Agrarian Prog . . . First Russian Revolution

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V. I. Lenin


Written in November-December 1907 
First published in 1908
(confiscated); published in 1917
in book form by Zhizn i Znaniye

Published according   
to the manuscript.   
Checked with the text   
of the 1917 edition    

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1972

Vol. 13, pp. 217-431.

Translated from the Russian by Bernard Isaacs
Edited by Clemens Dutt

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (September 1997)


    The two years of revolution, from the autumn of 1905 to the autumn of 1907, have furnished a vast amount of experience of historical value concerning the peasant movement in Russia and the character and significance of the peasants' struggle for land. Decades of so-called "peaceful" evolution (i.e., when millions of people peacefully allow themselves to be fleeced by the upper ten thousand) can never furnish such a wealth of material for explaining the inner workings of our social system as has been furnished in these two years both by the direct struggle of the peasant masses against the landlords and by the demands of the peasants, expressed with at least some degree of freedom, at assemblies of representatives of the people. Therefore, the revision of the agrarian programme of the Russian Social-Democrats in the light of the experience of these two years is absolutely necessary, particularly in view of the fact that the present agrarian programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was adopted at the Stockholm Congress in April 1906, i.e., on the eve of the first public appearance of representatives of the peasantry from all over Russia with a peasant agrarian programme, in opposition to the programme of the government and to that of the liberal bourgeoisie.

    The revision of the Social-Democratic agrarian programme must be based on the latest data on landed property in Russia in order to ascertain with the utmost precision what actually is the economic background of all the agrarian programmes of our epoch, and what precisely are the issues in the great historic struggle. This economic basis of the real struggle must be compared with the ideological-political reflection of this basis that is found in the programmes, declarations, demands, and theories of the spokesmen of the different classes. This is the course, and the only course, that a Marxist should take, unlike the petty-bourgeois socialist who proceeds from "abstract" justice, from the theory of the "labour principle", etc., and unlike the liberal bureaucrat who, in connection with every reform, covers up his defence of the interests of the exploiters by arguments about whether the reform is practicable and about the "state" point of view.

C H A P T E R  I



    The Landed Property Statistics for 1905, published by the Central Statistical Committee in 1907, enables us to ascertain precisely the comparative size of the peasant and landlord holdings in the fifty gubernias in European Russia. First of all we will give the general data. The whole territory of European Russia (50 gubernias) is given (see census of January 28, 1897) as 4,230,500 square versts, i.e., 440,800,000 dessiatins. The landed property statistics for 1905 register a total of 395,200,000 dessiatins under the following three main headings:



Privately owned land
Allotment land [97]
Land owned by state, church, and various


    Total land in European Russia


    From these general figures it is necessary to deduct, first of all, state lands situated in the far north and consisting partly of tundra and partly of such forest land as cannot be expected to be used for agriculture in the near future. There are 107,900,000 dessiatins of such land in the "north- ern region" (in the Arkhangelsk, Olonets and Vologda gubernias). Of course, by deducting all these lands we considerab!y overestimate the area of land unsuitable for agriculture. It suffices to point out that such a cautious statistician as Mr. A. A. Kaufman calculates that in the Vologda and Olonets gubernias 25,700,000 dessiatins of forest land (with over 25 per cent of forest) could be utilised for additional allotment to the peasants.[*] However, since we are dealing with general data about the land area, without giving separate figures for forest land, it will be more correct to take a more cautious estimate of the land area suitable for agriculture. After deducting 107,900,000 dessiatins, there will be left 287,300,000 dessiatins, or in round figures, 280,000;000 dessiatins, leaving out a portion of urban land (the totaI of which is 2,000,000 dessiatins) and a portion of the state lands in the Vyatka and Perm gubernias (the total area of state land in these two gubernias is 16,300,000 dessiatins).

    Thus, the aggregate amount of land suitable for agriculture in European Russia is distributed as follows:


Privately owned land
Allotment land
State land and land owned by various
101.7 million dessiatins
138.8    "       "
 39.5    "       "

    Total land in European Russia

280.0    "       "

    Now we must give separate figures for small and large (particularly very large) holdings in order to obtain a concrete idea of the conditions of the peasant struggle for land in the Russian revolution. Such figures, however, are incomplete. Of the 138,800,000 dessiatins of peasant allotment land 136,900,000 dessiatins are classified according to size of holdings. Of the 101,700,000 dessiatins of privately owned land, 85,900,000 dessiatins are so classified; the remaining 15,800,000 dessiatins are recorded as belonging to "societies and associations". Examining the latter we find that 11,300,000 dessiatins are owned by peasant

    * The Agrarian Question, a collection of articles published by Dolgorukov and Petrunkevich, Vol. II, Moscow, 1907, p. 305.

societies and associations, which means that on the whole they are small holdings, unfortunately not classified according to size. Further, 3,700,000 dessiatins belong to "industrial and commercial, manufacturing and other" associations, of which there are 1,042. Of these, 272 own more than 1,000 dessiatins each, the total for the 272 being 3,600,000 dessiatins. These are, evidently, landlord latifundia. The bulk of this land is concentrated in Perm Gubernia, where nine such associations own 1,448,902 dessiatins! It is known that the Urals factories own many thousand dessiatins of land -- a direct survival in bourgeois Russia of the feudal, seigniorial latifundia.

