Sotsial-Demokrat No. 27, June 17 (4), 1912.
Published according to the text in Sotsial-Demokrat.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 116-117.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The leading article of this issue had already gone to press when we received the first issue of the liquidationist Nevsky Golos. V. Yezhov, the well-known liquidator of Nasha Zarya, at once presented the new organ with such a gem that one is left gasping! Here it is, if you please:
“Owing to this [i.e., owing to the variety of the strikes, which in some cases did not go beyond a protest against the imposition of fines for celebrating May Day, while in other cases they supplemented the protest with economic demands, etc.], the principle involved in the protest (after all, it was not over a few kopeks that the strike was called) became obscured [!??!] in a considerable number of cases, being complicated by economic demands....
“Their own experience should have suggested to the workers that it was inadvisable [!!] to complicate their protest by economic demands, just as it is inadvisable to complicate [!?] an ordinary strike by demands involving principles.
“It is necessary to give organisational form to the sentiments of the worker masses. It is necessary to increase propaganda for trade unions, to recruit new members for them. This is all the more necessary since there are many hotheads among the workers nowadays who are carried away by the mass movement and speak at meetings against unions, alleging them to be useless and unnecessary.
“A period of economic strikes [only economic?] is ahead of us. It would be an irreparable mistake to allow them to become inter twined with political actions of the workers [!!!]. Such a combination would have a harmful effect [!!??] on both the economic and the political struggle.”
Here you have the perfectly liberal Mr. Severyanin copied by the liquidator! Utter incomprehension of the fact that a revolutionary mass strike necessarily combines the economic with the political strike; narrow-mindedness, a monstrous distortion of the revolutionary character of the upswing and attempts to measure it by the yardstick of “ordinary strikes”; the most reactionary advice “not to complicate” politics with economics and not to “intertwine” them; and the using of the legally published press for an attack in the spirit of Struve and Maklakov against the revolutionary worker Social-Democrats, who are described as “hotheads” speaking out “against unions”!
A liberal cannot understand a revolutionary Social-Democrat except as one who is “against unions”. But the workers at the meetings were, of course, not “against unions”, but against substituting liberal slogans for revolutionary ones, which is what Mr. Yezhov and Co. are doing. Our slogan is not freedom of association, said the workers, and “trade unions” are not the only, nor the chief, means of “giving” our movement “organisational form”. Our slogan is the demand for a republic (see the appeal of the St. Petersburg workers), we are building an illegal party capable of leading the revolutionary onslaught of the masses upon the tsarist monarchy. That is what the workers said at the meetings.
But the Liebers and Trotskys are assuring the workers that it is possible for the Social-Democratic proletariat and its Party to “unite” with liberals à la Yezhov, Potresov and Co.!