A step towards capitulation
By Jock Haston
[WIL, Internal bulletin, March 21 1941]
The new policy of the Majority of the EC expressed in our press in February and proclaimed as an interpretation of the military policy of the Fourth International for this country, constitutes a radical shift in the orientation of our propaganda and is a misrepresentation of the basic ideas of Trotsky and Cannon on the military policy.
Bolsheviks base themselves on the axiom that the main enemy is at home. The popular form of expression this axiom takes depends on the objective clash of class forces on the one hand and the support of the revolutionary party among the working class, on the other. But the new conception expressed in the policy of the Majority is not, as they would have us believe, an extension and development of the policy of Lenin. Summed up the Majority position can be expressed in the slogan “For a revolutionary war against Hitler.” That we would be opposed to this slogan under all circumstances is, of course, not correct. Should the working class achieve power in Britain, this could become the central slogan of a revolutionary workers’ government. But to shift the axis of our propaganda at a period when the British bourgeoisie is defencist and has the support of the majority of the British working class, while our own tendency is hardly recognised within the labour movement, even by the advanced workers is, to say the least, a change in course. In the last issues of our publications the main emphasis of the material is directed against the invading army: the foreign enemy. Only in a secondary sense is the attack levelled against the British bourgeoisie.
Revolutionary wars: Lenin’s position
Lenin has dealt with the question of revolutionary wars and the difficulties in presenting the policy of revolutionary defeatism to the masses, in a number of his works immediately following the February revolution in Russia in 1917. In his Farewell letter to the Swiss workers he wrote:
“We do not close our eyes to the tremendous difficulties that face the international revolutionary vanguard of the proletariat of Russia. In times like these sudden and swift changes are possible. In No. 47 of Sotsial-Demokrat we gave a clear and direct answer to the natural question: what would our party do if the revolution placed it in power at this moment? Our answer was: 1) we would forthwith propose peace to all the belligerent peoples; 2) we would announce our conditions of peace as being the immediate liberation of all colonies and all oppressed and non-sovereign peoples; 3) we would immediately begin to carry to its completion the liberation of all the peoples oppressed by the Great-Russians; 4) we do not deceive ourselves for one moment that such conditions would be unacceptable not only for the monarchist but also to the republican bourgeoisie of Germany , and not only to Germany, but also to the capitalist governments of England and France.
“We would be forced to wage a revolutionary war against the German bourgeoisie, and not the German bourgeoisie alone. And we would wage this war. We are not pacifists. We are opposed to imperialist wars for the division of spoils among the capitalists, but we have always declared it to be absurd for the revolutionary proletariat to renounce revolutionary wars that may prove necessary in the interests of socialism.”
In Tasks of the proletariat in the present revolution Lenin wrote:
“1) In our attitude towards the war not the slightest concession must be made to ‘revolutionary defencism’, for even under the new government of Lvov and company, the war on Russia’s part unquestionably remains a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government.
“The class conscious proletariat can consent to a revolutionary war, which would really justify revolutionary defencism only on condition: a) that the power of the government pass to the proletariat and the poor sections of the peasantry bordering on the proletariat; b) that all annexations be renounced in deed as well as in words; c) that a complete and real break be made with all capitalist interests.
“In view of the undoubted honesty of the mass of the rank-and-file believers in revolutionary defencism, who accept the war as a necessity only and not as a means of conquest; in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary thoroughly, persistently and patiently to explain their error to them, to explain the indissoluble connection between capital and the imperialist war, and to prove that it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic, non-coercive peace without the overthrow of capital.
“The widespread propaganda of this view among the army on active service must be organised.” (Our emphasis)
Again in Tasks of the proletariat in the present revolution we read:
“What is required of us is the ability to explain to the masses that the social and political character of the war is determined not by the ‘good intentions’ of individuals or groups or even peoples, but by the position of the class which conducts the war. To explain this to the masses skilfully and in a comprehensive way is not easy; none of us could do it at once without committing errors.
“…The slogan ‘down with the war’ is, of course, a correct one, but it fails to take into account the specific nature of the tasks at the present moment and the necessity of approaching the masses in a different way.
“…The rank and file believer in defencism regards the matter in a simple, matter-of-fact way. ‘I don’t want annexations but the German is after me, therefore I am defending a just cause and not imperialist interest’. It must be explained very patiently to a man like this that it is not a question of his personal wishes, but of mass, class, political relations and conditions of the connection between the war and the interests of capital, the international network of banks and so forth. Only such a serious struggle against defencism will be serious and promising of success—perhaps not a rapid success, but one which will be real and durable.”
Finally let us quote from Lenin’s Report on the current situation.
“The third point deals with the question of how to end the war. The Marxist point of view is well known: the difficulty is to present it to the masses in the clearest possible form. We are not pacifists and cannot renounce revolutionary war. Wherein does a revolutionary war differ from a capitalist war? Chiefly by the class that has an interest in the war…When we address the masses, we must give them concrete answers. First, then, how can one distinguish a revolutionary war from a capitalist war? The rank and file masses do not grasp the distinction, do not realise the distinction is one of classes. We must not confine ourselves to theory, but must demonstrate in practice that we can wage a truly revolutionary war only when the proletariat is in power. It seems to me that by putting the matter thus, we give a clearer answer to the question of what the nature of the war is and who is waging it.”
The above quotations demonstrate that the problem of “approaching the masses” is not a new problem. Lenin was the greatest tactician that the revolutionary movement has had. His method undoubtedly led to the successful overthrow of the bourgeoisie. We hope to be able to demonstrate that the method of the Majority is not the method of Lenin—or of Trotsky. Even were the objective circumstances existent which necessitated the immediate posing of the proposition of the revolutionary war, we submit that the manner of their presentation is a negation of Lenin’s directive…to patiently explain.
Lenin posed the question thus, at a period when Dual Power had been established in Russia; when there was a widespread feeling of “revolutionary defencism” implanted by the gains of the February revolution and the propaganda of the bourgeoisie; when the Bolsheviks had consolidated around themselves the most developed cadres of the revolutionary international movement; when they had a high standing among the best proletarian fighters in Russia; when all the forces for a genuine proletarian revolution were in the process of maturing—taking all these into consideration—it was in the clearest propagandist manner that the problem was posed. “It must be explained very patiently…”
Not a new policy
That the policy as presented by our Majority comrades is not new in British working class politics can be demonstrated by an examination of a pamphlet, The workers’ road to victory, published by the left centrist grouping in the ILP, the Soccor, at the time of the invasion of Norway. When this pamphlet appeared, we, including the comrades of the Majority, proclaimed it a capitulation to anti-Hitlerism. The left centrists, capitulating to the mass pressure of bourgeois and petty bourgeois opinion, adopted this policy when the sphere of military operations had moved into the Baltic. Our comrades of the Majority waited till the Channel ports were occupied and the Germans moved somewhat closer to British shores.
