[New York, New Century Publishers, September 1937; reprinted October 1950. Joseph Stalin and H. G. Wells, Marxism VS. Liberalism: An Interview.]

H. G. Wells visited the Soviet Union in 1934 and on July 23 he inter­viewed Joseph Stalin. The conversation, lasting from 4 P. M. to 6:50 P. M., was recorded by Constantine Oumansky, then head of the Press Bureau of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. The text, as printed in this pamphlet, has been approved by Mr. Wells.

WELLS: I am very much obliged to you, Mr. Stalin, for agreeing to see me. I was in the United States recently. I had a long conversation With President Roosevelt and tried to ascertain what his leading ideas were. Now I have come to you to ask you what you are doing to change the world. . . .

STALIN: Not so very much. . . .

WELLS: I wander around the world as a common man and, as a common man, observe what is going on around me.

STALIN: Important public men like yourself are not “common men.” Of course, history alone can show how important this or that public man has been; at all events you do not look at the world as a “common man.”

WELLS: I am not pretending humility. What I mean is that I try to see the world through the eyes of the common man, and not as a party politician or a responsible administrator. My visit to the United States excited my mind. The old financial world is collapsing; the economic life of the country is being reorganized on new lines. Lenin said: “We must learn to do business,” learn this from the capitalists. Today the capitalists have to learn from you, to grasp the spirit of socialism. It seems to me that what is taking place in the United States is a profound reorganization, the creation of planned, that is, socialist, economy. You and Roosevelt begin from two different starting points. But is there not a relation in ideas, a kinship of ideas, between Washington and Moscow? In Washington I was struck by the same thing I see going on here; they are building offices, they are creating a number of new state regulation bodies, they are organizing a long-needed Civil Service. Their need, like yours, is directive ability.

STALIN: The United States is pursuing a different aim from that which we are pursuing in the U.S.S.R. The aim which the Americans are pursuing arose out of the economic troubles, out of the economic crisis. The Americans want to rid themselves of the crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity without changing the economic basis. They are trying to reduce to a minimum the ruin, the losses caused by the existing economic system. Here, however, as you know, in place of the old destroyed economic basis an entirely different, a new economic basis has been created. Even if the Americans you mention partly achieve their aim, i.e., reduce these losses to a minimum, they will not destroy the roots of the anarchy which is inherent in the existing capitalist system. They are preserving the economic system which must inevitably lead, and cannot but lead, to anarchy in production. Thus, at best, it will be a matter, not of the reorganization of society, not of abolishing the old social system which gives rise to anarchy and crises, but of restricting certain of its bad


features, restricting certain of its excesses. Subjectively, perhaps, these Americans think they are reorganizing society; objectively, however, they are preserving the present basis of society. That is why, objectively, there will be no reorganization of society.
Nor will there be planned economy. What is planned economy? What are some of its attributes? Planned economy tries to abolish unemployment. Let us suppose it is possible, while preserving the capitalist system, to reduce unemployment to a certain minimum. But surely, no capitalist would ever agree to the complete abolition of unemployment, to the abolition of the reserve army of unemployed, the purpose of which is to bring pressure on the labor market, to ensure a supply of cheap labor. Here you have one of the rents in the “planned economy” of bourgeois society. Furthermore, planned economy presupposes increased output in those branches of industry which produce goods that the masses of the people need particularly. But you know that the expansion of production under capitalism takes place for entirely different motives, that capital flows into those branches of economy in which the rate of profit is highest. You will never compel a capitalist to incur loss to himself and agree to a lower rate of profit for the sake of satisfying the needs of the people. Without getting rid of the capitalists, without abolishing the principle of private property in the means of production, it is impossible to create planned economy.

WELLS: I agree with much of what you have said. But I would like to stress the point that if a country as a whole adopts the principle of planned economy, if the government, gradually, step by step, begins consistently to apply this principle, the financial oligarchy will at last be abolished and socialism, in the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, will be brought about. The effect of the ideas of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” is most powerful, and in my opinion they are socialist ideas. It seems to me that instead of stressing the antagonism between the two worlds, we should, in the present circumstances, strive to establish a common tongue for all the constructive forces.

STALIN: In speaking of the impossibility of realizing the principles of planned economy while preserving the economic basis of capitalism I do not in the least desire to belittle the outstanding personal qualities of Roosevelt, his initiative, courage, and determination. Undoubtedly Roosevelt stands out as one of the strongest figures among all the captains of the contemporary capitalist world. That is why I would like once again to emphasize the point that my conviction that planned economy is impossible under the conditions of capitalism does not mean that I have any doubts about the personal abilities, talent, and courage of President Roosevelt. But if the circumstances are unfavorable, the most talented captain cannot reach the goal you refer to. Theoretically, of course, the possibility of marching gradually, step by step, under the conditions of capitalism, towards the goal which you call socialism in the Anglo-Saxon meaning of the word, is not precluded. But what will this “socialism” be? At best, bridling to some extent the most unbridled of individual representatives of capitalist profit, some increase in the application of the principle of regulation in national economy. That is all very well. But as soon as Roosevelt, or any other captain in the contemporary bourgeois world, proceeds to undertake something serious against the foundation of capitalism, he will inevitably suffer utter defeat.


The banks, the industries, the large enterprises, the large farms are not in Roosevelt’s hands. All these are private property. The rail­roads, the mercantile fleet, all these belong to private owners. And finally, the army of skilled workers, the engineers, the technicians, these too are not at Roosevelt’s command, they are at the command of the private owners; they all work for the private owners. We must not forget the functions of the State in the bourgeois world. The State is an institution that organizes the defense of the country, organizes the maintenance of “order”; it is an apparatus for collecting taxes. The capitalist State does not deal much with economy in the strict sense of the word; the latter is not in the hands of the State. On the contrary, the State is in the hands of capitalist economy. That is why I fear that, in spite of all his energy and abilities, Roosevelt will not achieve the goal you mention, if indeed that is his goal. Perhaps, in the course of several generations, it will be possible to approach this goal somewhat; but I personally think that even this is not very probable. .

WELLS: Perhaps I believe more strongly in the economic interpretation of politics than you do. Huge forces driving towards better organization, for the better functioning of the community, that is, for socialism, have been brought into action by invention and modern science. Organization, and the regulation of individual action, have become mechanical necessities, irrespective of social theories. If we begin with the State control of the banks. and then follow with the control of transport, of the heavy industries, of industry in general, of commerce, etc., such an all-embracing control will be equivalent to the State ownership of all branches of national economy. This will be the process of socialization. Socialism and individualism are not opposites like black and white. There are many intermediate stages between them. There is individualism that borders on brig­andage, and there is discipline and organization that are the equiva­lent of socialism. The introduction of planned economy depends, to a large degree, upon the organizers of economy, upon the skilled technical intelligentsia, who, step by step, can be converted to the socialist principles of organization. And this is the most important thing. Because organization comes before socialism. It is the more important fact. Without organization the socialist idea is a mere idea.

STALIN: There is no, nor should there be, irreconcilable contrast between the individual and the collective, between the interests of the individual person and the interests of the collective, There should be no such contrast, because collectivism, socialism, does not deny, but combines individual interests with the interests of the collective. Socialism cannot abstract itself from individual interests. Socialist society alone can most fully satisfy these personal interests. More than that; socialist society alone can firmly safeguard the interests of the individual. In this sense there is no irreconcilable contrast between “individualism” and socialism. But can we deny the contrast between classes, between the propertied class, the capitalist class, and the toiling class, the proletarian class? On the one hand we have the propertied class which owns the banks, the factories, the mines, transport, the plantations in colonies. These people see nothing but their own interests, their striving after profits. They do not submit to the will of the collective; they strive to subordinate every collective to their will. On the other hand we have


the class of the poor, the exploited Class, which owns neither factories nor works, nor banks, which is compelled to live by selling its labor power to the capitalists and which lacks the opportunity to satisfy its most elementary requirements. How can such opposite interests and strivings be reconciled? As far as I know, Roosevelt has not succeeded in finding the path of conciliation between these interests. And it is impossible, as experience has shown. Incidentally, you know the situation in the United States better than I do as I have never been there and I watch American affairs mainly from literature. But I have some experience in fighting for socialism and this experience tells me that if Roosevelt makes a real attempt to satisfy the interests of the proletarian class at the expense of the capitalist class, the latter will put another president in his place. The capitalists will say: Presidents come and presidents go, but we go on forever; if this or that president does not protect our interests, we shall find another. What can the president oppose to the will of the capitalist class?

