Tuesday, February 11, 2014


They told us we must defend our country but we had no country. They told us that the violation of Belgium, and the “ the rights of small nations,” was the issue for which we must sacrifice and shed our blood. It was a lie. They said it was to “stamp out militarism” and to “save civilisation”  And they lied. We expected the truth and were given lies upon lies. They saw the war coming. And they lied. Capitalism showed on August 4th, 1914, that it would fight with every weapon at its disposal to settle its sectional differences. There would be no limits to the application of its deadly forces. To tell the workers other than this truth is to tell another a lie.

To all who are not blinded by passion and unreason, the motives for war put forward officially by all belligerents are utterly at variance with the true causes. The influence which impels towards war today is the influence of capitalism. Every war now is a capitalist move for new markets, and it is a move capitalism must make or perish.  Each and all, the governing classes are fighting frantically to maintain their historic eminence or to establish themselves in a firmer position. 
War exposes all that is rotten and decaying. It subjects all peoples, ideas, organizations, institutions and systems to an inexorable test. The end of wars will come with the establishment of socialised industry 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 and fraternity will prevail.

The Real Foe

Meanwhile the million men Kitchener asked for at first have become inadequate. The war having developed into a "fortress war," in which practically every available man and boy capable of carrying a gun, among a population of one hundred and twenty millions, is forced to add his body as a handful of clay to the ramparts about countries which belong to his exploiters, a torrent of blood is needed to flood the "enemy" from their trenches. Hence every "fit" man in these islands is required for the butcher’s job. What a spectacle International Capitalism is preparing!

With such a deluge of blood imminent, with such a colossal avalanche of suffering about to be let loose upon the world, it is pertinent to ask again, as we have asked before, what and whose mighty interest is worth such butchery, such prodigal wasting of precious life, such maiming of strong, shapely and eminently useful bodies, such wrecking of virile minds, such hopeless ruin and black devastation as is being spread over the fairest parts of the earth.

Those who call you to battle give many reasons why you should go. They talk of patriotism who wring fortunes out of the provision of shoddy khaki and rotten boots to the men upon whose boots and clothing the result of the war may ultimately depend ; they talk of the rights of small States who applauded the Jameson raid ; they talk of the sanctity of the bond who flouted the provisions of the "Railwaymen's Charter" ; they talk of honour whose word swindled electorates have many times found to be as bad as their bond. But in their most candid moments they, realising that none of these vaporous phrases will suffice to cover the reeking, quivering mass of human agony they know they are about to spread over the plains of Europe, proclaim that, whatever the cause of the war, the result will be the smashing of the most serious industrial rival Great Britain knows. To the discerning ear this hoped-for "result" of the war proclaims itself the war's real cause also.

If there is any sound argument in this for workingmen of this country shooting their fellow-workers of other lands, it will be revealed by logical reasoning. The argument will not, however, stand logical handling from the worker's point of view. If we are to go out and shoot those who compete with us for work, it is folly to go outside the country to do it, for our closest and most direct competitors are not the foreign workmen, but our fellows in the same street.

But the whole theory that the ultimate competition lies between worker and worker is false. The true competitor of the worker is machinery. It is advancing machinery which provides the unemployed, and will continue to do so tho' every German is wiped off the face of the earth....Since the ultimate competitor is not the German workers, but machinery, it follows that the real foe of the workers are those who own and control the machinery: the master class....

The Real Enemy of the Working Class is the Master Class. Workers Unite!

December 1914

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