V. I.   Lenin

The Menshevik Tactical Platform

Written: Written during the second half of March 1907
Published: Published in 1907 in the collection Questions of Tactics, First Issue. Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg. Signed: N. Lenin. Published according to the text in the collection.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 249-264.
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

The Tactical Platform for the Coming Congress, prepared by Martov, Dan, Starover, Martynov and others, with the participation of a group of Menshevik practicians” has been issued as a separate leaflet.

The relation between this platform and the resolution on the State Duma, drawn up by the same Menshevik leaders and published in Russkaya Zhizn, No. 47, is not yet known. The leaflet we are speaking of does not say a single word as to whether it is proposed to work out in greater detail the tactical opinions expressed in it, in the form of draft resolutions, precisely on which questions, etc. This lack of clarity is regrettable because the “Tactical Platform” itself is worded very diffusely and indefinitely. To show this we are giving in full the last three theses of the platform; these outline the “current tasks of Social-Democracy in the immediate future”; we shall begin with the third thesis.

(3) The development of the independent political and organisational activities of the working-class masses on the basis of the defence of their interests as a class of wage-workers. Assistance by Party groups for the organisations that are being built up among wide sections of the proletariat on the basis of the struggle to satisfy their immediate trade, political and cultural needs, on the basis of struggle to retain and extend the concessions they have wrested from the old system.”

Could you possibly imagine anything more diffuse, vague and empty? Is this a “tactical platform” for the 1907 congress, or is it an excerpt from a popular article on the tasks of the working class in general?

As we know, the agenda for the congress includes items on trades unions, a labour congress and councils of delegates—these   are all concrete questions of today, of the present stage of development of the working-class movement. And we are treated to platitudes and empty phrases about “independent activities”, as though there were a deliberate desire to conceal their ideas concerning the questions that have been presented by reality and by the Party! This is not a platform, comrades, but a pro forma statement. There already exists considerable Party literature on such questions as a labour congress, ranging from articles in the Party’s official paper Sotsial-Demokrat[6] to a number of pamphlets. A platform is drawn up to provide an answer that is to the point, and not to evade the issue.

“...(2) A determined ideological struggle against all attempts to limit the class independence of the proletariat, against inculcation of reactionary petty-bourgeois illusions in proletarian consciousness, and against all tendencies leading to the substitution of anarchic terror and adventurous plotting for the organised class struggle.”

Wrathfully put. Clearly the authors wanted to give vent to their ire. That, of course, is their right, and we would be the last to complain of sharpness in a polemic. Polemise as trenchantly as you like; only say plainly what you mean. Your second point, however, says absolutely nothing definite. It “is aimed”, as one may guess, at the Bolsheviks, but it misses the mark on account of its diffuse wording. All Bolsheviks would, of course, agree to subscribe in full to the condemnation of anarchic terror, “adventurous plotting”, “reactionary petty-bourgeois illusions” and “at tempts to limit class independence”.

Let us give the Menshevik comrades some good advice. If you want to engage in sharper polemics with the Bolsheviks, comrades, and want to “wound” them more seriously, then please compile resolutions that will be unacceptable to us. You must open all the parentheses and not cast a new veil over questions presented long ago! Take an example from us: our draft resolution on non-party political organisations says outright that we are against certain definite proposals of Axelrod’s, against certain definite trends expressed in certain literary works by members of the Party. Whatever you may blame us for in our draft resolution, it will certainly not be for lack of clarity, or for avoiding the substance of the dispute.

“...(1) The awakening of the political initiative of the proletarian masses by the organisation of their planned intervention in political life in all its manifestations.

“In pursuance of this, Social-Democracy, while calling on the proletariat to support all progressive classes in their joint struggle against reaction, rejects all lasting alliances with any part of the non-proletarian classes, and, wherever sections of these classes differ among themselves, supports in each individual case those actions that are in conformity with social progress. Social-Democracy directs its revolutionary criticism both against the counter-revolutionary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie and against the utopian and reactionary prejudices of agrarian petty-bourgeois socialism.”

