While much of the Socialist movement was thrown into chaos and confusion with the outbreak of World War One, Mary E. Marcy was, at least on the nature of the war, absolutely clear from the beginning. Writing this, the first ISR editorial of the war, she declares there is only one flag worth fighting for, and it was red.
‘The Real Fatherland’ by Mary E. Marcy from The International Socialist Review. Vol. 15 No. 3. September, 1914.
What has “your” country ever done for you, Mr. Workingman? Has it been a real fatherland to you? Has it looked after your welfare? Has it given you the opportunity to have a warm home in the winter? Has it seen that you have clothing and food? Has it fed your children and assured them of sunshine and schooltime and playtime to fit them for the real work of life?
Are you a German, Frenchman, or Englishman? Are you Russian, Austrian, or Italian? Are you an American? It does not matter. This question applies to every workingman in the world. What has “your” country ever done for you?
Surely no one expects you to love a particular geographical district upon the face of the earth just because you happened to be born in it, unless that district has done something for you.
When you were a child, did your country throw protecting arms around you and feed and clothe and shelter you? Or did your working class father and mother have to struggle to give you a place to eat and sleep? Is there one spot in all “your” country where you may rest and live and sleep in peace without the weekly and monthly dig-up to a landlord? And if you have no money to pay rent and no work to earn money to pay rent, does “your” country come to your assistance and give you work or does “your” country send around a sheriff or some other city official to set you out in the snow and another official to drive you from the city with a club, a gun, and a “move on”?
When you are unable to secure a job and are driven across country by the police of “your” country or the gendarmes until you find yourself on “foreign” soil, you will find native workers of that “foreign” land in the same predicament as your own. The Frenchman, the German, the Englishman are all driven from pillar to post, from city to city, because they have no jobs and no money to buy food and clothing and the right to live on the land of “their” country.
Patriotism means the love of the land in which you were born – that and nothing more. And why should you love that land any more than any other?
Mr. Workingman, what has your native land done for you that you should fight for her flag, her glory, or her power? No matter how large or powerful she may become, not matter how rich her resources and her natural wealth, you will share in none of these things unless you can find a boss to pay you money to spend. If you are rich, “your” country will open her arms to you and spread out her army, her laws, her police to protect your riches. If you are penniless, she will just as readily drive you from her furthermost provinces or send you to her vilest prisons.
“Your” country has protection only for the powerful, the rich, the idle; she has no care for those who are hungry, cold, and sick. The flag of “your” nation is borne by the troops sent into districts where the hosts of poverty congregate, to drive them from the sight of the wealthy.
“Your” country has no place for you after you have built the railroads, harvested the crops, produced the food and clothing for more than your own numbers. For when your work is done your pay ceases. All that you have made, all that you have produced, has been kept by your employers and you are turned out upon the mercies of “your” country in your old age, penniless and homeless, to starve.
Workingmen of the world, the land of your birth has done nothing for you. Conditions in Germany, France, Austria, England, Russia, and America are practically the same. Everywhere you will find the workers earning barely enough to live on. Everywhere you will find thousands of men hunting jobs and no jobs. Everywhere you will find the rich protected and the poor driven out.
You have no country! Every national flag in the world today means protection for the employing class, who appropriate the things produced by the workers. It has no message for those who toil.
There is only one flag worth fighting for and that is the red flag, which means universal brotherhood of the workers of the world in their fight to abolish the profit system.
The real fatherland will cherish every one of its children. It will see that all have equality of opportunity and a chance to produce and procure all the good things of life. The real fatherland means a childhood free from work and worry for all; useful work for every able-bodied man and woman; it means his product for the worker without profit to any boss; it means leisure and a regular old age income in the winter of life! This is the real fatherland and this is Socialism!
The International Socialist Review (ISR) was published monthly in Chicago from 1900 until 1918 by Charles H. Kerr and critically loyal to the Socialist Party of America. It is one of the essential publications in U.S. left history. During the editorship of A.M. Simons it was largely theoretical and moderate. In 1908, Charles H. Kerr took over as editor with strong influence from Mary E Marcy. The magazine became the foremost proponent of the SP’s left wing growing to tens of thousands of subscribers. It remained revolutionary in outlook and anti-militarist during World War One. It liberally used photographs and images, with news, theory, arts and organizing in its pages. It articles, reports and essays are an invaluable record of the U.S. class struggle and the development of Marxism in the decades before the Soviet experience. It was closed down in government repression in 1918.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/isr/v15n03-sep-1914-ISR-riaz-ocr.pdf