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V. I. Lenin
THE FACTION OF SUPPORTERS OF
OTZOVISM AND GOD-BUILDING
Supplement to Proletary
September 11 (24), 1909
Published according to
the Supplement to Proletary
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1967
First published 1963
Second printing 1967
Vol. 16, pp. 29-61.
Translated from the Russian
Edited by Clemens Dutt
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, email@example.com (November 2001)
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THE FACTION OF SUPPORTERS OF OTZOVISM
Comrades Maximov and Nikolayev have issued a special leaflet entitled "Report of the Members Removed from the Enlarged Editorial Board of Proletary to the Bolshevik Comrades." Our victims of removal most bitterly complain to the public of the wrongs suffered by them at the hands of the editorial board and how it removed them.
To show the party of the working class what kind of people these bitterly complaining victims of removal are, let us first of all examine the principles embodied in their leaflet. The reader knows, from Proletary No. 46 and the supplement to it, that the Conference of the enlarged editorial board of Proletary adjudged Comrade Maximov to be one of the organisers of a new faction in our Party, a faction with<"p29"> which Bolshevism has nothing in common, and it disclaimed "all responsibility for the political actions of Comrade Maximov". It is evident from the resolutions of the Conference that the fundamental issue of divergence with the new faction that has broken away from the Bolsheviks (or rather, with Maximov and his friends) is, firstly, otzovism and ultimatumism; secondly, god-building. The attitude of the Bolshevik group to both trends is set out in three detailed resolutions.
What now do the bitterly complaining victims of removal say in reply?
Let us begin with otzovism. Our victims of removal sum up the parliamentary or Duma experience of the past years, justify the boycott of the Bulygin and Witte Dumas, as
well as the participation in the Second Duma, and continue:
"At a time of acute and increasing reaction all this changes again. The Party cannot then carry out a big and spectacular election campaign, nor obtain worth-while parliamentary representation."
The first phrase with an independent idea not copied from old Bolshevik publications at once reveals to us the abysmal political thoughtlessness of the otzovists. Just reflect for a moment, good souls, at a time of acute<"p30"> and increasing reaction is it possible for the Party to organise in a "big and spectacular" way the "training groups and schools" for boyeviks [24a] that you speak about on the very same page, in the very same column of your literary production? Reflect for a moment, good souls, can the Party obtain "worth-while representation" in such schools? If you could think, if you were at all capable of political judgement, O you unjustly removed ones, you would see what absolute nonsense you are talking. Instead of thinking politically, you pin your faith to a "spectacular " signboard and so find yourselves in the role of Simple Simons of the Party. You babble about "training schools" and "intensifying [!] propaganda in the armed forces" (ibid.) because, like all the political infants in the camp of the otzovists and ultimatumists, you consider such activities to be particularly "spectacular", but you are incapable of thinking about the conditions for applying these forms of activity in practice (and not in words). You have memorised fragments of Bolshevik phrases and slogans but your understanding of them is precisely nil. "At a time of acute and increasing reaction" all work is difficult for the Party, but however great the difficulties, it is still possible to obtain worth-while parliamentary representation. This is proved too, for instance, by the experience<"p30a"> of the German Social-Democrats in a period of "acute and increasing reaction" as during the introduction of the Anti-Socialist Law. By denying this possibility Maximov and Co. only reveal their class political ignorance. To advocate "training schools" and "intensification of propaganda in the armed forces" "at a time of acute and increasing reaction" and at the same time to deny the possibility of the Party having worthwhile parliamentary representation is to utter obvious
incongruities which deserve to be published in an anthology of logical absurdities for junior high-school boys. Both training schools and the intensification of propaganda in the armed forces presuppose an inevitable violation of the old laws, breaking through these laws, whereas parliamentary activity by no means necessarily, or at any rate much more rarely, presupposes a breach of the old laws by the new social forces. Now reflect, good souls, when is it easier to force a breach of the old laws: at a time of acute and increasing reaction or when the movement is on the upgrade? Reflect, O unjustly removed ones, and be ashamed of the nonsense you utter in defending the otzovists, who are so dear to you.
Further. Which activity presupposes a wider scope for the energy of the masses, greater influence of the masses on immediate political life -- parliamentary activity within the laws framed by the old regime, or propaganda among the troops, which at one stroke directly undermines this regime's material force? Reflect, good souls, and you will see that parliamentary activity takes second place in this respect. And what follows from this? It follows that the stronger the immediate movement of the masses, and the greater the scope of their energy, in other words: the more one can speak of an "acute and increasing" revolutionary onslaught of the people and not of "acute and increasing reaction", all the more possible, certain and successful will become both propaganda among the troops and militant actions that are really connected with the mass movement and are not merely the adventurism of unrestrained boyeviks. That, O unjustly removed ones, was the reason why Bolshevism could so powerfully develop both militant activities and propaganda among the troops in the period of "acute and increasing" revolutionary upsurge; that was the reason why the Bolsheviks could (beginning from 1907) dissociate, and by 1909 did completely dissociate their group from the boyevism that at a time of "acute and increasing reaction" degenerated, inevitably degenerated, into adventurism.
But with these heroes of ours, who have learned by heart fragments of Bolshevik phrases, it is the other way round. The highest forms of struggle, which have never anywhere in the world succeeded without a direct onslaught of the masses, are put in the forefront and recommended as "feasi-
ble" at a time of acute reaction, while the lower forms of struggle, which presuppose not so much a direct breach of the law by mass struggle as utilisation of the law for the purpose of propaganda and agitation, preparing the minds of the masses for struggle, are declared "unfeasible"!!
The otzovists and their "removed" echoers have heard, and committed to memory, that the Bolsheviks regard direct struggle of the masses, drawing into motion even the troops (i.e., the most obdurate section of the population, the slowest to move and most protected against propaganda, etc.) and converting armed outbreaks into the real beginning of an uprising, as the highest form of the movement, and parliamentary activity without the direct action of the masses as the lowest form of the movement. The otzovists and their echoers, such as Maximov, heard this and learned it by heart, but they did not understand it, and so disgraced themselves. The highest form -- that means the most "spectacular" -- thinks the otzovist and Comrade Maximov. Well, then, I'll raise a high]y "spectacular" cry, that should produce the most revolutionary result of all. As for the meaning of it, that can be left to the devil!
Now listen to some more of Maximov's ideas (we continue the quotation from where we left off):
"The mechanical force of reaction severs the connection of the already existing Party faction with the masses and makes it terribly difficult for the Party to influence them, with the result that this representative body is unable to conduct sufficiently broad and deep organisational and propaganda work in the interests of the Party. If the Party itself is weakened there is not excluded even the danger of degeneration of the faction and its deviation from the main line of Social-Democracy. . . ."
In very truth, isn't that supremely pretty? When it is a matter of the lower, legal forms of struggle they try to frighten us: "the mechanical force of reaction", "unable to conduct sufficiently broad work", "the danger of degeneration". But when it is a matter of the higher forms of the class struggle, which force a breach in the old laws, the "mechanical force of reaction" disappears, there is no "inability" to conduct "sufficiently broad" work among the troops, and the "danger of degeneration" of training groups and schools, please observe, is altogether out of the question!
There you have the best justification of the editorial board of Proletary, why it had to remove political leaders who spread such ideas among the masses.
Get this into your heads, O unjustly removed ones: when the conditions of acute and increasing reaction are really present, when the mechanical force of this reaction really severs the connection with the masses, makes sufficiently broad work difficult and weakens the Party, it is then that the specific task of the Party becomes to master the parliamentary weapon of struggle; and that, O unjustly removed ones, is not because parliamentary struggle is higher than any other forms of struggle; no, it is just because it is lower than them, lower, for example, than a struggle which draws into the mass movement even the armed forces, which gives rise to mass strikes, uprisings, etc. Then why does mastery of the lowest form of struggle become the specific (i.e., distinguishing the present moment from other moments) task of the Party? Because the stronger the mechanical force of reaction and the weaker the connection with the masses, the more immediate becomes the task of preparing the minds of the masses (and not the task of direct action), the more immediate becomes the task of utilising the methods of propaganda and agitation created by the old regime (and not a direct onslaught of the masses against this old regime).
