Karl Radek

The Bloc of the Amsterdamers
with the Liberal Bourgeoisie,
against the United Front of the Proletariat

(11 December 1922)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 2 No. 115, 16 December 1922, pp. 962–963.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2021). 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.

The Hague, December 11

The “World Peace Congress”, which opened on December 10. in the quiet city of state hypochondriacs, shows at once by its externals what it really is. In the first place the seats of the delegates are filled by the representatives of the trade-union and party bureaucracy of the Amsterdamers, of the Second, and of the expiring 2½ International. Well known figures! Only here and there a few fresh proletarians, on whose faces the will to fight is expressed, but otherwise good old English gentlemen smelling of naphthalene, Prussian sergeants in mufti, private gentlemen, all as true to type as if cut out of a satirical comic paper. Not a single representative of the colonial proletariat whose exploitation is one of the chief props of the rule of the satiated Dutch, English, and French bourgeoisie. Dutch social democracy has existed for 30-years; it is a powerful party, but it does not concern itself about the proletariat of Java. The English trade unions, the Labor Party with its 140 seats in Parliament, these bring no Hindus nor Egyptians with them, although in these countries hundreds of thousands of workers take part in spontaneous strikes, and although the movements of these masses cause wars and can decide wars. And the best of it is, that the good people who have met together here to talk of peace have not the slightest idea that this small defect is enough to stamp “their” World Peace Congress as a conventicle of European labor aristocracy, even if they had not been willing beforehand to degrade it to this role.

This they did when they failed to invite the Communist International or the Red Trade Union International to take part, and are only gracious enough – for still impenetrable reasons – to tolerate the presence of representatives of the Russian trade unions. Whatever opinion may be held as to the Communist International, one fact cannot be denied: that it comprises the sole elements which fought against the war during the war. Messrs Jouhaux, Henderson, and Grassmann, the old champions against imperialism, exclude the party of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht from the “World” and “Peace” congress.

Is it necessary io prove that they do this because they do not want to fight against imperialism?

On the other hand we find bourgeois pacifists sitting side by side with these tried and tested anti-military Ajaxes. We might tell many of these pacifists that we are sorry to see them in such company. For there were many pacifists who went to prison for their convictions during the war, and many others who spoke, if they did not fight, against the war, while Messrs Jouhaux and Renaudel, Henderson and Toni Shaw, Grassmann and Wels were acting as trumpets of war. Whatever else these people may represent personally, at least they represent a fraction of the liberal bourgeoisie which is thoroughly sick of war, and only anxious to carry on their trades in quiet. That is the best which can be said of a part of them. Another part simply represents the war-weary intellectuals, that is, nothing. And with these elements the Amsterdamers, the men of the Second International, and even such “internationalists” as Friedrich Adler, are forming a bloc to “fight” against war. The path chosen by the Amsterdamers is not that of a united front of the proletariat against war, but the formation of a bloc with that portion of the liberal bourgeoisie which is suffering from pacific stomach-ache. That the “fight” which is to be put up corresponds fully to the fighters will be seen from the drafts of the resolutions.

Last updated on 4 January 2021