Bourgeois Financial Magnates and Politicians

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 23 June 1913


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Pravda No. 142, June 23, 1913. Signed: M.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 241-242.
Collection(s): Pravda

The British Labour press is continuing its exposure of the connection between financial “operations” and high politics. These revelations deserve the attention of the workers of all countries because they expose the very basis of state administration in capitalist society. The words of Karl Marx that the government is a committee for managing the affairs of the capitalist class[1] are confirmed to the full.

The Labour Leader No. 24 (June 12, N.S.) devotes a whole page to listing the names of British Ministers (7 names), ex-Ministers (3 names), Bishops and Archdeacons (12 names), Peers (47 names), Members of Parliament (18 names), big newspaper owners, financiers and bankers, who are shareholders or directors in joint-stock companies dealing mainly in munitions.

The author of the article, Walton Newbold, collected all this information from official banking, commercial and industrial, financial and other sources, from the reports of patriotic organisations (like the Navy League), etc.

We get a picture quite similar to that once drawn from Russian data by Rubakin, who showed how many big land owners in Russia were members of the Council of State, high dignitaries—now we may add, members of the State Duma, shareholders or directors of joint-stock companies, etc. It is high time to bring Rubakin’s facts up to date by using the latest reference books, particularly adding data on participation in financial, commercial and industrial undertakings.

Our liberals (especially the Cadets) have a strong aversion for the “theory” of the class struggle, and particularly insist on their view that the governments of modern states can stand outside classes or above classes. But what can you do, gentlemen, if the “theory” which is so distasteful to you corresponds exactly to reality? If all the fundamentals of con temporary legislation and contemporary politics clearly show us the class character of the structure and administration of all contemporary states? If even information about the personalities of prominent politicians, members of parliament, high officials, etc., reveals the inseparable connection existing between economic rule and political rule?

The denial or concealment of the class struggle is the worst form of hypocrisy in politics; is banking on the ignorance and prejudices of the least developed strata of the people, the small proprietors (peasants, handicraftsmen, etc.), who are furthest removed from the most acute, and direct struggle of classes, and cling as before, as of old, to their patriarchal views. But what is ignorance and backwardness in the peasant is a subtle method of corrupting the people and keeping them in slavery on the part of the liberal intellectuals.

  1. See K. Marx and F. Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party”, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1955, p. 36.