Friday, January 26, 2018

Burns Night (2018)

From the January 2018 issue of the Socialist Standard

On 25 January Scots people round the world celebrate Burns night, piping in the haggis along with the neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), and all the rest of it, to celebrate Burns’ birthday. What do socialists think of Burns? Is it possible that Burns could be called a socialist?

The answer must be ‘No’. In the eighteenth century the co-operative, friendly, work-together society that socialists strive for had not yet been crystallised into a political programme; the aggressive, snarling, stab-in-the-back society that capitalism tries to impose on us all was triumphant, or about-to-be-triumphant, everywhere in the world. And Burns was a Scots nationalist (‘Scots whahaewi’ Wallace bled . . .).

Yet there are many facets of Burns’ poetry, and of Burns’ philosophy, that must strike a chord with all socialists  (and it is well worth making the effort, though sometimes it’s not easy, to understand Burns’ Ayrshire dialect of our common language.) For example, Burns was always (just like socialists) able to see the larger significance of what appeared to be small, unimportant events – to see the greater meaning lying behind something apparently trivial. There are two well-known examples.

In church one day Burns sat near a well-to-do lady, dressed in her Sunday finery, seemingly pleased with her smart appearance. But then Burns saw a louse, openly crawling up her fashionable bonnet. Burns enjoys the joke, pretending to tell the louse to clear out, and get its dinner off some ragged beggar instead; but then the contrast between the lady in her posh clothes, and the “winks and finger-ends” which showed that other people had seen the louse, leads to a thought of deeper moment:
‘Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us,
To see oursels as ithers see us, It wad frae mony a blunder free us, An' foolish notion;
What airs in dress and gait wad lea’e us,
And e’en devotion!’
Then there was the time when Burns was out ploughing one December – he had a small farm – and suddenly realised that he had destroyed a mouse’s hide-out, which it had constructed with much labour to shelter itself from the winter weather (“ That wee bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble, Has cost thee mony a weary nibble”). The poet apologises for breaking ‘Nature’s social union’, and goes on:
‘But Mousie, thou are no thy lane, [you aren’t alone]
In proving foresight may be vain
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley, [often go wrong]
An’lea’e us nought but grief and pain,
For promis’d joy!’
Then Burns added an extra verse. In some ways, he thought, it could be said the mouse was better off, being only concerned with the present; while the poet could see nothing to please him in either the past or the future. ‘But Och! I backward cast my e’e, On prospects drear! An’ forward, tho I canna see, I guess and fear!’

Burns had little time for the social set-up of his day. In The Twa Dogs, Burns describes a landlord:
‘Our laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kane, and all his stents, [kane - fowls paid as rent, stents – dues]
He rises when he likes himsel’,
His flunkies answer at his bell;’
He travels in a horse-drawn coach, and his silk purse is full of gold pieces. As for the landlord’s factor or land-agent, when the rent is due he tyrannises over the impecunious small tenants:
‘Poor tenant bodies, scant o’ cash,
How they maun thole a factor’s snash: [must endure his abuse]
He’ll stamp an’ threaten, curse and swear,
He’ll apprehend them, take their gear; [he’ll collar them, take their possessions]
While they maun stan’, wi’ aspect humble,
An’ hear it a’, an’ fear and tremble!’
Then in The Cotter’s Saturday Night Burns praises ‘an honest man’, while dismissing his supposed social superiors – ‘Princes and lords are but the breath of kings’:
‘What is a lordling’s pomp! A cumbrous load,
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin’d!’
Perhaps Burns’ philosophy is most clearly expressed in A man’s a man for a’ that.
‘The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
The Man’s the gowd [gold] for a’ that.’
As for the upper class:
‘Ye see yon birkie [bighead], ca’d [called] a lord,
Wha struts, and stares, and a’ that;
Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
He’s but a coof [fool] for a’ that:
For a’ that, and a’ that,
His ribband, star [decorations], and a’ that,
The man of independent mind,
He looks and laughs at a’ that’.
Then Burns sums it up:
‘Then let us pray [earnestly desire] that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er all the earth,
Shall bear the gree, [be victorious], an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that. ‘
If you take ‘Man’ to be all humans, or if you add ‘Woman to Woman shall sisters be’, it’s a sentiment that socialists share.
Alwyn Edgar

So Much Alike! (1941)

