elective, peasant committees as a counterweight to the Committees of Nobles that accomplished their "legal" plunder in the sixties; the democratic demands of the programme adequately define the democratic institutions required for this purpose. This would be precisely the "radical revision of agrarian relations" of which the programme of the Emancipation of Labour group speaks. As we said above, we agree in principle with this point of the Emancipation of Labour group's draft and would only: 1) specify the conditions under which the proletariat can struggle for the class interests of the peasantry; 2) define the character of the revision -- the aboli-
tion of the remnants of feudal dependence; 3) express the demands more precisely.
We foresee another objection: a re-examination of the question of cut-off lands, etc., should lead to the return of those lands to the peasantry. This is obvious. But will this not strengthen small property, small holdings. Can the Social-Democrats desire the replacement of the big capitalist economy, which is perhaps being conducted on the lands plundered from the peasantry, by small economy? This would, indeed, be a reactionary measure!
We answer: undoubtedly the substitution of small-scale for large-scale economy is reactionary, and we must not favour it. But the demand we are discussing is conditioned by the aim of "abolishing the remnants of feudal dependence"; consequently, it cannot lead to the fragmentation of big holdings; it applies only to old holdings that are, in essence, based purely on the corvée system; in relation to them a peasant holding, free of all medieval impediments (cf. point 3) is progressive, not reactionary. It is, of course, not easy to draw a line of demarcation here, but we do not believe that any one demand in our programme can be "easily" realised. Our role is to outline the basic principles and basic tasks; those who will be called upon to decide these problems in practice will know how to consider the details.
The purpose of last point is identical with that of the preceding: the struggle against all remnants of the pre-capitalist mode of production (so abundant in the Russian countryside). It will be remembered that tbe renting of land by peasants in Russia very often serves to conceal survivals of corvée relations. The idea for this last point was borrowed from Kautsky, who pointed out that, in relation to Ireland, even Gladstone's liberal administration had enacted a law in 1881 granting the courts the right to reduce excessively high rents, and included in the number of desirable demands: "The reduction of exorbitant rents by courts especially set up for this purpose" (Reduzierung übermässiger Pachtzinsen durch dazu eingesetzte Gerichtshöfe ). This would be particularly useful in Russia (given the condition, of course, of the courts being democratically organised) in the sense that it would eliminate corvée relations. We think that to this we could also add the
demand for the extension of the laws on usury to cover enslaving agreements; in the Russian village, bondage is so widespread, so heavily oppressive to the peasant in his capacity as a worker, so exceedingly obstructive to social progress, that the struggle against it is particularly necessary. And it uould not be more difficult for a court to establish the enslaving, usurious character of an agreement, than to establish the excessive nature of rent.
In general, the demands we propose reduce themselves, in our opinion, to two main objectives: 1) to abolish all pre-capitalist, feudal institutions and relations in the countryside (the complement to these demands being contained in the first section of the practical part of the programme); 2) to give the class struggle in the countryside a more open and conscious character. We believe that precisely these principles should serve as a guide for the Social Democratic "agrarian programme" in Russia. It is necessary to dissociate ourselves resolutely from the attempts, so numerous in Russia, to smooth down the class struggle in the countryside. The dominant liberal-Narodnik tendency is distinguished precisely by this feature, but, in resolutely rejecting it (as was done in the "Appendix to the Report of the Russian Social-Democrats at the International Congress in London"), we should not forget that we must take particular note of the revolutionary content of Narodism. "To the extent that Narodism was revolutionary, i.e., came out against the social-estate, bureaucratic rule and against the barbarous forms of exploitation and oppression of the people which the state supported, to that extent Narodism had to be included, with relevant amendments, as a component part of the programme of Russian Social-Democracy" (Axelrod, Present Tasks and Tactics, p. 7). Two basic forms of the class struggle are today intertwined in the Russian countryside: 1) the struggle of the peasantry against the privileged landed proprietors and against the remnants of serfdom; 2) the struggle of the emergent rural proletariat against the rural bourgeoisie. For Social-Democrats the second struggle, of course, is of greater importance; but they must also indispensably support the first struggle to the extent that it does not contradict the interests of social development.
