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Socialists and World War I: Turn the imperialist war into a civil war

Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.

By Doug Enaa Greene

February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.

Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.

“It is a fabrication of the German High Command”, Lenin is said to have remarked when he saw a copy of Vorwaerts, the newspaper of the German Social Democracy which announced their vote in favour of war credits. So strongly did Lenin believe in the revolutionary Marxist credentials of the German SPD that he refused to believe that they could ever support an imperialist war. Lenin was not the only socialist shocked by the SPD's decision. Others on the revolutionary left were driven to despair. Rosa Luxemburg seriously contemplated suicide. Leon Trotsky said ‘The telegram telling of the capitulation of the German Social Democracy shocked me even more than the declaration of war, in spite of the fact that I was far from a naïve idealising of German socialism.”[1] The Bolshevik Nikolai Bukharin called the collapse of the Second International, “the greatest tragedy of our lives.”[2]

Just a few years before in 1907, the parties of the Second International, pledged themselves to support the following resolution: “In case war should break out anyway it is their duty to intervene in favour of its speedy termination and with all their powers to utilise the economic and political crisis created by the war to arouse the people and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.”[3] The betrayal of the Second International, represented a capitulation of avowedly “revolutionary” parties to support for the war aims of their bourgeois governments. And this treason to the revolutionary cause extended beyond socialists to anarchists such as Peter Kropotkin and the major syndicalist union in France, the CGT. Leon Jouhaux of the CGT even gave a speech at funeral for the murdered socialist pacifist Jean Jaures supporting French war mobilisation It seemed that the revolutionary left was powerless to stop the slaughter and to respond to the profound social, economic and political crises that the war exacerbated and unleashed. And while opposition to the war developed in the belligerent countries and new revolutionary currents emerged – it was only the Bolshevik Party guided by Lenin, which formulated a clear understanding not only of the causes of the war, the betrayal of the socialist parties, but developed a clear strategy of how to end the war in favour of socialist revolution.

The dislocation of the war

Upon the declaration of war in August 1914, everyone from the jubilant patriotic crowds, soldiers marching in brand new uniforms through the boulevards to the front, and the ruling class expected that the war would be over by Christmas. However, the result was not a splendid little war, but a long and grueling modern mechanised war of trenches, poison gas and machine-guns where tens of thousands would be mowed down to capture a few yards of territory. To give one example, during the four month long 1916 Battle of the Somme, one million were killed, 20,000 of them on the first day. By the time the war came to an end in 1918, the crowns of three empires were toppled and ten million soldiers died in order to determine, in the end, that it would be the Allied ruling classes who would be enslaving the colonies of the Central Powers.

The war not only changed the political map of Europe and the colonial world, but it also led to massive social disruption in all the warring countries. Due to the massive armies drafted, there was a shortage of male labourers, so millions of women found themselves in factories, often for the first time. As opposed to the pre-war economy where the market decided, in order to conduct the war, the state planned production in line with their military needs – ultimately leading to developed forms of state capitalism, most notably in Germany. This meant a decline in the production of consumer goods. Furthermore, the drafting of agricultural workers and the cut off of imports meant that there was rationing and a shortage of food. By 1917 in Germany, the average diet was a third of that needed and over the course of the war, and at least 750,000 died of malnutrition. The shortage of basic goods and food meant that there were rising prices along with stagnant or falling wages that led to rising discontent among the masses.[4] At the same time, the ruling classes, especially those involved in armaments, made great profits from all of this.

