On the evening of our arrival in Geneva Ilyich wrote a letter to Alexinsky – the Bolshevik deputy in the Second Duma, who had been sentenced to penal servitude together with the other Bolshevik deputies, had emigrated abroad and was now living in Austria – in reply to his letter received in Berlin. A few days later he answered Maxim Gorky, who had been pressing Ilyich to visit him on Capri.
It was impossible to go to Capri, as work had to be started on Proletary, the illegal Central Organ of the Party. This had to be done as quickly as possible in order to provide a regular leadership through the Central Organ in those difficult days of reaction. Ilyich could not go, but he could dream of it when writing back to Gorky: "It would be wonderful to take a run over to Capri!" and continued: "I think it would be best to come over when you are not too busy with your work, so that we can loaf about and chat." Ilyich had experienced and thought over so much in the last few years that he looked forward eagerly to a heart-to-heart talk with Gorky. He was obliged, however, to postpone his visit.
It had not been decided yet whether Proletary was to be published in Geneva or some other place. We had written about it to Adler, the Austrian Social-Democrat, and to Juzef (Dzerzhinsky), who lived in Austria too. Austria was closer to the Russian frontier, it would be more convenient in some ways to print the paper there, and easier to arrange transport facilities. Ilyich, however, had little hope of our being able to organize publication anywhere but in Geneva, and so he was taking steps to launch the paper there. We learned, to our surprise, that the type-setting machine we had used in the old days was still available. This cut down expenses and simplified matters.
Vladimirov, the old compositor, who had set the type for the Bolshevik paper Vperyod in Geneva before the 1905 Revolution, turned up. The general business management was entrusted to D. M. Kotlyarenko.
By February, all the comrades sent from Russia to organize Proletary – Lenin, Bogdanov and Innokenty (Dubrovinsky) – had assembled in Geneva.
Vladimir Ilyich wrote to Maxim Gorky on February 2: "We have everything ready and are announcing publication in a day or two. We have put you down as a contributor. Drop me a line whether you can give us anything for the first few issues (something in the style of Notes on the Petty Bourgeois from Novaya Zhizn or fragments from the story you are now writing, etc.)." Ilyich had written about bourgeois culture and the petty bourgeois, which he deeply hated and despised, as far back as 1894 in his book What the "Friends of the People" Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats. Gorky's notes on philistinism therefore greatly appealed to him.
Ilyich wrote to Lunacharsky, who was staying with Gorky at Capri: "Drop me a line whether you are fixed up all right and whether you are fit for work again."
The editorial board (Lenin, Rogdanov and Innokenty) wrote a letter to Trotsky in Vienna, asking him to contribute to the paper. Trotsky refused. He did not want to cooperate with the Bolsheviks, but he did not say so openly. He excused himself on the grounds that he was too busy.
Arrangements had to be made for shipping the paper to Russia. We started tracing old contacts. Our consignments used to be shipped by sea via Marseilles and other ports. Ilyich thought that shipment could now be arranged by way of Capri, where Gorky lived. He wrote to Maria Andreyeva, Gorky's wife, to arrange for the literature to be forwarded on to Odessa through the ships' employees and workers. He got in touch with Alexinsky for shipment via Vienna, but had little hope of success in that quarter. Alexinsky was quite unfitted for that kind of work. We invited over our "shipping expert" Pyatnitsky, now a worker on the Comintern, who had done a good job in the past in smuggling literature across the German frontier. But it took Pyatnitsky (who was in Russia) nearly eight months to throw the police off the scent, evade arrest and cross the frontier. On arriving abroad he tried to organize shipments through Lvov, but nothing came of it. He arrived in Geneva in the autumn of 1908. We arranged that he was to take up his residence again in Leipzig, where he had lived before, and pick up old contacts and organize shipments across the German border as he had done in the past.
Alexinsky decided to move to Geneva. It was intended to enlist his wife Tatyana to help me with our Russian mail. But these were only plans. As for letters, we expected them more than we received them. Shortly after our arrival in Geneva an incident occurred with the changing of money.
