V. I.   Lenin

Reply to Criticism of Our Draft Programme

Written: Written in June 1903
Published: First printed in July 1903 in a pamphlet published by the League of Russian Social-Democracy Abroad. Published according to the text in the pamphlet.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 6, pages 438-453.
Translated: ??? ???
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). 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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Comrade X[9] rejects the third and fourth points of the agrarian section of our draft and submits his own draft, in which all the points of the agrarian programme, as well as the preamble to it, are revised. We shall first examine Comrade X’s objections to our draft, and then his own draft.

Against the third point, Comrade X advances the objection that the confiscation of the monasterial (and we would willingly add: church) estates and the royal demesnes as proposed by us would mean that the capitalists would grab the lands for next to nothing. It would be precisely those who plunder the peasants, he says, who would buy up these lands on the money they had plundered. To this we must remark that, in speaking about the sale of the confiscated estates, Comrade X draws an arbitrary conclusion that our programme does not contain. Confiscation means alienation of property without compensation. It is only of such alienation that our draft speaks. Our draft programme says nothing as to whether these lands are to be sold, and if so to whom and how, in what manner and on what terms. We are not binding ourselves, but reserve judgement as to the most expedient form in which to dispose of the confiscated properties when they are confiscated, when all the social and political conditions of such confiscation are clear. In this respect Comrade X’s draft differs from our draft in demanding, not only confiscation, but the transference of the confiscated lands “to the democratic state for their most advantageous utilisation by the population.” Thus, Comrade X excludes one of the forms of the disposal of what has been confiscated (sale) and does not suggest any definite form (since it remains unclear just what constitutes or   will constitute or should constitute the “most advantageous” utilisation, and just what classes of the “population” will receive the right to this utilisation and on what terms). Hence, Comrade X fails in any case to bring complete definiteness into the question of how the confiscated lands should be disposed of (nor can this be determined in advance), while he wrongly excludes their sale as one of the methods. It would be wrong to say that, under all circumstances and at all times, the Social-Democrats will be opposed to the sale of the land. In a police-controlled class state, even if it is a constitutional state, the class of property-owners may not infrequently be a far stauncher pillar of democracy than the class of tenant farmers dependent on that state. That is on the one hand. On the other hand, our draft makes for greater provision than Comrade X’s draft does against confiscated lands being turned into “gift& to the capitalists” (insofar as any provision against this can be spoken of in general in the wording of a programme). And indeed, let us imagine the worst: let us imagine that, despite all its efforts, the workers’ party will be unable to curb the capitalists’ wilfulness and greed.[1] In that, case, Comrade X’s formulation affords free scope for the “most advantageous” utilisation of the confiscated lands, by the capitalist class of the “population.” On the contrary, our formulation, while it does not link up the basic demand with the form of its realisation, nevertheless envisages a strictly definite application of sums received from such realisation. When Comrade X says that “the Social-Democratic Party cannot undertake in advance to decide in what concrete form the popular representative body will utilise the land which it will have at its command,” he is confusing two different things: the method of realising (in other words: “the form of utilising”) this land and the application of the sums received from this realisation. By leaving the question of the application of these sums absolutely indefinite and tying his hands, even in part, in the question of the method of realisation, Comrade X introduces a double impairment into our draft.

In our opinion, Comrade X is just as wrong when he presents the following objection to us: “It is likewise impossible   to recover land redemption payments from the nobles, since many of them have squandered them all.” As a matter of fact, this is no objection at all, since we do not even propose that these sums should simply be “recovered,” but propose a special tax. In his article Comrade X himself cites facts showing that the big landowners “cut off” a particularly large share of the peasants’ land for themselves, in some cases seizing as much as three-quarters of the land. Hence the demand for a special tax on the big landed nobility in particular is quite natural. It is likewise quite natural to designate funds thus obtained for the special use we demand, for in addition to the general task of returning to the people all revenues received by the state (a task which can be fully accomplished only under socialism), liberated Russia will Inescapably be faced with the special and most pressing task of raising the peasants’ standard of living, rendering serious aid to the poverty-stricken and hungry masses, whose ranks are swelling so extremely rapidly under our autocratic system.

