Goldman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

M. Morrison

The Allied Conference at San Francisco

(21 April 1945)

From The Militant, Vol. IX No. 15, 21 April 1945, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Representatives from more than forty nations will begin the staging of a show on April 25 at San Francisco. Its purpose is to convince the masses throughout the world that an organization will be created for the purpose of settling future disputes between countries and thus avoiding armed conflicts. The “United Nations Security Conference” will commence its sessions and the game of assuring the gullible that peace on earth will be our lot forever after will begin.

In reality only three big powers will run the show and everything they agree upon will be accepted with a barely audible grumble here and there from some small nation. The most powerful nations call the tune and all the delegates fall in line. As a matter of fact everything important has already been decided. No small nation was in attendance at Dumbarton Oaks where the proposals for the coming conference were first formulated. At Teheran and at Yalta the nations that have the most powerful armies and navies parcelled out the world. At San Francisco the organization will be created to place the stamp of approval upon the decisions of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin.

At the very time that “peace” is being organized the great powers are taking care to guard their own interests. They have no faith in peace machinery. They continue making separate agreements. Britain and France have each made their own alliances with Stalin; the United States has gathered around her the nations of the Western Hemisphere. New and more powerful armies and navies are contemplated. For the first time in the history of this country compulsory peacetime military training is seriously planned by all of the ruling groups. What is all this if not the recognition that the machinery which is supposed to keep peace is nothing but a sham?

Aim to Dupe Masses

It is mainly for the masses that the show is being staged. They have lost millions of dead; more millions remain to go through life, crippled, blind, disfigured. Victims of World War I are still alive to behold their ranks increased by the victims of World War II. The cynical rulers are holding out a hope that World War III will be prevented. For they fear that if the masses lose faith in the ability of the rulers to avoid another slaughter, they will not be able to keep the people in subjection. To fool the masses, to give them hope where there is no hope – that is the primary purpose of the grand hoax to be staged at San Francisco.

* * *

The failure of the first League of Nations must be explained. Intellectual servants of the ruling classes are trotted out to convince the masses that its failure was due to the refusal of the U.S. to participate and assume some of its burdens. It is true that only the most far-sighted representatives of American imperialism saw the necessity of playing a leading role in the old League of Nations. But no one can show that, had the United States been a member of the League, affairs would have taken a different turn. No one can show that the fundamental conflicts that led to World War II could possibly have been solved with any kind of a League of Nations.

Far more active participation in world affairs has now been decided upon by the decisive sections of American capitalism. The stake which American capitalists have in the world of today is far greater than they had in 1919. They see more clearly that their interference everywhere and at all times is essential in order to prevent their own power from crumbling. It is symbolic that the conference for the organization of the new League is taking place in the United States. But this only means that instead of acting behind the scenes, the United States will act openly. It only means that the United States will take the place of France and Great Britain in the leadership of the League of Nations. It does not mean that the fundamental conflicts which made the old League impotent will disappear.

Old League – and New

We are assured that serious mistakes were made in organizing the first League of Nations and that the avoidance of such mistakes will insure the success of the new League. The old League, we are told, was too intimately connected with the Versailles Peace Conference. The new League will have nothing to do with the problems of arranging the terms of peace after the war is ended. If that is so (and it is nothing but idiocy) then the conflicts which tortured the old League will simply be transferred to a different place.

* * *

Even before the League is organized conflicts have arisen which indicate the strains to which it will be subjected. The small and middle nations are dissatisfied. A grandiloquent statement about their sovereign rights may be adopted but they know that they are helpless. It is significant that Paul-Boncour, former Premier of France and a delegate to the conference, advises the small nations to be patient and hopeful.

Already the big powers have begun to jockey for position. Great Britain has six votes in the Assembly plus those of its satellites. The United States has the votes of all the American countries. The Soviet Union wants three votes instead of one and it, of course, will have the votes of its satellites. Each major power wants the greatest number of votes to support its side.

Not that these votes will settle anything. Everyone recognizes that, in case of any serious conflict between the big powers, the organization for peace would be completely helpless. The new League of Nations could no more prevent war than the old League could. The struggle for votes in the Assembly is simply a struggle for support of other powers in case of a serious controversy.

* * *

Cannot Stop New Wars

No matter what its form and no matter how the votes will be apportioned the new League can under no circumstances act on behalf of peace. Here and there a conflict between minor powers may be averted but only under circumstances where the major powers are not yet ready to go to war. Just as the old League was an organization of the victorious imperialist powers to keep the status quo arrived at after World War I, so the new League is an organization to maintain the conquests of the victorious powers of World War II. As the old League did not prevent World War II, so the new League will not prevent World War III.

The play is the same; only the actors have changed. Now the United States assumes the first role. Now there is no Lenin and Trotsky at the head of the Soviet Union to warn the masses against the wars that the League is powerless to prevent. There is instead a Stalin dominating the Soviet Union who helps the imperialists fool the masses and keep them under subjection in order to guarantee the power of the Stalinist bureaucracy.

The revolutionary section of the workers of the world will struggle against the aims of the new League just as they struggled against the aims of the old. They are in a better position than they were before to prove that not a League of imperialist states and their accomplices but only a World Union of Socialist Republics will guarantee the existence of peace.

Goldman Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 5 November 2016