V. I.   Lenin

The Economic Content of Narodism and the Criticism of it in Mr. Struve’s Book

(The Reflection of Marxism in Bourgeois Literature)


Chapter II

A Criticism of Narodnik Sociology

The “essence” of Narodism, its “main idea,” according to the author, lies in the “theory of Russia’s exceptional economic development.” This theory, as he puts it, has “two main sources: 1) a definite doctrine of the role of the individual in the historical process, and 2) a direct conviction that the Russian people possess a specific national character and spirit and a special historical destiny” (2). In a footnote to this passage the author declares that “Narodism is characterised by quite definite social ideals,”[1] and adds that he gives the economic world outlook of the Narodniks later on in the book.

This description of the essence of Narodism, it seems to me, requires some correction. It is too abstract and idealistic; it indicates the prevailing theoretical ideas of Narodism, but does not indicate either its “essence” or its “source.” It remains absolutely unclear why the ideals indicated were combined with a belief in an exceptional Russian development and with a specific doctrine of the role of the individual, and why these theories became “the most influential” trend in our social thought. If, when speaking of “the sociological   ideas of Narodism” (the title of the first chapter), the author was unable to confine himself to purely sociological questions (method in sociology), but also dealt with the Narodniks’ views on Russian economic reality, he should have explained to us the essence of these views. Yet in the footnote referred to this is only half accomplished. The essence of Narodism is that it represents the producers’ interests from the standpoint of the small producer, the petty bourgeois. In his German article on Mr. N.—on’s book (Sozialpolitisches Centralblatt, 1893, No. 1), Mr. Struve called Narodism “national socialism” (Russkoye Bogatstvo, 1893, No. 12, p. 185). Instead of “national” he should have said “peasant” in reference to the old Russian Narodism, and “petty bourgeois” in reference to contemporary Russian Narodism. The “source” of Narodism lies in the predominance of the class of small producers in post-Reform capitalist Russia.

This description requires explanation. I use the expression “petty bourgeois” not in the ordinary, but in the political-economic sense. A small producer, operating under a system of commodity economy—these are the two features of the concept “petty bourgeois,” Kleinbürger, or what is the same thing, the Russian meshchanin. It thus includes both the peasant and the handicraftsman, whom the Narodniks always placed on the same footing—and quite rightly, for they are both producers, they both work for the market, and differ only in the degree of development of commodity economy. Further, I make a distinction between the old[2] and contemporary Narodism, on the grounds that the former was to some extent a well-knit doctrine evolved in a period when capitalism was still very feebly developed in Russia, when nothing of the petty-bourgeois character of peasant economy had yet been revealed, when the practical side of the doctrine was purely utopian, and when the Narodniks gave liberal “society” a wide berth and “went among the people.” It is different now: Russia’s capitalist path of development is no longer denied by anybody, the break-up of the   countryside is an undoubted fact. Of the Narodniks’ well-knit doctrine, with its childish faith in the “village community,” nothing but rags and tatters remain. From the practical aspect, utopia has been replaced by a quite un-utopian programme of petty-bourgeois “progressive” measures, and only pompous phrases remind us of the historical connection between these paltry compromises and the dreams of better and exceptional paths for the fatherland. In place of aloofness from liberal society we observe a touching intimacy with it. Now it is this change that compels us to distinguish between the ideology of the peasantry and the ideology of the petty bourgeoisie.

It seemed all the more necessary to make this correction concerning the real content of Narodism since Mr. Struve’s aforementioned abstractness of exposition is his fundamental defect. That is the first point. And secondly, “certain basic” tenets of the doctrine by which Mr. Struve is not bound demand that social ideas be reduced to social-economic relations.

And we shall now endeavour to show that unless this is done it is impossible to understand even the purely theoretical ideas of Narodism, such as the question of method in sociology.

Having pointed out that the Narodnik doctrine of a special method in sociology is best expounded by Mr. Mirtov[12] and Mr. Mikhailovsky, Mr. Struve goes on to describe this doctrine as “subjective idealism,” and in corroboration quotes from the works of the authors mentioned a number of passages on which it is worth while dwelling.

Both take as a corner-stone the thesis that history was made by “solitary fighting individuals.” “Individuals make history” (Mirtov). Mr. Mikhailovsky is even more explicit: “The living individual, with all his thoughts and feelings, becomes a history-maker on his own responsibility. He, and not some mysterious force, sets aims in history and moves events towards them through a lane of obstacles placed before him by the elemental forces of nature and of historical conditions” (8). This thesis that history is made by individuals is absolutely meaningless from the theoretical standpoint. All history consists of the actions of individuals, and it is the task of social science to explain these actions,   so that the reference to “the right of interfering in the course of events” (Mr. Mikhailovsky’s words, quoted by Mr. Struve on p. 8), is but empty tautology. This is very clearly revealed in Mr. Mikhailovsky’s last effusion. The living individual, he argues, moves events through a lane of obstacles placed by the elemental forces of historical conditions. And what do these “historical conditions” consist of? According to the author’s logic, they consist in their turn of the actions of other “living individuals.” A profound philosophy of history, is it not? The living individual moves events through a line of obstacles placed by other living individuals! And why are the actions of some living individuals called elemental, while of the actions of others it is said that they “move events” towards previously set aims? It is obvious that to search for any theoretical meaning here would be an almost hopeless undertaking. The fact of the matter is that the historical conditions which provided our subjectivists with material for the “theory” consisted (as they still consist) of antagonistic relations and gave rise to the expropriation of the producer. Unable to understand these antagonistic relations, unable to find in these latter the social elements with which the “solitary individuals” could join forces, the subjectivists confined themselves to concocting theories which consoled the “solitary” individuals with the statement that history is made by “living individuals.” The famous “subjective method in sociology” expresses nothing, absolutely nothing, but good intentions and bad understanding. Mr. Mikhailovsky’s further reasoning, as quoted by the author, is striking confirmation of this.

European life, Mr. Mikhailovsky says, “took shape just as senselessly and immorally as a river flows or a tree grows in nature. A river flows along the line of least resistance, washes away whatever it can, even if it be a diamond mine, and flows around whatever it cannot wash away, even if it be a dunghill. Sluices, dams, outlet and inlet canals are built on the initiative of human reason and sentiment. Such reason and sentiment, it may be said, were absent (?—P. S.) when the present economic system in Europe arose. They were in an embryonic state, and their influence on the natural elemental course of things was insignificant” (9).

