* "I do not permit!" -- the expression of the "Liberum veto " possessed by every member of the Polish Sejm in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. --Ed.
on the shadings of Social-Democracy "akin to Economism", and on "the constriction of the scope of Party work". We shall say nothing of the incredibly careless editing of the resolutions, which rather resemble jottings, aphorisms, reflections, and scraps of rough copy. In this respect the resolutions of the Conference can be rivalled only by the "Programme of the Osvobozhdeniye League". Instead of precise, clear cut directives issued by the highest body of the Party, we find here . . . stylistic exercises of some Party literati.
To take the contents. On the pressing question of the uprising, we are not told that it has become "essential"; that it is necessary to elucidate, not only its political significance, but its "practical and organisational aspect"; that we must "organise the proletariat" to this end and "form special groups as the need arises". (Resolution of the Third Congress.) Not at all. First we are told that the possibility of timing the uprising and preparing it by methods of secret organisation is "excluded"; we then read that, with broader agitation and organisation, it is possible to convert spontaneous movements into "planned insurrections". From this muddle the party of the proletariat is expected to derive ideological guidance! The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. repeats and confirms all the old truths about propaganda, agitation, the general democratic movement, etc., but adds to this a new task: to organise the proletariat for the uprising, to elucidate the "practical and organisational aspect" of new methods of struggle, of the determined struggle for freedom. The Conference speaks only of "the preparation of the uprising" in general, with stale repetitions about agitation and organisation in general; it cannot bring itself to formulate a single new task independently, it advances no guiding slogan on the necessity to take a step forward from the general preparation, of which we have spoken since 1902, to the treatment of the matter from the point of view of practical organisation. Like the old Economists to a T. When new tasks of the political struggle emerged upon the scene, they were belittled, broken up into stages, and subordinated to the tasks of the economic struggle.
Not only economic struggle, but political struggle, and in the broadest and boldest forms, said the revolutionary Social-Democrats. The best means of political agitation is
economic struggle, answered the Economists. Not only propaganda and agitation in general, the revolutionary Social-Democrats now say, not only clarification of the political significance of the uprising, but also the formation of special groups, the immediate commencement of practical organisational work, "the most energetic measures for the arming of the proletariat." A planned uprising is excluded, retort the new-Iskrists; we must expand agitation, strengthen organisation, prepare the conversion of the spontaneous into the planned; only in this way "can the moment of insurrection be brought nearer", only in this way "can the technical fighting preparations acquire more or less serious importance". . . .
For them the moment of insurrection has not yet "come near"! For them the practical preparations have still to "acquire more or less serious importance"! Is this not tail-ism par excellence ? Is this not a degradation of the "urgent" task (urgent in the opinion of the Third Congress), towards which we have as yet done dreadfully little? Are not these people backing away from uprising to agitation, as the Economists backed away from political struggle to economic struggle with the employers and the government? Read in Osvobozhdeniye, No. 71, how Mr. Struve is backing away from the slogan of the "armed uprising", how this leader of the liberal bourgeoisie is questioning the inevitability of the uprising (p. 340), how he lays himself out to minimise the importance of "the technical aspect of the revolution", how he "gives depth " to the slogan of the uprising by pointing to the "socio-psychical conditions", how he substitutes for this slogan the slogan of "imbuing the masses with the ideas of democratic reform" -- and you will understand what a profoundly demoralising influence the tail-ism of the new-Iskrists must exercise on the proletariat, and into whose hands it plays.
The second urgent political question is that of the provisional revolutionary government. This question is clearly and distinctly formulated in the resolution of the Third Congress. The preamble speaks of the struggle for the republic, which can be won only through a completely successful uprising; of the need for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly by a provisional revolutionary government in order to guarantee truly free and fair elections; of the need to
prepare for the struggle with the bourgeoisie to safeguard the gains of the revolution. The conclusions and directives of the Congress: The proletariat must be made to realise the need for a provisional revolutionary government. The proletariat must put clearly defined demands before this government, namely, the realisation of the entire minimum programme. Social-Democrats may participate in the government (action "from above"), the object of such participation being clearly specified (a ruthless struggle against counter revolution and defence of the independent interests of the working class). The conditions of such participation are made equally explicit. The formal condition is strict control by the Party; the material condition, i.e., the condition determining the expediency of such participation, is jealous preservation of the independence of the Social-Democratic position and the creation of the conditions for the socialist revolution. This enumeration of the conditions of participation in the government, the conditions of pressure from above, as a new form of activity characteristic of the revolutionary epoch, is supplemented by an indication of the form and the purpose of pressure from below, which must be steadily maintained under all circumstances -- pressure on the provisional revolutionary government by the armed proletariat led by the Social-Democratic Party. Broadly, we have here a complete answer to the new political question, a precise indication of the significance of the new forms of struggle and their purpose, of the programme of the struggle and the conditions under which these forms may be employed.
