"A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats " was written by Lenin in August 1899 when he was in exile and when he received the manifesto of the "economists -- which A. I. Ulyanova-Yelizarova sent him from St. Petersburg and which she called the Credo of the "Young." The author of the Credo was Y. D. Kuskova, at the time a member of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad. The manifesto of the group of "economists" was not intended for the press; as Lenin said, it was published "irrespective of, and perhaps even against, the wishes of its authors," because the "economists" feared public criticism of their opportunist views.
The draft of the "Protest" which Lenin prepared to oppose the manifesto of the Russian Bernsteinians was discussed at a meeting of seventeen Marxists in exile in Minusinsk Region at the village of Yermakovskoye. The "Protest" was adopted unanimously. A colony of exiles in Turukhansk also subscribed to the "Protest." Another colony of 11 exiled Social-Democrats in the town of Orlov, Vyatka Gubernia, also came out against the Credo of the "economists."
The "Protest" was sent abroad and immediately upon its receipt G. V. Plekhanov sent it to the press for inclusion in the current number of Rabocheye Dyelo. The "young" members of the Union Abroad, engaged in editing Rabocheye Dyelo, however, published the "Protest" as a separate leaflet in December 1899 without Plekhanov's knowledge. The "Protest" was followed by a postscript stating that the Credo represented the opinion of individuals whose position did not constitute a danger to the Russian working-class movement and denying that "economism" was current among members of the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad. Early in 1900 Plekhanov reprinted the "Protest" in the Vademecum,
a collection of essays against the "economists." Plekhanov welcomed the appearance of the "Protest" as evidence that the Russian Social-Democrats had recognised the serious danger of "economism" and had emphatically declared war on it.
Rabocheye Dyelo (The Workers' Cause ) -- the magazine of the "economists" which appeared irregularly in Geneva between April 1899 and February 1902 as an organ of the Union of Russian Social-Dcmocrats Abroad. For a criticism of the Rabocheye Dyelo group see Lenin's What Is to Be Done? (see present edition Vol. 5).
The Emancipation of Labour was the first Russian Marxist group. It was founded in Geneva by G. V. Plekhanov in 1883 and included P. B. Axelrod, L. G. Deutsch, V. I. Zasulich, and V. N. Ignatov among its members.
The group did much to spread Marxism in Russia. It translated such Marxist works as The Manifesto of the Communist Party by Marx and Engels, Wage-Labour and Capital by Marx, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific by Engels, etc., published them abroad and organised their distribution in Russia. Plekhanov and his group seriously undermined Narodism. In 1883 and in 1885 Plekhanov wrote two draft programmes of the Russian Social-Democrats; these were published by the Emancipation of Labour group and marked an important step towards the establishment of a Social-Democratic party in Russia. Plekhanov's Socialism and the Political Struggle (1883), Our Differences (1885), and The Development of the Monist View of History (1895) played a considerable part in disseminating Marxist ideas. The group, however made some serious mistakes. It clung to remnants of Narodnik views, underestimated the revolutionary role of the peasantry and overestimated the part played by the liberal bourgeoisie. These errors were the germs of the future Menshevik ideas espoused by Plekhanov and other members of the group. The group had no practical ties with the working-class movement. Lenin pointed out that the Emancipation of Labour group "only theoretically founded the Social-Democratic Party and took the first step in the direction of the working-class movement" (see present edition, Vol. 20, "Ideological Struggle in the Working-Class Movement").
At the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., held in August 1903, the Emancipation of Labour group announced its dissolution.
Bernsteinism -- a trend hostile to Marxism in international Social-Democracy. It emerged in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century and became connected in name with the Social-Democrat Eduard Bernstein who attempted to revise Marx's revolutionary theory in the spirit of bourgeois liberalism. The Russian Bernsteinians were the "legal Marxists," the "economists," the Bundists, and the Mensheviks.
The International Working Men's Association (First International) --the First international organisation of the proletariat, founded
by Karl Marx in 1864 at an international workers' meeting convened in London by English and French workers. The foundation of the first International was the result of many years of persistent struggle waged by Marx and Engels to establish a revolutionary party of the working class. Lenin said that the First International "laid the foundation of an international organisation of the workers for the preparation of their revolutionary assault on capital," "laid the foundation for the proletarian, international struggle for socialism" (see present edition, Vol. 29, "The Third lnternational and Its Place in History ").
The central, leading body of the International Working Men's Association was the General Council, of which Marx was a permanent member. In the course of the struggle against the petty-bourgeois influences and sectarian tendencies then prevalent in the working-class movement (narrow trade-unionism in England, Proudhonism and anarchism in the Romance countries), Marx rallied around himself the most class-conscious members of the General Council (Friedrich Lessner, Eugène Dupont, Hermann Jung, and others). The First International directed the economic and political struggle of the workers of different countries and strengthened their international solidarity. The First International played a tremendous part in disseminating Marxism, in connecting socialism with the working-class movement.
Following the defeat of the Paris Commune, the working class faced the task of creating mass national parties based on the principles advanced by the First International. "As I view European conditions," wrote Marx in 1873, "it is quite useful to let the formal organisation of the International recede into the background for the time being" (Marx to Sorge, London, September 27, 1873). In 1876 the First International was officially disbanded at a convention in Philadelphia.