In July 1907 an expropriation raid had been made in Erivan Square in Tiflis. At the height of the revolution, when the fight against the autocracy was waged on an extended front, the Bolsheviks considered it permissible to seize tsarist funds by making raids of expropriation. The money obtained in the Tiflis raid was handed over to the Bolsheviks for revolutionary purposes. But the money could not be used. It was all in 500- ruble notes, which had to be changed. This could not be done in Russia, as the banks always had lists of the note numbers in such cases. Now when the reaction was rampant, it was necessary to arrange escapes from prison, where the tsarist government was brutally treating the revolutionaries; to keep the movement alive it was necessary to organize illegal printing plants, etc. The money was badly needed. And so a group of comrades made an attempt to change the 500-ruble notes simultaneously in various towns abroad, just a few days after our arrival. Zhitomirsky, an agent provocateur, knew about this and took part in organizing the exchange. No one knew at the time that he was a spy, and he enjoyed full confidence, although he had already betrayed Comrade Kamo, who was arrested in Berlin with a suitcase containing dynamite. Kamo was kept in a German prison for a long time and then handed over to the Russian authorities. Zhitomirsky had warned the police about the attempt to change the ruble notes, and those involved in it were arrested. A member of the Zurich group, a Lett, was arrested in Stockholm, and Olga Ravich, a member of the Geneva group, who had recently returned from Russia, was arrested in Munich with Bogdassarian and Khojamirian. In Geneva N. A. Semashko was arrested after a post card addressed to one of the arrested men was delivered to his house.
The Swiss burgher was frightened to death by this incident. The "Russian expropriators" were the talk of the town. The thing was discussed with horror around the table of the boarding-house where Ilyich and I used to go to dine. Mikha Tskhakaya, our Caucasian comrade, chairman of the Third Party Congress in 1905, lived in Geneva at the time, and when he first came to see us his foreign appearance gave our landlady such a fright that she slammed the door in his face with a shriek of terror, taking him for a real expropriator.
Ultra-opportunist moods prevailed in the Swiss Party at the time, and in connection with the arrest of Semashko, the Swiss Social-Democrats declared that theirs was the most democratic country in the world, that justice reigned supreme there, and that therefore they could not tolerate crimes against property in their territory.
The Russian Government demanded the extradition of the arrested persons. The Swedish Social-Democrats were prepared to intervene, but demanded only that the Zurich group, to which one of the arrested comrades belonged, should confirm that the lad who had been arrested in Stockholm was a Social-Democrat and had been living all the time in Zurich. The Zurich group, in which the Mensheviks predominated, refused to do it. The Mensheviks hastened also to dissociate themselves from Semashko in the local Berne press, in which they tried to make out that Semashko was not a Social-Democrat and had not represented the Geneva group at the Stuttgart Congress.
The Mensheviks had condemned the Moscow uprising of 1905; they were against anything that was likely to scare away the liberal bourgeoisie. The fact that the bourgeois intelligentsia had swung away from the revolution at the moment of its defeat was accounted for by them as being due not to its class character but to the fact that the Bolsheviks had frightened it by their methods of struggle. The Bolsheviks' contention that expropriation from the expropriators during the height of the revolutionary struggle was a legitimate method of raising funds for revolutionary purposes, was strongly condemned by them. The Bolsheviks, they said, had frightened away the liberal bourgeoisie. The fight against the Bolsheviks played into the hands of the Mensheviks, and in this fight all means were fair.
In a letter dated February 26, 1908, to Plekhanov, P. B. Axelrod set forth his plan of making use of this incident to discredit the Bolsheviks in the eyes of the foreigners. He suggested that a report should be drawn up, translated into German and French, and forwarded to the German Party headquarters (Vorstand), to Kautsky, Adler, the International Socialist Bureau, to London and so forth.
This letter of Axelrod's, published many years later (in 1926), is striking proof of how widely the paths of the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks had diverged already at that time.
