V. I.   Lenin

The Social-Democratic Election Campaign in St. Petersburg[2]

Published: Prostiye Rechi, No. 2, January 21, 1907. Published according to the text in Prostiye Rechi.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 15-23.
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.README

St. Petersburg, January 18, 1907

The election campaign in St. Petersburg is in full swing. The decisive moment is approaching: in the first place, the next few days will reveal the final grouping of the parties in the elections—who is allied with whom, and who is against whom. Secondly, the elections themselves are now very near.

The elections in the capital are of immense importance. The eyes of all Russia are now turned towards St. Peters burg. Here, the pulse of political life beats faster and the government makes itself felt more than elsewhere. Here are the headquarters of all the parties, the leading news papers of all trends and shades, and the best public speakers at election meetings.

We can already say definitely and emphatically—St. Petersburg has passed the test. The election campaign in St. Petersburg has already provided an amazing abundance of political-educational material, and day by day continues providing more. This material must be assiduously studied. It must be systematically collected, and serve to bring out in the greatest possible relief the class basis of the various parties. And this live, direct knowledge, which interests and agitates everybody, must be carried to the broadest possible strata of workers and to the most remote rural areas.

We will try to begin collecting this material, in the form of a synopsis, of course. Let the reader look back and ponder over the whole course of the election campaign in St.   Petersburg, so as to obtain a true and consistent picture of the role played by the Social-Democrats, and not allow himself to be carried away by the minor events of the day and the kaleidoscope of loud-mouthed political chicanery.

The first stage. The Social-Democrats make the theoretical preparations for the elections. The most prominent representatives of the Right and the Left wings express their views. At first the Mensheviks do nothing but vacillate: (1) Cherevanin is for agreements with the Cadets.[3] (2) The Cadet press is jubilant and spreads the glad tidings to all corners of Russia. (3) Martov protests in Tovarishch,[4] favouring a purely Social-Democratic election list, and reproaching the Bolsheviks (Proletary,[5] No. 1) even for their general recognition of the possibility of agreements with the Trudoviks[6] against the Cadets. (4) The Bolsheviks come out in favour of a purely Social-Democratic election list, but do not exclude agreements with the revolutionary democrats. (5) In the bourgeois press Plekhanov advocates blocs with the Cadets. (6) Vacillation among the Mensheviks: Larin wrathfully condemns blocs with the Cadets as a disgrace to Social-Democracy, Nik. I—sky[7] admits the possibility of blocs with the Cadets, but prefers a bloc with the Trudoviks against the Cadets. (7) Martov and all the Mensheviks describe an arc of 180°r;, and swing over to Plekhanov.

The All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party[8] registers two definite trends: the Mensheviks and the Bundists[9] are in favour of blocs with the Cadets; the Bolsheviks, Poles and Letts are unreservedly against such blocs, but admit the possibility of agreements with the revolutionary democrats.

The second stage. The idea of a bloc with the Cadets is developed in the press. Plekhanov goes so far as to speak of “a Duma with full powers”, thus threatening to reduce Menshevism to an absurdity. Wishing to bring the Mensheviks and the Cadets closer together, he achieves the very opposite (owing to his utter failure to understand the political situation): he widens the rift between them. On the one hand, the Cadet Party solemnly and officially rejects the idea of “a Duma with full powers” as a revolutionary illusion, and jeers at Plekhanov. It is quite clear that the   Cadets want and demand an ideological bloc, the subordination of the Lefts to Cadet leadership, to compromising, anti-revolutionary Cadet tactics. On the other hand, Plekhanov’s excess of zeal causes confusion in the ranks of the Mensheviks: both the Bundists and the Caucasian Mensheviks have made a public condemnation, in the press, of Plekhanov’s pronouncements. Confused and perplexed, the Central Committee, where the Mensheviks have a majority, remains silent. Plekhanov is isolated and is silent, too.