For any Marxist who has at all pondered over the philosophy of Marx and Engels, for any Social-Democrat who is at all acquainted with the history of the international socialist movement, this conversion of one of the lowest forms of struggle into the specific weapon of struggle of a special historic moment contains nothing surprising. The anarchists have absolutely never been able to understand this simple thing. Now our otzovists and their removed echoers are trying to introduce anarchist modes of thought among Russian Social-Democrats, crying out (like Maximov and Co.) that Proletary is dominated by the theory of "parliamentarism at any price".
To show how stupid and un-Social-Democratic these outcries of Maximov and Co. are, we shall once more have to
begin with the ABC. Just reflect, O unjustly removed ones, what is the specific difference between the policy and tactics of the German Social-Democrats and those of the socialist workers' parties in other countries? The utilisation of parliamentarism; the conversion of bourgeois Junker (approximate Russian equivalent: Octobrist-Black-Hundred) parliamentarism into an instrument for the socialist education and organisation of the mass of the workers. Does this mean that parliamentarism is the highest form of struggle of the socialist proletariat? Anarchists the world over think it does mean that. Does it mean that the German Social-Democrats stand for parliamentarism at any price? Anarchists the world over think it does mean that, and hence there is no enemy more hateful to them than German Social-Democracy, there is no target they love to aim at more than the German Social-Democrats. And in Russia, when our Socialist-Revolutionaries begin to flirt with the anarchists and advertise their own "revolutionary militancy" they never fail-to drag in real or imaginary errors of the German Social-Democrats, and draw conclusions from them to the detriment of Social-Democracy.
Now let us go further. In what lies the fallacy of the anarchists' argument? It lies in the fact that, owing to their radically incorrect ideas of the course of social development, they are unable to take into account those peculiarities of the concrete political (and economic) situation in different countries which determine the specific significance of one or another means of struggle for a given period of time. In point of fact the German Social-Democrats, far from standing for parliamentarism at any price, not only do not subordinate everything to parliamentarism, but, on the contrary, in the international army of the proletariat they best of all have developed such extra-parliamentary means of struggle as the socialist press, the trade unions, the systematic use of popular assemblies, the socialist education of youth, and so on and so forth.
What is the point then? The point is that a combination of a number of historic conditions has made parliamentarism a specific weapon of struggle for Germany over a given period, not the chief one, not the highest, not of prime and essential importance in comparison with other forms, but merely
specific, the most characteristic in comparison with other countries. Hence, the ability to use parliamentarism has proved to be a symptom (not a condition but a symptom) of exemplary organisation of the entire socialist movement, in all its branches, which we have enumerated above.
Let us turn from Germany to Russia. Anyone who presumed to draw an exact parallel between the conditions in these two countries would be guilty of a number of gross errors. But try to put the question as a Marxist is bound to do: what is the specific peculiarity of the policy and tactics of the Russian Social-Democrats at the present time? We must preserve and strengthen the illegal Party -- just as before the revolution. We must steadily prepare the masses for a new revolutionary crisis -- as in the years 1897-1903. We must strengthen to the utmost the Party's ties with the masses, develop and utilise all kinds of workers' organisations for the furtherance of the socialist cause, as has always been the practice of all Social-Democratic parties. The specific peculiarity of the moment is, namely, that the old autocracy is making an attempt (an unsuccessful attempt) to solve new historic problems with the help of the Octobrist-Black-Hundred Duma. Hence, the specific tactical task of the Social-Democrats is to use this Duma for their own purposes, for spreading the ideas of revolution and socialism. The point is not that this specific task is particularly lofty, that it opens grand vistas, or that it equals or even approaches in importance the tasks which faced the proletariat in, say, the period of 1905-06. No. The point is that it is a special feature of the tactics of the present moment, marking its distinction from the period that is past or from that which is yet to come (for this coming period will certainly bring us specific tasks, more complex, more lofty, more interesting than that of utilising the Third Duma). We cannot be equal to the present situation, we cannot solve the whole assemblage of problems with which it confronts the Social-Democratic Party, unless we solve this specific problem of the moment, unless we convert the Black-Hundred-Octobrist Duma into an instrument for Social-Democratic propaganda.
The otzovist windbags, taking their cue from the Bolsheviks, talk, for instance, of taking account of the experience of the revolution. But they do not understand what they
are talking about. They do not understand that taking account of the experience of the revolution includes defending the ideals and aims and methods of the revolution from inside the Duma. If we do not know how to defend these ideals, aims and methods from inside the Duma, through our working-class Party members who might enter and those who have already entered this Duma, it means that we are unable to make the first step towards politically taking account of the experience of the revolution (for what we are concerned with here is of course not a theoretical summing up of experience in books and researches). Our task is by no means ended by this first step. Incomparably more important than the first step will be the second and third steps, i.e., the conversion of the experience already gained by the masses into ideological stock-in-trade for new historic action. But if these otzovist windbags themselves speak of an "inter-revolutionary" period they should have understood (if they were able to think and reason things out in a Social-Democratic way) that "inter-revolutionary" signifies precisely that elementary, preliminary tasks come on the order of the day. "Inter-revolutionary" denotes an unsettled, indefinite situation when the old regime has become convinced that it is impossible to rule with the old instruments alone and tries to use a new instrument within the general framework of the old institutions. This is an internally contradictory, futile attempt, in which the autocracy is once more going towards inevitable failure, is once more leading us to a repetition of the glorious period and glorious battles of 1905. But it is going not in the same way as in 1897-1903, it is leading the people to revolution not in the same way as before 1905. It is this "not in the same way" that we must be able to understand; we must be able to modify our tactics, supplementing all the basic, general, primary and cardinal tasks of revolutionary Social-Democracy by one more task, not very ambitious, but a specific task of the present new period: the task of utilising the Black-Hundred Duma in a revolutionary Social-Democratic way.
Like any new task it seems more difficult than the others, because it requires of people not a simple repetition of slogans learned by heart (beyond which Maximov and the otzovists are mentally bankrupt), but a certain amount of initia-
tive, flexibility of mind, resourcefulness and independent work on a novel historical task. But in actual fact this task can appear particularly difficult only to people who are incapable of independent thought and independent effort: actually this task, like every specific task of a given moment, is easier than others because its solvability is determined entirely by the conditions of the given moment. In a period of "acute and increasing reaction" to solve the problem of organising "training schools and groups" in a really serious way, i.e., one that really connects them with the mass movement, that really subordinates them to it, is quite impossible, for it is a task set stupidly by people who have copied the formulation of it from a good pamphlet, which was based on the conditions of a different period. But to solve the problem of subordinating the speeches, actions and policy of the Social-Democrats in the Third Duma to the mass party and the interests of the masses is possible. It is not easy, compared with the "easy" matter of repeating things learned by heart, but it can be done. However we exert all the forces of the Party now, we cannot solve the problem of a Social-Democratic (and not anarchist) organisation of "training schools" at the present "inter-revolutionary" moment, for the solution of this problem requires altogether different historical conditions. On the contrary, by exerting all our forces we shall solve (and we are already beginning to solve ) the problem of utilising the Third Duma in a revolutionary Social-Democratic way. And we shall do so, O you otzovists and ultimatumists wronged by removal and the harshness of God, not in order to put parliamentarism on some high pedestal, not to proclaim "parliamentarism at any price", but in order, after the solution of the "inter-revolutionary" problem, corresponding to the present "inter-revolutionary" period, to proceed to the solution of loftier revolutionary problems, which will correspond to the higher, i.e., more revolutionary period of tomorrow.
These stupid outcries of Maximov and Co. about the Bolsheviks' standing for "parliamentarism at any price", sound particularly queer in view of the actual history of
otzovism. What is queer is that the shout about exaggerated parliamentarism should come from the very people who have developed and are developing a special trend exclusively over the question of their attitude to parliamentarism! What do you call yourselves, dear Maximov and Co.? You call yourselves "otzovists", "ultimatumists", "boycottists". Maximov to this day is so proud of being a boycottist of the Third Duma that he can't get over it, and his rare<"p38"> Party utterances are invariably accompanied by the signature: "Reporter on behalf of the boycottists at the July Conference of 1907." One writer in olden times used to sign himself: "Substantive state councillor and cavalier." Maximov signs himself: "Reporter on behalf of the boycottists" -- he, too, is a cavalier, you see!
