V. I.   Lenin

Gems of Narodnik Project-Mongering

(S. N. Vuzbaeov, Educational Problems. Journalistic Essays.–Secondary School Reform.–Systems And Aims Of Higher Education.–Gymnasium Textbooks.–The Problem of Universal Education.–Women And Education. St. Petersburg. 1897, Pp. VIII +283. Price 1 Ruble 50 Kopeks.)[17]

Written: Written in exile in summer 1897
Published: First published in 1898 in the miscellany Economic Studies and Essays by Vladimir Ilyin. Published according to the text in Economic Studies and Essays.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 2, pages 459-490.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov and George Hanna, Edited by George Hanna
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2001). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Under the above title Mr. Yuzhakov has published a collection of his articles that appeared in Russkoye Bogatstvo in the years 4895-97. The author believes that his articles “embrace the most important of these problems,” i.e., “educational problems,” and, “taken together, constitute a sort of review of the most timely and urgent, but still inadequately satisfied needs of our intellectual culture.” (Preface. p. V.) On page 5, it is once more stressed that the author in, tends to dwell “chiefly on problems of principle.” But all these phrases merely show Mr. Yuzhakov’s predilection for a broad sweep of thought, or rather, not so much of thought as of the pen. Even the title of the book is too broad. As a matter of fact-as can be seen from the list of articles in the subtitle to the book—the author does not deal with “educational problems” at all, but solely with the problem of the schools, and only of the secondary and higher schools at that. Of all the articles in the book, the most practical one is that on the textbooks used in our gymnasia. The author goes into a detailed examination of the current textbooks of the Russian language, geography and history, and demonstrates their utter worthlessness. This article would make the more interesting reading if it, too, were not made irksome by the author’s usual verbosity. We intend to draw the reader’s attention to only two of the articles in the book, one on the reform in secondary education, and the other on universal education, for these articles really do touch upon problems of principle and are very typical for an explanation of the favourite ideas of Russkoye Bogatstvo. The Grineviches and Mikhailovskies are reduced to digging in the mulch-heap of Russian   doggerel for examples of preposterously stupid conclusions drawn from a hostile doctrine. We, however, do not need to engage in such dreary excavations for the same purpose: we have only to turn to the magazine Russkoye Bogatstvo— and to only one of its undoubted “pillars” at that.


Section II of the article “Principles of Reform in Secondary Education’ has been entitled by Mr. Yuzhakov “Aims of Secondary Education. Class Interests and Class Schools” (see Contents). The theme, as you see, is of absorbing interest, promising as it does to explain one of the cardinal problems, not only of education, but of social life in general, a problem, moreover, that is the source of one of the major disagreements between the Narodniks and the “disciples.”[18] Let us then see what conception this contributor to Russkoye Bogatstvo has of “class interests and class schools.”

The author quite rightly says that the formula, “the school should prepare a man for life,” is quite meaningless, and that the question is what is needed for life, and “who needs it” (6). “Who needs secondary education?—means: in whose Interests, for whose benefit and advantage is education given to secondary-school pupils?” (7). A splendid formulation of the question, and we would give’ our heartfelt praise to the author if ... if all these preludes did not later prove to be just empty talk: “It may be to the benefit and advantage of the state, the nation, of some particular social class, or of the individual who is being educated.” Here the muddle begins: we have to conclude that a class-divided society is compatible with a non-class state, with a non-class nation, with individuals standing outside of classes. We shall soon see that this is by no means a slip of Mr. Yuzhakov’s pen, that he actually does hold this absurd opinion. “If class interests are kept in mind when drawing up the school curriculum, there can of course be no question of one general type of state secondary school. In that case the educational establishments are necessarily of the social-estate type, providing not only instruction, but also education in the wider sense, for they not only have to impart an education adapted to the special interests and   aims of the estate, but also social-estate habits and a social-estate esprit de corps” (7). The first conclusion to be drawn from this harangue is that Mr. Yuzhakov does not understand the difference between estates and classes, and therefor hopelessly muddles these quite different concepts. The same misunderstanding is revealed in other parts of the article (seep. 8, for example), and this is all the more surprising as Mr. Yuzhakov in this same article comes very close to the essential distinction between these concepts. “It should be borne in mind,” Mr. Yuzhakov informs us on page II, “that often (although not necessarily) political, economic and religious organisations sometimes constitute legal privileges, sometimes the actual prerogatives of special groups of the population. In the first instance we have estates, in the second classes.” Here one of the differences between class and social estate has been correctly noted, namely, that what distinguishes classes from one another is not legal privileges, but actual conditions, and that, consequently, classes in modern society presume legal equality. And there is another difference between social estates and classes which Mr. Yuzhakov apparently does not ignore: “... And at that time” (i.e., after the abolition of serfdom) i’... we renounced the feudal and social-estate structure of national life, and with it the system of exclusive social-estate schools. Today, the introduction of the capitalist process is dividing the Russian nation, not so much into estates, as into economic classes...” (8). Here another distinction between estates and classes in European and Russian history is correctly indicated, namely, that the social estates are a feature of feudal, and classes of capitalist society.[1] If Mr. Yuzhakov had given even a little thought to these distinctions, and had not surrendered himself so easily to the sway of his agile pen and his Kleinbürger[2] heart, he would have written neither the above-quoted tirade, nor the rest of the twaddle, such as that class curricula in schools are bound to mean one curriculum for the rich and another for the poor, that in Western Europe   class curricula are a failure, that class schools presume class exclusiveness, and so on and so forth. All this shows as clearly as can be that despite the promising title, despite his high-flown phrases, Mr. Yuzhakov has no conception of the nature of class schools. It is, most worthy Mr. Narodnik, that education is organised in one and the same way, and is equally accessible to all the wealthy. It is this last word alone that explains the nature of class schools, as distinct from social-estate schools. It is therefore the purest nonsense on Mr. Yuzhakov’s part to say, as he did in the above-mentioned tirade, that where the schools follow class interests “there can be no question of one general type of state secondary school.” Just the opposite: class schools—if adhered to consistently, that is, if they are freed of every survival of the social-estate system—necessarily presume one general type of school. Full legal equality, full equality of rights for all citizens, with education fully equal and accessible to all the wealthy—these constitute the essence of class society (and, consequently, of class education). Estate schools demand that the pupils shall belong to a given social estate. The class school knows no estates, it only knows citizens. Of all pupils it demands one thing only, namely, that they should pay for their education. A difference in curricula for rich and poor is by no means essential for class schools, since those who have not the wherewithal to pay for tuition, for textbooks and for the pupil’s maintenance during the whole tuition period are simply barred by the class school from secondary education. The class school by no means presumes class exclusiveness: on the contrary, unlike social estates, classes always leave the road quite free for the transfer of individuals from one class to another. The class schools do not close their doors to anybody who has the means to pay for tuition. To say that in Western Europe “no success attends these dangerous programmes of semi-education and of the class moral and intellectual segregation of the various sections of the people” (9) is an utter perversion of the truth; for everybody knows that, both in the West and in Russia, the secondary schools are essentially class schools and serve the interests of only a very small part of the population. In view of the incredible confusion of ideas betrayed by Mr. Yuzhakov, we even think it worth while to give the following   supplementary explanation for his benefit: in modern society, even the secondary schools which charge no tuition fees are nonetheless class schools, for the cost of maintaining the pupil for seven or eight years is immeasurably greater than the tuition fee, and is only within the reach of a very small minority. If Mr. Yuzhakov is anxious to be a practical adviser to contemporary reformers of the secondary schools, If he wants to treat the problem from the angle of present-day realities (as he does), he should only speak of the substitution of class schools for estate schools—only of that, or else remain entirely silent on this ticklish question of “class interests and class schools.” And even so, these problems of principle have very little in common with the substitution of modern languages for the classical languages, which Mr. Yuzhakov recommends in this article. Had he confined himself to this recommendation, we would have had no objection, and would have even been ready to forgive him his unrestrained rhetoric. But since he has himself raised the question of “class interests and class schools,” let him bear the responsibility for all his absurd utterances.

