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Henry Judd

The Myth of the United Nations

(August 1942)

From The New International, Vol. VIII No. 7, August 1942, pp. 205-207.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

According to its leading spokesmen, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Premier Stalin, the bloc of the United Nations consists of twenty-eight independent, democratic and freedom-loving nations solemnly bound together by mutual ideals and a mutual determination to wage victorious warfare against the fascist Axis bloc. Upon achieving the total destruction of this force for world evil and aggression, the United Nations will reconstruct a democratic world federation of peace and prosperity for all mankind, even educating the aggressive peoples to walk tranquilly in the paths of peace. As the Dean of Canterbury said recently: “This is a war between Supreme Evil and Supreme Good.”

According to these same spokesmen – to whom all matters are simplicity itself, particularly matters of addition – if we base ourselves upon the latest available statistics and total up the population of these twenty-eight United Nations, we arrive at the figure of 1,423,500,000 contrasted to a total world population of 2,155,000,000. That is, 66 per cent of the people of the world belong to the United Nations, or, to put it differently, two out of three are for the victory of the Allied cause.

Unfortunately for the cause of the United Nations, such methods of oversimplification, blandly ignoring the internal situations that exist among the various members of the United Nations, as well as their status with regard to world politics as a whole, can do little more than serve as a consoling mirage for the “democracies” in their games of political deception. We shall try to give a more accurate and scientific description of the United Nations, basing ourselves upon their internal regimes and their status in world economy, as well as their political relationships to the United Nations. For, in reality, just as the rival bloc of the Axis rests upon fraud, force and violence exercised through political, military and economic domination, so do the United Nations use – in their own way – the same weapons and methods in their struggle against the Axis.

The United Nations can be divided into five categories, if we base ourselves upon their political, social and economic status in the World War. These categories are listed in the order of their importance, weight and power within the imperialist bloc of the twenty-eight nations known as “United.”

  1. The colonial countries. Inside this group we include (in alphabetical order) Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Nicaragua and Panama – a total of ten.
  2. The semi-colonial countries: China and Mexico – a total of two.
  3. The Governments-in-Exile: Free Belgium, Free Czechoslovakia, Free France, Free Greece, Free Holland, Free Luxemburg (yes, this country signed the United Nations pact!), Free Norway, Free Poland and Free Yugoslavia – a total of nine.
  4. The semi-independent countries (the British dominions) of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa – a total of four.
  5. The great, independent powers which run the United Nations: Great Britain, Soviet Russia and the United States – a total of three.

The Colonial Countries

Some startling facts strike our attention immediately. The largest single category of the five listed above is the group of subservient colonies, each of which is under the total sway of one or another independent, imperialist power. The population of these ten colonies amounts to 430,000,000 enslaved workers and poor peasants who – let alone not possessing the most elementary forms of democratic liberties – never had a word to say as to whether or not they desired to be included in the bloc of the United Nations! India, a great nation of 385,000,000 alone, is represented in the pact by the “signature” of Sir Bajpai, a contemptible and unknown Hindu aristocrat who gained his noble title from His Britannic Majesty and his post from Lord Linlithgow, Viceroy of India. By what authority can this man pledge the politics and beliefs of India’s masses? Does he speak with any more genuine authority than Hitler’s Gauleiter in Norway, or Pétain in Vichy France? But India is only the most notorious and cynical example among the ten colonies of the United Nations.

Then there are the minute and backward regions of the Caribbean and Central America, long dominated by Wall Street banking, financial, public utility and trading interests. The plantation nations of Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc., run by the United Fruit Corp.; the sugar and hemp areas of Cuba and Haiti run by the National City Bank; the raw material regions of the belt that lies between the United States and South America proper – now more than ever in the grip of the great northern imperialism since the loss of their world markets, and the extension of warfare (in the form of U-boat struggles) to these island and watery territories. Each of these countries, ruled over by compradore militarists in the service of Wall Street (Batista, etc.) likewise failed to consult its millions of people, or to ask them the democratic question: Do you wish to throw your lot in with the United Nations?

The Semi-Colonial Countries

In Mexico and China, the two semi-colonial countries of the United Nations bloc, an alliance between the stunted, semi-independent native bourgeoisie and the great powers of the United Nations has been formed. But in this alliance it is the strong, advanced imperialism that lays down the law to its weak allies, while the Chinese and Mexican workers and peasants have nothing to say. (For an analysis in detail of China’s relation to the “democratic” camp, we refer to the June 1942 issue of The New International, Section 2.)

