G.V. Plekhanov

Our Differences


1. What We Are Reproached With

What I said above about attacks, reproaches and accusations was not an empty phrase. It is still quite a short time since the Emancipation of Labour group came into existence, and yet how many objections we have had to listen to, the only cause for which was an obstinate refusal to examine the substance of our programme; how many misunderstandings have been caused only by the desire to ascribe to us thoughts and intentions which never entered our heads! By more or less veiled hints, avoiding “direct blows”, not mentioning our names but using our expressions and twisting and distorting our thoughts, some have directly and others indirectly represented us as dried-up bookworms and dogmatists ready to sacrifice the people’s happiness and welfare to the orderliness and harmony of the theories which they have hatched in their studies. And the theories themselves have been branded as a kind of imported commodity which it is just as dangerous for Russia to spread there as to import English opium to China. The time came long ago to put an end to this confusion of conceptions, to clear up these more or less sincere misunderstandings!

I begin with what is most important.

In the first chapter of my pamphlet I said a few words deriding revolutionaries who are afraid of “bourgeois” economic progress and who inevitably arrive at the “amazing conclusion that Russia’s economic backwardness was a most reliable ally of the revolution and that stagnation was to be blazoned as the first and only paragraph of our minimum programme”. I said that the Russian anarchists, Narodniks and Blanquists could become “revolutionary in substance and not in name alone” only if they “revolutionised their own heads and learned to understand the course of historical development and led it instead of asking old mother history to mark time while they laid new, straighter and better beaten roads for her.” [1]

At the end of the third chapter I endeavoured to convince my readers that “to bind together in one two so fundamentally different matters as the overthrow of absolutism and the socialist revolution, to wage revolutionary struggle in the belief that these two elements of social development will coincide in the history of our country means to put off the advent of both.” [2] I further expressed the thought that “the rural population of today, living in backward social conditions, is not only less capable of conscious political initiative than the industrial workers, it is also less responsive to the movement which our revolutionary intelligentsia has begun ...” “And besides,” I continued, “the peasantry is now going through a difficult, critical period. The previous ‘ancestral’ foundations of its economy are crumbling, the ill-fated village community itself is being discredited in its eyes, as is admitted even by such ‘ancestral’ organs of Narodism as Nedelya; and the new forms of labour and life are only in the process of formation, and this creative process is more intensive in the industrial centres.”

From these and similar passages it was concluded that my comrades and I, convinced that the immediate future in our country belongs to capitalism, were ready to drive Russia’s working population into the iron embraces of capital and considered as “untimely” any struggle waged by the people for their economic emancipation.

In his article What Can We Expect from the Revolution? Mr. Tikhomirov, describing the “curious role” of public figures whose programmes “have no link with life”, gives a particularly detailed picture of the “tragic situation” of socialists who think “that in order to work out the material conditions necessary to make the socialist system possible, Russia must necessarily go through the phase of capitalism”. Mr. Tikhomirov imagines the situation as simply desperate; in it

Not a step but leads to horror!

Our socialists have to “fuss about creating a class in whose name they wish to work, and for that they have to desire the speedy dismissal of the millions of working people who exist in reality but, having the misfortune not to be proletarians, have no role in the scientific scheme of social progress.” But the fall from grace of these pedants of socialism cannot be confined to the sphere of “fuss” and “desires”. Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen! “Had he been consistent and placed the interests of the revolution above his own moral purity, the socialist should then have entered into a direct alliance with the knights of primitive accumulation whose hearts and hands do not tremble at developing various ‘surplus-values’ and uniting the workers in the all-saving situation of the beggarly proletarian.” The revolutionary is thus transformed into a supporter of the exploitation of labour, and Mr. Tikhomirov is very “timely” when he asks: “Where, then, is the difference between the socialist and the bourgeois?”

I don’t know just what “socialists” the honourable writer has in view in this case. As we see, he has no liking for “direct blows”, and without mentioning his adversaries he merely informs the readers that “some other people” think this or that. The reader is completely unaware who those other people are and whether it is true that they think what Mr. Tikhomirov says they do. Neither do I know whether his readers share his horror of the position of the socialists whom he criticises. But the subject he touches upon is so interesting, the accusations which he brings against certain socialists so much resemble accusations made more than once against us, his whole programme and “what he expects from the revolution” are to such an extent determined by the negative solution of the question of capitalism that it is his article which must provide the occasion for as complete and comprehensive an elucidation of this question as possible.

And so, “must” or “must not” Russia go through the “school” of capitalism?

The answer to this question is of the highest importance for the correct posing of our socialist party’s tasks. It is therefore not surprising that it has for a long time claimed the attention of Russian revolutionaries. Until recent times the great majority of these were inclined to answer the question categorically in the negative. I also had my share of the general infatuation, and in the editorial of No.3 of Zemlya i Volya I attempted to prove that ”history is by no means a monotonous mechanical process”; that capitalism is a necessary predecessor of socialism only “in the West, where the village community broke up as early as in the struggle against medieval feudalism”; that in our country, where the community “constitutes the most characteristic feature of the peasantry’s relations to the land”, the triumph of socialism may be achieved in an entirely different way; collective ownership of the land may serve as the starting-point for the organisation of all aspects of the people’s economic life on socialist principles. “That is why,” I concluded, “our main task is to create a militant popular-revolutionary organisation to carry out a popular-revolutionary upheaval in the nearest possible future.” [1*]

Thus, as early as January 1879, I supported the very same proposition that Mr. Tikhomirov defends, true,

Mit ein bisschen anderen Worten [2*],

now, in 1884, when he says that “beyond the mysterious line where the waves of history’s flood seethe and foam”, or, to put it more simply, after the fall of the present social and political system, “we shall find” not the reign of capitalism, as “certain people” maintain, but “the foundation of the socialist organisation of Russia”. The necessity for creating a “militant popular-revolutionary organisation” is relegated to the background by Mr. Tikhomirov and gives place to a conspiratorial organisation of our intelligentsia which is to seize power and thus give the signal for the popular revolution. In this respect his views differ as much from those I formerly held as the programme of Narodnaya Volya from that of Zemlya i Volya. But Mr. Tikhomirov’s mistakes about the economic side of the question are almost “identical” with those I made in the article mentioned. Consequently, in answering Mr. Tikhomirov I shall have to make frequent corrections to arguments which once appeared to me perfectly convincing and final.

Precisely because Mr. Tikhomirov’s standpoint is not distinguished by freshness or novelty I cannot confine myself to criticising his arguments, but must examine as fully as possible all that had already been said to support a negative answer to the question which now occupies us. Russian literature in the preceding decades gives us far more wealthy critical material than the article What Can We Expect from the Revolution?

