V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written before November 25 (December 8), 1912
Published: First published in 1954 in the Journal Kommunist No. 6. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 204-205.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.README

We have already pointed out in Pravda[1] the great importance of the Republican Party split in America and the formation of Roosevelt’s Progressive Party.[2]

Now the elections are over. The Democrats have won, and at once the consequences predicted by the socialists are beginning to tell. Roosevelt’s Progressive Party, with its 4.5 million votes, is a specimen of the broad bourgeois-reformist trend which has come on the scene in sweeping American fashion.

What happens to this trend is of general interest because, in one form or another, it exists in all capitalist countries.

In any bourgeois-reformist trend there are two main streams: the bourgeois bigwigs and politicians, who deceive the masses with promises of reform, and the cheated masses, who feel that they cannot go on living in the old way, and follow the quack with the loudest promises. And so we find the brand-new Progressive Party in America splitting at the seams right after the elections.

The bourgeois politicians who made use of Roosevelt’s quackery to dupe the masses are already yelling about a merger with the Republican Party. What’s the idea? It is simply this: the politicians want the cushy jobs which the victorious party in America hands out to its supporters with especial brazenness. The Republican split gave the victory to the Democrats. These are now ecstatically sharing out the luscious public pie. Is it surprising that their rivals are prepared to renounce the Progressive Party and return to the consolidated Republican Party, which has every chance of defeating the Democrats?

Indeed, this looks very much like a cynical cheap sale   of “party loyalties”. But we see exactly the same thing in all capitalist countries; and the less freedom there is in a country, the dirtier and fouler is this sale of party loyalties among the bourgeois sharks, and the greater is the importance of backstairs intrigues and private connections in procuring concessions, subsidies, bonanza legal cases (for the lawyers), etc.

The other wing of any bourgeois-reformist trend—the cheated masses—has now also revealed itself in the highly original, free and lucid American style. “Scores who had voted for the Progressive Party, ” writes Appeal to Reason,[3] the New York workers’ paper, “now come to socialist editorial offices and bureaux for all kinds of information. They are mostly young people, trusting, inexperienced. They are the sheep shorn by Roosevelt, without any knowledge of politics or economics. They instinctively feel that the Socialist Party, with its one million votes, is a more serious proposition than Roosevelt’s 4.5 million, and what they want to know most is whether the minimum reforms promised by Roosevelt can be implemented.”

Needless to say,” the paper adds, “we are glad to give every one of these ‘progressives’ any information, and never let any of them leave without socialist literature.”

The lot of capitalism is such that its sharpest operators cannot help “working”—for socialism!


[1] Lenin’s article “The Results and Significance of the U.S. Presidential Elections” (see present edition, Vol. 18, pp. 402–04).

[2] Theodore Roosevelt—U.S. President from 1901 to 1909.

[3] Appeal to Reason—a newspaper of the American Socialists founded in 1895.

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