Dora B. Montefiore 1912

To Prevent War

Principles for Workers of the World,

(From Our Special Correspondent)

Source: Daily Herald, November 28, 1912, p. 2;
Transcription: Ted Crawford.
HTML Markup: Brian Reid.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

BASLE Wednesday

The International, at its Congresses at Stuttgart and Copenhagen, laid down the following principle for the war against war:—

“In case of war being imminent, the working classes and their Parliamentary representatives in the countries concerned shall be bound, with the assistance of the International Socialist Bureau, to do all they can to prevent the breaking out of the war, using for this purpose the means which appear to them the most efficacious, and which must naturally vary according to the acuteness of the struggle of classes, and to the general political conditions.

“In case war should break out notwithstanding, they shall be bound to intervene for its being brought to a speedy end, and to employ all their forces for utilising the economical and political crisis created by the war in order to rouse the masses of the people and to hasten the downbreak of the predominance of the capitalist class.”

Increased Class Distinctions

Recent events have more than ever made it the duty of the proletariat to use all their energy in following out their organised action. On the one hand the mad rivalry in armaments has increased class distinctions and incensed the working classes. The workers want to limit this system of extravagance and consequent unrest. On the other hand the recurring threats of war are getting more and more critical. The nations of Europe are always on the point of being driven at each other without the slightest reason of real peoples’ interests for such attempts on reason and humanity.

The Balkan crisis, crisis, which is already responsible for such terrible horrors, would mean the most fearful danger for civilisation and the workers if allowed to spread.

For this reason the Congress rejoices at the complete unanimity of all Socialist Parties and Workers Unions in all countries in the war against war.

A Difficult Task

The Social Democratic Parties in the Balkan Peninsula have a difficult task. The Powers of Europe, by a systematic neglect of all reforms in Turkey, have contributed to insupportable economic national and political conditions which necessarily led up to the war. The Social Democratic Parties demand, as against these conditions in the interests of the dynasties and the capitalists the formation of a democratic federation.

The Congress urges them to continue this admirable line of action, and believes that the Socialist Party of the Balkans will do everything after the war to prevent the fruits of the war, bought with such terrible sacrifices, being abused by the dynasties, the militarists, and capitalist classes of the Balkan states for their own selfish interest. Above all, the Congress invites the Balkan Socialists to oppose everything likely to lead to a renewal of old animosities among Servians, Bulgarians. Romanians and Greeks, as well as to all violence against those Balkan people whom they now combat as enemies, the Turks and the Albanians. The Turks and the Albanians must now also be considered as autonomous nations, and be joined with equal rights to the democratic Balkan Federation.

To Refuse All Support

The most important task of the Internationale falls on the working class of Germany, France and Great Britain, to demand from their governments an undertaking to refuse all support to either Austria or Russia, and to abstain from all intervention in the Balkan troubles and in every respect to observe a strict neutrality. A war between the three great nations over an outlet to the sea, concerning which Austria and Servia are in dispute, would be criminal madness. The workers of Germany and France do not recognise any secret treaties necessitate the duty of interference in the Balkan conflict. If however, as a consequence of the military defeat of Turkey the down fall of the Ottoman power in Asia Minor became inevitable it would be the duty of the German French and British socialists to oppose with all their strength the policy of conquest of Asia Minor, since the result would inevitably be world war.

Britain and Germany

The Congress is of the opinion that the greatest danger to European peace is the artificially fostered animosity between Great Britain and Germany. Congress therefore congratulates the Labour classes of the two countries for their efforts to improve the situation. It believes that the best method of removing friction would be an understanding between Germany and Great Britain concerning the arrest of increase of their respective fleets and the suppression of the capture of private property at sea. The Congress invites the Socialists of Great Britain and Germany to continue their agitation to realise this understanding.

To overcome all the outstanding differences between Germany on the one hand and Great Britain on the other would be to remove the greatest danger in international peace; would weaken the mighty position of Tsardom now trying to strengthen itself owing to these differences and would make impossible an attack on Servia by Austria and would finally secure peace to the world. To this, and above all the efforts of the international movement must be directed.

The Birth of the Commune

It must be remembered that the Franco German war resulted in the revolutionary movement of the Commune and the Russo-Japanese war put into motion the revolutionary movement in Russia increased class consciousness and in England enormous strikes. It would be madness if the governments did not comprehend that the mere notion of a world war would call forth disappointment and protest among the workers. The latter consider it a crime to shoot each other down in the interest and for the profit of capitalism for the sake of dynastic honour and diplomatic secret treaties.

If the governments interrupt the possibility of the development of the people and thereby provoke desperate steps they will have to take the whole responsibility.