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Fourth International, January 1943


C. Charles

The Imperialist Strategy of Food


From Fourth International, vol.4 No.1, January 1943, pp.7-11.
Transcribed, Edited & Formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for the ETOL.


The appointment of Herbert Lehman as Director of Foreign Relief and Rehabilitation is an important indication that the capitalist class of this country is preparing for the “peace” that will follow the war.

The more far-seeing capitalists know what is coming. They know that the peoples of the world will present to them a demand for an accounting for the dead, the crippled, blinded and shell-shocked, for the widowed and fatherless, for the dwarfed children and blighted individuals, for the disease, hunger and cold, for the national oppression and degradation and anti-Semitism, for the political autocracy, for the cultural decline, for the disappointed hopes and broken promises which result from the war.

This demand will take the form of a series of social revolutions in the last period of the war as well as in the post-war period. The very existence of the capitalists as a class will be at stake. The “peace” will be an intense war of the classes.

A basic weapon of the capitalists in their struggle for life as a social class will be the control of food. American – and to a degree British – capitalists will brandish this weapon over Europe, Asia and Africa. The famished and starved revolutionary masses, the capitalists hope, are to be brought to their knees by the weapon of food.

They will also attempt to use food to secure from the governing regime of the USSR ever greater economic and political concessions aiming at the eventual restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union. The USSR is considered by the imperialists to be in the category of “unfinished business.”

That is the essential meaning of the naming of Lehman to his new post. Following the appointment, the New York Times declared on Nov. 28, 1942:

“Food will be a mighty weapon and a powerful persuader in that crucial period between war and peace when the future of the world will be decided.

“... food will decide many questions in the armistice period; it will be a potent adjunct to the diplomacy of peace. We are fighting with arms to make the world free, but when the arms are laid down, for a time at least, we shall have to fight with food to make it safe.”

The Food Crisis in Europe Today

Both the scope and depth of the food problem in Europe is much greater than during the last period of the First World War and the post-war period. Countries which then did not require foreign food and were even able to help in the feeding of the war-ravaged regions – the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Italy, northern Africa, France – are now in extreme need of food. The countries which knew hunger during the last war are this time suffering even greater famine.

The Consul-General of the Netherlands stated on December 10 that insufficient nourishment was expressed in the mounting death rate in that country. Much of the increase in fatalities from contagious disease is the result of the rampant hunger, deriving from deficiencies of vitamins A and C.

On the same day, the Norwegian Consul-General declared that the situation in Norway was becoming “worse and worse from month to month, and that this winter will certainly be critical.”

According to the Belgian Consul-General the diet deficiency of the adult population in Belgium is estimated at not less than 60 per cent – in other words the adults are getting only about 43 per cent of the food they require for healthy life. The average American consumes about 20 pounds of meat and combined fats monthly. The average adult in Belgium gets two pounds. The prevalence of tuberculosis has increased among children by 30 per cent, as has rickets, and the cases of swelling of feet and limbs from starvation are clogging up the hospitals. Child mortality in the industrial centers has doubled.

If this is the situation in these relatively favored countries, the condition of the masses in eastern Europe must be many times more horrible. The state of starvation in Greece is well known. By 1941, industrial France had suffered a cut of between one-third and one-half its consumption of bread, and two-thirds in sugars, meats and fat. Now the conditions have worsened. Italy, Germany’s ally, is only in a slightly, if at all, better condition than Hitler’s fallen foes. Germany itself, the best fed of continental European lands, hover close to the hunger level, and will undoubtedly sink into conditions like those in the rest of Europe before the end of the war.

And to the list of countries in Europe which will require food from abroad must be added northern Africa, Asia Minor, Japan, India and China.

As manpower is further drained from agriculture and as the remaining draft animals are harnessed to cannon instead of plows, as the farm implements become outworn and cannot be replaced, as all the chemicals are diverted from enriching the soil to the manufacture of explosives, as planting and harvesting become less effective, as the cattle, hogs and sheep dependent on imported grasses and grains are slaughtered, as the fishing craft are driven from the sea and the fishermen forced into the armies and navies, as the railroads collapse and the roads are demolished, as the monetary systems break down – as the war continues – the hunger will become evermore intense and far reaching.

