Saturday, January 15, 2011

From The Archives Of The Spartacist League (U.S.)-Yugoslavia, East Europe and the Fourth International:The Evolution of Pabloist Liquidationism-Appendix I &II-The British Revolutionary Communist Party

Markin comment:

In October 2010 I started what I anticipate will be an on-going series, From The Archives Of The Socialist Workers Party (America), starting date October 2, 2010, where I will place documents from, and make comments on, various aspects of the early days of the James P. Cannon-led Socialist Worker Party in America. As I noted in the introduction to that series Marxism, no less than other political traditions, and perhaps more than most, places great emphasis on roots, the building blocks of current society and its political organizations. Nowhere is the notion of roots more prevalent in the Marxist movement that in the tracing of organizational and political links back to the founders, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the Communist Manifesto, and the Communist League.

After mentioning the thread of international linkage through various organizations from the First to the Fourth International I also noted that on the national terrain in the Trotskyist movement, and here I was speaking of America where the Marxist roots are much more attenuated than elsewhere, we look to Daniel DeLeon’s Socialist Labor League, Eugene V. Debs' Socialist Party( mainly its left-wing, not its socialism for dentists wing), the Wobblies (IWW, Industrial Workers Of The World), the early Bolshevik-influenced Communist Party and the various formations that led up to the Socialist Workers Party, the section that Leon Trotsky’s relied on most while he was alive. Further, I noted that beyond the SWP that there were several directions to go in but that those earlier lines were the bedrock of revolutionary Marxist continuity, at least through the 1960s.

I am continuing today  what I also anticipate will be an on-going series about one of those strands past the 1960s when the SWP lost it revolutionary appetite, what was then the Revolutionary Tendency (RT) and what is now the Spartacist League (SL/U.S.), the U.S. section of the International Communist League (ICL). I intend to post materials from other strands but there are several reasons for starting with the SL/U.S. A main one, as the document below will make clear, is that the origin core of that organization fought, unsuccessfully in the end, to struggle from the inside (an important point) to turn the SWP back on a revolutionary course, as they saw it. Moreover, a number of the other organizations that I will cover later trace their origins to the SL, including the very helpful source for posting this material, the International Bolshevik Tendency.

However as I noted in posting a document from Spartacist, the theoretical journal of ICL posted via the International Bolshevik Tendency website that is not the main reason I am starting with the SL/U.S. Although I am not a political supporter of either organization in the accepted Leninist sense of that term, more often than not, and at times and on certain questions very much more often than not, my own political views and those of the International Communist League coincide. I am also, and I make no bones about it, a fervent supporter of the Partisan Defense Committee, a social and legal defense organization linked to the ICL and committed, in the traditions of the IWW, the early International Labor Defense-legal defense arm of the Communist International, and the early defense work of the American Socialist Workers Party, to the struggles for freedom of all class-war prisoners and defense of other related social struggles.
Markin comment on this article:

As has been detailed in other pieces in this space about the fate of the cadre of the Fourth International, including the leading figure, Leon Trotsky, assassinated by a Stalinist agent in Mexico in 1940, that organization was decimated by various forces by the end of World War II and left it without strong theoretical leadership the post-war period. Not strong enough at a time when the seemingly improbable situation developed where non-Leninist (in the early Bolshevik sense) parties were leading overturns of capitalist regimes from Eastern Europe to Asia. This inability to sift through the historic facts was most forcefully felt in the immediate case of Yugoslavia. But, frankly, the post- World War II methodological problems still haunt those of us who stand on the history of the Fourth International, mainly today around the question of whether China is capitalist or not. That makes this pamphlet worthwhile reading to order to try to sort that problem out.
Appendix I
The British Revolutionary Communist Party

Written: 1993
Source: Prometheus Research Library, Prometheus Research Series No. 4, New York, 2000
Transcription/Markup/Proofing: John Heckman.
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2007/Prometheus Research Library. You can freely copy, display and otherwise distribute this work. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive & Prometheus Research Library as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & editors above.


In digging up the history of the discussion in the Fourth International about Yugoslavia and East Europe, we have discovered that the positions of the Haston/Grant RCP were not only ignored, they were systematically distorted. Thus Morris Stein claimed, during the continuation of the discussion on East Europe in the SWP leadership, that “To the RCP, Stalinist control of state power also amounts to an automatic social change but they term it a workers’ state.”[1] Ernest Germain (Mandel) likewise claimed that, for the RCP, “Since from all evidence the bourgeoisie of the buffer countries no longer controls the state apparatus which has now fallen into the hands of the logically follows that the state has ceased being a bourgeois state.”[2]

Following this same characterization we have ourselves written that

...the analysis of the British Haston-Grant RCP majority, borrowed by the SWP’s Los Angeles Vern-Ryan grouping, achieved the beginning (but only the beginning) of wisdom in recognizing that in the immediate post-war period an examination of native property forms would hardly suffice since the state power in Eastern Europe was a foreign occupying army, the Red Army.[3]

Yet the RCP's amendments at the FI's Second World Congress (which were never published by the SWP) did not say that the countries of East Europe became deformed workers states with the Red Army victory in 1945 (as Vern-Ryan did), but rather that this was a process still under way in 1948. As the basis for the overthrow of capitalist rule, the amendments listed not only the preponderance of Soviet military force, but also “the balance of forces between the workers and Stalinist forces and the residues of the ruling class.”[4] Moreover, Bill Hunter's May 1949 document, written for the RCP majority, noted that it was the change in the international situation—namely, the onset of the Cold War—that led Stalin to change his policy from coddling the East European bourgeoisies to expropriating them:

True, for a period there existed Stalinist coalitions with the bourgeoisie, or with the shadow of the bourgeoisie.... In the first period following the war, the shadow of the bourgeoisie could have gained and was gaining substance. Given a different relationship of forces internationally, developments could have been entirely different to those which actually took place. However, because it could not afford to share the power, and because of its struggle against world imperialism, the bureaucracy, calling on the pressure of the masses, shattered the bourgeoisie completely. [5]

It is indeed unfortunate that the RCP's writings on East Europe and Yugoslavia were ignored, dismissed and largely suppressed. The Haston/Grant grouping was characterized by impressionism, earlier supporting the rightist Goldman/Morrow opposition in 1945-46 and later liquidating into the Labour Party. Moreover, a political tendency is more than just its stated program—and there is much we don't know about the actual functioning of the Haston/Grant-led RCP. But the struggle in the Fourth International might have followed a different course had their voices been around in 1951-53 to add theoretical understanding to the fight against Pabloism—and Pablo's bureaucratic treatment of them certainly foreshadowed the organizational methods he was to use again on the French PCI, and attempt to use on the American SWP. It is suggestive that, explaining the “impasse” of the RCP in 1950, Ted Grant pointed first of all to the “capitulation to Tito-Stalinism internationally.” Among the factors which permitted the rise of Stalinist-ruled, bureaucratically deformed workers states in the postwar period, he listed:

The fact that the revolution in China and Yugoslavia could be developed in a distorted and debased character is due to the world factors of
(a) The crisis of world capitalism
(b) The existence of a strong, deformed workers state adjacent to these countries and powerfully influencing the workers' movement.
(c) The weakness of the Marxist current of the IVth International.
These factors have resulted in an unparalleled development which could not have been foreseen by any of the Marxist teachers: the extension of Stalinism as a social phenomenon over half Europe, over the Chinese sub-continent and with the possibility of spreading over the whole of Asia.
This poses new theoretical problems to be worked out by the Marxist movement. Under conditions of isolation and of paucity of forces, new historical factors could not but result in a theoretical crisis of the movement, posing the problem of its very existence and survival.[6]

These comments could have been the beginning of wisdom, and they foreshadow in many respects the Spartacist analysis of the formation of a deformed workers state in Cuba a decade later. But by then the ravages of Pabloism had destroyed the Fourth International.


1 “Stenogram of Discussion in the Political Committee of the Socialist Workers Party on the Buffer Countries,“ SWP Internal Bulletin, Vol. XI, No. 5, October 1949, 23.

2 Ernest Germain (Mandel), “The Yugoslav Question, the Question of the Soviet Buffer Zone, and Their Implications for Marxist Theory,” SWP, International Information Bulletin, January 1950, 15.

3 “Genesis of Pabloism.”

4 “RCP Amendments to the Thesis on Russia and Eastern Europe.”

5 Bill Hunter, “The I.S. and Eastern Europe,” 8.

6 Unsigned (Ted Grant), “Statement to the BSFI [British Section of the Fourth International].”

Appendix II
Workers Power:
New International, New Program, New World Reality


Written: 1993
Source: Prometheus Research Library, Prometheus Research Series No. 4, New York, 1993
Transcription/Markup/Proofing: John Heckman.
Public Domain: Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line 2007/Prometheus Research Library. You can freely copy, display and otherwise distribute this work. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive & Prometheus Research Library as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & editors above.


In The Death Agony of the Fourth International, Workers Power snootily remarks, “The fighting propaganda group is not, for the Spartacists, a vehicle for programmatic re-elaboration (they do not do any)....”[1] Workers Power’s own “creative re-elaboration” of Trotskyism leads them quite far afield. Having pronounced the death of the Fourth International due to political degeneration and calling for a new, undefined “revolutionary communist international,” Workers Power has also rejected the program of Trotsky’s FI. In a 1988 article WP honcho Mark Hoskisson called for “re-elaborating the Transitional Programme” on the grounds that since it was written “much has occurred that Trotsky’s programme neither foresaw nor prepared for.”[2]

But this is no mere “updating.” Hoskisson’s article rejects the key premise of Trotsky’s strategy of world socialist revolution, which was also that of the Communist International in the days of Lenin, to wit:

The economic prerequisite for the proletarian revolution has already in general achieved the highest point of fruition that can be reached under capitalism. Mankind’s productive forces stagnate.[3]

Yet, claims Hoskisson, “in the metropolitan countries the second imperialist war was followed by an unprecedented economic boom for almost twenty years.” Judging that Trotsky “and the FI as a whole” had “an inadequate understanding” of political economy, this arrogant twit proclaims: “Now, with the reality of the post-war boom behind us, only an idiot, or perhaps a charlatan like Gerry Healy, would describe Trotsky’s categorical declaration as correct.”[4]

We demonstrated two decades ago that the “long postwar boom,” with its periodic crises, is a revisionist myth.[5] But the statement that the productive forces had ceased to grow was not a conjunctural prognosis, it was a characterization of the entire imperialist epoch and the basis for the Fourth International’s program for world socialist revolution. Trade unions “can no longer be reformist,” wrote Trotsky, “because the objective conditions leave no room for any serious and lasting reforms.”[6] WP, in contrast, claims that the alleged “boom created the conditions for the resurgence of social-democratic reformism.”[7] Trotsky argued that “the independence of the trade unions in the class sense, in their relations to the bourgeois state, can, in the present conditions, be assured only by a completely revolutionary leadership, that is, the leadership of the Fourth International.”[8] Workers Power calls instead for “developing the tactic of the rank and file movement” as “the united front in the unions.”[9]

The Hoskisson article solidarizes with Felix Morrow, who led a rightist social-democratic opposition in the SWP after World War II. While Morrow’s immediate economic prognosis turned out to be more accurate than Cannon’s prediction of imminent economic crisis, he derived from this a program of democratic demands. Similarly Hoskisson calls for a “strategic retreat” in the postwar period:

The failure to carry out a “strategic retreat” for the imperialist countries by formulating a policy for the unions was mirrored by the failure to re-elaborate the programme to deal with the resurgence of reformism....In place of the Transitional Programme’s general denunciation of reformism a programme of action utilising the tactics of the united front was required.[10]

Hoskissen then claims that the absence of such a program for a “united front with reformism” was the problem in the Belgian general strike of 1961 and in France 1968. But contrary to the WP myth of a “long boom” filling the sails of reformism and requiring a “strategic retreat” into united-front tactics, what was lacking in Brussels in 1961 and in Paris in 1968 was precisely a revolutionary program for the struggle for power!

