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A. Roland

They Fear Revolts in Europe
Above Everything Else

(10 January 1942)

From The Militant, Vol 6 No. 2, 10 January 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Major War Aims

The program of war aims of the governments fighting against the Aids Powers can be readily reduced to two points:

  1. Win the victory.
  2. Prevent “anarchy and disorder” after the victory; that is, police the whole, of Europe to prevent revolution.

The conduct of the war by the Allies, bears these aims in mind at all times. All sorts of events and political strategies fit into this far-seeing aim of maintaining capitalism at all costs after the victory is won. We note that there is a great hullabaloo raised by a group that includes the most diverse figures (from former Stalinist sympathisers to editors of liberal magazines and also Max Eastman) concerning the policy of returning St. Pierre and Miquelon to Vichy France. But this is precisely in line with the main aim – of keeping in touch with and upholding those figures and forces in French society that can help maintain the status quo at the end of the war. The liberal writers may not see the light but the real leaders of the War know what they are about. Other reasons may also exist, naturally, but the “grand strategy” includes an eye to the future.

The other day there was a round table discussion in which, besides the Chinese Ambassador, such men as Professor Shotwell of Columbia University participated. The Professor outlined precisely the war aims given. His first great aim was the prevention of any “Anarchy” at the end of the war.

It might seem to some naive souls that with victory there ought to come the restoration of “democracy” to the European masses, so that these masses bright decide for themselves their future fate. But this is precisely what seems to be feared by the various diplomats. The masses are not to be trusted to decide in the right way. The Allies prefer to decide for them. And to do this a little more than moral suasion may be required.

Stalin Renders Every Aid

So vital is this point that it was categorically and specifically included in the Soviet-Polish Pact. It undoubtedly formed a major part of the agreement worked out between Eden and Stalin. The papers, in fact, carried long columns of interpretation of the meeting between the two, stressing that it involved post-war developments and the laying of any ghost of revolution.

The lessons of the last war evidently have not been forgotten, particularly by men like Churchill who was a witness of post-war events at first hand. Churchill does not propose to have the job all over again of trying to put down a movement like the Russian Revolution – after it has gained headway. He would much rather scotch it before it could start.

Stalin will render every aid to this cause. Needless to say, he will do so for nobody’s sake but his own. Stalin also remembers the last war and its sequel. He also prepares his strategy in advance. The New Leader seems utterly non-plussed over the action of the GPU in first releasing and then rearresting the leaders of the Polish Bund (the Jewish Social Democratic Party), Heinrich Ehrlich and Victor Adler. These men may be released anew under the pressure that may be brought from abroad. But there remains the motive of Stalin in throwing them back into jail, despite their appeal, immediately after being released, to their supporters to give every ounce of support in the fight against Hitler.

Measures Against Potential Opposition

The answer to the riddle will not be found in anything that the Jewish leaders did either before or after their release. Some attempt may be made to frame them up on false charges. That will be nothing new for Stalin. But these men represent left socialism, and particularly the left socialist current among the Jewish workers. They represent the Bund which had become bitterly anti-Stalinist. They represent a left current in the Second International; weak as is that current. Their efforts were directed against Hitler in the German-Polish War in a manner to rally the workers as workers against fascism.

Stalin is therefore reluctant to let these Jewish leaders out of his grasp. He is actually encouraging all his allies (as if that were necessary) to take measures now against all future potential oppositionists, all those who might influence any body of workers in a socialist direction. Such men are a menace to those whose major war aim is to prevent the further spread of socialism.

The Allies face a tremendous dilemma in the carrying but of this war aim. The vast majority of workers fight in this war against Hitlerism and all that it represents. They will hardly be ready, once the fascists are defeated, to support any new forms of oppression that so closely resemble fascism as to be indistinguishable from it. They will not stand meekly by after making so many sacrifices in a war they were promised would make the world safe for democracy, and watch anyone suppress the masses in their fight to determine what kind of government and what kind of society they want.

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