Provisional Revolutionary Government
V. I. Lenin
Only five years ago many representatives of Social-Democracy thought the slogan "Down with the Autocracy!" premature and unintelligible to the mass of the workers. These representatives were rightly classed as opportunists. It was explained to them again and again and finally made clear that they were lagging behind the movement, that they did not understand the tasks of the Party as vanguard of the class, as its leader and organiser, as the representative of the movement as a whole and of its fundamental and principal aims. These aims might be overshadowed for a time by the day-to-day routine, but they should never lose their significance as the guiding star of the fighting proletariat.
Now the time has come when the flames of revolution have spread throughout the land, and when even the most sceptical have come to believe in the inevitable overthrow of the autocracy in the near future. But Social-Democracy, as if by some irony of history, has to deal once more with precisely the same reactionary and opportunist attempts to drag the movement back, to play down its tasks, and to obscure its slogans. Polemics with the proponents of such attempts become the task of the day, and (contrary to the opinion of the very many who dislike intra-Party polemics) acquire tremendous practical importance. For the nearer we get to realising our immediate political tasks, the greater is the need to have an absolutely clear understanding of those tasks and the more harmful is all ambiguity, all reticence and mental inconclusiveness on this question.
And yet mental inconclusiveness is by no means a rare thing among the Social-Democrats of the new Iskra or (what is practically the same) the Rabocheye Dyelo camp. Down with the Autocracy!—everyone agrees with this, not only all Social-Democrats, but all democrats, even all liberals, if one is to believe their current declarations. But what does it mean? How is this overthrow of the present government to take place? Who is to convene the Constituent Assembly, which even the Osvobozhdeniye people (see issue No. 67 of Osvobozhdeniye) are now prepared to advance as their slogan, including the demand for universal, direct, and equal suffrage? Precisely what should constitute the real guarantee that the elections to such an assembly will be free and will express the interests of the whole people?
He who fails to give a clear and definite answer to these questions does not grasp the meaning of the slogan "Down with the Autocracy". And these questions inevitably bring us to the question of the provisional revolutionary government; it is not difficult to understand that really free, popular elections to a Constituent Assembly, fully guaranteeing truly universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot, are not only improbable, but actually impossible under the autocracy. And if we are in earnest in putting forward a practical demand for the immediate overthrow of the autocratic government, we must be clear in our minds as to precisely what other government we want to replace the one that is to be overthrown. In other words, what do we think should be the attitude of the Social-Democrats towards a provisional revolutionary government?
On this question the opportunists of present-day Social-Democracy, viz., the new-Iskrists, are dragging the Party back just as strenuously as the Rabocheye Dyelo-ists did five years ago on the question of political struggle in general. Their reactionary views on this point are fully elaborated in Martynov's pamphlet Two Dictatorships, which Iskra, No. 84, approved and recommended in a special re view, and to which we have repeatedly called our readers' attention.
At the outset of his pamphlet Martynov tries to frighten us with the following grim prospect: If a strong, revolutionary Social-Democratic organisation could "time and carry out the general armed uprising of the people" against the autocracy, as Lenin dreamed, "is it not obvious that the general will of the people would on the morrow after the revolution designate precisely this party as the provisional government? Is it not obvious that the people would entrust the immediate fate of the revolution precisely to this party, and to no other?"
