From Fourth International, vol.4 No.11, December 1943, pp.323-328.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
We regret to inform our readers that owing to the sudden illness of Felix Morrow, Editor of Fourth International, the necessary preparations for the November issue could not be completed in time. Postal regulations do not allow us to get out a double issue in order to make up for the skipping of the November number; and we are therefore compelled to limit ourselves to the regular December issue. The term of all subscriptions will be extended one month in order to compensate for this unavoidable omission.
Comrade Morrow was stricken with an attack of acute appendicitis while in Philadelphia covering the CIO Convention for The Militant. He underwent an emergency operation at New York’s Beth Israel Hospital and is now convalescing nicely.
STALIN AGAIN CONSPIRES AGAINST THE REVOLUTION On the very eve of the 26th Anniversary of the October Revolution Stalin placed his seal of approval on the Hull-Molotov-Eden agreement, implicit in which is a conspiracy between the Kremlin and its Allies to collaborate in an attempt to drown in blood the coming Socialist revolution in Europe, above all in Germany. The liars and traitors in the Kremlin immediately proclaimed this agreement to be a great victory for the Soviet Union and the war-stricken masses throughout the world.
The Allied chancelleries are now agog. New negotiations are on foot. The chief issue of the projected Roosevelt-Stalin-Churchill meeting is the price that the “democracies” are willing to pay Stalin in return for his hangman’s services. The dupes of Stalin are ready in advance to accept and acclaim any and all diplomatic deals of the Kremlin with the capitalist powers. In their opinion, Stalin’s “realistic” policies safeguard the Soviet Union. Some of them even think that in this way they are aiding the cause of socialism. They have learned nothing at all from the terrible lessons of the past.
When Stalin made his treaty with Hitler in August 1939, the kept press of the Kremlin also hailed it as a mighty blow against the enemies of the Soviet Union and a great victory for the world working class. They claimed that the pact with Hitler would preserve peace, disrupt the anti-Soviet front, safeguard the Soviet Union and keep it out of war.
Subsequent events have proved how worthless these boasts were. The real results of Stalin’s deal with Hitler turned out to be quite different. The Moscow agreement of 1939 gave the signal for the Second World War. The position of the USSR was weakened by the demoralizing effects of Stalin’s alliance with Hitler upon the European working masses. The power of German imperialism was enormously enhanced by the Nazi conquests of Western Europe. Finally, instead of securing the Soviet Union from attack, Stalin’s blind policy permitted Hitler to strike when he chose without warning at the workers’ state.
Now, more than five years later, another deal is being consummated by Stalin. In contrast to its predecessor, this 1943 Agreement is concluded with the Anglo-American imperialists and is directed against Hitler. But although the front of diplomatic operations has been reversed in the interim, the general line of Stalinist policy remains unchanged. This agreement, dictated by the nationalistic interests of the degenerate Kremlin clique, is no less reactionary in essence, no less perfidious toward the Soviet Union and the European proletariat, than Stalin’s previous pact with Hitler.
This does not of course, prevent the choir of Stalinist journalists from singing the same songs about the pact with Roosevelt and Churchill as they formerly sang about the pact with Hitler. According to them, the Hull-Molotov-Eden agreement is a passport to the Promised Land. Under the economic, political and military collaboration of the “Three Powers,” war shattered Europe will bloom like a garden. The occupied countries will be liberated. Democracy will be freely restored to its peoples. Wars will be prevented by disarming Germany and by the organization of a new League of Nations. The Anglo-American capitalist press paints a no less radiant prospect for Europe.
THE ALLIED PROGRAM FOR WAR-TORN EUROPE Those who permit themselves to be deluded by these intoxicating phrases will soon become disillusioned. They are nothing but fantastic lies and false promises. The real meaning of the Moscow conference is not to be found in the diplomatic deceptionsof the official propagandists but in the appetites and predatory aims of Anglo-American imperialism, on the one hand, and the reactionary policies of the Stalinist bureaucrats, on the other.
Churchill and Roosevelt the political executives of Anglo-American capitalism, have no more benevolent designs for Europe than the present Nazi oppressors. Nor do they have any greater friendship for the USSR. Whenever they enter into any diplomatic, economic or military agreements, they do so in order to protect and to promote the interests of the ruling capitalist class, and for no other reason.
