History of the CPSU(b.) — Ch. 1- 4
11-01-2010


[Part 1 — Chapters 1-4]

H I S T O R Y

O F  T H E

C O M M U N I S T   P A R T Y

O F  T H E

S O V I E T  U N I O N

(B O L S H E V I K S)

Short Course

 
E D I T E D  B Y  A  C O M M I S S I O N  O F  T H E
C E N T R A L  C O M M I T T E E  O F  T H E  C. P. S. U. (B.)


A U T H O R I Z E D  B Y  T H E  C E N T R A L  C O M M I T T E E
O F  T H E  C. P. S. U. (B.)


Copyright, 1939, by
INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHERS CO., INC.

 


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolodjr@marx2mao.org (October 1998)


[Transcriber’s Note : In the printed edition of the text, quoted passages of any length appear in the same size type, but are indented as a block. In the following on-line version, these passages are NOT indented as a block, but appear in a smaller point font.— DJR ]

 

C O N T E N T S

[Part 1 — Chapters 1-4]
 

INTRODUCTION
 

1
 

Chapter One

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CREATION OF A SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC
LABOUR PARTY IN RUSSIA
(1883-1901)

1.
 
 

2.
 
 

3.
 
 

4.
 
 
 

5.
 

Abolition of Serfdom and the Development of Industrial Cap-
italism in Russia. Rise of the Modern Industrial Proletariat.
First Steps of the Working-Class Movement
Narodism (Populism) and Marxism in Russia. Plekhanov and
His «Emancipation of Labour» Group. Plekhanov’s Fight
Against Narodism. Spread of Marxism in Russia
Beginning of Lenin’s Revolutionary Activities. St. Petersburg
League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working
Class
Lenin’s Struggle Against Narodism and «Legal Marxism.»
Lenin’s Idea of an Alliance of the Working Class and the
Peasantry. First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic
Labour Party
Lenin’s Fight Against «Economism.» Appearance of Lenin’s
Newspaper Iskra

 
3

 
8

 
16

 
 
19

 22

Brief Summary

25

 
Chapter Two

FORMATION OF THE RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY.
APPEARANCE OF THE BOLSHEVIK AND THE MENSHEVIK
GROUPS WITHIN THE PARTY
(1901-1904)

1.

2.
 
 
 

3.
 
 
 

4.
 
 
 
 

Upsurge of the Revolutionary Movement in Russia in 1901-04
Lenin’s Plan for the Building of a Marxist Party. Opportunism
of the «Economists.» Iskra ‘s Fight for Lenin’s Plan. Lenin’s
Book What Is To Be Done? Ideological Foundations of the
Marxist Party
Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour
Party. Adoption of Program and Rules and Formation of a
Single Party. Differences at the Congress and Appearance of
Two Trends Within the Party: The Bolshevik and the Menshevik
Splitting Activities of the Menshevik Leaders and Sharpening
of the Struggle Within the Party After the Second Congress.
Opportunism of the Menshevik. Lenin’s Book, One Step
ForwardTwo Steps Back. Organizational Principles of the
Marxist Party

27

 
 
30

 
 
39

 
 
 
44

Brief Summary

52

 
Chapter Three

THE MENSHEVIKS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS IN THE PERIOD OF
RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR AND THE FIRST RUSSIAN
REVOLUTION
(1904-1907)

1.
 
 
 

2.
 
 

3.
 
 
 

4.
 
 

5.
 
 

6.
 
 
 

Russo-Japanese War. Further Rise of the Revolutionary Move-
ment in Russia. Strikes in St. Petersburg. Workers’ Demon-
stration Before the Winter Palace on January 9, 1905. Demon-
stration Fired Upon. Outbreak of the Revolution
Workers’ Political Strikes and Demonstrations. Growth of the
Revolutionary Movement Among the Peasants. Revolt on the
Battleship Potemkin
Tactical Differences Between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.
Third Party Congress. Lenin’s Two Tactics of Social-Demo-
cracy in the Democratic Revolution.
 Tactical Foundations of

the Marxist Party
Further Rise of the Revolution. All-Russian Political Strike
of October 1905. Retreat of Tsardom. The Tsar’s Manifesto.
Rise of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies
December Armed Uprising. Defeat of the Uprising. Retreat of
the Revolution. First State Duma. Fourth (Unity) Party Con-
gress
Dispersion of the First State Duma. Convocation of the Second
State Duma. Fifth Party Congress. Dispersion of the Second
State Duma. Causes of the Defeat of the First Russian Revo-
lution

 
 
54

 
58

 
 
62

 
77

 
80

 
 
88

Brief Summary

94

 
Chapter Four

THE MENSHEVIKS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS IN THE PERIOD OF THE
STOLYPIN REACTION. THE BOLSHEVIKS CONSTITUTE THEM-
SELVES AN INDEPENDENT MARXIST PARTY
(1908-1912)

1.
 
 
 
 
 
 

2.

3.
 
 

4.
 

5.
 

Stolypin Reaction. Disintegration Among the Oppositional
Intelligentsia. Decadence. Desertion of a Section of the
Party Intelligentsia to the Enemies of Marxism and Attempts
to Revise the Theory of Marxism. Lenin’s Rebutal of the Re-
visionists in His Materialism and Empirio-Criticism and
His Defence of the Theoretical Foundations of the Marxist
Party
Dialectical and Historical Materialism
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in the Period of the Stolypin Re-
action. Struggle of the Bolsheviks Against the Liquidators
and Otzovists
Struggle of the Bolsheviks Against Trotskyism. Anti-Party
August Bloc
Prague Party Conference, 1912. Bolsheviks Constitute Them-
selves an Independent Marxist Party

 
 
 
 
 
97

105

 
132

136

138

Brief Summary

143

 


page 1

I N T R O D U C T I O N 

    The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) has traversed a long and glorious road, leading from the first tiny Marxist circles and groups that appeared in Russia in the eighties of the past century to the great Party of the Bolsheviks, which now directs the first Socialist State of Workers and Peasants in the world.

    The C.P.S.U.(B.) grew up on the basis of the working-class movement in pre-revolutionary Russia; it sprang from the Marxist circles and groups which had established connection with the working-class movement and imparted to it a Socialist consciousness. The C.P.S.U.(B.) has always been guided by the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism. In the new conditions of the era of imperialism, imperialist wars and proletarian revolutions, its leaders further developed the teachings of Marx and Engels and raised them to a new level.

    The C.P.S.U.(B.) grew and gained strength in a fight over fundamental principles waged against the petty-bourgeois parties within the working-class movement — the Socialist-Revolutionaries (and earlier still, against their predecessors, the Narodniks), the Mensheviks, Anarchists and bourgeois nationalists of all shades — and, within the Party itself, against the Menshevik, opportunist trends — the Trotskyites, Bukharinites, nationalist deviators and other anti-Leninist groups.

    The C.P.S.U.(B.) gained strength and became tempered in the revolutionary struggle against all enemies of the working class and of all working people — against landlords, capitalists, kulaks, wreckers, spies, against all the hirelings of the surrounding capitalist states.

    The history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) is the history of three revolutions: the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1905, the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 19I7, and the Socialist revolution of October 19I7.

    The history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) is the history of the overthrow

page 2

of tsardom, of the overthrow of the power of the landlords and capitalists; it is the history of the rout of the armed foreign intervention during the Civil War; it is the history of the building of the Soviet state and of Socialist society in our country.

    The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) enriches us with the experience of the fight for Socialism waged by the workers and peasants of our country.

    The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.), the history of the struggle of our Party against all enemies of Marxism-Leninism, against all enemies of the working people, helps us to master Bolshevism and sharpens our political vigilance.

    The study of the heroic history of the Bolshevik Party arms us with a knowledge of the laws of social development and of the political struggle, with a knowledge of the motive forces of revolution.

    The study of the history of the C.P.S.U.(B.) strengthens our certainty of the ultimate victory of the great cause of the Party of Lenin-Stalin, the victory of Communism throughout the world.

    This book sets forth briefly the history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks).

 



 
 

page 3


C H A P T E R   O N E

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE CREATION
OF A SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY
IN RUSSIA
(1883-1901)

 

1.

ABOLITION OF SERFDOM AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INDUS-
TRIAL CAPITALISM IN RUSSIA. RISE OF THE MODERN IN-
DUSTRIAL PROLETARIAT. FIRST STEPS OF THE WORKING-
CLASS MOVEMENT

    Tsarist Russia entered the path of capitalist development later than other countries. Prior to the sixties of the past century there were very few mills and factories in Russia. Manorial estates based on serfdom constituted the prevailing form of economy. There could be no real development of industry under serfdom. The involuntary labour of the serfs in agriculture was of low productivity. The whole course of economic development made the abolition of serfdom imperative. In 1861, the tsarist government, weakened by defeat in the Crimean War, and frightened by the peasant revolts against the landlords, was compelled to abolish serfdom.

    But even after serfdom had been abolished the landlords continued to oppress the peasants. In the process of «emancipation» they robbed the peasants by inclosing, cutting off, considerable portions of the land previously used by the peasants. These cut-off portions of land were called by the peasants otrezki (cuts). The peasants were compelled to pay about 2,000,000,000 rubles to the landlords as the redemption price for their «emancipation.»

    After serfdom had been abolished the peasants were obliged to rent land from the landlords on most onerous terms. In addition to paying money rent, the peasants were often compelled by the landlord to cultivate without remuneration a definite portion of his land with their own implements and horses. This was called otrabotki or barshchina (labour rent, corvée). In most cases the peasants were obliged to pay the land lords rent in kind in the amount of one-half of their harvests. This was known as ispolu (half and half system).

    Thus the situation remained almost the same as it had been under

page 4

serfdom, the only difference being that the peasant was now personally free, could not be bought and sold like a chattel.

    The landlords bled the backward peasant farms white by various methods of extortion (rent, fines). Owing to the oppression of the landlords the bulk of the peasantry were unable to improve their farms. Hence the extreme backwardness of agriculture in pre-revolutionary Russia, which led to frequent crop failures and famines.

    The survivals of serfdom, crushing taxation and the redemption payments to the landlords, which not infrequently exceeded the income of the peasant household, ruined the peasants, reduced them to pauperism and forced them to quit their villages in search of a livelihood. They went to work in the mills and factories. This was a source of cheap labour power for the manufacturers.

    Over the workers and peasants stood a veritable army of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, gendarmes, constables, rural police, who protected the tsar, the capitalists and the landlords from the toiling and exploited people. Corporal punishment existed right up to 1903. Although serfdom had been abolished the peasants were flogged for the slightest offence and for the non-payment of taxes. Workers were manhandled by the police and the Cossacks, especially during strikes, when the workers downed tools because their lives had been made intolerable by the manufacturers. Under the tsars the workers and peasants had no political rights whatever. The tsarist autocracy was the worst enemy of the people.

    Tsarist Russia was a prison of nations. The numerous non-Russian nationalities were entirely devoid of rights and were subjected to constant insult and humiliation of every kind. The tsarist government taught the Russian population to look down upon the native peoples of the national regions as an inferior race, officially referred to them as inorodtsi (aliens), and fostered contempt and hatred of them. The tsarist government deliberately fanned national discord, instigated one nation against another, engineered Jewish pogroms and, in Transcaucasia, incited Tatars and Armenians to massacre each other.

    Nearly all, if not all, government posts in the national regions were held by Russian officials. All business in government institutions and in the courts was conducted in the Russian language. It was forbidden to publish newspapers and books in the languages of the non-Russian nationalities or to teach in the schools in the native tongue. The tsarist government strove to extinguish every spark of national culture and pursued a policy of forcible «Russification.» Tsardom was a hangman and torturer of the non-Russian peoples.

    After the abolition of serfdom, the development of industrial cap-

page 5

italism in Russia proceeded at a fairly rapid pace in spite of the fact that it was still hampered by survivals of serfdom. During the twenty-five years, 1865-90, the number of workers employed in large mills and factories and on the railways increased from 706,000 to 1,433,000, or more than doubled.

    Large-scale capitalist industry in Russia began to develop even more rapidly in the nineties. By the end of that decade the number of workers employed in the large mills and factories, in the mining industry and on the railways amounted in the fifty European provinces of Russia alone to 2,207,000, and in the whole of Russia to 2,792,000 persons.

    This was a modern industrial proletariat, radically different from the workers employed in the factories of the period of serfdom and from the workers in small, handicraft and other kinds of industry, both because of the spirit of solidarity prevailing among the workers in big capitalist enterprises and because of their militant revolutionary qualities.

    The industrial boom of the nineties was chiefly due to intensive railroad construction. During the course of the decade (1890-1900) over 21,000 versts of new railway line were laid. The railways created a big demand for metal (for rails, locomotives and cars), and also for increasing quantities of fuel — coal and oil. This led to the development of the metal and fuel industries.

    In pre-revolutionary Russia, as in all capitalist countries, periods of industrial boom alternated with industrial crises, stagnation, which severely affected the working class and condemned hundreds of thousands of workers to unemployment and poverty.

    Although the development of capitalism in Russia proceeded fairly rapidly after the abolition of serfdom, nevertheless, in economic development Russia lagged considerably behind other capitalist countries. The vast majority of the population was still engaged in agriculture. In his celebrated work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia Lenin cited significant figures from the general census of the population of 1897 which showed that about five-sixths of the total population were engaged in agriculture, and only one-sixth in large and small industry, trade, on the railways and waterways, in building work, lumbering, and so on.

    This shows that although capitalism was developing in Russia, she was still an agrarian, economically backward country, a petty-bourgeois country, that is, a country in which low-productive individual peasant farming based on small ownership still predominated.

    Capitalism was developing not only in the towns but also in the countryside. The peasantry, the most numerous class in pre-revolutionary Russia, was undergoing a process of disintegration, of cleavage.

page 6

From among the more well-to-do peasants there was emerging an upper layer of kulaks, the rural bourgeoisie, while on the other hand many peasants were being ruined, and the number of poor peasants, rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, was on the increase. As to the middle peasants, their number decreased from year to year.

    In 1903 there were about ten million peasant households in Russia. In his pamphlet entitled To the Village Poor, Lenin calculated that of this total not less than three and a half million households consisted of peasants possessing no horses. These were the poorest peasants who usually sowed only a small part of their land, leased the rest to the kulaks, and themselves left to seek other sources of livelihood. The position of these peasants came nearest to that of the proletariat. Lenin called them rural proletarians or semi-proletarians.

    On the other hand, one and a half million rich, kulak households (out of a total of ten million peasant households) concentrated in their hands half the total sown area of the peasants. This peasant bourgeoisie was growing rich by grinding down the poor and middle peasantry and profiting from the toil of agricultural labourers, and was developing into rural capitalists.

    The working class of Russia began to awaken already in the seventies, and especially in the eighties, and started a struggle against the capitalists. Exceedingly hard was the lot of the workers in tsarist Russia. In the eighties the working day in the mills and factories was not less than 12 1/2 hours, and in the textile industry reached 14 to 15 hours. The exploitation of female and child labour was widely resorted to. Children worked the same hours as adults, but, like the women, received a much smaller wage. Wages were inordinately low. The majority of the workers were paid seven or eight rubles per month. The most highly paid workers in the metal works and foundries received no more than 35 rubles per month. There were no regulations for the protection of labour, with the result that workers were maimed and killed in large numbers. Workers were not insured, and all medical services had to be paid for. Housing conditions were appalling. In the factory-owned barracks, workers were crowded as many as 10 or 12 to a small «cell.» In paying wages, the manufacturers often cheated the workers, compelled them to make their purchases in the factory-owned shops at exorbitant prices, and mulcted them by means of fines.

    The workers began to take a common stand and present joint demands to the factory workers for the improvement of their intolerable conditions. They would down tools and go on strike. The earlier strikes in the seventies and eighties were usually provoked by excessive fines,

page 7

cheating and swindling of the workers over wages, and reductions in the rates of pay.

    In the earlier strikes, the workers, driven to despair, would sometimes smash machinery, break factory windows and wreck factory-owned shops and factory offices.

    The more advanced workers began to realize that if they were to be successful in their struggle against the capitalists, they needed organization. Workers’ unions began to arise.

    In 1875 the South Russian Workers’ Union was formed in Odessa. This first workers’ organization lasted eight or nine months and was then smashed by the tsarist government.

    In 1878 the Northern Union of Russian Workers was formed in St. Petersburg, headed by Khalturin, a carpenter, and Obnorsky, a fitter. The program of the Union stated that its aims and objects were similar to those of the Social-Democratic labour parties of the West. The ultimate aim of the Union was to bring about a Socialist revolution — «the overthrow of the existing political and economic system, as an extremely unjust system.» Obnorsky, one of the founders of the Union, had lived abroad for some time and had there acquainted himself with the activities of the Marxist Social-Democratic parties and of the First International, which was directed by Marx. This circumstance left its impress on the program of the Northern Union of Russian Workers. The immediate aim of the Union was to win political liberty and political rights for the people (freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc.). The immediate demands also included a reduction of the working day.

    The membership of the Union reached 200, and it had about as many sympathizers. It began to take part in workers’ strikes, to lead them. The tsarist government smashed this workers’ Union too.

    But the working-class movement continued to grow, spreading from district to district. The eighties were marked by a large number of strikes. In the space of five years (1881-86) there were as many as 48 strikes involving 80,000 workers.

    An exceptional part in the history of the revolutionary movement was played by the big strike that broke out at the Morozov mill in Orekhovo-Zuyevo in 1885.

    About 8,000 workers were employed at this mill. Working conditions grew worse from day to day: there were five wage cuts between 1882 and 1884, and in the latter year rates were reduced by 25 per cent at one blow. In addition, Morozov, the manufacturer, tormented the workers with fines. It was revealed at the trial which followed the strike that of every ruble earned by the workers, from 30 to 50 kopeks

page 8

went into the pocket of the manufacturer in the form of fines. The workers could not stand this robbery any longer and in January 1885 went out on strike. The strike had been organized beforehand. It was led by a politically advanced worker, Pyotr Moiseyenko, who had been a member of the Northern Union of Russian Workers and already had some revolutionary experience. On the eve of the strike Moiseyenko and others of the more class-conscious weavers drew up a number of demands for presentation to the mill owners; they were endorsed at a secret meeting of the workers. The chief demand was the abolition of the rapacious fines.

    This strike was suppressed by armed force. Over 600 workers were arrested and scores of them committed for trial.

    Similar strikes broke out in the mills of Ivanovo-Voznesensk in 1885.

    In the following year the tsarist government was compelled by its fear of the growth of the working-class movement to promulgate a law on fines which provided that the proceeds from fines were not to go into the pockets of the manufacturers but were to be used for the needs of the workers themselves.

    The Morozov and other strikes taught the workers that a great deal could be gained by organized struggle. The working-class movement began to produce capable leaders and organizers who staunchly championed the interests of the working class.

    At the same time, on the basis of the growth of the working-class movement and under the influence of the working-class movement of Western Europe, the first Marxist organizations began to arise in Russia.

2.

NARODISM (POPULISM) AND MARXISM IN RUSSIA. PLEKHANOV
AND HIS «EMANCIPATION OF LABOUR» GROUP. PLEKHANOV’S
FIGHT AGAINST NARODISM. SPREAD OF MARXISM IN RUSSIA

    Prior to the appearance of the Marxist groups revolutionary work in Russia was carried on by the Narodniks (Populists), who were opponents of Marxism.

    The first Russian Marxist group arose in 1883. This was the «Emancipation of Labour» group formed by G. V. Plekhanov abroad, in Geneva, where he had been obliged to take refuge from the persecution of the tsarist government for his revolutionary activities.

    Previously Plekhanov had himself been a Narodnik. But having studied Marxism while abroad, he broke with Narodism and became an outstanding propagandist of Marxism.

page 9

 

    The «Emancipation of Labour» group did a great deal to disseminate Marxism in Russia. They translated works of Marx and Engels into Russian — The Communist ManifestoWage-Labour and CapitalSocialism: Utopian and Scientific, etc. — had them printed abroad and circulated them secretly in Russia. Plekhanov, Zasulich, Axelrod and other members of this group also wrote a number of works explaining the teachings of Marx and Engels, the ideas of scientific Socialism.

    Marx and Engels, the great teachers of the proletariat, were the first to explain that, contrary to the opinion of the utopian Socialists, Socialism was not the invention of dreamers (utopians), but the inevitable outcome of the development of modern capitalist society. They showed that the capitalist system would fall, just as serfdom had fallen, and that capitalism was creating its own gravediggers in the person of the proletariat. They showed that only the class struggle of the proletariat, only the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, would rid humanity of capitalism and exploitation.

    Marx and Engels taught the proletariat to be conscious of its own strength, to be conscious of its class interests and to unite for a determined struggle against the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels discovered the laws of development of capitalist society and proved scientifically that the development of capitalist society, and the class struggle going on within it, must inevitably lead to the fall of capitalism, to the victory of the proletariat, to the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Marx and Engels taught that it was impossible to get rid of the power of capital and to convert capitalist property into public property by peaceful means, and that the working class could achieve this only by revolutionary violence against the bourgeoisie, by aproletarian revolution, by establishing its own political rule — the dictatorship of the proletariat — which must crush the resistance of the exploiters and create a new, classless, Communist society.

    Marx and Engels taught that the industrial proletariat is the most revolutionary and therefore the most advanced class in capitalist society, and that only a class like the proletariat could rally around itself all the forces discontented with capitalism and lead them in the storming of capitalism. But in order to vanquish the old world and create a new, classless society, the proletariat must have its own working-class party, which Marx and Engels called the Communist Party.

    It was to the dissemination of the views of Marx and Engels that the first Russian Marxist group, Plekhanov’s «Emancipation of Labour» group, devoted itself.

    The «Emancipation of Labour» group raised the banner of Marx-

page 10

ism in the Russian press abroad at a time when no Social-Democratic movement in Russia yet existed. It was first necessary to prepare the theoretical, ideological ground for such a movement. The chief ideological obstacle to the spread of Marxism and of the Social-Democratic movement was the Narodnik views which at that time prevailed among the advanced workers and the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia.

    As capitalism developed in Russia the working class became a powerful and advanced force that was capable of waging an organized revolutionary struggle. But the leading role of the working class was not understood by the Narodniks. The Russian Narodniks erroneously held that the principal revolutionary force was not the working class, but the peasantry, and that the rule of the tsar and the landlords could be overthrown by means of peasant revolts alone. The Narodniks did not know the working class and did not realize that the peasants alone were incapable of vanquishing tsardom and the landlords without an alliance with the working class and without its guidance. The Narodniks did not understand that the working class was the most revolutionary and the most advanced class of society.

    The Narodniks first endeavoured to rouse the peasants for a struggle against the tsarist government. With this purpose in view, young revolutionary intellectuals donned peasant garb and flocked to the countryside — «to the people,» as it used to be called. Hence the term «Narodnik,» from the word narod, the people. But they found no backing among the peasantry, for they did not have a proper knowledge or understanding of the peasants either. The majority of them were arrested by the police. Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.

    A secret Narodnik society known as «Narodnaya Volya» («People’s Will») began to plot the assassination of the tsar. On March 1, 1881, members of the «Narodnaya Volya» succeeded in killing Tsar Alexander II with a bomb. But the people did not benefit from this in any way. The assassination of individuals could not bring about the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy or the abolition of the landlord class. The assassinated tsar was replaced by another, Alexander III, under whom the conditions of the workers and peasants became still worse.

    The method of combating tsardom chosen by the Narodniks, namely, by the assassination of individuals, by individual terrorism, was wrong and detrimental to the revolution. The policy of individual terrorism was based on the erroneous Narodnik theory of active «heroes» and a passive «mob,» which awaited exploits from the «heroes.» This

page 11

false theory maintained that it is only outstanding individuals who make history, while the masses, the people, the class, the «mob,» as the Narodnik writers contemptuously called them, are incapable of conscious, organized activity and can only blindly follow the «heroes.» For this reason the Narodniks abandoned mass revolutionary work among the peasantry and the working class and changed to individual terrorism. They induced one of the most prominent revolutionaries of the time, Stepan Khalturin, to give up his work of organizing a revolutionary workers’ union and to devote himself entirely to terrorism.

    By these assassinations of individual representatives of the class of exploiters, assassinations that were of no benefit to the revolution, the Narodniks diverted the attention of the working people from the struggle against that class as a whole. They hampered the development of the revolutionary initiative and activity of the working class and the peasantry.

    The Narodniks prevented the working class from understanding its leading role in the revolution and retarded the creation of an independent party of the working class.

    Although the Narodniks’ secret organization had been smashed by the tsarist government, Narodnik views continued to persist for a long time among the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia. The surviving Narodniks stubbornly resisted the spread of Marxism in Russia and hampered the organization of the working class.

    Marxism in Russia could therefore grow and gain strength only by combating Narodism.

    The «Emancipation of Labour» group launched a fight against the erroneous views of the Narodniks and showed how greatly their views and methods of struggle were prejudicing the working-class movement.

    In his writings directed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that their views had nothing in common with scientific Socialism, even though they called themselves Socialists.

    Plekhanov was the first to give a Marxist criticism of the erroneous views of the Narodniks. Delivering well-aimed blows at the Narodnik views, Plekhanov at the same time developed a brilliant defence of the Marxist views.

    What were the major errors of the Narodniks which Plekhanov hammered at with such destructive effect?

    First, the Narodniks asserted that capitalism was something «accidental» in Russia, that it would not develop, and that therefore the proletariat would not grow and develop either.

page 12

 

    Secondly, the Narodniks did not regard the working class as the foremost class in the revolution. They dreamed of attaining Socialism without the proletariat. They considered that the principal revolutionary force was the peasantry — led by the intelligentsia — and the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and foundation of Socialism.

    Thirdly, the Narodniks’ view of the whole course of human history was erroneous and harmful. They neither knew nor understood the laws of the economic and political development of society. In this respect they were quite backward. According to them, history was made not by classes, and not by the struggle of classes, but by outstanding individuals — «heroes» — who were blindly followed by the masses, the «mob,» the people, the classes.

    In combating and exposing the Narodniks Plekhanov wrote a number of Marxist works which were instrumental in rearing and educating the Marxists in Russia. Such works of his as Socialism and the Political StruggleOur DifferencesOn the Development of the Monistic View of History cleared the way for the victory of Marxism in Russia.

    In his works Plekhanov expounded the basic principles of Marxism. Of particular importance was his On the Development of the Monistic View of History, published in 1895. Lenin said that this book served to «rear a whole generation of Russian Marxists.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIV, p. 347.)

    In his writings aimed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that it was absurd to put the question the way the Narodniks did: should capitalism develop in Russia or not? As a matter of fact Russia had already entered the path of capitalist development, Plekhanov said, producing facts to prove it, and there was no force that could divert her from this path.

    The task of the revolutionaries was not to arrest the development of capitalism in Russia — that they could not do anyhow. Their task was to secure the support of the powerful revolutionary force brought into being by the development of capitalism, namely, the working class, to develop its class-consciousness, to organize it, and to help it to create its own working-class party.

    Plekhanov also shattered the second major error of the Narodniks, namely, their denial of the role of the proletariat as the vanguard in the revolutionary struggle. The Narodniks looked upon the rise of the proletariat in Russia as something in the nature of a «historical misfortune,» and spoke of the «ulcer of proletarianism.» Plekhanov, championing the teachings of Marxism, showed that they were fully applicable

page 13

to Russia and that in spite of the numerical preponderance of the peasantry and the relative numerical weakness of the proletariat, it was on the proletariat and on its growth that the revolutionaries should base their chief hopes.

    Why on the proletariat?

    Because the proletariat, although it was still numerically small, was a labouring class which was connected with the most advanced form of economy, large-scale production, and which for this reason had a great future before it.

    Because the proletariat, as a class, was growing from year to year, was developing politically, easily lent itself to organization owing to the conditions of labour prevailing in large-scale production, and was the most revolutionary class owing to its proletarian status, for it had nothing to lose in the revolution but its chains.

    The case was different with the peasantry.

    The peasantry (meaning here the individual peasants, each of whom worked for himself — Ed.), despite its numerical strength, was a labouring class that was connected with the most backward form of economy, small-scale production, owing to which it had not and could not have any great future before it.

    Far from growing as a class, the peasantry was splitting up more and more into bourgeois (kulaks) and poor peasants (proletarians and semi-proletarians). Moreover, being scattered, it lent itself less easily than the proletariat to organization, and, consisting of small owners, it joined the revolutionary movement less readily than the proletariat.

    The Narodniks maintained that Socialism in Russia would come not through the dictatorship of the proletariat, but through the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and basis of Socialism. But the commune was neither the basis nor the embryo of Socialism, nor could it be, because the commune was dominated by the kulaks — the bloodsuckers who exploited the poor peasants, the agricultural labourers and the economically weaker middle peasants. The formal existence of communal land ownership and the periodical redivision of the land according to the number of mouths in each peasant household did not alter the situation in any way. Those members of the commune used the land who owned draught cattle, implements and seed, that is, the well-to-do middle peasants and kulaks. The peasants who possessed no horses, the poor peasants, the small peasants generally, had to surrender their land to the kulaks and to hire themselves out as agricultural labourers. As a matter of fact, the peasant commune was a convenient means of masking the dominance of the kulaks and an inexpensive instrument in the hands of

page 14

the tsarist government for the collection of taxes from the peasants on the basis of collective responsibility. That was why tsardom left the peasant commune intact. It was absurd to regard a commune of this character as the embryo or basis of Socialism.

    Plekhanov shattered the third major error of the Narodniks as well, namely, that «heroes,» outstanding individuals, and their ideas played a prime role in social development, and that the role of the masses, the «mob,» the people, classes, was insignificant. Plekhanov accused the Narodniks of idealism, and showed that the truth lay not with idealism, but with the materialism of Marx and Engels.

    Plekhanov expounded and substantiated the view of Marxist materialism. In conformity with Marxist materialism, he showed that in the long run the development of society is determined not by the wishes and ideas of outstanding individuals, but by the development of the material conditions of existence of society, by the changes in the mode of production of the material wealth required for the existence of society, by the changes in the mutual relations of classes in the production of material wealth, by the struggle of classes for place and position in the production and distribution of material wealth. It was not ideas that determined the social and economic status of men, but the social and economic status of men that determined their ideas. Outstanding individuals may become nonentities if their ideas and wishes run counter to the economic development of society, to the needs of the foremost class; and vice versa, outstanding people may really become outstanding individuals if their ideas and wishes correctly express the needs of the economic development of society, the needs of the foremost class.

    In answer to the Narodniks’ assertion that the masses are nothing but a mob, and that it is heroes who make history and convert the mob into a people, the Marxists affirmed that it is not heroes that make history, but history that makes heroes, and that, consequently, it is not heroes who create a people, but the people who create heroes and move history onward. Heroes, outstanding individuals, may play an important part in the life of society only in so far as they are capable of correctly understanding the conditions of development of society and the ways of changing them for the better. Heroes, outstanding individuals, may be come ridiculous and useless failures if they do not correctly understand the conditions of development of society and go counter to the historical needs of society in the conceited belief that they are «makers» of history.

    To this category of ill-starred heroes belonged the Narodniks.

    Plekhanov’s writings and the fight he waged against the Narodniks thoroughly undermined their influence among the revolutionary intelli-

page 15

gentsia. But the ideological destruction of Narodism was still far from complete. It was left to Lenin to deal the final blow to Narodism, as an enemy of Marxism.

    Soon after the suppression of the «Narodnaya Volya» Party the majority of the Narodniks renounced the revolutionary struggle against the tsarist government and began to preach a policy of reconciliation and agreement with it. In the eighties and nineties the Narodniks began to voice the interests of the kulaks.

    The «Emancipation of Labour» group prepared two drafts of a program for a Russian Social-Democratic party (the first in 1884 and the second in 1887). This was a very important preparatory step in the formation of a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia.

    But at the same time the «Emancipation of Labour» group was guilty of some very serious mistakes. Its first draft program still contained vestiges of the Narodnik views; it countenanced the tactics of individual terrorism. Furthermore, Plekhanov failed to take into account that in the course of the revolution the proletariat could and should lead the peasantry, and that only in an alliance with the peasantry could the proletariat gain the victory over tsardom. Plekhanov further considered that the liberal bourgeoisie was a force that could give support, albeit unstable support, to the revolution; but as to the peasantry, in some of his writings he discounted it entirely, declaring, for instance, that:

    «Apart from the bourgeoisie and the proletariat we perceive no social forces in our country in which oppositional or revolutionary combinations might find support.» (Plekhanov, Works, Russ. ed., Vol. III, p.119.)

    These erroneous views were the germ of Plekhanov’s future Menshevik views.

    Neither the «Emancipation of Labour» group nor the Marxist circles of that period had yet any practical connections with the working class movement. It was a period in which the theory of Marxism, the ideas of Marxism, and the principles of the Social-Democratic program were just appearing and gaining a foothold in Russia. In the decade of 1884-94 the Social-Democratic movement still existed in the form of small separate groups and circles which had no connections, or very scant connections, with the mass working-class movement. Like an infant still unborn but already developing in its mother’s womb, the Social Democratic movement, as Lenin wrote, was in the process of fetal development.«

    The «Emancipation of Labor» group, Lenin said, «only laid the

page 16

theoretical foundations for the Social-Democratic movement and made the first step towards the working-class movement.»

    The task of uniting Marxism and the working-class movement in Russia, and of correcting the mistakes of the «Emancipation of Labour» group fell to Lenin.

3.

BEGINNING OF LENIN’S REVOLUTIONARY ACTIVITIES. ST.
PETERSBURG LEAGUE OF STRUGGLE FOR THE EMANCIPA-
TION OF THE WORKING CLASS

    Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), the founder of Bolshevism, was born in the city of Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk) in 1870. In 1887 Lenin entered the Kazan University, but was soon arrested and expelled from the university for taking part in the revolutionary student movement. In Kazan Lenin joined a Marxist circle formed by one Fedoseyev. Lenin later removed to Samara and soon afterwards the first Marxist circle in that city was formed with Lenin as the central figure. Already in those days Lenin amazed everyone by his thorough knowledge of Marxism.

    At the end of 1893 Lenin removed to St. Petersburg. His very first utterances in the Marxist circles of that city made a deep impression on their members. His extraordinarily profound knowledge of Marx, his ability to apply Marxism to the economic and political situation of Russia at that time, his ardent and unshakable belief in the victory of the workers’ cause, and his outstanding talent as an organizer made Lenin the acknowledged leader of the St. Petersburg Marxists.

