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V. I. Lenin
SUM UP THE REVOLUTION
AND HOW THE REVOLUTION
HAS SUMMED THEM UP
Proletary, No. 41
January 7 (20), 1909
to the text in Proletary
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1963
Vol. 15, pp. 330-44.
Translated from the Russian
Edited by Andrew Rothstein and Bernard Isaacs
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, firstname.lastname@example.org (November 2001)
HOW THE SOCIALIST-REVOLUTIONARIES SUM UP
AND HOW THE REVOLUTION HAS SUMMED THEM UP
We have often had occasion during the past year (1908) to discuss the current situation and trends among the bourgeois democrats in Russia. We have noted the attempts made with the aid of the Trudoviks to restore the Osvobozhdeniye League (Proletary, No. 32[*]); we have described the democratic stand taken by the peasantry and their representatives on the agrarian and other questions (Proletary, Nos. 21 and 40**); and we have shown by examples quoted from Revolutsionnaya Mysl the amazingly shallow thinking of the Socialist-Revolutionary group, which imagines that it is ultra-revolutionary (Proletary, No. 32). To make the picture complete we must now examine the official publications of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. In 1908 four issues of Znamya Truda were published (Nos. 9 to 13, No. 10-11 being a double number***), and a special Report from the Central Committee of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party on the First Party Conference and the fourth meeting of the Party Council, both held abroad last August. Let us examine this material.
"The party," say the S.R. Central Committee in their Report, "was faced with the task of summing up the results of that period of the great Russian revolution, now over, during which the town proletariat was the principal and <"fnp330">
* See pp. 148-58 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Some Features of the Present Collapse". -- DJR]
** See present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 440-46 and the present volume, pp. 303-317 [Transcriber's Note: See, respectively, Lenin's "Political Notes" and "The Agrarian Debates in the Third Duma". -- DJR].
*** Unfortunately the editorial office of Proletary was unable to obtain No. 12.
often almost the sole actor." That is very well said. It is a true statement of the case most unusual for the Socialist Revolutionaries. Five lines further down, however, we read: "The triumph of the counter-revolution has merely strikingly confirmed the truth, which we never doubted from the very outset, that a successful Russian revolution will either be the work of a mighty alliance of the forces of the town proletariat and those of the toiling peasantry, or will not be brought about at all. So far this alliance has existed only as an idea, embodied in the Socialist-Revolutionary programme which was brought into being by the realities of Russian life. It scarcely began to come into existence. Its rebirth is a matter for the future. . . ."
Now see how long the Socialist-Revolutionaries were able to stick to the truth! Anyone who is in the slightest degree familiar with the Socialist-Revolutionary and Social-Democratic programmes knows that they differ radically in the following: 1) the Social-Democrats declared the Russian revolution to be a bourgeois revolution; the Socialist-Revolutionaries denied this; 2) the Social-Democrats maintained that the proletariat and the peasantry were distinct classes in capitalist (or semi-feudal, semi-capitalist) society; that the peasantry is a class of petty proprietors that can "strike together" against the landlords and the autocracy, "on the same side of the barricades" with the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution, and that in this revolution it can, in certain cases, march in "alliance" with the proletariat, while remaining quite a separate class of capitalist society. The Socialist-Revolutionaries denied this. The main idea in their programme was not that an "alliance of the forces" of the proletariat and the peasantry was necessary, but that there was no class gulf between them, that no class distinction should be drawn between them, and that the Social-Democratic idea concerning the petty-bourgeois character of the peasantry, as distinct from the proletariat, is utterly false.
