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The New International, September 1941


The Editor’s Comment

The Ideological Struggle


From New International, Vol. VII No. 8 (Whole No. 57), September 1941, pp. 197–8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


In answer to Hitler’s “new order” and the strong fascist propaganda against plutocracy and the viciousness of the Versailles Treaty, Roosevelt and Churchill have laid down plans for an ideological war against the Axis to supplement the military campaigns. The reason for this singular development in the war is the realization on the part of the “democratic” camp that it will take more than arms alone to vanquish the fascist hordes.

Yet the ideological campaign outlined by the leaders of the two democratic powers is miserably empty of soul-stirring content that might instill the masses of the world in a death-defying struggle for freedom. What is it exactly that Roosevelt and Churchill have worked out on a quiet rolling sea? A fight for four freedoms! All of them are empty shibboleths in a world divided into classes, where oppression, class oppression and national oppression, are the rule in the fascist camp as in the democratic camp.

In each instance, freedom of press, freedom of speech, the right of national independence, the right of peoples to select their own governments, are qualified freedoms which can never, even under the most peaceful world conditions, be realized in a class social order. It is true that as between fascism and democratic capitalism, the latter is preferable. But is that the only choice? There remains an alternative to both, the only alternative which offers the possibility of a genuine realization of that which is now only platitudinous in the mouths of Roosevelt and Churchill. It is socialism. There’s the rub.

Back to 1939

The hordes of liberals, semi-socialists, democrats, lacking determination even in a struggle for what they themselves believe, always compare existence in the United States and England to that in Germany, Italy and the conquered countries. Naturally, they prefer life in the big democracies. But what of the peoples of Europe? Why should they exalt bourgeois democracy which has brought upon them the curse of their present existence? What has bourgeois democracy done for the Balkans? What kind of freedom has it brought to vast India, to China, to the colonial possessions in Africa? Speak to the great masses of the colonial oppressed and find out what it. is they desire. Freedom of speech? Freedom of press? National independence? The right to choose their own governments? Yes, every one of these. What has stood in the way of their realization? What stands in the way today? England, France, the Axis, the United States – in a word, capitalist society.

Freedom for the Jews in Poland? The right of self-determination under England? Equal rights to fields of raw materials and equal economic opportunities with a hungry American imperialism? Roosevelt takes in a lot of territory, but like his inglorious predecessor and teacher, Woodrow Wilson, he cannot succeed. To expect the kind of capitalism outlined by the President and Churchill is gross Utopian reformism.

The pressure of the war has brought forth these new promises. England promises much to her dominions and to her colonies. Poland of the landlords promises a new era for the Polish Jews and the Polish proletariat and peasantry – after the victory over Hitler. The Scandinavians beat their breasts once again for a “new social order” in Europe. Everything is promised for after the war, after the defeat of the Axis.

To top off this program, the Allies are agreed on the necessity of smashing, not Hitler, the Junkers, the monarchical vestiges, but Germany – that is, to take it out on the German masses once more. The Versailles Treaty will appear as a model of decency and national respect compared to what awaits Germany in the event of a defeat in the present war. Upon the close of World War II, in the event of an Allied victory and the absence of proletarian revolutions which would upset the eight-point program, European and world capitalism would be back where it started from at the inception of the World War. Then would begin again the same struggle for world domination between the capitalist powers.

The Soviet Union and the New Utopia

Where does the Soviet Union, the “workers” state,” fit into this Roosevelt schema? An integral part of it! Nine allies have met; they have endorsed the eight points and the four freedoms. Not the least enthusiastic partner to this new bourgeois alliance is the Soviet Union. It too is fighting for a Rooseveltian Utopia. To be sure, this grows out of its desire for self-preservation. It no doubt does not believe a single word in the program – no more than do the other signatories to the program. But by identifying itself with the new shibboleths it does not distinguish itself by so much as a hair’s-breadth from the democratic imperialist powers. If it does not deceive itself, it helps considerably to deceive millions of workers and peasants.

We reiterate what we have said so many times. The one hope for humanity lies in socialism, in the overthrow of class oppression, in the uprooting of imperialism, in the abolition of capitalism which has brought about world chaos and destruction.

The initiation of the “V” campaign in Europe by England and her allies did not give rise to sharp conflicts now arising on the European continent in German occupied territories, but sought to give them a specific direction. It was logical that this struggle would emerge and remain constant under given European conditions. The absence of employment, except forced labor, lack of food, clothing and shelter, the approach of winter and danger of famine, epidemics and untold suffering, all these are creating an enormous ferment in all countries, among all classes and groupings. The most powerful, most active and most conscious force in the brewing struggles on the continent is the European proletariat. They are the most courageous.

A Counter-Revolutionary Weapon

But what is it they are fighting for? A return to their pre-war status or, in short, deliverance from Nazism, will not satisfy these struggling masses. They are not fighting to regain what the democratic bourgeoisie has lost. They are not interested in whether the unemployed kings and queens shall be restored to their thrones. They are interested, above all else, in a new world, a world free of oppression and exploitation, a world in which the hideous specter of fascism will never again be able to lift its head. What we observe, in short, is the embryonic growth of the Third Camp, the camp of the oppressed proletariat and peasantry, of oppressed national minorities, of the oppressed colonial peoples. They alone are capable of abolishing the enormous inequalities of bourgeois society. They alone are capable of establishing true freedom, through the world order of socialism.

We understand that this movement has yet to blossom out in all its fullness. We understand, too, that it will require leadership and direction and that this leadership is presently absent. It is not to be found in the Anglo-American war camp, even with the Soviet Union as an integral part of it. But it will arise in and through the struggle now emerging.

In any event, that is the movement which holds the greatest promise. For nothing will come of the Rooseveltian Utopia, nothing but the re-establishment of the conditions which led to the First World War and laid the basis for the second.

The newly formed Allied camp represents more than just the proponents of the eight-point program. It represents an incipient counter-revolutionary headquarters for deposed governments and governments in danger of never retrieving their losses. The prospect of a revolutionary socialist wave strikes mortal fear in their hearts, even as it does to Hitler and his jackal, Mussolini. Socialist revolutions in France, Poland, the Soviet Union and Scandinavia will find the Allies their bitterest opponents. The same is true of socialist revolutions in the Axis countries, for then we shall find the democratic powers repeat their performances of 1917 in the post-war revolutionary wave, as counter-revolutionary marauders seeking to replace in power the anti-fascist, semi-fascist and monarchical bourgeois governments. The world oppressed must watch carefully the conduct of London and Washington, for the emancipation of all humanity is threatened from that direction, too!

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