Let us pass to the fourth point, which Comrade X rejects in full, although he analyses only the first part of this point—about the cut-off lands—without any mention of the second part, envisaging eradication of the remnants of serfdom, which vary in different parts of the country. We shall begin with a formal remark by the author: he sees a contradiction in the fact that we demand abolition of the social-estates and the establishment of peasant, i.e., social-estate, committees. In fact, the contradiction is only a seeming one: the abolition of the social-estates requires a “dictatorship” of the lowest, oppressed social-estate, just as the abolition of classes in general, including the class of proletarians, requires the dictatorship of the proletariat. The object of our entire agrarian programme is the eradication of feudal and social-estate traditions in the sphere of agrarian relations, and to bring that about the only possible appeal can be to the lowest social-estate, to those who are oppressed by these remnants of the serf-owning system.

The-author’s principal objection boils down.to the following: “it is hardly provable” that the cut-off lands are the principal basis of the labour-rent system, since the size of   these cut-off lands depended on whether the serf peasants were quit-rent peasants, and hence had much land, or corvée peasants, and hence had little land. “The size of the cut off lands and their importance depend on a combination of historical conditions”; for instance, the percentage of cut off lands is negligible on the small estates in Volsk Uyezd, while on the large estates it is enormous. This is how the author reasons, without noticing that he is getting away from the point. The cut-off lands were indubitably distributed most unevenly, depending on a combination of the most varied conditions (including a condition such as the existence of the corvée system or quit-rent under the serf-owning system). But what does that prove? Is not the labour-rent system also most unevenly distributed? Is not the existence of this system also determined by a combination of the most varied historical conditions? The author undertakes to disprove the connection between the cut-off lands and the labour-rent system, but talks only about the reasons for the cut-off lands and the differences in their size, without refer ring by as much as a single word to this connection. Only once does the author make an assertion which approaches immediately the substance of his thesis, and yet it is in this very assertion that he is absolutely wrong. “Consequently,” he says, summing up his arguments about the influence of quit-rent or the corvée system, “where the peasants were corvée peasants (mainly in the central agricultural area), these cut-off lands will be negligible, whereas in those places where they were quit-rent peasants, all of the landlords’ land may consist of ’cut-off lands.’" The words italicised by us contain a blunder which destroys the author’s whole line of argument. It is precisely in the central agricultural area, this main centre of the labour-rent system and all sorts of remnants of serfdom, that the cut-off lands are not “negligible” but enormous, much greater than in the non-black-earth zone, where quit-rent predominates over corvée. Here are data on this question, received from a comrade who is a professional statistician. He has compared data given in the Military-Statistical Abstract on the holdings of landlords’ peasants prior to the Reform with the figures showing land holdings in 1878, thus determining the size of the cut-off lands in each gubernia. It appeared that in nine gubernias   of the non-black-earth zone[2] the landlords’ peasants held 1 0,421,000 dessiatines prior to the Reform, whereas only 9,746,000 dessiatines were left to them in 1878, i.e., 675,000 dessiatines, or 6.5 per cent of the land, were cut off, the average per gubernia being 72,800 dessiatines. On the other hand, in fourteen black-earth gubernias[3] the peasants held 12,795,000 dessiatines and were left with 9,996,000 dessiatines, i.e., 2,799,000 dessiatines, or 21.9 per cent, were cut off, an average of 199,100 dessiatines per gubernia. The only exception was the third area, in the steppes, where in five gubernias[4] the peasants held 2,203,000 dessiatines and they were left with 1,580,000, i.e., 623,000, or 28.3 per cent, were cut off, the average per gubernia being 124,600 dessiatines.[5] This area is an exception, since here the capitalist system predominates over the labour-rent system, while the percentage of cut-off lands is the highest here. But this exception only goes to prove the general rule, for here the influence of the cut-off lands has been paralysed by such important circumstances as the peasants possessing the largest allotments, despite the cut-off lands, and the greatest amount of free land available here for renting. Thus, the author’s attempt to cast doubt on the existence of a connection between the cut-off lands and the labour-rent system is quite unsuccessful. On the whole, there is no doubt that the centre of the labour-rent system in Russia (the central black-earth   area) Is at the same time the centre of the cut-off lands. We emphasise “on the whole” in reply to the following question put by the author. Against the words in our programme about restitution of land which has been cut off and is now used as a means of bondage, the author has put in brackets the following question: “but what about that which is not used as such?” Our reply to him is that the programme is not a legislative bill on the restitution of the cut-off lands. We define and explain the general significance of the cut-off lands, but do not speak of individual cases. Is it really still possible, after all the Narodnik literature on the position of the post-Reform peasantry, to have any doubts about the fact that on the whole the cut-off lands serve as a means of serf bondage? Is it really possible, we ask further, to deny the connection between the cut-off lands and the labour-rent system, when this connection follows from the most elementary concepts on the post-Reform economy of Russia? The labour-rent system is a combination of the corvée system and capitalism, of the “old regime” and “modern” economy, of the system of exploitation through land allotment and the system of exploitation through separation from the land. What could be a more glaring example of present-day corvée than a system of farming based on labour rendered in return for the use of cut-off lands (a system described as such, as a special system, and not something incidental, in Narodnik literature in the good old days, when nobody had even heard of the hackneyed and narrow-minded Marxists)? Is it really possible to believe that today the peasant is tied down to the land only because there is no law granting freedom of movement, and not because of the existence, in addition to that (and partly at the root 01 that), of bondage service for the use of the cut-off lands?

