Felix Morrow

Finland’s “Socialists” Now Serve Hitler

Cemented “National Unity” with Mannerheim For “Democracy”
But the Only Thing That Lasted Was the “National Unity”

(July 1941)

Source: The Militant, Vol. V No. 29, 19 July 1941, p. 6.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Einde O’Callaghan.
Copyleft: Felix Morrow Internet Archive (www.marx.org) 2016. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0.

Little about Finland appears in the press these days. The less said about it the better – apparently that is the thought of all the “democrats” and “socialists’” who in the Fall of 1939 were screaming that the cause of Finland is the cause of all civilization.

These people are laughing at the indecent haste with which the Stalinists are digging up Dr. Mamlock and other pre-Hitler-Stalin-pact pictures and plays. But Robert Sherwood’s idyll about Finland, There Shall Be No Night, has been dragged off the boards with equally indecent haste: Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine were about to tour the country in it but now won’t and the movie magnates who paid a whopping price for the movie rights to Sherwood have written it off as a loss.

In the Fall of 1939 you couldn’t go to a concert or turn on the radio without hearing Finlandia or something else by Sibelius. Now that Sibelius is proclaiming that the Finnish alliance with Germany is saving Europe from Bolshevism, his music appears to have receded.

In 1939 the organs of the two American groups of the Second International – Norman Thomas’ Call and The New Leader – were proudly acclaiming the heroic struggle of their Finnish comrades who were standing shoulder to shoulder with General Mannerheim, the executioner of the Finnish socialist revolution of 1918. Today, too, the Finnish Social Democrats are in the government, again backing General Mannerheim. But a dead silence has descended upon The Call and The New Leader; they aren’t talking any more about their Finnish comrades. And these people laugh at the flip-flops of the Stalinists!

How These “Socialists” Became Hitler’s Agents

The Finnish Social Democrats are not the first who began in this war as warriors of “world democracy” and ended up as agents of Hitler. The same flip-flop was executed by the majority of the leadership of the French section of the Second International. In the name of “national unity” they supported French “democratic” imperialism when the war broke oat. In the name of “national unity” they voted to abolish Parliament and give power to Petain’s bonapartist regime. In the name of “national unity” they are now supporting Petain’s collaboration with Hitler.

How is it possible for “socialists” to do what the French and Finnish sections of the Second International have done? Neither the “democrats” nor the “socialists” of the Norman Thomas f Social Democratic Federation variety ask this fundamental question, let alone answer it.

As for the Stalinists, they self-righteously denounce the Finnish and French “socialists” but make no serious attempt to analyze the process which led to the present role of these agents of Hitler. Why the Stalinists cannot make such an analysis, we shall see in a moment.

What happened to the French and Finnish “socialists” was that they abandoned the class struggle of the working class. For the sake of “national unity” against the external’foe, they argued, it was necessary for the working class to cease the class struggle against its “own” capitalist class. That is they operated on the theory that the working class and its exploiters had more in common with each other than the working class had with the workers of other countries.

They Sneered at Our Utopian Program

This theory of “national unity” was defended by Blum and Tanner against the “Utopian” Trotskyists by following kind of arguments:

“You tell us Finnish socialists to unite with the Soviet workers, but the Soviet workers are following Stalin.”

“You tell us French socialists to join hands with the German proletariat, but they are obeying Hitler’s commands.”

We Trotskyists answered: Because the German and Soviet workers are at this moment following Hitler and Stalin, is no excuse for Blum and Tanner to tell the Finnish and French workers to follow Mannerheim and Petain. The duty of the Finnish and French workers is to overthrow the Mannerheims and Petains. Workers’ Governments in France and Finland can then effectively appeal to the workers of Germany and the Soviet Union against Hitler and Stalin.

The Blums and Tanners, and their American counterparts, dismissed our program as Utopian. They were “practical” people. They would forget about socialism for a while for the sake of preserving democracy.

Now we see the end-result of this false policy. National unity was cemented with the Mannerheims and Petains for the sake of preserving democracy. The cement preserved the “national unity” but not the democracy. The class struggle, abandoned for the sake of saving democracy, remains abandoned by the Finnish and French Social Democrats for the sake of preserving “national unity” to serve Hitler.

In this process there is nothing peculiarly French or Finnish. Essentially the same thing has happened in Belgium, where the top leadership of the Belgian trade unions, who collaborated with their “own” bourgeoisie in peace and war, now continue that collaboration to the benefit of Hitler.

Essentially the same thing can happen in any country, including Britain and the United States. If tomorrow Churchill finds it necessary to collaborate with Hitler, at least many of the Bevins who abandoned the class struggle in the name of the war against Hitler will remain in Churchill-Hitler’s service.

The Stalinists, who now hail the Bevins (tomorrow they will hail the Hillmans) thereby facilitate this process of betrayal. On sees the Stalinist handiwork in France today: Stalinist collaboration with Blum and Daladier paved the way for Petain. Likewise the Stalinists now open the road to American and British Petains. Far from defending the Soviet Union by these class-collaboration methods, they are multiplying the dangers to the existence of the USSR.

Whenever anyone – “democrat,” “socialist” or Stalinist – urges subordination of the class struggle of the American worker to the “needs of the fight against Hitler” – just remember where the Finnish and French Social Democrats ended up.


Last updated on: 22 May 2016