In the political situation of June 1907, when Maximov advocated the boycott, the mistake was still quite a small one. But when Maximov comes out in July 1909 with a manifesto of sorts and persists in admiring his "boycottism" in regard to the Third Duma, it is downright stupidity. Boycottism, otzovism and ultimatumism -- all these expressions in themselves imply the formation of a trend over the question of the attitude to parliamentarism and exclusively over this question. To make a separate stand on this question, to persist (two years after the Party has settled it in principle!) in this separate stand, is a sign of unparalleled narrow-mindedness. It is just those who behave in this way, i.e., the "boycottists" (of 1909) and the otzovists and the ultimatumists, who prove thereby that they do not think like Social-Democrats, that they are putting parliamentarism on a special pedestal, that exactly like the anarchists they make a trend out of isolated formulas: boycott that Duma, recall your men from that Duma, present an ultimatum to that group in the Duma. To act like that is to be a caricature of a Bolshevik. Among Bolsheviks the trend is determined by their common attitude to the Russian revolution and the Bolsheviks have emphatically declared a thousand times (as it were to forewarn political infants) that to identify Bolshevism with boycottism or boyevism is a stupid distortion and vulgarisation of the views of revolutionary Social-Democracy. Our view that Social-Democratic participation in the Third Duma is obligatory, for
instance, follows inevitably from our attitude to the present moment, to the attempts of the autocracy to take a step forward along the path of creating a bourgeois monarchy, to the significance of the Duma as an organisation of counter-revolutionary classes in a representative institution on a national scale. Just as the anarchists display an inverted parliamentary cretinism when they separate the question of parliament from the whole question of bourgeois society in general and try to create a trend from outcries against bourgeois parliamentarism (although criticism of bourgeois parliamentarism is in principle on the same level as criticism of the bourgeois press, bourgeois syndicalism and so forth), so our otzovists, ultimatumists and boycottists, in exactly the same way, display inverted Menshevism when they form a separate trend on the question of the attitude to the Duma, on the question of methods of combating deviations on the part of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma (and not the deviations of bourgeois literati, who come into the Social-Democratic movement incidentally, and so on).
The climax of this inverted parliamentary cretinism is reached in the famous argument of the leader of the Moscow otzovists whom Maximov is shielding: the recall of the Duma group should serve to emphasise that the revolution is not dead and buried! And Maximov with pure and unruffled brow does not hesitate to declare publicly: "the otzovists have never (of course, never !) expressed anti-parliamentary sentiments at all."
This shielding of the otzovists by Maximov and Co. is one of the most characteristic features of the new faction and we must dwell on it in all the more detail because the unenlightened public is all too often taken in by our bitterly complaining removed ones. It consists firstly in the fact that Maximov and Co. are forever beating their breasts and protesting: we are not otzovists, we do not share the opinions of the otzovists at all! Secondly, Maximov and Co. accuse the Bolsheviks of exaggerating the fight against the otzovists. It is an exact<"p39"> repetition of the story of the attitude of the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists (in the years 1897-1901) to the adherents of Rabochaya Mysl. "We are not Economists," cried the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists, beating their breasts, "we do not share the views of Rabochaya Mysl, we are carrying
on a controversy with them (in just the same way as Maximov carried on a 'controversy' with the otzovists!), it is only those wicked Iskrists who have brought a false charge against us, slandered us, 'exaggerated' Economism, etc., etc." Thus among the supporters of Rabochaya Mysl -- frank and honest Economists -- there were not a few people who had genuinely gone astray, who had the courage of their convictions, whom it was impossible not to respect -- while the Rabocheye Dyelo clique abroad specialised in definite intrigues,<"p40"> in covering up their tracks, in playing hide-and-seek and deceiving the public. The consistent and declared otzovists (like Vsev,and Stan, who are well known in Party circles) stand in exactly the same relation to Maximov's clique abroad.
We are not otzovists, cry the members of this clique. But make any of them say a few words about the contemporary political situation and the tasks of the Party and you will hear in full all the otzovist arguments, slightly watered down (as we have seen in the case of Maximov) by Jesuitical reservations, additions, suppressions, mitigations, confusions, etc. Your Jesuitry, O unjustly removed ones, cannot acquit you of the charge of otzovist stupidity, but aggravates your guilt tenfold, for an ideological confusion that is concealed is a hundred times more corrupting to the proletariat, a hundred times more harmful to the Party.*
We are not otzovists, cry Maximov and Co. Yet after June 1908, when he resigned from the small editorial board of Proletary, Maximov formed an official opposition inside the collegium, demanded and obtained freedom of discussion for this opposition, demanded and obtained special representation for the opposition in the organisation's chief executive bodies responsible for the circulation of the newspaper. It goes without saying that ever since that time,
* A little example which, by the way, serves to illustrate Maximov's assertion that only Proletary is spreading tales about the ultimatumists out of spite. In the autumn of 1908 Alexinsky appeared at the congress of the Polish Social-Democrats and there proposed an ultimatumist resolution. This was before "Proletary" embarked on a determined campaign against the new faction. And what happened? The Polish Social-Democrats ridiculed Alexinsky and his resolution, telling him: "You are nothing more than a cowardly otzovist."
i.e., for over a year all the otzovists have been in the ranks of this opposition, have jointly organised an agency in Russia, have jointly adapted the school abroad (of which more below) for the purposes of an agency, and so on and so forth.
We are not otzovists -- cry Maximov and Co. Yet at the All-Russian Party Conference in December 1908, when the more honest otzovists of this opposition came out before the whole Party as a separate group, as a specific ideological trend, and, as such, received the right to put forward their spokesman (the Conference had decided that only separate ideological trends or separate organisations -- time being short -- could be represented by a separate spokesman), the spokesman from the otzovist faction -- by sheer accident! sheer accident! -- was Comrade Maximov. . . .
This deception of the Party by harbouring otzovism is systematically pursued by Maximov's group abroad. In May 1908 otzovism suffered defeat in open battle: it was outvoted by 18 to 14 at the general city conference in Moscow (in July 1907, in this district almost all the Social-Democrats without exception were boycottists but, unlike Maximov, by June 1908 they had the sense to understand that it would be unpardonable stupidity to insist on "boycotting" the Third Duma). After this, Comrade Maximov organised abroad an official opposition to Proletary and began a controversy in the columns of the Bolshevik periodical, something which had never been practised before. Finally, in the autumn of 1908 when the whole St. Petersburg organisation divided into otzovists and non-zovists (the term coined by the workers) during the election of delegates to the All-Russian Conference, when discussions were held in all districts and subdistricts of St. Petersburg, not on the plat form of Bolsheviks versus Mensheviks but on that of otzovists versus non-zovists, the otzovists hid their platform from the eyes of the public. It was not communicated to Proletary. It was not released for the press. It was not communicated to the Party at the All-Russian Conference of December 1908. Only after the Conference, on the insistent demand of the editorial board, was it communicated to us and we printed it in Proletary No. 44. ("Resolution of the St. Petersburg Otzovists".)
A well-known otzovist leader in Moscow Region "edited" an article by an otzovist worker, which was published in Rabocheye Znamya  No. 5, but we have still not received this leader's own platform. We know perfectly well that in the spring of 1909 when the regional conference of the Central Industrial Region was in preparation the otzovist leader's platform was being read and passed from hand to hand. We know from the reports of Bolsheviks that there were incomparably more gems of un-Social-Democratic thought in this platform than in the St. Petersburg platform. But we were never supplied with the text of the platform, probably for reasons just as accidental, purely accidental, as those which caused Maximov to address the conference as the spokesman of the otzovist faction.
