A Prophetic Gift

Now we have an immense and irreplaceable experience of a decade and a half, the experience of the 1905 revolution, the experience of the 1917-1918 revolution. But to have predicted the real truth fifteen years ago, to have determined the real value of the party of the Social-Revolutionists at that time-this required almost a prophetic gift. For this it was necessary to have an immense revolutionary Marxist intuition, for this, in a word, it was necessary to be a Lenin. (Applause).

Lenin's Iskra carried on not merely a political struggle, it also carried on an immense work of organisation. The Iskra was gathering the scattered segments of our party. Only in the beginning of the ‘nineties arose a situation in which it was possible to think of the formation of a workers’ party. Comrade Lenin placed himself also at the head of this practical organising work, and formed the Organisation Committee Attached to the Iskra. And Comrade Lenin, who bore the chief brunt of the literary labour in the Iskra and in the theoretical journal Zarya (The Dawn), at the same time became the soul of the Organising Committee.

The wife of Comrade Lenin, Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya-Ulyanova, was the secretary of the Iskra, and secretary of the Organisation Committee. How much our party is indebted to her; of this one might and ought to speak separately. Here I will only say that, in all the work of Comrade Lenin as organiser of our party, a good deal of the credit is due to Nadezhda Konstantinovna. ALL written intercourse fell on her. At one time she carried on a correspondence with the whole of Russia.

Who among the older underground workers did not know Nadezhda Konstantinovna? To whom did not the receipt of a letter from her mean joy? Who among us thought of her otherwise than with boundless confidence and most tender love?

Martov in one of his spiteful polemics against Lenin once called Nadezhda Konstantinovna ‘The secretary of the super-centre, Lenin’.Well, the whole Russian proletariat is now proud both of its ‘supercentre’ and of his ‘secretary’.

Lenin, assiduously, step by step, collected the underground organisation, and in 1903 we reached already the Second Party Congress. Already in that historic congress, when the party was still united, when in its ranks stood Plekhanov, Zassulich, Axelrod, Martov, Potressov and others, already it became clear from the first minute of its labors that the true leader of our young party was Comrade Lenin.

Comrade Lenin is often represented as a man who cuts, carves, uses nothing but the surgeon's knife, who does not spare the unity of the proletarian ranks. But when the first signs of a fundamental split became apparent at the Second Congress it was Comrade Lenin who at first used his influence to prevent a rupture. Lenin as a matter of fact places the highest value on the unity of the labour movement. But on one condition provided this unity is a unity for the struggle for Socialism. The ideas of Socialism are to him, dearest above all. And so at the Second Congress, as soon as he saw that his divergence from Martov, Axelrod and the others was not a slight casual divergence; that there was a resurrection of the old opportunist tendency under a new flag; that there was rising again that same ‘legal’ Marxism which Lenin had fought at the end of the ‘nineties, that his former friend Martov, with whom he had been intimate, his bosom friend, with whom he had been together in exile, that this Martov began to sing flat; that Plekhanov, whom until that time he had highly valued, began to surrender the principles of Marxism; that this Plekhanov was already extending a finger to opportunism and opportunism would soon have his whole hand; when Lenin saw all this, then the question was decided for him irrevocably. He said: ‘I shall stand alone, but I raise the standard of revolutionary Marxism.’ And he separated from Plekhanov.

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