* See pp. 286-302 of this volume. --Ed.
by their Moscow adherents in Russia, and abroad by Plekhanov's repudiation of Potresov and Golos Sotsial-Demokrata ; while in the case of the Bolsheviks the liquidationist elements -- the otzovists and god-builders -- proved to be a small minority from the outset, were rendered harmless from the outset, and were ultimately pushed aside.
That otzovism is Menshevism inside out, that it also leads inevitably to liquidationism, only of a slightly different kind, there can be no doubt. It is not, of course, a matter of personalities or particular groups, but of an objective general tendency -- to the extent that otzovism ceases to be a mere state of mind and seeks to evolve into a separate trend. The Bolsheviks stated quite definitely before the revolution, first, that their aim was not to create a separate trend in socialism but to apply to the new conditions of our revolution the basic principles of international revolutionary orthodox Marxist Social-Democracy; secondly, they would do their duty even should it consist in an onerous, slow, humdrum daily grind, if history, after the issue of the struggle and after all opportunities for revolutionary action were exhausted, should condemn us to plod along the by-paths of an "autocratic constitution". The least attentive reader will find these statements in the Social-Democratic literature of 1905. They are of immense importance as a solemn obligation of the whole Bolshevik wing of the Party, a deliberate choice of path. In order to fulfil this obligation to the proletariat, it was necessary to take patiently in hand and re-educate those who had been attracted to Social-Democracy by the days of liberty (there even appeared a type of "Social-Democrat of the days of liberty"), who were attracted chiefly by the vehemence, revolutionary spirit and "vividness" of our slogans, but, who, though militant enough to fight on revolutionary holidays, lacked the stamina for workaday struggle under the reign of counter-revolution. Some of these elements were gradually drawn into proletarian activities and assimilated the Marxist world-outlook. The others only memorised a few slogans without grasping their meaning, could only repeat old phrases and were unable to adapt the old principles of revolutionary Social-Democratic tactics to the changed conditions. Their several destinies are graphically illustrated by the evolution of those who
wanted to boycott the Third Duma. In June 1907 they were the majority among the Bolsheviks. But Proletary campaigned continuously against the boycott. Events verified this policy and a year later the otzovists were in the minority among the Bolsheviks (14 votes against 18 in the summer of 1908) in the Moscow organisation, which had been the stronghold of "boycottism". A year later, when the error of otzovism had been abundantly and repeatedly demonstrated, the Bolshevik wing -- and here lies the significance of the recent Bolshevik conference -- finally liquidated otzovism and ultimatumism, the thin end of otzovism, finally liquidated this peculiar form of liquidationism.
So let none accuse us of causing a "new split". In the Report on our conference we explain our aims and our attitude in detail. We did everything possible, we left nothing untried, to persuade the dissenting comrades: we were at it for over eighteen months. But as a wing, i.e., a union of like minded people in the Party, we cannot work without unanimity on fundamental issues. To break away from a wing is not the same as breaking away from the Party. The people who have broken away from our wing in no way lose the possibility of working in the Party. Either they will remain "free lances", i.e., outside any wing, and the general environment of Party work will draw them in. Or they will try to form a new group -- as is their legitimate right, if they wish to advocate and develop their own special shade of opinion and tactics -- in which case the whole Party will very soon see the practical manifestation of those tendencies, the ideological implications of which we have tried to assess above.
The Bolsheviks have to lead the Party. To do so they must know their course, they must stop hesitating, they must stop wasting time on persuading waverers, and fighting dissentients in their own ranks. Otzovism and ultimatumism, the thin end of otzovism, are incompatible with the work which the present circumstances require of revolutionary Social-Democrats. During the revolution we learned to "speak French", i.e., to introduce into the movement the greatest number of rousing slogans, to raise the energy of the direct struggle of the masses and extend its scope. Now, in this time of stagnation, reaction and disintegration, we
must learn to "speak German", i.e., to work slowly (there is nothing else for it, until things revive), systematically, steadily, advancing step by step, winning inch by inch. Whoever finds this work tedious, whoever does not understand the need for preserving and developing the revolutionary principles of Social-Democratic tactics in this phase too, on this bend of the road, is taking the name of Marxist in vain.
Our Party can make no headway unless it decisively liquidates liquidationism. And liquidationism does not only mean the direct liquidationism of the Mensheviks and their opportunist tactics. It also includes Menshevism inside out. It includes otzovism and ultimatumism, that are impeding the Party in the fulfilment of its immediate task, in which lie all the unique peculiarities of the present time, the task of utilising the Duma rostrum and turning all the semi-legal and legal organisations of the working class into coigns of vantage. The same goes for god-building and the defence of god-building tendencies which are radically at variance with the principles of Marxism. And the same applies to incomprehension of the Party tasks of the Bolsheviks, which in 1906 and 1907 consisted in overthrowing the Menshevik Central Committee, as a body which lacked the support of the majority of the Party (not only the Poles and Letts, but even the Bundists were against the Central Committee, which was purely Menshevik at the time) -- and which now consist in patiently training up partyist elements and knitting them together, in building up a really united and strong proletarian party. The Bolsheviks prepared the ground for partyism by their implacable struggle against the anti-Party elements in 1903-05 and in 1906-07. Now the Bolsheviks must build the Party, build the Party out of their wing, build up the Party by utilising the vantage-ground gained in the inner-Party struggle.
Such are the tasks of our wing of the Party in the present political situation and the general position of the R.S.D.L.P. as a whole. They are set forth once more and developed In particular detail in the resolutions of the recent Bolshevik Conference. The ranks have been re-formed for a new struggle. The changed conditions have been taken into ac-
count. The road has been chosen. Let us go forward along it and the revolutionary Social-Democratic Labour Party of Russia will begin rapidly to build up into a force which no reaction will shake, and which will stand at the head of all the fighting classes of the people in the next round of our revolution.*
* Golos Sotsial-Demokrata, No. 15, and Otkliki Bunda, No 2 have recently appeared. I n these publications there is once again piled up a heap of choice specimens of liquidationism, which will need analysing and evaluating in a separate article in the next issue of Proletary.