V. I. Lenin

Characteristics of the Centre as a Trend in International Social-Democracy{9}

Written: Written in January 1917
Published: First published in full in 1962 in Vol. 30 of the Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 391-392.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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In Grimm:

Characteristics of the Centre
as a trend in international Social-Democracy:

+ 1. No rupture with the social-patriots of one’s own country either on basic principles, or in organisation; hence 2.
+ 2. Against split.
(+—) 3. Evasiveness on the question of defence of country.
+ 4. Recognition of Zimmerwald and Kienthal—without a split with the I.S.B. and international social-patriotism.
+ 5. No break with reformism: only verbal criticism of it (“passiver Radikalismus”{1} ).
+ 6. Adoption of a wait-and-see attitude (n o t active, n o t with initiative as the Left) on the coming revolution (in connection with the present war).
+ (ΣΣ)
(?=§ 1) 7. ΣΣ=prettifying (and defending) social-patriotism in varying measure and by diverse means, such is the e s s e n c e (wesen) of the Centre....
+ 8. No reconstruction of the present Social-Democratic parties and trade unions, nothing like Liebknecht’s “regeneration from top to bottom”. Deferring this question.
(—) 9. Social-pacifism as programme and tactics.
+ 10. No systematic propaganda of revolution in connection with the present war.
+ 11. No preparation of organisations, etc., for such a revolution.
—α) Avanti! March 6, 1916
β) Morgan in Swiss newspaper
γ) social-pacifism
+αα) social-patriots exclusively
&beta&beta) the young.

In putting Liebknecht and the Italian Socialist Party side by side, Grimm tends to confuse the Centre and the Left.

Grimm wants to solve a revolutionary problem (struggle against war) by reformist means
(“schw\"achen”, erschweren, etc.{2} ).

Indirect tax, November 4–5, 1916.

Reformist struggle against high cost of living (August 6, 1916).

Polemics against{3} (“Sozialismus tut not”{4} ).

Hushing up of social-patriotism in the Swiss Social-reformist Party. Absence of struggle against it.
Idem in trade union movement (Schneeberger & D\"urr).
Question of the m o m e n t of revolutionary action is confused with that of systematic propaganda and agitational and organisational preparation for possibility of revolutionary action in general.

Lying, dishonest dodges with Entwaffnung{5} (cf. his own “theses”). Idem Diensterweigerung.{6}

Dodges on the question of was heisst “verweigern” die Leipziger Volkszeitung? Verzerrung der Frage s e i t e n s Gr\"utli-Verein.{7} )

Paying lip service to Zimmerwald + Kienthal and carrying on as before in fact!!
Page 13.
From the standpoint of the Centre in general it would be c o n s i s t e n t in Switzerland to stand for defence of the country!!!{8} )


{1} “Passive radicalism.”—Ed.

{2} Weakening, complication, etc.—Ed.

{3} The next word is illegible.—Ed.

{4} “Socialism is necessary.”—Ed.

{5} Disarmament.—Ed.

{6} Refusal to do military service.—Ed.

{7} What does Leipziger Volkszeitung call “refusal”? Distortion of the question o n t h e p a r t of Gr\"utli-Verein.—Ed.

{8} Here the MS. breaks off.—Ed.

{9} This was written in connection with an article by R. Grimm, “The Majority and the Minority on the War Question”, in Berner Tagwacht Nos. 19–23 of January 23–27 and in the magazine Neues Leben in January 1917, which defended the Centrist attitude of the majority of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party p. 391

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