    We therefore single out 3,600,000 dessiatins from the land owned by societies and associations as the biggest landed estates. The remainder has not been classified, but generally it consists of small holdings.

    Out of the 39,500,000 dessiatins of state and other lands,<"p222"> only the crown lands[98] (5,100,000 dessiatins) lend themselves to classification according to size. These, too, are very large semi-medieval landed estates. We thus get a total area of land, both classified and not classified according to size of holdings, as follows:


not classified

according to size of holdings
(millions dessiatins)


Privately owned land
Allotment land
State land and land owned by various







Grand Total


    Let us now classify the allotment land according to size of holdings. By rearranging the data obtained from our source of information into somewhat larger groups, we get:

    * 85,900,000 dessiatins of privately owned land plus 3,600,000 dessiatins of latifundia owned by industrial and commercial associations and societies.


A l l o t m e n t  L a n d

Groups of households

Number of

Total area of
land (dess.)

Average des-
siatins per

Up to 5 dess. inclusive
 5 to 8  "       "

2,857,650 \
3,317,601 /

9,030,333 \
21,706,550 /

3.1 \
6.5 /

Total up to 8 dess. incl.
    8 to 15   "   "
   15 to 30   "   "
    Over 30   "   "




Total in European Russia




    From these data it is evident that more than half of the households (6,200,000 out of 12,300,000) have up to 8 dessiatins each, i.e., in general and on the average, an area of land that is absolutely insufficient to support a family. Ten million one hundred thousand households possess up to 15 dessiatins each (making a total of 72,900,000 dessiatins), i.e., over four-fifths of the total number of households are, at the present level of peasant agricultural technique, on the brink of semi-starvation. Middle and well-to-do households -- according to amount of land owned -- number only 2,200,000 out of 12,300,000, owning altogether 63,900,000 dessiatins out of 136,900,000 dessiatins. Only households having more than 30 dessiatins each can be regarded as rich; of these there are only 600,000, i.e., one-twentieth of the total nurnber of households. They possess nearly one-fourth of the total land area: 32,700,000 out of 136,900,000 dessiatins. To give an idea as to which categories of peasants constitute this group of rich households, we shall point out that first place among them is held by the Cossacks. In the over-30-dessiatins-per-household group, the Cossack households number 266,929 having a total of 14,426,403 dessiatins, i.e., the overwhelming majority of the Cossacks (in European Russia: 278,650 households having a total of 14,689,498 dessiatins of land, i.e., an average of 52.7 dessiatins per household).

    The only data available for the whole of Russia enabling us to judge how all the peasant households are approximate-



    The two years of revolution, from the autumn of 1905 to the autumn of 1907, have furnished a vast amount of experience of historical value concerning the peasant movement in Russia and the character and significance of the peasants' struggle for land. Decades of so-called "peaceful" evolution (i.e., when millions of people peacefully allow themselves to be fleeced by the upper ten thousand) can never furnish such a wealth of material for explaining the inner workings of our social system as has been furnished in these two years both by the direct struggle of the peasant masses against the landlords and by the demands of the peasants, expressed with at least some degree of freedom, at assemblies of representatives of the people. Therefore, the revision of the agrarian programme of the Russian Social-Democrats in the light of the experience of these two years is absolutely necessary, particularly in view of the fact that the present agrarian programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was adopted at the Stockholm Congress in April 1906, i.e., on the eve of the first public appearance of representatives of the peasantry from all over Russia with a peasant agrarian programme, in opposition to the programme of the government and to that of the liberal bourgeoisie.

    The revision of the Social-Democratic agrarian programme must be based on the latest data on landed property in Russia in order to ascertain with the utmost precision what actually is the economic background of all the agrarian programmes of our epoch, and what precisely are the issues in the great historic struggle. This economic basis of the real struggle must be compared with the ideological-political reflection of this basis that is found in the programmes, declarations, demands, and theories of the spokesmen of the different classes. This is the course, and the only course, that a Marxist should take, unlike the petty-bourgeois socialist who proceeds from "abstract" justice, from the theory of the "labour principle", etc., and unlike the liberal bureaucrat who, in connection with every reform, covers up his defence of the interests of the exploiters by arguments about whether the reform is practicable and about the "state" point of view.

C H A P T E R  I



    The Landed Property Statistics for 1905, published by the Central Statistical Committee in 1907, enables us to ascertain precisely the comparative size of the peasant and landlord holdings in the fifty gubernias in European Russia. First of all we will give the general data. The whole territory of European Russia (50 gubernias) is given (see census of January 28, 1897) as 4,230,500 square versts, i.e., 440,800,000 dessiatins. The landed property statistics for 1905 register a total of 395,200,000 dessiatins under the following three main headings:



Privately owned land
Allotment land [97]
Land owned by state, church, and various


    Total land in European Russia


    From these general figures it is necessary to deduct, first of all, state lands situated in the far north and consisting partly of tundra and partly of such forest land as cannot be expected to be used for agriculture in the near future. There are 107,900,000 dessiatins of such land in the "north ern region" (in the Arkhangelsk, Olonets and Vologda gubernias). Of course, by deducting all these lands we considerab!y overestimate the area of land unsuitable for agriculture. It suffices to point out that such a cautious statistician as Mr. A. A. Kaufman calculates that in the Vologda and Olonets gubernias 25,700,000 dessiatins of forest land (with over 25 per cent of forest) could be utilised for additional allotment to the peasants.[*] However, since we are dealing with general data about the land area, without giving separate figures for forest land, it will be more correct to take a more cautious estimate of the land area suitable for agriculture. After deducting 107,900,000 dessiatins, there will be left 287,300,000 dessiatins, or in round figures, 280,000;000 dessiatins, leaving out a portion of urban land (the totaI of which is 2,000,000 dessiatins) and a portion of the state lands in the Vyatka and Perm gubernias (the total area of state land in these two gubernias is 16,300,000 dessiatins).

