30 THE CLASS STRUGGLE from the industry to the economic entity called the nation.
Mind you, not the racial or cultural nation, but the economic one. Or, to be more exact, it is not a question of the nation at all, but of the political entity, the state, representing an economic entity co extensive with it, and whether it happens to correspond more or less to any nation, as in the case of Ger many, or comprises a conglomeration of nations, as in the case of Austria. For we must always bear in mind that the Policy of August is not merely a German, but a German Austrian policy. Since August 4, 1914, the German Socialists of the Empire (Reichsdeutsche) and the Austro Germans have been very closely associated, and have followed the same course of action. As there is no Austrian nation, the motives behind this course of action could not possibly be nationalistic in the ordi nary sense of the word.
And the writings of the Austrian Social Patriotic leader, Dr.
Karl Renner, and of many important German Socialists (of the Empire) leave very little room for doubt that the determining considerations with them are the economic interests of the working class. But these interests are seen in the light of what might be called an enlarged trade unionism.
The resemblance of this point of view to the old line, pure andsimple, trade union point of view becomes manifest at the very outset of the discussion, when we attempt to inquire just whose interests exactly it is that are being looked after. For right here we shall find that, whatever the expressions used, the inter est is limited so as not to include the entire working class of the world. In a general, fraternal sort of way, both the pure and simple trade unionist as well as the August 4th Socialist are interested in the welfare of the entire working class the world over.
But each has a special and particular interest in a certain portion of that working class. One is interested in the workers of his industry and the other in those of his country.
And when we go a step further we find that this specialization of interest is not due necessarily to any selfishness or lack of sympathy with the rest of the workers, but rather to a common conception of the nature of the case, and the resemblance of the SOCIALIST POLICY IN PEACE AND WAR 31 two points of view becomes an identity. The August 4th Socialist, like the old line trade unionist, believes that the welfare of the workers is bound up, as long as the capitalist system lasts, with the welfare of the economic entity of which they happen to be a part. What the industry is to the one, the country is to the other. If the country is prosperous work is abundant, wages high, conditions of work healthful, etc. etc. The workers are not only well off, but in a better position to fight for their emancipation than under adverse industrial conditions. But the prosperity of a country depends upon its position in the world, and this position can only be obtained or maintained by fighting for it since we, unfortunately, do live in a world of fight and struggle. The different economic entities called countries, like the industries of old, are struggling with each other for economic advantages international politics being very much the same as the national variety, and war being merely a continuation of politics with different means. Whatever country wins in this struggle has secured an economic advantage, has taken hostages of the future. And since the prosperity of the country means the prosperity of its working class, the workers have a stake in their country, for which they must of necessity fight when a fight is on in which that prosperity is seriously threatened.
When the German majority Socialist fights for Germany place in the sun, it is not because he wants the German capitalists to bask in it but because he wants the German working class to share in the fruit which the sunshine will ripen for the whole German country. It is, of course, a great pity that the prosperity of the German workers should involve a struggle for advantages, the advantage of thevGerman workers depending on disadvantages to the workers of other countries. But that is something over which we have no control. It is all the fault of this cursed capitalist system of ours, which we, the followers of the Policy of August 4th, are just as anxious to abolish as any other kind of Socialists. But as long as the capitalist system exists the different capitalist groups called nations or countries will fight for economic advantages, and as long as they do fight for them these advantages will go to the victor. So long, therefore, as this system endures the interests