After failing to prove in any way that there is any basis for his doubting the existence of a connection between the cut-off lands and bondage, the author continues his argument as follows: restitution of the cut-off lands is the allotting of small plots of land based not so much on the requirements of peasant farming as on historical “tradition.” Like any allotment of an insufficient quantity of land (there can be no question of an adequate allotment), it will not destroy bond age hut will rather create it, since it will cause renting of   land that is lacking, renting because of need, subsistence tenancy, and will consequently be a reactionary measure.

Here too the argument misses the mark, for the agrarian section of our programme does not at all “promise” to do away with all want in general (this promise is given only in the general socialist section of the programme), but promises only to eradicate (at least in part) the remnants of the serf-owning system. Our programme refers, not to allotment of all sorts of small plots of land in general, but specifically to doing away with at least one of the already existing forms of bondage. The author has departed from the trend of thought underlying our programme, and arbitrarily and incorrectly attributed another meaning to it. Indeed, just examine his line of reasoning. He rejects (and in this respect, he is of course right) the interpretation of cut-off lands as implying just strips of land belonging to different owners, and says: “If the cut-off lands are to constitute additional allotment land, it is necessary to see whether there are enough cut-off lands to remove relationships entailing bond age, since from this standpoint bondage relationships are a result of land-hunger.” Absolutely nowhere in our programme is the assertion made that there are enough cut-off lands to do away with bondage. Only the socialist revolution can do away with all bondage, whereas in the agrarian programme we take our stand on the ground of bourgeois relationships and demand certain measures “with a view to eradicating” (we do not even say that this can be complete eradication) the remnants of the serf-owning system. The whole essence of our agrarian programme is that the rural proletariat must fight together with the rich peasantry for the abolition of the remnants of serfdom, for the cut-off lands. Anyone who examines this proposition closely will grasp the incorrectness, the irrelevance and illogicality of an objection such as: why only the cut-off lands, if that is not enough? Because together with the rich peasantry the proletariat will be unable to go, and must not go, beyond the abolition of serfdom, beyond restitution of the cut-off lands, etc. Beyond that, the proletariat in general and the rural proletariat in particular will march alone; not together with the “peasantry,” not together with the rich peasant, but against him. The reason we do not go beyond the demand for the cut-off   lands is not because we do not wish the peasant well or because we are afraid of scaring the bourgeoisie, but be cause we do not want the rural proletarian to help the rich peasant more than is necessary, more than is essential to the proletariat. Both the proletarian and the rich peasant suffer from serf bondage; against this bondage they can and should go together; but against the other forms of bondage, the proletariat will go alone. Hence the distinction made in our programme between serf bondage and all other bondage necessarily follows from the strict observance of the class interests of the proletariat. We would be running counter to these interests and would be abandoning the class standpoint of the proletariat, if we allowed our programme to state that the “peasantry” (i.e., the rich plus the poor) will go together beyond eradication of the remnants of serfdom; we would thereby be putting a brake on this absolutely essential, and, from the standpoint of the Social-Democrat, the most important, process of the final separation of the rural proletariat from the land-holding peasantry, the process of the development of proletarian class-consciousness in the countryside. When the Narodniks, people of the old faith, and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, people without faith or convictions of any kind, shrug their shoulders at our agrarian programme, that is because they (for instance, Mr. Rudin and Co.) have no idea of the real economic system in our countryside and its evolution, have no idea of the bourgeois relations which have been developing and have almost taken shape within the village commune, or of the strength of the bourgeois peasantry. They approach our agrarian programme with the old Narodnik prejudices, or more frequently with fragments of these prejudices, and begin to criticise individual points or their wording, without even comprehending the aim of our agrarian programme or the social and economic relations it has in view. When they are told that our agrarian programme does not refer to the struggle against the bourgeois system, but to the evolution of bourgeois relations in the countryside, they merely rub their eyes in amazement, unaware (because of their characteristic indifference to theory) that their perplexity is simply an echo of the struggle between the Narodnik and the Marxist world outlook.

  To the Marxist who undertakes to draft an agrarian programme, the question of the remnants of serfdom in the bourgeois and capitalistically developing Russian country side is one that has already been settled, and it is only owing to their utter lack of principle that the Socialist-Revolutionaries are unable to see that if they want to offer any material criticism they must contrapose to our solution of this question something that is at least coherent and integral. To the Marxist the problem is simply to avoid either of two extremes: on the one hand, not to fall into the error of those who say that, from the standpoint of the proletariat, we are in no way concerned with any immediate and temporary non-proletarian tasks, and on the other, not to allow the proletariat’s co-operation in the attainment of the immediate, democratic tasks to dim its class-consciousness and its class distinctiveness. In the sphere of agrarian relationships proper, this task reduces itself to the following: the bringing forward of a slogan of such an agrarian reform on the basis of the existing society as would most completely sweep away the remnants of serfdom and most rapidly single out the rural proletariat from the undifferentiated mass of the peasantry as a whole.

We believe that our programme has coped with this task. Moreover, we are not at all put out by Comrade X’s question: what should we do if the peasant committees demand not the cut-off lands but all the land? We ourselves demand all the land, only, of course, not “with a view to eradicating the remnants of the serf-owning system” (to which end the agrarian section of our programme limits itself), but with a view to the socialist revolution. And it is precisely this goal that we are always and under all circumstances tirelessly pointing out to the “rural poor.” There is no grosser error than to think that the Social-Democrat can go to the villages only with the agrarian section of his programme, that he can even for a moment furl his socialist banner. If the demand for all the land is a demand for the nationalisation of the land or its transference to the land-holding peasants of today, we shall appraise this demand from the standpoint of the proletariat’s interests, taking all factors into consideration: we cannot, for instance, say in advance whether, when the revolution awakens them to political life, our land-holding   peasants will come out as a democratic revolutionary party or as a party of Order. We must draft our programme so as to be prepared even for the worst, and If the best combinations ensue, then that will only facilitate our work and give it a new stimulus.

It remains for us to deal with the following argument by Comrade X on the question under discussion. “To this,” he writes concerning his thesis that the allotment of the cut-off lands will strengthen subsistence farming tenancy, “to this, exception might be taken on the ground that the allotment of the cut-off lands is important as a means of abolishing bondage forms of renting these lands, and not as a means of increasing and strengthening small subsistence farming. However, it is easy to see that there is a logical contradiction in this objection. The allotment of small plots of land is the allotment of land in insufficient quantity for the conduct of progressive farming but sufficient to strengthen subsistence farming. Hence, subsistence farming is strengthened by the allotment of an insufficient quantity of land. But as to whether bondage forms of renting will be abolished by this—that still remains to be proved. We have shown that they will become stronger be cause of the increase in the number of petty proprietors— competitors in renting the landlord’s land.”