The last days of the war will be days not only of hunger but of revolution. As Herbert Hoover wrote in the November 28 Colliers:

“A starving world must be fed after this war ends ... Even if it had not been promised, we would have to do it if we want to make a lasting peace instead of lasting anarchy ...

“There are more Horsemen that follow modern war than at the time the Apocalypse was written. In modern total war, Famine and Pestilence are accompanied by four new recruits whose names are Revolution, Unemployment, Suspicion and Hate.”

On July 23, 1942, Cordell Hull warned that “In some countries confusion and chaos will follow the cessation of hostilities.”

Wendell Willkie, in his Toronto speech on November 25, 1942, put it most plainly:

“I found worry and doubt in the hearts and minds of the peoples behind those fronts. They were searching for a common purpose ...

“Europe in 1917w as probably in much the same mood. It is an inevitable corollary of blood and war-weariness. Then, in 1917, Lenin gave the world one set of answers.”

In proceeding to use food as a weapon of counter-revolution, the American capitalists have a rich experience to draw upon. They did it once before on a grand scale when, following the last war, and as a matter of fact bringing the war to an end, a series of revolutions swept through Europe.

Hoover was then head of the American Relief Administration and the European Children’s Relief Fund, a post similar to that which has just been filled by Lehman.

Food and Counter-Revolution, 1919-1922

A few weeks after the signing of the armistice, Woodrow Wilson requested of Congress $100,000,000 for European relief purposes. He said in this message of February 24, 1919:

“Food relief is now the key to the whole European situation and to the solution of peace. Bolshevism is steadily advancing westward, is poisoning Germany. It can not be stopped by force, but it can be stopped by food, and all the (Allied) leaders with whom I am in conference agree that concerted action in this matter is of immediate and vital importance.

“The money will not be spent for food for Germany itself, because Germany can buy its food, but it will be spent for financing the movement of our real friends in Poland and to the people of the liberated units of Austro-Hungarian Empire and to our associates in the Balkans.

“I do not see how we can find definite powers with whom to conclude peace unless this means of stemming the tide of anarchism be employed.”

While Wilson was claiming that Bolshevism could not be stopped by force, he was using force against the newly founded Soviet Republic. At the moment of his message, there were on Russian soil, in active struggle against the revolution, American and British troops in Murmansk; American and Japanese soldiers at Vladivostok; Czechoslovak in eastern Siberia; French naval forces at Odessa, all in active cooperation with White Guard Russian forces. The Allies were also subsidizing the Russian White Guards and the countries bordering Soviet Russia in their wars against the Soviet regime. These White Guarda were to Wilson “our real friends in Poland” and “our associates in the Balkans.”

Vernon Kellogg, close collaborator of Hoover in the relief work in Europe, says in his Herbert Hoover, The Man and His Work (1920), which he describes in the preface as the book of an admiring “friend”:

“It is from my personal knowledge of his achievements in this extraordinary position during the first eight months after the Armistice that I have declared my belief earlier in this account that it is owing more to Hoover and his work than to any other single influence that utter anarchy and chaos and complete Bolshevik domination in Eastern Europe (west of Russia) was averted.” (Page 267.)

“Somebody had to do something that counted. Go Hoover did it. It was not only lives that had to be saved; it was nations. It was not only starvation that had to be fought ... it was Bolshevism.” (Page 276.)

And Hoover himself, in his recent article in Colliers of Nov. 28, 1942, summarizes his work following the last war thus:

“Our major purpose was to save hundreds of millions of lives. But food and restored employment were the foundations upon which order could be preserved and the completion of peace made possible. Moreover, we sought to sustain the feeble plants of democracy which had sprung up in all these countries.”

Democracy for Hoover meant the regime of “Butcher” Mannerheim in Finland, Paderewski and Pilsudski in Poland, Wrangel, Denikin and other White Guards in Russia, and Horthy in Hungary.

