Opportunism is a revisionist tendency that involves sacrificing the long-term interests of the proletariat to favor short-sighted and momentary interests, usually of a minority section of the working class, or even for personal gain. Opportunists constantly change their political position to exploit certain circumstances according to the political climate, without firm and solid principles behind their words and actions. It often involves the upper strata of the proletariat allying with the bourgeoisie against the rest of the proletariat.
- “Opportunism means sacrificing the fundamental interests of the masses to the temporary interests of an insignificant minority of the workers or, in other words, an alliance between a section of the workers and the bourgeoisie, directed against the mass of the proletariat.”
Vladimir Lenin (1915). The collapse of the Second International.
- Andy Blunden. 'Opportunism' in Encyclopedia of Marxism. Marxists Internet Archive.
- “The opportunist does not betray his party, he does not act as a traitor, he does not desert it. He continues to serve it sincerely and zealously. But his typical and characteristic trait is that he yields to the mood of the moment, he is unable to resist what is fashionable, he is politically short-sighted and spineless. Opportunism means sacrificing the permanent and essential interests of the party to the momentary, transient and minor interests.”
Vladimir Lenin (1906). The Russian radical is wise after the event.
- “Once again Parvus’ apt observation that it is difficult to catch an opportunist with a formula has been proved correct. An opportunist will readily put his name to any formula and as readily abandon it, because opportunism means precisely a lack of definite and firm principles.”
Vladimir Lenin (1902). What is to be done?.
- “The economic basis of “social-chauvinism” (this term being more precise than the term social-patriotism, as the latter embellishes the evil) and of opportunism is the same, namely, an alliance between an insignificant section at the “top” of the labour movement, and its “own” national bourgeoisie, directed against the masses of the proletariat, an alliance between the servants of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie, directed against the class that is exploited by the bourgeoisie. Social-chauvinism is a consummated opportunism.”
Vladimir Lenin (1915). Opportunism, and the Collapse of the Second International. Marxists Internet Archive.