From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 26, 30 June 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The unholy glee and crass cynicism with which the Anglo-American imperialists received the news that Stalin and Hitler were at each other’s throats revealed not only the desperate plight of England but also something of the brazen and callous aims of the capitalist war-makers. The great satisfaction and the enthusiasm of the “democracies” was chilled only after reflection on the possibility of a quick Russian defeat. Such a consummation would be terrible to contemplate, for, said the New York Times:
“complete German victory in Russia would be a catastrophe of the first importance for England and America. It would enable Hitler to defy the British blockade, to secure petroleum and food supplies for years, to create a vassal regime in Russia, to seize India and the oil fields of the Near East, to make a temporary alliance with Japan for the seizure of China and the Netherlands Indies, and to threaten the United States from both oceans.”
Added to this is their embarrassment at being forced to soften their attitude toward the Stalinist bureaucracy. Despite all these mixed emotions the dominant effect of the Stalin-Hitler struggle was to produce, satisfaction, joy and a high degree of contentment. It is a “breathing spell” for the “democracies,” and despite their hatred of that for which they pretend Stalinism stands (socialism), they give thanks to their gods for this blessing. What they mean by a “breathing spell” is the opportunity to go full speed ahead with preparations for decisive action against Hitler. The respite, no matter how brief, is a boon to the Anglo-American imperialists.
It means also that the Anglo-American imperialists begin to get their first real taste of success, the first real glimmer of salvation and victory. But they must hurry, says the Times; no resting, no time out for intemperate rejoicing. “If Russia can be kept in the war until winter, or nine weeks instead of six, or six weeks instead of three,” says the Times, “it may make an enormous difference in the outcome of the whole conflict.” And again: “It is manifestly to our advantage to have Hitler’s campaign in russia as long-drawn-out and as costly to him as possible. This will not only give Britain precious time; it will enable us to perfect our own defenses.” There you have it: keep the Russian and German workers busy butchering each other while we prepare the Anglo-American working classes for this orgy of murder, rapine and imperialist pillage.
The low point in this Roman holiday, was the speech of Churchill: this astute capitalist statesman, this trumpeter of British imperialism, this butcher of defenseless.
African and Indian natives. Churchill, doubtless after consultation with Roosevelt, reached the greatest heights of hypocrisy, capitalist demagogy and political trickery. Churchill weeps all over the place, he is bowed down with grief for the “Russian people”; they are “defending their native soil ... poor as are the Russian peasants, workmen and soldiers, he (Hitler) must steal from them their daily bread. He must devour their harvests. He must rob them of the oil which drives their plows and thus produces a famine without example in human history.” This sleek and overfat master of words and fine phrases goes on with his disgusting feigning of sympathy for the Russian people. “I see the 10,000 villages of Russia where the means of existence was wrung so hardly from the soil, but where there are still primordial human joys, where maidens laugh and children play. I see advancing upon all this, in hideous onslaught, the Nazi war machine ...” But Churchill sees more with his benign humanitarian soul.
“I see the Russian soldiers standing on the threshold of their native land guarding the fields which their fathers have tilled from time immemorial. I see them guarding their homes, when all pray for the safety of their loved ones, for the return of the breadwinner, of the champion, of their protectors.”
This arch-imperialist is not here engaging only in simple oratory. He is holding before the Anglo-American workers the idea of defense of the fatherland. Just as the Russian peasant defends his fields and guards his home, so you too, British and Americans, must defend the fields which yours fathers have tilled from time immemorial. But just as the Russian worker tilled soil for centuries which he did not own, so too do British and American workers till soil which they do not own. Churchill conceals, as do all the defenders of capitalism, that the workers have no fatherland, they have no country. The governments are the governments of the bosses; the land is owned by landlords, banks and insurance companies; the factories, mines and mills are owned by big stockholders and bondholders.
The workers do not even have homes to defend. The shacks we live in are owned by banks and the property owning aristocracy. Sometimes we hold the deed but the bank holds the mortgage. When the worker fights to defend the “fields,” he fights to defend the property of the imperialist ruling class.
Churchill in this flowery and revolting oratorial flight seeks to hide the imperialist character of the war and the fundamental evils of capitalist society. Therefore he can say “this is no class war. It is a war in which the whole British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations is engaged without distinction of race, creed or party.”