Let us recapitulate the central slogans of the Soccor group as expressed in this pamphlet for purposes of comparison:
“Workers! You cannot trust your rulers to fight fascism! Only the workers can defeat fascism.
“The fight against fascism is:
“The fight for equality;
“The fight to jail the ruling class fifth columnists;
“The fight against profits;
“The fight to arm the people.
“Transform the imperialist war into a revolutionary war against Hitlerism.”
Under the above slogans follow 22 demands which include: abolition of all profits in war industries; general arming of the people through their trade union and labour organisations; publication of secret treaties; the right of workers and shop stewards’ committees to inspect the books of the capitalists; abolition of the national debt; press, broadcasting, etc. to be under the control of workers’ committees; democratisation of the armed forces under the control of the workers; fullest use of revolutionary propaganda to the German and European workers, including appeals to them to desert and fight their tyrants; transfer of all big estates and combines to social ownerships; complete freedom to India and colonial peoples; abolition of anti-working class legislation.
Let us now compare these with the slogans of the Majority expressed in the February issue of Youth For Socialism:
“Labour to power on the following programme:
“Disarm the capitalists and arm the workers for the struggle against Nazism and the capitalist fifth column at home;
“Take over the land, mines, factories, railways and banks without compensation;
“Give freedom and self-determination to India and the colonies;
“Repeal all anti-working class legislation;
“Appeal to the workers of Germany and all Europe to support the socialist struggle against Hitler.
Apart from the demand of Labour to power, if anything, the class content expressed by the left centrists in their pamphlet is more explicit than it is in the journal of the fourth internationalists. If it is true that the policy expressed in the current issues of our press is an interpretation of the new policy evolved by comrade Trotsky, then we are forced to admit that the left centrists in Britain arrived at this before our comrades in the Majority—and even before comrade Trotsky! It does not follow, however, that if the centrists arrived at a policy before we did, that it is incorrect. But it can be stated, that despite the ambiguity here and there in the pamphlet The workers’ road to victory—the central aim is the same, and we must ask ourselves why the Majority or the EC have not attempted to utilise this as a basis for an approach to Soccor.
The “mood of the masses”
One would expect to find some theoretical analysis of the change in basic objective circumstances as the background for the substitution of an entirely new orientation, for the central thesis of Bolshevism in the imperialist war. What circumstances have changed to motivate the shift from our former position of the “sterile repetition of the Marxist axiom that only the socialist revolution can solve the problems of the working class”? The answer we receive is the “mood of the masses” resulting from the threat of invasion.
There is no fundamental difference in the mood of the masses today to what it was at the commencement of the war. If anything their mood registers more sharply against the war than it did in 1939. This is demonstrated by the recent Dumbartonshire election where almost 4,000 workers voted for the Communist Party. The bulk of the 22,000 votes polled for the coalition Labour candidate undoubtedly came from elements who normally voted Tory. The bulk of the Labour votes remained apathetic, while the best elements of the working class who normally voted Labour, cast their vote for the Communist Party on the programme of the Peoples’ Convention. In the midst of a whipped-up campaign where the whole of the local bourgeois press directed its attack against the Communist Party as fifth columnists and agents of Hitler; this linked to a special series of articles on the threat of imminent invasion, the notion of these workers (1 in every 6.5 of those who voted) in registering their votes for peace on the basis of the Peoples’ Convention programme, is indeed a significant register of the mood of the masses, and particularly its advanced strata.
A recent Gallup poll showed that 80 percent of the British population supported Churchill at the head of the government. Insofar as this is true, quite obviously our task is to patiently explain the nature of the struggle; the class who are carrying it out; the role of the leading politicians. But what of the remaining 20 percent who mainly registered against Churchill? A large percentage of these stand solidly against the war. Is the axis of our propaganda to be directed to the 80 percent who support the war under Churchill’s leadership, or to the 20 percent who contain within its ranks the revolutionary anti-war elements?
The mood of the masses is registered in their confidence in Churchill. They are satisfied that Churchill is conducting the struggle in the best possible way. The defeat of the blitz last year; the successes of the British forces in Africa and in the Mediterranean; the rearming of the defeated legions of Dunkirk, plus the additions of the thousands of troops from the colonies—all these, added to the open support being given by American imperialism, have imbued the bulk of the workers with a quiet confidence in the Churchill administration. Under these circumstances they firmly believe that any invasion will be repulsed. There is no demand from the workers for arms from the government, and indeed, for those who wish to be armed, there are still avenues open through official channels. Flowing from the above, the sterile repetition “we want to fight Hitler” coincides with the high-power propaganda of the bourgeoisie and becomes merged with it; while the general slogan “arm the workers” remains a phrase, unrelated to the genuine “mood of the masses.”
As a prelude to an approach to the “masses”, it is necessary to have this concrete picture before us as to their real mood. The assertion, an implication that the government are making little or no genuine attempt to “defend the country” is categorically rejected by the masses; while the lack of a real analysis of the class content of what measures are being taken, and the exposition of a working class criticism and programme as an alternative, leaves the more advanced worker extremely confused—even within our own ranks.
The British working class, is still, unfortunately, the most chauvinistic working class in Europe, or for that matter in the world. What better proof of this is needed than their complete indifference to the attacks of the British Raj against Indian revolutionaries and nationalists? It is still necessary to patiently explain…
That this approach to the masses is not really the basis for this anti-Hitler fetishism was clearly demonstrated at the period of the Peoples’ Convention held in London. Here were assembled over 2,000 people, the overwhelming bulk of whom were anti-war proletarian leaders in their particular districts and organisations. These workers had assembled together to discuss ways and means of struggling against their own capitalist class—their main enemy at home. The slogan our majority comrades proposed to approach them with was “how to really fight Hitler”! It was only when the Minority protested that this was withdrawn in favour of the Minority slogan “a fighting alternative for the working class.” The whole sham of the “mood of the masses” was sharply revealed in this incident. Here was the most advanced strata of the British proletariat gathered together in a fighting mood to work out a policy of opposition to the present government, and our comrades proposed to approach them with a policy of “fighting Hitler”!
