V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written earlier than July 19, 1920
Published: First published in 1942 in Lenin Miscellany XXXIV. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 450-451.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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Theses should also be written for the Second Congress of the Third International on the international economic and political situation.

Could not Radek, or Lapinsky, who has more time, or someone else, whom they would advise, be given the job of making a preliminary draft of these theses, approximately on the following lines[1]:

(1) The division of the whole world (both in the sense of the spheres of influence of banking and finance capital, and in the sense of international syndicates and cartels, and equally in the sense of the seizure of colonies and semi-colonies) is the basic fact of imperialism, of the economy of the twentieth century.

(2) Hence imperialist wars are inevitable in general, and particularly the first imperialist war of 1914–18.

(3) Results of this war:

(a) reduction in the number of states that are world powers, increase in the number of weak, dependent states which are being plundered and divided;

(b) the tremendous sharpening of all capitalist contradictions, both within all the capitalist countries and among the countries themselves;

(c) in particular, the sharpening, on a world scale, of both poles of capitalism: 

increase of luxury among a tiny number of capitalist magnates;

increase of need, poverty, ruin, famine, unemployment, extreme insecurity of existence;

(d) intensification of militarism, more intense and accelerated preparation for new imperialist wars, economically inevitable; a growth in the number of wars throughout the world, particularly of revolutionary wars;

(e) complete bankruptcy of the League of Nations, exposure of its falseness; the collapse of “Wilsonism”. The bankruptcy of bourgeois democracy.

(4) Explanation, in the briefest way, by characterising (cf. the report by P. Levi, April 14, 1920[2]):

Britain and America
the other, neutral countries of Europe and America
the defeated countries (principally Russia and Germany)
the colonies^
the semi-colonies (Persia, Turkey, China).

(5) Raw material—its exhaustion
industry—its weakening (fuel, etc.)
currencies—their collapse. Debts. Devaluation.
“Dislocation”, break-up of the whole system of world economy.

(6) The result == a world revolutionary crisis. The communist movement and Soviet power.


[1] The plan of theses expounded in this letter formed the basis of Lenin’s report, on the international situation and the fundamental tasks of the Communist International which he made at the Second Congress of the Comintern, held in Moscow from July 19 to August 7, 1920 (see present edition. Vol. 31, pp. 215–34).

[2] Reference is to Levi’s report “The Political Situation and the Elections to Parliament” at the Congress of the Communist Party of Germany, which took place in Berlin, April 14–15, 1920.

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