The Stalinist press, however, seeks to embellish Roosevelt and Churchill in the same cynical manner as they used to embellish Hitler, and thereby cover up the real aims and crimes of the imperialists. By assuring the world that the “peace-loving” Anglo-American capitalists intend to bring democracy, freedom, peace, security and prosperity to Europe, the Stalinists are performing the greatest service to the imperialist bandits and facilitating their plans to subjugate the European peoples. Again Stalin deceives and betrays the international working class and prepares new catastrophes for the Soviet Union.
The Four-Nation Declaration adopted on November 1 at Moscow proclaims the need of united action for the maintenance of peace and security after the war against Germany is won. What kind of security is really envisaged by the Declaration and against whom must peace be maintained? After the Nazi military machine has been smashed there will arise only one great power in Europe. That is the power represented by the revolutionary masses, headed by the working class. Although this power was not represented at Moscow and its existence was not even mentioned, its shadow hung over the conference and determined its major decisions.
The chief capitalist spokesmen do not try to conceal their dread of the coming European revolution. Churchill speaks of the necessity for combatting “anarchy and chaos.” Before his departure for Moscow, Hull referred to the possibility of 14 revolutions in Europe this time as against 4 after the last war. Secretary of the Navy Knox talks of “policing the world” for the next 100 years. The plans of the American authorities for ruling conquered European countries and holding down insurgent popular movements have been published in the magazines – and the AMG administration in Sicily and Italy has provided a preview of them.
COMMON GROUND OF MOSCOW CONFEREES But the key to the Moscow Conference consists in the fact that the Kremlin gang shares this fear of the European revolution and, above all, the rising of the German workers. The Kremlin’s fear of the consequences of a victorious proletarian revolution in Germany was confirmed in an article cabled from Cairo by C.L. Sulzberger, published in the New York Times of October 31:
“Many Russians with whom the writer has talked frankly discussed the dangers of a communized Germany. They take the view that this would eventually turn in the direction of Trotskyism, and might conceivably once again, therefore, foment dangers for the Soviet Union – a possibility which must at all costs be avoided.”
The authenticity of these conversations is indubitable. The Russians with whom Sulzberger talked so “frankly” were obviously Stalinist diplomats and functionaries, and their “fears” cast a floodlight upon the political psychology of the Stalinist bureaucrats.
The history of the past decade proved that the greatest danger to the Soviet Union has come from a capitalist-dominated Germany in which the revolutionary movement has been crushed. But Nazi Germany is only one detachment of world imperialism. If the workers do not take power in post-Hitler Germany, then the Anglo-American imperialists will move to impose their own dictatorship upon the German people, and together with their Quislings, will inevitably try to encircle isolate and strangle the Soviet Union.
A “communized Germany” is no threat to the USSR. On the contrary, it is the best guarantee against another imperialist intervention. A “communized Germany” for which the Trotskyists are consciously fighting, would provide the greatest possible protection for the Soviet Union and become the source of unbounded benefits for the Soviet peoples. Why then do the Stalinist bureaucrats dread it so? Because a victorious German revolution would menace the privileged position of the Stalinist usurpers who, have entrenched themselves in power as a consequence of the two decades of defeats of the European working class. A successful revolution anywhere on the continent would act to undermine the totalitarian power of the Kremlin, raise the self-confidence of the Soviet workers, and revive the spirit of the October revolution. When Stalinists speak of “the dangers of a communized Germany” this is what they have in mind.
This fear of the European revolution, which Stalin shares with Roosevelt and Churchill, provided the common ground for their agreement at Moscow. For the Moscow pact is above all Stalin’s pledge to the Anglo-American capitalists for common action against the proletarian revolution which will spring out of the overthrow of Nazism just as the Italian revolution emerged from the collapse of Italian fascism. Stalin’s signature signifies his willingness to strive to prevent the outbreak of such revolutions and to join hands with the Anglo-American imperialists in an attempt to crush them, if they arise despite all maneuvers. This is the real counter-revolutionary significance of the Moscow pact.
