like Turati and Kautsky try to convince the masses, either by direct statements (Turati "blurted" one out in his notorious speech of December 17, 1916), or by silent evasions (of which Kautsky is a past master), that the present imperialist war can result in a democratic peace, while the bourgeois governments remain in power and without a revolutionary insurrection against the whole network of imperialist world relations, it is our duty to declare that such propaganda is a deception of the people, that it has nothing in common with socialism, that it amounts to the embellishment of an imperialist peace.
We are for a democratic peace; and that is precisely why we do not want to lie to the peoples as Turati and Kautsky do -- of course with the best intentions, and for the most virtuous motives! We shall tell the truth, namely, that a democratic peace is impossible unless the revolutionary proletariat of England, France, Germany and Russia overthrows the bourgeois governments. We think it would be the height of absurdity for revolutionary Social-Democrats to refrain from fighting for reforms in general, including "constitutional reform". But at the present moment, Europe is going through a period in which it is more than ever necessary to bear in mind the truth that reforms area by-product of the revolutionary class struggle ; for the task of the day -- not because we want it, not because of anybody's plans, but because of the objective course of events -- is to solve the great historical problems by means of direct mass violence, which will create new foundations, and not by means of agreements on the basis of the old, decaying and moribund.
It is precisely at the present time, when the ruling bourgeoisie is preparing peacefully to disarm millions of prole-
tarians and to transfer them safely -- under cover of a plausible ideology, and sprinkling them with the holy water of sentimental pacifist phrases! -- from the filthy, stinking, fetid trenches, where they were engaged in slaughter, to the penal servitude of the capitalist factories, where by their "honest toil" they must repay the hundreds of millions of national debt, it is precisely at this time that the slogan, which our Party issued to the people in the autumn of 1914,[*] viz., transform the imperialist war into a civil war for socialism, acquires still greater significance than it had at the beginning of the war. Karl Liebknecht, now sentenced to hard labour, adopted that slogan when he said from the Reichstag tribune: "Turn your weapons against your class enemies within the country!" The extent to which present-day society has matured for the transition to socialism has been demonstrated by this war, in which the exertion of national effort called for the direction of the economic life of over fifty million people from a single centre. If this is possible under the leadership of a handful of Junker aristocrats in the interests of a handful of financial magnates, it is certainly no less possible under the leadership of class-conscious workers in the interests of nine-tenths of the population, exhausted by starvation and war.
But to lead the masses, the class-conscious workers must understand the utter corruption of such socialist leaders as Turati, Kautsky and Co. These gentlemen imagine they are revolutionary Social-Democrats, and they are very indignant when they are told that their place is in the party of Messrs. Bissolati, Scheidemann, Legien and Co. But Turati and Kautsky wholly fail to realise that only a revolution of the masses can solve the great problems of the day. They have not a grain of faith in the revolution, they do not pay the slightest attention to, or display the slightest interest in, the way it is maturing in the minds and moods of the masses precisely in connection with the war. Their attention is entirely absorbed in reforms, in pacts between sections of the ruling classes; it is to them that they address themselves, it is them they seek to "persuade", it is to them they wish to adapt the labour movement.
* See present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 25-34. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The War and Russian Social-Democracy". -- DJR]
But the whole thing now is to get the class-conscious vanguard of the proletariat to direct its thoughts to, and muster its forces for, a revolutionary struggle to overthrow their governments. Revolutions such as Turati and Kautsky are "prepared" to accept, i.e., revolutions for which the date and the chances of success can be set in advance, never happen. The revolutionary situation in Europe is a fact. The extreme discontent, the unrest and anger of the masses are facts. It is on strengthening this torrent that revolutionary Social-Democrats must concentrate all their efforts. Upon the strength of the revolutionary movement, in the event of its not being entirely successful, will depend what portion of the "promised" reforms will be realised in practice, and what use they will be for the further struggle of the working class. Upon the strength of the revolutionary movement, in the event of its being entirely successful, will depend the victory of socialism in Europe and the achievement not of an imperialist armistice in Germany's struggle against Russia and England, or in Russia's and Germany's struggle against England, or the United States' struggle against Germany and England, etc., but of a really lasting and really democratic peace.