If we total together the population of the colonies and semi-colonies (and this act has every scientific legitimacy from the view-point of the similarity of their general condition and relation to world economy as a whole) we arrive at the figure of 896,000,000 people – that is, 63 per cent of the entire United Nations population of 1,423,500,000! Or, to put it differently – in precise political terms – two out of three of the United Nationeers are in the category of colonial slaves, without a vestige of political or economic freedom, and living under a native or foreign dictatorial rule. We challenge the most ardent patriot of the “democratic” war camp to prove otherwise about the twelve colonies and semi-colonies whose formal signatures can be found to the pact!

Any serious and detailed study of the nine so-called “Governments-in-Exile” (residing in London, with frequent visits to Washington) could not fail to prove the fact that they represent ousted, discredited and corrupt cliques without any real support in their own countries because they proved to be so treacherously ineffectual against the Nazi invasions. Politically, these governments have but two objectives: their restoration to power on the bayonets of the United Nations; rendering military service in various forms to the United Nations. Programatically, they have never offered anything worthy of serious consideration to the peoples of the occupied territories.

The Governments-in-Exile

The Free French clique of monarchist de Gaulle, whose odor is so foul that Washington fears to give it full recognition lest sympathy of the French people be further alienated from the Allied cause. In his recently announced program for the French people, de Gaulle proclaimed as point one on his agenda: the full restoration of the pre-war French Empire! This is not a Free French program, but the objective of the battered and mauled French imperialist bourgeoisie, whose most badly beaten section is headed by de Gaulle.

The Free Belgium clique of discredited social democrats (Paul Spaak & Co.), allied with liberals, does not possess a higher caliber. Carrying on its ancient exploitation of the African peoples of the Belgian Congo, it has steadfastly refused to make any concessions to these millions of Negroes. The Belgian capitalist-imperialist class has simply transferred its rentier headquarters from Brussels to London and conducts its former business as usual! With regard to the people of Belgium, this government-in-exile recently announced that it aims at restoring a “modified” monarchy (under Leopold?) in post-war Belgium. Thus, the second leading exile group of “democrats” is permeated with the stink of reactionary monarchism.

The Free Czechoslovakia clique of Benes and his fellow-Czech business men, who openly proclaim their eagerness to restore the old Czechoslovakia as part of the new, second Versailles “peace.” This monstrosity of World War I – resting upon a denial of national freedom to the Slavic and Germanic minorities – was, as Trotsky put it, a sink of national oppression and a breeding ground for imperialist rivalries. Yet the imperialist designs of the United Nations demand its restoration, by any artificial means whatsoever.

The Free Greece clique of King George, notorious Balkan despot and admirer of fascist methodology. This monarch, who placed Dictator Metaxas in power, is despised by his own people for his denial to them of all basic liberties. It was through no accident that Greece achieved its reputation of being the “leading” dictatorship of the European powder-keg.

The Free Holland clique of Queen Wilhelmina, who now demand as their price for adherence to the cause of the United Nations, the return to Dutch rule of the 45,000,000 Dutch East Indians of Java, Sumatra, Bali, etc. Holland – a nation whose bourgeoisie has neither home nor colony – will turn in the hour of its liberation to men like the late Henricus Sneevliet, who did not flee on the first available airplane, but stayed on to continue the revolutionary struggle among the workers.

The Free Luxemburg clique of degenerates and comic-opera royalists, who yearn for the bygone days when wealthy American women, in search of notoriety and title, danced, drank and gambled in the numerous casinoes of their ridiculous “country.” These monarchists, too, now prate about “democracy.” They have no doubt “reformed”!

The Free Norway clique of liberal shipowners and Labor Party reformists – all vying with one another as worshippers of ancient King Haakon – who dream of a return to those days when socialism “grew slowly, but inevitably,” and trade union coffers were well filled. This group of exiled social-democrats has no more life to it – in so far as the struggles of the Norwegian workers are concerned – than do the various groups of German social-democrats who preceded them into London exile.

The Free Poland clique of Sikorsky and his trained crew of anti-Semites, militarists and Polish national-fascists have, beyond doubt, the lowest reputation among all the “governments-in-exile.” They openly announce their intention of reestablishing the former tyranny of Pilsudski-Paderewski, based upon the rule of the Polish landowners. Their anti-Semitism is so blatant that even the Hitler gang have given it respectful recognition in their propaganda work among the Polish people.

The Free Yugoslavia clique of King Peter and his court advisers (bearing every resemblance to the drunken Rumanian gang of King Carol and Lupescu), whose program is to revive that other monstrosity of the first Versailles, in which Croat and Slav minorities were oppressed by the central government at Belgrade. The main talent and qualification offered by the “boy King” for gaining American support to achieve this goal seems to be his admiration for Artie Shaw’s swing style!

Thus the nine “governments-in-exile”! Ridden with imperialism, corrupted with feudal-monarchism, poisoned with anti-Semitism, dominated by militarism!