WELLS: I object to this simplified classification of mankind into poor and rich. Of course there is a category of people which strives only for profit. But are not these people regarded as nuisances in the West just as much as here? Are there not plenty of people in the West for whom profit is not an end, who own a certain amount of wealth, who want to invest and obtain a profit from this investment, but who do not regard this as the main object? They regard invest­ment as an inconvenient necessity. Are there not plenty of capable and devoted engineers, organizers of industry, whose activities are stimulated by something other than profit? In my opinion there is a numerous class of capable people who admit that the present system is unsatisfactory. and who are destined to playa great role in future socialist society. During the past few years I have been much engaged in and have thought of the need for conducting propaganda in favor of socialism and cosmopolitanism among wide circles of engineers, airmen, military-technical people, etc. It is useless approaching these circles with two track class war propaganda. These people understand the condition of the world. They understand that it is a bloody muddle, but they regard your simple class­war antagonism as nonsense.

STALIN: You object to the simplified classification of mankind into rich and poor. Of course there is a middle stratum, there is the technical intelligentsia that you have mentioned and among which there are very good and very honest people. Among them there are also dishonest and wicked people, there are all sorts of people among them. But first of all mankind is divided into. rich and poor, into property owners and exploited; and to abstract oneself from this fundamental division and from the antagonism between poor and rich means abstracting oneself from the fundamental fact. I do not deny the existence of intermediate, middle strata, which either take the side of one or other of these two conflicting classes, or else take up a neutral or semineutral position in this struggle. But, I repeat, to abstract oneself from this fundamental division in society and from the fundamental struggle between the two main classes means ignoring facts. This struggle is going on and will continue. The outcome of the struggle will be determined by the proletarian class, the working class.

WELLS: But are there not many people who are not poor, but who work and work productively? .

STALIN: Of course, there are small landowners, artisans, small traders, but it is not these people who decide the fate of a country, but the toiling masses, who produce all the things society requires.

WELLS: But there are very different kinds of capitalists. There are capitalists who only think about profit, about getting rich; but there are also those who are prepared to make sacrifices. Take old Morgan for example. He only thought about profit; he was a parasite on society, simply, he merely accumulated wealth. But take Rocke­feller. He is a brilliant organizer; he has set an example of how to organize the delivery of oil that is worthy of emulation. Or take Ford. Of course Ford is selfish. But is he not a passionate organizer of rationalized production from whom you take lessons? I would like to emphasize the fact that recently an important change in opinion towards the U.S.S.R. has taken place in English speaking countries. The reason for this, first of all, is the position of Japan and the events in Germany. But there are other reasons besides those arising from international politics. There is a more profound reason, namely, the recognition by many people of the fact that the system based on private profit is breaking down. Under these circumstances, it seems to me, we must not bring to the forefront the antagonism between the two worlds, but should strive to combine all the constructive movements, all the constructive forces in one line as much as possible. It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr. Stalin; I think the old system is nearer to its end than you think.

STALIN: In speaking of the capitalists who strive only for profit, only to get rich, I do not want to say that these are the most worthless people, capable of nothing else. Many of them undoubtedly possess great organizing talent, Which I do not dream of denying. We Soviet people learn a great deal from the capitalists. And Morgan, whom you characterize so unfavorably, was undoubtedly a good, capable organizer. But if you mean people who are prepared to reconstruct the world, of course, you will not be able to find them in the ranks of those who faithfully serve the cause of profit. We and they stand at opposite poles. You mentioned Ford. Of course, he is a capable organizer of production. But don’t you know his attitude towards the working class? Don’t you know how many workers he throws on the street? The capitalist is riveted to profit; and no power on earth can tear him away from it. Capitalism will be abolished, not, by “organizers” of production, not by the technical intelligentsia, but by the working class, because the aforementioned strata do not play an independent role. The engineer, the organizer of production, does not work as he would like to, but as he is ordered, in such a way as to serve the interests of his employers. There are exceptions of course; there are people in this stratum who have awakened from the intoxication of capitalism the technical intelligentsia can, under certain conditions, perform miracles and greatly benefit mankind. But It can also cause great harm. We Soviet people have not a little experience of the technical intelligentsia. After the October Revolution, a certain section of the technical intelligentsia refused to take part in the work of constructing the new society; they opposed this work of construction and sabotaged it. We did all we possibly could to bring the technical intelligentsia into this work of construction


we tried this way and that. Not a little time passed before our technical intelligentsia agreed actively to assist the new system. Today the best section of this technical intelligentsia are in the front rank of the builders of socialist society. Having this experience, we are far from underestimating the good and the bad sides of the technical intelligentsia and we know that on the one hand it can do harm, and on the other hand, it can perform “miracles.” Of course, things would be different if it were possible, at one stroke, spiritually to tear the technical intelligentsia away from the capitalist world. But that is utopia. Are there many of the technical intelligentsia who would dare break away from the bourgeois world and set to work to reconstruct society? Do you think there are many people of this kind, say, in England or in France? No, there are few who would be willing to break away from their employers and begin reconstructing
the world.
Besides, can we lose sight of the fact that in order to transform the world it is necessary’to have political power? It seems to me, Mr. Wells, that you greatly underestimate the question of political power, that it entirely drops out of your conception. What can those, even with the best intentions in the world, do if they are unable to raise the question of seizing power, and do not possess power? At best they can help the class which takes power, but they cannot change the world themselves. This can only be done by a great class which will take the place of the capitalist class and become the sovereign master as the latter was before. This class is the working class. Of course, the assistance of the technical intelligentsia must be accepted; and the latter, in turn, must be assisted. But it must not be thought that the technical intelligentsia can play an independent historical role. The transformation of the world is a great, complicated and painful process. For this great task a great class is required. Big ships go on long voyages.

WELLS: Yes, but for long voyages a captain and a navigator are required.

STALIN: That is true; but what is first required for a long voyage is a big ship. What is a navigator without a ship? An idle man.

WELLS: The big ship is humanity, not a class.

STALIN: You, Mr. Wells, evidently start out with the assumption that all men are good. I, however, do not forget that there are many wicked men. I do not believe in the goodness of the bourgeoisie.

WELLS: I remember the situation with regard to the technical intelligentsia several decades ago. At that time the technical intelli­gentsia was numerically small, but there was much to do and every engineer, technician and intellectual found his opportunity. That is why the technical intelligentsia was the least revolutionary class. Now, however, there is a superabundance of technical intellectuals, and their mentality has changed very sharply. The skilled man, who would formerly never listen to revolutionary talk, is now greatly interested in it. Recently I was dining with the Royal Society, our great English scientific society. The President’s speech was a speech for social planning and scientific control. Thirty years ago, they would not have listened to what I say to them now. Today, the man at the head of the Royal Society holds revolutionary views and insists on the scientific reorganization of human society. Mentality changes. Your class-war propaganda has not. kept pace with these facts.


STALIN : Yes, I know this, and this is to be explained by the fact that capitalist society is now in a cul-de-sac. The capitalists are seeking, but cannot find, a way out of this cul-de-sac that would be compatible with the dignity of this class, compatible with the interests of this class. They could, to some extent, crawl out of the crisis on their hands and knees, but they cannot find an exit that would enable them to walk out of it with head raised high, a way out that would not. fundamentally disturb the interests of capitalism. This, of course, is realized by wide circles of the technical intelligentsia. A large section of it is beginning to realize the community of its interests with those of the class which is capable of pointing the way out of the cul-de-sac.

WELLS: You of all people know something about revolutions, Mr. Stalin, from the practical side. Do the masses ever rise? Is it not an established truth that all revolutions are made by a minority?

STALIN: To bring about a revolution a leading revolutionary minority is required; but the most talented, devoted and energetic minority would be helpless if it did not rely upon the at least passive support of millions.

WELLS: At least passive? Perhaps sub-conscious?

STALIN: Partly also the semi-instinctive and semiconscious, but without the support of millions, the best minority is impotent.

WELLS: I watch communist propaganda in the West and it seems to me that in modern conditions this propaganda sounds very old­fashioned, because it is insurrectionary propaganda. Propaganda in favor of the violent overthrow of the social system ,was all very well when it was directed against tyranny. But under modern conditions, when the system is collapsing anyhow, stress should be laid on efficiency, on competence, on productiveness, and not on insurrection. It seems to me that the insurrectionary note is obsolete. The communist propaganda in the West is a nuisance to constructive minded people.

