Nikolai Bukharin

The Secret of the League II

Source: The Call, January 29, 1920
Transcription: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


The necessity of an understanding is rendered all the more indispensable by the social bankruptcy of the capitalist system. This bankruptcy finds expression in a revolutionary ferment which is apparent everywhere, in the armies, in the working-classes, and lastly, in circumstances, for there are already “foreign bodies” in the capitalist system a fundamentally antagonistic structure, the Republic of the Soviets of the proletariat of Russia.

From the other side, the imperialist system of the Great Powers is openly threatened by the national movement of the colonies, which will become all the more active the more the continental working-class movement progresses. Ireland, India, and Egypt, are a peril for England no whit less great than the German Communist movement or the demonstrations of revolutionary soldiers rising against the Government. That is why the immediate task of international capitalism is the holy alliance against the proletariat, and the most rapid possible solution of the colonial question.

One must not forget that the League of Nations is no league of “People,” but a league of the great capitalist trusts. Against such a trust, the working-class and plundered colonies will rise in revolt.

It is easily seen that the first task of the organisation of the great capitalist States is the formation of an international police, that is international White Guard which can be sent against the proletariat and the colonies whenever they cannot bear in patience the holy pillage of the divine imperialist plunderers of President Wilson.

Every State power is a mechanism of oppression in the struggle of classes. In the present hour, in the moment of civil war, nothing is possible but a still sharper manifestation of this function of the State power; and it is for this reason that there can be no present alternative between the Dictatorship of the Proletariat or the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie. In the League of Nations we see a desperate attempt to found the dictatorship of international capital on an international and inter-State scale. The military forces which such an agreement will liberate will be transported from the bourgeois States to the front of the world civil war and the struggle against the colonies.

The victory of the proletariat would mean the downfall of the capitalist system for ever. So that you can easily conceive, in this epoch of tempest and revolt, how great the need of an understanding in the capitalist world may be. The economic situation of the capitalists is already obliging them to unite; but the menace from the working-class is making such union all the more necessary. The League of Nations, this society for the plundering of the world, takes on the character of the “holy alliance” against the proletariat. To the working class, it does not bring peace, but a sword.


In the moment of an uprising of the mass, the like of which has never been seen before, it is impossible for Capitalism to restrain them with bayonets alone. It must also deceive them systematically, otherwise the domination of capitalism is broken.

Therefore the creators of the League of Nations, from the very beginning, took care to prepare an agreeable sauce for their stew. The very name of League of Nations is a deceit. And the same fraud turns up in the other resounding names given to the League: “Alliance of the Peoples,” “League of Peace,” “Universal League,” etc.

It is worth while to note that Wilson, Lloyd George, and Co., who were responsible for the war, are openly speculating on peace. The League of Nations, they say has for its end a “universal peace.” All disputes shall be resolved “peacefully” by the “Nations.” Whoever does not obey is to be regarded as an enemy of peace, and brought to “reason” by means of the international police.

Therefore, he who raises his hand against capitalism is a disturber of the peace of peoples, an enemy of peace, and must be destroyed.

It is the last kick against the Bolshevisation of the world. The Entente’s announcement with regard to Prinkipo was of a like character: “Stop it, or we’ll put our international police at your heels.”

Then you have another point in the programme: the cry against Bolshevik imperialism. The president of the most imperialist State, the prime minister of the king of England, all the scoundrels of imperialism, melt in a moment into the most rabid opponents of Imperialism. These worthies call the victory of Socialism: Bolshevik imperialism.

Lastly, a certain opportunism is introduced into the web of deceit. President Wilson, for instance, declares that the time is past when all content can remain in the hands of the rich: (Thus speaks the President of a Republic directed by two banks). One may conclude, that when it is convenient, the opportunists will be supported against the Communists, so that the fight against the proletarian revolution becomes a war of cunning underlying the open strife.

It is the last stronghold of capitalism. Quite likely the capitalists will manage to come to an understanding. Let us have no illusions. Great battles are yet in store. But whatever union our enemies make, no matter under what mask it may be formed, is a direct peril for the working-class.