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George Clarke

Marshall Plan Linked Directly to War Pact

(28 March 1949)

From The Militant, Vol. 13 No. 13, 28 March 1949, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Washington’s war preparations and plans cover the entire globe. The EGA is simply a part of U.S. imperialist economic, diplomatic and military intervention abroad ... American workers must oppose the Marshall Plan no less vigorously than the Taft-Hartley Law. Support of the Marshall Plan would only strengthen the monopolists in their onslaught on American labor and their, march to war.”

The statement above is taken from the resolution of the 13th National Convention of the Socialist Workers Party, held in July 1948. It was written at a time when the ears of American workers were ringing with the alibis and arguments of labor leaders, Social Democrats and liberals in, defense of the Marshall Plan. To believe them, it was nothing but an elaborate relief program designed to feed the starving peoples of Europe. By showering the good things bf America on the needy masses, the Marshall Planners argued, the advance of communism would be baited, the danger of war would be lessened, if not eliminated completely, and the need for large-scale rearmament would be removed.

If you were in the labor movement, you accepted this version of the Marshall Plan – or else. The CIO became the scene of a fierce internal struggle which ended with purges and splits aimed at ridding the unions of those who would not bind themselves to the elaborate war preparations embodied in the Marshall Plan. You accepted the lies of Murray, Reuther and Co. or you were out of line with “CIO Policy.”

Pact as “Complement”

The North Atlantic Pact now leaves little room for argument. It is clear as crystal today that behind the relief “carrot” of the Marshall Plan was the club of the military alliance. Norway and Denmark were the latest to feel this impact of economic pressure. The thinly-disguised condition for aid was participation in the war pact. If there is any more doubt on this question, listen to the State Department White Paper issued by. Acheson, the chief engineer of the pact, who is also credited with being the author of the Marshall Plan: “The North Atlantic Pact is a necessary complement to the broad economic coordination now proceeding under the European Recovery Program.”

None of this is new, as the resolution of the SWP Convention clearly indicates. The truth was accessible to those who wanted to find it. But the lackeys of the State Department were under orders – orders to lie, confuse and deceive – orders to line up the labor movement behind American imperialism.

Will Murray, Reuther and Co. change their position now that the real aims of the Marshall Plan have been so plainly revealed? That could be expected of honest men. But it can be predicted that the labor leaders will soon be ballyhooing the North Atlantic Pact as the “guarantee of peace.” Like the Marshall Plan, it will become part of “CIO Policy.”

Stalinist Lies

The Trotskyists were the only tendency who spoke the truth on the Marshall Plan, who predicted its military aims and evolution. The Stalinists, principal opponents of the plan ip. the unions, were not less deceptive and misleading in opposition than their bureaucratic rivals were in support. The Stalinists were against the plan only because it did not fit in with the diplomatic game of their masters in the Kremlin. With one amendment they were prepared to shift from opposition to support: that is, that funds for economic aid should be directed through the United Nations instead of the agency set up by the State Department. Why the United Nations? Because, they lied again and again, it was the instrument for world peace.

Yet the North Atlantic Pact does not in the least conflict with the statutes of the United Nations. Acheson has stated over and again, citing chapter and verse, that the Pact is completely in conformity with the charter of the UN. Despite their vehement denunciations of the Atlantic Pact, the Kremlin writers have not denied the legalistic accuracy of Acheson’s remarks. The North Atlantia Pact is the ripe fruit of the United Nations.

Like the League of Nations before it, the UN has been nothing but a world swindle to deceive war-weary people and to turn them away from the only real struggle against war, the struggle against capitalism. Within both institutions, imperialist powers jockeyed for positions only in order to line up war alliances.

Once again the lesson has been driven home: If you want peace, don’t trust the con-men in the ranks of labor who paint up the martial weapons and institutions of the enemies of mankind as “instruments of peace.”

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