We deliberately left this point until last, it alone, relatively speaking, having some content, since it touches on the fundamental principles of the differences between the Bolshevik and Menshevik tactics. But then, again, it only “touches upon” them, again far too much padding and not enough concrete material! The first two sentences are truisms that might well have been discussed in the press in 1894-95, but it is really awkward to speak of such things in 1907. And even these truisms are worded very carelessly, for instance, Social-Democracy rejects all “alliances” in general with other classes, and not only “lasting” ones.

The third sentence is the only one dealing with fundamentals of tactics. Only here the veil is at least raised sufficiently to reveal the outlines of the concrete phenomena of our times.

Here Social-Democracy is contrasted to: (1) the counter revolutionary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie; (2) the utopian and reactionary prejudices of agrarian petty-bourgeois socialism. The instruction offered to the Party consists in criticism of them both in equal measure.

Let us examine these two comparisons and the significance of this instruction.

It is not quite clear what the comrades mean by the “counter-revolutionary strivings of the liberal bourgeoisie”. It would have been proper to speak of the liberal bourgeoisie, without any further definition, in 1897 but not in 1907. The Menshevik comrades are astonishingly belated; we now have political parties in Russia that have revealed themselves in the First Duma, and partly in the Second! What sort of “tactical platform” is this that still does not even notice these definite parties in Russia?

It is difficult to believe that the Octobrists are referred to as liberal bourgeois. The comrades obviously have a party of the Constitutional-Democrat type in mind (the Party of Democratic Reform, perhaps the Party of Peaceful Renovation, as a phenomenon of the same type). We are convinced of this also by the use of the word “strivings”, because we do not see any strivings in the spirit of counter-revolution on the part of the Octobrists—their entire policy has now become counter-revolutionary.

And so the matter is one of Cadet counter-revolutionary “strivings”, i.e., that the Cadets are already beginning to conduct practical politics in a counter-revolutionary spirit.

This fact is undoubtedly true. A frank and definite ad mission of it would undoubtedly bring closer together the two now hostile trends in Russian Social-Democracy. The need for a “revolutionary criticism’ of such strivings is also beyond dispute.

To continue. The reactionary strivings of the liberals are contrasted with the reactionary “prejudices of agrarian petty-bourgeois socialism”.

We are completely at a loss. How can classes (liberal bourgeoisie) be compared and contrasted with theories (socialism), or practical politics (strivings) with views (prejudices)?? This is illogical in the highest degree. In a tactical platform, if it is to hold together, the contrasting should be of (1) one class with another—for example, the liberal bourgeoisie with the democratic (or reactionary?) peasantry; (2) one policy with another—for example, counter-revolutionary with revolutionary; (3) one set of theories, views and prejudices with another. This is so absolutely obvious, so extremely elementary, that one cannot but wonder whether this lack of logic in the Mensheviks is accidental, or whether lack of logical clarity reflects unclear political thinking.

It is beyond doubt that the “socialism” of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Trudoviks and the Popular Socialists is full of utopian and reactionary prejudices. This, of course, has to be said when these parties are being assessed, as it was said by the Bolsheviks in their draft resolutions for the Fourth and Fifth congresses. By repeating this   indubitable concept in such an illogical combination, the Mensheviks were apparently seizing on the first argument that came their way, in order to justify their policy of support for the Cadets. Actually they could not avoid giving a motive for this policy and attempting to justify it in the text of the platform under examination. The liberal bourgeoisie’s attitude to the peasantry in the Russian bourgeois revolution has now been touched upon by the Mensheviks. This is great progress, of course. After the experience of the First and (partly) the Second Duma, one can no longer limit oneself to merely referring to the notorious “Black Hundred danger” fiction as an argument in defence of election agreements with the Constitutional-Democrats, voting for a Cadet chairman, and supporting Cadet slogans. The general question, already presented by the Bolsheviks in the pamphlet Two Tactics (July 1905)[1] must be raised— the question of the attitude of the liberal bourgeoisie and the peasantry to the Russian revolution. What is it that the Mensheviks now say, in substance, on this question?

