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Henry Judd

Uncle Sam and John Bull – II

(October 1941)

From The New International, Vol. VII No. 9, October 1941, pp. 231–3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

THE SPECIFIC imperialist gains of America since 1939 form an impressive list. Most important of all, it goes without saying, is the indisputable fact that the American bourgeoisie is master of the “democratic” war house without, so to speak, having fired a shot. In addition, there have been the following gains:

  1. Canada, by virtue of military alliance and subjugation of its economic system, has been broken away from the British Empire and is utterly dependent upon American capitalism. Canada is dependent upon America for supplies needed by its war production machine; its eastern outposts serve as naval and air concentration points for American militarism. Canada is already a part of the super-world American Empire (”The American Century”) envisaged by Henry R. Luce of publishing fame.
  2. Acquisition of British island and naval bases has placed America in a position from which the Asiatic and European continents can be straddled in the future years when American imperialism openly strives for world mastery. Today, these bases in the Atlantic and those in the Pacific (Hong Kong and Singapore are included) are powerful defensive fortifications while America prepares. Tomorrow they will be concentration and transitional points; jumping-off locations for naval and military actions against Japan, Africa and the European continent. Their price was dirt cheap – 50 overage destroyers. To the American Empire was added strategic centers, always necessary for continued expansion.
  3. The flood of military and political commissions, Dominion and colonial envoys, trade and economic observers, etc., that still continues from all corners and sections of the British Empire has greatly enriched the knowledge needed by youthful American imperialism for the working out of its future plans. Britain has turned over its experiences of two years of warfare – with all its lessons, its latest naval and military secrets, the most genuine information regarding the Empire’s strength and resources, its methods and techniques of colonial administration. In addition, the Dominion envoys from Canada, New Zealand and Australia have clarified world opinion as to whom, in reality, they turn when they seek out the “motherland.”
  4. The Churchill-Roosevelt sea conference summed up the new set of relations. It was Winston Churchill who undertook the hazardous sea journey across the Atlantic, while Roosevelt cruised by the coast to the meeting spot. The pathetic and reactionary document that emerged from this gathering was clearly the work of the American President. It signified that not only would America attend the new Versailles Conference, but that she would dictate the terms. The war aims implicit in the eight-point program contain – among other things – the strong hint that Britain’s specific rôle will be to patrol and police the post-war Europe. That is, Britain will be the policeman for American capitalism!

Political Federation – America’s Union Now!

Anglo-American fanatics of both sexes have been notoriously vague and abstract on the subject of political forms suitable to their Anglo-American world goal. They speak of “Federation,” “Union Now,” “Commonwealth of the White World,” etc., but these phrases lack political roots and concrete formulations. Only Robert Sherwood, the playwright, has presented a specific Anglo-America federation scheme – a scheme which frankly gave political control to the United States and its colonies. But this plan fell upon deaf ears – particularly those of the British, who were hardly pleased at the place granted them in Sherwood’s “Federation.”

The bourgeoisie of America and England recognize the futility of discussing political forms, especially those of an international character, at the moment. International political institutions are rigidly shaped to suit the convenience of the victorious imperialist power or group of powers and it is not yet by any means clear which imperialism, if any, will win the war. This is precisely why Roosevelt and Churchill refuse to specify their peace aims and their plans for the post-war world. They want to wait and see (a) who will be the victor and (b) what will be his strength in relation to his “allies” seated about the victor’s table.

But certain definite trends and tendencies are already visible. American imperialism exerts its heaviest political pressure at the moment on the “White Dominions” of the British Empire. Talk of Anglo-American federation – when it assumes any concrete meaning – generally means a federation with America at the center and the Dominions of Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand grouped about her. The United Kingdom is in the federation, but located in an orbit at a greater distance from the center! The weight of the Dominions clearly will be called into play during the post-war period when British imperialism begins its inevitable struggle to squirm out of the clutches of its American master. Here tariff walls and commercial duties will be the weapons of battle, with Britain already in an unequal and handicapped position. Thus, if a federation comes to pass it can only be a modernized version of the former League of Nations – symbolizing the new imperialist mastery of the world: a union of the British Dominions with America against England proper, and a formal, juridical representation of American imperialist supremacy and British inferiority.

It is important to note that long in advance of any federation scheme the British have been defeated in every clash they have had with the American bourgeoisie, (1) In the clash over utilization of American-owned oil tankers loaned to the British government the latter was forced to sign the Lease-Lend Agreement described above. (N.B. These oil tankers – like every atom of material aid that has gone to England – were loaned, not given. They are under Panamanian registry. Nothing has been given to England by American capitalism, aside from objects made by dowagers who engage their time “knittin’ for Britain:”) (2) Similarly have the British retreated in clashes concerning various items of trade (steel goods, airplanes, etc.) with the South American countries. Each time they have withdrawn as gracefully as a British exporter is able to – but always withdrawn! These and other episodes indicate a priori the rôle Britain will occupy when and if federation comes.

