This work was translated by David Broder. Reprinted here with the permission from the Alliance for Workers Liberty website.
THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS
A new and decisive phase of the Second World War has begun. Anglo-American capital has launched its troops on the offensive on the European continent. With 4,000 warships, 13,000 planes and half a million soldiers they have begun landings on the French Atlantic coast.
“We are ready for all eventualities” lied the Nazi press, trumpeting itself as ever. They are indeed prepared: for a torrent of military disasters. The German military machine will be forced back, more or less slowly, since American war production alone is much greater than German production. The “Allies” could have finished off the war long ago had they so wished. But the British and American capitalists—JUST LIKE THE GERMANS—want to drag out the war as much as possible. The more the arms trade rumbles on and the billions in profits stay at a high level, the more they delay the post-war crisis of declining markets. The more Germany and Russia tear chunks out of each other, the better! The more the German and Russian workers spill their blood, the better!
But happy times for the capitalist vultures are coming to an end. The spring offensive has taken the Red Army to the German border. Its next advance may well take it inside Germany itself, causing the collapse of imperialist Germany. Then American and British capital would have to move as quickly as possible to best position themselves for the carve-up.
But the significance of the “second front” does not stop there.
This front is at the same time THE FRONT OF COUNTER-REVOLUTION! The bridge-head between Le Havre and Cherbourg is the bridge-head against the European revolution! The coming collapse of German imperialism will pose in the most threatening fashion the spectre of proletarian revolution in Germany and across Europe; a revolution much greater than any before.
That is why these gentlemen are showing their hand.
A few weeks ago British radio outlined the programme of these sorry gentlemen. Now they have finally shown their real face. As they preached about the well-being and freedoms they wanted to gift to humanity after the war, they were secretly preparing their usual method of keeping down the revolutionary popular masses in Europe: bashing them over the head. To prevent “anarchy”, by which they mean the emancipation of the working class, and to defend “order”, by which they mean the capitalist system of exploitation, its wars and its crises, they have created an occupation army and a High Command of civil inspectors “who all know how to make use of a machine-gun”. This plan will be crowned with the establishment of military governments across Europe.
In Germany they want to replace Hitler with Eisenhower, replacing one pest with another .
They know what incredible suffering awaits the masses after the war in destroyed Germany.
They know that the German workers, exploited to the limit, will have to sweat out profits twice over, both for his own exploiters and for foreign capital.
But they also know that the proletariat of Europe will rise up together against the party responsible for its poverty, capital and its lackeys.
They imagine that they will be able to stop this formidable revolution with the same old methods as usual.
That is why they want to replace the Gestapo executioners with a Scotland Yard expeditionary force.
That is why they want to nail our traps shut, tie our hands and impose all the post-war suffering on us .
Faced with this situation Hitlerite propaganda calls on us to hold out and defend ourselves. They have decided to do so themselves.
From Hitler in his headquarters far from the front lines to Goebbels in his bombproof office and Goering in his Marshall’s villa, all the party clique and the officer caste have decided to hold out. They will stay as long as possible, gripping on to the butter dish! To postpone for as long as possible defeat and the terrible moment when they are thrown to the mercy of millions of German workers. They are holding out!
The gentlemen of big capital also have heavy hearts. The Krupp, Boersig and Kloeckner trusts, oiled with the blood of the German workers, are quietly going on at a fast pace and producing great profit. The German banks’ capital has oh-so quietly increased from 21 billion marks in 1939 to 45 billion in 1943. This despite the 100% bluff about 6% dividends and despite the supposed taxes on war profits. With such profits it must be a joy to hold out. German capital does not fear being expropriated by its class brothers on the other side of the water. Wolves do not eat each other. There was no problem in 1918 either. At worst, they will have to share the exploitation of the German workers with their British and American colleagues.
They are holding out!
BUT WHAT OF THE GERMAN SOLDIERS? THE WORKERS IN UNIFORM? THEY DO NOT WANT TO HOLD OUT, AND NOR SHALL THEY!
For almost five years they have been sent into the battlefield or sent abroad, torn away from their families, parents, wives and children and taken from their workplaces. Back home their loved ones have been massacred by bombs, the little property they afforded through their labours has been destroyed and their wives have to do terrible jobs just to get a little to eat and some worthless paper-money. All that for profits for the capitalist hyenas and the empty slogans of their Nazi lackeys.
What is left for the German soldier to defend?
Gestapo terror? The socialism of long journeys on troopships, people’s soup kitchens, overtime at work, working on Sundays, wage cuts, speed-ups, the most shameful capitalist exploitation, militarism, great promises and the Second World War?
So why don’t Hitler and the Krupps, Goebbels and Siemens defend their paradise themselves? We want to go back home!
But if we do not want to fight this hopeless struggle, does that mean that we want to give the reactionary Eisenhower a free ride to Berlin? Hitler or Eisenhower? Are those the only two choices? There does exist a third: workers’ revolution in Germany, Europe and the world, which would kill the capitalist system at its roots and which would put an end to war and crises, and which alone can bring the working masses peace, freedom and bread.
Of course, the British and American bourgeoisie intends to drown this revolution in blood. To do this it will not blush at using the repressive apparatus inherited from German capital, whether that means police, special troops or the old Nazi formations themselves.
