Saturday, June 07, 2014

As The 100th Anniversary Of The Beginning of World War I (Remember The War To End All Wars) Approaches ... Some RemembrancesKarl Liebknecht- Militarism & Anti-Militarism- II. Anti-Militarism-Anti-militarist Tactics

The events leading up to World War I from the massive military armament of almost all the capitalist and imperialist parties in Europe and elsewhere in order to stake their claim to their unimpeded share of the world’s resources to the supposedly eternal pledges by the Social-Democrats and other militant leftist formations representing the historic interest of the international working-class to stop those parties in their tracks at the approach of war were decisive for 20th century history. Over the next period as we lead up to the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and beyond I will under this headline post various documents, manifestos and cultural expressions from that time in order to give a sense of what the lead up to that war looked like, the struggle against its outbreak before, the forlorn struggle during and the massive struggles in order to create a newer world out of the shambles of the battlefields.     


Teddy Martin had come from a long line of workers, some of his forbears had been among the first domestic weavers in Spitalfield, the first machine-tenders in Manchester and had been workers like him and his father in the London shipbuilding trade. He knew deep in his blood there was an “us” and “them” in the world without his party, the Labor Party, having to tell him word one on the subject. He had even read Karl Marx in his early teens when he was trying to figure out why his family was stuck in the faraway outer tenements with their squalor and their human closeness (he never could get over being in close quarters ever since then). So yes he was ready to listen to what some left members of the party had to say if the war clouds on the horizon turned any darker. But, and hear him true, his was like his forbears and his father before him as loyal a man as to be found in the country. Loyal to his king (queen too if it came to that) and his country. So he would have to think, think carefully, about what to do if those nasty Huns and their craven allies making loud noises of late threatened his way of life. Most of his mates to the extent that they had any opinion were beginning to be swept up in the idea that a little war might not be such a bad thing to settle some long smoldering disputes. Still he, Teddy Martin, was not a man to be rushed and so he would think, think hard, about what to do if there was a mass mobilization.            


The German Social-Democratic Party had given Fritz Klein everything. Had taken him from a small furniture-making factory(less than one hundred employees constituting in those days small) where he led the fight for unionization (against all odds for that woefully unorganized industry and against the then still standing laws against unionization pressed by the state as well as well as the outlaw status of the S-D Party in those pre-legal days) and brought him along into the burgeoning party bureaucracy (boasting of this number of party publications, that number of members, and the pinnacle the votes attained for the growing number of party parliamentarians in the Reichstag). Made him a local then regional shop steward agent. Later found him a spot in the party publications department and from there to alternate member of the party’s national committee. As he grew older, got married, had two lovely children the party had severely sapped the youthful idealism out of him. Still he was stirred whenever Karl Liebknecht, old Wilhelm’s son, the father whom he knew from the old days, delivered one of his intellectual and rational attacks against the war aims of the Kaiser and his cabal. Still too though he worried, worried to perdition, that the British and, especially the French were deliberately stepping on German toes. Although tired, endlessly tired, he hoped that he would be able to stick to the Second International’s pledge made at Basle in 1912 to do everything to stop war in case it came, as was now likely. He just didn’t know how he would react, didn’t know at all.       

Karl Liebknecht- Militarism & Anti-Militarism- II. Anti-Militarism-Anti-militarist Tactics

4. Anti-militarist Tactics

In itself anti-militarism is not necessarily proletarian or revolutionary, just as militarism is not specifically bourgeois or capitalist. We need only recall from the past, for example, the Russian Decembrists and Ernst Moritz Arndt’s bourgeois-nationalist Catechism for Soldiers of September 1812 – it called upon the soldiers to rise up openly against the treacherous princes. In recent times we find decisive proof in the Russian revolution. But we must confine ourselves here to anti-militarism in the capitalist states.