The Perspective of Anglo-American Relations

Bearing in mind the essential conflict of World War II (Wall Street vs. Wilhelmstrasse), it is safe to assume that Anglo-American relationship will not only continue to exist, but that current trends will mature and harden. Sectarians, who base themselves on historically discarded precepts, consider that the present war revolves around the issue of who shall possess the Soviet Union. To them, Anglo-American activities proceed on an even keel and are of secondary import, at best. However, it is easy to foresee that all the elements of a future imperialist struggle – a Third World War in the contemporary cycle of world-wide wars – is present in and grows with each forward step of American imperialism.

On the military plane, the objective of the American general staff is to transform England into a huge air base outpost, a concentration point tor air-fortress bombers conducting raids on Nazi industrial centers. Development of the American-Canadian-British bomber ferry service, added to American emphasis on construction of heavy bombers are a part of this scheme. England, with its war industry and army of 3,000,000 men, becomes a major base of operations – absorbing the heaviest punishment of the enemy but constantly able to return a growing load of steel and destruction because of American armament production. The attention of the British bourgeoisie is to be riveted upon the needs and protection of this “island fortress” while American imperialism supplies, manages and organizes the imperial forces overseas in Africa and Asia. In the interim, the American Army prepares for the eventual attempted invasion of Europe and African points. Invasion – if it is to come – must be on a gigantic scale or not at all. England, by itself, cannot do this. Therefore, any future invasion will find the American troops as the vanguard military force – with the British occupying a place corresponding to that of the Italians in the camp of the Axis imperialisms.

On the economic and political front we have already indicated the apparent goal of present trends, so far as American imperialism is concerned. To summarize:

  1. American capitalism will have a clear-cut, effective upper hand over its ally and partner;
  2. It will be able to launch a vicious post-war economic drive against existing and potential competition through its control of finance, raw materials and shipping;
  3. America – assuming an ultimate “democratic” victory – will write the new-world Versailles Treaty;
  4. America will endeavor to place Europe on food rations as a means of dictating to Europe;
  5. America will assume leadership over the “White Dominions” and will become master of the British Colonial Empire.

Points (4) and (5) of the above summation are worthy of some elaboration. On the subject of food, Secretary of Agriculture Wickard has coined a slogan that cleverly embodies the sinister aims of American imperialism. “Food will win the war and write the peace.” That is, in the long run, America will dictate “peace” to Europe by placing against the latter’s head a 16-inch cannon loaded with the threat of starvation! England proper is already the first victim of American food rationing. Within the next period one billion dollars of American food is being shipped to Britain under Lend-Lease provisions. Generosity unexcelled! But what shall be the final price paid? Secretary Wickard, in an address to an American farming community, hinted at the answer. “We shall provide for a stock pile reserve that can be used by the United States to dictate the kind of peace it wants when the fighting ceases.”

With regard to point (5) it is important to note that American control of the “White Dominions” and the colonies proper does not necessarily mean the forceful and military occupation of these territories by troops. Nor does it mean that America must establish an administrative and formal control over these territories. Imperialism in the epoch of monopoly capitalism proceeds far differently, at times, from the familiar British method of plunder and conquest by the sword. For example, the actual British forces of occupation in India number .0003 per cent of the total population! Yet Britain – through a thousand financial, commercial, economic and administrative methods – exploits the 400,000,000 people of this sub-continent. In the province of Bengal, 50,000,000 peasants live and depend for their existence upon the jute crop. The price they shall obtain for then: raw jute before it is milled in the Calcutta jute mills is determined by a British-dominated price fixing board. That is, the income and life conditions of 50,000,000 people is settled each year by a handful of British exporters and financiers. This is the imperialist exploitation of a colonial people.

But America – leaving intact the British administrative machine with its 200 years of vast experience – will become, on a world scale, the real exploiter of the colonial peoples. Wall Street – not London – will fix the price of jute on the Calcutta market. (When Calcutta recently raised the export price of finished jute and burlap products, the American government, through the British Embassy at Washington, protested and put pressure on London to retain the former price. The matter still pends, but is a fine illustration of the form American colonial rule will take.) Tariffs (preferential and otherwise), shipping and insurance rates, credit facilities and capital export to the colonies, allotments of raw materials to the “Dominions” – all these are items yet to be posed for discussion at future Anglo-American discussions. Aiming at control of the world market, American imperialism thereby seeks to dominate the various national domestic markets and their foreign exports.