At the front, there were mutinies among the armed forces who refused to be sacrificed in useless offensives led by incompetent officers. To give one example, in April 1917, nearly half of the French Army on the Western Front was affected by mutinies. Up to 30,000 soldiers left their trenches and refused to fight. The government managed to keep the mutinies largely secret from the public. The army repressed the mutineers holding 3400 courts martial and 554 mutineers were sentenced to death, yet over 90% had their sentences commuted. The government promised to improve conditions and cease the suicidal attacks. However, more extensive mutinies would lead to the breakdown of the Russian and German armies, who would turn on their governments and bring about revolutions in their countries which would end the war.[5]

Opposition

The trade unions, which traditionally defended the living standards of workers, remained unmoved by the crisis the war had unleashed. The unions pledged themselves to class peace for the duration of the war. Even more than that, the unions and socialist leaders cooperated with the bourgeoisie as hours were increased, conditions deteriorated and discouraged strikes. However, as the war dragged on, the situation for workers grew ever more desperate and they fought back through unauthorised strikes. In France, strikes increased from a 1914-5 low of 314 to 696 in 1917. In Germany, strikes had practically ceased after the declaration of war, but began increasing steadily in 1915-6, led by a radical split from the SPD, the Independent Social Democratic Party, alongside syndicalists and the Revolutionary Spartacists.[6] And as the war continued, these strikes became less and less purely “economic” but took up political demands such as freeing political prisoners, ending martial law, and demanding an end to the war.

In Glasgow, strikes were led by a radical network of shop stewards led to the rent strike in 1915 against landlords raising rents on substandard housing. The strikes spread out from Glasgow into other British cities, causing the government to panic and pass legislation to restrict the rents. At the same time, in munition plants, the socialist-led Clyde Workers' Committee opposed British laws which made it illegal for engineers to leave their place of work. The Workers' Committee also protested working conditions in the factories and their paper, The Worker, was banned by the government for opposing the war. One of the editors of the paper and leader of the Clyde workers, William Gallacher, later a leader of the Communist Party of Britain, was sentenced in 1916 to six months in prison for his activities.

However, one of the most famous left-wing opponents of the war in Britain was the radical Scottish school-teacher, John McLean. MacLean opposed the war from its beginning, dismissed from his job and was first arrested in 1915. As a result, he became a full-time Marxist educator, helping to train Glasgow workers in revolutionary theory. In 1918, MacLean was imprisoned again, this time for sedition. At his trial in May 1918, MacLean led his own defense and gave his famous “Speech from the Dock” where he said:

I wish no harm to any human being, but I, as one man, am going to exercise my freedom of speech. No human being on the face of the earth, no government is going to take from me my right to speak, my right to protest against wrong, my right to do everything that is for the benefit of mankind. I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot... I only gave out these suggestions [to the workers] so that they might work out plans of their own if they thought fit to take action to bring about peace. I was convinced, and I am still convinced, that the working class, if they are going to take action, must not only go for peace but for revolution. I pointed out to the workers that, in order to solve all the problems of capitalism, they would have to get the land and the means of production.[7]

Naturally enough MacLean was sentenced to five years in prison for his unapologetic stand. He was freed following the armistice and able to take part in the Red Clydeside which led to the British army being ordered into Glasgow in January 1919 to put down labour unrest.

Over in Ireland, socialist James Connolly remained opposed to the war from the beginning. In April 1916, radial nationalists of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the socialist Citizens' Army led by James Connolly staged an uprising in Dublin. The Easter Uprising was crushed after a week by British troops, but it showed one thing clearly – the potential of fusing socialism with anti-colonial revolts. And although the revolt was unsuccessful, within two years the Irish would begin a full-fledged war against the British Empire.

Over in Austria, the radical Social Democrat Frederich Adler was so desperate at his party's support for the war that in October 21, 1916, Adler walked into a dining hall and shot the Prime Minister Count Karl von Stürgkh. Despite attempts to declare him insane, Adler was brought to trial in May 1917 where he used his trial to agitate against the war. Adler was found guilty for his act and sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted to 18 years imprisonment. However, following the collapse of the Habsburg Dynasty, Adler was released and played a leading role in the formation of the Austrian Republic.

