[THIS article supplements our editorial reference to the Brussels 'Congress of Oppressed Nationalities' in our last issue.]

BELGIUM'S Foreign Minister, Vandervelde, gave the League of Oppressed Nationalities, which has been in existence scarcely a year, permission to use for its first world congress the historic palace of Egmont, the great rebel. That was a clever act of courtesy, and in recognition of it the Congress uttered not a word regarding the Belgian Congo. It would be a great mistake, however, to imagine that the one hundred and seventy-four delegates from all parts of the world who held their session in the Mirror Gallery of the grand old mansion bear any resemblance to the Gueux Leaguers. Men of all races gathered there under a framed motto, 'National freedom, social equality,' enwreathed in a broken chain and irradiated by a rising sun. People of every shade and color had been drawn to Brussels by their common devotion to human liberty-dreamers and practical politicians, charming hypnotic personalities of the visionary type, and rough and ready leaders of the masses. Unquestionably the Congress registered a significant step in the evolution of human freedom. It was a body with which men of all classes and nations, no matter how unsympathetic they may be at heart with its ideals and purposes, must hereafter reckon. Do

1 From Berliner Tageblatt (Liberal daily), February 25

not bury your heads in the sand, gentlemen. Do not shrug your shoulders. Look this Gorgon-visaged vision of human liberty straight in the eye!

Among the one hundred and seventyfour delegates were Englishmen, Germans, Italians, Frenchmen, Egyptians, Belgians, Members of Parliament and private citizens, Motilal Nehru of the Executive of the Indian National Congress, Hao Sin-liau of the Kuomintang Executive at Canton, Rhys John Davies, leader of the English miners, Harry Pollitt, leader of the Revolutionary Trade-Unionists of England, Edo Fimmen, Chairman of the International Transport Workers Union, Coleraine of the South African TradeUnions, Chen Shuen of the HongkongCanton Strike Committee, a delegate for the Chinese Trade-Union League of Hankow, and others. Altogether they represented eight million organized workers. Mr. Brown, Secretary of the Amsterdam Trade-Union International, attended to speak for himself. Fantastic figures fell from the lips of the delegates from China, Anam, Indonesia, North Africa, and from the North American Negroes - fantastic tales of suffering of the oppressed peoples of the globe. We are to believe that the cry of one billion human beings became vocal here. Laguma, a full-blooded Zulu, accused the oppressors of his people. Lamina Senghor, a Senegalese Negro passionately proud of the purity of his African blood, described at great length the age-old oppression of his brethren, who still

live under a modern form of slavery. Mattar, a Kabyle of the Rif, a delegate from the West Indies, men from silent, obscure races in South America, suddenly lifted their voices and had their hearing. Senghor's warning rang out over the heads of the assembly: 'Beware! Beware of the peoples who have slept so soundly and so long. When they awake invigorated from their slumbers, their vengeance will be terrible!'

Old champions of the masses like Ledebour of Germany, Lansbury of England, Katayama, the venerable Japanese revolutionist, and General Lu Chung-lin, an earnest young Chinaman whom the Cantonese army had sent to represent it, clasped hands on the platform. Likewise poets of freedom, intellectuals, the revolutionists of the pen, men like Henri Barbusse of France, José Vasconcelos of Mexico, Manuel Ugarte of South America, Roland-Holst of the Netherlands, and Lessing, Alfons Paquet, Ernst Toller, and Arthur Holitscher from Germany, were officially accredited members of the Congress. Prominent pacifists like Brockway, Helene Stöcker, and Madame Duschesne added their voices to the discussion. One purpose had brought these people together — to lift up the weak and exploited races and nations, so that we may sometime have a true brotherhood of man.

