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Mary Bell

Poland: How “Big 3” Differ on “Liberation”

(January 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 3, 15 January 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Along with his “work or fight” directive in his message to Congress, President Roosevelt laid down another totalitarian dictum: anyone who speaks of the disunity of the Big Three should have his remarks labelled “Made in Germany.”

It would be difficult, indeed, to find a phrase more cynical, more characteristic of a dictatorial mind, more contemptuous of the mentality of the people.

The whole world knows there are differences among the Allies on policy in the “liberation” of Europe – in Italy, in Greece, in Poland. The reporters and what Mr. Roosevelt disdainfully refers to as “excrescences” – the columnists’ – in most all of the British papers, American big business newspapers and even in the loudest shouter for unity among the United Nations, the Daily Worker, record daily the differences among the Allies over the disposition of the European peoples.

PM, for example, which fawns and slobbers all over the Roosevelt Administration, entitled a dispatch Polish Issue Threat to Allied Unity in its issue of January 5.

What is the President so fearful of, say, in the case of Poland?

On the last day of 1944, the Lublin Polish Committee of National Liberation proclaimed itself the provisional government of Poland. Following as fast as an echo came Russian recognition of the new “government.” Soon, but without unseemly haste, General de Gaulle is expected to ape his “dear and powerful” friend in the Kremlin. (So dear, so powerful! So powerful, so dear!)

Riding Two Horses

Britain and the United States continue to recognize the Polish government in exile seated in London.

The Atlantic Charter (may its soul rest in peace!) said that the liberated countries were entitled to governments of their own choosing.

The foisting of the made-in-Moscow Lublin provisional government on the Poles was a flagrant violation of the Atlantic Charter principle. Now, to any stern devotee of the Charter, the Russian rape of Polish independence and democratic rights would be cause just enough for disunity.

But that’s not it. Roosevelt has said the Charter was not capable of practical application, but was nice to have as a motto hanging around on the wall, like “God Bless Our Home.” Churchill, knowing what a motto is useful for, openly told Stalin to go ahead and take Polish territory, only let him take care of thrusting a “democratic” government upon the unwilling Greek people. (King George, a right regal “democrat”; or Papandreou, also “democratic,” but whose chances were spoiled by British guns; or Regent Damaskinos, who, after all, represents the “democratic” King. But anyone or anything, except a representative of the Greek people. After all, what do they know about democracy? They’ve had so little of it.)

Neither London nor Lublin!

The Poles, too, for the past decade have had little enough democracy. It has been suppressed, as Jewish pogroms and poverty have flourished, at the hands of that gang of landlords and assorted “socialists” in London whom Churchill and Roosevelt formally recognize. They would restore in Poland the fascist constitution of 1935. They would claim as their own not only the piece of Russian territory taken by Polish imperialists in 1920 from the former workers’ state, but all of East Prussia and more generous slices of other territories and more peoples than Russia how offers the new “independent” Poland.

The Lublin Committee is no better. Despite the parcelling out of a few hectares of land to the land-hungry peasants (it leaves the sacred estates of the Catholic Church untouched) it makes no fundamental changes, does not interfere with the property rights of business. Said its president, Osubka Morawski: “The authorities of the state will prosecute ruthlessly any lawlessness and infringement on private property.”

But there is no question that the Lublin government (containing at least one pro-fascist, General Rola Zymierski, now “converted” to Moscow’s way of thought) will infringe on the rights of the Polish people. That is the way of Stalinist totalitarianism. If there weren’t a thousand other proofs, it could be seen in the way the Russian army as well as the “London-Committee-loving” Allies left the Warsaw uprising to be crushed by the Nazi military machine. The reason? The uprising was not under the control of the Stalinists or even of London. It was largely the Polish workers and peasants standing off Nazi tanks with home-made, weapons.

It would seem that neither set of scoundrels – London or Lublin – could keep the Polish people in control to suit the tastes of the Allies. What is the bickering about then?

Disunity Within Unity

It just so happened that Stalin installed his scoundrels without previously getting the agreement of his other two partners. And Roosevelt and Churchill are getting a bit worried about these unilateral agreements and decisions Stalin makes. He’s getting too powerful to suit them.

So they must meet again to try to get each other to be more reasonable, to play their murderous game of cricket in a more sportsmanlike manner. Greece had been laid out for the British Empire – so Stalin should call off his Communists in Greece against Churchill, and FDR should not act so standoffish. Poland had been laid out for the Russian sphere of influence – but Stalin must not be so hasty and greedy. And again, FDR must not act as though he was so lily-pure and did not know about these deals.

There is a unity among the Allies – a “unity among thieves” – a unity with differences among themselves, but against the interests of the people’s of the world.

What is necessary is a counter-unity among the oppressed peoples of the world. For their salvation lies in their own hands. The Poles have had five years of invasion, partition, murder and war. They are not going to be willing to give up the fight to become serfs of Russia.

They will fight for their liberation, we are certain.

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