NEW INFAMOUS PAGES OF SECRET DIPLOMACY Upon returning from Moscow, Secretary of State Hull declared that no secret agreements had been entered into at the conference. Only a political infant would be taken in by this assurance. If, as the press candidly admits, important clauses in the deal with Badoglio have not yet been made public, who can believe that all the agreements arrived at in Moscow in a conspiracy of this magnitude would be disclosed?
The First World War was supposed to abolish secret diplomacy. The first of Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points promised an end to “secret covenants secretly arrived at.” The Second World War has witnessed an unprecedented flowering of the practices of secret diplomacy. Not only were the agreements at Moscow “secretly arrived at” but we may be sure, a great part of these decisions remains hidden.
As long ago as the Inaugural Address of the First International (1864) Marx taught the working class that “their duty lies in mastering the secrets of international politics, in keeping a watch upon the activities of their governments and, when necessary, with all the power at their command, counteracting such activities.” The Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky fulfilled this task by publishing the secret treaties of the Czar with his Allies, and repudiating them. In the field of foreign policy, as in all others, Stalinism tramples upon the traditions of Marxism and Leninism and reverts to the reactionary policies of the old ruling classes. Instead of denouncing and exposing imperialist secret diplomacy, Stalin connived with the imperialists against the interests of the working class.
The unrestrained jubilation of Washington and London over the results of the Moscow Conference shows who triumphed at Moscow. Roosevelt and Churchill express great gratification. Secretary of State Hull, the patron of Darlan, Franco, Salazar, Petain, Badoglio, King Victor Emmanuel and half a dozen assorted decayed monarchs is being hailed as a savior of democracy and civilization. Poll-tax Senator Connally, co-author of the Smith-Connally anti-strike law, and his Senatorial colleagues took time off from their anti-labor campaign to sponsor and pass a resolution endorsing the “principles” of the Moscow agreement.
The agents of American Big Business have ample cause for rejoicing. They scored their biggest diplomatic victory of the war at Moscow. Has not Stalin agreed to help them maintain capitalism and try to suppress the revolution in Europe? Has he not countersigned their deal with Badoglio? By accepting the establishment of a “general international organization” to impose “collective security” in “the period following the end of hostilities,” has not the Kremlin pledged itself to help the capitalists police Europe? And does not Stalin supply the Anglo-American imperialist with ah otherwise unobtainable cover for their counter-revolutionary plots?
Hitler’s power is crumbling and his days are numbered. His collapse could be hastened by appealing to the workers, soldiers and peasants of Germany to move against the fascist regime with the same revolutionary vigor that enabled the Italian workers to bring about the downfall of Italian fascism. The prospect of a Socialist Germany would be the greatest spur to the war-weary and dispirited German masses. Such a prospect would mobilize irresistible internal forces which would quickly topple the Nazi regime.
Stalin, however, acts otherwise. At the Moscow Conference he endorsed the Casablanca “unconditional surrender” formula for Germany. To the German people this can mean only that the USSR has slammed the door against any separate peace with a workers’ socialist revolution in Germany, and that they can expect nothing from Moscow but a far more savage edition of the Versailles Treaty.
The German people fear the projected dismemberment of Germany and the atomization of her economy which has been openly discussed in England and the US. By accepting an “independent” Austria, Stalin has underwritten the first step in the Allied plan to Balkanize Germany. This, together with Stalin’s endorsement of a new imperialist League of Nations, can only act to depress the German people instead of arousing them against the Nazis. Stalin’s deal thus serves to restrain the German masses from moving to overthrow the hated Hitler regime and thereby prolongs Hitler’s rule.
The capitalist press acclaims the Moscow pact as “realistic” and “durable.” The Daily Worker has characterized it as one of the “great peaks in history” which has opened “great new perspectives to the future.” All parties to the agreement chant in close harmony that the conflict and differences which produced the need for the Conference are now ironed out in principle and that the road has been cleared for complete and continuous collaboration between Stalin and his “Allies.”
THE IRRECONCILABLE ANTAGONISM REMAINS In reality the Moscow Conference has not settled the basic issues. It did not even provide a solution for the most critical immediate points of difference between the Kremlin and Washington. London. The question of the Polish border which was presumably left in abeyance by the conference was at once raised by the Catholic bishops in the US. And it has been posed in a far more practical and pressing manner by the swift advance of the Red Army.
