Workers of the World Unite against WAR!! - Tom Glynn (1914)

Workers of the World Unite against
WAR ! !

Shelley, in answer to his own question, “What is slavery?” Says:

“Tis to be a slave in soul,
And to hold no strong control
Over your own wills, but be
All that others make of ye.”

If this be true, the whole of the people of Europe and a goodly proportion of those on other continents, must certainly be slaves to the Armament Trust and to those other capitalists and financiers interested in the promotion of the present war.

Certain it is that of the millions of human beings who are at present engaged with each other in a life and death struggle, not one could give an intelligent explanation of his action, or the whence and wherefore of this sudden desire for carnage and bloodshed with which this so-called civilised world of ours seems to be imbued.

The reason given at the outset was because a titled parasite, known as the Archduke of Austria, had been suddenly sent to hell in answer for his misdeeds by a Serbian assassin. What more natural than that millions of workers should at that instant lose control of their own wills, and their own reasoning powers, and be prepared likewise to assassinate and send each other to hell – in this world and the next.

The unscrupulous press, which fosters and promotes the militarist spirit so vital to the interests of the ruling class, and which asks reasonable people to believe that the murder of the Archduke of Austria is the real cause of the present conflagration, is itself not one of the least factors which contribute to the war fever

But there are deeper causes. Liebknecht, The German Socialist, not many months ago, exposed the machinations of some of the armaments firms of Europe, where he proved that influential newspapers on the Continent were subsidised and specially bribed to promote war scares and thereby help to swell the profits of the “reverend gentlemen” the “great noblemen,” and other parasites of all nationalities, who hold shares in the large armament factories of Europe and Great Britain.

Then, too, financiers of the Rothschild type, the great bankers and capitalists who control and manipulate money markets and without whose aid and permission war on any scale would be impossible, have reasons of their own for supporting a scheme which, on account of the panic it creates, pours stocks and bonds into the treasuries of those who can afford to buy, and wait until peace is again restored.
A third and not least important cause may be looked for in the fact that war is a convenient method for the capitalists of all nations to get rid of that great surplus population of workers whom they have plundered and exploited and for whom they have no further use except to make food for powder.

It is along these lines that the cause for this war is to be found; but whatever factor contributed to this greatest of all crimes, even in the blood red record of Capitalism, one thing stands out clearly, and that is that whoever garners the benefits the workers will reap a bitter harvest.

The capitalist press paints war in its rosiest hues. The “glory” and “honour” of wholesale murder is held up for the time being as the be all and end all of humanity. Parading, flag waving and trumpet blaring are the order of the day. Hangers-on of the system, the whole host of rulers and statesmen, pillars of the church and state, politicians of every hue, are all endeavouring to infest the workers with the microbe of patriotism, in the name of which half the crimes of history have been committed.

And the workers will pay dearly for their credulity. Leaving the horrors of actual warfare aside, the misery, disease and death, and the hundreds of thousands of desolate homes, of wives and children left widowed and fatherless – even if this aspect of the case is not dwelt upon, war to the workers is ruinous in its consequences. Already food is at famine prices in Europe, and even here in Australia, the cost of the necessities of life has appreciably risen. In the near future the position must become intensified. Starvation for the unemployed and even near starvation even for those who are working will be the inevitable result.

All to gratify the personal greed of some, and the vanity and prejudice of others.

The Boer war, as indeed every war of recent years, is an illustration of the mendacity with which unscrupulous war-mongers gull and afterwards betray those workers who are foolish enough to be their dupes. The recent massacre of workers in the streets of Johannesburg, and the attempt to crush every symptom of organisation, is something which intelligent wage-earners might well remember.

The workers owe no debt, of gratitude but a debt of a different kind which will yet be settled, to the class that promotes and benefits, by war. The capitalists have never yet endangered their cowardly carcases by settling their own quarrels. Why should they? Millions of their unthinking slaves are ready to go into a delirium of enthusiasm at the mere sight of a rag at the end of a stick, and stab, shoot and kill, while their capitalist masters drink success to the shedding of working class blood in the mansions, clubs and flash brothels of the cities of the world.

Differences of language and geographical boundaries which separate the workers in imagination but not in the reality of their common interests, are chosen as pretexts, are chosen as pretexts by this blood-thirsty tribe to shatter the bonds of the ever increasing international fraternity and solidarity of the working class, that their own interests may remain safe from proletarian aggression for some further period.

Who knows, however? The reaction may teach the workers of all countries what argument and logic never could, that it is time wealth and power were taken out of the hands of social criminals who fatten on the blood of human beings as the vulture fattens on its prey, who make a holocaust to their god. Profit, by the sacrifice of millions of lives, and who have made twentieth century “civilization” a by-word for posterity.

Oh! Turn their wealth to arms, and make
War, for thy beloved sake,
On wealth and war and fraud; whence they
Drew the power which is their prey.”

T. G.
(From Direct Action, August 1914)