This is incredible, but true. The future historian of Russian Social-Democracy will have to record with surprise that at the very outset of the Russian revolution the Girondists of Social-Democracy tried to frighten the revolutionary proletariat with such a prospect! Martynov's pamphlet (as well as a host of articles and passages in the new Iskra) is nothing but an attempt to daub the "horrors" of such a prospect. The ideological leader of the new-Iskrists is haunted by fear of "a seizure of power", by the bogy of "Jacobinism", of Bakuninism, of Tkachovism, and of all the other dreadful isms with which old wives on the fringe of the revolution are so eager to scare political infants. Naturally, this is done not without "quoting" Marx and Engels. Poor Marx and poor Engels, what abuses their works have suffered through quotations! You remember how the maxim "Every class struggle is a political struggle" was invoked to justify the narrowness and backwardness of our political tasks and methods of political agitation and struggle? Now it is Engels who is made to give false evidence in favour of tail-ism. In The Peasant War in Germany, he wrote: "The worst thing that can befall a leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over a government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class which he represents, and for the realisation of the measures which that domination requires." One has only to read carefully this opening of the lengthy passage which Martynov quotes to see plainly how our tail-ender distorts the author's meaning. Engels speaks of a government that is required for the domination of a class. Is this not obvious? Applied to the proletariat, it consequently means a government that is required for the domination of the proletariat, i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat for the effectuation of the socialist revolution. Martynov fails to understand this, and confounds the provisional revolutionary government in the period of the overthrow of the autocracy with the requisite domination of the proletariat in the period of the overthrow of the bourgeoisie; he confounds the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry with the socialist dictatorship of the working class. Yet if we continue reading the quoted passage, Engels' idea becomes still clearer. The leader of the extreme party, he says, will have to "advance the interests of an alien class, and to feed his own class with phrases and promises, and with the assurances that the interests of that alien class are its own interests. Whoever finds himself in this false position is irrevocably lost."
The underlined passages clearly show that Engels expressly warns against the false position that results from a leader's failure to understand the real interests of "his own" class and the real class content of the revolution. To make this clearer to the subtle mind of our Martynov we shall essay a simple illustration. When the adherents of the Narodnaya Volya, in the belief that they represented the interests of "Labour", assured themselves and others that 90 per cent of the peasants in the future Russian Constituent Assembly would be socialists, they put themselves in a false position which was bound to spell their irrevocable political doom, since these "promises and assurances" were at variance with objective reality. Actually they would have advanced the interests of the bourgeois democrats, "the interests of an alien class". Are you not beginning to perceive a ray of light, most worthy Martynov? When the Socialists-Revolutionaries describe the agrarian reforms that must inevitably come about in Russia as "socialisation", as "the transfer of the land to the people", as the beginning of "equality in land tenure", they place themselves in a false position which is bound to lead to their irrevocable political doom, because, in practice, the very reforms for which they strive will bring about the domination of an alien class, of the peasant bourgeoisie, so that the more rapidly the revolution develops, the more rapidly will their phrases, promises, and assurances be refuted by reality. Do you still fail to see the point, most worthy Martynov? Do you still fail to comprehend that the essence of Engels' thought is that it is fatal not to understand the real historical tasks of the revolution and that Engels' words are applicable, therefore, to the Narodnaya Volya adherents and the "Socialists-Revolutionaries"?
Engels points to the danger of failure on the part of the leaders of the proletariat to understand the non-proletarian character of the revolution, but our sage Martynov infers from this the danger that the leaders of the proletariat, who, by their programme, their tactics (i.e., their entire propaganda and agitation), and their organisation, have separated themselves from the revolutionary democrats, will play a leading part in establishing the democratic republic. Engels sees the danger in the leader's confounding of the pseudo-socialist with the really democratic character of the revolution, while our sage Martynov infers from this the danger that the proletariat, together with the peasantry, may consciously assume the dictatorship in the establishment of the democratic republic, the last form of bourgeois domination and the best form for the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Engels sees the danger in the false, deceptive position of saying one thing and doing another, of promising the domination of one class and actually ensuring that of another. Engels sees the irrevocable political doom consequent upon such a false position, while our sage Martynov deduces the danger that the bourgeois adherents of democracy will not permit the proletariat and the peasantry to secure a really democratic republic. Our sage Martynov cannot for the life of him understand that such a doom, the doom of the leader of the proletariat, the doom of thousands of proletarians in the struggle for a truly democratic republic, would well be a physical doom, but not, how ever, a political doom; on the contrary, it would be a momentous political victory of the proletariat, a momentous achievement of its hegemony in the struggle for liberty. Engels speaks of the political doom of one who unconsciously strays from the path of his own class to that of an alien class, while our sage Martynov, reverently quoting Engels, speaks of the doom of one who goes further and further along the sure road of his own class.
