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Jack Weber

Not the Bosses, but the Workers
Will Save the USSR

(4 October 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 40, 4 October 1941, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Workers Want to Aid Soviet Union

The workers everywhere in Europe show by their actions that they are far from indifferent to the fate of the USSR in the present struggle. Defense of the Soviet Union has in it the positive element of a program of hope for the future. Defeat of Hitler forms only the beginning of such a program – because it still leaves open the entire question of the struggle at home after such a defeat.

Meantime the capitalists in the anti-Hitler camp are utilizing the issue of aid to Soviet Russia in their own way – as is to be expected. Take the example of England. Churchill is greatly pleased to permit the workers to feel a really popular reason for maintaining national unity. Only recently there were strikes of English workers against conditions and particularly against the long hours demanded of them in the factories. Now comes the issue of aid to Soviet Russia, struggling heroically against the most powerful army in history. The Bevins and the Morrissons had no difficulty at all in getting Churchill to endorse the idea of a “Tanks for Russia” week. It is reported, and no doubt with truth, that some workers gave up their vacations to boost production for the sake of having more tanks reach the Red Army. Production of munitions reached unprecedented heights.

The enthusiasm of the British workers for the cause of the Red Army certainly does credit to their intelligence. The instinct of the working class in this issue should serve as a real lesson to those pseudo-revolutionists who tell the world that they are quite indifferent as to who wins the victory in the war between Germany and Russia. These people used to challenge us to explain to workers that there is a difference between Stalin and the Soviet Union. By their actions all over Europe workers are showing how well they do understand precisely this great difference.

But it is unfortunate that this political intelligence does not extend still further. In the first place, the workers can never have assurance, so long as the capitalist class retains its power, that the aid which the workers contribute willingly will ever actually reach the Red Army. Aid will be sent only so long as it suits the Roosevelts and Churchills to keep sending it. It appears now that even the “Tanks for Russia” week had a catch in it that the workers did not appreciate till it was all over. Then it was explained that of course not all the different tanks and munitions produced could be used by the Red Army. Only certain sizes would be sent, and the full production of tanks would be credited to Russia for future delivery. In the same way we hear on this side that Roosevelt is most anxious to send help – but, he pretends, the Russians won’t enlighten him as to what they really need.

Flow to Assure Aid to the USSR

The workers can assure aid to Russia – besides making absolutely sure of the defeat of all forms of fascism everywhere – only by having complete control over the sending of aid. That means not supporting Churchill and Roosevelt in a national unity which leaves power in the hands of these capitalist leaders, but the establishing of a proletarian unity which would take the power of- the state into the workers’ own hands and permit the workers to dictate all political policies of the nation.

This question of political power is taking on the most fundamental importance in Europe, where the masses of all the countries under the heel of German and Italian fascism are seething with revolt. It can be said with the utmost certainty that if these masses place themselves behind a leadership of petty-bourgeois or bourgeois elements whose aim it is to restore the nation as it existed just before the war, then the toilers will be betrayed into the hands of the self-same oppressors whose rule today makes fascism inevitable. The defeat of the capitalist nation by Hitler has weakened the native capitalist masters. The masses must take full advantage of this situation. They must combine the struggle to break the chains of the German oppressor with the struggle to throw off the national capitalist yoke as well. This combined struggle is perfectly possible, rt is the only road to salvation for Europe and for the entire civilized world today.

The same pseudo-revolutionists who can see no difference between victory for Hitler and a victory for Stalin in the war also deride the idea of a simultaneous struggle to defeat fascism and to overthrow capitalism in order to replace it with socialism. Precisely this simultaneous struggle, however, is the inevitable necessity of the entire European state of affairs today. Merely to speak of defeat of Hitler would lead to social- patriotism. Merely to speak of waging the class struggle against the native bourgeoisie regardless of possible defeat by German fascism, is to ignore the meaning of fascism which would wipe out the revolutionists who might attempt to overthrow of the native capitalists after their defeat by Hitler. The solution to this desperate- situation is not the choice of any lesser evil – support of the “democratic” bourgeoisie against Hitler – but a simultaneous struggle against both.

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