MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Organisations



People's Party

1. Established in 1865. The party opposed the unification of Germany as a centralised democratic republic under Prussian hegemony and advocated instead the idea of a federative German state ("Greater Germany") which would have included Prussia and Austria. They were not successful.


People's Will (Narodnaia Volia)

In the fall of 1879, a tightly knit and dedicated group of narodniks formed the People's Will Party. The some 30 members who formed the party, after having no success instigating the Russian peasantry to rebellion and instead meeting with brutal repression, set out to overthrow the monarchy through terrorism. On the groups' founding it passed sentence on the death of tsar Alexander II.

The party inherited the separate path theory from their Narodnik roots. Despite their belief in the peasantry as the revolutionary class of society, no peasant was ever a member of any directing organ of the party.

The terrorist tactics the party created were called the theory of direct struggle, which were intended to show:

"an uninterrupted demonstration of the possibility of struggling against the government, in this manner lifting the revolutionary spirit of the people and its faith in the success of the cause, and organising those capable of fighting."

Programme of the People's Will, 1879

In March 1, 1881, an attack the party launched hurt Alexander II in a bomb blast. The population of Russia were largely dismayed by this, and the czar responded with campaigns of terror and repression. The party was soon after disbanded. George Plekhanov was a member of this group. Twenty years later, Socialist Revolutionary Party would take up the tactics set out by this party.