When the left loved the homeland

The following is the complete transcription of an article from 1945 entitled "The patriotism of the communists", which appeared on " Rinascita " the newspaper founded by Palmiro Togliatti .

The original article can be found on the Gramsci foundation website , or from the website of this library .

Here is the full transcript, where the "hot impressions" at the end of the Second World War are told.

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There is a weapon that the enemies of the working class , the enemies of democracy do not want to resign themselves to throwing among the old men of history and politics, and it is the age-old accusation of antipatriotism with which the reactionaries of all reams have always tried to discredit the working class and its vanguard since they appeared on the political scene and began the struggle for the renewal of society. It is no wonder that today, after the war against the fascist oppression, the reactionaries, the conservatives still do not give up the hope of being able to obtain considerable results from the use of this insidious and dangerous weapon that has served in the past to justify the most hateful persecutions against workers and in particular against socialists and communists.

" Enemies of the Fatherland ", – here is the accusation that all the reactions and especially the fascist reaction have inscribed on their banner of struggle against the working class, against progressive forces and democracy. " Le Communisme: voilà l'ennemi " – proclaimed a French statesman while Hitler was preparing to conquer power in Germany. " Anti-nationals " were defined in Italy first as the working masses, the communists, the socialists and then the anti-fascists in general by the regime that prepared the ruin of the nation. Everyone remembers how this theme was developed, presented in a thousand aspects, abundantly accompanied by arguments, nourished by all the lies suggested by the fertile imagination of the international yellow press ( NDR – scandalistisca ).

In the years leading up to the war, the development of the Soviet state certainly provided unquestionable proof of the communists' ardent patriotism, of their dedication to the homeland and its progress, but this certainly could not be a sufficient reason to induce reactionaries and fascists to abandon a weapon that had shown such a remarkable force of penetration and expansion. In the unheard-of campaign for twenty-five years without interruption against the Soviet Union, new reasons were found to accuse the Soviet communists of having ruined their country and the communists of other nations of being enslaved to a foreign state. In the hands of fascism, the accusation of anti-patriotism served to conceal inhuman violence , barbaric persecution of working class organizations and leaders, and especially of the communists. To the accomplices to the servants, to the allies of fascism – to the proponents of the non-intervention and of the politics of Monaco – it did not seem true to be able to use this slander to accuse the communists and those socialists who consistently fought against hypocrisy, if not treason fascism, against its aggressions and its war preparations.

History has now tested the patriotism of the working class, the communists, the socialists and that of their accusers. Hitler's aggression – the war of the fascists to enslave Germany to other nations – forced various social strata and social groups, the various political parties to measure their homeland love. The impostors, the hypocrites, had to throw the mask. In the heat of battle, peoples were seen to heroically defend their national independence and their oppressors cowardly betraying their homeland and placing themselves at the service of the foreign invader . The trial of fire was decisive.

In all the countries of Europe occupied by the Germans, the fascists and the most avid reactionaries have proven to be traitors to the homeland . They were the ones who in the past and until the beginning of the war claimed to be the proudest champions of patriotism and accused the communists of being anti-nationalists. The traitors of Italy were fierce anti-communists : Mussolini and his clique, the Donegani , the Agnelli , the large landowners and the great agrarian and the gang of the most voracious profiteers of the regime. France's traitors were fierce anti-communists: the Lavals, the Pétains and the Doriot, the plutocrats of the Comité des Forges , Schneider-Creusot and other major French financial and industrial complexes. The traitors of Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, Austria, etc. etc. they were fierce enemies of the communists, the fascists of various grades, the despicable quislings ( NDR – the politicians who collaborated with the invader ) of all races and bankers and landowners who maneuvered and supported them. When the Germans daily recorded military successes, in all the countries occupied by them the number of reactionaries ready to sell their homeland to benefit their sordidly selfish interests was constantly growing .

Conversely, the communists demonstrated in the struggle to be indomitable and courageous defenders of their country's freedom and independence against the German invaders and their satellites. The liberated peoples are rightly caught up in the magnificent battles fought by the partisans of the Soviet Union, by the Italian, French, Yugoslav, Greek, Polish patriots. And everyone knows that in these battles the communists were in the front row and that, in many cases, they were the most daring and tenacious organizers and fighters of the liberation war.

These incontrovertible facts give such an overwhelming denial to anti-communists, anti-socialists and their lying ideologies that it would seem useless to continue to discuss to establish where patriotism should be sought and where anti-patriotism should be sought. However the reactionaries do not want to confess their ideological defeat . For example, in America, England and other countries among which it is necessary to enroll Italy, some old champions of anti-communism try to shed their miserable arguments.

