J. V. Stalin

The Autocracy of the Casets or
the Sovereignty of the People ?

March 13, 1907

Source : Works, Vol. 2, 1907 - 1913
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.

Who should take power during the revolution? Which classes should take the helm of social and political life? The people, the proletariat and peasantry!—the Bolsheviks answered, and thus they answer now. In their opinion, the victory of the revolution means the establishment of the dictatorship (sovereignty) of the proletariat and peasantry with the object of winning an eight-hour day, of confiscating all the landlords' land and of setting up a democratic regime. The Mensheviks reject the sovereignty of the people and, until lately, did not give a straight answer to the question as to who should take power. But now that they have obviously turned towards the Cadets they are more boldly stating that power must be taken by the Cadets and not by the proletariat and the peasantry. Listen to this :

"The dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry is . . . a paradox" (an incongruity) . . . it is "an inclination towards Socialist-Revolutionary views" (see the Menshevik organ Na Ocheredi, 1 No. 4, pp. 4-5, article by Potresov).

True, that outstanding Marxist, K. Kautsky, clearly says that the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry is essential; but who is K. Kautsky to contradict Potresov? Everybody knows that Potresov is a true Marxist and Kautsky is not! Another Menshevik adds :

"The slogan of a responsible ministry will become the slogan of the struggle for power, the struggle to transfer power from the bureaucracy to the people" (see ibid., p. 3, article by Koltsov).

In Koltsov's opinion, as you see, the slogan of a responsible ministry must become the slogan of the people's struggle, that is, the proletariat and the peasantry must fight under that slogan and no other, and must shed their blood not for a democratic republic, but for a Cadet ministry.

This, then, is what the Mensheviks call conquest of power by the people.

Think of it! It turns out that the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry is harmful, but the dictatorship of the Cadets is beneficial! As much as to say: We don't want the sovereignty of the people, we want the autocracy of the Cadets!

Yes, indeed! It is not for nothing that the Cadets, the enemies of the people, are praising the Menshe-viks! . . .


Dro (Time), 2 No. 2, March 13, 1907


1. Na Ocheredi (On the Order of the Day)—a Menshevik weekly published in St. Petersburg from December 1906 to March 1907. Four issues in all were published. p. 21

2. Dro (Time)—a Georgian daily Bolshevik newspaper, published in Tiflis after the suppression of Chveni Tskhovreba from March 11 to April 15, 1907, under the direction of J. V. Stalin. M. Tskhakaya and M. Davitashvili were members of the editorial staff. In all, 31 numbers were issued. p. 22