“Urban bourgeois democrats in Russia have not subordinated the entire economy to themselves and are, therefore, not capable of independent revolutionary initiative, as was the case in bourgeois revolutions in previous centuries; at the same time the peasantry, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the small producers, are only just beginning to emerge from the economic and social conditions of pre-bourgeois production, and are, therefore, still less suited for the role of an independent leader of the revolution.”

This is the sole attempt to base the Menshevik policy towards the liberals and the peasantry on an economic analysis! “The peasantry are still less suitable than the urban bourgeois democrats..."—and these words “still less” are supposed to justify the policy of supporting the Cadets.

Why “still less”? Because the peasantry “are only just beginning to emerge from the economic and social conditions of pre-bourgeois production”. A motive that is obviously unsatisfactory. If the peasantry are “only just beginning to emerge” it is “the survivals of the feudal system that are a heavy burden borne directly by the peasantry” which prevent them from emerging. These words are from the first   paragraph of our Party’s agrarian programme. The circumstance that the heavy burden of the survivals of serfdom is borne directly by the peasants makes a more profound, extensive and acute revolutionary movement against the existing system necessary and inevitable among the peasantry than among the liberal bourgeoisie. There can be no question of either the liberal bourgeoisie or the peasantry being suitable leaders of the revolution[2] ; the relative ability of the liberals and the peasants to display “independent revolutionary initiative”, or, to be more exact, independently to participate in the further development of the revolution has been assessed quite incorrectly by the Mensheviks.

The Menshevik point of view on the political role of the peasantry contradicts those basic postulates of our agrarian programme that are agreed upon by the whole party, Bolsheviks and Mensheviks alike.

First: as we have said “the survivals of the feudal system are a heavy burden borne directly by the peasantry”. Consequently, in the present bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia, the peasantry must be more revolutionary than the liberal bourgeoisie, because the strength, durability, viability and acuteness of the revolutionary movement depend on the force of the oppressive conditions of the old order, of that which has outlived itself.

Secondly: in our agrarian programme we demand “the confiscation of private landed properties”. We do not demand anything of the sort, anything that even remotely   approximates such a radical economic measure, for the liberal bourgeoisie. Why? Because no objective conditions exist that would call forth a struggle among the liberal bourgeoisie for the confiscation of a very considerable part of the property that is “legitimate” from the standpoint of the old order. We all recognise the existence of these objective conditions among the peasantry, because the Marxists do not demand confiscation out of sheer love for ultra-revolutionary measures, but because they are conscious of the hopeless position of the peasant masses. The incomparably greater depth of the peasantry’s bourgeois-democratic revolutionary spirit follows inevitably from this premise in our agrarian programme.

Thirdly: our agrarian programme speaks of “support for the revolutionary acts by the peasantry up to and including the confiscation of the landlords’ lands”. This is a clear recognition of the need for a definite attitude to the direct revolutionary struggle of the peasants, to “acts” of a mass character that cover a huge area and involve a tremendous section of the country’s population. Nothing similar to these revolutionary acts is to be found among the urban bourgeoisie, not only among the “liberal”, i.e., the middle and some of the big bourgeoisie, but also among the democratic petty bourgeoisie. The Social-Democratic Labour Party has never promised, and could never have promised, any “support” for any sort of “confiscation” plans made by the urban bourgeoisie. From this, it can be seen how erroneous is the usual Menshevik argument about the “progressive urban” and “backward rural” bourgeoisie, an argument that is hinted at in the platform under review. The argument is based on a misunderstanding of our programme’s fundamental ideas on the question of the struggle against the survivals of serfdom, a struggle that constitutes the economic content of the bourgeois revolution in Russia.

