From the Belly of the Beast

Bush’s Trip to Europe Cannot Hide His Fascist Face Nor Bury the Heroic Deeds of the Soviet People

By Ray O. Light

In conjunction with the 60th Anniversary of the Defeat of German Fascism on May 8, 1945, U.S. President George W. Bush took a weeklong trip to Europe. Having taken on the role of the current incarnation of Adolph Hitler and leading the US imperialist government in blatantly criminal global conduct unseen since Nazi Germany’s defeat ("pre-emptive wars", occupations as "liberation", etc.), Bush was not in any position to express historical truths about World War II, a war that culminated in the crushing defeat and the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8th, followed by the surrender of Imperial Japan in August of that year.

Employing the same Big Lie technique that he so famously used in asserting that Weapons of Mass Destruction and a connection between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were the reasons for the unprovoked US military invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, Bush, "marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, had called the Soviet occupation of Eastern Bloc nations ‘one of the greatest wrongs of history’ and said he regretted the U.S. role in allowing it to happen." (Wall Street Journal, p. A20, May 9, 2005) Indeed, a spokesman for German fascism of the period would surely have echoed this sentiment.

As the Christian Science Monitor pointed out, "Ostensibly he [Bush] is traveling to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II, which Mr. Bush will mark in official ceremonies in the Netherlands and Moscow. But a larger political message will bookend those stops… By choosing to begin the tour here [Latvia] and end it next week in Georgia, the White House is making this [tour] part of its democratic push around the world by singling out two former Soviet satellites that have journeyed from oppression to opportunity." (CSM, p. 6, May 6, 2005)

Significantly, the European coverage of Bush’s stop in the Netherlands, reflecting the growing contradictions among the imperialist powers in the aftermath of the US-British invasion of Iraq, served much more as a reminder of the heroic sacrifices made by the Soviet people under the leadership of Stalin and the CPSU-B than to rally support for Bush’s brand of "democracy". In Moscow, Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, an imperialist stooge, symbolically let Bush drive his private automobile. He also had Bush by his side during the great demonstration on Red Square. Nevertheless, even Putin, under popular pressure from the Russian masses, spent much of the weeks leading up to the May 9th Celebration, waxing "nostalgic for the old Soviet Union" (WSJ, ibid). Among other things, the "Stalin line" in Belarus (around 20 fortified areas that included about four thousand pillboxes) which had served as a basis of fierce resistance to the massive onslaught of German tanks in the early days of the Nazi invasion of the USSR were being restored in the weeks before May 8th and motorists driving by hooted their car horns in memory of the Soviet soldiers who had fought and died there. (from Northstar Compass, May 2005) Even more significantly, the impressive May 9th parade on Red Square was marked by replicas of 1945 Soviet uniforms, military vehicles and political banners supporting Lenin, etc. As they paraded by, could Bush in his colossal arrogance and ignorance have failed to notice these symbols and the mass sentiment they represent?!

In May of 1945 even the arch imperialist, Britain’s Winston Churchill, stated, "Future generations will acknowledge their debt to the Red Army as unreservedly as do we who have lived to witness these proud achievements." In the midst of the most bitterly contested battles of the war, US Army General Douglas McArthur had told his countrymen: "The hopes of civilization rest on the worthy banners of the courageous Red Army… The scale and grandeur of the effort… such effective resistance to the heaviest blows of a hitherto undefeated enemy, followed by a smashing counterattack which is driving the enemy back to his own land… mark it as the greatest military achievement in all history." But Bush is quite consciously pursuing the construction of a New World Order dominated by a US Empire, reminiscent of "the thousand year Third Reich." So he has the difficult task of trying to erase from global memory the world-historic role of the Soviet people and their Stalinist communist leadership that shortened the life of the Third Reich by over nine hundred and ninety years.

Some lessons:

  1. The invaluable role of the Communist International, the Comintern (the C.I.). Let us recall that the Axis Powers had named themselves the Anti-Comintern Axis. They were so named because German and Italian Fascism and Imperial Japan had joined forces on the basis of their opposition to the Comintern. On the other hand, the international working class and the oppressed peoples possessed a C.I., an organization that was capable of analyzing the rise of fascism and figuring out how to organize to combat it. At its 7th Congress in 1935, Georgi Dimitrov, the Bulgarian communist leader, led the CI in the promulgation of an anti-fascist united front policy throughout the world. (Dimitrov had earned tremendous international prestige when he had miraculously won his own freedom and that of his German communist comrades on trial in the Nazi court for the burning of the German Reichstag. Dimitrov exposed the Nazi perpetrators of the provocation so decisively that the communists on trial had to be freed by the Nazi court!!) The CI was dissolved in 1943, a move widely seen as a concession to its imperialist allies of England and the USA in order to get them to open a second front in the anti-fascist world war and take some of the military burden off of the Soviet people. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that, as the war unfolded, the CI was in place and functioning so as to effectively position the proletarian and peasant revolutionary forces globally for the fight against fascism. Perhaps most important of all, the Soviet people were educated in a proletarian internationalist spirit by the participation of their communist party in power in and hosting of the Communist International.

