Harry Young

No More War?

Source: Young Worker, October 1922.
Transcription: Socialist Party of Great Britain.
HTML Markup: Adam Buick
Fair Use: Young Worker, October 1922. This document has been reproduced in accordance to § 107 of Title 17 in US Copyright Law.

By HARRY YOUNG Member of the Y. C. L. of G. B.

War is Hell.

Eight years ago in Sarajevo the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated. In June, eight years ago, was fired the shot that began the World War.

This is proclaimed in the bourgeois press, this is written by the bourgeois historians, and it is still believed by millions of workers, who endured all the terrors of the war and the horrors of the "peace" that has followed the war.

A single shot began a world war,—whoever can believe it? And yet many workers imagine that it is true, and believe what the lying prostituted capitalist press wrote: The Serbians murdered an Austrian prince; the Austrians had to punish the Serbians; the Russians were friends of the Serbians and wished to help them; the German Kaiser was a friend of the Austrians and could not leave them in the lurch; the French sided with the Russians and so on.

But today even a child should know that this is not true, that it is nonsense. The historians also have had to think out new explanations. Today they write of the Czar who had prepared everything in secret beforehand, of Kaiser William's armaments and aggression. This one is guilty, says the one, that one 'began it, says the other.

What Means this Slaughter?

What does this really mean? Did the Czar like to see corpses or was Kaiser William overjoyed with the sight of shining cannon? Were these REALLY the causes of the war?

No! The Kaisers and Kings and Republican ministers, of course, had their plans, but they were not of their own making. There were other forces, which made them and their ideas the instrument of history. ""Expansion of the country," "Acquirement of new colonies." Gaining these were the aims of the war. There were the banks, which supplied the money for hundreds and thousands of great factories, with which went, of course, their instructions. There were hundreds and thousands of manufacturers and big capitalists, who wished to enlarge their factories. So in a short time there were countless plans for robbery and conquest, both secret and open, from which came the warlike instructions and decisions of the Kaisers, Kings and Governments.

For many years before June, 1914, everything had been prepared, and the revolver shot but served to put in motion the avalanche which had long been threatening.

Everything was prepared, the ruling class only awaited the opportunity to begin. Their roles were already apportioned. The coming war was discussed thousands of times in the newspapers. The capitalists were at their posts, they can look back with "a good conscience" on those days of June, 1914. They have nothing to reproach themselves with. June, 1914, recalls to them their "hey-day of prosperity."

Those days of June are full of evil memories for the working class.

While the bourgeoisie had not only well prepared for the world war, but also their version of it, as they knew very well what they had prepared and what they wanted, the working class were stumbling in the dark.

The working class believed the lies that were flooded upon them about the events of June, 1914. They believed all the fairy tales about the "cunningness" of the plans of their adversaries, about the "holy duty of defence," and everything that was written and said.

How the Workers Were Hoodwinked.

The bourgeoisie had for years poisoned the minds of the workers with the greatest of cunning. Astutely had they perfected their methods of betrayal in June, 1914, and understood how to hoodwink the workers. The millions of workers who were the victims of this betrayal should remember this today.

Above all, it should be remembered by the young workers, who did not consciously take part in these events, how the betrayal of their fathers and brothers was accomplished. They should hold the terrible fate of the preceding generation before their eyes and rise in protest and fight.

Twenty-two million workers perished in the war, twenty-two million men died a most horrible, tortured death. Proletarians, whose historic mission it is to bring all wars to an end, fought in this war and lost their lives in millions. Proletarians, whose historic interest it is to unite as an international class against their oppressors and class enemies, split up into national armies and murdered one another. Twenty-two million workers fell at the hands of their brothers, even more were mutilated, crippled and blinded, rendered incapable of work to become miserable beggars. Beautiful cities and towns were blasted and shattered, whole districts laid waste and devastated. Production was stopped—that they might produce and provide for war.

Imperialism and Murder.