Fourthly: the political history of Russia for the past year, especially the First Duma and the elections to the Second Duma, has shown clearly that the peasantry, despite all their lack of development, their lack of unity, etc., were able to lay down immediately the beginnings of the formation of political parties (the “Trudovik” Group, etc.) that are undoubtedly more democratic than the liberal-bourgeois   parties (the Constitutional-Democrats among them). This is borne out by a comparison of the Constitutional-Democrats’ bill on the agrarian question with that of the “104", or a comparison of the attitude of the Cadets and the Trudoviks towards freedom of assembly and the composition of local land committees, or a comparison of the Cadet press, which is calming the people and quenching the revolutionary movement with the water of constitutional phrases, and the Trudovik press (Izvestia Krestyanskikh Deputatov,[7] etc.), which is revolutionising, in the democratic sense, fresh sections of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie.

In short, however we approach the question, it must be recognised that the Mensheviks’ comparative assessment of the liberals and the Trudoviks is absolutely wrong.

The source of this error is a failure to understand the bourgeois revolution that is taking place in Russia’s agriculture. This revolution may have two forms—either the retention of landed proprietorship by ridding it of its feudal features and of the bondage of peasant labourers, or the abolition of landed proprietorship through confiscation of that property and transfer of the land to the peasants (in the form of nationalisation, division, “municipalisation”, etc., etc.).[3]

A bourgeois revolution in Russian agriculture is inevitable. And that revolution will remain bourgeois (contrary to the teachings of the Narodniks) even in the second case. However, the revolution may occur either in the first or the second form, depending on whether the democratic revolution is victorious or whether it remains unfinished— whether the peasant masses or the liberal landlords and factory owners will decide the course and outcome of the revolution.

A bourgeois revolution for the purpose of preserving landed proprietorship is being carried out by Stolypin and   the liberals (the Constitutional-Democratic Party)—by Stolypin in the crudest Asiatic forms that a well able to fan the flames of struggle in the countryside and stimulate the revolution. The liberals are afraid of this and, as they do not wish to risk everything, are in favour of concessions, but of such concessions as would preserve landed proprietorship; it is sufficient to recall compensation for the land and, most important of all, the formation of local laud committees from landlords and peasants in equal number, with agents of the government as chairmen! Local land committees of such composition mean preservation of landlord domination. Compensation payments for the land mean the strengthening of the peasant bourgeoisie and the enslavement of the peasant proletariat. It is this basic, economic solidarity between the Stolypin agrarian reform and that of the Cadets that the Mensheviks fail to understand.

Stolypin and the Cadets disagree on the extent of the concessions and on the method (crude or with finesse) of conducting the reform. Stolypin and the Cadets are both for the reform, that is, they are for the preservation of land lord domination through concessions to the peasants.

The proletariat and the peasantry are for the revolution, for the abolition not only of landlord domination but of all landed proprietorship.

We can put an end to the revolution by means of insignificant concessions made by the landlords, says Stolypin.

We can put an end to the revolution only by means of more substantial concessions made by the landlords, say the liberals (the Cadets included).

We want to carry the revolution through to the end, and abolish landed proprietorship, say the peasants and workers.

To deny that the agrarian programmes are thus related means to deny our own agrarian programme, which speaks of “the confiscation of privately-owned land” and “support for the revolutionary acts by the peasantry up to and including the confiscation of the landlords’ lands”.

To recognise this relationship is to recognise the tactical line of Social-Democracy—the proletariat must carry the democratic peasantry with it, against the autocracy and against the liberals.

It is, therefore, no accident that the Mensheviks are wavering in all their tactics; they are inevitably doomed to vacillation as long as they recognise the present agrarian programme. Some of them would like to change the word “confiscation” for “alienation”, thereby quite consistently expressing the next stage in opportunism, since they realise the necessity to make their Cadet policy conform to the Cadet formulation of the agrarian programme.

This, however, has not yet taken place. It is something that influential Menshevik leaders do not even risk pro posing in advance, openly and directly. For them, vacillation in policy is the inevitable outcome.

They have to conduct a policy of support for the Cadets, without daring to announce it openly! Support for the demand for a “Duma ministry”, and blocs with the Cadets on account of a fictitious Black-Hundred danger, and voting for a Cadet chairman in the Duma—all these are only individual manifestations of the policy of support for the Cadets, the policy of subordinating the proletariat to the hegemony of the liberals.