No sooner had Hull landed in Washington than the sweep of the Red Army successes brought forth a clamor for a new conference, this time between Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, which would definitively and authoritatively settle these and all other unresolved questions. The New York Times correspondent cabled from London on November 16 that:
“The Russian offensive has progressed so far toward the German frontier that questions that seemed comparatively remote even a few weeks ago – questions of the occupation of Germany, the disposition of Poland, etc. – now logically rise for discussion ...”
At every turn of events the underlying and irreconcilable class antagonism between decaying capitalism and the Soviet Union – with its nationalized property and resurgent masses asserts itself. Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill, each in their own way, try to conceal and to deny this basic antagonism between the two economic systems, but, despite all their protestations, it haunts them like Banquo’s Ghost at the feast.
And they cannot drive it away. The same class forces that brought Washington and London to the verge of a break with the Soviet Union at the time of the Finnish events in 1940, the same forces that impelled Hitler to attack the USSR the same forces that produced the previous discord between Stalin and his “Allies” are at work undermining their agreements and setting them against each other.
It is well known that the four victorious powers who imposed the Treaty of Versailles upon Germany and Europe after the last war quickly fell out with one another. Far more profound antagonism exists between the workers’ state, even in its degenerate condition under Stalinism, and the Anglo-American capitalists than was the case among the four victors of 1918. In fact, the Allied statesmen are already maneuvering against the USSR, despite their deal. Shortly after the Moscow Conference both Churchill and Lord Halifax, British Ambassador to Washington, called for “closer cooperation” between the US and Great Britain. Against whom could such a “cooperation” be directed, if not against the USSR?
It is this basic class antagonism which will determine the subsequent development of the relations between the Kremlin and its Allies. and nullify in the end their transitory diplomatic deals. The successes of the Red Army which are delivering hammer blows against Hitlerism and accelerating the developing European revolution are also dealing blows to the continued collaboration between Stalin and Roosevelt-Churchill.
Neither the individual aims nor the collective projects of the Anglo-American bandits and the Stalinist bureaucrats will determine the destiny of Europe. The counter-revolutionary conspiracies hatched in Moscow are a long, long way from realization. They fail to reckon adequately with a force potentially far more powerful than themselves, the force of the insurgent masses driven by the desperate urge and most urgent need to find their way out of the bloody capitalist chaos and create a new society.
While Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill bargain and maneuver with one another, these revolutionary masses are beginning to mobilize for the assault against capitalism. The first contingents of these shock troops of the maturing European revolution have already engaged in action in Italy. Tomorrow they will be joined by millions upon millions more who will form a mighty army of revolutionary warriors. At their head will march the mighty German proletariat. Woe unto those who try to oppose their movement for peace, bread, and security. Neither Stalin nor Roosevelt-Churchill will succeed in crushing them where Hitler and Mussolini failed.
LITTLE STEEL FORMULA AND ITS PRESENT STATUS What is the present status of the Little Steel formula? In other words, how successfully has Roosevelt weathered the last labor crisis and what is the present status of his labor relations machinery? Unlike the war in Europe, Roosevelt has all the advantages of maneuvering, of initiative, of surprise, of choosing when, where and how to give battle in his war on the labor movement. On this front he faces a leadership which is utterly subservient to him and the war machine.
The class struggle is taking place under conditions where the complete leadership of one side of the battlefield has gone over lock, stock and barrel to the opponent trenches and conspires with the capitalist foe against its own side. Murray and Green need Roosevelt’s support just as Roosevelt knows that he must have his “labor lieutenants.” Trotsky in his outline for the article Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay gave a generalized description of this process which is true throughout the capitalist world:
Imperialist capitalism can tolerate (up to a certain time) a reformist bureaucracy only if the latter serves directly as a petty but active stockholder of its imperialist enterprises, of its plans and programs within the country as well as on the world arena. Social-reformism must become transformed into Social-imperialism in order to prolong its existence ...”
