Capitalist Associations on the war
Archiv f\"ur Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik (Edgar Jaffé) (Vol. 41, No. 1), 1915, September. Pp. 296–97—“Employer Organisations on the War”.
...“Consequently [employer organisations] are thinking in terms of the
rise and development of a special German type; that is what the war is
about. That view, in fact,
fully coincides with the employers’ interests. They are aware of a certain danger to themselves if it were to be said after the war: vestra res agitur (the matter concerns you), your skin and your interests are at stake! The war is being waged to decide who shall hold sway on the world market!” (Deutsche Arbeitgeberzeitung, February 7, 1915). In that event, obviously, all socio-political tendencies, all efforts to cover war expenditure out of employer profits would find ready acceptance. If, however, the war is being waged in the interests of civilisation, to defend a type of civilisation and not profit interests, then it falls to Society as a whole to bear the burdens of war, and it will not be possible to single out a class whose interests are pro-eminently promoted by the war.
The employers regard the effects of the war, insofar as they extend to the internal political situation, as predominantly favourable.
This applies especially to its effect on the Socialist Party,
and in this respect they praise “fate as educator”. For the war has led to unity of the nation and has cut the ground from under the most attractive socialist theories. (Ibid., August 2, 1915.) In this war the nation has for the first time really become a nation (to borrow Treitschke’s expression)—and this is in itself justification for the war.... For centuries to come, war will still be the sole form of settling disputes between states,
and it is a form to be welcomed, for the war has halted the trend towards democracy: “We have reached the limit of feebleness, the brink of degeneration and debility. From the final extreme, however, from sinking into the abyss, we have been saved by fate, which evidently has set our German people a special goal.” (Ibid., August 16, 1914.)
“The meaning of the war in general is thus consistently being sought in a transformation of the soul; its serious economic and political implications are belittled; its serious political and economic consequences are rejected”.
“The German Government’s further measures, it is correctly pointed
out, were likewise directed at regulating consumption, whereas the
aim of socialism is socialisation of the means of
production. (Ibid., February 28, 1915.) All these measures will
therefore be discontinued with the coming of peace. These views are, on the
whole, in the interests of the employers. And the antagonism between the
class interests of the employers and the workers probably
finds its most salient expression also in the contrasting way the war is reflected in their ideologies.
But the contrast is of a manifold nature. The socialists of the opportunist, revisionist trend see the war as an economic war. They take the view that the war is imperialist and even defend the right of every nation to imperialism. From that they deduce a community of interests between employers and workers within the nation, and that line,
followed consistently, leads to their becoming a radical bourgeois reform party. On the other hand, the radical trend in the socialist workers’ movement, while regarding the war as imperialist (at any rate, with reservations),
negates this development—it demands intensification of the class struggle as a consequence of the war and emphasis on the proletarian standpoint, even during the war. The employers, however, as we have seen, deny that the war is an imperialist one. They do not want to be told: Tua res agitur (it is your concern). They reject both the positive, affirmative imperialist view of the revisionist socialists and the critical attitude of radical socialism.
||| well said!
They seek salvation in the “civilisation meaning” of the war, an interpretation that does not hold any class responsible for the war, and does not accuse any class of especially benefiting from it.
||| how nice!
A grotesque picture: while the governments everywhere uphold the imperialist theory or, at least” (how nice!!)
[[DITTO: ||| ]] [[BOX: gem! ]]
“contend that for the other side the economic interest is decisive, the chief representatives of economic interests retire behind the general civilisation meaning of the war. As a result, they come into contact with views to be found also in the camp of radical socialism; they regard the war as economically only an interim phase; all war-time phenomena, all measures taken by the state, stem from the present situation and will disappear together with the war. The employers’ views on the war, too, however much they may appear to have a central idea, should therefore be regarded exclusively as (class) ideology” (pp. 295–97). (End of article.)
Note, pp. 293–94:
“A theoretical article in Deutsche Arbeitgeberzeitung (August 15, 1915) in which tendencies towards a new (democratic) orientation in home policy are most emphatically rejected, is highly indicative....
...“First of all, Social-Democracy has still more to
it will ‘above all have to show, after the war as well, whether the process of transformation to which it refers has really become part of its flesh and blood. Only if this has been decisively demonstrated for a fairly lengthy period will one he able to say, with due caution, whether some of these changes in Germany’s home policy are possible’.” ...“In any case, so far there are no prerequisites for a future
home policy (as urged by the Left parties). ...On the contrary, ‘the harsh school of war provides us with the strongest possible arguments against further democratisation of our state system’” ...(p. 294).