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The New International, March 1942

J.W. Smith

Socialism and National Liberation

A Discussion Article


From New International, Vol. VIII No. 2, March 1942, pp. 49–54.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The fundamental facts of the present-day situation are the following:

  1. A small number of great imperialist powers oppress and exploit the entire world.
  2. These world powers are at present engaged in a life-and-death struggle for world domination.
  3. This struggle – whether one imperialist coalition or another triumphs in this stage, whether one regrouping of imperialist forces or another occurs – can only lead to a new enslavement of humanity, to a new series of catastrophes, so long as the “third camp” of the exploited and oppressed fails to come forward independently and triumph over the exploiters.
  4. The social antagonisms growing at a furious pace, and the continuous enfeeblement of all the imperialist participants in the war, are creating ever more favorable objective premises for the victorious intervention of the third camp.
  5. But the international labor movement whose mission it would be to stand at the head of the third camp, does not exist at present. On the European continent, it is beaten and destroyed; in the colonies, so far as it exists at all, it is extremely weak; in the United States, it is still in its swaddling clothes and displays a very low level of political consciousness.
  6. For the time being, then, the only force of the third camp that is already fighting is the movement of the oppressed peoples, their struggle for national liberation. This struggle grips both small and large nations (Francel), both in Europe and in the colonies. In many countries, this struggle represents a broad, elementary people’s movement which uses the most variegated methods of struggle, from passive resistance to illegal agitation, strikes, sabotage, occasional demonstrations, terroristic attempts and guerrilla warfare; and in one country (Serbia) has already culminated in organized civil war.

Anyone who would refuse, under these conditions, to concern himself with the struggle for liberation of the oppressed nations as one of the most important factors of current history, could only be advised to look for some occupation other than revolutionary politics.

Indeed, we would find very few who directly denied the significance of the struggle for national liberation of the oppressed peoples. Everybody would more or less “recognize” that this struggle is “also important” nowadays. But many who consider themselves Marxists treat this struggle with disdainful contempt. According to them, the demands of the struggle for national liberation are not “our” demands, but the demands of the bourgeoisie or petty bourgeoisie. Since – unfortunately! – the masses, as a result of their “low consciousness,” enter into struggle for precisely these demands, we, proletarian revolutionists, must condescend and, even if reluctantly and with great reserve, also “support” this struggle. However, the less we are obliged to concern ourselves with it the better. We do it only out of bitter necessity, for otherwise nobody in the occupied countries would pay the slightest attention to us. However, the aims of the national movement are “actually” petty bourgeois, utopian and reactionary, they seek to turn back the wheel of history; the era of national states is past, the whole struggle is an “illusion” ... Even if we do try to “utilize” it, this struggle is really not “our affair” ...

In my opinion, this attitude is not only tactically erroneous and harmful, because it condemns the revolutionary groups to passivity or tail-end politics in the greatest struggles of the day; it is unsocialistic and un-Marxian in principle as well. It approximates dangerously the position of a Stalinist bureaucrat who really doesn’t give a damn about the national liberation of the oppressed peoples or the realization of democratic demands, but who “utilizes” the national and democratic moods in various “popular fronts” in order to dupe the masses and his “allies” and to promote his own aims which are the opposite of any democracy.

National Liberation, a Democratic Demand

The demand for national liberation, for the right of self-determination of the people, is a demand of radical, consistent democracy. It is one of those democratic demands that once formed part of the program of the bourgeois revolution but which can be generally and consistently realized nowadays only by means of the victory of socialism. Hence it will probably be useful to cite what a man, who could hardly be charged with uncritical sympathy for bourgeois-democratic ideas, thought about such demands and their connection with the struggle for the socialist revolution. In 1915, in a situation resembling the present in many respects, Lenin wrote:

