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- " We Can Do Nothing." a


We Can Do Nothing." a Liebknecht Says "The Split Has Come." In this striking interview three of the ablest German Socialist leaders admit that Social Democracy is powerless to resist the Kaiser, the militarists, and the annexationists. "They will never give up the rich mines of France and Belgium," says Lieb- knecht. There could be no more signal justification of the over- whelming votes by which the Labour Party, at the Bristol Con- ference, expressed its determination to carry the war to a suc- cessful issue. The Socialists of Germany can do nothing until the Allied armies strike the fetters of militarism from their wrists. How ironical that some of the unbalanced pacifists of the I.L.P., by advocating a premature peace, are helping the Kaiser and the Junkers to maintain the whip-hand over the Ger- man Social Democrats! The "Outlook" of New York has re- ceived from a responsible source a deeply interesting account of a per- sonal interview with three of the leaders of German Socialism: Karl Liebknecht, the unterrified op- ponent of militarism. Karl Kautsky, the literary success- or to Marx as the exponent of the Social Democratic doctrine; and Eduard Bernstein. leader of the Re- j visionists, an Anglophile, and a courageous pacifist. The interviews shed a terrible light on the present mental condition of Germany; but they reveal Social De- mocracy as a Sphinx, who may yet speak a portentous word when the war is over. All three leaders talked in tones of extreme caution. Their remarks were pitched on a note of hopelessness so far as the actual developments of the war are concerned. Liebknecht, a man with "a dark round face, semi-circled by the sort of black hair that oomes from a hair- cloth mattress," spoke in a musical, gentle voice to the interviewer as fol- lows:- "AWFUL MILITARY POWER." "It is a war of lies. Every nation concerned lies. "German newspapers lie a-s a matter of course. When the war be gan the Socialists were fully aware it was due entirely to the capitalistic incentive of Austrian-Hungary. "We held dozens of protest meet- ings here in Berlin. The "Vorwaerts" published stout editorials. We had demonstrations against the war. "Then came the censorship. We could do, we could say, nothing. "But why, doctor?" asked the in- terviewer. "We Americans expected you to do a great deal." "You don't understand the power of the censorship," Liebknecht an- swered quietly. "Y ou Americans can- not imagine the awful power of the mi litary. "In one day, in one hour, we were cut off. Every man became like a separate call in the body politic. "Every man was isolated with his own thoughts, or else was drowned in the flooding idea of the war. MENTAL PRISONERS. I "From the moment the censorship shut down there was no more ex- change of ideas. Every thinking man in Germany became a mental prisoner. "But what is the war for?" "It is a war of conquest. What- ever its cause may be we know that the Imperial Government intends it to be a war of conquest. "There are rich mines in France and Belgium. They will never be given back. The Government will do with them and with us just as it pleases. "It has done as it pleases with all the German people. I am a member of the Reichstag. The Chancellor sent an ultimatum to Belgium on August 2, 1914. That ultimatum was never reported to the Reichstag until August 5. "The War Budget was presented on August 4, and passed on August 5 with the concurrence of all the Social- iis-ts eX'1t fifteen. Those fifteen Socialists who voted against the war credits were the only real revolution- I ists. BOGUS ATROCITIES. But they were helpless. The ly- ing Press was inflarnn people against our tnemies--ag-iltist the Russians, French, Belgians, and English. "German papers we r. J'lood<xl with Bt'?rie? of atJjÜes committed upon German s<?dier? which, to my certain kr '4l?d?' ?f a?t?rw?T<i<; disproved but never publicly denied. "People w ere told that the Russiaiis were barbarians, the Belgians super- stitious weaklings, and the English cowardly sneaks. "The causes of the war were ob- scure. The Socialists really thoucrht that Germany could not be really re- II sponsible for such a catastrophe. "Tsarism was ostensibly the issue on which war began, and it was that issue on which the Social Democratic bloc voted the war credits on August 5. "Nobody exactly understood the situation. The Socialists had lost their Press at one stroke. And so thev were like sheep without a shep- herd. ) THE TWO VOICES. "Now there are two Socialist parties in Germany. The split has come. Hereafter you