In connection with the arrest of N. A. Semashko, Vladimir Ilyich, in his capacity of R.S.D.L.P. representative, sent an official statement to the International Socialist Bureau. He also wrote to Gorky, saying that if he knew Semashko personally from Nizhny days he ought to come out in his defence in the Swiss press. Semashko was soon released.
It was difficult for us, after the revolution, to get used to life in emigration again. Vladimir Ilyich spent all his days in the library, and in the evenings we did not know what to do with ourselves. We had no desire to sit in the cold cheerless room we had rented and longed to be among people. Every evening we went to the cinema or the theatre, although we seldom stayed to the end, and usually left in the middle of a show to wander about the streets, most often around the lake.
At last, in February, the first Geneva issue of Proletary (No. 21) came out. Vladimir Ilyich's first article in it was characteristic. He wrote:
"We knew how to work during the long years preceding the revolution. Not for nothing do they say we are as firm as a rock. The Social-Democrats have formed a proletarian party which will not lose heart at the failure of the first armed onslaught, will not lose its head, and will not be carried away by adventures. That party is marching towards socialism, without binding itself or its future with the issue of any particular period of bourgeois revolutions. Precisely for that reason it is also free from the weak sides of bourgeois revolutions.. And that proletarian party is marching to victory."
These words of Vladimir Ilyich's expressed thoughts that dominated the whole of his life at the time. At the moment of defeat he was thinking of the proletariat's sweeping victories. He talked about this during our evening walks along the shore of Lake Geneva.
Adoratsky, who was deported from Russia in 1906 and went back at the beginning of 1908, was still in Geneva when we arrived. He recalls the talks he had with Ilyich concerning the character of the next revolution and that this revolution was bound to place the power in the hands of the proletariat. Adoratsky's reminiscences fully dovetail with the spirit of the article mentioned above and with everything else that Ilyich said at the time. That the defeat of the proletariat was merely a temporary setback Ilyich never for a moment doubted.
Adoratsky also recalls that Vladimir Ilyich made him "write a full account of the events of 1905 and the October days, with special reference to the lessons to be drawn from such questions as the arming of the workers, the organization of fighting squads, the organization of the uprising and the seizure of power."
Vladimir Ilyich held that the experience of the revolution should be studied very carefully, as this experience would come in useful. He got hold of every participant in the recent struggle and had long talks with him. He considered that it was the task of the Russian working class "to safeguard the traditions of the revolutionary struggle, which the intelligentsia and the petty bourgeoisie were hastening to renounce; to develop and strengthen these traditions, inculcate them into the minds of the broad masses of the people, and sustain them for the next inevitable upswing of the democratic movement."
The workers themselves," he wrote, "are pursuing this line spontaneously. They lived through the great struggle of October and December too passionately; they saw only too clearly that their conditions could change only as a result of this direct revolutionary struggle. They say now, or at least they feel like that mill worker, who in a letter to his trade-union paper declared: 'The bosses have robbed us of our gains, the foremen are bullying us again the way they did before; but you wait, we'll have another 1905.'
"Wait, we'll have another 1905. That is how the workers look at it. To the workers that year of struggle was an example of what to do. To the intelligentsia and the renegade petty bourgeois it was a 'mad year,' an example of what not to do. To the proletariat, the study and critical assimilation of the experience of the revolution means learning to apply the methods of struggle of that time more effectually, learning to convert that October strike movement and December armed struggle into something broader, more concentrated and more class-conscious."
Ilyich saw the years ahead as years of preparation for a new onslaught.
The "respite" in the revolutionary struggle had to be used for the purpose of deepening its content still more.
