Draft (or Theses) of the R.C.P.'s Reply to the Letter of the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany

[V.I. Lenin: On Imperialism and Opportunism, Futura 1974, 103 p., pp. 92-93]


Published in March 1920.


10. Every revolution (as distinguished from a reform) by its very nature implies a crisis, and a very deep crisis at that, both political and economic. This is irrespective of the crisis brought about by the war.

It is the task of the revolutionary party of the proletariat to explain to the workers and peasants that they must have the courage to meet this crisis boldly and find in revolutionary measures a source of strength with which to overcome the crisis. Only by surmounting the greatest crises with revolutionary enthusiasm, with revolutionary energy, with revolutionary preparedness to make the greatest sacrifices, can the proletariat defeat the exploiters and liberate mankind entirely from wars, the oppression of capital and wage-slavery.

There is no other way, because the reformist attitude to capitalism yesterday engendered the imperialist bloodbath (and will certainly do the same tomorrow) involving millions of people and endless crises.

This is the main idea without which the dictatorship of the proletariat is an empty phrase; the Independents and the Longuetists do not understand it and do not include it in their agitation and propaganda, do not explain it to the masses.


13. The Independents and the Longuetists do not understand and do not explain to the masses that the imperialist superprofits of the advanced countries enabled them (and still enable them) to bribe the top stratum of the proletariat, to throw them some crumbs from the superprofits (obtained from the colonies and from the financial exploitation of weak countries), to create a privileged section of skilled workers, etc.

Without the exposure of this evil, without a struggle against both the trade union bureaucracy and all manifestations of petty-bourgeois guildism, against the working-class aristocracy, the privileges of the upper stratum of workers, without the ruthless removal from the revolutionary party of those imbued with this spirit, without an appeal to the lower strata, to ever wider sections of the masses, to the real majority of the exploited – without all this there can be no question of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

14. This unwillingness or inability to break with the top stratum of workers who are infected with imperialism, is also found among the Independents and the Longuetists in their not conducting agitation for the direct, unqualified support for all insurrections and revolutionary movements of colonial peoples.

Under such circumstances the condemnation of colonial policy and of imperialism is either sheer hypocrisy or the empty sighing of a stupid philistine.


LCW Vol. 30, p. 341-343.

The full text can be found online on Marxist Internet Archive: