by Georges Cogniot, Member, Central Committee, French Communist Party
In its struggle for world domination predatory U.S. imperialism makes wide use of the ideology of bourgeois cosmopolitanism as a weapon to enslave the peoples who are defending their national independence and sovereignty. On the way to world domination U.S. imperialism encounters the persistent and ever growing resistance of all who treasure national independence and freedom of their homeland. The ideology of cosmopolitanism declares the conception of national sovereignty to be obsolete, preaches complete indifference to the fate of one’s own homeland, national nihilism and declares the very concept of nation and State independence to be a fiction. Cosmopolitanism denies the patriotism of the masses of the people, patriotism which is a bar to the realisation of the predatory plans of the imperialists. It plays into the hands of anti-popular, anti-patriotic forces of the bourgeoisie which demand capitulation before U.S. imperialism.
The patriotism of the bourgeoisie, said Marx, has degenerated into shear hypocrisy since its financial, trade and industrial activities have acquired a cosmopolitan character.
Marx counterposed proletarian internationalism to bourgeois cosmopolitanism and pointed out that the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie was a prerequisite for the elimination of national conflicts and the liberation of the oppressed nations.
Events in the subsequent hundred years fully confirmed this. Works by V. I. Lenin and J. V. Stalin on the national question, which are the programme of the struggle of the peoples for their national freedom and independence, constitute a formidable weapon in the struggle against cosmopolitanism. Present-day cosmopolitanism is only an auxiliary weapon of the most reactionary and predatory capitalism—U.S. capitalism. It is designed simply to serve the plans for the Americanisation of the entire world.
To suppress the really patriotic forces in every country, morally to disarm the peoples and exterminate their love for their national traditions, cosmopolitanism falsely declares the so-called American culture and the “American way of life”—so widely, advertised by the imperialists and their “learned” servants—to be the standard of culture for all mankind, eliminating the great achievements of the French, Italian and other nations in literature, science and art; it implants American morals and the manners of gangsterism, misanthropy, race discrimination, moral corruption and spiritual degeneration.
In France, Great Britain, Italy, Western Germany and in all other countries where power belongs to the exploiters and oppressors—who everywhere act hand in hand with Wall Street magnates against the peace camp the official propaganda lauds the “American way of life” and the “American age”. Teachers serving capitalism urge that visits to the U.S. for educational purposes should constitute a compulsory feature of every kind of higher education. Some people in France insist that every engineer should take a “political probation course” in the U.S.
During the 1950-51 educational year, the State Department will send 648 Americans to France, Great Britain, Belgium, Holland, Greece and to certain countries in the Far East (this figure does not include Americans sent to countries like Italy and Norway) allegedly for the purpose of disinterested, scientific research but actually for political, imperialist propaganda; a survey of the natural wealth, but at the same time for espionage in scientific circles. These visits are undertaken within the framework of the notorious Fulbright law on the American “colonisation” of foreign universities. An American university is planned for Paris.
In French schools, school-room appliances (blotting paper, covers for copy-books etc.), bearing inscriptions praising the “Marshall Plan” are lavishly handed out to scholars. While negotiating the agreement for the status of Americans in France, the U.S. requested not only freedom in the matter of capital investment for them but also an assurance of the same conditions for American “cultural’’ publications in France as exist for the French. The Italian-American convention stipulates that the Americans will have unrestricted freedom to receive and distribute any information in Italy. Every possible means is used to subordinate public opinion.
Special attention is being given to science, art, literature, and to the world of science and intellectual circles in the countries of Western Europe. Within the past few years the number of American books imported into Britain has increased fivefold. Four-fifths of certain British literary journals are filled with contributions by U.S. authors.
If, in 1938, the number of books translated into French from English totalled 234, this figure had increased in 1948 to 685 (the majority belonging to U.S. authors) while translations from other languages increased by only several dozen titles at the most.
It is common knowledge that U.S. competition is strangling the British and ousting French cinema production.
One British member of parliament was quite right in speaking about a “veritable Niagara” of vulgarity, false sentimentalism, cynicism and pornography which distracts the attention of readers in Marshallised countries from the real America with its poverty, millions of unemployed, cultural backwardness, racial discrimination and its struggle against progressive science.
The dissemination of the pseudo-scientific Mendelian and Morgan “theories” in biology, the idealistic and metaphysical conceptions in physics, psychology and teaching and, in general, the propaganda of objectivism in science, formalism and abstraction in art, the spreading of the idealistic, decadent “theory” that literature and art must be divided from the people and from reality—all this goes hand in hand with the intensification of brutal police repressions against honest and patriotic-minded cultural workers, with the systematic deterioration of their living standards and invariable reductions in budget allocations for cultural needs. All this is done on the U.S. model and on its insistence. All this is tainted with cosmopolitanism. The real content of cosmopolitanism in the realm of culture is reaction and decadence of a neo-fascist character; it is the penetration into other countries of the well known barbaric culture which characterises imperialist America. As with the struggle for peace, for independence and against the colonising policy, the struggle for culture demands that cosmopolitan tendencies to be resolutely repulsed.
