“While nationalism, which had already eaten into the International, was expressed on the trade union question, reformism, which had in fact already won a majority, came to the forefront in the matter of the co-operatives. At the Paris Congress in 1900 Lafargue had stated that the opinion that co-operatives were to be recommended as a means of overcoming capitalism had met with general dissent. But it was precisely this Bernsteinian conception of co-operative socialism which was expressed, even if in a less definite form, in the resolution of the co-operative commission. In that resolution the consumers’ societies were assigned the task of “helping to prepare in making production and exchange democratic and socialist”. It is true that in another place it was stated that the co-operatives can never bring about the emancipation of the workers, but, as was customary when the centre predominated in the Second International, there was such a confusion of reformist and revolutionary ideas that any delegate could read into the resolution whatever he chose. After von Elm, for the German delegation, had given the reformist view on the nature of co-operatives in bourgeois society, and Guesde had given the Marxist view, Lenin put forward an amendment which stated that the co-operatives would only be effective in the direction of democracy and socialism after the capitalists had been expropriated. This proposal forced all the members of the commission to show their true colours, and they were the colours of reformism. The amendment was rejected against a small minority. The resolution was then passed against the vote of Modracek, for whom, as an extreme “co-operative socialist”, it was not reformist enough, and of Lenin. In this article, “The Co-operative Question at the International Socialist Congress at Copenhagen, 1910″ (1), Lenin stated that the Russian and Polish comrades tried in vain, through the mediation of Wurm, editor of the ‘Neue Zeit’, to retain the support of the left wing of the German delegation. Wurm said: «My opinion on the co-operative question is quite different from that of von Elm; still, we shall probably all agree on a common resolution». Lenin pointed out that the German delegation at world congresses was dominated by the opportunists because it consisted equally of party and trade union representatives, and the unions always sent opportunists (2), adding: «Wurm’s powerlessness against Elm is only a recent illustration of the crisis in German Social Democracy, which is extending further and further and which will finally compel a complete break with the opportunists». A this Congress the left wing felt itself to be so weak that Guesde, Lenin and the German lefts agreed not to carry on the fight in the plenary meeting, so that the commission resolution was passed unanimously. Pacifist illusions dominated at the war commission” (pag 107-109) [(1) Collected Works, Vol. XIV; (2) An idea of the composition of the German delegation can be obtained from the fact that Legien and Ebert acted as chairmen. The aged Bebel was prevented by the state of his health from attending the Congress] [Lenin-Bibliographical-Materials] [LBM*]