Mr. Yuzhakov’s utterances on this theme are by no means confined to what has already been said. Faithful to the fundamental ideas of the “subjective method in sociology,” Mr. Yuzhakov, having touched on the subject of classes, rises to a “broad point of view” (12, p. 15), so broad, that he can superbly ignore class differences; so broad that it enables him to speak, not of individual classes (fie, how narrow!), but of the nation in general. This magnificent ’broadness” of view is attained by the hackneyed method of all moralists, big and small, and by the Kleinbürger moralists in particular. Mr. Yuzhakov sternly condemns this division of society into classes (and its reflection in education), holding forth with supreme grandiloquence and incomparable fervour on the “danger” (9) of this thing; on the point that “the class system of education in all its shapes and forms is fundamentally hostile to the interests of the state, the nation and the individuals to be educated”[3] (8); on the “inexpediency and   danger from both the state and the national standpoint” (9) of class curricula in schools; on the point that historical examples illustrate only “that exceptionally anti-national development of the class system and class interests of which we have spoken, and which has already been admitted as dangerous to the national welfare and to the state itself” (ii); on the point that “the class system of administration has been abolished in one form or another everywhere” (VI); on the point that this “dangerous” division into classes arouses “antagonism between the various groups of the population” and gradually obliterates “the sense of national solidarity and national patriotism” (12); on the point that ’broadly, correctly and far-sightedly understood, the interests of the nation as a whole, of the state, and of individual citizens in general should not be mutually contradictory (at least in the modem state)” (15), and so on and so forth. This is all sheer cant, empty phrase-mongering, which obscures the very essence’ of contemporary reality with the senseless “aspirations” of the Kleinbürger, aspirations that imperceptibly find their way mike the description of things as they are. To find an analogy for the sort of outlook which gives rise to such phrasemongering have to turn to the exponents of that “ethical” school[19] in the West which was the natural and inevitable expression of the theoretical cowardice and political perplexity of the bourgeoisie there.

We, however, shall confine ourselves to comparing the following little fact with this magnificent eloquence and lofty-mindedness, this remarkable perspicacity and farsightedness. Mr. Yuzhakov touched on the subject of social-estate and class schools. As regards the first, precise statistics are available—at least as far as male gymnasia, progymnasia and modern schools are concerned. Here are the figures, which we have borrowed from a publication of the Ministry of Finance: Productive Forces of Russia (St. Petersburg, 1896, Part XIX, Public Education, p. 31):

“The division of students according to social estate (as percentages of the total number) may be seen from the following table:


This table shows clearly how incautious Mr. Yuzhakov was when he said that we had immediately and resolutely (??) “renounced social-estate schools.” On the contrary, the social-estate system prevails in our secondary schools to this day, even if 56 per cent of the students in the gymnasia (not to mention the privileged educational establishments for the nobility, etc.) are sons of nobles and officials. Their only serious rival is the urban estates, who now predominate in the modern schools. The proportion of the rural estates—especially if we bear in mind their vast numerical superiority over the other estates—is altogether insignificant. This table, therefore, clearly shows that anybody who sets out to discuss the character of our contemporary secondary schools should be perfectly clear in his own mind that it is only estate and class schools that are in question, and that insofar as “we” actually do renounce estate schools, it is exclusively in the interests of class schools, It goes without saying that we do not by any means intend to claim that the question of superseding the estate schools by class schools, and of improving the latter, is of no importance or concern to those classes   that do not and cannot enjoy the advantages of secondary education’ on the contrary, it is not a matter of unconcern to them either, for the estate system lays a particularly heavy burden on them both in life and in school, and the superseding of estate schools by class schools is only one of the links in the general and all-round Europeanisation of Russia. All we want is to show how Mr. Yuzhakov distorted the facts, and that actually his supposedly “broad” point of view is immeasurably inferior even to the bourgeois view on the question. Incidentally, on the subject of the bourgeois views. Mr. A. Manuilov simply cannot understand why P. B. Struve, who so explicitly revealed the one-sidedness of Schulze-Gäivernitz, nevertheless “propagates his bourgeois ideas” (Russkoye Bogatstvo, No. 11, p. 93). Mr. A. Manuilov’s failure to understand this is solely and exclusively due to his failure to understand the fundamental views not only of the Russian, but of all the West-European “disciples,” and not only of the disciples, but of the teacher as well or perhaps Mr. Manuilov will deny that one of the fundamental views of the “teacher”—-views that run like a scarlet thread through all his theoretical, literary and practical activities—is an ineradicable hatred of those lovers of “broad points of view” who with the help of sugary phrases obscure the class division of modern society? Or that another of his fundamental views is a firm recognition of the progressiveness and preferability of frank and consistent “bourgeois ideas” as compared with the ideas of those Kleinbürger who are so anxious to retard and halt capitalism? If this is not clear to Mr. Manuilov, let him ponder, say, over the writings of his fellow magazine contributor, Mr. Yuzhakov. Let him imagine that, on the subject now of interest to us, we see alongside Mr. Yuzhakov a frank and consistent exponent of “bourgeois ideas,” who upholds the class character of the contemporary school, seeking to prove that nothing better could be imagined, and striving to eliminate the estate schools completely and to make the class schools more widely accessible (in the sense referred to above). Really, such ideas would be far superior to those of Mr. Yuzhakov’s: attention would be drawn to the contemporary school’s real needs, namely, to the abolition of its social-estate exclusiveness, and not to the vague ’broad point of view” of the Kleinbürger. A frank elucidation   and defence of the one-sided character of the contemporary school would present a proper picture of reality, and by its very one-sidedness would help to enlighten the minds of the other side.[4] Mr. Yuzhakov’s “broad” effusions, on the contrary, only help to pervert social consciousness. Lastly, as to the practical side of the matter ...but Mr. Yuzhakov does not go one jot beyond the limits of the class school, not only in this article, but also in his “utopia,” which we shall now proceed to consider.