1. Tactics against militarism abroad [1]
The final goal of anti-militarism is the abolition of militarism – that is to say, the abolition of the army in every form, together with all the other manifestations of militarism identified above, which at root represent nothing but secondary effects of the existence of the army. When the trappings disappear, the institution soon follows.
The proletariat could only achieve this goal directly if we presuppose an international situation which excludes the need to use the army in the interest of the proletariat, so that the interests of the proletariat need in no way contradict the national interest.
If we consider the question simply from a logical point of view, the need for an army organization could also be eliminated as far as capitalism is concerned by removing the possibilities of conflict or by a process of international disarmament equally paced between the nations.
The removal of the possibilities of conflict would mean above all the renunciation of the policy of expansion which, as has been mentioned above, may find its natural conclusion in the globe coming under a single trust managed by the Great Powers. It would also mean what in the end comes to the same thing: the creation of a federal world state.
This however is for the moment a romantic dream of the future; the probabilities indicate that world politics will not attain this “state of permanence” before the proletariat realizes its final aim and replaces capitalist world politics with its own.
Things are even worse as regards international disarmament. This would mean not only the abandonment of military competition by all the military states but also the renunciation of the chances of gain which one or other of the mightiest states, which might be most influential in bringing about disarmament, has or thinks it has (from this arises the proposal for arbitration to establish contingents in proportion to the size of each of the armies!). Disarmament means moreover neither more nor less than the abandonment of those international interests might cause the ruling classes, capitalism, to appeal to the ultima ratio regum (the last resort of kings), that is to say, to just those interests which are regarded by capitalism as most important, indeed vital for its life, especially the policy of expansion. The belief that all this can be carried out under the domination of capitalism before this natural state of permanence in world politics has been attained is simply blind faith. Certainly the influence exerted by the proletariat on foreign policy, directed against the world policy of expansion and in favour of a world federation, is growing ever stronger even in backward countries and may lead to the reduction of the danger of war and the pacification of world politics. But the increase in the influence of the proletariat also increases the danger of Bonapartist tricks, so that it is doubtful whether the sum total of the possibilities of war can be reduced. There can be no question of eliminating them.
Anti-militarism can also be a force in bringing about balanced international disarmament if it succeeds in rendering the existing armies incapable of action, or at least in crippling their activity. Hervé [1*] demands – this is the essence of his idea – that we should work at any price towards this aim of crippling the armies. A good number of more or less sound arguments have been raised against the feasibility of this plan. The most serious – though it does not apply to the proposal for a combination of disarmament and revolution – is that it is impossible to bring about complete international disarmament. Even in the most progressive countries there are always plenty of strike-breakers to be found! Precisely the more civilized nations would, relatively speaking, be weakened and thus become prey to the lower cultures.
But Hervé’s idea is also acceptable in principle only if we assume that the proletariat under no circumstances and in no case has an interest in the defence of the nation. And the main dispute centres around this point. In this connection Kautsky’s Realpolitik, which rightly is not satisfied with the superficial and confusing distinction between offensive and defensive wars, is preferable to the exaggerated anti-patriotism of the Yonne Federation, which fails to recognize the practical position. Until the economic and social state of permanence for which Social-Democracy strives and the abolition of the class character of society have been realized all over the world, there exist possibilities of war which even Social-Democracy – in fact precisely Social-Democracy – cannot eliminate. It is of course obvious, as we have pointed out above, that the normal causes of war under capitalism are so constituted that the proletariat has nothing to do with them – indeed, it must oppose them with all its strength. It is nevertheless incorrect to think that all wars are actions directed against the proletariat. This might be possible in a Bonapartist sense, and it may well be that a little Bonapartism is “always present”. But the essential point as far as the causes of war are concerned is the fight for spoils, for profit between the capitalist classes of the world powers. It may of course be that as a result of such wars and during their course uprisings and revolutions will take place, and each of the belligerent powers may be forced to turn its weapons against its own proletariat. Thus a solidarity of interests of the ruling classes of these powers against the proletarian classes is brought into effect, but this would normally produce a tendency for the war to be terminated. And it is just as natural that every successful war based on capitalist motives, whether or not there is any intention in that direction, produces Bonapartist consequences, whereas if the course of the war is unsuccessful the chance that capitalist reaction may collapse balances the fact of the damage which civilization is sure to suffer. The proletariat therefore has an especially strong reason to take action against war, and it is easy to see how things can get out of hand in this struggle – and easy too almost to approve such excesses. As a stimulant to thought Hervéism has a valuable mission to fulfil, and fulfils it.
We must first sort out the different kinds of war. The point is to be clear about these differences! Then we shall be able to tell in what cases disarmament can be pursued as a matter of principle. Of course the question of what basic position to take on the problem of war is of the greatest practical importance and in no way simply theoretical speculation. Nor does the question automatically decide itself when we are faced with a concrete case. On the contrary, it is precisely such a concrete case which, because of the excitement of the situation, easily introduces a tendency to blur a clear insight into what is happening. The events which took place in the German Party at the time of the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war and of the Herero rebellion warn us to be on our guard and to begin to sort out the question of principle.
It is moreover necessary to examine in each case, apart from the question of what is desirable in principle, the further question of what can be achieved in practical terms. And in this connection too Hervé cherishes dangerous illusions. The time is not yet ripe for a general strike and a military strike against every war harmful to the proletariat. Hervé exclaims: “With enough energetic anti-patriotic agitation, the mountain will come to Mohammed!” Here he shows his anarchist colours. We must point out that the greater part of the proletariat is not yet class-conscious and not yet enlightened from the Social-Democratic point of view; even less can it be won for anti-patriotic action in a case which demands not only a certain coldblooded willingness for self-sacrifice but also presence of mind in the excitement of a passionate chauvinistic upsurge. It is impossible to attain complete success. The measure of success, of disarmament, will be directly proportionate to the measure of education and training which is enjoyed by the working class in each country: the most backward nation is the easiest to defend. An action of this kind would be a premium on cultural backwardness so long as the education and readiness for struggle of the great mass of the proletariat in the countries concerned in the war is not more or less simultaneously raised to the highest point. Organization and the general revolutionary education of labour are the preconditions for a successful general and military strike in the case of war. To use straightforward anti-militarist propaganda for this purpose would be absurd.
Things are normally like this: when the proletariat has got so far as to be able to carry out such actions, it has got far enough to seize political power, for there are no more unfavourable conditions for the display of proletarian power than those normally present at the outbreak of a war.
And as far as Hervé’s plan is concerned of combining a military strike with an insurrection – that is, the attempt to capture political power and give the revolution the means to defend itself – it would of course not itself be a premium on cultural backwardness. But it is necessary to ask whether such a plan can ever be realized – in so far as it is ever possible in a social revolution – on a national scale, leaving aside the feasibility of realizing such a plan, like that of the military or general strike, on an international level. As far as the national level is concerned, the chances of success are in direct proportion to the development of the proletariat and the degree of the political, social and economic pressure under which it lives. And this pressure will constitute either a hindrance or a help in accordance with its intensity and its relation to the economic and ideological-political development of the proletariat. In countries where this pressure is moderate, therefore, in spite of the development of the proletariat – England, for example – not much more would be attained than in countries where the intensity is high but the proletariat little developed – for example in the agricultural and overwhelmingly Catholic industrial centres of Germany. What may be practicable for France, Belgium and Switzerland is by no means practicable for Germany. And anti-militarist propaganda on its own cannot supply what is lacking, even if it is perfectly suited to the task of awakening class consciousness. There is a further objection. Even insurrections cannot be fabricated. If we consider the question in a reasonable and level-headed way we cannot assume that every war – or even every war which is condemned by the proletariat and harmful to its interests, and even given energetic agitation – would immediately raise even the most receptive audience of the people, let alone all the peoples exploited by capitalism, to the revolutionary fever heat necessary for a successful revolt. War is a factor which does not appear with anything like the same regularity as the conflict with militarism at home. The masses generally look on it as a rather remote and theoretical danger. They do not see it as a pure manifestation of the class struggle, and the fact that it depends on the actions of foreign states makes it difficult to know just what is going on, not only with regard to the war itself but also with regard to the actions taken against it.
Here too Hervé underestimates the great driving forces which would have to be put into effect by such anti-war action if it were not to disintegrate in a ludicrous and dangerous manner like a bomb exploding in the pocket of someone about to throw it.
Again the point is to make the necessary distinctions! Don’t measure everything by the same criterion! There are of course cases of wars which release the revolutionary forces, which create a state of great social and political tension inside individual states and bring things to a head. This would be true for example of an intervention in Russia, though the likelihood of this is not very great. The outbreak of such a war would be the sign for the peoples of western Europe to declare a ruthless class war, it would be a force, a whiplash whose effect could only be an uprising against reaction at home; against the worshippers of the knout, against the ignominious hangmen of an unhappy people thirsting for freedom. In fact, Vaillant’s slogan – plutôt l’insurrection que la guerre! – would find an enthusiastic echo among the peoples of all civilized lands.
Other cases are now imaginable in which such altruistic solidarity would surely spring up – a war between Sweden and Norway, for example. But this is not the normal development on which we can base the principles of our tactics. It is possible that in the foreseeable future a situation of this kind would be created by a war between France and Germany. It is the task of the Social-Democratic movement in the two countries to promote this situation by revolutionary propaganda work. Much of course depends on the cause of the war in question. It cannot be denied that, for example, in spite of all efforts to drum up an atmosphere favourable to imperialist politics, colonial motives for war bring little grist to the mill of the war-mongers.
If we can therefore at the moment only set complete disarmament as our object in rather exceptional cases, there are no reasons of principle nor any practical reasons against the reduction of arms, which simply reduces the capacity of an army to attack. The abolition of the standing army and its substitution by a citizen army, a militia, together with a corresponding reduction in military expenditure – which goes hand in hand with the other measures, as Gaston Moch has expertly shown – and the weakening of all other dangerous military influences [2]: these are the demands which the class-conscious proletariat has quite logically inscribed everywhere on its banner.
There are therefore good reasons why the decisions of the international congresses (which contain the minimum anti-militarist programme of the majority of the organizations whose principles are those of the modern labour movement) are only able to make certain general points on the question of “militarism abroad”. Nor is it any less reasonable that the tactical programmes of the individual parties in each country do not go into details on the question, or that the struggle against militarism normally takes place in the domain of general politics. That is to say, these parties try to make some progress towards their object by the influence they exert on the whole social order rather than by specialized propaganda. The resolution moved by Vaillant at the French Party Conference at Limoges, which is to be put before the Stuttgart Conference in 1907, is essentially a good one and a useful contribution.
The attacks of the anarchists, especially those of Nieuwenhuis [2*], against this attitude of the Social-Democratic movement are doomed to failure. The resolution in question may be a little fatalistic, but it is not empty words. And empty words and fantastic schemes are all we get from those whose attempts to solve the tactical problems of our day – which in any case can never be completely solved – consist in the announcement of quite unrealizable schemes.

