Notebook “η”

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Extracts and notes relating to imperialism.

K. Kautsky (The National State, etc.)[3–4]
Finance Capital in Russia[13–14]
Barron’s book on the war (N.B.)[15]
Lenz on modern war[17–18]


The National State, the Imperialist State and the Alliance of States, by K. Kautsky, Nuremberg, 1915 (50 pfennigs) (80 pp.).

In § 1—“Some Remarks on Democracy and the National State”—K. Kautsky finds fault with the Right-winger (Winnig) and a Left-winger of Halle (from the Halle Volksblatt), who say that the principle of “the right of every nation to national self-determination” (p. 5 in the declaration of August 4) is out-of-date. Kautsky favours the Centrist position on this issue, and chews over all the old stuff about the link between democracy and the national state.

In this context, he opposes “primitive democracy” and “direct national legislation” (8); moreover he ! || includes in “primitive democracy” “its most active variety, the mass strike” (8).

We are not for the status quo, he says, (14) but for a different way of breaking out of the national framework....

“The proletariat cannot emancipate itself by some of its sections, engaged in definite occupations or living in definite regions, benefiting from exploitation and oppression. That signifies rather a weakening of its position” (16)....

[And not a word of conclusion from this!! The sophist!]

On p. 17 a swindling distortion of the position of the Lefts. Like the Rights, they too (he says) agree that imperialism is inevitable, but demand that it be countered by “the immediate realisation” (17) of socialism....

|| petty swindler!! “This looks very radical, but is only (!!!) capable of driving everyone who does not believe in the immediate practical implementation of socialism into the camp of imperialism.”

This is followed by the most banal prattle about society being an organism and not a mechanism, and similar childish nonsense (with hints about the strong “national sentiments” (18) among the workers) and the conclusion that the inevitability of imperialism ||| does not imply that it is foolish to fight it “within this [capitalist] mode of production” (21). ||| N.B.

“The petty bourgeois and small peasants, and even many capitalists and intellectuals”, are against imperialism and favour other means of the extension of capital (apart from colonies) (21)....


Dr. Paul Lensch, German Social-Democracy and the World War, Berlin, 1915 (Vorwärts). 64 pp. (1.00 Mk).

A model of grovelling, chauvinist blather. A comparison with Plekhanov would be most useful!!

The war = a “product of imperialist policy” (5). In Jena (1911) Bebel said that instead of disarmament || N.B. we had rearmament and things were moving towards “a great catastrophe” (5)....

Pointing to the early twentieth-century wars and revolutions, Lensch exclaims: “what we are experiencing is a revolution” (6)....

We German Social-Democrats, “the strongest group in the International” (6), have been the most resolute in combating our government, etc., etc., have always held up Britain as an example (as if Britain were ruled not by a “capitalist clique”, but by a “committee for carrying out the Ten Commandments and other laws of morality” (6-7)). He points to the old traditions of German history and of Liebknecht, who “never entirely got rid of a certain South-German particularism and hatred of Prussia” (7).

Things went so far that Kautsky maintained mastery of the seas was “indispensable” for Britain (7: where is the quotation from?) (from the standpoint of food supplies, in contrast to Germany)....

! || “The danger of this line of reasoning, which, Incidentally, corresponded to a view almost universally held in the Party, has become fully evident in the present world war” (7)....

...“this weak criticism in regard to other countries” (8) had its roots “in the enormous strength of the Party”... “in its internationalism”.

“Undoubtedly, it [this world war] is an imperialist war” (9).... The policy in the East ... the Baghdad railway ... Britain and Egypt, etc., the (projected) partition of Turkey, Morocco, etc.

“Germany was not consulted at all in this dividing !! || up of the world” (10), “and it was more to protest against this insulting disregard than to protect the not very considerable material interests of German trade in Morocco” that the German Government protested against the Anglo-French agreement over Morocco.

In 1908 (the Revel meeting), the powers were already about to partition Turkey (Russia + Great Britain + France), but were prevented by the revolution in Turkey (11).

In 1914, agreements were nearly completed between Great Britain and Germany for the division of spheres in Africa (13) and in the East, etc.—Russia is to blame for the war.