The third stage. The beginning of mass action. Election meetings in Moscow and St. Petersburg. A gust of fresh air from the street penetrates into the musty atmosphere of intellectualist political chicanery. The mythical nature of the Black-Hundred[10] danger at once becomes apparent; the street supports the Bolshevik contention that, by their outcry against the Black-Hundred danger, the Cadets are leading the opportunists by the nose in order to avert the danger threatening them from the Left. The struggle at election meetings in St. Petersburg and Moscow is, in substance, a struggle between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, mainly the Bolshevik Social-Democrats. The Cadets try to drag everybody—the street, the crowd, the masses— to the Right; they oppose revolutionary demands, and, under the guise of following the path of “peaceful parliamentarianism”, have high praise for a deal with the reactionaries. The Bolshevik Social-Democrats call the masses to the Left, and expose the fraudulent, selfish, class character of the fairy-tales about peaceful methods. The Mensheviks fade into the background (on the admission of the very Cadet press which is so enamoured of them); they timidly criticise the Cadets, not in a manner befitting socialists but like Left Cadets, and they talk just as timidly about the need for an agreement with the Cadets.

The fourth stage. The Conference of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic organisation[11] takes place. At this Conference, which has been elected by all the members of the Social-Democratic Party on the basis of discussions (i.e., the general opinion on the question of agreements with the Cadets was solicited), the Bolsheviks are in absolute preponderance—irrespective of whether votes challenged by either side are counted, uncounted, or counted at a special   quota. The Mensheviks walk out of the Conference and launch splitting tactics. Formally, they try to screen their conduct by means of ridiculous and miserable hair-splitting on points of organisation (they allege that the Bolshevik endorsement of credentials is irregular, although the Bolsheviks preponderate, no matter how the credentials are counted; secondly, that the Conference has refused to divide into two sections, a city section and gubernia[1] section, although the Central Committee has no right to demand this according to the rules, and has not demanded it of Wilno, Odessa, or any other cities).

Actually, the reason why the Mensheviks are creating a split is obvious to everyone: the opportunist Social-Democrats are deserting the proletariat for the liberal bourgeoisie, deserting the workers’ Social-Democratic organisations for amorphous, non-party election groups.

The Conference pays absolutely no attention to the Menshevik walk-out and carries on with its own work. In St. Petersburg there are disputes even among the Bolsheviks; the so-called pure Bolsheviks would have no agreements with any other party whatsoever. The so-called dissenters are in favour of an agreement with revolutionary democracy, with the Trudoviks, in order to smash the hegemony of the Cadets over the unenlightened working-class masses in the capital of Russia. In certain cases, these disputes between the “purists” and the “dissenters” become acute, but actually all the Bolsheviks realise full well that this disagreement does not divide them on questions of principle but merely serves to stimulate a thorough and business-like discussion of all chances and prospects in the elections.

The socialist proletariat cannot refuse the non-socialist petty-bourgeois masses permission to follow its leadership in order that it may emancipate them from the influence of the Cadets. After a thorough discussion the Conference passes a resolution to offer the Socialist-Revolutionaries[12]   and the Committee of the Trudovik Group agreements on the following basis: two places to the worker curia, two to the Social-Democrats, and two to the Trudoviks.

In St. Petersburg this was the only correct and the only possible decision; the task of defeating the Cadets could not be neglected; there would be no Black-Hundred danger if there were two Left election lists; but there could be if the Lefts were split still further, and it would be impossible to rally the masses of voters. The Conference’s offer left the preponderance of the Social-Democrats intact; it consolidated the ideological and political hegemony of Social-Democracy in all the purity of its principles.

As for the Popular Socialist Party, the Conference decided to exclude it from the bloc as a semi-Cadet party, evasive on fundamental issues of the struggle outside the Duma. It is well known that after the Duma was dissolved this party separated from the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie and began to preach caution and moderation, in the legal press.

It goes without saying that revolutionary Social-Democracy had to demand that the Socialist-Revolutionaries adopt a definite attitude towards such a party, and either insist on its exclusion (this would probably have been quite feasible if the Mensheviks had not deserted the socialists for the Cadets at the decisive moment), or at least to disclaim all responsibility for such “Trudoviks”.

The fifth stage. The split caused by the Mensheviks raises the hopes of the whole liberal bourgeoisie. The whole Cadet press is jubilant—jubilant over the “isolation” of the hated Bolsheviks, and the “courageous” way in which the Mensheviks went over from the revolution to the “opposition bloc”. Rech,[13] the author of this latter expression, has outspokenly given the Mensheviks and Popular Socialists the title of “moderate socialist parties”. Indeed, the impression is created that the Cadets will win over the whole of the petty bourgeoisie (i.e., all the Trudoviks, including the Socialist-Revolutionaries) and the whole petty-bourgeois section of the workers’ party, i.e., the Mensheviks.

The Bolsheviks calmly continue their independent activities. We are glad, they say, to isolate ourselves from this dirty business, from the treachery and vacillation of the   petty bourgeoisie. We shall not subordinate our tactics to seat-hunting. We declare: in any case there will be three election lists in St. Petersburg: the Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic.

The sixth stage. The elections in the worker curia and the exposure of the duplicity of the Trudoviks.

In the worker curia the Social-Democrats win, but the Socialist-Revolutionaries obtain a much larger share of the votes than we expected. It turns out that it was mainly Mensheviks that the Socialist-Revolutionaries defeated in the worker curia. We are informed that in Vyborg District, the Menshevik stronghold, more Socialist-Revolutionaries have been elected than Social-Democrats!

Our country, therefore, bears out a phenomenon that has long been observed in other countries. Opportunism in Social-Democracy is so repulsive to the working masses that they swing over to the revolutionary bourgeoisie. The highly unstable and vacillating policy of the Mensheviks immensely weakens Social-Democracy and plays into the hands of the Cadets in the urban curia, and of the Socialist-Revolutionaries in the worker curia.

It is only revolutionary Social-Democracy that can meet the needs of the proletarian masses and permanently alienate them from all petty-bourgeois parties.

On the other hand, however, the events also reveal Trudovik duplicity. In the worker curia they (the Socialist-Revolutionaries) defeat us by routing the Mensheviks, who favour a bloc with the Cadets. At the same time they are playing a most unprincipled game in the election campaign. They make no party declarations, publish no independent organisational decisions, conduct no open discussion on the question of blocs with the Cadets. One would think that they were deliberately blowing out all the candles—like people who need the dark for their dark deeds.

It is said that the Socialist-Revolutionaries have formed a bloc with the Popular Socialists. No one knows the terms or the character of that bloc. It is all guess-work. It is said (cf. Rodnaya Zemlya of January 15; this is the news paper that Mr. Tan[14] writes for) that the Socialist-Revolutionaries are in favour of a bloc with the Cadets. No one knows the truth. It is all guess-work. The same confusion   is revealed at election meetings: one Socialist-Revolutionary, jointly with the Popular Socialists, advocates a bloc with the Cadets; another gets a resolution carried against a bloc with the Cadets and for a bloc of all the Lefts against the Cadets.

The utter instability and duplicity of the entire petty bourgeoisie, including its most revolutionary section, is now clearly demonstrated to the masses. Were it not for the petty-bourgeois opportunists in our own Social-Democratic ranks, we should have an excellent opportunity of explaining to all the workers why only the Social-Democrats are capable of defending their interests honestly and consistently.

It is on that basis that the Bolsheviks are carrying on their agitation. The Bolsheviks are unswervingly pursuing their own line. In St. Petersburg there are sure to be Cadet and Social-Democratic election lists. Our decision does not depend on the vacillations of the petty bourgeoisie: if they respond to our call and follow the proletariat against the liberals, so much the better for them. If not, so much the worse for them; in any case we shall pursue the Social- Democratic path.

The seventh stage. Disintegration. The Cadets get themselves mixed up in negotiations with the Black Hundreds. The petty-bourgeois opportunists get themselves mixed up in negotiations with the Cadets. The Bolsheviks unswervingly pursue their own line.

The newspapers report: (1) that Mr. Stolypin has granted an audience to Mr. Milyukov; (2) that, according to reports in the foreign press, the government is willing to legalise the Cadet Party on condition that it forms no blocs with the Lefts.

A ray of light is thrown on the backstage machinations of the liberal traitors. The Cadets are afraid to reject the offer of the Black Hundreds, for the latter threaten to dissolve the Duma.

That is the real reason why the Cadets, to the horror of the petty bourgeois opportunists, have suddenly become so “adamant” on the question of agreements.

The Cadets are obdurate. More than two seats for all the Lefts? Never! In issue after issue the Cadet Rech   explains very distinctly and didactically that it is willing to lead the moderate socialists (two seats out of six) in order to combat “revolutionary illusions”, to combat revolution. March with the revolution? Never!

