Workers' Liberty 3/7: What is the Third Camp?

Socialist policy in the war

Author: 
Max Shachtman

Some people refuse to learn. Others refuse to remember. And still others remember what they have learned only up to the moment when events call upon them to put it into practice, whereupon they start to forget. Critics of the Independent Socialist League’s position on the war are asking that we support the United States in the war, not only in Korea, but in the Third World War that is being prepared.

Soviet declaration of peace

8 November 1917

The workers’ and peasants’ government, created by the Revolution of 6-7 November and basing itself on the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, calls upon all the belligerent peoples and their governments to start immediate negotiations for a just, democratic peace.

Old garbage in new pails

By Max Shachtman

THE invaluable assistance given the imperialists by the social democracy in the last World War is too well remembered to require elaboration even at a distance of twenty-five years. If the leaders of the Second International had not sown such demoralisation and confusion among the workers by their chauvinistic activity. their repetition of the official imperialist lies, it is doubtful if the war would have lasted half as long as it did. There is indeed good reason to believe that if the rulers of France, Germany, Austro-Hungary and England felt that they could not rely upon their agents in the labour movement, the fear of proletarian revolution might even have curbed their otherwise uncontrollable lust for settling inter-imperialist rivalries on Europe’s battlefields. For this we have the involuntary confirmation of no less a patriotic authority than the then and present leader of the French trade unions, Leon Jouhaux, who confessed in a speech delivered on 1 August 1937 at Toulouse, on the twenty-third anniversary of Jean Jaures’ murder in Paris: “If on the day of the assassination of Jaures his friends had not spoken to the people of Paris, the revolution would have preceded the war, for the workers thought that the hand of the assassin was armed less by the love of country than by the desire to shatter an obstacle to the war.”

Not a penny, not a man, for this system

In the summer of 1913 the government introduced a military bill… It was supposed to cost a thousand million Reichmarks for both new and current expenditures. However, the SPD confined itself to mere parliamentary protests; its members in the Reichstag even voted for the financial measures necessary to meet the military demands, because this time these were to be covered by property taxes. Even members of the party’s left wing (Radek and Pannekoek) advocated the passing of these measures. But knowing that nationalist and imperialist sentiments had moved many of the Reichstag members to vote in favour of the tax measures, Rosa Luxemburg underlined the principle that, in view of the rapidly approaching danger or war, the party should do nothing which might create even the appearance of expressing confidence in the government and consenting to its armaments policy.

My political faith by Ignazio Silone

(January 1956)

I do not adhere to any system of philosophy, to any ideology, or to any orthodoxy. I think that all the ideological systems inherited from the last centuries, like the society that produced them, are in crisis at present — which does not mean that they do not contain some partial truth. I think that this has been the lot also of Marxism, in all of its variants. All metaphysics has lost its self-evidency.

An open letter to “our friends in Asia”

By Max Shachtman

Nineteen Americans who," “although connected with different political groups or parties in the United States, are democratic socialists by conviction,” have addressed an appeal “To Our Friends in Asia,” which is in reproduced for discussion in the February 11, 1951, issue of Janata, the newspaper of the Socialist Paryu of India. The signers include such old, as well as recent, converts to “democratic socialism” as August Claessens, William Bohn, Harry Laidler, Clarence Senior, Norman Thomas, J.B.S. Hardman, and, in their latest incarnations, of course, Upton Sinclair, Sidney Hook and James T. Farrell.