International Revolutionary Syndicalist Federation
To All Intellectual And Manual Workers
To all intellectual and manual workers: At a time when humanity, led by madmen, strivers and hypocrites, is collapsing under the repeated blows of greedy profiteers of all sorts, we are once again making a sincere appeal to all reasonable and practical individuals to try to avoid total destruction and to take advantage of the present chaos to turn their efforts toward a rational and humane form of social organization. It is undeniably the fault of all governments that the blood of workers has been flowing in torrents in all countries for three years. Although Hitler and Mussolini most directly provoked the conflict, others were also responsible; including international financiers. Industrial and financial trusts bankrolled the Italian Fascist movement and the German National Socialists from 1919 to 1930. They also funded the press in the various democratic and fascist countries to wage the bellicose campaigns that incited the strong and unending resentment in all countries from 1930 to 1939, which led to the present war. At the same time, they blocked any movement for the liberation of the working masses.
The present conflict is the doing of the money powers of each nation, powers that live internationally and exclusively off the exploitation of human beings by human beings. It is also the result of international competition, shady deals, and political rivalries between men and systems, as well as the result of the venality, weakness, hypocrisy and stupid recklessness of the politicians of the whole world. And we mean all of them. Secret diplomacy has been used ruthlessly in both London and Berlin, in Paris and Moscow, in both Washington and Tokyo.
Now yesterday’s imperialists pose as liberators. The makers and peddlers of the Versailles Treaty, the inventors and wreckers of the League of Nations, the accomplices of Hindenburg and Dollfus, the stranglers of the Spanish Revolution, the fomenters of the Mexican counter-revolutions, those who have supplied Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy-they claim to be bringing order to the world. But they have never wanted anything but disorder and the disunity of the nations of both hemispheres.
What do sordid English imperialism and ferocious American capitalism have to offer us? Quite simply, a return to “the pre- war situation,” a return to the Versailles status quo or something like it, and the reconstruction of the League of Nations, the continuation of the exploitation of labor by capital, the bank as mistress of the world, gold as king, the thousand and one diplomatic combinations, the thousand and one political and financial combinations that we know so well. In sum, they are offering us the makings of another nice little world war in twenty-five or thirty years--if the people of the world are not capable of constituting a true League of Peoples which would guarantee peace and organize the world through social revolution everywhere.
On the other hand, what do the apostles of the “national revolution” have to offer us? They offer a revolution in reverse, which would throw humanity back to the darkest times of its existence, into an abyss of racial and religious fanaticism, a total slavery of the laboring masses and an absolute obliteration of the individual.
Then there is the USSR. Even though Stalin’s republic has done away with private capital, it has not done away with class differences. There are still high functionaries, the military elite, privileged workers and, at the bottom, the people. What’s more, we find it guilty of having suppressed every practice, appearance or idea of liberty. Unfortunately, the GPU is quite the equal of the Gestapo; and, besides fascists, the concentration camps in Siberia also imprison socialists, Trotskyists, unionists and left libertarians. Unfortunately, the USSR is also guilty of playing a diplomatic game which has served the purposes of both the fascists and the imperialists-- and has made possible the unleashing of the present terrible conflict.
All this means that the people cannot have, nor should they any longer have, confidence in any of the rulers or their political systems. Heads of state and military leaders of all stripes and tendencies change from one side to another, tear up treaties while signing new ones, serve now a republic, now a dictatorship, collaborate with those who made war on them yesterday, and reverse themselves again and again. They have done this so often and with such ease that their honor, sworn word, integrity and honesty now have no significance.
While the statesmen, the generals, the admirals and their ilk are permitted to play their petty, mad game, the ordinary people are paying the price. They are mobilized for the democracies, against democracies, for the fascists, against fascists. In Africa,
Asia and Europe the people are paying the price for these conflicts. They are getting their faces smashed in. The homes of ordinary people are being crushed, with women and children inside. And tomorrow it will be the people who will pay the price for reconstruction.