Under these conditions, how is it possible for the trade unions to fight at all? Of course, as the experiences since the war have shown, the trade unions are not fighting very effectively for the preservation of their rights and gains. The trade unions since Pearl Harbor have been in constant, uninterrupted retreat before the offensive of the industrialists. It is a tribute, however, to the powers of resistance and endurance of the American working class that they have been able to absorb all the anti-labor legislation of the past year, to withstand the savage union-busting campaign and to even increase to an extent the numerical strength of its organizations. Students of the labor movement may ask: What is so startling or new about the subservience of the labor bureaucrats? They have always practiced class collaboration; they have always been subservient to the capitalist state.
Yes, that is true. Of course, the trade union leaders, even prior to the war, practiced opportunism, par excellence. They invariably sacrificed the historic interests of the working class for piddling immediate concessions to this or that small group of workers. They invariably sabotaged the class struggle of the working class. They invariably worked to channelize every manifestation of class consciousness into support of liberal capitalist politicians. They invariably attempted to squelch strike struggles. Nevertheless, in their cowardly fashion, and their own respectable, class collaboration methods, they attempted to protect the wage structure, the traditional rights of their own union members and give lip service and often even back-handed support to many of the strike struggles. Even the ultra-reactionary moribund AFL unions of the 1920’s fought in their own restricted fashion to protect the interests of the highly skilled workers. The present policies of the labor bureaucrats are an extension and a continuation of their pre-war policies. But the extension is so great as to constitute a virtually qualitative difference.
LABOR BUREAUCRATS AND WAGE-FREEZING Today, the labor bureaucracy is openly espousing the wage-freezing program of the bankers. Today it is not Edward F. McGrady and the government mediators who run around the country like firemen, putting out strikes. The Murrays and Greens have themselves taken over the job. They are the bloodhounds for the WLB, crushing every manifestation of revolt, of independence; and turning over the best militants to the mercies of the corporations or the government police.
What is going on before our very eyes is a monstrous growing together of labor bureaucracy with the state apparatus. Unbeknownst to the membership, the unions have been converted into auxiliary police in the service of Roosevelt and the banks. Trotsky called attention to this very phenomenon in the opening of his article:
“There is one common feature in the development or more correctly the degeneration, of modern trade union organizations in the entire world; it is their drawing closely to and growing together with the state power. This process is equally characteristic of the neutral, the Social-democratic, the communist and ‘anarchist’ trade unions. This fact alone shows that the tendency towards ‘growing together’ is intrinsic not in this or that doctrine as such, but derives from social conditions common to all unions.”
But to effectively carry out this policy of betrayal and surrender, it is necessary for the trade union bureaucrats to wipe out all internal democracy in the unions. It is practically impossible for a capitulatory leadership to retain its balance in the face of an alert, active and articulate rank-and-file opposition. We see manifestations of this phenomenon on every side. The brutal threats of the union officials against many of the union militants, the many expulsions and persecutions and the intrusions of the government into internal affairs of the unions in support of union bureaucrats, have not been without results. The trade union bureaucrats have succeeded in stifling the democratic rights and crushing all opposition movements in many of the older AFL unions and many of the Stalinist-led unions. But one need only examine in a cursory manner the internal structure and the life of such unions as the auto, rubber, and other mass production CIO unions or even such unions as the AFL Machinists and Murray’s CIO Steelworkers, to realize that the bureaucrats are a long way from having achieved their aims in this direction. The large measure of democracy that still exists in many of the mass production unions is the Achilles’ heel not only of the union bureaucrats but of Roosevelt and the capitalists as well. In spite of all the retreats the labor movement is still strong and has not been defeated in battle. The labor ranks are still independent and aggressive. Their fighting qualities and capacities remain unimpaired. They need only a new leadership and to be shown a way out – a program that gives real promise of success.
THE CRUX OF PROBLEM FACING TRADE UNIONS Trotsky wrote:
“The trade unions in the present epoch cannot simply be the organs of democracy as they were in the epoch of free capitalism and they cannot any longer remain politically neutral, that is, limit themselves to serving the daily needs of the working class. They cannot any longer be anarchistic, i.e., ignore the decisive influence of the state on the life of peoples and classes. They can no longer be reformist, because the objective conditions leave no room for any serious and lasting reforms. The trade unions of our time can either serve as secondary instruments of imperialist capitalism for the subordination and disciplining of workers and for obstructing the revolution, or, on the contrary, the trade unions can become the instruments of the revolutionary movement of the Proletariat.”
