(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution"

V. I. LENIN 

TWO TACTICS 
OF 
SOCIAL- 
DEMOCRACY 

IN THE 
DEMOCRATIC 
REVOLUTION 







FOREIGN LANGUAGES PRESS 
PEKING 1965 



First Edition 1965 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

The present English translation of V. I. Lenin's Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the 
Democratic Revolution is a reprint of the text given in V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, English 
edition, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1952, Vol. I, Part 2. The notes at the end 
of the book are based on those given in the English edition and in the Chinese edition published by 
the People's Publishing House, Peking, in September 1964. 



CONTENTS 

PREFACE 1 

1. AN URGENT POLITICAL QUESTION 7 

2. WHAT DOES THE RESOLUTION OF THE THIRD CONGRESS OF 
THE R.S.D.L.P. ON A PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY 
GOVERNMENT TEACH US ? 11 

3. WHAT IS A "DECISIVE VICTORY OF THE REVOLUTION 

OVER TSARISM"? 21 

4. THE ABOLITION OF THE MONARCHIST SYSTEM AND THE 
REPUBLIC 29 

5. HOW SHOULD "THE REVOLUTION BE PUSHED FORWARD"? 36 

6. FROM WHAT DIRECTION IS THE PROLETARIAT THREATENED 
WITH THE DANGER OF HAVING ITS HANDS TIED IN THE 
STRUGGLE AGAINST THE INCONSISTENT BOURGEOISIE? 41 

7. THE TACTICS OF "ELIMINATING THE CONSERVATIVES FROM 
THE GOVERNMENT" 59 

8. OSVOBOZHDENIYE-ISM AND NEW ISKRA-ISM 64 

9. WHAT DOES BEING A PARTY OF EXTREME OF POSITION IN 
TIME OF REVOLUTION MEAN? 75 

10. "REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNES" AND THE REVOLUTIONARY- 
DEMOCRATIC DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT AND 
THE PEASANTRY 80 

ii. A CURSORY COMPARISON BETWEEN SEVERAL OF THE 
RESOLUTIONS OF THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 
AND THOSE OF THE "CONFERENCE" 93 

12. WILL THE SWEEP OF THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION BE 
DIMINISHED IF THE BOURGEOISIE RECOILS FROM IT? 1 00 

13. CONCLUSION. DARE WE WIN? 112 

POSTSCRIPT. ONCE AGAIN OSVOBOZHDENIYE-ISM, ONCE AGAIN 

NEW ISKRA-ISM 126 

I. WHAT DO THE BOURGEOIS LIBERAL REALISTS PRAISE 



THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC "REALISTS" FOR? 126 

n. COMRADE MARTYNOV AGAIN RENDERS THE QUESTION 

"MORE PROFOUND" 135 

m. THE VULGAR BOURGEOIS REPRESENTATION OF 

DICTATORSHIP AND MARX'S VIEW OF IT 146 

NOTES 159 



pagel 



TWO TACTICS OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY 
IN THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION 



PREFACE 

In a revolutionary period it is very difficult to keep abreast of events, which 
provide an astonishing amount of new material for an evaluation of the tactical 
slogans of revolutionary parties. The present pamphlet was written before the 
Odessa events. [*] We have already pointed out in the Proletarym (No. 9 ~ 
"Revolution Teaches")[3] that these events have forced even those Social- 
Democrats who created the "uprising-as-a-process" theory and who rejected 
propaganda for a provisional revolutionary government actually to pass over, or 
begin to pass over, to the side of their opponents. Revolution undoubtedly teaches 
with a rapidity and thoroughness which appear incredible in peaceful periods of 
political development. And, what is particularly important, it teaches not only the 
leaders, but the masses as well. 



* The reference is to the mutiny on the armoured cruiser Potemkin.i^ [Author's note to the 1907 
edition.] 

page 2 

There is not the slightest doubt that the revolution will teach social- 
democratism to the masses of the workers in Russia. The revolution will confirm 
the program and tactics of Social-Democracy in actual practice, by demonstrating 
the true nature of the various classes of society, by demonstrating the bourgeois 
character of our democracy and the real aspirations of the peasantry, who, while 
being revolutionary in the bourgeois-democratic sense, harbour not the idea of 
"socialization," but of a new class struggle between the peasant bourgeoisie and 
the rural proletariat. The old illusions of the old Narodism, which are so clearly 
visible, for instance, in the draft program of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party on 
the question of the development of capitalism in Russia, the question of the 
democratic character of our "society" and the question of the significance of a 
complete victory of a peasant uprising ~ all these illusions will be mercilessly and 
completely blown to the winds by the revolution. For the first time it will give the 
various classes their real political baptism. These classes will emerge from the 
revolution with a definite political physiognomy, for they will have revealed 
themselves, not only in the programs and tactical slogans of their ideologists, but 
also in the open political action of the masses. 



Undoubtedly, the revolution will teach us, and will teach the masses of the 
people. But the question that now confronts a militant political party is: shall we 
be able to teach the revolution anything? shall we be able to make use of the 
correctness of our Social-Democratic doctrine, of our bond with the only 
thoroughly revolutionary class, the proletariat, to put a proletarian imprint on the 
revolution, to carry the revolution to a real and decisive victory, not in word but in 

page 3 

deed, and to paralyze the instability, halfheartedness and treachery of the 
democratic bourgeoisie? 

It is to this end that we must direct all our efforts, and the achievement of it will 
depend, on the one hand, on the accuracy of our appraisal of the political 
situation, on the correctness of our tactical slogans, and, on the other hand, on 
whether these slogans will be backed by the real fighting strength of the masses of 
the workers. All the usual, regular, current work of all the organizations and 
groups of our Party, the work of propaganda, agitation and organization, is 
directed towards strengthening and expanding the ties with the masses. This work 
is always necessary; but in a revolutionary period less than in any other can it be 
considered sufficient. At such a time the working class feels an instinctive urge 
for open revolutionary action, and we must learn to set the aims of this action 
correctly, and then make these aims as widely known and understood as possible. 
It must not be forgotten that the current pessimism about our ties with the masses 
very often serves as a screen for bourgeois ideas regarding the role of the 
proletariat in the revolution. Undoubtedly, we still have a great deal to do to 
educate and organize the working class; but the whole question now is: where 
should the main political emphasis in this work of education and of organization 
be placed? On the trade unions and legally existing societies, or on armed 
insurrection, on the work of creating a revolutionary army and a revolutionary 
government? Both serve to educate and organize the working class. Both are, of 
course, necessary. But the whole question now, in the present revolution, amounts 
to this: what is to be emphasized in the work of educating and organizing the 
working class ~ the former or the latter? 

page 4 

The outcome of the revolution 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 against the autocracy but impotent politically, or whether it 
will play the part of leader of the people's revolution. The more intelligent 
representatives of the bourgeoisie are perfectly aware of this. That is precisely 
why the Osvobozhdeniyeis] praises Akimovism, Economism[6] in Social- 
Democracy, the trend, which is now placing the trade unions and the legally 
existing societies in the forefront. That is precisely why Mr. Struve welcomes (in 
the Osvobozhdeniye, No. 72) the Akimovist trends in the principles of the new 
Iskra. That is precisely why he comes down so heavily on the detested 



revolutionary narrowness of the decisions of the Third Congress of the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party. 

It is exceptionally important at the present time for Social-Democracy to have 
correct tactical slogans for leading the masses. There is nothing more dangerous 
in a revolutionary period than belittling the importance of tactical slogans that are 
sound in principle. For example, the Iskra.m in No. 104, actually passes over to 
the side of its opponents in the Social-Democratic movement, and yet, at the same 
time, disparages the importance of slogans and tactical decisions that are in front 
of the times and indicate the path along which the movement is proceeding, with a 
number of failures, errors, etc. On the contrary, the working out of correct tactical 
decisions is of immense importance for a party which, in the spirit of the sound 
principles of Marxism, desires to lead the proletariat and not merely to drag at the 
tail of events. In the resolutions of the Third Congress of the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour Party 

pages 

and of the Conference of the section which has seceded from the Party, [*] we have 
the most precise, most carefully thought-out, and most complete expression of 
tactical views ~ views not casually expressed by individual writers, but accepted 
by the responsible representatives of the Social-Democratic proletariat. Our Party 
is in advance of all the others, for it has a precise program, accepted by all. It must 
also set the other parties an example of strict adherence to its tactical resolutions, 
in contradistinction to the opportunism of the democratic bourgeoisie of the 
Osvobozhdeniye and the revolutionary phrasemongering of the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, who only during the revolution suddenly thought of coming for 
ward with a "draft" of a program and of investigating for the first time whether it 
is a bourgeois revolution that is going on in front of their eyes. 

That is why we think it a most urgent task of the revolutionary Social- 
Democrats to study carefully the tactical resolutions of the Third Congress of the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party and of the Conference, to define what 
deviations there are in them from the principles of Marxism, and to get a clear 
understanding of the concrete tasks of the Social-Democratic proletariat in a 
democratic revolution. It is to this task that the present pamphlet is devoted. The 
testing of our tactics from the standpoint of 



* The Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (held in London in May 
1905) was attended only by Bolsheviks, while in the "Conference" (held in Geneva at the same 
time) only Mensheviks participated. In the present pamphlet the latter are frequently referred to as 
"new Iskra-ists'' because while continuing to publish the Iskra they declared, through their then 
adherent, Trotsky, that there was a gulf between the old and the new Iskra. [Author's note to the 
1907 edition.] 

page 6 



the principles of Marxism and of the lessons of the revolution is also necessary for 
those who really desire to pave the way for unity of tactics as a basis for the future 
complete unity of the whole Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, and not to 
confine themselves solely to verbal admonitions. 

A^. Lenin 

July 1905 



page? 



1. AN URGENT POLITICAL QUESTION 

At the present revolutionary juncture the question of the convocation of a 
popular constituent assembly is on the order of the day. Opinions are divided on 
the point as to how this question should be settled. Three political trends are to be 
observed. The tsarist government admits the necessity of convening 
representatives of the people, but it does not want under any circumstances to 
permit their assembly to be a popular and a constituent assembly. It seems willing 
to agree, if we are to believe the newspaper reports on the work of the Bulygin 
Commission,[8] to an advisory assembly, to be elected without freedom to conduct 
agitation, and on the basis of restricted qualifications or a restricted class system. 
The revolutionary proletariat, inasmuch as it is led by the Social-Democratic 
Party, demands complete transfer of power to a constituent assembly, and for this 
purpose strives to obtain not only universal suffrage and complete freedom to 
conduct agitation, but also the immediate overthrow of the tsarist government and 
its replacement by a provisional revolutionary government. Finally, the liberal 
bourgeoisie, expressing its wishes through the leaders of the so-called 
"Constitutional-Democratic Party" m does not demand the 

pages 

overthrow of the tsarist government, does not advance the slogan of a provisional 
government and does not insist on real guarantees that the elections will be 
absolutely free and fair and that the assembly of representatives will be a 
genuinely popular and a genuinely constituent assembly. As a matter of fact, the 
liberal bourgeoisie, which is the only serious social support of the 
Osvobozhdeniye trend, is striving to effect as peaceful a deal as possible between 
the tsar and the revolutionary people, a deal, moreover, that would give a 
maximum of power to itself, the bourgeoisie, and a minimum to the revolutionary 
people ~ the proletariat and the peasantry. 



Such is the pohtical situation at the present time. Such are the three main 
pohtical trends, corresponding to the three main social forces in contemporary 
Russia. We have already shown on more than one occasion (in the Proletary, Nos. 
3, 4, 5)[io] how the Osvobozhdentsi use pseudodemocratic phrases to cover up 
their halfhearted, or, to put it more bluntly and plainly, their treacherous, 
perfidious policy towards the revolution. Let us now see how the Social- 
Democrats ap praise the tasks of the moment. Excellent material for this purpose 
is provided by the two resolutions that were passed quite recently by the Third 
Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party and by the 
"Conference" of the section which has seceded from the Party. The question as to 
which of these resolutions more correctly appraises the political situation and 
more correctly defines the tactics of the revolutionary proletariat is of enormous 
importance, and every Social-Democrat who is anxious to fulfil his duties as a 
propagandist, agitator and organizer intelligently, must study this question with 
the closest attention, leaving all irrelevant considerations entirely aside. 

page 9 

By the Party's tactics we mean the Party's political conduct, or the character, the 
direction and methods of its political activity. Tactical resolutions are adopted by 
Party congresses in order precisely to define the political conduct of the Party as a 
whole with regard to new tasks, or in view of a new political situation. Such a 
new situation has been created by the revolution that has started in Russia, i.e., the 
complete, resolute and open rupture between the overwhelming majority of the 
people and the tsarist government. The new question concerns the practical 
methods to be adopted in convening a genuinely popular and genuinely 
constituent assembly (the theoretical question concerning such an assembly was 
officially settled by Social-Democracy long ago, before all other parties, in its 
Party program). Since the people have broken with the government, and the 
masses realize the necessity of setting up a new order, the party which set itself 
the object of overthrowing the government must necessarily consider what 
government to put up in place of the old, deposed government. A new question 
concerning a provisional revolutionary government arises. In order to give a 
complete answer to this question the Party of the class-conscious proletariat must 
make clear: 1) the significance of a provisional revolutionary government in the 
revolution that is now going on and in the entire struggle of the proletariat in 
general; 2) its attitude towards a provisional revolutionary government; 3) the 
precise conditions of Social-Democratic participation in this government; 4) the 
conditions under which pressure is to be brought to bear on this government from 
below, i.e., in the event of there being no Social-Democrats in it. Only after all 
these questions are made clear, will the political conduct of the Party in this 
sphere be principled, clear and firm. 

page 10 



Let us now consider how the resolution of the Third Congress of the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party answers these questions. The following is the 
full text of the resolution: 

''Resolution on a Provisional Revolutionaty Government 

"Whereas: 

"1) both the immediate interests of the proletariat and the interests of its 
struggle for the final aims of Socialism require the fullest possible measure of 
political liberty and, consequently, the replacement of the autocratic form of 
government by a democratic republic; 

"2) the establishment of a democratic republic in Russia is possible only as a 
result of a victoriaus popular insurrection whose organ will be a provisional 
revolutionary government, which alone will be capable of ensuring complete 
freedom of agitation during the election campaign and of convening a constituent 
assembly that will really express the will of the people, an assembly elected on 
the basis of universal and equal suffrage, direct elections and secret ballot; 

"3) under the present social and economic order this democratic revolution in 
Russia will not weaken, but strengthen the rule of the bourgeoisie, which at a 
certain moment will inevitably try, stopping at nothing, to take away from the 
Russian proletariat as many of the gains of the revolutionary period as possible: 

"The Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party resolves 
that: 

"a) it is necessary to disseminate among the working class a concrete idea of 
the most probable course of the revolution and of the necessity, at a certain 
moment in the revolution, for the appearance of a provisional revolutionary 

page 11 

government, from which the proletariat will demand the realization of all the 
immediate political and economic demands contained in our program (the 
minimum program); 

"b) 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 counterrevolutionary attempts and of the defence of the independent 
interests of the working class; 

"c) 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 bourgeois parties, should be strictly 
maintained; 

"d) irrespective 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." 



2. WHAT DOES THE RESOLUTION OF 

THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 

ON A PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY 

GOVERNMENT TEACH US? 

The resolution of the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour 
Party, as is evident from its title, is 

page 12 

devoted wholly and exclusively to the question of a provisional revolutionary 
government. Hence, the question as to whether Social-Democrats may participate 
in a provisional revolutionary government is included in it as part of the whole 
question. On the other hand, it deals only with a provisional revolutionary 
government and with nothing else; consequently, it completely leaves out, for 
example, the question of the "conquest of power" in general, etc. Was the 
Congress right in eliminating this and similar questions? Undoubtedly it was 
right, because the political situation in Russia does not at all give rise to such 
questions as immediate issues. On the contrary, the issue raised by the whole of 
the people at the present time is the overthrow of the autocracy and the 
convocation of a constituent assembly. Party congresses should take up and 
decide not issues which this or that writer happened to touch upon opportunely or 
inopportunely, but such as are of vital political importance by reason of the 
prevailing conditions and the objective course of social development. 

Of what importance is a provisional revolutionary government in the present 
revolution, and in the general struggle of the proletariat? The resolution of the 
Congress explains this by pointing at the very outset to the need for the "fullest 
possible measure of political liberty," both from the standpoint of the immediate 
interests of the proletariat and from the standpoint of the "final aims of 
Socialism." And complete political liberty requires that the tsarist autocracy be 
replaced by a democratic republic, as our Party program has already recognized. 
The stress laid in the Congress resolution on the slogan of a democratic republic is 
necessary both as a matter of logic and in point of principle, for it is precisely 
complete freedom that the proletariat, as the fore- 



page 13 

most champion of democracy, is striving to attain. Moreover, it is all the more 
advisable to stress this at the present time because right now the monarchists, 
namely, the so-called constitutional- "democratic" party, or party of "liberation," 
in our country, are flying the flag of "democracy." In order to establish a republic 
it is absolutely necessary to have an assembly of people's representatives; and it 
must be a popular (elected on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, direct 
elections and secret ballot), and a constituent assembly. This too is recognized in 
the Congress resolution, further on. But the resolution does not stop there. In 
order to establish the new order "that will really express the will of the people" it 
is not enough to call a representative assembly a constituent assembly. This 
assembly must have the authority and power to "constitute." Taking this into 
consideration, the resolution of the Congress does not confine itself to the formal 
slogan of a "constituent assembly," but adds the material conditions which alone 
will enable that assembly really to carry out its tasks. Such specification of the 
conditions that will enable an assembly which is constituent in name to become 
constituent in fact is imperatively necessary, for, as we have pointed out more 
than once, the liberal bourgeoisie, as represented by the Constitutional- 
Monarchist Party, is deliberately distorting the slogan of a popular constituent 
assembly and reducing it to a hollow phrase. 

The Congress resolution states that a provisional revolutionary government 
alone, one, moreover, that will be the organ of a victorious popular insurrection, 
can secure full freedom of agitation in the election campaign and convene an 
assembly that will really express the will of the people. Is this postulate correct? 
Whoever took it into his head to 

page 14 

dispute it would have to assert that it is possible for the tsarist government not to 
side with the reaction, that it is capable of being neutral during the elections, that 
it will see to it that the will of the people is really expressed. Such assertions are 
so absurd that no one would venture to defend them openly; but they are being 
surreptitiously smuggled in under liberal colours, by our liberationists. Somebody 
must convene the constituent assembly, somebody must guarantee the freedom 
and fairness of the elections; somebody must invest such an assembly with full 
power and authority. Only a revolutionary government, which is the organ of the 
insurrection, can desire this in all sincerity and be capable of doing all that is 
required to achieve this. The tsarist government will inevitably counteract this. A 
liberal government, which will come to terms with the tsar, and which does not 
rely entirely on the popular uprising, cannot sincerely desire this, and could not 
accomplish it even if it most sincerely desired to. Therefore, the resolution of the 
Congress gives the only correct and entirely consistent democratic slogan. 

But an evaluation of the significance of a provisional revolutionary government 
would be incomplete and false if the class nature of the democratic revolution 



were lost sight of. The resolution therefore adds that the revolution will strengthen 
the rule of the bourgeoisie. This is inevitable under the present, i.e., capitalist, 
social and economic system. And the strengthening of the rule of the bourgeoisie 
over the proletariat which has secured some measure of political liberty must 
inevitably lead to a desperate struggle between them for power, must lead to 
desperate attempts on the part of the bourgeoisie "to take away from the 
proletariat the gains of the revolutionary period." Therefore the 

page 15 

proletariat, which is fighting for democracy in front of all and at the head of all, 
must not for a single moment forget about the new antagonisms that are inherent 
in bourgeois democracy and about the new struggle. 

Thus, the section of the resolution which we have just reviewed fully appraises 
the significance of a provisional revolutionary government in its relation to the 
struggle for freedom and for a republic, in its relation to a constituent assembly 
and in its relation to the democratic revolution, which clears the ground for a new 
class struggle. 

The next question is what should be the attitude of the proletariat in general 
towards a provisional revolutionary government? The Congress resolution 
answers this first of all by directly advising the Party to spread among the 
working class the conviction that a provisional revolutionary government is 
necessary. The working class must be made aware of this necessity. Whereas the 
"democratic" bourgeoisie leaves the question of overthrowing the tsarist 
government in the shade, we must push it to the fore and insist on the need for a 
provisional revolutionary government. More than that, we must outline for such a 
government a program of action that will conform with the objective conditions of 
the historic period through which we are now passing and with the aims of 
proletarian democracy. This program is the entire minimum program of our Party, 
the program of the immediate political and economic reforms which, on the one 
hand, can be fully realized on the basis of the existing social and economic 
relationships and, on the other hand, are requisite for the next step forward, for the 
achievement of Socialism. 

Thus, the resolution fully elucidates the nature and aims of a provisional 
revolutionary government. By its origin and 

page 16 

fundamental nature such a government must be the organ of the popular 
insurrection. Its formal purpose must be to serve as the instrument for convening a 
popular constituent assembly. The substance of its activities must be to put into 
effect the minimum program of proletarian democracy, the only program capable 
of safeguarding the interests of the people which has risen against the autocracy. 



It might be argued that being only provisional, a provisional government cannot 
carry out a constructive program which has not yet received the approval of the 
entire people. Such an argument would merely be the sophistry of reaction aries 
and "absolutists." To abstain from carrying out a constructive program means 
tolerating the existence of the feudal regime of the putrid autocracy. Such a 
regime could be tolerated only by a government of traitors to the cause of the 
revolution, but not by a government which is the organ of a popular insurrection. 
It would be mockery for anyone to propose that we should refrain from exercising 
freedom of assembly pending the confirmation of such freedom by a constituent 
assembly, on the plea that the constituent assembly might not confirm freedom of 
assembly! It is equal mockery to object to the immediate execution of the 
minimum program by a provisional revolutionary government. 

Finally, we will note that by making it the task of the provisional revolutionary 
government to put into effect the minimum program, the resolution eliminated the 
absurd, semianarchist ideas about putting the maximum program into effect 
immediately, about the conquest of power for a socialist revolution. The degree of 
economic development of Russia (an objective condition) and the degree of class 
consciousness and organization of the broad masses of 

page 17 

the proletariat (a subjective condition inseparably connected with the objective 
condition) make the immediate complete emancipation of the working class 
impossible. Only the most ignorant people can ignore the bourgeois nature of the 
democratic revolution which is now taking place; only the most naive optimists 
can forget how little as yet the masses of the workers are informed about the aims 
of Socialism and about the methods of achieving it. And we are all convinced that 
the emancipation of the workers can be effected only by the workers themselves; 
a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class 
conscious and organized, trained and educated in open class struggle against the 
entire bourgeoisie. In answer to the anarchist objections that we are putting off the 
socialist revolution, we say: we are not putting it off, but we are taking the first 
step towards it in the only possible way, along the only correct road, namely, the 
road of a democratic republic. Whoever wants to reach Socialism by a different 
road, other than that of political democracy, will inevitably arrive at conclusions 
that are absurd and reactionary both in the economic and the political sense. If any 
workers ask us at the given moment why we should not go ahead and carry out 
our maximum program, we shall answer by pointing out how far the masses of the 
democratically-minded people still are from Socialism, how undeveloped class 
antagonisms still are, how unorganized the proletarians still are. Organize 
hundreds of thousands of workers all over Russia; enlist the sympathy of millions 
for our program! Try to do this without confining yourselves to high-sounding but 
hollow anarchist phrases ~ and you will see at once that in order to achieve this 
organization, 

page 18 



in order to spread this socialist enlightenment, we must achieve the fullest 
possible measure of democratic reforms. 

Let us proceed further. Once we are clear about the importance of a provisional 
revolutionary government and the attitude of the proletariat toward it, the 
following question arises: is it permissible for us to participate in it (action from 
above) and, if so, under what conditions? What should be our action from below? 
The resolution supplies precise answers to both these questions. It emphatically 
declares that it is permissible in principle for Social-Democrats to participate in a 
provisional revolutionary government (during the period of a democratic 
revolution, the period of struggle for a republic). By this declaration we once and 
for all dissociate ourselves both from the anarchists, who answer this question in 
the negative on principle, and from the khvostists among the Social-Democrats 
(like Martynov and the new Iskra-ists) who have tried to frighten us with the 
prospect of a situation wherein it might prove necessary for us to participate in 
such a government. By this declaration the Third Congress of the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour Party rejected, once and for all, the idea expressed by the new 
Iskra that the participation of Social-Democrats in a provisional revolutionary 
government would be a variety of Millerandism,[n] that it is impermissible in 
principle, as sanctifying the bourgeois order, etc. 

But permissibility in principle does not, of course, solve the question of 
practical expediency. Under what conditions is this new form of struggle ~ the 
struggle "from above" recognized by the Party Congress ~ expedient? It goes 
without saying that at the present time it is impossible to speak of concrete 
conditions, such as relation of forces, etc., and 

page 19 

the resolution, naturally, refrains from defining these conditions in advance. No 
intelligent person would venture at the present time to prophesy anything on this 
subject. What we can and must do is determine the nature and aim of our 
participation. This is precisely what is done in the resolution, which points out 
two obiectives of our participation: 1) a relentless struggle against 
counterrevolutionary attempts, and 2) the defence of the independent interests of 
the working class. At a time when the liberal bourgeoisie is beginning to talk 
assiduously about the psychology of reaction (see Mr. Struve's most instructive 
"Open Letter" in the Osvobozhdeniye, No. 71) in an attempt to frighten the 
revolutionary people and induce it to show compliance towards the autocracy ~ at 
such a time it is particularly appropriate for the party of the proletariat to call 
attention to the task of waging a real war against counterrevolution. In the final 
analysis, force alone settles the great problems of political liberty and the class 
struggle, and it is our business to prepare and organize this force and to employ it 
actively, not only for defence, but also for attack. The long reign of political 
reaction in Europe, which has lasted almost uninterruptedly since the days of the 
Paris Commune, has too greatly accustomed us to the idea that action can proceed 
only "from below," has too greatly inured us to seeing only defensive struggles. 



We have now, undoubtedly, entered a new era: a period of political upheavals and 
revolutions has begun. In a period such as Russia is passing through at the present 
time, it is impermissible to confine ourselves to old, stereotyped formulae. We 
must propagate the idea of action from above, we must prepare for the most 
energetic, offensive action, and must study the conditions for and forms of 

page 20 

such actions. The Congress resolution puts two of these conditions into the 
forefront: one refers to the formal aspect of Social-Democratic participation in a 
provisional revolutionary government (strict control by the Party over its 
representatives), the other to the very nature of such participation (never for an 
instant to lose sight of the aim of effecting a complete socialist revolution). 

Having thus explained from all aspects the Party's policy with regard to action 
"from above" ~ this new, hitherto almost unprecedented method of struggle ~ the 
resolution also provides for the eventuality that we shall not be able to act from 
above. We must exercise pressure on the provisional revolutionary government 
from below in any case. In order to be able to exercise this pressure from below, 
the prole tariat must be armed ~ for in a revolutionary situation matters develop 
with exceptional rapidity to the stage of open civil war ~ and must be led by the 
Social-Democratic Party. The object of its armed pressure is that of "defending, 
consolidating and extending the gains of the revolution," i.e., those gains which 
from the standpoint of the interests of the proletariat must consist in the fulfilment 
of the whole of our minimum program. 

With this we conclude our brief analysis of the resolution of the Third Congress 
on a provisional revolutionary government. As the reader can see, the resolution 
explains the importance of this new question, the attitude of the Party of the 
proletariat toward it, and the policy the Party must pursue both inside a 
provisional revolutionary government and outside of it. 

Let us now consider the corresponding resolution of the "Conference." 

page 21 



3. WHAT IS A "DECISIVE VICTORY OF THE 
REVOLUTION OVER TSARISM"? 

The resolution of the "Conference" is devoted to the question: ''The conquest of 
power and participation in a provisional government. '\n As we have already 
pointed out, the very manner in which the question is presented betrays confusion. 
On the one hand, the question is presented in a narrow way: it deals only with our 
participation in a provisional government and not with the Party's tasks in regard 
to a provisional revolutionary government in general. On the other hand, two 



totally different questions are confused, viz., the question of our participation at 
one of the stages of the democratic revolution, and the question of the socialist 
revolution. Indeed, the "conquest of power" by Social-Democracy is a socialist 
revolution, nor can it be anything else if we use these words in their direct and 
usually accepted sense. If, however, we are to understand these words to mean the 
conquest of power for a democratic revolution and not for a socialist revolution, 
then what is the point in talking not only about participation in a provisional 
revolutionary government but also about the "conquest of power" in general? 
Obviously our "Conferencers" were not very clear themselves as to what they 
should talk about: the democratic or the socialist revolution. Those who have 
followed the literature on this question know that it was Comrade Martynov, in 
his notorious Two Dictatorships, who started 



* The full text of this resolution can be reconstructed by the reader Irom the quotations given on 
pp. 400, 403, 407, 431 and 433 of this pamphlet. [Author's note to the 1907 edition. See in this 
book pp. 22, 29-30, 36-37, 80, 85-86. -Ed.] 

page 22 

this muddle: the new Iskra-i^i^ are reluctant to recall the manner in which this 
question was presented (before January 9)[i2] in that model of a khvostist work. 
Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that it exercised ideological influence on the 
Conference. 

But let us leave the title of the resolution. Its contents reveal mistakes 
incomparably more profound and serious. Here is the first part: 

"A decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism may be marked either by the 
establishment of a provisional government, which will emerge from a victorious 
popular insurrection, or by the revolutionary initiative of a representative 
institution of one kind or another, which, under direct revolutionary pressure of 
the people, decides to set up a popular constituent assembly." 

Thus, we are told that a decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism may be 
marked either by a victorious insurrection, or ... by a decision of a representative 
institution to set up a constituent assembly! What does this mean? How are we to 
understand it? A decisive victory may be marked by a "decision" to set up a 
constituent assembly?? And such a "victory" is put side by side with the 
establishment of a provisional government which will "emerge from a victorious 
popular insurrection" ! ! The Conference failed to note that a victorious popular 
insurrection and the establishment of a provisional government would signify the 
victory of the revolution in actual fact, whereas a "decision" to set up a 
constituent assembly would signify a victory of the revolution in words only. 

