V. I.   Lenin





Junius, The Crisis of Social-Democracy. Supplement: “Theses on the Tasks of International Social-Democracy.” Zurich, 1916, 109pp. (105–09,theses).

“Introduction” dated January 2, 1916: the pamphlet is stated to have been written in April 1915.

p. 6: “The capitulation of international Social-Democracy ... the most stupid thing would be to conceal it”....

p. 24: “Two lines of development ... lead ... to this war.” 1) 1870, N.B., the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine, and 2) imperialist development in the last 25 years.

|| N.B. p. 28: B\"ulow’s speech on December 11, 1899. A clear imperialist programme: the British have “Greater Britain”, the French their “New France”, the Russians—Asia, the Germans “Greater Germany”.

pp. 31–33: excellent account of the plunder of Turkish peasants in Asia Minor by German finance capital.

p. 42: ...“The existence of only two countries—Belgium and Serbia—is at stake in the present war”.

p. 43: In Russia, imperialism is “not” so much “economic expansion” as “the political interest of the state”.

p. 48: The break-up of Austria was accelerated “by the emergence of independent national states in the immediate neighbourhood of the monarchy”....

...“The internal un-viability of Austria was shown”....

...“The Hapsburg monarchy is not the political organisation of a bourgeois state, but only the loose syndicate of cliques of social parasites” (49)....

|| ...“An inevitable dilemma: either the Hapsburg monarchy or the capitalist development of the Balkan countries” (49).... ||

N.B. ||| ...“Historically, the liquidation of Austria-Hungary is but the continuation of the disintegration of Turkey, but at the same time it is a requirement of the historical process of development” (49–50).

“German imperialism, chained to two decomposing corpses, steered straight into the world war” (50).

...“For ... an alleged attempt (at high treason)... Duala Manga Bell of the Cameroons was hanged quietly, amidst the noise of war, without the troublesome procedure of a court trial.... The Reichstag group shrouded the body of Chief Duala in a discreet silence” (56).

p. 60: two causes of the 1905 defeat:

? ||| (1) its “huge” political programme; “some (of the problems), such as the agrarian question, are altogether insoluble within the framework of the present social order”....

(2) the aid of European reaction....

|| 71: “The dangers to the ‘free development of Germany’ do not lie in Russia, as the Reichstag group thought, but in Germany herself”... (and, incidentally, the expression: “the Zabern policy”, p. 71).

74: “Does not the socialist principle of the right of nations to self-determination imply that every people is entitled and bound to defend its freedom and independence?”... (75) “certainly, a people that surrenders to an external enemy is contemptible”....

75: A quotation from The Civil War in France: “The highest heroic effort of which old society is still capable is national war; and this is now proved to be a mere governmental humbug”....[2]

76: “In bourgeois society, therefore, invasion and class struggle are not opposites, as the official legend has it, but one is the means and expression of the other. And if for the ruling classes invasion represents a well-tried means against the class struggle, for the ascending classes the sharpest class struggle still proves to be the best means against invasion”.... The history of the Italian towns in the Middle Ages, and especially 1793.

||| 77: The same applies to self-determination: “True, socialism recognises the right of every nation to independence and freedom, to independent mastery of its destinies. But it is a real mockery of socialism when the modern capitalist states are presented as the | expression of this right of the nations to self-determination. In which of these states has the nation yet determined the forms and conditions of its (sic!) || national, political or social existence?” By “self-determination of the German people”, Marx, Engels, Lassalle under stood “the united, great German republic”. [Modern Germany has been built (N.B.) (77) “on the ruins of the German people’s right to national (N.B.) self-determination (N.B.)”....]

77 ...“or is it, perhaps, the Third Republic with colonial possessions in four continents, and colonial atrocities in two of them, that is an expression of the ‘self-determination’ of the French nation?”...

78: “In the socialist sense of this concept, there is not a single free nation, if its existence as a state rests on the enslavement of other peoples, || N.B. for the colonial peoples, too, are reckoned as peoples and as members of the state. International socialism recognises the right of free, independent and equal nations, but it is only socialism that can create such nations, and only it can realise the right of nations to self-determination. And this socialist slogan serves like all the other socialist slogans not to justify the existing order of things, but to indicate the way forward, and to stimulate the proletariat in its active, revolutionary policy of transformation”....

? ||| In the imperialist situation of today there cannot be any more “national wars of defence” (78)... to ignore this situation means “to build on sand”.

Hence “the question of defence and attack, the question of who is to ‘blame’, is quite meaningless” (78); for both France and Great Britain it is not a matter of “self-defence”, they are defending “not their national, but their world political position”....

[TOP-RIGHT{DOUBLE}-BOTTOM BOX ENDS:] [[ N.B.: ...“in order to dispel the phantom of ‘national war’ which dominates Social—Democratic policy at present” (81). ]]

Imperialist policy is an international phenomenon, the result of “the world-wide development of capital” (79).... “It is only from this starting-point that the question of ’national defence’ in the present war can be correctly posed” (80).... The system of alliances, military interests, etc., immediately involve imperialist interests and countries.... “Finally, the very fact that today all capitalist states have colonial possessions which in time of war, even if it begins as a ‘national war of defence’, are in any case drawn into the war from military-strategic considerations” ... the “holy war” in Turkey, the instigation of uprisings in the colonies...—“this fact, too, today automatically converts every war into an imperialist world conflagration” (82)....