2. Tactics against militarism at home
The problem of the struggle against militarism at home is much simpler and far more promising. Its obvious goal is disarmament, the unconditional and effective disarmament of the state power, and its method – which depends on political conditions in each country – lies between the slow, calm and thorough work of education and the French style: “Soldats, vous ne tirerez pas!
This struggle, and the need to make it more concrete, is being forced upon the proletariat every day – especially in those countries where it is now normal to use the army against workers on strike or on political demonstrations. Everywhere – in France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Austria – one can see clearly how the specialized forms of anti-militarist propaganda take on their own character and become a reality under the pressure of military intervention in the class struggle. This applies to France too, in spite of Hervéism, whose considerable support in the syndicalist movement can only be partly explained by its anti-patriotic tendencies. It also applies to America, as Lee shows. [3] And if in Germany we find that this kind of anti-militarist activity comes up against widespread apathy, this is not a little due to the fact that here bloodshed as a consequence of armed military intervention in strikes has largely been avoided. Must it be the fate of all progressive movements that they cover the well only when the child has fallen in? Will Social-Democracy itself ignore the Cassandra calls, in spite of its optimistic and unambiguous programme for the future?

3. Anarchist and Social-Democratic anti-militarism
The goal of Social-Democracy is determined by an economic and historical analysis. Only in this framework does it find its justification. It is therefore far removed from all utopianism. The goal of anarchism is ideologically determined without any historical basis. This indicates the relation, the contradiction between the two movements.
The Social-Democratic conception is historically organic, the anarchist conception arbitrary and mechanical. Anarchists of course regard men as the bearers of historical development as they understand it, and the will of these men as the agent, and so they try to influence this will. Social-Democracy too considers it necessary to influence the will of the working class.
But between the two ideas there exist fundamental differences.
For anarchism this process of influencing the will is the only essential precondition of success. For Social-Democracy it is of subsidiary importance by the side of the stage of objective economic developments, none of which – with the best will in the world as far as the masses and a given class is concerned – can be skipped.
The anarchists consider that such an influence is always possible if energy be exerted. Social-Democracy considers that, as a mass class manifestation, it is only possible when certain economic conditions have been fulfilled. The struggle of the two tendencies turns around these conditions, while differences within Social-Democracy normally arise from a dispute as to whether such conditions are fulfilled in a given case. This is of course a difficult question to decide, and it is therefore difficult to determine to what degree one should attempt to influence the will, and especially what degree of predisposition is necessary in a given case. Personal optimism or pessimism play an important role here which cannot be eliminated. This is how the differences within the Social-Democratic movement arise. Those who assume that influence can play a great role and demand only a small degree of predisposition tend towards the anarchist position – they are the anarchist-Socialists. In spite of the contrast – which is not contradictory – between anarchism and socialism, we therefore find all possible gradations between the tendencies, like colours in a spectrum.
The degree to which the will can be influenced depends on the degree of predisposition and upon the instability of the mental balance of the people or class in question. In times of excitement this instability is much greater than in times of calm. There exists therefore a potential which can at times be confusing or even dangerous, but is for the most part extremely useful. In times of excitement, then, more can be achieved than in quiet times. But this surplus normally vanishes as soon as calm is restored, together with the surplus of energy which it helped to produce. The history of revolutions is living proof of this fact.
The basic differences between the two fundamental conceptions is also shown by the fact that anarchism considers it possible for a handful of determined men to accomplish anything – of course by making use of the will of the masses, whether this remains active or passive. Socialism too considers that a well qualified and determined minority with a clear aim can carry the masses with it at decisive moments and exert an important influence. But the difference is this: while the goal of socialism in exerting such influence and its estimate of its feasibility lies in the possibility of awakening and carrying out the will of the masses (which the masses will be ready and able, given the situation, to display as their social will), the goal of anarchism is defined in terms of a true enlightened despotism, in the sense that a determined handful of usurpers carry out their own will and make use of the masses as a tool to that end.
Anarchism wants to spring, on an untamed horse, over the difficulties of the economic and social situation, or – depending on the circumstances – to bridle the horse by its tail. The leit-motiv is: in the beginning was the deed. Of course a time may come in the development of the class struggle when the action now proposed by anarchism will be feasible and correct. But the mistake of anarchism lies not in the absolute impracticability of its proposed methods, but in the relative impracticability which arises from the fact that it is incapable of reading the social relation of power at a given time, which in turn is due to a lack of historical and social insight. And if the proposals made by anarchism can be realized and approved of at later stages of development, this represents no justification but rather a condemnation of anarchist tactics. It ought to be added however in justice that these tactics do often stimulate thought.
Anarchist and semi-anarchist anti-militarism is related to the anarchist and semi-anarchist conception of the general strike. The relation can be demonstrated by the fact that for this kind of anti-militarism the military strike is the schematic culmination. To grasp the essence of this anti-militarist tendency and its differences with Social-Democratic anti-militarism, the following questions must be distinguished: the basis of anti-militarism, the methods of propaganda for anti-militarism, the final aim and object to be attained, and the means by which this object is to be gained.
The fundamental principle of the anti-militarist movement is the same for anarchism as for socialism in so far as both see in militarism an especially violent and mechanical barrier to the realization of their social plans. But for the rest the principle of the one is as different from that of the other as the anarchist world outlook is from the Social-Democratic. It is not possible here to go further into the question of how little anarchism understands the organically capitalist character of militarism and the laws of economic and social development which as a consequence have to be applied to it. Here lies the root of all the other essential differences between the socialist and anarchist forms of anti-militarism. They can be summed up as follows. Social-Democratic anti-militarism in its struggle against militarism considers this system as a function of capitalism, recognizing and applying to it the laws of economic and social development. Anarchism regards militarism more as something independent, arbitrarily and accidentally created by the ruling classes, and carries on the struggle against it, just as it carries on the struggle against capitalism in general, from a fantastic ideological standpoint, which ignores the laws of social and economic development. In restricting itself to surface phenomena, it attempts to knock militarism off the saddle by appealing out of thin air to individual determination; in short, it tries to achieve its goal in an individualist manner. Anarchism in fact is individualist not only in its social goal – in different degrees, according to the variety of anarchism, but also in its historical, social and political conception and in its methods.
The final goals of the anarchist and Social-Democratic forms of anti-militarism, if we are satisfied with a slogan, are the same: the abolition of militarism, abroad as well as at home. But Social-Democracy, in accordance with its conception of the essence of militarism, regards the complete abolition of militarism alone as impossible: militarism can only fall together with capitalism, the last class system of society. Capitalism of course is not something fixed, but a constantly evolving system which can be influenced and weakened to a considerable degree by contrary tendencies contained within it, and above all by proletarian tendencies. In the same way militarism, the manifestation of capitalism, is not incapable of being weakened, as is shown by the different forms it takes in different countries. Its connection with capitalism can also be loosened. [4]
