178 THE CLASS STRUGGLE hit the hide of the people themselves. It must be conclusively proven, that the victorious war was an illusion only. revolution needs a material impetus. It might be said that the sense of justice of human beings is easier awakened by the cruel pangs in their own stomachs than by the simple fact of brigandage being committed in another country, especially when the brigandage is being justified with the explanation that it will provide a necessary solution of the food question. hungry stomach in the first place thinks of satisfying its own needs at any price.
An unsuccessful war usually leads to a revolution. successful war strengthens the position of the ruling power. This is very necessary to beer in mind. This should always be remembered when we are considering the possibilities of a revolution in Germany. There are many indications that Germany just now is spending her days in hopeful celebration of victories. The radical Socialists do their best in explaining that the victories are very wretched ones and that the material value of these victories is very questionable. Yet, this knowledge must reach the people by actual experience. The continuation of privations and superhuman efiorts is the only thing which will bring the understanding of the true situation. If in spite of the victories and in spite of victorious conclusions of peace the people will find that the situation has not been actually improved, but that instead of that there is more misery, more rebellions, more suppression of the liberty of that and other people, then the revolutionary movement will rise above the edges of the social bowl.
And then there is another important consideration, which has not been sufficiently taken into account The best schooled elements of the labor movement of the Central Powers, are kept under the heel of an iron war discipline. They are in the army. Last year the Berlin Vorwarts published statistics about the trade unions of Austria.
The membership of these organizations has decreased during three years by about 70 per cent. The decrease is due to the fact that the army of labor is being transformed into an army of soldiers. The same thing may be said about the German labor movement. The army of labor now consists mostly of women, children, old men and prisoners of war. The women and children, as experience shows, may, it the conditions become altogether unbearable, start a revolution. It has been noticed that women may ardently tight in street rebellions. Yet the first premise of a successful rebellion is that the greater part of the army turn their arms to help the popular rebellion against the ruling power. revolution may start with a general strike, but the general strike must then at the very outset of the revolutionary enthusiasm turn into a revolution. If a general strike is prolonged it THE FUTURE OF THE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION 179 will kill the rebellion. So did actually happen during the great strikes in Germany a few weeks ago.
It should also be said that the revolutionary propaganda carried on on behalf of the Western Allied governments is more apt to confuse than to clear the situation. The effect of such propaganda on the German people is very much similar to that of the propaganda carried on by the German government in the United States. It is being despised and real popular movements seek by all means to avoid being identified with the propaganda of a foreign government because it damages their cause.
Persons familiar with the present situation in Germany and particularly in the German labor movement are of the opinion that just now no revolutionary uprising in Germany should be expected. In the foregoing we have tried to explain why it is so. These reasons, of course, can not remain very long, but at a certain time they have an influence all their own. l Some time ago Comrade Boudin wrote in The Class Struggle an article named The Tragedy of the Russian Revolution. The tragedy of the Russian revolution, in his opinion, is that the guest work of social reorganization of Russia must take place in the midst of the world war. Yet this is not Russia greatest tragedy. On the contrary, it might be said that the war tremendously contributes to the success of the revolution by paralyzing the international forces of capitalism which, if the revolution had taken place in times of world peace, would have been more able to undertake concerted action toward the crushing of the Russian Socialists. We might even say that the very fact of the Russian revolution taking place at this time was a direct outcome of the war.
The greatest tragedy of the Russian revolutiOn is that this event of tremendous social importance, overwhelmingly more important than the Paris Commune so glorified by the International, is not only meeting indifiereuce on the part of socialist elements throughout the world, but, on the contrary, is met with open hostility on the part of the International officialdom, which has been intrusted with the duty of championing the cause of Socialism all over the world.