In Italy, the government remained undecided for a year about whether to honor their treaty with the Central Powers or to join the Allies. Once war was declared, the Italian Socialist Party, unlike the majority of Second International parties maintained an anti-war position. However, this led to a pro-war split from the Party as nationalists led by Benito Mussolini left the PSI and rushed to enlist. At the same time, the Italian Socialist Party's anti-war position was not necessarily a revolutionary one – being “neither support, not sabotage” - in other words, while they wouldn't support the government's war aims, they wouldn't hinder them either.

However, the war was leading to a developing revolutionary situation in Italy. “The cost of living climbed from 100 to 624 between 1913 and 1920.”[8] Wages stagnated in comparison “the index for daily earnings rose from 3.54 lire to 6.04 lire over the same period [1915 to 1918].” Yet the capitalist class made out like bandits from the war. Just to take the example of automobiles, the prominent industry in Turin, the profit rates from 1914 to 1917 “were said to have risen from 8.2 to 30.5 percent.”[9] To top it all off, Italy gained little new territory from the war while a half million died and an equal number maimed. In 1917, the situation boiled over in the major industrial centers of Milan and Turin.

During May in Milan, there was a revolt against the war and privation. Then in August, the people of Turin were fed up with conscription, corruption, rationing and food shortages. After the police killed two people during a protest over bread, the working class erupted in anger. The army was sent in and even though the workers appealed to the soldiers not fire, 50 of them were killed and 800 wounded. More than a 1,000 demonstrators were forcibly conscripted and sent to the front. Although the revolt was put down, Italian workers and socialists cheered the Bolshevik Revolution, and the working class remained determined to fight. After the end of the war, Italy would be brought to the brink of revolution during the two red years of 1919-1920 as workers occupied their factories.

In the United States, which entered the war in April 1917, the Socialist Party remained formally opposed to the war. Although it should be noted that the SP had the same divisions in its ranks as the European Parties with more right-wing members such as Upton Sinclair supporting the war effort. However, Party leader Eugene Debs was a stalwart opponent of the war.

In his speeches of 1914 and 1915, Debs had declared:

I am not a capitalist soldier; I am a proletarian revolutionist. I do not belong to the regular army of the plutocracy, but to the irregular army of the people. I refuse to obey any command to fight from the ruling class... I am opposed to every war but one; I am for that war with heart and soul, and that is the world-wide war of the social revolution. In that war I am prepared to fight in any way the ruling class may make necessary...[10]

For his opposition to the war, Debs was labeled by President Woodrow Wilson as a “traitor to the country.” And after an anti-war speech urging resistance to the military draft in Canton Ohio in June 1918, he was arrested on ten counts of sedition and sentenced to ten years in prison. Debs would later run for President in 1920 from jail, receiving nearly one million votes, and would soon be pardoned.

The Socialist Party itself was hit hard by government repression for its anti-war position. Its mail was censored, pro-war members left the party and active antiwar members were either imprisoned or attacked by patriotic mobs. At the same time, the SP's anti-war stand along with the excitement generated by the Bolshevik Revolution led to a massive increase in its membership in foreign language federations, largely composed of radicalised Eastern Europeans who would became the base of the newly-formed Communist Party in 1919.

At the same time, the radical syndicalist union of the Industrial Workers of World came out against the war, but they did not put the bulk of their energy into opposing the war, but into organising workers. IWW leader, Big Bill Haywood hoped to keep a low profile for the Wobblies, but with prewar statements such as "It is better to be a traitor to your country than to your class”,[11] the Wobblies were subjected to coordinated governmental repression and mob violence. One of the most grotesque occurred in August 1917, when prominent antiwar Wobbly Frank Little was lynched in Montana.

This brings us to Germany. Although, the German SPD had unanimously voted for war in August 1914, there was widespread opposition within the Party to the war. For one, there were centrists such as Karl Kautsky (the so-called “Pope” of Marxism) claimed that Germany was fighting a defensive war against barbaric tsarism, but in 1915 turned against the war.