The opportunists are in despair. The tone of the articles in Tovarishch against Rech grows positively hysterical. Mr. Bogucharsky, the renegade Social-Democrat, twists and turns, exhorting Rech, and, jointly with other writers on Tovarishch, urges it to consider what it is doing, etc. The recent joint jubilation of Rech and Tovarishch over the isolation of the Bolsheviks and the submission of the moderate socialists to the liberals now gives way to angry recriminations and a free fight. On January 7, St. Petersburg learned of the decision of the St. Petersburg Social-Democratic Conference. Today is January 18. But so far the Cadets and the opportunists have not decided anything. The tone of Rech today is particularly uncompromising towards Tovarishch, and the tone of Tovarishch today is particularly sharp and perplexed in its remarks against Rech.

The Bolsheviks are unswervingly pursuing their own line. There will be three election lists in St. Petersburg. Where the petty bourgeoisie will find themselves is their business: the revolutionary proletariat will do its duty in any case.

What the eighth stage will be we do not know. This, in the final analysis, depends on the negotiations, on the relations between the Cadets and the Black-Hundred government. If they “come to terms” on the immediate legalisation of the Cadets, or on some other point, the petty bourgeoisie will be isolated. If, for the time being, the Cadets and the Black Hundreds fail to come to terms, the Cadets may even concede three seats to the petty bourgeoisie. The Social-Democrats will not allow this to determine their policy.

The course of events in the St. Petersburg election campaign provides us with a miniature but excellent picture of the relations between the Black Hundreds, the Cadets and the revolutionary proletariat. And this course of events strikingly confirms the old, tested and uncompromising tactics of the revolutionary Social-Democrats.

A straight policy is the best policy. A policy based on principles is the most practical policy. Such a policy alone   can really win Social-Democracy the lasting sympathy and confidence of the masses. It alone can free the workers’ party from responsibility for the negotiations between Stolypin and Milyukov, and between Milyukov and Annensky, Dan or Chernov.

Henceforth, this responsibility must forever be borne by the opportunist Social-Democrats and the “Trudovik parties”.

It is not surprising that the vacillating Mensheviks are trying to save themselves by resorting to hypocrisy. We are in favour either of a struggle against the Black Hundred danger or of purely Social-Democratic election lists, say the Social-Democrats who left the Conference (if we are to believe today’s newspapers). This is an amusing subterfuge, which only very simple-minded people can believe! It has been proved that there is no Black-Hundred danger in St. Petersburg if there are two Left election lists. But what if there are three? Are the Mensheviks anxious to try this?! No, they are simply clutching at anything, for the course of events has forced them to the wall: they must either desert to the Cadets and submit entirely to their ideological and political hegemony, or follow the Bolsheviks, the Social-Democratic election list to which the Trudoviks may be admitted.

In St. Petersburg such an election list would probably defeat both the Black Hundreds and the Cadets. And having chosen a correct line from the very outset, revolutionary Social-Democrats will unswervingly pursue it, undaunted by the possibility of temporary defeats in the event of the petty bourgeoisie deserting to the liberals—drawing new strength and determination from the vacillation and indecision of the opportunists.

There will be three election lists in St. Petersburg: the Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic!

Citizens, make your choice!


[1] Gubernia, uyezd, volost—Russian administrative-territorial units. The largest of these was the gubernia, which had its subdivisions in uyezds, which in turn were subdivided into volosts. This system continued under the Soviet power until the introduction of the new administrative-territorial division of the country in 1929-30.—Ed.

[2] The Social-Democratic Election Campaign in St. Petersburg” was published in the newspaper Prostiye Rechi, No. 2.

Prostiye Rechi (Simple Words) was a legal Bolshevik weekly published in St. Petersburg in 1907, Lenin being one of its closest collaborators. Only three issues appeared—No. I on January 14(27), No. 2 on January 21 (February 3) and No. 3 on January 30 (February 12), after which it was suppressed by the tsarist. government. In addition to the above article, published in the second issue, the newspaper’s third issue carried two other articles by Lenin—“The Elections in the Worker Curia in St. Petersburg” and “The Struggle Between S.D’s and S.R.’s in the Elections in the Worker Curia in St. Petersburg”.

