Wars and Capitalism [Unduh pdf] - Peter Kropotkin

Ebook Title          : Articles From The Neue Rheinische Zeitung
Ebook Thickness  : 278 Page
Language : English

In 1883, when England, Germany, Austria, and Roumania, taking advantage of the isolation of France, leagued themselves against Russia, and a terrible European war was about to blaze forth, we pointed out in the Révolté what were the real motives for rivalry among States and the wars resulting therefrom.

The reason for modern war is always the competition for markets and the right to exploit nations backward in industry. In Europe we no longer fight for the honour of kings. Armies are pitted against each other that the revenues of Messrs. Almighty Rothschild, of Schneider, of the Most Worshipful Company of Anzin, or of the most Holy Catholic Bank of Rome may remain unimpaired. Kings are no longer of any account.

In fact, all wars in Europe during the last hundred and fifty years were wars fought for industrial advantage and the rights of exploitation. Towards the end of the eighteenth century the great industries and world commerce of France, backed by her navy and her colonies in America (Canada) and Asia (in India), began to develop. Thereupon England, who had already crushed her competitors in Spain and Holland, anxious to keep her herself alone the monopoly of maritime commerce, of sea-power, and of a Colonial Empire, took advantage of the Revolution in France to begin a whole series of wars against her. From that moment England understood what riches a monopolised outlet for her growing industry would bring in. Finding herself rich enough to pay for the armies of Prussia, Austria, and Russia, she waged during a quarter of a century a succession of terrible and disastrous wars against France. That country was compelled to drain herself in order to withstand these wars, and only at this price was she able to uphold her right to remain a “Great Power.” That is to say, she retained her right of refusing to submit to all the conditions that English monopolists endeavoured to impose upon her to the advantage of their own commerce. She upheld her right to a navy and to military ports. Frustrated in her plans for expansion in North America, where she lost Canada, and in India, where she was compelled to abandon her colonies, she received in return permission to create a Colonial Empire in Africa on condition that she did not touch Egypt; she was permitted to enrich her monopolists by pillaging the Arabs of Algeria.

Later on, in the second half of the nineteenth century, it was Germany’s turn. When serfdom was abolished as a consequence of the uprisings in 1848, and the abolition of communal property compelled young peasants in a body to leave the country for the town, where they offered themselves as “out-of-works” at starvation wages to the Masters of Industry, Industry on a large scale began to flourish in several German States. German manufacturers soon got to understand that if the working classes were given a good technical education they would rapidly overtake great industrial countries like France and England on condition, be it well understood, of obtaining for Germany advantageous outlets beyond her frontiers. They knew what Proudhon had so well demonstrated: that a trader can only succeed in substantially enriching himself if a large portion of his produce is exported to other countries, where it can be sold at a price not obtainable in the country where it was manufactured.

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