* See pp. 253-61 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Friends Meet". -- DJR]
the occasion of the "granting" of a Duma, that purported inception of liberty, the Zemstvos agreed to confer less freely.
And indeed: 1) the programme for the Congress was cut down by Mr. Durnovo, i.e., by the police; 2) the chairman promised to adjourn the Congress in the event of a discussion on questions not on the agenda authorised by the police; 3) the Congress consented to hold its sittings in the presence of a police agent -- sent by Durnovo (chef de cabinet ) -- who was empowered to close the Congress if the "terms" of the agreement between Mr. Golovin and Mr. Durnovo were infringed; 4) also on pain of closure of the Congress, police forbade all "seditious outcries" (according to a wire from the special correspondent of the conservative paper Le Temps, who added that all these terms were faithfully observed ).
It goes without saying that since we derive our information from foreign newspapers we cannot vouch for the absolute accuracy or the exhaustive nature of this information. But there are no grounds for doubting that on the whole it is accurate. On the contrary, Mr. Golovin (who certainly did not intend his negotiations with Durnovo to become known to the public!) most likely promised the police even more regarding the loyal behaviour of the Zemstvos!
The undeniable fact is that Osvobozhdeniye 's words are utterly at variance with the deeds of its adherents. Osvobozhdeniye 's journalists harangue against the police, while the wirepullers most amicably arrange matters with the police. The beginning of the Zemstvo campaign for the Duma elections coincided with the beginning of agreement between the Zemstvo bourgeoisie and the autocracy.
Foreign correspondents speak unanimously of the peaceful nature of this Zemstvo Congress as compared with the preceding. Only one speaker, or according to other information two, favoured boycotting the Duma. The majority stood for participation (we stated in No. 12* of Proletary, even before the Duma Act was promulgated, that the Zemstvo Right wing had already made up its mind on this question). The majority considered that non-participation in the elections would be a "sign of timidity" -- a view fully shared, as we know, by Parvus and the new Iskra. On the other hand,
* See pp. 179-87 of this volume. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "The Boycott of the Bulygin Duma, and Insurrection". -- DJR]
our Zemstvos displayed their boldness . . . by coming to terms with the police. . . .
The Congress adopted a resolution which, instead of condemning the Duma, merely states (we are at a loss to say whether timidly or boldly) that the "Duma will not be a popular representative body in the literal sense of the term". Russian citizens are invited to unite on the programmes adopted at previous Zemstvo Congresses and to carry on their struggle on the basis of the Duma. The resolution does not say a single word about fighting outside the Duma and apart from the Duma: that is what the Osvobozhdeniye writer, who is "independent" of the police, calls "not for a moment renouncing the former methods of struggle. . . ."
Moderating their formerly excessive "revolutionary" zeal, the Zemstvos are applying their efforts to "constructive" work in connection with the Duma. They have drawn up a detailed political programme (we are not yet in possession of its complete text); they have endeavoured to cover up their retreat from democracy by reiterating the main points of moderate constitutionalism; they have dealt in detail with the question of the election campaign, the organisation of local and central election committees, drawing up lists of candidates, etc.
After all this is it still not clear what the landlord and merchant liberalism of the Zemstvos and Osvobozhdeniye League is driving at?
What they want is: to start discarding, one by one, the militant demands of democracy, everything that guarantees the rights of the revolutionary people, that develops and extends the struggle for liberty (while maintaining silence in the resolution about the struggle apart from the Duma, etc.); to start clinching all such demands of democracy that secure power for the bourgeoisie alone (snug berths in the Duma above all)! Less agitation among the people and more activity in the Duma!
As William Stead, that "liberal" who but yesterday was an admirer of the autocracy, so aptly put it (see his letter to The Times of September 26), external peace called for peace within the country, peace between the tsar and the liberal bourgeoisie, such as was proclaimed by the Law of August 6! By their behaviour the Zemstvos are proving
that they are willing to make peace, although, of course, by no means immediately or in all respects. "Mr. Mikhail Stakhovich, a friend and colleague of Shipov's," wrote the Temps correspondent on September 27, "is counting on the creation of a party of the centre, which would favour the autocracy and a consultative Duma; he asserts that many members of the extreme parties" (!! what aspersion on the Osvobozhdeniye supporters -- Editors of "Proletary ") "are prepared to join this party." Mr. Stakhovich's assertion is confirmed not only by the statements of many legally published newspapers, but even more so by the Zemstvo gentlemen's deeds. The Times correspondent informs us on September 26 that Mr. M. Stakhovich was present at the Congress. "The last named is still a strong believer in the victory of the moderate elements, indeed, the almost total absence of the usual fiery denunciations of the government, except casual [!!] references to the horrors of the Caucasus, rather confirms his forecast." The same correspondent of this conservative British paper writes: "The temper of the Assembly offers a singular contrast to the sentiment dominating the July Congress, when a large number of delegates advocated a boycott of the government [Duma] scheme."
Can it be that Iskra will still refuse to abandon its erroneous opinion that those who favoured a boycott wanted passive abstention, whereas the Stakhoviches, who favour participation, want a serious struggle? Will it really continue even now to stand, together with Parvus, for an agreement with the Osvobozhdeniye adherents and support for them, after they have obviously begun to come to terms with the Durnovos?
P. S. In all fairness it must be said that more and more information keeps coming in showing that the Russian new-Iskrists do not agree with the new Iskra. We have just received a leaflet issued by the St. Petersburg (Menshevik) group, entitled: "The State Duma or a Constituent Assembly." Together with criticism of the Duma we find here the slogan "Down with the Duma!" The workers' representatives are urged to tell the liberals "that they must not recognise the State Duma", "that they must renounce their right [the print in the leaflet is not legible] of election to the Duma", that they must help the workers "to arm for the struggle against the Black Hundreds and the State Duma".
The St. Petersburg Mensheviks have thus adopted the slogan of an active boycott. Here too, as in the well-known case of the "Zemstvo campaign plan", Iskra is at variance with its adherents in Russia. Only in one respect do the St. Petersburg Mensheviks come close to Iskra : they urge the workers immediately to elect "representatives in factories, workshops, and departments, just as they did for the Shidlovsky Commission. . . . When they meet, let our representatives wage a struggle against the State Duma, just as our delegates in the Shidlovsky Commission fought against that cunning trap set by the autocracy." This slogan is very similar to the Iskra slogan calling for "revolutionary self-government", although the comrades of the St. Petersburg group do not, of course, use this inept and high-sounding phrase. We have no doubt but that the St. Petersburg workers will see the erroneousness of this slogan and a false analogy with the Shidlovsky Commission. At that time the workers were boycotting the Commission; now the Duma is boycotting the workers.
While the tsar retains power, revolutionary self-government can be only a fragment of the revolution (the decision of the Smolensk Municipal Council, etc.). Making it the main slogan of the revolutionary proletariat means, sowing confusion and playing into the hands of the Osvobozhdeniye people. In developing, extending, strengthening, and spreading the organisation of the revolutionary forces of the proletariat and the peasantry, we must not confuse this organisation of war, this organisation of an uprising, with self-government. In purpose, manner of origin, and character, the organisation of an armed uprising, the organisation of a revolutionary army, is quite unlike the organisation of revolutionary self-government. The more zealously the liberal bourgeoisie, the Osvobozhdeniye gentry, endeavour to curtail, blur, and dock the consistent revolutionary democratic slogans, the more clearly and directly must we bring forward such slogans -- the convocation of a popular constituent assembly by a provisional revolutionary government, the organisation of an armed uprising, and a revolutionary army for the overthrow of tsarist rule.