Again, in the drawing up of the “Daily Worker ban” leaflet—a leaflet putting forward the proposal of a united front—the Majority proposed the insertion of a clause that the reason there had been no protest among the masses of the workers against the ban, was that the Communist Party had no policy of fighting Hitler! Only on the insistence of the Minority, was this clause excluded.
Not only have the Majority comrades an incorrect evaluation as to the mood of the masses, but their characterisation is not even firmly based. We are at present discussing a document for the conference on “policy and perspectives” which characterises the mood of the masses in the following terms:
“Notwithstanding the pressure of suffering and want, despite the murderous air-raids since the battle of Britain began, despite the bitterness and scepticism, even to a certain extent, apathy and indifference of the toilers to the war, there is no sign as yet of a mass movement developing…” (Our emphasis)
In a letter to the Socialist Appeal we read the following:
“The Stalinists cannot fight the suppression of the Daily Worker because they have no programme to offer the workers. ‘We must at all costs fight and destroy Hitler’ is the mood of the masses, and the bombing has strengthened, not weakened this. The Communist Party has not responded to this demand of the workers in the slightest degree. Their policy has been sectarian, pacifist and sterile. The Labour leaders and bourgeoisie are making much of the Daily Worker demand that every soldier should have a week’s holiday at Christmas!” (Our emphasis)
In the February issue of Workers’ International News the mood of the masses is characterised as follows:
“The working class, especially after the events of the last months, is determined to resist to the uttermost any incursion from Nazi Germany.”
In the same issue of Workers’ International News we read:
“The working class for the time being continues to stand, albeit critically, behind their leaders.” (Our emphasis)
While in the letter to the Socialist Appeal:
“They [the workers] are still solidly behind the Labour leaders and the ‘war against Hitler’.”
We agree with the characterisation in the document on “policy and perspectives”. We categorically reject the contradictions to this characterisation. But even were their evaluation correct, to attempt to base the military policy of the Fourth International on the “mood of the masses” would be to base ourselves on a fluctuating medium which is subject to intense and rapid changes. The military policy is not based on “moods” but on the objective historical phenomena “the universal militarisation of the working class.”
The approach to the masses—A new departure
The core of the article in the February Workers’ International News, which is in fact, an internal discussion directed against the Minority, is contained in the following:
“This attitude of the masses must be the point of departure for our propaganda. The way to win them over is not by the sterile repetition of the Marxian axiom that only the socialist revolution can solve the problems of the working class. It is to convince the masses of this by their day-to-day experiences. The main task of the revolutionary socialist is to separate the workers from their leaders. This can only be done by showing them the absolute contradiction between their interests and those of the mortal enemy.”
But who in the Workers’ International League has ever disagreed with this axiom of Leninist tactics? No one! This is an attempt to foist on the shoulders of the Minority the ideas of a sectarian clique, while covering themselves with the cloak of Leon Trotsky. However, in this very paragraph we find the key to the position of the Majority. The first proposition here is that the Minority merely favour the “sterile repetition of the Marxian axiom;” that the Minority reject the military policy of the Fourth International. This is not so. Where our disagreement lies, is precisely what the military policy is, and how to approach the workers with it. We claim that our first task is the elaboration of and adoption of a military policy to reach the advanced workers, and particularly those in the armed forces. The majority, on the other hand, claim that we can do so by shouting “wolf!” (Hitler!) louder even than the bourgeoisie. (In the Youth article Hitlerism or Nazism is mentioned once in every sixty words!). We ask ourselves, has there at any time in the past appeared so many “sterile repetitions” as in the last issues of our publications? Paragraph after paragraph, the same refrain: Hitler is coming—The bourgeoisie won’t let us fight him—Arm the workers!
Since the inception of Workers’ International League we have based ourselves on an appeal to the advanced workers, because our task has been clearly posed before us—the training and educating of the initial cadres of the revolutionary party. We have considered our tasks to be those of a propaganda group, disseminating the fundamental ideas of revolutionary Marxism. For years we have adopted the standpoint that we are in the elementary stages of building cadres; that we have absolutely no possibility of winning the masses until we have won the advanced workers. The whole of our policy and perspective has been based on this. We have ruthlessly fought the sectarians who shouted “masses” from the housetops on the basis of general and abstract slogans. From this angle we adopted the tactic of entry and the programme of Labour to power, believing that by fighting side by side with the already politically conscious workers, we could train the necessary cadres for the revolutionary party. But the article in Workers’ International News sets us new tasks: “The road to the masses lies in showing them a real alternative, a genuine struggle against a victory of Hitlerism from abroad and at home.” It is in this gesture of despair that the key to our comrades’ deviation lies. Having raised Hitler’s invasion into a nightmare, they seek cover among the “masses”. It is not so easy after all to “swim against the stream.” Our organisation is now faced with an entirely new perspective—we must now approach the masses. But this new perspective fails to take into account “the specific nature of the tasks of the moment.”
Comrade Trotsky elaborated the military policy which was based on the objective historical phenomena—the period of permanent war and universal militarism. Having elaborated this policy which is clearly and precisely formulated in the Resolution on the military policy it was adopted by the SWP convention. Flowing from the policy Trotsky and Cannon proceeded to explain the “mood of the masses” from which they can deduce a certain approach to place this policy before the workers; this, taken in conjunction with the status of the American Socialist Workers’ Party.
The American working class are in a period similar to that of the British working class in 1910-14. The tide of militancy is rapidly rising and finds expression in the severest economic clashes. The American workers are groping for an independent labour political organisation. Concurrently with this movement on the part of the mass of the workers, the American party alone of all the Fourth Internationalist organisations has the prerequisites for an approach to the “masses”. With a support among the advanced section of the American workers: witness their control of the largest trade union journal in circulation in America The North West Organiser organ of America’s most militant workers; control of the teamsters of Minneapolis; Grace Carlson’s successes at the recent election—all these must be taken into the picture. Our American comrades are equipped with developed and tested cadres; they are already in a position to influence broad sections of the most advanced workers. In fact we can state with confidence that they are in a position to challenge the existing working class organisations for the leadership of the American workers and the conquest of power.
