THE REVOLUTIONARY AGE 13 S» x919 The Left Wing Manifesto. HE world is in crisis. Capitalism, the prevailing system of society, is in process of disintegration and collapse. Out of its Vitals is developing a new social order, the system of Communist Socialism; and the struggle between this new socialorder and the old is now the fundamental problem of internatipnal politics.
The predatory, war for democracy domi nated the world. But now it is the revolutionary proletariat in action that dominates, conquering power in somenations, mobilizing to conquer power in others, and calling upon the proletariat of all nationsfo prepare for the final struggle against Capitalism. But Socialism itSelf is in crisis. Events are revolutionizing Capitalism and SocialismL an indicationthat this is the historic epoch of the proletarian revolution. Imperialism is the final stage of Capitalism; and Imperialism means sterner reaction and new wars of cone quest unless the revolutionary proletariat acts for Socialism. Capitalism cannot reform itself; it cannot be reformed. Humanity can be saved from its last excesses only by the Communist Revolution. There can now be only the Socialism which is one in. temper and purpose with the proletarian revolutionary. struggle.
There can be only the Socialism which. unites the proletariat of the whole lworld in the general struggle against the desperately destructive Imperialisms the Imperialisms which array themselves as a single force against the onsweeping proletarian revolu tion.
The prevailing conditions, in the. world of Capitalism and of Socialism, are a direct prod uct of the war; and the war was itself a direct product of Imperialism.
Industrial development under the profit system of Capitalism is based upon the accumulation of capital, which depends upon the expropriation of values produced by the workers.
This accumulation of capital promotes, and. is itself promoted by, the concentration of industry. The competitive struggle compels each capitalist to secure the most eflicient means of production, or a group of capitalists to combine their capital in order to produce more efliciently. This process of concentration of industry and the accumulation of capital, while a product of competition, ultimately denies and ends competition. The concentration of industry and of capital develops monopoly.
Monopoly expresses itself through dictatorial control exercised by finance capital over industry; and finance capital unifies Capitalism for world exploitation. Under Imperialism, the banks, whose control is centralized in a clique of financial magnates, dominate the whole of industry directly, purely upon the basis of investment exploitation, and not for purposes of social production. The concentra tion of industry implies that, to a large extent, industry within the nation has reached its maturity, is unable to absorb all the. surpluscapital that comes from the profits of industry.
Capitalism, accordingly, must find means outside the natiori for the absorption of this surplus. The older export trade was dominated by the export of consumable goods. American exports, particularly, except for the war period, have been largely of cotton, foodstufis, and raw materials. Under the conditions of Imperialism it is capital which is exported, as by the use of concessions in backward territory to build railroads, or to start native factories, as in India, or to develop oil fields. as in Mexico. This means an export of locomotives.
Iomed on. Authority of the Conference by the National Council of the Left Wing heavy machinery, in short, predominantly a trade in iron goods. This export of capital, together with the struggle to monopolize the world sources of raw materials andto control undeveloped territory, produces Imperialism. fully developed capitalist nation is compelled to accept Imperialism. Each nation seeks markets for the absorption of its surplus capital. Undeveloped territory, possessing sources of raw material, the industrial development of which will require the investment of capital and the purchase of machinery, becomes the objective of capitalistic competition between the imperialistic nations.
Capitalism, in the epoch of Imperialism, comes to rely for its prosperity and suprem acy upon the exploitation and enslavement of colonial peoples, either in colonies, spheres of influence. protectorates, or mandatories. savagely oppressing hundreds of millions of subject peop es in order to assure high prpfit and interest rates for a few million people in the favored nations.
This struggle for undeveloped territory, raw materials, and investment markets, is carried on. peacefully between groups of international finance capital by means of agreements, and between the nations by means of diplomacy. but a crisis comes, the competition becomes irreconcilable, antagonisms cannot be solved peacefully, and the nations resort to war.