In 1913 Germany threatened war over Armenia (14)....

| !! “For Germany, by which we mean the German Empire and Austria-Hungary, the question of capitalist expansion has become a question of national existence” (15).

The question now is not merely of dividing up colonies and spheres of influence, etc., but: “Shall the German people continue to exist as a great and independent nation, || !! or shall a large part of its national territory, in the east as well as in the west, be torn away and forcibly subjected to foreign, rule?” (15). | “On which side are the interests of international socialism in general, and of the German labour movement in particular, in this struggle, insofar as it concerns the threat to British world domination?” (16).

British mastery of the seas is a continuation of the wars against the French revolution. The monopoly of Britain towards the middle of the nineteenth century: Britain must be the “workshop” of the world.

“The much-vaunted British ‘freedom’ was based on enslavement of the world” (20).

“Great Britain has in a certain sense been the ruling class of the world” (20)....

In Chemnitz in 1912 (p. 417 et seq. of the minutes) I, Lensch, quoted Engels on the decline of Britain’s monopoly and said: | ! “International socialism, however, has not the slightest reason for helping to perpetuate this lasting supremacy of one capitalist state over all others. That would only make the conditions for the victory of socialism more difficult and protracted” (22–23).

...“the great historical advance that the shattering of British maritime supremacy would mean for the whole world and especially for international socialism” (23–24) would be the more certain the longer there was peace.... The working-class movement was a threat to the British bourgeoisie....

...“Seen in that light, participation in the world war was for the British bourgeoisie nothing but a flight from socialism” (24)....

...“In fact, if there were a means for throwing back for decades the proletariat’s international liberation struggle against capitalism, it would be the collapse of Germany in this war against Britain” (25)....

“The hard core of the International”, the German Social-Democrats, would be shattered and the working class thrown back into the camp of capitalism, etc. (25)....

“Germany is the centre and homeland of scientific socialism” (26).... “The interests of the international proletariat are on the German side” (27)....

Russian tsarism.... Marx and En gels in 1848. But now it is different. Engels in 1891 (quotation, p. 29). But now it is different.

Germany, as a complete national entity, “is being born” “only now” “with this war” (31)....

The German-Russian war “has grown far beyond the bounds of an imperialist war. || It represents the culmination of the German people’s painful process of development towards national unity” (33)....

A quotation from Engels on Russian diplomacy (35): as if written now....

Against the dismemberment of Russia (37) (“not dismemberment” (38)), against the formation of small states—“a certain national autonomy” is sufficient....

The downfall of tsarism (it should be awaited from the Russian proletariat) will accelerate development....

France and the war (§ V).... Revenge.

“The interests of freedom and democracy are absolutely incompatible with the victory of French arms” (42), for France is allied with Great Britain and Russia.

German Social-Democracy would “now” regard the severance of Alsace-Lorraine “as a mutilation of Germany” (43).

“An honourable peace” (44) with the French republic—that’s what’s needed.

The German past and future (§ VI):

National culture and its significance (according to O. Bauer, quotation p. 53). “Community of culture” (50 and others).

Capitalism must develop “towards democracy” (55)....

The danger of war” (56)—the cause of delay in German democratic progress.

“Militarism” (58) in Germany?? On the contrary, universal conscription the most and “almost the sole democratic institution” (Engels), whereas you have “hired troops” (59)....

“A middle-European alliance of states” (that, he says, is what Liszt wants)—(+ the Scandinavian countries + Switzerland + Italy + the Balkans + Turkey)—“a new era in world political development” (63)...—“the locomotive of world history” (62) this war ... “an extraordinary step forward” “in the sense of democracy, world peace, freedom of the peoples and socialism” (82). “Yes, and socialism!” (62)....

Smash tsarism—make peace with France—smash the “coercive rule of the British bourgeoisie” (63)....

The International is now shattered, but it will revive, as it did after 1870 (64).


Die Grenzboten, 1915, No. 9 (March 3, 1915).

The article “European Alliance of States?” is an open letter of a certain 0. B. to Professor G. Heymans of Groningen.

