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Carl Davis

6th Year of War Shows Need for Socialism!

(September 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 37, 11 September 1944, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The month of September marks the end of the fifth year of the war and the beginning of the sixth. Already the Second World War has outlasted the first by a year and while the signs indicate the end of the road for Germany in Europe, there is still a great war taking place in the Pacific which is destined to last for some time after the European phase is over.

What the war has meant in terms of the slaughter of human beings, of military personnel and civilians, in the destruction of property and wealth and in the dislocation of the lives of tens of millions of peoples, is impossible to tell now.

Science is organized and chained to the war machine, with the result that the most devastating weapons of destruction are devised to slaughter human beings. The good that science can do to elevate the living standards of a whole world is subjected to the control of the profit-greedy capitalist classes of the great powers.

Gigantic weapons of destruction are not the sole invention or property of the Germans; they are part of the war machinery of all countries. They reveal how capitalism devours the people during war just as it devours them in peacetime through unemployment, low wages, poverty, starvation and and exceedingly low standard of living. Millions die a slow death in peacetime as a result of this system. Millions die quickly in wartime from more direct means. But the net result is the same.

At the beginning of the war, the people were told that this time, for sure, it was to be the last war. Yes, said the statesmen, the same thing was said in 1914, but this time we really mean it. If we can lick Hitler, Mussolini and the Emperor of Japan, we will be in a position to have a lasting peace.

President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill have had many conferences. They announced that the Allies were really fighting a war for “Four Freedoms.” The Atlantic Charter was going to prevent war in the future because it would guarantee the rights of all countries to freedom and all people to a livelihood, to real honest-to-goodness free speech, free press, national independence, etc., etc.

But that was in the beginning. There isn’t much reference to the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms today, when it is clear that the Allies are fighting a victorious war.

No, war is going to be permanently avoided. We shall, say the spokesmen of Allied imperialism, try to prevent war for at least the next generation. Now all discussions center around peace plans! And what peace plans!

Naturally the main problem is Germany. What shall be done about this country? Here Allied policy reveals that it has learned nothing from the war, but that its approach to the whole question is one of revenge. Revenge against whom? The fascists of Germany? Yes. And the German people, the millions of German workers? Them, too! But not the German capitalists, the real rulers of the country.

The pack is led by Stalin, who helped betray the German workers and paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power. The ruling classes of America and Great Britain are right along side of him. They plan to divide up the great German nation, to prepare a peace that will make the infamous framers of the Versailles Treaty appear as Good Samaritans.

Will this guarantee a future peace? Is it helping now to cut the ground from under Hitler at home? No, it is doing everything to keep the German people welded to a regime which it hates, because it fears just as much the prospects of Allied and Russian occupation.

Can the Allies keep a nation of sixty to eighty millions split up into fragments? Won’t it awaken the strongest feelings for national unity and independence? Of course, it will. But the Allied policy is one calculated to take revenge on a people who had the fascist regime foisted upon them from above, from the very classes which rule in England and America, the capitalists.

The capitalists of Germany, the financiers and industrialists, paid for Hitler, arranged for him to become Chancellor and helped the victory of his party which never had won a majority support in the country and which at all times had the whole German working class against him.

But Hitler was hailed by the capitalists all over the world, because he showed the way to defeat the labor movement, the workers’ political parties, and saved the profit system in Germany.

Great Britain, the United States, with Stalin’s complete support, are determined to prevent any social change in Europe. They have declared that they will seek to prevent any overthrow of the present industrial and financial classes of Germany. In other words, they will do everything in their power again to prevent the German masses, the workers and the poor peasants from asserting their will in establishing a true government of the people, a workers’ government, of genuine peace, freedom and security.

This was the policy pursued in Italy, where the action of the workers was a direct factor in aiding the overthrow of Mussolini. Once Mussolini fled, Allied policy in Italy made use of the despicable monarchy and its fascist and semi-fascist henchmen. There, too, the main Allied policy was to prevent the rise of the militant labor movement and the workers from taking power. Instead, all the remnants of the old liberals, who didn’t know how to fight fascism when it arose, and those who were living “quiet” lives under Mussolini, were resurrected to rule Italy.

France, too, saw a movement of the people in the underground which participated actively in the war against the German oppressors. The partial liberation of Paris by the organized Parisian underground was an example of the heroism, organization, devotion and skill of the most advanced section of the French working class. In France, as elsewhere, the Allies are determined that these movements shall not get out of hand, shall not bring about any social change benefiting the people.

The advance into Rumania, this time by the forces of the Red Army, disclosed that Stalin pursues the same policy as the Western capitalist powers. No social changes, no interference with the barbaric regime of King Michael, who silently permitted the slaughter of workers, Jews and peasants – all in the interests of the Rumanian landlords and profiteers. It has been reported that the Red Army, in those areas of Rumania which they conquered, refused to interfere in the rule of the existing government, even to the extent that anti-Semitic laws were permitted to remain.

The Allied imperialists are desperately afraid of the intervention of the people, of the workers’ rebellion, of the socialist revolution which would uproot the profit system and establish a system of production for use, for the improvement of the lives of the people; a system which would guarantee peace by eliminating the competitive struggle for markets and raw materials, for profit; a system in which genuine equality would replace the inequalities of capitalism with its unemployment, its poverty, its murderous, futile and endless wars.

And what will have been achieved after such a victory, after the great slaughter? The re-establishment of conditions which can only lead to the outbreak of a Third World War, for which all the powers are now preparing even before this one is over.

One can see that there is no real hope for future peace except through the abolition of capitalism which is the evil breeder of fascism, miltarism and war. The sole hope for humanity, the hope of civilization, lies in the establishment of a socialist society of production for use, of genuine freedom and equality. Socialism alone can prevent a Third World Slaughter.

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