A clear example of the role of the relief administration is the counter-revolution in Hungary. Following the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the signing of the armistice a left liberal government under Count Karolyi came to power in Hungary. However, the economic and political conditions in Hungary had reached a state of extreme tension. Hungary was blockaded by the Allies. Food was scarce as were raw materials and fuel. The Jugoslav, Rumanian and Czechoslovak governments, puppets of the Allies, were chopping pieces off Hungary, encouraged by the Allied Council in Paris. Within the country the Republican army was going over to the Communists. The workers were becoming steadily more radical. On March 24 the Karolyi government peacefully stepped aside and a Soviet government was established under the control of the Socialist Party of Hungary, which represented a newly formed united organization of Communists and Social Democrats. [1]

This Soviet Republic lived four and a half months. T.C.C. Gregory was one of the key figures in the events which led to the crushing of the Hungarian soviets. Let us allow Herbert Hoover’s friend, Vernon Kellogg, to introduce this person:

“One of Hoover’s rules was that food could only go into regions where it could be safeguarded and controlled. That counted against Bolshevism. Shrewd Bela Kun [head of the soviet regime in Hungary] was able to play a winning game in Hungary against the Peace Conference and Supreme Council [of the Allies] at Paris, but he was outplayed by soft-spoken, square-jawed Captain ‘Tommy’ Gregory, Hoover’s general director for South East Europe.” (Page 277.)

In World’s Work of June 1921, Gregory wrote an article entitled Overthrowing a Red Regime. He described the events frankly enough:

“It was apparent to all in touch with the situation, whether in Paris and London, or in the capitals of south-eastern Europe, that the salvation of central Europe depended, in the early summer of 1919,on the immediate ousting of Bela Kun from his position as Bolshevist dictator in Hungary.”

“The obvious method was to employ force ... Marshal Foch was summoned for conference, he said that this could be done, but that it would take an army of 250,000 men, completely equipped and prepared for a vigorous campaign. This program staggered Paris ...”

The use of direct force was ruled out. Other methods had to be devised. Gregory, in Vienna, came into contact with a General Boehm, representative in Austria of the Hungarian Soviet Government. Boehm, Gregory thought, “was the key to the situation.” He thereupon went to work on Boehm’s “egotism, ambition and nerve.”

Boehm proved amenable to Gregory’s proposal that he should take steps to lead a counter-revolutionary movement. In answer to a number of questions he put he was told that

“Paris would undoubtedly recognize and support any government, representative of all classes, on which the whole people of Hungary could agree; on the second [question he was told] that he undoubtedly knew of men who wielded really powerful influences in Hungary and who would undoubtedly fall in with any plan for the unhorsing of Bela Kun, were it sufficiently well conceived and organized to have a reasonable chance of success. He instantly named Agoston and Haubricht, two of the most powerful of the labor representatives in the Kun government ... They ware sent for and came secretly to Vienna.”

Gregory, together with Sir Thomas Cunningham of the British military commission and the Italian diplomatic representative, Borghesi, worked together with the treacherous Social Democratic leaders and they all

“agreed at once that the next step must be the framing of a pronouncement of principle on which the Allied governments could stand in giving their moral support to the anti-Kun movement ...

“The declaration, almost immediately suggested to Paris, through Mr. Hoover, contained the following points:

“l. The assumption of dictatorship in which complete powers of government were to be vested. Names to be discussed: Haubricht, Agoston, Garami, and Boehm.

“2. Dismissal of the communistic Kun government, with a repudiation of Bolshevism and a complete cessation of Bolshevist propaganda.

“3. Dictatorship to bridge over period until formation of a government representative of all classes.

“4. Immediate cessation of all terroristic acts, confiscation and seizures.

“5. Raising of blockade and immediate steps to be taken by Entente to supply Hungary with food and coal, and to assist in opening up the Danube.

“6. Immediate calling of an Entente advisory body.

“7. No political prosecutions.

“8. Ultimate determination respecting socialization of permanent government.