The difference between the point of view of revolutionary Social-Democracy and that of tail-ism is glaringly obvious. Martynov and the new Iskra shrink from the task which the proletariat, together with the peasantry, is called upon to shoulder—the task of the most radical democratic revolution; they shrink from the Social-Democratic leadership of this revolution and thus surrender, albeit unwittingly, the interests of the proletariat into the hands of the bourgeois democrats. From Marx's correct idea that we must prepare, not a government party, but an opposition party of the future, Martynov draws the conclusion that we must form a tail-ist opposition to the present revolution. This is what his political wisdom adds up to. His line of reasoning, which we strongly advise the reader to ponder, is as follows:
"The proletariat cannot win political power in the state, either wholly or in part, until it has made the socialist revolution. This is the indisputable proposition which separates us from opportunist Jaurèsism..." (Martynov, op. cit., p. 58)—and which, we would add, conclusively proves that the worthy Martynov is incapable of grasping what the whole thing is about. To confound the participation of the proletariat in a government that is resisting the socialist revolution with its participation in the democratic revolution is to miss the point hopelessly. It is Like confounding Millerand's participation in the Cabinet of the murderer Galliffet with Varlin's participation in the Commune, which defended and safeguarded the republic.
But listen further, and see what a tangle our author gets himself into: "But that being the case, it is evident that the coming revolution cannot realise any political forms against the will of the whole bourgeoisie, for the latter will be the master tomorrow..." (Martynov's italics). In the first place, why are only political forms mentioned here, when the previous sentence referred to the power of the proletariat in general, even to the extent of the socialist revolution? Why does not the author speak of realising economic forms? Because, without noticing it, he has already leaped from the socialist to the democratic revolution. Secondly, that being the case, the author is absolutely wrong in speaking tout court (bluntly) of "the will of the whole bourgeoisie", because the very thing that distinguishes the epoch of democratic revolution is the diversity of wills of the various strata of the bourgeoisie which is just emancipating itself from absolutism. To speak of the democratic revolution and confine oneself to a bald contrast of "proletariat" and "bourgeoisie" is sheer nonsense, for that revolution marks the period in the development of society in which the mass of society virtually stands between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and constitutes an immense petty-bourgeois, peasant stratum. For the very reason that the democratic revolution has not yet been consummated, this immense stratum has far more interests in common with the "proletariat" in the matter of realising political forms than has the "bourgeoisie" in the real and strict sense of the word. Failure to understand this simple thing is one of the main sources of Martynov's muddle.
Further: "That being the case, the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, by simply frightening the majority of the bourgeois elements, can have but one result—the restoration of absolutism in its original form ... and, of course, the proletariat will not halt before this possible result; at the worst, if things tend decidedly towards a revival and strengthening of the decaying autocratic regime by means of a pseudo-constitutional concession, it will not hold back from frightening the bourgeoisie. In entering the struggle, however, the proletariat obviously does not have this 'worst' in view."
Can you make anything of this, dear reader? The proletariat will not hold back from frightening the bourgeoisie, which course will lead to the restoration of absolutism, if there should be a threat of a pseudo-constitutional concession! This is as much as to say: I am threatened with an Egyptian plague in the form of a one-day conversation with Martynov alone; therefore, if the worst comes to the worst, I shall fall back on the method of intimidation, which can lead only to a two-day conversation with Martynov and Martov. This is the sheerest gibberish, sir!
The idea that haunted Martynov when he wrote the non sense here quoted was the following: if in the period of the democratic revolution the proletariat uses the threat of the socialist revolution to frighten the bourgeoisie, this can lead only to reaction, which will also weaken the democratic gains already won. That and nothing more. There can be no question, of course, either of restoring absolutism in its original form or of the proletariat's readiness, if the worst comes to the worst, to resort to the worst kind of stupidity. The whole thing takes us back to the difference between the democratic and the socialist revolution, overlooked by Martynov, to the existence of that immense peasant and petty-bourgeois population which is capable of supporting the democratic revolution, but is at present incapable of supporting the socialist revolution.
Let us listen further to our sage Martynov: "Evidently, the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie on the eve of the bourgeois revolution must differ in some respects from the same struggle at its concluding stage, on the eve of the socialist revolution...." Yes, this is evident; and if Martynov had paused to think what this difference actually is, he would hardly have written the above-given drivel, or, indeed, his while pamphlet.
