V. I.   Lenin

“The Struggle of the Proletariat”[1]

Published: Proletary, No. 22, October 24 (11), 1905. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, page 388.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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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In the article “Reply to Sotsial-Demokrat” we should like to mention the splendid way in which the problem of the celebrated “introduction of a consciousness from without” had been posed. The author divides the problem into four independent parts: 1) The philosophical problem of the relation of man’s consciousness to his social being—social being determines consciousness. Corresponding to the existence of two classes, two kinds of consciousness are evolved—the bourgeois and the socialist. Socialist consciousness corresponds to the position of the proletariat. 2) “Who can and does evolve this socialist consciousness (scientific socialism)?” “Contemporary socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge” (Kautsky), i.e., its evolution “is a matter for a few Social-Democratic intellectuals who possess the necessary means and time”. 3) How does this consciousness penetrate into the proletariat? “It is here that Social-Democracy (and not only Social-Democratic intellectuals) comes in, and introduces socialist consciousness into the working-class movement.” 4) What does Social-Democracy meet with when it comes to the proletariat with the message of socialism? It meets with an instinctive urge towards socialism. “Together with the proletariat, a tendency towards socialism is of necessity engendered both among the proletarians themselves, and among those who adopt the viewpoint of the proletariat; this accounts for the birth of an urge towards socialism” (Kautsky). From this the Menshevik draws the following ridiculous conclusion: “Hence it is clear that socialism is not introduced into the proletariat from without, but, on the contrary, comes from the proletariat and enters the minds of those who adopt the views of the proletariat”!


[1] No. 22 of Proletary, October 24 (11), 1905 carried a review of No. 3 of the Russian language edition of Borba Proletariata, organ of the Caucasian League of the R.S.D.L.P. Part of the review published in this volume was written by Lenin, and contains an appraisal of the article by J. Stalin entitled “Reply to Sotsial-Demokrat”.

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