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David Coolidge

Mass Action

Jottings from a Cross-Country Tour

(5 March 1945)1945)

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 10, 5 March 1945, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I have been trying to follow the transactions of the World Trade Union Conference, meeting in London, but this is extremely difficult when one is located in Los Angeles. There are no newspapers here that make any pretense at an adequate coverage of national and international events. The daily rubbish that comes in the Chandler Times and the Hearst Examiner stinks as much as the oil refineries in the environs of LA. Manchester Boddy’s News makes an effort to be a newspaper but it is really little more than a purveyor of local items. Boddy’s personal editorials and the “boiler plate” coming from Drew Pearson and other national columnists.

IFTU and Fascism

At any rate, it seems that the London Conference, composed of the British Trade Union Congress, the CIO and Stalin’s GPU, has been giving attention to the problem of what to do with Germany after the armies of Russia and the United Nation’s have pitched their tents in Berlin. I don’t know yet what the CIO proposal is aside from the declaration of the last CIO convention that the “German people must be made to make restitution for the crimes they have visited on humanity.”

Carey, in his speech to the Conference, said that the CIO is in accord with the views of Citrine that “strong measures must be taken to assure the complete destruction of every vestige of fascism and of Japanese imperialism.” Carey did not say who was to destroy “fascism” and “Japanese imperialism.” Presumably, Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt. We all can agree that these three “statesmen” will aim at the destruction of Japanese imperialism. That is, we can agree that such is their present aim. No one should be surprised, however, should any one of the three and the imperialists they represent, come to the conclusion at some later date that a little “Japanese imperialism” in China, for instance, might not be so bad. American scrap dealers, for example, some day might find themselves with a surplus of scrap iron which the Japanese might be willing to take off. their hands at a good stiff price.

It is also true that Great Britain will have no moral scruples against destroying Japanese imperialism. England has a perfect record at destroying not only rival imperialisms, but national independence of big and small nations and any and all political, economic and social aspirations of colonial peoples.

U.S. and Japan

The United States, too, can be counted on to carry on a holy crusade against “Japanese imperialism.” Aren’t the Japanese in possession of the tin, rubber and oil of the Netherlands East Indies? England can be counted on to render complete assistance in this task of destroying “Japanese imperialism.” England will do this as long as “Japanese imperialism” is a threat to British imperialism. If, at some later date, imperialist Japan should become useful to the British imperialist ruling class (as in 1932), then we may expect Great Britain to join hands with the Japanese.

There is therefore no guarantee at all that the Big Three imperialist nations, England, Russia and the United States, will maintain the present love feast. Any one of them will stab the others in the back at the moment dictated by “manifest destiny,” “dollar diplomacy,” “national interests,” etc. For where oil, coal, iron, wheat or markets are, “there is the fatherland.”

The destruction of “every vestige of fascism” is quite another matter. Who is to do this? The British imperialist ruling class? Our own imperialist ruling class? The imperialist Stalinist gangsters and murderers? The Big Three? Is that what Churchill’s tanks were doing in Greece when they ran down the Greek workers? Hitler’s tanks also ran down the Greek workers.

Does the Roosevelt government consider it is destroying “every vestige of fascism” when it proposes a National Service Act which will chain the workers to the private profit “free enterprise” factories of duPont, Morgan, Stettinius and Rockefeller? Hitler organized a labor front, too, which chained the German workers to the private profit capitalist factories of Krupp and Goering. Goering is in the Hitler government, but so are Stettinius and Rockefeller in the Roosevelt government.

Will Stalin say that he is destroying “every vestige of fascism” when he sends his bloody GPU to rule over the Romanians, Hungarians, Poles, Estonians and Lithuanians? Or when he transports hundreds of thousands of Polish workers to Russia and keeps them at forced labor? Or when he proposes that hundreds of thousands of German workers be sent into Russia to rebuild, the country after the war? We presume that some of the Stalinist-renovated Junkers German generals, now held in “protective custody” by Stalin, will be made slave-drivers over these deported German workers in the Russian labor camps.

Something to Think About

These are things for workers in the U.S. to think about. This is something for Murray, Carey, Hillman and every labor leader to think over. They act as though the world and all its problems were only a vast taffy-pulling contest. They talk about wiping out “every vestige of fascism” by defeating Germany, just as though fascism were a. private monopoly of Hitler, invented by him and never dreamed of by any capitalist in any other country in the world. To these labor leaders, fascism has no relationship to capitalism, to capitalist economic crises, to unemployment or to any of the manifold ills which bear down on society today all over the world.

Murray has called for the the revival of the PAC clubs and committees. Just ordinary militant workers might consider demanding a discussion on these important questions in the meetings of the national PAC, in every local union and in every local PAC committee.

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