V. I.   Lenin

Fundamental Problems of the Election Campaign



In referring to the importance of an election platform, Mr. Yuri Chatsky again speaks with great eloquence. The question of a platform is “one of the most cardinal questions”. Splendid! “To the worker Social-Democrats it [the platform] must be a product of feeling [!], of deep thought; they must consider it their own.” (Yuri Chatsky’s italics.)

It is true that the workers ought to give deep thought to the platform. Nor would it be at all amiss for intellectuals writing in near-Marxist magazines to give the platform some thought. But the statement that the platform must be “a product of feeling” is more than we can understand. Perhaps Nevedomsky and Lunacharsky will treat us in the next issue of Nasha Zarya to “feeling” articles on how the in dependently active vanguard of the independently conscious masses that are being mobilised is to “feel” an election platform.

And here, if you please, is a gem from an article by Mr. F. Dan: “... the sense and the political content of election tactics change completely depending on who creates and applies these tactics: a self-governing collective of the Social-Democratic working-class vanguard, with all its proletarian and intellectual forces, or various petty groups of intellectuals, be they even ‘Social-Democrats’, but not backed up by such a collective, not acting under its control and pressure...”. Who, indeed, can doubt that Potresov and Dan are by no means a “petty group of intellectuals”, but men “backed up by the self-governing collective of the vanguard”   and “acting under its control”! 0, these Tartarins of the liquidationist trend!

Have Yuri Chatsky, L. Martov, and F. Dan given any thought to the platform? “It’s a shame to admit and a sin to conceal,” writes Yuri Chatsky, “but it has also happened that for some of us the platform was one thing, and other things were said in election speeches and articles, everyone pulling his own way.

The truth cannot be denied. “For some of us” such things have indeed often happened.

For instance, Yuri Chatsky, after indulging in words full of feeling about a platform which is a product of feeling, begins to talk at extremely great length, and in words no less full of feeling, about the importance and the indispensability of a single platform. The words full of feeling are deliberately used to obscure the simple question as to whether there can be a single platform where there is no unity of political opinion. If there is among us unity of opinion, why waste words and go to the trouble of breaking down an open door when a platform represents an exposition of opinion!

Yuri Chatsky, however, after a lot of beating about the bush apropos of a “single” platform, very clumsily gives away his own “secret”. “We attach the greatest importance,” he writes, “to the sanction [of the platform] by the Social-Democratic group in the Duma; but at the same time we absolutely insist on the condition that the latter does not follow the line of least resistance by sanctioning a platform imposed upon it by circles abroad.” (P. 50.)

This is described thus: Der König absolut, wenn er unseren Willen tut—the king is absolute ruler so long as he does our bidding. It is desirable to have a single platform—provided it is not a platform “imposed by circles abroad”. Surely this means that actually there are two platforms? One is the platform which you are abusing as being “imposed from abroad” (truly a language worthy of Purishkevich. Just think of it: Yuri Chatsky, working hand in glove with Martov and Dan, writes in Potresov’s magazine about something being imposed from abroad! How low one must have fallen to resort to such methods of inciting ignorant people against “abroad”!). The other platform, apparently,   does not come from abroad, but from the self-governing collective of the broad and open organisations of the mobilised masses. In plainer words and without any flourishes: “the other element of possible centralisation is the group of Social-Democratic [?] functionaries who are closely connect ed with the open workers’ movement and are acquiring ever greater stability and prestige in the process of conducting political campaigns. We refer particularly to St. Petersburg and its leading role in the political campaigns of the past year”. That is what Yuri Chatsky writes.

It is all quite simple: the “group” of St. Petersburg liquidators, well known for their work in Mr. Potresov’s magazine—that is the “element of centralisation”. Clear, very clear, indeed, friend Yuri Chatsky!

There must be a single platform, but ... it must not be one “imposed by circles abroad”, and it must satisfy the “group” of St. Petersburg liquidators.... What an ardent advocate of “unity” he is—this Yuri Chatsky!


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