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THE LEAGUE AND ITS CRITICS 135

covenant-breaking state, and the prevention of all
financial, commercial, or personal intercourse be-
tween the nationals of the covenant-breaking state
and the nationals of any other state, virhether a
member of the League or not."

Imagine the plight of a family in the heart of a
city, cut off from its butcher, its grocer, its milk-
man, its iceman, et cetera, and with its postal, tele-
phone and telegraph communications broken, and
we can imagine the condition of a segregated recal-
citrant nation who wished to disregard the World
Court decision, and plunge a fellow nation into
war. It is probable that no weapon save the
economic weapon, unflinchingly applied, would be
necessary to bring a militaristic nation to its
knees.

In the appendix I have placed the amended draft
of the League of Nations for the constructive
criticism of women. No other criticism is worth
listening to. It is to be hoped that women will
study this draft diligently, remembering the words
of M. Leon Bourgeois who said that the commis-
sion presented the result of its work "not as some-
thing that is final, but only as the result of an
honest effort, to be discussed and to be examined
not only by this Conference, but also by the public
opinion of the world." It is not claimed that this
covenant will bring a world millenium, nor even
"the almost perfect state" of Hermione. It is
claimed, however, that it is the most important



136 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

state paper ever enacted ; it is claimed that it is the
first right step in the right direction of interna-
tional ethics, and that it touches vitally upon the
inherent interests of women. As such, it challenges
every conscientious woman's attention, and de-
mands her serious and voluntary support. The
Covenant of a League of Nations emerges in what
will probably be known as the most chaotic period
of history. All human institutions are seen to be
in a state of flux, changing, fluid. But no matter
what new forms these institutions may assume,
some international machinery of co-operation be-
tween states will be necessary. In this sense, a
League of Nations may be said to be the one per-
manent political instrument upon the horizon.

In this transitory period, the new draft faces
two real dangers : the reactionaries at the top of
society, and the extreme revolutionists at the bot-
tom of society. It would be difficult to say which
menace is the more acute. In the few remaining
pages I want to sketch the line of these dangers,
and also suggest where the support of women may
be of greatest social value.

The reactionaries, unlike the revolutionists, are
not the result of the heaving processes of war. The
reactionary we have always with us. His mission
is to keep the wheels of progress from turning
too fast. He is just a little more timid and back-
ward-looking to-day than usual because he has
more reason to be timid and backward-looking.



THE LEAGUE AND ITS CRITICS 137

The ground has been cut away from under his
feet. And being Wind, or at least suffering from
chronic historic astigmatism, he cannot see the new
heaven and new earth forming before him.

All of the criticism of the draft, however, is
not reactionary. Some of it — a homeopathic
portion — is helpful and stimulating. Much of it,
both in Europe and America, is neither intelligent
or constructive. Though separated by distance and
differing in viewpoints on both continents, such
criticism springs from identical emotional reactions.
Society, as we have said, as a result of four years
of dislocation, is in a state of flux and ebb. No
one knows which way the tide will turn. In con-
sequence, society everywhere is suffering from the
Great Fear.

In Europe there is logical cause for this obsession
of fear. Europe has passed through the greatest
social cataclysm ever known. It still is moved by
convulsions. It seeks, above all else, protection,
reinsurance. And so we find even the most power-
ful countries each voicing its own Great Fear.
Will the League of Nations protect freedom of
the seas necessary to the British Isles? Will the
League guard France, wounded and broken, but
still compelled to live, with an exposed frontier, as
the nearest neighbor to her historic enemy? Will
it guarantee safety to Italy's unprotected Adriatic
coast? Will it grant security to Poland, the buffer
state between Russian and Austria, and the key to



138 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

Eastern Europe? Regarding the new Roumania
and the Czecho and Jugo-Slav RepubHcs, trying
to learn the alphabet of independence, and to the
score or more of infant constellations, shot from
the falling meteor of war, the question arises :
will the League of Nations give protection to all
these national children? Here are real fears that
nothing but a general association of states, guar-
anteeing guardianship, may alleviate. Here are
fears that cause wide sympathy and genuine
respect.

