* Mr. Boris Voronov, the author of the article, his eyes big with surprise, quotes as an example of incredible "factionalism" the fact that at the meetings of the executive of one of the unions "they discussed the question of assisting the Pravdist press, and technical editorial questions (how to improve the correspondence department, etc.)". Oh, horror! What a crime it is to assist a newspaper, which unites nine-tenths of the advanced workers, with correspondence and the like! How, after this, can the Narodniks help throwing themselves into the arms of the liquidators?. . .
so. By the "extravagant claims" of the Pravdists they mean that the Pravdists do not want to associate themselves with the petty-bourgeois policy of the Narodniks and liquidators, and, while loyally submitting to the majority of the workers within a single union, they fight for influence for their Marxist ideas.
We have never been guilty of the sins ascribed to us. It is the Narodniks and the liquidators who are guilty of them. Here are the facts. Several years ago the Narodniks obtained a majority in the Railwaymen's Union. This happened because they had the backing, not of the workers, but of the railway clerks, and because of other fortuitous circumstances. What did the Narodniks do? They immediately "stuck a label" on that union, compelled it to adopt its own special "platform", ousted the Social-Democrats and non-Party workers, and compelled them to form a parallel union of their own.
Now that was a really "extravagant claim". They hastened to make good their first chance victory by affixing a label. The fact that the Narodniks do not do this in other unions is not because they are so virtuous, but because their influence everywhere among the workers is very slight.
The same thing applies to the liquidators. When they controlled the Metalworkers' Union they turned it into a branch of the liquidators' organisation. The organ of the union published provocative articles against the "underground" (see Nash Put No. 20, p. 2, Metallist No. 3, etc.), although no general meeting of the members ever expressed approval of the liquidator line.
Such are the actual facts. By the "extravagant claims" of the Pravdists they mean that the Pravdists try to get the workers to settle their affairs themselves by a majority vote. If at a general meeting of metalworkers 3,000 vote for the Pravdists and a hundred or two vote for the liquidators and the Narodniks combined, then, in the name of so-called "non-factionalism" we are supposed to admit that 3,000 is equal to 200! This is what liquidator-Narodnik "non-factionalism" means.
We do not defend neutralism; we are opposed to it. But we do not behave like the Narodniks and liquidators when they obtain a chance majority in some union. Only feeble
groups with no principles lose their heads at the first "victory" and hasten to "consolidate" their victory by a majority of a score or so of votes. Excited and in a hurry not to miss such a golden opportunity, they hastily revise their "principles", forget their neutralism, and stick on a label. Marxists do not behave like that. They are not stray visitors in the working-class movement. They know that sooner or later all the unions will take their stand on the basis of Marxism. They are convinced that the future belongs to their ideas and, therefore, they do not force events, do not goad the unions on, and do not stick labels on them or split them.
Steadily and confidently they carry on their Marxist propaganda. They patiently teach Marxism to the workers, drawing on the lessons of life, and no deals between unprincipled groups will divert them from that path.
There was a time when the present-day liquidators demanded that the trade unions should be Party unions and have official representation in the Party. There was a time when the Narodniks compelled the Railwaymen's Union to officially swear allegiance to their programme. Today both have swung to the opposite extreme, and stand for neutralism. They have been compelled to do this by the political weakness of their positions.
We are following our old road, proclaimed long ago and upheld by the entire body of Marxists. The liquidators have a full right to enter into an alliance with the Narodniks. But it is an alliance based on abandonment of principles and on weakness. The road which the liquidator-Narodnik bloc proposes to the unions is not the road of the advanced workers.