The Conference of the Mensheviks, or new Iskra-ists, committed the same 
error that the liberals, the Osvobozh- 



page 23 

dentsi are constantly committing. The Osvobozhdentsi prattle about a 
"constituent" assembly and bashfully shut their eyes to the fact that power and 
authority remain in the hands of the tsar, forgetting that in order to "constitute" 
one must possess tht power to do so. The Conference also forgot that it is a far 
cry from a "decision" adopted by representatives ~ no matter who they are ~ to 
the fulfilment of that decision. The Conference further forgot that so long as 
power remained in the hands of the tsar, all decisions passed by any 
representatives whatsoever would remain empty and miserable prattle, as was the 
case with the "decisions" of the Frankfurt Parliament, famous in the history of the 
German Revolution of 1848. In his Neue Rheinische Zeitung.vm Marx, the 
representative of the revolutionary proletariat, castigated the Frankfurt liberal 
Osvobozhdentsi with merciless sarcasm precisely because they uttered fine words, 
adopted all sorts of democratic "decisions," "constituted" all kinds of liberties, 
while actually they left power in the hands of the king and failed to organize an 
armed struggle against the military forces at the disposal of the king. And while 
the Frankfurt Osvobozhdentsi were prattling ~ the king bided his time, 
consolidated his military forces, and the counterrevolution, relying on real force, 
utterly routed the democrats with all their fine "decisions." 

The Conference put on a par with a decisive victory the very thing that lacks 
the essential condition of victory. How was it possible for Social-Democrats who 
recognize the republican program of our Party to commit such an error? In order 
to understand this strange phenomenon we must turn to the resolution of the Third 
Congress on the section 

page 24 

which has seceded from the Party. [*] This resolution refers to the fact that various 
trends "akin to Economism" have survived in our Party. Our "Conferencers" (it is 
not for nothing that they are under the ideological guidance of Martynov) talk of 
the revolution in exactly the same way as the Economists talked of the political 
struggle or the eight hour day. The Economists immediately gave currency to the 
"theory of stages": 1) the struggle for rights, 2) political agitation, 3) political 
struggle; or, 1) a ten-hour day, 2) a nine-hour day, 3) an eight-hour day. The 
results of this 



* We cite this resolution in full. "The Congress places on record that since the time of the 
Party's fight against Economism, certain trends have survived in the R.S.D.L.P. which, in various 
degrees and respects, are akin to Economism and which betray a common tendency to belittle the 
importance of the elements of consciousness in the proletarian struggle, and to subordinate it to 
the element of spontaneity. On questions of organization, the representatives of these trends put 
forward, in theory, the organization-as-a-process principle, which is out of harmony with 
methodical Party work, while in practice they systematically deviate from Party discipline in very 
many cases, and in other cases preach to the least enlightened section of the Party the idea of a 
wide application of the elective principle, without taking into consideration the objeceive 
conditions of Russian life, and so strive to undermine the only basis for Party ties that is possible 



at the present time. In tactical questions they betray a striving to narrow the scope of Party work, 
declaring their opposition to the Party pursuing completely independent tactics in relation to the 
liberal-bourgeois parties, denying that it is possible and desirable for our Party to assume the role 
of organizer in the people's insurrection and opposing the participation of the Party in a 
provisional democratic revolutionary government under any conditions whatsoever. 

"The Congress instructs all Party members everywhere to conduct an energetic ideological 
struggle against such partial deviations from the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy; at 
the same time, however, it is of the opinion that persons who share such views to any degree may 
belong to Party organizations on the indispensable condition that they recognize the Party 
congresses and the Party Rules and wholly submit to Party discipline." [Author's note to the 1907 
edition.] 

page 25 

"tactics-as-a-process" are sufficiently well known to all. Now we are invited 
nicely to divide the revolution too in advance into the following stages: 1) the tsar 
convenes a representative body; 2) this representative body "decides" under 
pressure of the "people" to set up a constituent assembly; 3) . . . the Mensheviks 
have not yet agreed among themselves as to the third stage; they have forgotten 
that the revolutionary pressure of the people will meet with the 
counterrevolutionary pressure of tsarism and that, therefore, either the "decision" 
will remain unfulfilled or the issue will be decided after all by the victory or the 
defeat of the popular insurrection. The resolution of the Conference is an exact 
reproduction of the following reasoning of the Economists: a decisive victory of 
the workers may be marked either by the realization of the eight-hour day in a 
revolutionary way, or by the grant of a ten-hour day and a "decision" to go over to 
a nine-hour day. . . . Exactly the same. 

It may be objected, perhaps, that the authors of the resolution did not mean to 
place the victory of an insurrection on a par with the "decision" of a 
representative institution convened by the tsar, that they only wanted to provide 
for the Party's tactics in either case. To this our answer would be: 1) The text of 
the resolution plainly and unambiguously describes the decision of a 
representative institution as "a decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism." 
Perhaps that is the result of careless wording, perhaps it could be corrected after 
consulting the minutes, but, so long as it is not corrected, the present wording can 
have only one meaning, and this meaning is entirely in keeping with the 
Osvobozhdeniye line of reasoning. 2) The Osvobozbdeniye line of reasoning, into 
which the authors of the resolution have drifted, 

page 26 

Stands out in incomparably greater relief in other literary productions of the new 
Iskra-ists. For instance, the organ of the Tiflis Committee, Sotsial-Demokratiu] 
(in the Georgian language; praised by the Iskra in No. 100), in the article "The 
Zemsky Sobor and Our Tactics," goes so far as to say that the "tactics" "which 
make the Zemsky Sobor the centre of our activities" (about the convocation of 
which, we may add, nothing definite is known as yet!) ''are more advantageous 
for us'' than the "tactics" of armed insurrection and the establishment of a 



provisional revolutionary government. We shall refer to this article again further 
on. 3) No objection can be made to a preliminary discussion of what tactics the 
Party should adopt in the event of the victory of the revolution as well as in the 
event of its defeat, in the event of a successful insurrection as well as in the event 
of the insurrection failing to develop into a serious force. It is possible that the 
tsarist government will succeed in convening a representative assembly for the 
purpose of coming to terms with the liberal bourgeoisie; providing for that 
eventuality, the resolution of the Third Congress speaks plainly about 
"hypocritical policy," "pseudo democracy," "a travesty of popular representation, 
something like the so-called Zemsky Sobor."* But the whole point is that this 



* The following is the text of this resolution on the attitude towards the tactics of the 
government on the eve of the revolution: 

"Whereas for purposes of self-preservation the government during the present revolutionary 
period, while intensifying the usual measures of repression directed mainly against the class- 
conscious elements of the proletariat, at the same time 1) tries by means of concessions and 
promises of reform to corrupt the working class politically and thereby to divert it from the 
revolutionary struggle; 2) with the same object clothes its hypocritical policy of concessions in 
pseudodemocratic forms, beginning with an invitation to the workers to elect their representatives 
to com-[cont. onto p. 27 - djr] missions and conferences and ending with the establishment of a 
travesty of popular representation, something like the so-called Zemsky Sobor; 3) organizes the 
so-called Black Hundreds and incites against the revolution all those elements of the people in 
general who are reactionary, ignorant or blinded by racial or religious hatred: 

"The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. resolves to call on all Party organizations: 

"a) while exposing the reactionary purpose of the government's con cessions, to emphasize in 
their propaganda and agitation the fact that, on the one hand, these concessions were granted under 
compulsion, and, on the other, that it is absolutely impossible for the autocracy to grant reforms 
satisfactory to the proletariat; 

"b) taking advantage of the election campaign, to explain to the workers the real significance of 
the government's measures and to show that it is necessary for the proletariat to convene by 
revolutionary means a constituent assembly on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, direct 
elections and secret ballot; 

"c) to organize the proletariat for the immediate realization, in a revolutionary way, of the eight- 
hour working day and of the other immediate demands of the working class; 

"d) to organize armed resistance to the actions of the Black Hundreds, and generally, of all 
reactionary elements led by the government." [Author's note to the 1907 edition.] 

page 27 

is not said in the resolution on a provisional revolutionary government, for it has 
nothing to do with a provisional revolutionary government. This eventuality 
defers the problem of the insurrection and of the establishment of a provisional 
revolutionary government; it alters this problem, etc. The point in question now is 
not that all kinds of combinations are possible, that both victory and defeat are 
possible, that there may be direct or circuitous paths; the point is that it is 
impermissible for a Social-Democrat to cause confusion in the minds of the 
workers concerning the genuinely revolutionary path, that it is impermissible, to 
describe in the Osvobozhdeniye manner, as a decisive victory that which lacks the 
main requisite for victory. It is possible that even 



page 28 

the eight-hour day we will get not at one stroke, but only by a long and 
roundabout way; but what would you say of a man who calls such impotence, 
such weakness as renders the proletariat incapable of counteracting 
procrastination, delays, haggling, treachery and reaction, a victory for the 
workers? It is possible that the Russian revolution will end in an "abortive 
constitution," as was once stated in the Vperyod.vn but can this justify a Social- 
Democrat, who on the eve of a decisive struggle would call this abortion a 
"decisive victory over tsarism"? It is possible that, at the worst, not only will we 
not win a republic, but that even the constitution we will get will be an illusory 
one, a constitution "a la Shipov,"[i5] but would it be pardonable for a Social- 
Democrat to obscure our slogan of a republic? 

Of course the new Iskra-ists have not as yet gone so far as to obscure it. But the 
degree to which the revolutionary spirit has fled from them, the degree to which 
lifeless pedantry has blinded them to the militant tasks of the moment is most 
vividly shown by the fact that in their resolution they, of all things, forgot to say a 
word about the republic. It is incredible, but it is a fact. All the slogans of Social- 
Democracy were endorsed, repeated, explained and presented in detail in the 
various resolutions of the Conference ~ even the election of shop stewards and 
deputies by the workers 



* The newspaper Vperyod, published in Geneva, began to sppear in January 1905 as the organ 
of the Bolshevik section of the Party. From January to May, eighteen issues appeared. After May, 
by virtue of the decision of the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democrat ic Labour Party, 
the Proletary was issued in place of the Vperyod as the central organ of the R.S.D.L.P. (This 
Congress took place in May, in London; the Mensheviks did not appear; they organized their own 
"Conference" in Geneva.) [Author's note to the 1907 edition.] 

page 29 

was not forgotten, but in a resolution on a provisional revolutionary government 
they simply did not find occasion to mention the republic. To talk of the "victory" 
of the people's insurrection, of the establishment of a provisional government, and 
not to indicate what relation these "steps" and acts have to the winning of a 
republic ~ means writing a resolution not for the guidance of the proletarian 
struggle, but for the purpose of hobbling along at the tail end of the proletarian 
movement. 

To sum up: the first part of the resolution 1) gave no explanation whatever of 
the significance of a provisional revolutionary government from the standpoint of 
the struggle for a republic and of securing a genuinely popular and genuinely 
constituent assembly; 2) confused the democratic consciousness of the proletariat 
by placing on a par with a decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism a state of 
affairs in which precisely the main requisite for a real victory is lacking. 



4. THE ABOLITION OP THE MONARCHIST 
SYSTEM AND THE REPUBLIC 

Let us pass on to the next section of the resolution: 

"... in either case such a victory will inaugurate a new phase in the 
revolutionary epoch. 

"The task which the objective conditions of social development spontaneously 
raise in this new phase is the final abolition of the whole regime of social estates 
and of the monarchy in the process of mutual struggle among the elements of 
politically emancipated bourgeois society for the 

page 30 

satisfaction of their social interests and for the direct acquisition of power. 

"Therefore, the provisional government that would undertake to carry out the 
tasks of this revolution, which by its historical nature is a bourgeois revolution, 
would also, in regulating the mutual struggle of the antagonistic classes within the 
nation in the process of emancipation, not only have to push revolutionary 
development further forward but also fight against those of its factors which 
threaten the foundation of the capitalist system." 

Let us examine this section which forms an independent part of the resolution. 
The idea underlying the above-quoted arguments coincides with that stated in the 
third clause of the Congress resolution. But in comparing these parts of the two 
resolutions, the following radical difference at once becomes apparent. The 
Congress resolution, describing in a few words the social and economic basis of 
the revolution, concentrates attention entirely on the sharply defined struggle of 
classes for definite gains and places the militant tasks of the proletariat in the 
forefront. The resolution of the Conference, in a long, nebulous and confused 
description of the social and economic basis of the revolution, speaks very 
vaguely about a struggle for definite gains and leaves the militant tasks of the 
proletariat altogether in the shade. The resolution of the Conference speaks of the 
abolition of the old order in the process of mutual struggle among the various 
elements of society. The Congress resolution says that we, the Party of the 
proletariat, must effect this abolition, that only the establishment of a democratic 
republic signifies the real abolition of the old order, that we must win such a 
republic, that we shall fight for it and for complete liberty, not only against the 
autocracy, but also against 

page 31 



the bourgeoisie, when it attempts (for it will surely attempt) to wrest our gains 
from us. The Congress resolution calls on a definite class to wage a struggle for a 
precisely defined immediate aim. The resolution of the Conference discourses on 
the mutual struggle of various forces. One resolution expresses the psychology of 
active struggle, the other expresses that of the passive onlooker; one resounds 
with the call for live action, the other is steeped in lifeless pedantry. Both 
resolutions state that the present revolution is only our first step, which will be 
followed by a second; but from this, one resolution draws the conclusion that we 
must all the more quickly make this first step, all the more quickly get it over, win 
a republic, mercilessly crush the counterrevolution and prepare the ground for the 
second step. The other resolution, however, oozes, so to speak, with verbose 
descriptions of the first step and (excuse the vulgar expression) chews the cud 
over it. The resolution of the Congress takes the old and eternally new ideas of 
Marxism (about the bourgeois nature of a democratic revolution) as a preface or 
first premise from which it draws conclusions as to the progressive tasks of the 
advanced class, which is fighting both for the democratic and for the socialist 
revolution. The resolution of the Conference does not go beyond the preface, 
chewing it over and over again and trying to be clever about it. 

This is the very distinction which has long divided the Russian Marxists into 
two wings: the moralizing and the militant wings of the old days of "legal 
Marxism," and the economic and political wings of the period of the nascent mass 
movement. From the correct premise of Marxism concerning the deep economic 
roots of the class struggle in general and of the political struggle in particular, the 
Econ- 

page 32 

omists drew the singular conclusion that we must turn our backs on the political 
struggle and retard its development, narrow its scope and reduce its aims. The 
political wing, on the contrary, drew a different conclusion from these same 
premises, namely, that the deeper the roots of our struggle at the present time, the 
more widely, the more boldly, the more resolutely and with greater initiative must 
we wage this struggle. We have the very same controversy before us now, only 
under different circumstances and in a different form. From the premises that a 
democratic revolution is far from being a socialist one, that the propertyless are 
not by any means the only ones to be "interested" in it, that it is deeply rooted in 
the inexorable needs and requirements of the whole of bourgeois society ~ from 
these premises we draw the conclusion that the advanced class must formulate its 
democratic aims all the more boldly, express them all the more sharply and 
completely, put forward the direct slogan of a republic, popularize the idea that a 
provisional revolutionary government is needed and that it is necessary ruthlessly 
to crush the counterrevolution. Our opponents, the new Iskra-ists, however, 
deduce from these very same premises that the democratic conclusions should not 
be expressed fully, that the slogan of a republic may be omitted from the practical 
slogans, that we can refrain from popularizing the idea that a provisional 
revolutionary government is needed, that a mere decision to convene a constituent 



assembly can be termed a decisive victory that we need not advance the task of 
combating counterrevolution as our active aim but that we may submerge it in a 
nebulous (and, as we shall presently see, wrongly formulated) reference to a 
"process of mutual struggle." This is not the language of political leaders, but of 
archive mummies. 

page 33 

And the more closely one examines the various formulae in the new Iskra-ist 
resolution, the clearer its aforementioned basic features become. We are told, for 
instance, of a "process of mutual struggle among the elements of politically 
emancipated bourgeois society." Bearing in mind the subject with which this 
resolution deals (a provisional revolutionary government) one asks in 
astonishment: if you are referring to the process of mutual struggle, how can you 
keep silent about the elements which are politically enslaving bourgeois society? 
Do the "Conferencers" really imagine that because they have assumed that the 
revolution will be victorious these elements have already disappeared? Such an 
idea would be absurd in general, and would be an expression of the greatest 
political na&iumlvete and political shortsightedness in particular. After the 
victory of the revolution over the counterrevolution, the latter will not disappear; 
on the contrary, it will inevitably start a new and even more desperate struggle. 
Since the purpose of our resolution is to analyze the tasks that will confront us 
when the revolution is victorious, it is our duty to devote enormous attention to 
the tasks of repelling counterrevolutionary attacks (as is done in the resolution of 
the Congress), and not submerge these immediate, urgent and vital political tasks 
of a militant party in general discussions on what will happen after the present 
revolutionary period, what will happen when a "politically emancipated society" 
will already be in existence. Just as the Economists, by repeating the general 
truism that politics are subordinated to economics, covered up their failure to 
understand current political tasks, so the new Iskra-ists, by repeating the general 
truism that struggles will take place in a politically emancipated society, cover up 
their failure to understand the urgent 

page34 

revolutionary tasks of the political emancipation of this society. 

Take the expression "the final abolition of the whole regime of social estates 
and the monarchy." In plain language, the final abolition of the monarchist system 
means the establishment of a democratic republic. But our good Martynov and his 
admirers think that this expression is far too simple and clear. They insist on 
rendering it "more profound" and saying it more "cleverly." As a result, we get, 
on the one hand, ridiculous and vain efforts to appear profound; on the other hand, 
we get a description instead of a slogan, a sort of melancholy looking backward 
instead of a stirring appeal to march forward. We get the impression, not of living 
people eager to fight for a republic here and now, but of fossilized mummies who 



sub specie aeternitatisim consider the question from the standpoint of 
plusquamperfectum.[iT\ 

Let us proceed further: "... the provisional government . . . would undertake to 
carry out the tasks of this . . . bourgeois revolution." . . . Here we see at once the 
result of the fact that our "Conferencers" have overlooked a concrete question 
which confronts the political leaders of the proletariat. The concrete question of a 
provisional revolutionary government was obscured from their field of vision by 
the question of the future series of governments which will carry out the aims of 
the bourgeois revolution in general. If you want to consider the question 
"historically," the example of any European country will show you that it was a 
series of governments, not by any means "provisional," that carried out the 
historical aims of the bourgeois revolution, that even the governments which 
defeated the revolution were nonetheless forced to 

page 35 

carry out the historical aims of that defeated revolution. But what is called a 
"provisional revolutionary government" is something altogether different from 
what you are referring to: that is the name given to the government of a 
revolutionary epoch, which directly replaces the overthrown government and rests 
on the insurrection of the people, and not on some kind of representative 
institutions coming from the people. A provisional revolutionary government is 
the organ of struggle for the immediate victory of the revolution, for immediately 
repelling counterrevolutionary attempts, and not by any means an organ for 
carrying out the historical aims of the bourgeois revolution in general. Gentlemen, 
let us leave it to the future historians of a future Russkaya Starinans] to determine 
exactly what aims of the bourgeois revolution we, or this or that government, 
shall have achieved ~ there will be time enough to do that thirty years from now; 
at present we must put forward slogans and give practical directives for the 
struggle for a republic and for the proletariat's most active participation in this 
struggle. 

For the reasons stated, the last propositions in the section of the resolution 
which we have quoted above are also unsatisfactory. The expression that the 
provisional government would have to "regulate" the mutual struggle among the 
antagonistic classes is exceedingly inapt, or at any rate awkwardly put; Marxists 
should not use such liberal, Osvobozhdeniye formulations, which lead one to 
believe that it is possible to have governments which serve not as organs of the 
class struggle but as its "regulators". . . . The government would "not only have to 
push revolutionary development further forward but also fight against those of its 
factors which threaten the foundations of the capitalist system." But it is the 
proletariat, the very same in whose 

page 36 



name the resolution is speaking, that constitutes this "factor" ! Instead of 
indicating just how the proletariat should "push revolutionary development further 
forward" at the present time (push it further than the constitutionalist bourgeois 
would care to go), instead of advice to prepare definite ways and means of 
combating the bourgeoisie when the latter turns against the conquests of the 
revolution, we are offered a general description of a process, which does not say a 
word about the concrete aims of our activity. The new Iskra-ist method of 
expressing its views reminds one of Marx's opinion (in his famous "theses" on 
Feuerbach) of the old materialism, which was alien to the ideas of dialectics. The 
philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways, said Marx, the 
point, however, is to change it.[i9] Similarly, the new Iskra-ists can give a 
tolerable description and explanation of the process of struggle which is taking 
place before their eyes, but they are altogether incapable of giving a correct 
slogan for this struggle. Good marchers but bad leaders, they belittle the 
materialist conception of history by ignoring the active, leading and guiding part 
in history which can and must be played by parties that understand the material 
prerequisites of a revolution and that have placed themselves at the head of the 
progressive classes. 



5. HOW SHOULD "THE REVOLUTION BE 
PUSHED FORWARD"? 

Let us quote the next section of the resolution: 

"Under such conditions, Social-Democracy must strive to maintain during the 
whole course of the revolution, a posi- 

page 37 

tion which will best of all secure for it the possibility of pushing the revolution 
forward, which will not tie the hands of Social-Democracy in its struggle against 
the inconsistent and self-seeking policy of the bourgeois parties and which will 
preserve it from being merged in bourgeois democracy. 

"Therefore, Social-Democracy must not set itself the aim of seizing or sharing 
power in the provisional government, but must remain the party of extreme 
revolutionary opposition." 

The advice to occupy a position which best secures the possibility of pushing 
the revolution forward pleases us very much indeed. We only wish that, in 
addition to this good advice, they had given a direct indication as to how Social- 
Democracy should push the revolution further forward right now, in the present 
political situation, in a period of rumours, conjectures, talk and schemes about the 
convocation of representatives of the people. Can the revolution be pushed further 
forward now by one who fails to understand the danger of the Osvobozhdeniye 



theory of "compromise" between the people and the tsar, by one who calls a mere 
"decision" to convene a constituent assembly a victory, who does not set himself 
the task of carrying on active propaganda for the idea that a provisional 
revolutionary government is necessary, or who leaves the slogan of a democratic 
republic in the shade? Such people actually push the revolution backward, 
because, as far as practical politics are concerned, they have halted on the level of 
the Osvobozhdentsi. What is the use of their recognition of a program which 
demands that the autocracy be replaced by a republic, when in a resolution on 
tactics that defines the Party's present and immediate tasks in the period of 
revolution they omit the slogan of a struggle for a republic? Actually it is the 
position of the Osvobozhdentsi, the posi- 

page 40 

ignorant of what is now taking place in Russia can doubt the existence of the 
elements of such a party. We propose to lead (if the course of the great Russian 
revolution is successful) not only the proletariat, organized by the Social- 
Democratic Party, but also this petty bourgeoisie, which is capable of marching 
side by side with us. 

In its resolution the Conference unconsciously descends to the level of the 
liberal and monarchist bourgeoisie. The Party Congress in its resolution 
consciously raises to its own level those elements of the revolutionary democracy 
that are capable of waging a struggle and not of acting as brokers. 

Such elements are mostly to be found among the peasants. In classifying the 
big social groups according to their political tendencies we can, without danger of 
serious error, identify revolutionary and republican democracy with the mass of 
the peasants ~ of course, in the same sense and with the same reservations and 
implied conditions as we can identify the working class with Social-Democracy. 
In other words, we can also formulate our conclusions in the following terms: in a 
revolutionary period the Conference in its national^ political slogans 
unconsciously descends to the level of the mass of the landlords. The Party 
Congress in its national political slogans raises the peasant masses to the 
revolutionary level. We challenge anyone who because of this conclusion may 
accuse us of evincing a penchant for paradoxes, to refute the proposition that if 
we are not strong enough to bring the revolution to a successful conclusion, if the 
revolution terminates in a "decisive victory" in the Osvobozhdentsi sense, i.e., 
exclusively in the form of a rep- 



* We are not referring here to the special peasant slogans which were dealt with in separate 
resolutions. 



page 41 



resentative assembly convened by the tsar, which could be called a constituent 
assembly only in derision ~ then this will be a revolution in which the landlord 
and big bourgeois element will preponderate. On the other hand, if we are 
destined to live through a really great revolution, if history prevents a 
"miscarriage" this time, if we are strong enough to carry the revolution to a 
successful conclusion, to a decisive victory, not in the Osvobozhdeniye or the new 
Iskra sense of the word, then it will be a revolution in which the peasant and 
proletarian element will preponderate. 

Some people may, perhaps, interpret our admission that such a preponderance 
is possible as a renunciation of the view that the impending revolution will be 
bourgeois in character. This is very likely, considering how this concept is 
misused in the Iskra. For this reason it will not be at all superfluous to dwell on 
this question. 



6. FROM WHAT DIRECTION IS THE PROLETARIAT 

THREATENED WITH THE DANGER OF HAVING 

ITS HANDS TIED IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST 

THE INCONSISTENT BOURGEOISIE? 

Marxists are absolutely convinced of the bourgeois character of the Russian 
revolution. What does this mean? It means that the democratic reforms in the 
political system and the social and economic reforms, which have become a 
necessity for Russia, do not in themselves imply the undermining of capitalism, 
the undermining of bourgeois rule; on the contrary, they will, for the first time, 
really clear the ground for a wide and rapid, European, and not Asiatic, 
development of capitalism; they will, for the first time, make 

page 42 

it possible for the bourgeoisie to rule as a class. The Socialist-Revolutionaries 
cannot grasp this idea, for they are ignorant of the rudiments of the laws of 
development of commodity and capitalist praduction; they fail to see that even the 
complete success of a peasant insurrection, even the redistribution of the whole of 
the land for the benefit of the peasants and in accordance with their desires 
("Black Redistribution" or something of that kind), will not destroy capitalism at 
all, but will, on the contrary, give an impetus to its development and hasten the 
class disintegration of the peasantry itself. The failure to grasp this truth makes 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries unconscious ideologists of the petty bourgeoisie. 
Insistence on this truth is of enormous importance for Social-Democracy, not only 
from the theoretical standpoint but also from the standpoint of practical politics, 
for from it follows that the complete class independence of the party of the 
proletariat in the present "general democratic" movement is obligatory. 



But it does not at all follow from this that a democratic revolution (bourgeois in 
its social and economic substance) is not of enormous interest for the proletariat. 
It does not at all follow from this that the democratic revolution cannot take place 
in a form advantageous mainly to the big capitalist, the financial magnate and the 
"enlightened" landlord, as well as in a form advantageous to the peasant and to 
the worker. 

The new Iskra-ists thoroughly misunderstand the meaning and significance of 
the category: bourgeois revolution. Through their arguments there constantly runs 
the idea that a bourgeois revolution is a revolution which can be advantageous 
only to the bourgeoisie. And yet nothing is more erroneous than such an idea. A 
bourgeois revolution is a 

page 43 

revolution which does not go beyond the limits of the bourgeois, i.e., capitalist, 
social and economic system. A bourgeois revolution expresses the need for the 
development of capitalism, and far from destroying the foundations of capitalism, 
it does the opposite, it broadens and deepens them. This revolution therefore 
expresses the interests not only of the working class, but of the entire bourgeoisie 
as well. Since the rule of the bourgeoisie over the working class is inevitable 
under capitalism, it is quite correct to say that a bourgeois revolution expresses 
the interests not so much of the proletariat as of the bourgeoisie. But it is entirely 
absurd to think that a bourgeois revolution does not express the interests of the 
proletariat at all. This absurd idea boils down either to the hoary Narodnik theory 
that a bourgeois revolution runs counter to the interests of the proletariat, and that 
therefore we do not need bourgeois political liberty; or to anarchism, which 
rejects all participation of the proletariat in bourgeois politics, in a bourgeois 
revolution and in bourgeois parliamentarism. From the standpoint of theory, this 
idea disregards the elementary propositions of Marxism concerning the 
inevitability of capitalist development where commodity production exists. 
Marxism teaches that a society which is based on commodity production, and 
which has commercial intercourse with civilized capitalist nations, at a certain 
stage of its development, itself, inevitably takes the road of capitalism. Marxism 
has irrevocably broken with the ravings of the Narodniks and the anarchists to the 
effect that Russia, for instance, can avoid capitalist development, jump out of 
capitalism, or skip over it and proceed along some path other than the path of the 
class struggle on the basis and within the framework of this same capitalism. 

page 44 

All these principles of Marxism have been proved and explained over and over 
again in minute detail in general and with regard to Russia in particular. And from 
these principles it follows that the idea of seeking salvation for the working class 
in anything save the further development of capitalism is reactionary. In countries 
like Russia, the working class suffers not so much from capitalism as from the 
insufficient development of capitalism. The working class is therefore decidedly 



interested in the broadest, freest and most rapid development of capitalism. The 
removal of all the remnants of the old order which are hampering the broad, free 
and rapid development of capitalism is of decided advantage to the working class. 
The bourgeois revolution is precisely a revolution that most resolutely sweeps 
away the survivals of the past, the remnants of serfdom (which include not only 
autocracy but monarchy as well) and most fully guarantees the broadest, freest 
and most rapid development of capitalism. 

That is why a bourgeois revolution is in the highest degree advantageous to the 
proletariat. A bourgeois revolution is absolutely necessary in the interests of the 
proletariat. The more complete and determined, the more consistent the bourgeois 
revolution, the more assured will be the proletarian struggle against the 
bourgeoisie for Socialism. Only those who are ignorant of the rudiments of 
scientific Socialism can regard this conclusion as new or strange, paradoxical. 
And from this conclusion, among other things, follows the thesis that, in a certain 
sense, a bourgeois revolution is more advantageous to the proletariat than to the 
bourgeoisie. This thesis is unquestionably correct in the following sense: it is to 
the advantage of the bourgeoisie to rely on certain remnants of the past as against 
the proletariat, for instance, on 

page 45 

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. Social-Democrats often 
express this idea somewhat differently by stating that the bourgeoisie betrays its 
own self, that the bourgeoisie betrays the cause of liberty, that the bourgeoisie is 
incapable of being consistently democratic. 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 spare the "venerable" 
institutions of serfdom (such as the monarchy) as much as possible; 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 
procrastination, 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 



page 46 

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. 

So it is not only because of the censorship, not only "for fear of the Jews," that 
our bourgeois-liberal press deplores the possibility of a revolutionary way, is 
afraid of revolution, tries to frighten the tsar with the bogey of revolution, is 
anxious to avoid revolution, grovels and toadies for the sake of miserable reforms 
as a basis for a reformist way. This standpoint is shared not only by the Russkiye 
Vyedomosti, Syn Otechestva, Nasha Zhizn and Nashi Dni, but also by the illegal, 
uncensored Osvobozhdeniye. The very position the bourgeoisie occupies as a 
class in capitalist society inevitably causes it to be inconsistent in a democratic 
revolution. The very position the proletariat occupies as a class compels it to be 
consistently democratic. The bourgeoisie looks backward, fearing democratic 
progress, which threatens to strengthen the proletariat. The proletariat has nothing 
to lose but its chains, but with the aid of democracy it has the whole world to 
gain. That is why the more consistent the bourgeois revolution is in its democratic 
changes, the less will it limit itself to what is of advantage exclusively to the 
bourgeoisie. The more consistent the bourgeois revolution, the more does it 
guarantee the proletariat and the peasantry the benefits accruing from the 
democratic revolution. 