    Thus, the aggregate amount of land suitable for agriculture in European Russia is distributed as follows:


Privately owned land
Allotment land
State land and land owned by various
101.7 million dessiatins
138.8    "       "
 39.5    "       "

    Total land in European Russia

280.0    "       "

    Now we must give separate figures for small and large (particularly very large) holdings in order to obtain a concrete idea of the conditions of the peasant struggle for land in the Russian revolution. Such figures, however, are incomplete. Of the 138,800,000 dessiatins of peasant allotment land 136,900,000 dessiatins are classified according to size of holdings. Of the 101,700,000 dessiatins of privately owned land, 85,900,000 dessiatins are so classified; the remaining 15,800,000 dessiatins are recorded as belonging to "societies and associations". Examining the latter we find that 11,300,000 dessiatins are owned by peasant

    * The Agrarian Question, a collection of articles published by Dolgorukov and Petrunkevich, Vol. II, Moscow, 1907, p. 305.

societies and associations, which means that on the whole they are small holdings, unfortunately not classified according to size. Further, 3,700,000 dessiatins belong to "industrial and commercial, manufacturing and other" associations, of which there are 1,042. Of these, 272 own more than 1,000 dessiatins each, the total for the 272 being 3,600,000 dessiatins. These are, evidently, landlord latifundia. The bulk of this land is concentrated in Perm Gubernia, where nine such associations own 1,448,902 dessiatins! It is known that the Urals factories own many thousand dessiatins of land -- a direct survival in bourgeois Russia of the feudal, seigniorial latifundia.

    We therefore single out 3,600,000 dessiatins from the land owned by societies and associations as the biggest landed estates. The remainder has not been classified, but generally it consists of small holdings.

    Out of the 39,500,000 dessiatins of state and other lands,<"p222"> only the crown lands[98] (5,100,000 dessiatins) lend themselves to classification according to size. These, too, are very large semi-medieval landed estates. We thus get a total area of land, both classified and not classified according to size of holdings, as follows:


not classified

according to size of holdings
(millions dessiatins)


Privately owned land
Allotment land
State land and land owned by various







Grand Total


    Let us now classify the allotment land according to size of holdings. By rearranging the data obtained from our source of information into somewhat larger groups, we get:

    * 85,900,000 dessiatins of privately owned land plus 3,600,000 dessiatins of latifundia owned by industrial and commercial associations and societies.

A l l o t m e n t  L a n d

Groups of households

Number of

Total area of
land (dess.)

Average des-
siatins per

Up to 5 dess. inclusive
 5 to 8  "       "

2,857,650 \
3,317,601 /

9,030,333 \
21,706,550 /

3.1 \
6.5 /

Total up to 8 dess. incl.
    8 to 15   "   "
   15 to 30   "   "
    Over 30   "   "




Total in European Russia




    From these data it is evident that more than half of the households (6,200,000 out of 12,300,000) have up to 8 dessiatins each, i.e., in general and on the average, an area of land that is absolutely insufficient to support a family. Ten million one hundred thousand households possess up to 15 dessiatins each (making a total of 72,900,000 dessiatins), i.e., over four-fifths of the total number of households are, at the present level of peasant agricultural technique, on the brink of semi-starvation. Middle and well-to-do households -- according to amount of land owned -- number only 2,200,000 out of 12,300,000, owning altogether 63,900,000 dessiatins out of 136,900,000 dessiatins. Only households having more than 30 dessiatins each can be regarded as rich; of these there are only 600,000, i.e., one-twentieth of the total nurnber of households. They possess nearly one-fourth of the total land area: 32,700,000 out of 136,900,000 dessiatins. To give an idea as to which categories of peasants constitute this group of rich households, we shall point out that first place among them is held by the Cossacks. In the over-30-dessiatins-per-household group, the Cossack households number 266,929 having a total of 14,426,403 dessiatins, i.e., the overwhelming majority of the Cossacks (in European Russia: 278,650 households having a total of 14,689,498 dessiatins of land, i.e., an average of 52.7 dessiatins per household).

    The only data available for the whole of Russia enabling us to judge how all the peasant households are approximately classified according to scale of farming and not according to area of allotments, are those about the number of horses owned. According to the last army horse censuses of 1888-91, the peasant households in 48 gubernias of European Russia are classifled as follows:



/ Without horses
\ Owning 1 horse



/   "   2 horses
\   "   3   "



"   4   "   or more    




    Broadly speaking, this means that over one-half are poor (5,600,000 out of 10,100,000), about one-third are middle households (3,300,000 with 2 or 3 horses), and slightly over one-tenth are well-to-do (1,100,000 out of 10,100,000).

    Let us now examine the distribution of individual private landed property. The statistics do not give a clear enough idea of the smallest holdings, but they give extremely detailed data on the biggest latifundia.

Individual Private Landed Property
in European Russia

Groups of holdings

Number of

Total area of
land (dess.)