“It must be kept clearly in mind, that aside from Boehm, who was a mere tool, the real conspiracy we had set afoot was one dominated by the labor-democratic interests in Hungary ... Without this strong and active body of men, and without the leadership of the three named, Boehm, or any other military or monarchist conspiration, would have been helpless as a schoolboy. The plot hinged on the labor element ...

“I wired the eight points to Hoover the moment they were drawn up and now Cunningham and Borghesi communicated them to their respective governments.”

The French government was also notified. Gregory goes on:

“There is no doubt that Mr. Hoover was the principal agency responsible for the prompt return we received” [at the hands of the Supreme Allied Council]. “The Supreme Council, emphatic in the statement that the programme for Hungary was a general rather than a specific one, signed and issued it. Boehm and his associates ... began to crystallize their plans.”

Among the programmatic points was one promising the lifting of the blockade and the supplying of food to Hungary. However, Gregory just at this key point found himself in a difficulty:

“The work for which our [Relief] Mission was crested was almost finished and by irrevocable stipulation we were to windup our activities, close our offices, discharge our staffs, and leave central Europe on August 1. It was now July 28th. Hoover had wired me that our funds were used up and that no more was forthcoming. There was food in Trieste belonging to private packers, as well as supplies of wheat and maize in the Banat that were available, but I had no money with which to purchase these commodities and there was no source from which I could obtain any. Save one.

“Two or three times the assistant Bolshevist food administrator of Hungary, a shrewd and clever man, had come to me secretly in Vienna, representing Bela Kun, and begged me to sell him supplies. I had refused him absolutely for there was a blockade on Red Hungary. I had told him from the first that we would have no dealings of any nature with Bolshevism, and that he was wasting time asking me. Through this source I saw the possibility of effecting a coup that would help terminate our mission in central Europe with complete success.

“The food minister had no more knowledge than had Bela Kun that a mine was being laid under Bolshevism ... Within forty-eight hours of the time that the finale [the overthrow of Bela Kun] was to be attempted in Budapest I sent for him and told him that it was possible that I might reconsider my former decision as to selling him food for the Hungarian people.

“He almost cried with joy. But I checked him.

“‘There is one difficulty in the way,’. I said. ‘I cannot send you a grain of wheat nor an ounce of fat until it is paid for in cold cash. Have you any real money.’ ...

“‘You can have your choice,’ he said. ‘The Bolsheviki have taken charge of the banks in Hungary, and I have millions of cronin, francs, marks, pounds – I have even American dollars.’ ...

“About three o’clock the next afternoon two men accompanied by the perspiring Hungarian minister entered carrying a clothesbasket, covered with a cloth. For two hours my assistant checked pounds British and Turkish, French francs, Italian lire, to say nothing of marks and crowns, and with the whole topped with $90,000 in crisp one-thousand dollar bills of the vintage of Uncle Sam. That night they rested in our name in the Vienna Bank Verein. A trade had been closed with the packers’ agents and three train loads of fats ordered to be made ready for immediate shipment to Budapest on receipt of a wire from me.”

That afternoon the Bela Kun regime was overthrown. At 10’oclock next morning

“supply trains, loaded to the guards, and coming from every direction began to roll into Hungary.”

However, the overthrow of the Bela Kun regime was but the first stage on the down slope of reaction. The government of yellow Socialists lasted a few days and was overthrown by the Rumanian soldiers armed and supplied by the Allies ... who placed a Hapsburg on the throne. He was removed by the Allied Council of Paris which didn’t want a Hapsburg in power, preferring another variety of reactionary.

At this point Gregory’s narrative ends. We know what followed. Hapsburg was followed in a short period by the Hungarian White Guards and reactionaries headed by Horthy who came into power and have remained there through pitiless terror and extermination of every individual who raises a voice against the brutal dictatorship. Horthy and the White Guards were encouraged and aided by the Allies while workers’ and peasants’ Hungary was starved into submission.

Everything falls into a logical place in this account: the use of a food and medicine blockade against a revolution while helping the counter-revolutionary preparations; the use by the capitalists of the only force which could dislodge the workers, the yellow Social Democratic leaders; then the curt dismissal of the latter by the reactionaries after having served their purpose. The timing is varied, but basically the sequence is much the same in the entire post-World War I history of Europe.

