J. V. Stalin
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.
"The Prussian bourgeoisie was not, as the French of 1789 had been . . . It had sunk to the level of a sort of social estate ... inclined from the very beginning to betray the people and compromise with the crowned representative of the old society."
That is what Karl Marx wrote about the Prussian liberals.
And indeed, even before the revolution had really unfolded, the German liberals started to make a deal with the "supreme power." They soon concluded this deal, and then, jointly with the government, attacked the workers and peasants. How bitingly and aptly Karl Marx exposed the duplicity of the liberals is well known :
"Without faith in itself, without faith in the people, grumbling at those above, trembling before those below, egoistic towards both sides and conscious of its egoism, revolutionary in relation to the conservatives and conservative in relation to the revolutionists, distrustful of its own mottoes, intimidated by the world storm, exploiting the world storm; no energy in any respect, plagiarism in every respect; base because it lacked originality, original in its baseness; haggling with its own desires, without initiative, without a world-historical calling; an execrable old man, . . . sans eyes, sans ears, sans teeth, sans everything—such was the Prussian bourgeoisie that found itself at the helm of the Prussian state after the March Revolution" (see Neue Rheinische Zeitung). 1
Something similar to this is taking place here, in the course of the Russian revolution.
The point is that our bourgeoisie also differs from the French bourgeoisie of 1789. Our liberal bourgeoisie has been even more prompt and outspoken than the German bourgeoisie in declaring that it would "conclude an agreement with the supreme power" against the workers and peasants. The liberal-bourgeois party, the so-called Cadets, started secret negotiations with Stolypin behind the back of the people long ago. What was the object of these negotiations? What had the Cadets to talk about with the "field court-martial" minister if, in fact, they were not betraying the interests of the people? Concerning this, the French and English newspapers wrote not long ago that the government and the Cadets were entering into an alliance with the object of curbing the revolution. The terms of this secret alliance are as follows: The Cadets are to drop their oppositional demands and in return the government will appoint several Cadets to ministerial posts. The Cadets took offence and protested that it was not true. But, in fact, it turned out that it was true, it turned out that the Cadets had already concluded an alliance with the Rights and the government.
What does the recent voting in the Duma show if not that the Cadets are in alliance with the government? Recall the facts: the Social-Democrats introduce a motion to set up a commission to deal with the starving peasantry. They want the matter of helping the famine-stricken to be taken up by the people themselves apart from the deputies and the bureaucracy, and that the people themselves should expose "the heroic deeds" of the Gurkos and Lidvals. 2 This is good, this is desirable, because all this will strengthen the connections between the deputies and the people; all this will give the sullen discontent of the people a conscious character. Clearly, whoever was really serving the interests of the people would unfailingly support the proposal of the Social-Democrats as a measure beneficial to the people. But what did the Cadets do? Did they support the Social-Democrats? No! In conjunction with the Octobrists 3 and the Black Hundreds they unanimously voted down the Social-Democrats' proposal. If your proposal were carried out it would give rise to a popular movement and for that reason it is harmful, said the Cadet leader Hessen in reply to the Social-Democrats (see Parus, 4 No. 24). I am entirely in agreement with you, gentlemen, you are right—said Stolypin, giving the Cadets their due (ibid.). As a result, the Social-Democrats were supported only by the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Popular Socialists and the majority of the Trudoviks.
Thus, the Duma split up into two camps: the camp of the enemies of the people's movement and the camp of the supporters of the people's movement. In the first camp are the Black Hundreds, the Octobrists, Stoly-pin, the Cadets and others. In the second camp are the Social-Democrats, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Popular Socialists, the majority of the Trudoviks, and others.
What does this show if not that the Cadets have already entered into an alliance with the government?
As is evident, the Bolsheviks' tactics, which sow distrust towards the Cadets, the traitors to the people, and call for a struggle against them, are justified.
But that is not all. The point is that the above-mentioned rumours disseminated by the French and English newspapers have been fully confirmed. During the past few days the newspapers of the capital have been reporting from "reliable sources" that the Cadets have already struck a bargain with the government. And just imagine! It appears that the terms of this bargain have been ascertained even down to details. True, the Cadets deny it, but this is nothing but hypocrisy. Listen to this:
"Segodnya 5 reports from most reliable sources that Stoly-pin's speech in the State Duma yesterday did not in the least come as a surprise to the Cadets and the Octobrists. Preliminary negotiations concerning it had been going on all day between the Prime Minister, Kutler . . . and Fyodorov, who represented the Right Centre. A definite agreement between these persons was reached in the editorial offices of Slovo, 6 which Count Witte also intended to visit. . . . In main outline the agreement amounts to the following: 1) The Cadets will openly break off all connections with the Left parties and occupy a strictly central position in the Duma. 2) The Cadets will abandon part of their agrarian programme and make it approximate to the programme of the Octobrists. 3) The Cadets will for a time refrain from insisting on equal rights for the nationalities. 4) The Cadets will support the foreign loan. In return for this, the Cadets are promised: 1) Immediate legalisation of the Cadet Party. 2) . . . The Cadets will be offered the portfolios of the Ministries of Land Settlement and Agriculture, Public Education, Commerce and Industry, and Justice. 3) Partial amnesty. 4) Support for the Cadet bill to abolish the field courts-martial" (see Parus, No. 25).
That is how the matter stands.
While the people are fighting, while the workers and peasants are shedding their blood in order to crush the reaction, the Cadets are concluding an alliance with the reaction in order to curb the people's revolution!
That is what the Cadets are!
That, it appears, is why they want to "save" the Duma!
That is why they did not support the Social-Democrats' proposal to set up a famine commission!
The Menshevik thesis that the Cadets are democratic thus collapses.
The Menshevik tactics of supporting the Cadets thus collapse: after this, supporting the Cadets means supporting the government!
The Bolshevik view that at a critical moment we shall be supported only by the politically-conscious representatives of the peasants, such as the Socialist-Revolutionaries and others, is justified.
Clearly, we must also support them against the Cadets.
Or perhaps the Mensheviks think of continuing to support the Cadets? ...
Dro (Time),No. 6, March 17, 1907
1. See Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Eng. ed., Vol. I, Moscow 1951, pp. 64, 65. Neue Rheinische Zeitung was published in Cologne from June 1, 1848 to May 19, 1849, and was directed by K. Marx and F. Engels.
2. Gurko—Deputy-Minister of the Interior; Lidval—a big speculator and swindler who in 1906 received from Gurko a contract to supply grain to the famine-stricken areas. The complicity of a high official of the tsarist government in Lidval's speculations led to a sensational trial which was called the "Lidvaliad." Gurko suffered no other consequences than removal from his post.
3. The Octobrists, or the Union of October Seventeenth—a counter-revolutionary party of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and the big landowners was formed in November 1905. It fully supported the Stolypin regime, the home and foreign policy of tsarism.
4. Parus (The Sail)—a daily newspaper, organ of the Cadets published in Moscow in 1907
5. Segodnya (Today)—a gutter-type bourgeois evening newspaper published in St. Petersburg in 1906-08.
6. Slovo (The Word)—a daily newspaper which began publication in St. Petersburg in December 1904. From October 1905 to July 1906 it was the organ of the Octobrist Party.