We, on the other hand, have untrained and completely untested cadres. We have never been through the experience of having to give leadership, even on a local scale, to a movement among the workers. It is in the confused transportation of Trotsky’s ideas in his discussions on the method of approach to the American workers that the Majority get bogged up. While we must reach the widest possible circles among the workers, nevertheless any approach must be cautioned by the status of our group in the working class arena.
On the slogan of arming the workers
The Transitional Programme of the Fourth International contains as one of its central planks the general slogan of arming the workers. In this document, drawn up in times of peace, the slogans arising from “arm the workers” are posed in a sharp and concrete manner: the picket line—defence groups—workers’ militia. These slogans are crystallised and form the centre of our propaganda during periods of intense industrial strife or fascist attacks, and when the onslaught against the workers demands the necessary combat organisations for workers’ defence. In the elaboration of these directives we see the method of presenting the slogan in a clear and concrete manner in times of peace which can be easily grasped by the advanced workers; while the slogans in relation to the armed forces are generalised and remain in the background: “military training and arming of workers and farmers under the direct control of workers’ and farmers’ committees; creation of military school for training of commanders among the toilers, chosen by the workers’ organisations. Substitution for the standing army of a people’s militia indissolubly linked up with the factories, mines, farms etc.”
Without being presented in its concrete form, the slogan “arm the workers” remains a phrase. In view of the clear manner in which this question is dealt with in the Transitional Programme, we must ask ourselves why comrade Trotsky raised the question of a military policy with the American comrades and through them the International. Because the axis of life in the present period of the overwhelming majority of the workers of the world will be in the armed forces of the various nations, or directly affected by the armed forces. With this new perspective—the arming of millions of workers by the capitalist state—the slogan “arm the workers” assumes new and important emphasis. From being a plank in our general programme, it now becomes the central question; from being posed in a general, propagandist sense in times of peace, it must now become concretised.
It is for this reason that Trotsky raised the question in the manner that he did. The military policy is the elaboration of a programme of transitional demands which separates the workers from their class enemy and its agents in the all important military sphere. The resolution of the Socialist Workers Party is the elaborated programme for work in the armed forces; for the decisive military sphere.
A continuation, a deepening of Lenin’s policy
In Trotsky’s last article published in February Workers’ International News, he wrote the following under the heading, We were caught unawares in 1914:
“During the last war not only the proletariat as a whole but also its vanguard and, in a certain sense, the vanguard of this vanguard was caught unawares. The elaboration of the principles of revolutionary policy toward the war began at a time when the war was already in full blaze and the military machine exercised unlimited rule. One year after the outbreak of the war, the small revolutionary minority were compelled to accommodate itself to a centrist majority at the Zimmerwald conference. Prior to the February revolution and even afterwards the revolutionary elements felt themselves to be not contenders for power but the extreme left opposition. Even Lenin relegated the socialist revolution to a more or less distant future…
“This political position of the extreme left wing expressed itself most graphically on the question of the defence of the fatherland.
“In 1915 Lenin referred in his writings to revolutionary wars which the victorious proletariat would have to wage. But it was a question of an indefinite historical perspective and not of tomorrow’s task. The attention of the revolutionary wing was centred on the question of the defence of the capitalist fatherland. The revolutionists naturally replied to this question in the negative. This was entirely correct. But this purely negative answer served as the basis for propaganda and for training the cadres but it could not win the masses who did not want a foreign conqueror. In Russia prior to the war the Bolsheviks constituted four-fifths of the proletarian vanguard, that is, of the workers participating in political life (newspapers, elections, etc). Following the February revolution the unlimited rule passed into the hands of the defencists, the Mensheviks and the Social-Revolutionaries. True enough, the Bolsheviks in the space of eight months conquered the overwhelming majority of the workers. But the decisive role in this conquest was played not by the refusal to defend the bourgeois fatherland but by the slogan: ‘All power to the soviets!’ And only by this revolutionary slogan! The criticism of imperialism, its militarism, the renunciation of the defence of bourgeois democracy and so on could have never conquered the overwhelming majority of the people to the side of the Bolsheviks. In all other belligerent countries, with the exception of Russia the revolutionary wing toward the end of the war all…”
Trotsky is drawing our attention to the situation at the beginning of the first imperialist war—how the question of principle was the paramount question of the period. He is also drawing our attention to the flexible tactics of Lenin during the course of the revolution. As late as the end of 1915 the Bolsheviks were forced to accommodate themselves to the centrists at Zimmerwald. Even as late as 1917 they had not yet elaborated their tactics in relation to the armed forces. This was true of the whole of the revolutionary left throughout the world. Karl Liebknecht captured the Kaiser’s constituency at Potsdam in 1912 mainly on his anti-militarist policy. The first the socialist movement knew of his rejection of his pre-war pacifist position, was through a letter he sent to Zimmerwald, and even at the end of the war he had not worked out a policy or tactic for work in the armed forces. This was true of the best of the French socialists, Monatte, etc. The American revolutionaries took a similar stand to that of the SPGB today. James Connolly, the only British socialist to organise a workers’ army, supported the British conscientious objectors. In Britain John Maclean supported and adopted the same stand as hundreds of British socialists who were jailed as conscientious objectors. This was the attitude towards the war among the best of the British proletarian revolutionaries. Lenin characterised them in 1917 in the following terms: “They and they alone, are the internationalists in deed.” The first years of the war were taken up with an ideological struggle in the elaboration of revolutionary principles and even at the end of the war, the revolutionary left had not laid down a programme, a tactic, in relation to the armed forces. Trotsky, in drawing our attention to the different situation in which the revolutionaries find themselves today, takes a step further.
The fourth internationalists enter the second imperialist war on an entirely different basis. We are not faced with the same ideological struggle within our ranks. Our principles have been defined and laid down in War and the Fourth International (1936). Far from congratulating the conscientious objectors, as Lenin did, we have consistently opposed their stand as utopian sectarianism, because it isolates the revolutionary from the workers in uniform.
When conscription was introduced in Britain we issued a Manifesto which characterised the war as an imperialist war, criticised the opportunist and pacifist tendencies in British working class politics and advised the workers to take the gun which was placed in his hand and turn it against the real enemy at home. This was a correct general directive and was relatively more advanced than any manifesto issued in the British labour movement in this or the last imperialist war. But we had no alternative policy to offer the worker who acquiesced to conscription—we lacked a military policy.
