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Jack Weber

March of Events

(2 November 1935

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 45, 2 November 1935, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Who Will Disarm the Fascists?

Nothing paralyzes the revolutionary activity of the advanced workers in any country so much as sabotage and treachery from within its own ranks. French social democracy and Stalinism are both engaged in creating and fostering the most harmful illusions in the ranks of the French proletariat. The success of their treachery can lead only to the victory of fascism. On a par with the social patriotic support of French militarism and imperialism, under the guise of “defense of the Soviet Union,” by the support of the Franco-Soviet military alliance, is the sowing of the illusion by the “Popular Front” that the capitalist government can be made to disarm the fascist bands hired by finance capital. As a quid pro quo for their support of a “democratic” government, the Stalinists have been demanding that the government agree to disarm the fascists. Laval now “yields” to this so-called pressure from the “left” (as the capitalist press puts it) and announces that the Mobile Guards or special police are to be reenforced and given the immediate task of disarming the Croix de Feu and other private armies. No doubt the cretins who trust in the imperialist government which is ceaselessly preparing for war, to preserve peace, will hail this “decision” of Laval as a victory. In reality the workers should be aroused to the fraud that will be perpetrated by Laval to assist the fascists and strike a blow at the revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat. For under his fake promise, Laval will proceed to take strong measures against the armed workers, against the incipient workers’ militia organized to defend the proletariat from fascist attack. The Laval government corresponds in its functions with that of Giolitto-Bonomi in Italy and Bruening-Schleicher-von Papen in Germany. It is the transition form between democracy and fascism. In this transition the fascist bands are created by finance capital and aided and strengthened by the support of the police and the army. With the direct connivance of leaders in the “democratic” government, of course.

* * *

The Policy of Laval

Laval was placed in power by the financial oligarchy in complete control of the Bank of France. This capstone of French imperialism ousted Flandin when he refused to obey the dictates of the bankers – the Rothschild interests, the de Wendels, etc. – in the matter of deflation. Laval was placed in power because he was the willing tool of the big bankers in the carrying out of an economic policy which – by decree – unloads the entire crisis on the backs of the workers, the small functionaries and the exploited peasants. The same de Wendel who heads the armaments trust and heavy industry (Comité des Forges), who directly finances de la Rocque, the would-be Hitler of France, entrusted the reins of the bourgeois government to Laval. Will any worker take seriously the word of Laval that he will act to disarm the bands created and supported by the same master whose orders are law to Laval – and are in actuality translated into laws by decree?

But perhaps it is not Laval who will really disarm the fascists, but a better friend of the workers, Herriot for example. Or better still one who advocates the People’s Front like Daladier. The Stalinists, for the sake of Soviet diplomacy, perverted the united front with the French Socialists into a crass form of class collaboration for the preservation of bourgeois democracy. The united front became the social-patriotic People’s Front with the inclusion of the directly bourgeois Radical Socialist Party of Herriot and Daladier. We are witnessing the ripening of the fruit of this People’s Front. The Stalinists and Socialists make all possible concessions to the petty bourgeois Radicals, including a complete reliance on parliamentarism. The Radical Socialists, in turn, give support to the direct representatives of big business, to Laval. Herriot prevented a split in the Radical Socialist congress that has just been concluded over the question of supporting the government by decree of Laval. Daladier conducted an apparent fight for the People’s Front against such support but was “persuaded” to yield to the patriotic Herriot. Daladier does not want to split his party. Thus the entire course of the Stalinists is clearly revealed as playing into the hands of the imperialists. The further end of the chain of class collaboration in which the working class links are forged by the Socialist and Stalinist betrayers, rests firmly in the grip of the de Wendels.

The workers must learn that this is the inevitable result of a course of class collaboration, that they remain completely at the mercy of the big bankers. Only by pursuing a clear-cut revolutionary policy of the working class can the workers attain their own ends. Not the direct representatives of the bourgeoisie, but the armed forces of the workers can disarm the fascists. The answer to Laval’s fraud must be the more rapid arming of the workers and the building of the workers’ militia.

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