J. V. Stalin

Non-Party Simpletons

April 15, 1912

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.

Non-party progressivism has become the fashion. Such is the nature of the Russian intellectual—he must have a fashion. At one time Saninism was the fashion, then decadence became the rage—now it is the turn of non-partyism.

What is non-partyism?

In Russia there are landlords and peasants, their interests are antagonistic, a struggle between them is inevitable. But non-partyism ignores this fact, it is inclined to hush up the antagonism of interests.

In Russia there are bourgeois and proletarians; the victory of one of these classes means the defeat of the other. But non-partyism glosses over the antagonism of interests, it shuts its eyes to their struggle.

Every class has its own party, with a special programme and a special complexion. Parties direct the struggle of classes. Without parties there would be not a struggle but chaos, absence of clarity and confusion of interests. But non-partyism abhors clarity and defi-niteness, it prefers nebulousness and absence of programme.

Glossing over of class antagonisms, hushing up of the class struggle, absence of a definite complexion, hostility to all programme, gravitation towards chaos and the confusion of interests—such is non-par-tyism.

What is the aim of non-partyism? To unite the ununitable, to bring about the impossible. To unite bourgeois and proletarians in an alliance, to erect a bridge between the landlords and the peasants, to haul a wagon with the aid of a swan, a crab and a pike—this is what non-partyism aims at.

Non-partyism realises that it is incapable of uniting the ununitable and therefore says with a sigh :

"If   'ifs' and 'ans'

Were pots and pans. . . ."

But "ifs" and "ans" are not pots and pans and so non-partyism is always left in the cart, always remains the simpleton.

Non-partyism is like a man without a head on his shoulders, or—rather—like a man with a turnip instead of a head.

This is precisely the position of the "progressive" journal Zaprosy Zhizni. 1

"The parties of the Right have already taken a decision," says Zaprosy Zhizni. "They are uniting in one reactionary mass to fight the entire progressive opposition. . . . Therefore, the bloc of the Rights must be opposed by a bloc of the Lefts, which must embrace all the progressive social elements" (see Zaprosy Zhizni, No. 6).

But who are these "progressive elements"?

They are the Party of Peaceful Renovation, 2 the Cadets, the Trudoviks and the Social-Democrats. That is to say, the "progressive" bourgeoisie, the pro-liberal landlords, the peasants who are thirsting for the landlords' land, and the proletarians who are fighting the bourgeoisie.

And Zaprosy Zhizni wants to unite these "elements"!

Very original and . . . foolish, is it not?

And this organ of people without principles wants to lecture the Social-Democrats on the tactics they should pursue in the elections to the Fourth Duma!

Simpletons! . . .


The St. Petersburg Zvezda, No. 30, April 15, 1912


1. Zaprosy Zhizni (Requirements of Life) — a magazine published in St. Petersburg in 1909-12. In the summer of 1912 V. I. Lenin wrote to Maxim Gorky: "Incidentally, i t is a queer magazine— Liquidationist-Trudovik-Vekhist" (see V. I . Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 35, p. 30).

2. Peaceful Renovators—the Party of Peaceful Renovation, which represented the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and the big landlords; was formed in 1906. Lenin called it "the Party of Peaceful Depredation."