The workers must struggle against Capitalism and against Fascism and must extricate themselves from their grasp; they must have their own independent policy. In flattering ourselves on having found this, we only ask to be refuted, corrected or helped by all comrades, workers and those who wish to live in honor and freedom and want to spare the world the insult of a new slavery.

Source: https://www.marxists.org/archive/rizzi/bureaucratisation/index.htm

I am not able to understand the bolded passage. I thought that "flatter on" is a phrasal verb. But this is not that case. Can you tell me please what "In flattering ourselves on having found this" means in the context?

  • I suspect that it is a confusing term resulting from translation from French. (This does appear to be an odd text to be learning from: a translation of a 1939 Marxist book that can only be of historical interest, since its analysis is unaware of the second world war, and all that proceeds from it.)
    – James K
    Dec 3, 2018 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


To "flatter oneself" is to believe something that makes one feel pleased with oneself or proud. We do use "flatter" with "on": "He flattered her on her good looks and beautiful singing voice."

In the quote "ourselves" appears to refer to the authors of the book, and "this" is the theory and analysis proposed in the book.

The author feels proud of his analysis of Soviet Russia, but invites discussion from other Marxists. However it is rather oddly expressed. I suspect it is a result of the translation from French.

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