Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Weber

March of Events

(20 April 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 18, 20 April 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Stresa Conference

What happened at Stresa was a foregone conclusion long in advance of the actual conference. Hitler sweeps aside the armament clauses of the Versailles Treaty, establishes Germany’s complete freedom to prepare for the next war, and all that the former allies can do under present conditions is to admonish Hitler that he had better not do it again. This time, say the helpless premiers, we will yield to you – but next time, look out! Stresa thus marks the success of Nazi diplomacy in winning England to support German rearmament – for use against the Soviet Union. At the same time Great Britain makes It perfectly plain that the reparations clauses and the armament provisions of the Versailles system may be void – but the territorial changes made by the war stand. Hitler need not expect to recover from the British lion what has once come under its claws. If German capitalism needs to expand, let it be to the East!

If Stresa marks the final rumbling of the post-war Versailles system for guaranteeing to the victors the spoils, it signifies at the same time the weakening of French hegemony in Europe. French imperialism feels this keenly and hence seeks help to maintain her slipping position. France is aware that the German militarists fear nothing so much as a military alliance between France and the Soviet Union. Thus far this alliance, all but consummated, has been held as a threat over Hitler’s head. But having accomplished his first major objective, Hitler immediately proceeds towards the accomplishment of his next object, the separation of France from Russia. That is the meaning of the vague and formless offer to sign an Eastern Locarno pact without any military assistance clauses. That offer is intended to gain time and to head off the Franco-Russian alliance. In this move the Nazis have the fervent support of the reactionaries of both France and England. The Daily Express of Lord Beaverbrook ridicules the idea of defining an aggressor: “The truth about all the rigmarole from Stresa is that Locarno and all its works have been reduced by the new events to utter nonsense. Are we going to bomb Paris because France invades Germany to assist Russia which has been invaded by Germany? No, sir!” And in truth, who will ever stop on the outbreak of a war to determine the aggressor? Only self-interest determines the combinations made in an imperialist war.

* * *

Stalinism and the War Danger

To the working class it must be made clear that Stresa is a step not towards peace but towards war. Faced with the prospect of imperialist war and intervention against the Soviet Union, the Stalinists reveal the depths to which they have dragged the October Revolution.

Any appeal for revolutionary action of the international proletariat is completely ignored while the Stalinists confine their efforts for peace completely to the realm of diplomacy and maneuvers behind the scene. In their efforts to maintain their bureaucratic power in the Soviet Union, they sacrifice again and again the interests of the working class at home and abroad. By their own illusion that an “enduring” military alliance with imperialist France can stave of fascist intervention; by their willingness to defend the status quo, which means the upholding of capitalism in its bourgeois democratic form at the very time when this must give way in France (the present key to the international situation) either to fascism or to communism; the Stalinists corrupt the minds of the French workers with the same false views. They prepare the road to defense of the fatherland and to fascist victory by giving the French workers false, opportunist guidance instead of clear understanding and directives. Instead of utilizing the united front between themselves and the Socialists for involving the French workers in struggle against the Bonapartist Flandin government, which steadily paves the way for a fascist military coup d’etat, the Stalinist party actually extends the united front to the supporters of the Bonapartist regime and thereby places the workers at the service of the bourgeoisie.

The whole situation in France calls for energetic revolutionary leadership and for revolutionary activity, including the arming of the proletariat for the breaking up of fascist bands and for the preparation to seize power, – and the Stalinists proceed to denounce the real Marxists who see the situation in all its clarity and offer the only correct policy to the French proletariat as police agents. When historically the bourgeoisie has reached the end of its rope and can offer nothing but the profoundest misery to the workers, the Stalinists attempt to confine the activities of the united front to a struggle for immediate demands, for impossible concessions from the capitalists. Proposing a basis for organic unity to the Socialists that is in line with the bankrupt policies of the Comintern, the Stalinists would confine the struggle against the extension of conscription to two years of service and thus against the war preparations – to monster petitions! Instead of preparing the workers for a direct attack on the entire capitalist system, the Communist Party of France calls for a fight on high prices in order to lower them. In Germany the ultra-leftist course of Stalinism was a direct cause of the victory of Hitlerism. In France if the workers are misled into following the reactionary guidance of the Third International, then the ultra-opportunist course of the bureaucrats in the present juncture will prove the cause of the success of French fascism.

Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 23 February 2016