with the existing government." "We must remind them that they are in duty bound to express the interests of the people," Parvus, our Ledru-Rollin thunders. "They must be forced to express the interests of the people." -- "Most assuredly," the Osvobozhdeniye League replies. "We even have it recorded in the minutes that we are true friends of the people, friends of liberty." "Political parties must be formed," Parvus demands. "Done," the Osvobozhdeniye League replies. "We are already called the Constitutional-Democratic Party." "A clear programme is needed," Parvus persists. "Why, of course," the Osvobozhdeniye League replies, "we have set forty men to write a programme, and are only too glad to do it . . ." "An agreement on Social-Democratic support for the Osvobozhdeniye League must be concluded," all the new-Iskra crowd wind up in chorus. The Osvobozhdeniye League is moved to tears. Golovin pays a call on Durnovo to tender his congratulations.
Which of them are the buffoons, and which the dupes?
All the mistakes of Iskra 's tactics in the Duma question have now led up to a natural and inevitable finale. The disgraceful part played by Iskra in its war against the idea of an active boycott is now obvious to each and all. There
is no doubt now as to who benefited by Iskra 's tactics. The idea of an active boycott has been buried by the majority of the monarchist bourgeoisie. Iskra 's tactics will inevitably be buried by the majority of Russian Social-Democrats.
Parvus let his tongue run away with him to the extent of talking about a formal agreement with the Osvobozhdeniye League (the "democrats"), about joint political responsibility binding them and the Social-Democrats, and about Social-Democratic support for the Osvobozhdeniye League on the basis of precisely defined conditions and demands -- even new-Iskrists will, probably, repudiate this absurd and disgraceful talk. Parvus, however, has simply given franker and blunter expression to the idea underlying the new-Iskra views. The formal support he proposes is merely the inevitable consequence of the moral support the new Iskra has all along been giving the monarchist bourgeoisie by condemning an active boycott of the Duma, by justifying and championing the idea of democrats entering the Duma, and by playing at parliamentarianism when no parliament whatever exists. It has been well said: we have no parliament as yet, but we have parliamentary cretinism galore.
The fundamental error of the new-Iskrists has come to the fore. They have constantly turned a blind eye to the theory of compromise, the political theory underlying the Osvobozhdeniye trend, and the truest and most profound expression of the Russian bourgeoisie's class stand and class interests. They have kept harping on only one aspect of the matter -- the conflicts between the bourgeoisie and the autocracy, with complete disregard of the other aspect -- the compromise between the bourgeoisie and the autocracy, against the people, the proletariat, and the revolution. And yet it is precisely this second aspect that is coming more and more to the fore acquiring ever greater and more fundamental importance with each advance of the Russian revolution, each month of a situation which is so intolerable to bourgeois adherents of law and order.
The fundamental error of the new-Iskrists led them to a radically incorrect appraisal of the ways in which Social-Democracy should take advantage of the conflicts between
the bourgeoisie and the autocracy, and the ways of fanning the flames of these conflicts by our efforts. Yes, it is our absolute duty to fan the flames of these conflicts at all times, be it without a Duma, or prior to a Duma, or in the Duma itself, if it ever meets. But the new-Iskrists do not see where the proper means are to be found. Instead of encouraging the flames by breaking the windows and allowing fresh air -- the workers' uprisings -- to rush in, they sweat at making toy bellows and fanning the revolutionary zeal of the Osvobozhdeniye people by presenting them with farcical demands and conditions.
