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Jack Weber

March of Events

(5 May 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 18, 5 May 1934, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Diplomacy at the Breaking Point

The diplomatic staffs, those Boards of Directors for national capitalist imperialism, have brought the next war a long ways nearer by their none-too-veiled challenges to each other. The pleasant European vacation of Charles Schwab during which, by one of those peculiarly fortunate coincidences, he happened to bump into several rather influential Chinese henchmen of Chiang-Kai-shek and – what is more charmingly natural than the combining of a little business with pleasure! – proceeded to arrange for the sale of vast supplies of munitions to China, called forth without delay the threat of force contained in Amau’s statement of Japan’s protectorate over China.

This document, issued to all Japanese consuls in China some weeks ago, is thus made public most in discretely but also most opportunely. Called upon to explain by “startled” American and British capitalism, the Japanese rulers, far from disclaiming the document or rejecting its viewpoint, merely state that it is not “official”. Magic word! At the same time Matsuoka, former League delegate and defender of the Manchurian adventure, is permitted – to be sure in a “private” capacity – to launch the sharpest, most plain-spoken attack yet made on American imperialism. All of which indicates that diplomacy, with its maneuvring for advantage, is close to the breaking point.

* * * *

And indeed how could diplomacy solve the life and death problems of imperialist capitalism? The U.S. and Japan are driven with irresistible force to seek abroad their salvation from the internal contradictions that suffocate them within their own national boundaries. China is the last, albeit the vastest market that remains, still undivided and ripe for colonial exploitation. That the fierce struggle to conquer this market will be ultimately transformed from the sphere of diplomacy to the field of battle, is inevitable. Under the present conditions of rivalry, with each new development diplomacy merely reveals its utter impotence to do anything but seek justification for the unrestrained banditry of capitalism.

* * * *

The Attack on Labor Deepens

In their more and more open attempt to choke off and stifle labor’s revolt against the unbearable living conditions imposed on the working class by the NRA, Roosevelt and Johnson forge new weapons and place new obstacles in the path of the oppressed. Every strike brings home more keenly to the working class the lesson that all the forces of the government are at the service of the capitalists and are arrayed against the workers.

The intensive drive under Roosevelt’s direction for the open shop and against the real organization of labor, reveals the use of every agency of betrayal, – the creation of fake “impartial” boards (National Auto Board), the use of company unions to prevent the closed shop, the use of the courts for strikebreaking injunctions, the intervention of the NRA machinery for capitalist defense, and above all the resort to the labor lieutenants of capitalism for class collaborationist sell-outs.

In the Fisher Body strike the meaning of the refusal of Johnson to permit the majority of the workers to bargain for all, becomes obvious. The fake company union appeals to the courts to prevent its “members”, a minority, from being kept out of the plant by the pickets of the vast majority.

* * * *

Who Is Aided, Who Is Not?

The Weirton case became and remains the touchstone for the disillusioning of those workers who thought Roosevelt was helping them. The NRA can apply pressure upon the workers to yield up their living standards at the will of the bosses, but it has no power over the big capitalists.

Weir has flouted the government with impunity and – lo and behold! – he receives a PWA sub-contract through the loan made by Sec. Ickes to the New York Central Railroad, although Ickes has the right to reject the sub-contract for violation of the law.

The railroads receive most subsidies while the railroad workers starve. A report that is being suppressed by the government, shows low severely these workers were hit by the crisis. Homes, savings, iving standards, insurance, health, recreation, all were sacrificed due to wage cuts and part time employment, if not total unemployment.

And yet Roosevelt, defending the profits and dividends of the big capitalists, tried to force these miserably exploited workers to be satisfied to continue living under these conditions and to accept the wage cut for an indefinite period. The railroad workers have not yet answered Roosevelt. They have been sold out for the moment.

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