From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 26, 29 June 1942, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The war between Russia and Germany is a year old this week. It has been, and will continue to be, the most massive and deadliest part of the world-wide struggle.
Over a front of 2,000 miles from Murmansk to Sevastopol, the youth and working class of Soviet Russia and fascist Germany are engaged in the futile and tragic destruction of one another. With the exception of the Chinese war, the Russian front of the imperialist war has been the field of one of history’s greatest slaughters. Never before have so many (three and a half to five million) soldiers died in such a brief span of time (one year)! Never have such human and material forces locked in such devastating battle; never before has such a great military deadlock occurred.
Germany, the nation whose proletariat always felt closest and most sympathetic to the revolutionary workers of Russia, has failed to break the Red Army and the Russian nation. Russia, whose working class always expected and looked primarily to the socialist workers of Germany to break the capitalist encirclement, has succeeded only in holding on grimly, fighting for, dear life. But the workers of both nations (Russian and German alike) have been completely estranged from one another, as though the bonds of former years never existed. The war has found no internationalist echo in the ranks of the people; it has had no political reverberations among the masses. It is a war between German fascist imperialism (with the duped German workers as fodder) and the Russian totalitarian rulers (with the Russian people as foils).
America, from the beginning of this struggle, has taken a leading role – if not militarily, then politically and economically – in the Russo-German phase of the World War.
The attitude of the American ruling class, as expressed in the deeds of Roosevelt, can be summarized as follows: They brilliantly illustrate typical methods used by American imperialism for the gaining of its ends.
All this has occurred during the past year. Lend-lease aid has gone in large quantities; American air forces are in the Crimea; Stalin has signed various economic and political agreements binding him to the Atlantic Charter, post-war political and economic planning, etc.
But the relationship is not so simple as all this. That it is not merely a matter of aiding our friend and ally, Russia, in the common struggle has been proved by the recent visit of Molotov – a visit which, seen in retrospect today, proved to be singularly unprofitable – for Molotov!
Molotov wanted a firm agreement for the opening up of a second front this year – he got an ambiguous statement instead. Every event since indicates there will be no second front for a long time.
Molotov wanted a firm alliance, or treaty-similar to that he had just obtained from England. All he got was an extension of the former lend-lease agreement. In a concrete sense, his trip must be chalked up as a rather sorry failure.
Now, why? Is it not to Roosevelt’s interest to do everything possible to draw our country closer to Russia; to prove the sincerity of his pro-Russian position?
The answer can only be that Roosevelt’s relations with Stalin and the Soviet Union are determined by Roosevelt’s imperialist designs. It has always been the classic method of American imperialism to allow its enemies to mutually destroy, weaken and undermine one another and then step in – to dictate the terms. Russia is no exception to this law. Roosevelt is quite pleased to see the mutual destruction of Germany and Russia by one another; while his own war machine grows stronger and mightier. He does not want his hands bound by any twenty-year treaty or any formal alliances. Yes, he will support Russia with all he has – so long as Russia fights the main enemy, Germany. But this support is motivated by other interests than love of the Soviet Union.
Our relations with Russia during the next year (or for the duration of the war) will run along the same pattern. American imperialism is quite content to see the Russian people clear the path to Berlin by continuing its resistance to Hitler’s legions. In this case also, Roosevelt is far more sagacious than the isolationists and the narrow-visioned American capitalists who shudder at “relations” with “Red” Russia.
Under capitalism, relations with your neighbors are based upon expediency and self-interest. The policy that prevails is: does this suit the interests of our ruling class and its imperial objectives? If it does, then we are “allies” and “fellow-democrats.”
Last updated: 25.6.2013