But the same thing holds to a greater or lesser degree of the other manifestations of capitalism, and it changes nothing of the organically capitalist [5] character of militarism, and nothing of the fact that the goal of Social-Democracy’s anti-militarist propaganda is not to fight the system as an isolated phenomenon, nor is its final aim the abolition of militarism alone. Anarchist anti-militarist propaganda, on the other hand, regards the simple abolition of militarism as its ultimate goal. Of course we cannot deny that anarchists too wage the struggle against capitalism (understood in the non-organic anarchist sense), but they wage it in parallel, and not together with the anti-militarist struggle. But even the anarchists, in their truly zig-zag theoretical course, quite often show glimpses of a more profound social insight. [6]
It is in the methods of struggle that the fundamentally different historical modes of interpretation are most apparent. Here we have to distinguish between the method of promoting an anti-militarist movement and the method of using such a movement against militarism. As far as the first method is concerned, anarchism works first of all with moral enthusiasm, with moral stimuli, with humanitarian arguments, with arguments about justice – in short, with all kinds of appeals to the will which ignore the class character of anti-militarism and seek to stamp it as an abstract efflux of a universal imperative of universal validity. It therefore quite consistently turns its attention not only to the men but also to the officers. [7] Anarchist anti-militarist propaganda therefore resembles, and in a way which brings it no credit, the pathetic declamations of Tolstoyans and the impotent incantations against war of the so-called friends of world peace like Bertha von Suttner.
Social-Democratic anti-militarism, on the other hand, is based on the class struggle, and is therefore directed in principle exclusively to those classes which are necessarily enemies of militarism in that struggle – though of course it is happy to see the bourgeois splinters which fall in its direction in the course of disintegration. It educates in order to persuade, but the subject which it teaches is not that of categorical imperatives, of humanitarian positions, of ethical postulates of freedom and justice, but that of the class struggle and of the interests of the proletariat in this struggle, of the role of militarism in the class struggle and the role which the proletariat plays and must play in the same struggle. It deduces the task of the proletariat in the struggle against militarism from the interests of the proletariat in the class struggle. Of course, it also uses, to a degree which must satisfy anyone, arguments of a moral kind – the whole pathos of the categorical imperative and of the basic rights of man, the beautiful but never practised principles preached by the bourgeoisie since the time of its dawn, and even religious and especially Christian ideas and conceptions. But all these play a subsidiary role. They serve to facilitate the process of opening the eyes of unenlightened workers, so that the daylight of class consciousness can penetrate their minds. They also serve to raise enthusiasm for action.
The anarchist method of applying anti-militarism, of giving effect to anti-militarist sentiments, is again of a more individualistic and fantastic character. It lays great stress on individual refusal to serve in the army, individual refusal to resort to arms and individual protest. Anarchist literature triumphantly reports all such cases with care and exactitude. It has of course two aims in view: furthering the above-mentioned action against militarism and carrying out a kind of propaganda by deed on behalf of the anti-militarist movement. It starts out from the supposition that heroic examples of this kind are admired and imitated, producing support and enthusiasm for the movement which these “heroes” endorse.
Things are different with Social-Democratic militarism. It knows of course that individual acts can and will be signals for and symptoms of mass movements, but signals and symptoms only. And even signals they can only be when tension has reached its highest critical point, when the only thing necessary is to light the fuse leading to the powder barrel. To bring about a gradual organic disintegration and demoralization of the military spirit – that is the goal with which Social-Democracy fights militarism. Everything else serves this end, or plays a subsidiary role. In any case there is even in the anarchist movement a growing tendency critical of individual action, as is shown by the International Anti-militarist Association.
As far as the military strike is concerned, anarchist tactics are quite fantastic. They expect – given good will and a great deal of energy – to conjure it out of the sky, whereas Social-Democracy considers such a strike, like any other mobilization of the troops on the side of the revolution, as simply a logically and psychologically necessary consequence of the disintegration of the “militarist spirit”. This disintegration can only come about parallel to and in consequence of class factors and of education.
Very characteristic of anarchist anti-militarism is the little pamphlet by Domela Nieuwenhuis entitled Le militarisme. [8] For him it is not the crowned kings who are lords of the land, but the bankers, financiers and capitalists (not capitalism as an organically necessary social system). For him wars depend on the decisions of these bankers. For him reaction is the party in authority, which extends “from the Pope to Karl Marx”. Without examining the class position of the soldiers he simply accepts the opinion of Frederick (prompted by a bad conscience): “When my soldiers begin to think, not one of them will remain in the army”. He borrows methods of anti-militarist propaganda suggested by Laveleye in his book Des causes actuelles de guerre en Europe et de l’arbitrage:
  1. The removal of all restrictions on international traffic;
  2. Cheaper freight, postal and telegraph charges;
  3. Introduction of a uniform international system of coinage, weights and measures, and of uniform international legislation;
  4. The establishment of equal tights for foreigners as compared with native inhabitants
  5. Promotion of the knowledge of foreign languages and especially of foreign cultures
  6. Creation of an extensive literature of writings and works of art which cultivate a love of peace and hatred of war and all its accomplices;
  7. Promotion of everything which gives strength and effectiveness to the representative system and can help deprive the executive authority of the right to decide questions of war and peace;
  8. Support of all those industrial undertakings which apply the surplus wealth of the country to increasing the prosperity of other lands, so that capital takes on a cosmopolitan character and links the interests of international capitalists;
  9. (This is the point to which Nieuwenhuis objects) – Work by the clergy to fill the minds of the faithful with a horror of war, after the Quaker fashion;
To these methods of anti-militarism Nieuwenhuis adds others which he considers more effective, namely:
  1. Promotion of the international interests of the workers;
  2. The abolition of kings, presidents, upper chambers and parliaments as social institutions inimical to peace;
  3. Abolition of embassies;
  4. The reform of history teaching, its transformation into the history of civilizations;
  5. The abolition of standing armies;
  6. An arbitration system to settle international disputes;
  7. A federal United States of Europe, after the fashion of the United States of America;
  8. The military strike in case of war, together with the general strike;
  9. Passive resistance and individual refusal to serve in the army;
  10. Promotion of general development and of the conditions which make for the well-being of all mankind.
At this point, Nieuwenhuis makes the characteristic remark: “If men have anything to lose through war, it is in their interest to see that peace is kept” – as if it were the proletariat which disturbed peace.
The careful critic will see here nothing but a muddle [9] – muddle in the basic social and historical conception, muddle in the arrangement, muddle in the detail. The main point is not even mentioned. The most important point which does find a place – that which relates to certain economic bases of militarism – is mentioned on the side, almost as if by accident. Points of subsidiary, second and third-rate importance appear in the foreground, and by their side quite utopian and fantastic remedies. The means of anti-militarist propaganda are lumped together with anti-militarist action itself. The superficiality of the fundamental conception and the inclination to put everything on the basis of personal initiative and good will become quite evident. The final sentence of Nieuwenhuis’ pamphlet is a revelation of the depth of the confusion in the anarchist conception: “Daring, more and ever more daring – that is what we need in order to triumph.”
***Of This And That In The Old North Adamsville Neighborhood-In Search Of….. Class Sweethearts

