O.W. Kuusinen

A Butcher State

(25 August 1921)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. I No. 1, 1 October 1921, pp. 3–4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2018). 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.

A year before the constitution of the Communist International took place in Moscow, its foundation was laid in the midst of revolutionary struggle. It happened in Finland, in the spring of 1918. On the snow-covered battle fields in the class-war of Finland, international forces fought on both sides. On the red front fought the battalions of the Russian workers, the red guards of the Finnish proletariat, the battalions of the Lettish comrades. On the white front the troops of German imperialism, the bands of the Finnish middle-class, the voluntary battalion of Swedish political agitators, counter-revolutionary officers etc.

By this war which lasted three months the international idea took strong hold of the proletariat as well as of the middle-class of Finland.

The necessary condition for the international education of the proletariat is its deliverance from the spell of democratic illusions. At that time it was profoundly and quickly done in Finland. In the year 1906 there was on paper a very democratic constitution of parliament in Finland. The social-democrat labour party possessed 40–45% of the members of the diet. In 1917 they had the majority already. In that year democratic liberty in Finland was so great that the working class could quite publicly form and arm their red guards.

The democratic illusions strengthened in this way were, however, destroyed in a few weeks by the reality of the class struggle: capitalist democracy in its highest form is nothing but a camouflage for the mobilisation of social forces for the class-war.

At the same time the division of the old social-democratic labour-movement into the camps of the Second and the Third International took place in a very concrete form: the adherents of the right wing unmasked themselves as counter-revolutionary saboteurs in the fight of the revolutionary masses. After the great massacre of the 1st of May 1918, thousands of members of the Finnish Labour Party lay shot to death on the ground with their membership; cards reposing on their breast, whilst many of the triumphant conquerors carried their books of membership of the German Social-Democratic Party or of German trade-unions in their pockets.

By its voluntary troops recruited from its class the Finnish bourgeoisie had given an example to European reaction. Already in 1905 they were called butchers in Finland. Now the dictatorship of the butchers had temporarily gained a perfect victory. In a blood-thirsty manner they made use of all possibilities of the White Terror and of systematic inquisition. But the result was a great disappointment for them – the ranks of the revolutionary clearheaded masses of workmen are now much stronger and more resolute than ever in Finland and are on the way to final victory.

The national illusions of the Finnish middle-class have likewise been destroyed. The independence of Finland really existed only during the four weeks of the end of the year 1917, when Bolshevist Soviet Russia hat made a present of this independence to the Finnish bourgeoisie and when it had not yet been delivered by them as a body to Germain imperialism. During the German domination in 1918 Finland was impudently pillaged of victuals and valuables. After the German defeat the Finnish Butcher state has still kept up secret connections with the German monarchist league, but has more and more been vanquished by the mighty British imperialism. Now its force of passive defence against the English imperialism is totally broken.

Under these circumstances its situation has become by no means easier. The little butcher-state is strangled by its own independence. It has no market for its products; The production of worthless paper money is the only branch of industry, that is not wanting in White Finland. The tremendous unproductive costs for the military equipments of troops, the speculation of banks and import firms, and the robberies that are systematically committed on the State by the “independent” bureaucracy have exhausted the economic force of the country. Next autumn or winter threatens the Finnish butcher regime with an economic catastrophe. In order to save herself Finland cries for help in ail directions for a foreign “economic dictator” for any Stinnes with unlimited powers.

The Finnish Utopia of national independence has been as unlucky as the Utopia of pure democracy. In the moment, when it seemed to be on the point of perfect realisation, when they knocked already at the gates of their Jericho they were in fact ultimately driven out of all the land of Canaan. The little butcher-state had of course just like other deformities of the same type its imperialist dream too, its fixed idea of a “Great Finland”. This fixed idea was also pursued by adventurous expeditions to Esthonia, to North Karelia and to Olenetz in South-Karelia. But every time this raving megalomania was shaken into clear-headed consciousness by the rough fist of the Russian Red Army.

By these hard experiences changes have been taking place among the possessing classes of Finland. Part of them are politically exhausted and wish social peace and order at any price. That is to say: secured capitalist profit at any price, no matter where it comes from, even from the Bolsheviki. This part of the bourgeoisie is inclined to help the capitalist production of the country by commerce with Soviet-Russia, but they are being terrorised by the active butchers. The active butchers are looking for rescue in a new secret alliance with the monarchists of all countries of Continental Europe, in new warlike adventures against Soviet-Russia.

By this endeavour they meet half-way the intentions of the French bourgeoisie to organise a holy alliance in Europe in defence of French profit. The new commercial treaty of Finland with France is the outward proof that also the Finnish butchers will henceforward join the French secret alliance as hirelings.

It will soon be evident, how long and how far these black plans of concentration may be carried on, on the European Continent without meeting with the opposition of the British policy of splitting up the Baltic into small “independent” states. But one thing is sure: the revolution of the European proletariat will pronounce the final sentence on the plans of the political intriguers of both parties.

Finland herself is of course only a very small phenomenon and a passing spectacle. But it is evident, that her fate is in some respects typical of the present precess of the European class-war. The factor, which plays the dominant role in the class-war in Finland, is the organisation of the communists for the proletarian revolution against the organisation of the butchers.

Moscow, August 25th 1921

Last updated on 4 December 2018