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Jack Weber

The British Workers – Not Churchill –
Can Defeat Fascism

(March 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 11, 15 March 1941, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The American workers are being sold on the idea that all-out aid to English capitalism will help defeat Hitler and so get rid of fascism. At the same time. the English workers have played to them an old and well-tried tune: first we must win the war and defeat the Nazis; then we can have socialism. Churchill flashes his most winning smile in the bomb-torn areas and, while announcing that be has one single war aim – to win the war – lets fall a remark or two that things will, be quite different after the war.

Why Not Socialism Now?

The English masses should demand an answer to the simple query: why not socialism now? The first answer they will get is that any move to obtain socialism now would cause difficulties, would split the nation, would disturb class peace. And, that would endanger the victory and permit Hitler to conquer. Who, however, would make it difficult and give trouble? Surely not the workers who would stand to benefit by the elimination of profits, the complete central planning of production for a nationalized economy, the elimination of privileges so that there would be a better distribution of the goods of life. No, it would be the capitalist owners who possess all the privileges who would be up in arms – and who would then stand in the way of conducting a victorious war!

The workers are giving their lives to help defeat fascism. The factory owners haven’t enough gratitude right during the war to yield up anything to those who are giving everything to save the capitalist system. Would these same owners give up any of the prerogatives of their rule after the war?

Assume that England wins the war with Churchill still in power. Where would English economy stand? Right now it is so close to bankruptcy that it must appeal to the United States for aid without any illusion that this assistance will ever be repaid. The end of the war will see an economically helpless England faced with the most gigantic tasks in rebuilding what has been destroyed. The first World War ended with nothing but misery and unemployment for the masses. This war will leave capitalism so rotted through that it would be able to maintain itself only by a terrific slash at the living standards of the English people. In other words, the war will have hastened the entire process of capitalist decay that underlined all Europe in the period between the two wars. That brought fascism to one country after the other because the factory owners had to destroy all resistance to their plans to cut wages, lengthen hours of work, and put the masses on starvation rations. England would be no exception. Churchill or his successors would resort to exactly the same measures that brought Hitler in Germany under similar conditions.

In this process the Churchills would be aided by the United States, for after an utterly exhausting war, England would not even be able to maintain her independence. Churchill tries to undermine Italian morale by gibing at Mussolini for having made Italy nothing but a German province. Mussolini could very well retort that Churchill is rapidly making England a colony of the United States.

Workers Can End This War

Churchill tells the British workers that the German people have made themselves responsible for Hitler and all his doings. Otherwise why do they tolerate Hitler? And Hitler talks in exactly the same fashion about Churchill and the English workers. See, he says to the German workers, the English are united against us, the workers are solidly with their bosses. In this argument, however, there is the whole key to ending the war in a victory for the working class. The English workers have it in their power to destroy the “national unity” of Hitler. How could the English proletariat do this? By breaking down the walls of their own national “unity,’’ by sweeping aside the Churchills and their labor lackeys and setting up a workers’ government in England.

Such a government could really and fully mobilize all the resources, all the forces of production and all the people of England to defeat fascism. Hitler could no longer talk of the nefarious plot of the international bankers against Germany.

The hypocrisy of Churchill would make itself evident at once. He would show immediately that his main aim is to win the war – for capitalism, not for democracy. When the French General Staff saw defeat looming, their fear of revolution made them capitulate at once. Churchill, faced, with a proletarian revolution at home, would not hesitate for one moment. He would sooner see the victory of Hitler and the salvation of capitalism through fascism, than the defeat of Hitler by the revolutionary working class. The French capitalists forestalled a revolution by giving in quickly to Hitler. But let the workers of England start their revolution for socialism and the situation would be quite different. When the victorious army of Bismarck faced the armed Paris workers in the days of the Commune, he did not dare send his troops into Paris to disarm the Communards. He did not want his own troops to become infected, for through them all Germany would have burst into flame. The flame of the English revolution would light up first of all Germany and then all .of Europe. Does anyone believe that the German workers are enthusiastic for the war and have any great love for their fascist masters? No, an English revolution would cause the very ground to quake under Hitler’s feet.

All the lessons of the events in Europe since the Russian Revolution make it clear that only the workers can defeat fascism. They cannot leave this task to the “democratic” capitalists, Churchill defends imperialism, not democracy. It is capitalism in putrid decay that breeds fascism. And the wai is hastening and extending this decay. The defeat of Hitler would bring revolution in Germany, no doubt. But if the Churchills were victorious, then they would protect their capitalist system by attempting to drown the German revolution in blood. That would mean a new form of fascism unless the German revolution then spread to England. Any way one looks at it, only the workers can defeat fascism. The English workers can bring Hitler down by themselves taking power in England against the capitalist government.

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