2. Posing of the Question

Actually, Mr. Tikhomirov was unable even to present the question properly.

Instead of saying all that he could to defend the possibility of laying “the foundation of the socialist organisation” on the ruins of the contemporary social and political system in Russia, Mr. Tikhomirov devotes almost a whole chapter of his article to criticising the “consolation” which people who believe in the “historical inevitability of Russian capitalism” still have. In general he somehow too quickly and unexpectedly not so much passes as leaps from the objective standpoint he held at the beginning of the first chapter, in which he sought to prove that “the logic of history, the historical course of events, and so on”, are “an elemental force which nobody can divert from the path it has chosen for the very reason that the path itself is not an arbitrary choice but expresses the resultant force of the combination of those forces outside which society contains nothing real, capable of producing any action whatever”. We ask: is that “elemental force” stopped by considerations of the inconsolability of the Russian socialists? Obviously not. So before discussing what would happen to the Russian socialists if capitalism were to triumph, Mr. Tikhomirov should have tried to form a “correct idea of that force and its direction”, an idea which “every public figure must have, for no political programme which does not conform to it can have any significance whatever”, as the same Mr. Tikhomirov seeks to convince us. But he prefers the reverse method. He endeavours first of all to intimidate his readers, and then, in the “following chapters”, outlines “roughly” the “aims and means of our revolution”, which allow us to believe in the possibility of diverting the cup of capitalism from Russia’s lips. Without saying for the time being how far he succeeds in his attempt to intimidate his socialist readers, I shall merely note that such a method of argument should not be used in solving serious social questions.

For reasons which it would be out of place to consider here, the Russian intellectual had to take an intense interest in “the role of the individual in history”. Much has been written on this “cursed” question, and it has been still more discussed in various groups; and yet Russian public figures are still often incapable even of distinguishing the sphere of the necessary from that of the desirable and are prepared at times to argue with history in exactly the same way as Khlestakov [3*] with the waiter in the inn. “But I must eat something! I can waste away altogether like this,” said the immortal Ivan Alexandrovich. What kind of a socialist will I be after that? Shall I not have to “enter into a direct alliance with the knights of primitive accumulation!” some reader may exclaim, intimidated by Mr. Tikhomirov. But it is to be hoped that Mr. Tikhomirov’s argument on the invincible force of the “logic of history” will do much towards correcting this big “blunder of immature thought”.

The Emancipation of Labour group’s standpoint, for its part, leads, it seems to me, to the removal of such abuses of the “subjective method in sociology”. For us the desirable arises from the necessary and in no case replaces it in our arguments. For us the freedom of the individual consists in the knowledge of the laws of nature – including, incidentally, the laws of history – and in the ability to submit to those laws, that is, incidentally, to combine them in the most favourable manner. We are convinced that when “a society has got upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement ... it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments the obstacles offered ... But it can shorten and lessen the birth-pangs.[3] [4*] It is precisely this “shortening and lessening the birth-pangs” that, in our opinion, constitutes one of the most important tasks of socialists who are convinced of the “historical inevitability of capitalism in Russia”. Their consolation must lie in the possibility of lessening those birth-pangs. The consistency which Mr. Tikhomirov tries to impose upon them is, as we shall see later, that of the metaphysician who has not the slightest notion of the dialectics of social development.

But let us not wander away from our subject.

3. A.A. Herzen

As early as the beginning of the fifties A.I. Herzen, in proving the inevitability of the socialist revolution in the West, set rising Russian democracy the

Ever-alarming and new question

which since then

So many restless heads has wearied ...
So many sufferings has brought

and which provided the occasion, incidentally, for our ”controversy with the Narodnaya Volya party” too.

“Must Russia pass through all the phases of European development, or will her life proceed according to other laws?” [4] he asks in his Letters to Linton. [5*]

“I absolutely deny the necessity for these repetitions,” the famous writer hastens to answer. “We may have to pass through the difficult and painful trials of the historical development of our predecessors, but in the same way as the embryo passes through all the lower degrees of zoological existence before birth. The finished labour and the result obtained become the general possession of all who understand – such is the mutual guarantee of progress, the birthright of mankind ... Every school-child must himself find the solution of Euclid’s theorems, but what a difference there is between the work of Euclid, who discovered them, and the work of the pupil of today!” ... “Russia has been through her embryo-genesis in the European class. The nobility and the government in our country represent the European state in the Slav state. We have been through all the phases of political education, from German constitutionalism and English bureaucratic monarchy to the worship of the year 1793 ... The Russian people need not begin that hard work again. Why should they shed their blood to achieve those semi-solutions that we have already reached and whose only importance was that through them we arrived at other questions, at new strivings? We went through that work for the people – we have paid for it with the gallows, casemates and banishment, with the ruin and the intolerable life which we are living!”

The connecting link, the bridge by which the Russian people can reach socialism, Herzen saw, of course, in the village community and the peculiarities of way of life that go with it.

“Strictly speaking, the Russian people began to be acknowledged,” he says, “only after the 1830 Revolution. People saw with astonishment that the Russians, though indifferent, incapable of tackling any political questions, were nearer to the new social system by their way of life than all the European peoples ...”

“To retain the village community and give freedom to the individual, to extend the self-government of the village and volost to the towns and the whole state, maintaining national unity – such is the question of Russia’s future, i.e., the question of the very antinomy whose solution occupies and worries minds in the West.” [5]

It is true that doubts occasionally arose in his mind about the Russian people’s exceptional nearness “to the new social system”. In the same Letter he asks Linton: “Perhaps you will reply that in this the Russian people resembles some Asian peoples; perhaps you will draw attention to the rural communities of the Hindus, which have a fair resemblance to ours?” But, without rejecting the Russian people’s unflattering resemblance to “some Asian peoples”, he nevertheless saw what seemed to him very substantial differences between them. “It is not the community ownership system which keeps the Asian peoples in stagnation, but their exceptional clan spirit, their inability to emerge from patriarchalism, to free themselves from the tribe; we are not in such a position. The Slav peoples ... are endowed with great impressionability, they easily assimilate the languages, morals, customs, art and technique of other peoples. They can acclimatise themselves equally well on the shores of the Arctic and on the Black Sea coast.” This “great impressionability”, enabling the Slavs to “emerge from patriarchalism, to free themselves from the tribe”, solved the whole question, Herzen thinks. His authority was so great, and the shortened road to socialism which he suggested was so tempting that the Russian intelligentsia in the early sixties was little inclined to be sceptical of his suggested solution of the “social antinomy”, and apparently gave no thought at all to the question of just what places that historical short cut lay through and who would lead the Russian people – “indifferent, incapable of tackling any political questions” – along it. The important thing for the intelligentsia was first of all to find some philosophical sanction for their radical strivings, and they were satisfied for a start with the abstract consideration that no philosophy in the world could force them to be reconciled to bourgeois “semi-solutions”.

