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So
far I have gone. The Social-Democratic question is a military
question. The Social-Democracy is being handled now in an
extraordinarily superficial way. The Social-Democracy is striving
now--and with success--to win the noncommissioned officers. In
Hamburg already a good part of the troops consist of
Social-Democrats, since the people there have the right to enter
exclusively into their own battalion. What now if these troops
should refuse to shoot their fathers and brothers as the Kaiser has
demanded? Shall we send the regiments of Hanover and Mecklenburg
against Hamburg? Then we have something there like the Commune in
Paris. The Kaiser was frightened. He said to me he wouldn't exactly
care about being called a cardboard prince like his grandfather,
nor at the very beginning of his reign to wade up to the knees in
blood. Then I said to him, 'Your Majesty will have to go deeper if
you give way now.'"


Here we have it from the lips of Bismarck that the Social-Democratic
question was already a military question in his time, and his view is
supported by the present Kaiser. This is high authority. Similar views
and threats have been common among the statesmen of our time in nearly
every country.

As early as 1903 the government of Holland broke a large general strike
by the use of the army to operate the railroads, and the same thing was
done in Hungary in the following year. Indeed, these measures had such a
great success that the Hungarian government went farther two years
later, and took away the right of organization from the agricultural
laborers; while at the same time it used the army as strike breakers in
harvest time and made permanent arrangements for doing this in a similar
contingency in the future. In the matter of breaking railway strikes by
soldiers, Bulgaria and other countries are following Holland and
Hungary. The latest and most extraordinary example is undoubtedly the
use of soldiers by the "Socialist" Briand to break the recent railroad
strike in democratic France.[279]

Even peaceful countries like Belgium and Switzerland, Great Britain,
and the United States, are developing and changing their military
systems so rapidly as to make it almost certain that they would take
similar measures if occasion should arise.

The agitation for universal conscription in England may succeed before
many years, and the plans for reorganizing the militia in the United
States will also make of it a force that can be far more useful in
breaking strikes than the present one, and more ready to be used in case
of a nation-wide strike crisis. Indeed, the Dick military law made every
possible provision for the use of the military in internal disturbances,
up to the point of enlisting every citizen and making a dictator of the
President.

Similar tendencies exist on the Continent of Europe. Formerly the
militia of Switzerland was quite democratically organized, and each man
kept his gun and ammunition at home, but the government is gradually
doing away with this system and modeling the army every year more
closely on that of the larger and less democratic European powers. In
Belgium a similar movement can be seen in the creation of a Citizens'
Guard, entirely for use at home and especially against strikers.

Here, then, is a situation to which every Socialist is forced to give
constant thought, no matter how peace-loving and law-abiding he may be.
What is there in modern systems of government to prevent these large
military forces already employed so successfully for the ominous
function of strike breaking, from being used for other reactionary and
tyrannical purposes--for putting an end to democratic government, when
it is attempted to apply it to property and industry? So everywhere
Socialists and labor unions are giving special attention to agitation
against militarism. Years ago even the most conservative unions began
forbidding their members to join the militia, and the practice has
become general, while the Boy Scout movement is everywhere denounced and
repudiated. Not only is every effort being made by the Socialists, in
connection with other democratic elements, to cut off the financial
supplies for the army and navy, but they also sought to inspire all the
youth, and particularly the children of the workers, with a spirit of
revolt against armies, war, and aggressive patriotism, as well as the
spirit of servile obedience, the ignorance, and the brutality that
invariably accompany them.[280]

For a number of years the fight against militarism, and incidentally
against possible wars, has occupied the chief attention of international
Socialist congresses. While the Stuttgart Congress (1907) did not accept
the proposal of the French delegates that in case of war an
international strike and insurrection should be declared, the closing
part of the resolution adopted was definitely intended to suggest such
action by rehearsing with approval the various cases where the working
people had already made steps in that direction, and by advising still
more revolutionary action in the future, as indicated in the words
italicized.


