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01 01 01 04 1921 7
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12 THE WORKERS COUNCIL APRIL 1, 1921.
before they consummated the Capitalist transformation. We should still be in the Stone Age if Hodge always had his way. Mr. Hyndman, steadily intellectual as a historian at long range, is (being human) prejudiced as a current politician.
During the war he was what he still is, a vehemently patriotic Majority Socialist. But he denounces the German Majority Socialists fiercely for voting the German war credits and not coming out as proBritons and Pacifists. Yet he has no words scathing enough for Lenin because he refused to vote the war credits, and for. tlie Bolshevists for surrender ing at Brest Litovsk when they were hopelessly beats en, instead of bleeding to death as England auxiliaries. This is neither Socialism nor the philosophy of history; it is naive John Bullism. There are moments when he seems to be revolted by the institution of compulsory labor by the Soviet Government. For my part cannot understand why anyone who has the most elementary comprehension of Socialism can doubt that compulsory labor and the treatment of parasitic idleness as the sin against the Holy Ghost must be fundamental in Socialist law and religion. If Lenin has abolished idleness in Russia, whilst we, up to our eyes in debt, are not only tolerating it, but heaping luxury upon luxury upon it in the midst of starvation, then am much more inclined to cry Bravo, Lenin! and More fools we! than to share Mr. Hyndman apparent horror. We commend the foregoing to Samuel Gompers when next he tries to divert attention from the horrors of compulsory unemployment here by crying out against compulsory employment in Russia. President Wilson was singularly illlserved his agents in Russia, says an editorial in the American. They thought and he thought that the Czar overthrow meant simply a new government by aristocrats, law ers, financiers and ex Czarist officers. The Root ommission entirely misgauged the purpose of the Russian people. Ambassador Francis was hopelessly at sea. Every one of Vilson chosen advisers adopted a purely capitalistic view of Russia, failing entirely to see the economic significance of the revolution. In the great metropolis of New York the American is the only capitalist daily guilty of occasional lapses into e itorial sanity. The above quotation is taken from an editorial describing the amazing lavisbness of the Wilson Administration in paying out 60, 000, 000 of the American people money to the bogus RuSSian Ambassador, Bakhmetiefi, over a period of three years after his government had been cast into the ashcan. Long after this prodigality had become an international scandal, and was provoking derisive comments in the ress in other countries, our own capitalist papers breathed not a whisper about it.
Bakhmetieff and his wastrel crew uandered most of the money on high living here, ut some of it went to the House of Morgan to pay the interest on Miliukov Russan bonds, most of which had remained in the banker hands. Hence the silence.
The editorial writer in the American ev1dently anticipates a saner policy fro mTweedledee Hardinv than from Tweedledum Wilson. Why so, We wonder The Morgan firm still holds the bonds.
Communist Russia Communist Russia, the Russia of the common people, marks a new epoch in the word history.
It marks a basic change in the structure of human society. Up to this time society lived under the rule of the few, under the rule of the class which possessed the wealth of the country. The methods were different at different periods in the world history, but the results were the same: riches and power for the few, a bare existence and endless toil for the many. The slaves, the serfs, or the wage workers of today, who compose the masses of the people, have ever been the hewers of wood and the carriers of water, the beasts of burden on whose backs sported and fattened kings and nobles, landlords and capitalists. They who possessed wealth had the power. And they passed laws to protect that power, to make the possession of wealth a social institution. Private property was enthroned and every striving of mankind was subjected to the rule of property. Thence grew the exploitation of man by man for private profit, and all abuses resulting therefrom; fear of loss of property, care of possession, dread of the future, fear of loss of emplo ment, envy and greed. Human society was ruled by property grabbers; masters, kings, capitalists, providing toil, disease, war for the masses of mankind. That is the rule of capitalism, and cannot be otherwise.
But under communism, profit is abolished, and with it the exploitation of man by man; private property is no longer a factor in e life of man; propert becomes universal, all natural and created wealth elong to society, to every member of the community, as secure a birth right as air and sunlight. Everybody measured work provides a common fund of things to satisfy material needs, today, tomorrow and in years to come. There can be no fear of losing one job, of seeing one children starve, of the poorhouse in old age. As sure as the sun will rise on the marrow, man is secure of his bread, his shelter and clothing. Man is freed from animal cares, free to develop his human qualities, his intelligence, his brain and heart.
Russia points the way. Russia is now one huge corporation, every man, woman and child an equal shareholder. The state is administered as a business; the benefit of the stockholders being the object of the corporation. The individual contributes his labor, whatever it may be: manual, mental. artistic.
This labor is applied to available materials: the soil of the farm, the natural resources, the mines, and mills and factories. The finished product is distributed through the agencies of the corporation in the shape of food and clothes and shelter, education and amusement, of protection to life and limb, of literature and art, of inventions and improvements; to every member of the corporation, which means every man, woman and child of the nation.