Average dess.
per holding

10 dess.  and less      
10-50    dess. incl.   
50-500     "  "     
/   500-2,000   "  "     
< 2,000-10,000 "  "     
\  Over 10,000 "  "     

  21,748 \
    5,386 >
     699 /

 20,590,708 \
  20,602,109  >
 20,798,504 /

    947 \
    3,825  >
 29,754 /

 Total over 500 dess.




 Grand total for European




    We see here, first, the enormous preponderance of large landownership: 619,000 small holders (up to 50 dessiatins) own only 6,500,000 dessiatins. Secondly, we see vast latifundia: 699 owners have almost 30,000 dessiatins each!

28,000 owners have a total of 62,000,000 dessiatins, i.e., 2,227 dessiatins each. The overwhelming majority of these latifundia are owned by the nobility, namely, 18,102 estates (out of 27,833) and 44,471,994 dessiatins of land, i.e., over 70 per cent of the entire latifundia area. The medieval character of landlordism is very strikingly revealed by these data.


    Ten million peasant households own 73,000,000 dessiatins of land, whereas 28,000 noble and upstart landlords own 62,000,000 dessiatins. Such is the main background of the arena on which the peasants' struggle for the land is developing. On such a main background amazing technical backwardness, the neglected state of agriculture, an oppressed and downtrodden state of the mass of peasantry and an endless variety of forms of feudal, corvée exploitation are inevitable. Not to wander too far afield we must confine ourselves to mentioning briefly these commonly known facts, which have been described at great length in the extensive literature on peasant agriculture. The size of the landholdings outlined by us in no way corresponds to the scale of farming. In the purely Russian gubernias large-scale capitalist farming definitely drops into the background. Small-scale farming preponderates on large latifundia, comprising various forms of tenant farming based on servitude and bondage, labour service (corvée) farming,<"p225"> "winter hiring",[99] bondage for cattle trespassing the landlords' pastures, bondage for the cut-off lands, and so on without end. The mass of the peasants, crushed by feudal exploitation, are being ruined and some of them let their allotments to "thrifty" farmers. The small minority of well-to-do peasants develops into a peasant bourgeoisie, rents land for capitalist farming and exploits hundreds of thousands of farm-hands and day-labourers.

    Bearing in mind all these facts, which have been fully established by Russian economic science, we must distinguish, in regard to the present struggle of the peasants for the land, four basic groups of landholdings: (1) a mass of peasant farms crushed by the feudal latifundia and directly interested in the expropriation of these latifundia, an expropriation from which they stand to gain directly more than anyone else; (2) a small minority of middle peasants already possessing an approximately average amount of land, sufficient to conduct farming in a tolerable way; (3) a small minority of well-to-do peasants who are becoming transformed into a peasant bourgeoisie and who are connected by a number of intermediate stages with farming conducted on capitalist lines, and (4) feudal latifundia far exceeding in dimensions the capitalist farms of the present period in Russia and deriving their revenues chiefly from the exploitation of the peasants by means of bondage and the labour-rent system.

    Of course, the available data on landed property enable us to distinguish these basic groups only very approximately and sketchily. Nevertheless, we are obliged to distinguish them if we are to present a complete picture of the struggle for land in the Russian revolution. And we can safely say in advance that partial corrections of the figures, partial shifting of the boundary line between one group and another, cannot substantially alter the general picture. It is not partial corrections that are important; what is important is that a clear contrast be made between small landownership, which is striving for more land, and the feudal latifundia, which monopolise an enormous amount of land. The chief falsity of both the government's (Stolypin's) and the liberals' (the Cadets') economics lies in the fact that they conceal, or obscure, this clear contrast.

    Let us assume the following sizes of landholdings for the four groups mentioned: (1) up to 15 dessiatins; (2) 15 to 20 dessiatins; (3) 20 to 500 dessiatins, and (4) over 500 dessiatins per holding. Of course, in order to present a complete picture of the struggle for land, we must, in each of these groups, combine the peasants' allotments with the private holdings. In our source of information the latter category is divided into groups: up to 10 dessiatins, and from 10 to 20 dessiatins, so that a group up to 15 dessiatins can be singled out only approximately. Any inaccuracy that may arise from this approximate calculation and from the round figures that we give, will be quite negligible (as the reader will soon see) and will not affect the conclusions to be drawn.

    Here is a table showing the present distribution of land among these groups in European Russia:


Number of

Total area
of land

dess. per

(a) Ruined peasantry, crushed by
   feudal exploitation
(b) Middle peasantry
(c) Peasant bourgeoisie and
   capitalist landownership
(d) Feudal latifundia




Not classified according to holdings




               Grand total*




    Such are the relations which give rise to the peasants' struggle for land. Such is the starting-point of the peasants' struggle (7-15 dessiatins per household plus renting on terms of bondage, etc.) against the very big landlords (2,333 dessiatins per estate). What is the objective tendency, the ultimate point of this struggle? Obviously, it is the abolition of large feudalist estates and the transfer of the land