The election campaign was conducted under the election law of December 11(24), 1905. The law was promulgated by the tsarist government when the insurrection of the workers was at its height; it made some slight extensions to the franchise provided by the law governing the elections to the Bulygin Duma promulgated on August 6(19), 1905. Even under the new election law, however, a very large part of the population of Russia was disfranchised—all women, the workers in small enterprises, the peasants of Poland and Siberia and many others.

The elections to the Duma were indirect and bad several stages. They were conducted separately for various groups of the population known as curias— they were the landowner, urban, peasant and worker curias.

The elections in the landowner and urban curias were in two stages: the urban population (workers excluded) and uyezd congresses of landowners elected their representatives to gubernia congresses which, in turn, elected deputies to the Duma.

The elections in the worker curia were In three stages: the workers elected representatives at their factories, these representatives elected electors, and the electors elected the deputies. Factories employing from 50 to 1,000 workers elected one representative; bigger enterprises sent one representative for every thousand workers; factories employing fewer than 50 workers did not take part in the elections.

The four-stage system introduced for the peasants was the following: every ten households sent a representative to the village meeting, the village meetings sent one representative each to the   volost meeting, a congress of representatives from the volost meetings elected an elector who attended the gubernia election meeting.

Thus the election law of December 11(24), 1905 allowed for one elector to every 2,000 voters in the landowner curia, one to each 7,000 in the urban curia, one to 30,000 in the peasant curia and one to 90,000 in the worker curia, i.e., the vote of a landlord was equal to three votes by the urban bourgeoisie, 15 peasant votes and 45 workers’ votes. The electors from the worker curias constituted only 4 per cent of the electors who elected deputies to the State Duma.

As Lenin pointed out, this law ensured an overwhelming majority of landowners and capitalists in the Duma and was the crudest distortion of popular representation.

[3] Cadets—members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the leading party of the Russian liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie. The Cadet Party was founded in October 1905, its membership including representatives of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo functionaries and bourgeois intellectuals. Some prominent members of the party were: P. N. Milyukov, S. A. Muromtsev, V. A. Maklakov, A. I. Shingarev, P. B. Struve, and F. I. Rodichev. To win over the masses of the working people the Cadets adopted the deceptive title of “people’s freedom party” although actually they did not go beyond the demand for a constitutional monarchy. They considered the struggle against the revolutionary movement their main task, and were anxious to share state power with the tsar and the feudal landlords. During the First World War the Cadets actively support ed the tsarist government’s foreign policy of conquest. At the time of the bourgeois democratic revolution of February 1917, they tried to save the monarchy; they held leading positions in the bourgeois Provisional Government, in which they pursued a counter-revolutionary policy opposed to the interests of the people but favourable to the U.S., British and French imperialists. After the victory of the October Socialist Revolution the Cadets became irreconcilable enemies of Soviet power and participated in all armed counter-revolutionary actions and in the campaigns of the interventionists. When the interventionists and whiteguards were defeated, the Cadets fled abroad, where they continued their anti-Soviet, counter-revolutionary activities.

[4] Tovarishch (The Comrade)—a bourgeois daily paper published in St. Petersburg from March 1906 to January 1908. It was not the official organ of any particular party but was the mouthpiece of the Left Cadets. Mensheviks also contributed to this paper. p. 16

[5] Proletary (The Proletarian)—an illegal Bolshevik newspaper edited by Lenin; it was published from August 21 (September 3), 1906 until November 28 (December 11), 1909, a total of fifty issues having appeared. Active participants in the editorial work were M. F. Vladimirsky, V. V. Vorovsky, I. F. Dubrovinsky, A. V. Lunacharsky;   the technical side of publication was in the hands of A. G. Schlichter, E. S. Schlichter and others. The first twenty issues of the paper were edited and set up in Vyborg (matrices were sent to St. Petersburg and the paper was printed there; for purposes of concealment the newspaper was date-lined Moscow). Later, in view of growing difficulties in the way of publishing an illegal newspaper in Russia, the St. Petersburg and Moscow Committees of the R.S.D.L.P. decided that publication of the newspaper should he organised abroad. Nos. 21 to 40 were published in Geneva and Nos. 41 to 50 in Paris.