"The International," it said, "is unable to prescribe one set mode
of action to the working classes; this must of necessity be
different in different lands, varying with time and place. But it
is clearly its duty to encourage the working classes everywhere in
their opposition to militarism. As a matter of fact, since the last
International Congress, the working classes have adopted various
ways of fighting militarism, by refusing grants for military and
naval armaments, and by striving to organize armies on democratic
lines. They have been successful in preventing outbreaks of war, or
in putting an end to existing war, or the rumor of war. We may
mention the agreement entered into between the English and French
trade-unions after the Fashoda incident, for the purpose of
maintaining peace and for reëstablishing friendly relations between
England and France; the policy of the Social-Democratic parties in
the French and German Parliaments during the Morocco crisis, and
the peaceful declarations which the Socialists in both countries
sent each other; the common action of the Austrian and Italian
Socialists, gathered at Trieste, with a view to avoiding a conflict
between the two powers; the great efforts made by the Socialists of
Sweden to prevent an attack on Norway; and lastly, the heroic
sacrifices made by the Socialist workers and peasants of Russia and
Poland in the struggle against the war demon let loose by the Czar,
in their efforts to put an end to their ravages, and at the same
time _to utilize the crisis_ for the liberation of the country and
its workers.

"All efforts bear testimony to the growing power of the proletariat
and to its absolute determination to do all it can in order to
obtain peace. The action of the working classes in this direction
will be even more successful when public opinion is influenced to a
greater degree than at present, and _when the workingmen's parties
in different lands are directed and instructed by the
International_." And finally it was decided _to try to take
advantage of_ the profound disturbances caused by every war to
_hasten the abolition of capitalist rule_.


The International Congress of 1910 referred back to the Socialist
parties of the various countries for further consideration a resolution
proposed by the French and English delegates which declared: "Among the
means to be used in order to prevent and hinder war, the Congress
considers as particularly efficacious the general strike, especially in
the industries that supply war with its implements (arms and ammunition,
transport, etc.), as well as propaganda and popular action in their
active forms."

This resolution is now under discussion. In referring it to the national
parties, the International Socialist Bureau reminded them that the
practical measure the authors of the amendment had principally in view
was "the strike of workingmen who were employed in delivering war
material." The Germans opposed the resolution on the ground that a
strike of this kind, guarded against by the government, would have to
become general, and that during the martial law of war times it would
necessarily mean tremendous violence. They contended that a more
effective means of preventing war, _until the Socialists are stronger_,
is to vote down all taxes and appropriations for armies and navies. And
they accused the British Labourites who supported this resolution of
having failed to vote against war supplies, while the Germans and their
supporters had. This accusation was true, as against the British
Labourites, but did not apply against the French and other Socialists
who were for the resolution.

We can obtain a key to this situation only by examining the varying
motives of reformists and revolutionaries. The French reformists,
followers of Jaurès, are so anxious for peace, that, notwithstanding the
fact that many capitalists, probably a majority, now also favor it, they
are ready to have the working people make the most terrible sacrifices
for this semi-capitalistic purpose. (See Part II, Chapter V.) The
Germans realize that the capitalists themselves have more and more
reasons for avoiding wars, and, being satisfied with their present
political prospects, do not propose to risk them--or their necks--for
any such object. The French _revolutionaries_, on the other hand, favor
extreme measures, not to preserve a capitalistic peace, but to develop
the general strike, to paralyze armies, and encourage their
demoralization and dissolution. They want to parallel all plans for
mobilization by plans for insurrection, and to force armies to disclose
their true purpose, which they believe is not war at all, but the
arbitrary and violent suppression of popular movements.

Whether capitalism or Socialism puts an end to _war_, Socialists
generally are agreed their success may ultimately depend on their
ability to find some way to put a check to _militarism_.



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Keywords: between, matter, workers, purpose, efforts, germans, measures, breaking, people, militia
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