It was the IMPERIALIST war. A war of the robber imperialist capitalist states, a war for the bourgeoisie and their BIG BUSINESS. A war for the re-division of the earth, for raw material, for coal and iron.

These two facts the working class should never forget : It was a war fought for the BOURGEOISIE and twenty-two million PROLETARIANS perished in it.

The bourgeoisie has already forgotten it. The mass of graves in which lie the heaps of killed, are scarcely covered with grass, the shattered and devastated towns and villages Still lie in ruins, mutilated workers and peasants are begging pitifully at every street corner in the great cities, and the bourgeoisie are already preparing for a new war! Even the four years which have passed since the end of the "World War" have seen nothing else but war. The Poles fight the Ruthenians and have attempted to conquer Soviet Russia; they have marched in arms against Upper Silesia, and in Germany was heard again the cry, "Defence of the Fatherland!" Earlier still, the Czechs and Roumanians fought against Soviet Hungary.

Bombed to Atoms!

A pen-picture of the next great war, with a forecast of London bombed by silent aeroplanes flying at an immense height, with projectiles of terrific power and devastating effects, is contained in a letter sent to the Premier by members of the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Air Committee.

The letter deals with the present position of England in the air, and mentions that during four years of peace, developments have been as great as during the war, but not on this side of the channel. The letter adds: "The size of the machines and the horsepower of engines have been increased since 1918." Some of the members of the Air Committee watched the trial of a 1,000 h.p. engine, and still greater are to be built. Engines can now be fitted with silencers, and recent discovery has enabled machines to be made almost invisible.

The bombs dropped on London during the last war averaged less than a hundred pounds in weight, many being quite small.

Bombs or torpedoes are now carried of 4,000 pounds weight, containing a mass of high explosive, and the effect of a dozen bombs of this character dropped on London can readily be conceived. Beyond this, such bombs may be filled with material even more harmful than high explosives, such as concentrated poisoned gas or germs.

There is, in fact, not merely a possibility, but a great probability, that, in the event of war. this country (England) could be raided, and London and other towns destroyed by squadrons, or even fleets of aeroplanes, travelling at 150 miles an hour at a height of three or four miles, silent, and (at least by night) invisible.

The Next Last War.

... All great wars in the future (the Committee prophesies) will begin with terrific battles in the air. If any country suffers a real defeat in this first battle, the victor will in a few days destroy her ports, her railway centers, her munition factories, and her capital, by intensive bombardment from the air. The Committee comes to the conclusion that, "while realizing that economy is essential for building up the British trade, the Committee thinks it might be wise to allocate in some different proportions the money now allotted to the various services, with a view to a fuller development of the Air Service. . ."

The Daily Herald comments as follows:—

"Let us cast our minds back to years before the last great war (to end war). Do you remember the days of the great dreadnought propaganda: the days when all papers talked incessantly of dreadnoughts: when they told us, day in, day out, that if we built lots and lots of dreadnoughts we should guarantee the peace of the world and the safety of the Empire: whereas, if we didn't, war would come on us, and the wrecking of homes ?

Press and Patriotism.

"In the press, in the theatre, in the school, at the street corner, the gospel of salvation by dreadnoughts was preached. ...

"And then, remember that the dreadnought propaganda . . . which did so much to bring war . . . was largely inspired and financed by the big armament firms who made huge profits from the building of the ships.

> "Remember that. And then ask yourself what is behind all this aeroplane propaganda, all this cry to us to get ready for the next great war. Armour plate patriots, the German Socialists dubbed the men who called for a big navy. (But they became themselves armour plate Socialists during the war.—Author.)

"Do you now understand about the 'aeroplane patriots' (or aeroplane socialists if need must be) ? Do you understand what is behind the press campaign for a bigger air force? The economic interpretation of patriotic propaganda."

Administration by Aeroplane.

We must add, that the aeroplane will also play another role. The capitalist press, by successfully disguising its real object, may work public opinion up to such a pitch that the government is enabled to increase the air estimates; defeated labor may be induced by its capitalist masters to build more and yet more aircraft to be used against their comrades in the social revolution. The fact remains that aeroplanes have already been used against the workers in England, Ireland, and on the Rand, and they can be used again.

