Giraud – Disciple of Roosevelt

(19 July 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 29, 19 July 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for MIA.

De Gaulle left London to go to Algiers. Giraud leaves Algiers and comes to Washington. De Gaulle says that his quarrel with Giraud is about the reorganization and command of the army so as to help reorganise it to win the war. Giraud says that he comes to Washington purely on military affairs, so as to help win the war.

The hypocrisy of the ruling class in regard to the war is here once more exposed. The war these gentlemen are fighting is a class war, a war against the French working class. Giraud is Roosevelt’s man and he comes here first to consult with the President as to how to deal with de Gaulle. The fact that he keeps on saying that he has come here only for military reasons is proof that he has come for something else.

Roosevelt, on the other hand, seeing that the reactionary policy of American imperialism in regard to France is stinking to high heaven, not only in France, in Europe, in the Far East, but in America also, is trying to give Giraud a build-up and create some sort of support for him in view of the throat-cutting that this apache has been hired to do.

Giraud-De Gaulle – Whom They Represent

What are the forces behind Giraud and what are the forces behind de Gaulle? Both have the backing of the United States, the former being the real choice of the State Department. De Gaulle has behind him a few Frenchmen who were living abroad and a few capitalist Jews, who, because of their status, were unable to accept the Hitler-dominated Vichy regime. They fled to Britain and joined de Gaulle. They represent nothing. But de Gaulle has widespread general support in France. In that respect he stands better than Giraud at home. There are some de Gaulle soldiers in various parts of the colonies, who amount to about 90,000 men.

Giraud has behind him the French bourgeoisie, such as it exists, independent of Vichy. But it is the most disgraced and the most discredited, fascistic capitalist class that has ever existed. It hung on to Hitler’s coat-tails and now it hangs on to Roosevelt’s. Power it has none. Giraud’s army consists of about two or three hundred thousand men, chiefly Africans, with no equipment to speak of and unable to move a yard without American assent and lend-lease. Giraud has no mass support in Algiers; de Gaulle has little.

The quarrel therefore is who shall get the support of America? At one time British imperialism seemed to be backing de Gaulle. Roosevelt put his foot down on that and now Churchill has abused de Gaulle in the House of Commons and has suppressed the de Gaullist newspaper, La Marseillaise, hitherto published in Britain.

What Roosevelt-Churchill Want

What Roosevelt and Churchill want to do is clear. They propose to build up Giraud into a hero. They propose to equip a French army of some 300,000 men, which will march into France to help win the great victory, or march in after the great victory is won. This army will be the instrument of the French capitalists in Algiers.

With it and American food they hope to place the decadent French ruling class in their former power and will put and keep the French workers in their place, to prevent the masses from taking power. If tomorrow they told de Gaulle to go drown himself in the lake, he would make some speeches but he would soon have no radio through which to speak and no paper in which to print an article. They don’t do it because they still need him and they still need him because of the masses of French people and the masses of the people all over the world. That is de Gaulle’s only strength and he is using it as only a nephew of Petain knows how to use the power of the people in order afterward to misuse and abuse it.

De Gaulle’s strength is in France. It is not only that he raised the banner of national liberation at a time when all seemed lost. It is that he is opposed to the fascists in Algiers.

Take the statement of André Philip, de Gaulle’s representative in the underground committees in France. In an article on French Unionism and the Fighting French (Free World, July), Philip says that the working class is the “vanguard” and the “driving force of every movement of resistance.” He says that the working class is united with the rest of the nation, and this unity has been achieved by the de Gaullists. How have they done it? “Through their fidelity to certain principles and their uncompromising attitude when those principles are at stake.”

Philip then goes on to talk about moral purity, etc. It is not difficult to know what these principles are. They are not “moral.” The working class says: “No fascism,” and if de Gaulle does not appear as uncompromisingly opposed to fascism, then he is lost.

For the Present de Gaulle Is Needed

That is the only reason why Roosevelt has not thrown him out. Roosevelt wants Giraud, that is to say, a French fascist, to be in command of the army, but he also needs de Gaulle to make the French people feel that the army is not fascist. De Gaulle needs the power of American imperialism, the army, but he wants first to get rid of the better-known fascists to save his face in France, and, secondly, he wants COMMAND of the army in order to have the power at his disposal.

Each needs the other. They can’t agree and yet they can’t turn their backs on one another. Roosevelt, therefore has now set out on the task of building up Giraud because the weakness of Giraud is that not only the French workers but the whole world knows that the French bourgeoisie in Algiers is fascist to the core. Much therefore depends on the way the American workers show to Roosevelt that they will not be sold to this fascist at any price.

In a succeeding article we shall show the extent of public opinion in favor of de Gaulle as against Giraud, and more important, we shall show the exceptional folly of thinking that because Giraud is a fascist and de Gaulle is against Giraud, therefore de Gaulle represents democracy. As a matter of record, they both represent French capitalism and a decadent ruling class, antagonistic to the best interests of the working class.

Last updated on 12 June 2015