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Reva Craine

World Politics

(19 February 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 8, 19 February 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Imperialist Big Three

The Big Three have met, conspired and plotted the division of Europe. Each of the three jockeyed for the most advantageous position on that continent for each knows that control and domination of the world lies through control and domination of Europe. They also know that the success of their plans is contingent upon many factors, most important of which is that the people of the continent quietly acquiesce and accept their decisions and “settlements.”

The decisions were real enough. The imperialists will get what they are after, the power to exploit the European masses. To these masses, however, they have presented a reiteration of, the principles of the Atlantic Charter, or, at any rate, one of these principles – “the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live.” The Big Three pledged themselves to assist the European peoples in achieving this, even undertaking to “facilitate” the holding of elections.

What this promise is actually worth has already been demonstrated in those countries that have been “liberated” and where the people have been trying to put this principle into practice.


Struggle in Belgium

In Belgium, the Pierlot government, which had been imposed upon the Belgians and propped up by British and American tanks, fell because of complete lack of popular support. As Premier, Pierlot had disarmed the Belgian resistance movement, protected the collaborators, of whom the people wished to be rid (of the 100,000 arrested as collaborators, 12,000 have been sentenced and ten executed), maintained high prices and low wages.

Popular dissatisfaction with this policy forced Pierlot from office. He did not even wait for a vote in the Chamber of Deputies. In his speech, he blamed the situation in the country on the failure of the Allies to implement their promises of food deliveries to the hungry populace. The puppet reproached his masters. But he had fulfilled his duty – he disarmed the people – and when he was no longer able to hold them in check, he had to go.

The new government, headed by the so-called socialist, Van Acker, has announced that it will continue the policies of the Pierlot regime. The communists and socialists who entered this government are going to try to make these policies more palatable to the Belgian people, but this cannot work for long, since in Belgium, as in every country in Europe, obtaining the barest necessities of life – food and shelter – requires drastic social changes, beginning with a purge of the collaborators, who, in the main, are the wealthy industrial and. financial classes.

The Belgian miners, most oppressed and exploited section of the working class, are out on strike. From the start, the socialist and Christian Union leaders tried to get them to return to work. In the Charleroi district, the Revolutionary Communist Party (Trotskyist) is active in the strike, urging the workers to maintain their ranks, and spread the strike to other districts.


Italian Partisans

In northern Italy, still occupied by the Germans, Italian partisan groups have been fighting heroically to liberate their country. When the Allies considered that the offensive in Italy would clear the Germans out very quickly, they urged the partisans on, even supplying them with small amounts of arms and munitions. They also dropped from airplanes royalist officers who were to place themselves at the head of the partisan troops.

When the winter standstill on the Italian front set in, the Allies cut off all supplies to the partisans and advised them to go home. The Italian partisans have no home to which they can return, since these are in the hands of the Germans. They have no jobs waiting for them. To return to their native villages is tantamount to surrendering to the Germans.

The heroic partisans chose to remain in the hills and fight as best they can, exposed to the hunger and cold of the open country. They have been left to the mercy of the Germans. This does not in any way conflict with the Allied policy toward “liberated” Italy, since the smaller the number of self-liberated Italians, the smaller will be the “trouble”, from them one day when “free” elections are permitted.


Democracy: Allied Type

The promise of democracy by the Big Three, the promise of free elections, takes on the same pattern in, every country “liberated’’ by the Allies.

First – before anything else is even considered – comes the disarming of the resistance movement, of the people who fought and helped drive the Nazis from their lands. Examples: Greece, Belgium, France.

Where they cannot be disarmed, they are left to be killed by the Germans. Examples: Warsaw, Northern Italy.

Second – strengthen the reactionary regimes, support and prop up the monarchies, protect the collaborationists. This is called “restoring internal peace.” Then, when it can no longer be helped, permit an election and “facilitate” it to make sure that it goes right. To date, of course, no such elections have been held anywhere in Europe.

The European people have shown that they will not accept this without fighting back. This is the obstacle – plus the assistance given by the working people of England and the United States – that will yet upset the plans of the Big Three for the partition and domination of Europe.

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