The proletariat cannot become victor save through democracy, i.e., through introducing complete democracy and through combining with every step of its movement democratic demands formulated most vigorously, most decisively. It is senseless to contrast the socialist revolution and the revolutionary struggle against capitalism to one of the questions of democracy, in this case the national question. On the contrary, we must combine the revolutionary struggle against capitalism with a revolutionary program and revolutionary tactics relative to all democratic demands: a republic, a militia, officials elected by the people, equal rights for women, self-determination of nations, etc. While capitalism exists, all these demands are realizable only as an exception, and in an incomplete, distorted form. Basing ourselves on democracy as it already exists, exposing its uncompleteness under capitalism, we advocate the overthrow of capitalism, expropriation of the bourgeoisie as a necessary basis for the abolition of the poverty of the masses and for a complete and manifold realization of all democratic reforms. Some of those reforms will be started prior to the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, others in the process of the overthrow, still others after it has been accomplished. The socialist revolution is by no means a single battle; on the contrary, it is an epoch of a whole series of battles around all problems of economic and democratic reforms, which can be completed only by the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. It is for the sake of this final aim that we must formulate in a consistently revolutionary manner every one of our democratic demands. It is quite conceivable that the workers of a certain country may overthrow the bourgeoisie before even one fundamental democratic reform has been realized in full. It is entirely inconceivable, however, that the proletariat as an historical class will be able to defeat the bourgeoisie if it is not prepared for this task by being educated in the spirit of the most consistent and determined revolutionary democracy. (The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, Nov. 1915, Collected Works, Vol. XVIII, p. 368.)

In my opinion, the relationship of the struggle for democratic demands to the struggle for socialism is rightly presented here. The realization of “complete” democracy” is today not the task of the bourgeoisie but of the proletariat. The aim of the proletariat is not only to eliminate material poverty but also to free man in every respect. The socialists do not only want man to eat his fill but also to make it possible for him to develop freely in every sense. Consequently, it is not only the “abolition of the poverty of the masses,” but also “a complete and manifold realization of all democratic reforms” that is our goal. Neither of these can be achieved, however, without the abolition of all class rule. The bourgeoisie can realize democratic demands only “as an exception, in an incomplete, distorted manner,” because a complete democracy is incompatible with class rule. It is thus the task of the proletariat to defend all democratic demands consistently and regardless (i.e., without regard for the class interests of the exploiter, or the “preservation of order”), to fight for them before the revolution, during the revolution, after the revolution.

The difference between the revolutionary proletarian and the petty bourgeois reformer is not that the former would fight only for the socialist economic overturn and the latter only for political democracy. The proletarian revolutionist differs from the petty bourgeois reformer

  1. In that he defends consistently democracy for all, while the latter can permit democracy only to a certain extent, so long as it does not exceed the limits of the bourgeois order;
  2. In that he knows that “complete democracy” can be realized only through the socialist revolution, through the abolition of all class rule, and therefore judges every democratic demand sub specie this final goal.

We cannot, of course, be content with the quotation from Lenin as proof of this thesis. Since the time when Lenin wrote, much has changed in the world. The question is whether we have today more or less reason to apply the policy outlined by him.

Lenin wrote during the First Imperialist World War. This war ended with an imperialist peace. The peace brought national “freedom” to a number of formerly oppressed peoples – but at the price of suppression of other nations or parts of them. It led to the introduction of bourgeois democracy in a number of countries, of that “incomplete, distorted democracy” which is consistent only with bourgeois class rule. But in the epoch of imperialism and of the profound historical crisis of the capitalist system, even this distorted democracy is not durably compatible with the maintenance of class society could no longer develop within the framework of capitalist anarchy of production; the world had to proceed to the socialist organization of economy, to socialist democracy, which was possible only through the proletarian revolution or, should this revolution fail, or else suffer the attempt at “the organizing of economy” with the retention of class exploitation, paid for with the loss even of the relative democratic rights, with the totalitarian bureaucratic dictatorship. The only victorious proletarian revolution remained isolated in backward Russia and degenerated into the totalitarian rule of the parasitic class of bureaucrats. In Germany and Italy, the proletariat was unable to carry through the proletarian revolution; bourgeois democracy was replaced by fascist dictatorship; and with it the organized labor movement was destroyed. Now we find ourselves in a new war of the ruling class of the imperialist countries for world domination. And in this war there has passed away the national freedom not only of the “new” peoples “liberated” in the first war, but also of the “old” nations united in the course of bourgeois evolution.

Do we have more reasons or less, today, for placing the democratic demands, including the right of national self-determination, in the foreground of our struggle?