And in the Conference resolution? The resolution begins with the grossly erroneous assertion that "the decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism" may be signalised either by the establishment of a provisional government "or by the revolutionary initiative of a representative institution, which, under the direct revolutionary pressure of the people, decides to organise a popular Constituent Assembly".
The Party may and should be given tactical directions both for the contingency of a victory of the uprising and for the contingency of its defeat, both for the contingency of the convocation of a true Constituent Assembly along revolutionary lines and for the contingency of the convocation of
a travesty of popular representation by the tsar. But to apply the term decisive victory to something that lacks the essential element of victory is to confuse the revolutionary consciousness, not to lead it. Any "decision" of any representative institution to organise a Constituent Assembly is as far removed from decisive victory as word is from deed; for the tsarist government wields the power that can prevent word from becoming deed. There is nothing whatever to choose between the resolution of the new-Iskrists and the affirmation of the old Economists that the decisive victory of the workers may consist either in their winning the eight-hour day or in the government's granting them the ten-hour day, from which stage the workers will pass to the nine hour day.
The Conference resolution repeats the incontestable theses of Marxism on the bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution, but interprets them narrowly or incorrectly. Instead of the militant slogan of "Republic", we are given a description of the process of "liquidation of the monarchist regime". Instead of setting forth the conditions and tasks of the new method of struggle "from above", which can and must be employed in a successful course of the proletarian uprising in the epoch of revolution, we are given the guiding rule "to remain the party of the extreme revolutionary opposition". This is a very useful thesis for the parliamentary struggle and action from below, but it would certainly be inadequate in the time of insurrection. At such a time the task of the "opposition" consists in the violent overthrow of the government; on this question the Conference was unable to offer a guiding slogan.
While admitting the possibility of partial and sporadic "seizures of power" in separate cities and districts, the Conference resolution abandons the "principle" of the new Iskra that participation in a provisional revolutionary government with the bourgeoisie constitutes a betrayal of the proletariat, that it is Millerandism, etc. Betrayal that is partial and sporadic is betrayal none the less. Limiting the problem to separate cities and districts does not solve it, however, but merely divides our attention and splits up the question, thereby befogging the issue. Lastly, the slogan of "revolutionary communes", embodied in the Con-
ference resolution, is more like an empty phrase on account of its unclarity, in contrast to the slogan of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.
The resolution of the new-Iskrists on the provisional revolutionary government suffers from the very fault that glares from their resolution on insurrection, namely, an inability to determine the new tactical tasks of the moment; reiteration of the much reiterated instead of the summons to go forward; the lack of a guiding slogan for the advanced class in the democratic revolution; a belittlement of the tasks and the scope of activity of this class, of its revolutionary enthusiasm and revolutionary energy. The political tendency of this erroneous tactical line is to bring new-Iskraism closer to Osvobozhdeniye-ism, to yield the leadership in the democratic revolution to the liberal bourgeoisie, to make the proletariat a mere satellite of the liberal bourgeoisie.
This basic error manifests itself also in the minor resolutions of the Conference. Thus, instead of the slogan of winning the eight-hour day by revolutionary means (resolution of the Third Congress), the old, now inadequate slogan of campaigning for the legislative introduction of the eight-hour day is put forward. Instead of the call for the immediate organisation of revolutionary peasant committees, we have the proposal solely to bring to the Constituent Assembly the demand for their formation. Instead of the slogan of combating the inconsistency, narrowness, and inadequacy of the liberation movement of the bourgeoisie wherever these traits manifest themselves (resolution of the Third Congress), the Conference resolution, repeating Starover's error, pursues the illusory aim of finding "the litmus paper", of enumerating the "points" conformity with which, if he meets them, entitles the bourgeois democrat to be called a true friend of the people. Of course, the "points" in the resolution of the new-Iskrists have shown themselves to be incomplete. The demand for the republic is missing. One is left to conclude that a democratic group like the "Russian Liberation Union" (Proletary, No. 4*) conforms to these
* See pp. 499-510 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "A New Revolutionary Workers' Association". -- DJR]
"points", although in reality there is no guarantee whatever that the Osvobozhdeniye crowd will not predominate in this group.
It need hardly be said that in a newspaper article we could only give a very brief and general idea of the main error pervading the new Iskra 's tactical line, as expressed in the Conference resolutions. The erroneous tendencies of the new Iskra 's tactical line are as serious and important to the Party as its 'organisation-as-process" is not serious. We therefore deal with these tendencies in detail in a special pamphlet which is now in the press and will appear very shortly.