Karl Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy, Moscow, 1959, pp. 187-97.
Lenin criticises the well-known Lassallean thesis that all other classes constitute a reactionary mass with respect to the working class. This thesis was included in the programme of the German Social-Democrats that was adopted at the Gotha Congress in 1875, the Congress which united the two hitherto separately existing German socialist parties, the Eisenachers and the Lassalleans.
Marx exposed the anti-revolutionary nature of this thesis in his Critique of the Gotha Programme (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, pp. 25-26).
The North-Russian Workers' Union, organised in 1878 in St. Petersburg, was one of the early revolutionary polilical organisations of the Russian working class. The leaders of the Union were Stepan Khalturin, a joiner, and Victor Obnorsky, a mechanic. The Union organised strikes and issued a number of proclamations. It had a membership of over 200. In 1879 the Union was suppressed
by the tsarist govornment. In February 1880 the members of the Union who remained at liberty published one issue of Rabochaya Zarya (Workers' Dawn ), the first working-class newspaper in Russia.
The South-Russian Workers' Union, founded in 1875 in Odessa by Y. O. Zaslavsky, was the first workers' revolutionary political organisation in Russia. The Union was suppressed by the tsarist government after having been in existence for eight or nine months.
Rabochaya Mysl (Workers' Thought ) -- the newspaper of the "economists," published from Octobor 1897 to December 1902; altogether 16 issues appeared (under the editorship of K. M. Takhtarev and others).
Lenin criticised the views of Rabochava Mysl in his "A Retrograde Trend in Russian Social-Democracy" (see pp. 255-85 of this volume), in articles published in Iskra, and in his work What Is to Be Done? (see present edition, Vol. 5).
S. Peterburgsky Rabochy Listok (St. Petersburg Workers' Paper ) -- an illegal newspaper, organ of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. Two numbers appeared: No. 1 in February (dated January) 1897, which was mimeographed in Russia, some 300-400 copies having been run off; No. 2 in September 1897, in Geneva (printed).
The paper advanced the aim of combining the economic struggle of the working class with extensive political demands and stressed the necessity for the foundation of a working-class party.
Rabochaya Gazeta (Workers' Gazette ) -- the illegal organ of the Kiev group of Social-Democrats. Two issues appeared -- No. 1 in August 1897 and No. 2 in December (dated November) of the same year. The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. adopted Rabochaya Gazeta as the Party's official organ. The newspaper did not appear after the Congress, the print-shop having been destroyed by the police and the members of the Central Committee arrested. Concerning the attempts to resume its publication made in 1899 see present volume, pp. 207-09.
The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was held in March 1898 in Minsk. The Congress was attended by nine delegates from six organisations -- the St. Petersburg, Moscow, Ekaterinolsav, and Kiev Leagues for the Emancipation of the Working Class, the Rabochaya Gazeta (Kiev) editorial group, and the Bund.
The Congress elected a Central Committee, adopted Rabochaya Gazeta as the official organ of the Party, published a Manifesto and declared the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad to be the Party's representative abroad. Soon after the Congress the Central Committee was arrested.
The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was important for its decisions and its Manifesto which proclaimed the formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
Narodnaya Volya (People's Will ) -- a secret political organisation of Narodnik terrorists that came into being in Augllst 1879 as a result of a split in the ranks of the Narodnik organisation Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty). The Narodnaya Volya was headed by an Executive Committee whose membership included A. I. Zhelyabov, A. D. MikhaiIov, M. F. Frolenko, N. A. Morozov, V. N. Figner, S. L. Perovskaya, and A. A. Kvyatkovsky. The Narodnaya Volya clung to the utopian socialism of the Narodniks, but took the path of political struggle, considering its most important task to be the overthrow of the autocracy and the winning of political liberty. Its programme envisaged the organisation of a "permanent popular assembly" elected on the basis of universal suffrage, the proclamation of democratic liberties, the transfer of the land to the people, and the elaboration of measures for the transfer of the factories to the workers. "The Narodovoltsi (members and followers of the Narodnaya Volya)," wrote Lenin, "made a step forward in their transition to the political struggle, but they did not succeed in connecting it with socialism" (see present edition, Vol. 8, "Working-Class and Bourgeois Democracy").
The Narodovoltsi carried on a heroic struggle against the autocracy. They based their activities on the fallacious theory of active "heroes" and the passive "mass" and expected to recast society without the participation of the people, employing only their own forces and attempting to overawe and disorganise the government by means of individual terror. After the assassination of Alexander II on March 1, 1881, the government undertook brutal repressions and by executions and provocations broke up the Narodnaya Volya organisation. Many attempts were made to reconstitute the Narodnaya Volya throughout the eighties, but all were unsuccessful. In 1886, for instance, a group that followed the traditions of the Narodnaya Volya was organised under the leadership of A. I. Ulyanov (Lenin's brother) and P. Y. Shevyrev. After an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Alexander III in 1887, the group was exposed and its active members were executed.
Although Lenin criticised the fallacious, utopian programme of the Narodnaya Volya, he had a great respect for the selfless struggle of its members against tsarism and placed a high value on their secrecy technique and their strictly centralised organisation.