But that abstract consideration was naturally not sufficient to outline a practical mode of action or to elaborate any at all suitable methods of fighting their environment. The data for the solution of this new problem had to be sought outside the philosophy of history, even if it were more rigorous and scientific than Herzen’s philosophy. Between its abstract formulae and the concrete requirements of social life there was a gap which could be filled only by a whole series of new and increasingly particular formulae, requiring in turn knowledge of a whole series of increasingly complicated phenomena. By the way, philosophy in this case indirectly rendered Russian thought the service of acquainting it with the dialectical method and teaching it the truth – so often forgotten later on – that in social life “everything flows”, “everything changes”, and that the phenomena of that life can be understood only in motion, in the process of arising, developing and disappearing.

4. N.G. Chernyshevsky

The Criticism of Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure was and still is the most brilliant attempt made in our literature to apply dialectics to the analysis of social phenomena. [6*] We know what an enormous influence this essay had on the development of our revolutionary intelligentsia. It strengthened their faith in the village community by proving that this form of land tenure could, under certain conditions, pass directly into a communist form of development. But strictly speaking, Chernyshevsky himself and his followers drew from the Criticism of Philosophical Prejudices far more sweeping conclusions than the character of the premises warranted. The solution which Chernyshevsky found for the question of the community’s destiny was in substance purely algebraic; and it could not be otherwise, because he opposed it to the purely algebraic formulae of his opponents. The Russian supporters of the Manchester School sought to prove that communal land tenure must necessarily and everywhere be superseded gradually by private landownership. That was the scheme of development of property relations which they advanced. Chernyshevsky proved, first, that this scheme did not embrace the entire process of development, since at a certain stage social ownership must again become the predominant form; moreover, he quite legitimately drew attention to the circumstance that there are no grounds whatsoever for ascribing an invariable and once-for-all determined duration to the historical interval that separates the epoch of primitive communism from the time of the conscious reorganisation of society on communist principles. Generally speaking, this interval is x, which has a particular arithmetical magnitude in each individual country, depending on the combination of internal and external forces determining its historical development. As this combination of forces necessarily varies considerably, it is not surprising that the x in which we are interested, i.e., the length of the interval during which private ownership will be predominant, will in certain cases be infinitely small and may therefore be equalled to nought without any considerable error. It was in this way that the abstract possibility of the primitive commune passing immediately into a “higher, communist form” was proved. But precisely because of the abstractness of the line of argument, this general result of philosophico-historical dialectics was equally applicable to all countries and peoples which had retained communal land tenure, from Russia to New Zealand, from the Serbian zadruga to one or other of the Red Indian tribes. [6] That is why it proved insufficient for even an approximate forecast of the community’s future in each of these countries taken individually. Abstract possibility is not concrete probability; still less can it be considered as a final argument in reference to historical necessity. In order to speak at all seriously of the latter, algebra should have been replaced by arithmetic and it should have been proved that in the case in point, whether it be in Russia or in the Ashanti State, in Serbia or on Vancouver Island, x would indeed be equal to nought, i.e., that private property must die out when still in the embryo. To this end statistics should have been resorted to and an appraisal made of the inner course of development of the country or tribe concerned and the external influences affecting them; not the genus, but the species or even the variety should have been dealt with; not primitive collective immovable property in general, but the Russian, the Serbian or the New Zealand system of communal land tenure in particular, taking into consideration all the influences hostile or favourable to it, and also the state which it had reached at the time in question owing to those influences.

But we do not even find a hint of such a study in the Criticism of Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure, in which Chernyshevsky dealt with “philosophising sages”. In other cases, when he had to argue with “economising sages” and to shatter prejudices “arising out of lack of understanding, forgetfulness or ignorance of general truths relating to man’s material activity, to production, labour and its general laws” – in those essays too he spoke only of the advantages of collective land tenure in general, and consequently he arrived only at algebraic formulae, general economic theorems. [7]

By the way, this is by no means surprising of him. The critic of Mill could have in mind only the pre-Reform village community, when it had not yet emerged from natural economy and was reduced to a common denominator by the levelling influence of feudalism. Naturally, this influence did not remove the “economic contradictions” inherent in the village community, but it kept them latent and thus reduced their practical significance to a negligible minimum. That is why Chernyshevsky could be satisfied with the consideration that in our country “the masses of the people still consider the land as the property of the community”, that “every Russian has his native land and also a right to a plot of it. And if he himself gives up his right to that plot or loses it, his children will still be entitled, as members of the village community, to demand a plot in their own right”. Understanding perfectly well that the emancipation of the peasants would place them in completely different economic conditions, that “Russia, which has thus far taken little part in the economic movement, is being quickly drawn into it, and our mode of life, which has as yet hardly been influenced by the economic laws which display their strength only when economic and commercial activity grows, is beginning to submit to their strength very quickly”, that “soon we too, perhaps, shall be drawn into the sphere where the law of competition is in full operation”, he was only concerned with preserving the form of land tenure which would help the peasant to begin the new economic life under more favourable conditions. “Whatever transformations the future may hold for Russia,” he wrote in April 1857, “we shall not presume to touch the sacred and salutary custom bequeathed to us by our past life, the poverty of which is abundantly compensated by this single precious legacy; no, we shall not presume to encroach upon the communal use of the land, that blessing on whose acquisition the prosperity of the agricultural classes in Western Europe now depends. May their example be a lesson for us.”

Here we are not undertaking an analysis of all Chernyshevsky’s views on communal land tenure: we are only trying to bring out their most typical features. Not entering into details which are out of place here we shall confine ourselves to saying that the advantages which he expected from communal land tenure may be reduced to two points, one of which belongs to the domain of law, the other to that of agricultural technology.

