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The New International, July 1942


Against National Oppression

Resolution of the Workers Party

(October 1941)


From New International, Vol. VIII No. 6, July 1942, pp. 175–176.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


These conclusions are of great importance in appraising the international perspectives of the social revolution. The notion that wherever Hitler sets foot the very possibility of popular movements, much less revolutions, is automatically wiped out, has nothing in common with our thinking but is typical of the political mythology of the democratic intelligentsia and the turncoats from radicalism who turn to stone at the mere picture of a Panzer division. The fact is that nowhere has Hitlerism been able to establish a regime in the countries that it has conquered which has even the outward solidity of the regime in Germany. None of the Quisling or semi-Quisling governments set up by Germany enjoys the slightest mass popularity and even such “old” and “established” regimes as Mussolini’s have had to be given military and police support at home by Hitler. In other words, all the indications available to us show that Germany has been and will continue to be unable to consolidate its victories in the conquered territories on even a remotely peaceful and “normal” basis, but rather keep maintaining a rigid, intolerably burdensome and exhaustive police regime wherever it raises its flag.

The growing restlessness and even guerrilla warfare in the occupied countries, particularly in Poland, Serbia, Norway and France, contain the promise of mass popular and even revolutionary movements in the visible future, and no matter how bloodily Hitlerism may seek to suppress them in their initial stages or in their first open attempts, it is out of these irrepressible movements that will arise the forces that will sound the death knell of the imperialist war-mongers and oppressors. Considering the circumstances in which these movements are arising and developing, it would be a fatal mistake on the part of the revolutionary internationalists to ignore them or fail to influence them. These movements are so deeply rooted in the conditions and thoughts of the masses, almost all of whom detest their foreign oppressor and some of whom are even shedding or have already shed the prevailing illusions about their pretended “liberators” in the camp of Anglo-American imperialism, that is, the “liberators” who continue to exploit and oppress the colonial peoples of the world as they have done for decades.

Bourgeois Control of National Movements

It is inevitable, particularly in light of the state of the labor movement today, that these elementary popular movements of discontentment and rebellion should take petty bourgeois and patriotic forms in the first stages of their development. It is not surprising that the imperious exigencies of war should even impel Anglo-American imperialism to encourage and even initiate such movements (as by the “V” campaign); or that these movements should tend at the outset to come largely under the influence of imperialism.

But because of the very nature and the inherent possibilities of these heroic popular movements, this is only added reason why the Marxists in every country must not only pay the most detailed attention to their progress but seek, if possible, in the very midst of them, to influence them and direct them along proletarian and internationalist lines, to tree them from the reactionary grip of the imperialists who seek to dominate them, and to link them with the labor and revolutionary movements in the countries where the latter are still able to operate more freely. Above all must we realize the rôle of Stalinism in attempting to lead these movements away from revolutionary struggle toward reaction.

For the Victory of the Third Camp

This task, which is inseparably connected with the victory of the Third Camp in the war – the victory of the workers, peasants and colonial peoples – cannot be accomplished by a disdainful or doctrinaire ignoring of these movements because of the primitive political state in which they are now to be found. Neither can it be accomplished by abandoning the independent class line of the revolutionary proletariat and uniting with the impotent and perfidious bourgeois democrats in exile who pretend to be the chosen representatives of the suffering peoples and who aim to keep the conspiratorial movements within imperialist, pro-war channels. Quite the contrary. It is only by keeping intact our independent class program and organization, the Workers Party and the Fourth International; it is only by relentlessly exposing and combating Stalinist treachery, the Beneses, de Gaulles, Sikorskys and their ilk that we can hope to influence these movements and help guide them to a struggle for true freedom and peace.

At the same time and especially with an eye toward the future, we must intensify our propaganda against the war aims of the democratic imperialists. They have already announced (Roosevelt and Churchill in the Charter of the Atlantic) that they intend to establish their “peace” by means of a European and world police regime, aimed not only at keeping their imperialist rivals under heel, but at suppressing the inevitable popular democratic and revolutionary movements that are sure to arise with arms in hand at the end of the war, if not before it ends. The masses must thus prepare to resist, under their own flag, not only the super-Brest-Litovsk “peace” of Axis imperialism, but the super-Versailles “peace” of Allied imperialism.

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