Mr. Struve inserts a mark of interrogation, but what   perplexes us is why he inserts it only after one word and not after all of them, so meaningless is this whole effusion! What nonsense it is to say that reason and sentiment were absent when capitalism arose! Of what does capitalism consist if not of definite relations between people—and people without reason and sentiments are so far unknown. And what an untruth it is to say that only “insignificant” influence of the reason and sentiment of “individuals living” at that time was brought to bear on the “course of things”! Quite the contrary. People in sound mind and judgement then erected extremely well-made sluices and dams, which forced the refractory peasant into the mainstream of capitalist exploitation; they created extremely artful by-pass channels of political and financial measures through which swept capitalist accumulation and capitalist expropriation that were not content with the action of economic laws alone. In a word, all Mr. Mikhailovsky’s statements here quoted are so preposterously false that they cannot be attributed to theoretical mistakes alone. They are entirely due to the author’s petty-bourgeois standpoint. Capitalism has already revealed its tendencies quite clearly; it has developed its inherent antagonism to the full; the contradiction of interests has already begun to assume definite forms, and is even reflected in Russian legislation, but the small producer stands apart from this struggle. He is still tied to the old bourgeois society by his tiny farm, and for that reason, though he is oppressed by the capitalist system, he is unable to understand the real causes of his oppression and consoles himself with illusions about the whole trouble lying in the fact that the reason and sentiment of people are still in an “embryonic state.”

Of course,” continues the ideologist of this petty bourgeois, “people have always endeavoured to influence the course of things in one way or another.”

But “the course of things” consists of nothing else but actions and “influences” of people, and so this again is an empty phrase.

But they were guided in this by the promptings of the most meagre experience and by the grossest interests; and it is obvious that it was very rarely and only by chance that these guides could indicate the path suggested by modern science and modern moral ideas” (9).

This is a petty-bourgeois morality, which condemns “grossness of interests” because it is unable to connect its “ideals” with any immediate interests—it is a petty-bourgeois way of shutting one’s eyes to the split which has already taken place and which is clearly reflected both in modern science and in modern moral ideas.

Naturally, the peculiarities of Mr. Mikhailovsky’s reasoning remain unchanged even when he passes to Russia. He “welcomes with all his heart” the equally strange stories of a Mr. Yakovlev that Russia is a tabula rasa, that she can begin from the beginning, avoid the mistakes of other countries, and so on and so forth. And all this is said in the full knowledge that this tabula rasa still affords a very firm foothold for representatives of the “old-nobility” system, with its large-scale landed proprietorship and tremendous political privileges, and that it provides the basis for the rapid development of capitalism, with all its diverse “progress.” The petty bourgeois faint-heartedly closes his eyes to these facts and flies to the realm of innocent day dreams, such as that “we are beginning to live, now that science has already mastered certain truths and gained some prestige.”

And so, the class origin of the sociological ideas of Narodism is already clear from those arguments of Mr. Mikhailovsky’s which Mr. Struve quotes.

We must object to a remark which Mr. Struve directs against Mr. Mikhailovsky. “According to his view,” the author says, “there are no insurmountable historical tendencies which, as such, should serve on the one hand as a starting-point, and on the other as unavoidable bounds to the purposeful activity of individuals and social groups” (11).

That is the language of an objectivist, and not of a Marxist (materialist). Between these conceptions (systems of views) there is a difference, which should be dwelt on, since an incomplete grasp of this difference is one of the fundamental defects of Mr. Struve’s book and manifests itself in the majority of his arguments.

The objectivist speaks of the necessity of a given historical process; the materialist gives an exact picture of the given social-economic formation and of the antagonistic relations to which it gives rise. When demonstrating the necessity   for a given series of facts, the objectivist always runs the risk of becoming an apologist for these facts: the materialist discloses the class contradictions and in so doing defines his standpoint. The objectivist speaks of “insurmountable historical tendencies”; the materialist speaks of the class which “directs” the given economic system, giving rise to such and such forms of counteraction by other classes. Thus, on the one hand, the materialist is more consistent than the objectivist, and gives profounder and fuller effect to his objectivism. He does not limit himself to speaking of the necessity of a process, but ascertains exactly what social-economic formation gives the process its content, exactly what class determines this necessity. In the present case, for example, the materialist would not content himself with stating the “insurmountable historical tendencies,” but would point to the existence of certain classes, which determine the content of the given system and preclude the possibility of any solution except by the action of the producers themselves. On the other hand, materialism includes partisanship, so to speak, and enjoins the direct and open adoption of the standpoint of a definite social group in any assessment of events.[3]

From Mr. Mikhailovsky the author passes to Mr. Yuzhakov, who represents nothing independent or interesting. Mr. Struve quite justly describes his sociological arguments as “florid language” “devoid of all meaning.” It is worth dwelling on an extremely characteristic (for Narodism in general) difference between Mr. Yuzhakov and Mr. Mikhailovsky. Mr. Struve notes this difference by calling Mr. Yuzhakov a “nationalist,” whereas, he says, “all nationalism has always been absolutely alien” to Mr. Mikhailovsky, for whom, as he himself says, “the question of the people’s truth embraces not only the Russian people but the labouring folk of the whole civilised world.” It seems to me that behind this difference there is also visible the reflection of the dual position of the small producer, who is a progressive element inasmuch as he begins, to use Mr. Yuzhakov’s unconsciously   apt expression, “to differentiate from society,” and a reactionary element inasmuch as he fights to preserve his position as a small proprietor and strives to retard economic development. That is why Russian Narodism, too, is able to combine progressive, democratic features in its doctrine with the reactionary features which evoke the sympathy of Moskovskiye Vedomosti. As to the latter features, it would be difficult, it seems to me, to express them more graphically than was done by Mr. Yuzhakov in the following passage, quoted by Mr. Struve.