Taking as the objective background for the new orientation, the fact that the entire world was being plunged into war and the working class had not overthrown their own capitalist class as a means of stopping the war; that we had entered what he characterised as a period of universal militarisation of the working class, comrade Trotsky conceived that since the axis of life would now revolve around the armed forces, it was necessary to have a proletarian military policy to face up to the changed situation—it was necessary to elaborate the tactics of a revolutionary opposition in the army. But this did not obviate the struggle against this war.
“We must of course fight against the war, not only ‘until the very last moment’ but during the war itself when it begins. We must however, give to our fight against the war its fully revolutionary sense, opposing and pitilessly denouncing pacifism. The very simple and very great idea of our fight against war is: we are against the war but we will have the war if we are incapable of overthrowing the capitalists.”
While the American section outlined a series of concrete programmatic demands, this did not stop them from continuing a ruthless struggle against the war, crystallising the anti-war sentiment among the workers. This is not our war—we are against the class that conducts it—“not a man, not a penny, not a gun” for the imperialist war. While conducting this irreconcilable struggle against the war, we denounce and expose all forms of bourgeois and socialist pacifism. In his book From October to Brest-Litovsk, Trotsky explains why the peasants played so important a role in the February revolution: the bourgeoisie had organised the peasants, not as peasants, but as soldiers. Today he is explaining that the bourgeoisie is organising the proletariat, not as proletarians, but as soldiers: that the soldiers are destined to play the decisive role in the coming revolution. Consequently the programme of the party must base itself on this historic change.
How the Socialist Workers’ Party tackled this question
In close conjunction with the Old Man, the Americans elaborated their military policy, their tactical approach to the workers about to be drafted into the army, which was published in the form of a resolution. Around this resolution they have directed their propaganda and agitation. In contradistinction to ourselves they outlined a complete programmatic alternative for the workers who were being conscripted. Instead of being in the background of our transitional demands in peace time, the slogans revolving around the arming of the workers were now thrust to the fore. These are summed up on the masthead of the editorial column of the Socialist Appeal and “constitute a military transitional programme supplementing the general political transitional programme of the party.”
The American section carefully analysed the form and content of the bourgeois army; they have taken all the questions up, singly and collectively, affecting the workers in the armed forces. They have held a special party discussion and a convention, whose main task was to familiarise the membership from top to bottom with the new orientation. They have set themselves the task of hammering home the idea that the party must now base itself on war.
In case there is any doubt that the central question dealt with was the tactic for the armed forces, we propose to quote extensively from Cannon.
“…All great questions will be decided by military means. This was the great conclusion insisted upon by comrade Trotsky in his last few months of life. In his letter, in his articles and in conversations he repeated this thesis over and over again. These are new times. The characteristic feature of our epoch is unceasing war and universal militarism. That imposes upon us as the first task, the task which dominates and shapes all others, the adoption of a military policy, an attitude of the proletarian party towards the solution of social problems during a time of universal militarism and war…”
“Now, confronted with these facts of universal militarism and permanent war, that the biggest industry of all now is going to be war, the army and preparation of things for the army—confronted with these facts, what shall the revolutionary party do? Shall we stand aside and simply say we don’t agree with the war, it is not our affair? No, we can’t do that. We do not approve of this whole system of exploitation whereby private individuals can take possession of the means of production and enslave the masses. We are against that, but as long as we are not strong enough to put an end to capitalist exploitation in the factories, we adapt ourselves to reality. We don’t abstain and go on individual strikes and separate ourselves from the working class. We go into the factories and try by working with the class to influence its development. We go with the workers and share all their experiences and try to influence them in a revolutionary direction.
“The same logic applies to war. The great majority of the young generation will be dragged into the war. The great majority of these young workers will think at first that they are doing a good thing. For a revolutionary party to stand by and say: ‘we can tolerate exploitation in the factories, but not military exploitation,’—that is to be completely illogical. To isolate ourselves from the mass of the proletariat which will be in the war is to lose all possibility to influence them.
“We have got to be good soldiers. Our people must take upon themselves the task of defending the interests of the proletariat in the army in the same way as we try to protect their interests in the factory. As long as we can’t take the factories away from the bosses we fight to improve the conditions there. Similarly, in the army. Adapting ourselves to the fact that the proletariat of this country is going to be the proletariat in arms we say, ‘Very well, Mr. Capitalist, you have decided it so and we were not strong enough to prevent it. Your war is not our war, but so long as the mass of the proletariat goes with it, we will go too. We will raise our own independent programme in the army, in the military forces, in the same way as we raise it in the factories’…”
“We will fight all the time for the idea that the workers should have officers of their own choosing. That this great sum of money that is being appropriated out of the public treasury should be allocated in part to the trade unions for the setting up of their own military training camps under officers of their own selection; that we go into battle with the consciousness that the officer leading us is a man of our own flesh and blood who is not going to waste our lives, who is going to be true and loyal and who will represent our interests. And in that way, in the course of the development of the war, we will build up in the army a great class-conscious movement of workers with arms in their hands who will be absolutely invincible. Neither the German Hitler nor any other Hitler will be able to conquer them.
“We will never let anything happen as it did in France. These commanding officers from top to bottom turned out to be nothing but traitors and cowards crawling on their knees before Hitler, leaving the workers absolutely helpless…”
“We must remember all the time that the workers of this epoch are not only workers; they are soldiers. These armies are no longer selected individuals; they are whole masses of the young proletarian youth who have been shifted from exploitation in the factories to exploitation in the military machine. They will be imbued by the psychology of the proletariat from which they came. But they will have guns in their hand and they will learn how to shoot them. They will gain confidence in themselves. They will be fired with the conviction that the only man who counts in this time of history is a man who has a gun in his hand and knows how to use it.” (Our emphasis, see note on opposite page)
How the Majority tackle the question
Instead of basing themselves on a policy, a programme, for the proletariat in arms, the Majority relegate the policy to a minor position, while they raise the question of the approach to the status of a policy. The dispute on the EC crystallised around the proposition of the Majority that the leading article in July 1940 Youth For Socialism and in February 1941 Workers’ International News and Youth, were the correct interpretation of the military policy of the proletariat. The Minority stated that the military policy was not based on the “mood of the masses” or on the particular occupations or reverses of the bourgeois armies, but was a formulation of a programme for the workers in arms in the present period of militarisation, and was aimed against all forms of pacifism in the labour movement.
