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Albert Gates

Roosevelt Actions Push Nation Further
Along Path to War

(July 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 12, 1 July 1940, pp. 1 & 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Casting tradition to the wind, Roosevelt upset the Republican convention by announcing this week the appointment of Colonels Knox and Stimson to his cabinet as Secretaries of Navy and War respectively.

The naming of the two interventionist Republican leaders to the Cabinet has as its purpose: (1) to insure national war unity by creating the impression that partisan politics cannot be tolerated in the life and death struggle to maintain and extend America’s imperialist interests, and (2) to obtain a strategic advantage in the coming elections.

Roosevelt’s action is in part a maneuver. But is also an integral part of his campaign for national defense and war preparedness.

The surrender of France and the occupation of her territory, by Germany and Italy, which increased the military difficulties of Great Britain, has had an immediate reaction in the United States.

Upon the announcement that armistice was to be signed, Roosevelt dispatched a note to Germany and Italy declaring that “the United States would not recognize any transfer and would not acquiesce in any attempt to transfer any geographic region of the Western Hemisphere from one non-American power another non-American power.” At the same time that Roosevelt sent this warning to the Axis powers, plans were laid to establish a $2,000,000,000 Inter-American Corporation, whose basic capital will, be supplied by the United States, for the purpose of preparing the economic war with a victorious Hitler. The aim of this corporation which is in the nature of an inter-continental cartel, is the complete control of all surplus commodities of the South American Nations. The corporation would undertake to dispose of these surpluses by agreements with the dominant European powers through a system of barter. But whether or not these commodities are disposed of, they shall be controlled by Washington to prevent the Latin American countries from entering into direct economic relations with Germany.

In this manner, American capitalism prepares to completely control the economic life of the Western World and accomplish the first step in the program of resistance to the encroachments of German industry. The United States is prepared to foot the bill for all losses through a failure to dispose of these surpluses. But even this is regarded as a small loss if Germany can be completely eliminated from the American markets.

The plan for the establishment of the cartel has already met with a favorable response from many Latin-American countries who fear treading on the toes of their powerful Northern neighbor. They realize in addition, that the cartel would guarantee them against losses and they are quite willing to take that chance.

Heretofore Pan-Americanism was essentially a political objective. It has now become also economic and military. To enforce its policy in the South American areas, the Administration is going to enforce its demand for naval and air bases in the main countries.

New Appropriations

During the week, with the drastic turn in the war, the advocates of increased, militarization of the United States have been extremely active, the big navy promoters pushed through the House a $4,000,000,000 building program, calling for a 70 per cent increase in the fleet to enable the United States to have a “two-ocean navy.”

Dovetailing with the entire Roosevelt program came the introduction into the Senate of a compulsory military training bill, by the reactionary Senator Burke of Nebraska. This bill follows the speech of Roosevelt in favor of universal service for America’s youth. Statisticians calculate the figure at 17 million youth who are immediately qualified for this compulsory training.

To help finance these tremendous expenditures in the economic, political and military endeavors of the Administration, the President had proposed a bill which passed the Senate and has already been signed, calling for a revision in taxation which is calculated to increase the nation’s revenue by one billion dollars. The tax program places heavier burdens on many millions of workers and poor farmers, since it is spread over many necessaries and hard-earned small luxuries.

What we are witnessing now is the development of an all-sided war program, invading every form of American life. In preparation for war, the Roosevelt Administration pours many billions into the armaments industries, enriches the great financial and industrial ruling class, while it reduces the living standards of the masses and prepares to fill up the columns of the army and navy with millions of youth who are asked to give their lives in the interest of American imperialism.

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