V. I.   Lenin

Ten “Socialist” Ministers!

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 56, November 6, 1916. Published according to the Sotsial-Demokrat text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 23, pages 134-136.
Translated: M. S. Levin, The Late Joe Fineberg and and Others
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2002 (2005). 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.
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Huysmans, the Secretary of the International Social-Chauvinist Bureau,[1] has sent a telegram of greetings to Danish Minister without portfolio Stauning, the leader of the Danish quasi-“Social-Democratic” Party. The telegram reads: “I learn from the newspapers that you have been appointed Minister. My heartiest congratulations. And so, we now have ten socialist Cabinet Ministers in the world. Things are moving. Best wishes.”

Things are indeed moving. The Second International is rapidly moving—towards complete merger with national-liberal politics. Quoting this telegram, the Chemnitz Volksstimme,[2] militant organ of the extreme German opportunists and social-chauvinists, remarks, somewhat venomously: “The Secretary of the International Socialist Bureau unreservedly welcomes the acceptance by a Social-Democrat of a ministerial post. And yet only shortly before the war all party congresses, and international congresses, expressed sharp opposition to this! Times and views change—on this issue as on others.”

The Heilmanns, Davids and Südekums are quite justified in their condescending praise of the Huysmane, Plekhanovs and Vanderveldes.

Stauning recently published a letter he wrote to Vandervelde. It is full of the stinging remarks a pro-German social-chauvinist would write about a French social-chauvinist. Among other things, Stauning boasts of the fact that “we [the Danish Party] have sharply and definitely disassociated ourselves from the organisationally pernicious splitting activities conducted on the initiative of the Italian and Swiss parties under the name of the Zimmerwald movement”. This is literally what he says!

The formation of a national state in Denmark dates back to the sixteenth century. The masses of the Danish people passed through the bourgeois liberation movement long ago. More than 96 per cent of the population are Danes. The 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 deception is the talk of the Danish bourgeoisie about an “independent national state” being the task of the day! This is being said in the twentieth century by the bourgeoisie and the monarchists of Denmark, who possess colonies with a population nearly equal to the number of Danes in Germany, and over which the Danish Government is trying to strike a bargain.

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 millions (not yet agreed upon) three islands, all populated, 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 supplies the world’s biggest 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 Narodniks) have become “prosperous” satellites of the British imperialist bourgeoisie, sharing their particularly easy and particularly fat profits.

The Danish “Social-Democratic” Party completely succumbed to this international situation, and staunchly sup ported and supports the Right wing, the opportunists in the German Social-Democratic Party. The Danish Social-Democrats voted credits for the bourgeois-monarchist government to “preserve neutrality”—that was the euphemistic formula. At the Congress of September 30, 1916, there was a nine tenths’ majority in favour of joining the Cabinet, in favour of a deal with the government! The correspondent of the Berne socialist paper reports that the opposition to ministerialism in Denmark was represented by Gerson Trier and the editor J. P. Sundbo. Trier defended revolutionary Marxist views in a splendid speech, and when the party decided to   go into the government, he resigned from the Central Commit tee and from the party, declaring that he would not be a member of a bourgeois party. In the past few years the Danish “Social-Democratic” Party has in no way differed from the bourgeois radicals.

Greetings to Comrade G. Trier! “Things are moving”, Huysmans is right—moving towards a precise, clear, politically honest, socialistically necessary division between the revolutionary Marxists, the representatives of the masses of the revolutionary proletariat, and the Plekhanov-Potresov Huysmans allies and agents of the imperialist bourgeoisie, who have the majority of the “leaders”, but who represent the interests, not of the oppressed masses, but of the minority of privileged workers, who are deserting to the side of the bourgeoisie.

Will the Russian class-conscious workers, those who elected the deputies now exiled to Siberia, those who voted against participation in the war industries committees to support the imperialist war, wish to remain in the “International” of the ten Cabinet Ministers? In the international of the Staunings? In the International which men like Trier are leaving?


[1] Reference is to the International Socialist Bureau (I.S.B.)—the permanent executive and information body of the Second International, founded by decision of the Paris International Congress (1900) and headquartered in Brussels. Each national affiliate had two members on the Bureau, which was to meet four times a year, with the Executive of the Belgian Labour Party acting for it in the intervals. Emile Vandervelde was Chairman of the Bureau and Camille Huysmans Secretary. Lenin was elected R.S.D.L.P. representative in 1905 and re-elected in 1912 at the Sixth All-Russia Party Conference in Prague. M. M. Litvinov was appointed R.S.D.L.P. representative in June 1914 at Lenin’s suggestion.

With the outbreak of the First World War the I.S.B. became a pliant tool of the social-chauvinists. Its headquarters were moved to The Hague and its activities were directed by Huysmans.

[2] Volksstimme (People’s Voice)—organ of the German Social-Democratic Party, published in Chemnitz from January 1891 to February 1933. Followed a social-chauvinist line in the First World War.

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