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Jack Weber

March of Events

(2 February 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 8, 2 February 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A Year of Struggle in France

February 6 will mark exactly one year since the political crisis that changed profoundly the course of the class struggle in France. On that date, utilizing as a pretext the Stavisky scandal that had stirred the masses to the depths, the forces of reaction accomplished by a coup d’etat the overthrow of the “radical” socialist government of Daladier and its replacement by force by the Doumergue government. The rioting of the reactionaries on February 6 was answered by the tremendous demonstrations of the working class in the week following.

But the Doumergue government, aided by the capitulation of the petty bourgeois parties, remained in power and proceeded to establish a dictatorial, anti-parliamentarian regime. Doumergue, attempting to prepare the way for fascism more rapidly than class forces would permit, was in turn voted out of power by the attenuated parliamentary regime still existing, and his prototype Flandin took office as premier. Flandin carries out the function of opening the road to fascism.

* * *

The United Front

The course of events, the imminent menace of fascism, aroused among the masses a strong sentiment for militant action. The lessons of Germany and Austria were too near at hand for the workers to permit a reactionary victory without strong resistance. By the pressure of the masses the two major working class parties – the Socialist and the Communist – were compelled to enter into a united front to combat fascism. The Communist League of France (Trotskyists) threw its forces into the French Socialist Party in order to exert its influence in the united front to counteract the opportunist policies of the bureaucracies of the two parties by proposing and fighting for revolutionary policies leading towards the defeat of fascism and the taking of power by the working class.

Alliance with the Bourgeoisie

The policies pursued by the leaders of the two parties in the united front have tended not to lead the masses in militant struggle, but on the contrary to lull them into inaction. Both bureaucracies, starting with a non-aggression pact not to criticize each other at all, are unwilling to aim at establishing workers’ power – the only method of defeating fascism. Instead, the two leaderships prefer to uphold bourgeois democracy, the one because of its entire nature historically, the other due to the needs of Soviet diplomacy to maintain the French military alliance.

Recently the Communists took the initiative in adding to the united front the Radicals and the Radical-Socialists, both parties of the petty bourgeoisie. The Socialist Party, taking its cue from the C.P., has accepted this situation without much opposition. This is the surest way to give the victory to the reactionary forces and to bring about the bloody defeat of the proletariat. Under the guise of the common interests of the youth, the Young Communists of one Paris District have actually held meetings in common with the fascists organized in the Patriotic Youth.

* * *

The Anniversary

The French masses are waiting expectantly for February 6. It is possible that the fascist Croix de Feu and Francistes and other organizations may attempt, as they have threatened, to demonstrate their power anew on this date. This would undoubtedly bring a fresh current of struggle and resistance into the ranks of the proletariat. Unless the workers are aroused from the apathy into which they seem, on the surface, to have sunk in recent months, fascism may march forward at faster pace. The recent riots at Chartres give the first signs of renewed street battles which will take on a wider mass character in the days to come.

* * *

Sugar Workers Strike in Porto Rico

A dramatic strike movement grips the island of Puerto Rico, where the colonial slaves of Wall Street have again rebelled. The sugar plantation workers were the first to strike. One by one the majority of the sugar centers of the island have been paralyzed. Stevedores and truck drivers have struck in solidarity with the plantation workers. The movement is marked by great militancy; canefields are being burned; clashes between workers and scabs are hourly occurrences; many arrests have been made. On Jan. 19 six boats operated by scabs were scuttled. Finding the forces of capital and the colonial administration pitted against them, the strikers resorted to sabotage as a weapon of struggle.

The great number of strikes that have swept the Caribbean area since the outbreak of the Cuban revolution 18 months ago, indicates the increasing radicalization and organization of these toilers in Wall Street’s colonial domain. The United Fruit Company’s banana workers in Costa Rica and Colombia has been active and at the present moment, which is the period of the sugar harvest, the sugar workers of Cuba, Mexico and Veracruz are striking hard blows against their exploiters. The major weakness of the movements is the lack of coordination between labor in these countries.

Greater unity of action between the workers of the various countries is essential for victory.

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