The Murrays and Greens are of course pulling the trade unions in the direction of secondary instruments of imperialist capitalism. They have already gone a long way in throttling the trade unions and putting them at the service of the capitalist state. But the battle is by no means over nor the issue decided. The American mass production unions are not going to be thoroughly bureaucratized nor will their teeth be drawn merely by means of threats, pressure and betrayals.
There lies a stormy period ahead. The issue will be settled only in struggle. The American labor movement will experience in the coming days great conflicts and struggles. Far more likely than the thorough bureaucratization of the unions, as a preliminary to their total annihilation will be the rise of a new leadership fighting to convert the unions into militant class organizations of struggle.
FOURTH COAL STRIKE AND ITS AFTERMATH The fourth general coal strike and its aftermath fully demonstrated labor’s power. With the help of his labor flunkeys, Roosevelt hurled the miners back three times. As the miners trekked back to work, empty-handed, at the end of the third coal strike, it seemed that the forces arrayed against them were too strong to repulse. By their furious thrusts, the miners many times seemed on the verge of toppling Roosevelt’s imposing labor edifice. But with the help of his labor lieutenants, Roosevelt was able to rally his forces, impose his will and stabilize again his labor relations.
The defeat of the third coal strike and the government’s new anti-labor barrage, climaxed by the passage of the Smith-Connally anti-strike Act and Roosevelt’s infamous “sanctions” decree, which went even beyond the Act in its anti-labor ferocity, brought on a temporary depression in the labor movement. The feeling of pessimism, bewilderment and listlessness on the part of the rank and file was clearly mirrored by the conduct of the union delegates at the important conventions of the auto, rubber and shipbuilding unions. The workers reasoned that if the miners under their aggressive leadership could not win, what chance did they have under the leadership of the Murrays and Greens?
The miners, however, remained impervious to this defeatist mood. They were immune to the “public opinion” and pressure of the capitalist newspapers. No sooner did Ickes return the last of the mines to the private owners – in violation of the “truce” declaration issued by Lewis, at the time he called off the third mine strike – than the miners walked out of the pits again and stayed out in defiance of the WLB, Roosevelt and their own Union Policy Committee. By October 31, the “truce” deadline, 530,000 miners were out of the mines. The fourth general coal strike was on.
ROOSEVELT AND HIS LABOR LIEUTENANTS This time Roosevelt yielded. He threw a few thin concessions to the coal miners (and of course, a fat price increase to the coal operators) in the hope of burying, once and for all, this troublesome issue, which had kept his administration in an uproar for over six months. Roosevelt, better than anybody else, understood how much in prestige and authority, the mine fight had cost him and his administration. His knowledge that the Murrays and Greens stood ready to repeat their work of treachery did not solve his terrible dilemma.
The fourth coal strike occurred at the very time that a new labor crisis was ripening on the railroad front; at the time when the standing of some of his leading labor lieutenants was hitting an all time low. His own labor support was ominously beginning to drift away from him. Possibly Roosevelt could drive the miners back empty-handed again; but he knew that he could not decisively settle the coal question; that he could not housebreak the miners’ union and he could not get the maximum coal production. Roosevelt simply could not afford to attempt a head-on strike breaking policy a fourth time. His furious attacks on Lewis had only strengthened the latter’s position and dangerously weakened his own. The miners had finally breached the Little Steel formula.
One would imagine that here was the heaven-sent opportunity for the Murrays and Greens to rush in and win some concessions for their own members. The miners had already done the hard spade work. It still wasn’t safe enough for the Murrays and Greens. Observe their wretched behavior: After issuing grandiloquent statements opposing the Little Steel formula, they let precious weeks pass by while the effect of the miners’ victory is allowed to wear off, the enthusiasm of the rank and file is allowed to cool and the WLB can again re-establish the Little Steel formula. They do nothing to hurl back the impudent WLB attack on the labor movement and its threats to press for new union-busting legislation that would tie the unions even more completely in the strait-jacket of the war machine. They permit Roosevelt to maneuver the whole issue again onto the farcical ground of a price rollback and again the Murrays and Greens become the lobbyists for Roosevelt and his administration. Again they provide him with the necessary support to drag something distracting across the labor trail, by his spurious campaign for the rollback of prices by means of subsidies to the food monopolists. Obviously if it depended on the Murrays and Greens, the workers would be kept from ever winning their wage demands.
