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The New International, March 1943


The Road to Socialism

A Political Resolution of the Workers Party


From The New International, Vol. IX No. 3, March 1943, pp. 70–75.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The developments of the war in its fourth year make it possible to reiterate our analysis of the war and to extend it.

The past half year has witnessed the rude upsetting of the myth of German fascist irresistibility and invincibility created in the early stages of the war. Both in Russia and in Africa, the Axis has suffered heavy blows, from which it cannot easily or quickly recover. Neither Berlin nor Rome speaks any longer of an early victory, in so far as they speak of victory at all. The Axis leaders now hold forth to the masses the perspective of averting defeat by standing firmly at their defensive positions, regardless of the cost in men and material, regardless of the suffering. First step in achieving this modest goal is a new, super-totalitarian mobilization of human resources. Next step is to accustom the masses, the Germans primarily, to the idea of foregoing any thought of enjoying the fruits of past conquests until the Axis has succeeded in outstaying the Allies, which means in practice an indefinite postponement. A decisive military victory such as the Axis originally expected in the war is now more than ever a bloodstained fantasy.

The extremely limited character of the Hitlerite “dynamism” which so terrified and disoriented all sorts of people in the first two years of the war, emphasizes the comparative ease with which the Axis regimes could be exploded out of power, right in their own homelands, by a revolutionary opponent, able and anxious to appeal sincerely to the desire for peace, security and plenty which animates the populations of Germany and Italy as much as it does of the countries of the Allies. But that is precisely what democratic imperialism is neither able nor willing to do. The significance of its military victory over Germany is not lost upon the people of that country. In fact, Hitlerism is able, particularly in periods of military setbacks, to exploit the fears of the population with the greatest cunning and to the full, for it has no difficulty in pointing out what would be the concrete effects of a victory by the other side, precisely in terms of the people’s desire for peace, security and plenty. The fall of Hitlerism as a result of an internal collapse therefore does not seem to be imminent, even though it is absolutely inevitable at a later stage in the development of the situation.

The decline – if not the complete disappearance – of prospects of a military victory by the Axis, has produced a corresponding rise in confidence that a military victory by the Allies is not only sure but may be expected soon. Such conclusions are, fundamentally, not more substantially warranted than were the widespread early opinions about an imminent Axis triumph. The military position of the Allies has undoubtedly been strengthened at several highly important points; in any case, nowhere has it been weakened in the past six months. The tremendous weight of American economic power is beginning to make itself felt, and, provided there is no drastically unfavorable turn in the casualties suffered from submarine warfare, it will be felt more heavily in the period ahead. But there is a long and bloody road between halting any further progress of the already far-advanced Axis or even between cutting off some of its far-away extremities, and striking the final fatal blows which could bring the military struggle to a conclusion. Hitler is not only still in physical possession of the whole continent (except for a handful of doubtful “neutrals”), but also still has a highly-trained armed force as large as, if not larger than, that of the Allies, has the very substantial economic resource of the continent at his command, plus the organizing skill of a modern imperialist power and a complete absence of scruples about reducing millions upon millions of subjected peoples to the position of mechanized slaves.

On the other side of the world, Japanese imperialism still remains basically unshaken, and differs from Germany largely in that it has not yet suffered a fraction of its losses in the war.

It has not even had its Stalingrad or its Tripoli, and to drive it out of one little island at the outermost extreme of its Pacific conquests required exactly one-half a year of unrelenting struggle. Also, just as the Allied, primarily the American economic-productive position has improved with relation to Germany, so has the economic-productive position of Japan improved with relation to the United States and England. With the military and political instruments at the disposal of the Allies, victory in the field over the two main partners of the Axis is not to be counted in weeks, or even in months, but rather in years – if the unwarranted assumption is made that a military victory by either side will take place before the revolutionary forces of the masses burst out, to put an end to the war. As for the prospects of an Axis victory, they are now, practically speaking, out of the question.