"The struggle to influence the course and outcome of the bourgeois revolution can find expression only in the exertion of revolutionary pressure by the proletariat on the will of the liberal and radical bourgeoisie, and in the compulsion on the part of the more democratic 'lower strata' of society to bring the 'upper strata' into agreement to carry through the bourgeois revolution to its logical conclusion. The struggle will find expression in the fact that the proletariat will at every opportunity confront the bourgeoisie with the dilemma—either backward, into the strangling grip of absolutism, or forward, with the people."
This tirade is the central point of Martynov's pamphlet. We have here its sum and substance, all its fundamental "ideas". And what do all these clever ideas turn out to be? Who are these "lower strata" of society, the "people" of whom our sage has at last bethought himself? They are precisely that multitudinous petty-bourgeois stratum of town and village which is quite capable of functioning in a revolutionary democratic capacity. And what is this pressure that the proletariat and the peasantry can exert on the upper social strata, what is meant by the proletariat advancing together with the people in despite of the upper social strata? It is that same revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry against which our tail-ender is declaiming! Only he is afraid to think to the end, to call a spade a spade. And so he utters words whose meaning he does not understand. in ludicrous, florid language, he timidly repeats slogans, the true significance of which escapes him. None but a tail-ender could deliver himself of such a curio in the most "interesting" part of his summary as: revolutionary pressure of the proletariat and the "people" on the upper strata of society, but without a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Only a Martynov could show himself so adept! Martynov wants the proletariat to threaten the upper strata of society that it will go forward with the people, while at the same time firmly deciding with its new-Iskra leaders not to go for ward along the democratic path, because that is the path of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship. Martynov wants the proletariat to exert pressure on the will of the up per strata by displaying its own lack of will. Martynov wants the proletariat to bring the upper strata "into agreement" to carry the bourgeois revolution through to its logical, democratic-republican conclusion, but to do so by expressing its own fear of assuming, jointly with the people, the task of carrying the revolution through, its fear of taking power and forming the democratic dictatorship. Martynov wants the proletariat to be the vanguard in the democratic revolution and therefore our sage Martynov frightens the proletariat with the perspective of participation in the provisional revolutionary government in the event of the success of the insurrection!
Reactionary tail-ism could go no further. We should all prostrate ourselves before Martynov, as we would before a saint, for having developed the tail-ist tendencies of the new Iskra to their logical conclusion and for having given them emphatic and systematic expression with regard to the most pressing and basic political questions.
What is Martynov's muddle-headedness due to? To the fact that he confounds democratic revolution with socialist revolution; that he overlooks the role of the intermediate stratum of the people lying between the "bourgeoisie" and the "proletariat" (the petty-bourgeois masses of the urban and rural poor, the "semi-proletarians", the semi-proprietors); and that he fails to understand the true meaning of our minimum programme. Martynov has heard that it is wrong for a socialist to participate in a bourgeois Cabinet (when the proletariat is struggling for the socialist revolution), and he hastens to "understand" this as meaning that we should not participate with the revolutionary bourgeois democrats in the democratic revolution and in the dictatorship that is essential for the full accomplishment of such a revolution. Martynov read our minimum programme, but he missed the fact that the strict distinction it draws between transformations that can be carried out in a bourgeois society and socialist transformations is not merely booklore but is of the most vital, practical significance; he missed the fact that in a revolutionary period this programme must be immediately tested and applied in practice. It did not occur to him that rejecting the idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship in the period of the autocracy's downfall is tantamount to renouncing the fulfilment of our minimum programme. Indeed, let us but consider all the economic and political transformations formulated in that programme—the demand for the republic, for arming the people, for the separation of the Church from the State, for full democratic liberties, and for decisive economic reforms. Is it not clear that these transformations cannot possibly be brought about in a bourgeois society without the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the lower classes? Is it not clear that it is not the proletariat alone, as distinct from the "bourgeoisie", that is referred to here, but the "lower classes", which are the active motive force of every democratic revolution? These classes are the proletariat plus the scores of millions of urban and rural poor whose conditions of existence are petty-bourgeois. Without a doubt, very many representatives of these masses belong to the bourgeoisie. But there is still less doubt that the complete establishment of democracy is in the interests of these masses, and that the more enlightened these masses are, the more inevitable will be their struggle for the complete establishment of democracy. Of course, a Social-Democrat will never forget the dual political and economic nature of the petty-bourgeois urban and rural masses; he will never forget the need for a separate and independent class organisation of the proletariat, which struggles for socialism. But neither will he forget that these masses have "a future as well as a past, judgement as well as prejuduces", a judgement that urges them onward towards the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship; he will not for get that enlightenment is not obtained from books alone, and not so much from books even as from the very progress of the revolution, which opens the eyes of the people and gives them a political schooling. Under such circumstances, a theory that rejects the idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship cannot be otherwise designated than as a philosophical justification of political backwardness.
