From New International, Vol.12 No.7, September 1946, pp.199-200.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.
The soft wings of the dove of peace seem to hover everywhere but over the Paris Conference of the twenty-one powers assembled to deal with, in some fashion or other, the problems of Europe. The witty but cynical cartoonists of the big bourgeois newspapers have found even their imagination taxed to describe the dove’s embarrassment at its rigid exclusion from the atmosphere and agenda of the Luxemburg Palace gathering.
Describe the Conference as you will, there is universal agreement that it will add nothing to the general hopes for a stable peace and European unification. The Conference can only achieve the de jure result of approving the treaties drawn up by the Big Four, and the de facto result of reluctantly recognizing that (a) the Big Four dominate Europe and the world and (b) the boundaries they draw and the deals they make are to be, willy-nilly, the boundaries of the post-war world, while their double-dealing acts are to be the practical plane on which whole nations henceforth must exist.
In what terms are matters discussed, resolutions adopted and motions passed at this Conference? We hear mention only of the “Big Four” or the “Big Five”; the “Anglo-American bloc” or the “Soviet bloc”; the “dominions and colonies of the British Empire” or the “satellites of America and Russia”; deals, swapping and trading, wholesale transfers of territory and peoples without their consultation; reparations in the hundreds of millions; pitiful pleadings from the defeated beggar nations; disputes and denials; attack and counter-maneuver.
Although in session a bare few weeks at this writing, the Paris Conference has underscored two basic points needed for an understanding of current world politics. First, the emergence of Stalinist imperialism as a fearful force that has thrust itself deep into Southern, Northern and East Central Europe. Secondly, the fundamental world division existing today between the Russian bloc of master nation and satellites, and the American bloc of master nation and satellites.
In the orthodox Trotskyist press of the Fourth International (represented in America by the publications of the Socialist Workers Party), the fatal fiction is upheld that Russia is in constant retreat under the combined pressure of “Anglo-American world imperialism,” which is slowly but effectively fastening an encircling noose around Russia’s neck. But even the blind can see the actual relation of forces as reflected in the written treaties and the aggressiveness of the Russian bloc at the Conference. In reality, Russia closes its domination over the Balkans, sets its imperialist standards on the north and central Adriatic, stymies any handling of the Austrian and German questions (until it is prepared to deal with them), encircles the shores and countries of the Baltic Sea and, not least of all, receives economic hegemony to impose its social pattern upon the nations it occupies. Stalin, while making full use of the “encirclement propaganda-ideas,” assisted by the “orthodox” SWP, must find the sad tales of his retreats vastly amusing to his cynical humor. In truth, it is not the “degenerated workers’ state” that is being encircled, but the blank minds of our orthodoxists, encircled by the strangling band of a theory that has become a reactionary fetish.
Despite the wide range of agreement between America and Russia, at the exclusive expense of the conquered nations, it goes without saying; despite the perfect collaboration of these two imperialist monsters when it is a question of blocking democratic procedure at the Conference, or stifling the voice of a small-nation group, it is apparent that the differences between these two countries is unbridgeable and leads inevitably to the Third World War.
The Conference now transpiring will continue and come to a practical conclusion. The treaties, filled with compromises and double-deals, will be concluded and imposed. Not a one of the great powers today is prepared for a sharp break and split with its antagonists. A temporary imperialist truce, with a territorial or bloc stabilization of Europe, will result. It is even conceivable that, with the end of the Conference, there will be a momentary settling down in Europe, with the great imperialist masters in charge of affairs attempting to consolidate, reconstruct, stabilize and organize the spheres allotted to them. The vanquished and small nations can but attempt to live any way they can in the grasp of the giants. An uneasy peace of decay and economic restlessness may settle over Europe.
But the Conference can never settle a single basic question. Germany and its future; Austria and the destiny of Central Europe; the problem of atomic warfare; the planned reconstruction of Europe and its ruined cities; even the question of how the work of the UNRRA shall be continued. The agenda of the Paris session of brigands does not include these topics.
How much shallow and lying propaganda passed out to a world at war for six long years has been stripped to skin and bones at Paris! Where are the defending and championing voices of our liberals anxious to tell us of the “brave new democratic world” that was to be born out of the hell of World War lit Where are the voices of official Stalindom, quick to justify Russian “socialist” participation in the war on the grounds that the “socialist fatherland” would lead the way to a people’s peace! Where are the voices of our ex-Marxists, the fancy intellectuals of Partisan Review (these gentlemen are already busily laying the political groundwork for their support of approaching World War III), the scientific thinkers of the Social-Democratic New Leader? What do the Hooks, Eastmans, Rahvs, etc., have to say about the PRACTICAL outcome of their PRACTICAL war to defeat Hitlerism?
Those of us who opposed the war, on political and ideological grounds, feel more than justified in our unhesitating opposition in watching the revolting spectacle at the gathering of hypocritical “democratic” capitalism, and brutal totalitarian collectivism. This was not, is not, and never will be our world.
Last updated on 6.10.2005