Nos. 1 and 2 of Proletary appeared as the organ of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.; Nos. 3 and 4 as the organ of the Moscow, St. Petersburg and Moscow District Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.; Nos. 5 to 11 as the organ of the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow District, Perm and Kursk Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.; Nos. 12 to 20 as the organ of the Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow District, Perm, Kursk and Kazan Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.; from No. 21 onwards (from the time it moved abroad) it appeared as the organ of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Committees of the R.S.D.L.P.

Actually, Proletary was the Central Organ of the Bolsheviks. The main editorial work was done by Lenin, with most issues carrying articles by him (over a hundred in all) on the most important questions of the revolutionary struggle of the working class. The newspaper gave prominence to questions of tactics and general politics; it published reports on the activities of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., the decisions of conferences and plenary meetings of the CC., R.S.D.L.P., letters from the C.C. on various questions of Party work, and other documents. No. 46 published a supplement containing a notice of the extended meeting of the Editorial Board of Proletary held in Paris between June 8 and June 17 (21-30), 1909, and also the resolutions of that meeting. The newspaper maintained close contact with local Party organisations.

During the years of the Stolypin reaction, the newspaper played an important tart in preserving and strengthening the Bolshevik organisations, in the struggle against the liquidators, and all other opportunists. At the plenary meeting of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P. in January 1910, the Mensheviks succeeded, with the aid of the conciliators, in passing a resolution to close the newspaper Proletary under the pretence of fighting factionalism.

[6] Trudoviks (Trudovik Group)—a group of petty-bourgeois democrats, peasants and Narodnik intellectuals in the Russian State Dumas. The Group was formed in April 1906 from among the peasant deputies to the First Duma.

The Trudoviks put forward demands for the abolition of all social-estate and national restrictions, the democratisation of the Zemstvos and urban self-government bodies, and universal suffrage in the elections to the State Duma. The Trudovik agrarian programme was based on the Narodnik principles of equalitarian land   tenure—the establishment of a national land fund from government, crown, and monasterial lands to which were to be added privately owned land, if its area exceeded the labour standard (i.e., the amount that could be tilled by its owners without outside help); they recognised compensation for the landed estates that were to be confiscated. Lenin said that the typical Trudovik is a peasant who “is not averse to a compromise with the monarchy, to settling down quietly on his own plot of land under the bourgeois system; but at the, present time his main efforts concentrated on the fight against the landlords for land, on the fight against the feudal state and for democracy” (see present edition, Vol. 11, P. 229).

The Trudoviks in the State Duma, because of the class nature of the peasant petty proprietors, wavered between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats. However since the Trudoviks represented the masses of the peasantry, the Bolsheviks in the Duma followed the tactics of agreement with them on certain questions in the common struggle against the tsarist autocracy and the Cadets. In 1917 the Trudovik Group merged with the Popular Socialist Party and gave active support to the bourgeois Provisional Government. After the October Revolution the Trudoviks went over to the side of bourgeois counter-revolution.

[7] Nik. I—sky—N. I. Iordansky. p. 16

[8] The Second (First All-Russian) Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in Tammerfors on November 3-7(16-20), 1906. It was attended by 32 delegates with a deciding vote—11 from the Mensheviks, 7 from the Bund, 6 from the Bolsheviks, 5 from the Social-Democrats of Poland and Lithuania, and 3 from the Social-Democrats of the Latvian Area. Members of the Central Committee and the editors of the Central Organ attended with consultative votes.

The Conference adopted the following agenda: (1) the election campaign; (2) the Party Congress; (3) the labour congress; (4) the struggle against the Black Hundreds and pogroms; (5) partisan action during revolution.

By engineering the representation of a number of fictitious organisations, the Menshevik C.C. ensured the Mensheviks a majority, which enabled them to foist several Menshevik resolutions on the Conference. The Bolshevik line at the Conference was defended by 14 delegates from St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Central Industrial Region, the Volga side and the Polish and Latvian Social-Democrats. Four reports were delivered on the election campaign to the Second State Duma. Lenin and A. Varsky (A. S. Varshavsky), a representative of the Social-Democrats of Poland and Lithuania, defended the Bolshevik tactics against blocs with the Cadets. The Menshevik tactics of blocs with the Cadets were defended by L. Martov and the Bundist B. A. Abramovich.