And now the Socialist-Revolutionaries are trying to slur over these two radical differences between the Social-Democrat and the Socialist-Revolutionary programmes with glib specious phrases! From the way these gentlemen sum up the revolution one would think that there had been no
revolution and no Socialist-Revolutionary programme. But, my dear sirs, there was a Socialist-Revolutionary programme, and the whole difference between it and the programme of the Social-Democrats was that the fundamental, theoretical section of the former was based on the denial of the petty-bourgeois character of the peasantry, the denial of any class distinction between the peasantry and the proletariat. There was a revolution, my dear sirs, and the chief lesson it taught was that in their open mass actions the peasantry displayed a class nature of their own, distinct from that of the proletariat, and proved themselves to be petty-bourgeois.
You pretend that you have not noticed this. You do see it, but are merely trying to ignore an unpleasant fact revealed by the revolution. You acted, not "in alliance" with the Trudoviks, but completely merged with them -- and this at crucial moments when the open revolution reached its climax -- the autumn of 1905 and the summer of 1906. The legal organs of the press at that time were Socialist-Revolutionary-Trudovik organs. Even when the Trudovik and Popular Socialist groups were formed, you were not in alliance, but in a bloc, i.e., practically merged with them in the elections to the Second Duma and in the Second Duma itself. Unlike the programme of the Trudoviks and Popular Socialists, your own programme suffered defeat in all the open and truly mass actions of the representatives of the peasantry. Both in the First and in the Second Dumas the overwhelming majority of the peasant deputies adopted the agrarian programme of the Trudoviks and not of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. The Socialist-Revolutionaries themselves, in their purely Socialist-Revolutionary publications, from the end of 1906 onwards, were obliged to admit that as a political trend the Trudoviks were petty-bourgeois, that underlying this trend were the "private-property instincts" of small proprietors (see the articles written by Mr. Vikhlayev and other Socialist-Revolutionaries against the Popular Socialists).
The question arises, whom do the Socialist-Revolutionaries wish to deceive by "summing up the results" of the revolution and concealing the fundamental and most important result in the process?
Why did the peasantry during the revolution form into a separate political party (or group) -- the Trudovik party? Why did the Trudoviks and not the Socialist-Revolutionaries become the party of the peasant masses during the revolution? If the Socialist-Revolutionaries think this was accidental, it's no good talking about either results or programmes, for then instead of results and programmes we get chaos. If it was not accidental, but a result of the fundamental economic relations in modern society, then the correctness of the principal and cardinal point in the programme of the Russian Social-Democrats has been proved by history. The revolution has drawn in practice the class distinction between the peasantry and the proletariat that we Social-Democrats have always drawn in theory. The revolution has proved conclusively that a party, which aspires to be a mass party, a class party, in Russia, must either be Social-Democratic or Trudovik; for it is these, and only these, two trends that the masses themselves clearly marked out by their open actions during the most important and crucial moments. As the events of 1905-07 have proved, intermediate groups were never able to merge with the masses at any time or on any issue. And this also proved the bourgeois character of our revolution. Not a single historian, not a single sane politician, can now deny that the political forces in Russia are divided primarily between the socialist proletariat and the petty-bourgeois democratic peasantry.
"The alliance of the forces of the town proletariat and those of the toiling peasantry . . . has so far existed only as an idea." This is an utterly confused and false phrase. The alliance of proletarian and peasant forces has not been merely an "idea", nor did it "scarcely begin to come into existence"; it was a characteristic feature of the whole of the first period of the Russian revolution, of all the great events of 1905-07. The October strike and the December insurrection on the one hand, the local peasant risings and the mutinies of soldiers and sailors on the other, represented that very "alliance of the forces" of the proletariat and the peasantry. It was unorganised, inchoate, often unconscious. The forces were inadequately organised, dispersed, without a central leadership that was really capable of leading,
and so forth. But it was undoubtedly an "alliance of the forces" of the proletariat and the peasantry, the main forces which breached the ramparts of the old autocracy. Unless this fact is understood, it is impossible to understand the "results" of the Russian revolution. The flaw in the conclusion drawn by the Socialist-Revolutionaries is that they say "trudovoye "[*] instead of Trudovik peasantry. This slight, negligible difference, a seemingly imperceptible difference, actually reveals the gulf that lies between the pre-revolutionary dreams of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the reality that the revolution finally brought to light.
