A. Lozovsky

English Gentlemen at Work

(6 September 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 59 [37], 6 September 1923, pp. 645–646.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2023). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

What do the former owners of factories and works in Russia think about when they cannot get to sleep at night? They think about how they can manage to have these factories returned to their “rightful” owners, this is the root of all Anglo-Russian conflicts, and this is the explanation of the latest Rakovsky incident. Everything seemed to be quite settled, when that dirtiest of reactionary newspapers, the Morning Post, dutifully reported to the authorities: “Your Excellencies! They are making communes, preaching proletariat, spreading proclamations!” This eloquent declaration gave the English government cause enough to instigate investigations as to whether Rakovsky was really writing pamphlets, making speeches, and “preaching proletariat”. The Russian department of the English ministry of foreign affairs is engaged in examining into Rakovsky’s career. It is not difficult to guess that these researches will actually result in the discovery that Rakovsky is really “making communes”, for the Bolsheviki differ from all European statesmen in not moulting their political feathers.

The English government would, of course, not have the slightest objection to raise against Rakovsky’s distant past, or the past of other Russian diplomats. Was not Briand a socialist of the extreme left at one time, a propagator of the general strike, and did he not begin speaking and acting in exact opposition to his former tactics as soon as he was seated on the ministerial benches? At one time Millerand was also a number of the Socialist Party, but as President of the French Republic he has become more sensible, and is transformed into a raging reactionary and imperialist. “Socialists” of this type are naturally acceptable to the honorable and god-fearing English exploiters. But that a minister or ambassador, after holding office in a high state position for six years, should stick to his old socialist convictions this is an unheard of scandal fur the whole diplomatic world. And then, this Rakovsky’s calling is perfectly inexplicable. Here is a man who has occupied himself for thirty years with revolution, has had power in his hands for several years, and still goes on occupying himself with such matters. How can anybody feel confidence in a man who does not possess any property, an obviously frivolous person who has not managed to scrape something together in the course of fifty years?

Other minsters and ambassadors are so very different! There is for instance the French ambassador in Germany, Laurent, representative of the well known association of French metal industrialists which is determined to gain possession of the Ruhr basin at any price. Or let us take English diplomats and ministers For example, there is in England a law prohibiting minsters from being directors of private commercial and financial companies. This law is, of course, loyally obeyed. Every joint stock company is naturally broad-minded enough to grant its directors sufficient leave of absence to enable them to fulfil their ministerial duties. Thus Sir Robert Horne leaves his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Stanley Baldwin succeeds him, and Horne is immediately chosen for the position of chairman of a commercial company controlled by Stanley Baldwin, and possessing a capital of over 9 million pounds sterling. Sir Eric Geddes, head of a ministry in the coalition cabinet, resigns his post at the same time as Sir Robert Horne gives up his, and is at once converted into a director of the Marconi telegraph company. A safe wire connects this wireless telegraph with certain ministers. McKenna, after giving up his ministerial post, became chairman of directors of one of the great banks. If we subject every English minister and ambassador to a thorough examination under the magnifying glass, and reckon up their various capitals, a very considerable sum would come to light, for they are one and all connected in one form or another with some description of industrial or financial undertaking. For all these gentlemen, politics are the continuation of their commercial transactions.

How is it possible to draw any comparison between such important (in millions sterling) ministers and diplomats and the Soviet diplomat Rakovsky, who has not even had enough sense to pilfer a few millions for himself? What kind of minister or diplomat does he think himself, that be does not even know the most elementary rules of civilized diplomacy? Did anybody ever hear of a minister or diplomat who wrote pamphlets and made speeches in favor of revolution? Is it not one of the sacred traditions of international diplomacy that when ministers and ambassadors write anything, it is invariably against revolution and against the emancipation of the masses?

And then this Soviet diplomat possesses another exceed ugly disagreeable characteristic the lack of any court-bestowed title of nobility. In place of the pleasing designation of Lord, Baron, or Marquis, we find the sinister title – Comrade! Can the Bolsheviki, who are their own ancestors, tell us anything about what their grandfathers and grandmothers were doing one or two hundred years ago? No doubt their forefathers were toiling at the work of tilling other people’s ground, bending their backs under the yoke of slavery. But if their ancestors had been flunkeys or ostlers to the ruling house, if these had evinced at the time of Catherine the First, Elizabeth or Catherine the Second, those characteristics which were regarded at that time as proving their ability to become a “capable guardsman”, and had been rewarded for this by offices, orders, and estates, then they would have been held in high esteem by their English colleagues for their “services” to their native country, for their origin would also have been “noble”, and they could have been acknowledged as worthy to hold a high diplomatic position. But the recognition as ambassador of a person who cannot change his convictions like his gloves who has not accumulated millions by devious stratagems, and who, above all, cannot boast of ancestors who were flunkeys to the ruling parasites of their day – how can a hypocritically pious, pedantically sanctimonious English gentleman, raising his eyes to heaven and feeling in other peoples pockets, be expected to put up with such a violation of all human and divine rights? Certainly he cannot be expected to do so. Let but the slightest opportunity occur, and these titled knights of straw utter a fervent prayer to sacred democracy, and then whisper threateningly: “Bolshevik, you give those factories back again!”

We have not the slightest doubt as to the solvency of the firm of “Baldwin. Curzon, & Co.” – Baldwin alone possesses, as we have seen, about ten million pounds sterling – but we permit ourselves to ask those ministers who are imitating the ink-slingers of the Morning Post, if they really think they can regain the irrevocably lost by these means? We had a better opinion of the good sense of the directors of that joint stock company, with unlimited non-liability, which is called the British Empire.

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Last updated on 28 April 2023