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Jack Weber

March of Events

(15 December 1934)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 1, 15 December 1934, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Chaotic Balkans

Once more the Balkan cauldron threatens to boil over. In retaliation for the assassination of the dictator Alexander by Croat terrorists, the Yugoslavs, accusing the Hungarians of complicity, are resorting to wholesale deportation o1 Hungarians. Official figures issued by the Yugoslavian authorities place the number of those driven out in the most ruthless fashion at three thousand. Yet Belgrade denies that this is a “mass” deportation; it is merely getting rid of undesirable individuals. The Hungarians, whose irredentist struggle to regain territory lost in the War is one of the factors in present Balkan intriguing, have not been behindhand in the expulsion of Yugoslavs. The tension existing at the borders of these two countries is only one added strain among the many tending to tear asunder European civilization and to bring about the second World War.

Insofar as the Balkans were concerned the first World War represented in actuality only a third unfinished Balkan war. It solved nothing but the temporary question of greater military strength. The present economic chaos in Europe is the outcome of the arrested development of the proletarian revolution after the World War. That tremendous upheaval signified the revolt of the productive forces of world economy against the outworn system of national capitalist states. By the failure of the proletarian revolution to spread, the bourgeoisie was permitted to remain in control of the national states and thereby to set in motion once again all the reactionary forces of capitalist imperialism. Thus the Balkans become anew the pawns of the Great Powers in their intrigues for world domination. Today, as at the end of the War, there can be only one real solution for the insoluble contradictions of capitalism that will inevitably make a bloody shambles of the Balkans: the creation under the hegemony of the proletariat of the Soviet Federation of the Balkans as part of the Soviet United States of Europe.

* * *

Italian Foreign Exchange Monopoly

The intense economic warfare of the capitalist nations for the capture of foreign markets during the world crisis unfolds itself in one aspect through the war of currency depreciation. The manipulation of currencies to make goods cheaper on the world market so as to regain a vanishing export trade, was accompanied in all the countries resorting to this weapon by a drive on the living standards of the masses, by a lowering of wages as the other method of producing goods more cheaply. The currency difficulties are far from over and continue to disrupt world economy as one country after the other finds itself in a condition bordering on bankruptcy.

Now it is the turn of Italy to resort to desperate measures to stave off a complete breakdown. Fascist Italy made drastic cuts in wages and salaries by decree in the vain attempt to meet cutthroat competition. Despite all efforts of the Italian capitalists to unload all their difficulties on the backs of the workers and peasants, the fascists now find their gold reserves down close to the minimum permitted by law. The lira is at its lowest value since May 1931. Hence Mussolini has decreed a government monopoly of of foreign exchange through the National Exchange Institute.

All private citizens and corporations are required to make available to this Institute all their foreign credits and holdings. Even foreign securities will be registered in case they must be used to prevent Italy from going off the gold standard and from losing her last gold reserves. A similar situation drove Hitler to attempt the complete withdrawal of German economy from world economy – through the reactionary ideas of autarchy. Mussolini may be forced to take similar measures to protect the Italian bourgeoisie from the onslaught of world forces of capitalism.

* * *

Scrapping the NRA

As the legal end of the NRA approaches, the reactionary forces of American capitalism wish to make sure that there will be no continuance of government interference or control of business in any form whatsoever. Hence there is a concerted effort on the part of big business to apply the utmost pressure to all government agencies to carry out its reactionary program. An address by Jordan of the National Industrial Conference Board delivered at the Philadelphia meeting of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, sets forth all the planks desired by the big finance capitalists. He calls for the reduction of the heavy surtaxes on individual and corporate income, the relaxation of the Security Act, the lifting of restrictions regarding minimum wages, maximum hours and the collective bargaining provisions of the NRA (scrapping of the 7-a clause), the cessation of the expenditure of Federal funds for relief, the extension of the CCC and of the subsistence homestead idea, the deportation of alien unemployed, forced labor for other unemployed.

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