Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 22 (November 1943)
Transcription: Harry 2007
Markup/Proofread:: Emil 2007
The Three Powers conference has been held on the eve of the 26th anniversary of the Russian revolution, but between the tradition and diplomacy of Lenin and that of Stalin, flow rivers of blood. This Moscow conference would augur a bleak outlook for world socialism, if the future depended upon its decisions.
Apart from the verbiage of phrases, which recall the phrases of Wilson in the last war, the reality behind the agreement is the domination of Europe by Anglo-American imperialism, assisted by the Soviet bureaucracy.
Well in advance, the Stalinist bureaucracy places itself on the other side of the barricades. This agreement marks a systematic conspiracy against the Socialist Revolution in Europe, in return for which Stalin has obtained some paltry concessions.
Because of the present relationship of forces, Anglo-American imperialism has been compelled to take this course. Like Hitler they had completely miscalculated the strength of the Soviet Union. Far from Hitler obtaining a stranglehold on the Soviet Union, the Red Army is advancing to a series of Napoleonic victories which have sealed the doom of Nazi Germany; the masses of all Europe look with confidence and hope towards the Red Army, which has the sympathy and support of the overwhelming majority.
For Anglo-American imperialism to attempt a struggle against the Soviet Union at the present time would inevitably provoke violent repercussions among the masses in Britain, and even America. Apart from this, the imperialists recognise the virtual impossibility of holding down Europe without the assistance of Stalinism. The prestige of the Russian Revolution, the admiration by the world working class of the Red Army, are to be harnessed and used for the stifling of the inevitable urge of the European masses towards socialism.
In return for Stalin’s help in ensuring the continuation of capitalism in Europe, the Allies are prepared temporarily to make concessions to him. They are promising military support in the coming period. Probably secret agreements have been made between the Allies and the Soviet Union in relation to the Baltic States and the strategic frontiers which the Soviet Union is demanding, and also agreements on the share of reparations, etc.
From the pages of the Russian press and publications it is clear that Stalin looks forward to a capitalist Europe in which a super-Versailles will be imposed upon Germany. The Soviet government is apparently demanding that stringent reparations must be imposed on Germany—a burden which the German militarists and capitalists will shift to the shoulders of the German workers and peasants.
Reparations, according to the economist Varga, writing in the Russian publication War and the Working Class, which will compel Germany to make good the destruction in the Soviet Union, replace machinery, etc., which the Nazis have destroyed in Russia. This is a “peace” of revenge, not against the real organisers of Nazism, the capitalists, generals and landowners, with whom Stalin is preparing to collaborate, but against the German workers and peasants.
The Stalin regime is systematically out-Vansittarting Vansittart. The Russian press is carrying on a campaign of hate and racist venom against the ordinary German people that must excite the envy of the arch-racialist Goebbels. Seldom in world history has such a campaign of chauvinism been equalled. Its only comparison is the world campaign against Bolshevism launched by the world press in the first years of the Soviet Republic under Lenin and Trotsky.
Millions of copies of books are being printed in the Soviet Union on the lines of Vansittart’s Black Record, containing extracts from Russian authors from the past century, denouncing the Huns. This is a preparation for the joint occupation of Germany and destruction of any attempted social revolution on the part of the German masses.
But such an agreement by its very nature can only be of a temporary character. The results of the Red Army offensives have aroused fear and consternation among the capitalist class of the entire world. In 1941, with the loss of the Donetz Basin and the Ukraine, the imperialists of Britain and America regarded the defeat and disintegration of the Soviet Union as a foregone conclusion. But with the advantages of collective ownership of the means of production and the morale and self sacrifice among the workers and soldiers, the Soviet Union recovered from the staggering blows and built up new industries in the Urals and Siberia. It is these factories which have provided the material for the Red Army advances.
To the imperialists this looms as an ominous fact. The industrially-backward Soviet Union has defeated industrially-advanced Germany with the resources of all Europe at her disposal. And this, while cut off from the richest agricultural and industrial resources of the country! What would happen in any future conflict between the “Allies” and the Soviet Union if the Ukraine and European Russia had to be restored quickly with the aid of German machinery and technicians? In the effort to destroy the Nazi Frankenstein, the Allies would find themselves in the position of having developed an even more dangerous monster to them. That is why any temporary alignment between the powers could not be long lasting.
The imperialists are preparing a savage and ruthless despoliation of the peoples of Europe; as ruthless towards the German masses as the S.S. “peace” on the peoples of Europe by Hitler. In return for betraying the Socialist Revolution in Europe the imperialists are willing to allow the Stalinist bureaucracy a voice in the domination of Europe. It is agreed that the Three Powers act together on a European Commission which will decide the fate of Europe. In Italy the Badoglio government is to open its ranks to include all the “anti-fascist forces”—i.e. Stalin will be represented through the Italian “Communist” party.
This arrangement will quite likely be extended to other countries in Europe, where the Stalinists will play their part, as one of the joint communiqués phrases it, in the restoration of “law and order” to Europe (i.e. capitalist “law” and capitalist “order”, where the rights of private property will remain the paramount consideration for the Allies). Symbolic of the degeneration of the Stalinist regime is the approval which they give to this phrase, the classic phrase behind which reaction has always sheltered when wading in the blood of the working class while suppressing the Socialist revolution. It was with the cry of “law and order” that Gallifet butchered the Communards, that Liebknecht and Luxemburg were murdered in the German revolution, that Mussolini and Hitler massacred the Italian and German workers. Always the slogan has had a sinister connotation. It is no less sinister at the present time.
The real purpose of the Three Powers Talks has been to come to some arrangements for the post-war world. Vague references to disarmament in the post-war period, and the regulation of armaments after the disarming of the defeated Axis powers, are Utopian and futile when account is taken of the antagonism of interests between the Allies. The defeat of Hitler would open up a period of revolutionary disturbances in Europe which would inevitably affect all the Allied countries as well. If these were defeated, the panacea of peace and the illusion of a peaceful co-existence of the Soviet Union with capitalism would soon be dispelled.
The antagonism of interests between the Powers on a background of world impoverishment and decay, would reach a new intensity. In the last war Lenin proclaimed that the idea of peace under capitalism was a harmful fairy tale. That is truer today than it has ever been. Truer still is the fact that it is impossible to separate the fate of the Soviet Union from the fate of the working class in Europe and the world.
Despite the victories of the Red Army, the Soviet Union has been terribly weakened by the war of attrition and destruction waged against Hitler, and meanwhile the bureaucracy has steadily moved away from socialism. The danger of capitalist restoration has loomed closer as the power has passed into the hands of the military bureaucracy within the Soviet Union.
Fortunately, the imperialists are miscalculating again, together with Stalin, if not against him. Their dreams of holding down all Europe and the world, of preparing for war against the Soviet Union, are as unreal and fantastic as the plans of Hitler for world domination. The Socialist Revolution will have the last word.
The insurgent masses of Europe, the Russian workers and soldiers, and the workers and soldiers of Britain and America, the colonial peoples—all will write their own programme of peace, a programme whose banner was raised by the Russian Revolution 26 years ago: Bread, Land and Peace! This is a programme which can only be realised by the overthrow of capitalism and the abolition of national frontiers—a programme of international co-operation in a Socialist United States of Europe and a Socialist World.
No matter what the vicissitudes of the Revolution, the programme of October will be realised. The International shall be the human race! The Fourth International will carry through the programme of Lenin and Trotsky.