Re I. “The Russian village community system,” he says quoting Haxthausen, “is infinitely important for Russia, especially at present, as far as the state is concerned. All West European states are suffering from the same disease, whose cure is so far an unsolved problem [8]; they are suffering from pauperism, proletarianism. Russia does not know this social evil; she is ensured against it by her village community system. Every Russian has his native land and also a right to a plot of it. And if he himself gives up his right to that plot or loses it, his children will still be entitled, as members of the village community, to demand a plot in their own right.” [9]

Re II. After describing, again according to Haxthausen, the life of the Ural Cossacks, “whose whole territory forms a single community from the economic, military and civil points of view”, Chernyshevsky notes: “If the people of the Urals live under their present system to see machines introduced into corn-growing, they will be very glad of having retained a system which allows the use of machines that require big-scale farming , embracing hundreds of dessiatines.” He notes at the same time, however, that his argument is intended only as an example of “how the Ural Cossacks will think at some future time which will come we know not when (although the success of mechanics and technology shows beyond any doubt that such a time will indeed come) – and we are not concerned with too distant a future: our great grandchildren will probably manage to live on by their own intelligence without our worrying about them – it will be enough for us to worry about ourselves and our children.” [8*]

Readers who are acquainted with Chernyshevsky’s works naturally know that such reservations did not prevent him from thinking and “worrying” very much about the future. One of Vera Pavlovna’s dreams shows clearly how he imagined the social relations of “the very distant future” [9*], just as his heroine’s practical activity gives us some idea of the methods by which I the advent of that happy time could be hastened. It would therefore be strange if the author of What Is To Be Done? had not linked the form of contemporary peasant land tenure which was so dear to him with the ideals of a future, which, distant as it was, was desirable and, indeed, inevitable. True enough, he returns time and again to this subject in his articles on communal land tenure, examining the influence this form of property relations has had on the peasants’ character and customs. He naturally does not agree that “the village community kills energy in man”. That thought “definitely contradicts all known historical and psychological facts”, which prove, on the contrary, that “man’s intelligence and will are strengthened by association”. But the chief advantage of communal land tenure is that it preserves and develops the spirit of association without which the rational economy of the future is unthinkable.

“The introduction of a better order of things is greatly hindered in Western Europe by the boundless extension of the rights of the individual ... it is not easy to renounce even a negligible portion of what one is used to enjoying, and in the West the individual is used to unlimited private rights. The usefulness and necessity of mutual concessions can be learned only by bitter experience and prolonged thought. In the West, a better system of economic relations is bound up with sacrifices, and that is why it is difficult to establish. It runs counter to the habits of the English and French peasants.” But “what seems a Utopia in one country exists as a fact in another ... habits which the Englishman and the Frenchman find immensely difficult to introduce into their national life exist in fact in the national life of the Russians ... The order of things for which the West is now striving by such a difficult and long road still exists in our country in the mighty national customs of our village life ... We see what deplorable consequences resulted in the West from the loss of communal land tenure and how difficult it is to give back to the Western peoples what they have lost. The example of the West must not be lost on us”. [10]

That is how Chernyshevsky appraises the significance of communal land tenure in the present and future economic life of the Russian people. Much as we respect this great writer, we cannot help seeing in his appraisal certain mistakes and instances of one-sidedness. For example, the “cure” of the West European states from the “ulcer of proletarianism” could hardly be considered as an “unsolved problem” at the end of the fifties, many years after the appearance of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, The Poverty of Philosophy and The Condition of the Working Class in England. Not only the “cure”, but also the whole historical significance of the “illness” which frightened Chernyshevsky were shown in the works of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels with a completeness and power of conviction that are still models. But everything shows that the Russian economist was not familiar with these works, while the socialist Utopias of the preceding period failed, of course, to provide a satisfactory solution for many, very many, theoretical and practical questions. The main shortcoming in the Utopians’ outlook was, however, due to the fact that “the proletariat ... offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement”, that they had not yet adopted the standpoint of the class struggle and that the proletariat existed for them only in view of its being the “most suffering class”. [11] Replacing the “gradual, spontaneous class organisation of the proletariat” by “an organisation of society specially contrived by themselves” and at the same time differing among themselves as to the principles and character of this future organisation, they naturally led their Russian readers to the idea that even the most progressive minds in the West had not yet been able to cope with the social question. Moreover, “reducing the future history of the world to the dissemination and practical implementation of their reform plans”, they could not satisfy by their teachings a man with such a vigorously critical mind as Chernyshevsky. He was bound to seek independently the real “historical conditions” for the emancipation of the West European working class, and he apparently saw them in a return to communal land tenure. We already know that he held that “on the acquisition of this blessing the prosperity of the agricultural classes in Western Europe now depends”. But no matter what attitude anybody adopted towards the historical significance of the Russian village community, it is obvious to almost all socialists that its role is ended for ever in the West and that the Western peoples’ road to socialism lay and still lies from community through private ownership, and not vice versa, from private ownership through community ownership. It seems to me that if Chernyshevsky had been clearer to himself on the subject of this “difficult and long road” along which the West is progressing towards “a better system of economic relations”; if, moreover, he had defined more precisely the economic conditions of the “better system”, he would have seen, first, that the “West” tends to make the means of production the property of the state, not of a village community, and second, he would have understood that the “ulcer of proletarianism” produces its remedy out of itself. Then he would have better appreciated the historical role of the proletariat, and this, in turn, would have enabled him to take a broader view of the social and political significance of the Russian village community. Let us explain this.

We know that any form of social relations can be considered from extremely varying points of view. For example, from the point of view of the benefits it brings to the generation concerned; or, not confining ourselves to these benefits, we can examine its capacity to pass on into another, higher form, more favourable to “the economic prosperity and the intellectual and moral development of the people; finally, we can distinguish in that very capacity to pass on into higher forms two sides – the passive and the active side, the absence of obstacles to the transition, and the presence of a vital inner force which is not only capable of effecting this transition but, indeed, gives rise to it as to a necessary consequence of its own existence. In the former case, the social form in question is considered from the point of view of the resistance offered to progress introduced from outside, in the latter, from the point of view of useful historical work. For the philosophy of history, just as for the practical revolutionary, the only forms which have any importance are those which are capable of a greater or lesser quantity of such useful work. Every stage in the historical development of humanity is interesting precisely insofar as the societies which have reached it develop out of themselves, by their inherent self-activity, a force capable of destroying the old forms of social relations and erecting on their ruins a new and better social edifice. Generally speaking, the very number of the obstacles to the transition to a higher stage of development is closely linked with the magnitude of this vital force, because the latter is nothing but the result of the disintegration of the old forms of social life. The more intense the process of disintegration, the greater will be the number of forces which it sets free and the lesser will be the endurance of the obsolete social relations. In other words, both the historian and the practical revolutionary are interested in the dynamics, not the statics, the revolutionary, not the conservative aspect, the contradictions, not the harmony of social relations, because it is the spirit of these contradictions which

Stets das Böse will und stets das Gute schafft. [11*]

