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Jack Weber

March of Events

(5 October 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 41, 5 October 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Voting in Memel ...

Hitler is taking full advantage of the Italian imperialist threat against Ethiopia as well as the “moral” weapon made to order for rabid nationalism by the actions of the Lithuanian government. It is not hard to understand that the Lithuanian bourgeoisie, seizing Memel by force in a desperate effort to break through the strangling grip on economy of its own national boundaries, would hardly scruple to maintain that conquest by suppression of the Germans opposed to the seizure. Since the balloting for the Memel Diet to take place on Sept. 29th will be interpreted, particularly by Hitler, as a form of plebiscite, the Lithuanian ruling class tried to prevent a “German” victory, or at least to minimize it, by means of a new electoral law passed August 27th. The purpose of the law was to disenfranchise the pro-German majority which prevented “cooperation” between the Memel Diet and the government officials appointed by Lithuania. The Nazis have encouraged Germans to become Lithuanian citizens in order to vote Nazi, with the express promise that they would recover their German nationality without difficulty once Memel had been recaptured by Hitler. Hence the new law denies the right to vote to those naturalized Lithuanian citizens who hold a promise from a foreign nation that their original citizenship may be reassumed at a later time. The vote is also denied to members of organizations which have been condemned for working against Lithuanian independence or which call for the alienation of a part of the Lithuanian state. All of which is quite obviously aimed at the “treasonable” Nazi elements.

* * *

Threat Of War ...

Hitler, with that twisted sense of justice typical of reactionary capitalist defenders, at the same time that he disenfranchises the Jews violates the conditions laid down by the League of Nations for the Saarland, raises a great outcry against the Lithuanian oppressors. The Nazis have massed troops at the Lithuanian border to take advantage of any eventuality. Should a world war break out immediately, the German Army will have an initial objective in the taking of Memel. Even without the outbreak of war elsewhere, the threat of war exists in this struggle over national boundaries. For the workers the struggle over national boundaries, even where a small state like Lithuania is involved, can be viewed only as part of the general clash of different imperialists. Each ruling class is trying to extend its sphere of exploitation of the working class. The solution for the proletariat lies not in defending the national boundaries of the capitalist state, which can only mean support of the national bourgeoisie, but the revolutionary overthrow of the national bourgeoisie, German or Lithuanian, by the workers and the setting up of a proletarian state. Extension of the rule of the workers would mean the wiping out of national boundaries, themselves one of the symbols of class rule. The problem of the Memel workers will not be solved by aiding Hitler to regain Memel for Germany but can only be solved by the proletarian revolution striving to bring about the Soviet United States of Europe.

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