After a discussion on the reports, the Conference adopted the Menshevik resolution on “Tactics of the R.S.D.L.P. in the Election Campaign”, which allowed for blocs with the Cadets and was voted for by 18 delegates (Mensheviks and Bundists) and against by 14 delegates. In opposition to this opportunist resolution, Lenin tabled   a Special Proviso on behalf of the 14 delegates—the Bolshevik platform for the election campaign, which stressed the categorical necessity for the organisational and ideological independence of the working-class party. The Special Proviso allowed for the possibility of temporary agreements only with the Trudoviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries as representatives of petty-bourgeois democracy. Lenin criticised the Menshevik draft election programme submitted by the Central Committee for approval by the Conference, and moved a number of amendments to it. Under pressure from the Bolsheviks the Conference adopted a resolution introducing a number of amendments to the draft election platform.

The Conference adopted a resolution on “Unity of Local Organisations in the Election Campaign”, with Lenin’s amendments, preventing the Menshevik Central Committee from pursuing its policy of blocs with the Cadets in local Party organisations.

Lenin insisted on the need for an extraordinary Party congress, and the Conference decided to call a regular congress not later than March 15 (28), 1907. Despite the demand of the Bolsheviks that the question of a “labour congress” be discussed, since they regarded agitation for the convocation of such a congress as a breach of Party discipline, the Conference did not discuss the question but confined itself to passing a compromise resolution on “The Limits of the Agitation for a Labour Congress”.

Owing to lack of time the question of the struggle against the Black Hundreds and against pogroms, and that of partisan action were not discussed. The Conference instructed the Central Commit tee to publish all the draft resolutions and special provisos in a brief Report of the Conference. The Menshevik Central Committee, however, published only the resolutions of the. Conference in its organ Sotsial-Demokrat, and omitted the Special Proviso of the Bolsheviks.

Lenin analysed and criticised the work of the Conference in his “Blocs with the Cadets”, and “Party Discipline and the Fight Against the Pro-Cadet Social-Democrats” (see present edition, Vol. 11, pp. 307-19, 320-23).

[9] The Band (The General Jewish Workers’ Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia) was organised in 1897 at an inaugural congress of Jewish Social-Democratic groups in Wilno. In the main, it was an alliance of semi-proletarian elements from among the Jewish artisans of the western regions of Russia. At the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (1898), the Bund joined the Party as an autonomous organisation, independent only in regard to questions specially concerning the Jewish proletariat.

The Bund brought nationalism and separatism into the Russian working-class movement. In April 1901, the Bund’s Fourth Congress voted for changing organisational relations with the R.S.D.L.P. established at the First Congress, stating in its resolution that it regarded the R.S.D.L.P. as a federative association of national organisations which the Band should join as a unit in the federation.

Following the rejection by the Second Congress of the H.S.D.L.P. of the Bund’s demand that it be regarded as the sole representative of the Jewish proletariat, the Bund left the Party, rejoining in 1906 on the basis of a decision of the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

Within the R.S.D.L.P. the Bundists were consistent supporters of the opportunist wing (the Economists, Mensheviks, and liquidators), and waged a struggle against the Bolsheviks and Bolshevism. In opposition to the Bolshevik demand for the right of nations to self-determination, the Bund put forward a demand for cultural and national autonomy.

The Bund adopted a liquidators’ stand during the period of the Stolypin reaction, and took an active part in forming the anti-Party August bloc. During the First World War (1914-18), the Bundists took a social-chauvinist stand. In 1917, the Bund supported the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government and fought on the side of the enemies of the October Socialist Revolution, its leadership joining forces with the counter-revolution in the Civil War and during the foreign military intervention. Among the rank and file, however, a swing towards co-operation with Soviet power was to be observed. In March 1921, the Bund went into voluntary liquidation and part of its membership joined the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) on a general basis.

[10] Black Hundreds—gangs of monarchists organised by the tsarist police to fight against the revolutionary movement. The Black Hundreds assassinated revolutionaries, attacked the progressive intelligentsia and organised anti-Jewish pogroms. p. 17

[11] The City and Gubernia Conference of the St. Petersburg Organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. met on January 6 (19), 1907, to decide questions of agreements in the elections to the Second State Duma. The Conference was attended by 70 delegates (39 Bolsheviks and 31 Mensheviks). Realising that the Conference would reject the tactics of blocs with the Cadets, the Mensheviks withdrew from the Conference. The Bolshevik delegates heard Lenin’s report on the subject and decided that agreements with the Cadets were impermissible in principle, and harmful politically.