    * As already mentioned, this table is given in round figures. Here are the exact figures: allotment land: (a) 10,100 000 holdings and 72,900,000 dessiatins- (b) 874,000 holdings and 15,000,000 dessiatins. Private landed property up to 10 dessiatins, 410,000 holdings and 1,600,000 dessiatins; 10-20 dessiatins, 106,000 holdings and 1,600,000 dessiatins. Sum total a + b of both categories of land: 11,500,000 holdings and 91,200,000 dessiatins. For group (c) the exact figures are 1,500,000 holdings and 69,500,000 dessiatins. For group (d): 27,833 holdings and 61,990,000 dessiatins of land. To the latter are added as already mentioned, 5,100,000 dessiatins of crown lands and 3,600,000 dessiatins owned by the very large industrial and commercial associations. The exact figure of land not classifled according to holdings was given above as 48,500,000 dessiatins. From this the reader may see that all our approximate calculations and round figures involve quite negligible numerical changes and cannot affect our conclusions in the least.

according to certain principles) to the peasants. This objective tendency inevitably arises from the predominance of small-scale cultivation, which is held in bondage by the feudal latifundia. To depict this tendency in the same graphic way in which we depicted the starting-point of the struggle, i.e., the present state of affairs, we must take the best conceivable eventuality, i.e., we must assume that all the feudalist latifundia, as well as all land not classified according to holdings, have passed into the hands of the ruined peasantry. It is this best eventuality which all the participants in the present agrarian struggle envisage more or less distinctly: the government talks about "allotting" land to the "needy", the liberal official (or Cadet) talks about supplementary allotments to those who have little land, the peasant Trudovik talks about increasing holdings to the "subsistence" or "labour" "norm", and the Social-Democrat, differing on the question of the form of land tenure, generally accepts the proposal of the Narodniks about allotting land to the poorest peasants. (In the Second Duma, 47th sitting, May 26, 1907, Tsereteli accepted the figure of the value of the 57,000,000 dessiatins of land to be alienated as given by the Narodnik Karavayev, namely, 6,500,000,000 rubles, of which the poorest peasants having up to 5 dessiatins account for 2,500,000,000 rubles. See Stenographic Record, p. 1221.) In short, however much the landlords, the officials, the bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and the proletariat may differ in their view of the aims and terms of the reform, they all outline the same tendency, namely, the transfer of the large landed estates to the most needy peasants. With the fundamental differences of opinion among the classes concerning the extent and terms of such a transfer we shall deal separately elsewhere. At present we shall supplement our outline of the starting-point of the struggle with a similar outline of its possible ultimate point. We have already shown what the situation is now. We shall show what it may be then. Let us assume that 30,000 landlords will retain 100 dessiatins each, i.e., a total of 3,000,000 dessiatins, while the remaining 67,000,000 dessiatins and 50,000,000 dessiatins of unclassified land will be transferred to 10,500,000 poor households. We shall then get the following:

N o w

T h e n


area of

dess. per


area of

dess. per

(a) Small ruined peasants
(b) Middle peasants
(c) Wealthy peasants and
(d) Feudal landlords







Unclassified land







               Grand total







    Such is the economic basis of the struggle for land in the Russian revolution. Such is the starting-point of this struggle and its tendency, i.e., its ultimate point, its result in the best eventuality (from the standpoint of those engaged in the struggle).

    Before proceeding to examine this economic basis and its ideological (and ideological-political) cloak, let us dwell on possible misunderstandings and objections as welI.

    First, it may. be said that my picture presupposes the division of the land, whereas I have not yet examined the question of municipalisation, division, nationalisation, or socialisation.

    That would be a misunderstanding. My picture leaves out altogether the terms of landownership; it does not deal at all with the terms of the transfer of the land to the peasants (whether in ownership or in one or another form of tenure). I have taken only the transfer of the land in general to the small peasants and there can be no doubt whatever that this is the trend of our agrarian struggle. The small peasants are fighting, fighting to have the land transferred to themselves. Small (bourgeois) cultivation is fighting large-scale (feudal) landownership.* At best, the revolution can have no other result than the one I have drawn.

    * What I have put in brackets is either ignored or denied by the petty-bourgeois ideology of the Narodniks. I shall deal with this later on.

    Secondly, it may be said that l had no right to assume that all the confiscated lands (or expropriated lands, for I have not yet said anything about the terms of expropriation) will be transferred to the peasants with little land. It may be said that owing to economic necessity the lands must be transferred to the wealthier peasants. But such an objection would be a misunderstanding. To demonstrate the bourgeois character of the revolution, I must take the best eventuality from the standpoint of the Narodniks, I must assume the achievement of the aim set themselves by those who are fighting.<"p230"> I must take an aspect that most closely approaches the so-called General Redistribution[100] and not the further consequences of the agrarian revolution. If the masses win the struggle, they will take the fruits of the victory for themselves. To whom these fruits will ultimately go is another matter.

    Thirdly, it may be said that I have assumed an unusually favourable result for the poor peasantry (that the whole of the poor peasantry will be transformed into middle peasants with holdings up to 18 dessiatins per household) by overestimating the extent of the unoccupied land area. It may be said that I should have discounted forests, which, it is said, cannot be allotted to the peasants. Such objections may, and even inevitably will, be raised by the economists in the government and Cadet camp, but they will be wrong. First, one must be a bureaucrat who all his life grovels to the semi-feudal landlord to imagine that the peasants will not be able to manage forest land properly and derive an income from it for themselves and not for the landlords. The standpoint of the police official and of the Russian liberal is: how to provide the muzhik with an allotment? The standpoint of the class-conscious worker is: how to free the muzhik from feudal landlordism? How to break up the feudal latifundia? Secondly I have left out the whole of the northern region (the Arkhangelsk, Vologda, and Olonets gubernias), as well as parts of the Vyatka and Perm gubernias, i.e., areas in which it is difficult to imagine that the agricultural exploitation of land covered by forests is likely in the near future. Thirdly, a special calculation of the forest areas would greatly complicate the matter without much altering the results. For instance,