Only the peasantry has always and everywhere been the vehicle of the pure idea of labour. Apparently, this same idea has been brought into the arena of modern history by the so-called fourth estate, the urban proletariat. But the substance of the idea has undergone such considerable changes that the peasant would hardly recognise it as the customary basis of his way of life. The right to work, instead of the sacred duty of working, the duty of earning one’s bread by the sweat of one’s brow” [so that is what was concealed behind the “pure idea of labour”! The purely feudal idea of the “duty” of the peasant to earn bread ... so as to perform his services? This “sacred” duty is preached to the poor beast of burden that is browbeaten and crushed by it!![4] ]; “then, the separation and rewarding of labour, all this agitation about a fair reward for labour, as though labour does not create its own reward in its fruits”; [“What is this?” Mr. Struve asks, “sancta simplicitas, or something else?” Worse. It is the apotheosis of the docility of the labourer tied to the soil and accustomed to work for others for almost nothing]; “the differentiation of labour from life into some abstract (?!—P.S.) category depicted by so many hours of work in the factory and having no other (?!—P.S.) relation, no tie with the daily interests of the worker” [the purely petty-bourgeois cowardice of the small producer, who at times suffers very severely from the modern capitalist organisation, but who fears nothing on earth more   than a serious movement against this organisation on the part of elements who have become completely “differentiated” from every tie with it]; “finally, the absence of a settled life, a domestic hearth created by labour, the changing field of labour—all this is entirely alien to the idea of peasant labour. The labour hearth, inherited from their fathers and forefathers; labour, whose interests permeate the whole of life and build its morals—love of the soil, watered by the sweat of many generations—all this, which constitutes an inalienable and distinguishing feature of peasant life, is absolutely unknown to the proletarian working class; and, therefore, although the life of the latter is a worker’s life, it is built up on bourgeois morality (an individualist morality based on the principle of acquired right) or, at best, on abstract philosophical morality, but peasant morality has its basis in labour—in the logic of labour and its demands” (18). Here the reactionary features of the small producer appear in their pure form: his wretchedness, which induces him to believe that he is fated for ever to the “sacred duty” of being a beast of burden; his servility, “inherited from his fathers and forefathers”; his attachment to a tiny individual farm, the fear of losing which compels him to renounce even the very thought of a “fair reward” and to be an enemy of all “agitation,” and which, because of the low productivity of labour and the fact of the labouring peasant being tied to one spot, turns him into a savage and, by virtue of economic conditions alone, necessarily engenders his wretchedness and servility. The breakdown of these reactionary features must unquestionably be placed to the credit of our bourgeoisie; the progressive work of the latter consists precisely in its having severed all the ties that bound the working people to the feudal system and to feudal traditions. It replaced, and is still replacing, the medieval forms of exploitation—which were concealed by the personal relations of the lord to his vassal, of the local kulak and buyer-up to the local peasants and handicrafts men, of the patriarchal “modest and bearded millionaire” to his “lads,” and which as a result gave rise to ultra-reactionary ideas—replacing them by the exploitation of the “European type of jaunty entrepreneur,” exploitation which is impersonal, naked and unconcealed, and which therefore shatters absurd illusions and dreams. It has destroyed the old isolation   (“settled life”) of the peasant, who refused to know, and could not know, anything but his plot of land, and has begun—by socialising labour and vastly increasing its productivity—to force the producer into the arena of social life.

With respect to Mr. Yuzhakov’s argument here given, Mr. Struve says: “Thus Mr. Yuzhakov quite clearly documents the Slavophil roots of Narodism” (18); and later, summarising his exposition of the sociological ideas of Narodism, he adds that the belief in “Russia’s exceptional development” constitutes a “historical tie between Slavophilism and Narodism,” and that therefore the dispute between the Marxists and the Narodniks is “a natural continuation of the differences between Slavophilism and Westernism” (29). This latter statement, it seems to me, requires limitation. It is indisputable that the Narodniks are very much to blame for a jingoism of the lowest type (Mr. Yuzhakov, for instance). It is also indisputable that to ignore Marx’s sociological method and his presentation of questions concerning the direct producers is, to those Russian people who desire to represent the interests of these direct producers, equivalent to complete alienation from Western “civilisation.” But the essence of Narodism lies deeper, it does not lie in the doctrine of exceptional development nor in Slavophilism, but in representing the interests and ideas of the Russian small producer. This is why among the Narodniks there were writers (and they were the best of the Narodniks) who, as Mr. Struve himself admitted, had nothing in common with Slavophilism, and who even admitted that Russia had entered the same road as Western Europe. You will never understand Russian Narodism through the medium of such categories as Slavophilism and Westernism. Narodism reflected a fact in Russian life which was almost non-existent in the period of the rise of Slavophilism and Westernism, namely, the contradiction between the interests of labour and of capital. It reflected this fact through the prism of the living conditions and interests of the small producer, and therefore did so in a distorted and cowardly way, creating a theory which did not give prominence to the antagonism of social interests, but to sterile hopes in a different path of developments. And it is our duty to correct this mistake of   Narodism, to show which social group can become the real representative of the interests of the direct producers.

Let us now pass to the second chapter of Mr. Struve’s book.

The author’s plan of exposition is as follows: first he outlines the general considerations which lead us to regard materialism as the only correct method of social science; then he expounds the views of Marx and Engels; and, finally, he applies the conclusions reached to certain phenomena of Russian life. In view of the particular importance of the subject of this chapter, we shall endeavour to analyse its contents in greater detail and to note those points which provoke disagreement.

The author begins with the entirely correct contention that a theory which reduces the social process to the actions of “living individuals,” who “set themselves aims” and “move events,” is the result of a misunderstanding. Nobody, of course, ever thought of ascribing to “a social group an existence independent of the individuals forming it” (31), but the point is that “the concrete individual is a product of all past and contemporary individuals, i.e., of a social group” (31). Let us explain the author’s idea. History, Mr. Mikhailovsky argues, is made by “the living individual with all his thoughts and feelings.” Quite true. But what determines these “thoughts and feelings”? Can one seriously support the view that they arise accidentally and do not follow necessarily from the given social environment, which serves as the material, the object of the individual’s spiritual life, and is reflected in his “thoughts and feelings” positively or negatively, in the representation of the interests of one social class or another? And further, by what criteria are we to judge the real “thoughts and feelings” of real individuals? Naturally, there can be only one such criterion—the actions of these individuals. And since we are dealing only with social “thoughts and feelings,” one should add: the social actions of individuals, i.e., social facts. “When we separate the social group from the individual,” says Mr. Struve, “we understand by the former all the varied interactions between individuals which arise out of social life and acquire objective form in custom and law,   in morals and morality, in religious ideas” (32). In other words: the materialist sociologist, taking the definite social relations of people as the object of his inquiry, by that very fact also studies the real individuals from whose actions these relations are formed. The subjectivist sociologist, when he begins his argument supposedly with “living individuals,” actually begins by endowing these individuals with such “thoughts and feelings” as he considers rational (for by isolating his “individuals” from the concrete social environment he deprived himself of the possibility of studying their real thoughts and feelings), i.e., he “starts with a utopia,” as Mr. Mikhailovsky was obliged to admit.[5] And since, further, this sociologist’s own ideas of what is rational reflect (without his realising it) the given social environment, the final conclusions he draws from his argument, which seem to him a “pure” product of “modern science and modern moral ideas” in fact only reflect the standpoint and interests ... of the petty bourgeoisie.

This last point—i.e., that a special sociological theory about the role of the individual, or about the subjective method, replaces a critical, materialist inquiry by a utopia—is particularly important and, since it has been omitted by Mr. Struve, it deserves to be dwelt on a little.

Let us take as an illustration the common Narodnik argument about the handicraftsman. The Narodnik describes the pitiable condition of this handicraftsman, the miserable level of his production, the monstrous way in which he is exploited by the buyer-up, who pockets the lion’s share of the product and leaves the producer a few coppers for a 16 to 18 hour working day, and concludes that the wretched level of production and the exploitation of the handicraftsman’s labour are an ugly side of the present system. But the handicraftsman is not a wage-worker; that is a good side. The good side must be preserved and the bad side destroyed, and for this purpose handicraft artels must be organised. Here you have the complete Narodnik argument.