In the first place a line of struggle adapted to the conditions of reaction had to be worked out. It was necessary to plan the Party's switch over to underground activities while enabling it at the same time to make use of legal facilities and keep the Duma forum as a means of speaking to the broad masses of the workers and peasants. Ilyich noticed a tendency among many Bolsheviks, the so-called Otzovists, to simplify the problem; in their anxiety at all cost to preserve the forms of struggle that had proved expedient when the tide of the revolution was at its highest, they were actually quitting the struggle in face of the difficult conditions created by the reaction, withdrawing in face of the difficulties of adapting the work to the new conditions. Ilyich qualified Otzovism as Liquidationism from the Left. An avowed Otzovist was Alexinsky. When he returned to Geneva relations between him and Ilyich quickly deteriorated. Ilyich had to deal with him on quite a number of questions, and the man's self-opinionated narrow-mindedness repelled him more than ever. The fact that the Duma, even under the reaction, could be used as a medium of contact with the broad masses of the workers and peasants, did not interest Alexinsky in the least. All the same he could not use this rostrum any more since the Second Duma had been dissolved. The self-centred piggishness of the man stood out in glaring relief against the Geneva background, and yet he was still considered a Bolshevik at the time. I remember the following incident. I was walking down the Rue Carouge one day (the "Caruzhka," as we called it, had long been a Russian emigrant centre), when I saw two Bundists standing in the middle of the pavement with a bewildered air. Together with Alexinsky, they constituted a committee elected for editing the minutes of the London Congress (these minutes first came out in Geneva in 1908). After an argument about some formulation, Alexinsky had begun to shout, then had snatched up all the papers from the table and run away. I looked round and saw his short figure turning the corner in the distance. He was striding along swiftly with his head proudly raised and a batch of huge files under his arms. It was not even funny.
It was not a matter of Alexinsky alone, though. Obviously, the former unity among the Bolshevik group was lacking and a split threatened, a split with Bogdanov in the first place.
A volume entitled Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism appeared in Russia containing essays by Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, Bazarov, Suvorov, Berman, Yushkevich and Gelfand. These Studies were an attempt to revise the materialist philosophy, the Marxist materialist conception of the development of humanity, the conception of the class struggle.
The new philosophy was a loophole for a hodgepodge of mysticism. Decadent moods among the intelligentsia during the years of reaction were favourable to the spread of revisionism. Obviously the line had to be drawn.
Ilyich had always been interested in questions of philosophy. He had studied it closely in exile, was familiar with everything that Marx, Engels and Plekhanov had written in that field. He had studied Hegel, Feuerbach and Kant. While still in exile in Siberia he had had heated discussions with comrades who inclined towards Kant, he followed all that was written on the subject in the Neue Zeit, and was on the whole fairly well-grounded in philosophy.
The story of his differences with Bogdanov was told by Ilyich in his letter of February 25 to Gorky. Ilyich had read Bogdanov's book Fundamentals of the Historical Conception of Nature in Siberian exile, but Bogdanov's position at the time had been a stage in his transition to his later philosophic views. In 1903, when Ilyich was working with Plekhanov, the latter had often criticized Bogdanov for his philosophic opinions. Bogdanov's book Empiriomonism appeared in 1904, and Ilyich told Bogdanov outright that he considered Plekhanov's view right and not his, Bogdanov's.
"In the summer and autumn of 1904 Bogdanov and I came to terms as Bolsheviks," Ilyich wrote to Gorky, "and concluded that tacit bloc tacitly ruling out philosophy as neutral ground, which existed throughout the revolution and enabled us to jointly carry out the tactics of revolutionary Social-Democracy (=Bolshevism), tactics, which, I am profoundly convinced, were the only correct ones to adopt.
"There was little time for philosophy at the height of the revolution. Bogdanov wrote another thing in prison at the beginning of 1906 – Part III of his Empiriomonism, I believe. He presented me with a copy of it in the summer of 1906 and I sat down to make a careful study of it. After reading it I was furious. It became clearer to me than ever before that he was taking an absolutely wrong non-Marxist line. I wrote him then a 'declaration of love' – a little letter on philosophy running into three notebooks. I explained to him there that I was, of course, just an ordinary Marxist in philosophy, and that it was his clear, popularly and splendidly written works that had definitely convinced me that he was essentially wrong and Plekhanov right. I showed those note-books to some friends (Lunacharsky among them) and was going to have them published under the title Notes of art Ordinary Marxist on Philosophy, but did not do so. I am sorry now that I did not publish them immediately.
