James Connolly


Justice And Millerand

(May 1901)

Justice and Millerand, Justice, 25 May 1901, p.6.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Dear Comrade,

I am glad to see that our friends of the staff of Justice are at last beginning to realise the terrible mistake made when, out of a mistaken tenderness for the feelings of M. Jaurès and party, they refrained from voting their condemnation of the position of Millerand in the French bourgeois Cabinet. In Justice of May 11 I find it stated that “the presence of Millerand in the French Cabinet is an injury to Socialism all over the world,” and further on that it is “an international scandal.” These are grave statements, particularly grave when we remember that the S.D.F. as part of the British delegation voted against a resolution – the Guesde-Ferri resolution – which, if it had been carried, might have prevented the scandal complained of.

The great difficulty in the way now, the difficulty with which the International Socialist Council will find itself powerless to deal, arises out of the circumstance that the Kautsky resolution declared the acceptance and retention of such a position as that of Millerand to be merely a matter of tactics and not of principles. As the Kautsky resolution was carried even were the Socialist press of the world to condemn Millerand, and were such condemnation to be endorsed by every council, national and international, he (Millerand) could still logically claim to be considered a good Socialist, differing only in tactics from the Socialists of the world, who agreed with him in principle. I would like to know how you are going to get out of the difficulty in which you have placed yourself, except by repudiating the Kautsky resolution and accepting the definite and uncompromising resolution proposed against it, viz., that the revolutionary proletariat should, through its delegates, accept no governmental position which it cannot conquer by its own strength at the ballot box. I may be wrong, but I am of opinion that the position taken up at Paris was opposed to the whole traditions and policy of the S.D.F. In arriving at a clear conception of the results flowing from that position it is well to remember the Russian atrocities spoken of by JUSTICE, and, what seems to me more important, that over a dozen strikes in France have been broken by military force since Millerand entered the Cabinet. What good Millerand may have done is claimed for the credit of the bourgeoise Republican Cabinet; what evil the Cabinet has done reflects back upon the reputation of the Socialist Party. Heads they win, tails we lose. – Yours


Editor Workers’ Republic, Dublin.


[A reference to the terms of the Kautsky resolution will show that it condemns the continuance of a Socialist in a Ministry under such circumstances as now obtain in Millerand’s case. The entry of a Socialist into a Government is certainly a question of tactics and not of principle, but it is for the party and not the individual to decide on the tactics. While condemning the continuance of Millerand in the Ministry, therefore, we still stand by the Kautsky resolution, as we can consistently do. – Ed.]


Last updated on 13.2.2004