The Marxist argues differently. Acquaintance with the condition of an industrial pursuit evokes in him, in addition   to the question of whether it is good or bad, the question of how the industry is organised, i.e., what are the relations between the handicraftsmen in the production of the given product and why just these and no others. And he sees that this organisation is commodity production, i.e., production by separate producers, connected with one another by the market. The product of the individual producer, destined for consumption by others, can reach the consumer and give the producer the right to receive another social product only after assuming the form of money, i.e., after undergoing preliminary social evaluation, both qualitatively and quantitatively. And this evaluation takes place behind the back of the producer, through market fluctuations. These market fluctuations, which are unknown to the producer and independent of him, are bound to cause inequality among the producers, are bound to accentuate this inequality, impoverishing some and putting others in possession of money=the product of social labour. The cause of the power of the money owner, the buyer-up, is therefore clear; it is that he alone, among the handicraftsmen who live from day to day, at most from week to week, possesses money, i.e., the product of earlier social labour, which in his hands becomes capital, an instrument for appropriating the surplus product of other handicraftsmen. Hence, the Marxist concludes, under such a system of social economy the expropriation and the exploitation of the producer are absolutely inevitable, and so are the subordination of the propertyless to the propertied and the contradiction between their interests which provides the content of the scientific conception of the class struggle. And, consequently, the interests of the producer do not, in any way, lie in reconciling these contradictory elements, but, on the contrary, in developing the contradiction and in developing the consciousness of this contradiction. We see that the growth of commodity production leads to such a development of the contradiction here in Russia, too: as the market widens and production grows, merchant capital becomes industrial capital. Machine industry, by finally destroying small, isolated production (it has already been radically undermined by the buyer-up), socialises labour. The system of Plusmacherei, which in handicraft production is obscured by the apparent independence of the handicraftsman   and the apparent fortuitousness of the power of the buyer-up, now becomes clear and is fully revealed. “Labour,” which even in handicraft industry participated in “life” only by presenting the surplus product to the buyers-up, is now finally “differentiated from life” of bourgeois society. This society discards it with utter frankness, giving full fruition to its basic principle that the producer can secure the means of subsistence only when he finds an owner of money who will condescend to appropriate the surplus product of his labour. And what the handicraftsman [and his ideologist—the Narodnik] could not understand—the profound class character of the aforementioned contradiction—becomes self-evident to the producer. That is why the interests of the handicraftsman can be represented only by this advanced producer.

Let us now compare these arguments from the angle of their sociological method.

The Narodnik assures us that he is a realist. “History is made by living individuals,” and I, he declares, begin with the “feelings” of the handicraftsman, whose attitude is hostile to the present system, and with his thoughts about the creation of a better system, whereas the Marxist argues about some sort of necessity and inevitability; he is a mystic and a metaphysician.

It is true, this mystic rejoins, that history is made by “living individuals”—and I, when examining why social relations in handicraft industry have assumed such a form and no other (you have not even raised this question!), in fact examined how “living individuals” have made their history and are still making it. And I had a reliable criterion to show that I was dealing with real, “living” individuals, with real thoughts and feelings: this criterion was that their “thoughts and feelings” had already found expression in actions and had created definite social relations. True, I never say that “history is made by living individuals” (because it seems to me that this is an empty phrase), but when I investigate actual social relations and their actual development, I am in fact examining the product of the activities of living individuals. But though you talk of “living individuals,” you actually make your starting-point not the “living individual,” with the “thoughts and feelings” actually   created by his conditions of life, by the given system of relations of production, but a marionette, and stuff its head with your own “thoughts and feelings.” Naturally, such a pursuit only leads to pious dreams; life passes you by, and you pass life by.[6] But that is not all. Just see what you are stuffing into the head of this marionette, and what measures you are advocating. In recommending the artel as “the path suggested by modern science and modern moral ideas,” you did not pay attention to one little circumstance, namely, the whole organisation of our social economy. Since you did not understand that this is a capitalist economy, you did not notice that on this basis all possible artels are nothing but petty palliatives, which do not in the least remove either the concentration of the means of production, including money, in the hands of a minority (this concentration is an indisputable fact), or the complete impoverishment of the vast mass of the population—palliatives which at best will only elevate a handful of individual handicraftsmen to the ranks of the petty bourgeoisie. From an ideologist of the working people you turn into an ideologist of the petty bourgeoisie.

Let us, however, return to Mr. Struve. Having shown the emptiness of the Narodniks’ arguments regarding the “individual,” he continues: “That sociology does indeed always strive to reduce the elements of individuality to social sources is corroborated by every attempt to explain any big phase in historical evolution. When the ’historical individual’ or the ’great man’ is referred to, there is always a tendency to represent him as the ’vehicle’ of the spirit of a certain era, as the representative of his time—and his actions, his successes and failures, as a necessary result of the whole preceding course of affairs” (32). This general tendency of every attempt to explain social phenomena, i.e., to create a social science, “is clearly expressed in the doctrine that the class struggle is the basic process in social evolution. Since   the individual had been discarded, some other element had to be found. The social group proved to be such an element” (33). Mr. Struve is absolutely right when he says that the theory of the class struggle crowns, so to speak, the general endeavour of sociology to reduce “the elements of individuality to social sources.” Furthermore, the theory of the class struggle for the first time pursues this endeavour so completely and consistently as to raise sociology to the level of a science. This was achieved by the materialist definition of the concept “group.” In itself, this concept is still too indefinite and arbitrary: religious, ethnographical, political, juridical and other phenomena may also be considered as criteria distinguishing “groups.” There is no firm token by which particular “groups” in each of these spheres can be distinguished. The theory of the class struggle, however, represents a tremendous acquisition for social science for the very reason that it lays down the methods by which the individual can be reduced to the social with the utmost precision and definiteness. Firstly, this theory worked out the concept of the social-economic formation. Taking as its starting-point a fact that is fundamental to all human society, namely, the mode of procuring the means of subsistence, it connected up with this the relations between people formed under the influence of the given modes of procuring the means of subsistence, and showed that this system of relations (“relations of production,” to use Marx’s terminology) is the basis of society, which clothes itself in political and legal forms and in definite trends of social thought. According to Marx’s theory, each such system of production relations is a specific social organism, whose inception, functioning, and transition to a higher form, conversion into another social organism, are governed by specific laws. This theory applied to social science that objective, general scientific criterion of repetition which the subjectivists declared could not be applied to sociology. They argued, in fact, that owing to the tremendous complexity and variety of social phenomena they could not be studied without separating the important from the unimportant, and that such a separation could be made only from the viewpoint of “critically thinking” and “morally developed” individuals. And they thus happily succeeded in transforming social   science into a series of sermons on petty-bourgeois morality, samples of which we have seen in the case of Mr. Mikhailovsky, who philosophised about the inexpediency of history and about a path directed by “the light of science.” It was these arguments that Marx’s theory severed at the very root. The distinction between the important and the unimportant was replaced by the distinction between the economic structure of society, as the content, and the political and ideological form. The very concept of the economic structure was exactly explained by refuting the views of the earlier economists, who saw laws of nature where there is room only for the laws of a specific, historically defined system of relations of production. The subjectivists’ arguments about “society” in general, meaningless arguments that did not go beyond petty-bourgeois utopias (because even the possibility of generalising the most varied social systems into special types of social organisms was not ascertained), were replaced by an investigation of definite forms of the structure of society. Secondly, the actions of “living individuals” within the bounds of each such social-economic formation, actions infinitely varied and apparently not lending themselves to any systematisation, were generalised and reduced to the actions of groups of individuals differing from each other in the part they played in the system of production relations, in the conditions of production, and, consequently, in their conditions of life, and in the interests determined by these conditions—in a word, to the actions of classes, the struggle between which determined the development of society. This refuted the childishly naïve and purely mechanical view of history held by the subjectivists, who contented themselves with the meaningless thesis that history is made by living individuals, and who refused to examine what social conditions determine their actions, and exactly in what way. Subjectivism was replaced by the view that the social process is a process of natural history—a view without which, of course, there could be no social science. Mr. Struve very justly remarks that “ignoring the individual in sociology, or rather, removing him from sociology, is essentially a particular instance of the striving for scientific knowledge” (33), and that “individualities” exist not only in the spiritual but also in the physical world. The whole point is   that the reduction of “individualities” to certain general laws was accomplished for the physical realm long ago, while for the social realm it was firmly established only by Marx’s theory.

