G.V. Plekhanov

Letter to Jules Guesde


Source: le Socialisme, 2 November 1912.
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitch Abidor.

Paris, October 27, 1912

My dear Guesde:

Passing through Paris, I learn that you would like to have an article from me for Le Socialisme on the war that currently threatens us. I don’t have much time, so I ask you, my dear friend, to accept the following lines as a down payment.

For us, the supreme law is the interest of the international proletariat. War is completely contrary to this interest. The entire international proletariat must rise up against the chauvinists of all countries.

Besides, there is no doubt that this time, like last year in Morocco, the proletariat will know how to fulfill its obligations, all of its obligations. I leave now for Brussels for a meeting of the Socialist International, where the representatives of the organized workers of the entire world are going to come out with the greatest energy for the keeping of the peace.

Yes, we are for peace. Nevertheless, we are not pacifists like those who, last September, held an international congress for peace. We don’t believe in the magic virtue of words. We know that in the world there is only one force capable of keeping the peace: the force of the organized international proletariat. They can call it paradoxical as much as they want, it’s no less unarguable that only class war can successfully oppose war between peoples.

Naturally, in every particular case the success will be more or less complete. If socialism was able to ward off war between France and Germany last year, this year it’s couldn’t prevent the plague from striking the Balkans. But it’s also true that our organization has not everywhere attained the same level of development and the same influence.

What’s incontestable, what’s absolutely obvious, is that the stronger this organization becomes, the more the chances of an international war decrease.

On its own, this would make us doubly persevere in our daily labor of propaganda and recruitment.

Long live the international proletariat!
Long live the class war, sole effective guarantee against war between peoples!


Cordially yours,
G. Plekhanoff


Last updated on 19.7.2004