V. I. Lenin


Written on Aprll 6 (19), 1907
Published in 1907 in the book
Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph Dietzgen,
Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others
to Friedrich Sorge and Others.

Published by P. G. Dauge,
St. Petersburg
Signed: N. Lenin

Published according
to the text in the book

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972

First printing 1962
Second printing 1965
Third printing 1972

Vol. 12, pp. 359-78.

Translated from the Russian by George Hanna
Edited by Julius Katzer

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (May 1998)



  How the Classics Estimated Intellectualist Opportunism
  in Social-Democracy .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



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  [121] Sovremennaya Zhizn (Contemporary Life ) -- a Menshevik journal published in Moscow from April 1906 to March 1907.
    Otkliki (Comments ) -- Menshevik symposia published in St. Petersburg in 1906 and 1907; three of them appeared.    [p.362]

  [122] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 469.    [p.363]

  [123] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 476-77.    [p.363]

  [124] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 474-75.    [p.363]

  [125] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 415.    [p.364]

  [126] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 471.    [p.364]

  [127] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 470.

    The Knights of Labour -- The Noble Order af the Knights of Labour was an American working-class organisation founded in Philadelphia in 1869 by Uriah Smith Stephens, a tailor. Until

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1881 the Knights of Labour was a secret organisation which united craft unions of various categories of skiiled and unskilled workers irrespective of nationality. In 1874 non-workers were admitted to the organisation on the condition that their number did not exceed a quarter of the total membership (it was forbidden to accept lawyers, bankers, persons living entirely or partly from the production or sale of spirituous liquors, professional gamblers and stock market speculators). In 1884 the organisation had 70,000 members. and by 1886 the number had increased to 700,000. The chief purpose of the Order was the education of workers and the defence of their interests through workers' solidarity. The leadership of the Order constrained their members to refrain from the political struggle- they opposed the formation of a workers' party, opposed the day-by-day economic struggle against the factory owners, but favoured collaboration with the employers and the settlement of disputes by arbitration and peaceful agreements. Even in the eighties, when the working-class movement had acquired strength and many strikes ended in victory for the workers, the leaders of the Knights of Labour retained their old position. They considered co-operation to be the one means of fighting all the evils of capitalism.

    In 1886 the leaders of the Knights of Labour opposed the nation-wide general strike of workers for the eight-hour day and although many rank-and-file members of the Order participated in the strike the leadership succeeded in breaking it by forbidding participation. The contradictions between the majority of the membership and the opportunist leaders grew more acute; after 1886 the Knights of Labour began to lose its influence among tbe masses and by the end of the nineties had ceased to exist.

    Despite the treacherous policy of its leaders, the Noble Order of Ihe Knights of Labour, especially in the early period of its existence, played an important role in the working-class movement of the U.S.A.    [p.364]

  [128] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 375-76.    [p.366]

  [129] Katheder-Socialists or Katheder-reformers -- representatives of a trend in bourgeois polltical economy in the 1870s and 1880s who, under the guise of socialism, advocated bourgeois-liberal reformism from university chairs (Katheder in German). The fear aroused among the exploiting classes by the spread of Marxism and the growth of the working-class movement, as well as the efforts of bourgeois ideologists to find fresh means of keeping the working people in subjugation, brought Katheder-Socialism into being.

    The Katheder-Socialists, among whom were Adolp Wagner, Gustav Schmoller, Lorenz Brentano, and Werner Sombart, asserted that the bourgeois state is above classes; that it can reconcile mutually hostile classes, and that it can gradually introduco socialism", without affecting the interests of the capitalists, while giving every possible consideration to the demands of the working

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people. They suggested the legalisation of police-regulated wage-labour and the revival of the medieval guilds. Marx and Engels exposed Katheder-Socialism, showing how essentially reactionary it was. Lenin called the Katheder-Socialists the bedbugs of "police bourgeois university science" who hated Marx's revolutionary teachings. In Russia the views of the Katheder-Socialists were disseminated by the "legal Marxists".    [p.366]

  [130] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 396.    [p.367]

  [131] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, Stuttgart, 1921, S. 164-65.    [p.367]

  [132] Ibid., S. 169.    [p.367]

  [133] Ibid., S. 183-84.
    Yearbook of Social Science and Social Politics -- published in Zurich in 1879 by the German reformist Social-Democrat K. Höchberg.    [p.368]