Marxism 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 

page 47 

part in it, to fight most resolutely for consistent proletarian democracy, for 
carrying the revolution to its conclusion. We cannot jump out of the bourgeois- 
democratic boundaries of the Russian revolution, but we can vastly extend these 
boundaries, and within these boundaries we can and must fight for the interests of 
the proletariat, for its immediate needs and for the conditions that will make it 
possible to prepare its forces for the future complete victory. There is bourgeois 
democracy and bourgeois democracy. The Monarchist-Zemstvo-ist,[20] who 
favours an upper chamber, and who "asks" for universal suffrage while secretly, 
on the sly, striking a bargain with tsarism for a curtailed constitution, is also a 
bourgeois-democrat. And the peasant who is fighting, arms in hand, against the 
landlords and the government officials and with a "na&iumlve republicanism" 
proposes "to kick out the tsar"[*] is also a bourgeois-democrat. There are 
bourgeois-democratic regimes like the one in Germany and also in England, like 
the one in Austria and also like those in America or Switzerland. He would be a 
fine Marxist indeed, who in a period of democratic revolution failed to see the 
difference between the degrees of democracy, the difference of its various forms 



and confined himself to "clever" remarks to the effect that, after all, this is "a 
bourgeois revolution," the fruits of a "bourgeois revolution." 

Our new Iskra-ists are just such clever fellows flaunting their shortsightedness. 
They confine themselves to disquisitions on the bourgeois character of the 
revolution just when and where it is necessary to be able to draw a distinction 
between republican-revolutionary and monarchist-liberal bourgeois democracy, to 
say nothing of the distinction be- 



* See the Osvobozbdeniye, No. 71, page 337, footnote 2 
page 48 

tween inconsistent bourgeois democratism and consistent proletarian 
democratism. They are satisfied ~ as if they had really become like the "man in 
the muffler" [2i] ~ to converse dolefully about a "process of mutual struggle of 
antagonistic classes," when the question is one of giving democratic leadership in 
the present revolution, of emphasizing progressive democratic slogans as 
distinguished from the treacherous slogans of Mr. Struve and Co., of bluntly and 
straight forwardly stating the immediate aims of the really revolutionary struggle 
of the proletariat and the peasantry, as distinguished from the liberal haggling of 
the landlords and factory owners. Such is now the substance of the question, 
which you, gentlemen, have missed: will our revolution result in a real, immense 
victory, or merely in a wretched deal, will it go so far as the revolutionary- 
democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, or will it "peter out" 
in a liberal constitution a la Shipov? 

At first sight it may appear that in raising this question we are deviating entirely 
from our subject. But this may appear to be so only at first sight. As a matter of 
fact, it is precisely this question that lies at the root of the diffetence in principle 
which has already become clearly marked between the Social-Democratic tactics 
of the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party and the 
tactics initiated by the Conference of the new /^/:ra-ists. The latter have already 
taken not two but three steps back, resurrecting the mistakes of Economism in 
solving problems that are incomparably more complex, more important and more 
vital to the workers' party, viz., questions of its tactics in time of revolution. That 
is why we must analyze the question we have raised with all due attention. 

page 49 

The section of the new Iskra-ist resolution which we have quoted above points to 
the danger of Social-Democracy tying its hands in the struggle against the 
inconsistent policy of the bourgeoisie, of its becoming dissolved in bourgeois 
democracy. The idea of this danger runs like a thread through all the literature 
typical of the new Iskra, it is the real pivot of the principle involved in our Party 
split (ever since the elements of squabbling in this split were wholly eclipsed by 



the elements of a turn towards Economism). And without any equivocation we 
admit that this danger really exists, that just at the present time, at the height of 
the Russian revolution, this danger has become particularly grave. The pressing 
and extremely responsible duty that devolves on all of us theoreticians or ~ as I 
should prefer to say of myself ~ publicists of Social-Democracy, is to find out 
from what direction this danger actually threatens. For the source of our 
disagreement is not a dispute as to whether such a danger exists, but the dispute as 
to whether it is caused by the so-called khvostism of the "Minority" or the so- 
called revolutionism of the "Majority." 

To obviate all misinterpretations and misunderstandings, let us first of all note 
that the danger to which we are referring lies not in the subjective, but in the 
objective aspect of the matter, not in the formal position which Social-Democracy 
will take in the struggle, but in the material outcome of the entire present 
revolutionary struggle. The question is not whether this or that Social-Democratic 
group will want to dissolve in bourgeois democracy or whether they are conscious 
of the fact that they are merging. Nobody suggests that. We do not suspect any 
Social-Democrat of harbouring such a desire, and this is not at all a question of 
desires. Nor is it a question of whether this or that Social- 
page 50 

Democratic group will formally retain its separate identity, individuality and 
independence of bourgeois democracy throughout the course of the revolution. 
They may not only proclaim such "independence" but even retain it formally, and 
yet it may turn out that their hands will nonetheless be tied in the struggle against 
the inconsistency of the bourgeoisie. The final political result of the revolution 
may prove to be that, in spite of the formal "independence" of Social-Democracy, 
in spite of its complete organizational individuality as a separate party, it will in 
fact not be independent, it will not be able to put the imprint of its proletarian 
independence on the course of events, will prove so weak that, on the whole and 
in the last analysis, its "dissolving" in the bourgeois democracy will nonetheless 
be a historical fact. 

That is what constitutes the real danger. Now let us see from what direction the 
danger threatens: from the fact that Social-Democracy as represented by the new 
Iskra is deviating to the Right ~ as we believe; or from the fact that Social- 
Democracy as represented by the "Majority," the Vperyod, etc., is deviating to the 
Left ~ as the new Iskra-ists believe. 

The answer to this question, as we have pointed out, depends on the objective 
combination of the actions of the various social forces. The character of these 
forces has been defined theoretically by the Marxian analysis of Russian life; at 
the present time it is being defined in practice by the open action of groups and 
classes in the course of the revolution. Thus, the entire theoretical analysis made 
by the Marxists long before the period we are now passing through, as well as all 



the practical observations of the development of revolutionary events, show that 
from the standpoint of objec- 

page 51 

tive conditions there are two possible courses and outcomes of the revolution in 
Russia. A change in the economic and political system in Russia along bourgeois- 
democratic lines is inevitable and unavoidable. No power on earth can prevent 
such a change. But the combined actions of the existing forces which are effecting 
that change may result in one of two things, may bring about one of two forms of 
that change. Either 1) the result will be a "decisive victory of the revolution over 
tsarism," or 2) the forces will be inadequate for a decisive victory and the matter 
will end in a deal between tsarism and the most "inconsistent" and most "self- 
seeking" elements of the bourgeoisie. All the infinite variety of detail and 
combinations, which no one is able to foresee, reduce themselves ~ in general and 
on the whole ~ to either the one or the other of these two outcomes. 

Let us now consider these two outcomes, first, from the standpoint of their 
social significance and, secondly, from the standpoint of the position of Social- 
Democracy (its "dissolving" or "having its hands tied") in one or the other case. 

What is a "decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism"? We have already 
seen that in using this expression the new Iskra-ists fail to grasp even its 
immediate political significance. Still less do they seem to understand the class 
essence of this concept. Surely, we Marxists must not under any circumstances 
allow ourselves to be deluded by words such as "revolution" or "the great Russian 
revolution," as do many revolutionary democrats (of the Gapon type). We must be 
perfectly clear in our minds as to what real social forces are opposed to "tsarism" 
(which is a real force, perfectly intelligible to all) and are capable of gaining a 
"decisive victory" over it. Such a force cannot be the big bour- 

page 52 

geoisie, the landlords, the factory owners, "society" which follows the lead of the 
Osvobozhdentsi. We see that these do not even want a decisive victory. We know 
that owing to their class position they are incapable of waging a decisive struggle 
against tsarism; they are too heavily fettered by private property, capital and land 
to enter into a decisive struggle. They need tsarism with its bureaucratic, police 
and military forces for use against the proletariat and the peasantry too much to be 
able to strive for its destruction. No, the only force capable of gaining "a decisive 
victory over tsarism," is the people, i.e., the proletariat and the peasantry, if we 
take the main, big forces and distribute the rural and urban petty bourgeoisie (also 
part of "the people") between the two. "A decisive victory of the revolution over 
tsarism" is the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry. Our new Iskra-i^i^ cannot escape from this conclusion, which Vperyod 
pointed out long ago. No one else is capable of gaining a decisive victory over 
tsarism. 



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 insurrection, and not on 
institutions of one kind or another, 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 tsarism. 
Without a dictatorship it is impossible to break down that resistance and to repel 
the counterrevolutionary 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 

page 53 

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. 

How far such a victory is probable, is another question. We are not in the least 
inclined to be unreasonably optimistic on that score, we do not for a moment 
forget the immense difficulties of this task, but since we are out to fight we must 
desire victory and be able to point out the right road to it. Tendencies capable of 
leading to such a victory undoubtedly exist. True, our, Social-Democratic, 
influence on the masses of the proletariat is as yet very, very inadequate; the 
revolutionary influence on the mass of the peasantry is altogether insignificant; 
the proletariat, and especially the peasantry, are still frightfully scattered, 
backward and ignorant. But revolution unites quickly and enlightens quickly. 
Every step in its development rouses the masses and attracts them with irresistible 
force to the side of the 

page 54 

revolutionary program, as the only program that fully and consistently expresses 
their real and vital interests. 

According to a law of mechanics, every action produces an equal reaction. In 
history also the destructive force of a revolution is to a considerable degree 



dependent on how strong and protracted the suppression of the striving for hberty 
had been, and how profound the contradiction between the antediluvian 
"superstructure" and the hving forces of the present epoch. The international 
political situation, too, is in many respects shaping itself in a way most 
advantageous for the Russian revolution. The insurrection of the workers and 
peasants has already commenced; it is sporadic, spontaneous, weak, but it 
unquestionably and undoubtedly proves the existence of forces capable of waging 
a decisive struggle and marching towards a decisive victory. 

If these forces prove inadequate, tsarism will have time to conclude the deal 
which is already being prepared on two sides, by Messrs. the Bulygins on the one 
side, and Messrs. the Struves, on the other. Then the whole thing will end in a 
curtailed constitution, or, if the worst comes to the worst, even in a travesty of a 
constitution. This will also be a "bourgeois revolution," but it will be a 
miscarriage, a premature birth, a mongrel. Social-Democracy entertains no 
illusions on that score, it knows the treacherous nature of the bourgeoisie, it will 
not lose heart or abandon its persistent, patient, sustained work of giving the 
proletariat class training even in the most drab, humdrum days of bourgeois- 
constitutional, "Shipov" bliss. Such an outcome would be more or less similar to 
the outcome of almost all the democratic revolutions in Europe during the 
nineteenth century, and our Party development would then proceed along the 
difficult, hard, long, but familiar and beaten track. 

page 55 

The question now arises: in which of these two possible outcomes will Social- 
Democracy find its hands actually tied in the fight against the inconsistent and 
self-seeking bourgeoisie, find itself actually "dissolved," or almost so, in 
bourgeois democracy? 

It is sufficient to put this question clearly to have not a moment's difficulty in 
answering it. 

If the bourgeoisie succeeds in frustrating the Russian revolution by coming to 
terms with tsarism, Social-Democracy will find its hands actually tied in the fight 
against the inconsistent bourgeoisie; Social-Democracy will find itself dissolved 
"in bourgeois democracy" in the sense that the proletariat will not succeed in 
putting its clear imprint on the revolution, will not succeed in settling accounts 
with tsarism in the proletarian or, as Marx once said, "in the plebeian" way. 

If the revolution gains a decisive victory ~ then we shall settle accounts with 
tsarism in the Jacobin, or, if you like, in the plebeian way. "The whole French 
terrorism," wrote Marx in 1848 in the famous Neue Rheinische Zeitung, "was 
nothing but a plebeian manner of settling accounts with the enemies of the 
bourgeoisie, with absolutism, feudalism and philistinism" (see Marx, Nachlass, 
Mehring's edition. Vol. Ill, p. 21 1).[22] Have those people who, in a period of a 
democratic revolution, try to frighten the Social-Democratic workers in Russia 



with the bogey of "Jacobinism" ever stopped to think of the significance of these 
words of Marx? 

The Girondists of contemporary Russian Social-Democracy, the new Iskra-ists, 
do not merge with the Osvobozhdentsi, but in point of fact they, by reason of the 
nature of their slogans, follow at the tail of the latter. And the Osvobozhdentsi, 
i.e., the representatives of the liberal bourgeoisie, wish 

page 56 

to settle accounts with the autocracy gently, in a reformist way, in a yielding 
manner, so as not to offend the aristocracy, the nobles, the Court ~ cautiously, 
without breaking anything ~ kindly and politely, as befits gentlemen in white 
gloves (like the ones Mr. Petrunkevich borrowed from a bashi-bazouk to wear at 
the reception of "representatives of the people" [?] held by Nicholas the Bloody. 
See Proletary, No. 5). [23] 

The Jacobins of contemporary Social-Democracy ~ the Bolsheviks, the 
Vperyodovtsi, Syezdovtsi, Proletartsi,[m or whatever we may call them ~ wish by 
their slogans to raise the revolutionary and republican petty bourgeoisie, and 
especially the peasantry, to the level of the consistent democratism of the 
proletariat, which fully retains its individuality as a class. They want the people, 
i.e., the proletariat and the peasantry, to settle accounts with the monarchy and the 
aristocracy in the "plebeian way," ruthlessly destroying the enemies of liberty, 
crushing their resistance by force, making no concessions whatever to the 
accursed heritage of serfdom, of Asiatic barbarism and human degradation. 

This, of course, does not mean that we necessarily propose to imitate the 
Jacobins of 1793, to adopt their views, program, slogans and methods of action. 
Nothing of the kind. Our program is not an old one, it is a new one ~ the 
minimum program of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. We have a 
new slogan: the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry. We shall also have, if we live to see a real victory of the revolution, 
new methods of action, in harmony with the nature and aims of the working-class 
party that is striving for a complete socialist revolution. By our comparison we 
merely want to explain that the representatives of the progressive class of the 
twen- 

page 57 

tieth century, of the proletariat, i.e., the Social-Democrats, are divided into two 
wings (the opportunist and the revolutionary) similar to those into which the 
representatives of the progressive class of the eighteenth century, the bourgeoisie, 
were divided, i.e., the Girondists and the Jacobins. 

Only in the event of a complete victory of the democratic revolution will the 
proletariat have its hands free in the struggle against the inconsistent bourgeoisie. 



only in that event will it not become "dissolved" in bourgeois democracy, but will 
leave its proletarian or rather proletarian-peasant imprint on the whole revolution. 

In a word, in order that it may not hnd itself with its hands tied in the struggle 
against the inconsistent bourgeois democrats, the proletariat must be sufficiently 
class conscious and strong to rouse the peasantry to revolutionary consciousness, 
to direct its attack, and thereby to pursue the line of consistent proletarian 
democratism independently. 

This is how matters stand with regard to the question, unsatisfactorily answered 
by the new Iskra-ists, of the danger of our hands being tied in the struggle against 
the inconsistent bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie will always be inconsistent. There is 
nothing more na&iumlve and futile than attempts to set forth conditions and 
points,* which if satisfied, would enable us to consider that the bourgeois 
democrat is a sincere friend of the people. Only the proletariat can be a consistent 
hghter for democracy. It may become a victorious fighter for democracy only if 
the peasant masses join its revolutionary 



* As was attempted by Starover in his resolution, annulled by the Third Congress, [25] and as is 
attempted by the Conference in an equally bad resolution. 

page 58 

Struggle. If the proletariat is not strong enough for this, the bourgeoisie will be at 
the head of the democratic revolution and will impart to it an inconsistent and 
self-seeking nature. Nothing short of a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of 
the proletariat and the peasantry can prevent this. 

Thus, we arrive at the undoubted conclusion that it is precisely the new Iskra- 
ists' tactics, by reason of their objective significance, that art playing into the 
hands of the bourgeois democrats. Preaching organizational diffusion that goes to 
the length of plebiscites, the principle of compromise and the divorcement of 
Party literature from the Party, belittling the aims of armed insurrection, 
confusing the popular political slogans of the revolutionary proletariat with those 
of the monarchist bourgeoisie, distorting the requisites for a "decisive victory of 
the revolution over tsarism" ~ all this taken together constitutes that very policy 
of khvostism in a revolutionary period which perplexes the proletariat, 
disorganizes it, confuses its understanding and belittles the tactics of Social- 
Democracy, instead of pointing out the only way to victory and of rallying all the 
revolutionary and republican elements of the people to the slogan of the 
proletariat. 



In order to confirm this conclusion, at which we have arrived on the basis of an 
analysis of the resolution, let us approach this same question from other angles. 



Let us see, first, how a simple and outspoken Menshevik illustrates the new Iskra 
tactics in the Georgian Sotsial-Demoktat, And, secondly, let us see who is actually 
making use of the new Iskra slogans in the present political situation. 



page 59 



7. THE TACTICS OF "ELIMINATING 

THE CONSERVATIVES FROM 

THE GOVERNMENT" 

The article in the organ of the Tiflis Menshevik "Committee" (Sotsial- 
Demokrat, No. 1) to which we have just referred is entitled "The Zemsky Sobor 
and Our Tactics." Its author has not yet entirely forgotten our program; he 
advances the slogan of a republic, but this is how he discusses tactics: 

"It is possible to point to two ways of achieving this goal" (a republic): "either completely 
ignore the Zemsky Sobor that is being convened by the government and defeat the government by 
force of arms, form a revolutionary government and convene a constituent assembly, or declare 
the Zemsky Sobor the centre of our actions, influencing its composition and activity by force of 
arms and either forcibly compelling it to declare itself a constituent assembly or convening a 
constituent assembly through it. These two tactics differ very sharply from one another. Let us see 
which of them is more advantageous to us." 

This is how the Russian new Iskra-ists set forth the ideas that were 
subsequently incorporated in the resolution we have analyzed. Note that this was 
written before the battle of Tsushima, when the Bulygin "scheme" had not yet 
seen the light of the day. Even the liberals were losing patience and expressing 
their lack of confidence in the pages of the legal press; but a new Iskra-ist Social- 
Democrat proved more credulous than the liberals. He declares that the Zemsky 
Sobor "is being convened" and trusts the tsar so much that he proposes to make 
this as yet non-existent Zemsky Sobor (or, possibly, "State Duma" or "Advisory 
Legislative Assembly"?) the centre of our actions. Being more outspoken and 
straightforward than the authors of the resolution adopted at the Conference, our 
Tiflisian does not put the two "tac- 

page 60 

tics" (which he expounds with inimitable na&iumlvete) on a par but declares that 
the second is more "advantageous." Just listen: 

"The first tactics. As you know, the coming revolution is a bourgeois revolution, i.e., its 
purpose is to effect such changes in the present system as are of interest not only to the proletariat 
but to the whole of bourgeois society. All classes are opposed to the government, even the 
capitalists themselves. The militant proletariat and the militant bourgeoisie are in a certain sense 
marching together and jointly attacking the autocracy from different sides. The government is 
completely isolated and lacks public sympathy. For this reason it is very easy to destroy it. The 



Russian proletariat as a whole is not yet sufficiently class conscious and organized to be able to 
carry out the revolution by itself. And even if it were able to do so, it would carry through a 
proletarian (socialist) revolution and not a bourgeois revolution. Hence, it is in our interest that the 
government remain without allies, that it be unable to disunite the opposition, unable to ally the 
bourgeoisie to itself and leave the proletariat isolated. ..." 

So, it is in the interests of the proletariat that the tsarist government shall not be 
able to disunite the bourgeoisie and the proletariat! Is it not by mistake that this 
Georgian organ is called Sotsial-Demokrat instead of Osvobozhdeniyel And note 
its peerless philosophy of democratic revolution! Is it not obvious that this poor 
Tiflisian is hopelessly confused by the pedantic khvostist interpretation of the 
concept "bourgeois revolution"? He discusses the question of the possible 
isolation of the proletariat in a democratic revolution dinA forgets . . . forgets about 
a trifle . . . about the peasantry! Of the possible allies of the proletariat he knows 
and favours the landowning Zemstvo-ists and is not aware of the peasants. And 
this in the Caucasusl Well, were we not right when we said that by its method of 
reasoning the new Iskra was sinking to the level of the monarchist bourgeoisie in- 
page 61 

Stead of raising the revolutionary peasantry to the position of our ally? 

"... Otherwise the defeat of the proletariat and the victory of the government is inevitable. This 
is just what the autocracy is striving for. In its Zemsky Sobor it will undoubtedly attract to its side 
the representatives of the nobility, of the Zemstvos, the cities, the universities and similar 
bourgeois institutions. It will try to appease them with petty concessions and thereby reconcile 
them to itself. Strengthened in this way, it will direct all its blows against the working people who 
will have been isolated. It is our duty to prevent such an un fortunate outcome. But can this be 
done oy the first method? Let us assume that we paid no attention whatever to the Zemsky Sobor, 
but started to prepare for insurrection ourselves, and one fine day came out in the streets armed 
and ready for battle. The result would be that we would be confronted not with one but with two 
enemies: the government and the Zemsky Sobor. While we were preparing, they would manage to 
come to terms, enter into an agreement with one another, draw up a constitution advantageous to 
themselves and divide power between them. These tactics are of direct advantage to the 
government, and we must reject them in the most energetic fashion. ..." 

Now this is frank! We must resolutely reject the "tactics" of preparing an 
insurrection because "while we were preparing" the government would come to 
terms with the bourgeoisie! Can one find in the old literature of the most rabid 
"Economism" anything that would even approximate such a disgrace to 
revolutionary Social-Democracy? That insurrections and outbreaks of workers 
and peasants are occurring, first in one place and then in another, is a fact. The 
Zemsky Sobor, however, is a Bulygin promise. And the Sotsial-Demokrat of the 
city of Tiflis decides: to reject the tactics of preparing an insurrection and to wait 
for a "centre of influence" ~ the Zemsky Sobor. . . . 

"... The second tactics, on the contrary, consist in placing the Zemsky Sobor under our 
surveillance, in not giving it the opportunity to act 

page 62 



according to its own will and enter into an agreement with the government. [*] 

"We support the Zemsky Sobor to the extent that it fights the autocracy, and we fight it in those 
cases when it becomes reconciled with the autocracy. By energetic interference and force we shall 
cause a split among the deputies, [:^] rally the radicals to our side, eliminate the conservatives from 
the government and thus put the whole Zemsky Sobor on the path of revolution. Thanks to such 
tactics the government will always remain isolated, the opposition strong and the establishment of 
a denocratic system will thereby be facilitated." 

Well, well! Let anyone now say that we exaggerate the new Iskra-ists' turn to 
the most vulgar semblance of Economism. This is positively like the famous 
powder for exterminating flies: you catch the fly, sprinkle it with the powder and 
the fly will die. Split the deputies of the Zemsky Sobor hy force, "eliminate the 
conservatives from the government" ~ and the whole Zemsky Sobor will take the 
path of revolution. ... No "Jacobin" armed insurrection of any sort, but just like 
that, in genteel, almost parliamentary fashion, "influencing" the members of the 
Zemsky Sobor, 

Poor Russia! It has been said that she always wears the old-fashioned bonnets 
that Europe discards. We have no parliament as yet, even Bulygin has not yet 
promised one, but we have any amount of parliamentary cretinism. [26] 

"... How should this interference be effected? First of all, we shall demand that the Zemsky 
Sobor be convened on the basis of universal and equal suffrage, direct elections and secret ballot. 
Simultaneously with the announcement*** of this method of election, complete freedom 



* By what means can the Zemstvo-ists be deprived of their own will? Perhaps by the use of a 

special sort of litmus paper? 

** Heavens! This is certainly rendering tactics "profound"! There are no forces available to fight 

in the streets, but it is possible "to split the deputies" "by force." Listen, comrade from Tiflis, one 

may prevaricate, but one should know the limit. . . . 

*** Inlskral 

page 63 

to carry on the election campaign, i.e., freedom of assembly, of speech and of the press, the 
inviolability of the electors and the candidates and the release ot all political prisoners must be 
made law.[*] The elections themselves must be fixed as late as possible so that we have sufficient 
time to inform and prepare the people. And since the drafting of the regulations governing the 
convocation of the Sobor has been entrusted to a commission headed by Bulygin, Minister of the 
Interior, we should also exert pressure on this commission and on its members. [:^] If the Bulygin 
Commission refuses to satisfy our demandsr ***1 and grants suffrage only to property owners, then 
we must interfere in these elections and, by revolutionary means, force the voters to elect 
progressive candidates and in the Zemsky Sobor demand a constituent assembly. Finally, we must, 
by all possible measures: demonstrations, strikes and insurrection if need be, compel the Zemsky 
Sobor to convene a constituent assembly or declare itself to be such. The armed proletariat must 
constitute itself the defender of the constituent assembly, and both togetherr ****l will march 
forward to a democratic republic. 

"Such are the Social-Democratic tactics, and they alone will secure us victory." 

Let not the reader imagine that this incredible nonsense is simply a maiden 
attempt at writing on the part of some new Iskra adherent with no authority or 



influence. No, this is what is stated in the organ of an entire committee of new 
Iskra-ists, the Tiflis Committee. More than that. This nonsense has been openly 
endorsed by the ''Iskra'' in No. 100 of which we read the following about that 
issue of the Sotsial-Demokrat : 

"The first issue is edited in a lively and talented man ner. The experienced hand 
of a capable editor and publicist is perceptible. . . . It may be said with all 
confidence that 



* By Nicholas? 

** So this is what is meant by the tactis of "eliminating the conserva tives from the government" ! 
*** But surely such a thing cannot happen if we follow these correct and profound tactics! 
**** Both the armed proletariat and the conservatives "eliminated trom the government"? 

page 64 

the newspaper will brilliantly carry out the task it has set itself " 

Yes! If that task is clearly to show all and sundry the utter ideological decay of 
new /^/:ra-ism, then it has indeed been carried out "brilliantly." No one could 
have expressed the new Iskra-ists' degradation to liberal bourgeois opportunism in 
a more "lively, talented and capable" manner. 



8. OSVOBOZHDENIYE-ISM AND NEW ISKRA-ISM 

Let us now proceed to another striking confirmation of the political meaning of 
new Iskra-ism. 

In a splendid, remarkable and most instructive article, entitled "How to Find 
Oneself" (Osvobozhdeniye, No. 71), Mr. Struve wages war against the 
"programmatic revolutionism" of our extreme parties. Mr. Struve is particularly 
displeased with me personally.* As for myself, Mr. Struve 



* "In comparison with the revolutionism of Messrs. Lenin and associates, the revolutionism of the 
West-European Social-Democracy of Bebel, and even of Kautsky, is opportunism; but the 
foundations of even this already toned down revolutionism have been undermined and washed 
away by history." A most irate thrust. Only Mr. Struve is mistaken in thinking that it is possible to 
pile everything on to me, as if I were dead. It is sufficient for me to issue a challenge to Mr. 
Struve, which he will never be able to accept. When and where did I call the "revolutionism of 
Bebel and Kautsky" opportunism? When and where did I ever claim to have created any sort of 
special trend in International Social-Democracy not identical with the trend of Bebel and 
Kautsky? When and where have there been brought to light differences between me, on the one 
hand, and Bebel and Kautsky, on the other ~ differences even slightly approximating in 
seriousness the differences between Bebel and Kautsky, for instance, on the agrarian question in 
Breslau?[27] Let Mr Struve try to answer these three questions. 

And to our readers we say: The liberal bourgeoisie everyrwhere and always has recourse to the 



method of assuring its adherents in a given [com. onto p. 65. -- djr] country that the Social-Demrcrats 
of that country are the most unreasonable, whereas their comrades in a neighbouring country are 
"good boys." The German bourgeoisie has held up those "good boys" of French Socialists as 
models for the Bebels and the Kautskys hundreds of times. The French bourgeoisie quite recently 
pointed to the "good boy" Bebel as a model for the French Socialists. It is an old trick Mr. Struve! 
You will find only children and ignoramuses swallowing that bait. The complete unanimity of 
international revolutionary Social-Democracy on all major questions of program and tactics is a 
most incontrovertible fact. 

page 65 

could not please me more: I could not wish for a better ally in the fight against the 
renascent Economism of the new Iskra-ists and the utter lack of principle 
displayed by the "Socialist-Revolutionaries." On some other occasion we shall 
relate how Mr. Struve and the Osvobozhdeniye proved in practice how utterly 
reactionary are the "amendments" to Marxism made in the draft program of the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries. We have already repeatedly spoken about how Mr. 
Struve rendered me honest, faithful and real service every time he approved of the 
new Iskra-ists in principle^ and we shall say so once more now. 



* Let us remind the reader that the article "What Should Not Be Done?" (Iskra, No. 52) was hailed 
with noise and clamour by the Osvobozhdeniye as a "noteworthy turn" towards concessions to the 
opportunists. The trends of the principles behind the new Iskra ideas were especially lauded by the 
Osvobozhdeniye in an item on the split among the Russian Social-Democrats. Commenting on 
Trotsky's pamphlet, "Our Political Tasks," the Osvobozhdeniye printed out the similarity between 
the ideas of this author and what was once written and said by the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists 
Krichevsky, Martynov, Akimov (see the leaflet entitled "An Obliging Liberal" published by the 
Vperyod). The Osvobozhdeniye welcomed Martynov's pamphlet on the two dictatorships (see the 
item in the Vperyod, No. 9). Finally Starover's belated complaints about the old slogan of the old 
Iskra, "first draw a line of demarcation and then unite," met with special sympathy on the part of 
the Osvobozhdeniye. 

page 66 

Mr. Struve's article contains a number of very interesting statements, which we 
can note here only in passing. He intends "to create Russian democracy by relying 
on class collaboration and not on class struggle," in which case "the socially 
privileged intelligentsia" (something in the nature of the "cultured nobility" to 
which Mr. Struve makes obeisance with the grace of a truly high-society . . . 
lackey) will bring the weight of its "social position" (the weight of its moneybags) 
to this "non-class" party. Mr. Struve expresses the desire to show the youth the 
worthlessness "of the hackneyed radical opinion that the bourgeoisie has become 
frightened and has sold out the proletariat and the cause of liberty." (We welcome 
this desire with all our heart. Nothing will confirm the correctness of this Marxian 
"hackneyed" opinion better than a war waged against it by Mr. Struve. Please, Mr. 
Struve, don't pigeonhole this splendid plan of yours!) 

For the purposes of our subject it is important to note tht practical slogans 
against which this politically sensitive representative of the Russian bourgeoisie. 



who is so responsive to the shghtest change in the weather, is fighting at the 
present time. First, he is fighting against the slogan of repubhcanism. Mr. Struve 
is firmly convinced that this slogan is "incomprehensible and foreign to the 
masses of the people" (he forgets to add: comprehensible, but not of advantage to 
the bourgeoisie!). We should like to see what reply Mr. Struve would get from the 
workers in our study circles and at our mass meetings! Or are the workers not the 
people? And the peasants? They are given to what Mr. Struve calls "na&iumlve 
republicanism" ("to kick out the tsar") ~ but the liberal bourgeoisie believes that 
na&iumlve republican- 
page 67 

ism will be replaced not by enlightened republicanism but by enlightened 
monarchism! &Ccedila d&eacutepend, Mr. Struve; it will depend on 
circumstances. Neither tsarism nor the bourgeoisie can help opposing a radical 
improvement in the condition of the peasantry at the expense of the landed 
estates, whereas the working class cannot help assisting the peasantry in this 
respect. 

