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.