28 THE WORKERS COUNCIL APRIL 15, 1921.
counted upon the gratitude of the bourgeoisie in return for their sacrifices and their sufferings, had hoped that now, when once the war was over an era of peace, brotherliness and democrac would set in, In the Victorious nations not the pro etarian revolution, but Wilson Fourteen Points became the supreme hope of the workin. class, as the enthusiastic reception that Woodrow ilson met at the hands of the masses in France, Great Britain and Italy plainly demonstrated. The awakening was as sw1ft as it was brutal. The hour isie recovered from the fright that followed e October revolutions, It had honest feared that these demobilized hundreds of thousan of workers would call them to account.
But the bourgeoisie makes concessions to the proletariat only when it feels its hands at its throats. And the workers never dreamed of doing any harm to their allies and associates in the great war for imperialism.
In Germany it soon felt so secure, that it do.
prived the Workmens and Soldiers Councils of all governmental functions. In England the bourgeoL sie forgot that it had, at one time, almost guaranteed the nationalization of the mines. In France eve thing that is reactionary united to take u e fight against Bolshevism. The Versailles reaty showed, furthermore, how truthfull the Communists in all countries had spoken, en they maintained that there could be no eace and certainly no just peace so ion as the ourgeoisie remained at the helm. Eastern urope was driven into intervention after intervention in Soviet Russia, until its very foundations are tottering under the strain.
The Central Powers were deprived of the possibility of industrial recuperation. The brief period of prosperity that followed the armistice, came to an a brupt close. It is becoming daily more obvious that the world cannot recover while one half of the world is condemned to industrial ruin. And in the ears of the working class there rings unceasingly the grim and sinister question: Who is to pay These are the influences that are steadily at work, radicalizing the masses. The proletariat is recognizing the impotence of the capitalist world, the hopelessness of reestablishing even ca italistic conditions as they were before the War. Great Britain a strong revolutionary tendency is making itself distinctly felt in the labor movement, demanding, insisting upon the nationalization of the railways and the mines. In France organized labor is turning more and more openly against the bourgeois democracy. Even in the United States, we have lived to see lar e portions of the of or anization in rebe ion against the dictatorship of mpers.
This state of affairs offers a rich field of activity for a movement that stands midway between the radical and the openly opportunistic wing, that stands, in theory, upon the principles of Marxism without carrying out these principles to their practical ultimate application. Germany had given an exam le of this triple division even before the war, font e German movement was even then sharply divided, in irit if not in fact, the Center about Kautsky hol ing out against the Bernstein opportunists on the Ri ht and against the radical Wing, under the leaders ip of Luxemburg, Zetldn, Mehring and Liebknecht on the question of mass notion and imperialism on the Left. During the war, this center had stood, either openly with reformism, or had. contented itself With passively protesting against the social patriotic policies of e Right, e same straddling policy that they are continuin to the present day, unable to become the bearers a radical labor movement on the one hand, and unwilling to oppose it openly on the other. They met this diflicult situation by winnin the support of the masses with a pretense of revo utionar thought on the one hand and by holding back e masses from revolutionary action on the other. Along these lines of thou ht the Vienna conference did its work. It adopte Sounding revolutionary phrases, its attacks however were directed not against the Second, but against the Third International. Friedrich Adler opened the Conference by calling upon all delegates to for ve each other their war sins and to think only of e present, that the Second International is dead, but that it is unseemly to eak of it as the Third International has done. Moscow he spoke in a different tone.
Moscow seeks to divide the proletariat, Vienna will unite it. In closing he sang the praises of the Amsterdam Labor Union International, which alone holdls1 the power to unite the workers of the whole wor.
The conviction that there could be no understanding between Vienna. and the Third International was the Leitmotiv of every speech that was delivered. Surely there was little need of these protestations. Much more to the point would have been some differentiation between the Second and Vienna. Nothing of the sort was so much as attempted, probably because there is no difference that would go beneath the surface. Indeed a resolution was unanimously adopted that says: The International Soc1alist onference in Vienna calls upon all workers to unify the socialist movement in the various countries. It is determined to work for this unification to the utmost u on the basis of the motions here adopted, and cal upon the Socialists of all nations to support its endeavors. In other words, a unifi4 cation from Noske to Bauer, of course on the abovenamed basis. But since this basis provides for intimate cooperation between Bauer and the raging social patriots Renaudel, Scheidemann, Vandervelde, Branting, and all the other fossils of a long forgotten erio in the international movement with radica like Ledebour, Longuet and Nobs will find in this new international a harmonious meeting place.
True, the report of the Committee on Ways and Methods of Organization of the Class Struggle stressed the necessity of a proletarian dictatorship after the olitical supremacy of the proletariat has been esta lished. According to its report of the democratic, power of the state, it recognized the existence of a wide spread desire for a united instrument, of the entire class conscious proletariat.