STALIN: Of course the old system is breaking down, decaying. That is true. But it is also true that new efforts are being made by other methods, by every means, to protect, to save this dying system. You draw a wrong conclusion from a correct postulate. You rightly state that the old world is breaking down. But you are wrong in thinking that it is breaking down of its own accord No, the substitution of one social system for another is a complicated and long revolutionary process. It is not simply a spontaneous process, but a struggle, it is a process connected with the clash of classes. Capitalism is decaying, but it must not be compared simply with a tree which has decayed to such an extent that it must fall to the ground of its own accord. No, revolution, the substitution of one social system for another, has always been a struggle, a painful and a cruel struggle, a life and death struggle. And every time the people of the new world came into power, they had to defend themselves against the attempts of the old world to restore the old order by force; these people of the new world always had to be on the alert, always had to be ready to repel the attacks of the old world upon the new system.
Yes, you are right when you say that the old social system is breaking down; but it is not breaking down of its own accord. Take Fascism for example. Fascism is a reactionary force which is trying to preserve the old world by means of violence. What will you do


with the fascists? Argue with them? Try to convince them? But this will have no effect upon them at all. Communists do not in the least idealize the methods of violence. But they, the Communists, do not want to be taken by surprise, they cannot count on the old world voluntarily departing from the stage, they see that the old system is violently defending itself, and that is why the Communists say to the working class: Answer violence with violence; do all you can to prevent the old dying order from crushing you, do ,not permit it to put manacles on your hands, on the hands with which you will overthrow the old system. As you see, the Communists regard the substitution of one social system for another, not simply as a spontaneous and peaceful process, but as a complicated, long and violent process. Communists cannot ignore facts.

WELLS: But look at what is now going on in the capitalist world. The collapse is not a simple one: it is the outbreak of reactionary violence which is degenerating to gangsterism. And it seems to me that when it comes to a conflict with reactionary and unintelligent violence, socialists can appeal to the law, and instead of regarding the police as the enemy they should support them in the fight against the reactionaries. I think that it is useless operating with the methods of the old rigid insurrectionary socialism.

STALIN: The Communists base themselves on rich historical experience which teaches that obsolete classes do not voluntarily abandon the stage of history. Recall the history of England in the seventeenth century. Did not many say that the old social system had decayed? But did it not, nevertheless, require a Cromwell to crush it by force?

WELLS: Cromwell operated on the basis of the constitution and in the name of constitutional order.

STALIN: In the name of the constitution he resorted to violence, beheaded the king, dispersed Parliament, arrested some and beheaded others!
Or take an example from our history. Was it not clear for a long time that the tsarist system was decaying, was breaking down? But how much blood had to be shed in order to overthrow it? And what about the October Revolution? Were there not plenty of people who knew that we alone, the Bolsheviks, were indicating the only correct way out? Was it not clear that Russian capitalism had decayed? But you know how great was the resistance, how much blood had to be shed in order to defend the October Revolution from all its enemies, internal and external. Or take France at the end of the eighteenth century. Long before 1789 it was clear to many how rotten the royal power, the feudal system was. But a popular insurrection, a clash of classes was not, ,could not be avoided. Why? Because the classes which must abandon the stage of history are the last to become convinced that their role is ended. It is impossible to convince them of this. They think that the fissures in the decaying edifice of the old order can be mended, that the tottering edifice of the old order can be repaired and saved. That is why dying classes take to arms and resort to every means to save their existence as a ruling class.

WELLS: But there were not a few lawyers at the head of the Great French Revolution.

STALIN: Do you deny the role of the intelligentsia in revolutionary movements? Was the Great French Revolution a lawyers’ revolution and not a popular revolution, which achieved victory by rousing vast masses of the people against feudalism and championed the interests of the Third Estate? And did the lawyers among the leaders of the Great French Revolution act in accordance with the laws of the old order? Did they not introduce new, bourgeois-revolutionary laws?
The rich experience of history teaches that up to now not a single class has voluntarily made way for another class. There is no such precedent in world history. The Communists have learned this lesson of history. Communists would welcome the voluntary departure of the bourgeoisie. But such a turn of affairs is improbable: that is what experience teaches. That is why the Communists want to be prepared for the worst and call upon the working class to be vigilant, to be prepared for battle. Who wants a captain who lulls the vigilance of his army, a captain who does not understand that the enemy will not surrender, that he must be crushed? To be such a captain means deceiving, betraying the working class. That is why r think that what seems to you to be old-fashioned is in fact a measure of revolutionary expediency for the working class.

WELLS: I do not deny that force has to be used, but I think the forms of the struggle should fit as closely as possible to the opportunities presented by the existing laws, which must be defended against reactionary attacks. There is no need to disorganize the old system because it is’ disorganizing itself enough as it is. That is why it seems to me insurrection against the old order, against the law, is<‘obsolete, old-fashioned. Incidentally, I deliberately exaggerate in order to bring the truth out more clearly. I can formulate my point of view in the following way: first, I am for order; second, I attack the present system in so far as it cannot assure order: third, I think that class war propaganda may detach from socialism just those educated people whom socialism needs.

STALIN: In order to achieve a great object, an important social object, there must be a main force, a bulwark, a revolutionary class. Next it is necessary to organize the assistance of an auxiliary force for this main force: in this case this auxiliary force is the Party, to which the best forces of the intelligentsia belong. Just now you spoke about “educated people;” But what educated people did you have in mind? Were there not plenty of educated people on the side of the old order in England in the seventeenth century, in France at the end of the eighteenth century, and in Russia in the epoch of the October Revolution? The old order: had in its service many highly educated people who defended the old order, who opposed the new order. Education is a weapon the effect of which be struck down. Of course, the proletariat, socialism, needs is determined by the hands which wield it, by who is to highly educated people. Clearly, simpletons cannot help the proletariat to fight for socialism, to build a new society. I do not underestimate the role of the intelligentsia; on the contrary, emphasize it. The question is, however, which intelligentsia are we discussing? Because there are different kinds of intelligentsia.

WELLS: There can be no revolution without a radical change in the educational system. It is sufficient to quote two examples: The example of the German Republic, which did not touch the old educational system, and therefore never became a republic: and the example


of the British Labor Party, which lacks the determination to insist on a radical change in the educational system.

STALIN: That is a correct observation. Permit me now to reply to, your three points.
First, the main thing for the revolution is the existence of a social bulwark. This bulwark of the revolution is the working class.
Second, an auxiliary force is required, that which the Communists call a Party. To the Party belong the intelligent workers and those elements of the technical intelligentsia which are closely connected with the working class. The intelligentsia can be strong only if it combines with the working class. If it opposes the working class it becomes a cipher.
Third, political power is required as a lever for change. The new political power creates the new laws, the new order, which is revolutionary order.
I do not stand for any kind of order. I stand for order that corresponds to the interests of the working class. If however, any of the laws of the old order can be utilized in the interests of the struggle for the new order, the old laws should be utilized. I cannot object to your postulate that the present system should be attacked in so far as it does not insure the necessary order for the people.
And, finally, you are wrong if you think that the Communists are enamored with violence. They would be very pleased to drop violent methods if the ruling class agreed to give way to the working class. But the experience of history speaks against such an assumption.

WELLS: There was a case in the history of England, however, of a class voluntarily handing over power to another class. In the period between 1830 and 1870, the aristocracy, whose influence was still very considerable at the end of the eighteenth century, voluntarily, without a severe struggle, surrendered power to the bourgeoisie, which serves as a sentimental support of the monarchy. Subsequently, this transference of power led to the establishment of the rule of the financial oligarchy.

STALIN: But you have imperceptibly passed from questions of revolution to questions of reform. This is not the same thing. Don’t you think that the Chartist movement played a great role in the Reforms in England in the nineteenth century?

WELLS: The Chartists did little and disappeared without leaving a trace.

