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James M. Fenwick

Off Limits

The Thieves Are Falling Out!

(16 September 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. 10 No. 37, 16 September 1946, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

You can buy dynamite at the drug stores these days. It costs ten cents. All you do is ask for Look magazine. The dynamite is inside!

It’s contained in a series of articles by Elliott Roosevelt, the son of the late president, condensed from his forthcoming book, As He Saw It. Buy a copy of the magazine. You’ll never get dynamite cheaper.

Read part two of the series, called Quarrels at Casablanca and published in the September 17th issue of the magazine.


Here, told by an eyewitness who was in an exceptional position to know, is a partial glance into the reality which lay behind the holy crusade against fascism. Every line virtually shrieks: “Remember what we told you four years ago? It was a lie! It was all a lie!” You can almost hear the cynical laughter ringing through the text.

What, according to President Roosevelt, caused the war? “The thing is,” he said, “the colonial system means war. Exploit the resources of an India, a Burma, a Java – take all the wealth out of those countries but never put anything back into them – and all you’re doing is storing up the trouble that leads to war.”

But what of Germany whose aggression, we were once told, set off the carnage? There is literally not a syllable on the subject in the article!

Roosevelt is quoted further: “Don’t think for a minute that Americans would be dying in the Pacific tonight if it hadn’t been for the shortsighted greed of the French and the British and the Dutch!”

And the Japanese? Pearl Harbor? Again – not a syllable!

History Is Rewritten

Those statements, recounted by Roosevelt’s son without the slightest tremor, as if they were common knowledge, are genuine stunners. For what is being said is that the war was caused by England, France, and Holland. And we fought on their side! That wasn’t what we were once told!

France, to whose Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité so many ringing references used to be made, is not spared the lash. “Father remarked,” says Elliott Roosevelt, “on how British and French financiers had dredged riches out of colonies ....” He continued later, “How do they belong to France? Why does Morocco, inhabited by Moroccans, belong to France? By what logic and custom and historical rule?”

Those are brutal words – easily classifiable as German propaganda five years ago.

Churchill and de Gaulle, but yesterday held up to us as the finest representatives of their times, are portrayed as scoundrels. Churchill is described as a man constantly conniving to get U.S. arms to rescue the whole floundering imperialist British empire. “... de Gaulle,” Roosevelt bluntly remarked, “is out to achieve one-man government in France. I can’t imagine a man I would distrust more.”

We have a candidate ...

Where Does the Truth Lie?

Was the war caused by Germany, Italy and Japan as was so furiously beaten into our brains but a few months ago? No, that was a lie, as we so often explained. Was it caused, then, by England, France, and Holland, as we are now so blithely informed? No, that is a lie too.

War is caused by capitalism – German, Japanese, Italian, English, French, Dutch, and American capitalism alike. For all must expand or die. And expansion means war. That is the law.

Then what is the meaning of this sudden attack upon England and France? Elliott Roosevelt reveals that, too:

“Father remarked on how British and French financiers had dredged riches out of colonies and raised the question of possible oil deposits in Morocco. He mentioned that the Sultan might engage firms – American firms – to carry out a development program ...”

And later Roosevelt, saying good-bye to his son said:

“This time I’ve tried to make it clear to Winston that while we’re their allies, they must never get the idea that we’re in this war just to help them hang onto archaic, medieval empire ideas. I hope they realize that we’re not going to sit by and watch their system stultify the growth of every country in Asia and half of Europe. Good-bye, son.”

And “good-bye, British Empire,” he might have added. That is what Roosevelt was saying. For through him United States capitalism was notifying England, its closest capitalist rival, that it intended to assume the undisputed mastery of all the countries of the globe.

What Roosevelt said about England and France is quite true. Marxists have been saying it and much more for fifty years. But to say it during the war was almost treason. U.S. capitalism then needed the aid of these countries to defeat the major enemies, Germany and Japan.

With the Axis powers now prostrate, American capital is once again licking its chops and turning greedy eyes on England and France and their colonies. What Roosevelt and his son are saying here is that the day of England and France as independent powers is rapidly coming to a close. They are to be subjugated to U.S. imperialism in its drive toward world mastery just as surely as Germany subjugated most of Europe when it made its bid.

What the Look article seeks to do in its revelations is to prepare the moral basis for the step.

In doing so it says that the last war was not what we were told it was at the time, but a colossal swindle, a swindle whose stakes were the dearest in the world – human lives.

Who dares believe what they say today any more than what they said five years ago?

They lied then. They lie now.

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