J. V. Stalin

The Results of the Elections in the
Workers' Curia of St. Petersburg

October 24, 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.

1. The Election of the Voters' Delegates

The most characteristic feature of the temper of the workers compared with 1907 is the great revival of interest in the elections. If we leave out of account the small groups scattered here and there among the enterprises, we may boldly assert that the boycott mood is entirely absent. Obukhov's 1 did not boycott the elections, it was deprived of the opportunity to take part in them by the works' administration. The Neva Shipbuilding Yard was the only place where the boycotters acted in an organised manner, but even there the overwhelming majority of the workers declared in favour of taking part in the elections. The broad masses of the workers were in favour of taking part in the elections. Moreover, they demanded elections and went to the polls with immense interest as long as no unsurmountable obstacles were put in their way. This is proved by the recent mass protests against the "interpretations." . . .

In almost every case Social-Democrats, or those associated with the Social-Democrats, were elected. Owing to circumstances beyond our control, it was possible only in a few factories to expound fully the platform of consistent workers' democracy, the more so because the Liquidators wisely hid their platform from the workers. But wherever such exposition was possible, the workers adopted the platform of the anti-Liquidators in the form of a "mandate." In these cases, the Liquidators—evidently having no respect for themselves or for their own views—declared that "in substance they too were in favour of such a mandate" (Neva Shipbuilding Yard), and they moved "amendments" about freedom of association, which were rejected on the grounds that they were superfluous. Thus, the voters' delegates were elected mainly on their "personal merits." The overwhelming majority of those elected proved to be Social-Democrats, or people associated with them.

Social-Democracy alone expresses the interests of the working class—that is what the election of the voters' delegates tells us.


2. The Election of Electors

Of the 82 voters' delegates who assembled, 26 were definite anti-Liquidators, 15 definite Liquidators, while the remaining 41 were "just Social-Democrats," people associated with the Social-Democrats, and non-party Lefts.

For whom would these 41 vote, what political line would they approve of?—that was the question that primarily interested the "factionalists."

By an overwhelming majority the assembly of voters' delegates declared in favour of the mandate proposed by the supporters of Pravada. By so doing it defined its complexion. The political line of the anti-Liquidators triumphed The attempt of the Liquidators to prevent this failed.

Had the Liquidators been politically honest and respected their own views they would have withdrawn their candidates and would have left all the places for the supporters of Pravada, for it was self-evident that only supporters of the mandate could be nominated as candidates. Opponents of the mandate as champions of the mandate—only political bankrupts could go to such lengths. The Liquidators did go even to such lengths! Concealing their own views from the voters' delegates, pretending for the time being to be "our people" who "had no objection" to the mandate that had been adopted, playing at unity and complaining that the anti-Liquidators were splitters, they tried to soften the hearts of the non-factional voters' delegates and "smuggle" their men through somehow. And in fact they did smuggle them through by deceiving the voters' delegates.

It was evident that there would be no end to the trickery of the Liquidators.

It was no less evident that the political line of Pravada, and that line alone, enjoyed the sympathy of the St. Petersburg proletariat, that in conformity with the will of the voters' delegates only a supporter of Pravada could be a Duma deputy representing the workers.

A bigger victory we could not have desired. . . .


3. Two Unities

Before coming to the election of the Duma deputy we must say a word or two about the "unity" which played a fatal role during the election of the electors, and at which the Liquidators are clutching like a drowning man at a straw.

Trotsky recently wrote in Luch that Pravada was once for unity, but is now against it. Is that true? It is true and yet not true. It is true that Pravada was for unity. It is not true that it is now against unity:

Pravada always calls for the unity of consistent workers' democracy.

What is the point then? The point is that Pravada, and Luch and Trotsky, look at unity in totally different ways. Evidently there are different kinds of unity.

Pravada is of the opinion that only Bolsheviks and pro-Party Mensheviks can be united into a single whole. Unity on the basis of dissociation from anti-Party elements, from Liquidators! Pravada has always stood and always will stand for such unity.

Trotsky, however, looks at the matter differently: he jumbles everybody together—opponents of the Party principle as well as its supporters. And of course he gets no unity whatever: for five years he has been conducting this childish propaganda in favour of uniting the un-unitable, and what he has achieved is that we have two newspapers, two platforms, two conferences, and not a scrap of unity between workers' democracy and the Liquidators!

And while the Bolsheviks and the pro-Party Menshe-viks are uniting more and more into a single whole, the Liquidators are digging a chasm between themselves and this whole.

The practical experience of the movement confirms Pravada''s plan of unity.

The practical experience of the movement smashes Trotsky's childish plan of uniting the ununitable.

More than that. From an advocate of a fantastic unity Trotsky is turning into an agent of the Liquidators, doing what suits the Liquidators.

Trotsky has done all in his power to ensure that we should have two rival newspapers, two rival platforms, two conferences which repudiate each other—and now this champion with fake muscles is singing us a song about unity!

This is not unity, it is a game worthy of a comedian.

And if this game enabled the Liquidators to secure the election of three of their men as electors it was only because it was impossible in the short period available to expose the unity comedians who concealed their flag from the workers. . . .


4. The Election of the Duma Deputy

After that it is not difficult to understand what kind of "unity" the Liquidators talked about when they proposed to the supporters of Pravada the nomination of a joint candidate for the Duma. It was simply a proposal to vote for the Liquidators' candidate, in spite of the will expressed by the voters' delegates, and in spite of the mandate of the St. Petersburg proletariat. What other answer could the supporters of Pravada give except that the mandate of the voters' delegates was sacred, and that only a supporter of the mandate could be elected as Duma deputy? Should they have gone against the will of the voters' delegates to please the spineless Liquidators, or should they have disregarded the latter's caprices for the sake of the mandate of the St. Petersburg proletariat? Luch is howling about Pravada's splitting tactics and is spreading fairy tales about the electors, but why did not the Liquidators agree to draw lots among the six electors from the workers as recommended by Pravada? In the interests of a joint workers' candidate we were ready to make even this concession, but why, we ask, did the Liquidators reject the proposal to draw lots? Why did the supporters of Luch prefer six candidates for the Duma instead of one? In the interests of "unity," perhaps?

Luch says that Gudkov nominated the Pravada supporter Badayev as a candidate, but, the Liquidator newspaper modestly adds, the proposal was rejected. But have the Luch Liquidators forgotten that it was their supporter Petrov, and not the "Pravada-ist," who refused to withdraw his candidature and so by his action exposed the Liquidators' urge for "unity." And yet they call this unity! Perhaps the fact that Gudkov, the other supporter of Luch, put up his candidature after Badayev, the supporter of Pravada, had already been elected, will also be claimed as unity? Who will believe it?

Luch hypocritically advertises that political nonentity Sudakov who, it alleges, withdrew his candidature in the interests of unity. But does not Luch know that Suda-kov simply could not go to the ballot because he had received only two nominations? What should we call a newspaper which dares to lie in full view of everybody?

Is political spinelessness the only "merit" of the Liquidators?

The Liquidators tried to get their man into the Duma by the will of the Cadets and Octobrists in opposition to the will of the St. Petersburg workers. But does not Luch, which is divorced from the masses of the workers, realise that the St. Petersburg workers would have expressed their lack of confidence in such a deputy?


Pravada, No. 151, October 24, 1912


1. This refers to the Obukhov Works.