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Jack Weber

March of Events

(12 May 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 19, 12 May 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The New German Decrees

Fascism is a governmental system under capitalist rule, based on the uprooting of all the elements of proletarian democracy, when these weapons of the workers, forged with such difficulty in courageous struggle, are turned against the ruling class in a challenge for power. Under the bloody dictatorship of the fascists all the independent, voluntary organizations of the working class are destroyed, smashed to bits. Thus May Day of last year saw the dissolution in Germany of the trade unions and the cooperatives accompanied by the confiscation of all their property.

* * * *

“Iron Heel” Legislation

But the wiping out of the organizations of proletarian democracy does not satisfy enraged, terror-stricken capitalism. The new epoch of civil peace must be guaranteed! No opportunity must be left the workers to reforge their weapons of struggle. The Nazis fulminate rabidly against the shameful Versailles Treaty imposed by the Allies after the war with the aim of rendering Germany powerless. But the Nazis insist on their own Versailles Treaty imposed internally after their bloody suppression of the workers in the class war.

Hitler will keep the working class under enforced disunity, he wiil render them powerless to resist by a firmly-continued policy of repression. Hence this May Day the promulgation of new “Iron Heel” legislation. Any propaganda against the National Socialist State is declared high treason, punishable by death if need be. An undisguised lynch court is set up in the form of a People’s Court, the judges to be selected by the present rulers. Even the defense attorney in any case sent before this tribunal for terrorizing the oppressed, must secure the approval of the judges. And there is to be no appeal from their decision!

* * * *

The Value of Organization

As if to give point to the bitter lesson that must be fully absorbed by every worker from the situation in Germany, there comes the illustration of the impotence of a working class without its own independent organizations. In the shop elections for worker representation recently held all over Germany, the clearest indications of opposition to the Nazi regime are visible. Altho under the fierce social pressure created and exerted by the forces of reaction, many workers have succumbed to Nazi “success”, there still remain many class-conscious workers bitterly opposed to the regime of bourgeois terror. Hence despite the fact that a ballot cast for anybody other than the listed Nazi candidates was to be voided, large majorities in various localities, as reported by the National Zeituug of Essen, voted against the Nazis.

But the ballots are merely voided! Having no independent organizations ready to enforce their expressed will, this protest of the German workers remains impotent! Had they fought, arms in hand, for the existence of their parties and trade unions, the enemy, the capitalists, would today be impotent, not the workers.

* * * *

The New York Post and the Middle Class

The bought defenders of the capitalist system, which category includes the bourgeois press, are well aware that the big bourgeoisie rule only with the aid of the petty bourgeoisie, including the farmers. Generally content to follow in the wake of the big finance capitalists, so long as things run smoothly, the middle class becomes disoriented the moment a crisis supervenes. Faced with ruin and pauperization, witnessing the obvious anarchy and chaos of capitalist production, those classes immediately above the proletariat are subjected to a process of radicalization during a crisis. It then becomes possible for a wisely led and united proletariat to win over wider sections of these oppressed masses. Faced with this danger the bourgeoisie must resort to new means, “left” methods of canalizing the anger and protest of this necessary ally. Hence the series of muckraking campaigns conducted by the Post.

Of course workers picked up and misled in this process will do no harm either. Thus we see a campaign on Firetrap Tenements and on Milk Prices. Also campaigns on banking and finance scandals and now on the Mortgage racket. But when it comes to war the “pacifist” Post leads its deluded readers to believe that it is only the European countries that are imperialist rivals of Japan in the East, not good-hearted America. The problem of winning the middle class is vital and must not be left to the paid demagogs of capitalism.

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