The Socialist International
First published: International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart, August 18-24, 1907 Vorwärts Publishers, Berlin, 1907, pp. 64-66;
Source: Bolsheviks and War, Lessons for today's anti-war movement, by Sam Macey 1985;
Translated: by Sam Macey;
Markup: Daniel Gaido
The Congress confirms the resolutions adopted by previous international congresses against militarism and imperialism and declares once more that the struggle against militarism cannot be separated from the Socialist class struggle in general.
Wars between capitalist states are, as a rule, the outcome of their competition on the world market, for each state seeks not only to secure its existing markets, but also to conquer new ones. In this, the subjugation of foreign peoples and countries plays a prominent role. These wars result furthermore from the incessant race for armaments by militarism, one of the chief instruments of bourgeois class rule and of the economic and political subjugation of the working class.
Wars are favored by the national prejudices which are systematically cultivated among civilized peoples in the interest of the ruling classes for the purpose of distracting the proletarian masses from their own class tasks as well as from their duties of international solidarity.
Wars, therefore, are part of the very nature of capitalism; they will cease only when the capitalist system is abolished or when the enormous sacrifices in men and money required by the advance in military technique and the indignation called forth by armaments, drive the peoples to abolish this system.
For this reason, the proletariat, which contributes most of the soldiers and makes most of the material sacrifices is a natural opponent of war which contradicts its highest goal -- the creation of an economic order on a Socialist basis which will bring about the solidarity of all peoples.
The Congress, therefore, considers it as the duty of the working class and particularly of its representatives in the parliaments to combat the naval and military armaments with all their might, characterizing the class nature of bourgeois society and the motive for the maintenance of national antagonisms, and to refuse the means for these armaments. It is their duty to work for the education of the working-class youth in the spirit of the brotherhood of nations and of Socialism while developing their class consciousness.
The Congress sees in the democratic organization of the army, in the substitution of the militia for the standing army, an essential guarantee that offensive wars will be rendered impossible and the overcoming of national antagonisms facilitated.
The International is not able to determine in rigid forms the anti-militarist actions of the working class which are naturally different in different countries and for different circumstances of time and place. But it is its duty to coordinate and increase to the utmost the efforts of the working class against war.
In fact, since the International Congress at Brussels the proletariat has employed the most diverse forms of action with increasing emphasis and success in its indefatigable struggles against militarism by refusing the means for naval and military armaments and by its efforts to democratize the military organization -- all for the purpose of preventing the outbreak of wars or of putting a stop to them, as well as for utilizing the convulsions of society caused by war for the emancipation of the working class.
This was evidenced especially by the agreement between the English and French trade unions following the Fashoda Affair for the maintenance of peace and for the restoration of friendly relations between England and France; by the procedure of the Social-Democratic parties in the German and French parliaments during the Morocco crisis; the demonstrations arranged by the French and German Socialists for the same purpose; the concerted action of the Socialists of Austria and Italy who met in Trieste in order to prevent a conflict between the two countries; furthermore, by the energetic intervention of the Socialist workers of Sweden in order to prevent an attack upon Norway; finally, the heroic, self-sacrificing struggle of the Socialist workers and peasants of Russia and Poland in order to oppose the war unleashed by czarism, to put a stop to it, and to utilize the crisis of the country for the liberation of the working class.
All these efforts are evidence of the growing power of the proletariat and of its increasing ability to secure the maintenance of peace by resolute intervention. The action of the working class will be all the more successful the more that its spirit is prepared by a corresponding action and the labor parties of the various countries are spurred on and coordinated by the International.
The Congress is convinced that, under the pressure of the proletariat, by a serious use of arbitration in place of the miserable measures of the governments, the benefit of disarmament can be secured to all nations, making it possible to employ the enormous expenditures of money and energy, which are swallowed up by military armaments and wars, for cultural purposes.
If a war threatens to break out, it is the duty of the working classes and their parliamentary representatives in the countries involved, supported by the coordinating activity of the International Socialist Bureau, to exert every effort in order to prevent the outbreak of war by the means they consider most effective, which naturally vary according to the sharpening of the class struggle and the sharpening of the general political situation.
In case war should break out anyway, it is their duty to intervene in favor of its speedy termination and with all their powers to utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule.
The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart, Lenin, Proletary, Nr. 17 (20 October 1907);
The International Congress and Colonial Policy, Belfort Bax, Justice, 14th September 1907