    Lenin enjoyed the warm affection of the politically advanced workers whom he taught in the circles.

    «Our lectures,» says the worker Babushkin recalling Lenin’s teaching activities in the workers’ circles, «were of a very lively and interesting character; we were all very pleased with these lectures and constantly admired the wisdom of our lecturer.»

    In 1895 Lenin united all the Marxist workers’ circles in St. Petersburg (there were already about twenty of them) into a single League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. He thus prepared the way for the founding of a revolutionary Marxist workers’ party.

    Lenin put before the League of Struggle the task of forming closer connections with the mass working-class movement and of giving it political leadership. Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of

page 17

Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the propaganda circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on issues of the day. This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia.

    The nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing. The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of 1895-99, according to incomplete data, not less than 221,000 workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country. The course of events was corroborating the view which the Marxists had championed against the Narodniks, namely, that the working class was to play the leading role in the revolutionary movement.

    Under Lenin’s guidance, the League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class linked up the struggle of the workers for economic demands — improvement of working conditions, shorter hours and higher wages — with the political struggle against tsardom. The League of Struggle educated the workers politically.

    Under Lenin’s guidance, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations. These leaflets exposed the oppression of the workers by the manufacturers, explained how the workers should fight for their interests, and set forth the workers’ demands. The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands. With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of 1894 wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyanmkov Works in St. Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of 1895 Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month. The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped

page 18

to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them.

    In the summer of 1896 a strike of 30,000 textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St. Petersburg. The chief demand was for shorter hours. This strike forced the tsarist government to pass, on June 2, 1897, a law limiting the working day to 11 1/2hours. Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way.

    In December 1895 Lenin was arrested by the tsarist government. But even in prison he did not discontinue his revolutionary work. He assisted the League of Struggle with advice and direction and wrote pamphlets and leaflets for it. There he wrote a pamphlet entitled On Strikes and a leaflet entitled To the Tsarist Government, exposing its savage despotism. There too Lenin drafted a program for the party (he used milk as an invisible ink and wrote between the lines of a book on medicine).

    The St. Petersburg League of Struggle gave a powerful impetus to the amalgamation of the workers’ circles in other cities and regions of Russia into similar leagues. In the middle of the nineties Marxist organizations arose in Transcaucasia. In 1894 a Workers’ Union was formed in Moscow. Towards the end of the nineties a Social-Democratic Union was formed in Siberia. In the nineties Marxist groups arose in Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Yaroslavl and Kostroma and subsequently merged to form the Northern Union of the Social-Democratic Party. In the second half of the nineties Social-Democratic groups and unions were formed in Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, Nikolayev, Tula, Samara, Kazan, Orekhovo-Zuyevo and other cities.

    The importance of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class consisted in the fact that, as Lenin said, it was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.

    Lenin drew on the revolutionary experience of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle in his subsequent work of creating a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia.

    After the arrest of Lenin and his close associates, the leadership of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle changed considerably. New people appeared who called themselves the «young» and Lenin and his associates the «old fellows.» These people pursued an erroneous political line. They declared that the workers should be called upon to wage only an economic struggle against their employers; as for the political struggle, that was the affair of the liberal bourgeoisie, to whom the leadership of the political struggle should be left.

page 19

 

    These people came to be called «Economists.»

    They were the first group of compromisers and opportunists within the ranks of the Marxist organizations in Russia.


4.

LENIN’S STRUGGLE AGAINST NARODISM AND «LEGAL MARXISM.»
LENIN’S IDEA OF AN ALLIANCE OF THE WORKING CLASS AND THE
PEASANTRY. FIRST CONGRESS OF THE RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMO-
CRATIC LABOUR PARTY

    Although Plekhanov had already in the eighties dealt the chief blow to the Narodnik system of views, at the beginning of the nineties Narodnik views still found sympathy among certain sections of the revolutionary youth. Some of them continued to hold that Russia could avoid the capitalist path of development and that the principal role in the revolution would be played by the peasantry, and not by the working class. The Narodniks that still remained did their utmost to prevent the spread of Marxism in Russia, fought the Marxists and endeavoured to discredit them in every way. Narodism had to be completely smashed ideologically if the further spread of Marxism and the creation of a Social-Democratic party were to be assured.

    This task was performed by Lenin.

    In his book, What the «Friends of the. People» Are and How They Fight Against the Social-Democrats (1894), Lenin thoroughly exposed the true character of the Narodniks, showing that they were false «friends of the people» actually working against the people.

    Essentially, the Narodniks of the nineties had long ago renounced all revolutionary struggle against the tsarist government. The liberal Narodniks preached reconciliation with the tsarist government «They think,» Lenin wrote in reference to the Narodniks of that period, «that if they simply plead with this government nicely enough and humbly enough, it will put everything right.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 413.)*

    The Narodniks of the nineties shut their eyes to the condition of the poor peasants, to the class struggle in the countryside, and to the exploitation of the poor peasants by the kulaks, and sang praises to the development of kulak farming. As a matter of fact they voiced the interests of the kulaks.


    * Quotations from English translations of Lenin and Stalin have been checked with the original and the translations in some cases revised. — Tr.

page 20

 

    At the same time, the Narodniks in their periodicals baited the Marxists. They deliberately distorted and falsified the views of the Russian Marxists and claimed that the latter desired the ruin of the countryside and wanted «every muzhik to be stewed in the factory kettle.» Lenin exposed the falsity of the Narodnik criticism and pointed out that it was not a matter of the «wishes» of the Marxists, but of the fact that capitalism was actually developing in Russia and that this development was inevitably accompanied by a growth of the proletariat. And the proletariat would be the gravedigger of the capitalist system.

    Lenin showed that it was the Marxists and not the Narodniks who were the real friends of the people, that it was the Marxists who wanted to throw off the capitalist and landlord yoke, to destroy tsardom.

    In his book, What the «Friends of the People» Are, Lenin for the first time advanced the idea of a revolutionary alliance of the workers and peasants as the principal means of overthrowing tsardom, the landlords and the bourgeoisie.

    In a number of his writings during this period Lenin criticized the methods of political struggle employed by the principal Narodnik group, the «Narodnaya Volya,» and later by the successors of the Narodniks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries — especially the tactics of individual terrorism. Lenin considered these tactics harmful to the revolutionary movement, for they substituted the struggle of individual heroes for the struggle of the masses. They signified a lack of confidence in the revolutionary movement of the people.

    In the book, What the «Friends of the People» Are, Lenin outlined the main tasks of the Russian Marxists. In his opinion, the first duty of the Russian Marxists was to weld the disunited Marxist circles into a united Socialist workers’ party. He further pointed out that it would be the working class of Russia, in alliance with the peasantry, that would overthrow the tsarist autocracy, after which the Russian proletariat, in alliance with the labouring and exploited masses, would, along with the proletariat of other countries, take the straight road of open political struggle to the victorious Communist revolution.

    Thus, over forty years ago, Lenin correctly pointed out to the working class its path of struggle, defined its role as the foremost revolutionary force in society, and that of the peasantry as the ally of the working class.

    The struggle waged by Lenin and his followers against Narodism led to the latter’s complete ideological defeat already in the nineties.

    Of immense significance, too, was Lenin’s struggle against «legal Marxism.» It usually happens with big social movements in history that

page 21

transient «fellow-travelers» fasten on them. The «legal Marxists,» as they were called, were such fellow-travelers. Marxism began to spread widely throughout Russia; and so we found bourgeois intellectuals decking themselves out in a Marxist garb. They published their articles in newspapers and periodicals that were legal, that is, allowed by the tsarist government. That is why they came to be called «legal Marxists.»

    After their own fashion, they too fought Narodism. But they tried to make use of this fight and of the banner of Marxism in order to subordinate and adapt the working-class movement to the interests of bourgeois society, to the interests of the bourgeoisie. They cut out the very core of Marxism, namely, the doctrine of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. One prominent legal Marxist, Peter Struve, extolled the bourgeoisie, and instead of calling for a revolutionary struggle against capitalism, urged that «we acknowledge our lack of culture and go to capitalism for schooling.»

    In the fight against the Narodniks Lenin considered it permissible to come to a temporary agreement with the «legal Marxists» in order to use them against the Narodniks, as, for example, for the joint publication of a collection of articles directed against the Narodniks. At the same time, however, Lenin was unsparing in his criticism of the «legal Marxists» and exposed their liberal bourgeois nature.

    Many of these fellow-travelers later became Constitutional-Democrats (the principal party of the Russian bourgeoisie), and during the Civil War out-and-out Whiteguards.

    Along with the Leagues of Struggle in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and other places, Social-Democratic organizations arose also in the western national border regions of Russia. In the nineties the Marxist elements in the Polish nationalist party broke away to form the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania. At the end of the nineties Latvian Social-Democratic organizations were formed, and in October 1897 the Jewish General Social-Democratic Union — known as the Bund — was founded in the western provinces of Russia.

    In 1898 several of the Leagues of Struggle — those of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and Ekaterinoslav — together with the Bund made the first attempt to unite and form a Social-Democratic party. For this purpose they summoned the First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (R.S.D.L.P.), which was held in Minsk in March 1898.

    The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was attended by only nine persons. Lenin was not present because at that time he was living in exile in Siberia. The Central Committee of the Party elected at the

page 22

congress was very soon arrested. The Manifesto published in the name of the congress was in many respects unsatisfactory. It evaded the question of the conquest of political power by the proletariat, it made no mention of the hegemony of the proletariat, and said nothing about the allies of the proletariat in its struggle against tsardom and the bourgeoisie.

    In its decisions and in its Manifesto the congress announced the formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

    It is this formal act, which played a great revolutionary propagandist role, that constituted the significance of the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

    But although the First Congress had been held, in reality no Marxist Social-Democratic Party was as yet formed in Russia. The congress did not succeed in uniting the separate Marxist circles and organizations and welding them together organizationally. There was still no common line of action in the work of the local organizations, nor was there a party program, party rules or a single leading centre.

    For this and for a number of other reasons, the ideological confusion in the local organizations began to increase, and this created favourable ground for the growth within the working-class movement of the opportunist trend known as «Economism.»

    It required several years of intense effort on the part of Lenin and of Iskra (Spark ), the newspaper he founded, before this confusion could be overcome, the opportunist vacillations put an end to, and the way prepared for the formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

4.

LENIN’S FIGHT AGAINST «ECONOMISM.» APPEARANCE OF LENIN’S NEWSPAPER «ISKRA»

    Lenin was not present at the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. He was at that time in exile in Siberia, in the village of Shushenskoye, where he had been banished by the tsarist government after a long period of imprisonment in St. Petersburg in connection with the prosecution of the League of Struggle.

    But Lenin continued his revolutionary activities even while in exile. There he finished a highly important scientific work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia, which completed the ideological destruction of Narodism. There, too, he wrote his well-known pamphlet, The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats.

    Although Lenin was cut off from direct, practical revolutionary work,

page 23

he nevertheless managed to maintain some connections with those engaged in this work; he carried on a correspondence with them from exile, obtained information from them and gave them advice. At this time Lenin was very much preoccupied with the «Economists.» He realized better than anybody else that «Economism» was the main nucleus of compromise and opportunism, and that if «Economism» were to gain the upper hand in the working-class movement, it would undermine the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and lead to the defeat of Marxism.

    Lenin therefore started a vigorous attack on the «Economists» as soon as they appeared on the scene.

    The «Economists» maintained that the workers should engage only in the economic struggle; as to the political struggle, that should be left to the liberal bourgeoisie, whom the workers should support. In Lenin’s eyes this tenet was a desertion of Marxism, a denial of the necessity for an independent political party of the working class, an attempt to convert the working class into a political appendage of the bourgeoisie.

    In 1899 a group of «Economists» (Prokopovich, Kuskova and others, who later became Constitutional-Democrats) issued a manifesto in which they opposed revolutionary Marxism, and insisted that the idea of an independent political party of the proletariat and of independent political demands by the working class be renounced. The «Economists» held that the political struggle was a matter for the liberal bourgeoisie, and that as far as the workers were concerned, the economic struggle against the employers was enough for them.

    When Lenin acquainted himself with this opportunist document he called a conference of Marxist political exiles living in the vicinity. Seventeen of them met and, headed by Lenin, issued a trenchant protest denouncing the views of the «Economists.»[*]

    This protest, which was written by Lenin, was circulated among the Marxist organizations all over the country and played an outstanding part in the development of Marxist ideas and of the Marxist party in Russia.

    The Russian «Economists» advocated the same views as the opponents of Marxism in the Social-Democratic parties abroad who were known as the Bernsteinites, that is, followers of the opportunist Bernstein.

    Lenin’s struggle against the «Economists» was therefore at the same time a struggle against opportunism on an international scale.

    The fight against «Economism,» the fight for the creation of an independent political party of the proletariat, was chiefly waged by Iskra, the illegal newspaper founded by Lenin.


    * [Transcriber’s Note: See Lenin’s «A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats». — DJR]

page 24

 

    At the beginning of 1900, Lenin and other members of the League of Struggle returned from their Siberian exile to Russia. Lenin conceived the idea of founding a big illegal Marxist newspaper on an all-Russian scale. The numerous small Marxist circles and organizations which already existed in Russia were not yet linked up. At a moment when, in the words of Comrade Stalin, «amateurishness and the parochial outlook of the circles were corroding the Party from top to bottom, when ideological confusion was the characteristic feature of the internal life of the Party,» the creation of an illegal newspaper on an all-Russian scale was the chief task of the Russian revolutionary Marxists. Only such a newspaper could link up the disunited Marxist organizations and prepare the way for the creation of a real party.

    But such a newspaper could not be published in tsarist Russia owing to police persecution. Within a month or two at most the tsar’s sleuths would get on its track and smash it. Lenin therefore decided to publish the newspaper abroad. There it was printed on very thin but durable paper and secretly smuggled into Russia. Some of the issues of Iskra were reprinted in Russia by secret printing plants in Baku, Kishinev and Siberia.

    In the autumn of 1900 Lenin went abroad to make arrangements with the comrades in the «Emancipation of Labour» group for the publication of a political newspaper on an all-Russian scale. The idea had been worked out by Lenin in all its details while he was in exile. On his way back from exile he had held a number of conferences on the subject in Ufa, Pskov, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Everywhere he made arrangements with the comrades about codes for secret correspondence, addresses to which literature could be sent, and so on, and discussed with them plans for the future struggle.

    The tsarist government scented a most dangerous enemy in Lenin. Zubatov, an officer of gendarmes in the tsarist Okhrana, expressed the opinion in a confidential report that «there is nobody bigger than Ulyanov [Lenin] in the revolution today,» in view of which he considered it expedient to have Lenin assassinated.

    Abroad, Lenin came to an arrangement with the «Emancipation of Labour» group, namely, with Plekhanov, Axelrod and V. Zasulich, for the publication of Iskra under joint auspices. The whole plan of publication from beginning to end had been worked out by Lenin.

    The first issue of Iskra appeared abroad in December 1900. The title page bore the epigraph: «The Spark Will Kindle a Flame.» These words were taken from the reply of the Decembrists to the poet Pushkin who had sent greetings to them in their place of exile in Siberia.

page 25

 

    And indeed, from the spark (Iskra ) started by Lenin there subsequently flamed up the great revolutionary conflagration in which the tsarist monarchy of the landed nobility, and the power of the bourgeoisie were reduced to ashes.

B R I E F   S U M M A R Y
    The Marxist Social-Democratic Labour Party in Russia was formed in a struggle waged in the first place against Narodism and its views, which were erroneous and harmful to the cause of revolution.

    Only by ideologically shattering the views of the Narodniks was it possible to clear the way for a Marxist workers’ party in Russia. A decisive blow to Narodism was dealt by Plekhanov and his «Emancipation of Labour» group in the eighties.

    Lenin completed the ideological defeat of Narodism and dealt it the final blow in the nineties.

    The «Emancipation of Labour» group, founded in 1883, did a great deal for the dissemination of Marxism in Russia; it laid the theoretical foundations for Social-Democracy and took the first step to establish connection with the working-class movement.

    With the development of capitalism in Russia the industrial proletariat rapidly grew in numbers. In the middle of the eighties the working class adopted the path of organized struggle, of mass action in the form of organized strikes. But the Marxist circles and groups only carried on propaganda and did not realize the necessity for passing to mass agitation among the working class; they therefore still had no practical connection with the working-class movement and did not lead it.

    The St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, which Lenin formed in 1895 and which started mass agitation among the workers and led mass strikes, marked a new stage — the transition to mass agitation among the workers and the union of Marxism with the working-class movement. The St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the rudiment of a revolutionary proletarian party in Russia. The formation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle was followed by the formation of Marxist organizations in all the principal industrial centres as well as in the border regions.

    In 1898 at the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. the first, although unsuccessful, attempt was made to unite the Marxist Social-Democratic organizations into a party. But this congress did not yet create a party:

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there was neither a party program nor party rules; there was no single leading centre, and there was scarcely any connection between the separate Marxist circles and groups.

    In order to unite and link together the separate Marxist organizations into a single party, Lenin put forward and carried out a plan for the founding of Iskra, the first newspaper of the revolutionary Marxists on an all-Russian scale.

    The principal opponents to the creation of a single political working class party at that period were the «Economists.» They denied the necessity for such a party. They fostered the disunity and amateurish methods of the separate groups. It was against them that Lenin and the news paper Iskra organized by him directed their blows.

    The appearance of the first issues of Iskra (1900-01) marked a transition to a new period — a period in which a single Russian Social Democratic Labour Party was really formed from the disconnected groups and circles.

 



 
 

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C H A P T E R   T W OFORMATION OF THE RUSSIAN SOCIAL-
DEMOCRATIC LABOUR PARTY. APPEARANCE
OF THE BOLSHEVIK AND THE MENSHEVIK
GROUPS WITHIN THE PARTY
(1901-1904)

 

1.

UPSURGE OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA IN
1901-04

    The end of the nineteenth century in Europe was marked by an industrial crisis. It soon spread to Russia. During the period of the crisis (1900-03) about 3,000 large and small enterprises were closed down and over 100,000 workers thrown on the streets. The wages of the workers that remained employed were sharply reduced. The insignificant concessions previously wrung from the capitalists as the result of stubborn economic strikes were now withdrawn.

    Industrial crisis and unemployment did not halt or weaken the working-class movement. On the contrary, the workers’ struggle assumed an increasingly revolutionary character. From economic strikes, the workers passed to political strikes, and finally to demonstrations, put forward political demands for democratic liberties, and raised the slogan, «Down with the tsarist autocracy!»

    A May Day strike at the Obukhov munitions plant in St. Petersburg in 1901 resulted in a bloody encounter between the workers and troops. The only weapons the workers could oppose to the armed forces of the tsar were stones and lumps of iron. The stubborn resistance of the workers was broken. This was followed by savage reprisals: about 800 workers were arrested, and many were cast into prison or condemned to penal servitude and exile. But the heroic «Obukhov defence» made a profound impression on the workers of Russia and called forth a wave of sympathy among them.

    In March 1902 big strikes and a demonstration of workers took place in Batum, organized by the Batum Social-Democratic Committee. The Batum demonstration stirred up the workers and peasants of Transcaucasia.

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    In 1902 a big strike broke out in Rostov-on-Don as well. The first to come out were the railwaymen, who were soon joined by the workers of many factories. The strike agitated all the workers. As many as 30,000 would gather at meetings held outside the city limits on several successive days. At these meetings Social-Democratic proclamations were read aloud and speakers addressed the workers. The police and the Cossacks were powerless to disperse these meetings, attended as they were by many thousands. When several workers were killed by the police, a huge procession of working people attended their funeral on the following day. Only by summoning troops from surrounding cities was the tsarist government able to suppress the strike. The struggle of the Rostov workers was led by the Don Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.

    The strikes that broke out in 1903 were of even larger dimensions. Mass political strikes took place that year in the south, sweeping Transcaucasia (Baku, Tiflis, Batum) and the large cities of the Ukraine (Odessa, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav). The strikes became increasingly stubborn and better organized. Unlike earlier actions of the working class, the political struggle of the workers was nearly everywhere directed by the Social-Democratic committees.

    The working class of Russia was rising to wage a revolutionary struggle against the tsarist regime.

    The working-class movement influenced the peasantry. In the spring and summer of 1902 a peasant movement broke out in the Ukraine (Poltava and Kharkov provinces) and in the Volga region. The peasants set fire to landlords’ mansions, seized their land, and killed the detested zemsky nachalniks (rural prefects) and landlords. Troops were sent to quell the rebellious peasants. Peasants were shot down, hundreds were arrested, and their leaders and organizers were flung into prison, but the revolutionary peasant movement continued to grow.

    The revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants indicated that revolution was maturing and drawing near in Russia.

    Under the influence of the revolutionary struggle of the workers the opposition movement of the students against the government assumed greater intensity. In retaliation for the student demonstrations and strikes, the government shut down the universities, flung hundreds of students into prison, and finally conceived the idea of sending recalcitrant students into the army as common soldiers. In response, the students of all the universities organized a general strike in the winter of 190I-02. About thirty thousand students were involved in this strike.

    The revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants, and

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especially the reprisals against the students, induced also the liberal bourgeois and the liberal landlords who sat on what was known as the Zemstvos to bestir themselves and to raise their voices in «protest» against the «excesses» of the tsarist government in repressing their student sons.

    The Zemstvo liberals had their stronghold in the Zemstvo boards. These were local government bodies which had charge of purely local affairs affecting the rural population (building of roads, hospitals and schools). The liberal landlords played a fairly prominent part on the Zemstvo boards. They were closely associated with the liberal bourgeois, in fact were almost merged with them, for they themselves were beginning to abandon methods based on survivals of serfdom for capitalist methods of farming on their estates, as being more profitable. Of course, both these groups of liberals supported the tsarist government; but they were opposed to the «excesses» of tsardom, fearing that these «excesses» would only intensify the revolutionary movement. While they feared the «excesses» of tsardom, they feared revolution even more. In protesting against these «excesses,» the liberals pursued two aims: first, to «bring the tsar to his senses,» and secondly, by donning a mask of «profound dissatisfaction» with tsardom, to gain the confidence of the people, and to get them, or part of them, to break away from the revolution, and thus undermine its strength.

    Of course, the Zemstvo liberal movement offered no menace whatever to the existence of tsardom; nevertheless, it served to show that all was not well with the «eternal» pillars of tsardom.

    In 1902 the Zemstvo liberal movement led to the formation of the bourgeois «Liberation» group, the nucleus of the future principal party of the bourgeoisie in Russia — the Constitutional-Democratic Party.

    Perceiving that the movement of the workers and peasants was sweeping the country in a formidable torrent, the tsarist government did everything it could to stem the revolutionary tide. Armed force was used with increasing frequency to suppress the workers’ strikes and demonstrations; the bullet and the knout became the government’s usual reply to the actions of the workers and peasants; prisons and places of exile were filled to overflowing.

    While tightening up the measures of repression, the tsarist government tried at the same time to resort to other, non-repressive and more «flexible,» measures to divert the workers from the revolutionary movement. Attempts were made to create bogus workers’ organizations under the aegis of the gendarmes and police. They were dubbed organizations of «police socialism» or Zubatov organizations (after the name

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of a colonel of gendarmerie, Zubatov, who was the founder of these police-controlled workers’ organizations). Through its agents the Okhrana tried to get the workers to believe that the tsarist government was itself prepared to assist them in securing the satisfaction of their economic demands. «Why engage in politics, why make a revolution, when the tsar himself is on the side of the workers?» — Zubatov agents would insinuate to the workers. Zubatov organizations were formed in several cities. On the model of these organizations and with the same purposes in view, an organization known as the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers of St. Petersburg was formed in 1904 by a priest by the name of Gapon.

    But the attempt of the tsarist Okhrana to gain control over the working-class movement failed. The tsarist government proved unable by such measures to cope with the growing working-class movement. The rising revolutionary movement of the working class swept these police-controlled organizations from its path.


2.

LENIN’S PLAN FOR THE BUILDING OF A MARXIST PARTY.
OPPORTUNISM OF THE «ECONOMISTS.» «ISKRA’S» FIGHT
FOR LENIN’S PLAN. LENIN’S BOOK «WHAT IS TO BE DONE?» IDEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE MARXIST PARTY

    Notwithstanding the fact that the First Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party had been held in 1898, and that it had announced the formation of the Party, no real party was as yet created. There was no party program or party rules. The Central Committee of the Party elected at the First Congress was arrested and never replaced, for there was nobody to replace it. Worse still, the ideological confusion and lack of organizational cohesion of the Party became even more marked after the First Congress.

    While the years 1884-94 were a period of victory over Narodism and of ideological preparation for the formation of a Social-Democratic Party, and the years 1894-98 a period in which an attempt, although unsuccessful, was made to weld the separate Marxist organizations into a Social-Democratic Party, the period immediately following 1898 was one of increased ideological and organizational confusion within the Party. The victory gained by the Marxists over Narodism and the revolutionary actions of the working class, which proved that the Marxists were right, stimulated the sympathy of the revolutionary youth for Marxism. Marxism became the fashion. This resulted in an influx into the

page 31

Marxist organizations of throngs of young revolutionary intellectuals, who were weak in theory and inexperienced in political organization, and who had only a vague, and for the most part incorrect, idea of Marxism, derived from the opportunist writings of the «legal Marxists» with which the press was filled. This resulted in the lowering of the theoretical and political standard of the Marxist organizations, in their infection with the «legal Marxist» opportunist tendencies, and in the aggravation of ideological confusion, political vacillation and organizational chaos.

    The rising tide of the working-class movement and the obvious proximity of revolution demanded a united and centralized party of the working class which would be capable of leading the revolutionary movement. But the local Party organizations, the local committees, groups and circles were in such a deplorable state, and their organizational disunity and ideological discord so profound, that the task of creating such a party was one of immense difficulty.

    The difficulty lay not only in the fact that the Party had to be built under the fire of savage persecution by the tsarist government, which every now and then robbed the organizations of their finest workers whom it condemned to exile, imprisonment and penal servitude, but also in the fact that a large number of the local committees and their members would have nothing to do with anything but their local, petty practical activities, did not realize the harm caused by the absence of organizational and ideological unity in the Party, were accustomed to the disunity and ideological confusion that prevailed within it, and believed that they could get along quite well without a united centralized party.

    If a centralized party was to be created, this backwardness, inertia, and narrow outlook of the local bodies had to be overcome.

    But this was not all. There was a fairly large group of people within the Party who had their own press the Rabochaya Mysl (Workers’ Thought ) in Russia and Rabocheye Delo (Workers’ Cause ) abroad — and who were trying to justify on theoretical grounds the lack of organizational cohesion and the ideological confusion within the Party, frequently even lauding such a state of affairs, and holding that the plan for creating a united and centralized political party of the working class was unnecessary and artificial.

    These were the «Economists» and their followers.

    Before a united political party of the proletariat could be created, the «Economists» had to be defeated.

    It was to this task and to the building of a working-class party that Lenin addressed himself.

    How to begin the building of a united party of the working class

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was a question on which opinions differed. Some thought that the building of the Party should be begun by summoning the Second Congress of the Party, which would unite the local organizations and create the Party. Lenin was opposed to this. He held that before convening a congress it was necessary to make the aims and objects of the Party clear, to ascertain what sort of a party was wanted, to effect an ideological demarcation from the «Economists,» to tell the Party honestly and frankly that there existed two different opinions regarding the aims and objects of the Party — the opinion of the «Economists» and the opinion of the revolutionary Social-Democrats — to start a wide campaign in the press in favour of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy — just as the «Economists» were conducting a campaign in their own press in favour of their own views — and to give the local organizations the opportunity to make a deliberate choice between these two trends. Only after this indispensable preliminary work had been done could a Party Congress be summoned.

    Lenin put it plainly:

    «Before we can unite, and in order that we may unite, we must first of all draw firm and definite lines of demarcation.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 45.)

    Lenin accordingly held that the building of a political party of the working class should be begun by the founding of a militant political newspaper on an all-Russian scale, which would carry on propaganda and agitation in favour of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy — that the establishment of such a newspaper should be the first step in the building of the Party.

    In his well-known article, «Where to Begin?» Lenin outlined a concrete plan for the building of the Party, a plan which was later expanded in his famous work What Is To Be Done?

    «In our opinion,» wrote Lenin in this article, «the starting point of our activities, the first practical step towards creating the organization desired,* finally, the main thread following which we would be able to develop, deepen and expand that organization unswervingly, should be the establishment of a political newspaper on an all-Russian scale. . . . Without it we cannot systematically carry on that all-embracing propaganda and agitation, consistent in principle, which form the chief and constant task of Social-Democrats in general, and the particularly urgent task of the present moment when


    * That is, the formation of a party. —Ed.

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interest in politics, in questions of Socialism, has been aroused among the widest sections of the population.» (Ibid., p. 19.)

    Lenin considered that such a newspaper would serve not only to weld the Party ideologically, but also to unite the local bodies within the Party organizationally. The network of agents and correspondents of the newspaper, representing the local organizations, would provide a skeleton around which the Party could be built up organizationally. For, Lenin said, «a newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and collective agitator, but also a collective organizer.»

    «This network of agents,» writes Lenin in the same article, «will form the skeleton of precisely the organization we need, namely, one that is sufficiently large to embrace the whole country, sufficiently wide and many-sided to effect a strict and detailed division of labour; sufficiently tried and tempered to be able unswervingly to carry on its own work under all circumstances, at all ‘turns’ and in all contingencies; sufficiently flexible to be able to avoid open battle against an enemy of overwhelming strength, when he has concentrated all his forces at one spot, and yet able to take advantage of the awkwardness of this enemy and to attack him whenever and wherever least expected.» (Ibid.) pp. 21-2.)

    Iskra was to be such a newspaper.

    And Iskra did indeed become such a political-newspaper on an all-Russian scale which prepared the way for the ideological and organizational consolidation of the Party.

    As to the structure and composition of the Party itself, Lenin considered that it should consist of two parts: a) a close circle of regular cadres of leading Party workers, chiefly professional revolutionaries, that is, Party workers free from all occupation except Party work and possessing the necessary minimum of theoretical knowledge, political experience, organizational practice and the art of combating the tsarist police and of eluding them; and b) a broad network of local Party organizations and a large number of Party members enjoying the sympathy and support of hundreds of thousands of working people.

    «I assert,» Lenin wrote, 1) that no revolutionary movement can endure without a stable organization of leaders that maintains continuity; 2) that the wider the masses spontaneously drawn into the struggle . . . the more urgent the need of such an organization, and the more solid this organization must be . . . 3) that such an organization must consist chiefly of people professionally engaged

page 34

in revolutionary activity; 4) that in an autocratic state the more we confine the membership of such organization to people who are professionally engaged in revolutionary activity and who have been professionally trained in the art of combating the political police, the more difficult will it be to wipe out such an organization, and 5) the greater will be the number of people of the working class and of the other classes of society who will be able to join the movement and perform active work in it.» (Ibid.) pp. 138-39.)

    As to the character of the Party that was being built up and its role in relation to the working class, as well as its aims and objects, Lenin held that the Party should form the vanguard of the working class, that it should be the guiding force of the working-class movement, co-ordinating and directing the class struggle of the proletariat. The ultimate goal of the Party was the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of Socialism. Its immediate aim was the overthrow of tsardom and the establishment of a democratic order. And inasmuch as the overthrow of capitalism was impossible without the preliminary overthrow of tsardom, the principal task of the Party at the given moment was to rouse the working class and the whole people for a struggle against tsardom, to develop a revolutionary movement of the people against it, and to overthrow it as the first and serious obstacle in the path of Socialism.

    «History,» Lenin wrote, «has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks that confront the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark not only of European but also (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat.» (Ibid., p. 50.)

    And further:

    «We must bear in mind that the struggle with the government for partial demands, the winning of partial concessions, are only petty skirmishes with the enemy, petty encounters on the outposts, whereas the decisive engagement is still to come. Before us, in all its strength, stands the enemy’s fortress, which is raining shot and shell upon us and mowing down our best fighters. We must capture this fortress; and we shall capture it if we unite all the forces of the awakening proletariat with all the forces of the Russian revolutionaries into one party, which will attract all that is alive and honest in Russia. And only then will the great prophecy of Pyotr Alexeyev, the Russian worker revolutionary, be fulfilled: ‘the muscular arm of the working millions will be lifted, and the yoke of despotism,

page 35

guarded by the soldiers’ bayonets, will be smashed to atoms!'» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. IV, p. 59.)

    Such was Lenin’s plan for the creation of a party of the working class in autocratic tsarist Russia.

    The «Economists» showed no delay in launching an attack on Lenin’s plan.

    They asserted that the general political struggle against tsardom was a matter for all classes, but primarily for the bourgeoisie, and that therefore it was of no serious interest to the working class, for the chief interest of the workers lay in the economic struggle against the employers for higher wages, better working conditions, etc. The primary and immediate aim of the Social-Democrats should therefore be not a political struggle against tsardom, and not the overthrow of tsardom, but the organization of the «economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government.» By the economic struggle against the government they meant a struggle for better factory legislation. The «Economists» claimed that in this way it would be possible «to lend the economic struggle itself a political character.»

    The «Economists» no longer dared openly to contest the need for a political party of the working class. But they considered that it should not be the guiding force of the working-class movement, that it should not interfere in the spontaneous movement of the working class, let alone direct it, but that it should follow in the wake of this movement, study it and draw lessons from it.

    The «Economists» furthermore asserted that the role of the conscious element in the working-class movement, the organizing and directing role of Socialist consciousness and Socialist theory, was insignificant, or almost insignificant; that the Social-Democrats should not elevate the minds of the workers to the level of Socialist consciousness, but, on the contrary, should adjust themselves and descend to the level of the average, or even of the more backward sections of the working class, and that the Social-Democrats should not try to impart a Socialist consciousness to the working class, but should wait until the spontaneous movement of the working class arrived of itself at a Socialist consciousness.

    As regards Lenin’s plan for the organization of the Party, the «Economists» regarded it almost as an act of violence against the spontaneous movement.

    In the columns of Iskra, and especially in his celebrated work What Is To Be Done?, Lenin launched a vehement attack against this opportunist philosophy of the «Economists» and demolished it.

