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Resolution and Revolution

V. I. Lenin

The leading article in yesterday's Nasha Zhizn, and in today's Rech, Duma, Nasha Zhizn, Strana and Slovo—the whole bourgeois press without exception—is storming against the Left Social-Democrats. What has happened? Where is that "victor's" pride which until recently enabled the Cadets scornfully to brush aside the "boycotters" ? The hey day of Cadet hegemony—when those gentlemen taught the proletariat genuine statesmanship and expressed sympathy for its errors—is a thing of the past. What has happened?

Revolutionism is being reborn, answers Mr. Struve in the Duma leading article on May Ii. He is right. Faith in the Duma is dwindling hourly. The notion of how freedom for the people is won becomes clearer as the true face is revealed of the party which, prattling in the name of that freedom, contrived during the elections to take into account both the fact that the people were somewhat tired and the Witte-Durnovo policy which shut the election arena to the true representatives of the true interests of the people. The inevitability of new forms of struggle is strikingly emphasised by the activity of an organisation whose counter revolutionary nature has become obvious. Yes, the bourgeoisie imagined during the elections that the revolution was at an end and the sweet moment had come when the bourgeoisie could turn to its own benefit the fruits of the struggle of the workers and peasants. But it had misjudged. It had mistaken a temporary lull for the final exhaustion of the revolution, for its end. It had only just settled more comfort ably into the Duma chairs and begun nicely and politely to discuss with the old regime the terms of an amicable deal at the expense of the workers and peasants. And then, all of a sudden, it turned out that the workers and peasants were prepared to interfere in the game and upset the deal.

The popular meeting in the Panina Palace seemed particularly outrageous to the Cadet gentlemen. The Social- Democrats' speeches at the meeting stirred up that putrid swamp. "Have a heart," cry the Cadet gentlemen, "you are helping the government with your criticism of our party." It is a familiar argument. Whenever the Social-Democrats step forward to explain to the proletariat and the people as a whole the real meaning of the events that are taking place, to dispel the fog which the bourgeois politicians are spreading over the workers, to warn the workers against the bourgeois traders of people's freedom, and to show the workers their true place in the revolution, the liberal gentlemen cry that this weakens the revolution. Whenever the Social-Democrats say that it does not befit the workers to march under bourgeois banners and that they have a banner of their own, the banner of Social-Democracy, the liberals begin to yell that this renders a service to the government. That is not true. The strength of the revolution lies in the growing class-consciousness of the proletariat, in the growing political consciousness of the peasantry. A Social-Democrat who criticises Cadet policy promotes that consciousness and strengthens the revolution. A Cadet who fools the people by his preachings befogs that consciousness and robs the revolution of its strength. To tell the Cadets that we do not trust them because they do not state the demands of the people fully and emphatically enough, and because they prefer bargaining with the government to fighting against it, does not mean forgetting the government on account of the Cadets.

It means showing the people the road to the real struggle and real victory. When the proletarian and peasant masses gain a clear idea of this road, the Cadets will have no one to bargain with, for the old regime will be doomed to be scrapped.

"You are driving the proletariat to open action," cry the Cadets. Wait a moment, gentlemen! It is not for you to talk of action, not for you, who have built up your political career on the blood of workers and peasants, to mouth Judas' discourses about "useless sacrifice" .

At the same meeting, perfectly correct words were spoken fully expressing the conviction of all Social-Democrats that there is no need to urge the proletariat on. In Volna anyone could have read that events should not be forced.[1] But it is one thing to force events and another to force the conditions in which the next act of the great drama is to be played. What we are calling on the proletariat and the peasantry to do is to prepare for that moment, which, after all, does not depend on us alone but, among other things, on the extent to which the Cadet gentlemen will betray the cause of freedom. Our task is to explain the conditions for the struggle, point to its possible forms, show the proletariat its place in the coming struggle, and work to organise its forces and to promote its class-consciousness. And at present this means, among other things, indefatigably unmasking the Cadets and warning against the Cadet Party. That is what we are doing and will continue to do. When the Cadets get agitated and fly into a passion over this, it is a sign that we are not doing our job badly. And when in this connection the Cadets whine pitifully about the revolution being weakened, it is a sign that they already have a clear foreboding that the real revolution, the revolution of the workers and peasants, is about to overwhelm the Cadet Duma. The Cadets fear that the revolution may go beyond the limit which the bourgeoisie has set for its own convenience. The working class and the peasantry must not forget that their interests go beyond these limits and that their task is to carry the revolution through to the end.

And that is what was said in the resolution of the popular meeting, a resolution which made the Cadet Protopopov sigh wistfully as he thought of local police inspectors. You must write more cautiously, gentlemen of the Cadet Party.

[1] See p. 390 of this volume.—Ed.

Published: Volna, No. 16, May 13, 1906.
Signed: Ѣ
Published according to the Volna text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 10, pages 418-420.

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