The Socialist-Revolutionaries have always used the term trudovoye peasantry. The revolution revealed the political physiognomy of the present-day Russian peasantry and has proved it to be a Trudovik trend. In that case the Socialist-Revolutionaries were right, you will say? That is not so. History in its irony has preserved and perpetuated the Socialist-Revolutionaries' term, but gave it the connotation that was predicted by the Social-Democrats. On the moot question as to the petty-bourgeois nature of the labouring peasantry, the history of the revolution has shared the honours between us and the Socialist-Revolutionaries as follows: to them it gave the word and to us the substance. The labouring peasants, whom the Socialist-Revolutionaries lauded to the skies before the revolution, proved during the revolution to be such Trudoviks that the Socialist-Revolutionaries had<"p334"> to disown them! And we Social-Democrats can and must now prove that the peasantry is petty bourgeois not only by using the analysis given in Marx's Capital, not only by quotations from the Erfurt Programme, not only by facts and figures from the economic researches of the Narodniks and from Zemstvo statistics, but by the behaviour of the peasantry in the Russian revolution in general and the facts concerning the composition and activities of the Trudoviks in particular.
No. We have nothing to complain of the way history has shared the honours between us and the Socialist-Revolutionaries. <"fnp334">
* i.e., labouring. --Ed.
Znamya Truda, No. 13, p. 3, says: "Had the otzovists succeeded in turning the Social-Democrats back to their extreme militant principles, we would have lost some useful material for polemics, but we would have acquired an ally in consistent militant tactics." And a couple of lines earlier it says: "The struggle for freedom and socialism would only stand to gain if the Left wing took the lead both among the Cadets and among the Social-Democrats."
Very good, Messieurs Socialist-Revolutionaries! You want to pay compliments to our "otzovists" and "Lefts". Allow us, then, to return compliment for compliment. Permit us, too, to avail ourselves of "useful material for polemics".
"Let a number of parties, including the Cadets, Trudoviks and Social-Democrats, support the fiction that a constitutional system exists by their participation in the pasteboard travesty of a Duma" (Znamya Truda, ibid.).
So the Third Duma is a pasteboard travesty. This phrase alone is more than sufficient to show the abysmal ignorance of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Most esteemed directors of the central organ of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Third Duma is much less a pasteboard institution than the First and the Second Dumas were! Your failure to grasp this simple fact only confirms the correctness of what Proletary said about you in its article "Parliamentary Cretinism Inside Out". You are repeating word for word the common delusion of the vulgar bourgeois democrats, who try to persuade themselves and others that bad, reactionary Dumas are pasteboard institutions, while good, progressive Dumas are not.
As a matter of fact, the First and Second Dumas were pasteboard swords in the hands of the liberal-bourgeois intellectuals who wanted to scare the autocracy a little with the threat of revolution. The Third Duma is a real, not a pasteboard, sword in the hands of the autocracy and the counter-revolution. The First and Second Dumas were pasteboard Dumas because their decisions did not reflect the actual balance of material forces in the struggle of the classes in society, and were mere hollow words. The importance of these two Dumas lay in the fact that behind the front row of Cadet constitutional buffoons were clearly seen the
real representatives of that democratic peasantry and that socialist proletariat who were really making the revolution, fighting the enemy in an open mass struggle, but had not yet been able to crush him. The Third Duma is not a pasteboard Duma, for the simple reason that its decisions reflect the actual balance of material forces brought about by the temporary victory of the counter-revolution and are, therefore, not mere words but words converted into action. The importance of this Duma lies in the fact that it has given all the politically undeveloped elements of the people an object-lesson, showing the relation between representative institutions and the actual possession of state power. Representative institutions, even the most "progressive", are doomed to remain pasteboard institutions so long as the classes represented in them do not possess real state power. Representative institutions, however reactionary they may be, are not pasteboard if the classes represented in them do possess real state power.
