John Maclean Justice December 1907

Capitalist Solidarity and the Army

Source: Justice, 7th December 1907, p. 9;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

DEAR COMRADE, – The recent visit of the Kaiser seems to me another of the many recent signs of European capitalist solidarity. The Hague Conferences may not bring complete disarmament, but they may bring the nations, i.e., the capitalist politicians of Europe, to a common understanding as to the total amount each may annually be allowed to spend on war organisations; not for the purpose of producing peace but for the preparation of an international force against the working class rapidly awakening to a recognition of the robbery of to-day. International alliances are of yearly occurrence and such alliances on a huge scale were witnessed during the Napoleonic Wars. I am driven to the conclusion that such an alliance of the powers of Europe is in process of development and is almost mature, for a few reasons, one or two of which I will attempt to enumerate.

The phenomenal growth of Socialist activity in the unfolding of the revolution in Russia; the substantial increase of the vote of our party at the recent general election in Germany; the magnificent vote polled in Austria; the awakening of Britain and America to the truth of Socialism within the last few years – all these and many other incidents have driven terror into the hearts of the rulers of the civilised world. They must imitate the workers in like combination unless national economic interests are too strong.

But these, I maintain, are weakening very rapidly. Empire expansion is almost a thing of the past. The world is almost completely marked off and claimed by the great capitalist nations. Persia may yet be gobbled up by Russia and Britain, the Congo area may yet be snatched by Britain, the Rhine mouth may yet be seized by Germany, portions of South America may yet be claimed by the United States or other Power; but Empire-expansion has almost neared its end, and with it one force tending to blood-spilling national competition.

Moreover, the trust development has reached a stage where it is rapidly bursting the bonds of national limitations, assuming now the world as its basis. Every new international trust binds the world capitalists together as a class irrespective of nationality. This is seen especially in the realm of finance, the topmost pinnacle of capitalist growth. Lawson, in his famous “Frenzied Finance,” clearly shows the drawing together of the “Standard Oil” finance trust of America and the great financial firms of Europe. Some may point out the keen competition between the “Cunard” and the “Hamburg-American” trusts; but I would remind them of the Shipping Federation, which, day by day, is drawing the European shipping lines into the bonds of brotherhood against their wage-slaves.

Edward, the “Peacemaker,” has simply been performing the role we Marxists would naturally expect such as he to perform, at this juncture in the evolution of politics. If political activity is ultimately determined by economic activity, if the world politically must adapt itself to the evolving phases of capitalist growth, what more natural than to expect mutual understandings not only between international journalists and pressmen but also between politicians and potentates? The Kaiser’s visit then is merely another fact to show “how the wind blows.” The shooting of the workers throughout Europe, the treatment of Hervé and Liebknecht prove decisively to Social-Democrats, that universal peace is not at hand, meantime. No; the European workers will have in a year or two to fight the hirelings of the European capitalists, unless we can spike their guns. I maintain we shall soon have to systematically get into touch with the soldiers and prepare them for the moment when they will fight for their class against the murderous capitalist class. The sooner we discuss this matter openly and frankly, the sooner will we come to a rational finding and the more effective will we be to defeat by peaceful means the onslaught of capital.