V. I.   Lenin

Extract from an Article Against the Socialist-Revolutionaries

Written: Written in December 1902
Published: First published in 1939 in the magazine Proletarskaya Revolutsia, No. 1.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 6, pages 287-288.
Translated: ??? ???
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
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The fusion of socialism with the working-class movement (this sole guarantee of a strong and truly revolutionary movement) is no easy matter, and it is not surprising that it is attended by vacillation of every kind. That is what we wrote exactly two years ago in the first article published in the first issue of Iskra.[* See present edition, Vol. 4, p. 368—Ed.] And if a struggle was necessary against a tendency (trend) that had chosen the correct path but had wrongly defined its tasks along that path, it is far more necessary to struggle against a trend that does not even think of any fusion of any more or less integral and well-substantiated socialism with the working-class movement. Lacking a social basis and any links with a definite social class, it is endeavouring to cover up its inner impotence by the sweep of its emotion, the “breadth” of its programme, i.e. (read), by an unprincipled combination of the most diverse and opposing programmes which are equally applicable, precisely because of this quality of theirs, to the intelligentsia, to the proletariat, and to the peasantry. Behind the intelligentsia en masse, just as behind the liberal opposition, it may not be possible to discern any social class (since the liberal-Narodist trend, towards which the old Russian socialism was incapable of adopting a critical attitude, as are the Socialist-Revolutionaries today, declares that it is above classes). The peasantry may be approached without any solution of “accursed” problems relating to the foundations of its life, or its place in the social and economic evolution of Russia and of the whole world; it   may be approached with such general revolutionary and socialist phrases (socialist, at first glance) which as far as possible would not be contradictory to any of the accepted and declared solutions of the peasant question. The stormy period we are experiencing, with the struggle flaring up now here, now there, makes it possible, under cover of this struggle, to evade all and sundry questions of principle, limiting oneself to sympathetic support of all its manifestations and to the invention of “individual resistance” during a comparative lull. And the result is a trend which is very revolutionary in words, but not in the least revolutionary as far as its real views and contacts with the revolutionary class are concerned, revolutionary in its sharp attacks on the government and at the same time entirely incapable of correctly appraising the general tactics of this government and of giving a correct answer to such tactics. And truly, it is not difficult to see that, notwithstanding all the jumps and waverings, not withstanding all the confusion of the government in particular instances, its tactics as a whole betray clearly its two principal lines of self-defence.


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