From the January 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

Russia, according to the Stalin Government and its unthinking groups of devotees, is a Socialist country. We have the strange spectacle of a prominent clerical dignitary declaring one-sixth of the earth to be Socialist. Now, surely, it is a sound guide to know your fundamentals first. Thus, if an object is declared to be triangular, we can only agree that it is so, if we first know a triangle. On the same principle, if Russia is declared a Socialist country, is it not the surest and safest thing for us to understand Socialism first, otherwise how are we to be sure we are not being sold a pup ? Therefore the knowledge of Socialism is vital. What then is Socialism? Socialism is a system of human society of a special kind. Its fundamental is the common ownership of all that is necessary to the common good. This implies the end of buying and selling and the end of the wages system. From this fundamental we must look at Russia. When we do look we find that buying and selling and wages obtain there as elsewhere—wages varying in rate, etc. Then, as Russia does not conform to our fundamental she cannot be Socialist. The Communist party, Left Book Club and similar people, however, have a ready answer. This is it! The fundamental (no wages) is a fundamental of Communism, and Socialism is a half-way house in which wages, money, buying and selling must exist until, by a slow process, they are eliminated and Communism is then reached. Russia, we are told, is going that way. Let us take them at their own word. If Russia is Socialist and moving towards Communism, according to the Stalinites each move should be away from payment for goods or services. The recent decree of the Russian rulers, however, is away from free education in schools to payment for it, ranging from one hundred to four hundred roubles. Let us face the facts and declare openly—Russia is not a Socialist but a Capitalist country, approximating to, though not identical with, totalitarian Germany. The German capitalist class have bluffed millions by styling their system “National  Socialism," the bulk of their population being German. Russia could not do this as easily, large chunks of her people being non-Russian. In order to gain support for her capitalism Russia has to delude millions of people that she too is Socialist (though not national). In order to slip this across the world she has made a “Socialism” of her own (like Germany), and subsidises numerous organisations to boom this for her (again like Germany). Those in her own borders who do not agree because they perhaps understand Socialism she shoots or imprisons (how like Germany). Prominent people (not understanding Socialism) write about a Socialist sixth of the world. Socialists, however, see through the game.
Lew Jones

Our Difficulty is Your Opportunity (1941)

Party News from the February 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

This appeal is addressed to all members and sympathisers. The Socialist Party is experiencing grave difficulties in the distribution of the Socialist Standard.

Does this mean anything to you? You may have come in contact with our paper or organisation quite recently, or you may be a supporter of some years’ standing—one of the “old brigade"; whichever category you come under we ask you to give your immediate and serious attention to this appeal.

The present position is not due to any fault of the organisation, but to the severe conditions now prevailing, particularly in London. These conditions have so hampered us in the task of distributing recent issues of the “S.S.” that sales have decreased. Not alarmingly, but sufficiently enough to cause us to call upon our readers everywhere to give a helping hand.

Elsewhere in this issue, reference is made to the remarkable achievements of the organisation under circumstances which, though very difficult, are not comparable with the present ones. No attempt is being made here to pander to anyone in a begging fashion, no demands are being made, no excuse is being made; it is just a part of the struggle, and we would be failing in our duty if we took cover and waited until the trouble passed by.

Now, comrades and friends, as many of the usual avenues through which the “S.S.” reached its readers have been closed as a consequence of events beyond our control, fresh ones must be established immediately. This is where you come in! You are asked by us to become agents and sellers of the “S.S.” We suggest that you order bundles of three, six, twelve, or more if you like, Socialist Standards each month.

How many times in the past have some of you missed the chance of handing to a friend a copy of this journal which, you know, would have made him keener to learn more about Socialism ?

Just think, is there one amongst you who couldn’t sell or give away to an enquiring member of your class a copy of the “S.S.”? Why! Most of you, if you tried but little, could sell six to twelve copies a month. (The writer knows of individuals who sell upwards of 100 “S.S.” per month.)

Therefore you are asked to take a job: there ' is no pay for it—except the satisfaction that you have increased your work for the Party and Socialism.

Political parties must be judged by their record—our record is contained in the “S.S.” first published in September, 1904, and in each successive issue right up to the one you are reading now. No other political party in this country has handled the case for Socialism in line with Marxism, that job was, and is, the job of the S.P.G.B. Whether or not this job is to be tackled with increasing vigour really depends on YOU—because the Party is as strong, and no stronger, than the efforts of our members and friends make it.

Apply yourself, therefore, with enthusiasm to the task you are asked to undertake: the Party and its journal must, and will, emerge from this war stronger than ever to carry on the struggle for Socialism. 

In a future issue a report of the response to this appeal will be published, and we hope that it will make all concerned happy in the knowledge that in these difficult times the influence of the “S.S.” is not only maintained, but growing from strength to strength.

