Defining Opportunism

“I must say that, looked at superficially, I am in a rather paradoxical position: in my own party I find myself, to use the common phrase, on the ‘extreme left wing,’ because I fight nationalist opportunism with all my might. But in the International I appear to be in the ‘right,’ ‘opportunist’ camp.

“In reality I think that this whole terminology does not reflect the true essence of things. After the experiences of war and Bolshevism, I have worked out one, purely psychological, criterion to divide comrades into opportunists and non-opportunists. If someone says: ‘Oh, let’s drop these considerations of morality! Of course we Marxists used to approach events with this criterion, and of course the Bolsheviks are immoral, but…’ then I come to the conclusion that I am dealing with an opportunist.

“Of course, with with morality alone one doesn’t get far, but separating the principles of the social ethic from proletarian interests, or as is being done in other cases, from the national movement, is the fundamental characteristic of opportunism — Bolshevik or nationalist. And although the first of these opportunists normally says his politics are leftist and is often called a ‘revolutionary romantic,’ and the second is considered to be right-wing and is called a ‘national pragmatist,’ they have a common basis: by deviating from the ultimate goals of our movement they adapt themselves to the existing natural tendencies. And in spite of all apparent contradictions these two forms of opportunism are sometimes interwoven without the men who hold these views being aware of it.”

— Irakli Tseretelli

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Groupthink is a contradiction in terms.

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