[Book] Ted Grant Writings: Volume Two


Crimea decisions kept from masses

[Socialist Appeal, Vol. 7 No. 1, March 1945 - not signed]

An avalanche of propaganda was let loose after the Crimea conference. Capitalist, labour and Stalinist press all over the world lauded the decisions.

The Daily Worker announced straight from the horse’s mouth that all future wars are ended by the decisions at Crimea. To add colour and drama to the situation, all the puppet states rattled their swords, sounded the bugles of battle, and declared war on Germany and Japan.

Concretely, what has been achieved? An announcement to destroy Germany, but this is a repetition of old statements poured through press and radio for five years. Stalin is to have his way in Poland and the London puppets are to be liquidated in favour of the Lublin puppets. This is an accomplished fact known for months.

No one will shed tears over the liquidation of [the] London Polish [government in exile] except the anti-Soviet diehards. No one gloats over the success of the Lublin government except the Stalinists. To the Polish masses, as revealed in the betrayal of Warsaw, both are criminals. Fundamentally, they offer only the continuation of capitalist regime in Poland, with all the pre-1939 spectres of horror. Once again the Polish masses will have to renew their struggles, and look beyond Lublin – beyond Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt to the working classes abroad for solidarity and assistance. Crimea has not solved one single problem of the Polish workers and the peasants.

Churchill made one of his purple speeches in the House of Commons. Following a tourist guide, he described the places he visited, the luncheons he attended, the banquets he gave, and conveyed the generally prevalent atmosphere after a good dinner, plenty of wine and expensive cigars. At the end of all this, he concluded his speech with a peroration that “far reaching decisions” had been taken.

That is the crux of the matter. “Far reaching” decisions were taken, but they are secret decisions on which the working classes are not to express their opinions.

Remember the flamboyant announcement of the Atlantic Charter and the Teheran conference. Later when the question became more concrete, Churchill revealed that the Charter did not apply to India or British colonies. It did not apply even to the enemy countries. In fact, it did not apply to anyone at all. Surpassing this cynicism, Roosevelt said that it will find a good place in historical archives, and in any case it was not signed by anybody and committed no one to the policy. But one concrete point which did remain a secret – a point on which Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill agreed – that was [on the] Greek revolution. Churchill chartered the course of action British imperialism would take and received the approval of Roosevelt and Stalin.

To get a correct picture of the Crimea conference, similarly, it is necessary not to merely examine the platitudes uttered by Churchill echoed by the Daily Workerbut to examine what he failed to mention. What is the attitude of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt to the coming European revolutions? Surely, if the Greek situation seemed explosive at Teheran and decisions were made to put the revolution down – although not revealed until 12 months later – isn’t the whole of Europe a volcano today? The economic chaos is deepening, starvation is on the order of the day. The destruction of the German military machine will unleash the working class of Germany and Europe for the seizure of power. Did the “Big Three” arrange their plans to deal with the situation? It is obvious that this item must have been a major problem on the agenda. It is obvious what plans were devised and plotted against the working class. But these “far reaching” decisions were not revealed to the masses.

The Stalinists would cynically say that the conference decided to support the democratic demands of the masses. If so, why the secrecy? If Churchill would have announced after Teheran that the Greek revolution would be crushed, and Stalin had sanctioned its crushing, as he did after the event, what would have been the reaction of the British workers?

That is not all. It is obvious that some of the French colonies will be taken away. How are these colonies – mandated territories taken from France and Japan – to be disposed of? By giving them freedom? The American Wall Street Journal, Capital, revealed some time ago that Britain was forced to agree to an American seizure of the Japanese colonies.

Stalin also must have put forward his claims in the Far East. How were they settled at Crimea? Or was all this merely discussed and the three agreed to settle their claims at a future date at the point of a bayonet? Churchill did not utter a word on this question.

For some time now a conflict has been going on in the Middle East. Britain demanded oil concessions in Iraq; the Americans put forward the same demand; Stalin also spoke. Roosevelt saw the Arab chiefs – apparently Churchill learned about it after reaching Yalta. Fearing to lose the British imperialist grip in the Middle East, he decided to entertain the Arab chiefs. Once again, what was decided over the Middle East? Was the fate of Palestine discussed? Who is to get the oil concessions? Churchill is silent.

If all these things were discussed as they must have been in a Conference lasting nine days, with all the economic experts attending, not a word to the House of Commons and the British public.

It is clear that the root causes of war will remain, and cannot be eradicated by arguments of the imperialist powers with the Stalinist bureaucracy. Behind the superficial agreements reached at Crimea, the conflict between British and American imperialism and the Soviet Union continues. The demands of each, the manoeuvres to dominate, will continue at San Francisco.

The second factor on which there was agreement was the creation of a glorified League of Nations. Five countries, in words, are to dominate it. But in effect, China and France will play a minor role. Already, even Britain is thrust aside, and the American capitalist press speaks of two great powers, meaning the Soviet Union and America. What can such a League of Nations do in a conflict between the USA and the USSR?

However distorted by the Stalinist bureaucracy, as long as Russia remains based on nationalised means of production, it is a pistol aimed at world capitalism. Sooner or later world capitalism will seek its destruction. In such a struggle what functions can a League of Nations perform?

The two factors on which agreement was reached and announced to the world, lay the foundations for the third world war. All experts agree that Europe is a unified economic entity. The Treaty of Versailles, by splitting or maintaining Europe into tiny units, with tariff barriers and armaments race, created the conditions for the Second World War. In European economy Germany occupies the key position. The solution to the problem of wars does not lie along the lines of Balkanisation. That will only reduce the European masses to a low level of living, to be kept as pawns in the game of power politics. Only a unified European economy – in which the feudal remnants [and] capitalism have been overthrown and the working class [is] firmly in the seat of power in all the European countries, primarily Germany – can give peace and plenty for all.

In such a socialist united states of Europe, once again the German working class will occupy the key position. Crimea can decide what it likes, but the only alternatives for the working class are a third world war or a socialist Germany in a socialist united states of Europe.

The decisions at the Crimea conference, announced publicly are only a deception and a delusion. The real decisions shrouded in mystery for the working class, can only lead to further wars and misery. The labour movement must demand of its leaders to put an end to secret diplomacy of the imperialist gangsters; the workers have the right to know what plots are being hatched which will determine the destiny of the masses of Europe and the world.