The Majority comrades say: “You have missed the essence of Trotsky’s ideas: the revolutionary war against Hitler. Cannon also said so!” To back this up they quote Cannon:
“We are willing to fight Hitler. No worker wants to see that gang of fascist barbarians overrun this country or any other country.”
“The only thing we object to is the leadership of a class that we do not trust.”
“The workers themselves must take charge of this fight against Hitler or anyone else who tries to invade their rights.”
“We didn’t visualise, nobody visualised, a world situation in which whole countries would be conquered by fascist armies. The workers don’t want to be conquered by foreign invaders, above all by fascists. They require a programme of military struggle against foreign invaders which assures their class independence. That is the gist of the problem.”
“This is why Trotsky advanced the military policy!” proclaim our comrades. No! This is why you advance your policy, comrades! Examine Cannon’s speech, examine the material of our American section and we will see that these are references to the change in the outlook of the American working class consequent on the fall of France, as distinct from their anti-war, anti-militarist sentiment prior to the fall of France. The workers, because of this, did not want a foreign conqueror, and allowed themselves to be conscripted. Hence the urgent need for a policy which separated the workers from the bosses in the military sphere: anti-militarism was transformed into proletarian-militarism.
“Many times in the past we were put to a certain disadvantage; the demagogy of the social democrats against us was effective to a certain extent. They said: ‘you have no answer to the question of how to fight against Hitler from conquering France, Belgium, etc.’ (Of course their programme was very simple—the suspension of the class struggle and complete subordination of the workers to the bourgeoisie. We have seen the results of this treacherous policy.) Well, we answered in a general way, the workers will first overthrow the bourgeoisie at home and then they will take care of invaders. That was a good programme. But the workers did not make the revolution in time. Now the two tasks must be telescoped and carried out simultaneously.”
“…the two tasks must be telescoped and carried out simultaneously.”
Cannon’s remarks are addressed to party delegates around a resolution which has been discussed in the party for two months. He is answering a query which the social democrats put to revolutionaries. In the past we answered in a general way. Now we answer in a concrete way. The resolution to which Cannon is speaking is the answer to the social democrats, the prosecution of which, as he put it, “will build up in the army a great class-conscious movement of workers with arms in their hands who will be absolutely invincible. Neither the German Hitler nor any other Hitler will be able to conquer them.” This great class-conscious proletariat will overthrow their own bourgeoisie and at the same time, precisely because of the proletarian military policy, be in a position to defend the proletarian fatherland with the minimum of chaos. The two tasks are absolutely clear. The secondary task is prepared and carried out within the primary task; the one task slides into the other and operates at the same time.
But this is somewhat different to what the Majority say: “The Stalinists have no programme for the workers on how to fight invading fascism—or for that matter fascism at home; the two problems are not separate but identical and simultaneous.” The Majority accuse the Stalinists of not having a programme against invading fascism (the primary enemy). What ought to be formulated “the main enemy at home” is presented: “or for that matter, fascism at home.” By this means the question is reversed; it is not only reversed, it is distorted and confused. The British working class are not menaced by fascism. By saying something similar to Cannon they think they have said the same. In sharp contradistinction to Cannon, the tasks are posed by the Majority as “identical”. Our own bourgeoisie becomes submerged in identity with the foreign invader. This according to the Majority is the continuation of the policy of Lenin. The main enemy at home recedes into the background because: we are fighting invading fascism! It is no accident that the question is formulated this way. Search in vain through their material for a single concrete directive to the 4 to 5 million armed workers, from which would flow the general policy of arming all the workers. With the raising of the invasion in the manner of the Majority, and the lack of a concrete policy for the workers in arms, there remains no alternative for the “masses” but to accept the very concrete directive of the bourgeoisie.
After the fall of France, Trotsky wrote in an article We do not change our course:
“From the standpoint of the revolution in one’s own country the defeat of one’s own imperialist masters is undoubtedly the ‘lesser evil.’ Pseudo internationalists, however, refuse to apply this principle in relation to the defeated democratic countries. In return they interpret Hitler’s victory not as a relative, but as an absolute obstacle in the way of a revolution in Germany. They lie in both instances.”
These words were directed against the social democratic and centrist capitulators who were advocating various forms of tentative and open support for the “democratic bourgeoisie.” Our comrades of the Majority, have not, of course, proposed that we support the bourgeoisie. Nevertheless the conception “identical” is, in our opinion, a step in this direction. This is further emphasised by the formulations of the less experienced comrades of the Majority in political discussions.
During the pre-October days Lenin remarked that to substitute the abstract for the concrete was one of the greatest sins of a revolutionary. This is also true, let us echo, in periods of apathy and reaction. This is what our comrades are doing at the present moment—substituting abstract “moods” for a concrete evaluation of these moods; substituting abstract phrases for concrete directives; proposing to win the “masses” instead of educating the cadres.
Let us examine the material presented by the Majority insofar as it deals with the armed forces at all. As the Internal Bulletin [contribution] of SL-MK correctly demonstrates, the emphasis in the article in Youth For Socialism is laid on the fact that the bourgeoisie are not arming the workers. In February Youth the army is referred to in the following passages:
“How they are going to accomplish this with their maximum of 4 million soldiers against the 10 million which the Rome-Berlin axis has already trained and armed they do not reveal…”
“Not by curtailing the power of the workers in the factory and in the army—but by organising workers control of industry and arms…”
“Control of the army must be taken out of the hands of the reactionary officer class and put into those of the workers.”
Assuming that this was due to error of omission, one would expect to find a deeper analysis in the Workers’ International News article, particularly since our comrades state that Youth material is agitational and Workers’ International News is propaganda. In the Workers’ International News article which has as its key “arm the workers”, the Home Guard is not mentioned at all while the army is dismissed as follows:
“With a big percentage of the workers called up in the army and the main mass of the soldiers stationed in Britain and in contact with the civil population, the army is in closer contact with the toilers than at any time in history. The bourgeoisie even more than in the last war, is dependent on the services of the labour leaders.”
And what follows from the important observation that “the army is in closer contact with the toilers than at any time in history”? Will the army be more easily influenced by revolutionary ideas? Should we turn our attention to those workers with arms in their hands? Should we outline a programme of demands for the workers in arms? Why, no! “…The bourgeoisie, even more than in the last war, is dependent on the services of the labour leaders”! And this is presented as the military policy! Instead of a positive programme to the workers—we are served with a pious observation.