But the Mensheviks do not risk defending this policy openly. And the false position they occupy compels them, against their will and consciousness, to “invent” fictitious arguments, such as the “Black-Hundred danger” at the elections, or the fiction that a “Duma ministry” is not a half-way pseudo-reform concealing an attempt at a deal between the Black-Hundred camarilla and the Cadets, or that by taking our 60 or 70 votes away from Golovin (who obtained 356 against 102) we “risked” sinking the Cadets, etc., etc.

This false position compels them to paint the Cadets in bright colours. They avoid giving this party a direct characteristic in accordance with its class composition and its class backing. They avoid an assessment of Russian bourgeois parties by the congress. Instead of “liberal bourgeoisie” they speak of “urban bourgeois democracy”.

This absolutely incorrect description of the Cadets[4] is defended by one argument, very plausible at first sight—the   election statistics show it is from the big towns that the majority of Cadet electors come. This argument is groundless: in the first place, the elections to the Second Duma in the twenty-two big towns where, according to Rech, there was a Left bloc gave the Cadets 74,000 votes and the Lefts 41,000. And so, despite the Lefts’ amazing weakness in legal propaganda (the complete absence of a daily press, the complete absence of open offices, etc.), the Trudoviks and Social-Democrats won more than a third of the votes from the Cadets! Consequently the Constitutional-Democrats represent the upper stratum of the urban bourgeoisie, i.e., the liberal bourgeoisie in particular, and not urban “democrats” in general. Secondly: for a long time the liberal bourgeoisie of all countries carried with them numerous elements from the lower strata of the urban and rural petty bourgeoisie, but that did not by any means make them a democratic party, a party of the masses. The struggle between the socialists and the liberals for democratic leadership of the mass of the impoverished urban petty bourgeoisie is a long and difficult one. To declare forthwith that the Cadets are “urban democrats” is to reject that struggle, to reject the cause of the proletariat, and to hand it over to the liberals. Thirdly, to deny that the liberal landowners constitute yet another of the class supports of the Cadet Party means distorting generally known political and economic facts—both the composition of the Cadet group in the Duma and, especially, the close connection between the bourgeois intelligentsia, lawyers, etc., and the landowners, and the dependence of the former on the latter. The Cadet agrarian policy is the policy of the liberal landowner. The fewer the liberals among the landowners, the more rapidly does the Cadet agrarian policy turn into the pious wishes for “social peace” expressed by the impotent bourgeois intellectual. The Cadets do not   turn “democratic” by continuing to dream of conciliation and an amicable agreement between the Octobrist landowner and the Trudovik peasant.[5]

*     *

The fundamental error in determining the relations between the liberal bourgeoisie and the peasantry runs like a scarlet thread through the entire Menshevik “tactical platform”. Here is another of their formulations of this erroneous idea:

“The proletariat, left entirely to itself and insufficiently supported [!!] by urban democrats, was inclined [after the October-December period] to minimise the progressive role that, in general, falls to the lot of those democrats in the present revolution, and, in conformity with this, adopted a one-sided, hostile stand towards it.... In consequence of this incorrect understanding by the proletariat of the historic role of the urban bourgeoisie, the proletariat has begun one-sidedly to place all its revolutionary hopes on the movement of the peasantry which is appearing on the stage of history.”

This is a wonderful passage that deserves to go down in history as a description of the “self-forgetfulness” of part of Russian Social-Democrats in 1907.

This is, in effect, an avowal of contrition made by Social-Democrats to the liberals—neither more nor less! Just think of it—at the time of the Second Duma, when there is a clearly expressed sharpening of political extremes between the Black Hundreds and the Left wing of the   Duma, when there is a revolutionary crisis, the maturing of which nobody will risk denying, when there is an obvious swing to the Right of the weakened liberal “Centre” (Cadets), when the liberals have been shouldered aside by the democratic peasants at the elections—Social-Democrats are to be found who publicly repent to the liberals of their “one-sided hostility” to them, repent of minimising their progressive role! What is this, eh? Is it a tactical platform, carefully thought out and weighed prior to the congress by eminent leaders of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, or the whining of petty-bourgeois intellectuals who are getting nostalgic in the proletarian surroundings so uncongenial to them?

