Starting an Important Series: WHEN WAR COMES
War and the Social-Educational Agencies ..................... S. Herman
Is War More Costly Then Depression? .................... Albert Weisbord
Roosevelt's Work Relief ...................................... Vera Buch
The Venizelos Revolt ................................ Letter from Greece
The Unemployed Work of a Workers Party "Leader" ......... G--Los Angeles
The Belgian "Trotskyists" Enter the S.P.
The S.P. Enters His Majesty's Government .......... Letter from Belgium
International Communist Notes ..................................... V.B.
IS WAR MORE COSTLY THAN DEPRESSION?
by Albert Weisbord
Certainly, the revolutionary Socialists have never been mere Pacifists. Karl Marx was neutral in none of the wars that took place in his day. He urged England to fight Russia in the Crimea, he favored the war of the Balkans against Turkey, he took the side of the Northern States in the Civil War against the South, he thought the defeat of Napoleon III at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 would be a good thing, and later, when the whole character of the war changed with the invasion of France and the settlement of Paris, came out firmly for France against Prussia. One of the demands of the Socialists in those days was for the abolition of the Standing army and the substitution of a Citizens' Army instead.
In our own time we Communists defend colonies and subject nations that rise in revolt and declare war against the Imperialist oppressor. We are not neutral in any war against the Soviet Union, but take our stand for its defense, etc. All of these policies flow from the basic features of the class struggle. Far from being Pacifists, the Communists preach war -- Class War -- and understand the inevitability of Civil War. And all these conflicts that will aid the development and speed the victory of the international proletariat and poor peasantry in their war against international capital are conflicts which we must aid and in which we must participate in every possible manner.
After all, war is but a continuation of peace; it is another form of peace expressed in military terms. Those, who shrink at war, should remember that as many workers in the United States died from preventable industrial accidents, during the four years of the World War, as United States soldiers were killed on the battle fields in France. Capitalist peace is industrial war, war fought with legal weapons, true, but a war which can be even more deadly to the social order extent than actual military fighting. Military War is but concentrated Peace. Peace is diluted War. Military battles only culminate the price wars of competition. War is a speedier method than competition. Whereas competition may win the market for the superior industrial country say in twenty years, war may win those markets in a single year, and the country that is superior industrially, all other things remaining the same, will win in war as in peace. What difference therefore, if the cost of the war is twenty times the cost of peaceful competition, is not war the locomotive of history and is not the speeding up of history worth something in itself? All the more if you have not long to live and your life depends upon the tempo of historical events!
Until the 20th century, war, like competition, was a powerful progressive stimulant for capitalism. It was by means of war that the Chinese walls of Asia were battered down, opening the way for the grandiose development both of Europe and of Asia. It was by war that North America was conquered and the aborigines extirpated. It was through war that the "Dark Continent" of Africa was exposed to the light of the 19th century. It was war that overthrew the ancient regine of feudalism and established the domination of the suprior capitalist system. It was war that developed that virile nationalism that pushed production to the highest rank and accelerated all the processes by which man in attempting to struggle against man was forced to conquer nature.
Necessity is the mother of invention and war furnishes the most necessary circumstances that a nation knows. During times of war in the 19th century, productivity forged ahead by leaps and bounds. If the wars are not too prolonged and not too general, in short if they are not too destructive, they can have a great progressive function, if the social order, which they defend as a whole is progressive. In the last century, capitalism was growing strong and healthy. The wars that occurred were local and episodic. They were not too exhausting. At the same time they enormously accelerated and advanced the technological, industrial and social development of capitalism as a whole. Those that suffered were backward countries, those that prospered were the countries, which had the most progressive mission to perform since they were the representatives of a social order still playing a progressive role.
However, the situation changes entirely when the social order is no longer progressive, but rather has reached its period of maturity and decay. Now we find that competition increasingly takes the form of war, that peace is now merely an interlude between wars, that the wars are so general and so exhaustive that the destructive side of the conflict are far more serious than the constructive. The whole social order is constantly mobilized for war; war becomes an enormous industry that not merely subordinates, but consumes all other industries. Inventions, productive processes that might increase the productive ability of mankind are put to use only to increase the destructive ability of mankind. However, this is not the fault of War, but the fault of Peace. The fact is that Peace cannot utilize these new inventions, these new technological advances and new technical processes. It is only War that can use them. Thus Peace "mothers" war, breeds war, compels war. Under the conditions of declining capitalism, no matter how destructive war may be, war is compulsory because Peace is even more destructive and becomes even more intolerable!
It is not merely that Peace cannot use the inventions, the improvements of the productive processes, which only War can utilize and therefore which Peace can bring forward and develop only in anticipation of their usefulness in war. But the fact is, the period of peace, becoming as it must the period of economic depression, the period of wholesale destruction of men, goods, soil, material, is actually so destructive as to compel Social Revolution, to change the entire social system of relations. War becomes the only alternative to revolution and if war in its turn brings on revolution, it is only another proof that nothing capitalism can do can permanently save itself.
For those, who like to declaim against the horrors of war, it would be well to reflect awhile upon the tremendous horrors of peace under capitalism today. No longer, as in the 19th century, is prosperity and boom the normal situation of capitalism, alternating with short periods of depression and panic, but today the depressions come thick and fast, are long drawn out and universal and devastating in their effect. If peace has become an interval between wars, it is precisely because prosperity has become a mere episode between great crises which have become the normal social environment of our lives. Capitalism is in a permanent panic throughout the world.
Let us look at the cost of the present crisis to the United States, the most favored of the whole capitalist world. Twenty million workers are looking for jobs. They have been cut off from the productive process. They are forced to hang in droves around the relief stations and charity houses. Their lives have become a great social waste. Instead of the workers feeding society, society is forced to feed the workers. At the same time, the standards of living are inexorably driven down for the whole toiling population. The lack of markets drives business men to lower still further their costs and to bring in more labor displacing machines, so that all the effects of the crisis only accentuate all the causes still further.
Or let us look at the destruction of material wealth. The normal waste under capitalism is tremendously increased. Half of the productive apparatus of the country is left idle, the machinery abandoned to rust or doomed to be thrown out as antiquated. Since the product is not consumed, the gap between capacity to produce and actual production so greatly increases as to threaten the very ability further to increase capacity, and government aid must be given to private industry in order not to prevent a complete cessation of new inventions and industrial processes that increase capacity of the country. Mountains of goods are destroyed, plowed under, burned, sunk. The soil is so wastefully mishandled that we are forced, in this country, to become acutely aware of this chaos through draughts, erosions, floods, sandstorm, etc. The natural resources literally cry aloud for social control in a rational manner and failing to receive this control take their dire vengeance upon humanity.
Now looking at this enormous waste and destruction of Peace, so long drawn out and growing constantly more and more acute, can we say that War is more costly than Peace? The income of the United States was 85 billion dollars in 1929. In 1932 it was estimated at 45 billion dollars, and if we assume an average decrease of 30 billion dollars each year as compared with 1929, this surely will be quite conservative. Thus in the six years of "peace" since 1929 the people have lost in income alone the staggering total of 180 billion dollars. There was a fall of about 100 billion dollars in capital values also. Even the last world war did not cost the United States such a fabulous sum each year.
Peace is literally bankrupting the capitalist United States. Already the public debt has mounted to over 40 billion dollars for the Federal Government alone and is increasing annually at the rate of 4 billion dollars. The total debt, public and private, has moved up to 150 billion dollars or half the entire wealth of the country. Federal and State taxes already amount to 15 billion dollars or half the entire wealth of the country. Federal and State taxes already amount to 15 billion dollars a year or about one-third of the total income. How long can such a strain endure?
Such a strain so prolonged can lead only to madness, madness whose political expression is Fascism and whose release is war. Now we can understand thoroughly why Germany must rearm, must engage in war. Bursting the straight jacket of the Versailles Treaty, it has become a raving maniac expressing only in the clearest form, however, the insanity of the entire epileptic capitalist world. "La Paix nous tue" -- Peace is killing us -- this is the agonized cry of the capitalist the world over.
The inevitable result of war, like that of economic crisis, is social revolution. The proletariat must brush aside the capitalist barriers, the political and social relations created by capitalism, which block the productive processes and through the new social order of Communism resolve the present contradictions which make war inevitable. But the World War is progressive not only in the sense of hastening the victory of the proletariat, but in providing the proletariat the very means to destroy capitalism. The evolution of war is the gradual mobilization and arming of the entire population of which the decisive portions are the proletariat and the toiling masses generally. The arming of the masses brings home forcibly to the ruling classes that their days are numbered.
However, the Social Revolution is not to be brought about mechanically. The world is ready now for Socialism without the necessity of plunging into the new blood baths of further wars. What has been lacking has been the necessary Communist International leadership. And if this leadership is not forthcoming in the next war, then the capitalists will be enabled to carry on until the next and the next and the next until the proletariat does become fit to do the job.
If the next European war does not end with the proletarian revolution, the result may well be such exhaustion of capitalist forces there, that the whole historical initiative will shift to other parts of the world, to the United States. It will then be the historic duty of the American proletariat to do the job of ending capitalism throughout the world and of organizing the world in Socialist fashion. We have no doubts as to the actual final outcome. The future belongs to Communism.
There still remains the problem posed by Nietzsche and Spengler. If Communism means the end of war and civil war, this will be the first time in history that war will have been eliminated. Will this not lead to dullness? What now can stimulate humanity to rise to superhuman heights? What will take the place of war? And did not the Bolsheviks rise to their greatest height precisely in the period of War Communism and intervention?
Our answer is that Man rises to Superman not through war, but through Socialism. It is the revolution that burns out the last remnant of capitalist garbage still remaining within the proletariat and fits it to lead the way towards Socialism. It is Socialism that so develops the powers and capacities of mankind that it will literally evolve to super manhood. Under Socialism, man will change not only nature, but his nature as well. Work will be inspired art. Humanity will be on an inspired level. From our present low position, sunk as we are in the capitalist swamps, Communist society must appear as though standing on the top of Mount Olympus with the Gods, truly heroic!
ROOSEVELT'S WORK-RELIEF by Vera Buch
The Federal Government of this country has fought bitterly against recognizing unemployment as a permanent and incurable thing. Under Hoover, millions starved because the government would not recognize the unemployed. To Hoover, the dole system meant an open acknowledgement that a vast army of people could not be cared for through the normal channels of capitalism-could not work in industry. It meant the uncovering of a sore so huge and so horrible that the sight of it would shock many people into a realization that capitalism as a whole was doomed. But the sore was there. Under Roosevelt, the unemployed army had become so threatening that it had to be recognized. The relief system was instituted. Classes lined up more openly than ever before in American history. It was openly admitted that over 22 million people were on the relief list...not to speak of the great number in institutions of all sorts, who are permanently cared for at public expense and cannot look after themselves...and not to mention the workers in private industry, who would not have jobs were it not for the subsidies of the government to private business.
This is an admission of a fact fatal to any society. And the United States Government, Roosevelt, is still fighting that admission. The Work-Relief plan is an attempt to dodge something that cannot be dodged. The millions on relief, when shifted to the work-relief projects will still be dependent upon public funds for their existence. Even the comparatively small number, who will be put to work to provide the materials for the projects will not be working under normal conditions-since their jobs indirectly depend upon the funds the government is throwing into the public works.
The work-relief plan cannot possibly solve the unemployment problem. This is not even claimed for it by the President. It is offered as a step-gap..till when? Roosevelt cannot answer this question. The plan helps to pave the way directly to war and fascism. Out of all the nearly five billion dollars appropriated, a modest little 40 million dollars is supposed to go to the States and local governments for aid to schools. But we must remember that the President has the authority to shift the funds as he sees best among the different types of "Works", in view of which even this beggarly school aid is not so certain as it might be. $900,000,000 for highways, roads, etc. All of these sums offer possibilities of war preparation, either directly or indirectly.
But this is not the whole of the evil in the Work-Relief Act. It is in reality an attempt on a nationwide scale to cut down the relief given to the unemployed. Only 4 billion of the total represents new appropriation, the other $880,000,000 being merely funds retransferred. Furthermore, this money is to cover two years, not one year. This cuts the yearly amount in half. Last year the government spent about $4 billion on relief. Thus the Works Relief Act represents a relief cut of almost 40%. This is not to speak of the sums which may, at the discretion of the President, be diverted for other purposes, such as purchase of land and equipment for distressed farmers.