Rejecting the Transitional Program’s central premise and its central conclusion, Workers Power launches a frontal assault on the founding document of the Fourth International as a program preparing the revolutionary struggle for power. In its stead WP elaborates a “method of transitional demands” leading to a “system of workers control”—that is, dual power in the factories—while relegating socialist revolution to the sweet by-and-by. “Transitional demands...could introduce a reformist led proletariat to the very need for revolution,” writes Hoskisson, and at some later date, when “the working class, or its vanguard, are fighting in this manner, the transitional programme will be transformed into the programme of soviet power and the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[11] Wrong. The Transitional Program is the program for the dictatorship of the proletariat. As Trotsky wrote, transitional demands are to organize the struggle of the proletariat leading it to the conquest of power: “It is necessary to help the masses in the process of the daily struggle to find the bridge between present demands and the socialist program of revolution.”[12]

Hoskisson’s article was the lead-up; The Trotskyist Manifesto, published in 1989 by Workers Power’s “League for a Revolutionary Communist International,” is the result. Declaring that “the FI was politically destroyed” in 1951 as the result of “the adoption of a systematic centrist method” whose “first and most dramatic example was that of Yugoslavia,” the WP/LRCI’s new program declares:

Trotsky, in the Transitional Programme, remarked that “Mankind’s productive forces stagnate.” This statement was part of a correct perspectival analysis of the 1930s, culminating in the cataclysm of the Second World War. However, no conjunctural or periodic characterisation holds good for an indefinite period....

In a number of major and minor imperialist powers “economic miracles” marked the boom years of the 1950s and 1960s....

During the long boom in the imperialist countries, a prolonged period of relative social peace reigned. This was based on rising real wages, near full employment and, in Europe at least, an unprecedented social welfare system. The Labour and Social Democratic bureaucracies tied the mass workers’ organisations to imperialism.[13]

Here you have the old New Left view of the bought-off working class and the new rise of reformism producing a prolonged social peace. Just to take the one example of France, this ignores the mammoth 1953 general strike, the miners strike and possibility of a working-class uprising against De Gaulle’s coup in 1958, extensive workers’ unrest over the Algerian War in the early ’60s, and the prerevolutionary situation of May 1968.

Rejection of Trotsky’s premise is followed by rejection of Trotsky’s revolutionary conclusion as well, writing it off as peculiar to the pre-WWII period. The WP/LRCI program states:

Trotsky’s Transitional Programme, written in these years, pronounced that the crisis of humanity was reduced to the crisis of leadership. However, today it would be wrong simply to repeat that all contemporary crises are “reduced to a crisis of leadership.”

The proletariat worldwide does not yet face the stark alternative of either taking power or seeing the destruction of all its past gains.[14]

Try telling that brazen lie to American unionists who have seen a massive onslaught against the unions, whose real wages have fallen steadily for the last two decades; tell it to ghetto black youth, an entire generation that capitalism has thrown on the scrap heap with no hope of ever getting jobs; tell it to British, French and West German workers who have suffered almost a decade of double-digit unemployment; tell it to the working people of east Germany, fully half (and even more among women) of whom have been thrown out of work as a result of the counterrevolution of capitalist reunification; tell it to the immigrant workers, who are the target of racist terror and suffer the sharpest blows of capitalist austerity; tell it to the masses of East Europe, reduced to starvation wages and soup kitchens; tell it to the interpenetrated peoples of Yugoslavia being ripped apart in bloody nationalist war; tell it to the masses of the “Third World,” including tens of millions of industrial workers producing for the imperialist markets, who are sinking ever deeper into immiseration! What profound confidence in capitalism Workers Power has.


1. Workers Power, Death Agony, 63-64.

2. Mark Hoskisson, “The Transitional Programme Fifty Years On,” Permanent Revolution No. 7, Spring 1988, 74.

3. Leon Trotsky, Transitional Program, 111.

4. Mark Hoskisson, op. cit., 74, 84.

5. See “Myth of Neo-Capitalism,” Revolutionary Communist Youth Newsletter No. 10, January-February 1972.

6. Leon Trotsky, “Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay” (August 1940), Leon Trotsky on the Trade Unions (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1969), 71.

7. Mark Hoskisson, op. cit., 74.

8. Leon Trotsky, “Trade Unions in the Epoch of Imperialist Decay,” 75.

9. Mark Hoskisson, op. cit., 97-98.

10. Ibid., 97.

11. Ibid., 90-91.

12. Leon Trotsky, Transitional Program, 114.

13. LRCI, The Trotskyist Manifesto, op. cit., 10-12.

14. Ibid., 19.

*From The “Catholic Worker” Website- A Washington Demonstration Today On The 20th Anniversary Of The American “Presence” In Iraq

Click on the headline to link to a Catholic Worker website entry for a demonstration and other events in Washington, D.C. scheduled for today, January 15, 2011, to mark the 20th anniversary of America's Iraq war.

Markin comment:

In the nature of my political work, and having a little time to do such things, I am responsible in my circle for “surfing” the blogosphere. Most of the time it comes up dry for an idea for a commentary but today I have one from a seemingly unusual source, at least for me, the Catholic Worker. This organization, founded in the 1930s by Dorothy Day among others, is no stranger to this blogger. I will discuss that below in a separate note. What is important here is that they are organizing a demonstration and other events today to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the American “presence” in Iraq. That event is worthy of some comment.

Of course, tracing back the American occupation in Iraq to the first George Bush administration’s murderous rampage in Iraq, complete with saturation bombing beginning on the night of January 15, 1991 at about 7:00PM EST, is exactly right. Although in general memory most people split the first Bush (41) Iraq War from the second Bush (43) March 2003 Iraq War that is wrong. The “interlude” Clinton Democratic administration’s savage and murderous economic blockade, no fly zone, and occasional bombings count as well. The days of counting wars in a few years and done are, apparently, over. The notion of the age thirty and hundred years wars that we read about in our old childhood history books and that we thought were well done and over is still with us. Although I cannot support the pacifist and religiously-derived philosophical non-violent thrust of the Catholic Worker program for this day as set forth in their announcement I can appreciate their efforts in commemorating the nature of modern war, and war-makers. And just in case it is not clear who they are and what they are doing- Obama-Immediate. Unconditional Withdrawal Of All U.S./Allied Troops (And Mercenaries) From Iraq And Afghanistan!

Note: The Catholic Worker spirit hovered, and hovered profusely in every room, around my growing up households both when we lived down at the edge, the flotsam and jetsam edge, of society in the old public housing projects when we were grindingly poor-struck and later when we moved an inch up to the regular poor, downwardly-mobile working class neighborhood of my teen years. I may have known the name Dorothy Day (and a little later, Ammon Hennessey, from out in Utah desert country, Joe Hill House Catholic outpost to Western bums, tramps, and hoboes, and also drifters, grifters, and midnight sifters he turned none away, as far as I knew) better than the pope’s. Well, maybe not as well, but close. Why? Well, for one, old grandma, crippled-up, house-bound , sweet, high saint Roman Catholic grandma, beatified grandma, no, not that “beat” beatified but beatitude-worthy, primo tuna fish sandwich on Friday- making grandma who was “hip” to the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s when New York-based Ms. Day came to Boston to spread the non-communist (although not anti-communist, remember those were "popular front" days) good tidings. And that fuse was carried over in my mother’s generation, although not the tuna-fish sandwich stuff (at least she was not as good as grandma at it, no way). Lesson: the meek may not inherit the earth, but they sure as hell should. And you and I, being “hip,” can show the way. How? By fighting for a workers party (an earthly workers party) that fights for a workers government (ditto, on the earthy thing). Here and now.

From The Lenin Internet Archives- Lenin And The Fight Against Imperialist War (1914-1917)-What Next?-On the Tasks Confronting the Workers’ Parties with Regard to Opportunism and Social-Chauvinism (1915)

From The Lenin Internet Archives- Lenin And The Fight Against Imperialist War (1914-1917)

Markin comment:

It would seem almost unnecessary to comment on Lenin’s Bolshevik positions on imperialist war, as exemplified by his analysis of the war that he actually had to fight against, World War I. Those positions reflected his understanding that with that war the nature of capitalism had changed, definitively, from a progressive step for humankind to just a squalid, never-ending struggle among “thieves” for control of the world’s resources. It would have seemed almost unnecessary to mention this, that is, for earlier leftist generations who were familiar with his various slogans centrally-“the main enemy is at home” (adapted from German revolutionary Karl Liebknecht-“not one penny, not one man for the imperialist war”- “turn the guns the other way” (toward your own rulers)-and, specific to Bolsheviks- “fight for a new workers international, the Third International” (to replace bankrupt Second International).

Now, especially after the past several anti-war rallies that I have attended, I am not sure who among the attendees is familiar with his work. With all the pacifist, stop war in general, peace now, let all men and women be brothers and sisters rhetoric ringing in my ears I have to assume not. More importantly, I do not see such slogans (or anything close to them) emblazoned on any banners lately. Thus, in a month when we of the international communist movement honor Lenin anyway (along with the aforementioned Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, the Rose of the revolution) this series will try to familiarize those who seek a better struggle against imperialist war than is being presented now with “red” anti-war positions.
V. I. Lenin
What Next?
On the Tasks Confronting the Workers’ Parties with Regard to Opportunism and Social-Chauvinism

Published: Sotsial-DemokratNo. 36, January 9, 1915. Published according to the text in Sotsial-Demokrat.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [197[4]], Moscow, Volume 21, pages 107-114.
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters and R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2002 (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.
Other Formats: Text • README

The tremendous crisis created within European socialism by the world war has (as is always the case in great crises) resulted first in enormous confusion; it then led to a series of new groupings taking shape among representatives of various currents, shades and views in socialism; finally, it raised, with particular acuteness and insistence, the question of what changes in the foundations of socialist policy follow from the crisis and are demanded by it. Between August and December 1914, the socialists of Russia also passed through these three “stages” in a marked fashion. We all know that there was no little confusion at the beginning; the confusion was increased by the tsarist persecutions, by the behaviour of the “Europeans”, and by the war alarm. In Paris and Switzerland, where there was the greatest number of political exiles, the greatest links with Russia, and the greatest degree of freedom, a new definite line of demarcation between the various attitudes towards problems raised by the war was being drawn, during September and October, at discussions, lectures, and in the press. It can safely be said that there is not a single shade of opinion in any current (or group) of socialism (and near-socialism) in Russia which has not found expression and been analysed. The general feeling is that the time has come for precise and positive conclusions capable of serving as the basis of systematic and practical activity, propaganda, agitation, and organisation. The situation is clear, all have expressed themselves. Let us now see who is with whom, and whither the courses have been taken.

On November 23 (N. S.), on the day following the publication in Petrograd of a government communique on the arrest of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour group in the Duma,[4] an event took place at the congress of the Swedish Social-Democratic Party in Stockholm, which finally and irrevocably placed on the order of the day the two questions just emphasised.[5] Readers will find below a description of this event, namely, a full translation, from the official Swedish Social-Democratic report, of the speeches both of Belenin (representing the Central Committee) and of Larin (representing the Organising Committee),[6] and also the debate on the question raised by Branting.

For the first time since the outbreak of war, a representative of our Party, of its Central Committee, and a representative of the liquidationist Organising Committee met at a congress of socialists of a neutral country. What did their speeches differ in? Belenin took a most definite stand regarding the grave, painful but momentous issues of the present-day socialist movement; quoting Sotsial-Demokrat,[7] the Party’s Central Organ, he came out with a resolute declaration of war against opportunism, branding the behaviour of the German Social-Democratic leaders (and “many others”) as treachery. Larin took no stand at all; he passed over the essence of the question in silence, confining himself to those hackneyed, hollow and moth-eaten phrases that always win hand-claps from opportunists and social-chauvinists in all countries. But then, Belenin said nothing at all about our attitude towards the other Social-Democratic parties or groups in Russia, as though intimating: “Such is our stand; as for the others, we shall not express ourselves as yet, but shall wait and see which course they will take.” Larin, on the contrary, unfurled the banner of “unity”, shed a tear over the “bitter fruit of the split in Russia”, and depicted in gorgeous colours the “work of unification” carried on by the Organising Committee, which, be said, had united Plekhanov, the Caucasians, the Bundists, the Poles,[8] and so forth. Larin’s intentions will be dealt with elsewhere (see below: The Kind of Unity Larin Proclaimed”[1] ). What interests us here is the fundamental question of unity.

We have before us two slogans. One is: war against the opportunists and the social-chauvinists, who are traitors. The other is: unity in Russia, in particular with Plekhanov (who, we shall state parenthetically, is behaving with us in exactly the same way as Südekum[2] with the Germans, Hyndman with the British, etc.). Is it not obvious that, though he is afraid to call things by their proper names, Larin has in fact come out as advocate of the opportunists and social-chauvinists?