Mr. Yuzhakov’s article dealing with “the problem of universal education” (see the title of the book) is called: “An Educational Utopia .A Plan for Universal Compulsory Secondary Education.” The very heading shows that this highly edifying article of Mr. Yuzhakov’s promises a lot. But, actually, Mr.Yuzhakov’s “utopia” promises even far more. “Nothing less, dear readers, without concession or compromise...”—is the way the author begins his article.—”A complete gymnasium education for the entire population of both sexes, compulsory for all, and involving no expenditure by the state, Zemstvo or people—such is my grand educational utopia” (201)! The worthy Mr. Yuzhakov evidently thinks that the crux of the matter is that of “expenditure”; on this same page he repeats that universal elementary education entails expenditure, but that universal secondary education, according to his “plan,” entails no expenditure at all. But not only does   Mr. Yuzhakov’s plan entail no expenditure: it promises something far more than secondary education for the entire people. In order to give an idea of the full scope of what the Russkoye Bogatstvo contributor promises, we must anticipate and quote the author’s own triumphant exclamations after he has set forth his plan in full and stands back to admire it. Mr. Yuzhakov’s plan is to combine gymnasium education with the productive labour of the “gymnasium students,” who are to maintain themselves:” .. .The cultivation of the school land... will ensure abundant, palatable and wholesome food for the entire younger generation from birth to graduation from the gymnasium and also for the young people working off the cost of their education” (about this institution of the Yuzhakov Zukunftsstaat,[5] more anon) “and for the whole staff of administrators, teachers and managers. Furthermore, they will all be supplied with footwear, and clothes will be made for them. In addition, the school land will yield about 20,000 rubles, to wit, 15,000 rubles from surplus milk and spring wheat ... and about 5,000 rubles from the sale of skins, bristle, feathers, and other by-products” (216). Just think, reader, the entire younger generation to be maintained until graduation from the gymnasium, that is, until the ages of 21-25 (p. 203)1 Why, that means maintaining half the country’s total population.[6] The maintenance and education of scores of millions—that is real “organisation of labour” for you! Mr. Yuzhakov, evidently, was seriously annoyed with the wicked people who asserted that the Narodnik projects for the “organisation of labour” are nothing but the empty twaddle of empty windbags, and so he decided to annihilate these wicked people completely by publishing a full “plan” for this “organisation of labour”—to be achieved “without any expenditure.” ... But even that is not all: “. . .In the process, we enlarged the task; we had this same organisation assume the cost of maintaining the entire child population; we took care to ensure dowries for young people about to be married—one that is quite good for the countryside; we found it   possible out of the same funds to appoint in every gymnasium, that is, in every rural area, a doctor, a veterinary surgeon, a trained agronomist, a trained gardener, a technologist and six artisans, no less (who will raise the level-of culture and satisfy the corresponding requirements of the whole locality).... And the financial and economic problems involved in realising these aims will all be solved by the adoption of our plan....”[7] How disgraced those evil tongues will now be that insinuated that the celebrated Narodnik “we” was a “mysterious stranger,” a Jew with two skull-caps, and the like! What unseemly slander! Henceforth a mere reference to Mr. Yuzhakov’s “plan” will be enough to prove the almighty power of this “we” and the feasibility of “our” projects.

Maybe the reader will have his doubts about this word: feasibility? Maybe the reader will say that by calling his creation a utopia, Mr. Yuzhakov eliminated the question of feasibility?—That would be so if Mr. Yuzhakov himself had not made highly substantial reservations about the word “utopia,” and if he bad not repeatedly stressed the feasibility of his plan throughout his essay. “I make bold to think,” he says at the very beginning of his article, “that this plan for universal secondary education will seem a utopia only at first glance” (201) What more do you want?... “I make even bolder to assert that education on these lines for the entire population is far more feasible than universal elementary education, which has nevertheless already been realised in Germany, France, England and the United States, and is very near to being realised in several of the gubernias of Russia” (201). Mr Yuzhakov is so convinced of the feasibility of his plan (apparently, after having said that “plan” is a more appropriate word than utopia is), that he does not neglect even the most minor “practical conveniences” in the elaboration of that plan, deliberately preserving, for example, the system of two gymnasia, for boys and girls, in deference to the “prejudice prevailing on the European continent against coeducation,” and insistently stresses that his plan would “make it possible to leave the established curricula of the male and female gymnasia undisturbed, and would provide   more lessons, and, therefore, higher remuneration, for the teaching staffs.”... “All this is of no mean importance, given the desire not to confine it to a mere experiment, but to achieve really universal education” (203-06). There have been many utopians in the world who vied in the attractiveness and elegance of their utopias, but hardly one of them will be found to have betrayed so much solicitude for the “established curricula” and the remuneration of teaching staffs. We are convinced that future generations will long continue to point to Mr. Yuzhakov as a truly practical and truly business-like “utopian.”

Obviously, in view of these promises of the author, his plan for universal education deserves the most careful examination.


The principle from which Mr. Yuzhakov proceeds is that the gymnasium should at the same time be an agricultural establishment and ensure its own maintenance by the summer labour of its pupils. That is the fundamental idea of the plan. “That this idea is a correct one, can scarcely be doubted” (237), Mr. Yuzhakov opines. And we agree with him that this is indeed a correct idea; only, it should not necessarily be tacked on to the “gymnasia,” or to the possibility of making them ’pay” by their pupils’ labour. The correct idea is that an ideal future society cannot, be conceived without the combination of education with the productive labour of the younger generation: neither training and education without productive labour, nor productive labour without parallel training and education could be raised to the degree required by the present level of technology and the state of scientific knowledge. This thought was already expressed by the great utopians of the past; and it is fully shared by the “disciples,” who for this reason, incidentally, do not object in principle to female and juvenile labour in industry, regard attempts to completely forbid such labour as reactionary, and only insist on the proper hygienic conditions being created for it. Mr. Yuzhakov is therefore wrong when he says: “I only wanted to suggest the idea” (237).... The idea was suggested long ago, and we hesitate to believe (until the contrary is demonstrated) that Mr. Yuzhakov could   have been unfamiliar with it. What this Russkoye Bogatstvo contributor wanted to suggest, and did suggest, was an absolutely independent plan for implementing this idea. Only in this sense is it to be regarded as original, but here its originality goes as far ... as the Pillars of Hercules.

If universal productive labour is to be combined with universal education, then obviously the duty of sharing in productive labour should be laid upon all. That, one would think, is self-evident. But no, it appears not. Our “Narodnik’s” solution of the matter is that the duty of physical labour should indeed be established as a general principle; but not for all, only for people without means.

The reader may think we are joking? Not a bit of it!

“The purely urban gymnasia for people of means who are prepared to pay the full cost of education in money, might be preserved in their present form” (229). On page 231 “people of means” are classed without more ado as ’categories of the population” not liable to compulsory education in the “agricultural gymnasia.” Thus, in our Narodnik’s opinion, compulsory productive labour is not a condition for general and all-round human development, but simply a means of paying the cost of gymnasium education. That is how he puts it. At the very beginning of his article, Mr. Yuzhakov discusses the problem of the winter workers needed by the agricultural gymnasia. The most “logical” of all, in his opinion, is the following method of ensuring winter workers for the gymnasia. The pupils of the junior classes do not work, and consequently receive their maintenance and tuition free, paying nothing towards the expenditures incurred by the school. “That being so, is it not his direct duty to work off these expenditures at the end of the course? This duty, carefully thought out and firmly established for everybody who is unable to pay the cost of tuition, will assure the gymnasium farm the necessary contingent of winter workers and an additional contingent of summer workers.... Regarded theoretically, this is very simple, comprehensible and quite incontrovertible“ (205, our italics). Mercy on us, what could be “simpler”? Pay if you have the money, work if you have not!—every shopkeeper will agree that nothing could be more “comprehensible.” And how wonderfully practical it all is! Only where does the “Utopia” come in? And why does Mr. Yuzhakov,   by such plans, besmirch the grand fundamental idea which he intended to make the basis of his utopia?

