On the "Svoboda" Group

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V. I. Lenin

On the Svoboda Group


Iskra, No. 30,
December 15, 1902

Published according  
to the Iskra text  

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Second Impression 1964

Vol. 6, pp. 285-86.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Clemens Dutt and Julius Katzer

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,
 (February 2002)

page 337


    The attitude of Messrs. the "Revolutionary-Socialists" towards any analysis of differences in principle is evident from the following. In the pamphlet, What Is to Be Done?, Lenin directly challenged Svoboda to refute the proposition that an "organisation of revolutionaries" is necessary for extending and intensifying work among the masses. In the same pamphlet Mr. Nadezhdin was given a detailed explanation of all the harm and unseemliness of a light-minded attitude towards theory, of inconsistency in matters of programme (a "revolutionary-socialist" and at the same time practically a Social-Democrat!), of vacillation between revolutionary tactics and the tactics of "economism," and between terrorism and the class struggle of the proletariat. In this pamphlet it was plainly pointed out and proved that Svoboda is sinking to the level of demagogy.* Mr. Nadezhdin preferred to decline the direct challenge. Instead of open battle with visor raised, this noble swashbuckler chose to act on the sly under a cover of a dispute on matters of organisation. In their "magazine for workers" (??) the Svoboda group merely hisses and snarls, without explaining its views, inciting the "masses" against an "organisation of revolutionaries" and assuring them that Iskra is chopping down the "sound trunk" of "economism." Disputes over principle, it assures us, are nothing but a pastime for intellectuals. For the "masses" it is sufficient to raise a howl against "domineering" and to indulge in quips about "an empty stomach and the Holy Ghost," about the "danger of hobnailed jackboots," about "swine and blockheads," <"fnp">

    * See present edition, Vol. 5. --Ed.

page 286

about "weakened grey matter" and "pig snouts," about the "collaring and jaw-breaking department," etc. (see Otkliki, pp. 30-55). Our revolutionary-socialists and Socialist-Revolutionaries persist in debasing "mass" literature to the level of cheap broadsheets, and for this service of theirs they claim the right to introduce confusion and corruption into all serious Party questions. A programme consisting of double book-keeping, tactics consisting of double book-keeping, practical activities consisting of demagogy -- there you have a portrait of the "revolutionary-socialist" Svoboda group.