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Southern army, who was greeted by the Congress with prolonged applause, declared that he and his comrades were fighting for the Chinese laboring classes against the imperialist and capitalist greed of men of their own blood as well as of foreigners. He said the war had converted the Chinese coolie into a class-conscious worker, and that the present Congress was defining the task which China, like every other country, must accomplish. When he shouted, "The Nationalist army of China is fighting militarism as it now exists,' a thunder of enthusiastic applause greeted his words. This profession by a soldier, who called himself a servant of the cause of freedom for the workingmen and peasants of his native land, was in marked contrast with the report of Syria's delegate, Mahmud Bey el Bakri, who, in the sonorous tongue of his country, described the destruction of her holy city, Damascus, by European soldateska.

This Congress, where so many nations lifted their voices in protest against their oppressors, where so many colored races clenched their fists against the whites, did not content itself with empty manifestoes. Its central purpose was first of all to liberate Asia from the yoke of European imperialism. China imperialism. China was considered the focus of the Asiatic movement. That country, in whose fate every nation of Europe, as well as the United States and Japan, is vitally interested, was the principal topic of discussion. The most important resolution was one read by the English trade-union leader Becket, drafted jointly by the delegates from India, China, and Great Britain, defining the programme of Labor and its parliamentary representatives in those three countries. It first dealt with the specifically labor aspect of this programme steadfast

refusal of Labor Members of Parliament to vote appropriations for armed forces to oppress colonial peoples; determined resistance by trade-unionists to the movement of troops and munitions from England to China, or from India to China, as has recently occurred; national and proletarian revolts in case an attempt is made to suppress by military force the efforts of a colonial people to attain its freedom; abrogation of unjust treaties with China and of the right of extraterritoriality; a return of the foreign concessions; the recognition of a freely elected national government; close coöperation between the labor organizations of India, China, and England.

Having thus disposed provisionally of the question of positive tactics, the Congress proceeded to the question of action. Marked differences of opinion arose between Ledebour and Miss Ellen Wilkinson, a lady Member of the House of Commons, regarding the steps to be taken immediately. Ledebour advocated a strike of the transport workers to prevent the dispatch of troops to China, followed by a general strike. Ellen Wilkinson thought this impossible in view of the fearful unemployment crisis prevailing in Great Britain. Harry Pollitt informed the delegates that before the soldiers embarked for China handbills had been circulated among them begging them not to fire upon the Chinese, and that on two of the vessels leaving England the soldiers had pinned on their uniforms badges distributed to them by agents of the 'Hands Off China' movement.

Mexico's relations to the United States also engaged the active attention of the delegates. Señor Martínez, a delegate from Tampico, argued that this conflict, although it might at the moment seem less important than the independence movement in China,

was practically identical with it in character and significance.

In fact, one of the things that impressed me most, as indicative of the present world situation, was that Radicals, Socialists, and even Communists, as well as the nonparty representatives who met at Brussels, were constantly talking about national rights and national emancipation, and had nothing to say about internationalism, except when they sang the song that bore that name. Evidently the great idea is first of all to win national independence, and the allying of the international movement with the proletarian movement comes second. To put it in other words, internationalism cannot be realized until national selfdetermination is an actual fact.

These colonial peoples have learned to know the worst side of European civilization - military oppression, corruption, and exploitation. They loathe that civilization. Edo Fimmen quoted the dividends of European colonial companies, and of factories and mines in India and China. Their exorbitant height showed how inhumanly the backward nations are exploited. The Indian mother who labors for fourteen hours in a mine, stupefying her nursling with opium to keep it still the meanwhile, is the human product of this system. Hatta, a delegate from Indonesia, representing one of the gentlest and most peaceable peoples of the globe, pictured vividly the way the docile Javanese are still exploited - they whose sufferings have long since made immortal Multatuli's vivid pages.

Becket, an English delegate, in describing the misery of the Welsh coal miners, brought out the relation between the distress of the European proletariat and the wage oppression of their colored brethren. Other speakers dwelt upon the same theme. One fact was generally recognized that

the so-called lower efficiency of the colored races is merely a hypocritical excuse for extorting the utmost return out of the cheapest worker. The thought grew clearer as the discussion proceeded that real harmony between

the white and colored races will be impossible until the present exploitation of the latter by the former ceases

until coöperation is substituted for military oppression and predatory duress.