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    1) Lenin showed that to divert the working class from the general political struggle against tsardom and to confine its task to that of the economic struggle against the employers and the government, while leaving both employers and government intact, meant to condemn the workers to eternal slavery. The economic struggle of the workers against the employers and the government was a trade union struggle for better terms in the sale of their labour power to the capitalists. The workers, however, wanted to fight not only for better terms in the sale of their labour power to the capitalists, but also for the abolition of the capitalist system itself which condemned them to sell their labour power to the capitalists and to suffer exploitation. But the workers could not develop their struggle against capitalism, their struggle for Socialism to the full, as long as the path of the working-class movement was barred by tsardom, that watchdog of capitalism. It was therefore the immediate task of the Party and of the working class to remove tsardom from the path and thus clear the way to Socialism.

    2) Lenin showed that to extol the spontaneous process in the working-class movement, to deny that the Party had a leading role to play, to reduce its role to that of a recorder of events, meant to preach khvostism (following in the tail), to preach the conversion of the Party into a tall-piece of the spontaneous process, into a passive force of the movement, capable only of contemplating the spontaneous process and allowing events to take their own course. To advocate this meant working for the destruction of the Party, that is, leaving the working class without a party — that is, leaving the working class unarmed. But to leave the working class unarmed when it was faced by such enemies as tsardom, which was armed to the teeth, and the bourgeoisie, which was organized on modern lines and had its own party to direct its struggle against the working class, meant to betray the working class.

    3) Lenin showed that to bow in worship of the spontaneous working class movement and to belittle the importance of consciousness, of Socialist consciousness and Socialist theory, meant, in the first place, to insult the workers, who were drawn to consciousness as to light; in the second place, to lower the value of theory in the eyes of the Party, that is, to depreciate the instrument which helped the Party to understand the present and foresee the future; and, in the third place, it meant to sink completely and irrevocably into the bog of opportunism.

    «Without a revolutionary theory,» Lenin said, «there can be no revolutionary movement. . . . The role of vanguard can be fulfilled only by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 47, 48.)

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    4) Lenin showed that the «Economists» were deceiving the working class when they asserted that a Socialist ideology could arise from the spontaneous movement of the working class, for in reality the Socialist ideology arises not from the spontaneous movement, but from science. By denying the necessity of imparting a Socialist consciousness to the working class, the «Economists» were clearing the way for bourgeois ideology, facilitating its introduction and dissemination among the working class, and, consequently, they were burying the idea of union between the working-class movement and Socialism, thus helping the bourgeoisie.

    «All worship of the spontaneity of the labour movement,» Lenin said, «all belittling of the role of ‘the conscious element,’ of the role of the party of Social-Democracy, meansaltogether irrespective of whether the belittler likes it or notstrengthening the influence of the bourgeois ideology among the workers.)’ (Ibid., p. 61.)

    And further:

    «The only choice is: either the bourgeois or the Socialist ideology. There is no middle course. . . . Hence to belittle the Socialist ideology in any wayto turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen the bourgeois ideology.» (Ibid., p. 62.)

    5) Summing up all these mistakes of the «Economists,» Lenin came to the conclusion that they did not want a party of social revolution for the emancipation of the working class from capitalism, but a party of «social reform,» which presupposed the preservation of capitalist rule, and that, consequently, the «Economists» were reformists who were betraying the fundamental interests of the proletariat.

    6) Lastly, Lenin showed that «Economism» was not an accidental phenomenon in Russia, but that the «Economists» were an instrument of bourgeois influence upon the working class, that they had allies in the West-European Social-Democratic parties in the person of the revisionists, the followers of the opportunist Bernstein. The opportunist trend in Social-Democratic parties was gaining strength in Western Europe; on the plea of «freedom to criticize» Marx, it demanded a «revision» of the Marxist doctrine (hence the term «revisionism»); it demanded renunciation of the revolution, of Socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Lenin showed that the Russian «Economists» were pursuing a similar policy of renunciation of the revolutionary struggle, of Socialism and of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    Such were the main theoretical principles expounded by Lenin in What Is To Be Done?

    As a result of the wide circulation of this book, by the time of the

page 38

Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, that is, within a year after its publication (it appeared in March 1902), nothing but a distasteful memory remained of the ideological stand of «Economism,» and to be called an «Economist» was regarded by the majority of the members of the Party as an insult.

    It was a complete ideological defeat for «Economism,» for the ideology of opportunism, khvostism and spontaneity.

    But this does not exhaust the significance of Lenin’s What Is To Be Done?

    The historic significance of this celebrated book lies in the fact that in it Lenin:

    1) For the first time in the history of Marxist thought, laid bare the ideological roots of opportunism, showing that they principally consisted in worshipping the spontaneous working-class movement and belittling the role of Socialist consciousness in the working-class movement;

    2) Brought out the great importance of theory, of consciousness, and of the Party as a revolutionizing and guiding force of the spontaneous working-class movement;

    3) Brilliantly substantiated the fundamental Marxist thesis that a Marxist party is a union of the working-class movement with Socialism;

    4) Gave a brilliant exposition of the ideological foundations of a Marxist party.

    The theoretical theses expounded in What Is To Be Done? later became the foundation of the ideology of the Bolshevik Party.

    Possessing such a wealth of theory, Iskra was able to, and actually did, develop an extensive campaign for Lenin’s plan for the building of the Party, for mustering its forces, for calling the Second Party Congress, for revolutionary Social-Democracy, and against the «Economists,» revisionists, and opportunists of all kinds.

    One of the most important things that Iskra did was to draft a program for the Party. The program of a workers’ party, as we know, is a brief, scientifically formulated statement of the aims and objects of the struggle of the working class. The program defines both the ultimate goal of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, and the demands for which the party fights while on the way to the achievement of the ultimate goal. The drafting of a program was therefore a matter of prime importance.

    During the drafting of the program serious differences arose on the editorial board of Iskra between Lenin, on the one hand, and Plekhanov and other members of the board, on the other. These differences and disputes almost led to a complete rupture between Lenin and Plekha-

page 39

nov. But matters did not come to a head at that time. Lenin secured the inclusion in the draft program of a most important clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat and of a clear statement on the leading role of the working class in the revolution.

    It was Lenin, too, who drew up the whole agrarian section of the program. Already at that time Lenin was in favour of the nationalization of the land, but he considered it necessary in the first stage of the struggle to put forward the demand for the return to the peasants of the otrezki, that is, those portions of the land which had been cut off the peasants’ land by the landlords at the time of «emancipation» of the peasants. Plekhanov was opposed to the demand for the nationalization of the land.

    The disputes between Lenin and Plekhanov over the Party program to some extent determined the future differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

3.

SECOND CONGRESS OF THE RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC LA-
BOUR PARTY. ADOPTION OF PROGRAM AND RULES AND FOR-
MATION OF A SINGLE PARTY. DIFFERENCES AT THE CONGRESS
AND APPEARANCE OF TWO TRENDS WITHIN THE PARTY: THE
BOLSHEVIK AND THE MENSHEVIK

    Thus the triumph of Lenin’s principles and the successful struggle waged by Iskra for Lenin’s plan of organization brought about all the principal conditions necessary for the creation of a party, or, as it was said at the time, of a real party. The Iskra trend gained the upper hand among the Social-Democratic organizations in Russia. The Second Party Congress could now be summoned.

    The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. opened on July 17 (30, New Style), 1903. It was held abroad, in secret. It first met in Brussels, but the Belgian police requested the delegates to leave the country. Thereupon the congress transferred its sittings to London.

    Forty-three delegates in all, representing 26 organizations, assembled at the congress. Each committee was entitled to send two delegates, but some of them sent only one. The 43 delegates commanded 51 votes between them.

    The chief purpose of the congress was «to create a real party on that basis of principles and organization which had been advanced and elaborated by Iskra.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 412.)

    The composition of the congress was heterogeneous. The avowed

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«Economists» were not represented, because of the defeat they had suffered. But they had since disguised their views so artfully that they managed to smuggle several of their delegates into the congress. Moreover, the Bund delegates differed only ostensibly from the «Economists»; in reality they supported the «Economists.»

    Thus the congress was attended not only by supporters of Iskra, but also by its adversaries. Thirty-three of the delegates, that is, the majority, were supporters of Iskra. But not all those who considered themselves Iskra -ists were real Leninist Iskra -ists. The delegates fell into several groups. The supporters of Lenin, or the firm Iskra -ists, commanded 24 votes; nine of the Iskra -ists followed Martov; these were unstable Iskra -ists. Some of the delegates vacillated between Iskra and its opponents; they commanded 10 votes and constituted the Centre. The avowed opponents of Iskra commanded 8 votes (3 «Economists» and 5 Bundists). A split in the ranks of the Iskra -ists would be enough to give the enemies of Iskra the upper hand.

    It will therefore be seen how complex the situation was at the congress. Lenin expended a great deal of energy to ensure the victory of Iskra.

    The most important item on the agenda was the adoption of the Party program. The chief point which, during the discussion of the program, aroused the objections of the opportunist section of the congress was the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat. There were a number of other items in the program on which the opportunists did not agree with the revolutionary section of the congress. But they decided to put up the main fight on the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat, on the plea that the programs of a number of foreign Social-Democratic parties contained no clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat, and that therefore the program of the Russian Social-Democratic Party could dispense with it too.

    The opportunists also objected to the inclusion in the Party program of demands on the peasant question. These people did not want revolution; they, therefore, fought shy of the ally of the working class — the peasantry — and adopted an unfriendly attitude towards it.

    The Bundists and the Polish Social-Democrats objected to the right of nations to self-determination. Lenin had always taught that the working class must combat national oppression. To object to the inclusion of this demand in the program was tantamount to a proposal to renounce proletarian internationalism and to become accomplices in national oppression.

    Lenin made short work of all these objections.

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    The congress adopted the program proposed by Iskra.

    This program consisted of two parts: a maximum program and a minimum program. The maximum program dealt with the principal aim of the working-class party, namely, the Socialist revolution, the overthrow of the power of the capitalists, and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The minimum program dealt with the immediate aims of the Party, aims to be achieved before the overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, namely, the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, the establishment of a democratic republic, the introduction of an 8-hour working day, the abolition of all survivals of serfdom in the countryside, and the restoration to the peasants of the cut-off lands (otrezki ) of which they had been deprived by the landlords.

    Subsequently, the Bolsheviks replaced the demand for the return of the otrezki by the demand for the confiscation of all the landed estates.

    The program adopted by the Second Congress was a revolutionary program of the party of the working class.

    It remained in force until the Eighth Party Congress, held after the victory of the proletarian revolution, when our Party adopted a new program.

    Having adopted the program, the Second Party Congress proceeded to discuss the draft of the Party Rules. Now that the congress had adopted a program and had laid the foundation for the ideological unity of the Party, it had also to adopt Party Rules so as to put an end to amateurishness and the parochial outlook of the circles, to organizational disunity and the absence of strict discipline in the Party.

    The adoption of the program had gone through comparatively smoothly, but fierce disputes arose at the congress over the Party Rules. The sharpest differences arose over the formulation of the first paragraph of the rules, dealing with Party membership. Who could be a member of the Party, what was to be the composition of the Party, what was to be the organizational nature of the Party, an organized whole or something amorphous? — such were the questions that arose in connection with the first paragraph of the rules. Two different formulations contested the ground: Lenin’s formulation, which was supported by Plekhanov and the firm Iskra -ists; and Martov’s formulation, which was supported by Axelrod, Zasulich, the unstable Iskra -ists, Trotsky, and all the avowed opportunists at the congress.

    According to Lenin’s formulation, one could be a member of the Party who accepted its program, supported it financially, and belonged to one of its organizations. Martov’s formulation, while admitting that

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acceptance of the program and financial support of the Party were indispensable conditions of Party membership, did not, however, make it a condition that a Party member should belong to one of the Party organizations, maintaining that a Party member need not necessarily belong to a Party organization.

    Lenin regarded the Party as an organized detachment, whose members cannot just enrol themselves in the Party, but must be admitted into the Party by one of its organizations, and hence must submit to Party discipline. Martov, on the other hand, regarded the Party as something organizationally amorphous, whose members enrol themselves in the Party and are therefore not obliged to submit to Party discipline, inasmuch as they do not belong to a Party organization.

    Thus, unlike Lenin’s formulation, Martov’s formulation would throw the door of the Party wide open to unstable non-proletarian elements. On the eve of the bourgeois-democratic revolution there were people among the bourgeois intelligentsia who for a while sympathized with the revolution. From time to time they might even render some small service to the Party. But such people would not join an organization, submit to Party discipline, carry out Party tasks and run the accompanying risks. Yet Martov and the other Mensheviks proposed to regard such people as Party members, and to accord them the right and opportunity to influence Party affairs. They even proposed to grant any striker the right to «enrol» himself in the Party, although non-Socialists, Anarchists and Socialist-Revolutionaries also took part in strikes.

    And so it was that instead of a monolithic and militant party with a clearly defined organization, for which Lenin and the Leninists fought at the congress, the Martovites wanted a heterogeneous and loose, amorphous party, which could not be a militant party with firm discipline because of its heterogeneous character, if for no other reason.

    The breaking away of the unstable Iskra -ists from the firm Iskra -ists, their alliance with the Centrists, joined as they were by the avowed opportunists, turned the balance in favour of Martov on this point. By 28 votes to 22, with one abstention, the congress adopted Martov’s formulation of the first paragraph of the Rules.

    After the split in the ranks of the Iskra -ists over the first paragraph of the Rules the struggle at the congress became still more acute. The congress was coming to the last item on the agenda — the elections of the leading institutions of the Party: the editorial board of the central organ of the Party (Iskra ), and the Central Committee. However, before the elections were reached, certain incidents occurred which changed the alignment of forces.

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    In connection with the Party Rules, the congress had to deal with the question of the Bund. The Bund laid claim to a special position within the Party. It demanded to be recognized as the sole representative of the Jewish workers in Russia. To comply with this demand would have meant to divide the workers in the Party organizations according to nationality, and to renounce common territorial class organizations of the workers. The congress rejected the system of organization on national lines proposed by the Bund. Thereupon the Bundists quit the congress. Two «Economists» also left the congress when the latter refused to recognize their Foreign League as the representative of the Party abroad.

    The departure of these seven opportunists altered the balance of forces at the congress in favour of the Leninists.

    From the very outset Lenin focussed his attention on the composition of the central institutions of the Party. He deemed it necessary that the Central Committee should be composed of staunch and consistent revolutionaries. The Martovites strove to secure the predominance of unstable, opportunist elements on the Central Committee. The majority of the congress supported Lenin on this question. The Central Committee that was elected consisted of Lenin’s followers.

    On Lenin’s proposal, Lenin, Plekhanov and Martov were elected to the editorial board of Iskra. Martov had demanded the election of all the six former members of the Iskra editorial board, the majority of whom were Martov’s followers. This demand was rejected by the majority of the congress. The three proposed by Lenin were elected. Martov thereupon announced that he would not join the editorial board of the central organ.

    Thus, by its vote on the central institutions of the Party, the congress sealed the defeat of Martov’s followers and the victory of Lenin’s followers.

    From that time on, Lenin’s followers, who received the majority of votes in the elections at the congress, have been called Bolsheviks (from bolshinstvo, majority), and Lenin’s opponents, who received the minority of votes, have been called Mensheviks (frommenshinstvo, minority).

    Summing up the work of the Second Congress, the following conclusions may be drawn:

    1) The congress sealed the victory of Marxism over «Economism,» over open opportunism.

    2) The congress adopted a Program and Rules, created the Social-Democratic Party, and thus built the framework of a single party.

    3) The congress revealed the existence of grave differences over questions of organization which divided the Party into two sections, the

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Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, of whom the former championed the organizational principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy, while the latter sank into the bog of organizational looseness and of opportunism.

    4) The congress showed that the place of the old opportunists, the «Economists,» who had already been defeated by the Party, was being taken by new opportunists, the Mensheviks.

    5) The congress did not prove equal to its task in matters of organization, showed vacillation, and at times even gave the preponderance to the Mensheviks; and although it corrected its position towards the end, it was nevertheless unable to expose the opportunism of the Mensheviks on matters of organization and to isolate them in the Party, or even to put such a task before the Party.

    This latter circumstance proved one of the main reasons why the struggle between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, far from subsiding after the congress, became even more acute.


4.

SPLITTING ACTIVITIES OF THE MENSHEVIK LEADERS AND
SHARPENING OF THE STRUGGLE WITHIN THE PARTY AFTER
THE SECOND CONGRESS. OPPORTUNISM OF THE MENSHEVIKS.
LENIN’S BOOK «ONE STEP FORWARD, TWO STEPS BACK.»
ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF THE MARXIST PARTY

    After the Second Congress the struggle within the Party became even more acute. The Mensheviks did their utmost to frustrate the decisions of the Second Congress and to seize the central institutions of the Party. They demanded that their representatives be included in the editorial board of Iskra and in the Central Committee in such numbers as would give them a majority on the editorial board and parity with the Bolsheviks on the Central Committee. As this ran directly counter to the decisions of the Second Congress, the Bolsheviks rejected the Menshevik’s demand. Thereupon the Mensheviks, secretly from the Party, created their own anti-Party factional organization, headed by Martov, Trotsky and Axelrod, and, as Martov wrote, «broke into revolt against Leninism.» The methods they adopted for combating the Party were, as Lenin expressed it, «to disorganize the whole Party work, damage the cause, and hamper all and everything.» They entrenched themselves in the Foreign League of Russian Social-Democrats, nine-tenths of whom were emigre intellectuals isolated from the work in Russia, and from this position they opened fire on the Party, on Lenin and the Leninists.

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    The Mensheviks received considerable help from Plekhanov. At the Second Congress Plekhanov sided with Lenin. But after the Second Congress he allowed the Mensheviks to intimidate him with threats of a split. He decided to «make peace» with the Mensheviks at all costs. It was the deadweight of his earlier opportunist mistakes that dragged Plekhanov down to the Mensheviks. From an advocate of reconciliation with the opportunist Mensheviks he soon became a Menshevik himself. Plekhanov demanded that all the former Menshevik editors of the Iskra who had been rejected by the congress be included in the editorial board. Lenin, of course, could not agree to this and resigned from the Iskra editorial board in order to entrench himself in the Central Committee of the Party and to strike at the opportunists from this position.[*] Acting by himself, and in defiance of the will of the congress, Plekhanov co-opted the former Menshevik editors to the editorial board of Iskra. From that moment on, beginning with the 52nd issue of Iskra, the Mensheviks converted it into their own organ and began to propagate their opportunist views in its columns.

    Ever since then Lenin’s Bolshevik Iskra has been known in the Party as the old Iskra, and the Menshevik, opportunist Iskra as the new Iskra.

    When it passed into the hands of the Mensheviks, Iskra became a weapon in the fight against Lenin and the Bolsheviks, and an organ for the propaganda of Menshevik opportunism, primarily on questions of organization. Joining forces with the «Economists» and the Bundists, the Mensheviks started a campaign in the columns of Iskra, as they said, against Leninism. Plekhanov could not stick to his position as an advocate of conciliation, and soon he too joined the campaign. This was bound to happen by the very logic of things: whoever insists on a conciliatory attitude towards opportunists is bound to sink to opportunism himself. There began to flow from the columns of the new Iskra, as from a cornucopia, articles and statements claiming that the Party ought not to be an organized whole; that free groups and individuals should be allowed within its ranks without any obligation to submit to the decisions of its organs; that every intellectual who sympathized with the Party, as well as «every striker» and «every participant in a demonstration,» should be allowed to declare himself a Party member; that the demand for obedience to all the decisions of the Party was «formal and bureaucratic»; that the demand that the minority must submit to the majority meant the «mechanical suppression» of the will of Party members; that the demand that all Party members — both leaders and rank-and-filers — should equally observe Party discipline meant establishing «serfdom» within the Party; that what «we» needed in the Party was not central-


    * [Transcriber’s Note: In connection with this see Lenin’s «Letter to Iskra » and «Why I Resigned from the Iskra Editorial Board». — DJR]

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ism but anarchist «autonomism» which would permit individuals and Party organizations not to obey the decisions of the Party.

    This was unbridled propaganda of organizational license, which would undermine the Party principle and Party discipline; it was glorification of the individualism of the intelligentsia, and a justification of the anarchist contempt of discipline.

    The Mensheviks were obviously trying to drag the Party back from the Second Congress to the old organizational disunity, to the old parochial outlook of the circles and the old amateurish methods.

    A vigorous rebuff had to be given the Mensheviks.

    This rebuff was administered by Lenin in his celebrated book, One Step ForwardTwo Steps Back ) published in May 1904.

    The following are the main organizational principles which Lenin expounded in his book, and which afterwards came to form the organizational foundations of the Bolshevik Party.

    1) The Marxist Party is a part, a detachment, of the working class. But the working class has many detachments, and hence not every detachment of the working class can be called a party of the working class. The Party differs from other detachments of the working class primarily by the fact that it is not an ordinary detachment, but the vanguard detachment, a class-conscious detachment, a Marxist detachment of the working class, armed with a knowledge of the life of society, of the laws of its development and of the laws of the class struggle, and for this reason able to lead the working class and to direct its struggle. The Party must therefore not be confused with the working class, as the part must not be confused with the whole. One cannot demand that every striker be allowed to call himself a member of the Party, for whoever confuses Party and class lowers the level of consciousness of the Party to that of «every striker,» destroys the Party as the class-conscious vanguard of the working class. It is not the task of the Party to lower its level to that of «every striker,» but to elevate the masses of the workers, to elevate «every striker» to the level of the Party.

    «We are the party of a class,» Lenin wrote, «and therefore almost the entire class (and in times of war, in the period of civil war, the entire class) should act under the leadership of our Party, should adhere to our Party as closely as possible. But it would be Manilovism (smug complacency) and‘khvostism’ (following in the tail) to think that at any time under capitalism the entire class, or almost the entire class, would be able to rise to the level of consciousness and activity of its vanguard, of its Social-Democratic Party. No sensible Social-Democrat has ever yet doubted that under capitalism even the

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trade union organizations (which are more primitive and more comprehensible to the undeveloped strata) are unable to embrace the entire, or almost the entire working class. To forget the distinction between the vanguard and the whole of the masses which gravitate towards it, to forget the constant duty of the vanguard to raise ever wider strata to this most advanced level, means merely to deceive oneself, to shut one’s eyes to the immensity of our tasks, and to narrow down these tasks.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. VI, pp. 205-06.)

    2) The Party is not only the vanguard, the class-conscious detachment of the working class, but also an organized detachment of the working class, with its own discipline, which is binding on its members. Hence Party members must necessarily be members of some organization of the Party. If the Party were not an organized detachment of the class, not a system of organization, but a mere agglomeration of persons who declare themselves to be Party members but do not belong to any Party organization and therefore are not organized, hence not obliged to obey Party decisions, the Party would never have a united will, it could never achieve the united action of its members, and, consequently, it would be unable to direct the struggle of the working class. The Party can lead the practical struggle of the working class and direct it towards one aim only if all its members are organized in one common detachment, welded together by unity of will, unity of action and unity of discipline.

    The objection raised by the Mensheviks that in that case many intellectuals — for example, professors, university and high school students, etc. — would remain outside the ranks of the Party, since they would not want to join any of the organizations of the Party, either because they shrink from Party discipline, or, as Plekhanov said at the Second Congress, because they consider it «beneath their dignity to join some local organization» — this Menshevik objection recoiled on the heads of the Mensheviks themselves; for the Party does not need members who shrink from Party discipline and fear to join the Party organization. Workers did not fear discipline and organization, and they willingly join the organization if they have made up their minds to be Party members. It is the individualistic intellectuals who fear discipline and organization, and they would indeed remain outside the ranks of the Party. But that was all to the good, for the Party would be spared that influx of unstable elements, which had become particularly marked at that time, when the bourgeois democratic revolution was on the upgrade.

    «When I say,» Lenin wrote, «that the Party should be a sum (and not a mere arithmetical sum, but a complex) of organizations

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. . . I thereby express clearly and precisely my wish, my demand, that the Party, as the vanguard of the class, should be as organized as possible, that the Party should admit to its ranks only such elements as lend themselves to at least a minimum of organization. . . .» (Ibid., p. 203.)

    And further:

    «Martov’s formulation ostensibly defends the interests of the broad strata of the proletariat, but in fact, it serves the interests of the bourgeois intellectuals, who fight shy of proletarian discipline and organization. No one will undertake to deny that it is precisely its individualism and incapacity for discipline and organization that in general distinguish the intelligentsia as a separate stratum of modern capitalist society.» (Ibid., p. 212.)

    And again:

    «The proletariat is not afraid of organization and discipline. . . . The proletariat will do nothing to have the worthy professors and high school students, who do not want to join an organization, recognized as Party members merely because they work under the control of an organization. . . . It is not the proletariat, but certain intellectuals in our Party who lack self-training in the spirit of organization and discipline.» (Ibid., p. 307.)

    3) The Party is not merely an organized detachment, but «the highest of all forms of organization» of the working class, and it is its mission to guide all the other organizations of the working class. As the highest form of organization, consisting of the finest members of the class, armed with an advanced theory, with knowledge of the laws of the class struggle and with the experience of the revolutionary movement, the Party has every opportunity of guiding — and is obliged to guide — all the other organizations of the working class. The attempt of the Mensheviks to belittle and depreciate the leading role of the Party tends to weaken all the other organizations of the proletariat which are guided by the Party, and, consequently, to weaken and disarm the proletariat, for «in its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 466.)

    4) The Party is an embodiment of the connection of the vanguard of the working class with the working class millions. However fine a vanguard the Party may be, and however well it may be organized, it cannot exist and develop without connections with the non-Party masses, and without multiplying and strengthening these connections. A party

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which shuts itself up in its own shell, isolates itself from the masses, and loses, or even relaxes, its connections with its class is bound to lose the confidence and support of the masses, and, consequently, is surely bound to perish. In order to live to the full and to develop, the Party must multiply its connections with the masses and win the confidence of the millions of its class.

    «In order to be a Social-Democratic party,» Lenin said, «we must win the support precisely of the class.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. VI, p. 208.)

    5) In order to function properly and to guide the masses systematically, the Party must be organized on the principle of centralism, having one set of rules and uniform Party discipline, one leading organ — the Party Congress, and in the intervals between congresses — the Central Committee of the Party; the minority must submit to the majority, the various organizations must submit to the centre, and lower organizations to higher organizations. Falling these conditions, the party of the working class cannot be a real party and cannot carry out its tasks in guiding the class.

    Of course, as under the tsarist autocracy the Party existed illegally the Party organizations could not in those days be built up on the principle of election from below, and as a consequence, the Party had to be strictly conspiratorial. But Lenin considered that this temporary feature in the life of our Party would at once lapse with the elimination of tsardom, when the Party would become open and legal, and the Party organizations would be built up on the principles of democratic elections, of democratic centralism.

    «Formerly,» Lenin wrote, «our Party was not a formally organized whole, but only the sum of separate groups, and, therefore, no other relations except those of ideological influence were possible between these groups. Now we have become an organized Party, and this implies the establishment of authority, the transformation of the power of ideas into the power of authority, the subordination of lower Party bodies to higher Party bodies.» (Ibid., p. 291.)

    Accusing the Mensheviks of organizational nihilism and of aristocratic anarchism which would not submit to the authority of the Party and its discipline, Lenin wrote:

    «This aristocratic anarchism is particularly characteristic of the Russian nihilist. He thinks of the Party organization as a monstrous ‘factory’; he regards the subordination of the part to the whole and of the minority to the majority as ‘serfdom’ . . . division of labour

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under the direction of a centre evokes from him a tragi-comical outcry against people being transformed into ‘wheels and cogs’ (to turn editors into contributors being considered a particularly atrocious species of such transformation); mention of the organizational rules of the Party calls forth a contemptuous grimace and the disdainful remark (intended for the ‘formalists’) that one could very well dispense with rules altogether.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 442-43.)

    6) In its practical work, if it wants to preserve the unity of its ranks, the Party must impose a common proletarian discipline, equally binding on all Party members, both leaders and rank-and-file. Therefore there should be no division within the Party into the «chosen few,» on whom discipline is not binding, and the «many,» on whom discipline is binding. If this condition is not observed, the integrity of the Party and the unity of its ranks cannot be maintained.

    «The complete absence of sensible arguments on the part of Martov and Co. against the editorial board appointed by the congress,» Lenin wrote, «is best of all shown by their own catchword: ‘We are not serfs!’ . . . The mentality of the bourgeois intellectual, who regards himself as one of the ‘chosen few’ standing above mass organization and mass discipline, is expressed here with remarkable clarity. . . . It seems to the individualism of the intelligentsia . . . that all proletarian organization and discipline is serfdom.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. VI, p. 282.)

    And further:

    «As we proceed with the building of a real party, the class-conscious worker must learn to distinguish the mentality of the soldier of the proletarian army from the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual who makes a display of anarchist phraseology, he must learn to demand that the duties of a Party member be fulfilled not only by the rank-and-filers, but by the ‘people at the top’ as well.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. II, pp. 445-46.)

    Summing up his analysis of the differences, and defining the position of the Mensheviks as «opportunism in matters of organization,» Lenin considered that one of the gravest sins of Menshevism lay in its underestimation of the importance of party organization as a weapon of the proletariat in the struggle for its emancipation. The Mensheviks held that the party organization of the proletariat was of no great importance for the victory of the revolution. Contrary to the Mensheviks, Lenin

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held that the ideological unity of the proletariat alone was not enough for victory; if victory was to be won, ideological unity would have to be «consolidated » by the «material unity of organization » of the proletariat. Only on this condition, Lenin considered, could the proletariat become an invincible force.

    «In its struggle for power,» Lenin wrote, «the proletariat has no other weapon but organization. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly thrust back to the ‘lower depths’ of utter destitution, savagery and degeneration, the proletariat can become, and inevitably will become, an invincible force only when its ideological unification by the principles of Marxism is consolidated by the material unity of an organization which will weld millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the decrepit rule of Russian tsardom, nor the senile rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army.» (Ibid., p. 466.)

    With these prophetic words Lenin concludes his book.

    Such were the fundamental organizational principles set forth by Lenin in his famous book, One Step ForwardTwo Steps Back.

    The importance of this book lies primarily in the fact that it success fully upheld the Party principle against the circle principle, and the Party against the disorganizers; that it smashed the opportunism of the Mensheviks on questions of organization, and laid the organizational foundations of the Bolshevik Party.

    But this does not exhaust its significance. Its historic significance lies in the fact that in it Lenin, for the first time in the history of Marxism elaborated the doctrine of the Party as the leading organization of the proletariat, as the principal weapon of the proletariat, without which the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be won.

    The circulation of Lenin’s book, One Step ForwardTwo Steps Back, among the Party workers led the majority of the local organizations to rally to the side of Lenin.

    But the more closely the organizations rallied around the Bolsheviks, the more malicious became the behaviour of the Menshevik leaders.

    In the summer of 1904, thanks to Plekhanov’s assistance and the treachery of Krassin and Noskov, two demoralized Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks captured the majority on the Central Committee. It was obvious that the Mensheviks were working for a split. The loss of Iskra and of the Central Committee put the Bolsheviks in a difficult position. It became necessary for them to organize their own Bolshevik newspaper.

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It became necessary to make arrangements for a new Party congress, the Third Congress, so as to set up a new Central Committee and to settle accounts with the Mensheviks.

    And this is what the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, set to work to do.

    The Bolsheviks started a campaign for the summoning of the Third Party Congress. In August 1904, under Lenin’s guidance, a conference of twenty-two Bolsheviks was held in Switzerland. The conference adopted an appeal addressed «To the Party.» This appeal served the Bolsheviks as a program in their struggle for the summoning of the Third Congress.

    At three regional conferences of Bolshevik Committees (Southern, Caucasian and Northern), a Bureau of Committees of the Majority was elected, which undertook the practical preparations for the Third Party Congress.

    On January 4, 1905, the first issue of the Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod (Forward ) appeared.

    Thus two separate groups arose within the Party, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, each with its own central body and its own press.

B R I E F   S U M M A R Y
    In the period 1901-04, with the growth of the revolutionary working-class movement, the Marxist Social-Democratic organizations in Russia grew and gained strength. In the stubborn struggle over principles, waged against the «Economists,» the revolutionary line of Lenin’s Iskra gained the victory, and the ideological confusion and «amateurish methods of work» were overcome.

    Iskra linked up the scattered Social-Democratic circles and groups and prepared the way for the convocation of the Second Party Congress. At the Second Congress, held in 1903, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was formed, a Party Program and Rules were adopted, and the central leading organs of the Party were set up.

    In the struggle waged at the Second Congress for the complete victory of the Iskra trend in the R.S.D.L.P. there emerged two groups — the Bolshevik group and the Menshevik group.

    The chief differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks after the Second Congress centred round questions of organization.

    The Mensheviks drew closer to the «Economists» and took their place within the Party. For the time being the opportunism of the Mensheviks revealed itself in questions of organization. The Mensheviks

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were opposed to a militant revolutionary party of the type advocated by Lenin. They wanted a loose, unorganized, khvostist party. They worked to split the ranks of the Party. With Plekhanov’s help, they seized Iskra and the Central Committee, and used these central organs for their own purposes — to split the Party.

    Seeing that the Mensheviks were threatening a split, the Bolsheviks adopted measures to curb the splitters; they mustered the local organizations to back the convocation of a Third Congress, and they started their own newspaper, Vperyod.

    Thus, on the eve of the first Russian revolution, when the Russo-Japanese war had already begun, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks acted as two separate political groups.

 



 
 

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C H A P T E R   T H R E ETHE MENSHEVIKS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS IN
THE PERIOD OF THE RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR
AND THE FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTION
(1904-1907)

 

1.

RUSSO-JAPANESE WAR. FURTHER RISE OF THE REVOLUTION-
ARY MOVEMENT IN RUSSIA. STRIKES IN ST. PETERSBURG.
WORKERS’ DEMONSTRATION BEFORE THE WINTER PALACE ON
JANUARY 9, 1905. DEMONSTRATION FIRED UPON. OUTBREAK
OF THE REVOLUTION

    At the end of the nineteenth century the imperialist states began an intense struggle for mastery of the Pacific and for the partition of China. Tsarist Russia, too, took part in this struggle. In 1900, tsarist troops together with Japanese, German, British and French troops suppressed with unparalleled cruelty an uprising of the Chinese people directed against the foreign imperialists. Even before this the tsarist government had compelled China to surrender to Russia the Liaotung Peninsula with the fortress of Port Arthur. Russia secured the right to build railways on Chinese territory. A railway was built in Northern Manchuria — the Chinese-Eastern Railway — and Russian troops were stationed there to protect it. Northern Manchuria fell under the military occupation of tsarist Russia. Tsardom was advancing towards Korea. The Russian bourgeoisie was making plans for founding a «Yellow Russia» in Manchuria.

