the Russian autocracy. Here in Russia, of course, some socialists were found to have muddled ideas on this question, too. Revolutsionnaya Rossiya  rebuked Guesde and Hyndman, saying that a socialist could only be in favour of a workers' Japan, a people's Japan, and not of a bourgeois Japan. This rebuke is as absurd as blaming a socialist for admitting the progressive nature of the free-trade bourgeoisie as compared with the protectionist bourgeoisie. Guesde and Hyndman did not defend the Japanese bourgeoisie or Japanese imperialism; they correctly noted in this conflict between two bourgeois countries the historically progressive role of one of them. The muddle-headedness of the "Socialists-Revolutionaries" was, of course, an inevitable result of the failure on the part of our radical intelligentsia to understand the class point of view and historical materialism. Neither could the new Iskra help showing muddled thinking. It had quite a lot to say at first about peace at any price. It then made haste to "correct itself", when Jaurès showed
plainly whose interests, those of the progressive or those of the reactionary bourgeoisie, would be served by a quasi-socialist campaign for peace in general. And now it has ended up with platitudes about the unreasonableness of "speculating" (?!) on a victory of the Japanese bourgeoisie and about war being a calamity "regardless of whether" it ends in the victory or the defeat of the autocracy.
No. The cause of Russian freedom and of the struggle of the Russian (and the world) proletariat for socialism depends to a very large extent on the military defeats of the autocracy. This cause has been greatly advanced by the military debacle which has struck terror in the hearts of all the European guardians of the existing order. The revolutionary proletariat must carry on a ceaseless agitation against war, always keeping in mind, however, that wars are inevitable as long as class rule exists. Trite phrases about peace à la Jaurès are of no use to the oppressed class, which is not responsible for a bourgeois war between two bourgeois nations, which is doing all it can to overthrow every bourgeoisie, which knows the enormity of the people's sufferings even in time of "peaceful" capitalist exploitation. While struggling against free competition, we cannot, however, forget its progressive character in comparison with the semi-feudal system. While struggling against every war and every bourgeoisie, we must draw a clear line in our agitational work between the progressive bourgeoisie and the feudal autocracy; we must recognise the great revolutionary role of the historic war in which the Russian worker is an involuntary participant.
It was the Russian autocracy and not the Russian people that started this colonial war, which has turned into a war between the old and the new bourgeois worlds. It is the autocratic regime and not the Russian people that has suffered ignoble defeat. The Russian people has gained from the defeat of the autocracy. The capitulation of Port Arthur is the prologue to the capitulation of tsarism. The war is not ended yet by far, but every step towards its continuation increases immeasurably the unrest and discontent among the Russian people, brings nearer the hour of a new great war, the war of the people against the autocracy, the war of the proletariat for liberty. There is good reason for the concern shown by that most sedate and sober European bourgeoisie,
which would heartily sympathise with the granting of liberal concessions by the Russian autocracy, but which stands in mortal fear of a Russian revolution, as the prologue to a European revolution.
"There is a deep-rooted opinion," writes one such sober organ of the German bourgeoisie, "that it is absolutely impossible for a revolution to break out in Russia. Every kind of argument is used to support this view: the inertness of the Russian peasantry, its faith in the tsar, its dependence on the clergy; the extreme elements among the discontented, it is claimed, constitute a mere handful, who can organise putsches and terrorist attempts, but are absolutely incapable of calling forth a general popular uprising. The broad mass of the discontented, we are told, lack organisation, arms, and -- most important of all -- the determination to risk their lives. As for the Russian intellectual, he is usually revolutionary-minded only until about the age of thirty, after which he settles down comfortably in some cushy government job, and thus most of the hotheads undergo a metamorphosis and become run-of-the-mill officials." But now, the newspaper continues, there are many indications of a big change. The revolutionaries are not the only ones now who speak about a revolution in Russia; the topic is even in the mouths of such "unenthusiastic" and solid pillars of law and order as Prince Trubetskoi, whose letter to the Minister of the Interior is now being reprinted by the entire European press. "There is evidently real ground for the fear of a revolution in Russia. True, no one believes that the Russian peasants will take up their pitchforks and go forward to fight for a constitution. But, then, are revolutions made in villages? In modern history the big cities long ago became the vehicles of the revolutionary movement. And in Russia it is the cities that are in ferment, from north to south and from east to west. No one will venture to predict the outcome, but it is an incontrovertible fact that the number of people who consider a revolution in Russia impossible is diminishing day by day. And if a serious revolutionary outbreak does occur, it is more than doubtful whether the autocracy, weakened by the war in the Far East, will be able to cope with it."
Yes, the autocracy is weakened. The most sceptical of the sceptics are beginning to believe in the revolution.
General belief in revolution is already the beginning of revolution. The government itself, by its military adventure, is seeing to its continuation. The Russian proletariat will see to it that the serious revolutionary onset is sustained and extended.