Russia and Ourselves
The situation created by the Russian Revolution is in many respects not without its humorous side. Hailed at first by the British Government as the “glorious deliverance of the Russian peoples,” the B.G. now takes up the “wait and see” stand with an occasional transition to the “come back all I have said” – both eyes being meanwhile centred on the Council of Soldiers’ and Workmen’s Deputies.
The maniacal ravings of the labour crooks, too, along with the quite-understood activities of the B.S.P., the I.L.P., and the rest, towards the Russian worker, is not without a touch of real humour. Each and all are tumbling over themselves in their efforts to advise the Russian how to make the best use of his diplomatic opportunity. The situation resembles, in some ways, that good time when the “Daily Herald” League sent Tom Mann to South Africa, during the period of the farcical strike, to teach the working class there the real art of economic organisation. It was just another example of the pupil knowing more than the teacher, with a simple reminder that it was sheer impudence that prompted the sending of Tom Mann.
Let it be said at once, the Council of Soldiers’ and Workmen’s Deputies requires no advice from the Labour recruiting sergeants on this side of the water. We of the Socialist Party of Great Britain make it plain that we are not prepared to congratulate the Russian peasant upon assisting the Russian capitalist class to a more complete dominance. True, the workers there, through the temporary dislocation of affairs, have seized certain advantages. True, also, it is, that the declaration “no annexations, no indemnities,” is a staggering blow for the Allied aims, yet we ourselves are not going into hysterics regarding it. Certainly we are not to be found crying peace talk along with those who, like Phillip Snowden and J. Ramsay Macdonald, have never ceased to vote war credits during nearly three years of mad, murderous slaughter.
Just how low down and despicable the part played by the labour crooks has been is shown by the following gem mouthed at the Leeds menagerie by one of the chosen Stockholm candidates :
“Mr. Ramsay Macdonald, moving the resolution hailing the Russian revolution, regretted that when war broke out British democracy had not kept hold of the situation.” – ‘Daily Express’, 1.6.17.
That the workers here were never in a position to resist the starting of the war chariots the merest child must know, but Ramsay Mac. took particular care that they never would stop them if it lay within the power of him and his party to prevent it.
The action of the labour leaders at the Trades Union Congress at Bristol in 1915, in crushingly voting down a resolution of censure for not having secured some sort of guarantee from the, Government that adequate compensation would be provided for the disabled and the dependents of those losing their lives in the war proves conclusively how beautifully the labour fakers helped the workers to “keep hold of the situation” in the early days of the conflict. The activity of such people in mouthing peace talk just now is consistent with the laudable desire to “get right” with the war-sick Tommies, whose trade union contributions keep them fat jobs, ere those war-sick Tommies return to make a few enquiries.
That we have due justification for refusing to slap the Russian on the back, with expressions of sickly sentiment, congratulating him upon having achieved his emancipation (sic!) is clearly shown by the fact that the Council of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies despatched a congratulatory message to the Leeds conference in which an invitation to Stockholm was embodied.
Despite the dearth of news from Petrograd and other centres we are in a position to know that the Russian capitalist class still hold the field, both economically and politically. If it were not so, then M. Kerensky, clearly an agent of the Russian ruling class, would have been removed long ago. Indeed, his election could never have been even mooted by the victorious proletariat.
Signs are not wanting that the workers out there are already losing strength, as the following words issued in manifesto form by the Council of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies to the Commander of German troops on the Russian front in reply to the pourparlers with a view to concluding peace, bear witness :
“He has forgotten that Russia knows that the overthrow of her Allies would mean the overthrow of Russia and the end of her political liberty.”
—”Daily Chronicle,” 10.6.17.
Such words are hardly indicative of class-consciousness and form strong contrast to the much-lauded “no annexation, no indemnity” pronouncement.
When, too, it is pointed out that just prior to the issuing of this statement a meeting of the self-same deputies had stood up and vociferously cheered M. Kerensky, the new figurehead of Russian oppression, it will become increasingly apparent that in giving trust to such a body the Russian worker is relying upon the proverbial broken reed.
Small wonder, then, that the labour hacks in this country are so anxious to assist in their usual slimy, game of confusing working-class minds and conflicting vital issues.
If proof should be wanted of Kerensky’s little game ― and, needless to say, he has been pointed to as a genuine Socialist by the prostitute Press ― it is contained in the following extract from an Order of the Day issued by the wily Minister of War to the Russian troops:
“Remember that whoever looks behind, stops, or draws back will lose everything. Do not forget that if you defend not the honour, liberty, and dignity of the country your names will be cursed. The will of the people must rid the country and the world of violators and usurpers. Such is the high deed to which l call you.”― “Daily News,” 28.5.27.
It, would appear as though Kerensky’s mortal fear lest the wretched soldiers look back is prompted by a dread that his own game might be discovered. The chances are, to, that if he, the Russian soldier stands to lose everything, he will also be losing his chance of a German bullet. Certain it is that enough evidence has been forthcoming to conclusively prove the reluctance of a very large proportion of the Russian Army to continue the senseless slaughter which has transformed the European plains into vast graveyards.
Briefly examining the American intervention one is struck by the similarly black treachery of the labour leaders, such as Gompers and his crowd, to that of our own so-called Socialist parties. They too will adopt the same backing-out moves when peace seems imminent as our gang.
These moves, however, become increasingly difficult as the war drags on, for the age of learning is upon us. Proof of this could hardly be more obvious than the latest proposal of the Government to give sectional enfranchisement to women in order to hide the huge slump in votes that must face the master-class nominees at the elections that must follow a declaration of peace. Increasing evidence is forthcoming of the dread of the international capitalist class at the great unrest shown even now, during the carrying through of a great war ― an unrest as yet in its infancy, but which is rapidly expanding and will continue to do so.
Capitalist society is sapping its own strength ; it is staggering under the sheer weight of its own exhausting intensity. Mr. Balfour himself declared, in addressing the Canadian Parliament during his recent visit to Canada :
“We are convinced there can be only one form of government, whatever it is called, and that is where the ultimate control lies in the hands of the people. We have staked our last dollar on it, and if democracy fails us we shall be bankrupt indeed.” ― “Common Sense,” 9.6.17.
Whether Mr. Balfour does or does not believe that the ultimate control to-day lies in the hands of the people, the present writer is not seriously concerned with. The approaching bankruptcy of his class is as certain as the equinoxes. Meanwhile we of the Socialist Party will continue to fight straight, convinced that when we again face our fellow workers no man will be able to show that we have falsified, in the slightest particular, the cause we claim to uphold.
Let us not, therefore, be deluded into beliefs concerning the new Russian Constitution which we know to be fallacious. The Russian workers are still the bottom dogs, while the capitalists of Russia are still basking in luxury and idleness. A few more weeks and the dupes of the Russian financiers will lapse once more into their wonted miserable condition.
Only through class conscious organisation on political lines can the Russian proletariat emerge from their long-endured bondage. In this they resemble the workers of all other countries, and to the work of education necessary to achieve such organisation I commend all Russian Socialists.
B. B. B.