Karl Liebknecht 1912
Source: Le Socialisme, November 2, 1912;
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor.
Dear and Venerated Comrade Guesde,
Incendiary capitalism is carrying its out evil works more dangerously than ever, and is doing so in the increasingly dangerous neighborhood of the powder kegs that are the great European military powers. Starving slaves traverse the countryside at the foot of the Balkans, waving war torches; lulled by their despots into the illusion that they are the flame carriers of liberty for the slaves on the other side of the frontiers, behind which they themselves live deprived of rights and economically reduced to a state of poverty. All the international conflicts have been brought to their greatest point of intensity. Like a cyclone, imperialism spins across the globe; militarism crushes peoples and sucks their blood like a vampire. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Famine and Massacre, gallop across the world.
All the diplomatic plotting was in vain: they were naught but charlatanism and mirage. For capitalism, war and peace are business and nothing but business. As far as it’s concerned, the lives and wellbeing of the millions of men that constitute the proletariat of all countries are an object of exploitation and nothing but that.
Only the international proletariat can avert this horrific danger, for only the interests of the proletariat are the same in all capitalist countries. The international solidarity of the proletariat without accepting frontiers, the common fight against common enemies — national and international — of the proletariat: those who profit by political pressure, those who live off economic exploitation and the misery of the masses.
Capitalism is war; socialism is peace. Will socialism have the strength to halt the war fury? It will have this strength if the proletariat of France, England, Austria and Germany fulfill their obligations. And they will fulfill their obligations, as the past has shown and as the fatal month of January 1911 — with its great workers’ movements in France and England and the imposing peace demonstrations in Germany — has shown. Sunday October 20 the German working class once again demonstrated its desire for peace in huge public demonstrations.
The capitalist and imperialist war- mongers must know what is at risk if they throw down Mars’ iron dice. We will warn them, we will threaten them: we in Germany, like our friends in France and England. It is only internationally that we can carry out our war against war, and it is internationally that it is being carried out. Just as we have confidence in our brothers in France, England an Austria, you can have confidence in us, in the German proletariat in struggle.
Internal war against the internal enemy: the oppressors and the exploiters of the masses. Class struggle: external peace, international solidarity, peace among peoples. This is the sacred slogan of international socialist democracy that liberates nations. It is under this sign that we can and we must win, even against a world of enemies. No hesitation! Confident of victory! Whatever the cost, brothers of France: Into battle! Long live socialism!