Karl Radek

Flunkeys to His Most Excellent Majesty!

(9 August 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 55 [33], 9 August 1923, pp. 583–584.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2022). 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 name of Snowden is well-known in Russia. In 1920, during the trade union delegation’s visit to Russia, we received at the same time a visit from an elegant lady, Ethel Snowden. On her return to London this lady wrote a booklet for a bourgeois publishing firm, in which she gave Soviet Russia a good trouncing for which she was recompensed with the good money of the bourgeois publisher. This elegant lady, who was seized with the wildest horror at the thought that a Bolshevist louse might find its way into her embroidered undies, is the wife of Mr Philip Snowden, no less well known to the workers of Europe.

Mr Snowden has recently rendered himself famous by two speeches. In the English Parliament, where, as a matter of course, he sits as a labor member, he proved himself worthy of such a wife by making a speech, the content of which was as follows? “Dear Capitalists, would you be so kind as to introduce socialism into England? We should pay you for all your losses.”

Having thus presented himself to the British Parliament as a man who can extract teeth painlessly, Mr Philip Snowden proceeded to prove, by means of a series of articles in the Morning Post, the leading organ of the most reactionary English capitalists, that “when the working class rules”, the capitalists will not only be not a jot the worse, but will, on the contrary find themselves, in a perfect paradise. He promised them that the labor leaders then forming the government will act independently of their party. The party is good enough to be utilized for seizing power for them, and for working out general resolutions; but no man of character – and gentlemen of Mr Snowdon’s kidney are of course men of character – will accept orders from the great masses of the workers.

A government composed of Snowdens will not touch other people’s property, and if it is compelled to nationalize anything, it will pay for it.

To what extent it will be of greater advantage to the workers to pay the capitalist profits by means of self taxation, instead of producing them for him immediately in the factory on this point Mr Snowden preserved silence. And as a final soothing word Io the capitalists he told them that “so long as any imperialism exists whatever, the emancipation of India and other colonies will not signify the securing of their liberty, but would deliver them into the hands of other great powers lusting for power”. These colonies therefore, must remain in the hands of England. And only when they shall have learnt, under the rule of the English lords, how to make proper use of their liberty, will it be possible to emancipate them. All this was published, as mentioned above, in the periodical of the greatest imperialist robbers.

Mr. Snowden recently asked a question in the English Parliament. The reader will probably think that he asked the English government when it is going to cease dropping bombs from aeroplanes on to the inhabitants of Mesopotamia and India, and when it is going to adopt other measures for teaching the Arabians and Hindus to make proper use of their liberty? But no, Mr Snowden asked Lord Curzon if this friend of suppressed peoples is aware that Georgia is living under a heavy yoke, that the church is being suppressed there, and what measures Lord Curzon intends to take to force the Soviet Government to cease from exercising this terror?

The renowned representative of Lord Curzon, Mr MacNeill, known in world history by the fact that he wrote a book on the usefulness of suppressing the Irish, replied with tears in his eyes that he was in receipt of the same news as Mr Snowden; he is only too well aware that the Soviet government has compelled Georgia by force to enter the Soviet Union, but it is useless to combat the Soviet government by means of notes, for the cat listens, but eats the mouse meanwhile. But so far as other and more energetic measures are concerned, these are not possible at the moment. Mr. Snowden then inquired of the representative of English imperialism if the government does not intend to demand the liberation of Georgia as a condition for the recognition of Soviet Russia? Mr MacNeill answered amiably that he was fully in agreement with Mr Snowden, but could enter into no pledges on this point.

The utter infamy of this question, in which Mr Snowden, a member of the 2nd International, the comrade of our Menscheviki and social revolutionists, addresses a request to the wolves of imperialism to begin a war with Soviet Russia, was further accentuated by a question put to MacNeill by a liberal member, Commander Kenworthy, who asked: if Mr MacNeill was aware that the Red Army marched into Georgia to help the rebelling Georgian people, and that perfect calm now prevails in Georgia? MacNeill gave no reply to this question. Upon which Kenworthy placed the dot on the “i” by calling out: “I greet the new coalition: Snowden-MacNeill. Mr Snowden, sit a little nearer to the government benches.” Mr. Snowden, incapable of any feeling of shame, did not even blush at this stinging lash from an honest bourgeois member.

When Mr Snowden and his followers commenced their lamentations about Georgia, we assumed that they did so out of petty-bourgeois lack of comprehension of the position. Mr Snowden has now proved that we were simple-minded infants to believe that such people were sincerely in error.

Mr Snowden, who opposes the emancipation of India, in order that it may not fall into the hands of other imperialist powers, and who demands that Soviet Georgia should be left to emancipate itself unaided so that it may fall into the hands of English imperialism – for after Lausanne he is not so stupid as not to perceive that Georgia, were it not for the Soviet troops, would be dominated by the guns of the English warships – Mr Snowden, who turns to Lord Curzon with complaints against the Soviet government, has proved that he has only been anxious by these means to declare to the English bourgeoisie: Your Highness, I am only a flunkey, ready to perform any service, and when I come into office there will be no dirty work which I will not be ready to do in the interests of the English bourgeoisie.

First. Mrs Snowden introduces herself to the Russian workers, and now Mr Snowden. We are grateful to him for his frank avowal of his standpoint. This will enable the Russian workers – and, it is to be hoped, all honest English workers as well – to perceive that we are right in designating people like Mr Snowden as infamous flunkeys of the bourgeoisie.

Last updated on 3 September 2022