Send your orders to:
S.P.G.B.,
42, Gt. Dover Street, London, S.E.1,
to whom all cheques, money orders, and postal orders should be made payable. Money with orders from sellers will be appreciated.

We express our thanks once again to those, who, in the past, have helped the Party, and we feel confident that every friend of the Party is going to see to it that we win this, the most critical battle in our history.

“Let battle commence!”
Angus McPhail

Press Cuttings (1941)

From the March 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

A Reuter Moscow telegram says that the Russian people are told in the Soviet journal "Socialist Agriculture” that the "capitalist Powers,” including Britain, are trying to "wreck the Soviet Union" by sending diseased seeds and bulbs into the country.

During the past nine years, says the paper, the Leningrad quarantine laboratory has examined 1,200,000 samples of seeds and plants from 67 foreign countries and has found 6,000 insects and diseases in them. The earth surrounding the roots of medicinal herbs bought from England are alleged to have been infected with potato cancer, while tulip and hyacinth bulbs bought in Holland were also found to be diseased. (Manchester Guardian, December 16th, 1940.)

#    #    #    #

The B.B.C. is extending its anti-Pacifist blockade. It has now blacklisted three famous preachers—Dr. Donald Soper, of Kingsway Hall and Tower Hill; Dr. George MacLeod, of Iona; and Canon Charles Raven, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. . . .  In these three cases, as in the case of the Glasgow Orpheus Choir, banned because of the pacifist views of its conductor, Sir Hugh Roberton, the B.B.C. is assumed to have acted as the instrument of the State. No attempt has been made to disguise the reason for the action. . . . (News Chronicle, January 4th, 1941.)

#    #    #    #

The concept that twice two make four is somehow differently tinged in the minds of a German, a Frenchman, a negro, or a Jew. (Herr Hommes, a Nazi writer on Racialism. Manchester Guardian, January 2nd, 1941.)

#    #    #    #

On the plinth of General Sherman’s statue in Washington are cut these words: “The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace.” To me this is a profoundly wise saying. (Major-General Fuller, Evening Standard, January 4th, 1941.)

#    #    #    #

Three Stalin prizes of 100,000 roubles each, and five prizes of 50,000 roubles each are to be awarded to Soviet citizens for outstanding work in science and art. Three prizes of 100,000 roubles each will be awarded for outstanding work in poetry, prose, drama and literary criticism.

In addition 25 prizes of 100,000; forty prizes of 50,000 roubles each; and 60 prizes of 25,000 roubles each are to be awarded for outstanding inventions, including military inventions.

It has been decided by the Soviet Government that these prizes will be awarded not only for work in 1940, but also for work during the last six or seven years. (Daily Worker, January 15th, 1941.)

#    #    #    #

Sir,—“ We wish to know,” an old Chief said to me the other day, ‘‘how it is that England, France, and Germany can have a war whenever they like, but when we want to fight another village the District Officer comes with his police and stops us.” (A letter to The Times from a correspondent in Africa, January 1st, 1941.)

"Black Record" (1941)

Pamphlet Review from the April 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

Sir Robert Vansittart’s pamphlet Black Record is a very curious production. As Mr. G. P. Gooch, a well known historian, remarks in a letter to the Manchester Guardian (March 12th, 1941): —
   It is an eloquent and impassioned speech for the prosecution of the same one-sided character as foreign writers have often hurled at “perfidious Albion.” He calls Germany a butcher-bird, just as Reventlow, during the last war, called England the vampire of the Continent. In such propagandist works there is always a considerable measure of truth, for no country can show an unblemished record, but they lack the judicial spirit. The writers are so obsessed by the wickedness of the enemy that they try to produce the impression that there never were such monsters of iniquity.
Sir Robert condemns Sir Neville Chamberlain and others for not facing the truth as far as the German character is concerned. The “truth” being, in his estimation, that the Germans are by nature cruel and have been across the centuries predatory and vicious. This he urges over and over again. On page 16 of his pamphlet he makes the following assertion: 
    Hitler is no accident. He is the natural and continuous product of a breed which from the dawn of history has been predatory and bellicose.
Whatever truth there is in that assertion applies just as strongly to every "breed” that can trace ancestry back to the “dawn of history,” and most emphatically to the Latin nations. What blood and tears stains the history of Italy, of France, of Spain—and may we include England, or does the Germanic strain rule it out?