in America must under- stand when 'German "Social ism' speaks to your Press it will speak in two voices, it will contradict itself, it will be pro-war and anti-war. "Only by remembering this can you understand the great internal struggle which must come." "How do you feel akout Belgium?" the interviewer questioned. Liebknecht continued: "I was in Stuttgart at the time that, Von der Goltz was appointed Governor-General in Belgium. I tried to get up a, pro- test meeting against annexation. The military government would not permit so much as a public poster advertising the meeting. Indeed, the Govern- ment forbade meetings of any sort for ,any cause. LAYING THE MINE. I "But you can see the newspapers preparing the nation for the final an- nexation of Belgium. 'We've bought this province with our blood,' they ar- gue* 'We'v e paid for it with our lives. the Belgians are little more than brutes. They are completely dominated by their clergy. They are ignorant, super&titutious, backward. They do not deserve to possess their own country.' All such nonsense as that passes current for wisdom in Ger- many to-day." "But what have the Socialists done P" the interviewer objected. "Very httle/' Liebknecht said. "The "Vorwaerts" has been closed up several times. It has had to agree that it will not mention 'Class war.' "Here is another example of what has taken place. My wife is Russian, and the war had barely started when my house was searched, my private papers seized and carted off, and the sanctity of my whole establishment violated upon the pretext that my wife might be a spy. "And in spite of the fact that I am a member of the Reichstag not one I word of this affair even got into the Berlin newspapers. THE MEN OF PROPERTY. "But,Herr Dr. Liebknecht," the in- terviewer said, "you Socialists seem to us Americans to have lost a great opportunity. Frankly, we cannot understand your attitude as a party. We think you've beeu-to put it very frankly—cowardly. "You think we've been cowards?" he repeated gravely, never taking his eyes off the interviewer's face. "Well, perhaps we have been. Re- member, the German Social Demo- crats own property worth more than 20,000,000 marks ( £ 1,000,000). They own printing presses, halls, theatres, and the like. You know, property makes men cautious. "Perhaps our possessions have made us Conservative; perhaps German Socialists don't dare risk all." "INTERNAL CENSORS." Kautsky, the interviewer found with Bernstein and he declares that every word they spoke seemed to come through double lines of internal cen- sors before it reached their lips. Kautsky's tale was much the same as Leibknecht's. "We can do nothing," he said. "We have no Press, no forum. We are heart and soul against a war of conquest, but we cannot even protest against the annexation of Bel- gium. When asked why the Socialists did not do something in the Reic hstag, Kautsky, speaking slowly .and gravely in English, replied, "What could we j do? The Kaiser doesn't ask the per- mission of the Reichstag to make war. He asks only for money to carxy an j the war. When the time comes to make peace, he wiU make peace with- out consulting the Reichstag." i "So," said the interviewer, "you I are going to do nothing until after peace is made?" "We can do nothing, he repeated. "We are leaders without followers.. "There are two million German Socialists in the army. That means that half of fiir members have gone. No Socialist in Germany knows what that half of ovr party is thinking. No Socialist can to .sure what those two millions think of this war. "We cannot- t, Ik to them. We can- not even QA,nd them letters. They are cut off, isolated, e"ery man of them. THE SECRET CODE. "Perhaps they may talk together by twos and threes, but each man is thinking alone. What do they think ? That is the great question for German Socialists to answ,er." The American interviewer says that t atmosphere' of caution and inact- ion seemed to him unworthy of a man calling himself a Socialist Internation- alist. He blurted out some frank criticisms. "You are an outsider," Kautsky an- swered. "The picture is not so black as you think. For years we have lived under a Socialist code--laws framed by the German Government prevent us meeting, reading, or even thinking. We have had a long hard schooling. We have learned how to convey information to each other secretly. "Intelligent Socialists are not being misled by the silence of the "V or- waerts." Some are confused, no doubt. but not all; and the "V orwaerts" will do all it can. We've learned how to read 'between the lines'



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