The International Congress at Amsterdam. (1904)

The Welcome to Delegates.


[From “Het Volk.“]


The Netherlands Social-Democratic Party gives you a hearty welcome!


The Paris International Congress of 1900 conferred upon the still young Dutch Party the honour of receiving the representatives of the world’s Socialist organisations in 1904, and it is to Amsterdam that from all parts of the earth are flocking’ together the hundreds of men and women entrusted with the will of the millions of toilers, who carry the heavy burden of capitalism throughout the Earth’s length and breadth.


The eyes of the entire conscious proletariat are now turned towards Amsterdam, where the proletarian forces are concentrated, bearing the happy message of a new and a better future. The organtisation of the class-war is now the principal object. But even through our strife itself the seeds are sown for the tank of days to come, the organisation after the victory.


To this twofold task of organising the strenuous battle, we are now fighting with all the strength of our convictions, and of breaking the ground for the future society, which is necessarily germinating in the cesspool of unfettered capitalism, you are concentrating the labour of this coming week.


Proletarian might and courage and self-reliance grow up high out of the wealth of our scientific researches, strengthened day by day by the hard facts of capitalism itself. Proletarian forethought and prudence have to be observed by the masses, whose will and intentions yon represent, for many are the difficulties and great is the responsibility when facing the task of choosing the ways and means.


The Dutch Party, too, awaits your debates and your decisions with keen interest. However young we may be in the ranks of the International—within a few weeks we will celebrate the tenth birthday of our party; and then, strengthened by the rules which the Congress will have again laid down for the international life and movement of the proletariat, we will promise each other earnestly and solemnly to carry on the propaganda of our principles with renewed power until the victory is gained. And we shall no less proclaim our unshatterable will to hold high—above all differences of opinion, which with us can and may be but temporary— that unity of action, without which the proletariat can never excel in power its great and still mighty enemy. In the prosperous growth of our party nothing is more natural than difference of opinion concerning the means of action. But all exchange of thoughts about such differences must be governed by the earnest dedise to find, on the basis of proletarian science and of proletarian consciousness, the solution which shall warrant unity of action.


That shall be our firm resolve, when by and by we shall look back upon our labours of ten years and shall gather new strength for the times to come.


In the far East capitalism is forcing the workers of two great nations to fight each other in bloody battles. In the colonies’ it wages its exterminating wars to gain ever larger fields for its insatiable lust of exploitation. In the industrial countries it lays like a leaden burden upon the working classes. In the agricultural districts it fosters as much as possible the ignorance and the unconsciousness of the toiling masses.


Against this irresponsible power we direct our forces, whose war-cry is—Organisation and Unity!


And the serrying of our ranks is now of greater importance than ever, where the churches are of late openly using their influence solely on behalf of capitalism. Bearers of Christian love and charity, as they call themselves, they throw the ethics of Christianity to the dogs, and freely accept the ethics of capitalism.


This we experience even in our country, and we arm ourselves formidably for this new form of old battle.


Your discussions will strengthen our power. We are happy to see you in our midst, and we give you a hearty welcome!