So it has been up to now. It goes without saying that it must not always be so and that the whole meaning of the socialist revolution consists in removing the “cruel iron” law according to which the contradictions in social relationships were given but a temporary solution which in turn became the source of new confusion and new contradictions. But the accomplishment of this greatest of all upheavals, of this revolution which is at last to make people “the masters of their social relations” [12*], is unthinkable without the “presence” of the necessary and sufficient historical force born of the contradictions in the present bourgeois system. In the advanced countries of the civilised world today this force, far from being merely present, is growing every hour and every minute. Consequently, in those countries history is the ally of the socialists and is bringing them with ever-increasing speed nearer to the aim they pursue. Thus we see once more – let u s hope for the last time – that the “sweet” could only come out of the “bitter”, that for the accomplishment of a good “deed” history was obliged, if we may say so, to show evil “will”. The economy of bourgeois societies, which is utterly “abnormal and unjust” as regards distribution, turns out to be far more “normal” as regards the development of the productive forces and still more “normal” as regards the production of people who are willing and able, in the words of the poet, “to establish the kingdom of heaven upon earth”. [13*] Not only has the bourgeoisie “forged the weapons that bring death to itself”, i.e., not only has it brought the productive forces in the advanced countries to a stage of development at which they can no longer be reconciled with the capitalist form of production, “it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons – the modern working class – the proletarians.” [12]

From this it follows that in order to assess to the full the political significance of a given social form, one must take into consideration not only the economic benefits which it may bring to one or several generations, not only its passive ability to be perfected under the influence of some favourable outside force, but primarily its inherent capacity to develop independently in the desirable direction. Without such a comprehensive appraisal, the analysis of social relations will always be incomplete and therefore erroneous; a given social form may appear to be quite rational from one of the points of view, but quite unsatisfactory from another. This will be the case every time we have to deal with an underdeveloped population which has not yet become the “master of its social relations”. Only the objective revolutionariness of these relations themselves can bring backward people out on to the road of progress. And if the particular form of social life does not display this revolutionariness, if, though it is more or less “just” from the standpoint of law and distribution of products, it is nevertheless marked by great conservatism, the absence of any inner striving to perfect itself in the desirable direction, the social reformer will have either to give up his plans or to resort to some other, outside, force able to compensate for the lack of inner self-activity in the society in question and to reform it, if not against the will of its members, at any rate without their active and conscious participation.

As for Chernyshevsky, he seems to have lost sight of the revolutionary significance of the West European “illness” – pauperism. It is by no means surprising that Haxthausen, for example, of whom Chernyshevsky so often had occasion to speak in his articles on communal land tenure, saw only the negative side of “pauperism-proletarianism”. His political views were such that he was absolutely unable to class the revolutionary significance of the proletariat in the history of West European societies among the positive and favourable aspects of this “ulcer”. It is therefore understandable that he gave an enthusiastic description of the institutions which can “avert proletarianism”. But views which are quite comprehensible and consistent in the works of one author often face the reader with difficulties when he comes across them in another author’s articles. We admit that we do not understand what meaning we must see in these words of Chernyshevsky about Haxthausen: “As a practical man, he very correctly foresaw in 1847 the proximity of a fearful outbreak on the part of the West European proletarians, and we cannot but agree with him that the principle of communal land tenure, which safeguards us against the fearful ulcer of proletarianism among the rural population, is a beneficial one.” [13] [14*] Here it is no longer a question of the economic hardships of the proletariat, which, incidentally, in no way exceed those of the Russian peasantry; nor is it a question of the Russian peasant’s social habits, against which the West European industrial worker can at any rate counter his habit of collective labour and all kinds of associations. No, here it is a question of a “fearful outbreak on the part of the ... proletarians”, and even in this respect Chernyshevsky considers the principle of communal land tenure, “which safeguards us against the fearful ulcer of proletarianism”, a “beneficial” one. One cannot imagine that the father of Russian socialism adopted the same terrified attitude to the political movements of the working class as Baron von Haxthausen. One cannot imagine that he was terrified by the very fact of the proletariat’s revolt. One can only presume that he was perplexed by the defeat of the working class in 1848, that his sympathy with the political movements of the working class was poisoned by the thought that political revolutions were without result and that the bourgeois regime was barren. Such an explanation seems at least probable if not certain when we read some pages of his article The Struggle of the Parties in France under Louis XVIII and Charles X [15*], those pages, to be precise, where he explains the distinction between the aspirations of the democrats and those of the liberals.

“The liberals and the democrats have essentially different fundamental desires and basic motives,” he says. “The democrats intend to destroy as far as possible the domination of the upper classes over the lower ones in the state structure: on the one hand, to reduce the power and wealth of the upper estates, and on the other, to give more weight and prosperity to the lower ones. It hardly makes any difference to them [14] how the laws could be changed in this sense and the new structure of society upheld. The liberals, on the contrary, will never agree to give the upper hand in society to the lower estates, because these, owing to their lack of education and their material poverty, are indifferent to those interests which are of supreme importance for the liberal party, namely, the right to freedom of speech and the right to a constitutional system. For the democrat our Siberia, where common folk enjoy prosperity, is far superior to England, where the majority of the people suffer dire need. The democrat is irreconcilably hostile only to one political institution – the aristocracy; the liberal nearly always holds that society can attain a liberal system only with a certain measure of aristocracy. That is why the liberals have a mortal hatred of the democrats ... liberalism understands freedom in a very narrow, purely formal manner. For it freedom consists in an abstract right, authorisation on paper, the absence of legal prohibition. Liberalism refuses to understand that legal authorisation is of any worth only to those who have the material means to avail themselves of it. Neither you nor I, dear reader, are forbidden to eat out of a gold dinner set, but unfortunately neither you nor I have or will probably ever have the means of satisfying that fanciful idea. For that reason I say frankly that I do not appreciate in the least my right to have a gold dinner set and am ready to sell it for a silver ruble or even cheaper. The same, as far as the people are concerned, with all the rights that the liberals fuss about. The people are ignorant and in nearly all countries the majority of them are illiterate; not having the money to get education themselves or to give their children any, how can they come to treasure their right t o free speech? Need and ignorance deprive the people of all possibility of understanding state affairs or of taking part in them; tell me then, will they treasure the right to parliamentary debate, can they avail themselves of it? ... There is not a single country in Europe where the overwhelming majority of the population are not completely indifferent to rights which are the object of the desires and efforts of the liberals. That is why liberalism is condemned to impotence everywhere: argue as you like, only those strivings are powerful, only those institutions lasting, which are supported by the popular masses.” [15] [16*]