Mr. Kaufman, who is a Cadet, and, consequently, is very cautious when dealing with landlord estates, calculates that land with over 25 per cent of forest might go to cover the shortage of land, and he thus obtains an area of 101,700,000 dessiatins for 44 gubernias. For 47 gubernias I have estimated a land area of approximately 101,000,000 dessiatins, i.e., 67,000,000 out of the 70,000,000 dessiatins of the feudal latifundia, and 34,000,000 dessiatins owned by the state and by various institutions. Assuming that all landed estates of over 100 dessiatins are to be expropriated, these lands will be increased by another nine or ten million dessiatins.[*]


    The data given here on the role of the large landlord estates in the struggle for land in Russia must be amplified in one respect: A characteristic feature of the agrarian programmes of our bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie is the fact that in them the question as to which class is the most powerful opponent of the peasantry, and which holdings form the bulk of the expropriable lands are obscured by arguments about "norms". They (both the Cadets and the Trudoviks) talk mainly about how much land the peasants need according to this or that "norm", instead of dealing with the more concrete and vital question: how much land is available for expropriation? The first day of presenting the question obscures the class struggle, conceals the essence

    * The alienation limit of 500 dessiatins. which I have taken in the text, is purely hypothetical. If this limit is taken as 100 dessiatins, which is also purely hypothetical, the picture of the change will be as follows:

N o w


T h e n


Total area of
land (million


Total area of
land (million

Dess. per









+ 50  




    The main conclusions about the character and essence of the change are identical in either case. of the matter by hollow pretensions to a "state" point of view. The second places the chief emphasis on the class struggle, on the class interests of a definite landowning stratum which largely represents feudal tendencies.

    We shall revert to the question of "norms" elsewhere. Here we want to mention one "happy" exception among the Trudoviks, and one typical Cadet writer.

    In the Second Duma, the Popular Socialist Delarov referred to the percentage of landowners who would be affected by the alienation of land (47th sitting, May 26, 1907). Delarov spoke of alienation (compulsory), without raising the question of confiscation, and apparently accepted the same norm of alienation which I have taken hypothetically in my table, namely, 500 dessiatins. Unfortunately, in the stenographic records of the Second Duma this particular passage in Delarov's speech (p. 1217) is distorted, unless Mr. Delarov himself made a mistake. The record says that compulsory alienation would affect 32 per cent of the private estates and 96 per cent of their total area of land; the rest, 68 per cent of the landowners, it is claimed, have only 4 per cent of the private land. Actually, the figure should be not 32 per cent, but 3.7 per cent, because 27,833 out of 752,881 landowners constitute 3.7 per cent, whereas the area of land aflected -- 62,000,000 dessiatins out of a total of 85,800,000 dessiatins -- amounts to 72.3 per cent. It is not clear whether this was a slip on Mr. Delarov's part, or whether he got hold of the wrong figures. At all events, of the numerous speakers in the Duma, he, if we are not mistaken, was the only one who approached the real issue of the struggle in the most direct and concrete way.

    A Cadet writer whose "works" one must mention when dealing with this question is Mr. S. Prokopovich. True, he is, strictly speaking, a member of the Bez Zaglaviya group, who, like the majority of the contributors to the bourgeois newspaper Tovarishch, at one moment poses as a Cadet and at another as a Menshevik Social-Democrat. He is a typical representative of the handful of consistent Bernsteinians among the Russian bourgeois intellectuals who waver between the Cadets and the Social-Democrats, who (in most cases) join no party, and in the liberal press

pursue a line slightly to the right of Plekhanov. Mr. Prokopovich must be mentioned here because he was one of the first to quote in the press figures from the 1905 landed property statistics, and in so doing actually adopted the Cadet position on agrarian reform. In two articles which he wrote for Tovarishch (No. 214 of March 13, 1907, and No. 238 of April 10, 1907), Mr. Prokopovich argues against General Zolotaryov, the compiler of the official statistics, who tries to prove that the government can tackle the land reform quite easily without any compulsory alienation, and that 5 dessiatins per household are quite sufficient for the peasant to conduct his husbandry! Mr. Prokopovich is more liberal : he puts the figure at 8 dessiatins per household. He repeatedly makes the reservation, however, that this amount of land is "quite inadequate", that this is a "very modest" calculation, and so forth; nevertheless, he accepts this figure in order to determine the "degree of the land shortage" (the title of the first of Mr. Prokopovich's articles mentioned above). He explains that he takes this figure "to avoid unnecessary disputes " -- presumably with the Zolotaryovs. Calculating thus the number of "obviously land poor" peasant households at one half the total, Mr. Prokopovich correctly estimates that in order to bring the peasants' holdings up to 8 dessiatins, 18,600,000 dessiatins will be required, and since the government's total land reserve is alleged to be not more than 9,000,000 dessiatins, "it will be impossible to avoid compulsory alienation".