It is no accident that the peasant question has always occupied and continues to occupy such a prominent place in Russian society and in the Russian revolutionary movement: this fact is a reflection of the great significance still retained by the first of the two forms of struggle.
In conclusion, there is one possible misunderstanding against which we should be on guard. We spoke of Social Democracy's "revolutionary appeal" to the peasants. Does this not mean diffusion, is it not harmful to the essential concentration of forces for work among the industrial proletariat? Not in the least; the necessity for such a concentration is recognised by all Russian Social-Democrats; it figures in the draft of the Emancipation of Labour group (1885) and again in the pamphlet, The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats (1898). Consequently, there are absolutely no grounds at all to fear that the Social-Democrats will split their forces. A programme is not an instruction; a programme must embrace the whole movement, and in practice, of course, first one and then another aspect of the movement has to be brought into the foreground. No one will dispute the necessity to speak in the programme of rural, as well as industrial, workers, although in the present situation there is not a single Russian Social-Democrat who would think of calling upon the comrades to go to the village. The working-class movement, however, even apart from our efforts, will inevitably lead to the spread of democratic ideas in the countryside. "Agitation based on economic interests will inevitably lead Social-Democratic circles directly up against facts that show clearly the closest soli darity of interests between our industrial proletariat and the peasant masses" (Axelrod, ibid., p. 13). For this reason an "Agrarprogramm " (in the sense indicated ; strictly speaking, of course, it is not an "agrarian programme" at all) is an absolute necessity for Russian Social-Democrats. In our propaganda and agitation we constantly come upon peasant-workers, that is, factory-workers who retain their connections with the village, who have relatives or a family in the village and who travel back and forth. Questions of land redemption payments, collective liability, and rent are of vital interest even to large numbers of metropolitan
workers (to say nothing of the workers in the Urals, for example, amongst whom Social-Democratic propaganda and agitation has begun to find its way). We should be remiss in performing our duty, if we did not take care to give precise guidance to Social-Democrats and class-conscious workers who go to the village. Nor should we forget the rural intelligentsia, elementary school teachers, for instance. The latter are so humiliated, materially and spiritually, they observe so closely and know from their own experience the lack of rights and the oppression of the people, that there can be no doubt at all of the sympathetic reception among them of Social-Democratic ideas (given the further growth of the movement).
These then, in our opinion, should be the component parts of a programme of the Russian Social-Democratic working-class party: 1) a statement on the basic character of the economic development of Russia; 2) a statement on the inevitable result of capitalism: the growth of poverty and the increasing indignation of the workers; 3) a statement on the class struggle of the proletariat as the basis of our movement; 4) a statement on the final aims of the Social-Democratic working-class movement -- on its striving to win political power for the accomplishment of these aims -- and on the international character of the movement; 5) a statement on the essentially political nature of the class struggle; 6) a statement to the effect that the Russian absolutism, which conditions the lack of rights and the oppression of the people and patronises the exploiters, is the chief hindrance to the working-class movement, and that the winning of political liberty, essential in the interests of the entire social development, is, therefore, the most urgent political task of the Party; 7) a statement to the effect that the Party will support all parties and sections of the population that struggle against the autocracy and will combat the demagogic intrigues of our government; 8) the enumeration of the basic democratic demands; then, 9) demands for the benefit of the working class; and 10) demands for the benefit of the peasantry, with an explanation of the general character of these demands.
We are fully conscious of the difficulty of providing a completely satisfactory formulation of the programme
without a number of conferences with comrades; but we consider it essential to set about this task, believing (for the reasons indicated above) that postponement is impermissible. We hope to receive the aid of all the theoreticians of the Party (headed by the members of the Emancipation of Labour group), as well as of all socialists doing practical work in Russia (not only of Social-Democrats: it would be very desirable to hear the opinion of socialists of other groups and we would not refuse to publish their opinion), and the aid of all class-conscious workers.