Ernest Erber Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Ernest Lund

Wallace Debunked – His World Will Be Hunting Ground for $ Diplomacy

(January 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 2, 11 January 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Henry A. Wallace, the first speech-making vice-president in American history and hero of The Nation-PM-Daily Worker brand of “liberals,” last week made the third of his major wartime speeches.

In the first speech, he hailed this as the “century of the common man.” In the second, he saw the economic systems of Russia and the United States growing closer together. In his last speech be complained that his first two speeches were badly misunderstood. What he really was talking about, it now becomes plain, is that America must organize the world for the “century of American big business.”

The speech took up two major questions: the political organization (or the policing) of the post-war world, and the economic organization following the war.

Proposes Super-League of Nations

The post-war world should, according to Wallace, be run by a super-League of Nations. This will be modeled upon Wilson’s plans except that it will really have teeth because, unlike 1919, this time America will get behind it. Wallace would have been more truthful had he bluntly said that this time America will run it.

A study of the famous debates in the Senate that led to American refusal to join the League of Nations will show that the greatest fear of the Republican majority, direct spokesmen for Wall Street, was that the USA would be a minority in a league dominated by Great Britain. American capitalism chose a free hand. However, following an American victory in this war, they look forward to an entirely different situation.

Germany, Italy and Japan will be disarmed and “policed.” “France” will have about as much to say as did, let us say, Rumania in 1919. England will be so dependent upon America (as France was upon England in 1919) that she will have lost her former commanding role in world affairs. American food and economic aid will also bring the lesser nations into line.

All this leaves is Russia. The rest of Europe will be only too glad to call upon American help to save them from Russian “meddling” in the affairs of Europe. We can be sure that the political spokesmen of American capitalism will have no objections to this set-up. Their 1919 isolationism will quickly change into American “internationalism.”

But even in such a super-League, America is to keep its own back yard for itself. While America would dominate the whole, through the “regional principle” it would exclusively dominate Pan America, that is, Latin America and Canada – the fields of the greatest Wall Street investments.

Wallace goes on to repeat the now four-square gospel of American imperialism, “equality of opportunity in international trade.” This has become the sacred doctrine of the American industrial giants, preached with equal fervor by the conservative Hull and the “anti-imperialist” Willkie. For all of them it means the end of COLONIAL imperialism, like British rule in India, in favor of DOLLAR imperialism, like American rule in South America.

“Equality of opportunity in international trade” means to Wall Street a preference for “banana republics” ruled by puppet dictators who get their orders via Sumner Welles, over British, French and Dutch colonies in which the mother country has first choice in picking the ripe fruits of exploitation.

Wallace spent a section of his speech in dealing with the criticisms made of his earlier speeches. The president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had said, in reply to Wallace, that he was not interested in fighting a war to give a quart of milk to every Hottentot. Hull had made some unkind remarks about “utopianism.” Wallace’s answer amounted, in effect, to saying that he was still in favor of a quart of milk for every child in the world but what he meant was that it should be delivered at a profit by the Borden Milk Trust.

No Answer to This Contradiction

He made it clear that the only hope he saw for world prosperity in the post-war period was based upon an American capitalist organization of the world economic order. He pointed to American imperialist rule over the Philippines as an example of what he meant by American economic intervention on a world scale. “But it is also true that stronger nations, like our own, can provide guidance, technical advice and, in some cases, capital investment to help those nations which are just starting on the path of industrialization.” There is one contradiction that Wallace leaves unanswered. After stating the need of American investments to industrialize backward nations, Wallace, later on says that “Our surplus will be far greater than ever within a few years after this war comes to an end.”

But these newly industrialized countries will also be producing a surplus. What are they expected to do with it? Their failure to dispose of it at a profit means they will quit producing. This, means no further industrialization. This means no further American production for export of basic goods like steel, machinery, railroad equipment, cement, glass, etc. This means unemployment in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Chicago.

Yet Wallace poses exactly this question: “This problem is well recognized by the average man on the street, who sums it up in a nutshell like this: If everybody can get a job in war work now, why can’t everybody have a job in peacetime production later on?”

And what is his answer? None! None, beyond pious wishes and faith in what he calls the “new type of industrialist.” He probably means men like Henry Kaiser. But what good will production genius do when people do not have the money to buy? What good did it do the country in 1933 to know that Ford had the ability to make millions of cars when few had the money to buy a car, and half of Ford’s workers were unemployed?

Wallace spoke about the “plans that will speed up the shift from a government-financed war program to a privately-financed program of peacetime activity. Why we needed government financing in war and private bank capital financing in peacetime, Wallace did not stop to explain. If government financing is superior for one, why not for the other? Or is it less important when all that is at stake in peacetime are jobs and happiness of 85 per cent of the people?

We need government financing of industrial production not only in peacetime, but government OWNING and government PLANNING to guarantee a job and a living wage for all. BUT THIS, CAN ONLY BE DONE WHEN A WORKERS’ GOVERNMENT IS IN POWER. The economic nightmare of this crazy world can only be straightened out through socialist production for USE. instead of capitalist production for profit!

Ernest Erber Archive   |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 30 January 2015