    Both in his calculations and in his arguments, this Menshevik-minded Cadet, or Cadet-minded Menshevik, admirably expresses the spirit and meaning of the liberal agrarian programme. The questions of the semi-feudal latifundia, and of latifundia in general, is quite glossed over. Mr. Prokopovich quoted the figures only for private holdings of more than 50 dessiatins. Thus, the actual issue of this struggle is obscured. The class interests of a handful, literally a handful, of landlords are concealed behind a veil. Instead of an exposure of those interests, we are given the "state point of view": the state lands "will not suffice ". Hence, if they did suffice, Mr. Prokopovich, to judge from his argument, would be quite willing to leave the feudal latifundia intact. . . .

    The peasant's allotment scale that he takes (8 dessiatins) is a starvation scale. The amount of land to be "compulsorily alienated" from the landlords that he allows for is insignificant (18 - 9 = 9 million dessiatins out of 62,000,000 in estates of over 500 dessiatins!). To carry out that kind of "compulsory alienation", the landlords will have to use compulsion on the peasants, as in 1861!

    Whether he meant to or not, wittingly or unwittingly, Mr. Prokopovich has correctly expressed the landlord nature of the Cadet agrarian programme. But the Cadets are cautious and sly: they prefer to say nothing at all about how much land they are inclined to expropriate from the landlords.


    We have seen that the essence of the revolution now in progress amounts to the break-up of the feudal latifundia and to the creation of a free and (as far as this is possible under present circumstances) well-to-do peasantry capable not only of toiling in misery on the land, but of developing the productive forces and promoting the progress of agriculture. This revolution does not and cannot in any way affect the system of small production in agriculture, the domination of the market over the producer and, consequently, the domination also of commodity production, since the struggle for the redistribution of the land cannot alter the relations of production in the farming of this land. And we have seen that a feature of this struggle is the strong development of small-scale farming on the feudal latifundia.

    The ideological cloak of the struggle now in progress is furnished by the theories of the Narodniks. The fact that in the First and Second Dumas the peasant representatives from all over Russia openly came out with agrarian programmes has definitely proved that the theories and programmes of the Narodniks do indeed constitute the ideological cloak of the peasants' struggle for land.

    We have shown that the basic and chief component of the distributable land for which the peasants are fighting are the big feudal estates. We have taken a very high norm of expropriation -- 500 dessiatins. But it can easily be seen that our conclusions hold good however much this norm is reduced, let us say to 100 or to 50 dessiatins. Let us divide group (c) -- 20-500 dessiatins, into three subgroups: (aa) 20-50 dessiatins, (bb) 50-100, and (cc) 100-500, and see what the size of the peasant allotments and private holdings is within these subdivisions:

A l l o t m e n t  L a n d


Number of holdings

Total area of land

Average per holding


    20-50  dess.
 50-100  "
100-500  "




P r i v a t e  L a n d

of holdings

Total area
of land

per holding





T o t a l  i n  E u r o p e a n  R u s s i a

of holdings

Total area
of land

per holding





    Hence it follows, first, that the confiscation of estates of over 100 dessiatins will increase the distributable land, as already stated above, by nine to ten million dessiatins, whereas the confiscation of estates of over 50 dessiatins, as assumed by Chizhevsky, a member of the First Duma, will increase this land by eighteen and a half million dessiatins. Consequently, in this case also, the feudal latifundia will form the basis of the distributable land area. That is the crux of the present-day agrarian problem. Moreover, the connection that exists between these big estates and the higher bureaucracy is also quite well known: G. A. Alexinsky in the Second Duma quoted Mr. Rubakin's data on the size of the estates owned by higher officials in Russia. Secondly, it is seen from these data that even after deducting the peasant allotments and the estates of over 100 dessiatins, the size of the bigger allotments (and the small estates) still varies considerably. The revolution already finds the peasants differentiated in regard to size of holdings, and still more in the amount of capital, number of livestock, the quantity and quality of implements, etc. That the differentiation in the sphere of non-allotment property, so to speak, is far more considerable than in the sphere of allotment landownership has been sufficiently proved in our economic literature.

    What, then, is the significance of the Narodnik theories, which more or less accurately reflect the views of the peasants on their struggle for land? The substance of these Narodnik theories is contained in two "principles": the "labour principle" and "equalisation". The petty-bourgeois nature of those principles is so manifest and has been so often and so fully demonstrated in Marxist literature that there is no need to dwell on it here. It is important, however, to note a feature of these "principles" that has not yet been properly appreciated by Russian Social-Democrats. In a vague form those principles do express something real and progressive at the present historical moment. Namely, they express the struggle for the break-up of the feudal latifundia.

    Look at the outline given above of the evolution of our agrarian system from the present stage to the "ultimate point" of the present, bourgeois revolution. You will clearly see that the future "then" is distinguished from the present "now" by an incomparably greater "equalisation" in ownership, that the new distribution of the land conforms far more to the "labour principle". And that is not accidental. It cannot be otherwise in a peasant country, the bourgeois development of which emancipates it from serfdom. In such a country, the break-up of the feudal latifundia is undoubtedly a condition for the development of capitalism. But as long as small-scale farming predominates in agriculture, the break-up of the feudal latifundia inevitably implies greater "equalisation" in landownership. In break ing up the medieval latifundia, capitalism begins with a more "equalised" landownership, aud out of that creates large-scale farming on a new basis, on the basis of wage labour, machinery and superior agricultural technique, and not on the basis of labour rent and bondage.