Secondly, Mr. Struve assures us that "in a civil war the attacking party always 
proves to be in the wrong." This idea verges closely on the above-mentioned 
trends of the new Iskra ideas. We will not say, of course, that in civil war it is 
always advantageous to attack; no, sometimes defensive tactics are obligatory /6>r 
a time. But to apply a proposition like the one Mr. Struve has made to Russia in 
1905 means precisely displaying a little of the "hackneyed radical opinion" ("the 
bourgeoisie takes fright and betrays the cause of liberty"). Whoever now refuses 
to attack the autocracy and reaction, whoever is not making preparations for such 
an attack, whoever is not advocating it, takes the name of adherent of the 
revolution in vain. 

Mr. Struve conderms the slogans: "secrecy" and "rioting" (a riot being "an 
insurrection in miniature"). Mr. Struve spurns both the one and the other ~ and he 
does so from the standpoint of "approaching the masses." We should like to ask 
Mr. Struve whether he can point to any passage in, for instance. What Is To Be 
Done ? — the work of an extreme revolutionary from his standpoint ~ which 
advocates rioting. As regards "secrecy" is there really much difference between, 
for example, us and Mr. Struve? Are we not both working on "illegal" newspapers 
which are being smuggled into Russia "secretly" and which serve the "secret" 
groups of 

page 68 

either the Osvobozhdeniye League or the R.S.D.L.P.? Our workers' mass 
meetings are often held "secretly" ~ that sin does exist. But what about the 
meetings of the gentlemen of the Osvobozhdeniye League? Is there any reason 
why you should brag, Mr. Struve, and look down upon the despised partisans of 
despised secrecy? 



True, the supplying of arms to the workers demands strict secrecy. On this 
point Mr. Struve is rather more outspoken. Just hsten: "As regards armed 
insurrection, or a revolution in the technical sense, only mass propaganda in 
favour of a democratic program can create the social-psychological conditions for 
a general armed insurrection. Thus, even from the point of view that an armed 
insurrection is the inevitable consummation of the present struggle for 
emancipation ~ a view I do not share ~ the permeation of the masses with ideas 
of democratic reform is a most fundamental and most necessary task." 

Mr. Struve tries to evade the issue. He speaks of the inevitability of an 
insurrection instead of speaking about its necessity for the victory of the 
revolution. The insurrection ~ unprepared, spontaneous, sporadic ~ has already 
begun. No one can positively vouch that it will develop into an entire and integral 
popular armed insurrection, for that depends on the state of the revolutionary 
forces (which can be fully gauged only in the course of the struggle itself), on the 
behaviour of the government and the bourgeoisie, and on a number of other 
circumstances which it is impossible to estimate exactly. There is no point in 
speaking about inevitability, in the sense of absolute certainty with regard to some 
definite event, as Mr. Struve does. What you must discuss, if you want to be a 
partisan of the rev- 
page 69 

olution is whether insurrection is necessary for the victory of the revolution, 
whether it is necessary to proclaim it vigorously, to advocate and make immediate 
and energetic preparations for it. Mr. Struve cannot fail to understand this 
difference: he does not, for instance, obscure the question of the necessity of 
universal suffrage ~ which is indisputable for a democrat ~ by raising the 
question of whether its attainment is inevitable in the course of the present 
revolution ~ which is debatable and of no urgency for people engaged in political 
activity. By evading the issue of the necessity of an insurrection, Mr. Struve 
expresses the inner most essence of the political position of the liberal 
bourgeoisie. In the first place, the bourgeoisie would prefer to come to terms with 
the autocracy rather than crush it; secondly, the bourgeoisie in any case thrusts the 
armed struggle upon the shoulders of the workers. This is the real meaning of Mr. 
Struve's evasiveness. That is why he backs out of the question of the necessity of 
an insurrection towards the question of the "social-psychological conditions" for 
it, of preliminary "propaganda." Just as the bourgeois windbags in the Frankfurt 
Parliament of 1848 engaged in drawing up resolutions, declarations and decisions, 
in "mass propaganda" and in preparing the "social-psychological conditions" at a 
time when it was a matter of repelling the armed force of the government, when 
the movement "led to the necessity" for an armed struggle, when verbal 
persuasion alone (which is a hundredfold necessary during the preparatory period) 
became banal, bourgeois inactivity and cowardice ~ so also Mr. Struve evades the 
question of insurrection, screening himself behind /^/xra^^^. Mr. Struve vividly 
shows us what many Social-Democrats stubbornly fail to 



page 70 

see, namely, that a revolutionary period differs from ordinary, everyday 
preparatory periods in history in that the temper, excitement and convictions of 
the masses must and do reveal themselves in action. 

Vulgar revolutionism fails to see that the word is also a deed; this proposition is 
indisputable when applied to history generally, or to those periods of history 
when no open political mass actions take place, and when they can not be 
replaced or artificially evoked by putsches of any sort. Khvostist revolutionaries 
fail to understand that ~ when a revolutionary period has started, when the old 
"superstructure" has cracked from top to bottom, when open political action on 
the part of the classes and masses who are creating a new superstructure for 
themselves has become a fact, when civil war has begun ~ then, to confine 
oneself to "words" as of old, and fail to advance the direct slogan to pass to 
"deeds," still to try avoid deeds by pleading the need for "psychological 
conditions" and "propaganda" in general, is apathy, lifelessness, pedantry, or else 
betrayal of the revolution and treachery to it. The Frankfurt windbags of the 
democratic bourgeoisie are a memorable historical example of just such treachery, 
or of just such pedantic stupidity. 

Would you like an explanation of this difference between vulgar revolutionism 
and the khvostism of revolution aries by an example taken from the history of the 
Social Democratic movement in Russia? We shall give you such an explanation. 
Call to mind the years 1901 and 1902, which are so recent but which already seem 
ancient history to us today. Demonstrations had begun. The protagonists of vulgar 
revolutionism raised a cry about "storming" (Rabo- 

page 71 

cheye Dyelo ),[28] "bloodthirsty leaflets" were issued (of Berlin origin, if my 
memory does not fail me), attacks were made on the "literature writing" and 
armchair nature of the idea of conducting agitation on a national scale through a 
newspaper (Nadezhdin).[29] On the other hand, the khvostism of revolutionaries 
was revealed in preaching that "the economic struggle is the best means of 
political agitation." What was the attitude of the revolutionary Social-Democrats? 
They attacked both these trends. They condemned flash in-the-pan methods and 
the cries about storming, for it was or should have been obvious to all that open 
mass action was a matter of the days to come. They condemned khvostism and 
bluntly issued the slogan even of a popular armed insurrection, not in the sense of 
a direct appeal (Mr. Struve would not discover any appeals to "riots" in our 
utterances of that period), but in the sense of a necessary deduction, in the sense 
of "propaganda" (about which Mr. Struve has bethought himself only now ~ our 
honourable Mr. Struve is always several years behind the times), in the sense of 
preparing those very "social-psychological conditions" about which the 
representatives of the bewildered, huckstering bourgeoisie are now holding forth 
"sadly and inappropriately." At that time propaganda and agitation, agitation and 



propaganda, were really pushed to the fore by the objective state of affairs. At that 
time the work of publishing an all-Russian political newspaper, the weekly 
issuance of which was regarded as an ideal, could be proposed (and was proposed 
in What Is To Be Done?) as the touchstone of the work of preparing for an 
insurrection. At that time the slogans advocating mass agitation instead of direct 
armed action, preparation of the 

page 72 

social-psychological conditions for insurrection instead (9/flash-in-the-pan 
methods, were the only correct slogans for the revolutionary Social-Democratic 
movement. At the present time the slogans have been superseded by events, the 
movement has gone beyond them, they have become castoffs, rags fit only to 
cloth the hypocrisy of the Osvobozhdeniye and the khvostism of the new Iskral 

Or perhaps I am mistaken? Perhaps the revolution has not yet begun? Perhaps 
the time for open political action of classes has not yet arrived? Perhaps there is 
still no civil war, and the criticism of weapons should not as yet be the necessary 
and obligatory successor, heir, trustee and wielder of the weapon of criticism? 

Look around, poke your head out of your study and look into the street for an 
answer. Has not the government itself started civil war by shooting down hosts of 
peaceful and unarmed citizens everywhere? Are not the armed Black Hundreds 
acting as "arguments" of the autocracy? Has not the bourgeoisie ~ even the 
bourgeoisie ~ recognized the need for a citizens' militia? Does not Mr. Struve 
himself, the ideally moderate and punctilious Mr. Struve, say (alas, he says so 
only to evade the issue!) that "the open nature of revolutionary action" (that's the 
sort of fellows we are today!) "is now one of the most important conditions for 
exerting an educational influence upon the masses of the people"? 

Those who have eyes to see can have no doubt as to how the question of armed 
insurrection must be presented by the partisans of revolution at the present time. 
Just take a look at the three ways in which this question has been presented in the 
organs of the free press which are at all capable of influencing the masses. 

page 73 

The first presentation. The resolution of the Third Congress of the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party.* It is publicly acknowledged and declared that 
the general democratic revolutionary movement has already led to the ne- 



* The following is the text in full: 

''Whereas 

"1. the proletariat, being, by virtue of its very position, the most sdvanced 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; 

"2. this movement has already brought about the necessity of an armed insurrection; 



"3. the proletariat will inevitably take a most energetic part in this insurrection, this participation 
determining the fate of the revolution in Russia; 

"4. the proletariat can play the leading part in this revolution only if it is welded into a united 
and independent political force under the banner of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, which is 
to guide its struggle not only ideologically but practically as well; 

"5. it is only by fulfilling this part that the proletariat can be assured of the most favourable 
conditions for the struggle for Socialism against the propertied classes of a bourgeois-democratic 
Russia; 

"the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. recognizes that the task of organizing the proletariat for 
direct struggle against the autocracy through armed insurrection is one of the most important and 
pressing tasks of the Party in the present revolutionary period. 

"The Congress therefore resolves to instruct all the Party organizations: 

"a) to explain to the proletariat by means of propaganda and agitation not only the political 
importance, but also the practical organizational aspect of the impending armed insurrection; 

"b) in this propaganda and agitation to explain the part played by mass political strikes, which 
may be of great importance at the beginning and in the very process of the insurrection; 

"c) to adopt the most energetic measures to arm the proletariat and also to draw up a plan for the 
armed insurrection and for direct leadership of the latter, establishing for this purpose, to the 
extent that it is necessary, special groups of Party functionaries." [Author's note to the 1907 
edition.] 

page 74 

cessity of an armed insurrection. The organization of the proletariat for an 
insurrection has been placed on the order of the day as one of the essential, 
principal and indispensable tasks of the Party. Instructions are issued to adopt the 
most enetgetic measures to arm the proletariat and to ensure the possibility of 
directly leading the insurrection. 

The second presentation. An article in the Osvobozhdeniye, containing a 
statement of principles, by the "leader of the Russian constitutionalists" (as Mr. 
Struve was recently described by such an influential organ of the European 
bourgeoisie as the Frankfurter Zeitung), or the leader of the Russian progressive 
bourgeoisie. He does not share the opinion that an insurrection is inevitable. 
Secret activity and riots are the specific methods of irrational revolutionism. 
Republicanism is a method of stunning. The question of armed insurrection is 
really a mere technical question, whereas "the fundamental and most necessary 
task" is to carry on mass propaganda and to prepare the social-psychological 
conditions. 

The third presentation. The resolution of the new Iskra-ist Conference. Our task 
is to prepare an insurrection. A planned insurrection is out of the question. 
Favourable conditions for an insurrection are created by the disorganization of the 
government, by our agitation, and by our organization. Only then "can technical 
military preparations acquire more or less serious significance." 

And is that all? Yes, that is all. The new Iskra-ist leaders of the proletariat still 
do not know whether insurrection has become a necessity. It is still not clear to 
them whether the task of organizing the proletariat for direct battle has become an 



urgent one. It is not necessary to urge the adoption of the most energetic 
measures; it is far 



page 75 



more important (in 1905, and not in 1902) to explain in general outlines under 
what conditions these measures "may" acquire "more or less serious" significance. 



Do you see now, comrades of the new Iskra, where your turn to Martynovism 
has led you? Do you realize that your political philosophy has proved to be a 
rehash of the Osvobozhdeniye philosophy? ~ that (against your will and with out 
your being aware of it) you are following at the tail of the monarchist 
bourgeoisie? Is it clear to you now that, while repeating what you have learned by 
rote and attaining perfection in sophistry, you have lost sight of the fact that ~ in 
the memorable words of Peter Struve's memorable article ~ "the open nature of 
revolutionary action is now one of the most important conditions for exerting an 
educational influence upon the masses of the people"? 



9. WHAT DOES BEING A PARTY OF 

EXTREME OPPOSITION IN TIME 

OF REVOLUTION MEAN ? 

Let us return to the resolution on a provisional government. We have shown 
that the tactics of the new Iskra-ists do not push the revolution forward ~ which 
they may have wanted to make possible by their resolution ~ but back. We have 
shown that it is precisely these tactics that tie the hands of Social-Democracy in 
the struggle against the inconsistent bourgeoisie and do not safeguard it against 
being dissolved in bourgeois democracy. Naturally, the false premises of the 
resolution lead to the false conclusion that: "Therefore, Social-Democracy must 
not set itself the aim of seizing or sharing power in the provisional government, 
but 

page 76 

must remain the party of extreme revolutionary opposition." Consider the first 
half of this conclusion, which is part of a statement of aims. Do the new Iskra-ists 
declare the aim of Social-Democratic activity to be a decisive victory of the 
revolution over tsarism? They do. They are unable correctly to formulate the 
requisites for a decisive victory and stray into the Osvobozhdeniye formulation, 
but they do set themselves the aforementioned aim. Further: do they connect a 
provisional government with insurrection? Yes, they do so plainly, by stating that 
a provisional government "will emerge from a victorious popular insurrection." 
Finally, do they set themselves the aim of leading the insurrection? Yes, they do. 
Like Mr. Struve, they do not admit that an insurrection is an urgent necessity, but 



at the same time, unlike Mr. Struve, they say that "Social-Democracy strives to 
subject it" (the insurrection) "to its influence and leadership and to use it in the 
interests of the working class." 

How nicely this hangs together, does it not? We set ourselves the aim of 
subjecting the insurrection of both the proletarian and non-proletarian masses to 
our influence and our leadership, and of using it in our interests. Hence, we set 
ourselves the aim of leading, in the insurrection, both the proletariat and the 
revolutionary bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie ("the non-proletarian groups"), 
i.e., of ''sharing'' the leadership of the insurrection between the Social-Democracy 
and the revolutionary bourgeoisie. We set ourselves the aim of securing victory 
for the insurrection, which is to lead to the establishment of a provisional 
government ("which will emerge from a victorious popular insurrection"). 
Therefore. . . therefore we must not set ourselves the aim of seizing power or of 
sharing it in a provisional revolutionary government! ! 

page 77 

Our friends cannot dovetail their arguments. They vacillate between the 
standpoint of Mr. Struve, who is evading the issue of an insurrection, and the 
standpoint of revolutionary Social-Democracy, which calls upon us to undertake 
this urgent task. They vacillate between anarchism, which on principle condemns 
all participation in a provisional revolutionary government as treachery to the 
proletariat, and Marxism, which demands such participation on condition that the 
Social-Democratic Party exercises the leading influence in the insurrection. [*] 
They have no independent position whatever: neither that of Mr. Struve, who 
wants to come to terms with tsarism and is therefore compelled to resort to 
evasions and subterfuges on the question of insurrection, nor that of the 
anarchists, who condemn all action "from above" and all participation in a 
bourgeois revolution. The new Iskra-ists confuse a deal with tsarism with a 
victory over tsarism. They want to take part in a bourgeois revolution. They have 
gone somewhat beyond Martynov's Two Dictatorships. They even consent to lead 
the insurrection of the people ~ in order to renounce that leadership immediately 
after victory is won (or, perhaps, immediately before the victory?), i.e., in order 
not to avail themselves of the fruits of victory but to turn all these fruits over 
entirely to the bourgeoisie. This is what they call "using the insurrection in the 
interests of the working class. . . ." 

There is no need to dwell on this muddle any longer. It will be more useful to 
examine how this muddle originated in the formulation which reads: "to remain 
the party of extreme revolutionary opposition." 



* See Proletary, No. 3, "On the Provisional Revolutionary Government," article two. (V. I. 
Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. VIII, pp. 440-47. -Ed. ) 

page 78 



This is one of the famihar propositions of international revolutionary Social- 
Democracy. It is a perfectly correct proposition. It has become a commonplace for 
all opponents of revisionism or opportunism in parliamentary countries. It has 
become generally accepted as the legitimate and necessary rebuff to 
"parliamentary cretinism," Millerandism, Bernsteinism[30] and the Italian 
reformism of the Turati brand. Our good new Iskra-ists have learned this 
excellent proposition by heart and are zealously applying it . . . quite 
inappropriately. Categories of the parliamentary struggle are introduced into 
resolutions written for conditions in which no parliament exists. The concept 
"opposition," which has become the reflection and the expression of a political 
situation in which no one seriously speaks of an insurrection, is senselessly 
applied to a situation in which insurrection has begun and in which all the 
supporters of the revolution are thinking and talking about leadership in it. The 
desire to ''stick to'' old methods, i.e., action only "from below," is expressed with 
pomp and clamour precisely at a time when the revolution has confronted us with 
the necessity, in the event of the insurrection being victorious, of acting from 
above. 

No, our new Iskra-ists are decidedly out of luck! Even when they formulate a 
correct Social-Democratic proposition they don't know how to apply it correctly. 
They failed to take into consideration that in a period in which a revolution has 
begun, when there is no parliament, when there is civil war, when insurrectionary 
outbreaks occur, the concepts and terms of parliamentary struggle are changed 
and transformed into their opposites. They failed to take into consideration the 
fact that, under the circumstances referred to amendments are moved by means of 
street demon- 
page 79 

strations, interpellations are introduced by means of offensive action by armed 
citizens, opposition to the government is effected by forcibly overthrowing the 
government. 

Like the well-known hero of our folklore, who repeated good advice just when 
it was inappropriate, our admirers of Martynov repeat the lessons of peaceful 
parliamentarism just at a time when, as they themselves state, actual hostilities 
have commenced. There is nothing more ridiculous than this pompous emphasis 
of the slogan "extreme opposition" in a resolution which begins by referring to a 
"decisive victory of the revolution" and to a "popular insurrection" ! Try to 
visualize, gentlemen, what it means to be the "extreme opposition" in a period of 
insurrection. Does it mean exposing the government or deposing it? Does it mean 
voting against the government or defeating its armed forces in open battle? Does 
it mean refusing the government replenishments for its exchequer or the 
revolutionary seizure of this exchequer in order to use it for the requirements of 
the uprising, to arm the workers and peasants and to convoke a constituent 
assembly? Are you not beginning to understand, gentlemen, that the term 
"extreme opposition" expresses only negative actions ~ to expose, to vote against. 



to refuse? Why is this so? Because this term apphes only to the parhamentary 
struggle and, moreover, to a period when no one makes "decisive victory" the 
immediate object of the struggle. Are you not beginning to understand that things 
undergo a cardinal change in this respect from the moment the politically 
oppressed people launch a determined attack along the whole front in desperate 
struggle for victory? 

The workers ask us: Is it necessary energetically to take up the urgent business 
of insurrection? What is to be done 

page 80 

to make the incipient insurrection victorious? What use should be made of the 
victory? What program can and should then be applied? The new Iskra-ists, who 
are making Marxism more profound, answer: We must remain the party of 
extreme revolutionary opposition. . . . Well, were we not right in calling these 
knights past masters in philistinism? 



10. "REVOLUTIONARY COMMUNES" 

AND THE REVOLUTIONARY-DEMOCRATIC 

DICIATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT 

AND THE PEASANTRY 

The Conference of the new Iskra-ists did not keep to the anarchist position into 
which the new Iskra had talked itself (only "from below," not "from below and 
from above"). The absurdity of admitting the possibility of an insurrection and not 
admitting the possibility of victory and participation in a provisional revolutionary 
government was too glaring. The resolution therefore introduced certain 
reservations and restrictions into the solution of the question proposed by 
Martynov and Martov. Let us consider these reservations as stated in the 
following section of the resolution: 

"These tactics" ("to remain the party of extreme revolutionary opposition") "do 
not, of course, in any way exclude the expediency of a partial and episodic seizure 
of power and the establishment of revolutionary communes in one or another city, 
in one or another district, exclusively for the purpose of helping to spread the 
insurrection and of disrupting the government." 

page 81 

That being the case, it means that in principle they admit the possibility of 
action not only from below, but also from above. It means that the proposition 
laid down in L. Martov's well-known article in the Iskra (No. 93) is discarded and 
that the tactics of Vperyod, i.e., not only "from below,' but also "from above," are 
acknowledged as correct. 



Further, the seizure of power (even if partial, episodic, etc.) obviously 
presupposes the participation not only of Social-Democrats and not only of the 
proletariat. This follows from the fact that it is not only the proletariat that is 
interested and takes an active part in a democratic revolution. This follows from 
the fact that the insurrection is a "popular" one, as is stated in the beginning of the 
resolution we are discussing, that "non-proletarian groups" (the words used in the 
Conference resolution on the uprising), i.e., the bourgeoisie, also take part in it. 
Hence, the principle that any participation of Socialists in a provisional 
revolutionary government jointly with the petty bourgeoisie is treachery to the 
working class was thrown overboard by the Conference, which is what the 
Vperyodvm sought to achieve. "Treachery" does not cease to be treachery because 
the action which constitutes it is partial, episodic, local, etc. Hence, the parallel 
drawn between the participation in a provisional revolutionary government and 
vulgar Jaur&egravesism was thrown overboard by the Conference, which is what 
the Vperyod sought to achieve. A government does not cease to be a government 
because its power does not extend to many cities but is confined to a single city, 
does not extend to many districts but is confined to a single district; nor because 
of the name that is given to it. Thus, the formulation of the principles of this 
question which the new Iskra tried to give was discarded by the Conference. 

page 82 

Let us see whether the restrictions imposed by the Conference on the formation 
of revolutionary governments and participation in them, which is now admitted in 
principle, are reasonable. What difference there is between the concept "episodic" 
and the concept "provisional," we do not know. We are afraid that this "new" and 
foreign word is merely a screen for lack of clear thinking. It seems "more 
profound," but actually it is only more obscure and confused. What is the 
difference between the "expediency" of a partial "seizure of power" in a city or 
district, and participation in a provisional revolutionary government of the entire 
state? Do not "cities" include a city like St. Petersburg, where the events of 
January 9 took place? Do not districts include the Caucasus, which is bigger than 
many a state? Will not the problems (which at one time vexed the new Iskra) of 
what to do with the prisons, the police, public funds, etc., confront us the moment 
we "seize power" in a single city, let alone in a district? No one will deny, of 
course, that if we lack sufficient forces, if the insurrection is not wholly 
successful, or if the victory is indecisive, it is possible that provisional 
revolutionary governments will be set up in separate localities, in individual cities 
and the like. But what is the point of such an assumption, gentlemen? Do not you 
yourselves speak in the beginning of the resolution about a "decisive victory of 
the revolution," about a "victorious popular insurrection"?? Since when have the 
Social-Democrats taken over the job of the anarchists: to divide the attention and 
the aims of the proletariat, to direct its attention to the "partial" instead of the 
general, the single, the integral and complete? While presupposing the "seizure of 
power" in a city, you yourselves speak of "spreading the insurrection" ~ to 
another city, may we venture to think? 



page 83 

to all cities, may we dare to hope? Your conclusions, gentlemen, are as unsound 
and haphazard, as contradictory and confused as your premises. The Third 
Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. gave an exhaustive and clear answer to the question of 
a provisional revolutionary government in general. And this answer covers all 
cases of local provisional governments as well. The answer given by the 
Conference however, by artificially and arbitrarily singling out a part of the 
question, merely evades (but unsuccessfully) the issue as a whole, and creates 
confusion. 

What does the term "revolutionary communes" mean? Does it differ from the 
term "provisional revolutionary government," and, if so, in what respect? The 
Conference gentlemen themselves do not know. Confusion of revolutionary 
thought leads them, as very often happens, to revolutionary phrasemongering. 
Yes, the use of the words "revolutionary commune" in a resolution passed by 
representatives of Social-Democracy is revolutionary phrasemongering and 
nothing else. Marx more than once condemned such phrasemongering, when 
"fascinating" terms of the bygone past were used to hide the tasks of the future. In 
such cases a fascinating term that has played its part in history becomes futile and 
pernicious trumpery, a child's rattle. We must give the workers and the whole 
people a clear and unambiguous explanation as to why we want a provisional 
revolutionary government to be set up, and exactly what changes we shall 
accomplish, if we exercise decisive influence on the government, on the very 
morrow of the victory of the popular insurrection which has already commenced. 
These are the questions that confront political leaders. 

page 84 

The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. gave perfectly clear answers to these 
questions and drew up a complete program of these changes ~ the minimum 
program of our Party. The word "commune," however, is not an answer at all; it 
only serves to confuse people by the distant echo of a sonorous phrase, or empty 
rhetoric. The more we cherish the memory of the Paris Commune of 1871, for 
instance, the less permissible is it to refer to it offhand, without analyzing its 
mistakes and the special conditions attending it. To do so would be to follow the 
absurd example of the Blanquists ~ whom Engels ridiculed ~ who (in 1874, in 
their "Manifesto") paid homage to every act of the Commune.mi What reply will 
a "Conferencer" give to a worker who asks him about this "revolutionary 
commune" that is mentioned in the resolution? He will only be able to tell him 
that this is the name, known in history, of a workers' government that was unable 
to, and could not at that time, distinguish between the elements of a democratic 
revolution and those of a socialist revolution, that confused the tasks of fighting 
for a republic with the tasks of fighting for Socialism, that was unable to carry out 
the task of launching an energetic military offensive against Versailles, that made 
a mistake in not seizing the Bank of France, etc. In short, whether in your answer 
you refer to the Paris Commune or to some other commune, your answer will be: 



it was a government such as ours should not be. A fine answer, indeed! Does it 
not testify to pedantic moralizing and impotence on the part of a revolutionary 
who says nothing about the practical program of the Party and in appropriately 
begins to give lessons in history in a resolution? Does this not reveal the very 
mistake which they unsuccessfully accuse us of having committed, i.e., of con- 
page 85 

fusing a democratic revolution with a socialist revolution, between which none of 
the "communes" differentiated? 

The aim of a provisional government (so inappropriately termed "commune") is 
declared to be "exclusively" to spread the insurrection and to disrupt the 
government. Taken in its literal sense, the word "exclusively" eliminates all other 
aims; it is an echo of the absurd theory of "only from below." Such elimination of 
other aims is another instance of shortsightedness and lack of reflection. A 
"revolutionary commune," i.e., a revolutionary government, even if only in a 
single city, will inevitably have to administer (even if provisionally, "partly, 
episodically") all the affairs of state, and it is the height of folly to hide one's head 
under one's wing and refuse to see this. This government will have to enact an 
eight-hour working day, establish workers' inspection of factories, institute free 
universal education, introduce the election of judges, set up peasant committees, 
etc.; in a word, it will certainly have to carry out a number of reforms. To 
designate these reforms as "helping to spread the insurrection" would be playing 
with words and deliberately causing greater confusion in a matter which requires 
absolute clarity. 



The concluding part of the new /^/:ra-ists' resolution does not provide any new 
material for a criticism of the trends of principles of "Economism" which has 
revived in our Party, but it illustrates what has been said above from a somewhat 
different angle. 

Here is that part: 

"Only in one event should Social-Democracy, on its own initiative, direct its 
efforts towards seizing power and hold- 
page 86 

ing it as long as possible ~ namely, in the event of the revolution spreading to the 
advanced countries of Western Europe, where conditions for the achievement of 
Socialism have already reached a certain"(?) "degree of maturity. In that event the 
limited historical scope of the Russian revolution can be considerably widened 
and the possibility of entering the path of socialist reforms will arise. 



"By framing its tactics in accordance with the view that, during the whole 
period of the revolution, the Social-Democratic Party will retain the position of 
extreme revolutionary opposition to all the governments that may succeed one 
another in the course of the revolution, Social-Democracy will best be able to 
prepare itself to utilize governmental power if it falls" (??) "into its hands." 

The basic idea here is the one that the Vperyod has repeatedly formulated, 
stating that we must not be afraid (as is Martynov) of a complete victory for 
Social-Democracy in a democratic revolution, i.e., of a revolutionary-democratic 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, for such a victory will enable us 
to rouse Europe, and the socialist proletariat of Europe, after throwing off the 
yoke of the bourgeoisie, will in its turn help us to accomplish the socialist 
revolution. But see how this idea is worsened in the new Iskra-i^i^' rendering of it. 
We shall not dwell on details ~ on the absurd assumption that power could "fall" 
into the hands of a class-conscious party which considers seizure of power 
harmful tactics; on the fact that in Europe the conditions for Socialism have 
reached not a certain degree of maturity, but are already mature; on the fact that 
our Party program does not speak of socialist changes at all, but only of a socialist 
revolution. Let us take the principal and basic difference between the idea 

page 87 

presented by the Vperyod and that presented in the resolution. The Vperyod set the 
revolutionary proletariat of Russia an active aim: to win the battle for democracy 
and to use this victory for carrying the revolution into Europe. The resolution fails 
to grasp this connection between our "decisive victory" (not in the new Iskra 
sense) and the revolution in Europe, and therefore it speaks not about the tasks of 
the proletariat, not about the prospects of its victory, but about one of the 
possibilities in general: "in the event of the revolution spreading. ..." The 
Vperyod pointedly and definitely indicated ~ and this was incorporated in the 
resolution of the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party - 
- how "governmental power" can and must "be utilized" in the interests of the 
proletariat, bearing in mind what can be achieved immediately, at the given stage 
of social development, and what must first be achieved as a democratic 
prerequisite of the struggle for Socialism. Here, also, the resolution hopelessly 
drags at the tail when it states: "will be able to prepare itself to utilize," but fails to 
say how it will be able, how it will prepare itself, and to utilize /or whatl We have 
no doubt, for instance, that the new Iskra-ists may be "able to prepare themselves 
to utilize" the leading position in the Party; but the point is that the way they have 
utilized, their preparation up till now, do not hold out much hope of possibility 
being transformed into reality. . . . 

