The Fight Against Struve


Noteworthy is the criticism by which Comrade Lenin exposed the well-known book of P. Struve, ‘Critical Remarks’. Struve had for a long time been regarded as a Social Democrat. He published a very sensational book, ‘Critical Remarks’, directed against Mikhailovsky. This book was criticised by both Plekhanov and Lenin. Plekhanov criticised it with the brilliance, peculiar to him, of a literary academician; Lenin criticised it differently. I feel and know, said Lenin, that in a year or two Struve will leave the working class and betray us to the bourgeoisie. Struve's book ended with the words: ‘Let us acknowledge our want of culture and place ourselves as apprentices under capitalism.’ These words need thinking over, said comrade Lenin. See if his Struve does not end in ‘becoming an apprentice, not of capitalism, but of capitalists. And though Struve was the comrade of Lenin, and rendered priceless services both to him and to the then existing Social Democracy, yet Vladimir Ilyich, with his characteristic firmness and consistency, no sooner heard a false note in Struve's words than he sounded the alarm. He began to fight against Struve, and under the pseudonym of Tulin came out with an article in a magazine which was burnt by the censor, in which he elucidated Mr. Struve in detail, taking to pieces every one of his phrases and every one of his propositions, and showing that Mr. Peter Struve perhaps did not even realise it himself, and regarded himself as a genuine partisan of he labour movement, but that in his innovations one could detect the very old tunes of the bourgeoisie. You are a bourgeois ideologist, Lenin argued, you will inevitably go over to the camp of the bourgeoisie and break with, the working class. You yourself bear the guilt of this, because you look upon the working class as a means and not as an end. It is only important to you as a force against the Czar, and you wish to make use of it, without giving it anything in return. Allow us not to allow you to do this. We have up till now fought against the Czar and he bourgeoisie, but we proclaim yet another front: we will fight against‘legal’ Marxism. We stand for genuine revolutionary Marxism, and reject your emasculated ‘legal’ Marxism.

Thus said Comrade Lenin.

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Thus was completed the work of Comrade Lenin before his exile to Siberia and during that exile. In the beginning of the ‘nineties Comrade Lenin for the first time left the country.

Lenin was twice in emigration. He lived abroad several years. His second period of emigration I and other comrades shared with him. And when we were heavy-hearted and homesick, especially in the last period, during he war, when we became discouraged (those comrades who were In emigration know what it means when for years you do not hear the Russian speech, when you are homesick for a native Russian word), Comrade Lenin used to say: why do you complain, what kind of foreign exile is this? Now, Plekhanov and Axelrod were really in foreign exile when for the space of twenty-five years they strained in vain their eyesight to catch a glimpse of the first working-class revolutionist.

In point of fact, Vladimir Ilyich himself pined in emigration literally like a lion in a cage. He had nothing on which to expend his immense, inexhaustible energy, and he found salvation only through leading the life of a scholar. He did that which had been done by Marx during his emigration. He spent about fifteen hours a day in the library and at books, and it is not for nothing that he stands out today as one of the most educated Marxists, and generally, one of the most educated persons of our time.

But let us return to his first emigration.

In 1901 Lenin, together with a group of then kindred persons (Martov, Potresov), entered upon the publication of the paper Iskra (The Spark). This Iskra is an historical paper closely interwoven with the name of Comrade Lenin. Both friends and enemies spoke of the Leninist Iskra. This was often the case. Everywhere, whenever and wherever Lenin worked, in organisations. as an editor, in the Central Committee, or, finally, now in the Council of People's Commissars, to all these organisations inevitably stuck the appellation Leninist. Yes. Iskra was Leninist, and it did not lose by this, it only gained. (Applause.) The first important article of Lenin in the Iskra was called ‘Where to Begin’. In this article Lenin outlined the immediate programme for the labour movement and the Russian revolution. He outlined in it, in their entirety, the foundations of our programme and revolutionary tactics.

Next: ‘What is to Be Done’