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• • • I ~ • I • • I • • • • A • 9 , • • • • ~ ~ ~ • •




• • •

13 . · 22


.. • • • • III ..

.. oil .. ...

A CARICATURE OF MARXISM AND IMPERIALIST ECONOMISM ... 28 t. The Marxi st Attitude Towards War and "Defence of the

Fatherland n • • .. • • • ~. '" G • • • • • .. • .. to .. • "' 29

2. "Our Understandi ng of the New Era" ~ .. .. .. · · .. ~ • 36

3. \Vhal Is Economic Analysis? · · · ,. · . • 40

4. The Example of N Of\Vay .. '" OJ' .. " I ~ " • • • to .. • .. 48

5 "1.10 . 5 adD ua l . sm' t;r;

• 1\" n 1 m n 1. .. ~ • • • f .. '" • • • • .. .. .. uu

6. The. Ot her Po lit.ical Issues Raised and Distorted by


P. Kievsky ... · · · ........ ,.. • • , " 7. Cone 1 usion, Al exi risky ~lpLhods · , • • •

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63 75

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1 ~ .. . . . · · .. . . . .. · · · · 77

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I I I ."' _ . .. . . .. . . . . . .. .. · · 011 • • "' ~ • • ~ • ~ 83


• .... III •

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88 90


THE ~I)lSAH!otlAl\:1ENT· SLOGAN ~ . "' •• to + t .. 94

1 . • . . . . ~ .. .. . • . ~ . • . .. • • • .. .. ~ .. · 9-1

I I .. & • • ~ • • • to • • ~ .. • ,. ~ • .. "' • ~ • • 9B

I 11 . .. .. ~ . . ~ . . . .. .. . . .. · .. · ~ .. · 09

I V r .. • .. ." ••••• 100


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O}~ S\VITZERLAN D J N OVEMBER ~,1916 ..... I' • 'I •• 'I • • .. • 121




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. . ~

TASKS OF THE LEFT ZIMMERWALDISTS IN THE S'VISS SOCIALDE1-1 OCRA TIC PARTY . . . . . . . • . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

I .. Attitude Towards the War and Towards the Bourgeois

Government in General . . .. . . .. a • • ~ • • • • .. 137

II. The High Cost of Li ViIJg and tho I nto1crable Economic Conditions of the Masses . .. . .. ~ ~ . .. ~ ~ . . .. .. f39

111. Pressing Democratic Reforms and Uti li sation of the Political Struggle and Parll amcntarism . . . " . . . . 141

IV. The Immediate Tasks of Party Propaganda, Agitation

" and Orga nisation " .. . . ~ . . ~ . . . " . .. . . .. • 143 V. International Tasks of the Swiss Social-Democrats ~ ~ 146


PARTY TO\YARDS 1'HE 'VAR ~ • . . .. 149



• .. • • • · · 152
• • • • . . · • • 161
~ • · • . ~ • • · 163 TIlE YOUTH INTERNATIONAL, A Ret:"iew .


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III " • 411 ..

167 171

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Art i cle (or Chapter) J. The· Turn in World Politics • t ~ 177 Art i cle (or Chapter) I I! The Pacifism of Kautsky and

Tura ti · · . . . ~ . . .. .. ~ . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. ~ .. 181

Article (or Chapter) /11. The Pacifism of the French So-

cia lists and Syndicalists .... , . ~ . . ... ~ ~ ~ & ... 186

Art icle (or Chapter) IV.. Zirnmerwald at tho Crossroads 191

195 AN OPEN LETTE]t TO nORIS SO UVARINE . . . . . • . I • ~ ••


A LETTER TO V. A. KARPINSKY . . . . . . . . . ~ . ~ . . . . . 217




THEln GOVEHNMENTS • ~ ~ ...... ~ ~ • ~ • " ~ .••.••. 22Y



I .. ECTURE ON THE 1905 REVOLUTION . . • . . . . .. . ~ ~ . ~ . 236 T\VELVE BHIEF 1'HESES ON H. GREULIClJ~S DEFENCE OF FA-. THETILA N I) IJEFENCE . . . - • . ~ • . • • . .. . . . . . . • . . 254


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STATIST ICS AND SOCIOLOGY . . ~ 10 • • • • • • .. to • • • • • • •

Foreword · 10 • .. • .. .. ~ • ~ .. " • .. • .. .. • • ~ , ~ " .. 271

II i st.ori cal Background to N a t.ional ~Jovcments. 9 ~ • • • 271

Chapter 1. A Few Statistics . , " ~ . ~ " . 273

J • • • ~ • · .. · · .. . • .. 10 .. • • ~ " .. • • • • • ~ .. 273

II .. · . .. ~ . . ~ . . .. .. . . .. . .. . .. .. ~ . .. .. . ~ " 276

1 T~1 AGINAH Y OR REAL MARSH? I • • • • •••



'ISSUE T , , •••••••• 282

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~ 278


1ST PAH.TY . . . . . . . . . . . . . • •• . .....••... 283

D R. AFT TIl ES E S ~ MA It CH 4 (1 7) t 1 9 t 7 . • . . ~ .. . . . . ~

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Lei i ers from Afar. First Leiter. The First Stage of the First"

n e v 0 I u ti 0 11 ~................ ~ • • • • • • 2D7

Lett ers f rom Afar. Second Let fer. The New Government and

the' Proletariat ~ . ~ " .. ~ <r • 309

Let t ers [rom A Jar T Th ird I.e t fer . Concern! ng "a Prnlet.ar i an

11 i l i t i a ~.......... - . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 320 Letters from Afar. Fourth 1 e t i er . 110\\' To Achieve P~"'ar.p .. 333 Letters [rom A far + FiJ til Letter" The Tasks Invulved In the

n uilding of the Revolutionary Prolutari n n Stat.e . . . .. . ~ 340

fro a IJ R CO M H.AD HS IN W AR- PR IS 0 N En CAl\lPS . . . . . • t • • J13



OF ALL conNTR rES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . + • • • • • • ,)




" 41-11 11' II "' t.


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FARE\VELL LFTTJi:[t TO THE S"\VISS ",tOn k: ERS • ~ . . . .. . .



The Life and \f.lork 0/ V.I. Lenin. Outstanding Dates ..•• 421


Volume 23 contains works written by v~ I. Lenin in Switzerland between August 1916 and March 1917~

·Most of the articles are expressive of the struggle Lenin and the Bolsheviks waged against the imperialist War and the treasonous policy of the avowed social-chauvinist and Cen trist leaders of the Second I nternational parties. 10 th is category belong "Irnperi a lism and the Split. in Socialism", "Ten 'Socia list t Ministers!", "Bourgeois Paci 118m and Socia Jist Paci Iism", "To the Workers Who Support the Struggle Against the War and Against the Socialists Who Have Sided with Their Governments".

The vol um o includes Lenin's famous article "The Military Programme of the Proletarian Hevol ut.i on", in wh ich, using the data on lmpcnalist capita lism contained in hl~Imperialism, the II tghest S loge oj C api talism, be elabora tes the now theoretica I proposi tion on the impo,~sil)llily of the slm ultaneous tri umph of socialism in all countries and the possibility of its triumph in one single capitalist country, In thi s arf.icle, Lenin also substantiates the theory of just and unjust wars.

Articles de fini ng the tasks of the revol u tionary SncialDenlocrats in the imperialist war of 1914-18 hold an important place in Lenin's wri ti ngs of this period. These include "Tasks of the Left Zimrncrwa t dists in the Swiss Soci aIDeD;locratic Party", "Principles involved in the War Issue", HOn the Defence of the ~;H t.herland Issue" and "Defence of N eutral ity".

In "Tho Nascent Trond of J mperia list Economism", "R epJy to P. lCievsky (Y. Pyatakov)", "A Cartcat.urn of Marxism all d J m periallst Econolnisln"', Lenin cri uctses the at ti tude


v ~ I. Lenin.-1917

• • .. ... • • .. • • III .. • .. ill ... ... • t • III


First page of Lenin '5 manuscri pt, "Letters from Afar. Second Let. ter. The New Govommout and the Proletariat". March 22

( g) , 191 7 . . " . . ~ . . . ~ 6 ~ • • .. • • .,. • • * • • • 308 ·,09

First page of the leaflet, "To Our Comrades in War-Prisoner

Ca In p s". 191 7 ~ . . ~ .. . . • • . • • " . ~ ~ & ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 34:5




- -

of the anti .... Party Bukharin .... Pyatakov group as being hostile to Marxism", and elaborates the Bolshevik programme on the national question in adaptation to the new' conditions, of hist ~y.

Th81 volume also includes the '" ecturr 01 the '1905 RevoIution", deli vered at a gathering of young workers in Zurich. In it Lenin gi vas a profound interpretati ve generalisation of the first Russian revolution,

"Draft Theses, March 4(17) - 1917"'" "'L tters from Afar ",

The Tasks of the Russlan Social-Democratic I about Party in the Russian R evol ution", "The Revolution in .R ussia and. the Tasks of the Workers of All Countries' ~ and several other articles, written. in the early days of the February Revolution" analyse the' alignment of' class Iorces and outline the prospect for transition from bourgeois-democratio to socialist revolution ..

Six i terns are here puhlished for the first. time as part of' the Collected Works., "Proposed Amendments to, the Hesolution on .he War Issue' ,and! "The Story of One

i.i '

Short eriod in the Life of One Social] t Party" disc u s

the fight waged by the Left for as within the Swiss SocialDemocra tic Party, Statistics and Sociology brings out the 'part played by national movements in the Internatfonal labour movement. "Telegram to the Bolsheviks Leaving . for Hussia' and "Letter to Volksrecht" explain the Bolshevik tactic' in tl revolution .. "Dec ision of the- Collegium . broad" the Central Commit ee of the I ussian Social-Dernocratlc

La hour Party" is. directed agal n tMen,s'hBvik attempts to prevent Lenin and the other Bolsheviks returning to Russia" ..

... ..

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The old Econornisrn 2 of 1894-1902 reasoned thus: the Narorlni ks " have been refuted; capitalism has triumphed in Russia. Consequently, there can be no qnestion of political revolution. Tho practical conel usi on: ei ther "economic struggle be left to the workers and political struggle to the liberals"-that is a curvet to the right-c-or, instead of political revolution, a genera] stri ko for socialist revo 1 ution. That curvet to the left was advocated in a pamphlet, now forgotten, of a R ussian Economist of the late ni ueties, 4

Now a new Economism is being born" Its reasoning is similarly based on the two curvets: "Right"-wc are against the "right to self-determination" (i.e., against the liberation of oppressed peoples, the struggle against annexalionsthat has not yet been fully thought out or clearly stated) .

. "Left"-we are opposed to a minimum programme (i .. e., opposed to struggle for reforms and democracy) as "contradic-

tory" to socialist revolution. "

It is more than a year now since this nascent trend was revealed to several comrades at the Borne Conference in the spring of 191.5. At that time, happily, only one comrade, who met with universal disapproval, insisted on these ideas of imperialist Economism right up to the end of" the Conference and formulated them in writing in special "theses".

No one associated himself with these theses .. 5 "

Suhsequently two others associated themselves with this comrade's theses against self-determination (unaware that the question was inextricably linked with the general line of the afore-mentioned "thosos'T." But the appearance of the "Dutch programme" in February 1916, published in No .. 3 of the Bulletin oj the International Socialist Committee, 7


immediately brought out this "misunderstanding" and again compelled the author of the origjnal theses to restate his imperialist Economism, this timet too, as a whole, and not merely in application to one allegedly "partial" issue,

It is absolutely necessary again and again to warn the comrades concerned that they have landed themselves in a quagmire, that their "ideas" have nothing in common either with Marxism or revolutionary Social-Democraeu. We can no longer ~eave t?e matter "in the dark": that would only encourage I deological confusion and direct it in lo the worst possible channel of eq ui voca tion, "pri vate" conflicts, inces~ant "fric Lion", etc. Our duty, on the contrary, is to insist, In the most emphatic and categorical manner, on the obligalion thoroughly to think out and analyse questions raised for discussion.

In its theses on self-determination* (which appeared in German as a reprint from No.2 of VorboteB)t the Sotsialpemokrat 9 editorial board purposely brought the matter· Into the press in an impersonal, hut most detailed form emphasising in partie ular the link between self-deternli'natioI~ and the general question of the struggle for reforms, for democracy, the impermissibility of ignoring the political aspect, etc. In his comments on the editorial hoard's theses the author of the original theses (imperialist Economism) comes out in solid?rity toit': the Dutch programme, thereby clearly demonstratlng that self-determination is by no means a "partial' question, as exponents of the nascent t~end main-

I tain, but a general and basic one.

The Dutch programme was laid before representatives of the Zirnmerwald Left 10 on February 5-8, 1916, at the Berne meeting of the International Socialist Committee. 11 Not a single mem her of the Zimmerwald Left, not even Radek spoke in favour of the programme, for it combines i ndiscriminately, such points as "expropriation of the' banks" and "repeal of customs tariffs", "a boli ti 0 n of the first Senate cham!>cr", etc. The Zimmerwald Left unanimously, with practically no com ment, in fact merely wi th a shrug of t.he shoulders, dismissed the Dutch programme as patently and whully unsuitable.

* Sec present cditionl Vol. 22t PI).143,56.-Ed ..





However, the author of the origi nal theses, wri tten in the spring of 1H15, was so fond of the programme that he deelared: "Substantially, that is all I sai d. too [in the spri ng of 1915 L * "the Dutch ha ve thought things out": "with them the economic aspect is expropriation of the banks and largescale production [enterprises 1, the political aspect is a republic and so on. A bsoluteJy correct!"

The fact, however, is that the Dutch did not "think things out", but produced an unthought out programme. It is the sad fate of Russia that some among us gra~p at precisely what is not thought out in tho newest noveltYAI" ..

The author of the 1915 theses believes that the SotsialDemokrat editors lapsed into a contradiction when they "thernsel ves" urged "ex propriation of the banks", and even added tho word "immediately" (pl us "dictatorial measures") in § 8 ('~Concrete Measures") .. "And how I was reproached for thi s very thing in Berne P' the author of the 1915 theses exclaims in dignan tly, recalling the Berne debates in the spri rig of 1.915.

He forgets or fails to see this Urn inor" point: in §8 the Sot sial-Demokrat edi tors c lear1 y distinguish two eventualities: I. The socia li st revol uti on has begun. In that event, they say: "imrn ed i a to cxpropri a ti 0 n of the ba n ks", etc, I J. The soc ia list revolution has not begun, and in that even t we shall have to postpone talking about these good things.

Since the socialist revolution, in the above-mentioned sense, has obviously not yet begun, the Dutch programme is incongruous. And the author of the theses adds his bit of "» ro fundi ly" by reverti ng (he al wa ys seems to sli p on the same spot 1) to his old mistake of turning poli tical demands (Iiko "abuli Lion of the first chamber"?) into a "political [ormula for social retoluiion".

Having marked time for a whole year, the author returned to his old mistake. That is the "crux' of his misad ventures: he cannot solve the problem of how to link the adient oj imperialism with the struggle for reforms and democracyjust as the Economism of blessed mtnHOI'Y could (lot lin k the advent of capitalism with the struggle for democracy.

* Interpolations in square brackets (within passages quoted by Lenin) have boon introduced by Lenin .. unless ot.herwis« ind i cahKI.-Ed .



Hence-complete confusion concerning the "unachievahi lity'' of democratic demands under imperialism.

Hence-ignoring of the pnlitical struggle now, at present, immediately, and at all times, which is impermissible for a Marxist (and permissible only for a Rabochaya Mysll.:!:


Hence-the knack of persistently "sliding" from recognition of imperialism to apology for imperialism (just as the Economists of blessed memory slid from recognition of capitalism to apology for ca pitalism) ..

And so on, and so forth.

A detailed examination of the errors the author of the 1915 theses commits in his comments on the Sotsial-Demokrat self-determination theses is impossible, for every line is wrong! . After all, you cannot write pamphlets or books in reply to "comments" if the initiators of imperialist Economisrn spend a whole year marking. time and stubbornly refuse to concern themselves wit.h what ought to be their direct

. party duty if they want to take a serious attitude to political issues, namely: a considered and articulate statement of what they designate as Hour differences".

I am therefore ohliged to confine myself to a brief review of how the author applies his basic error and how he "supplements" it.

He believes that I contradict myself: in 1914 (in Prosteshcheniye IS) I wrote that it was absurd to look for self-determination "in the programmes of West-European socialist e'," but in 1916 I proclaim self-determination to he especially urgent.

It did not occur (!1) to the author that these "programmes" were drawn up in 1875j 1880, 1891! 14

Now let us take his objections (to the Sotsial-Demokrat self-determination theses) point by point,

§1. The same Economist refusal to see and pose political questions. Since socialism creates the economic basis for the aboli tion of national oppression in the poli tical sphere, therefore our author refuses to formulate our political tasks in this sphere! Tha t 's ridic ulous!

* See present edition, Vol. 20, p. 404 .. -Ed.



Since the vicLorious proletariat does not negate wars against tho bourgeoisie of other countries, therefore the author refuses to Iorm ulate our political tasks in relation to national oppression 11 These are all ex am p les of downright violation of Marxism and logic, or t if you like, mani festat i ens of the logic of the Iun damental errors of iru perialist Ecouumism ..

§2~ The opponents or self-determination are hopelessly

confused in their references to its being "unachieva ble", The Sotsial-Demokrat editors explain to them two possible i nterpretationsof unac hi evahi Ii ty and their error in "bolk cases.

Y ot the au thor of the 1915 theses, wi thout even trying to gi ve his interpreta ti on of "unach i evuht li ty", L e. 'I accepting our explanation that t\VO different things are confused here, persists in that confusion!!

He ties crises to t'i ru peria list" "polic y": 0 ur expert on po li tical economy has forgotten that there were crises before

im perialism! .

To maintain that self-determination is unachievable economically is to confuse the issue, the edi tors explain. The B; uthor docs not reply, does not state that he considers self-determination unachievable economically; he abandons his dubious position and jumps over to politics (unachievable "all the same") though he has been told with the utmost c la rity that politically a republic is just as "unachievable" under imperialism as self-determination.

Cornered, the author "jumps" again: he accepts a republic and the whole minim urn programme only as a "political form ula for social revol ution'' It !

He refuses to defend the "economic" unachievabi li ty of self-determination and jumps to politics, mainlaining that poli tical unachieva hili ty applies to the minim urn programme as a whole. Hero again there is not a grain of Marxism, not a grain of logic, save the logic of imperialist Economism.

The author wants imperceptibly (without stopping to think, without producing anything articulate, without mak·ing any effort to work out his programrne) to jettison the Social-Democratic Party minimurn programme! No wonder he has been marki ng - time for a whole year! I

The question of combating Kautskyism is again not a parl.iul, but a general and basic question of modern times:




the author does not understand this struggle. J ust as the Economists turned the strugqle against the N arodniks into an apology for capitalism, so the author !urns ~h~ struggle against Kautskyism into an apology for imperialism (that appl i es also to §;-{)"

The mi st.ako of the Ka utskyi tes lies in the fact that they present in a reformist manner such demands, and at such a time, that can be presented only in a revolutionary manner (but the author lapses into the posi tion ~hat their nl!stake is to advance these demands altogether, Just as the Economists "understood" the st.ruggle against Narodism to mean that the slogan "Down with the autocracy" was Narodism).

The m ista ke of Ka utskyi sm Ii es in projecting co rrect democratic demands into the past, to peaceful capitalism, and not into the future, to the soci al rovol uti on (the a ut.hor, however, falls into the position of regarding these demands as incorrec t},

§:·t See above, Tho aut.hor bypasses al~o the question of "federation". Tho same old fundarncntal mistake of the same old Econ om ism: inabi Ii ty to pose political questi ons. *

§4. "From self-determination follows defc?ce Aof the fatherland, H the a ut.hor obstinately repeats. HIS mistake here is to make nega I i Of) of defence of the fa thor-land a shibboleth, ded uce it not from the concreto historical Iea t. ures of a given war, but apply it "in general", That is not l\1arxislI.L

The author has been told long ago- try to think up a form ula of struggle agai nst nationa1 oppression or ineq uali ty which (form ula) does not justi fy "defence of the father Ian d". You cannot devise such a formula, and the author has not

eha llenged that. ~ ~

Does that mean that we reject the fight against national oppression if it could be interpreted to imply defence of the fatherland?

No, for we are opposed not to "defence of the- fatherland" "in general" (see our Party resolutlons="), but to using


$; "We arc not afra i d of disintegration;" the author wri tes, "we do not defend national bound aries." Now, just t.ry to gr ve that a precise political forrnulat.ionr! You .~i1nply-;, cannot. do i~ and that's vlh~re th~ trouble li os: yo u are hampered by E conomist blindness on q uesti OIlS of poli tical de moe racy.

** See present edition, VoL 21, pp .. 1S9-60.-Ed.



this fraudulent slogan to embellish the present imperialist war ~ h' f "d f f

The author uiant s to pose t e quesuon 0 0 ence 0

the fatherland" in a basicallu ~nco.rrect .and unhistorical way (but he cannot: he has been tryIng In vain for a whole yoar...).

His reference to "dua lism' shows that he does not understand the di fference between monism and dUH !ism.

If I "uni te' a shoe brush and a mammal, wi ll that be "m 0 n ism ,~ ?

If I say that to reach goal a we must


travel to the left from point (b) and to the right from point

(c), wi ll that be "d ua lisrn"? .

Is the position of tho proletariat with regard to national oppression the SaITlO in oppressi ng and oppressed nations? No" it is not the snrnu, not the same economicallu, politically, ideologically t spiritually, etc.


" Meaning that some will approach in one way" others in another way the same goa J (th~ merger of na tions) from different starl.i ng-points. Denial of that is the "monism" that unites a shoe brush and II mammal.

"It is not proper to say this li. e., to urge sell-determination] to l.he proletarians of an oppressed na tion"-that is how the aut hor "interprets' the edi tors' theses.

Tha t 's a In usi ng I I Th ere is no l hing oj t he kind in the theses ..

The author has ei l her not read them to the end or has not

given thorn any thought at all. "

§5 .. See above on Kautskyism.

. §tt The author is told there are three types of coun tries In the wnr l d. He "o bjec ts" and sua lches out "cases", That is casuistry, not po li tics.

You want a concrete "ease"; "How ahout Belgium"?

Sl~e the Leni nand Zinoviev pamphlet 1:1: i L says that we . ,vould be for the defence of Belgi UIIl (even by l.Dar) if this concrete wur were di fferent. *

* S

~ oo present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 305-06. -Ed.



v. 1& LENIN

You do not agree with that? Then say so l l

You have not properly thought out the question of why Socin l-Democra ts are against "defence of the fatherland".

We are not against it for the reasons you believe, because your presentation of the question (vain efforts, not rea lly a presentation) goes against history. That is my reply to the author.

To describe as "sophistry" the fact that while justifying" wars for the elimination oj national oppression, we do not justify the present imperialist wart which on both sides is being waged to increase national oppression-c-is to use "strong" words without giving the matter the least bit of thought.

The author wants to pose the question of "defence of the fa therlaud" from a more "Left" position, but tho result (for a whole year now) is utter confusion 1

§7. The author crit icises: "The question of 'peace terms' is not touched upon at all. "

Strange criticism: failure to deal with a question we did not even raise!!

But what is "touched upon" and discussed is the question of annexations, on which the imperialist Economists are utterly confused, this time together with the Dutch and Hadek.

Either you reject the immediate slogan against old and new annexalions-(no less "unachievahle" under imperialism than self-deterrnination, in Europe as well as in the colonies)-and in that case you pass from concealed to open apology for imperialism.

- Or you accept the slogan (as Radek has done in the press)and in that case you accept self-determination of nations under a di fferent name! I

§8. The author proclaims "Bolshevism on a West-European scale' ("not your position," he adds).

I attach no importance to this desire to cling to the word "Bolshevism", for 1 know such "old Bolsheviks" from whom God save us" I can only say that the author's proclamation of "Bolshevism on a West-European scale" is, I am deeply convinced, neither Bolshevism nor Marxism, but a minor variant of the same" old Ecunomism,



In my view it is highly intolerable, flippant and nonParty to proclaim for a whole year the new Bolshevism and leave things at that. ls it not time to think matters out and give the comrades an articulate and integrated expose of "Bolshevism on a West-European scale"?

The author has not proved and will not prove the difference hetween colonies and oppressed nations in Europe (as applied to the question under discussion).

The Dutch and the P ,S. D. * rejection of self-determina ... tion is not only"! and even not so much, the result of confusion, for Gorter factually accepts it, and so does the Zimmerwald st atcment of the Poles," but rather the result of the special posit.i on of their nations (sma II na tions with ccn turiesold tradi tions and pretentions to G reat-Power statuss.

It is extremely thoughtless and na ive to take over and mechanically and uncritically repeat what in others has developed over decades of struggle against the nationalist hourgeoisie and its deception of the people" Here we ha ve a Case of people taking over precisely what should not be taken


()V Jr.

Written August-September 1916 " First puhl ished in the magazine Bolshct:lh No. 15~ i 929 Signed: N. Lenin

Publ ished according to the manuscript

* Polish Social-Democrat16c P t Ed

ar y .. - .



Like every crisis in the life of individuals or in the history of nations, war oppresses and breaks some, steels and enlightens others ..

The truth of that is making itself felt in Social-Democratic thinking on the war and in connection with the war. It is one thing to give serious thought to the causes and significance of an imperialist war that grows. out of highly developed capitalism, Social-Democratic tactics in connection with such a war, the causes of the crisis within the Social-Democratic movement. and so on. But it is quite another to allow the war to oppress your thinking, to stop thinking and analysing under the weight of the terrible impressions and termon Ling consequences or features of the war.

One such rOfIU of oppression or repression of human thinking caused by the war is the contemptuous attitude of imperialist Econom ism towards democracy. 1). Kievsky does not notice that running I ike a red thread through all h is arguments is this war-inspired oppression, this fear, this refusal to analyse. What point is there in discussing defence of the fatherland when we are in the midst of such a terrible holocaust? What point is there in discussing nations' rights when outright strangulation is everywhere the ru lo ? Selfdetermination and "independence" of nations-buL look what they have done to "independent" Greece! What is tho use of talking and thinking of "right.s", when rights are everywhere being trampled upon in the interests of tho m ilit.arists! What sense is there in talking and thinking .of a republic, when there is absol utely no difference wha tsoever between the most democratic republics and the most react ionary monarchies, when the war has obliterated every trace, of difference!



Kievsky is very angry when told that he has given way to fear, to the ex tent of rejec ti ng dem ocra c yin goneral. He is anzrv and objects: I am not against democracy, only again~t" one democratic demand, which I consider "bad". But though I( ievsky is offended, and though he "assures" us (and himself as well, perhaps) that he is not at all "against" dcrnocracy, his arguments-or, more corroct ly, the endless errors in his arguroents-prove the very opposite ..

Defence of the fatherland is a lie in an imperialist war, but not in a democratic and revolutionary war. All talk of "rights" seems absurd during a war, because every war replaces rights by direct and outright violence. But that should not lead us to forget that history has known in tho past (and very likely wi ll know" must know, in the future) wars (democratic and revolutionary wars) which, while replacing every kind of "right", every kind of democracy, by violence during the war, nevertheless, in their social content and irn plicalions, served the cause of democracy, and consequently socialism, The example of Greece, it would seem, "refutes" all national self-determination. But if you stop to think, analyse and weig h matters, and do not allow yourself to be deafened by the sound of words or frightened and oppressed by the nightmarish irn pressi ons of the war, then this exam pIe is no more serious or convincing than ridiculing the republican system beca use the "democratic" rep ublics, the most dpllocratic-not only France, but also the United States, Portugal and Switzerland-have already introduced "or are introducing, in the course of this war, exactly the same kind of militarist ar hi trari ness that exists in Russia.

That im perialist war 0 b li terates the difference between republic and monarchy is a fact. But til therefore rejoct the republic, or even be contem pt uous towards it, is to allow oneself to be frightened by the war, and one's thinking to be oppressed by its horrors. That is the mentality of many Supporters of the "disarmament" slogan (Holaud-Holst, the younger element in Switzerland, the Scandinavian "Lofts" 18 and others}, What, they im ply t is the use of discussing ~evolutionary utilisation of the army or a militia when there Is no di fference in thi s war between a repu b 1 ic an mili tis and a!.monar~hjst. standing army, and when militarism is everyW tere dOIng its horrible work?



That is all one trend of thought, one and the same theoretical and practical political error Kievsky unwittingly makes at every step. He thinks he is arguing only against self-determination, he wants to argue only against sell-detenninaiton, but the result-against his will and conscience, and that is tho curious thing l=-is that he has adduced not a single argument which could not be just as well applied to democracy in general!

The real source of all his curious logical errors and confusion-and this applies to not only self-determination, but a lso to defence of the fa ther land, divorce" "rights" in general-lies in the oppression of his thinking by the war, which makes him completely distort the Marxist position on democracy,

Imperialism is highly developed capitalism; imperialism is progressive; imperialism is the negation of democracy--"hence", democracy is "unuttainahle" under capitalism. Imperialist war is. a flagrant violation of all democracy, whether in backward monarchies or progressive republics"hence;" there is no point in talking of "rights" (i. e. t democracy l). The "only" thing that can be "opposed" to im perialist war is socia lism; soci a lism alone is "the way out"; "hence", to advance democratic slogans in our minimum programme, i .. e., under capita Iism , is a deception or an iII usion, befuddlemen t or postponement, etc., of the slogan of socialist revol uti on.

Though Kievsky does not realise it, that is the real source of all his mishaps. That is his basic logical error which, precisely because it is basic and is not realised by the author; "explodes" at every step like a punctured bicycle tire. It "bursts out" now on the question of defending the fatherland, now on the question of divorce, now in the phrase about "rights", in this remarkable phrase (remarkable for its utter contempt for "rights" and its utter fai 1 ure to understand the issue): we shall discuss Hot rights, but the destruction of age .... old sla very!

To say that is to show a lack of understanding of the relationship between capitalism and democracy, between socialism and democracy.

Capitalism in general.' and imperialism in particular, turn democracy into an illusion-though at the same time capi-



talism engenders. ~em~cra~ic aspiratiuns in the mas~os, creates dernocrat!c In.stlL~ltlons; aggravates the antagonl~m bet,vcen iInpcrialisrn 's denia 1 of democracy and the mass stri ving for democracy. Cap~talism aIl~ irn pori a lixrn can be overthrown only by economic revnluf.i on. They cannot be overthrown by democratic transforma Lions, even the must "ideal" .. But a proletariat not s~hooled in the ~truggle f~r dcmocr~cy is incapable of performIng an economic revolution. CapitaIism cannot. be vanquished without taking over the banles, without repealing private ownership of the manns of production. These revolutionary measures, however, cannot be implemented without organising the entire people for democratic administration of the means of production captured from the bourgeoisie, without enlisting the entire mass of the worki ng poop le, the proletarians, semi-proletarians and small peasants, for the democratic organisation of their ranks, their forces, their participation in state affairs. Imperialist war may be said to be a triple negation of democrae y (a. every war replaces "rights" by violence; b. imperialism as such is the negation of democracy; c. imperialist . war fully equates the republic with the monarchy), but the awakeuing and growth of socialist revolt against imperialism are indissolubly linked with the growth of democratic resistance and unrest. Socialism leads to the withering away of every state, consequently also of every democracy, but socialism can bo implemented only through the dictatorshi p of the proletariat, which combines violence against the bourgc oisi e, i .e. i the mi nority of the population, with full development of democracy, i.e., the genuinely equal and genuinely uni versa} partici pation of the entire mass of the pop ula tion i n all slate affairs and in all the complex problems of abolishing capitalism.

It is in these "contradictions" that Kievsky, having forgotlen the Marxist teaching on democracy, got himself confused. Figurati vely speaking, the. war has so oppressed his !.hinkiIlg that he uses the agitational slogan "break out of 1)11 perialism" to rep I ace all thinking, just as the cry "get out of the colonies" is used to replace analysis of what, prop~rly spea king, is the - meaning - economically and polItIcally-of the civilised nations "getting out of the coloni esJ'.



The Marxist solution of the problem of democracy is for the proletariat to utilise all democratic i nsti t uti ons and aspirati ons in its class struggle against the bourgeoisie in order to. prepare for its overthrow and assure its own victory .. Such utilisation is no easy task. To the Economists, Tolstoyans, otc., it often seems an unpardonab Ie concessi on to "bourgeois" and opportunist views, just as to Ki evsky defence of national sel f-determination Hi n the epoch of finance capi tar' seems an unpardonable concession to bourgeois views, Marxism teaches us that to "fight opportunism" by ren ouncing uti lisation of the democra tic institutions crea ted an d distorted by the bourgeoisie of the given, capi talist, society is to completelu surrender to opportunism!

The slogan of civil war for socialism indicates the quickest way out of the irn pori alist war and links our struggle agai nst the war with our struggle against opportunism. It is the only slogan that correctly takes Into account both war-time peculiarities-the war is dragging out and threatening to grow into a whole "epoch" of war-and the general character of our activi ties as distinct from opportunism with its pacifism, legalism and adaptation to one's "own" bourgeoisie. In addi tion, ci vi I war against the bourgeoisie is a democratically organised and democratically conducted war of the propertyless mass against the propertied minority. But ci viI war, like every other, must inevitably replace rights by violence. However, violence in the name of the interests and rights of the majority is of a different nature: it tramples on the "rights" of the exploi ters, the bourgeoisi e, it is unachi eeab le without democratic organisation of the army and the "rear''. Civil war forcibly expropriates. immediately arid first of all, the banks, factori es, rai lways, the big esta tes, etc. But in order to expropriate ail thi s, we shall have to introduce election of alJ officials and officers by the people, completely merge the army conducting the war against the bourgeoisie with the mass of the population, completely democratise administration of the food supply, the produc-

. tion and distribution of food, etc. The object of ci vi 1 war is to seize the banks, factories, etc., destroy all possi bility of resistance by the bourgeoisie, destroy its armed forces .. But. that aim cannot be achieved either in its purely milltarYJ or economic, or political aspects, unless we, during the



r sim ultaneollsly introduce and extend democracy among

wa ,. d In czer " "W t II th

r armed forces an In our rear ~ e e e masses _HOW

(~nd they Instinctively feel t~at we ~re ri?h9: "T~ey ,are deceiving you in making you fight for imperialist oapitalism in a war disguised by the great slogans of democracy. You must, you shall wage a ge!luinely de~ocrat~c war against the bourgeoisie for the achievement of genuine democracy and socialism~n The present war unites and "merges" nations in to eoa Ii ti ons by means of violence and financial dcpondonce. In our civil war against the bourgeoisie, IVe shall unite and merge the nations not by the forc~ of the ruble, nul by the force of the truncheon, not by violence, but by ioluniaru agreement and solidarity of the working people against the cxploi ters. For the bourgeoisie the proclamati on of equal rights for all nations has become a deception. For us it will be the truth that will facilitate and accelerate tho winning over of all nations. Without e£fecti vcly organised democratic relations between nations-and, conscquontl y, without freedom of secession-civil war of the workers and working people generally of all nations against tho bourgeoisie is tmpossible.

Through utilisation of bourgeois democracy to socialist and consistently democratic organisation of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie and against opportunism. There is no other path. There is no other way out, Marxism, just as life itself, knows no other way out. We must direct free secession and free merging of nations along that path, not fight shy of them, not fear .. that this will "defile" the "purl ty" of our

~ .

econonuc a: ms,

Written August-September 1916 First published in the magazine p ("0 le ln. r sfiu·ya He1;OIu. tsia

No. 7 (90)t 1929

Published according to the manuscript



UNo one can- discredit revolutionary Social-Democracy as long as it does not discredit itself .. " That maxim always comes to mind, and must always .. be borne in mind, when any major theoretical or tactical proposition of Marxism is victorious, or even placed on the order of the day, and when, besides outright and resolute opponents, it is assailed by friends who hopelessly discredit and disparage it and turn it into a caricature. That has happened time and again in the history of the Russian Social-Democratic movement. In the early nineties, the victory of Marxism in the revo ... lutionary movement was attended by the emergence of a caricature of Marxism in the shape of Economism, or "strikeism". The Iskrists 20 would not ha ve been able to uphol d the fundamentals of proletarian theory and policy, either against petty-bourgeois Narodism or bourgeois liberalism, without long years of struggle against Economism. It was the same with Bolshevism, which triumphed in the mass labour movement in 1905 due, among other things, to correct application of the boycott of the tsarist Duma 21 slogan in the au .. tumn of 1905, when the key battles of the Russian revolution were being fought. Bolshevism had to face-and overcome by struggle-c-another caricature in 1908 ... 10, when Alexinsky and others noisily opposed participation in the Third

Duma." .

It is the same today too, Recognition of the present war as imperialist and emphasis on it s close connection with the imperialist era of capitalism encounters not only rcso ... lute opponents, but also irresol ute friends, for whom the word" imperialism" has become all the rage.Having memorised




the word, they are offering the workers hopelessly confused theories and reviving many of the old mistakes of the old Econolllism. Capitalism has triumphed-therefore. there is no need to bother with political problems, the old Economists reasoned in 1894-1901, falling into rejection of the po Ii tical struggle in Russia. Imperialism has triumphed--lherejore there is no - need to bother with the prohioms of political democracy, reason the present-day imperialist Economists. Kievsky's article, printed above, merits attention as a sam .. plo of these sentiments, as one such caricature of Marxism, as the first attempt to provide anything li ke an integral Ii terary exposition of the vacillation that has been apparent in certain circles of our Party abroad since early 1915.

If imperialist Economisru were to spread among the Marx .. ists, who in the present great crisis of socialism have resolut ely come out against social--chauvinism and for revol ntionary internationalism, that would be a very grave -hlow to our trend-and to our Party. For it would discredit it from wi thin, Irorn its own ranks, would make it a vehicle of caricaturised Marxism. It is therefore necessary to thoroughly discuss at least the most important of Kievskys numerous errors, regardless of how "uninteresting" this may he, and regardless of the fact, also, that all too often we sha 11 have to tediously explain elemenLary truths which the thoughtful and attentive reader has learned and understood long since frorn our literature of 1914 and 1915 ..

We shall begin with the "central" point of Kievsky's disquisitions in order to immediately bring to the reader the very "substance" of this new trend of, imperialist EconoInism~


"I( iovskv is convinced, and wants to convince his reader, that he "disagrees"· only with §9 of our Party Programme dealing with national self-determination. He is very angry and tries to refute the charge that on the question of democracy he is departing from the fundamentals of Marxism

, f



~n general, that he has "betrayed" (the angry quotation marks are Kievsky' s) Marxism on basic issues. But the point is that the moment our author begins to discuss his allegedly partial disagreement on an indi vi dual issue, the moment he adduces his arguments, considerations, etc. t he irnmcdiatoly reveals that he is deviating from Marxism all along the line. 'fake §b (Section 2) of his article. "This demand [i ~ e., national self-determi na l.iou ] di ree tly [! ~] leads to socialpa tri otism," our author proe laims, exp lai ni ng tha t the "treasonous" slogan of fa therland defence follows "q ui le [!] logica lly [ ! ] from the right of na t.ions to se1 f-dotermi na ti on" & t ... In his opinion, self-deterrni nati on implies "sanctioning the treason of the French and Be1gian social-patriots, who are defending this independence [the national independence of France an d Belgi urn] wi th arms in hand! They aro dol ng what the supporters of 'self-determination' only advooate.. .." "Defence of the fatherland belongs to the arsenal of our worst enemies. a." H "We categorically refuse to un derstand how one can simultaneously be agai nst defence of the fatherland and for sol r -determi na tion, against the fat her land and for it."

That's Ki evsky. He obviously has not understood our resolutions against the fatherland defence slogan in the present war. ] t is therefore necessary again to explain the meaning of what is so clearly set out in our resolutions ..

The resolution our Party adopterl at its Berne Conference in March 1915, "On the Defence of the Fatherland Slogan", * begins wi th the words: "The p resent war is, in substance", to ...

That the resolution deals with the present war could not have been put more plainly. The words "in substance" indicate that we must distinguish between the apparent and the real, between appearance and substance, between the word and the deed. The purpose of all talk about defence of the fatheria nd in this war is men daci ously to present as national the im periu llst war of 1914-16, waged for the di vision of colonies, t.he pl under of foreign lands, etc. And to ohviate oven the slightest possi hi lity of di stort.lng our views, we added to tho resolution a special paragraph on "genuinely national wars", which "took place especially (especially does not mean exclusively!) between 1789 and 1871'· ..

;II Sec present edition, Vol .. 21, pp. 158-64~-Ed.




The resolution explains that the "basis" of these "genui nely" n a ti 0 n a I wa r s w a oS a "I 0 ng proc ess of [.0 ass nat ion a J ill 0 vements, of a st.ruggle against absolutism and feudalism, the overthrow of na tinna l opprossi on" .....

Clear, it would seem. The present im poria list war stems from the general condi ti ons of t he imperialist era and is not accidental, not an exception, not a deviation from the genera] and typi cal, Talk of defence of the fa t herland is therefore a deception of tho people, for this war is not a nati onal war .. In a genuinely nati onal war the words "defence of the fa thorland" are not a decapt i on and we are not opposed to it. Such (gunui nely na l.ional) wars took place "especi a l ly" in 1789-1R71" and our resolution, while not. denying by a single wnrrl that they are possible now too, explains how wo should distinguish a genuinely nat.ional from an i.,ID p~r~a Jist :var covered. ?y ~ecepti ve nn tional slogans. Speci Iica lly, In order to disti ngui sh the t\VO we must examine \~1hether the "basis" of the war is a "long process of mass national movements", the "overthrow of national oppression", The rosol ution on "paci fism" ex pressly states: "Soc ial- Demoera ts cannot o verluok the positi ve signi ficance of revolutionary wars, i.e., not imperialist wars, but such as were conducted, for instance [note: "for instance"}, between 1789 a .. nd 18T,1 wi th tho aim of doing away wi th national oppresSlonH1O ~ Could our 1915 Party resolution speak of the national wars ."r.tlged. fr?m 1789 to 1871 and say tha l we do not deny the pOSI tl YO SI gru ficance of such W8 rs if they ·were riot considered possi hle today too? Celtainl v not.

A ?orn~en~arY1 or popular expl~nation, of our Party res~_)lut.Jons 18 given in tho Lenin and Zinoviev pamphlet Socialism and T1Tar. It plainly states, on page 5, that "socialists ha ve regurded wars 'for the defence of the fatherland ~ or :deflHlsi ve' wars, as legi tirnate, progressi ve and just" onli] In the sense of "overt hrowi ng ali en oppressi on". J t ci tes an ~vxam plo: . Persi a agai nst R ussi a, "etc.", and says: "These heoll1d ~e Just, and defensive. w~rs, irrospe~tive of' who would dp the first to attack; any socialist would WIsh the oppressed, sl :pendent. and unequal states victory over the oppressor,

avo-holding and predatory 'Great' Powers.?"


* ~

~ee present. edit ion , vet. 21~ pp. 300-01.-Ed.



The pamphlet appeared in August 1915 and there are German and French translations. Kievsky is fully aware of its contents. And never, on no occasion, has he or anyone, else challenged the resolution on the defence of the fatherland slogan, or the resol ution on paci fism, or their interpretation in the pamphlet .. Never, not once! We are therefore e;lLilled to ask: are we slandering Kievsky when we say that he has absolutely failed to understand Marxism if, beginning with March 1915, he has not challenged our Party's views on the wart whereas now, in August 1916, in an article on self-determination, i.e. t on a su pposedly partial issue, he reveals an amazing lack of understanding of a general issue?

Kievsky says that the fatherland defence slogan is "treasonous". We can. confidently assure him that every slogan is and always will be "treasonous" for those who mechanically repeat it without understanding its meaning, without g-i ving it proper thought, lor those who merely memorise the 'words wi thout analysing their im plica tions,

What, generally speaking, is "defence of the Jatherland"?

Is it a scienti fie conce pL rela ting to economics, poli tics, etc. ? No. It is a much bandied about current expression, sometimes simply a phi listine phrase, intended to justify the war. Nothing more. Absolutely nothing! The term "treasonous" can apply only in the sense that the philistine is capable of justifying any war by pleading "we are defending our fatherland", whereas Marxism, which does not degrade itself by stooping to the philistine's level, requires an historical analysis of each war in order to determine whether or not that particula r war can be consi dered progressi ve, whether it serves the interests of democracy and the proletariat and, in that sense, is legitimate, just, etc.

The defence of the fatherland slogan is 'all too often unconscious phi listine justi fication of war and revea Is inability to analyse the meaning and implica tions of a - particular

war and sec it in historical perspecti ve. ,

Marxism makes that. analysis and .says: if the "substance" of a war is, jor example, the overthrow of alien oppression (which was especiallu typical of Europe in 1789-1871), then such a war is progressi ve as far as the op pressed sta tc or nation is concerned. 1/, however, the "substance" of a war is rcdi vision of COIOIlic~, di vision of booty t pl under of foreign



l a nds (and such is the war of 1914~16), then al l La lk of defending the fa therland is "sheer deception of the people".

How, then, can we disclose and define the "substance" of a war? War. is the cont.illuation of policy. Consequently, we must examine the POlICY pursued prior to the war, the pol i c y t hat 1 edt 0 and b r 0 ug h tab 0 u t the war. I fit was an imper-ialisl policy, i. e., one designed to safeguard the interests of finance ca pi tal and roh an d oppress coloni es a nd ~'oT'~ign C? uI~tries, I..~en the ,,~ar stemrning from that policy IS irn pen a h~t~ If It was a. nati onul libera t.ion po lie y, i. e., one expressl ve of tho mass movement against nati anal o~lpres.sl on, t~en th~ war stemming Irom that policy is a war of national liberation.