The Vperyod quite definitely stated wherein lies the real "possibility of holding 
power" ~ namely, in the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry, in their joint mass strength, which is capable of outweighing all 
the forces of counterrevolution, in the 



page 88 

inevitable concurrence of their interests in democratic changes. Here, too, the 
resolution of the Conference gives us nothing positive, it merely evades the 
question. Surely, the possibility of holding power in Russia must be determined 
by the composition of the social forces in Russia itself, by the circumstances of 
the democratic revolution which is now taking place in our country. A victory of 
the proletariat in Europe (it is still somewhat of a far cry between carrying the 
revolution into Europe and the victory of the proletariat) will give rise to a 
desperate counterrevolutionary struggle on the part of the Russian bourgeoisie ~ 
yet the resolution of the new Iskra-ists does not say a word about this 
counterrevolutionary force, the importance of which has been appraised in the 
resolution of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. If in our hght for a republic 
and democracy we could not rely upon the peasantry as well as on the proletariat, 
the prospect of our "holding power" would be hopeless. But if it is not hopeless, if 
a "decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism" opens up such a possibility, 
then we must point to it, we must actively call for its transformation into reality 
and issue practical slogans not only/6>r the contingency of the revolution being 
carried into Europe, but also/6>r the purpose of carrying it there. The reference 
made by the khvostist Social-Democrats to the "limited historical scope of the 
Russian revolution" merely serves to cover up their limited understanding of the 
aims of this democratic revolution and of the leading role of the proletariat in this 
revolution! 

One of the objections raised to the slogan of "the revolutionary-democratic 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry" is that dictatorship presupposes a 
"single 

page 89 

will" (Iskra, No. 95), and that there can be no single will of the proletariat and the 
petty bourgeoisie. This objection is unsound, for it is based on an abstract, 
"metaphysical" interpretation of the term "single will." There can be a single will 
in one respect and not a single will in another. The absence of unity on questions 
of Socialism and in the struggle for Socialism does not preclude singleness of will 
on questions of democracy and in the struggle for a republic. To forget this would 
be tantamount to forgetting the logical and historical difference between a 
democratic and a socialist revolution. To forget this would be tantamount to 
forgetting the character of the democratic revolution as a revolution of the whole 
people: if it is "of the whole people" it means that there is "singleness of will" 
precisely in so far as this revolution satisfies the common needs and requirements 
of the whole people. Beyond the bounds of democracy there can be no question of 
the proletariat and the peasant bourgeoisie having a single will. Class struggle 
between them is inevitable; but it is in a democratic republic that this struggle will 
be the most thoroughgoing and widespread struggle of the people /6>r Socialism. 
Like everything else in the world, the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry has a past and a future. Its past is autocracy, serfdom. 



monarchy and privilege. In the struggle against this past, in the struggle against 
counterrevolution, a "single will" of the proletariat and the peasantry is possible, 
for here there is unity of interests. 

Its future is the struggle against private property the struggle of the wage 
worker against the employer the struggle for Socialism. Here singleness of will is 
impos- 

page 90 

sible.[*] Here our path lies not from autocracy to a republic but from a petty- 
bourgeois democratic republic to Socialism. 

Of course, in actual historical circumstances, the elements of the past become 
interwoven with those of the future, the two paths cross. Wage labour, with its 
struggle against private property, exists under the autocracy as well; it is 
generated even under serfdom. But this does not in the least prevent us from 
drawing a logical and historical dividing line between the major stages of 
development. We all draw a distinction between bourgeois revolution and 
socialist revolution, we all absolutely insist on the necessity of drawing a most 
strict line between them; but can it be denied that individual, particular elements 
of the two revolutions become interwoven in history? Have there not been a 
number of socialist movements and attempts at establishing Socialism in the 
period of democratic revolutions in Europe? And will not the future socialist 
revolution in Europe still have to do a very great deal that has been left undone in 
the field of democracy? 

A Social-Democrat must never for a moment forget that the proletariat will 
inevitably have to wage the class struggle for Socialism even against the most 
democratic and republican bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. This is beyond 
doubt. Hence the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party 
of Social-Democracy. Hence the temporary nature of our tactics of "striking 
jointly" with the bourgeoisie and the duty of keeping a strict watch "over our ally, 
as over an enemy," etc. All this is also beyond the 



* The development of capitalism, which is more widespread and rapid where there is freedom, 
will inevitably put a speedy end to singleness of will; the sooner counterrevolution and reaction 
are crushed, the sooner will the singleness of will come to an end. 

page 91 

slightest doubt. But it would be ridiculous and reactionary to deduce from this that 
we must forget, ignore or neglect these tasks which, although transient and 
temporary, are vital at the present time. The fight against the autocracy is a 
temporary and transient task of the Socialists, but to ignore or neglect this task in 
any way would be tantamount to betraying Socialism and rendering a service to 
reaction. The revolutionary-Democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the 



peasantry is unquestionably only a transient, temporary aim of the Socialists, but 
to ignore this aim in the period of a democratic revolution would be downright 
reactionary. 

Concrete political aims must be set in concrete circumstances. All things are 
relative, all things flow and all things change. The program of the German Social- 
Democratic Party does not contain the demand for a republic. The situation in 
Germany is such that this question can in practice hardly be separated from the 
question of Socialism (although even as regards Germany, Engels, in his 
comments on the draft of the Erfurt Program in 1891, warned against belittling the 
importance of a republic and of the struggle for a republic!). [33] In the Russian 
Social-Democratic Party the question of eliminating the demand for a republic 
from its program and agitation has never even arisen, for in our country there can 
be no talk of an indissoluble connection between the question of a republic and 
the question of Socialism. It was quite natural for a German Social-Democrat of 
1898 not to put the special question of a republic in the forefront, and this evokes 
neither surprise nor condemnation. But a German Social-Democrat who in 1848 
would have left the question of a republic in the shade would have been a 
downright traitor to the revolu- 

page 92 

tion. There is no such thing as abstract truth. Truth is always concrete. 

The time will come when the struggle against the Russian autocracy will end 
and the period of democratic revolution will be over in Russia; then it will be 
ridiculous to talk about "singleness of will" of the proletariat and the peasantry, 
about a democratic dictatorship, etc. When that time comes we shall attend 
directly to the question of the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat and deal with 
it at greater length. But at present the party of the advanced class cannot but strive 
most energetically for a decisive victory of the democratic revolution over 
tsarism. And a decisive victory means nothing else than the revolutionary- 
democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. 

1) We would remind the reader that in the polemics between the Iskra and the 
Vperyod, the former referred among other things to Engels' letter to Turati, in 
which Engels warned the (future) leader of the Italian reformists not to confuse 
the democratic with the socialist revolution. [35] The impending revolution in Italy - 
- wrote Engels about the political situation in Italy in 1894 ~ will be a petty- 
bourgeois, democratic and not a socialist revolution. The Iskra reproached the 
Vperyod with having departed from the principle laid down by Engels. This 
reproach was unjustified, because the Vperyod (No. 14)[36] fully acknowledged, on 
the whole, the correctness of Marx's theory of the difference between the three 
main forces in the revolutions of the nineteenth century. According to this theory, 
the following forces take a stand against the old order, against the autoc- 



page 93 

racy, feudalism, serfdom: 1) the liberal big bourgeoisie, 2) the radical petty 
bourgeoisie, 3) the proletariat. The first fights for nothing more than a 
constitutional monarchy; the second, for a democratic republic; the third, for a 
socialist revolution. To confuse the petty-bourgeois struggle for a complete 
democratic revolution with the proletarian struggle for a socialist revolution spells 
political bankruptcy for a Socialist. Marx's warning to this effect is quite justified. 
But it is precisely for this very reason that the slogan "revolutionary communes" 
is erroneous, because the very mistake committed by the communes that have 
existed in history is that they confused the democratic revolution with the socialist 
revolution. On the other hand, our slogan ~ a revolutionary-democratic 
dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry ~ fully safeguards us against this 
mistake. While recognizing the uncontestably bourgeois nature of the revolution, 
which is incapable of directly overstepping the bounds a mere democratic 
revolution, our slogan pushes forward this particular revolution and strives to 
mould it into forms most advantageous to the proletariat; consequently, it strives 
to make the very most of the democratic revolution in order to attain the greatest 
success in the further struggle of the proletariat for Socialism. 



11. A CURSORY COMPARISON 

BETWEEN SEVERAL OF THE RESOLUTIONS 

OF THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P. 

AND THOSE OF THE "CONFERENCE" 

The question of the provisional revolutionary government is the pivot of the 
tactical questions of the Social- 
page 94 

Democratic movement at the present time. It is neither possible nor necessary to 
dwell in as great detail on the other resolutions of the Conference. We shall 
confine ourselves merely to indicating briefly a few points which confirm the 
difference in principle, analyzed above, between the tactical trends of the 
resolutions of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. and those of the Conference 
resolutions. 

Take the question of the attitude towards the tactics of the government on the 
eve of the revolution. Once again you will hnd a comprehensive answer to this 
question in one of the resolutions of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. This 
resolution takes into consideration all the multifarious conditions and tasks of the 
particular moment: the exposure of the hypocrisy of the government's 
concessions, the utilization of "travesties of popular representation," the 
achievement by revolutionary means of the urgent demands of the working class 
(the principal one being the eight-hour working day), and, finally, resistance to 



the Black Hundreds. In the Conference resolutions this question is scattered over 
several sections: "resistance to the dark forces of reaction" is mentioned only in 
the preamble of the resolution on the attitude to other parties. Participation in 
elections to representative bodies is considered separately from the question of 
"compromises" between tsarism and the bourgeoisie. Instead of calling for the 
achievement of an eight-hour working day by revolutionary means, a special 
resolution, with the high-sounding title "On the Economic Struggle," merely 
repeats (after high-flown and very stupid phrases about "the central place 
occupied by the labour question in the public life of Russia") the old slogan of 
agitation for "the legislative institution of an eight-hour 

page 95 

working day." The inadequacy and the belatedness of this slogan at the present 
time are too obvious to require proof. 

The question of open political action. The Third Congress takes into 
consideration the impending radical change in our activity. Secret activity and the 
development of the secret apparatus must on no account be abandoned: this would 
be playing into the hands of the police and be of the utmost advantage to the 
government. But at the same time we cannot start too soon thinking about open 
action as well. Expedient forms of such action and, consequently, special 
apparatus ~ less secret ~ must be prepared immediately for this purpose. The 
legal and semilegal societies must be made use of with a view to transforming 
them, as far as possible, into bases of the future open Social-Democratic Labour 
Party in Russia. 

Here too the Conference divides up the question, and fails to issue any integral 
slogans. There bobs up as a separate point the ridiculous instruction to the 
Organization Commission to see to the "placing" of its legally functioning 
publicists. There is the wholly absurd decision "to subordinate to its influence the 
democratic newspapers that set themselves the aim of rendering assistance to the 
working-class movement." This is the professed aim of all our legal liberal 
newspapers, nearly all of which are of the Osvobozhdeniye trend. Why should not 
the editors of the Iskra make a start themselves in carrying out their advice and 
give us an example of how to subject the Osvobozhdeniye to Social-Democratic 
influence? . . . Instead of the slogan of utilizing the legally existing unions for the 
purpose of establishing bases for the Party, we are given, first, particular advice 
about the "trade" unions only (that all Party members must join them) and, 
secondly, advice to guide "the 

page 96 

revolutionary organizations of the workers" = "organizations not officially 
constituted" = "revolutionary workers' clubs." How these "clubs" come to be 
classed as unofficially constituted organizations, what these "clubs" really are ~ 
goodness only knows. Instead of definite and clear instructions from a supreme 



Party body, we have some jottings of ideas and the rough drafts of pubhcists. We 
get no complete picture of the beginning of the Party's transition to an entirely 
new basis in all its work. 

The "peasant question" was presented by the Party Congress and by the 
Conference in entirely different ways. The Congress drew up a resolution on the 
"attitude to the peasant movement," the Conference on "work among the 
peasants." In the one case prime importance is attached to the task of guiding the 
widespread revolutionary-democratic movement in the general national interests 
of the fight against tsarism. In the other instance, the question is reduced to mere 
"work" among a particular section of society. In the one case, a central practical 
slogan for our agitation is advanced, calling for the immediate organization of 
revolutionary peasant committees in order to carry out all the democratic changes. 
In the other, a "demand for the organization of committees" is to be presented to a 
constituent assembly. Why must we wait for this constituent assembly? Will it 
really be constituent? Will it be stable without the preliminary and simultaneous 
establishment of revolutionary peasant committees? All these questions are 
ignored by the Conference. All its decisions reflect the general idea which we 
have traced ~ namely, that in the bourgeois revolution we must do only our 
special work, without setting ourselves the aim of leading the entire democratic 
movement and of doing this independently. Just 

page 97 

as the Economists constantly harped on the idea that the Social-Democrats should 
concern themselves with the economic struggle, leaving it to the liberals to take 
care of the political struggle, so the new Iskra-ists keep harping in all their 
discussions on the idea that we should creep into a modest corner out of the way 
of the bourgeois revolution, leaving it to the bourgeoisie to do the active work of 
carrying out the revolution. 

Finally, we cannot but note also the resolution on the attitude toward other 
parties. The resolution of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. speaks of exposing 
all the limitations and inadequacies of the bourgeois movement for emancipation, 
without entertaining the na&iumlve idea of enumerating every possible instance 
of such limitation from congress to congress or of drawing a line of distinction 
between bad bourgeois and good bourgeois. The Conference, repeating the 
mistake made by Starover, persistently searched for such a line, developed the 
famous "litmus paper" theory. Starover started from a very good idea: to put the 
strictest possible terms to the bourgeoisie. Only he forgot that any attempt to 
separate in advance the bourgeois democrats who are worthy of approval, 
agreements, etc., from those who are unworthy leads to a "formula" which is 
immediately thrown overboard by the development of events and which 
introduces confusion into the proletarian class consciousness. The emphasis is 
shifted from real unity in the struggle to declarations, promises, slogans. Starover 
was of the opinion that "universal and equal suffrage, direct elections and secret 
ballot" was such a radical slogan. But before two years elapsed the "litmus paper" 



proved its worthlessness, the slogan of universal suffrage was taken over by the 
Osvobozbdentsi, who not only came no closer to Social- 
page 98 

Democracy as a result of this, but, on the contrary, tried by means of this very 
slogan to mislead the workers and divert them from Socialism. 

Now the new Iskra-ists are setting "terms" that are even "stricter," they are 
"demanding" from the enemies of tsarism "energetic and unequivocal" (!?) 
"support of every determined action of the organized proletariat,' etc., up to and 
including "active participation in the self-armament of the people." The line has 
been drawn much further ~ but nonetheless this line is again already obsolete, it 
revealed its worthlessness at once. Why, for instance, is there no slogan of a 
republic? How is it that the Social-Democrats ~ in the interest of "relentless 
revolutionary war against all the foundations of the system of social estates and 
the monarchy" ~ "demand" from the bourgeois democrats anything you like 
except a fight for a republic? 

That this question is not mere captiousness, that the mistake of the new Iskra- 
ists is of most vital political significance is proved by the "Russian Liberation 
League" (see Proletary, No. 4).* These "enemies of tsarism" will fully meet all 
the "requirements" of the new Iskra-ists. And yet we have shown that the spirit of 
Osvobozhdeniye reigns in the program (or lack of program) of this "Russian 
Liberation 



* Proletary, No. 4, vhich appeared on June 4, 1905, eontained a lengthy article entitled "A New 
Revolutionary Labour League" (see Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 465-76. - 
-Ed.). The article gives the contents of the appeals issued by this league which assumed the name 
of "Russian Liberation League" and which set itself the aim of convening a constituent assembly 
with the aid of an armed insurrection. Further, the article defines the attitude of the Social- 
Democrats to such non-Party leagues. How far this league really existed, and what its fate was in 
the revolution is absolutely unknown to us. [Author's note to the 1907 edition.] 

page 99 

League" and that the Osvobozhdentsi can easily take it in tow. The Conference, 
however, declares in the concluding section of the resolution that "Social- 
Democracy will continue to oppose the hypocritical friends of the people, all 
those political parties which, though they display a liberal and democratic banner, 
refuse to render genuine support to the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat." 
The "Russian Liberation League" not only does not refuse this support but offers 
it most insistently. Is that a guarantee that the leaders of this League are not 
"hypocritical friends of the people," even though they are Osvobozhdentsi! 

You see: by inventing "terms" in advance and presenting "demands" which are 
ludicrous by reason of their grim impotence, the new Iskra-ists immediately put 



themselves in a ridiculous position. Their terms and demands immediately prove 
inadequate when it comes to gauging living realities. Their chase after formulae is 
hopeless, for no formula can embrace all the various manifestations of hypocrisy, 
inconsistency and limitations of the bourgeois democrats. It is not a matter of 
"litmus paper," of forms, or written and printed demands, nor is it a matter of 
drawing, in advance, a line of distinction between hypocritical and sincere 
"friends of the people"; it is a matter of real unity in the struggle, of unabating 
criticism by Social-Democrats of every "uncertain" step taken by bourgeois 
democracy. What is needed for a "genuine consolidation of all the social forces 
interested in democratic change" is not the "points" over which the Conference 
laboured so assiduously and so vainly, but the ability to put forward genuinely 
revolutionary slogans. For this slogans are needed that will raise the revolutionary 
and republican bourgeoisie to the level of the proletariat and not reduce the aims 
of the proletariat to the level of the mon- 

page 100 

archist bourgeoisie. For this the most energetic participation in the insurrection 
and not sophist evasions of the urgent task of armed insurrection is needed. 



12. WILL THE SWEEP OF THE DEMOCRATIC 

REVOLUTION BE DIMINISHED IF THE 

BOURGEOISIE RECOILS FROM IT? 

The foregoing lines were already written when we received a copy of the 
resolutions adopted by the Caucasian Conference of the new Iskra-ists, published 
by the Iskra, Better material than this pour la bonne bouche (for dessert) we could 
not even have invented. 

The editors of the Iskra quite justly remark: "On the fundamental question of 
tactics, the Caucasian Conference also arrived at a decision analogous'' (in truth!) 
"to the one adopted by the All-Russian Conference" (i.e., of the new Iskra-i^i^). 
"The question of the attitude of Social-Democracy towards a provisional 
revolutionary government has been settled by the Caucasian comrades in the spirit 
of most outspoken opposition to the new method advocated by the Vpeyod group 
and by the delegates of the so-called Congress who joined it." "It must be 
admitted that the formulation of the tactics of the proletarian party in a bourgeois 
revolution as given by the Conference is very apt.'' 

What is true is true. No one could have given a more "apt" formulation of the 
fundamental error of the new Iskra-ists. We shall quote this formulation in full, 
indicating in parentheses first the blossoms and then the fruit presented at the end. 

page 101 



Here is the resolution of the Caucasian Conference of new Iskra-ists on a 
provisional revolutionary government: 

"Whereas we consider it to be our task to take advantage of the revolutionary 
situation to render more profound" (of course! They should have added: "a la 
Martynov!") "the Social-Democratic consciousness of the proletariat" (only to 
render the consciousness more profound, and not to win a republic? What a 
"profound" conception of revolution 1) "and in order to secure for the Party fullest 
freedom to criticize the nascent bourgeois-state system" (it is not our business to 
secure a republic! Our business is only to secure freedom of criticism. Anarchist 
ideas give rise to anarchist language: "bourgeois-state" system!), "the Conference 
declares against the formation of a Social-Democratic provisional government 
and joining such a government" (recall the resolution passed by the Bakunists ten 
months before the Spanish revolution and referred to by Engels: see the Proletary, 
No. 3), [37] "and considers it to be the most expedient course to exercise pressure 
from without" (from below and not from above) "upon the bourgeois provisional 
government in order to secure a feasible measure" (?!) "of democratization of the 
state system. The Conference believes that the formation of a provisional 
government by Social-Democrats, or their joining such a government, would lead, 
on the one hand, to the masses of the proletariat becoming disappointed in the 
Social-Democratic Party and abandoning it because the Social-Democrats, in spite 
of the fact that they had seized power, would not be able to satisfy the pressing 
needs of the working class, including the establishment of Socialism" (a republic 
is not a pressing need! The authors, in their innocence, do not notice that they are 
speaking a purely anarchist language, as if they were repu- 

page 102 

diating participation in bourgeois revolutions!), "and, on the other hand, w ill c a 
usethebourgeoisclassestorecoi Ifr omtherevolutionan 
dthusdiminishits 
swee e p^ 

That is where the trouble lies. That is where anarchist ideas become interwoven 
(as is constantly the case among the West-European Bernsteinians also) with the 
purest opportunism. Just think of it: not to join a provisional government because 
this will cause the bourgeoisie to recoil from the revolution and thus diminish the 
sweep of the revolution! Here, indeed, we have the new Iskra philosophy in its 
complete, pure and consistent form: the revolution is a bourgeois revolution, 
therefore we must bow down to bourgeois philistinism and make way for it. If we 
are guided, even in part, even for a moment, by the consideration that our 
participation may cause the bourgeoisie to recoil, we thereby simply yield 
leadership in the revolution entirely to the bourgeois classes. We thereby place the 
proletariat entirely under the tutelage of the bourgeoisie (while retaining complete 
"freedom of criticism" ! !), compelling the proletariat to be meek and mild so as not 
to cause the bourgeoisie to recoil. We emasculate the most vital needs of the 
proletariat, namely, its political needs ~ which the Economists and their epigones 



have never properly understood ~ so as not to cause the bourgeoisie to recoil. We 
completely abandon the field of revolutionary struggle for the achievement of 
democracy to the extent required by the proletariat for the field of bargaining with 
the bourgeoisie, betraying our principles, betraying the revolution to purchase the 
bourgeoisie's voluntary consent ("that it might not recoil"). 

In two brief lines, the Caucasian new Iskra-ists managed to express the 
quintessence of the tactics of betrayal of the 

page 103 

revolution and of converting the proletariat into a wretched appendage of the 
bourgeois classes. The tendency, which we traced above to the mistakes of the 
new Iskra-ists, now stands out before us as a clear and definite principle, viz., to 
drag at the tail of the monarchist bourgeoisie. Since the establishment of a 
republic would cause (and is already causing: Mr. Struve, for example) the 
bourgeoisie to recoil, therefore, down with the fight for a republic. Since every 
resolute and consistent democratic demand of the proletariat always and 
everywhere in the world causes the bourgeoisie to recoil, therefore, hide in your 
lairs, comrades and fellow workers, act only from without, do not dream of using 
the instruments and weapons of the "bourgeois-state" system in the interests of the 
revolution, and reserve for yourselves "freedom to criticize" ! 

Here the fundamental fallacy of their very conception of the term "bourgeois 
revolution" has come to the surface. The Martynov or new Iskra "conception" of 
this term leads straight to a betrayal of the cause of the proletariat to the 
bourgeoisie. 

Those who have forgotten the old Economism, those who do not study it or 
remember it, will find it difficult to under stand the present echo of Economism. 
Recall the Bernsteinian Credo.im From "purely proletarian" views and programs, 
people arrived at the conclusion: we, the Social-Democrats, must concern 
ourselves with economics, with the real cause of labour, with freedom to criticize 
all political chicanery, with rendering Social-Democratic work really more 
profound. Politics are for the liberals. God save us from dropping into 
"revolutionism": that will cause the bourgeoisie to recoil. Those who read the 
whole Credo over again or the Supple- 
page 104 

ment to No. 9 of the Rabochaya My si vm (September 1899) will be able to follow 
this entire line of reasoning. 

Today we have the same thing, only on a large scale, applied to an appraisal of 
the whole of the "great" Russian revolution ~ alas, already vulgarized and 
reduced to a travesty in advance by the theoreticians of orthodox philistinism! 
We, the Social-Democrats, must concern ourselves with freedom of criticism. 



with rendering class consciousness more profound, with action from without. 
They, the bourgeois classes, must have freedom to act, a free field for 
revolutionary (read: liberal) leadership, freedom to put through "reforms" from 
above. 

These vulgarizers of Marxism have never pondered over what Marx said about 
the need of substituting the criticism of weapons for the weapon of criticism.[40] 
Taking the name of Marx in vain, they, in actual fact, draw up resolutions on 
tactics wholly in the spirit of the Frankfurt bourgeois windbags, who freely 
criticized absolutism and rendered democratic consciousness more profound, but 
failed to understand that the time of revolution is the time of action, of action both 
from above and from below. Having converted Marxism into pedantry, they have 
made the ideology of the advanced, most determined and energetic revolutionary 
class the ideology of its most undeveloped strata, which shrink from the difficult 
revolutionary-democratic tasks and leave it to Messrs. the Struves to take care of 
these democratic tasks. 

If the bourgeois classes recoil from the revolution because the Social- 
Democrats join the revolutionary government, they will thereby "diminish the 
sweep" of the revolution. 

Listen to this, Russian workers: The sweep of the revolution will be mightier if 
it is carried out by Messrs. the 

page 105 

Struves, who are not frightened away by the Social-Democrats and who want, not 
victory over tsarism, but to come to terms with it. The sweep of the revolution 
will be mightier if, of the two possible outcomes which we have outlined above, 
the first eventuates, i.e., if the monarchist bourgeoisie comes to terms with the 
autocracy concerning a "constitution" a la Shipov! 

Social-Democrats who write such disgraceful things in resolutions intended for 
the guidance of the whole Party, or who approve of such "apt" resolutions, are so 
blinded by their pedantry, which has utterly eroded the living spirit out of 
Marxism, that they do not see how these resolutions convert all their other fine 
words into mere phrasemongering. Take any of their articles in the Iskra, or take 
even the notorious pamphlet written by our celebrated Martynov ~ you will read 
there about a popular insurrection, about carrying the revolution to completion, 
about striving to rely upon the common people in the fight against the inconsistent 
bourgeoisie. But then all these excellent things become miserable 
phrasemongering immediately you accept or approve of the idea that "the sweep 
of the revolution" will be "diminished" as a consequence of the alienation of the 
bourgeoisie. One of two things, gentlemen: either we, together with the people, 
must strive to carry out the revolution and win a complete victory over tsarism in 
spite 6>/the inconsistent, self-seeking and cowardly bourgeoisie, or we do not 
accept this "in spite of," we fear lest the bourgeoisie "recoil" from the revolution. 



in which case we betray the proletariat and the people to the bourgeoisie ~ to the 
inconsistent, self-seeking and cowardly bourgeoisie. 

Don't try to misinterpret what I have said. Don't start howling that you are 
being accused of deliberate treachery. 

page 106 

No, you have always been crawling and have at last crawled into the mire as 
unconsciously as the Economists of old, drawn inexorably and irrevocably down 
the inclined plane of making Marxism "more profound" to antirevolutionary, 
soulless and lifeless "philosophizing." 

Have you ever considered, gentlemen, what real social forces determine "the 
sweep of the revolution"? Let us leave aside the forces of foreign politics, of 
international combinations, which have turned out very favourably for us at the 
present time, but which we all leave out of our discussion, and rightly so, 
inasmuch as we are concerned with the question of the internal forces of Russia. 
Look at these internal social forces. Aligned against the revolution are the 
autocracy, the imperial court, the police, the bureaucracy, the army and the 
handful of high nobility. The deeper the indignation of the people grows, the less 
reliable become the troops, and the more the bureaucracy wavers. Moreover, the 
bourgeoisie, on the whole, is now in favour of the revolution, is zealously making 
speeches about liberty, holding forth more and more frequently in the name of the 
people, and even in the name of the revolution.* But we Marxists all know from 
theory and from daily and hourly observation of our liberals, Zemstvo-ists and 
Orvobozhdentsi that the bourgeoisie is inconsistent, self-seeking and cowardly in 
its support of the revolution. The bourgeoisie, in the mass, will inevitably turn 
towards counterrevolution, towards the autocracy, against the revolution and 
against the people, immediately its narrow, selfish interests are met, immediately 
it "recoils" from consistent democracy {and it is already 



* Of interest in this connection is Mr. Struve s open letter to Jaur&egraves recently published 
by the latter in L'Humanite [4i] and by Mr. Struve in the Osvobozhdeniye, No. 72. 

page 107 

recoiling from it\). There remains the "people," that is, the proletariat and the 
peasantry: the proletariat alone can be relied on to march to the end, for it is going 
far beyond the democratic revolution. That 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. The peasantry includes a great 
number of semiproletarian 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 property. While this does not make the peasantry 
become socialist or cease to be petty-bourgeois, it is capable of becoming a 
wholehearted 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 checked 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 peasantry everything in the 
sphere of agrarian reforms ~ everything that the peasants desire, of which they 
dream, and of which they truly stand in need (not for the abolition of capitalism as 
the "Socialist-Revolutionaries" imagine, but) in order to emerge from the mire of 
semiserfdom, from the gloom of oppression and servitude, in order to improve 
their living conditions as much as it is possible to improve them under the system 
of commodity production. 

page 108 

Moreover, the peasantry is attached to the revolution not only by the prospect 
of radical agrarian reform but by its general and permanent interests. Even in 
fighting the proletariat the peasantry stands in need of democracy, for only a 
democratic system is capable of giving exact expression to its interests and of 
ensuring its predominance as the mass, as the majority. The more enlightened the 
peasantry becomes (and since the war with Japan it is becoming enlightened much 
more rapidly than those who are accustomed to measure enlightenment by the 
school standard suspect), the more consistently and determinedly will it favour a 
thoroughgoing democratic revolution; for, unlike the bourgeoisie, it has nothing to 
fear from the supremacy of the people, but, on the contrary, stands to gain by it. A 
democratic republic will become the ideal of the peasantry as soon as it begins to 
free itself from its na&iumlve monarchism, because the enlightened monarchism 
of the bourgeois stock-jobbers (with an upper chamber, etc.) implies for the 
peasantry the same disfranchisement and the same downtroddenness and 
ignorance as it suffers from today, only slightly glossed over with the varnish of 
European constitutionalism. 

That is why the bourgeoisie as a class naturally and inevitably strives to come 
under the wing of the liberal-monarchist party, while the peasantry, in the mass, 
strives to come under the leadership of the revolutionary and republican party. 
That is why the bourgeoisie is incapable of carrying the democratic revolution to 
its consummation, while the peasantry is capable of doing so, and we must exert 
all our efforts to help it to do so. 

It may be objected: but this requires no proof, this is all ABC; all Social- 
Democrats understand this perfectly well. But that is not so. It is not understood 
by those who can 

page 109 



talk about "the sweep" of the revolution being "diminished" because the 
bourgeoisie will fall away from it. Such people repeat the words of our agrarian 
program that they have learned by rote without understanding their meaning, for 
otherwise they would not be frightened by the concept of the revolutionary- 
democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, which inevitably 
follows from the entire Marxian world outlook and from our program; otherwise 
they would not restrict the sweep of the great Russian revolution to the limits to 
which the bourgeoisie is prepared to go. Such people defeat their abstract Marxian 
revolutionary phrases by their concrete anti-Marxian and antirevolutionary 
resolutions. 

