* We mention Plekhanov because he has stated in print that Iskra 's tactic is better than Proletary 's. True, Plekhanov makes no mention of the new-"Iskra " resolutions and those of the Third Congress; however, dodges and evasions on the part of a Social-Democratic writer are a circumstance that enhances rather than extenuates the blame attaching to him.
** See pp. 254-55 of this volume. --Ed.
*** See p . 47 of this volume. --Ed.
the Stakhoviches (liberals) -- our ways have parted. It is with the revolutionary democrats that we shall do that. Only, while you are about it, change your slogans as well, most esteemed heroes of "parliamentary agreement". Instead of the slogan "an uprising is imperative", just say: "an uprising, if possible, will supplement the protests". Then all the Osvobozhdeniye supporters will agree with you! Instead of the slogan "universal and equal suffrage, direct elections and secret ballot", advance the following: "If possible, the government should guarantee direct, equal, universal and secret suffrage". Good riddance to you, gentlemen! We shall patiently wait for Parvus, Petrunkevich, Stakhovich, and Martov to "organise a popular protest and, if possible, a popular uprising" in defence of Milyukov. For in our "near-parliamentary" era it seems to be more timely, gentlemen, to defend Mr. Milyukov than the hundreds and thousands of workers who are being arrested and beaten up! . . .
Parvus declares categorically: "We have no chance whatever of getting our representatives elected to the Duma independently." Yet he writes: "If, however, election committees prove unfeasible, we shall still have to bend every effort to put up our own candidates." Despite the qualifications demanded Parvus believes that "in individual cases the possibility of putting up Social-Democratic candidates is not excluded". "One or two Social-Democratic candidates, irrespective of where they may be put up, will become a political slogan for the whole country."
Thank you for at least being clear. But then, what stands in your way, gentlemen? The newspaper Rus long ago put forward its candidates, all those Stakhoviches, Petrunkeviches, and other betrayers of the revolution who cool their heels in Mr. Durnovo's antechamber. Why is Iskra silent? Why does it not go from words to deeds? Why does it not put forward Axelrod, Starover, Parvus, and Martov as candidates for the State Duma? Try it, gentlemen, conduct an experiment, experimentum in corpore vili.* Try it, and we shall see at once which of us is right: you who believe that these candidates will become "a slogan for the whole
* An experiment on a vile body. --Ed.
country", or we who believe that at the present time these candidates will only play the role of buffoons.
Parvus writes: "The government has given a handful of people the right to elect a body which is to manage the affairs of the whole nation. This imposes on the artificially selected voters the duty of using their exclusive right with due regard to the opinion of the popular masses and of not being guided by arbitrary personal" (but by class and party?) "considerations. Our task is to remind them of this duty, force [!!l them to perform it, and we must stop at nothing in carrying out this task."
This reasoning, quite naturally supplemented by the assurance that the tactics of (active) boycott expresses disbelief in the "revolutionary forces of the country" (sic !), is fundamentally wrong. It is a typically bourgeois-sentimentalist presentation of the question that all Social-Democrats should rise up against. Parvus's reasoning is bourgeois, for he fails to see the class essence of the Duma -- the agreement between the bourgeoisie and the autocracy. Parvus's reasoning is so much empty and sentimental phrase-mongering, for he is prepared -- even if fleetingly -- to take seriously the false words of the Osvobozhdeniye adherents that they desire to "act with due regard to the opinion of the popular masses". The esteemed Parvus is some three years behind the times. When the liberals had no press and no illegal organisation, whereas we possessed both, we helped them in their political development. History will not fail to record this service among the deeds of the Social-Democratic movement. But from political sucklings the liberals have now become the chief political wirepullers and have shown their treachery to the revolution in deed. To lay the main stress at the present time not on the need to expose the treachery of the bourgeois "compromisers", but to remind them of their "duty" to manage the affairs (not of the bourgeoisie, but ) of the whole people, means toadying to the Osvobozhdeniye League! It is only they who can seriously seek an expression of "the revolutionary forces of the country" in the State Duma. The Social-Democrats know that the best we can achieve now is the neutralisation, the paralysing of the bourgeoisie's efforts at treachery. The Zemstvo and the Osvobozhdeniye people are not "a revolutionary force of the country", and you should feel
ashamed to be ignorant of that, Comrade Parvus. The proletariat and the peasantry, which is fighting against the landlords, are now the only revolutionary force in the democratic revolution.
