From the March 1944 issue of the Socialist Standard
When one listens to the numerous "Revolutionary’’ plays broadcast for the benefit of home consumers, as well as for the oppressed nations of Europe, one wonders if the ruling class is conscious of a possible effect of their propaganda. The strike as a weapon of the class struggle has always been a thorn in the sides of the ruling class, but now that there is a war on we find the ruling powers on both sides applauding strikes abroad and condemning those at home.
Nationalists, Monarchists, Right and Left Wing Patriots, Liberals, Democrats, Priests and Communists, all come in for their shares of praise for their work against Hitlerism. This heterogenous mass, who are undoubtedly helping to undermine the Nazi regime, are being praised as heroes of freedom, because they are doing what the "British ruling class" want them to do at present.
When listening to this B.B.C. propaganda one cannot help thinking how childishly simple are these plays. Those who take the part of Germans, either as S.S. leaders or Generals, talk as if they were blockheads, and yet these men are supposed to imitate the executives of the German ruling class—thoroughly trained and disciplined soldiers of what the Nazis believe is a new social order, and, moreover, what we have been given to believe is a most ruthlessly efficient system.
It is a bit ironical for those who remember how British interests supported Hitler in his early years, at a time when even his friend Mussolini mobilised his troops against the Third Reich. Again, when the B.B.C. tells us about Hitler's speeches and denunciations against Bolshevism, it carefully refrains from reminding us that the British ruling class for several years believed these fulminations, and preferred to back Hitler as the Policeman of Europe to prevent the spread of the "Red Terror"
Sabotage is a virtue if carried on in France, Belgium or Holland etc., but a crime if it takes place in India, according to the views of the British Government, and of course, just the opposite to the Nazis.
Many hints are broadcast from time to time to occupied Europe for the benefit of those who undoubtedly risk their lives for what they believe is the cause of freedom; but there is no intention behind the voice of the B.B.C. that a revolutionary change shall be made in the nature of society on the Continent.
That Conservative England should take a hand at such propaganda has its amusing side for Socialists, for are they not trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds? The speeches of Eden, Halifax and others have made it abundantly clear that the English capitalists look forward to their European markets after the war. which means that they hope and believe that capitalism, with all its privileges for them, and miseries for the workers, will continue to exist. But if the B.B.C. has any effect by encouraging the workers to print newspapers against the Nazis, and to blow up munition factories and power stations, in the occupied countries, Conservative England may well find that it has removed the Policeman of Europe only to find what it calls "anarchy or chaos" has replaced it.
Of course, there is always Russia to be taken into consideration. and as her present-day propaganda is far more nationalistic than England’s, we can console the B.B.C. that if they overdo this revolutionary stuff they will be able to rely on Russia putting the break on for them. Lenin is alleged to have said that it is one thing to start a revolution, but it’s another thing to stop it; and he should know.
So far as we are concerned all kinds of "revolutionary" activity may take place on the Continent after the war is over, with or without the B.B.C.’s contribution; but there are three things of which we can be fairly certain. Firstly, the ruling class will act along the line of its own class interest. Secondly, if the working class follow their example and adopt the principle of the class struggle, the ruling class of England (and Russia) will get very annoyed. Thirdly, unless the workers develop an understanding and desire for socialism, then all their struggles (so far as socialism is concerned) will have been in vain, and the B.B.C.’s plays and talks will merely leave them with but another, and perhaps modified, variety of capitalism.