Yet Kautsky did not believe that the war was a natural result of capitalism and he was unwilling to decisively break with the pro-war socialists and did not advocate revolutionary measures to end the war. At the same time, there were radical workers in industry who were opposed to the government's economic and war policy. Old time SPD members, including parliamentary deputies, were also disenchanted with their party's position on the war as well. These groups along with the revolutionaries would later coalesce in 1917 to form the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD).

And lastly, there was the revolutionary communist opposition to the war primarily associated with two names – Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Rosa Luxemburg was a brilliant Jewish-Polish revolutionary socialist who had led the struggle against the Party's revisionist wing for decades. Luxemburg and a small circle of antiwar revolutionaries organised a small group that in 1916 would be known as the Spartacist League. The Spartacist League published antiwar literature, organise revolutionaries and vocally opposed the war – although they did not break with the SPD, rather they formed their own faction in the USPD. It would be to the Spartacists that the revolutionary masses of Germany would turn to.

Luxemburg's antiwar positions brought her into conflict with the police. She was arrested once in 1915, briefly released in 1916 only to be imprisoned again for the duration of the war. While in jail, Luxemburg managed to write an antiwar pamphlet, The Crisis of Social Democracy or better known as the Junius Pamphlet by the pseudonym she used. The Junius Pamphlet is a stirring indictment of the war, an analysis of the imperialist system which produced it and the betrayal of revolution by the International: "Shamed, dishonoured, wading in blood and dripping with filth, thus capitalist society stands. Not as we usually see it, playing the roles of peace and righteousness, of order, of philosophy, of ethics - but as a roaring beast, as an orgy of anarchy, as a pestilential breath, devastating culture and humanity - so it appears in all its hideous nakedness."[12]

The pamphlet was praised by antiwar revolutionaries across Europe, although not without criticism. Lenin for instance, who took Luxemburg to task for stating that under imperialism there can be no more national wars. To the contrary, Lenin argued that national wars by oppressed peoples had a major role to play in bringing down imperialism and unleashing socialist revolutions.

Although Luxemburg was a brilliant Marxist theorist, she was not as well-known as Karl Liebknecht, a veteran socialist and anti-militarist who was also a member of the SPD's Reichstag delegation. On December 2 1914, Liebknecht became the first member of the Reichstag to vote against war credits. In the coming months, he would be joined by many others. Liebknecht's principled stand made him a pole of attraction for those opposed to the war and a target of the Imperial Government. Liebknecht's position can be summed up with a simple phrase: “The Main Enemy is At Home!”

While the SPD and the Kaiser said that the main enemy of German workers was the tsar, the French or the English, Liebknecht cut through the bullshit to say. “The main enemy of the German people is in Germany: German imperialism, the German war party, German secret diplomacy. This enemy at home must be fought by the German people in a political struggle, cooperating with the proletariat of other countries whose struggle is against their own imperialists.”[13] In other words, it was the duty of soldiers and revolutionaries to turn their guns around – and strike at their own rulers.

For this position, Liebknecht was arrested, despite his parliamentary immunity, and sent to the Eastern Front. He refused to fight and, due to failing health, he was sent back to Germany. Yet on May 1, 1916 at a demonstration against the war in Berlin organised by the Spartacist League, Liebknecht shouted “Down with the War!” in full uniform. He was arrested for high treason and spent the remainder of the war in prison. Yet among radicalised and impoverished workers, calls for Liebknecht's release became a rallying cry for the end of the war and the promise of a socialist Germany.