Democracy Incompatible with Class Society

In the first place, bitter experience has corroborated how right Lenin was in the phrase that “the proletariat cannot become victor save through democracy, i.e., through introducing complete democracy.” The introduction of planned economy alone does not suffice for the victory of socialism; planned economy and the statification of the means of production, without “complete democracy,” can, as modern Russia shows, also become a means to the new enslavement of the toilers. Whether we regard the Russian bureaucracy only as a “parasitic caste” or as a new exploiting class, whether we think that a “political revolution” suffices for the introduction of socialism in Russia or we see that this revolution, in its essence, is a social revolution under present conditions, we will surely all agree that the essence of this revolution must be the introduction of proletarian democracy in the state and in the economy – without proletarian democracy there is no socialism. The revolution against fascist rule in the totalitarian states, too, cannot lead to the final victory unless it leads in the long run to the replacement of the totalitarian dictatorship by socialist democracy – provided we are not content with substituting the Stalinist executioner for the Nazi executioner. And in the remaining “democratic” countries which, should class rule continue to exist, will introduce totalitarian “planned-economy” methods more and more, there too the socialist struggle can be conducted successfully only under the slogans of socialist democracy. The revolution against the bourgeois and bureaucratic exploiters can triumph only as a socialist-democratic revolution.

The Progressive National Struggles

What applies generally to democratic slogans and demands applies also to the special case of the democratic demand for the right of self-determination of nations. Here too we have more reasons than ever before to put this democratic demand energetically in the forefront. In the quoted article of 1915, Lenin still had to concede to his opponents that in Western Europe, in France, Germany, Italy (and we can add Holland, Scandinavia, etc.) the movement for national liberation was a thing of the past. He only showed that in Central and Eastern Europe, in Asia and Africa, it was a thing of the present and that future and that the great majority of humanity lives in these territories. However, history often develops backward. The struggle for national liberation is today again on the order of the day in Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, and France, and in many respects even in Italy. In all Europe – except for a few remaining neutrals, whose “independence” can be destroyed at any time within a week – there are now only three nationally independent nations: the English, the Germans, and the Great Russians. And even their national independence is at stake in the present contest. Imperialist ruling nations today, they may be turned into oppressed peoples tomorrow, as the example of the French shows.

The peculiarity of the present situation is this, however, that the struggle of the imperialistic great powers (a reactionary war on all sides) criss-crosses and interpenetrates the essentially progressive struggle of the oppressed peoples for their national liberation. Every imperialist power naturally endeavors to exploit the national struggle in the camp of its opponent for its own imperialist aims. That’s nothing new. Back in the First Imperialist World War, the German imperialists “supported” and “promoted” the Irish uprising, the disturbances in India, the aspirations for independence of the Ukrainians, while Entente imperialism adopted among its demands the union of the South Slavs, the liberation of the Czechs, Rumanians, Italians, etc., in Austria and even the union of the Arabs. Among the Poles, whose country was divided among the imperialists of both groups, Foreign Legions fought “for the liberation of Poland” on both sides of the front simultaneously.

This circumstance misled many revolutionists to a negation of the possibility of a progressive, anti-imperialist national struggle in the present epoch. Because any national struggle can be exploited by the rival imperialists, they concluded, a progressive national struggle in the epoch of imperialism is altogether impossible, and anyone who supports a national struggle gives aid in the long run to one imperialist group. They overlooked the fact that along with the antagonisms between the imperialist groups, the basic fact of the present epoch is the comprehensive antagonism between the imperialist and the oppressed countries, and that while the struggle of an oppressed people can be exploited for imperialist purposes, it may also be embraced within the general struggle of the oppressed against all oppressors. The question is, who gains hegemony in the national struggle – the national bourgeoisie, which for reasons to which we will return is always ready to sell itself to an imperialist camp, or the proletariat, whose fundamental interest lies in the destruction of all imperialism?

Oppression and Imperialism Synonymous

The movements of the oppressed peoples – especially of the culturally advanced – usually have a broad, universal, elementary character. They broadly embrace all the strata of the population. And they are filled with a social content. For national oppression has not only a political, linguistic and cultural, but primarily an economic character. The peoples are politically oppressed by the imperialists in order that they may be economically exploited. The liberation of India means that the billions now received by the English bourgeoisie will remain at home. The struggle for Irish Home Rule was the struggle of the Irish tenants against exploitation by the English aristocracy. The East Galician or White Russian peasant was opposed to the Polish state because he wanted to be rid of the Polish landlord, usurer, banks and tax collectors. For the Chinese coolie, national oppression is incarnated in the Japanese or English manufacturer who employed him fourteen hours a day in the Shanghai factories.