Indeed, it is our duty to support the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way. But with us this support has always consisted (remember the attitude of Zarya and the old Iskra towards Osvobozhdeniye ), and, as far as revolutionary Social-Democrats are concerned, will always consist, first and foremost, in ruthlessly exposing and branding every false step of this "democratic" -- save the mark! -- bourgeoisie. If it is at all possible for us to exert influence on the democratism of the bourgeoisie, that influence will have effect only when all acts of treachery, all the bourgeoisie's errors, its unfulfilled promises and fine words that are belied by events and deeds, are stigmatised on every occasion when a bourgeois democrat speaks to workers or politically conscious peasants. Since this bourgeoisie, which only yesterday was proclaiming from the house-tops that it would boycott the Duma, has today already basely retracted its promises, changed its decisions, redrafted its resolutions, and come to an agreement with the Durnovos about a legal mode of action, we must withhold moral support of these liars and lackeys of the autocracy, prevent them from getting away with broken promises and making new ones to the workers (which will likewise be cast to the wind the moment the Duma becomes a legislative instead of a consultative body). No, we must brand them and impress upon the whole of the proletariat that fresh betrayals on the part of these bourgeois "democrats", who reconcile the constitution with Trepov, and Social-Democracy with Osvobozhdeniye politics, are inescapable and inevitable. We must demonstrate and prove to all the workers -- using the instance of the bourgeois betrayal of the people on the
question of the boycott, as well as other examples -- we must demonstrate that all these Petrunkeviches and the like are already full-fledged Cavaignacs and Thiers.
Let us assume that we shall not cope with the task of frustrating this Duma before it makes an appearance. Let us assume that the Duma meets. Constitutional conflicts within it will be inevitable, for the bourgeoisie is certain to aspire to power. Even then, we must support this aspiration, since the proletariat also has something to gain from a constitutional system too, because the rule of the bourgeoisie as a class will clear the ground for our struggle for socialism. That is all true. But this is just where our radical divergence of opinion from the new Iskra begins, not ends. This divergence is not on the question of whether support should be given to bourgeois democrats, but on the question of the means of giving that support in a revolutionary epoch and of exerting pressure on them. By justifying their treachery or shutting one's eyes to it, by hastening to make deals with them, rushing to play at parliamentarianism, exacting promises and pledges from them, you achieve only one thing -- they exert pressure on you, not you on them ! We have lived to see the revolution. The time of mere literary pressure is gone; the time of parliamentary pressure has not yet arrived. It is only an uprising that can exercise effective, not paltry pressure. When civil war spreads over the whole country, pressure is exercised by armed force, by giving battle, and then any other attempt to bring pressure to bear amounts to hollow and wretched phrase-mongering. Nobody has yet ventured to assert that the period of insurrection has passed in Russia. And since that is so, any avoidance of the tasks of a rising, any argument against its necessity, any "watering-down" of our demands to the bourgeois democrats that they participate in the uprising, means laying down our arms at the feet of the bourgeoisie, converting the proletariat into an appendage of the bourgeoisie. Nowhere in the world has the proletariat as yet ever laid down its arms when a serious struggle has commenced, nor has it ever yet yielded to the accursed heritage of oppression and exploitation without measuring swords with the enemy. Such are now our means and hopes of bringing pressure to bear. No one can foretell the outcome of the struggle. If
the proletariat is victorious -- it will be the workers and peasants who will make the revolution, and not. the Golovins and Struves. If the proletariat is defeated -- the bourgeoisie will obtain new constitutional rewards for assisting the autocracy in this struggle. Then and only then a new era will be inaugurated, a new generation will come forward, European history will repeat itself, parliamentarianism will for a time become the real touchstone of all politics.
If you want to exercise pressure now, then prepare for insurrection, preach it, and organise it. Only an uprising holds out the possibility that the Duma farce will not be the end of the Russian bourgeois revolution, but the beginning of a complete democratic upheaval, which will kindle the fire of proletarian revolutions all over the world. Only an uprising can guarantee that our "United Landtag" will become the prelude to a constituent assembly of a non-Frankfort type, that the revolution will not end in a mere March 18 (1848), that we shall have not only a July 14 (1789), but also an August 10 (1792). Only an uprising, and not pledges obtained from the Osvobozhdeniye League members, can be a surety that from the ranks of the latter there will emerge individual Johann Jacobys, who, finally disgusted by the loathsomeness of the Golovin's cringing and fawning, will at the last minute march in the ranks of the proletariat and the peasantry to fight for the revolution.