V. I.   Lenin

A Cadet Property-Owner Argues “According to Marx”

Published: Za Pravdu No. 23, October 30, 1913. Signed: V. Ilyin. Published according to the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 475-476.
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

Mr. Velikhov, property-owner, member of the State Duma and the Cadet Party, editor and publisher of Gorodskoye Dyelo,[1] published in his magazine an article in defence of the Kiev congress of urban representatives of “the intellectualist bureaucracy”.

This malicious phrase, borrowed from the reactionary press, denotes the democratic intelligentsia, who, be it known, have given offence to the poor property-owners by analysing the “property-owners’ institutions” and demanding political clarity. “The intellectualist bureaucracy,” complains Mr. Velikhov, tried “primarily to impose a general-political role on the congress.”

Mr. Velikhov calls this trend at the congress “political” and contrasts it to another trend, “municipal”.

The views of the latter he outlines as follows:

The revolution, said the urban representatives, has passed and is not likely to be repeated in the near future. It is probable that it was not completely successful because the revolutionary-minded classes [which classes? Say what you mean, Mr. Velikhov!] acted at that time without having acquired sufficient knowledge and experience and were not trained to take over state power. The broad road of meetings, slogans, tub-thumping speeches and resolutions of protest no longer satisfies anyone, and has apparently outlived itself. Ahead of us there is tremendous cultural work of a practical nature ”

That is how a property-owner speaks. He shows the point of view of the serf-owner both in his morals and in his urge to forget that at the decisive moment the bourgeoisie went over to the side of the feudalists. He repeats in a peculiar way some “would-be Marxist” phrases that he has heard somewhere, probably among the liquidators:

In Russia,” he writes, “where the working-class proletariat is still small in numbers and weak, where, even according to Marx’s Capital, government should pass from the landed aristocracy to the urban bourgeoisie at the next stage of historical development, to attack the bourgeoisie, to disdain them, to hinder their attempts to struggle against the present political system and regime means putting the brake on natural progress.” (Gorodskoye Dyelo, 1913, No. 20, pp. 1341–1342.)

Quite, quite “according to Marx”!

My dear progressive and even Constitutional-Democratic property-owner! “The attempts of the bourgeoisie to struggle against the present political system” have never been hindered by the Marxists. You will never be able to show a single case of “struggle” in which the “weak proletariat” did not participate more energetically. The Marxists and the workers have not disdained a single case of bourgeois “struggle” against the feudal landowners.

But do you not recall, you who quote Marx, those historical examples that have been increasingly frequent since 1848, of the bourgeoisie betraying the struggle against the feudal landowners and going over to their side?

Russian history, too, teems with such examples, especially in 1904 and still more so in the autumn of 1905, still more so in the winter of that year and then in the spring of 1906, and so on and so forth.

Can you not understand, Mr. Property-Owner who quotes Marx, that the interests of the struggle against the feudal landowners demand that those bourgeois who talk about struggle and, by their actions, betray it should be exposed, attacked and discredited?


[1] Gorodskoye Dyelo (Urban Affairs)—a Cadet fortnightly devoted to questions of municipal economy and administration; it was published in St. Petersburg from 1909 to 1918.

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