The phi Iisti ne does not realise that war is "the conti n uati on of pulit: y", and consequently limi ts himself to the for~lllH that "the enemy has attacked us", "the enemy has III va ded In y country", wi thout stopping to think what issues are at sta.k~ in the. war, wh.ich classes are wuging it, and with iohat POll tica l 0 bjects. Klevsky stoops right down to tho level of sue? a philistine when he dec lares that Belgium has been. occ upied .by the ~er~ans, and hence, Irorn the poi nt of Vl:\\/ of self-deturrn i na tIOH, tho "Belgian social- pa trio ts are rlgl~t", or: the Germans ha ve occ upi ed part of France, hen~',e, "Cuosde can he satisfied", for "what is in vol ved is torr.l t.ory populated by his nation'' (and not by an alien nation ) ..

For the philistine' the important thing is where the armies ~tan rl, who is wi nni ng at the moment, For the Marxist the J nll~ortaJ1 L thing is ioha! iss ues are at stake in this war d urIng \v~ic h first one, then the other army may he on top: . Wha! ~s tho present wur being fought over? The answer IS gIven In our resolution (based on the policy the belliger- 0:11 powers pursued for decades prior to the war). England F l:aIlce and Russia are fighting to keep the colonies they hav~ s(~l~ed f ~,o be a b Ie to rob Turkey, etc. Cormany is fighti ng ~['? Lake over Lhese colonies and to be able herself to rob

ur k po \r ell' Let ·T' t I- ttl G

P . -'.r, ,."J . u S S II P pose eve n I J ] ale er ill an s t a k e

cH'lS 0' St P b W

t l ' 1. • eters urg. oul d that chflngo the nature of

I 18 p~psont \VHf':? Not at all. The Germans' purnose-vand

t~~;e. "" portn n t, the I!O lic~' that would bring if to fen Iisa-

. 1 If they were to \V111-1S to seize the colonies, est.n hlish




domination over Turkey, annex areas populated by other na tions for instance, Pola nd, etc, I t is defini tely not to bring the Fre'llch or the Russians under foreign domination. The rea l essence of the present war is not national but imperi.alist. In other words, it is not Lei ng fought to enable one 81 de to overthrow national oppression, which the other side is tryi ng to mai ntain, 1 t is a war between two groups of oppressors bet ween two freebooters over the di vision of their

booty, over who shall rob Turkey and the colonies. .

In short: a war beureen imperialist Great Powers (La., powers that oppress a whole number. of nations a~d en~esh then. in dependence on finance cap) tal, etc.), or In alliance with the Great Powers, is an imperialist war" Such is the war of 1914-16. And in this war "defence of the fatherland" is a deception, an attem pt to [usti fy the war.

A war against im peria list, i.e., oppressing, powers b¥ oppressed (for example, colonial) nati ons is a genuine nat]on~l war. It is possible today too. "Defence of the .fatherland". In a war waged by an oppressed nation against a foreign oppressor is not a decepti on. Socia li sts are nol opposed to "defence of the fa therland" in such a war.

Nat ional sclf-detcrm iuation is the same as the struggle for COlD plete national l i horat ion, for complete independence, against annexation, and socialists cannot-without ceasing to he soc ia lists-c-rejeet such a struggle in whatever form, right down to an uprising or war.

Kievsky thinks he is arguing against Plekhanov: it :vas Plekhanov who pointed to the link between self-detorm ination and defence of the Iatherland l Kievsky believed Plekhanov that the link was really of the kind Plokhanov made it. out to he. And having helieved h im , Kievsky took fright and decided that he must reject self-determination 80 - as not to fa U into P lekhanov is conclusions.. .. There is great trust· in Plekhanov, and great fright, but there is no trace of thought about the substance, of Plckhanov's

. k t m ista e.

The social-eha uvinists plead self-detcrm inat ion in order to present this War as a national war. There is only one co~ .. rect way of combating them: we must show that the war IS being fo ught not to I i berate nations., but to detetmin,B \v~ich of the great robbers will oppress more nations .. To fall Into




neaal-ion of wars really waged for liberating nations is to pr~sent. the worst possible caricature of Marxism. Plekhanov and the French social-chauvinists harp on the republic in France in order to justify its "defence" against the German monarchy. if wo wore to follow Kievsky's line of reasoning, we wuul d have to oppose either the republic or a war really fo ughL to preserve the rcpubl ic ~! The Germa n soc ia l-cha uv i n ists point Lo -universal suffrage and compulsory primary eauea lion in their country to justify its "defencu" aga inst tsarisrn. If we were to follow K ievsky ' s line of reasoning, .we would have to oppose either universal suffrage and com-

pulsory primary education or a war really fought to safeguard political freedom aga inst attern pts to abolish it!

Up to the 1914-1H war Karl Kautsky was a Marxist, and many of his major writings and statements will always remain models of Marxism. On August 26, 19101 he wrote in Dip. Neue Zeil/' in reference to the imminent war;

"In a war between Germany and England the issue is not democracy, but world dominat.ion, i.e., exploitat.ion of the wor ld. That is not an issue on which Social-Democrats tan side with the exploiters of their nation" (Neue Zeit, 28~ J ahrg. ~ Bd. 2, SA 776).

There you have an excellent Marxist forrn ulation, one that fully coincides with our own and fully exposes the presentday Kautsky, who has turned from Marxism to defence of social-chauvinism. It is a Iorrnulat ion (we shall have occasion Lo revert to it in other articles) that clearly brings out the principles underlying the Marxist. attitude towards war. War js the continuation of policy. Hence, once there is a struggle for democracy, a war for democracy is possible. ~al..ional self-determination is but one of the democratic dernands and does nol., in principle, differ from other demoera tic demands, "War ld domi na t ion" is, to put it briefly, the substance of imperialist policy, of which im per ial ist war is the continuation. Rejection of "defence of the fa thorIUIHr' in a domncrat ic war, i.e., rejecting participation in such a war. is an absurdity that has nothing in cornrnon with ?\Ja]'XiRrn. To embe 11 ish im perialist war by applying to it ~he concept of "defence of the fatherland", i.o ... by presenting It as a democratic war, is to deceive the workers and side \Vith the reactionary bourgeoisie .




v. I. LENiN


The headin~ is Kievsky's. He constantly speaks of a "new era", but here, too, unfortunately his arguments arc erro-

neous. 6

Our Party resolutions speak of the. prese~t :var as steInm~ng

from tho general conditions of the llnp~rlaJlst era. We ,¥lV~ a correct Marxist definition of the relation between tho era and the "present war": Marxism req uires a concre~e ass~ssment of each separate war. To understand why an. rm portalist war, i.e., a war thoroughly roact.ionary an~ ant~I-democ:atic in its political implications, could, and inevitably d id, break out between the Great Powers, many of whom stood at the head of the struggle for democracy in 1789-187!~. -to understand this ,V~ must understand the ge~eral COn?ltl?TlS of the imperialist era, i: c. '. the ~ransf?rI?a tron of capi tal ism in the advanced cnunl.ries In to nn perialism. _

Kievsky has flagrantly distorted the r~latlon betw.een the "era" and tho "present war". In his reasoning, to COnSl?er the matter concretely means to examine the "era", That IS pre-

cisely whore he is 'vrong. ~ .. I

The ora 178H-187'1 was of spec ial slgTllf.lcanc.e for Eu:ope.

That is irrefutable. ·We cannot u nriorsta nd a single nat ional liberation war, 3 nd such wars were especially tY'p~cal of that period, unless we understand the general cond~tlons of the period. Does that mean that all wars of that period ~ere national liberation wars? Cerlainly not. To hold that '~JH~ is to reduce the whole thing to an absurdity and ~pply a rtdiculous stereotype in place of a CO~lCT'()tc an~lysls~f e,ach separate war. There were also col~nla] wars In '1789-1.871, and Wars between reactionary emp rres that oppressed many

nations. .

Advanced European (and American) capitahsrn has entered a new era of im perialisrn.. Does it Iol low from that that only imperialist wars arc now possible_? A~~ such contention would be absurd. It would reveal Ina blilty to distinguisu a given concrete pheno:nenon .from the sum tot~l of variegated phenomena possible m a grven era ... An era IS called an era proc isol.y because it eneomP:lsses the sum t.Di.al of variegat.ed phenomena and wars, t.ypical and ~lntypleal, big and small, some peculiar to advanced couutr ies, others




to backward countries. To brush aside these concrete q uostions by resort ing to general phrases about the "era", as K ievsky docs, is to abuse the very concept "era". And to prove that,. we shall cite one example out of many. But first it should he noted that one group of Lefts, narne.l y, tho German Lnternat.ionale group,24 has advanced this manifestly erroneous proposition in §5 of its theses, published in No" 3 of the Bulletin of the Berne Execut ioe Committee (February 2~J, 1916): '~N ational wars are no longer possible in the era of this unbridled irnporin lism.' \\re analysed tha t statcment* in Sbornik S ot siai-Demokrata, '2;' Here \VC need merely note that though everyone who has Inlluwsd the in Lerna tiona list movement is long acqua inted wi t h this theoretical proposition (we opposed it way hack in the spring of 1916 at the extended meeting .. of the Berne Executive Comm ittno}, not a single group has repeated or accepted it. A nd there is nota single word in the spirit of this or any similar proposi t ion in Kievsky's article, wri L ten in August 1916~

Tha t shoul d be noted, and for the following reason: if this or a sim ilar theoretical proposi t io n were n d va need, then we cou 1 d speak of theoretical divergencies. But since no such proposition has been advanced, wo are constrained to sa y; what we ha ve is not a different interpreta tion of the concept "era", not a t.heoretical di vergency ~ but meroly a carelessly uttered phrase, merely abuso of the word "era".

Here is an example, Kievsky starts his article by asking:

"Is not this (self-determination) the same as the right to r~cej ve free of charge 1 O~OOO acres of land on Mars? The ques!,lon can be answered only in the most concreto manner, only In t:Orttext with the nature of the present era. The right of na tlons to self-determ ination is one th ing in the era of the formation of national states, us the best. form of developing th~ productive forces at their then exist.ing level, but it is q 11 J to another thing now tha t thi s Iorm , the na tiona] sta te, fetters Lhe development of the productive forcos. A vast distanco separates the era of the establishment of capitalism all d, the na tional sta te from the era of the colla pse of the nat.lOlIui state and the eve of the collapse of capitalism itself.


* See prCbent edition, Vol. 22, pp. 308~13.-E'd~




To disc uss -things in 'general', out of context with time and space, does not befit a Marxist."

There you have a sample of caricaturing the concept

"imperial ist era". And its carica ture m list be fought precisely. boca use it is a new a II d im portant conce pt I Wha t do we mean when we say that national states have become fetters, etc.? We have in mind the advanced capitalist countries, .above all Germany, France, England, whose participation in the present war has been the chief factor in making it an imporialist war. In these countries, which hitherto ha ve been in the van of mankind, partioularly in 1789-1871, the process of forming national states has been consummated. In these countries the national movement is a thing of an irrevocable past, and it would be an absurd reactionary utopia to try to revive it. The national movement of the French, English, Germans has long been completed In these countries history"s next step is a different one: liberated nations have become transformed into oppressor na Lions, into nations of im porialist fa pine, nat.inns t hat are going through the "eve of the

colla pse of capita 1 ism".

But what of other nations?

Kievsky repeats, like a rule learned by rote, that Marxists·

should approach things "concretely", but he does not apply that rule. 1 n our theses, on the other hand, we dellherately gave an example of a concrete approach, and Kievsky did not wish lo point out our mistake, if he found one ..

OUf theses (§6) sta te that to be concrete not less than three different types of countries must be distinguished when dealing with self-delerm ina t i OTL (I t was clearly im possible to discuss each separate country in general theses.) First type: the advanced countries of Western Europe (and America), where the national movement is a thing of the pasl. Second t ype: Eastern Europe; where il is a thing of the present. Third tvpe.. scmi-eolonies and colonies, where it is largely

a th ing of the lulu reo *

18 this correct or not? This is what Kievsky should have

levelled his cr it ic ism at. But he docs not sec the essence of the thcorel.icul problems! TIe fails to sec that unless he refutes the abovemont ioned proposition (in §6) of our

* See present edi tion , Vol. 22, pp. 150-52"-Ed~



theses-and. it cannot be refuted because it is correct-his disquisi Lions abo'~t .the "era" resemble a man brandishing his sword but striking no blows.

"In contrast to V. I lyin '8 opin ion," he writes at tho end of his article, "we assume that for the majority [! J of West.ern [ !] coun tries the national pro hlem has not been settled ..... "

And so, the national movements of the French, Spaniards, English, Dutch, Germans and Italians were not consummated in the seven toenth, eighteenth and nineteonth centuries, an? earl~m'? A~ .t,he. beginning 01 th~ article the concept "era of im per ial ism is distorted to make It appear that the national movement has been consummated in general, and not only in the advanced Westorn countries. At the end of the same article the "nat ional problem" is declared "not settled" in precisely the Western countries! I Is tha t not a muddle?

In the Western countries the national movement is a thing of the distant past .. In England, France, Germany etc:, the "fat~erland" is a dead letter, it has played its his~ tOI'lCa~ role, t.e.; the national movement cannot yield here anything progressive, anything that will elevate new masses ~.o a new eC~I~omic and political life. History's next step here rs not t~a nsit ion from feudalism or from pa triarcha 1 sa vagery to national progress, to a cultured and politically free f~ther ~and, but transition from a "Iatherla nd" tha t ha s outlived Its day, that is capitalistically overripe. to socialism.

Th~ posit.ion is different in Eastern Europe .. As far as the Ukra 1 n 13 ns and n yclorussians, for instance, are concerned only a Mart ia n dreamer coulrl deny that the nat.ional move: m~nt has not yet been consummated there, that the awak .. enlng. of the masses to the full use of their mother tongue an.d litera t 111~C (a nd this is an a bsol ute cond it ion and conco ... lilJtant of the full development of ca pita l ism, of the full ~ene~ratinn of exchange to the very last peasant Iam i1 y) is still going on there. The "fa therland' is h 1St orical ly n~t

ryetl qui t.e a doa d lette-r there. There the "defence ~f lhe

at ier la d" "I b

I ' n can sti 'I e defence of demnurncy , of one's na Live

anCtl1ago f l it.i I 1·1· .

': J , 0 pOI f. I C a I -) crt. y a g H I Jl st 0 I} P resso r n a t 1 0 ns

a go a II l S t .d . 1 . _. ,

aild It. l!~c le~a Ism, whereas the English. French, Germans

land .Il l iu ns he when they speak of defonding their fll t.herIe d l 1 n the presen t wa r. hoca use iH~1. [1;111 Y wha t they are de-

n I ng IS not their ua ti ve language, not their right to nut ion-



al development, but their rights as sla ve-ho l ders, their colonies, the foreign "spheres of inn uence' of their finance capital, etc.

I n the semi-colonies and colonies the naliona I movement is, histor icu lly, still younger tha n in East ern Europe.

What do the words "advanced countries'' and imperialist ern refer to? In tohat 1 ios the "special" posi l ion of n ussia (hea ding of §e in the second cha pter of K ievsky ' s a rt ic le), and not on1 y R ussia ? VJlhere is the na t.ional li her.it ion movement a false phrase and uihere is it a living and progressive reality? Kievsky reveals no understanding on any of these points.


Centra 1 to a II the disq u isit i ons of the se ll-determina tion opponents is the claim that it is' ·generally "unachievable' under ca pi ta 1 ism ur im per ia l ism. The word "unachieva hle'' is frequently used in widely differenL a nd inaccurately defined rnuan ings, That is why in our theses we insisted on wha t is essontia I in any 1" heoretica 1 disc. ussion: an ex p lanation of what is rneant by "unichieva hle". Nor did we confine o urse I ves tot hat. Wet r i edt 0 g'i v e s He han ex pIa r ~ a t ion. A II democratic doma n ds are "unachieva b Ie" under im perial ism in the sense that politically they are hard to ach iove or totally unachievable without a series of revolutions.

J t is luudamentall y wrong, however, to rna i n tain t ha t selfdetermination is uuachievahlc in the ee onom ic sense.

Tha t has hoen our con ten lion. J t is the p i vota I point of our t heorel.ica I differences, a q uest ion to wh ic h our' opponents in any serious discussion should have paid due attention.

Rut just see how K ievsky treats the quest.ion.

He de fin i te ly rejec ts unach ieva b Ie as rnea nina "hard to ae b ieve" pol itica 11 y ~ He gi yes a direct a nswer i~ the sense of economic unach icvabl lity.

"Does this mean ," Kiovsky writes, "that self-determ inat ion under irn periH l ism is just as unach iev a h I 0 as 13 Lour. m onoy under commod i ty product ion ?~' An d he rep 1 i os: . ~~)_T es, it

means exactly tha t. For what we are discussing is t.h« logical contradict ion between two social categor ics: 'imperinlisrn' and 'self-detortn ination of nations', the same logical contra-



d. l,tion as that. hntween t\VO ot.her categories: labour money H~ leo ill m od i t y pro d ue t ion. T III per i H 1 ism is t. hen eg at ion of

a 11· ~ d·· ~ I t h t "

He 1 f-uelpl'rn ina t ior~, an no rnaglc13~: ca~ ~ec~~lCI. e e woo

Frightening as lS the angry w~rd magtcian Kl~vsky hUl~ls n t us we must ne·~~ertheh~ss point out that he simply fads ~o understa nfl wha t econ0111 ic ana 1 ysis implies. There should be no "logical conlradiction"-provirling, of course, .that there is proper logical l.11inking-eilher in an ecouonuc or polilical analysis. Hence, to plead a "logical contradiction" in general when what we are discussing is oconoruic and n~t politieal. ~nalysis, is corn plotely i~rel.ev~~lt .. Both eCOn~IIl!~ and pohtlcal phenomena come within social cateaortes · Conscqucn tly, ha ving first repl ied direc t.ly and de finitely:

"Yes, it means cxact.ly that" (i.e., self-determination is just asunachie\Tableas labour money under commodity p.ro'" duct ion), Kie vsky dismisses the whole mal.l.er by beating abou t. the bush, withou L offering any ocon omic a na lysis.

How do wo prove that labour money is unachievable under commodity prnduct.ion? By econorn ic analysis. And econOlll ic analysi-. like every other, rules out "Iog ical contradictions", takes economic and only econom ic en r.egories (and not "social ca tegor ies" in genera I) a nd from them cone 1 udcs t.ha t labour money is unachievable. I n the first. chapter of C api tal Lhern is no ment ion wha tuvor of pnlitics, or political forms, or "soc ial ca tpg'oriesn: L he ana I ysjs a ppl ies only to cconom ic phenomena, cnm mod i ty exchange, its development. Economic analysis ShO\VR- need less lo say, -through "logical" arguments-that. under commodity production labour money is unachievable.

I( ie vsky does not even attem pt a nvl hing H pprox imat ing an ecouom ic anal ysis! He coniu ses lhe econ o III ic subst.a nee of imper-ialism with its pnl it ica l tendencies, cu~ is ohv ious from the very first phrase of the very first pt1 rag'faph of his arttc!o. Floro is that phrase:

"1 n d ustr in 1 ca pi ta 1 is the sy nthesis or pre-cu pita list produetion and merchant-usurer capitn l. Usurer ca pit al b oc 0 01 r~ s tho st? r v H n t 0 fin d us t. r i rd cap ita L Tho I 1 cap ita J i SIn s ~ h j ee t s the va rio u ~ for In S 0 f cap ita 1 and t II e tP e m ~~ rg e. ~ i t ~ h I g h est. ~ un i fl edt. y p e ._. n nan c e cap i t a 1.. T h e \V h 0 l e l~ r a c a n ~ h er·efor-e b(~ des ig n a to d as the p rn 0 f fi n a nee r..(l pi t. a l , of \\7 h ich

irn pcria I ism is the currespond ing foruigu policy s)" st ern .. "


v.}, LENIN

Economically, tha t dofin ition is absolutely worthlessinstead of precise economic categories we get mere phrases. However. it is impossibJe to dwell on that now. The important thing is that Kievsky proclaims imperialism to be a "foreign-policy system".

First, L his is, essen I· ia l.ly, a wrong repel.i l.ion of Kautsky's wrong idea.

Second, it is a purely political, a nd only pol it ical, definition of imporia lisrn. By defining imperialism as a "system of policy" K ievsky wa nts to avoid the economic ana lysis he promised to give when he declared that self-determination was "just as" unachievable, i.e., economically unachievable, under imperia1ism as labour money under commodity production! *

In his controversy with the Lofts, Ka ntsky declared that imperialism Was "merely a system of foreign policy" (namely, annexation), and that it would be wrong to descr ibo as imperialism a definite oconomic stage, or level, in the development of caoitalism. .


Kautsky is wrong .. Of course, it is not proper to argue

about words. You cannot prohibit the use of the "word" imperialism in this sense or any other. But if you want to conduct a discussion you must define your terms precisely.

Econom ically, imperia l ism (or the "era" of finance ca vital-it is not a matt.er of words) is the highest stage in the development of capitalism, one in which product.ion has assumed such hig, immense proport.ions that free competition gives way to monopoly. That is t.he economic essence of imperial isrn. Monopoly man i fpsts itself in trusts" syndicates, otc., in tho omnipotence of the giant banks, in the buying up of raw materia 1 sources, etc A , in the coneen l.ra tion of banking capital. etc. Everything hingos on economic monopoly.

* Is K ievsky aware of tho im poli t.e word Marx used in reference to such u logi cal methods"? Without ap plu! n.g this im po lite t.erm to K ievsky , we nevertheless are obliged to remark that Marx descri bad sucb ~cthods D..s "f ra ud u len t": ar bi trari I y i nsert.i ng preci sely wha t is at Issue, precise] y wha l. has to be pro ved , in de fint ng fI concept.

\\'8 repE4a~·t we do not apply Marx's impolite ox pression to Kievsky.

We mere~y d I se lose t he so urco of his rn istake. (In the man user, pt this passage IS crossed out..-Ed~)



The olit.ical superstr~c t:?re of .this new economy,. of ?1ono~-

P't Iism (imperIalism IS monopoly canitn l ism) 18 oly chapl: t~rom democracy to polilical reaction. Democracy

the c an g.. Political t . C orres

correspon d s to free com pet 1 t Ion. . 1° 1 tl~a rfeac d IOn. t' -

d t monopoly _ "Finance capita str ives or omln~a lO~, pon fS lad m H Rudolf Hilferding rightly remarks In hIS not ree 0 ,

Finance CapitaL A· • f

It is fundamental1y wrong, un-Marxu~.t a~d unsc ient i ic,

. lo out "foreign po lie s" from pol icy In gen era 1, l?t

to 51 ng . h l' B th

1 1 counterposc foreign policy to orne po ICy. o. In

a one . 1· . t d I

foreign and home policy imperiu ~sm stJ~lV~R owar. s Vl~ a-

t i s of democracy, towards reacl.inn, J n this sense imperial-

ion " f i . l

ism is indisputably the i~negation 0 ~ emocracu In gen.er~ ,

of all democracy, and not Just of one of its demands, national

sel f-determination. " .

'- Being a "negal.ion" of democracy in genera~, im perlall:'5m

is also a "nega lion" of democracy In the nat.l~nal question (i.e., nalional self-determination): it sc?ks .to v iolal.e deJll~cracy A The achievement of democracy. 18, l~ t~lC same sense, and to tho same degree, harder under imperialism (compared with pre-monopoly capitalism), as the achievement of a repu bl ic ~ a m tli tia, popular election of officie Is, etc. lf~er~e can he no til lk of democracy being "econ omica lly" unachlova~le"

K ievskv was probably led astray here by the fact (besides his general lack of understanding of the requirements. of econom ic analysis) that the phi listine regards ~nnexat lO? (i.e., aequisilion of foreign territories a~a in.sl. the wil l o.f their people, i.e., violation of se~f-det.ermlnatlon) as equivalent to the "spread' (expansion) of finance capital to a larger eco n om ic terri tory.

nut theoretical problems should not be approached [rom

phi Iistine concept ions. . .

Econorn ical ly , Imperia lism is monopoly caplt~lls.m.. To acquire full monopoly, all competition must. be «l im inated, an d not only on the uome rnarket (of the glv~n stat.e);. but al so on f orcign rna rkets, in the "Thole ~"orld. 1 S It econ~o"~lcally possible, "in the era of Una nee ca pita P', to al im inat.e compet.ition oven in a foreign st.at.e? Certa inly it. is. It tS done through a rival's financiul deponrlence and acqu1sitio.n of his SOUT'ces of raw materials and eventua lly of all hIS enter prisos,



The American trusts arc the supreme expression of the econo[ni~s of imperialism or monopoly capitalism. They do n.ot confine themselves to economic means of eliminating riva ls, hut constant] y resort to polit ica 1, even criminal me~hods. It would be the greatest mistake, however, t~ believe that th~ trusts cannot esl.a hl ish their monopoly by purely ~eC?n~mlc. rnethods. Reality provides ample proof that this IS achievable": the trusts un dermine their rivals" credit through the banks (the owners of the trusts become the o'vn~r8 of the banks: buying up shares); their supply of ma~erHtls (the owners of the trusts become the owners of the ra ilways: buying up sha res); for a certain t irnc the trusts sell bel?w cost, spending millions on this in order to ruin a com petitor and thon buy up his en terprises, his sources of r(1W materials (m inos, land, etc.).

There you have a .purely economic analysis of the power of the t:usls and their expansion. There you have the purely econorn rc path to expansion: buying up mills and factories

sources of ra w rna teria Is. '

~ig fin?rlco capital of one country can always buy up compef.il.ors In another, politically independent country and constantly does so. Economically. this is fully achievable. ~con om ic "a.nnoxation" is fully "achiova hlo" wi thout political annexation and i~ widely practised. In the literature o~ im pcrial ism you will constantly come across indications ~,hat A~ge~ltina, for exa m p lo, is in rea] i ty a "trade colon~y .of Brita 1 n , or that Portugal is in rea] ity a "vassal" of J3rltal.u,. etc. And that is actually so: econotu ic dependonce ll~p~)n Brl tlsh_ ba Il.ks, indebtedness to Britain, Br ittsh acqui~lt.lon ~f t heir ra tIwa.ys,. rn ines, land, etc., ena hIe Britain to

a nnex these countries econorn ica lly without violating their pol it ica 1 independence ..

Nat~on+al self-dotermination mea ns poli l.ica 1 independence" 1m pe_flallsnl seeks to violate such independence because po II Ileal a nfl~xa t ion often m a kus econ nrn ic an n exat ion easier .. cheaper (easier to bribe uffjeials, seeure concessions, put through Hdvantageous louisls t ton .. etc.), more convenient, less trou blesom e-just as irn peria Ii srn seeks to rep 1 nee demo-

~fHCY ~~n~f'a_"'y !~y oligarchy. Bl~t to spea k of t~e economic . unach reva I)) 11 I V of seil-dcterminatton under un peria lism IS sheer nonsense.



J(_jevsky get.s round the theoret leal difficulties by a very simple and superficial dod?,e,. ~nown in German as "burschi .. h'ose" phraseology, i.e., pr im il i :e, crude phr~ses heard (and quite natura lly) at ,~studenL . blng~s" He~e IS an example: "l~ ni versa 1 su Ifrage, he writes, the eight-hour day and even the republic arc logically compatible with imperia1ism, t hough im peria Iism lnr from sm il es [!!] on them an d their achievenlonL is therefore extremely difficult."

We would have ahsolutely no objections to the burschilcose sta tement that im PPl' ia I ism far from "sm i les" on the republic-a Iri vol ous word ca n somct.imos lend colour to a scionti Iic polem ic l~i f in this po lemic on a serious issue we were given, in addition, an econom ic and pol itical analysis of the concepts involved .. With Kievsky, however; the burschilcose phrase does du ty for such an analysis or serves to conceal

luck of it. .

What can this mean: "Imperial ism far from smiles on the repuhlic"? And why?

The republic is one possible form of the political superstructure of capita list society, and, moreover, under presentday conditions the most democralic form. 1'0 say that im peria lism dues not "sm ile'' on the republic is to say that there is a contra die I. io n bel ween im per ial ism an d dem ocrac y. It may very well be that Kievsky does not "sm ile' 01· even "far from HITl iles" on this cone 1 usion. N evertholess it. is irrofuta hl e.

To cont.i nue. What is the nature of th is contradiction between imperial ism and democracy? 1 sit a logical or il logicul contrad ict ion? K ievsky uses the word "logical'' without stoppiIlg to think and therefore does not notice tha t in this part icular case it serves to conceal (both from the reader' sand author's eyes and mind) the very question he sel.s out to discussl That question is the relation of economics to polities: the relation of economic cond itious and the economic content

of inl-perialism to a cerl.ai n political form. To say that every H t di

COn ra Jetton" revealed in human discussion is a logical

contr.adietion is meaningless tautology. And with the aid o! tIllS ta ut o logy Kievsky evades the substance of the questIon: Is it a "logica l" COIl tradiction between t wo economic phenomena or propositi ons (1)? Or two poli tical phenomena or pro posi t ions (2)? Or economic and political phenomena or propOS] t 10 ItS (:3)!'




For that is the heart of the matter, once we are discussing economic unachievability or achievability under one or another politica I form!

Had Kievsky not evaded the heart of the matter, he would probably have realised that the contradiction between im perial ism and the republic is a contradiction between the economics of latter .. day capitalism (namely, monopoly capitalism) and political democracy in general. For Kievsky will never prove that. any major and fundamental democratic mea ... sure (popular election of officials or officers, com plel e freedom of association and assembly" etc.) is Less contradictory to 1 imperialism (or, if you like, more "smiled" upon) than the republic.

What we have, then, is the proposition we advanced in our theses: im peria lism contradicts, "log ica lly" contra die ts, all political democracy in general. Kievsky does not "srni le'' on this proposition for it demolishes all his illogical construct ions. But what can we do about it? Are we to accept a method that is supposed to refute certain proposit.ions, but instead secretly advances them by using such expressions as "im perialism far from smiles on the republ ic"?

Further .. Why does imperialism far from smile on the republic? And how does imperialism "combine" its economics with the republ ic?

Kievsky has given no thought to that. We would remind him of the following words of Engels in reference to the democralic repuhl ic. Can wealth dominate under this form of government? The question concerns the "contradiction" between econom ics and politics.

Engels replies: "The democratic repuhlic officially knows nothing any more of property distinct ions I between cit izens J. In it, wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely. On the one ha nd, in the form of the direct corruption of officials, of whic~ America provides the classical example; on the other hand, III the form of an alliance between governmen t and stoc k excha nge .... " 26

There you have an excellent example of oconomic analy ... sis on the question of the "achieva bil ity' of dem ocracv under ca p ital ism. And the "achievahil ity" of self-determination under imperialism is part of that question.



Tho democratic republic "logically" contradicts capitalism, hecause "of lic iu ll y' it puts the rich and the poor on an equal footing. That is a contradiction between the econOLnic system and the politica I superstructure. There is the saille con trad ic l.ion between im peria lism and the repub lie, deepened or aggravated by the fact that the change-over from free corn pet i lion to monopoly makes the realisa tion of political freedoms even rnore "difficult". -

flow, then, is capitalism reconciled with democracy? By indirect implementation of the omnipotence of capital. There are two econom ic means for tha t: (1 ) direct bribery; (2) alliance of government and stock exchange. (That is stated in our theses-under a bourgeois system finance capit a l "can freely bribe and buy any government and any of fi cia I" . )

Once we have the dominance of commodity production, of the bourgeoisie? of the power of money-bribery (direct or through the stock exchange) is "achievable" under any form of government and under any kind of democracy.

What, it ea n be asked, is altered in this respect when capita lism gi vesway to im peria lism , i. 0., when pro-monopoly capitalism is replaced by monopoly capital isrn?

Only that the power of the stock exchange increases, For finance capital is industrial capital at its highest, monopoly level which has merged with banking capital. The h.ig banks merze with and absorb the stock exchange, (The llt.erature on imperialism speaks of the declining role of the stock exchange, but only in the sense that every giant bank is itself virtually a stock oxchange.)

. Further. I f "wealth" in general is fully en pa hlo of achiev .. lUg domination over any democrutic repuhlic by bribery an.d thronzh the stock exchange, then how can Kievsky maint:i tIl;, wi t 110Ut 1a psing into a very curious "logica I contra diction , t ha t the immense wea Ith of the trust.s and the banks \~rhich ha ve thousands of rn ill ions at their command cannoi ~'aehieve" the dum i na lion of finance en pi tal over a 'foreign, 1.8., politically independent, republic??

Well? Bribery of officials is "unachievable" in a foreign ~tate? Or "the "alliance of governrncnt and stock exchange" applIes only to one's own government?



* *


The reader wi ll HI rea dy ha ve seen tha t it requires roughly ten pages of pri nt to unta ng 1e and popularly explain ten Ii nes of confusion. We cannot examine everyone of Kievsky's arguments in the same detail. And there is not a single one that is not confused. Nor is there really any need for this once the main arguments have been examined. The rest will be dealt with briefly.


Norway "achieved" the supposedly unachievable right to self-detcrm ina t ion in 1 gO;-), in the era of the most rampant im per iali SIll. It is therefore not only absurd, hut ludicrous, from the theorel.icn l stun dpnint , to spea k of "unachievabi l ity' ..

Kicvsky wants to refute tha l by angrily calling us "rational ists", (WIIUt has that to do with il ? The ratio-nal ist confines himself to purely abstract disquisitions, wh ile wo have pointed to a very concrete fact! Hut perhaps Kiovsky is using the foreign word "rationalist" in the same .. & how to put it more mildly? .... in the same "unhappy'' manner he used the word "extractive" a t the beginning of his article, when he presented his arguments "in extractive form"?)

K ievsky reproaches us. For us, he saYS1 "the important thing is the appearance of phenomena rather than the real substance': A Well, let us examine the real su bstance.

His refula t ion begins with this exam ple: enactment of a lnw against trusts does not prove that their prohibition is unachievable. True enough. But the example is an unha ppy one, for it m il itates again st K ievsky. Laws are pol i tica 1 measures, poliL ics. N () po lit ica l measure can proh ibit economic phenomena I' Whatever political form Poland adopts, whether she he part of tsarist. ]{ ussia or Germany, or an a lJ tunnm DUS region, or a poli l ically independent state, there is no prohibiting or repealing her dependence on tho finance capital of the irn por-ia 1 ist powers, or preventing that capital from buying up the shares of her industries.

The independence N crway "achieved" in 1 005 was only po litical. J t could not affect its econorn ic dependence, nor



was this the intention. That is exactly the point made in nUI~ theses. Wu inrl icated Lhat self-determination concerns onl y politics, and it would therefore be wrong even to raise the quesLion 0 f j ts economic unachievability. But here is J(_jevsky "refuting" this hy cit ing an example of political bans being powerless against the economy! What a "refutation" !

To proceed. "One or even mu ny instances of small-scale ind ustry prevailing oyer large-scale industry is not suf Iic iont to refute Marx'« correct proposition that the general develop ... rn ent of capitalism is attended by the concentration and eentralisa tion of produc l..·iOTL"

Again, the argument is based on an unfortunate example, chosen to divert the attention (of the reader and the author) from the substance of the issue.

We maintain that it would be wrong to speak of. the econon} ic unach ievahi lity of self-determina.tion in the same sense as we speak of the unachievability of labour money under ca pi ta lism. Not a single "example" of such achievability can be cited. I( ievsky tacitly admits we are correct on t.his point when he shifts to another interpretation of "un ac 11 ievah il i t y'~.

Why does he not do so directly? Why does he not openly. and precisely formulate his proposition: "self-determination, wlu Ie ach i eva b 1e in the sense that it is economically possible uncle,' eH pi talism , contradicts develo pmont and is therefore ei ther reac tionary or merely an excep t ion"?

I-Ie does not do so boca use a c lear form ula t io n of this counter-proposilion would irnmediatel y expose its author,

and he therefore tries to conceal it. .

The law of economic cone en tratinn , of Lhe victory of largesea lo produc Lion over small, is reeognised in our own and the ~rfurt programmes. Kievsky conceals the fae t tha t nowhere JS .t he la \V of. political or state concentra tion recognised. If j t were the same kin d of la Vv~if there were such a law-s-then why should not Kievsky formulate it and suggest that it be a (lclfH-I to our programme? Is it right for him to lea ve us with a 1Jad, incomplete programme, considering that he has disC.overpd this new law of state ooncen l.rat ion. wh ich is of praet jca 1 sign! ficance since it wo uld rid 0 ur programme of

prro· .

'"' . neous conclusions?

4---1 /j- S 1



Kievsky does not formulate that law, does not suggest that it be added to our programme, because he has the hazy feeling that if he did he would be making himself a laughingstock .. Everyone would laugh at this amusing imperialist Economism if it were expressed openly and if, parallel with the law that small-scale production is ousted by large-scale production, thoro were presented another "law" (connected with the first or existing side by side with it) of small states being ousted by big ones!

'To explain this we shall put only one question to Kievsky: Why is it that ecunom ists (without quotation marks) do not speak of the "disintegration" of the modern trusts or hig banks? Or of tho possibility and achievahility of such disintegration? Why 'is it that even the "imperialist Economist" (in q-uotation marks) is obliged to admit that the disintegrat i on of big states is both possible and achievable, and not Oil ly in general, but, for example, the secession of "small nationalities" (please note 1) from Russia (§et Chapter II of K iovsky 's article)?

Lastly, to show even more clearly the lengths to which our author goes, and to warn him, let us note the following:

We all accept the law of large-scale production ousting small-scale production, but no one is afraid to describe a specific "instance" of "small-scale industry prevailing over large-scale industry" as a reactionary phenomenon. No opponent of self-determ inat ion has yet ventured to describe as reactionary Norway's secession from Sweden, though we raised the question in our literature as early as 1914. *

Largo-scale product ion is unachievable if, for instance, hand-worked machines remain .. The idea of a mechanical factory "disintegrating" into handicrafts production is utterly absurd. The imperialist tendency towards hig empires is fully achievable, and in practice is oft.en achieved, in the form of an imperialist alliance of sovereign and independent -politically independent-states .. Such an alliance is possible and is encountered not only in the form of an economic merger of the finance ca pita l of two countries, but a 1 so in the form of mil itary "co-operation' in an im por ial lst war. National struggle, national insurrection, national secession

* See present edition, Vol. 20, pp. 425-30~-Ed.



are fully "achievable" and are met with in practice under impcria]isrn. They are even more pronounced, for imperialism does nol halt the development of capitalism and the growth of democratic tendencies among the mass of the population. On the contrary, it accentuates the antagonism between their democratic aspirations and the anti-democratic tendency of the trusts.

It is only from the point of view of imperialist Ecouomisrn, i.e., caricaturised Marxism, that one can ignore, for instance, this specific aspect of imperialist policy: on the one hand, the present imperialist war offers examples of how the force of financia 1 ties and economic interests draws a small, politically independent state into the struggle of the Great Powers (Britain and Portugal). On the other hand, the violation of democracy with regard to small nations, much weaker (both economically and politically) tha n their im periulist "pa trons'', leads either to revo It (Irelan d) or to defection of whole regiments Lo the enemy (the Czechs). I n this situation it is not only "achievable". from the point of view of finance capital, but sometimes even profitable for the trusts, for their imperialist' policy, for their imperialist war, to allow indipidual small nations as much democratic freedom as they can" right down to political independence, so as not to risk damaging their "own" military operations. To overlook the peculiarity of po litical and strategic rela tionships and to repeat indiscriminately a word learned by rote, "imperial ... ism", is anything but Marxisrn.

On Norway, Kicvsky tells us, firstly, that she "had always been an indepen dent state". Tha t is not true and can only be explained by the a ul.hors burschikose carelessness and his disregard of political issues. Norway was not an independent state prior to 1905, though she enjoyed a very large measure of autonomy. Sweden recognised Norway's political independence only after her secession. If Norway "had always been an independent state", then the Swedish Government would not have informed the other powers, on October 26, 1905, thu t it recognised Norway's independence.

Secondly, Kisvsky cites a number of statements to prove !hat Norway looked to the West, and Sweden to the East, that ~? one country mainly British, and in the other German, 1I1ance capital was "at work", etc .. From this he draws the



v. 1. LENIN

triumphant conclusion: "This example [Norway] neatly fits into our pattern. H

There you have a sample of the logic of imperialist Economism l Our theses point out that finance capital can domina te in "a Tl v". "even independent country", and all the arguments a bout self-determina tion being "u nachievablo" from tI10 poin t of view of finance capital are therefore sheer confusion . We arc given data confirming our proposition about tho part foreign finance capital played in Norway before and after her secession. And these data are supposed to refute our proposi Lion!

~ Dilat.i.I1g on finanee capital in order to disregard political lSSUCS~lS that the way to discuss pulitics?

No. PoliLical issues do not disappear because of Economism's fa ul ty logic. British finance capital was "3 t work" in N or\vay before and after secession. German finance capital Was Hat work" in Poland prior to her secession from Russia an d will continue to "work" there no matter what political status Poland enjoys. That is so elementary that it is embarrassing to have to repeat it. But. what can one do if the ABC is forgotten?

Does th~s dispense :vith the political question of Norway's status? With her having been part of Sweden? With the attitude of tho workers when the secession issue arose?

Kiovsky evades these questions because they hit hard at the E.eonomists. But these questions were posed, and are posed, by life itself. Life itself posed the question:

C.ould a Swedish worker W}lO did not recognise Norway's right to secession remain a member of the Social-Democratic Party? He could not.

The S:vedish ar!stocr~:s wanted a war ~gaiT1st Norway, and so did the cler icals. I bat fact does not disappear because Kievs)i-Y ha~ "forgotten" to read about. it in the history of the Norwegian ?eoplc~ The Swedish worker could, while rem.alTllng a S~oclal-Democrat., urge the N orweg ians to vote aguinst secession (the Norwegian referendum on secession, held on August 13, 1 £lOS, resulted in 368,200 vo Les for secession and '1.84 against, with about 80 per cent of the electorato taking part). But the Swedish worker who, like the Swedish aristocracy and bourgeoisie. would deny the Norwegians the rig-ht to decide this question themselves, without the



S,vedes an d j rrespect l ve of their wi ll , would ha ve been a social-chauvinist and a miscreani the Social-Detnocratic Party cou ld not tolerate in its ranks.

That is how §9 of our Party Programme should he applied.

But our im poria 1 ist Economist tr ies to jump over this cln use. Y ou cannot jump over it, gentlcrnun, without falling into the embrace of chauvinism!

And what of the Norwegian worker? Was it his duty,

Irorn tha internationalist point of view, 1.0 vote for secession i' Certainly not., .He coul d ha ve voted aga inst secession and remained a Social-Democrat. IIo would have been betraying his duty as a member of the Soeial-Democratic Party only if he had proffered a helping hand to a Black-Hundred Swedish worker opposed to N orway ' s [reedom of secession.

Some people refuse to see th is elementary difference in the position of the Norwegian and Swedish 'Yorker. But they expose themselves when they evade this most concrete - of political questions,- which we squarely put to them. They remain silent, try to wriggle out and in that ,yay surrender their position.

To prove that. the "N orwog ian" issne can arise in Russia we deliberately advanced this proposition: in clrcumstances of a p.urely military and strategic nature a separate Polish sta te JS fully ach iova hle even now. Kievsky wants to "discuss" tha t-and remains silent!

Let ,:S add this: Finland too, out of purely military and strategIc considerations, and given a certain outcome of the present imperialist war (for instance, Sweden joining the ~:rmans and ~he latter's semi-victory), can become a separa to state WI thout underm ining the "achievahi lity" of ~vun a. single operation of finance capital, without making

unac.hlBvable'" the buying up of Finnish railway and industris! shares. *

st.at:c;;: Q-iv~n one out?omc ?f ~he preSe!lt war, thA. form at-ion of new an ~~ In E.urope .(Pohsh .. Fln~ll.sh, el.o.) is fully aaclllevabl~" without in an~ it ~y dl:t.~rblng the condi t.IOIlS .for the development of imperialism taet~ s PO'''.OI · On the contrary , this would increase the influence conth~ "f and pressuro of finance capital. But given another out~ome "achi ~rnllatlon of new states in Hungary, Czechia . etc. is likewis!

! ..... Va) l e ~, Th ll' · 1 . .. !., (,.-

QuteOlllB. ' . ~. I'I.hs Ilmpe~lah.sl.S are a l ready planning this second

destro l,HI anLlc1patl~)Il. of their victorv .. The imperialist era does not Y CIt ier the stri ving for national political independence ·or its



.. K icvsky seeks salvation from unpleasant pol it ioal issues In an amazing phrase which is amazingly characteristic of all his "arguments": "At any momentu. [that is literally what he says at tho end of §c, Chapter I.] the Sword of Damocles can strike and put an end to the existence of an 'independent' workshop" (a "hint" at little Sweden and Norway).

That, presumably, is genuine Marxism: a separate Norwegran state, whose secession from Sweden the Stoedish. Gover~ment described as a "revel utionary measure", has been in ~xIstence only some ton years. Is there any point in exam inmg the political issues that follow from this if we have read Hilferdlngs Finance Capital and "understood" it in the sense that Hat any moment"-if we are to exaggerate then let's go .the. whole ~og! - a s~all sta to might vanish? Is there any point In drawing attention to the fact that we ha ve perverted ~ar~ism into Econom ism , and that we have turned our pol ... icy Into a rehash of the speeches of case-hardened n ussian

chauvinists? .