STALIN: I do not agree with you. The Chartists, and the strike movement which they organized, played a great role; they compelled the ruling classes to make a number of concessions in regard to the franchise, in regard to abolishing the so-called “rotten boroughs,” and in regard to some of the points of the “Charter.” Chartism played a not unimportant historical role and compelled a section of the ruling classes to make certain concessions, reforms, in order to avert great shocks. Generally speaking, it must be said that of all the ruling classes, the ruling classes of England, both the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, proved to be the cleverest, most flexible from the point of view of their class interests, from the point of view of maintaining their power. Take as an example, say, from modern history, the general strike in England in 1926. The first thing any other bourgeoisie would have done in the face. of such an event, when the General Council of Trade Unions called for a strike, would have been to arrest the trade union leaders. The British bourgeoisie did not do that, and it acted cleverly from the point of view of its own interests. I cannot conceive of such a flexible strategy being employed by the bourgeoisie in the United States, Germany or France. In order to maintain their rule, the ruling classes of Great Britain have never foresworn small concessions, reforms. But it would be a mistake to think that these reforms were revolutionary.

WELLS: You have a higher opinion of the ruling classes of my country than I have. But is there a great difference between a small revolution and a great reform? Is not a reform a small revolution?

STALIN: Owing to pressure from below, the pressure of the masses, the bourgeoisie may sometimes concede certain partial reforms while remaining on the basis of the existing social-economic system. Acting in this way, it calculates that these concessions are necessary in order to preserve its class rule. This is the essence of reform. Revolution, however, means the transference of power from one class to another. That is why it is impossible to describe any reform as revolution. That is why we cannot count on the change of social systems taking place as an imperceptible transition from one system to another by means, of reforms, by the ruling class making concessions. .

WELLS: I am very grateful to you for this talk which has meant a great deal to me. In explaining things to me you probably called to mind how you had to explain the fundamentals of socialism in the illegal circles before the revolution. At the present time there are in the world only two persons to whose opinion, to whose every word, millions are listening: you and Roosevelt. Others may preach as much as they like; what they say will never be printed or heeded. I cannot yet appreciate what has been done in your country; I only arrived yesterday. But I have already seen the happy faces of healthy men and women and I know that something very considerable is being done here. The contrast with 1920 is astounding.

STALIN: Much more could have been done had we Bolsheviks been cleverer.

WELLS: No, if human beings were cleverer it would be a good thing to invent a five-year plan for the reconstruction of the human brain which obviously lacks many things needed for a perfect social order. (Laughter).

STALIN: Don’t you intend to stay for the Congress of the Soviet Writers Union?

WELLS: Unfortunately, I have various engagements to fulfill and can stay in the U.S.S.R. only for a week. I came to see you and I am very satisfied by our talk. But I intend to discuss with such Soviet writers as I can meet the possibility of their affiliating to the P.E.N. club. This is an international organization of writers founded by Galsworthy; after his death I became president. The organization is still weak, but it has branches in many countries, and what is more important, the speeches of its members, are widely reported in the press. It insists upon this free expression of opinion, even of opposition opinion. I hope to discuss this point with Gorky. I do not know if you are prepared yet for that much freedom here.


STALIN: We Bolsheviks call it “self-criticism.” It is widely used in the ,U.S.S.R. If there is anything I can do to help you I shall be glad to do so.

WELLS: (Expresses thanks.)

STALIN: (Expresses thanks for the visit.)