"Now the Studies in the Philosophy of Marxism has appeared. I have read all the articles except Suvorov's (which I am reading now), and every article made me positively furious. I would rather be drawn and quartered than agree to cooperate with a publication or body which preaches this sort of thing.
"I was tempted to take up again the Notes of an Ordinary Marxist on Philosophy and I started to write them, but in the opinions I expressed to Bogdanov in the course of reading the Studies I was, of course, blunt and outspoken."
That is how Vladimir Ilyich described the affair to Gorky.
At the time the first number of Proletary published abroad made its appearance (February 13, 1908), the relations between Ilyich and Bogdanov were strained to the utmost.
At the end of March Ilyich had been of the opinion that philosophical disputes could and should be detached from Political groupings within the Bolshevik section. He believed that such disputes in the section would show better than anything else that Bogdanov's philosophy could not be put on the same level as Bolshevism.
It grew clearer every day, however, that the Bolshevik group would soon fall apart.
During that difficult time Ilyich became more friendly than ever with Innokenty (Dubrovinsky).
Up to 1905 we had known Innokenty only by hearsay. Uncle (Lydia Knipovich), who had met him in exile in Astrakhan, had spoken favourably of him. The Samara comrades (the Krzhizhanovskys) had praised him highly, too, but we had never met him. We had not corresponded with him either. Only once, after the Second Congress of the Party, when the squabble with the Mensheviks flared up, did we receive a letter from him in which he wrote about the importance of preserving Party unity. Afterwards he was a member of the conciliatory Central Committee and was arrested with the other C.C. members at Leonid Andreyev's flat.
In 1905 Ilyich saw Innokenty at work. He saw how utterly devoted Innokenty was to the revolutionary cause, how he undertook the most dangerous and difficult jobs – a fact that accounts for his having been unable to attend a single Party congress; he always got arrested just before the congress was held. Ilyich saw what a resolute fighter Innokenty was – he had taken part in the Moscow uprising, and had been in Kronstadt during the rising there. Innokenty was not a literary man. He spoke at meetings of workers, at the factories, and his speeches inspired the workers in their struggle. No one wrote those speeches down, of course. Ilyich thought a lot of Innokenty for his wholehearted devotion to the cause and was very glad when he arrived in Geneva. They had much in common to draw them together. Both attached tremendous importance to the Party and considered it necessary to wage a determined struggle against the Liquidators, who argued that the illegal Party should be dissolved because it only hindered the work. Both had a very high opinion of Plekhanov, and were glad that he had not sided with the Liquidators. Both held that Plekhanov was right in the philosophic field, that it was to dissociate definitely from Bogdanov on philosophic issues, and that the fight on the philosophic front had now assumed particular importance. Ilyich saw that there was no one so quick to understand him as Innokenty was. Innokenty used to have his meals with us, and after dinner they would sit for a long time discussing the plans of work and the situation that had arisen. In the evenings they would meet in the Cafe Landolt to continue their discussions. Ilyich was so "drunk with philosophy," as he called it, that he infected Innokenty with it. All this tended to draw them still closer together. Ilyich became strongly attached to Inok (Innokenty) at the time.
They were difficult times. In Russia the organizations were going to pieces. The police, with the aid of agent provocateurs, had arrested the leading Party workers. Big meetings and conferences became impossible. It was not so easy for people, who had only recently been in the eye of the public, to go underground. In the spring (April-May) Kamenev and Warski (a Polish Social-Democrat and intimate friend of Dzerzhinsky, Tyszka and Rosa Luxemburg) were arrested in the street. A few days later Zinoviev, and then N. A. Rozhkov (a Bolshevik, member of our C.C.) were arrested, too, in the street. The masses withdrew into themselves. They wanted to think things over, try to understand what had happened; agitation of a general kind had palled and no longer satisfied anyone. People readily joined the study-circles, but there was no one to take charge of them. These moods provided a favourable soil for Otzovism. Left without the leadership of the Party organization, acting on their own apart from and independently of the main mass struggle, the fighting squads degenerated, and Innokenty was obliged to handle many a difficult case which had arisen in consequence.