To call the Third Duma a pasteboard travesty is an example of the extreme shallowness and extravagant revolutionary phrase-mongering that have so long been the specific distinguishing feature and the chief quality of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party.
Let us proceed. Is it true that the Third Duma is "the fiction of a constitutional system"? No, it is not. Only people ignorant of the elementary principles taught by Lassalle nearly half a century ago could say a thing like that in an official party paper. What does a constitution mean, most worthy members of that elementary propaganda circle known as the Socialist-Revolutionary Party? Does it mean that more "freedom" and better conditions of life exist for the "toiling people" with a constitution than without one? No, only the vulgar democrats think that. The essence of a constitution is that the fundamental laws of the state in general, and the laws governing elections to and the powers of the representative institutions, etc., express the actual relation of forces in the class struggle. A constitution is fictitious when law and reality diverge; it is not fictitious when they coincide. The constitution of Russia in the period of the Third Duma is less fictitious than it was in the periods of the First and Second Dumas. If this
conclusion arouses your ire, Messieurs "Socialists"-"Revolutionaries", it is because you do not understand what a constitution is, and cannot tell the difference between a fictitious and a class constitution. A constitution can be a Black-Hundred, landlords' and reactionary constitution, and yet be less fictitious than some "liberal" constitutions.
The trouble with the Socialist-Revolutionaries is that they are ignorant of Marx's historical materialism and Marx's dialectical method; they are wholly under the spell of vulgar bourgeois-democratic ideas. For them a constitution is not a new field, a new form of the class struggle, but an abstract blessing like the "legality", the "law and order", the "general good" of the liberal professors, and so on and so forth. In reality autocracy, constitutional monarchy and republic are merely different forms of class struggle; and the dialectics of history are such that each of these forms passes through different stages of development of its class content, and the transition from one form to another does not (in itself) at all eliminate the rule of the former exploiting classes under the new integument. For instance, the Russian autocracy of the seventeenth century with its Boyar Council and boyar aristocracy bears no resemblance to the autocracy of the eighteenth century with its bureaucracy, its ranks and orders of society, and its occasional periods of "enlightened absolutism"; while both differ sharply from the autocracy of the nineteenth century, which was compelled to emancipate the peasants "from above", although pauperising them in the process, paving the way for capitalism, introducing the principle of local representative institutions for the bourgeoisie. By the twentieth century this last form of semi-feudal, semi-patriarchal absolutism had also become obsolete. Owing to the growth of capitalism and the increase in the power of the bourgeoisie, etc., it became necessary to introduce representative institutions on a national scale. The revolutionary struggle of 1905 became particularly acute around the issue as to who was to convene the first all-Russian representative institution, and how. The December defeat settled this question in favour of the old monarchy; and in these circumstances the constitution could be nothing else than a Black-Hundred and Octobrist one.
In a new field, under institutions of the Bonapartist monarchy, at a higher stage of political development, the struggle is again beginning with the effort to overthrow the old enemy, the Black-Hundred monarchy. Can a socialist party refuse to make use in this struggle of the new representative institutions? The Socialist-Revolutionaries have not even the wit to pose such a question: they make shift with phrases, and nothing but phrases. Listen to this:
"At the present time we have no parliamentary channels of struggle -- we have only non-parliamentary channels. This conviction must become deep-rooted everywhere, and we must relentlessly fight everything that prevents it from becoming so. Let us concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle!"