The revolutionary Social-Democrat will reject such a theory with contempt. He will not confine himself on the eve of the revolution to pointing out what will happen "if the worst comes to the worst". Rather, he will also show the possibility of a better outcome. He will dream—he is obliged to dream if he is not a hopeless philistine—that, after the vast experience of Europe, after the unparalleled upsurge of energy among the working class in Russia, we shall succeed in lighting a revolutionary beacon that will illumine more brightly than ever before the path of the unenlightened and downtrodden masses; that we shall succeed, standing as we do on the shoulders of a number of revolutionary gene rations of Europe, in realising all the democratic transformations, the whole of our minimum programme, with a thoroughness never equalled before. We shall succeed in ensuring that the Russian revolution is not a movement of a few months, but a movement of many years; that it leads, not merely to a few paltry concessions from the powers that be, but to the complete overthrow of those powers. And if we succeed in achieving this, then ... the revolutionary conflagration will spread to Europe; the European worker, languishing under bourgeois reaction, will rise in his turn and show us "how it is done"; then the revolutionary upsurge in Europe will have a repercussive effect upon Russia and will convert an epoch of a few revolutionary years into an era of several revolutionary decades; then—but we shall have ample time to say what we shall do "then", not from the cursed remoteness of Geneva, but at meetings of thousands of workers in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg, at the free village meetings of the Russian "muzhiks".
Such dreams, of course, are strange and alien to the philistines of the new Iskra and to that "master of men's minds", our good dogmatist Martynov. They fear the full achievement of our minimum programme through the revolutionary dictatorship of the simple, common people. They are afraid for their own political consciousness, afraid of losing the book knowledge they have learned by rote (but not assimilated), afraid that they may not be able to distinguish the correct and bold steps of the democratic transformations from the adventurous leaps of non-class, Narodnik socialism or of anarchism. Their philistine souls warn them with good reason that in a rapid onward march it is more difficult to distinguish the right path and quickly to solve the new and complex problems than in the routine of small-scale, everyday work; therefore, they mutter instinctively: Away, away! Let this cup of revolutionary-democratic dictatorship pass from me! It's as much as our life is worth! Gentlemen, better "go slow, with timid zigzags".
Small wonder that Parvus, who had so generously supported the new-Iskrists as long as it was a question chiefly of co-opting the most venerable and the most deserving, finally began to feel very uncomfortable in this stagnant company. Small wonder, too, that he began more and more to feel the taedium vitae, life weariness, in this company. In the end he rebelled. He did not stop at defending the slogan "Organise the revolution", which had frightened the new Iskra to death; he did not limit himself to writing manifestos, which Iskra published as separate leaflets, carefully avoiding all mention of the name of the Social-Democratic Labour Party in view of the "Jacobin" horrors. No, having freed himself from the nightmare of the profound organisation-as-process theory advanced by Axelrod (or was it Luxemburg?), Parvus managed at last to go forward, in stead of moving backward like a crab. He refused to perform the Sisyphean labour of endlessly correcting Martynov 's and Martov's follies. He openly advocated (unfortunately, together with the windbag Trotsky in a foreword to the latter's bombastic pamphlet Before the Ninth of January) the idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, the idea that it was the duty of Social-Democrats to take part in the provisional revolutionary government after the overthrow of the autocracy. Parvus is profoundly right in saying that the Social-Democrats must not fear to take bold strides forward, to deal joint "blows" at the enemy, shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary bourgeois democrats, on the definite understanding, however (very appropriately brought to mind), that the organisations are not to be merged, that we march separately but strike together, that we do not conceal the diversity of interests, that we watch our ally as we would our enemy, etc.