V\1~at a m .. istake the Russian workers must have made in 1905. 1_!1 seckln~ a r~ep?blic: finance capital had already been mohil ised against it In France, England, etc., and "at any momen~" .. the "Sword of Damocles" could have struck it

down, If It had ever come into being! .

* * *

'~The demand for national self-determination is not ~~ .. utopran in the minimum programme: it does not contradict social development, inasmuch as its achievemont would not halt that development." That passage from Martov is challenged by Kievsky in the section in which he cites the "statements" about Norway. They prove, agatn and again, the generally known fact that Norway's "self-determina-

Uachi.evabilit.yn within the bounds of world imperialist relationships. Ou~slde these bounds, ho,vever,. a republican R ussia , or in general any ~a.lor .democrat] ~'I transformations anywhere else in t.he world are

un.ac~levab_Ie" 'VI thou t H series of revol u t.i ons and arc unstable w j t.hout SOcIH.iJsrn .Kl.evsky. h~s whully and COIl} plctely Iai Ied to understand the relation of im peria lism to deu1oeracy.



--------~----~-~- -----,------------


. ,) 'Illd sece~sion did not halt ei ther the developm en t of

tlOIJ t II . f it to ~

f' reo capital genera y, or expansion 0 I ,8 opera Ion In

III a I ~ J I· .• N b 1 L' 1- 1 hl

, tic 111 a r 0 r the buy 1 n g up of J. 0 rw a y y t ie .l,!.j ng I S ~

pelf,' h ik Al . k .

. rrherc have been Bois ev i S am~ng us, eXln,s Y In

1\108-10, for instance, who argued wit.h Martov preclsel~, at a time when Martov was fight! God save us from such al-


5. H~,10NIS~'" AND DUALIS~f'

Reproaching us for "interpreting the demand dualistical- 1 v" P. l( iovsky writes:

~ '/l\lonistie: action of tho lutemational is rep laced by dual-

istic propaganda .. "

Tha t sounds quite Marxist and materia1istic: monistic

act.inn is contrasted to "dual ist ic' propaganda.. UnfortunaLel v ; closer examination reveals that it is verbal "monism", like the "mon ism' of 0 iihring. "1 f I include a shoe brush in the unity mammals," Engels wrote exposing Dtihring 's "monism", "this does not help it to get mammary glands." 27

This means that only such things, qualities, phenomena and actions that are a unity in objective reality can. be declared "a unity" 1 t is this {'detail" tha t our author overlooks l

He thinks we are "dual isl.s", . first, because what we demand, primarily ~ of the workers of the oppressed nations-« this refers to the national question only-ditJers from what we demand of the workers of the oppressor nations.

1'0 determine whether P ~ Kievsky's "monism" is the same as Duhrlngs, let us examine objective realities.

Is the actual condition of the workers in the oppressor and in the oppressed nations the same, from the standpoint of the national question?

No, it is not the same.

. ('1) Economically, the difference is t.hat sections of the workIng' class in the oppressor nations receive crumbs from the Sltperprofils the bourgeoisie of these nations obtains by extra ex ploita t ion of the workers of the oppressed nations. Besides, econoinic statistics show that here a larger percentage of the \vorkcrs become "straw bosses" than is the case in the oppressed nations, a larger percentage rise to the labour


v. I. LE:r,rIN

aristocracy .. * That is a fact. To a certain degree the ,vorkers of the oppressor nations are partners of their OUJn bourgeoisie in plundering tho workers (and the mass of the ·population) of the oppressed nations.

(2) Politically, the difference is that, compared with the workers of the oppressed nations, they occupy a privileged position in many spheres of polit ical Iife.

(3) Ideologically, or spiritually, the difference is that they are taught, at school and in life, disdain and contempt for the workers of the oppressed nations" This has been experienced, for exam ple, by evory Great _R ussian who has been brought up or who has lived among Great Russians ..

Thus, all along the line thore are difforiences in objective reality, i.e. t "dual ism" in the objec t i ve world that is independent of the will and consciousness of individuals.

That being so, how are we to regard P. Kievsky's assertion about the "mon ist ic action of the International"?

It is a hollow, high-sounding phrase, no more,

In real life the International is composed of workers divided into oppressor and oppressed nations. 1/ its action is to be monistic, its propaganda must not he the same for both. That is how we should regard the matter in the light of real (not D uhrlngian) "monism", Marxist rna Lerial ism.

An example? We cited the example of Norway (in the legal press over two years ago l), and no one has challenged it .. In this concrete case taken from life, the action of the .N or- _ wegian and Swedish workers was "monistic", unified, internationalist only because and insofar as the Swedish workers uncondilionallychampioned Norway's' freedom to secede, while the Norwegian workers raised the question of secession only. condi tionally. Ha d the Swo dish workers not su pport.ed N orwa y 's freedom of secession unconditionally, they would ha ve been chauvinists, aCCOIn plices of the chauvinist Swedish landlords, who wanted to "keep" Norway by force, by war. Had the Norwegian workers not raised the question of secession conditionally, i.e., allowing even Social-Democratic Party members to conduct propaganda and vote aga inst secession, they would ha ve failed in their internationalist duty and

* See, for instance, Hourwich '8 book on irnrn igration and the condition of tho working class in Amerjca , 1 mmig rutio n and Labour i-s-Ed,



\vou1d have sunk to narro,:, boltrgeoi~ Nor,~:egian ~t:tionalisln. 'iVhv? Hecause the secession was being effected ny ~he bour-oisie not hy the proletariat! Because the N orwegran bour-

g(. .. , . d · d b

Teoisie (as every other) a lioaus strives to rl ve a we .. ge e-

r ween the wor kers o,f its own and an "alien" country! Heca use for the class-conscious workers every democra tIC dema n d

(iDC 1 tiding ~eJf -d~te~U1 ina tion) is suhord,ina~ed ~o ~.he supre~e interests of socialism. For' exam ple, If N orw a J s secession [rom Sweden had created the certainty or probability of war between Bri tain and Germanv, the N orwegian workers, for that reason alone, wuul d have had to oppose secession. The Swedish workers would hn vc had the right and the opportunit v without ceasing to be socialists, to agitate against

... , . .

secession, hut only if they had wagud a systematic, consistent

and consl.ant struggle against the Swedish Government for NOf\YilV1S freedom to secede. ()Lhctwise tho N orwegian workers and people would not, and could not, accept the advice of t.he Swedish workers as sincere ..

The trouble with the opponen l.s of self -detcrm ina tion is tha L they confine themselves to lifeless a hstract.ions, fearing t.o analyse to the end a single concrete roal-life insl.ance. Our concrete statement in the theses that a new Po] ish state is quito "achievah Ie" now, gi ven a de finite corn hi .. nation of purely milit.ary 1 strategic conditions, * has not been challenged either by the Poles or by P.. K ievsky. H ul no One wanted to ponder the conclusions that Iol low from this tacit admission that we were right. And what Iol lows, obViously, is tllat internationalist propaganda cannot be the SallL8 for the Russians a nd the Poles if it is to educate both for ~(monistic ac t.ion''. The Grea t-H ussia I1 (a nd Gerrna n) worker is in duty hound unconditionally to insist on Poland's fteedonI to secede; otherwise he \V i l 1.1 in [act; noio be t he lackey ?f .Kicholas II or Hi n denburg. rrho Polish worker could lnsl~t 011 secession only condi tiona lly , beca use to spec u la te ~as do the Fraey2~) on the v ictory of one 01' the ol her j rn poria lIst l)ourgeo i sic is ta n tarn ount to bocom ing its lackey. Fa il-

te..to u:1!1 :l'sta n,d thi~ di Ilerence. ,w-h ich ,is a prerequisite

or. III 0 I H S tIC ac t Ion H oft he 1 TI I. urn a t. Ion a 1 ~ I S abo 11 t the sa In e as hliling to understand why "monistic act.ion' against the

..........___--- .



* See prt:~sent edition, Vol. 22, pp. 143~5(j.-Ed~



tsarist army near Moscow, say, requires that the rovolutlon-.' ary forces march west from Nizhni-Novgorod and cast from:


* *


Second, our new exponent of Diihringian monism re-. preaches us for not striving to achieve "the closest .. , organisational unity of the various nat iona l sections of the'.

lnternat ional" in the even t of a social revol ut ion. .,

Under socialism, P. Kievsky writes, self-determinatlon becomes superfluous, since the state itself ceases to exist..' That is Incant as an argument against us! But in our theses': we clearly all d definitely say, in three lines, the last three lines of sect ion one, that "democracy, too, is a form of state I. which must disappear when the state disappears". It is pre-\., cisely this truism that P. Kievsky repeats-to· "refute" us.. of course I-on several pages of his §r (Chapter I), and repeats it. in a distorted way. "We picture to oursel ves," he writes, ~ .. :

. "and ha ve always pictured the socialisL system as a strictly: dernocra tic [!!?), centra I ised system of economy in which thr state, as the apparatus for the domination of one part of, the population over tho other, disappears." This is conlueion," heca US} democracy too is domination "of one part of the pop-' ulation over the other"; it too is a form of state .. Our author; obviously does not understand what is meant by the withering au,ay of the state after the victory of socialisrn and what this :

process requires. ,.'

Tho main point, however, is his "objections" regarding the era of the social revolution. He calls us "talm udists of se I [ - de t. erm ina t ion" - 'v hat a f rig h l ening e pit h et - and> adds: HWe picture this process [the social revolution] as the: un it ed action of the proletarians of all [!] countri CSt who wipe' out the front icl'S of the bourgeois l l l state, \V}lO tear down the front ier posts [in a ddition to "wiping out. the frontiers"?], __ who blow up l l 1 national unity and establish class unity ~n ... :

'I'he wrath of this stern judge of the "ta lm ud ists' notwith- .:: standing, \VO must say: t.here are many words here, but no . "id " 1 eas ~

The social revolution cannot be the united action of the .. ·~·

pro Iel.ar ia ns of all countries for the sirn p 101' reason that rn .. ost ': .. of the countries and the majority of the world 's populal.ion ~




lJ. vo n at evnn reached, or ha ve only just reached, the capi tal ... i~~, stage of devolopm~nt. We stated this in section. six of our theses, hut.l) .. I(~ev(~ky, bee~u~e of lack .of attentIO[~, or j II a b ili tv to t hink, did not not Ice tha t we incl u ded this 8(~Ct. ion for a definite purpose, namel y, to refute car ica l UfO cli~tortions of Marxism ~ Only the advanced countries of Western Europe and North America have matured for scc in l ism , an d i: Engels's 1 etter to Ka utsky (,"-"bornilc S at sial-Demokrata) :9 1( j ovsky will find a concrete ill ustration of the real and not mere 1 y prom iscd "idea" that to dream of the "united action of the proletarians of all countries" means post poning social ism to tho Grook calends, i.e., for ever ~

Soeialism will ho achieved by the united action of the prolctnriaus, not of all, but of a minority of countries, those t.ha t have roac hed the atlnancetl capi ta list stage of development. Tho cause of Kievskv's err-or lies in faiJure to under-


staud that. I n these advanced countries (England, France,

Germ» ny, elc.) the na tiona} problem 'vas solved long ago; national unity out lived its purpose long ago; objectively, there are no "general national tasks" to he accomplished .. Hence, only in these countri es is it possible now to "blow up" na t.io n al unity and establish class unity.

The undeveloped countries are a different matter. They em brace tho whole of Eastern Europe and all the colonies and semi-colonies and are dealt with in section six of the theses (second- and third-type countries). III those areas, as a ru le, there still exist oppressed and capita listically undeveloped nations. Objectively, those nations still have general national tasks to accompl ish, namely, democratic tasks, the tasks of overthrowing foreign oppression,

E n,(~e] s cited India as an example of such nations, stating t?nt. she might perform a revolution against victorious 80- clallsrn, for Engels was remote from the preposterous imP?rialist EconomisIIl which imagines that having achieved v lCt.OJ'Y in the advanced countries" the proletariat will "a utottl at lea 11y", without definite democrat ic measures abo] ish IH~tional oppression everywhere. 'The victorious p;oletariat ~{ll reorganise the cuunt.r ies in which it has triumphed.

l~t caI~not be done all H L once; nor, indeed, can the bour ... ~?Olsi2 be "vanquished' a 11 at once. \\Te del i berately emphaslsed this in our theses, and K iovsky has again failed to



stop and think why we stressed this point in connection wuh . the national question. ~. : ..

While the proletariat of the advanced countries IS OVOf- .'

throwi ng the bourgeoisie and repelling its attern pts ~t counter-revolution, the undeveloped and oppressed nations do . not just wai t, do not cease to exist, do not .d i~appoa~r, . If ... they take advantage even of suc~ a bO~~gCOlS lInperIal.lst .. crisis as the war of 1915-16-a m mor C.fISIS cornpared WIth .: ' social revol utian-to rise in revolt. (the colonies; Ireland), ... there can be no doubt that they will all the more readily: take advantage of the great crisis of civil war in the ..

iPvanced countries to rise in revol t. .. 'f The social revolution can come only in the Iorm of .an .. : epoch in which are combined civil war by the ~roletarlat .. : against the bourgeoisie ~n the advanc~d countries and a.':· whole series of domocrut.ic and revnlut ionary movements, ' including the national liberation m~VClncpt, in the undevel- .,. oped, backward and oppressed natIOns.)I '..

Why? Because capitalism develops uneven.ly, .. and ob.Joo- : tive reality gives us highly developed capitallst nations . side by side with a numberof econom ically slightly developed, . or tota 11y undeveloped, natio~s.. . P. Kie~s.ky has ab~o- ... :. lutely failed to analyse the ohJectlve condltlo~S of soc!al ., revo1ution from the standpoint of the economic maturity : of various countries. His reproach tha t we "in vent" instances ' .... in which to apply self-determinatioll is therefore an attempt

to lay' the blame at the wrong door. .

With a zeal worthy of a better cause, K ievsky repeatedly

quotes Marx and Engels to the effect that ','one Dl ust ll,ot in vent things out of his own head, but use hIS head to discover in the ox ist ing material conditions" the means that w il l free hurnaniLy of social evils. When I read those oft .. repeated quot.ations I cannot ~lelp recallil~g the late and unlamented Economists \,,110 Just as tedIously.... hDrp~d on their "new discoverv'' that capital ism had Lrium phed In Russia. K iavsky wan ts to "smite" us with' these q uota.ti?lls: he claims tha L we in vent out of our own heads the condttions for applying self-determinat.ion in the epoch of imperialism! But, we find the Iol lowing "incautious a dmission'Tn hi~ o~n ~rticle:

"The very fac t that we are opposed [a uthor S ItalICS] ~o defence of the fatherland shows most clearly that we WIll



ti volv resist suppression of a national uprising, for \\10 :~all thereby be combating imperialism, our mortal enemy"

(Chapter 1.1, §r). .

To criticise an author, to ansuier lUID, one has to quote

·1 full Ht. least the main propositions of his article. But ~:1 all of Kievsky's propositions you wil~ fin? t~a.t every sentence conta ins t\VO or three errors or i llog ica lities Lha t

d j stor l Marx iSIIJ ! .

1) He is unaware that a national uprising is al~o "defen~e of the fatherland"! A Iittle thought, however ~ WIll make It perfectly cl ear t.h~ t this is so, s .. ince ev~ry "na ~ion in revolt" "defends" itself, Its language, Its tcrrrtory, Its fa therland, against the oppressor nation.

- All national oppression calls forth the resistance of the broad musses of the people; and the resistance of a nationally oppressed population always tends to national revolt.. Not infrequently (notably in Austria and Russia) we find the bourgeoisie of the oppressed na Lions talking of national revolt. while in practice it enters into reactionary compacts with the bourgeoisie of the oppressor nalion hehind the backs of, and against, its own people. In such cases the criticism of revel ut.ionary Marxists shoul d be directed not against the national movement, but against its degradation, vulgarisat ion, against the tendency to reduce it to a petty squab ble~ Incidenta]ly, very many Austrian and Russian Social ... Democrats overlook this and in their legitimate hatred of the petty, vulgar- and sordid nat.ional squabbles-vdisputes and scuffles over Lhe question, for instance, of which language shall have precedence in two-language street signs=-refusc to Support the na tional struggle. We shall not "support" a republiean farce in, say, the prine ipal ity of Monaco, or tho "republican" advent urism of "generals" in the small states of South America or some Pacific island. But that docs not Olean it would be permissible to abandon the republican s]ogan for serious dcrnocratic and socialist movements. We ~hould, and do, ridicule tho sordid national squabbles and ~agg·] ing in Russia and Austria. But that does not mean Ihat ~~ ,vQuld he permissible to deny support to a nat ional uprisllJg or ~ serious popular struggle against na tiona I oppression ..

2) J f na tiona I uprisings are im possible in the "irn peria 1 ist era~" K'

~ revsky has no right to speak of them. J f they are pos-



sib le, all his fine-spun ta lk about "monism" and our "invent .. ·. ing" exam ples of self-determinat ion u nder imperial ism" etc, ,>;: etc., fa lIs to pieces. Kievsky defeats his own arguments"

1 f hwe" "actively resist suppression" of a "national upris-. ing~~-a case which P. Kievsky "himsel]" considers possible

-what does this mean? .

It means that the action is twofold, or, "dualistic", to em ploy the philosophical term as incorrectly as our author does .. (a) first, it is the "action" of tho nationally oppressed proletariat and peasantry jointly with the nationally oppressed bourgeoisie against the oppressor nation; (b) second, it · the "action" of the proletariat, or of its class-conscious section, in the oppressor nation against the bourgeoisie of tha nation and all. the elements that follow it.

'The innumerable phrases against a "national bloc", nati nal "illusions", the "poison" of nationalism, against "Ianni national hatred' and the like, to which P. Kicvsky resorts, prove to be meaningless. For when he advises tho proletariat of the oppressor countries (which, be it remembered, he re-: gards as a serious force) "actively to resist suppression of . national uprising", he thereby tans national hatred and. supports the establishment of a "hloc with the bourgeoisie" ..

by the workers of the oppressed nations. .

3) If na tional uprisings are possible under im perialism so are national wars. There is no material political diff ence between the two. Military historians are perfectl right when they put rebellions in the same category as w Kievsky has unwittingly refuLed not only himself, but a Junius "? and the I niernationale group, who deny tho pos bility of national wars under im perialism. And this denia . is the only conceivable theoretical ground for denying se determination of nations under im por-ial ism.

4) For what is a "national" upr-ising? It is an uprising aime at the achievement of political independence of the oppresse . nation, L e., the establishment of a separate nationa ,. state. .

If the pro letaria t of the oppressor na t ion is a serious force (in the im perialist era, as our author rigbtly assumesl-. does not its determina lion "actively to resist suppression of a national uprising" imply assistance in creating a separate national state? Of course it does,



L ..



1'hough he denies the "achlevabil ity" of solf-determination, our brave author now argu~s that tho c~ass:consc~ous proletariat of t.~e adv~nced countries must assist In achieving this "unachievable goa I!

5) l>Vhy must "we' "actively resist" suppression of a national uprising? P. Kievsky advances only one reason; " .. .we shall thereby be combating imperialism, our mortal enemy.' All the strength of this argument lies in the strong word "mortal". And this is in keeping with his penchant for strong words instead of strong arguments-high-sounding phrases like "driving a stake into the quivering body of the bourgeoisie" and sim i lar Alexinsky flourishes ..

Hut this Kievsky argument is wrong. Imperialism is as much our "mortal" enemy as is capitalism. That is so .. No Marx ist will forget, however, tha t ca pi tal ism is progress! ve com pared with feudalism, and t.hat Impcria lism is progressive compared with pre-monopoly capitalism. Hence, it is not every struggle against imperialism that we should sup port. We wi 11 not support a struggle of the reactionary classes against imperialism; we will not support an uprising of the reactionary classes against im perial ism and capitalism ..

Consequently" once the author admits the need to support an uprising of an oppressed nation C'acti vely resisting" suppression means supporting the uprising), he also admits that a nat ional uprising is progressive, that the establishrncnt of a separate and new state, of new frontlers. etc., resulting from a successful uprising, is progressive.

J n none of his polit ieal arguments is the a uthor consistent! The Irish Robellion of 1016, which took place after our theses had appeared in No.2 of Vorbote .. proved, incidentally, !.l:at it 'vas not idle to speak of the possibility of national uprIsIngs even in Europe.


kiheraLion of the colonios, we stated in our theses, means se I -d~teI'mination of nations. Europeans often forget that cf °lonlal [leOp 1 es too are nations, but to tolerate this "forgot-

u nessH •

IS to tolerate chauvinism.



P 9 Kievsky "objects":

In the pure type of colonies, "there is no proletariat in .. the proper sense of the term" (end of §r, Chapter 11). "For. whom, then, is the 'self-determination' slogan meant? For .: the colonial bourgeoisie? For the fellahs? For the peasants? .... Certainly not. It is absurd for socialists l Kievskys italics] .. to demand sclf-dctcrm inat ion for the colonies, for it is absurd ill general to advance the slogans of a workers' party :

for countries whore there are no workers. n .

Po. Kievskys anger and his denunciation of our view as :. "absurd" notwi thstanding , we make bold to submit that his ... arguments arc erroneous.. Only the late and unlamented ' Economists believed that the "slogans of a workers' party" are issued only for workers, * No, these slogans are issued: for the whole of the labouring population, for the entire .. , people, The democratic part of our programme-Kievsky has . given no thought to its significance "in genera l"._is addressed ... specifically to the whole people and that is why in it we speak of the "peopl e"" * *

The colonial and semi-colonial nations, we said, account for 1,000 million people, and P. Kiovsky has not taken the trouble to refute that concrete statement. Of these 1,000 : million, more than 700 million (China, India, Persia, Egypt) livo in countries where there are workers .. But even with regard to colonial countries whore there are no workers, only . slave-owners and slaves, etc .. , the demand for "self-dotermi- .. nation", far from being absurd, is obligatory for every Marx- .'. ist. And if he gave the matter a little thought, Kievsky would probably realise this, and also that ~'self-determina-· .: tion' is always advanced "for' two nations: the oppressed and the oppressing.

Another of K iuvsky ' S "objections":

"For that reason we limiL ourselves, in respect to the colonies, to a negative slogan, i.e .. , to the demand socialists

* P .. Kievsky would do well to reread what A. Martynov and Co .. wrote in 1899~1 901. He would find many of his "own' arguments there ..

* * Some curious opponents of c'sclf-dctern:ination o! .nati?DS" try to refute our views with the argument t~at "nations" ~re d~. \"1 ded Into classesl Our customary reply to these caricature Marxists IS that the democratic part of our programme speaks of "government by the people" ,



present to their. g?vernments- 'get out of t~e ?olonies_!t lJnachievable within the framework of capitalism, this demand serves to in~ensify the struggle against imperialism, hut does not contradict the trend of development, for a so(~ialist society will not possess colonies."

The author's inability, or reluctance, to give the slightest thouzht Lo the theoretical contents of political slogans is


sirn p ly amazing! Are we to believe that tho use of a propa ..

ganda phrase instead of a theoretically precise political terril H 1 tel'S rna t ters? To say "get out of the colo n ios" is to eva de a theoretical analysis and hide behind propaganda phrases! For everyone of our Party propagandists, in referring to the Ukra ine, Poland, Finland, etc., is fully entitled to demand of the tsarist government (his "own government"): "get out of Finlund", etc. However, the intelligent propagandist will understand that we must not advance either positive or negative slogans for the sole purpose of "intensifying" the struggle. Only men of the Alexinsky type could insist that the "negative" slogan "get out of the Black-Hundred Duman was j ust i Iiod by the desire to "intensify" the struggle against a certa in evil.

Intensification of the struggle is an empty phrase of the subjectivists, who forget the Marxist requirement that every slogan be justified by a proctse a nalysis of economic realities; the political situation and the political significance of the slogan. It is embarrassing to have to drive this home, but what can one do?

We know the Aloxinsky habit of cutting short a theoretical dis.cussion of a theoretical question by propaganda outcries. It IS a bad habit. The slogan "getout of the colonies" has one and only one political and economic content: freedom of secession for the colonial nations, freedom to esta blish a ~epara to st.a te! If, as P. Kievsky believes, the general laws of nn perialism prevent the self-determination of nations and rna ko it a utopia, illusion, etc .. , etc., then how can one, with. Out stopping to think, make an exception from these gen~;al l~ ws for most of the na tions of the world? Obviously,

. K 1evsky's "theory" is a caricature of theory. .

th ?ornmodity production and capitalism, and the connecting c 1ea~s of finance capital, exist in the vast majority of o OnIa} Countries .. How, then, can we urge the imperialist

5 -1 ~81



coun tries, their governments, to ."get ou L o~ the co~lon~es)' ... if, from th~ st,andpoin,l o~ COm~?dlLY, pr~~,ustlOn, c~lnta~IS~ . and imperialism, this IS an unsc ienl.i lic and. utopian : ..

demand, "refuted" even by Lensch, Cunow and the rest? ,_:.

There is not even a shadow of thought in the author's

argumenta tion! . .

He has given no thought to the fact that Iiberat ion or the colonies is "unrealisahle" only in tho sense of being "unrealisable without a series of revolu tions' ~ He has given no thought to the fact that it is realisable in ~onjunclion with. a socialist revolution in Europe, He has given no thought -, :. to the fact that a "socialist society will not possess" not only . colonies but subject nations in general. He has given no : thoughtLo the fact that, OIl the question under discussion, :: there is no economic or political difference between Russia's. :

"possession" of Pola nd or .. T~r kest~n. "He. has. g i ve~, no . thought to the fact that a "socialist society W11l. W Ish to get; out of the colon ies" only in the sense of granting thorn the .. free right to secede, hut definitely not in the sense or recom- .' ..

mending secesston., .

And for this differentialion between the right to secede and: the recommendation to secede, P. Kievsky condemns us as '; "jugglers", and to "scientifically substantiate" t..ha t verdict .. in the eyes of the workers, he writes: ~ .

"Wha t is a worker to think when he asks a propagandist . how the proletariat should regard samost .. iinost [politi.cal.: independence for the Ukraine 1, and gets this 3.nswer: soclal- : ists are working for the right to secede, hut their propaganda ..

is against secession?" .

I bel ieve 1 can give a fairly ace urate reply to that ~uestlo~, . namely: every sensible worker will think that Kievsky IS . not capable of thinking, . .

Every sensib Ie worker will "think": here we ha ve P. K?e~sky teU ing us workers to shout "get out of the co lnnies · In other words we Great-R ussian workers must demand from our govern~cnt that it get out of Mongolia, Tur~e~ stan Persia" English workers must demand that t.he EnglIsh ""' , B d es

Government get out of Egypt, India, Persia, etc. ut « 0

this mean that we proletarians wish to separate ourselves from the Egyptian workers and Iel lahs, from Lhfe Mo~g?Iian, Turkestan or Indian workers and peasants? Does It,



l It that ice advise the labouring masses of the colou ies to

m oa 1· E I' t?

"separato" from ~he c ass-conscious ...j uropean pro etaria ':

N·oLbing of the kind. N O\V, as always, .we. stand and s~all contin ue to stand. for the closest a ssocrat.ion and mergl.ng of the class-conscious workers of the advanced countries wi th the workers, peasants and sla yes of all the oppressed c(Juutries. We have always advised and shaU continue to a d v ise all the oppressed classes in a II the oppressed countries, the colon ios included, not to separate Irom us, but to form the closest possible ties and merge with us.

'Ve demand frorn our" governments that they quit the colon ies, or, to put it in precise political terms rather than in agitati anal. 011 t..eries-that they grant the colonies full [recdom of secession, the genuine right to seli-determinalion; and we ourselves are sure to implement this right, and grant this freedom, as SOon us we capture power. We dernand this from existing governments, and will do this when we are the government, not in order to "recommend' secession, but, on the contrary, in order- to facilitate and accelcra l.e the democratic association 3 nd mBT"ging of nations, We shall exert every effort to foster assoc iatiou an d merger with the Mongol ia ns, Persians, India ns, Egyptia ns. We believe it is our duty and in our interest to do this, for otherwise socialism ill Europe will not be secure. \Ve shall endeavour to render these nil l.ions, more backward and oppressed than we are, "d isinterestod c ultura 1 assistance", to borrow the happy expression of the Polish Sociu I-Democrats. I n other words, we will help them pass to the use of machinery, to the lightening of labour, to democracy, to soc ial ism.

.I f we dcman d freedom of secession for the l\Iongolians, Persians, Egyptians and all other oppressed and unequal nations without except ion, we do so not because we favour secession, but only hoca use we stan d for free, voluntary n.ssociat.ioIl and rnerglng as distinct from Iorcib la associatIon. Thu t is the only reason!

1\ And _in this respect the only difference hetween the plor~g'ohan ,Of, Egyptian peasa,I1ts, and w?rkers and their t ollsh or Fln1ll~h counterpar-ts IS, In our view, that the latthf aye, more deve loped, more experienced polit.ically lha n fo: (~rea,t R ussia,Tls" more ,ecol,lOmiea lly prepared, ,etc" an.d

. tha t 1 easo n \.\1 ill In all Iikelihood ue ry soon. con v mco their



v. 1. LENIN

peoples thaL it is unwise to extend their present legitimate ... hatred of the Great Russians, for their role of hangman, to the socialist workers and to a social ist Russia. They will convince them that economic expediency and international .... : ist and democratic instinct and consciousness demand the ':. earliest association of all nations and their merging in a so- .. : cialist society. And since the Poles and Finns are highly cul ..... tured people, they will, in all probability, very soon come q to see the correctness of this attitude, and the possible soces-'.: sion of Poland and Finland after the triumph of socialism· will therefore be only of short duration. The incomparably less cull.urorl Iel lahs, Mongolians and Persians might secede: for a longer period, but we shall try to shorten it by disin- _. terestcd cultural assistance as indicated above.

There is no other difference in our attitude to the Poles·· and Mongulians, nor can there boo There is no "contradiot ion", .. : nor can there be, between our propaganda of freedom of.' secession and our firm resolve to implement that freedom when we are the government, and our propaganda of associa-" tion and merging of nations. That is what, we foel sure, every • sensible worker, every genuine socialist and internation- .:.

alist will "think" of our controversy with P ~ Kievsky, * .

Running through the article is Kievsky 's basic douhtt why advocate and, when we are in power, implement the: freedom of nations to secede, considering that the trend of '


* Evidently Kievsky simply repeated the slogan "get out of the -: colonies", advanced by certain German and Dutch Marxists, without. considering not only its theoretical content and irn pli ca ti ons, but also. ~. the specific features of Russia. It is pardonable-to a certain extent- . for a D utch or German Marxist to confine himself to the slogan "get·· out of the colonies" _ For, first, the typical form of national oppression, in the case of. most West-European countries, is oppression of the colonies, and, second, the very term "colony" has an especi ally clear s :

graphic and vital meaning for 'Vest-European countries. . ::

But what of Russia? Its peculiarity lies precisely in the fact that the difference between "our" "colonies" and "our" oppressed nations 1S .. not clear, not concrete and not vitally felt!

For a Marxist writing in, say, German it might be pardonable to overlook this pec~liari ty of .R ussia; f?r Ki evsky it is ,un par{_~onable", :.: . The sheer absurdi ty of trying to d iscnver some serIOUS dIfference· between oppressed nal.i oris and colonies in the case of Russia should be . especi ally clear to a R ussian socialist who wants not sim ply to repeat t .. but to thi nlc, , :':



development is towards the merging of nations? For the sanle re(lson-we rcply~ that we advocate and, when in power, wi ll imp1ement the dictatorship of the proletariat, though the en Lire trend of development is towards abol il.ion of coercive domination of one part of society over another" IJictatorship is dominat.ion of one part of society over the rest of society, and domination, moreover, that rests directly on coercion. Dictatorship of the proletariat, the only consisten tl y revol u lionary c 1a ss, is necessary to overthrow the bourgeoisie and repel its attempts at counter-revolution. The quest.ion of proletarian dictatorship is of such overriding importance that he who denies the need for such dictatorship, or recognises it only in words, cannot. bo a member of the Social-Democratic Party. However, it cannot be denied tha t in individual cases, by way of exception, for instance, in some small country after the social revolution has been accomplished in a neighbouring big country, peaceful surren dor of power by tho bourgeoisie is possible, if it is convinced tha t resis La nee is hopeless and if it prefers to sa ve its skin ~ It is much more like} y, of course, tha t even in small states socialism will not he achieved without civil war, and for t.hat reason the only programme of international Social~emocracy must be recognition of civil war, though violence IS, of course, alien to our ideals. The same mutatis mutandis (will,l the necessary altera Lions), is applIcable to nations, We favour their merger, but now there can be no transition fr?Ifl forcible merger and annexation to voluntary merger vllthoul freedom of secession. We recognise-and quite r ightly ~ t.~le pre(~ominanco of the economic factor, hut to inte-rpret It a la !(lovsky is to make a caricature of Marxism. Even tho trusts and banks of modern imperial ism, though i nev i~al:~~ :,",orywhel'e as part of developed capitalism, differ in ,hel~ concreto aspects from country to country. There is

~('~tl,ll. great~r, difference" despite homogeTll!i t.y i~ o:sentials, t .: _'\ e e n po 11 t ic a 1 f 0 rrn S J n t he a d v a nc e d lin per 1 a 1 U~ teo U 1.1 -

'1Ie:-An1eriea, Eng lan d. Franco, Germany. The same

;aNety will manifest itself also in the path mankind will t~ O\V fran} the imperialism of today to the soc in l ist re vol ui~o.n of. _to'nOITow. All nat ions \\1 ill a rri ve at soc ial.ism -this ~:~hev~,table, h~t all will do .so in n~)I, exact.ly the same way"

v.; 111. contr ih uts something of Its own to somo form 01


V. 1. LFjNIN

democracy, to somo variety of the dictatorship' of the proletariat, to the varying rate of socialist transformations in the different aspec ts of social life. There is nothing more primitive from the viewpoint of theory, or more ridiculous from

. that of practice, than to paint, "in the name of historical rna t.erialism", this aspect of the future in a monotonous grey. The result will be nothing more than Suzdal daubing. And even if reality were to show that prior to the first victory of the socia list proletariat only 1/500 of the nations now oppressed will win emancipation and secede, that prior to the final victory of the social ist proletaria t the world over (i.e., during all the vicissitudes of the socialist revolution) also only 1/500 of the oppressed na tions will secede for a very short timeeven in that event we would be correct, both from the theoretical and practical political standpoint, in advising the 'Workers, already now, not to permit into their Social-Democratic pa.rties those socialists of the oppressor nations who do not recognise and do not advocate freedom of secession for all oppressed nations. For the fact is that we do not know, and cannot know, how many of the oppressed nations will in prac lice require secession in order to contribute something of their own to the different forms of democracy t the different forms of transition to socialism .. And that the negation of freedom of secession now is theoretically false from beginning to end and in practice arnounts to servility to the chauvin ... ists of the oppressing nations-this we know, see and feel daily ~

"We ern phasise," P ~ Kievsky writes in a footnote to the passage quoted above, "that we fully support the demand 'against forcible annexation' ..... "

~ But he makes no reply; not oven by a single word, to our perfectly clear statement that this "demand" is tantamount to recogn ising self-determina t ion, that there can be no correct definit.ion of the concept "annexation" unless it is seen in context with self-determination. Presumably Kievsky believes that in a discussion it is enough to present one 's argumonts and dcrnands without any supporting evidencel

He continues: u .... We fully accept" in their negative formulat.ion, a number of demands that tend to sharpen prole ... tarian consc iuusness against irn perialism, but there is abso .. lutely no possibility of working out corresponding positive

.. -- -_._-_._----------_.-



f rmuJatioIlS on the basis of the ex isting system. Against

o f d . "

var yes, but not or a emocra t ic peace .. ~.

\ (Wrong-wrong from the first word to the last. Kiovsky

has read OUT' resolulion on "Pac i Iism and the Peace Slogan" (in the pamphlet ~1ocialism and. ~l'ar1 pp .. 44-15*) and even approved it, 1 helieve. But obviously he did not understand it. l.tVe are for a democratic peace, only we warn the workers against the decepLi~n that such a hP~ace is poss.iblo under the preseu t, bourgeois governments without a sorros of rovolutions'" as the resolution points out. We denounced as a decept.ion of the workers the "abstract" advocacy of peace, Le., one that does not take into account the real class nature, or, speoi Iica lly, tho im perialist nature of the present governments in the belligerent countries. We do finitely stated in the Soisial-Demokrat (No. 47) theses that if the revolution places our Party in power during the present war, it will iInmediately propose a democratic peace to all the warring countries. * *

Yet, anxious to convince himself and others that he is opposed "only" to self-determination and not to democracy in general, Kievsky ends up by asserting that we are "not f01" a democratic peace" .. Curious logic!

Thoro is no need to dwell on all the other examples he cites, and no sense in wasting space on refuting them, for they are on the same level of naive and fallacious logic and can only make the reader smile. There is not, nor can there he, such a thing as a "negative" Social-Democratic slogan that serves only to "sharpen proletarian consciousness against impor-ial ism" without at the same time offering a positi ve answer to the question of how Social-Democracy will solve the problem when it assumes power .. A "negative" slo ... gan unconnected with a definite positive solution will not "shu rpen'', hut dull consciousness, for such a slogan is a hollo\v phrase, mere shouting, meaningless declamation. " P.. Kievsky doos not understand the difference between

ll?gativeU slogans that stigmatiso political evils and econom« evils. The difference lies in the fact that certain economic evils are part of capitalism as such, whatever the political

.: She? present edition, '701. 21, pp. IG2-63.-Ed .. lId., pp. 4D3-0~-Ed,



superstructure, and that it is impossible to eliminate them economically without eJiminating capitalism itself, Not a single instance can be cited to disprove this, On the other. hand, political evils represent a departure from democracy. -~ which, economically, is fully possihle "on the basis of the existing system" t i.e .. , capitalism, and by way of exception is being implemented under capitalism-certain aspects in one country, other aspects in another. Again, what the author fails to understand is precisely the fundamental conditions necessary for the implementation of democracy in general I

The same appl ies to the question of divorce. The reader will recall that it was first posed by Rosa Luxemburg in .the discussion on the national question. She expressed the perfectly justified opinion that if we uphold autonomy within a state (for a definite region, area, etc .. ), we must, as centralist Social-Democrats, insist that all major na tiona} issues -and divorce legislation is one of them-should come within the jurisdiction of the central government and central parliament. This example clearly demonstrates that one cannot be a democrat and socialist without demanding full freedom of divorce now, beca use the lack of such freedom is additional oppression of the oppressed sex-s-though it should not be difficult to realise that recognition of the freedom to leaveone's husband is not an invitation to all wives to do sot

P. Kievsky "objects": . :.

"What would this right Lof divorce] be like if in such cases ..

[when the wife wants to leave the husband J she could. not _ exercise her right? Or if its exercise depended on the will of. third parties, or, worse still, on the will of claimants to 'her .. affections? Would we advocate. the proclamation of such a r-ight? Of course not.I' -

That objection reveals complete failure to understand .. the relation hel.weon : democracy in general and capitalism.· The conditions that 'make it impossible for the oppressed classes to "exercise" their democra tic rights are not the exception under ca pitalism; they are typical of the system. ~ IJ) most cases the right of divorce will remain unrealisable und~t capita lism , for the oppressed sex is subjugated eco"':/ no~]ca~IIy~ No matter how much democracy there is under .. ca pltnlism , the woman remains a "domestic sln ve" a slave lockod up in the bedroom ~ . nursery t .kitchon, The ; right·, to



] l . L th eir "own " peop In's judges, officia Is, school-teachers. ~u~~'JOen, etc. is likewise in most cases Iln~ealisa~le ,under ~apitaljsm precisely because of the eC(~nOmlC subJectlO~ ?f th \vorkers and peasants: The same appl ies to the democrat ic reI~ubjiC: our programrn~ defines it as "government by the

eople" though all Social-Democrats know perfectly well ihal under capitalism, even in the most democratic republic, there is bound to be bribery of officials by the bourgeoisie and an a.lliance of stock exchange and the government.

Onlv those who cannot think straight or have no knowledge ~f rvfarxis~ will .con~] ude: so there. is no pOint. in having a republic, no point In freedom of divorce, no point in demooracy, no point in self-determination of nations! But Marxists know that democracy does not abolish class oppression. It only makes the class struggle more direct, wider, more open and pronounced, and that is what we need. The Iullor the freedom of divorce, the clearer will women sue that the source of their "domestic slavery" is capitalism, not lack of rights. 'The more democratic the system of government, the clearer will the workers see that the root evil is capitalism, not lack of rights .. 'The fuller national equality (and it. is not complete without freedorn of secession), the clearer will the workers of the oppressed nations see that the cause of their oppression is capital ism, not lack of rights, etc.

It must be said again and again: It is embarrassing to have to drive horne the ABC of Marxism, but what is one to do if I(ievsky does not know it?

He discusses ·divorce in much the same way .as one of the secrotaries of the Organising Committee abroad; Semkovsky, discussed it ~ if I remem ber rightly, in the Paris ~olos. 31 His line of reasoning was that fr-ecdonl of di vorco IS not, it is true, an in vi tati on to a II wives to len ve their hushands, but if it is proved that all other husbands are better t.han yours, madame, then it amounts to one and the samu thiug I!

In taking that line of argument Semkovsky forgot that cr~nk thin king is not a violation of socialist or democra tic hfJnCiples. If Semkovsky were to tell a woman that all o,ther ~y}ands were bel ter than hers, no one would regard this as VIQ ation of democratic princip les. ./\.t most people would


V, 1. LENI~

say: There are bound to be big cranks in a big party! But if ,. Sernkovsky were 1,0 Lake it into his head to defend as a dem-ocrat a person "rho opposed freedom of divorce and appealed to the courts, the police or the church to prevent his .. : wife leaving him, ,\TO feel sure that even most of Semkovskyts ' col~ea~ues on the Secretariat Abroad, though they are sorry . socialists, would refuse to support him! .:

Both Semkovsky and Kievsky, in their "discussion" of:· divorce, fail to understand the issue and avoid its substance,·, namely, that under capitalism the right of divorce, as . all other democratic rights without exception, is conditional . restricted, formal, narrow and extremely difficul t of reali- . sation. Yet no self-rospecting Social-Democrat will consider . anyone opposing the right of divorce a democrat, let alone. a socialist. That is the crux of the matter. All "democracy" .: consists in the proclamation and realisa tion of "rights" which .' under capitalism are realisable only to a very small degree .. : and only relatively. But without the proclamation of these· rights, without a struggle to introduce them now, immedi .... ately, without training the masses in the spirit of this strug- : gle, socialism is impossible.

Ha ving failed to understand that, Kievsky bypasses the .. centra 1 question, that belongs to his special subject r namely, how will we Social-Democrats abolish nat.ional: oppression? He shunts the question aside with phrases. about the world being "drenched in blood", etc. (though this has no bearing on the matter under discussion). This'. leaves only one single argument: the socialist revolution . will solve everything! Or, the argument sometimes advanced ..:. by peoplo who share his views: self-determination is impos-': sible- under capitalism an d superfl uous under socialism,

From the theoretical standpoint that view is nonsensical; . from the practical political standpoint it is chauvinistio •.. It fails to appreciate the significance of democracy. For .: socialism is impossible without democracy because: (1) the :. pro1etaria L cannot perform tho socialist revol ut.ion unless :,' it prepares for it by the struggle for demucraoy; (2) victori- . ous socialism cannot consolidate its victory. and bring· humanity to the withering away of the state without implementing full democracy. To claim tllut self-determinat.ion is superfluous under socialism is therefore just as nonsensical



d just as hopelessly confusing as to claim that democracy

an der eoci 1·

is superfluou~ un. er . .,SOCIa Ism. ~. .

Sclf-dcLermlnatlon IS no more impossible under capital-

jsm , and just as superfl uous under socia l ism , as democracy

genera lly.

The eeonomic revolution will create the necessary prereq-

uisites for eliminating all types of poli tical oppression. Precjsely for that reason it is illogical and incorrect to reduce everything to the economic revolution, for the question is: how to eliminate national oppression? It cannot be elimina Led without an economic revolution. Tha t is incontestable. But to limit oursel yes to this is to lapse into absurd and wretched imperialist Economism.

We In ust carry out national equality; proclaim, formulate an d im plement equal "righ ts' for all nations. Everyone agrees with that save, perhaps, P. Kievsky. But this poses a quest ion which Kievsky avoids: is not negation of the right to form a national state negation of equality?

Of course it iSA And consistent, L e., socialist, democrats proclaim, formulate and will implement this right, without which there is no path to complete, voluntary rapprochement and merging of nations.


V\T e ha ve analysed only a fraction of Pit Kievsky' s arguments. To analyse all of them would require an article five tjmos the length of this one, for there is not a single correct view in tho whole of what Kievsky has to say. What is correct- if there are no mistakes in the figures- is the footnote '~ata On banks ... All the rest is an impossible tangle of confuSl~n peppered with phrases like "driving a stake into the quiverIng body", "we shall not only judge the conquering heroes, but condemn them to death and elimination", "the new world w ill he horn in agonising convulsions", "the question will ~ot be one of granting charters and rights, nor of procl aim~ng the freedom of the nations, but of establishing genuinely

reo relationships, destroying age-old slavery and social IPp,ression in general, and nul.ional oppression in particuar 1 and so on and so forth.