Let us, however, consider in general and in the light of present-day events the meaning of the “unity” slogan. The proletariat’s unity is its greatest weapon in the struggle for the socialist revolution. From this indisputable truth it follows just as indisputably that, when a proletarian party is joined by a considerable number of petty-bourgeois elements capable of hampering the struggle for the socialist revolution, unity with such elements is harmful and perilous to the cause of the proletariat. Present-day events have shown that, on the one hand, the objective conditions are ripe for an imperialist war (i.e., a war reflecting the last and highest stage of capitalism), and, on the other hand, that decades of a so-called peaceful epoch have allowed an accumulation of petty-bourgeois and opportunist junk within the socialist parties of all the European countries. Some fifteen years ago, during the celebrated “Bernsteiniad” in Germany—and even earlier in many other countries—the question of the opportunist and alien elements within the proletarian parties had become a burning issue. There is hardly a single Marxist of note who has not recognised many times and on various occasions that the opportunists are in fact a non-proletarian element hostile to the socialist revolution. The particularly rapid growth of this social element of late years is beyond doubt: it includes officials of the legal labour unions, parliamentarians and the other intellectuals, who have got themselves easy and comfort able posts in the legal mass movement, some sections of the better paid workers, office employees, etc., etc. The war has clearly proved that at a moment of crisis (and the imperialist era will undoubtedly be one of all kinds of crises) a sizable mass of opportunists, supported and often directly guided by the bourgeoisie (this is of particular importance!), go over to the latter’s camp, betray socialism, damage the workers’ cause, and attempt to ruin it. In every crisis the bourgeoisie will always aid the opportunists, will always try to suppress the revolutionary section of the proletariat, stopping short of nothing and employing the most unlawful and savage military measures. The opportunists are bourgeois enemies of the proletarian revolution, who in peaceful times carry on their bourgeois work in secret, concealing themselves within the workers’ parties, while in times of crisis they immediately prove to be open allies of the entire united bourgeoisie, from the conservative to the most radical and democratic part of the latter, from the free thinkers, to the religious and clerical sections. Anyone who has failed to understand this truth after the events we have gone through is hopelessly deceiving both himself and the workers. Individual desertions are inevitable under the present conditions, but their significance, it should be remembered, is determined by the existence of a section and current of petty-bourgeois opportunists. Such social-chauvinists, as Hyndman, Vandervelde, Guesde, Plekhanov and Kautsky, would be of no significance whatever if their spineless and banal speeches in defence of bourgeois patriotism were not taken up by the entire social strata of opportunists and by swarms of bourgeois papers and bourgeois politicians.

Typical of the socialist parties of the epoch of the Second International was one that tolerated in its midst an opportunism built up in decades of the “peaceful” period, an opportunism that kept itself secret, adapting itself to the revolutionary workers, borrowing their Marxist terminology, and evading any clear cleavage of principles. This type has outlived itself. If the war ends in 1915, will any thinking socialist be found willing to begin, in 1916, restoring the workers’ parties together with the opportunists, knowing from experience that in any new crisis all of them to a man (plus many other spineless and muddle-headed people) will be for the bourgeoisie, who will of course find a pretext to ban any talk of class hatred and the class struggle?

In Italy, the party was the exception for the period of the Second International; the opportunists, headed by Bissolati, were expelled from the party. In the present crisis, the results have proved excellent : people of various trends of opinion have not deceived the workers or blinded them with pearls of eloquence regarding “unity"; each of them followed his own road. The opportunists (and deserters from the workers’ party such as Mussolini) practised social-chauvinism, lauding (as Plekhanov did) “gallant Belgium”, thereby shielding the policies, not of a gallant, but of a bourgeois Italy, which would plunder the Ukraine and Galicia . . . I mean, Albania, Tunisia, etc., etc. Meanwhile, the socialists were waging against them a war against war, in preparation of a civil war. We are not at all idealising the Italian Socialist Party and in no way guarantee that it will stand firm should Italy enter the war. We are speaking not of the future of that party, but only of the present. We are stating the indisputable fact that the workers in most European countries have been deceived by the fictitious unity of the opportunists and the revolutionaries, Italy being the happy exception, a country where no such deception exists at present. What was a happy exception for the Second International should and shall become the rule for the Third International. While capitalism persists, the proletariat will always be a close neighbour to the petty bourgeoisie. It is sometimes unwise to reject temporary alliances with the latter, but unity with them, unity with the opportunists can be defended at present only by the enemies of the proletariat or by hoodwinked traditionalists of a bygone period.

Today, following 1914, unity of the proletarian struggle for the socialist revolution demands that the workers’ parties separate themselves completely from the parties of the opportunists. What we understand by opportunism has been clearly said in the Manifesto of the Central Committee (No. 33, “The War and Russian Social-Democracy”[3] ).

But what do we see in Russia? Is it good or bad for the working-class movement of our country to have unity between people who, in one way or another and with more or less consistency, are combating chauvinism—of both the Purishkevich and the Cadet brand—and people who echo that chauvinism, like Maslov, Plekhanov and Smirnov? Is it good to have unity between people engaged in anti-war action and such that declare that they will not oppose the war, like-the influential authors of “Document” (No. 34)[9]? Only those who wish to turn a blind eye to things will find difficulty in answering this question.

The objection may be made that Martov has polemised with Plekhanov in Golos and, together with a number of other friends and partisans of the Organising Committee, has battled against social-chauvinism. We do not deny this, and had words of praise for Martov in No. 33 of the Central Organ. We would be very glad if Martov were not “turned about”(see the article, “Martov Turns About”); we would very much like a decisive anti-chauvinist line to become the line of the Organising Committee. That, however, does not depend upon our wishes, or upon any one else’s. What are the objective facts? First, Larin, the Organising Committee’s official representative, is for some reason silent about Golos, while naming the social-chauvinist Plekhanov, and also Axelrod, who wrote an article (in Berner Tagwacht[10]) so as not to say a single definite word there. Moreover, Larin, apart from his official position, is more than geographically close to the influential central group of the liquidators in Russia. Secondly, there is the European press. In France and Germany, the papers are saying nothing about Golos, while speaking of Rubanovich, Plekhanov, and Chkheidze. (In its issue of December 12, Hamburger Echo, one of the most jingoist organs of the jingoist “Social-Democratic” press of Germany, called Chkheidze an adherent of Maslov and Plekhanov; this has also been hinted at by certain papers in Russia. It is clear that all fellow-thinkers of the Südekums fully appreciate the ideological aid Plekhanov has given to the Südekums.) In Russia, millions of copies of bourgeois papers have brought the “people” tidings of Maslov-Plekhanov-Smirnov—but no news of the trend represented by Golos. Thirdly, the experience of the legal workers’ press of 1912-14 has definitely proved that the source of a certain degree of social strength and influence enjoyed by the liquidationist movement lies, not in the working class, but in that section of bourgeois-democratic intelligentsia, which has brought the central group of legalist writers to the fore. The national-chauvinist temper of this section as a section is testified to by the entire press of Russia, as revealed in the letters of the Petrograd worker (Sotsial-Demokrat Nos. 33 and 35) and in the “Document”(No. 34). Considerable personal re-groupings within that section are quite possible, but it is absolutely improbable that, as a section, it should not be “patriotic” and opportunist.

Such are the objective facts. Since we take them into account and are aware that it is to the advantage of all bourgeois parties that wish for influence over the workers, to have a Left wing for display (particularly when that wing is unofficial), we must declare the idea of unity with the Organising Committee an illusion detrimental to the workers’ cause.

The policy of the Organising Committee who, in far-away Sweden, on November 23, proclaimed their unity with Plekhanov and spoke words sweet to the hearts of all social-chauvinists, while in Paris and in Switzerland they did not bother to make their existence known either on September 13 (when Golos appeared) or on November 23 or to this day (December 23), strongly resembles political chicanery of the worst kind. The hope that Otkliki,[11] scheduled to appear in Zurich, would be of an official Party nature has been destroyed by a forthright statement in Berner Tagwacht (December 12), to the effect that this paper will not be of such a nature. (Incidentally, the editors of Golos declared in issue No. 52 that to continue at present the rift with the liquidators would be “nationalism” of the worst kind. This phrase, which is devoid of grammatical meaning, has only political meaning that the editors of Golos prefer having unity with the social-chauvinists to drawing closer to those who are irreconcilably hostile to social-chauvinism. The editors of Golos have made a bad choice.)

To make the picture complete, it remains for us to add a few words about Mysl,[12] organ of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, which is published in Paris. This paper also lauds “unity”, while it shields (cf. Sotsial-Demokrat No. 34) the social-chauvinism of Rubanovich, its party leader, defends the Franco-Belgian opportunists and ministerialists, says nothing of the patriotic motives of the speech by Kerensky, one of the extreme radicals among the Russian Trudoviks,[13] and prints well-worn petty-bourgeois vulgarities on the revision of Marxism, in a Narodnik and opportunist spirit. What the resolution of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party’s summer conference of 1913[14] said of the Socialist-Revolutionaries has been fully and particularly proved by this behaviour of Mysl.

Some Russian socialists seem to think that internationalism consists in a readiness to welcome a resolution containing an international vindication of social-chauvinism in all countries, such as is to be drawn up by Plekhanov and Südekum, Kautsky and Hervé, Guesde and Hyndman, Vandervelde and Bissolati, etc. We permit ourselves the thought that internationalism consists only in an unequivocal internationalist policy within one’s party. A genuinely proletarian internationalist policy cannot be pursued, active opposition to the war cannot be preached, and forces for such action cannot be mustered while we are in the company of the opportunists and the social-chauvinists. To find refuge in silence, or to wave this truth aside which, though bitter, is necessary to the socialist, is detrimental and ruinous to the working-class movement.

[1] See pp. 115-17 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] Plekhanov’s pamphlet, On the War (Paris, 1914), which we have just received, confirms very convincingly the truth of the assertions made in the text. We shall return to this pamphlet later on. —Lenin

[3] See pp. 25–34 of this volume.—Ed.

[4] The Bolshevik deputies to the Fourth Duma were arrested on the night of November 5-6 (18-19),1914. The pretext for their arrest was their participation in a conference they convened in the village of Ozerki, near Petrograd.

Held on November 2-4 (15-17), the conference was attended by representatives of the Bolshevik organisations of Petrograd, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Kharkov and Riga, as well as by the Duma Bolshevik deputies.

Warned by an agent provocateur the police swooped down on Ozerki when the conference had just completed its work. During the search of G. I. Petrovsky, A. Y. Badayev and other Duma Bolshevik deputies, the police found Lenin’s theses on the war and the newspaper Sotsial-Demokrat No. 33, which carried the manifesto of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. “The War and Russian Social-Democracy”. All participants in the conference were arrested, but the Duma Bolshevik deputies, who enjoyed parliamentary immunity, escaped arrest. Two days later, however, they too were arrested, tried and exiled for life to Eastern Siberia. Lenin devoted to the trial of the Bolshevik deputies the article “What Has Been Revealed by the Trial of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Duma Group” , which was published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 40, March 29, 1915 (see this volume, pp. 171-77).

[5] The Congress of the Swedish Social-Democratic Party was held in Stockholm on November 23,1914. The main item on the agenda dealt with the attitude towards the war. A. G. Shlyapnikov, who brought the Congress a message of greetings from the R.S.D.L.P’s Central Committee, read a declaration calling for a struggle to be waged against the imperialist war and branding the treachery of the leaders of the German Social-Democrats and the socialist parties of other countries, who had turned social-chauvinist. Branting, leader of the Swedish Social-Democratic Party’s Right wing, moved that regret be expressed at the section of the declaration condemning the conduct of German Social-Democracy, asserting that “it does not befit” the Congress “to reprehend other parties”. Höglund, leader of the Left Social-Democrats, came out against Branting’s proposal, and declared that many Swedish Social-Democrats shared the view expressed in the declaration of the R.S.D.L.P.’s Central Committee. However, Branting’s proposal was carried by a majority of votes. Y. Larin addressed the Congress on behalf of the Menshevik Organising Committee. A report on the Congress was published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 36, January 9, 1915.

[6] The Organizing Committee—the Menshevik guiding centre, was established at a conference of the Menshevik liquidators and all anti-Party groups and trends, held in August 1912. It existed until the election of the Central Committee of the Menshevik party in August 1917.

Belenin—A. G. Shlyapnikov.

[7] Sotsial-Demokrat—Central Organ of the R.S.D.L.P., published illegally from February 1908 to January 1917. In all, 58 issues appeared. The first issue was published in Russia, and the rest abroad, first in Paris and then in Geneva. According to the decision of the R.S.D.L.P.’s Central Committee, the editorial board was composed of representatives of Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Polish Social-Democrats.

The newspaper published over 80 articles and items by Lenin. While on the editorial board, Lenin maintained a consistent Bolshevik stand. Some editors (including Kamenev and Zinoviev) took a conciliatory attitude towards the liquidators and tried to disrupt Lenin’s line. The Menshevik editors Martov and Dan sabotaged the work of the editorial board and openly defended liquidationism in their factional newspaper Golos Sotsial-Demokrata.

