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Albert Goldman

Where We Stand

(3 May 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 18, 3 May 1941, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

[Fascism in Germany]

It is interesting and instructive to see what connection the various groupings in this country make between the war and fascism. In their propaganda with reference to the war, how do they utilize the fact that Germany is in the hands of the Nazis?

While we deny that this war is a struggle of democracy against fascism, it is impossible to deny that Germany is in the grip of fascism. Fascism therefore enters as an important factor in the sense that various groups utilize or fail to utilize it in their attitude and propaganda in relation to the war.

Two political tendencies either ignore the existence of fascism entirely or relegate it to a place of secondary importance. They do not attempt to furnish an answer to the problem agitating the minds of the workers: How to defeat fascism in Germany and therefore prevent it from conquering this country? An analysis of the attitude of the group that has shoved Lindbergh to the front as its spokesman and the attitude of the Stalinist leadership shows that these two groups are almost alike in so far as they give no clue to the solution of the problem mentioned above.

Lindbergh and Stalinists Have No Answer on Fight Against Fascism

The Stalinist press is exceedingly anxious at present to distinguish itself from Lindbergh. In the early days of the war there was a distinct tendency on the part of the Stalinist leadership to make advances to Lindbergh, but the decisive German victories in Europe and the consequent shift of policy on the part of Stalin brought the flirtation of the Stalinists with Lindbergh to a halt. Lindbergh’s fascist leanings and connections was also an important factor in the Stalinist turn away from him. They ran the risk of losing too many of their supporters by making an alliance with Lindbergh and his friends.

In the speech Lindbergh delivered in New York on April 23, he did not say a word about fascism. He confined himself to what he termed the practical question as to whether or not the United States, by helping England, can prevent a German victory. Whether he is competent to deal with this question and whether he is correct in replying to it in the negative are immaterial. The important point is that he ignored completely the question of fascism. By ignoring it he says in effect that so far as he is concerned, he has absolutely nothing against it.

Let it not be understood that Lindbergh and his group of fascist admirers are fifth-columnists in the sense that they would like to deliver this country into the clutches of Hitler. Such fifth columnists can exist only in a small country that has to subject itself to one or the other of the imperialist camps. No important figure in this country, no matter how great an admirer of Hitler he may be, would for one moment consent to having Hitler dominate the United States. The group behind Lindbergh wants American capitalism to play not only an independent but a dominant role in world affairs.

While Lindbergh stated that he would consider the defeat of the British Empire a tragedy, he did so from the point of view of one who realizes that the existence of the British Empire is an excellent thing for the continued existence of the supremacy of imperialism. There is also no doubt that his group would gladly pick up a few of the most important pieces of a defeated British Empire. From the same general, point of view the group behind Lindbergh would consider a defeat of Hitler a tragedy. That might lead to some very serious consequences to the stability of the capitalist system. The ideal for Lindbergh is a negotiated peace where the three powerful capitalist ruling classes of the United States, of England and of Germany would work harmoniously to exploit the rest of the world – naturally with American capitalism getting the lion’s share. This is the program and the hope of all the appeasers.

If no negotiated peace is possible then Lindbergh obviously prefers a German victory. He does not say so specifically but no other conclusion is possible. His preference is not motivated by pro-Germanism but by pro-fascism. A victory of Hitler means that the “wave of the future” comes that much closer to this country. Not in the sense that Hitler will conquer this country but because the idea of fascism will gain tremendous support.

The Stalinist Attitude Toward Fascism

If Lindbergh’s silence about fascism indicates that he would like to see that system introduced into this country, the Stalinist silence with reference to the same problem indicates that they have no program for fighting fascism effectively. I do not. mean to say that the Stalinist press is silent about fascism in general. I mean that the Stalinist leadership, in its attitude and propaganda with reference to the war, does not attempt to show what the workers should do in order to defeat fascism.

Incontrovertible proof of that statement exists in the program of the American Peace Mobilization; which must be considered the official program of the Stalinists. This program does not say a word about the problem of fascism and the war.

Again a warning is necessary. We do not claim that the ignoring of the problem by the Stalinist leadership indicates that it has the same attitude as Lindbergh and his group. Surely the vast majority of Communist party members and sympathizers are bitter foes of fascism. But, so far as the Stalinist leaders are concerned, they are Stalinists first and foremost, that is, they fight for Stalin and no more. Everything else is secondary.

The Stalinist leadership ignores the problem, because it has no answer to it. An effective answer can be made only by those who, like ourselves, see in the taking pf power by the working class the only road to destroy fascism everywhere. Only the revolutionary camp can give such an answer. The Stalinist leadership, tied as it is to Stalin’s foreign policy, can givto no answer to this all-important problem. That is why the Stalinist leadership, like Lindbergh’s group, say nothing about it.

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