This Socialist-Revolutionary argument is based on the celebrated subjective method in sociology. Let the conviction become deep-rooted -- and the trick is done! It never occurs to the subjectivists that convictions as to whether particular channels are available or not must be tested by objective facts. But let us look at the Report and the resolutions of the conference of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. We read: ". . . The sombre lull of the hard times, or rather, the time of social stagnation we are now passing through" (p. 4) . . . "the consolidation of the reactionary social forces" . . . "the fact that the energy of the masses is shackled" . . . "among the intellectuals, the most impressionable section of the population, we see exhaustion, ideological confusion and the ebb of forces from the revolutionary struggle" (p. 6), and so on, and so forth. "In view of all this, the Socialist Revolutionary Party must . . . (b) disapprove, for tactical reasons, of schemes for partial mass actions which under present conditions may result in the fruitless waste of popular energy" (p. 7).
Who are the "we " in "we have only non-parliamentary channels of struggle"? Obviously a handful of terrorists, for none of the tirades quoted here contains even a hint of the mass struggle. "The fact that the energy of the masses is shackled " . . . and "concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle" -- this simple contrast shows us yet once
more how historically true it was to call the Socialist-Revolutionaries revolutionary adventurists.[*] Is it not adventurism for people to indulge in catchy phrases about concentrating on means of struggle which they themselves admit the masses are at present unable to apply? Is this not the old, old psychology of the intellectual in despair?
"Let us concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle." This slogan was correct in one of the most remarkable periods of the Russian revolution, the autumn of 1905. In repeating it uncritically at the present juncture the Socialist-Revolutionaries are acting like the hero of the popular fable who would persist in shouting the most inappropriate greetings. You have not understood, my dear sirs, why the boycott slogan was correct in the autumn of 1905, and in repeating it now, uncritically, unthinkingly, like a catchword learned off by heart, you are displaying, not revolutionariness, but just plain foolishness.
In the autumn of 1905 nobody said anything about "the fact that the energy of the masses was shackled". On the contrary, all parties agreed that the energy of the masses was seething. At that moment, the old regime offered a consultative parliament, obviously with the intention of splitting these seething forces and appeasing them, if only for a moment. At that time the slogan: "Concentrate on non-parliamentary means of struggle", was not the stock-phrase of a handful of ranters, but the battle-cry of men who really were at the head of the masses, at the head of millions of fighting workers and peasants. The fact that these millions responded to the call proved that the slogan was objectively correct, and that it expressed not merely the "convictions" of a handful of revolutionaries, but the actual situation, the temper and the initiative of the masses. Only ridiculous pedlars of politics can repeat this slogan and in the same breath say that "the energy of the masses is shackled".
And, since we have mentioned the ridiculous, we simply must quote the following gem from Znamya Truda. "Let us leave it [the government] tête-à-tête in the Duma with the Black Hundreds and with the party that obeys the latest <"fnp339">
* See present edition, Vol. 6, pp. 186-207. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Revolutionary Adventurism". -- DJR]
government order,[*] and take our word for it that if ever these spiders are capable of devouring each other, this is the very situation in which they will do so". . . . This "take our word for it" is inimitable and positively disarms an opponent. "Take our word for it", reader, that the leading articles in Znamya Truda are being written by a really sweet Socialist-Revolutionary school miss, who sincerely believes that the "spiders" will begin to "devour each other" if the opposition withdraws from the Third Duma.
The clause concerning the Cadets in the resolution on our attitude towards the non-proletarian parties adopted at the London Congress was most severely criticised by the Mensheviks. Scarcely less severe was their criticism of the clause which deals with the Narodnik or Trudovik parties. The Mensheviks tried to prove that we were indulgent with the Socialist-Revolutionaries, or were covering up certain sins which Marxists had long ago proved they were guilty of, and so forth. There were two reasons for the Mensheviks' vehemence on these points. One of them was their fundamental disagreement with us in our appraisal of the Russian revolution. The Mensheviks insist that the proletariat must make the revolution together with the Cadets, and not with the Trudovik peasantry against the Cadets. On the other hand, the Mensheviks don't understand that the open action of the masses and classes in the revolution has changed the situation and, in some cases, the character of the parties. Before the revolution the Socialist-Revolutionaries were only a group of intellectuals with Narodnik ideas. Would this description be correct after the revolution, or even after 1906? Obviously not. Only those who have learned nothing from the revolution can uphold the old view formulated in this way.