A little something to set the mood for this sketch 

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

For those who have been following this series about the old days in my old home town of North Adamsville, particularly the high school day as the 50th anniversary of my graduation creeps up, will notice that recently I have been doing sketches based on my reaction to various e-mails sent to me by fellow classmates via the class website. Also classmates have placed messages on the Message Forum page when they have something they want to share generally like health issues, new family arrivals or trips down memory lane on any number of subjects from old time athletic prowess to reflections on growing up in the old home town. Thus I have been forced to take on the tough tasks of sending kisses to raging grandmothers, talking up old flames with guys I used to hang around the corners with, remembering those long ago searches for the heart of Saturday night, getting wistful about elementary school daydreams, taking up the cudgels for be-bop lost boys and the like. These responses are no accident as I have of late been avidly perusing the personal profiles of various members of the North Adamsville Class of 1964 website as fellow classmates have come on to the site and lost their shyness about telling their life stories (or have increased their computer technology capacities, not an unimportant consideration for the generation of ’68, a generation on the cusp of the computer revolution and so not necessarily as computer savvy as the average eight-year old today).

Some stuff is interesting to a point, you know, including those endless tales about the doings and not doings of the grandchildren, odd hobbies and other ventures taken up in retirement and so on although not worthy of me making a little off-hand commentary on. Some other stuff is either too sensitive or too risqué to publish on a family-friendly site. Some stuff, some stuff about the old days and what did, or did not, happened to, or between, fellow classmates, you know the boy-girl thing (other now acceptable relationships were below the radar then) has naturally perked my interest.

