial Bank, which he and his brother directed.

Is the heir of the French Revolution, the French proletariat, ready to take possession of its heritage? We will discuss this question in our next article.

Last updated on 5 May 2019