Written: Written on May 17 (30), 1913
Published: Published on May 22, 1913 in Pravda No. 116. Printed from the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 242-243.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The Budget Commission of the German Reichstag has passed the first reading of the Arms Bill. There is no doubt that its adoption is assured. The government of the Junkers—those brothers of our Purishkevich and Markov—is “working” hand in hand with the German bourgeoisie on new methods of oppressing the people, while increasing the profits of the capitalist manufacturers of the weapons of destruction. The manufacturers of war supplies and equipment are doing good business. The young hopefuls of the Prussian nobility are anticipating the pleasure of getting “additional” appointments as officers. All the ruling classes are satisfied—and what are modern parliaments but instruments for doing the will of the ruling classes.
In order to justify the new armaments, there are the usual efforts to paint a picture of the perils threatening the “fatherland”. To scare the German philistine, the German Chancellor has raised, among other things, the bogey of the Slav peril. The Balkan victories, you see, have strengthened “Slavdom”, which is hostile to the whole “German world”! Pan-Slavism, the idea of uniting all the Slavs against the Germans—there lies the peril, the Junkers’ Chancellor assures them.
The German Social-Democrats have exposed, and continue steadfastly to expose in their press, their parliamentary speeches and at meetings, these hypocritical, chauvinist outbursts. There is a state, the Social-Democrats have said, the majority of whose population is Slav and which has long enjoyed political liberty and constitutional order. It is Austria. It is quite absurd to fear military designs on the part of that state.
Pinned down by the Social-Democrats, the German Chancellor referred to the noisy Pan-Slavist manifestations in St. Petersburg. That’s a wonderful argument! The manufacturers of guns, armour, gunpowder and other “cultural” requirements wish to enrich themselves both in Germany and in Russia, and in order to fool the public each refers to the other. Russian chauvinists are being used to scare the Germans, and German chauvinists, the Russians! Both play a miserable role in the hands of the capitalists, who know perfectly well that the very idea of a war by Russia against Germany is ridiculous.
We repeat that the German chauvinists are assured of a majority vote in the Reichstag. But among the German workers there is growing indignation and demand for more than purely parliamentary means of struggle against the shameless plundering of the people’s money by the chauvinists. It is interesting to note that a general meeting of the Social-Democrats of the 1st Württemberg constituency (Stuttgart) adopted the following resolution:
“This general meeting expresses its regret at the fact that the struggle against the Arms Bill in parliament is not being waged with sufficient vigour. The meeting considers that the furious drive into the people’s pocket by the arms manufacturers should be resisted by all possible means. This meeting, therefore, expects the Social– Democratic group in the Reichstag to take up the struggle when the Bill comes out of committee for discussion by the Reichstag as a whole, in the most energetic fashion, without hesitating to adopt even obstructionist tactics. The meeting considers insufficient the extraparliamentary struggle the Party has carried on until now. This meeting demands that the Party executive should begin organising action to involve the whole working population, including mass strikes.”
There is slow but steady growth of awareness among German Social-Democrats that more resolute, active, mass struggle by the workers is necessary. If the opportunists, of whom there are many in the parliamentary group and among the officials of the labour movement, are opposed to such a struggle, the masses of workers accept it with greater and greater sympathy.