The actuality of the Zimmerwald conference against war (September 1915)

Published the 15 October 2015 in Echoes of the Communist Left


"ZIMMERWALD 1915" - AND 2015 ?

One hundred years ago, a handful of unyielding socialists came together at Zimmerwald (Switzerland). 38 internationalist delegates stood up against the industrial Barbary of the First World War and imperialism.

Today the belligerent arch from Ukraine to Mali shoots out its horrors and its expatriated. In Lebanon already one out of four inhabitants is a refugee. This apart from taking into account the war drums in China, the Chinese Sea and at the four corners of the world. Both the imperialist great powers and the new claimants looking for prebends, are always and still maneuvering and are clashing under the cover of terrorism or other "good" reasons like the defense of "Democracy", or of the "small people", oppressed and persecuted !!!

Faced with the increasing capitalist chaos, let us dare to search - like our brave predecessors - this third way, the destruction of capitalism and its belligerent States with the abolition of the salariat and of money, the establishment of the power of the workers’ councils and the destruction of all states.

Join the debate on Saturday October 31 from 14:00 - 23:00 hours at Toulouse, Sénéchal hall.

Let us organize meetings to talk about Zimmerwald against the imperialist war everywhere !

The agenda of this day will be published online at Smolny



Short extracts from the Zimmerwald Manifesto (September 1915)


Proletarians of Europe! [1]

The war has lasted more than a year. The battlefields are littered with millions of corpses; millions more have been crippled for the rest of their lives. Europe is like a gigantic slaughterhouse. Its entire civilization, created through the labour of many generations, is consigned to destruction. Fierce barbarity celebrates its triumph over everything that was until now the pride of humankind.

Regardless of the truth regarding immediate responsibility for the outbreak of this war, one thing is clear: the war that produced this chaos is the result of imperialism, the striving by capitalist classes of each nation to feed their greed for profit through exploitation of human labour and natural resources around the entire globe.

In this way, economically backward or politically weak nations are subjugated by the great powers, who seek to utilize the war to redraw the world map through blood and iron in accord with their exploitative interests. (...)

(...) Capitalists of every country, who coin the red gold of war profits from the blood spilled by the people, claim that this war serves to defend the fatherland, democracy, and liberation of oppressed peoples. They lie! In actual fact, they are burying on the fields of destruction the freedom of their own peoples along with the independence of other nations. New fetters, new chains, new burdens are arising that will weigh down on the proletariat of all countries, both the victors and vanquished. (...)


Proletarians! Since the war began, you have placed your energies, your courage, and your endurance at the service of the ruling classes. Now the task is to act for your own cause, for the sacred aims of socialism, for the deliverance of oppressed peoples and subjugated classes through irreconcilable proletarian class struggle.


Working men and women! Mothers and fathers! Widows and orphans! Wounded and crippled! We call on all of you who are suffering from the war and because of the war. We call to you across the borders, across the smoking battlefields, across the destroyed cities and villages:


Zimmerwald (Switzerland), September 15, 1915.


[1From September 5th to 8th, 1915, the first international socialist conference against the First World War met in the Swiss village of Zimmerwald, near Bern, in which participated thirty-eight delegates from eleven countries. The manifesto was acclaimed "unanimously and enthusiastically" by the conference with only minor amendments.
Its full text can be found at:
The manifesto was published on September 21, 1915 by the International Socialist Commission at Berne, in Bulletin No. 1, pp. 2. (S. Marcy, "Index to Bolsheviks and War", 1985).

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