“The proletariat adopted a one-sided, hostile stand to wards urban democracy....” What was this expressed in? Let us go over the political events of the last year in our minds. In the boycott? But that was, firstly, prior to the Unity Congress, and the authors of the platform are re viewing events that followed it. And, secondly, what have “urban democrats” to do with it? No, apparently the boycott is not meant. It must be the question of support for the demand for a Duma ministry and of blocs with the Cadets. Here, of course, the proletariat displayed a hostile attitude towards the Cadets but not by any means towards urban democracy.

And who, within the Party, gave expression to this hostile attitude of the proletariat? The Bolsheviks....

The authors of the platform have accidentally told a great truth—in their war against support for the “Duma” ministry demand and against blocs with the Cadets, the Bolsheviks were expressing the policy of the proletariat. This is true. It is only the petty-bourgeois section of the workers’ party that dreams of softening the hostile attitude to the liberals.

The proletariat is “insufficiently supported by urban democrats...”.

First: here the error in confusing the liberals (Cadets) with urban democracy stands out with particular clarity. According to Rech figures, there was a “Left election bloc” in twenty-two cities—these also including Menshevik organisations. In these cities the proletariat was undoubtedly   supported to a considerable extent, by urban democrats, against the Cadets (41,000 votes for the Left bloc, 74,000 for the Cadets). The conclusion to be drawn from this is certainly not in favour of the Mensheviks; the proletariat can and must attract to its side urban (and rural) petty-bourgeois democrats, against the liberal bourgeoisie.

Secondly: when the Mensheviks speak of insufficient liberal support for the proletariat, do they understand the value of liberal support for the proletariat? Their platform is being written in 1907, and not altogether outside of time and space, no matter how much they try to give it the least concrete and most aerial character. Between 1902 and 1904 and even 1905, until the month of October, both Mr. Struve and the liberals in general frequently announced their support for the proletariat, and actually did give their support in the onslaught on the autocracy.

But after October 1905? The Mensheviks cannot but know that in December and after December the liberals turned their backs on the proletariat and ceased giving support to its revolutionary struggle.

We may well ask: By whom and towards whom was a one-sided hostility displayed?

By the proletariat towards the liberals?

Or by the liberals towards the proletariat and towards the revolution?

Or by the Mensheviks towards the tactics of the proletarian class struggle?

*     *

When the Mensheviks go so far as to speak of “one-sided hostility”, they are contraposing, as clearly as possible, two views on the Russian revolution after October 1905. The liberal view—the view of the Russian followers of those German Treitschkes[8] who announced that 1848 was “a year of madness”—is that the proletariat assumed a one-sided, hostile stand towards liberalism, towards constitutional legality, towards the monarchist constitution, towards compensation for the land, etc.

The view of the proletariat—similar to the view of all European socialists on European bourgeois revolutions—is   that the liberal bourgeoisie assumed a one-sided, hostile stand towards the revolution, towards freedom, towards democracy, etc.

The Mensheviks are trying to divert the working-class party from the second view to the first.

The working-class party will parry every such attempt on the part of the Mensheviks by trying to divert the Mensheviks from the working-class party to the liberals.

*     *

We do not by any means wish to say that the Mensheviks are, in general, trying to turn the working-class party into an appendage to the liberals. The difference between the opportunists inside the workers’ party and the liberals outside its ranks is this: the former continue to serve their party sincerely but in so doing adopt an unstable and incorrect tactical stand that leads to the political subordination of the proletariat to liberalism.

The “unfortunate” quality possessed by this stand is that the Mensheviks, in their desire to attack the Bolsheviks, actually attack the proletariat and the proletarian attitude to the revolution. This happens each time the attacks of the Mensheviks are really grounded in principle, i.e., when they deal with the reasons for the two different sets of tactics. Attacks that are not grounded in principle are another matter; they have only to be briefly mentioned for the reader to be confronted by the question: Is this a platform we have before us or a polemical article by a liberal?