The revolution has proved that this group of intellectuals with Narodnik ideas are the extreme Left wing of an exceedingly broad and undoubtedly mass Narodnik or Trudovik trend, which expressed the interests and point of view of the peasantry in the Russian bourgeois revolution. This <"fnp340">
* Meaning the Octobrists. --Ed.
has been proved by the peasant insurrections, by the Peasant Union, by the Trudovik group in three Dumas, and by the free press of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Trudoviks. But the Mensheviks have failed to understand this. They regard the Socialist-Revolutionaries from a doctrinaire point of view: like doctrinaires, they see the flaws in other people's doctrines, but do not see what real interests of real masses, which are a driving force in the bourgeois-democratic revolution, are expressed or concealed by those doctrines. The Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is pernicious, fallacious, reactionary, adventurist, petty-bourgeois -- cry the Mensheviks. Not one step further, not one word more; all else is the work of the devil.
Now that is where your mistake begins, we say to the Mensheviks. True, the Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is pernicious, fallacious, reactionary, adventurist and petty-bourgeois. But these vices do not prevent this quasi-socialist doctrine from being the ideological vestments of a really revolutionary -- and not compromising -- bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie in Russia. For the Socialist-Revolutionary doctrine is only a tiny rivulet in the Trudovik, i.e., peasant-democratic torrent. As soon as the open struggle of masses and classes begins, events immediately compel us all, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike, to recognise the fact, to admit the Socialist-Revolutionaries to the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, establish closer relations with the Soviets of peasants', soldiers', post and telegraph workers', railwaymen's, etc., deputies, enter into election agreements with them against the liberals, vote with them in the Dumas against the liberals, and so forth. The revolution has not refuted our opinion of the Socialist-Revolutionaries but corroborated it. But in doing so it has not left the question in its previous shape and position; it has elevated the question to an incomparably higher plane. Previously the question was one only of comparing doctrines, ideologies and the policies of various groups; now it is a matter of comparing the historical activities of the classes and masses which follow this or a kindred ideology. Formerly the question was, is what the Socialist-Revolutionaries say correct? Are the tactics of this ideological organisation correct? Now the question has arisen, what, in effect, is the
behaviour of those sections of the people which consider themselves supporters of the Socialist-Revolutionaries or of ideas akin to theirs (the "labour principle", etc.)? The Mensheviks' error is due to their failure to understand this change that the revolution has brought about.
But apart from the reasons mentioned, this change is important also because it has strikingly revealed the relation of classes and parties. The lesson our revolution teaches is that only parties which have a definite class backing are strong and able to survive, whatever turn events may take. Open political struggle compels parties to establish closer relations with the masses, for without such ties parties are naught. Nominally, the Socialist-Revolutionaries are independent of the Trudoviks. Actually, however, during the revolution, they were compelled to join forces with the Trudoviks, on pain of being completely eliminated from the political arena. And it can safely be said that at the next rise of the revolutionary tide the Socialist-Revolutionaries (however loudly they may shout now about their complete, independence) will again be obliged to join forces with the Trudoviks, or with similar organisations of the masses. The objective conditions of social life and the class struggle are more powerful than pious intentions and written programmes. From this aspect, which is the only correct one, the present rift between the Trudoviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries is merely evidence of the disintegration of the petty-bourgeois movement, of the lack of steadfastness on the part of the petty bourgeoisie, who are unable to band together in adverse conditions and who "drift apart". On the one hand, we have the Trudoviks -- unorganised, unsteady, wavering, without any firm political line in the Third Duma, but undoubtedly springing from the masses, connected with the masses, expressing the needs of the masses. On the other hand we have a handful of Socialist-Revolutionary "otzovists", who have no ties with the masses, who are frantic with despair, losing faith in the mass struggle (see Revolutsionnaya Mysl ) and concentrating on terrorism. The extreme opportunism of the Trudoviks (bearing in mind the stand of the revolutionary peasantry) and the extreme, purely verbal and meaningless, revolutionariness of the Socialist-Revolutionaries are two limitations of one and
the same petty-bourgeois trend, twin symptoms of the same "disease", viz., the instability of the petty bourgeoisie, their incapacity for systematic, persevering, staunch and concerted mass struggle.
