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Workers’ International News, December 1941


Andrew Scott

Stalin’s Diplomacy Leads To Defeats


From Workers’ International News, Vol.4 No.11, December 1941, pp.1-6.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


The Soviet Union

The Soviet Union faces the most gigantic catastrophe in all its history. Whoever will not see this is historically blind either by nature or in the manner of Nelson, that is, deliberately. In the latter category can be placed Churchill and the entire British ruling class. They are fully aware of the disastrous position of the USSR, but for their own class reasons they stubbornly keep the telescope glued to their blind eye.

Blind by nature are those leaders of the working class who fail to see that the first workers’ state faces annihilation, and who conceive of the Anglo-American capitalists uniting forces to save it.

The masses of the workers themselves are being deliberately blind-folded by both groups so that they will not see the real class issues involved in the genuine defence of the Soviet Union: in other words, so that they will not see that this problem, together with all the others raised by the war, can only be solved by independent working class action.

The most urgent task of the day is to bring home to the workers the catastrophic nature of the situation in which the Soviet Union finds itself, and to lead them into the only action that can avert the imminent disaster. If the Soviet Union falls, humanity will have been driven to retrace the greatest step it has ever taken towards true civilisation. World reaction will have made a sinister advance. If it stands and continues to fight and ultimately defeats its enemies, we can say with assurance that mankind will advance with Seven League Boots along the road of progress. The Soviet Union must not fall!

Workers Are Russia’s Real Allies

Nobody will seriously deny nowadays that the Soviet Union cannot prevail in isolation. Help, and the greatest possible measure of help, must come from somewhere. To the question where this help shall come from, two principal answers are being given at the present time. Stalin and the Soviet Bureaucracy, together with the national Communist, Parties, rely for succour on Churchill and Roosevelt. On the other hand, the revolutionary socialists send out the clarion call for the workers of Britain and Europe to take the only action which can avert the threatening catastrophe – struggle to take the state and military power into their own hands and wage a genuine revolutionary war against Nazism and for the defence of the Soviet Union. At the same time they call on the Soviet masses to re-establish the Soviet democracy they enjoyed in the few years after 1917 and make a revolutionary appeal to the German soldiers and workers to join them in smashing Hitler and building the Socialist United States of Europe.

Unless the British, American and European workers, together with those of Germany come to the rescue of the Soviet Union in this way, then it can be stated with absolute certainty that the USSR will inevitably fall. It may fall to Hitler or it may fall to Churchill and Roosevelt, but with the present methods and the present resources it cannot prevail without gaining the active and independent support of the workers of other countries.

Myth of Stalin’s “Smartness”

In Britain this fundamental Marxian truth is denied not only by the ruling class and the Labour leaders but above all by the leaders of the Communist Party. These latter brand as “pro-Nazi” those who assert that Churchill cannot save the Soviet Union and that even if he prevents Hitler taking it, this will only be in order to secure it himself. They also pour out a whole spate of nonsense disguised as “theories” designed to cover up Stalin’s past policies which have led to the present situation and to prove that there is no danger from the direction of Churchill or Roosevelt – because Stalin, together with Dutt, Pollitt, Browder and Foster, are “using” the capitalists. When a militant worker attached to the Communist Party expresses doubts about the way in which the workers’ state will be defended by the same Churchill who led the intervention in 1919, he is assured by the leaders with a sly wink – “That’s all right, comrade; Stalin is smart. He is using Churchill. We know Churchill is helping Russia for his own ends. But it suits us to support him for the moment. We are using the contradictions of capitalism.”

The myth of Stalin’s “smartness”, his ability to “use” the imperialists; is spread far and wide throughout the ranks of the Communist Party and its sympathisers. It is necessary to review this myth in the light of recent events and shatter it once and for all, for it is being, used to blind many fine young militants to the true opportunist nature of Stalin’s policies. It is proposed in this article not so much to recapitulate the arguments already advanced in Workers’ International News for the genuine defence of the Soviet Union, as to deal with the various myths that have been built up around Stalin’s recent policies whereby each defeat has been dressed up to look like a victory and retreat has been painted up to look like advance.