Politics and the Military Situation

Furthermore, while the military position of the Allies has been improved in recent months, their political position has grown worse to a much greater degree. The relationship between these two positions is of decisive importance in the question of revolutionary socialist perspectives for Europe and the rest of the world. What the ruling class in every warring country speaks of as “morale” is the extent to which the masses accept, either actively and enthusiastically or tacitly and cynically, its leadership, its war program and its war aims, and therefore the extent to which the proletariat foregoes its own class position, class interests and the struggle to defend them, in the name of “national unity.” When, therefore, the ruling class speaks of a “declining morale” or a “low morale” in the country, it means that the active or passive support that the masses have given its leadership and its war program – and by that token to the war itself – is diminishing; which means, in turn, that the proletariat is becoming more disposed to press its own class program free from the myth of “national unity,” i.e., subordination to the ruling class and its interests; which means again, in turn, that the proletariat is moving in the direction of reestablishing its class independence, with all the revolutionary implications in that process.

The deterioration of the Allied political position is directly connected with the improved military position. By deteriorated political position, two things are meant. First, is the worsening of political relations among the partners in the Allied camp. Second, is the worsening of the political standing of the Allied camp in the eyes of the masses, affecting each of the partners to one extent or another, but not uniformly.

Several examples may be given of the second case:

The improvement of the Allied military position in the Southwest Pacific and on the India-Burma frontier means, at the least, a postponement of an immediate Japanese invasion threat to Australia, at one end, and India, at the other. Breathing a little easier now, British imperialism does not hesitate to dispense with even that half-polite attitude it showed the Indian nationalists about a year ago when it feared imminent attack by the Japanese advancing through Burma. The people of India cannot help but perceive that the imperialists are “soft” or brutally contemptuous, i.e., their usual selves, in almost direct dependence upon the degree to which their imperialist positions are militarily imperilled.

Similarly in China, England and the United States have graciously agreed to abandon their extraterritorial privileges in the Chinese ports and cities no longer in Chinese hands. Apart from this empty gesture, Anglo-American imperialism is now holding the Chungking regime to the position of doorkeeper till the day when substantial imperialist forces can enter the country. Chungking is given the absolute minimum of material required to prevent Japan from overrunning the rest of China, and if more material is sent in the coming period it will be only because that absolute minimum has not been reached. However, material in sufficient quantities to engage the Japanese invader successfully may be expected in China only when the international military position of Anglo-American imperialism is such as to enable it to send into the country enough armed forces of its own to use, or direct the use of, the material in a way that will assure victory over Japan by the benevolent imperialist masters of China, but not by a China free of all imperialist domination. Meanwhile, the Chinese national bourgeoisie, in so far as it is represented by Chungking, plays the role of Horatio at the bridge for Washington and London. More and more Chinese cannot fail to see that their country has been reduced in the war to the position of vassal in the camp of imperialism. As a result, the political prestige of Anglo-American imperialism has unmistakably declined among the people. Increasingly, the masses will see that there is only one road to the achievement of genuine national independence – a complete break with their imperialist “friends” and the national bourgeoisie that serves them.

Similarly, in France and the rest of Europe as a result of the African victories of the Allies. The lessons of the Darlanist-Giraudist policy are undoubtedly trickling down, slowly and steadily, into the fighting, underground groups and movements on the Nazi-ruled continent. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the illusions about the character of the war conducted by democratic imperialism have been anything but strengthened as a result of what has happened following the African landings. How many of the millions among whom these illusions were prevalent are now saying to themselves: We wanted an Anglo-American victory in the hope not only of defeating the German oppressor but also of settling accounts with our own “native” Lavals, Peyroutons and Quislings and other fascists and reactionaries; but is the hoped-for victory going to mean that they will impose upon us a dozen different Peyroutons differing only in national origin? Undoubtedly, great numbers are now thinking in these terms, and this fact signifies the first step in the direction of complete independence from all imperialist war camps, that is, a big step in the reawakening of revolutionary class consciousness among the European masses.