Another point, all of the 2 1/2 billion dollars does not go for wages. The material for the projects and sometimes the land also must be paid for. In the construction industries and the heavy industries, which furnish materials for construction the organic composition of capital is high. The ratio of constant capital (machinery and material) to variable capital (wages) may be as high as four to one. Therefore, out of the 2 1/2 billion dollars, only 1/2 billion will be available for wages. At the rate of $50 a month, the proposed wage for the projects, for ten months of the year, this amount will take care of one million workers.
Where, then is the improvement in unemployment coming from? The two billion dollars, which goes for materials must also be taken into consideration. Roosevelt actually counts 3 1/2 million more men put to work in this way. Let us see. According to the United States Census figures, the value of stuff bought in the United States could be divided as follows: 3/7ths for profit and only 1/7th for wages. Thus, if the government buys its raw materials, it will have to pay about $900,000,000 to bosses in profits, while the bosses will pay only $300,000,000 in wages throughout the year, which will take care only of a few hundred thousand workers and no more. This calculation is based upon the assumption of the level of technique remaining as it is, that no new improvements will be installed and even less workers will therefore be needed. The materials already on hand, for which no new jobs can be created, except to move them from the warehouses to the projects, must also be considered as lowering the numbers of workers required.
"Slum clearance", is another fake improvement for the masses, which must be explored. Old houses are rased in which poor workers lived and beautiful shining new apartments are erected...at such prices that the poor workers cannot possibly afford to live in them. Thus, homes are provided for professional people and white collar workers, While the unemployed and low paid unskilled workers "double up" and go to live in the slums that remain.
We have long ago pointed out that public works cannot solve the crisis. Insofar as they are really rationalization schemes, projects to make capitalism function more efficiently by building better roads, bigger dams as sources for more power, bridges, etc., they raise the technical level of capitalism's functioning, thus enabling it to get along with less laborers and lay the basis for worse crises in the future -- unless capitalism as a whole is scrapped in the meantime.
The powers of the President are increased by the work relief resolution, just as they have been by all the legislation Roosevelt has brought in for the last two years. Only an out-and-out Fascist dictator has more direct control over the public funds and what is to be done with them. The President may spend the funds as he "sees fit" within the general purposes of the resolution; he may shift the funds among the different kinds of public works; he may make loans from the fund to finance or purchase land and equipment by farmers and share croppers, he may purchase necessary property, and employ such personnel as he wishes to carry out the plan, and -- most important -- may fix the wages on the projects. The President of the United States already practically an employer of the 3,000,000 people in the service of the Federal Government now is enabled to employ several millions more.
For Labor, Roosevelt's work-relief plan means a turning point and a break with the past as definite as the beginning of the N.R.A. itself. It means clearly that no end of the crisis is in sight. It means that any lingering hope of getting back to "normal" -- of getting a job that will last any time at all -- must be given up. Above all, it means a system of regimentation and discipline of labor that is pretty close to the labor service camps of Hitler's Germany.
The President attempts to separate the country. Of the nearly 5 billion dollars, 2 1/2 billion go for rural projects, highways, rural electrification, reforestation, etc. These to be sure will benefit principally the big farmer, the cotton planter, the big ranch owner, the big dairy farmer, etc. The poor farmer will continue to use oil lamps or even candles and whatever comes his way will be due entirely to his militancy and forwardness in struggle. Of course the main purpose of the Administration is to crush the Republican Party or any third party sentiment that may be strong in the Middle West and to bribe the leaders of the rural population towards the ruling regime.
The white collar section of the workers is granted an appropriation of $300,000,000 to keep it going with special projects. This sum is far out of proportion to the actual ratio of unemployed white collar workers to laborers and is an attempt to isolate it from the mass of manual workers, who proportionally will get a much smaller share of the amount to be handed out in wages. Unemployment has hit the white collar worker severely. The mass of clerical workers, teachers and technicians, who are unemployed have possibilities of becoming radical at the present time. The special projects for them have a view of preventing them from joining hands with organized unskilled labor. Let us not forget in this connection that Hitler's support in Germany before taking power was chiefly based on this same section of the German population.
We can already distinguish the following possible divisions among the population, which the Roosevelt plan may create: (1) City population divided from country; (2) Manual workers divided from clerical and professionals; (3) Youth from adults by moving out the latter into CCC camps, etc., and giving them lower pay; (4) Men on projects separated from those in private industry through the lower wages paid on the projects and the consequent lowering of wages in private industry; (5) Men on projects separated from the "unemployable" who are refused the possibility of work relief.
When the plan of the Work-Relief Act was first given to Congress, Roosevelt made it plain that starvation wages would prevail on the government projects. On this question the government was very firm, fighting bitterly against some of its own adherents and the officials of the American Federation of Labor; the government would not pay even the rotten wages paid in private industry. In spite of the low prevailing wages in this country, in spite of the exhaustive speed-up everywhere practiced in spite of the rapid and constant rise in the cost of living, the wages to be paid on the relief jobs are to be the lowest in the country. The Southerner will get less than the Northerner, the women less than the men, the Negroes less than the Whites. In a thousand ways there will be discrimination, graft and favoritism. This cruel wage policy cannot fail to affect the prevailing wages paid in private industry in a downward direction. The Works-Relief Act is a measure designed to act as a huge club to batter down the conditions and standards of the American working class still further.
So much of the appropriation goes for work of a rural character that it is likely we shall see set up a set of labor camps throughout the country for adult men as we have had in the CCC camps for the youth. In more than one respect these new labor regulations resemble those of Fascism and we have to note again how much of the content of Fascism is being incorporated into the economic system of the country while still the democratic form of government prevails.
The $600,000,000 appropriated for the CCC camps means a great extension of this system, no doubt more than doubling the number of young men to pass through its system of elementary military training. Already over 1,000,000 young men are "graduates" of the CCC. Here we have to recall General McArthur's proposal of a military reserve of 300,000 young men and his suggestion that the CCC become the basis for this reserve force. "These men are all processed", General McArthur said in a hearing on the War Department bill. "They are ready and fit for military training...I think nothing would be finer than to take these CCC men, who have had six months in camp and give them perhaps two months more in which they would receive a nucleus of military training. We could then enroll them in the enlisted reserve...If we had 300,000 enlisted reserves, who could be called to the colors immediately, our conditions of preparation for defense would be immeasurably bettered."
Through the Works-Relief Act, the Administration is attempting to divert the attention of the workers from two main points: First, the demand for unemployment insurance of an adequate nature; second, the demand of the workers that the regular factories, which they have already produced and turned over to private industry which cannot open them, be turned over to the workers and opened up to the unemployed. The Administration has already crushed the Lundeen Bill and is substituting the miserable Wagner-Lewis Bill with its totally inadequate provisions. How correct was the Communist League of Struggle in pointing out on all possible occasions that the United States Government will not grant adequate unemployment insurance unless driven to it by such drastic means as will force it to fight for its very existence.
We must always remember that the public works created are under capitalist direction, and in the present era in which we live the historic function of the capitalists is not to create but to destroy. It is a big mistake for the unemployed to cry, "We Want Work", under these circumstances. What the unemployed must fight for is to end the capitalist control over the factories and industries of the country. To feed the hungry and the unemployed we do not have to create new "public works" under capitalist direction. There are enough factories, there are enough goods for all to have plenty. Instead of demanding work, as the Socialist Party and Communist Party do, it is up to the working class of this country to demand to get what they have already produced, to demand workers' control over the factories. "Open the Factories to the Unemployed! Open the Warehouses to the Hungry!" These are the demands that the unemployed must raise.
We can feel sure there will be a wave of resistance against the work-relief...a project strike wave that will parallel the threatening wave of strikes in private industry. Gigantic struggles loom ahead. Wherever the work relief system has been put into effect on a local scale, it has met with determined resistance. There were countless small scale strikes on the CWA projects in 1933 and 1934. At the present time, 1500 project workers are militantly striking in Toledo.
It will be necessary immediately the projects are launched, to organize the relief workers into a union of national scope. The fact that the work will be part time and in some cases temporary must be no deterrent to the national scale and industrial character of the union. Any attempt to split it up into craft divisions by the A.F.L. leaders must be fought from the outset. At the same time the project workers must fight for the regular union scale for skilled work and for a decent living wage for unskilled labor. More specific demands cannot, of course, be drawn up now until the projects are actually put into effect.
By no means must the workers let up in their fight for adequate unemployment insurance. The trade unions, the project workers, the rest of the unemployed and the whole working class together must band themselves even more firmly together in this fight. They must form united front committees of the broadest nature. They must set a day for Congress to act to provide adequate unemployment insurance for all. They must prepare and launch a huge general strike all over the country to compel Congress to act on this unemployment insurance measure. American labor must itself sweep into action, push aside the opportunist socialist and Communist Parties, and out of its own traditions and its own needs find the militant course necessary to resist the forced labor system.
THE VENIZELIST REVOLT -- Letter from Greece
Editorial Note: We have received the following interesting report from the organization of the Internationalist Communists of Greece. During the days of the revolt the Greek comrades of this organization played quite a role. Several thousand proclamations of the Central Committee addresses to the workers, soldiers and sailors were distributed on the 3rd of March at Athens and Piracus in which the Greek comrades took a stand against the Tsaldaris and Condylis government and also exposed the Venizeles revolt. At Piracus and Salenika the police arrested many workers, among them several members of the Internationalist Communists. In order to realize a united front against the dictatorship, letters were sent out to the Communist Party and to the Archio-Marxists for joint action.
From this report we can see how correct the French Stalinist paper "l'Humanite" was in writing, "that the Communist Party of Greece has played a very serious role in the recent events", and that thanks to its action the united front was realized throughout all of Greece, and that, "It is one of the best parties of the Communist International so far as the correctness of its policy and its militancy is concerned."
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The revolt of March first, a revolt, which had been ripening for two years, was the result of the collision of two civil- military parties. It was no longer the bourgeois republic, which fought against the monarchist restoration, because the dispersed monarchist demonstrations which were not interfered with by the government, but on the contrary were supported by its followers, did not offer any immediate danger of a monarchist restoration. The object of the struggle was, which of the parties would impose its sharp and cruel dictatorship, basing itself principally on the existing military-bureaucratic apparatus. The dissatisfied masses, in the absence of a mobile revolutionary party armed with a correct proletarian policy, had long been restraining their indignation provoked by the crisis of the last six years and by their poverty and which had been expressed only within the old bourgeois political frame of Venizelism-anti-Venizelism. The indignation of the masses put life into this bourgeois struggle even though the policies of these two bourgeois parties had lost their diametrical contrast. The imperialist influences (French- Italian bloc) have contributed essentially to the outbreak of the revolt. A considerable part of the Greek bourgeoisie turned to the Italian orientation in the perspective of a new imperialist military adventure.
The outbreak of the revolt was hastened by the clique of officers following General Plastiras, who feared the definite loss of their places in the army. It was hastened also by the fear of a defeat in the coming elections seeing that the arch-cook of the elections would be the government. The unwillingness of the masses behind the Venizelist party to follow it into a bloody adventure, the hesitation and fear of the liberal bourgeoisie, the methodical elaboration of the military hierarchy for two years by General Condylis, the betrayal of the revolt in Athens and Salenika and its extraordinary material and technical disadvantages did not allow the Venizelere-Plastiras clique to impose its open dictatorship and condemned the coup dictator of the adventurers to a shameful defeat.
The disappearance of the Venizelist party from the political scene under the formidable blows it received, brings about a realignment of political forces in Greece, not only among the bourgeois opposition (democratic parties of Venizeles, Cafandaris, Papanastassiou), but also among the winners of today. The form of these realignments will depend not only on the historic and social differences of the groups, which today make up the governmental group, but also by the reaction, which will take place among the proletariat and the exploited masses in general. But in any case these realignments will depend not only on the historic and social differences of the groups, which today make up the governmental group, but also by the reaction which will take place among the proletariat and the exploited masses in general. But in any case, these realignments will tend towards greater reaction in the bourgeois policy and will show up as demagogic charlatanry the assertion if the government follows that by crushing the revolt, "popular liberties", have won out. "Consideration of the dictatorial regime in perpetuity, suppression of the last traces of democratic liberties for the working class", that is what the victory of the government means.