Another objection made by Mr. Struve to the sociological theory of the Russian subjectivists is that, in addition to all the above-mentioned arguments, “sociology cannot under any circumstances recognise what we call individuality as a primary fact, since the very concept of individuality (which is not subject to further explanation) and the fact that corresponds to it are the result of a long social process” (36). This is a very true thought, and is all the more worthy of being dwelt on because the author’s argument contains certain inaccuracies. He cites the views of Simmel, who, he declares, proved in his Social Differentiation the direct interdependence between the development of the individual and the differentiation of the group to which the individual belongs. Mr. Struve contrasts this thesis with Mr. Mikhailovsky’s theory of the inverse dependence between the development of the individual and the differentiation (“heterogeneity”) of society. “In an undifferentiated environment,” Mr. Struve objects, “the individual will be ’harmoniously integral’... in his ’homogeneity and impersonality.’ A real individual cannot be ’an aggregate of all the features inherent in the human organism in general,’ simply because such a fulness of content exceeds the powers of the real individual” (38-39). “In order that the individual may be differentiated, he must live in a differentiated environment” (39).

It is not clear from this exposition how exactly Simmel formulates the question and how he argues. But as transmitted by Mr. Struve the formulation of the question suffers from the same defect that we find in Mr. Mikhailovsky’s case. Abstract reasoning about how far the development (and well-being) of the individual depends on the differentiation of society is quite unscientific, because no correlation can be established that will suit every form of social structure. The very concepts “differentiation,” “heterogeneity,” and so on, acquire absolutely different meanings, depending on the particular social environment to which they are applied. Mr. Mikhailovsky’s fundamental error consists precisely in the abstract dogmatism of his reasoning, which endeavours   to embrace “progress” in general, instead of studying the concrete “progress” of some concrete social formation. When Mr. Struve sets his own general theses (described above) against Mr. Mikhailovsky, he repeats the latter’s mistake by abandoning the depiction and explanation of a concrete progress in the realm of nebulous and unfounded dogmas. Let us take an example: “The harmonious integrity of the individual is determined as to its content by the degree of development, i.e., differentiation of the group,” says Mr. Struve, and puts this phrase in italics. But what are we to understand here by the “differentiation” of the group? Has the abolition of serfdom accentuated or weakened this “differentiation”? Mr. Mikhailovsky answers the question in the latter sense (“What Is Progress?”); Mr. Struve would most likely answer it in the former sense, on the grounds of the increased social division of labour. The former had in mind the abolition of social-estate distinctions; the latter, the creation of economic distinctions. The term, as you see, is so indefinite that it can be stretched to cover opposite things. Another example. The transition from capitalist manufacture to large-scale machine industry may be regarded as diminution of “differentiation,” for the detailed division of labour among specialised workers ceases. Yet there can be no doubt that the conditions for the development of the individuality are far more favourable (for the worker) precisely in the latter case. The conclusion is that the very formulation of the question is incorrect. The author himself admits that there is also an antagonism between the individual and the group (to which Mr. Mikhailovsky also refers). “But life,” he adds, “is never made up of absolute contradictions: in life everything is mobile and relative, and at the same time all the separate sides are in a state of constant interaction” (39). If that is so, why was it necessary to speak of absolute interrelations between the group and the individual, interrelations having no connection with the strictly defined phase in the development of a definite social formation? Why could not the whole argument have been transferred to the concrete process of evolution of Russia? The author has made an attempt to formulate the question in this way, and had he adhered to it consistently his argument would have gained a great deal. “It was only the division of labour—mankind’s   fall from grace, according to Mr. Mikhailovsky’s doctrine—that created the conditions for the development of the ’individual’ in whose name Mr. Mikhailovsky justly protests against the modern forms of division of labour” (38). That is excellently put; only in place of “division of labour” he should have said “capitalism,” and, even more narrowly, Russian capitalism. Capitalism is progressive in its significance precisely because it has destroyed the old cramped conditions of human life that created mental stultification and prevented the producers from taking their destinies into their own hands. The tremendous development of trade relations and world exchange and the constant migrations of vast masses of the population have shattered the age-old fetters of the tribe, family and territorial community, and created that variety of development, that “variety of talents and wealth of social relationships,”[7] which plays so great a part in the modern history of the West. In Russia this process has been fully manifested in the post-Reform era, when the ancient forms of labour very rapidly collapsed and prime place was assumed by the purchase and sale of labour-power, which tore the peasant from the patriarchal, semi-feudal family, from the stupefying conditions of village life and replaced the semi-feudal forms of appropriation of surplus-value by purely capitalist forms. This economic process has been reflected in the social sphere by a “general heightening of the sense of individuality,” by the middle-class intellectuals squeezing the landlord class out of “society,” by a heated literary war against senseless medieval restrictions on the individual, and so on. The Narodniks will probably not deny that it was post-Reform Russia which produced this heightened sense of individuality, of personal dignity. But they do not ask themselves what material conditions led to this. Nothing of the kind, of course, could have happened under serfdom. And so the Narodnik welcomes the “emancipatory” Reform, never noticing that he is guilty of the same short-sighted optimism as the bourgeois historians of whom Marx wrote that they regarded the peasant Reform through the clair-obscure of “emancipation,” without observing that this “emancipation” only consisted   in the replacement of one form by another, the replacement of the feudal surplus product by bourgeois surplus-value. Exactly the same thing has happened in our country. The “old-nobility” economy, by tying men to their localities and dividing the population into handfuls of subjects of individual lords, brought about the suppression of the individual. And then capitalism freed him of all feudal fetters, made him independent in respect of the market, made him a commodity owner (and as such the equal of all other commodity owners), and thus heightened his sense of individuality. If the Narodnik gentlemen are filled with pharisaic horror when they hear talk of the progressive character of Russian capitalism, it is only because they do not reflect on the material conditions which make for those “benefits of progress” that mark post-Reform Russia. When Mr. Mikhailovsky begins his “sociology” with the “individual” who protests against Russian capitalism as an accidental and temporary deviation of Russia from the right path, he defeats his own purpose because he does not realise that it was capitalism alone that created the conditions which made possible this protest of the individual. From this example we see once again the changes needed in Mr. Struve’s arguments. The question should have been made entirely one of Russian realities, of ascertaining what actually exists and why it is so and not otherwise. It was not for nothing that the Narodniks based their whole sociology not on an analysis of reality but on arguments about what “might be”; they could not help seeing that reality was mercilessly destroying their illusions.