We have quoted this argument of Comrade X’s in full so as to make it easier for the reader to judge where the “logical contradiction” actually lies. As a general rule, the peasants are at present using the cut-off lands on terms of serf bondage. Upon the restitution of the cut-off lands, the peasants will use them as free owners. Does it really “still remain to be proved” that this restitution will abolish the serf bondage resulting from these cut-off lands? It is a matter of special plots of land that have already given rise to a special form of bondage, but the author substitutes for this particular concept the general category of “an insufficient quantity of land”! This means skipping the question. It means assuming that at present the cut-off lands do not engender any special form of bondage: in which case their restitution would really be simply the “allotment of an insufficient quantity of land,” and then we would really be unable to support this measure. But it is perfectly obvious to everyone that this is not the case.

  Further. The author should not confuse serf bondage (the labour-rent system of farming) engendered by the cut-off lands with subsistence farming tenancy, with renting as a result of need in general. The latter form of renting exists in all European countries: under the capitalist system of farming, the competition of petty proprietors and small ten ants everywhere and always inflates land prices and land rent to the proportions of “bondage.” We cannot do away with this kind of bondage[6] until we get rid of capitalism. But can this be regarded as an objection to particular measures of struggle against particular and purely Russian forms of bondage? Comrade X reasons as though he objected to a reduction of the working day on the grounds that the intensity of labour would be increased as a result of this reduction. The reduction of the working day is a partial reform, which eradicates only one form of bondage, viz., enslavement by means of longer working hours. Other forms of bondage, as, for instance, “speeding up” the workers, are not eliminated by this reform, and all forms of bondage in general cannot be eradicated by any reforms on the basis of capitalism.

When the author says: “Allotment of the cut-off lands is a reactionary measure which reinforces bondage,” be is advancing a proposition which stands in such glaring contradiction to all the data on post-Reform peasant farming that he himself is unable to maintain this stand. He contradicts himself when he says somewhat earlier: “...It goes without saying that it is not the business of the Social-Democratic Party to implant capitalism. This will take place irrespective of the desire of any party, if peasant tenure extends....” But if the extension of peasant tenure in general leads to the development of capitalism, how much the more inevitably will this result from the extension of peasant land ownership to the special plots of land which engender a specifically serf form of bondage. The restitution of the cut-off lands will raise the peasants’ standard of living, expand the home market, increase the demand for wage-workers in the towns, and likewise the demand for wage-labourers among the rich peasants and landlords, who lose a certain mainstay of the labour-rent system of farming. As to the “implanting   of capitalism,” that is an altogether queer objection. The restitution of the cut-off lands would signify the implanting of capitalism only were that restitution necessary and advantageous solely to the bourgeoisie. But that is not the case. It is no less, if not more, necessary and advantageous to the rural poor, who are suffering from bondage and the labour-rent system. The rural proletarian is oppressed together with the rural bourgeois by serf bondage, which is based to a considerable degree on these very cut-off lands. That is why the rural proletarian cannot emancipate himself from this bondage without thereby emancipating the rural bourgeois too. Only Messrs. the Rudins and similar Socialist-Revolutionaries, who have forgotten their kinship with the Narodniks, can see in this an “implanting” of capitalism.