Some reason, for example, in this way: "If it is true that communist parties have taken a patriotic position in the war against Hitlerism, it is by exception the rule since communist ideology does not allow its followers to support all wars undertaken by their nation. So in another war, the communists could take anti-patriotic and anti-national positions ».

From an exact premise, completely false conclusions are drawn. It is certainly true that the Communists are not willing to support any war, but only the right wars, the wars of liberation . But it is no less true that only these wars are patriotic wars and that the unjust wars, the wars of aggression – however masked and under any justified pretext – have nothing to do with patriotism. Indeed, a war of aggression is a disaster not only for the peoples who suffer it but also for the people who unleash it , and if the reactionary forces drag a country into a war of aggression, it is the patriotic duty of citizens to refuse any support for it. and fight against it. This is demonstrated by the examples of Italy where patriots rose up against the fascist wars, including that of Ethiopia and Spain, the example of Germany that would have avoided extreme ruin if the Germans had risen against Hitler's war, of the countries satellites of Germany – Rumenia, Finland, Hungary, Bulgaria – where the traitors of the homeland sat in the government and where the Communists, accused of treason, were actually defenders of the country's vital interests. In fact, fighting alongside Hitler meant, in case of victory, running to an irreparable disaster, incomparably worse than the hardest defeat, running towards the permanent loss of national independence . Historical experience has therefore shown that the position of the communists is a position of clairvoyant patriotism. Other workers' enemies speculate on the confusion between patriotism and nationalism and accuse the communists and, in general, the sincere and consequent democrats, of not putting the country "above all". Behind this reproach lie dangerous nationalistic prejudices and – often – imperialist tendencies which have nothing in common with patriotism.

Nationalists and chauvinists argue that homeland love must justify any brigandage, any robbery war, any crime against the law and freedom of other nations. This is a shameless falsification of patriotism, and it has no historical or political justification. In history, no patriotic movement has ever had the aim of attacking the freedom and rights of other peoples. All the great patriotic movements of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries aimed instead for liberation from oppression or foreign intervention. Fighting for the freedom of one's nation is one thing; fighting to take away freedom from others is a completely different thing. For example, the possession of colonies and their exploitation cannot be honestly motivated with patriotic considerations, especially since they do not correspond to the general interests of the dominant nation but to the particular interests of certain groups which portray from the colonies the means to consolidate their domination in the their country and to strengthen the aggressive tendencies of their international politics, thus preparing disasters and disasters for peoples.

Quite often, the enemies of the workers try to challenge the patriotism of the communists and socialists, invoking their internationalism and presenting it as a manifestation of cosmopolitanism, indifference and contempt for the homeland. This is also a slander. Communism has nothing in common with cosmopolitanism. Struggling under the banner of international workers' solidarity, the communists of every single country, in their quality of vanguard of the working masses, are solidly on the national territory. Communism does not contrast, but accords and unites patriotism and proletarian internationalism since both are based on respect for the rights, freedoms and independence of individual peoples. It is ridiculous to think that the working class can detach itself, separate from the nation. The modern working class is the backbone of nations, not only for its number, but for its economic and political function. The future of the nation rests primarily on the shoulders of the working classes. The communists, who are the working class party, cannot therefore detach themselves from their nation if they do not want to cut off their vital roots.

Cosmopolitanism is an ideology completely foreign to the working class. Instead, it is the ideology characteristic of the men of the international bank, of the international cartels and trusts, of the great stock speculators and of the arms manufacturers. They are the patriots of their portfolio. They not only sell, but willingly sell themselves to the highest bidder among foreign imperialists. Many of these heroes of cosmopolitan finance, in France as in Italy, as in the English-speaking countries (not to mention the neutral countries) have shown themselves ready to render any service to Hitler's aggressors, to strengthen Hitler's military power, to slow down production war in the United Nations. In the United States, the anti-patriotic activity of several large trusts linked with the Germans was unmasked at the time by a commission chaired by Truman. The cosmopolitanism of international financiers is therefore connected with the anti-democratic policy of fascism and brings with it the danger of new devastating wars .

To this brigand policy, the workers oppose a policy of energy and international union. Perhaps this policy does not fully coincide with the patriotic aspirations of each people? Perhaps the decisions of the recent international trade union conference do not correspond to the national interests of the peoples of all democratic countries? Perhaps the free development and prosperity of individual democratic peoples are not ensured in the best possible way by a solid collaboration between democratic countries for the complete liquidation of fascism and for the defense of peace and security? And isn't this the patriotic and international solidarity policy advocated by the Communists, or by the working classes, intellectuals and pioneering peasants?