But there is a gap in these gentlemen’s register! They have not accounted for the British and American workers.
In the first three months of 1943 the British workers had 200,000 strike days. In the same period this year the figure was almost 2,500,000.
Listen to these figures! Understand what they mean! They are a salute from our class comrades on the other side of the Channel, who are shouting to us “We, British workers, understand each day a little better that the capitalists are not fighting this war to get rid of Hitler and the Gestapo but rather in their own imperialist interests and for profit.”
The British workers have also taken up the struggle against poverty, war and capital. Faced with a proletarian Germany the Churchills and Roosevelts would be keen to unleash the hounds of reaction.
But they would need them to keep down their own workers. The question posed is not: Hitler or Eisenhower, but class="sub" who will defeat Hitler? EISENHOWER OR THE GERMAN PROLETARIAT?
If the German proletariat defeats Hitler before the final military defeat and occupation and establishes its own power across Germany with workers’ and soldiers’ councils, the American and British military cliques would then have to openly show before the eyes of the world proletariat who they really are: not liberators from Hitler’s dictatorship but the executioners of the European revolution and the champions of Anglo-American imperialist military dictatorship. The American and British workers’ march towards revolution would thus make a huge step forward.
THE GERMAN REVOLUTION AS A RESPONSE TO THE ANGLO-AMERICAN INVASION WOULD GIVE THE PROLETARIAT OF GERMANY, EUROPE AND THE WHOLE WORLD A MASSIVE ADVANCE AGAINST WORLD REACTION!
But revolutions do not fall from the sky. They are prepared by innumerable small struggles fought by the revolutionary class. But today there are almost no such struggles in Germany. Struggles over basic demands, for food, for wages, for the most basic rights and freedoms to protest, strike and demonstrate have been crushed by Hitlerite reaction with the bloodiest of terror.
We can only speak one language, the language of weapons
The German workers hold these weapons in their hands already.
But individuals or little units throwing themselves into struggle out of desperation is not very effective. They just make themselves into the disarmed victims of the most brutal of terror. The struggle must be planned and organised, with sufficient size that it can become the signal for revolution across Germany. When the British and Americans invade the revolutionary temperature will reach boiling point. In this situation an uprising by one garrison, in one town or one province, or in one section of the fleet could be the spark which sets off the social explosion.
The time of the Kiel sailors and dockworkers will return!
But this time around the German revolution will be followed by proletarian uprising across Europe !
Therefore the most important slogan now is: ORGANISE TO PREPARE REVOLUTIONARY STRUGGLES!
Form secret cells of three or four people! Bring into these groups all workers who understand the need for revolutionary struggle and want to participate in it! Comrades, you who believe in your unity, form committees for revolutionary struggle!
ON EACH SHIP, IN EACH BARRACKS, IN EACH TRENCH, WE MUST CREATE REVOLUTIONARY CELLS AND COMMITTEES FOR STRUGGLE!
Build links with comrades in other units! Encourage them to form their own cells!
Make contact with the local workers, with the French, Belgian and Dutch workers in the West! Our struggle is a common struggle!
Remain in contact! Do not go into struggle without joint agreement! When struggle breaks out, have the courage to build it as much as possible! Spread news of the struggle by all means to all countries!
As much as we want a repeat of the Kiel days we must not allow the creation of a second Weimar. The workers’ and soldiers’ soviets which at the time of the revolution spread far and wide at home and on the front must not again be dissolved; on the contrary they must be the foundations of workers’ power. But in the struggle for the establishment of workers’ power the revolutionary proletarian party is indispensable. The Second International and the former Third International, the reformists and the Stalinists, are planning, on the orders of world capital and the Moscow bureaucracy, to destroy the proletarian revolution from within, as they have in the past. WE MUST FIGHT THIS PROJECT!
The Fourth International, the Trotskyists in America, Britain and the occupied territories of Europe, are holding fast on the side of the working class in its struggles, despite the terror of the Gestapo and Scotland Yard, and preparing the class for its future revolutionary tasks. In Germany too, revolutionary workers are organising themselves under its banner and are building the centre of a new internationalist communist party.
But all the revolutionary cells and committees for struggle must work with all workers—even if today they are still reformists or Stalinists—who sincerely want to fight the current system to the last. The future course of the revolution, and the struggle itself, will attract all these comrades to our ranks!
The German workers’ response to the British and American capitalists’ invasion must under no circumstances be defence of Hitlerite barbarism! The German workers must respond “à la russe”—not in the manner of Stalin, but that of Lenin and Trotsky. Their slogans are:
REVOLUTIONARY FRATERNISATION WITH THE BRITISH AND AMERICAN SOLDIERS AGAINST THE GERMAN,
BRITISH AND AMERICAN GENERALS AND THEIR CAPITALIST MASTERS!
REVOLUTIONARY FRATERNISATION WITH ALL EUROPEAN WORKERS IN OUR COMMON STRUGGLE!
FOR A WORKERS’ REVOLUTION IN GERMANY, EUROPE AND THE WORLD!
Long live the Soviet Socialist Republic of Germany!
Long live the Soviet United States of Europe!
Long live the Soviet Socialist Republic of the World!
Last updated on 3 August 2008. This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Trotskism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.