  [134] There was a difference of opinion among the Social-Democratic deputies to the German Reichstag on the question of the steamship subsidies. At the end of 1884 Chancellor Bismarck demanded, in the interests of the German policy of colonial expansion, that the Reichstag institute a subsidy for shipping companies to organise regular shipping lines to East Asia, Australia and Africa. The Left Wing of the Social-Democratic group, headed by Bebel and Liebknecht, rejected the steamship subsidy, but the Right wing -- Auer, Dietz and others, who constituted the majority -- spoke in favour of granting the shipping companies a subsidy even before the official debates in the Reichstag. During the Reichstag discussion in March 1885, the Right wing of the Social-Democratic group voted in favour of opening shipping lines to East Asia and Australia; they based their agreement with Bismarck's plan on the acceptance of some of their conditions, in particular the demand that the new ships should be built in German shipyards. It was only when the Reichstag rejected this demand that the whole Social-Democratic group voted against the government plan. The conduct of the majority of the group was sharply criticised in the newspaper Sozial-Demokrat and by Social-Democratic organisations. The differences were so sharp that almost caused a split in the party and Engels subjected the opportunist position of the Right wing of the Social-Democratic group to scathing criticism! (See Marx and Engels, Briefe an Bebel, S. 384, 392, Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 203; Marx and Engels, Briefe über " Das Kapital ", Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1953, S. 294.)    [p.368]

  [135] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 203-04.    [p.368]

  [136] Ibid., S. 256.    [p.368]

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  [137] Possibilists (Brousse, Benoit Malon, and otbers) -- a petty-bourgeois trend in the French socialist movement that distracted workers from revolutionary methods of struggle. In 1882, after the split in the French Workers' Party at the Sainte Etienne Congress, the Possibilists organised the Workers' Social-Revolutionary Party; they rejected the revolutionary programme and revolutionary tactics of the proletariat, ignored the socialist aims of the working-class movement and proposed limiting the workers' struggle to the "possible" -- hence the name of the party. The Possibilists were influential mainly in the economically more backward regions of France and among the less developed sections of the class.    [p.369]

  [138] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 307.    [p.369]

  [139] Ibid., S. 311.    [p.369]

  [140] Bakuninists -- adherents of an anarchist trend hostile to Marxism. Named after its founder, Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876). The basic postulate of Bakuniuism was the negation of the state as such, including the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Bakuninists held that the revolution was to take the form of immediate popular revolts directed by a secret revolutionary society, made up of "outstanding" individuals. The theory and the tactics of the Bakuninists were severely condemned by Marx and Engels. Lenin described Baknninism as the world outlook "of the petty bourgeois who despairs of his salvation". Bakuninism was one of the ideological sources of Narodism (see Note 22).    [p.369]

    [Note 22: Narodism -- a petty-bourgeois trend in the Russian revolutionary movement that grew up in the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century and comprised mainly progressive intellectuals from the lower social-estates. With the objective of rousing the peasantry to struggle against absolutism, the revolutionary youth "went among the people", to the village, gaining there, however, no support. The Narodniks held to the view that capitalism in Russia was a fortuitous phenomenon with no prospect of development, and that for this reason there would be no growth and development of a Russian prolotariat. The Narodniks considered the peasantry to be the main revolutionary force and regarded the village commune as the embryo of socialism. The Narodniks procceded from an erroneous view of the role of the class struggle in historical development, maintaining that history is made by heroes, by outstanding personalities, who are followed passively by the popular masses.]

  [141] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 486-87.    [p.369]

  [142] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 316.    [p.370]

  [143] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 319.    [p.370]

  [144] Die Neue Zeit, 1907, 25. Jhrg., Erster Band, S. 13.    [p.370]

  [145] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 537.    [p.371]

  [146] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 557.    [p.371]

  [147] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 415.    [p.371]

  [148] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 397.    [p.372]

  [149] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, p. 33.    [p.373]

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  [150] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 471.    [p.374]

  [151] Decazeville strike -- a strike of French coal-miners at Decazeville in January 1886 which was put down by government troops. Bourgeois members of the Chamber of Deputies, including Radicals, approved the government's repressive measures. Working-class deputies left the Radical Party and formed an independent workers' group in the Chamber.    [p.374]

  [152] V. I. Lenin, On Britain, Moscow, 1959, p. 162.    [p.374]

