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RESOLUTION OF RUSSIAN AND POLISH DELEGATES An additional formulation proposed by the Russian and Polish delegates, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, and Martoff, was in part as follows:
In case a war should, nevertheless, break out, the Socialists shall take measures to bring about its early termination and strive with all their pouver to use the economic and political crises created by the war to arouse the masses politically and hasten the overthrow of capitalist class rule.
This threat and predictiori of a revolution to follow the war was finally incorporated in the Stuttgart resolution (see Chapter IV), and was adopted unanimously by the Congress of Piasel in 1912. (See Chapter VII.) Naturally the time has not yet come for its discussion in connection with the present war—though evidently it has already been abandoned by the ultra-nationalist Socialists.
THE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS AT COPENHAGEN (1910)
The Stuttgart resolution insists that the working classes are the sole opponents of war who can be relied upon. The following Congress at Copenhagen, in 1910, distinctly moderates this position, claiming only that the working classes have greater interests against war than any other class; though it still asserts that the organized workers alone have enough power to guarantee peace. The resolution contains an indirect recognition that there are other important forces besides the Socialists opposed to war in that it limits itself to the statement that wars will not “completely” cease before the end of capitalism, thereby suggesting that they may greatly diminish in frequency and intensity. Its most important sentences are the following:
The workers of all countries have no quarrels or difference which could lead to war. Modern wars are the result of capitalism, and particularly of rivalries of the capitalist classes of the different countries for the world market, and of the spirit of militarism, which is one of the main instruments of capitalist class rule and of the economic and political subjugation of the working class. Wars will cease completely only with the disappearance of the capitalistic mode of production. The working class, which bears the main burdens of war and suffers most from its effects, has the greatest interest in the prevention of wars. The organized Socialist workers of all countries are therefore the only reliable guaranty of universal peace.
This resolution shows very strongly the existing tendency of the Socialists to modify some of their most fundamental tenets with regard to the causes of war.
WEAKENING OF THE OPPOSITION TO IMPERIALISM Before passing to the proposed Socialist action to prevent war, it should be noted that there have been signs in recent years of the weakening of the opposition of a part of the Socialists to that economic and political policy which nearly all of them regard as the chief cause of war, that is, Imperialism. Imperialism, as we have seen, is the effort of the capitalists of a nation to secure control over markets or fields of investment to the exclusion, or disadvantage, of other capitalists. And it chiefly takes the form of colonies or “spheres of influence.” (See Chapter II.)
The historic attitude of Socialists to this ownership and exploitation of colonies was briefly expressed at the Congress of London, in 1896, in a resolution declaring that “whatever may be the pretext of colonial politics, whether it be religion, or for the purpose of advancing civilization, it is in reality nothing but the extension of the field of capitalist exploitation in the exclusive interest of the capitalist class.” And this is still the position of the International Movement to-day, having been reaffirmed at Stuttgart in 1907. It is noteworthy, however, that most of the Socialists of nations possessing colonies voted at that Congress to modify this policy, including a majority of the British and a large part of the French and Germans.
The Germans were nearly equally divided-Kautsky and Ledebour speaking against colonies, and Bernstein and David in favor of them, the labor union leaders being with the latter faction. Naturally all those now most strongly in favor of the present war were then in favor of compromise with governmental colonialism and vice versa.
It is useless to reproduce the arguments of those who favored colonialism, as all disclaimed any intention to compromise with imperialism. Nevertheless, the connection, even if indirect, is undeniable, and it can be no mere coincidence that these are the same persons who are now adopting so many other governmental arguments in support of the present war.
PROPOSED METHODS OF PREVENTING WAR:
THE INTERNATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE
That means of preventing war which has been longest discussed at Socialist Congresses, and more vigorously than ever in recent years, is the proposed international general strike. This project has attracted general public attention on account of its spectacular character, and it has been especially popular among the working people because, if it could succeed against war, it could probably succeed also in other less difficult situations, and might prove a sovereign means of securing all the demands of labor, including even the establishment of a new social order.
In the discussion of Socialist Congresses this double aspect of the general strike must be held in mind. It has been most frequently discussed as a remedy against war rather than a means to advance or to obtain Socialism, because war is recognized as the specific evil of our present society, and because extreme measures against war would secure a wider support than extreme measures used for any other purpose. At the same time, all Socialists, all labor unionists, and most of the working people are even more interested in the economic advance of their class than they are in the abolition of war. So that, in all Socialist discussions there are two conflicts, that between those who favor the general strike as against those who oppose it as a means of advancing the cause of labor or of accomplishing social
revolution and that between those who favor and those who oppose it as a means of preventing war.
So, when the general strike was first brought up at the Congresses of Brussels and Zurich, in 1891 and 1893, it was rejected by an overwhelming majority, whereas at the Congress of Stuttgart, in 1907, it had the support of practically half of the Congress, and would have had some prospect of being carried at the proposed International Congress at Vienna in 1914, but for the fact that it was feared that the Germans and Austrians would refuse to accept it, and so its adoption would have created a dangerous split in the International Movement between those very groups where the split was to be most avoided (the Germans and Austrians being against, and the French and British in favor of, the measure). It was for this reason that Jaurès publicly declared, a few days before his death, that he did not intend to force the issue at Vienna—as we show in the last document quoted in this chapter (the discussion of the proposed international strike at the special Congress of the French Party in the middle of July, 1914).
The question had also been brought up before the British labor unions and they discussed action along these general strike lines at the time of the Morocco affair, 1911, as shown in another quotation in this chapter. On the other hand, the Germans, while denouncing the militarist party at the time of the Morocco crisis, proposed no radical remedy.
THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONGRESS OF BRUSSELS
(1891) The discussion in 1891 and 1893 shows that in twenty years the international has passed through nothing less than a revolution in its attitude towards the possible use of the general strike. It will be seen that the So