Social-Chauvinists and Internationalists
|Written||29 April 1917|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 324-325.
By betraying socialism and going over to the side of “their own” capitalists, the social-chauvinists have naturally split up in conformity with the capitalist groupings in the war. The split itself, just as naturally, is a temporary one. Plekhanov refuses to confer with Scheidemann, but that does not prevent him from defending the “International” of the social-chauvinists, which has betrayed socialism. In other words, Plekhanov is for a split with the Scheidemanns during the time the capitalists, whose agents they both are, are split up among themselves. Plekhanov is for unity with the Scheidemanns when the “masters” (i.e., the capitalists of both countries) are reconciled. There is no denying a certain consistency in Plekhanov’s position—the consistency of betrayal of socialism, the consistency of willing and faithful service to the capitalists.
No wonder the representatives of the international socialist “Centre” (Kautsky and others), being as they are in favour of “unity” with the social-chauvinists in general, agree to the conference organised by that agent of Scheidemann—Brogbjerg, or themselves organise (like the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet) an international “socialist” conference together with the Scheidemanns and Plekhanovs. No wonder our Russian representatives of the “Centre”, through their mouthpiece Rabochaya Gazeta, are so angered at our Party’s refusal to attend Borgbjerg’s conference.
Yesterday evening we received a telegram from our Stockholm correspondent:
“Haase, Longuet attending conference. ‘Spartacus’ refused.”
The name "Spartacus" or “Internationale” is used in Germany for the group to which Karl Liebknecht belongs. There has been a great hullabaloo lately, raised by people who are particularly interested in upsetting the apple-cart, about the Liebknecht group having supposedly united with the Kautskyites in a new Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany. As a matter of fact, the Liebknecht group is only affiliated to the Kautskyites as an independent organisation and merely entered into a temporary and qualified bloc against the social-chauvinists.
The telegram quoted above is one more confirmation of this fact, When things came to a practical point and a clear and definite answer had to be given immediately on the question of making common cause with Scheidemann and his agents, the alliance between Liebknecht’s group and the Kautsky group crumbled at once.
Some comrades feared that our resolution concerning Borgbjerg would “isolate” us.
No, comrades! It isolates us from the waverers. There is only one way of helping waverers, and that is by ceasing to be a waverer yourself.
The correctness of our resolution against Borgbjerg has been strikingly, fully and speedily confirmed by events. The Kautskyites of Germany (Haase) and France (Longuet) are still wavering. They have agreed to confer with the social- chauvinists and cannot make up their minds to dissociate themselves from them.
In taking upon itself the initiative in bringing about such a cleavage, our Party has already started to rally the elements of a Third International. The fact that our tactics coincide with those of the Liebknecht group is no accident. It is a step towards the inchoate Third International.