Because of Lenin’s uncompromising struggle against the liquidators Martov and Dan walked out of the editorial board, in June 1911. Beginning with December 1911 Lenin became editor of Sotsial-Demokrat.

[8] Lenin is referring to the Caucasian Menshevik liquidators, the Bund (The General Jewish Workers’ Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia), and representatives of the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania, who supported the liquidators.

[9] The reference is to the reply of the St. Petersburg liquidators (Potresov, Maslov, Cherevanin and others) to Vandervelde’s telegram urging Russian Social-Democrats to abstain from opposing the war. In their reply, the Russian liquidators approved Belgian, French and English socialists joining bourgeois governments, and declared that in their activities in Russia they were not opposed to the war.

[10] Berner Tagwacht—a daily newspaper, organ of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party, founded in Berne in 1893. In the early days of the First World War, it published articles by Karl Liebknecht Franz Mehring and other Left Social-Democrats. Following 1917 the newspaper openly supported social-chauvinists.

Today the newspaper’s line coincides on the main issues with that of the bourgeois press.

[11] The Menshevik Organising Committee announced the forthcoming publication of its organ Otkliki (Echoes ), which, however, never appeared.

[12] Mysl(Thought )—a daily Socialist-Revolutionary newspaper published in Paris from November 1914 to March 1915.

[13] Trudoviks—a group of petty-bourgeois democrats in the State Duma consisting of peasants and intellectuals of a Narodnik trend. The Trudovik group was formed in April 1906 of peasant deputies to the First Duma. In the Duma the Trudoviks vacillated between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats.

During the First World War, most of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, Popular Socialists and Trudoviks took a social-chauvinist stand.

[14] Lenin is referring to the resolution “The Narodniks” which he wrote and which was adopted by the joint Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee and Party officials held between September 23 and October 1 (October 6-14), 1913, in the village of Poronin (near Cracow). For reasons of secrecy, the conference was called the “Summer” or “August” Conference. See the resolution in Volume 19 of the present edition, pp. 429-31.

Friday, January 14, 2011

From The Minnesota Hand Off Honduras Coaliton-Espias del FBI en Movimientos de Minneapolis:

Click on headline for the video ESpias del FBI en Movimientos de Minneapolis from the Minnesota Hands Off Honduras Coaliton website.

From The UJP Website- A Report-Government Informer Infiltrated Minnesota Activist Groups- And A Case Study

Markin comment:

It seems impossible that this government, this monstrously over-fed imperialist government, with more security agencies than it knows what to do with, would seriously bother with the doings of the minuscule organized extra-parliamentary left in America , or in this case just some, mainly, ad hoc anti-war committees. But they are, and as long as the class struggle goes on, in today‘s low tide doldrums or when our time comes, they will continue to do so.

This “interest” reminds me of the heyday of the anti-communist “red scare” of the 1950s when the long gone and unlamented FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, had so many of his agents undercover in the American Communist Party that they were reporting on each other. That was another time when one had reason to wonder about the why of such as interest by governmental bureaucrats since the party had been decimated by the purges from the trades unions, academia, and the entertainment industries, and by the internal problems caused by the contradictions of Stalinism after the death of Stalin (chiefly Khrushchev’s revelations about Stalin and the Hungarian events of 1956).

All this report tells us though, really, is what we already knew. That the government, no matter the administration, has always done, is doing, and will continue to do infiltrations of left groups. All we can do is be cautious, not get catch up in some hare-brained scheme hatched by anybody, known or unknown, and, frankly, in these quasi-democratic times just do our business of anti-capitalist, anti-war propaganda as best we can in the open. For as long as we can.
Government Informer Infiltrated Minnesota Activist Groups
Submitted by ujpadmin on Wed, 01/12/2011 - 10:15pm.
By Nick Pinto - January. 12 2011 - City Pages

The Twin Cities activists who had their homes raided by the FBI last September are starting to learn more about why they're being investigated by a Chicago grand jury in relation to material support of terrorism.

Lawyers for the activists have learned from prosecutors that the feds sent an undercover law enforcement agent to infiltrate the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee in April 2008, just as the group was planning its licensed protests at the Republican National Convention. Going by the name "Karen Sullivan," the agent blended in with the many new faces the Committee was seeing at meetings in the lead-up to the RNC. But she stayed active afterward, attending virtually every meeting.

"She presented herself as a lesbian with a teenage daughter, and said she had a difficult relationship with her daughter's father, which is one of the reasons she gave us for not being more transparent about her story," says Jess Sundin, a member of the Anti-War Committee and one of the activists who has received a subpoena from the Chicago grand jury. "It was a sympathetic story for a lot of us."

Sullivan told the group she was originally from Boston but that she had had a rough childhood and was estranged from her family. She said she had spent some time in Northern Ireland working with Republican solidarity groups.

Sullivan at first said that she didn't have any permanent address in the area, but she eventually got an apartment in the Seward neighborhood. She claimed to be employed by a friend's small business, checking out foreclosed properties that he might buy. The cover story of a flexible job schedule let her attend all the meetings she wanted to, and to have individual lunches with other activists.

"She really took an interest," Sundin said. "It raised some suspicions among other members at first, but after the other undercover agents from the RNC Welcoming Committee came out, and no in our organization did, we figured we didn't have any. Besides, we didn't think we had anything we needed to be secretive about."

Sullivan began to take on more responsibilities with the organization, chairing meetings, handling the group's bookkeeping, and networking with dozens of other organizations.

In the summer of 2009, Sullivan joined two other Twin Cities activists in a trip to visit Palestine. Somehow, when they landed in Tel Aviv, Israeli security forces knew they were coming, and that they were headed to Palestine.

The three women were told they could get on the next plane back home or they could face detention. Sullivan took the flight. The other two women chose detention and were ultimately deported.

Attorneys for the activists have also learned that prosecutors are especially interested in a small donation the women intended to give to their host organization in Palestine, the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees. The group is registered as an NGO with the Palestinian Authority and not listed as a terrorist group by the United States.

Last fall, Sullivan disappeared from the Twin Cities, telling her fellow activists that she had some family business to take care of. She never came back. On September 24, the FBI launched a series of early morning raids on the homes of members of the Anti-War Committee and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

The FBI would not confirm or deny Sullivan's identity as a government agent or comment on this story by the time of publication. The U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago has said it will not comment on anything related to the grand jury investigation.

Last fall the Justice Department's Inspector General released a scathing report that criticized the FBI for invoking anti-terrorist laws to justify their investigations and harassment of groups including Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Catholic Worker.

"This is exactly what the Inspector General's report was talking about," Sundin told City Pages this morning. "The FBI doesn't have the right to spy on us. It's an abuse of our democratic rights. We're supposed to have freedom of association, not, 'You can associate but we're going to spy on you.'"

Out In The Be-Bop 1960s Night- Out In The Jukebox Night - A CD Review

Click on the headline to link to a YouTube Film clip of Ben E. King performing Spanish Harlem.

CD Review

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Era: The ‘60s: Keep On Rockin’, various artists, Time-Life Music, 1988

Recently I, seemingly, have endlessly gone back to my early musical roots in reviewing various compilations of a Time-Life classic rock series that goes under the general title The Rock ‘n’ Roll Era. And while time and ear have eroded the sparkle of some of the lesser tunes it still seems obvious that those years, say 1955-62, really did form the musical jail break-out for my generation, the generation of ’68, who had just started to tune into music.

And we had our own little world, or as some hip sociologist trying to explain that Zeitgeist today might say, our own sub-group cultural expression. I have already talked about the pre 7/11 mom and pop corner variety store hangout with the tee-shirted, engineered-booted, cigarette (unfiltered) hanging from the lips, Coke, big sized glass Coke bottle at the side, pinball wizard guys thing. And about the pizza parlor juke box coin devouring, playing some “hot” song for the nth time that night, hold the onions I might get lucky tonight, dreamy girl might come in the door thing. Of course, the soda fountain, and…ditto, dreamy girl coming through the door thing, merely to share a sundae, please. And the same for the teen dance club, keep the kids off the streets even if we parents hate their damn rock music, the now eternal hope dreamy girl coming in the door, save the last dance for me thing.

Whee! That’s maybe enough memory lane stuff for a lifetime, especially for those with weak hearts. But, no, your intrepid messenger feels the need to go back again and take a little different look at that be-bop jukebox Saturday night scene as it unfolded in the early 1960s. Hey, you could have found the old jukebox in lots of places in those days. Bowling alleys, drugstores, pizza parlors, drive-in restaurants, and as shown in the cover art here at the daytime beach. While boy or girl watching. Basically any place where kids were hot for some special song and wanted to play it until the cows came home. And had the coins to satisfy their hunger.

A lot of it was to kill time waiting for this or that, although the basic reason was these were all places where you could show off your stuff, and maybe, strike up a conversation with someone who attracted your attention as they came in the door. The cover artwork on this compilation shows a dreamy girl waiting for her platters (records, okay) to work their way up the mechanism that took them from the stack and laid them out on the player. And tee-shirted sullen guy (could have been you, right?) just hanging around the machine waiting for just such a well-shaped brunette (or blond, but I favored brunettes in those days), maybe chatting idly was worth at least a date (or, more often, a telephone number to call). Not after nine at night though or before eight because that was when she was talking to her boy friend. Lucky guy, maybe.

But here is where the real skill came in, and where that white-tee-shirted guy on the cover seemed to be clueless. Just hanging casually around the old box, especially on a no, or low, dough day waiting on a twist (slang for girl in our old working class neighborhood) to come by and put her quarter in (giving three or five selections depending what kind of place the jukebox was located in) talking, usually to girlfriends, as she made those selections. Usually the first couple were easy, some old boy friend memory, or some wistful tryst remembrance, but then she got contemplative, or fidgety, over what to pick next.

Then you made your move-“Have you heard Spanish Harlem. NO! Well, you just have to hear that thing and it will cheer you right up. Or some such line. Of course, you wanted to hear the damn thing. But see, a song like that (as opposed to Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Rock and Roller, let’s say) showed you were a sensitive guy, and maybe worth talking to... for just a minute, I got to get back to my girlfriends, etc, etc. Oh, jukebox you baby. And guess what. On that self-same jukebox you were very, very likely to hear some of the compilations from this CD: Here’s the list and there are some stick outs (and a few that worked some of that “magic” just mentioned above on tough nights):

1)My Boyfriend's Back - The Angels; 2)Nadine (Is It You?) - Chuck Berry; 3)Spanish Harlem - Ben E. King; 4)Come & Get These Memories - Martha & the Vandellas; 5)Perfidia - The Ventures; 6)Lover's Island - The Blue Jays; 7)Playboy - The Marvelettes; 8)Little Latin Lupe Lu - The Righteous Brothers; 9)It's Gonna Work Out Fine - Ike & Tina Turner; 10)When We Get Married - The Dreamlovers; 11)The One Who Really Loves You - Mary Wells; 12)Little Diane - Dion; 13)Dear Lady Twist - Gary "U.S." Bonds; 14)Heartaches - The Marcels; 15)Feel So Fine (Feel So Good) - Johnny Preston; 16)If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody - James Ray; 17)All in My Mind - Maxine Brown; 18)Maybe I know - Lesley Gore; 19)Heart & Soul - The Cleftones; 20)Peanut Butter - The Marathons; 21)I Count the Tears - The Drifters; 22)Everybody Loves a Lover - The Shirelles

From The Lenin Internet Archives- Lenin And The Fight Against Imperialist War (1914-1917)-The “Peace” Slogan Appraised(1915)

Markin comment:

It would seem almost unnecessary to comment on Lenin’s Bolshevik positions on imperialist war, as exemplified by his analysis of the war that he actually had to fight against, World War I. Those positions reflected his understanding that with that war the nature of capitalism had changed, definitively, from a progressive step for humankind to just a squalid, never-ending struggle among “thieves” for control of the world’s resources. It would have seemed almost unnecessary to mention this, that is, for earlier leftist generations who were familiar with his various slogans centrally-“the main enemy is at home” (adapted from German revolutionary Karl Liebknecht-“not one penny, not one man for the imperialist war”- “turn the guns the other way” (toward your own rulers)-and, specific to Bolsheviks- “fight for a new workers international, the Third International” (to replace the bankrupt Second International).