by Neil Harris
THE FIRST part of this article dealt with aspects of the cold war and its murderous history, however a surprising amount of that information is still relevant today, even though the end of the Cold War brought many changes: bases merged or closed, government agencies privatised and public land sold off for private profit.
 The New Worker took a look at some of the many State Department cables released by Wikileaks, on the subject of allowances and cost of living updates. These provide an up-to-date guide to those posts that are still current today. An example is a general cable from Washington to Embassies, dated 26th February 2010, which confirms that postings in Britain are still active at some of the main functioning USAF bases; Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Croughton.  Fairford is still listed while Cheltenham is there for GCHQ. Wiltshire, Portsmouth and Plymouth are still of interest, which is probably for the BAe Systems sites. Oxfordshire isn’t. Surprisingly, rural Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire remains on the list, but this probably refers to a new purpose built USAF/MOD headquarters building which has recently appeared on a greenfield site.
 More of a mystery is the survival of “Kemble” as a USAF posting, long after the closure of the base and its replacement by a commercial aerodrome: Cotswold Airport. This may just refer to staff accommodation for nearby Fairford on the other side of Cirencester, while GCHQ is only 10 miles away.
 Apart from the usual flying school there is “Air Salvage International,” which scraps redundant planes and a new British Government facility storing equipment and stock for international disaster relief. There are discreet storage buildings dating from its Cold War role as a maintenance and repair facility as well as when it was the base of “Air Force Logistic Command Support – Europe”. But this rural backwater also has the longest privately owned runway in the country and can handle jumbo jets; we can only speculate what planes are likely to make discreet use of the airport in the future.
 The United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) has quite a job ensuring that everybody has accommodation suitable to their rank and it publishes the USAFE Overseas Furnishing and Quarters Availability Report, twice a year. Very helpfully, the 2009 report tells us: “Fairford is undergoing drawdown, blue suitors are out-processing w/o replacement, no new assignments are expected. Dorm facilities will close as they become empty.”
 We also learn that “COMNAVACTUK”,  the Naval Command in Britain was disestablished in September 2007, the same time as Daws Hill closed and that: “Navy London – no more assigned, Navy London includes High Wycombe and West Ruislip”, confirming that the US Navy’s retreat is almost complete and resulted from the end of the Cold War. Admiral Michael R Groothousen confirmed this in the speech he made when he closed Daws Hill on 14/9/07, stating: “Operational commitments of Naval Forces Europe have dictated that our troops need to be operating in other localities around the globe.”
 Waterbeach’s role as an RAF headquarters is confirmed: “Waterbeach has no Dorms, only three mil members are currently assigned/ authorised at this HQ USAFE attachment – lowest rank assigned is E-7.”
 Meanwhile: “Air Force has taken over air base operation responsibilities for Menwith Hill. NSA and USAFE are still working on details of installation handover”, which doesn’t mean the NSA no longer has an interest in the site, just that they no longer deal with its administration. US Air Force in Europe has been downgraded in Britain since the Cold War ended.
 While Croughton is listed as “air force”, Barford St John has a blank designation which confirms its CIA status, just as Felixstowe also has no designation but we know that’s because it is Homeland Security.  Another blank is Harrogate, while Menwith Hill is a USAF posting. This probably reflects relative ranks; now that USAF is running the base, the ordinary ranks live there, while higher ranked NSA staff would be entitled to live off base. Many others are gone; the Cold War bases shut, the factories closed or the projects completed.
 To understand better how the system of diplomatic cover works we can use a State Department cable sent by the Chief of Mission, Ambassador Perry from the Freetown embassy, Sierra Leone on 14/7/08. This was in support of a Defence Intelligence Agency request for funding to employ an “Operations NCO” (Op NCO), for the Defence Attaché Office in the Embassy.
 From 1999 to 2003, the DIA had failed to keep the office fully staffed, as was the case in 20 other embassies around Africa. This was partly lack of money but also a lack of interest in Africa at that time, together with reluctance by staff to put up with the conditions on offer.
The office consisted of a Lieutenant Colonel who doubled up as Defence and Air Attaché, an “Operations Co-ordinator NCO” staff sergeant and the unfilled role of Op NCO, which would have been another staff sergeant. In support of the application, the Ambassador argued that there had been a rapid increase in the number of intelligence reports filed: from 40 in 2006, 82 in 2007 to 163 in 2008 and they needed administrative support to cope.  Later, and apparently with a straight face, the ambassador confirmed that the “Official Entertaining Allowance” of the office had increased 200 per cent over the last year which had, “improved officers ability to assess and access well-placed contacts, building a portfolio of reliable ever vigilant sources”. This increase in the allowance may have been why the flow of reports had risen so fast.
 Many new tasks were set out, needing more administrative support, including restarting the “International Military Education and Training Programme”, a military version of the International Visitor Leadership Programme, in which military students attend training courses in America. This is a key way in which America builds influence in the developing world, by talent spotting and then training rising stars in the military at an early stage in their career. While it makes friends who will rise up the ranks over time, it is also a means of recruiting long-term informants, when they are far from home. Sometimes it goes wrong; in 2003 the scheme was suspended in Sierra Leone when four trainees took advantage of the end of their course to disappear, starting new lives in America, never to be heard of again. The plan was to start recruiting once more: eight staff Judge Advocates over twq years, as well as eight to 12 NCO’s to attend the “Enlisted NCO development” scheme.
 Costs of the new Op NCO were going to be shared out; while there was an Attaché’s office in place already, the new staff member would need “a classified DIA computer and a classified Department of State computer”. The DIA would provide the US Embassy with “the start-up costs of a new billet, money to rent a house or apartment and seek to buy into the furniture pool”. All of which also reflected a greater American interest in the country, now that the British were withdrawing following the end of civil disorder and the end of British government-funded mercenary intervention.
 While in Sierra Leone the Americans were developing their interest in the military and had a desire to influence it further, it is significant how total American access to Britain’s military and defence industry has been. Wherever British armed forces were at the cutting edge (intelligence, signals intelligence, some technologies) there were the Americans. There was never any interest in the puny, outdated “British nuclear deterrent” nor in its delivery systems, dependant on American knowhow.
 This was all part of the “special relationship” between Britain and America, which was hammered out at the close of the Second World War and developed during the 1950s and 60s. This was the time when Britain’s economy and role in the world shrank while America’s grew.
 The National Archive has now made available the UKUSA agreement, which was once one of the most closely guarded (Top secret Ultra) documents either government held, together with the minutes of one of the negotiating sessions that led up to it.
 In the spring of 1945 these negotiations between the “United States State-Army-Navy Communications Intelligence Board” and the “UK London Signals Intelligence Board” began as an agreement to share communications intelligence on “third parties”. In effect the secrets of Bletchley Park and the new technology it had produced would now be shared with America and directed at the Soviet Union, nominally still our ally in war.
 This was the real start of the Cold War, long before Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. Discussions had started while the Allies were still fighting Germany and continued throughout 1945, including, for example, “Elbe Day” (25/4/45) when Soviet and US troops were pictured embracing after they had joined forces at Togau on the river Elbe. Through that summer, while the US and the Soviets were fighting Japan, discussions went on. This was a state matter, not a political one; they started under a Tory government and finished with agreement under Labour, while in America they began under Roosevelt and ended under Truman. The released negotiations are dated 29th October 1945; the agreement was finally signed on 5th March 1946.
 The agreement, very closely argued in the discussions, was simply to share signals intelligence; the Americans getting access to Britain’s leadership in this field. Later, this highly classified document was to become the basis of all British collaboration with America; sharing the military and intelligence assets that this article has detailed. An agreement often referred to but never read, it simply established a relationship that reflected the reality of the changing balance of forces between the two imperialist countries.
 In the early 1950s Britain had colonies, the atomic bomb and a prototype missile system to deliver it. By the 1970’s, Britain was reliant on an American delivery system (Polaris) for its dated nuclear deterrent. In between, the British ruling class had endured near bankruptcy, lost its colonies and had come to realise that it had been overtaken as an imperialist power. Its response was to open up every secret the Americans were interested in and to subordinate “our” armed forces to American control in return for a seat at the “top table” they no longer deserved.
 The extent to which the British defence establishment and by definition the British state (as opposed to the government of the day) became subservient to America is best illustrated by a “secret/NOFORN” cable from the American Embassy in London, headed “Scene setter for the Secretary”, dated 6/10/09.
 This briefing for the visiting Secretary of State, attending talks with Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, set out the likely British and American positions on a number of crucial matters, among which was Afghanistan. At this time, the right wing media and the Tories were attacking Brown for supposedly failing to equip troops properly, rather than criticising our imperialist intervention, which they supported.
 The cable reports: “Meetings with PM Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary David Miliband likely will focus on the following key issues: Afghanistan …many critics …have asserted that Brown has provided insufficient troops and equipment (including helicopters) to get the job done. In his 25th September discussion with the President, Brown said Afghan forces must shoulder a greater portion of the burden and take more responsibility for their own affairs and asserted the UK would not be ‘cutting out’ of Afghanistan, though it lacks the capacity to commit additional troops. Brown and Miliband made similar statements to General McChrystal on 1stOctober and Admiral Mullen and Admiral Stavridis on 2nd October, and the PM Foreign Policy Advisor Simon McDonald has asked the USG to show ‘understanding of the political pressures that the PM is under’.” That’s a fairly clear position, set out by the British government over many meetings; there were no more British troops available.
 The secret briefing continues: “However, UK military officials claim that 1,000 – 2,000 additional troops are available for deployment.” This means that senior military staff were privately briefing the American embassy, prior to the meeting, providing confidential information opposing the political position of their own government and Prime Minister; that there were more troops available. This was at the same time as senior British military figures were also secretly briefing the British press, complaining that the troops that were already there were inadequately supplied and equipped.
 It is hard to imagine any circumstances in which the British state would have an opportunity to take action independent of American wishes, given the integration of our military command structure with theirs and the commitment of senior British staff to American aims and priorities.
 It is the same for the “civilian” defence contractors; American-based defence suppliers cannot be controlled by foreign companies and the agreement which allows BAe Systems to buy access to the American defence market requires that its US operations must be subsidiaries, with a US board of directors.  But this was never enough, as the continuing interest in BAe’s sites in Britain has shown. This may be one reason why BAe tried to merge itself into EADS, the European defence supplier. What is clear is that BAe will have been able to keep few secrets from the Americans over the years.
 It is also questionable where BAe Systems loyalty lies; in a State Department cable dated 22/4/09 from Oman, the Ambassador Gary A Grappo reported on a conversation with the “local British representative of BAe” at a diplomatic event. The cable was titled: “Open field for military fighters” and it was important enough to be classified and given a header stating: “This is an Action Request.”
 The excited ambassador quoted at length: “At a diplomatic event on 21st April, a local British representative for BAe Systems told the DCM that the Omani government has walked back from what seemed an imminent decision to buy a squadron of Eurofighter Typhoons to help replace its aging Jaguar fighters. Due to concerns over the high price tag for the Typhoons in conjunction with a fall in government revenues related to lower oil prices, Oman was accordingly exploring other options for new fighter aircraft, he claimed.”
 This gave the Americans a chance to sell Lockheed Martin’s cheaper F16 into a traditional British market. The cable continued: “The company representative added that BAe Systems was not trying to salvage the Typhoon deal as it had ‘already made [its] money’. Rather, it was the British government that was directly trying to offload to the Omanis a squadron of Tranche III Eurofighters it had previously committed to purchase – ‘the last 12 from the RAF production run’.
 “As the competition for the sale of new fighter aircraft to Oman appears to be wide open, it is imperative that Lockheed Martin and the US government step up advocacy efforts if we are to convince the Omanis of the many benefits of the acquisition of additional F-16s. If ever the cost/performance advantage of the F-16 is to trump the UK political advantage, the time is now. Washington agencies should accordingly advise Lockheed to move immediately with their best offer. End Action Request and Comment. GRAPPO.”
 In other words, Britain which was committed to buying more expensive Eurofighters than it could afford to help out BAe Systems, was trying to persuade Oman to buy the last 12 off the production line. BAe Systems had already made its money from the Eurofighter and was looking to collaboration with the Americans and Lockheed Martin on the Joint Strike Fighter project to safeguard its future. This meant it was prepared to tip off the American Embassy against the interests of the British Government and taxpayers. The same taxpayers who have so often had to bail out the British defence industry. Meanwhile America was delighted to stab its loyal ally in the back (the special relationship) while BAe was trying to play both sides against the middle for its own short-term advantage. That is the nature of the defence “industry” in a world dominated by imperialism.