Finally, an attempt is made to cast suspicion on our patriotism by affirming that only those who are friends with the Soviet Union and feel in solidarity with it – that is, with a foreign state – cannot be considered patriotic. But doesn't this solidarity agree with the position of the best patriots of all countries? It is about friendship and solidarity with a socialist state where patriotism has reached the highest peaks and which, by its very nature, is free from any imperialist tendency, respects and applies the principle of equal rights and self-determination of nations and is the defender and bulwark of peace. All the states of the anti-Hitler coalition speak out for a lasting collaboration with the USSR in the defense of peace and security. Is it any wonder then that the patriots of each nation are firmly convinced that collaboration with the USSR is the best way to defend security and ensure the development of their respective homelands?

On the other hand, anti-Soviet tendencies do not accord with patriotism as the history of the last quarter of a century has repeatedly shown. In vain, for example, Germany's satellites attempted to give a patriotic mask to their anti-Soviet war . The mask has long been dropped. The pseudo-patriotism of the French and English "monarchists" who had, despite the national interests of their respective countries, sabotaged the resistance front against the German aggressors and tried to isolate the Soviet Union, pointing it as a target to the expansionist aims of Hitler.

A veil of pitiful silence could perhaps be spread over these things if one did not try to discredit the patriotism of the Communists by demagogically recalling their attitude in the first months of the war. "In 1939 and 1940 – it is said – the Communists were not very inclined to support the war …" But why not add that in the first eight months of the war, the French and English governments did not develop military operations against Germany and did not work not even seriously to strengthen the defensive potential of their countries? The French government was concerned instead with persecuting the Communists (including the Italian and German Communists who fought with all their might against the Hitler and Fascist aggressors) and to agree with the Chamberlain government to supply weapons to the Finnish reactionaries at war against the Soviet Union (of which the Mussolini government was also actively involved). And at the meeting of the Anglo-French war council on February 6, 1940 Daladier informed Chamberlain that a French and a Polish division were ready to leave for Finland.

It is clear that at that time the French and English governments still did not know against whom they would mainly wage war. It is evident that in France and England the patriots could not get excited about such a war. But when France was invaded, the French patriots – and the communists on the front lines – did not capitulate and began their glorious struggle against the German invaders . Thus England, when Churchill took over the government and proved that he actually wanted to fight Hitlerism, solidarity with the Soviet Union not only did not hinder, but favored the development of patriotism among the great masses of workers.

Indeed, it can be said that the development of patriotism in the ranks of conscious workers in all countries began with the birth of Soviet patriotism. The conscious workers of all countries then felt a strong attraction to the Soviet Union and called it " home of the whole world ". At the same time, love for their country began to grow in their bosom, for the land where their people could have conquered a better tomorrow.

This patriotism has shown all its strength in the glorious struggle of the partisans against the German invaders.

In the years of the Second World War we therefore witnessed a formidable rebirth of patriotism in all countries. This patriotism certainly did not cease to exist after the victory over Hitlerism, but will continue to develop in the future.

The patriotic movement that had its historical origin in the revolution of the young bourgeoisie, had been turning, in the second half of the nineteenth century, in most capitalist countries, into a kind of fetish, used by the ruling classes to deceive the masses. Today the revival of patriotism of the popular masses renews the best democratic and progressive traditions of the great patriotic movements of the last century. Patriotism reunites in itself the will to fight against the foreign oppressor, the deep democratic and progressive aspiration of peoples, the protest against the awe of the popular masses, against class oppression and against the exploitation of workers by parasitic elements of society . In our day there can be no effective patriotism that does not have a clear anti- fascist and anti-imperialist character , and does not pursue the destruction of the last vestiges of fascism and Nazism.

Today's patriotism is a tough struggle for the free and happy future of one's people . During the German occupation, numerous countries offered great examples of civil heroism, of noble pride both from the workers, and from the intellectuals and peasants. It is natural that the communists, animated by an ideal of national and social liberation, have taken their place in the front rows of this patriotic movement. And it is natural that the popular masses give the communist parties, in France as in Italy, in Yugoslavia as in Romania, in Poland as in Finland or in Bulgaria, such a vast and confident support in the struggle for democracy, for the peaceful collaboration between the peoples , for the national independence of all countries and to ensure a better life for the working people.

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The article When the left loved the homeland comes from ScenariEconomici.it .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/quando-la-sinistra-amava-la-patria/ on Tue, 09 Jun 2020 07:31:40 +0000.