These phrases are, at one and the same time, the Covert-~ and expression of two things: first, their un derlying "idea't is imperialist Economism, which is JURt as ugly a caricature·: of MarxisIIl, and just as complete a misinterpretation of tha relationsh j p between socialism and democracy, as Was t .: latea nd unlamented Economism of 18D4-1902~ .

Second" we have in these phrases a repotition of Alex"·-· Inskyrnothods. This should he especially emphasised, fot:. a whole section of Kf evskys article (Chapter I I, if, Special Position of the Jews") is bused exclusively on th methods.

At the 1907 London Congress the Bolsheviks would dissociate themselves from .. Alexinsky when, in reply totheoretical arguments, he would pose as an agitator and resort to high-tal ut in, but entirely irrelevant, phrases· against one or another type of exploitation and oppression .. ··':. "He's begun his shouting again,' our delegates would say.. And the "shouting' did not do Alexinsky any good. .j'

There is the same kind of "shouting" in Kievsky's article..

He has no reply to the theoretical questions and arguments expounded in the theses, Instead" he poses as an agitator' and begins shouting about the oppression of the J eW8.·~. though every thinking person will realise that his shouting.j and the Jewish question in general, have no relation.' whatever to the subject under discussion.

Alexinsky methods can lead to no good ..

Wri tten August-October 19i 6 First published in the m agaztne Ztezda Nos. t and 2, 1924 Signed: V. Lenin

Published according to

the manuscript, .J ..

verified with the typewritten' copy containing Lenin's correcti on s

I .




Among the Dutch, Scandinavian and Swiss revolutionary Soeial-Denl0croaLs who are combating the social-chauvinist lies a bout "defence of the fatherland" in the present irn perialist war, there ha ve been voices in fa vour of replacing the old Sociu l-Dcmocratio minimum-programme demand for a "mil it ia", or "the armed nation", by a new demand: "disarmament", The Jugend-Intemationale" has inaugurated a discussion on this issue and pub] ished, in No.3, an editor .. ial supporting disarmament. There is also, we regret to not.e, a concession to the "disarmament" idea in R. Grimm '8 latest theses.34. Discussions have been stal~Led in the peri ...

odicals N eues Leben'? and Vorbote, .

Let us take a closer look at the position of the disarmament advocates.


Their principal argument is that the disarmament demand is tho clearest, most decisive, most consist.en L ex pression of Lhe st.ruggle agu inst all m il itar ism and against all war.

J~ut in this principal argument lies the disarmament advocatus' principal error. Socialists cannot, without ceasing to b.o social i sts, be opposed to all war.

'Firstly, socialists have never heen, nor can they ever be, opposod to revolutionary wars. The bourgeoisie of tho irn peria 1 i st "Grea t" Powers has become thoroughly react ionary ~ and the war this bourgeoisie is nnw \\~(JgiHg we regard at a re~lCtiollal'Y" slu ve-(!wners' aTl~ .c,;,iminal War. ~ ut what a out. d war against this bourgeoisie? A war, for instance, Waged by peoples oppressed by and dependenL upon this



h?urgcoisie, or by colonial peoples, for liberation? In §5 of tho Lnternationale group theses we read; "National w

1 . hI . ars

are no ongor POSSl e In tho era of this unbridled imper"

al~s,m." ~hat is obviously wrong. , 1-

" 1 he. hlstO:y of. t~e twentieth century, this century of:

unbridled im pcrialism", is replete with colonial wars.·

Bu~ ,:hat we Europeans, the imperialist oppressors of tha : majority of the world's peoples, wit.h our habitual, despic- ..... ab 1~ European cha uvinism, ca II "colonial wars" are often : national wars, or n.ational rebellions of these oppressed peop- .... les. One of~ th~ main fea turos of imperialism is that it accel-. er~ tes capi t.a list development in the ill ost hac kward coun-·' trle~, and thereb~ extends and intensifies the struggle against . national op~lJeSSJ0!l~ ~rrhat is a fact, and from it Inevitably follows that im per-ia l ism must. often give rise to national wars ... Junius. who defends the above-quoted "theses" in her pam .. : phl~t, says" that. in. the imperialist era every national war. aga inst an im perial 1 st Grea t Power lea ds to the in tervention .. of a rival imperialist Great Power. Every national war is thus·· turned 1.nto an irnpur-ia list war .. But that argument is wrong '. too" ~hIS can happen, but. does not always happen. Many· colnnia l wars between 1900 and 1914 did not follow that ~ourseA And it would be simply ridiculous to declare, for ... ' Instanc~'I that after the present war, if it ends in the utter' exhuusll.on of all tha belligerents, "there can be no" national, -, : .. progre~SlV?7 rev~olutionary wars "of any kind", waged, say,:. by China In alliance with T ndia, Persia, Siam, ctc., against .: ;. the Grea t Powers, '.

. To. deny a II possibility of national wars under imperialism 1S wrong In theory, obviously mistaken historically, ,: and tantamount to European chauvinism in practice: we ,.: who belong to nations that oppress hundreds of rnillions in Europe, Afric~, .As~,~' etc.,. are invited to tell tho oppressed .. peoples that It. IS lID possible" for them to wage war against .

" " t ~ ,

our na Ions.

Secondly , civil war is just as much a war as any other. ~e. who accep~s the class struggle ca nnot fail to accept CJvlI wars, which in every c lass society are the natural, and under certa in conditions inevi table, continuation devel .. opment ar~d intensifieation of the class struggle. That. bas been confirmed by every groat revolution. To repudiate


civil war ~ or to forget about it, is to fa 11 into ox l.reme opportun ism and. renounce t h.e ~oci~ 1 ist revolut iOIL

'Thirdly ~ the victory of soc. ia l ism I n one country does not at one stroke eliruinate all war in general. On the contrary, it presupposes wars, rr:hc d.evclopIllcnt of ca pita 1 ism proceeds exl.rCll1niy unevenly In differ ent countries" I t cannot be othef\vise under commodity production. From this it follows irrefutably that soc ial isrn cannot achieve vic tory sim ultaneously in all countries. It wil l achieve vic t.or y first in one or sever~al countries, wh ile the others w ill for SOllie time rerrlain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois. Th is is bound to create not only friction, but a direct a ttompt on the part of the bourgeoisie of other coun tries to crush the social ist state's victorious proletariat .. III such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war .. It would be a war for soc ial ism , for the libcrat ion of other nat ions from the bourgeoisie .. Engels 'vas perfectly right when, in his letter to Kautsky of Se ptember 12, 1B82, he clearly stated that it was possi blo for already victorious socia Iism to wage "defensive wars", Wh.at he l~ad in mind was defence of the victorious proletariat against the bourgeoisie of other countries.

Only after we have overthrown, finally vanquished and expropr in ted the bourgeoisie of the whole wor ld, and not merely of ono country, wi ll wars become impossible. And from a scienti fic point of view it would be ut.terly wrong-sand utterl¥ unrcvolutionary-for us to evade or gloss over the most un portant thing: crushing the resistance of the bourgeoisie-the roost difficult task, and one demanding tht: greatest amount of fighting, in the transition to socialism" Jh~ "so~i,al" parsons and oppoI'tUI~isl:S arc always ready to :t u d d~ ea.ms ?f future peaceful sociallsm. But the very thing

rat .tl istingu ishes them from revoJ II Lio nn ry Socin l-Derno~.rats IS that they refuse to think about and reflect on the t~l'ce . class struggle and class wars needed to achieve that

) e.a u t If u 1 f u t ur e.

ThWe rn ust not a How oursel yes to be led astray by words. Iul \ term "defence of the fatherLa n d", for instu nee, is hatek . ~}, man~ beca use both a vowed apport un ists and Ka utsurliLS Use It to cover lip and gloss over the bourgeois lie n~~~~lth() present predatory war. This is a fact But it does

low that we must no longer see through to the meaning



of political slogans. To accept "defence of the fatherland" in tho present war is no more nor less than to accept it as a "just" war, a war in the interests of the proletariat-no more nor less, we repeat, because invasions may occur in any war. It would be sheer folly to repudiale "defence of the fatherland'" on the part of oppressed nations in their wars against the imperialist Great Powers, or on the part of a victorious proletariat in its war against some Ga lliffet of a bourgeois sta te.

Theoret ically, it would be absol utely wrong to forget that every war is but the continuation of policy by other means. The present imperial ist war is the continuation of the im perialist policies of two groups of Great Powers, and these policies were engendered and fostered by the stun total of the relationships of the im perialist era. But this very era must also necessarily engender and foster policies of struggle against national oppression and of proletarian struggle against the bourgeoisie and, consequently, also the possibility an d inevitabil ity, first, of revol utionary national rebellions and wars; second, of proletarian wars and rebelli.ons against the bourgeoisie; and, third, of a combina tion of both kinds of revolutionary war, etc ..


To this must he added tho following general consideration. An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to he treated like slaves. We cannot, unless we have become bourgeois pacifists or opportunists, forget that we arc I iving in a class society from which there is no way out, nor can there be, save through the class struggle. In every class society, whether based on slavery, serfdom, or, as at present, on wage-labour, the oppressor class is always armorl. Not only the modern standing army, hut even the modern mi1itia-and even in the most democratic bourgeois republics, SWitzerland, for instance-represent the bourgooisie armed against the proletariat. That is such an elemen tmy truth that i L is hard ly necessary to dwell upon it. Suffice it to po in t to the use of troops agu inst strikers in all ca pita] ist countries.

A bourgeoisie armed aga inst the proletariat is one of the


biggest, fundamontal and cardinal facts of modern capitalist society. And in face of this fact, revolutionary SocialDemocra ts arc urged to "demand" "disarmament"! That is tantamount to complete abandonment of the class-struggle poiut of view, to renunciation of all thought of revolution .. OUf slogan must he: arming of the proletariat to defeat, ex propria to and disarm the hourgenisie. 'These are the only tac tics possi hlo for a revol ut ionary class, tac tics tha t fallow logically from, and are dictated by, the whole objective development of capitalist militarism. Only after the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie wi11 it be able, without betraying. its world-historic mission, to consign all armaments .to tho scrap-heap" And the proletariat will undoubtedly do this, but only when this condition has been fulfilled, certainly not before.

If tho present war rouses among the reactionary Christian socialists, among tho whimpering petty bourgeoisie, only horror and fright, only a version to all use of arms, to bloodshed, death, etc .. , then we must sa y: Capital ist society is and has always been horror uiithout end .. If this most roactionary of all wars i s now proparing for that society an end in horror we have no reason to fall into despair. But the disarmument "demand", or more correctly, the dream of disarmament, is, objectively, nothing but an expression of despair at a time when, as everyone can see, the bourgeoisie itself is paving the way for the only legitimate and revolutionary war=-clvil war against the imperialist bourgeoisie.

A lifeless theory, some might say, but we would remind thorn of two world-historical facts: the role of the trusts and the employment of wornen in industry .. on the one hand, and the Paris Commune of 1871 and the December 1905

uprisi ng in R USSiH, on the other. .

The bourgeoisie makes it its business to promote trusts, drive women and children into the factories, subject them to corruption and suffering. condemn thorn to extreme poverty. We do not "demand" such development, we do not "support" it. We fight it. But how do we fight? We explain that tr?Rt.s and the employment of wornen in industry are progressive, We do not want a return to the handicraft system, pre-monopoly capitalism, domestic drudgery for women. F~)r~ard through the trusts, etc., and beyond thorn to socialism!

6_t 481



With the necessary changes that argument is applicable also to the present m ilitarisa tion of the population. 1"oday the im perial ist bourgeoisie militarises the youth as well as the adults; tomorrow, it may begin m ilitarising the women. Our attitude should be: All the betterl Full speed ahead! For the faster we move, the nearer shall we be to the armed uprising against capitalism. How can Social-Democrats give way to fear of the militarisa lion of the youth, etc., if they have not forgotten the example of tho Paris Commune? This is not a "lifeless theory" or a dream. It is a fact. And it would be a sorry state of affairs indeed ifi all the economic and political facts notwithstanding, Social-Democrats began to doubt that the imperialist era and Imperia list wars ill list inevitably bring about a repetition of such facts.

A certain bourgeois observer of the Paris Commune, writing to an English newspaper in May 1871, said: "If the French nation consisted entirely of women, what a terrible nation it would be!" Women and teen-age children fought in the Paris Commune side by side with the men. It will be no different in the coming battles for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie .. Proletarian women will not look on passively as poorly armed or unarmed workers are shot down by the well-armed forces of the bourgeoisie. They will take to arms, as they did in 1871, and from the cowed nations of today-or more correctly 1 from the present-day labour movement, rlisorganised more by the opportunists than by the governments--there will undoubtedly arise, sooner or later, hut with absolute certainty, an international league of the "terrible nat ions" of the revol utionary proletariat.

The whole of social life is now being m ilitarised. Im periaIism is a fierce struggle of the Great Powers for the division and redivision of the world. It is therefore bound to lead to further rnilitarisation in a11 countries, even in neutraJ and small ones. How will proletarian women oppose this? Only by cursing all war and everything military, only by demanding disarmament? The women of an oppressed and rea lly revolutionary class will never accept that shameful role. They will say to their sons: "You wil l soon be grown up. You will begivena gUTL Take it and learn the military art properly. The proletarians need this knowledge not to shoot your brothers, the workers of other countries, as is being done in the


present war, an,d as ~.he traitors to SO? i.a 1 ism ar.o telling you to do. They need It to fight the bourgeoisie of their O,VIl country, to put an end to exploitation, poverty and war, and not bypious wishes, but by defeating and disarming the bourgcoi--

. "


If we are to shun such propaganda, precisely such propa--

ganda, in connection with the present war" then we had! better stop using fine words about in terna tional revolution-ary Social-Democracy, the socialist revolution and war. against war.


The disarmament advocates object to the "armed nation" clause in the programme also because it more easily leads, they allege, to concessions to opport uuism. The cardinal point, namely t the relation of disarmamont to the class struggle an d to the socia 1 revolution., we ha vo examined above. We shall now examine the relation between the disarmament demand and opporf.unism. One of the chief reasons why it is unacceptable is precisely that, together with the ill usions it creates, it inevitably weakens and devitalises our struggle against opportunism.

Undoubtedly 1 this struggle is the main, immediato question now confronting the I nterna tional. Struggle aga inst im perialism tha t is not closely I inked with the struggle against opportunism is either an empty phrase or a fraud"One of the muin defects of Zimmerwald and J(ienLha136-one of the main reasons why these embryos of the Third lnternational may possibly end in a fiasco-is that the question of fighting opportunism was not even raised openly, let alone solved in the sense of proclaiming the need to break with the opportunists'Opport unism has tri um phed - tern porarily~" in the European labour movement. Its two main shades are apparont in all the big countries: first, the a vowed, cynica l, .. and therefore less dangerous social-im perialism of Messrs., Plckhanov, Scheidcruann, Legien, Albert Thomas and Sombat, Vandervelde, Hyndman, Henderson; ct aL; second;'. the concealed, Kautskyite opportunism: Kaut.sky-Haase andl the Social-Democratic Labour Group ill Germany": Longuet., Pressemane, Mayeras, et a l., in Franco; Ramsay MacDonald and the other leaders of the Independent Labour




Party in England; Martov, Chkheidze, et al., in Russia; Troves and the othe! so-.called Left reforrn ists in Italy.

Avo~od opportunism IS openly and directly opposed to revolution and to incipient revolutionary movements and out~ursts. It is in direct alliance with the governments va~rl~d a~ the forms of this alliance may be-fl~om acceptin~ m~nlsterlal posts to participation in the war industries commI~tees (in Russia);" The masked opportunists, the Kautskyites, are much more harmful and dangerous to the labour movement, because they hide their advocacy of alliance with the former under a cloak of plausible, psoudo-"Marxist" catchwords and pacifist slogans. The fight against both these forms of prevailing opportunism must he conducted in all fic~ds of proletarian politics: parliament, the trade unions, strikes, the armed forces, etc, Tho main distinguishing feature of balk th~se forms of prevailing opportunism is that the concrete q~estion of the connection between the present war an~ reioliuion, and the other concrete questions of re coluti .. on, are .h~s~ed up, concealed, or treated with an eye to police prohibitions. And this despite the fact that before the war ~he connect~on between lhi~ impending war and the proletarIaJ.l revolution Was emphasised innumerable times both un~fficlally, and officially in the Easle Manifesto. ",/ 'The main defect of the disarmament demand is its evasion of all the ~oncrele questions of revolution. Or do the advocates o! disarmament stand for an altogether new kind of rovolution, unarmed revolution?

To proceed. We are by no means opposed to the fight for ~eforms. And we do not wish to ignore the sad possibilityIf the wo~st co~e~ to the ~orst-of. mankind going through a second imperialist war, If revolution does not como out of the present war, in spite of the numerous outbursts of mass unrest and mass discontent and in spite of our efforts, We favour 6a programme of reforms directed also against the opportunists, They would be only too glad if we left the struggle Ior ~eforms entirely to them and sought escape from sad r~allty III a nebulous "disarmament" fantasy. "Disarmament means simply running away from unpleasant reality not fighting it. '

" In such a programme. we would say something like this:

To accept the defence of the fatherland slogan in the 1914-16

.........__ __ ---- --_ .. _



irnpefiaiist war is to corrupt the labour movement with the aid of a bourgeois lie." Such a concreto reply to a concrete question would be more correct t.hooret ical l y. much more useful to the proletariat ana more unbearable to the opportunists, than the disarmament demand and repudiation of "all and any" defence of the fatherland. And we could add:

"Tho bourgeoisie of all the imperialist Great Powers-England, France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Italy, Japan, the United States-has become so reactionary and so intent on world domination, that any war waged by the bourgeoisie of those countries is bound to he roactionary. The prol etariat must not only oppose all such wars, but must also wish for the defeat ofIts 'own' government in such wars and utilise its defeat for revolutionary insurrection, if an insurrection to prevent the war proves unsuccessful."

On the question of a militia, we should say: We are not in favour of a bourgeois militia; we are in favour only of a proletarian militia. Therefore, "not a penny, not a man", not only for a standing army, but even for a bourgeois m il it ia, even in countries like the United States, or Switzerland, Norway, etc .. The more so that in the freest republican COUIltrios (e. g., Switzerland) we see that the mil itia is being increasingly Prussianiscd, particularly in 1907 and 1911, and prostituted by being used against strikers. We can dernu n d popular election of officers, abolition of all m i l ita ry law, equal rights for foreign and native-born workers (a point particularly important for those imperialist states which, like Switzerland, are more and more blatantly exploiting larger numbers of foreign workers, while denying them all rights). Further, we can demand the right of every hundred, say, inhabitants of a given country to form voluntary m il itary-trainiug associa t ions, with free election of instructors paid by the state, etc. Only under these conditions could the proletariat acquire military training for itself and not for its sla ve-owners; and the need for sue h t.ra ining is im per ... atively dictated by the interests of the proletariat, The R ussian revolution showed that every success of the revolutionary movement .. even a partial success like the seizure of a certa in city, a cert.a in factory town, or winn ing over a cer .. ta in section of the arII1Y, inevita bly compels the victorious proletariat to carry out just such a programme .

V <t 1. LENIN

T Lastly, it stands to reason that opportunism can never ,be defe~,ted hy mere programmes; it can only be defeated by deeds. 1 ~e greatest, and~ fatal, error of the bankrupt Second I nternatlonal. was !hat Its words did not correspond to its deeds, that It cultivated the habit of hypocritical and UIlscr?pulous revolutionary phrase-mongering (note tho present at~ltude of Kautsky and Co. towards the Basle Manifesto). Disarrnamen L as a social idea, i.e., an idea that springs from, and Can affect, a certain social environment and is n~t the invent~on "of som_e" crackp?t, springs, ov'idently, from the .pec~llar tr~nquII conditions prevailing, by way of exception, In certain small states, which ha ve for a fairly long time stood aside from tho world's path of war and bloodshed, and hope to re~ain t.hat way, To be convinced of this, we have only to consider the arguments advanced for instance, by the Norwegian advocates of disarmam~nt. t~We are a. small country," t?ey say. "Our army is small; there is nothing we can do against tho Great Powers land conseque~tly, nothing we can do to resist forcible inv.olv~ment in an Imperialist alliance with one or the other Great-Power group] ... , We want to be left in peace in our backwoods and continue our ~ack:voods politics, demand disarmnmont, com~lllsory arbitra tl.on, per~a nent neutra Iity , etc." ("permanent after the BelgIan fashion, no doubt ?)&

( The p.etty st~iving of petty states to .hold aloof, the pettybourgeois desire to keep as far away as possible from the great ?attles of world history, to take advantaze of ?ne'~ relatively monopolistic position in order to re~ain In hidebound passivity-this is the objective social environment which may ensure the disarmament idea a certain degree of success and a certain degree of popularity in some of !he small sta.tes~ That striving is, of course, reactionary and ~s bas~d. entirely on il lusions, for, in one \vay or another, Imperialism draws the small states into the vortex of world economy and world politics.)

In Switzerland, for instan&, the imperiali.st environment objectively prescribes two courses to the labour movement: the ... opportunists, in alliance with the bourgeoisie, are seekl~g ~o turn the country into a republican-democratic mon,Op?llstlc feder~t.ion th~at would thrive on profits from imperialist bourgeois tourists, and to make this "tranquil"


J}lonopolistic position· as profitable and as tranquil as

possible. . A

The genuine Swiss Social-Democrats are striving to usa

S,vi tzer 18 nd' s rela ti vo freedom a It d her "in terna t ional" position to help the ,:ictory of the close allia~ce of, the re~olu. tionary elements III the European workers parties. SWItzerland, thank God, docs not havo "a separate language of her own", hut uses three world languages, the three languages spoken in tho adjacent belligerent countries.

1f twenty thousand Swiss party members were to pay a \voekly levy of two centimes as a sort of "extra war tax", we would have twenty thousand francs per annum, a sum more than sufficient periodically to publish in three Ill. nguages and distribute Ilr;nong, the workers an~ soldiers of the belligerent countries-e in spite of the bans Imposed by the general staff~-all the truthful. evidence. ~ho~t tho incipient revolt of the workers, thel~ fraternising In the trenches, their hope that the weapons will bo used for revolut ionary struggle aga inst the imperialist bourgeoisie of their

"own" countries, etc,

That is not new. 1t is being done by tile best papers, like

La 5'entinelle, Volksrecht and the Berner Tagwachl,40 although, unfortunately, on an inadequate scale. Only through such activity can the splendid decision of the Aarau Par~y Congress4.l become something more than merely a splendid


The question that interests us now is: Does the disarm-

ament demand correspond to this revolutionary trend among the Swiss Social-Democrats? It obviously does not. Objec ... ti vely, disarmament is an extremely nat tonal, a. speci fically national programme of small states. It IS certainly not the international programme of international revolutionary

Social-Democracy ·

wnuen in September i 916 First published in the; rnazazi ne Juge1}.d-InternatiDnale Nos. I}

and 10 September and October 1917 , Signed: N. Lenin

First published in Russian in 1929 in the second and third editions

of Lenin's Collected VVorkSt Vol. XIX

Published according to the magHz i ne text Translated from the German



The first issue of the Bund Bulletins" (Septem ber 1916) contains a letter from a St. Petersburg Bundist dated February 26·, 1916. He writes:

"Our difficulty in accepting the defence forrn ula is great.ly aggravated by the faet that we, of all peopLe, cannot hush up the Polish question, as our Russian comrades have so far been doing. H (Don't forget that this gentleman's "comrades" are Potresov " and Co.) "And the fact that even the defencists among us do not want to apply the 'no annexations' forrn ula in relation to H ussia is a strong argument against defcuce ill the eyes of those who are not at present 'prepared to accept it psychologically. For they ask, ironically: What are you defending? The idoa of an independent Poland on[oys recognition in top circles" (which circles is not clear).

When we stated, in our 1915 resolution, tha t Germanophi Ie chauvinism predominates in the Bund .. * the only reply Kosovsky and Co. could give was abuse. Now our statement is corroborated in their own journal, and by their own party colleague! For, if the Bund "delencists' do not wish to apply the "no annexaf ions" formula "in relation to Russia" (note that there is not a word about Gormany l). then how does this differ, in substance .. from Germanophile chauvinism?

J f the 8 und ists wa nted to think, and could do so, they would realise that on the quest ion of annexations they are wandering in the dark. There is only one way out of their wanderings and confusion: accept the programme we expounded as early as 1913. ** Namely, that a conscientious and

* Seo present edition, VoL 21, pp. 163-64.-Ed ..

• * See present edition, Vol. 19, Pi». 539-45~-Ed.



f . rl hl'ight anti-annexation policy requires that socia lists a(;HI democrats of the oppressed nations, in all their ~ro'paganda and agitation. denounce as scoundrel~ those SOCIa lists of the oppressor nations (wheth.CI'.Great RUSSIans or Germans, l?o]os in relat ion to the U kra in ians, etc.) wh~ do not ~onsistently and unreservedly stand for fr~e secession o~ nauons oppressed by thei r own nation (or Iorcibly hel~ by It). . .

l.f the Bundists refuse to accept that conclusion, th~n It. IS only out of reluctance to quarrel with the Potresovs III R ussia, the Legiens., Siidekums, even t.he Ledebou_r~ (Le.deb?ur does not favour the secession of Alsace-Lorralne) III Germany. with the nat.iona I ists, or to be more correct, the

socialeha uvinists, in Poland, etc.

What a valid reason!

Written September-October t 916 First pu nlisned tn 1931

in Lenin Mi8CeUan/j XVII

Pub] Isherl accord ing to the munuscrrpt


. .

.. .._-_... .......--..----......................,_._. .. ~~-. --


Doar Comrades,

On behalf of the Central Comm i ttee of the Russian Soc. ialDemocratic Labour Party, I convey greetings to the Congress of the Italian Socialist Party and wish it every success in its work;

Yours is the first socialist party to do what all socialist parties of the warring countries could and should ha ve done, had they not betrayed socla lism and sided with the bourgeoi- . sle, namely: convene a congress or conference in a free country, beyond the- reach of their "na t ive" ill il itary censorship and military authorities, in a country whore tho socialist attitude towards the war can bo freelyexprossod and discussed. Permit me to express the hope that your Congress-free of patriotic muzzles-will accomplish as much or even more than your party has already accomplished in the struggle against the betrayal of socialism by nearly all the European socialist part ies.

Representanves of our two parties worked together at Zimmerwald and Kienthal.. The only serrous difference dividing us was over the inevitability and necessity of breaking with the socia l-cha uvinists, i .a., SOCIa lists in words and chauvinists in deeds, namely, with all those who advo ... ca te or seek to justify "defence of the fa theria nd" in the present imperialist war, who directly or indirectly support their "own" government and theirtown" bourgeoisie in this reactionary t predatory war for division of colonies and world domina lion. We believe that a break with the social-chau ... vinists is historically inevita hle and necessary if the proletariat 's revolutionary struggle for socialism is to be sincere,


and not confined merely to verbal protests" Your party's representati ves believed there was sti 11 hope tha t proletarian victory over the sociul-chauvinlsts ('~sciovinistr') could be achieved unthout a hreak.

We would like to hope that developments in world socialism will ' increasingly remove the grounds for this difference between us.

On the one hand, the workers' movement is increasingly developing towards a factual division into adherents and opponen ts of "defence of the fa thor la n d" in this im pcrialis t war and in subsequent imperialist wars, which are being prepared and instigated by the entire policy of all the modern so-called "Great" Powers. This applies to the whole world, not only. to the belligerent countries, but also to the chief neutralpowcrs-vtho United States of America, for instance, the foremost capitalist country.

On the other hand, we read with especial pleasure an editorial in a recent issue of A vantil 'I the Central Organ of the Socialist Party, "La chiusura della conferenza socialista tedesca". * This Conference of the German Socialist Party was one of the most outstand ing events in wor-ld socia lism in recent months, for at it there clashed three pr lncipa 1 trends not only .in fierman, but in world socia 1 ism: first, a vowed social-cha uvinism represonted hy Legion, Da vid and Co .. in Gerrnany, Plekhanov, Potresov, Chkhenkoh in Russia, Renaudel and Sembat in France. Bissolati and his party in I taly; second, the Haase- Ka utsky trend which su bscri bes to the basic idea of social-cha uvinism, namely, "defence of tho fatherland" in the present war, and seeks to reconcile this idea with genuine socia 1 ism and internationalism; and, third, the genuine socialist and internationalist trend represented by the l nlerruit.ionale group and international socia lists in Germany. 45

Evaluating these three trends, A »antil (No. 269, September 27. 1916). wrote in the a hove-ment ionod editorial:

~' .. .il proletariate tcdesco finiri\ indubhiamente per trionfare centro 1. Legien,gli Ebert cd i David, che hanno pret.eso di r.ompromett.ere Ia sua aziono di classe nei trist! pattcgiamenl coi Bet hmann-Holl weg e gli altri fautori della guerra. Vi questo no] abbiamo Ia pill schictta cortez z a. n,

* "Conclusion of the German Socialist Conference" ~-Ed.





v, 1. LENIN

Noi abhiamo la medesima certezza.

"Piul.tosto" _ continues A vanti/-'~la confercnza dei socialisu : tedeschi ci lascia incert.i circa I'nttcggiarnento prossirno di una parte' della opposiziono. q uel la cho ebLe per esponente prineipalc l'I-Iaase".

"JI gruppo "lntcrnazionale" eon Licbknecht, con l\1ehring, COil Clara Zstkin, con Rosa Luxemburg-con tutti gli altri 'sabutatorl c traditori : della patri a' e pcrfeLtamcnte a posto ."

A~.'tMeno co nseg uente ci e parso Il aase" ~ *

And A panli] expla ins what it consi ders to be the "inconsist ... oncy" of I-Iaase and his group, which we in our press call the K autsky trend in world socialism,

"essi non accet tano le logiche e naturali conseguen ze cui sono giunti Liebknecht e com.pagni", **.

So writes A »anii]

We whole~heart.edly welcome these statements of A vantil We feel sure that the Vortriirt s, Central Organ of the German Social-Democrats and chiof organ of the Kautsky trend, is wrong when it writes, in its issue of October 7, 191H, in connection with this A vantil sta tement ,

"dass der A uanii] fiber die Parteiverhaltnisso und Parteivorgango in Deutschland nichi ganz zutretJend iniormiert ist"~***

We f et~ I sure t hat A van t il is "g an z z u trc ff en d'' * * * * informed .. That it considers the Haase group wrong and the Liebknecht group right is no accident. We therefore hopo that, by its defence of Liebknccht's principles and tacl.ics, the

* "Undoubtedly the German proletariat will, in the end, triumph over tho Legions, Eberts and Davids" who havo sought to com promisa its class struggle by wretched deals with the Bcthmanu-HoIl\vegs and other euppor ters of the war" \Ve arc fully con vinced of that.'

We, too, are convinced of that.

~'N evertheless,v A oanti! continuos, "the German Socia list Confer. encc provides no indication of the future cond uct of that section of the opposition of which Haase is the. chief representative."

"The l nternauonale group of Liebknecht, Mehring, CIRra Zctkin and Rosa Luxom burg-together with all the other 'saboteurs and traitors 1.0 the fatherland '_ unfailingly remain at their posts."

~'llaa.se ap pears to us to be less co nsistentrs--Ed,

** "they do not accept the logical and natural conclnsions drawn by Liebknech l and his comrades", =Ed,

* * • "that A »anti! is no t qui le co r rec t ly in 10 r med R bo ut the affairs of and relations withtn tbe party in Germany" .c-Ed,

**** "qui te eorrcctly'\-b'd"


Italian Socialist Party will occupy an outstanding place in

intcrnH tional socia li~m. . . . ,

Our Patty finds Itself In ITICOm parably more diffic ult

'ondiLions than the ltulian party. Our entire press has ~ecn clamped down, But ev,en in emi?I'ation ,we ,~ave beou

ah 10 to assist our con;rades, struggle III R,ussla. I.wo, fac ts prove that our P?rty s ant i-war struggle III Hussia IS L he struggle of truly fron l-~ank wo~ker:~ a nri the masses of work-

eT'S. Firstly, our Party s deputies In the Duma -- Potrovskv, Shagov, Badayev, Samoilov and Muranov-" elected by tho workers of the Ieadi ng industrial gubernias, ha ve he en exiled to Siberia by tho tsar ist government for revo I utionary propaganda against tho war. u. Secondly, long after t~eir • exile the front-rank workers In St. Petersburg belonging

to our Party categorically rejected participation in the War iy.dustries commit tees.

lA conference of Entente socia lists'" is being c?nvened ill January 1917~ We have already had one ex perrence of participation in such a conference in I .. ondon. Our representative 'vas denied the floor the moment he dared tell the truth about the European socialists' hotra ya l.:" We therefore consider that only the Bissolatis, Plekhanovs, Sembat.s an d lull i quanti should share in these conferences. For that reason wo do not in tend to attend tho conference, and we shall address a letter to the European workers ex posing the social-chauvinists' deception of the people.'

I once again convey greetings to tho c!'ongress of the Italian Socialist Party and best wishes for its success ..

Written in the first halt of October 1916

First published. in 1 g:U in Lenin M·iscellany XV 11

Puhlished according to the mauuscrtpt



In a number of countries, mostly small and not involved in the present war-Sweden, Norway, Holland and Switzerland, for example-there have been voices in favour of replacing the old Social-Democratic m inim um-programme demand for a "mil it ia", or the "armed nation" by a new demand: "disarmarnont" 11 An edi torial artie Ie in fa vour of disarmament appeared in No.3 of Jugend-Tnternationale (The Youth Internationa I), organ of the international youth organisation .. In R. Grimm's "theses" on the military question drawn up for the Swiss Social-Democratic Party Congress we find a concession to tho "disarmament" idea. In the Swiss magazine Neues Leben (New Life) for 1915, Roland-Holst, while ostensibly ad vocat ing "conci l iat ior;" between the two demands, actually makes the same concession. Issue No. 2 of Vorbote (The Herald), organ of the International Left, carried an article by the Dutch Marxist Wi,inkoop in defence of the old armed-nation demand. The Scandinavian Lefts, as is evident from tho articles printed below, accept "disarmament", though at times they admit that it contains an elemen t of paci fism. 49

Let U~ take a closer look at the position of the disarmament advocates.


One of the principal premises advanced, although not always definitely expressed, in favour of disarmament is this: we are 0 pposed to war, to all War in general, and tho demand for disarmament is the most definite, clear and unambiguous expression of this point of view.



We showed the fallacy of that idea in our review of Junius's pamphlet, to which we refer the reader .. * Social ... ists cannot be opposed to all war in general without ceaSing to be socialists. We must not allow oursel ves t.o bo blinded by the present imperialist war. Such wars between '"GreatH Powers are typical of the imperialist epoch; but democratic wars and rebellions, for instance, of oppressed nations against their oppressors to free themselves from oppression. are by no means impossible. Civil wars of the pro letariu t against the bourgooisie for social ism are inevit .. able. Wars are possible between one country in which socialism has been victorious and other, bourgeois or reactionary, countries+

Disarmament is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; consequently, disarmament will be achieved. But whoever expects that socialism will he achieved without a social revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist .. Dictatorship is state power based directly on violence. And in the twentieth cent ury-as in tho. ago of civilisation generally- violence means neither a fist nor a club, but troops. To put "disarmament" in the programme is tantamount to making the general declaration: We are opposed to the use of arms. There is as little Marxism in this as there would be if we were to say; We are opposed to violence!

I t should be observed that the international discussion of this question was conducted rna inly t if not exclusively t in the German 1a ng uage. The Germans, however, use two words, the difference between which is not easily rendered in R ussian. One, strictly speakfng. means "disarmament", ** and is used by Kautsky and the Kautskyites, for instance, in the sense of reduction of armaments .. The other, str ictl y speaking, means "disarming", *** and is used mainly by the Lefts in the sen se of abolishing ill il itar ism , abol ishing all mil itarist systems. In this artie le we speak of the lat ter dern and, which is current among certain revolutionary Social-Dnmocrats.

lie See present edition, Vol. 22, pp. 305-19.-Ed. ** Abrilstung .-Ed.

*** Entwaffnung.--Edt

96 .


The Kautskytte advocacy of "disarmament", which is .' addressed to t~e present governments of the imper ia hsr'. Gre~t Po~e~s, IS the most vulgar opportunism, it is hour?,eols .. pac~,fism, which ?clually- in spite of the "good l~teTltlons of. the sent lm entu l K.autskyites-serves to dlstrac.t the workers from the revolutionary struggle. For this advocacy seeks to instil in the workers the idea that the present bourgeois governments of tho imperialist powers are not bound to each other by thousands of threads of finance capital and by scores or hundreds of correspo?ding secr~t treaties (i.e .. , predatory, plundering treaties, preparrng the way for imperialist war).


An oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms, to acquire arms, only deserves to be trea ted like sla ~e~~ We cannot, unless we ha ve become bourgeois pacIfIstS. or opport u.I1.ists, forget that we are Jiving in a class ~oclety from which there is no way out, nor Can there he, sa ve through the class struggle and the overthrow of the power of the ruling class ..

In every c lass society t whether based on sla very, serf~orll, or, as at present, on wage-labour, the oppressor class IS always armed. N.o~ ?nly the modern standing army, but even th~ modern ~nllltla~and even in the most democratic bourgeo is r~p.ubllCS, SWItzerland, for instance-represent the bourgeoisie armed against the proletariat. That is such an ele.menta~y t~uth that it is hardly necessary to dwell u~on It: Suffice It to recall that in all capitalist countrtes Wlt~OUt .e~c.eption troops (including the republicand.emocra tIC m l~ltla) are used against strikers. A bourgeoi- 81e armed agar nst the ~roleta riat is one of the biggest, fun.damental and cardinal facts of modern capitalist society.

And in face of this fact, revolutionary Socia l ... Democrats are urged to "dernand" "disarmament"! That is tantamount t~ complete aba.ndollment of the class-strugglo point of View, to renunc iat ion of all thought of revolution. Our s~oga n In ust ?e: arming of t he pro let a r ia t to defoa t. ex propriate and disarm the bourgeoisie. These are the only




tactics possible for a revolut ionnry class, tactics that fo llow logically from, and arc dictated by, tho whole objective deielopment of capitalist militari~~. O~ly .atter the proletariat has disarmed the bourgeoisie will it be H hie, without betray ing its world- histor ie mission, to consign all armaments to the scrap-heap .. And the proletariat w i l l undoubtedly do this, but only when this condi-

Lion has been ful fi llo d, certa inly not before. .

If the present war arouses among the reactionary C~r~st.ian socialisls, among the whim pering petty bourgeoisie, only horror and fright, only aversion to all use of arms, to bloodshed, dea th. etc., then we In ust say: Capitalist soctetv is and has always been horror uiithout end .. And if this most reactionary of all wars is now preparing Ior tha t society an end in horror, \ve ha ve no reason to fall into despair. But tho disarmament "demand", or more corl'ee tly, the dream of disarmamcn t , is, 0 b jec ti vel y , nothing but an expression of despair at a time when, as everyone tan see, the bourgeoisie itself is pa v i ng the wa y for the only legitjrnate and revolutionary war-s-ctvil war against

the im per ialist bourgeoisie. ~

I\. lifeless theory, some might say, but \ve would rern ind

t hem of two wor ld-histor ical lac ts: the role of the trusts and the employment of women in industry, on the one hand, and the Paris Commune of J871 and the December 1905 uprising in R ussia, on the other ~

The bourgeoisie makes it its business t? promo.Le trusts, drive women and children into the factor ies, suhject them to corruption and suffering" condemn them to extreme poverty. We do not "demand" such development., ,ve do not "support" it .. We fight i t. But how do we fight? W_e explain that trusts and the employment of women III industry are progressive. We do not wa~}t ~ return to tl~e handicraft system, pre-monopoly capltallSIn, domestic drudgery for women. For ward through the trusts, etc .,

and beyond them to -socialism I .

That argument takes account of objective development

and. with the necessary changes, applies also to the present rnilttartsatron of the population. Today the imperialist bourgeoisie mt l i tnrises the youth as we 11 as the ad III ts: tomorrow it. may bogin m ilitarising the women. Our


v. 1. LENIN

attitude should be: All the better! Full spucd ahead! For. the faster we move, the nearer shall we be to tho armed . uprising against capitalism. How can Soc ia I-Democrats. , ~lVe way to fear of the milHarisation of the youth, etc., . If they ha ve not forgotten the exam pIe of the Pasis Com ... ' ill une? This is not a "I i feless theory" or a dreu m , I t is a fact. And it would bo a sorry stale of affairs indeed if, all the economic and po lit ica l facts not withsta nd ing, SocialDemocrats began to doubt that the imperialist era and imperialist wars ill ust inevitably bring about a repotition of such fac ts,

A certain bourzeois observer of the Paris Commune writing to an English newspaper in May 1871, said: "If the ~rench nation consisted entirely of women, what a terrible nation it would be!" Women and teen-age children fought in the Paris Comrnune side by side with the men .. It will be no different in the coming battles for the overthrow of the bourgeolsts. Pr-oletarian women will not look on passively as poorly arrned or unarmed workers are shot do_wll by the wel l-arrnnd forces of the bourgeoisie. They W II I t a k e to a r In s , as l hey did in 1871, and from the cowed nations of today-or more correctly, from the present-day .labour movement, disorganised more by the opportunists than by tho governments-there will undoubtedl~ arise, .soonor or later, hut with absolute certainty, an InternatIonal league of the "terrible nations" of the revol utionary pro letarin t,

The whole of social life is now being militarised ..

Imperialism is a fierce struggle of the Great Powers for the div ision and redivision of the world .. I L is t.heref'ora bound to lead to further militarisation in all couutr ies even in neutral ~and_ sm a Il ones. How will proletaria~ w?I?cn oppose this? Only by cursing all War and everything mIlItary, only by demanding d isa rm arnnnt ? The women of an 0 ppressed and rea lly revol ut ionar-y class wil l never B.C~opt th(~t shamoful role. They wil l say to their sons:

_ Yo.u wi l l soon be grown up. You will be gi von a gun.

Take It .and learn the m ili tary art properly .. The proletarians need this knowledge not to shoot your brothers, the workers of other c~ untries, as is bei rig d one in the presen t war, and as the traitors to socialism are telling you to do. They



need it to fight the bourgeoisie of their own country, to put an end to oxploitation, poverty a~d wa~, and not by pious wishes, but by defeating and disarming the bour-

. - ,,.

geo~ste~ .

If we are to shun such propaganda, precisely such prop-

aganda, in connecLion with the ~resent ~ar, then we ~lad bet Ler stop using fine words about Inter-nat io nal revol u l.ionary Social-Democracy, the socialist revolution and War

against 'var ..


The disarmament advocates object to the "armed nation" c ttl U3e ill the programme also beca use it .more easi ly lC~l d s, they allege, to concessions to opportunism. The cardinal point, namely, the relation of disarmament to tlle. class struggle and to the social revolution, we have exam~nud above, We shall now examine the relation between the disarmament demand and opportunism. One of the chief rcaso~s why it is unacceptable is preoisely that, together \V~lh .the illusions it creates, it inevitably weakens and dev il.al ises

our struggle against opportunism. _. .

Undoubtedly, this struggle is the rna in , immediate q~lestion now confronting the Interna t ional. Slruggle aga inst imperialism that is not closely I inked with the strugg [e against opporlunism is either an ern pty phrase o~ a fraud. One of tho main defects of Zimrnerwald and Kieutha l=one of the main reasons why these embryos of the Third I nternational may possibly end in a fiasco-is. that the question of fighting opportunism was not .ev~n raised openly, let alone solved in the sense of pro: la im ing t.hc need to break with the op por t un ist.s. Opportunism has tr iumphed=tcm porar il y-c in the European 6 labour mo~emeIlt~ ,Its t\VO rnain shades are apparent In all the big countr ies: first, the a vowed, cynical, an d therefore less ~angerous social-imperialism of Messrs. Plekhanov, Schei demann , Logien, Albert Thomas and Sembat, Vandervelde, I-Iy~dman Henderson, et al.; second, the concealed, Kuutskyi to opp,;rtunism: Kautsky-Haase and the Social~Democ:atic Labour Group in Gcrrnn ny; Longuet, Pressemane, Mayeras, et al., in France; Ramsay MacDonald and the other leaders of the Independent Labour Party in England; Martov,




Chkheidze, et al., in n ussia; rrreves and the other 50- " call ed Left reform ists in I t.aly.

" A vo\\:ed opportu?is~ ~ is openly and directly opposed to revolution an~ t? lllc,IpIent re vulut.ionury movements and out~ursts. It IS In direct a ll ianca with the governments yaned _ a~ the. forms of this all iance may be-from accept:

In.g IDJTIIst?rlal posts to participation in the war indus~rles comm ittees. The masked opportunists, the Ka utskyi tes, are much more harmful and dangerous to the labour 1l1.ovement, beca use they hide their advocacy of alliance with the former under a cloak of plausible, pseudo-"Marxist'" catchwords and pacifist slogans. (The fight against both ~hese f~rms of prevaIlIng opportunism must be conducted In .. all fIeld: of proletarian politics: parliament, the trade unions, strikes, the armed forces, etc ..

What is the A~ain distinguishing feature of both these forms of preva illng opportunism?

