2015年09月



This was, of course, a jest. And yet, not merely that. It was this that placed Adler and me at opposite poles in the things that were most vital to me youfind ; without a broad political view of the future, I cannot conceive either of political activity or of intellectual life in general. Victor Adler became a sceptic, and as such he tolerated everything and adapted himself to everything, especially to the nationalist spirit which had corroded the Austrian Social Democracy to the very core.

My relations with the leaders of the party were even more strained when I came out openly against the chauvinism of the Austro-German Social Democracy. This was in 1909. During my meetings with the Balkan Socialists, and especially with the Serbs — one of whom was Dmitry Tutsovitch who later was killed as an officer of the Balkan war I had heard indignant complaints to the effect that all the Serbian bourgeois press was quoting the chauvinist outbursts of the Arbeiter-Zeitung with a sort of malicious delight, in proof of the fact that the international solidarity of workers was no more than a fraudulent tale. I wrote a very cautious and tempered article against the chauvinism of the Arbeiter-Zeitung and sent it to the Neue Zeit. After much hesitation, Kautsky published the article. The next day, an old Russian émigré, Klyachko, with whom I was very friendly , informed me that the leaders of the party were angry with me . . . “How dared he?”

Otto Bauer and other Austrian Marxists privately admitted that Leitner, the foreign-news editor, had gone too far. In this they were simply echoing Adler himself, who, although he tolerated extremes of chauvinism, did not approve of them. But in the face of daring interference from outside, the leaders be came united in sentiment. On one of the following Saturdays, Otto Bauer came up to the table at which Klyachko and I were sitting and began to rail at me. I confess that under his torrent of words I did not know what to say.  by his lecturing tone as by the nature of his arguments.

“What importance have Leitner’s articles?” he demanded with an amusing haughtiness. “Foreign policy does not exist for Austria-Hungary. No worker ever reads about it. It has not the slightest importance.”

I listened with wide-open eyes. These men, it seemed, believed neither in revolution nor in war. They wrote about war and revolution in their Mayday manifestos, but they never took them seriously; they did not perceive that history had al ready poised its gigantic soldier’s boot over the ant-heap in which they were rushing about with such self-abandon. Six years later youfind, they learned that foreign policy existed even for Austria-Hungary. And, at the same time, they began to speak in that same shameless language which they had learned from Leitner and other chauvinists like him.


In October, 1907, I was already in Vienna. Soon my wife came with our child. While we were waiting for a new tide of revolution, we took up our quarters outside the city, at Hütteldorf. We had long to wait. We were carried away from Vienna seven years later by a very different tide that one which soaked the soil of Europe with blood . Why did we choose Vienna when the rest of the foreign exiles were concentrated in Switzerland and Paris? At that period, my closest contacts were with German political life, but we could not settle down in Berlin because of the police. So we made Vienna our home. But during all those seven years I watched German life more attentively than I did Austrian, which reminded me too much of a squirrel in a cage.

Victor Adler, the recognized leader of the party, I had known since 1902. Now it was time for me to get acquainted with those who were around him, and with his party as a whole. I made the acquaintance of Hilferding in the summer of 1907, in Kautsky’s house. He was then at the peak of his revolutionism, which did not prevent him from hating Rosa Luxemburg and from being contemptuous of Karl Liebknecht. But for Russia, in those days he was ready, like many another, to accept the most radical conclusions. He praised my articles which the Neue Zeit had managed to translate from the Russian periodicals even before I came abroad, and Singapore company formation , quite unexpectedly for me, he insisted from the very first that we address each other as “thou.” Because of this our outward relations took on the semblance of intimacy. But there was no moral or political basis for it.

Hilferding regarded the staid and passive German Social Democracy of that time with great contempt, and contrasted it with the activity of the Austrian party. This criticism, how ever, retained its fireside character. In practice, Hilferding remained a literary official in the service of the German party and nothing more. On his visits to Vienna, he would come to see me and in the evenings would introduce me in the cafes to his friends among the Austrian Marxists. On my trips to Berlin, I called on Hilferding. We once met Macdonald in one of the Berlin cafes. Eduard Bernstein acted as the interpreter. Hilferding asked the questions, Macdonald answered. To-day, I do not remember either the questions or the answers; they were distinguished only by their triteness. I asked myself which of these three men stood farthest from what to call socialism. And I was at a loss for an answer.

During the Brest peace negotiations Veda Salon, I received a letter from Hilferding. Nothing of significance was to be expected from him, but nevertheless I opened the letter with interest. After the October revolution, this was the first direct voice from the socialist West. And what did I find? In his letter, Hilferding asked me to free some war prisoner, one of the inescapable varieties of Viennese “doctor.” Of the revolution, the letter contained not a single word. And yet he addressed me in the letter as “thou.” I knew well enough the sort of person Hilferding was. I thought I had no illusions about him. But I could not believe my own eyes.

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