THE American people are now spending about four times as much on their navy as they were twenty-five years ago, and more than twice as much as in the year of the outbreak of the Great War; their army, though still of modest size, is much larger than it was; and they are creating enormous aerial forces. In face of their increasing armaments, the Americans so great is the power of autosuggestion are convinced that are convinced that they are the only people who are sincere in desiring a limitation of armaments generally, and naval armaments in particular, and that they only are 'playing the game.' Rich beyond the dreams of avarice, owing to the many millions of dollars which are flowing into their coffers in repayment of war debts, and prosperous as they never were before in consequence of the industry and good sense of the population, they are filled with vague fears and suspicions; they believe that they are the envy of the world, that they are hated because they have been fortunate, and that at some time or other they will be attacked. They wonder if they have sufficient armed force, espe

1 From the Fortnightly Review (London literary and critical monthly), March

Publication rights in America controlled by the Leonard Scott Publication Company

cially at sea. 'What of the Navy?' they ask. 'Is it strong enough?' This is one of many questions which are being canvassed on the other side of the Atlantic, and there are always Cassandras, expert and others, who are prepared to make the flesh of the American people creep on the slightest provocation.

The naval misconceptions of the Americans, which are really rather flattering to national vanity, arise from the fact that they take far too short views. All the great fleets of the prewar period in the Old World have either entirely disappeared or have been so greatly reduced in strength that they are now mere skeletons of what they were. Germany, AustriaHungary, and Russia are no longer of any account as sea Powers, and neither France nor Italy possesses a single first-class capital ship. Whereas Japan in 1914 had eighteen capital ships built and four building, she now has only ten. The United States stands out as the one country which has methodically devoted year by year increased sums to its fleet and added to its naval strength.

In 1901 the expenditure upon the American Fleet amounted to £16,012,048, and the officers and men numbered

33,354. Even in those circumstances, in face of the keen naval rivalry in Europe, which was finding expression in ambitious and costly programmes, the American people feared aggression from no quarter and were satisfied that their sea-borne interests were secure. They looked out over the three thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean on the one side, and, in their isolation from the troubles of the Old World with its vast burden of competing armaments, congratulated themselves that they were not as other people. They cast their eyes over the wastes of the Pacific Ocean and gladly accepted the assurance that no battle fleet possessed sufficient radius of action to challenge them in their own waters. They regarded the republics to the south, with their small navies and armies, with an indifference which was almost contemptuous, rested their confidence in the Monroe Doctrine, countersigned by the other nations of the world, and were satisfied that, occupying a compact territory of three and one-half million square miles, they were unconquerable and economically independent, owing to the vast and varied resources at their immediate command.

A change in their attitude toward navies and world policies generally began when Theodore Roosevelt emerged as a statesman, interesting himself especially in naval affairs. By a dramatic turn of the wheel of fortune, he became President, in 1901, and made himself responsible for an energetic policy of naval propaganda. Admiral Mahan's books proved of invaluable assistance to him. At last the American Fleet was dispatched on a cruise round the world, with a view, first, of reminding all and sundry that the American people entertained no mean naval ambitions, and, secondly, of training the officers and men. But even as late as the year when the Great War mobilized the man

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We have only to turn to Mr. Coolidge's recent message to Congress to realize the change in the naval situation, so far as the United States is concerned, which has occurred since 1914. The President's purpose was to suggest to the American people that they were spending no inconsiderable sum on their defenses, and that they were obtaining good value for their money:

The estimates for the War and Navy Departments total $680,537,642. In addition to this they provide for availability through contract authorizations and allotments from the naval supply account of $5,900,000. Eliminating all nonmilitary items, including the retired lists, this Bud

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