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THE INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST AND
THE INTERNATIONAL. Dark as the present may be, we have yet no cause to despair for the future of the International. The International lives because it must live!
Next year it will be just seventy years since the first International of Labor, with its program, The Communist Manifesto, was born. But it was only the spirit of the International that was born at that time, not its body, for the International Workingmen's Association, the first international confederation of the revolutionary labor movement, was not organized till 1864. Twelve short years of struggle and effective labor were to be its lot. Then it died of the strife that Bakunin and his followers had roused. Thirteen years later it once more arose stronger and more alive than
In the meantime a great proletarian movement had been created, a movement that made war upon capitalist society not only in theory but in the hard practice of daily conflicts.
The first congress of the Second International was held in Paris on July 14, 1889, the hundredth anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, and was attended by 400 delegates from twenty countries. Then followed the International Congresses of Brussels (1891), Zurich (1893), London (1896), where the great anarchist discussion was held, Paris (1900), with the debate on ministerialism, Amsterdam (1904), Stuttgart (1907), Copenhagen (1910), and Basel (1912), the special Peace Congress. The Congress which was to have been held in 1914 in Vienna and which was transferred to Paris shortly before the date set was not held on account of the war.
The war had come, and with it almost automatically the International Socialist Bureau was at a standstill. Emile Vandervelde, its chairman, became a member of the Belgian national defense ministry, and the Bureau itself was transferred to The Hague and placed under the supervision of the Dutch socialists, with Camille Huysmans as secretary. Special conferences were held since the war began. Socialists from the Allied countries met in London, of Germany and Austria in Vienna, of the neutral nations in Copenhagen; the Italian and Swiss socialists also held a conference. These gatherings voted in favor of peace programs all based on opposition to all schemes of annexation and war indemnities and urging the creation of an international board of arbitration in the interests of permanent peace.
An important conference, attended by representatives of various groups, was held at Zimmerwald, Switzerland, in September, 1915, when, for the first time since the outbreak of the war, delegates from the nations fighting one another came together. Forty Socialist representatives of the political and industrial organizations of twelve countries, including Germany and France, were present. The British delegates were unable to attend owing to the difficulties of getting out of England.
This Conference addressed a manifesto to the Socialists of all countries in which all wars were declared wars of aggression, the so-called “civil peace” in the belligerent countries was denounced and the Socialists called upon to wage a relentless opposition to the continuation of the war. The Zimmerwald Conference was followed by another at Kiental, Switzerland, held in April, 1916.
A conference of the Socialist parties of the neutral nations affiliated with the International Socialist Bureau was held at The Hague on July 30 and August 1 and 2, 1916. It was attended by delegates from Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Argentina, and the United States (Algernon Lee)... The resolutions adopted advocated free trade between all countries and the freedom of the seas, condemned proposals for a trade war, placed the ultimate responsibility for the war upon the capitalist system, urged a continued struggle for parliamentary government in politically backward countries, declared that a decisive defeat on either side was undesirable and that the present situation was favorable for peace negotiations, and also that the autonomy of nationalities must be realized through democratic decentralization of political institutions.
The following is an account of the Socialist and Labor Movements in the various countries of the world as far as it was possible to prepare under the present conditions of exchange of information.
AUSTRIA. An Empire, and a so-called constitutional Monarchy, but the govern. ment dissolves the Parliament so often and rules without it for such long periods that the "constitution” is mostly "out of order." The Parliament was dissolved in 1913 and since then has never been called together or a new election been ordered. The Parliament,the Reichsrath-is composed of two Houses, the Upper House (Herrenhaus) and the Lower House (Abgeordnetenhaus). The Herrenhaus is partly hereditary and partly nominated by the Emperor, and has about 270 members. The Lower House is elected for six years by manhood suffrage, every male citizen over 24 years of age with a twelve months' qualification having a vote. There are 516 members, who are paid $5.00 per day's attendance.
A considerable part of Austria is industrially very highly developed, while the rest has remained purely agrarian. The
Austrian socialist labor movement began to make itself felt in the early seventies of the last century, but could not elect a representative to the Austrian Parliament until 1901. Tremendous exertions and a strong organization were necessary to elect ten men, every one of whom was elected in the voting-class set aside for the workers. With this success the struggle began for the democratization of the highly reactionary, plutocratic and at the same time feudalistic suffrage laws.
In January, 1907, after a threat of a general strike, the democracy was successful. In May of the same year the first elections under the general and direct suffrage laws were held, and 87 Social-Democratic representatives were returned, polling 1,041,948 votes. The hopes which this victory roused were bitterly disappointed. Before the Parliamentary machine could begin to work nationalistic struggles broke out with renewed vigor and made all social and democratic reform impossible. The Social Democratic Party, which had gone into the suffrage fight full of revolutionary spirit, began to show signs of opportunism. The natural desire of the parliamentary group and of the party leaders to rescue something, at least, from the unfortunate parliamentary situation, led to a period of "practical politics. The election of 1911 brought a slightly increased vote. The number of representatives fell to 82. Another element that helped to weaken the Austrian movement was nationalistic controversy in the ranks of the party itself. After years of harmonious work, Czech (Bohemian) labor unions were created, in opposition to the general socialist labor unions and carried the nationalist fight into the class-conscious labor movement. In consequence the whole Bohemian Social Democracy separated from the general party; the Reichsrath group was broken up and all comradely relations broken off. The International Congress at Copenhagen decided against the separatists, but this in no wise altered the situation. In the Congress of Vienna, to be held in 1914, the question was again to be discussed. The struggle has since lost much of its bitterness.
