Day of Discussion - World War One: how the workers were mobilised for war, and how they put an end to it
September 20, 2014, 11 am to 6 pm
Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Rd, Kings Cross, London WC1X 8QY
In all the noisy commemorations about the First World War, some things are more or less left in silence. First, that a crucial responsibility for the war lay with the ‘Labour’ and ‘Socialist’ parties who in 1914 voted for war credits and set about mobilising the workers for the war effort; and second, that the war was ended by the revolutionary struggles of the working class.
In the first session of this day of discussion, we will look at how the majority of the parties of the Second International came to betray the fundamental principles of internationalism and integrate themselves into the bourgeois state. This treason did not come about overnight, but was the product of a long process of degeneration which still contains many lessons for today. We will focus in particular on the German Social Democratic Party, the great jewel of the International, whose capitulation in 1914 was a decisive factor in the collapse of the International.
In the second session we will begin the discussion by showing a short film about how the working class recovered from its disarray in 1914 and, after three years of slaughter, began the wave of strikes, mutinies and uprisings which forced the ruling class to end the war and, for a while, threatened the very existence of the world capitalist system.
All welcome. Comrades who envisage coming to the meeting from outside London and will need accommodation should write to us at [email protected].