THE NEW 'CIVIL PEACE' (Karl Liebknecht, 1918)

Unity! Who could yearn and strive for it more than we? Unity, which gives the proletariat the strength to carry out its historic mission.

But not all "unity" breeds strength. Unity between wolf and lamb makes the lamb a meal for the wolf. Unity between the proletariat and the ruling classes sacrifices the proletariat. Unity with traitors means defeat.

Only forces pulling in the same direction are made stronger through unity. When forces pull against each other, chaining them together cripples them both.

We strive to combine forces that pull in the same direction. The current apostles of unity, like the unity preachers during the war, strive to unite opposing forces in order to obstruct and deflect the radical forces of the revolution. Politics is action. Working together in action presupposes unity on means and ends. Whoever agrees with us on means and ends is for us welcome comrade in battle. Unity in words is an illusion, self-deception, or a fraud. The revolution has hardly begun, and the apostles of unity already want to liquidate it. They want to steer the movement onto "peaceful paths" to save capitalist society. They want to hypnotize the proletariat with the catchword of unity in order to wrench power from its hands by reestablishing the class state and preserving economic class rule. They lash out at us because we frustrate these plans, because we are truly serious about the liberation of the working class and the world socialist revolution.

Can we unify with those who are nothing more than substitutes for the capitalist exploiter, dressed as socialists?

Can we, may we join with them without becoming accomplices in their conspiracies?

Unity with them would mean ruin for the proletariat. It would mean renouncing socialism and the International. They are not fit for a fraternal handshake. They should be met no with unity, but with battle.

The toiling masses are the prime movers of social revolution. Clear class consciousness, clear recognition of their historic tasks, a clear will not achieve them, and unerring effectiveness—these are the attributes without which they will not be able to complete their work. Today more than ever the task is to clear away the unity smokescreen, expose half measures and halfheartedness, and unmask all false friends of the working class. Clarity can arise only out of pitiless criticism, unity only out of clarity, and the strength to create a new socialist world only out of unity in spirit, goals, and purpose.

Karl Liebknecht,

"The New 'Civil Peace'" (18.11.1918)