The author concludes his examination of the theory of “individuals” with the following formulation: “To sociology, the individual is a function of the environment,” “the individual is here a formal concept, whose content is supplied by an investigation of the social group” (40). This last comparison brings out very well the contrast between subjectivism and materialism. When they argued about the “individual,” the subjectivists defined the content of this concept (i.e., the “thoughts and feelings” of the individual, his social acts) a priori, that is, they insinuated their utopias instead of “investigating the social group.”

Another “important aspect” of materialism, Mr. Struve continues, “consists in economic materialism subordinating the idea to the fact, and consciousness and what should be to being” (40). Here, of course, “subordinating the idea” means assigning to it a subordinate position in the explanation of social phenomena. The Narodnik subjectivists do exactly the opposite: they base their arguments on “ideals,” without bothering about the fact that these ideals can only be a certain reflection of reality, and, consequently, must be verified by facts, must be based on facts. But then this latter thesis will be incomprehensible to the Narodnik without explanation. How is that?—he asks himself; ideals should condemn facts, show how to change them, they should verify facts, and not be verified by them. To the Narodnik, who is accustomed to hover in the clouds, this appears to be a compromise with facts. Let us explain.

The existence of “working for others,” the existence of exploitation, will always engender ideals opposite to this system both among the exploited themselves and among certain members of the “intelligentsia.”

These ideals are extremely valuable to the Marxist; he argues with Narodism only on the basis of these ideals; he argues exclusively about the construction of these ideals and their realisation.

The Narodnik thinks it enough to note the fact that gives rise to such ideals, then to refer to the legitimacy of the ideal from the standpoint of “modern science and modern moral ideas” [and he does not realise that these “modern ideas” are only concessions made by West-European “public opinion” to the new rising force], and then to call upon “society” and the “state” to ensure it, safeguard it, organise it!

The Marxist proceeds from the same ideal; he does not compare it with “modern science and modern moral ideas, however,”[8] but with the existing class contradictions, and therefore does not formulate it as a demand put forward by   “science,” but by such and such a class, a demand engendered by such and such social relations (which are to be objectively investigated), and achievable only in such and such a way in consequence of such and such properties of these relations. If ideals are not based on facts in this way, they will only remain pious wishes, with no chance of being accepted by the masses and, hence, of being realised.

Having thus stated the general theoretical propositions which compel the recognition of materialism as the only correct method of social science, Mr. Struve proceeds to expound the views of Marx and Engels, quoting principally the works of the latter. This is an extremely interesting and instructive part of the book.

The author’s statement that “nowhere does one meet with such misunderstanding of Marx as among Russian publicists” (44) is an extremely just one. In illustration, he first of all cites Mr. Mikhailovsky, who regards Marx’s “historico-philosophical theory” as nothing more than an explanation of the “genesis of the capitalist system.” Mr. Struve quite rightly protests against this. Indeed, it is a highly characteristic fact. Mr. Mikhailovsky has written about Marx many times, but he has never even hinted at the relation of Marx’s method to the “subjective method in sociology.” Mr. Mikhailovsky has written about Capital and has declared his “solidarity” (?) with Marx’s economic doctrine, but he has passed over in complete silence the question—for example—of whether the Russian subjectivists are not following the method of Proudhon, who wanted to refashion commodity economy in accordance with his ideal of justice.[9] In what way does this criterion (of justice—justice éternelle) differ from Mr. Mikhailovsky’s criterion: “modern science and modern moral ideas”? Mr. Mikhailovsky has always protested vigorously against identifying the method of social sciences with that of the natural sciences, so why did he not object to Marx’s statement that Proudhon’s method is as absurd as would be that of a chemist who wanted to transform metabolism in accordance with the laws of “affinity” instead of studying the “real laws of metabolism”? Why did he not object to Marx’s view that the social process is a “process of   natural history”? It cannot be explained by non-acquaintance with the literature; the explanation evidently lies in an utter failure or refusal to understand. Mr. Struve, it seems to me, is the first in our literature to have pointed this out—and that is greatly to his credit.

Let us now pass to those of the author’s statements on Marxism which evoke criticism. “We cannot but admit,” says Mr. Struve, “that a purely philosophical proof of this doctrine has not yet been provided, and that it has not yet coped with the vast concrete material presented by world history. What is needed, evidently, is a reconsideration of the facts from the standpoint of the new theory; what is needed is a criticism of the theory from the angle of the facts. Perhaps much of the one-sidedness and the over-hasty generalisations will be abandoned” (46). It is not quite clear what the author means by “a purely philosophical proof.” From the standpoint of Marx and Engels, philosophy has no right to a separate, independent existence, and its material is divided among the various branches of positive science. Thus one might understand philosophical proof to mean either a comparison of its premises with the firmly established laws of other sciences [and Mr. Struve himself admitted that even psychology provides propositions impelling the abandonment of subjectivism and the adoption of materialism], or experience in the application of this theory. And in this connection we have the statement of Mr. Struve himself that “materialism will always be entitled to credit for having provided a profoundly scientific and truly philosophical (author’s italics) interpretation of a number (N.B.) of vastly important historical facts” (50). This latter statement contains the author’s recognition that materialism is the only scientific method in sociology, and hence, of course, a “reconsideration of the facts” is required from this standpoint, especially a reconsideration of the facts of Russian history and present-day reality, which have been so zealously distorted by the Russian subjectivists. As regards the last remark about possible “one-sidedness” and “over hasty generalisations,” we shall not dwell on this general, and therefore vague, statement, but shall turn directly to one of the amendments made by the author, “who is not   infected with orthodoxy,” to the “over-hasty generalisations” of Marx.

