The New International, September October, 1918 Page. Four tween international and national tactics must be repudiated as sophistry (cf. the last interview ofoelrod in No. 87 and 90 of Nasche 510110. It is sophistry becausea many sided, scientific, analysis of Imperialism is one thing an analysis which eventually is as endless as science itself, and another thing the principles of Socialist tactics against capitalistic Imperialism explained in millions of copies of SocialDemocratic papers and in decisions of the International.
Socialist parties are not debating clubs but organizations of a fighting proletariat and when a number of battalions have gone over to the enemy they must be named and discredited as traitors, without any one being deceived by hypocritical phrases to the effect that not everybody comprehends Im erialism in the same manner, that hauvinist Cunow, and Chauvinist Kautsky are capable of writing volumes about it, that that the question has notbeen efficiently discussed, etc. etc. Capitalism in all manifestations of its rapine; in all the smallest ramifications of its historical development and its national peculiarities, will never through and through. About details savants (and pedants especially) will never cease to dispute. On this basis to renounce the Socialist struggle against imperialism and also the opposition to those who have been treasonable to this conflict would have been ridiculous. Yet what else do Kautsky, Cunow, Axelrod, etc. propose? No one has as yet attempted to dissect now, after the war, the Basel resolution, and prove its incorrectness!
II.
But perhaps sincere Socialists favored the Basel resolution in the expectation that the war would create a revolution ary situation, but the events refuted their reasoning and the revolution became impossible. Precisely with. this sort of sophistry Cunow (in his pamphlet, The Collapse of the Party, and in many articles) attempts to justify his entry into thebourgeois camp, and we meet hints of similar conclusions. almost in all the Socialist Chauvinists, with Kautsky at the head.
Hopes of a revolution turned out to be illusions and to defend illusionsis not a function of a Marxist, reasons Cunow, At the same timehe does not say a word about the illusions of everybody who signed the Basel manifesto, but as a highly honorable man he tries to shift the responsibility on those of the extreme left, such as Pannekoek and Radek.
Let us examine the substance of the argument that the authors of the Basel resoluion sincerely expected the advent of the revolution but that events refuted them. The Basel manifesto declares. 1) That the war will creat an economic and political crisis. 2) that the workers will look upon their participation in it as a crime as an iniquitous shooting at each other for the sake of Capitalist profits, the vanity of dynasties, the fulfillment of secret diplomatic agreements, that the war calls forth indignaion and revulsion among the workers. 3) that the said crisis and the said psychological condition of the workers, Socialists should take advantage of to rouse the people, and hasten the downfall of Capitalism. that all governments, without exception, can not begin the war without danger to themselves. 5) that the governments fear a proletarian revolution. 6)
that the governments should remember the Paris Commune (i. e. a civil war. the revolution of 1905 in Russia, etc. etc. All these are very clear ideas.
There is no guarantee in them that the revolution will take place. In them is emphasized the precise consideration of facts and tendencies. Any one who on the basis of these ideas and arguments states that the expected advent of the be learnt revolution turned out to be an illusion, exhibits not a Marxist but a Struvist and a renegade police relation to the revolution.
For a Marxist there is no doubt that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation, and moreover that not every revolutionary situation leads to a revolution. What are the signs of a revolutionary situation? We will probably not err, if we cite the following three leading signs. 1) The impossibility of the ruling classes to preserve their domination without change of form; one or another crisis at the top, apolitical crisis of the ruling class, creating a breach through which the indignation and dissatisfaction of the masses bursts through.
For the approach of the revolution it is insufficient that only, those on the bottom did not want to, but also that those on the top no longer can live as before. 2) The more than usual increase of the needs and misery of the exploited classes. 3) The marked growth, because of mentioned causes, of the activity of the masses who in peaceful periods permit themselves to be robbed in quiet and in stormy ones are drawn to independent, historical action, under the influence of those at the top as well as the entire atmosphere of crises. WithThe THE facts in the persecution are clear: there is a definite, concerted, thoroughly organized campaign to destroy thet the militant organization of the industrial proletariat. The employers in centres where the is strong are using all means to break the organization, including means that are a violation of the law, a repudiation of the government labor policy, and a direct threat to the army in France since the employ ers apparently act on the assumption that it is more important to crush the workers than carry on production. The government discourages mob violence against the and prefers to use the more successful method of legal terrorism. The bureaucracy of the of overtly and covertly engages in the conspiracy to smash its militant union rival.
While the government wages a war to make the world safe for democracy, Capitalism uses the opportunity to wage a civil war of its own against the to make Amerca safe for plutocracy and the plutocratic unionism of the of While all eyes are centered on the great trial in Chicago, an epochal trial in which capital and labor appear in their defiinite class character and proportions, the in other secions of the country is being persecuted and arrests and imprisonments proceed merrily on their way.
In Idaho, large numbers of have been arrested and imprisoned pending trial and the timber barons are happy. Montana has a similar record. Jim Weaver and Edward Horn have been convicted of criminal Syndicalism. Fellow Worker Brooks expressed the spirit of all when he said. Come what will to the individual, our cause is right and we cannot fail.
The record of the trial, should it ever be edited and published, would make one of the finest propaganda works in American Socialist literature. The testimony, the defense, goes to the roots of the social evils and the social problems of capitalist society.
