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Jack Weber

March of Events

(28 September 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 40, 28 September 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Army Rule in the Philippines ...

In the modern world the crude methods of direct and brutal colonial oppression by the “advanced” imperialist nations are resorted to only as a final means when more subtle methods fail. It is far easier and no more costly for the foreign exploiters to strike a mutually helpful bargain with the native bourgeoisie and its representatives. In Cuba the puppets Mendieta and Battista take their orders from the American capitalists through the United States Minister. In the Philippines the figure-head Quezon will take his orders from the “military adviser” McArthur, whose appointment to that post has just been announced. In the very way in which the news is made public, there is revealed the “open secret” that the election of Quezon was a pre-determined, cut-and-dried affair. The elections have only just been completed and yet it is stated that Quezon, precisely Quezon, had called for the appointment of General McArthur last summer. This is obviously revealed only now, after the elections, since it might have embarrassed Quezon in his campaigning. The United States Army, with commendable courtesy and in a spirit of cooperation, has graciously consented to transfer the former Chief of Staff to this new service, to help supervise the organization of the national defense forces for the new ‘commonwealth’ government of the Philippine Islands. Under McArthur’s rule the work of militarizing the Islands and the adjacent possessions will go forward to completion. The Philippines will be made a strong naval and air base for use in the coming war with Japan.

Gentleman’s Agreement

Not that the threat of this war has again reached the acute stage. On the contrary, it suits the aims of both countries at this time to cultivate each other’s friendship. Thus Ambassador Saito has just arrived at a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with Washington to limit the volume of textiles to be exported by Japan to the Philippine market. This was done in order to avoid the imposing of an additional 50 to 75 per cent duty on Japanese goods entering the Philippines. The Japanese have even agreed to accept a smaller quota than the 52 per cent they had captured in 1934. This avoidance of a trade war in textiles may be extended to the general exports of the rapidly expanding Japanese capitalism to the United States and its possessions. But lest it be inferred that the threat of war in the Pacific area is abating, one has only to glance at the enormous imports of scrap steel and other forms of steel from the United States to Japan. The latter has increased her average takings of these vital materials by 800 percent. This means that in the last thirty months Japan has imported more of this war material than in the previous eight years combined. Despite the rise in price that has resulted, the rate of import has, if anything, increased.

* * *

Anglo-Japanese Alliance

What is of greater importance to both the Soviet Union and to U.S. imperialism, there are rumors of a revival of the Anglo-Japanese alliance. Speculation concerning the mission of the English economist Leith-Ross in the Far East centers on this interpretation. With the naval race in full swing as the result of the scrapping of the Washington naval truce, the English find themselves more exposed than ever to attack in and from the Far East. The Italian threat to the Mediterranean line of communications that is like a sacred cow to British imperialism, only serves the more to emphasize England’s weakness at the far end of these communications in Singapore. An alliance with Japan would serve to check the threat of the latter to build a canal through Siam that would “short-circuit” Singapore and shorten the route to India by two or three days. Japan would be given assurances against America and would police the Far East for the interests of both imperialists. Japan could then feel free to launch her attack finally against the Soviet Union. The resumption of this Far Eastern alliance would be in line with England’s policy with respect to Germany; that is, of encouraging Hitler to expand eastwards at the expense of the Soviet Union.

* * *

Revolutionary Action Against Imperialist War

All these machinations of the imperialist robbers are directly and violently opposed to the vital interests of the world proletariat. This is the manner in which the bourgeoisie propose to maintain the system of exploitation, against the physical and economic well-being of the working class. The organizer and leader of the British Labor Party, Herbert Morrison, defending his betrayal of the working class by the support of British imperialism, says: “We are not interested in the struggles of rival imperialists and we are not going to be drawn into them.” Such an ostrich policy places the workers in chains and hands them over to imperialist slaughter. On the contrary, vve are vitally interested to oppose by revolutionary means all the machinations of all imperialists.

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