A Scientific Work on Philosophy


In those two years Comrade Lenin was able to write a serious work on philosophy, * which will occupy an honourable place in the history of the struggle for revolutionary Marxism. He fought as passionately for communism in the most abstract domain of theory as he fights now in the field of practical politics. Perhaps but few amongst the Petrograd workers have read this philosophical work of Lenin, but know you all that in this book too, the foundations of Communism were laid. He fought in this book all the bourgeois influences, in their most subtle and elusive forms, and succeeded in defending the materialist conception of history against the best educated representatives of the bourgeoisie, and those writers among the Social Democrats who had succumbed to those influences

Then came the year 1910-11. A fresh wind began to blow, and it became evident in 1911 that the labour movement was being reborn. The Lena day [The wholesale massacre of strikers at the-Lena gold mines in 1910] opened a new page in the history of our movement. At that time we had already at Petrograd a legal paper called Zvezda (Star), at Moscow a monthly periodical, Mysl (Thought) and a small labour fraction in the Duma. The principal worker in these papers and behind the Duma fraction was Lenin.

Lenin managed to teach a few worker deputies of the Duma the methods of revolutionary parliamentarianism. You ought to have heard the conversations between Lenin and our young deputies when he was propounding to them the lessons of this kind of parliamentarianism. Simple Petrograd proletarians (Badayev and others) would come to us abroad and say: ‘We want to engage in serious legislative work; we want to consult you about the budget, about such and such a Bill, about certain amendments to certain Bills introduced by the Cadets,’ etc. In reply Comrade Lenin laughed heartily, and when they somewhat abashed, would ask what was the matter, Comrade Lenin would reply to Badayev: ‘What do you want a budget, an amendment, a Bill for? You are workers, and the Duma exists for the ruling classes. YON simply step forward and tell all Russia in simple language about the life and toil of the working class. Describe the horrors of capitalist slavery, summon the workers to make a revolution, and fling into the face of this reactionary Duma that its members are scoundrels and exploiters!’ (Applause.) ‘You had better introduce a “Bill” stating that in three years’ time we shall take you all, Black hundred landlords, and hang you on the lamp-posts. That would be a real Bill!’ (Applause.) Such were the lessons in ‘parliamentariarőism’ which Comrade Lenin would propound to the deputies. At first Comrade Badayev and others used to find them rather queer. The entire parliamentary surroundings were weighing upon our comrades.. Here, in this very hall of the Tauride Palace, where we now meet, the Duma used to sit in session, all sitting in magnificent frock coats, with !the Ministers, in places of honour-and these poor deputies should break out all of a sudden in such nasty talk! Later on, however, our deputies assimilated the lessons, and Lenin’s enjoyment was boundless when he saw our deputy, the simple mechanic Badayev, come out on the rostrum in the Tauride Palace and tell all those Rodziankos, Volkonskies, and Purishlceviches all that he had been counselled to say by the teacher of the working class, Comrade Lenin. (Applause).

In 1912 a new life began. As soon as it became possible to publish here in Petrograd a legal paper, we migrated from Paris to Galicia in order to be nearer to Petrograd. At the January (1912) Conference, which took place at Prague, the Bolsheviks consolidated the ranks which had been broken by the counter-revolution. The party came back to life again, and, of course, Lenin played a leading part. At the insistence of the new Central Committee, Comrade Lenin and myself went to stay at Cracow. There we began to receive visits from comrades from Petrograd, Moscow, and other cities. Communication was established with Petrograd, and the arrangements were soon so perfected that it was very seldom that the Pravda would appear without some contribution from Lenin. You have been brought up on those articles, and you know what those papers, Zvezda and Pravda meant ,to the working class. Those were the first swallows of the coming Communist spring. Right and left Comrade Lenin hit our enemies in the columns of those papers, and it is owing to his articles, counsels, and private letters to Petrograd that the Pravda soon became a sounding board for all questions of the day. Our machinery became so perfect that we frequently managed to have a conference of the Petrograd and Cracow Bureaus of the Central Committee before every important meeting of trade unions or other labour organisations.


* Materialism and Empirio-Criticism —Editor's note.

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