V. I. Lenin


On the Slogan to Transform the Imperialist War Into a Civil War{1}

Written: Written not earlier than September 1914
Published: First published in 1961 in Vol. 26 of the Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, page 337.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  

[45-DEGREE HASH.] The only correct proletarian slogan is to transform the present imperialist war into a civil war. This transformation flows from all the objective conditions of the current milita ry disaster, and only by systematically propagandising and agitating in t /t a t direction can the workers’ parties fulfil the obligations they undertook at Basle.{2}

That is the only kind of tactics that will be truly revolu tiona.ry working-class tactics, corresponding to the condi tions of the new historical epoch. [45-DEGREE HASH.]


{1} This is written on a separate page and is marked as an insertion, but there is no indication which particular article it belongs to. It may well be a variant of the insertion to the R.S.D.L.P. C.C. manifesto “The War and the Social-Democracy of Russia”, or to a Bolshevik resolution on the war. p. 337

{2} A reference to the Extraordinary International Socialist Congress held at Basle on November 24 and 25, 1912. It was called to decide on the question of fighting the looming danger of an imperialist world war, a danger: that was intensified by the outbreak of the First Balkan War. The Congress was attended by 555 delegates. The R.S.D.L.P. C.C. sent 6 delegates. On the opening day, there was a massive anti-war demonstration and an international rally against war.

On November 25, the Congress unanimously adopted a Manifesto on war. It warned the nations against the threat of an impending world war, exposed the plunderous aims of the war being prepared by the imperialists, urged workers in nil countries to wage a resolute struggle for peace, against the threat of war, and to “confront capitalist imperialism with the might of the international solidarity of the proletariat”. In the event of an imperialist war, the Manifesto advised socialists to use the economic and political crisis caused by the war to struggle for a socialist revolution.

The leaders of the Second International (Kautsky, Vandervelde and others) voted for the Manifesto, but with the outbreak of the world war they forgot all about the Baste Manifesto and the other decisions of international socialist congresses on the struggle against war, and sided with their imperialist governments. p. 337

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