In all capitalist countries !he Right Socialists—the Blums, Guy Mollets, Bevins, Spaaks, Renners, Schumachers and Saragats—are the main advocates of cosmopolitanism, inveterate enemies of national sovereignty—which is regarded by them as an obsolete prejudice. They preach “world government” under the aegis of the U.S.-British imperialists. The acceptance of the notorious “American way of life” which is praised by them would, in practice, mean the turning of peoples not only into draught animals but also into cannon fodder for the Wall Street capitalists.
The ideology of imperialism, Lenin said, beats all records with its refined disgusting hypocrisy. A direct confirmation of this was provided by Leon Blum’s books and articles written between 1945 and 1949. In these “works” which constitute an apology for U.S. imperialism, Blum has called upon the French people to “sacrifice themselves and to submit to dependence in face of a superior reality”. Issue after issue of “Revue Socialiste”, the official organ of the French Socialist Party, praises U.S. expansion.
The attitude of Right Socialists is similar in all other countries. This is proved by the “works” of such slave-traders as the Polish emigrant Felix Gross, by the speeches of Bevin, Stafford Cripps and Spaak, by the latest writings of Fritz Adler, by the ravings of a certain Paul Sering: or Otto Bach, etc. As is known, Otto Bach, two years ago dared to declare in the Schumacher journal “Das Sozialistische Jahrhundert” that the “‘Marshall Plan’ is the proof that economic and social development pushes towards Socialism”. Today the whole world sees that the “Marshall Plan” is actually paving the way for imperialism and aggressive war.
The so-called “Schuman Plan”, the plan for the imperialist concentration of the coal and the iron and steel industries of France, Western Germany and the neighbouring countries under U.S. domination, and for aggressive aims—was not only enthusiastically supported by the Right Socialists of France, Italy, Belgium and other countries but was actually prepared by the international committee called the “Committee for the Socialist United States of Europe” and by such writings as the article by Marceau Pivert, a French semi-trotskyite, in the Paris journal ‘‘Revue Socialiste”. It was Marceau Pivert who was the first openly to demand that the coal and iron mines of Western Europe be transferred to the “European Federal Commonwealth”.
Paul Ramadier, who expressed the point of view of the Socialist group during the Parliamentary debates on the “Schuman Plan”, declared on July 26: “The failure of the Plan would be a catastrophe”. And he asserted with all seriousness that “only in ancient days” could one find an example of such a “progressive act.” Guy Mollet, the General Secretary of the Right-Wing Socialist Party, has become the “Minister for European Affairs” and, under the slogan of cosmopolitanism and under the pretext of preparing a “United Europe”, he is acting as the main executor of the will of the Americans who are seeking to dominate France.
Finally, is it necessary to recall that it is precisely under the flag of cosmopolitanism and of securing the so-called equilibrium between the two camps—the imperialist and the anti-imperialist camps—that the foul subordination of Tito to the will of the U.S. aggressors is concealed, as well as his threats and encroachments on the security of the peoples neighbouring Yugoslavia, on the independence of States and on peace?
Having firmly settled themselves in Yugoslavia, such imperialist agents as the U.S. publicist, Stoyan Pribichevich, are preaching about the “American way of life” and are conducting anti-Soviet propaganda. Nor is it surprising that on July 11, Radovan Lalic, a “professor” of Belgrade University, fiercely attacked in “Borba”, the Tito organ, the brilliant theses of Comrade Stalin on linguistics, theses which smash the anti-Marxist theories incompatible with the scientific conception of the nation.
Addressing the Congress of the so-called Yugoslav Peace Committee, held in Belgrade on July 17, the Titoite, Djuro Salaj, was not ashamed to declare that the main task of the Congress was the struggle against the foreign policy of the Soviet Union. Imitating his master, Acheson, to the dot, Salaj condemned the Korean people for rebuffing aggression and for heroically fighting for national independence and unity.
The resolution passed by the Congress repeats these foul attacks and praises the imperialist and anti-national “solution” of the problem in Indonesia and other Eastern countries.
The Vatican—that agent of U.S. imperialism daily intensifies its subversive activities against the democratic system, and Bishop Anton Aksamovic, the Vatican spokesman in Yugoslavia, openly supports the foreign policy of the traitor Tito. Hence, it is clear that in France it is precisely the reactionary Catholic clergy, together with representatives of the aristocracy, who are making the utmost effort to corral groups of youth to send them to Titoite Yugoslavia where they will be accompanied by Catholic priests.
Every day brings home the need to fight resolutely against the cosmopolitan tendencies which undermine the national feelings of the peoples and their capacity to resist U.S. imperialism.
Cosmopolitanism is a direct opposite of proletarian internationalism. Negating the nation and its sovereign rights it serves imperialism.
The more fierce the attack of U.S. imperialism against the freedom of the peoples and their national independence, the more resolute should be the struggle against cosmopolitanism—this poisoned weapon of imperialism. The armed, bloody intervention of the U.S. imperialists in Korea is part of the general aggressive programme of U.S. imperialism aimed at establishing domination over the whole world. The struggle for national freedom and independence of the peoples, against aggressive U.S. imperialism striving for world domination, is indissolubly linked with the struggle against cosmopolitanism.
For a Lasting Peace, for a People’s Democracy!, August 25, 1950, pp. 61-68