The Social-Democracy of Austria consists of two large groups, the German group, which had, before the war, 1,369 branches and a membership of 145,524, and the Bohemian group, with 2,473 branches and 144,000 members. There are also Polish, South Slavic, Italian, Croatian, and Ruthenian movements, which all, with two exceptions, have representatives in the Reichsrath.
The German-Austrian Party Press consists of 29 newspapers, of which, since the war, five are dailies, four appear three times, 9 twice and eleven once a week. The other groups published 31 papers, 4 of them dailies. Besides there are the scientific monthly Der Kampf, the Arbieterinnen-Zeitung Der Abstinent, Bildungsarbeit and Die Gluehlichter, a Socialist humorous paper which has remained international, and Der Junge Arbeiter, conducted by Dr. Daneberg for the Young Socialist movement.
On March 25-28, 1916, a national conference of the German Austrian Party was held in Vienna, attended by 246 delegates. The Party Secretary, Skaret, submitted a report. The party membership has suffered severe numerical losses. Victor Adler, the much admired and gifted leader of the Austrian Social Democracy, spoke on “Austria after the war," maintaining that the experiences of the war had proved that the Social Democracy need not change its line of thought. The summoning of Parliament and the restriction of the political autonomy of the crown-lands in favor of the nation were his chief demands. In regard to the International, Adler declared that the International always was, and could never be anything more than a Federation of nationally organized parties, each one working within its own national boundaries, each one setting the interests of its own proletariat above all other interests, each striving, in the interests of its own proletariat for a union of the proletariat of the world. The revival of the International after the war will, he added, "be no simple task. There will be some who will not be able immediately, to shake off the effects of the terrible struggle. But after the war, perhaps even during the war, it will be possible to establish relations between the parties of all nations. There will come difficulties, and long discussions, but we shall find each other again, because we must find each other.” His speech and his resolution justified the national war policy as to-day upheld by most of the national socialist parties.
Adler was opposed by his son, Friedrich Adler, the editor of Der Kampf, who presented a resolution, which stands firmly upon the position of the anti-war opposition. “The traditional position of the majority of the Socialist parties toward war is responsible for the present split
the unity of the labor movement.” The resolution welcomes, therefore, the attempts of the minorities of the Socialist parties, to give expression to international solidarity even in time of war. “The unity of the Socialist organizations of the world,” the resolution goes on, “can be assured only when the Socialists of all countries recognize as binding, decisions of the international congresses in all international questions." This resolution was lost, only fifteen votes being cast in its favor.
Thus the war policy of the Austrian Social Democracy was endorsed, though it had, after the Austrian declaration of war against Serbia, refused all responsibility for the war
and had only later recognized the war as one of national defense, when Russia went to Serbia's assistance. In July, 1915, the German-Austrian Social Democracy had published a peace manifesto which expressed the earnest desire of the people for peace. But this failed to satisfy the opposition, which in December, 1915, answered in another manifesto which attacked the party for its attitude toward the war, and for its unquestioning support of the government, which had rewarded the laboring class with brutal repression. Besides Friedrich Adler, Danneberg, Hilferding, the recently deceased Winarski, Gustav Eckstein, who died on July 30, 1916. at Zuerich and Theresa Schlesinger-Eckstein, many well known men and women of the Austrian movement, are members of the opposition. With Victor Adler are Pernerstorfer, Renner, Ellenbogen and Adelheid Popp.
The Austrian labor union movement is closely allied with the party organization. There are 428.000 members. 58.000 of them women, and including 322.000 Germans, 70.000 Bohemians (Czechs). 20,000 Poles. 9.000 Italians, 6.000 Slavs and 1.000. Ruthenians. The separatist Bohemian movement has 85.000 members. There are, also, Christian, i. e. Catholic, organizations with 80.000 members.
The socialist labor union press consists of 50 German, 44 Czech. 8 Polish, 1 Slovak, 1 Ruthenian and 3 Italian organs. This, alone, shows the difficulties that beset the path of the labor movement in the Austrian nations.
The co-operative movement in Austria, unlike the labor union movement, has made rapid progress in recent years. In 1908 the Central Union of Austrian co-operative organizations numbered 483 branches with 206.620 members, which, in 1909, had increased to 485 branches with 250.160 members. Since then they have grown until in 1914 there were 560 branches with 590.000 members. These co-operatives have large bread factories, the Hammerbrot-Works in Vienna, producing 50.000 loaves of bread. grain mills, etc., etc. There is hardly a city of any size with an industrial population in Austria that is without its co-operative labor organization. The war has, of course, hampered this growth, but it is impossible to destroy it completely.
Secretary of the Austrian Soc. D. L. P.: F. Skaret, Rechte Wienzeile 97, Vienna.
Secretary of the Czech-Slav S. D. P.: Anton Bruha, Hybernska 7 Prag ii, Hungary.
The Secretary of the Gewerkschaftskommission Oesterreichs is; A. Hueber, Rechte Wienzeile 97, Wien,