I t is that the concrete question of the connection between.the present w~r and revolution? and the other concrete quest.lons oj revolullo'!, are hushed up, concealed, or treated with an Bye to police prohibitions. And this despite the ~act th~t before the war tho connection between this Impe.ndlll? war and the prolotarian revolution was em ... pha.slsod Innumerable times, both unofficially, and official .. ly In the Basle Manifesto.

. The main defect of the disarmament demand is its evasion of all the. concrete questions of revolution. Or do the advocates ~f disarm ament stand for an altogether new kind of revolutIon, unarmed revolution?


To proc~ed, Weare by n~ mean.s opposed to the fight ~or re!orms. And we do not wish to Ignore the sad possibilItY-if the worst comes to the worst-of mankind go in through a second imperialist war, if revolution does no~ come out of the present war, in spite of the numerous outbursts .. of muss unrest and mass discontent and in spite of our effo~ts. We favour a programme of reforms directed r:lso against the opportunists. They would be only too glad If we left the struggle for reforms entirely to them and sought



escape from sad reality in a nebulous "disarmament" fantasy. "Disarmament" means simply running away from unpleasant reality, not fighting it.

Incidentally, certain Lefts fail to give a sufficiently concrete answer on the defence of tho Ia thor land issue, and that is a rna jar defec t of their attit ude. Theoretica lly, it is much more correct, and in practice immeasurably more irnportant, to say that in the present imperialist war defence of the fatherland is a bourgeois-reactionary deception, than to take a "general" stand against defence of the fatherland under "all" circumstances. That is wrong and, besides, does not, "strike" at the opportunists, those direct enemies of the workers in the labour parties.

In working out a concrete and practically necessary answer on the question of a militia we should say: We are not in fa vour of a bourgeois militia; we are in favour only of a proletarian mil itia, Therefore, "not a penny, not a man", not only for a standing army, but even for a bourgeois m il il ia , even in countries like the U n i ted States, or Switzerland, Norway, etc .. The more so that in the freest republican countries (e. g., Switzerland) we see that tho militia is being increasingly Prussianised, and prostituted by being used against str-ikers. We can demand popular election of of fleers. abolition of all military la w ~ equal rights for foroign and nati ve-horn workers (a point partie ularly import ant for those im perial ist states which, like Switzerland, are more and more blatantly exploiLing larger numbers of foroign workers, while denying them all rights). Further, we can demand the right of every hundred, say, inhabitants of a given country to form voluntary militaryt.raining associations, with free elect ion of instructors paid by the state, etc, Only under these conditions could the proletariat acquire military tra in ing for i l se If and not for its sla ve-owners: and the need for such training is imperatively dictated by the interests of the proletariat. The Russian revolution showed that every success of lhe revolutionary movement, even n partial success like tho seizure of a certa in ci ty, a certa in factory town, or winning over a certain section of the army, inevitably compels the victorious proletariat to carry out just such a ·programme.



Lastly, it stands to reason that opportunism can never .. be defeated by mere programmes; it can only he defeated by deeds. The ~reatest, and f~tal, error of the bankrupt Sec.o~d InternatlO~al wa~ that Its words did not correspond to Its d~eds, that It cultivated the habit of unscrupulous revolut lonary phrase-mongering (note tile present attitude of ~au.tsky and Co. towar~s the BasIc Manifesto). In approach~ng the dema~d for disarmament from this aspect we

~ ust first. of all ra ise the question of its ob jecti ve sign iflca~co .. Disarmament as a social idea, i. e., an idea that sprln~s from, and can affect, a certain social environment an~ IS no~ the invention of some crackpot or group:

SprlJ1~s! evidently, from the pecul iar "tranquil" conditions pre:ulllng, by way of exception, in certain small states whIch, have for a fairly long time stood aside from the world spath of war and bloodshed, and hope to remain that way. To be convinced of this, we have onlv to consider the ar.gu,menls. advanced, f?r instance, by th~ Norwegian adVo~dtcs of dls~rmamenl. We are a small country," they say. Our a)rmy IS smal1; there is nothing we can do against the, Great ~ o'vc~rs (and, consequently, nothing we can do to resist Iorc ible involvcm en t in an imperialist allia.nce with ?n9 or the. other Great .. Power group 1). We want to he left In :p~ace In our backwoods and continue our backwoods POlltlCS1 demand disarmament" compulsory arbitration p~rmanen.t neutrality, etc." ("permanent" after the BeI~ gran fashion, no doubt?),

The pet ty striving of petty states to hold a Ioof, the petty-bourgeois desire to keep as far away as possible from the ,groat ~attles of worl.d ~istor~,. to take advantage of ?ne s .relatIvely monopol istic positron in order to remain In .hldohound rassivity-this is the objective social enV,lf?nment which may ensure the disarmament idea a ~ertaln degree of success and a certfl~i~ de¥,ree of popularity l~ some of t}te ~mall states. That str iving IS, of course" reacttonary and IS l~ased .entirely on illusions, for, in one way or another, imperie l ism dra ws the small states into the vortex ?f world economy and world politics ..

L?t us cite ~he .case of Switzerland. Her imperialist environment objec t ivel y prescrihes two courses to the labour movement. The opportunists, in alliance with the





b lrgeoisie, are seeking to turn the country into a republi~~n-democratic monopo~istiC. fe,deration t~at w?uld thri vc on profits from un perla list. ~ourge.o~s tourIsts, .. d to make this "tranquil" monopohstlc posltlOn as prof-

(llL '" 1 A 11 hia i 1

itablc and as tranquil as posslb e. c~u~ y, t is IS a po -

icY of alliance between ~ ~mall prlvileged stratum of tbe woI'1<ers of a small pflv,leged countr~ and the b~ur· rrcoisie of that country against the mass of the proletariat.

rhe genuine Swiss Social-Democrats,,!lre str-iving ,~o u~e swilzerland's relative freedom, her mternatlOIIal pOSl· ~.ion (proximity to the most cultured count.ri?,s, the fact i.hat Switzerland, thank God, does not have a separate language of her own", but uses three world langua~es) to extend, consolidate and strengthen the retolution-: ary al1iance of the revolutionary ;lements of the proletariat of the whole of Europe. Let s help our own bour.-fooisie ret.ain as lOJJg as possible its monopoly of the ~llpertranquil t.rade in the charms of the A~ps; perhaps a penny or two will fall to our s~ar~~suc.h IS the ob,eclwe content of, the Swiss opportulllsts pohcy. Let us help weld the alliance of the revolutionary sections of the French, German and Italian proletariat for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie-such is the objective content of the Swiss revolutionary Social-Democrats' policy. Unfortunatelv it is still being carried out far from adequately by t"h'e Swiss "Lefts", and the splendid decision of th~ 1915 Aarau Party Congress (acceptance of the revolutlOnar! mass struggle) is st ill largely a dead letter. But that IS

not the point we are discussing at the ~oment. ·

Tho question that interests us ~ow IS: D?es the dlsarmament demand correspond to th is revolutIOnary trond among the Swiss Soe-ial-Democrats? It. obviously does not. Objectively, the "demand" for d~sarma~ent corresponds to the opportunist, narrow nat.tOnal Iino of ala· bour movement a line that is restl·ict.ed by the outlook of a small state. Objectively, "disarmament" is an extremely national, specifically national programme of small states' it is cert.ainly not the international programme of

i.ntern"ational revolutionary Social-Democracy.


. .

v. 1. LENIN

P .. S~ In the last issue of the English Socialist Review'G:,: (September 1916), organ of the opportunist lnde_' pendent Lab~ur ~arty, we find, on page 287, the resolution of tho party s Newcastle Conference-refusal to support: ~n¥ war waged by any government even if "nom inally» It IS a war o~ "defence", And in an editorial on page 205 of the same ISsue we read the following declara tion: "In" no degree do we approve the Sinn Fein robellion [the· I~ish Rebellion of 19161.. We do not approve armed rehel- ' han at all, any more than any other form of militarism·· and War."

. Is there any need to prove that these "anti -militarists" that. such .advocates of disarmament, not ill a small: ~ut ill a big country, are the most pernicious opportun~sts? ~nd yet, .theoretically, they are quite right in regard~ng InsurrectIon as one "form" of militarism and war.

Written In October 1916


PUblished in Sbornik So tuat .. Demolua ta No. 2~

, December 19 t 6

Signed, N. Lenin

Published according to the Sbornik text




Is there any connection between irnperia lism and the monstrous and disgust ing victory opportunism (in the form of sr):·~ ia l-chauv in ism) has gained over the labour movement in Europe?

Th is is the fun dunenta 1 q uost ion of modern soc ia l ism .

And ha ving in our Party litera Lure fully establ ishe d; first, the imperialist character of our era and of the preson t war, and, second, the inseparable histories 1 connection beL\veen social-chauvinism and opportunism, as well as the i rur insic similarity of their pol itical ideology, we can and must proceed to analyse this fundamental question.

We have to begin with as precise and full a definition of imperialism as possible .. Imperialism is a specific historical stage of capitalism. Its specific character is threefold: imperialism is (1) monopoly capitalism; (2) parasitic, or decaying capitalism; (3) moribund capitalism, The supplanting of free competition by monopoly is the fundamental economic feature, the quintessence of imperialism. Monopoly manifests itself in five principa1 forms: (1) cartels, syndicates and trusts-the concent.ration of production has reached a degree which gives rise to these monopolistic assoc inl.ions of capitalists; (2) the monopolistic position of the big banks-three, four or five giant banks manipulate the whole economic life of America, France, Germany; (3) seizure of the sources of raw male rial by the trusts and the finane ia l o l igu rchy (finance capital is monopoly industrial capital merged with bank capital); (4) the (economic) part it.ion of the world. by the international cartels has begun. There are already over one hundred such international cartels, which command


v. 1. LH-NIN

the entire wor ld rnarkct and divido it .uamicablyn among them.se~ves-unLil war redivides it. The export of capital, as d ist inct from the export of commodities under nonmonopoly capitalism, is a highly characteristic phenomenon and is closely linked with the economic and territorialP?litical part lt.ion of the world; (5) the territorial partitton of the world (colonies) i.\' completed.

Imperialism, as the highest stage of capitalisrn in America and Europe, and Ia ter in Asia, took final shape in . the period 1898-1914. The Spanish-American War (1898), the Anglo-Boer War (189H-1902), the R usso-J apanese War (1901-05) and the economic crisis in Europe in 1900 are the chief historical landmarks in the new era of world history,

The fact that im porta lism is parasit ic or dcca ying capitalism is manifested first of all in the t.endencv to decay, which is characteristic of every monopoly under the system of private ownership of the means of production. The difference between the domocratic-republican and the reactionary-monarchist imperia list hourgeoisie is obliterated precisely beca use they are both rotting a live (which by no means precludes an extraordinarily rapid development o~ capita lism in individual branches of industry, in individual countries, and in individual periods) .. Secondly, the decay of capitalism is manifested in the creation of a . huge strut urn of rentiers, capitalists who live by "cl i pping coupons". In each of the four leading imperial ist countries-England, U.S.A., France and Germany-capital in securities amounts to 100,000 or 1!)O,OOO million francs, from which each country derives an annual income of no less than five to eight thousand million .. Thirdly, export of capita I is parasitism ra ised to a high pitch. Fourthly, "finance eapital strives for domination, not freedom". Politica I reac t ion all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism. Corruption, bribery on a huge sea] e and all kinds of fra ud. Fift.hly, the exploitation of oppressed na tions- which is insepara bly conn ected with annexat.ions-c-an d especially the exploitation of colonies by a han dful of "Great" Powers, increasingly transforms the "c ivil iscd" world into a parasite on the body of hundreds of millions in the uncivilised nat ions, The




Roman proletarian lived at the expense of society. Mo~{'rTl

, .ietv lives at the expense of the modern proleturlu.n.

~ 0 C .' f d h t · f S

l\larx specially stressed this pro oun 0 rser va IO~ c : 18-

lnondi.',l Imperialism somewhat changes. th~ sltu~lton. A privileged upper stratum of the proletarIat In the Imperialist countries lives partly at the expense of hundreds

of millions in the uneivilised nations. ~ .

It is clear why imperialism is m,oribund caplt.alls~m,

C<lpitalism in transition to socialism:. mono~oly.' which groWS out of capitalism. is alreads; dying capltahsm, the beginning of its transition to soc ia lism. rr:he treme~dous socialisatiun of labour by imperialism (what Its apologlsts-the bourgeois economists-call "interlocking") produces

1 he same result A •

i\dvancing this definition of imperialism hr ings us

into complete contradiction to K, Kautsky, who refuses to regard imperialism as a "phase. of capital~sm" and defines it as a policy "preferred" by fmance cap ita l, a tendency of "industria'l" coun tries to annex "agrar ian" e oun tries. * Kautsky's definition is thoroughly false fl'o~ t~e th~oretleal standpoint. What distinguishes ~mpeflahsrt;' IS the l'ule not of industrial capital., but of finance ca p ital , the striving to annex not agrarian coun t~·ies, partie ul.arl,Y, but every kirul of country, Kautsky dl~orces Im perial ist politics from imperialist ec~nomics, h? dl~orces monopoly in politics from monopoly III econ~mlCs In ~rder to pave the way for his vulgar bou~ge~,ls refo.rm,lsm. such as "dtsarmament", "ultra-imperialIsm and slm~lar nonse~se .. The whole purpose and signi ficance of this tbeoretical

falsity is to obscure the =: profound contra(~!ct~on~ of Imper ia 1 ism and thus jusli ly the theory. of Ulll,ty with the apologisl s of imperialis:n, the outright social-

chauviuists and opportunists. . ,

We have dealt at sufficient length with Kautsky s

break with Marxism on this point in Sotsial-Demokral and KommunisiP Our Russian Kautskyites, the supporters

* "Irn peri ali sm is a pr?d_uct of highly. developed ind ustrial capitalism. It consists in the strl ving of every Jndu.strl?l c.~pltahst !latIon to subjugate and annex ever larger agrarian tcrntories, urespeetl ve of the nations that inhabit them" (Kautsky in Die Neue Zeit, September 11,

1914) ~



of the Organising Committee (O.C.), headed by Axelrod . and Spectator, including even 1\fartov, and to a large de- :' gree Trotsky, preferred to maintain a discroet silence on the question of Kautskyism as a trend. They did not dare· defend K.autskyts war-time writings, confining themselves.·. simply to praising Kautsky (Axelrod in his German ... pamphlet, which the Organising Comulittee has promised. to publish in Russian) or to quoting Ka utsky's private letters (Spectator), in which he says he belongs to the opposition and jesuitically tries to nullify h is chauvinist dec lara t ions.

It should be noted that Ka utskys "conception" of imperialism-which is tantamount to embellishing imperialism-is a retrogression not only compared with Hilferding's Finance Capital (no matter how assiduously HiIferding now defends Ka utsky and "unity" with the socialchauvlnists l) hut also compared with the social-liberal J. A. Hobson. This English economist, who in no way claims to be a MarXist, defines imperialism, and reveals its contradictions, ill uch more profoundly in a book published in 1902*. This is what Hobson (in whose book may be found nearly all Kautsky's paci fist and "conc i l iatory" banalities) wrote on the highly important question of the parasitic na ture of im poria l ism:

Two sets of circumstances, in Hobson's opinion, weakened the power of tho old empires: (1) "economic parasitism", and (2) formation of armies from dependent peoples. "There is first the habit of economic parasitism, by which the ruling state has used its provinces, colonies, and dependencies in order to enrich its ruling class and to bribe its, lower classes into acquiescence". Concerning the second circumstance, Hobson writes:

"One of the strangest symptoms of tho hl indrress of imperialism [this song about the "blindness" of imperialists comes more appropriately from the soc ia l-l ibora l Hohson than from the "Marx i st' K a utsky ] is the reckless indifferenco with which Great Britain, Fra nca, and other imperial na t ions aro embarking on this perilous dependence" Great Br ital n has gone farthest. Most of the fighting

* J ~ A. Hobson, 1 mperialism, London, 1902.

___ ~......:I::l\:::IP:_:E:.:R::_I:.:..=A=L-=-IS~M-=-A_N_D_T_I_I E_S_P_L_IT_I N_S_OC_'ll_A_L_I S_1\'_l .. ~l_09

b r which we have won our lndian Empire has been done b~ natives; in India, as more recentl~. in Egypt, gt'ea~ sta nding armies are placed under . Brit ish C~Inlliande~s, a]rnost all the fighting associated wit.h our Afr ican dominions, except in the southern part, has been done for us

h y nat i v es. " .".." . _ '_

The prospect of partltl?mng C~lIla e,~lCjted f~om II~h

son the following economic appra isaI: The grealer part of Western Europe might then assume the appearan~e and character already exhibited by tracts of ~ountry In ~lbe South of England, in the Riviera, and .JIl the tOU~'lstridden or resident ial pa [~ts of 1 taly and. SWlt~e~ In n d, l itt.]e clusters of wealt hy aristocrats drawing dividends and pensions from the Far East, with a somewhat large~ group of professional retainers and trades~en and a larger body of personal servants and workers ~n the, transport tra de and in the final stages of prod ~ct.lon of .tIle more perishable goods: all the main arterial In~ustrles would have disappeared, the staple fnods and se.ID1-manufactures flowing in as tribute from Asia and Afrioa.v.. vye have foreshadowed the possibility of even a larger alll~_nce of Western states, a European federa tion of Grea t ~~,,:ers which so far from forwarding the cause of world civilisation, 'might introduce the gigantic p~ril of. a Western parasitism, a group of advanced industrial .nations, w~ose upper classes drew vast tribute from ASIa and A~rlca~ with which they supported great tame masses of re~talIlers, no longer engaged in the staple industries of a~rlculLure and manufacture, but kept in the performance of ~ersonal or minor industrial services under the control of a new financial aristocracy ~ Let those who would scout. such a theory [he should have said: pro~pect] as u~deservJ~~ of considera.tion examine the economic and s?clal con d it ion of districts in Southern England today which are already reduced to th is condition, and reflect upon the vast. extension of such a system which might be rendered feaSl?le. by the subjection of China to the economic control of sl~~lar groups of financier~, invost?r~ [ront iers ] and polltl~al and business of Iic iu ls, dra ining the greates~ potential reservoir of profit the world has ~ver .known, ITl order to consume it in Europe. The sit uat ion IS far too complex,



the play of world forces far too incalc ulable, to render· this or any other ~ingle interpretation of the future very .• probable; but the Influences which govern the im per ial ism of Western Europe today are moving in this direction, .. ' and, unless counteracted or di vert.ed, make towards such . .": a consummation."

Hobson, the social-liberal, fails to see that this "counter- .. act~on" can be offered only by the revolutionary prole- : tar iat and only in the form of a social revolution. But" then he is a social-liberal! N ovorthelcss, as early as 1902 . he had an excellent insight into the meaning and significa nco of a "United Stutes of Europe" (be it said for the benefit of Trotsky the Kautskyitc!) and of all that is now being glossed over by the hypocritical K autskyites of various countries, namely, tha t the opportunist s (socialchauvinists) are working hand in glove with the im peria I, ist b ourgeo isio p rec ise l:J t owar ds crea t ing an im per ia list

E uropo 0 a the hacks of Aaia and Africa, and tha t objec tively the opportunists are a section of the petty bourgeoisie and of cert.i in strata of the "\vorking class who have been bribed out of imperialist superprofits a nd con verted into watchdogs of capitalism and corrupters of the labour movemerit.

Both in articles and in the resolutions of our Party, wo ha ve repeatedly pointed to this most profound conncc .. t ion , the econornic connection, hetween the im perialist bourgeoisie ~ and the opportunism which has triumphed (for long?) In tho labour movement. And from this, incidentally, we concluded that a split with tho social-chauvinists was inevitable .. Our Kautskyites preferred to evade the question! Martov, for instance,. ut.tered in hIS lee tures a sophistry which in the Bulletin of the Organising Commit tee, ~'Tecretariat Abroadw (N o~ 4, Apr il 10, 1916) is ex pressed as follows:

" .. " The c a lise of revolutionary Social-Democracy would be in a sad, indeed hopeless, plight if those groups of workers who in mental devolopment approach most closely to the ~ intelligentsia' and who are the II) ost highly skilled fata 1 Iy drifted away from it towards opportunism .. , ."

By means of tho silly word "Iata 11y'~ and a certain sleight-of-hand, the fact is evaded t.hat certain groups of


11 t

\yoL'ke[~s ha oe already drifted away to o pportun ism and to the im per ia 1 ist bourgeoisie! And tha t is the very fact the so ph isls of l he O. C. want to evade! They COIl Ii I1 c themselves tot he" 0 f Ii c ia lop tim i sru' the K aut sky it e IT i l for ding and many others now flaunt: objective conditions guarantee the unity of the proletariat and the victory of the revolutionary trend 1 We,. forsooth, are "optimlsts" with rcga r·d to the proletariat!

But in reality all these Kautskyites-Hilferding, tho o. C. supporters, Mart ov and Co. -are optimists"." with regard to opportunism. That is the whole point 1

The proletariat is the child of capitalism-of wor ld capitalism, and not only of European capitalism, or of imperialist capi tal isrn. On a world scale, fifty years sooner or fifty years later-measured on a world seale this is a minor point-e-tho "proletar iat" of course "wi ll be" united, and revolut.ionary Social-Democracy will "lnsvitably'' be vic tor ious within it. But that is not the point, Messrs. Kautsky ites. The point is that at the present time, in the imperia list co un tries of Europe, you are fawning on the apport un ists, who are alien to the proletariat H s a class, who are the servants, the agents of the bourgeoisie and the vehicles of its influence, and unless the labour movernent rids itself of them, it wi ll rcrnu in a bourgeois labour movement. By advocating "un il.y" with tho opportunists, with the Legiens and Da vids, the Plekhanovs, the Chkhenkclis and Potresovs, etc., you are, objectively, defending the enslauemen i of the workers by the imperialist bourgeoisie with tho aid of its best agents in the labour movomont. The victory of revolutionary Socia l-Democracy on a world scale is absolutely inevitable, only it is moving and wi ll move, is proceeding and wi 11 proceed, against you, it will be a victory over you.

These t\VO trends, one might even say two parties, in the present-day Ia hour movement, which in 1914-16 so obviously parLed ways allover the wor l d , were [raced by Engels and Marx in England throughout the course of decades, roughly from 1858 to 1892~

Neither Marx nor Engels lived to sec the imperialist opoch of world capitalism, which began not earlier than 1898-1900. But it has been a peculiar feature of England



that even in the middle of tho nineteenth century she already revealed at least two major distinguishing features of ' imper ia Iisrn: (1) vast colonies, and (2) monopoly profit, (due to her monopoly position in the world market). In both respects England at that time was an exception among', capitalist countries, and Engels and Marx, analysing this, exception, quite clearly and definitely indicated its connection with tho (temporary) victory of opportunism,

in the English labour movement, ,

In a letter to l\1arx, dated October 7,1858, Engels ,:: wrote: '~ .. .The English proletariat is actually becoming" more and mora bourgeois" so that this most bourgeois of all , nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession " of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois prolotariat ' alongside the bourgeoisie. For a nation which exploits the • whole world this is of course to a certain extent justifi- " ahle.' 64 In a letter to Sorge, dated September 21 t 1872, Engels informs him that Hales kicked up a big row in the Federal Council of the International and secured a vote of censure on Marx for saying Lhat "the English labour leaders had sold themselves". Marx wrote to Sorge on August 4, 1874: "As to the urban workers here fin England]" it is a pity that the whole pack of leaders did not get into Parliament. Th is would be the surest way of getting rid of the whole lot,," In a letter to Marx, dated August 11, 1881, Engels speaks about "those very worst English trade unions which allow themsel yes to be led by men sold to, or at least pard by, the bourgeo isfa", In a letter to Kautsky, dated September 12, 1882, Engels wrote: "You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy ~ Well, exactly the same as they think about politics in general. There is no workers' party here, there are only Consorvatives and Liberal-Radicals, and the workers gaily share tho feast of England's monopoly of the world market and the colonies. H 55

, On December 7, 1889, Engels wrote to Sorge; "The

'most repulsive thing here [in EnglandJ is the bourgeois 'respectability', wh ich has grown deep into the bones of the workers .... Even Tom Mann, whom I regard as the best of the lot , is fond of mentioning that he will be lunching with the Lord Mayor. If one compares this with




11 e French, 0110 realises what a rovolution is _good for, lJter all." ,,6 In a letter, dated April 19,. 1890: "B~t under the surface the movement [o~ the work~ng class. III ~ng. land) is going on, is embracing ever wider sect.ions an,d mostlv just among the hitherto stagnant lowest rE.nge-ls s ita] ics l stru ta. The day is no lo~ger !ar off when thl"S mass will suddenly find itself, wh.en It :vIlI"dawn upon It tha~ it itself is this colossal mass In motion. ,On ~ar~h 4, ~891; "The fa il ure 0 f the collapsed Dockers Union; the old conservative trade unions, ricli and therefore cowardly, remain lone on the field ... ~ ." September 14, 1~91~: at the Newcastle Tra de Union Congress the old unionists, op ponents of the eight-hour day, were defeated "and t~e bourgeois papers recognise the defeat of the bourgeois labour party" (Engels's italics throughout} .. " ...

That these ideas which were repeated by Engels over the course of dccad~s, were also expressed by him publ.ic.ly, in the press, is proved by his preface to the second edit ion of The Condition of the Working Class in Englan~, 1892. ,~7 Here he speaks of an "aristocracy among "Lh? working ~la.ss • of a "privileged minority of the. workers ;"l~< contradlstl~ction to the "great mass of working peop~e. A small, priviluged1 protected rn inority" of the .. w.orklng cla.s~ alone was "permanently benefited" by the privileged POSItIon of Eng- 1a nd in 1848-68 whereas "tho great bulk of them experienced

, t, "With th

at best but a temporary improvement ... ~~ 1 e

break-down of that [England's industria l] monopoly, the English working class will lose that privileged positio~ .... " The membors of the "new" unions, the unions of the unskilled workers "had this immense advantage, that their minds were vi~gin soil, entirely free from the inherited 're~pectable' bourgeois prejudices which hampered the brains o! the better sit ua ted ~ old un ionists'" .... "The so-called workers reprcsnntat.ives'' in England are p~ople "who are forgiven their being members of the working .class ~ecause t~ey t.hemsel ves would I ike to drown their qual ity of being workers in the occn Tl of their I i hera Iisrn" ....

Wo have deliberately quoted the direct statements of Marx and Engels at rather great length in order that the reader may study them as a whole. And lhey should be studied, they are worth carefully pondering over. For



they are the pivot of the tactics in the labour movement , .. that are dictated by the objective condit.ions of the . im periali st era. ; ..

. Here, too, Ka utsky has tried to "befog the issue" and ... substitute for Marxism sentimental conciliation with the _,. opportunists. Arguing against the a vowed and naive social- ... , imperialists (men like Lensch) "rho justify Germany's. participation in the war as a means of destroying England's monopoly, Ka utsky "correct-s this obvious falsehood by . another equally obvious falsehood. Instead of a cynical· falsehood he employs a suave falsehood! Tho industrial, monopoly of England, he says, has long ago been broken, . has long ago been destroyed, and there is nothing left to destroy.

Why is this argument false?

Because, firstly, it overlooks England's colonial monopoly. Yet Engels, as we have seen, pointed to this very clearly as early as 1882, thirty-four years ago! Although Engla-nd's industrial monopoly may have been destroyed, hor colonial monopoly not only remains, hut has become extremely accentuated, for the whole wor ld is already divided up! By means of this suave lie Kautsky smuggles in the hourgco is-paci Iist and opportunistphilist ine idea that "there is nothing to fight ahnut". On the contrary, not only have the capitalists something to fight about now, but they cannot help fighting if they want to preserve capit allsm , for without :1 Iorcible redivision of colonies the new imperialist countries cannot obtain the privileges enjoyed by the older (and loeaker) imperialist powers.

Secondly, why does England's monopoly explain the (temporary) victory of opportunism in England? Because monopoly yields superp rofits, i.e., a surplus of profits over and a bove the capitalist profits lhat are normal and customary allover the worl d .. The capitalists can devote a part (and not a small one, at that l) of these superprofits to br-ibe their Own workers, to create something like an alliance (recall the celebrated "u l l ia nccs" descri bed by tho Wehhs of English t.rade unions and employers) between the workers of the given nation and their capitalists against the other countries. England's industrial monopoly



,vaS alrea dy dest.royed by the end of tho nineteenth c~ntnty. That is heyond dispute. But how did this dostruc t ion ta ke place 'l} Did all monopoly disa ppear?

If tha t were 801 Ka u l..sky' s "theory' of cone ilia lion (w i t!l .. the _ OppO.I~t u?ists) would to a c?rt~in ex tent. be justlfIed. But It IS not so, and that is Just the point. J·rnperialism is monopoly capitalism" Every cartel, tru~tJ ~vndicate, . every giant bank is a monopoly ~ Superprofits h~~l ve not disappeared; they still rernai n. The exploi tation of all other countries by one pr ivl leged, financially wealthy country rema ins and has become more intense. A handful of wealthy countries- there are only four of them, if we m ean independent, really gigantic, "modern" wealth:

England, France, the United States ·and Germany-have developed monopoly Lo vast proportions, they obtain su.pe rpro fj l.s running in to hun dreds, if not thousands, of millions, thoy "ride 0 II the backs" of hundreds and hun ... dreds of m il lions of people in other countries a nd fight among themsel ves for the division of the partie ularly rich, particularly fat and particularly easy spoils.

This. in fact, is the economic and political essence of irnper ia lism , the profound contradiclions of which Kautsky glosses over instead of exposing.

The bourgeoisie of an irnperialist "Groat" Power can economicallp hri be the 11 p per strata of "i ts" workers by spending on this a hundred million or so francs a year, for its su.perprofits most 1ikely amount to about a thousand ill i ll inn. And 110W this l itt.le sop is di vided among the labour ministers, "labour reprosont a t.i vesn (remom her Engels's splendid analysis of the term}, labour memhers of wur ind ustr ies committees, labour officials, workers belonging to the narrow eraft unions, office em ployecs, etc., etc. t j S a secon dary question ..

Between 1848 and 1868, and to a certain extent even 1ater, only England enjoyed a m onnpol y: that is why Opport.unisrn could prova il there for decades. J.Vo other COUTItrios possessed either very rich colonies or an industrial lIlonopoly"

'fhe last third of the nineteenth century saw the transi tion to the new, irnperial ist era. Fi nance capital not of one, hut of several, though very few, Great Powers




enjoys a monopoly. (In Japan and Russia the monopoly military power, vast territories, or special facilities f robbing minority na tionalities, China, otc., partly su plements, partly takes the place of, the monopoly modem, up-to-date finance capital.) This difference expla] why England's monopoly position could remain unchal, lenged for decades. The monopoly of modern financ capita 1 is being frantically challenged; tho era of imperi ': alist wars has begun. It was possible in those days to brib and corrupt the working class of one country for decad ,; This is now improbable, if not impossible. But on the,' other hand, every im perial ist "Great" Power can and d bribe smaller strata (than in England in 1848-68) of the: "labour aristocracy'' .. Former ly a "bourgeois labour paruj"; , to use Engels's remarkably profound expression, could" ariso only in one country, because it alone enjoyed a" monopoly, but, on the other hand, it could exist for a long time.. Now a "bourgeois labour party'" is inevitable" and typical in all imperialist countries; but in view of the desperate struggle they arc waging for the division of spoils, it is improbable that such a parly can prevail; for long in a number of countries .. For the trusts, the' finanvia l oligarchy, high prices, etc., while enabling the' bribery of a handful in the top layers, are increasingly oppressing, crushing, ruining and torturing the mass of theproletaria t and tho semi-proletaria t.

On the one hand, there is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists to convert a handful of very I rich and privileged nations into "eternal" parasites on the body of the rest of mankind, to "rest on the la urels" of, the exploitation of Negroes, Indians, etc., keeping them, in subjection with the aid of the excellent weapons of', exturrn inat.ion provided by modern militarism. On the, other hand, there is the tendency of the masses, who are more oppressed than before and who bear the whole brunt; of imperialist wars, to cast off this yoke and to overthrow the bourgeoisie. I t is in the strugg le betwoen these tV{O tendencies that the hislory of the labour movement will noW,' inevitably develop .. For the first tendency is not accidental; it is "subst a nt iatad" economically" In all countries ,,' the bourgeoisie has already begotten, fostered and secured .',;



for itself "bourgeois labour pa~ti.cs" of social-chauvini~ts. l"ho difference between a definitely f.orrn~d party, l.lke Bisso1ali's in Italy, for example, which IS fully socialilnperialist, and, say, the ~em i-form~d ncar-party of the polresovs, Gvozdyovs, Bulk ins, Chkhcl~ZCS, Skobcle~s a,:d (:0., is an immaterial differenco. The Important thi ng IS that, economically, the desertion of a stratum of the labour aristocracy to the bourgeoisie has rna.tured and ~ec0I?-e ~n aecoffiplished fact; and this econom Ie fa~t~ this shift In c la ss relat ions, will find political form, In one shape or

another, without 'any particular "difficulty". " .

On the econom ic basis referred to a hove, the po litical institutions of modern capitalism-press, parliament, associations, congresses, etc .. ~have created political privi~eg~s and sops for the respectful, meek, rcfor~ist and patrl0t~c office employees and workers, corrospondln~ to t~e economic privileges and sops. Lucrative and so.ft Job~ In th.e government or on the war industries committees, In parliament and on diverse committees, on the ediLorial staffs of "respectable", legally published newspapers or on t~,e manag~merit councils of no less respectable and bourgeois law-abiding' trade unions-this is the bait by which the irn perialist bourgeoisie a ttrac t~, a nd rew~ rds the represe.nt~tives and supporters of the bourgeois labo':f parties ~

The mechanics of political democracy works In the same direction. Nothing in our times can be done without elc.ct ions: nof.h ing can be done without the masses. Anr! In this ~ra of printing and parliamentarism it is impossib?e to gain the following of the masses witho~t a widely rannfied, systematica lly managed, wcll-cq uipped system of flattery, lies, fra ud , juggling with fashionable and popular catchwords, and promising all manner of reforms and blessings to lhe workers right and left-e-as long as they renounce the revolutionary struggle for the overthrow o~ the hourgeoisie. I would call this system Lloyd-Georgfsm , after- the English Minister Lloyd George, one .of the for~-9 most and most dexterous representatives of this system In the classic land of the "bourgeois la bour party". A firstclass bourgeois manipulator, an astute politician! a popular orator who will deli ver any speeches you l ike, even r-r-revolut ionary ones., to a la hour au d lonce, and a



man wh~ is capable of obta,ining sizable sops for docile··~. workers In the shape of social reforms (insurance, etc.) .. Lloyd .Georg~ serves the bourgeoisio splendidly. * and·. serv~s It prec isely among the workers, brings its influence·', rreclsely to the prnletariat, to where the bourgeoisie needs • It most and where it finds it most difficult to subject the .. : masses morally.

And is there such. a great di ffc[~ence betweon Lloyd .:; George and the Sche idemanns, Legiens, Hendersons and .:

Hyndm~ns, Plekhanovs, Renaudcls and Co.? Of the l~tter, It m~y ?e objocted, some wi ll return to the revolu~IO?arr. SOCIa l~sm of Marx, This is possihle, but it is an lnslg~ Iflcan~ ?lffer~nco ~n degree, if tho questio n is regarded from Its pol i tica l , l. e., Its mass aspect. Certain individuals among the p.[·esent social-chauvinist leaders may return to the prol~Larlat. But ~ho soc ial-cha uvinist or (what is the ~ame t~Ir_lg) opportunl~t trend can neither disappear nor . retu~n to the revol ut iunar y proletariat. Wherever MarxlS~ }S popu~ar among the workers, this politica I trend, this bourgeois labour party", will swear by the name of Marx, , It ~.a nnot be prohibited frorn doing this, just as+ -;. a trading hr~ cannot he prohibited [rom using any part ic- : ular .]ab~l, sign or advertisement. It has always been the case In history that after the dea th of revolutionary lea ders 'v~o were popular among the oppressed classes, their eneIDles. have atternpted to appropriate their names so as to dece I ve the oppressed classes.

. The fae t is tha t "bourgeo is labour pa rt ies", as a political phenomenon, have already been formed in all the foremost.capttaltst countries, and that unless a determined and relent!ess struggle is waged all along the line against these partIes-or groups, trends, etc. f it is all the Samothere can b~ flO question of a strugglo against irnperiaiism,. or of ~1arxlsm,~ or of a socia 1 ist labour movement. The Chkh,eldze Iact ion , 58 Nushe D!JeZo and Golas Trurla 59 in RussIa, and the O. C. supporters abroad are nothing but

* . I. recently read an article in an English magazine by a Tory a ~ohtlc.al oPP?nent ?,f Lloyd George, entitled hLloyd George from th~ Stand p~lnt of ~ Tory . The 'Nor 0 pened the eyes of Lhis opponent and made han rca.lls~-.\vhat ~TI excellent servant of the bourgeoisie this Lloyd George IS! I he Tories ha ve made peace wilt! him!



vn rieLies of one such par ty .. Tlle~e is n~t. the ,slightest reason for thinking that these par lies w i l l disa ppear before the social revolution. On the contrary" t he nearer the J' e vo] uti 0 nap pro a c h es, the In 0 res t T' 0 n g 1 y 1 t Il are sup a ~ d the more sudden and violent the transitions and leaps In its progress, the greater will he tlHl. part tho struggle .of the revolutionary mass stream agaInst the opportunIst pdty-bo~rge~is stream ~il1 play in the In hour m~~c~ent. Ka u tsky Ism IS no tan I ndepend~nt trend? ~)eca usc It has no roots either in the musses or In the pr iv i leged stratum wh ich has deserted to the bourgeoisie. But the danger of Ka utskyism lies in thc fact that, ~lt ilising the ide.oiogy. of the past, iL endea VOUI'S to reconc ilu the proleta.J'lut with the "bourgeo ls Ia hour party", to proser ve the unity of the proletariaL with that party and thel'cb.y enhance the latter" s prestige, The masses no longer fo llow. the a vowed soeial-cbauvinists: Lloyd George has been hissed down at workera' meetings in England: Hyndman has left the part.y ; the Renaudels and Sehcidcmanns, the Potl'es~vs.an~ Gvozdyovs are protected by the poll~e .. Th~ Kautskyitcs masked defence of tho social-cha uv i n ists lS much more

dangerous. . . ..

One of the most common sophIstrIes of Kautskvism IS

il s reference to the "masses". \Ve do not want, they say, to break away from the masses and mass organisati.ons! But just think how Engels put the question. J n the nineteenth century the "mass organisations" o~ the English trade unions were on the side of the bourgeors labour party. Marx and Engels did not reconcile t.hems~lves to i~ on this ground; they exposed it. They did not Iorgc t , f rst.Iy , . t ha ~ the tr~ade union organ isa t ions direc tly ern braced a minoriiu oj the p rolelarial. Tn Engla Tl d t.hen , as. in Gorrna n y I~OW, not more than one-fifth of the proletarIat was orga n iserl. .No one can seriously think it possible to organise the m a.jorit.y of the proletariat under capitalism. Sccol~dly-and this is the rna in point- it is not so m uc.h a. q nes!.] OT~ ,.of tho size of an organisation~ as of the real, o hjoc t i ve signIfIcance of its policy: does its policy represent. t.h~ rnas~es, does it serve them, iAC~, does it aim at their l iberat.ion from ea pi t.a l ism , or does it ru prescn L the in.terest.s ?f t..?e m i norit y , the minority's reconciliation w ith capitallsm? The


v. I. Lr~NIN

latter was true of England in the nineteenth century and ... it is true of Germany, etc., now. 1 .. ~.

Engels d~~ws a distinctio~ between the "bourgeois.·:···~ labour party of the old trade unions= tho privileged minori- : ty-and the "loioest mass", the real majority, and appeals :::" t~ ~he"latte.rt ~ho are not in fected by "bourgeois respecta- .

hi l ity " This IS the essence of Marxist tactics! .:

N~ither we nor anyone else can calculate precisely what : portion of the proletariat is following and will follow the .: social-chauvinists and opportunists. This will be revealed only b~ t~e struggle: it will be definitely decided only by ~he soc ia l ist revolution. But we know for certain tha t the

defenders of t~e fa.therland" .in ~he imperialist war represent ?nly a mI~orlty: ~nd IL IS therofore our duty, if we WIsh to remain SOCla!IS~S, to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses; this IS the whole meaning and the wh~le purport of the struggle against opportunism. By exposl~g the fact that the opportunists and social-chauvinists are In rea1ity betraying and selling tho interests of the mas~es, !hat they are defending the temporary privileges of a m rnorfty of the workers, that they are the vehicles of bourgeois ideas and infJ uences, that they are really allies and agents of the bourgeoisie, we teach the masses to ap~re~iate their true political interests, to fight for sO~lallsm .a?d ~ for the revolution through all the long and pa In.fu~ VIC ISS1 tudes of im perial is t wars and im perial ist arm ist ices.

TIle only Marxist line in the world labour movement is to ex~lain ~o the masses the inovitability and necessity of breakIng with opportunism, to educate them for revolution h.y ,waging a relentless struggle against opportunism, to utiLise the. cxperrencas of the war to expose, not conceal, the utter vileness of national-liberal 1abour politics.

_, In the next artie):, we shall try to sum up the pr incipal features that dIstinguish this line from Kautskyism.

wn ttcn in October 1916 Publ lshcd in Sborriih:

BoLsial-f)rmokra ta No. 2~ December 19 t o Signed: f-l. Lenin

Puhl tshcd according to the Sbo rni k text





The Social-Democratic Party of Swit.zerland recently had the honour of rousing the ire of the leader .of~ the of ficial Danish Social-Democratic Party, Herr I\1.1111ster Stauning. In a letter to another quasi-socialist ~linist.er, vr andervelde dated September 15 of this year. Sta unmg proudly declared that "we [the Danish party 1 have shar.ply and de finitely disassocia ted ourscl ves from the orgamsationally pernicious spl i t ting activ~ties con~ucted on tho initiative of the Italian and SWISS parties under the

nam e of tho Zimmerwald movement". ~

Tn greeting the Congress of the Social-Democ!atlc Party of Switzerland on behalf of the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Dcrnocratic Labour Party, 1 do so ~n the, hope that this party will continue to supP?rt the ~ffort to unite the revolut ionary Soc ial- Democrats i nterna t ioua lly, which began at Zimmerwald and which must .c~d in,a complete rupture between socialism and its m i nister ial and

soc ia l-pa triot ic betrayers. .

This split is maturing in all c~untrIes ~f develope~ capitalism. In Germany, Karl Liohknecht s co~league, Comrade Otto Riihle, was attacked by the o pport.un i sts and by the so-called Centre when he decl~red in the C~nlr~l Organ of the German party that the spl it had become IneVItab 1 e (~1 a noii r l S'I Jan u a ry 12, 1916).. T he !. act. s, h OW~ ver, make it increasingly clear that Comrade Ruhle was r ight.,


V. I. LENl'.N

~hat in reality ~~ero are two parties in Germany, one help~·.

mg the bourgoo isis an,d the government wage the predator .

~ar. the other, which for the most part is workinY .

Illegally, spreading really socialist manifestos among thg real masses and organising mass demonstrations 'Illd

pol itica l strikes. {

In Franc?, the Commitl.e(~ for the Re-establishment of lnternat~onal Cont~ct~ 61, recently published a pamphlet, TheZ~mmerwaldSoClaltsts and IheWar, in which we rea d that three main trends have developad within the French ~arty, The first, comprising the majority and bran.dod HI the pamphlet as socialist-nationalists, socialpatriots, r has enLored into a "holy alliance" with our class cne~los .. Tho second, according to the pamphlet; represents a m morrty and consists of followers of Members of Parlia~ent Longyet and Presscmano, who on key issues go hand III hand ,WIth the ma~or~ty and unconsciously bring grist to the m i ll of the ma jnrrt y by attracting the discontented elements, lulling their socialist conscience and inducing them to follow the party's of ficial po licy. The third trend the PRIItphlet says, are the Zimmerwaldists. Thov maintai~ that France was involved in the war' not because Germany d.oc1,ared ,~ar on ~or, hut because she pursued an impe-

r ra list POlICY \VhICh, through treaties and loans hound her·. to Russ!,a. This third trend unarnbiguou~ly procla ims that defence of the fatherland is not a socialist cause" .

Ptactical1y the same three trends ha ve arisen in R ussia as well as in England and iu the neutral United States of America-in f~lCt, all ~vel' the world, The struggle of these trends WIll det erm ins the course of the labour' movement in the immediate future.

Permit me to say a fow words on another point which is boing very much discussed those days and on which we R ussi~n Socia 1- Democra ts arc part ic ularly rich in exper tones, namol y, the quest ion of terr or-ism.

