V. I.   Lenin

Citizens! See What Methods the Capitalists of All Countries Are Using!

Written: Written April 14 (27), 1917
Published: Published April 15, 1917 in Pravda no. 33. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 131-133.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: Unknown
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 (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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Today’s Rech concludes its editorial with the following words:

The German Government is endeavouring to preserve the inner unity of Germany and sow discord among the Allies. Our ’Pravdists’ are making every effort to undermine unity in revolutionary Russia and to set the Russian Government upon the governments of our Allies, Britain and France. Are we not entitled to say that the Lenin crew is working for von Bethmann-Hollweg and Wilhelm II?”

No, gentlemen of the capitalist fold, you are not entitled to say it. It is we Pravdists, and we alone, who, far from preserving the inner unity of Germany, are, on the contrary, actually engaged in destroying it.

This is a fact which no lies of the Russian capitalists can ever obliterate.

It is a fact that we Pravdists, and we alone, demand that the German socialists should unconditionally and immediately break with the German Plekhanovs, i.e., the Scbeidemanns, and with the German ’Centre’, i.e., those vacillating people who cannot make up their minds to break away, definitely, on principle, from the Scheidemanns.

It is a fact that we Pravdists, and we alone, stand for unity with only two German socialist groups (the Spartacus and the Arbeiterpolitik) which support the policy of Karl Liebknecht, i.e., the policy ol destroying the inner unity of Germany. The policy of Karl Liebknecht, a policy of deeds, not words, is to destroy the ’inner unity’ of the capitalists and workers in Germany.

Clearly realising that the German capitalists and their Wilhelm are imperialists, i.e., brigands, Karl Liebknecht   as far back as September 1915 sent a letter to the Zimmerwald Conference, which was not published, because Liebknecht was then still a legal person. But everyone who was at Zimmerwald knew about this letter.

The letter called, not for a civil truce, but for a civil war.

That was how our comrade-in-idea, Karl Liebknecht, preached ’inner unity’ in Germany. That is what we ourselves have preached in the German translation of our Pravdist pamphlet Socialism and War (by Zinoviev and Lenin).[1]

Karl Liebknecht not only spoke this way, he acted this way. From the platform of the German parliament, he called upon the German soldiers to turn their guns against their own German Government. Then he joined a street demonstration with revolutionary proclamations reading: ’Down with the Government.’

That is how Karl Liebknecht, an adherent of our Pravdist policy, has been ’endeavouring to preserve the inner unity of Germany’. That is why he has been thrown into a convict prison.

And Karl Liebknecht is denounced as a Judas and a traitor not only by the entire press of the German capitalists, but by all the papers of the German Plekhanovs, who accuse him more or less directly of treason or anarchism.

In all countries the capitalists are spewing out a torrent of lies, slander, abuse and accusations of treason against those socialists who are behaving the way Karl Liebknecht is behaving in Germany, or the way the Pravdists are behaving in Russia, i.e., who are destroying the ’inner unity’ between the workers and the capitalists, the workers and the Plekhanovs, the workers and the ’Centrists’ in every country, and who are creating unity among the workers of all countries in order to put an end to the predatory, murderous imperialist war, in order to rid mankind of the yoke of capitalism.

In Germany the capitalists are hounding Karl Liebknecht and his friends as traitors. In Germany, too, our comrade Karl Liebknecht has been repeatedly threatened with mob violence. This has been mentioned even by that German Plekhanov, the social-chauvinist David. In Russia the   capitalists hound the Pravdists as traitors. In Britain the capitalists hound the Scotch public school-teacher MacLean as a traitor. He, too, has been thrown into a convict prison for the same kind of crime, for the same kind of ’treason’ as that which Karl Liebknecht and we Pravdists are guilty of.

In France the republican capitalist government is keeping in prison the Frenchman Content and the Russian Rayev for issuing a proclamation entitled ’Impose peace’.

Gentlemen of Rech, ministers, members of the revolutionary government, put us Pravdists in a convict prison, or tell the Russian people to shut us up in a convict prison! Then you will be actually following in the footsteps of capitalist Britain, our ’Ally’ (the ally of Tsar Nicholas II, for it was he who concluded the treaty with the Allies), which is keeping the British Pravdists in a convict prison.

Down with the ’inner unity’ of the workers and capitalists in all countries, for this ’unity’ has condemned and is still condemning humanity to the horrors of the predatory imperialist war waged in the interests of the capitalists!

Long live unity among those socialists and workers in all countries who not only sympathise with Karl Liebknecht in words, but actually pursue the Liehknecht policy against their own capitalists!


[1] See present edition, Volume 21, pp. 313–316.—Ed.

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