Those who really understand the role of the peasantry in a 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 paralyzing the inevitable inconsistency of the 
bourgeoisie (i.e., capable precisely of "causing it to recoil from the revolution," 
which the Caucasian adherents of Iskra fear so much because of their lack of 
judgment). 

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 

page 110 

to paralyze the instability oftbe bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the 
socialist revolution, by allying to itself the mass of the semiproletarian elements 
of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and 
to paralyze the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie. Such are the 
tasks of the proletariat which the new Iskra-ists present so narrowly in all their 
arguments and resolutions about the sweep of the revolution. 

One circumstance, however, must not be forgotten, although it is frequently lost 
sight of in discussions about the "sweep" of the revolution. It must not be 
forgotten that the point at issue is not the difficulties this problem presents, but the 
road along which we must seek and attain its solution. The point is not whether it 
is easy or difficult to make the sweep of the revolution mighty and invincible, but 
how we must act in order to make this sweep more powerful. It is precisely on the 
fundamental nature of our activity, on the direction it should take, that our views 
differ. We emphasize this because careless and unscrupulous people too 
frequently confuse two different questions, namely, the question of the direction 
in which the road leads, i.e., the selection of one of two different roads, and the 



question of how easily the goal can be reached, or of how near the goal is on the 
given road. 

We have not dealt with this last question at all in the foregoing because it has 
not evoked any disagreement or divergency in the Party. But it goes without 
saying that the question itself is extremely important and deserves the most 
serious attention of all Social-Democrats. It would be a piece of unpardonable 
optimism to forget the difficulties which accompany the task of drawing into the 
movement the masses not only of the working class, but also of the peasantry. 

page 111 

These difficulties have more than once been the rock against which the efforts to 
carry a democratic revolution to completion have been wrecked; and it was the 
inconsistent and self-seeking bourgeoisie which triumphed most of all, because it 
"made capital" in the shape of monarchist protection against the people, and at the 
same time "preserved the vir ginity" of liberalism ... or of the Osvobozhdeniye 
trend. But difficult does not mean impossible. The important thing is to be 
convinced that the path chosen is the correct one, and this conviction will multiply 
a hundredfold the revolutionary energy and revolutionary enthusiasm which can 
perform miracles. 

How deep is the disagreement among present-day Social-Democrats on the 
question of the path to be chosen can be seen at once by comparing the Caucasian 
resolution of the new Iskra-ists with the resolution of the Third Congress of the 
Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The Congress resolution says: the 
bourgeoisie is inconsistent, it will certainly try to deprive us of the gains of the 
revolution. Therefore, make more energetic preparations for the fight, comrades 
and fellow workers! Arm yourselves, win the peasantry to your side! We shall not 
surrender our revolutionary gains to the self-seeking bourgeoisie without a fight. 
The resolution of the Caucasian new Iskra-ists says: the bourgeoisie is 
inconsistent, it may recoil from the revolution. Therefore, comrades and fellow 
workers, please do not think of joining a provisional government, for, if you do, 
the bourgeoisie will certainly recoil, and the sweep of the revolution will thereby 
be diminished! 

One side says: push the revolution forward, to its consummation, in spite of the 
resistance or the passivity of the inconsistent bourgeoisie. 

page 112 

The Other side says: do not think of carrying the revolution to completion 
independently, for if you do, the inconsistent bourgeoisie will recoil from it. 

Are these not two diametrically opposite paths? Is it not obvious that one set of 
tactics absolutely excludes the other? That the first tactics are the only correct 



tactics of revolutionary Social-Democracy, while the second are in fact purely 
Osvobozhdeniye tactics? 



13. CONCLUSION. DARE WE WIN? 

People who are superficially acquainted with the state of affairs in Russian 
Social-Democracy, or who judge as mere onlookers without knowing the whole 
history of our internal Party struggle since the days of Economism, very often also 
dismiss the disagreements on tactics which have now become crystallized, 
especially after the Third Congress, with the simple argument that there are two 
natural, inevitable and quite reconcilable trends in every Social-Democratic 
movement. One side, they say, lays special emphasis on the ordinary, current, 
everyday work, on the necessity of developing propaganda and agitation, of 
preparing forces, deepening the movement, etc., while the other side lays 
emphasis on the militant, general political, revolutionary tasks of the movement, 
points to the necessity of armed insurrection, advances the slogans: for a 
revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, for a provisional revolutionary 
government. Neither one side nor the other should exaggerate, they say; extremes 
are bad, both here and there (and, generally speaking, everywhere in the world), 
etc., etc. 

page 113 

The cheap truisms of worldly (and "political" in quotation marks) wisdom, 
which such arguments undoubtedly contain, too often cover up a failure to 
understand the urgent and acute needs of the Party. Take the differences on tactics 
that now exist among the Russian Social-Democrats. Of course, the special 
emphasis laid on the everyday, routine aspect of the work, such as we observe in 
the new Iskra-ist arguments about tactics, could not in itself present any danger 
and could not give rise to any divergence of opinion regarding tactical slogans. 
But the moment you compare the resolutions of the Third Congress of the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party with the resolutions of the Conference this 
divergence becomes strikingly obvious. 

What, then, is the trouble? The trouble is that, in the first place, it is not enough 
to point abstractly to the two currents in the movement and to the harmfulness of 
extremes. One must know concretely what the given movement is suffering from 
at the given time, what constitutes the real political danger to the Party at the 
present time. Secondly, one must know what real political forces are profiting by 
this or that tactical slogan ~ or perhaps by the absence of this or that slogan. To 
listen to the new Iskra-ists, one would arrive at the conclusion that the Social- 
Democratic Party is threatened with the danger of throwing overboard propaganda 
and agitation, the economic struggle and criticism of bourgeois democracy, of 
becoming inordinately absorbed in military preparations, armed attacks, the 
seizure of power, etc. Actually, however, real danger is threatening the Party from 



an entirely different quarter. Anyone who is at all closely familiar with the state of 
the movement, anyone who follows it carefully and thoughtfully, cannot fail to 
see the ridiculous side of the new Iskra's fears. The entire work 

page 114 

of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party has already been fully moulded 
into firm, immutable forms which absolutely guarantee that our main attention 
will be fixed on propaganda and agitation, impromptu and mass meetings, on the 
distribution of leaflets and pamphlets, assisting in the economic struggle and 
championing the slogans of that struggle. There is not a single Party committee, 
not a single district committee, not a single central delegates' meeting or a single 
factory group where ninety-nine per cent of all the attention, energy and time are 
not always and constantly devoted to these functions, which have become firmly 
established ever since the middle of the 'nineties. Only those who are entirely 
unfamiliar with the movement are ignorant of this. Only very na&iumlve or ill- 
informed people can be taken in by the new Iskra-ists' repetition of stated truths 
when it is done with an air of great importance. 

The fact is that not only is no excessive zeal displayed among us with regard to 
the tasks of insurrection, to the general political slogans and to the matter of 
leading the entire popular revolution, but, on the contrary, it is backwardness in 
this very respect that stands out most strikingly, constitutes our weakest spot and a 
real danger to the movement, which may degenerate, and in some places is 
degenerating, from one that is revolutionary in deeds into one that is revolutionary 
in words. Among the many, many hundreds of organizations, groups and circles 
that are conducting the work of the Party you will not find a single one which has 
not from its very inception conducted the kind of everyday work about which the 
wiseacres of the new Iskra now talk with the air of people who have discovered 
new truths. On the other hand, you will find only an insignificant percentage of 
groups and circles that have 

page 115 

understood the tasks an armed insurrection entails, which have begun to carry 
them out, and have realized the necessity of leading the entire popular revolution 
against tsarism, the necessity of advancing for that purpose certain definite 
progressive slogans and no other. 

We are incredibly behind in our progressive and genuinely revolutionary tasks, 
in very many instances we have not even become conscious of them; here and 
there we have failed to notice the strengthening of revolutionary bourgeois 
democracy owing to our backwardness in this respect. But the writers in the new 
Iskra, turning their backs on the course of events and on the requirements of the 
times, keep repeating insistently: Don't forget the old! Don't let yourselves be 
carried away by the new! This is the principal and unvarying leitmotif of all the 
important resolutions of the Conference; whereas in the Congress resolutions you 



just as unvaryingly read: while confirming the old (and without stopping to chew 
it over and over, for the very reason that it is old and has already been settled and 
recorded in literature, in resolutions and by experience), we put forward a new 
task, draw attention to it, issue a new slogan, and demand that the genuinely 
revolutionary Social-Democrats immediately set to work to put it into effect. 

That is how matters really stand with regard to the question of the two trends in 
Social-Democratic tactics. The revolutionary period has called forth new tasks, 
which only the totally blind can fail to see. And some Social-Democrats 
unhesitatingly recognize these tasks and place them on the order of the day, 
declaring: the armed insurrection brooks no delay, prepare yourselves for it 
immediately and energetically, remember that it is indispensable for a decisive 
victory, issue the slogans of a republic, of a provisional gov- 

page 116 

ernment, of a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry. Others, however, draw back, mark time, write prefaces instead of 
giving slogans; instead of pointing to the new while confirming the old, they chew 
this old tediously and at great length, inventing pretexts to avoid the new, unable 
to determine the conditions for a decisive victory or to issue the slogans which 
alone are in line with the striving to attain complete victory. 

The political result of this khvostism stares us in the face. The fable about a 
rapprochement between the "majority" of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour 
Party and the revolutionary bourgeois democracy remains a fable which has not 
been confirmed by a single political fact, by a single important resolution of the 
"Bolsheviks" or a single act of the Third Congress of the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour Party. On the other hand, the opportunist, monarchist 
bourgeoisie, as represented by the Osvobozhdeniye, has long been welcoming the 
trends of the "principles" of new Iskra-ism and now it is actually running its mill 
with their grist, is adopting their catchwords and "ideas" directed against 
"secrecy" and "riots," against exaggerating the "technical" side of the revolution, 
against openly proclaiming the slogan of armed insurrection, against the 
"revolutionism" of extreme demands, etc., etc. The resolution of a whole 
conference of "Menshevik" Social-Democrats in the Caucasus, and the 
endorsement of that resolution by the editors of the new Iskra, sums it all up 
politically in an unmistakable way: lest the bourgeoisie recoil if the proletariat 
takes part in a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship! This puts it in a nutshell. 
This gives the finishing touch to the transformation of the proletariat into an 
appendage of the monarchist bourgeoisie. The political meaning of the khvost- 

page 117 

ism of the new Iskra is thereby proved in fact, not by a casual declaration of some 
individual, but by a resolution especially endorsed by a whole trend. 



Anyone who ponders over these facts will understand the real significance of 
the stock reference to the two sides and the two trends in the Social-Democratic 
movement. For a study of these trends on a large scale, take Bernsteinism. The 
Bernsteinians have been dinning into our ears in exactly the same way that it is 
they who understand the true needs of the proletariat, the tasks connected with the 
growth of its forces, with rendering the entire activity more profound, with 
preparing the elements of a new society, with propaganda and agitation! Bernstein 
says: we demand a frank recognition of what is, thus sanctifying a "movement" 
without "final aims," sanctifying defensive tactics only, preaching the tactics of 
fear "lest the bourgeoisie recoil." The Bernsteinians also raised an outcry against 
the "Jacobinism" of the revolutionary Social-Democrats, against the "publicists" 
who fail to understand the "initiative of the workers," etc., etc. In reality, as 
everyone knows, the revolutionary Social-Democrats have never even thought of 
abandoning the everyday, petty work, the mustering of forces, etc., etc. All they 
demanded was a clear understanding of the final aim, a clear presentation of the 
revolutionary tasks; they wanted to raise the semiproletarian and semi-petty- 
bourgeois strata to the revolutionary level of the proletariat, not to reduce this 
level to that of opportunist considerations such as "lest the bourgeoisie recoil." 
Perhaps the most vivid expression of this rift between the intellectual opportunist 
wing and the proletarian revolutionary wing of the Party was the question: durfen 
wir siegenl "Dare we win?" Is it permissible for us to win? Would it not be 
dangerous for 

page 118 

US to win? Ought we to win? This question, which seems so strange at first sight, 
was raised, however, and had to be raised, because the opportunists were afraid of 
victory, were frightening the proletariat away from it, were predicting that trouble 
would come of it, were ridiculing the slogans that straightforwardly called for it. 

The same fundamental division into an intellectual-opportunist and proletarian- 
revolutionary trend exists also among us, with the very material difference, 
however, that here we are faced with the question of a democratic revolution, and 
not of a socialist revolution. The question "dare we win?" which seems so absurd 
at first sight, has been raised among us also. It was raised by Martynov in his Two 
Dictatorships, in which he prophesied dire misfortune if we prepare well for and 
carry out an insurrection quite successfully. The question has been raised in all the 
new Iskra literature dealing with a provisional revolutionary government, and all 
the time persistent though futile efforts have been made to liken Millerand's 
participation in a bourgeois-opportunist government to Varlin's[42] participation in 
a petty-bourgeois revolutionary government. It is embodied in a resolution: "lest 
the bourgeoisie recoil." And although Kautsky, for instance, now tries to wax 
ironical and says that our dispute about a provisional revolutionary government is 
like dividing the skin of a bear before the bear has been killed, this irony only 
proves that even clever and revolutionary Social-Democrats are liable to put their 
foot in it when they talk about something they know of only by hearsay. German 
Social-Democracy is not yet so near to killing its bear (carrying out a socialist 



revolution), but the dispute as to whether we "dare" kill the bear was of enormous 
importance from the point of view of principles and 

page 119 

of practical politics. Russian Social-Democrats are not yet so near to being strong 
enough to "kill their bear" (to carry out a democratic revolution), but the question 
as to whether we "dare" kill it is of extreme importance for the whole future of 
Russia and for the future of Russian Social-Democracy. An army cannot be 
energetically and successfully mustered and led unless we are sure that we "dare" 
win. 

Take our old Economists. They too howled that their opponents were 
conspirators, Jacobins (see the Rabocheye Dyelyo, especially No. 10, and 
Martynov's speech in the debate on the program at the Second Congress), that by 
plunging into politics they were divorcing themselves from the masses, that they 
were losing sight of the fundamentals of the working-class movement, ignoring 
the initiative of the workers, etc., etc. In reality these supporters of the "initiative 
of the workers" were opportunist intellectuals who tried to foist on the workers 
their own narrow and philistine conception of the tasks of the proletariat. In 
reality the opponents of Economism, as everyone can see from the old Iskra, did 
not neglect or push into the background any of the aspects of Social-Democratic 
work, nor did they in the least forget the economic struggle; but they were able at 
the same time to present the urgent and immediate political tasks in their full 
scope and they opposed the transformation of the workers' party into an 
"economic" appendage of the liberal bourgeoisie. 

The Economists had learned by rote that politics are based on economics and 
"understood" this to mean that the political struggle should be reduced to the level 
of the economic struggle. The new Iskra-ists have learned by rote that the 
economic basis of the democratic revolution is the bourgeois revolution, and 
"understood" this to mean that the democratic aims of the proletariat should be 
degraded 

page 120 

to the level of bourgeois moderation, to the limits beyond which "the bourgeoisie 
will recoil." On the pretext of rendering their work more profound, on the pretext 
of rousing the initiative of the workers and pursuing a purely class policy, the 
Economists were actually delivering the working class into the hands of the 
liberal-bourgeois politicians, i.e., were leading the Party along a path which 
objectively meant exactly that. On the same pretexts, the new Iskra-ists are 
actually betraying the interests of the proletariat in the democratic revolution to 
the bourgeoisie, i.e., are leading the Party along a path which objectively means 
exactly that. The Economists thought that leadership in the political struggle was 
no concern of the Social-Democrats but properly the business of the liberals. The 
new Iskra-ists think that the active conduct of the democratic revolution is no 



concern of the Social-Democrats but properly the business of the democratic 
bourgeoisie, for, they argue, if the proletariat takes the leading and pre-eminent 
part it will "diminish the sweep" of the revolution. 

In short, the new Iskra-ists are the epigones of Economism, not only in their 
origin at the Second Party Congress, but also in the manner in which they now 
present the tactical tasks of the proletariat in the democratic revolution. They, too, 
constitute an intellectual-opportunist wing of the Party. In the sphere of 
organization they made their debut with the anarchist individualism of 
intellectuals and finished with "disorganization-as-a-process," fixing in the 
"Rules" adopted by the Conference[43] the separation of the Party's publishing 
activities from the Party organization, an indirect and practically four-stage 
system of elections, a system of Bonapartist plebiscites instead of democratic 
representation, and finally the principle of "agreements" between the part 

page 121 

and the whole. In Party tactics they continued to slide down the same inclined 
plane. In the "plan of the Zemstvo campaign" they declared that speeches to 
Zemstvo-ists were "the highest type of demonstration," finding only two active 
forces on the political scene (on the eve of January 9!) ~ the government and the 
democratic bourgeoisie. They made the pressing problem of arming "more 
profound" by substituting for the direct and practical slogan of an appeal to arm, 
the slogan: arm the people with a burning desire to arm themselves. The tasks 
connected with an armed insurrection, with the establishment of a provisional 
government and with a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship have now been 
distorted and blunted by them in their official resolutions. "Lest the bourgeoisie 
recoil" ~ this final chord of their last resolution throws a glaring light on the 
question of where their path is leading the Party. 

The democratic revolution in Russia is a bourgeois revolution by reason of its 
social and economic content. But a mere repetition of this correct Marxian 
proposition is not enough. It must be properly understood and properly applied in 
political slogans. In general, all political liberties that are founded on present-day, 
i.e., capitalist, relations of production are bourgeois liberties. The demand for 
liberty expresses primarily the interests of the bourgeoisie. Its representatives 
were the first to raise this demand. Its supporters have everywhere used the liberty 
they acquired like masters, reducing it to moderate and meticulous bourgeois 
doses, combining it with the most subtle methods of suppressing the revolutionary 
proletariat in peaceful times and with brutally cruel methods in stormy times. 

But only the rebel Narodniks, the anarchists and the "Economists" could 
deduce from this that the struggle for 

page 122 



libetty should be rejected or disparaged. These intellectual-phihstine doctrines 
could be foisted on the proletariat only for a time and against its will. The 
proletariat always realized instinctively that it needed political liberty, needed it 
more than anyone else, despite the fact that its immediate effect would be to 
strengthen and to organize the bourgeoisie. The proletariat expects to find its 
salvation not by avoiding the class struggle but by developing it, by widening it, 
increasing its consciousness, its organization and determination. Whoever 
degrades the tasks of the political struggle transforms the Social-Democrat from a 
tribune of the people into a trade union secretary. Whoever degrades the 
proletarian tasks in a democratic bourgeois revolution transforms the Social- 
Democrat from a leader of the people's revolution into a leader of a free labour 
union. 

Yes, the people's revolution. Social-Democracy has fought, and is quite rightly 
fighting against the bourgeois-democratic abuse of the word "people." It demands 
that this word shall not be used to cover up failure to understand the class 
antagonisms within the people. It insists categorically on the need for complete 
class independence for the party of the proletariat. But it divides the "people" into 
"classes," not in order that the advanced class may become shut up within itself, 
confine itself to narrow aims and emasculate its activity for fear that the economic 
rulers of the world will recoil, but in order that the advanced class, which does not 
suffer from the halfheartedness, vacillation and indecision of the intermediate 
classes, may with all the greater energy and enthusiasm fight for the cause of the 
whole of the people, at the head of the whole of the people. 

That is what the present-day new Iskra-ists so often fail to understand and why 
they substitute for active political slo- 

page 123 

gans in the democratic revolution a mere pedantic repetition of the word "class," 
parsed in all genders and cases! 

The democratic revolution is a bourgeois revolution. The slogan of a Black 
Redistribution, or "land and liberty" ~ this most widespread slogan of the peasant 
masses, down trodden and ignorant, yet passionately yearning for light and 
happiness ~ is a bourgeois slogan. But we Marxists should know that there is not, 
nor can there be, any other path to real freedom for the proletariat and the 
peasantry, than the path of bourgeois freedom and bourgeois progress. We must 
not forget 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, than the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry. As the representatives of the advanced and only revolutionary class, 
revolutionary without reservations, doubts or looking back, we must present to the 
whole of the people, as widely, as boldly and with the utmost initiative possible, 
the tasks of the democratic revolution. To degrade these tasks in theory means 
making a travesty of Marxism, distorting it in philistine fashion, while in practical 



politics it means delivering the cause of the revolution into the hands of the 
bourgeoisie, which will inevitably recoil from the task of consistently carrying out 
the revolution. The difficulties that lie on the road to the complete victory of the 
revolution are very great. No one will be able to blame the representatives of the 
proletariat if, having done everything in their power, their efforts are defeated by 
the resistance of the reaction, the treachery of the bourgeoisie and the ignorance 
of the masses. But everybody and the class-conscious proletariat above all, will 
condemn Social-Democracy if it curtails the revolutionary energy of 

page 124 

the democratic revolution and dampens revolutionary ardour because it is afraid 
to win, because it is actuated by the consideration: lest the bourgeoisie recoil. 

Revolutions are the locomotives of history, said Marx. [44] Revolutions are the 
festivals of the oppressed and the exploited. At no other time are the masses of the 
people in a position to come forward so actively as creators of a new social order 
as at a time of revolution. At such times the people are capable of performing 
miracles, if judged by the narrow, philistine scale of gradual progress. But the 
leaders of the revolutionary parties must also make their aims more 
comprehensive and bold at such a time, so that their slogans shall always be in 
advance of the revolutionary initiative of the masses, serve as a beacon, reveal to 
them our democratic and socialist ideal in all its magnitude and splendour and 
show them the shortest and most direct route to complete, absolute and decisive 
victory. Let us leave to the opportunists of the Osvobozhdeniye bourgeoisie the 
task of inventing roundabout, circuitous paths of compromise out of fear of the 
revolution and of the direct path. If we are compelled by force to drag ourselves 
along such paths, we shall be able to fulfil our duty in petty, everyday work also. 
But let ruthless struggle first decide the choice of the path. We shall be traitors to 
and betrayers of the revolution if we do not use this festive energy of the masses 
and their revolutionary ardour to wage a ruthless and self-sacrificing struggle for 
the direct and decisive path. Let the bourgeois opportunists contemplate the future 
reaction with craven fear. The workers will not be frightened either by the thought 
that the reaction promises to be terrible or by the thought that the bourgeoisie 
proposes to recoil. The workers are not looking forward to striking bargains, are 

page 125 

not asking for sops; they are striving to crush the reactionary forces without 
mercy, i.e., to set up the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry. 

Of course, greater dangers threaten the ship of our Party in stormy times than in 
periods of the smooth "sailing" of liberal progress, which means the painfully 
slow sweating of the working class by its exploiters. Of course, the tasks of the 
revolutionary-democratic dictatorship are a thousand times more difficult and 
more complicated than the tasks of an "extreme opposition" or of the exclusively 



parliamentary struggle. But whoever can deliberately prefer smooth sailing and 
the path of safe "opposition" in the present revolutionary situation had better 
abandon Social-Democratic work for a while, had better wait until the revolution 
is over, until the festive days have passed, when humdrum everyday life starts 
again and his narrow routine standards no longer strike such an abominably 
discordant note, or constitute such an ugly distortion of the tasks of the advanced 
class. 

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, every practical 
step of the workers' party during the revolution. 

page 126 



POSTSCRIPT 

ONCE AGAIN OSVOBOZHDENIYE-ISM, 
ONCE AGAIN NEW ISKRA-ISM 

Numbers 71-72 of the Osvobozhdeniye and Nos. 102-103 of the Iskra provide a 
wealth of additional material on the question to which we have devoted Chapter 8 
of our pamphlet. Since it is quite impossible to make use of the whole of this rich 
material here, we shall confine ourselves to the most important points only: 
firstly, to the kind of "realism" in Social-Democracy that Osvobozhdeniye praises 
and why the latter must praise it; secondly, to the relationship between the 
concepts revolution and dictatorship. 



I. WHAT DO THE BOURGEOIS LIBERAL REALISTS PRAISE THE 
SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC "REALISTS" FOR? 

The articles entitled "The Split in Russian Social-Democracy" and "The 
Triumph of Common Sense" (Osvobozhdeniye, No. 72) set forth the opinion on 
Social-Democracy held by the representatives of the liberal bourgeoisie, an 
opinion which is of remarkable value for class-conscious proletarians. We cannot 
too strongly recommend every So- 

page 127 



cial-Democrat to read these articles in full and to ponder over every sentence in 
them. We shall reproduce first of all the most important propositions contained in 
both these articles. 

"It is fairly difficult," writes the Osvobozhdeniye, "for an outside observer to grasp the real 
political meaning of the disagreements that have split the Social-Democratic Party into two 
factions. A definition of the 'Majority' faction as the more radical and unswerving, as distinct from 
the 'Minority' which allows of certain compromises in the interests of the cause would not be quite 
exact, and in any case would not provide an exhaustive characterization. At any rate the traditional 
dogmas of Marxian orthodoxy are observed by the Minority faction with even greater zeal perhaps 
than by the Lenin faction. The following characterization would appear to us to be more accurate. 
The fundamental political temper of the 'Majority' is abstract revolutionism, rebellion for the sake 
of rebellion, an eagerness to stir up insurrection among the popular masses by any and every 
means and to seize power immediately in their name; to a certain extent this brings the 'Leninists' 
close to the Socialist-Revolutionaries and overshadows in their minds the idea of the class struggle 
with the idea of a Russian revolution involving the whole people; while abjuring in practice much 
of the narrow-mindedness of the Social-Democratic doctrine, the 'Leninists' are, on the other hand, 
thoroughly imbued with the narrow-mindedness of revolutionism, renounce all practical work 
except the preparation of an immediate insurrection, ignore on principle all forms of legal and 
semilegal agitation and every species of practically useful compromise with other oppositional 
trends. The Minority, on the contrary, while steadfastly adhering to the doctrine of Marxism, at the 
same time preserves the realistic elements of the Marxian world outlook. The fundamental idea of 
this faction is to oppose the interests of the 'proletariat' to the interests of the bourgeoisie. But, on 
the other hand, the struggle of the proletariat is conceived ~ of course within certain bounds 
dictated by the immutable dogmas of Social-Democracy ~ in realistically sober fashion, with a 
clear realization of all the concrete conditions and aims of this struggle. Neither of the two factions 
pursues its basic point of view quite consistently, for in their ideological and political activity they 
are bound by the strict formulae of the Social Democratic catechism, which keep the 'Leninists' 
from becoming unswerving rebels, after the fashion of some, at least, of the Socialist-Rev- 

page 128 

olutionaries, and the 'Iskra-ists' from becoming the practical leaders of the real political movement 
of the working class." 

And, after quoting the contents of the most important resolutions, the Osvohozbdeniye writer 
goes on to illustrate his general "thoughts," with several concrete remarks about them. In 
comparison with the Third Congress, he says, "the Minority Conference takes a totally different 
attitude towards armed insurrection." "In connection with the attitude towards armed insurrection," 
there is a difference in the respective resolutions on a provisional government. "A similar 
difference is revealed in relation to the workers' trade unions. The 'Leninists' do not say a single 
word in their resolution about this most important starting point in the political education and 
organization of the working class. The Minority, on the other hand, drew up a very weighty 
resolution." With regard to the liberals, both factions, he says, are unanimous, but the Third 
Congress "repeats almost word for word Plekhanov's resolution on the attitude towards the liberals 
adopted at the Second Congress and rejects Starover's resolution adopted by the same Congress, 
which was more favourably inclined towards the liberals." Although the Congress and the 
Conference resolutions on the peasant movement coincide on the whole, "the 'Majority lays more 
emphasis on the idea of the revolutionary confiscation of the landlords' estates and other land, 
while the 'Minority' wants to make the demand for democratic state and administrative reforms the 
basis of its agitation." 

Finally, the Osvohozhdeniye cites from the Iskra, No. 100, a Menshevik resolution, the main 
clause of which reads as follows: "In view of the fact that at the present time underground work 
alone does not secure adequate participation of the masses in Party life and in some degree leads 
to the masses as such being contrasted to the Party as an illegal organization, the latter must 
assume leadership of the trade union struggle of the workers on a legal basis, strictly linking up 



this struggle with the Social-Democratic tasks." Commenting on this resolution the 
Osvobozhdeniye exclaims: "We heartily welcome this resolution as a triumph of common sense, as 
evidence that a definite section of the Social-Democratic Party is beginning to see the light with 
regard to tactics." 

The reader now has before him all the essential opinions of the 
Osvobozhdeniye, It would, of course, be the greatest mistake to regard these 
opinions as correct in the sense that they correspond to objective truth. Every 
Social- 
page 129 

Democrat will easily detect mistakes in them at every step. It would be 
na&iumlve to forget that these opinions are thoroughly permeated with the 
interests and the points of view of the liberal bourgeoisie, and that accordingly 
they are utterly biassed and tendentious. They reflect the views of the Social- 
Democrats in the same way as objects are reflected in a concave or convex mirror. 
But it would be an even greater mistake to forget that in the final analysis these 
bourgeois-distorted opinions reflect the real interests of the bourgeoisie, which, as 
a class, undoubtedly understands correctly which trends in Social-Democracy are 
advantageous, close, akin and agreeable, and which trends are harmful, distant, 
alien and antipathetic to it. A bourgeois philosopher or a bourgeois publicist can 
never understand Social-Democracy properly, neither Menshevik nor Bolshevik 
Social-Democracy. But if he is at all a sensible publicist, his class instinct will not 
deceive him, and he will always grasp the significance for the bourgeoisie of one 
or another trend in the Social-Democratic movement, on the whole correctly, 
although he may present it in a distorted way. That is why the class instinct of our 
enemy, his class opinion, is always deserving of the most serious attention of 
every class-conscious proletarian. 

What, then, does the class instinct of the Russian bourgeoisie, as expressed by 
the Osvobozhdentsi, tell us? 

It quite definitely expresses its satisfaction with the trend represented by the 
new Iskra, praises it for its realism, sober-mindedness, the triumph of common 
sense, the seriousness of its resolutions, its beginning to see the light on questions 
of tactics, its practicalness, etc. ~ and it expresses dissatisfaction with the trend of 
the Third Congress, censures it for its narrow-mindedness, revolutionism, its rebel 
spirit, 

page 130 

its repudiation of practically useful compromises, etc. The class instinct of the 
bourgeoisie suggests to it exactly what has been repeatedly proved with the help 
of most precise facts in our literature, namely, that the new Iskra-ists are the 
opportunist and their opponents the revolutionary wing of the present-day Russian 
Social-Democratic movement. The liberals cannot but sympathize with the trend 
of the former, and cannot but censure the trend of the latter. The liberals, being 



the ideologists of the bourgeoisie, perfectly well understand the advantages to the 
bourgeoisie of "practicalness, sober-mindedness and seriousness" on the part of 
the working class, i.e., of actually restricting its field of activity within the 
boundaries of capitalism, reforms, the trade union struggle, etc. Dangerous and 
terrible to the bourgeoisie is the "revolutionary narrow-mindedness" of the 
proletariat and its endeavour in order to promote its own class aims to win the 
leadership in a popular Russian revolution. 

