The greatest achievement of Syndicalism, however, is likely to be in the European field. European Socialism, which is its modern form, stands for the Union of Europe on a Socialist basis. This has become necessary if the international operations of capitalism are ever to be overcome. Capitalism is organised and entrenched on an essentially world-wide scale. The low-wage countries of Asia are being exploited industrially for still bigger profits than those made by capitalism in the West. As a result, British workers face the certainty of losing their markets to sweatshops in Asia financed by the money lenders of Europe and America.
The International Socialism of the Labour Party has failed completely to deal with this menace. British workers cannot wait until the exploited coolies of the East reach a high enough standard of life which could cut out unfair competition-if this ever happens, British workers have been marking time too long. Meanwhile, Capitalism has gone ahead with its world-wide plans and ambitions, expanding and consolidating at a far greater speed than the growth of any international workers’ movement.
Syndicalism, therefore, takes the more realistic way of European Socialism. The workers of Europe have reached a common high level of political power and development. They are able to elect Governments to power to carry out their will. They have a common outlook on life: their standards of living and social conditions, though varying today, can be made up to a common European level in a relatively short time. By uniting now they can achieve real Socialism over a large field of human life, and can deprive the Western exploiters of the Eastern sweated coolie of their profits by banning all Oriental manufactured goods from European markets, protecting those markets for their own products meanwhile.
Through European unity they can defeat all attempts to bring blackleg Asiatic products into markets that should be reserved for European products. Where international solidarity has proved an illusion, European solidarity can be achieved in the very near future.
The same goes for blacklegging in Europe itself. Workers’ unity throughout a United Europe can put an end to the low wages paid in many parts of the Continent and so put an end to blacklegging in Europe. European solidarity can stop the vicious practice of playing off one European standard of life against another in order to bring both standards down. By solidarity with their comrades throughout the Continent British workers can ensure that their goods will sell in all European markets without fear of unfair competition: if the full European Socialist policy is employed, with the development of Africa for white man and Negro alike, and with close barter agreements with the Syndicalist countries of Latin America, British workers can ensure through European solidarity that their products will stand a fair chance in these great potential markets also.
European solidarity is necessary if British workers are to have any profit to share, since there will be no profits at all if Europeans continue blacklegging on each other.
European solidarity is necessary in addition to break once and for all the giant international combines, like Unilever and I.C.I., which at present are a law unto themselves. Even the most revolutionary Syndicalist programme, if applied in this country alone, would only succeed in driving the combines to operate on the Continent and elsewhere through their international allies and subsidiaries. They would certainly take revenge on British syndical workers by undercutting their products in European and other markets. But by European solidarity, and the rise of Syndicalism throughout the Continent, the power of the international giants can be permanently broken. The only way to deal with an octopus is to lop off ALL its arms.
It is realised that this cannot happen overnight. A certain transitional period must be expected, though this must be as short as possible. A Syndicalist Britain would, therefore, be prepared to co-operate within a United Europe, whether the rest of Europe is Syndical or not. Naturally it would seek the closest co-operation with other European Syndicalists as a means of bringing a fully Syndicated Europe. But its immediate aim would be a common high wages and profits structure and the extension of industrial Assemblies to European level. It would also encourage the setting up of a European T.U.C. divorced from party politics, and 100 per cent. Trade Unionism in Europe.
The time has arrived for a decision that will transform the entire living standards of the workers. Despite all the hopes engendered in two great wars, Capitalism is seen to be as bad as ever and with the same repressive hold on every day life. Bureaucratic Socialism has been tried but has proved in practice to be Bureaucratic Capitalism. The workers have no alternative now to endless frustration but to take over the means of production themselves and bring real Socialism through Syndical Revolution.
The workers have to choose between a continuing wage-slavery and a wider, freer life through Syndicalism. European Socialism expects full co-operation from every man and woman, and makes loyalty the key-note of the revolution, but this will give the workers all the greater strength for removing the parasitic financial and industrial boss-class, for uniting with their European comrades, for developing and settling Africa and for achieving the closest co-operation with the Syndicalists of South America.
Through European Socialism the full potentialities of three continents can be realised, on the one hand by freeing and encouraging the brilliant individual to use science in transforming resources to produce new forms of wealth: on the other through Syndicalisrn to share the wealth of continents among those who work in industry. The workers of Europe stand on the threshold of the greatest social advance of their history.
WORKERS OF BRITAIN AND EUROPE – UNITE!