The subject is the state. Denying the state, “Marx and his followers ... went ... too far in their criticism of the modern state” and were guilty of “one-sidedness.” “The state,” Mr. Struve says, correcting this extravagance, “is first of all the organisation of order; it is, however, the organisation of rule (class rule) in a society in which the subordination of certain groups to others is determined by its economic structure” (53). Tribal life, in the author’s opinion, knew the state; and it will remain even after classes are abolished, for the criterion of the state is coercive power.

It is simply amazing that the author, criticising Marx from his professorial standpoint, does so with such a surprising lack of arguments. First of all, he quite wrongly regards coercive power as the distinguishing feature of the state: there is a coercive power in every human community; and there was one in the tribal system and in the family, but there was no state. “An essential feature of the state,” says Engels in the work from which Mr. Struve took the quotation about the state, “is a public power distinct from the mass of the people” (Ursprung der Familie u.s.w., 2te Aufl., S. 84. Russ. trans., p. 109);[13] and somewhat earlier he speaks of the institution of the naucrary[14] and says that it “undermined the tribal system in two ways: firstly, by creating a public power (öffentliche Gewalt) , which simply no longer coincided with the sum-total of the armed people” (ib., S. 79; Russ. trans., p. 105).[15] Thus the distinguishing feature of the state is the existence of a separate class of people in whose hands power is concentrated. Obviously, nobody could use the term “state” in reference to a community in which the “organisation of order” is administered in turn by all its members. Furthermore, Mr. Struve’s arguments are still more unsubstantial in relation to the modern state. To say of it that it is “first of all (sic!?!) the organisation of order” is to fail to understand one of the most important points in Marx’s theory. In modern society the bureaucracy is the particular stratum which has power in its hands. The direct and intimate connection between this organ and the bourgeois class, which dominates in modern society, is apparent both from history (the bureaucracy was the first political instrument of the bourgeoisie   against the feudal lords, and against the representatives of the “old-nobility” system in general, and marked the first appearance in the arena of political rule of people who were not high-born landowners, but commoners, “middle class”) and from the very conditions of the formation and recruitment of this class, which is open only to bourgeois “offspring of the people,” and is connected with that bourgeoisie by thousands of strong ties.[10] The author’s mistake is all the more unfortunate because it is precisely the Russian Narodniks, against whom he conceived the excellent idea of doing battle, who have no notion that every bureaucracy, by its historical origin, its contemporary source, and its purpose, is purely and exclusively a bourgeois institution, an institution to which only ideologists of the petty bourgeoisie are capable of turning in the interests of the producer.

It is also worth while to dwell a little on the attitude of Marxism to ethics. On pp. 64-65 the author quotes the excellent explanation given by Engels of the relation between freedom and necessity: “Freedom is the appreciation of necessity.”[16] Far from assuming fatalism, determinism in fact provides a basis for reasonable action. One cannot refrain from adding that the Russian subjectivists could not understand even such an elementary question as freedom of will. Mr. Mikhailovsky helplessly confused determinism with fatalism and found a solution ... in trying to sit between two stools; not desiring to deny the functioning of laws, he asserted that freedom of will is a fact of our consciousness (properly speaking, this is Mirtov’s idea borrowed by Mr. Mikhailovsky) and can therefore serve as a basis of ethics. It is clear that, applied to sociology, these ideas could provide nothing but a utopia or a vapid morality which ignores the class struggle going on in society. One therefore cannot deny the justice   of Sombart’s remark that “in Marxism itself there is not a grain of ethics from beginning to end”; theoretically, it subordinates the “ethical standpoint” to the “principle of causality”; in practice it reduces it to the class struggle.

Mr. Struve supplements his exposition of materialism by an evaluation from the materialist standpoint of “two factors which play a very important part in all Narodnik arguments”—the “intelligentsia” and the “state” (70). This evaluation again reflects the author’s “unorthodoxy” noted above in regard to his objectivism. “If ... all social groups in general represent a real force only to the extent that ... they constitute social classes or adhere to them, then, evidently, ’the non-estate intelligentsia’ is not a real social force” (70). Of course, in the abstract and theoretical sense the author is right. He takes the Narodniks at their word, so to speak. You say it is the intelligentsia that must direct Russia along “different paths”—but you do not understand that since it does not adhere to any class, it is a cipher. You boast that the Russian non-estate intelligentsia has always been distinguished for the “purity” of its ideas—but that is exactly why it has always been impotent. The author’s criticism is confined to comparing the absurd Narodnik idea of the omnipotence of the intelligentsia with his own perfectly correct idea of the “impotence of the intelligentsia in the economic process” (71). But this comparison is not enough. In order to judge of the Russian “non-estate intelligentsia” as a special group in Russian society which is so characteristic of the whole post-Reform era—an era in which the noble was finally squeezed out by the commoner—and which undoubtedly played and is still playing a certain historical role, we must compare the ideas, and still more the programmes, of our “non-estate intelligentsia” with the position and the interests of the given classes of Russian society. To remove the possibility of our being suspected of partiality, we shall not make this comparison ourselves, but shall confine ourselves to referring to the Narodnik whose article was commented on in Chapter I. The conclusion that follows from all his comments is quite definite, namely, that Russia’s advanced, liberal, “democratic” intelligentsia was a bourgeois intelligentsia. The fact of the intelligentsia being “non-estate” in no way precludes the class origin of its ideas. The   bourgeoisie has always and everywhere risen against feudalism in the name of the abolition of the social estates—and in our country, too, the old-nobility, social-estate system was opposed by the non-estate intelligentsia. The bourgeoisie always and everywhere opposed the obsolete framework of the social estates and other medieval institutions in the name of the whole “people,” within which class contradictions were still undeveloped. And it was right, both in the West and in Russia, because the institutions criticised were actually hampering everybody. As soon as the social-estate system in Russia was dealt a decisive blow (1861), antagonism within the “people” immediately became apparent, and at the same time, and by virtue of this, antagonism became apparent within the non-estate intelligentsia—between the liberals and the Narodniks, the ideologists of the peasants (among whom the first Russian ideologists of the direct producers did not see, and, indeed, it was too early for them to see, the formation of opposed classes). Subsequent economic development led to a more complete disclosure of the social contradictions within Russian society, and compelled the recognition of the fact that the peasantry was splitting into a rural bourgeoisie and a proletariat. Narodism has rejected Marxism and has become almost completely the ideology of the petty bourgeoisie. The Russian “non-estate intelligentsia,” therefore, represents “a real social force” inasmuch as it defends general bourgeois interests.[11] If, nevertheless, this force was not able to create institutions suitable to the interests it defended, if it was unable to change “the atmosphere of contemporary Russian culture” (Mr. V. V.), if “active democracy in the era of the political struggle” gave way to “social indifferentism” (Mr. V. V. in Nedelya, 1894, No. 47), the cause of this lies not only in the dreaminess of   our native “non-estate intelligentsia,” but, and chiefly, in the position of those classes from which it emerged and from which it drew its strength, in their duality. It is undeniable that the Russian “atmosphere” brought them many disadvantages, but it also gave them certain advantages.