Labour service performed by students without means is the basis of Mr. Yuzhakov’s whole plan. True, he admits another method of acquiring winter workers—by hire,[8] but gives it a secondary place. Labour service, however— for three years (and if necessary even for four)—is to be compulsory for all who are not called up for military service, in other words, for two-thirds of the male students and for all the girls. “This system alone,” Mr. Yuzhakov bluntly declares, “furnishes the key to the problem of universal education—and secondary, not just elementary, education at that” (207-08). “A small contingent of regular workers, who have remained on at the gymnasium altogether, and have identified their lives with it (I ?), will supplement these labour forces of the gymnasium farm. Such are the potential, and by no means utopian, labour resources of our agricultural gymnasium” (208). And, it goes without saying, that with no shortage of things to be done, they will also do other jobs: “Auxiliary personnel for kitchen and laundry, as well as postmen, may easily be select) from among the three-year workers who have been graduated from the gymnasium” (209). The gymnasium will need tradesmen: tailors, bootmakers, carpenters, etc. Of course, “assistants may be supplied them from among those performing their three years’ labour service” (210).

What will these farm-hands (or agricultural gymnasium students? I really don’t know what to call them) receive in return for their labour? Everything required for their subsistence—”abundant and palatable food.” Mr. Yuzhakov calculates it all to a nicety, on the basis of the rations “usually allowed an agricultural labourer.” True, he “does not propose to feed the gymnasium on these lines” (210), but he nevertheless retains these rations, for after all the students will also   gather potatoes, peas and lentils from their land, will sow hemp and sunflower for vegetable oil, and in addition, on non-fast days will receive half a pound of meat and two glasses of milk each. Don’t think, reader, that Mr. Yuzhakov just touches lightly on this question, only by way of illustration. No, he has it all calculated down to the last detail—the number of calves, yearlings and two-year-olds, the maintenance of the sick, feed for poultry, and all the rest. He has forgotten neither the kitchen swill, nor the animal entrails, nor the vegetable peelings (212). Nothing is overlooked. Furthermore, clothes and footwear may be made in the gymnasium itself. “Hut cotton goods for underwear, bed linen, table linen and summer clothes, and more substantial material for winter clothing, and skins—if only sheepskin—for winter top clothes will, of course, have to be bought. Naturally, the teachers and other personnel and their families will have to provide their own materials, although they may be granted the services of the workshops. Properly speaking, for the students and three-year workers, this expenditure may, without stinting, be calculated at 50 rubles a year, or about 60,000 rubles for the whole establishment annually” (213).

We are positively beginning to be thrilled by the practical sense of our Narodnik. Just imagine: “we,” “society,” are instituting organisation of labour on such a grand scale, we are endowing the people with universal secondary education; and all this without any expenditure whatever, and with such immense moral advantages What a splendid lesson it will be to “our” present agricultural labourers—who, in their ignorance, rudeness and boorishness, refuse to work for less than 61 rubles a year with board[9] —when they see labourers with a gymnasium education working for 50 rubles a year! We may be sure that even Korobochka[20] herself will agree with Mr. Yuzhakov that the theoretical basis of his plan is thoroughly “comprehensible.”



How will the economy of the gymnasia be run, and how will they be administered? The economy, as we have already seen, will be mixed: part natural and part cash economy. Mr. Yuzhakov, of course, goes very thoroughly into this important question. On page 216, he calculates minutely, item by item, that each gymnasium will need 160,000 to 170,000 rubles in cash, so that for all the 15,000 to 20,000 gymnasia, a sum of about 3,000 million rubles will be required. Well, of course, they will sell agricultural produce and receive money in return. Our author is so provident as to take account of the general conditions of modern commodity-capitalist economy! “Gymnasia situated in the vicinity of towns or railway stations, on lines not remote from large centres, would be of an entirely different type. Vegetable and fruit growing, dairy farming and handicrafts may well replace field cultivation” (228). Trade, as we see, will be on no mean scale. Who is to run it, the author does not say. It is to be presumed that the pedagogical councils of the gymnasia will also act in part as commercial councils. Sceptics may want to know what is to happen if schools go bankrupt, and whether they are able to engage in trade at all. But that, of course, would be unwarranted cavilling: if uneducated merchants can carry on trade, can success be doubted if representatives of our intellectual society get down to the job?

The gymnasia will naturally require land for their farms. Mr. Yuzhakov writes: “I think ... that if this idea is destined to be put to practical test, for experimental purposes the first of these agricultural gymnasia should be granted plots of 6,000 to 7,000 dessiatines each” (228). For a population of 109 million—20,000 gymnasia—about 100 million dessiatines would be required. But it should not be forgotten that only 80 million persons are engaged in agricultural labour. “It is only their children who should be put through the agricultural gymnasia.”

Then, various categories of the population,[10] amounting   to nearly another 8 million, will have to he excluded, which will leave 72 million. They will need only 60 million to 72 million dessiatines. “And that, of course, is a lot” (231). But Mr. Yuzhakov is not dismayed. After all, the state, too, has lots of land; only it is not very conveniently situated. “For example, in Northern Polesye there are 127,600,000 dessiatines, and here, especially if, where necessary, a system of exchanging private and even peasant land for state land were adopted with the object of placing the former at the disposal of the schools, it would very likely not he difficult to supply our agricultural gymnasia with land gratis. The situation is equally good” ... in the south-east (231). Hm...good” I So send them off to Archangel Gubernia! True, hitherto it has served more as a place of exile, and the state forests there for the most part have not even been “opened up”— but that’s a detail. As soon as gymnasium students in the charge of learned teachers are sent there they will cut down all these forests, clear the ground, and implant civilisation!

And in the central region a system of land redemption might be arranged; after all, not more than about 80 million dessiatines are required. Issue a “guaranteed loan,” the payments on which, it need scarcely be said, to be apportioned among the “gymnasia receiving free land” (232)— and the trick’s done! Mr. Yuzhakov assures us that there is no need to be alarmed at the “immensity of the financial operation. It is neither a chimera nor a utopia” (232). “Actually speaking,” it will be “a gilt-edged mortgage.” We should say so! But, once again, why talk about a “utopia”? And   does Mr. Yuzhakov seriously think that our peasants are so downtrodden and ignorant as to give their consent to such a plan?? There are the redemption payments to be made for the land, and the “payments on the loan to cover inauguration expenditures,”[11] and to maintain the entire school, and to pay the salaries of all the teachers, and, to cap it all, in return for all this (in return for having hired paid teachers?), to perform labour service for a trifle of three years each! Isn’t this going it a little too strong, Mr. Enlightened “Narodnik”? When, in 1897, you reprinted your creative effort that had appeared in Russkoye Bogatstvo in 1895—,.did you think where your characteristic Narodnik fondness for financial operations and instalment schemes would lead you? Let us recall, dear reader, that what he promised was universal education “involving no expenditure by the state, Zemstvo or people.” And our financial genius really does not demand a single ruble from state or Zemstvo. But what about “the people”—or, more precisely, the peasants without means?[12] It is with their money that the land is bought, and the gymnasia inaugurated (for it is they who pay interest on and the redemption of the capital employed for the purpose), and it is they who pay the teachers and maintain all the gymnasia. And labour service in addition. What for? Because—our inexorable financier answers—you paid nothing for your education and maintenance in the junior classes (204). But, firstly, the non-working ages include only the “preparatory and first two gymnasium classes” (206)—and then come the semi-workers. And, secondly, these children, after all, are maintained by their elder brothers, who also pay the teachers for the tuition of the young. No, Mr. Yuzhakov, such a plan would be absolutely unfeasible not only in our day, but even in Arakcheyev’s time,[21] for it is indeed a feudal “utopia.”