It is our duty to make a serious analysis of the problems facing the soldier workers and conduct a sustained propaganda towards workers in the army and link this up with the organised movement of the working class; to explain to the armed workers why it was possible for the French officer caste to sell out and what forms of organisation would stop a similar [thing] happening here; to explain the decisive role the armed proletariat are destined to play in the coming revolution. We must demand trade union wages and trade union rights; delegates from local barracks and battalions to trades councils; the right of soldiers to control the mess committee (the only legal channel in the army for expression at present); the right of assembly and full political rights for soldiers; the right to collective bargaining and deputation; the right to remove the reactionary officers; the right to elect their own officers; the right of the soldiers in the armed forces to give training in arms to workers in the trade unions and labour organisations; the abolition of court martial—these and many other problems must be hammered out in the form of a military programme for the armed forces and must be featured in our press and propaganda.
The experiences of the last war show that bourgeois military discipline tends to break down completely, particularly on the declaration of peace. Nevertheless in Britain, in spite of the widespread revolts in all sections of the forces, mainly on the question of demobilisation, the bourgeois were able, by making a concession to the soldiers in the introduction of the dole, to disarm the British army in France, and thus stave off any possibility of an armed movement on the part of the discontented returning soldiers. The pacifist and anti-militarist nature of the policy of the revolutionary left, the lack of sustained revolutionary activity in the armed forces—these facilitated the reactionary moves on the part of the bourgeoisie. This must not happen again—even if the war runs its course without the British revolution, and the military policy must be the lever by which the same situation will be prevented.
The Majority have always maintained that revolutionaries and revolutionary parties in the past have had a programme for the army. We ask to be directed to where we can learn of this. We ask the Majority to show us that Lenin’s general statement on conscription can in any way be compared to that of Trotsky; if at any time the Bolsheviks or any other revolutionary party outlined so comprehensive a programme for the armed forces as the American SWP. Or is it, as we have always maintained, precisely in the concrete manner in which Trotsky deals with the question, that distinguishes him from Lenin and constitutes the “deepening, the continuation” of Lenin’s policy?
The Home Guard
While in Workers’ International News the Home Guard is not even mentioned, the February issue of Youth deals with this question in the following manner:
“The Home Guard, which they pretended for a time was a sort of arming of the nation, is being brought more and more under the control of the chiefs of the regular army. Now that the Home Guard is to a certain extent armed, the government is bureaucratically imposing full time officers from above. They must have complete control of all arms for their own purposes.”
What arises from the proposition that “now that the Home Guard is to a certain extent armed, the government is bureaucratically imposing full time officers from above”? Shall the workers in the Home Guard conduct a struggle for democratic control? Should the workers oppose the setting up of the Home Guard and organise a separate working class militia? No! “They [the capitalists] must have complete control of all arms for their own purposes.” A brilliant deduction! One which must have taken a great deal of thought. But how does it bring the ideas of the workingmen who have joined the Home Guard “to fight Hitler” into conflict with those of the capitalist class? How does it teach the proletarian who has grasped at the idea “arm the workers” what his class interests are? Every petty bourgeois trend in British working class politics has said what the Majority say. The task of the revolutionary is not to make pious observations such as the New Statesman and Nation or the Spectator are wont to do. It is to develop a programme of revolutionary demands which separates the workers from their class enemy. Instead of shouting “Hitler is coming—Arm the workers” and shouting even more loudly than the boss class press at that, it is necessary to show the worker where his true interests lie.
The Majority adopt the standpoint that the Home Guard was a concession by the bourgeoisie to the demand on the part of the workers to be armed. In other words: the workers were surging forward for arms to “fight Hitler” and the bosses were holding them back; an “emasculated concession” it is now termed. We do not agree with this proposition. We believe that the initiative for the Home Guard came from the bourgeoisie. The LDV was formed when the first parachutists descended on Norway. This was accompanied by a tremendous press campaign on the part of the bourgeoisie, a campaign which was intensified when the bulge in the allied lines took place, which finally culminated in editorials in the Beaverbrook press “Arm the workers.” The most patriotic and politically backward section of the workers joined the Home Guard together with a section of the petit bourgeois staff and a small number of advanced workers, mainly under Stalinist influence. While there was an undoubted influx into the Home Guard as the result of the fall of France, this was stimulated by bourgeois propaganda, and many of these who joined have since dropped out. Nevertheless the fact that there are a large number of workers—even backward workers, though the great majority are in the Home Guard—means that when a movement among the workers takes place, the Home Guard will be vitally affected. An elementary task for the revolutionary party is to develop a programme for these workers. And how much more necessary is such a programme if the viewpoint of the Majority is correct?
The Home Guard will reflect the mood of the workers much more rapidly than the army because it is in closer contact with them. The development of the struggle will burst the Home Guard asunder; one section will go directly over to the counter-revolution, the other will rally to the side of the proletariat. The outcome of this process will be determined by the actions and policy of the revolutionary proletarian party. For this reason it is necessary to have a programme for the Home Guard.
We approach the workers in the Home Guard and in the factories as follows: the capitalists have got us into this war, which is their war and not ours. They ask us to join the Home Guard to defend Britain. You fellow workers accept this proposition that we must be armed. You believe and we agree with you, that a successful invasion would smash our standards of life, our trade unions, our Labour parties, and all the civil rights which we have won by years of struggle. We agree with this. But who is going to protect these rights? Is it going to be the reactionary boss class stooges from the managerial staff who control the factory Home Guard? Why, all our lives we have to fight these people to retain what few rights and privileges we have. Day in, day out there is a constant struggle between them and us because they try to grind our conditions down. Look how the bosses keep the best militants out of the Home Guard; how they use the Home Guard in such and such a factory to intimidate the shop stewards, the strikers, etc. No! These people are not interested in defending our rights, they are only interested in defending the property of the boss—the factory. That is what they mean by the “defence of Britain.” We want to defend our rights to the very end against anyone who attempts to attack them. We are aware that in the present period this can only be done with arms in our hands. Who better to give us a lead on this question than the shop stewards and the trade union militants who spend their lives struggling for this end, who are victimised, attacked because they genuinely desire to defend our rights. We demand the rejection of the reactionary managerial staff and the election of our own officers under the control of the shop stewards’ and factory committees. We demand that every worker in the factory—not only those who the boss elects—should have access to arms. Side by side with the demand for the election of worker officers in the Home Guard, we demand the dissolution of the Home Guard into the workers’ militia. We don’t trust these people to defend us. Look what they did in France; look how Marshall Pétain was able to wipe out our organisation in unoccupied France by a stroke of the pen because the French workers relied on the bourgeoisie and the Blums.