Other stuff defies simple classification as is the case here in dealing with a posting by a well-meaning classmate on the Message Forum page honoring those fifteen or so couples celebrating the 50th anniversary (or more) who have been thus far identified as “class sweethearts.” In fact a whole section on the site is dedicated to the couples, when they met, and how long they have been married (there are no known, identified anyway, couples who “co-habitated” all this time which I think is probably about right for a generation, a time, and a town where such illegal/immoral/unseemly behavior would certainly have been frowned on. A not unlikely typical scenario then would have been to graduate high school, for males get a job, a skilled trade-type job if possible (women getting insurance clerk-type jobs reflecting their dominance in the school’s business courses of study), do military service if required, if not, get married by say twenty, get a little house, a little house a little better than your parents, raise a family and wait on the grandkids to come. Not a bad life for some and the stories of the 50th year celebrants track that path.        

To qualify in the “class sweethearts” department the pair must have met in high school (or before, although in my mind that stretches credibility) and stayed together (although a sub-category exists of surviving partners of deceased partners an unfortunate necessary when one looks at the actuarial tables for 50th reunion eligibles).That got me to thinking how really amazing the fact of fifty years of togetherness is. The classmate who posted the tribute eluded to that in her message. The amazing part, given the trend toward breakdown in modern marriages and my own experiences only re-enforces that idea. I have been through three divorces, count them, have paid out tons of cash in the process, have had countless affairs (I don’t have a number for them since they did not cost me dough, only dough affairs count) and a few trysts, one rather recently so the sheer ability, and love, that it must take a pair to stay together for “eternity” is well worthy of acknowledgement and I sincerely join that fellow classmate in homage. I could not do a better job myself so here is her take on the sweethearts:           

50 Years Of Togetherness -In Honor Of The Class of 1964 High School Sweethearts-“Written In The Stars”

Here is an early kiss-the details of this sketch are totally fictional-although honorees are welcome to give us their real stories. The sentiment however is real, very real.

…who knows when or where it started. Maybe it was that first fresh-eyed glance in Mr. Forrester’s dreary classroom looking at her until his eyes got sore, or she spying him while waiting, endlessly waiting, for the Eastern Mass bus walking down the street and went weak-kneed, or he sitting forlornly on the seawall old Adamsville Beach as she walked by took a second glance, or one of a hundred other possibilities but it happened. It happened with big bang hearts or with quietly growing on each other but it happened.

He, formerly full of boasts and bravados in that mandatory Monday morning before school boys’ “lav” talkfest about who did or did not do what with whom over the weekend fell silent, would not speak her name in such bluster. (She, she in that mandatory Monday morning before school girls’ “lav” talkfest about who did or did not do what with whom just smiled, a private smile, she had her man.) And they laughed, laughed one night down at Adamsville Beach watching the “submarine races,” saying they would stay together forever. Forever being, as such things went, maybe the next year, or until the next best thing came along            

As it turned out the next best thing was sitting right next to them, and so they, maybe a little fearful, maybe a little worried about whether they would last or not tied the knot (although truth to tell that knot had already been tied long before). He went off to war, school, or work and she waited and worried, worried about how they would provide for the coming children. And worry or not the children came and made their time a little easier (mostly).

But there were bumps in the road, he, getting a little thicker around the waist, looked off in the distance and she, well, she went on an exercise regime as they both wondered in the night what had happened. Both separately feverishly tossing in the night with thoughts about leaving, about what one would do without the other, about where they would they go and how when they were young they had loved each other so. That passed. Later he more interested in Sunday afternoon football point spreads and she in shopping, shopping until she dropped, for the newest grandchild had that recurring dream. But that too passed, remembering back to mist of time Adamsville Beach pledges.        

So they, maybe mocked in a modern world where everyone is supposed to change spouses, partners, lovers with the changing seasons, spent their time together. Out somewhere up in Maine on a cold December night a woman stood against a frosted window in a lonely dark room. Down in some Southern California town a man who had changed companions with the seasons, pensively looked out at the moonless night, the foam-flecked ocean waves swirling against the waiting shore his sole companion. They, we, I, stand in awe, stand in awe do you hear, of such steadfastness. And love, but you knew that already.     
From The Archives Of The American And International Left

Click on link below and follow links to access back Spartacist issues.

Markin comment:

This set of archival issues of the Spartacist journal may be of some historical interest for old "new leftists,” perhaps, as well as for younger militants interested in various political, cultural and social questions that intersect and directly affect the ebb and flow of the class struggle. Or for those just interested in a Marxist position on a series of social and political questions that are thrust upon us by the vagaries of bourgeois society. I will be posting more such articles from the back issues of Spartacist and other periodicals from other leftist organizations, past and present, periodically throughout the year.

Additional Markin comment:
I place some material in this space which may be of interest to the radical public that I do not necessarily agree with or support. Off hand, as I have mentioned before, I think it would be easier, infinitely easier, to fight for the socialist revolution straight up than some of the “remedies” provided by the commentators in these entries. But part of that struggle for the socialist revolution is to sort out the “real” stuff from the fluff as we struggle for that more just world that animates our efforts.
Massachusetts Peace Action
President Barack Obama has announced plans to ask Congress for $1 billion in additional military spending g7 leaders diningfor a "European Reassurance Iniative" prior to a meeting of the G-7 nations.  That money is above and beyond the already bloated levels of military spending.  
Meanwhile, cutbacks recently dropped support for long term unemployment benefits and slashed funding for food stamps, affecting 850,000 struggling families.  Where are our priorities?
Adding U.S. military forces to the explosive mixture in East Europe will do nothing to ease the tense situation.  Now is a time for all sides to stand down and work to build peaceful resolution -- not continue with military escalation and sanctions.
Ukraine Map with Surrounding Countries
Ukraine and neighboring countries, with southeast region in yellow. Crimea, shown in red, reunited with the Russian Federation after the coup in Kiev.
Many experts have argued that the US/NATO push into Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union is the real source of tension with Russia.
As the map illustrates, the NATO nations to receive the added U.S. presence border Russia or Belarus, Russia's partner in the Eurasian Union.  
The US government spent $5 billion supporting intensely anti-Russian elements which achieved regime change in Kiev and which are now waging a vicious asymmetrical war against the ethnic Russian majority in the Southeast of Ukraine.
The election of a new president who was not directly involved in the military operations offers an oportunity for dialog and peaceful resolution of the internal Ukrainian conflict. A U.S. military buildup in the region will do nothing to reduce tensions or encourage peaceful resolution.
Shelagh Foreman Standing with you for peace,
Shelagh Foreman
Program Director