We ha ve no informa tion yet a bout the A ustrian revolutionary Social-Democrats. Wo know that there aro revolutionar~y Social-D emocrats in A u.stria, but Informa t ion about them lS very meagre anY\Vc1Y. Consequently, we do not know whether the assassination of St iirgkh by Comrade Fritz



i .



i •



Adler 62 was the app] ie_aLion of terr?~ism as tacti.cs, ~ .. o., svslernatic orga nisa t Ion of pol i t ioa l assassinations uL~lconnected with the mass revolutionary struggle;orwhct~er it was a single act in the Lransi tion from th.e opport unIs~ . ., non-socialist . defence of the fatherland ta?tlcs of the ?ffici n 1. A ustrian Soc ial- DCIn ocra ts to the t~c tICS of revol U!lO~ary mass strugg le. 'rho lat ter aSSUITl pt.ion seems to. fit In more wit.h the circumstances. The message of greeting to fritz Adler proposed h~ the ~entral ~nm~ittee of the J La 1 ian p arty and published In A nantil of October 29,

there fore, deserves the r ullest sym pat hy ~ ~

_t\ t a II eve n t s, ,,' e a ro eon vi nee d t hat the ex per 1 e nc o 0 f revolution and counter-revolution in Russia has proved the correctness of our Party's more than twenty-year struggle against terrorism as tactics. We mnst not fo_rgot, however, that this struggle was closely connected. wI~h a ruthless struggle against opportunism. wh ich was i nc l incd to repudiate the use of all violence by the oppressed classes aga inst their oppressors. We ha ve a l,:ays stood. for t~c t~se of violence in the mass struggle and m connectlo~ w i th .lt~ Soc ondly, we linked tho struggle aga i nsl t~rrorlsln \VI th rnany years of propaganda, started long before December taOS, for an armed uprising. We have regar~ed the armed uprising not only as the best means by Whl~h tho prolet ar ia t can retaliate 1.0 the governrnen t ' s POlICY, but also as the inevitable result of the dovelopment of the class struggle for sor.i a l ism and demo?racy: 'I'hirdlv, w~ h.ave not confined oursel yes to acc ept ing violence In pr inc iple and to propaganda for armed uprising. For example, four years before the revolution we supported the use .of viole~cc by the masses against their oppressors, ~artlcular-Iy in street demonstrations. We sought to bring to t.he whole country the lesson taught by every such d?ffiOnst.ration. We began to devote m orc and m~re attcntlO? to organising susl.a iued and systorna tic mass resist.a nee aga 1 n~t t.he police a nd the army , to wi nni ng over, throng h th is res isl.a nee, as large as possi hie a pact of ~he army to the side of the proletariat in its struggle against the government, to inducing the peasantry and the army to !ake a consc io us part in t.h is strngg 1 e. These are the t.act lCS vr{e have applied in the struggle against terrorism, and



it is our firm con viction that they h

f I . a ve proved

cess u . sue, .

J conclude, comrades by one '. :

gress of tho S c i 1 D ' . e aga In greeting the Con.,

. I . 0 ra - ~mocratlc Party of Switzerland and b

WIS nng you success In your work (applause). Y

_ P~blishcd in 1916 in Protokolt

uber d~,e T Ve.rhandlungen des Pa rtei iages de ~ I S?Z1uir.lemokrrz tischen Par iei

r ..schu'etz 'fOnt 1. UTl d .1, Norembe r 191 6

abC;hallen im Gcsellschu/tshau8

z. Koutteuien: in Zurich

~ Fi ~st pu b 1 j shed in 1 {ussian

In 19",4 In the magazme Proletarskaya Uet:"olu tS'L a N o. , (27)

Published according to the book text Translated from tho German



Russia and Germany are already negotiating a separate peace. The negotiations are official, and the two powers have already reached agreement on the mn in points ..

A statement to that effect appeared recently in the Berne socialist paper and is based on information in its possession. 63 The Russian Em bassy in Berne hastened to issue an official denial, and the French chauvinists ascribed these rumours to "German dirty work", but the socialist paper refused to attach any importance what.soever to these denials. In support of its statement it pointed to the presence in Switzerland of German (Billow) and Russian "statesmen" (St iirmer, Gicrs and a diplomat who arrived from Spain}, and to the fact that Swiss commercial circles were in possession of similar reliable information obtained from Russian commercial circles.

Of course, deception on both sides is quite possible ..

Russia cannot very well admit that she 1S negot.iating a separate peace, and Germany cannot miss an opportunity to create discord between Russia and England, irrespective of whether or not there are negotiations, and if so, how successfully they are proceeding"

To understand the question of a separate peace we must proceed not from rumours and reports about what is taking place in Switzerla nd, which ca nnot be effectively verified, but from indisputably established political facts of the last few decades. Let Messrs. Plckhanov ~ Chkhenkeli, Potresov and Co.,. now cast in the role of Marxist-liveried lackeys or jesters of Purishkcvich and Milyukov, try as they will to prove "Gorm any 'e war gui lt " and that Russia

is fighting a "war of defence"- the class-conscious workers

j 20

____ ~ ~_~_..........______:_V, I. T,ENIN


ha vo not I ist.ened and w i 11 not listen t th \ r

War was enzer.dered by th G I 0 . cse clowns. The·

t i "b, .ne reat -)o\ver nnper i I" t 1

Ion S, 1. e. , by the j r S l r ug g 1 e for d i v - . . a IS re a-

struggle Lo decide which ofthcm is to O'o~~rn of ~~e loot, a ?oloJl.Y or small state. Two confl i ~ t ~ , . e up t IS or that 1Il th is War. First. hetween E ngla ~d S arf l}_l ,the for~~round between Germany and Il ussi T} am ertnany. Second, these three great freeboute ~Ia. lC1e Lhr?e ~reat. Powers, the present war The r l st ~ s.' 8dro t e prmcr pal figures in

Iloth .r=:>: cs tile ependcnt allies

t conflIcts wore prepared by the whole ~l'

~o,:"ers pursued for several decades} f 'tl' P ICy these IS fIghting to rob Germ. f h ,leI or~ ,10 war A Eng land principal corn net i any 0 er co Or1l8S and to ruin her

by his superi~;e\I!~~ •. who has ru~hle~sly outrivalled her

drive-and so thoCro~llh~e,~r'garllsatlOn and commercial her w 0 rld do ill ina t ion gw· • LYh t at t ~ ng 1. ~,n d co uld no l r e t a in

b 1 011 \\' ·lr Germ · r h

ccauso. her capitalists consider i,11~msolveany lSd I&, }tillrg

so-entItled to t he vs d' ~. s--an rurht Y

.e sacre bourg , . 1 b

promacy in ] oot inz dId. eors fIg It to wor ld su-

.. b an P un ering colo' d d

ent countr-ies J n part' 1 C .llles an spend-

juga te the Ba'lk' .icu ~ar, ler?lany IS fighting to sub-

~ . an countrlcs and I'urkov R " . "

ing for possession of r. ~ 10.. ·h" ~ » : ussra lS fight-

1· .. _xu ic ia , \V ich she need· .

U ar , to throttle the U] . 0 ' S, In par tic-

the only place wjle~e .[ he{rUakln~(~ ". people (for Gal icia is

Iib ,rd.lnlanS have h

I erty-re]atively speakinu f ,. or can ave,

Constantinople ~nd 'Iiso tg, °b· course), Armenia and tries. '{ 0 su Jugate the Balkan coun-

Parallel wi l.h tho R l1SS0 Gerrn. n ~

"interests" is th ~ I ~ mun Cor r let of predatory

fl.} a no cr no ess- if not ill ~ f

let hot\veen Russia and E I d r ole-~ pro o und con-

I• ". I· .. J} g an. he "11 ill of R ..'

m perld tst POllC y, dctermin d I tho c " ussia S

objective ill terna t.lonul strene tJ ~y t'W afge-Iong rivalry an d

may be brief] y defined f IIg 1 fa 10 0 tho Grea t Powers.

· EO- ., as 0 ows: smash G er '

In urupe with the aid 0 f E J ·d~ {~ .. rna ~lY s power

b A · ( . ng an and France In d t

ro ustr ia by annex inc Galic j ) ._ r "'I ,or er 0

Armenia and, es eCialt C a d.~ld lm'key (hy annexing

smash Englal1d's Ppowe/i'n ,xn~,ta~~lIlople); .and, after that,

Gerrnany in 0 -I t ,. SId \\ it h the a id of Japan and

I uer ,0 sorze the iuhol« f P .

the partition of China"" .t 0 er sia, complete

F ' L c.

ore en t uri est s· I" 1 1- . ·

C". ' d Ism las icon str i VIlla t

onstant.inoplu and a larger and 1 b 0 conquer

arger pa rt of Asia. It



has systeInatically shaped its policy accordingly and has eX plaited every antagonism and conflict between the Great pO\vers. England has resisted these efforts longer, and w i th more persisLenee and vigour, than Germany. From 1878, when the n ussian arm ies were approaching Constantinople and the English fleet appeared at the Dardanelles aTLd threatened to bombard the R ussians if they dared enter "Tsargra d'', * to 1885, when Russia was on the verge of war with England over division of the spoils in Central Asia (Afghanistan; the Russian army's advance into the heart of Central Asia threatened British rule in India), and down to 1902., when England concluded a treaty with Japan, in preparation for the latter's war against Russiathroughout all these years England was the most resolute opponent of Russia's predatory policies, because Russia threatened to undermine British domination over a numher of other nations.

And now? Just see wh a t is happening in the present

war. One loses pationce with the "social ists", who have deserted the proletariat to go over to tho bourgeoisie and talk about Russia waging a "war of defence", or to "sa ve the country" (Chkheidze). One loses patience with sentimental Kautsky and Co. and their talk of a democratic peace, as if the present governments, or any bourgeois government for that matter, could conclude such a peace. As a matter of Iact, they arc enmeshed in a net of secret treaties with each other, with their allies, and against their allies. And the content of these treaties is not acc i dental, it was not determined merely by "mal ice", but by the whole course and. development of imperial ist foreign policy. Those "sncia lists' who hoodwink the wor kers with hanu l phrases about nice things in general (defence of the fatherland , democratic peace) inithou.t exposing the secret ·treaties their own governments ha ve concluded to rob foreign countries= such "socialists" are downright

tra itors to socialism.

The German, tho English, and the Russiau govern-

ments only stand to gain from speeches in the socialist carn p about a nice little peace, because, firstly, they

* Tsargrad is the old Russian name for Constantinople .. =Ed,



instil belief in the possihility of such a peace under present governments, and, secondly, divert attention fro these governmenrs' preda tory polic ies ..

War is the continuation of policy. But policy

"continues" during war! Germany has secret treaties wi Bulgaria and Austria on the division of spoils and cent] ues to conduct secret negotiations on the subject. Russi, has secret treaties with England, Franco, etc., and all , them concern plunder and robbery. robbing Germany her colonies, rohbing Austria, partitioning Turkey, etc;

The "socialist" who under such cjrcumstances delivers '. speeches to the people and the governments about a nice,

little peace resembles the clergyman who, seeing before ,~ him in the front pews the mistress of a brothel and a police : officer. who are working hand in glove, "preaches" to:' them, and to the people, love of one's neighbour and,' observance of the Christian commandments.'

There is undoubtedly a secret treaty between Russia .and England, and among other things it Concerns Constan- ' tinoplc. That Russia hopes to get Constantinople, and that, • England does not want to give it to her is well known. . J~' England does gi ve Russia Constantinople, she will ai thor attempt to take it from her later, or elso will make this "concession" on terms directod against Russia. The text of the secret treaty is unknown, but that the struggle between England and Russia centres around precisely this question, that this struggle is going On even now, is · not only known, but beyond tho slightest doubt. It is also known that, in addition to the old treaties between Russia and Japan (tho H}10 treaty, for instance, which allowed Japan to "gobble up" Korea and Russia to gobble up Mongolia), a new secret treaty was concluded during the present war, directed not only against China, but, to a certain extent, also against England, That is beyond doubt, although the text of the treaty is unknown. In, 1904-05 Japan defeated Russia with England's aid' now she is carefully preparing to defeat England with R ~ssia 's aid~

There is a pro-German party in Russian "governing circles"-the Court gang of Nicholas the Bloody. Lhe nobility , army; etc. In Germany, the bourgeoisie (follo wed by



1 1 socia list-c ha u vin ists) has of la te markedly turned ! l~'u'ds a pro-Russian policy, towards a separate pe~ce \~i\h Russia, towards placating Russia, in ord~r to str J~O \vith full force against England. As far as Germany IS concerned, this plan is clea~ and leave.s no room for douht , ·\.s for Russia, the si tua tion IS that tsarism would, ~f co~;se,

~)fl~fer to sma.sh Germany first in .o:der to take as " ch as possible-c-the whole of GalICIa, the w~ole of

ill U . 1 " h'' A t et

1) "land Armenia Constantinop e- crus us rra , c.

1 t~\vouid then be 'm uch easier, with the aid of, Japan, to turn against England .. But" apparently, RUSSl~ has not the strength for that. Tha t ' sat. the bot to.ID of It.

Mr. Plckhanov, the ex-soc ia list, has tr ied ~o make out tha t the Russian reactionaries are genera 1.1Y In fa vo~r . of; peace with Germany, whereas the."prog~e~slv.e b~urgeolsle ate in favour of crushing "Prussiau nril itar ism A and s .. upport friendship with "democratic" England. ~h~t IS .a fa irytale suitable to the mental level of ~ollLlcal ~nfan"~s. The fact is that tsarism and all the RUSSI~n reactionaries and the "progressive" bourgeoisie (Octobrls.ts and Cadets) want the same thing: rob Germany, Austria and Turkey

in Europe, and defeat England in Asi~",(so a4~ to ta~e th~ who le of Persia, Mongolia, Tibet, etc.), 1 hese dear Ir ien ds disagree only as to when and how to turn from a struggle against Germany to a struggle against England. Only

about when and how] ,

This question, tho only one on which th~ dear f~lends differ, will be deLermined by military and,d!plomatlc con~ side rat.ions known in full only to the tsarist government, the Milyukovs and Guchkovs know only a quarter of

them. d A · I

'I'a ke the whole of Poland from Gormany an ustrta

Tsarism is in favour of that, but has it the strength? And

will England allow it? . .

Tako Constantinople and the Straits! Crush and dISmember Austria! 'I'aar ism is unt.irnly in favour o,f ?that. But has it the strength? And will England al1o~ it :

Tsar ism knows Just how many millions of soldiers ha va been slaughtered and how many more may be ?rawn from the people: it knows just how many shells ar<: being expended and how many more can be obtained (In the event of



war ,with China, ,,:hich is t.hreatening, and which is qUite. possI,bIe, Japan w111 ,not supply any, more ammunitionl). '. TsarIsm, knows how, Its secret negotIations with England concermug Constantmople have been and are progressing' .•... it knows the strength of the British forces in Salonika',' Mesopotamia, etc. Tsar ism knows alI this. It has all th;cards in its hands and is making exact calculations-joso_. far as exact calculations are possible in such matters Where ' .. that very doubtful and elusive element, the "fortune of" war", plays so great a part. . .'.

As for the Milyukovs and Guchkovs, the less they know the more they talk. And the Plekhanovs, the Chkhenkelis, the Potresovs know nothing at all of tsarism's secret pacts' they are forgetting even what they knew before, do not study, what can be learned from the foreign press, do not examine the course of tsarisms foreign policy before the " war, do not trace its course during the war, and . are consequently playing the part of socialist Simple Simons.

If tsar ism has become convinced that oven with all the aid of liberal society, with all the zeal of the war industries committees, with all the help the Plekhanovs, Gvozdyovs, Potrosovs, Bulkins, Chit'kins, Chkheinzes ("Sa ve the country", don't Ia ugh I), Kropotkins, and the whole of that menial crowd are giving to the noble cause of producing more shells-that even with all this help and ~vith the present state of military strength (or military impotoneo) of all the allies it can possihly drag and has dragged into the war, it cannot achieve more, it cannot hit Germany harder, or that it can do so only at excessive cost (for example. the loss of ten million more R nssian soldiers, the recruiting, training and equipment of whom would cost so many more billions of ruhles and so many more years of war), then tsarism cannot but seek a separate peace with Germany.

If "we" go after too rn IIC h booty in Europe, "we" run th~ ~isk of utterly exh~usling "our" military resources, of g~ In mg a J rn~st nothing ill Europe 11 nd of losing the opport un ity of gettmg "our share" in Asia. This is how tsarism argues, and it argue/; correctly from the standpotnt of imperialist interests. It argues more correctly than the

.............. ------------~-----------



bourgeois and opport unist chatterboxes, the Milyukov~, P 1 ol.;:hanovst Guchkovs and Potresovs,

If no more can be obtained in Europe even after R uma-

r , and Greece (from· which "we" have taken all we could) IL va { ·11 b h d' hu ve joined in, then let us ta~e ~ha t can st i ea ..

England cannot give "us" anything Just now. Germany WIll

Jerhaps return to us Courland and a part of Poland, cerIainly Eastern Galicia-which "we' .p~rticularly need for t110 purpose of throttling the Ukrainian movement, the movement of historically hitherto dormant p~ople numbering many millions, for freed0J:? and the ~lght to u~e their native language-and, very Iikaly, Turkish Armenia a lso. If we take this now, we may emerge from t~e war iuith. increased strength, and tomorrow we m~y, with ~he aid of Japan and Germany, with a wise pol icy and with the further aid of the Milyukovs, Plekhanovs and Potresays in "sa v ing" the belo vo d "fa tb er la n d", get a good slice of Asia in a war against England (the whole of Persia and the Persian Gulf with an outlet to the ocean much better than Constantinople, which is .. an outlet ~ only to the Mediterranean and is guarded by lsland~ ,:hlC~ ~,ngland can easily take and fortify, thus depriving us of

every 0 utlet to the open sea), etc. ~

This is exactly bow tsarism argues, and, we repeat,. It argues correctly, not onl y from tho narrov: I?onaf.chlst point of view, but also from the general imperial ist ~olnt. of view. It knows more and sees farther than the liberals, the Plekhanovs and the Potrosovs.

It is qurte possible, therefore, that tomorrow, or tho day after we shall wake up an~ hear the three monarchs proclaim: "Hearkening to tho VOIces of our bel~vcd peoples, we ha ve resol ved to endow them with the blessings of peace, to sign an armistice and to convene a general Eur~opean Peace Congress." The three monarchs may even d~splay their sense or humour by quoting fragments of the spe?,ches of Vandervelde, Plekhanov and Ka utsky, ~such as: wo pr?mise"-promises are the only thing. that IS cheap, e:en In this period of soaring prices----"to discuss the question of

f I ., "t Van

reduciT1~ armaments and 0 a ' ast ing . peacc, e c. -

dervelde, Plekhanov and Kautsky ~lll run along a.nd arrange lhcir "soclallst' congress III the same CIty



as the Peace Congress; and there will be no end of pioua wishes, sentimental phrases and talk of tho need to "defend the fatherland" in all languages. The stage will he well set for concealing the transition from an imperialist Anglo-Russian alliance against Germany to an imperialist R usso-Gernlan aj Iiance against England!

But whether the war ends in this way in the very near .. future, or whether H ussia "holds out" a litLle longer in her effort to vanquish Germany and rob Austria morej whether the separa t.e peace negotia lions will prove a shrewd blackmailer's trick (tsar ism showing England a draft of a treaty with Germany and saying: "Either so many billion rubles and such-and-such concessions or guaran tees, or I sign th is troa ty tomorrow"), in all cases the imperialist war cannot end otherwise than in an imperialist peace, unless it is transformed into a civil war of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie for socialism. In all cases, unless this happens, the im poria list war will result in the strengthen ing of one or two of the three strongest imperialist powers-England, Germany and Russia-at tho expense of the weak (Serbia, 'Turkey, Belgi UtH .. etc.), and it is quite possible that all three rob ... bel'S will Lecome stronger after the war, having divided the booty among themselves (the colonies, Belgium, Serbia, Armenia). Tho only argument will be over the share each should get.

In all cases, both the full-fledged and a vowed social-· chauvinists, i.e., the individuals who openly accept "defence of the fa thor Jan d" in the present war, and the disguised, ha If-way social-eha uvi n ists, i. e., the Ka utskyites with their preachment of "peace" in general, "without victors or vanquished", etc., will Inevitably, unavoidably and undoubtedly be fooled and discredited. For any peace concluded by the same, or similar, bourgeois governments that started the war will glaringly show the peoples what a servile role both these types of socialists played in relation to im poria Iism.

Whatever the outcome of the present war, those who maintained that the only possible socialist way out of it is through civil war by the proletariat for socialism, will have been proved correct. The Russian Social-Democrats

A SEPARATE ~P_:E~A=--=C-=E:__ ~_13_3


. . d that the defeat of tsari srn , its CO.ill pl~.ttj

""ho m a intame . ". . 11 cases" the lesser ev i l , ow III

rn u i tary smash-udP, IS, Itll 3For histo~y neve!' stan ds st ill;

r been prove correc. · . t

hn" e . f d movement dur i ng this war ,00 ..

. t.inues ItS orwar " 1

It CO~1 he European proletaria t cannot a ~ v~lIlce to soc la -

And If t L t 0 ff the soc ia l-c ha u Vl ru S t and K a u ~sism now, canno he « f this first (1rea t im poria l ist

. k in t e COll rose 0 l. ~

kyito yo e E d Asia can advance to democracy

th n East urope an h d

war, e ' t . d nly if tsa rism is utterly smas e

r'th seven-league s rt PS 0 · ~ f d. 1

,'I,.. " . ll . 1 ·11· t Y top u r sue Its se rn i- e u a

and deprived of a .pOSS1)1 .

typo imperialist policy. thi weak soc ia l-

. The. ,,:ar willdkiIli a~~kY d~::o~n~~~rled.mXn im~erialist

chaUVinIsm an au S k how them

Id further accontua te these WAa n ess~s, s

~~af~ :~~ill more despicable and abhorrent Iight.

So taial-lJemokra t NO.6 56 ..

November 6. 191

Published according to the Botsuil-Demonrct text




Huysmans, the Secretary of th I" .

Cha uvin ist B urea u 64 has tel n lerna t ional Social- :

D · h ,son a te egram of t· ". arus Minister without portfolio St, . ' gree ings to ,',

the Danish quasi-"Social-Delllocr 1" .. a,;nmg, the leader of, reads: "1 learn frOID the news a IC arty. The tolegram "

pointed Minister. My hearti~:fe:~ that you .have been ap- ' .. we . now ha ve ten socialist Ca bin ng.ra.tulatI?ns. And so, '.' ThIngs are movi B · et Ministers In the world .'

. Ing. est wishes." ~ .

. Things are indeed movin . Th S .'

IS rapidly moving-tow d g e econd InternatIOnal

aI-liberal politics. Quot~~gS ~~?Ip;elte merger with nationVolksstimme.65 militant or a~s ofe ogram , the Chemnitz opportunists and social-ch; v" the extreme Gorman venomously: "The Secretar ~f mists, remar.ks, some.what

~ureau unreservedly welc~mestht~ Internntronal SOCIalist

mal-Democrat of a ministerial e acceptance by a 80-

before the war all' party post. And yet. on ly shortly

congresses, expressed sharp ~ongr~~~es, and. mternational views change-on thi PPOSI IOn to t h is! Times and

Th H. IS Issue as on others."

o eilmanns, Da virls and S·· d k

ti fled in their condescend. ~ e urns are quite jus-

Plokhanovs and Vande~v 1d_g praIse of the Huvsmans,

8t · [) eso.. · ~

a umng recently hli h d I

velde. I t is full of Pt~ 1St ,e ~ otter he wrote to Vandcr-

social-cbauvrntsr woulde wSr/t~g~t~:emFks a pro.-German vtrust Among oth hi t a renchsoClal-chau"we r the Dan ish P er t t t~s, S La uning boasts of the fact that

sociated ourselve~r from a~: sharpl~ aI~d definitely disassplitting act i ~t· d e organisat.iona lly pernicious

VIles con ucted on th ... .

Italian and Sw·.- e rn it iat.ivo of the

lSS part ies under tho f . h

wald movement" Thi . I" name 0 . t. e Zimmer-

· rs IS itera Ily what he says!

'." .

. -~


. ~1~"~'




The formation of a national state in Denmark dates back to the sixt.eenth century. The masses of the Danish people passed through the bourgeois liberation movement long ago. More than 9H percent of the population are Danes. rrhe number of Danes in Germany is less than two hundred thousand. (The population of Denmark is 2 .. 900,000.) This alone proves what a crude bourgeois decept.ion is the talk of the Dan ish bourgeoisie about an "independent national state" being the task of the day! This is being said in tho twentieth century by the bourgeoisie and the monarchists of Denmark, who possess colonies with a population nea rl y cq ua 1 to the n urn ber of Danes in Germany f and over which the Danish Government is trying t.o strike a


Who says that in our day there is no trade in human

beings? There is quite a brisk trade .. Denmark is selling to America for so many m ill ions (not yet agreed upon) three

islands, alI popula ted, of course.

In addition, a specific feature of Danish imperialism

is the superprofits it obtains from its monopolistically advantageous position in the meat and dairy produce market: using cheap maritime transport, she suppliers the world's higgest market, London. As a result, the Danish bourgeoisie and the rich Danish peasants (bourgeois of the purest type, in spite of the fables of the Russian N arodniks) ha ve become "prosperous" satellites of the British im peria list bourgeoisio, sharing their particularly

easy an d part ic ular 1 y fa t pro fits"

The Danish "Social-Democratic" Party completely suc-

eumhed to this international situation, and staunchly supported and supports the Right wing, the opportunists in the Gorman Soeial-Democratic Party .. The Danish Social-Democrats voted credits for tho bourgeois-monarchist government to "preserve neutrality~'-that was the enphenlislic formula. At the Congress of September 30, 1916, there was a ninetenths' majority in favour of joining the Cabinet, in favour of a deal with the government 1 The correspondent of' the Berne socialist paper reports that the oppositi on to ml nisteri alism in Denmark was represented by Gerson Trier lind the editor J .. P. Sundho. Trier defended revolutionary Marxist views in a splendid speech, and when the parLy decided to


v. I. LF.NIN

go into the government he resi d

tee and from the party' d I...llg~.e from the Central Commit_

h f ' ec arrng that ho w ld

~em er 0 a bourgeois art I ou not be a

rrish "8 · I D .p.y. n the past few vears th D

OCIa - ernocra tic" Part has I J. e a-

the bourgeois radicals'. y as In no way differed from

Greetings to Comra de G T ~ 1" •

~uysmans is right-movin 'to~:;d ThJng~ are moving", lCally honest, sOdalisticallg ,. s a ~r~c~se, clear, polu, revoJ utionary Marxists thY necessary d~ VI sion hot ween the

of th I· .. , e represen ta t1 yes f th

He revo ut10nary proletariat and tl 'Pl ikh 0 e masses

uysmans alli es and a ents f . .l' 10 ~'. anov- I_lotresov-

who, have the majorit/ ~f th~ "~~~dlmrerIah.st hourgeoisie, ~he Interests, not. of the 0 ressed .er,s, but who represent lty of privileged workers PP I ' m~sses,. but of the ruinorthe bourgeoisie. ' W 10 are csert: ng to the side of

WilJ the Russian c las ~

elected the deputies now ~~~~~SCIOU~ workers, those who

agai nst partici pa ti on in th to ,SIJlerl a, th ose who voted support the imperialist w e w~r In ustries committees to

na ti anal" f th · ~ ar, wish to rernai n in the HI t

f o.e len Cublnot. I\iinjsters? I h l !] er-

0, the Staumngs? III the I" n t e,InternatIOnal

1 rier are lea ving? nternational whlch men like

So tsial .. Demohrn t 1\.~

N ,,·0. 56f

oYernher 6, 1916

Publ ished acCoroing to the So isia l- Demohra t text



The Congress of the Swiss Socia1-Dcrnocratic Party at Zurich (November 4-5" 1916) definitely proved that the deci-

sion to - join Zimrnerwald and accept revolutionary mass j. struggle (resoluti on of the 1915 Aarau Congress) remains

on paper, and that wi thin the party there has been definite-

ly formed a "Centro", i.e., a trend similar to that of Kautsky-Haasc and tho Arbeitsgerneinscbaft67 in Germany. and

of Longuet-Pressemane and Co. in France. This "Centre", of which ··R. Grimm has become the head, combines "Left" declarations wi th "Hi ght", i.e .. , opport. u ni st, tactics.

It is therefore the task of the Left Zimmerwaldists in tho Swiss Social-Democratic Party imrnediutely and effecti vely to consoli date their forces in order sy?5telIlll tica lly to influence the party so that the Aarau Congress decision shu ll not remain a dead letter. Consolidation of their forces is all the more urgent since both the Aarau and Zurich congresses have left no doubt whatever as to the revolutionary and internationalist sympathies of the Swiss proletariat. Resol utions of syrn pathy for Liebknecht. are not enough; there m list be serious acceptance of his slogan that the Social- Democra tic parties of today need regeneration. 68

The platform of the Left Zimmerwuldists in the SocialDemocratic Party of Switzerland should be, approximately,

as Iollows: ~



1. "Defence of the fatherla nd" on the part of Switzerland in the present imperialist war as well as in the new impe ... riali st wars now in preparation is nothing but a bourgeois



deception of the people. For actu II S . , ... tion in the present or similar: y, :V1,tzerJand s participa_ .

tion in a predatory and reactio ars W(:u d only b~ partieipa_ .

of the i ~ 1· nary war on the sids of* ;~

e im perra 1st coalitions' it would d ifl .! I one '

for "freedom" "democracy'" ... d de III .e y not be a War ;

2. T he attitude of ' , l.n. epen "enee", etc, , •

towards the bourgeois S~~:s ~:~~.., Socl~l-D~rnocratlc Party··· Swiss bourgeois parties ~ust be r~~e~f an :o~ards all the .• tha t government (a) ~ .1 J b utter distrust. For '

d .. is C ose you n d up · 1 J

an financially wi th th b . . ,eCOflomlca y'

"Great" Powers' and is c:mpre~~1eOIJle ofd the imperiaJi~t"

(b) ha I y epen ent upon them- :

h ~s Ol!g ~go turned towards political reacti r II I , ..

t elIDe in mtcrnational and d . . AJon a a ong .

police, servility towards E: r omest.lC, affaIrs (political.

monarchies etc.) ~ (c) its whol opeal~·l reac tion and Europoan .

.. ' ., ~ e po ICy over ~ d f

yheards (milItary reorganisation in 1907 etc a f;:IEo I? "IDan,r . ~ e e Loys "case", 119 etc, etc) h ' ' .. e, ~ I, case, Ingly becoming a pawn i~ th~ haas proved that It IS l~creas·

Swiss military party and milJ·tnds ofrt"he most reactl0nary

3 I · . ary c rquo

. n vIew of the above it is th .

Social-Democratic Party' t e urgent task of the Swiss

the government, which is 0 ,exl?ose the true character of bourgeoisie and the rni lit, c,~l~glng before, the Imperialist

the people by means of phr~~~; :bo~~P::~o~,~s deception of the very real possibility of this acy, otc., show provaI of the whule of the I'Ulingovernmen,t, (w~th the ap-

land) bartering away the interests ~f ~~~r§e~lsle In ISwil.zeror the other im perialist eoa Ii ti WlSS peop 0 to one

. 4. Therefore, in the event of~witzerl d' , In the present war, it will he th d an s lnvolvem,ent

Democrats. absolutel . . ~, uty of the Socialland" and t L yhto repudiate defence of the father-

.0 expose t e use of that 81 t d (

people. In such a war the work ogan 0 eceive the

down their lives not in th' ers an.d peasants would lay

d,emocracy, but in tho int~r:~~s own 1I~tere8t.s" and not for sie. The socialists of Switzerl . dof the }mPI]erlahst bourgeoicountries, can and an , ~~ 0 a other advanced

therland only when mt~i~ af~:t:rl~l~talry defence of the fa-

an las been reorganised

lit In the manusc.ri pt the words u' 11' .

the words "on the side of" .. -Ed'. In a lance with'' are wri tten over



along socialist lines, Le., defence of the proletarian socialist revolution against the bourgeoisie.

5. Neither in peace nor in war can the Socia}. .. Democrat-

ic Party and its deputies vote war credits under any circumstancest no matter what deceitful speeches about "defending neutrality'\ etc", arc made to justify such voting ..

6~ The proletariat's answer to war must be propaganda and the preparation and carrying out of revolutionary mass actions Ior the overthrow of bourgeois rule, the conquest of political. power and the achievement of socialist society, ,vhich alone will save mankind from wars. The determination to achieve it is maturing in the minds of the workers of all countries with unprecedented rapidity.

7. Revolutionary action must include demonsLrations and mass stri kos, but under no circumslances refusal of m iii tary service. On the contrary, not refusal to take up arms, but turning these arms against one's own bourgeoisie is the only action that can correspond to the tasks of the proletariat and to the slogans of the best representati yes of internationalism, for example, Karl Liebknecht.

8~ The Social-Democratic workers must counter the slightest government action, either before entering or during the "Tar, towards abolishing or curtaili ng political liberties by forming illegal organisations to conduct systematic, persistent propaganda, undaunted by any sacrifices, for war against wart and explain to the masses the real character

of the war.



9. Not only in the belligerent countries, but in Switzerland too, the war has led to the unprecedented and scandalous enrichment of a handful of rich people and to incredible want among the masses, resulting from high prices and food shortages. The Social-Democratic Party's mai n task must be a revolutionary, not reformist, struggle against this calamity: systematic and persistent propaganda and preparation for such a struggle, undeterred by inevitable tem-

porary difficulties and set-backs.



10. I n reply to the n ume b . .

cial reforms, the Social_D~~us Ot~rgeOlS projects of finan~

its main task to expose a l tnocr~~!c Party must make it shift the burden of mob"l'l" t' .emp !sd by the bourgeoisie to

d JSa Ion an War t I}

an poor peasants. on 0 I} re workers

Under no circumstancos and d

cial- Democrats agreo to . 'd. u n er no pretext, can So ...

th A -' In tract taxation Th d . ~

e arau Congress (l(}·lr:)) d l · e CCISlon of

. · t., an t 19 1-1 b G'

ti on adopted at the Z . h C u er- -rimm resolu-

Social-Democrats to a~~~~ 1 o~g~?~S (1916). which permit sci~ded. AU Soci a l-nemocrat'jO In .Ir~ct ~axes. ill ust be re~egln most energetically to . ~.()or:;~n~saLlons must forthwith In Berne in February 1 C}17 p,~ or the Party Congress who fa vour rescindi ng til Dse' 3refl lllltl~st elect only delega tes

J t· h . so u J oris.

IS t e Job of liberul off" . I

revol utionarv' Socia l-Domo t ICI a s, and certainly not of

mont extric~te i tself f~o~c~h S, to hel p thy bourgeois governserve the capitalist system e.present (hfficulties and prethe masses. ' i.o., perpct.uato want among

11. Social-Democrats must .

am_ong the masses the u;ge~~~:~~te,as WI de.ly as possible

uniform federal propert d. ssity of IntroducIng a

~ y an Income tax with hi h

progress] ve scales not lower tha th f I' J A' I 19 and

n e ro owing:

p ~

ro JJ ert Y Income

20~O()O francs

50,U{)0 "

100,000 ,~

200.000 "

5,000 francs

10~OOO "

25,000 "

60,000 H

Rate of Taxation (per cent)

exempt 10 40

GO, etc.

Tax on parsons l i ving in pensions:

Pay i ng u p to !J f

B j rancs ~er day-exemp"

! ~ 5"~'" lo

" - 101

H 0

10" n /

.-~() n -20%

.::. " " ~, ~) r:: OJI

. -,-u 10 etc

1~. ~ocial-DoillocraLs must ruthless! " ·

geors he, spread also b Ill' r ' y eOffi?dt tho ho ur-

fJemoeratic IJ'~rty tll~Yt 'ta If op~portunlsts In t.he Socia 1-

U I. a I I S ~ 'i ti I "

revolulionary-high ra tos ~f ._ mpra~ lea to advocate

the contrary, this is thp onfropert~ and Income taxation. On Democratic policy,' Fir~t bY ~raetlCaJ and Lho only Socialselves to what is Haccep' i~hl:?,c1Lusetlwe ~hu~t not adapt our-

o io fIC , we In ust appeal


<, "

> .




1..0 the broad masses of the poor and propertyless who are indifferent to, or suspicious of, tho Social-Democratic Party, ] arge1y owing to its reformi st and opportunist character. Secondly, the only way of wresting concessions from the bourgeoisie is not by "bargaining" with it, not by "adapting" ourselves to its interests or prejudices, but by preparing the revolutionary forces of the masses against i l., The larger the sec t.ion o] peop 10 we convi nee of the justice of revol utionaryhigh taxation rates and of the need to fight to secure such J'at.os, the sooner will the bourgeoisie make concessions. And we \vill uLilise every concession, however small, in the uns\verving struggle for the complete expropriation of the hour-

I ~


13~ The fixing of a maximum salary for all salaried em-

ployees and officials, Bundesriito, * etc., of 5,000 to 6,000 francs per annum, according to size of family. The prohihition of the accumulation of all other incomes under penalty of imprisonment and confiscation of such incomes ..

14. Compulsory alienation of the factories and works-in the first instance of those that are indispensable for supplying the necessi ties of life to the popula tion=-an d also of all agricultural enterprises of over fifteen hectares (over 40 ~'.J ucharten'') in area (in Swi lzer land there are only 22,000 en torprises of this size out of a total of 252,000, i. e .. , less than one-tenth of all agricultural enterprises). Systematic measures, on the basis of these reforms, to increase food output and ensure the people a supply of cheap food.

is. Immediate and compulsory alienation by the state of all water power in Switzerland; this, as well as other alienated property, to be subject to the above-mentioned scales of property and income tax.



16~ Uti lisa tion of the par liamentary tribune and the right of init.iati vo and referen dum, not in a reformist manner,

~ Members of the Federal CounciL-Ed.


v. r, LENIN

in order to advocate reforms "acce table' . ..'. and theref~re powerless to remov/the e .to ~helbourgeOlSie, .... ~ mental evils suffered by th . pnnci p~ and funda~ · propaganda in favour of Swi e mass~s. T~o ~Im should he .

tinn, which is quite feasible ~~:-~an~ ~ ~oClahst .trSllsforma:", more and more ur ent l onnca Y1 and l~ becoming.'. '.':. high cost of Ii Vi;g an~ nte~:ssary be~ause of .the Intolerably.'

and also because the intern:~res~lOn 1 of. finance capital,! tho war are impelling the prolet.o~a t ~e atIons created by '.'

On to the path of revol ution. arra 0 the whole of Europe •

17. A boll tJ on of all restr ~ t· . h .,:

political rights of women ~~~ons ~It ?ut exception on the "

must be explained to the massepare wl!h those ~f men. It '. larly urgent at the present tim s w~y t~s reform IS particu- :

cost ~f 1ivi~g are agitating th:':i ed t t war and the high "". and, III particular, are rousin h . n s 0 the broad masses ~. of women towards politics. g t e Interest and the attention ·

18. Compulsory naturalisatio (Z .,.

all foreigners, free of char e' E: wanlfsemburgerung) of

a Swiss citizen after three ~~nth e~y ~~~eIgne~ shall become unless he, on ver ood s r~s] ence In the country,

which may be g~a~Ited 1~~und~. applies for a postponement, must he explained to the m no more than three months. It ularly urgent for Switzerl:~sds ~hat such a reform is partiedemocratic standpoint hut 1 ' b ot only fr.om the general

· 1". ,a so ec a use 0 WI to i t ·

rra 1St enVlronmont Swi tzerland h ' ng 0 1 S im pe-

foreigners than an~ oth zerE an as a larger percentage of

of these foreigners speak e~ne u~opean country. Nine-tenths Switzerland. The djsfranchise~e th~ three .lang~ages used in workers serve to increase politIC ~t a.nd alJenat~on ?f foreign mounting and weake · t a reaction, which IS already

19. Im~odiate 1'0 n a In ernatroual I?l'oIetarian sol i darrty.

dates in the 1917 ~~tJoPn~landt: flor SOCIal Democratic candi-

h. a rae ec t Ion s to h '.\ · d

on t . e baSIS of a politIcal latform hs e nomina to .only

ly WIdely discuSied by thr P I tTat. has been preVIOUS-

I . e e ec tors, hIS apphss t ·

u ar to the question of the a ttl' d es In partie-

defence of the fatherland d thtu e to:vards the war and

. revolutionary struggle ' a_n eh que~tl OIl of reformist or

against t e high cost of I· ·

1 VIOg ..

* National CounciL-Ed.




20. Effective operation of the Aarau decision on tI10 revolutionary mass struggle is impossible without systematic and persistent efforts to extend Social-Democratrc influence over the masses, without drawing into the movoment new strata of the toiling and exploited masses. Propaganda and agitation for tho social revolution must be conducted more concretely, more explicitly, and on pressing practical issues. This wi ll make it understood not only by the organised workers, who under capitalism will always remain a minority of the proletariat and of the oppressed classes in general, but also by the majority of the exploited, who are incapable of systematic organisation because of the terrible oppression of


21. To influence broader masses, the party must organ-

ise more systematic publication of leaflels for free distribution. These should explain to the masses that the revolu tionary proletariat is fighting for the socia list transfor .. maLion of Switzerlandt which is necessary for and in the interests of nine-tenths of the population. Open competitions should bo organised between all party branches" particularly the youth organisations, for the best distribution of such leaflets, and street and house-ta-houso propaganda. More attention and effort must be devoted to propaganda among the rural workers, agricultural labourers and day-labourers. and also among the poor section of peasants who do not exploit hired labour and do not profit, but suffer, from the high cost of living. The party should demand of its parliarnen tary reprusen tati yes (N ational-, Kantons-, Gross-, and other Ra te) tha t they uti lise their particularly advantageous political position, not for idle reformist parliamentary talk, which naturally only bores the workers and rouses their suspicion, but for propaganda for the socialist revolution among the most backward strata of the proletariat and semi-proletariat in urban, and particularly rural, areas ..

22 .. A decisive break with the theory of "neutru li ty" of

ths industrial organisations of the wor king class, office


____ ~ ~ __ ~~V.I.LENIN


employees, etc. A truth most strikingly co r db·

war should he brought h h n JrIDe y the

. II d " . n· orne to t e masses" nurnelv th t

ca e, neut:ahty IS bourgeois deception or h' a, 80~

thadt III fact It means passive subrn issinr, to the b ypocr~s~. ~n to such of its partie ularl discns+i ou~geOlsle l~periaHst war, Social-Dernoc~ i Sgust,Ill.g u~ldertaklngs as

msation of the workin 1 at c act i vity In every orga~

pett b ' " g ~ ass and of the poor strata of th .

SpeJal ~~~r:l~~~e 01' o~hce workers must he intensified~

such organisalio:~c:~~~e~~t~~s:~}~::s bo fo~m~d within all ~~~tIeha Sit~~tion i.n :vhi~h l'evolutionaryrnS~Cial~D:ao~~a:o tions. ~1: s;e~:tr~~~~aa:c: l~~de~?ip of l~l~se organis;

success of the rovolutio ' t IS condition for the the masses. nary struggle must he explained to

23 .. Social~Democratic work am on th

extended and intensified both h f g de troops must he

Social-Dcmoeratic group"s must eborcf·lI an daf!.er the call-up.

.. T ~ e orme In II i lit

units. he historical incvitabilit 7 •• a nn 1 ary

the standpoint of socialism of ,,) and l~gltImacy, from

timate war, namely . the p~ 1 ts~ng arms III ,the only legigeoisi,e to liberate humanit° e f~nan war against the hourex pla insd. There must he y om wage-slav,ery, must be terrorist acLions and for lr~'paganda agamst isolated

revolutionary section of the ~~~lng '~h t:e s~ruggle of the of the proletariat and of the exp{ '71 d t e flo.ad movement Thel'e must be more intensive rOle pop~ auon generally. section of tho Olt deci P opaganda In support of the

.. en ecisron urgr ng ] di

obey when troops are used a ainst. » ~o Je1'S to ~efusc to

be explained that passi ve di 1 '(i' t strl1kers,. and It should

24, To explain to th so e lenc.e a one IS not enough. 7Q

between. the prucJtica'l e me aSS~St the Inseparable connection

D I,. onSIS ent revel t i S·

em ocra tic work, as outlined abotv U J onary oCla~l-

struggle over principles among th the, and. the systematic

present-day labour movement t.haet hree m~!n tr~nds in ,t~e 11 sed countries a nd have ·1 ake . d ft .a ve ar J sen III all CI VI'"

I d' t, n 0 In I L e sha p J • S

zer an (particulatly at the 1916 Z . .1 e a so In WI t-

three trends arc: (1) the social tri unc\ Congress), These "defence of the fatherland" i tbPa rrots w,w fr~nk.1y accept HH4-16; this is an oppo t n, st ~ preJent ImperIalIst war of

bourgeoisie in the labour ~o~~~en:~(~) tOhf Lthef az~ents of the

tee t unmerwald,



ist.s, who, in princi p 10, reject "defence of the fa thorland'' in the irn perialist war. They favour a break wi th the social-patriots as agents of the bourgeoisie and mass revolutionary struggle, combined with complete reorganisation of Soc.ialDemocratic tactics to conform with the propaganda and preparation for such struggle; (3) the so-called "Centre" (Kautsl(y-Haase, Arboitsgemcinschaft in Germany; ]~onguet-Pressemane in France), * which stands for unity bet\\Teen the first and the second trends. Such "unity" only ties the hands of revolutionary Social-Democracy, prevents the development of its activity and corrupts the masses by failure inseparably and completely to link up Party

princi ples and Party pracLice. -----~----

At the 1916 Zurich Congress of the Swiss Sooial-Democratlc

Party, in ·three speeches 0Il the question of the Nationalratsfraktion** delivered by~PlatLen, ON ai ne an diC-reulich " there was the very clearly expressed admission that the struggle between the different policy trends wi thi n the Social-Demoeratic Party of Switzerland has long since become a fact. The sympathies of the majority of the delegales werQ...._ obviously with Platten when ho spoke of the need consistently Lo work in the spirit of revolutionary Social-Democracy.