A part of the bourgeoisie will seek to take advantage of the enthusiasm of victory to give a parliamentary cloak to the dictatorship through a new election farce, at the same time suppressing any possibility of voting for the proletariat. As it appears, a maneuver with this party through the intermediary of Tsaldaris' General Condylis is quite possible. Metaxeas wanted to exploit the victory with the object of "reconstructing the state on strong foundations" by any means, that is, with the object of immediately imposing a sharp and open dictatorship of his own. Parallelling this, formations for the organization of a fascist mass movement will become strengthened in view of the inevitable increase of the discontent of the masses. The mass of lower public functionaries risks losing its bread, under the pretext of an "anti-Venizelist purging". In the field of foreign politics, the union with the French bloc is strengthened and preparations for war are increasing. This development of the situation spells the greatest misery, political terrorism and the threat of a new war for the workers.
In the events of March 1-12th, the complete bankruptcy of the "anti-fascist bloc" of the Communist Party of Greece has been made clear. Of "the anti-fascist allies" of centrism, some went to the camp of the rebels (Agrarian Party of Sofianopoulos) others to the camp of the "national government", (Agrarian Party of Tanoulas, Tsiklitiras, Kalyvas) or mobilized with the police and began to take possession of the trade unions, which were in the hands of their enemies (Kalomeris) or finally proved to be non-existent ("Socialist Party"). During the days of the revolt, Kalomeires, of the Reformist General Federation of Labor, aided by the police, took possession of the Workers Center of various anonymous societies and installed the followers there. Following the same police methods, Kalameircs has for his object to take possession of other trade unions as well.
Stalinist centrism with its party entirely disappeared and played an insignificant role. The working class,during the events, found no leading party for independent class action and thus was lost between the waves of two bourgeois parties. The proclamations of our organization, of the Archio-Marxists and of the communist Party had only a limited propagandist and historic value.
The responsibility of Stalinist centrism for this state of affairs is incalculable for it had workers' organizations under its influence and liquidated them under the stress of the political and critical events. What has been written in the Soviet press is a positive disgrace, openly defending the reactionary dictatorship of Condylis-Tsaldaris for reasons of foreign policy only (Balkan pact).
The dictatorial group that triumphed on March 12th, threatens to transform Greece into a big concentration camp for the whole working class. It has already begun its work. The immediate task is the defense and struggle of the working class against the Condylis-Tsaldaris dictatorship, against the martial law and the hounding of functionaries, for general amnesty of the victims of the working class struggle, for the freedom of the working class press, for reparations and the distribution of the syntaxe to the worker and peasant victims of the revolt. This struggle can be organized effectively in all its possible forms only by a real united front with organs elected proportionally from the rank and file (trade unions, shops) which would take in all political and trade union organizations of the workers (Communist Party of Greece, Organization of the Internationalist-Communists of Greece, Archio-Marxists, Trade Union Federations).
We appeal to all revolutionists and to all workers whatever organization to which they may belong to adopt this program, the only solution that can meet the existing situation.
Internationalist Communists of Greece
THE UNEMPLOYED WORK OF A WORKERS PARTY "LEADER"
by G--Los Angeles
"Go West, young man! Go west", was the cry after the Civil War of 1861. Smart opportunity and open country were to be had and occasionally a gold boom. This was not the motive, in the later period of 1933, to cause one, Anthony Ramuglia, to come West. No gold boom was pending, but there was a boom of unemployed organization, in its early stages of growth, fighting for its right to live. It was this boom that Tony Ramuglia kept his eye on. He must have thought to himself, "Why partake in its struggles now? Let the others build it and I'll stop in later, just in time for the coming national convention." For this is exactly what he did. So from the side lines he saw a phenomenal growth of thousands, organizing. He saw, at a distance, a left wing develop and push through the battles against evictions, turn on the closed gas and electric lights, stand court trials for direct action, get Red Squad beatings at all night eviction demonstrations. Still, this smart fellow stood calmly on the side lines, as any respectable tourist would.
In spite of Tony's cautious but conscious steps in avoiding membership and activity, the movement kept growing. In time a right wing developed, bribed and supported by the Chamber of Commerce, also a strong militant left wing, and finally a Center feather that blew from right to left and back again, all according to the personal policy involved. The two inexperienced spokesmen for this Center element held offices on the Executive Board of the County Council, the latter being the delegated body of all the organized Units (branches in Los Angeles County). These center elements came from Unit #26. Knowing the Eastern Convention of the unemployed was to be held in the near future at Columbus, Ohio, Ramuglia felt it was now time to join the movement. So the great Leader of the suffering unemployed selected the branch Unit #26 as the best bet for his work at hand. With the help of the Muste paper, his glib opportunist tongue and the unconscious putty centrist elements from the Unit, sitting on the Executive Board, it was easy pickings for the Smart One.
During the short and whole time Ramuglia honored the movement with his presence, his work consisted of (1) putting out the Muste paper to a few contacts and to his Unit; (2) gathering a small group of non-descript Centrist elements around him, including one Rose, formerly of the Cannon Group; (3) as delegate to the center body, the office of the Executive Board and (4) last but not least, as elected delegate to the coming national convention.
Ramuglia took absolutely no active work any place in the struggle, then going on in the ranks. This was the period of the hottest fights by the left wing Units: All night bonfires, mass demonstrations at evictions, milk fights and battles to turn on gas and electricity...action all along the line...but never at any time was this Ramuglia, now leader in the Workers Party, to be seen or heard. He just showed up at the center delegate body of the County Council, to carry forth his important work of prominence, internal opportunism and plans for THE convention. It must be kept in mind that, outside of a few Ramuglia followers, no one here in the movement was much interested in the Columbus Convention since not the least preliminary mass educational work had been carried on. Only by conducting a personal campaign did Ramuglia get his credential and then only by a great deal of announcing.
But Ramuglia's credential did not last long for he and every one else connected with him were recalled and he was kicked out of office on the very day he left the city for the convention. Something tremendous had happened that last week he was with us, affecting both the broad mass left wing and also the right wing (the latter led by Pat May and through Pat by the Chamber of Commerce). The lines were drawn keenly as a result of the events...no place for centrists here. Ramuglia had to make a complete jump either to the left or to the right. In this instance the left would not have him since he had hidden from the left wing members affidavits exposing Pat May's stealing operations. So Ramuglia, with his small center group, left town, two hours before the meeting of the council, when he was recalled. His main stepping stone had crumbled as a result of the opportunist policy of consulting the CITY'S PROSECUTOR, on the affidavits instead of the membership, and thus he left for the Columbus Convention representing only his one lone branch, not as the delegate of the large mass movement he laid claim to at the convention.
As a delegate and later as an officer of the Executive Board, he never even took up the fight for the left wing resolutions, which were being pushed in the council.. but, too, wise opportunist that he is, he never opposed them.
The Big Agricultural Strike and Scab Opportunism
Among the militant progressive workers in these parts, Ramuglia will long be remembered for his scab opportunism. When referring to him in their conversations they dubbed him this way: "What you mean that Scab Opportunist Tony?" "Yes, that's the guy!" Thus he was referred to, and deservingly so, by the workers.
Just the last couple of weeks at Sacramento, California, some 14 workers active in the agricultural strikes of California, were convicted and sent to prison for Syndicalism, the charges growing out of several strikes and class activities. One of these strikes was that of the Mexicans, who worked in the vegetable farms of Southern California, and who were directly in contact with the large mass movement of the unemployed. The unemployed here had taken on gathering vegetables, then unmarketable, in exchange for some labor service or just for the picking. These vegetables they would bring into their community kitchen and commissary and dispense them according to need. This was one of the customs and regular work among the unemployed out West, because plenty of surplus was to be had. It naturally took this extra form here in addition to direct demands upon the state. Neither Frisco nor the large Eastern cities developed this first stage and extra step because the surplus in the fields was not close at hand and easy to get. The mass simply followed the line of least resistance in order to eat; otherwise the mass movements were essentially the same, with direct pressure on the state.
The agricultural strike took place and 99% of the workers, mostly Mexicans, responded. Many of the backward unemployed workers in the right wing branches disliked the "foreigners" anyway, and were encouraged in this respect by their reactionary leaders on the one hand and by the treachery of silence by Ramuglia and his centrist elements, on the other. The left wing mass with their council of city branches immediately invited the strike committee of the Mexicans to all our branches, set up a picket committee, got out strike leaflets and called all unemployed away from the fields. We went on the picket line from field to field clearing off the right wing Units of unemployed from the fields.
Where was Ramuglia? No place! What was he as an executive officer doing to help the strikers? NOTHING. Here he was holding office in a mass movement, part of the branches of his organization scabbing directly and consciously on the large agricultural strike. Here he was sitting on an Executive Board with officials of the right wing scabbing branches...and what was he doing? Nothing but silence.
The City Council of Units or branches was the active mass left wing of the movement and had their own press, the Los Angeles, California, "Voice of the Rank and File" Organ of the Council of City Units, Unemployed Cooperative Relief Association". It was this City Council, which led the militants in the field and introduced all the resolutions of action in the larger body, representing the whole county and known as the County Council. We quote word for word from the left wing City Council organ of June 19, 1933 (#10)
"Dishonor roll of Units scabbing on the agricultural strikers-# 1-3-9-17-19-27-44--Keep your unit off this dishonor roll." "Who does this black act of treachery to their own class? Who is guilty of this crime of strike breaking? What a terrible admission to make: It is members of the U.C.R.A., who are helping the ranchers to oppress the workers. We should all feel ashamed of ourselves and the organization we belong to. We must put a stop to this disgrace! Our solidarity is with our own class, on and off the job, and not with the bosses who throw us into the street, when we can no longer make profits for them." "The agriculture strike is spreading, many workers are supporting it...yet the UCRA and some independent Units are deliberately helping to break this strike."
The left wing press then goes on to describe the "terrible deplorable degenerating conditions" of these striking workers. Then it has to say under "Strike Notes": "The Council of City Units and many progressive Units have elected mass picketing committees to carry on the STOP SCABBING campaign. We are working hand in hand with the striking picket...From coast to coast...all scab units will be publicly denounced as well as all delegates voting to scab. How about the Ex. Board officials? What stand do they take? NOTHING BUT SILENCE so far! This is to be expected from conservatives on the board that came from the Units that are scabbing on this strike...but how about the stand of TONY RAMUGLIA, Dr. Diebold, and Tibbets? Come on, out with the stand you ought to take, Dr. Diebold! And TONY knows better for he is supposed to be an outstanding progressive. Take your stand openly and in a determined manner. You did not even announce the strike as a news item at the County Council! We expect a personal and open renunciation from each of you."
Ramuglia kept his silence and played the game in the majority scab Council. He never took a stand except by standing silent. Standing Silent! The question was too touchy for this "Leader" of the Workers Party. The Marxian question and the class struggle was dangerous to his step to national leadership. So Ramuglia kept silent on the question of scabbing on the agricultural strike. Step by step he aims to be a big shot nationally and leaves a base in the rear rotten with his silence of scab opportunism.
The unprincipled steps to leadership that these opportunists follow to attain their aim would not be so tragic if only the person of Ramuglia and his record were concerned. The tragedy is that from the agricultural strike to the conviction of class conscious workers at Sacramento, militant workers must be punished for the crimes that can be laid directly at the door of opportunism and in this case to scab opportunism. For such is all opportunism in the class struggle. It weakens the masses and makes it easy for the state to convict. The Workers Party should be proud of Ramuglia and his leadership. But, they too, are silent about lots of things, dulling the class struggle, not unlike the "leader"RAMUGLIA".
Ramuglia is remembered in Southern California for his silence, for NO Action and what was best expressed by one worker to another when they said: "What, you mean that SCAB OPPORTUNIST, TONY?" "Yes, that's the guy!"
THE BELGIAN SECTION OF THE ICL ENTERS THE SOCIALIST PARTY --
THE BELGIAN SOCIALIST PARTY ENTERS HIS MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT!
Letter from Belgium
Editorial Note: Since the Fall of last year, the Belgian section of the ICL (Trotsky International Center) under the leadership of Lesoil of the Charlerei group, which in turn was acting under Trotsky's direction took an attitude which led them to enter the Belgian Socialist Party (P.O.B.- Workers Party of Belgium). Only as recently as March 10th, this Trotskyist group came out in praise of Spaak, leader of the left wing of the P.O.B. and 16 days later Spaak was to found as Socialist Minister to his Majesty's Government as Minister of Public Works!