Zimmerwald

On September 5, 1915, in the tiny remote village of Zimmerwald Switzerland thirty-eight anti-war socialists gathered to hold a conference to clarify their principles in regards to the war. The results of Zimmerwald would soon echo around the world. Yet at the time, Leon Trotsky one of the delegates remarked:

The delegates, filling four stage-coaches, set off for the mountains. The passers-by looked on curiously at the strange procession. The delegates themselves joked about the fact that half a century after the founding of the First International, it was still possible to seat all the internationalists in four coaches.[14]

The delegates included socialists from Russia, Menshevik and Bolshevik, Germany, France, Italy and Poland who passed a series of resolutions. These resolutions were moderate compared to what Lenin argued for. Yet the Zimmerwald Conference declared that the World War was not a war socialists should support and that it was caused by imperialism. The Zimmerwald conference called for an end to the war without annexations or indemnities. Significantly, the Zimmerwald Conference did not call for revolutionary struggle against the war or for a break with the pro-war socialists. A minority, known as the Zimmerwald Left, grouped around Lenin, supported these positions.

By April 1916 at the Kienthal antiwar conference things had radicalised much more. The resolutions called for not only end to the war, but to capitalism and explicitly attacked the pro-war socialists - demanding they cease voting for war credits and break the class peace. The Conference said that Socialists who did not do this should be sanctioned by the International. However, Lenin wanted a full break with the Second International and resolutions calling for revolutionary action by soldiers and for civil war. Although Lenin remained in a minority at Kienthal, the resolutions ultimately passed were closer to his positions.

Lenin

The anti-war resolutions passed at Zimmerwald and Kienthal spoke clearly against the pro-war socialist propaganda, and however unclear and uneven they may have been, they posed a revolutionary challenge to the existing order of imperialist blood and misery. And it was Lenin, more than anyone who was able to develop socialist antiwar ideas – theoretically and practically – into a program and a strategy to turn the imperialist war into a civil war.

Let us step back for a moment to the outbreak of the war, when Lenin was stunned by the social-democratic betrayal. Lenin did not abruptly turn to political agitation, but went to the library in order to read Hegel. The political and theoretical bankruptcy led Lenin to reflect on the foundations of Second International Marxism and to clear his mind of the cobwebs of old muddled thinking. Lenin scholar Michael Löwy traces Lenin’s break with the Second International at a philosophical level with its evolutionist, mechanical and gradualistic understanding of Marxism to his study of Hegel.

Löwy says, “The study of Hegelian logic was the instrument by means of which Lenin cleared the theoretical road leading to the Finland Station in Petrograd. In March-April 1917, freed from the obstacle represented by pre-dialectical Marxism, Lenin could, under pressure of events ... , [apply] himself to studying the problem [of revolution] from a practical and, concrete and realistic angle ...”[15]

Through a newly reinvigorated Marxism, Lenin undertook a study of imperialism, nationalism, revolution that enabled him to determine a course of action and see the new possibilities for struggle which the war had unleashed.

So what were the results of Lenin's studies?

Lenin defined the character of the First World War as imperialist character, proclaiming:

The present war is imperialist in character. This war is the outcome of conditions in an epoch in which capitalism has reached the highest stage in its development; in which the greatest significance attaches, not only to the export of commodities, but also to the export of capital; an epoch in which the cartelisation of production and the internationalisation of economic life have assumed impressive proportions, colonial policies have brought about the almost complete partition of the globe, world capitalism’s productive forces have outgrown the limited boundaries of national and state divisions, and the objective conditions are perfectly ripe for socialism to be achieved.[16]

And unlike Karl Kautsky, who said imperialism was just a policy of capitalism, and that capitalism may lead to a unity of capitalists and to the banishing of wars, Lenin claimed that Kautsky's theory of “ultra-imperialism” ignored the fundamental contradictions of imperialism and was only a screen to argue for unity with pro-war socialists and reformists. Rather, imperialism by the nature of its need for periodic redivision of colonies and spheres of influence inevitably leads to war. Thus, even if there was a general alliance among all the capitalist powers, according to Lenin this is “nothing more than a “truce” in periods between wars. Peaceful alliances prepare the ground for wars, and in their turn grow out of wars; the one conditions the other ...”[17]

