* In the next issue we shall examine the other aspect of the question of "Duma" tactics, and discuss the "letter" from an otzovist comrade in Rabocheye Znamya, No. 5. (See pp. 286-302 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Two Letters". -- DJR])
view is worthy only of the Mensheviks, who more and more are falling into the most humdrum "parliamentary cretinism" (take, for example, their truly disgraceful renegade attacks against the illegal Party organisation). Marxists should know that the conditions of representation, not only in our Black-Hundred Duma but even in the most ideal bourgeois parliament, will always create an artificial disparity between the real strength of the various classes and its reflection in the representative institution. For example, the liberal-bourgeois intelligentsia always and everywhere seems in parliaments to be a hundred times stronger than it is in reality (in our revolution, too, opportunist Social-Democrats took the Cadets for what they seemed to be), and on the contrary very broad democratic strata of the petty bourgeoisie (in the towns during the bourgeois revolutions of 1848, in the countryside in Russia) often prove to be an extremely important factor in the open struggle of the masses, while being quite insignificant from the point of view of their representation in parliaments.
Our peasantry entered upon the revolution immeasurably less politically conscious than the liberal bourgeois on the one hand and the socialist proletariat on the other. For this reason it drew from the revolution more painful but valuable disillusionments, more bitter but salutory lessons, than any other class. Quite naturally, it is digesting these lessons with particular difficulty and particularly slowly. Quite naturally many "radicals" from among the intelligentsia will lose patience, and give it all up as a bad job -- and so will some Social-Democratic philistines, on whose faces a contemptuous grimace appears whenever someone talks about some peasant democracy or other, but whose mouths water at the mere sight of the "enlightened" liberals. But the class-conscious proletariat will not so easily strike out of its memory what it saw and what it took part in during the autumn and winter of 1905. And taking into account the balance of forces in our revolution, we must know that the certain sign of a genuinely widespread rise in the social tide, of a genuinely approaching revolutionary crisis, will inevitably be, in the Russia of today, a movement among the peasantry.
The liberal bourgeoisie in our country has entered upon the path of counter-revolution. Only the brave Cherevanins can deny this -- they and the cowardly editors of Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, who deny their own comrade-in-idea and -arms. But if this counter-revolutionary nature of the bourgeois liberals-were to lead anyone to infer that their opposition and discontent, their conflicts with the Black-Hundred landlords, or any rivalry and struggle of the different sections of the bourgeoisie among themselves, can be of no importance in the process of a new upsurge, this would be a tremendous mistake, and real Menshevism inside out. The experience of the Russian revolution, like the experience of other countries, proves beyond doubt that where the objective conditions of a profound political crisis exist, the tiniest conflicts seemingly remote from the real breeding ground of revolution, can be of the most serious importance as the reason, as the last straw, as a turning-point in public feeling, etc. Let us recall that the Zemstvo campaign and the liberals' petitions of 1904 were the forerunner of such an original and purely proletarian "petition" as that of January the Ninth. When the Bolsheviks were arguing about the Zemstvo campaign, it was not against its use for proletarian demonstrations, but against our Mensheviks wanting to confine these demonstrations to the Zemstvo assembly halls, against the demonstrations before the Zemstvo people being declared the highest form of demonstration, and against plans for the demonstrations being drawn up with a view to preventing the liberals from being frightened off. Another example is the student movements. In a country which is going through an era of bourgeois-democratic revolution involving a progressive accumulation of inflammable material, these movements may easily spark off events infinitely more far-reaching than a petty and local conflict over the management of affairs in a single branch of the state administration. Naturally, the Social-Democrats, who carry on the independent class policy of the proletariat, will never adapt themselves either to the student struggle or to new Zemstvo congresses, or to the conceptions of sections of the bourgeoisie which have fallen out among themselves; they will never ascribe independent importance to this
family quarrel, and so on. But it is precisely the Social-Democratic Party which is the party of the class leading the whole struggle for emancipation; it is unquestionably bound to make use of each and every conflict, to inflame it, to extend its importance, to link with it its own agitation for revolutionary slogans, to bring the news of these conflicts to the broad masses, to induce them to take independent and open action with their own demands, etc. In France after 1793, a counter-revolutionary liberal bourgeoisie came into being and steadily grew; nevertheless the conflicts and the struggle between its different sections continued for another hundred years to serve in one way or another as grounds for new revolutions in which the proletariat invariably played the part of the principal motive force, and which it carried through to the point of winning a republic.