In Russia, the class which, in the opinion of the Narodniks, is not the vehicle of the “pure idea of labour” has an especially great historical role; its “activity” cannot be lulled by tempting promises. Therefore, the references of the Marxists to this class, far from “breaking the democratic thread”—as is asserted by Mr. V. V., who specialises in inventing the most incredible absurdities about the Marxists—catch up this “thread,” which an indifferent “society” allows to fall from its hands, and demand that it be developed, strengthened and brought closer to life.

Connected with Mr. Struve’s incomplete appraisal of the intelligentsia is his not altogether happy formulation of the following proposition: “It must be proved,” he says, “that the disintegration of the old economic system is inevitable” (71). Firstly, what does the author mean by “the old economic system”? Serfdom? But its disintegration does not have to be proved. “People’s production”? But he himself says later, and quite justly, that this word-combination—“does not correspond to any real historical system” (177), that in other words, it is a myth, because after “serfdom” was abolished in Russia, commodity economy began to develop very rapidly. The author was probably referring to that stage in the development of capitalism when it had not yet entirely disentangled itself from medieval institutions, when merchant capital was still strong and when the majority of the producers were still engaged in small-scale production. Secondly, what does the author regard as the criterion of this inevitability? The rule of certain classes? The properties of the given system of production relations? In either case it amounts to recording the existence of one or another (capitalist) system; it amounts to recording a fact, and under no circumstances should it have been transplanted to the realm of reflections about the future. Such reflections should have left the monopoly of the Narodnik gentlemen, who are seeking “different paths for the fatherland.” The author himself says on the very next page that every state is “an   expression of the rule of definite social classes” and that “there must be a redistribution of the social force between various classes for the state to radically change its course” (72). All this is profoundly true and very aptly aimed at the Narodniks, and the question should accordingly have been put in a different way: the existence (and not the “inevitability of disintegration,” etc.) of capitalist production relations in Russia must be proved; it must be proved that the Russian data also justify the law that “commodity economy is capitalist economy,” i.e., that in our country, too, commodity economy is growing everywhere into capitalist economy; it must be proved that everywhere a system prevails which is bourgeois in essence, and that it is the rule of this class, and not the famous Narodnik “chance happenings” or “policy,” etc., that lead to the liberation of the producer from the means of production and to his working everywhere for others.

With this let us conclude our examination of the first part of Mr. Struve’s book, which is of a general character.


[1] Of course, this expression “quite definite ideals” must not be taken literally, that is, as meaning that the Narodniks “quite definitely” knew what they wanted. That would be absolutely untrue. “Quite definite ideals” should be understood as meaning nothing more than the ideology of direct producers, even though this ideology is a very vague one. —Lenin

[2] By the old Narodniks I do not mean those who backed the Otechestvenniye Zapiski, for instance, but those who “went among the people.” —Lenin

[3] Concrete examples of Mr. Struve’s incomplete application of materialism and the lack of consistency in his theory of the class struggle will be given below in each particular instance. —Lenin

[4] The author—as befits a little bourgeois—is presumably unaware that the West-European toiling folk have long outgrown the stage of development in which they demanded the “right to work” and that they are now demanding the “right to be lazy,” the right to rest from the excessive toil which cripples and oppresses them. —Lenin

[5] Works, Vol. III, p. 155, “Sociology Must Start with Some Utopia.” —Lenin

[6]Practice mercilessly curtails it” (“the possibility of a new historical path”); “it shrinks, one might say, from day to day” (Mr. Mikhailovsky, as quoted by P, Struve, pg. 16), What shrinks, of course, is not the “possibility,” which never existed, but illusions. And a good thing, too. —Lenin

[7] K. Marx, Der achtzehnte Brumaire, S. 98, u.s.w.[17]Lenin

[8] Engels, In Herrn E. Dührings Umwälzung der Wissenschaft (Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science [Anti-Dühring]—Ed.), very aptly points out that this is the old psychological method of comparing one’s own concept with another concept, with a cast of another fact, and not with the fact it reflects.[18]Lenin

[9] Das Kapital, I. B. 2te A ufl. S. 62, Anm. 38.[19]Lenin

[10] Cf. K. Marx, Bürgerkrieg in Frankreich, S. 23, Leipzig, 1876, and Der achtzehnte Brumaire, S. 45-46. Hamburg, 1885).[20] But it is precisely with the maintenance of that extensive state machine in its numerous ramifications “[referring to the bureaucracy] that the material interests of the French bourgeoisie are interwoven in the closest fashion. Here it finds posts for its surplus population and makes up in the form of state salaries for what it cannot pocket in the form of profits, interest, rents and honorariums.” —Lenin

[11] The petty-bourgeois nature of the vast majority of the Narodniks’ wishes has been pointed out in Chapter I. Wishes that do not come under this description (such as “socialisation of labour”) hold a minute place in modern Narodism. Both Russkoye Bogatstvo (1893, Nos. 11-12, Yuzhakov’s article on “Problems of Russia’s Economic Development”) and Mr. V. V. (Essays on Theoretical Economics, St. Petersburg, 1895) protest against Mr. N.—on, who commented “severely” (Mr. Yuzhakov’s word) on the outworn panacea of credits, extension of land tenure, migration, etc. —Lenin

[12] Mirtov—pseudonym of P. L. Lavrov (1820-1900); a Narodnik ideologist in the 1870s. Was a member of the Narodnik secret society Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty), and then of the Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) party. In the 1870s he advocated the need to “go among the people.” Was the founder of the idealist “subjective school” in sociology. p. 397

[17] See K. Marx and F. Engels, “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 334. p. 414

[18] See F. Engels, Anti-Dühring, Moscow, 1959, p. 133. p. 416

[19] See K Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1959, pp. 84-85, Footnote 2. p. 417

[13] See K. Marx and F. Engels, “Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State;” Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958. p. 272. p. 419

[14] Naucrary—small territorial districts in the ancient Athenian Republic. Naucraries were united in phyles. The collegium of naucrars (naucrary chiefs) conducted the finances of the Athenian State. It was the duty of each naucrary to build, equip, and man a warship and to provide two horsemen to meet the military needs of the state. p. 419

[15] See K. Marx and F. Engels, op. cit., in Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, p. 269. p. 419

[20] See K. Marx and F. Engels, “Civil War in France” and “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow. 1958, pp. 284, 516-17. p. 420

[16] See F. Engels, Anti-Dühring, Moscow, 1959, p. 157. p. 420

  A Line-By-Line Commentary on a Narodnik Profession de Foi | The Presentation of Economic Problems by the Narodniks and by Mr. Struve  

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