That this is the real meaning of the word "realism" as employed by the 
Osvobozhdeniye is evident among other things from the way it was used 
previously by the Osvobozhdeniye and Mr. Struve. The Iskra itself could not but 
admit that this was the meaning of the Osvobozhdeniye'^ "realism." Take, for 
instance, the article entitled "It Is High Time!" in the supplement to the Iskra, No. 
1?>-1A, The author of this article (a consistent exponent of the views of the 
"Marsh" at the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party) 
frankly expressed the opinion that "at the Congress Akimov played the part of the 
ghost of opportunism rather than of its real representative." And the editors of the 
Iskra were forthwith obliged to correct 

page 131 

the author of the article "It Is High Time!" by stating in a note: 

"We cannot agree with this opinion. Comrade Akimov's views on the program bear the clear 
imprint of opportunism, which fact is admitted even by the Osvobozhdeniye critic, who ~ in one 
of its recent issues ~ stated that Comrade Akimov is an adherent of the 'realist' ~ read: revisionist 
~ tendency." 

Thus the Iskra itself is perfectly aware that the Osvobozhdeniye'^ "realism" is 
simply opportunism and nothing else. If in attacking "liberal realism" {Iskra, No. 
102) the Iskra now says nothing about how it was praised by the liberals for its 
realism, the explanation of this circumstance is that such praise is harder to 
swallow than any censure. Such praise (which the Osvobozhdeniye uttered not by 
mere chance and not for the first time) actually proves the affinity between liberal 
realism and those tendencies of Social-Democratic "realism" (read: opportunism) 
that run through every resolution of the new Iskra-ists as a result of the mistaken 
character of their whole tactical line. 

Indeed, the Russian bourgeoisie has already fully revealed its inconsistency and 
egoism in the "popular" revolution ~ has revealed it in Mr. Struve's arguments, by 
the whole tone and content of the numerous liberal newspapers, and by the nature 
of the political utterances of the bulk of the Zemstvo-ists, the bulk of the 
intellectuals and in general of all the adherents of Messrs. Trubetskoy, 
Petrunkevich, Rodichev and Co. Of course, the bourgeoisie does not always 
clearly understand, but in general and on the whole, its class instinct enables it to 
grasp perfectly well that, on the one hand, the proletariat and the "people" are 



useful for its revolution as cannon fodder, as a battering-ram against the 
autocracy, but that, on the other hand, the proletariat 

page 132 

and the revolutionary peasantry will be terribly dangerous to it if they win a 
"decisive victory over tsarism" and carry the democratic revolution to completion. 
That is why the bourgeoisie strains every effort to induce the proletariat to be 
content with a "modest" role in the revolution, to be more sober-minded, practical 
and realistic, to be guided in its activities by the principle, "lest the bourgeoisie 
recoil." 

The bourgeois intellectuals know full well that they will not be able to get rid 
of the working-class movement. That is why they do not come out against the 
working-class movement, they do not come out against the class struggle of the 
proletariat ~ no, they even pay lip service to the right to strike, to a genteel class 
struggle, understanding the working-class movement and the class struggle in the 
Brentano or Hirsch-Duncker sense. In other words they are fully prepared to 
"yield" to the workers the right to strike and to organize in trade unions (which in 
fact has already been almost won by the workers themselves), provided the 
workers renounce their "rebelliousness," their "narrow-minded revolutionism," 
their hostility to "practically-useful compromises," their claims and aspirations to 
put on the "popular Russian revolution," the imprint of their class struggle, the 
imprint of proletarian consistency, proletarian determination and "plebeian 
Jacobinism." That is why the bourgeois intellectuals all over Russia exert every 
effort, resort to thousands of ways and means ~ books,* lectures, speeches, talks, 
etc., etc. ~ to imbue the workers with the ideas of (bourgeois) sober-mindedness, 
(liberal) practicalness, (opportunist) realism, (Brentano) class struggle, (Hirsch- 
Duncker) trade unions,[45] etc. The latter two slogans are 



* Cf. Prokopovich, The Labour Question in Russia. 

page 133 

particularly convenient for the bourgeois of the "constitutional-democratic" party, 
or the party of "liberation," since outwardly they coincide with the Marxian 
slogans, since with a few small omissions and some slight distortions they can 
easily be confused with and sometimes even passed off as Social-Democratic 
slogans. For instance, the legal liberal newspaper Rassvyet (which we will try 
some day to discuss in greater detail with the readers of the Proletary) frequently 
says such "bold" things about the class struggle, about the possible deception of 
the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, about the working-class movement, about the 
initiative of the proletariat, etc., etc., that the inattentive reader or an 
unenlightened worker might easily be led to believe that its "social-democratism" 
is genuine. Actually, however, it is a bourgeois imitation of social-democratism, 
an opportunist distortion and perversion of the concept class struggle. 



At the bottom of the whole of this gigantic (in breadth of influence on the 
masses) bourgeois subterfuge lies the tendency to reduce the working-class 
movement mainly to a trade union movement, to keep it as far away as possible 
from an independent (i.e., revolutionary and directed towards a democratic 
dictatorship) policy, to "overshadow in the minds of the workers the idea of a 
Russian revolution involving the whole people with the idea of the class struggle." 

As the reader will perceive, we have turned the Osvobozhdeniye formulation 
upside down. This is an excellent formulation that excellently expresses the two 
views of the role of the proletariat in a democratic revolution: the bourgeois view 
and the Social-Democratic view. The bourgeoisie wants to confine the proletariat 
to the trade union movement and thereby to "overshadow in its mind the idea of 

page 134 

a Russian revolution involving the whole people with the idea of the (Brentano) 
class struggle" ~ which is wholly in the spirit of the Bernsteinian authors of the 
Credo, who overshadowed in the minds of the workers the idea of political 
struggle with the idea of a "purely working-class" movement. Social-Democracy, 
however, wants, on the contrary, to develop the class struggle of the proletariat to 
the point where the latter will take the leading part in the popular Russian 
revolution, i.e., will lead this revolution to a the democratic-dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry. 

The revolution in our country is one that involves the whole people, says the 
bourgeoisie to the proletariat. Therefore, you, as a separate class, must confine 
yourselves to your class struggle, must in the name of "common sense" devote 
your attention mainly to the trade unions, and their legaliza tion, must consider 
these trade unions as "the most important starting point in your political education 
and organization," must in a revolutionary situation draw up for the most part 
"serious" resolutions like the new Iskra resolution, must pay careful heed to 
resolutions that are "more favourably inclined towards the liberals," must show 
preference for leaders who display a tendency to become "practical leaders of the 
real political movement of the working class," must "preserve the realistic 
elements of the Marxian world outlook" (if you have unfortunately already 
become infected with the "strict formulae" of this "unscientific" catechism). 

The revolution in our country is one involving the whole people, Social- 
Democracy says to the proletariat. Therefore, you, as the most progressive and the 
only thoroughly revolutionary class, must strive not only to take the most active 
part, but also the leading, part in it. Therefore, you 

page 135 

must not confine yourselves to narrowly conceived limits of the class struggle, 
meaning mainly the trade union movement, but, on the contrary, you must strive 
to widen the limits and the content of your class struggle to include not only all 



the aims of the present, democratic, Russian revolution of the whole of the people, 
but the aims of the subsequent socialist revolution as well. Therefore, while not 
ignoring the trade union movement, while not refusing to take advantage of even 
the slightest legal possibilities, you must, in a revolutionary period, put in the 
forefront the tasks of armed insurrection and the formation of a revolutionary 
army and a revolutionary government as being the only way to the complete 
victory of the people over tsarism, to the winning of a democratic republic and 
real political liberty. 

It would be superfluous to speak about the halfhearted and inconsistent stand, 
which, naturally, is so pleasing to the bourgeoisie, that the new Iskra-ist 
resolutions took on this question because of their mistaken "line." 



II. COMRADE MARTYNOV AGAIN RENDERS 
THE QUESTION "MORE PROFOUND" 

Let us pass on to Martynov's articles in Nos. 102 and 103 of the Iskra. We 
shall, of course, make no reply to Martynov's attempts to prove the incorrectness 
of our and the correctness of his interpretation of a number of citations from 
Engels and Marx. These attempts are so trivial, Martynov's subterfuges so 
obvious and the question so clear that it would be of no interest to dwell on this 
point again. Every thinking reader will be able easily to see through the simple 
wiles employed by Martynov in his retreat all along 

page 136 

the line, particularly when the complete translations of Engels' pamphlet The 
Bakunists at Work and Marx's Address of the Central Council to the Communist 
League of March 1850,[46] on which a group of collaborators of the Proletary are 
now working, are published. A single quotation from Martynov's article will 
suffice to make his retreat clear to the reader. 

"The Iskra admits," says Martynov in No. 103, "that the estabhshment of a 
provisional government is one of the possible and expedient ways of furthering 
the revolution, and denies the expediency of the participation of Social-Democrats 
in a bourgeois provisional government, precisely in the interests of a complete 
seizure, in the future, of the state machine for a socialist revolution." In other 
words, the Iskra now admits the absurdity of all its fears concerning the 
responsibility of a revolutionary government for the exchequer and the banks, 
concerning the danger and impossibility of taking over the "prisons," etc. But the 
Iskra is only muddling things as of old, confusing the democratic with the 
socialist dictatorship. This muddle is unavoidable, it is a means to cover up the 
retreat. 



But among the muddleheads of the new Iskra Martynov stands out as a 
muddlehead of the first order, as a muddlehead of talent, if we may so express it. 
Confusing the question by his laborious efforts to render it "more profound," he 
almost invariably "arrives at" new formulations which show up splendidly the 
entire falsity of the stand he has taken. You will remember how in the days of 
Economism he rendered Plekhanov "more profound" and created the formulation: 
"economic struggle against the employers and the government." It would be 
difficult to find in all the literature of the Economists a more apt expression of the 
entire falsity of this trend. It is the same today. Martynov 

page 137 

zealously serves the new Iskra and almost every time he opens his mouth he 
furnishes us with new and excellent material for an evaluation of the new Iskra's 
false position. In No. 102 he says that Lenin "has imperceptibly substituted the 
concept dictatorship for that of revolution" (p. 3, col. 2). 

As a matter of fact all the accusations levelled at us by the new Iskra-ists can be 
reduced to this one. And how grateful we are to Martynov for this accusation! 
What an invaluable service he renders us in the struggle against the new Iskra 
ideas by formulating his accusation in this way! We must positively beg the 
editors of the Iskra to let Martynov loose against us more often for the purpose of 
rendering the attacks on the Proletary "more profound" and for a "truly 
principled" formulation of these attacks. For the more Martynov strains to argue 
on the plane of principles the worse his arguments appear, and the more clearly he 
reveals the gaps in the new Iskra ideas, the more successfully he performs on 
himself and on his friends the useful pedagogical operation: reductio ad 
absurdum (reducing the principles of the new Iskra to absurdity). 

The Vperyod and the Proletary "substitute" the term dictatorship for that of 
revolution. The Iskra does not want such a "substitution." Just so, most esteemed 
Comrade Martynov! You have unwittingly stated a great truth. With this new 
formulation you have confirmed our contention that the Iskra is dragging at the 
tail of the revolution, is straying into an Osvobozhdeniye formulation of its tasks, 
whereas the Vperyod and the Proletary are issuing slogans that lead the 
democratic revolution forward. 

You don't understand this. Comrade Martynov? In view of the importance of 
the question we shall try to give you a detailed explanation. 

page 138 

The bourgeois character of the democratic revolution expresses itself, among 
other things, in the fact that a number of classes, groups and sections of society 
which take their stand entirely on the recognition of private property and 
commodity production and are incapable of going beyond these bounds, are led 
by force of circumstances to recognize the uselessness of the autocracy and of the 



whole feudal order in general, and join in the demand for liberty. The bourgeois 
character of this liberty, which is demanded by "society" and advocated in a flood 
of words (and words only!) by the landowners and the capitalists, is manifesting 
itself more and more clearly. At the same time the radical difference between the 
struggle of the workers and the struggle of the bourgeoisie for liberty, between 
proletarian and liberal democratism, also becomes more obvious. The working 
class and its class-conscious representatives are marching forward and pushing 
this struggle forward, not only without fearing to carry it to completion, but 
striving to go far beyond the uttermost limits of the democratic revolution. The 
bourgeoisie is inconsistent and self-seeking, and accepts the slogans of liberty 
only in part and hypocritically. All attempts to draw a particular line or to draw up 
particular "points" (like the points in Starover's or the Conferencers' resolution) 
beyond which begins this hypocrisy of the bourgeois friends of liberty, or, if you 
like, this betrayal of liberty by its bourgeois friends, are inevitably doomed to 
failure; for the bourgeoisie, caught between two fires (the autocracy and the 
proletariat), is capable of changing its position and slogans by a thousand ways 
and means, of adapting itself by moving an inch to the Left or an inch to the 
Right, constantly bargaining and dickering. The task of proletarian democratism is 
not to invent 

page 139 

such lifeless "points," but unceasingly to criticize the developing political 
situation, to expose the ever new and unforeseeable inconsistencies and betrayals 
on the part of the bourgeoisie. 

Recall the history of Mr. Struve's political pronouncements in the illegal press, 
the history of Social-Democracy's war with him, and you will see clearly how 
these tasks were carried out by Social-Democracy, the champion of proletarian 
democratism. Mr. Struve began with a purely Shipov slogan: "Rights and an 
Authoritative Zemstvo" (see my article in the Zarya, "The Persecutors of the 
Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism" [47]). Social-Democracy exposed him 
and pushed him in the direction of a definitely constitutionalist program. When 
this "pushing" took effect, thanks to the particularly rapid progress of 
revolutionary events, the struggle shifted to the next question of democracy: not 
only a constitution in general, but one providing for universal and equal suffrage, 
direct elections and secret ballot. When we "captured" this new position from the 
"enemy" (the adoption of universal suffrage by the Osvobozhdeniye League) we 
began to press further; we showed up the hypocrisy and falsity of a two-chamber 
system, and the fact that universal suffrage had not been fully recognized by the 
Osvobozhdentsi; we pointed to their monarchism and showed up the huckstering 
nature of their democratism, or, in other words, the bartering away of the interests 
of the great Russian revolution by these Osvobozhderiye heroes of the 
moneybags. 



Finally, the savage obstinacy of the autocracy, the enormous progress of the 
civil war and the hopelessness of the position into which the monarchists have led 
Russia have begun to penetrate even the thickest skulls. The revolution 

page 140 

has become a fact. It is no longer necessary to be a revolutionary to acknowledge 
the revolution. The autocratic government has actually been and is disintegrating 
in the sight of all. As has justly been remarked in the legal press by a certain 
liberal (Mr. Gredeskul), actual insubordination to this government has set in. 
Despite all its apparent strength the autocracy has proved impotent; the events 
attending the developing revolution have simply begun to brush aside this 
parasitic organism which is rotting alive. Compelled to base their activity (or, to 
put it more correctly, their political wire-pulling) on relationships as they are 
actually taking shape, the liberal bourgeois have begun to see the necessity of 
recognizing the revolution. They do so not because they are revolutionaries, but 
despite the fact that they are not revolutionaries. They do so of necessity and 
against their will, angrily glaring at the successes of the revolution, they blame the 
autocracy for the revolution because it does not want to strike a bargain, but wants 
a life-and-death struggle. Born hucksters, they hate struggle and revolution, but 
circumstances force them to tread the ground of revolution, for there is no other 
ground under their feet. 

We are witnessing a highly instructive and highly com ical spectacle. The 
bourgeois liberal prostitutes are trying to drape themselves in the toga of 
revolution. The Osvobozhdentsi ~ risum teneatis, amici !* ~ the Osvobozhdentsi 
are beginning to speak in the name of the revolution! The Osvobozhdentsi are 
beginning to assure us that they "do not fear revolution" (Mr. Struve in the 
Osvobozhdeniye, No. 72)! ! ! The Osvobozhdentsi are voicing their claims "to be at 
the head of the revolution" ! ! ! 



* Restrain your laughter, friends! 

page 141 

This is an exceptionally signihcant phenomenon that characterizes not only the 
progress of bourgeois liberalism, but even more so the progress of the real 
successes of the revolutionary movement, which has compelled recognition. Even 
the bourgeoisie is beginning to feel that it is more to its advantage to take its stand 
on the side of the revolution ~ so shaky is the autocracy. On the other hand, this 
phenomenon, which testifies to the fact that the entire movement has risen to a 
new and higher plane, also sets us new and higher tasks. The recognition of the 
revolution by the bourgeoisie cannot be sincere, irrespective of the personal 
integrity of this or that bourgeois ideologist. The bourgeoisie cannot help 
introducing selfishness and inconsistency, the bargaining spirit and petty 
reactionary tricks even into this higher stage of the movement. We must now 



formulate the immediate concrete tasks of the revolution differently, in the name 
of our program and in amplification of our program. What was adequate 
yesterday is inadequate today. Yesterday, perhaps, the demand for the recognition 
of the revolution was adequate as an advanced democratic slogan. Today this is 
not enough. The revolution has forced even Mr. Struve to recognize it. The 
advanced class must now define exactly the very content of the urgent and 
pressing tasks of this revolution. While recognizing the revolution, Messrs. the 
Struves again and again expose their asses' ears and strike up the old song about 
the possibility of a peaceful outcome, about Nicholas calling on the 
Osvobozhdentsi to take power, etc., etc. The Osvobozhdentsi recognize the 
revolution in order the more safely for themselves to conjure it away, to betray it. 
It is our duty at the present time to show the proletariat and the whole people the 
inadequacy of the slogan: "Revolution"; we must show how necessary it is to 
have a 

page 142 

dear and unambiguous, consistent and determined definition of the very content of 
the revolution. And this definition is provided by the one slogan that is capable of 
correctly expressing a "decisive victory" of the revolution, the slogan: for the 
revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. 

The misuse of terms[48] is a most common practice in politics. The term 
"Socialist," for example, has often been appropriated by the supporters of English 
bourgeois liberalism ("We are all Socialists now," said Harcourt), by the 
supporters of Bismarck, and by the friends of Pope Leo XIII. The term 
"revolution" also fully lends itself to misuse and at a certain stage in the 
development of the movement such misuse is inevitable. When Mr. Struve began 
to speak in the name of revolution I involuntarily remembered Thiers. A few days 
before the February revolution, this monstrous gnome, this most consummate 
expression of the political corruption of the bourgeoisie, scented the approach of a 
popular storm, and so he announced from the parliamentary tribune: that he was 
of the party of revolutionl (See Marx's The Civil War in France. )[m The political 
signihcance of Osvobozhdeniye's turn to the party of revolution is quite identical 
with that of Thiers. The fact that the Russian Thiers are talking about their 
belonging to the party of revolution shows that the slogan revolution has become 
inadequate, meaningless and defines no tasks: for the revolution has become a 
fact, and the most diverse elements are flocking to its side. 

Indeed, what is revolution from the Marxist point of view? The violent break- 
up of the obsolete political superstructure, the contradiction between which and 
the new relations of production caused its collapse at a certain moment. The 
contradiction between the autocracy and the 

page 143 



entire structure of capitalist Russia, all the requirements of her bourgeois- 
democratic development, has now caused its collapse, all the more severe owing 
to the lengthy period in which this contradiction was artificially sustained. The 
superstructure is cracking at every joint, it is yielding to pressure, it is growing 
weaker. The people, through the representatives of the most diverse classes and 
groups, must now, by its own efforts, build a new superstructure for itself. At a 
certain stage of development the uselessness of the old superstructure becomes 
obvious to all. The revolution is recognized by all. The task now is to define 
which classes must build the new superstructure, and how they are to build it. If 
this is not defined, the slogan revolution is empty and meaningless at the present 
time; for the feebleness of the autocracy makes "revolutionaries" even of the 
Grand Dukes and of the Moskovskiye Vyedomosti ![50] If this is not defined there 
can be no talk about the advanced democratic tasks of the advanced class. This 
definition is given in the slogan: the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and 
the peasantry. This slogan defines the classes upon which the new "builders" of 
the new superstructure can and must rely, the character of the new superstructure 
(a "democratic" as distinct from a socialist dictatorship), and how it is to be built 
(dictatorship, i.e., the violent suppression of violent resistance, arming the 
revolutionary classes of the people). Whoever now refuses to recognize this 
slogan of revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, the slogan of a revolutionary 
army, of a revolutionary government, of revolutionary peasant committees, either 
hopelessly fails to understand the tasks of the revolution, is unable to define the 
new and higher tasks that are called forth by the present 

page 144 

situation, or is deceiving the people, betraying the revolution, misusing the slogan 
"revolution." 

The former case applies to Comrade Martynov and his friends. The latter 
applies to Mr. Struve and the whole of the "constitutional-democratic" Zemstvo 
party. 

Comrade Martynov was so shrewd and smart that he hurled the charge of 
"substituting" the term dictatorship for that of revolution just at the time when the 
development of the revolution called for a definition of its tasks by the slogan 
dictatorship! Actually, Comrade Martynov again had the misfortune to remain at 
the tail end, to get stranded at the penultimate stage, to find himself on the level, of 
Osvobozhdeniye-ism, for it is precisely to the political stand of Osvobozhdeniye, 
i.e., to the interests of the liberal monarchist bourgeoisie, that recognition of 
"revolution" (in words) and refusal to recognize the democratic dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry (i.e., revolution in deeds) now corresponds. The 
liberal bourgeoisie, through the mouth of Mr. Struve, is now expressing itself in 
favour of revolution. The class-conscious proletariat, through the mouths of the 
revolutionary Social-Democrats, is demanding the dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry. And here the wiseacre of the new Iskra intervenes in the 
controversy and yells: don't dare "substitute" the term dictatorship for that of 



revolution! Well, is it not true that the false stand taken by the new Iskra-ists 
dooms them to be constantly dragging along at the tail of Osvobozhdeniye-isml 

We have shown that the Osvobozhdentsi are ascending (not without 
encouraging prods by the Social-Democrats) step by step in the matter of 
recognizing democracy. At first the issue in the dispute between us was: the 
Shipov system (rights and an authoritative Zemstvo) or constitu- 

page 145 

tionalism? Then it was: limited suffrage or universal suffrage? Later: recognition 
of the revolution or a stockjobber's bargain with the autocracy? Finally, now it is: 
recognition of the revolution without the dictatorship of the proletariat and the 
peasantry or recognition of the demand for a dictatorship of these classes in the 
democratic revolution? It is possible and probable that Messrs. the 
Osvobozhdentsi (whether the present ones or their successors in the Left wing of 
the bourgeois democrats makes no difference) will ascend another step, i.e., 
recognize in time (perhaps by the time Comrade Martynov goes up one more 
step) the slogan of dictatorship also. This will inevitably be so if the Russian 
revolution continues to forge ahead successfully and achieves a decisive victory. 
What will be the position of Social-Democracy then? The complete victory of the 
present revolution will mark the end of the democratic revolution and the 
beginning of a determined struggle for a socialist revolution. The satisfaction of 
the demands of the present-day peasantry, the utter rout of reaction, and the 
winning of a democratic republic will mark the complete end of the revolutionism 
of the bourgeoisie and even of the petty bourgeoisie ~ will mark the beginning of 
the real struggle of the proletariat for Socialism. The more complete the 
democratic revolution, the sooner, the more widespread, the purer and the more 
determined will be the development of this new struggle. The slogan of a 
"democratic" dictatorship expresses the historically limited nature of the present 
revolution and the necessity of a new struggle on the basis of the new order for 
the complete emancipation of the working class from all oppression and all 
exploitation. In other words: when the democratic bourgeoisie or petty 
bourgeoisie ascends another step, when not only the revolution but the complete 
victory 

page 146 

of the revolution becomes an accomplished fact, we shall "substitute" (perhaps 
amid the horrified cries of new, future, Martynovs) for the slogan of the 
democratic dictatorship, the slogan of a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat, 
i.e., of a complete socialist revolution. 



III. THE VULGAR BOURGEOIS REPRESENTATION 
OF DICTATORSHIP AND MARX'S VIEW OF IT 



Mehringf^^ tells us in his notes to Marx's articles from the Neue Rheinische 
Zeitung of 1848 that he published, that one of the reproaches levelled at this 
newspaper by bourgeois publications was that it had allegedly demanded "the 
immediate introduction of a dictatorship as the sole means of achieving 
democracy" (Marx, Nachlass, Vol. Ill, p. 53). From the vulgar bourgeois 
standpoint the terms dictatorship and democracy are mutually exclusive. Failing 
to understand the theory of class struggle, and accustomed to seeing in the 
political arena the petty squabbling of the various bourgeois circles and coteries, 
the bourgeois conceives dictatorship to mean the annulment of all the liberties and 
guarantees of democracy, tyranny of every kind, and every sort of abuse of power 
in the personal interests of a dictator. In essence, it is precisely this vulgar 
bourgeois view that is manifested in the writings of our Martynov, who winds up 
his "new campaign" in the new Iskra by attributing the partiality of the Vperyod 
and the Proletary for the slogan of dictatorship to Lenin's "passionate desire to try 
his luck" (Iskra, No. 103, p. 3, col. 2). In order to explain to Martynov the 
meaning of the term class dictatorship as distinct from personal dictatorship, and 
the tasks of a democratic dictatorship as distinct from those of a social- 
page 147 

ist dictatorship, it would not be amiss to dwell on the views of the Neue 
Rheinische Zeitung. 

"Every provisional organization of the state after a revolution," wrote the Neue 
Rheinische Zeitung on September 14, 1848, "requires a dictatorship, and an 
energetic dictatorship at that. From the very beginning we have reproached 
Camphausen" (the head of the Ministry after March 8, 1848) "for not acting 
dictatorially, for not having immediately smashed up and eliminated the remnants 
of the old institutions. And while Herr Camphausen was lulling himself with 
constitutional illusions, the defeated party (i.e., the party of reaction) strengthened 
its positions in the bureaucracy, and in the army, and here and there even began to 
venture upon open struggle. "[52] 

These words, Mehring justly remarks, sum up in a few propositions all that was 
propounded in detail in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in long articles on the 
Camphausen Ministry. What do these words of Marx tell us? That a provisional 
revolutionary government must act dictatorially (a proposition which the Iskra 
was totally unable to grasp since it was fighting shy of the slogan: dictatorship) 
and that the task of such a dictatorship is to destroy the remnants of the old 
institutions (which is precisely what was clearly stated in the resolution of the 
Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party about the struggle 
against counterrevolution, and what was omitted in the resolution of the 
Conference, as we showed above). Thirdly, and lastly, it follows from these words 
that Marx castigated the bourgeois democrats for entertaining "constitutional 
illusions" in a period of revolution and open civil war. The meaning of these 
words becomes particularly obvious from the article in the Neue Rheinische 
Zeitung of 



page 148 

June 6, 1848. "A Constituent National Assembly," wrote Marx, "must first of all 
be an active, revolutionary-active assembly. The Frankfurt Assembly, however, is 
busying itself with school exercises in parliamentarism while allowing the 
government to act. Let us assume that this learned assembly succeeds after mature 
consideration in working out the best possible agenda and the best possible 
constitution. But what is the use of the best possible agenda and of the best 
possible constitution, if the German governments have in the meantime placed the 
bayonet on the agenda? "[53] 

That is the meaning of the slogan: dictatorship. We can judge from this what 
Marx's attitude would have been towards resolutions which call a "decision to 
organize a constituent assembly" a decisive victory, or which invite us to "remain 
the party of extreme revolutionary opposition" ! 

Major questions in the life of nations are settled only by force. The reactionary 
classes themselves are usually the first to resort to violence, to civil war; they are 
the first to "place the bayonet on the agenda," as the Russian autocracy has been 
doing systematically and undeviatingly everywhere ever since January 9. And 
since such a situation has arisen, since the bayonet has really become the main 
point on the political agenda, since insurrection has proved to be imperative and 
urgent ~ constitutional illusions and school exercises in parliamentarism become 
only a screen for the bourgeois betrayal of the revolution, a screen to conceal the 
fact that the bourgeoisie is "recoiling" from the revolution. It is therefore the 
slogan of dictatorship that the genuinely revolutionary class must advance. 

On the question of the tasks of this dictatorship Marx wrote, already in the 
Neue Rheinische Zeitung: "The Na- 

page 149 

tional Assembly should have acted dictatorially against the reactionary attempts 
of the obsolete governments; the force of public opinion in its favour would then 
have been so strong as to shatter all bayonets. . . . But this Assembly bores the 
German people instead of carrying the people with it or being carried away by 
it. "[54] In Marx's opinion, the National Assembly should have "eliminated from the 
regime actually existing in Germany everything that contradicted the principle of 
the sovereignty of the people," then it should have "consolidated the revolutionary 
ground on which it stands in order to make the sovereignty of the people, won by 
the revolution, secure against all attacks. "[55] 

Thus, the tasks which Marx set before a revolutionary government or 
dictatorship in 1848 amounted in substance primarily to a democratic revolution: 
defence against counterrevolution and the actual elimination of everything that 
contradicted the sovereignty of the people. This is nothing else than a 
revolutionary-democratic dictatorship. 



To proceed: which classes, in Marx's opinion, could and should have achieved 
this task (actually to exercise to the full the principle of the sovereignty of the 
people and to beat off the attacks of the counterrevolution)? Marx speaks of the 
"people." But we know that he always ruthlessly combated the petty-bourgeois 
illusions about the unity of the "people" and about the absence of a class struggle 
within the people. In using the word "people," Marx did not thereby gloss over 
class distinctions, but combined definite elements that were capable of carrying 
the revolution to completion. 

After the victory of the Berlin proletariat on March 18, wrote the Neue 
Rheinische Zeitung, the results of the revolution proved to be twofold: "On the 
one hand the arming 

page 150 

of the people, the right of association, the sovereignty of the people actually 
attained; on the other hand, the preservation of the monarchy and the 
Camphausen-Hansemann Ministry, i.e., the government of representatives of the 
big bourgeoisie. Thus, the revolution had two series of results, which had 
inevitably to diverge. The people had achieved victory, it had won liberties of a 
decisive democratic nature, but the direct power passed not into its hands, but into 
those of the big bourgeoisie. In a word, the revolution was not completed. The 
people allowed the big bourgeois to form a ministry, and the big bourgeois 
immediately displayed their strivings by offering an alliance to the old Prussian 
nobility and bureaucracy. Arnim, Canitz and Schwerin joined the Ministry. 

"The upper bourgeoisie, ever antir evolutionary, concluded a defensive end 
offensive alliance with the reaction out of fear of the people, that is to say, the 
workers and the democratic bourgeoisie ''[m (Our italics.) 