On the same March 10th at its National Convention the Belgian section of the ICL decided with a small majority to enter into the P.O.B. When Trotsky liquidated the French section of the ICL, the capitulator tried to argue that France was an "exception", that the French Socialist Party was to the left of all and could be won, that the comrades were going in "with their banner flying". But no such excuse can be given for Belgium. The Belgium Socialist Party (P.O.B.) is one of the sections of the Second International most to the right and most bureaucratic of all. The Trotskyists, who entered the P.O.B. asked for no safeguards nor for the right of fractions within the party. They will discontinue publication of La Voix Communiste, their organ. Lesoil, it should be kept in mind, had only recently been elected to the International Secretariat of the ICL as a member.
Spaak at one time had been considered as moving to the left, but the terrible capitulation of Trotsky and company with its glorification of the Socialist Parties and the Second International gave him the best excuse for remaining within the S.P. and not finding his way to the genuine internationalists. So far has Spaak capitulated that he now finds himself in the Belgian Cabinet itself! From a Communist Opposition to a Socialist Opposition and from that to a silent partner in His Majesty's government, much is the unspeakable course initiated by Trotsky and his ICL.
--- --- --- ---
Internationalist Communist League
Brussels, March 16, 1935
After the French, German and Polish sections, the Belgian section has just experienced a split.
As you can see for yourself from the enclosed documents this split is, in the words of the IS, "A belated echo of the new orientation". We immediately add that there will be similar echoes wherever this question will be posed, practically before a section of the ICL. Whether this be in Europe, in America, or anywhere else, the question of actual entry of one of our sections into a party of the 2nd International will lead to a split.
The most important point at our national convention of March 10th was the entry of our section into the POB - one of the most right wing and bureaucratic sections of the 2nd International. While there were ether differences of opinion (especially on the policy regarding the Do Man Plan), it was on the question of the new turn that the split occurred.
The Charleroi district is for entry without conditions, without right of fraction, and without a paper. Its main spokesman, Comrade Lesoil, stated at the national convention that even without the decision to enter the P.O.B., it would be necessary to discontinue the publication of La Voix Communiste. The reasons he had used...were the fact that the paper has a debt of three million francs owing to the printer (most likely, this is 3,000 francs--Ed). This statement met with no reaction from these comrades who are for the entry although an extra effort from every member could result in a quick solution of this financial situation...
The fact that there was no reaction can be explained. Certain comrades write for and distribute the paper of the left socialists: "l'Action Socialiste". All their attention is already centered on the work, which they intend to do in the ranks of this socialist left. It is also necessary to know that since the first break in our ranks, which was arbitrarily brought about by the Charleroi district at the end of January the circulation of la Voix has fallen from 2,100 to 1,200 and this as a consequence of the break, but also, and that to a large extent, as a result of the dispersing of our forces into the ranks of the Young Socialist Guards...
The attitude of the representative of the IS...of the Bolshevik Group in the S.F.I.O. was to say the least, strange. The day before the conference he stated that the IS, Comrade Cr-- and he himself were against the entry of our comrades into the P.O.B. since this was, as he said, not a centrist party. In his first speech at the national convention he declared that the resolution of the IS was not formally against the entry into the P.O.B. At the end of the discussion he stated that he took upon himself the responsibility that the IS would be in principle for the entry as he himself was by now. That was super-speed evolution.
...The atmosphere, poisoned by bureaucratic methods, did not allow of any serious voting. Charleroi flatly refused the idea of a referendum. One has to know that the national convention took place in Gilly, in the Charleroi district and that the greater part of these comrades, who are against entry into the P.O.B. were not able to get there...
It is certain that the IS and Comrade Cr -- will support with all their force, those comrades, who are for the entry as they support them already on the opportunist position, which they take on the question of the Do Man Plan. The comrades, who are for the entry, will discontinue publication of "La Voix Communiste". In spite of the great difficulties ahead of us we shall endeavor to bring it out ourselves. The isolation in which the comrades of the Charloroi district and of the IS try to keep those who disapprove of this tactical step will be increased still further.
What these comrades are trying to do will in Belgium be an experience of even shorter duration than in France. First of all, it is not yet certain (although the comrades from Charloroi are for entry without conditions, without fraction rights and without paper) that the bureaucrats of the P.O.B. will permit them to come in and disturb their bureaucratic peace. If, on the other hand, they enter, this will be at the price of enormous concessions, and as soon as - in spite of these concessions - they gain, be it only the smallest bit of influence, it will mean their expulsion. There can be no doubt whatsoever that some worker comrades will be lost during this process. Already today comrade D-, actually the most responsible comrade on the editorial staff of "La Voix Communiste" is lost to the league. These losses will probably be compensated by certain new gains, but the final result will be that the Belgian section of the ICL will be paralyzed during a long time, and that a moment when the political processes within the country demand reinforcement of the independent vanguard.
The comrades in Brussels and those, who take their position, will endeavor to keep alive in this country the principles of the four Congresses of the CI and of the 11 points of the Pre- Conference of the ICL. They will endeavor to keep alive during this period which is bound to be most difficult for them, the nucleus which will have to serve as an agent for regroupment in the future. This task of regroupment will be rendered more difficult by the introduction of the organizational methods of the IS into the Belgian section. But we, on our part, shall do our utmost to purify the tainted atmosphere, which will result from this, by fighting firmly for our conceptions without letting ourselves be influenced by their methods or imitating them....
For the Brussels District
INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST NOTES by V.B.
The shifting about of groups and the tendency towards "unity" that has characterized the past year in the American working class political movement has been paralleled in the European movement. Let us note, first, that, as we predicted (see our article "We Break with Trotsky", in the Class Struggle of November, 1934) the fusionist policy has been fatal to the Trotskyists as an international current. The groups in every country have been split on the question of fusing with socialist and contrist groupings. Only a few shades remain of the groups formerly connected with the International Secretariat. Let us take up the situation country by country. The International Secretariat is practically non-existent.
I. France. Here, as we know, there was a split after a fierce discussion on the question of joining the S.F.I.O. It is now plain that the Trotskyists joined the Socialist party as individuals, not as an organized group. Verite, which gave up the ghost not long after the fusion, has now resumed publication for the moment. None of its pin pricks are evidently recognized as constituting any real threat to the bureaucracy. The Trotskyist current has become a little wave on the surface of the Socialist river, which is now flowing conjointly with the Communist stream towards a common disaster. The united front has never left the stage of futility in which it started.
In the meantime, unity has been achieved between the "l'Union Communists", a branch, which split off from the Trotskyists in 1933 on the question of how to form the 4th International, and the comrades of the former Communist League who refused to join the C.P. This group calls itself the Communist Union, stands definitely for a Leninist 4th International and publishes a paper "l'Internationale Communiste".
II. Belgium. Here, too, the liquidation policy has been put into effect. See the Communication from the Belgian comrades printed in this issue of the Class Struggle as a separate article.
III. England. Here the policy of joining the I.L.B. as individuals was forced upon the Left Opposition by the International Secretariat, in spite of the opposition of the majority of the British group. A small minority entered the I.L.B., giving up their paper, the Red Flag, calling themselves now the Marxist Group of the I.L.P. As to the functioning of the group which remained outside, this is very weak.
IV. Germany. We shall consider under this heading the emigre groups. In the Class Struggle of January, 1935, we published a declaration of the group publishing, "Unser Wert", signed by five leading German comrades, among them Comrade Bauer, formerly a member of the International Secretariat, severely condemning the fusion policy as a complete ideological capitulation before the 2nd International, forecasting the collapse of the international organization of the Trotskyists, and taking a stand for the new party and the new International on a Leninist base.
Nevertheless, in a recent number of the "New Front", organ of the German Socialist Workers Party, we see an article signalling the fact that Comrade Bauer and his group have joined the S.A.P. A statement of Comrade Bauer's is quoted saying among other things: (referring to the former Left Opposition) "Their persistence in a simply propagandist abstract position, an unhealthy inner regime hindered them from really enlightening the whole situation of the labor movement and finding a correct tactic." All workers are called upon to join the S.A.P. and to struggle in its ranks. Thus another chapter of capitulation is completed, added to the French, English, Belgian and American.
V. Greece. Here there were two Trotskyist currents, the "Archio-Marxists" and the "Spartacus" group. The International Secretariat shifted its support from the latter to the former grouping. Now the Archio-Marxists have split, one group, the Vitsorist group, remaining with the Secretariat, and the other, the Vitta group, outside, but both quite weak. The former Spartacus group has united with a left grouping in the Communist Party to form the "Internationalist Communists of Greece". This group stands for the 4th International on a Leninist base and criticizes the International Secretariat for bureaucracy and narrow administrative methods. It publishes the paper "Ergatiki Protoperia". The role played by this group in the recent upheaval in Greece is described in an article sent by them to the May Class Struggle and printed elsewhere in this issue.
VI. Holland. In Holland, there existed two parties, both fairly strong, the O.S.P. (Independent Socialist Party) and the R.S.P. (Revolutionary Socialist Party), which participated in the Paris Conference of 1933. The R.S.P. was an adherent of the International Secretariat. Both groups since then left the Trotskyist bloc and are now adherents of the Committee of Revolutionary Socialist Parties. Early in March these two groups have fused, forming a party of about 5,000 members. The following questions were under discussion in advancing the fusion: 1) The trade union question; 2) the international approach; 3) the assignment of functions in the new party. On the question of trade unions an accord has been reached: The OSP members to work in the independent unions and as they are expelled, they are to join the NAS unions (Comrade Snoevliet, the President of the RSP was until recently also President of the NAS, and the RSP leadership is personally close to the NAS so that even today it has a great influence over the union membership).
As for international affiliations, the new party retains membership in the International Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Parties (left socialist grouping). The new party does not join the International Section of the Trotskyists but sets itself the goal of bringing about cooperation between the Amsterdam Bureau of the left socialist groupings and the International Secretariat of Trotsky. The organ is De Niewe Fakkel, which appears twice a week.
At a recent meeting of the Amsterdam Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Parties the Dutch groups brought in a motion for the formation of a Fourth International. The I.L.P. and the Scandinavian groups were against the motion, the others abstaining from voting. Thereupon the SAP put forward a resolution endorsing the 4th International but calling for its formation only later when they have grown stronger. All organizations voted for this except the O.S.P. which abstained and the R.S.P. which voted against.
News from the Spanish front is not definite enough to be included in this article. Of the Left Opposition in Latin America, we know positively that the group in Argentina stands for the 4th International. Of the "Revolutionary Youth Bureau formed in 1934, we shall have more in the next issue of our paper.
It emerges plainly from the above report that in the midst of the capitulation, which has taken place on all sides, there is still a firm kernel upholding the independent banner (France, Greece, Belgium, U.S.A., Argentina, etc.) The task in which the Trotskyists have ignominiously floundered, must be taken up again. In view of the swift approach of war the need for the 4th International is more crying than ever and the calling of an international conference is a task that must be fulfilled before another year is completed.
WAR AND THE SOCIAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCIES by S. Herman
The whole world is making ready for the coming war. Since no one can seriously doubt that war is almost at hand, it is necessary for Communists to study the war menace in all its ramifications. At present we are in the period when the public mind is being prepared for the oncoming horrors. The social educational agencies such as the press, the schools, the colleges and universities, the church, the motion pictures, the radio and the stage, are, of course, the means whereby this preparation is carried on. A discussion of this preliminary build-up of war psychology has been chosen as the most suitable introductory subject of the general war articles, which will appear regularly in the following issues of the "Class Struggle". One thing should be pointed out at the beginning. The writer will attempt to distinguish between the pre-war development of the "fighting" mind and the continued hysteria, frenzy and fury which are sought to be sustained at as high a pitch as possible after war has actually been declared. Sometimes, instead of dovetailing one with the other these two subjects overlap. However, we must be ready not only for what will eventuate when war does come but also for all the preparatory steps which capitalism is taking now, in the pre-war period.
It certainly cannot be questioned that the methods of mobilizing public opinion which were employed in the last war will again be brought into play now together with all the additional improvement in technique that the intervening years have brought. The well known German General Bernhardi, in 1921, in his book entitled, "The War of the Future", at page 210, said: "right up to the last, we underestimated the revolutionary elements, which were at work among the people. Thus we stumbled into the war without any political preparation at all." We can rest assured that the imperialists have taken cognizance of the revolutionary possibilities in all the countries and especially so because of the successful October revolution in Russia. The threat of revolution has always attended a war of major importance but today it is the overthrow not of a particular clique, but of capitalism itself that the imperialists are worried about and attempting to guard against in the course of their war preparations. All of the foregoing is very obvious but it should be borne in mind in connection with what will be said hereafter.