We call on all those who have chosen sides without thinking to open their eyes to the situation. German and Italian fascism, the products of world imperialism, are in their death throes. Anglo-American imperialism is being aided by all of the capitalist forces which are presently at bay. They are preparing for (1) an imperialist peace of the Versailles Treaty type, which will embody a new basis for future conflicts and their hopes for new advantages; (2) the stifling of any movement for workers’ emancipation, with the help of the traitors and strivers of all countries; (3) a settling of accounts, whether or not this involves an amicable arrangement with the USSR.
As for the USSR, it aspires to be a state-capitalist world power, which, because of its despotism, will be as evil as private capitalism.
This will be the global order, unless the workers of the whole world unite from now on to plant the flag of social revolution in the chaos that surrounds us. What must we do to accomplish this? First, we need to utilize the natural tendency of the people toward continental unity through the federation of the countries of each continent. We need to develop ties of solidarity between the continents and give to these ties a functional form through the constitution of a true League of Peoples. It must not be simply a refurbished League of Nations, with its self-serving-interests. We need to make this League of Peoples into a truly economic, administrative and social regulator of the whole world organized for peace and against war, by creating bodies to serve it, such as an International Economic Council and an International Administrative and Social Council. But without doubt this can only be accomplished through a social revolution that is as global as the present war.
And to carry out this gigantic task the peoples must develop agreement, join together and struggle, to understand, act and strive toward the goal. In preparation, they must lay the foundations within their respective proletariats for a vast federalist movement that would at first be continental in scope and, later, worldwide. They must be prepared to take into account the various concrete realities and possible development within each country, in order to plan their movement so that their own class organizations will bring to life the institutions through which the associated peoples will rule tomorrow.
By social revolution we mean the abolition of political power, of militarism, of gold as king, and of classes. By social revolution we also mean the complete and definitive freedom of speech, organization and action for everyone, the free availability of the means of production for all peoples, including access to jobs, products, education and security for all. By social revolution we mean power in the hands of everyone through libertarian syndicalist association, which would promote production in all countries and worldwide, thereby ensuring an equitable distribution of raw materials and finished products, including consumer goods. We also mean communitarian association,, which would satisfy all consumption needs through the distribution of goods in the interest of all. By social revolution we also mean creating all of the social bodies capable of fostering full development and fulfillment of individuals in all areas. We also mean the guaranteeing of real social equality to all through the proper administration of a healthy and popular form of justice, based on conciliation and arbitration.
We need geographic association, uniting localities, regions and countries through permanent liaison bodies of the economic and administrative institutions, in order to better manage the interests on all levels of all peoples harmoniously associated and working together practically. For this to happen, the social revolution will have to be not only worldwide and, as much as possible, simultaneous in all countries, but it will also have to make way for an era of reason, socially-conscious science and freed labor.
We must make every effort. It doesn’t mean fighting just against Hitler’s fascism, but against all varieties of fascism, against all tyrannies, whether of the right, center or left, whether monarchist, democratic or socialist. No tyranny will emancipate labor, free the world or organize humanity on a truly new basis.
It’s not a matter of talking about liberty, but living freely. It doesn’t involve talking about fraternity, but living fraternally. We aren’t struggling to inscribe words on a banner or to change the color of a flag. We are not speaking in abstract terms. We want to progress from perpetual war to perpetual peace, from human exploitation of human to social equality, from total or partial tyranny to complete freedom, from confusion to consciousness.
We don’t agree to any compromises with anyone. We are not attached to any personality or party. We want the practical realization of the same social Idea that has been envisioned for nearly two hundred years by republicans, socialists, left labor unionists and libertarians. We are convinced that only the method we have described above can bring it into being. Today we come together in struggle; tomorrow we will work together toward this goal and make it a reality.
In order to best accomplish this task, we are looking for more people to join us.