Potemkin Film and Pacifists (Potemkin-Film und Pazifisten)

WeltbühneReader

by Franz Leschnitzer

I hope that all militarists who see the Potemkin film[1] are sick to the stomach. But hopefully also some pacifists as well. Some, not all, then it is obvious that there is not just one sort of pacifist in Germany. There are at least three: absolute pacifists, right-wing relativists and left-wing relativists.

The absolutists, or Tolstoians or Ghandians, reject any form of violence, and would certainly be violated by anyone employing violence against them. They have fresh, courageous leaders, but most of those led by them are spineless cowards, whose fault it is that even intelligent people, who are actually against war, still hold the stupid opinion that real pacifists must be real sissies. So when, in the Potemkin film, the downtrodden sailors, with a cry of “Get the guns!” finally start their glorious uprising against their degenerate officers, the screen on which the film is projected is hardly paler than the watching absolutist old women of both sexes.

The ‘right’, or ‘wrong’, relativists only reject class war and ‘wars of aggression’. ‘Defensive’ wars, including those waged in the name of the League of Nations (since the 5th general assembly, according to the motion of Herriot[2] and Lord Parmoor[3], any state which rejects arbitration by the council of the League is regarded as an aggressor). They accept these wars, and even take part in them. They can’t get it into their heads that all wars can be lied into defensive ones, that even so-called ‘genuine’ defensive wars only defend the most precious goods of money-makers and sable rattlers, and that the struggle of the exploited against the exploiters, for example exploited sailors against exploitative naval officers, is the only just defensive struggle. The duty of state slaves to kill and be killed is more important to them than the human right to life. The more consequential they are, the more silent they are when enthusiastic crowds applaud the mutineers fighting for their lives in the Potemkin film.

The enthusiastic crowds include us ‘left-wing’, or ‘in the right’ relativists, who reject all wars between countries, and look forward to the final struggle within countries, the victory of the wage slaves over the factory owners and merchants, of the cannon fodder over the commanding scum. We are delighted by the Potemkin film, for the very reason that it divides opinion, by which we mean the intelligent from the ignorant and stupid, the pacifists from the pseudo-pacifists, and those who appreciate art from the philistines, who call the great, but Russian after all, creation, Potemkin villages[4], because the whole of culture is a Bohemian village[5] to them.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battleship_Potemkin

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89douard_Herriot

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Cripps,_1st_Baron_Parmoor

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potemkin_village

[5] A saying used by Germans to mean something incomprehensible, like ‘double Dutch’.

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