Gorky invited Ilyich to Capri (where Bogdanov, Bazarov and others were living at the time) in order to come to a general agreement, but Ilyich did not want to go – he had a presentiment that no understanding was possible. In his letter of April 16 to Gorky he wrote:
"My going is useless and harmful. I cannot and will not have anything to do with people who have set out to preach a union of scientific socialism and religion. The days of copy-book controversy have passed. There is nothing to argue about, and it's silly to upset one's nerves for nothing."
Yielding to Gorky's urgent requests, however, Ilyich did go to Capri in May, but he spent only a couple of days there. The visit, of course, brought no conciliation with Bogdanov's philosophical views. Ilyich afterwards related how he had told Bogdanov and Bazarov – "I'm afraid we'll have to separate for two or three years," and how Maria Fyodorovna, Gorky's wife, had laughingly called him to order.
Gorky's place was filled with a crowd of noisy bustling people playing chess or boating. Ilyich did not have very much to say about this trip. He spoke mostly about the beautiful scenery, the sea, and the local wine, but was reticent about the talk on painful subjects that had taken place there.
Ilyich took up the study of philosophy again.
This is how he describes the situation in a letter to Vorovsky which he wrote in the summer of 1908. Vorovsky was a comrade he had worked with on Vperyod and during the Revolution of 1905. He lived in Odessa at the time.
"My dear friend,
"Thanks for your letter. Both your 'suspicions' are wrong. I was not fretting, but the situation here is a difficult one. We are heading for a break with Bogdanov The real reason is that he has taken offence at the sharp criticism of his papers (by no means on the editorial board) on philosophy. Bogdanov now is trying to find points of difference. He has dragged out the boycott theme again together with Alexinsky, who is kicking up the devil of a row, so much so that I have been obliged to break off all relations with him.
"They are building up a split on empiriomonistic-boycottist grounds. Things are quickly coming to a head. A fight at the next conference is unavoidable. A split is highly probable. I will leave the group as soon as the line of 'Left' and true 'boycottism' gains the upper hand. I asked you to come because I thought your speedy arrival would help to keep them quiet. We absolutely count on you attending the conference in August, New Style. You must arrange it in such a way that you can come out. We shall send money for the journey for all the Bolsheviks. Pass the slogan down to the local organizations that mandates should be given only to local and actual Party workers. We ask you earnestly to write for our paper. We can pay now for articles, and will pay regularly. Sincerely yours."
"Do you know a publisher who would undertake to publish what I am now writing on philosophy?"
At that time the Bolsheviks were well provided with funds.
Twenty-three-year-old Nikolai Schmidt, a nephew of Morozov and owner of a furniture factory in Moscow (Presnya District), went over to the workers in 1905 and became a Bolshevik. He provided money for Novaya Zhizn and for the purchase of weapons, and became a close friend of the workers. The police called his factory a "devil's nest." The factory played an important part during the Moscow uprising. Schmidt was arrested and brutally treated in prison. They took him to see what they had done to his factory, showed him the murdered workers, and finally killed him in prison. Before he died he managed to let his friends outside know that he was bequeathing his property to the Bolsheviks.
His younger sister, Elizaveta Schmidt, decided to give her share of the inheritance to the Bolsheviks. As she was not yet of age, however, a fictitious marriage had to be arranged so that she could dispose of her money at her own discretion. She went through a form of marriage with Ignatyev, a member of the fighting squad who had managed to keep on a legal footing, and she could now dispose of her legacy, for which the consent of her husband was needed. Actually, Elizaveta was the wife of another Bolshevik, Victor Taratuta. The fictitious marriage enabled her to obtain the legacy immediately and hand the money over to the Bolsheviks. That explains why Ilyich wrote so confidently about Proletary now being able to pay for contributions and money being sent to the delegates for the journey.