But in America, who can sympathize with the
Great Fear? America has not had her cities torn
to their vitals. America has not had her fields
drenched with sacred blood. America has not lost
treasures that centuries cannot replace. America
hardly knows the meaning of suffering. "America
had her war and America had a good time !" as
one paper blithely commented. America and suf-
fering have not yet merged.

The Great Fear that oppresses the League of
Nations in certain localities in America does not
spring from suffering, but from the thought of a
threatened prosperity. America is a giant, rich be-
yond dreams of riches. America has a castle almost
impregnable. America would retire into this castle
and pull up the draw-bridge. Any interloping
league of nations that would aspire to climb to its
windows must be cut down like Jack-and-the-Bean-
Stalk! The Great Fear in America is fear of



THE LEAGUE AND ITS CRITICS 139

responsibility • — international responsibility, and
financial responsibility. It is fear that our swollen
coffers might be depleted by new ties with bank-
rupt countries, and that to stand as god-mother to
new states in Europe implies further sacrifice and
danger to self.

Any true American will refuse to believe that
this attitude is the attitude of any, but a minority.
That this minority is under the spot-light that falls
upon the stage of the United States Senate is un-
fortunate. It gives an American patriot a sudden
hot sense of shame.

What will happen if this "doctrine of careful
selfishness thought out to the last detail" prevails?
What will be the result if the Senate inquiry, "will
it not be dangerous to help the world?" should
give the lie to America's entrance into the war?
Let the President's ringing words answer : "It
would be fateful to us not to help it." Let Mr.
Frank H. Simonds, the brilliant military expert of
the New York Tribune, reply, (Tribune, March
2nd, 1919) : "If America should go home now and
wash its hands of Europe, refuse to complete its
task begun at Chateau Thierry and continued in
the Argonne, if America is now to leave Europe
mentally and morally as well as physically ex-
hausted by the great struggle, to find its own way
out without our help and without the assurance
that our presence gives, I think everybody close to
the European situation will agree that we may



140 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

have Bolshevism from Vladivostock to Land's
End." And again, "the fate of Europe depends
on American effort and American support. With-
out America, the League of Nations is a scrap of
paper; with America, it may be a symbol and a
first great step, not merely towards peace between
nations, but towards restoration of economic stab-
ility within the separate nations." And this, not
from an idealist and transcendentalist, but from a
military expert who opposed the President's going
to Paris, but was large enough afterwards to admit
the necessity and the value of the trip !

I am not going to take up the American objec-
tions to the League of Nations — objections that
probably will have to be met for years to come
even after the League is in operation — because
Mr. Taft has done it judicially in his collected
speeches. Of that American storm center, the Mon-
roe Doctrine, he has said : "The Monroe Doctrine
was announced and adopted to keep European
monarchies from overthrowing the independence
of and fastening their system upon governments
in this hemisphere. . . . the sum and substance
of the Monroe Doctrine is that we do not purpose
in our own interest to allow European nations or
Asiatic nations to acquire, beyond what they now
have, through war or purchase or intrigue, terri-
tory, political power or strategical opportunity
from the countries of this hemisphere."

Article X of the Constitution of the League, an



THE LEAGUE AND ITS CRITICS 141

undertaking to respect the territorial integrity and
political independence of every member of the
League, is intended to secure this undertaking to
all signatory nations, except that it does not forbid
purchase of territory or power.

It is interesting to note that much of the opposi-
tion, to the League, both in and out of the Senate,
springs in a large measure from the same sources
that insisted upon America's going into the war —
upholders of the great financial interests, men from
munition states and the parasitic hangers-on of
these interests. Theirs are the voices that con-
demned the President for not having entered the
war earlier, though it is apparent that a united
nation would not have followed him earlier when
the great West was strongly anti-war. That Mr.
Wilson was elected upon the slogan "He kept us
out of war" a few months before America's en-
trance into the war, is proof positive of the pre-
dominant American sentiment. Theirs, too, are
the voices that now assert that we did not go to
war for "idealism" or for "democracy." We went
to save our own skins and — the thought is not
uttered but it is there — to save our own jeopard-
ized wealth! Always the same motive actuates
these people — self-interest. They represent the
Junker and Chauvinistic element, unrighteous but
powerful, in every state.