Hoover’s Counter-Revolution in Finland

Following the Russian revolution of November 1917, a similar revolution took place in Finland. The Finnish workers and peasants found arrayed against themselves both the Finnish bourgeoisie under General Mannerheim and German regiments under General von der Goltz. The combination was able to defeat the Finnish Soviet regime and a period of white terror began during which Mannerheim, supported by German imperialist bayonets, slaughtered 15,000 workers and peasants while 15,000 more died in prisons where a total of 150,000 were held. As a result of these exploits Mannerheim earned the sobriquet of “Butcher.” But he could not have succeeded without the aid of Hoover’s “relief” organization.

The division of labor is interesting. The Germans aid Mannerheim against the masses. Then this obviously German Agent is helped, following the armistice, by the American Relief Administration. In the Saturday Evening Post of April 30, 1921, Hoover relates:

“The case of Finland as related to me not long ago by the Finnish minister will illustrate the final importance of all these [relief] measure – not child relief alone. He declared that the American Relief Administration in the winter of 1918-19, and to a lesser extent in the winter of 1919-20 not only enabled the Finnish government to survive but laid the foundations for national stability. Its results so upheld the arms of the forces of order that the country has been able to overcome the menace of Bolshevism at its own door!”

The New York Times on Dec. 22, 1918, carried the following dispatch:

“Washington, Dec. 22. – Official announcement was made tonight through the War Trade Board that Finland had apparently been able to overthrow German rule [!] since the signing of the armistice; and set up a popular government and that large shipments of food had been authorized to help the suffering population. This action, which had been recommended by Herbert Hoover, Food Administrator has been approved by the Allied nations.

“The statement also is made that this government is prepared to extend material help to all parts of Russia which succeed in driving out the Bolsheviki and the German agents It is understood that one problem which President Wilson and Herbert Hoover took up with the Allied nations was the importance of such action at the earliest date possible and the tonnage needed for Russian aid will be supplied as rapidly as required, despite other claims here.

“This announcement concerning Finland is taken here as an indication that this government in concert with the Allies is hopeful soon of extending the Russian relief program which includes the shipment of 200,000 tons of food, clothing, agricultural supplies and railroad equipment in the next three months to follow the armies of occupation ...

“This plan of extending aid gradually to many parts of Russia will be carried out as rapidly as possible pending a decision on the question of increasing the army of occupation.”

Toward Soviet Russia, thus, the policy of the Allies was one of armed intervention, and stringent blockade of the Bolsheviks – the cordon sanitaire – through which the Bolsheviks could not buy, much less receive as relief either food, medicine or machinery, while ARA relief was supplementing Allied arms and funds furnished to the White Guards and the various border states. This policy lasted for four years until it became clear that the Soviets of Russia were firmly established in power.

The first Allied efforts to crush Soviet Russia took the form of the direct employment of armies of intervention: American, British, Canadian, Czechoslovak and Japanese. This method, however, had to be abandoned. American troops mutinied; the Canadian government, acting under popular pressure, demanded that Canadian troops be withdrawn; the Czechoslovak fought half-heartedly; the French Black Sea fleet sailors mutinied, and revolt swept through the British Army of Occupation and aroused the English civilian population. English regiments destined to Russia refused to embark. Lloyd George, Prime Minister of Great Britain, informed Clemenceau that if the efforts to send Allied troops against Russia were continued, “soviets would be set up in London and Paris.”

Following the first fiasco the Allies entered upon a slightly different course: instead of direct intervention they armed, financed and fed White Guard restorationists in their war against Soviet Russia and deliberately encouraged imperialist adventures by the new states bordering on Soviet Russia, especially Poland.

Prominent among the armies of attempted restoration of capitalism were those led by the mercenaries and Czarists Mannerheim, Semenoff, von der Goltz [2], Kolchak, Denikin,Yudenitch, Wrangel, Rodzianko and Pilsudski. The population in the territories of these armies were fed by the ARA and the other relief organizations, thus relieving these White Guards of that expense.

