Since the war cloud has lifted from Europe another cloud has descended which is slowly smothering the bright promises with which the fighters’ and the sufferers were fed. The golden and futile promises of war time are giving place to the ugly realities of capitalist peace.
How often was it declaimed on platform and in print that Germany as a nation must be utterly shattered so that wars would come no more. The figment that wars were the product of people with a foul and brutal urge to dominate was spread and fostered to conceal the fact that wars are a product of economic conditions, and in the modern world, the product solely of capitalist conditions. How often was it urged that the United Nations, with high and unblemished ideals, were solidly united on basic principles that would exclude future wars and would bless their peoples with peace, comfort and security!
How soon the lie has been given to this hypocritical moonshine. French interests in the Levant struggling to keep their hands on oil; Russia pursuing its imperialist policy in Manchuria, the Dardanelles, Tangier; America striving for control of air lines; Britain, the older bandits, conniving for its share in the swag wrung from the surplus labour of the workers. Here is an example of the spirit that animates the class that rules us!
“The Canadian Pacific Railway Company have made a flying start in the post-war shipping race, aimed at giving Britain the lead, by ordering four crack 10,000 ton ships from a Glasgow yard.”—(Evening News, July 7th, 1945).
This is just one sprint in the race that leads to more wars. Another was the report of an interview with Lord Nuffield in the Daily Express (May 25ih, 1945). The report is headed “Nuffield is out to beat foreigners” and it referred to the £ 1,000,000 car company he is starting in Australia.
“I have started the Australian company because I know that if we do not go in there in a big way others— and I mean foreign competitors—will get in first.”
“By the time the Empire countries are ready to make cars entirely on their own it may well be that air transport will have developed to such an extent that we shall no longer talk of exporting goods from Britain to Australia.”
“If people want cars at anything like the 1939 price, will they make the Government cancel the purchase tax? Will they give us cheaper steel? (That means more and cheaper coal). And will they he content with wage rates below an inflationary level.”
The sting is in the last line. The attack on wages is beginning and the workers are about to reap the harvest of the better world for which they fought—hard work and lower wages.
The Daily Express, June 2nd, 1945, reports discussions between Russia and Turkey which should give those who put faith in the protestations of peace and justice something to ponder over. After pointing out that Salim Sarpor, Turkey’s Ambassador, is on his way to Moscow with Turkey’s answer to the proposals Russia made that Turkey give up control of the Dardanelles, revise Turkey’s North East Frontier Provinces, and democratise the Turkish constitution, the Daily Express reporter goes on;
“Turkey says ‘Yes’ in principle to all three. But she wants them postponed, not through insincerity, but to give an air of negotiation to concessions she knows she must make (italics ours).
That last bit is a specimen of what “small nations,” whose rights have been held up as a corner stone of the future, may expect from their poweiful competitors.
One of the idolised leaders of the Allies, General Smuts, on leaving the San Francisco Conference issued this warning:
“We buried our arms last time. One of the most potent causes of World War No. 2, was this illusion that there would be no more war. . . . Europe, a fragmented and broken-up continent filled with people glaring at each other with hate, is the greatest problem now facing mankind.
“The most awful calamity in history has overtaken Europe. Don’t ask me who is the enemy I don’t know. It may be ourselves.
“We do not know what is going to breed out of this war. Forces that have been kept under by civilization are now unchained.”—(Daily Mail, June 30th, 1945).
Such is the bright prospect before us!
Finally secret diplomacy, which is the very essence of this exploiting system under which we live, extends to the Berlin Conference of the “Big Three” which is to decide the future of Germany—and other very important carve-ups.
“It was officially, confirmed to London last night that reporters will not be admitted to the Big Three meeting at Potsdam. Communiques will be issued.”— (Daily Express, July 7th, 1945).
What a joke on all the perishing freedoms we redd about in the Atlantic Charter and elsewhere!
It is still the old world in which the capitalist lives like a leech upon our industry and our only hope of a future free from poverty, insecurity and war is the determination of the workers to abolish the conditions that produce this state of affairs—the private ownership of the means of living. It is not the leeches we object to but the way they have of getting their living.