From New International, Vol. I No. 5, December 1934, p. 152.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
ONLY A FEW days are left until the vote is cast on January 13, 1935. To an increasing extent the question of the Saar is moving steadily towards the focus of everybody’s attention; greater and greater grow the efforts on both sides, in the anti-Fascist camp as well as and particularly in the camp of the Hitler regime.
In the Reich, the question of the Saar has been shoved to the center of Fascist propaganda. Tremendous sums are being put at the disposal of the Saar battle. The question of the Saar has become a first-class prestige question for Hitler Germany and Hitler Germany is determined to win a victory in the Saar by any available means. The Saar vote has been selected as a demonstration of confidence, and it thereby becomes an important political weapon for Hitler. Fascism urgently requires a victory which will appreciably raise its standing and hamper or terminate the development of forces hostile to Fascism. By means of a terrorized “free and secret vote”, it is to be shown that the Saar population is voluntarily and yearningly submitting to the Hitler regime and that it would rather live under a Fascist system than under one that is democratic. Inner-politically, the Fascist clique is promising itself to regain confidence already lost. From the standpoint of foreign politics, a Fascist victory in the Saar likewise would serve as proof that Hitler has the confidence of the whole people and would thus contribute to raising the international political importance of the Third Reich. If we mention in addition only the significance of the Saar district as a military deployment district and as a door through which to invade the West, then it will be clear to all that were the Saar vote to result favorably for him, Hitler will truly have gained an exceedingly great victory.
With an investigation into the significance of the outcome of the vote for Hitler, however, the question is at the same time amply clarified as to what would be the significance of a vote cast against Hitler Germany?
This problem may be briefly summarized as follows: A decision for the status quo would be an extremely heavy blow against the Fascist dictatorship (not against the German alone!) and a truly significant victory of the anti-Fascist forces. The lies about “the people’s confidence in the Führer” would be thoroughly exploded before the widest world public; the standing of the Fascist dictatorship would surely decline in Germany and thereby the anti-Fascist struggle would gain in impetus. The dissatisfaction and the demoralization inside the Fascist ranks themselves would grow, but still more would grow the courage and reliance of all anti-Fascists and especially of the revolutionary forces.
Both camps, Fascism and anti-Fascism, face each other in the sharpest and bitterest struggle. It is a decisive battle for a decisive victory. Such struggles are not fought through in a day, a victory thus fought for is not gained in a day. The decisive day is not merely January 13, 1935 – the decision has depended upon every hour and every day for the past months and in the coming weeks.
Rarely in the history of parliamentary decisions and votes has it been more plainly apparent that the most important decisions occur in the extra-parliamentary mass struggles. Even a vote must be fought for, and it requires the highest intensification of one’s own and one’s allies forces.
And above all: the mass struggle is no battle of words, no parade with brass bands, no paper war. Its alpha and omega, its very heart is the genuine activity of the masses, actions, beginning with the smallest up to the largest, which must be carried through uninterruptedly, day in and day out, boldly.
This ABC of the struggle has been excellently grasped by Fascism. It too knows that the decision of January 13 must be prepared for and won beforehand. And these preparations are being made by Fascism in its own way – it bears down on the whole country with its terror. A far-reaching organizational network has been created, touching every street and reaching into every home. Almost every single resident is thus put under Fascist control and under Fascist pressure.
The task of the workers, as well as of all anti-Fascist organizations, confronted with this situation, is quite clear and unambiguous: to break the Fascist terror at all costs. Against the Fascist terror, the anti-Fascist mass struggle! This is not the least of the great importance of the present struggle in the Saar: to give the entire world, the labor movement of all countries, an example of how the audacious activity of the working class and the proletarian mass struggle put a thorough end to all Fascist terroristic attempts, exterminated them without mercy and swept them away. To the labor organizations of the Saar has fallen the task of being an exemplary picture for the entire world proletariat in the destruction of the Fascist danger. The thing is for the labor movement of the Saar district finally to understand this. They are taking upon themselves the heavy burden of guilt who neglect or even sabotage the active mass struggle of the Saar proletariat, who want to replace it with hopes in the League of Nations or by nice parades and still nicer speeches. The requirements of the struggle, however, are: Away with theatrical speeches of bureaucratic windbags – up with the active mass struggle of the united front! This necessity is urgent – for the sake of the lives of the working class. The goal deserves the very greatest efforts. An anti-Fascist victory in the Saar is simultaneously a victory of the German and the whole international labor movement.
It is imperative to keep constantly in mind that the Saar question is at the same time an international question, the Saar struggle an international struggle. Although this fact is hardly disputed, no consequences are drawn from it. To be sure, the appeals and declarations of the Internationals, for example, are very fine, but practically they are less than unimportant. And apart from these platonic declarations of sympathy by the Internationals, there is no noticeable real, active international support given to the Saar struggle. And yet it is the Saar proletariat which is today at an internationally advanced post, it has every claim to the greatest possible international aid and support. Against the miserable and disintegrating horse-trading of the League of Nations, the Saar working class must be firmly supported at the rear by international solidarity. The enemies of the Saar proletariat are numerous and strong, they are imperialism, nationalism, Fascism. But the fact that the solidarity of the world proletariat and of proletarian internationalism are stronger still – that can and must be shown to the entire world today in the Saar struggle. Should this be the case, the strength of the Saar working class – and of the world proletariat – would be vastly augmented; if not, the Second and the Third International would greatly increase their already enormous guilt. Tirelessly they are digging their own graves.
It is a bad and stupid consolation to think that against the millions upon millions spent by the Fascists for propaganda, the anti-Fascist organizations cannot do their job. Stronger than the Propaganda Ministry of Gobbels, in any case, is international solidarity. Fascist corruption is strong only when faced with passivity and helplessness; it is weak and inadequate when faced with proletarian mass activity. Both together – the active united front and international solidarity – will assure the achievement of the status quo and moreover be an important step in the fight for a socialist Europe. It is the highest time to cast aside the hopes placed in the secret diplomacy of the League of Nations and to launch the proletarian united front for active struggle.
Saarbruecken, November 1934
Last updated on 26 February 2016