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Naft - The Social General Strike

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SOCIAL GENERAL STRIKE'BYARNOLD ROLLER../TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAK11: BY F. K.; PUBLISHED BY THE DEBATING CLUB No. I. . 1905 , A D' r . J. . "Ur, i _, .': 7:YW 1-" ,'.. +-eo.t'K. j U I : (1 i: ..... U v, t.. DET.......-. 'T "11' C'Hr', _.' . - I V I , '111 C b GoogIcLASADI ..COLLECTIONPREFACE.HERE were two espeCial reasons that prompted the~ publication of this tranSlatio.n of Arnold Roller's,{'l pamphlet "The Social General Strike" (written and)l published in German, it treats th..l subject fromthe view of existing European social conditions) .......':lr...l... ~ It seemed desirable to make the American work-ingmen acquainted with the methods and aims ofthe most advanced part of the European workingclasses. Then the publishers wish and believe, that the viewsexpressed in the essay will lead the American workingmen to think,whether the struggle carried on at present between capi tal and laboris not entirely out of date, whether it is not totally ineffecti ve andleading astray. The evolution of the methods of the organizedAmerican workingmen has not kept pace with the evolution in thecamp of the enemy, American capitalism, which is the most greedyand brutal on earth. In order to frustrate the endeavors of theworkers for a higher standard of life and freedom, capitalism con-trols the political institutions of subjugation-government, justice,police, and militia.Only ignorance or hypocrisy would suggest that there is a.harmony established between capital and labor. The brutal meanswhich are employed against organized labor by the mentionedinstitutions-devoted to money power-illustrates best this "har-mony."The irreconcilable difference between capital and labor reachesits greatest determined exprpssions in the United States. Theshooting down and clubbing of striking workers belong to everydayeYents and "the black Fridays" of the American working peoplehave steadily increased in number since November 1887. Home-stead, Pullman, Cour de Alene, Verden, up to the last strike eventsin Colorado and Chicago are the bloodmarks of capitalistic terrorism.Up to this day the rich profit-making classes still consider theprotest of Gov. Altgeld against the intended butchery of Pullmanstrikers by federal troops. his greatest crime against the greedinessoIthe profit-makers. They howl: law above all-yet themselve.scare a snap for it, and drag it into the mire when it stands in theway of brutalizing and enslaving labor. For instance in Coloradofer many months no other laws prevailed than the baseness andbrutality of the property owners and their tools.Much less selfconscious and determined are the working peopleof the United States. On the one hand a pernicious over-estima-tion of political affairs leads the people again and again astray a:ldmakes them dupes of the greedy, corrupt political lackies of theMax B.-4-money kings. It is so simple and yet it seems they can't understandthat as long as the capitalistic system rules economically, ~ t isevident that legislation and government will remain the servantsof the large property owners.It makes no difference what political label they carry on theirforeheads. In all cases political power means nothing more or lessthan subduing classes for the benefit of other classes.In the economical field the situation is not more reassuring. Aclumsy. centralization in connection with a trades' union bureauc-racy, whose only tactic is to hold their relatively good positions,checks the progressive movement. The vital power of this trades'union bureacracy is nourished by the hostilitIes in the circles ofthe working classes; it lives on competence and jurisdiction dis-putes amongst the workers themselves. Such disputes are poisonfor an effective organization, but it feeds the bureaucracy of thetrades' unions fat, so that they deem themselves the whole purposeof the movement.It becomes more and more evident in every greater strike, that,for instance, the greatest trades union centralization in the country,the American Federation of Labor, is a useless accompaniment tothe struggles of labor. Worse than that, this body more than onetime was an impediment, a blockade on the way to the victory ofthe advanced parts of the working people. -In such a manner of warfare there is more pleasure for the capi-talists than for the workers.A radical change for betterment must start from the thoughtof the solidarity, the brotherly communication of ALL workingmen.United capitalism can only fall through united labor.The action which will cause this downfall and lead it to a vic-torious end is the General Social Strike. Workingmen of the UnitedStates, we ask you to think about, and to carefully consider, theviews and opinions laid before you in this pamphlet. Discuss theGeneral Strike and the means to attain it with your fellow-working-men, so that the thought, when the seed has grown into fruit, maybe followed by the liberating deed./II0'THE SOCIAL GENERAL STRIKE.1.THE GENERAL STRIKE AS A WEAPON INTHE SOCIAL BATTLE.I. WHAT IS THE GENERAL STRIKE?A new idea, a new weapon of the strugglingproletariat, has pusheditself vehemently to the front and stands today on the bulletinof all discussions in the labor movement. Thisidea, which forces itselfeverywhere upon the international proletariat, is that of the' 'General- Strike." Until of late the general belief in the success of parlamenta-rism has been unshaken amongst the workingmen.The events and the results of the poli tical condition of late yearshowever, made it clear soon to -the international proletilriat, that noth-ing could be gained in this way, and it was obliged to look around fora new fighting method. Even where parlamentarian socialism had de-veloped most, and where with every additional election Victory andquantitative increase, - in Germany, - its powerlessness was mani-fested, we hear,even in the reactionary camps of the social democraticparty, voices calling for a new tactic.The idea of the General Strike, which so far has largely been ridi-culed and its propagators treated with slander and insult, has to berecognized now; and is being discussed in all national and interna-tional labor congresses; and a member of the German social demo-cratic party, Dr. Friedeberg, propagates this idea openly in the party.The attitude of Social Democracy towards this idea, if it is notdirectly hostile, is in general however still very ambiguous; and allresolutions passed in its party congresses in regard to it, if they havenot been directly hostile towards it, afterlong debates about the defi-nition of the word, called only for a political "Mass-Strike" for thepurpo!le of gaining certain single demands, but al ways refused to dealwith the General Strike as a means and way to a social revolution.The name" General Strike" of course admi ts of misunderstand-ings, because it is applied to different general acts.It is often used to designate the strike of all branchesin one trade;for instance the General Strike of the miners; when helpers and hoist-ing engineers, etc. are all out. Then it is used as: General Strike ofa city, i. e., "General Strike in Florence", or a General Strike in awhole country or province, for the purpose of gaining political rights.i. e., the right to vote; as in Belgium, or in Sweden.The profoundest conception of the General Strike, however, theone pointing to a thorough change of the present system: a social- 6 ~revolution of the world; an entire new reorganization; a demolitionof the entire old system of all governinents-is the one existingamongst the proletarians of the Roman race (Spain and Italy).For them the General Strike is nothing less than an introduction tothe social revolution. Therefore we call this the General Strike, todistinguish it from General Strikes for higher wages, or for politicalprivileges (political massstrikes) "The Social General Strike". Thisconception of the General Strike will be dealt with in this treatise.The General Strike idea has been opposed by the German wor-kingman until now with the same idiotic phrases as the big-belliedbourgois have used heretofore, by everlastingly re-chewing the taleof dividing all property, thus thinking to have made clear the non- ,sense of socialism, and at the same time proving only their ownignorance. . ,The "General Strike is general nonsense". With this phrase theSocial Democrats thought they could kill the General Strike idea.When a discussion about the General Strike was permitted,the following ideas were always maintained: "The General Strike isan Utopia. I twill neverbe possible to so thoroughly organize the pro-letariat that all workingmen will go on strike like one man; and ifit were so well educated, and imbued with solidarity, and so wellorganized as to be able to declare a General Strike, then it wouldnot need any General Strike; then it is the power in the country;then it may do anything it sees fit."Here we wa

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