NEW LABOR CRISIS LOOMS ON HORIZON The economic pressure, however, is already becoming more and more unbearable on. the working class; that is why the rank and file pressure is growing heavier all the time on the trade union bureaucrats. The labor officials are forced to make some gestures of fighting for wage increases especially after the miners’ victory. Already many of the CIO unions, the Textile workers, the Aluminium workers, even many of the Stalinist-led unions, have demanded wage increases of the corporations.
What do all these wage demands amount to? Do they presage a new vigorous drive on the part of labor to smash the Little Steel formula and achieve wage increases? Or are they merely face-saving gestures on the part of the labor bureaucrats? The Murrays and Greens cannot and will not fight and they are determined to prevent the rank and file from fighting. That is definite. It is not for nothing that the first act of the Philadelphia CIO convention was to demonstratively reaffirm the no-strike pledge. With the rank and file, it is another matter. They are dead serious about breaking the Little Steel formula. They mean business in the coming wage negotiations. There is no question but that the Roosevelt government will be in the throes of a new labor crisis as the rank and file press for action in the coming wage negotiations.
ALLIED PROMISES AND POLICIES IN ITALY The Declaration Regarding Italy issued at Moscow on November 1 contains all the resplendent phrases and false promises typical of the “democratic” charlatans and their Stalinist accomplices. With hands upon their hearts these statesmen swear that they are dedicated to the destruction of fascism and the restitution of democracy and civil rights in Italy.
The policy actually pursued by the Allies in those parts of Italy which have fallen under their domination exposes them for what they are: unconscionable cheats who will lie like Hitler to gain their ends. To date the AMG in Southern Italy and Sicily has restored no democratic liberties or civil rights to the population. On the contrary, political meetings and activities are prohibited, and even the craven Italian liberals are denied freedom of the press; and clapped in jail the moment they attempt to exercise it. The journalist Demaree Bess boasts that the AMG officials acted on Washington’s orders “to suppress all forms of local political activity.” (Saturday Evening Post, October 30) Instead of rooting out fascism, AMG has kept all but the most hated of the fascist officials and police in office and protected them from the angry people. Mussolini has gone, but his associates and underlings remain.
Among the hypocritical statements issuing from the Moscow agreement was one calling for the punishment of war criminals. Italy is a good place to apply this too. For King Victor Emmanuel and Marshal Badoglio stand high on the list of those responsible for the atrocities of this war. In point of fact the House of Savoy and all its servitors have been directly involved since 1921 in countless crimes committed not only against the Italian but also against the Abyssinian, Albanian, Greek and other peoples.
If any war-criminals are “to be tried and punished for their atrocities in the countries where they committed their crimes”, as the Moscow Declaration proposes – on paper – then the King and his Marshal should be among the first handed over to the tribunals of the Italian people for trial and punishment. But these criminals are instead being propped by the Allies – with the blessing of the Kremlin; and are abetted in adding to their already long list of crimes.
Far from proceeding to restore democracy, Washington and London have from the outset exerted every effort to preserve the monarchy and the military caste of Italy. The House of Savoy, is receiving this backing in defiance of every sector of the Italian people. Nobody in Italy outside the ultra-reactionary minority of big industrialists and bankers, landowners, nobles and the Vatican supports the monarchy. Covered with filth and blood the throne on which Victor Emmanuel still sits has not the slightest popular support. The Italian monarchy today is a shadow government resting upon Anglo-American bayonets.
LIBERALS, STALINISTS AND HOUSE OF SAVOY So discredited and despised is the King that Italian liberals, headed by Croce and Sforza, who cling to Anglo-American coattails like limpets to a stone, fear to compromise themselves by association with Victor Emmanuel. They yearn for a regency of some kind. Even Gaetano Salvemini, the most honest and consistent of the exiled liberals, favors a provisional regency as custodian of power in Italy. Liberalism is so bankrupt and corroded, so terrified of mass action, that it must crawl for cover behind monarchical institutions, even the House of Savoy.
