Mr. V. Yezhov, a liquidator, writing in the very first issue of the liquidationist Nevsky Golos, offers a similar purely liberal distortion, although he approaches the question from a somewhat different angle. He dwells in particular on the strikes provoked by the May Day fines. Correctly pointing out that the workers are not sufficiently organised, the author draws from his correct statement conclusions that are quite wrong and most harmful to the workers. Mr. Yezhov sees a lack of organisation in the fact that while in one factory the workers struck merely in protest, in another they added economic demands, etc. Actually, however, this variety of forms of strike does not in itself indicate any lack of organisation at all; it is ridiculous to imagine that organisation necessarily means uniformity! Lack of organisation is not at all to be found where Mr. Yezhov looks for it.
But his conclusion is still worse:
"Owing to this [i.e., owing to the variety of the strikes and to the different forms of the combination of economics and politics], the principle involved in the protest (after all, it was not over a few kopeks that the strike was called) became obscured in a considerable number of cases, being complicated by economic demands. . . ."
This is a truly outrageous, thoroughly false and thoroughly liberal argument! To think that the demand "for a few kopeks" is capable of "obscuring" the principle involved in the
protest means sinking to the level of a Cadet. On the contrary, Mr. Yezhov, the demand for "a few kopeks" deserves full recognition and not a sneer! On the contrary, Mr. Yezhov, that demand, far from "obscuring" "the principle involved in the protest", emphasises it! Firstly, the question of a higher standard of living is also a question of principle, and a most important one; secondly, whoever protests, not against one, but against two, three, etc., manifestations of oppression, does not thereby weaken his protest but strengthens it.
Every worker will indignantly reject Mr. Yezhov's outrageous liberal distortion of the matter.
In the case of Mr. Yezhov, it is by no means a slip of the pen. He goes on to say even more outrageous things:
"Their own experience should have suggested to the workers that it was inadvisable to complicate their protest by economic demands, just as it is inadvisable to complicate an ordinary strike by a demand involving a principle."
This is untrue, a thousand times untrue! The Nevsky Golos has disgraced itself by printing such stuff. What Mr. Yezhov thinks inadvisable is perfectly advisable. Both each worker's own experience and the experience of a very large number of Russian workers in the recent past testify to the reverse of what Mr. Yezhov preaches.
Only liberals can object to "complicating" even the most "ordinary" strike by "demands involving principles". That is the first point. Secondly, our liquidator is sorely mistaken in measuring the present movement with the yardstick of an "ordinary" strike.
And Mr. Yezhov is wasting his time in trying to cover up his liberal contraband with someone else's flag, in confusing the question of combining the economic and the political strike with the question of preparations for the one or the other! Of course, it is most desirable to make preparations and to be prepared, and to do this as thoroughly, concertedly, unitedly, intelligently and firmly as possible. That is beyond dispute. But, contrary to what Mr. Yezhov says, it is necessary to make preparations precisely for a combination of the two kinds of strike.
"A period of economic strikes is ahead of us," writes Mr. Yezhov. "It would be an irreparable mistake to allow them to become inter-
twined with political actions of the workers. Such combination would have a harmful effect on both the economic and the political struggle of the workers."
One could hardly go to greater lengths! These words show in the clearest possible way that the liquidator has sunk to the level of an ordinary liberal. Every sentence contains an error! We must convert every sentence into its direct opposite to get at the truth!
It is not true that a period of economic strikes is ahead of us. Quite the reverse. What we have ahead of us is a period of something more than just economic strikes. We are facing a period of political strikes. The facts, Mr. Yezhov, are stronger than your liberal distortions; and if you could look at the statistical cards dealing with strikes, which are filed in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, you would see that even these government statistics fully refute you.
It is not true that "intertwining" would be a mistake. Quite the reverse. It would be an irreparable mistake if the workers failed to understand the great singularity, the great significance, the great necessity, and the great fundamental importance of precisely such "intertwining". Fortunately, however, the workers understand this perfectly, and they brush aside with contempt the preaching of liberal labour politicians.
Lastly, it is not true that such intertwining "would have a harmful effect" on both forms. Quite the reverse. It benefits both. It strengthens both.
Mr. Yezhov lectures some "hotheads" whom he seems to have discovered. Listen to this:
"It is necessary to give organisational form to the sentiments of the workers. . . ." This is gospel truth! "It is necessary to increase propaganda for trade unions, to recruit new members for them. . . ."
Quite true, but -- but, Mr. Yezhov, it is impermissible to reduce "organisational form" to the trade unions alone. Remember this, Mr. Liquidator!
"This is all the more necessary since there are many hotheads among the workers nowadays who are carried away by the mass movement and speak at meetings against unions, alleging them to be useless and unnecessary."
This is a liberal slur on the workers. It is not "against unions" that the workers -- who have been, and always will be, a thorn in the side of the liquidators -- have been coming out. No, the workers have been coming out against the attempt to reduce the organisational form to "trade unions" alone, an attempt which is so evident from Mr. Yezhov's preceding sentence.
The workers have been coming out, not "against unions", but against the liberal distortion of the nature of the struggle they are waging, a distortion which pervades the whole of Mr. Yezhov's article.
The Russian workers have become sufficiently mature politically to realise the great significance of their movement for the whole people. They are sufficiently mature to see how very false and paltry liberal labour policy is and they will always brush it aside with contempt.