Hardly ten years had elapsed since the publication of the article by Chernyshevsky just quoted when the European proletariat declared through its foremost representatives that it saw its political movement as the means of attaining its great economic aim and that “the social emancipation of the working class is unthinkable without its political emancipation”. The necessity for the working class constantly to extend its political rights and finally to achieve political domination was acknowledged by the International Working Men’s Association. “To conquer political power has therefore become the great duty of the working classes,” said the first Manifesto of that Association. [17*] It goes without saying that the working population of England is nearer to and more capable of political might than the “common folk” of Siberia, and if only for that reason nobody but the Proudhonists would have said in the sixties that “Siberia is superior to England”. But even when Chernyshevsky wrote his article, i.e., at the end of the fifties, it was noticeable that among the “ignorant and illiterate people” of “nearly all” West European countries there was a whole stratum – once more the same proletariat – which did not enjoy “the right of free speech and the right of parliamentary debate” by no means because it was indifferent to them, but because of the reaction that reigned throughout Europe after 1848 and whose concern was primarily to prevent the people from achieving these “abstract rights”. Beaten, so to speak, all along the line, stunned by the blows of reaction, disappointed in its radical and “democratic” allies in the bourgeois parties, it had indeed fallen into something like a temporary lethargy and showed little interest in social question s. But so far as it was interested in them it did not cease to see the acquisition of political rights and their rational utilisation as a powerful means of its emancipation. Even many of the socialist sects which had formerly been completely indifferent to politics began to show a great interest in it precisely, in the early fifties. In France, for instance, the Fourierists joined Rittinghausen and preached with great energy the principle of direct popular legislation. As for Germany, neither the “democrat” Johann Jacobi and his followers nor the Communists of Marx and Engels’ school would have said that for them “it is almost indifferent how the laws could be changed” in the sense of decreasing the power and the wealth of the upper estates and ensuring the prosperity of the lower classes. They had a well-defined political programme, ”irreconcilably hostile” by no means to the “aristocracy alone”.

The West European peasantry was indeed often indifferent to all “abstract rights” and was prepared perhaps occasionally to prefer the Siberian system to the English. But the point is that true, i.e., not bourgeois, but socialist democrats, appeal not to the peasants, but to the proletariat. The West European peasant, being a property-owner, is classed by them among the “intermediate strata” of the population, strata which, “if by chance they are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat, they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.” [16] This distinction is a very substantial one. The West European “democrats” did not emerge from the barren field of political metaphysics until they learned to analyse the concept “people” and to distinguish the revolutionary section of it from the conservative.

To make his study of communal land tenure complete, Chernyshevsky should have considered the matter from this last – social-political – point of view. He should have shown that communal land tenure can not only preserve us from the “ulcer of proletarianism”, that it not only offers many advantages for the development of agricultural technology (i.e., for machine cultivation of large tracts of land), but that it can also create in Russia just as active, receptive and impressionable, just as energetic and revolutionary a population as the West European proletarians. But he was prevented from doing so by his considering the “people” in “nearly all countries” of Western Europe as an “ignorant” and in the majority of cases “illiterate” mass, indifferent to “abstract” political rights. His lack of depth in understanding the political role of the West European proletariat made it impossible for him to suggest a comparison with the political future of the Russian peasants in the village community. The passivity and political indifference of the Russian peasant could not embarrass one who expected no great independent political action from the working class in the West. This circumstance provides one reason why Chernyshevsky limited his study of communal land tenure to considerations in the sphere of law, the distribution of the products and agronomics, and did not set the question of the political influence of the village community on the state and of the state on the village community.

This question remained unelucidated. As a result, the question of the method of transition from communal land tenure to communal cultivation and – what is the chief thing – to the final triumph of socialism, was not elucidated either. How will the rural community of today pass over into a communist commune or be dissolved in a communist state? How can the revolutionary intelligentsia promote this? What Is To Be Done by this intelligentsia? Must they support communal land tenure and conduct communist propaganda, establish production associations similar to Vera Pavlovna’s sewing shops in the hope that in time both these shops and the rural communities will understand the advantages of the socialist system and set about introducing it? Let us suppose so, but this will take a long time, and what guarantee is there that it will always go straight and smoothly, that there will be no unforeseen obstacles or unexpected turns? And what if the government takes measures against socialist propaganda, prohibits the associations, places their members under police surveillance or exiles them? Must we struggle against the government and win freedom of speech, assembly and association? But then we shall have to admit that Siberia is not superior to England, that the “abstract rights” which the “liberals make a fuss about” are a necessary condition for the people’s development; in a word, that we must start the political struggle. But can we count on a favourable outcome of that struggle, can we win political freedom of any duration? For, “argue as you like, only those strivings are powerful, only those institutions lasting, which are supported by the popular masses”, and in Russia, if not in other countries, those masses attach no importance to “the right of free speech” and understand absolutely nothing about “the right of parliamentary debate”. If it is “for that very reason” that liberalism “is condemned to impotence”, where will the socialists get their strength from when they begin the struggle for “the rights which are the objects of the desires and efforts of the liberals”? How can this difficulty be overcome? By adding concrete demands for economic reforms to “the abstract rights” of political freedom contained in their programme? But the people must be acquainted with that programme, i.e., we must conduct propaganda, and in doing so we again come up against government persecution, which again drives us on to the path of political struggle, which is hopeless as a result of the people’s indifference, etc., etc.

On the other hand, it is very probable that “if the people of the Urals live under their present system to see machines introduced into corn-growing, they will be very glad of having retained a system which allows the use of machines that require big-scale farming embracing hundreds of dessiatines.” It is also highly probable that those peasant associations also “will be glad” which “survive under their present system” until the introduction of agricultural machines. Well, what will those agriculturists be glad about who do not survive “under their present system”? What will the rural proletarians be glad about who have had to hire themselves as labourers to members of the village community? The latter will contrive to carry the exploitation of labour power to the same degree of intensity as in private farms. Thus the Russian “people” will divide into two classes: exploiters – the communities, and exploited – the individuals. What will be the fate awaiting this new caste of pariahs? The West European proletarians, whose ranks are constantly swelling thanks to the concentration of capital, can flatter themselves with the hope that, slaves today, they will be independent and happy workers tomorrow. Is the same consolation available for the Russian proletarians, whose numerical increase will be retarded by the existence of communal land tenure? Must they not expect hopeless slavery, a stern struggle

Without triumph, without reconciliation?

Whose side will our socialist intelligentsia have to take in that struggle? If they support the proletariat, will they not have to burn everything they had adored and reject the community as a stronghold of petty-bourgeois exploitation?