    Its annexations in the Far East brought tsardom into conflict with another marauder, Japan, which had rapidly become an imperialist country and was also bent on annexing territories on the Asiatic continent, in the first place at the expense of China. Like tsarist Russia, Japan was striving to lay her hands on Korea and Manchuria. Already at that time Japan dreamed of seizing Sakhalin and the Russian Far East. Great Britain, who feared the growing strength of tsarist Russia in the Far East, secretly sided with Japan. War between Russia and Japan was brewing. The tsarist government was pushed to this war by the big bourgeoisie, which was seeking new markets, and by the more reactionary sections of the landlord class.

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    Without waiting for the tsarist government to declare war, Japan started hostilities herself. She had a good espionage service in Russia and anticipated that her foe would be unprepared for the struggle. In January 1904, without declaring war, Japan suddenly attacked the Russian fortress of Port Arthur and inflicted heavy losses on the Russian fleet lying in the harbour.

    That is how the Russo-Japanese War began.

    The tsarist government reckoned that the war would help to strengthen its political position and to check the revolution. But it miscalculated. The tsarist regime was shaken more than ever by the war.

    Poorly armed and trained, and commanded by incompetent and corrupt generals, the Russian army suffered defeat after defeat.

    Capitalists, government officials and generals grew rich on the war. Peculation was rampant. The troops were poorly supplied. When the army was short of ammunition, it would receive, as if in derision, carloads of icons. The soldiers said bitterly: «The Japanese are giving it to us with shells; we’re to give it to them with icons.» Special trains, instead of being used to evacuate the wounded, were loaded with property looted by the tsarist generals.

    The Japanese besieged and subsequently captured Port Arthur. After inflicting a number of defeats on the tsarist army, they finally routed it near Mukden. In this battle the tsarist army of 300,000 men lost about 120,000 men, killed, wounded or taken prisoner. This was followed by the utter defeat and destruction in the Straits of Tsushima of the tsarist fleet dispatched from the Baltic to relieve Port Arthur. The defeat at Tsushima was disastrous: of the twenty warships dispatched by the tsar, thirteen were sunk or destroyed and four captured. Tsarist Russia had definitely lost the war.

    The tsarist government was compelled to conclude an ignominious peace with Japan. Japan seized Korea and deprived Russia of Port Arthur and of half the Island of Sakhalin.

    The people had not wanted the war and realized how harmful it would be for the country. They paid heavily for the backwardness of tsarist Russia.

    The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks adopted different attitudes towards the war.

    The Mensheviks, including Trotsky, were sinking to a position of defending the «fatherland» of the tsar, the landlords and the capitalists.

    The Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, on the other hand, held that the

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defeat of the tsarist government in this predatory war would be useful, as it would weaken tsardom and strengthen the revolution.

    The defeats of the tsarist armies opened the eyes of the masses to the rottenness of tsardom. Their hatred for the tsarist regime grew daily more intense. The fall of Port Arthur meant the beginning of the fall of the autocracy, Lenin wrote.

    The tsar wanted to use the war to stifle the revolution. He achieved the very opposite. The Russo-Japanese War hastened the outbreak of the revolution.

    In tsarist Russia the capitalist yoke was aggravated by the yoke of tsardom. The workers not only suffered from capitalist exploitation, from inhuman toil, but, in common with the whole people, suffered from a lack of all rights. The politically advanced workers therefore strove to lead the revolutionary movement of all the democratic elements in town and country against tsardom. The peasants were in dire need owing to lack of land and the numerous survivals of serfdom, and lived in a state of bondage to the landlords and kulaks. The nations inhabiting tsarist Russia groaned beneath a double yoke — that of their own landlords and capitalists and that of the Russian landlords and capitalists. The economic crisis of 1900-03 had aggravated the hardships of the toiling masses; the war intensified them still further. The war defeats added fuel to the hatred of the masses for tsardom. The patience of the people was coming to an end.

    As we see, there were grounds enough and to spare for revolution.

    In December 1904 a huge and well-organized strike of workers took place in Baku, led by the Baku Committee of the Bolsheviks. The strike ended in a victory for the workers and a collective agreement was concluded between the oilfield workers and owners, the first of its kind in the history of the working-class movement in Russia.

    The Baku strike marked the beginning of a revolutionary rise in Transcaucasia and in various parts of Russia.

    «The Baku strike was the signal for the glorious actions in January and February all over Russia.» (Stalin.)

    This strike was like a clap of thunder heralding a great revolutionary storm.

    The revolutionary storm broke with the events of January 9 (22, New Style), 1905, in St. Petersburg.

    On January 3, 1905, a strike began at the biggest of the St. Petersburg plants, the Putilov (now the Kirov) Works. The strike was caused by the dismissal of four workers. It grew rapidly and was joined

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by other St. Petersburg mills and factories. The strike became general. The movement grew formidable. The tsarist government decided to crush it while it was still in its earliest phase.

    In 1904, prior to the Putilov strike, the police had used the services of an agent-provocateur, a priest by the name of Gapon, to form an or ganization of the workers known as the Assembly of Russian Factory Workers. This organization had its branches in all the districts of St. Petersburg. When the strike broke out the priest Gapon at the meetings of his society put forward a treacherous plan: all the workers were to gather on January 9 and, carrying church banners and portraits of the tsar, to march in peaceful procession to the Winter Palace and present a petition to the tsar stating their needs. The tsar would appear before the people, listen to them and satisfy their demands. Gapon undertook to assist the tsarist Okhrana by providing a pretext for firing on the workers and drowning the working-class movement in blood. But this police plot recoiled on the head of the tsarist government.

    The petition was discussed at workers’ meetings where amendments were made. Bolsheviks spoke at these meetings without openly announcing themselves as such. Under their influence, the petition was supplemented by demands for freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association for the workers, the convocation of a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of changing the political system of Russia, equality of all before the law, separation of church from the state, termination of the war, an 8-hour working day, and the handing over of the land to the peasants.

    At these meetings the Bolsheviks explained to the workers that liberty could not be obtained by petitions to the tsar, but would have to be won by force of arms. The Bolsheviks warned the workers that they would be fired upon. But they were unable to prevent the procession to the Winter Palace. A large part of the workers still believed that the tsar would help them. The movement had taken a strong hold on the masses.

    The petition of the St. Petersburg workers stated:

    «We, the workingmen of St. Petersburg, our wives, our children and our helpless old parents, have come to Thee, our Sovereign, to seek truth and protection. We are poverty-stricken, we are oppressed, we are burdened with unendurable toil; we suffer humiliation and are not treated like human beings. . . . We have suffered in patience, but we are being driven deeper and deeper into the slough of poverty, lack of rights and ignorance; we are being strangled by despotism

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and tyranny. . . . Our patience is exhausted. The dreaded moment has arrived when we would rather die than bear these intolerable sufferings any longer. . . .»

    Early in the morning of January 9, 1905, the workers marched to the Winter Palace where the tsar was then residing. They came with their whole families — wives, children and old folk — carrying portraits of the tsar and church banners. They chanted hymns as they marched. They were unarmed. Over 140,000 persons gathered in the streets.

    They met with a hostile reception from Nicholas II. He gave orders to fire upon the unarmed workers. That day over a thousand workers were killed and more than two thousand wounded by the tsar’s troops. The streets of St. Petersburg ran with workers’ blood.

    The Bolsheviks had marched with the workers. Many of them were killed or arrested. There, in the streets running with workers’ blood, the Bolsheviks explained to the workers who it was that bore the guilt for this heinous crime and how he was to be fought.

    January 9 came to be known as «Bloody Sunday:» On that day the workers received a bloody lesson. It was their faith in the tsar that was riddled by bullets on that day. They came to realize that they could win their rights only by struggle. That evening barricades were already being erected in the working-class districts. The workers said: «The tsar gave it to us; we’ll now give it to him!»

    The fearful news of the tsar’s bloody crime spread far and wide. The whole working class, the whole country was stirred by indignation and abhorrence. There was not a town where the workers did not strike in protest against the tsar’s villainous act and did not put forward political demands. The workers now emerged into the streets with the slogan, «Down with autocracy!» In January the number of strikers reached the immense figure of 440,000. More workers came out on strike in one month than during the whole preceding decade. The working-class movement rose to an unprecedented height.

    Revolution in Russia had begun.


2.

WORKERS’ POLITICAL STRIKES AND DEMONSTRATIONS.
GROWTH OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT AMONG THE
PEASANTS. REVOLT ON THE BATTLESHIP «POTEMKIN»

    After January 9 the revolutionary struggle of the workers grew more acute and assumed a political character. The workers began to pass from economic strikes and sympathy strikes to political strikes, to

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demonstrations, and in places to armed resistance to the tsarist troops. Particularly stubborn and well organized were the strikes in the big cities such as St. Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Riga and Baku, where large numbers of workers were concentrated. The metal workers marched in the front ranks of the fighting proletariat. By their strikes, the vanguard of the workers stirred up the less class-conscious sections and roused the whole working class to the struggle. The influence of the Social-Democrats grew rapidly.

    The May Day demonstrations in a number of towns were marked by clashes with police and troops. In Warsaw, the demonstration was fired upon and several hundred persons were killed or wounded. At the call of the Polish Social-Democrats the workers replied to the shooting in Warsaw by a general protest strike. Strikes and demonstrations did not cease throughout the month of May. In that month over 200,000 workers went on strike throughout Russia. General strikes broke out in Baku, Lodz and Ivanovo-Voznesensk. More and more frequently the strikers and demonstrators clashed with the tsarist troops. Such clashes took place in a number of cities — Odessa, Warsaw, Riga, Lodz and others.

    Particularly acute was the struggle in Lodz, a large Polish industrial centre. The workers erected scores of barricades in the streets of Lodz and for three days (June 22-24, 1905) battled in the streets against the tsarist troops. Here armed action merged with a general strike. Lenin regarded these battles as the first armed action of the workers in Russia.

    The outstanding strike that summer was that of the workers of Ivanovo-Voznesensk. It lasted for about two and a half months, from the end of May to the beginning of August 1905. About 70,000 workers, among them many women, took part in the strike. It was led by the Bolshevik Northern Committee. Thousands of workers gathered almost daily outside the city on the banks of the River Talka. At these meetings they discussed their needs. The workers’ meetings were addressed by Bolsheviks. In order to crush the strike, the tsarist authorities ordered the troops to disperse the workers and to fire upon them. Several scores of workers were killed and several hundred wounded. A state of emergency was proclaimed in the city. But the workers remained firm and would not return to work. They and their families starved, but would not surrender. It was only extreme exhaustion that in the end compelled them to return to work. The strike steeled the workers. It was an example of the courage, staunchness, endurance and solidarity of the working class. It was a real political education for the workers of Ivanovo-Voznesensk.

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    During the strike the workers of Ivanovo-Voznesensk set up a Council of Representatives, which was actually one of the first Soviets of Workers’ Deputies in Russia.

    The workers’ political strikes stirred up the whole country.

    Following the town, the countryside began to rise. In the spring, peasant unrest broke out. The peasants marched in great crowds against the landlords, raided their estates, sugar refineries and distilleries, and set fire to their palaces and manors. In a number of places the peasants seized the land, resorted to wholesale cutting down of forests, and demanded that the landed estates be turned over to the people. They seized the landlords’ stores of grain and other products and divided them among the starving. The landlords fled in panic to the towns. The tsarist government dispatched soldiers and Cossacks to crush the peasants’ revolts. The troops fired on the peasants, arrested the «ringleaders» and flogged and tortured them. But the peasants would not cease their struggle.

    The peasant movement spread ever wider in the central parts of Russia, the Volga region, and in Transcaucasia, especially in Georgia.

    The Social-Democrats penetrated deeper into the countryside. The Central Committee of the Party issued an appeal to the peasants entitled: «To You, Peasants, We Address Our Word!» The Social-Democratic committees in the Tver, Saratov, Poltava, Chernigov, Ekaterinoslav, Tiflis and many other provinces issued appeals to the peasants. In the villages, the Social-Democrats would arrange meetings, organize circles among the peasants, and set up peasant committees. In the summer of 1905 strikes of agricultural labourers, organized by Social-Democrats, occurred in many places.

    But this was only the beginning of the peasant struggle. The peasant movement affected only 85 uyezds (districts), or roughly one-seventh of the total number of uyezds in the European part of tsarist Russia.

    The movement of the workers and peasants and the series of reverses suffered by the Russian troops in the Russo-Japanese War had its influence on the armed forces. This bulwark of tsardom began to totter.

    In June 1905 a revolt broke out on the Potemkin, a battleship of the Black Sea Fleet. The battleship was at that time stationed near Odessa, where a general strike of the workers was in progress. The insurgent sailors wreaked vengeance on their more detested officers and brought the vessel to Odessa. The battleship Potemkin had gone over to the side of the revolution.

    Lenin attributed immense importance to this revolt. He considered

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it necessary for the Bolsheviks to assume the leadership of this movement and to link it up with the movement of the workers, peasants and the local garrisons.

    The tsar dispatched several warships against the Potemkin, but the sailors of these vessels refused to fire on their insurgent comrades. For several days the red ensign of revolution waved from the mast of the battleship Potemkin. But at that time, in 1905, the Bolshevik Party was not the only party leading the movement, as was the case later, in 1917. There were quite a number of Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Anarchists on board the Potemkin. Consequently, although individual Social-Democrats took part in the revolt, it lacked proper and sufficiently experienced leadership. At decisive moments part of the sailors wavered. The other vessels of the Black Sea Fleet did not join the revolt of the Potemkin. Having run short of coal and provisions, the revolutionary battleship was compelled to make for the Rumanian shore and there surrender to the authorities.

    The revolt of the sailors on the battleship Potemkin ended in defeat. The sailors who subsequently fell into the hands of the tsarist government were committed for trial. Some were executed and others condemned to exile and penal servitude. But the revolt in itself was an event of the utmost importance. The Potemkin revolt was the first instance of mass revolutionary action in the army and navy, the first occasion on which a large unit of the armed forces of the tsar sided with the revolution. This revolt made the idea of the army and navy joining forces with the working class, the people, more comprehensible to and nearer to the heart of the workers and peasants, and especially of the soldiers and sailors themselves.

    The workers’ recourse to mass political strikes and demonstrations, the growth of the peasant movement, the armed clashes between the people and the police and troops, and, finally, the revolt in the Black Sea Fleet, all went to show that conditions were ripening for an armed uprising of the people. This stirred the liberal bourgeoisie into action. Fearing the revolution, and at the same time frightening the tsar with the spectre of revolution, it sought to come to terms with the tsar against the revolution; it demanded slight reforms «for the people» so as to «pacify» the people, to split the forces of the revolution and thus avert the «horrors of revolution.» «Better part with some of our land than part with our heads,» said the liberal landlords. The liberal bourgeoisie was preparing to share power with the tsar. «The proletariat is fighting; the bourgeoisie is stealing towards power,» Lenin wrote in those days

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in reference to the tactics of the working class and the tactics of the liberal bourgeoisie.

    The tsarist government continued to suppress the workers and peasants with brutal ferocity. But it could not help seeing that it would never cope with the revolution by repressive measures alone. Therefore, without abandoning measures of repression, it resorted to a policy of manoeuvring. On the one hand, with the help of its agents-provocateurs, it incited the peoples of Russia against each other, engineering Jewish pogroms and mutual massacres of Armenians and Tatars. On the other hand, it promised to convene a «representative institution» in the shape of a Zemsky Sobor or a State Duma, and instructed the Minister Bulygin to draw up a project for such a Duma, stipulating, however, that it was to have no legislative powers. All these measures were adopted in order to split the forces of revolution and to sever from it the moderate sections of the people.

    The Bolsheviks declared a boycott of the Bulygin Duma with the aim of frustrating this travesty of popular representation.

    The Mensheviks, on the other hand, decided not to sabotage the Duma and considered it necessary to take part in it.


3.

TACTICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOLSHEVIKS AND MEN-
SHEVIKS. THIRD PARTY CONGRESS. LENIN’S «TWO TACTICS
OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY IN THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION.»
TACTICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE MARXIST PARTY

    The revolution had set in motion all classes of society. The turn in the political life of the country caused by the revolution dislodged them from their old wonted positions and compelled them to regroup themselves in conformity with the new situation. Each class and each party endeavoured to work out its tactics, its line of conduct, its attitude towards other classes, and its attitude towards the government. Even the tsarist government found itself compelled to devise new and unaccustomed tactics, as instanced by the promise to convene a «representative institution» — the Bulygin Duma.

    The Social-Democratic Party, too, had to work out its tactics. This was dictated by the growing tide of the revolution. It was dictated by the practical questions that faced the proletariat and brooked no delay: organization of armed uprising, overthrow of the tsarist government, creation of a provisional revolutionary government, participation of the

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Social-Democrats in this government, attitude towards the peasantry and towards the liberal bourgeoisie, etc. The Social-Democrats had to work out for themselves carefully considered and uniform Marxist tactics.

    But owing to the opportunism of the Mensheviks and their splitting activities, the Russian Social-Democratic Party was at that time divided into two groups. The split could not yet be considered complete, and formally the two groups were not yet two separate parties; but in reality they very much resembled two separate parties, each with its own leading centre and its own press.

    What helped to widen the split was the fact that to their old differences with the majority of the Party over organizational questions the Mensheviks added new differences, differences over tactical questions.

    The absence of a united party resulted in the absence of uniform party tactics.

    A way out of the situation may have been found by immediately summoning another congress, the Third Congress of the Party, establishing common tactics and binding the minority to carry out in good faith the decisions of the congress, the decisions of the majority. This was what the Bolsheviks proposed to the Mensheviks. But the Mensheviks would not hear of summoning the Third Congress. Considering it a crime to leave the Party any longer without tactics endorsed by the Party and binding upon all Party members, the Bolsheviks decided to take the initiative of convening the Third Congress into their own hands.

    All the Party organizations, both Bolshevik and Menshevik, were invited to the congress. But the Mensheviks refused to take part in the Third Congress and decided to hold one of their own. As the number of delegates at their congress proved to be small, they called it a conference, but actually it was a congress, a Menshevik party congress, whose decisions were considered binding on all Mensheviks.

    The Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Party met in London in April 1905. It was attended by 24 delegates representing 20 Bolshevik Committees. All the large organizations of the Party were represented.

    The congress condemned the Mensheviks as «a section that had split away from the Party» and passed on to the business on hand, the working out of the tactics of the Party.

    At the same time that this congress was held, the Mensheviks held their conference in Geneva.

    «Two congresses — two parties,» was the way Lenin summed up the situation.

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    Both the congress and the conference virtually discussed the same tactical questions, but the decisions they arrived at were diametrically opposite. The two sets of resolutions adopted by the congress and the conference respectively revealed the whole depth of the tactical difference between the Third Party Congress and the Menshevik conference, between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.

    Here are the main points of these differences.

    Tactical line of the Third Party Congress. The congress held that despite the bourgeois-democratic character of the revolution in progress, despite the fact that it could not at the given moment go beyond the limits of what was possible within the framework of capitalism, it was primarily the proletariat that was interested in its complete victory, for the victory of this revolution would enable the proletariat to organize itself, to grow politically, to acquire experience and competence in political leadership of the toiling masses, and to proceed from the bourgeois revolution to the Socialist revolution.

    Tactics of the proletariat designed to achieve the complete victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution could find support only in the peasantry, for the latter could not settle scores with the landlords and obtain possession of their lands without the complete victory of the revolution. The peasantry was therefore the natural ally of the proletariat.

    The liberal bourgeoisie was not interested in the complete victory of this revolution, for it needed the tsarist regime as a whip against the workers and peasants, whom it feared more than anything else, and it would strive to preserve the tsarist regime, only somewhat restricting its powers. The liberal bourgeoisie would therefore attempt to end matters by coming to terms with the tsar on the basis of a constitutional monarchy.

    The revolution would win only if headed by the proletariat; if the proletariat, as the leader of the revolution, secured an alliance with the peasantry; if the liberal bourgeoisie were isolated; if the Social-Democratic Party took an active part in the organization of the uprising of the people against tsardom; if, as the result of a successful uprising, a provisional revolutionary government were set up that would be capable of destroying the counter-revolution root and branch and convening a Constituent Assembly representing the whole people; and if the Social-Democratic Party did not refuse, the circumstances being favourable, to take part in the provisional revolutionary government in order to carry the revolution to its conclusion.

    Tactical line of the Menshevik conference. Inasmuch as the revolution was a bourgeois revolution, only the liberal bourgeoisie could be its leader. The proletariat should not establish close relations with the peas-

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antry, but with the liberal bourgeoisie. The chief thing was not to frighten off the liberal bourgeoisie by a display of revolutionary spirit and not to give it a pretext to recoil from the revolution, for if it were to recoil from the revolution, the revolution would be weakened.

    It was possible that the uprising would prove victorious; but after the triumph of the uprising the Social-Democratic Party should step aside so as not to frighten away the liberal bourgeoisie. It was possible that as a result of the uprising a provisional revolutionary government would be set up; but the Social-Democratic Party should under no circumstances take part in it, because this government would not be Socialist in character, and because — and this was the chief thing — by its participation in this government and by its revolutionary spirit, the Social-Democratic Party might frighten off the liberal bourgeoisie and thus undermine the revolution.

    It would be better for the prospects of the revolution if some sort of representative institution were convened, of the nature of a Zemsky Sobor or a State Duma, which could be subjected to the pressure of the working class from without so as to transform it into a Constituent Assembly or impel it to convene a Constituent Assembly.

    The proletariat had its own specific, purely wage-worker interests, and it should attend to these interests only and not try to become the leader of the bourgeois revolution, which, being a general political revolution, concerned all classes and not the proletariat alone.

    Such, in brief, were the two tactics of the two groups of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

    In his historic book, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, Lenin gave a classical criticism of the tactics of the Mensheviks and a brilliant substantiation of the Bolshevik tactics.

    This book appeared in July 1905, that is, two months after the Third Party Congress. One might assume from its title that Lenin dealt in it only with tactical questions relating to the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and had only the Russian Mensheviks in mind. But as a matter of fact when he criticized the tactics of the Mensheviks he at the same time exposed the tactics of international opportunism; and when he substantiated the Marxist tactics in the period of the bourgeois revolution and drew the distinction between the bourgeois revolution and the Socialist revolution, he at the same time formulated the fundamental principles of the Marxist tactics in the period of transition from the bourgeois revolution to the Socialist revolution.

    The fundamental tactical principles expounded by Lenin in his pam-

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phlet, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, were as follows:

    1) The main tactical principle, one that runs through Lenin’s whole book, is that the proletariat can and must be the leader of the bourgeois democratic revolution, the guiding force of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia.

    Lenin admitted the bourgeois character of this revolution, for, as he said, «it is incapable of directly overstepping the bounds of a mere democratic revolution.» However, he held that it was not a revolution of the upper strata, but a people’s revolution, one that would set in motion the whole people, the whole working class, the whole peasantry. Hence the attempts of the Mensheviks to belittle the significance of the bourgeois revolution for the proletariat, to depreciate the role of the proletariat in it, and to keep the proletariat away from it were in Lenin’s opinion a betrayal of the interests of the proletariat.

    «Marxism,» Lenin said, «teaches the proletarian not to keep aloof from the bourgeois revolution, not to be indifferent to it, not to allow the leadership of the revolution to be assumed by the bourgeoisie, but, on the contrary, to take a most energetic part in it, to fight most resolutely for consistent proletarian democracy, for carrying the revolution to its conclusion.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 77 )
«We must not forget,» Lenin says further, «that there is not, nor can there be, at the present time, any other means of bringing Socialism nearer, than complete political liberty, than a democratic republic.» (Ibid., p. 122.)

    Lenin foresaw two possible outcomes of the revolution:

    a) Either it would end in a decisive victory over tsardom, in the overthrow of tsardom and the establishment of a democratic republic;

    b) Or, if the forces were inadequate, it might end in a deal between the tsar and the bourgeoisie at the expense of the people, in some sort of curtailed constitution, or, most likely, in some caricature of a constitution.

    The proletariat was interested in the better outcome of the two, that is, in a decisive victory over tsardom. But such an outcome was possible only if the proletariat succeeded in becoming the leader and guide of the revolution.

    «The outcome of the revolution,» Lenin said, «depends on whether the working class will play the part of a subsidiary to the bourgeoisie, a subsidiary that is powerful in the force of its onslaught

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against the autocracy but impotent politically, or whether it will play the part of leader of the people’s revolution.» (Ibid., p. 41.)

    Lenin maintained that the proletariat had every possibility of escaping the fate of a subsidiary to the bourgeoisie, and of becoming the leader of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. This possibility, according to Lenin, arises from the following.

    First, «the proletariat, being, by virtue of its very position, the most advanced and the only consistently revolutionary class, is for that very reason called upon to play the leading part in the general democratic revolutionary movement in Russia.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. VIII, p. 75.)

    Secondly, the proletariat has its own political party, which is independent of the bourgeoisie and which enables the proletariat to weld itself «into a united and independent political force.» (Ibid., p. 75.)

    Thirdly, the proletariat is more interested than the bourgeoisie in a decisive victory of the revolution, in view of which «in a certain sense the bourgeois revolution is more advantageous to the proletariat than to the bourgeoisie.» (Ibid., p. 57.)

    «It is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie,» Lenin wrote, «to rely on certain remnants of the past as against the proletariat, for instance, on the monarchy, the standing army, etc. It is to the advantage of the bourgeoisie if the bourgeois revolution does not too resolutely sweep away all the remnants of the past, but leaves some of them, i.e., if this revolution is not fully consistent, if it is not complete and if it is not determined and relentless. . . . It is of greater advantage to the bourgeoisie if the necessary changes in the direction of bourgeois democracy take place more slowly, more gradually, more cautiously, less resolutely, by means of reforms and not by means of revolution . . . if these changes develop as little as possible the independent revolutionary activity, initiative and energy of the common people, i.e., the peasantry and especially the workers, for otherwise it will be easier for the workers, as the French say, ‘to hitch the rifle from one shoulder to the other,’ i.e., to turn against the bourgeoisie the guns which the bourgeois revolution will place in their hands, the liberty which the revolution will bring, the democratic institutions which will spring up on the ground that is cleared of serfdom. On the other hand, it is more advantageous for the working class if the necessary changes in the direction of bourgeois democracy take place by way of revolution and not by way of reform; for the way of reform is the way of delay, of procrastina-

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tion, of the painfully slow decomposition of the putrid parts of the national organism. It is the proletariat and the peasantry that suffer first of all and most of all from their putrefaction. The revolutionary way is the way of quick amputation, which is the least painful to the proletariat, the way of the direct removal of the decomposing parts, the way of fewest concessions to and least consideration for the monarchy and the disgusting, vile, rotten and contaminating institutions which go with it.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, pp. 75-6.)
«That,» Lenin continues, «is why the proletariat fights in the front ranks for a republic and contemptuously rejects silly and unworthy advice to take care not to frighten away the bourgeoisie.» (Ibid., p. 108.)

    In order to convert the possibility of the proletarian leadership of the revolution into a reality, in order that the proletariat might actually become the leader, the guiding force of the bourgeois revolution, at least two conditions were needed, according to Lenin.

    First, it was necessary for the proletariat to have an ally who was interested in a decisive victory over tsardom and who might be disposed to accept the leadership of the proletariat. This was dictated by the very idea of leadership, for a leader ceases to be a leader if there is nobody to lead, a guide ceases to be a guide if there is nobody to guide. Lenin considered that the peasantry was such an ally.

    Secondly, it was necessary that the class, which was fighting the proletariat for the leadership of the revolution and striving to become its sole leader, should be forced out of the arena of leadership and isolated. This too was dictated by the very idea of leadership, which precluded the possibility of there being two leaders of the revolution. Lenin considered that the liberal bourgeoisie was such a class.

    «Only the proletariat can be a consistent fighter for democracy,» Lenin said. «It may become a victorious fighter for democracy only if the peasant masses join its revolutionary struggle.» (Ibid., p. 86.)

    And further:

    «The peasantry includes a great number of semi-proletarian as well as petty-bourgeois elements. This causes it also to be unstable and compels the proletariat to unite in a strictly class party. But the instability of the peasantry differs radically from the instability of the bourgeoisie, for at the present time the peasantry is interested not so much in the absolute preservation of private property as in the confiscation of the landed estates, one of the principal forms of private

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property. While this does not cause the peasantry to become Socialist or cease to be petty-bourgeois, the peasantry is capable of becoming a whole-hearted and most radical adherent of the democratic revolution. The peasantry will inevitably become such if only the progress of revolutionary events, which is enlightening it, is not interrupted too soon by the treachery of the bourgeoisie and the defeat of the proletariat. Subject to this condition, the peasantry will inevitably become a bulwark of the revolution and the republic, for only a completely victorious revolution can give the peasantryeverything in the sphere of agrarian reforms — everything that the peasants desire, of which they dream, and of which they truly stand in need.» (Ibid., pp. 108-09.)

    Analysing the objections of the Mensheviks, who asserted that these Bolshevik tactics «will compel the bourgeois classes to recoil from the cause of the revolution and thus curtail its scope,» and characterizing these objections as «tactics of betrayal of the revolution,» as «tactics which would convert the proletariat into a wretched appendage of the bourgeois classes,» Lenin wrote:

    «Those who really understand the role of the peasantry in the victorious Russian revolution would not dream of saying that the sweep of the revolution would be diminished if the bourgeoisie recoiled from it. For, as a matter of fact, the Russian revolution will begin to assume its real sweep, will really assume the widest revolutionary sweep possible in the epoch of bourgeois-democratic revolution, only when the bourgeoisie recoils from it and when the masses of the peasantry come out as active revolutionaries side by side with the proletariat. In order that it may be consistently carried to its conclusion, our democratic revolution must rely on such forces as are capable of paralysing the inevitable inconsistency of the bourgeoisie, i.e., capable precisely of ‘causing it to recoil from the revolution.'» (Ibid., p. 110.)

    Such is the main tactical principle regarding the proletariat as the leader of the bourgeois revolution, the fundamental tactical principle regarding the hegemony (leading role) of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution, expounded by Lenin in his book, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution.

    This was a new line of the Marxist party on questions of tactics in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, a line fundamentally different from the tactical lines hitherto existing in the arsenal of Marxism. The situation before had been that in the bourgeois revolution — in Western Europe, for instance — it was the bourgeoisie that played the leading part,

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the proletariat willy-nilly playing the part of its subsidiary, while the peasantry was a reserve of the bourgeoisie. The Marxists considered such a combination more or less inevitable, at the same time stipulating that the proletariat must as far as possible fight for its own immediate class demands and have its own political party. Now, under the new historical conditions, according to Lenin, the situation was changing in such a way that the proletariat was becoming the guiding force of the bourgeois revolution, the bourgeoisie was being edged out of the leadership of the revolution, while the peasantry was becoming a reserve of the proletariat.

    The claim that Plekhanov «also stood» for the hegemony of the proletariat is based upon a misunderstanding. Plekhanov flirted with the idea of the hegemony of the proletariat and was not averse to recognizing it in words — that is true. But in reality he was opposed to this idea in its essence. The hegemony of the proletariat implies the leading role of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution, accompanied by a policy of alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry and a policy of isolation of the liberal bourgeoisie; whereas Plekhanov, as we know, was opposed to the policy of isolating the liberal bourgeoisie, favoured a policy of agreement with the liberal bourgeoisie, and was opposed to a policy of alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry. As a matter of fact, Plekhanov’s tactical line was the Menshevik line which rejected the hegemony of the proletariat.

    2) Lenin considered that the most effective means of overthrowing tsardom and achieving a democratic republic was a victorious armed uprising of the people. Contrary to the Mensheviks, Lenin held that «the general democratic revolutionary movement has already brought about the necessity for an armed uprising,» that «the organization of the proletariat for uprising» had already «been placed on the order of the day as one of the essential, principal and indispensable tasks of the Party,» and that it was necessary «to adopt themost energetic measures to arm the proletariat and to ensure the possibility of directly leading the uprising.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. VIII, p. 75.)

    To guide the masses to an uprising and to turn it into an uprising of the whole people, Lenin deemed it necessary to issue such slogans, such appeals to the masses as would set free their revolutionary initiative, organize them for insurrection and disorganize the machinery of power of tsardom. He considered that these slogans were furnished by the tactical decisions of the Third Party Congress, to the defence of which his book Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution was devoted.

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    The following, he considered, were these slogans:

    a) «Mass political strikes, which may be of great importance at the beginning and in the very process of the insurrection» (ibid., p. 75);

    b) «Immediate realization, in a revolutionary way, of the 8-hour working day and of the other immediate demands of the working class» (ibid., p. 47);

    c) «Immediate organization of revolutionary peasant committees in order to carry out» in a revolutionary way «all the democratic changes,» including the confiscation of the landed estates (ibid., p. 88);

    d) Arming of the workers.

    Here two points are of particular interest:

    First, the tactics of realizing in a revolutionary way the 8-hour day in the towns, and the democratic changes in the countryside, that is, a way which disregards the authorities, disregards the law, which ignores both the authorities and the law, breaks the existing laws and establishes a new order by unauthorized action, as an accomplished fact. This was a new tactical method, the use of which paralysed the machinery of power of tsardom and set free the activity and creative initiative of the masses. These tactics gave rise to the revolutionary strike committees in the towns and the revolutionary peasant committees in the countryside, the former of which later developed into the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies and the latter into the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies.

    Secondly, the use of mass political strikes, the use of general political strikes, which later, in the course of the revolution, were of prime importance in the revolutionary mobilization of the masses. This was a new and very important weapon in the hands of the proletariat, a weapon hitherto unknown in the practice of the Marxist parties and one that subsequently gained recognition.

    Lenin held that following the victorious uprising of the people the tsarist government should be replaced by a provisional revolutionary government. It would be the task of the provisional revolutionary government to consolidate the conquests of the revolution, to crush the resistance of the counter-revolution and to give effect to the minimum program of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. Lenin maintained that unless these tasks were accomplished a decisive victory over tsardom would be impossible. And in order to accomplish these tasks and achieve a decisive victory over tsardom, the provisional revolutionary government would have to be not an ordinary kind of government, but a government of the dictatorship of the victorious classes, of the workers and peasants; it would have to be a revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry. Citing Marx’s well-known thesis that «after

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a revolution every provisional organization of the state requires a dictatorship, and an energetic dictatorship at that,» Lenin came to the conclusion that if the provisional revolutionary government was to ensure a decisive victory over tsardom, it could be nothing else but a dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry.