Balance Sheet Shows Churchill’s Gains

The claim that Stalin is “using” Churchill at the present time is seen to be deliberate deceit when we draw up a balance sheet of Churchill’s gains and losses in regard to the war in Russia. Stalin’s “smartness” is then seen to be merely a cover for a bargain in which the British imperialists have all the gains and, the Soviet Union all the losses. On the credit side of the balance sheet Churchill can at once note down the destruction of vast quantities of German war machines, and the death of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers. In the same column can be set down the time which the war in Russia has granted the British ruling class for making military preparations in Britain, North Africa and Malaya. Is it possible that on the debit side go the great losses of Soviet territory, soldiers, resources, etc.? On the contrary, the British ruling class is only too glad to see the first achievements of the workers being ground into the dust. Perhaps the pace at which it is taking place is a little too fast for them, but at least it is much slower than they estimated on June 22nd. That, however, is a secondary factor. What is important for Churchill is that two of his enemies are obliging him by trying to exterminate each other while he stands aside watching the battle and giving a judicious amount of “help” and “encouragement” to the Red Army so as to assure the ultimate exhaustion of both sides.

What, then, does go on Churchill’s debit side? Perhaps the fact that by signing a pact with Russia and sending tanks to help Soviet resistance he is assisting the spread of Communism and thus cutting his own throat? This argument is put forward by many of those who justify class collaboration on grounds of expediency. But the British ruling class has made a more careful estimate of the Soviet bureaucracy than those so-called sympathisers with the Soviet Union who imagine they are using Churchill. The British capitalists have a very keen awareness that Stalin, by abandoning internationalism has made it safe for them to “co-operate” with Soviet Russia, safe even to send it military equipment. No longer do they fear that doing so they are adding coals to the fire of world revolution. The Royal Institute of International Affairs put the matter clearly enough when it stated:

“The internal development of Russia is tending to throw up a ‘bourgeoisie’ of managers and officials who possess sufficient privileges to make them highly content with the status quo. It is possible to regard the various purges as part of a process by which those who desire to change the present state of affairs are being rooted out. Such an interpretation lends colour to the belief that the revolutionary period is over, and that henceforward her rulers will only seek to conserve the gains that the revolution has brought them.”

These people are not taken in by the official legend that the bloody purges on 1937-38 were a rooting out of the “Fifth Column” in advance. Phillips Price writing in the Manchester Guardian makes it doubly clear when he says:

“It is now clear that the former treason trials, much as they shocked us, were part of a campaign to remove the old doctrinaire revolutionaries. Among them was Trotsky, whose theory of the ‘permanent revolution’ made it impossible for him to co-operate in any real understanding with the West.”

Imperialists Appreciate Lack of Internationalism

It is clear that the British rulers have weighed up everything carefully and concluded that they can safely send “aid” to Russia without running any risk of helping international socialism – so long as Stalin rules. The theory of the “old doctrinaire revolutionaries” was that although Soviet Russia might manoeuvre and take advantage of capitalist antagonisms, the only genuine defence of the USSR rested on the independent revolutionary activity of the workers of other countries.

The “realist” Stalin had them shot for holding such views, but now the workers throughout the world see the results of his “realism” in the gradual destruction of Soviet Power. So also does the bourgeoisie, and it enjoys the spectacle. Even castrated as it is by Stalin, the continued existence of the Soviet Union represents a real potential danger to them. The Economist smacks its chops as it considers how this process is taking place without any international revolutionary appeal being made by the Soviet Union.

“Russian propaganda has been almost exclusively non-ideological ... Russian propaganda in this war is not Communist ... Those who can with most effect preach Revolution are, in their supreme hour, scrupulously avoiding it ... Communism is considered by its own adherents to be unsuitable for export in this hour of greatest need.” – (Economist, November 8, 1941.)

