Workers Vanguard No. 991
25 November 2011
The Bolsheviks Are Coming
The leaflet below was written in late 1918 by David Ivon Jones and L.H. Greene to rally “the workers of South Africa—black as well as white” behind the banner of the October Revolution and incipient workers revolution in Germany. It was issued in English, Zulu and Sotho by the International Socialist League, a predecessor of the Communist Party of South Africa, amid militant strikes in Durban, especially on the docks. The authors were arrested and convicted under the Moratorium (War Measure) and Riotous Assembly acts, although the convictions were later overturned. The leaflet, reprinted from South African Communists Speak (1981), refers to “Tommy Atkins” and “Blighty,” which were World War I-era slang for British soldiers and Britain.
A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Bolshevism!
What is this Bolshevism that the ruling class is so much afraid of?
Why do they send British Armies to Russia to fight the Bolsheviks?
Have they not had enough killing? Or is it a thirst for righteousness that makes them pack Tommy Atkins off to freeze in the snows of Archangel, just when he was looking forward to Home and Blighty?
The Czar massacred half a million nomads in Southern Russia in one swoop. They did not send an army against him.
Why then are they so scared of Bolshevism? Why do they turn pale at its shadow as at the ghosts of murdered men? Why?
We will tell you why!
The Great War of Nations is over, and the Class War against Labour has openly begun.
Bolshevism means the rule of the working class! And where the workers rule, the Capitalists cannot carry on their Robber System any more.
A Campaign of Lies
Workers! Do not be misled when the Capitalist Press reviles the Bolsheviks. They slander the Bolsheviks because they have lost the fat money bags they lent to the Czar to crush the Russian people.
They slander the Bolsheviks because they have lost the rich mines and factories which the Russian workmen are now working for themselves; and the land, which forty million peasants are farming in common under the Soviet Republic.
They slander the Bolsheviks because they fear you will follow suit. They are afraid the workers in South Africa will also become free and independent.
They are losing their hair over Bolshevism because they see a prospect of losing their Profits.
Labour on Top
The workers of Russia and Germany are forming themselves into Soviets—that is: Councils of Workmen.
They are taking over the control of the country into their own hands—the hands of the great wage-earning proletariat. That means the end of the Profiteering System, the end of the Capitalist exploitation of wage-labour for profit.
Why have the workers of Russia and Germany to shed their blood?
Because the Capitalist Class of all countries will sooner tear the people to pieces with their cannon rather than let the people rule. The workers are the people.
Remember the massacre of the workers in Johannesburg in 1913 and in [the city of] Bloemfontein last February!
Down with British Militarism! It is a weapon to crush the workers.
Down with Allied intervention in Russia!!
Down with the Capitalist Class in all countries!!!
The hope of the workers is coming from Bolshevism. The free commonwealth of labour is an actual fact in Russia today.
Bolshevism means the victory of the wage-earners. It will soon spread to Britain, France, America and throughout the world.
Get Ready for the World-wide Republic of Labour.
The way to get ready is to combine in the workshops. Combine as workers, no matter what colour.
Remember that an injury to one is an injury to all, be he black or white.
While the black worker is oppressed, the white worker cannot be free.
Before Labour can emancipate itself black workers as well as white must combine in one organisation of Labour, irrespective of craft, colour or creed.
This is Bolshevism: The Solidarity of Labour.
Workers of the World Unite!
You have nothing to lose but your Chains. You have a world to Win!!