Join Massachusetts Peace Action - or renew your membership today!  
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CIW list header

Ohio papers spotlight Fair Food demands at Wendy’s shareholder meeting!
They say the best things come in threes, and so to round out our coverage of Wendy’s 2014 shareholder meeting — following last week’s exciting first-hand report from inside the meeting, and this week’s open letters to Wendy’s leadership from some of the country’s most important religious leaders – we bring you act three of this Fair Food drama: the media round-up.
Never one to miss out on the action, the Examiner’s pre-meeting article, “Farmworkers, consumers to demonstrate outside Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting” (May 27), covered the bubbling anticipation in Dublin before the arrival of the shareholders on May 28.  It also gave a pretty thorough summary of the Wendy’s campaign in Ohio to date, and so we include it here in full:
05ae9b6a0be695cb285fff3626cc264b“We are fighting to improve the wages and working conditions for farm workers,” said Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) organizer Gerardo Reyes after a screening of the film Harvest of Empire at Studio 35 on Saturday. “If the market is creating poverty in communities like ours, the market has a responsibility to work with us to fix it.”
On Wednesday, May 28 at 9 a.m., clergy, students, and residents of Columbus and Dublin will join the CIW for a demonstration outside the 2014 Wendy’s annual shareholder meeting at the company’s corporate headquarters, 1 Dave Thomas Blvd in Dublin. Together, they will call on the Dublin-based burger giant to join its fast food competitors in supporting the Fair Food Program, a groundbreaking collaboration that has won praise from the White House to the United Nations for its unique success in addressing decades-old farm labor abuses at the heart of the nation’s trillion-dollar food industry...
1) Call and Fax Ambassador Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran
2) Fax a letter to Jordan's Interior Minister Hussein Al Majali 
3) Post your concerns to the Jordanian Embassy's Facebook page

***NEW TALKING POINTS and SAMPLE LETTERS below and attached.


June 5th marks one month that Amer Jubran has been detained in Jordan. He has still not been charged with any crime. His whereabouts remain unknown and he has had no access to legal counsel, phone calls, or contact with his family. We are gravely concerned about his safety and are urging all his supporters to act now.

On Thursday June 5th, the petition to free Amer Jubran will be sent to the Jordanian Embassy. Please do the following on Thursday June 5th:

1)    Call the Ambassador Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran at the Jordanian Embassy in Washington, DC at     (202) 966 – 2664
2)    Fax a letter to Ambassador Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran at the Jordanian Embassy in Washington,     DC at Fax  (202) 966 – 3110 (ready to fax- sample letter attached/below that can be  printed and signed)
3)    Fax a letter to Jordan's Interior Minister Hussein Al Majali  at Fax #011-962-6-5606908
    (ready to fax- sample letter attached/below)
    If possible, please fax this early Thursday morning, keeping in mind the 7 hour time difference.
4)  Post a comment regarding your grave concern about Amer Jubran to the Jordanian Embassy's Facebook page
    Please be sure that Amer's name and your critique of the Embassy's handling of his case are prominent in the first 2-3 lines (sample below).

Tip: When you make your call, say that you do not want to be transferred to the Consulate but wish to speak to the Ambassador's office and leave a message for the Ambassador, because you have not received a response yet on action to be taken regarding Amer's case.

Talking points:

1) Amer Jubran has been detained in Jordan without charge for one month in violation of his basic rights to due process. His whereabouts remain unknown and he has had no access to a lawyer, phone calls, or contact with his family;

2)  Jordan is a signatory party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention. The United Nations Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights has advised that Jordan should end its current practice of administrative detention;

3) Hundreds  of people from around the world have joined the call for Amer Jubran's release, including the National Lawyer's Guild. State representatives, a U.S. senator, and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus have expressed concern about the violation of Mr. Jubran's basic rights to due process. Over 300 people including human rights activists and lawyers concerned about the violation of his basic rights have signed a petition demanding his release;

4) Despite promises to the contrary, the Jordanian Embassy has not responded to phone calls, faxes, or a request to meet regarding the status of Amer Jubran; and

5) We are gravely concerned about the rights and safety of Mr. Jubran. We demand Mr. Jubran be released immediately.

Sample posts to Jordanian Embassy Facebook:

**Please respond to human rights concerns about the detention of Amer Jubran!

**Amer Jubran has been detained in Jordan for one month without charge or access to a lawyer.
He should be released immediately!

Sample letter to Embassy:


Ambassador Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran
Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone (202) 966 - 2664
Fax  (202) 966 – 3110

Dear Ambassador Dr. Alia Hatoug Bouran,

I am writing again to express my grave concern for Jordanian national Amer Jubran who was detained on May 5th, 2014 and has now been held for one month. His whereabouts remain unknown and he has had no access to a lawyer, phone calls, or contact with his family. He has not been charged with any crime. Amer Jubran is a long-time Palestinian activist and a well-known voice of dissent in the Arab world.

Jordan is a signatory party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention. The United Nations Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights has advised that Jordan should end its current practice of administrative detention. Jordan proclaims that it is undergoing democratic reforms and respecting civil liberties, however, Jordan’s use of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention continues to be criticized in ongoing reports by international human rights organizations.

Hundreds  of people from around the world have joined the call for Amer Jubran's  release, including the National Lawyer's Guild State representatives, a U.S. senator, and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus have written letters expressing grave concern about the violation of Mr. Jubran's basic rights to due process and to freedom of speech. Approximately 300 people including human rights activists and lawyers concerned about the violation of his basic rights have signed a petition demanding his release.

Despite promises to the contrary, the Jordanian Embassy has not responded to phone calls, faxes, or requests to meet regarding the status of Amer Jubran.

We are gravely concerned about the rights and safety of Mr. Jubran.

Mr Jubran has not been charged with any crime. He should be released immediately.

