to consolidate the tutelage of the police and the bureaucracy). Another advantage is that the programme quashes once and for all the absurd idea alleging that the Social-Democrats tell the peasants they cannot and must not go beyond the cut-off lands. We must dispel this idea by a clear formulation in the programme, and not
confine ourselves to explaining it in the commentaries. The tact that no concrete methods for expropriating the land are mentioned in the proposed formulation may appear to be a defect. But is it, strictly speaking, a defect?
Social-Democrats who have written on the agrarian question have pointed out repeatedly how inappropriate it is for us to occupy ourselves with project-mongering in this connection, since the chief measure of an agrarian reform -- nationalisation of the land -- would, in a police-ridden state, necessarily be perverted and would serve only to obscure the class nature of the movement. Yet all other measures for transforming agrarian relations will, under the capitalist system, be only an approach to nationalisation; they will be only partial measures, only a few of the possible measures, i.e., measures to which Social-Democracy has no intention whatever of restricting itself. At the present time the Social-Democrats are against nationalisation, and even the Socialists-Revolutionaries, under the influence of our criticism, have become much more cautious on the subject (compare their draft programme with their former "élan") .
But the point is that the revolutionary movement leads us towards the democratic republic, which, with the abolition of the standing army, etc., constitutes one of our immediate demands.
In a democratic republic, with the people armed and with other measures of a like republican character realised, Social-Democracy cannot renounce nationalisation of the land and thereby tie their own hands on this issue. Thus, the defect in the formulation I propose is only an apparent one. In point of fact, this formulation provides a consistent class slogan for the present moment -- indeed, an absolutely concrete slogan -- while leaving ample scope for the "revolutionary-democratic" measures which may prove necessary or desirable in the event of a favourable development of our revolution. At the present time, as well as in the future, pending the complete victory of the peasant uprising, a revolutionary slogan must necessarily take into account the antagonism between peasant and landlord ; and the cut-off lands clause quite correctly emphasised this circumstance. On the other hand, all and every "nationalisation", "transfer of rents",
"socialisation", etc., ignore and obscure this characteristic antagonism, and therein lies their defect.
At the same time, the formulation I propose widens the aims of the revolutionary peasant committees to include "transforming all rural relations in general along democratic lines". The peasant committees are presented as a slogan in our programme, which correctly characterises them as peasant, i.e., social-estate, in essence, since oppression of one social-estate by another can be destroyed only by the whole of the lower, oppressed estate. But is there any reason for confining the aims of these committees to agrarian reforms? Must other committees really be set up for other, e.g., administrative, reforms? The trouble with the peasants, as I have previously pointed out, is their utter failure to perceive the political aspect of the movement. If we could succeed, even in a few instances, in connecting the effective revolutionary measures taken by the peasantry to improve their position (confiscation of grain, of livestock, and of land ) with the formation and activity of peasant committees and with the full sanctioning of these committees by the revolutionary parties (and, under especially favourable conditions, by a provisional revolutionary government), we could consider the struggle to win the peasants for the democratic republic as won. Unless the peasantry is thus won over, all its revolutionary steps will be very insecure, and all its gains will easily be wrested from it by the social classes in power.
Finally, in speaking of supporting "revolutionary-democratic" measures, the proposed formulation draws a clear line between the deceptive, pseudo-socialist appearance of such measures as the peasant seizure of land and their actual democratic content. To realise how important it is for a Social-Democrat to draw such a line, it suffices to recall the attitude of Marx and Engels towards the agrarian movement, for instance, in America (Marx in 1848 on Kriege, Engels in 1885 on Henry George ). Today, of course, no one will attempt to deny the existence of a peasant war for land, of the land fever (in semi-feudal countries or in the colonies). We fully recognise its legitimacy and its progressiveness, but at the same time we reveal its democratic, i.e., in the final analysis, its bourgeois-democratic content. Therefore,
while endorsing this content, we, for our part, make special "reservations"; we point to the "independent" role of the proletarian democratic movement and to the specific aims of the Social-Democratic Party as a class party that is working for the socialist revolution.
These are the reasons that lead me to suggest that the comrades discuss my proposal at the forthcoming Congress and broaden the corresponding clause of the programme in the direction I propose.