To be sure this ideal of a human brotherhood is not yet realized in Russia. No sane person would expect so tremendous a chance to be consummated in three years, in the face of universal aggression. Continued on Page 4)
The Commune: Half a Century of Struggle: 1871 1921 Half a century has passed since the days of the Paris Commune, one of the most stupendous tragedies in the struggle of labor to attain the heights of eXistence. That first uprising of the modern proletariat has since been followed by the great Victorious revolution of one of the greatest peoples of our planet. But while the uprising of March 1871 was a desperate attempt on the part of the working class of a single city to establish its dictatorship over a nation of easants, today we are confronted by the united egorts of all the toilers pf city and country alike to bring about the realization of socialism, after they had seized the organs of power and authority from the bourgeois state.
The present upheaval is of such incomparably greater dimenswns, its aims are so immeasurably wider, and the stakes are so enormous, that in view of these struggles we are witnessing it is almost dif ficult to appreciate sufficiently the heroes of the Commune and their desperate fight and to view their struggles in the proper perspective.
And yet the defenders of the Commune too had their important post in the battle of human progress.
They too contributed to the building of the new future, in fact it was they who first opened the doors through which the social revolution of our day must pass if it is to attain its goal. Hence the Commune should appear to us as a teacher and counsellor, as a prophet and mentor, for although the Commune pointed out new roads, it committed old errors. The Commune appears to us as a pioneer, and yet it sometimes slipped into the pitfalls and errors of antiquated methods and forgotten times.
The Commune was, in the words of its historian, Lissaga ray, a barricade which was not given time to turn into a government. Karl Marx in his little book Civil War in France erected a monument to the Communards, a monument as enduring as the memory of the heroes of that great proletarian revolt. ln his brief and simple review of the historical facts the founder of scientific socialism created an analysis of unparalleled depth and sureness, which at the present time more than ever should become the common possession of all those who understand the importance of learning from the struggles of the past the things that should guide us in the work of the future.
To Marx at that time the Franco German war and the revolt of the Commune appeared as events of the first magnitude in determining the political developments of the immediate future. The establishment of a united Germany in the center of Europe necessarily made itself felt throughout the entire world. Just what its effects would he and what reactions it would call forth depended on the fundamental and permanent acts which would accompany the entry of this new state into the political stem of the world. The Peace of Frankfurt in e year 1871 formed the turning point, for it disregarded the principle of the formation of states according to nationality as no treaty had disregarded it in the last hundred years. It ended the period of national unification in Central Europe by mutilating the national unity and dissecting the national territorial unit of the conquered French.
But German militarism, in calling forth and feeding the French spirit of Revanche. in striving continually to surpass the armaments of the neighborlng. countries, in making itself the pivot of the militarism. of the Great Powers of Europe and hence of the militarism of the world, became at the same time the greatest hindrance to the national movement of. Eastern Europe, which could liberate itself from this suppressing force only through a violent explosmn. Thus the collapse of France brought forth the downfall of Germany, and now the prophecy of Marx Civil Var is fulfilled: History will mete out its revenge not according to the territory in so many square miles wrested from France but in accordance with the greatness of the crime of revivmg the old policy of conquest in the latter half of the 19th Century.
The Paris Commune stands out in contrast to the. comcident founding of the German Empire.
This German war of expansion coming at the close of the period of mediaeval unification shook to the ver foundations the oldest and most strongly joined national state of the continnent. The shock temporarily loosened the cornerstones of those foundations and amid the turmoil of such a tremendous impact. the working class succeeded by a daring charge in seizing the reins of government for the first time in history. But the rule of the workers was destined to be of short duration. It was choked in theblood of a massacre unequalled in the annals of Civil war. Those of the socialist workers of the French capital who survived were imprisoned and deported. To destroy socialism in the heart of the empire, to exterminate it root and branch, to prevent a recurrence of socialistic activity in any part of the land, after the fall of the Commune, this was the. obJect of the policy of the counter revolution.
While the German Empire, resplendent in its armaments, seemed built to outlast the ages, the Commune was looked upon its contemporaries as a miserable little insigni cant episode, as a caprice of history. worthy only of ridicule and scorn. And yet, how ifl erently has it turned out! Unlike the episode of the German Empire and Bismark policy of blood and iron, that bore in its core the canker of its own destruction. the Commune carried within itself the living seeds of the future. This is the lesson of History, says Marx Civil Var. With nations it is as with individuals. To take from them the power of aggression it is necessary to deprive them. of all means of defense. They must not only be seized by the gullet, they must be actually killed. The Commune, in tearing apart for the first time the scaffolding of the national state from within, attacked its foundation, its very existence. It tore down in order to create a new type of state, a new soc1al order. It disarmed and destroyed the original state. th e form of the bourgeois nation so that the people, liberated, may find room to live and that Humanity may be enthroned among the free peoples of the world.