Those who misgovern us see in the aeroplane the ideal weapon against the Reds. On one hand the kept press shouts about the danger of the next great last war, with terrific battles in the air, and on the other side this very same press glorifies the raids on their own people of the Empire. (Rand murders.)

England, "defender of the right of self-determination for small nations," fought these rights in Ireland, India and Egypt. In India hundreds of natives were murdered in cold blood by a British general, so foully that even the bourgeois government had to disown his action and "punish" him by dis-rating him. This gentleman, this gallant soldier, was the recipient of a handsome sum of money, raised among the bourgeoisie by public subscription, for "his gallant and devoted services to the empire." Turkey and Greece are still in arms and fighting. And all these "little wars" threaten to combine into a new, even greater and more terrible "world war." The last one was fought for coal and iron, this one will be fought for oil; the last one was a struggle between German and English capitalism, the next one will be between America and Japan, England and France, Italy and Jugo-Slavia.

Capitalism and Civilization.

Is it the "fate" of humanity always to be at war? Will mankind always be divided into antagonistic camps, which, men call "their country, their fatherland"? And must they always slaughter one another with murderous weapons, murder, mutilate and burn, laying waste to beautiful towns and cities? Must the world always be one vast slaughter-house? Must the world always be one vast arsenal with each war yet greater and more terrible than the other ?

Since the last war armies have grown greater, arms and weapons have been more perfected, new poison gases invented and prepared, submarines built in ever increasing numbers, tanks and aeroplanes without end, ready again to strew the world with corpses.

Will war always leer at us from its horrid death-mask?

Yes! Always! as long as capitalism exists!

So long as capitalism exists, so long as capitalism rules, so long as the state is in the hands of the capitalists, so long as the bourgeoisie hold power, then so long will there be wars! War is the vital necessity for the capitalist class.

The young workers can learn from the past history of capitalism. But they must and should know at the same time, what was the attitude of the leaders of the workingclass before and after 1914 on this question of war.

Collapse of the Second International.

The Second International, the laborites all over the world knew this, and proclaimed daily before the war that as long as capitalism existed, capitalist interests promoted and demanded war.

Before the war they proclaimed that its roots lay solely planted in the capitalist system.

They proclaimed furthermore that the big barons of industry and the newspapers they controlled, daily prepared public opinion for war, and in their insatiable greed for profit and booty incited them now against this capitalist country and now against that. They knew and proclaimed that the increasing armaments which were being carried out in "Defence of national interests" as a "pledge and surety of world peace," would inevitably lead to war. They proclaimed before the war that this was the sole desire of the nationalist "Jingoes," and that through the world war the capitalists were preparing nameless misery and impoverishment for the working class, so that they might increase their profits.

All this was stated at the international congress of the Second International (the Labor Party), held just before the war!

At the conferences of Zurich, Amsterdam, Suttgart, Copenhagen, and Basel the Second International, of which the Labor Party is a principal member, openly accused the capitalists that they thought far more of their own money bags than the "interests of the nation," the "people," and humanity, far more of their own economic interests than their hypocritical speeches on "democracy." These congresses further declared that in the capitalist system of production wars were fought for capitalist economic reasons, and that it was nothing more than humbug to speak of world peace as long as capitalism exists. Every conference held by the Second International pointed out the danger threatened by capitalist war, and promised that they would do everything in their power to avert and stop it.

The Betrayal.

Just as if they had never spoken, the true reasons of capitalist war vanished from the minds of the social patriots and laborites. And although an hour before the outbreak of war they raved and declaimed against the criminal jingoes and exhorted governments, warning them against playing with the pople, an hour later they had forgotten it and were saying that the Austrian Archduke had been murdered, and that the national honor demanded reparation. They said that Kaiserism was mobilizing and that "civilization" must be defended. They spoke of everything except the real reason of the war, of capitalist interests, of the millions and millions of proletarians, who were about to be sacrificed they said not a word.