    «A decisive victory of the revolution over tsardom is the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry,» Lenin said. «. . . And such a victory will be precisely a dictatorship, i.e., it must inevitably rely on military force, on the arming of the masses, on an uprising and not on institutions of one kind or an other, established in a ‘lawful’ or ‘peaceful’ way. It can be only a dictatorship, for the realization of the changes which are urgently and absolutely indispensable for the proletariat and the peasantry will call forth the desperate resistance of the landlords, of the big bourgeoisie, and of tsardom. Without a dictatorship it is impossible to break down that resistance and to repel the counter-revolutionary attempts. But of course it will be a democratic, not a Socialist dictatorship. It will not be able (without a series of intermediary stages of revolutionary development) to affect the foundations of capitalism. At best it may bring about a radical redistribution of landed property in favour of the peasantry, establish consistent and full democracy, including the formation of a republic, eradicate all the oppressive features of Asiatic bondage, not only in village but also in factory life, lay the foundation for a thorough improvement in the position of the workers and for a rise in their standard of living, and — last but not least — carry the revolutionary conflagration into Europe. Such a victory will by no means as yet transform our bourgeois revolution into a Socialist revolution; the democratic revolution will not directly overstep the bounds of bourgeois social and economic relationships; nevertheless, the significance of such a victory for the future development of Russia and of the whole world will be immense. Nothing will raise the revolutionary energy of the world proletariat so much, nothing will shorten the path leading to its complete victory to such an extent, as this decisive victory of the revolution that has now started in Russia.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 82-3.)

    As to the attitude of the Social-Democrats towards the provisional revolutionary government and as to whether it would be permissible for them to take part in it, Lenin fully upheld the resolution of the Third Party Congress on the subject, which reads:

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    «Subject to the relation of forces, and other factors which cannot be exactly determined beforehand, representatives of our Party may participate in the provisional revolutionary government for the purpose of relentless struggle against all counter-revolutionary attempts and of the defence of the independent interests of the working class; an indispensable condition for such participation is that the Party should exercise strict control over its representatives and that the independence of the Social-Democratic Party, which is striving for a complete Socialist revolution and, consequently, is irreconcilably hostile to all the bourgeois parties, should be strictly maintained; whether the participation of Social-Democrats in the provisional revolutionary government prove possible or not, we must propagate among the broadest masses of the proletariat the necessity for permanent pressure to be brought to bear upon the provisional government by the armed proletariat, led by the Social-Democratic Party, for the purpose of defending, consolidating and extending the gains of the revolution.» (Ibid., pp. 46-7.)

    As to the Mensheviks’ objection that the provisional government would still be a bourgeois government, that the Social-Democrats could not be permitted to take part in such a government unless one wanted to commit the same mistake as the French Socialist Millerand when he joined the French bourgeois government, Lenin parried this objection by pointing out that the Mensheviks were here mixing up two different things and were betraying their inability to treat the question as Marxists should. In France it was a question of Socialists taking part in a reactionary bourgeois government at a time when there was no revolutionary situation in the country, which made it incumbent upon the Socialists not to join such a government; in Russia, on the other hand, it was a question of Socialists taking part in a revolutionary bourgeois government fighting for the victory of the revolution at a time when the revolution was in full swing, a circumstance which would make it permissible for, and, under favourable circumstances, incumbent upon the Social-Democrats to take part in such a government in order to strike at the counter-revolution not only «from below,» from without, but also «from above,» from within the government.

    3) While advocating the victory of the bourgeois revolution and the achievement of a democratic republic, Lenin had not the least intention of coming to a halt in the democratic stage and confining the scope of the revolutionary movement to the accomplishment of bourgeois-democratic tasks. On the contrary, Lenin maintained that following upon the accomplishment of the democratic tasks, the proletariat and the other

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exploited masses would have to begin a struggle, this time for the Socialist revolution. Lenin knew this and regarded it as the duty of Social-Democrats to do everything to make the bourgeois-democratic revolution pass into the Socialist revolution. Lenin held that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry was necessary not in order to end the revolution at the point of consummation of its victory over tsardom, but in order to prolong the state of revolution as much as possible, to destroy the last remnants of counter-revolution, to make the flame of revolution spread to Europe, and, having in the meantime given the proletariat the opportunity of educating itself politically and organizing itself into a great army, to begin the direct transition to the Socialist revolution.

    Dealing with the scope of the bourgeois revolution, and with the character the Marxist party should lend it, Lenin wrote:

    «The proletariat must carry to completion the democratic revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and to paralyse the instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the Socialist revolution by allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. Such are the tasks of the proletariat, which the new Iskra -ists (that is, Mensheviks —Ed.always present so narrowly in their arguments and resolutions about the scope of the revolution.» (Ibid., pp. 110-11.)

    And further:

    «At the head of the whole of the people, and particularly of the peasantry — for complete freedom, for a consistent democratic revolution, for a republic! At the head of all the toilers and the exploited — for Socialism! Such must in practice be the policy of the revolutionary proletariat, such is the class slogan which must permeate and determine the solution of every tactical problem, of every practical step of the workers’ party during the revolution.» (Ibid., p. 124.)

    In order to leave nothing unclear, two months after the appearance of the Two Tactics Lenin wrote an article entitled «Attitude of Social-Democrats to the Peasant Movement,» in which he explained:

    «From the democratic revolution we shall at once, and just in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organized proletariat, begin to pass to the Socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half way.» (Ibid., p. 145.)

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    This was a new line in the question of the relation between the bourgeois revolution and the Socialist revolution, a new theory of a regrouping of forces around the proletariat, towards the end of the bourgeois revolution, for a direct transition to the Socialist revolution — the theory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution passing into the Socialist revolution.

    In working out this new line, Lenin based himself, first, on the well-known thesis of uninterrupted revolution advanced by Marx at the end of the forties of the last century in the Address to the Communist League , and, secondly, on the well-known idea of the necessity of combining the peasant revolutionary movement with the proletarian revolution which Marx expressed in a letter to Engels in 1856, saying that: «the whole thing in Germany will depend on the possibility of backing the proletarian revolution by some second edition of the Peasants’ War.» However, these brilliant ideas of Marx were not developed subsequently in the works of Marx and Engels, while the theoreticians of the Second International did their utmost to bury them and consign them to oblivion. To Lenin fell the task of bringing these forgotten ideas of Marx to light and restoring them to their full rights. But in restoring these Marxian ideas, Lenin did not — and could not — confine himself to merely repeating them, but developed them further and moulded them into a harmonious theory of Socialist revolution by introducing a new factor, an indispensable factor of the Socialist revolution, namely, an alliance of the proletariat with the semi-proletarian elements of town and country as a condition for the victory of the proletarian revolution.

    This line confuted the tactical position of the West-European Social-Democratic parties who took it for granted that after the bourgeois revolution the peasant masses, including the poor peasants, would necessarily desert the revolution, as a result of which the bourgeois revolution would be followed by a prolonged interval, a long «lull» lasting fifty or a hundred years, if not longer, during which the proletariat would be «peacefully» exploited and the bourgeoisie would «lawfully» enrich itself until the time came round for a new revolution, a Socialist revolution.

    This was a new theory which held that the Socialist revolution would be accomplished not by the proletariat in isolation as against the whole bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat as the leading class which would have as allies the semi-proletarian elements of the population, the «toiling and exploited millions.»

    According to this theory the hegemony of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution, the proletariat being in alliance with the peasantry,

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would grow into the hegemony of the proletariat in the Socialist revolution, the proletariat now being in alliance with the other labouring and exploited masses, while the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry would prepare the ground for the Socialist dictatorship of the proletariat.

    It refuted the theory current among the West-European Social-Democrats who denied the revolutionary potentialities of the semi-proletarian masses of town and country and took for granted that «apart from the bourgeoisie and the proletariat we perceive no social forces in our country in which oppositional or revolutionary combinations might find support» (these were Plekhanov’s words, typical of the West-European Social-Democrats).

    The West-European Social-Democrats held that in the Socialist revolution the proletariat would stand alone, against the whole bourgeoisie, without allies, against all the non-proletarian classes and strata. They would not take account of the fact that capital exploits not only the proletarians but also the semi-proletarian millions of town and country, who are crushed by capitalism and who may become allies of the proletariat in the struggle for the emancipation of society from the capitalist yoke. The West-European Social-Democrats therefore held that conditions were not yet ripe for a Socialist revolution in Europe, that the conditions could be considered ripe only when the proletariat became the majority of the nation, the majority of society, as a result of the further economic development of society.

    This spurious anti-proletarian standpoint of the West-European Social-Democrats was completely upset by Lenin’s theory of the Socialist revolution.

    Lenin’s theory did not yet contain any direct conclusion regarding the possibility of a victory of Socialism in one country, taken singly. But it did contain all, or nearly all, the fundamental elements necessary for the drawing of such a conclusion sooner or later.

    As we know, Lenin arrived at this conclusion ten years later, in 1915.

    Such are the fundamental tactical principles expounded by Lenin in his historic book, Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution.

    The historic significance of this book consists above all in the fact that in it Lenin ideologically shattered the petty-bourgeois tactical line of the Mensheviks, armed the working class of Russia for the further development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, for a new onslaught on tsardom, and put before the Russian Social-Democrats a clear perspec-

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tive of the necessity of the bourgeois revolution passing into the Socialist revolution.

    But this does not exhaust the significance of Lenin’s book. Its in valuable significance consists in that it enriched Marxism with a new theory of revolution and laid the foundation for the revolutionary tactics of the Bolshevik Party with the help of which in 1917 the proletariat of our country achieved the victory over capitalism.

4.

FURTHER RISE OF THE REVOLUTION. ALL-RUSSIAN POLITICAL
STRIKE OF OCTOBER 1905. RETREAT OF TSARDOM. THE TSAR’S
MANIFESTO. RISE OF THE SOVIETS OF WORKERS’ DEPUTIES

    By the autumn of 1905 the revolutionary movement had swept the whole country and gained tremendous momentum.

    On September 19 a printers’ strike broke out in Moscow. It spread to St. Petersburg and a number of other cities. In Moscow itself the printers’ strike was supported by the workers in other industries and developed into a general political strike.

    In the beginning of October a strike started on the Moscow-Kazan Railway. Within two days it was joined by all the railwaymen of the Moscow railway junction and soon all the railways of the country were in the grip of the strike. The postal and telegraph services came to a standstill. In various cities of Russia the workers gathered at huge meetings and decided to down tools. The strike spread to factory after factory, mill after mill, city after city, and region after region. The workers were joined by the minor employees, students and intellectuals — lawyers, engineers and doctors.

    The October political strike became an all-Russian strike which embraced nearly the whole country, including the most remote districts, and nearly all the workers, including the most backward strata. About one million industrial workers alone took part in the general political strike, not counting the large number of railwaymen, postal and telegraph employees and others. The whole life of the country came to a standstill. The government was paralysed.

    The working class headed the struggle of the masses against the autocracy.

    The Bolshevik slogan of a mass political strike had borne fruit.

    The October general strike revealed the power and might of the proletarian movement and compelled the mortally frightened tsar to issue

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his Manifesto of October 17, 1905. This Manifesto promised the people «the unshakable foundations of civil liberty: real inviolability of person, and freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association.» It promised to convene a legislative Duma and to extend the franchise to all classes of the population.

    Thus, Bulygin’s deliberative Duma was swept away by the tide of revolution. The Bolshevik tactics of boycotting the Bulygin Duma proved to have been right.

    Nevertheless, the Manifesto of October 17 was a fraud on the people, a trick of the tsar to gain some sort of respite in which to lull the credulous and to win time to rally his forces and then to strike at the revolution. In words the tsarist government promised liberty, but actually it granted nothing substantial. So far, promises were all that the workers and peasants had received from the government. Instead of the broad political amnesty which was expected, on October 21 amnesty was granted to only a small section of political prisoners. At the same time, with the object of dividing the forces of the people, the government engineered a number of sanguinary Jewish pogroms, in which many thousands of people perished; and in order to crush the revolution it created police-controlled gangster organizations known as the League of the Russian People and the League of Michael the Archangel. These organizations, in which a prominent part was played by reactionary landlords, merchants, priests, and semi-criminal elements of the vagabond type, were christened by the people «Black-Hundreds.» The Black-Hundreds, with the support of the police, openly manhandled and murdered politically advanced workers, revolutionary intellectuals and students, burned down meeting places and fired upon assemblies of citizens. These so far were the only results of the tsar’s Manifesto.

    There was a popular song at the time which ran:

 «The tsar caught fright, issued a Manifesto:
  Liberty for the dead, for the living — arrest.»

    The Bolsheviks explained to the masses that the Manifesto of October 17 was a trap. They branded the conduct of the government after the promulgation of the Manifesto as provocative. The Bolsheviks called the workers to arms, to prepare for armed uprising.

    The workers set about forming fighting squads with greater energy than ever. It became clear to them that the first victory of October 17, wrested by the general political strike, demanded of them further efforts, the continuation of the struggle for the overthrow of tsardom.

    Lenin regarded the Manifesto of October 17 as an expression of a certain temporary equilibrium of forces: the proletariat and the peas-

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antry, having wrung the Manifesto from the tsar, were still not strong enough to overthrow tsardom, whereas tsardom was no longer able to rule by the old methods alone and had been compelled to give a paper promise of «civil liberties» and a «legislative» Duma.

    In those stormy days of the October political strike, in the fire of the struggle against tsardom, the revolutionary creative initiative of the working-class masses forged a new and powerful weapon — the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.

    The Soviets of Workers’ Deputies — which were assemblies of delegates from all mills and factories — represented a type of mass political organization of the working class which the world had never seen before. The Soviets that first arose in 1905 were theprototype of the Soviet power which the proletariat, led by the Bolshevik Party, set up in 1917. The Soviets were a new revolutionary form of the creative initiative of the people. They were set up exclusively by the revolutionary sections of the population, in defiance of all laws and prescripts of tsardom. They were a manifestation of the independent action of the people who were rising to fight tsardom.

    The Bolsheviks regarded the Soviets as the embryo of revolutionary power. They maintained that the strength and significance of the Soviets would depend solely on the strength and success of the uprising.

    The Mensheviks regarded the Soviets neither as embryonic organs of revolutionary power nor as organs of uprising. They looked upon the Soviets as organs of local self-government, in the nature of democratized municipal government bodies.

    In St. Petersburg, elections to the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies took place in all the mills and factories on October 13 (26, New Style) 1905. The first meeting of the Soviet was held that night. Moscow followed St. Petersburg in forming a Soviet of Workers’ Deputies.

    The St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, being the Soviet of the most important industrial and revolutionary centre of Russia, the capital of the tsarist empire, ought to have played a decisive role in the Revolution of 1905. However, it did not perform its task, owing to its bad, Menshevik leadership. As we know, Lenin had not yet arrived in St. Petersburg; he was still abroad. The Mensheviks took advantage of Lenin’s absence to make their way into the St. Petersburg Soviet and to seize hold of its leadership. It was not surprising under such circumstances that the Mensheviks Khrustalev, Trotsky, Parvus and others managed to turn the St. Petersburg Soviet against the policy of an uprising. Instead of bringing the soldiers into close contact with the Soviet and linking them up with the common struggle, they demanded that the sol-

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diers be withdrawn from St. Petersburg. The Soviet, instead of arming the workers and preparing them for an uprising, just marked time and was against preparations for an uprising.

    Altogether different was the role played in the revolution by the Moscow Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. From the very first the Moscow Soviet pursued a thoroughly revolutionary policy. The leadership of the Moscow Soviet was in the hands of the Bolsheviks. Thanks to them, side by side with the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, there arose in Moscow a Soviet of Soldiers’ Deputies. The Moscow Soviet became an organ of armed uprising.

    In the period, October to December 1905, Soviets of Workers’ Deputies were set up in a number of large towns and in nearly all the working-class centres. Attempts were made to organize Soviets of Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Deputies and to unite them with the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies. In some localities Soviets of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies were formed.

    The influence of the Soviets was tremendous. In spite of the fact that they often arose spontaneously, lacked definite structure and were loosely organized, they acted as a governmental power. Without legal authority, they introduced freedom of the press and an 8-hour working day. They called upon the people not to pay taxes to the tsarist government. In some cases they confiscated government funds and used them for the needs of the revolution.


5.

DECEMBER ARMED UPRISING. DEFEAT OF THE UPRISING. RE-
TREAT OF THE REVOLUTION. FIRST STATE DUMA. FOURTH
(UNITY) PARTY CONGRESS

    During October and November 1905 the revolutionary struggle of the masses went on developing with intense vigour. Workers’ strikes continued.

    The struggle of the peasants against the landlords assumed wide dimensions in the autumn of 1905. The peasant movement embraced over one-third of the uyezds of the country. The provinces of Saratov, Tambov, Chernigov, Tiflis, Kutais and several others were the scenes of veritable peasant revolts. Yet the onslaught of the peasant masses was still inadequate. The peasant movement lacked organization and leadership.

    Unrest increased also among the soldiers in a number of cities — Tiflis, Vladivostok, Tashkent, Samarkant, Kursk, Sukhum, Warsaw,

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Kiev, and Riga. Revolts broke out in Kronstadt and among the sailors of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol (November 1905). But the revolts were isolated, and the tsarist government was able to suppress them.

    Revolts in units of the army and navy were frequently provoked by the brutal conduct of the officers, by bad food («bean riots»), and similar causes. The bulk of the sailors and soldiers in revolt did not yet clearly realize the necessity for the overthrow of the tsarist government, for the energetic prosecution of the armed struggle. They were still too peaceful and complacent; they frequently made the mistake of releasing officers who had been arrested at the outbreak of the revolt, and would allow themselves to be placated by the promises and coaxing of their superiors.

    The revolutionary movement had approached the verge of armed insurrection. The Bolsheviks called upon the masses to rise in arms against the tsar and the landlords, and explained to them that this was inevitable. The Bolsheviks worked indefatigably in preparing for armed uprising. Revolutionary work was carried on among the soldiers and sailors, and military organizations of the Party were set up in the armed forces. Workers’ fighting squads were formed in a number of cities, and their members taught the use of arms. The purchase of arms from abroad and the smuggling of them into Russia was organized, prominent members of the Party taking part in arranging for their transportation.

    In November 1905 Lenin returned to Russia. He took a direct part in the preparations for armed uprising, while keeping out of the way of the tsar’s gendarmes and spies. His articles in the Bolshevik newspaper, Novaya Zhizn (New Life ), served to guide the Party in its day-to-day work.

    At this period Comrade Stalin was carrying on tremendous revolutionary work in Transcaucasia. He exposed and lashed the Mensheviks as foes of the revolution and of the armed uprising. He resolutely prepared the workers for the decisive battle against the autocracy. Speaking at a meeting of workers in Tiflis on the day the tsar’s Manifesto was announced, Comrade Stalin said:

    «What do we need in order to really win? We need three things: first — arms, second — arms, third — arms and arms again!»

    In December 1905 a Bolshevik Conference was held in Tammerfors, Finland. Although the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks formally belonged to one Social-Democratic Party, they actually constituted two different parties, each with its own leading centre. At this conference Lenin and

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Stalin met for the first time. Until then they had maintained contact by correspondence and through comrades.

    Of the decisions of the Tammerfors Conference, the following two should be noted: one on the restoration of the unity of the Party, which had virtually been split into two parties, and the other on the boycott of the First Duma, known as the Witte Duma.

    As by that time the armed uprising had already begun in Moscow, the conference, on Lenin’s advice, hastily completed its work and dispersed to enable the delegates to participate personally in the uprising.

    But the tsarist government was not dozing either. It too was preparing for a decisive struggle. Having concluded peace with Japan, and thus lessened the difficulties of its position, the tsarist government assumed the offensive against the workers and peasants. It declared martial law in a number of provinces where peasant revolts were rife, issued the brutal commands «take no prisoners» and «spare no bullets,» and gave orders for the arrest of,the leaders of the revolutionary movement and the dispersal of the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies.

    In reply to this, the Moscow Bolsheviks and the Moscow Soviet of Workers’ Deputies which they led, and which was connected with the broad masses of the workers, decided to make immediate preparations for armed uprising. On December 5 (18) the Moscow Bolshevik Committee resolved to call upon the Soviet to declare a general political strike with the object of turning it into an uprising in the course of the struggle. This decision was supported at mass meetings of the workers. The Moscow Soviet responded to the will of the working class and unanimously resolved to start a general political strike.

    When the Moscow proletariat began the revolt, it had a fighting organization of about one thousand combatants, more than half of whom were Bolsheviks. In addition there were fighting squads in several of the Moscow factories. In all, the insurrectionaries had a force of about two thousand combatants. The workers expected to neutralize the garrison and to win over a part of it to their side.

    The political strike started in Moscow on December 7 (20). However, efforts to spread it to the whole country failed; it met with inadequate support in St. Petersburg, and this reduced the chances of success of the uprising from the very outset. The Nikolayevskaya (now the October) Railway remained in the hands of the tsarist government. Traffic on this line was not suspended, which enabled the government to transfer regiments of the Guard from St. Petersburg to Moscow for the suppression of the uprising.

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    In Moscow itself the garrison vacillated. The workers had begun the uprising partly in expectation of receiving support from the garrison. But the revolutionaries had delayed too long, and the government managed to cope with the unrest in the garrison.

    The first barricades appeared in Moscow on December 9 (22). Soon the streets of the city were covered with barricades. The tsarist government brought artillery into action. It concentrated a force many times exceeding the strength of the insurrectionaries. For nine days on end several thousand armed workers waged a heroic fight. It was only by bringing regiments from St. Petersburg, Tver and the Western Territory that the tsarist government was able to crush the uprising. On the very eve of the fighting the leadership of the uprising was partly arrested and partly isolated. The members of the Moscow Bolshevik Committee were arrested. The armed action took the form of disconnected uprisings of separate districts Deprived of a directing centre, and lacking a common plan of operations for the whole city, the districts mainly confined themselves to defensive action. This was the chief source of weakness of the Moscow uprising and one of the causes of its defeat, as Lenin later pointed out.

    The uprising assumed a particularly stubborn and bitter character in the Krasnaya Presnya district of Moscow. This was the main stronghold and centre of the uprising. Here the best of the fighting squads, led by Bolsheviks, were concentrated. But Krasnaya Presnya was suppressed by fire and sword; it was drenched in blood and ablaze with the fires caused by artillery. The Moscow uprising was crushed.

    The uprising was not confined to Moscow. Revolutionary uprisings broke out in a number of other cities and districts. There were armed uprisings in Krasnoyarsk, Motovlikha (Perm), Novorossisk, Sormovo, Sevastapol and Kronstadt.

    The oppressed nationalities of Russia also rose in armed struggle. Nearly the whole of Georgia was up in arms. A big uprising took place in the Ukraine, in the cities of Gorlovka, Alexandrovsk and Lugansk (now Voroshilovgrad) in the Donetz Basin. A stubborn struggle was waged in Latvia. In Finland the workers formed their Red Guard and rose in revolt.

    But all these uprisings, like the uprising in Moscow, were crushed with inhuman ferocity by the autocracy.

    The appraisals of the December armed uprising given by the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks differed.

    «They should not have taken to arms,» was the rebuke the Menshevik Plekhanov flung at the Party after the uprising. The Mensheviks

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argued that an uprising was unnecessary and pernicious, that it could be dispensed with in the revolution, that success could be achieved not by armed uprising, but by peaceful methods of struggle.

    The Bolsheviks branded this stand as treachery. They maintained that the experience of the Moscow armed uprising had but confirmed that the working class could wage a successful armed struggle. In reply to Plekhanov’s rebuke — «they should not have taken to arms» — Lenin said:

    «On the contrary, we should have taken to arms more resolutely, energetically and aggressively; we should have explained to the masses that it was impossible to confine ourselves to a peaceful strike and that a fearless and relentless armed fight was indispensable.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 348.)

    The uprising of December 1905 was the climax of the revolution. The tsarist autocracy defeated the uprising. Thereafter the revolution took a turn and began to recede. The tide of revolution gradually subsided.

    The tsarist government hastened to take advantage of this defeat to deal the final blow to the revolution. The tsar’s hangmen and jailers began their bloody work. Punitive expeditions raged in Poland, Latvia, Esthonia, Transcaucasia and Siberia.

    But the revolution was not yet crushed. The workers and revolutionary peasants retreated slowly, putting up a fight. New sections of the workers were drawn into the struggle. Over a million workers took part in strikes in 1906; 740,000 in 1907. The peasant movement embraced about one-half of the uyezds of tsarist Russia in the first half of 1906, and one-fifth in the second half of the year. Unrest continued in the army and navy.

    The tsarist government, in combating the revolution, did not confine itself to repressive measures. Having achieved its first successes by repressive measures, it decided to deal a fresh blow at the revolution by convening a new Duma, a «legislative» Duma. It hoped in this way to sever the peasants from the revolution and thus put an end to it. In December 1905 the tsarist government promulgated a law providing for the convocation of a new, a «legislative» Duma as distinct from the old, «deliberative» Bulygin Duma, which had been swept away as the result of the Bolshevik boycott. The tsarist election law was of course anti-democratic. Elections were not universal. Over half the population — for example, women and over two million workers — were deprived of the right of vote altogether. Elections were not equal. The electorate

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was divided into four curias, as they were called: the agrarian (landlords), the urban (bourgeoisie), the peasant and the worker curias. Election was not direct, but by several stages. There was actually no secret ballot. The election law ensured the overwhelming preponderance in the Duma of a handful of landlords and capitalists over the millions of workers and peasants.

    The tsar intended to make use of the Duma to divert the masses from the revolution. In those days a large proportion of the peasants believed that they could obtain land through the Duma. The Constitutional-Democrats, Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries deceived workers and peasants by stating that the system the people needed could be obtained without uprising, without revolution. It was to fight this fraud on the people that the Bolsheviks announced and pursued the tactics of boycotting the First State Duma. This was in accordance with the decision passed by the Tammerfors Conference.

    In their fight against tsardom, the workers demanded the unity of the forces of the Party, the unification of the party of the proletariat. Armed with the decision of the Tammerfors Conference on unity, the Bolsheviks supported this demand of the workers and proposed to the Mensheviks that a unity congress of the Party be called. Under the pressure of the workers, the Mensheviks had to consent to unification.

    Lenin was in favour of unification, but only of such unification as would not cover up the differences that existed over the problems of the revolution. Considerable damage was done to the Party by the conciliators (Bogdanov, Krassin and others), who tried to prove that no serious differences existed between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Lenin fought the conciliators, insisting that the Bolsheviks should come to the congress with their own platform, so that the workers might clearly see what the position of the Bolsheviks was and on what basis unification was being effected. The Bolsheviks drew up such a platform and submitted it to the Party members for discussion.

    The Fourth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., known as the Unity Congress, met in Stockholm (Sweden) in April 1906. It was attended by 111 delegates with right of vote, representing 57 local organizations of the Party. In addition, there were representatives from the national Social-Democratic parties: 3 from the Bund, 3 from the Polish Social-Democratic Party, and 3 from the Lettish Social-Democratic organization.

    Owing to the smash-up of the Bolshevik organizations during and after the December uprising, not all of them were able to send delegates. Moreover, during the «days of liberty» of 1905, the Mensheviks had

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admitted into their ranks a large number of petty-bourgeois intellectuals who had nothing whatever in common with revolutionary Marxism. It will suffice to say that the Tiflis Mensheviks (and there were very few industrial workers in Tiflis) sent as many delegates to the congress as the largest of the proletarian organizations, the St. Petersburg organization. The result was that at the Stockholm Congress the Mensheviks had a majority, although, it is true, an insignificant one.

    This composition of the congress determined the Menshevik character of the decisions on a number of questions.

    Only formal unity was effected at this congress. In reality, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks retained their own views and their own independent organizations.

    The chief questions discussed at the Fourth Congress were the agrarian question, the current situation and the class tasks of the proletariat, policy towards the State Duma, and organizational questions.

    Although the Mensheviks constituted the majority at this congress they were obliged to agree to Lenin’s formulation of the first paragraph of the Party Rules dealing with Party membership, in order not to antagonize the workers.

    On the agrarian question, Lenin advocated the nationalization of the land. He held that the nationalization of the land would be possible only with the victory of the revolution, after tsardom had been overthrown. Under such circumstances the nationalization of the land would make it easier for the proletariat, in alliance with the poor peasants, to pass to the Socialist revolution. Nationalization of the land meant the confiscation of all the landed estates without compensation and turning them over to the peasantry. The Bolshevik agrarian program called upon the peasants to rise in revolution against the tsar and the landlords.

    The Mensheviks took up a different position. They advocated a program of municipalization. According to this program, the landed estates were not to be placed at the disposal of the village communities, not even given to the village communities for use, but were to be placed at the disposal of the municipalities (that is, the local organs of self-government, or Zemstvos), and each peasant was to rent as much of this land as he could afford.

    The Menshevik program of municipalization was one of compromise, and therefore prejudicial to the revolution. It could not mobilize the peasants for a revolutionary struggle and was not designed to achieve the complete abolition of landlord property rights in land. The Menshevik program was designed to stop the revolution halfway. The Mensheviks did not want to rouse the peasants for revolution.

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    The Menshevik program received the majority of the votes at the congress.

    The Mensheviks particularly betrayed their anti-proletarian, opportunist nature during the discussion of the resolution on the current situation and on the State Duma. The Menshevik Martynov frankly spoke in opposition to the hegemony of the proletariat in the revolution. Comrade Stalin, replying to the Mensheviks, put the matter very bluntly:

    «Either the hegemony of the proletariat, or the hegemony of the democratic bourgeoisie — that is how the question stands in the Party, that is where we differ.»

    As to the State Duma, the Mensheviks extolled it in their resolution as the best means of solving the problems of the revolution and of liberating the people from tsardom. The Bolsheviks, on the contrary, regarded the Duma as an impotent appendage of tsardom, as a screen for the evils of tsardom, which the latter would discard as soon as it proved inconvenient.

    The Central Committee elected at the Fourth Congress consisted of three Bolsheviks and six Mensheviks. The editorial board of the central press organ was formed entirely of Mensheviks.

    It was clear that the internal Party struggle would continue.

    After the Fourth Congress the conflict between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks broke out with new vigour. In the local organizations, which were formally united, reports on the congress were often made by two speakers: one from the Bolsheviks and another from the Mensheviks. The result of the discussion of the two lines was that in most cases the majority of the members of the organizations sided with the Bolsheviks.

    Events proved that the Bolsheviks were right. The Menshevik Central Committee elected at the Fourth Congress increasingly revealed its opportunism and its utter inability to lead the revolutionary struggle of the masses. In the summer and autumn of 1906 the revolutionary struggle of the masses took on new vigour. Sailors’ revolts broke out in Kronstadt and Sveaborg; the peasants’ struggle against the landlords flared up. Yet the Menshevik Central Committee issued opportunist slogans, which the masses did not follow.

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6.

DISPERSION OF THE FIRST STATE DUMA. CONVOCATION OF THE
SECOND STATE DUMA. FIFTH PARTY CONGRESS. DISPERSION OF
THE SECOND STATE DUMA. CAUSES OF THE DEFEAT OF THE
FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTION

    As the First State Duma did not prove docile enough, the tsarist government dispersed it in the summer of 1906. The government resorted to even more drastic repressions against the people, extended the ravaging activities of the punitive expeditions throughout the country, and announced its decision of shortly calling a Second State Duma. The tsarist government was obviously growing more insolent. It no longer feared the revolution, for it saw that the revolution was on the decline.

    The Bolsheviks had to decide whether to participate in the Second Duma or to boycott it. By boycott, the Bolsheviks usually meant an active boycott, and not the mere passive abstention from voting in the elections. The Bolsheviks regarded active boycott as a revolutionary means of warning the people against the attempts of the tsar to divert them from the path of revolution to the path of tsarist «constitution,» as a means of frustrating these attempts and organizing a new onslaught of the people on tsardom.

    The experience of the boycott of the Bulygin Duma had shown that a boycott was «the only correct tactics, as fully proved by events.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 393.) This boycott was successful because it not only warned the people against the danger of the path of tsarist constitutionalism but frustrated the very birth of the Duma. The boycott was successful because it was carried out during the rising tide of the revolution and was supported by this tide, and not when the revolution was receding. The summoning of the Duma could be frustrated only during the high tide of the revolution.

    The boycott of the Witte Duma, i.e., the First Duma, took place after the December uprising had been defeated, when the tsar proved to be the victor, that is, at a time when there was reason to believe that the revolution had begun to recede.

    «But,» wrote Lenin, «it goes without saying that at that time there were as yet no grounds to regard this victory (of the tsar —Ed.) as a decisive victory. The uprising of December 1905 had its sequel in a series of disconnected and partial military uprisings and strikes in the summer of 1906. The call to boycott the Witte Duma was a call to concentrate these uprisings and make them general.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XII, p. 20.)

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    The boycott of the Witte Duma was unable to frustrate its convocation although it considerably undermined its prestige and weakened the faith of a part of the population in it. The boycott was unable to frustrate the convocation of the Duma because, as subsequently became clear, it took place at a time when the revolution was receding, when it was on the decline. For this reason the boycott of the First Duma in 1906 was unsuccessful. In this connection Lenin wrote in his famous pamphlet, «Left-Wing» CommunismAn Infantile Disorder:

    «The Bolshevik boycott of ‘parliament’ in 1905 enriched the revolutionary proletariat with highly valuable political experience and showed that in combining legal with illegal, parliamentary with extra parliamentary forms of struggle, it is sometimes useful and even essential to reject parliamentary forms. . . . The boycott of the ‘Duma’ by the Bolsheviks in 1906 was however a mistake, although a small and easily remediable one. . . . What applies to individuals applies — with necessary modifications — to politics and parties. Not he is wise who makes no mistakes. There are no such men nor can there be. He is wise who makes not very serious mistakes and who knows how to correct them easily and quickly. (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. X, p. 74.)

    As to the Second State Duma, Lenin held that in view of the changed situation and the decline of the revolution, the Bolsheviks «must reconsider the question of boycotting the State Duma.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. III, p. 392.)

    «History has shown,» Lenin wrote, «that when the Duma assembles opportunities arise for carrying on useful agitation both from within the Duma and, in connection with it, outside — that the tactics of joining forces with the revolutionary peasantry against the Constitutional-Democrats can be applied in the Duma.» (Ibid., p. 396.)