An incident: is related on page 4 that the author witnessed as a youth in Germany:
    I was eighteen at the time, and it was a bitter winter. A starving German lad of my own age stole a cutlet from a butcher's shop and bolted. He was pursued, caught, and kicked into a mess—not by- toughs, but by apparently ordinary citizens. I tried to intervene, but was told that, if I didn't stand clear, I would be served the same way.
The incident is given as an example of the fundamental cruelty of the Germans, and is a fair sample of his one-sided method of arguing. It is quite true that the case in point is a horrible illustration of the brutality born of the property instinct, a violation of which is always liable to convert the meekest ordinary citizen of any nation into a temporary fiend—particularly if it is his “own” goods that are touched. But if we are to accept the incident at Sir Robert’s valuation, what is to be said of a nation that produced the factory lords of the middle of the last century in England, who had little children of six to twelve years of age driven into factory hells to waste their health and limbs working up to eighteen hours a day producing the means to allow their master to live in luxury? Many of them slept in beds that were never cool, and all of them lost youth’s birthright—joy and laughter. Or, again, what of the nations that produced the perpetrators of the atrocities of the Belgian Congo, where natives were mutilated and villages burned if rubber in sufficient quantities was not brought to fill the bottomless maw of the profit-hunting rubber companies? Again, it was Frenchmen who tortured and slaughtered their own fellow-countrymen in 1871 for daring to resist the attack of Germany and establishing a commune in Paris.

No, acts of violence and brutality do not damn a nation, it only damns the motive that inspires the brutality.

War is the culminating brutality, but peace under capitalism is also full of brutalities.

Nazism, Fascism and Russian Communism are modern examples of systematic brutality, but they are each the product of a civilisation whose basis is the subjection and exploitation of the wealth producers.

Democratic countries exhibit brutality in a less glaring form. The hungry man who steals a loaf is not beaten into a mess, he is sent to jail because he has infringed the laws of private property.

Sir Robert rails against the Germans for aiming at world domination. But are they alone in that? What of the Greeks, the Romans, the Tartars, the Arabs, the Turks, the Spaniards, the Dutch? And, also, brother, why is a large part of the earth painted red on our school maps? Sir Robert, standing on a dirty doorstep, hurls his venom at only one of the gentlemen who occupy the other dirty doorsteps.

He also points to the fortunes acquired by Hitler’s fellow-gangsters out of the miseries of millions. But are they alone in that? What of the war profiteers of 1914-1918, who acquired fortunes out of that war? Are they free of dirt?

On page 19 the author writes:
   Julius Caesar says that in Germany 2,000 years ago “Robbery has nothing infamous in it '' when committed upon a neighbour.
Now, surely, Caesar ought to know, he was the author of the famous despatch, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” with reference to the Gauls. And, by the way, what was he doing so far away from Rome, anyhow?

Farther on Sir Robert adds:
   The Romans knew what their savage neighbours were like as clearly as the French knew later; so the Romans, too, built a Maginot Line and tried to demilitarise the Rhineland.
What a strange illustration to bring forward. The Romans, by cajolery, treachery, cruelty and force crushed their neighbours in ever widening circles until the major part of the known world of their day was under their sway. Then, when weakened internally, largely owing to the fruit of conquests, they were unable to extend the empire further or resist the pressure of their furthest neighbours, so they attempted to stem the impending flood by fortifying their frontiers. Not because the Germans were ferocious, as large bodies of German peoples were fighting in the Roman armies and helping to defend the frontiers.

It is extraordinary that an empire should be chosen as an example, which threw Christians into the pits to be devoured by wild animals, and which brought home captives to Rome to slaughter each other in the gladiatorial arenas for the benefit of a populace that crowded there to see the fun, and whose capricious thumb, pointing up or down, determined whether or not the fallen gladiator should be slain! So well known is the ferocious nature of the old Roman crowd that two thousand years later it is still a common phrase, “butchered to make a Roman holiday.”

We haven't space to deal further with the over-statements and historical peculiarities that litter the pages of this pamphlet. The Nazi regime can be shown to be brutal enough without this type of approach to the question.

Hitler and his clique climbed to power with the assistance of the so-called “Right" and “Left" wings in Germany. The general dissatisfaction of the German workers with their poverty-stricken conditions gave him his chance and he got the backing of industrial magnates by promising to obtain access to sources of raw materials and markets for German products. He strengthened his position by eliminating his opponents piece-meal and by misleading the workers into the belief that they were poor because Germany was denied access to markets in which to sell the products that would make more work. It is an old and familiar story.