The question of utilising legal opportunities, too, Maximov and Co. covered up by a "smooth" phrase: "It is taken for granted." It would be interesting to know if "it is taken for granted" now also by the practical leaders of the Maximov faction, Comrade Lyadov and Stanislav, who only three months ago caused a resolution to be passed in the Regional Bureau of the Central Industrial Region, which was then in their hands (the same Regional Bureau which endorsed the famous "school";<"p42a"> the membership of this Bureau has changed since), against Social-Democratic participation in the congress of factory doctors. As we know this was the first congress at which the revolutionary Social-Democrats were in the majority. Yet all the prominent otzovists and ultimatumists campaigned against participation in this congress, declaring that it would be "treason to the cause of the proletariat" to take part in it. And Maximov covers up his tracks -- "it is taken for granted". We may "take it for granted" that the franker otzovists and ultimatumists are openly<"p42b"> disrupting practical work in Russia, while Maximov and Co. who are hankering for the laurels of Krichevsky and Martynov, obscure the point at issue: there are no differences of opinion, no one is opposed to the idea of utilising legal opportunities.
The restoration of the Party bodies abroad, the foreign groups for the organisation of connections, etc., leads inevitably to a repetition of the old abuses which must be com bated most relentlessly. It is a complete repetition of the
history of the Economists, who in Russia carried on a campaign against political action while they sheltered themselves abroad behind Rabocheye Dyelo. It is a complete repetition of the history of the bourgeois-democratic "Credo" (Credo -- a symbol of faith), which was advocated in Russia by Prokopovich and Co. and was made public in the revolutionary Social-Democratic press against the will of the authors. Nothing could have a more demoralising influence on the Party than this game of hide-and-seek, this exploitation of the onerous conditions of illegal work to hold things back from Party publicity, this Jesuitry of Maximov and Co., who, while operating wholly and in every respect hand in glove with the otzovists, in print beat their breasts and declare that all this business of otzovism is a deliberate exaggeration on the part of Proletary.
We are not pettifoggers, we are not formalists, but revolutionaries. What matters to us is not the verbal distinctions which might be drawn between otzovism, ultimatumism, and "boycottism" (of the Third Duma), but the actual content of Social-Democratic propaganda and agitation. And if views which have nothing in common with Bolshevism nor with Social-Democracy in general are being propagated in illegal Russian circles under the mask of Bolshevism, those persons who are hindering a full exposure of these views and a full explanation of their falsity before the whole Party are acting as enemies of the proletariat.
These people have also disclosed themselves on the question of god-building. The enlarged editorial board of Proletary adopted and published two resolutions on this question: one on the principle involved, the other with special reference to Maximov's protest. The question arises, what does this same Maximov say now in his "Report"? He writes<"p43"> his "Report" in order to cover up his tracks exactly in the style of the diplomat who said that language was given to man so as to hide his thoughts. We are told that "wrong information" is being spread about the "so-called god-building" trend of Maximov's clique, and that is all.
"Wrong information" do you say? Oh no, my dear fellow, it is just because you know perfectly well that the "information" in Proletary on god-building is absolutely correct that you have been covering up the tracks. You know perfectly well that this "information", as is stated in the published resolution, refers primarily to the literary productions emanating from your literary clique. These literary productions are very exactly specified in our resolution; one thing alone being omitted, which could not be added in the resolution, namely, that for about a year and a half the strongest resentment against the "god-building" of your confreres has been expressed in leading Bolshevik circles, and it is on these grounds (besides those stated above) that the new faction of caricature Bolsheviks has been poisoning for us, by means of evasions, artifices, pin-pricks, objections and quibbles, every opportunity of working. One of the most notable of these quibbles is particularly well known to Maximov because it was a protest in writing lodged in due form with the editors of Proletary against the publication of an article entitled "Our Ways Part" (Proletary No. 42). Perhaps this too is "wrong information", O unjustly removed ones? Perhaps this too was only a "so-called protest"?
No, let me tell you that the policy of covering up tracks does not always succeed and you will never succeed with it in our Party. It is no use playing hide-and-seek and by putting on airs trying to make a secret of something which everybody knows who takes an interest in Russian literature and Russian Social-Democracy. There is a literary clique who, with the help of several bourgeois publishers, are flooding our legal literature with systematic propaganda of god-building. Maximov too belongs to this clique. This propaganda has become systematic precisely in the past eighteen months, when the Russian bourgeoisie for its counter-revolutionary purposes felt a need to revive religion, increase the demand for religion, invent religion, inoculate the people with religion or strengthen the hold of religion on them in new forms. Hence the preaching of god-building has acquired a social, political character. Just as the bourgeois press in the period of the revolution fondled and petted the most zealous of the Mensheviks for their pro-Cadetism, so in the period of counter-revolution the bourgeois press is
fondling and petting the god-builders in the ranks -- it is no joke! -- in the ranks of the Marxists and even in the ranks of the "also-Bolsheviks". And when the official organ of Bolshevism stated in an editorial that Bolshevism had nothing in common with such propaganda (this statement was issued in the press after endless persuasion in letters and personal conversations had failed to stop this disgraceful propaganda),<"p45"> Comrade Maximov lodged a formal, written protest with the editorial board of Proletary. He, Maximov, had been elected by the London Congress, hence his "acquired right" was being violated by those who dared to officially repudiate the disgraceful<"p45a"> doctrine of god-building. "Why, is our faction in bondage to the god-building literati?" This was the remark that Comrade Marat  let slip during a stormy scene in the editorial office -- yes, yes, the very same Comrade Marat who is so modest, so well-meaning, so peaceable and so good-hearted that he cannot properly decide to this very day whether to go with the Bolsheviks or the godly otzovists.
Or is this perhaps also a piece of "wrong information", O unjustly removed Maximov? There is no clique of god-building literati, you never defended them, you never protested against the article "Our Ways Part"? eh?
Of "wrong information" on the god-building trend Comrade Maximov speaks in his "Report" concerning the school abroad which is being held by the new faction. Comrade Maximov is so emphatic about this being "the first [Maximov's italics] Party school to be held abroad" and is so bent on misleading the public on this question, that we shall have to speak of the notorious "school" in greater detail.
Comrade Maximov bitterly complains:
"Not a single attempt, not only to lend support to the school but even to take control over it, was made by the editorial board (of Proletary ); while spreading false information about the school derived from unknown sources, the editorial board did not address a single enquiry to the organisers of the school to verify this information. Such was the attitude of the editorial board to the whole affair. "
So. So. "Not a single attempt even to take control over the school.". . . In this phrase Maximov's Jesuitry goes so far that it exposes itself.
Remember, reader, Yerogin's hostel in the period of the First Duma. A retired rural superintendent (or some bureau-
cratic knight of the same nature) Yerogin opened a hostel in St. Petersburg for peasant deputies coming in from the country, his desire being to lend support to the "plans of the government". The inexperienced peasants on arriving in the capital were intercepted by Yerogin's agents and directed to Yerogin's hostel, where, of course, they found a school in which the heretical doctrines of the "Lefts" were refuted, in which the Trudoviks, etc., were covered with obloquy, and in which the new-fledged Duma members were schooled in "true Russian" statecraft. Fortunately, since the State Duma was held in St. Petersburg it was in St. Petersburg that Yerogin had to organise his hostel, and as St. Petersburg is a centre with a fair breadth and freedom of ideological and political life Yerogin's deputies, of course, very soon began to desert Yerogin's hostel and transfer to the camp of the Trudoviks or the independent deputies. Thus Yerogin's little intrigue resulted only in disgrace, both for himself and the government. <"p46">
Now imagine, reader, that a Yerogin hostel like this is organised, not in some foreign St. Petersburg, but in some foreign equivalent of Tsarevokokshaisk. If you grant this hypothesis, you will have to agree that the otzovist god-building Yerogins have used their knowledge of Europe to prove themselves more cunning than the true-blue Russian Yerogin. People calling themselves Bolsheviks set up an exchequer of their own -- independent of what, as far as we know, is the one and only general Bolshevik exchequer, out of which comes the cost of publishing and circulating Proletary -- organised an agency of their own, shipped some of "their" agitators to Tsarevokokshaisk, sent out there some workers belonging to the Social-Democratic Party and proclaimed this (hidden away from the Party in Tsarevokokshaisk) Yerogin hostel the "first Party" (party, because it is hidden from the Party) "school abroad".
