194 THE CLASS STRUGGLE And was not the Bonaparte army released, and the support of the Prussian army against the Paris Commune assured by the fa mous oontract between Jules Favre, Thiers and Co. and Bismark? This historical evidence led Karl Marx, 45 years ago, to expose the national wars of modern capitalist society as miserable frauds. In his famous address to the General Council of the International on the downfall of the Paris Commune, he said. That, after the greatest war of modern times the belligerent armies, the victor and the vanquished, should unite for the mutual butchery of the proletariat this incredible event proves, not as Bismark would have us believe, the final overthrow of the new social power but the complete disintegration of old bourgeoise society. The highest heroic accomplishment of which the old order is capable, is the national war. And this has now proved to be a fraud perpetrated by the government for no other purpose than to put off the class struggles, a fraud that is bared as soon as the class struggle flares up in civil war. Class rule can no longer hide behind a national uniform. The national governments are united against the proletariat.
In capitalist history, invasion and class struggle are not opposites, as the official legend would have us believe, but one is the means and the expression of the other. Just as invasion is the true and tried weapon in the hands of capital against the class struggle, so on the other hand the fearless pursuit of the class struggle has always proven the most effective preventative of foreign invasions. On the brink of modern times are the examples of the Italian cities, Florence, and Milano, with their century of bitter struggle against the Hohenstaufen. The stormy history of these cities, torn by inner conflicts proves that the force and the fury of inner class struggles not only does not weaken the defensive powers of the community, but that on the contrary, from their fires, shoot the only flames that are strong enough to withstand every attack from a foreign foe.
But the classic example of our own times is the great French Revolution. In 1793 Paris, the heart of France, was surrounded SELF DETERMINATION OF NATIONS 195 by enemies. And yet Paris and France at that time did not succumb to the invasion of a stormy flood of European coalition; on the contrary, it welded its forces in face of the growing danger, to a more gigantic opposition. If France, at that critical time, was able to meet each new coalition of the enemy with a new miraculous and undiminished fighting spirit, it was only because of the impetuous loosening of the inmost forces of society in the great struggle of the classes of France. Today, in the perspective of a century, it is clearly discernible that only this intensification of the class struggle, that only the Dictatorship of the French people and thm fearless radicalism, could produce means and forces out of the soil of France, suflicient to defend and to sustain a new born society against a world of enemies, against the intrigues of a. dynasty against the traitorous machinations of the aristocrats, against the attempts of he clergy, against the treachery of their generals, against the opposition of sixty departments and provincial capitals, and against the united armies and navies of monarchial Europe. The centuries have proved that not the state of seige, but relentless class struggle is the power that awakens the spirit of self sacrifice, the moral strength of the masses, that the class struggle is the best protection and the best defense against a foreign enemy.
It is true Socialism gives to every people the right of independence and freedom, of independent control of its own destinies. But it is a veritable perversion of Socialism to regard present day capitalist society as the expression of this self determination of nations. Where is there a nation in which the people have had the right to determine the form and conditions of its national, political and social existence. In Germany the determination of the people found concrete expression in the demands formulated by the German revolutionary democrats of 1808, the first fighters of the German proletariat, Marx, Engels, Lassalle, Bebel and Liebknecht, proclaimed and fought for a united Ger man Republic. For this ideal the revolutionary forces in Berlin and in Vienna, in those tragic days of March, shed their heartsblood upon the barricades. To carry out this program Marx and Engels demanded that Prussia take up arms against Czarism. The foremost demand made in the national pro