It is this above all that makes it safe for Churchill to “aid” the Soviet Union, to prolong a little its struggle against Hitler’s intervention. In 1926 the same Churchill said: “Personally, I hope I shall live to see the day when either there will be a civilised Government in Russia, or that we shall have ended the present pretence of friendly relations.” Today he extends the “friendly relations” – but it is still a pretence. Certainly Stalin’s Government is more “civilised” in Churchill’s eyes than it was in 1926, for in the meantime all suggestion of internationalism has been abolished. But still the foundations of the workers’ state continue to exist, and the world will be a safer place for British imperialism if it is destroyed.

The final result, therefore, is that Churchill gains everything and loses nothing. It is he who does the “using” and it is Stalin and the British Communist Party who are being “used”.

Stalin’s Power Politics

Ever since the introduction of the policy of “Socialism in One Country” the Comintern has had of necessity to picture Stalin as playing the imperialists off against each other. Once reliance on the world revolution has been abandoned it was necessary to find an alternative way of “defending” the Soviet Union. Power politics was the only other choice. From that time on, the “Leader of the Peoples” was pictured as sitting in the middle of a world-wide web smiling indulgently at the struggles of the capitalist flies who had been ensnared in its tangle. The effect of power was obtained easily. All that was necessary was to call weakness strength.

This policy was supposed to have reached its highest point of perfection with the signing of the Soviet-German pact and the start of the war in the West. Now, the official myth ran, Stalin’s brilliant policy had assured peace to the Soviet Union, while the capitalist mad dogs were tearing each other to pieces. When both sides were sufficiently weak the Soviet Union would step in and impose a socialist peace.

Illusion of “Socialist Neutrality”

In the official propaganda the line was put forward that the “Socialist Peace Policy”, the “Socialist Neutrality” so wisely pursued by Stalin, assured that the Soviet Union could not be dragged into the war. To the tortured and blood-drenched masses of Europe the Kremlin presented the haughty and sententious explanation – we are a Socialist country. the war cannot touch us. As the British Communist Party put it:

“In contrast to the war inferno, in the capitalist world, the world of Socialism, where the workers hold power, stands mighty and peaceful ...”

Or, as Dimitrov put it in an article in World News Views on January 20, 1940:

“The Soviet Union, led by Stalin is not only preventing its population of one hundred and eighty three million from being drawn into the imperialist war, but is erecting a powerful barrier against the conversion of the war into a universal holocaust.”

It was in this fashion that Stalin addressed the workers of Europe. Not preparing them for the inevitable sucking of the Soviet Union into the vortex. Not warning that the only way of preventing this was for the workers to take power. But only holding his nose to avoid the stench of “other people’s” wars, and dangling the crazy illusion before the masses that the Soviet Union was kept immune by the brilliance of his leadership and the fear of the capitalists of Soviet power.

Soviet-German Pact

When the Soviet-German Pact was signed in August 1939 one illusion was swapped for another. The previous idea, that the USSR would be saved the horrors of intervention by a front with the “democracies” gave way to the equally fantastic theory that the same result could be obtained by an agreement with Hitler. Nor was there any admission that the Stalin-Hitler pact was merely a device to gain time. No, the main illusion had to be buttressed up with a whole series of minor ones. It was not Hitler, apparently, who gained most from the pact, but Stalin. He was the one who was “using” Hitler, not Hitler who was using” Stalin. The pact, it seemed, was dictated by Germany’s weakness. As World News and Views wrote:

“Hitler was forced to conclude the pact, to abandon his whole anti-Soviet policy malgre lui. He suffered a defeat, the biggest defeat he has ever suffered ... he was forced to abandon his dream of ‘Greater Ukraine’ under the control of Berlin.”