Russia’s Part in the War

Similarly with regard to the rôle that Russia is playing in the war. Here the reaction among the masses is not as simple as in the other instances, but much more complicated. Nevertheless, the trend is in the same, or rather in a parallel direction. With the first substantial (though by no means yet conclusive) victories over the Germans, the Stalinist bureaucracy is regaining its self-confidence. With regained self-confidence comes the release of repressed appetites and ambitions, and increased boldness in revealing aims and claims which the exigencies of yesterday’s utter dependency upon the Anglo-American partners made it expedient to keep in the background. Obviously inspired by Moscow, trial balloons are already being sent up to see what the reaction would be to the demand that the bureaucracy will most certainly put forward, as soon as the military and political situations permit it, for its own imperialist, expansionist claims, in Eastern and Southern Europe and in the Orient. To think that, in case of an Allied victory, the Stalinist regime will modestly declare that it has driven the invader off its territory, as of August 1939, and that it is quite content with the restoration of those territorial boundaries, is to be utterly preposterous. The prestige of the Stalinist bureaucracy (also, of the Russians “in general,” so to speak) has risen greatly among wide sections of the people, as a result of the generally unexpected powers of resistance and even counter-offensive that the Russian army has shown. But the feelers put out to test the reaction to Stalinist annexationist demands in Europe are already having unfavorable effects upon the prestige of Stalinism. The effects vary and will vary in different countries, depending upon the level of consciousness and degree of class independence of the working class, upon the economic and political situation of the peasantry, etc. Thus, in the more backward agricultural countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, especially in those wherein hangover of feudalism press down heavily on the agricultural population, the prestige of Stalinism has not declined but has even tended to rise, although even in these countries the trend is not by any means uniformly favorable to the resurrection and extension of Stalinist influence. However, in the more advanced countries, and especially in those countries where the labor movement has not been depressed by a series of heavy class defeats, the trend is and will generally be in the other direction, namely, the rejection of Stalinism and growing disillusionment with its “working class” and “emancipatory” pretensions.

Closely connected with the rôle of Russia in the war is the first case mentioned above, namely, the deterioration of the political relations among the Allies. In adversity, that is, during the period of the war when the tide was running in favor of the Axis, the Allied partners bent over backward to impress the masses not only with their democratic aims and intentions but above all with the fact that these aims were held in common, that the Allied were “United Nations.” In other words, with their backs to the wall, they did all they could to repress the irrepressible antagonisms dividing each against all, or at least to push them into the shaded background. As the tide begins to run in their favor, the antagonisms rise once more to the surface, for their is not the same need as before to keep them submerged. The examples are numerous.

There is the scarcely muted struggle between British and United States imperialism for control of the various allies, sub-allies and potential allies, as part of the struggle for control of the terms of the “peace” that is to come once victory is assured. The sordid, unprincipled jockeying for position, the coolness with which yesterday’s democratic-protesters seek, beg for and consummate alliances with the most sinister and discredited cliques in the camp of reaction in general, and even in the camp of fascism in particular, has not escaped the attention of the masses, who have never been over-enthusiastic about the war. But above all it has led to increasingly open rifts among the Allies. England and the United States vie with each other for exclusive patronage of the French clique which is to govern the France of tomorrow. Less spectacular but nonetheless lively are the rifts and wire-pulling and behind-the-secenes machinations in other countries, with other émigré or resident groups: Poles, Czechs, South Slavs, all sorts of Austrian, Italian, German and other pretenders and claimants to sub-power after the hoped-for Allied victory.

At the same time, both England and the United States face an ally who does not hesitate to exploit differences between both of them, but follows as much of an independent policy as any of the partners in either of the two big war alliances tries to follow. The relationships with this partner, Russia, go from bad to worse (from the standpoint of Anglo-American imperialism) as the military situation goes from good to better (from the standpoint of Stalinist imperialism), and vice-versa. As the fear of a German victory diminishes, the demands of the Stalinist regime grow in scope and intensity of presentation, and the apprehensions of Anglo-American imperialism mount correspondingly. Moscow wants the annexation of at least part of Finland, the three small Baltic countries, Eastern Poland, Bessarabia and parts of Rumania, at least part of Manchuria, not less than three of the five northern provinces of China – or a “protectorate” over these lands which is either the equivalent of annexation or a prologue to it – to say nothing of “access to the Mediterranean” at Turkey’s expense, “access to the Persian Gulf” at Iran’s expense, etc. This is not only indicated by the course of Russia’s foreign policy, but has already been made fairly clear by the apologists and spokesmen for the Stalin regime in the U.S.A. The achievement of this program would make Russia a formidable rival to the capitalist-imperialist powers on the European continent and in Asia. This fact is realized, beyond a doubt, both in Washington and in London; and also in Ankara, which requires constant assurances about Russia from her allies, in the Polish émigré-government circles, which are split right down the middle on the question of Russia’s postwar demands, in those Finnish circles which want to withdraw from the war with Russia but fear the consequences, and elsewhere.