Not one single earnest protest was made.

They voted for the credits necessary to carry on the war.

They declaimed enthusiastically on patriotism and national defence.

They abused one another.

The Internationalists became Nationalists of the worst sort.

The apostles of world peace became shameless Jingoes.

More Production.

Although they saw that the first declaration of war was the first act in the drama of the world war, they called on the people to "national defence."

Although they saw from day to day horrors of war which surpass imagination, still they cried to the suffering workers, "carry on."

Once they stood before the working class of the world and declared that they must wage the class-war, but during the war they called on the world proletariat to leave the ranks of the working class to fight for their masters, the capitalists.

The treachery they committed at the outbreak of the war was crowned by their shameless treachery at the end of the war.

The first international congress held by the Laborist Second International laid down as the first aim of the proletariat, the reconstruction of the world (workers, produce more!) a return to the conditions prevailing before the war. That means the reconstruction of consolidated capital.

War is nothing more to capitalism than any industrial crisis. These crises are born of their economic system, and from these crises they can find no way out so they seize their weapons and rush headlong to war. But still they find no solution.

The Fight for Markets.

The first world-war was born by the business enmity of England and Germany. It was a matter of coal and iron. It was for raw material. It was a fight for colonies. Never to the most shortsighted eyes was the economic character of war so apparent as during the last world-war.

The world was divided anew, but capitalism was shaken to its foundations.

It has no markets. In Russia the revolution broke out and lost them the Russian market, which they had hoped to exploit and plunder as a colony.

Now the fight is being waged for new markets. Japan is fighting with America and China. England is going to fight with France in the Near East—there is a fight on the question of reparations; Germany has become a colony, for the possession of which new war is being fomented.

This is known to all the world, and is a secret to no one.

Every worker can see that war is fought for economic reasons, and that the capitalists defend their profits and not their countries.

Capitalism is war!

The reconstruction of capitalism means, therefore, the perpetuation of war!

To help do this means to desire new wars!
New wars mean to prepare or help in preparing them.

Friends of war instead of enemies of war. This is what the Laborites have become.

Rouse! Young Workers, Rouse!

Capitalism is the cause of war. To abolish war we must abolish capitalism. This is the whole crux of the matter, as of all questions which affect the interests of the working class. But how is this system to be abolished ? Our Russian comrades, the Russian workers, have shown a glorious and undying example. We must organize, agitate and educate. The young workers, who suffer most from wars, who provide the capitalist masters with cannon fodder, the young girls of the working class, sweated and aged before their time in the sweat shops and munition factories of capitalism, must band themselves together solidly against the cause of all war and the cause of their exploitation and misery. This determination is to be found in one organization alone. The Young Communist League of Great Britain is the expression of the revolt of the young workers against the horrors and misery of capitalism, and the expression of the determination of the young revolutionary workers to end it finally, once and for all. The Young Communist League states quite openly and frankly its determination to organize the young workers of both sexes, not to prattle hypocritically of peace while the class war is raging with ever greater fury, but to fight the class for which war is a vital necessity for its existence—to abolish capitalism. Not to make the young workers of Great Britain submit to the class which exploits and robs them, but to rid themselves of these tyrants, peaceably if possible, forcibly if necessary. It is no use the young workers closing their eyes to the fact that the master class will not like this, but their likes are our dislikes.

Therefore, boys and girls, think over our proposition. Consider carefully our program. Make up your mind now.

For the bosses;

For working class disarmament and greater poverty;

For the murder of the workers by the ruling class; or,

For the destruction of the system and the leisured class;

For a United Working Class Front;

Young and old for working class freedom.

Through working class freedom alone can come peace and freedom for all mankind

In the words of Comrade Trotzky, First Commissioner for the People's Red Army, the greatest, noblest and most wonderful military machine and social institution the proletariat has yet achieved,

"In the wars of capitalism we are pacifists."
"In the war of the working class we fight to the death."

(The above is issued in pamphlet form by the Y. C. L. of G. B.)