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Sherman Stanley

The Wall Street Boys Know What Is
Behind the “Cash andCarry” Plan

(3 October 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 75, 3 October 1939, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

(Concluded from last issue)

The Presidential fight for repeal of the Arms Embargo Act is scarcely a week old and already F.D.R and his fellow war-mongers have met a bitter opposition from the masses of American people.

With instinctive understanding, the American workers have grasped this simple fact: repeal of the Embargo Act and “Cash and Carry” are new major steps on the road to war. The flooding of Washington with protests is the outspoken voice of working class men and women.

But F.D.R. has taken the war road and, if he has his way,will not listen to these voices. Instead, while pursuing the same aims, he will advance new arguments, attempt new persuasions. But all will have the same war aims!

Lippman Raises a Few Bugaboos

Walter Lippman, authentic spokesman of American financial and banking interests whose views on the Embargo problem were discussed in the last issue of the Appeal, has already given us an advance look into the new arguments certain to be advanced by F.D.R.

(1) If the Allies cannot purchase arms, Hitlerism will triumph and Western Democratic civilization is lost. This is the first bugaboo raised by Lippmann.

Unfortunately for him, there is today not the slightest vestige of “democracy” remaining in a single one of the Allied countries. Chamberlain and Daladier are the first to admit this. To prove this point, all that one must do is to compare, point by point, the laws governing the Allied powers with the laws governing Hitler’s Germany. They differ not in the slightest because they are modeled on the same general rule: the suppression of democratic rights and liberties for the sake of preserving the rule of a small capitalist minority.

(2) But, adds Lippmann, even if we retain the Embargo, the “democracies” can still get arms and munitions. They will build factories in Canada and elsewhere and will utilize American raw and semi-finished products. “Even with the embargo on arms, this country will develop a great war trade ...” Such products as wheat and flour; semi-fabricated steel; sugar; horses; dressed meats; metals; ores; tools; machinery, etc., are totally unaffected by the Embargo.

To Lippman, the question of the Embargo struggle is simply shall American capitalism join forces now, or wait a little longer.

“The Embargo merely lengthens the period in which the war industry would operate by the time needed to organize abroad the plans which pass semi-finished goods through the final stages of manufacture.”

In other words, whether or not the Embargo is retained makes small difference – merely a matter of inconvenience.

But in the first place, there is quite a good deal of excitement about such a small thing. So much excitement that the American press, and Mr. Lippmann, are set to call those who oppose removal of the Embargo “Nazi agents.” Actually, Lippmann fully realizes the significance of the forces that are opposing change.

And if the “democracies” do not really need American help, then how explain their hesitations and vacillations? The answer is plain. British imperialism will not really begin to fight until it has America – American supplies, wealth and manpower – lined up solidly behind her. Lippmann lies when he says the “democracies” can build factories in Canada and elsewhere. England and France are in such financial straits that they find it difficult to finance their immediate war needs.

Suggests a Way of Financing

(3) But Lippmann has a way of financing to suggest. If the Allies cannot get help from America and find it necessary to build factories in Canada, they can get the finances from their Empires! Here is an admission of what England and France really are and what the war is really all about. If money is needed, turn to the hundreds of millions of colonial slaves in Africa and Asia – they will supply us! Increase our exploitation of the Negroes, Indians and yellow races so that we can build munition factories. Here is an admission of the completely imperialist character of the present war.

To sum up: Mr. Lippmann would have the Embargo lifted because to retain it would mean the end of Western “democracy”; because the “democracies” can get needed supplies anyway (then what’s the excitement all about?) and because it means larger war orders, profits and boom.

A good beginning has been made in answering these war-mongering statements by the flood of protests deluging Congress. Defeat of F.D.R.’s “Cash and Carry” proposal and of his efforts to repeal the Embargo – and this is decidedly possible if American labor speaks out loudly and boldly – would be a blow at the war maker’s camp. True, by itself, this would far from end the danger of America being plunged into the war. But the next step after that would be clearer than ever: take the war making power out of the hands of F.D.R. and the Congress.

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