Pravda No. 109, September 5, 1912.
Signed: I. V..
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 323-325.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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People in our country are only too often prone to regard the election campaign as a struggle for mandates, i.e., for cosy seats in the Duma.
As far as the class-conscious workers are concerned, this campaign is primarily, and more than anything else, a struggle for principles, i.e., for fundamental views, for political convictions. This struggle, which is being waged before the masses and which draws the masses into politics, is one of the principal advantages of the representative system.
Our Cadets, in reply to our posing fundamental questions about liberalism and democracy, about the policy of “peace” and that of the class struggle, dodge all polemics on the substance of the matter, merely hissing right and left over our alleged “Cadet-eating”.
And yet facts indicating a touching unity between the Cadets and the Novoye Vremya people in the appraisal of the cardinal issues of life in Russia strike the eye.
The eighth issue of Russkaya Mysl has appeared. This magazine is edited by the Cadet Struve, and contributors to it are Izgoyev, Severyanin, Galich and many other Cadets.
In that issue Mr. A. Shchepetev printed, under the title “Russians in Paris”, a foul Black-Hundred lampoon against the revolution and revolutionaries. Novoye Vremya immediately caught up the tune struck up by Russkaya Mysl; it quoted a whole series of “gems” from it, and exclaimed gleefully: “To think that those wretched representatives of mankind [i.e., the revolutionaries as portrayed by Russkaya Mysl] claimed the role of renovators of Russian life.”
What will the official Cadet Rech say to that? Will it be that that “has no bearing” on the elections, i.e., on the struggle for cosy seats? Or that Rech “cannot be held responsible” for Russkaya Mysl, i.e., the party cannot be held responsible for its members whom no Cadet conference has ever so much as condemned?
Let Rech twist and turn, and let unprincipled and spineless people shrug their shoulders at our “Cadet-eating”—we shall never tire of saying to the citizens of Russia: look into the principles of the Cadets and don’t remain disgracefully indifferent when the “Constitutional-Democrats” are slinging mud at the democrats.
Here are a few passages from the article of Mr. Shchepetev, the Black-Hundred Cadet; although few, they are the most prominent and, moreover, are concerned with questions of principle, not gossip.
“Hitherto, and above all in the circles taking part in the revolution, humanitarian [i.e., man-loving] and altruistic sentiments [i.e., disinterested sentiments not limited to the effort to keep one’s skin whole] have suppressed personal requirements to an excessive degree, often to the detriment of the general progress and cultural advancement of the whole of our country. Too often the desire for the ‘public good’ and for the ‘welfare of the whole people’ [the ironical inverted commas were put in by Russkaya Mysl] made people forget about themselves, about their personal needs and requirements.... The result is a constant split personality, a constant sense of the wrongness and even ‘sinfulness’ of one’s life, a constant desire to sacrifice oneself, to come to the aid of the propertyless and disinherited, and, finally, to go into ‘the camp of the perishing’—a fact which has found so full and vivid an expression in our literature” (Russkaya Mysl No. 8, pp. 152–53).
How contemptible is a party pretending to be democratic that tolerates in its ranks these gentlemen who sling mud at the most rudimentary, the most elementary premises, convictions and principles of the whole of democracy!
The liberal bourgeoisie has developed a hatred for democracy, as has been proved by the issue of Vekhi, as is proved monthly by Russkaya Mysl, and as has been proved by the Karaulovs and Gredeskuls.
The liberals themselves are placing a bar between them selves and the democrats.