But for all our warm sympathy for these slogans of a revolutionary Social-Democrat who has turned away from the tail-enders, we could not help feeling jarred by certain false notes that Parvus struck. We mention these slight errors, not out of captiousness, but because from him to whom much is given, much is demanded. It would be most dangerous at present for Parvus to compromise his correct position by his own imprudence. Among the least imprudent is the following sentence in his preface to Trotsky's pamphlet: "If we wish to keep the revolutionary proletariat apart from the other political currents, we must learn to stand ideologically at the head of the revolutionary movement [this is correct], to be more revolutionary than anyone else." This is incorrect. That is to say, it is incorrect, if the statement is taken in the general sense in which it is expressed by Parvus; it is incorrect from the point of view of the reader to whom this preface is something standing by itself, apart from Martynov and the new-Iskrists, whom Parvus does not mention. If we examine this statement dialectically, i.e., relatively, concretely, in all its aspects, and not after the manner of those literary jockeys, who, even many years after, snatch separate sentences from some single work and distort their meaning, it will become clear that Parvus directs the assertion expressly against tail-ism, to which extent he is right (compare particularly his subsequent words: "If we lag behind revolutionary development", etc.). But the reader cannot have in mind only tail-enders, since there are others besides tail-enders among the dangerous friends of the revolution in the camp of the revolutionaries—there are the "Socialists-Revolutionaries"; there are people like the Nadezhdins, who are swept along by the tide of events and are helpless in the face of revolutionary phrases; or those who are guided by instinct rather than by a revolutionary outlook (like Gapon). These Parvus forgot; he forgot them because his presentation, the development of his thoughts, was not free, but was hampered by the pleasant memory of the very Martynovism against which he seeks to warn the reader. Parvus' exposition is not sufficiently concrete because he does not consider the totality of the various revolutionary cur rents in Russia, which are inevitable in the epoch of democratic revolution and which naturally reflect the still unstratified classes of society in such an epoch. At such a time, revolutionary-democratic programmes are quite naturally veiled in vague, even reactionary, socialist ideas concealed behind revolutionary phrases (to wit, the Socialists-Revolutionaries and Nadezhdin, who, it seems, changed only his label when he went over from the "revolutionary socialists" to the new Iskra). Under such circumstances we, the Social-Democrats, never can and never will advance the slogan "Be more revolutionary than anyone else". We shall not even try to keep up with the revolutionariness of a democrat who is detached from his class basis, who has a weakness for fine phrases and flaunts catchwords and cheap slogans (especially in agrarian matters). On the contrary, we will always be critical of such revolutionariness; we will expose the real meaning of words, the real content of idealised great events; and we will teach the need for a sober evaluation of the classes and shadings within the classes, even in the hottest situations of the revolution.
Equally incorrect, for the same reason, are Parvus' statements that "the revolutionary provisional government in Russia will be a government of working-class democracy", that "if the Social-Democrats are at the head of the revolutionary movement of the Russian proletariat, this government will be a Social-Democratic government", that the Social-Democratic provisional government "will be an integral government with a Social-Democratic majority". This is impossible, unless we speak of fortuitous, transient episodes, and not of a revolutionary dictatorship that will be at all durable and capable of leaving its mark in history. This is impossible, because only a revolutionary dictatorship supported by the vast majority of the people can be at all durable (not absolutely, of course, but relatively). The Russian proletariat, however, is at present a minority of the population in Russia. It can become the great, overwhelming majority only if it combines with the mass of semi-proletarians, semi-proprietors, i.e., with the mass of the petty-bourgeois urban and rural poor. Such a composition of the social basis of the possible and desirable revolutionary-democratic dictatorship will, of course, affect the composition of the revolutionary government and inevitably lead to the participation, or even predominance, within it of the most heterogeneous representatives of revolutionary democracy. It would be extremely harmful to entertain any illusions on this score. If that windbag Trotsky now writes (unfortunately, side by side with Parvus) that "a Father Gapon could appear only once", that "there is no room for a second Gapon", he does so simply because he is a windbag. If there were no room in Russia for a second Gapon, there would be no room for a truly "great", consummated democratic revolution. To become great, to evoke 1789-93, not 1848-50, and to surpass those years, it must rouse the vast masses to active life, to heroic efforts, to "fundamental historic creativeness"; it must raise them out of frightful ignorance, unparalleled oppression, incredible backwardness, and abysmal dullness. The revolution is already raising them and will raise them completely; the government itself is facilitating the process by its desperate resistance. But, of course, there can be no question of a mature political consciousness, of a Social-Democratic consciousness of these masses or their numerous "native" popular leaders or even "muzhik" leaders. They cannot become Social-Democrats at once without first passing a number of revolutionary tests, not only because of their ignorance (revolution, we repeat, enlightens with marvellous speed), but because their class position is not proletarian, because the objective logic of historical development confronts them at the present time with the tasks, not of a socialist, but of a democratic revolution.