British and American Relations

England’s aim in the war is the preservation of the British Empire from disintegration, the restoration of a balance-of-power on the European continent in which no country shall become so strong that England can be dispensed with as supreme arbiter of the Old World, and the elimination – if not the elimination then the mutual cancelling out – of the threats to its power emanating from imperialist Germany and Stalinist Russia. The elimination or reduction of the power of its American imperialist rival is recognized by England as utopian, at least for the whole next period.

The aim of the United States in the war is the establishment of its hegemony not on this or that continent alone, but throughout the world. This time it looks upon the perspective of world hegemony as far more real than in the First World War. The change in reality of perspective – in the mind of American imperialism – is symbolized by the fact that, unlike 1917–1918, American armed forces now occupy posts on every continent of the earth, and not just in Europe.

Neither England nor the United States can think of realizing its war aims if Russia is to achieve the goal which grows clearer in outline every day. To dictate the “peace” terms, however, requires winning the war, and that in the most literal sense of the word. Bourgeois commentators in this country are already making pointed and not heavily-veiled references to the situation and its presumed remedy. Winning the war means nothing less than putting into the field of actual and direct combat an armed force capable of dealing the decisive blow against Germany. This does not mean Africa or Iceland; it means millions upon millions of soldiers, with corresponding equipment, fighting at or near the very heart of Europe itself, that is, of Germany.

To think that Anglo-American imperialism will turn this task over to Russia (assuming the latter is in a position to perform the task!) is completely fantastic. To win the war against Germany, and to reap most of the harvest of the victory – that is, to reduce the Russian share of the harvest to the lowest fraction – the invasion of Europe is mandatory upon Anglo-American imperialism, and there is no alternative. In this case, as in the case of all decisive military developments, political considerations will be decisive. If the situation permits two opinions on the matter, then only in relation to the important political question of where the invasion line will start and whither it will move. It is questionable if, in the present circumstances, the Stalinist regime is quite as vigorous in demanding a “second front” as it was about a year ago. But if it is to come, and come it must, there is no doubt that Stalin would infinitely prefer that the Anglo-American invasion be launched through France, Belgium, Holland or at most Norway – that is, as far from the Russian “sphere of influence” as possible – than through Turkey-Bulgaria or Crete-Greece, that is, along a line that would in reality drive a wedge between Russia and Germany, and place the Anglo-American partner in a better “physical” position to deny the Russian partner its claims to the booty of Eastern and Southern Europe.

Thus the situation dictates, above all to the United States, the policy of active, direct physical intervention of the continent for the purpose of coming to grips with the German military power, and all that flows from this policy and is required for its execution. Required first of all is an army of tremendous size. Some of the petty-bourgeois politicians in the United States cannot see why a ten-twelve million man army is needed to win the war, in view of the “manpower available from our Russian and Chinese allies.” They do not understand that what is involved is not primarily winning the war “for the Allies,” but winning the war and the “peace” for American imperialism, whose ambition is the domination of the entire world, and not an equal sharing of this domination with other powers.

The “United Nations,” therefore, are united on two points and on nothing else. First, they jointly oppose a victory by Germany and Japan. Secondly, they are united in their awareness of the threat that the coming proletarian revolution presents to all of them, and in their determination to prevent it from materializing or, if that proves impossible, to crush it when it does materialize. On every other important political question, and particularly on the question of their respective or joint war aims, they not only display a hostility among themselves, but a hostility that is bound to grow with every military advance they make either as separate nations or as allies. The important fact, which so completely belies the rhetorical pretensions of the “democratic” Allies, will also be steadily assimilated by the masses of the people, and the necessary lessons drawn from it.