The terrible events in Russia show these words to be the hollow sham that every Marxist knew them to be at the time. Hitler concluded the pact for one reason and one only – to avoid a war on two fronts, to guarantee that he could continue along the road toward world domination one step at a time. Stalin tried to counter this with the illusion that he could in the same way avoid war one step at a time.

As a further buttress to this policy Izvestia announced that the relations between the USSR and Germany “are based not on passing motives of a temporary character but on the fundamental state interests of the USSR. and Germany.” And World News and Views capped the matter with the assertion that:

“The Soviet German Pact was, and continues to be, an important factor for peace. The two largest states in Europe have eliminated from their mutual relations all military methods of solving common claims and disputes.”

To re-read the words written at the time of the pact now in the light of events since June 22nd, is to receive an education in all the arts of pen-prostitution, deception and betrayal of the masses. There is no need to argue now whether it was Stalin or Hitler who was the commanding power in August 1939. Events have fully borne out the analysis made by Trotsky at the time – that the initiative was with Hitler, that it was a temporary, cynical pact intended only to last until the time was ripe for the attack on the Soviet Union. In his article The USSR in War Trotsky wrote:

“Right now. Hitler is the ally and friend of Stalin; but should Hitler, with the aid of Stalin, come out victorious on the Western Front, he would on the morrow turn his guns against the USSR.”

“Peace” Illusions

Hitler preserved a more or less embarrassed silence once the pact was signed, knowing well that it would not be long before he was smashing it with tanks and planes. He thus made every effort to weaken as little as possible his ideological position in regard to the Soviet Union. Did Stalin similarly prepare for the time when the Nazi legions would be hurled against the Soviet Union? Did he maintain a position of hostility in relation to German Fascism and Imperialism so that the masses would be ready at any instant to meet the assault? On the contrary! The unanimous cry of the Soviet propaganda machine after the war had begun was that Germany wanted peace, but the arch-warmongering rulers of Britain would not agree to negotiate with Hitler. For many months the attempt was made to deceive both the Russian and European masses into believing that one set of imperialist bandits was worse than the other. Said the CP Manifesto of October 7, 1939: “Today Hitler, sues for peace. It is the rulers of Britain and France who demand the continuation of the war.”

This was only the opposite side of the coin of “Fascist aggression” being responsible for all the ills of the world. Now, apparently, it was “democratic aggression” that disturbed the peace. Neither theory was the truth; neither theory prepared the masses for the real defence of the Soviet Union; neither theory educated the masses as to the real nature of the war nor offered them a way out of it. Both theories prepared the way for the present catastrophic position of the Soviet Union by failing to call up the real reserves – the independent action of the workers of all Europe.

These illusions regarding the Soviet Union and the War were continued both inside and outside the USSR up till the very hour of the attack. The world was assured time and time again that Stalin would pull no chestnuts out of the fire for British imperialism, and that there was no risk of war with Germany. William Rust was delivered of the following profundity:

“The war in Europe has now become a world war. There are no limits to its expansion except those imposed by the Socialist frontiers of the Soviet Union.”

It was left to Hitler to demonstrate on June 22nd that even “Socialist frontiers” do not guarantee immunity from imperialist war. Right up to zero hour, however, Stalin continued the grim farce of pretending that there was no danger. Two days before the attack, World News and Views carried a Tass Agency message stating:

“Germany abides by the provisions of the Soviet-German pact of Non-Aggression as unswervingly as the Soviet Union, in view of which, in the opinion of Soviet quarters, rumours of Germany’s intention to disrupt the pact and undertake an attack on the USSR are devoid of any ground.”

“Surprise” Was Cover for Negotiations and Retreats

Was Stalin being “smart” then too? It would take a very powerful microscope indeed to discover the slightest trace of “smartness” here. Rather, the assurances of Germany’s peaceful intentions can be seen as a cover for desperate negotiations which were being conducted for the purpose of buying Hitler off. When the attack did take place, Stalin and the bureaucracy voiced their complete surprise. But that was principally in order to cover up the initial defeats of the Red Army.

