A Game of Chance
|Written||4 October 1912|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1975, Moscow, Volume 18, pages 339-340.
Novoye Vremya fully discloses the plans of the Russian nationalists. When reading this newspaper, which is “influential” in nationalist quarters, as well as among the Octobrists, the plan that they are firmly pursuing for robbing Turkey becomes obvious.
As usual, the policy of chauvinism and seizure of foreign territory is being carried out first and foremost by inciting the general public against Austria. “The Balkan peoples,” writes Novoye Vremya, “have rallied together for a holy war of independence. The Austrian diplomat is on the look-out for the moment when they can be plundered.”
Austria has torn off a chunk (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Italy has torn off another (Tripoli); it is now our turn to enrich ourselves—such is the policy of Novoye Vremya. “A holy war of independence” is merely a phrase to deceive simpletons, for no one in our own Russia has so flouted the truly democratic principles of genuine independence of all peoples as have the nationalists and the Octobrists.
But why do the nationalists consider the time favourable for a policy of plunder? This, too, can be clearly seen from Novoye Vremya. Italy will not fight—it says in effect; as for Austria, it would be risky for her to start a war against the Balkan Slays because she has a kindred population of many millions, and Germany would not venture a European war to defeat Turkey.
The nationalists’ calculation is frank and shameless to the last degree. While mouthing pompous words about “a holy war of independence” of the peoples, they gamble with the lives of millions in the most cold-blooded way by in citing the peoples to a carnage for the profit of a handful of merchants and industrialists.
The Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria and Italy) is weak at the moment, for Italy has spent 800 million francs on the war against the Turks, and the “interests” of Italy and Austria do not coincide in the Balkans. Italy wants to snatch another morsel—Albania—but Austria will not let her. Our nationalists, who count on this, are playing a reckless game of chance, relying on the strength and wealth of two powers in the Triple Entente (Britain and France) and on the fact that “Europe” will not want a general war over the Straits or over the “rounding off” of “our” territories at the expense of Asiatic Turkey.
In a society of wage slavery, every merchant and every proprietor plays a game of chance, saying as it were: “I shall either be ruined or make a profit and ruin others.” Every year hundreds of capitalists go bankrupt and millions of peasants, handicraftsmen and artisans are ruined. The capitalist countries play a similar game of chance with the blood of millions, whom they send into a carnage now here, now there with the aim of seizing foreign territory and plundering their weaker neighbours.