Victor Taratuta came to Geneva in the summer, and gave a hand in business matters. He conducted the correspondence with other foreign centres in the capacity of secretary of the Foreign Bureau of the Central Committee.
Contacts with Russia were gradually restored and correspondence resumed, but I still had a lot of free time on my hands. It looked as if we would have to stay on abroad for a long time yet, and I decided to tackle French in real earnest so as to be able to take part in the work of the local Social Democratic Party. I took a course in French arranged in the summer for foreign teachers of French at the Geneva University. I studied the methods of foreign teachers, and learned Swiss efficiency as well as the French language.
Tired out by work on his book on philosophy, Ilyich would take my French grammars and books dealing with the history of the language and the study of its idiom, and read them for hours, lying in bed, until his nerves, unstrung by philosophic disputes, relaxed again. I also began to study the system of school training in Geneva. I realized for the first time what a bourgeois school "for the people" was. saw excellent buildings with lofty windows in which the children of workers were trained to be docile slaves. I saw the school-masters in one and the same classroom boxing the ears of workers' children and never touching the children of the rich. I saw how every child's mind was stifled of independent thought, how all learning was taught by cramming, and how at every step the worship of power and wealth was inculcated in the children. I never imagined that anything of the kind could exist in a democratic country. I shared my impressions with Ilyich, and he would hear me out attentively.
During our first emigration (up to 1905), when Ilyich observed life abroad, it was the labour movement that claimed his chief attention; he was interested most of all in workers meetings, demonstrations, etc. Up to the time Ilyich left the country in 1901 we had had nothing of the kind in Russia. Now, after the Revolution of 1905, after having experienced the mighty upsurge of the workers' movement in Russia, after the struggle between the parties, the experience of the Duma, and especially after the appearance of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, he still took an interest in the forms of the labour movement abroad, but was particularly interested in seeing what a bourgeois democratic republic was in real life, what role the masses of the workers played in it, how great their influence in it was, and how great the influence of other parties.
I particularly remember the tone of mingled astonishment and scorn in which Ilyich repeated the words of a Swiss M.P. who, in connection with the arrest of Semashko, had said that their republic had existed for hundreds of years and could not tolerate any encroachment on the rights or property.
"The struggle for a democratic republic" was a point in our programme at the time. Ilyich now visualized the bourgeois democratic republic more vividly than ever as something more subtle than tsarism, but nevertheless an instrument for enslaving the working masses. The whole political structure in a democratic republic tended to imbue all social life with the bourgeois spirit.
I think that if Ilyich had not lived through the Revolution of 1905 and his second period of emigration, he would not have been able to write his book The State and Revolution.
The controversy on philosophic questions called for the speedy publication of the book on philosophy which Ilvich had started. He needed some material which he could not get in Geneva. Besides, the squabbling that was such a marked feature of life among the political emigrants, was a great hindrance to his work. Ilyich therefore decided to go to London to work in the British Museum and finish his book there.
In his absence, a lecture by Lunacharsky was announced in Geneva. Innokenty attended and took part in the debate. Ilyich had sent him the theses, to which Innokenty had made some amendments. He was very nervous before lecture day, and sat at our place all day long with books all round him, making notes. He spoke well, and declared in his own name and Lenin's that Bolshevism had nothing in common with the philosophical trend of Bogdanov (empiriomonism), that he and Lenin advocated dialectic materialism and sided with Plekhanov.
Although the paper was read by Lunacharsky, the principal advocate of empirio-criticism at the meeting was Bogdanov. He made a violent attack on Innokenty. He knew Innokenty well, knew that Innokenty stood for a straightforward open fight on the philosophical front, knew what a strong sense of revolutionary honour he possessed, and he went out of his way to wound that feeling. Referring to the lecturer, he said: "A knight rode forth in a garland of roses, but he was stabbed in the back." Innokenty was not put out by this thrust, of course. He gave Ilyich, on his return from London, a full account of the lecture.
