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Albert Goldman

Where We Stand

(10 May 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 19, 10 May 1941, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Stalinists Ignore Fascism

In this column last week it was pointed out that both the Stalinists and the group behind Lindbergh, for different reasons to be sure, completely ignore, in their anti-war propaganda, the question that agitates the minds of millions of workers. This is the question of what to do about the danger of fascism represented, as far as these millions of workers are concerned, by a possible victory of Hitler.

If there is any additional evidence to prove that the Stalinist leadership side-steps this question it can be found in the May Day Manifesto published in the Daily Worker. In. this lengthy document this question is not even mentioned, let alone discussed. It is hardly believable but it is the truth that, at this time when the danger of fascism looms large in the minds of the workers, the word itself occurs in the manifesto only once. And then very casually and with reference to some acts of Roosevelt.

As against the Lindbergh group and the Stalinists who ignore the question of fascism, the pro-war New Dealers led by Roosevelt, and the anti-war Socialist Workers Party never for a moment leave the question of fascism out of consideration. For altogether different reasons it nevertheless remains a fact that in the propaganda of the Rooseveltians as well as in our propaganda the problem of the relationship of fascism to the war plays a tremendously important role.

Roosevelt’s Use of the Fascist Menace

Roosevelt and the New Dealers, including the Social-Democrats, utilize the fear the workers have of fascism in order to tie the working masses to their war efforts. All the forces clamoring for war play it up as a war for democracy against fascism. Some are absolutely cynical and understand very well that fascism has nothing to do with the basic causes of this war and they know that if the United States goes into the actual fighting it will not do so in order to defeat fascism but to protect its imperialist interests. It would be naive to believe that the reactionary Democrats of the South and the reactionary Republicans of the North are interested in democracy.

A great many other people, it must be admitted, are absolutely sincere in considering this war as one for democracy and therefore in advocating American participation in it. The sincerity of some and. insincerity of others have little or nothing to do with, the question. The fact remains that only by picturing this war as one against fascism is the government able to obtain the support of the masses for its war efforts. How else could the support of the masses be obtained?

It is undoubtedly true that the vast majority pf the English workers support Churchill because, they believe that they are fighting for democracy against fascism. The stubborn courage of the English workers in going through the hell-fire of constant bombing can be explained only on the assumption that they are willing to fight to the death against a fascist victory. The leaders of their organizations have not shown them any way to fight fascism other than by supporting Churchill.

When Roosevelt will decide to commence actual fighting he will use the same methods used by the ruling group in England to obtain the willing cooperation of the working masses. He has already placed trade union leaders in governmental boards and he will do it to a. greater extent when actual shooting will start. It is to the trade union leadership that he will assign the greatest responsibility for convincing the workers that-this is a war against fascism.

Our Program Against Fascism

Our party, in its own way, constantly stresses the connection between fascism and the war. In the first place we emphasize over and over again that this is not a war for democracy against fascism and that Roosevelt, in dragging us into the war, is not doing so because he fears fascism but to defend and extend the interests of American capitalism. The policy of aiding Britain “short, of war” or by means of war does not have the altruistic purpose of defending British democracy but of defeating the most dangerous imperialist rival of American capitalism.

How often have we said it, and we shall continue to repeat it, that fascism is a product of the capitalist system and even if the capitalist democracies should win, fascism would not be destroyed and the danger of fascism would be just as great if not greater than it is at present.

In the second place, we take into consideration the legitimate fear of the workers of a possible victory of Hitler and all that he stands for. Opposition to the imperialist war is absolutely imperative for every Marxist, but he who refuses to take into consideration the fear the workers have of fascism- and all, that it means and does not adapt his agitation and propaganda to that fact, is not a Marxist but a sectarian.

Unlike the Stalinists we are not at all afraid to tackle that problem because we hav e the answer to the question that is troubling the minds of the worker, the question of how to defeat fascism. The sum and substance of our program to defeat fascism here and abroad is the socialist revolution. Only a Workers’ and Farmers’ government can wage a successful war against fascism.

To sum up:

  1. The group behind Lindbergh ignores the problem of fascism because it sympathizes with and has strong tendencies towards fascism.
  2. The Stalinist leadership ignores the problem because it has no revolutionary program to solve it.
  3. Roosevelt and his followers constantly emphasize the problem in order to tie the workers to the war efforts of American imperialism.
  4. Our party brings the problem to the fore by stressing the necessity for the workers to take over governmental power.

Between us and every other group there is the vast gulf existing between those who support capitalism and those who want to destroy it and thus destroy fascism.

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