  [153] The remaining part of the "Introduction" (from the words "In 1889 a young, fresh movement . . .") was published in the Bolshevik newspaper Nashe Ekho, No. 13, on April 8, 1907, with the following introductory paragraph:
    "Correspondence between Marx and Engels and their friend and comrade-in-arms Sorge, who lives in America, is shortly to be published by P. Dauge. In view of the interest aroused by this publication we have taken the liberty of reprinting here that part of the introduction to the Russian translation of the book which deals with the attitude of Marx and Engels to the revolution they expected to take place in Russia. We shall begin with two typical passages by Engels on the significance of the French revolution and on the possible revolution in Germany."    [p.374]

  [154] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 491.    [p.375]

  [155] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 371.    [p.375]

  [156] By "the Eastern crisis " Marx meant the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78.    [p.376]

  [157] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 376.    [p.376]

  [158] Narodnaya Volya (The People's Will ) organisation -- a secret political organisation of Narodnik terrorists which took shape inbAugust 1879 following a split in the Zemlya i Volya (Land and Liberty) secret society. The organisation was headed by an Executive Committee which included among its members A. I. Zhelyabov, A. D. Mikhailov; M. F. Frolenko, N. A. Morozov, V. N. Figner, S. L. Perovskaya and A. A. Kvyatkovsky. The members of the Narodnaya Volya organisation continued to uphold utopian Narodnik socialism but at the same time entered the political struggle, considering the overthrow of the autocracy and the achievement of political liberty to be the most important tasks. Their programme envisaged "permanent popular representation (i.e, parliament) established on the basis of universal sufferage, the proclamation of democratic liberties, the transfer of the land to the

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people and the elaboration of measures for the transfer of the factories to the workers. "Narodnaya Volya", wrote Lenin, "made a step forward by going over to the political struggle, but they did not succeed in linking it up with socialism."
    The Narodnaya Volya group conducted an heroic struggle against the autocracy, but it was based on the erroneous theory of "active" heroes and the "passive" mass; they expected to achieve the transformation of society without the participation of the people, using only their own forces, by means of individual terror; and the intimidation and disorganisation of the government.
    After March 1, 1881 (the assassination of Alexander II), the government crushed the Narodnaya Volya organisation by savage persecution, executions and acts of provocation. Repeated attempts were made to revive the Narodnaya Volya during the eighties, but all proved fruitless. In 1886, for example, a group was formed under the leadership of A. I. Ulyauov (brother of V. I. Lenin) and P. Y. Shevyrev, which adopted the traditions of the Narodnaya Volya. The group was uncovered after the unsuccessful attempt on the life of Alexander III in 1887, and its active members were executed.
    Lenin criticised the erroneous utopian programme of the Narodnaya Volya but held in very high esteem the self-sacrificing struggle of its members against tsarism. He had a very high opinion of their technique of underground work and their strictly centralised organisation.
    General Redistribution (G. V. Plekhanov, M. R. Popov, P. B. Axelrod, L. G. Deutsch, V. V. Stefanovich; V. I. Zasulich, O. V. Aptekman, V. N. Ignatov, and later, A. P. Bulanov, and others) -- an organisation that demanded in its programme the basic platform of the old Zemlya i Volya organisation, the equalitarian redistribution of all land among those who till it. Plekhanov, Deutsch, Zasulich, Stefanovich, and others went abroad in 1880 and there, as well as in Russia, issued the journal Chorny Peredel (General Redistribution ) and the newspaper Zerno (Corn ). Some of the General Redistribution group later went over to Marxism (Plekhanov, Axelrod, Zasulich, Deutsch, and Ignatov) and founded the first Russian Marxist orgauisation -- the Emancipation of Labour group -- in 1883; after March 1, 1881, the remainder of the group joined forces with the Narodnaya Volya.    [p.376]

  [159] Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 405.
    The French passage reads: "principles have been hawked about the street ever since the time of the late Bakunin".    [p.376]

  [160] Engels wrote about the pamphlet "Our Differences" and about the forthcoming revolution in Russia in a letter to V. I. Zasulich dated April 23, 1885. The letter was first published in 1925 in the symposium "The Emancipation of Labour Group", No. 3. (See Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 458-61.)    [p.377]

  [161] Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 260.    [p.377]

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  [162] Ibid., S. 262.    [p.377]

  [163] Marx-Engels-Lenin, Zur deutschen Geschichte, Bd. II, 1. Halbband, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1954, S. 525.    [p.377]