We remind Churchill that we can see some things also. We look back two decades. We see the Russian peasants and workers, after a victorious revolution in which they smashed their Churchills; faced with another invader moving upon them from north, south, east and west. This invader blockaded their ports and even denied them food to keep from starving and medicine to heal the sick. This invasion was organized, financed and led by the same Anglo-American imperialists who pretend to weep today, over the plight of laughing maidens and rollicking children. Churchill stood at the head and front of this counter-revolutionary attack on the Russia of Lenin and Trotsky.
Churchill’s perfidy, is unbounded. Not only does he weep for the plight of Russia, but for China and India as well. Hitler is after them too. This is Churchill, imperialist brigand who personally has led the bloodiest of assaults on helpless Indian natives.. The spokesman for the English exploiters who have taken billions out of the toil of the Indian masses; murdered them, bombed them and denied them even the most elementary political freedom. This murderer, this liar whose class went to war against China to force the Chinese people to continue the cultivation and use of opium for the enrichment of the British ruling class. This is the man who comes before the world, to call Hitler a “monster of wickedness” and Mussolini a “jackal.”
Despite his admitted age-long opposition to communism, or socialism, or for that matter anything that will give security to the working class, Churchill is anxious to come to the aid of Stalin: the butcher in the Kremlin. He can do this because he knows that there is no communism or socialism in Russia. He knows this as well as the New York Times, which remarked that Stalin had “betrayed the international communist movement of which he was the leader.” The whole Anglo-American ruling class knows this. They are well aware that Stalin most treacherously betrayed the working class of the whole world. They don’t fear Stalin, they only seek to use him now in their own foul designs against the workers of their own countries.
Churchill talks of “the worst features of communism. ... No one has been a more consistent opponent of communism than I have for the last twenty-five years ... but all this fades away before the spectacle which is now unfolding ... the past with its crimes flashes away.” What is this past of Stalin’s which flashes away, and which Churchill and his brother American imperialists can forget so easily? First we must remark that Churchill is talking not only about the crimes of Stalin but of the “crimes” of Lenin and Trotsky also. The capitalist brigands make no distinction between Lenin and Stalin, unless it is to prefer Stalin. For Stalin’s crimes were not against England and the United States, but against the world working class. Stalin killed the revolution, wrecked the Bolshevik Party and enslaved the Russian proletariat. Surely the Anglo-American imperialists have no objection to this and of course this “past with its crimes ... flashes away.”
Sumner Welles for the United States echoed the Churchill politics: the “principles and doctrines of Communist dictatorship are as intolerable ... as are the principles and doctrines of Nazi dictatorship.” But, said Sumner Welles, “Hitler’s armies, are today, the chief danger to the Americas ...” The Times adds:
“If a man is unfortunate, enough to find himself in a field with a mad bull and the bull turns suddenly, on a terrier that has been following, at his heels, the man does not need to share the terrier ‘ideology’ in order to hope that the chase will be a long one and that the bull will break his neck.”
Thus the “democracies,” the imperialists, expose themselves to the gaze and scrutiny of the workers of the world. They sing hosannahs to Stalin because he has been forced to come to their aid. The thousands of Russian workers and peasants, betrayed by Stalin and who will fall before the advance of the Nazi war machine will die to save Anglo-American imperialism. These workers and peasants, sold out by the stupid and treacherous Stalinist bureaucracy, die today to give the Roosevelt-Churchill governments time to prepare the British and American workers for the same ghastly death tomorrow. “Long live the Russo-German war” sing the Anglo-American imperialists; “until winter, or nine weeks instead of six, or six weeks instead of three ...”
It is now time for the workers of the world and the colonial people to speak. The imperialist, monsters and jackals have had their say. They have spoken well and eloquently for their class and their class interests. All of them – Churchill and Hitler, the doddering Petain, the jackass Mussolini, the strikebreaker in the White House – have spoken. It is now time for the workers of Germany and Russia, England and the United States, Italy and France, to speak with all their tremendous force and might.
The working class in every country engaged in the war has a job to do: kick out its national ruling class; run the mines, mills, factories, railroads and banks. Establish a workers’ government in every country. Give independence to the colonial peoples. Build, the WORLD FEDERATION OF WORKERS’ GOVERNMENTS AND SOCIALIST REPUBLICS.
Last updated: 30.12.2012