Mr. Yuzhakov has very little to say about the administration of the gymnasia. It is true that he enumerates the teaching staff in great detail and appoints a salary for each, a “comparatively small” one (for they get free quarters, maintenance   of their children and “half the expenditures on clothing”)—50 rubles per annum, you might think? No, a little more: “the head-master, head-mistress and chief agronomist 2,400 rubles each, the inspector,” etc., according to rank, descending the hierarchic ladder down to 200 rubles for minor employees (214). Not a bad career, you see, for those representatives of educated society who have “preferred” the fee-charging urban schools to the agricultural gymnasia! Pay attention to this “half the expenditures on clothing,” which the teachers are guaranteed. According to our Narodnik’s plan, they are to enjoy the services of the workshops (as we have already seen), in other words, the right to have their apparel sewn or repaired by tile “gymnasium pupils.” How solicitous Mr. Yuzhakov is—for the welfare of the teachers! However, he is also solicitous for the welfare of the “gymnasium students”— just as a good farmer is solicitous for the welfare of his cattle: they have to be fed, watered, housed and ... coupled. Listen to this:

“If ... marriage is allowed between young people who have completed the course and remain at the gymnasium for another three years ... this three-year stay will be far less onerous than military service” (207). “If marriage is allowed” I! That is, it may not be allowed? But in that case, worthy Mr. Progressivist, a new law would be required to restrict the civic rights of the peasants. But need we be surprised at this “slip of the pen” (?) on Mr. Yuzhakov’s part, when all through his “utopia,” amidst the most minute examination of teachers’ salaries, labour service by the pupils, etc., it never once occurred to him that it might not be amiss—at any rate in the “utopia”—to allow a certain share in administering the “gymnasium” and in managing the farm to the “pupils” themselves, who, after all, maintain the whole establishment and are graduated from it at from 23 to 25 years of age; that they are not only “gymnasium pupils,” but also citizens. Our Narodnik forgot all about this trifle! But on the other hand, he went very thoroughly into the problem of “pupils” guilty of bad conduct. “A fourth type” (of gymnasium) “would have to be instituted for students who have been expelled from the ordinary schools for bad conduct. Since it is obligatory for the whole younger generation to undergo a course of secondary education, it would   be irrational to release students from it on the ground of bad conduct. In the upper classes, this might be a direct temptation and stimulus to bad conduct.” (Believe it or not, that is what is printed on page 2291!) “The institution of special gymnasia for students expelled for bad conduct would be a logical complement to the whole system.” They would be called “corrective gymnasia” (230).

Is it not incomparable, this “educational utopia” in the Russian taste, with it’s corrective gymnasia for ruffians who may be “tempted” by the prospect of obtaining “release” —from education!?


The reader perhaps has not forgotten a certain project for the direction of industry which was rightly described as a revival of mercantilism,[22] as a project for a “bourgeois-bureaucratic-socialist organisation of home industry”[23] (p. 238). To describe Mr. Yuzhakov’s “plan” an even more complex term is required. It has to be called a feudal-bureaucratic-bourgeois-socialist experiment. A rather clumsy, four storeyed term—but what would you have? The plan itself is clumsy. But, on the other hand, this term accurately conveys all the characteristic features of Mr. Yuzhakov’s “utopia.” Let us begin the examination from the fourth storey. “One of the chief features of the scientific conception of socialism is the planned regulation of social production,” quite rightly remarks the author just quoted.[13] This feature is to be found in the “utopia,” since the enterprise of tens of millions of workers is to be organised in advance according to one general plan. The bourgeois character of the utopia is beyond doubt: firstly, according to Mr. Yuzhakov’s “plan,” the secondary school remains a class school. And this after all the pompous phrases poured out by Mr. Yuzhakov “against” the class school in his first article!! One school for the rich, another for the poor; if you have money, pay for tuition—if you have not, work! More: the schools for the rich, as we saw, are to retain their “present form.” In the present secondary schools of the Ministry of Public Education, for example, the tuition fees cover only 28.7% of the total expenditures; 40.0% is supplied   by the treasury; 21.8% by donations from individuals, institutions and societies; 3.1% is derived from interest on capital, and 6.4% from other sources (Productive Forces, Section XIX, p. 35). Mr. Yuzhakov, therefore, has accentuated the class character of the secondary schools as compared with what now exists: according to his “plan,” the rich will pay only 28.7% of the cost of their tuition, while the poor will pay the total cost of theirs, and perform labour service into the bargain! Not bad for a “Narodnik” utopia! Secondly, the plan envisages the hire of winter workers by the gymnasia, especially from among landless peasants. Thirdly, the distinction between town and country— that foundation of the social division of labour—is retained. Since Mr. Yuzhakov is introducing the planned organisation of social labour, since he is devising a “utopia” for the combination of education and productive labour, the retention of this distinction is absurd, and shows that our author has not the slightest conception of the subject he has undertaken to discuss. Not only did the “teachers” of the present-day disciples criticise this absurdity in their writings, but so did the old utopians, and even our great Russian utopian.[24] But that is nothing to Mr. Yuzhakov! Fourthly—and this is the major reason for calling this “utopia” a bourgeois one— side by side with attempting the planned organisation of social production, it proposes to retain commodity production. The gymnasia will produce for the market. Consequently, social production will be governed by the laws of the market, to which the “gymnasia” will also have to submit! But that is nothing to Mr. Yuzhakov! Where do you get the idea, he will no doubt say, that production will be governed by certain laws of the market? Sheer nonsense! Production will be governed by the orders of the worthy directors of the agricultural schools, and not by the laws of the market. Voila tout. Of the purely bureaucratic structure of Mr. Yuzhakov’s utopian gymnasia we have already spoken. The “Educational Utopia,” it is to be hoped, will do a useful service by showing the Russian reading public the full profundity of the “democracy” of our contemporary Narodniks. The feudal feature in Mr. Yuzhakov’s “plan” is the labour service to be rendered by the poor in return for tuition. Had this sort of project been drafted by a consistent bourgeois, it would have contained   neither a first nor a second storey, and it would have been far superior to this Narodnik utopia, and far more useful. Labour service is the economic essence of the serf system. In capitalist society, a man who has no means has to sell his labour-power in order to buy the means of subsistence. In feudal society, a man who has no means has to perform labour service in return for the means of subsistence he receives from his lord. Labour service necessarily means that the one who performs it is compelled to work, has fewer rights; it involves what the author of Das Kapital called “ausserökonomischer Zwang”[14] (III, 2, 324). Hence, in Russia as well, inasmuch as labour service still survives, a necessary complement to it is the peasant’s inferiority in respect of civic rights—the fact of his being tied to the land, corporal punishment, and the right to assign him to compulsory labour. Mr. Yuzhakov does not understand this connection between labour service and inferiority of rights, but the shrewd sense of a “practical” man suggested to him that, since the gymnasium students will have to perform labour service, it will not be amiss to introduce corrective gymnasia for those who dare try to avoid education; and that adult “student” workers should be kept in the position of little schoolboys.

It would be interesting to know why our utopian needed the first three storeys of his creation? Had he left only the fourth, not a word of objection could have been raised, for, after all, the man himself told us frankly and in advance that he was writing a “utopia”! But here his Kleinbürger nature betrayed him. On the one hand, a “utopia” is a good thing, hut, on the other, teachers’ salaries for our worthy intellectuals are not a bad thing either. On the one hand, we have “no expenditure for the people,” but, on the other—no, friend, just you pay the interest and return the debt in full, and do three years’ labour service in the bargain! On the one hand, we have grandiloquent declamations on the danger and harm of class division, while, on the other, a purely class “utopia.” Such perpetual vacillations between the old and the new, such curious claims to reach above one’s own stature, that is, to rise superior to all classes, are the essence of every Kleinbürger outlook.

