WAR AND CAPITALISM
Exploitation Nearing Its End and War Debts To Be Repudiated.
By Henry A. White.
For many years capital has been accumulating faster than there could be found an outlet for it. For a time a partial easing of the sit nation was obtained by conquest and colonization; but that has reached its limit and capital is still accumulating with no opportunity of investment. This, to the syndicated interests, is an intolerable situation and one which must be met no matter at what cost of life and property to the present generation, or at what cost of privation and misery to posterity. Since practically the whole earth has been exploited and as yet no way has been found of reaching the other planets in this solar system, there remains but one way to create new fields for capitalism, and that is to destroy and lay waste all, or as much of the products of labor as is necessary to accomplish this object. As the quickest way to do this is through war, and a world-wide war, capitalism easily finds a way to bring it about, and the European nations are now engaged in a titanic struggle to destroy the products of the workers and lay waste the lands which they struggled for years to make productive. Into this carnival of murder and destruction the whole world will eventually be precipitated, and all for the purpose of advancing organized oppression for the advantage of a privileged minority.
If you, my readers, can think in, not seven figures, but seven times seven figures, you can see what an immense amount of the products of the workers will be destroyed, and what vast areas of the earth will be laid waste by this universal war. And thus will be opened another avenue for the employment of capital and the exploitation of the workers: Misery, pestilence, famine and degradation will be the lot of the survivors of the war and their posterity for years after peace is declared, and the burden of paying the colossal war debts will become intolerable.
A vast majority of those now fighting and who will be compelled to take up arms will be fighting against their will, or under illusion or direct misrepresentation; for it is not to the interest of capitalism to have the actual cause of the conflict known. The appeal is to patriotism, which is only another way of saying race hatred and religious prejudice, and thus are pitted brother against brother, father against son and worker against worker; and their eyes are blinded to the fact that authority based on coercion and force makes and keeps them War and War slaves.
But you “cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” and those involved in this stupendous tragedy will sooner or later realize they are being used as tools to further the interests of all capitalism, in which they have neither part nor parcel. When they have learned refuse to pull chestnuts out of the fire and see others eat them.
One thing, how the workers have learned, and that thing is the foundation of capitalism. They have learned that “sacred” rights, in private property is a myth. If, a year ago, the suggestion had been made that governments had the right to take over any and all commodities, houses and lands and transportation facilities that they required for their welfare, everyone, including the workers, would have vigorously protested against such proceedings. Yet today this is being done by all the warring nations and no protest is heard. And if it can be done to carry on war, can it not be done to further peace? It can, and capitalism has been given a staggering blow by the denial of the right to private property.
But this is not all. Correlated to the right to private property is the right to exploit the workers for the acquisition of private property.
This right is also being weighed in the balance. Further, thoughtful men are questioning the right of the collection of war indemnities. They assert that war debts are contracted by capitalism and the workers cannot afford to, and must not pay them; that the only thing for the workers to do is to repudiate them. This is what will be done eventually and then there will be no more wars. Then organized oppression and government by force will be succeeded by a society regulated by voluntary agreement.