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Book Review: 'The Communist International'

"The Communist International," by F. Borkenau. Faber & Faber. 12/6. 442 pages

A by no means insignificant reason for the lamentable condition of the international working-class movement is to be sought in the baneful influence of events in Russia. Hypnotised by its mythical Socialist character, bull-dozed by its offspring, the Communist International, thousands of militant workers have fallen victims to its spell. Fortunately, numbers of workers everywhere, under the hard blows of reality, are beginning to come to their senses. Anything that tends to hasten this process can only be welcomed, and therein lies the importance of this book. Written by a former official of the German Communist Party, it is a painstaking and scrupulous attempt to reveal the origins of Russian Bolshevism and its influence, through the Comintern, on the world Labour movement.

The Execution of Imre Nagy

Since the announcement on June 17th of the execution of Imre Nagy and his associates, various notables outside the Soviet bloc have hastened to express their opinions on these latest Communist murders. Lord Lansdowne in the House of Lords on the 19th June, speaking on behalf of the Conservative Government, welcomed "The opportunity to place on record the horror and indignation which this latest shameful act has aroused." Although these sentiments are, undoubtedly, true, they border on the hypocritical coming from the Tories after their support of two World Wars and many smaller ones; and that the death of four men should induce a feeling of revulsion in the ex-general Eisenhower appears somewhat surprising. Nevertheless, their one-sided wrath at the duplicity of the Communists has aroused members of the working class to demonstrate.

The Conflict in the Middle East

Another Middle East storm has developed. This time it is the Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq that occupy the centre of the stage, with Kuwait also stirring. Again oil is the mainspring of the eruptions and clashing interests. The struggles concern the rich oil lands and the routes to those areas, with other economic advantages for the privileged seeping in.

The revenues from oil are in the region of the fabulous. They are cherished by the privileged possessors, and sought after by privileged non-possessors who want a larger share of the plunder. The toilers who make these revenues possible have no share in them. They only receive the customary payment for the work they do; some of the Arab workers receive hardly enough to buy the necessities of life.

50 Years Ago : Hungary and Suez - Hope Amidst Tragedy

The governments of Israel, Britain, France and Russia, when they resorted to war in October 1956 in pursuit of their own separate objectives, have at the same time struck a decisive blow to achieve something they never sought and are hardly aware of. Their tanks and bombers in a few days of destruction have helped to shatter the most hampering illusion of our generation, an illusion that has held back multitudes from taking the first stop towards a real understanding of the problems facing the human race.

This illusion was the belief, held with equal fervour by democrats and Communists, and on both sides of the Iron Curtain, that there are “two worlds,” essentially different in arms and conduct.

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