Once in power he has been able to keep it so far by a mixture of coercion and promises of a paradise to come when Germany has conquered its enemies.

The German workers fell for Hitler’s promises in the same way as workers all over the world have for years fallen for the promises of leaders.

One day, however, the German worker will become sick from hope deferred, and that day will mean the end of the Nazi regime, if it does not collapse from outside pressure beforehand.
Gilmac.

What the Soldier Wants and How to Get it (1941)

From the May 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

War brings a shortage of many things but not of would-be leaders of the workers, who profess to be able to shepherd us into the promised land after the war. But leaders must have followers and as the mood of the soldiers and civilians changes with the progress of the war the outlines of the promised post-war world as sketched by our J. B. Priestleys and A. P. Herberts, our J. M. Keynes and Harry Pollitts, will change too. When war breaks out it is easy for many people to take a rosy, romantic view both of the conflict and its aftermath. The lines seem clear and simple. First the brave fight against the forces of evil, then the brave new world to come after. First the comradeship of the trenches and the air-raid shelter, then the peace and the universal goodwill capable of surmounting all obstacles and solving all problems. This is the phase in which a man like the late H. H. Munro (“Saki") could say (as he did when war was declared in 1914), “I have always looked forward to the romance of European war,” it is the phase in which British statesmen could say that the war was not against the German workers but. only against those who mislead and oppress them. Then there comes another phase, after the destruction, hardship, and bitterness of war have wrought their changes. This is the phase summed up by the late C. E. Montague in. the word “disenchantment.” It is the phase in which Munro’s friends said of him, “He was thin and his face was haggard.” "It was evident that the strain of military life was telling on him.” Though determined to go through with it at whatever cost (he was subsequently killed), it is likely that Munro must by then have realised that war is not romantic and that the apparently simple lines of visionary future have become blurred and unrecognisable. Then, soldiers and civilians alike forget the early glimpses of promised lands after the war and ask only for more moderate things. Like Sassoon’s "Dreamers,”
“When the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives.”
They feel that the most desirable of all pleasures are the humdrum things they did before the war—“ bank-holidays and picture shows,” and “going to the office in the train.”

The soldier fighting in desert heat or freezing in mountain snows, and the munition worker toiling day and night, feels that he will be satisfied if after the war life returns to the “good old days,” but with certain concrete improvements. Subject to obtaining these improvements, his desires are confined to the wish for no more crash of bombs and guns, no more drone of planes and wail of sirens. No more rationing, no more regulations, filling up of forms, no more restrictions, orders, warnings, advice and lecturing. No more pep-talks and parsons exhorting us to lift up our hearts. No more sudden death and destruction, no more ruined homes, evacuated families. No more broken windows, no more black-out, no more interrupted sleep.

But with it goes a determination, mixed up with bitterness, to have a world in which poverty, unemployment, “profiteering,” slums and overwork, have been diminished if not abolished entirely.

The Socialist having a clear purpose in view and knowing the difficulties in the way of social change, does not share either mood. He knows that brave new worlds are not to be had for the asking and consequently he realises that the second mood in which the workers want concrete improvements of working and living conditions, is likely to be rather more useful and practical. Yet it, too, has its definite limits and dangers. It is not enough to want the pre-war world with improvements unless along with determination there is knowledge of the obstacles that will have to be removed and of the only way in which it can be done.

For after the war the world will still be a world run on capitalist lines and the capitalist too will have his expectation of reverting to 1939, and both capitalists and workers will be faced with tremendous problems arising out of capitalism, many of them even more acute than before. Peace will not only mean cessation of war strain and war restrictions, but also the release of forces now suppressed. The class struggle will still be on. The non-Socialist will say of this how stupid, how wicked, how unnecessary, but the Socialist sees that it is unavoidable unless a fundamental change in the basis of society is carried out. The world's resources will still be privately owned nnd utilised for the purpose of profit-making. There will still be two classes with antagonistic interests, one class living by rent, interest and profit, the other living by selling its labour-power for wages or salary. True, this is “wicked” in the sense that it is unnecessary, but it can only be removed by abolishing its cause, the private ownership of the means of wealth-production and distribution. While there is private ownership (including so-called “public” ownership or State capitalism) it is impossible to have harmony and identity of interest between the classes. The only way to abolish class struggle is to abolish the classes.

Now is the time, not for day-dreaming or for getting out plans for reforming capitalism, but for hard, laborious thought about the nature of the capitalist system and of its opposite, Socialism.

