Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Peace Manifesto: Why We Issued It. (1917)

Editorial from the July 1917 issue of the Socialist Standard

It will be observed that elsewhere in this issue the Socialist Party of Great Britain have addressed a Manifesto to the proposed international Congress. We wish to state here briefly the reasons which have compelled the Party Executive to issue this pronouncement.

It will have struck our readers that since the war broke out the word "Socialism" has loomed large in the international Press, and that since the Russian Revolution this prominence has rapidly increased. Interested parties with chestnuts to pull out of the particularly fierce fire of current events, turn to that conglomeration of letters for an instrument to serve their various purposes. From the German emissaries Grimm and Scheidemann, to the British emissaries, Thorne and MacDonald, there is, all round, an endeavour to exploit the name of Socialism for the purpose of leading the working class in the different countries and their different local circumstances, to believe that the demands of the war-mad ruling class are in reality the demands of the people, expressed through their most democratic mouth-pieces, the Socialists. In Russia, we are told by the English newspapers on the morning these words are written, Socialist opinions dominate everything—a statement which is belied by the new Russian offensive. Kerensky as the Socialist saviour of Russia, whereas we know him to be merely the Russian Lloyd George, the embodiment of capitalist cunning, the capitalist revolutionary who brought the workers to the aid of the revolutionary capitalists under the cloak of Socialism, and now, under the same cloak, essays to save his capitalist masters from their wage-slaves on the one hand, and from their German enemies on the other.

In other countries the same tale is to tell. Everywhere the name of Socialism is being linked with the manoeuvres of the master class with the object of throwing dust in the eyes of their victims, and meantime the pseudo-Socialists are given ample opportunity to add their quota of support to the confusion, while the Socialists are denied the means of communication and therefore of effective expression.

In order to dissociate the Socialist name from the trickery of those who would besmirch it we place in record our attitude toward the war and show that the class-struggle basis of our organisation sufficed to keep our hands unsoiled by the blood of our fellow workers, and we ask any foreign comrade into whose hands our manifesto may come, to assist us by bringing it before the notice of the Executive of the Socialist organisation of his country.

1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

A couple of minor points:

1/ The Russian Revolution referred to in the editorial was obviously the February Revolution, led by Kerensky.
2/ The Grimm referred to in the editorial was Robert Grimm, who was in fact Swiss, rather than German.