The terrorism of the employers, their. shameless lust for profits, their disregard of all the laws of heaven and earth in their attitude toward the workers, the shameless collusion that often. prevails between the employers and the out these objective changes, independent of the will not only of separate groups and parties, but of separate classes as well, revolution, according to general conceptions, is impossible. The conjunc tion of all these objective changes is what is called a revolutionary situation.
There was such a situation in Russia in 1905 and during all revolutionary periods in the West. But there was the same revolutionary situation in the sixties of the last century in Germany and in 1859 1861 and 1879 1880 in Russia although no revolutions occurred at the time. Why? Because not from every revolutionary situation there arises a revolution but only from such in which there is joined with the objective changes a subjective change as well, viz. the capacity of the revolutionary class to effect revolutionary mass actions, sufliciently powerful to break down or undermine the old government which will never fall, not even in periods of crises, if it is not overthrown.
Such is the Marxist attitude toward revolution, which were very often expressed and acknowledged and confirmed for us Russians by the experiences of the year 1905. The question is what was expected in this connection by the Basel manifmto in 1912 and what did take place in 1914 15. revolutionary situation was expected, briefly described by the phrase an economic and a political crisis. Did Trial officers of the laws alltthis, and more, is brought out vividly by the evidence.
The exploitation of the workers, their terrible conditions of life, misery and sorrow is transfigured by the awakening determination to end once and for all a social system that preys upon those who sustain it.
The trial cannot be judged adequately unless considered in relation to its background, the history of Capitalism and labor in this country within the past fifteen years. And this history shows the onward, brutal march of Capitalism, strengthening itself, increasing the workers yield of surplus value, emphasizing its control of the nation, entering into a new epoch of its existence, more malevolent and powerful than ever. But this tendency of Capitalism produces a new tendency the awakening to consciousness and action of the great industrial proletariat of unskilled labor, expressing itself through the The history of the is the history of the development of unskilled labor, that great industrial and social force which is destined to overthrow Capitalism and erect the newsocial structure of industrial communism. The history of the and particularly its attitude today and during the trial, demonstrates the great moral and physical power latent in the industrial proletariat, which requires only the impact of a favorable situation to act in the performance of the historic mission of the working class.
The reaction considered that by arresting the leaders the would collapse like a house of cards. But you cannot destroy a mass movement in that simple way. The has not collapsed, will not collapse until the conditions of its existence pass away and that won be until Socialism is established. The Labor Defender wittily says: If there is one thing the great trial is proving it is that Fellow Worker Wobbly is the greatest of all leaders. Exactly; a militant organization, of labor depends upon its own initiative and action, upon its own moral and physical reserves. The is the militant proletariat in action.
Urgent: Money is needed, and needed immediately, for the Defense Fund. Contribute yourself, and get others to contribute. Give until it hurts Capitalism.
it take place? Undoubtedly, yes. The, Socialist Chauvinist, Lensch (who was much more honest in expressing his views, than the hypocrites Cunow, Kautsky, Plechanoff Co. even said that we are living through a peculiar revolution (vide page of his pamphlet. German Social Democracy and the War, Berlin, 1915. The political crisis was self evident. Not one of the governments was sure of the next day, not one was free from the danger of a financial collapse, loss of territory or expulsion from its own country (as, for instance, the Belgian government was expelled. All the governments are living at the edge of a volcano; all are making appeals to the heroism of the masses.
The political regime of Europe is completely shaken and no one will deny that we have entered (and entering further still am writing this on the day when Italy has entered the war. into an epoch of great political disturbances. If Kautsky two months after the declaration of war wrote (Oct. 2, 1914, The Nene Zeit) that never is the government so strong and the parties so weak as at the commencement of a war, it is but one of the samples of the counterfeit historical science of Kautsky for the benefit of Sudekum and other opportunists.
Never does a government require the agreement of all the parties of the ruling classes and the peaceful subservience to their rule of the exploited classes, as in times of war. At the commencement of war, especially in a country expecting a quick victory, the government appears all powerful, yet nobody, at no time, and nowhere in the world, connected the expectation of a revolutionary situation exclusively with the moment of commencement of the war, and therefore never identified the appearance with the actuality.
That the European war will be butdensome, beyond comparison with o thers, everybody knew and acknowledged. The experiences of the war confirms this more and more and more. The misery of the masses is terrible, and the efforts of the governments, bourgeoisie and opportunists to conceal the misery meet with frequent disaster. The profits of certain groups of Capitalists are scandalously high.
The intensification of contradictions is enormous. Suppressed indignation of the masses, vague longing of stupified and lowest strata of society for kindly. democratic. peace, the beginning of revolt below all these are evident. And the more war is prolonged and intensified the more governments develop and are obliged to develop the activity of the masses, call them to exceptional, extraordinary efforts and sacrifices. The experiences of war like the experiences of every crisis in history, of every misery and catastrophe in the life of man, stupefies and breaks down some but at the same time harden: and enlightens others. In general besides, in the world history, the numbers and strength of the latter exceeds the former, with the exception of certain instances of breakdown and destruction of this or that government. The conclusion of peace not only is unable at once to put an end to these miseries and to all this intensification of contradictions, but on the contrary in many respects makes the misery even more burdensome, and especially more evident for the most backward masses of the people. In a word, a revolutionary condition in the majority of the leading countries and great powers of Europe is at hand. In this respect the expectations of the Basel manifesto have been fully realized. To deny this truth directly or indirectly or to be silent about it as do Cunow, Plechanoff, Kautsky 81 Co. means to be telling the greatest untruth, to deceive the working class and to serve the bour. geoisie. To be continued)