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vestment, economic nationalism means the interest in normal foreign trade, etc. But nationalism is also to express the belief that the economic interests of a nation as a whole, including all classes, may be in conflict with those of another nation. This is the view of Otto Bauer, who, after Kautsky, may be taken as the leading Marxian authority on this subject.
The all-important problem of imperialism was to have been discussed at the proposed International Socialist Congress, planned to be held in Vienna, on August 21, 1914. Otto Bauer, undoubtedly the most eminent of Austrian Socialists after Victor Adler, was to have reported to the International Congress on this subject, and was delegated to bring in a resolution, which would have been the most important of all Socialist declarations on the causes of war. We do not have his resolution or his report, but we are able to give, in his own words, the central thought of his great work, Imperialismus und die Nationalitaetenfrage.
THE PRESENT NATIONALISTIC SYSTEM OF PRODUCTION AS
THE CAUSE OF WAR
“We do not say that there are no conflicts of interests between the nations, but we say, on the contrary, that as long as exploitation and oppression continue there will be conflicts of interests between nations.” But exploitation and oppression, according to the Socialist view, as presented by Bauer, will continue until the establishment of a Socialist society, in which there will be no economically or politically independent nations. International trade instead of being discouraged will be encouraged, so that all would rapidly become parts of one economic whole, so dependent on one another that no hostilities would be practical, while complete political independence would also become unthinkable.
That is, as long as the present capitalistic form of society lasts, with its division of the world into economic units called nations, the economic interests of all the people of the various countries, including those of the wage-earners, will continue to conflict with one another. As far, then, as the working people confine their calculations to the immediate future and to social and labor reforms to be carried out under the present nationalistic system, they may be economically interested in war-provided, of course, their nation is victorious, and the cost of the war is not too high. This is true, however, only as long as capitalism and nationalism last, and it is always to the ultimate interest of the working people, as opposed to their immediate interest, to stand for internationalism as against nationalism. According to the view of Bauer, which would probably have been indorsed by the International Congress, since the official report is usually indorsed, those Socialists who place immediate interests before ultimate interests have motives for entering into a policy of nationalism and imperialism, similar to those of the capitalists and other social classes which have become militaristic and now support war. From Bauer's standpoint, the only consideration that could hold such Socialists back from war would be the possibility of defeat or the too great cost of victory, a consideration which is evidently of equal weight with non-Socialists. It is hardly necessary to point out the bearing of this view on the action of those Socialists who have favored the present war. A radical himself, Bauer holds that only radical Socialists who place the larger expediency above the smaller (to use an expression of Morley's), can be relied upon to oppose war.
The present position of the majority of Socialists as to the questions connected with war, however, does not go so deeply into the question, and may be best given by a few quotations from Morris Hillquit, the leading spokesman of the American Socialists. These quotations are from articles written shortly after the outbreak of the present conflict. They do not take into account any of the new positions taken by various Socialist groups as a result of the war, and may, therefore, be taken as a summary of the Socialist attitude before the great world drama we are witnessing. Bauer, like Kautsky, is a leader and creator of Socialist thought, but his mature views had not yet been fully accepted and no official action had been taken by an International Congress. Hillquit, on the contrary, is an exponent of Socialist policy in that form which it had already assumed before the war and still holds at the present moment. If we wish to know what the Socialist thought on war was becoming immediately before the present struggle, we must look to Kautsky and Bauer. If we wish to know what it actually was, we must look to Hillquit. It is true, as Kautsky points out in passages we have quoted below (see Chapter XIX), and as the views of Bauer and Kautsky we have just quoted clearly demonstrate, that the actual Socialist policy entirely overlooked some of the most fundamental and practical phases of the subject. But we are concerned in the present volume with the Socialist position in connection with the present war, and if we are to understand how the Socialists have applied their policy, or adapted it to the present struggle, it is necessary, as a point of departure, first of all to state the exact condition of the Socialist policy as to war (and related questions) immediately before the war
-even if this policy should prove, at some points, and by the later confessions of the Socialists themselves, to have been inadequate, contradictory, and erroneous.
We shall, therefore, conclude this chapter with Hillquit's summary: SUMMARY, BY MORRIS HILLQUIT, OF THE SOCIALIST POSI
TION BEFORE THE WAR (Morris Hillquit has for years been a member of the National Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of America, and is now its representative in the International Socialist Bureau. As far as one individual can express a party's attitude, Hillquit best expresses the majority opinion of the American Party. These excerpts are from the Metropolitan Magazine, 1914-15.)
To begin with, there always has been a radical difference between the Socialist conceptions of war and the philosophy of the non-Socialist peace movements. The bourgeois peace advocates usually consider war and militarism as deliberate institutions voluntarily maintained by modern governments in pursuance of a mistaken policy. Their condemnation of the evil is based mainly on business reasons or ethical grounds. They argue that war and armaments involve enormous losses in lives and property and constant unproductive expenditures, and they naïvely believe that as soon as it will be demonstrated to the powers that be that war does not pay, they will suspend that branch of their business. The Socialists, on the other hand, realize that under existing conditions wars are inevitable.
The Socialists assert that wars are bound to become more frequent and violent as the capitalist system of production approaches its climax. The modern capitalists, especially those engaged in large-scale industries, make more profits than they can consume or profitably employ in their own business. They are forced to look for new investments, and as the resources of their own country are fully exploited, they must turn to new fields. Thus arises the necessity for foreign trade, with a particular predilection for colonies and dependencies. The latter leads to the modern policy of imperialism.
"Imperialism" is a comparatively new term in the political dictionary of Europe, and its definition is somewhat vague. It means more than the traditional colonial policy for centuries pursued by the governments of Spain, Holland, England, and France. It implies not only the possession of colo
nies beyond the direct geographical boundaries of a nation, but also the endeavor to unite all such colonies with the mother-country into a dominant international power-an empire, and to steadily extend the territory of such empire. Usually it includes a programme of monopolizing the natural resources and trade of the colonies and securing their aid for the defense of the empire without giving them a voice in its government.
The Socialist diagnosis of the causes of modern wars may thus be summed up in one sentence: The basic cause is capitalism; the contributory causes are imperialism, militarism, social unrest, international grudges, and pseudo-patriotism.
This is the accepted Socialist view as it has gradually evolved from 1866, when the subject was first discussed in the Congress of the old International in Geneva, until 1907, when the International Congress at Stuttgart formulated the most complete and authoritative Socialist expression on war and militarism. ...
And so the nations of Europe prepared for war. They were ready for it. For years they have been watching and threatening one another. For years Europe has been an armed camp. The clash might have come somewhat earlier. It might have been delayed somewhat. But in the long run it was inevitable. It is idle to place the blame for the monstrous crime on any particular nation or government, to seek the aggressor. Capitalism has made this war, and all the nations are the victims. ...
The Socialists believe that modern wars are mainly caused by the industrial competition between nations. In this view wars must continue so long as the capitalist system prevails, and will only be ended with the establishment of the Socialist co-operative commonwealth and the federation of non-competing nations.
This undoubtedly expresses the view of the average Socialist before the present war. There has been a great deal of open disagreement, however, about these questions among Socialists in recent years. And the movement has been nearly equally divided on some of the most important issues. Hillquit, for example, as we have just seen, says that the interests of capital