We hasten to make the reservation -- since the removed Comrade Maximov has so vigorously raised the question whether his removal was regular or irregular (of this, later) -- that there is nothing at all "irregular" in the actions of the otzovist-god-building Yerogins. Nothing whatsoever. Everything there is quite regular. It is quite regular for kindred spirits in a party to form a group together. It is quite
regular for these kindred spirits to collect a fund and start some joint enterprise of propaganda and agitation. It is quite regular that in this instance they should wish to choose as the form of their enterprise, say, not a newspaper, but a "school". It is quite regular that they should consider it an official Party affair, so long as it is organised by members of the Party and so long as there is a Party organisation, no matter which, assuming political and ideological responsibility for the enterprise. Everything is quite regular here and everything would be quite all right if . . . if there were no Jesuitry, no hypocrisy, no deception of your own Party.
Is it not a deception of the Party if you publicly emphasise that the school is a Party affair, i.e., if you restrict yourself to the question of its formal legitimacy and do not give the names of the initiators and organisers of the school, i.e., you keep silent about the ideological and political trend of the school as the undertaking of a new faction in our Party? There have been two "documents" about this school in the possession of the editors of Proletary (for over a year now relations between the editorial board and Maximov have been carried on entirely through the medium of "documents" and diplomatic notes). The first document bore no signature, nobody's signature at all. It was merely an abstract statement of the virtue of education and the educational value of institutions called schools. The second document was signed by figure-heads. Now, coming out in print before the public with praise of the "first Party school abroad" Comrade Maximov, as before, keeps silent about the factional character of the school. <"p47">
This policy of Jesuitry is harmful to the Party. We shall expose this-"policy". The initiators and organisers of the school are in actual fact Comrades "Er" (thus we will name the leader the Moscow otzovists well known to all Party members, who delivered lectures on the school, organised a circle of pupils and was appointed to the roster of lecturers by several workers' circles), Maximov, Lunacharsky, Lyadov, Alexinsky and so on and so forth. We do not know and we are not interested in knowing what particular part was played by one or other of the above mentioned comrades, what places they occupy in the various official institutions of the school, in its "Council", "execu-
tive commission", collegium of lecturers, etc. We do not know which "non-factional" comrades might supplement this clique in one or another particular case. All this is quite unimportant. What we assert is that the actual ideological and political trend of this school, as a new factional centre, is determined precisely by the names enumerated and that by concealing this from the Party Maximov is conducting a policy of Jesuitry. What is bad is not that a new factional centre has come into being in the Party -- we by no means belong to the class of people who are not averse to making a little political capital out of cheap and fashionable outcries against factionalism -- on the contrary, it is a good thing that a distinctive shade of opinion, once it exists, should be able to have its special expression in the Party. What is bad is the deception of the Party and the workers who -- naturally -- sympathise with the idea of any school, as they do with any educational undertaking.
Is it not hypocrisy when Comrade Maximov complains to the public that the editorial board of Proletary had not "even" ("even !") the desire "to take control over the school"? Only think: in June 1908 Comrade Maximov left the small editorial board of Proletary ; since that time internal strife has gone on almost continuously in a thousand different forms in the Bolshevik group; Alexinsky abroad, "Er" and Co. abroad and in Russia, repeat after Maximov all the arrant nonsense of the otzovists and god-builders against Proletary in a thousand different tones. Maximov lodges written and formal protests against the article "Our Ways Part"; everybody who knows anything of Party affairs if only by hearsay speaks of a coming inevitable split in the ranks of the Bolsheviks (it suffices to point out that the Menshevik Dan at the All-Russian Conference of December 1908 declared for all to hear, at an official gathering: "Who does not know that the Bolsheviks are now accusing Lenin of betraying Bolshevism"!) -- yet Comrade Maximov, playing the role of an innocent, absolutely innocent, child, asks the honourable public, why is it that the editorial board of Proletary did not "even" want to take control over a Party school in god-building Tsarevokokshaisk? "Control" over the school! Supporters of Proletary in the capacity of "inspectors ", sitting in at the lectures of Maximov, Lunacharsky, Ale-
xinsky and Co.!! Come now, why do you play this unbecoming, this disgraceful farce? For what purpose? Why throw dust in the eyes of the public by circulating meaningless "programmes" and "reports" of the "school" instead of admitting frankly and openly who are the ideological leaders and inspirers of the new factional centre!
For what purpose? -- we shall answer this question presently, but first let us finish with the question of the school: There is room for Tsarevokokshaisk in St. Petersburg and it can be transferred (most of it, anyway) to St. Petersburg, but St. Petersburg can neither be accommodated in nor transferred to Tsarevokokshaisk. The more energetic and independent of the students at the new Party school will manage to find their way from the narrow new faction to the broad Party, from the "science" of the otzovists and god-builders to the science of Social-Democracy in general and Bolshevism in particular. As for those who prefer to limit themselves to a Yerogin education, nothing can be done with them. The editorial board of Proletary is prepared to give and will give every possible assistance to all workers, whatever their views, if they want to migrate (or travel) from the foreign Tsarevokokshaisk to the foreign St. Petersburg and acquaint themselves with Bolshevik views. The hypocritical policy of the organisers and initiators of the "first Party school abroad", however, we shall expose before the whole Party.
What is the purpose of all this hypocrisy of Maximov's, we asked, and deferred our reply until we had finished talking about the school. But, strictly speaking, the question to be cleared up here is not "for what purpose", but "why?" It would be wrong to think that all the members of the new faction are conducting a hypocritical policy deliberately for a definite purpose. No. The fact is that in the very situation of this faction, in the conditions in which it has appeared and is active, there are causes (which many otzovists and god-builders are not conscious of) that give rise to a hypocritical policy.
There is an old saying to the effect that hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. But this saying refers to the sphere of personal ethics. As applied to ideological and political trends it must be said that hypocrisy is the screen adopted by groups that are internally not homogeneous, that are made up of assorted elements, accidentally thrown together, who feel that they are too weak for open, straightforward action.
The composition of the new faction is the determining factor that made it adopt this screen. The general staff of the faction of godly otzovists consists of unrecognised philosophers, ridiculed god-builders, otzovists convicted of anarchistic nonsense and reckless revolutionary phrase-mongering, muddled ultimatumists and, lastly, those boyeviks (fortunately few in the Bolshevik faction) who considered it below their dignity to come down from the outwardly showy and "spectacular" to obscure, modest revolutionary Social-Democratic work corresponding to the conditions and tasks of the "inter-revolutionary" period, and on whom Maximov bestows honours by his "spectacular" phrases about training schools and groups . . . in 1909. The only thing that holds these diverse elements so strongly together at the present moment is -- a burning hatred to Proletary, a hatred it has quite properly incurred, because not a single attempt by these elements to obtain self-expression in Proletary, or even indirect recognition or the slightest defence and condonation, has ever failed to encounter the most strenuous opposition.
"Abandon hope for ever" -- that was what Proletary told these elements in every issue, at every meeting of the editorial board, in every declaration on every Party question of the day.
And when (due to the objective conditions of the development of our revolution and the counter-revolution in our country) it came about that god-building and the theoretical foundations of Marxism became the questions of the day in the literary sphere, and the utilisation of the Third Duma and of the Third Duma platform by the Social-Democratic Party in the sphere of political work, these elements rallied together and the natural and inevitable explosion took place.
Like any explosion it was instantaneous, not in the sense that there had been previously no signs of such tendencies, or isolated manifestations of them, but in the sense that the political fusion of diverse tendencies, including some very remote from politics, took place almost in a flash. Hence the general public, as always, is inclined to be satisfied primarily with a philistine explanation of the new split, one imputing it to the bad qualities of one or another of the leaders, the influence of life abroad, parochialism and so on and so forth. There is no doubt that the location abroad, which, due to objective conditions, became the inevitable base of operations of all the central revolutionary organisations, has left its imprint on the form of the split. There is no doubt that its form was also affected by the idiosyncrasies of the literary circle one wing of which came into the Social-Democratic movement. What we call a philistine explanation is not one that takes note of these circumstances, which can explain nothing but the form, the occasions and the "external history" of the split, but one that is based on refusal or incapacity to understand the ideological and political foundations, causes and roots of the divergence.
The new faction's failure to understand these foundations is also the reason why it has resorted to the old method of camouflage, covering up tracks, denying the inseparable connection with otzovism, etc. The failure to understand these foundations causes the new faction to speculate on a philistine explanation of the split and on philistine sympathy.