Ilyich was pleased with his trip to London, where he had succeeded in collecting the necessary material and working it up.
On August 24, shortly after Ilyich's return, a plenary meeting of the Central Committee was held. It was decided at the meeting to hasten the convocation of a Party conference. Innokenty went to Russia to organize the conference. By that time Liquidationism among the Mensheviks had gained considerable ground. The Liquidators were out to dissolve the Party and its illegal organization, which in their opinion only led to failures and arrests. They wanted to pursue a course of purely legal activities in the trade unions and various other societies. In view of the prevailing reaction this meant complete rejection of all revolutionary activity, rejection of leadership, the surrender of all positions. On the other hand, the Ultimatumists and Otzovists in the ranks of the Bolshevik group went to the other extreme: they were opposed to working not only in the Duma but also in cultural and educational organizations, clubs, schools, legal trade unions and workers' insurance societies. They withdrew completely from wide activity among the masses, and abandoned the leadership of them.
Innokenty and Ilyich often discussed the necessity of combining Party leadership (for which purpose the illegal Party machinery had to be retained at all costs) with broad work among the masses. Preparations for the Party conference were the order of the day. The elections of delegates to it would have to be utilized for launching an extensive campaign against Liquidationism from the Right and Left.
It was to carry out this plan that Innokenty went to Russia. He took up residence in St. Petersburg, where he organized the work of the C.C,. Five, consisting of himself, Meshkovsky (Goldenberg), the Menshevik M. I. Broido, a representative of the Bund and a Lettish representative. He also organized a bureau of which Golubkov, afterwards a delegate of the C.C. Bureau to the Party conference, was a member. Innokenty himself did not attend the conference, which was held in December 1908 – about a fortnight before the conference was to take place he was arrested at the Warsaw Railway Station just as he was about to leave the country, and was exiled to the Vologda Gubernia.
The police happened to be very well informed about Innokenty's mission in Russia. There is no doubt that this was the handiwork of Zhitomirsky. Another person drafted in to help with the work of the C.C. Bureau which Innokenty had organized was Lucy, the wife of Serov, deputy to the Second Duma. This Lucy soon turned out to be an agent provocateur too.
Ilyich finished his book on philosophy in September, after Innokenty had left for Russia. It was not published until much later – in May 1909.
We had settled down in Geneva for good.
My mother arrived and we set up house on our own in a small apartment. On the surface our life dropped into a smooth rut. Maria Ilyinichna arrived from Russia too; other comrades began to arrive. I remember Skrypnik arriving – he was studying cooperative problems at the time. I went with him as interpreter to the Swiss M.P. Sigg (a terrible opportunist); Skrypnik discussed the cooperative movement with him, but these talks yielded little results, for Sigg and Skrypnik approached the question from different angles. Skrypnik's approach was that of a revolutionary, whereas to Sigg the cooperative movement was nothing but well-organized "shopkeeping."
Zinoviev and Lilina arrived from Russia. A baby boy had been born to them, and they settled down to build a nest. Kamenev and his family arrived. After St. Petersburg, everyone found life dull and nostalgic in this quiet little backwood of Geneva. Everyone longed to move to some big centre. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries had already moved to Paris. Ilyich was in two minds. One advantage of Geneva was that life there was cheaper, and provided better facilities for studying. Then Lyadov and Zhitomirsky arrived from Paris and urged us to go there. Various arguments were used: 1. We would be able to take part in the French movement; 2. Paris was a big city, and we were less likely to be spied on there. The latter argument clinched the matter for Ilyich. Late in the autumn we began preparing to leave for Paris.
In Paris we spent the most trying years of our emigrant life abroad. Ilyich always looked back upon them with a heavy feeling. He would often remark later: "What the devil made us go to Paris!" It was not the devil who drove us there but the need to swing into the struggle for Marxism, the struggle for Leninism and the Party in that centre of the Russian political emigrants such as Paris was during those years of reaction.