  2. The main burden of the war was shouldered by the heroic Soviet people led by Stalin and the CPSU-B. Churchill, as British Prime Minister, had admitted in August of 1943 that, "No government ever formed among men has been capable of surviving injuries so grave and cruel as those inflicted by Hitler on Russia… Russia has not only survived and recovered from those frightful injuries but has inflicted as no other force in the world could have inflicted, mortal damage on the German army machine." An estimated 27 to 29 million Soviet citizens died in the anti-fascist war, out of the more than 50 million people killed in World War II in toto. The US and British allies did not open the long promised and long delayed "second front" until June of 1944, after it was clear that the Soviets had not only defended their socialist motherland but that the Soviet Red Army was now driving the German Army back across Eastern Europe to Germany.

  3. The shift in the balance of forces in the world as a result of this titanic victory. In the immediate aftermath of the war, and taking advantage of the seriously weakened state of international capital in general (US imperialism was the important exception), oppressed nations in Africa, Latin America and especially Asia rose up to fight for and win their political independence and more. The great Chinese national democratic revolution, led by Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese communist party, achieved its victory in 1949. This represented the liberation of one-quarter of humanity! Faced with the massive uprisings of the peoples of the Indian sub-continent (or continent) representing almost as many people as China, British imperialism "granted" independence to India and Pakistan in the same period. But the clever British imperialists fomented religious divisions, tribalism, etc. and managed to carve up this continent in such as way as to make it difficult for the peoples of this region to survive economically. (Look at previously undivided Bengal, the Punjab, Kashmir, etc.) Indonesia, the fifth most populous country in the world, also won its independence from Dutch imperialism. During these years, in both Korea and Vietnam half of their territory became socialist and only bitter imperialist intervention prevented the liberation of their other half. In Southern Europe, Albania and Yugoslavia liberated themselves on the basis of the defeat of fascism. In Italy and Greece, the people also came close to winning power under communist leadership. And throughout Eastern Europe, wherever the Soviet Red Army liberated the occupied countries from the Nazi armies, peoples’ democracies were established. As a result of this Soviet-led, communist-led global victory over fascism, the world was moving decisively in the direction of socialism and communism, including the formation of a Socialist Camp.

  4. The role of revisionism in state power in the demise of the Socialist Camp and the temporary revival of imperialism, headed by US imperialism. For a number of reasons the Socialist Camp built after World War II was not based sufficiently on proletarian internationalism. The Lenin-Stalin line that, "the task of the victorious revolution is to do ‘the utmost possible in one country for the development, support and awakening of the revolution in all countries’" (The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky by Lenin, cited in Foundations of Leninism by Stalin) was replaced, in most of the countries where the Communist Party held or shared power, with a bourgeois nationalist policy of "my country first," on the basis of unprincipled compromise with imperialism, headed by US imperialism. Not very long after the end of WWII, when it was already clear that the focal contradiction in the world was between imperialism on the one hand and the "hundreds of millions of colonial and dependent peoples of the world" on the other, vacillating, pacific, bourgeois elements were supported in the oppressed nations by the Socialist Camp at the expense of the proletarian revolutionary organizations fighting for national democratic and socialist revolution against imperialism, headed by US imperialism. In addition, many of the forces that had come into leadership in Eastern Europe were old social democrats and petty bourgeois liberals who had a vested interest in privatizing their economies and in burying the fact that their countries had been liberated not by their own efforts but by the heroic Soviet Red Army. Bourgeois nationalism in foreign policy combined with bourgeois nationalism in domestic policy to create the conditions for the demise of the Socialist Camp.

  5. Stalinist Democracy versus Bushite Hypocrisy. Most of our readers are clear that Bush’s platform is based on the Big Lie technique, since his real agenda is defense of US imperialist hegemony, including dollar hegemony based on absolute control of the world’s oil and natural gas reserves. And this agenda serves only his real "base," the super-rich bankers and oil and war industry billionaires. It follows from this that Bush’s rhetoric about "democracy," whether applied to defend the medieval sheiks of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait or murderous dictators like Pinochet in Chile, Suharto in Indonesia, or Mobutu in the Congo or most recently to justify the criminal occupation of Iraq, is entirely bankrupt.

    What is not well known, especially outside the former USSR, is Stalin’s role as the architect of democratic reforms in the USSR of the 1930’s. In the course of fighting successfully for the passage of the most democratic constitution yet devised among people, the Soviet Constitution of 1936, Stalin fought unsuccessfully for the secret ballot voting and multi-party contested elections called for there to be implemented. He and his closest supporters in the Soviet Politburo "yielded only when confronted by the complete refusal by the Party’s Central Committee, and by the panic surrounding the discovery of serious conspiracies, in collaboration with Japanese and German fascism, to overthrow the Soviet government." All this and more, according to Part One of a new document entitled Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform by Grover Furr.

According to Furr, these facts are still widely known in the former USSR, and argued by prominent historians there. It helps explain why Stalin is still "popular" in Russia and becoming increasingly so today, despite the billions of dollars in mass media lies about Stalin that have inundated the former Soviet peoples as well as the peoples all over the world. This also helps explain why the Soviet people fought with unprecedented courage for Stalin and the Soviet Union and played the overwhelming role in the defeat of German fascism culminating in the surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945.

In Conclusion: On the 60th Anniversary of the heroic Soviet-led Victory over German Fascism,

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