In No.8, Series 2 of the American Relief Administration Bulletin we find:

“The American Relief Administration’s work in the liberated regions of Russia has followed closely the fortunes and mishaps of the forces arrayed against Bolshevism. From the beginning of the relief in April 1919, its field of operation has enlarged or contracted as Rodzianko’s and Yudenitch’s men advanced or retreated ...

“The work of feeding Pskoff came to an end on the 26th of August with the capture of that city by Soviet troops. Part of the district remained in the possession of the Whites and there the work was carried on as before.

“There was little change during September until the offensive against Petrograd [by Yudenitch] began. September the 28th saw the White troops under way in the direction of Luga and the ARA European Children’s Fund following the army and feeding the children of the districts newly liberated. ...

“On the 15th of October, General Yudenitch announced that Petrograd would fall within three days. On the 16th, Krasnoe Selo was captured and the ARA immediately organized kitchens there.”

Petrograd was not taken, and Yudenitch fled in a rout, ARA kitchens and all.

Hoover’s continued support of the Whites and the political motivation behind it was indicated in the April 30, 1921 Saturday Evening Post. In the course of the interview he declared:

“The Russian refugees present a dilemma for which there is no solution as far as I can see until the Bolshevik government falls. In addition to more than two hundred thousand Russian children there are eight hundred thousand adults – the intelligentsia – scattered all the way from Helsingfors to Constantinople If these men and women are not kept alive there will be no nucleus out of which to build the future Russia.”

Feeding Children in White Territory

Feeding children has an appealing humanitarian ring to it. It is indeed a calloused person that will resist such a plea. Approximately $90,000,000 was raised in the United States for the starving children of Europe.

While 86 per cent of the Hoover Children’s Relief Fund was being spent in Poland to feed the children, the Polish “Republic” found ample funds to carry on a war against the Soviets on a 1,600 mile front, which was able to slash 200 miles into Russian territory with 700,000 men under Polish arms. Pilsudski received hundreds of millions of dollars from the Allies in this war, besides the relief funds. Soviet Russia, to repeat, far from receiving arms, was denied the right to even buy either food to feed the starving or medicine for the sick.

Following the collapse of the Polish forces in August 1920 and the driving of Wrangel out of the Crimea, it was apparent that the Soviets were firmly entrenched. However, the blockade and the armed attacks were having a terrible effect on Soviet Russia, bled white by three and a half years’ previous participation in the imperialist war. Another and even worse famine was in prospect for the coming year. With the lifting of the blockade and the recognition of the Soviets by various countries, the more sincere relief organizations started to come to the aid of the famine-stricken regions of Soviet Russia. Among these organizations were the Friends Committee, the Nansen organization, the Jewish Joint Distribution organization, the Friends of Soviet Russia. Popular outcry against Hoover’s policy was strong. It was only at this point – July 23, 1921, after four years of effort to starve the Soviet masses into submission – that Hoover’s organizations grudgingly agreed to aid in the feeding of Soviet children in the famine zones. [3]

The use of “philanthropy” now will not be substantially different than it was in 1918-22. Lehman will duplicate the role of Hoover. The only difference between World War I and World War II is that the latter conflict takes place when the social system is 25 years older and therefore more degenerated. This degeneration expresses itself in all fields: economically, in the stagnation of world capitalism as exemplified in the post-war depressions; politically, in the rise of fascism. Food was used in the last war ostensibly to insure the “safety of the newborn democracies.” Long before the present war ends this pretense is not seriously maintained. Even capitalist democracy would be too risky a political system for Europe for the Allied imperialists. This time they are banking on out-and-out reactionaries as instruments of political control over the socialist masses. This is the meaning of the relations with Hapsburg, Darlan, Franco.

If World War I was fought under the slogan of “Hang the Kaiser,” the Second World War has all the appearances of being fought with the purpose of placing Kaisers back on their thrones, as witness the American State and Military Departments’ close relations with Otto of Hapsburg, pretender to the Austrian throne.