British Imperialism – Back Seat Driver

The clique of monopolist Tories who regulate the Churchill government understand the bitter choice before them: to accept a subordinate place as high-paid administrators for the American World Empire or face extinction at Germany’s hands. Reluctantly and grudgingly they accept the “lesser evil.” But they do not intend to pass from the imperialist scene without opposition, without planning a future comeback. Understanding does not mean acceptance, and British imperialism is laying its plans for a post-war struggle to recoup its losses to American imperialism.

But this post-war trade and commercial struggle must be based on more concrete foundations than simply the desire to seek revenge against America. Britain, in turn, must effect an internal economic recovery and resume a prominent position as a world industrial and commercial center. Then the driving dynamics of monopoly capitalism will have their say and the bloody game can begin all over again.

It is precisely this point that must be understood by the British proletariat if it is to be prepared for the fierce class struggle that will shake Britain during the post-war crisis. For British imperialism can challenge America and regain at least an important part of what it has lost in the world by carrying out the following tasks with a minimum of success: (1) Batter down and destroy the British trade union and labor movement, particularly its potentially revolutionary development – the independent shop stewards’ system. Workers in postwar England must – if the bourgeoisie of that country is to stand any change of recovering – work longer and for less. They must be forced to accept their present living standards as a natural state of affairs. In essence, the British labor movement must be wiped out, the nation’s economy centralized under fascist state control. This is the Number One task of the British Tory class. (2) Reconquered and occupied Europe must be subjected to a ruthless exploitation – primarily through a gigantic reparations scheme. Not only Germany, but France and the central European countries must pay the costs of the war time time. British imperialism offers nothing to Europe but military occupation, reparations, hunger rationing, division and slicing of territory in a super-Versailles manner, endless disruption and political bickering. This is why Churchill remains totally silent on the subject of his plans for the new European order. (3) In those colonies that Britain manages to retain control of (or to remain as administrative head), an intensified squeeze and exploitation must be planned. The colonial Empire has always been the source of Britain’s wealth and capital. In the chaotic post-war world, Britain, battling uphill against the American odds, will turn as a matter of course toward a greater looting and plundering of the colonial peoples of Asia and Africa.

To summarize: the subordination of British imperialism to that of the United States will have its harshest effects upon the British working class, the peoples of Europe and the colonial peoples as English capitalism begins its inevitable struggle for survival.

Anglo-American War?

Clearly, all the elements for another World War exist in this relationship. The American National Planning Association, in a pamphlet entitled “United States Cooperation with British Nations,” has envisaged such a possibility. England, says the Association, will be forced to trade with Europe and the Americas as well as the rest of the world in the post-war economic set-up. But it might be compelled, suggest the authors, to follow a “militant bilateralism to obtain markets and raw materials.” In that case England might be compelled to follow the example of Germany! An excellent statement of the case! In a word, these bourgeois economists (the chairman of the Association is William M. Batt, deputy director of the Office of Production Management) are warning that England will be forced to take the path of fascism and militarism by the policies of American imperialism. Germany today follows a “militant bilateralism” – that is, economic autarchy at home; imperialism abroad. A “victorious” England, victimized by American capitalism, will underscore the victory of “democracy” by becoming a militant fascist state.

The National Planning Association, in its report, speaks of the necessity for international cooperation and proposes an international coordinating committee for economic planning on a world scale. But, by their very vagueness, they recognize the impossibility for such measures under modern capitalism which has divided the world into national spheres of rivalry and imperial competition.


We have traced the current trends of Anglo-American relations. Each tendency is far more complex and intricate than we have indicated in this outline. But all the possible results and goals we have suggested have one thing in common: all are equally reactionary blows to the aspirations of the American workers, the British working class, the oppressed peoples of Europe and the colonial world.

The effects of an Axis victory on an international scale are too notorious and well known to bear repetition. The effects of an Anglo-American world victory are not so well known, or the forces of the “Third Camp” of independent revolutionary action would be much greater than they are. Nevertheless, in our opinion, the results would be substantially – if not exactly – the same. Certainly the difference, or the intensity of difference, would not bear the remotest justification for the agonizing years of sacrifice and suffering through which the workers of America and Britain are asked to pass. Attempts to install fascism in Britain and America; military occupation of Europe; intensified exploitation of the colonial world by the Anglo-American victors; preparations for a future World War between the ex-Allies. This is our summation of what Anglo-American victory would mean.

Anglo-American imperialism and Axis imperialism are the common enemy of all mankind. Counterposed to both is the the socialist revolution through independent action to the workers of Britain and America; the free United Socialist States of Europe to the peoples of Europe threatened with indefinite occupation by the military forces of the Axis and Anglo-American camps; and national independence to the colonial peoples of the Latin-American, African and Asiatic continents.

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