Marxists’ Internet Archive: ETOL Home Page: Trotskyist Writers Section: Farrel Dobbs

Farrell Dobbs

Socialism or Barbarism

(3 July 1948)

Source: The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 29, 19 July 1948, p. 4.
Transcription & Mark-up: Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The following is the acceptance speech of Farrell Dobbs, SWP presidential candidate, entitled Socialism or Barbarism, delivered to the 13th national convention of the SWP and broadcast over the ABC network on July 3.

Comrade chairman and delegates:

I am proud to accept the assignment you have given me, as the presidential candidate of the Socialist Workers Party, to carry to the working people of America our program of struggle against capitalist wars and tor a socialist world.

Less than three years after the second world war, American imperialism is already preparing for another war. The tremendous wealth of our country is being drained to stockpile atom bombs, establish military bases throughout the world and militarize American youth.

We are told we can’t build homes, we can’t have old-age pensions, we can’t have economic security, because these essentials cost too much.

Yet billions of dollars are squandered on the military budget, and corporation profits are at an all-time high.

Truth About Stalinism and Socialism

Capitalism has kept the American people on a merry-go-round of depression, war, inflation and again war. The workers are learning from their own experiences that the capitalist profit system must be scrapped. But they are disoriented by the lying propaganda of the capitalists and their labor lieutenants, that the only alternative to capitalism is Stalinist totalitarianism. In order to keep the American people from taking the true road to socialism, the falsehood is spread that Stalinism is the natural product of socialism.

Let me tell you the truth about Stalinism and socialism.

The first realistic steps to set up a socialist state were taken in the midst of the first world war by the workers and farmers of Russia under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky. That was the only way to end the war and to prevent the bankers, industrial magnates and landlords from despoiling their country.

But the Russian revolution only opened the road to socialism. It did not create the socialist society at one stroke. Lenin and Trotsky openly stated that the complete transition from Capitalism to socialism in Russia could not be accomplished with the resources of that country alone.

They looked to the working people of highly industrialized countries like Germany, England and the United States, to also establish Workers and Farmers governments and enter into democratic collaboration on an international scale.

However the workers of western Europe were defeated in tffeir attempts to take this road. Instead, the ruling capitalists of Europe and America organized counter-revolutionary military expeditions against the Russian workers.

Capitalism had good reason to fear the new revolutionary government. Lenin and Trotsky summoned the peoples of the earth to put an end to the first world war. They called on the working people to scrap monopoly capitalist rule throughout world. They demanded freedom for all colonial peoples.

And crime of crimes! Lenin and Trotsky were so indelicate as to publish all the secret treaties they found in the Czar’s confidential files. These documents exposed the conspiracy of the imperialist powers to divide up the world, like Al Capone and Bugs Moran split up the bootleg liquor market in Chicago.

You of the older generation will remember how the Wilson administration united with the Japanese Mikado and sent troops against the Soviet Union.

For four bitter years the Russian working people were forced to defend themselves against foreign military intervention, as well as against the sabotage of their deposed native capitalists and landowners.

They emerged victorious, but cut off from the rest of the world. The Russian workers were hungry and battle-worn, yearning for respite and peace. The heaviest blow of all to them was the death of their leader, Lenin.

How Stalin Betrayed the Russian Workers

Stalin exploited these conditions to defame and exile Trotsky, to impose upon the Russian workers a false policy of nationalism, and to drag them into the trap of his police rule.

The American capitalists are thus directly responsible for weakening the resistance of the Russian working class and enabling the Stalinist dictatorship to stamp out workers’ democracy in the Soviet Union.

It wasn’t until Stalin had consolidated his totalitarian rule that the American State Department granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union. American capitalism hated the truly democratic government of Lenin and Trotsky. But they found it easy to collaborate with dictator Stalin, and even to cover up for him, when it served their ends.

Now American imperialism no longer needs Stalin. So they conveniently discover that his brutal regime is totalitarian. But when they try to identify Stalinism with socialism, they cut a lie from the whole cloth.

Stalin is anything but a socialist. Stalinism is an obstacle on the path to socialism. This obstacle will be removed, not through capitalist wars of conquest, but by the unpostponable struggle against capitalism itself.

One hundred years ago, Marx and Engels in their famous Communist Manifesto predicted that capitalism would bring the world to disaster unless the workers took over the reins of government and set up a world socialist society.

Today, the madmen who rule America are preparing to use their power to plunge humanity into a barbarism of endless wars in their insane drive to enslave the world.

This power of the American capitalists derives from their monopoly ownership of the tremendous wealth and resources of this country and their monopoly control of government. This monopoly must be wrested from their hands.

SWP Seeks to Liberate America

To break the economic stranglehold of monopoly capitalism, the Socialist Workers Party calls for the nationalization of the basic industries of the country and their operation under the control of the workers.

To liberate America from the political rule of Wall Street, the Socialist Workers Party advocates the establishment of a Workers and Farmers government.

Once these parasites are off our backs, war will be only a word in the history books. We shall then stand on the threshold of a new era of unlimited human progress.

Our country has everything necessary to provide permanent security and prosperity for all. We have the raw materials, the industries, the most advanced technology, a skilled labor force, and a high cultural level. These can be put to work to provide a life of abundance for every man, woman and child in the nation.

When the mighty American working class takes these steps, the whole world will follow. The tyrants will fall in every land. Franco. Chiang Kai-shek, the Greek king and every other dictator, including Stalin, will be brought to book by the oppressed and the exploited of the earth.

The peoples of all lands will join with us, to build the world on new foundations. A world in which the age-long dreams of poets and prophets will become a living reality.

F. Dobbs Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 3 November 2022