N aine openly t precisely and defini tely dec lared that two trends were continuously fighting each other wi thin tho N ationalratsfraktion, and that the wor kers' organise tions must themselves see to it that adherents of the revolutionary trend who were in complete agreement with each other be elected to the Nationalrat. When Greulich said that the Party had cast off i ts old "Ia vourites" (T.Jieblinge) and had found new "favourites", he too thereby admitted the existence and struggle of different trends. But no class-conscious and thinking worker wi l l agree with this "favourites" theory. It is precisely in order to prevent the inevitable and necessary struggle between trends {rom degenerating into a contest between "favourites", into personal confiicts, petty suspicions and petty scandals that all members of the Social-Democratic Party must see to it that the struggle between the different policy trends is fought openly and on principles.

. * In the German Social-Democrati c press the "Centre" is sometimes I d en ti fied t and rightly so, wi th the R igh t wing of the uZimmer\valdists". ** l'be So·cialist Group in the National Council.-Ed.

10-1 {"S1


V . .t. L EN IN

25. An lntensl fled principled struggle must be Waged against the Gri.itIi-Verein71 as a glaring manifestation on Swiss soil of tho tendencies of hourgeois labour politics namely, opportunism, reformism, social-patriotism and cor: ruption of the masses by bourgeois-democratic illusions. The mistaken and pernidous cl1aracter of social-patriot and "Centre" poliCies must be explained to the masses, using the concrete activities of the Griitli-Verein as an example.

26. Preparations must be immediately started for the elections to the February (1917) Patty Congress in Berne to ensure that they are held only after every Party organisation has discussed the principles and concrete poliCies set forth in the various platforms. Tho platform outlined here

should serve as tho platform oftheconsistent, revolutionary, interna tiona1 ist Socia I-Democrats.

The election of all leading Party officials, to the Press Commission, to all representative bodies, to all management committees, etc., must take place only on the basis of such a discussion of platforms.

Every local organisation must careful1y control the

local Party press organ to ensure that it pursues the views and the tactics, not merely of Social-Democracy in general, but of a preCisely defined platform of Social-Democratic policy~




27. In order that acceptance of internationalism by

the SWiss SOcial-Democrats shal1 not remain an empty and non-committal phrase-to which the adherents of the "Centre", and Social~Democrat.s of the epoch of the Second International generally, always eonfine themselves-it is necessary, first, consistently and unswervingly to figllt for organisational rapprochement between foreign and Swiss workers bringir!g them together in the same unions, and for their complete equality (civic and political). The speCific feature of im per·j a !ism in Switzerland is precisely the increasing exploitation of disfranchised foreign workers by the Swiss hourgeoisie, which hases its hopes on estrangement between these two categories of workers.



--------- • d t ate a united

' effort III ust be rna e 0 cre d

Second, e~e~) n the German, French an

internationahst trel!d. am~ g d a trend that wi 11 make for

ltali~n wO~'ke:s .1i S;;;;:i~:t:ct'ivity in the labour mo.ve~ent gen lime unitu III a . Ph ' 1 determinat.ion and on prmci ~le, and will comba~, WIt . e(!~~ d) German and r talian socla~Fr'ench (in Latin SWItzer tn f' hould be made the basis

patriotism. The pre~en~ p l:~f~:~! ~f the workers of all three of a common and unite IP· in Switzerland. Unless rnain nationalities or lant?uagrcys Social-De~oeracy belong-

" rters of revo U rona . d. thi

worker suppo '~. 1· t"-' f Swi Lzerland are um te In ' IS

ill o· to all the natrona I .leS O. . dIe word

h • lism \Vl11 remain an I . h ld

way, inter~atlOna . ~ , 1 tion the publ ication S ou

To facihtate this ama gama j'f weekly [monthly 1 and

he started of sUPplefi~e_I)ltSt (ev1tSocial-Democratic newspa-

1 t ges at rst 0 a , Ifl m

011 v wo pa " 1 t out by workers, 0 co e _

per; (and to all perJOdIca. s ~li The supplements should be

ployccs', otc., trade unions). d should explain the present

published .in three !angll~r~u~~ent political develoPI?onLs. platform In t~e h§ht. l-D'mocrats must support l!l all

28. Th? ~WISS .oela e he revolutionary-international-

other socialist parties only t t the Zimrnerwald Left.

ist forces, the forces t~at at~ce)at~nic. It is particularly This support must not 1e8m.t PI d the anti-government

t · print in Wl zer an d I 1

important 0 Ie. . Germany France an ta y,

manifestos seer.eUy Issued 11 ges ~n~ distribute them

translate them into ~llsth~ee ~ng~a. nd all the neighbouring among the workers In witzer an a

eo untrios, (F b y 1917) Congress the Swiss

29. At the B.erne e ru~ not only unreservedly accept

Social-Democratic Party mu~ . . but must also da-

the Ki enthal ~onference e~~~~o~:ganisationa] break with mand an immediate u?d. comp u at The Hague, that bul-

the International. Soc.la~s!o~~I~a atriotism, which are irre-

wark of opportunism an P f '.1"

hostil t the interests 0 SOCIa Ism. ..

concilably osti e 0 t' Pal.ty of Switzerland IS III

30 The Social-Democra IC . · k in touch with

a ~a'rticularly favourable POSltlOJl to teOfn the advanced

t · the labour movemen Th

developmen s ll:. i its revolutionary elemeI_1ts. e

European countries and un te. ively for an Internal

t th refore wai t pass} ve .

Party must no, e., t but must keep in

struggle to develop within that movemen ,




advance of that struggle. I h . ,".

the road of the Zimm '. n ot er words, It must follow •

being proved more cl~~al~v~~ft, the correctness of which is .

in the socialist movemel;ts of YG~:!ab: the course of events· the Uni ted States and all ,. r d Y, Fr~nco.7 England,

CI VI rse ccuntries In genera}.,

Wri tten in late October and early November 1916

First PUblished (in French) as a pamphlet in 1918

Fj~t published in Russ ian in f 924 In the magazine ProletarFf:tRaya Recoh: isi a No, 4 (27) '"

Pub I lshed according to the manuscript





1" The present world war is an imperialist war waged for the political and economic exploitation of the world, for markets, raw material sources and new spheres of capital investment, oppression of weak nations" etc.

The "defence of the fatherland" phraseology of the two warri ng coalitions is no more than a bourgeois deception of

the peoples ..

2. The Swiss Government is. the steward of the Swiss

bourgeoisie, which is wholly dependent upon international finance capital and intimately associated with the imperialist bourgeoisie of the Great Powers.

It is therefore no accident, but an inevitable result of

these economic facts, that the Swiss Government is from day to day-and this has beon so for decades-conducting an increasingly reactionary policy and secret diplomacy, hampering and violating the people's democratic rights and freedoms, kow-towing to the military clique and svstematica lly and shamelessly sacr! ficing the interests of the broad masses to the in torests of a handful of financial

magnates. ..

Switzerland may at any moment be drawn into the pres-

ent war as a result of this dependence of her bourgeois government on the interests of the financial oligarchy, and of powerful pressure by one or another of tho imperialist coa-


3. Consequently, in relation to Switzerland, too, "defence

of the fatherland" is now no more than a hypocritical phrase. ~"or in reality it is not a question of dcfendi ng democracy, independence or the interests of the broad. popular masses,



etc., but, on the contrary t of prepari ng to hurl the workers ., ... and small peasants into the holocaust in order to maintain' d the monopoly and privileges of the bourgeoisie, of strength.. . ening ca pi La list domination and poli tical reac tion.

4. Proceeding from these facts, the Swiss Social-Demo_ cratic Party rejects "defence of the fatherland" on princi pie, demands immediate demobilisation and calls on the working class to rep ly to the bourgeoisie's war prepara li ons and to war i tse If, shou I d it break ou t, wi th the sharpest rnetho ds of proletarian class struggle.

Among these methods the following should be especially urged;

(a) Rejecti on of ci vil peace, sharper princi pled struggle .. against all bourgeois parties, and a Iso against the Griitli ... V erei n as an organi sa ti on of agen ts of the bourgeoisie withi n the workers' movement, and against Grotli trends withi n the Socialist Party"

(b) Rejection of alJ war credits, no matter under what pretext requested, both in peace-time and war-time .. (c) Support of all revolutionary movements and every struggl e of t.he working class of the belligorent countries against tbe wur and against their Own governments .. (d) Assistance to the revoluuonsry mass struggle within Switzerland-cstrikos, demonstrations, armed rising against the bourgeoisie"

(e) Systematic propaganda among the armed forces" estab-

lishment for this purpose of special Social-Democratic groups in the army and among conscription-age youth. (f) Establishment by the working class of illegal organisations in retaliation to every government curtailment or repeal of political freedoms.

(g) Systematic preparation, through regular and consistent explanatory work among the workers, of a situation in which the leadership of all workers ' and office employees' organisations without excoption would pass into the hands of persons who accept and are capable of conducting this struggle against the war.

5. The Party"s aim in the revolutionary mass struggle, adopted at the 1915 Party Congress in Aara u, is a soci alist revolution in Switzerland. Economically, this can be carried out immediately. Soci a list revolution offers the only





~- , t' the masses from the horror of eHecti ve, meansd °t hb~~a ;~gis being brought nearer as a

high pnces a~ , ~~g t 'has gripped the whole of Europe. result of tbe cnsis a f r the complete elimination of ] t. is absolutely necessary 0

nli)jtaris~ andd ~a~, that all bourgeois pacifist and socia~'I'he Party ec at es ~ t mi li tarism and war that fall

. fi t hrases agal ns . .

ist pnci S • P I d the revolutionary means of achIevIng

to accept. thl~ goa an, and can only have the effect of

i 1., ar~ 111 UhSI ons kO~ l:e:la~s hom any serious struggle against

di verti ng t e war 1 ng. ...

the foundations .of capitahsm. to im rove the position of

Without. ceasing Its fight II u 0: tho working class and Ihe wage-slave,s, the Part~nc:hes or~cr of the day propagand.a its ropresen tat~ ves to ~u~. 1 tion in Switzerland. ThIs for an irnmedi al.e SOClah 1St revo ~t tion speeches in Parli a-

d th g mass agl a . ., ~

should be one r rou 1 etc proving the need to

ment, legisla ti ve . proposa s, nt b · 'a rnlotari an government

replace the bourgeois gov~rI~~ethe ~a~s of the propertyless relying on the 8UPP~[t. he i m erative need for such population, and ex~la~nlIlg f \he ba~ks and big industries, measures as e~pr.opr1atlO~ SO introduction of a single direct repeal of all ITld~rect tahx,e h t, x-rates for big incomes, etc.

tax with revolutlonary- Ig a

Written tn Gcr man

in earlv De('eTnber t 9 16

First published in 193 t in L·en-tn M isce llany XV 1 I

published according to the manuscript

Transl a ted trom the Germ an




Swiss Left Social-Democrats ".

the defence of the fatherland· ~re. ura~lmous ill rejecting

The proletariat at an r. t .~rillclp e In the present war.

opposed to defe~ce of {he ~a~h~:la~:.t elements, is likewise

Hence, on this most bur i +

porary socialism in general ~ldgt~ss~e. co~fr~nt~Ilg contem-

par~icular, it would appear th t e Wl~S oCla~lst Party in achieved. Closer examinatio ah necessarr unity has been us to tho conclusion that it ni o~ever, ~s bOU~ld to lead

For there is absolutel n S on. y seeming unity.

that a declaration again;t dOefclarIty, let alone unanimity,

exceptionally high demands on e~~e of the ~atherland places ness and revolutionary viahilit 0 fevolutl~nary conscious- . such a declaration rovidi Y 0 the party that makes to a hollow phr~:e. Andn~~l~hcourse, that ~t is not reduced

a !1011ow phrase if wo merelv rei a declaration does become without being fully y ~eJe~t defe~ce of the fatherland

th~ demands implied.a:~~o~t 'r • I.~. '. without appreciating, agitation, organisation in sh e~hs;:g that all propaganda. activity must be di 11 or, e sum total of party

Karl L~~hknecht' s ro~~~:ssrOJ~)h~~~edd."regdenera ted" (to use

revolut iouary tasks. a apte to the supreme

Let us carefully consider h t a· ..

defence implies if we a r \~ a rejection of fatherland

that m list re~illty he aPP. Qzach 1 t as a serious political slogan

F. ' c rrtec out

irst. We calIon th I ~"

the belligerent countri:Spr:ndta~layt and t~e exploited of all

danger of war to rCJ· t t d £0 a countries faced with the

d fi AI' ec e ence of the fath 1 d W

e nite y know now fro th · or an. e

warring countries wh t t~ e expen~nce .of several of the

, a lIS actually im pl ies in the present



war. It implies rejection of all the foundations of modern bourgeois society, the undermining of the very roots of the modern socia \ system, and not only in theory, not only "in general", but in practice, directly and immediately. Is it net. clear that this can he accomplished only if we go hevond the firm theoretical convict.ion that capitalism has fuily matured for its transformation into socialism and accept t.he practical, direct and immediate carrying out of such tNlnsformation, i.e., the socialist revolution?

Yet that is nearly always lost sight of in discussing

refusal to defend the fatherland. At best there is "theoretical" acceptance of the fact that capitalism is r i pe for transformation into socialism. But immediate. radical change of all aspects of party activity in the spirit of the directly imminent

socialist rell'Olulion- that is shunned!

The people, it is alleged, are not prepared for that!

But that is ridiculously inconsistent. Either, or. Eit.her we do not proclaim immediate rejection of defence of the fatherland-or we immediately develop, or begin to develop, systematic propaganda for immediate socialist revolution. In a certain sense the "people". of course, are "not prepared" either to reject fatherland defence or accept socialist. revolution. But that does not justify two yearstwo years! -of procrastinat.ion and delay in starting to

systematically prepare them! .

Second .. What is being opposed to the policy of defence

of the fatherland and civil peace? Revolutionary struggle aga inst the war, "revolut.ionary mass actions", as recognised by the HJ1S Aarau Party Congress resolution. Ne doubt a very good decision, but. .. ' but the party's record since that congrcss, the party's actual policy, show that it has remained

a paper decision~

What is the aim of revolutionary mass struggle? The

party has made 110 official statement, nor is the question being discussed in general. It is either taken Ior granted, or frankly admi tted, that the aim is "sociali.';rn". Socialism is being opposed to capitalism (or imperialism).

. That, howevel', is abso lutely illogkal (theoretically)

and void of all practical meaniug. Illogical because it is too general, too nebulous. "Socialism" in general, as an aim. as the opposite of capitalism (or imperialism),- is ~ccept~tl

.- .:

------------------~-------. . -



now not. only by the Kautsky crowd and social-chauvinists· but by many bourgeois social politicians. However, it is n~ longer a matter of contrasting two social systems, but of form ulat ing the concrete aim of the concrete "revolutionary

J mass struggle" against a concrete evil, namely, the present high cost of living, the present 'Vat danger or tho present war A

The whole Second International of 1889-1914 opposed socialism to capitalism in genera), and it Was precisely this too general "general isation'' that brought on its bankruptcy. It ignored the specific evil of its age, which Frederick Engels nearly thirty years ago, on January 10, 1887, characterised in the following words:

"" .. a certain petty-bourgeois socialism finds representation in the Social-Democratic Party itself, and even in tho ranks of the Reichstag group. This is done in the following way; while the fundamental views of modern socialism and the demand for the transformat.ion of all the means of production into social property are recognised as justified, tho realisation of this is declared possible only in the distant [uture, a future tohich. jor all practical purposes is quite out oj sight. .. Thus, for the present one has to have recourse to mere social

patchuiork.:" (The Housing Question, Preface]. 73

The concrete aim of "revolutionary mass struggle" can only be concrete measures of social ist revolution, and not "socialism" in general. The Dutch comrades ha ve given a precise de finition of these concrete measures in their programme (published in the Bulletin of the I niernational Socialist Committee No. 3, Berne, February 29, 1B16): annulment of the national debt, expropriat.ion of the banks and big industry. When we suggest. that these absolutely concrete measures be included in an official party resolution, and be systematically explained in the most popular form, in day .. to-day party propaganda at public meetings, in parliamentary speeches, in lcgislat ive proposals-e-we get the same procrastinating. evasive and thoroughly sophistical reply that the people are not yet prepared for this, and so on and so fort.h!

The poin tis, however, that we should begin preparing them right now, an d firmly stick to th is work!

Third, the party has "accepted' revol utionary mass struggle. Very well, But is the party capable of waging it? Is it

PRINCIPLES INVOLVED IX \VAR ISSUE ~------.~~~~~~-------____...-.


---- - . • ',l I it studying these problems, gathering preparIng for ~lt~Ce!'l.~ar material, setting up the proper t ogo.ther dtbe . a~t- iOr:'s? 1 s it discussing the issues among the

bodIes an organls ._ ?

10 and with tho people. · d 1·

peop .. of the kind! The party clings to Its o~ ]ne-a

l' othlng ·1. t. rtan thorouO'hly trade union, thor-

b "t ugh1y par ramen a, b... Th t

1 010 . d thoroughly legal isLIC line. e par y

(HIghly refor:nrlstl a~ able of facilitatina the revolutionary

'mains mani est y tncap . b 1 ~

rc d 1 din it. I I is obviously ma (Lng no prep-

mas~ slrug.gle an ea tKis. The old rout.ine rules supreme

an~~~s ,:wh!!,e;~~J~(rejection of fatherland defence, revofl uan ,e ne . 1 ) remain mere words! And the Le ts, tion_ary mass ~trugg.e. re not mustering their forces, sysfailIng to realIse thl~, at d in all fields of parl.y activity,

tematically, pers~~erlIlg y an .

to combat the Ie v Ishrug one's shoulders on reading, for m-

One cahI1 °rnlYl .. g phrase (the last) in Grimm's theses

stance, teo OWlTI

on the war issue:

. d . n organi~ations party bodies must

"In conju~ction WI thl·l~ra ef un~Oa,;;:s rail,v;y strik~ if there is a danger

. this event [I.e., the ca ing 0 a ~ "

~ ~a·r, etc.] take all the necessary measures.

· . h and on Septem her

The theses were publtshed In t e summer, ?4" d

16 the Schweizerische Metallarbeiter-Zeitungd• K l~~e

, f its editors 0 Sehneebergcr an ·A urr,

over t.he names 0 . I r ~~ (I was on tho verge of saying,

contained ~the fo~l~Wllng zP It a G imm 's theses or pious wishes): the followIng OO~cla rep Y 0 r

. k h fatherland" is in very poor taste at

", .. The phrase 'the wor er as no e in their over\vhplming majori-

a time when the workersbof all tEu~?rg' shoulder to shoulder with the t.y, hav~ Ior two y~.ars .ccn" s ani ~st the' enemies' of their rathe~land, bourgeoIsIe on the bat t~lehel~s ag: want to ~ li ve thro uglt it' .despi te all

while those who lremd~ at S~m ia we be attacked by a foreign pourer we

the poverty and tar Sip. 0!'l t . n Switzerland tool!t'

shall doubtlessly see the same PlC ure ~

Wh t is this if not "Kautsl{y" polic.y, the P?licy of .the

.. a Left declaration and opportunIst prnct.ice ,

.impotent phrase, h d solutions are proposed urging the

when on the one an, re ~ . " t

, ". . t· with trade union orgarnsa LIOnS., 0

party, In conJ~nc Ion '~ and on the other, no

ca Il [or revOlutlonary mass st.r ikes '.. ..~ ~ cial- atriot

struggle is waged against the Griiili, i.e. I SU P ,



re.for~ist and thoroughly legalistic, trend and its supp within the party and the trade unions?

. A.re we "ed~cating" the masses or corrupting and d . : . a l ising the~ 1£ we fail daily to say and prove that "lea~I? comrades Iike 0 .. Schnoeberger, K~ Durr, P. Plliiger H -......._""

lich,. Hub.er and many others hold exactly the sa:ne ~ pat:-lot views and pursue exactly the same social-p p.ohey as the on~ Grimm so "courageously" exposes and t igutes ... ~hen It. concerns the Germans (in Germany) ~ not the SWISS? Hai] against the foreigners, hut protect

(( " "f II .. " one

own e ow-cttizens .... Is that "intcrna tiona list"? Is t

'IP cl. em oeratic"? ~

rfhis. is how Hermann Greulich describes the position the SWISS workers, the crisis of Swiss socialism and also t substance of Griitli policy within the Socia list Party:

" ... The standard of living has risen insigni ficantly and only for top ,stra.ta [hear l hear f J of the proletariat. The mass of workers contin~ to l~ vc In poverty! beset by worry and hardshi p. That is why, from · to t~mc, doubts, ~rl~e as to the correctness of the path we have beenIlOl.--v~~

lowing. The en tl~S are looking for new paths and place special hope more resolute act~on. Efforts are being made in Lhat direction but

a rll~e (?] they fall [?? J and this increases the urge to revert to tthe t actics [a case of th~ wish ~ein~ father to the thought? J ..... And now wor ~d war ... drastic decline 1!1 the st~ndard of li ving, arno unting outright pover~y. for those sec~lons which in the past. stlll en ........ - ............ ~ t.oler,able conditions. Revolutionary sentiments are spreading, r hear. J I~ tr~th, the party leadershi p has not 'been equal to the VLU;;l., ...... confrontl~g It and all ~oo. often.succumbs I??] to the influence of ho heads .r? · 1 .. ~. The Griith- Verein Central Committee is committed to 'Prract1cal.national polic~' 'v~ic~ It wants to operate outside the party, .• :. Why has 1 t not pu~sued It within the party? [Hear 1 hear! 1 Why has it.·~· nearly always left .. lt .to me .to fight the ultra-radicals?" (Open Letter ..

the Hottingen Griitli-Verein , September 26, 1916.) .

So speaks Greulich, It is not at all therefore .a matter(as. the Grti tI~~n~ in the party think, a~d hin t in'the press;:" Whll~ t~e ~rutIlans o~tside the party say so openly) of a···:·: ~ew ~vll-mlnd~d. Ioreignors'' wa nting, in a fit of personal .' .. : impatience, to inject a revolutionary spirit into the .labour ~.? mov~~ent, which they regard through "foreign spectacles".·. :.~ No, J~ IS none other than Hermann Greulich-whose political .... ~ole IS tantarnoun t to that of a bourgeois Labour Minister- .. :~ In a small democratic republic-who tells us that only thg· .~ ... upper strata of the workers are somewhat better .off .AOw,-'



1 ile the mass is steeped in poverty, and tha t "rovolut ionW 1: "entimcIl ts are spreading" not beca use of tho accursed af) ~.' 6 H b h f "th d tl d 1· ~ . foreign ~~instlgato.rs. ~ "ut ecause 0 eras ic cc me In

the standard of 1 i ving ·

j\nd so? .

i\nd so, Vie sha II be ahsolutely right if we say:

==~~];;Tlher the Swis« people will suffer hardships that will il1C-l'ease with every passing week and they wi II be faced daily with tho threat of invol vement in the imperialist war; i.e., of being killed in the capitalists' interests, or they will follow the advice of the finest part of their proletariat, muster all their forces and carry out a social .. ist revolution"


Socialist revolution? Utopia I "A remote and practically

· d f 1 I ' ~ . L ·1· t ,

in e In a ) e po SS 1 1 I Y". '""

It is no more R utopia than rejection of fatherland defence in the present war or revolutionary mass struggle against it. One should not be deafened by one's own words or frightened by the words of others. Nearly everyone is prepared to accept revolutionary struggle against the war. But one must visualise the magnitude of the task of ending the war by rovo!u t ion! No, it - is not a utopia. The revolution is maturing in all countries and the question now is noL whether to conlinue to live in tranquillity and tolerable conditions, or plunge into some reckless ad venture. On the contrary, the question is whether to continue to suffer hardship and be thro~rn into the holoca ust to fight for alien interests, or t~ Inako greH t suct-i flees for socialism, for t he interests of nlue-tent.hs of mankind.

Socialist revel ut.ion. we are told, is a utopia! The Swiss reop1:, thank God, ha ve no "separate" or "independ~nt" bang~dge, but speak the three world languages of the neigh-

t~~rln~ warr i?g countr-ies. I t is fl.ot surprising, th.erefore,

at t hey are In such close touch wit.h developments III these

~h~nt~·ies. I~l G~l'man~,. things have re~che.d a point where cent;:,o~lOrlllC 1.1fe of 66 million people IS dlfect.e~d i:o'!t "": r f· I'ho na t ional economy of a country of lib m i llion IS o~n tl rom this one cen tre. 'I'remcn do us sacri fices are im pose d

Ie vast majority of the people in order that the "upper


v.1. LENIN

30 ,OOO'~ C?1l po~keAt thousands of mill ions in war profits, ~~at mill ions die In"the shamhle~ for the enrichment of th

finest and no blest represent a ti ves of the nation" And the. fase of these [acts, o"f this .experience, is it "utopian'., . h~Jleve that a ~lnall nat ion, With no monarchy or Jun : with ,a ve~y hlg~ level .of capitalism and perhaps be organised ~n VarIOUS unll~ns than in any other capital· country, ,vIII try to save itselj from hunger and the d

oj wa.r by doing t~e venJ same thing that has alroady .

practl?ally tested III G~r~any? With the difference, of cour ... that J~l Germany millions are being killed and rna' . to enrich a few, open the road to Baghdad, conquer ............... t·l;;I!lII;

Balkans, whereas in Switzerland it is merely a matter expropriating a max.imum of 30,000 bourgeois, i.e., not co demning them to perish, but to the "horrible fate" of receivi "on!y". 6,000-10,000 francs income and giving the rest to ... ~~.: socia list workers' governmen t in order to ward off h and the war danger.

. The Groat Powers, however, will never tolerate a sociali·~· Switzerland and will use their immensely superior strang . to,crush tho socialist revolution at the very beginning l .

fhat, un~ou~t8dly., would be so if, first, tho beginni . ' of a revolution In SWIlzerland did not generate a class mo mont of solidarity in neighbouring countries, and, second, .:; thc.se Great Powers were not tied up in a "war of attrition; Whl.ch has practically exhausted the patience of the m .: p~atlcnt peoples. Military intervention by the mutual1y hos-. tile G-roat Powers would, in present eire umstances, only be . the prelude to revolution, flaring up throughout the whole \:

Europe. c'

Perhaps you think I am so naive as to believe that such> i~sues as socialist revolution can be resolved by "persua- :~. sion"? ..

No. I only wish to illustrate, and, what is more, merely :~.' one partial issue, the change that must take place in all : pa~~ty propaganda if wo want to approach the question ?f refection of [atherland defence with all the seriousness It deserves" That is only an illustration and it concerns only one partial issue. I lay claim to no m~re~

It would be absolut.ely wrong to believe that immediate .~. struggle for socialist revolution im plies that we cant or .. :



hould, abandon the fight for reforms. Not at all. We cannot ~llOW beforehand how soon we shall achieve success, how

Qon the objecti ve conditions wi II rna ke tho rise of this ~evollition possible. We should support every improvement, cverV real ec.onomic and political improvement in the position" of t he masses. The difference between us and the reformist s (i .e .. , the Griitlians in Switzerland) is not that we OppOSl~ reforms while they favour them. Nothing of the kind. 'Thev confine themselves to reforms and as a result stoop-in the "apt expression of one (rare l) revolutionary writer in the Scluveizerische Metallarbeiter-Zeitung (No. 40)-to the role of "hosp ital orderly for capitalism", Wo tell the workers: vote for pro port ional representation, etc., but do nt stop at that. Make it your prime duty systematically to spread the idea of immediate socialist revolution, prepare for this revel uti on and radically reconstruct every aspect of party activity .. The conditions of bourgeois democracy very of len compel us to take a certain stand on a multitude of SIll a ll and petty reforms, but we must be able, or learn, to take such a position on these roforms (in such a manner) that-to oversimplify the matt.er for the sake' of clarityfive minutes of every half-hour speech are devoted to reforms and twen t.y-five minutes to the coming revolution.

Socialist rcvol ut ion is im possi hie without a hard revolutionary mass struggle in which many sacrifices have to he made. nut we would be inconsist.ent if we accepted tho revolutionary mass struggle and the desire for an immediate end 19 the war while, at the same time, rejecting immediate socialist revolution! The former without the latter is nil, a hollo\v sound ..

b Nor can we avoid hard struggle within the party. It would

e s?eer make-believe, hypocrisy, philistine "head-in-thes~nd ' policy to imagine that "internal peace" can rule within ! ~ SW,i~s Social-Democratic Party. The choice is not bet 'w een 'internal peace" and "inner-party st.rugg len" Suffice it

o read Herrnann Greulich's letter mentioned above and'

e:xam· d

, Ine evelopments in t.he party over the past several

yeTrs to appreciate the utter fallacy of any such supposition. of ~e real choice is this: either the present concealed forms on ;h_uer-party struggle, with their demoralising effect

o nlasses, or open principled struggle between the



~nt~rnationalist revolutionary trend and the Griitli

inside and outside the party. '·1

An "inner struggle" in which Hermann Greulich tt ... '.+,. the '~ultra-radica.ls" or the "?otheads", .without namin~ the . n;~nsters an~ without precisely definmg their policy, 8.n~:

G:rtmm publishes articles i~ the Berner l'agwacht larded with hints a~d onlrcom1?rehenslble ~o one out of a hundred read .. ers, articles In WhICh he castigates those who see th· ., through "forei l' rngs

.orelgn spec. Lac es", or those "actually responsible"·.

fOf. the dla_ft resolutlOns. he finds so annoying-that kind r -: of. m~er. stlu§gle demoralises the masses, who see, or guess' that l.t ~s a quarrel among leaders" and do not understand :'. what It is really all about.

B~t .~ st.ruggle in which the Griitli trend within the party- ' and It IS muc.h more important and dangerous than outsida the partY-WI!] be forced openly to combat the Left h·'l·:

h th t d ·11 1 W 1 e ;.

o ren ~ S WI every~w~ere ~om? out with their own inde- .:' .

pendent .vIews and .policIes, will fight each othor on matters .,. of principle, allowing the mass of party comrades and not .. merely the~ "leaders", to settle fundamontal iss~es-such' a strug~le IS both necessary and useful, for it trains in the. mas~es Indepen~cnce and ability to carry out their epoch-.

making rovo 1 ut ionary mission. .

Written in German in December 191 B

FIrst published in 1931

1n Leni n Mi :;cellal1l1 XVII

Publish ed according to the manuscript Translated from the German.· .


? L.

59 ! : 2·


'The bourgeoisie and its supporters in the labour movement, the Griitlians, usually pose the question thus:

Either we recognise in principle our duty to de.fend the

fa therla [tel, or we lea ve our country defenceless.

T11aL present.ation is fundamentally wrong, This is how the question stands in reality:

Either we allow ourselves to be killed in the interests of the im perialist bourgeoisie, or we systomatically prepare the majori Ly of the exploited, and ourselves, for selzu~o--:-at the price of less sacrifice-of the banks and ex~roprlaLlon of the bourgeoisie in order to put an end to the high cost of

1 i v in g and '" a r .

* * *

The first present» tion of the question is thoroughly bourseoie not socia list. It disregards the fact that we are

t) ~ •

living in the imperialist era, that the present war IS

a n im perialist war, that in this war Switzer land will under no circumstances be ranged against imperialism, but on the side of one or the other im perialist coal it.ion, i. e. t "till in fact become an accomplice of one or another g[~OUP of the big robber powers, that the Swiss bourgeoisie has long been tied to imperialist interests by thousands of threads. It is of no concern whether this is implemented by a system of in t cr-rela t ionshi ps and "m utua l part ici pa t ion" of the ~ig banks through export of capital, or thro~gh. the t.Oll.flst tra dc, which thrives on the patronage of Ioreign mil lionnires, or through unscrupulous exploitation of disfranchised foreign workers, etc,





I~n ~hor.t'l all the fundamental tenets of soc ialism, all th s~cla IlS~ Idoa~, ?uve been forgotten. The predatory natur: 01 th,e, ~~ peria list war i.s being embellished. One '8 "own" l)~)~~g~olsle IS being depicted as an innocent lamb and the Cd se-ha rdened bank directors of present d· y S lt I d

. ~'l .. W'll- \) . - a \VI zer an .

lL.~ u.ro re I lam Tells and furthermore the t

b ." ,seere agree ...

ru or} ts ~t'vecr~ SWISS and foreign banks an d between Swiss .

and Ioreign d I pI OIDa t~ ar:e overlooked. And lhis incredible· hOl.cl,~potch o~, bourgeois lies is covered up by a fine-sound! .. a nd popular phrase moant to decei ve the people' "defen: . of the fatherland 1" ...

Written in German in December 1916-

First published tn Proxaa No. 174

August 1. 1929 '

Published according to the manuscript Translated trom the German

. 163



A German-language publication bearing the above title has been appearing in Switzerland since September 1, 1915 ..

I t carries the subtit.le: "Militant and Propaganda Organ of / t.he International League of Socialist Youth Organisations" ~ v Altogether six issues have appeared so far. The magazine merits our attention and should he strongly recommended to

all Party members in a position to contact foreign SocialDemocratic part ies and youth organisations.

Most of the official European Socia I-Dem ocratic parties are- advocating the foulest and vilest social-chauvinism and opportunism. This applies to the German and French parties, the Fabian Society and the Labour Party in England, the Swedish, Dutch (Troelstra's party), Danish, Austrian parties, etc. In the Swiss party, notwithstanding the withdra wal (to the great benefit of the labour movemenL) of the extreme opportunists, now organised in the non-party "Grlitl iVerein", thoro still remain within the Social-Dernocratic Party numerous opportunist, social-chauvinist and Kautskyite leaders who exercise tremendous influence on its af-

f airs.

With this state of affairs in Europe, there falls on the

League of Socialist Youth Organisations the tremendous, grateful but difficult task of fighting for revolutionary int.ernationalism, tor true socialism and against the prevailing opportunism ,.vhjf.h has deserted to tho side of the irnperial ist bourgcoisie.yrhc Youth International has puhlished

a number of good articles in defence of revolutionary inter- j nationalism, and the magazine as a whole is permeated with a fine spirit of intense hatred for the betrayers of



socialism, the "defenders of the fatherland" in the present J war, and with an earnest desire to wipe out the corroding influence of chauvinism and opportunism in the internat.ional l~hour movement.] \

, Of course, the youth organ stitl lacks theoretical clarity and consistency .. JPerhaps it may never acquire them, precisely because it is the organ of seething, turbulent, inquiring youth. Ho-wever, our attitude towards the lack of theoretical clarity on the part of such people must be entirely different from what our attitude is and should IJe towards the theoretical muddle in tho heads, and tho lack of revolutionary consistency in the hearts, of our "O.C,-isls", "SocialistRevolutionaries"," Tolstoyans, anarchists, the European Kautskyites ('~CentreH), etc, Adults who lay claim to lead and teach the proletariat, but actually mislead it, ,are one thing: against such people a ruthless struggle must be wazed. Organisations of youth, however, which openly declare that they are still learning, that their main task is [-,0 train party workers for the socialist parties, are quite another thing. Such poople must be given every assistance. We must he pat.ient with their faults and strive to correct them gradually, mainly by persuasion, and not by fighting them. The middleaged and the aged often do not know how to approach the youth, for the youth must of necessity advance to socialism in a different way t by other paths, in other jorms, in other circumstances than their fathers, Incidentally, that is why we must decidedly favour organisational independence of the Youth League, not only because the opport unists fear such independence, but beca use of tho very nature of the case. For unless they have complete independence, tho youth will be unable either to train good socialists from their midst or prepare themselves to lead socialism [onuard.

We stand for the complete independence of the Youth Leagues, hut also for complete freedom of comradely criticism of their errors! We must not flatter the youth ..

Of the errors to be noted in this excellent magazine, reference must first of all be made to the following three: f 1) The incorrect position on the question of disarmament (or "disarming"}, which we criticlsed in a preceding article. *

* See pp. 91.-'10-1 in this volume, -Ed.




There is reason to believe that th~s error arises enttrely out

I the laudable desire to emphas]se the nee~ t~ strive for

o h "complete destruction of militarism" (WhIC~ IS perfec~ly t. e I). but the role of civil wars in the socialist revolutIon corree lJ ,

is forgotten.. ~ li ts

2) On the question of t,he differences between SOCla IS

and anarchists in their attltude towards the stat,e, Comrade I\ota-Bene76 in his article (issue No, 6) falls mto, a very

. ( s he also does on several other questIons, for

serIOUS error a "d f f th f

instanee, our reasons for combating the o ence 0" e ,a-

therland" slogan), The author .;Vishes to p~esent a clear

icture of the state in general (together with that of the imperialist predatory state), He quotes sovera~ statements by Marx and Engels, and arrives at the followmg two con-

clusions, among others: . - b

a) "",It is absolutely wrong to seek the dlffer~nce etwe~n

socialists and anarchists in the fact that t~e fo:rner are I} favour of the state while the latter a~e agamst It, TllO ~ea difference is that revolutionary S~clal-Dernocra~y de,snes to organise social production on new lines, as centralised, 1: e" technically the most progressive, metho? of productIOn, ~here'as dec entralised, anarchist productIOn would mea, retrogression to obsolete techniques, to ~he old form, 0

