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Jack Weber

March of Events

(18 January 1936)

From New Militant, Vol. II No. 3, 18 January 1936, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Neutrality for Sanctions

Election year is here and the season is open for the creation of fake issues between capitalist politicians. More especially is this the case over the issue of war or peace. In this respect the present campaign bears certain resemblances with that of 1916 when Wilson was re-elected for having “kept America out of war.” Then too the “education” of the masses was accomplished by maintaining a fictitious appearance of neutrality in the first world war. How fictitious this issue was is clearly enough revealed in the memoirs of Secretary of State Lansing, despite the pose of “high moral tone” attempted by the careful selection of documents. Lansing replaced Bryan in order to steer the United States into the war on the side of the Allies. The fundamental reasons for aiding the allied imperialists were the financial interests of the American capitalists, particularly those of the big bankers. The most backward person knows this today so that there is absolutely nothing new being revealed by the Congressional investigation of the relation between the Morgan loans and the entry of America except for the filling out of a few concrete details. It was easy for the bankers to create the appearance of a financial crisis with the possibility of panic in order to achieve their aims of complete support of England and France. Diplomacy had the usual task of covering up these material interests with the more palatable veneer of “humanity and democracy”. Thus the immediate causes of war were made the submarine issue and the “freedom of the seas.” Lansing is careful in his memoirs to delete all documents which would reveal the direct influence of the Morgans in shaping American policy. Thus the letter of Lansing to Wilson in which the Secretary becomes the obvious mouthpiece of the financiers in securing direct government backing of the floating of enormous loans to the Allies, is omitted.

Neutrality Today

The British tories found it to their advantage to screen their war preparations under the disguise of sanctions. The pose of international capitalist action against Italian imperialism made an appeal to English workers. Similarly the “liberal”and “progressive” henchmen of capitalism here wish to exploit the desire for peace of the masses by waging a fake battle over neutrality. To do this however they must make it appear that it was the nefarious work of the big bourgeoisie that caused the giving up of neutrality in the last war. It was the careful preparations and maneuvering of Morgan and Lamont behind the scenes that overthrew “neutrality”. And of course Nye and Borah intend to see to it that this does not happen again! As a matter of fact neutrality at this time is the method by which the American imperialists are accomplishing their aims with least expense. American capitalism dominates the world and its wishes must be carefully consulted by the other imperialists. Thus America influences all decisions without appearing to have any finger in the pie at all. This leaves the big bourgeoisie free to maneuver and to remain aloof until the proper moment arrives to intervene and exert their utmost power – when the rival imperialists are in no position to oppose the will of America. Just as Wilson proceeded during “neutrality” to construct the biggest navy afloat, so Roosevelt in the lull that precedes the next great conflict, is hastening the building of the strongest navy on the seas. Neutrality does not stop for one moment the complete militarizing of the Pacific in order to be ready for the need of neutrality and the opening of war with Japan. Neutrality here plays the same role that sanctions played and play in England.

* * *

Vigilantes in Seattle

The elements and methods of fascism are always present in capitalist society in embryo. It is when these sectional elements begin to recur, when they begin to coalesce and take on national character that fascism becomes immediately menacing to the working class. To gauge the progress of reaction so as to see ahead and organize the working class for defense against the rule of knife and club, it is necessary to pay close attention to every sectional struggle. The Pacific Coast has witnessed tremendous battles in the class struggle in the past few years. The general strike in Frisco stands out as a monument to solidarity. At the present time the indications are that the marine workers in whose cause the workers fought this major battle, may again strike against the big shipping interests. The bosses on their side are prepared to put down such a strike with the violence and brutality characteristic of major strike movements. A minor but important indication of ruling class preparedness is seen in the vigilante movement all along the Coast. Only a few days ago the vigilantes of Seattle raided a Communist school that had just been opened and attacked in vicious fashion students and teachers. The latter were chased for blocks and beaten with clubs. Here as everywhere in the capitalist world when gangster tactics are used against the working-class movement, the thugs were aided by the police. Before the arrival of the vigilantes several members of the teaching staff and student body had been arrested by the police under orders from the Mayor. Following the arrests the terror was loosed on the remaining individuals. This is but a symptom of what may be expected on a growing scale in the event of big strikes. It is necessary for the workers to made aware of the situation in advance and to organize their forces accordingly for the defense of their meetings against the vigilantes.

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