The value that such platonic declarations have may be Judged from the fact that even Renaudel, the most determmed opponent of proletarian dictatorship as well as the re resentatives of the Polish Socialist Party which 1y supported its government in the war With Sonet Russia, found it posAPRIL 15, 1921.
sible to vote without a visible qualm for this ambig uous flourish.
Equally amusing was the position taken the conference to that central problem in West uropean proletarian politics the Peace Conference, and the reparation crisis. liothing could have shown more plainly that the unity of their capitalist classes is the rst premise of the unity of the parties that comprise this new International. Its great aim is to be not the revolutionary education of the masses in times of national capitalist conflicts, but the reconciliation, upon a purely pacifistic program of the capitalist enemies with each other.
The Leitmotiv of the resolutions that Were adopted on the uestion of reparations might well be expressed the Words Capitalists of all countries, unite. ter acknowledging the declaratiom. adopted by the various menshevist parties and concurring in the roposal of the French fatty that a conference the menshevist parties of Germany, France and England an exact replica of the notorious London Conference of the great powers be called, the resolution goes on as follows. The conference re ards the internationalization of all war debts and the rendering of unlimited assistance by those countries which sufiered least under the devastations of the world war to those which bore the brunt of destruction, in the buildin up of their productive and consumptive forces as e supreme necessity in the regulation of the problem of reparations. The conference maintains that the capitalist governments are incapable of solving the roblems opened up by the war. It warns the working class in all countries to guard against the methTHE WORKERS COUNCIL 29 ods employed by their governments and their chauvinistic press to carry on their dangerous and meidious propaganda among the masses.
That these gentlemen also declared for disarmament goes without saying. They all but indorsed the League of Nations, and even that distinction has been achieved by some of its individual partiCipants in the past. Indeed, the whole conference fairly oozed pacifistic sentimentalit. Under these Circumstances, to be sure, the fig against the Treaty of Versailles became little more than a lame gesture.
The Powers behind this treaty have only one fee whom the need fear: Moscow andthe Third International. y the same token the Vienna Conference directs its venom against the Third as its own most dangerous opponent. It refuses the unification of all revolutionary elements and proclaims, instead, the unification of capitalism by pacifistic phrases.
Unquestionably the time is not far distant when this conglomeration of acifistic hrasemongers will unite With its half brot er, the 0nd International, the latter supplying the masses, the formertli bait in the sha e of revolutiona slogans. or it is a fact that in germany, Hollan. the Scandinawan countries, in Great Britain and in practically every other nation in Europe the big majority of the socialistically inclined workers stand behind their reformistic social patriots.
And in the struggle that will follow, the working class will be forced by, the ruthless lognc of events, to recognize that eir leaders are, intentionally or unintentionally, the tools of the capitalist class against the revolutionary forces represented by the Communist International.
The Commune: Half a Century of Struggle: 1871 1921 II.
The Central Committee of the national guard now took over the overnment. This committee consisted of three dslegates for each of the twenty. precincts (arondissements) of Paris. Two of the three were chosen the council of the Legion, the third by the battallion commandant of the Legion.
The batallions of one arondissement taken together comprised a legion. On March 19th the Central Committee met in council to decide what was to be done. It decided to appeal at once to the voters, in other words to proceed to the election of a communal administration for Paris. These elections took place on March 26th, and then the Central Committee surrendered its powers to the Commune.
There were elected 90 members of the Commune.
These included 15 adhereufils of the former government and bourgeois radio 5, who had been opposed to the government but condemned the revolt. The great majority of the members of the Commune stood on the Slde of the revolt. On the other hand, not all the revolutionary members of the Commune were socialists.
Meanwhile the Commune proceeded at once to work. One of its most important measures was the decree concerning shops and factories, providinglfor the municipal operation of the shops that had een closed down by the manufacturers while at the same time plans were made for handing over these shops to co operative associations of the workers formerly employed in them; these (Jo operatives in turn were to be united into large federations. Here then we have a positive infringement upon the property rights of the capitalists. The expropriators were themselves expropriated and the means of labor were returned to the disinherited masses. The remaining social decrees of the Commune likewise bear a distinct proletarian character. Thus the Commune abolished night work for bakery workers, abolished the system of checking up workers which had heretofore constituted the monopoly of certain individuals appointed by the police, forbade the reduction of wages by the impositions of fines and the like on the part of the employers, and encouraged the Workers associations to lace before the authorities at the city hall their opinions in regard to all decrees that seemed essential in the interests of the working class. The Commune regulated the housing system, ordainin the remission of all rents for the period from Octdher to April, crediting the sums alread paid in the interim to future rent, incidentally orbidding all landlords to dispossess their tenants. The Commune further prohibited the sale of pledges in the municipal pawn office, aiming