French Trotskyism Under the Occupation 1942

The Second Front and the USSR

Source: La Lutte de Classes, organ of the Groupe Communiste, October 22, 1942;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2011.

In the three years that the imperialist war has lasted the workers have not yet found the road to salvation.

The heroic resistance of the Red Army against the capitalist enemy, strong in its technical aspects and its historic past, is a new striking proof of the miracles accomplished by the proletarian revolution in a country that twenty-five years before had fallen into a state of decomposition. On the other hand, the retreat of the Soviet troops and the loss of wealthy territories dissipated the Stalinist bureaucracy’s lies and bluffs concerning the “invincibility” of the planned economy in an isolated USSR.

It is in these conditions that there grows the belief that only an Allied second front, by delivering the coup de grace to Hitler, could put an end to the nightmare of the war.

While the radio broadcasts from London carefully maintain this illusion, inviting the workers to peacefully await the Allied attack, the “Communist” Party, fallen to depths of chauvinism more revolting that the worst hardliners of 1914, has no revolutionary policy to propose to the working class and, limiting itself to repeating what is said over the Soviet radio, calls for revolt and individual attacks without concern for objective conditions. Thus lacking in any leadership for mass action corresponding to the relationship of forces, the workers wait and lose hope.

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And what else can they do? Stalin himself, after through a series of alliances with the various imperialisms having brought the working class down to the intellectual level of twenty-five years ago (the Sacred Union) and officially abandoned the exploited and oppressed masses in the countries occupied by Germany to national “liberators” like DeGaulle in France, is reduced to loudly requesting the creation of a second front. But the “Allied democrats” are in no hurry to intervene, unless their imperialist interests dictate this, as in Madagascar.

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We remind the workers who for the past fifteen months have been powerless spectators of the fight that will dictate the fate of the first worker’s state the world has ever known, of what we said at the beginning of the conflict in the face of a world dominated by imperialism: the USSR can only triumph through socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist countries (Germany, England), supported by the fight for emancipation by the colonial peoples: “The task of communist strategy is coordinating the fight of the Red Army with the development of the class struggle in the capitalist countries.” (Tract of June 30, 1941)

Stalin preferred to this policy that of an alliance with the imperialisms opposed to Hitler and abandoned the fight for emancipation of the peoples oppressed by the latter (India, Ireland, Indochina, etc.)

And so it is that today the allied imperialists, using the second front for purposes of blackmail, is undertaking the strangling not of the Red Army, which is still indispensable to their plans, but rather of the REGIME which, though rendered unrecognizable by the Stalinist bureaucracy, still remains red, since it is remains based on the planned (“socialist”) economy.

In fact, shortly after the visit of Wendell Wilkie, who was charged by Wall Street with making known to Stalin the conditions for American military assistance, the function of army political commissar, which ensured the civil bureaucracy’s control of the military, was suppressed. The bourgeois press rejoiced in this suppression, for of the two bureaucracies, the civil and the military, it is the former which, living parasitically at the expense of the social organism, has its roots directly in the planned economy which it is dependent upon. This suppression takes on its full significance with the fact that at the same time the “brilliant” Stalin was replaced by the former tsarist officer Shaposhnikov. In the end, the main safeguard of the essential conquest of the revolution of October 1917 – the planned economy – depends, 1: on the attachment of the Soviet masses to the regime; and 2: the actions of the of the world proletariat which, breaking with the harmful policies of the so-called Communist parties, will assist the Soviet proletariat in reconquering the power usurped by the bureaucracy.

As in 1914-18 the imperialists deafen the masses with a torrent of strategic commentaries in order to better hide the real problem from them, which is political. For the character of the strategy is determined by the political goals to which it is subject. What the workers must know how to determine is the nature of the state disposing of the armed force. Is it an imperialist government, a bourgeois nationalist government (with colonies and semi-colonies), a bureaucratic worker’s government (the USSR)? What are its goals? Is it right to support China against Japan and not India against England? The proletariat must view events from the point of view of human liberation, for the emancipation of the workers is impossible, well-being cannot last, AS LONG AS ONE SOLE OPPRESSED PERSON EXISTS IN THE WORLD.

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What can a second front mean to the workers? Would an Allied offensive, even in the case of a victory, mean anything but the ravaging of Western Europe (especially France), than a new dismantling of nations (for example the restoration of the tri-national Czechoslovakian monster), than the pillaging of the wealth of the continent under various pretexts? Already, with their victory in 1918 the French masses never reached the standard of living of the years before 1914. And now? As we said in November 1940: “Europe’s share in the world economy has considerably diminished since the First World War. In attempting to increase the share of German imperialism in an already impoverished Europe Hitler has consummated the ruin of the continent. And before Hitler will have vanquished England America will reduce the Old World to a subsistence level . The road is closed to Europe’s rebuilding on a capitalist basis.”

Socialism is the only road: “The task of allowing absolute self-determination and the peaceful collaboration of all the peoples of Europe can only be resolved on the basis of the economic union of a Europe purged of bourgeois domination. The proletariat must drive out those who carved up Europe, must take power to unify the latter and create the Socialist United States of Europe. Only the common struggle of the German, French, Hungarian, Italian, and Rumanian workers will allow the establishment of the Socialist United States of Europe which will offer the USSR a fraternal hand in order to together lead the final struggle for the freeing of the human race.”

Worker: your only choice is that between imperialism and that of THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL!