Source: The Communist, February 03, 1923
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
ONCE more the clouds of war are gathering heavily over Europe. Once more the imperialists are watching for an opportunity to make a mad plunge for power. Once more you will have to pay in blood and tears the price for their folly.
In the name of those millions of our class butchered in the recent holocaust; in the name of the mental and physical wrecks left to starve on the streets of our villages and cities; in the name of the bereaved and desolate mothers who mourn the vain sacrifice of their loved ones, we appeal to you to arouse yourselves before it is too late.
“War is Hell,” and Hell’s gate will soon he thrown open to receive once again the best blood of our manhood. Even now your false leaders of the Second International are smoothing out the way that leads to inevitable destruction. In 1914 the leading Second Internationalists in Britain supported British imperialism, while the leader of the same International in Germany supported German imperialism. In 1914 British imperialism and German imperialism were bitterly antagonistic and the workers of the two countries were thrown at each other’s throats.
To-day the leaders of the Second International in Great Britain, mostly I.L.P. and Labour Party leaders, still support British imperialism. The German leaders still support German imperialism.
But while, in 1914, British and German imperialism were antagonistic, to-day they are being forced to unite against the aggressive imperialism of France.
Workers, you have nothing to do with the quarrels of these imperialists. Your task is to war against imperialism here in Britain. To end it and the capitalism it springs from is the only way of freeing your class from all war and the industrial slavery that is grinding us down into ever increasing poverty.
Today, the German Second Internationalists (Social Democrats) who betrayed the German workers in 1914, and who massacred the German workers when they endeavoured to institute a workers’ government in 1919, are now advocating German imperialism by appealing for the retention of British troops in Cologne. In this they are supported by the leaders of the I.L.P. and the Labour Party in this country.
A few years ago you had to fight against German aggression, now you are being asked to fight against French aggression, and it is the leaders of the Labour Party and the leaders of the I.L.P. who are asking you to do it.
The German imperialists, backed up by their lackeys of the Second International believe that, with the British troops in Cologne (surrounded as they are on all sides by French and Belgians) sooner or later “incidents” will occur, and the situation we now see developing will force Britain to take action against France. Thus a new world war will start with Britain and Germany as allies.
The leaders of the I.L.P. tell you that the British troops in Cologne are a guarantee of peace. They tell you it is a check against French imperialism. Workers! it’s a foolish lie. It is the old lie of the jingoes that “the best way to keep the peace is to prepare for war.”
French troops in the Rhineland are not a guarantee of peace but a provocation for further war. British troops in Cologne carry the same danger with them. It is madness to say that a display of military force can help towards the Peace of Europe.
Workers in the rank-and-file of the I.L.P. and the Labour Party, you are being committed to this mad policy that will surely land you in another war. Don’t be fooled by the plausible appeal of the British imperialists that British troops must be kept there till the French withdraw.
This is our first task. We must then help the French workers to fight their reactionary Government for the withdrawal of the French troops. The Communist Party is not interested in helping British, French, or German imperialism. It’s one concern is the revolutionary struggle of the workers of all lands against the imperialists.
The Communist Party therefore calls on the workers of Britain to fight against British imperialism and British capitalism.
Through your trade unions, trades councils and local Labour Parties demand:
The Communist Party demands that the British Labour movement shall take the lead in calling an immediate conference of all the Labour organisations of the world to devise the means and declare an end to the aggression of the imperialists who are conspiring against the social peace.
The Communist Party of Great Britain demands the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from the occupied territories.
The Communist Party of Great Britain demands the immediate scrapping of the Versailles Treaty, which has brought misery and ruin upon the masses of Europe.
The Communist Party of Great Britain calls for a United States of Europe, composed of the governments of the toilers—the Workers, and Peasants of Europe.
For the Executive Committee of the
Communist Party of Great Britain