What indeed is it but speculation on philistine sympathy to weep publicly about being "ousted" and "removed" as Maximov and Co. are doing now? Bestow the charity of your sympathy, for Christ's sake, on the ousted, the unjustly removed ones. . . . That this is a method counting with infallible certainty on philistine sympathy is proved by the curious fact that even Comrade Plekhanov, the enemy of all god-building, all "new" philosophy, all otzovism and ultimatumism, etc., even Comrade Plekhanov bestowed his mite of sympathy for Christ's sake, taking advantage of Maximov's whining, and over and over again called the Bolsheviks "stiff-necked" in this connection (see Plekhanov's Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata, August 1909). If Maximov has even managed to extract a mite of sympathy
from Plekhanov, you can imagine, reader, what tears of sympathy for Maximov will be shed by the philistine elements inside and on the fringe of the Social-Democratic movement over the "ousting" and "removal" of the virtuous, well-meaning and modest otzovists and god-builders.
The question of this "ousting" and "removal" is treated by Comrade Maximov both from its formal aspect and with regard to the essence of the matter. Let us examine this treatment.
From the formal point of view the removal of Maximov was "irregular", say the removed ones, and "we do not recognise this removal", for Maximov was "elected by the Bolshevik congress, i.e., the Bolshevik section of the Party Congress". Reading Maximov and Nikolayev's leaflet, the public sees a grave accusation ("irregular removal") without being given either an exact formulation of it or material from which to judge the matter. But that is the invariable method of a certain side during splits abroad: to obscure the divergence of principle, to draw a veil over it, to keep silent about the ideological dissensions, to conceal their ideological friends, and to make as much noise as possible about organisational conflicts, which the public is not in a position to analyse exactly and has not the right to sort out in detail. That was how the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists behaved in 1899, with their outcry that there was no Economism in any shape or form, but that Plekhanov had stolen the press. That was how the Mensheviks behaved in 1903 with their outcry that they had made no turn whatsoever to Rabocheye Dyelo-ism but that Lenin had "ousted" or "removed" Potresov, Axelrod and Zasulich, etc. That is the behaviour of people who are speculating on elements abroad who are fond of rows and sensations. There is no otzovism, nor any god-building, but there is the "irregular removal" of Maximov "by the majority of the editorial board", who want to "leave at their full disposal " "the property of the whole faction " -- come into the shop, gentlemen, we will tell you some thing most spicy about this business. . . .
An old device, Comrades Maximov and Nikolayev! And the politicians who resort to it are bound to break their necks.
Our "victims of removal" talk of "irregularity" because in their opinion the editorial board of Proletary has no right to decide the question of the fate of the Bolshevik faction and of the split in its ranks. Very well, gentlemen. If the editorial board of Proletary and the 15 Bolshevik members and candidate members of the Central Committee elected at the London Congress have not the right to represent the Bolshevik faction you have every opportunity to make a public declaration to that effect and conduct a campaign for the overthrow of these undesirable representatives or for new elections to replace them. But you have indeed conducted such a campaign and only after you had met with a certain number of reverses did you prefer to complain and whine. If you raised the question of a congress or conference of Bolsheviks, Comrades Maximov and Nikolayev, then why did you not tell the public that several months ago Comrade "Er" submitted a draft resolution to the Moscow Committee calling for a vote of no confidence in Proletary and the holding of a Bolshevik conference to elect a new ideological centre for the Bolsheviks?
Why did you keep silent about this, O wrongly removed ones?
Why did you keep silent about the fact that "Er's" resolution was rejected by every vote except his own?
Why did you keep silent about the fact that in the autumn of 1908 in the whole St. Petersburg organisation from top to bottom a struggle was going on over the platforms of the two trends of Bolshevism, the otzovists and the opponents of otzovism, and that the otzovists were defeated?
Maximov and Nikolayev want to whine to the public because they have been repeatedly defeated in Russia. Both "Er" and the St. Petersburg otzovists had the right to wage a struggle against Bolshevism, in the highest down to the lowest organisations, without waiting for any conference and without making public their platforms before the whole Party.
But had not the Proletary editorial board, which declared open war on otzovism from June 1908, the right after a year of strife, a year of controversy, a year of friction, conflict, etc., after it had invited three regional delegates from
Russia and consulted several Russian members of the enlarged editorial board, who had not taken part in a single conflict abroad, had it not the right to declare what was a matter of fact, to declare that Maximov had split away from the board, to declare that Bolshevism has nothing in common with otzovism, ultimatumism and god-building?
Stop this hypocrisy, gentlemen! You fought on what you thought was your strongest ground and you suffered defeat. You went preaching otzovism to the masses in spite of a decision of the official centre of the Bolsheviks and without waiting for a special conference. And now you start whining and complaining because you found yourselves in a ludicrously small minority on the enlarged editorial board, at the conference held with the participation of regional delegates!
Here again we have a device of Russians abroad exactly after the manner of Rabocheye Dyelo : playing at "democracy" when the conditions for complete democracy are absent, speculating on the inflammation of all kinds of discontent "abroad" and at the same time transmitting from abroad (through the "school") your otzovist and god-building propaganda -- starting a split among the Bolsheviks, and afterwards moaning about a split -- forming a private faction (under cover of a "school") and shedding crocodile tears over the "splitting" policy of Proletary.
No, this squabble has gone on long enough! A faction is a free union of kindred minds within a party and after over a year of strife both in Russia and abroad we had a perfect right, we had the duty, to make a definite decision. And we have done so. You have a perfect right to oppose it, to put forward your platform and try to win a majority for it. If you do not do so, if instead of forming an open alliance with the otzovists and putting forward a common platform you persist in playing hide-and-seek and speculating on a cheap "democracy" abroad, you will get nothing in return but the contempt you deserve.
You are playing a double game. On the one hand, you declare that for a whole year Proletary has been "wholly" pursuing a non-Bolshevik policy (and your supporters in Russia have tried more than once to gain acceptance for these views in resolutions of the St. Petersburg Committee
and the Moscow Committee). On the other hand, you bewail the split and refuse to recognise the "removal". On-the one hand, you are in fact hand in glove with the otzovists and god-builders, on the other you repudiate them and pose as peacemakers who want to make peace between the Bolsheviks and the otzovists and god-builders.
"Abandon hope for ever!" You can try to win a majority, You can gain what victories you like among immature Bolshevik members. We shall not agree to any reconciliation. Form your faction, or rather: go on forming it, since you have already begun, but do not try to deceive the Party, do not try to deceive the Bolsheviks. All the conferences and congresses in the world are powerless now to reconcile the Bolsheviks with the otzovists, the ultimatumists and the god-builders. We have said and we repeat it once again: every Bolshevik Social-Democrat and every class-conscious worker must make his fixed and final choice.
Concealing their ideological kin, afraid to declare their real platform, the new faction is trying to fill up the gaps in its ideological stock-in-trade by borrowing words from the vocabulary of old splits. The "new Proletary ", the "new Proletary line", shout Maximov and Nikolayev imitating the fight against the new Iskra in the old days.
It is a trick that might beguile certain political infants.
But you are not even capable of repeating old words, gentlemen. The "point" of the slogan "against the new Iskra " was that when the Mensheviks took over Iskra they themselves had to start a new line of policy, whereas the Congress (the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in 1903) had endorsed the line of the old Iskra. The "point" was that the Mensheviks (through the mouth of Trotsky in 1903-04) had to declare: the old Iskra and the new are poles apart. And to this day Potresov and Co. are trying to remove from themselves the "traces" of the period when they were guided by the old Iskra.