Let us now consider the conditions for an offensive by this leading and advanced class in our bourgeois-democratic revolution, the proletariat. When the Moscow comrades were discussing this question, they quite rightly underlined the root importance of the industrial crisis. They collected extremely interesting material about this crisis, took into account the significance of the struggle between Moscow and Lodz, and amended in several respects certain conceptions which had hitherto prevailed. It remains only to be wished that this material should not wither away in the subcommittees of the Moscow Committee or the Moscow Area Committee, but should be worked over and published in the press for the whole Party to discuss. For our part we shall confine ourselves to a few remarks on the presentation of the question. The direction in which the crisis is moving is, by the way, a moot question (it is generally admitted that a very severe depression, bordering on a crisis, once more reigns in our industry after a very brief and slight boom). Some say that offensive economic struggles by the workers are as impossible as before, and consequently a revolutionary upswing is impossible in the near future. Others say that the impossibility of economic struggle impels a turn to a political struggle, and therefore a revolutionary upswing is inevitable in the near future.
We think that both arguments have at their foundation the same error, which consists in simplifying a complex issue. Undoubtedly the detailed study of the industrial crisis is of the greatest importance. But it is also beyond doubt that no data about the crisis, even if they were ideally accurate, can in reality decide the question of whether a rise of the revolutionary tide is at hand or not: because such a rise depends on a thousand additional factors which it is impossible to measure beforehand. It is indubitable that without the general groundwork of an agrarian crisis in the country, and depression in industry, profound political crises are impossible. But if the general groundwork exists, that does not permit us to conclude whether the depression will for a time retard the mass struggle of the workers in general, or whether at a certain stage of events the same depression will not push new masses and fresh forces into the political struggle. To answer such a question there is only one way: to keep a careful finger on the pulse of the country's whole political life, and especially the state of the movement and of the mood of the mass of the proletariat. Recently, for example, a number of reports from Party workers in different parts of Russia, in both industrial and agricultural areas, point to an undoubted revival of interest, an influx of fresh forces, a growing interest in agitation, etc. Comparing with this the beginning of mass unrest among the students, on the one hand, and the attempts to revive the Zemstvo congresses, on the other, we can record a certain turn in events, something that is breaking up the complete stagnation of the last eighteen months. How strong that turn is, whether it means the opening stage for a new epoch of open struggle, etc., facts will show. All that we can do now, and all that we must do in any case, is to intensify our efforts to strengthen the illegal Party organisation and multiply tenfold our agitation among the mass of the proletariat. Only agitation can reveal on a broad scale the real state of mind of the masses, only agitation can make for close co-operation between the Party and the whole working class, only making use for the purposes of political agitation of every strike, of every important event or issue in working-class life, of all conflicts within the ruling classes or between one section
of those classes or another and the autocracy, of every speech by a Social-Democrat in the Duma, of every new expression of the counter-revolutionary policy of the government, etc. -- only work like this can once again close the ranks of the revolutionary proletariat, and provide accurate material for judging the speed with which conditions for new and more decisive battles are coming to a head.
To sum up. A survey of the results of the revolution and the present situation show clearly that the objective tasks of the revolution have not been performed. The shift towards Bonapartism in the autocracy's agrarian policy and in its general policy both in the Duma and through the medium of the Duma, only sharpens and widens the contradiction between the Black-Hundred autocracy and the supremacy of the "wild landlord", on the one hand, and the requirements of the economic and social development of the whole country, on the other. The police and kulak drive against the masses in the countryside is making the struggle there more acute and politically conscious, bringing -- so to speak -- the struggle against the autocracy closer to the everyday and vital problems of every village. The defence of revolutionary-democratic demands in the agrarian question (confiscation of all landed estates) is exceptionally binding a duty for the Social-Democrats at such a moment. The Black-Hundred-Octobrist Duma, which shows clearly in practice with what "constitution" the autocracy can "be reconciled" and which does not resolve a single question even within the narrowest limits of meeting the needs of the country's economic development, is turning the struggle "for a constitution" into a revolutionary struggle against the autocracy. The local conflicts of individual sections of the bourgeoisie among themselves and with the government, in these conditions, bring just such a struggle nearer. The impoverishment of the countryside, depression in industry, a general feeling that there is no way out in the present political situation and that the notorious "peaceful constitutional" way is hopeless, all give rise more and more to new elements of a revolutionary crisis. Our business now is not artificially to invent any new slogans (like that of "Down with the Duma" instead of "Down with the autoc-
racy"), but to strengthen the illegal Party organisation (in spite of the reactionary outcry of the Mensheviks who are trying to bury it) and to develop wide revolutionary Social-Democratic agitation, which will bind the Party firmly together with the masses of the proletariat and mobilise those masses.
 See K. Marx and F. Engels,
Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 438-39.