In this revolution, the revolutionary proletariat will participate with the utmost energy, sweeping aside the miser able tail-ism of some and the revolutionary phrases of others. It will bring class definiteness and consciousness into the dizzying whirlwind of events, and march on intrepidly and unswervingly, not fearing, but fervently desiring, the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, fighting for the republic and for complete republican liberties, fighting for substantial economic reforms, in order to create for itself a truly large arena, an arena worthy of the twentieth century, in which to carry on the struggle for socialism.
Bakuninism—an anarchist trend hostile to Marxism. Named after its founder Mikhail Bakunin (1814-76). The basic postulate of Bakuninism was the negation of the state as such, including the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Bakuninists held that the revolution was to take the form of immediate popular revolts directed by a secret revolutionary society, made up of "outstanding" individuals. The theory and the tactics of the Bakuninists were severely condemned by Marx and Engels. Lenin described Bakuninism as the world outlook "of tile petty bourgeois who despairs of his salvation". Bakuninism was one of the ideological sources of Narodism.
Tkachovism—from Tkachov, one of the ideologists of Narodism. He ignored the role of the popular masses and advocated the idea of a conspiratorial organisation and the tactics of individual terrorism.
See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. I, pp. 42-43.
See Frederick Engels, The Peasant War in Germany, Moscow, 1956, p. 139.
Millerand—French reformist socialist. In 1899, joined the reactionary bourgeois government, in which he collaborated with General Galliffet, executioner of the Paris Commune.
Varlin, Louis-Eu gene (1839-71)—a French worker, prominent leader of the First International, member of the Central Committee of the National Guard and member of the Paris Commune of 1871.
We have already pointed out the absurdity of the idea that, if the worst comes to the worst, the proletariat might push the bourgeoisie hack.—Lenin
This article was already set up when we received issue No. 93 of Iskra, with which we shall deal on another occasion.—Lenin
- L. Martov's article "On the Order of the Day: The Workers' Party and 'the Seizure of Power' as Our Immediate Task" was published in the Menshevik Iskra, No. 93. Lenin criticised the article in his "The Revolutionary-Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the Peasantry" and in his Report at the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. "On the Participation of the Social-Democrats in a Provisional Revolutionary Government." (See p. 293 and pp. 390-92 of this volume.)
See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. I, p. 335.
I do not know whether our readers have noticed the following characteristic fact: among all the trash issued by the new Iskra in the form of leaflets, there were some good writings bearing Parvus' signature. The editors of the new Iskra turned their back on these leaflets, which they printed without the name of our Party or of the publishers.—Lenin
Sisyphean labour—synonym for hard, wearisome and futile toil, which originated in the ancient Greek myth about King Sisyphus condemned by the gods to roll to the top of a hill a huge stone which constantly rolled back again.
Written: Written at the end of March-beginning of April 1905
Published: Published on April 5 and 12 (March 23 and 30), 1905 in Vperyod, Non. 13 and 14. Published according to tile manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 8, pages 275-292.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs and The Late Isidor Lasker
eSource: Marxists.org - Marxists Internet Archive