Daniel De Leon editorial : A Word to the Proletariat of Spain


A Word to the Proletariat of Spain
by Daniel De Leon
from The People, March 20, 1898

Fellow workingmen: The respective committees, called Governments, of the ruling class in our two countries have ordered us to fly at each other's throats. The decree is issued.

The attitude in which you and we are placed toward each other exemplifies the deep inhumanity, the monstrous absurdity of the social system in which we live.

What quarrel have you with us or we with you? None.

Say that the soil of Cuba is the issue. Has its ownership by the class that rules you in the slightest benefited you? Has the wealth, the increasing wealth, drawn from Cuba's soil flown into your hands in any perceptible amount? Is the "Pearl of the Antilles" a gem that glistens on your brow? The question almost seems cruel. Not only did the wealth drawn from Cuba never fall to you, but constantly, at some periods less, at others more so, you have been forced to mingle the blood of your own veins with the sweat of the brow of Cuba's working class, to secure to your common exploiters the enjoyment of Cuba's fertility. The "Pearl of the Antilles" has ever been but an heirloom of your tyrants and to you but an additional scourge. So much as to you.

And as to us, we know full well that whether Cuba passes over to "us" or is made "free", our fate or the fate of Cuba's toilers will not be improved. Same cause, same effect. The social system under which we both live remains the same. The issue, accordingly, is not one that concerns us. Whom does it concern?

Apart from the general and conflicting capitalist interests in both our countries, the immediate and representative interests concerned are those of our two Governments. Our Republican Government seeks by a war to perpetuate itself; the Government of your Queen-Regent seeks to prevent its own downfall, which would surely follow as a result of abandoning Cuba. Back of each of these are grouped kindred interests.

Theory, based upon a long line of facts, has long established the principle that peace and civilization can never be so long as nations are overlorded by the brigand class that now holds the reins of power. Together with follows the principle that the working class of all nations has but one enemy -- the capitalist class of all nations, its own nation at the head of the list.

The war which has broken out between our two nations furnishes the freshest illustration of that. Blinded by the lack of class consciousness, many of our own class, on both sides of the waters, may allow themselves to be absorbed and carried away by their exploiters. nevertheless, the hope is justified that this may be one of the last experiences that they are to make; and that, rising to the full elevation of their class, they may soon take that stand that alone will ensure the peace of the world.

In the meantime, across the smoke of belching cannons, and the floods of human gore that this war will cause to flow, we, the class conscious proletariat of America, reach you the hand of brotherhood.