An editorial in the New York Times of December 1 entitled An Offer to Italy says:

“... we must tell the Italians, at least in broad terms, what our conditions of peace must be ... The Italians must depose Mussolini and his fascist organization ... We must make it clear that as an immediate consequence of peace, trade between them and the United Nations will be restored, so that they my receive the food and other supplies necessary for the prompt rehabilitation of their country ... Clearly the United Nations cannot make peace with the existing Fascist regime. Here again, however, a problem would arise regarding the extent to which it is wise to attempt to impose from the outside a democratic regime or a particular form of government on Italy.” (Our italics.)

The Allies are perfectly willing to make peace with an anti-Axis non-democratic government, feed it and support it. What the Allies are seeking is an Italian prototype of Hapsburg or Darlan. Maybe the Italian King? or Crown Prince? or General Bagdolio? The future will single out the candidate, but his political physiognomy is clearly delineated: reaction, the ability to deal firmly with the aroused masses.

There are many more months of agony before the war terminates. But as the end of the beginning becomes the beginning of the end, the capitalists are preparing politically and organizationally to suppress the workers and peasants. Likewise must the workers begin to prepare so that food will not be used to support counter-revolution and starve the revolutionary masses. To allow the capitalist governments to control the dispensation of relief can have terrible consequences.

Even the pro-war International Transport Workers Federation, in the leading article of its bulletin of June-July 1942, warns that food will be used for reactionary political purposes. It concludes its article by declaring that “Only the Labour Movement could offer such a guarantee” against the use of food for reactionary political aims. “In view of what happened from the end of 1918 on there are well-founded reasons for fearing that when the fighting ceases the generally prevalent distress will once again be exploited for political ends,” the organ of the Transport Workers points out.

Considering the power of the transport workers, with affiliated transport unions in 35 countries, the article of their bulletin is a welcome sign.

Such a guarantee on the part of the labor movement can be made good in only two ways. One, through the establishment of workers’ and farmers’ governments in Great Britain, Canada, the United States and other countries with supplies of food. These socialist governments would extend to revolutionary countries under blockade the hand of class solidarity. However, in those countries in which the workers have not succeeded in establishing governments of their class, the slogan of trade union control of post-war relief can be a rallying cry and a method of defeating reactionary purposes in the distribution of food and relief.

The American capitalists are preparing to use food as a means of making the world safe for capitalism after the war. They plan to use it to “persuade” Europe, Africa and Asia’s masses. They make their calculations with the hope that the American masses will prove immune to socialism. Is this idea well founded? Not in the least. The power of the awakened American workers may prove the fatal flaw in all the plans of American and Allied capitalism.

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1. For the sake of avoiding any misunderstanding it must be stated that in spite of the unity and their assumption of positions of leadership in the Soviet Republic – to which they were forced by the upsurge of the masses – the Social Democrats remained Social Democrats while the Communists were led by a group of careerists headed by Bela Kun and J. Pogany who proved completely incompetent and who later became part of the Stalinist bureaucracy.

2. Von der Goltz was a German general stationed by the Kaiser in the small Baltic states between Poland and Soviet Russia. His role in Finland has been noted. So great was the Allied fear of Bolshevism that the armistice terms stipulated that the German forces under his command remain in this region as a safeguard against a socialist revolution. The Soviet regime set up by the Lettish masses was crushed by this German imperialist. Later he attempted various expeditions into Soviet Russia.

3. In the light of his feeding of Poland while she was conducting a war against Soviet Russia, Hoover’s recent explanation for his refusal to aid the masses of Soviet Russia is obviously contradictory. In his Colliers article of November 28, 1942, Hoover says: “In the last war, defeated Russia, with roughly 140,000,000 people was famine stricken in certain areas. We made an effort to furnish food but Russia refused relief because the Allies stipulated she must stop fighting her neighbors. It was not until the renewed famine in 1922 that we were able to assist her on a large scale.”

Evidently no such condition was put on Poland – nor Finland, Rumania, Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia or the White Guards as a prerequisite to receive relief. Quite the contrary, if they were fighting a Soviet regime!

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