Liberation recommits itself to the global campaign for peace, equality, human and democratic rights, and social justice!
On May 9th, amidst a new world crisis caused by the CoVID-19 pandemic, falls a major anniversary… On this day, 75 years ago, victory was declared over Nazi Germany, the culmination of combined counter-offensives by the Soviet Union, the Allies and resistance movements across Europe, that had reached their climax during the late-winter and early-spring. The Victory marked the triumph of life over death and an affirmation of the vitality of democracy, led by the working people and their allies.
The Second World War marked the culmination of the drive by the Axis powers for world domination, an alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Fascist Japan and their collaborators. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had combined to ensure the crushing of democracy in Spain. Nazi Germany had received the support of Britain for its military takeover of central Europe in the expectation that Germany would turn east against the Soviet Union. These policies of appeasement failed. Aggression by the Nazi-Fascist states arose from economic necessity – a need to re-divide the world against the existing imperialist countries, Britain, France and the US, to resolve the drive for profit by big business in Germany, Japan and Italy. The toll exacted was over 50-million deaths – including an estimated 6-million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and over 20-million Soviet citizens; as well as countries plundered and economies in ruins, with destruction and upheaval wrought around the world.
The Victory, secured at such enormous cost, served to underline the futility of appeasement of fascism – an approach and policy adopted by so many in power, so as to somehow try and not acknowledge the menace and very real threat that was being posed, until they could do so no longer – and the imperative of resistance and struggle against that oppressive current.
Liberation and the Victory over Fascism brought about a shift towards a more progressive politics in the West over the years that followed – a shift won by a generation of working people unwilling to return to the hardship, grinding poverty and instability they had experienced prior to the horrors of war. This, of course, saw the foundation in Britain of the Welfare State and National Health Service – which were to become the envy of the world over – as well as a rigorous campaign of nationalisation.
The Victory over Fascism heralded a new era. However, it did not mark the end of colonialism. The empires of Britain, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands remained. Their armies worked in concert to with those of the United States to suppress liberation movements from the Caribbean, through the African continent, to India and South East Asia. Having fought and sacrificed so many in the battalions and regiments of their colonial overlords in the struggle against fascism, these peoples could not countenance the notion of subservience once more and prolonged frustration of their own national aspirations and desire for liberation. Even after achieving formal independence through long and bitter struggle, these movements would soon also have to counter the threats posed by the controls exercised by international financial agencies and various countries’ intelligence services – not least those of the US. This situation continues to this day.
On the momentous occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Fascism, Liberation applauds and salutes the memory of all those who stood and fell in the struggle against the Axis powers and their collaborators – the brave Red Army and partisan units who, at such great cost and sacrifice, turned around the Nazi war machine in the East and changed the course of the war ; the Allied forces that battled their way across North Africa, the beaches of Normandy, and in East Asia; the multitude of resistance movements that courageously waged their struggle against seemingly impossible odds, and who continued to do so in the cause of their peoples’ national liberation.
Liberation is conscious of – and continues to warn against – the evident and growing trend, over the last 30 years, of a New Right in the politics of several countries. This politics has taken root around the world, from the developing countries; through the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc; to an increasing number of Western countries, including the US where it manifests itself in such discourse as that pertaining to the Project for a New American Century. All of this has been borne of the abject failure of Liberal Democracy to provide any real solution to the myriad challenges facing so many, enabling the scourges of extreme nationalism and religious fundamentalism to gain traction.
Liberation unequivocally condemns the scourge of fascism in all its manifestations and forms as well as its natural companion, imperialism. We recognise the crucial importance of the Victory over Fascism and the galvanising example it set for the movements around the world struggling for peace, social and economic progress, and national liberation. We restate the importance of never forgetting the toll and sacrifice of that era, or overlooking the still-pertinent lessons and warnings it holds for the world of today and the future.