The formulation of the conditions of proletarian support for the Osvobozhdeniye League is the gem of gems in Parvus's remarkable article. "It is necessary," writes Parvus, "to impose definite political demands on the opposition candidates who wish to avail themselves of our support.""These might, for instance, be: 1) the demand in the Duma itself that it be immediately dissolved and a constituent assembly convened, elected on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot; 2) the denial of all military and financial credits to the government until this demand is fulfilled." (A poor Russian translation from the German, but the meaning is clear.)
One downward step is followed by another. One misstep on to an inclined plane, and the fall becomes headlong. Our supermen like Parvus and Plekhanov, who hold themselves aloof from both sections of the Party, loftily ignore those very new-Iskra resolutions for which they are morally and politically responsible. These supermen imagine themselves superior to both the "Majority" and the "Minority"; in actual fact they are inferior to both, since to all the shortcomings in the Majority they have been able to add the shortcomings in the Minority, as well as all the shortcomings of the turncoat.
Take Parvus. He has always gone hand in glove with Iskra, even when the plan of the Zemstvo campaign and of January 9 opened his eyes, though not for long, to its opportunist stand. Nevertheless, Parvus wanted to be considered a "conciliator" -- most likely because of the fact that when, after January 9, he began to advance the slogan calling for a provisional government, the Bolsheviks were obliged to correct him and point out that his slogans contained elements of phrase-mongering. "No tsar, but a workers' government!" Parvus vociferated under the impression of January 9. "Without the people, but with a liberal Duma!" is what his present "tactics" amount to after August 6. No, comrade, we shall not base our tactics on fleeting impulses, bowing to the exigencies of the moment!
Parvus has now concocted "new" conditions for the liberals.
Poor new-Iskrists, how exhausted they must feel after concocting "conditions" for an agreement with the Osvobozhdeniye League! At the Second Congress, Starover (see his resolution, which was rejected by the Third Congress) concocted one set of conditions, which immediately fell through, for neither in the plan of the Zemstvo campaign, nor now have these conditions been advanced in full by any of the new Iskrists who wrote about an "agreement" with the Osvobozhdeniye League. The new-Iskra Conference advanced other and stricter conditions in the resolution on the attitude to the liberals. Parvus of the Iskra bears moral responsibility for this resolution -- but what do literary supermen care for mere resolutions drawn up with the participation of responsible representatives of the proletariat! Supermen snap their fingers at Party resolutions!
The new-Iskra resolution on the attitude to opposition parties states in black and white that the Social-Democrats "demand of all enemies of tsarism":
"1) Active and unequivocal support of all determined action by the organised proletariat directed towards dealing fresh blows at tsarism."
In proposing an "agreement" with the Osvobozhdeniye League and promising them "support", Parvus demands nothing of the kind.
"2) Open recognition and unqualified support of the demand for a popular constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal, etc., suffrage, and open action against all parties and groups that are trying to curtail the rights of the people, whether it be by limiting suffrage or by accepting the grant of a monarchist constitution in lieu of a constituent assembly."
Parvus repudiates the whole of the second part of these conditions. He even completely disregards the question of whom the Osvobozhdeniye League members in the Duma should "demand the convocation" of a constituent assembly from. From the tsar, no doubt? But why shouldn't you convoke it yourselves, esteemed heroes of "parliamentary agreement"? Or are you no longer opposed to having it "granted " by the tsar?
"3) Resolute support of the working-class struggle against the government and the magnates of capital, for the right to strike and the right of association."
Parvus exempts the Osvobozhdeniye League from this "condition", evidently on the occasion of the Duma's convocation and the injuriousness of the tactic -- "the worse, the better" (although in the same breath Parvus mockingly assures the reader that it would be worse if the Duma had legislative rights, i.e., that the one step towards something better, the one the Osvobozhdeniye League is striving for, is a step for the worse!!).
"4) Open resistance to all attempts by the government and the feudal nobility to suppress the peasant revolutionary movement by measures of barbarous violence against the persons and property of the peasants."
Why have you forgotten this condition, my good Parvus? Can it be that you are no longer prepared to put this excellent demand to Petrunkevich? Stakhovich? Rodichev? Milyukov? Struve?
"5) Refusal to support any measures intended to preserve, in a free Russia, any restrictions of the rights of individual nationalities and any traces of national oppression."
"6) Active participation in helping the people to arm themselves for the fight against reaction, and support for the Social-Democrats' endeavours to organise an armed mass struggle."
Why, my dear Parvus, have you forgotten these conditions?