t · e " Thi S is wrong The author raises the question

en arprrs " ., h' ts' tt it de

of the difference in the socialists and anar~ IS 8 ~ 1 U

l is the state. However, he answers not this questIOn, but

OW~~(,~ namely the difference in their attitude towards the

~~~Ilo~ic £ound;tion of future society, That, ?f course, IS an important and necessary question, But that IS n~ ;~ason t~ i nore the main point of difference between SOCIa ISt.S ~n

g hi t lin their attitude towards the state. SOCIa lists

a narc 1 S .S d . t . t · t

. f vour of utilising the present state an 1 ~ lUS ,1 u-

:~:n~n ~he struggle for the emancipation of the workmg cla.s~, ~aintaining also that the st~te ~hould be ~s~d for a ~pecdl~ form of transition from capItalism to soclalIsm. :rhlS tr~n sitional form is the dictatorship of the proletariat, which

is alga a sta to. "11 · t "

The anarc.hists want to "abolish' the stat?, . ) O\V 1 up

(sprengen) as Comrade ~ot~-nene express~s ,It lD on~ pl~ce: crronaously ascribing thlls VI8W to the soclalIsts, }he SOCla\ ists-uuforLunately Lhe author quotes Engels s relevan



words rather incompletely-hold that the state will "wither away", will gradually "fall asleep" ajter the bourgeoisie has been expropriated.

b) "Social-Democracy, which is, or at least should be t~e ~ducato~ ~f the masses. must now more than ever empba~ sise Its host il ity to the state in prlnciplo. ... The present war has shown how deeply the state idea has penetrated the souls of workers," writes Comra de Nata-Bene. In order to "em p~asi8en our "hosti li ty" to the state "in principle" we must In deed understa nd it "clearl y", and it is this clarity that our. author lacks. His remark about the "state idea" is en!,lrel.y muddled. It is un-Marx ist and un-socialist. The P?IO.t IS not that the "state Idea" has clashed with the repudiation o! the state, but tha t opportunist policy (i.e. i the - opportunist, rc~orlnist, bou.rgeois attitude towards the state) ~as clashed Wlt~ revolutl~nary Social-Democratic policy (i.e., the revol ut.ionary Soctal-Dem ocratlc attit ude towards the .. b.ourgeois state and towards utilising it against the hourg~oIsle to ?verthrow the bourgeoisie). These are entirely dlff~ront. things, We hope to return to this very important subject In a separate article.?7

3) The "declaration of principles of the International ~eague of ~ S OCiH List Youth Organisa t ions'', publ ishod in issue No. 6 as the "Seoretariat '8 draft", contains not a few inaccur~cies, and does not contain the main thing: a clear comparrson of the three fundamental trends (social-chauvin~sm, UCen!re~) and Left) now contending against each other In the SOCIa Iist movement of u ll coun tries.

We repeat, these errors must be refuted and explained At the same time we II] ust make every effort to find points of contact and closer relations with youth organisations and help them in every way, but we must find the proper manner of approach to them .

Published in Sbo-rntk So t8~al-J)emo1tl'a ta No.2, Deremher j9f 6 Sigu ed: N. Lenin

Published according to the Shu rnih text



'The Parts Nushe ~S loio, 78 recently su pprossed by ~h€f French Government to obI ige tsarism (the ex.cuse be_lng tha t copies of N ashe S loio were found on ~he ~ ussian soldiers who had mutinied in Marseilles!), was Jndlgnant ove.r ~he "lauientahle" role of Deputy Chkheidze .. With ~he pel~~lssl~n of the authorities, Chkheidzc addressed puhlic meet mas In t.he Caucasus. appealing to the population not to create "disorder" (aecom panied by looting of. shop.s, etc.), but t~ organise co-operative societies, etc. A nice tr_Ip for an alleged Soc ial-Democ['at to make "under the prol.ectiun of a govern-or, 11 colonel, a priest and a police captain" (Nashe SlOI;O

No~203)~ 1 ,_

L. Martov forthwith hastened to enter a nob e protestl

in the Bunrl's Bulletin aga inst "representing Chkhoi dze as a sort of [?? not "a sort of" 1 but "the same. sort as aJI ~ the liquidators"19j extinguisher of the aw~kenlllg revolutionary spirit". Martov's defence of Chkheldze proceeds along

t "'~ 0 lines: fact and pri ne i pie. ..

He cha llenges the fact by declarmg that N ashe S [ova

( uotes from a Caucasian Black-I-Iundred paper, and t.!tat. those ~ho spoke at the meeting with Chkheidze were ~1lko\adz?, a retired officer "known in his uyezd as a ra~lcal ~ubhc personality", and the priest Khundad~e, who "111 1.90;) was prosec uted for participating in the Socia l~~Democra t.le. ooo:e'" mont". ('''It is well known," ad~s l\Iarto.,v, that part~~lpatl01l of village priests in the Georglan Social-Deillocratlc move ..

mont is quite common. ") . .

Such is Mart.ov's "defence" of Chkheidzo. And it lS a very

feeble defence. Even if Chkheidze's appearance on the same platform with a priest was reported by a Black-Hundred


v. 1. LENIN

paper it does not refute the fact, and Mart.ov himsetf admits that the fact did OCCur~

That .Khunda~ze "was prosecuted in 1905" proves absolutely noLhll~g, for Gapon and Alexinsky were also "prosecuted" at that time. What party do Khundadze and Mikoladze be~ong to, or sympathise with, now? Are they dejencistsi That IS what Marlov ought to have ascertained if he were seeking tho tru~~ and ll?t d?ing a cheap lawyors job. In Our press, a ~an . known In hIS uyezd as a radical public personality" ordinarily moans sim ply a liberal landowner.

By shouting' that N ashe S loto has presented an "entirely false picturs", Madov wishes to conceal the truth which he

has not refuted one iota. t

But that i~ n.ot the main thing. We have only the blossoms, the fruit IS to come. Having failed to disprove Chkheidze's "lamentable" conduct by denying tho fact Martov

confirms it by his defence of the principle. '

?"It remains beyond doubt," says Martov, "that Comrade

L? of Potresov and Co,.? I Chkheidze found it necessary to speak out not only against the reactionary direction taken by . the Caucasian disorders insofar as it fell [? they fell? I under the, influence o~ the Black Hundreds, but also again~t tho~e of lLS destructIve, forms (looting of shops, violence against merchants) which, generally speaking, popular ?ISContent may assume even regardless of reactionary mfluences.': Not~ the words: "It remains beyond doubt"!

Martov SIngs hke a nightingale; V. Maklakov could do no ~etter: t~~ hel plessness, disunity , "consternation and even Ignorance of the masses ... "'revolts', of this kind is not the path that leads to the goal, and in the final analysis are harmful from the standpoint of proletarian interests .. .;' On the one ~and, "it would b~ a. b.ad revolutionary party ~hat turned Its back upon an lllciplent movement boca use It was accorn panied by spontaneous and inex pedient excssS?s." On, t~e other ha?d, "it would be a bad party that conSIdered I/; rts rovolutlonar·y duty to refrain from comba ting such, exc esses as inexpedient ac Hans". " . "Inasm uch as in Russia .. , an orga nised cam paign of struggle against the war has not yet b,egun [?), inasm uch as the scattered state ?f the ~lass-consc,ous elements of tho proletariat makes it im possible to com pare our present position, not only with



1904~05, but even with 1914-15 [? J, the popular u~r~st which flares up as a consequence of the high cost of lI~lng, etc., although a very important symptoln., cannot" [?] d~rectly ~?] become the so urce of that moveme n t for ~~lcll, we are .str 1 ving. The only way in which it may be 'utIII.sed expediently is by guiding the discontent that breaks ?ut Into the~channels of some kind of organised strugglet without which thero can be no question of the masses setting themselves re~olutionary aims .. For this reason, even [t~! 1. appeals t~ organl~o co-operative societ~es, to c.o~pol municipal councils to fix prices, and for similar pa lliativos based on the d~velopment of the initiative of the masses, are more revolutionary [~a I ha!] and more Iruitful than flirt.ing.. .... Frivolous speculation

is ' positively criminal'," etc. .

It is difficult to keep calm when reading outrageous speeches like these. Even the Bundi~t edi.tors appear to have realised that Martov was behaving dishones~ly, .and added an ambiguous promise to "return to the subject In a

f . H

uture Issue ~,,~ ..

The question is as clear as clear can be. Let us a~sume that Chkheidze had to deal with a .. form of .. un;est which he considered inexpedient. Ohviously It was hIS right and duty as a revolutionary to comba t the inexpedient ~ form-fo~ the sake of what? For the sake of expedient reoolutionaru actions? Or for the sake of an expedient liberal struggle?

That is the whole point! And this is what Martov muddles

up ! . + 1 ti

Mr. Chkheidze was "guiding" the rising revo U ionary

"mass discontent" "into the channel" of a liberal struggle (only peaceful co-oper~tive .societies, only legal pressur~ on the municipal councils, WIth the approval of ~he Govern or, etc.), and not into the channel of an e~pedlont revolutionary struggle .. This is the crux of~ the quest~oll; hut Martov goes on spouting in def~nce of a liberal pol icy. . "It .

A revolutionary SOCIal-Democrat would say ~ lS

inexpedient to loot s~all .shops. Let us orgaIl1~e a mor~ impressive demonstration, SImultaneously, say, WIth the Ba ku Tiflis and Pctrograd workers. Let us direct our hatred ag~inst the government; let us win over the p,art of t~e?army that wants peace. Is this what Mr. Chkhold.ze saidi No. He called for a UsLruggle~~ acceptable to the liberals)



Martov signed a "platform' recommending "revolutionary mass actions"so-one has to show oneself a revolutionary bef?re the workers!- but when the first symptoms of such actions appear in Russia, he begins, by fair means or foul

to defend the "Leff'-libernl Chkheidze, ,

"In Russia an organised campaign of struggle against the war has not yet begun ..... " J n the first place, this is not true, I t h(~s begun~ at any rate, in Petrograd, with manifestos, meetln?S, strikes, demonstrations .. Secondly, if it has not begun In some o~ther parts of t~e country, it, must be begun. But Martov claims that the liberal campaign "begun' by Mr. Chkheidze is "more revolutionary".

. What is this, if not whitewashing abominable opportun .. Ism?

Pub 1 Ished in Sbornik 80 t.siul-Dem,okra in NOA 2, December t 916 Signed: N. Lenin

Published according to the Sbo-rnik text



I = 2- -

= : e'

. -.....-_.._ _._ ...... _ __...._... .............. ~ I."


We have maintained all along that Messrs, Chkheidze and Co. do not represent the Social-Democratic proletariat and that a genuine Social-Democratic Labour Party will never be reconciled or united with this faction. Our conten ... t ion was based on the following incontrovert ible facts; (1) Chkheidze's "save the country" formula docs not in substance differ from defcncism; (2) the Chkheidze faction has never opposed Mr. Potresov and Co., not even when Martov did; (:1) the decisive fact~ the faction has never opposed participation in the war industries committees.

Nobody has attempt.ed to deny these facts. Chkheidze's

.adherents simply evade thorn.

TIte pressure of facts has increasingly co~pel~ed N. a.,:~ l.~"T [ova and Trotsky, who reproach us for our fact IQnU lism .. to take up the struggle against the O.C. and Chkhcidze. The trouble, however, is that it was only "under pressure" (of our crit icism and the criticism of tho facts) tha t the N ashe Slovo supporters retreated from position to posiLion; b~t. they have not yet said t.he decisive wOf.dw Uni!.y or a split with the Chkheidze faction? They are still afraid to dec ide!

No. 1 of the Bulletin of the Bund Committee Abroad (September 1916) contains a letter from Petrograd dated February 26., 1916. It is a valuable document and fully con ... firms our view. Its author declares unequivocally that thoro is "a definito crisis in the l\lenshevik camp itself", and what is particularly characteristic, he says nothing about t.he Mensheiiks opposed to partici pation in the war _i ndustr~es committees! He has not seen or heard of them In Hussla l

Three out of the five members of the Chkheidzc faction, he writes, are opposed to the "dcfencist position" (like the o. C.) and tuio are in [auour 0/ it.


v. 1. LENIN

:,rrhose wh.o ~erv~ the fac tion," he writes, "are unable to ~~l~t. th,o maJont~a!rom the position it has taken, The local inttia LIng group , which rejects the defencist positi

comes to tho aid of the faction majority." · IOn,

Those who serve the fac Lion are liberal in tellect uals of tho type of Potresov, Maslov, Orthodox" and COA, who call th?InSelves Social-Democrats. Our repeated assertions that t his .group of intellectuals is a "hotbed" of opportunism and of ll~eral-labour politics have now been confirmed by a

Bundist, ~

He ;rrites further: "Life land not Purishkevich and Guchkov. J h~s hr.ought to the fore.". a new organ, the workers: group, WhICh IS more and more becoming the centre of the labour movement. [The writer means tho Guchkov or t use .an older term, the Stolypin labour movement: 'he 'rec~ ogrusos no other l ] A compromise toas reached in the' elections to ~he workers' group: not defence and self-defence, but salvat~o,! vt the countru, by which something broader was implied."

. This 18 h?W a Bundist exposes Chkheidze and Martovs lies about. him l A t the election of the Guchkov gang (Gvozdyov, Breido, stc.) to the war ind ustrics comm i ttees, Chkheidze and the. O. C. entered into a compromise. The Chkheidze formula IS: a compromise with the Potresovs and the G 0 _

dyovsf v Z

Martov concealed and is now concealing this.

.The compromise did not end there. The policy statement Was a.lso drawn up on the basis of a compromise which the

B~,ndlsl ?haracterises in this way: '

pefinlte~es~ disappeared." "I'ho representatives of tho faC~l~n majority and of the 'initiating group" were dissatisfied ~ecause, after all, the statement is a big step towards

formulation of a dofencist position. ~.. In· th

. · h essence, . ,e

comp.rom_l,se is t e position of German Social-Democracy in

appllcat ion to Russia." '

So writes a Bundist.

Clear enough, .it would seem? There is a party, that of the .O~C~., Ch~heldze and Potresov. Within it there are two co.ntendlng \VII~.gS; .. they come to an agreement, they compromls~ and .remaln l~ .one .par~y. rrhe compromise is concluded on the Lasis ~f partIc~lpatlon In the war industries commi ttees. The only point of disagreement is how to Icrrn ula te the "mo-



tives~~ (L e., how to dupe tho workers). As a result of the compromise we ha ve, "in essence, the position of German SocialDemocracy" ..

Wall. were we not right when we said that the O.C. party

'NUS socia l-cha uvinist, that 1 as a party; the O.C. and Chkheidze were the same as the Siidekums in Germany?

Even a Bundist is compelled to admit their identity with

the 8iidekumsI

Neither Chkbeidze and Co., nor the O.C" have ever ex-

pressed opposition to the compromise, although they are

"dissatisfied' with it.

That was the position in February 1916" In April 1916,

Martov appeared in KienLhal with a mandate from the "ini .... tiatlng group" to represent the whole O.C., the O.C. in general.

J s this not deceiving the International?

And see what we have now] Potrosov, Maslov and Orthodox establish their own organ, D yelo, 83 which is openly defencist; they invite Plekhanov to contribute; they enlist Messrs .. Dmitriov, Cherevanin, Mayevsky, G. Petrovich, etc., the whole crowd of intellectuals who were formerly the mainstay of liquidationism .. What I said on behalf of the Bolsheviks in May 1910 (Diskussionny Listok84) about the final consolidation of the independent-legalists' group* has been fully


Dyelo takes up a brazenly chauvinist and reformist

position" See 110W Mme. Orthodox falsi fies Marx and by misquoting him makes him appear to be an ally of Hindenburg (all on "philosophical" grounds, mind you!), how Mr. MasIov (especially in Duelo No.2) champions reformism all along the l ine, how Mr. Potresov accuses Axelrod and Martov of "max imal ism' and anarcho-syndiculism, how the magazine generally tries to palm off advocacy of defence as the cause of "democracy" while modestly evading the unpleasant question as to whether or not this reaclionary war is being waged by tsarism for a predatory purpose, for throttling

Galicia, Armenia, etc.

The Chkheidze faction and the O.C. are silent. Skobelev

send s greet ings to tb e ~'L iobknechts of a II coun rries''. Tile real Liebknecht has rut.hlessly exposed and condemned

* See presen t edi tion 1 \r 01. 16, pp. 238-51. ~ E d,



his Own Scheidemanns and Kautskyites, whereas Skobelev remains in permanent harmony and friendship with the Russian Scheidemanns (Potresov and Co., Chkhenkeli, el al.) and with the Hussian Ka utskyites (Axelrod et al.)

On behalf of himself and of his friends abroad, Martov announces in Galossi No. 2 (Samara, September 20, 1916) a refusal to contribute to Dyelo, but at the same time he whitewashes Chkhcidze; at the same time (/ zuestia No. 6t September 12, 1916) he asserts that he has parted with Trotsky and N ashe S loio heca use of the "Trotsky" idea of repudiating the bourgeois revolution in Russia. But everybody knows that this is a lie, that Martov loft N ashe 1_{} louo because the latter could not tolerate Martov's iohiteuiashing of the ()"C .. ! In the same Izvestia" Martov defends his decoption of the German public, which even roused the indignation of Roland-llo1st. He published a pamphlet in Gorman from which he omitted the very part of the Petrograd and l\iosco"r Mensheviks' policy statement in which they announced their willingness to participate in the war industries committees 18S

Recall the controversy between Trotsky and Martov in Nashe Sloto prior to the latter's resignation from the Editorial Board. Martov reproached Trotsky for not having made up his mind whether or not he would follow Kautsky at the decisive moment. Trotsky retorted that Martov was playing the part of a "bait", a "decoy", trying to entice the revolutionary workers into the opportunist and chauvinist party of the Potresovs, then the O .. C., etc.

Both sides repeated our arguments. And both were right .. However much the truth about Chkheidze and Co" may be concealed, it will come to light. Chkhcidze's role is to compromise with the Potresovs, to camouflage opportunist and chauvinist politics by vague or ncar-T.cft' phrases. And Martov's role is to whitewash Chkheidze.

PuhlIshed in Soorn: k Roistnl-nemokrata No.2, December 1916 Si.ined: Jr.rl. Lenin

Published according to the Sbornih text


First puhllshed In t 924. in Lenm MiBct-'[l{lnll 11 Signed: N. L.


pub1tshed :1ccftrding to tile uianuscrt pt



==~- .. -~-.-, ...

,,--_. ----


There are symptoms that such a turn has taken place, or is about to take place, namely. a turn from im peria list war to imperialist peace.

The following are the outstanding symptoms: hoth im-

perialist coali tions are undoubtedly severely exha usted: cont inuing the war has become difficult; the capi talists generally', and finance capital in partie ula r. find it difficult to skin the people substantially more than they have done a] ready in the form of outrageous "war" profits; finance capital in the neutral countries, the United States, Holland, Switzerland, etc., which has made enormous profi ts out of the war, is sa t iated; the shortage of raw rna teria 18 and 'Iond supplies makes it difficult for it to continue this "pro Iita hle' business; Germany is making sl.ron uous efforts to induce .one or another ally of England, her principal im perialist rival, to desert her; the Gorman Govel~nment has made pacifist pronouncements, followed by similar pronouncerncn ts by a number of neutral governrrlcnts.

Are there any chances for a speedy end to the war ?

I t is very hard to give a posi live reply to this question.

In our opinion, two.possibilities present themselves rather

definitely ~

Eirst, conel usion of a sepa fa te pea ce between Germa ny

and Russia, though perhaps not in the usua 1 Iorrn of a formal written treaty. Second, no such peace w il l he concluded; England and her allies arc still in a posit.ion to hold out for another year or t.\VO, etc. If Lhe first assurnpt.ion is correct the war ,v11I come to an end, if not lmmed ia t.el y, then in the very near future, and no im pnrta n l changes in its course can be expected. If the second nssumption is correct, t hen the war may cout in ue inde Iinit ely.

12-14ti 1



Let us exam ine the first possibil i Ly.

That negotiations for a separate peace between Germany and n ussia were conducted quite recently, that Nicholas 1\ himself, or the top Court. clique, favour such a peace, that a turn has taken place in worl d politics from a Russo-British imperialist alliance against Germany Lo a no loss imperialist. R usso-German alliance aga inst England-a II that is beyond doubt.

The replacement of S tiirmer hy Trepov , the tsarist government's public declaration that Russia '8 "right" to Constan t inoplo has been recognised by all the Allies, an d the setting up by Germany of a separate Polish statn-vthese seem to indicate that the separate peace negoliations have ended in failure. Perhaps tsarism entered into then} solely to blackmail England, obtain formal and unambiguous recognition of Nicholas the Bloody's "right" to Constantinople and certain "weighty" guarantees of that right?

There is nothing improbable in that assumption, considering that the main, fundamental purpose of the present imperialist war is the division of the spoils among the three principal imperialist rivals, the three robbers, Russia, Germany and England.

On the other han d, the clearer it becomes to tsarism tha t. ~- here is no practica J, [nil itary possi biliLy of rega ining L'olu nd , winning Constantinople, breaking Germany's iron front, which she is magnificently straightening out, shortening and strengthening by her recent victories in R umania, the more tsar-ism is finding itself compelled to conelude a separate peace with Germany, that is, to a bandon its irn perialist alliance with England against Germany for an imperialist alliance with Germany against England. And why not? Was not Russia on the verge of war with England as a rosul t of their im perialist ri va h-y over the division of the spoils in Central Asia? And did not England and Germany negot iate in 1898 for an alliance against Russia? They secretly agreed then to divide up the Portuguese colonies "in the event" of Portugal failing t.o meet her financial o hl iga lions!

The growing trend among leading irn perialist circles in (_;- P r In a 11 y t 0 \V a r d s a n a II ian c C w it h R ussia aga inst Eng I and was a lread y clearly defined several months ago. Tho basis of





til is a ll iance, apparent! y, is to he the partilian of Galicia (H. is very important for tsar~s~ to .strangle the ce~ltre of L;krainian agi tat.ion and Ukra inian liberty}, Armenta and

pr: rhaps R umaniat In fact there was a "hint" in a Germ.an newspaper tha t Rumania rn igh t be di vidod among 1\ list.fla, Bulgaria and R ussia! Germany could agree .to other ~lnor concessions to tsarism if only she could achieve an a ll ianco with n ussia , and perhaps also with Japan, against England.

A separate peace between Nicholas IT and Wilhelm 11 could ha ve been concluded secretly. There have boon instances in diplomatic history of treaties known only to two or three persons and kept secret from everyon~ else, even Cabinet Ministers. Diplomatic history knows instances of tho "Great Powers' galhering at "European" congresses after the principal rivals had secretly decided the main questions among t hcmsel ves (for exam ple, the secret agreemenl between Russia and England to pI under Turkey, prior 1 n the Berlin Congress of 1878). It would not he a L all surprising if tsarism rejected a formal separate peace between the government.s for the reason, among others, that the present situation in Russia [night result in Milyukov and Guchkov, or Mi1yukov and Keronsky, taking over the governmont v .. ,r}li lo at the same t i mo, it rna y have concluded a secret, 'informal, but none the less "durable" treaty with Gor-many to the effect t.hn L the two "high contracting part.ies'' undertake jointly to pursue such-and-such a POlICY at the

forthcoming peace congress! . ~ ~

It is impossihle to say whul.her or not ~lllS assumption is correct. At. any rate, it is a thousand tunes nearer tho truth, is a far better desc'~iplion of things as they actually are than are the pious phrases about peace between the present governments, or between any bourgeois governrnents for r hat rna tt.er t on the bn sis of no annexa t.ions, etc. These phrases either express innocent desires or are hypocrisy and 1 ios meant to conceal the truth .. And the truth of the present tirne, of the present wa r t of the present attorn p ls to conclude peace, is the division of the im.perialist spoils. That is at the botton} of it all; and to undorstund this truth, to express it, "to show things as thov ac t ually are", is the fundam ental I.ask of social ist policy as d ist inct from hourgeois policy, the priIle! pu I a im of wh ich it; to conceal, to gloss over this tru tho



\' + 1. LENIN

.. _ ... ---............

Doth imperialist coa~itioIlS have grabhed a certain amount of loot, and the two principal and most powerful of the robbers, Germany {~nd England, have grabbed most. England has not. lost an Inch of her territory or of her colonies· but she has "ac~uire~" the German colonies and part of T~rkey (~lesopotanlla!. tf~rmany has lost nearly all her colonies, .. ~ut has acq~lred I.Inmeasurably more valuable terri lory in Europe, haVIJl~. sClz~d Belgiruln, Serbia, Rumania, part" of ~rancc, part of Hussia, etc. I'he fight now is over the division of ~,he loot, and the "chicf'ta in" of each of the robber gangs, L~O~, England an? GerJnany,. must to some degree reward hIS allies, who, with tho exception of Bulgaria and to a lesse~ extent Italy, have lost a great deal. The weakest o~ the allle.s have lost. rnost: in the English coalitiou, Bel?IUrn, Serbia, Montenegro and Rumania have been crushed:

In the Germar~ coalition, Turkey has lost Armenia and part of Mesopotarn ia.

So far Gerlnany has secured undoubtedly far more loot than England. So far Gcrrnany has won: she has proved to be Ia r stronger than anyone antic ipated hefore the w r Naturally, therefore, it would be to Germany's advantugo at~ cO.lleJude peace ~s speedily as possible, for her rival might st~ll he able, given the most favourable opportunity conceivahlc (althou~h not very probably), to mobilise a larger reserve of recrut ts, etc.

. Su~h is the objective situation. Such is the present positlOI_l In t.he str'ugg le for the division of the im poria list loot. It :s. qUIte. r~atural that t.his sit uation sllould give rise to paci fist strl VIf.lgS, declurat.ions and pronouncements, rna inl y on the pa~t. of the bourgeoisie and governments of the Cerm an coalit ion and of the neutral countries. 1 t is equ, II natur'~l, tha~ t~e bO,ur,geoisie and i~s governments are~ompe:le~ to ex.eI~ e, my _eitOl t to hoo,dwlll~ t~he peopl El, to cover up the hi dcous nakedness of an im JH~r]a list peacc v the division o~ t~e loot- by p}~rases, 11 tterly false phrases a bout a democ~ at ic peace, the ]1 herty of SHIH 11 na lions, arrnumunts reduction, etc.

But .\vhi 1 e it is IJn l.ura l for the bourgeoisle to try to hoo,dwlnk ') the ppopl-e, how. are the soc!a Iists fulfilling 'their duty ~ This we sha 11 deal with in the next artic Ie (or chapter).



ART 1 C L E (0 R C HAP T E R) II


Kautsky is the most authorit.ative theoretician of the Second 1 nternul.ional . the most prominent leader of the 80- ea llod "Mar x ist centre" in Germany, the representali ve of t he opposition which organised a separate group in the Reichstag, t.he Social-Democratic Labour Group (Haase, Lcdebour nn-d others). A number of Social-Dcrnocrat.ic newspapers in (iernlany arc now publishing arLicles by Kautsky on the 1 erms of peace, which paraphrase the of ficial Social-Democratic Labour Group declaration on the German Governments well-known note proposing peace negotiations. The declaration, which calls on the German Government to propose definite terms of peace, conta ins the following char-

acteristic staLement:

~'H .In order that Lhis [German Government 1 note may

lead to peace, all countries must unequivocally renounce all thought of annexing foreign territory, of the political, economic or military subjection of any people whatsoever ..... "

_ In paraphrasing and concretising this, Kautsky set out to "proven in his lengthy art icles that Constant inople must not go to Rnssia and that Turkey must not be [nude a vassal

~tate to anyone .

Let US take a closer look at these political slogans and

arguments of Kautsky and his associates.

In a matter that affects Russia, i. e . ., Germany's impe ...

ria list rival. Kautsky advances, not" abstract or "general" demands. but a very concrete, precise and definite demand:

Constantinople must not go to Russia. He thereby expo,w~,q the real imperialist designs ... of Russia. In a matter that affects Germany, howover, Le., the country where the majority of the party, which regards Kautsky as its member (and appointed hill) editor of its principal, lea ding theoretical organ, Die Neue Zeit), is helping the bourgeoisie and the government lo conduct an imperialist war, Kautsky does ·not expose the concrete imperialist designs of his own government, but eon fines himsel f to a "genera 1" desideratum or proposition: Turkey must not be made a vassal state to

anyone! !

v to I. LENIr-.;

How, i~l .substanco, does Kuutskys pol icy differ from that o~ t~e n:llltant, so to speak, socia l-cha uvin ists (i. e., socialists ~n wo;ds l:ut chauvinists in deeds) of ~rance and England! While frankly ex posing' the concrete im perialist net.ions of Germany, they mako shift with "general" desider~ ta or proposi t ions \V hen it is a rna Ltul' of countries or natloIl.s conquered ~Y England and Russin. They shout about t.h? seizure of. Bclgi UOl and Serbia, but arc si 1 ent about the seizure of Ga lic ia , Armenia. the African colonies.

A.ctually, both the policy of Kautsky and that of Scm bat and IIon~erson hel~ their respective imperialist governments by focus I ng attention on the wickedness of their ri val and enemy, ~vhile thr~wing a veil of vague, general phrases and sentimental wishes around the equally imperialist con?uct of "their own" bourgeoisie. We would cease to be Marxists, we would cease to be socialists in general, if we cun Iined our~el ~es to the ~hristian, so to speak, contem plat-ion of the benignity of ben 19n generaI phrases and refra inetl from exposing th~ir real political significance. Do we not const.antly see the . dlplo~acy of" all tho im perin Jist powers fla unt ing magnammous general phrases and "demoora tic" dec lara t.ions in order to conceal their robbery, viola tion H JI d strangula- , tion of small na tions?

"Turkey must not be made a vassal state to anyone. ... '~ If J say no more than that, the Impression is that 1 favour Turkoys complete freedom. As a matter of fact, I am rnerely repeu ting a phrase usually uttered hy German diplomats who are deliberately lying and~ deceiving. and employ thn t phrase to conceal the [act that Germany has already converted Turkey into her financial and mil itary vassa I! A nd if I HID a German socialist, 01 y "~eneral'~ phrases can only he to the ~lll'antage of German diplomacy, for their real significance IS ,~ha t, they p.ut German im peria Iism in a gOO(] Light.

All coun t.r ies must renounce all thought of annexations. q of the economic subjection of any people whatsoever .. ~." What ., magnanimity! A tho~,sand times the imperialists have renounced all thought of annexations and of the financial strangulation of weak nations. But should we not com pare these ren unciations with the facts, which show t.ha t any 0 n ~ 0 f t. ~ o big ba n k S 0 f C;e r In any ~ Eng 1 and, I.;' ran c e and the Un iter] SLutes does hold sma 1.1 na tions "in subjection=]




---_ ....

Can the present bourgeois goverument of a \\i't;alt.hy .country really renounce annexations and the econOlll1C snbJugaLlon of alien peoples when millions and mi ll ions have heen invested in the ra ilways an d other en terprlses of weak


Who is really fighting annexations, etc .. ? Those who bandy

magnanimous phrases, which, objectively, h~ve the sa~e significance as the Christian holy water sprlJlkle~ on tho crowned and capitalist robbers? Or those who cxpla.lIl to the workers the impossibility of eliminating. annexat.lons ~nd financial strangulation without overthrowing the imperial-

ist bourgeoisie and its governments? .

Hero is an I talian ill ustra Lion of the kind of pacifism

Kautsky preaches. ... ·

Avanti!, the Central Organ of the SO~lallst Party of

Italy, of December 25, 1916, contains an art.icle by the wel,~known. reformist, Filippo Turat i, entitl~d. '''Abracadabra · On November 22, 1916, he writes, the socIalIst group tabled a peace resolution in the I talian Parliament. It d~clared that "the principles proclaimed by the representa~Jv~s of England and Germany were identical, and ,!hcse ~fl!lClples should be made the basis of a possible peace; and It invited

. "the government to start peace negotiations through. t~,e mediation of the United States and other neutral couutr ies · This is Turati' s own account of the soeialist proposal.. .

On Decemlier 6, 1916, tho Cham her "buries" the soclal1;t

resolution by "adjourn ing" the debate on it. ~n December 12, the German Chancellor proposes in the Relchstag the v~~y thing the I talian socia lists proposed. On Decemh~r ,,2:.!, Wilson issues his Note which, in the words of Turat i, paraphrases and repeats the ideas and arguments of th~ socialist proposal". On December 23, .othe~ neTulL'al count.nes come on the scene and paraphrase WIlson s Note.

We are ace used of ha ving sold ourselves to the G~rma us, exc la ims Tura ti. I-In ve Wilson and the neutra 1 countrIes also

sold thernselves to GerJoany? ".

On December 17, Turat i delivered a speech In Parllalnent,-

one passage of whichcaused all unusual and deser~ed sens~-. tion, rrhis is the passage, quoted from t.~e :eport in A »anill:

"Let us aSSUTne tha t a disc ussion similar to the one proposed by Germany is able, in the main, to settle such



questions as tho evacua lion of Belgium and France the rest: ora lion of R u~a,Ilia, Serbia and, if you will, Monten~gro; I wi ll ,a d,d t~le rectIfICation of the I talian frontiers in regard to what IS lnd!sputably Italian and corresponds to guarantees of a st,['a,teglcal character" .... At this point the bourgeois and chauvinist Chamber interrupts 'I'urati, and from all sides the sh?ut goes up: "Excellen t! So you too wa n t all this! Long [Ive Turati1 Long live rTtJ[~ati P' ...

Apparently, ,Turn t i - re,a Iised that there was something w.rong about this bo urgeois enthusiasm and t.I~ied to "correct" him se I fan d "ex pla in" .

, "0-entlemon," he said, "there is no occasion for irrelevant Jest:ng, It i~ one thing to admit the relevance and right of na ~Ional um ty" which we ha ve always recog nisad, but it is quite another thing to provoke, or justify, war for this

alm~" .

But neither Tura ti' s Hex plana t ion", nor the articles ill A cantil in ,his defence, nor Tura t.i's letter of Decemlle!' 21, nor the art.io le by a certain ~~B.B~" in the Zurich Volk.srecht can "correct" or explain away the fact that Turaii gave himself away! .. , Or, more correct, not Turati, but the whole of socia list pacifism represented by Kautsky, and, as we shall see bQlo,w, the Fr~nch "Kautskyites", ga ve itself away. Th~ Italian hO,urgeols press ,was right in seizing upon and exultmg over t.his passage m Tura ti' s speech.

Tl~e above-mentioned "B. B," tried to defend Tura ti hy argUIng that tho latter referred only to "tho right of nations to so1f-determi na tion",

, Poor defence! What has this to do with "the right of nations .to self-deterlnination~', which, as everyone knows, the J\fa:Xlst programma regards-and the programme of international democracy has always regarded-as reforring to Che defonce of oppressed nations? What has it to do with the im poria list war, i.e., a war for the division of colonies, a war for the oppression, of foreign countries, a war among predatory and oppressing powers to decide which of them shall oppress more fore [gn na tions?

How does this argurnont about se1f-determination of natIons, used to justify an imperialist not national war differ from the speeches of Alexinsky, iferv6 and Hyndman? They argue that republican France is opposed to monurchist



Germany, though everyone knows that this \va~ is n~t d"ue to the conflict between republican and monarchist principles, but is a war between two imperialist coalitions for the di vision of colonies, etc.

Turati oxpln ined and ploaded that he does not "[ustify"

the waf. ...,

We wil] take the reformist, Knutskyite Turati s wor d

for if that he did not intend to justify the war .. But who does not know that in politics it is not intentions that count" but deeds, not good intentions, but facts, not the imaginary, but

Lhe real? . .

Let us assume that Turati did not want to [uslify tho

war and that Kautsky did not want to justify Gormany's p1acing Turkey in the position of a vassal to Germ~n imp~rialism. But the fact remains that these two benign pactfists did justify the war! rrhat is the point. I-Ia~ KauLsky declared that "Constantinople must not go to R ussia, Turkey

n. 6

must not be rna de a vassal st.ate to anyone not m a magazine

which is so dull that nobody reads it, but in parliament, hefore a l i vcly, impressionable bourgeois audience,. ~ulI of southern temperament, it would not have he~n surprising if tho witt.y bourgeois had exclaimed: "Excellent 1 Hear,

hear f Long live Ka utsky l" .

Whether he intended to or not, deliberately or not, the fae t is tha t Turat i expressed the point of view of a bourgeois broker proposing a friondly deal between i~peria list ro?bers. The "liberation" of Italian areas belonging to Austria would, in fact, be a concealed reward to the ItaliaT~ hou~~gooislo for participating in the imperial ist War of a gl~ant.lc imporial ist coalition. It woul d be a small sop thrown m, In addition to the share of the African colonies and spheres of influence in Dalmatia and Albania. It is natural, perhaps, for the reformist Turat.i to adopt the bourgeois standpoint; but Kautsky really differs In no way from Turat i.

In ordor not to embellish the imperialist war and help the bourgeoisie fa lsely represent it as a na tional ~var,. a~ a war for the liberation of nations, in order to aVOId sl id ing into the position of bourgeois reformisI~ ~ one ~m ust speak not in the language of Kautsky and Turat i. but In the language of Karl Liebknecht: tell one'» own bourgeoisie that they are hypocrites when they talk about national liberation, that


V. r. LENI:\'


this war cannot result in a democratic peace unless the pro~ letariat "turns its guns" against its own governments"

Tha t is the only possible posi tion of a genuine Marxist -. of a genuine socialist and not a bourgeois reformist. Tho~·: who repeat the general, meaningless" non-committal, goody .. '. goody desires of pacifism are not really working for a demo •.. cratic peace. Only he is working for such a peace who exposes .. the imperialist nature of the present war and of the impe-. ria list peace that is being prepared and calls upon the peoples to rise in revolt against the cr imi na 1 governments.

At times some try to defend Kautsky and Turati by arguing that, legally, they could no more than "hint" at their' opposition to the government, and that the pacifists of this str ipo do rna ke such "hints", The answer to that is, first, tha t tho im possi bility of legally speaking the truth is an argument not in fa YOUr of conceal ing tho truth ~ but in favour of setting up an illegal organisation and press that would be free of police surveillance and censorship .. Second, that moments occur in history when a socialist is called upon to break with all legality .. Third, that even in the days of serfdom in Russia, Dobrolyubov and Chernyshevsky mauaged to speak the truth, for example, by their silence on the Manifesto of February 19, 1861, s s and their ridicule and castigation of the liberals, who made exactly the same kind of speeches as Turati and Kautsky ..

In the next article we shall deal with French pacifism, wh ich found expression in the resol utions passed by tho two recen tly held congresses of Frenc h la bour and social ist organisa Lions.



The congresses of the French General Confederation of

} La hour (Confederation geIH~rale du Travail}" and of the French Soc ia list Party " ha ve just been hel d. The true sizni fica nce and true role of socialist pacifism at the present moment were quite definitely revealed at these congresses ..

This is t.he rosol ut.i on passed unanimously a t. the tra de un ion congress. The ma jor i Ly of the arden L eha u v i nisl.s headed by




l he notorious J ouha ux , tho anarchist Broutchoux and .... t he "Zimmerwaldist" Merrhoim all voted for it:

"This Conference of National Corporative Federations, trade unions and labour axchauges, having taken cognisance of the Note of the President of the U niled States which ~ i Jl vites all nations now at war with. each other to puhlicly expound their views as to the terms upon which the war might

he brought to an end'-

"req uests the French Government to agree to this proposal:

"invites the government to take the initiative in making a similar proposal to its allies in order to speed the hour

of peace;

"declares that the federation of nations, which is one

of the guarantees of a final peace. can be secured only given the independence, terri Loria 1 in viola bility and po 1 itical and econorn ic liberty of all nations, big and small.

"The organisations represented at this conference pledge themselves to support and spread this idea among tho masses of the workers in order to put an end to the present indefinite and ambiguous situation, which can only benefit secret diplomacy, against which the working class has always

protested. "

There you have a sample of "pure" pacifism, entirely in

the sp·iriL of Kautsky, a pacifism approved by an official labour organisat.ion which has nothing in comrnon with Marxism and is composed chiefly of chauvinists. We have before us an outst.anding document, deserving the most. serious a u.ention, of the polit ica I unity of the chauvinists a nd the "Ka utsky ites" on apia t.Iorm of hull O\V paci fist phrases .. I n the preceding art.iclc we tried to expla in the theoret ical basis of the unity of ideas of t.he cha uvi nists and the paci fists, of the bourgeois and the socialist refonnists. Now we see this unity achieved in practice in a not.her imperialist country.

At the Zimmerwald Conference, September 5-8, 1915, Merrheirn declared: "Le pet rt i, les J ouha ux , le gou vernement, ce ne sont que trois tetos sous un bonnet" C'The party, the J ouhaux . and the government are three heads under one bonnet", i.e., they are a l l one), At. the C.(__;.1"1. COJlfHrence, on December 26, -J gl fl, Morrheim voted together ioith. J ou!UllJ,X for a pac i fist resol u t. ion. On Decem ber 23, 1916, one uf the fra nkest and most ex trerne orga ns of the German social ....

.. _-------------------


v. I, llENIN

------------------------------------------------- .

imperialists, the Chemnitz Volksstimme, published a leading .. : article entitled "The Disintegration of the Bourgeois Parties : and the Restora lion of Social-Democratic Unity". Needless to say, it praises peace-loving Siidokum, Legien, Scheidemann and Co., the whole German Soc ial-Dcmocrat ic Party majority and, also, the peace-loving German Government. It proclaims: "The first party congress convened after the war must restore party unity, with the exception of the few fanatics who refuse to pay party dues [i.e .. , the adherents of Karl Liebknecht 11; ... Party unity based on the policy of tho Party Executive, the Soc ial-Domocratic Rcichstag group and the trade unions."

This is a supremely clear expression of tho idea, and a su- .. premely clear proclamation of the policy of "unity" between the avowed German social-chauvinists on tho one hand and Kautsky and Co. and the Social-Democratic Labour Group on the other- unity on the basis of pacifist phrases=- "unity" as achieved in France on December 20" 1916t between

J ouhaux and Merrheim!

The Central Organ of the Socialist Party of I taly, A »aniil , writes in a leading article in its issue of December 28, 1916:

"Although Bissolati and Sudekum , Bonomi and Scheidemann, Semhat and David, J ouhaux and Legien havo deserted to the camp of bourgeois nat iona lism and ha ve betrayed [hanno iradito i internationalist ideological unity, which they promised to serve Iaithfully and loyally, we shall stay together with our German comrades, men like Liehknecht, Ledebour, Hoffmann, Meyer, and with our French comrades, men like Merrheim , Blanc, Brizon, RaffinDugens, who have not changed and have not vacillated."

Note the confusion expressed in that statement:

Bissolati and Bonorni were expelled from the Socialist Party of Italy as rcform ists and chauvinists before the War. A »antil puts them on the same level as Siidekum, and Legion, and quite rightly, of course. But Siidekurn, David and Legien are at the head of the alleged Social-Democratic Party of Germany, which, in fact, is a social-chauvinist party, and yet this very A cantil is opposed to their expulsion, opposed to a rupture with thern , and opposed to the formation of a Third Internationa 1. A »antil quite correc tly describes Legien and J ouha ux as deserters to the cam p of




hourgeois nationalism and contrasts their conduct with that of Liebknecht , Ledcbour, Merrheim and Brizon. But we hu.ve ~een that Merrheim votes on the same side as J ouhaux, while i.;pgien, in the Chcmnitz Volksstimme, declares his confld~nce that party unity will be restored, 'vith. the ~ing_le ,~xc~ptlon, hO\VeVCf, of Liebknecht supporters, i.e., unity ioith. the Social-Democratic Labour Group (including Kautsky) to which Ledebour belongs! l

This confusion arises from the fact tha L A vantil confuses

bourgeols pacifism with revolutionary Social-Dcmocralic i nt ema tiona} ism, while experienced poli t.icians ] ike Leg ien and J ouha ux understand perfectly well that. socialist and

hourgeois pacifism are identical, .

Wby, indeed, should not M. J ouhaux and his organ, the

eb.auvinist La Bataille," rejoice at the "unanimity" between J ouhaux and l\lerrheim when, in jact, the unanimously adopted _resolution, which we have quoted in full above, conLains nothing but bourgeois pacifist phrases; not a shadow of revolutionary consciousness, not a single socialist idea!

Is it not ridiculous to talk of the "econorn ic liberty of all nations, big and small", and yet not say a word about the fact, that until the bourgeois governrnents are overthrown and the bou;geoisie expropriated, this talk of "economic Ii herl.y" is just as much a deception of the people as talk of the "economic liberty" of the individual in general, of the small peasan Ls and rich, workers and capitali~Ls1 in m?dern society?

The resolution J ouhaux and Merrhclill unanimously voted for is thoroughly imbued with the very ideas of "bourgeois nat.ionalism" that J ouhaux expresses, as A vantil qui to rightly point.s out, while, stra I1gely CT~ oU?h, jailing to

observe that Merrheim expresses the same ideas. y

Bourgeois nationalist.s always and every\vhere Haunt ~~general') phrases about a "Iederat ion o.f ~atio.ns" in gener~l and about "econom ic liberty of all na t ions, hig and sma ll ~ B 11 l socialists, unlike bourgeois national ists, a] ways sa id and now sa y: rhel.or ic a bout "econom ic liberty of all na tions, big and small", is disgusling hypocrisy as long as certain nations (for exam ple, England all d France) III vest abroa d, that is to say, lend at usurious interest to sma ll and backward nat.ions, bi {lions 0/ francs, and as long as the sma ll and weak na tions are in bondage to thoro.



Socialist.s could n?t ha ve allowed a single sentence of '~. the resolution, for :vh1Ch J ouhaux and Merrheim unanimously ~ voted, to pass without strong protest. In direct conlrast~.'.: to that resolution, socialists would have declared that Wil-·"-: son 's pron~uncement is a downright lie and sheer hypocrisy, .: : because WIlson represents a bourgeoisie which has made hil- .; lions out of the war, because he is Lhe head of a government, .: that has. franlically armed the United States obviously iti_·:~l preparation for a second great imperialist Waf. Socialists: ~o~ld have declared that the French bourgeois government .. IS tied hand and foot by finance ca pital, whose sla ve it is and h,Y tho secret .. im~eda]iHt, thoroughly predatory and ~eactionary treaties with England, R nssia, etc., and therefore cannot do or say anything except utter the same lies about

a democratic and 8 "just" peace .. Socialists would have declared th~t the struggle for such a peace cannot he waged by repea Ling general, vapid., benign, sentirnental, meaningless and Il.on-commlttal pacifist phrases, which merely serve to embelllsil. tho foulness of im perialism. I t can he "raged only.by telling the people the truth, by telling tho people tha~ In order to obtain a democratic and just peace the hourgeois governments of all the bell igerent countries III ust be overthrown, and that for this purpose advantage must be taken of the fact that millions of workers are armed and that the high cost of living and the horrors of the imperialist War ha vc roused the anger of the masses.

. Th~s ~s what socialists should have said instead of what IS said In the J ouhaux-Merrhoim resoluti.on.

The. Congr~ss .of the French Socialist Party, which took place In Paris sim ultaneously with tha l of t.he C~ G. T.1 not ?nly refrained from saying this, but passed a resolution that IS even worse than t~e one mentioned above. It was adopted by 2,838 votes agamst 109t with 20 a bstentions, tha t is to say, by a bloc of the social-chauvinists (Renaudel and Co. the so-cal led Hmajorilaires') and the Longuet-ist s (suppert~rs of Lon~uet, the French Ka ut.skyi tes) J! Mor-eovsr , the Z 1 rnrn e rwa I d ist B 0 urdero nan d the J(_ i c nth alia n R a f Ii nD ugens voted for this resolul.ion l l

We shall not quoto the resolution-it is inordinately long and totally uninteresting: it contains benign, sentimental phrases about peace, immeilia tely followed by dec lura-



1 ions of rea diness to continue to support the so-called "national defence" of France, i.e., the imperialist war France is wag ing' in alliance with bigger and more powerful robbers like England and Russia ..

In France, unity of the social-cha uvinists wi th puci fists (or Kautskyites) and a section of the Zirlllnerwuldists has become a fact, not only in the C"G~rr~, but also in the Soc-ia 1 ist Party.


The French newspapers containing the report of the C.(~. T. Congress were recei ved in Berne on December 28, and on December 30, Berne and Zurich socialist newspapers published anoLher manifesto by the Berne T .S. K. (lnternationalo Sozialistische Kommission), the International Socialist Comm itf.ee, the executive body of Zimmerwald. Dated the end. of December 1916, the manifesto refers to the peace proposals advanced by Germany and by Wilson and the other neulral countries, and all these governmental pronouncements are described, and quite rightly described, of course, as a "farcical game of peace", "a game to deceive their own peoples", "hvpocritical pacifist diplomatic gesticulations".

As against this farce and falsehood the manifesto declares. that the' "only force" capable of bringing about peace, etc., is the "firm determination" of tho internaLional proletariat to "turn their weapons, not aga i nst their brothers, but against the enemy in their own country".

The passages we have quoted clearly reveal the two fundamentally distinct policies which have Ii vcd side by side, as it were, up to now in the Zimrnerwald group, but which have now fi.nally parted company.

On the one hand, Turati quite definitely and correctly states that the proposals made by Germany, WiJSOll, etc., were merely a "paraphrase" of Italian "soc ia list" pacifisrn;

the declara tion of the German social-cha uvinists and the v-:

voting of the French have SllOWJl that both fully appreciate

the value for their policy of the paci fist screen.

On the ot.her hand, the Internat ional Soc ia list Comrn ittee man ifeslo describes tho paci fism of all belligerent and neutra 1 governments as u farce and hypoc risy.



._- .- -------~------- ,.


On the one hand, J ouhaux joins with Merrheim ; Bourds ... ron, Longuet and Raffin-Dugens join wit h Renaudel Sembat and Thomas, while the German social-chauvinists S'Udekum . David and Scheidemann, announce the forthc~ming "res: . ~, toration of Social-Democratic unity" with Kuut.sky and the .. :

Social-Democratic Labour Group.

On the other hand, the International Socialist Committee calls upon the "socialist minorit.ies' vigorously to fight "l.heir own governments" an d "their social- patriot hi rclings'' (S iildlinge).

Either one thing ~ or the other ..

Either expose the vapidity, stupidity and hypocrisy of ~ourgeo~s pacifism, or "paraphrase" it into "sociallst" pacifism. FIght tho J ouhaux, Hcnaudels, Logiens and Davids as the "hirelings" of tho governments, or join with them in empty pacifist declamations on the French or Gorman models.

That is now the dividing line between the Zimmerwald Right, which has always strenuously opposed a break with tho sccial-chu uvinists, and the Left, which at the Zimmer~vald Conference had the foresight puhlicly to dissocia te Itself from the Right and to put forward, at the Conference and after it in the press, its own platform. I t is no accident that the approach of peace, or oven the intense discussion by certain bourgeois elements of the peace issue, has led to a very marked di vergence between the two policies. To hour .. geois pacifists a nd their "sooial ist" irnita tors or ec hoers pe~ce has always been a fundamentally distinct concept, fo; net thor has ever understood that "war is the continuat ion of the policies of peace and peace the continuation of the policies of war". Neither tho bourgeois nor tho social-chauvinist wants to see that the im peria list War of 1914-17 is !he continuation of the imperialist policies of 189R~1914, ~~. not of an even ?ar.lier period. Neither the bourgeois pacifists nor the socialist pacifists realise tha t without the revolutionary overthrow of the bourgeois governments, peace now ea n only he an im pcr iul ist peace, a con ti n uation of the imperialist war A

I n app~a!si~g the present war, they use meaningless, vulgar, phll istine phrases a bout aggre.~sion or defence in gene~al, and use the . same ph il lst ine eommon pl aces in a ppra ismg t he peace, disregar ding the concrete historical situa-



-~-- -.---~~-----~

t iuu, the act ual concrete struggle between the irn porial ist po\vers. And it 'vas quite natural for the social-chauvinists, ihese agents of the governments and the bourgeoisie in the workers' parties, to seize upon the approach of peace in particular, or even upon mere peace talk, in order to gloss orer the depth of their reformism and opportunism, exposed JJv the war, and restore their undermined influence over the musses. Hence, the social-chauvinists in Germany and in France, as we have seen, are making strenuous cr£orts to "un ite" with the fla bby , unprincipled pacifist sec tion of the

"opposition' ·

Efforts to gloss over the divergence between the t\VO irre ..

concilable lines of pol icy will certainly be made a lso in t.he Zimmerwald group .. One can foresee that they will follow t\VO llnes. A "pract ical business" conciliation by mechanically combining loud revolutionary phrases (Hke those in the International Socialist Commit-Lee m anifesto) with op-

portunist and pacifist practice. That is what happened in the Second International~ The arch-revolutionary phrases in tho manifestos of Huysmans and Vandervelde and in certain congress resolutions merely served as a screen for the arch-opportunist practice of the majority of the European pa rt ios, but they di d not change, d isru pt or com ba t this practice .. It is doubtful whether those tactics will again be successful in the Zimmerwald group.

The "conciliators in principle" will try to falsify Marxism by arguing, for example, that reform does not exclude revolution, that an imperialist peace with certain "improvements" in nationality frontiers, or in international law, or in armaments expenditure, esc., is possible side by side with the revolutionary movement, as "one of the aspects of the development" of that movement, and so on and so forth.

This would be a falsification of Marxism. Reforms do not, of course, exclude revolution. But that is not tho point at issue. The point is that revolutionaries must not exclude themsolies, not give way to reform ism, i. e.. tha t socialists should not substitute reformist work for their revolutionary work. Europe is experiencing a revolutionary situa tion. The war and the high cost of living are aggra vating the situation. 'The transition from war to peace wil l not nccessaril y eliminate the revolutionary situation, for there are no grounds


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