The leading article in Rech of January 14 further confirms what we have said above concerning the significance of the Menshevik desertion from the socialists to the side of the bourgeoisie. Rech is jubilant at the fulfilment of its prediction, at the fact that the Mensheviks are breaking away in St. Petersburg and setting up their own organisation. “That is exactly what happened,” says the newspaper, referring to what it had said in previous issues. “A section of the Social-Democratic Party, not the most influential, but the one that is most inclined to parliamentary activity, has fallen in with our proposals.”
Yes, it is true. The Mensheviks have fallen in with the desire of the liberal bourgeoisie to split off the opportunist section of the workers’ party and to subordinate it to the leadership of the Cadets. We have seen above that Rech has already separated the Mensheviks and the Popular Socialists from the revolutionary parties, calling them “moderate socialists”. Now Rech has gone a step further. It says that the Popular Socialists, too, will probably prefer a bloc with the Cadets. It states: “The Mensheviks have definitely fallen in with the proposal to form a general opposition bloc.” “It must be admitted that the possibility of an opposition bloc of the Cadets, Mensheviks and Popular Socialists has become considerably greater since the Bolsheviks rejected the proposal.”
Thus, the Cadets themselves have now admitted that there are three blocs, or at any rate three main political forces, in the elections: the government bloc, the opposition bloc and the revolutionary bloc. This division is quite correct. We note that force of circumstances is compelling the Cadets to recognise what we have long and persistently pointed out. We also note that so tar the only ones in the revolutionary “bloc” who are resolute and determined are the revolutionary Social-Democrats. The other elements, and in particular the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie (the “Socialist-Revolutionaries”), are still wavering.
The significance in principle of the Menshevik desertion to the Cadets is becoming more and more apparent. The fine words of the Menshevik election platforms and of the statements of principle in their resolutions (for instance, at the All-Russian Social-Democratic Conference), the declarations that they would shatter the illusions about the peaceful method, that they were advising the voters to send fighters to the Duma and not petitioners, and so on and so forth—all these words have turned out to be mere words. Actually, the Mensheviks have allowed themselves to be dragged along by the Cadets, by Cadet policy. Actually, the Mensheviks have found themselves in the “opposition bloc”, in other words, they have become a mere appendage of the Cadets.
More than that, the leading article in Rech of January 14 reveals also the price the Cadets intend to pay the Mensheviks for supporting them and joining the opposition bloc. This price is one seat in the Duma, to be taken from the workers’ curia. Listen:
“Since this [i.e., the formation of an opposition bloc of the Cadets, Mensheviks and Popular Socialists] has reduced the number of claimants for the Duma seats, it may be possible, by a new arrangement, to accept the proposal of the party of people’s freedom and content ourselves with two seats out of the six. Now, of course, it will in all probability be necessary to amend this proposal somewhat. After the decision of the conference, the seat that was intended for the person elected by the workers’ curia can obviously no longer be given to a Bolshevik worker. In view of the new composition of the bloc the Mensheviks might legitimately regard that seat as theirs. The other seat out of the two ceded by the party of people’s freedom would in that case go to the Popular-Socialist bloc.”
A fine stroke of business! We can congratulate the Cadets on their bargain! For the same two “ceded” seats they acquire all the petty-bourgeois parties, as well as the petty-bourgeois section of the workers’ party—and that at the expense of the workers!
The workers are to lose their right to a representative from the workers’ curia because the Mensheviks have deserted the Social-Democrats and have become a moderate socialist party (in the estimation of Rech), have joined the opposition bloc. The workers of St. Petersburg are to lose the right allowed them by the Cadets of disposing of their seat as they please because the Mensheviks instead of following the revolutionary Social-Democrats, have followed the Cadets. For their “little deal” with the Cadets the Mensheviks receive a “small concession”, not at the expense of the Cadets, but at the expense of the workers.... What a magnificent specimen of bourgeois concessions to “the people”! The bourgeoisie is prepared to give seats to the champions of “the people”, providing these champions go over to the bourgeoisie....
The delegates and electors in the workers’ curia will undoubtedly see now what advantages, in practice as well as in principle, they will derive from an agreement with the Cadets. It is clear, is it not, that the Cadets have offered (not given, but offered) one seat to the workers’ curia out of sincere sympathy with real freedom really for the people, and not because they want to entice the ignorant, needy masses to the side of the bourgeoisie?