The example of Serbia (behind which stands Russia), Holland (her colonies and so forth).... “In this way, it is always the historical situation created by present-day imperialism that determines the character of the war for the different countries, and it is because of this situation that nowadays national wars of defence are in general no longer possible” (84)....

He quotes K. Kautsky: Patriotism and Social-Democracy, 1907, p. 16 in particular, that “under these conditions a war for the defence of national freedom can no longer be expected anywhere” (Kautsky, quoted by Junius, p. 85). (K. Kautsky, pp. 12–14 on “national problems”, that they can be solved “only (N.B.) after (N.B.) the victory of the proletariat”.) [K. Kautsky, p. 23. N.B.]

What then is the task of Social-Democracy? Not to be “passive”. |||| ? “Instead of hypocritically dressing the imperialist war in the cloak of national defence, we should take seriously [author’s italics] the right of nations to self-determination and national defence and use them as a revolutionary lever against [author’s italics] the imperialist war (85). The most elementary requirement of national defence is that the nation should take defence into its own hands. The first step in that direction is a militia, i.e., not merely immediate arming of the entire adult male population, but above all the decision by the people of the question of war and peace; ||| ??? N.B. || it implies also immediate abolition of all political disfranchisement, since the people’s defence must be based on the greatest political freedom. And it was the prime duty of Social-Democracy to proclaim these genuine national defence measures, and strive for their realisation” (86). But the Social-Democrats abandoned the demand for a militia until after the war!!! although we have said that “only a militia” is capable of defending the fatherland!!!

“Our teachers had a different conception of defence of the fatherland”... (Marx in The Civil War, in support of the national war of the Commune)... and ... Frederick Engels in 1892, in support of a repetition of 1793.... |||| N.B.  || But alongside this: “When Engels wrote that, he had in mind a situation quite different from the present one” (87)—prior to the Russian revolution. “He [Engels] had in mind a genuine national war of defence by a suddenly attacked Germany” (87)....

||| ?? And further: “Yes, it is the duty of the Social-Democrats to defend their country during a great historical crisis. And precisely therein lies the grave guilt” of the Social-Democratic Reichstag group.... ||| ?? “They did leave the fatherland unprotected in the hour of its greatest peril. For their first duty to the fatherland in that hour was to show the fatherland what was really behind the present imperialist   war; N.B. |||| to sweep away the web of patriotic and diplomatic lies covering up this encroachment on the fatherland; to proclaim loudly and clearly that for the German people both victory and defeat in the present war are equally fatal...; to proclaim the necessity of immediately arming the people and of allowing the people to decide the question of war and peace ... finally, to oppose the imperialist war programme, which is to preserve Austria and Turkey, i.e., perpetuate reaction in Europe and in Germany, with the old, truly national programme of the patriots a nd democrats of 1848, the programme of Marx, ??? ||||| Engels and Lassalle—the slogan of a united, great German Republic. This is the banner that should have been unfurled before the country, which would have been a truly national banner of liberation, and which would |||| have been in accord with the best traditions of Germany and with the international class policy of the proletariat” (88).

__ 100: | ...“Hence, the grave dilemma—the interests of the fatherland or the international solidarity of the proletariat—the tragic conflict which prompted our parliamentarians to side, ‘with a heavy heart’, with the imperialist war, is purely imaginary, a bourgeois-nationalist fiction. On the contrary, there is complete harmony between the interests of the country and the class interests of the proletarian International, both in time of war and in time of peace: both war and peace demand the most energetic development of the class struggle, the most determined fight for the Social-Democratic programme” (89)....

[DITTO: | ] But what should the Party have done? Call a mass strike? Or call for refusal to serve in the army? It would be absurd to try to answer. The revolution cannot be “made”. “Prescriptions and recipes of a technical nature” would be “ridiculous” (90); it is not a question of such things, but of a clear political slogan. (Expatiates against technique, etc., etc., “small conspiratorial circles”, etc.) (N.B. 101–02).

|| | __ § VIII (93-104) deals especially with the question of “victory or defeat”, endeavours to prove that both are equally bad (ruin, new wars, etc.). To choose between them would be “a hopeless choice between two lots of thrashing” (98)... “except in one single case: if by its revolutionary intervention the international proletariat upsets all the calculations” (of both imperialisms) (98).... There can be no status quo (99), no going “backwards”, only forward to the victory of the proletariat. Not hare brained schemes of disarmament, not “utopias” or “partial reforms” (99), but the struggle against imperialism.

p. 102—the threat of “mass collapse of ||| but America?? and Japan?? the European proletariat” (102).... “When the hour strikes, the signal for the social revolution that will set mankind free will come only from Europe, only from the oldest capitalist countries. Only the British, French, Belgian, German, Russian and Italian workers together can lead the army of the exploited and enslaved in the five continents of the world” (103).


[1] See present edition, Vol. 22, pp. 305–20.—Ed.

[2] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1982, Vol. I, p. 540. p. 310


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