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Jack Weber

March of Events

(25 May 1935)

From The New Militant, Vol. I No. 23, 25 May 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Franco-Soviet Pact ...

Why was it necessary for the Soviet Union, according to the lackeys of Stalin, to enter into the mutual assistance pact with French imperialism? The Stalinists would have us believe that history began yesterday; that is, with the advent of Hitler to power in Germany. German fascism is the main enemy of the October Revolution. It is preparing, with the aid of Japan and Poland, an imperialist war of intervention. To put obstacles in the way of Hitler and thereby maintain world peace, it was necessary for Soviet diplomacy to make use of the contradictions in the camp of capitalism; namely, the antagonism between French and German imperialism. These “tactics” are falsely compared – after eighteen years of Soviet power – with the tactics of Lenin in the course of the civil war when Soviet Russia was ringed around by white guard armies and imperialist troops.

But history does not begin with Hitler. German fascism came to power with the “permission” of the Stalinist Comintern. It came to power by the defeat of the German workers, due directly to the betrayal of the German and the world proletariat by the Stalinists. Stalinism is capable of resorting to the worst features of capitalist diplomacy, but was and is incapable of practicing revolutionary politics, the essence of which is to utilize the contradictions, not only as between capitalist enemies, but the far deeper ones that exist at all times, and particularly in the epoch of the decline of capitalism, between the classes.

Stalinist Wreckage ...

The passage of power from the Leninists in the Soviet Union to the Stalinists, took place over the bridge of “socialism in one country.” It was over this bridge also that the October Revolution passed from its period of upswing accompanied by the world-wide strengthening of the proletariat, to the period of decline and defeats under the “savior” Stalin. The Third International turned its back on world revolution while the Soviets engaged in building socialism in one country. The October Revolution lost the offensive while Stalin resorted to the theory of “pure defense” in order to protect the gains of the five year plans.

The German Revolution was felt to be a threat to peace, the peace necessary then to “build socialism in one country.” Hence the Stalinists gave no guidance to the German workers; hence they failed to use the class contradictions within Germany, refused to enter into the “counter revolutionary” united front with the social democracy, and “permitted” fascism to come to power as the easier course, the course of lesser evil. Thus Stalinism, itself a major cause of the German debacle, is historically the cause of the “necessity” for signing the pact with France.

But the fever of the anti-united front days in Germany now gives way to the chills of the “popular front” and the “sacred union” in France. Both the fever and the chills are manifestations of the same disease, that cancer that saps the strength of the October Revolution – Stalinism. The Bolshevik-Leninists clearly predicted in advance that if Stalinism persisted in its course in Germany, then Hitler would come to power and become the worst threat to the very existence of the Soviet Union. And now again the Bolshevik-Leninists warn that if the French proletariat are misled into following the betraying course laid out by Stalin in France, fascism will again be victorious there too.

In Germany the Comintern refused to enter into a united front with the socialists, then known as social-fascists. But in France Stalinism enters into a “popular front” not only with the socialists but with the bourgeoisie itself. As the guarantee of French imperialism for its pact, the Stalinists will tie the workers to their bourgeoisie, will bring about the “sacred union” of civil peace, will aid in the building up of French militarism, will advocate that the proletariat aid its own bourgeoisie if that bourgeoisie is the ally of Stalin. Stalinism pursues the policy of the lesser evil for the preservation of French bourgeois democracy, hoping thereby to keep fascism from power. This is the road best calculated to lead the proletariat to bloody defeat. For the sake of maintaining the power of the bureaucratic Bonapartist regime in Russia, a diseased growth on the Soviet system, Stalin would sacrifice once more the interests of the world proletariat.

Rules of Class War ...

The rules of class war are in many senses analogous with those of war in general. The enemy of the working class is the bourgeoisie at home and abroad. The war should at all times be waged against the enemy. In war no enemy is ever defeated by pursuing a course of “pure defense.” The Stalinists would pursue that strategy in defending the Soviet Union; that is, the first stage of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The tactics in France and in connection with the Franco-Soviet pact are not in disagreement but in complete accord with the larger and completely false strategy of the Soviet bureaucracy.

If the workers are to capture and maintain power, then they must pursue the Marxist strategy of world revolution, that of turning the defense at the proper moment into an assault on all the positions of capitalism. Today the decisive field of battle is France. The working class of the entire world must rally to the aid of the French workers and help them arm for the final struggle against French imperialism. That will be the best defense of the U.S.S.R., a defense which cannot be entrusted to the Stalinist betrayers.

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