If such questions did not occur to Chernyshevsky, who wrote about communal land tenure before serfdom was abolished and could hope that the development of the rural proletariat would be made impossible by some legislative measures or others, all or nearly all those questions should inevitably have occurred to our revolutionaries of the seventies, who knew the nature of the notorious Reform of February 19. Difficult as it is to imagine laws which would safeguard the village community from disintegration without at the same time imposing the most insufferable restraint of the whole course of our industrial life; difficult as it is to combine collectivism of peasant land tenure with money economy and commodity production of all products, not excluding the agricultural products of the communities themselves, all this could still have been spoken and argued about before 1861. But the peasant reform should have given such arguments and talk a perfectly definite background. In their excursions into the more or less problematic future our revolutionaries should have proceeded from the indisputable facts of the present. And that present already had very little in common with the old picture of peasant life as Haxthausen and Chernyshevsky knew it before the Reform. The “Act of February 19” knocked the village community out of the stable equilibrium of natural economy and subjected it to all the laws of commodity production and capitalist accumulation. The redemption of peasant lands was bound, as we shall see later, to take place on a basis hostile to the principle of communal land tenure. Moreover, although our legislation retained the community in the interests of the fiscal system, it gave two-thirds of the householders the right to divide the community lands once and for all into plots attached to the houses. Re-allotments were also hindered and, to cap it all, a burden of taxes and dues completely out of proportion to the paying capacity of the “free agriculturists” was imposed upon them. All the peasants’ protests against the “new serfdom” were suppressed with rods and bayonets, and the “new” Russia was seized with a fever of money speculation. Railways, banks and stock companies shot up like mushrooms. Chernyshevsky’s prophecy quoted above about the “considerable economic transformations” awaiting Russia came true before that great teacher of youth had time to reach his place of exile. Alexander II was the tsar of the bourgeoisie just as Nicholas was the tsar of the soldiers and nobility.

Our revolutionary youth should have taken these irrefutable facts into account when they set out to go “among the people” to conduct social-revolutionary propaganda in the early seventies. Now it was no longer a question of emancipating the landlords’ peasants from serfdom, but of emancipating the whole working population of Russia from all kinds of exploitation; it was no longer a question of a peasant “reform”, but of ”establishing a peasant brotherhood in which there would be neither mine nor thine, neither profit nor oppression, but work for the common good and brotherly help among all.” [17] [19*] To found such a “peasant brotherhood” an appeal had to be made no longer to the government, to the Editorial Commission, or even to “society”, but to the peasants themselves. In undertaking the emancipation of the working people which was to be the business of “the working people themselves” it was necessary to study, determine and point out with greater precision the revolutionary factors in the life of the people; to do this, the abstract, algebraic formulae worked out by the progressive literature of the preceding decades had to be translated into the language of arithmetic and the conclusions had to be drawn from the positive and negative influences of Russian life on the sum-total of which the course and the outcome of the emancipation depended. And as our youth already knew from Chernyshevsky’s articles that “the masses of the people still consider the land as the property of the community, and the quantity of land owned by the communities ... is so large that the mass of the plots set aside from it as absolute property of private individuals is negligible in comparison with it”, it was with communal land tenure that the study of the revolutionary factors in Russian life should have begun.

How did the contradictory rulings of the “Act of February 19” affect the village community? Is the latter firm enough to fight the conditions of money economy, which are unfavourable to it? Has not the development of our peasant life already stepped on to the road of ”the natural law of its movement” from which neither t he rigour of laws nor the propaganda of the intelligentsia will be able to divert it? If not, if our community can still assimilate the socialist ideals without any great difficulty, then this passive business of assimilation must be accompanied by an energetic act of implementation which requires struggle against many obstacles; will the conditions under which our peasants live promote the development among them of that active energy without which all their “socialist” predispositions would remain useless?

The various groups in our movement solved these questions in various ways. The majority of revolutionaries were prepared to agree with Herzen that the Russian people was “indifferent, incapable” of politics. But the propensity to idealise the people was so great, the interconnection between the various aspects of social life was so poorly elucidated in the minds of our socialists, that this inability to deal with “any political questions” was regarded as a guarantee, so to speak, against bourgeois “semi-solutions” and a proof, as it were, of the people’s great ability to solve economic questions correctly. Interest in and capacity for politics were considered necessary only for political revolutions, which our socialist literature of the time contrasted to “social” revolutions as the principle of evil to the principle of good, as bourgeois deception to the full equivalent of the blood shed and the losses suffered by the people. An interest in social questions corresponded, in the conception we had then, to the “social” revolution, and the peasants’ complaints about land poverty and taxation burdens were seen as such an interest. From the people’s understanding of its immediate needs to the understanding of the “tasks of working-class socialism”, from bitter allusions to those needs to the socialist revolution seemed no long road and one that lay, again, through the village community, which we considered as a solid rock against which all the waves of the economic movement had been shattered.

But as a single point does not determine the position of a line in a plane, so the land community, which all our socialists agreed in idealising, did not determine agreement between their programmes. All felt that there was much in the community itself and in its members’ outlook and habit s that was partly unfinished and unpolished and partly even directly contrary to socialist ideals. It was the way of removing these defects that proved to be the apple of discord for our groups.

In this respect, too, however, there was a feature that can be considered as common to all our revolutionary trends.

This feature common to them all was faith in the possibility of our revolutionary intelligentsia having a powerful and decisive influence on the people. In our revolutionary calculations the intelligentsia played the role of a beneficent providence of the Russian people, a providence upon whose will it depended whether the wheel of history would turn one way or the other. However any of the revolutionaries explained the contemporary enslavement of the Russian people – by the people’s lack of understanding, of solidarity or of revolutionary energy, or finally by their complete incapacity for political initiative – each one nevertheless thought that intervention by the intelligentsia would remove what he indicated as the cause of the people’s enslavement. The propagandists felt sure that they would have no difficulty in teaching the peasants the truths of scientific socialism. The rebels demanded the immediate formation of “fighting” organisations among the people, not imagining there could be any serious obstacles to this. Finally, the supporters of Nabat presumed that our revolutionaries only had to “seize power” and the people would immediately assimilate the socialist forms of social life. This self-assurance of the intelligentsia got along together with utter idealisation of the people and the conviction – at least as far as the majority of our revolutionaries were concerned – that “the emancipation of the working people must be conquered by the working people themselves”. This formula, it was assumed, would be applied in a perfectly correct manner once our intelligentsia took the people as an object of its revolutionary influence. The fact that this basic principle of the General Rules of the International Working Men’s Association had another, so to speak philosophico-historical meaning, that the emancipation of a definite class can be its own affair only when an independent emancipation movement arises within that class – all this partly did not occur at all to our intelligentsia, or partly conception of it was a very strange one. For example, as a proof that our people had begun without the help of the intelligentsia to understand the conditions for their true emancipation, they pointed to the people’s dissatisfaction over the 1861 Reform. The people’s capacity for independent revolutionary movement was usually proved by reference to our “peasant wars” – the Razin and Pugachov rebellions.

