V. I.   Lenin

The Liberals’ Corruption of the Workers

Published: Put Pravdy No. 9, January 31, 1914. Signed: K. T.. Published according to the text in Put Pravdy.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 90-92.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Joe Fineberg
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 boycott, or rather the frothy radical chatter that is increasingly becoming the sole content of liquidator writings, often obscures from the reader the principles underlying liquidator propaganda. That is exactly what the liberal-labour politicians are after—that amidst the din, hullabaloo, and fireworks of radical claptrap the workers should more easily swallow bourgeois platitudes against the Marxist organisation.

But class-conscious workers will not be deceived by the rantings of sham “political campaigns” launched by the disruptors of the workers’ organisation. What class-conscious workers appreciate most of all and first of all in every press organ is adherence to high principle. What are the workers really being taught under cover of the “opposition” claptrap, clamour and claims to defend the interests of the workers?—that is the main, the basic and, properly speaking, the only important question that every thinking worker asks himself. The thinking worker knows that the most dangerous of advisers are those liberal friends of the workers who claim to be defending their interests, but are actually trying to destroy the class independence of the proletariat and its organisation.

It is therefore our bounden duty to open the workers’ eyes to the manner in which the liquidators are destroying the organisation. Take, for example, the programmatic leading article in the New Year’s issue of the liquidators’ organ. We are told:

The working class is heading towards a political party of the proletariat, which will function openly and be sufficiently powerful and broad to resist the efforts of any political regime to deprive it of all rights, to deprive it of the possibility of fulfilling its normal functions of political leadership.”

There you have an example of “normal” liberal claptrap in all its glory! No sensible liberal would refuse to raise both hands in favour of this splendid formula, by means of which the liquidator newspaper tries to conceal the fact that it is “heading” and striving towards the destruction of everything the proletariat has during the last twenty years achieved in the way of Marxist organisation, at the cost of so much effort.

Further on it is still more candid:

The road to the open political party of action is also the road to Party unity.”

It has been stated thousands and thousands of times, in the most formal and most solemn declarations, stated as far back as 1908 and 1910, that this kind of talk is tantamount to renouncing, to liquidating, the past. But the liquidators, nothing daunted, go on harping on the same theme in the hope of deceiving some terribly ignorant people with their outcries about “unity”.

Traitors to the entire Marxist past clamouring about an “open party”—and “unity”!... Why, this is an insult to the class-conscious workers. It is an insult even to the “August” Conference of 1912, at which a handful of naive people believed that the liquidators had abandoned the shameful liberal slogan of an open party.

But the whole point is that this gang of liberal hacks, all those F.D.’s, Gammas, L.M.’s, Em-El’s, Rakitins,[1] etc., etc., are waging their liberal campaign to destroy the Marxist organisation, deliberately flouting the resolutions of both 1908 and 1910, and trying to deceive the non-class-conscious workers. They think there are still ignorant people about, who will believe their promises of an “open party” and fail to see (hat this is simply a variety of the liberal campaign against the existence of the genuine Marxist organisation! And whilst there are ignorant people about, this handful of liberal hacks, who seek to liquidate the past, will continue their dirty work, no matter how many times they are told that “unity” with these disruptors and disorganisers is an absurdity and a fraud.

The New Year “leaderist” of the liquidator newspaper does not stand alone. He is backed by all the liquidators,   Mr. P. Karpov, for example, who, in issue No. 5 (123) of Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta, assures us that

overcoming [all the obstacles that are put in the way of organising workers’ congresses] is nothing more nor less than a genuine struggle for freedom of association, i. e., for the legalisation of the working-class movement, which is closely linked with the struggle for the open existence of the workers’ Social-Democratic Party”.

No liberal or even Octobrist will deny sympathy with the struggle for the legalisation of the working-class movement! No liberal will utter a sound of protest against an “open party”; he will even support those who advocate it as his best accomplices in fooling the workers.

In fulfilment of our duty, we shall never tire of repeating to the class-conscious workers that advocacy of an open workers’ party is empty liberal chatter, designed to corrupt the workers and to destroy the Marxist organisation. The latter cannot exist and grow unless a determined and relent less struggle is waged against those who are directing all their efforts towards destroying the Marxist organism, into which the upsurge of the last two years has infused new and healthy blood.


[1] F. D., Gamma, L. M., Em-El, Rakitin—pseudonyms = of Mensheviks, viz. F. D.—F. I. Dan; Gamma and L. M.—L. Martov (Y. 0. Tsederbaum); Em-El—M. Y. Lukomsky, and Rakitin—V. Levitsky (V. 0. Tsederbaum).

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