Ted Grant

Second Front Will Not End Fascism

Source: Socialist Appeal, vol. 5 no. 15 (Mid-July 1943)
Transcription: Francesco 2013
Proofread: Fred, Francesco 2013
Markup: Francesco 2013

The invasion of Sicily marks a new stage in the war. It begins the offensive of Anglo-American imperialism against their German-Italian rivals to destroy their hegemony in Europe and cripple them as competitors on the world market.

But as the capitalist press is constantly warning, and as Churchill admitted in his last speech, very heavy slaughter would have to be endured by the British and American soldiers, before the Anglo-American imperialists will be enabled to gain a mastery of the European continent.

Both the German Nazis and the Italian fascists are making desperate back-to-the-wall appeals to the population of Italy and Germany to resist to the utmost as the prospect of defeat looms ahead. With the victories and heroic resistance of the Soviet Union against the onslaught of the German imperialists, the German masses have become completely disillusioned with the Nazis. Ten years of fascism with all the miseries that it has meant to the German people, have left their marks on the minds of the German workers and soldiers. in the case of Italy the position is, if anything, even worse. After 20 years of fascism, the full rottenness, corruption and degeneracy of Mussolini’s regime has been laid bare for all to see.

The masses in both Italy and Germany are in a state of torment and growing opposition towards the regimes which have brought nothing but disaster, misery and suffering to them. Particularly in Italy, strikes and minor uprisings are taking place among the workers, peasants and soldiers. In Turin, Milan and other areas mass strikes have taken place. In the towns of the Ruhr, among the sailors at Kiel and the soldiers in the army, and also in the Italian navy and army, mutinies have been reported in the British press. The Nazi and fascist gangsters have replied to this nascent rebellion with reprisals, executions and redoubled repression. But despite the savage and merciless terror against all opponents of the regime, bitter and stronger opposition has been mounting with growing vigour and strength. And in occupied Europe itself, from the Ukraine to France, the hatred of the invader has been growing more intense and only waits for the slightest relaxation of the grip of the Nazis to burst forth in an uprising with the force of a pent-up volcano.

But statements of the Anglo-American imperialist governments show that they do not have and do not expect to get the support of the peoples of either Italy or Germany. In fact they expect invasion would see the Italians lining up behind Mussolini in a desperate attempt at resistance. If the Allies were fighting a real war against fascism they could win and obtain the support of the Axis workers and soldiers who have been groaning under the yoke of totalitarian oppression.

The aim of Anglo-American imperialism is not at all to rid Europe of the horror of fascism but to cripple their rivals and replace Axis domination and occupation of Europe by that of Britain and America. Far from seeing the rumbles of revolt in Germany and Italy as a factor to be utilised to the fullest extent as a means of securing the downfall of fascism by the efforts of the German and Italian workers themselves, the British and American capitalists merely regard this as a means to the military overthrow of their rivals, and even look upon it with fear and alarm because of the consequences it would have. Far from appealing to the German and Italian workers to overthrow their oppressors and those responsible for organising and financing the fascists — the monopoly capitalists of Italy and Germany — they are refusing to differentiate between the workers and the fascists, between the slaves and the slave-owners. Far from preparing to strike at the roots of fascism by striking at the ruling class, they are preparing to prop up and support as quislings the capitalists and landowners in Italy and Germany and throughout Europe as agents for the exploitation of the people of Europe.

If further proof is needed of the hypocrisy and cynicism in the claim of the “democracies” that they stand for the liberation of Europe and the rights of its peoples to determine their own destiny, it is provided by the attitude towards Giraud. The Anglo-American imperialists in North Africa have decisively intervened in the struggle being waged between Giraud and de Gaulle for control of the French armed forces in North Africa. This should have been an “internal” question for the French themselves to decide according to ordinary capitalist diplomacy. But proclaiming their desire not to intervene in French affairs, the American imperialists dragging the British after them, intervened and forced the retention of Giraud as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Not that there is much to choose between these two worthies. The masses in France associate Giraud with the Vichy regime which cynically hired itself out as a kept servant and which helped the Nazis to exploit the French people. Giraud supported Petain and kept in power the Vichyites in Algeria. Yet he is kept in power by the will of American imperialism. To the Americans he appears as a pliant tool who can be used for the ends of Wall Street. Thus the capitalists in control even today, are making certain of having the puppets they want ready to thrust to power at the expense of alienating the people of Europe.

Every worker wishes to see fascism wiped off the face of the earth once and for all. It is clear to the workers of the whole world what ghastly horror the victory of the fascist barbarians would mean to all workers. But the victory of Anglo-American imperialism would not at all mean the destruction of fascism. It would not have much better consequences for the workers of the world than that of the Axis.

Meanwhile, Hitler by enslaving all Europe has united the workers of all Europe against him in a common bond of solidarity. The revolution in Germany will unite Polish, French, Czech, Dutch, Norwegian, Ukrainian and other workers taken as slave labour to Germany together with the German workers. But when the masses in Germany begin to revolt, the British capitalists will attempt to suppress them by force. At the same time that the capitalists are making these preparations, the Labour leaders and the so-called Communist Party are playing the game of the capitalists by repeating the lies and slanders against the German workers and hiding the real causes of the war, and of fascism. They act as deceivers of and traitors to the working class. They support the measures the capitalists are preparing to protect their colonial loot and profits.

It is the duty of the British workers to give class solidarity and support to the German workers. If the British workers had to take power that would sound the death-knell of Hitler and Mussolini. When the German and Italian workers move to overthrow their rulers they must receive the full support of the British working class. The best aid that the British workers can give their comrades in Europe is to continue the struggle against the ruling class in Britain. The sole solution to the problems of war and fascism are provided by the programme of the Workers’ International League and the Fourth International which carries on the fight for a socialist Britain and a socialist united states of Europe.

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