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Henry Judd

Defense of Russia in the World War
Equals Defense of “Democratic” Camp

(October 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 42, 20 October 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

LONDON, Oct. 2 (AP) – “The Conservative Party today approved unanimously a vote of confidence in the government based on the Prime Minister’s decision ‘to welcome the Russian nation as an ally in the struggle against aggressive barbarism and to fortify its resistance by every possible means’.” (New York Post, October 2)

According to the same dispatch Sir Cuthbert Headlam, maker of the motion, said: “We should realize that the Russians are fighting in a most heroic manner for their country, for the defense of Holy Russia, and not in defense of Marxian doctrines. We should be very foolish if we. did not realize that at present our interests and those of Russia are identical.”


In his latest speech – in the section devoted to aid to Russia – Churchill said: “Sacrifices of the most serious kind and the most extreme efforts will have to be made by the British people and enormous new installations or conversions from existing plants will have to be set up in the United States.”


(Churchill and Roosevelt) “look upon the Soviet Union, not as an ordinary imperialist ally, but as a WORKERS’ STATE, and they would not dream of doing for that workers’ state what they would do for the Czarist Empire.” (their emphasis) – The Militant, September 27)


When Hitler launched his murderous assault upon Soviet Russia a bare three months back, the Workers’ Party, while denouncing the criminal assault of German imperialism, took the stand that it was not in the interests of the world working class to defend the Soviet Union. We declared that this new stage in the war was not only a continuation of the same, world-wide imperialist.war between two rival camps up to that time, but also that the Stalin regime would become a subordinate (junior) and integral partner in one of the imperialist war camps – the so-called democratic camp.

Our Predictions Are Verified

Three months have verified our predictions and, more important, verified the correctness of our warning that support (critical or otherwise) would lead to patriotic support of “democratic” imperialism.

Let us cite the more important facts relating to Russian participation as an imperialist ally in this war:

  1. The propaganda and appeals for aid of the Russian government have been EXACTLY the same as those employed by any capitalist regime under attack. Not a single mention of socialism, independent revolutionary action, etc., has sullied the record of Stalin’s government. Even the die-hard defensists of the Socialist Workers Party (Cannon group) who alone of all the labor movement “claimed” that Stalin was employing, through necessity, revolutionary slogans – even they have dropped this astounding “claim” and retreated to a more becoming silence.
  2. The world diplomacy of the Stalin regime – agreements with Polish and Czech governments in exile, signing of the Churchill-Roosevelt eight-point program, relations with Iran, Turkey, etc. – has been determined and organized from London and Washington. It has helped only to advance the interests of Anglo-American diplomacy.
  3. The carving up of Iran by joint action found the Stalin government and British imperialism engaged in a common act of criminal aggression against a colonial people. The SOLE result of this action was only to give greater military strength to the defense bulwark Britain is attempting to organize around India.

    General Wavell now plans to send a force into the Russian Caucasus. There, side by side with the Red Army of the “workers’ state” it will defend the Baku oil fields. Why? Because for Hitler to gain those oil fields will be a heavy blow to the war strategy and plans of the British – that is, the reason. Or perhaps we shall be told by the Cannon group, that the reason is because Russia, is a “workers’ state”!
  4. As Russia is forced back by the superior power of the Nazi armies it loses, one after the ‘other, its important bases and fields of operation. Its naval bases in the Baltic and Black Sea are almost all gone, the Ukraine is lost, the centers of heavy industry are either already lost or in the process of being lost. This only forces the Stalin regime to lean more heavily upon American and British support. It cannot conduct an independent war in terms of military strength – as for conducting a revolutionary working class war against Hitler – only the Cannon group has endowed them with that power or desire! No, the events of three months have proved that Russia conducts its war (on the military, political and propaganda plane) ONLY, SOLELY as British and American imperialism wish it to.

Cannonite Ideas Tested Too

The Russo-German war has likewise tested the political ideas and conceptions of the Socialist Workers Party (Cannon group). Sad and pathetic indeed has been the result – from the standpoint of their analyses, predictions and political proposals.

