The Bloody Battlefield

A series of comments on international politics


Many worthy people have fondly cherished the notion that Roosevelt and his fellow Republicans meant “doing for” the trusts. Our Liberal advertisement sheets have praised him for his “great fight” and accepted him as the enemy of monopoly. But, true to capitalist methods, when something more than mere words and rhetoric is required, he turns round and defends the trusts and ridicules the idea of destroying them.

In the current issue of the “Outlook,” Mr. Roosevelt says :

“The big business has come to stay and it is futile to expect to return to the old days of laissez-faire.

“The Government must see this and refrain from keeping American industries on tenterhooks and permitting foreign rivals to reap an advantage.”

In the course of his article he denounces the Government for interfering with the Steel Trust, and calls President Taft’s policy a “chaotic” one. So much for capitalist politicians. When they seek office they tell their poor followers that trusts can be smashed by antitrust laws. But in the calm of other days the truth so often driven home by Socialists emerges —that combination and concentration of capital is an inevitable result of economic laws. That is the tribute of Theodore Roosevelt to Karl Marx.


While the professional politicians of Erin talk of the benefits of Home Rule and its future influence on the conditions of life in Ireland, it may be useful to turn to the scene of many Nationalist fights for guidance.

Half a century ago the Italian States were under the heel of Austria, and a great movement arose on the part of the merchants and bourgeoisie generally to unite these States into one and overthrow Austrian domination.

Garibaldi and Mazzini were the prophets of this campaign, and after two years of terrible warfare a United Italy emerged.

The Young Italy party never tired of promising the grand results of national independence —when the workers of Naples and Lombardy fought under one banner.

The peasants of Italy helped in the great fight and sacrificed their lives to provide their masters with political supremacy. To-day Italian cities are full of poverty-stricken wage-slaves, hounded down by a murderous Government; suffering from terrible diseases caused by poor food and unceasing toil.

Hundreds of thousands of descendants of Garibaldi’s soldiers leave Italy every year, to push ice-cream barrows in England (or, if lucky, to wait upon “God’s Englishman”), or to overthrow, so pitiful is their lot, even the Jew in the tailoring trade in America.

A sidelight upon the benefits of national autonomy is seen in the barbarities of Italy in Tripoli—the indiscriminate torture and murder of men, women, and children—the blood-lust aroused by the Italian rulers.

Help the struggling Irish capitalists to become powerful, and they will shoot down and exploit wage-slaves in Ireland just as the infamous murderers of Italy are doing in Tripoli.

In considering an independent Ireland, of course, we are taking the Irish Party too seriously. Though they never tire of talking of the villainy of the Act of Union of 1802, and of the awful results and the frightful persecution it ushered in, they no longer talk here about its repeal.

On American platforms, and years ago on English platforms, they wanted to “cut the painter”—to drive the English out of Ireland. They demanded National Independence, but now all they seek is legislative liberty in “purely Irish affairs.” English lawyers will interpret this last phrase. That is the result of the agreement with the Liberal party. The one time members of the Anti-Home-Rule Liberal League are promising Ireland “Home Rule,” but this depends upon their “political exigency.” While the Irish hold a strategically strong position in Parliament they may get many promises and sometimes even a meagre performance.

Bat the United Irish League are doing a lot of harm even to their own future by urging the workers to support the Liberal party—the coercionists and stiflers of Irish agitation throughout the 19th century.


Turkey’s appeal to the Powers to stop the massacre of women and children on the part of Italy is very strange. Bulgaria, Macedonia, Roumania, Armenia ! Do not these names remind us of fearful atrocities practised on men, women, and children by the agents of the Turkish Government—atrocities which still continue?

The political changes in Turkey that resulted in the victory of the Young Turks have not brought sweetness and comfort into the lives of the toilers of Turkey. Hardly had the new Government been settled before the tobacco workers of Salonika found their union under a ban, and persecuted by the “powers that be.”

The silk and carpet workers, too, were trodden down worse than before. Surely this shows us that mere political changes—as when the industrial bourgeoisie succeed to the command of affairs—bring no blessings to the slaves.

The abolition of all class rule is the only guarantee of well-being for all.


Italy is a party to the treaties of the International Peace (!) Conference of the Hague she refer her “dispute ” to arbitration ? Not likely ! Where arbitration stands in her extending her territory it may go to hell !

The fight for territory—the scramble for markets—will go on, despite peace conferences, arbitration leagues, and treaties. America did not want territory. Oh, no. But Cuba and the Philippines are useful. Britain sought no territory or goldfields in South Africa, India, Canada, or Australia—they were annexed to protect the weaker nations !

War and carnage find their final cause in private property, and will only end with the departure of property as an institution of social life. Non-Socialists may sigh with the poet for time “when the war drum throbs no longer, when the battle flag is furled,” but they are doomed to disappointment while they support capitalism in some form or other.

A. Kohn

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