More Zeal than Sense
|Written||26 November 1912|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 207-208
Each has his own preoccupations: the proletariat sees the need for peace, and the capitalists look to the “ patriotic” examples provided by the Balkan War. To each his own. The workers insist that in terms of human life a Balkan revolution would have cost a hundred times less than the Balkan War, and would have produced democratic results a thousand times broader and more stable.
The capitalists—both the “Right” and the liberals, all the way up to our Progressists and Cadets—are straining to prove that whereas the banded capitalists in the Balkans have pocketed so much, the banded capitalists of Britain, France and Russia, as an “entente”, could have made off with ever so much more.
One American “patriot”, a patriot of the money-bag, managed to find out that some ships in the Greek navy had been built by Greek millionaire magnates at their own expense.
This American Guchkov or Maklakov hastened to advertise and play up the grand patriotic example in every way. He wrote: “Now if only our country’s shores and all our overseas trade were protected by giant dreadnoughts called Morgan, Astor, Vanderbilt and Rockefeller! With such an example before them, the people would grumble less about the concentration of capital in the hands of billionaires and about the unequal distribution of wealth!”
Patriotic, but impractical, say the American workers laughing. Gentlemen, go ahead with your splendid scheme, we’re all for it. Until now, the Rockefellers, Morgans, etc., over here in America have been hiring private detachments of armed men to protect their property and fight strikers. Let the billionaires now give the people a clear picture showing that the “external” defence of the “state” is defence of the monopolies and the profits of the owners of our trusts! Let’s see what lesson the American workers will learn as they contemplate these super-dreadnoughts named Morgan, Rockefeller, etc.: will it be patriotic emotion or socialist convictions? Will they become more servile to the capitalists, or will they demand with greater firmness that all trusts (manufacturers’ associations), all the property of the trusts, should be handed over to the workers, to society as a whole?
...The American “patriot” has overdone it....