V. I. Lenin

The Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building



We have shown what the general staff of the new faction is like. Where can its army be recruited from? From the bourgeois-democratic elements who attached themselves to the workers’ party during the revolution. The proletariat everywhere is constantly being recruited from the petty bourgeoisie, is everywhere constantly connected with it   through thousands of transitional stages, boundaries and gradations. When a workers’ party grows very quickly (as ours did in 1905-06) its penetration by a mass of elements imbued with a petty-bourgeois spirit is inevitable. And there is nothing bad about that. The historic task of the proletariat is to assimilate, re-school, re-educate all the elements of the old society that the latter bequeaths it in the shape of offshoots of the petty bourgeoisie. But the proletariat must re-educate these newcomers and influence them, not be influenced by them. Of the “Social-Democrats of the days of freedom”, who first became Social-Democrats in the days of enthusiasm and celebration, the days of clarion slogans, the days of proletarian victories which turned the heads of even purely bourgeois intellectuals, very many began to study in earnest, to study Marxism and to learn persistent proletarian work—they will always.remain Social-Democrats and Marxists. Others did not, succeed in gaining, or wore incapable of gaining, anything from the proletarian party but a few texts and “striking” slogans learned by heart, a few phrases about “boycottism”, “boyevism”, and so forth. When such elements thought to foist their “theories”, their world outlook, i.e., their short-sighted views, on the workers’ party, a split with them became inevitable.

The fate of the boycottists of the Third Duma is an obvious example that admirably . shows the difference between the two elements.

The majority of the Bolsheviks, sincerely carried away by the desire for a direct and immediate fight against the heroes of June 3, were inclined to boycott the Third Duma,, but were very soon able to cope with the new situation. They did not go repeating words learned by heart but attentively studied the new historical conditions, pondered over the question why events had gone that way and not otherwise, worked with their heads, not merely with their tongues, carried out serious and persistent proletarian work, and they very quickly realised the utter stupidity, the utter paltriness of otzovism. Others clutched at words, began to concoct “their own line” from half-digested phrases, to shout about “boycottism, otzovism, ultimatumism”, to substitute these cries for the proletarian revolutionary work which the given historical conditions dictated, and to collect a new faction   from all sorts of immature elements in the ranks of Bolshevism. Good riddance to you, my friends? We have done every thing we could to teach you Marxism and Social-Democratic work. Now we declare the most ruthless and irreconcilable war on the liquidators, both of the Right and of the Left, who are corrupting the workers’ party by theoretical revisionism and petty-bourgeois methods of policy and tactics.


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