These admissions of “surprise” deceived nobody, however. Who, nowadays, is surprised when Hitler or for that matter Churchill or Roosevelt – tears up a pact or invades a fresh country. There is more surprise expressed when they fail to do this. The preparations were open; the whole world waited for the attack; but Stalin was – surprised!

This “surprise” is all the more “surprising” when one considers the previous bombast about preparedness. Said World. News and Views on June 15, 1940, a full year before the attack:

“All the plans of the Soviet State were drawn up with account taken of all the unpleasant ‘surprises’ to be expected at any moment from without.”

And again on October 19, 1940, the same paper assured the British workers that:

“The Soviet Union had always planned its defence organisation in such a way as not to be taken by surprise.”

And Stalin himself said in a letter to Ivanov, quoted in World News and Views on March 30, 1940:

“This does not mean, of course, that we must sit with folded hands and wait for assistance from outside ... The whole of our people must be kept in a state of mobilisation and preparedness in the face of the danger of a military attack, so that no ‘accident’ and no tricks on the part of our external enemies may take us by surprise.”

If it were taken seriously, all the greater would be the reflection on a Supreme Commander who, in an epoch like the present, and dealing with enemies (or allies) of Hitler’s calibre, allowed himself to be taken by surprise. And how, in any case, would this new manifestation fit in with the old myth of Stalin’s military genius?

Why the Defeats?

This latter – the tale that Stalin, and not Trotsky, built up the Red Army and led the victorious struggles of 1917-22 – has been tested not only by the initial impact but by the whole course of the struggle. Taking up the claims of the Stalinists themselves and measuring them against actualities, we may well ask: IF Stalin is the military genius they have claimed; IF he has developed the resources of Russia so much as to make the country “independent of the capitalist world”, as they have claimed; IF the various purges disposed of the “Fifth Column” in advance; IF Soviet Russia now has the best Generals in the world, as has been claimed; then WHY, adding to all these advantages the genuine superiority of Russia in manpower, WHY the constant defeats?

War Tests “Socialism in One Country”

Truly, war has tested not only bourgeois democracy but also “Socialism in a Single Country.” The latter has led inevitably to the struggle of the Comintern against ‘Socialism in Any Other Country’, and if matters continue on their present course will lead to ‘Socialism Not Even in a Single Country.’ Stalin’s “realistic”, “defensive” policy, far from assuring, as the former bombastic claims put it, that “no foreign invader shall ever take an inch of Soviet territory,” has led to one gigantic defeat after another.

The feeble complaint that Churchill has failed to open a front in the West explains nothing. Did the Bolsheviks in 1917-22 rely for their survival on the kind offices of any gang of imperialists – in the West or anywhere else? No! As Lenin put it: “The German proletariat is the most trustworthy and the roost reliable ally of the Russian and the world proletariat revolution.” And again: “We know another enemy of German imperialism which blind people have not noticed – the German workers.” (Deception of the People, p.17)

The “realistic” Stalin, however, is not so foolish as to rely on the workers of Germany, Britain and Europe. No. Churchill and Roosevelt are the allies to whom this “blind person” looks to save the Soviet Union from destruction.

No amount of claims about “smartness” or “realism” can explain away the fearful defeats which have been achieved with Churchill’s help, nor explain how the “naive” policy of Lenin and Trotsky of relying on working class aid and a revolutionary appeal to the soldiers sent to destroy the Soviet Union, met with such spectacular success.

