Short section from the Workers' Dreadnought (December 17 1921) on post-war German debt and hyperinflation, arguing against rhetoric of "saving Britain", "saving Europe", "saving civilization" as euphemisms for saving the capitalist system and preserving the state of the mass of workers as dependant wage slaves.
Saving the Boss
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald and other Liberals (for you know, fellow-worker, Mr. MacDonald is the most Liberal of the Liberals: there are few to equal him in orthodoxy) are working hard "to save Europe." They are very much pleased that Asquith, Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, and even most of the bluest of the Tories, have come round to their view, that Germany cannot be made to pay for the war.
Winston Churchill says he rejoices "to see that the simple fact that the payment from one country to another, can only be made in the form of goods or service, has once more become recognised by the most enlightened experts in different countries."
Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, and other I.L.P leaders, are greatly pleased to know that Mr. Churchill has said that. Theey feel that the support their policy is now getting from all parties has completely justified them. They are very much pleased also to find that even those of their Labour colleagues, who were loudest in demanding the German money and who were lately much ashamed of the I.L.P-ers, are now in absolute harmony with them.
The capitalists of all countries having accepted the I.L.P, policy, are now pulling together to get International Capitalism out of the difficulties into which it has fallen as a result of the war, the proletarian Revolution, so far as it has spread, and the mistakes which Allied Capitalism made during its war madness and victory drunkenness.
Capitalism feels that, for the present, it cannot afford to have friction in its own household just now. Even the Japanese, who are regarded as upstarts in the capitalist camp, are to be left in peace for ten years, it is said, though that agreement may not be adhered to. Big British Landlordism and Capitalism has climbed down from its throne so as to make concessions to the petty-Capitalism of Sinn Fein, and Germany is to be forgiven for ever daring to rival the British Empire, Capitalism must have peace in which to re-establish itself. Trade is thoroughly bad, and the currency is in a terrible mess.
One of the things which Capitalism thinks important, is to get the £ back to its pre-war value. In doing that, it will incidentally double the value of the money that the capitalists lent to their governments during the war. One of the necessary steps in getting the £ back to the pre-war value is to lower your wages, fellow-worker, but to lower the interest on the war debt, which your Government pays to the bosses, is something that the capitalists do not desire, and the Government, being a capitalist Government, does not propose to do. As the greater part of the National War Debt is lent to British capitalists, there will be a very big war debt for you to pay, fellow-worker, even if all the international war indebtedness of the nation is wiped out.
British capitalists intend to hold fast to the money they lent in War Loan to the British Government, whilst they play at being magnanimous, in advocating the cancelling of the international war debts and proposing a moratorium for Germany.
Do not be under the delusion, however, that the capitalists and their mouthpieces in the capitalist parties are proposing to cancel the international war debts and give Germany an indemnity from generous motives. They only propose these things because they see that they are ruining their own trade by making other nations bankrupt and reducing the value of money in those nations almost to zero.
The policy of the I.L.P and U.D.C was originally put forward from motives of generosity, no doubt, but the capitalist politicians are not adopting it from motives of generosity: they are adopting it because they realise that if they do not there will be a big smash up in the capitalist system. They are adopting the I.L.P policy to save the capitalist system from disaster. They say they are "saving Britain," "saving Europe," "saving civilisation," but they are saving Capitalism and nothing more.
They ask you to be enthusiastic about what they are doing to save Capitalism, fellow-worker, but as a matter of fact, your interest, and the interest of civilisation, is all the other way. To save Capitalism, means to keep you a wage-slave and to hinder the march of progress to Communism. A breakdown in the Capitalist system would provide the workers with their chance of liberation from the slavery of Capitalism.
Watch for that opportunity: organise to be able to take advantage of it. You have got to do that by bringing the facts of the case before your mates in the workshop.