Now, especially after the past several anti-war rallies that I have attended, I am not sure who among the attendees is familiar with his work. With all the pacifist, stop war in general, peace now, let all men and women be brothers and sisters rhetoric ringing in my ears I have to assume not. More importantly, I do not see such slogans (or anything close to them) emblazoned on any banners lately. Thus, in a month when we of the international communist movement honor Lenin anyway (along with the aforementioned Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, the Rose of the revolution) this series will try to familiarize those who seek a better struggle against imperialist war than is being presented now with “red” anti-war positions.
V. I. Lenin
The “Peace” Slogan Appraised

Written: Written in July–August 1915
Published: First published in the magazine Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 5 (28), 1924. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [197[4]], Moscow, Volume 21, pages 287-289.
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters and R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 2002 (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.
Other Formats: Text • README

In its issue of June 27, 1915, the Vienna Arbeiter-Zeitwig, central organ of the Austrian Social-Democrats, cites a very instructive declaration contained in the German governmental Norddeutsche Aligemeine Zeitung.

The declaration deals with an article by one of the best known (and vilest) opportunists of the “Social-Democratic.” Party of Germany named Quarck, who said inter alia:

“We German Social-Democrats and our Austrian comrades have repeatedly declared ourselves ready to establish contacts (with the British and French Social-Democrats) for the purpose of beginning peace talks. The German Imperial Government know of this, and have not placed the slightest obstacle in our way.”

Nationalliberale Korrespondenz, a German national-liberal paper, has said that the concluding words permit of a double interpretation. The first is that the government have put no obstacles in the way of “international political action” by the Social-Democrats, insofar as it does not transgress the limits of legality and “is not dangerous to the State”. This, the paper says, is perfectly intelligible from the angle of “political freedom”.

The second interpretation is that the German Government “at least tacitly approve of the Social-Democratic internationalist peace propaganda, and even consider it a suitable means of laying down the initial basis for exploring the possibility of peace”.

The national-liberal paper naturally considers this latter interpretation out of the question. In this it has the official support of the government newspaper, which goes on to say that “the government have nothing in common with internationalist peace propaganda and have authorised neither Social-Democratic nor any other intermediaries to conduct that propaganda”.

An edifying farce, is it not? Will anybody believe that the German Government, who have forbidden Vorwärts to write about the class struggle, have introduced harsh military laws against popular meetings and veritable “military slavery” for the proletariat—that this government have, out of sheer liberalism, “put no obstacles” in the way of Messrs. Quarck and Südekum, or that they are not in constant communication with the latter gentlemen?

Is it not a thousand times more likely that Quarck inadvertently told the truth (namely, that the peace propaganda was started by the German Social-Democrats when they had reached a direct or indirect understanding with their government), and that he was “officially refuted” only for the purpose of concealing the truth.

This is a lesson to those phrase-lovers who, like Trotsky (see No. 105 of Nashe Slovo), defend—in opposition to us—the peace slogan, alleging among other things that “all Left-wingers” have united for the purpose of “action” under this very slogan! The Junker government have now demonstrated the correctness of our Berne resolution (Sotsial-Demokrat No. 40), which says that the propaganda of peace “unaccompanied by a call for revolutionary mass action” can only “sow illusions” and “turn the proletariat into a plaything in the hands of the secret diplomacy of the belligerent countries”.[1]

This has been literally proved!

In a few years diplomatic history will prove that there was an understanding, direct or indirect, between the opportunists and the governments on peace palaver and this, not in Germany alone! Diplomacy may conceal such things, but murder will out!

When the Lefts began to unite under the peace slogan, this deserved encouragement, provided it was the first step in protest against the chauvinists, in the same fashion as the Gaponade was the Russian worker’s first timid protest against the tsar. But since the Lefts are even now confining themselves to this slogan (slogans are the business of intelligent political leaders), they are shoddy Lefts, there is consequently not a grain of “action” in their resolutions, and they are consequently a plaything in the hands of the Sudekums, Quarcks, Sembats, Hyndmans, Joffres, and Hindenburgs.

Anyone who fails to understand this even today, when the peace slogan ("unaccompanied by a call for revolutionary mass action") has been prostituted by the Vienna Conference[2] of Bernstein, Kautsky and Co. with the Scheidernanns (the German Vorstand, their Executive), is simply an unwitting participant in the social-chauvinist humbugging of the people.

[1] See p. 163 of this volume.—Ed.

[2] The reference is to the Conference of Socialists of Germany and Austria-Hungary, held in Vianna in April 1915. The Conference approved of the social-chauvinist stand taken by the leadership of the German and Austrian socialist parties, wich justified the war and stated, in their resolutions, that this did not run counter to proletarian unity and to the workers’ international solidarity in the struggle for peace.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Honor The Three L's- From The Pen Of Rosa Luxemburg-Rebuilding the International (1915)

Rosa Luxemburg
Rebuilding the International

Written: 1915.
Source: Die Internationale, No.1, 1915.
Transcription/Markup: Dario Romeo and Brian Baggins.
Online Version: Rosa Luxemburg Internet Archive ( 2000.

On August 4th, 1914, German Social Democracy abdicated politically, and at the same time the Socialist International collapsed. All attempts at denying or concealing this fact, regardless of the motives on which they are based, tend objectively to perpetuate, and to justify, the disastrous self-deception of the socialist parties, the inner malady of the movement, that led to the collapse, and in the long run to make the Socialist International a fiction, a hypocrisy.

To collapse itself is without precedent in the history of all times. Socialism or Imperialism – this alternative summarizes completely the political orientation of the labour parties in the past decade. For in Germany it was formulated in innumerable program speeches, mass meetings, brochures and newspaper articles as the slogan of Social Democracy, as the party’s interpretation of the tendencies of the present historical epoch.

With the outbreak of the world war, word has become substance, the alternative has grown from a historical tendency into the political situation. Faced with this alternative, which it had been the first to recognize and bring to the masses’ consciousness, Social Democracy backed down without a struggle and conceded victory to imperialism. Never before in the history of class struggles, since there have been political parties, has there been a party that, in this way, after fifty years of uninterrupted growth, after achieving a first-rate position of power, after assembling millions around it, has so completely and ignominiously abdicated as a political force within twenty-four hours, as Social Democracy has done. Precisely because it was the best-organized and best-disciplined vanguard of the International, the present-day collapse of socialism can be demonstrated by Social Democracy’s example.

Kautsky, as the representative of the so-called ‘Marxist Centre’, or, in political term, as the theoretician of the swamp, has for years degraded theory into the obliging hand-maiden of the official practice of the party bureaucrats and thus made his own sincere contribution to the present collapse of the party. Already he has thought out an opportune new theory to justify and explain the collapse. According to this theory, Social Democracy is an instrument for peace but not a means of combatting war. Or, as Kautsky’s faithful pupils in the Austrian ‘struggle’, sighing profusely at the present aberration of German Social Democracy, decree: the only policy befitting socialism during the war is ‘silence’; only when the bells of peace peal out can socialism again begin to function.(1) This theory of a voluntary assumed eunuch role, which says that socialism’s virtue can be upheld only if, at the crucial moments, it is eliminated as a factor in world history, suffer from the basic mistake of all account of political impotence: it overlooks the most vital factor.

Faced with the alternative of coming out for or against the war, Social Democracy, from the moment it abandoned its opposition, has been forced by the iron compulsion of history to throw its full weight behind the war. The same Kautsky who in the memorable meeting of the parliamentary party of August 3rd pleaded for its consent to the war credits, the same ‘Austro-Marxists’ (as they call themselves) who now see as self-evident the Social-Democratic parliamentary party’s consent to the war credits – even they now occasionally shed a few tears at the nationalistic excesses of the Social-Democratic party organs and at their inadequate theoretical training, particularly in the razor-thin separation of the concept of ‘nationality’ and of other ‘concepts’ allegedly guilty of those aberrations. But events have their own logic, even when human beings do not. Once Social Democracy’s parliamentary representative had decided in favour of supporting the war, everything else followed automatically with the inevitability of historical destiny.

On August 4th, German Social Democracy, far from being ‘silent’, assumed an extremely important historical function: the shield-bearer of imperialism in the present war. Napoleon ones said that two factors decide the outcome of a battle: the ‘earthly’ factor, consisting of the terrain, quality of the weapons, weather, etc,, and the ‘divine’ factor, that is, the moral constitution of the army, its morale, its belief in its own cause. The ‘earthly’ factor was taken care of on the German side largely by the Krupp firm of Essen; the ‘divine’ factor can be charged above all to Social Democracy’s account. The services since August 4th that it has rendered and it is rendering daily to the German war leaders are immeasurable: the trade unions that on the outbreak of war shelved their battle for higher wages and invested with the aura of ‘socialism’ all the military authorities’ security measures aimed at preventing popular uprisings; the Social-Democratic women who withdrew all their time and effort from Social-Democratic agitation and, arm in arm with bourgeois patriots, used these to assist the needy warriors’ families; the Social-Democratic press which, with a few exceptions, uses its daily papers and weekly and monthly periodicals to propagate the war as a national cause and the cause of the proletariat; that press which, depending on the turns the war takes, depicts the Russian peril and the horror of the Tsarist government, or abandons a perfidious Albion to the people’s hatred, or rejoices at the uprisings and revolutions in foreign colonies; or which prophesies the re-strengthening of Turkey after this war, which promises freedom to the Poles, the Ruthenians and all peoples, which imparts martial bravery and heroism to the proletarian youth – in short, completely manipulates public opinion and the masses for the ideology of war; the Social-Democratic parliamentarians and party leaders, finally, who not only consent to funds for the waging of war, but who attempt to suppress energetically any disquieting stirrings of doubt and criticism in the masses, calling these ‘intrigues’, and who for their part support the government with personal services of a discreet nature, such as brochures, speeches and articles displaying the most genuine German-national patriotism – when in world history was there a war in which anything like this happened?

Where and when has the suspension of all constitutional rights been accepted so submissively as a matter of course? Where has such a hymn of praise to the most severe press censorship been sung from the rank of the opposition as it has in the individual newspapers of German Social Democracy? Never before has a war found such Pindars; never has a military dictatorship found such obedience; never has a political party so fervently sacrificed all that it stood for and possessed on the altar of a cause which it had sworn a thousand times before the world to fight to the last drop of blood. Judged against this metamorphosis, the National Liberals are real Roman Catos, rochers de bronze [bronze rocks]. Precisely the powerful organization and the much-praised discipline of German Social Democracy were confirmed when the body of four million allowed a handful of parliamentarism to turn it around and harness it to a wagon heading in the opposite direction to its aim in life. The fifty years of preparatory work by Social Democracy have materialized in the present war. And the trade unions and party leaders can claim that the impetus and victorious strength of this war on the German side are in large measure the fruits of the ‘training’ of the masses in the proletarian organizations. Marx and Engels, Lassalle and Liebknecht, Bebel and Singer trained the German proletariat so that Hindenburg might lead it. And the more advanced the training, the organization, the famous discipline, the consolidation of the trade unions and the workers’ press in Germany, in comparison with France, the more affective is the assistance rendered to war by German Social Democracy than that given by the France Social-Democratic Party. The France socialists, together with their ministers, seem to be the merest dabblers in the unfamiliar trade of nationalism and the waging of war, when one compares their deeds with the services being rendered to the patriotic imperialism by German Social Democracy and the German trade unions.

The official theory which misuses Marxism as it pleases for the current domestic requirements of the party officials in order to justify their day-to-day dealings, and whose organ is Die Neue Zeit, attempts to explain the minor discrepancy between the present function of the workers’ party and its words of yesterday by saying that international socialism was much concerned with the question of doing something against the outbreak of war, but not with doing something after it had broken out.(2) Like a girl who obliges all, this theory assures us that the most wonderful harmony prevail between the present practice of socialism and its past, that none of the socialist parties need reproach themselves with anything which would call into question their membership in the International. At the same time, however, this conveniently elastic theory also has an adequate explanation at hand for the contradiction between the present position of international Social Democracy and its past, a contradiction that strikes even the most short-sighted of people. The International is said to have aired only the question of the prevention of war. Then, however, ‘the war was upon us’, as the formula goes, and now it turns out that quite different standards of behaviour apply to the socialists after the war had begun than before it. The moment the war was upon us, the only question left for the proletariat of each country was: victory or defeat. Or, as another ‘Austro-Marxist’, F. Adler, explained more in terms of natural science and philosophy: the nation, like any organism, must above all ensure its survival. In good German this means: for the proletariat there is not one vital rule, as scientific socialism has hitherto proclaimed, but rather there are two such rules: one for peace and one for war. In peace-time the class struggle applies within each country, and international solidarity vis-à-vis other countries; in war-time it is class solidarity within and the struggle between the workers of the various countries without. The global historical appeal of the Communist Manifesto undergoes a fundamental revision and, as amended by Kautsky, now reads: proletarians of all countries, unite in peace-time and cut each other’s throats in war! Thus today: ‘Every shell a Russian in Hell – every engagement a dead Frenchman’ (jeder Schuss ein Russ – jeder Stoss ein Franzos), and tomorrow, after peace has been concluded: ‘We embrace the millions of the whole world.’ For the International is ‘essentially an instrument for peace’ but not an ‘effective implement in war’.(3)

This obliging theory does not merely open up charming perspectives for Social-Democratic practice by elevating the fickleness of the parliamentary party, coupled with the Jesuitism of the Centre Party, to virtually a fundamental dogma of the Socialist International. It also inaugurates a completely new ‘revision’ of historical materialism compared with which all Bernstein’s former attempts appear as innocent child’s play. The proletarian tactics prior to and after the outbreak of the war are supposed to be based on different, indeed opposite, guiding principles. This presupposes that the social conditions, the foundations of our tactics, are also basically different in war than in peace. According to historical materialism as founded by Marx, all hitherto written history is the history of class struggles. According to Kautsky’s revised materialism, the words, ‘except in time of war’, must be added. Accordingly, social development, since for millennia it has been periodically interspersed with wars, take its course according to the following scheme: a period of class struggle, then a pause in which there is a merger of the classes and a national struggle, then again a period of class struggles, again a pause and class merger, and so forth, in this charming pattern. Each time the foundations of social life in peace-time are turned upside down by the outbreak of war and those in periods of war are inverted the moment peace is concluded. This, as one can see, is no longer a theory of social development ‘in catastrophes’, against which Kautsky once had to defend himself, this is a theory of development – in somersaults. According to this theory, society moves in somewhat the same manner as an iceberg driven by spring waters, which, when in base has melted away all side in the tepid stream, after a certain time does a nose dive, whereupon this cute gam periodically repeats itself.