That is how the toilers of the oppressed nations identified – consciously or unconsciously – the national foe with the social exploiter, the struggle for national liberation with the struggle for social justice, national independence with a better social order. They fill the national struggle with the social content that corresponds to their class interests, even if often unclearly and vaguely.

The national bourgeoisie, on the other hand, in so far as it takes part in the struggle for national liberation, fights for its “place in the sun,” for the “rightful” opportunity to exploit “its” people “independently” However, it cannot be quite consistent in the national struggle. The goal of the struggle can be achieved only by the mobilization and the revolutionary fight of the broadest masses. But once the masses start moving, who knows where they will halt? ... Will they, once they have overthrown the foreign exploiter by bloody struggle, allow themselves peacefully to be exploited by their own bourgeoisie? Will they turn over to their own bourgeoisie, “according to regulations,” the factories and lands they took by force from the foreign capitalists and landlords? May it not occur to them that if mass violence is fitting and proper against foreign exploiters it can also be employed against their own parasites? And rather than evoke the spirits of revolutionary mass struggle, is it not better to make a compromise with the imperialist oppressors and be peacefully content with a modest, but for that a sure portion of their loot?

Thus two souls continue to contend in the breast of the national bourgeoisie. It threatens the oppressors with the people, but is afraid to unleash the forces of the people. It oscillates between uprising against the foreign exploiters and a compromise with them. It wouldn’t mind becoming radical and showing the foreign thieves, if only it didn’t have its own masses to fear. It would fight pretty radically, if it could rely on a big, solid power that promised it help against the oppressor of today as well as against its own insurrectionary masses tomorrow. It finds this power, however, in a foreign imperialism which is in rivalry with its own oppressors. Thus the bourgeoisie becomes radical and reckless in the struggle against the foreign yoke in only one case: when it is serving a foreign imperialism and when the victory of this foreign imperialism against its own overlord is in the offing. It ceases to sell the interests of its own nation to the overlord for petty concessions only when it is in a position to barter them to imperialist competition under more promising conditions.

The working people know no such considerations. They bear all the burdens, risks and sacrifices in the national liberation struggle in the hope that national freedom will bring them a better social fate. They are cheated out of the fruits of their sufferings and struggles at the last moment if they find no leadership that knows how to give conscious expression to the instinctive linking of the democratic with the social demands and how to switch the struggle for national liberation on to the rails of the socialist revolution.

These views on the rôle of the various classes in the national struggle are not at all the fruit of abstract speculation. They rest upon countless experiences. I should like to adduce at least one of these experiences, the experience of the struggle of the oppressed peoples in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy during the World War of 1914–1918.

Bourgeois Nationalism Is No Savior

Austria-Hungary was a semi-feudal, semi-capitalist prison of the peoples. The ruling nations – the Germans and the Hungarians – were only a minority of the population. A part of the oppressed peoples was already developed capitalistically and had its own bourgeoisie. Yet the workers and peasants of the oppressed peoples continued to confront the German or Hungarian capitalist and landlord at every inch of the way. A large part of the surplus value from the territories of the oppressed peoples went to Vienna or Budapest, where the big corporations had their headquarters, the aristocrats their palaces, and the central authorities their seat. That’s how, as the phase went in those days, “palaces on the Danube were built of our sweat.” The national bourgeoisie of the oppressed peoples was of course unsatisfied with this situation, and it filled the last decades of existence of the monarchy with the sound of its protests, oppositions and obstructions. This struggle went so far as to make impossible for decades any regulated work by the Parliament. But it did not go so far that the bourgeoisie of the oppressed peoples should set itself the goal of smashing Austria. Many times the most developed of these bourgeoisies, the Czech, threatened, in the words of its ideologist, Palacky: “We existed before Austria, we shall exist even after Austria,” but it went no further than threats; essentially it remained true to the line of the same Palacky: “If there were no Austria, we would have to create one.” For even the bourgeoisie of the oppressed people was interested in the vast market, embracing fifty million people and defended by a protective tariff, that the monarchy offered. Its aspirations went no further than the reconstruction of Austria on a federative basis and the obtaining of a larger share of the profits and the favors of the state apparatus.

