- Created: Thursday, 07 February 2019 14:18
- Written by Eddie Abrahams and Steve Palmer
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 16, February 1982
The imposition of martial law in Poland on 13 December was a decisive blow to imperialist plans against the Polish socialist state. Whilst the imperialists prepare their next moves, they have unleashed a flood of anti-communist and hypocritical denunciations of the Polish Government and the Soviet Union.
The British media and British politicians eagerly denounced martial law and detention camps in Poland, while the British Government maintains the concentration camps of H-Block and Armagh and has indeed turned the whole of the northern Six Counties of Ireland into a vast prison, murdered 10 Irish political prisoners and shoots down little children with impunity. They support 'free elections' and ‘free trade unions' in Poland whilst at the same time supporting the racist apartheid state which is arresting and detaining black trade union leaders and which denies 26 million blacks in South Africa the right to vote. The US government vociferously condemns martial law in Poland, whilst it enthusiastically supports the military junta in El Salvador which has slaughtered 30,000 workers and peasants in the last 2 years, it supports the Guatemalan junta which last year murdered 11,000 people and the Turkish junta which has detained and tortured over 50,000 people. Imperialism while supporting 'democracy' for the pro-capitalist forces of Solidarity and KOR, is trying to smash the democratic, anti-imperialist movement of South Africa, Ireland, El Salvador, Turkey, Guatemala, Palestine and elsewhere.
Imperialism's hypocritical campaign against the USSR and Poland is part and parcel of its attempts to crush a rising tide of democratic anti-imperialist revolutions. The USSR today stands as the main ally of socialist Cuba and Vietnam against imperialist aggression. Despite their own economic difficulties the socialist countries provide the military and political assistance with which the democratic anti-imperialist governments of Angola and Mozambique resist the apartheid war machine. It has been the USSR and the other socialist countries which have provided the arms and aid with which the ANC is fighting the fascist South African regime. Imperialism is therefore intent on exploiting the situation in Poland in an attempt to undermine a bastion of the world-wide democratic and anti-imperialist movements.
Since 13 December, the counter-revolutionary character of imperialist intervention in Poland and the anti-working class reactionary character of its protegees in Solidarity have been further exposed. As the Polish Government and Polish people attempt to overcome grave economic difficulties, the imperialist powers are trying to cripple the Polish economy by preparing sanctions against it. Responding to sanctions already imposed by the US government, General Jaruzelski said:
‘There are no limits to hypocrisy, the (US) government which has for years been torpedoing the imposition of sanctions on the great concentration camp which is the Republic of South Africa, does not hesitate to impose sanctions against Poland.'
How true of British imperialism too which, along with the US, also continues to trade with fascist regimes in Chile, South Korea, Argentina, Israel, South Africa and elsewhere. The only real assistance to Poland today comes from the other socialist countries who have sent in vast amounts of food and other aid. Meanwhile Solidarity spokesmen touring Europe are urging imperialism to take even further drastic measures. At a Glasgow meeting on 20 January a Solidarity speaker urged British workers to impose their own sanctions against Poland and called on imperialist banks to immediately call in all Polish debts so that the Polish economy will collapse.
Whilst Solidarity spokesmen whip up anti-Polish sentiment in Europe, thousands of Solidarity supporters are deserting socialist Poland and seeking refuge in fascist South Africa! The South African Embassy in Vienna has had more than 4,000 immigration applications from Poles who are 'seeking a new life in South Africa' and who in exchange for material comforts provided by apartheid will willingly participate in the oppression of black workers. What clearer evidence is there of the reactionary and pro-imperialist elements in Solidarity than its supporters going to join apartheid!
The imperialist campaign against socialist Poland and in support of Solidarity has been willingly joined by opportunists and middle-class socialists of all hues and colours. British imperialism long ago recognised the use to which British trade unions could be put. In a 1959 Cabinet paper on policy in Africa it said:
‘... trade union help will be needed to check irresponsible nationalisations and to maintain control of the key sectors of the economy in the newly created African states.’
Today British trade unions are being put to use against socialism. Immediately after martial law in Poland, Terry Duffy, President of the AUEW, said:
‘There should be no fraternal visits of any kind to Russia.’
These words come from the reactionary and racist Duffy, who not more than 5 months ago was preparing to visit South Africa there to lecture black workers on how to organise! Joe Gormley of the National Union of Miners had the gall to write to Lord Carrington claiming that Solidarity was:
‘… only fighting for the things we take for granted in Britain – freedom and true democracy.’
The NUM is the very same NUM which sponsors Roy Mason MP who when Secretary of State for ‘Northern Ireland' proved notorious for his brutality. The NUM with 2.3 million shares in Brooke Bond, abstained on a motion at the company's last Annual General Meeting to raise the wages of plantation workers in Malawi who earn 19p a day. The TUC has not only given substantial help to Solidarity, but participated in the campaign to whip up working-class hatred against socialist Poland while at the very same time it refuses to mount any effective sanctions campaign against South Africa, and indeed has £¼m invested in companies trading or operating in South Africa.
The entire British Labour Movement has joined the imperialists in their attack on Socialist Poland. And in their wake, the entire British middle-class left has done the same. On 20 December, the IMG, SWP, WRP, CPGB all joined the Labour Party, the Tory Party and even outright fascist organisations to march against socialist Poland. Since then their services to imperialism have been unceasing. Socialist Worker and Socialist Challenge filled their pages with attacks on the Polish government. Since 13 December they have devoted more space to Poland than they ever have for a similar period on Ireland or South Africa where British imperialism is directly involved in brutal and savage repression. The IMG’s only criticism of imperialism was a criticism from the right. It declared imperialism too soft on Poland:
‘The response of the imperialist powers has been equally predictable. “Strict non-intervention” was how Lord Carrington described the Tories’ approach. Similarly mild remarks were made by the Reagan administration.’
The IMG has set itself the task to:
‘... outgun the right in attacking the Polish Government ...’
The RCT-Party joined in the chorus:
‘... the Polish army took over the running of Poland ... and launched a wave of terror against the Polish working class.’
and martial law is lyingly described as ‘bloody repression’ by the RCT-Party who have declared the socialist countries to be as reactionary as capitalist countries.
Communists in Britain denounce and reject the imperialist, opportunist and middle class socialist campaign against Poland. Imperialism, which is responsible for murdering hundreds of thousands of people, of reducing millions and millions of people to a life of poverty and suffering is today through its banks, its politicians, its press and trade union allies, trying to strangle the socialist countries. It is using Poland as its lynchpin. Communists condemn the waves of imperialist hypocrisy against socialist Poland and demand:
Imperialist Hands Off Socialist Poland!
Eddie Abrahams and Stephen Palmer