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Albert Goldman

Where We Stand

(30 August 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 35, 30 August 1941, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Hitler’s Motives in Attacking Soviet Union

The Stalinists are very anxious to prove that Hitler is not telling the truth when he claims that the German armies have attacked the Soviet Union in order to wipe communism from the face of the earth. Their anxiety springs from the justifiable suspicion that the Soviet Union is far from being considered as an ally of the imperialist democracies with equal rights and privileges of all other allies. While the dominant section of the ruling classes of Great Britain and the United States consider fascist Germany, at the present time, to be the main enemy of the imperialist democracies, there are powerful forces in both countries, especially in the United States, that would gladly come to some understanding with Hitler and permit him to do almost anything he wants with the Soviet Union.

It is not very difficult to prove that Hitler, in attacking the Soviet Union, did not do so merely because he is the champion crusader against communism; his claim to be fighting communism is primarily for the purpose of rallying the sympathies of all the reactionaries in the imperialist democracies and thus dividing his opponents. Both Churchill and Roosevelt see through his scheme and are not taken in by it. As realistic politicians they are willing to accept the help of anybody against their most dangerous immediate enemy.

What Hitler, representing German imperialist interests is after, is the resources of the Soviet Union. But these resources can not be obtained without first destroying the foundations of socialism laid by the October Revolution. Hitler is not fighting communism in the abstract, but he is fighting the proletarian revolution as embodied in the nationalized property of the Soviet Union. While German capitalism is interested in destroying all possible opposition, whether it comes from the Soviet Union or from Great Britain, in the case of the Soviet Union there is the added incentive of destroying a state that prevents the return of capitalism. Whatever Hitler’s motives may be, however, the results of his possible victory would be to destroy everything that remains of the October Revolution.

From the premise that Hitler misrepresents his real motives in attacking the Soviet Union, the Stalinists draw the fanciful conclusion that the Trotskyists who contend that the Soviet Union should conduct this war in the interests of socialism are helping Hitler. In the article by Milton Howard in the Daily Worker of August 16, where he urges the government to change the character of the indictment against the Minneapolis defendants, he presents the following gem: “They (the Trotskyists) play with words about defending the Soviet Union on the ground that the present war is a war for world communism. This is how they try to carry on in their own way Goebbels’ propaganda in this country that Hitler is conducting a war against Communism and should therefore be supported by all who are not for Communism.” We could point out to the Stalinists that from their viewpoint the Trotskyists are really helping the Soviet Union. Since the Trotskyists, according to Howard, are attacking Stalin for not waging a “war for Communism,” it follows that they help Stalin convince the capitalist world of that very fact. Our attack on Stalin should then be welcomed by, the Stalinists. The fact that the Stalinists consider us their main enemies shows that we are not doing what they say we are but that we are criticizing Stalin’s method of conducting this war from a different and a really effective approach.

Are we asking that the Soviet Union conduct a war for communism? That would indicate that the Soviet Union should do on its side what the Nazis are doing on their side, that is, compel the various peoples and nations of the world, by force and violence, to adopt the system which they stand for. The Nazis are claiming to fight for a “new order.” Aside from the fact that in reality they are fighting to establish the dominant position of German capitalism all over the world, they are trying to shove this new order of theirs down the throats of all the peoples. It is on record that the Trotskyists have always opposed any attempt to compel any nation to adopt the principles of socialism. It is on record that whereas the Stalinists defended the invasions of, Poland and Finland partly on the ground that they subsequently nationalized property in those countries, the Trotskyists condemned those invasions.

What we say is that on the part of the Soviet Union the war should be waged in such a manner as to get the greatest sympathy and support from the masses the world over. It should be conducted in the interests of socialism because only in that way, can there be an assurance that the Soviet Union will be defended successfully.

Real Crime of Stalinists

If Hitler can proclaim that he is fighting for a new order to be thrust upon the people by force, why cannot the Soviet Government proclaim that it favors a new order based on socialism and on the right of all peoples all over the world to self determination ?

If Churchill and Roosevelt have the right to present peace aims based on the acceptance of the capitalist order, why cannot the Soviet Government openly declare what kind of an order it believes in? And add that it excludes the use of force for the purpose of compelling any nation to accept that order?

Perhaps it may not be advisable at a certain moment for the Soviet government to proclaim that the eight points formulated by Roosevelt and Churchill are a snare and a delusion. But it is certainly not necessary to do what the Stalinist press has done – go into raptures over these eight points and create the illusion that their authors are sincere and honest men and that the problem of peace is now solved.

The crime of the Stalinist bureaucracy is not in its unwillingness to “fight for world communism” or in the fact that it makes practical agreements with or offers practical concessions to that section of he imperialist world which happens to be on the same side of the fence as the Soviet Union, its crime consists in the fact that it creates illusions amongst the masses and that it has used its power to suppress the class struggle in those imperialist countries that are more or less allied with it in a military way.

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