The idea of complete national independence occurred seriously to the bourgeoisie of the peoples oppressed in Austria only during the World War, when, firstly, the masses of the oppressed peoples had for a long time been combating Austrian imperialism by means of desertions, sabotage and passive resistance, and obviously could no longer be restrained from revolutionary struggle; and when, secondly, the foreign “liberator” appeared on the horizon who not only promised to finish off Austria and Germany but also seemed to guarantee the maintenance of “order” against revolting masses. Even then the action of the bourgeoisie abroad was confined to rounds of gaiety and bootlicking among the mighty of the Entente, and the recruiting of legions which, being put at the disposal of the Entente, were often employed for entirely different tasks than the struggle for the liberation of their countries. (Thus the attempt to misuse the Czechoslovakian legions for the suppression of the Russian proletarian revolution.)

At home, the revolutionary activity of. the bourgeoisie was limited, in the first stage of the war, to waiting for the triumphal entry of the Czarist army and to preparing for the regal feast that would follow. But when the Czarist “liberators” did not show up and the repression began, the bourgeoisie lost courage, made countless declarations of fealty, solemnly repudiated the activities abroad, had its parliamentary representatives send telegrams of congratulations to the Austrian generals on their victories and sought to snatch its share of the war profits.

Only toward the end of the war, when the victory of the Entente was already assured, when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, shaken by military defeats, the effects of the Russian Revolution and the revolutionary actions of the toiling masses, was obviously approaching collapse, did the national bourgeoisie suddenly put itself at the head of the movements for national liberation in order to garner their fruits.

The Incapacities of Social Democracy

How was it possible for it to succeed in this? While the proletariat represented the bravest cadre of the national movement, it had no policy of its own in the national question. Had the Austrian social democracy, with its numerous and fairly strong national sections, been a revolutionary party, it would have advocated the slogan of the destruction of Austria, the right of self-determination of all nations and their voluntary union into a socialist Central European Federation. Thereby it could undoubtedly have become the leader of the broad masses, of the masses who, even without its participation, demonstrated as early as October 1918 for independent socialist republics of the various oppressed peoples.

But the learned Austro-Marxists came to the conclusion that the era of small states is past; that it is reactionary to divide large economic units into small national states; and that national independence in the epoch of imperialism is altogether a reactionary illusion. Hence, it concluded, Austria must remain, and we must take a position against the struggles for national liberation.

That is why the social democracy, at the moment of the national revolutions, remained without any influence upon the events until the time when it once more took its stand “on the basis of facts.” These new facts, however, were small national states, every one of which oppressed other nationalities. In place of the large Austro-Hungarian prison of the peoples, a number of smaller prisons of the peoples arose which were to serve western imperialism, on the one hand, as a wall against the resurgence of German imperialism, and on the other, as a barrier against the Russian revolution. After twenty years, it was confirmed that the premises of the Austro-Marxian ideas were right: no small people can maintain its freedom for a long time in the imperialist world. But not less demonstrated was the fact that the conclusion was false. For if a revolutionary party had not left the struggle for national liberation during the First World War to the bourgeoisie, but had placed itself at the head of it and then switched it on to the tracks of the socialist revolution, a league of socialist republics would have arisen in Central Europe and all history would have taken a different turn.

From all that has been said it follows that the struggle for national liberation can lead to one of two results: to new imperialist oppression, if the bourgeoisie wins hegemony in the struggle; or to the breaching of the imperialist system, if the proletariat conquers the leadership.

Totalitarianism and the National Struggle

What changes have taken place today in the national struggle and what influence can they have upon the deciding of this question?

It can indeed be said that the objective premises for proletarian hegemony have become more favorable.

Totalitarian oppression under fascist rule has not been without influence upon the social structure of the oppressed peoples. The peoples have been proletarianized, pauperized and plundered in an unprecedented way. Their national bourgeoisie has to a large extent been expropriated by the fascist oppressors. An excellent instrument for accomplishing this was the so-called Aryanization. By no means was this aimed at Jews alone. If it is borne in mind that according to the Aryanization laws any enterprise is considered “Jewish” in which even only one “Jew” is present as a member of the board of directors or as a managing officer, it can easily be imagined how comprehensive this expropriation has been. Germans have been put at the head of all enterprises in the occupied territories; the native bourgeoisie, so far as it still exists, is economically entirely dependent upon the new rulers. It still retains representation abroad in the form of the various governments-in-exile, but at home its social power constantly shrinks. At the same time, broad sections of the middle classes are proletarianized and mobilized for war production as slaves of the totalitarian rulers of the land.

