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New International, January 1948


Notes of the Month

Partition and the Division of the Globe


From The New International, Vol. XIV No. 1, January 1948, pp. 3–4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Three Partitions. It happens that there are two articles in this issue both of which deal with the necessity of national re-unification – in Palestine and in India. The New International has dealt before with the same question in partitioned Germany. Here are three major areas of the world where the aftermath of the imperialist war has created artificial state boundaries where none existed before, dividing and splitting. It is symptomatic of the degeneration of the capitalist world we live in.

Before the First World War the classic example of a partitioned country was unhappy Poland, parceled out to Russia, Germany and Austria. Liberal, not to speak of radical, opinion pointed to it as a living accusation against imperialism. But even after that imperialist war and the equally imperialist treaty of Versailles, one Poland emerged. Today we have four Germanies, two Palestines, and two and a half Indias. Where before Lenin spoke of the division of the world by the imperialists, they are now dividing the divisions. One product clearly not manufactured by the United Nations is – united nations.

Capitalism is in retreat from its early-day task of furthering national unification and erasing petty national boundaries. The unification of Italy and of the German states was the achievement of nineteenth-century capitalism; the fratricidal warfare of Arab against Jew and Hindu against Moslem is the achievement of capitalism today. But this does not simply represent a reversion to an outlived state of affairs; history does not really repeat itself, since the context changes. The atomization of peoples now under way is only the other face of the coagulation of world power into two great clots, American and Russian.

We remember the absolute monarch who wished that the people, that great beast, had but one neck so that he could cut off its head in one stroke. The hydra heads of modern imperialism are reducing themselves more and more to only a pair. They thereby loom above us as all the more fearsome monsters; but it is the revolution of the peoples that raises the little men of society to even greater towering heights. When the latter unite from below under the leadership of a rising working class, there will be only two strokes of the sword.

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