And it appears that “socialists” and Stalinists also support this proposition. Among the parties which have called for a reconstituted Badoglio government is the Communist Party. On the very same day (October 14) that Badoglio appealed to the Allies for help “in the press and in propaganda, so that communism does not stand a chance;’ the Daily Worker published an interview with an Italian Stalinist leader who expressed his readiness to serve in a coalition government under Badoglio, or a regency.
Stalinists may make their peace with the House of Savoy and all its Badoglios, but the Italian workers and peasants have as little use for Victor Emmanuel as the Russian masses had in 1917 for Czar Nicholas Romanov. They want to rid themselves not only of fascists but all the parasites who battened upon them during Mussolini’s reign, and who supported and served it: the King, the generals, the industrialists, the bankers, the Catholic dignitaries, the landlords. They intend to sweep the peninsula clean of all these vermin.
ITALIAN PUPPET SHOW AND ITS REAL LESSON On the other hand, both camps of the belligerents, Nazis and “democrats” alike refuse to allow the insurgent Italian masses the slightest say in determining the form of government. The spectacle now being enacted in Italy is the sorriest kind of puppet show. On one half of the platform, the “democrats” scurry about trying to make the King and his Marshal walk, talk and behave like independent rulers. While these puppets are being manipulated, the Nazis on their side of the stage in the North, are trying to restore a semblance of vitality to their tattered sawdust Caesar Mussolini. “Democrats” fervently advocate the monarchy, while Hitlerites have turned “republicans” in Italy. Life itself has once again provided proof that the imperialists will utilize any sort of political label and regime in order to preserve and safeguard capitalism.
Both the Nazi puppet “republican” Mussolini in the North and the Anglo-American royalist puppets in the South are meeting with stubborn and sharp opposition from the people. According to persistent reports, assassinations of Italian Black Shirts and sabotage against the Nazi forces have so increased that the Fascist Party Secretary, Alessandro Pavolini, has ordered summary trials of the “moral instigators” as well as those directly responsible. There has been street fighting between civilians and fascists in Turin. It is reported that Mussolini has fined Milan 100,000,000 lire and has doubled to 2,000 the number of hostages seized from among the defiant population. Fascist party leaders were said to have ordered monstrous reprisals for the killing of Iginio Ghisillini, fascist leader, whose bullet-riddled body was found in the streets of Ferrara.
ONLY WORKERS WILL MAKE ITALY FREE The workers and peasants of Italy are fighting the fascists, taking vengeance for more than two decades of torture, hunger, oppression and war. The infuriated populace has been the only force that has meted out justice to the Blackshirts and treated them according to their deserts.
Meanwhile under the protection of the Anglo-American bayonets, Mussolini’s ex-accomplices get off scot-free. The King keeps in his entourage such notorious fascists as the Duke of Aquarone. In Badoglio’s cabinet until yesterday sat Mario Roatto, responsible for machine-gunning helpless Spanish refugees on the road to Malaga in 1937. This chief executioner of the Croats and Slovenes in the Balkans was the general who ordered his troops to fire upon demonstrating workers in Turin. Still in Badoglio’s regime is General Vittorio Ambrosio, author of bloody massacres in Yugoslavia and Greece. And these figures represent only the top layer of former fascists who remain in power thanks to Anglo-American backing.
The same November 18 issue of the New York Times which carried reports of the Italian workers’ struggle against Mussolini’s henchmen, published another dispatch which told how Badoglio’s soldiers had entered and broken up the office of a liberal newspaper in Avelino because the editor had dared demand the immediate abdication of King Victor Emmanuel “to clear the foul air of Italy.” These are the practices for which Mussolini’s regime became notorious. The air of Southern Italy remains foul indeed! Only the driving gale of the workers’ revolution can make it fit for free men to breathe again.
Once the Italian people succeed in getting rid of both gangs of imperialist invaders, it will not take them long to settle accounts with all native Quislings and the ruling class who have been selling them out for so many years, as though the people were cattle to be brought to the market, sold to the butchers, and slaughtered for the greater profit and enhancement of Big Business.
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Last updated on 27.8.2008