    All this showed that one had to know not only how to advance resolutely, to advance in the front ranks, when the revolution was in the ascendant, but also how to retreat properly, to be the last to retreat, when the revolution was no longer in the ascendant, changing one’s tactics as the situation changed; to retreat not in disorder, but in an organized way, calmly and without panic, utilizing every minute opportunity to withdraw the cadres from under enemy fire, to reform one’s ranks to muster one’s forces and to prepare for a new offensive against the enemy.

    The Bolsheviks decided to take part in the elections to the Second Duma

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    But the Bolsheviks did not go to the Duma for the purpose of carrying on organic «legislative» work inside it in a bloc with the Constitutional-Democrats, as the Mensheviks did, but for the purpose of utilizing it as a platform in the interests of the revolution.

    The Menshevik Central Committee, on the contrary, urged that election agreements be formed with the Constitutional-Democrats, and that support be given to the Constitutional-Democrats in the Duma, for in their eyes the Duma was a legislative body that was capable of bridling the tsarist government.

    The majority of the Party organizations expressed themselves against the policy of the Menshevik Central Committee.

    The Bolsheviks demanded that a new Party congress be called.

    In May 1907 the Fifth Party Congress met in London. At the time of this congress the R.S.D.L.P. (together with the national Social-Democratic organizations) had a membership of nearly 150,000. In all, 336 delegates attended the congress, of whom 105 were Bolsheviks and 97 Mensheviks. The remaining delegates represented the national Social-Democratic organizations — the Polish and Lettish Social-Democrats and the Bund — which had been admitted into the R.S.D.L.P. at the previous congress.

    Trotsky tried to knock together a group of his own at the congress, a centrist, that is, semi-Menshevik, group, but could get no following.

    As the Bolsheviks had the support of the Poles and the Letts, they had a stable majority at the congress.

    One of the main questions at issue at the congress was that of policy towards the bourgeois parties. There had already been a struggle between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks on this question at the Second Congress. The fifth Congress gave a Bolshevik estimate of all the non-proletarian parties — Black-Hundreds, Octobrists (Union of October Seventeenth), Constitutional-Democrats and Socialist-Revolutionaries — and formulated the Bolshevik tactics to be pursued in regard to these parties.

    The congress approved the policy of the Bolsheviks and decided to wage a relentless struggle both against the Black-Hundred parties — the League of the Russian People, the monarchists, the Council of the United Nobility — and against the Octobrists, the Commercial and Industrial Party and the Party of Peaceful Renovation. All these parties were outspokenly counter-revolutionary.

    As regards the liberal bourgeoisie, the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the congress recommended a policy of uncompromising exposure; the false and hypocritical «democracy» of the Constitutional-Democratic

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Party was to be exposed and the attempts of the liberal bourgeoisie to gain control of the peasant movement combated.

    As to the so-called Narodnik or Trudovik parties (the Popular Socialists, the Trudovik Group and the Socialist-Revolutionaries), the congress recommended that their attempts to mask themselves as Socialists be exposed. At the same time the congress considered it permissible now and then to conclude agreements with these parties for a joint and simultaneous attack on tsardom and the Constitutional-Democratic bourgeoisie, inasmuch as these parties were at that time democratic parties and expressed the interests of the petty bourgeoisie of town and country.

    Even before this congress, the Mensheviks had proposed that a so-called «labour congress» be convened. The Mensheviks’ idea was to call a congress at which Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries and Anarchists should all be represented. This «labour» congress was to form something in the nature of a «non-partisan party,» or a «broad» petty-bourgeois labour party without a program. Lenin exposed this as a pernicious attempt on the part of the Mensheviks to liquidate the Social-Democratic Labour Party and to dissolve the vanguard of the working class in the petty-bourgeois mass. The congress vigorously condemned the Menshevik call for a «labour congress.»

    Special attention was devoted at the congress to the subject of the trade unions. The Mensheviks advocated «neutrality» of the trade unions; in other words, they were opposed to the Party playing a leading role in them. The congress rejected the Mensheviks’ motion and adopted the resolution submitted by the Bolsheviks. This resolution stated that the Party must gain the ideological and political leadership in the trade unions.

    The Fifth Congress was a big victory for the Bolsheviks in the working-class movement. But the Bolsheviks did not allow this to turn their heads; nor did they rest on their laurels. That was not what Lenin taught them. The Bolsheviks knew that more fighting with the Mensheviks was still to come.

    In an article entitled «Notes of a Delegate» which appeared in 1907, Comrade Stalin assessed the results of the congress as follows:

    «The actual unification of the advanced workers of all Russia into a single all-Russian party under the banner of revolutionary Social-Democracy — that is the significance of the London Congress, that is its general character.»

    In this article Comrade Stalin cited data showing the composition of the congress. They show that the Bolshevik delegates were sent to the

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congress chiefly by the big industrial centres (St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Urals, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, etc.), whereas the Mensheviks got their mandates from districts where small production prevailed, where artisans, semi-proletarians predominated, as well as from a number of purely rural areas.

    «Obviously,» says Comrade Stalin, summing up the results of the congress, «the tactics of the Bolsheviks are the tactics of the proletarians in big industry, the tactics of those areas where the class contradictions are especially clear and the class struggle especially acute. Bolshevism is the tactics of the real proletarians. On the other hand, it is no less obvious that the tactics of the Mensheviks are primarily the tactics of the handicraft workers and the peasant semi-proletarians, the tactics of those areas where the class contradictions are not quite clear and the class struggle is masked. Menshevism is the tactics of the semi-bourgeois elements among the proletariat. So say the figures.» (Verbatim Report of the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., Russ. ed., 1935, pp. xi and xii.)

    When the tsar dispersed the First Duma he expected that the Second Duma would be more docile. But the Second Duma, too, belied his expectations. The tsar thereupon decided to disperse it, too, and to convoke a Third Duma on a more restricted franchise, in the hope that this Duma would prove more amenable.

    Shortly after the Fifth Congress, the tsarist government effected what is known as the coup d’etat of June 3. On June 3, 1907, the tsar dispersed the Second State Duma. The sixty-five deputies of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma were arrested and exiled to Siberia. A new election law was promulgated. The rights of the workers and peasants were still further curtailed. The tsarist government continued its offensive.

    The tsar’s Minister Stolypin intensified the campaign of bloody reprisals against the workers and peasants. Thousands of revolutionary workers and peasants were shot by punitive expeditions, or hanged. In the tsarist dungeons revolutionaries were tortured mentally and physically. Particularly savage was the persecution of the working-class organizations, especially the Bolsheviks. The tsar’s sleuths were searching for Lenin, who was living in hiding in Finland. They wanted to wreak their vengeance on the leader of the revolution. In December 1907 Lenin managed at great risk to make his way abroad and again became an exile.

    The dark period of the Stolypin reaction set in.

    The first Russian revolution thus ended in defeat.

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    The causes that contributed to this defeat were as follows:

    1) In the revolution, there was still no stable alliance of the workers and peasants against tsardom. The peasants rose in struggle against the landlords and were willing to join in an alliance with the workers against them. But they did not yet realize that the landlords could not be overthrown unless the tsar were overthrown, they did not realize that the tsar was acting hand-in-hand with the landlords, and large numbers of the peasants still had faith in the tsar and placed their hopes in the tsarist State Duma. That is why a considerable section of the peasants were disinclined to join in alliance with the workers for the overthrow of tsardom. The peasants had more faith in the compromising Socialist-Revolutionary Party than in the real revolutionaries — the Bolsheviks. As a result, the struggle of the peasants against the landlords was not sufficiently organized. Lenin said:

    «The peasants’ actions were too scattered, too unorganized and not sufficiently aggressive, and that was one of the fundamental causes of the defeat of the revolution.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XIX, p. 354.)

    2) The disinclination of a large section of the peasants to join the workers for the overthrow of tsardom also influenced the conduct of the army, which largely consisted of peasants’ sons clad in soldiers’ uniforms. Unrest and revolt broke out in certain units of the tsar’s army, but the majority of the soldiers still assisted the tsar in suppressing the strikes and uprisings of the workers.

    3) Neither was the action of the workers sufficiently concerted. The advanced sections of the working class started a heroic revolutionary struggle in 1905. The more backward sections — the workers in the less industrialized provinces, those who lived in the villages — came into action more slowly. Their participation in the revolutionary struggle became particularly active in 1906, but by then the vanguard of the working class had already been considerably weakened.

    4) The working class was the foremost and principal force of the revolution; but the necessary unity and solidarity in the ranks of the party of the working class were lacking. The R.S.D.L.P. — the party of the working class — was split into two groups: the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks pursued a consistent revolutionary line and called upon the workers to overthrow tsardom. The Mensheviks, by their compromising tactics, hampered the revolution, confused the minds of large numbers of workers and split the working class. Therefore, the workers did not always act concertedly in the revolution, and the working

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class, still lacking unity within its own ranks, could not become the real leader of the revolution.

    5) The tsarist autocracy received help in crushing the Revolution of 1905 from the West-European imperialists. The foreign capitalists feared for their investments in Russia and for their huge profits. Moreover, they feared that if the Russian revolution were to succeed the workers of other countries would rise in revolution, too. The West-European imperialists therefore came to the assistance of the hangman-tsar. The French bankers granted a big loan to the tsar for the suppression of the revolution. The German kaiser kept a large army in readiness to intervene in aid of the Russian tsar.

    6) The conclusion of peace with Japan in September 1905 was of considerable help to the tsar. Defeat in the war and the menacing growth of the revolution had induced the tsar to hasten the signing of peace. The loss of the war weakened tsardom. The conclusion of peace strengthened the position of the tsar.

B R I E F   S U M M A R Y
    The first Russian revolution constituted a whole historical stage in the development of our country. This historical stage consisted of two periods: the first period, when the tide of revolution rose from the general political strike in October to the armed uprising in December and took advantage of the weakness of the tsar, who had suffered defeat on the battlefields of Manchuria, to sweep away the Bulygin Duma and wrest concession after concession from the tsar; and the second period, when tsardom, having recovered after the conclusion of peace with Japan, took advantage of the liberal bourgeoisie’s fear of the revolution, took advantage of the vacillation of the peasants, cast them a sop in the form of the Witte Duma, and passed to the offensive against the working class, against the revolution.

    In the short period of only three years of revolution (1905-07) the working class and the peasantry received a rich political education, such as they could not have received in thirty years of ordinary peaceful development. A few years of revolution made clear what could not be made clear in the course of decades of peaceful development.

    The revolution disclosed that tsardom was the sworn enemy of the people, that tsardom was like the proverbial hunchback whom only the grave could cure.

    The revolution showed that the liberal bourgeoisie was seeing an

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alliance with the tsar, and not with the people, that it was a counter-revolutionary force, an agreement with which would be tantamount to a betrayal of the people.

    The revolution showed that only the working class could be the leader of the bourgeois-democratic revolution, that it alone could force aside the liberal Constitutional-Democratic bourgeoisie, destroy its influence over the peasantry, rout the landlords, carry the revolution to its conclusion and clear the way for Socialism.

    Lastly, the revolution showed that the labouring peasantry, despite its vacillations, was the only important force capable of forming an alliance with the working class.

    Two lines were contending within the R.S.D.L.P. during the revolution, the line of the Bolsheviks and the line of the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks took as their course the extension of the revolution, the overthrow of tsardom by armed uprising, the hegemony of the working class, the isolation of the Constitutional-Democratic bourgeoisie, an alliance with the peasantry, the formation of a provisional revolutionary government consisting of representatives of the workers and peasants, the victorious completion of the revolution. The Mensheviks, on the contrary, took as their course the liquidation of the revolution. Instead of overthrowing tsardom by uprising, they proposed to reform and «improve» it; instead of the hegemony of the proletariat, they proposed the hegemony of the liberal bourgeoisie; instead of an alliance with the peasantry, they proposed an alliance with the Constitutional-Democratic bourgeoisie; instead of a provisional government, they proposed a State Duma as the centre of the «revolutionary forces» of the country.

    Thus the Mensheviks sank into the morass of compromise and became vehicles of the bourgeois influence on the working class, virtual agents of the bourgeoisie within the working class.

    The Bolsheviks proved to be the only revolutionary Marxist force in the Party and the country.

    It was natural that, in view of such profound differences, the R.S.D.L.P. proved in fact to be split into two parties, the party of the Bolsheviks and the party of the Mensheviks. The Fourth Party Congress changed nothing in the actual state of affairs within the Party. It only preserved and somewhat strengthened formal unity in the Party. The Fifth Party Congress took a step towards actual unity in the Party, a unity achieved under the banner of Bolshevism.

    Reviewing the revolutionary movement, the Fifth Party Congress condemned the line of the Mensheviks as one of compromise, and approved the Bolshevik line as a revolutionary Marxist line. In doing so

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it once more confirmed what had already been confirmed by the whole course of the first Russian revolution.

    The revolution showed that the Bolsheviks knew how to advance when the situation demanded it, that they had learned to advance in the front ranks and to lead the whole people in attack. But the revolution also showed that the Bolsheviks knew how to retreat in an orderly way when the situation took an unfavourable turn, when the revolution was on the decline, and that the Bolsheviks had learned to retreat properly, without panic or commotion, so as to preserve their cadres, rally their forces, and, having reformed their ranks in conformity with the new situation, once again to resume the attack on the enemy.

    It is impossible to defeat the enemy without knowing how to attack properly.

    It is impossible to avoid utter rout in the event of defeat without knowing how to retreat properly, to retreat without panic and without confusion.

 



 
 

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C H A P T E R   F O U RTHE MENSHEVIKS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS IN
THE PERIOD OF THE STOLYPIN REACTION.
THE BOLSHEVIKS CONSTITUTE THEMSELVES
AN INDEPENDENT MARXIST PARTY
(1908-1912)

 

1.

STOLYPIN REACTION. DISINTEGRATION AMONG THE OPPOSI-
TIONAL INTELLIGENTSIA. DECADENCE. DESERTION OF A SEC-
TION OF THE PARTY INTELLIGENTSIA TO THE ENEMIES OF
MARXISM AND ATTEMPTS TO REVISE THE THEORY OF MARX-
ISM. LENIN’S REBUTTAL OF THE REVISIONISTS IN HIS «MATE-
RIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM» AND HIS DEFENCE OF THE
THEORETICAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE MARXIST PARTY

    The Second State Duma was dissolved by the tsarist government on June 3, 1907. This is customarily referred to in history as the coup d’etat of June 3. The tsarist government issued a new law on the elections to the Third State Duma, and thus violated its own Manifesto of October 17, 1905, which stipulated that new laws could be issued only with the consent of the Duma. The members of the Social-Democratic group in the Second Duma were committed for trial; the representatives of the working class were condemned to penal servitude and exile.

    The new election law was so drafted as to increase considerably the number of representatives of the landlords and the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie in the Duma. At the same time the representation of the peasants and workers, small as it was, was reduced to a fraction of its former size.

    Black-Hundreds and Constitutional-Democrats preponderated in the Third Duma. Of a total of 442 deputies, 171 were Rights (Black-Hundreds), 113 were Octobrists or members of kindred groups, 101 were Constitutional-Democrats or members of kindred groups, 13 were Trudoviki, and 18 were Social-Democrats.

    The Rights (so called because they occupied the benches on the right-hand side of the Duma) represented the worst enemies of the workers and peasants — the Black-Hundred feudal landlords, who had subjected the peasants to mass floggings and shootings during the sup-

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pression of the peasant movement, and organizers of Jewish pogroms, of the manhandling of demonstrating workers and of the brutal burning of premises where meetings were being held during the revolution. The Rights stood for the most ruthless suppression of the working people, and for the unlimited power of the tsar; they were opposed to the tsar’s Manifesto of October 17, 1905.

    The Octobrist Party, or the Union of October Seventeenth, closely adhered to the Rights in the Duma. The Octobrists represented the interests of big industrial capital, and of the big landlords who ran their estates on capitalist lines (at the beginning of the Revolution of 1905 a large number of the big landlords belonging to the Constitutional-Democratic Party went over to the Octobrists). The only thing that distinguished the Octobrists from the Rights was their acceptance — only in words at that — of the Manifesto of October 17. The Octobrists fully supported both the home and foreign policy of the tsarist government.

    The Constitutional-Democratic Party had fewer seats in the Third Duma than in the First and Second Dumas. This was due to the transfer of part of the landlord vote from the Constitutional-Democrats to the Octobrists.

    There was a small group of petty-bourgeois democrats, known as Trudoviki, in the Third Duma. They vacillated between the Constitutional-Democrats and the labour democrats (Bolsheviks). Lenin pointed out that although the Trudoviki in the Duma were extremely weak, they represented the masses, the peasant masses. The vacillation of the Trudoviki between the Constitutional-Democrats and the labour democrats was an inevitable consequence of the class position of the small owners. Lenin set before the Bolshevik deputies, the labour democrats, the task of «helping the weak petty-bourgeois democrats, of wresting them from the influence of the liberals, of rallying the democratic camp against the counter-revolutionary Constitutional-Democrats, and not only against the Rights. . . .» (Lenin,Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XV, p. 486.)

    During the Revolution of 1905, and especially after its defeat, the Constitutional-Democrats increasingly revealed themselves as a counter-revolutionary force. Discarding their «democratic» mask more and more, they acted like veritable monarchists, defenders of tsardom. In 1909 a group of prominent Constitutional-Democrat writers published a volume of articles entitled Vekhi (Landmarks ) in which, on behalf of the bourgeoisie, they thanked the tsar for crushing the revolution. Cringing and fawning upon the tsarist government, the government of the knout and the gallows, the Constitutional-Democrats bluntly stated

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in this book that «we should bless this government, which alone, with its bayonets and jails, protects us (the liberal bourgeoisie) from the ire of the people.»

    Having dispersed the Second State Duma and disposed of the Social-Democratic group of the Duma, the tsarist government zealously set about destroying the political and economic organizations of the proletariat. Convict prisons, fortresses and places of exile were filled to overflowing with revolutionaries. They were brutally beaten up in the prisons, tormented and tortured. The Black-Hundred terror raged unchecked. The tsar’s Minister Stolypin set up gallows all over the country. Several thousand revolutionaries were executed. In those days the gallows was known as the «Stolypin necktie.»

    In its efforts to crush the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants the tsarist government could not confine itself to acts of repression, punitive expeditions, shootings, jailings and sentences of penal servitude. It perceived with alarm that the naive faith of the peasants in «the little father, the tsar» was steadily vanishing. It therefore resorted to a broad manoeuvre. It conceived the idea of creating a solid support for itself in the countryside, in the large class of rural bourgeoisie — the kulaks.

    On November 9, 1906, Stolypin issued a new agrarian law enabling the peasants to leave the communes and to set up separate farms. Stolypin’s agrarian law broke down the system of communal land tenure. The peasants were invited to take possession of their allotments as private property and to withdraw from the communes. They could now sell their allotments, which they were not allowed to do before. When a peasant left his commune the latter was obliged to allot land to him in a single tract (khutorotrub ).

    The rich peasants, the kulaks, now had the opportunity to buy up the land of the poor peasants at low prices. Within a few years after the promulgation of the law, over a million poor peasants had lost their land altogether and had been completely ruined. As the poor peasants lost their land the number of kulak farmholds grew. These were sometimes regular estates employing hired labour — farm hands — on a large scale. The government compelled the peasants to allot the best land of the communes to the kulak farmers.

    During the «emancipation» of the peasants the landlords had robbed the peasants of their land; now the kulaks began to rob the communes of their land, securing the best plots and buying up the allotments of poor peasants at low prices.

    The tsarist government advanced large loans to the kulaks for the

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purchase of land and the outfitting of their farms. Stolypin wanted to turn the kulaks into small landlords, into loyal defenders of the tsarist autocracy.

    In the nine years 1906-15 alone, over two million households withdrew from the communes.

    As a result of the Stolypin policy the condition of the peasants with small land allotments, and of the poor peasants, grew worse than ever. The process of differentiation among the peasantry became more marked. The peasants began to come into collision with the kulak farmers.

    At the same time, the peasants began to realize that they would never gain possession of the landed estates as long as the tsarist government and the State Duma of the landlords and Constitutional-Democrats existed.

    During the period when kulak farmholds were being formed in large numbers (1907-09), the peasant movement began to decline, but soon after, in 1910, 1911, and later, owing to the clashes between the members of the village communes and the kulak farmers, the peasant movement against the landlords and the kulak farmers grew in intensity.

    There were big changes also in industry after the revolution. The concentration of industry in the hands of increasingly powerful capitalist groups proceeded much more rapidly. Even before the Revolution of 1905, the capitalists had begun to form associations with the object of raising prices within the country and of using the super-profits thus obtained for the encouragement of export trade so as to enable them to dump goods abroad at low prices and to capture foreign markets. These capitalist associations (monopolies) were called trusts and syndicates. After the revolution their number became still greater. There was also an increase in the number of big banks, whose role in industry became more important. The flow of foreign capital into Russia increased.

    Thus capitalism in Russia was turning into monopoly capitalism, imperialist capitalism, on a growing scale.

    After several years of stagnation, industry began to revive: the output of coal, metal, oil, textiles and sugar increased. Grain exports assumed large dimensions.

    Although Russia at that time made some industrial progress, she was still backward compared with Western Europe, and still dependent on foreign capitalists. Russia did not produce machinery and machine tools — they were imported from abroad. She had no automobile industry or chemical industry; she did not produce artificial fertilizers. Russia also lagged behind other capitalist countries in the manufacture of armaments.

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    Pointing to the low level of consumption of metals in Russia as an indication of the country’s backwardness, Lenin wrote:

    «In the half-century following the emancipation of the peasants the consumption of iron in Russia has increased five-fold; yet Russia remains an incredibly and unprecedentedly backward country, poverty-stricken and semi-barbaric, equipped with modern implements of production to one-fourth the extent of England, one-fifth the extent of Germany, and one-tenth the extent of America.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XVI, p. 543.)

    One direct result of Russia’s economic and political backwardness was the dependence both of Russian capitalism and of tsardom itself on West-European capitalism.

    This found expression in the fact that such highly important branches of industry as coal, oil, electrical equipment, and metallurgy were in the hands of foreign capital, and that tsarist Russia had to import nearly all her machinery and equipment from abroad.

    It also found expression in the fettering foreign loans. To pay interest on these loans tsardom squeezed hundreds of millions of rubles out of the people annually.

    It moreover found expression in the secret treaties with Russia’s «allies,» by which the tsarist government undertook in the event of war to send millions of Russian soldiers to support the «allies» on the imperialist fronts and to protect the tremendous profits of the British and French capitalists.

    The period of the Stolypin reaction was marked by particularly savage assaults on the working class by the gendarmerie and police, the tsarist agents-provocateurs and Black-Hundred ruffians. But it was not only the underlings of the tsar who harassed and persecuted the workers. No less zealous in this respect were the factory and mill owners, whose offensive against the working class became particularly aggressive in the years of industrial stagnation and increasing unemployment. The factory owners declared mass lockouts and drew up black lists of class-conscious workers who took an active part in strikes. Once a person was blacklisted he could never hope to find employment in any of the plants belonging to the manufacturers’ association in that particular branch of industry. Already in 1908 wage rates were cut by 10 to 15 per cent. The working day was everywhere increased to 10 or 12 hours. The system of rapacious fines again flourished.

    The defeat of the Revolution of 1905 started a process of disintegration and degeneration in the ranks of the fellow-travelers of the rev-

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olution. Degenerate and decadent tendencies grew particularly marked among the intelligentsia. The fellow-travelers who came from the bourgeois camp to join the movement during the upsurge of the revolution deserted the Party in the days of reaction. Some of them joined the camp of the open enemies of the revolution, others entrenched themselves in such legally functioning working-class societies as still survived, and endeavoured to divert the proletariat from the path of revolution and to discredit the revolutionary party of the proletariat. Deserting the revolution the fellow-travelers tried to win the good graces of the reactionaries and to live in peace with tsardom.

    The tsarist government took advantage of the defeat of the revolution to enlist the more cowardly and self-seeking fellow-travelers of the revolution as agents-provocateurs. These vile Judases were sent by the tsarist Okhrana into the working class and Party organizations, where they spied from within and betrayed revolutionaries.

    The offensive of the counter-revolution was waged on the ideological front as well. There appeared a whole horde of fashionable writers who «criticized» Marxism, and «demolished» it, mocked and scoffed at the revolution, extolled treachery, and lauded sexual depravity under the guise of the «cult of individuality.»

    In the realm of philosophy increasing attempts were made to «criticize» and revise Marxism; there also appeared all sorts of religious trends camouflaged by pseudo-scientific theories.

    «Criticizing» Marxism became fashionable.

    All these gentlemen, despite their multifarious colouring, pursued one common aim: to divert the masses from the revolution.

    Decadence and scepticism also affected a section of the Party intelligentsia, those who considered themselves Marxists but had never held firmly to the Marxist position. Among them were writers like Bogdanov, Bazarov, Lunacharsky (who had sided with the Bolsheviks in 1905), Yushkevich and Valentinov (Mensheviks). They launched their «criticism» simultaneously against the philosophical foundations of Marxist theory, i.e., against dialectical materialism, and against the fundamental Marxist principles of historical science,i.e., against historical materialism. This criticism differed from the usual criticism in that it was not conducted openly and squarely, but in a veiled and hypocritical form under the guise of «defending» the fundamental positions of Marxism. These people claimed that in the main they were Marxists, but that they wanted to «improve» Marxism — by ridding it of certain of its fundamental principles. In reality, they were hostile to Marxism, for they tried to undermine its theoretical foundations, although they hypocritically denied their

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hostility to Marxism and two-facedly continued to style themselves Marxists. The danger of this hypocritical criticism lay in the fact that it was calculated to deceive rank-and-file members of the Party and might lead them astray. The more hypocritical grew this criticism, which aimed at undermining the theoretical foundations of Marxism, the more dangerous it was to the Party, for the more it merged with the general campaign of the reactionaries against the Party, against the revolution. Some of the intellectuals who had deserted Marxism went so far as to advocate the founding of a new religion (these were known as «god-seekers» and «god-builders» ).

    It became urgent for the Marxists to give a fitting retort to these renegades from Marxist theory, to tear the mask from their faces and thoroughly expose them, and thus safeguard the theoretical foundations of the Marxist Party.

    One might have thought that this task would have been undertaken by Plekhanov and his Menshevik friends who regarded themselves as «eminent Marxist theoreticians.» But they preferred to fire off one or two insignificant critical notes of the newspaper type and quit the field.

    It was Lenin who accomplished this task in his famous book Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, published in 1909.

    «In the course of less than half a year,» Lenin wrote, «four books devoted mainly and almost entirely to attacks on dialectical materialism have made their appearance. These include first and foremost Studies in (? — it would have been more proper to say ‘against’) the Philosophy of Marxism (St. Petersburg, 1908), a symposium by Bazarov, Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, Berman, Helfond, Yushkevich and Suvorov; Yushkevich’s Materialism and Critical Realism ; Berman’s Dialectics in the Light of the Modern Theory of Knowledge and Valentinov’s The Philosophic Constructions of Marxism. . . .All these people, who, despite the sharp divergence of their political views, are united in their hostility toward dialectical materialism, at the same time claim to be Marxists in philosophy! Engels’ dialectics is ‘mysticism,’ says Berman. Engels’ views have become ‘antiquated,’ remarks Bazarov casually, as though it were a self-evident fact. Materialism thus appears to be refuted by our bold warriors, who proudly allude to the ‘modern theory of knowledge,’ ‘recent philosophy’ (or ‘recent positivism’), the ‘philosophy of modern natural science,’ or even the ‘philosophy of natural science of the twentieth century.'» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. XI, p .89.)

    Replying to Lunacharsky, who, in justification of his friends — the

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revisionists in philosophy — said, «perhaps we have gone astray, but we are seeking,» Lenin wrote:

    «As for myself, I too am a ‘seeker’ in philosophy. Namely, the task I have set myself in these comments (i.e.Materialism and Empirio-Criticism — Ed.) is to find out what was the stumbling block to these people who under the guise of Marxism are offering something incredibly muddled, confused and reactionary.» (Ibid., p. 90.)

    But as a matter of fact, Lenin’s book went far beyond this modest task. Actually, the book is something more than a criticism of Bogdanov, Yushkevich, Bazarov and Valentinov and their teachers in philosophy, Avenarius and Mach, who endeavoured in their writings to offer a refined and polished idealism as opposed to Marxist materialism; it is at the same time a defence of the theoretical foundations of Marxism — dialectical and historical materialism — and a materialist generalization of everything important and essential acquired by science, and especially the natural sciences, in the course of a whole historical period, the period from Engels’ death to the appearance of Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism.

    Having effectively criticized in this book the Russian empirio-criticists and their foreign teachers, Lenin comes to the following conclusions regarding philosophical and theoretical revisionism:

    1) «An ever subtler falsification of Marxism, an ever subtler presentation of anti-materialist doctrines under the guise of Marxism — this is the characteristic feature of modern revisionism in political economy, in questions of tactics and in philosophy generally.» (Ibid., p. 382.)
2) «The whole school of Mach and Avenarius is moving towards idealism.» (Ibid., p. 406.)
3) «Our Machians have all got stuck in idealism.» (Ibid., p. 396.)
4) «Behind the gnosiological scholasticism of empirio-criticism it is impossible not to see the struggle of parties in philosophy, a struggle which in the last analysis expresses the tendencies and ideology of the antagonistic classes in modern society.» (Ibid., p. 407.)
5) «The objective, class role of empirio-criticism reduces itself to nothing but that of servitor of the fideists (the reactionaries who hold faith above science —Ed.) in their struggle against materialism in general and historical materialism in particular.» (Ibid., p. 407.)
6) «Philosophical idealism is . . . a road to clerical obscurantism.» (Ibid., p. 84.)

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    In order to appreciate the tremendous part played by Lenin’s book in the history of our Party and to realize what theoretical treasure Lenin safeguarded from the motley crowd of revisionists and renegades of the period of the Stolypin reaction, we must acquaint ourselves, if only briefly, with the fundamentals of dialectical and historical materialism.

    This is all the more necessary because dialectical and historical materialism constitute the theoretical basis of Communism, the theoretical foundations of the Marxist party, and it is the duty of every active member of our Party to know these principles and hence to study them.

    What, then, is

    1) Dialectical materialism?

    2) Historical materialism?

2.
DIALECTICAL AND HISTORICAL MATERIALISM

    Dialectical materialism is the world outlook of the Marxist-Leninist party. It is called dialectical materialism because its approach to the phenomena of nature, its method of studying and apprehending them, is dialectical, while its interpretation of the phenomena of nature, its conception of these phenomena, its theory, is materialistic.

    Historical materialism is the extension of the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of social life, an application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the phenomena of the life of society, to the study of society and its history.

    When describing their dialectical method, Marx and Engels usually refer to Hegel as the philosopher who formulated the main features of dialectics. This, however, does not mean that the dialectics of Marx and Engels is identical with the dialectics of Hegel. As a matter of fact, Marx and Engels took from the Hegelian dialectics only its «rational kernel,» casting aside its idealistic shell, and developed it further so as to lend it a modern scientific form.

    «My dialectic method,» says Marx, «is fundamentally not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the process of thinking, which, under the name of ‘the Idea,’ he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurge (creator) of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of ‘the Idea.’ With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought.» (Karl Marx, Capital, Vol, I, p. xxx, International Publishers, 1939.)

    When describing their materialism, Marx and Engels usually refer

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to Feuerbach as the philosopher who restored materialism to its rights. This, however, does not mean that the materialism of Marx and Engels is identical with Feuerbach’s materialism. As a matter of fact, Marx and Engels took from Feuerbach’s materialism its «inner kernel,» developed it into a scientific-philosophical theory of materialism and cast aside its idealistic and religious-ethical encumbrances. We know that Feuerbach, although he was fundamentally a materialist, objected to the name materialism. Engels more than once declared that «in spite of the materialist foundation, Feuerbach remained bound by the traditional idealist fetters,» and that «the real idealism of Feuerbach becomes evident as soon as we come to his philosophy of religion and ethics.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 439, 442.)

    Dialectics comes from the Greek dialego, to discourse, to debate. In ancient times dialectics was the art of arriving at the truth by disclosing the contradictions in the argument of an opponent and overcoming these contradictions. There were philosophers in ancient times who believed that the disclosure of contradictions in thought and the clash of opposite opinions was the best method of arriving at the truth. This dialectical method of thought, later extended to the phenomena of nature, developed into the dialectical method of apprehending nature, which regards the phenomena of nature as being in constant movement and undergoing constant change, and the development of nature as the result of the development of the contradictions in nature, as the result of the interaction of opposed forces in nature.

    In its essence, dialectics is the direct opposite of metaphysics.

    1) The principal features of the Marxist dialectical method are as follows:

    a) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard nature as an accidental agglomeration of things, of phenomena, unconnected with, isolated from, and independent of, each other, but as a connected and integral whole, in which things, phenomena, are organically connected with, dependent on, and determined by, each other.

    The dialectical method therefore holds that no phenomenon in nature can be understood if taken by itself, isolated from surrounding phenomena, inasmuch as any phenomenon in any realm of nature may become meaningless to us if it is not considered in connection with the surrounding conditions, but divorced from them; and that, vice versa, any phenomenon can be understood and explained if considered in its inseparable connection with surrounding phenomena, as one conditioned by surrounding phenomena.

    b) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that nature is not a state of rest and immobility, stagnation and immutability, but a state of con-

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tinuous movement and change, of continuous renewal and development, where something is always arising and developing, and something always disintegrating and dying away.

    The dialectical method therefore requires that phenomena should be considered not only from the standpoint of their interconnection and interdependence, but also from the standpoint of their movement, their change, their development, their coming into being and going out of being.

    The dialectical method regards as important primarily not that which at the given moment seems to be durable and yet is already beginning to die away, but that which is arising and developing, even though at the given moment it may appear to be not durable, for the dialectical method considers invincible only that which is arising and developing.

    «All nature,» says Engels, «from the smallest thing to the biggest, from a grain of sand to the sun, from the protista (the primary living cell —Ed.) to man, is in a constant state of coming into being and going out of being, in a constant flux, in a ceaseless state of movement and change.» (F. Engels,Dialectics of Nature.)

