The last war seems to have deadened the human sensitivity that once stirred masses of people to protest against flagrant injustices. Before spontaneous, unselfish waves of feeling, governments engaged in criminal undertakings were often compelled to give way, or were at least thoroughly discredited.
In France the Dreyfus affair; in Spain the assassination of Ferrer; in America the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti - the movements of protest aroused by these attacks on human rights gave hope for the human conscience. But the same technical and scientific progress that has made war so terribly murderous has also, thanks to the radio, enabled news to travel ever more swiftly from one end of the planet to the other. Minds accustomed to descriptions of war and the sight of war learn to regard the sufferings of others with complacency. Hearts have hardened; and overt emotion is dismissed as childish sentimentality.
During the Spanish war (1936-1939) the international working class remained disunited and passive before the “democratic” governments who supported the dictatorship against the revolution; and thus they assured the bloody (though temporary) defeat of the Spanish workers. No major international movement took effective action. Except for the sometimes superhuman efforts of unforgettable individuals and groups, “solidarity among free men” was a vain word. Today the crudest oppression holds many peoples in degrading servitude - even to the point of outright extermination of opponents of a regime. The Bulgarian people is one. The repression in this Danubian country, neighbour of Russia, traditionally devoted to liberty, is especially painful and disturbing. The dictatorial Stalinist regime, imposed thanks to the last war, tramples on the most elementary liberties, starting with freedom of expression. Against Anarchists or those considered Anarchists, the repression is exceptionally ferocious, for their movement has deep popular, peasant roots and influences every impulse toward freedom. Not merely a group of militants but the will of a whole people is under attack. But in the eyes of important, ill informed working masses throughout the world, the Stalinist so-called “communist” regime still represents progress toward true socialism. About the illegitimacy and cruelty of the regime of General Franco or any other Spanish dictator all workers and all progressive currents are agreed, for no-one, not even those who impose it, denies the existence of fascism on the Iberian peninsula. But about the victims of the Stalinist terror in Bulgaria, most of them Anarchists, there is not the same agreement. How are those won over by Communist propaganda to be brought to realize that what they think is a regime of liberty can martyr a people? To them the Bulgarian anarchists, who refuse to accept what “communist” dialectic calls a “revolution,” even seem like reactionaries. Like the Anarchists and Revolutionary Socialists in Russia after the Bolshevik coup d’etat of October, 1917, militant workers and intellectuals - not merely anti-fascist but belonging to the most revolutionary tradition - see a section of the international working class ignore their sufferings, more disposed to hate them than to come to their help. Such is the darkest side of the Bulgarian drama. The daily press has made a clamour about the execution of Petkov, the head of a bourgeois political party; but about the fate of the Anarchists, who are at the source of every progressive tendency in Bulgaria, it is silent.
This pamphlet is not propaganda. It does not seek to serve any political organisation. It is published and distributed for those who still do not completely despair of the human spirit. It is a cry of alarm, we know, that only people of heart will hear. But it is time that indifference gave way to healthy indignation. You people who have not been afflicted with the virus of dictatorship - whether the fascism is white, green or red - you who have risen up against so many attacks on free life and free expression, you will hear our appeal! You will support our action! Public opinion must be informed, and by informing it you will help us. An act of solidarity is demanded ; the fate of the Bulgarians today may be ours tomorrow. Let us use our little remaining liberty to help those who are completely deprived of it! The problem of liberty is not limited to the countries now under the heel of political dictatorship, it is universal. When liberty is threatened in any corner of the globe - regardless where - none of those who love it can remain insensitive.