Proletary is now in its 47th issue. The first came out exactly three years ago, in August 1906. In this first issue of
Proletary, dated August 21, 1906, we find an editorial article "The Boycott" and it states in black and white: "The time has now come when the revolutionary Social-Democrats must cease to be boycottists ."[*] Since that time there has not been a single issue of Proletary containing even one line of print in favour of "boycottism" (after 1906), otzovism and ultimatumism, without a refutation of this caricature of Bolshevism. And now the caricature Bolsheviks are getting on stilts and trying to compare themselves with those who first fought the three-year campaign of the old Iskra and secured the endorsement of its line by the Second Party Congress and then exposed, the volte-face of the new Iskra ! <"p56">
Comrade Maximov now signs himself "Former editor of the popular workers' newspaper Vperyod ", wanting to remind the reader that it was said "geese saved Rome". "Your relation to the policy of Vperyod," we tell Maximov in reply to this reminder, was exactly the same as Potresov's relation to the old Iskra. Potresov was its editor, but he did not lead the old Iskra, the old Iskra led him. As soon as he sought to change the policy the supporters of the old Iskra turned their backs on him. And now even Potresov himself is making frantic efforts to blot out the "sin of his youth", his participation in the editorship of the old Iskra.
Maximov did not lead Vperyod, but Vperyod led him. Proof: the policy of boycotting the Third Duma, in support of which Vperyod did not and could not say a single word. Maximov acted very wisely and well when he allowed him self to be led by Vperyod. Now he has begun to think up (or, what comes to the same thing, to help the otzovists to think up) a line of policy that is inevitably leading him into the morass, just like Potresov.
Remember this, Comrade Maximov: the basis one should take for comparison is the integrity of an ideological and political trend, not "words" and "slogans", which some people learn by heart without understanding their meaning. Bolshevism ran the old Iskra for three years, from 1900 to 1903, and emerged as an integral trend for the struggle with Menshevism. The Mensheviks persisted for a long time in their new alliance with the anti-Iskrists and the support- <"fnp56">
* See present edition, Vol. 11, p. 145.
ers of Rabocheye Dyelo until finally they surrendered Potresov (and only Potresov?) to Prokopovich. The Bolsheviks ran the "old" Proletary (1906-09) in a spirit of resolute opposition to "boycottism", etc., and emerged as an integral trend for the struggle against those who are now thinking up "otzovism", "ultimatumism", "god-building", etc. The Mensheviks wanted to reform the old Iskra in the spirit of Martynov and the Economists, and they broke their necks in the attempt. You want to reform the old Proletary in the spirit of "Er", the otzovists and the god-builders -- and you will break your necks too.
But what about the "turn towards Plekhanov", says Maximov triumphantly? What about the formation of a "new Centrist faction"? And our "also-Bolshevik" describes as "diplomacy" a "denial" that "the realisation of the idea of a 'centrist group' is being contemplated!"
These cries which Maximov is uttering against "diplomacy" and "uniting with Plekhanov" are simply laughable. Here, too, the caricature Bolsheviks are true to themselves: they have firmly learned by heart that Plekhanov pursued an ultra-opportunist policy in 1906-07. And they think that if they repeat it rather frequently, without bothering to analyse the changes that are taking place, this will denote the maximum degree of "revolutionary spirit".
The fact of the matter is that starting from the London Congress the "diplomats" of Proletary always openly pursued and succeeded in carrying out a pro-Party policy against the grotesque exaggerations of factionalism, a policy of defending Marxism against anti-Marxist criticism. There are two reasons for Maximov's present outcries: on the one hand, ever since the London Congress there have always been individual Bolsheviks (Alexinsky is an example) alleging that a policy of "conciliation", a "Polish-Lettish" policy, etc., has been substituted for a policy of Bolshevism. These stupid allegations, which were merely evidence of bigoted thinking, were seldom taken seriously by the Bolsheviks. On the other hand, the literary clique to which Maximov belongs and which has never at any time had more than one foot in the Social-Democratic movement, has for a long time regarded Plekhanov as the chief enemy of their god-building and suchlike tendencies. In the eyes of this clique nothing
is more terrible than Plekhanov. Nothing is more destructive to their hope of inculcating their ideas into the workers' party than "uniting with Plekhanov".
And now these two elements: bigoted factionalism with its incomprehension of the tasks of the Bolshevik faction in forming the Party, and the god-builders of the literary circles and apologists of god-building, have come together on the "platform": against "union with Plekhanov", against the "conciliatory", "Polish-Lettish" policy of Proletary, etc.
Plekhanov's Dnevnik No. 9, which is now out, makes it unnecessary for us to explain to the reader in special detail what a caricature this "platform" of the caricature Bolsheviks is. Plekhanov exposed the liquidationism of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, the diplomacy of its editors and declared that his "way parted" with Potresov, who had ceased to be a revolutionary. It is clear now to every Social-Democrat that working-class Mensheviks will go with Plekhanov against Potresov. It should be clear to everyone that the split among the Mensheviks vindicates the policy of the Bolsheviks. It is clear to everyone that Plekhanov's declaration of the pro-Party line of policy against the splitting tactics of the liquidators is a tremendous victory for Bolshevism, which now holds the predominant position in the Party.
Bolshevism has won this tremendous victory because it pursued its pro-Party policy in spite of the outcries of the immature "Lefts" and god-building literati. Only such people as these can be afraid of a rapprochement with the Plekhanov who exposes and expels the Potresovs from the workers' party. Only in the stagnant bog of the god-builders' circle or of the heroes of phrases learned by heart is there any chance of success for a "platform": "Against union with Plekhanov", that is to say, against rapprochement with the pro-Party Mensheviks for the struggle against liquidationism, against rapprochement with the orthodox Marxists (which is disadvantageous to the clique of literary Yerogins), against the winning of further Party support for revolutionary Social-Democratic policy and tactics.
We Bolsheviks can point to great achievements in winning such support. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Kautsky -- Social-Democrats who often write for Russians and to that extent are in our Party -- have been won over to our point of view,
although at the beginning of the split (1903) their sympathies were entirely with the Mensheviks. They were won over because the Bolsheviks made no concessions to "criticism" of Marxism, because the Bolsheviks upheld, not the letter of their own, definitely their own factional theory, but the general spirit and meaning of revolutionary Social-Democratic tactics. We shall continue to advance along this path, we shall wage an even more relentless war against pedantic stupidity and reckless phrase-mongering with phrases learned by heart, against the theoretical revisionism of the god-building circle of literati.
Two liquidationist trends have now quite clearly materialised among the Russian Social-Democrats: Potresov's and Maximov's. Potresov is necessarily afraid of the Social Democratic Party because henceforth there is no hope of his line being adopted by it. Maximov is necessarily afraid of the Social-Democratic Party because there is now no hope of his line being adopted by it. Both the one and the other will support and shield by fair means or by foul the escapades of the separate literary circles with their peculiar forms of revision of Marxism: Both the one and the other will clutch, as the last shadow of hope, at the preservation of the circle spirit against the Party spirit, for Potresov can still win occasional victories in a select company of bigoted Mensheviks, Maximov can still gain an occasional laurel wreath from circles of especially bigoted Bolsheviks, but neither the one nor the other will ever obtain a firm footing whether among Marxists or in a really Social-Democratic workers party. They represent two opposite, but mutually complementary, equally limited, petty-bourgeois trends in the Social-Democratic movement.
We have shown what the general staff of the new faction is like. Where can its army be recruited from? From the bourgeois-democratic elements who attached themselves to the workers' party during the revolution. The proletariat everywhere is constantly being recruited from the petty bourgeoisie, is everywhere constantly connected with it
through thousands of transitional stages, boundaries and gradations. When a workers' party grows very quickly (as ours did in 1905-06) its penetration by a mass of elements imbued with a petty-bourgeois spirit is inevitable. And there is nothing bad about that. The historic task of the proletariat is to assimilate, re-school, re-educate all the elements of the old society that the latter bequeaths it in the shape of offshoots of the petty bourgeoisie. But the proletariat must re-educate these newcomers and influence them, not be influenced by them. Of the "Social-Democrats of the days of freedom", who first became Social-Democrats in the days of enthusiasm and celebration, the days of clarion slogans, the days of proletarian victories which turned the heads of even purely bourgeois intellectuals, very many began to study in earnest, to study Marxism and to learn persistent proletarian work -- they will always remain Social Democrats and Marxists. Others did not succeed in gaining, or were incapable of gaining, anything from the proletarian party but a few texts and "striking" slogans learned by heart, a few phrases about "boycottism", "boyevism ", and so forth. When such elements thought to foist their "theories", their world outlook, i.e., their short-sighted views, on the workers' party, a split with them became inevitable.
The fate of the boycottists of the Third Duma is an obvious example that admirably shows the difference between the two elements.
