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Ernest Lund

International Labor Solidarity for

Socialism and World Peace

(30 July 1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 31, 30 July 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

For over two months the foremost statesmen of the big and little nations of the world have conferred and connived at San Francisco at the task of setting up a world organization to maintain peace. They have now ended their labors. Delegates from the giant powers, the medium powers and the midget powers have all marched up to the table amid the grinding of newsreel cameras and the flashing of photo-bulbs to affix their signatures to the document, which the entire capitalist press assures us will be historic, epoch-making, etc.

But the common people of the world can do well to remember the words of the ancient prophet, “Peace, peace – but there is no peace.” And we can add – nor any prospects of peace. On the contrary, the world is full of war and the rumors of war.

How could it be otherwise? Did the San Francisco Conference settle a SINGLE one of the causes of war? Did it even mention, much less seriously discuss, the causes of war? Was a single session devoted to analyzing the factors that gave rise to World War I? Was a single sub-committee appointed to investigate the causes of World War II? Perhaps these questions are quite unfair to the gentlemen who worked so hard in San Francisco. They hardly had time for such studies of past wars. They were much too busy jockeying their nation into the best possible position for World War III.

Labor Action has devoted any number of articles to the maneuvers among the powers at San Francisco. But we Marxists do not rest our case against the new world organization upon a criticism of this or that feature. We are not primarily concerned with its framework, its rules and procedures, and its allotment of votes. We attach no fundamental importance to whether the Big Three have veto powers, whether the Argentine fascists are invited; or whether Molotov blew his nose during a speech by Stettinius. When the signatures were affixed to the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations was born, Lenin, hundreds of miles away in Moscow, stated in his matter-of-fact way to a foreign correspondent who was interviewing him that “the gentlemen in Paris have just underwritten the next world war.” We judge the San Francisco Conference from the same point of view as Lenin judged the Versailles Conference.

What Causes War?

Like Lenin viewing the League of Nations in 1919, it is necessary that we also sweep aside the heavy smokescreen of lies and hypocrisy with which the statesmen cover their actions. We must deal with the heart of the matter. We begin from these fundamental propositions:

  1. Modern wars are part and parcel of the capitalist system.
  2. Capitalist economy must continually expand or the nation suffers from depression, unemployment and internal revolt.
  3. Each capitalist nation is continually driven to seek new markets, new sources of raw materials and new areas for investment.
  4. The capitalist need to expand continually makes of each industrially developed power an imperialist aggressor – whether it is Japan or Britain, Germany or the United States.
  5. There can be no end to imperialist war without an end to capitalism.
  6. Permanent peace is only possible when planned production for use has taken the place of competitive production for profits. Planned production for use on an international scale means a World Socialist Federation.

It is on the basis of these fundamental propositions that we Marxists state that the new world organization is as hopeless and helpless as a means of preserving peace as was the old League of Nations.

But we Marxists are not the only ones who realize this. The diplomats, statesmen, politicians, admirals, generals, industrialists and bankers who comprise the ruling classes of the world know it just as well, None of them took the San Francisco show too seriously. It was just so much eyewash for the people. It is supposed ta “prove” to the maimed veteran, the bombed-out family, the conscript in the Pacific and the widow at home that “their” governments have done all that is possible to make this the last war. And if another war does come, “Well, you see, our government at least tried to prevent it. Therefore, we must support our government against the new aggressor.”

Preparations for Next War

If the rulers of the world took the new organization seriously, then why all the frantic preparations for future wars? Why is it necessary that the United States establish peacetime conscription and have a large standing army? Why do our admirals want to hold all the Pacific islands that have been taken and fortify them? Why does Britain grimly hang on to every last bit of its empire and prepare to defend it against movements for colonial independence? Why does Russia make new demands upon Turkey in the name of “national defense”?

The rulers of the world do not place their trust in the “historic” document they signed at San Francisco. They place their trust in armies and navies, strategic frontiers and fortified islands.

Let the working class be equally realistic. Let it likewise trust only its own organized power. The international solidarity of labor is the only world organization that can block the preparations of a new world war.

The establishment of a World Socialist Federation is the only guarantee of lasting peace.

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