Deputy of the St. Petersburg Workers
V. I. Lenin
The proletariat of the capital is sending one of its elected representatives into the reactionary Duma of the landlords and priests. It is a glorious position this representative will hold. He will have to speak and act on behalf of millions; he will have to unfurl a great banner; he will have to voice the views that for years have been expressed in formal, specific, precise terms by the responsible spokesmen of Marxism and working-class democracy.
The election of someone to that position is a matter of such vast importance that it would be petty, cowardly and disgraceful to be afraid to speak of it straightforwardly, without beating about the bush, to be afraid of "offending" a particular individual, a particular circle, etc.
The election should accord with the will of the majority of the class-conscious, Marxist workers. That is obvious. Nobody would venture to deny this outright.
Everyone knows that from 1908 to 1912 a fight was waged among the St. Petersburg workers between the opponents of liquidationism and the liquidators at hundreds and thou sands of meetings, discussions and talks, and in various press organs. It would be unseemly for anyone to bury his head in the sand like an ostrich and try to "forget" this fact.
Things are being muddled up by those who today are shouting about "unity" over the election of one deputy, for they are raising the wrong issue and obscuring the essential point by their shouting.
What has "unity" to do with it when it is necessary to elect one person and all are agreed that he must express the will of the majority of the class-conscious worker Marxists??
The liquidators are afraid to say plainly that they would like the choice to be a liquidator or a "non-factionalist" (i.e., a waverer). And since they are afraid to defend their views openly, they are trying to smuggle them through by deceit, by shouting about "unity".
It is our duty to expose this confusion. If the liquidators are in a majority among the class-conscious workers, no one on earth can prevent them from electing a liquidator. We must establish as accurately, calmly, firmly, prudently and certainly as possible which side has the majority, with out bothering about the outcries of people who, after five years of struggle, are advocating "unity" (a few days before the elections!) in order to conceal their views.
The workers are not children to believe a fairy-tale like that. Only one of three possible decisions can be adopted: (1) to choose a liquidator; (2) to choose an opponent of liquidationism; (3) to choose a waverer. There have been no others among the Social-Democrats during the five years between 1908 and 1912, nor are there any today!
Workers who want to act as adult and independent people must not tolerate political strike-breakers in their midst. They must see to it that the will of the majority of class-conscious workers is respected and executed.
The workers need a deputy who will express the will of the majority and will know for certain what work he will carry out in and outside the Duma.
The will of the majority has been stated, and the deputy for St. Petersburg should be a determined opponent of liquidationism and a supporter of consistent working-class democracy.
Published: Pravda No. 144, October 16, 1912.|
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, , Moscow, Volume 18, pages 347-348.
Translated: Stepan Apresyan
eSource: Marxists.org - Marxists Internet Archive