*     *

Are you familiar, reader, with Mr. Sergei Sharapov’s The Russian Farmer. Some Thoughts on the Organisation of Farming in Russia on New Lines(free supplement to the magazine Sever[25] for 1894), St. Petersburg, 1894? We would strongly recommend Russkoye Bogatstvo contributors in general, and Mr. Yuzhakov in particular, to acquaint themselves with it. The first chapter is entitled: “Moral Conditions for Russian Farming.” Here the author rehashes ideas very much akin to those of “Narodism”—that Russia and the West differ radically, that pure commercial calculation prevails in the West, and that there masters and workers are not preoccupied with moral questions. Here, in Russia, on the contrary, thanks to the allocation of land to the peasants in 1861 “their existence has acquired an aim entirely different from that in the West” (8). “Our peasant who has obtained land has acquired an independent aim in life.” In a word, sanction was given to people’s production—as Mr. Nikolai —on put it far more plainly. The landlord in our country—Mr. Sharapov goes on to develop his idea—is interested in the peasant’s welfare because this peasant cultivates the landlord’s estate with his own implements. “His” (the landlord’s) “calculations include not only the profit he personally derives from his enterprise, but also a moral, or rather a psychological, element” (12, author’s italics). And Mr., Sharapov declares with fervour (not inferior to that of Mr. Yuzhakov’s) that capitalism in our country is impossible. What is possible, and necessary, in our country is not capitalism, but an “alliance of lord and muzhik” (the title of chapter III of Mr. Sharapov’s book). “Economy should be based on a close solidarity between lord and muzhik” (25): it is the duty of the lord to spread enlightenment, and of the muxhik—well, the duty of the muzhik, of course, is to work! And so he, Mr. Sergei Sharapov, “after repeated and painful mistakes,” at last established on his own estate the “said alliance between lord and muzhik” (26). He introduced a rational crop rotation, etc., etc., and concluded a contract with the peasants, under which the latter receive meadows, pasture and arable from the landlord, and also seed for so many dessiatines, etc. The peasants, on their part, undertake to do all the work on the landlord’s farm (to cart manure, spread phosphates, plough, sow, reap, carry the sheaves to “my barn,” thresh, etc.. etc., so many dessiatines of each crop),   and over and above this to pay, at first 600 rubles, then 800, S50, 1,100, and finally 1,200 rubles (i.e., an annual increment). These sums are payable in installments—coinciding with the dates of payment of interest into the Nobles’ Bank (36, et seq.). It goes without saying that the author is a “convinced supporter of the village community” (37). We say, “it goes without saying,” because such farms would be impossible without laws that tie the peasants to their allotments and that secure the peasant community’s exclusiveness as a social estate. Mr. Sharapov is guaranteed the due receipt of payments from the peasants by the existence of a “prohibition on the sale of produce without his consent, which makes it incumbent on them to store everything in my barns” (36). Since it would be extremely difficult to exact payment from the poor peasants, Mr. Sharapov has arranged to receive it from the rich peasants: these rich peasants themselves select a group of weaker ones, form an artel and place themselves at the head of it (38), and pay the landlord with great promptitude, inasmuch as they can always get back what is due from the poor peasants when they sell the produce (39). “ft is very hard for many of the poor peasants, especially those with small families, to work for me. It is a very big strain on them, but evasion is out of the question, for the peasants would refuse to accept the cattle of a defaulting householder into the herd. Nor would I, the peasants would insist on that, and willy-nilly the poor peasant has to work. That, of course, is compulsion in a way, but do you know what the effect is? A year or two of renting land, and the poor peasant has paid of his arrears of taxes, has redeemed his things from pawn, finds himself in possession of money, begins to rebuild his cottage and—b and behold! he has ceased to be a poor peasant” (39). And Mr. Sharapov ’points with pride” to the fact that “his” peasants (he keeps referring to them as “my peasants”) are flourishing, that he is spreading enlightenment, introducing clover, phosphates, and so on, whereas “left to themselves, the peasants would have done nothing” (35). “All the work, moreover, has to be done at my orders and instructions. I decide on the time for sowing, manuring and reaping. All summer, serfdom is practically restored—except, of course, that there is no manhandling and no floggings in the stable” (p. 29).

As you see, Mr. Sharapov, the blunt squire, is a little more outspoken than Mr. Yuzhakov, the enlightened publicist. But is’there much difference between the types of farming on the estate of the former and in the utopia of the latter? In both cases the whole essence lies in labour service; in both cases we have compulsion, either by the pressure of the rich men who dominate the “village community,” or the threat of being consigned to a corrective gymnasium. The reader may object that Mr. Sharapov runs his farm for profit, whereas the officials in Mr. Yuzhakov’s utopia do so from zeal for the common good. One moment. Mr. Sharapov says outright that he farms from moral motives, that he surrenders half the proceeds to the peasants, and so on; and we have neither the reason nor the right to believe him less than Mr. Yuzhakov, who, after all, also provides his utopian teachers with by no means utopian “lucrative posts.” And if some landlord follows Mr. Yuzhakov’s advice and lets his land be used as an agricultural gymnasium, and receives interest from the “students” for payment into the Nobles’ Bank (a ’gilt-edged mortgage,” in Mr. Yuzhakov’s own words), the difference will practically disappear. Of course, a tremendous difference in ’educational problems” still remains—but, heavens, would not Mr. Sergei Sharapov prefer to hire educated labourers at 50 rubles than uneducated ones at 60 rubles?

And so, if Mr. Manuilov does not understand even now why the Russian (and not only the Russian) disciples consider it necessary, in the interests of labour, to support consistent bourgeois people and consistent bourgeois ideas, as against those survivals of the past which are responsible for farms like Mr. Sharapov’s and “utopias” like Mr. Yuzhakov’s, then, we must confess, it is difficult even to argue with him, for we are evidently talking different languages. Mr. Manuilov presumably reasons on the lines of the celebrated recipe of the celebrated Mr. Mikhailovsky: take what is good from here and from there—like Gogol’s young lady,[26] who wanted to take the nose from one suitor and stick it above the chin of another. To us, however, it seems that such reasoning is nothing but the Kleinbürger’s comic effort to rise superior to the definite classes that. have fully evolved in our midst and that have assumed quite a definite place in the process of historical development going on before our eyes. The “utopias”   naturally and inevitably engendered by such reasoning are, however, no longer comic, but harmful, especially when they lead to utterly unbridled bureaucratic inventions. For quite understandable reasons this phenomenon is to be met with in Russia with particular frequency; but it is not confined to Russia. Not for nothing did Antonio Labriola, in his excellent book Essais sur la conception matèrialiste de I’histoire (Paris, Giard et Brière, 1897), say in reference to Prussia, that the pernicious forms of utopia against which the “teachers” fought half a century ago have now been supplemented by one other: “a bureaucratic and fiscal utopia, a utopia of cretins” (l’utopie bureaucratique et fiscale, l’utopie des crètins. Page 105, note).


