V. I. Lenin

Outline of Theses for an Article “How They Defend Themselves”{4}

Written: Written between December 28, 1904 and January 11 (January 10 and 24), 1905
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany V. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 134.2-135.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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How They Defend Themselves

  1. ) Two replies to Lenin’s pamphlet on The Zemstvo Campaign andIskra”’s Plan{1} –the Editorial Board’s and Plekhanov’s. This and is also curious (Plekhanov is nominally on the Board), but the distinction between their replies is extremely interesting.

Plekhanov defends an incorrect stand very cleverly and cautiously. The Editorial Board, not cleverly.

Plekhanov says nothing at all about either 1) Starover’s resolution and its connection with the Iskra plan, or 2) the “higher type of mobilisation”. Ergo, what Plekhanov passes over in silence is the e s s e n c e of Iskra’s mistake (Starover’s resolution is the beginning of the mistake, its Printed from the original   starting-point. The final point—the consideration of the “higher” type).

The Editorial Board emphasises the connection of its stand with Starover’s resolution, and comes out for the idea of the “higher type”.

Both the Editorial Board and Plekhanov make a very weak stand for the talk on panic (clearly retreating and backtracking).

Plekhanov keeps harping on the contradiction between the old and the new = Lenin{5} in an effort to prove that the Iskra Editorial Board was acting according to the old Lenin.

Plekhanov tries to create the impression that Lenin is now opposed to demonstrations before the Zemstvo men and is against dictating to them a “positive programme of action”. This is an absurdity and a distortion.

What were my theses against Iskra?

1) The talk of panic is vulgar and irrelevant.
{{ Reply? Plekhanov on the Tambovites The Editorial (ha-ha!){6}
” on the anarchists (where?)
Editorial Board’s “obstruction” }}
The Editorial Board is almost being robbed: “superfluous”.
2) “Agreements” with the liberals must be determined by the actual common struggle and not by “promises”.
N i l—Plekhanov.
3) Starover’s terms rejected. (The Editorial Board makes a very weak case, with a virtual admission.)
4) “New type.” Editorial Board–schwach.{2} Plekhanov—n i l. On the question of uprising see Iskra No. 62. Leading.{3}
“Purely utopian views”
on preparations for an uprising.
“Are beginning to manifest themselves”....


{1} See present edition, Vol. 7, pp. 497–518.—Ed.

{2} Bad.—Ed.

{3} This word is in English in the original.—Ed.

{4} This was written some time in January 1905 as a proposed reply to Plekhanov’s article “On Our Tactics Towards the Struggle of the Liberal Bourgeoisie Against Tsarism”, which criticised Lenin’s pamphlet The Zemstvo Campaign and Iskra’s Plan. Lenin’s article did not appear in the press, and does not seem to have been written. p. 134

{5} In his article “On Our Tactics Towards the Struggle of the Liberal Bourgeoisie Against Tsarism”, Plekhanov alleged there was a contradiction between Lenin’s old (What Is To Be Done?) and his new (The Zemstvo Campaign and Iskra’s Plan) attitude to the Zemstvo liberal movement. p. 135

{6} A reference to the acts of the Chairman of the Zemstvo Assembly in Tambov Gubernia, who on December 14 and 15, 1904, requested police protection for his Assembly against the “public”. Plekhanov’s “On Our Tactics Towards the Struggle of the Liberal Bourgeoisie Against Tsarism” says: “By the way, about the panic. The recent Tambov events may perhaps put some   of the opponents of absolutism in mind of the idea that Moskovskiye Vedomosti was quite right in threatening the liberals with a popular uprising against constitutionalism” (G. V. Plekhanov, Works, Vol. XIII, p. 178). p. 135

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