* By the liberal merchants at the nobility and by the nobility at the liberal merchants.
ants or the workers, you begin to rail at the narrow, lifeless, fossilised, immoral, materialist, godless and unscientific "doctrine" of the class struggle. You would surely do better, Mr. Izgoyev, not to tackle any sociological generalisations! Don't ask for trouble.
"Whenever one class is tottering another class is always striving to step into its place."
Not always, Mr. Izgoyev. It happens at times that the two classes, the one that is tottering and the one that "is striving", are both in an advanced stage of decay -- one more, the other less, of course, but both are in an advanced stage of decay. It happens that, feeling its decay, the class that "is striving" forward is afraid of taking a step forward, and when it does take such a step it is sure to lose no time in taking two steps back. It happens that the liberal bourgeoisie (as was the case in Germany, for instance, and particularly in Prussia) is afraid to "step into the place" of the tottering class, but exerts every effort to "share the place" or, rather, to obtain any kind of place, even if it be in the servants' hall -- anything rather than step into the place of the "tottering", anything rather than bring matters to the point where the tottering would "fall". Such things happen, Mr. Izgoyev.
In historical periods when such things do happen, the liberals, if they succeed in passing themselves off as democrats, are liable to bring (and they do bring) the greatest harm to the entire cause of social development; for the difference between the liberals and the democrats is precisely that the former are afraid "to step into the place", while the latter are not. Both the former and the latter are engaged in accomplishing the historically ripe bourgeois change; but the former are afraid to accomplish it, are hindering it by their fear, while the latter, although they often share many illusions on the results that will derive from the bourgeois change, put all their strength and their very soul into its accomplishment.
In illustration of these general sociological reflections, I shall take the liberty of citing one example of a liberal who does not strive, but is afraid to "step into the place" of the tottering class, and who is, therefore (consciously or
unconsciously, that makes no difference), most flagrantly deceiving the population when he calls himself a "democrat". This liberal is the landlord A. Y. Berezovsky the First, Member of the Third Duma, a Cadet. During the debate in the Duma on the agrarian question (in 1908) he delivered the following speech, which was approved of by the leader of the Party, Mr. Milyukov, who described it as "splendid". In view of the forthcoming elections, we make bold to think that it will not be amiss to recall that speech.
". . . It is my profound conviction," Mr. Berezovsky said in defending the Agrarian Bill before the State Duma on October 27,1908, "that this Bill is much more advantageous to the landowners, too, and I am saying this, gentlemen, as one who knows farming, since I own land and have engaged in it all my life. . . . You must not seize upon the bare fact of compulsory alienation, wax indignant over it and declare that it would be an act of violence; you must examine what this proposition amounts to, what, for instance, the Bill of the 42 members of the First State Duma proposed. That Bill contained only the recognition of the necessity of alienating in the first place the land that is not exploited by the owners themselves, that is cultivated by peasants using their own implements and animals, and, finally, land that is let out to tenants. Further, the party of people's freedom supported the proposal that committees be organised in the localities, which, after working for some time, perhaps even for a number of years, were to ascertain which land was subject to alienation, which was not, and how much land was needed to satisfy the peasants. The committees were to be so constituted that half their membership would have been made up of peasants, and the other half of non-peasants; and it seems to me that in the general actual situation which would thus have been created in the localities, it would have been possible to ascertain properly both how much land there was that could be alienated and how much land was needed for the peasants; and, finally, the peasants would have seen for themselves to what extent their just demands could be satisfied and to what extent their desire to get a lot of land was often wrong and unjustified. Then this material would have been referred to the Duma for further elaboration, after which it would have been referred to
the Council of State, and, finally, it would have been submitted to the tsar for his sanction. That, properly speaking, was the method of procedure at which, for some unknown reason, the government took fright, dissolved the Duma, and thus brought about the present state of affairs. This systematic work would undoubtedly have had as its result, the satisfaction of the true needs of the population and consequently, its pacification, and the preservation of the efficiently run estates, which the party of people's freedom never intended to destroy unless there was an extreme need for this." (Verbatim Reports, p. 398.)
When Mr. Izgoyev, who belongs to the same party as Mr. Berezovsky, writes in his article "Juxtaposition" that "Russia is a democratic country and will not tolerate any oligarchy, either new or old", we can see quite clearly what this kind of talk really means. Russia is by no means a democratic country, nor will she ever become one so long as fairly large sections of the population regard a party like the Cadets as a democratic party. This bitter truth is a thousand times more vital to the people than the honeyed lies dispensed by the representatives of the half-hearted, spineless, and unprincipled liberal oligarchy, the Cadets. The more such "altercations" as those between the Menshikovs and the sixty-six and Gromoboi become the order of the day the more necessary it is to remind people of this bitter truth.