struggle in greater detail.
Every class struggle is a political struggle. We know that the opportunists, slaves to the ideas of liberalism, understood these profound words of Marx incorrectly and tried to put a distorted interpretation on them. Among the opportunists there were, for instance, the Economists, the elder brothers of the liquidators. The Economists believed that any clash between classes was a political struggle. The Economists therefore recognised as "class struggle" the struggle for a wage increase of five kopeks on the ruble, and refused to recognise a higher, more developed, nation-wide class struggle, the struggle for political aims. The Economists, therefore, recognised the embryonic class struggle but did not recognise it in its developed form. The Economists recognised, in other words, only that part of the class struggle that was more tolerable to the liberal bourgeoisie, they refused to go farther than the liberals, they refused to recognise the higher form of class struggle that is unacceptable to the liberals. By so doing, the Economists became liberal workers' politicians. By so doing, the Economists rejected the Marxist, revolutionary conception of the class struggle.
To continue. It is not enough that the class struggle becomes real, consistent and developed only when it embraces the sphere of politics. In politics, too, it is possible to restrict oneself to minor matters, and it is possible to go
deeper, to the very foundations. Marxism recognises a class struggle as fully developed, "nation-wide", only if it does not merely embrace politics but takes in the most significant thing in politics -- the organisation of state power.
On the other hand, the liberals, when the working-class movement has grown a little stronger, dare not deny the class struggle but attempt to narrow down, to curtail and emasculate the concept of class struggle. Liberals are prepared to recognise the class struggle in the sphere of politics, too, but on one condition -- that the organisation of state power should not enter into that sphere. It is not hard to understand which of the bourgeoisie's class interests give rise to the liberal distortion of the concept of class struggle.
Now, when Mr. Yermansky rehashed the work of the moderate and punctilious civil servant Gushka, when he expressed solidarity with him, not noticing (or not wishing to see?) the liberal emasculation of the concept of class struggle, I pointed out to Mr. Yermansky his chief sin against theory and general principles. Mr. Yermansky grew angry and began to use bad language and to twist and turn, being unable to refute what I had said.
In doing so, Mr. A. Yermansky proved such a clumsy polemicist that he exposed himself with particular clarity! "Ilyin wants, the bourgeoisie do not want," he writes. We now know what particular features of the point of view of the proletariat (Marxism) and of the bourgeoisie (liberalism) give rise to these different "wants".
The bourgeoisie "want" to curtail the class struggle, to distort and narrow the conception and blunt its sharp edge. The proletariat "wants" this deception exposed. The Marxist wants whoever undertakes to speak of the class struggle of the bourgeoisie in the name of Marxism to expose the narrowness, the selfish narrowness, indeed, of the bourgeois conception of the class struggle, and not merely to quote figures, not merely to go into ecstasies over "big" figures. The liberal "wants" to appraise the bourgeoisie and its class struggle in such a way as to conceal its narrowness, to conceal the failure to include in the struggle that which is "basic" and most important.
Mr. A. Yermansky was caught out in discussing in liberal fashion the interesting, but ideologically empty or slavishly
compiled figures of Mr. Gushka. Obviously, when this was revealed, there was nothing left for Mr. A. Yermansky to do but curse and wriggle.
Let us continue the passage from Mr. A. Yermansky 's article where we left off:
"It is clear that, in fact, Ilyin is the only person who is replacing a study of the real state of affairs by his own qualifications, and also [!!] by a stereotyped pattern based on schoolboy models drawn from the history of the great French Revolution."
Mr. A. Yermansky has got into such a tangle that he be comes ever more ruthless in "destroying" himself! He does not notice the extent to which his liberalism is revealed by this angry sally against the "stereotypes " of the great French Revolution!
My dear Mr. Yermansky, you must understand (no matter how difficult it may be for a liquidator to understand) that it is impossible "to study the real state of affairs" without qualifying it, without appraising it from the Marxist, or the liberal, or the reactionary, etc., point of view!
You, Mr. Yermansky, qualified and still qualify the "study" of the good civil servant Gushka in liberal fashion and I qualify it in Marxist fashion. That is what is at the bottom of it all. By leaving your critical analysis on the threshold of the question of the organisation of state power, you thereby proved the liberal limitations of your conception of the class struggle.
Which was to be shown!
Your sally against the "stereotype" of the great French Revolution gives you away completely. Anybody can understand that a stereotype or a French model has nothing to do with the matter -- for instance, there were not and could not have been strikes, especially political strikes at that time, under "stereotype and model" conditions.
The fact of the matter is that when you became a liquidator you forgot how to apply the revolutionary point of view to an appraisal of social events. That is where the trouble lies. Marx certainly did not limit his thinking to "stereotypes and models" taken from the end of the eighteenth century, but the point of view he adopted was always revolutionary, he always appraised ("qualified" if you prefer that
"learned" word, my dear Mr. Yermansky!) the class struggle most profoundly, always revealing whether it affected "fundamentals", always mercilessly berating any timidity of thought, any concealment of underdeveloped, emasculated, selfishly distorted class struggle.
The class struggle at the end of the eighteenth century showed us how it can become political, how it can develop to really "nation-wide" forms. Since then capitalism and the proletariat have developed to a gigantic extent. The "models" of the old do not prevent, for instance, the study of the new forms of struggle that I have, in part, outlined above.
The point of view of the Marxist, however, will always require a profound and not a superficial "appraisal", will always expose the poverty of liberal distortions, understatements and cowardly concealment.
Let us congratulate Mr. Yermansky on his devoted and splendid explanation of the way in which the liquidators substitute a liberal conception of the class struggle for the Marxist conception, forgetting how to examine social events from the revolutionary point of view.