Government listening post

by Neil Harris

THE BIGGEST empires, the most warlike imperialist powers, all have a lot of administration to deal with; there are wages to pay and pensions to calculate.  The more powerful the imperialism the more complex it gets and America’s is the most complicated of all. Mass murder leaves a paper trail of invoices and receipts.
Diplomats have a lifestyle to maintain and there is, after all, a big difference between postings to Kabul and Paris. Over the years this has led to many arguments over the cost of accommodation, schooling and relocations as well as danger rates in war zones. The US State Department even has an Office of Allowances to deal with the paperwork.
 The New Worker has tracked down a table of these allowances but, of course, if we were just following the activities of diplomats, this would make pretty dull reading. However this expertise determines the payments for all US personnel posted abroad and the State Department also provides diplomatic cover to others who stand in the shadows: agencies that are unwilling to advertise their activities and want their people to have diplomatic immunity when things go wrong. These range from the military attaches to the CIA, with a lot of other interesting organisations besides. In some areas of conflict like Iraq or Afghanistan, these can make up half the embassy staff.
 While the allowances are calculated by the State Department, the “lead agencies” are the real employers and their details are on the list, although what they were up to is not – just a place name. Once a posting has been analysed, there is a reluctance to remove it even though it may be out of date; the cost of living reviews just become less frequent until they stop altogether. In the case of Britain, these tables of allowances give us a snap shot of our “special relationship” with America, as well as an insight into the Cold War. It’s well worth speculating just what these employees and “diplomats” were actually up to.
 Some are fairly dull: representatives of the “Department of Homeland Security” are posted to Liverpool, Southampton and Felixstowe where they check shipping containers as part of the Container Security Initiative. Post 9/11 this scheme investigates cargo destined for the US from 58 ports around the world and also includes Thames port and Tilbury. Likewise, the American Battle Monuments Commission has postings to look after American war dead in cemeteries at Brookwood and Cambridge.
 By far the largest number of postings are “air force” (USAF), reflecting our Cold War status as America’s largest aircraft carrier. However “air force” doesn’t necessarily mean that these are fliers; the “ghost diplomats” include experts seconded to units or particular operations, Air Attaches or intelligence agencies “liaising”.
 Some postings are general; “Wiltshire” or “Oxfordshire”, counties with long and varied military connections including Porton Down (germ warfare) and Salisbury Plain (army manoeuvres and research). Others like Plymouth and Portsmouth are obvious military cities as well as being sites for BAe Systems Marine and Aerospace divisions. BAe Systems plays a big role in all of this; “Wiltshire”, for example, includes the site of Qinetiq’s advanced air simulator at Boscombe Down, currently working on the Joint Strike Fighter project with BAe.
 Greenham Common is on the list, a regular posting during the Cold War as, from 1951 until it closed in 1993, it housed the long range nuclear bombers of Strategic Air Command, as well as becoming the home of the Tactical Missile Wing’s Cruise missiles and Pershing II ballistic missiles in the 1980’s.
 Lakenheath and Mildenhall are postings as they remain to this day the two main USAF bases of Strategic Air Command in Britain. Lakenheath now hosts fighter wing, while the support and reconnaissance commands (spy planes) are at Mildenhall along with the Special Operations and Intelligence squadrons.
 RAF Fairford, now on “care and maintenance”, was until recently, another base for long range nuclear bombers and had been since 1953. Designated a “Forward operating location”, it was also a staging post for operations and a base for the planes that refuel passing long distance flights. It was NASA’s “Transoceanic abort landing site” for the Space Shuttle and it was from here that the B52 bombers set out for Iraq to kill in both Gulf Wars. It may be used again, if America needs it.
Related to all the “Air force” activity were postings on behalf of the “Defence Management Agency”, involved in procurement, who were posted to Bristol and Salmesbury, Lancashire, no doubt keeping an eye on the BAe Systems sites, the latter making sections of Typhoon Eurofighters and now working on the Joint Strike fighter as a major contractor for Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, on the world’s largest defence project.
 Some of the postings are fairly obscure; in 1983 the former RAF Kemble near Cirencester became a USAF maintenance facility for about 10 years until it was decommissioned and became Cotswold Airport. Waterbeach just north of Cambridge was once an RAF base for Bomber Command, but was handed over to The Royal Engineers in 1966; their base and barracks are now due for closure in 2013. More interesting is the posting to RAF Welford, north-west of Newbury, which is the site of the USAF’s biggest heavy ammunition dump in Western Europe, with its own private entrance from the motorway (Works access only).
 Farnborough is an airport, the site of the International Air Show and arms fair as well as being another base for BAe Systems, meanwhile Qinetiq and DERA are also on site or nearby making this a centre of defence research.
 Bracknell in Berkshire may also have been of interest to the Americans because of its concentration of high tech IT companies and defence related firms, once including RACAL, Ferranti and BAe but it is just as likely that the posting was for Air staff attending the RAF Staff College, which became the Joint Services Command and Staff college before it finally left the town in 2003.
 An air force posting to High Wycombe would have been inevitable, as within three miles of the town are the headquarters of RAF Air Command and the British “Strike Command Operation Centre”, the nuclear bunker from which our “four-minute warning” and nuclear missile launch order would have been given, but not without permission from the Americans. It remains a centre for British and Nato air operations.
 Of course, it may have been that the posting was to RAF Daws Hill on the other side of town, a large US Navy base until it was decommissioned in 2007. It was from here that US missiles, long range bombers and communications were co-ordinated and directed from the American nuclear bunker.
 Strangely, the US Navy itself was also posting to Bath, Dunstable and Edzell, all of which have only one thing in common with High Wycombe; none are near enough to the sea to land a ship. Bath has had until recently a major connection to the Ministry of Defence but the New Worker can’t pin down what the US Navy’s interest was.
 However Dunstable in Bedfordshire was the centre of a labyrinth of secret activity during the Second World War with Special Operations Executive, the Political Warfare Executive and Secret Intelligence Service amongst others, spread out in around a hundred requisitioned stately homes, aerodromes, and offices in the county and beyond. The area also provided facilities to the Radio Security Service, British Naval Intelligence, listening (Y) stations and Bletchley Park (X station), home of the famous code breakers. During the Cold War RAF bases at Stanbridge, Brampton, Wyton and Henlow were involved in secret communications, amongst others.
 The clue is in Edzell, a small village near Brechin in Angus, Scotland, far enough from the sea to ensure that none of the sailors would get their feet wet. The RAF base on the opposite side of the River Esk was leased to the US Navy from 1960 until 1996, when it shut down for good and the 150 base houses were sold off.
 In 1985, on the 25th anniversary of the opening of the base, the newly registered “US Navy Edzell tartan” was unveiled and very popular it has proved to be, worn by both current and former Navy cryptanalysts as ties and scarves.  The Naval Security Group which operated from 1935 to 2005 ran Edzell, collecting signals intelligence prior to decoding it. This base would have covered the North Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Soviet Naval Headquarters at Leningrad, together with other parts of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, depending on reception. The base was also part of two worldwide networks: the White Cloud Naval satellite system and the earlier High Frequency Direction Finding system, hunting for Soviet ships and submarines.
 The Naval cryptanalysts were associated with the National Security Agency (NSA), which will feature again in this article and it’s likely that Bath and Dunstable were part of the same landlocked operation. In 2005 the Naval Security Group was broken up and merged into other parts of US Naval intelligence.
 The Office of the Secretary of Defence is the civilian headquarters staff of the US Department of Defence and as such it’s most unlikely that any of its staff would be posted abroad long term. But there are two postings under this agency’s name and these are likely to be a cover for either the National Security Agency (NSA) which deals with signals intelligence or the National Reconnaissance Office responsible for satellite intelligence, as the two sites are Menwith Hill and Harrogate (only nine miles away).
 RAF Menwith Hill was leased by the US Army Security Agency in 1958 to listen in to high frequency radio communications from the Soviet Union. In 1966 the NSA. took over the base and started listening in to international calls and telexes routed through Britain, as well. As optical fibres and microwaves replaced copper wire, the site became more important and was expanded. This major NSA satellite ground station now houses an array of satellite dishes and is probably the largest listening station in the world. According to the European Parliament investigation, Menwith Hill is a vital part of the ECHELON system, monitoring all electronic communications in Europe as part of a worldwide American network, trawling for voice calls, images, video and data such as e-mails and the new media.
 There are five postings for the State Department itself: London which covers the Embassy while Belfast and Edinburgh are the Consulates. These locations hide CIA staff under diplomatic cover, as well as the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) which provides the military attaches, both as a matter of routine.  The remaining two postings are to Chelmsford and Croughton and these could be from either agency.
 Chelmsford, for over 100 years was the home of Marconi and survived takeover by BAe Systems until its recent closure. It was here that RADAR and secure communications were manufactured and developed.
 RAF Croughton is a US air force base in Northamptonshire, which houses a massive European communications hub, for Nato, US European Command, US Central command, (US) Air Force Special Operations Command, Department of State operations and our own Ministry of Defence operations. It is also, for example, a vital part of “Mystic star”, the President’s secure communications network connecting Air Force One to the US government, when it is airborne.
 At other times it is a Government communications system. Croughton deals with about 30 per cent of US secure communications as part of a satellite network, partly reliant on US Navy bases relaying messages around the world. It’s not an obvious CIA interest – which, at least in theory, is not allowed to spy on US citizens in America and only with a warrant when they are abroad.
 While it is possible that the State Department postings are actually there to run their own communications, it is unlikely. The nearby RAF Barford St John is a sister base to Croughton and operates a CIA transmitter on its behalf.  Between them they are part of the CIA’s own worldwide secure communications network, covering its offices and agents.
 A Secure Communications link was built in the 1980’s, passing from Croughton to GCHQ at Cheltenham (an NSA posting) via relay stations at Leafield, Little Rossington, and Cleeve Hill. This indicates that Croughton also acts as a listening station. The CIA has another post at Caversham, where its “Open Source Center” operates on the shared premises of BBC Monitoring, under State Department cover.
 The US Army had five postings: Birmingham and Nottingham, which are probably related to arms manufacturing, while West Byfleet was until 1996 the site of “Broadoaks”, the MOD/DERA Army Operations Analysis base (now at Farnborough).  There were also nearby research stations at Chertsey and Chobham, which specialised in military vehicles and novel forms of armour plating.
 The posting to Hythe in Hampshire has an interesting history: a US Army base was sited at RAF Hythe from 1968 until closure in 2006, “servicing and maintaining watercraft”. In fact this was also a secret British research base from the 1930’s onwards; TE Lawrence, of Arabia fame, spent a year there working on high speed boats. This was where the concept of air/sea rescue was invented while in the 1950’s, Christopher Cockerill ran his “Hovercraft Development Co” from there.
 At the end of the Second World War a number of captured, technically superior, German high speed boats were operated and further developed from the base. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, these were used to get spies in and out of the Soviet Union, via the Baltic republics. The Soviets were unable to match their speed, although thanks to tip-offs, the authorities would often be waiting to pick up the hapless agents after arrival.
 A visit to Fort Halstead must have been even more fun for those with murder in mind, even though the mergers, re-organisations and privatisations of recent years have brought many changes. Set at the top of the North Downs, this research station specialised in developing and forensically examining high explosives – boffins making bangs. Before Atomic weapons research moved to Aldermaston, this was where the first British atomic bomb was developed and built.
 The “Department of Defence”, which has six postings, is a cover used by the NSA, NRO and DIA but also by straightforward military intelligence (Army, Navy or Airforce), so this is a mixed bag. Brough, on the Humber made BAe systems Hawk jet trainers until recently, when its closure was announced. Glenrothes was originally a Scottish new town serving the coal industry; it became part of “silicon glen”, after the seam flooded. It’s likely that the Americans were liaising with Raytheon, which is still in the town. This multinational American arms company is the world’s largest producer of guided missiles and the Glenrothes plant makes integrated circuits for defence and aerospace customers.
Rochester in Kent had yet another BAe Systems factory, until recently making high tech helmets and head up displays for Typhoon Eurofighters at the old Marconi factory. However, its attraction for the Department of Defence may be the home of the Defence Explosives Ordnance Disposal School and the nearby firing range at Lodge Hill Camp, very useful in the age of Improvised Explosive Devices.
 Loudwater near High Wycombe is the UK location of the Defence Contract Management Agency, which is a Department of Defence procurement agency located in an anonymous business park in the town. Given that private British contractors have built a multi-million pound industry supplying private “security” in the countries America has invaded, there may be some rather unsavoury visitors to this particular complex.
 Conveniently it is also the home of Ultra Electronics Command and Control Systems, a high tech British company that supplies the “MOD and international military and commercial customers”, and is currently working on the Joint Fighter project for the Americans and BAe Systems.
 Cheltenham would be an attachment to Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the National security Agency’s British partner but could also be any organisation involved in snooping on communications and code breaking; including the CIA, Defence Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence.
“Chicksands”, in Bedfordshire would definitely be a popular posting for those intent on murder – it’s where the spies learn to think like soldiers and the soldiers learn to think like spies.
 The RAF station was a war-time “Y” station, listening in to Axis radio communications and feeding the intercepts to Bletchley Park. In 1950 the USAF leased it and it became a major cold war listening station. After closure in 1997 the British Intelligence Corps took over the site and the grounds are now shared with the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre. This is a British joint services establishment, now semi privatised, providing training to “military and civilian students” in “Security, language, intelligence and photography”. Among other specialities it provides training in are “Human intelligence” (running informers) and “debriefing” (interrogation).  In their 2005 annual report they are quite proud to admit that they seconded 53 staff to places like Iraq and Afghanistan that year, where people would probably describe “debriefing” as torture. Conveniently, the grounds are shared with the Directorate of the Intelligence Corps as well as the headquarters of Psychological Operations.
 Readers should not imagine that this is a comprehensive list or a history of the Cold War; it’s not meant to be, it’s just a list of places where American government postings were claiming expenses over the last 40 years. There were many other US bases, just as there were many other British bases and secret research establishments dotted around the country. It’s just that they weren’t of such interest, at least to America.
 In the second part of this article, we will try to bring this information up to date, using a variety of unconventional sources.