In conclusion, let us revert once more to educational problems, but not to Mr. Yuzhakov’s book, which has that title. It has already been remarked that this title is too broad, for educational problems are by no means identical with questions of schooling; education is not confined to schooling. Had Mr. Yuzhakov really dealt with “educational problems” from the standpoint of principle, and examined the relations between the various classes, he could not have avoided the part played by Russia’s capitalist development in the matter of educating the labouring masses. This problem was touched upon by another Russkoye Bogatstvo contributor, Mr. Mikhailovsky, in No. 11, 1897. Writing in reference to the statement by Mr. Novus[27] that Marx did not fear, and rightly so, to speak of the “idiocy of rural life,”[28] and considered it one of the merits of capitalism and of the bourgeoisie that they had “rescued” a considerable part of the population from this “idiocy,” Mr. Mikhailovsky says:

“I do not know where Marx used this coarse (?) expression”—a characteristic confession that he is not acquainted with one of Marx’s cardinal writings (Manifesto)! But what follows is even more characteristic: “... but it has long been known that there is no need to break furniture even if Alexander the Great was a hero. Generally speaking, Marx was unfastidious in his expressions, and, of course, to imitate him in   this respect would be, to say the least, unwise. But even so, I am certain” (hear, hear!) “that this expression was simply a boutade on Marx’s part. And if the generation that worried so much, along with Mr. Zlatovratsky, over the intricate problems of rural life suffered much woe in vain, no less—though different—is the woe of the generation being educated in a spirit of contempt for the ’idiocy of rural life’” (p. 139)....

It is highly characteristic of Mr. Mikhailovsky that, having proclaimed his agreement with Marx’s economic doctrine time and again, he is so utterly ignorant of this doctrine as to express the “certainty” that the words of Marx quoted by Novus were due simply to his being carried away, simply to an unfastidious choice of expressions, and were simply a boutade! No, Mr. Mikhailovsky, you are grievously mistaken. These words of Marx are no boutade, but an expression of one of the most cardinal and fundamental features of his whole outlook, both theoretical and practical. These words clearly express a recognition of the progressive nature of the diversion of the population from agriculture to industry, from country to town, one of the most characteristic features of capitalist development, that is to be observed both in the West and in Russia. In my article, “A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism,” I have already had occasion to show how important is this view of Marx’s, which has been adopted by all the “disciples,” and how sharply contradictory it is to absolutely all romantic theories, ranging from those of old Sismondi to those of Mr. N. —on. There I pointed out (p. 39[29]) that this view is also quite definitely expressed by Marx in Das Kapital (I. Band,2-te Aufl, S. 527-28[30]), and by Engels in his Condition of the Working Class in England. To this might be added Marx’s Der Achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte (Hamb. 1885. Cf. S. 98[31]).[15] Both these   writers expressed their views on this subject at such length, repeated them so often on the most varied occasions, that it could only have occurred to a man who is absolutely unfamiliar with their teachings to declare that the word “idiocy” in the passage quoted is simply a piece of “coarseness” and a “boutade.” Lastly, Mr. Mikhailovsky might also have recalled the fact that all these writers’ followers have expressed themselves on a large number of practical issues in the spirit of this doctrine, advocating, for example, complete freedom of movement, and protesting against plans to endow the worker with a plot of land or a house of his own, and the like.

Further, in the tirade we have quoted, Mr. Mikhailovsky accuses Novus and his supporters of educating the present generation “in a spirit of contempt for the idiocy of rural life.” This is not true. The “disciples” would, of course, be deserving of censure if they were ’contemptuous” of rural inhabitants, crushed as they are by want and ignorance, but Mr. Mikhailovsky could not prove a single one of them guilty of such an attitude. While speaking of the “idiocy of rural life,” the disciples at the same time point the way out of this state of affairs opened up by the development of capitalism. Let us repeat what we said above in the article on economic romanticism: ’if the predominance of the town is necessarily so, only the attraction of the population to the towns can neutralise (and, as history shows, does in fact neutralise) the one-sided character of this predominance. If the town necessarily gains for itself a privileged position, only the influx of the village population into the towns, only this mingling and merging of the agricultural with the non-agricultural population can lift the rural population out of its helplessness. Therefore, in reply to the reactionary complaints and lamentations of the romanticists, the modern theory indicates exactly how this narrowing of the gap between the conditions of life of the agricultural and of the non-agricultural population creates the conditions for eliminating the distinction between town and country.”[16]

This is not a contemptuous attitude towards the “idiocy of rural life” at all, but a desire to find a way out of it. The only “contempt” that follows from these views is towards the doctrines which recommend “seeking paths for the fatherland,” instead of seeking a way out along the existing path and its further course.

The difference between the Narodniks and the “disciples” as to the significance of the process of diversion of population from agriculture to industry is a difference in solving the practical issues connected with this process, and not only in theoretical principles and in assessing the facts of Russian history and realities. The “disciples” naturally insist on the need for abolishing all the antiquated restrictions on peasant travel and migration from the countryside to the towns, whereas the Narodniks either openly uphold these restrictions, or cautiously avoid the subject altogether (which in practice amounts to the same thing). This example, too, might have helped Mr. Manuilov to understand the, to him, astonishing fact that the “disciples” express their solidarity with spokesmen of the bourgeoisie. A consistent bourgeois will always stand for the abolition of these restrictions on movement—and as far as the worker is concerned, his most vital interests demand their abolition. Hence, solidarity between them is quite natural and inevitable. On the other hand, the agrarians (big and small, down to the enterprising muzhik inclusive) find this process of diversion of population to industry a disadvantage, and zealously try to retard it, having Narodnik theories to back them.

To conclude: on this great question of the diversion of the population from agriculture by capitalism, Mr. Mikhailovsky betrayed a complete misunderstanding of Marx’s teachings, and avoided the issue of the difference between the Russian “disciples” and the Narodniks both on the theoretical and practical aspects of the question, with the help of meaningless phrases.


[1] Social estates presuppose the division of society into classes, being themselves one of the forms of class distinction. When we speak simply or classes, we always presume the non-estate classes of capitalist society. —Lenin

[2] Petty bourgeois—Ed.

[3] One or the other, most worthy Mr. Kleinbürger: either you are talking about a society that is divided into classes, or about one that is not. In the first case, there can be no such thing as non-class   education. In the second case, there can be neither a class state, nor a class nation, nor individuals who do not belong to one of the classes. And in both cases the phrase is meaningless and only expresses the innocent wish of a Kleinbürger who timidly closes his eyes to the most prominent features of contemporary reality. —Lenin

[4] We are fully aware that it is very, very hard for Russkoye Bogatstvo contributors to understand an argument of this character. That again is due to their failure to understand not only the. “disciples,” but also the “teacher.”

Here, for example, is how one of the “teachers” sought, as far back as 1845, to prove that the English workers gained from the repeal of the Corn Laws. This repeal, he wrote, involves the farmers’ transformation into “Liberals, i.e., conscious bourgeois,” and this growth of class-consciousness on the one side necessarily involves a similar growth of class-consciousness on the other (F. Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844. New York, 1887, p. 179).[32] How is it that you, gentlemen contributors to Russkoye Bogatstvo, just bow and scrape before the “teachers,” but do not expose them for “propagating bourgeois ideas”? —Lenin

[5] State of the future.—Ed.