Felix Morrow, editor of The Militant, is the author of the fantastic statement quoted above to the effect that Churchill and Roosevelt REALLY don’t want to aid Russia because, you see, unlike the members of the Workers Party, THEY know that Russia is a workers’ state! What monstrous nonsense! It is to EVERY INTEREST of the American and British capitalist class to keep Russia in the war – that is, to aid Russia to the best of their capabilities. THEIR main enemy is rival Hitler-German imperialism, not the collapsing “workers’ state.” If Hitler succeeds in destroying Russia he emerges infinitely strengthened and ready to assault the British in Africa and AT HOME. He has declared this to be his objective in his recent speech.

Have not the leading spokesmen of Anglo-American imperialism OPENLY proclaimed that the urgent need to supply Russia is made doubly so by their fear that if this is not done – AND IN A HURRY – Stalin may capitulate to Hitler? They mean this, and how!

The fact that Russia has not received sufficient aid (although it is by no means small, including planes, tanks, fliers, Lease-Lend loans, etc.) is due – not to unwillingness – but to lack of supplies and especially to transportation difficulties. England failed to help Poland when the war began. Not an ounce of material went there. Because Poland was a “workers’ state,” Comrade Morrow? Were Norway, Holland and Belgium also “workers’ states,” and France and Greece “semi-workers’ states,” Comrade Morrow? We must request that you stop kidding us – something more serious is needed.

The Cannon group has endorsed the joint invasion of Iran (as pointed out in a previous article). Undoubtedly, they will give their blessing to any joint action undertaken by Stalin and General Wavell to defend the Caucasus.

Furthermore, in his September 27 article, Morrow has advanced further (and not so timidly this time) toward more coherent, logical implications of his defensist position. Wishing to prove his thesis that the English imperialists do not REALLY want to help Russia (are sabotaging this help) Morrow points to the fact that the British refuse to open up a new front although, so he insists, they COULD.

“Under infinitely less favorable conditions the British landed an expeditionary force in Greece. Why, then, couldn’t they land an expeditionary force now which will, at the very least, draw off a considerable section of the Nazi forces from the eastern front and thus ease the situation of the hard-pressed Red Army?”

Because, says Morrow, Russia is a workers’ state. But this refusal to open up a western front – if for the moment we grant what Morrow says to be true – means that English Tory circles REALLY want Russia licked in the war; not merely that they don’t want to help Russia. And if your statement is to have any serious meaning, and if you want to prevent Russia’s defeat (defend the Soviet Union), isn’t it your duty to demand in England and America that this new front be opened up against the sabotage of the Tories and capitalists? Don’t you wish to set the workers of England and America into motion against their rulers who betray aid to Russia?

But Morrow shrinks from this logical and intelligible consequence of his defensist position. He says, “It is not the task of revolutionists to ‘demand’ that the imperialists open a western front.” But if everything you say is true (which we deny) WHY NOT? What more effective, elementary, simple way to arouse the workers of England and America (who want to help Russia, you say) against their rulers (who don’t want to help Russia, you say)? When Tory England clamped an embargo against Loyalist Spain we demanded that it be lifted. Well, according to you, Tory England has an embargo against “workers” Russia. Why not demand that that be lifted also?

For an Internationalist Policy

In this world war between two rival imperialist camps, Stalinist Russia has reached such a stage of internal decline and degeneration that it falls victim to one or the other of the warring camps. It cannot, conduct an independent war as did the Russia of Lenin and Trotsky, but must become – has become – the stooge-power of one of the two reactionary camps.

The same hold true for working class groups and political parties that demand of the workers that they “defend the Soviet Union.” The fantastic analyses of the Socialist Workers Party, their equally amazing claims for the Stalin regime, the openly patriotic conclusions which they hint at and then shy away from – all these illustrate what happens to the “defensists.”

Holding to its historic line of opposing all governments that participate in the Second World War the Workers Party retains its policy of INTERNATIONALISM.

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