The “realist” cannot simply claim that there were no Panzer divisions ranged against the USSR in the previous wars of intervention, for that applies to both sides. The resources of the Red Army today are beyond all computation greater than 24 years ago. Indeed, the discrepancy in equipment was many times greater then than now. But with revolutionary internationalism on their side the Bolsheviks led the way to victory then. Today, with nationalism plus Churchill and Roosevelt, the Soviet Union faces disaster. Today, without the “Old Guard” whom Stalin has shot, without Trotsky, whom Stalin has had assassinated, without the military commanders whom Stalin has had “purged”, there are only defeats. The various theories about “smartness” and “using Churchill and Roosevelt” turn out to be merely defensive and evasive answers to the questions that instinctively come into the minds of the workers of both the Soviet Union and Europe – are not we the force that can best defend the gains of the workers in Russia. The former wild boastings that Stalin was the best defender of the Soviet Union and the foul snarlings that Trotsky’s policies could only lead to the victory of Hitler have been shown by history to be the very reverse of the truth. We will not be so mechanical as to denounce Stalin as a deliberate agent of Hitler. To do that would be merely to reverse the dishonest and corrupt charge of the Comintern that Trotsky was in Hitler’s pay. But without reservation we can state clearly in the light of events – it is Stalin’s policies and Stalin’s policies only which have led to the disastrous defeats of the Red Army and the Soviet workers and peasants.

Present Defeats Continuation of Previous International Defeats

The defeats in Russia itself are only a continuation, and perhaps the culmination, of the gigantic defeats of Soviet diplomacy in the world arena. The “diplomacy” of “Socialism in One Country” has resolved itself into a particularly repulsive caricature of the diplomacy power politics. All the cynical deceptions of the masses by the exponents of bourgeois power politics have found an even more cynical and brutal expression in Stalin’s power politics. This was necessarily so, since the masses, tired of being duped by the bourgeoisie a with phrases about universal peace, the rights of small nations, etc., looked with a new hope to the workers’s state. Their response to the honest and open proletarian politics of Lenin and Trotsky sent a wave of panic through the ranks of the world bourgeoisie. When the negotiations were going on at Brest Litovsk they frightened the German just as much as the British ruling class. As the Correspondent of the Daily Chronicle wrote at the time:

“Lenin and Trotsky remain a mystery. The game they are playing is wild beyond belief. If it is difficult for us Allies, it is at least as difficult for the Germans.”

All the more treacherous, therefore, was Stalin’s departure into the realms of power politics and its eternal hand-maiden secret diplomacy. For this diplomacy had to be made to fit into the mould of the proletarian revolution.

The result was that for the justification of every betrayal a new “Marxist” theory had to be created; for the excusing of every defeat a falsification of history had to be invented; for every desertion of the class struggle a fresh deception of the masses had to be plotted out. And on each occasion those who opposed to the line of the Kremlin the genuine struggle for power were denounced as “agents of imperialism” and “agents of fascism”.

In this way was the Chinese Revolution betrayed by class collaboration. The German Revolution was betrayed, and Hitler came to power with Stalin assuring the German workers that Social Democracy and Fascism were “not antipodes but twins.” The French and the Spanish Revolutions were victims of stabs in the back from the Kremlin which, you see, was too “realistic” to risk offending good solid bourgeois allies like France and Britain for the sake of some nebulous aid which Russia might receive from the Spanish or the French workers once they had taken power.

The Kremlin, of course, did not present the matter in this light to the workers of the world. The real fault was with the workers, Stalin delicately conveyed to them, because they had not exerted enough “pressure” on their governments. The Soviet Union had played its part, but the British and French workers had let it down. The period of “Popular Fronts” and “pressure” was truly one in which the world masses were doubly deceived, and in which the ground was prepared for the present disastrous advance of Hitler’s Panzer Divisions into the very heart of the Soviet Union. The Soviet birthright was exchanged for the mess of pottage of a nebulous pact with bourgeois France, and then for a trickster’s pact with Hitler, and now finally for a cynical and treacherous pact with Churchill. The nature of Stalin’s “realism” was exposed when Hitler first smashed what William Rust referred to as “the Socialist frontiers of the Soviet Union” which were supposed to be the only force that could set “limits to the expansion” of the war!

