forced back, driven inwards and, for the time being, stifled. The medieval diehards not only occupied the foreground but also inspired the broadest sections of bourgeois society with the sentiments propagated by Vekhi, with a spirit of dejection and recantation. It was not the collision between two methods of reforming the old order that appeared on the surface, but a loss of faith in reforms of any kind, a spirit of "meekness"
and "repentance", an enthusiasm for anti-social doctrines, a vogue of mysticism, and so on.
This astonishingly abrupt change was neither- accidental nor the result of "external" pressure alone. The preceding period had so profoundly stirred up sections of the population who for generations and centuries had stood aloof from, and had been strangers to, political issues that it was natural and inevitable that there should emerge "a revaluation of all values", a new study of fundamental problems, a new interest in theory, in elementals, in the ABC of politics. The millions who were suddenly awakened from their long sleep and confronted with extremely important problems could not long remain on this level. They could not continue without a respite, without a return to elementary questions, without a new training which would help them "digest" lessons of unparalleled richness and make it possible for incomparably wider masses again to march forward, but now far more firmly, more consciously, more confidently and more steadfastly.
The dialectics of historical development was such that in the first period it was the attainment of immediate reforms in every sphere of the country's life that was on the order of the day. In the second. period it was the critical study of experience, its assimilation by wider sections, its penetration, so to speak, into the subsoil, into the back wardranks of the various classes.
It is precisely because Marxism is not a lifeless dogma, not a completed, ready-made, immutable doctrine, but a living guide to action, that it was bound to reflect the astonishingly abrupt change in the conditions of social life. That change was reflected in profound disintegration and disunity, in every manner of vacillation, in short, in a very serious internal crisis of Marxism. Resolute resistance to this disintegration, a resolute and persistent struggle to uphold the fundamentals of Marxism, was again placed on the order of the day. In the preceding period, extremely wide sections of the classes that cannot avoid Marxism in formulating their aims had assimilated that doctrine in an extremely one-sided and mutilated fashion. They had learnt by rote certain "slogans", certain answers to tactical questions, without having understood the Marxist criteria for these
answers. The "revaluation of all values" in the various spheres of social life led to a "revision" of the most abstract and general philosophical fundamentals of Marxism. The influence of bourgeois philosophy in its diverse idealist shades found expression in the Machist epidemic that broke out among the Marxists. The repetition of "slogans" learnt by rote but not understood and not thought out led to the widespread prevalence of empty phrase-mongering. The practical expression of this were such absolutely un-Marxist, petty-bourgeois trends as frank or shamefaced "otzovism", or the recognition of otzovism as a "legal shade" of Marxism.
On the other hand, the spirit of the magazine Vekhi, the spirit of renunciation which had taken possession of very wide sections of the bourgeoisie, also permeated the trend wishing to confine Marxist theory and practice to "moderate and careful" channels. All that remained of Marxism here was the phraseology used to clothe arguments about "hierarchy", "hegemony" and so forth, that were thoroughly permeated with the spirit of liberalism.
The purpose of this article is not to examine these arguments. A mere reference to them is sufficient to illustrate what has been said above regarding the depth of the crisis through which Marxism is passing and its connection with the whole social and economic situation in the present period. The questions raised by this crisis cannot be brushed aside. Nothing can be more pernicious or unprincipled than attempts to dismiss them by phrase-mongering. Nothing is more important than to rally all Marxists who have realised the profundity of the crisis and the necessity of combating it, for defence of the theoretical basis of Marxism and its fundamental propositions, that are being distorted from diametrically opposite sides by the spread of bourgeois influence to the various "fellow-travellers " of Marxism.
The first three years awakened wide sections to a cónscious participation in social life, sections that in many cases are now for the first time beginning to acquaint themselves with Marxism in real earnest. The bourgeois press is creating far more fallacious ideas on this score than ever before, and is spreading them more widely. Under these circumstances disintegration in the Marxist ranks is particularly
dangerous. Therefore, to understand the reasons for the inevitability of this disintegration at the present time and to close their ranks for consistent struggle against this disintegration is, in the most direct and precise meaning of the term, the task of the day for Marxists.