Still less convincing are Comrade X’s arguments on the question of the feasibility of restituting the cut-off lands. The Volsk Uyezd data he cites speak against him: almost one-fifth of the estates (18 out of 99) have remained in the hands of the old proprietors, i.e., the cut-off lands could be transferred to the peasants directly and without any redemption. Another third of the estates have changed hands entirely, i.e., here it would be necessary to redeem the cut-off lands at the expense of the big landed nobility. And only in 16 cases out of 99 would it be necessary to redeem land from peasants and other owners who purchased it in portions. We simply cannot understand how the restitution of the cut-off lands can be “unfeasible” under such circumstances. Let us take the data referring to the selfsame Saratov Gubernia. We have before us the latest “Materials on the Question of the Needs of the Agricultural Industries in Saratov Gubernia” (Saratov, 1903). The size of all the cut-off lands held by for mer landlords’ peasants is given as 600,000 dessiatines, or 42.7 per cent.[7] If in 1896 the Zemstvo statisticians could determine the size of the cut-off lands on the basis of extracts   from the title-deeds and other documents, why can their size not be determined even more accurately by the peasant committees in, say, 1906? And if the figures for Volsk Uyezd are taken as a standard, then it would appear that approximately 120,000 dessiatines could be returned to the peasants at once and without any redemption, that about 200,000 dessiatines could be redeemed at once (at the expense of the noblemen’s land) from estates which changed hands in their entirety, and that only with regard to the remaining land would the process of redemption (at the expense of the landed nobility), exchange, etc., be somewhat more complicated. but in any case by no means “unfeasible.” The significance the restitution of their 600,000 dessiatines of land would have for the peasants is, for example, evident from the fact that the total amount of privately owned land rented in Saratov Gubernia at the end of the nineties was approximately 900,000 dessiatines. Naturally, we do not intend to assert that all cut-off lands are being rented at the present time; we merely want to show graphically the proportion of the amount of land to be returned as property, to the amount of land which is now being rented very often on terms entailing bondage and serf bondage. This comparison testifies most eloquently to the force of the blow which the restitution of the cut-off lands would deal at relations entailing serf bondage, to the stimulus it would give to the revolutionary energy of the “peasantry” and—what is most important from the viewpoint of the Social-Democrat—to the tremendous impetus it would give to the ideological and political cleavage between the rural. proletariat and the peasant bourgeoisie. For the peasant committees’ work of expropriation would immediately and inevitably bring about just such a decided and irrevocable cleavage, and by no means a union of the entire “peasantry” for “semi—socialist” “equalitarian” demands for all the land, as the modern epigones of Narodism fondly imagine. The more revolutionary the action of the “peasantry” against the landlords, the more rapid and deep will this cleavage be, which will then be made manifest not by the statistical computations of Marxist research but by the political action of the peasant bourgeoisie, by the struggle of parties and classes within the peasant committees.

  And note: by advancing the demand for the restitution of the cut-off lands we are deliberately confining our task to the framework of the existing order; we are obliged to do this if we are to speak of a minimum programme and if we do not want to lapse into that kind of barefaced scheme-making, verging on charlatanry, in which “first place” is given to co-operatives, on the one hand, and to socialisation, on the other. We are replying to a question that has been raised but not by us,[8] to the question of the reforms of tomorrow, which are being discussed by the illegal press, “society,” by the Zemstvos, and, perhaps, even by the government. We would be anarchists or simply windbags if we held our selves aloof from this pressing, but by no means socialist, problem which has been raised by the entire post-Reform   history of Russia. We must provide a correct solution, from the Social-Democratic standpoint, to this problem which has not been raised by us; we must define our position with regard to the agrarian reforms which all liberal society has already demanded and without which no reasonable person can imagine the political emancipation of Russia. And we define our stand on this liberal reform (liberal in the scientific, that is the Marxist, sense of the word), while remaining wholly true to our principle of support for the genuinely democratic movement, coupled with steady and persistent work to develop the class-consciousness of the proletariat. We lay down a practical line of conduct with regard to this kind of reform, which the government or the liberals must very soon adopt. We advance a slogan that impels towards a revolutionary issue a reform which has actually been prompted by life itself and not concocted from the fantasy of a hazy, humanitarian Allerwelts[Acceptable to all.—Ed.] socialism.

It is in this latter respect that the draft programme of Comrade X is in error. No answer whatever is given to the question of the attitude to be taken towards the forthcoming liberal reforms in agrarian relationships. Instead, we are offered (in points 5 and 7) an inferior and contradictory formulation of the demand for the nationalisation of the land. Contradictory, because the abolition of rent is at one time proposed by means of a tax, at another by means of transferring the land to society; inferior, because rents cannot be abolished by taxes, and because the land should (generally speaking) preferably be transferred to a democratic state, and not to small public organisations (like the present or future Zemstvos). The reasons for non-inclusion in our programme of the demand for the nationalisation of the land have already been given more than once, and we shall not repeat them here.

Point 8 does not at all bear upon the practical section of the programme, while Point 6 has been formulated by Comrade X in such a way as to have nothing “agrarian” left in it. Why he deletes the point on the courts and reduction of rents remains a mystery.

  The author formulates Point 1 less clearly than is done in our draft, while his addition: “in the interests of defending the petty proprietor (and not of developing petty proprietorship),” is once again non-“agrarian,” inaccurate (we are not out to defend petty proprietors who employ wage-labour) and superfluous, for, inasmuch as we defend the person and not the property of the petty bourgeois, we do this through our demand for strictly defined social, financial, and other reforms.