The “Military Genius”

If we leave out class issues for a moment and take up matters from the purely military point of view, we find that even here Stalin’s policies have been disastrous. With much pomposity and ceremony we are now assured that Russia faces the whole might of the German armies alone, there is not second front against Hitler. But – still from the purely military angle – did not Stalin sign the famous pact and stand idly by while Hitler wiped out the Western Front? Surely if a Military Genius wanted to assure that Hitler would not enjoy the luxury of a one-front war he would have ensured that France and Britain retained a powerful force on the Continent. Many Stalinists will answer that France and Britain were intent on setting Germany against Russia. But this, which is perfectly true, only proves that one bourgeois ally is just as little to be trusted as another, and that the only reliable ally of a workers’ state is the proletariat. If it should be said that the attitude of the Churchill Government is different from that of the Chamberlain crew we must point out that the results are the same – Hitler has attacked and is destroying the USSR, and the pact with Churchill is not affecting this process in the smallest degree. The sort of “aid” he is giving may be measured by the fact that the British air squadron in Russia has in 5 months succeeded in shooing down 15 German planes!

Again – and still confining ourselves to strictly military matters – what of Finland? The campaign there in 1939 and 1940 was supposed to have removed the possibility of any imperialist power ever using it as a base of operations against Leningrad. The British CP Manifesto of March 15, 1940, announced:

“The warmongers of Britain have received another resounding defeat. Never again can Finland be used as a war base in the hands of the White Guard puppets of Western imperialism.”

This did not prevent the German imperialists, however, from using Finland as a war base and actually re-taking the Mannerheim Line and threatening Leningrad. The “wise precautions” of the Military Genius turned out to have no more defensive power against the Reichswehr than a pop-gun.

In the military sphere as well as the political, Stalin’s “genius” and “smartness” are seen to be merely names for Stupidity, Treachery and Defeat. The Military Genius who has found it so easy to win all the battles of the previous wars of intervention – in the rewritten histories churned out by his hacks, can only plan defeats in the mighty battles of today.

On January 6th, 1940, Yaroslavsky wrote in World News and Views:

“On more than one occasion already the Red Army has, with cries of: ‘For our country, for Stalin!’ shown the whole world the strength of Soviet patriotism.”

The events since June 22nd, however, have shown the inadequacy of this cry when it is a matter of meeting the attacks of German imperialism, and not just of writing adulatory articles about Stalin.

It was not with cries of “For our country, for Lenin!” that the Soviet armies caused the armies of intervention to melt away in 1917-22. It was rather with cries of “For the world revolution! For Socialism!”

The German workers are today, as they were 24 years ago, the best allies of the Soviet Union. If the USSR offered them a clear Socialist alternative to their present terrible choice of Hitler or Churchill they would respond immediately. But seeing in Stalin only an ally of Churchill, they are accepting the war in the East as part of the war against Churchill and the threat of another Versailles.

It is only through the revival of the policies of Lenin and Trotsky that the workers’ state can be saved from disaster. Internationalism instead of nationalism. Reliance on the German, European and world workers instead of the capitalists. The propaganda of the world revolution instead of that of the status quo.

Trotsky laid the basis for the policy of the Soviet Union in war in the thesis, War and the Fourth International written in 1934. The following paragraph sums up the Bolshevik solution to the life and death problems facing the USSR today:

“After the conquest of power the proletariat itself goes over to the position of the ‘defence of the fatherland’. But this formula thenceforward acquires an entirely new historic content. The isolated workers’ state is not a self-sufficing entity but only a drill ground for the world revolution. Defending the USSR, the proletariat defends not national boundaries but a socialist dictatorship temporarily hemmed in by national borders. Only a deep understanding of the fact that the proletarian revolution cannot find completion within the national framework; that without the victory of the proletariat in the leading countries all the successes of socialist construction in the USSR are doomed to failure; that other than through the international revolution there is no salvation for any country in the world; that the socialist society can be built only on the basis of international co-operation – only this firm conviction, penetrating into the very blood and marrow, can create a basis for revolutionary proletarian policy in time of war.”

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