The corrective to reaction is liberalism. The
reactionaries have performed a real service to



142 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

America. The Great Fear has produced a great
courage and a great sense of duty and of solidarity
in America.

The issue o2 the League of Nations and the atti-
tude of its selfish opponents have created a strong
body of liberal opinion in America such as
America never before has known. This body of
opinion recognizes that America can no longer live
the closeted life. It recognizes that America has
come out of the cloister and been drawn into the
great currents that are carrying civilization forward
and that America must not only move, but must
lead.

A conservative is said to be one who worships a
dead radical — when he has been dead long
enough! A radical is one who wants something
until he gets it; then he begins to suspect it. A
liberal is one who is free, free from birth and from
tradition, who wears no yoke and owes no allegi-
ance, except to humanity; who does not overturn,
but remolds; who sees what is good in the old
order while he reaches out for what is best in the
new.

The greatest service American women may do
society to-day is to foster and lead this new body
of American liberalism. It is the one hope, not
only of checking reaction, but also of directing the
forces of revolution that are everywhere threaten-
ing the world. Women are not only to end war,
but they have it in their power to end civil war —



THE LEAGUE AND ITS CRITICS 143

world revolution. The League of Nations and the
social influence and strength of women are both
challenged by the manner in which women will
face and help solve this most acute of social
questions.



Chapter IX.
WOMEN AND REVOLUTION.

"The peoples are in the saddle, and they are going to see to it that
if the present governments do not do their will some other government
shall." — President Wilson, Boston Speech, February 24th, 1919.

SOCIAL peace is an integral part of world
peace, but even an inveterate optimist
must fail to find any stable social peace on
the world horizon to-day. Instead, there is every-
where strife and travail from which either an
inspiring new era or an abortion of civilization will
be born.

Since this book was begun, in the fall of 1918,
events have moved with a terrifying swirl. The
war ended prior to the expectation of military
experts. Germany surrendered unconditionally.
President Wilson's famous Fourteen Points were
accepted as the basis of an Allied Settlement, and
the idea of a democratic league of nations as the
foundation of a new peace spread over a war-sick
world as no idea has spread since Christianity be-
came infused into a pagan universe. All that
seemed necessary to insure a machinery of perma-
nent world peace was a strong public opinion in
favor of a league founded upon new ideals of
world justice.

144



WOMEN AND REVOLUTION 145

Then something happened. The j^y of the con-
queror was short-lived. For, although the Allies
had gained a great military victory over Germany,
nowhere were the fruits of victory visible. Instead,
chaos reigned. Famine and anarchy stalked the
land. From war we had stepped to social revolt;
from anxiety to terror. We had but exchanged
anguishes — and there was no peace in the hearts
of men.

What had darkened the horizon? It would seem
as if the war, waged and won in the name of
democracy, was determined to result in the estab-
lishment of democracy. It would seem that the
hero of the war — democracy — had assumed
leadership, and was taking the road that govern-
ments did not intend it should take — the road
not of political democracy but of industrial
democracy. Democracy was in the saddle, forging
ahead and claiming every inch of ground as its
own.

In consequence, the League of Nations has had
to face, not only the prejudiced opposition that
would meet its appearance at any period, but also
the most acute social crisis known in history. We
call it industrial revolution, and in fact such it is.
But it implies something deeper and more organic.
Something is happening to the tissue of society —
something sensed, but not yet understood. It is
not merely that civilization is discarding its old
shell, the crust of the ages, to put on a new shell, a%



146 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

softened replica of the old. It is far deeper than
any external change. Something is happening to
the bones and sinews of the social organism, from
the inside out, from the bottom up. Society is
changing its very structure. In consequence, civili-
zation itself is being born again. And this babe
of the new era is found, struggling, primarily,
in the cradle of new liberties that are emerging
from the old autocracies of Europe and trying to
form themselves into modern industrial states.

