Again on the Inflation of the Statee (XXIX)
So much so that the radical orthodox Marxists, the archaeo-Marxists as their Greek comrades said, while not deviating from the original doctrine with the breath of storms or tickling breezes on their backs, fully grasp the sense of the modern unfolding of this capitalist regime that is hard to die in, the argument of the contemporary "Inflation of the State" (n. 38 of Battaglia Comunista) would require a complete exposition on the basis of a reorganisation of the factual data.
It would, however, require a treaty fraught with sums of documents and historical-geographical maps sometimes only a few months apart, while those of the time when we went to school were centuries apart.
We are therefore confining ourselves to a few examples relating to the recent and current states of Europe.
The history of many of them brings with it the temptation, let us not say to romanticize it according to the habit of today's bourgeois fashion, but to exaggerate it, to source it into fairy tales where giant beasts and innocent birds carry out their admonishing dialogues.
It would be the stuff of jokes, if the tragedy didn't consist in the fact that while all the turns, the transformations, the upheavals take place between the incessant publicity that justifies, according to civilisation, the redemption and the raising of peoples, the real superstructure of this rhetorical orgy shows us entire territories of industrious and unsuspecting people crushed by the skies of fire and flame, dead carnage in piles, living carnage thrown into the prison pens and then set into motion to new places dictated by the victorious regulatory powers, along the tracks of martyrdom, with a whip and the tip of bayonets, There are swathes of tear-soaked land of Europe where in a few years dozens of times war, invasion, cannon, TNT and military police have ground the unfortunate inhabitants for the proclaimed purpose of building them a homeland, the monstrous supreme good that the dominant Capital promises and inflicts on the masses it holds in its hands.
Estonia. Small country on the Gulf of Finland of 46,000 square kilometres, as large as Tuscany and Lombardy combined; a million inhabitants, or less than the Marche. Naturally (as for all the others that we will mention) the few bourgeoisie and intellectuals of the place explain that it is an ethnographic unity, a race in itself of Ugro-Finnish origin, a defined language, with a literature, a history.
Enough to give that million peasants the right to a series of delicious adventures: for centuries the dominion of the Tsars. In January 1918 independence, in the middle of the European war, as a result of the great Russian Revolution. In August 1940, during the Second World War, but before Russia intervened, it was annexed to the same. In July 1941, in the German attack on Russia, part of a German war governorate. With the end of the war, "liberation" from the German occupation, return to Russia. The beautiful fairy tale is over.
Lithuania. 62 thousand square kilometres, as much as Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria; 3 million men, less than Tuscany. With the interpolation of disputes and exchanges with Poland in order to regain the historic capital Vilna, events similar to Estonia.
Latvia. As big as Lithuania or little more, but with only two million inhabitants (Marche plus Umbria). Independent in November 1918 only at the behest of the victorious allies, who in these small states their vassals saw points of support (as before the Germans) against Russia at that time red. Then same game since 1940. Russian-German-Russian. The curtain falls.
Finland. The bourgeois sentimentality could give the fairy tale pretty hues of legend. On 6 December 1917 independence was proclaimed after long oppression by the tsars and useless secular revolts, for the 4 million inhabitants almost equal to those of the Veneto, the great territory that the Arctic part covers is greater than Italy. The sympathies of bourgeois Europe cultivated intensive anti-Bolshevism there. Taking advantage of the general distraction, Stalin's Russia tried to overrun it in 1939-40. Literary enthusiasm for Western civilisation took turns in Germany and America for the small democratic army that survived with a small amputation, but in the flesh, of 35,000 square kilometres and half a million inhabitants. These begin a painful transfer to Finland. In December 1941, as a result of the German blows on Russia, locked up in Leningrad, the Finns rejoined the territories and migrated in the opposite direction. To the German defeat, a new Russian attack, a new armistice and a new amputation; in fact, with the Treaty of Paris, in 1947, Finland ceded 45 thousand square kilometres.
(Another theme is that of the reconquest of these countries unfortunate by the West or by the East, the official military wars closed, with the political game of the domestic parties, and the labelling of this dirty matter with the "class struggle", even if in its castrated edition of "social reform of structure". But right now we’re dealing here with statistics of square kilometres and man-animals, not of political philosophies).
Czechoslovakia. Another bilingual daughter of the 1914-18 war, she was formed at the dissolution of the Austrian Empire with fifteen million and a territory of 140 thousand square kilometres, equal to northern Italy, and more. A third were neither Bohemian nor Slovak. In 1938 Germany reshuffled them without a blow to bite off the Sudetenland, the size of Piedmont, the bite of a king. In the exquisite inter-war period, Western satellite. Country intended for the government of monseigneurs, cops and renegade revolutionaries several times in a row.
