From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964
AND THE LETTISH WORKING-CLASS MOVEMENT
The recent decision of all organised Lettish workers condemning the liquidators and supporting the Marxist line, struck a decisive blow at the "August bloc", by showing that sooner or later all proletarian elements will break with the liquidators. Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta is doing its utmost to explain away this unpleasant fact. This rather difficult job has been tackled by L. M. and F. D.
We shall not trouble to reply to the petty wrangling which the liquidators have started. The only aspect of the matter we consider important is that which has organisational and political significance.
The liquidators say: True, the Lettish Marxists have withdrawn from the "August bloc", but they have not joined the "Leninists".
Quite right, gentlemen! The Lettish Marxists have indeed remained neutral. In our very first articles concerning the Lettish decisions, we said that the Letts had taken only the first step, that, generally speaking, they had acted like conciliators.*
But have the liquidators considered what follows from this?
If the Letts are really conciliators, if they advocate unity at any price, and if they are neutral in the organisational conflict, then the political appraisal of liquidationism made by the conciliatory Lettish Marxists is a still more telling blow at the liquidators.
From the political aspect, this appraisal is quite clear and straightforward. The Lettish workers have emphatically endorsed the old decision that liquidationism is a manifestation
* See pp. 177-81 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The Lettish Workers and the Split in the Social-Democratic Group in the Duma". -- DJR]
of bourgeois influence on the proletariat. They have declared that unity with the liquidators means becoming "ideologically and politically dependent upon the liquidators".
Yes, Messrs. L. M. and F. D., the Letts have indeed remained neutral; they have not yet abandoned "conciliatory" hopes; they have not yet drawn all the practical conclusions from the stand they took; they have given too lenient treatment to the groups which defend you. But it was precisely these lenient and neutral people who told you that your liquidationist line expressed only the influence of the bourgeoisie on the backward sections of the workers.
The ludicrous muddle the liquidators have got themselves into in appraising the Lettish decisions can be seen from the articles published in Zeit, a newspaper of the Jewish liquidators. Here Mr. Yonov tells us in verbose articles that "the Lettish comrades do not stand for a split; on the contrary, they strongly oppose such tactics".
The same writer goes on to say that "the general spirit of the resolution [of the Letts] is beyond all doubt the Leninist spirit. It [the resolution] is based on hostility towards liquidationism, on recognition of the need to combat it" (Zeit No. 14).
Agree among yourselves, liquidators, and say either one thing or the other.
The liquidators hope that the Letts will yet take a step backward -- to liquidationism. We hope that they will take a step forward, to the position of the Russian Marxists. Time will show whose hopes will be justified. We calmly leave that to the course of the Lettish and of the entire Russian working-class movement. For the present, one thing has been achieved: the Letts have dealt mortal blow at the "August bloc" and recognised that liquidationism is a bourgeois trend.
A few words about the Letts' decision concerning the split in the Social-Democratic group in the Duma. The six liquidator deputies have not given a straightforward answer to the question as to whether they accept the terms of the Letts. With Mr. F. D.'s assistance, they are trying to "pull the wool over our eyes", as the saying goes. However, they will not succeed.
Look at Mr. F. D.'s "arguments". Confronted with the 1908 decision (which the Letts endorsed ) against amalgamation with the Jagiello party, he replies by stating that the Social-Democratic group in the Second Duma accepted . . . the Lithuanian Social-Democrats. The "slight" difference here is merely that Russia's Marxists resolved on more than one occasion to amalgamate with the Lithuanians, but not to amalgamate with the P.S.P., because that party is not Marxist. The difference is that the Lithuanian deputies were returned to the Duma with the full support of all the local Social-Democrats, whereas Jagiello was elected in the teeth of opposition from the Polish Social-Democrats, in the teeth of opposition from the majority of the worker electors.
The Letts made it a condition of unity that the all-Russia decisions of 1908 and 1910 condemning liquidationism as a bourgeois trend should be recognised. Does the Chkheidze group accept this condition? What has Mr. F. D., who defends this group, to say about this? Only that "lack of space prevents us [i.e., him] from dealing" with these all Russia decisions.
Very well, we shall wait until Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta finds more space in which to say, at last, what its attitude is towards the 1908 and 1910 decisions of the entire Marxist body, which recognised liquidationism as a bourgeois trend.
As for the workers, they will undoubtedly draw their own conclusions from the liquidators' shuffling, and realise that these people are dead to the cause of Marxism.