Women must face this fact of social revolution
squarely, for it is the heart of the organic world
change : that when absolutism was overthrown in
the three great Empires of Europe, there was no
hesitation as to the ideal the new states should
follow. Instinctively, Russia, Germany, Austria
moved toward the organization of society upon a
more just industrial basis. The old political state
meant little to these newly liberated peoples be-
cause they had not been a part of it. The signifi-
cance of the new states, whose future will determine
whether the world shall have war or peace, is that
the people have determined to establish a direct
relationship between the state and the workers and
to govern their own destinies from the vantage-
point of their economic well-being.

This is the crisis that I believe women must help
meet — -the crisis of assisting in a structural change
in society before there can be any stable world
peace. Understanding alone can meet this transi-



WOMEN AND REVOLUTION 147

tion and make of it a terror or a benefit — first,
understanding of the historic side of the industrial
revolution — and, second, a sympathy that comes
from comprehending its human, social side.

Because of their intense human sympathies, and
because of their close relationship to both the con-
tending forces of society, I believe that women
to-day have it within their power to become great
world stabilizers, standing between the battling
forces of humanity, the offensive forces at the
bottom of society trying to raise themselves from
intolerable living conditions, and the defensive
forces at the top, obeying the law of their being
and resisting intrenchment upon their power. The
passions of each of these classes alone are too
strong, too prejudiced, to be a trustworthy guide.
Women, not yet become either dominant producers
or dominant accumulators of wealth, must stand
between these two contending forces and bring
peace founded upon social justice to both.

When I say that women must become world
stabilizers, I do not mean in the old "blessed-are-
the-peacemakers" sense, though that may be in-
cluded. I mean stabilization by the use of every
ounce of the pressure of the new social influence
of women on the fevered areas of the world to
produce change through legitimate and not illegiti-
mate means.

The duty of a stabilizer is to maintain equili-
brium. A stabilizer on an aeroj^ane, for instance,



148 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

is magnetized to all parts of the machine so that
when the latter is high in the air and moved by
conflicting currents, it restores equilibrium to the
whole.

If women are to become social stabilizers as
civilization hangs over the abyss of world chaos,
they must be alive to all phases of the social
question.

It may be that we are still too near the blood-
bath of nations to see clearly and estimate the
organic social change correctly. But the situation,
as far as we can see it, seems to hold in the after-
math of war these three great realizations :

First, that the European political state, as we
have known it, has proved inadequate for the great
mechanical era in which we live and is being im-
mensely modified;

Second, that in consequence of logical processes
of evolution, the industrial state, better fitted to
modern industrial needs, is emerging and is
summoning us to the reorganization of society
upon a more equitable basis.

Third, that as a corollary of economic recon-
struction, the state itself is creating a new attitude
toward property by laying its hands upon wealth
wherever necessary, assuming that wealth, created
by all, is a social asset to be administered in the
interest of all.

The immediate question before society is not,
shall we change? We have gone far beyond voli-



WOMEN AND REVOLUTION 149

tion. We have changed, we are changing and the
people are determined that we shall change much
more radically. "The spirit of man is in the
saddle," and the flight of the spirit may not be
stayed. The acute problem before society is how
to change the organic structure of society peace-
fully with as little dislocation as possible to its
component, interdependent parts.

The problem, therefore, for women to grasp is
how to check anarchy without checking needed
social evolution; how to stay violence, at either
extremity of the social scale, without stopping any
of the liberating processes of reconstruction.

It is well for women to remember that the irre-
sponsible political state is not changing because the
Allies defeated Germany. The war accelerated
but did not originate industrial unrest. Nor is it
being modified because Karl Marx wrote Das
Kapital or Henry D. Lloyd wrote The Co-opera-
tive Commonwealth. Rather is it passing because
James Watt watched the steam lift the lid from a
tea-kettle, and because Edmund Cartwright invented
the power loom.

