Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The threat of war will exist as long as the capitalist system of industry remains in existence. Even  a brief study of the nature and causes of modern war is sufficient to prove that war is an essential part of capitalism. War is not the cause of the troubles of society. The opposite is true. War is a symptom. The only way to fight against war is to fight against the causes of war. Since the causes of war are part of the inner nature of capitalism, it follows that the only way to fight against war is to fight against capitalism. The end of wars will come with the establishment of social and industrial democracy the world over. The Socialist Party calls upon all the workers to join it in its struggle to reach this goal, and thus bring into the world a new society in which peace, fraternity, and human brotherhood will be the dominant ideals.  This is the  class war, the war to end wage-slavery, to end capitalism with its evils of misery and degradation and crime. The war to end war. And until that war is ended we do not want peace—because such peace will be the peace of the beggar and the slave. The only possible struggle against war is the struggle for the workers’ revolution. Marxists must be absolutely clear on this point. There is no “separate” or “special” struggle against war. The struggle against war cannot be divorced from the day-to-day struggles of the workers.  By overthrowing capitalist economy and supplanting capitalism with a socialist economy, it will remove the causes of war. Under socialism there will no longer exist the basic contradictions that lead to war. Artificial economic barriers based on national boundaries will be removed. The expansion of the means of production, under the owner-ship and control of society as a whole, will proceed in accordance with a rational plan adjusted to the needs of the members of society. Socialism will remove the limits on consumption, and hence permit the scientific and controlled development of production. Thus, under socialism, war will disappear because the causes of war will be done away with.  Every step on the path to socialism is a blow at war.

The Call of the Patriot

FELLOW Workers,—During the last three months there has been staring at you from every hoarding, from trams, 'buses, and stations, from vans, warehouse walls, and notice boards on churches, from the pages of the newspapers and every other available space, the statement that: "YOUR KING AND COUNTRY NEED YOU."

This statement, showing, if you will but think, how important and vitally necessary you are to the ruling class, has been re-iterated again and again, with innumerable variations, from countless pulpits and platforms up and down the country. Urgent appeals by the hundred thousand have been made to all " fit" men to enlist; every device and every weapon that the "liberty-loving" masters could invent, from the call of a sham patriotism to the wholesale backing of employers; from lying to bribery; from silent coercion to the insults of the white feather brigade, and from this to the deliberate suppression of hostile opinion, have been used either to entice or drive you into the ranks. For you, fellow workers, are today, as you always are, indispensable to the bosses, both for the production of profits in the "piping times of peace" (!) and for cannon fodder and the slaughter of the "enemy" in times of war.

Without you the masters are helpless; without you the State collapses and the rulers of the one country cannot hope to win in their struggle against the rulers of another country ; and knowing this, and recognising YOUR supreme importance, the bosses have been moving heaven and earth, spending money like water, lying like Christians, combining cajolery with economic pressure, and ringing the changes on every form of cant, from "stirring" appeals to your manhood to virulent denunciation of your indifference or backwardness, in order to make YOU go and fight battles from which you will receive the usual rewards of empty honour, broken health, wounded bodies, or the eternal silence of the grave...

...In England it is declared to be a war for "liberty, righteousness, democracy," and other bunkum—although the bosses occasionally give the game away by stating, as the "Sunday Chronicle" of August 30th, that "the men in the trenches are fighting on behalf of the manufacturer, the millowner, and the shopkeeper." In Germany it is declared to be a conflict in which the ruling class of England, Russia, and Japan have combined to reduce her to the level of a fifth-rate power, and to render her politically, militarily, and above all economically, impotent for ever. And each aide, using every possible device, has dragged you and your fellow-workers abroad into the arena...

...We Socialists would therefore ask you to put on your considering caps and think for yourselves, instead of allowing the capitalist Press, Tory, Liberal, and sham Labour, to think for you. When the war is over, and you are tramping the country, as you will be in many cases; when you and those near and dear to you hunger and thirst; when you feel the whip of semi-starvation and the gaunt spectre of want is your daily companion, will your "King and Country" need you then? Does not your daily experience teach you that you have no country, that you are landless and propertyless? Does it not show you that here, as in Germany, the land and its fatness belong to the masters, your portion being a mean tenement in a mean street, with the bare means of existence, and then only if you are lucky enough to get work? When the bosses ask you to fight—to offer your lives for "democracy and liberty against militarism"; when they pose as the defenders of oppressed people, and express themselves deeply concerned to uphold justice, humanity, and right, ask them why it is that they have so long practised in England—practise to this day the tyranny and oppression they now denounce abroad....

...If, therefore, you are wise, if you are men, if you are really anxious for freedom from slavery, then look around you here, and you will soon learn the truth, that it is your class which is denied this freedom, and denied it by the very class who now call upon you to act. One law for the rich and one for the poor. Adulation, servility and the world's wealth for the rich; grinding toil, insecurity and eternal hardship for the poor—these are the commonplace of every day life. Is it not so?
Your duty, then, is to fight against this, and the only way you can fight successfully is by understanding your position in society, realising that wars and hate, malice and theft, oppression and greed, class rule and the travail of the workers the world over, are to-day born of capitalism. This it the root evil; it is this you have to war against if you would be free, for all else is futile; and when you do this, BUT NOT BEFORE, then liberty will be with you as your possession; there will be no oppressed peoples, for the might of the working class, organised consciously for the overthrow d the modern octopus, will have conquered, and the international commonwealth will be here.”

November 1914

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