The majority of the Bolsheviks, sincerely carried away by the desire for a direct and immediate fight against the heroes of June 3, were inclined to boycott the Third Duma, but were very soon able to cope with the new situation. They did not go repeating words learned by heart but attentively studied the new historical conditions, pondered over the question why events had gone that way and not otherwise, worked with their heads, not merely with their tongues, carried out serious and persistent proletarian work, and they very quickly realised the utter stupidity, the utter paltriness of otzovism. Others clutched at words, began to concoct "their own line" from half-digested phrases, to shout about "boycottism, otzovism, ultimatumism", to substitute these cries for the proletarian revolutionary work which the given historical conditions dictated, and to collect a new faction
from all sorts of immature elements in the ranks of Bolshevism. Good riddance to you, my friends? We have done every thing we could to teach you Marxism and Social-Democratic work. Now we declare the most ruthless and irreconcilable war on the liquidators, both of the Right and of the Left, who are corrupting the workers' party by theoretical revisionism and petty-bourgeois methods of policy and tactics.
<"en24"> The Meeting of the Enlarged Editorial Board of "Proletary" was held in Paris on June 8-17 (21-30), 1909. Nine members of the Bolshevik Centre (elected by the Bolshevik group of the Fifth [London] Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in 1907) were present at it, headed by Lenin, and representatives of the organisations of St. Petersburg, Moscow Region and the Urals. The meeting was convened to discuss the anti-Party stand of the otzovists and ultimatumists and took place under Lenin's leadership. Lenin spoke on all the main questions on the agenda. Otzovism and ultimatumism were defended at the meeting by A. Bogdanov (Maximov) and V. Shantser (Marat). Kamenev, Zinoviev, Rykov and Tomsky adopted a double-dealing position. The meeting condemned otzovism and ultimatumism as "Left liquidationism". It also condemned god-building and adopted a decision for a vigorous struggle against it, exposing its anti-Marxist character. Bogdanov, the inspirer of otzovism and ultimatumism, was expelled from the ranks of the Bolsheviks. [p. 29]
<"en24a">[24a] Boyeviks -- members of the revolutionary fighting squads, who, during the revolutionary struggle, used the tactics of armed action, helped political prisoners to escape, expropriated state owned funds for the needs of the revolution, removed spies and agent provocateurs, etc. [p. 30]
<"en25"> The Anti-Socialist Law was promulgated in Germany in 1878. The law suppressed all organisations of the Social-Democratic Party, mass working-class organisations, and the labour press; socialist literature was confiscated. The law was annulled in 1890 under pressure of the mass working-class movement. [p. 30]
<"en26"> The July Conference of 1907 was the Third (Second All-Russian) Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. It was held on July 21-23 (August 3-5), 1907, in Finland (-), and was attended by 26 delegates: 9 Bolsheviks, 5 Mensheviks, 5 Polish and 2 Lettish Social-Democrats and 5 Bundists. The Conference was convened to determine the tactics of Social-Democracy in connection with the coup d'état of June 3 and the convocation of the Third Duma. At the Conference Lenin spoke against the boycott of the Duma. A. Bogdanov (Maximov) delivered a report on behalf of the supporters of boycott. Lenin's resolution was adopted by a majority of votes. [p. 38]
<"en27"> Economists, Economism -- an opportunist trend in Russian Social-Democracy at the turn of the century, a Russian variety of international opportunism; its organs were the newspaper Rabochaya Mysl (Workers' Thought ) (1897-1902), published in Russia, and the journal Rabocheye Dyelo (Workers' Cause ) (1899-1902), published abroad. The programme of the Economists, whom Lenin called Russian Bernsteinians, was the so-called "Credo", written in 1899 by Y. D. Kuskova.
The Economists restricted the tasks of the working-class movement to the economic struggle for higher wages, better working conditions, etc., asserting that the political struggle was the business of the liberal bourgeoisie, and denied the leading role of the workers' party, which, they considered, should merely observe the spontaneous development of the movement and follow in its wake. In their worshipping "spontaneity" they belittled the importance of revolutionary theory and consciousness, declaring that the socialist ideology could grow out of the spontaneous working-class movement; by denying the need for a Marxist party to imbue the workers' movement with socialist consciousness, they cleared the way for bourgeois ideology. They defended disunity, confusion and parochial amateurish approach which existed in the Social-Democratic ranks and opposed the creation of a centralised working-class party. Economism threatened to divert the working class from the revolutionary class path and reduce it to a political appendage of the bourgeoisie.
The following works of Lenin are devoted to an extensive criticism of the views of the Economists: "A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats" (directed against Credo, written in Siberian exile in 1899 and signed by 17 exiled Marxists), "A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy", "Apropos of the Profession de foi", "A Talk with Defenders of Economism" (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 167-82, 255-85, 286-96; Vol. 5, pp. 313-20). Lenin completed the ideological rout of Economism by his book What Is To Be
Done? (present edition, Vol. 5, pp. 347-529). Lenin's Iskra played a great part in combating Economism. [p. 39]
<"en28"> Vsev (Vsevolod) -- a pseudonym of the otzovist V. P. Denisov. [p. 40]
<"en29"> Stan (Stanislav) -- the otzovist A. V. Sokolov (Volsky), one of the organisers of the anti-Party schools in Capri and Bologna. [p. 40]
<"en30"> Rabocheye Znamya (Workers' Banner ) -- an illegal Bolshevik newspaper, organ of the Regional Bureau of the Central Industrial Area, of the Moscow and Moscow District Committees of the R.S.D.L.P. It was published in Moscow from March to December 1908; 7 issues appeared. Beginning with No. 5, the newspaper opened its columns to a discussion on the attitude to the Duma and to the Social-Democratic group in the Duma. This issue printed an article by an otzovist entitled "Letter of a Worker (The Plan of Party Work in Connection with an Assessment of the Present Moment)". The article was edited by St. Volsky (A. V. Sokolov), leader of the Moscow otzovists, at that time member of the Regional Bureau of the Moscow Central Industrial Area. The article evoked sharp protests from the Party organisations of Central Russia, and a rejoinder in the columns of the newspaper Proletary. Lenin criticised the article in his work "Two Letters" (see present edition, Vol. 15, pp. 285-301). [p. 42]
<"en31"> The First All-Russian Congress of Factory Doctors and Representatives of Factory Industry was held on April 1-6 (14-19), 1909, in Moscow. The delegates to the Congress included 52 workers chosen by trade unions, mainly of the big industrial centres. The speeches of the workers' delegates, who were predominantly Bolsheviks, were of great political importance and evoked a response through out the country. Two questions in particular gave rise to lively debates at the Congress, viz., the organisation of health supervision (a resolution proposed by the Bolsheviks was adopted), and election of factory inspectors by the workers.
The Congress did not finish its work; it was closed down by the police. [p. 42]
<"en32"> Krichevsky, B. N. and Martynov, A. S. were leaders of Economism. [p. 42]
<"en33"> Lenin is referring to Talleyrand, French diplomat of the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth century. [p. 43]
<"en34"> This refers to the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. held in London, April 30-May 19 (May 13 June 1), 1907. [p. 45]
<"en35"> Marat -- V. L. Shantser, a member of the enlarged editorial board of Proletary, an ultimatumist, later one of the members of the Vperyod anti-Party group. [p. 45]
<"en36"> Tsarevokokshaisk -- one of the uyezd towns of tsarist Russia. [p. 46]
<"en37"> "Er " -- A. V. Sokolov (Volsky). [p. 47]
<"en38"> Vperyod (Forward ) -- a Bolshevik mass working-class newspaper, under Lenin's guidance. It was published illegally in Vyborg by the editors of the newspaper Proletary from September 10 (23), 1906 to January 19 (February 1), 1908; 20 issues appeared. Beginning with No. 2 the newspaper was issued as the organ of the local committees of the R.S.D.L.P.; No. 2 as the organ of the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Moscow District committees; Nos. 3-7 as the organ of the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow District, Perm and Kursk committees; Nos. 8-19 -- as the previous issues with the addition of the Kazan Committee; in the last issue, No. 20, the Urals Regional Committee took the place of the Perm and Kazan committees. [p. 56]