Mary E. Marcy

The World-Wide Revolt

(November 1911)

The International Socialist Review, Vol. 12 No. 5, November 1911, pp. 261–265.
Transcribed by Matthew Siegfried.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

FROM all over the world come reports of strikes, rebellions and attempted revolutions. There are wars and rumors of war. There are wars upon war. Hunger riots are common occurrences in Spain, France and Austria. The splendid battle of the British workingmen in their recent victory is still making hope in our hearts. In parts of France, Austria and Spain martial law has been declared. In Portugal the forces of democracy and socialism are warring against Privilege and Reaction.

Terrorism is abroad once more in Russia with its massacres, its persecutions and its assassinations. China is struggling to put down the last rebellion. Mexico is seething with revolt as never before. The press in Norway is recommending the disbanding of the Norwegian army because of the GROWTH of SOCIALIST sentiment in its ranks. Thrones are trembling and the fear of panics is in the air!

“What does it all mean? What is going to happen? Are we on the verge of some great step of progress, or are we approaching a time of anarchy?” demands one of the eastern newspapers.

And it is the socialist who is able to reply and to point out the CLASS STRUGGLE growing fiercer and clearer every day.

Every improvement in the machinery of production leaves more men and women out of work and more profits for capitalists. But beside the normal increasing development of Capitalism there has been for the past ten years a constant DECREASE in the wages of the proletariat. This leaves still more surplus value, or profit for the capitalist.

The DECREASE in wages is only apparent in the increased cost of living. When twenty dollars decreases in value 50 per cent it will only buy half as many potatoes. Remember that prices have risen because your dollars are worth only half as much as formerly.

And so everywhere the men who toil and the women who work are being more pitilessly pinched by poverty. We do not realize that we are now being paid virtually in MEXICAN (half value) dollars and in a frenzy of misery and despair we are rising in hunger riots, rent rebellions, strikes for higher wages and embryonic revolutions.

Every day the capitalist is able to appropriate more of the value you or I have made. He is getting richer. Every day as the value of gold decreases your wages are being automatically reduced. You can usually tell when a dollar falls in value when it BUYS less today than it bought yesterday. Watch the capitalists scurrying about, to find ways and means for prolonging their power and your misery. ‘ Watch the government’s attempt to regulate prices BY STATE LAW in the face of economic law. You will see them enacting statutes for a minimum wage and the value of that wage soon falling below ‘ the growing cost of living. And you will see human misery, working class hunger, finding the way out in the mighty revolution that will forever abolish wage slavery and modern capitalism.

IN VIENNA: Vienna has been the scene of demonstrations of an almost revolutionary character the past month. The police and military were called out and killed many persons. These sanguinary scenes usually followed socialist mass meetings combined with the public demonstrations against the high cost of living. Such cries as “Away with Capital,” “Down with the Government,” and “Hurrah for the Revolution,” interrupted the twenty or more speakers who addressed the crowds. At one of the evening meetings when the Hussars and Dragoons threatened to make the encounter a bloody one, the workers turned off the city lights and brought calm. The socialists are doing much for the work of organization. They say nothing on earth could have prevented the riots, which they called “Demonstrations of despair.”

“Hunger Riots” are raging all over France, caused by the despair of the workers at their inability to meet the advancing cost of food and high rents. The government had become alarmed and decided to establish municipal slaughter houses and meat markets as well as municipal bakeshops to combat the rising prices. But at the first official meeting for the consideration of these measures the trades people appeared in swarms with their lawyers to point out legal obstacles and professional experts to prove the impracticability of such undertakings.

Everywhere the military were called out to beat back the starving workers who sometimes made savage raids upon the stalls in the markets. Later the men stretched wires across the streets so that when the cavalry dashed into the scene of the trouble their horses were thrown. Banners borne by the strikers bear such illuminating words as these: “We will not pay rent while we have no bread,” “Death to landlords,” “Down with Capital” and “Hurrah for the Revolution!”

It will be remembered that the General Confederation de Travail voted unanimously for a general strike in case France became embroiled in a war with Germany over Morocco.

Socialists and syndicalists in Italy have been carrying on an incessant anti-war crusade during the late talk of war and the invasion of Turkey. Many of the socialists and unionists declared in favor of a general strike in case war was declared. But the anti-war propaganda had not been carried on long enough to defeat the government. At last reports over 2,000 anti-militarists had been thrown into jail and armed troops were dispersing hostile crowds. Between Anconia and Forli, telegraph poles were thrown across the tracks; tracks were torn up and women threw themselves in front of the trains that transported the reservists to the military stations. But the anti-militarists are keeping at it. They are redoubling their crusade for they recognize the fact that militarism is being fostered and cultivated almost for the sole purpose of keeping down the rebelling wage slaves.

And apropos of anti-militarism, an Englishman recently paid a visit to Morocco. While there he had the pleasure of an audience before one of the most distinguished Sheiks of the realm, who had traveled extensively and who spoke many languages. The Englishman was amazed when the venerable Moor asked concerning the growth of socialism in Germany and the anti-militarist movement in France.

“It is my belief,” he said, “that the workingmen of England, the anti-militarists of France and the socialists of Germany would refuse to engage in another war of conquest. The hope of Morocco lies in the anti-military spirit that is invading all Europe.”

German Socialists for Peace

William II will have the bitterest opposition of the socialists and anti-militarists in case he embarks on a campaign against England and France over Morocco. August Bebel and the German socialists held a great anti-war meeting recently to announce their attitude toward war and to make known their determination to have nothing to do with it. Said Bebel:

“It is the duty of the proletariat to secure the maintenance of peace and to expose the folly of those without conscience who are trying to represent the people of Germany as approving war. The government takes no action in the matter. The people themselves will take action.”

Forward, comrades! War to those who exploit and would fool the working class. At the vast mass meeting held in Treptow Park, Berlin, a vote by a show of over 100,000 hands was passed condemning war.

Lord Claud Hamilton, M.P., chairman of the Great Eastern Railway Company of England, has lately been conferring with the Royal Commission. He declared that once the unions, imbued as they now are with a spirit of rebellion, got control of the railways, they would execute their inflammatory designs of rousing the people into confiscating the railroads. “In such an event,” he said, “they would wield a power which even Parliament itself would be unable to contend with.”

The Revolutionary Socialists today possess the greatest opportunity ever known in the history of the labor movement. They know the drift of events and how best to use the current to the ultimate victory of the international working class. Strenuous days are coming and the great need of the hour and of every hour is education and organization.

If we are prepared to meet the tide of events with a well drilled army of working men and women who KNOW WHAT THEY WANT and HOW TO GET IT, if we are big enough to demand and to take much in the days of terror that are coming instead of snapping up reform sops, there is no height to which the proletariat cannot attain during this period of storm and stress. Let us put on our armor.

Let us remember that the literature of socialism is our greatest ammunition. Let us keep at it all the time. The greatest achievement any working man or woman can accomplish today is the making of another INTELLIGENT REVOLUTIONIST.

Let us be prepared for the coming opportunity. So that when thrones are tumbling and dynasties are at an end, when Capitalism seeks to inaugurate a reign of terror, of blood and massacre to uphold her dying power, the calm-eyed proletariat shall be ready to take control of industry and to bring order out of chaos, and joy and peace and freedom to the toilers of the world.

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Last updated on 31 May 2022