[1] And if we are able to curb-them, then the sale of the land will not turn into plundering and gifts to the capitalists. —Lenin

[2] Pskov, Novgorod, Tver, Moscow, Vladimir, Smolensk, Kaluga, Yaroslavl, and Kostroma gubernias. —Lenin

[3] Orel, Tula, Ryazan, Kursk, Voronezh, Tambov, Nizhni-Novgorod, Simbirsk, Kazan, Penza, Saratov, Chernigov, Kharkov, and Poltava gubernias (37 per cent of the land cut off). —Lenin

[4] Kherson, Ekaterinoslav, Taurida, Don (approximate figure), and Samara gubernias. —Lenin

[5] Comparing these figures on the cut-off lands in three areas with the figures on the proportion of corvée peasants to the total number of peasants (according to the data of the Drafting Commissions: see Vol. 32, p. 686 of the Encyclopaedic Dictionary, the article “The Peasants”), we get the following relationship. Non-black-earth area (9 gubernias): cut-off lands—6 .5 per cent; corvée peasants—43.9 per cent (average for 9 gubernias). Central black-earth area (14 gubernias): cut-off lands—21 .9 per cent; corvée peasants—76 per cent. Steppe area (5 gubernias): cut-off lands—28.3 per cent; corvée peas ants—95.3 per cent. Hence the relationship is just the opposite to what Comrade X wants to make out. —Lenin

[6] This bondage may be limited, kept in check, by empowering the courts to reduce rents—a demand we advance in our programme. —Lenin

[7] These latest Zemstvo statistics, we might note, fully bear out the contention of the aforementioned statistician that the data he submitted on the cut-off lands are an underestimation. According to those data the cut-off lands in Saratov Gubernia amounted only to 512,000 dessiatines (=38 per cent). As a matter of fact, even 600,000 dessiatines is below the actual size of the cut-off lands, for, in the first place, it does not include all the village communes of the former land lords’ peasants, and, secondly, it covers only cultivable lands. —Lenin

[8] To what extent the question of agrarian reforms on the basis of the existing order has been raised “not by us” is evident, for example, from the following quotation which we have taken from an article by Mr. V. V., one of the most prominent theoreticians of Narodism, which dates back to the best period of his activity (Otechestvenniye Zapiski,[10] 1882, Nos. 8 and 9). “The order which we are analysing,” Mr. V. V. wrote at the time about our system of agriculture, “has been inherited by us from the serf-owning system... Serfdom has collapsed, but so far only in its juridical aspect and a few others; the system of agriculture, however, has remained the same as it was prior to the Reform.... The peasants were unable to continue running their farms solely on their own curtailed allotments; they absolutely had to use the lands that had been taken from them.... In order to secure the proper running of the small farms, it is necessary to guarantee the peasant the use of at least those lands that ... in one way or another were at his disposal at the time of serfdom. This is the minimum desideratum that can be advanced on behalf of small scale farming.” This is how the question was put by those who believed in Narodism and openly preached it, instead of unseemingly playing at hide-and-seek as the Socialist-Revolutionary gentlemen do. And Social Democracy has appraised this Narodnik presentation in its essence, as it always appraises bourgeois and petty-bourgeois demands. It took over in full the positive and progressive side of the demands (the struggle against all remnants of serfdom), rejecting petty-bourgeois illusions and pointing out that the eradication of the remnants of the serf-owning system will clear the road for, and speed up, capitalist development and not any other kind. It is precisely in the interests of social development and of untying the proletarian’s hands, and not “for the sake of small-scale farming” that we present our demand for the restitution of the cut-off lands, while by no means pledging ourselves to assist the “small” peasant bourgeoisie either against serfdom or even against the big bourgeoisie. —Lenin

[9] X—pseudonym of the Menshevik P. P. Maslov.

[10] Otechestuennige Zapiski (Fatherland Noles)—a magazine which began publication in 1820, and after 1839 appeared as a regular monthly. Contributors to the magazine included Belinsky, Nekrasov, Saltykov-Shchedrin, Yeliseyev, and others. The revolutionary-democratic intelligentsia were grouped round 0techestvenniye Zapiski, which was constantly persecuted by the censorship until it was closed down by the tsarist government in 1884.

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