Bitter experience soon showed our revolutionaries that it was a far cry from complaints about land poverty to the development of a definite class consciousness and that it was wrong to conclude from revolts that took place one or two hundred years before that the people was ready to revolt at the moment in question. The history of our revolutionary movement in the seventies was one of disappointments in “programmes” which had seemed perfectly practical and infallible.

But at present we are interested in the history of revolutionary ideas, not of revolutionary attempts. What is needed for our purpose is to sum up all the social and political outlooks we have inherited from preceding decades.

Let us there fore see what each of the principal groups in the seventies left us in this respect.

The most instructive for us will be the theories of M.A. Bakunin and P.N. Tkachov. The programme of the so-called propagandists, which reduced the entire further history of Russia down to the revolution to the spreading of socialist ideas, was too obviously tainted with idealism. They recommended propaganda to the Russian socialists in exactly the same way as they would have recommended it, should the case have arisen, to the Polish, Serbian, Turkish or Persian socialists – in a word, to the socialists of any country deprived of the possibility of organising the workers in an open political party. Herzen’s comparison quoted above of the fate of “Euclid’s theorems” with the probable history of socialist ideas provides a typical example of their arguments in favour of their programme. They understood this comparison – in itself quite a risky one – in the abstract and one-sided sense that once social and political ideas have been worked out no more is needed for their assimilation than the subjective logic of people, even if it is not supported by the objective logic of social relationships. They made few mistakes in analysing social relationships in Russia for the simple reason that they hardly undertook any such analysis.

Author’s Footnotes

1. Socialism and the Political Struggle, pp.12-13.

2. Socialism and the Political Struggle, p.76.

3. [Italics by Plekhanov]

4. Искандер, «Старый мир и Россия», стр.31-32. [Iskander, The Old World and Russia, pp.31-32.]

5. Ibid.

6. [Note to the 1905 edition] At that time it had not yet been made finally clear that the Russian village community had nothing in common with primitive communism. There is no longer any doubt about this.

7. [Note to the 1905 edition] Cf. my article N.G. Chernyshevsky [7*], in No.1 of the journal Sozial-Demokrat, Geneva 1890.

8. My italics.

9. Чернышевский, Соч., т.V., Женева 1879. «Об общинном владении землей», стр.135. [Chernyshevsky, Works, Vol.V, Geneva 1879. On Communal Land Tenure, p.135.]

10. Works, Vol.V, pp.16-19.

11. Manifesto of the Communist Party, pp.36-37. [10*]

12. [Italics by Plekhanov]

13. Works, Vol.V, p.100.

14. The italics in these extracts are mine.

15. The Struggle of the Parties in France under Louis XVIII and Charles X, Russian Social-Democratic Library, Vol.III, pp.5-8.

16. See Manifesto of the Communist Party, p.14 of my translation. [18*] [Italics by Plekhanov]

17. See «Хитроумная механика» [Ingenious Mechanism] изд. 1877, стр.47-48.


1*. Quotations from the first part of Plekhanov’s article The Law of Economic Development of Society and Socialism’s Tasks in Russia, in which the author still adhered to Narodnik positions, and which was published in Zemlya i Volya, Nos.3 and 4. (G.V. Plekhanov, Works, Russ. ed., 1923–1927, Vol.I, pp.62-66.)

2*. Margarete’s reply to Faust’s pantheist speech: “With words a little different.” (Cf. Goethe, Faust.)

3*. Khlestakov – a character in Gogol’s comedy Inspector-General – a liar and boaster.

4*. Quotation from Marx’s Preface to the first edition of the first volume of Capital.

5*. A.I. Herzen’s three letters to the English politician Linton were published in 1854 in English and then in 1858 they were translated into Russian under the title The Old World and Russia. They were included in the complete collection of Herzen’s works and letters under the editorship of M.K. Lemke, Vol.VIII, St. Petersburg 1919. Plekhanov here quotes from the third letter, dedicated to Russia. (Cf. Vol.VIII, pp.45-46.)

6*. N.G. Chernyshevsky’s article Criticism of Philosophical Prejudices Against Communal Land Tenure was published in Sovremennik, No. 12, 1858. (Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, in 15 volumes, Vol.V, Goslitizdat Publishing House, 1950, pp.357-92.)

7*. G.V. Plekhanov, Works, Russ. ed. (1923-1927), Vol.V, pp.21-22.

8*. All the quotations made above are from Chernyshevsky’s article Studien, devoted to an analysis of Haxthausen’s Studien über die Inneren Zustände, das Volksleben und insbesondere die ländlichen Einrichtungen Russlands. The article was published in Sovremennik, No.7, 1857. (Cf. N.G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol.IV, Goslitizdat Publishing House, 1948, pp.303-48.)

9*. Describing Vera Pavlovna’s fourth dream in his novel What Is To Be Done? Chernyshevsky gives a Utopian picture of socialist society. (Cf. N.G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol.XI, Goslitizdat Publishing House, 1939, pp.269-84.)

10*. K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol.1, Moscow 1958, p.62.

11*. From Goethe’s Faust.

12*. F. Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific.

13*. From Heine’s Germany. A Winter Tale.

14*. From Chernyshevsky’s article on Haxthausen. (See Note 8*.)

15*. Chernyshevsky’s article The Struggle of the Parties in France under Louis XVIII and Charles X was published in Sovremennik, Nos.8 and 9, 1858. (N.G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol.V, Russ. ed., 1950, pp.213-91.)

16*. N.G. Chernyshevsky, Collected Works, Vol.V, Russ. ed., 1950, pp.216-17.

17*. Quotation from the Inaugural Address of the International Working Men’s Association (First International), written by Marx in 1864. Cf. K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol.1, Moscow 1958, p.384.

18*. Plekhanov refers to the Manifesto of the Communist Party as published in 1882. (Cf. K.Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol.1, Moscow 1958, p.44.)

19*. Quotation from the pamphlet Ingenious Mechanism by V.Y. Varzar, Narodnik and follower of Lavrov, published in the early seventies when peaceful propagandists used to go “among the people”.

Last updated on 17.10.2006