The post-war world will not just happen. It will correspond to the development of the ideas of the majority. Effort now devoted to thinking out the basic causes of the pre-war problems of riches and poverty, unemployment and strikes, will be more valuable than years of scheming to soften the rigours of the capitalist system.
Edgar Hardcastle

Put Not Your Trust in Commissars (1941)

From the June 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

On May 17th, 1941, the “Russia To-day Society” held a meeting in Glasgow, which was advertised under the title “We Need Russia’s Friendship.” The speakers were Mr. Ivor Montagu and Mr. P. Sloan, both well-known advocates of an Anglo-Russian Pact. Since Socialists do not hold the view that the Russian or any other Government is concerned with the emancipation of the workers, we do not have to inquire into the merits of the Pacts they make with each other. It is, however, necessary to dispel the illusion that one of these Governments, the Russian, has loftier and more disinterested motives than the others. We notice that a week earlier the Russian Government, according to the News Chronicle (May 10th, 1941) gave the Yugo-Slav legation in Moscow notice to leave the country on the ground that Russia no longer recognised its status as Yugo-Slavia had lost its sovereignty. The Yugo-Slav Minister to Moscow, M. Gavrilovitch, thus summarily ejected by the Russian Government, is the man who, only a few weeks earlier, had been “largely instrumental in bringing Yugo-Slavia into the war, and who negotiated the non-aggression pact with the Soviet just before the German invasion.”

It looks as if putting your trust in Commissars is like putting your trust in Princes.

Then, of course, there is the Russo-Japanese Pact, signed with great acclamation in Moscow on April 13th. The Manchester Guardian's comment
is: —
   “By the new agreement Japan recognises Russia's exclusive interest in Outer Mongolia and Russia recognises Japan’s in Manchukuo; that is not what they say, but it is what they mean. China, which claims the sovereignty, has protested.”
“Appeasement” seems to be all the rage in Moscow these days, though we seem to remember a time when, to the Communist, appeasement was spelled C-H-A-M-B-E-R-L-A-I-N.

The Pact produced a remarkable new doctrine in the columns of the Moscow Pravda. Often the Bolsheviks argued that in the modern world war is caused, and inevitably caused, by capitalism. Front this they went on to say that pacts and treaties could not prevent war. The new doctrine is that the issues between Governments only rankle because of the absence of “political accord which forms the essential requisite for a solution of economic problems.”

The following quotation from Pravda deals with the Russo-Japanese Pact and was reproduced in the Anglo-Russian News Bulletin (April 19th. 1941): —
  "The Neutrality Pact and Declaration clear the road for a settlement of the remaining outstanding issues between the U.S.S.R. and Japan, including the Fishing Convention. Trade Treaty, etc. All these outstanding issues, despite their importance, were often delayed because there did not exist between Japan and the U.S.S.R. political accord which forms the essential requisite for a solution of economic problems. Now when this requisite is created, when both Governments have solemnly declared that both Parties are striving for friendship, all obstacles which were in the way of the development of political and economic relations between the U.S.S.R. and Japan are removed.”
While we do not imagine that the Bolsheviks really believe this sort of thing, it is difficult to discover what they do believe. Cynicism is usually the fate of those who make a principle of opportunism.
P. S.

An Interesting Quotation (1941)

A Quote from the July 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard
  “In travelling about the world I have perceived that economic and political systems are badly out of kilter and urgently require fundamental readjustment. Machines possess the potentiality of easily providing sufficient food, shelter, and clothing for every human being on earth. But I have visited country after country in which the foremost preoccupation of tens of millions is to obtain enough food each day to sustain life, in which they live in hovels unfit for domestic animals, with standards little above those of the Dark Ages. 
  “I have travelled through or flown over millions upon millions of acres of fallow land capable of feeding multitudes. I have seen millions jammed in cities living in poverty and degradation; elsewhere I have seen crops rotting in the fields and fruit dropping unpicked from trees because there was no market for the food.  
 “There must be some system, I should think, of bringing the capacities of production and the requirements of consumption together so that the whole world can enjoy the advantages made available by the machine. Science and machinery have solved many more intricate problems. And I am convinced that the Old World is being rushed toward destruction and annihilation by the very same forces that could make for its unparalleled material happiness and well-being. Instead of being used to provide adequate food, shelter, and clothing—the components of material happiness—and leisure—which could make for mental happiness—the power of the machine is being more and more concentrated upon manufacture of means of destruction and slaughter.”—Webb Miller (1891-1940), American International Correspondent. “I Found No Peace” (Penguin Edition, pp. 230-1).