These facts throw a new light on the present Duma tactics of the revolutionary parties and, in particular, on the question of otzovism. "We have no parliamentary channels of struggle," cry the boastful Socialist-Revolutionary intellectuals. Who are "we", gentlemen? Intellectuals without the masses have never had, and never will have, either parliamentary or non-parliamentary means of struggle of any importance. What masses followed or supported you yesterday, during the revolution? The Trudovik peasantry. Is it true that they have "no parliamentary means of struggle"? It is not true. Look at the debates on the agrarian question in the Third Duma. You will find that on this issue the Trudoviks undoubtedly voiced the needs of the masses. Consequently, the smart phrase of the Socialist-Revolutionaries is nothing more than empty phrase-mongering. In 1908, the peasant masses voiced their demands from the rostrum of the Duma, and did not engage in "non-parliamentary" action. That is a fact that no amount of "Left" screeching and the shouting of Socialist-Revolutionary otzovist phrases can obscure.
What was the reason for this? Was it because the "conviction" that non-parliamentary channels are preferable was shaken? Nonsense. The answer is that in this period objective conditions had not yet caused widespread unrest among the masses or stirred them to direct action. If that is the case, and it certainly is so, it was the duty of every party that takes itself seriously to avail itself of indirect channels. The Socialist-Revolutionaries were unable to avail themselves of such channels -- and what happened? Only that the Trudoviks made a very bad job of it, made a thousand times more mistakes than they would have done had they been guided by a party; they stumbled and fell very often. Out of touch with their class, with their masses, the Socialist-Revolutionaries "concentrated" on phrase-mongering; for in practice they did nothing at all in 1908 to promote "non-parliamentary means of struggle". This dissociation of the Socialist-Revolutionaries from their social roots
immediately begins to aggravate their besetting sin -- extravagant, unbridled boasting and bragging, as a means of covering up their impotence. "Our Party can congratulate itself," we read on the first page of the Report . . . election to the conference by "really existing [think of that now!] local party organisations" . . . "unanimity of feeling was reached on all questions" . . . "this was truly the attainment of unanimity" (ibid.), and so on and so forth.
It is not true, gentlemen. With these loud words you are trying to drown the voices of dissension which have been heard quite distinctly, both in Revolutsionnaya Mysl (spring 1908) and in issue No. 13 of Znamya Truda (November 1908). This ballyhoo is a sign of weakness. The non-party opportunism of the Trudoviks and the "party" boastfulness, isolation and phrase-mongering of the Socialist-Revolutionaries are two sides of the same medal, two extremes in the disintegration of one and the same petty-bourgeois stratum. It was not for nothing that during the revolution, when the struggle brought out all the different shadings, the Socialist-Revolutionaries tried, but tried in vain, to conceal their wavering between the Popular Socialists and the Maximalists.
The cart is in the ditch. The horses have slipped their harness. The coachman sits astride a milestone with his cap at a jaunty angle, and "congratulates" himself on his "unanimity". Such is the picture of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Such are the results of Socialist-Revolutionary otzovism, which has recalled a handful of intellectuals from the arduous, persevering, but the only really serious and fruitful work of educating and organising the masses, in order that they should indulge in loud and meaningless catchwords.
<"en131"> See K. Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, pp. 763-93. [p. 334]
<"en132"> The Erfurt Programme -- the-programme of German Social-Democracy adopted at the Congress in Erfurt in October 1891. [p. 334]