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Leon Trotsky 19380800 Fascism and the Colonial World

Leon Trotsky: Fascism and the Colonial World

August 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York ²1976, p. 433 f.]

    1. Fascism is the most savage and abominable form of imperialism. But this does not at all mean that the working classes and oppressed peoples must put up with imperialism when it puts on its democratic mask. The Latin American peoples do not want to fall under the domination of Japanese, Italian, or German imperialism. But this does not at all mean that Mexico can tolerate British or North American imperialism controlling its natural resources or its national policies. The working classes and peoples of the backward countries do not want to be garrotted by either a fascist or a "democratic" executioner.

2. Japan is attempting to make China a colony. Italy and Germany are reaching out toward the French and British colonies. In this sense they are "the aggressors." But this does not at all mean that the working classes and oppressed peoples have a duty to defend the colonial rights of France, Great Britain, Holland, Belgium, and the others. The task of genuine revolutionaries is to get rid of the oppressive colonial regimes. Our slogan: the right of all nations to self-determination, not in word, but in deed; the full and genuine liberation of all colonies!

3. The future of humanity is inseparably linked with the destiny of India, China, Indochina, Latin America, and Africa. The active sympathy, friendship, and support of genuine revolutionists, socialists, and honest democrats is completely on the side of these peoples – who constitute the majority of humanity – and not on the side of their oppressors, no matter what kind of political masks they appear in. Those who actively or even passively support a colonial regime under the pretext of defending their own "democracy" are the worst enemies of the working classes and oppressed peoples. We and they are traveling very different roads.

4. We are wholeheartedly with the Spanish people in their struggle against fascism. But the elementary condition for the victory of the Spanish revolution is the expulsion of the GPU from Republican Spain and the unhindered development of the revolutionary initiative of the Spanish workers and peasants. Only in this way can the masses of Spanish people again be mobilized against the domestic and foreign fascists; only in this way will the social and military ground be torn out from under Franco's feet.

6. For the backward countries, the road for opposing fascism is above all the road of revolutionary struggle for national independence and for the radical transformation of agrarian relations. Without agrarian revolution there is neither national independence nor salvation from fascism. Anyone who stands in the way of the expropriation of landed property and national resources for the benefit of the peasants and the people as a whole is abetting fascism. Vague generalities about friendship and democracy are not enough. One must have a clear position: either with the magnates of capital and their "democracy" for show; or with the genuine democracy of the workers, peasants, and oppressed peoples.

The Mexican socialist or democrat who finds it possible to believe in the "pacifism" of the bloc between the Stalinist bureaucracy and the imperialist democracy is at best distinguished by political blindness. Gentlemen of the Lombardo Toledano variety who seek to subordinate the working class of Mexico to the bloc between the GPU and the imperialist pacifists are outright traitors not only to the interests of the Mexican proletariat but to the national interests of the Mexican people.

If Mexico lets itself be lured onto the political course of Lombardo Toledano, i.e., voluntarily lets itself be used as small change in the dealings between the Kremlin and the White House, it would mean the destruction not only of Mexican democracy but of the country's national independence.

The Mexican people do not want and cannot allow the methods used in Spain to be transferred to their soil – neither the methods of Franco nor those of Stalin.

Hand in hand with hundreds of millions of oppressed, nonwhite races, hand in hand with hundreds of millions of workers in the imperialist countries, the workers and peasants of Mexico will fight for the peace, freedom, independence, and well-being of their country as well as for the happiness of all humanity.