Jack Houston’s Editorials in the OBU Bulletin: 3 April 1920
The role of social forces in Germany at the present moment is probably the most interesting of all the social phenomena that is to be observed in Europe.
The contemptible Ebert, Schneiderman Government has survived the counter revolutionary assault of the junker militarist faction which had neither force nor understanding in its makeup. The autocracy of the superior human clay, superior divine right, disappears from civilization in the year 1920 and forever.
We say contemptible. There never was a petty bourgeoisie in any historical epoch that was not contemptible. The tame, little puppets, who masqueraded as politicians, statesmen and diplomats while calling themselves Socialists and leaders of working class trades unionists had the mask torn from their faces by Wolfgang Knapp. The terror, the pusillanimity, the inefficiency of this bunch of cravens that was exposed to the world would make every decent member of the human race ashamed of the species, had he not already learned that the culture of a middle class produces, always, the same cringing cowards.
What then is the secret of middle class political supremacy, universal in all the modern world? The possession of money and the power that goes with money, the skill in the use of fraud, the power of the bribe, placing at their disposal the control of the soldier and the spy, the labor leader, the lawyer, the preacher, the teacher, the editor, the technician, and the scientist. It is the power that goes with those who own the means of life, those who control the economic system.
Lest once it become apparent to those who lean on money and on the owners of money that these capitalists are not longer able to make the economic system function to feed them, and every soldier, spy, lawyer, and fawning slave is ready to spit in their faces. They receive the contempt that always comes to failure who have no ability to come back, no power, no useful knowledge, no efficiency suitable to society. Where service is the bench mark, these parasites have no assets. The Eberts and the Schneidermans are traveling the same road as did Alex Kernesky.
The owners of money in the fatherlands, having brought the German people to the edge of the precipice and having revealed their incapacity and exposed their cowardice, why is it that they are not immediately dumped over the brink? The answer is that there is not in existence, another economic system in Germany that will feed the people. Any system that will give enough of the means of life to keep the soul in the body of the soldier, the spy and the lawyer, must be tolerated until a new system can be fabricated.
The Communists, the Independent Socialists, Spartacans, and Bolsheviks have made the analysis that for them the condition is little better than death itself; they have nothing to lose; any change short of death is a gain. Hence the Spartacan revolution.
As usual the Bourgeoisie Governments of England, France and the USA have been doing foolish things. Having once exacted the contract for the pound of flesh, through the armistice and the Treaty of Versailles, the big capitalists of the Allied lands could not look with favor on a government in the hands of the petty Bourgeoisie. They have been casting stones in its path, keeping up the blockade, refusing raw material, credits and the light of their countenance, and all the time maintaining an efficient army within the gates of the Fatherland. All this in the hope that the big business men of Germany, the German war profiteers and bankers, would thus have the ways greased for an easy glide into power. Had these hypocrites believed in their own theology they would have hesitated to thus interfere in the working of the providence. Now the fat is in the fire and the fire waxes exceedingly hot. The safe and sane Germany that might have helped Poland to defeat the victorious soviets is now but a mephitic dream.
The Soviets are no dream, but a vigorous and stern reality. Triumphant in Russia, the ground out of which Soviets spring, like the dragons teeth of fabled days, is ready for the planting in Germany, and the plowing and the harrowing was done through their own planning. Men, who don’t know a sow thistle from a dandelion, should leave the tillage of strange lands to the natives.
To fight the Soviets or not to fight the Soviets? That is the question. Whether to engage in peaceful trade and make all the profits that can be made out of commerce, and trust that the faults of the qualities of the Soviets will prove too much for the new social experiment, or to fight the soviets wherever it is possible to fight them, now in Germany, now through the blockade, now by fomenting revolutions, is the fateful decision that big capital must make, and a failure to guess right in this most perplexing situation means the overalls for all the Bourgeoisie.
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