J. V. Stalin

The Will of the Voter's Delegates

October 19, 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.

The results of the elections in the workers' curia have now been finally established. 1 Of the six electors, three are Liquidators and three supporters of Pravada. Which one of them should be nominated for the Duma? Which one of them, indeed, ought to be nominated? Did the assembly of voters' delegates give any instructions on this matter?

The Liquidators got their supporters elected because they concealed their views from the voters' delegates, they glossed over disagreements and played at "unity." They were supported by the non-party voters' delegates, who dislike disagreements and who accepted the word of the Liquidators. But in spite of all the Liquidators' efforts to confuse the issue, in one thing—and the main thing at that—the will of the voters' delegates made itself felt. This was on the question of the mandate. By an overwhelming majority the assembly of voters' delegates adopted a definite mandate to the Duma deputy, the mandate of the supporters of Pravada.

In its report of the elections, Luch 2 hushes up this point, but it cannot conceal from its readers the truth which is known to all the voters' delegates. We shall not permit it to misrepresent the will of the voters' delegates.

The mandate is an instruction to the deputy. The mandate moulds the deputy. The deputy is the image of the mandate. What does the mandate proposed by the big plants in St. Petersburg, and adopted by the assembly of voters' delegates, speak of?

First of all the mandate speaks of the tasks of 1905 and says that these tasks have not been fulfilled, that the economic and political situation in the country makes the fulfilment of these tasks inevitable. According to the mandate, the emancipation of the country can be achieved by a struggle, a struggle on two fronts: against the feudal-bureaucratic survivals on the one hand, and against the treacherous liberal bourgeoisie on the other. In this the peasantry alone can be the reliable ally of the workers. But the struggle can be victorious only on the condition that hegemony (the leading role) is exercised by the proletariat. The more class conscious and organised the workers are, the better will they fulfil the role of leader of the people. In view of the fact that under present conditions the floor of the Duma is one of the best means of organising and enlightening the masses, the workers are sending their deputy to the Duma in order that he, and the entire Social-Democratic group in the Fourth Duma, shall champion the fundamental tasks of the proletariat, the full and uncurtailed demands of the country. . . .

Such is the content of the mandate.

It is not difficult to perceive that this mandate differs fundamentally from the "platform" of the Liquidators— it is entirely anti-Liquidationist.

The question then arises: if the Liquidators, after all, dare to nominate their candidate for Duma deputy, what is to happen to the mandate which the Duma deputy is in duty bound to carry out, since the assembly of voters' delegates passed a definite decision to that effect?

An anti-Liquidationist mandate carried out by a Liquidator—will our Liquidators sink to such a disgrace?

Do they realise that playing at "unity" has driven them into an impasse?

Or perhaps they intend to violate the mandate, to relegate it to oblivion?

But in that case what about the will of the voters' delegates, which the workers of St. Petersburg will undoubtedly come out to defend?

Will the Liquidators dare to trample upon the will of the voters' delegates?

They are still talking about victory, but do they realise that the mandate has inflicted mortal defeat upon them by emphasising that only an anti-Liquidator can be a Duma deputy?


Pravada, No. 147, October 19, 1912


1. The first election of electors in the workers' curia of the St. Petersburg Gubernia took place at the gubernia assembly of voters' delegates on October 5, 1912. In spite of the fact that 21 of the largest plants in St. Petersburg had been deprived of the right to vote, among the six electors elected by the assembly there were four Bolsheviks. As a result of the pressure of the masses, the right to vote of the workers in the "interpreted" plants was restored. On October 14, 1912, new elections of voters' delegates took place at these plants, and on October 17 the second assembly was held of voters' delegates from the workers' curia of the St. Petersburg Gubernia. At this assembly a second election of electors took place, and five candidates polled an absolute majority—two Bolsheviks and three Mensheviks. Next day a supplementary poll was taken to elect a sixth elector, and a Bolshevik was elected. The course of the election struggle is described in detail in J. V. Stalin's correspondence to the Sotsial-Demokrat entitled "The Elections in St. Petersburg," pp. 279-94 of this volume.

2. Luch (The Ray)—a legal daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg by the Menshevik Liquidators from September 1912 to July 1913. In the columns of the Luch the Liquidators openly attacked the underground Party. The newspaper was run with the aid of funds obtained mainly from the bourgeoisie.