Now this revised historical materialism crudely affronts all the hitherto accepted facts of history. This freshly constructed antithesis between war and class struggle neither explains nor demonstrates that constant dialectical transition from war into class struggle and from class struggle into war, which reveals their essential inner unity. So it was in the wars within medieval cities, in the wars of the Reformation, in the Dutch war of liberation, in the wars of the great French Revolution, in the American War of Secession, in the uprising of the Paris Commune, in the great Russian Revolution of 1905. And this is not all; even in purely abstract-theoretical terms, Kautsky’s theory of historical development completely wipes out the Marxist theory, as a moment’s reflection would make clear. For if, as Marx assumes, both the class struggle and war do not fall from the sky, but originate in deeply rooted economic and social causes, then the two cannot disappear periodically unless their causes vanish into thin air. Now the proletarian class struggle is only a necessary consequence of the economic exploitation and of the political class rule of the bourgeoisie. But during the war, economic exploitation does not diminish in the least; on the contrary, its impetus is increased immensely by the speculative mania which flourishes in the exuberant atmosphere of war and industry, and by the pressure of the political dictatorship on the worker. Neither is the political class rule of the bourgeoisie diminished in war-time; on the contrary, it is raised to a stark class dictatorship by the suspension of constitutional rights. Since the economic and political sources of the class struggle in society inevitably increase tenfold in war-time, how then can the class struggle cease to exist? Conversely, in the present historical periods, wars originate in the competitive interests of groups of capitalists and in capitalism’s need to expand. Both motives, however, are operative not only while the canons are roaring, but also during peace-time, which means that they prepare and make inevitable further outbreaks of war. War is indeed – as Kautsky is wont to quote from Clausewitz – only ‘the continuations of politics by other means’. And the imperialist phase of the rule of capitalism has indeed made peace illusory by actually declaring the dictatorship of militarism – war – to be permanent.

For the exponents of the revised historical materialism, this results in the necessity of choosing between two alternatives. Either the class struggle is the paramount law of existence of the proletariat, and the party officials’ proclamation of class harmony in its place during war-time is an outrage against the proletariat’s vital interests; or the class struggle in both war and peace is an outrage against the ‘national interests’ and ‘the security of the fatherland’. Both in war-time and in peace-time, either the class struggle or class harmony is the fundamental factor of social life. In practice the alternative is even clearer: either Social Democracy must say pater peccavi to the patriotic bourgeoisie (as former young daredevils and present day old devotees in our ranks are already proclaiming contritely) and thus have to revise fundamentally all its tactics and principles, in peace-time as well as in war-time, in order to adapt to its present social-imperialist position; or the party will have to say pater peccavi to the international proletariat and adapt its behaviour during the war to its principles in peace-time. And what applies to the German labour movement of course also applies to the French.

Either the International will remain a refuse heap after the war, or its resurrection will begin on the basis of the class struggle from which alone it draws its vital forces. Not by re-telling the same old story will it be revived after the war, not by returning fresh, cheerful, marry and bold, as though noting had happened, not by playing the old melodies that captivated the world until August 4th. Only by means of an ‘excruciantingly thorough denunciation of our own indecision and weakness’, of our own moral fall since August 4th, can be rebuilding of the International begin. And the first step in this direction is to take action for the rapid termination of the war and for the preparation of a peace in accordance with the common interest of the international proletariat.

Until now, only two positions on the question of peace have been visible within the party. The first of these, advocated by a member of a Party Executive, Scheidemann, and by several other Reichstag deputies and party newspapers, echoes the government in its support of the slogan of ‘holding out’, and opposes the movement for peace as inopportune and dangerous to the military interests of the fatherland. The proponents of this trend advocate the continuation of the war and are thus objectively ensuring that the war is continued according to the wishes of the ruling classes '‘until a victory is won which accords with the sacrifices made’, until ‘a secure peace’ is guaranteed. In other words, the supporters of the policy of ‘holding out’ are ensuring that the actual development of the war approximates as closely as possible to the imperialist conquests which the Post, which Rohrbach, Dix and others prophets of Germany’s global dominance have openly declared to be the aim of the war. If all these wonderful dreams do not become reality, if the trees of youthful imperialism do not grow into the sky, it will not be through any fault of the Post people and their pacemakers in Social Democracy. It is apparently not the solemn ‘declarations’ in parliament ‘against any policy of conquest’ that are conclusive for the outcome of the war, but rather the affirmation of the policy of ‘holding out’. The war, whose continuation is advocated by Scheidemann and others, has its own logic. Its real sponsors are those capitalistic-agrarian elements that are in the saddle in Germany today, not the modest figures of the Social-Democratic parliamentarians and editors who merely hold the stirrup for them. Among those propagating this trend, the social-imperialist attitude of the party is most clearly manifest.

While in France, too, the party leaders – admittedly in a completely different military situation – cling to the slogan, ‘hold out until victory’, a movement for the speediest termination of the war is making itself gradually but increasingly felt in all countries. The greatest single characteristic of all these thoughts and desires for peace is the most cautious preparation of peace guarantees which are to be demanded before war is finished. Not only the universal demand for no annexations, but also a whole series of new demands are appearing: universal disarmament (or, more modestly, systematic limitation of the arms race), abolition of secret diplomacy, free trade for all nations in the colonies, and other such wonderful proposals. The admirable aspect of all these clauses calling for the future happiness of humanity and for the prevention of future wars is the irrepressible optimism with which, emerging intact from the terrible catastrophe of the present war, new resolutions are to be planted at the grave of the old aspirations. If the collapse of August 4th has proved anything, it is the lesson in world history that neither pious hopes nor cleverly devised utopian formulas addressed to the ruling class can provide effective guarantees of peace or build a wall against war.

The only real safeguard for peace depends on the resolution of the proletariat to remain faithful to its class politics and its international solidarity through all the storm of imperialism. There was no lack of demands and formulae on the part of the socialist parties in the crucial countries, above all in Germany; the deficiency was in their ability to back up these demands with a will and with deeds in the spirit of the class struggle and internationalism. If today, after all that we experienced, we viewed the action for peace as a process for of reasoning out the best formulae against war, this would be the greatest danger to international socialism. For this would mean that, despite its cruel lessons, it would have learnt nothing and forgotten nothing.

Here again we find the prime example of this in Germany. In a recent issue of Die Neue Zeit, the Reichstag deputy, Hoch, laid down a peace programme which – as the party organ attested – he warmly supported. Nothing was missing from this programme: neither a list of enumerated demand which was supposed to prevent future was in the most painless and reliable manner, nor a very convincing statement that an impending peace was possible, necessary and desirable. There was only one thing missing: an explanation of how one should work for this peace with act, not with ‘desires’! For the author belongs to the compact majority in the parliamentary party that not only twice voted for war credits, but also in each occasion called its action a political, patriotic, socialist necessity. And excellently drilled in its new role, this group is prepared to grant further credits for the continuation of the war as a matter of course. To support a material means of continuing the war, and, in the same breath, to praise the desirability of an early peace with all its blessings, ‘to press the sword into the government’s fist with one hand and with the other to wave the soft palm branch over the International’ – this is a classical chapter in practical politics of the swamp as propagated theoretically in the same Neue Zeit. When the socialists of neutral countries, for example the Copenhagen Conference participants, seriously consider the preparation of demands and proposals for peace on paper as an action contributing to the speedy termination of the war, then this is a relatively harmless error. An understanding of this salient point in the present situation of the International and of the causes of its collapse can and must be common property of all socialist parties. The redeeming deed for the restoration of peace and of the International can only emanate from the socialist parties of the belligerent countries. The first step towards peace and towards the International is the rejection of social imperialism. And if the Social-Democratic parliamentarians continue to approve funds for the waging of the war, then their desires and declarations for peace and their solemn proclamation ‘against any policy of conquest’, are a hypocrisy and a delusion. This is particularly true of Kautsky’s International and its members who alternately embrace one another fraternally and cut each other’s throat, declare that they ‘have nothing with which to reproach themselves’. Here again events have their own logic. When they grant war credits, people like Hoch surrender the controlling reins and bring about the virtual opposite of peace, namely, a policy of ‘holding out’. When people like Scheidemann support the policy of ‘holding out’, they in fact hand over the reins to the Post people and thus accomplish the reverse of their solemn declarations against ‘any policy of conquest’, i.e. the unleashing of the imperialist instincts – until the country bleeds to death. Here again there is only one choice: either Bethmann-Hollweg – or Liebknecht. Either imperialism or socialism as Marx understood it.

Just as in Marx himself the roles of acute historical analyst and bold revolutionary, the man of ideas and the man of action were inseparably bond up, mutually supporting and complementing each other, so for the first time in the history of the modern labour movement the socialist teaching of Marxism united theoretical knowledge with revolutionary energy, the one illuminating and stimulating the other. Both are in equal measure part of the essence of Marxism; each, separated from the other, transforms Marxism into a sad caricature of itself. In the course of half a century, the German Social Democracy harvested the most abundant fruit from the theoretical knowledge of Marxism and, nurtured on its milk, grew into a powerful body. Put to the greatest historical test – a test which, moreover, it had foreseen theoretically with scientific certainty and foretold in all its important features – Social Democracy was found completely lacking in the second vital element of the labour movement: the energetic will, not merely be to understand history, but to change it as well. With all its exemplary theoretical knowledge and strength of organization, the party was caught in the vortex of the historical current, turned around in a trice like a rudderless hulk, and exposed to the winds of imperialism against which it was supposed to work its way forward to the saving islands of socialism. Even without the mistakes of others, the defeat of the whole International was sealed by this failure of its ‘vanguard’, its best trained and strongest élite.

It was an epoch-making collapse of the first order which enmeshes man and delays his liberation from capitalism. However if it comes down to it, Marxism itself is not completely without blame. And all attempts to adapt Marxism to the present decrepitude of socialist practice, to prostitute it to the level of the venal apologetics of social imperialism, are more dangerous than even all the open and glaring excesses of nationalistic errors in the ranks of the party; these attempts tend not only to conceal the real causes of the great failure of the International, but also to drain sources of its future rebuilding. If the International, like the peace, is to correspond to the interests of the proletarian cause, it must be born of the self-criticism of the proletariat, of its reflection upon its own power, the same power that broke like a reed in a storm, but that, grown to its true size, is historically qualified to uproot thousand-years-old oaks of social injustice and to move mountains. The road to this power – one that is not paved with resolutions – is at the same time the road to peace and to the rebuilding of the International.


(1) See the article by F. Adler in the January numbers of Kampf.

(2) See Kautsky’s article in the Die Neue Zeit of October 2nd of last year [1914].

(3) See Kautsky’s article in the Die Neue Zeit of October 27th of last year [1914].

From The Pen Of Leon Trotsky-Official Government Documents from the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs (1917-18)

Markin comment:

This article goes along with the propaganda points in the fight for our communist future mentioned in this day's other posts.

Official Government Documents from the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs
Leon Trotsky

The documents presented here are the official documents and proclamations from the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, headed by Leon Trotsky from November of 1917 to March of 1918. These documents were originally transcribed by Brian Baggins for the History of the Soviet Government Documents web site.

