Thursday, July 11, 2019

Whither America? (1940)

From the January 1940 issue of the Socialist Standard

In an article, “Whither Britain?", in The Socialist Standard, July, 1939, it was pointed out that the problems confronting the ruling class in Germany are in the last analysis the problems that face the capitalist class of the rest of the world. Facts were given showing that the British State, "instead of being capitalism's sleeping partner, is becoming, as in Germany, the active and directing agent for mobilising industry and dragooning and drilling the population along the lines suitable for its purpose."

Against this form of "Democratic Capitalism," against this capitalism organised on a war-time basis, it is more than ever necessary, as was stressed in the article referred to, for workers to think and act along lines of their own class interests.

The only solution, Socialism, is thrown into higher relief by the more complete identification of capitalism with the capitalist state. Socialism is the only solution worthy of the struggles of the working class. How far the same process that is being revealed to the British workers day by day has gone on in secret in the United States of America, may not be known to the workers either in this country or in the United States themselves.

A magazine, called the "Readers' Digest," August, 1939, contained an article entitled " M  — Day and After," condensed from "The American Legion Magazine," by Cabell Phillips and J. D. Ratcliff, who gave details of the sinister preparations for dragooning of the American workers in time of war under a triumvirate of conscription organisations, the joint Army and Navy selection service administration, the War Resources Board, and the Public Relations Board. If the war is to be labelled for their purpose, " A War against Fascism," the American workers will soon know the enemy, for they will find Fascism, or something like it, firmly entrenched at home.

The following short summary of the aforementioned article may be useful. In the files of a group of men at Washington is an already unwritten law, under which they could conscript ten million men. They are ready for " M — Day " —the day of mobilisation. Sample registration cards for the mobilisation draft are placed in every State capital, ready to go to the printers on a moment's notice. The American worker, intent on living his own life in comradeship with his fellow-workers and neighbours, is unaware of how quickly and profoundly his life will be changed by the laws and propaganda stunts which are already being prepared for him.

Registration for military service is to be fixed for 12 million men between the ages of 21 and 36 to take place on a date to be broadcast by the President during the week following the war. Of these 12 million it is estimated 3 million will be enrolled, and there will be penal provisions in the law governing registration. Questionnaires are already prepared, devised to extract a maximum amount of information. The conscription organisation extends from a central authority of a six-man board downward to every county and hamlet in the United States. Adjutant Generals, normally responsible to the Governor of each State, bridge the gap between the War Department and the States themselves.

Special maps and hosts of men for the local Selections Service Boards are ready for M—Day. Chosen men attend regional conferences each year, to prepare the details for getting civilians quickly into uniforms.

The widespread anti-war feeling among the workers will be countered by the Public Relations Board by means of a nation-wide and intensive storm of patriotic propaganda over the radio, in the Press, and in the movie programme. This will be directed not only to making men unwilling to defy registration and conscription, but also “to make men think that they have a responsibility to put other men into recruiting offices. ”

In the aggregate, according to already prepared “yield” figures, the machinery is geared to produce 330,000 men every 30 days, or 4 million men every 12 months.

Behind these cold figures may be imagined the personal experience of millions of individual American “Democrats,” who will be so carried away by the speed of the mobilisation and the blare of publicity that they will hardly pause to wonder what has happened to their democracy.

This abbreviated summary suggests that there is great similarity between the international bandits who, having robbed their workers of the greater part of the wealth they have produced, expect them to shed their blood to protect their masters' profits.

We are anti-capitalist and pro-working class. War and Fascism, poverty amidst plenty, and other evils too numerous to mention, are the products of capitalism; therefore, capitalism must give place to Socialism, wherein real harmony, peace and concord will reign because, then, each one’s interest will be the same as the others.

Speed the day.
J. E. Roe.

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