202 THE CLASS STRUGGLE provisos new weapons, enriches the arsenal of the people with weapons unknown and unheard of by the parties and its leaders.
What the Social Democracy as the advance guard of the classconscious proletariat should have been able to give was not ridiculous precepts and technical recipes, but a political slogan, cleerness concerning the politiml problems and interests of the proletariat in times of war. Would the masses have supported the Social Democracy in its attitude against war? That is a question that no one can answer. But neither is it an important one. Did our parliamentarians demand an absolute assurance of victory from the generals of the Prussian army before voting in favor of war credits?
What is true of military armies is equally true of revolutionary armies. They go into the ﬁght, wherever necessity demands it, without previous assumoeof success. At the worst, the party would have been doomed, in the ﬁrst few months of the war to political ineﬂectuality, It would have accomplished nothing but to save the honor of the proletariat; and thousands upon thousands of proletarians who are dying in the trenches in mental darkness, would not have died in spiritual confusion, but with the one certainty that that which has been everything in their lives, the international, liberating Social Democracy, has beenmorethantheﬁgmentofadream.
The voice of our party would have acted as a wet blanket upon the chauvinistic intoxication of the masses. It would have preserved the intelligent proletariat from delirium, would have made it more diﬂicult for Imperialism to poison and to stupefy the minds of the people.
And as the war went on, as the horror of endless massacre and bloodshed in all countries grew and grew, as its imperialistic hoof became more and more evident, as the exploitation of bloodthirsty speculators become more and more shameless, every live, honest, progressive and humane elemmt in the masses would have rallied to the standard of the Social Democracy. The German Social Democracy would have stood, in the midst of this mad SELF DETERMINATION OF NATIONS 203 whirlpool of collapse and decay, like a rock in a stormy sea, would have been the lighthouse of the whole International, guiding and leading the labor movements of every country of the with. The unparallelled moral prestige that lay in the hands of the German Socialists would have reacted upon the Socialists of all nations in a very short time. Peace sentiments would have spread like wildﬁre and the popular demand for peace in all countries would have hastened the end of the slaughter, would have decreased the number of its returns.
Truly this was a task not unworthy of the disciples of Marx, Engels and Lassalle.