judgement if at this moment anyone were to start shouting again for immediate launching of the assault, for forming at once into assault battalions, etc. The whole course of events goes to show that the tsarist government will very soon find itself in a still worse tangle and faced with an even more formidable resentment. The game it has started with the Zemstvo constitutionalists is bound to get it into a tangle: whether it makes some paltry concessions or whether it makes no concessions at all, discontent and exasperation will inevitably spread still wider. And it is likewise bound to get into a tangle with its shameful and criminal Manchurian adventure, which spells a political crisis in either event: decisive military defeat, or the protraction of a war so hopeless for Russia.
What the working class must do is to broaden and strengthen its organisation and redouble its agitation among the masses, making the most of every vacillation of the government, propagating the idea of an uprising, demonstrating the necessity for it from the example of all those half-hearted and foredoomed "steps" about which so much fuss is now being made. It need hardly be said that the workers' response to the Zemstvo petitions must be to call meetings, scatter leaflets, and -- where there are forces enough -- organise demonstrations to present all the Social-Democratic demands, regardless of the "panic" of Mr. Trubštskoy and his like or of the philistines' cries about levers for reaction. And if one is really to risk talking in advance, and from abroad at that, about a possible and desirable higher type of mass demonstration (because demonstrations not of a mass nature are altogether without significance); if one is really to discuss before what particular premises the demonstrators' forces should be concentrated -- we would point to the premises where the business of police persecution of the working-class movement is carried on, to the police, gendarmerie, censorship headquarters, to the places where political "offenders" are confined. The way for the workers to give serious support to the Zemstvo petitions is not by concluding agreements about the conditions on which the Zemstvo-ists would have a right to speak in the name of the people, but by striking a blow at the people's enemies. And there need be little doubt that the idea of such a demonstration will
meet with the sympathy of the proletariat. The workers nowadays hear magniloquent phrases and lofty promises on every hand, they see a real -- infinitesimal but nonetheless real -- extension of freedom for "society" (a slackening of the curb on the Zemstvos, the return of banished Zemstvo-ists, an abatement of the ferocity against the liberal press); but they see nothing whatever that gives their political struggle more freedom. Under pressure of the revolutionary onslaught of the proletariat the government has allowed the liberals to talk a little about freedom! The condition of the slaves of capital, downtrodden and deprived of rights, now comes home to the proletarians more clearly than ever. The workers do not have any regular widespread organisations for the relatively free (by Russian standards) discussion of political matters; nor halls to hold meetings in; nor newspapers of their own; and their exiled and imprisoned comrades are not coming back. The workers see now that the liberal bourgeois gentry are setting about dividing the bearskin, the skin of the bear which the workers have not yet killed, but which they, and they alone, have seriously wounded. They see that, at the very start of dividing the skin in anticipation, these liberal bourgeois gentry already snap and snarl at the "extreme parties", at the "enemies at home" -- the relentless enemies of bourgeois rule and bourgeois law and order. And the workers will rise still more fearlessly in still greater numbers, to finish off the bear, to win by force for themselves what is promised as charity to the liberal bourgeois gentry -- freedom of assembly, freedom of the workers' press, full political freedom for a broad and open struggle for the complete victory of socialism.
We are issuing this pamphlet with the superscription "For Party Members Only" inasmuch as the Iskra editors' "letter" was issued with that superscription. Actually, to stage "secrecy precautions" in regard to a plan that is to be circulated to dozens of towns, discussed in hundreds of workers' circles, and explained in agitation leaflets and appeals is nothing short of ridiculous. It is an instance of the bureaucratic mystification which Comrade Galyorka, in "On the New Road", has already noted to be a practice
of the editors and the Council. There is just one angle from which one might justify concealing the editorial letter from the public in general and the liberals in particular: a letter like that is altogether too discreditable to our Party. . . .
We are cancelling the superscription restricting the readership of this pamphlet, since our so-called Party editorial board has issued a reply to it that is supposedly for the Party membership but is in fact circulated only to gatherings of the minority and withheld from Party members known to belong to the majority.
If Iskra has decided not to consider us Party members (while at the same time fearing to say so openly), we can only resign ourselves to our sad fate and draw the appropriate conclusions from that decision.
December 22, 1904