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Reva Craine

World Politics

(7 May 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 19, 7 May 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

As the military defeat of their common foe, Germany, approaches, the conflicts among the so-called United Nations, primarily among the Big Three, unfold. The two seem to go almost hand in hand. These conflicts are not created by German propaganda or ill wishers, as the Communist press would like to have us believe. They are the result of conflicting interests and ambitions, which were pushed into second place only while German might threatened them all. Now the conflicts come to the fore again.

The disputes which have arisen among the Big Three on Poland, on Greece and other situations were not caused by “misunderstandings” but rather by the attempts on the part of the big powers to jockey for more advantageous military and political positions in Europe. What is being decided is which of the Big Three shall dominate that continent.


Tito in Trieste

The entry of Tito’s armies into the Adriatic seaport of Trieste has given rise to a new dispute. When he was visiting with his boss, Stalin, in Moscow recently, Tito declared that he would lay claim to Trieste .and the entire Istrian peninsula. This area was granted to Italy after the First World War and for years has been a bone of contention between Italy and Yugoslavia, each claiming that it is inhabited mainly by their respective nationals.

It would seem that such a dispute could be settled easily enough by the simple expedient of having the people who live in that territory decide the matter for themselves. But such a solution demands a number of preconditions.

In order that the people of Trieste, as well as the people of all other disputed or occupied territories, may decide their own fate, that is, exercise the right of national self-determination, it is necessary that they have the means of expressing their wishes. This means that they must have the right of free speech, free press, free organization, free assemblage, free elections – none of which exist in Tito’s totalitarian regime. In Italy, these freedoms exist only in a very limited way.

That is why neither of the disputants can make the simple proposal of having the people choose for themselves. Tito demands annexation and Italy begs for the Allied military authorities to govern Trieste.


Behind Tito’s Demand

Tito’s demand has nothing whatsoever to do with satisfying the national feelings of the people of the Istrian peninsula. He is merely carrying out the instructions of Stalin, who sees in this an opportunity of bringing the Adriatic seaport under his control. Stalin does not have to act directly in this matter. He is well supplied with agents throughout the world and they carry out his policy.

That Tito is acting on behalf of Russia in this matter is borne out by the fact that the Italian Stalinists are now demanding that Italy yield Trieste. Since Stalin does not have the exclusive power in Italy, as he does in Yugoslavia, he much prefers to see Trieste held by Tito. The Italian communists, by their agitation, carry out their assigned part in this set-up.


Stalin in Austria

The new provisional government set up by the Russians in Austria should be recognized for what it is. It is the Austrian counterpart of the Lublin government established by Stalin to rule over the Polish people.

The fact that this government is headed by an old social-democrat, Dr. Karl Renner, should not deceive anyone into believing that it is in any way representative of the Austrian people, let alone of the Austrian working class.

Most of the old social-democrats of Austria have been “won over” to Stalin’s successes. Their own inability to lead the Austrian workers in the struggle for socialism, an inability which springs from their political concepts, has led them .in turn to surrender to Stalin. They were the leaders who tried to hold back the Austrian workers from the struggle against fascism on the theory of the “lesser evil.” Their half-heartedness brought about the victory of fascism. Now they choose Stalin as the lesser evil to what for them is impossible, namely, independent struggle.

Thus far the United States and Britain have refused to recognize this regime, which they claim was formed in violation of that Yalta provision which called for joint action on the part of the Big Three in the solution of problems which arise in the “liberated” countries. Stalin will of course reply that the Austrian people formed this government and that he did not violate any such agreement. In the meantime, he proceeds as in Poland – acting first and negotiating afterward.

In one sense Stalin has the edge on his two partners. He has an international organization, with a branch in every country, which, while carrying put his orders, gives the appearance of acting independently and in the interests of the people of their respective countries. When Churchill wanted to install a puppet regime in Greece, he had to use British arms. But when Stalin installs his puppets in any country he has at his service the national section of his international organization, the GPU. This, of course, does not make the Moscow-created regimes any more representative than the Quisling regimes of Hitler or the puppet regimes of Churchill. They are only more difficult to detect and hence more dangerous.

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