    Therefore, dialectics, Engels says, «takes things and their perceptual images essentially in their inter-connection, in their concatenation, in their movement, in their rise and disappearance.» (Ibid.)

    c) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics does not regard the process of development as a simple process of growth, where quantitative changes do not lead to qualitative changes, but as a development which passes from insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes to open, fundamental changes, to qualitative changes; a development in which the qualitative changes occur not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, taking the form of a leap from one state to another; they occur not accidentally but as the natural result of an accumulation of imperceptible and gradual quantitative changes.

    The dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development should be understood not as movement in a circle, not as a simple repetition of what has already occurred, but as an onward and upward movement, as a transition from an old qualitative state to a new qualitative state, as a development from the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher:

    «Nature,» says Engels, «is the test of dialectics, and it must be said for modern natural science that it has furnished extremely rich and daily increasing materials for this test, and has thus proved that in the last analysis nature’s process is dialectical and not metaphysical,

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that it does not move in an eternally uniform and constantly repeated circle, but passes through a real history. Here prime mention should be made of Darwin, who dealt a severe blow to the metaphysical conception of nature by proving that the organic world of today, plants and animals, and consequently man too, is all a product of a process of development that has been in progress for millions of years.» (F. Engels, Anti-Dühring.)

    Describing dialectical development as a transition from quantitative changes to qualitative changes, Engels says:

    «In physics . . . every change is a passing of quantity into quality, as a result of quantitative change of some form of movement either inherent in a body or imparted to it. For example, the temperature of water has at first no effect on its liquid state; but as the temperature of liquid water rises or falls, a moment arrives when this state of cohesion changes and the water is converted in one case into steam and in the other into ice. . . . A definite minimum current is required to make a platinum wire glow; every metal has its melting temperature; every liquid has a definite freezing point and boiling point at a given pressure, as far as we are able with the means at our disposal to attain the required temperatures; finally, every gas has its critical point at which, by proper pressure and cooling, it can be converted into a liquid state. . . . What are known as the constants of physics (the point at which one state passes into another —Ed.) are in most cases nothing but designations for the nodal points at which a quantitative (change) increase or decrease of movement causes a qualitative change in the state of the given body, and at which, consequently, quantity is transformed into quality.» (Dialectics of Nature.)

    Passing to chemistry, Engels continues:

    «Chemistry may be called the science of the qualitative changes which take place in bodies as the effect of changes of quantitative composition. This was already known to Hegel. . . . Take oxygen: if the molecule contains three atoms instead of the customary two, we get ozone, a body definitely distinct in odour and reaction from ordinary oxygen. And what shall we say of the different proportions in which oxygen combines with nitrogen or sulphur, and each of which produces a body qualitatively different from all other bodies! » (Ibid.)

    Finally, criticizing Dühring, who scolded Hegel for all he was worth, but surreptitiously borrowed from him the well-known thesis that the

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transition from the insentient world to the sentient world, from the kingdom of inorganic matter to the kingdom of organic life, is a leap to a new state, Engels says:

    «This is precisely the Hegelian nodal line of measure relations, in which, at certain definite nodal points, the purely quantitative increase or decrease gives rise to a qualitative leap for example, in the case of water which is heated or cooled, where boiling-point and freezing point are the nodes at which — under normal pressure — the leap to a new aggregate state takes place, and where consequently quantity is transformed into quality.» (F. Engels, Anti-Dühring.)

    d) Contrary to metaphysics, dialectics holds that internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena of nature, for they all have their negative and positive sides, a past and a future, something dying away and something developing; and that the struggle between these opposites, the struggle between the old and the new, between that which is dying away and that which is being born, between that which is disappearing and that which is developing, constitutes the internal content of the process of development, the internal content of the transformation of quantitative changes into qualitative changes.

    The dialectical method therefore holds that the process of development from the lower to the higher takes place not as a harmonious unfolding of phenomena, but as a disclosure of the contradictions inherent in things and phenomena, as a «struggle» of opposite tendencies which operate on the basis of these contradictions.

    «In its proper meaning,» Lenin says, «dialectics is the study of the contradiction within the very essence of things.«) (Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, Russ. ed., p. 263.)

    And further:

    «Development is the ‘struggle’ of opposites.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. XI, pp. 81-2.)

    Such, in brief, are the principal features of the Marxist dialectical method.

    It is easy to understand how immensely important is the extension of the principles of the dialectical method to the study of social life and the history of society, and how immensely important is the application of these principles to the history of society and to the practical activities of the party of the proletariat.

    If there are no isolated phenomena in the world, if all phenomena are interconnected and interdependent, then it is clear that every social system and every social movement in history must be evaluated not from

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the standpoint of «eternal justice» or some other preconceived idea, as is not infrequently done by historians, but from the standpoint of the conditions which gave rise to that system or that social movement and with which they are connected.

    The slave system would be senseless, stupid and unnatural under modern conditions. But under the conditions of a disintegrating primitive communal system, the slave system is a quite understandable and natural phenomenon, since it represents an advance on the primitive communal system.

    The demand for a bourgeois-democratic republic when tsardom and bourgeois society existed, as, let us say, in Russia in 1905, was a quite understandable, proper and revolutionary demand, for at that time a bourgeois republic would have meant a step forward. But now, under the conditions of the U.S.S.R., the demand for a bourgeois-democratic republic would be a meaningless and counter-revolutionary demand, for a bourgeois republic would be a retrograde step compared with the Soviet republic.

    Everything depends on the conditions, time and place.

    It is clear that without such a historical approach to social phenomena, the existence and development of the science of history is impossible, for only such an approach saves the science of history from becoming a jumble of accidents and an agglomeration of most absurd mistakes.

    Further, if the world is in a state of constant movement and development, if the dying away of the old and the upgrowth of the new is a law of development, then it is clear that there can be no «immutable» social systems, no «eternal principles» of private property and exploitation, no «eternal ideas» of the subjugation of the peasant to the landlord, of the worker to the capitalist.

    Hence the capitalist system can be replaced by the Socialist system, just as at one time the feudal system was replaced by the capitalist system.

    Hence we must not base our orientation on the strata of society which are no longer developing, even though they at present constitute the predominant force, but on those strata which are developing and have a future before them, even though they at present do not constitute the predominant force.

    In the eighties of the past century, in the period of the struggle between the Marxists and the Narodniks, the proletariat in Russia constituted an insignificant minority of the population, whereas the individual peasants constituted the vast majority of the population. But the proletariat was developing as a class, whereas the peasantry as a class was disintegrating. And just because the proletariat was developing as a class the

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Marxists based their orientation on the proletariat. And they were not mistaken, for, as we know, the proletariat subsequently grew from an insignificant force into a first-rate historical and political force.

    Hence, in order not to err in policy, one must look forward, not backward.

    Further, if the passing of slow quantitative changes into rapid and abrupt qualitative changes is a law of development, then it is clear that revolutions made by oppressed classes are a quite natural and inevitable phenomenon.

    Hence the transition from capitalism to Socialism and the liberation of the working class from the yoke of capitalism cannot be effected by slow changes, by reforms, but only by a qualitative change of the capitalist system, by revolution.

    Hence, in order not to err in policy, one must be a revolutionary, not a reformist.

    Further, if development proceeds by way of the disclosure of internal contradictions, by way of collisions between opposite forces on the basis of these contradictions and so as to overcome these contradictions, then it is clear that the class struggle of the proletariat is a quite natural and in evitable phenomenon.

    Hence we must not cover up the contradictions of the capitalist system, but disclose and unravel them; we must not try to check the class struggle but carry it to its conclusion.

    Hence, in order not to err in policy, one must pursue an uncompromising proletarian class policy, not a reformist policy of harmony of the interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, not a compromisers’ policy of «the growing of capitalism into Socialism.»

    Such is the Marxist dialectical method when applied to social life, to the history of society.

    As to Marxist philosophical materialism, it is fundamentally the direct opposite of philosophical idealism.

    2) The principal features of Marxist philosophical materialism are as follows:

    a) Contrary to idealism, which regards the world as the embodiment of an «absolute idea,» a «universal spirit,» «consciousness,» Marx’s philosophical materialism holds that the world is by its very nature material, that the multifold phenomena of the world constitute different forms of matter in motion, that interconnection and interdependence of phenomena, as established by the dialectical method, are a law of the development of moving matter, and that the world develops in accordance with the laws of movement of matter and stands in no need of a «universal spirit.»

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    «The materialist world outlook,» says Engels, «is simply the conception of nature as it is, without any reservations.» (MS of Ludwig Feuerbach.)

    Speaking of the materialist views of the ancient philosopher Heraclitus, who held that «the world, the all in one, was not created by any god or any man, but was, is and ever will be a living flame, systematically flaring up and systematically dying down,» Lenin comments: «A very good exposition of the rudiments of dialectical materialism.» (Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, Russ. ed., p. 318.)

    b) Contrary to idealism, which asserts that only our mind really exists, and that the material world, being, nature, exists only in our mind, in our sensations, ideas and perceptions, the Marxist materialist philosophy holds that matter, nature, being, is an objective reality existing outside and independent of our mind; that matter is primary, since it is the source of sensations, ideas, mind, and that mind is secondary, derivative, since it is a reflection of matter, a reflection of being; that thought is a product of matter which in its development has reached a high degree of perfection, namely, of the brain, and the brain is the organ of thought; and that therefore one cannot separate thought from matter without committing a grave error. Engels says:

    «The question of the relation of thinking to being, the relation of spirit to nature is the paramount question of the whole of philosophy. . . . The answers which the philosophers gave to this question split them into two great camps. Those who asserted the primacy of spirit to nature . . . comprised the camp of idealism. The others, who regarded nature as primary, belong to the various schools of materialism.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 430-31.)

    And further:

    «The material, sensuously perceptible world to which we ourselves belong is the only reality. . . . Our consciousness and thinking, how ever supra-sensuous they may seem, are the product of a material, bodily organ, the brain. Matter is not a product of mind, but mind itself is merely the highest product of matter.» (Ibid., p. 435.)

    Concerning the question of matter and thought, Marx says:

    «It is impossible to separate thought from matter that thinks. Matter is the subject of all changes.» (Ibid., p. 397.)

    Describing the Marxist philosophy of materialism, Lenin says:

    «Materialism in general recognizes objectively real being (matter) as independent of consciousness, sensation, experience. . . . Consciousness is only the reflection of being, at best, an approximately true

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(adequate, ideally exact) reflection of it.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. XI, p. 378.)

    And further:

    (a) «Matter is that which, acting upon our sense-organs, produces sensation; matter is the objective reality given to us in sensation. . . . Matter, nature, being, the physical — is primary, and spirit, consciousness, sensation, the psychical — is secondary.» (Ibid., pp. 208, 209.)
(b) «The world picture is a picture of how matter moves and of how ‘matter thinks.‘» (Ibid., p. 403.)
(c) «The brain is the organ of thought.» (Ibid., p. 125.)

    c) Contrary to idealism, which denies the possibility of knowing the world and its laws, which does not believe in the authenticity of our knowledge, does not recognize objective truth, and holds that the world is full of «things-in-themselves» that can never be known to science, Marxist philosophical materialism holds that the world and its laws are fully knowable, that our knowledge of the laws of nature, tested by experiment and practice, is authentic knowledge having the validity of objective truth, and that there are no things in the world which are unknowable, but only things which are still not known, but which will be disclosed and made known by the efforts of science and practice.

    Criticizing the thesis of Kant and other idealists that the world is unknowable and that there are «things-in-themselves» which are unknowable, and defending the well-known materialist thesis that our knowledge is authentic knowledge, Engels writes:

    «The most telling refutation of this as of all other philosophical fancies is practice, viz., experiment and industry. If we are able to prove the correctness of our conception of a natural process by making it ourselves, bringing it into being out of its conditions and using it for our own purposes into the bargain, then there is an end of the Kantian ‘thing-in-itself.’ The chemical substances produced in the bodies of plants and animals remained such ‘things-in-themselves’ until organic chemistry began to produce them one after another, where upon the ‘thing-in-itself’ became a thing for us, as for instance, alizarin, the colouring matter of the madder, which we no longer trouble to grow in the madder roots in the field, but produce much more cheaply and simply from coal tar. For three hundred years the Copernican solar system was a hypothesis, with a hundred, a thousand or ten thousand chances to one in its favour, but still always a hypothesis. But when Leverrier, by means of the data provided by this system, not only deduced the necessity of the existence of an unknown planet, but also calculated the position in the heavens which this planet must

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necessarily occupy, and when Galle really found this planet, the Copernican system was proved.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 432-33.)

    Accusing Bogdanov, Bazarov, Yushkevich and the other followers of Mach of fideism, and defending the well-known materialist thesis that our scientific knowledge of the laws of nature is authentic knowledge, and that the laws of science represent objective truth, Lenin says:

    «Contemporary fideism does not at all reject science; all it rejects is the ‘exaggerated claims’ of science, to wit, its claim to objective truth. If objective truth exists (as the materialists think), if natural science, reflecting the outer world in human ‘experience,’ is alone capable of giving us objective truth, then all fideism is absolutely refuted.» (Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. XI, p. 189.)

    Such, in brief, are the characteristic features of the Marxist philosophical materialism.

    It is easy to understand how immensely important is the extension of the principles of philosophical materialism to the study of social life, of the history of society, and how immensely important is the application of these principles to the history of society and to the practical activities of the party of the proletariat.

    If the connection between the phenomena of nature and their interdependence are laws of the development of nature, it follows, too, that the connection and interdependence of the phenomena of social life are laws of the development of society, and not something accidental.

    Hence social life, the history of society, ceases to be an agglomeration of «accidents,» and becomes the history of the development of society according to regular laws, and the study of the history of society becomes a science.

    Hence the practical activity of the party of the proletariat must not be based on the good wishes of «outstanding individuals,» not on the dictates of «reason,» «universal morals,» etc., but on the laws of development of society and on the study of these laws.

    Further, if the world is knowable and our knowledge of the laws of development of nature is authentic knowledge, having the validity of objective truth, it follows that social life, the development of society, is also knowable, and that the data of science regarding the laws of development of society are authentic data having the validity of objective truths.

    Hence the science of the history of society, despite all the complexity of the phenomena of social life, can become as precise a science as, let us say, biology, and capable of making use of the laws of development of society for practical purposes.

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    Hence the party of the proletariat should not guide itself in its practical activity by casual motives, but by the laws of development of society, and by practical deductions from these laws.

    Hence Socialism is converted from a dream of a better future for humanity into a science.

    Hence the bond between science and practical activity, between theory and practice, their unity, should be the guiding star of the party of the proletariat.

    Further, if nature, being, the material world, is primary, and mind, thought, is secondary, derivative; if the material world represents objective reality existing independently of the mind of men, while the mind is a reflection of this objective reality, it follows that the material life of society, its being, is also primary, and its spiritual life secondary, derivative, and that the material life of society is an objective reality existing independently of the will of men, while the spiritual life of society is a reflection of this objective reality, a reflection of being.

    Hence the source of formation of the spiritual life of society, the origin of social ideas, social theories, political views and political institutions, should not be sought for in the ideas, theories, views and political institutions themselves, but in the conditions of the material life of society, in social being, of which these ideas, theories, views, etc., are the reflection.

    Hence, if in different periods of the history of society different social ideas, theories, views and political institutions are to be observed; if under the slave system we encounter certain social ideas, theories, views and political institutions, under feudalism others, and under capitalism others still, this is not to be explained by the «nature,» the «properties» of the ideas, theories, views and political institutions themselves but by the different conditions of the material life of society at different periods of social development.

    Whatever is the being of a society, whatever are the conditions of material life of a society, such are the ideas, theories, political views and political institutions of that society.

    In this connection, Marx says:

    «It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 356.)

    Hence, in order not to err in policy, in order not to find itself in the position of idle dreamers, the party of the proletariat must not base its activities on abstract «principles of human reason,» but on the concrete conditions of the material life of society, as the determining force of social

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development; not on the good wishes of «great men,» but on the real needs of development of the material life of society.

    The fall of the utopians, including the Narodniks, Anarchists and Socialist-Revolutionaries, was due, among other things, to the fact that they did not recognize the primary role which the conditions of the material life of society play in the development of society, and, sinking to idealism, did not base their practical activities on the needs of the development of the material life of society, but, independently of and in spite of these needs, on «ideal plans» and «all-embracing projects» divorced from the real life of society.

    The strength and vitality of Marxism-Leninism lie in the fact that it does base its practical activity on the needs of the development of the material life of society and never divorces itself from the real life of society.

    It does not follow from Marx’s words, however, that social ideas, theories, political views and political institutions are of no significance in the life of society, that they do not reciprocally affect social being, the development of the material conditions of the life of society. We have been speaking so far of the origin of social ideas, theories, views and political institutions, of the way they arise, of the fact that the spiritual life of society is a reflection of the conditions of its material life. As regards the significance of social ideas, theories, views and political institutions, as regards their role in history, historical materialism, far from denying them, stresses the role and importance of these factors in the life of society, in its history.

    There are different kinds of social ideas and theories. There are old ideas and theories which have outlived their day and which serve the interests of the moribund forces of society. Their significance lies in the fact that they hamper the development, the progress of society. Then there are new and advanced ideas and theories which serve the interests of the advanced forces of society. Their significance lies in the fact that they facilitate the development, the progress of society; and their significance is the greater the more accurately they reflect the needs of development of the material life of society.

    New social ideas and theories arise only after the development of the material life of society has set new tasks before society. But once they have arisen they become a most potent force which facilitates the carrying out of the new tasks set by the development of the material life of society, a force which facilitates the progress of society. It is precisely here that the tremendous organizing, mobilizing and transforming value of new ideas, new theories, new political views and new political institutions manifests itself. New social ideas and theories arise precisely because they

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are necessary to society, because it is impossible to carry out the urgent tasks of development of the material life of society without their organizing, mobilizing and transforming action. Arising out of the new tasks set by the development of the material life of society, the new social ideas and theories force their way through, become the possession of the masses, mobilize and organize them against the moribund forces of society, and thus facilitate the overthrow of these forces which hamper the development of the material life of society.

    Thus social ideas, theories and political institutions, having arisen on the basis of the urgent tasks of the development of the material life of society, the development of social being, themselves then react upon social being, upon the material life of society, creating the conditions necessary for completely carrying out the urgent tasks of the material life of society, and for rendering its further development possible.

    In this connection, Marx says:

    «Theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.» (Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie.)

    Hence, in order to be able to influence the conditions of material life of society and to accelerate their development and their improvement, the party of the proletariat must rely upon such a social theory, such a social idea as correctly reflects the needs of development of the material life of society, and which is therefore capable of setting into motion broad masses of the people and of mobilizing them and organizing them into a great army of the proletarian party, prepared to smash the reactionary forces and to clear the way for the advanced forces of society.

    The fall of the «Economists» and Mensheviks was due among other things to the fact that they did not recognize the mobilizing, organizing and transforming role of advanced theory, of advanced ideas and, sinking to vulgar materialism, reduced the role of these factors almost to nothing, thus condemning the Party to passivity and inanition.

    The strength and vitality of Marxism-Leninism are derived from the fact that it relies upon an advanced theory which correctly reflects the needs of development of the material life of society, that it elevates theory to a proper level, and that it deems it its duty to utilize every ounce of the mobilizing, organizing and transforming power of this theory.

    That is the answer historical materialism gives to the question of the relation between social being and social consciousness, between the conditions of development of material life and the development of the spiritual life of society.

    It now remains to elucidate the following question: what, from the

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viewpoint of historical materialism, is meant by the «conditions of material life of society» which in the final analysis determine the physiognomy of society, its ideas, views, political institutions, etc.?

    What, after all, are these «conditions of material life of society,» what are their distinguishing features?

    There can be no doubt that the concept «conditions of material life of society» includes, first of all, nature which surrounds society, geographical environment, which is one of the indispensable and constant conditions of material life of society and which, of course, influences the development of society. What role does geographical environment play in the development of society? Is geographical environment the chief force determining the physiognomy of society, the character of the social system of men, the transition from one system to another?

    Historical materialism answers this question in the negative.

    Geographical environment is unquestionably one of the constant and indispensable conditions of development of society and, of course, influences the development of society, accelerates or retards its development. But its influence is not the determining influence, inasmuch as the changes and development of society proceed at an incomparably faster rate than the changes and development of geographical environment. In the space of three thousand years three different social systems have been successively superseded in Europe: the primitive communal system, the slave system and the feudal system. In the eastern part of Europe, in the U.S.S.R., even four social systems have been superseded. Yet during this period geographical conditions in Europe have either not changed at all, or have changed so slightly that geography takes no note of them. And that is quite natural. Changes in geographical environment of any importance require millions of years, whereas a few hundred or a couple of thousand years are enough for even very important changes in the system of human society.

    It follows from this that geographical environment cannot be the chief cause, the determining cause of social development, for that which remains almost unchanged in the course of tens of thousands of years cannot be the chief cause of development of that which undergoes fundamental changes in the course of a few hundred years.

    Further, there can be no doubt that the concept «conditions of material life of society» also includes growth of population, density of population of one degree or another, for people are an essential element of the conditions of material life of society, and without a definite minimum number of people there can be no material life of society. Is not growth of population the chief force that determines the character of the social system of man?

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    Historical materialism answers this question too in the negative.

    Of course, growth of population does influence the development of society, does facilitate or retard the development of society, but it cannot be the chief force of development of society, and its influence on the development of society cannot be the determininginfluence because, by itself, growth of population does not furnish the clue to the question why a given social system is replaced precisely by such and such a new system and not by another, why the primitive communal system is succeeded precisely by the slave system, the slave system by the feudal system, and the feudal system by the bourgeois system, and not by some other.

    If growth of population were the determining force of social development, then a higher density of population would be bound to give rise to a correspondingly higher type of social system. But we do not find this to be the case. The density of population in China is four times as great as in the U.S.A., yet the U.S.A. stands higher than China in the scale of social development, for in China a semi-feudal system still prevails, whereas the U.S.A. has long ago reached the highest stage of de velopment of capitalism. The density of population in Belgium is nineteen times as great as in the U.S.A., and twenty-six times as great as in the U.S.S.R. Yet the U.S.A. stands higher than Belgium in the scale of social development; and as for the U.S.S.R., Belgium lags a whole historical epoch behind this country, for in Belgium the capitalist system prevails, whereas the U.S.S.R. has already done away with capitalism and has set up a Socialist system.

    It follows from this that growth of population is not, and cannot be, the chief force of development of society, the force which determines the character of the social system, the physiognomy of society.

    What, then, is the chief force in the complex of conditions of material life of society which determines the physiognomy of society, the character of the social system, the development of society from one system to another?

    This force, historical materialism holds, is the method of procuring the means of life necessary for human existence, the mode of production of material values — food, clothing, footwear, houses, fuel, instruments of production, etc. — which are indispensable for the life of development of society.

    In order to live, people must have food, clothing, footwear, shelter, fuel, etc.; in order to have these material values, people must produce them; and in order to produce them, people must have the instruments of production with which food, clothing, footwear, shelter, fuel, etc., are produced; they must be able to produce these instruments and to use them.

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    The instruments of production wherewith material values are produced, the people who operate the instruments of production and carry on the production of material values thanks to a certain production experience and labour skill — all these elements jointly constitute the productive forces of society.

    But the productive forces are only one aspect of production, only one aspect of the mode of production, an aspect that expresses the relation of men to the objects and forces of nature which they make use of for the production of material values. Another aspect of production, another aspect of the mode of production, is the relation of men to each other in the process of production, men’s relations of production. Men carry on a struggle against nature and utilize nature for the production of material values not in isolation from each other, not as separate individuals, but in common, in groups, in societies. Production, therefore, is at all times and under all conditions social production. In the production of material values men enter into mutual relations of one kind or another within production, into relations of production of one kind or another. These may be relations of co-operation and mutual help between people who are free from exploitation; they may be relations of domination and subordination; and, lastly, they may be transitional from one form of relations of production to another. But whatever the character of the relations of production may be, always and in every system, they constitute just as essential an element of production as the productive forces of society.

    «In production,» Marx says, «men not only act on nature but also on one another. They produce only by co-operating in a certain way and mutually exchanging their activities. In order to produce, they enter into definite connections and relations with one another and only within these social connections and relations does their action on nature, does production, take place.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 264.)

    Consequently, production, the mode of production, embraces both the productive forces of society and men’s relations of production, and is thus the embodiment of their unity in the process of production of material values.

    One of the features of production is that it never stays at one point for a long time and is always in a state of change and development, and that, furthermore, changes in the mode of production inevitably call forth changes in the whole social system, social ideas, political views and political institutions — they call forth a reconstruction of the whole social and political order. At different stages of development people make use of different modes of production, or, to put it more crudely, lead different manners

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of life. In the primitive commune there is one mode of production, under slavery there is another mode of production, under feudalism a third mode of production, and so on. And, correspondingly, men’s social system, the spiritual life of men, their views and political institutions also vary.

    Whatever is the mode of production of a society, such in the main is the society itself, its ideas and theories, its political views and institutions.

    Or, to put it more crudely, whatever is man’s manner of life, such is his manner of thought.

    This means that the history of development of society is above all the history of the development of production, the history of the modes of production which succeed each other in the course of centuries, the history of the development of productive forces and people’s relations of production.

    Hence the history of social development is at the same time the history of the producers of material values themselves, the history of the labouring masses who are the chief force in the process of production and who carry on the production of material values necessary for the existence of society.

    Hence, if historical science is to be a real science, it can no longer reduce the history of social development to the actions of kings and generals, to the actions of «conquerors» and «subjugators» of states, but must above all devote itself to the history of the producers of material values, the history of the labouring masses, the history of peoples.

    Hence the clue to the study of the laws of history of society must not be sought in men’s minds, in the views and ideas of society, but in the mode of production practised by society in any given historical period; it must be sought in the economic life of society.

    Hence the prime task of historical science is to study and disclose the laws of production, the laws of development of the productive forces and of the relations of production, the laws of economic development of society.

    Hence, if the party of the proletariat is to be a real party, it must above all acquire a knowledge of the laws of development of production, of the laws of economic development of society.

    Hence, if it is not to err in policy, the party of the proletariat must both in drafting its program and in its practical activities proceed primarily from the laws of development of production, from the laws of economic development of society.

    A second feature of production is that its changes and development always begin with changes and development of the productive forces, and, in the first place, with changes and development of the instruments of production. Productive forces are therefore the most mobile and revolutionary element of production. First the productive forces of society change and develop, and then, depending on these changes and in con-

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formity with them, men’s relations of production, their economic relations, change. This, however, does not mean that the relations of production do not influence the development of the productive forces and that the latter are not dependent on the former. While their development is dependent on the development of the productive forces, the relations of production in their turn react upon the development of the productive forces, accelerating or retarding it. In this connection it should be noted that the relations of production cannot for too long a time lag behind and be in a state of contradiction to the growth of the productive forces, inasmuch as the productive forces can develop in full measure only when the relations of production correspond to the character, the state of the productive forces and allow full scope for their development. Therefore, however much the relations of production may lag behind the development of the productive forces, they must, sooner or later, come into correspondence with — and actually do come into correspondence with — the level of development of the productive forces, the character of the productive forces. Otherwise we would have a fundamental violation of the unity of the productive forces and the relations of production within the system of production, a disruption of production as a whole, a crisis of production, a destruction of productive forces.

    An instance in which the relations of production do not correspond to the character of the productive forces, conflict with them, is the economic crises in capitalist countries, where private capitalist ownership of the means of production is in glaring incongruity with the social character of the process of production, with the character of the productive forces. This results in economic crises, which lead to the destruction of productive forces. Furthermore, this incongruity itself constitutes the economic basis of social revolution, the purpose of which is to destroy the existing relations of production and to create new relations of production corresponding to the character of the productive forces.

    In contrast, an instance in which the relations of production completely correspond to the character of the productive forces is the Socialist national economy of the U.S.S.R., where the social ownership of the means of production fully corresponds to the social character of the process of production, and where, because of this, economic crises and the destruction of productive forces are unknown.

    Consequently, the productive forces are not only the most mobile and revolutionary element in production, but are also the determining element in the development of production.

    Whatever are the productive forces such must be the relations of production.

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    While the state of the productive forces furnishes an answer to the question — with what instruments of production do men produce the material values they need? — the state of the relations of production furnishes the answer to another question — who owns themeans of production (the land, forests, waters, mineral resources, raw materials, instruments of production, production premises, means of transportation and communication, etc.), who commands the means of production, whether the whole of society, or individual persons, groups, or classes which utilize them for the exploitation of other persons, groups or classes?

    Here is a rough picture of the development of productive forces from ancient times to our day. The transition from crude stone tools to the bow and arrow, and the accompanying transition from the life of hunters to the domestication of animals.and primitive pasturage; the transition from stone tools to metal tools (the iron axe, the wooden plough fitted with an iron colter, etc.), with a corresponding transition to tillage and agriculture; a further improvement in metal tools for the working up of materials, the introduction of the blacksmith’s bellows, the introduction of pottery, with a corresponding development of handicrafts, the separation of handicrafts from agriculture, the development of an independent handicraft industry and, subsequently, of manufacture; the transition from handicraft tools to machines and the transformation of handicraft and manufacture into machine industry; the transition to the machine system and the rise of modern large-scale machine industry — such is a general and far from complete picture of the development of the productive forces of society in the course of man’s history. It will be clear that the development and improvement of the instruments of production were effected by men who were related to production, and not independently of men; and, consequently, the change and development of the instruments of production were accompanied by a change and development of men, as the most important element of the productive forces, by a change and development of their production experience, their labour skill, their ability to handle the instruments of production.

    In conformity with the change and development of the productive forces of society in the course of history, men’s relations of production, their economic relations also changed and developed.

    Five main types of relations of production are known to history: primitive communal, slave, feudal, capitalist and Socialist.

    The basis of the relations of production under the primitive communal system is that the means of production are socially owned. This in the main corresponds to the character of the productive forces of that period. Stone tools, and, later, the bow and arrow, precluded the possibility of

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men individually combating the forces of nature and beasts of prey. In order to gather the fruits of the forest, to catch fish, to build some sort of habitation, men were obliged to work in common if they did not want to die of starvation, or fall victim to beasts of prey or to neighbouring societies. Labour in common led to the common ownership of the means of production, as well as of the fruits of production. Here the conception of private ownership of the means of production did not yet exist, except for the personal ownership of certain implements of production which were at the same time means of defence against beasts of prey. Here there was no exploitation, no classes.

    The basis of the relations of production under the slave system is that the slave owner owns the means of production; he also owns the worker in production — the slave, whom he can sell, purchase, or kill as though he were an animal. Such relations of production in the main correspond to the state of the productive forces of that period. Instead of stone tools, men now have metal tools at their command; instead of the wretched and primitive husbandry of the hunter, who knew neither pasturage, nor tillage, there now appear pasturage, tillage, handicrafts, and a division of labour between these branches of production. There appears the possibility of the exchange of products between individuals and between societies, of the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, the actual accumulation of the means of production in the hands of a minority, and the possibility of subjugation of the majority by a minority and their conversion into slaves. Here we no longer find the common and free labour of all members of society in the production process — here there prevails the forced labour of slaves, who are exploited by the non-labouring slave owners. Here, therefore, there is no common ownership of the means of production or of the fruits of production. It is replaced by private ownership. Here the slave owner appears as the prime and principal property owner in the full sense of the term.

    Rich and poor, exploiters and exploited, people with full rights and people with no rights, and a fierce class struggle between them — such is the picture of the slave system.

    The basis of the relations of production under the feudal system is that the feudal lord owns the means of production and does not fully own the worker in production — the serf, whom the feudal lord can no longer kill, but whom he can buy and sell. Alongside of feudal ownership there exists individual ownership by the peasant and the handicraftsman of his implements of production and his private enterprise based on his personal labour. Such relations of production in the main correspond to the state of the productive forces of that period. Further improvements in the

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smelting and working of iron; the spread of the iron plough and the loom; the further development of agriculture, horticulture, viniculture and dairying; the appearance of manufactories alongside of the handicraft workshops — such are the characteristic features of the state of the productive forces.

    The new productive forces demand that the labourer shall display some kind of initiative in production and an inclination for work, an interest in work. The feudal lord therefore discards the slave, as a labourer who has no interest in work and is entirely without initiative, and prefers to deal with the serf, who has his own husbandry, implements of production, and a certain interest in work essential for the cultivation of the land and for the payment in kind of a part of his harvest to the feudal lord.

    Here private ownership is further developed. Exploitation is nearly as severe as it was under slavery — it is only slightly mitigated. A class struggle between exploiters and exploited is the principal feature of the feudal system.

    The basis of the relations of production under the capitalist system is that the capitalist owns the means of production, but not the workers in production — the wage labourers, whom the capitalist can neither kill nor sell because they are personally free, but who are deprived of means of production and, in order not to die of hunger, are obliged to sell their labour power to the capitalist and to bear the yoke of exploitation. Along side of capitalist property in the means of production, we find, at first on a wide scale, private property of the peasants and handicraftsmen in the means of production, these peasants and handicraftsmen no longer being serfs, and their private property being based on personal labour. In place of the handicraft workshops and manufactories there appear huge mills and factories equipped with machinery. In place of the manorial estates tilled by the primitive implements of production of the peasant, there now appear large capitalist farms run on scientific lines and supplied with agricultural machinery.

    The new productive forces require that the workers in production shall be better educated and more intelligent than the downtrodden and ignorant serfs, that they be able to understand machinery and operate it properly. Therefore, the capitalists prefer to deal with wage workers who are free from the bonds of serfdom and who are educated enough to be able properly to operate machinery.

    But having developed productive forces to a tremendous extent, capitalism has become enmeshed in contradictions which it is unable to solve. By producing larger and larger quantities of commodities, and reducing their prices, capitalism intensifies competition, ruins the mass of

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small and medium private owners, converts them into proletarians and reduces their purchasing power, with the result that it becomes impossible to dispose of the commodities produced. On the other hand, by expanding production and concentrating millions of workers in huge mills and factories, capitalism lends the process of production a social character and thus undermines its own foundation, inasmuch as the social character of the process of production demands the social ownership of the means of production; yet the means of production remain private capitalist property, which is incompatible with the social character of the process of production.

    These irreconcilable contradictions between the character of the productive forces and the relations of production make themselves felt in periodical crises of overproduction, when the capitalists, finding no effective demand for their goods owing to the ruin of the mass of the population which they themselves have brought about, are compelled to burn products, destroy manufactured goods, suspend production, and destroy productive forces at a time when millions of people are forced to suffer unemployment and starvation, not because there are not enough goods, but because there is an overproduction of goods.