The antagonisms between the European na tions were antagonisms as to who should control undeveloped territory, sources of raw materials, and the investment markets of the world. The inevitable consequence was war.
The issue being world power, other nations, including the United States, were dragged in.
The United States, while having no direct territorial interests in the war, was vitally concerned since the issue was world power; and its Capitalism, having attained a position of financial world power, had a direct imperial istic interest at stake.
The imperialistic character of the war is climaxed by an imperialistic peace a peace that strikes directly at the peace and liberty of the world, which organizes the great imperialistic powers into a sort of trust of nations, among whom the world is divided financially and territorially. The League of Nations is simply the screen for this division of the world.
an instrument for joint domination of the world by a particular group of Imperialism.
While this division of the world solves, for the moment, the problems of power that pro duced the war, the solution is temporary, since the Imperialism of one nation can prosper only by limiting the economic opportunity of another nation. New problems of power must necessarily arise, producing new antagonisms, new wars of agression and conquest unless the revolutionary proletariat conquers in the struggle for Socialism.
The concentration of industry produces monopoly, and monopoly produces Imperial ism. In Imperialism there is implied the socialization of industry, the material basis of Socialism. Production moreover, becomes international. and the limits of the nation, of national production, become a fetter upon the forces of production. The development of Capitalism produces world economic problems that break down the old order. The forces of production revolt against the fetters Capitalism imposes upon production. The answer of Capitalism is war; the answer of the proletariat is the Social Revolution and Socialism.
In 1912, at the time of the first Balkan war, Europe was on the verge of a general imv perialistic war. Socialist International Cong ress was convened at Basle to act on the impending crisis. The resolution adoptedsti gmatized the coming war as imperialistic and as unjustifiable on any pretext of national interest. The Basle resolution declared: That the war would create an economic and political crisis; That the workers would look upon participation in the war as a crime. which would arouse indignation and revulsion among the masses; That the crisis and the psychological condition of the workers would create a situation that Socialists should use to rouse the masses and hasten the downfall of Capitalism ;4. That the governments fear a proletarian revolution and should remember the Paris Commune and the revolution in Russia in I905, that is, a civil war.
The Basle resolution indicted the coming war as imperialistic, a war necessarily to be opposed by Socialism, which should use the opportunity of war to wage the revolutionary struggle against Capitalism. The policy of Socialism was comprised in the struggle to transform the imperialistic war into a civil war of the oppressed against the oppressors, and for Socialism.
The war that came in 1914 was the same imperialistic war that might have come in 1912, or at the time of the Agadir crisis. But.
upon the declaration of war, the dominant Socialism, contrary to the Bail: resolution. accepted and justified the war.
Great demonstrations were held. The governmerits and war were denounced. But, immediately upon the declaration of war, there was a change of front. The war credits were voted by Socialists in the parliaments. The dominant Socialism favored the war; a small minority adopted a policy of petty bourgeois pacifiSm. and only the Left Wing groups adhered to the policy of revolutionary Socialism.
It was not alone a problem of preventing the war. The fact that Socialism could not prevent the war, was not a justification for accepting and idealizing the war. Nor was it a problem of immediate revolution. The Basle Manifesto simply required opposition to the war and the fight to develop out of its circumstances the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat against the war and Capitalism.
The dominant Socialism. in accepting and justifying the war, abandoned the class strug gle and betrayed Socialism. The class struggle is the heart of Socialism. Without strict conformity to the class struggle, in its revolu tionary implications, Socialism becomesreither sheer Utopianism, or a method of reaction.
But the dominant Socialism accepted civil peace, the unity of all the claSses and parties in order to wage successfully the imperialistic war. The dominant Socialism united with the governments against Socialism and the proletariat.
The class struggle comes to a climax during war. National struggles are a form of expression of the class struggle, whether they are revolutionary wars for liberation or imperialistic wars for spoilation. It is precisely during a war that material conditions provide the opportunity for waging the class struggle to a conclusion for the conquest of power. The war was a war for world power a war of