Argue About Tactics, But Give Clear Slogans!

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V. I. Lenin

ARGUE ABOUT TACTICS,
BUT GIVE CLEAR SLOGANS!

Proletary, No. 18,
September 26 (13), 1905
 

Published according to
the text in Proletary
 


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

First printing 1962
Second printing 1965
Third printing 1972

Vol. 9, pp. 262-64.

Translated from the Russian by
Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Edited by George Hanna

 


Prepared for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo,
djr@marx2mao.org
 (February 2002)
 

 

ARGUE ABOUT TACTICS, BUT GIVE CLEAR SLOGANS!
 

    The argument about the tactics in respect of the State Duma is becoming more and more heated. The differences between Iskra and Proletary are becoming ever deeper, especially since Parvus's article in Iskra.

    Tactics must be debated, but in this the utmost clarity must be striven for. Questions of tactics are questions of the Party's political conduct. A line of conduct can and should be grounded in theory, in historical references, in an analysis of the entire political situation, etc. But in all these discussions the party of a class engaged in a struggle should never lose sight of the need for absolutely clear answers -- which do not permit of a double interpretation -- to concrete questions of our political conduct: "yes" or "no"? Should this or that be done right now, at the given moment, or should it not be done?

    Such clear replies are essential to prevent differences from being exaggerated or confused, and also to make definitely known to the working class the specific kind of advice being offered it by this or that group of Social-Democrats at a given moment.

    With a view to introducing complete clarity into our controversy with Iskra we have drawn up the following list of concrete questions concerning the political conduct of the Social-Democrats in the present Duma election campaign. We do not in the least claim that this list is complete, and would welcome suggestions for amending, changing, or subdividing any of the questions. It stands to reason that what is said here concerning election meetings applies to all meetings in general.

 

WHAT IS THE ADVICE THE SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS
ARE GIVING THE PROLETARIAT WITH REFERENCE
TO THE STATE DUMA?

 


 

Iskra
 

Proletary
 

 1. Should workers endeavour to gain
entry to election meetings?
 


Yes
 


Yes
 

 2. Should workers endeavour to gain
entry to election meetings even by
force?
 


 
Yes
 


 
Yes
 

 3. Should we speak at such meetings
about the uselessness of the Duma
and explain all the aims and the en-
tire programme of Social-Democracy?
 


 
 
Yes
 


 
 
Yes
 

 4. Should the workers and the people
as a whole be called upon at such
meetings to rise up in arms and form
a revolutionary army and provisional
Revolutionary government?
 


 
 
 
?
 


 
 
 
Yes
 

 5. Should these slogans (point 4) be
made the focus of our whole "Duma"
campaign?
 


 
No
 


 
Yes
 

 6. Should Osvobozhdeniye League
members (or "Constitutional-Demo-
crats") entering the State Duma be
denounced as bourgeois traitors who
are pursuing a policy of "compromise"
with the tsar?
 


 
 
 
 
No
 


 
 
 
 
Yes
 

 7. Should we Social-Democrats tell
the people that it would be prefer-
able to elect to the State Duma the
Petrunkeviches rather than the Stak-
hoviches, etc.?
 


 
 
 
Yes
 


 
 
 
No
 

 8. Should we conclude any agreement
whatever with the Osvobozhdeniye
League on our support of the latter on
the basis of certain conditions, de-
mands, pledges, etc.?
 


 
 
 
Yes
 


 
 
 
No
 

 


 

Iskra
 

Proletary
 

 9. Should we make the slogan of "re-
volutionary self-government" the cen-
tral point of our agitation?
 


 
Yes
 


 
No
 

 10. Should we call upon the people
immediately to elect, on the basis of
universal suffrage, bodies of revolu-
tionary self-government and through
these a constituent assembly?

 


 
 
Yes
 


 
 
No
 

 11. Should we elect Social-Demo-
cratic election committees? Should
we put up Social-Democratic candi-
dates for the State Duma?
 


 
 
Yes
 


 
 
No