The more I then pondered over the necessity for a change in the attitude of the executive government towards Social-Democracy, as the incorporation of contemporary Marxism, the more I realized the want of a practical substitute for this doctrine. Supposing Social-Democracy were overthrown, what had one to offer the masses in its stead? Not a single movement existed which promised any success in attracting vast numbers of workers who would be now more or less without leaders, and holding these workers in its train. It is nonsensical to imagine that the international fanatic who has just severed his connection with a class party would forthwith join a bourgeois party, or, in other words, another class organization. For however unsatisfactory these various organizations may appear to be, it cannot be denied that bourgeois politicians look on the distinction between classes as a very important factor in social life, provided it does not turn out politically disadvantageous to them. If they deny this fact they show themselves not only impudent but also mendacious.
Generally speaking, one should guard against considering the broad masses more stupid than they really are. In political matters it frequently happens that feeling judges more correctly than intellect. But the opinion that this feeling on the part of the masses is sufficient proof of their stupid international attitude can be immediately and definitely refuted by the simple fact that pacifist democracy is no less fatuous, though it draws its supporters almost exclusively from bourgeois circles. As long as millions of citizens daily gulp down what the social-democratic Press tells them, it ill becomes the 'Masters' to joke at the expense of the 'Comrades'; for in the long run they all swallow the same hash, even though it be dished up with different spices. In both cases the cook is one and the same--the Jew.
One should be careful about contradicting established facts. It is an undeniable fact that the class question has nothing to do with questions concerning ideals, though that dope is administered at election time. Class arrogance among a large section of our people, as well as a prevailing tendency to look down on the manual labourer, are obvious facts and not the fancies of some day-dreamer. Nevertheless it only illustrates the mentality of our so-called intellectual circles, that they have not yet grasped the fact that circumstances which are incapable of preventing the growth of such a plague as Marxism are certainly not capable of restoring what has been lost.
The bourgeois' parties--a name coined by themselves--will never again be able to win over and hold the proletarian masses in their train. That is because two worlds stand opposed to one another here, in part naturally and in part artificially divided. These two camps have one leading thought, and that is that they must fight one another. But in such a fight the younger will come off victorious; and that is Marxism.
In 1914 a fight against Social-Democracy was indeed quite conceivable. But the lack of any practical substitute made it doubtful how long the fight could be kept up. In this respect there was a gaping void.
Long before the War I was of the same opinion and that was the reason why I could not decide to join any of the parties then existing. During the course of the World War my conviction was still further confirmed by the manifest impossibility of fighting Social-Democracy in anything like a thorough way: because for that purpose there should have been a movement that was something more than a mere 'parliamentary' party, and there was none such.
I frequently discussed that want with my intimate comrades. And it was then that I first conceived the idea of taking up political work later on. As I have often assured my friends, it was just this that induced me to become active on the public hustings after the War, in addition to my professional work. And I am sure that this decision was arrived at after much earnest thought.