I -- THE PRESS
The press, more than any other agency, was responsible for the state of mind of the American people, which allowed this country to enter the world war. Hearst and Pulitzer did their share in hypnotizing the nation into the Spanish-American war. The direct influence of the press is exerted by its articles and commentaries. Its pictures and its photographs, while its indirect, but just as important, influence is due to its choice of news items. A suggestion was once made, with the Spanish-American War in mind, that the press mobilized for peace by the calling of a convention of American publishers. The newspapers almost completely ignored this. While it is true that a mobilized press would have been a most potent force for peace, the one, who made the suggestion forgot that the press was in the hands of such worthy gentlemen as Hearst, Pulitzer, the Scripps-Howard combination, Ried, Ochs, McCormick McLean et al. He also forgot that they were merely the mouthpiece of the ruling class, which must have war to remain in power.
After the Democratic Party in 1916 had re-elected its candidates on the slogan "He kept us out of war", it could no longer withstand the terrific pressure that had been exerted in increased measure since the Lusitania was sunk. The propaganda of the Entente had flooded the country and the Germans were unable to cope with it. It has been found by experience that the success of political propaganda on public thinking depends on the manner in which appeals are made in the "sense of justice" to the instincts of self-preservation and sex, to nationalism and to religious feelings. The specific reason for America's declaring war was Germany's resumption of unlimited submarine warfare. This was construed as against the American "sense of justice". It also was played up by the press as plain murder while the food blockade, which England had affected against Germany was relatively speaking played down by the press. Furthermore, stress was placed on the "atrocities" in Belgium and Armania including stories of rape and wholesale breast amputations. The pro-Entente churchmen assured their flocks that the Kaiser was in league with the Devil, if he was not the Devil incarnate, and that if something was not done by America very promptly, then this country would become a German province. So we see that they overlooked no possible ground for arousing the feelings of the Americans against the Germans. This also shows the tremendous power of the press when once Wilson gave it the signal after he was re-elected in November, 1916. In a few months the American public permitted the war fever which it had resisted until then to carry it away.
Immediately after the declaration of war in April, 1917, Wilson set up his Committee on Public Information consisting of George Creel, Chairman, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. This committee issued 75,000,000 copies of an assortment of propaganda items to encourage the public "morale". It hired 75,000 speakers, assembled 1400 provocative drawings, some by the leading artists, issued a daily publication to the press and other such agencies and also furnished twice a month, a periodical known as the "National School Service" to each of the 600,000 public school teachers in the country. It enlisted the aid of 3,000 college professors of history to prepare pamphlet matter; and in addition to these worthies, practically every writer and artist of prominence and every advertising expert was drafted into service. Besides, the Committee lined up every film company and every minister. After the war was over, George Creel, the Chairman, summed it all up in his book, "How we Advertised America", a few quotations from which are now in order.
The foreword to the book was written by Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, and it is very obvious that the latter was a fine pupil of his phrase-mongering Chief Executive. He says, "The whole business of mobilizing the mind of the world so far as American participation in the war was concerned, was in a sense the work of the Committee on Public Information. We had an alternative to face when we went into the war. The instant reaction of habit and tradition was to establish strict censorship, to allow to ooze out just such information as a few select persons might deem to be helpful, and to suppress all the things, which these persons deemed hurtful. This would have been the traditional thing to do. I think it was Mr. Creel's idea, and it was certainly a great contribution to the mobilization of the mental force of America, to have, in lieu of a Committee on Censorship, a Committee on Public Information for the production and dissemination as widely as possible of the truth about America's participation in the war."
George Creel, when the censorship bill was defeated in Congress, largely through the agitation of Hearst, called in all the members of the American Publishers' Association and asked them voluntarily to cooperate with the government. He did not send a censor into each office to delete here and there. He did all his deleting in Washington under the pretext of digging up and publishing all the truth. In this way the classic American tradition, in sharp contrast to the European, of freedom of speech and real democracy was ostensibly maintained. But it should be emphasized that it was no fault of Wilson's or Creel's that an openly acknowledged censorship as censorship was not established in place of a Committee on Public Information. The classic American tradition of Liberalism would have then been blown to the winds in name as well as in fact.
In his book, Creel harps on the principle of incessant repetition until the public believes and says, at page 4, "...in all things, from first to last, without halt or change, it was a plain publicity proposition, a vast enterprise in salesmanship, the world's greatest adventure in advertising." He goes on, "There was no part of the great war machinery that we did not touch, no medium of appeal that we did not employ, the printed word, the spoken word, the motion pictures, the telegraph, the cable, the wireless, the poster, etc...All that was fine and ardent in the civilian population came at our call until more than 150,000 men and women were devoting highly specialized abilities to the work of the Committee." He boasted that, "In no other belligerent nation was there any such degree of centralization as marked our duties." It was all very nice indeed. There was just one central office. This saved the newspapermen the trouble of running around to each department. One visit to Creel and all the news was there for the asking. Nothing was withheld. There was no selection of news except for military secrets, says Creel. He wanted (page 100) "to reach the people through their mind, rather than through their emotions, for hate has its undesirable reactions." The average citizen took "Creel's daily diet" with his morning paper at breakfast; he met Creel again when his children came home from school with material furnished to their teacher by Creel; again through the Four Minute men and later in the movies. Creel insists that while "news likely to cause anxiety or distress" and "reports concerning the outbreak of epidemics in training camps" were suppressed in other countries, nothing was suppressed by him here in America. And why was Mr. Creel so determined to be perfectly frank? Because, he says, "Nothing was more important than that there should be the least possible impairment of the people's confidence in the printed information presented to them."
And here is the very spot where the most difficult and most important task of the Communists lies. The confidence of the workers in the capitalistic press must be broken. The press must be mercilessly exposed as being unworthy of belief. The campaign to expose the press must be waged relentlessly in the connection with every daily problem that comes up. The Communist Party occasionally takes a sparrow's peck at the press. It is of the utmost importance to issue as much evidence as possible exposing the press on current issues so that the workers will not believe a word of what they read in the capitalistic press. In this way the effectiveness of the war-mongering press can be reduced.
At this point the temptation cannot be resisted to mention the fact that only last Fall in California, Upton Sinclair, the author of the "Brass Check", in which there is exposed the putrid corruption of the American press, made friendly overtures to this very arch-censor and falsifier George Creel, whom Sinclair had defeated in the Democratic primaries for governor. Creel immediately announced that he would support the whole Democratic ticket, including Sinclair, but a short time before election he joined the bandwagon against the Reds. It certainly is an irony of history that Sinclair should have had any truck with Creel at all. Both of these demagogues are worthy of the workers' emphatic scorn.
Coming back to the war again, it should be pointed out that the slogans were very simple. In the series of "Loyalty Leaflets" issued by Creel, it was said that "the one question now is aristocracy versus democracy. Nothing else matters for the moment." "Nothing matters, but the winning of the war." The same idea was expressed with great positiveness as follows: "Republican? Democrat? Prohibitionist? or Socialist? Mere unmeaning names just now. Even American is too small for the world emergency except as it is a synonym for liberty and democracy." Newton D. Baker issued this statement to the editors of trade publications: "Every conflict we have among ourselves, every dissent which we allow to be pressed beyond the point of that expression of opinion...delays the achievement of the war...People are going to be forced out of habits -- all of the people. Preach to your readers, whose modes of thought you control the necessity of the sacrifice of habit for the war."
Creel's technique was quite good. His staff issued three series of leaflets, each consisting of about six to eight pages. The titles themselves are very effective. Here are some of them: "Friendly words to the foreign-born", "The Prussian system", "Plain issues of the war", "Ways to serve the nation", "What really matters", "How the war came to America", "Battle line of Democracy", "German treatment of conquered territory", "German war practices", "War of self-defense", "American and Allied ideals", "Why America fights Germany."
No direct censorship was imposed on the foreign language or even the German or enemy language press. Needless to say they were kept under strict watch nevertheless. Creel was very careful, when issuing the leaflets in foreign languages, not to offend the susceptibilities of the great number of foreign born and particularly the numerous people of German descent whose support was needed to win the war. To them the appeal was not that the Germans had to be defeated, but that humanity, all humanity and not merely the allies was at stake and that it was for the good of the German people themselves that the Kaiser be defeated.
Creel used to boast that all important utterances of the American officials would be set in type within twenty-four hours in any part of Europe or South America. He did not have the radio available then for popular reception. But he had offices in every capital in the world outside of the Central Powers. There was a coordination which even Goebbels and Hitler would not be ashamed of. With the invention of the teletype machine, Mr. Creel's successor can very easily have some one type out the statements to be issued to the press every day. No longer will it be required to have all sorts of intermediary operations of labor. As the material is typed, so is it read in the various newspaper offices in the whole country. This advance in technique will save a lot of headaches and stop orders on items which should not have gone out.
The following is a very specific illustration of the manner in which the public mind was poisoned during the war. The high pressure genius is Edward Harding in a brochure called, "Fighting Germany with Printer's Ink." -- "Implant the conviction in the minds of the people that the war MUST be won." The people must understand and know "(a) The things we have to fear from the Germans; (b) The sacrifices each of us must make so that our lives and our country may be safe; and (c) The need of a courageous morale." If knowledge and conviction of the foregoing facts are instilled, then the people will (1) produce more; (2) save food and fuel; (3) buy Liberty bonds; and (4) support the soldiers and do everything required of them.
Printed matter has form and substance. In connection with form, printed matter must (1) attract attention; (2) get itself read; (3) get itself understood. As to substance it must (1) express ideas for a 14 year old mind; (2) be clearly expressed and (3) appeal to emotions. Headlines and pictures are most important of all. The kind of type, the use of space, the length of the line, the methods of obtaining emphasis are all pointed out. Then comes a very definite example: "No mere print could ever have the same supreme attention and memory value as the famous cartoon of the German airplane with the figure of Death dropping a bomb with the saying, 'This one for the babies'. An illustration will almost invariably 'attract attention'. A drawing that goes to the point will make a stronger appeal than hundreds of words, no matter how strongly written or cleverly printed."
The cartoons must not only be pro-ally but pro-humanity. He points out that Raemakers made a set of 60 drawings from historic documents showing how Germany during the past 40 years prepared for war. Two million books containing these drawings were put into the soldiers' hands by the French Government. The appeal is made to a 14 year old mind for the following reasons: Less than 5% of the population go through high school. Of three newspapers one is planned for a 12 year old mind, one for a 14 year old mind and one for a 17 year old mind. The first has the largest and the last the smallest circulation.
Here is another lesson in technique: "Tell a man that Germany has violated every principle laid down in international law, is an outlaw, etc., and he will do no more than agree with you and disapprove of Germany. Inform him that under the orders of German officers German soldiers in Europe have poisoned drinking wells, bombed Red Cross hospitals, raped women, mutilated and murdered children and old men, crucified nuns, babies and soldiers, married young girls into slavery in the trenches, and that unless Germany is beaten all these atrocities will be visited on our loved ones in this country -- your red-blooded hearers can hardly wait to take up arms."
Then our author submits a "Guidance chart for the presentation of patriotic material". The following is a classification of the "manner" of presentation: "Lively versus dignified; humorous versus grave; colloquial versus classic; low brow (understood by 14 year old mind) versus high brow." The "matter" to be presented depends on the emotion which will give the strongest response. Again he sets forth four sets of contrasts: "1. Appeal to sympathy (e.g. our natural impulse to help our injured soldiers - Red Cross) versus appeal to aversion (e.g. natural aversion to a nation which regards it's word as worthless). 2. Love inspiring (e.g. bravery and self-sacrifice of France) versus abhorrence inspiring (e.g. for the Germans for what they have done in Belgium.) 3. Forgiving (e.g. appeal to forgive Russia for her defection from her allies because leaders betrayed her) versus avenging (e.g. appeal to avenge the Lusitania victims). 4. Courage inspiring (e.g. appeal to do brave deeds with the example of the war heroes.) versus fear inspiring (e.g. self-preservations-fear of invasion of our country.) In addition appeal to patriotism, pride and self-respect and desire to protect loved ones."
And now comes the best of all. A concrete example, yes, very concrete, "How to get coal miners to work on Sundays." At the top we have a picture of soldiers and a picture of miners. Under the soldiers, we have "Soldiers work seven days a week." Under the miners, "So must you." and here is the sure-fire high pressure: "TO YOU - MINERS OF HAZELTON! WE MUST WIN THE WAR!
