V. I.   Lenin

Statements About the War Made By Our Party Before the Revolution

Published: Pravda No. 56, May 26 (13), 1917. Published according to the text in Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 393-394.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
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.

The statements dealing with the possible victory of a chauvinist (defencist) revolution are of particular interest. Sotsial-Demokrat, the Central Organ of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party published in Geneva under the editorship of Zinoviev and Lenin, carried the following statement of its editors in its issue No. 47 for October 13, 1915:

“(8) By revolutionary chauvinists we mean those who want a victory over tsarism so as to achieve victory over Germany, plunder other countries, consolidate Great-Russian rule over the other peoples of Russia, etc. Revolutionary chauvinism is based on the class position of the petty bourgeoisie. The latter always vacillates between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. At present it is vacillating between chauvinism (which prevents it from being consistently revolutionary, even within the meaning of a democratic revolution) and proletarian internationalism. At the moment the Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Nasha Zarya,[2] Chkheidze’s Duma group,[3] the Organising Committee, Mr. Plekhanov and the like are political spokesmen for this petty bourgeoisie in Russia.

“(9) If the revolutionary chauvinists won in Russia, we would be opposed to a defence of their ‘fatherland’ in the present war. Our slogan is: against the chauvinists, even if they are revolutionary end republican—against them, and for an alliance of the international proletariat for the socialist revolution.

“(10) To the question of whether it is possible for the proletariat to assume the leadership in the bourgeois Russian revolution, our answer is: yes, it is possible, if the petty   bourgeoisie swings to the left at the decisive moment; it is being pushed to the left, not only by our propaganda, but by a number of objective factors, economic, financial (the burden of war), military, political, and others.

“(11) To the question of what the party of the proletariat would do if the revolution placed power in its hands in the present war, our answer is as follows: we would propose peace to all the belligerents on the condition that freedom is given to the colonies and all peoples that are dependent, oppressed and deprived of rights. Under the present governments, neither Germany nor Britain and France would accept this condition. In that case, we would have to prepare for and wage a revolutionary war, i.e., not only resolutely carry out the whole of our minimum programme, but work systematically to bring about an uprising among all peoples now oppressed by the Great Russians, all colonies and dependent countries in Asia (India, China, Persia, etc.), and also, first and foremost, we would raise up the socialist proletariat of Europe for an insurrection against their governments and despite the social-chauvinists. There is no doubt that a victory of the proletariat in Russia would create extraordinarily favourable conditions for the development of the revolution in both Asia and Europe. Even 1905 proved that. The international solidarity of the revolutionary proletariat is a fact, despite the scum of opportunism and social-chauvinism.”[1]


[1] See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 403–04.—Ed.



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