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Sam Adams


Pierlot Government Servant of Monopolists

(December 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 50, 11 December 1944, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

It is now known the world over that British and American soldiers were employed by the Pierlot government in Belgium to defend his regime against the Belgian people. With the backing of Allied power and internal support from a Socialist Party (which has nothing in common with socialism), Pierlot’s big business cabinet survived its first crisis and received a vote of confidence from the pre-war Parliament.

Who Fought the Nazis

The Belgian masses kept alive the struggle against the occupation, braving arrests, torture, death, concentration camps slave labor and unbearable living conditions. The Belgian ruling class, one reporter wrote, “grew wealthy and ate well.”

Now, the Belgian people want to settle accounts with the business men who collaborated with the Nazis. They want to pay them off for the profits they reaped by exploiting Belgian labor with the aid of the Gestapo. They want to pay them off for the wining and dining they carried on with the Germans. They also want an immediate improvement in their living conditions, increased pay, revised working hours and conditions of labor, and an end to the black market which crushes them. On all of these accounts, the Pierlot government stands with the big business collaborators against the Belgian people. They want a sharp change in the social existence.

Thus you have a situation where a government in exile returns to its country with one aim: to continue where it left off four years ago as a government representing, not the interests of the masses, but the interests of Belgian capitalism. Pierlot is directly linked to Société Générale de Belgique, one of the most powerful cartels in Europe. Here is a list of some of the interesting things about this monopolistic combine revealed by Blair Bolles in PM:

  1. All its board of directors, except one, remained in Belgium under German occupation to do business with Hitler and to profit from it.
  2. At the same time that this cartel did business with Hitler at home, its subsidiary firms in the African Congo did business with the Allies, principally the United States.
  3. Société Générale conducted operations in Belgium to “suit German needs.” Tubize, a rayon-making subsidiary of Société, “divided its ownership between the Société Générale and Fabelta, which has a close relationship with the German Zellwolle Ring.
  4. Société transferred control of its subsidiary, Ougrée-Marihaye, to a firm called Confinindus, at whose head is Baron de Launeit. The latter made a deal with the German, Otto Wolf, “to integrate the Ougrée-Marihaye firm with Wolf Industries during the war and to pool export projects after the war.”
  5. “The steel-making firm of Arbed in which Société Générale holds twenty-five per cent of the capital shares, was fully integrated with German industry during the occupation. Heiman-Kreuzer, the head of Arbed, was leader of the Luxembourg Reich Association.”
  6. Another steel-making firm named Hadir, in which the above cartel had a financial interest, “was renamed Differdinger Stahlwerke during the occupation and became part of the German Stahlwerke Gemeinschaft.”

Société Générale controls sixteen principal banks in Belgium and through this control has interests in 350 branches in Belgium, three in France, nine in Holland, eighteen in Luxemburg and two in Germany. It also has connections in banking in Spain, Austria, Bulgaria and Romania. The same firm controls a quarter of the coal output in Belgium, shares in the production of all iron and steel, has controlling interest in the second largest glass producing plant, dominates Union Chémique Belge and has an influence in the holding company that controls the chief shipping lines.

Like all big monopolistic firms it has business interests in many parts of Europe. It is linked with the capitalist rulers in Germany, France, England etc. Thus, when the question of their profits are involved they are able to make deals with any power, Axis or Allied, and no matter which way the military events go in the war, they stand to gain, to continue production and to continue to get their profits.

This tremendous industrial firm has direct representatives in the government of Pierlot. That is why this government refuses to do anything about such collaborators, for these men represent capitalism in Belgium.

The government is a capitalist government. The Allies are capitalist nations and the ruling governments in the Allied nations support the capitalist government of Belgium. What unites them is the common bond of profits. And in the interest of profit, anything goes against the people. And why shouldn’t they support Belgian capitalists? Don’t British representatives sit on the board of directors of the International Bank of Settlements which is controlled by Germany? The English do it because they make a “handsome profit” from the bank on its investments. Isn’t the president of this bank an American? Isn’t Switzerland a clearing house where Allied firms do business with German firms?

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