ULSTER Loyalists last weekend rioted in east Belfast and one threw a lighted petrol bomb into a police car in which a policewoman was sitting.

Levels of violence in the British occupied six counties have been rising lately but for many it never stopped, even after the Good Friday Agreement. Sectarian attacks are rarely reported in the English media.

Nevertheless there have been positive shifts within the rank-and-file of the loyalist community away from extremism and violence. And leaders have taken positive steps to distance themselves from the British neo-Nazis who used to run guns for them. The New Communist Party has always supported the right of the whole Irish people to united and free nationhood under whatever government the people there choose to elect, as part of our general support for national liberation struggles throughout the world. When the nationalist community in the occupied north was utterly deprived of civil rights and took to armed struggle as the only means to achieve both civil rights and to shake off British occupation, we supported their decision. It has always been our position that the people in active struggle are in the best position to judge what strategy and tactics are appropriate at the time.

And the armed struggle did accomplish a major progressive shift in the situation in the north of Ireland. But it took a heavy toll in deaths, serious injury and constant fear.

In the early 1990s the leadership of Sinn Féin sent a proposal for talks to Prime Minister John Major. The New Worker was invited to photograph Gerry MacLoughlain on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street presenting the letter.

Major responded positively but the Ulster Unionist supporters of his own party laid out such impossible preconditions [effectively total surrender by the nationalists] to talks that the process came to nothing.

In 1997 the Labour government of Tony Blair was elected and one of the first things it did was to pick up the threads of this peace process. After long and difficult negotiations the Good Friday Agreement was hammered out. It has a lot of faults but it was presented to the people of Ireland, north and south of the border, nationalist and loyalist alike.

Overwhelmingly they all voted for it. The struggle for complete Irish freedom now passed from armed struggle into a peaceful, political phase. And our party still respects the judgement of the nationalist community and their elected representatives.

Sinn Féin’s involvement in the Northern Ireland Assembly has had a positive impact, especially in education, which has benefited all the working class people of the six counties. The demands for civil rights have been achieved — as much as can happen in a bourgeois democracy.

Nevertheless sectarian violence continues and the reunification of Ireland is yet to be achieved. And there are still a few in the nationalist community who would prefer to go back to the armed struggle.

We may understand their view but it is not the job of the NCP to tell the people of the occupied north of Ireland how to conduct their struggle — they’ve had enough of British people telling them what to do. The majority of nationalists clearly do not wish a return to the armed struggle now and we respect that. Sinn Féin continues to gain in the polls, north and south of the border; this would not happen if there was any significant level of support for a return to the armed struggle.

Our job is to campaign among the labour and trade union movement for pressure on the British government to completely withdraw its colonial occupation of the north of Ireland; that is our responsibility in the matter. We cannot see into the future and the armed struggle may be necessary again but that is for the people in the occupied six counties to decide.

In the meantime we base our demands on our own Government in respect of Ireland on those made by the elected representatives of the nationalist community there — in the same way that our demands for peace in the Middle East are based on the demands of the elected leaders of the Palestinian community in its struggle.


Snoopers’ charter knocked back?

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

by Daphne Liddle

HOME Secretary Theresa May has been forced to withdraw and rewrite her Communications Data Bill, known generally as the “snoopers’ charter” after it provoked opposition from Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and a significant number of backbench Tories, including former Home Secretary David Davis.

The Bill coincides with similar measures being proposed around the western world: in the United States, in Australia and in the United Nations and involves governments demanding that internet service providers keep records of every electronic communication.

