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M. Morrison

The Road to Freedom
for People of Poland

(24 March 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 12, 24 March 1945, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Many people write and speak as if they were taken by surprise by the decision of the Big Three, at the Yalta conference, with reference to Poland. For many months previous to the Yalta verdict all indications were that Churchill and Roosevelt had decided to yield to Stalin. The three lords sitting in state at the seaside resort situated on the shores of the Black Sea found no difficulty in granting that part of the earth known as Poland to one of them. The people of Poland were transferred to a new master.

Nominally Stalin was made a gift only of that part of Poland east of the Curzon line. In reality, however, he also gets all of Poland west of that line plus whatever German territory the three rulers will decide later to attach to Poland. Only naive people or those who have an axe to grind will accept as good coin the promise that “free and unfettered elections” will be held in that part of Poland which, according to Stalin’s assurance, will be permitted to exist in freedom and independence.

The Provisional Government created by Stalin will be enlarged to include “democratic leaders” from within Poland and from abroad but it can be taken for granted that only leaders willing to play ball with Stalin will be acceptable to him. At any rate a majority of the contemplated Provisional Government of National Unity will be under Kremlin control and with such a government in power only the fatuous will expect a free election.

“The Great Liquidator”

Charges have been made by the Polish Government-in-Exile that Stalin’s GPU with the help of his Polish puppets are liquidating all political opponents of the Stalinist regime, Through deportations, transfer of populations, and confinement in concentration camps, Stalin is making certain that any elections held will give his puppets a safe majority. We need not have too much confidence in the veracity of the Polish Government-in-Exile to believe that Stalin will not hesitate to use all measures of chicanery and violence to rid himself of political opponents, especially of revolutionary Marxists. His activities in the last twenty years testify to the truth of such a charge.

* * *

Several factors explain the important concessions made to Stalin by the representatives of the imperialist democracies. It may be argued that there was nothing else that they could do. They surely would not go to war against the Soviet Union for the purpose of retaining the prewar Polish frontiers. The English and American masses could not easily be cajoled into supporting such a war. The issue is too remote; they have already suffered too much. Stalin’s prestige as a result of the victories of the Red Army is too great. And it is difficult to sell the masses the idea that the Polish Government-in-Exile represents justice, truth, freedom and democracy.

All this is true but it does not explain why Churchill and Roosevelt have given in so easily and in addition g0 out of their way to defend their action as just. The important factor is the conviction on the part of the representatives of imperialism that Stalin’s help is essential to suppress any revolutionary outbreaks on the part of the masses in the different countries of Europe. The Stalinist parties constitute a very important part of the working- class movement all over Europe. Their role as a brake upon the revolutionary activity of the masses is clearly understood by the imperialists.

One can say that in Greece the Stalinists led the EAM in its struggle against Papandreou and the British masters. Rut just because of that fact and just because the Stalinists betrayed that struggle, Churchill and Roosevelt know what a valuable support they can be for keeping the rule of the imperialists in Europe safe from the masses.

And not only do the imperialists depend upon Stalin’s control of the Communist parties but upon Stalin’s Red Army which in case of necessity can be used to crush any revolutionary uprising by force. Rumor has it that Stalin has made some secret promises to Churchill and Roosevelt. One of those promises is undoubtedly to help keep the European masses chained to capitalism.

Capitalist Restoration

Another exceedingly important factor explaining Roosevelt’s and Churchill’s decision to appease Stalin is their conviction that capitalism stands a very good chance of being restored in the Soviet Union. They know better than we do the extent of the devastation brought to the Soviet Union by Hitler’s armies. Has Stalin indicated to them that he needs their economic aid and that he does not look with hostility to a strengthening of the capitalist forces within the Soviet Union?

No one can tell whether Stalin discussed this question with the other two participants in the Yalta Conference. But we can safely assume that Churchill and Roosevelt realize that conditions exert a tremendous pressure upon the Stalinist bureaucracy in favor of the restoration of the capitalist market. In the light of the tendencies of capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union, the representatives of imperialism are more than willing to take a chance on yielding to Stalin on the Polish question.

* * *

For a Soviet Poland

The advanced workers of Poland will certainly not determine their policy upon the choice between Stalin and the Polish Government in Exile. They understand that neither the one nor the other can solve the problems of the Polish masses – problems of national liberation, of economic security and freedom. They will steer their course on the basis of the fundamental line of a Socialist United States of Europe. This means raising the demand for the right of national self-determination for all peoples living in prewar Poland. This means raising the slogan of an independent Soviet Poland.

No one will underestimate the difficulties confronting the advanced Polish workers in spreading their ideas. The GPU is a force to be reckoned with. Nevertheless there will, in all probability, be “democratic cracks” through which, in the first period, the revolutionary Polish Marxists will be able to spread their propaganda. To fool the gullible and to give Churchill and Roosevelt a chance to say that Stalin has kept his promises, the Kremlin ruler may permit some degree of democracy. If he does, the revolutionary workers of Poland will utilize the opportunity to put forth their own program against Stalin and against the Polish Government-in-Exile.

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