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Mary Bell

Allies Bolster French Rulers
Against Masses

(November 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 47, 20 November 1944, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The “Big Three” has now become the “Big Four.” Following closely the Allied recognition on October 23 of the French provisional government headed by General de Gaulle, formal invitation to sit in full membership on the European Advisory Commission in London was tendered France on November 11.

This step, after long delay, in addition to early American-British jockeying over Giraud versus de Gaulle, repeated missions of the self-appointed and self-styled messiah, Charles (“Clemenceau” – “Joan of Arc “) de Gaulle, came as a necessary culmination in Allied strategy to prevent a second French Revolution.

The French people desire a change, not only from pre-war conditions, but from the chaos that exists in France today. They have gone through four years of occupation, during which time they have seen the rich fare well through collaboration while they bore the brunt of forced labor, conscription of goods, and material, physical and moral privations. The French workers, the “little people,” organized into the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) helped liberate the country and are today the only genuine and reliable anti-fascist force in France.

As an abject satellite of the Allied powers, the de Gaulle government would lose face with the workers. Yet France today is bankrupt; its army and navy are disorganized and weak; nobody knows how much the franc is worth; shortages of goods are so severe as to cause looting of Allied army supplies. Therefore, France must be helped to “independence” and “sovereignty” in order to forestall a workers’ seizure of power. This the Allies fear, and thus they waited to see if de Gaulle was their man.

Promises and Reality

De Gaulle’s promises before returning to France resembled somewhat those of the early New Deal period. De Gaulle professed to speak for the common man, flung invectives against the “200 Families” who control the wealth of France, spoke against the trusts and hinted at nationalization of big industry. But this long-standing friend of the Vichyite Petain has nationalized only where an industrial crisis exists, to prevent strike action by the workers, workers’ control of the factories or to prop up a sagging industry – and then only TEMPORARILY.

“Expropriations” by the government of factories of collaborationists are either indemnified, or handed back. Further proof of his virtue to the Allies was his order for the surrender of arms by the French Forces of the Interior, since they all fear the armed strength of the workers. (No matter if the prematurely disarmed FFI soldiers were attacked by Nazi forces which had not yet been expelled from the country, as happened in Brittany.)

Punishment of collaborationists, which worried the Allies at first because it seemed to be “too thorough,” has been toned down so that apologies are now being made for the thoroughgoing pro-Nazi, Pierre Laval. The French provisional government is out to maintain “order,” i.e., to uphold and secure the domination of the “200 Families.” Yes, France, under de Gaulle, well deserves a place in the Allied scheme of things.

The New “Big Four”

Now that it’s the “Big Four,” Germany is to be divided into four zones. France will no longer be a jackal but a lion at the imperialist feast which the Allies are counting on after Hitler’s defeat. While the Foreign Minister of France said that she was opposed to any “artificial” dismemberment of Germany and the inclusion of a German minority within her borders, she is prepared to ask for annexation of all German territory on the left bank of the Rhine. (This is not “artificial,” obviously, since the claim was presented at Versailles, after the First World War, when it was turned down.) Also, she will probably demand military occupation of the Rhineland and the Ruhr Valley, the heart of German industrial concentration. She will also ask for rights over labor and industry in Germany along with Russia, Britain and the United States, for the purposes of “security. “

Agreement on French plans and spheres of influence in Germany have been tentatively reached in the de Gaulle-Churchill tales. Churchill is particularly anxious for complete recognition, and participation of France in order to maintain a balance of power among, the contending interests of Russia, Britain and America. The “entente cordiale” is being revived.

A reserved seat on the council of the world police force agreed to at Dumbarton Oaks – paid for by the Allies – is also being turned over to France.

What the Masses Want

The masses of France want peace and security. The plans of the Big Four for a crushing defeat of Germany, military occupation and dismemberment only guarantee new wars and prevent security. Already a revival of the French army is being undertaken. Military necessity and bankruptcy prevents a revival of French industry.

The Allies – all four of them – act to prevent a second French Revolution, we said. But since they act to preserve the outmoded, rule of wealth and privilege, they only compel the exploited, suffering, toiling people to rebel against that rule.

The first French Revolution replaced the feudal aristocrats with the lords of money. The second French Revolution will forever, wipe out private wealth and special privilege and place in power those who represent the will of humanity to peace, security and abundance for all – the working people.

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