There is not enough coal coming to the top. You can bring out enough more to turn the scale. If you work Sundays to mine more coal, more shot and shell can be made and sent to France. If you don't, more soldiers will lose their lives. The boys in the trenches are fighting seven days a week. To do your share you must mine coal seven days a week.
What if Germany should win the war? Germany has won in some countries. Shall these things happen here?
In BELGIUM - hands cut off little children, young girls sent into Germany to work as slaves.
In POLAND - some of you come from there, there are no children left; all murdered, starved or frozen.
In AMERICA - if the German army comes, our loved ones will get the same treatment.
Every lump of coal YOU drill and blast and pick and load may save a human life; the life may be the life of your son in France, or your wife or daughter at home."
The author, with an air of self-sufficient satisfaction, proudly calls the foregoing masterpiece "colloquial, low-brow, and appealing to pride and fear". Now it is a certainty that this sort of thing will be with us when war comes, and perhaps in a more effective way. The program of action for this problem will be taken up in an article later on in this series. But, in any event, it is considered very important to forewarn the unwary reader about what will come so that he may view it properly with the benefit of a well-reasoned judgement exercised before the hysteria is upon us."
II -- THE CHURCH
Though a large number of churchmen joined in prayers for peace, while the United States remained neutral, nevertheless, with relatively few exceptions, the clergy, after the declaration of war, went along with the government with all the energy at its command. The church, throughout its history, has always been an exponent of the use of armed force and has always seen to it that there was rendered unto Caesar what Caesar had coming to him with the assurance, of course, that Caesar would take care that the church got what belonged to God. The charge that the war was brought on by capitalistic rivalries was repudiated by the church, which always has served as a powerful prop of the economic order. This was a holy war. Christianity and America had to save civilization. Disloyalty to America was disloyalty to God. With these slogans came all the rest. The churches vied with one another in the intensity of their patriotic utterances.
The older clergy and the women church helpers were mobilized for parish work at home in order that the younger clergymen might be free to go with the soldiers into the trenches and barracks. Those who remained at home certainly did a swell job in arousing and maintaining a terrific hysteria. Of these, the most extreme was the Rev. Newton Dwight Hillis of Brooklyn, New York. The administration was so pleased with him that he was selected to write the sermon, which was sent to 100,000 preachers to help prepare them for Liberty Loan Sunday. In his book on "German Atrocities" he says, "Whether this war goes on for one year or five years, it must go on until the Hun repents and makes restitution--so far as possible...Thoughtful men doubt whether the German will ever learn the wickedness of his own atrocities and the crimes of militarism until his own land is laid waste, until he sees the horrors of war with his own eyes, and hears the groans of his own people with his own ears, sees his own land laid desolate, finds his own heart crushed with anguish."
And then some applied Christianity: "When this war is over, every stone in the cathedral of Cologne should be marked. German prisoners should be made to pull these stones apart, German cars be made to transport every stone to Louvain, and German hands made to set up the cathedral of Cologne in Louvain or Arras."
But that was not sufficient for Rev. Hillis, who is compelled to make this sad observation, "In utter despair, therefore, statesmen, generals, editors, are now talking about the duty of simply exterminating the German people." He saw no hope for the Germans and recommended that all the males be sterilized and segregated from the females. He almost, but not quite, suggested one wholesale auto-da-fe of the whole population. He had his own theory as to the reasons why the Germans cut off the breasts of French and Belgian women. The German army, he said, maintained very strict discipline and forbade any soldier with syphilis to have intercourse with the camp followers brought along from Germany lest the rest of the German army be infected. Consequently, they were directed to the French and Belgian women, and having infected these women with syphilis, they were ordered to cut off a breast so that the next German soldier would know of the danger of infection. Of all the atrocity stories this one may be matched, but surely cannot be surpassed.
Immediately upon the declaration of war, Wilson turned to the church far in the backwoods villages, particularly where there were no schools or newspapers, contact could be established only through the church. Not all of the clergy went in for the tactics of Rev. Hillis. Some approached the problem from a somewhat different angle and in a different tone. The warrior was glorified. Life in the trenches was said to be a wonderful spiritual revival, by cleansing in fire. The boys in the battle line had found God. And with God, came comfort and assurance of a blessed future. Jesus Christ was the greatest fighter the world had ever seen and was just as much a battler as Moses, Joshua, David, Washington and Lee. One could go on endlessly citing the texts used by these vicars of the Lord to justify their position.
The use of the bayonet was also glorified. A military manual issued by the British General Staff said, "All ranks must be taught that their aim and object is to come to close quarters with the enemy as quickly as possible so as to be able to use the bayonet. This must become a second nature...Bayonet fighting produces lust for blood." Y.M.C.A. secretaries exhibited the Bible as the greatest of all war books and Jesus as the happy warrior going into battle, thrusting his bayonet through the body of the Hun as an example to others. According to these "Y" men, America was fighting for a "God with guts". And with the foregoing in mind, it is easy to understand why General Pershing said, "There is no one factor contributing more to the morale of the army in France than the Y.M.C.A. The value of the organization cannot be overestimated. Give me 900 men, who have a Y.M.C.A. rather than 1000 men, who have none and I will have better fighters every time." In the concentration camps, it is said, the policy of the "Y" was to criticize the conscientious objectors "for being too Christian and not going to war". But the church generally criticized the pacifists for being "un-Christian".
The pulpits became part of the war machine itself. War sermons were preached regularly in accordance with instructions furnished by the Committee on Public Information. The persons urged enlistments, food conservation, the purchase of Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps. The congregations were exhorted to hate the Huns with true Christian zeal. American morals were endangered by the enemy. Special hymns were written and hymns of hate were encouraged. Parish houses were used as drill halls. The prayers were always for victory and occasionally for the souls of the enemy, but this, of course, did not take place in Dr. Hills' church. The various parsons competed with one another in drives for funds for government loans. "Give your dimes for battleships for Uncle Sam", cried Dr. S. Parkes Cadman.
Some of the clergy felt a bit conscience stricken and gave some very fine reasons justifying their position in favor of the war. "All we can say is that war has always existed from time to time and we can be absolutely certain that since God permits it, it is intended in some way for our good." Patriotism, which was looked upon by all others as a virtue, was to the Catholics, according to Rev. Ward of the Catholic Truth Society of London, a "religious duty". A learned gentleman, well trained in carrying water on both shoulders, the Rev. A. Edwin Keigwin of the West End Presbyterian Church, New York, said that he usually took his texts for his war sermons out of the Old Testament "for the very good and sufficient reason that the Old Testament is the book of God's dealings with nations, while the New Testament is the book of God's dealings with individuals." Ordinarily Christian ministers would pridefully point to the evolution of the God of vengeance of the Old Testament to the God of Love of the New Testament. But in war time there were other considerations. He must have been correct, however, because General Foch could not have been thinking about loving his neighbor when the Generalissimo stated, "The Bible is certainly the best preparation that you can give an American soldier about to go into battle to sustain his magnificent ideals and faith! (Christian Work, Oct. 5, 1918)
While some prayed for victory and some prayed for their enemies, there were others who prayed that the enemies be killed and that their souls be saved all at the same time. An English clergyman, realizing the possibility that God might spare the souls of the enemy, reconciled himself with that idea as follows: "...nor need our appreciation of their sacrifice be the less by reason of our own bounden duty in conscience to go on killing still more thousands of them, until the cause of righteousness is vindicated and the objects entrusted to our arms attained." The more the enemy hated and tried to injure us, the more we should pray for him. Charity could be shown by praying for the Kaiser even with the hope of ultimately defeating him.
At this point a parallel might be drawn between the symbols of nationalism and those of the Christian religion as expressed in the United States as follows: The flag and the cross; the Constitution and the Bible; the tradition of the Fathers and the theological tradition; patriotic slogans and holy words and phrases; patriotic songs and hymns, uniforms and gowns, surplices, etc.; patriotic parades and religious processions; hero worship and worship of saints; the sword and the sword of the spirit.
The church had no respect for dissenters, who insisted on their right to free speech. A number of pacifist clergymen stood their ground in spite of the terrible pressure exerted against them, but there were relatively few, who expressed themselves, the rest keeping their opinions to themselves. The Catholic clergy was unanimously for the war, particularly because of the absolute discipline of the Church. Cardinal Farley, the leading Catholic of his day, said, "Criticism of the government irritates me. I consider it little short of treason. Self-constituted critics are in fact disloyal and even those, whose duty it is to express disapproval should be extremely sparing in their use of this power. Every citizen of this nation, no matter what his private opinion or his political leanings, should support the President and his advisers to the limit of his ability."
According to the "Churchman", September 22, 1917, "Democracy is not going to suffer from this temporary restriction (of free speech) and a little rest will prove wholesome to the tongue." Rabbi Stephen S. Wise of New York, though a pacifist before the war, turned "patriotic", like the rest of his colleagues, with the same old phrase-mongering as the rest of them, "I would have the members of the churches, Christian and Jewish alike, stand foremost among the citizens of America furthering the high war aims of our nation."
Every church denomination in the United States, that had a convention during 1917 declared in favor of the war. It was therefore perfectly correct for General Pershing, on March 4th, 1918, to write the following letter to the Young People of the Churches of America, "I am glad to have the opportunity of sending you greetings and hearty approval of the concerted support the church forces of the country, through you, are giving the government. The great active moral influence of the churches of America cannot fail to add power to the nation."
III -- THE MOTION PICTURES AND THE THEATER
As has been indicated above, the Committee on Public Information took under its wing the supervision of the films and stage. The cinema is a most important weapon of education. In the daily life of a capitalistic country industrialized like the United States, the movies have become an integral part as any other institution. The movie satisfying the demands of the audience in a very direct, visual, picturesque and vital manner, requiring nothing from them, does not even demand them to be literate. This medium is an excellent instrument for propaganda of all kinds, for or against anything one may select. It is an agency which is accessible to every one, which is attractive, which cuts into the memory and which is a source of considerable revenue to boot. In peace time the movies compete with the church for the patronage of the public and sometimes this opposition may be fatal to certain subsidiary functions of the church. But in war time the church and the movies, together with everything else, are coordinated by a central direction.
The influence of the movies cannot be overestimated. Every person in the audience has paid his admission fee and for that reason gives his attention and willingly. What he sees for his good hard-earned money sinks into his mind. At this point a comparison should be made between the effectiveness of the movies and of the stage as weapons for the development of popular enthusiasm. The theater-going public usually chooses its plays with a certain degree of discrimination. The movie going public, which certainly overlaps the theater-going public to some extent in the large cities, generally sees a picture every week or so as a matter of regular habit, regardless of what the picture is. A single picture can be exhibited throughout the many thousands of movie houses in the country at the same time. The cost of producing multiple copies of the films is relatively insignificant. The energy that is required to produce a film in Hollywood need not be re-expended in order to exhibit the film in New York or Timbuctoo. To produce throughout the land or the world a play or spectacle in which the personal appearance of actors is necessary would involve a vast army of skilled performers present everywhere. No more need be said about this angle of the comparison between the films and the stage. However, this should be said for the stage. The real, live, flesh and blood actor can create an atmosphere far more intense than the screen can. But theater audiences are necessarily far smaller than movie audiences. This much can be said for both the theater and the movie, namely, that there is a large mass gathering in which any enthusiasm that is developed will spread by contagion.
With the movies, just as with the press, preventing an idea from reaching the public is just as effective as the introduction of a positive thought. The emphasis in newsreels and newspapers on sports and fashions and the absence especially in the film of news relating to labor troubles are matters of common knowledge. The writer remembers seeing a newsreel in which there was shown a squad of deputy sheriffs attacking a small group of peaceful pickets outside of a plant in a Pennsylvania milltown. Even an essentially bourgeois audience at a large Broadway theater hissed and booed along with the radically minded, who must have started the hissing. At the end of the particular episode a Polish worker with his head bandaged, spoke into the newsreel microphone to explain that he was making seven dollars per week and that he went on the picket line because he had twelve children to support and because his wife was out of work. The average New York movie audience usually laughs at the thought of twelve children in one family, but there was loud and almost unanimous applause for the worker in question. But these instances are rare and come only because of the slips that will occur when the tempo of distribution is so fast, as it necessarily has to be in modern times. An even better example of prevention was the action of the French government concerning the pictures of the fascistic adventure in Paris, February, 1934. Trouble had been brewing over Chiappe's removal from the Prefecture of the Seine and there were plenty of street demonstrations by the Croix de Feu and the Action Francaise. On the night of February 6th, the cameramen were present around the Concorde Bridge in large numbers. The police and troops, in accordance with their instructions, smashed everything in sight, but one enterprising camera man was able to rush his films to a plane, which took them to London. Needless to say, the censorship was tightly clamped down in France. There was about to be a showing in London and there was also the certainty that in a short space of time the whole world would be able to see just what had happened. Following orders of his government, the French ambassador in London called the film company on the telephone and politely informed him that all pictures produced by that company would be barred in France if the film was not surrendered. That picture was never shown. The technique of attack and of mass demonstration that had been prepared by the French war veterans in Paris was something the government did not want anyone to learn. Furthermore, it would have been a bad idea to allow the general public to witness the beating up and shooting of police and troops by civilians.
