Page 4, 28th May 1943

28th May 1943
Page 4

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QTALIN'S decision that • the Comintern should he liquidated marks another step along the road which ex-revolutionary Russia has decided to tread under his leadership. The news crowns the many signs that point to the evolution of Bolshevik Russia from the mystical home of the " workers of the world " to the establishment of a strong. imperial,State-capitalist Power whose differences from other great modern secularist States will be accidental rather than essential. This evolution corresponds to all historical precedents. Once a great revolution has been lived and consolidated those who find themselves in power seek to achieve a practical compromise between the original revolutionary aspirations and the conditions for strength and survival. Communism is a reaction against liberal bourgeois socialist-democracy every bit as much as Fascism. It involves the totalitarian organisation of the State in the name of the workers with the end of making the whole State a vast machine whose human cogs can live lives, contented and satisfied, with a measure of cultural aspiration, but all well within a godless, this-world philosophy. Russia in more than 'twenty anxious years has gone a long way towards achieving this end, and nothing is more natural now than that it should seek to complete the construction of this earthly paradise by the timehonoured means of ensuring its security against potential enemies and enriching itself through normal international trade and relations. Any doubts about the wisdom of this evolution must have been set at rest by the consequences of Hitler's invasion which proved that the real threat to the new Russia was not from "capitalism." but from the age-old power politics springing from traditional international rivalry.

British Communism poR those who retain enough idealism to look for a new and saner international order that camsponds with the personal aspirations of the ordinary man to whom the old political and international power game is beneath human dignity the evidence of this evolution is depressing. The Communist revolution, however misguided, false and cruel in itself. did at least represent in some of its features an irruption against the selfishness and stupidity of the past with its recurrent wars, its exploitation of the many by the few, its poverty amid plenty; and it was permissible to hope that in course of time it might rise above its gross origins and make its contribution to a saner and sounder world. Instead it had slipped back into the past and the fervour and enthusiasm which it has generated have only resulted in the creation of yet another great secularist Power, and that one cut off from the Christian inheritance which at least softens the crudities of the others and gives hope of a finer future.

All this has to be borne in mind when .considering the consequences in other countries of this latest Russian decision. The national Communist parties, hitherto linked to and deriving what real life they had from Moscow, hardly attempt to disguise the fact that they have no spirit of their own, save that poor stuff which derives from discontent, jealousy and hatred. ,, Though they may recruit individual members of a generous and idealist disposition, they are not fired with any zeal for a better world. They accept all the falsity of the Russian example with its crude materialistic outlook, its worship of the machine, its totalitarian philosophy, but they do not share its original hopes nor have they been stimulated by sufferings and dangers. If the Russian fire was so soon damped down, what hope have these parasite parties of helping mankind into a new era?

At the moment it must be admitted that there is no movement, no vehicle, that can carry the millions of men and women who are sick of the past and looking for order, decency, charity, justice between men and men, nations and nations. Nor is this fact surprising, for the simple truth, as we Christians know it to be. is that all the revolutionary or evolutionary movements of the last two hundred years have been based on a fundamental denial of the reality of the supernatural and the spiritual nature of man. The decline of Communism is yet another proof that even with the best intentionson the part of some and with .genuine idea's a house built on sand cannot endure.

The Christian Revolution ALL this should bring us Catholics

" back to bedrock. Before us there are only two alternatives (not mutually exclusive), because only these two alternatives are founded

on a Christian base. The first is preparation and work for a genuine Christian revolution. The goal here is distant and the way, not only hard, but in its detail exceedingly difficult to find. But in view of the utter bankruptcy of every -other attempt at revolution we cannot refuse to think in terms Of it. True Christianity, we know, is compatible with many forms of political and social organisation and we cannot, as Christians, claim one a'atd exclude the others. Our task is rather to go all out to give primacy to the thins of God and to the natural law in every phase of public, social, political and economic life, allowing the precise shape of this life to develop itself according to national traditions and the technique of the times. Nor need we forget that the Popes in their Encyclicals have certainly gone some way to give a specie] blessing to that particular form of organisation which is called corporatist or vocational.