If he is to be charged,  he must have immediate
1) access to a lawyer of his choosing and prompt setting of reasonable bail;
2) evaluation by health care professionals;
3) release of information regarding his whereabouts and condition; and
4) visitation/contact with his family.

I expect a response to these concerns promptly.


Sample Letter Ministry


Interior Minister Hussein Al Majali
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 100, Amman, Jordan
Telephone: 011-962-6-5691141
Fax: 011-962-6-5606908

Dear Interior Minister Hussein Al Majali,

I am writing again to express my grave concern for Jordanian national Amer Jubran who was detained on May 5th, 2014 and has now been held for one month. His whereabouts remain unknown and he has had no access to a lawyer, phone calls, or contact with his family. He has not been charged with any crime. Amer Jubran is a long-time Palestinian activist and a well-known voice of dissent in the Arab world.

Jordan is a signatory party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR prohibits arbitrary arrest or detention. The United Nations Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights has advised that Jordan should end its current practice of administrative detention. Jordan proclaims that it is undergoing democratic reforms and respecting civil liberties, however, Jordan’s use of arbitrary arrest and administrative detention continues to be criticized in ongoing reports by international human rights organizations.

Hundreds  of people from around the world have joined the call for Amer Jubran's  release, including the National Lawyer's Guild State representatives, a U.S. senator, and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus have written letters expressing grave concern about the violation of Mr. Jubran's basic rights to due process and to freedom of speech. Approximately 300 people including human rights activists and lawyers concerned about the violation of his basic rights have signed a petition demanding his release.

We are gravely concerned about the rights and safety of Mr. Jubran.

Mr Jubran has not been charged with any crime. He should be released immediately.

If he is to be charged,  he must have immediate
1) access to a lawyer of his choosing and prompt setting of reasonable bail;
2) evaluation by health care professionals;
3) release of information regarding his whereabouts and condition; and
4) visitation/contact with his family.

I expect a response to these concerns promptly.


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***When The National Pastime Really Was the National Pastime-42-The Jackie Robinson Story

DVD Review

From The Pen Of Frank Jackman

42, starring Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, 2013

I seem of late to be on a baseball story spree having just reviewed director Billy Crystal’s homage to Roger Maris (and Mickey Mantle) in the film 61* (the silly asterisk denoting until much later that Roger had done his record- breaking deed in a 162 game season and the immortal Babe Ruth’s 60 in 154. Such are the number powers, statistical numbers powers, and inanities that drive sports, particularly baseball). There I noted as I do here since the time period of the film under review, 42, the story of Jackie Robison’s heroic efforts to integrate major league baseball in 1947, a time before television drew crowds away, baseball was indeed something like the national pastime for sports aficionados. I also noted there that was a time before 24/7/365 ESPN all-sports-all-the-time when there were distinct seasons to sport and not so much overlapping. A time when, for example, the World Series in baseball was over before the chilly winds of November snow-delayed games in northern climes. A time when the national pastime was indeed the national pastime and life was, or seemed to be, slower, slow enough to listen or watch a game for a couple of hours or occasionally go out to the ballpark and not put a big dent in your monthly discretionary budget. Hey, if you don’t believe me just as your fathers, or ouch, grandfathers they will tell you true. All this can serve as backdrop to give an idea of how controversial, how shocking in some quarters, Jackie Robinson’s deed was since all previous premises in baseball were based on its displaying the white man’s athletic prowess. Blacks (and Latinos, at least open Latinos unlike Ted Williams) were okay to watch the game (and in the South in the “colored” sections) but not to be on the same ballfield as whites.          

All this sports talk, baseball talk is a somewhat unusual subject for this writer to discuss since unlike almost every other kid in my growing working-class neighborhood of North Adamsville I did not play the game when I was tall enough to wave a bat or don a glove. Reason: no skill, no athletic skills (although that has not stopped generations of “no skill” kindred from being critical sportswriters, play-by-play broadcasters and barroom experts). Oh sure, as a kid I would  collect the baseball cards that came with the bubblegum we would cadge money for in order to go to the local mom and pop variety store and chance our luck to see if we could get Ted/Mickey/Willie/Jackie and all in our packet, and to trade our duplicates. And sure, as well, I used to “flip” cards against the school house wall to try to win some coveted card and also use any loose duplicates to stick with clothespins on my bicycle to make it sound like a junior motorcycle. But I did not play, did not go to professional games at Fenway (home of the 1950s lowly Red Sox) or pay attention to the game much in the newspapers (except to see how far the Sox were out of first place occasionally). I also knew, 1950s knew, that there were black baseball players around which seemed a natural thing. So it was somewhat disconcerting years later, a fact which got confirmed by viewing this fine film, when I found out that major league baseball had only been integrated in 1947. And that integration was a close thing dependent on the spunk of Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey (played by old codger, now old codger, Harrison Ford) and one super black baseball player Jackie Robinson (played by Chadwick Boseman).              

Unlike the story line in 61* where the subject entailed pursuit of a legendary record, the home run record, which captured the nation’s attention, or at least baseball nation’s attention this integration question cut to the core. Almost every aspect of national pastime baseball came into play in this integration process starting in the Mister Jim Crow South where most major leagues teams had their spring training and where, as one graphic scene showed, black ballplayers could not legally be on the same filed as whites, ditto drinking fountains, restrooms, hotels, restaurants, hell, even airline flights. And it did not get much better heading north, including in Brooklyn and, of course within the Dodger organization. Damn, no, double damn.        
I mentioned in the 61* review that I would have been much more sympathetic to Maris’ struggle if I had known some of the details presented in the film about how the fans, hell, even Yankee fans, trashed him because they did not want to see Babe’s record fall or would rather have seen the Mick get it. That was kids’ stuff compared to what Jackie faced. This film shows Robinson’s perseverance in the face of all those pressures from fans, from the parasitic sportswriters following the saga (except the lone black reporter/friend/chauffer present), and the effect it had on him personally and on his family. Funny baseball has changed a lot in the past fifty years since Jackie’s feat brought slews of black, Latinos and Asian players to the majors. But from all reports gnarly sport-writers and rabid fans (and here not meaning devoted) are still with us.