J. V. Stalin

Our Caucasian Clowns

April 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.

The Menshevik newspaper Lakhvari flew into a rage over our articles. Evidently our accusations hit the mark. It makes, of course, a very amusing spectacle. . . .

What's it all about?

We wrote that the Duma's swing to the right does not surprise us. Why? Because the Duma is dominated by the liberal bourgeoisie, and this bourgeoisie is entering into an alliance with the government and breaking with the workers and peasants. Hence the weakness of the Duma. And the fact that the workers and revolutionary peasants are not dragging at the tail of the anti-revolutionary Duma; the fact that they are indeed breaking with the Duma majority—shows that the people of our country are more politically conscious than the French people were in the eighteenth century. Hence again the weakness of the Duma. That is how we explained the Duma's weakness and its swing to the right.

It turns out that on reading this explanation the Mensheviks' hearts sank into their boots and they howled in horror:

"No, if the explanation offered by the Bolsheviks were true, we would have to shrug our shoulders and say that it is all up with the Russian revolution" (see Lakhvari, No. 6).

Poor fellows! They believe in their own revolution-ariness less than they believe in that of the Cadets! The liberals are betraying the revolution—hence, the revolution has grown weaker! The workers and revolutionary peasants, it appears, are a mere cypher. Woe to you if you have no more penetration than that!

They are not even faithful to themselves. For example, eighteen months ago, the same Mensheviks wrote something different in their newspaper Skhivi : 1

"The December strike repelled the bourgeoisie from the revolution and made it conservative. The further development of the revolution must proceed against the liberals. Will the revolution be able to do this? That will depend upon who will be the driving force of the revolution. Here, too, of course, the proletariat is the leader of the revolution. It will be unable to carry the revolution to the end unless it has a powerful and faithful ally, and this ally is the peasantry, and only the peasantry" (see Skhivi, No. 12).

Yes, that is what the Mensheviks said when they were adhering to the standpoint of Social-Democracy. . . .

But now, having turned their backs on Social-Democracy, they are singing a different song and are proclaiming the liberals as the hub of the revolution, as the saviours of the revolution.

And after all this they have the effrontery to assure us that the Caucasian Mensheviks are not clowns, that they do not deck themselves in Social-Democratic apparel in order to cover up their Cadet natures!

"How did it happen," the Mensheviks ask, "that in the First Duma the Cadets acted more boldly, demanded a ministry responsible to the Duma, etc.? How is it to be explained that on the day after the Duma was dispersed the Cadets signed the Vyborg manifesto?

"Why are they not behaving in the same way today?

"To this question the political philosophy of the Bolsheviks provides no reply, nor can it do so" (ibid.).

It is no use trying to console yourselves, poor frightened comrades. We answered that question long ago: the present Duma is more colourless because the proletariat is now more politically conscious and united than it was in the period of the First Duma, and this is pushing the liberal bourgeoisie to the side of reaction. Get that well into your minds once and for all, pro-liberal comrades : the more consciously the proletariat fights the more counter-revolutionary the bourgeoisie becomes. That is our explanation.

And how do you explain the colourlessness of the Second Duma, dear comrades?

For example: In No. 4 of Lakhvari you write that the Duma's weakness and colourlessness are due to "the people's lack of political consciousness and organisation." You yourselves say that the First Duma was "bolder,"— it follows, therefore, that at that time the people were "politically conscious and organised." The Second Duma is more colourless—hence, this year the people are less "politically conscious and organised" than they were last year, and hence, the revolution and the political consciousness of the people have receded! Is this not what you wanted to say, comrades? Is this not how you want to justify your gravitation towards the Cadets, dear friends?

Woe to you and to your muddled "logic" if you think of continuing to remain clowns. .


Dro (Time), No. 29 April 13, 1907


1. Skhivi (The Ray)—a daily newspaper published by the Georgian Mensheviks in Tiflis from December 1905 to January 1906.