[Marxism] Re: Sitting on Mr. Churchill's sofa

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Thu Oct 6 06:20:18 MDT 2005

At 20:50 05/10/2005, Lueko Willms wrote:


>    The question, Paddy, is not _if_ one should fight against fascism,
>but _how._


>    Let's first remember why there was a war between Germany and
>Britain, France, and other, smaller colonial powers in Europe, and
>finally also the USA.
>    The British ruling class did not have the slightest interest to
>help the German workers fighting back the fascist assault in 1933,
>neither had French or US capital. On the contrary, they were all quite
>delighted by the destruction of the best organized and largest working
>class movement outside of the USSR.

yes, and that is what contributors to this list 
should remember; and realise furthermore, that 
the working class in every European country was 
on the defensive - with mass unemployment, the 
terrible defeats of the uprisings in Germany and 
Hungary of 1919/20, the British general strike of 
1926, and the fascist attack on the republican government in Spain.

>    The conflict arose, and turned into armed conflict, when Hitler set
>out to continue, and to succeed with the effort of the German capital
>under the Kaiser begun in 1914, do "organize Europe" in order to
>reorgnize the colonial possessions; capitalism had outgrown the
>national borders, and especially the late comers like Germany, Italy,
>Japan and the USA were under heavy pressure to break open the existing
>colonial empires for their own exploitation and markets.
>    When the first wave of the German assault came to a halt in the
>Summer of 1940, and Hitler found that Britain did not capitulate, and
>the plan for an invasion, landing on the British isles, was postponed
>again and again, Hitler tried to patch together a coalition for such
>an attack. He met personally with Francisco Franco, Pétain and
>Duvalier, Mussolini, and even Molotov, to with them for a common war
>against Britain, and promised them large spoils from the British
>empire as the "world bankrupt's estate" [Weltkonkursmasse]. Nobody was
>really interested, and did not trust his promises (Hitler also
>demanded too much, like Gibraltar, and the Canary or Balear islands)
>from Spain).

and Hitler and his cronies were so sure that the 
war could, alternatively, be turned into a war of 
Germany and Britain against the USSR that Rudolf 
Hess landed in Scotland for parleys with the Duke 
of Hamilton and others to this effect.  [It was 
Churchill - who for his "defence of the British 
Empire"  held such Tory dreams in check].

>    In order to "cut off Britains continental sword", he finally
>attacked the Soviet Union, and found himself, because of his
>underestimation of the fighting capacity of the Soviet workers and
>farmers, again in the two-front war against _both_ Russia _and_
>England, what he had brandmarked as the big error in the First World
>    So, what could workers within the German occupied Europe, and
>beyond, do in this situation? Was subordination under our "own"
>exploiter the only way to mobilize the necessary forces to defend the
>USSR and to help the German, Italian, and Spanish workers to throw off
>the yoke of fascism?
>    I beg to differ.

An excellent synopsis by Lueko (with the omission 
of consideration of those factors I have interpolated)

>    Paddy already mentioned the Irish, and Nestor the Argentinian who
>had not interest to cast their blood for the hated British colonial
>master. The same certainly applied to millions in the actual colonies.
>    Several seemingly contradictory tasks had to be combined in one
>political course of action: taking the German military pressure off
>the Soviet Union, driving a wedge between the German working class
>(including the workers in uniform) and their masters, and preparing to
>convert the imperialist war into a civil war, turning the arms against
>our own exploiters.
>    The central element, in my opinion, would have been the call for
>the immediate independence of all colonies (in Britain especially the
>British colonies), i.e. withdraw British troops from the Six Counties
>(Norther Ireland), give the Malvinas Islands back to Argentina, hand
>India over to the Indians, Africa to the Africans, etc.

Those calls (apart from the Malvinas - which were 
certainly not in my ken at the time !!!)  were in 
agitation at the time (I have mentioned the 
activities of the British Movement for Colonial 
Freedom in a previous posting) - and British 
working-class parties (not only the Communist 
Party but big sections of the Labour Party as 
well constantly gave aid to the movements for 
freedom in India and Northern Ireland) - but 
these forces were by no means strong enough to 
challenge the Tory-led government - so this - 
obviously better strategy was not available at the time.

>    The German bourgeoisie waged war against Britain so that Britain
>would hand over its colonies to their German competitor. But with all
>colonies colonial rule, Britain would have nothing to give, and the
>war would have been in vain for Germany. If the German capitalists
>would have wanted to get hold of the -- then former -- British
>colonies, they would have to get there themselves, and conquer them
>against the resistance of the sovereign people of each and every
>former colony.
>    And even just the prospect of that would have called the colonial
>peoples to mobilize themselves to fight against the fascist war threat
>_in_ _their_ _own_ _interest._

And that WAS the result of the war, and the 
international fight for colonial freedom was 
vastly helped by the victory over fascism - and 
throughout the 50s and 60s relied heavily on the 
existence of and aid from the USSR

>    At the same time, it would have signalled to the German workers,
>that their masters lie to them, that not all nations are one against
>each other, being interested only in subjugating each other nation, in
>a sort of "Nation's Darwinism".
>    The same applies also to the colonial powers under full or partial
>(France) German occupation, to Belgium (Congo), Netherlands
>(Indonesia, Suriname, Caribbean islands), etc.
>    To the USA, where the abolishment of Jim Crow and the independence
>of the Philipines and Puerto Rico would have mobilized immense forces.
>    It would have been easy to explain this, and such a _political_
>fight against fascism and colonialism would have been much more
>efficient and less costly in human and material terms than the
>military onslought of the imperialist machinery under Churchill,
>Rosevelt and de Gaulle.
>    Don't you think so, Paddy?

Yes, yes, I agree with every word you say - and 
all these were the demands at the time of all the 
left-wing of the working-class movements in 
Europe at the time.  If only we had been stronger - but we were not...

Although the working class was on the defensive, 
the British Labour Party, and although as always 
with a leadership dominated by what Lenin called 
"labour lieutenants of the capitalist class", 
there was growing left-wing unity (I have 
mentioned the Left Book Club - formed form an 
alliance of left-wing labour and communists), and 
the British Battalion in the International 
Brigade - although its main recruiting agent was 
the Communist party - was called the Attlee 
Brigade after the then Labour party leader - who 
visited Spain and the brigade more than once - 
but nowhere strong enough to be decisive - so 
these "what-ifs" of different strategy were just 
not within the realms of immediate 
possibility.  The right-wing press - such as the 
Daily Mail were open supporters of Franco, 
Mussolini and Hitler - but when the war came it 
was only the Daily Worker that suffered 
government suppression !!!  [The Labour party 
then was not as supine and completely under 
control of the right  as now - when it comes 
under criticism (from the left !!!) even by some 
of the old guard of the Tory party].

With the war electoral politics ceased - but 
left-wing agitation did not....  and Lueko's 
alternatives were heads of the agitation for 
policy changes, to be subsumed later, of course, 
by the demand for the opening of teh Second Front 
- but this was delayed until it was obvious that 
the Red Army was going to defeat the Nazis on its 
own and the bourgeois countries would 
consequently lose out in the peace settlement !!!!

It is obvious that few younger than my 80 years 
can remember any of this - but it would be well 
to learn history from the facts of the time 
rather than from the armchair critics of the 
working class parties - who, it is obvious are 
vastly influenced by the all-pervading ideology 
of the enemies of the Soviet Union.


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