96 THE CLASS STRUGGLE And Representative MoCulloch (Republican, Ohio) thus expressed our war aims in the House. believe that we should enter this war merely for the purpose of protecting our rights, and when we succeed in forcing Germany, if we should so succeed, in recognizing our rights on the seas and in modifying her submarine warfare, then we should withdraw and have nothing further to do with the controversy.
Messrs. Russell, Walling, Stokes, et al. please note.
THE FIRST VICTIMS OF WAR War is the same the world over, everywhere it suppresses civil and industrial rights, and the rights of the individual conscience.
On the bleeding list of war victims, the ﬁrst is democracy and individual freedom at home.
One year ago, two years ago, there were often protests in the press against some of the outrageous actions of the military power and the censorship in the belligerent nations; to day, actions in this country along similar lines evoke either the acquiescence of silence or open approval.
America has not yet sent an army abroad, it navy has not yet been in action; but already we have our ﬁrst victims of the War the imprisonment of men and women active in the struggle for freedom, and who dared assert their principles in this crisis.
And, as a symbol of this development, the detention of Leon Trotzky and a group of eight Russian Socialists in a Canadian detention camp stands out clearly.
Trotzky left this country on his way to Russia, after the Provisional Government had issued a general invitation to revolutionary exiles to return to Russia. Trotzky, his wife and children, and a party of eight comrades, had their passports vised by the Russian Consul in this city; but when the party arrived at Halifax the British authorities arrested Trotzky and his party, separated him from his wife and children, and imprisoned them in a con centration camp.
Protests were got to the Workmen and Soldiers Council at Petrograd, a demand was made upon the British government to THE CLASS STRUGGLE 97 release Trotzky and to allow all exiles to return freely to Russia, but the British paid absolutely no head.
The action of this government ﬁghting for civilization and democracy is understandable. There is a struggle going on in Russia to day between the imperialists and the revolutionists, who are against the war and for a general working class peace without annexations and indemnities. Such a peace would be a shattering blow at the imperialistic plans of the Allies, and so Trotzky must be kept out of Russia.
The American government, of course, has taken absolutely no action in the matter. Obviously, since this is a war for freedom and democracy.
But Trotzky is not alone. We do not have to go to Canada for victims. We have plenty right here at home.
The declaration of war was the signal for all sorts of reactionary explosions. Bill after bill was introduced in congress aiming directly against democracy and for autocracy; and the conscription act was passed to compel men to ﬁght in a war that their refusal to enlist showed they were against.
Free speech has been trampled upon. Free press has been trampled upon. Free assemblage has been violated. The terror of reaction is stalking the land, and its menace is growing.
And not only general rights and principles have been ruthlessly violated. Men and women have been imprisoned, shamelessly and occasionally on trumped up charges.
Over in Blackwell Island is Henry lager, a socialist of many years activity, condemned to six months on a charge of disorderly conduct.
It is the contention of jager that he never said the words he is charged with saying, that the man who made the charge was venting a personal spite. But in spite of this, he was given six months, the limit on a charge of disorderly conduct not because of the thing he is charged with having said, but because he was denouncing the reaction of Capitalism and propagating socialism.