The second alternative depends upon our remembering that even though the philosophy of our times is debased and post-Christian it is still the case that man's natural appetite for good manifests itself in many ways through it. Genuine progress can be made in the social and technical field, and under appearances too often unsatisfactory there can be a real evolution towards a better order. This is particularly the case in this country, and no one can dismiss out of hand the work that is continually being done in industrial organisation, social amelioration, science and the rest. By co-operating with all that is good in this and being on the look out for what is incompatible with Christian principles we shall be making a contribution that is both Christian and truly patriotic.

If we seek to look from these angles, we shall have. little doubt about our proper attitude to what remains of the Communist problem. From the Christian point of view there is nothing to be said for the British Communist Party, whose aims are wholly incompatible with good either of Church or State. Russia, on the other hand, as a great Power which is now our Ally can expect to be treated essentially as other great Powers. but without forgetting that its open and avowed materialism is utterly incompatible with any Christian idealism. But we shall probably find that the Christian task of the future will not be to discriminate in particular against Russia, but rather to find ways and means of overcoming the nationalist, secularist and State-ist outlook which in essence is universally shared by the nations to-day.

CHRISTIAN EUROPE 0N another page we are able to give the views as regards the shaping of the future European order of Mr. Eli Rubin, a Jew from Austria who is an authority on the question and about whose sojourn in a Spanish camp for refugees we recently wrote. M. Rubin has noted at once what would leap to the eye of any unprejudiced observer and that is the Christian traditions and character of the smaller nations in South and Eastern Europe. Poland, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Yugoslavia, the Balkans, have only one thing in common and that is the Catholicity (or at least Christianity) of the great majority of their inhabitants. This means, or should mean, that they are agreed among themselves about the main and most important principles of life and that they share, or should share, a COTOmon disagreement with the principles that tend increasingly to actuate the great secularist countries in the midst of which they are set. Surely there could be no more eloquent commentary on the present weakness of Christianity, outside the purely personal and domestic sphere, than the fact that such countries are in fact unable to find a common principle and a common policy in the common faith of their various peoples I And though one must allow a great deal to the international forces which would do anything in prevent the emergence of a Christian European bloc, one cannot in fairness deny that the Catholics of these lands (like Catholics in most other places, alas) have done little to bring out the social and cultural implications of their faith. The basis for the solution of this vexing problem is there, as M. Rubin clearly sees, but it depends in the first place on Catholics and other Christians realising the full meaning of their religion for that solution to take a practical and realistic shape. The sufferings of war, both among those who have remained within their national frontiers and those in exile, should surely have paved the way for a more fruitful future. If with this there were evidence that London and Washington were sufficiently appreciating the nature of the stabilising factor which religion could be in Europe and were ready to call the Catholic and other Christian authorities into consultation, one could see the beginnings of a more fruitful future.

"WAR ON THE PEOPLE" WE wrote above about the Cornmunist Party in this country. While it has nothing worthwhile to Offer, we cannot disregard the way in which it is strengthened by the feeling of hopeless dissatisfaction with the present order. We have just read an attractively written and produced book issued by the ,I.L.P. It is called War on the People and is concerned with the chemical industry in this country and the world, The author, Bob Edwards, is himself an official of the Chemical Workers' Union, and he manifestly knows his subject. He describes very vividly the tremendous potentialities of modem chemistry in the industrial field, potentialities already partially realised under the stimulus eif war. But the greater portion of the booklet is devote4 to the description of the capitalist organisation of this industry that controls, and will increasingly control, the welfare of the human being. He names the few big combines, their close relations with one another across frontiers and national policies, their pricefixing activities, their present hold in the war organisation, their refusal to develop along lines that would endanger their profits and present structure.

We do not suppose that his brief presentation reflects the whole story by any means, nor do we necessarily accept the complete accuracy of the details. but we think he says and proves enough to make the case that au eh power should not be in the hands of a small number of exceedingly wealthy men who, however honest and upright they may be individually, are mainly concerned with establishing the highest yearto-year returns in their business, irrespective of the real good of men and nations.

Another point worth noticing is that this I.L.P. writer has comparatively little complaint to make about the conditions of the workers in the chemical industry. But for all that the basis of his indictment stands. It is well to remember that the fundamental Criticism of big capitalisne is not to be found in the way its workers may be treated (that can fairly easily be remedied or indeed an enlightened policy like Ford's in the motor industry can be adopted by the intelligent employer), it is to be found in the nature of the values that govern the running and the aims of the business.

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