The Harmony among Masters
(from Il Socialista, issue 29, 10th December 1914)
Although it may seem strange, this text is a reminder that in the murky Italian politicking maneuvers at the beginning of December there still remained a chance for Italy to join the war alongside Austro-Germany as the Triple Alliance.
In the background of shady bourgeois interests it may happen that war in any direction is welcome, as long as there’s war. From the time of the first exploits in Africa, already the capitalist and steel industry interests in backward Italy maneuvering the press and parliament could be glimpsed in their nakedness. But the stance against the “defense of the fatherland”, here challenged against the reformist socialist Treves, is remarkable.
We saw it coming. All constitutional parties huddled around the government to solemnly declare their concord in the decisive hour, as war threatens us. Long live Italy! If all the parties orbiting the institutions renounce any political opposition, leave the work of the Ministry unchecked, in short give carte blanche to Salandra’s government, effectively giving the king and his advisers the power of an absolutist regime – and all this today when war hasn’t even been properly declared – and all this without any reliance of the government on the actual direction of its foreign policy – means that, tomorrow, before the war is even realized, all the bourgeois parties will get together in national (or bourgeois, as Treves put it well) concord without even discussing whether we’ll go to war with the ones or with the others, against the Germans or against the Allies.
This is the obvious, palpable result of the equivocal comedy of Montecitorio. Let the Francophiles, and the so-called revolutionary interventionists, resign themselves. Only one party has opposed government policy, but this party is ours, which pledges all its aversion to any war into which it will attempt to drag the masses. There are the votes of a very few republicans, locked in the iron contradiction that grips their party between the denial of monarchical institutions and the desire for the monarchy to proclaim and conduct war against the German empires. The conclusion is that we Socialists will be alone tomorrow in attempting to confront the war, regardless of how it’ll be waged – while the other parties, including Francophile Democracy, will huddle around the government, without arguing, under the pretext that, with war proclaimed, disturbing the internal concord of the country is treason to the fatherland. Thus, if the equivocal policy of the monarchy will continue to achieve the success that the flock of parlamentarians decreed for it on Saturday, there still remains a great likelihood that war will be waged on the side of Germany and Austria. Such is the opinion not only of us, but of experts in this area.
We, convinced more and more that any war is a triumph of bourgeois politics, that it’s a victory of capitalist oppression and exploitation against the proletariat, that it’s an attack on socialism and revolutionary tendencies, remain unchanged at our battle post.
Who can henceforth accuse our neutralist campaign of being behind the tendencies of clerics, reactionaries, the government and the Monarchy? Certainly not Giolittian and courtly democracy, which has satisfied all its ardent irredentism and incurable Francophilia by skinning its hands over hypocritical Salandrist rants and castrating itself away from its noisy intentions of anti-Triple Alliance opposition.
We are pleased with the demeanor of our comrade deputies, and even more so if Hon. Treves had not renewed the usual sophistical declaration of Socialist adherence to the “defensive” war.
No: there are two ways: either one fears the accusation of being a traitor to the fatherland, and one will have to stand in solidarity with the militarist bourgeoisie in its adventures – or one denies any rapprochement with the bourgeois institutions, on which all the blame for German barbarism must fall, while we yearn to overwhelm them in the realization of socialism.