International Communist Party Against Capitalist Wars


From Commitment to Action

(from Il Socialista, 31th December 1914)

The opponents of the Socialist Party and its anti-war campaign have too many times repeated that our views smack of dogmatism and that we renounce due regard for facts and history in order to confine ourselves to prejudiced denial, so that it’s not necessary to constantly bring instead our most objective examination on the current events, showing that it’s from these that our socialist theses draw continual reconfirmation. Now in recent times a number of remarkable events have occurred, which help to confirm what we stand for, and to destroy the current interpretation that our opponents have about this war, sketching it as a conflict between democracy and militarism, claiming that the Entente powers are fighting against Teutonic imperialism in order to bring about universal democracy, the independence of oppressed nationalities, and disarmament in Europe.

While this bourgeois mythology around the colossal conflict breaks apart, the far more serene and objective considerations with which we socialists look at the origins and characters of the conflagration gain in value, seeing in it the struggle of the great capitalist State units vying for the political and mercantile dominance of the world and equating themselves in their intentions, concerned with only one end: military victory and the annihilation of the adversary.

After Turkey’s intervention in the war and the proclamation of the “holy war”, here is England – the one that with fewer sacrifices is reaping the surest benefits from the war – thinking about settling its colonial empire.

The perfidious Albion, which waving the hypocritical flag of the law of nations stifled the national uprising of the Boers in blood, has hastened to seize the moment to annex the island of Cyprus and to cleverly amend the Egyptian Constitution, spreading its protectorate over the immense Nile Valley, something that puts it on the path to territorial annexation. It is the same England that brings in colonial troops made up of cannibals to fight against the German barbarians – who may find that they’re more civilized than the whites, since at least when they kill the enemy, they have an actual purpose in mind: that of eating him.

Meanwhile, Russia, which should be democratizing itself in contact with its Allies, Russia, which promised freedom to oppressed Poland, rages in political reaction against subversives and suppresses Finnish autonomy. Meanwhile, France and England are about to establish legations with the papacy....

But, limiting ourselves to facts of greater importance, let us recall the meeting of the three kings of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This fact has not been noted enough. The value of it lies in this: that it shows how in the three Scandinavian states there is a Germanophile feeling and public opinion, analogous to the Francophile feeling and opinion that rules here in Italy, per example. The danger that is seen here in Germany and Austria, they see there in Russia. Here it’s fantasized that France and its allies are fighting for civilization, there the leaders claim that the exact same mission is being fought by the two central empires.

And Karl Liebknecht’s voice has echoed magnificently: as in Germany the slogan “against tsarism”, so in France the slogan “against militarism” are the bourgeois lies with which the proletariat has been blinded, the lies which conceal the criminal basis of bourgeois capitalism of every nation, which has led the world to bloody catastrophe.

Liebknecht’s generous cry has awakened to the real view of things even the socialists of France, allured by national defense. And it is precisely the flurry of reality that, laying bare the infamies of this mercantile and murderous society, brings new light to socialist truth and dispels the clouds of conventional lies. The lesson will be increasingly understood by the Italian proletariat. And this will find the motives of its class politics and its historic mission in more solid and serious directives than those that seem to be borrowed from the cloying picture-card caricatures that have been rampant since the war broke out.