This whole analysis may be summed up, so far as the political perspectives in Europe are concerned, in the posing of the question: Which is more likely to come first, the decisive military defeat of the Axis by the Allied powers, or the first of a series of revolutions on the continent? The most important signs point to the second alternative. There is no serious ground for pessimism about the world revolution, for it can truly be said about the period ahead: “There will be no lack of revolutionary situations” and of revolutions, regardless of what form the uprising of the masses may initially take (”national revolutions,” “democratic revolutions,” etc.). Hitler’s “New Order” is criss-crossed and ripped by the violent hatred which the masses feel toward the new regime. Hitler’s “New United Europe” has been established in such a manner as to revive in the most intense manner all sorts of dormant and even outdated national-separatist passions, which emphasize the reactionary character of Hitlerism all over again in that they signify a further postponement of the indispensably needed economic and political unification of the continent. These nationalist passions, however, are most often a superficial translation of the deep-seated yearnings of the masses, the worker in the first place, for a fundamental and progressive social change. No one understands this better than the Axis leaders on the one side and the leaders of the Allies on the other. They can be counted on to play their counter-revolutionary r61e in the days to come in Europe. But they will have occasion to play it only because a revolution will confront them that threatens their very social existence.

America Fights for World Hegemony

No power is involved in such world-wide and decisive commitments in the war as the United States. Victory over Germany alone, to say nothing of victory in the Pacific area, requires a mobilization of forces such as the United States never before witnessed or even dreamed of. In analyzing this mobilization and its consequences in the country, it must be borne in mind that the political and economic changes that have taken place in the U.S.A. in the past year or two are the product of only half – if that much – of the reorganization and mobilization that must finally be accomplished if America is to fulfill its “manifest destiny.” In other words, complete conversion to total war economy on a scale practiced by Germany or Russia has not yet been attained in the United States, although feverish efforts continue to be made in that direction. This means, further, therefore, that the blows and deprivations suffered by the working class in the first period of the war will be redoubled in the coming period.

One by one, the phenomena produced by Hitlerism’s transformation of German life for war purposes, and so uproariously and condescendingly sneered at by bourgeois democrats and reformists in this country, are being made part of the daily life of the United States. Hitler’s promise of a “people’s car” disappeared; in the United States the real people’s car disappeared. Hitler’s promised war against finance capital was transformed in life into a war to extirpate small business and all middle-class elements for the exclusive advantage of the super-monopolists. In the United States, the war requirements have given hectic force to the process of ruining the urban middle classes (to a much smaller but nonetheless important extent also the rural middle classes) which grows more violent the louder Mr. Wallace sings of the future American middle-class paradise. Rationing goes hand in glove with the black market, just as it did and probably still does in Germany; and no newspaper or statesman has denounced the Goeringian formula of “Cannon, not butter,” for more than a year – nor is likely to do so for more than another year.

Fascism is the road to totalitarianism in economy and politics. It is likewise true that progress in the direction of such totalitarianism is paving the road to fascism.

In the United States, this has already manifested itself in the first stages of the process. The first stages are marked by the following: inability of the bourgeois-democratic regime to satisfy the demands of any of the classes; growing irritation of all classes; increasing tendency to wipe out the middle classes and the growth of reactionary moods among them; growth of reactionary moods and their open expression by the bourgeoisie; further decline in the parliamentary system and wide extension of government by decree; spread of anti-Semitism.

