These changes must inevitably give an entirely new aspect to our external as well as to our internal political state. To what extent will follow changes in the political relations of the different classes it is too early yet to surmise. But here also there is every assurance for the assertion that political life will recommence stronger than ever before.
As soon as the “Critique of Weapons” ceases, immediately the weapons of criticism are bound to take on a sharper edge. What forms critical effort will assume, against what it will direct its force, what circumstances will bring it to maturity, all of this lies in the lap of Time. In any case, Social Democracy, like any other party, will in that time need the full measure of its strength to assert itself and to protect the interests of the class of which it is made up. To preserve this strength through the vicissitudes which the future has in store is presently to be the most important problem of our internal politics.
We must hold intact the organizations and the party organs together with the trade unions; we must guard their members from imprudences as well as from defection. This goes without saying and there is no true comrade who will not act in this spirit.
No less necessary, however, is unity within the party, the absolute relinquishing of all petty individual grievances. We are a party committed to self-criticism, but in time of a great crisis criticism must become mute. Never has it been more difficult, never, in fact, less possible, to adopt and to maintain a position which would satisfy every Socialist without exception. Every war brings Social Democracy into the fatal dilemma between the necessity for defending our individual homes on the one hand and, on the other, for preserving international solidarity. The present war confronts us as well as the army staff with particular difficulties, for it is a war possessing many faces. It is not only a war against the Czar of Russia, but also against the democracies of France and England, whose Governments felt themselves forced out of fear of isolation and later subjection to stand by the Russian Czar.
We can very easily understand how to many this or that decision by our party may seem a false step, but it would be still more false, still more disastrous, were we, through any difference of opinion, to allow an internal disagreement to arise. In time of war discipline is not for the army alone; for a party it, too, is the first requirement. Under its rule we must all stand together, more courageous, more firmly united than ever before. Not criticism but faith is now the essential condition of our success.
* * * * *
Manifesto Resenting German Mission of Herr Sudekum Issued by Socialist Party at Rome, Sept. 3.