It is clear that it is solely for the purpose of building up a war psychology that we now have thrust upon us such a steady stream of war pictures which are too numerous to mention. Several years ago, a study was made of the effect of such pictures on 500 Parisian students ranging from 7 to 19 years of age, just the ones who would most likely be among the first to be called for the next war. (Mercure de France, June 16, 1930). The boys did not know that they would be asked questions about the picture when it was over. To them it was supposed to be a mere lark in order that no one would give an unnatural response. The following facts were noted: First of all, everyone was keenly interested in the whole film. There were cheers for the war heroes, Foch, Petain, and Clemenceau. There was silence during the gruesome scenes. To most of them came the realization, for the first time, how horrible war can be, but it was only to a small portion of the audience that the pomp and glory of the war were wiped out. Those under ten years laughed at the wreckage in the small houses struck by bombs, but those over twelve to thirteen appreciated the loss of some one's home. The feeling of horror among the students, who approximate our college freshmen was accompanied by a feeling of vicarious heroism, the identifying of the observer with the particular soldier who was facing danger with courage. A few of these remarked that they had become hardened in so far as they could no longer worry or complain about hurts and scratches when they thought of the soldier's sufferings.
The most significant thing of all was that the feeling of horror produced by the film was directed against the enemy and not against war itself. Young boys of seven to nine were even more bellicose and nationalistic after the picture was over. Some remarked that the whole business seemed to have no purpose and to be just stupid. However, the typical opinion was that while war is horrible, they were not afraid to die for their country. War, that is, when just, is often necessary. If all Frenchmen in 1914 were anti-militaristic, France would have become a German province. The dead heroes had saved the French spirit and Christianity.
It is obvious that although a war picture arouses disgust and repulsion, it nevertheless produces more lively reactions than any peace topic. War is exciting. Peace is not, even to those who sincerely believe in it. Peace has not heroes, such as war has and those of peace time cannot compare with warriors. This ideology has been deeply rooted into the minds of the average person. The ruling class knows this very well and nurtures the minds of the young along these lines. The present war pictures emphasize the bravery element in the midst of the scenes of suffering. It is also stressed that individual needs must be completely ignored for the general welfare. The spirit of obedience is insidiously inculcated.
During the last war the leading films were called "Pershing's Crusaders", "America's Armies", "Under Four Flags", "Official War Review", "Our Bridge of Ships", "Our Colored Fighters" and others of similar character. 200,000 stereoptician slides were also prepared with many thousands of copies of each and shown in all available spots throughout the country. A large number of subjects were also treated in short pictures which showed the army, navy and marines in training maneuvers, the activities of the various branches such as the medical corps, fire and gas division, aviation, engineers, West Point and Annapolis cadets, and so on. Others showed the cooperation of the labor unions in the shipyards and in the plants manufacturing war equipment.
How much more efficiently will the movies keep the war in the public eye and mind during the coming war is easy to guess. Now we have talking pictures, which were unheard of during the last war. It will no longer be necessary for so many speakers of the Four Minute variety to be sent to movie houses to exhort the public to buy Liberty Bonds or War Savings Stamps. The sales talks will be delivered from the screen and when the short picture ends, the collection can be taken up. Of course the speakers will be necessary in the theaters, but even this may be rationalized so that screens may be installed for these purposes.
Then again the technique of the motion picture industry has improved so greatly in the last 20 years and the number of houses exhibiting pictures has increased to such an extent that the achievement of the last war will be very much dwarfed by what will come. The face and voice of the leaders of the country will be a matter of familiarity to all, the messages will be driven home with endless repetition and emphasis. In places without movie houses sound trucks will flash the films on the sides of buildings or improvised screens. Personal appeals from army leaders and even rank and file men will not be merely flashed upon the screen as written messages. The personality of the one sending the message will be effectively portrayed with the greatest dramatic effect. Another important function of the sound file that it can take over from the theater is the popularizing of the war songs which will be written. Nowadays the song bits are put over in connection with a well-produced picture. Most pictures have some music in them and it can be safely said that the patriotic songs will be part of the routine of every movie show and the presence of live singers will not be required. In this way the mass enthusiasm and hysteria can be worked up most effectively by having everyone join in. It is easier to stir a crowd to sing when some musical agency, such as an orchestra or instrument is at hand. So much more easily will the fervor be aroused when some popular singer of great merit or beauty or both will appear on the screen and begin to lead the singing.
Mention might also be made that the films will also portray within the limits compelled by sex considerations, certain of the milder atrocities alleged to be practiced by the enemy. As shown by the emphasis with which sex has been purveyed in the cinema of late years, there should be no doubt that great leeway will be allowed by the war censor, when it comes to showing what a terrible brute the current enemy will be.
The movie as well as the radio will also be put to a widespread use in the schools and colleges. And at this point let us turn to the radio.
IV -- THE RADIO
In the last war radio was in its infancy. With the television not yet a common phenomenon, though about to be introduced in England soon, it might be said that radio is still in its youth anyway no longer in its infancy. With this medium of communication, the propagandist can reach his listeners by invading their homes. Of course a turn of the knob can shut him off. But even the most recalcitrant listener will be unable to avoid him altogether even in the privacy of his home, for it cannot be doubted for a moment that the patriotic programs will be on the air most of the day and night, and with them, of course, will come the songs for every one to sing when a large number of people assemble.
The radio will also become a powerful offensive weapon with which to invade the enemy's territory. Programs will be broadcast by short wave lengths over great distances, if necessary, to the people of the enemy country, explaining to them that they should overthrow or repudiate their leaders, who will be called enemies of all humanity including the persons listening to the broadcast. They will be told that their nation cannot possibly win the war because they are inferior in military force and because God is against them. A number of years ago, the air in Europe was congested with broadcasts of Germany and France, and Germany and Russia, which sought to drown out each other. An important part of the technique of this sort of thing is to get started before the enemy drowns you out. In that way a piece of news, devastating in its effect, but which hitherto had been withheld, might turn the tide of public opinion in a given country ripe for such a turn. In the early part of the Russian Revolution, many of the troops at the front had not even the slightest notion of what was going on back home. Of course, leaflets were being distributed but such a method is primitive compared with the radio. The chief difference would be the speed with which the radio message could reach the front line, namely immediately. It is true that the telephone would serve this purpose with the same speed, but in that case the mere clipping of some wires would shut off communication. The air cannot be clipped off and if the word of a revolution back home once reached the front, it would spread like wild fire. There is no question, but that the army command will not place receiving sets at the disposal of the troops, but radios to some extent will have to be distributed behind the lines for the purpose of entertaining the soldiers and keeping up their morale. If a radio station back home is once seized and in the middle of a program the announcement is made that the regime is being overthrown, one can just picture the effect of this on the army. And if this is true in the case of the army it is equally so in the case of the navy.
In the schools and colleges radio addresses will become more and more frequent. It is entirely possible that by the time the next war breaks out, the use of television will assist in the militarizing of the youth of the nation. If the technique of television is sufficiently improved the talking picture will be surpassed in the effectiveness of delivering an appeal dramatically. Of course this is true for programs, which will be broadcast generally and not merely for the schools and colleges. But the result will be that a person in his home will be reached just as though we were sitting in a theater, a meeting hall or a church, though of course, the element of spreading fervor by mass contagion will be absent.
But, to be sure, the radio need not be in anyone's home. A speaker can be set up anywhere, in the street, upon the roof of a building, on a truck or anywhere else. In the small villages they will most likely be set up right in the center of the community, in the town hall or church. The war message will be delivered immediately throughout the land and even the world. So far the discussion has concerned the transmission of radio messages from the studios of the central agency directing the war. However, we can turn this about and readily image a situation where things have happened at the front, such as the revolt of bodies of troops. If these troops could convey that news to the folks at home, the result might very well be a revolution at home. Of course one can depend on the enemy to flood the air with all sorts of stories invented for the occasion in order to mislead both the troops and the home population of the opposing side. This will also bring endless confusion.
Undoubtedly the government agencies, particularly in the war departments, have foreseen these possibilities and have sought to perfect methods of blocking out any broadcast that came from the enemy. The vigilance which will be required will be greater because of these possibilities than ever before. Assuming that the crew of a battleship decides to revolt, they seize the radio sending set and immediately inform the people at home of what has happened. That message can be transmitted in a few seconds. Whether the government's blocking apparatus can be brought into play so quickly as to prevent this news from reaching the intended listener is not at all certain. The writer knows of no invention which can filter and censor all incoming radio messages. Perhaps they exist. If they do, a marvelous agency of censorship is available. But if not, the ruling class will be hard put to prevent the receipt of such news as may have a crippling effect.
V -- THE SCHOOLS, COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
We must bear in mind that of all the social-educational agencies, which have been discussed so far will be used in connection with the schools, universities and colleges. During peace time the children in the schools are taught the necessity for an adequate army and navy, national guard and reserve force to meet aggression from without and to resist foolish subversive changes in government from within. Communism will be treated as hysterical insanity, entirely un-American, and indulged in only by madmen. In the last war the strong man dictatorial ideology was instilled in the minds of the children, but all of this was sugar-coated with the sweet traditional phrases of liberty and democracy.
An analysis of a number of history text books and supplementary readers in wide use showed that from 20 to 90 percent of the space was devoted to war in a most intense nationalistic way. All the wars of the United States are describedas either defensive or completely altruistic. Little or no attention is paid to the cause of peace, although the mouthing of the politicians constantly extol the grandeur of peace. Some years ago the Chicago Tribune discovered that unpatriotic ideas were being taught in the Chicago schools. The syllabus of an eighth grade history course suggested as subjects for discussion the following: "The soldier's life in the trench and the dug-out", "Boredom of the training camp", "Futility of war", "How great armaments invite war", and so on. These subjects were laid at the door of the "pacifist borers" in the schools and condemnation was poured out as follows: "An American school history course has been perverted to teach children that military training is boredom and that life in a trench is perilous and in a dug-out, hideous. The purpose of this teaching is to destroy the qualities which service men needed. The boring, which the pacifists are doing in the schools and colleges is in about equal parts impertinence, absurdity and malevolence." Needless to say the house cleaning advocated by the "Tribune" took place. This policy has always been controlling in the American educational system. The war here has always been taught the subject of special glorification. A man like General Grant could go into a partnership with a Wall Street broker of not too pure a reputation and the latter could die in jail for the most flagrant kind of crookedness and yet the halo on the head of the Civil War generalissimo would not be disturbed and the school books would go on raving about the great military genius whose Presidential administration was as corrupt as any before or since.
Naturally, when all the other war forces of the country were brought into play, the educational system was also profoundly affected. Everywhere the school children were urged to aid in winning the war. They were all subject to the same influences as the adults in the press, the church, the theater and the movies. In the schools they were given outlets for their energies to aid in selling Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps. In the English Composition classes in Detroit, for example, between October 8th and October 27th, 1917, the regular work was laid aside and a study was made of conditions relating to the sale of Liberty Bonds. Reports were made on speeches, discussions, books and articles. If the work was well done it was accepted in lieu of the ordinary homework. One of the chief aims of such a program was to train them for similar work in the future. The various Chambers of Commerce would donate the money for printing pamphlets which contained complete instructions to the school children as to their course of conduct in this connection. It was recommenced that a complete record be kept of all this work with comments upon weaknesses that "might well be corrected in the event of another such opportunity to aid in the fight against German autocracy." The writings would have great practical value, it was said when the next Liberty Loan drive was to come. The subjects for discussion and composition in the schools were, of course, those outlined in the series of leaflets issued by Creel's Committee on Public Information which were referred to at the beginning of this article.
