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Jack Weber

March of Events

(30 March 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 15, 30 March 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The AAA and the Tenant Farmer

Just as the development of capitalist industry results in the ever greater concentration of wealth in the hands of the few fabulously rich financiers, so the development of capitalist farming exhibits also the concentration of land ownership in the hands of fewer and fewer land barons. By means of its complex control of the market for agricultural products, of the prices charged to farmers for the goods they need, and of the credit system, monopoly finance capital exploits the small farmer more intensively than under any previous economic system. Helpless against the gigantic forces not of nature but of monopoly capitalism, the farmer gradually falls into hopeless debt through the process of mortgaging his land, his home, even his future crop in his desperate struggle to keep from starving.

The bankers’ mortgage system is merely a stage in the degradation of the independent farmer to land tenancy and into share-cropping and the status of farm laborer. The capitalist ruling class in the advanced countries observe this inevitable process with dread, for it creates the allies of the proletariat in the struggle for power and thus menaces the “social stability”. American capitalism is now face to face with the problem of “stabilizing” agriculture and subsidizing farmers so as to maintain them for use against the working class when it becomes necessary. The AAA was created with this in view and was intended to aid in “solving” the farm problem. Actually its attempts reveal, leaving aside the hypocrisy of every ruling class when dealing with the exploited and oppressed, the utter inability of capitalism to solve the farm problem.

* * *

Driving Farmers Off the Land

The report by the Committee on Minority Groups in the Economic Recovery, just issued, shows how the AAA has worked not in the interests of the actual farmers, but in those of the exploiters of these farmers through the well-established modes of usury. The bankers have been enabled to borrow funds at low rates of interest and to loan out these same funds at the usual extortionate rates. Far from “stabilizing” the farming industry, the policy pursued by the government under the New Deal has had the effect of degrading the lot of the tenant farmer even more, and of actually driving him off the land.

Curtailment of crops to raise prices has put out of employment hundreds of thousands of tenant farmers in the South. It pays the landlord to evict these tenants, whites and blacks alike, thereby evading all responsibility for feeding them and throwing them on the starvation relief handed out by the government. Meantime, while its policies result in this wholesale wave of evictions and driving of farmers off the land, the government makes empty gestures of establishing “subsistence homesteads” and “peasant proprietorships”. And this is the reactionary solution offered by the Committee on Minority Groups. Only socialism, not capitalism, can really set out to solve the agricultural problem, by organizing the farmers into collectives and giving them a fair exchange in manufactured goods and services for their crops.

* * *

The Attack on Trotsky

The constantly growing and ever more vicious attacks made in the Stalinist press on Comrade Trotsky, assume more and more the aspect of a widespread preparation, for new efforts of the Soviet bureaucracy to perpetrate a frame-up against him. In their desperate eagerness to trick the working class into believing that Trotsky can, by some occult process known only to the Stalinists, be lumped together with counter-revolutionists and white guards, not to mention police agents, the Stalinists form a real united front with bourgeois reaction.

Nothing would suit the French reactionaries more than to see this Bolshevik-Leninist snuffed out of existence. They recognize that the real menace to French capitalism comes from those revolutionists who are working to create the Fourth International. The New International would at the same time he a menace not to the Soviet Union to the defense of which it would be devoted, but to the corrupt bureaucracy that has ruled In Russia since Lenin died. In order to scotch the growing movement of workers in the countries of Western Europe for the creation of the Fourth International, as symbolized by the building of the new Dutch Revolutionary Party, the Stalinists feel it necessary to discredit Comrade Trotsky.

Their effort at a “plant” in the Kirov assassination – through a letter that the GPU had hoped to obtain with the aid of a foreign consul – fell through. But this makes all the more likely a new and worse attempt in France where the Soviet bureaucracy feels its whole opportunist policy jeopardized by the revolutionary course pursued by the Bolshevik-Leninist fraction of the French Socialist Party. The growing and concerted attacks in such sheets as the Daily Worker thus merely serve to set us on our guard against the danger of a new frame-up against Comrade Trotsky.

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