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Reva Craine

World Politics

(12 March 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 11, 12 March 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Romanian Overturn

The crisis and fall of the Radescu government have been reported in all the newspapers as “the first big test of the effectiveness of the Yalta decisions.” By that is meant that the test will come on whether Russia alone will decide the issue in Romania or whether the Big Three, acting in unison, will settle the fate of that Balkan country. One thing is certain, Yalta does not provide for the people settling their own fate.

Censorship imposed by Moscow and Bucharest makes impossible a complete picture of what has been happening, but the main outline is fairly clear.

1. The Romanian People: As everywhere throughout Europe, the people of Romania want peace, freedom, economic security and the necessary changes that will produce these things. The workers want work at decent wages; the peasants want the big estates broken up and the 1and returned to them. All of them, want a change from years of political reaction, starvation, exploitation, war and destruction.

None of these things have been achieved since the Germans were driven out and the Russian armies took over. Even the abolition of the anti-Jewish laws decreed by the Nazis has remained on paper, since the government, and all the parties which supported it, has done nothing to implement it.

The various Romanian governments which have been set up since the “liberation” have been governments “of the capitalists and landlords, and like their similars, throughout the world, they have not solved a single one of the problems which the masses of people face. In addition, the masses are saddled with the burden of the stiff reparations terms foisted upon Romania by Russia, occupation of the oil fields, the carrying off of their plants and deportation to Russian labor camps of thousands of Romanian workers (supposedly of German descent, but actually coming from groups which have lived in Romania for two or more centuries).

2. The Role of the Stalinist-Communists: This can be understood only if we realize that they are the agents of Russian imperialism and that their actions are always determined by the needs of their masters. Through the National Democratic Front, organized last October, the Stalinists occupied forty per cent of the Radescu cabinet. They saw nothing wrong in cooperating with this extreme right-wing conservative.

Making use of the popular demand for the purge of all fascists from the army and other government agencies, the NDF placed itself in the leadership of the movement. The interest of the Stalinists, however, was limited to the purge of all anti-Russian elements, since they themselves remained loyal to the King and collaborated with any pro-Russian fascists in Romania; They were also demanding increased representation in the cabinet in order to strengthen their political position in the country before any elections were held.

The attack on a popular meeting and the shootings and arrests which occurred on February 24th served as the pretext for the Stalinists to break with Radescu and demand his resignation. Had he yielded to their earlier demands, he would not now be called a fascist by the Romanian communists and by the Moscow press.

The pattern of Stalinist behavior in Europe is the same. They try to obtain political control, and friendship, that is, subservience, to Russia through deals at the top, even with fascists. Where this fails, or is not executed: satisfactorily, they will call into being, or place themselves at the head of the popular movement. Their purpose, is to derail this movement, use it as a bargaining point, and eventually to betray it when the bargain, suitable to Russian needs, is struck. The last thing the Stalinists want is the victory of the masses.

3. The Role of Russia: It is difficult to judge the exact reasons Moscow had for dumping Radescu. In all probability it did not judge his government “reliable” enough for Russian interests. The denunciation and demand for resignation carried in the Russian press certainly had nothing in common with the demands and desires of the Romanian people whom Stalin seeks to dominate and enslave. The Russian army has remained in the background thus far, allowing the NDF to do Stalin’s work.

In every country where the Russian armies have entered, deals were arranged with the capitalists and landlords at the expense of the masses of people. The revolt of the people is never encouraged, and; where the “Red” Army encounters such revolts, as in Bulgaria, it quickly puts them down.

John MacCormac in the New York Times correctly states that “nowhere has a revolutionary solution been encouraged by Soviet Russia in any liberated country of Middle Europe, unless the revolt of the ELAS in Greece was such an attempt.” And in Greece the Stalinists delivered the goods too by selling out the splendid ELAS fighters in the agreement with Churchill’s puppet in exchange for what Stalin got at Yalta. MacCormac adds:

“With the possible exception of Greece, it (Russia) has discouraged revolutions from below. The solutions it has imposed have been from above. What has been happening in Middle Europe – and at Yalta – has been that Soviet Russia has been holding the European revolution in check, where its own national interests could be served without it, in order to reach an accommodation with the capitalist and, democratic world.”

The first part is absolutely correct, but the reason that Russia plays this counter-revolutionary role in Europe is the reason which all imperialists have in suppressing the free action and movements of the oppressed and exploited. The counter-revolutionary role of the Russian imperialists is all the more dangerous because they have at their disposal organizations which pose as “communist” and “revolutionary” and which can and do sidetrack and betray the popular movements.

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