The development of imperialism, as the latest phase of capitalism, allowed Lenin to formulate the reasons for the betrayal of Social Democracy:

The receipt of high monopoly profits by the capitalists in one of the numerous branches of industry, in one of the numerous countries, etc., makes it economically possible for them to bribe certain sections of the workers, and for a time a fairly considerable minority of them, and win them to the side of the bourgeoisie of a given industry or given nation against all the others. The intensification of antagonisms between imperialist nations for the division of the world increases this urge. And so there is created that bond between imperialism and opportunism... [18]

...This stratum of workers-turned-bourgeois, or the labour aristocracy, who are quite philistine in their mode of life, in the size of their earnings and in their entire outlook, is the principal prop of the Second International, and in our days, the principal social (not military) prop of the bourgeoisie. For they are the real agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement, the labour lieutenants of the capitalist class, real vehicles of reformism and chauvinism. In the civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie they inevitably, and in no small numbers. take the side of the bourgeoisie, the “Versaillese” against the “Communards”.[19]

Having diagnosed the problem, what course of action does Lenin propose for revolutionaries in light of the imperialist war? For one, Lenin says there can be no international unity with reformists, centrists or pro-war socialists. Rather, there needs to be a complete break with them. What is needed is a new revolutionary international that organises “the proletarian forces for a revolutionary onslaught against the capitalist governments, for civil war against the bourgeoisie of all countries for the capture of political power, for the triumph of socialism!”[20] In 1919, the nucleus of the Zimmerwald Left that upheld this perspective would later coalesce to form the Communist International.

Lenin also says that a revolutionary approach to the question of imperialist war cannot call for the ruling class to make peace. After all, if imperialism is the cause of war, it makes no sense to appeal to them to end it – that would only foster reformist illusions. Lenin also believed that communists should not call for peace in the abstract or for an end to all wars.

Lenin points out, communists are not pacifists since they do not oppose all war. Reactionary wars – for imperialism, to maintain capitalism, and slavery are to resolutely opposed by communists. “We fully regard civil wars, i.e., wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, slaves against slave-owners, serfs against land-owners, and wage-workers against the bourgeoisie, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”[21]

On the contrary, communists support the revolts of workers, peasants, soldiers and slaves as righteous. To condemn both in the same breath is not to be neutral, but to side with the oppressors.

Ultimately for there to be a revolutionary approach to an imperialist war, Lenin declares “During a reactionary war a revolutionary class cannot but desire the defeat of its government.”[22] And to strive to overthrow a government by civil war, that means revolutionaries have to not only welcome it, but to facilitate it:

However, such action cannot be launched without desiring the defeat of the government, and without contributing to such a defeat. The conversion of the imperialist war into a civil war cannot be “made”, any more than a revolution can be “made”. It develops out of a number of diverse phenomena, aspects, features, characteristics and consequences of the imperialist war. That development is impossible without a series of military reverses and defeats of governments that receive blows from their own oppressed classes.[23]

In terms of tactics to adopt in terms of a revolutionary approach to war, Lenin advocated the following:

1) voting against war credits; 2) violation of “civil peace”; 3) creation of an illegal organisation; 4) fraternisation among the soldiers; 5) support to all the revolutionary actions of the masses. The success of all these steps inevitably leads to civil war.[24]

And as opposed to fellow revolutionaries such as Trotsky, Bukharin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Radek, Lenin was able to see the potential for anti-colonial national liberation movements to bring capitalism to its knees. Lenin scoffed at those revolutionaries who saw the revolution where “one army lines up in one place and says, “We are for socialism”, and another, somewhere else and says, “We are for imperialism”, and that will be a social revolution!”

Rather, Lenin had a much more dialectical view of the possibilities for revolution. He believed that revolution would not strictly confined to workers against capitalists in the heartlands of capitalism, but that:

The revolutionary movement in the advanced countries would actually be a sheer fraud if, in their struggle against capital, the workers of Europe and America were not closely and completely united with the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of 'colonial' slaves who are oppressed by capital.