The Semi-Independent Countries (British Dominions)

“Canada remained distinctly the most important foreign country for direct investment by United States business enterprises. The value of investments there has remained virtually unchanged at about $8,000,000,000.” (New York Times, August 1)

The position of the four so-called “white dominions” as semi-independent nations, moving within the orbit of Anglo-American imperialism, is fairly well known and needs no extensive analysis. In the September 1941 and June 1942 issues of The New International material relating to this subject can be found. It is clear, for example, that the very existence of New Zealand and Australia depends upon American military strength, while Canada is under the sway of American economy (far more than British) – with South Africa still remaining a substantial stronghold of Great Britain. These dominions cannot claim the rank of fully matured and independent nations. All important and decisive decisions are made for them, not by them. Their uneven, agrarian and pastoral economies are firmly tied to the great imperialist powers; their internal development (even from the elementary aspect of population!) has virtually ceased. They are what Lenin called “dependent allies.”

Furthermore, the two most important dominions – Canada and the Union of South Africa – are seriously shaken and hampered in their war effectiveness by internal minority problems – the French-Canadians and the Boers in Africa. Both these tendencies, strongly tainted with reaction in one case, and pro-Axis loyalties in the other, could explode with relative ease in the face of the United Nations. Certainly they are problems that have advanced not one step toward solution during this war.

Thus we see that, in reality, the four above mentioned categories of the United Nations bloc (comprising twenty-five out of the twenty-eight nationsl) rest upon a dubious and shaky foundation. In reality it is obvious that only the fifth category – the great independent powers – counts. It is the intra-imperialist alliance (based upon a momentary harmony of basic war aims) that exists between these great powers (United States, Great Britain and Soviet Russia) that binds and holds the United Nations together, with militarism preventing its bursting at the seams.

Again, we shall not write here of the inter-relationships, conflicts and rivalries that exist among these three dominant nations. This is another matter – one that has been described at length in many previous issues of The New International. But the parallel that strikes our eye between this top group of the United Nations and the top group of the Axis is too important to be ignored. Bearing in mind that parallels are not identities, nevertheless we proceed from the Marxist premise that fascist imperialism and “democratic” imperialism – both stemming from capitalist society – are alike in all decisive aspects.

  1. Like the United Nations bloc, the Axis bloc is composed of colonies, semi-independent states, etc., with three great imperialist powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) overlording the bloc as a whole. The former United Nations, now occupied colonies of Malaya, Indo-China, Burma, etc.; the “original” Axis colonies of Libya, Korea; the semi-independent states of Vichy France, Norway, Sweden, etc. – all of these nations correspond to similar categories within the United Nations.
  2. Each of the three leading powers within the Axis have surrounding “dependent allies,” satellites and colonies – similar to United Nations fashion. Germany has the conquered nations of Europe; Italy has Albania, Greece, Libya; Japan has the oppressed sections of its Greater East Asian Empire. Can we draw any serious distinction between the British-occupied island of Madagascar and the German-occupied island of Crete; or the “voluntary” signer of the Axis pact – Thailand (Siam) – and the “voluntary” signer of the United Nations pact – Cuba?
  3. Each imperialist bloc and warring camp has its puppet governments and its “governments-in-exile.” To balance off the nine governments in exile we have described above, the Axis has corresponding puppet regimes such as the Nanking government of puppet Wang Chin-wei, the so-called “Indian National Provisional Government” of Bose, located in Tokyo, and the various Quisling regimes that dot Europe, with Vichy France foremost of all. Again, is there are serious distinction – particularly if we use as our criterion: do these governments genuinely and democratically represent the people in whose name they speak?
  4. Each imperialist bloc retains its followers and keeps its “allies” in line through an organized system of force and militarist violence (or the threat of it), political treachery and tyranny and economic strangulation. Our liberal friends – who specialize in drawing subtle distinctions between the two-year-old military occupation of Norway and the 200-year-old military occupation of India – cry out in protest at this parallel: “But this is true of the Axis only.”

No. It is it true of Britain in India; of America and Britain in China; of Stalinist Russia in the Baltics and Poland (when it held those areas); of America in Cuba, Nicaragua and Panama; of the Free Belgians in the Congo, etc. It is true, in a word, of every oppressing power, for that is the nature and essence of capitalist-imperialism.

In the truest sense of the word, this is a world war which has dragged into its orbit every power and country of the globe. It is the first all-embracing world war of history. Furthermore – and more significant – the war is proceeding between two great blocs of imperialist powers, equally reactionary in the historic sense, and equally predatory in attempting to achieve their objective of a planetary re-division. As a matter of fact, if you total up the countries and colonies dominated by the Axis, it is also twenty-eight!

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