The challenge of international solidarity

Being many things to many people, Colin Ross managed to appeal to the left by lecturing on the rising global proletariat.

This vivid essay demonstrates that as late as 1931 the politically uncommitted Ross was still able to market himself to the left as an authority on international class struggle. Writing in the social democratic Arbeiter-Zeitung, the reviewer’s thinking is prompted by a Ross lecture in Vienna that covers exploitation of black labor in South Africa, Asian struggles for independence from colonial powers, and Australia’s anti-immigration policy. “Has socialism”, Colin Ross asks, “already awakened to awareness of these world problems?”

The reviewer shares Ross’s fear of Europe’s loss of its supremacy in case of another world war and confesses his or her trepidation against racial integration. Otherwise, the suggestions in the article read not at all close to Ross’s perspective of violent struggle between races. The author argues that European socialists must help organize the workers of other nations, for their benefit, but also to prevent them from driving down wages for their European counterparts. To drive home the essential sameness of class struggle around the world, unrest in China in the late 1920s is equated with the revolutionary struggle and eventual bourgeois counter-revolution in 1848 Vienna.

Joachim Schätz

O.P. Welt mit uns! Arbeiter-Zeitung. Jg. 44, Nr. 1. 1931 Jan 1;3.

Topic: Colonialism
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30

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