[6] According to Bunyakovsky, for every thousand inhabitants In Russia there are 485 between the ages of 0 and 20 years, and 576 between the ages of 0 and 25 years. —Lenin

[7] P. 237. Both eloquent lines of dots in this effusion belongs to Mr. Yuzhakov. We would not have dared to omit a single letter. —Lenin

[8] “A gymnasium farm, directed by an experienced and trained manager, equipped with all modern improvements and supplied with a contingent of skilled and educated workers, should be a profitable undertaking and justify the hire of the necessary contingent of workers, some of the more deserving (sic!) of whom might be given a share in the proceeds. To a certain extent this method would probably have to be practised, especially in regard to landless peasants graduated from this gymnasium” (204). —Lenin

[9] According to the Department of Agriculture and Pural Industry, the average annual wage of an agricultural labourer employed by the year in European Russia is 61 rubles 29 kopeks (average for the ten years 1881-91), plus board, valued at 46 rubles. —Lenin

[10] Here is a full list of these categories of fortunates who are to be exempted from the agricultural gymnasia: “people of means, people undergoing correction, Mahommedan girls, non-Russians belonging   to small nationalities, members of fanatical sects, the blind, deaf and dumb, idiots, insane, chronic inebriates, the diseased, and criminals” (231). We read this list with a clutch at the heart. Heavens, we thought, shall we manage to get at least our own kith and kin included in the list of exempted!—Under the first category, perhaps?—but no, our means with scarcely allow that. Well, we might manage with a little cunning to get the womenfolk classed as Mahommedan girls; but what about the males? The only hope is the third category. Mr. Yuzhakov’s fellow contributor to the magazine, Mr. Mikhailovsky, as we know, has already simply classed P.B. Struve as a non-Russian national, so perhaps he will be gracious enough to class us also at least all “non-Russians belonging to small nationalities,” and so exempt our kith and kin from the agricultural gymnasia! —Lenin

[11] P. 216—10,000 rubles per gymnasium. —Lenin

[12] Since those with means are excluded. Mr.Yuzhakov himself suspects that “a certain proportion of the agricultural population, too, will prefer to send their children to urban secondary schools that charge fees” (230). We should think so! —Lenin

[13] Novoye Slovo, April 1897. Review of Homes Affairs. —Lenin

[14] Other than economic pressure. —Lenin

[15] Mr. Novus could not have guessed, of course, that Mr. Mikhailovsky was so ignorant of the works of Marx, or else ho would have quoted the passage in full: Die Bourgeoisie hat das Land der Herrschaft der Stadt unterworfen. Sie hat enorme Städte geschafren, sie hat die Zahi der städtischen Bevölkerung gegenfiher der ländlicheu in hohem Grade vermehrt und so einen hedeutenden Theil der Bevölkerung dew Idiotismus des Landlohens entrissen. (The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towlis. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared   with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life—Manifesto of the Communist Party—Ed.) —Lenin

[16] See p. 229 in this book.—Ed.

[17] The article “Gems of Narodnik Project-Mongering” was written at the close of 1897 during Lenin’s exile in Siberia. He wrote it for Navaye Slovo, being unaware that the government had closed that magazine down in December 1897.

In 1898 Lenin included the article in his miscellany Economic Studies and Essays.

[18] The “disciples”-the term used in the 1890s as a legal way of referring to the followers of Marx and Engels.

[19] In this passage Lenin refers to the historico-ethical school in political economy that grew up in Germany in the 1870s. This school attached great importance to ethical (moral) principles in economic life. Its exponents were G. Schmoller, L. Brentano and other Katheder-Socialists.

[32] Marx and Engels, On Britain, Moscow, 1953, p. 303.

[20] Korabachka-a character in N. V. Gogol’s Dead Souls. A petty landlady, tight-fisted, pettifogging and stupid, she was “block-headed,” to use Gogol’s expression. The name Korobochka has become an epithet indicating petty miserliness and stupidity.

[21] Lenin refers to the period of absolute police despotism and gross licence of the military associated with the name and activity of A. A. Arakcheyev, the powerful favourite of Paul I and Alexander I. Characteristic of the Arakcheyev regime were the brutal measures employed against the revolutionary movement of the oppressed masses and against all free thinking.

Arakcheyev was particularly notorious for having established military settlements designed to cheapen the cost of maintaining the army. Besides fulfilling their military duties, the settlers have to maintain themselves by farmwork. Unparalleled brutality, rigorous discipline, and regulation of the settlers’ lives down to the smallest details prevailed in the military settlements.

[22] Mercantilism-a system of economic views and the economic policy current in a number of European states from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century to assist the accumulation of capital and the development of commerce. The advocates of mercantilism identified the nation’s wealth with money, their opinion being that the public wealth is contained exclusively in money in the shape of precious metals. The states that adhered to the mercantile system tried to regulate trade in such a way as to ensure that exports exceeded imports. With this aim, they pursued a policy of protecting home industry by regulating the import of foreign goods through the imposition of tariffs, the granting of subsidies to the manufactories, and so forth. The mercantilist economic policy helped to intensify the exploitation of the working people.

[23] This was the expression used by P. B. Struve to describe the plan suggested by Guryev, a member of the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Finance, in an article “Current Problems of our Country’s Life,” signed P. B. (see Navaye Slava, No. 7, April 1897, p. 238).

[24] By the great Russian utopian is meant N. G. Chernyshevsky (1828-89), the great Russian revolutionary democrat, scholar, writer and literary critic. One of the outstanding predecessors of Russian Social-Democracy, Chernyshevsky was the ideological inspirer arid leader of the revolutionary-democratic movement in Russia in the 1860s. A utopian socialist, he considered the transition to socialism possible through the medium of the peasant community. At. the same time, as a revolutionary democrat “he was able to exert a revolutionary influence on all the political events of his day, overcoming all the obstacles and obstructions of the censor-ship and advocating the idea of a peasant revolution, the idea of a mass struggle to overthrow all the old authorities” (V. I. Lenin, “The ’Peasant Reform’ and Proletarian-Peasant Revolution.” See present edition, Vol. 17). Chernyshevsky wrathfull y exposed the feudal character of the “peasant” Reform of 1861, and called on the peasants to revolt. In 1802 he was arrested by the tsarist government and was confined to tire Peter and Paul Fortress, where he spent nearly two year’s, after which he was sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude and to permanent exile in Siberia. He was only allowed to return from exile towards the end of his life. To the end of his days Chernyshevsky was a passionate fighter against social injustice, against all manifestations of political and economic oppression.

Chernyshevsky’s services in developing Russian materialist philosophy were tremendous, his views being the summit of pre-Marxist materialist philosophy. His materialism was of a revolutionary and active character. He vigorously criticised idealist theories, and tried to refashion Hegelian dialectics in the materialist spirit. Magnificent specimens of a dialectical approach to the study of reality are to be found in Chernyshevsky’s writings on political economy, aesthetics, art criticism, and history.

Marx made a study of Chernysbevsky’s works, had a very high opinion of them, and called Chernyshevsky a great Russian scholar. Lenin wrote of him that he was “the only really great Russian writer who, from the fifties up to 1888, succeeded in keepidg to the level of an integral philosophic materialism.... But,” continued Lenin, “due to the backwardness of Russian life, Chernysbevsky was unable to, or rather, could not, rise to the heights oft he dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels” (V. I, Lenin, Materialism and Empiriocriticism. See present edition, Vol. 14).

Chernyshevsky’s literary and critical works exerted tremendous influence on the development of Russian literature and art. His novel What Is To Be Done? (1903) helped to politically educate more than one generation of revolutionaries in Russia and other countries.

[25] Sever (North) a weekly literary and art journal that appeared in St. Petersburg Ironi 1888 to 1914.

[26] Gogol’s young Lady-Agaphia Tikhonovna, a character in Gogol’s comedy Marriage.

[27] Noz’us-a pseudonym of P. B. Struve.

[28] Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1958, p. 38.

Further on Lenin quotes this passage In greater detail (see footnote to p. 487 of the present volume).

[29] Lenin refers here to pale 39 of the magazine Novoije Slovo, No. 9, June 1897, which contains a passage from his essay “A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism” (see p. 229 of the present volume).

[30] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 504-08.

[31] Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brurnaire of Louis Bonaparte. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 334.

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