And too many sections of the left, even those who proclaim fidelity to Lenin forget these words:

To imagine that social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in the colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of the petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of the politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses against oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, against national oppression, etc.-to imagine all this is to repudiate social revolution.[25]

This perspective of Lenin would guide the Bolshevik Party during the Russian Revolution of 1917 – which was not just the overturn of Tsarist Absolutism and feudalism along with being the world's first socialist revolution – one of history's most successful anti-war movements.

Conclusion

Lenin, and other socialists and communists, were in a minority in their opposition to World War I – they were imprisoned, denounced and killed by the imperialist rulers and their social democratic lapdogs. Yet we should remember this – it was Lenin, Liebknecht, Luxemburg, and all the others who were proven right. They were correct to not only oppose the war, but to expose the system that spawned the slaughter and to organise to bring capitalism down. On this centennial of the First World War, we should remember their struggles, sacrifices and lessons.

Notes

[1] Leon Trotsky, “My Life,” Marxists Internet Archive. http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch18.htm

[2] Stephen F. Cohen, Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution. A Political Biography 1888–1938 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973, and London: Wildwood House, 1974), 22.

[3] “Resolution adopted at the Seventh International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/history/international/social-democracy/1907/militarism.htm

[4] Chris Harman, A People's History of the World: From the Stone Age to the New Millennium (New York: Verso Books, 2008), 408.

[5] “French Army Mutinies,” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Army_Mutinies

[6] Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy: The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 136.

[7] John MacLean, “Speech from the Dock,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/maclean/works/1918-dock.htm

[8] John M. Cammett, Antonio Gramsci and the Origins of Italian Communism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1969), 65.

[9] Gwyn A. Williams, Proletariat Order: Antonio Gramsci, Factory Councils and the Origins of Communism in Italy 1911-1921 (London: Pluto Press, 1975), 56-7.

[10] Quoted in Jean Tussey, ed., Eugene V. Debs (New York: Pathfinder, 1970), p. 231.

[11] Quoted in Melvyn Dubofsky, Big “Bill” Haywood (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 96.

[12] Rosa Luxemburg, “The Junius Pamphlet,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/ch01.htm

[13] Karl Liebknecht, “The Main Enemy is At Home!” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/liebknecht-k/works/1915/05/main-enemy-home.htm

[14] Leon Trotsky, “My Life,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/mylife/ch19.htm

[15] See Michael Löwy, On Changing the World: Essays in Political Philosophy, From Karl Marx to Walter Benjamin (Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press, 1993), 77-90. 84.

[16] V. I. Lenin, “The Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Groups Abroad,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/feb/19.htm

[17] V. I. Lenin, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: A POPULAR OUTLINE,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch09.htm

[20] V. I. Lenin, “The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1914/oct/x01.htm

[21] V. I. Lenin, “Socialism and War,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/s+w/ch01.htm

[22] V. I. Lenin, “The Defeat of One’s Own Government in the Imperialist War,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1915/jul/26.htm

[23] Ibid.

[24] V. I. Lenin, “The Junius Pamphlet,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/jul/junius-pamphlet.htm

[25] V. I. Lenin, “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up,” Marxists Internet Archive. https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/jul/x01.htm

Comments

The First World War

hello thank you FOR THE INFORMATION;
When war broke out in August 1914 the Socialist Standard had no
hesitation expressing the position of the Socialist Party of Great
Britain at the first opportunity. The September issue carried a front
page declaration denouncing the war as a “business war” over “questions
of the control of trade routes and the world’s markets” and stating that
there were therefore no interests at stake justifying “the shedding of a
single drop of working class blood”. It ended “The World for the
Workers”.
This internationalist, anti-war position was maintained throughout
the war. Socialist Party members refused to go and kill their
fellow-workers and were either jailed or went on the run.

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