May Day - In Celebration Of Internationalism


In Celebration Of Internationalism
-- -
from The People, April 20, 1991, page 5

May Day is the real working-class holiday, a day in which classconscious workers call special attention to the fact that workers throughout the world share common interests as a class. It is a day for socialists to reaffirm their commitment to the principles of socialist internationalism, which follow from that fact.

Socialist internationalism means that workers' real interests and loyalties lie in supporting the efforts of workers worldwide in the class struggle; in supporting all workers' efforts to resist their exploiters and defeat their exploiters through the establishment of socialism. It means rejecting nationalism and the efforts of ruling-class nation-states to pit workers against each other in economic competition or set them at each others' throats in war. It means holding up international working-class solidarity in opposition to ruling-class nationalism.

At a time when U.S. workers are now grappling with the effects of intensified global capitalist competition, and have just been assaulted with nationalistic propaganda in an effort to win their assent to the killing of Iraqi workers in another war for capitalist material gain, the need for socialist internationalism is greater than ever.

For our readers' benefit and inspiration, then, we present some thought-provoking "ammunition" on the subject of socialist internationalism. We urge you to spend a little time this May Day reflecting on the words of these great thinkers.

"The nationality of the toilers is neither French nor English nor German; it is toil, free slavery, sale of the self. His government is neither French nor English nor German; it is Capital. His native air is neither French nor German nor English; it is the air of the factory. The land which belongs to him is neither French nor English nor German; it is a few feet under the ground."

-- Karl Marx

"High treason is the veriest nonsense for an international socialist. He knows no hostile power which he could even think of 'aiding and abetting.' He is just as revolutionarily disposed toward every foreign capitalist government as he is against his own. Not 'to aid and abet an enemy power,' but to 'damage all imperialistic powers at the same time in international cooperation with the socialists of other countries' is the quintessence of his endeavors.

"He fights in the name of the international proletariat against international capitalism. He attacks it where he finds it and can effectively strike it; that is, in his own country. In his own country, in the name of the international proletariat, he fights his own government and his own ruling classes as the representatives of international capitalism.

"In this logical manner, through the national class struggle against war, the international class struggle against war becomes a reality."

-- Karl Liebknecht

"The strongest, bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people of all nations, and tongues, and kindred."

-- Abraham Lincoln

"In proportion as the exploitation of one individual bv another .is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to."

-- Karl Marx

"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 this follows the principle that the working class of all nations has but one enemy -- the capitalist class of all nations, its own nation's at the head of the list."

-- Daniel De Leon

"Men sometimes say to me, 'Are you an internationalist?' I say, 'I do not know what an internationalist is'; but they tell me it is a system by which the workingmen from London to Gibraltar, from Moscow to Paris, can clasp hands. Then I say Godspeed, Godspeed, to that or any similar movement."

-- Wendell Phillips

"The emancipation of labor is neither a local nor a national, but a social problem, embracing all countries in which modern society exists, and depending for its solution on the concurrence, practical and theoretical, of the most advanced countries."

-- Karl Marx

"Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture of their incoherent efforts."

-- Karl Marx

"The proletarians in all countries have one and the same interest, one and the same enemy, and one and the same struggle.... Only the awakening proletariat can bring about fraternization between the different nations."

-- Frederick Engels

"International socialism is founded on the socialist principle that there are only two nations -- the Exploiting Idlers and the Exploited Toilers."

-- Daniel De Leon

"In a class society, 'the nation' as a homogeneous socio-political entity does not exist. Rather, there exist within each nation, classes with antagonistic interests and 'rights.' There literally is not one social area, from the coarsest material relationships to the most subtle moral ones, in which the possessing class and the class-conscious proletariat hold the same attitude, and in which they appear as a consolidated 'national' entity....

"The historical mission of the bourgeoisie is the creation of a modern 'national' state; but the historical task of the proletariat is the abolition of this state as a political form of capitalism, in which they themselves, as a conscious class, come into existence to establish the socialist system.... The interests of the proletariat on the nationality question are just the opposite of those of the bourgeoisie. The concern about guaranteeing an internal market for the industrialists of the 'fatherland,' and of acquiring new markets by means of conquest, by colonial or military policies -- all these, which are the intentions of the bourgeoisie in creating a 'national' state, cannot be the aims of a conscious proletariat....

"Therefore, considering the matter from this point of view, the 'nation'-state, as an apparatus of the domination and conquest of foreign nationalities, while it is indispensable for the bourgeoisie, has no meaning for the class interests of the proletariat."

-- Rosa Luxemburg

"Workingmen of all countries, unite!"

-- Karl Marx