V. I.   Lenin

The Duma “Seven”

Published: Za Pravdu No. 19, October 25, 1913. Signed: V. F.. Published according to the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 449-450.
Translated: The Late George Hanna
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 long-winded statements and arguments of the seven deputies to the State Duma in defence of liquidationism create a very strange impression.

All the time the seven discuss solely Duma activities, Social-Democratic activities in the Duma!

Outside of the Taurida Palace nothing of an organised character exists for the seven! “We, the seven of us, decided; we and Jagiello voted; we appointed speakers; we adopted a declaration”—this is all one hears from the seven. “We members of the Duma”, “we in the Duma”—except for this, the seven know and understand nothing.

The seven have already become so thoroughly infected with liquidationist views that they have ceased to understand the ABC of Marxism.

According to Marxist standards, deputies to the Duma should not carry out their own will, but the will of the Marxist organisation, not their own decisions, but those of the Marxist body as a whole, not their own, but its tactics. It is a shame and a disgrace that this ABC of Marxism should have to be explained to Duma deputies! What a pass their inclinations towards the liquidators must have brought them to if they dare to act as non-Party people, as subverters of the proletarian political organisation!

The seven pro-liquidators dare not even ask “where is the Marxist organisation?”

And yet, this is the crux of the whole question.

All appeals for unity are sheer hypocrisy if those who make them evade the question of the single will, the single decisions and single tactics of the majority of the advanced and class-conscious workers of Russia organised on a Marxist basis.

Za Pravdu long ago indicated the criteria by which the Marxist will of the majority of the workers, opposition to which means splits, disorganisation and disruption can (and must) be judged.

These criteria are: (1) the elections to the Fourth Duma in the worker curia; (2) the case of the workers’ newspapers; (3) the trade unions. In Europe they add to these what is the most important—the number of openly registered members of political parties. Everybody will understand that data of the latter kind cannot be obtained in Russia; they are partly compensated for by common decisions, which every honest worker regards as binding.

The liquidators and the seven do not say a word about this, not a word about the characteristics of the Marxist organisation, about its decisions and its tactics! The liquidators and the seven want “unity”, that is, they want the six workers’ deputies to submit to the seven non-Party deputies; that is, they want to flout the will of the Marxist body as a whole.

The liquidators and the seven want the Social-Democratic Duma group to act on its own according to its own sweet will, in isolation from and opposed to this body as a whole. And this disgraceful, disruptive demand they call a demand for unity.

The appeals for unity made by the seven remind one of a well-known quip: the seven want to “unite” with the six in the same way as a man “unites” with a piece of bread. He swallows it.

The seven non-Party men want to swallow the six Marxists; and they demand that this should be called “unity”.

The destruction of the Marxist organisation by the seven deputies who have alienated themselves from the majority of the workers, by the seven pro-liquidator deputies, by the seven who have forgotten that in the Duma they are only the vehicles of the will of the majority of the workers—this is what the liquidators and the seven deputies are aiming at!

The working class protests against this astounding, disruptive behaviour of the arrogant enemies of working-class organisation, and emphatically demands subordination in Duma activities as in all else.


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