We read in the “platform”, for example, that the “proletarian masses [sic!] are inclined to believe in the forthcoming political miracle of a sudden [!!] insurrection that will come about irrespective [!!] of the internal development of the proletariat itself and with one blow [!!] will replace the autocracy by the political rule of the working classes”.

Up to now only the liberal newspapers have attributed such things in such a form to the “proletarian masses”. What made the Mensheviks speak about an uprising at all,   is something we cannot understand. But such talk of an uprising in a tactical platform that does not contain an other word about an uprising except the sentence quoted cannot but evoke the question: instead of “Menshevik platform”, should we not say hereafter “liberal platform”?


[1] See present edition, Vol. 9, pp. 15-140.—Ed.

[2] Generally speaking, we heartily welcome the fact that in their platform the Mensheviks have raised the question of the proletariat’s role as the leader, of the revolution. It is extremely desirable that this question should be discussed at the congress and a resolution adopt ed on it. The Mensheviks give a feeble explanation of the peasantry being unsuitable as leader of the revolution. It is not because the peasantry are only “just beginning to emerge” from serfdom, but because the main conditions of petty production (in agriculture and industry) compel the petty producer to vacillate between “order” and “property” on the one hand, and the struggle against-the old order on the other. In the same way, the Mensheviks have missed the main reason for the liberal bourgeoisie being unreliable—fear of the proletariat, the need to rely on the old order’s instruments of power to defend them selves against the “encroachments of the proletariat”, as the Bolshevik resolution says.—Lenin

[3] I draw readers’ attention in particular to the fact that I have deliberately avoided touching on the disputed questions of the Social-Democratic agrarian programme (division, nationalisation, municipalisation), and have taken only that which has been formally adopted by the Party Congress, arid which does not, in effect, give rise to disputes or group divisions among Social-Democrats.—Lenin

[4] The platform under discussion does not say outright that the Cadets are a party of urban bourgeois democrats, but this is the sense   of the whole text and of all the conclusions. The “explanations” of the Menshevik press are identical. What has remained unsaid in the platform only stresses again and again how very essential it is to place before the congress the question of the class content of the various bourgeois parties and our attitude to them. There can he no consistent tactics unless this is done.—Lenin

[5] It will be remembered that the Right-wing Cadets, Mr. Struve among them, proposed electing the Octobrist Kapustin and the Trudovik Berezin vice-chairmen of the Second Duma. I am ready to call this plan a “masterly” manifestation of liberal “wit”. And this Is how matters actually stand objectively: it is the historic mission of the Cadet to reconcile the Octobrist landowner with the Trudovik peasant. The Left-wing Cadets did not want a demonstration of this because of their fear of the Lefts. This is, however, an indisputable fact. The objective state of affairs makes it the historic mission of the Cadets to put an end to the revolution through the reconciliation of the Octobrist landowners and the Trudovik peasants. And vice versa—the Russian revolution can remain uncompleted, not brought to its final stage, only if it were found possible jointly “to satisfy” the basic economic interests of both the Octobrist landlords and the Trudovik peasants.—Lenin

[6] Sotsial-Demokrat (Social-Democrat)— organ of the Central Commit tee of the R.S.D.L.P. published illegally in St. Petersburg from September 17 (30) to November 18 (December 1), 1906; only seven issues appeared. The Editorial Board, elected at the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., consisted entirely of Mensheviks (F. I. Dan, L. Martov, A. S. Martynov, P. P. Maslov, and A. N. Potresov). In point of fact the newspaper was the factional organ of the Mensheviks.

[7] Izvestia Krestyanskikh Deputatov (Peasant Deputies’ News)—organ of the Trudovik Group in the First State Duma; appeared daily in St. Petersburg in May 1906.

[8] Treitschke, Heinrich (1834-1896)—German historian and journalist, ideologist and propagandist of Prussianism, chauvinism, and racism.

Works Index   |   Volume 12 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
< backward   forward >