J. V. Stalin

The Situation in the Social-Democratic Group in the Duma

February 26, 1913

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.

In Pravada, No. 44, a "statement" appeared from the seven Social-Democratic deputies in the Duma in which they attack the six workers' deputies. 1

In the same issue of Pravada the six workers' deputies answer the seven and describe their attack as the first step towards a split.

Thus, the workers are faced with the question whether there is or is not to be a united Social-Democratic group in the Duma.

Until now the Social-Democratic group has been united, and has been strong in its unity, sufficiently strong to make the enemies of the proletariat reckon with it.

Now it may break up into two parts, to the amusement and joy of the enemies. . . .

What has happened? Why have the members of the Social-Democratic group fallen out so sharply? What induced the seven deputies to attack their comrades in the columns of a newspaper, in front of the enemies of the working class?

They raise two questions in their "statement": the question about contributing to Luch and Pravada, and the question of merging these two papers.

The seven deputies are of the opinion that it is the duty of the Social-Democratic deputies to contribute to both papers, and that the refusal of the six deputies to contribute to Luch is a violation of the unity of the Social-Democratic group.

But is that so? Are the seven deputies right?

Firstly, is it not strange to expect someone to contribute to a newspaper whose policy he not only does not agree with, but considers harmful? Can the orthodox Bebel, for example, be compelled to contribute to a revisionist paper, or can the revisionist Vollmar be compelled to contribute to an orthodox newspaper? In Germany they would laugh at such a demand, because there they know that united action does not preclude differences of opinion. In this country, however . . . in this country, thank God, we are not yet cultured.

Secondly, we have the direct guidance of experience in Russia, which shows that it is possible for deputies to contribute to two different papers without undermining the unity of the group. We have in mind the third group. 2 It is no secret to anyone that of the 13 members of the Social-Democratic group in the Third Duma, nine contributed only to Zvezda, two only to Zhivoye Delo,3 while the remaining two refrained entirely from contributing to either newspaper. . . . For all that, however, this did not undermine the unity of the third group one iota! The group, all the time, acted as one.

Obviously, the seven deputies are on a false path in demanding that contributing to Luch should be obligatory. Apparently, they are still not quite clear on the question.

Further, the seven deputies demand that Pravada and Luch should be merged in one, non-factional newspaper.

But how should they be merged? Is it possible to merge them in one newspaper?

Do the seven deputies, these "ideological supporters" of Luch, really not know that Luch is the first to reject such a merger? Have they read No. 108 of Luch, which contains the statement that "unity cannot be achieved by mere mechanical measures, such as the merging of the two organs, etc."?

If they have read it, how can they talk seriously about a merger?

Secondly, are the seven deputies aware of the liqui-dationist leaders' attitude towards unity in general, and towards having one common organ in particular?

Listen to what P. Axelrod, the inspirer of Luch, says. Here is what he wrote in Nevsky Golos, No. 6, when a section of the St. Petersburg workers decided to publish one non-factional newspaper to offset Zvezda and Zhivoye Delo:

"The idea of a non-factional Social-Democratic organ is at the present time a utopia and, moreover, a utopia which objectively runs counter to the interests of Party-political development and the organisational unity of the proletariat under the banner of Social-Democracy. Drive nature out of the door and it will fly in through the window. . . . Can the proposed workers' organ take a neutral stand between the two opposite camps? . . . Obviously not" (see Nevsky Golos, No. 6).

Thus, according to Axelrod, one common newspaper is not only impossible but harmful, because it "runs counter to the interests of the political development of the proletariat."

Let us hear what the other inspirer of Luch, the notorious Dan, has to say.

"Great political tasks," he writes, "make inevitable a relentless war against anti-Liquidationism. . . . Anti-Liquidationism is a constant brake, constant disruption." It is necessary . . . "to exert every effort to kill it in embryo" (see Nasha Zarya, No. 6, 1911).

Thus, "relentless war against anti-Liquidationism," i.e., against Pravada, "to kill anti-Liquidationism," i.e., Pravada—that is what Dan proposes.

After all this, how can the seven deputies talk seriously about merging the two newspapers?

Whom do they want to merge, to unite?

One thing or the other :

Either they have not yet understood the question and have not yet managed to grasp the stand taken by Luch, whose supporters they claim to be—and in that case they themselves "know not what they do."

Or they are true Luch-ists, are ready with Dan "to kill anti-Liquidationism"; like Axelrod, do not believe that a single paper is possible, but talk loudly about unity in order surreptitiously to prepare the ground for a split in the Duma group. . . .

Be that as it may, one thing is beyond doubt: the workers are confronted with the question of maintaining the integrity of the Social-Democratic group, which is threatened with disruption.

The group is in danger!

Who can save the group, who can safeguard the integrity of the group?

The workers, and the workers alone! Nobody but the workers!

Hence, it is the duty of the class-conscious workers to raise their voices against the splitting efforts within the group, no matter from what quarter they come.

It is the duty of the class-conscious workers to call to order the seven Social-Democratic deputies who are attacking the other half of the Social-Democratic group.

The workers must intervene in the matter forthwith in order to safeguard the unity of the group.

It is impossible to remain silent now. More than that—silence now is a crime.


Pravada, No. 47, February 26, 1913


1. In December 1912 the workers' deputies in the Fourth Duma agreed to allow their names to be included in the list of contributors to Luch. At the same time they continued to contribute to Pravada. Actually, they did not contribute to Luch. Later, on the instructions of the Central Committee they announced that they withdrew their names from the list of contributors to Luch. This gave rise to a fierce controversy between the Bolshevik six and the Menshevik seven, the two sections of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma.

2. This refers to the Social-Democratic group in the Third State Duma.

3. Zhivoye Delo (The Living Cause) — a legal weekly newspaper published by the Menshevik Liquidators in St . Petersburg from January to April 1912.