The Real Social Democrat...
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In view of all these considerations, what shall be the practical attitude of the Social Democracy in the present war? Shall it declare: since this is an imperialistic war, since we do not enjoy Socialist self-determination, its existence or non existence is of no consequence to us, and we will surrender it to the enemy? Passive fatalism can never be the role of a revolutionary party, like the Social Democracy. It must neither place itself at the disposal of the existing class state, under the command of the ruling classes, nor can it stand silently by to wait until the storm is past. It must adopt a policy of active class politics, a policy that will whip the ruling classes forward in every great social crisis, and that will drive the crisis itself far beyond its original extent. That is the role that the Social Democracy must play as the leader of the fighting proletariat. Instead of covering this imperialistic war with a lying mantle of national self-defence, the Social Democracy should have demanded the fight of national self-determination seriously, should have used it as a lever against the imperialistic war. Yes, Socialists should defend their country in great historical crises. And here lies the great fault of the German Social-Democratic Reichstag group. When it announced on the 4th of August, "In this hour of danger, we will not desert our fatherland," it denied its own words in the same breath. For truly it has deserted its fatherland in its hour of greatest danger. The highest duty of the Social Democracy toward its fatherland demanded that it expose the real background of this imperialistic war, that it tend the net of imperialistic and diplomatic lies that covers the eyes of the people. It was its duty to speak loudly and clearly, to proclaim to the people of Germany that in this war victory and defeat would be equally fateful, to oppose the gagging of the fatherland by a state of seige, to demand that the people alone decide on war and peace, to demand a permanent session of Parliament, for the period of the war, to assume a watchful control over the government by parliament, and over parliament by the people, to demand the immediate removal of all political inequalities, since only a free people can adequately govern its country, and finally, to oppose to the imperialist war, based as it was upon the most reactionary forces in Europe, with the program of Marx, of Engels and Lassalle.
From Karl Liebknecht with the outpourings of both pro and anti-war lefts to see that something bad has changed, something is missing from 'Social Democracy' (broad sense) today.