[An excerpt from a speech delivered by Eŭgeno Lanti before a group of worker Esperantists in Antwerp in 1934. The World Anational Association (SAT) was founded by Lanti and others in 1921. From the outset, a strong antinationalist current prevailed within it, paired with the conviction that use of Esperanto between workers would help to free them from narrow, national thinking and take them a step beyond internationalism as it was usually conceived in the workers' movement.]
…A moment ago I quoted a sentence from the Communist Manifesto and pointed out its erroneousness. But in the same work and on the same page, Marx also says: "United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat." I am in full agreement with this statement. And in everyone's ears resounds the good recommendation: "Workers of all countries, unite!"
So why did that necessary and recommended unification never take place? In my opinion it failed to occur, because absolutism commands people's minds and because there was no common language. In such circumstances it was impossible to achieve unity of action. It is absurd to recommend unity to people, if they cannot communicate, if they cannot read the same magazines, study the same books and hold discussions without the aid of translators and interpreters.
If there is agreement over this, it follows that our movement for a world language should not be considered secondary, unimportant or amateurish. Instead, it should be part of the foundation of any activity aiming to unify the proletariat worldwide. And I am not afraid to assert that inattention to the language question on the part of most leaders of working class organisations is one of the reasons that workers have not acquired a suitable, focussed mindset that would enable real, and not fictitious unity across boundaries.
Yet I am far from thinking that Esperanto is a cure-all – that it need only be adopted for peace and prosperity to prevail in the world. But at least all long-time members of SAT, those who have practiced our language continuously and deliberately, know very well from their own experience that there is no better way to shed one's national bias. It is dangerous to be unaware of one's inner sentiments. You could feel that in 1914. Before the outbreak of war, many workers demonstrated to the tune of the Internationale; but no sooner had the first drumbeats sounded than the national anthem became their favourite song. And I strongly believe that when the next war starts, the same thing will happen. It won't even surprise me if workers from the Soviet Union when the Internationale is played, it being the national anthem (!) there, and then French workers, in the name of the Marseillaise, which too was once a revolutionary anthem, agree to enter an alliance to wage war against Germany. Ruling circles and working-class leaders won't have trouble finding, as in 1914, justification for such a course of action…
The first tracts that SAT published 13 years ago contained the following sentences, which seem to me to be as true and relevant as ever: "The ideal society will not originate ready-made from a revolution, something that some people imagine to be a panacea." "Therefore, it is necessary to get ready for and practice the task of world citizens, casting aside immature notions of nationality that education within a particular country puts into our heads and hearts."
ĝisdatigo de 2017-04-18 / last changes made on Apr. 18, 2017