21 November 1917
Kluchnikov & Sabanin, ii, p.91

Herewith I have the honour to inform you, Mr. Ambassador, that on 26 October (8 November) of this year the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies established a new Government of the Russian Republic in the form of the Council of People’s Commissars. The President of this Government is Vladimir Ilich Lenin and the conduct of foreign policy was entrusted to me as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs.

In drawing your attention to the text of the proposal for an armistice and a democratic peace without annexations or indemnities based on national self-determination, a proposal approved by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, I have the honour to request you, Mr Ambassador, to regard the above-mentioned document as a formal proposal for an immediate armistice on all fronts and for the immediate opening of peace negotiations – a proposal which the authorized Government of the Russian Republic is addressing simultaneously to all belligerent nations and to their Governments. I beg you, Mr Ambassador, to accept the assurance of the profound respect of the Soviet Government for the people of your country, who, like all the other peoples exhausted and racked by this unparalleled butchery, cannot do otherwise than ardently desire peace.


22 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.64

In publishing the secret diplomatic documents from the foreign policy archives of Tsarism and of the bourgeois coalition Governments of the first seven months of the revolution, we are carrying out the undertaking which we made when our party was in opposition. Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests. Imperialism, with its dark plans of conquest and its robber alliances and deals, developed the system of secret diplomacy to the highest level. The struggle against the imperialism which is exhausting and destroying the peoples of Europe is at the same time a struggle against capitalist diplomacy, which has cause enough to fear the light of day. The Russian people, and the peoples of Europe and the whole world, should learn the documentary truth about the plans forged in secret by the financiers and industrialists together with their parliamentary and diplomatic agents. The peoples of Europe have paid for the right to this truth with countless sacrifices and universal economic desolation.

The abolition of secret diplomacy is the primary condition for an honest, popular, truly democratic foreign policy. The Soviet Government regards it as its duty to carry out such a policy in practice. That is precisely why, while openly proposing an immediate armistice to all the belligerent peoples and their Governments, we are at the same time publishing these treaties and agreements, which have lost all binding force for the Russian workers, soldiers, and peasants who have taken power into their own hands.

The bourgeois politicians and journalists of Germany and Austria-Hungary may try to make use of the documents published in order to present the diplomacy of the Central Empires in a more advantageous light. But any such attempt would be doomed to pitiful failure, and that for two reasons. In the first place, we intend quickly to place before the tribunal of public opinion secret documents which treat sufficiently clearly of the diplomacy of the Central Empires. Secondly, and more important, the methods of secret diplomacy are as universal as imperialist robbery. When the German proletariat enters the revolutionary path leading to the secrets of their chancelleries, they will extract documents no whit inferior to those which we are about to publish. It only remains to hope that this will take place quickly.

The workers’ and peasants’ Government abolishes secret diplomacy and its intrigues, codes, and lies. We have nothing to hide. Our programme, expresses the ardent wishes of millions of workers, soldiers, and peasants. We want the rule of capital to be overthrown as possible. In exposing to the entire world the work of the ruling classes, as expressed in the secret diplomatic documents, we address the workers with the call which forms the unchangeable foundation of our foreign policy: ‘Proletarians of all countries, unite.’


23 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.165

On 8 [21] November, in accordance with the decision of the Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, I addressed, in the name of the Council of People's Commissars, a proposal to the allied Embassies to begin negotiations for an immediate armistice on all fronts and for a democratic peace without annexations and indemnities based on the self-determination of peoples. At the same time, the Council of People's commissars instructed the military authorities and the delegates of the army of the Russia Republic to enter into preliminary negotiations with the military authorities of the enemy armies for the purpose of getting an immediate armistice on our front, as well as on all fronts.

In bringing this to your notice, Mr. Minister, I have the honour to request you to do all that lies in your power to make our proposal for an immediate armistice and the opening of peace negotiations officially known to the enemy Governments.

At the same time I express the hope that you, Mr. Minister, will do everything in your power fully to inform public opinion in the country whose Government you represent of the steps taken by the Soviet Government in the interests of peace.


30 November 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.183

We consider it necessary to make the following explanation, on the basis of information received by us in the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, concerning the statement issued by the British Embassy.

An open proposal for an immediate armistice was made to all peoples, allied and enemy, by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on 26 October [8 November]. Thus three days before the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs sent the note, the Allied Governments and Embassies were fully and correctly informed of the steps which the Soviet Government proposed to take. It is clear, therefore, that the People's Commissar had absolutely no interest in making his note known to the German authorities before making it known to the Allied Embassies. The note addressed to the Allies and the orders telegraphed to General Dukhonin were written and sent simultaneously. If it is true that the Embassies received the note later than Dukhonin, that is explained entirely and exclusively by secondary technical reasons wholly unrelated to the policy of the Council of People’s Commissars.

There is no doubt, however, that the Council of People’s Commissars made its appeal to the German military authorities independent of the approval or disapproval of the Allied Governments. In this sense the policy of the Soviet Government is absolutely clear. Since it does not consider itself bound by the formal obligations of the old Governments, the Soviet Government in its struggle for peace is guided only by the principles of democracy and the interests of the world working class. That is precisely why the Soviet Government is aiming at a general and not a separate peace. It is convinced that by the united efforts of the peoples against the imperialist Governments such a peace will be secured.


6 December 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.192

The negotiations being conducted between the delegates of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria on the one hand, and the delegates of Russia on the other, have been suspended at the request of our delegation for one week in order to provide an opportunity of informing the peoples and Governments of the Allied countries of the fact of the negotiations and of the course they have taken.

On the Russian side it is proposed:

1.To proclaim that the proposed armistice has for its aim a peace on a democratic basis on the lines formulated in the manifesto of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies;
2.That as a condition of the armistice no troops are to be transferred from one front to another;
3.That the Moon Islands be evacuated.
With regard to war aims, the delegates of the opposing side declined to give a definite reply, stating that they had been instructed to deal only with the military side of the armistice. On the question of a general armistice also, the delegates of the opposing side claimed that they had no authority to consider the question of an armistice with countries whose delegates were not taking part in the negotiations. On their part the delegates of the opposing side put forward terms for an armistice on the front from the Baltic to the Black Sea, to last for twenty-eight days. They also undertook to transmit to their Governments the Russian delegation’s proposal for an immediate address to all belligerent countries, that is to all Allied countries besides Russia, inviting them to take part in the negotiations. Since our delegation refused to sign a formal armistice in the present stage of negotiations, it was once more agreed to cease hostilities for a week and to suspend negotiations for the same period. Thus, between the Soviet Government’s first decree on peace (26 October) [8 November] and the time when the peace negotiations will be resumed (29 November) [12 December], more than a month will have passed. This time limit, even with the present disorganized means of international communication, is considered quite sufficient to give the Governments of the Allied countries an opportunity to define their attitude to the peace negotiationsÑthat is, to express their readiness or their refusal to take part in the negotiations for an armistice and peace, and in the case of a refusal to state openly before all mankind, clearly, exactly, and definitely, in the name of what aims must the peoples of Europe shed their blood in the fourth year of war.


31 December 1917
Trotsky, iii, 2, p.235

We are informed by the Kishinev Revolutionary Committee that Rumanian troops have occupied Leovo and several Bessarabian villages, and have shot revolutionaries. They state further in their communication: ‘The Rumanian authorities through the intermediary of a Russian Colonel and a Rumanian General, invited all members of the Revolutionary Committee to Jassy, guaranteeing their complete safety. In Jassy, however, the entire Committee was arrested. All members of the Revolutionary Committee were handed over to the authorities who intended having them shot, but the Cossacks came to their senses and would not allow this.’

Since such criminal acts cannot be tolerated, we request the Rumanian Ambassador to let us know in the course of the day everything that is known to his Embassy about this matter, and what steps have up date been taken by the Rumainian Government to punish the criminal elements among the Rumanian officers and the Rumanian bureaucracy who dared to lift a hand against the Russian revolution.

We consider it necessary here and now to warn the Rumanian Embassy that we shall no longer tolerate on the territory of the Russian revolution any reprisals, whether against Russian, or against Rumanian revolutionaries and socialists. Every Rumanian soldier, worker, or peasant can be assured of the support of the Russian Soviet power against the arbitrary acts of the reactionary Rumanian bureaucracy. At the same time we consider it necessary to warn all Rumanian authorities that the Soviet Government will not hesitate to apply the severest measures against Rumanian counter-revolutionary conspirators, the associates of Kaledin, Shcherbachev, or the Rada, regardless of the positions they occupy in the Rumanian hierarchy.


Trotsky, iii, 2, p.242
2 January 1918

As to the principal negotiations on peace held at Brest-Litovsk, there has been a ten-day break, ending 30 December [5 January]. It is unlikely, however, that negotiations will be resumed at Brest-Litovsk. In many respects we consider it most appropriate, at the stage which the negotiations have now reached, to continue them in a neutral country.

Apart from the declarations of principles, ours and the Austro-German, and the reply of our delegation, we now also have for our consideration a more or less concrete draft of the Austro-German terms of peace with Russia. This is not a draft of a separate peace, but of those relations which, in the opinion of the Austro-German Governments, should be established between Russia on the one hand and Austria and Germany on the other, and in the event of a general peace we shall publish this document, which is only a first draft put forward by the other side, on the same day. The unacceptability of the Austro-German terms of peace is, in the opinion of the People’s Commissar, clearly evident. The point at issue is the principle of the self-determination of nations and its interpretation. The Central Powers recognized this principle in their declaration, but, in its application to Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, and parts of Livonia and Estonia, Germany and Austria-Hungary think they can give the principle of national self-determination a wholly fictitious content. Just as yesterday we recognized the independent Finnish Republic, without any compulsion, we are ready to recognize the independence of the Republics of Poland and Lithuania, the independence of Courland, or the union of these countries with other countries, on condition that any such change in frontiers or the formation of any new States is accomplished solely by the will of the peoples concerned. But the German draft peace terms in their application to Russia distort the national plebiscite into a kind of ritual, deprived of all practical content. If the diplomats on the other side think that we regard the principle enunciated in our declaration as a hollow formality, they are profoundly mistaken. We do not for a moment doubt where the sympathies of the propertied classes of Poland, Lithuania, and Courland lie. But for us the real will of these countries is expressed not by the votes of their landlords, capitalists, and bankers not, that is, by those sections of the nation which oppress the entire working people. We wish, and we demand that the question of Poland’s fate shall be decided by the Polish workers and peasants and, moreover, throughout the whole of Poland.

Our workers have more than once shed their blood together with the workers of former Tsarist Poland in the struggle against Tsarism. And if now we reject the Austro-German draft terms of peace, it is not because we want to keep Poland for Russia, but because we want the Polish people themselves to say what their political destiny is to be. In this they should be free to express their will without any compulsion or coercion. We do not for a moment doubt that this way of putting the question will win the vigorous and warm support of the workers and peasants of Poland, Lithuania, and Courland, as well as of Germany and Austria-Hungary. After this cruel and senseless slaughter, prolonged for three and a half years, slaughter in which the people have learnt so much, it is the most senseless, militaristic, and bureaucratic of Utopias to think of forcing on the Poles, Lithuanians, or Latvians, disguised as self-determination, the open or concealed dictatorship of an alien ‘conqueror’.

How ill-founded this policy is may be seen from the fact that the German press has not informed the German people of that part of our delegation’s reply in which we give our interpretation of the principle of self-determination. It is obvious that on this question German diplomacy considers it inexpedient to meet German democratic opinion face to face, since the most important details of the peace negotiations are concealed. But we do not doubt that in one way or another the truth will reach the German people and the peoples of Austria-Hungary, and that the principle of national self-determination, which we apply most scrupulously to the peoples of Russia, will find wide enough support within the frontiers of the Central Empires and make it impossible for the Governments of these States to apply the wholly intolerable interpretation to be found in the draft Austro-German terms of peace with Russia ...

In French ruling circles, as far as we are informed, they think it necessary to ‘suffer’ still another military encounter with Germany and Austria-Hungary, to repel their offensive, and then to open negotiations. It is quite clear that in the conditions in which the war is being fought on the western front a new offensive may well be a repetition, with a few changes, of all previous offensives. The front will be moved a few kilometres in one direction or the other, but the relative strength of the two sides will be little changed. The world will simply be poorer by some hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen and Germans. After this the ‘psychological’ conditions for peace negotiations should have become more favourable. This superstition of the French ruling circles is a highly typical trait. What it amounts to in the end is putting off as long as possible the terrible day of reckoning.