It is interesting to note a few items of British technique in influencing the minds of school children. In the schools where hymns were sung it was suggested that those with the following and similar lines and ideas were to be avoided: "Make haste, o'man, to live, Thy time is almost o'er, "Weary of earth and laden with sin", "By thy deep expiring groan". Hymns in the spirit of the following, on the contrary, were highly useful: "For the thrill, the leap, the gladness of our pulse of living here", "Run the straight race through God's good grace", "Chasing far the gloom and terror". All this, to be sure, war for the purpose of keeping up the courage and morale of the youthful population whose fathers were either killed or wounded or about to be. It was urged that "in a school chapel above everything else, we want relations; something to show us that Christianity in an optimistic, buoyant, cheerful, absolutely happy religion where human feelings and failings, sorrows and misadventures, loves and hatreds are taken into account."
Of course, the professors could be depended upon to drag in Shakespeare as well as the Bible to prove that England had to win the war. At Oxford, F. Colmer, in a piece of idiotic madness called "Shakespeare and the War", indulged in the ecclesiastical habit of tearing a text from its setting and applying it to a situation in no way related to the original context. To sum it up briefly, the spirit of Shakespeare was on the side of the Allies and that made it just about unanimous.
Let us now come back to the United States where that high minded Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, in a very subtle fashion goaded the college students into the army. In an address, "The Task of the College", included in his book, "Frontiers of Freedom", he says, in response to the question of the collegian, "What can I do?"
"Even where it would be obviously better for a boy to stay in college and prepare for later and further usefulness, if the boy in so doing acquired a low view of his own courage and felt that he was electing the less worthy course, the effect on the boy himself of that state of mind probably was so prejudicial that it ought not to be encouraged."
Hence, join the army! That is to say, the collegians should go into the training camps for officers. As to those who remain in college, he urged a modification of the courses in the curriculum that would show them a direct preparation and equipment for future usefulness if the emergency lasts until their call comes.
"Mobilization of a University," an article in the Columbia University Quarterly, of June, 1917, very effectively portrays what was generally taking place throughout the whole country. On March 31, 1917, 500 officers of Columbia had sent a telegram to the President of the United States approving of his stand. On April 6th, when war was declared, a mass meeting of students and faculty was held and immediately thereafter the enrollment of students, faculty and alumni began. The Registrar mailed out 53,000 cards. The plan for mobilizing Columbia University was adopted by the Bureau of Education of the Department of the Interior and sent as a model to the presidents of colleges and universities all over the United States.
Training for service on land and sea was instituted. A bureau of information on such training was established and undergraduates received the consent of Colonel Vanderbilt to use the 22nd Regiment Armory. Ten hours of drill per week were supplemented by three lectures a week. This continued until announcement was made that no more Reserve Officers' Commissions would be issued except after a three month training period in Federal camps. Camp Columbia was established in Connecticut. Enlistment in the regular army and navy were not encouraged. It was felt that all men, who could train, should make themselves fit to be officers and the government desired college men for the camps. Practical naval training also was arranged.
A mobilization committee on women's work was established. Bulletins were issued on nursing, emergency social service, agriculture and emergency food service. The usual teaching functions were adjusted to the new situation. In extension teaching an emergency course for volunteer clerical workers was begun. A large number of courses offering training for government service of a military, naval and general character were set up. Courses on visiting nursing and in all sorts of emergency work were given. Those who were occupied in the different training units or were called into government service or sent out for work on farms or in shops and had, for these reasons, to drop part or all of their courses, were credited with full University attendance. The teaching staff was of direct assistance to the government. Instruction was given to graduates of the Naval Academy. Professors of engineering advised on personnel, material and construction. Similarly in chemistry, the social sciences and other matters requiring exact knowledge. Economists and statisticians also helped as did the staff of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The language staff assisted in the many translations which were required. A Red Cross Ambulance Unit was established and men were called into service for it. Members of the Department of Agriculture and students acquainted with rural conditions worked out plans for getting the boys back on the land.
There was established a Division of Intelligence and Publicity which prepared a series of pamphlets on the problems and duties of American citizens in many phases of the war question. An enumeration of the subjects is most enlightening as to the scope of the assistance which Columbia rendered to the government: 1. Enlistment for the farm - a message on how school children can aid the nation; 2. German subjects within our gates - some notes on the possibility of internment; 3. Mobilize the country-home garden - an appeal to the owners of country estates; 4. Our headline policy - an appeal to the press to recognize in their news our unity with our allies; 5. Food preparedness - a survey of the basic facts and of the necessity for conservation; 6. How to finance the war - an attempt to construct an equitable program for loans and taxation; 7. Farmers and speculators - a discussion of prices as stimulant to production and of the uses of speculation in war finance; 8. Directory for service telling how and where to enlist for different kinds of work for the country; 9. City gardens - practical instruction for the use of small city plots; 10. Bread bullets - concerning the agricultural mobilization as hunger threatened; 11. Rural education - how to organize high school boys for farm work; 12. Why we should have universal military service-preparedness and the impracticability of volunteer service; 13. How Canada organized her manpower; 14. Wheat substitutes - rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, rye, etc.; 15. House Revenue Bill to raise three billion dollars to aid the allies; 16. The war cripple - inevitable consequence of the war.
There we can see a most imposing and comprehensive diversity of activities. It was not an idle boast when the editor of the Columbia Quarterly wrote, "As one looks ahead in coming months or years of war, one can realize what a university in war times will be. Most of the students and instructors over 21 and under 35 will be in service in the field or in government offices. Many of the officers with technical training will be called into positions under Federal control. Every subject relating to the effective prosecution of war which the University is equipped to teach will remain untouched by reference to the present situation. This is not merely mobilization. It is the incorporation of the University vitally into the changed life of the nation."
The same mobilization is taking place now. When war breaks out the mighty machine will go right into action in all directions. However, this much should be noted. A marked change has taken place since the last war in the attitude of a large number of students toward war in general. Organizations that did not exist before the war are now very articulately and militantly, if somewhat blundering, arousing the feelings of the students against imperialist war. To meet this situation and also to combat the generally increased radicalization of the students, various fascistic groups have been formed in the different colleges. Clashes take place whenever an important question is in the public view. Certainly this is a sign of the Europeanization of the American college campus. The bulk of the college students are inclined because of their home background, toward the conservatives. In the larger cities, that is to say, in those institutions, which draw their students from an urban working class background, marked left tendencies have appeared, as for example, in the College of the City of New York.
And just to show how the faculties of the various colleges are being mobilized for any eventuality, the following anecdote is of some significance. It was told to the writer by a student of the College of the City of New York, who was present in the assembly hall, when through the stupidity and tactlessness of President Frederick B. Robinson, a riot started when the faculty chairman refused to allow the representative of the students to make a statement into the microphone on the occasion of the welcome by the sycophantic Robinson to a delegation of Mussolini's Fascist students, who were on a "good will" tour. While the fighting was going on, one of the instructors of the Department of Chemistry walked over to Robinson and said that he had the tear gas ready and could put it to use in less than a minute. Robinson must have been afraid that he himself would get a whiff of it, and though he hesitated, finally decided not to use it, at least, not just then. Luckily for him, a large squad of police broke up the fight and Robinson was spared the honor of being the first college president to use tear gas in his own assembly hall against his own students. The point of all the foregoing is, of course that in view of the constant protests and demonstrations of the students against military training and other matters, the City College Department of Chemistry very frugally made its own tear gas for use on its own students.
In view of the fact that since the last war military training courses have been added to the curriculum, in many instances as compulsory subjects, it is clear that when war comes each college will again become just a large officers' training corps as far as the students are concerned. In addition what happened at Columbia University as above described will be repeated on a far more extensive scale and in a much more efficient manner.
The scope of this article has been rather wide. By using all these social-educational agencies in an efficient and well-coordinated manner, the capitalist state can mobilize all the forces of the population in a very short space of time. Although these agencies have been dealt with separately in this article, so far as possible, in order to analyze the functions of each part of the whole system and to evaluate the relative importance of each of said parts. Nevertheless it must be emphasized that all of these parts of the educational machine of the state are constantly being called into play one with the other and sometimes all of them at once. At a so-called patriotic rally it is possible to devote a college lecture or school recitation to a radio talk, to be followed by a motion picture. The same procedure may be used in a church theater or movie audience might be asked to join in a prayer or something of the kind. Radio was not a weapon in the last war. In the coming war it will take its part among the leaders.
Which of the social-educational agencies is more important? First of all, we must insist that just as nothing can replace the infantry in the army, nothing can surpass the personal contacts in war time. From this point of view the church is unbeaten, particularly in dealing with backward rural masses, with the poorest layers of the adult population and with the women. After the church, in the more prosperous agrarian communities, comes the radio in this country, and in the small town, the motion pictures and posters. As for the country youth, the chief mechanism remains the school and then the motion pictures. For the city population, the chief agency to reach the broadest masses will be the motion pictures, and after the motion pictures, the poster and mass demonstration, parade, etc. For the literate city population, the press will be the best medium for the state to mobilize its adherents for the war. For the city youth, the motion picture and school, for the adult the press, for the aged and housewife, the radio and perhaps the poster and photograph.
In dealing with the art of disseminating propaganda to collected masses, in the country and small town the church will take first place with its revivalist meetings after which will come the staged meetings of political and governmental officials. In the city, collected masses can be reached best through the mass moving demonstration, the parade, etc.
An exceptional mechanism, perhaps in some respects the most powerful of all, is the Newsreel Motion Picture. Through this form of art we can get the most powerful reactions possible, rivaling in its action and panoramic effect the best of the motion pictures and in its intensity of emotional display, the best of the theater. Newsreels can do infinitely more than photographs. For it is real life. Here all live through the actions of the soldiers and the thrilling high and low moments of the nations's history.
The various mechanisms described above have their limits not only in space but also in time. Some of them are best fitted to prepare the people for war, others to sustain them in the actual fighting. The church and school are not so good in mobilizing for war as they are after the war is actually declared. In this preparatory period it is the press, the motion picture and the radio that can be used most effectively. But after the war is actually declared and the mass of dead begin to mount in the army, it is the chaplain and priest and semi-religious organizations (Red Cross Y.M.C.A., Salvation Army, etc) who alone can travel with the soldiers and are the propaganda agents for the war to the bitter end. In the rear it is the church to whom the mountain of dead are turned over and who can use all the solemnity given to it by the superstitious of the ages to swear by all the dead and in the name of future glory with the Lord. The coming into prominence of the church in time of war is only another illustration of the barbaric and destructive character of the war and the breakdown of civilized life that it implies.
If it is true that, after all, nothing can replace personal contact, this is one of the best guarantees that the proletariat which has no money and no machinery at its disposal compared with the ruling class, must eventually win the day. Certainly where every regiment has its chaplain and bourgeois political commissar, a leaflet or radio statement cannot conquer the enemy class by its own force alone. To beat the bourgeoisie there is necessary the nucleus, the Communist cell, with its infinite personal ramifications and intercommunications that the ruling class can never uproot. The tremendous machinery and organization of the capitalists may be able to win out in the beginning and foist the war upon the people. The odds are too great for the proletariat to mobilize its forces against such overwhelming mobilization against it. But in the long run, it will be the personal contact of the proletarian and Communist organizers that will win the day and stop the war through the Socialist Revolution!
WHAT PRICE SUBSCRIBERS?
One James Rorty, newspaper reporter covering the Imperial Valley for the New York Post was arrested by a red-baiting sheriff at El Centro, California and is now involved in an investigation of the House Labor Committee. What interested us most in the Post report (March 2) on Rorty's arrest was the fact that there was found in his possession, and retained by the sheriff, nothing less than a list of subscribers of the "Militant". This was apparently considered by the sheriff the most valuable among Rorty's documents.
The question arises first, why was such a list given to someone who at best could be but a fellow traveller of the revolutionary movement? Was Rorty "contacting" the List? But this is work for the most trusted party member. We do not so much criticize Rorty, who is not supposed to know better, for carelessness in carrying around such a list in his pockets while going through a ticklish territory where labor troubles have been rife, as we do the editor or business manager of the "Militant", who must have handed the list over. Probably it is useless to expect that those who give the lists of their subscribers to the government in return for the second class mailing privileges would have enough political sense to see why a subscribers' list should not be handed over to any Tom, Dick or Harry. We merely have to wonder what else these revolutionary play-boys are doing as they sport about the country building their house of cards, the "Workers Party".