The draft Bill would allow the government to order a communications service provider — such as Facebook or BT – to collect and store the communications data relating to all of the traffic they deal with. This would include details of internet usage, including websites visited, internet searches, private social media messages and even the online video games played.

We are told that the demand is coming from police authorities who insist it is urgently necessary to retain and monitor billions of private communications in order to track down “terrorists and paedophiles”.

But even right-wing politicians are not happy at the idea of their private communications being available to the police in this way and there has been a mighty backlash against the proposals abroad and in Britain.

David Davis told the Guardian: “This bill needs to go straight back to the drawing board. What it requires is a wholesale rewrite.” Even then, Davis said, it would still probably not make it on to the statute book before the next general election.

He called for a system more targeted at “those with suspect backgrounds” but conceded that the security services and police need greater powers.

The Lib-Dems and rebel Tories also protested at the costs that would be involved in such wholesale snooping.

Davis described the estimate of £1.8 billion as “written on the back of an MI6 fag packet”.

The Cabinet has now conceded the Bill stood no chance of being passed and has withdrawn it for redrafting.

In an article in the Sun newspaper, May made clear she would accept the substance of MPs’ and peers’ concerns but remained determined to push through these “vitally important laws” without any further delay as they were needed to “track paedophiles and terrorists”.

She wrote: “I have been absolutely clear that we need to introduce this bill in this session.”

She also said: “Anybody who is against this bill is putting politics before people’s lives”.

The National Union of Journalists is opposed to the Bill, saying it endangers journalists’ sources of information — as well as being a serious attack on the privacy of citizens’ electronic data.

Law enforcement agencies will be able to trawl that data and cross reference it with other data sources through a communications data search engine, revealing social connections and confidential communication between journalists and their sources.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “This draft bill is a major assault on civil liberties for all citizens and a threat to press freedom. For journalists it would be a direct attack on the way they work and would severely undermine their ability to protect their sources, materials and whistle-blowers.”

There is no particular urgency for the ruling class for this measure; they are just eager for it because it is technically possible. But anyone with any sense is well aware of the ease in which electronic communications can be monitored, with or without legal sanction, and will not commit anything really confidential to any piece of electronic equipment.


DPR Korea space triumph!

Posted: December 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

DPR Korea space triumph!

by our Asia correspondent

DEMOCRATIC Korea entered the space race with the successful launch of a weather satellite this week. “The satellite has entered the planned orbit,” a Korean Central Television news reader declared in a broadcast that played national songs with the lyrics “Korea does what it says” with shots of the launch pad at the Sohae Space Centre on the west coast of the DPR Korea.

The United States has grudgingly acknowledged that Democratic Korea now has a working satellite in space but only to lead the pack in denouncing the DPRK for daring to challenge the big power monopoly on space technology.

US imperialism maintains and upgrades satellite systems around the world for espionage and military monitoring purposes. But the north Korean polar-orbiting earth observation satellite that so enrages them is entirely for peaceful scientific and technological purposes.

The Unha-3 (Galaxy) rocket blasted off the launch pad in the bitter cold shortly before 10 am on Wednesday and successfully put a Kwangmyongsong 3 (Bright Star) satellite into orbit soon after.

Two previous rocket tests in 2006 and 2009 had been successful. But an attempt to put a research satellite into orbit last April failed when the rocket broke up two minutes after lift-off.

The legion of bourgeois media pundits all claimed this was a major technological or engineering failure that would take the north Koreans a year or more to resolve.

So this launch, long planned to coincide with the start of commemorations to mark the first anniversary of the passing of dear leader Kim Jong Il, clearly took the imperialists by surprise.

When the Korean Committee of Space Technology delayed the launch for a few days they all crowed about another failure. Now they’re bleating at the United Nations about alleged breaches of Security Council resolutions.

The United States and Japan, itself not much more than a puppet of US imperialism, have called on the UN Security Council to denounced the DPRK for using ballistic technology, even though this is the only possible way to put a satellite into orbit. This nonsense has also been dutifully echoed by Britain and the rest of the European Union.

Russia and China, who had previously urged Democratic Korea to abandon the launch, have also expressed their regrets.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry official said: “The DPRK is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space, but that right is currently restrained by relevant UN Security Council resolutions”, adding that the DPRK, as a member of the United Nations, is obliged to observe the Security Council resolutions.

When asked “What action the Security Council should take?” the official said the Chinese side holds that the Security Council’s response should be “prudent and moderate” and conducive to maintaining the overall peace and stability of the peninsula instead of escalating tensions there. But Democratic Korea is determined to continue the peaceful development of space technology. “ No matter what others say, we will continue to exercise our legitimate right to launch satellites,” a DPRK Foreign Office official declared.

“The right to use outer space for peaceful purposes is universally recognised by international law and it reflects the unanimous will of the international community. So this issue is not one over which the UN Security Council can say this or that,” he added.

He called on the international community to “use reason and remain cool so as to prevent the situation from developing [in an] undesirable direction.”

The north Korean official further insisted that the launch had been “part of peaceful work in line with the country’s scientific and technological development plan for the economic construction and improvement of people’s living standard.”

The Americans had overreacted to the previous rocket launch in April out of hostile feelings. This had forced the DPRK to re-examine the nuclear issue as a whole, he said adding:

“The concept of hostility will not be of any help, and confrontation will not help settle anything either”.



Posted: December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

by Daphne Liddle

WE KNEW Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn mini-budget, announced on Wednesday, was going to be hard but that does not make it any easier to swallow. He is determined to carry on with his policies that are driving more and more low-income families towards the abyss of utter destitution.

At the same time he continues to mock us all with more cuts in corporation tax.

The three pence a litre rise in fuel duty, which would have had a knock on effect on the price of all commodities. has been dropped.

But the Chancellor has also pegged rises in benefit levels to just one per cent a year, regardless of inflation rates. This will see the value of benefits squeezed at a time when prices of all essentials — housing, food and domestic fuel — are steadily rising.

This will put many families on the brink of economic collapse over the edge. But it will save the Treasury £4 billion a year.

He has also pegged rises in the threshold for higher level tax at one per cent, regardless of inflation. This is letting the very rich off very lightly.

The day before the mini – budget announcement, Osborne called on all Government departments to find another £5 billion in cuts in order to provide a pot of money for a modest programme of investment to stimulate the economy.


This will be used to relaunch the programme of replenishing and renewing school buildings throughout the country that the Labour government of Gordon Brown put in place in early 2010.

David Cameron’s first act as Prime Minister in 2010 was to cancel this. Now the Con-Dem Coalition is implicitly admitting it was wrong to do so. But the costs of scrapping it and then resurrecting it will be enormous and add to the Government’s debt problems that are still growing in spite of his draconian austerity policies.

There will also be spending on transport infrastructure — mostly for the benefit of car owners and little on public transport.

But nothing has been mentioned about building new council houses — a measure that would provide employment and help to alleviate the current desperate housing shortage.

The private rented sector has failed to meet the needs of the growing army of homeless families because the rents it charges are too high and Housing benefit will no longer cover them.

The only way forward is more good quality council housing.

out of step

Osborne is continuing to be further out of step with other major western capitalist powers, which are investing more seriously to stimulate their economies and reduce unemployment.

Osborne is not an economist but a hard-line right wing politician who wants to use high unemployment to keep the working class in its place — even if this does put up the number forced to claim unemployment benefit and reduces the number of people able to pay tax.

And the economy in Britain is steadily going downhill because of his dogmatism. He and Cameron promised to be able to balance the book by 2015; now this is deferred to 2018 — but they are unlikely to be in power by then.

Workers who are homeless and jobless or on the brink of disaster cannot wait that long. Their lives and those of their children are being ruined now.

The Con-Dem Coalition is already divided over Europe, over civil liberties, over Leveson and over many other issues.

It must be brought down and we must force a general election as soon as possible.

And we must ensure that the only realistic alternative government, Labour, is not also following the same poisonous austerity policies.

Rank and file trade unionists and community groups are already more active than they had been for years before the economic crisis of 2008.

But that is not enough. We must increase the pressure on union leaderships to lead properly and organise action — including co-ordinated national strikes and all-out strikes (for longer than just one or two days) — or stand aside for new leaders who will fight.

Lives of workers, pensioners, the disabled and young people depend on it. This Government has to go — and soon.