    This means that the capitalist relations of production have ceased to correspond to the state of productive forces of society and have come into irreconcilable contradiction with them.

    This means that capitalism is pregnant with revolution, whose mission it is to replace the existing capitalist ownership of the means of production by Socialist ownership.

    This means that the main feature of the capitalist system is a most acute class struggle between the exploiters and the exploited.

    The basis of the relations of production under the Socialist system, which so far has been established only in the U.S.S.R., is the social ownership of the means of production. Here there are no longer exploiters and exploited. The goods produced are distributed according to labour performed, on the principle: «He who does not work, neither shall he eat.» Here the mutual relations of people in the process of production are marked by comradely co-operation and the Socialist mutual assistance of workers who are free from exploitation. Here the relations of production fully correspond to the state of productive forces, for the social character of the process of production is reinforced by the social ownership of the means of production.

    For this reason Socialist production in the U.S.S.R. knows no periodical crises of overproduction and their accompanying absurdities.

    For this reason, the productive forces here develop at an accelerated

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pace, for the relations of production that correspond to them offer full scope for such development.

    Such is the picture of the development of men’s relations of production in the course of human history.

    Such is the dependence of the development of the relations of production on the development of the production forces of society, and primarily, on the development of the instruments of production, the dependence by virtue of which the changes and development of the productive forces sooner or later lead to corresponding changes and development of the relations of production.

    «The use and fabrication of instruments of labour,»[*] says Marx, «although existing in the germ among certain species of animals, is specifically characteristic of the human labour-process, and Franklin therefore defines man as a tool-making animal. Relics of bygone instruments of labour possess the same importance for the investigation of extinct economic forms of society, as do fossil bones for the determination of extinct species of animals. It is not the articles made, but how they are made, and by what instruments that enables us to distinguish different economic epochs. . . . Instruments of labour not only supply a standard of the degree of development to which human labour has attained but they are also indicators of the social conditions under which that labour is carried on.» (Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, p, 159.)

    And further:

    a) «Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social conditions. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist.» (Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, p. 92.)
b) «There is a continual movement of growth in productive forces, of destruction in social relations, of formation in ideas; the only im mutable thing is the abstraction of movement.» (Ibid., p. 93.)

    Speaking of historical materialism as formulated in The Communist Manifesto, Engels says:

    «Economic production and the structure of society of every historical epoch necessarily arising therefrom constitute the foundation for


    * By instruments of labour Marx has in mind primarily instruments of production. —Ed.

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the political and intellectual history of that epoch; . . . consequently ever since the dissolution of the primeval communal ownership of land all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social evolution; . . . this struggle, however, has now reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression and class struggles.» (Preface to the German edition of The Communist Manifesto — Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 192-93.)

    A third feature of production is that the rise of new productive forces and of the relations of production corresponding to them does not take place separately from the old system, after the disappearance of the old system, but within the old system; it takes place not as a result of the deliberate and conscious activity of man, but spontaneously, unconsciously, independently of the will of man. It takes place spontaneously and independently of the will of man for two reasons.

    First, because men are not free to choose one mode of production or another, because as every new generation enters life it finds productive forces and relations of production already existing as the result of the work of former generations, owing to which it is obliged at first to accept and adapt itself to everything it finds ready made in the sphere of production in order to be able to produce material values.

    Secondly, because, when improving one instrument of production or another, one element of the productive forces or another, men do not realize, do not understand or stop to reflect what social results these improvements will lead to, but only think of their everyday interests, of lightening their labour and of securing some direct and tangible advantage for themselves.

    When, gradually and gropingly, certain members of primitive communal society passed from the use of stone tools to the use of iron tools, they, of course, did not know and did not stop to reflect what social results this innovation would lead to; they did not understand or realize that the change to metal tools meant a revolution in production, that it would in the long run lead to the slave system. They simply wanted to lighten their labour and secure an immediate and tangible advantage; their conscious activity was confined within the narrow bounds of this everyday personal interest.

    When, in the period of the feudal system, the young bourgeoisie of

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Europe began to erect, alongside of the small guild workshops, large manufactories, and thus advanced the productive forces of society, it, of course, did not know and did not stop to reflect what social consequences this innovation would lead to; it did not realize or understand that this «small» innovation would lead to a regrouping of social forces which was to end in a revolution both against the power of kings, whose favours it so highly valued, and against the nobility, to whose ranks its foremost representatives not infrequently aspired. It simply wanted to lower the cost of producing goods, to throw large quantities of goods on the markets of Asia and of recently discovered America, and to make bigger profits. Its conscious activity was confined within the narrow bounds of this commonplace practical aim.

    When the Russian capitalists, in conjunction with foreign capitalists, energetically implanted modern large-scale machine industry in Russia, while leaving tsardom intact and turning the peasants over to the tender mercies of the landlords, they, of course, did not know and did not stop to reflect what social consequences this extensive growth of productive forces would lead to, they did not realize or understand that this big leap in the realm of the productive forces of society would lead to a regrouping of social forces that would enable the proletariat to effect a union with the peasantry and to bring about a victorious Socialist revolution. They simply wanted to expand industrial production to the limit, to gain control of the huge home market, to become monopolists, and to squeeze as much profit as possible out of the national economy. Their conscious activity did not extend beyond their commonplace, strictly practical interests. Accordingly, Marx says:

    «In the social production which men carry on (that is, in the production of the material values necessary to the life of men —Ed.) they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent* of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 356.)

    This, however, does not mean that changes in the relations of production, and the transition from old relations of production to new relations of production proceed smoothly, without conflicts, without up heavals. On the contrary, such a transition usually takes place by means of the revolutionary overthrow of the old relations of production and the establishment of new relations of production. Up to a certain period the development of the productive forces and the changes in the realm of


    * Our italics. —Ed.

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the relations of production proceed spontaneously, independently of the will of men. But that is so only up to a certain moment, until the new and developing productive forces have reached a proper state of maturity. After the new productive forces have matured, the existing relations of production and their upholders — the ruling classes — become that «insuperable» obstacle which can only be removed by the conscious action of the new classes, by the forcible acts of these classes, by revolution. Here there stands out in bold relief the tremendous role of new social ideas, of new political institutions, of a new political power, whose mission it is to abolish by force the old relations of production. Out of the conflict between the new productive forces and the old relations of production, out of the new economic demands of society there arise new social ideas; the new ideas organize and mobilize the masses; the masses become welded into a new political army, create a new revolutionary power, and make use of it to abolish by force the old system of relations of production, and firmly to establish the new system. The spontaneous process of development yields place to the conscious actions of men, peaceful development to violent upheaval, evolution to revolution.

    «The proletariat,» says Marx, «during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class . . . by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production.» (The Communist Manifesto— Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 228.)

    And further:

    a) «The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.» (Ibid., p. 227.)
b) «Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.» (Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, p. 776.)

    Here is the brilliant formulation of the essence of historical materialism given by Marx in 1859 in his historic Preface to his famous book, Critique of Political Economy :

    «In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society —

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the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production in society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or — what is but a legal expression for the same thing — with the property relations within which they have been at work before. From forms of development of the forces of production these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, esthetic or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as our opinion of an individual is not based on what he thinks of himself, so can we not judge of such a period of transformation by its own consciousness; on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained rather from the contradictions of material life, from the existing conflict between the social forces of production and the relations of production. No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed; and new higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society itself. Therefore, mankind always sets itself only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely, we will always find that the task itself arises only when the material conditions necessary for its solution already exists or are at least in the process of formation.» (Karl Marx, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 356-57.)

    Such is Marxist materialism as applied to social life, to the history of society.

    Such are the principal features of dialectical and historical materialism.

    It will be seen from this what a theoretical treasure was safeguarded by Lenin for the Party and protected from the attacks of the revisionists and renegades, and how important was the appearance of Lenin’s book, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, for the development of our Party.

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3.

BOLSHEVIKS AND MENSHEVIKS IN THE PERIOD OF THE STOLY-
PIN REACTION. STRUGGLE OF THE BOLSHEVIKS AGAINST THE
LIQUIDATORS AND OTZOVISTS

    During the years of reaction, the work in the Party organizations was far more difficult than during the preceding period of development of the revolution. The Party membership had sharply declined. Many of the petty-bourgeois fellow-travelers of the Party, especially the intellectuals, deserted its ranks from fear of persecution by the tsarist government.

    Lenin pointed out that at such moments revolutionary parties should perfect their knowledge. During the period of rise of the revolution they learned how to advance; during the period of reaction they should learn how to retreat properly, how to go underground, how to preserve and strengthen the illegal party, how to make use of legal opportunities, of all legally existing, especially mass, organizations in order to strengthen their connections with the masses.

    The Mensheviks retreated in panic, not believing that a new rise in the tide of revolution was possible; they disgracefully renounced the revolutionary demands of the program and the revolutionary slogans of the Party; they wanted to liquidate, to abolish, the revolutionary illegal party of the proletariat. For this reason, Mensheviks of this type came to be known as Liquidators.

    Unlike the Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks were certain that within the next few years there would be a rise in the tide of revolution, and held that it was the duty of the Party to prepare the masses for this new rise. The fundamental problems of the revolution had not been solved. The peasants had not obtained the landlords’ land, the workers had not obtained the 8-hour day, the tsarist autocracy, so detested by the people, had not been overthrown, and it had again suppressed the meagre political liberties which the people had wrung from it in 1905. Thus the causes which had given rise to the Revolution of 1905 still remained in force. That is why the Bolsheviks were certain that there would be a new rise of the revolutionary movement, prepared for it and mustered the forces of the working class.

    The Bolsheviks derived their certainty that a new rise in the tide of the revolution was inevitable also from the fact that the Revolution of 1905 had taught the working class to fight for its rights in mass revolutionary struggle. During the period of reaction, when the capitalists took the offensive, the workers could not forget these lessons of 1905. Lenin quoted letters from workers in which they told how factory owners were

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again oppressing and humiliating them, and in which they said: «Wait, another 1905 will come! «

    The fundamental political aim of the Bolsheviks remained what it had been in 1905, namely, to overthrow tsardom, to carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution to its conclusion and to proceed to the Socialist revolution. Never for a moment did the Bolsheviks forget this aim, and they continued to put before the masses the principal revolutionary slogans — a democratic republic, the confiscation of the landed estates, and an 8-hour day.

    But the tactics of the Party could not remain what they had been during the rising tide of the revolution in 1905. For example, it would have been wrong in the immediate future to call the masses to a general political strike or to an armed uprising, for the revolutionary movement was on the decline, the working class was in a state of extreme fatigue, and the position of the reactionary classes had been strengthened considerably. The Party had to reckon with the new situation. Offensive tactics had to be replaced by defensive tactics, the tactics of mustering forces, the tactics of withdrawing the cadres underground and of carrying on the work of the Party from underground, the tactics of combining illegal work with work in the legal working-class organizations.

    And the Bolsheviks proved able to accomplish this.

    «We knew how to work during the long years preceding the revolution. Not for nothing do they say that we are as firm as a rock. The Social-Democrats have formed a proletarian party which will not lose heart at the failure of the first armed onslaught, will not lose its head, and will not be carried away by adventures,» wrote Lenin. (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XII, p. 126.)

    The Bolsheviks strove to preserve and strengthen the illegal Party organizations. But at the same time they deemed it essential to utilize every legal opportunity, every legal opening to maintain and preserve connections with the masses and thus strengthen the Party.

    «This was a period when our Party turned from the open revolutionary struggle against tsardom to roundabout methods of struggle, to the utilization of each and every legal opportunity — from mutual aid societies to the Duma platform. This was a period of retreat after we had been defeated in the Revolution of 1905. This turn made it incumbent upon us to master new methods of struggle, in order to muster our forces and resume the open revolutionary struggle against tsardom.» (J. Stalin, Verbatim Report of the Fifteenth Party Congress, Russ. ed., pp. 366-67, 1935.)

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    The surviving legal organizations served as a sort of screen for the underground organizations of the Party and as a means of maintaining connections with the masses. In order to preserve their connections with the masses, the Bolsheviks made use of the trade unions and other legally existing public organizations, such as sick benefit societies, workers’ co-operative societies, clubs, educational societies and People’s Houses. The Bolsheviks made use of the platform of the State Duma to expose the policy of the tsarist government, to expose the Constitutional-Democrats, and to win the support of the peasants for the proletariat. The preservation of the illegal Party organization, and the direction of all other forms of political work through this organization, enabled the Party to pursue a correct line and to muster forces in preparation for a new rise in the tide of revolution.

    The Bolsheviks carried out their revolutionary line in a fight on two fronts, a fight against the two varieties of opportunism within the Party — against the Liquidators, who were open adversaries of the Party, and against what were known as the Otzovists, who were concealed foes of the Party.

    The Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, waged a relentless struggle against liquidationism from the very inception of this opportunist trend. Lenin pointed out that the Liquidators were agents of the liberal bourgeoisie within the Party.

    In December 1908, the Fifth (All-Russian) Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in Paris. On Lenin’s motion, this conference condemned liquidationism, that is, the attempts of a certain section of the Party intellectuals (Mensheviks) «to liquidate the existing organization of the R.S.D.L.P. and to replace it at all costs, even at the price of down-right renunciation of the program, tactics and traditions of the Party, by an amorphous association functioning legally.» (C.P.S.U.[B.] in Resolutions, Russ. ed., Part I, p. 128.)

    The conference called upon all Party organizations to wage a resolute struggle against the attempts of the Liquidators.

    But the Mensheviks did not abide by this decision of the conference and increasingly committed themselves to liquidationism, betrayal of the revolution, and collaboration with the Constitutional-Democrats. The Mensheviks were more and more openly renouncing the revolutionary program of the proletarian Party, the demands for a democratic republic, for an 8-hour day and for the confiscation of the landed estates. They wanted, at the price of renouncing the program and tactics of the Party, to obtain the consent of the tsarist government to the existence of an open, legal, supposedly «labour» party. They were prepared to make

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peace with and to adapt themselves to the Stolypin regime. That is why the Liquidators were also called the «Stolypin Labour Party.»

    Besides fighting the overt adversaries of the revolution, the Liquidators, who were headed by Dan, Axelrod, and Potressov, and assisted by Martov, Trotsky and other Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks also waged a relentless struggle against the covert Liquidators, the Otzovists, who camouflaged their opportunism by «Left» phraseology. Otzovists was the name given to certain former Bolsheviks who demanded the recall (otzyv means recall) of the workers’ deputies from the State Duma and the discontinuation of work in legally existing organizations altogether.

    In 1908 a number of Bolsheviks demanded the recall of the Social-Democratic deputies from the State Duma. Hence, they were called Otzovists. The Otzovists formed their own group (Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, Alexinsky, Pokrovsky, Bubnov and others) which started a struggle against Lenin and Lenin’s line. The Otzovists stubbornly refused to work in the trade unions and other legally existing societies. In doing so they did great injury to the workers’ cause. The Otzovists were driving a wedge between the Party and the working class, tending to deprive the Party of its connections with the non-party masses; they wanted to seclude themselves within the underground organization, yet at the same time they placed it in jeopardy by denying it the opportunity of utilizing legal cover. The Otzovists did not understand that in the State Duma, and through the State Duma, the Bolsheviks could influence the peasantry, could expose the policy of the tsarist government and the policy of the Constitutional-Democrats, who were trying to gain the following of the peasantry by fraud. The Otzovists hampered the mustering of forces for a new advance of the revolution. The Otzovists were therefore «Liquidators inside-out»: they endeavoured to destroy the possibility of utilizing the legally existing organizations and, in fact, renounced proletarian leadership of the broad non-party masses, renounced revolutionary work.

    A conference of the enlarged editorial board of the Bolshevik newspaper Proletary, summoned in 1909 to discuss the conduct of the Otzovists, condemned them. The Bolsheviks announced that they had nothing in common with the Otzovists and expelled them from the Bolshevik organization.

    Both the Liquidators and the Otzovists were nothing but petty-bourgeois fellow-travelers of the proletariat and its Party. When times were hard for the proletariat the true character of the Liquidators and Otzovists became revealed with particular clarity.

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4.

STRUGGLE OF THE BOLSHEVIKS AGAINST TROTSKYISM. ANTI-
PARTY AUGUST BLOC

    At a time when the Bolsheviks were waging a relentless struggle on two fronts — against the Liquidators and against the Otzovists — defending the consistent line of the proletarian party, Trotsky supported the Menshevik Liquidators. It was at this period that Lenin branded him «Judas Trotsky.» Trotsky formed a group of writers in Vienna (Austria) and began to publish an allegedly non-factional, but in reality Menshevik newspaper. «Trotsky behaves like a most despicable careerist and factionalist. . . . He pays lip service to the Party, but behaves worse than any other factionalist,» wrote Lenin at the time.

    Later, in 1912, Trotsky organized the August Bloc, a bloc of all the anti-Bolshevik groups and trends directed against Lenin and the Bolshevik Party. The Liquidators and the Otzovists united in this anti-Bolshevik bloc, thus demonstrating their kinship. Trotsky and the Trotskyites took up a liquidationist stand on all fundamental issues. But Trotsky masked his liquidationism under the guise of Centrism, that is, conciliationism; he claimed that he belonged to neither the Bolsheviks nor the Mensheviks and that he was trying to reconcile them. In this connection, Lenin said that Trotsky was more vile and pernicious than the open Liquidators, because he was trying to deceive the workers into believing that he was «above factions,» whereas in fact he entirely supported the Menshevik Liquidators. The Trotskyites were the principal group that fostered Centrism.

    «Centrism,» writes Comrade Stalin, «is a political concept. Its ideology is one of adaptation, of subordination of the interests of the proletariat to the interests of the petty-bourgeoisie within one common party. This ideology is alien and abhorrent to Leninism.» (Stalin, Leninism, Vol. II, «The Industrialization of the Country and the Right Deviation in the C.P.S.U.,» p. 97.)

    At this period Kamenev, Zinoviev and Rykov were actually covert agents of Trotsky, for they often helped him against Lenin. With the aid of Zinoviev, Kamenev, Rykov and other covert allies of Trotsky, a Plenum of the Central Committee was convened in January 1910 against Lenin’s wishes. By that time the composition of the Central Committee had changed owing to the arrest of a number of Bolsheviks, and the vacillating elements were able to force through anti-Leninist decisions. Thus, it was decided at this plenum to close down the Bolshevik news paper Proletary and to give financial support to Trotsky’s newspaper

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Pravda, published in Vienna. Kamenev joined the editorial board of Trotsky’s newspaper and together with Zinoviev strove to make it the organ of the Central Committee.

    It was only on Lenin’s insistence that the January Plenum of the Central Committee adopted a resolution condemning liquidationism and otzovism, but here too Zinoviev and Kamenev insisted on Trotsky’s proposal that the Liquidators should not be referred to as such.

    It turned out as Lenin had foreseen and forewarned: only the Bolsheviks obeyed the decision of the plenum of the Central Committee and closed down their organ, Proletary, whereas the Mensheviks continued to publish their financial liquidationist newspaperGolos Sotsial-Demokrat (Voice of the Social-Democrat ).

    Lenin’s position was fully supported by Comrade Stalin who published a special article in Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 11, in which he condemned the conduct of the accomplices of Trotskyism, and spoke of the necessity of putting an end to the abnormal situation created within the Bolshevik group by the treacherous conduct of Kamenev, Zinoviev and Rykov. The article advanced as immediate tasks what was later carried into effect at the Prague Party Conference, namely, convocation of a general Party conference, publication of a Party newspaper appearing legally, and creation of an illegal practical Party centre in Russia. Comrade Stalin’s article was based on decisions of the Baku Committee, which fully supported Lenin.

    To counteract Trotsky’s anti-Party August Bloc, which consisted exclusively of anti-Party elements, from the Liquidators and Trotskyites to the Otzovists and «god-builders,» a Party bloc was formed consisting of people who wanted to preserve and strengthen the illegal proletarian Party. This bloc consisted of the Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, and a small number of pro-Party Mensheviks, headed by Plekhanov. Plekhanov and his group of pro-Party Mensheviks, while maintaining the Menshevik position on a number of questions, emphatically dissociated themselves from the August Bloc and the Liquidators and sought to reach agreement with the Bolsheviks. Lenin accepted Plekhanov’s proposal and consented to a temporary bloc with him against the anti-Party elements on the ground that such a bloc would be advantageous to the Party and fatal to the Liquidators.

    Comrade Stalin fully supported this bloc. He was in exile at the time and from there wrote a letter to Lenin, saying:

    «In my opinion the line of the bloc (Lenin-Plekhanov) is the only correct one: 1) this line, and it alone, answers to the real inter-

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ests of the work in Russia, which demands that all Party elements should rally together; 2) this line, and it alone, will expedite the process of emancipation of the legal organizations from the yoke of the Liquidators, by digging a gulf between the Mek[*] workers and the Liquidators, and dispersing and disposing of the latter.» (Lenin and Stalin, Russ. ed., Vol. I, pp. 529-30.)

    Thanks to a skilful combination of illegal and legal work, the Bolsheviks were able to become a serious force in the legal workers’ organizations. This was revealed, incidentally, in the great influence which the Bolsheviks exercised on the workers’ groups at four legally held congresses that took place at that period — a congress of people’s universities, a women’s congress, a congress of factory physicians, and a temperance congress. The speeches of the Bolsheviks at these congresses were of great political value and awakened a response all over the country. For example, at the congress of people’s universities, the Bolshevik workers’ delegation exposed the policy of tsardom which stifled all cultural activity, and contended that no real cultural progress in the country was conceivable unless tsardom were abolished. The workers’ delegation at the congress of factory physicians told of the frightfully unsanitary conditions in which the workers had to live and work, and drew the conclusion that factory hygiene could not be properly ensured until tsardom was overthrown.

    The Bolsheviks gradually squeezed the Liquidators out of the various legal organizations that still survived. The peculiar tactics of a united front with the Plekhanov pro-Party group enabled the Bolsheviks to win over a number of Menshevik worker organizations (in the Vyborg district, Ekaterinoslav, etc.).

    In this difficult period the Bolsheviks set an example of how legal work should be combined with illegal work.

5.

PRAGUE PARTY CONFERENCE, 1912. BOLSHEVIKS CONSTITUTE
THEMSELVES AN INDEPENDENT MARXIST PARTY

    The fight against the Liquidators and Otzovists, as well as against the Trotskyites, confronted the Bolsheviks with the urgent necessity of uniting all the Bolsheviks and forming them into an independent Bolshevik Party. This was absolutely essential not only in order to put an end to the opportunist trends within the Party which were splitting the work-


    * Mek, an abbreviation for Menshevik. —Ed.

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ing class, but also in order to complete the work of mustering the forces of the working class and preparing it for a new upward swing of the revolution.

    But before this task could be accomplished the Party had to be rid of opportunists, of Mensheviks.

    No Bolshevik now doubted that it was unthinkable for the Bolsheviks to remain in one party with the Mensheviks. The treacherous conduct of the Mensheviks in the period of the Stolypin reaction, their attempts to liquidate the proletarian party and to organize a new, reformist party, made a rupture with them inevitable. By remaining in one party with the Mensheviks, the Bolsheviks in one way or another accepted moral responsibility for the behaviour of the Mensheviks. But for the Bolsheviks to accept moral responsibility for the open treachery of the Mensheviks was unthinkable, unless they themselves wanted to become traitors to the Party and the working class. Unity with the Mensheviks within a single party was thus assuming the character of a betrayal of the working class and its party. Consequently, the actual rupture with the Mensheviks had to be carried to its conclusion: a formal organizational rupture and the expulsion of the Mensheviks from the Party.

    Only in this way was it possible to restore the revolutionary party of the proletariat with a single program, single tactics, and a single class organization.

    Only in this way was it possible to restore the real (not just formal) unity of the Party, which the Mensheviks had destroyed.

    This task was to be performed by the Sixth General Party Conference, for which the Bolsheviks were making preparations.

    But this was only one aspect of the matter. A formal rupture with the Mensheviks and the formation by the Bolsheviks of a separate party was, of course, a very important political task. But the Bolsheviks were confronted with another and even more important task. The task of the Bolsheviks was not merely to break with the Mensheviks and formally constitute themselves a separate party, but above all, having broken with the Mensheviks, to create a new party, to create a party of a new type, different from the usual Social-Democratic parties of the West, one that was free of opportunist elements and capable of leading the proletariat in a struggle for power.

    In fighting the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks of all shades, from Axelrod and Martynov to Martov and Trotsky, invariably used weapons borrowed from the arsenal of the West-European Social-Democrats. They wanted in Russia a party similar, let us say, to the German or French

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Social-Democratic Party. They fought the Bolsheviks just because they sensed something new in them, something unusual and different from the Social-Democrats of the West. And what did the Social-Democratic parties of the West represent at that time? A mixture, a hodge-podge of Marxist and opportunist elements, of friends and foes of the revolution, of supporters and opponents of the Party principle, the former gradually becoming ideologically reconciled to the latter, and virtually subordinated to them. Conciliation with the opportunists, with the traitors to the revolution, for the sake of what? — the Bolsheviks asked the West-European Social-Democrats. For the sake of «peace within the Party,» for the sake of «unity» — the latter replied. Unity with whom, with the opportunists? Yes, they replied, with the opportunists. It was clear that such parties could not be revolutionary parties.

    The Bolsheviks could not help seeing that after Engels’ death the West-European Social-Democratic parties had begun to degenerate from parties of social revolution into parties of «social reforms,» and that each of these parties, as an organization, had already been converted from a leading force into an appendage of its own parliamentary group.

    The Bolsheviks could not help knowing that such a party boded no good to the proletariat, that such a party was not capable of leading the working class to revolution.

    The Bolsheviks could not help knowing that the proletariat needed, not such a party, but a different kind of party, a new and genuinely Marxist party, which would be irreconcilable towards the opportunists and revolutionary towards the bourgeoisie, which would be firmly knit and monolithic, which would be a party of social revolution, a party of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    It was this new kind of party that the Bolsheviks wanted. And the Bolsheviks worked to build up such a party. The whole history of the struggle against the «Economists,» Mensheviks, Trotskyites, Otzovists and idealists of all shades, down to the empirio-criticists, was a history of the building up of just such a party. The Bolsheviks wanted to create a new party, a Bolshevist party, which would serve as a model for all who wanted to have a real revolutionary Marxist party. The Bolsheviks had been working to build up such a party ever since the time of the old Iskra. They worked for it stubbornly, persistently, in spite of everything. A fundamental and decisive part was played in this work by the writings of Lenin — What Is To Be Done?Two Tactics, etc. Lenin’s What Is To Be Done?was the ideological preparation for such a party. Lenin’s One Step ForwardTwo Steps Back was the organizational preparation for such a party. Lenin’s Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Demo-

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cratic Revolution was the political preparation for such a party. And, lastly, Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism was the theoretical preparation for such a party.

    It may be safely said that never in history has any political group been so thoroughly prepared to constitute itself a party as the Bolshevik group was.

    The conditions were therefore fully ripe and ready for the Bolsheviks to constitute themselves a party.

    It was the task of the Sixth Party Conference to crown the completed work by expelling the Mensheviks and formally constituting the new party, the Bolshevik Party.

    The Sixth All-Russian Party Conference was held in Prague in January 1912. Over twenty Party organizations were represented. The conference, therefore, had the significance of a regular Party congress.

    In the statement of the conference which announced that the shattered central apparatus of the Party had been restored and a Central Committee set up, it was declared that the period of reaction had been the most difficult the Russian Social-Democratic Party had experienced since it had taken shape as a definite organization. In spite of all persecution, in spite of the severe blows dealt it from without and the treachery and vacillation of the opportunists within, the party of the proletariat had preserved intact its banner and its organization.

    «Not only have the banner of the Russian Social-Democratic Party, its program and its revolutionary traditions survived, but so has its organization, which persecution may have undermined and weakened, but could never utterly destroy» — the statement of the conference declared.

    The conference recorded the first symptoms of a new rise of the working-class movement in Russia and a revival in Party work.

    In its resolution on the reports presented by the local organizations, the conference noted that «energetic work is being conducted everywhere among the Social-Democratic workers with the object of strengthening the local illegal Social-Democratic organizations and groups.»

    The conference noted that the most important rule of Bolshevik tactics in periods of retreat, namely, to combine illegal work with legal work within the various legally existing workers’ societies and unions, was being observed in all the localities.

    The Prague Conference elected a Bolshevik Central Committee of the Party, consisting of Lenin, Stalin, Ordjonikidze, Sverdlov, Spandaryan, Goloshchekin and others. Comrades Stalin and Sverdlov were elected to the Central Committee in their absence, as they were in exile

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at the time. Among the elected alternate members of the Central Committee was Comrade Kalinin.

    For the direction of revolutionary work in Russia a practical centre (the Russian Bureau of the C.C.) was set up with Comrade Stalin at its head and including Comrades Y. Sverdlov, S. Spandaryan, S. Ordjonikidze, M. Kalinin and Goloshchehn.

    The Prague Conference reviewed the whole preceding struggle of the Bolsheviks against opportunism and decided to expel the Mensheviks from the Party.

    By expelling the Mensheviks from the Party, the Prague Conference formally inaugurated the independent existence of the Bolshevik Party.

    Having routed the Mensheviks ideologically and organizationally and expelled them from the Party, the Bolsheviks preserved the old banner of the Party — of the R.S.D.L.P. That is why the Bolshevik Party continued until 1918 to call itself the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, adding the word «Bolsheviks» in brackets.

    Writing to Gorky at the beginning of 1912, on the results of the Prague Conference, Lenin said:

    «At last we have succeeded, in spite of the Liquidator scum, in restoring the Party and its Central Committee. I hope you will rejoice with us over the fact.» (Lenin, Collected Works, Russ. ed., Vol. XXIX, p. 19.)

    Speaking of the significance of the Prague Conference, Comrade Stalin said:

    «This conference was of the utmost importance in the history of our Party, for it drew a boundary line between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks and amalgamated the Bolshevik organizations all over the country into a united Bolshevik Party.» (Verbatim Report of the Fifteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U.[B.], Russ. ed., pp. 361-362.)

    After the expulsion of the Mensheviks and the constitution by the Bolsheviks of an independent party, the Bolshevik Party became firmer and stronger. The Party strengthens itself by purging its ranks of opportunist elements — that is one of the maxims of the Bolshevik Party, which is a party of a new type fundamentally different from the Social Democratic parties of the Second International. Although the parties of the Second International called themselves Marxist parties, in reality they tolerated foes of Marxism, avowed opportunists, in their ranks and allowed them to corrupt and to ruin the Second International. The Bol-

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sheviks, on the contrary, waged a relentless struggle against the opportunists, purged the proletarian party of the filth of opportunism and succeeded in creating a party of a new type, a Leninist Party, the Party which later achieved the dictatorship of the proletariat.

    If the opportunists had remained within the ranks of the proletarian party, the Bolshevik Party could not have come out on the broad high way and led the proletariat, it could not have taken power and set up the dictatorship of the proletariat, it could not have emerged victorious from the Civil War and built Socialism.

    The Prague Conference decided to put forward as the chief immediate political slogans of the Party the demands contained in the minimum program: a democratic republic, an 8-hour day, and the confiscation of the landed estates.

    It was under these revolutionary slogans that the Bolsheviks conducted their campaign in connection with the elections to the Fourth State Duma.

    It was these slogans that guided the new rise of the revolutionary movement of the working-class masses in the years 1912-14.

B R I E F   S U M M A R Y
    The years 1908-12 were a most difficult period for revolutionary work. After the defeat of the revolution, when the revolutionary movement was on the decline and the masses were fatigued, the Bolsheviks changed their tactics and passed from the direct struggle against tsardom to a roundabout struggle. In the difficult conditions that prevailed during the Stolypin reaction, the Bolsheviks made use of the slightest legal opportunity to maintain their connections with the masses (from sick benefit societies and trade unions to the Duma platform). The Bolsheviks indefatigably worked to muster forces for a new rise of the revolutionary movement.

    In the difficult conditions brought about by the defeat of the revolution, the disintegration of the oppositional trends, the disappointment with the revolution, and the increasing endeavours of intellectuals who had deserted the Party (Bogdanov, Bazarov and others) to revise its theoretical foundations, the Bolsheviks were the only force in the Party who did not furl the Party banner, who remained faithful to the Party program, and who beat off the attacks of the «critics» of Marxist theory (Lenin’s Materialism and Empirio-Criticism). What helped the leading core of the Bolsheviks, centred around Lenin, to safeguard the Party

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and its revolutionary principles was that this core had been tempered by Marxist-Leninist ideology and had grasped the perspectives of the revolution. «Not for nothing do they say that we are as firm as a rock,» Lenin stated in referring to the Bolsheviks.

    The Mensheviks at that period were drawing farther and farther away from the revolution. They became Liquidators, demanding the liquidation, abolition, of the illegal revolutionary party of the proletariat; they more and more openly renounced the Party program and the revolutionary aims and slogans of the Party, and endeavoured to organize their own, reformist party, which the workers christened a «Stolypin Labour Party.» Trotsky supported the Liquidators, pharisaically using the slogan «unity of the Party» as a screen, but actually meaning unity with the Liquidators.

    On the other hand, some of the Bolsheviks, who did not understand the necessity for the adoption of new and roundabout ways of combating tsardom, demanded that legal opportunities should not be utilized and that the workers’ deputies in the State Duma be recalled. These Otzovists were driving the Party towards a rupture with the masses and were hampering the mustering of forces for a new rise of the revolution. Using «Left» phraseology as a screen, the Otzovists, like the Liquidators, in essence renounced the revolutionary struggle.

    The Liquidators and Otzovists united against Lenin in a common bloc, known as the August Bloc, organized by Trotsky.

    In the struggle against the Liquidators and Otzovists, in the struggle against the August Bloc, the Bolsheviks gained the upper hand and succeeded in safeguarding the illegal proletarian party.

    The outstanding event of this period was the Prague Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (January 1912). At this conference the Mensheviks were expelled from the Party, and the formal unity of the Bolsheviks with the Mensheviks within one party was ended forever. From a political group, the Bolsheviks formally constituted themselves an independent party, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks). The Prague Conference inaugurated a party of a new type, the party of Leninism, the Bolshevik Party.

    The purge of the ranks of the proletarian party of opportunists, Mensheviks, effected at the Prague Conference, had an important and decisive influence on the subsequent development of the Party and the revolution. If the Bolsheviks had not expelled the betrayers of the workers’ cause, the Menshevik compromisers, from the Party, the proletarian party would have been unable in 1917 to rouse the masses for the fight for the dictatorship of the proletariat.



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