Hungary. Another subject of tragic poem and history. In 1914, united with Austria as an even numbered state, it was a little larger than Italy with twenty-one million inhabitants. The Treaty of Trianon "freed" her by cutting a series of slices from her and left her with only nine million inhabitants and 93,000 km2. Connected to Germany in 38, 39 and 41, it took territory from all its traditional neighbours and enemies and swelled to fifteen million inhabitants. The 1946 victory reduced it to the Trianon's reasonable measures. For a people who have been dying of indigestion from patriotism for centuries in the name of civilized Europe, Faith and Faith and Fidelity and so on. A people who saved the Germans, Slavs and Latins from the Turks but who, however, in the light of ethnography, were more Mongolian than they were, and who, in the same way as they had, had poured themselves over the swollen Danubian plains.…
Romania. Another country with a bellows like geographical history. It came out well from the two Balkan wars and the first European war, with the wind in its sails of a Latin literary nobility, it brought together nineteen and a half million inhabitants of all races. In 1940 things got politically negative: the Russians swiped Bukovina and Bessarabia, the Hungarians Transylvania and the Bulgarians Dobrugia. In 1941 they quarrelled with Russians and Germans, who occupied and installed a fascist puppet regime, and returned to it everything and even "Transnistria" almost as far as Odessa. But in 1945 Transylvania was annexed again to the detriment of the Hungarians. It now consists of 16.5 million and 237 thousand square kilometres, almost as large as the Italian peninsula. The history of the monarchy and republican regimes is given as a gift.
Albania. Happily born in 1914 among the hymns to the democratic holy carbine, as big as Piedmont but with only one million inhabitants, in April 1939 had the great fortune to join the Italian crown, and in 1941 in time of war temporarily rose to the detriment of Greeks and others to almost two million. Remittance from the victory against the Axis to the old limits and still free. Socially reached high capitalism, can boast on the threshold of freakshow socialism.
Yugoslavia. Complex case. Born after the war as a sentinel for the tsars, it brought together the "Southern Slavs", and the SHS Kingdom included three peoples with their accessories. As big as Italy without the islands, it exceeded fifteen million inhabitants. During the last war, it saw all kinds of things happen; it broke out in no less than eight pieces in April 1941 after the classic outcome of politico-military events: in a few days, governments proudly claiming the same thing with the pride of popular "self-determination" had allied themselves with one group and then with the other. The Germans quickly came down and tore the state to pieces. The best fruit in the basket was the state of Croatia with a king of the house of Savoy appointed: a hundred square kilometres and six and a half million inhabitants, a little more than Lombardy. On November 29, 1945, the republic was reconstructed into the same dimensions as 1918; politically, we still wait a few months to know which side has the tail and which horns.
Poland. Dulcis in fundo. Reconstituted after the long parenthesis in November 1918 with the three Russian and Austrian Prussian pieces, it formed a complex of 34 million men on 388 thousand square kilometres; less population, more territory than Italy.
Here, the orchestra that, in step with Hungary, needed crying Gypsy violins, can choose the funeral march in the most classical music.
It was on November 1, 1939 that Germany annexed the western part with a blitzkrieg, while Russia, because of the German-Soviet pact, occupied the eastern part on the 17th. Luckily for the Polish sheep, the two ferocious carnivores quarrel. We relate these zoological indications to organised state groups and their praetorians: for the mass of the population, "luck" is different. The current Poland consecrated on 9-5-45 is smaller: 24 million and 310 thousand square kilometres. But this means little. Russia ultimately held 80,000 square kilometres and 14 million inhabitants, but 103,000 square kilometres were taken from Germany, where 5 million individuals were allowed to stay. Two million and more Germans have been driven away to shove them into the defeated and occupied Germany, while the Poles who remained beyond the borders with the USSR have been made to migrate to the current Polish area. It seems like a bad dream in which you can see crazy lines and colours dancing on the pages of an Atlas.
Naturally we don't mention the professional neutrals; Swiss, Iberian and Scandinavian, who have also seen their own troubles, or will see them, no more than the great countries that emerged from the war as best they can, and with the British Lion and the French Rooster we leave to its events the Italian Jackass.
A single glance at the statistics of two monsters in Inflation: Germany until yesterday, Russia today.
The statistics from the Germany of Versailles show 14 stages of expansion through annexation and conquest, to the point of ruin. The Hohenzollern Empire had 65 million inhabitants on 540 thousand square kilometres. Versailles left the figures practically standing. In the middle of a victorious war, in August 1941, apart from the immense territories occupied militarily and the satellite States, the Reich had swelled to 120 million subjects. When the defeat came, the Germans were divided as follows: American zone 17 million, English 22, French 6, Russian 17, Berlin 3.
As for the Russian Bear, in 1939 it was estimated that there were 173 million inhabitants in the Russian and Asian territories, the figures of which are beginning to make little sense.
After the annexation in the West there is talk of 195 million, after having overcome the frightening loss of 17 million due to the war. The territories gained to the west are those taken away from Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, a set comparable in size to Italy.
We haven't talked, since it's a different topic, of the types of central or federal government, highlighting the units on the level of the armed force that is absorbent. It was not even the place to talk about overseas empires, where the fact of concentration prevails against some appearances. In the non-European continents, America as a whole tends to become a single state under the hegemony of Washington (see attitude in the European wars of the smaller states). Japan has followed the process of Germany in the inverted race for inflation. The Chinese regimes respond, at the end of the day, the need to replace under the banner of the Capital a State Centre unique to the practical autonomy of one hundred provinces nominally united in the Celestial Empire of the past. India's claimed liberation is in turn the end of the autonomy of hundreds of feudal principalities and sultanates for the benefit of two modern centres of bureaucracy and business. And the same goes for all the foolish figures of colour at the United Nations Assembly, a real market where people trade and their skin is tanned for the yellow leather bags of a few dozen ruffians. Marx wrote that the worker who went to the market only had to be tanned. The UN, not Hilse Koch, has implemented the prophecy.
Battaglia Comunista, No. 41, 1949
Translation by Libri Incogniti