In the various occupied countries, this process has developed differently. It is of course furthest advanced among the Poles and Serbs who have been transformed into veritable slave nations under German rule. But in other oppressed countries the development is in the same direction. Socially, the weight of the bourgeoisie in all the oppressed nations of Europe has indubitably declined; the social weight of the toilers, especially of the workers, has increased. The objective premises for the hegemony of the proletariat in the struggle for national liberation have become more favorable.

Things are not so simple with regard to the subjective conditions. Without a doubt, events have contributed to undermining the naive national illusions that played so great a role in 1918. In 1918, the majority of the “liberated” nations imagined that the newly-conquered national independence was guaranteed forever. Since then experience has shown that so long as the exploiting system remains, no people can consider its national freedom secure. The Poles can now see that their country must again and again become – so long as the imperialist world exists – the European war arena with all the dreadful devastation that follows. The same holds true of Belgium and Holland. The Czechs have been taught by history that in the imperialist world they have only the choice between the foreign yoke and the bloody struggle for national freedom every twenty years. Even such nations which have lived until now at the periphery of Europe and felt themselves secure in their neutrality, like the Norwegians and the Danes, see themselves being drawn irresistibly into the vortex of the imperialist struggles. And even the great French nation, which could no longer imagine a threat to its national independence, now feel on its body the dangers of the imperialist system to its very existence. Everyone can now see that without the organization of Europe and of the whole world, no people is assured against the constant danger of the loss of its national freedom. Even the governments-in-exile must take into account the fact that nobody believes any longer in the guaranteed existence of independent nations in the present world: the Polish and the Czech, the Yugoslav and the Greek foreign governments already have concluded pacts on federative union of their countries. That these “regional federations’ do not solve the problem and that, given the imperialist system, they only represent alliances for future wars, will, however, be pretty clear in spite of all Atlantic Charters. Thus the idea becomes more accessible to the peoples that only an all-embracing socialist federation of equal peoples, in other words, that only socialism can guarantee their national freedom.

On the other hand, to be sure, the terrible oppression of the peoples by the Nazis, in the absence of a German proletarian movement, has conjured up a terrific national hatred directed indiscriminately against all Germans. To overcome it will be one of the hardest tasks of the coming socialist movement.

Socialism Alone Can Bring Freedom

The greatest obstacle to the transference of the struggle for national liberation to the rails of the general socialist struggle is certainly the lack of an organized labor movement.

However, nothing is gained by lamentations about it. The task of creating such a movement in the course of the struggle for national liberation is certainly difficult, complicated, dangerous. But there is no other road. The proletarian movement cannot grow up somewhere on the sidelines in silence, It can take shape only in the midst of the struggle that moves ihe masses. At the present time, that is the struggle for democratic demands and for national liberation. Finally, history teaches that every proletarian mass movement up to now arose in the struggle for democratic demands: the first labor movement with a mass character in Europe, the movement of the English Chartists, in the struggle for the democratic reform of Parliament; the parties of the Second International in the struggle for general, equal and secret suffrage; the Russian social democracy, the Bolshevik party included, in the struggle for the overthrow of Czarism and for the democratic revolution. These experiences, also, lead constantly to underscoring the importance of the struggle for democratic demands.

In summary: the present struggle of the oppressed nations for their national liberation is essentially a just, progressive struggle for democratic demands. It can be exploited by the imperialists and put at their service. It can also, however, contribute to the regeneration of the labor movement, and should the latter acquire hegemony in this struggle, become the powerful lever for the liberation of the world from all imperialism and all class exploitation.

The oppressed nations today constitute four-fifths of humanity. If the proletariat of the ruling imperialist countries allies itself with them and this force attacks the imperialists who are now cutting each other to pieces in a life-and-death struggle, humanity certainly has a good chance of freeing itself of exploitation and oppression. It is the task of the socialists to show the masses this possibility, this perspective, to explain to them the connection of the struggle for socialism with the struggle for all-sided democracy and for the liberation of all peoples. Especially is this needed in the United States, where the struggle for political democracy has played no decisive rôle in the development of the working class, where the national struggle in the European sense is unknown, and where, consequently, the understanding of these questions among the broad masses has hitherto been slight.

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