Thus, not only a "decision to organize a constituent assembly," but even its 
actual convocation is insufficient for a decisive victory of the revolution! Even 
after a partial victory in an armed struggle (the victory of the Berlin workers over 
the troops on March 18, 1848) an "incomplete" revolution, a revolution "that has 
not been carried to completion," is possible. On what, then, does its completion 
depend? It depends on whose hands the immediate rule passes into, whether into 
the hands of the Petrunkeviches and Rodichevs, that is to say, the Camphausens 
and the Hansemanns, or into the hands of the people, i.e., the workers and the 
democratic bourgeoisie. In the first case the bourgeoisie will possess power, and 
the proletariat "freedom of criticism." freedom to "remain the party of extreme 



page 151 



revolutionary opposition." Immediately after the victory, the bourgeoisie will 
conclude an alliance with the reaction (this would inevitably happen in Russia 
too, if, for example, the St. Petersburg workers gained only a partial victory in 
street fighting with the troops and left it to Messrs. Petrunkeviches and Co. to 



form a government). In the second case, a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, 
i.e., the complete victory of the revolution, would be possible. 

It now remains to define more precisely what Marx really meant by 
"democratic bourgeoisie" (demokratische B&uumlrgerschaft), which together 
with the workers he called the people, in contradistinction to the big bourgeoisie. 

A clear answer to this question is supplied by the following passage from an 
article in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung of July 29, 1848: ". . . The German 
revolution of 1848 is only a parody of the French revolution of 1789. 

"On August 4, 1789, three weeks after the storming of the Bastille, the French 
people in a single day prevailed over all the feudal burdens. 

"On July 11, 1848, four months after the March barricades, the feudal burdens 
prevailed over the German people. Teste Gierke cum Hansemanno.* 



* "Witnesses: Herr Gierke and Herr Hansemann." Hansemann was a minister who represented 
the party of the big bourgeoisie (Russian counterpart: Trubetskoy or Rodichev, and the like); 
Gierke was Minister of Agriculture in the Hansemann Cabinet, who drew up a plan, a "bold" plan 
for "abolishing feudal burdens," professedly "without compensation," but in fact for abolishing 
only the minor and unimportant burdens while preserving or granting compensation for the more 
essential ones. Herr Gierke was something like the Russian Messrs. Kablukov, Manuilov. 
Hertzenstein and similar bourgeois liberal friends of the muzhik who desire the "extension of 
peasant landownership" but do not wish to offend the landlords. 

page 152 

"The French bourgeoisie of 1789 did not for a moment leave its allies, the 
peasants, in the lurch. It knew that the foundation of its rule was the destruction of 
feudalism in the countryside, the creation of a free landowning 
{grundbesitzenden) peasant class. 

"The German bourgeoisie of 1848 is without the least compunction betraying 
the peasants, who are its most natural allies, the flesh of its flesh, and without 
whom it is powerless against the nobility. 

"The continuance of feudal rights, their sanction under the guise of (illusory) 
redemption ~ such is the result of the German revolution of 1848. The mountain 
brought forth a mouse. "[57] 

This is a very instructive passage: it gives us four important propositions: 1) 
The incompleted German revolution differs from the completed French revolution 
in that the German bourgeoisie betrayed not only democracy in general, but also 
the peasantry in particular. 2) The foundation for the full consummation of a 
democratic revolution is the creation of a free class of peasants. 3) The creation of 
such a class means the abolition of feudal burdens, the destruction of feudalism. 



but does not yet mean a socialist revolution. 4) The peasants are the "most 
natural" allies of the bourgeoisie, that is to say, of the democratic bourgeoisie, 
which without them is "powerless" against the reaction. 

Making proper allowances for concrete national peculiarities and substituting 
serfdom for feudalism, all these propositions can be fully applied to Russia in 
1905. There is no doubt that by learning from the experience of Germany, as 
elucidated by Marx, we cannot arrive at any other slogan for a decisive victory of 
the revolution than: a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and 
the 

page 153 

peasantry. There is no doubt that the chief components of the "people," whom 
Marx in 1848 contrasted with the resisting reactionaries and the treacherous 
bourgeoisie, are the proletariat and the peasantry. There is no doubt that in Russia 
too the liberal bourgeoisie and the gentlemen of the Osvobozhdeniye League are 
betraying and will continue to betray the peasantry, i.e., will confine themselves 
to a pseudo reform and taking the side of the landlords in the decisive battle 
between them and the peasantry. Only the proletariat is capable of supporting the 
peasantry to the end in this struggle. There is no doubt, finally, that in Russia also 
the success of the peasant struggle, i.e., the transfer of the whole of the land to the 
peasantry, will signify a complete democratic revolution and constitute the social 
support of the revolution carried to its completion, but it will by no means be a 
socialist revolution, or "socialization" that the ideologists of the petty bourgeoisie, 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries talk about. The success of the peasant insurrection, 
the victory of the democratic revolution will merely clear the way for a genuine 
and decisive struggle for Socialism on the basis of a democratic republic. In this 
struggle the peasantry as a landowning class will play the same treacherous, 
vacillating part as is now being played by the bourgeoisie in the struggle for 
democracy. To forget this is to forget Socialism, to deceive oneself and others as 
to the real interests and tasks of the proletariat. 

In order to leave no gaps in the presentation of the views held by Marx in 1848, 
it is necessary to note one essential difference between German Social- 
Democracy of that time (or the Communist Party of the Proletariat, to use the 
language of that period) and present-day Russian Social Democracy. Here is what 
Mehring says: 

page 154 

"The Neue Rheinische Zeitung appeared in the political arena as the 'organ of 
democracy.' The red thread that ran through all its articles is unmistakable. But 
directly, it championed the interests of the bourgeois revolution against 
absolutism and feudalism more than the interests of the proletariat against the 
bourgeoisie. Very little is to be found in its columns about the separate working- 
class movement during the years of the revolution, although one should not forget 



that along with it there appeared twice a week, under the editorship of Moll and 
Schapper, a special organ of the Cologne Workers' League.[58] At any rate, the 
present day reader will be struck by the little attention the Neue Rheinische 
Zeitung paid to the German working-class movement of its day, although its most 
capable mind, Stephan Born, was a pupil of Marx and Engels in Paris and 
Brussels and in 1848 was the Berlin correspondent for their newspaper. Born 
relates in his Memoirs that Marx and Engels never expressed a single word in 
disapproval of his agitation among the workers; nevertheless, it appears probable 
from subsequent declarations of Engels' that they were dissatisfied, at least with 
the methods of this agitation. Their dissatisfaction was justified inasmuch as Born 
was obliged to make many concessions to the as yet totally undeveloped class 
consciousness of the proletariat in the greater part of Germany, concessions which 
do not stand the test of criticism from the viewpoint of the Commumist Manifesto. 
Their dissatisfaction was unjustified inasmuch as Born managed nonetheless to 
maintain the agitation conducted by him on a relatively high plane. . . . Without 
doubt, Marx and Engels were historically and politically right in thinking that the 
primary interest of the working class was to push the bourgeois revolution 
forward as far 

page 155 

as possible. . . . Nevertheless, a remarkable proof of how the elementary instinct 
of the working-class movement is able to correct the conceptions of the greatest 
minds is provided by the fact that in April 1849 they declared in favour of a 
specific workers' organization and decided to participate in the workers' congress, 
which was being prepared especially by the East Elbe (Eastern Prussia) 
proletariat." 

Thus, it was only in April 1849, after the revolutionary newspaper had been 
appearing for almost a year (the Neue Rheinische Zeitung began publication on 
June 1, 1848) that Marx and Engels declared in favour of a special workers' 
organization! Until then they were merely running an "organ of democracy" 
unconnected by any organizational ties with an independent workers' party. This 
fact, monstrous and improbable as it may appear from our present-day standpoint, 
clearly shows us what an enormous difference there is between the German 
Social-Democratic Party of those days and the Russian Social-Democratic Labour 
Party of today. This fact shows how much less the proletarian features of the 
movement, the proletarian current within it, were in evidence in the German 
democratic revolution (because of the backwardness of Germany in 1848 both 
economically and politically ~ its disunity as a state). This should not be forgotten 
in judging Marx's repeated declarations during this period and somewhat later 
about the need for organizing an independent proletarian party. Marx arrived at 
this practical conclusion only as a result of the experience of the democratic 
revolution, almost a year later ~ so philistine, so petty-bourgeois was the whole 
atmosphere in Germany at that time. To us this conclusion is an old and solid 
acquisition of half a century's experience of international So- 



page 156 

cial-Democracy ~ an acquisition with which we began to organize the Russian 
Social-Democratic Labour Party. In our case there can be no question, for 
instance, of revolutionary proletarian newspapers being outside the Social- 
Democratic Party of the proletariat, or of their appearing even for a moment 
simply as "organs of democracy." 

But the contrast which had hardly begun to reveal itself between Marx and 
Stephan Born exists in our case in a form which is more developed by reason of 
the more powerful manifestation of the proletarian current in the democratic 
stream of our revolution. Speaking of the probable dissatisfaction of Marx and 
Engels with the agitation conducted by Stephan Born, Mehring expresses himself 
too mildly and too evasively. This is what Engels wrote of Born in 1885 (in his 
preface to the Enth&uumlllungen &uumlber den Kommunistenprocess zu 
K&oumlln, Z&uumlrich, 1885[59]): 

The members of the Communist League[60] everywhere stood at the head of the 
extreme democratic movement, proving thereby that the League was an excellent 
school of revolutionary action. "... the compositor Stephan Born, who had 
worked in Brussels and Paris as an active member of the League, founded a 
Workers' Brotherhood" ("Arbeiterverbruderung") "in Berlin which became fairly 
widespread and existed until 1850. Born, a very talented young man, who, 
however, was a bit too much in a hurry to become a big political figure, 
'fraternized' with the most miscellaneous ragtag and bobtail" (Kreti und Plethi) "in 
order to get a crowd together, and was not at all the man who could bring unity 
into the conflicting tendencies, light into the chaos. Consequently, in the official 
publications of the association the views represented in the Communist Manifesto 
were mingled hodgepodge with guild recollections and guild as- 

page 157 

pirations, fragments of Louis Blanc and Proudhon, protectionism, etc.; in short, 
they wanted to please everybody {alien alles sein],'' ''In particular, strikes, trade 
unions and producers' cooperatives were set going and it was forgotten that 
above all it was a question of first conquering, by means of political victories, the 
field in which alone such things could be realized on a lasting basis." (Our italics.) 
"When, afterwards, the victories of the reaction made the leaders of the 
Brotherhood realize the necessity of taking a direct part in the revolutionary 
struggle, they were naturally left in the lurch by the confused mass which they 
had grouped around themselves. Born took part in the Dresden uprising in May, 
1849 and had a lucky escape. But, in contrast to the great political movement of 
the proletariat, the Workers' Brotherhood proved to be a pure Sonderbund 
[separate league], which to a large extent existed only on paper and played such a 
subordinate role that the reaction did not find it necessary to suppress it until 
1850, and its surviving branches until several years later. Born, whose real name 
was Buttermilch" (Buttermilk),* "has not become 



* In translating Engels I made a mistake in the first edition by taking the word Butte rmilch to be 
not a proper noun but a common noun. This mistake naturally afforded great delight to the 
Mensheviks. Koltsov wrote that I had "rendered Engels more profound" (reprinted in Two Years, a 
collection of articles) and Plekhanov even now recalls this mistake in the Tovarishch [6i] ~ in 
short, it afforded an excellent pretext to slur over the question of the two tendencies in the 
working-class movement of 1848 in Germany, the Born tendency (akin to our Economists) and the 
Marxist tendency. To take advantage of the mistake of an opponent, even if it was only on the 
question of Born's name, is more than natural. But to use a correction to a translation to slur over 
the question of the two tactics is to dodge the real issue. [Author's note to the 1907 edition.] 

page 158 

a big political figure but a petty Swiss professor, who no longer translates Marx 
into guild language but the meek Renan into his own fulsome German. "[62] 

That is how Engels judged the two tactics of Social Democracy in the 
democratic revolution! 

Our new Iskra-ists are also pushing towards "Economism," and with such 
unreasonable zeal as to earn the praises of the monarchist bourgeoisie for their 
"seeing the light." They too collect around themselves a motley crowd, flattering 
the "Economists," demagogically attracting the undeveloped masses by the 
slogans of "initiative," "democracy," "autonomy," etc., etc. Their labour unions, 
too, exist only on the pages of the Khlestakov[63] new Iskra. Their slogans and 
resolutions betray a similar failure to understand the tasks of the "great political 
movement of the proletariat." 



Written in June-July 1905 

First published as a 

pamphlet in Geneva 

in July 1905 






Published according 
to the text of the pamphlet, 
checked against the manuscript 




From Marx 
to Mao 


Lenin 
Collection 


Reading 
Guide 


Notes on 

the Text 

Below 





page 159 



NOTES 



^^^ Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution was written by Lenin in 
Geneva, in June- July 1905. The book was published in late July 1905, in Geneva, by the Central 
Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. It was twice reprinted in Russia in the same year, once by the Central 
Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., and the second time by the Moscow Committee of the Party, this 
time in 10,000 copies. 

The book was secretly distributed throughout the country ~ in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, 
Tiflis, Baku and other cities. During arrests and searches the police in many cases found as many 
as ten or more copies of it. On February 19, 1907 it was banned by the St. Petersburg Press 
Department, and on Decembet 22 of the same year the St. Petersburg Court issued an injunction 
for its destruction. 

In 1907 Lenin had Two Tactics published in the miscellany Twelve Years, supplementing the 
book with new notes. The material prepared by Lenin for this book, his plans, synopsis and other 
notes, were published in Lenin Miscellany, Russ. ed.. Vol. V, pp. 315-20, and Vol. XVI, pp. 151- 
56. 

The Leninist theory of revolution and the tactical propositions which Lenin developed in his 
historic book Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution were consistently 
upheld and developed by Stalin in such works as: " Armed Insurrection and Our Tactics ," "The 
Provisional Revolutionary Government and Social-Democracy " (1905), " Two Clashes ," "The 
Present Situation and the Unity Congress of the Workers' Party " (1906), "Preface to the Georgian 
Edition of K. Kautsky's Pamphlet The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Russian Revolution'' 
(February 1907). 

page 160 

As for the historical importance of Lenin's book Two Tactics see the History of the Communist 
Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks) Short Course, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1950, pp. 75-93. [p.i] 

^^^ Proletary (The Proletarian) - an illegal Bolshevik weekly, the organ of the Central 
Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. It was founded in accordance with a resolution of the Third Congress 
of the Party. Lenin was appointed editor of the Proletary by a decision of a plenary meeting of the 
Party's Central Committee, on April 27 (May 10), 1905. 

Proletary was published in Geneva from May 14 (27) to November (25), 1905, a total of 26 
issues being brought out. Those who took a regular part in the work of the editorial board were V. 
V. Vorovsky, A. V. Lunacharsky, and M. S. Olminsky. Proletary continued the line of the old, 
Leninist Iskra and maintained full continuity with the Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod. In all, Lenin 
wrote over 50 articles and commentaries for Proletary, his articles being reprinted in local 
Bolshevik periodicals, and also published in the form of leaflets. Publication of Proletary was 
discontinued in November 1905, shortly after Lenin's departure for Russia. The last two issues 
(Nos. 25 and 26) were edited by V. V. Vorovsky. [p.i] 



' V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. IX, p. 127. [p.jj 
' The mutiny broke out on June 14 (27), 1905. [p.i] 



^^^ Osvobozhdeniye (Emancipation) — a fortnightly journal of the Russian bourgeois liberals 
published abroad in 1902-05 under the editorship of P. B. Struve. In January 1904, it became the 
organ of the liberal-monarchist Osvobozhdeniye League. 

Later the Osvobozhdeniye group formed the nucleus of the Constitutional-Democratic Party (the 
Cadets), [p.4] 

^^^ Economism - an opportunist trend that arose in the Russian Social Democratic movement at 
the end of the 1890s. The Economists (Akimov, Martynov, and others) asserted that the task of the 
working class was to wage the economic struggle against the employers; the political struggle 
against the autocracy, however, was the business of the liberal bourgeoisie, whom the working 



class must support. The tenets of the Economists were "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" {History of the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1950, p. 27). Economism was subjected to 
withering criticism by Lenin in his work What Is To Be Done ? and by 

page 161 

Stalin in his works: " Briefly About the Disagreements in the Party ," and " A Reply to Social- 
Demokrat y [p.4] 

^^^ This refers to the new, Menshevik/^^ra. Following the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., the 
Mensheviks gained control of the Iskra with the aid of Plekhanov, and in November 1903, 
beginning with No. 52, Iskra became the organ of the Mensheviks. It continued publication until 
October 1905. [p.4] 

^^^ The Bulygin Commission - created by a decree of the tsar in February 1905 and headed by the 
Minister of the Interior, A. G. Bulygin. The commission drafted a bill for the institution of a State 
Duma with advisory powers, and the regulations on the Duma elections. The bill and the 
regulations were made public together with the tsar's manifesto of August 6 (19), 1905. The 
Bolsheviks proclaimed an active boycott of the Bulygin Duma. The government's attempt to 
convene the Duma failed and it was swept away by the force of the revolution. On the boycott of 
the Bulygin Duma, see V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. IX, pp. 156-64. [p.7] 

^'^^ The Constitutional-Democratic Party (Cadets) was the principal bourgeois party in Russia, the 
party of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie. It was founded in October 1905. Under the cloak of 
pseudo-democratism and calling themselves the party of "people's freedom," the Cadets tried to 
win the peasantry to their side. They strove to preserve tsarism in the form of a constitutional 
monarchy. Subsequently, the Cadets became the party of the imperialist bourgeoisie. After the 
victory of the October Socialist Revolution, the Cadets organized counter-revolutionary 
conspiracies and revolts against the Soviet Republic, [p.7] 

"°^ See V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 452-60, 477-90. [p.8] 

^^" Millerandism — an opportunist trend named after the French socialist-reformist Alexander 
Millerand, who in 1899 entered the reactionary bourgeois government of France, and collaborated 
with General Gaston Galliffet, butcher of the Paris Commune, p. 18 [p.i8] 

^^^^ On January 9, 1905, by order of the tsar, the troops fired at a peaceful demonstration of St. 
Petersburg workers who were marching towards the Winter Palace to present a petition to the tsar 
about their needs. This massacre touched off a wave of mass political strikes and demonstrations 
all over Russia. The events of January 9 marked the beginning of the first Russian revolution of 
1905-07. [p.22] 

page 162 

^^^^ Die Neue Rbeinische Zeitung was published in Cologne from June 1, 1848 until May 19, 
1849. It was directed by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Marx being editor-in-chief. Following 
the appearance of No. 301, the paper ceased publication because of persecution by the 
reactionaries. Regarding this newspaper see Engels's article "Marx and the Neue Rheinische 
Zeitung (1848-1849)" (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, 
Vol. II, pp. 297-305). [p.23] 



^^^^ Sotsial-Demokrat {The Social-Democrat) — a Menshevik Georgian language newspaper 
published in Tiflis between April and November 1905. 

The article "The Zemsky Sobor and Our Tactics" was written by N. Jordania, leader of the 
Caucasian Mensheviks. It was criticized in detail by Lenin in Chapter Seven of Two Tactics of 
Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (see pp. 59-64 of this book), [p.26] 

^^^^ A constitution " a la Sbipov " ~ Lenin here refers to the "constitutional" platform of D. N. 
Shipov, one of the leaders of the Zemstvo liberal movement of the 1890s and 1900s. The platform 
provided for the preservation of the tsarist autocracy slightly restricted by a "constitution" to be 
"granted by the tsar." [p.28] 



[16] 



From the perspective of eternity, [p.34] 
The remote past, [p.34] 



^^^^ Russkaya Starina (The Russian Antiquary) — a monthly journal of history published in St. 
Petersburg from 1 870 to 1 9 1 8 . [p.35] 

f^'^^ See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed. Moscow, 1951, Vol. II, p. 367. 

[p.36] 

™ The Zemstvo - local government bodies in pre-revolutionary Russia. They dealt with purely 
local affairs concerning the rural population (laying roads, building hospitals, etc.). The 
predominant role in the Zemstvo was played by the landlords, [p.47] 

^^^^ The man in the mufller - chief character in Chekhov's story of the same title, a man typifying 
the narrow-minded philistine who abhors all innovations or initiative, [p.48] 

^^^^ Lenin is referring to the hook Aus dem literarischen Nachlass von Karl Marx Friedrich 
Engels und Ferdinand Lassalle, Herausgegeben von Franz Mehring Band III, Stuttgart, 1902, S. 
211 (Posthumous Works of Karl Marx Frederick Engels, Ferdinand Lassalle edited by Franz 
Mehring, Vol. Ill, Stuttgart, 1902, p. 211). See Karl Marx, "The Bourgeoisie and the Counter- 
revolution" (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, p. 

63). [p.55] 

page 163 

^^^^ Lenin here refers to his article " 'Revolutionaries' in White Gloves," published in Proletary 
No. 5, 1905 (Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 491-95). [p.56] 

[24] Vporyodovtsi, Syezdovtsi, Proletartsi - different appellations for the Bolsheviks arising from 
the fact that they published the newspaper Vperyod, that they convened the Third Congress of the 
Party, and from the name of the newspaper Proletary, [p.55] 

^^^^ This refers to the resolution tabled by Starover (pseudonym of the Menshevik A. N. Potresov) 
on the attitude towards the liberals, which was adopted at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., 
and was criticized by Lenin in the article "Working-class and Bourgeois Democracy" (Collected 
Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 54-63). [p.57] 



^^^^ The expression "parliamentary cretinism" was applied by Lenin to those opportunists who 
considered the parliamentarian system all-powerful, and parliamentarian activities the only or the 
principal form of political struggle, [p.62] 

^^^^ This refers to the differences of opinion revealed during the discussion of the draft agrarian 
programme at the Breslau Congress of the German Social-Democratic Party, 1895. [p.64] 

^^^^ Rabocheye Dyelo (The Workers' Cause) — a journal of the Economists published irregularly in 
Geneva from 1899 to 1902 as the organ of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad. For a 
criticism of the Rahocheye Dyelo group, see Lenin's What Is To Be Done? {Selected Works, Eng. 
ed., Moscow, 1950, Vol. I, Part 1, pp. 203-409). [p.vi] 

^^'^^ This refers to Nadezhdin's press attack on the plan of the Leninist Iskra (Nadezhdin was the 
pseudonym of Y. 0. Zelensky). Lenin criticized this attack as far back as 1902 in his What Is To 
Be Done ? [p.Vi] 

^^°^ Bernsteinism — an anti-Marxist trend in international Social-Democracy. It arose towards the 
close of the 19th century and took its name from the German Social-Democrat Eduard Bernstein, 
who tried to revise the revolurionary teachings of Marx on the lines of bourgeois liberalism. In 
Russia this trend was represented by the "Legal Marxists," the Economists, the Bundists, and the 
Mensheviks. [p.78] 

^^^^ This refers to Lenin's articles entitled "Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary 
Government" and "The Revolutionary Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the 
Peasantry," which were published in Nos. 13 and 14 of the Bolshevik newspaper Vperyod 
(Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 247-74). [p.8i] 

page 164 

^^^^ Lenin has in view the programme published in 1874 by the London group of Blanquists, 
former members of the Paris Commune. See Frederick Engels, "Emigre Literature. II. The 
Progranmie of the Blanquist Emigr&eacutes from the Commune" (Karl Marx and Frederick 
Engels, Collected Works, Ger. ed., 1935, Vol. XV, pp. 224-30). 

The Blanquists were adherents of the French revolutionary Louis Auguste Blanqui (1805-81). 
The classics of Marxism-Leninism, while regarding Blanqui as an outstanding revolutionary and 
adherent of socialism, criticized him for his sectarianism and conspiratorial methods of activity. 

"Blanquism," wrote Lenin, "is a theory that repudiates the class struggle. Blanquism expects 
that mankind will be emancipated from wage slavery, not by the class struggle of the proletariat, 
but through a conspiracy hatched by a small minority of intellectuals" (see V. I. Lenin, "The 
Congress Sunmied Up", Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. X, p. 360). [p.84] 

^^^^ The Erfurt Programme of German Social-Democracy was adopted in October 1891 at a 
congress held in Erfurt. For a criticism of this programme, see Frederick Engels, "Criticism of the 
Draft Social-Democratic Progranmie of 1891" (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, 
Russ. ed., 1936, Vol. XVI, pp. 101-16), and Lenin's The State and Revolution. [p.9i] 

^^^^ In July 1905 Lenin wrote this note to Chapter Ten of Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the 
Democratic Revolution. The note did not go into the first edition of the book, and first appeared in 
1926, in Lenin Miscellany, Russ. ed.. Vol. V. [p.92] 

^^^^ See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1953, pp. 551-55. 

[p.92] 



^^^^ Lenin here refers to his article "Social-Democracy and the Provisional Revolutionary 
Government," published in Vperyod, No. 14, 1901 {Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 

247-63). [p.92] 

^^^^ Lenin has in view his article "On the Provisional Revolutionary Government" (Collected 
Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 427-47), and also the article by Frederick Engels, "The 
Bakunists at Work. Notes on the Insurrection in Spain in the Summer of 1873," in which the 
Bakuninist resolution referred to by Lenin is criticized (see Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, 
Collected Works, Russ. ed., 1935, Vol. XV, pp. 105-24). rp. ioil 

^^^^ Credo was the name by which became known the manifesto issued in 1899 by a group of 
Economists including S. N. Prokopovich and E. D. Kuskova who later became Constitutional- 
Democrats. This manifesto was a most striking expression of the opportunism of Russian 
Economism. Lenin wrote a trenchant protest denouncing the Economists' views ("A Protest of 
Russian Social-Democrats," Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. IV, pp. 149-63). [Transcriber's Note: 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Eng. ed.. Vol. 4, pp. 167-82. ~ djr] [p.i03] 

^^'^^ Rabochaya Mysl (Workers' Thought) — organ of the Economists, published in 1897-1902. 
Lenin aiticized the views of this newspaper as a Russian variety of international opportunism in a 
number of his works, particularly in his articles in Iskra and in his book What Is To Be Done? 

[p.l04] 

^^°^ This refers to Marx's words in his "A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of 
Law" (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1956, Vol. I, p.385). 

[p.l04] 

^^^^ L'Humanite — a daily paper founded in 1904 by Jean Jaur&egraves as the organ of the French 
Socialist Party. Soon after the split in the Socialist Party at the Tours Congress (December 1920) 
and the formation of the Communist Party of France, the paper became the organ of the latter. It is 
still published in Paris at present as the official organ of the C.P.F. [p.i06] 

^^^^ Varlin, Louis-Eug&egravene (1839-71) ~ French worker and prominent member of the First 
International, member of the Central Committee of the National Guard and of the Paris Commune 
of 1871. [p. 118] 

^^^^ This refers to the "Rules of Organization" adopted at the Geneva Menshevik Conference in 
1905. The "Rules" were also criticized by Lenin in the article "A Third Step Back" (Collected 
Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. VIII, pp. 509-18) and in "Preface to the Pamphlet Workers on the Split 
in the Party" (ibid.. Vol. IX, pp. 141-46). [p.i20] 

^''^ See Karl Marx, "The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850" (Karl Marx and Frederick 
Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, p. 198). [p.i24] 

^^^^ The Hirsch-Duncker trade unions — founded in 1868 in Germany by two bourgeois liberals ~ 
Hirsch and Duncker who, like the bourgeois economist Brentano, preached "harmony of class 
interests," distracted the workers from the revolutionary class struggle against the bourgeoisie, and 
limited the role of the trade unions to the bounds of mutual-aid societies and educational clubs. 

[p.l32] 

^^^^ Engels's article "The Bakunists at Work. Notes on the Insurrection in Spain in the Summer of 
1873" was translated into Russian under 



page 166 

Lenin's editorship and was published in 1905 in Geneva by the Central Committee of the 
R.S.D.L.P. in the form of a pamphlet. A second edition came out in 1906 in St. Petersburg. 

The Address of The Central Committee to the Communist League (March 1850) was published 
in Russian in 1906 in the supplement to Marx's pamphlet Revelations About the Trial of the 
Communists at Cologne, which was brought out by the Molot Publishers in St. Petersburg (see 
Karl Marx and Prederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 98-108). 

[p.l36] 

^''^ V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. V, pp. 19-65. [p.i39] 

[48] pj-om the beginning of this paragraph to "... at the tail of Osvobozhdeniye-isml'' on p. 144 
was omitted in the first edition of this book. This passage was first published in Pravda, No. 112, 
April 22, 1940. [p. 142] 

^^'^ Karl Marx and Prederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, Vol. I, pp. 429-94. 

[p.l42] 

^^°^ Moskovskiye Vyedomosti (Moscow Recorder) - a newspaper founded in 1756. From the 
1860s it expressed the views of the most reactionary monarchist sections of the landlords and the 
clergy. In 1905 it became a leading organ of the Black Hundreds, and was banned following the 
October Revolution of 1 9 1 7 . [p. 143] 

^^^^ Mehring, Franz (1846-1919) ~ a prominent member of the Left-wing of German Social- 
Democracy, historian and publicist. He was one of the founders of the revolutionary Spartacus 
League, and later joined the Communist Party of Germany, [p. 146] 

^''^ See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, Ger. ed., Berlin, 1959, Vol. V, p. 402. 

[p.l47] 



[53] 



Ibid., p. 40. [p.l48] 

^''^ Ibid., p. 41. [p.i49] 

^''^ Ibid., p. 14. [p. 149] 

^''^ Ibid., pp. 64-65. [p.i50] 

'''' Ibid., pp. 382-83. [p.i52] 

^^^^ The organ of the Cologne Workers' League was originally called Zeitung des Arbeiter-Vereins 
zu K&oumlln, with the subtitle Freiheit, B&uumlnderlichkeit, Arbeit {Freedom, Brotherhood, 
Labour). Its editors, Joseph Moll and Karl Schapper, were members of the Communist League. 
Forty issues came out between April and October 1848, and another 23 between 

page 167 

October 1848 and June 1849, during which period the subtitle became the paper's title. [p.i54] 



^^'^^ Revelations About the Trial of the Communists at Cologne, Z&uumlrich, 1885. [p. 156] 

^^°^ The Communist League - the first international organization of the revolutionary proletariat 
founded in London in the summer of 1847 at a congress of delegates from revolutionary 
proletarian organizations. The League was organized and guided by Karl Marx and Frederick 
Engels, who on instructions from the League, wrote its programme ~ the Manifesto of the 
Communist Party. The League existed until 1852. Later its foremost members played a leading 
part in the First International. See Frederick Engels's article "On the History of the Communist 
League" (Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, Vol. II, pp. 
306-23). [p.i56] 

^^" Tovarishch (The Comrade) - a daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg from March 1906 
till January 1908. Though formally not the organ of any particular party, it was in fact the 
mouthpiece of the Left Constitutional-Democrats. Mensheviks also contributed to the paper. 

[p.l57] 

^^^^ See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Moscow, 1951, Vol. II, pp. 
318-19. [p.i58] 

Khlestakov — the leading character in Gogol's comedy The Inspector-General, an arrant boaster and 

liar. [p.i58]