With this, or a similar approach, the ideas of a workers’ militia can be easily grasped and we will be able to raise the class consciousness of the worker who already has a gun in his hand. At the same time these elements in the factory, the militants who have been suspicious of the Home Guard from the very inception, will be drawn along the road to a genuine understanding of a working class military attitude towards war. “Arm the workers” from being a phrase, becomes a clear and concrete revolutionary slogan of struggle. With such a programme we will be able to build a great class conscious movement of workers with arms in their hands who will never permit the same thing to happen here as happened in France.
Another aspect of our propaganda which needs to be sharply corrected is the abstract method of presenting our ideas, and the loose and slipshod phraseology which hides the loose and slipshod ideas. In the February article in Youth, the democratic rights of the workers are dealt with in very general terms. At the same time we get phrases such as “the workers support the war for the purpose of fighting fascism.” No mention of any opposition to the war at all. With this general and abstract way of saying that the workers support the war, the directives are similarly of a general and abstract character. The workers do not support the war for the purpose of fighting fascism, no more than the German workers support the war for the purpose of fighting “pluto-democracy” as Haw-Haw puts it. The workers support the war in the belief that they will retain the primary things in life: family, living standards, trade unions etc. Put this way—the way of the Transitional Programme—it becomes simple to develop concrete demands. Arming the workers becomes directly linked to these primary needs of the workers and not to the abstract defence of the country.
In the past we have always attempted to harden out any opposition of the advanced workers to the war, seeking out any manifestation, however slight, and attempting to crystallise it into defeatist channels. In the March 1940 issue of Workers’ International News we published an article—The ballot box test:
“But does not the vote for the Stop-the-war candidate mean a vote for Hitler? Yes. Nevertheless those workers who record such a vote do not thereby try to make a pro-Hitler gesture. They vote that way because it is one way open to them to express their abomination of the war. And in the absence of a revolutionary socialist candidate, we advise all workers to do the same, voting not for the policy of the Stop-the-war candidate, but against the war.”
But today our attitude is different. On receiving the report of the Dumbartonshire election, instead of seizing upon it as an anti-war manifestation, the reaction of the Majority was that the Stalinists must have obtained the 4,000 votes on an anti-Hitler ticket—on a “caricature of the military policy”, as they put it.
And in the present material in Workers’ International News and Youth, we adopt an entirely different standpoint. We now attempt to show that the workers want to fight, but the bourgeoisie refuse to let them. For example in Youth: “The workers of Britain support this war for the purpose of fighting fascism, but the ruling class will not allow them to do this.” In the document sent to the Socialist Appeal, the mood of the masses is characterised in exactly the same terms as the “entire stock in trade of the labour bureaucracy”—they want “to fight against Hitlerism at all costs.” No mention of the anti-war sentiments of the advanced workers.
In these lines we see a sharp switch in our propaganda. In the past we said: “this is not our war; the best workers are fighting against it.” Today we say: “we want to fight Hitler; but the bourgeoisie won’t let us.” Whereas in the past we attacked the Stalinist anti-war policy from a critical standpoint, explaining how it plays into the hands of the bourgeoisie, now we wail: “You haven’t got a policy to fight Hitler!”
This is carried out to extreme lengths. In the February issue of Youth, on the subject of the Daily Worker ban, we read:
“The reason the masses have passively accepted the ban on the Daily Worker without any real movement of protest can be laid at the door of the Communist Party policy…And today they do not offer the masses any way of fighting invading fascism.”
In the letter to the Socialist Appeal:
“The Stalinists cannot fight the suppression of the Daily Worker because they have no program to offer the workers. ‘We must at all costs fight and destroy Hitler’ is the mood of the masses, and the bombing has strengthened, not weakened this. The Communist Party has not responded to this demand of the workers in the slightest degree. Their policy has been sectarian, pacifist and sterile. The Labour leaders and the bourgeoisie are making much of the Daily Worker demand that every soldier should have a week’s holiday at Christmas!
“But the main body of workers has not been roused on this issue. They are still solidly behind the labour leaders and the war against Hitler, and since Morrison accused the Daily Worker of helping Hitler, workers have accepted its suppression.”
We have always maintained that the Communist Party had not a mass following among the working class, because generally speaking their policy was sectarian as well as opportunist and the workers barely raised their heads to see what they were doing. Now we find that the masses supported Morrison in the banning of the Daily Worker because the Communist Party did not have a policy of fighting invading fascism!
The reports from all Labour Party constituencies show that the Stalinists are making headway among the advanced sections of the Labour Party membership. The Scottish Labour Party reports show that in the decisive area of the Clydeside—the storm centre of the British revolutionary movement—the membership are turning to the Stalinists for leadership on the basis of their anti-war platform. The sell out of the Labour and trade union bureaucracy is being sharply demonstrated to the advanced workers in the labour and trade union movement. In their hostility to the attacks the bourgeoisie is levelling against them, the advanced workers are becoming more and more antagonistic to the war. The Stalinists, masquerading under the banner of the October revolution, appear to them to be the only alternative. This movement on the part of the workers is slow (yes comrades, because of the fear of invasion which the capitalists are whipping up) but its tempo will rapidly quicken, depending of course to a large degree, on Stalin’s foreign policy.
The ILP, the Victor Gollanczs, the “lefts” in the Labour Party—all these are distorting the thesis of Lenin on revolutionary defeatism. The Stalinists are being labelled “Leninist defeatists” and are basking in the reflected glory of the Leninist policy. They will reap to the full the benefits of the inevitable turn of the masses towards defeatism unless we pose in the clearest possible manner, the true policy of Lenin. Our task is to conduct a sharp ideological struggle with the various distortions if we are to keep the banner of defeatism alive.
 Trotsky: Bonapartism, fascism and war, August 1940.
 Quote ends abruptly.
 Socialist Party of Great Britain, small socialist organisation founded in 1904 as a split from the Social Democratic Federation.
 Trotsky: On conscription, July 1940.
 Cannon: Military policy of the proletariat, October 1940.
 See: Sam Levy and Millie Kahn, The interpretation of the Majority of the executive committee of the military policy.
 Local Defence Volunteers, former denomination of the Home Guard.