This professor, with four other persons, form a committee calling itself “the European alliance of states”. This committee has published Heymans’s appeal: “To the Citizens of the Belligerent States”, to which the open letter in Die Grenzboten is a reply.

The open letter, inter alia, raises the question of colonies (p. 270). “Is their ‘internal independence’ not also desirable? And are not the Indians, Negroes and Tatars also fully ‘equal’ with Britons, Frenchmen and Russians?”... (270).

|| quotation from the committee’s appeal ...“The British colonial empire, which is not founded ‘on the equality and internal independence’ of the colonial peoples any more than the other colonial empires, occupies about one-fifth of the globe. | Ought Great Britain to retain this colonial empire until, perhaps, the British have died out in Britain herself, and will Germany not be allowed to malicious! | obtain a single square metre of this empire, even if in the meantime her population has increased to 200 million?” (271)....


Finanz-Archiv (published by Schanz), Berlin, 1915 (32nd year, Vol. I):

Dr. Ernst Schultze, “French Capital in Russia” (pp. 125–33).

| “At the end of 1899 there were in Russia 146 foreign concession companies, with a total capital of 765 mil lion rubles or 2,075 million francs. Of this, 792 million francs belonged to France, 734 to Belgium, 261 to Germany and 231 to Great Britain” (125)....

million francs
Great Britain231

“Out of a world total of 732,000 million francs in securities, such as: state and municipal loans, mortgage deeds, industrial shares and bonds, only 20,000-25,000 million francs are said to have been invested in Russia. The chief holders of these securities were (127):

ΣΣUnited States110-115thousandmillionfrancs}}420
130Great Britain125-130
__ ____ ____ ____ __
26097(my Σ=)440-484
272[NOTE: 1st 2 cols. in BOX]

In France, during 1889-1908, securities were issued to the value of 24,000 million francs: 18,000 million abroad + 6,000 (25 per cent) in France.

In Germany, during 1883-1907, securities were issued to the value of 42,000 million marks: 10,000 million abroad and 32,000 (80 per cent) in Germany.

The French national wealth

(1905)— 204,000 million francs

1914 —about 250,000 ” ” (Caillaux, who, however, took 200,000 million in calculating income tax).

In 1912, France invested in Russian enterprises in Russia 367,660,000 rubles = about 990 million francs (including 115.5 million rubles in railways; 96.25 million in state enterprises; 70.9 million in trade banks, etc.).

At the present time, foreign capital in Russia is approximately as follows:

Franceabout 20thousandmillionmarks
Great Britain0.25
Σ (my)24–26.35

[[BOX ENDS: The author = a German chauvinist. Predicts gigantic French losses from the war: p. 133. ]]


The Audacious War. By C. W. Barron—“Its Commercial Causes, Its Cost in Money and Men”. An announcement (not a review) in The Economist, March 20, 1915:

“As publisher of The Wall Street Journal, The Boston News Bureau and The Philadelphia News Bureau, Mr. Barron went abroad to get the financial and diplomatic inside of the war, and he got it.”

“Send orders to your bookseller or The Wall Street Journal. 44. Broad Street, New York City, N.Y. 4s. 6d. (post paid) (Houghton Mifflin Co., Publishers).”

LENZ ON MODERN WAR[edit source]

Friedrich Lenz, “The Political Prerequisites of Modern War”, Deutsche Rundschau XLI, 4, 1915, January.

Millions of English square miles (p. 81):

The British Empire:4,6009,30010,800
The Russian Empire:7,6008,60010,200
The Turkish Empire:1,8001,300700
United States of America:1,5003,5003,700
France with colonies

(round figures):

German Empire with colonies

(round figures):

Japan with colonies:150150260
Italy ” ” :100110700
At the beginning of October 1914 (p. 102):




sq. miles)

trade (million marks)

(Neutral) (round figures)80024,470,00058,000
Population (ibidem, p. 83):

(prior to 1870 without


(from 1870 without

17001421 million
  1. 1) Axel von Boustedt and David Trietsch, The Russian
    Empire, Berlin, 1910, p. 227.