In St. Petersburg enfranchised shop-assistants and clerks alone number 30,000 to 50,000. Golos Prikazchika, the shop-assistants trade union paper, was conducted on Social-Democratic lines. If all socialists were to unite for agitation among shop-assistants, and were to agree to include the Trudoviks in their list, these shop and office employees alone could ensure victory for a joint Social-Democratic and Trudovik election list.
Moreover, there are a very large number of poor tenants, fully capable of understanding that the socialists will defend their interests better than the liberal houseowners and landlords, the rich lawyers and the government officials, the Petrunkeviches, Rodichevs, Vinavers, and Kutlers.
Look at the election meetings in St. Petersburg. Even the Cadet newspapers, whose accounts of these meetings are atrociously distorted to favour the Cadets, are compelled to admit that the real contest lies between the Cadets and the socialists, and not between the Rights and the Lefts. St. Petersburg election meetings are incontrovertible proof that the Social-Democrats, particularly in alliance with the Trudoviks, are stronger than the Cadets in St. Petersburg.
How many voters will attend election meetings? Cautious people estimate not more than one-tenth of the total number of voters will. Let us accept even this figure, which is the lowest estimate. That gives us 13,000 voters. Further, we may take it for granted that every voter who has attended meetings will take along with him to the polling booth at least two others who have not attended any meetings. Judging from all facts and observations, 20,000 of the 39,000 voters will be for the Social-Democrats in alliance with the Trudoviks.
Therefore, these figures, too, show that a victory of the Social-Democrats over the Cadets and the Black Hundreds in St. Petersburg is quite possible.
All St. Petersburg voters should know that it depends entirely on them whether the Cadets or the Social-Democrats win.
The socialists are conducting their election campaign in St. Petersburg primarily and mainly for the purpose of enlightening and rallying the masses. The socialists are striving to make clear to the masses the tasks now confronting the people in their struggle for freedom. The liberals, however, are not bothering about anything but seats in the Duma, and do not care whether the voters have any clear and definite ideas.
The liberals, i.e., the Cadets, and the vacillators who follow in their train, sometimes take a vote at election meetings, at some of which they succeed in winning overwhelming majorities for resolutions calling for an agreement among all the Lefts, on the understanding that two seats out of the six should go to the Cadets.
Those who propose such resolutions and those who vote for them show that they fail to realise the situation in the St. Petersburg elections. There will not and cannot be an agreement of "all the Lefts" in St. Petersburg. There will be three election lists in St. Petersburg: the Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic.
Moreover, it is ridiculous even to vote for the Cadets getting two seats out of the six. Those who really want such an outcome must understand that it cannot be effected by a deal with the Cadets. It can be done only by voting for the Social-Democrats.
In fact, the result that some people desire (six seats for the Lefts, of which two go to the Cadets) can be achieved only if the Social-Democrats gain a partial victory in St. Petersburg. Let us assume, for example, that the Social-Democrats win only in four constituencies, say, in the Spassky, Moscow, Petersburg and Vyborg wards. They would then have 60 electors, and with the worker curia, 74 electors. The Black Hundreds (we take the most unfavourable and most unlikely case) will have 46 electors (Liteiny, Rozhdestvensky and Vasilyevsky Ostrov wards). The Cadets will then have the remaining 54 electors. This is the way we could really secure the election of Left Duma deputies for St. Petersburg, with a preponderance of those standing Left of the Cadets. It cannot be achieved by
bargaining with the Cadets, as certain unintelligent and vacillating people are doing.
Let us briefly recapitulate the conclusions we have drawn. Only three main parties are contesting the St. Petersburg elections, and electors will have three lists before them: the Black-Hundred, the Cadet, and the Social-Democratic.
The danger of a Black-Hundred victory in St. Petersburg is an absurd fabrication.
Even if the Cadet vote is split least favourably between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, a Black-Hundred victory is impossible.
The fable of the "Black-Hundred danger" in St. Petersburg is deliberately fostered by the Cadets to avert the real danger threatening them in the form of a socialist victory.
The Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and several small groups have not yet made up their minds whether to follow the Cadets or the Social-Democrats.
In St. Petersburg it is quite possible for the Social-Democrats to win complete victory over the Black Hundreds and the Cadets.
Voters must vote in accordance with their convictions and sympathies, and not out of fear of a fictitious Black-Hundred danger.
Are you for the government, the liberal bourgeoisie, or the Social-Democrats?
Citizens, make your choice!