All these tendencies could be seen reflected politically in the last national elections. The bourgeoisie did not hesitate to put forward its most recationary candidates, running on openly anti-New Deal and reactionary programs without being universally rebuked by the electorate. In addition, isolationism, i.e., bourgeois-reactionary “opposition to war,” did not prove at all fatal to those candidates who had espoused it before Pearl Harbor. The middle classes generally voted for conservatism and reaction, in protest not so much against the war “as such” as against the consequences of the war as they have already felt them. The working class, at least wide sections of it, absented themselves from the polls because in most cases there was not enough political difference between contenders for office to arouse the class interest of the workers, even though that class interest is still in an early stage of development. The result of the elections was an enormous encouraging of bourgeois reaction, and the most reactionary Congress in generations of American history.

Yet, nothing could be more erroneous than to conclude from these facts that the perspective of working-class struggle and development in the United States is dark. A contrary conclusion is not only possible, but is indicated by many considerations.

American Labor in the War

First, it is gradually becoming clear to the innermost consciousness of the people that the carrying on of this war will require stupendous outlays, in terms of money, of physical effort, of sacrifice of lives, and of sacrifice of standards of living. Not even the first serious steps can be taken toward winning world imperialist hegemony on the basis of the comparatively insignificant efforts and contributions made by the United States in the First World War.

Secondly, the bourgeoisie, emboldened by its successes in economic and political life, and its appetite whetted by the possibilities of further successes in both spheres, has embarked, as is evident from the trends of the new Congress alone, on an all-out policy of fettering the labor movement and of unloading the full, enormous war burden on the shoulders of the workers. The concessions already made by a criminally capitulatory labor leadership have only stimulated reaction’s demands for more blood.

Thirdly, the New Deal, i.e., bourgeois reformism, while it is far from crushed or nullified, is nevertheless in steady retreat before the pressure of bourgeois reaction. The Democratic Party machine is almost entirely out of hand today, not only in most of the Southern states but in the cardinal state of New York. If it does not come out openly for the destruction of all that remains of the New Deal, it is for three reasons: 1. it is accomplishing the equivalent of its aim piece-meal; 2. it cannot, at least not yet, break publicly with the nominal leader of the party and the war leader of the country; 3. it fears the loss of all labor support, with the consequent possibility of an independent labor party, which would guarantee its overwhelming defeat in the coming elections.

In face of this growth in the strength and self-confidence of bourgeois reaction, the working class has repeatedly demonstrated its militant mood, it readiness to take class action, its unwillingness to retreat without a fight and confidence that if it does fight it will not have to retreat. The American working class is neither in a depressed nor a defeated mood. Neither has it been swept off its feet by chauvinistic propaganda or by the demagogical appeals for “national unity,” i.e., for docile acceptance of the insults and the iniquitous demands of capitalist reaction. It is still “for the war,” in the sense of wanting to have victory on the Allied side and not on the side of the Axis, but at the same time it is steadily losing whatever faith it had in the imperialist aims of the war. It has already shown in many ways that it refuses to have the war burden loaded upon its shoulders, that it refuses to let the war be used as a convenient pretext for the strengthening of the economic and political power of the capitalists at the expense of the economic and political power of the workers. In spite of the “no-strike” pledge one-sidedly and cravenly given by the union leaders, the workers have not hesitated to use the strike weapon in the extreme cases – and they have been numerous – when they could get their demands granted in no other way. In spite of the bars put up by the capitulating leadership, the workers have broken through in many significant cases. Where this leadership has made the slightest gesture in letting down these bars, the workers have responded with an alacrity and spirit that reveals the true mood of the workers at present.

We reject the false and essentially tail-endist and opportunist theory that the American workers are not in motion, are in a state of apathy, and will not move in defense of their rights and standards in the coming period. The contrary is the case. The extent of the higher-wages movement of the American workers, the persistency with which they press their demands in the face of blustering capitalist threats, official government admonitions and belly-crawling labor leaders, their obvious readiness to engage in aggressive mass action to resist the capitalist offensive, is positively sensational, considering the war situation. The movement is in fact so strong and widespread that even the most conservative of labor leaders find themselves compelled to appear at the head of the movement for higher wages (which is still essentially a movement for maintaining wages at previous levels, considering the high tax rates and the rise in living costs). Whoever argues that the American workers are today at rest, that they are not moving, will not move in the near future, and cannot be made to move by militant leadership and guidance; whoever argues that “when” they move, “we will not stand in their way,” deserves a position as a benevolent trade union bureaucrat, but does not deserve the name of revolutionary socialist.

