Proletary, No. 18, September 26 (13), 1905.
Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 262-264.
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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The argument about the tactics in respect of the State Duma is becoming more and more heated. The differences between Iskra and Proletary are becoming ever deeper, especially since Parvus’s article in Iskra.
Tactics must be debated, but in this the utmost clarity must be striven for. Questions of tactics are questions of the Party’s political conduct. A line of conduct can and should be grounded in theory, in historical references, in an analysis of the entire political situation, etc. But in all these discussions the party of a class engaged in a struggle should never lose sight of the need for absolutely clear answers—which do not permit of a double interpretation—to concrete questions of our political conduct: “yes” or “no”? Should this or that be done right now, at the given moment, or should it not be done?
Such clear replies are essential to prevent differences from being exaggerated or confused, and also to make definitely known to the working class the specific kind of advice being offered it by this or that group of Social-Democrats at a given moment.
With a view to introducing complete clarity into our controversy with Iskra we have drawn up the following list of concrete questions concerning the political conduct of the Social-Democrats in the present Duma election campaign. We do not in the least claim that this list is complete, and would welcome suggestions for amending, changing, or subdividing any of the questions. It stands to reason that what is said here concerning election meetings applies to all meetings in general.
1. Should workers endeavour to gain entry to election meetings?
2. Should workers endeavour to gain entry to election meetings even by force?
3. Should we speak at such meetings about the uselessness of the Duma and
explain all the aims and the entire programme of Social-Democracy?
4. Should the workers and the people as a whole be called upon at such meetings
to rise up in arms and form a revolutionary army and a provisional
5. Should these slogans (point 4) be made the focus of our whole
6. Should Osvobozhdeniye League members (or
“Constitutional-Democrats”) entering the State Duma be
denounced as bourgeois traitors who are pursuing a policy of
“compromise” with the tsar?
7. Should we Social-Democrats tell the people that it would be preferable to
elect to the State Duma the Petrunkeviches rather than the Stakhoviches,
8. Should we conclude any agreement whatever with the Osvobozhdeniye
League on our support of the latter on the basis of certain conditions,
demands, pledges, etc.?
9. Should we make the slogan of “revolutionary self-government” the
central point of our agitation?
10. Should we call upon the people immediately to elect, on the basis of
universal suffrage, bodies of revolutionary self-government and through
these a constituent assembly?
11. Should we elect Social-Democratic election committees? Should we put up
Social-Democratic candidates for the State Duma?