The irresponsible political state is changing be-
cause it did not meet the needs of an industrial
civilization. It did not satisfy its logical demands.
In an age of the greatest productivity, it did not
grant that security, that glow of life and health
and plenty that it should have assured even to the
least of its subjects. It failed humanity because,



150 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

in an industrial era, it administered life still from
a political viewpoint — the preservation of political
parties for purposes of partisanship, power and
political preferment — rather than from the view-
point of the changing economic necessities of the
average man.

And because political interest has long been
secondary in the mind of the average man,
absorbed in wrestling a livelihood from society,
politics have been left largely to politicians. "The
most incisive comment on politics to-day is indif-
ference," wrote Walter Lippmann in A Preface
to Politics — a brilliant effort to put the subject
of politics in a different light so that it might
"rivet our creative interests." Politics for the most
part, has failed to touch our creative interests; and
so we have seen not only a growing popular indif-
ference to the issues of opposing parties, but also a
weakening of the distinguishing principles of these
parties. Once a broad line of cleavage marked the
line between Republican and Democratic theory —
the principles of Tory or Whig, of loyalists or
federalists. To-day, the demarkation is so slight
that, in the last Presidential campaign, a witty
reporter crudely remarked that the difference be-
tween Mr, Hughes and President Wilson might be
removed by a competent barber in ten minutes!
Both parties, it is said, have come innately anchored
to one principle — the protection of "big business.'*
And so, lacking real issues, we have seen our great



WOMEN AND REVOLUTION 151

elections degenerating into campaigns of personal-
ity, campaigns of intensive bitterness, the man with
his virtues or shortcomings being substituted for
principles.

But if the average man, too absorbed in keeping
his head above the swift-running commercial tide,
did not comprehend that the new industrial era
demanded new economic forms of administration,
our great business geniuses saw the change and
acted upon it. The passing of the irresponsible
political state, as such, was evidenced when the
great financial interests flooded the lobbies and
took control of government. The name of Theo-
dore Roosevelt will be known in history as the
name of the man who recognized this change and
did what he could to uncover the questionable
methods of organized finance. For years, even in
democracies, the "invisible government" has ruled,
not always corruptly, perhaps, but always selfishly.
As kings exploited their subjects for territorial
aggression, so the "interests" exploited the citizens
of the political state for economic aggression,
building around the world an interlocking network
of finance. The state was their tool, never their
master. They bent it and the candidates, wittingly
and unwittingly, whom they chose to represent
them, as an archer bends a bow to his will.

And so the modern state became immensely
hypocritical. Germany prated of loyalty to the
Fatherland. What its militarism rested upon was



152 WOMEN AND WORLD FEDERATION

loyalty to the great merchant princes who had built
up the amazing industrial strength of Germany
and who were bent upon the economic subjugation
of the world.

No woman can trace the deeply intertwining
roots of this war who does not study the economic
ambitions of Germany. And in no book is the
character of the modern commercial state — mas-
querading in the guise of monarchy — laid so
shamelessly bare as in Frederick Naumann's
Mittel-Europa. Here, in masterly fashion, we
find the economic state glorified — naked, hungry,
primeval and unashamed. Here we find the great
World Powers without subterfuge in their
economic settling, functioning in fierce world
centers — London — Petrograd — New York.
Eventually, Herr Naumann tells us, ''great eco-
nomic groups will supersede these World Powers''
and rule the world openly as they now rule it
covertly — England, Russia, the United States and
Germany (because Germany, even with the help of
Austria-Hungary, he asserts, could not hope to be
any but a fourth world power). 'Groups of
humanity will come into being, because such new
technical apparatus as steam power and electricity
cannot work with State formations still under the
influence of earlier and now vanished forms of
international intercourse." (The italics are mine.)


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Online LibraryFiona WoodWomen and world federation → online text (page 9 of 15)