E. Belfort Bax

Russia and Japan

(12 March 1904)

Russia and Japan, Justice, 12th March 1904, p.6 (letter).
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.


One lives to learn. I have learnt a good deal about my own views from comrade Hyndman’s short letter that I did not know before. The letter, indeed, shows the more penetration on his part, seeing that many of his statements (as your readers may have observed) so directly conflict with the tenor of my communication to you of last week. But then, I suppose he knows best. And now one word with our esteemed friend “Tattler.” In his last week’s notes he endeavours to establish an analogy between the case of the Japanese Empire and the two Boer republics. This, I for one, cannot accept for the following reasons:– 1. Japan is a great power, even, if not as powerful as Russia, the chief independent Asiatic power, recognised as such by Europe, whereas the Boer republics were simply small autonomous peasant communities. 2. The Boers were defending their own territory, whereas the Japs are fighting to grab other people’s territory, to which they no more than the Russians have any right. 3. The origin of the Boer quarrel was the claim of the Boers not to be oppressed by an alien power in the management of their internal affairs; in a word, the Boers were fighting for their own freedom at home as a peasant community and for their very existence as a nation, while the Japanese are fighting not against oppression at home of any kind, but purely for their commercial expansion as a capitalist State.

I conclusion, I may say that while disliking the Russian Government as much as anyone, I cannot see reason for any Socialist waxing enthusiastic over the exploits of capitalist Japan with its own semi-autocratic Government which like other such Governments has done its level best to promote capitalist interests and suppress Socialist propaganda. – Yours,


E. Belfort Bax


Last updated on 15.6.2004