10. The war cannot be ended “at will”. It cannot be ended by the decision of one of the belligerents. It cannot be ended by “sticking your bayonet into the ground”, as one soldier, a defencist, expressed it.
The war cannot be ended by an “agreement” among the socialists of the various countries, by the “action” of the proletarians of all countries, by the “will” of the peoples, and so forth. All the phrases of this kind, which fill the articles of the defencist, semi-defencist, and semi-internationalist papers as well as innumerable resolutions, appeals, manifestos, and the resolutions of the Soviet of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies – all such phrases are nothing but idle, innocent and pious wishes of the petty bourgeois. There is nothing more harmful than phrases like “ascertaining the will of the peoples for peace”, like the sequenceof revolutionary actions of the proletariat (after the Russian proletariat comes the turn of the German), etc. All this is Blancism, fond dreams, a playing at “political campaigning”, and in reality just a repetition of the fable of Vaska the Cat.
The war is not a product of the evil will of rapacious capitalists, although it is undoubtedly being fought onlyin their interests and they alone are being enriched by it. The war is a product of half a century of development of world capitalism and of its billions of threads and connections. It is impossibleto slip out of the imperialist war and achieve a democratic, non-coercive peace without overthrowing the power of capital and transferring state power to anotherclass, the proletariat.
The Russian revolution of February-March 1917 was the beginning of the transformation of the imperialist war into a civil war. This revolution took the firststep towards ending the war; but it requires a secondstep, namely, the transfer of state power to the proletariat, to make the end of the war a certainty. This will be the beginning of a “break-through” on a world-wide scale, a break-through in the front of capitalist interests; and only by breaking through thisfront canthe proletariat save mankind from the horrors of war and endow it with the blessings of peace.
It is directly to such a “break-through” in the front of capitalism that the Russian revolution has alreadybrought the Russian proletariat by creating the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.