Our task is clear; we shall continue the negotiations on the basis of the principles proclaimed by the Russian revolution. We shall do all we can to bring the results of these negotiations to the notice of the popular masses of all European countries, despite the truly humiliating censorship which the European Governments have imposed on military and diplomatic communications. We do not doubt that the negotiations themselves will make us stronger, and the imperialist Governments of all countries weaker.


4 January 1918
Trotsky, iii, a, p.51

I have received a note from the Persian Charge d’Affaires in Petrograd which runs: ‘I consider it my duty herewith to bring to your notice that the Persian Government, being duly informed of the contents of article IS! [?] of the Armistice agreement concluded at Brest on [15] December, the text of which is given above, has authorized me to enter into negotiations for the withdrawal of troops from Persia with the appropriate Russian body authorized to conduct such negotiations, and that, according to a dispatch from the Teheran Government received by the Persian Embassy in Petrograd, identical instructions were sent at the same time to the Persian Ambassador in Constantinople to open negotiations on the withdrawal by the Turkish Government of Turkish troops from Persian territory. In communicating the above, the undersigned begs to be informed as soon as possible of the day and hour when negotiations for the evacuation of Russian forces from Persia can be opened ...’

In regard to this matter I suggest that it is necessary:

1.To work out a general plan for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Persia in the shortest possible time, and to propose to Turkey, both through the Persian Government and directly through the Turkish delegation at Brest-Litovsk, to co-ordinate their plan for the evacuation of Turkish troops with the Russian plan.
2.To begin immediately the withdrawal of those detachments whose presence in Persia serves no military purpose, and which were used to occupy Persian territory.
3.To recall from Persia the Russian military mission, acting in the capacity of instructors of the Cossack brigade.
4.To appoint commissars immediately to the Russian authorities in Persia, for the purpose of explaining to the various detachments in Persia the general political situation in Russia and the meaning of our new foreign policy, which is based on respect for the rights of all peoples, regardless of their strength or weakness. These commissars to take measures to protect the Persian population from any affront or violence on the part of the less conscious elements of the army.
5.To take steps to secure the provisioning of the Russian army while they remain in Persia, laying as light a burden as possible on the poorer sections of the Persian population.
I should be glad if you would inform me with the least possible delay of the practical steps you consider it possible to take in the direction indicated. The greatest speed is necessary in this matter in order to wipe out as quickly as possible the effects of the acts of violence perpetrated by Tsarism and bourgeois Russian Governments against the Persian people.



3 February 1918

First of all, I must make it clear that neither the German nor the Austro-Hungarian delegation raised the question of inviting the representatives of the Polish Government to the negotiations as representatives of an independent State. That question was only raised when the Russian delegation drew the attention of the other side to the complete contradiction in their attitude, in that the German and Austro-Hungarian Governments, acknowledging in words the sovereign rights of the Polish State, at the same time failed to raise the question of inviting the Polish Government to negotiations concerning the destiny of Poland. Only when the question was raised by us did the other side announce that they were ready to give it favourable consideration. Thus it is very important to underline once again that the German and Austro-Hungarian delegations came to the negotiations without any previous decision having been taken by their Governments about inviting the Polish Government to the negotiations; whereas, if they regard the Polish Ministry as the Government of an independent State, that would have been the inescapable conclusion of their attitude.

We on our side recognize completely and without any limitation the independence of the Polish people and the Polish State ... But for us it is obvious that this independence remains illusory so long as Poland remains under military occupation. Precisely because we recognize the independence of the Polish people and the Polish State, we cannot, without injury to that independence, recognize as plenipotentiary representatives of the Polish people persons nominated by the occupying Powers. We could provisionally only recognize as representatives for independent participation in the peace negotiations a Polish delegation which was sanctioned by the authentic organs of the Polish people themselves. Since the Polish people are rich in political experience, and their social and national aspirations have found expression in strong and stable political parties, we are convinced that the provisional representation of an independent Poland, for the purpose of taking part in the peace negotiations, could quickly be created by voluntary agreement among the Polish political parties, based on the popular masses and in particular on the working class. We for our part are prepared to recognize such a plenipotentiary representation completely and without any limitation. Finally, since the Polish Rada, established in compliance with the wishes of the Central Powers, intends, clearly with the consent of the Central Powers, to take part in the peace negotiations, we assume that the delegations of the Central Powers (the same delegations which declared to us that the Polish Ministry is acting within limits laid down by the German and Austro-Hungarian occupation authorities) could lay down similar terms for the participation of the Polish Ministry in the present negotiations. That would merely be in accordance with the actual state of affairs.

May I remind you that when the question of recognizing the delegation from the Ukrainian Rada was raised here we did not ask the other side to recognize the Ukrainian Republic before the conclusion of the peace treaty. We thought that, in the uncertainty of the situation, relations would be defined in the course of the negotiations themselves. We for our part would welcome participation by the Polish Rada in the negotiations, since it would give the Rada an opportunity to state its views openly, before the Polish people, on such questions as clearing Polish territory of foreign troops and rectifying the frontier at the expense of the independent Polish nation. The declarations and demands of the delegation of the Kucharzewski Ministry would receive all the more thorough and comprehensive consideration here, as our delegation includes a representative of the working masses of Poland.

In conclusion, may I again draw your attention to the logical misunderstanding which has frequently arisen in our negotiations, that the kind of attitude we take towards a Government also holds good for our attitude to a people and a State. If we do not regard the Kucharzewski Ministry, on the facts known to us, as the authoritative Government of the Polish people, that does not by any means signify that we do not recognize the independence of the Polish State and the Polish people. I have not yet heard that the German Government has hastened to recognize the new Finnish Government, but I think that the fact of the existence of a new Finnish Government cannot prevent the German Government from immediately recognizing the independence of the Finnish Republic.


10 February 1918

It was the task of the sub-commission, as we understood it, to provide an answer to the question to what extent the frontier proposed by the other side could secure to the Russian people, even in a minimum degree, the right of self-determination. We have heard the reports of our representatives on the territorial sub-commission and, after prolonged discussion and a thorough examination of the question, we have come to the conclusion that the hour of decision has struck. The peoples are impatiently awaiting the results of the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk. They are asking, when will there be an end to this unparalleled self-destruction of humanity provoked by the selfish and ambitious ruling classes of all countries. If ever the war was being fought in selfdefence, that has long ceased to be true for either side. When Great Britain seizes African colonies, Baghdad and Jerusalem, that is no longer a war of self-defence; when Germany occupies Serbia, Belgium, Poland, Lithuania, and Rumania, and seizes the Moon Islands, that too is not a war of defence. That is a struggle for the partition of the world. Now it is clear, clearer than ever before.

We do not wish to take part any longer in this purely imperialist war, in which the claims of the propertied classes are being paid in blood. We are as implacably opposed to the imperialism of one camp as to the other, and we are no longer willing to shed the blood of our soldiers to defend the interests of one imperialist side against the other.

While awaiting the time, which we hope is not far off, when the oppressed working classes of all countries will take power into their own hands, as the working people of Russia have done, we are withdrawing our army and our people from the war. Our peasant-soldiers must return to their land, so that they can this spring cultivate the soil which the revolution took from the landlords and gave to the peasants. Our workmen-soldiers must return to the workshops to produce there, not the weapons of destruction, but tools for creative labour, and together with the peasants build a new socialist economy.

We are withdrawing from the war. We are informing all peoples and all Governments of this. We are issuing orders for the complete demobilization of our armies now confronting the German, Austro-Hungarian, Turkish, and Bulgarian troops. We expect and firmly believe that other peoples will soon follow our example. At the same time we declare that the terms of peace proposed by the Governments of Germany and Austria-Hungary are basically opposed to the interests of all peoples. These terms will be rejected by the working masses of all countries, including even the peoples of Austria-Hungary and Germany. The peoples of Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania, Courland, and Estonia regard these conditions as a violation of their will, while for the Russian people themselves they represent a permanent threat. The popular masses of the entire world, guided by political consciousness or by moral instinct, reject these conditions, in expectation of the day when the working classes of all countries will establish their own standards of the peaceful co-existence and friendly co-operation of peoples. We refuse to give our sanction to the conditions which German and Austro-Hungarian imperialism writes with the sword on the body of living peoples. We cannot put the signature of the Russian revolution to conditions which carry with them oppression, misfortune, and misery to millions of human beings.

The Governments of Germany and Austria-Hungary want to rule over lands and peoples by the right of armed conquest. Let them do their work openly. We cannot approve violence. We are withdrawing from the war but we are compelled to refuse to sign the treaty of peace.

In connexion with this statement, I am handing to the joint delegations the following written and signed declaration:

In the name of the Council of People's Commissars, the Government of the Russian Federal Republic informs the Governments and peoples of the countries at war with us, and of the Allied and neutral countries that, while refusing to sign an annexationist peace, Russia, for its part, declares the state of war with Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey at an end. At the same time, an order is being given for the complete demobilization of the Russian troops along the entire front.


I have little to add to what is said in our declaration. The Russian Government in this written declaration says that for its part, it declares the state of war at an end and that, in execution of this decision, it is issuing orders for the complete demobilization of the army on all external fronts. As to the practical difficulties arising from the situation thus created, I am unable to suggest any juridical formula to surmount them. The absence of a necessary juridical formula is not due to an accidental misunderstanding; the entire course of the peace negotiations showed that the divergence in our fundamental attitudes was too great to permit a formula defining the mutual relations of the Russian Government and the Central Powers. As far as I understood the Chairman of the German delegation, he seemed to admit, at least in theory, the practical possibility of finding the missing formula, counting in future on the help of guns and bayonets. I do not believe in that. However greatly the meaning of national defence was abused in the course of this war, and the idea of the defence of the fatherland violated, not one honest man in the whole world will say that in these circumstances the continuation of military operations by Germany and Austria-Hungary is necessary to their national defence. I am profoundly convinced that the German people and the peoples of Austria-Hungary will not allow it; and if our fundamental point of view becomes clear to all, then the practical difficulties will settle themselves one way or another. The document we have handed over leaves no doubt in regard to our intentions. We, on our side, declare the state of war at an end,, and are sending our soldiers back to peaceful labour.


5 March 1918

In case (a) the all-Russian congress of the Soviets will refuse to ratify the peace treaty with Germany, or (b) if the German government, breaking the peace treaty, will renew the offensive in order to continue its robbers’ raid, or (c) if the Soviet government will be forced by the actions of Germany to renounce the peace treatyÑbefore or after its ratificationÑand to renew hostilities.

In all these cases, it is very important for the military and political plans of the Soviet power for replies to be given to the following questions:

1.Can the Soviet government rely on the support of the United States of North America, Great Britain, and France in its struggle against Germany?
2.What kind of support could be furnished in the nearest future, and on what conditions-military equipment, transportation supplies, living necessities?
3.What kind of support would be furnished particularly and especially by the United States?
Should Japan, in consequence of an open or tacit understanding with Germany or without such an understanding, attempt to seize Vladivostok and the Eastern-Siberian Railway, which would threaten to cut off Russia from the Pacific Ocean and would greatly impede the concentration of Soviet troops toward the East about the Urals,in such case what steps would be taken by the other allies, particularly and especially by the United States, to prevent a Japanese landing on our Far East and to insure uninterrupted communications with Russia through the Siberian route?

In the opinion of the Government of the United States, to what extent, under the above-mentioned circumstances, would aid be assured from Great Britain through Murmansk and Archangel? What steps could the Government of Great Britain undertake in order to assure this aid and thereby to undermine the foundation of the rumors of the hostile plans against Russia on the part of Great Britain in the nearest future?

All these questions are conditioned with the self-understood assumption that the internal and foreign policies of the Soviet government will continue to be directed in accord with the principles of international socialism and that the Soviet government retains its complete independence of all non-socialist governments.


20 April 1918
Izvestia, 21 April 1918

All military departments of the Soviet, all local Commissariats of Military Affairs, and all institutions of the Military Department, responsible for the care of enemy prisoners of war, are instructed as follows:

1.Not to permit in the prisoner-of-war camps any violence against prisoners of war holding certain opinions by those of other opinions, in particular officer-prisoners, in order to forestall any such actions, measures must immediately be taken to disarm prisoners of war, in so far as they still have arms.
2.To observe carefully that the prisoners of war of all categories are kept in the camps in accordance with the provisions of international conventions and agreements accepted and ratified by Russia.
3.Agents of the military authorities are strictly to refrain from any violation of article 2 of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, which obliges the Soviet Government to refrain from any agitation and propaganda against the Governments or the political institutions of Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey.
4.To accept into the ranks of the Red Army only those volunteers from among foreigners who have accepted Russian citizenship.