[12] Socialist-Revolutionaries (S.R.’s)—a petty-bourgeois party that took shape in Russia at the end of 1901 and early in 1902, through the merging of a number of Narodnik groups and study circles (the Union of Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries and others). Its official publications were the news paper Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia) (1900-05) and the journal Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsil (Herald of the Russian Revolution) (1901-05). The S.R. ’s did not draw a line of demarcation between the proletariat and petty proprietors, glossed over the class differentiation and contradictions within the peasantry and denied the leading role of the proletariat in the revolution. Their views were an eclectic mixture of Narodnik ideas and revolutionism;   they tried, to use Lenin’s expression, “to patch up the rents in the Narodnik ideas with bits of fashionable opportunist ’criticism’ of Marxism” (see present edition, Vol. 9, p. 310). The tactics of individual terror that the S.R.’s preached as a. method of struggle against the autocracy was highly detrimental to the revolutionary movement and made it difficult to organise the masses for the revolutionary struggle.

The S.R. agrarian programme envisaged the abolition of private property in land and its transfer to the communes, the introduction of “the labour standard” and “equalitarianism” in land tenure; they also favoured the development of co-operation. The S.R.’s called this programme the “socialisation of the land” hut in fact it contained nothing that was socialist. In his analysis of the S.R. agrarian programme, Lenin said that the retention of commodity production and private farming on commonly-owned land would not do away with the rule of capital, and would not free the working peasantry from exploitation and ruin; co-operation under capitalism could not be a means of saving the small peasant, because it served only to increase the wealth of the rural bourgeoisie. At the same time, Lenin said, the demand for equalitarian land tenure, though not socialist, bore a progressive, revolutionary-democratic character, since it was directed against reactionary landlordism.

The Party exposed the attempts of the S.R.’s to don the cloak of socialism, carried on a stubborn struggle against them for influence over the peasantry, and exposed the harm of individual terror to the working-class movement. Nevertheless the Bolsheviks entered into temporary agreements with the S.R.’s, under certain conditions, for the struggle against tsarism.

The S.R.’s were not a homogeneous class party and this conditioned their political and ideological instability, organisational fragmentation, and .constant wavering between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. As early as the first Russian revolution, the Right wing of the S.R.’s broke away and formed the Trudovik Popular Socialist Party, close to the Cadets in its views; the Left wing, too, broke away to form the semi-anarchist Union of Maximalists. In the period of the Stolypin reaction the S.R. Party underwent a complete ideological and organisational collapse. During the First World War the majority of the S. R.’s adopted a social-chauvinist stand.

After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917, the S.R.’s, in company with the Mensheviks and Cadets, were the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government of the bourgeoisie and landlords, leaders of the party (Kerensky, Avksentyev, Chernov) being members of that government. The S.R.’s refused to support the peasant demand for the abolition of landed estates, and came out in favour of the retention of landlordism; the SR. ministers in the Provisional Government sent punitive expeditions against peasants who had seized landed estates.

At the end of November 1917, the Left wing of the party organised an independent party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, and in an effort to retain their influence among the peasant masses,   formally recognised Soviet power and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks. Very soon, however, they took the path of struggle against Soviet power.

In the period of foreign armed intervention and civil war, the S. B. ’s conducted counter-revolutionary, subversive activities, supported the interventionists and whiteguards, took part in counter-revolutionary conspiracies, and organised terrorist acts against the leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the Civil War the S.R.’s continued their hostile acts against the Soviet state both in the country and abroad, among the whiteguard émigrés.

[13] Rech (Speech)—official organ of the Cadet Party, published daily in St. Petersburg from February 23 (March 8), 1906. The newspaper was closed down by order of the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet on October 26 (November 8), 1917. It continued to appear under various other names—Nasha Rech (Our Speech), Svobodnaya Rech (Free Speech), Vek (The Century), Novaya Rech (New Speech), Nash Vek (Our Century)—until August 1918. p. 19

[14] Rodnaya Zemlya (Native Land)—a weekly newspaper occupying a position close to that of the Trudoviks; published in St. Petersburg from January till April 1907.

Tan—pseudonym of V. G. Bogoraz, journalist, one of the organisers of the semi-Cadet Popular Socialist Party.

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