The very boldness and thoroughness of reaction’s avowed campaign to fetter and overload labor, to wipe out its economic and political gains, must produce a counter-reaction among the workers. Signs of this counter-reaction are multiplying. They can be seen not only among the rank and file workers but even in the labor bureaucracy. It does not dare stand by idly while its very basis is wiped out or crippled beyond easy repair. Neither can it take the risk of at least sections of the workers jumping over its head and taking matters into their own ranks, i.e., taking a radical, independent course. The workers demand action to stop the inroads being made into their living standards and their political rights. Given the fact that the road to economic action has been studded with great formal obstacles by the bourgeoisie, and the fact that “Roosevelt’s party” is in the hands of open reaction (a fact recognized by the workers in the last election in the form of mass abstention from voting, except in New York, where they gave a sensational vote to the A.L.P.) creates a strong groundwork for the formation of an independent labor party, that is, for working-class political action.

Tasks of the Workers Party

The main tasks of the party in this situation are clearly indicated. The agitation and propaganda of the party, be it in its press, from its platforms, or through the activities of individual members, may be summed up most briefly in five slogans: “Soak the rich for the war,” “Workers’ control of rationing and production,” “Win back the right to strike,” “Form a Labor Party,” “For a Workers’ Government.” The platform of the party which appears regularly in Labor Action is only an amplification or supplementation of these slogans.

By “Soak the rich for the war,” we mean to convey the idea that it is only right that the “rich” (the bourgeoisie) should pay for the war, first, because it is their war after all and second, because they can, in general, carry economic burdens more easily than the workers, and third, because the reduction of the economic strength of the bourgeoisie diminishes their capacity to promote political reaction, i.e., fascist and semi-fascist movements. We mean to convey, even more concretely, the idea that the tax burden must be lifted from the workers and put upon the bourgeoisie.

By “Win back the right to strike,” we mean to emphasize labor’s urgent need of regaining the indispensable weapon which its leaders surrendered to the war machine, leaving labor at the mercy of the capitalist and the labor boards dominated by them. Without the right to strike, labor is in the poorest position to enforce its legitimate and at present still extremely modest demands about wages. Without that right, labor cannot effectively meet the capitalist offensive, cannot effectively carry out its present defensive battle, cannot effectively resist the organized efforts to unload the main burden of the war upon its shoulders.

By “Workers’ control of rationing and production,” we mean to crystallize the justified suspicions that the workers feel toward the rationing regulations and machinery set up by the government, and to crystallize it in a progressive, proletarian sense. There can be no democratic control and regulation of the badly needed institution of rationing commodities unless the workers, the working-class housewives, the working-class organizations are in charge. They represent the only force sufficiently interested and sufficiently organized to put a stop to iniquities, injustices and to the black market. However, control of rationing is inseparably connected with control of production. At present, the masses must take the word of the capitalist politicians, bureaucrats and industrialists. The masses cannot even decide what must be rationed, because they do not have an inside picture of production and they cannot have it without control of production.

By “Form a Labor Party” we mean to emphasize the fundamental, revolutionary idea that the working-class must break completely its dependency upon and association with the bourgeois parties, and form a class political organization of their own whose ultimate aim is to put the working class in power. All that the party has said before about the reactionary consequences of the failure of labor to form a powerful, mass working-class political organization of its own is true twice over today. Party propaganda and agitation must be redoubled on this score.

By the slogan “For a Workers’ Government,” we mean to convey our adherence to the idea of the need and desirability of a revolutionary reorganization of society, of a genuine new order of peace, plenty, security and freedom, to the idea that not even the first step can be taken in this direction until the working class, as a class, has taken state power into its hands. In turn, the formulation of such a slogan requires, on our part, the constant association of the idea of a government of, for and by the workers with the ideal of socialism, for to hide this inseparable connection would mean appearing before the workers as opportunists and tricksters who, at best, are willing to lead the workers forward step by step without educating them politically.

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