Firmly Standing at our Posts
(from Il Socialista di Napoli, issue 35, 22th May 1915)
The war has been decided. As we had repeatedly predicted, the hypocritical call for national solidarity in the name of the fatherland in danger is being made to us Socialists.
We are those socialists who in their principled internationalism leave no place for the superstition of the fatherland. And therefore, even if we believed the appeal coming from our enemies of yesterday to be sincere and loyal, even if we believed the national government to be innocent in this war, even if we admitted that all the proponents of intervention do so in good faith and without self-interest, in spite of all this we would remain, in the name of our principles and our faith, tenaciously asserting class struggle, which by setting the serfs against the oppression of the masters is the only fruitful work directed towards a better future.
But the call for national unity provokes our disdain for this whole system of lies even more, seeing the cowardice and abuse that we see employed for the purpose of creating an artificial popular enthusiasm for the cause of war.
The demonstrations of proletarian will called for by our Party were violently repressed while a free field was left for interventionist mobs. While the bourgeoisie had all the big newspapers devoted to inflating pro-war student rowdiness and concealing and defaming workers’ protest, news of socialist rallies were even intercepted at our only newspaper. And we should accept the invitation to join the anthem for the liberating and democratic war?
Should we show that we believe the official lies, with which intervention is justified on the basis of rhetorical phraseology, while history shows us once again that the policy of the bourgeois States and in particular the Italian State is a fabric of hypocrisy and cynicism?
Salandra’s statements did not move us any more than those of the Kaiser government moved us in his time.
Those, indeed, at least had the merit of greater sincerity.
Italy fights in defense of violated law, right?
But if that’s true, then you’d have marched in August, when you wanted to wage war in favor of the Austro-Germans instead. Was the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia damaging Italian interests? But you didn’t denounce it until ten months later, when the 30-year alliance that made you all accomplices of the Germanic empires in the eyes of history.
Why did the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina not reawaken your protest? Perhaps because you were engaged in your turn in Libyan brigandage? Instead, you waited until you were facing a disheartened and disheveled enemy to blow into the tubas of rhetoric. And, if there were non-Italian lands regarding language and ethnicity beyond the eastern border, the monarchy and the Italian State, having weighed the assets and liabilities of the affair, would equally give vent to their greed for territorial enlargement, just as they do for Vlora and the Dodecanese islands, which would belong to non-belligerent nations.
It isn’t the principle of nationality you must invoke, but that of might makes right.
It’s not Garibaldi that you must evoke, but Ninco Nanco (1).
But go right ahead and keep pushing this pandemonium of the worst lies! We will never be your accomplices!