James Connolly


British and Russian Imperialism


Workers’ Republic, 3 September, 1898.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

His Imperial Highness, the Czar of All the Russias, has issued a manifesto in favour of universal disarmament. This is the silly season ... His rule is founded on the sword, and can only be maintained by the sword, and whatever seriousness there is in his latest pronouncement may be translated into an appeal to his brother despots throughout Europe to cease warring with each other in order that their hands may be free to throttle the infant liberty in their own dominions. Humanitarians indeed! Will Russia withdraw her troops from Warsaw and depend only on the loyalty and affection of the Poles ...? The Czar, we repeat is having his little joke. He speaks to-day of universal peace, in order that when, in the near future, he hurls his armies across the frontier into China, India or Constantinople, or whelms in blood the aspirations for freedom on the part of his own subjects, he may be able to point to this action of his as proof that the battle was not of his seeking. From the Cabinets of every European Government all the other conspirators against the freedom of the human race echo his cry, and even while they are ordering new armaments and equipping new fleets, protest the intensity of their desire for peace. ’Twas ever thus ... But universal disarmament is not a dream. The day will come, and perhaps like a bolt from the blue when the frontiers ... will not be sufficient to prevent the handclasp of friendship between the peoples. But that day will come only when the kings and kaisers, queens and czars, financiers and capitalists who now oppress humanity will be hurled from their place and power, and the emancipated workers of the earth, no longer the blind instruments of rich men’s greed will found a new society, a new civilisation, whose corner stone will be labour, whose inspiring principle will be justice, whose limits humanity alone can bound.


Last updated on 11.8.2003