The Fallacy of Pacifism


This is the text of a leaflet published in 1984
by the De Leonist Society of Canada


(Reprinted from The De Leonist Society Bulletin.)

" is for the very reason that the DAILY PEOPLE, being an organ of the Socialist Labor Party, strains for peace on earth, that it must decline your request to co-operate with your efforts..."

"You aspire to institute social peace before instituting economic peace - an absurdity.

"...the organ of the Socialist Labor Party has no choice but to expose the visionariness of your project..." (Our emphasis.) (The above excerpts are from AN OPEN LETTER -- a January 6, 1912 De Leon editorial -- to Wm. C. McDowell, the then president of the League of Peace, New York. The editorial was subsequently reprinted in the Weekly People under the title, "The Fallacy of Pacifism.")


With few exceptions, everybody is declaring for peace but nobody is doing anything useful to get it. Illustrating the point, there comes to hand a copy of a CALL to pacifist and other organizations across the U.S. to confer in Cleveland, September 14-16 -- and in the same mail - a clipping from the August 4 issue of The People to the effect that the Socialist Labor Party "backs call" to the said conference.

The CALL bears the full title, "CALL to an EMERGENCY NATIONAL CONFERENCE Against the U.S. Military Intervention in Central America/The Caribbean" and states the conference will "educate and plan specific national actions against U.S. military intervention."

The SLP was not alone in backing the conference. Named by the CALL in a "partial list" of sponsors is a veritable potpourri of organizations including trade unions, a farm labor organizing committee, national and state education associations, teachers' and university professors' organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, a civil rights committee, a human rights committee, religious organizations, "nuclear weapons freeze" campaigners, Central America solidarity and mobilization committees, Americans for Democratic Action, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Witnesses for Peace, etc., etc., not to mention a senator and an attorney or two.

Both the CALL itself and the SLP response to it must be put to the touchstone of knowledge to determine their potential for good.

FIRST QUESTION: Does the CALL project a movement capable of achieving its purpose?

The answer can only be no, and again no! While the CALL is vague as to the general nature of "specific national actions" the conference might plan, it nevertheless contains evidence that must nail the whole exercise a shameful neglect of the premises of peace. The conference is foredoomed to failure because of its myopic perspective. It proposes to launch action to end U.S. military intervention in Central America and the Caribbean, yet, clearly enough, it will leave the CAUSE of that intervention alone!

Any Socialist knows that military intervention by any imperialist power in any quarter of the globe in our industrial age is at bottom none other than the evil fruit of ruthless, international ruling class economic rivalry, a rivalry that is inseparable from international wage exploitation of labor - knows, therefore, that the ONE ROAD to the abolition of military intervention (short of abolition of the military and all else! in a nuclear holocaust) is the road that leads to the uprooting of class rule and its upas of wage exploitation.

Did the CALL suggest, even remotely, that the conference examine the Socialist road? It did not! Not only is the conservative, anti-Socialist conduct of a cross section of the CALL's sponsors too well known to be truthfully denied, but the text of the CALL confirms that although they inveigh against military involvement, these same sponsors are in no way prepared to question the existing social order, an order that depends for its very survival on just such involvement. Indeed, it becomes crystal clear in the end that the conference will do anything except face the great social issue that, as De Leon put it, is "thundering at every man's door for admission and solution"! Quoting the CALL:

"Working people throughout Central America/ the Caribbean are struggling for the same things workers want in the United States and everywhere -- jobs, liveable wages and working conditions, their own unions, a decent life for their children, and a society based on justice and democracy." (Our emphasis.)

"Liveable wages? Defense of a system that breeds working class insecurity and misery? Defense of a system that breeds WAR and, unless soon replaced with a sane social order, bids fair to make life the world over not "liveable" but impossible?

SECOND QUESTION: With what conscience does the Socialist Labor Party lend support to the CALL?

The SLP -- that is, what is now the revisionist or fraudulent SLP -- has argued that it must associate with, "participate" in, "co-operate" with, join or otherwise identify with or support the activities of pro-capitalist unions and "issue-oriented" capitalist reform movements in order to "intervene" with the Socialist message, in order to reach rank and file members and turn their eyes toward the Socialist goal.

The argument is a paltry one and one that has long been discredited. The bona fide SLP used to call such intervention "boring from within" and it "bored" from within the trade unions until, the unions falling wholly into the hands of "labor lieutenants of capital," it found it impossible to bore to a purpose. By the same token, no Socialist perusing the CALL could fail to spot among its sponsors a profusion of conservative, even reactionary, elements in society that as watchdogs of capital must needs exercise control over the proposed conference to the exclusion of revolutionary ideas. In a word, there is simply no way the interventionist argument will wash clean.

A Socialist Labor Party delegate may or may not attend this "peace" conference which, at this writing, is scheduled to shortly convene. However, one thing is abundantly clear that makes any question of SLP delegate intervention a thing of no consequence. The SLP has unquestionably already "intervened" in the affair by giving comfort to the enemies of Socialism. Having formally "backed" the CALL, having formally "endorsed" it, the SLP has formally allied itself with the upholders of wage exploitation and class rule and by this act of class collaboration has permanently disqualified itself as an exponent of Socialism.

By supporting conservatism the revisionist SLP has not co-opted conservatives but has been co-opted by them. By siding with the CALL it has sided with all who, in their blindness, are supporting the very social order that is inexorably pulling humanity down to its ruin. By putting its stamp of approval on movements that genuine Socialism has long branded HOLLOW, it has helped the forces of darkness divert workers' minds from the De Leonist program of working class unification for human redemption. Having betrayed the Socialist goal, it has betrayed the last hope of mankind.

(The De Leonist Society Bulletin, October, 1984)

The De Leonist Society of Canada P.O. Box 944, Station F, Toronto Ontario, Canada M4Y 2N9

The De Leonist Society of U.S.A. P.O. Box 22055, San Francisco, CA 94122, U.S.A.