From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 40, 6 October 1941, pp. 1, 2 & 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
Incident after incident, event after event continue to pile up in the people’s revolt against the Nazis in the conquered and occupied countries of Europe. Der Fuehrer is sitting on the hottest and most explosive seat in his life!
The German imperialists have abandoned all pretense. Talk of “collaboration,” “new order,” “peace without the Anglo-Saxons and English plutocrats,” etc., has given way to the muted drums of the courts martial and the thud of the firing squad’s rifles.
For it is now clear that the masses of Europe will not submit quietly and peacefully to dictatorial rule.
In France the popular demonstrations in Paris and the occupied cities of the north continue. Thousands of hostages are rounded up, but this only odds fuel to the anti-Nazi flames.
In Norway the entire country exists under a state of rule by military decree and curfews ordered by martial law. Ten thousand workers with their families have been removed from Oslo and its suburbs and sent to other jobs in more remote parts of the country. The anti-Nazi agitation in the factories continues.
In Yugoslavia, the actions of peasants and saboteurs have resulted in 50 executions in the past week. Peasant and city guerilla bands roam the country and force the Nazis to send in thousands of troops in an effort to curb them. Italy has been forced to occupy a section of this cut-up country in order to quell uprisings of nationalist Serbs.
Large sections of former Czechoslovakia – the latest area to rebel against the Nazi masters – have likewise been placed under military occupation and the firing squads are actively at work. Fifty-eight Czechs were executed in one day by Nazi firing squads.
In Italy, a semi-occupied country, bread lines have appeared in the industrial cities and bread has been rationed for the first time since the last war. Disturbances in the northern workers’ cities of Milan and Turin are reported. Articles of clothing, hats, shoes, etc., are about to be subjected to rationing.
In the other occupied territories of Greece, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Poland and the newly conquered lands of Soviet Russia similar details and actions are reported from numerous sources.
These movements and actions are based upon intense hatred and opposition to the imperialistic activities of the German plunderers. Because the war will continue and there will be a winter campaign in Russia and Africa, the Nazis have increased their thievery and robbery. They are draining the occupied territories of their foods, their winter garments and accessories (furs, heavy coats, skis, snowshoes, etc.) – any object that will help them continue their campaigns of conquest. Above all, the problem of food and heat for the winter weather have become especially acute. Every worker and peasant in occupied Europe faces a bitter winter struggle for survival against hunger and cold.
The Nazi imperialist gangsters have already given their answer to the needs of the European people. They have ordered cessation of all exports to Norway, for example. This means a rapid end to any possibility of continued economic life in that country. They have stated they will not feed the peasants and city dwellers in those vast lands they have already conquered from the Soviet Union. And finally the fact that over 300 hostages have been executed in the last month is the most eloquent of all. Clearly, they intend to continue and increase the rate of executions of those who protest against their rule.
These revolts against Nazi occupation take on many and varied forms. In Norway and Belgium there are militantly organized strike actions by industrial workers from factories and mines; in the Balkan states there are organized guerilla campaigns conducted by bands of nationalistic peasants and disappointed middle class elements from the cities; in France there are individualistic acts of terror and assassination; in practically every country there are spontaneous movements of the masses of people as a whole who demonstrate their hatred of Hitler and his gangsters by any possible means from beating up German soldiers to chalking “Vs” on the sidewalk.
As yet, the movement as a whole is shapeless and formless. It is an ELEMENTAL MOVEMENT, a blind upsurge against an endless and omnipresent terror. Mass actions, terroristic acts, guerilla fighting – all these methods of fighting characterize it. In many place, the movement is led by remnants of Stalinist groups and “cells” that still exist. These Stalinists – as always – work only for the purposes they are ordered to by the Russian bureaucracy. At the moment, the Stalinist high command has ordered the use of any methods that will discomfort the Nazis. Terrorism, provocation, assassination, sabotage of transport and machinery – this is what the Stalinists urge upon the occupied territories.
The Stalinists do not desire to organize a mass movement, based upon the workers, which will seek to bring about the socialist revolution during the course of which the Nazi imperialists will be driven out. They act solely as MILITARY defeatists, working for the camp of the “democratic” and Stalinist armies.
Side by side with the Stalinists are the discredited capitalist politicians who were driven out by Hitler’s occupation – the organizers of the so-called “V” campaign. De Gaulle, the French monarchist; Benes, the discredited Czech politician, Haakon, the senile Norwegian king; Wilhelmina, the fat and frowsy queen of Holland; Peter, the boy imbecile from Yugoslavia; George, king of the Greeks, etc. – their interest in the revolt of “their” people is a simple one: it seems a splendid way of being restored to power, with the backing of British bayonets.
Those who risk their lives, the workers who go on strike against the Nazis, do not do so in order to restore De Gaulle, or Benes, or King Haakon, or King George. They do so (1) in order to live – to eat and keep warm; (2) to drive out the foreign oppressors and (3) to gain a better world in which to live. They are not concerned about restoring the rotten regime of “liberal capitalism.”
Revolutionists who take part in these movements do so with the idea of organizing the workers of the occupied countries on an INDEPENDENT platform, the platform of revolutionary socialism. Middle class politicians and Stalinist agents may head these movements today, but tomorrow it will be the invincible European proletarians, led by the Fourth Internationalists.
Last updated: 4.2.2013