    The mistake all the Narodniks make is that by confining themselves to the narrow outlook of the small husbandman, they fail to perceive the bourgeois nature of the social relations into which the peasant enters on coming out of the fetters of serfdom. They convert the "labour principle" of petty-bourgeois agriculture and "equalisation", which are their slogans for breaking up the feudal latifundia, into something absolute, self-sufficing, into something implying a special, non-bourgeois order.

    The mistake some Marxists make is that, while criticising the Narodnik theory, they overlook its historically real and historically legitimate content in the struggle against serfdom. They criticise, and rightly criticise, the "labour principle" and "equalisation" as backward, reactionary petty-bourgeois socialism ; but they forget that these theories express progressive, revolutionary petty-bourgeois democracy, that they serve as the banner of the most determined struggle against the old, feudal Russia. The idea of equality is the most revolutionary idea in the struggle against the old system of absolutism in general, and against the old system of feudal landlordism in particular. The idea of equality is legitimate and progressive for the petty-bourgeois peasant insofar as it expresses the struggle against feudal, serf inequality. The idea of "equalised" landownership is legitimate and progressive insofar as it expresses the aspirations of ten million peasants, with allotmellts of seven dessiatins and ruined by the landlords, for a division * of the 2,300-dessiatin feudal latifundia. And in the present historical situation that idea really expresses such strivings, it gives an impetus towards consistent bourgeois revolution, while mistakenly clothing this in vague, quasi-socialist phraseology. He would be a poor Marxist indeed who, while criticising the falsity of a socialist disguise for bourgeois slogans, failed to appreciate their liistorically progressive significance as the most decisive bourgeois slogans in the struggle against serfdom. The real content of the revolution which the Narodnik regards as "socialisation" will be that it will most consist-

    * We speak here of division not as private property, but for economic use. Such a division is possible -- and, with the predominance of small farming, inevitable for some time -- both under municipalisation and under nationalisation.

ently clear the way for capitalism, will most resolutely eradicate serfdom. The outline which I have drawn above indicates precisely the maximum to be achieved in the abolition of serfdom and the maximum of "equalisation" to be attained thereby. The Narodnik imagines that this "equalisation" eliminates the bourgeois element, whereas, in reality, it expresses the aspirations of the most radical bourgeoisie. And whatever else there is in "equalisation" over and above that is nothing but ideological smoke, a petty-bourgeois illusion.

    The short-sighted and unhistorical judgement of some Russian Marxists on the significance of Narodnik theories in the Russian bourgeois revolution is to be explained by the fact that they have not reflected on the significance of the "confiscation" of the landlord estates which the Narodniks advocate. One has only to visualise clearly the economic basis of this revolution under the present conditions .of landownership in our country in order to grasp not only the illusory nature of the Narodnik theories, but also the truth of the struggle, restricted to a definite historical task, the truth of the struggle against serfdom, which represents the real content of those illusory theories.


    To proceed. We have shown that the Narodnik theories, while absurd and reactionary from the standpoint of the struggle for socialism against the bourgeoisie, turn out to be "rational" (in the sense of being a specific historic task) and progressive in the bourgeois struggle against serfdom. The question now arises: when we say that serfdom must inevitably die out in Russian landownership and in the whole social system in Russia, when we say that a bourgeois-democratic agrarian revolution is inevitable, does that mean that this can take place only in one definite form? Or is it possible in various forms?

    That question is of cardinal importance for arriving at correct views on our revolution and on the Social-Democratic agrarian programme. And solve this question we must, starting out from the data given above concerning the economic basis of the revolution.

    The pivot of the struggle is the feudal latifundia which are the most conspicuous embodiment and the strongest mainstay of the survivals of serfdom in Russia. The development of commodity production and capitalism will certainly and inevitably put an end to those survivals. In that respect Russia has only one path before her, that of bourgeois development.

    But there may be two forms of that development. The survivals of serfdom may fall away either as a result of the transformation of landlord economy or as a result of the abolition of the landlord latifundia, i.e., either by reform or by revolution. Bourgeois development may proceed by having big landlord economies at the head, which will gradually become more and more bourgeois and gradually substitute bourgeois for feudal methods of exploitation. It may also proceed by having small peasant economies at the head, which in a revolutionary way, will remove the "excrescence" of the feudal latifundia from the social organism and then freely develop without them along the path of capitalist economy.

    Those two paths of objectively possible bourgeois development we would call the Prussian path and the American path, respectively. In the first case feudal landlord economy slowly evolves into bourgeois, Junker landlord economy, which condemns the peasants to decades of most harrowing expropriation and bondage, while at the same time a small minority of Grossbauern ("big peasants") arises. In the second case there is no landlord economy, or else it is broken up by revolution, which confiscates and splits up the feudal estates. In that case the peasant predominates, becomes the sole agent of agriculture, and evolves into a capitalist farmer. In the first case the main content of the evolution is transformation of feudal bondage into servitude and capitalist exploitation on the land of the feudal landlords -- Junkers. In the second case the main background is transformation of the patriarchal peasant into a bourgeois farmer.

    In the economic history of Russia both these types of evolution are clearly in evidence. Take the epoch of the fall of serfdom. A struggle went on between the landlords and the peasants over the method of carrying out the reform.

Both stood for conditions of bourgeois economic development (without being aware of it), but the former wanted a development that would preserve to the utmost the landlord economies, the landlord revenues, and the landlord (bondage) methods of exploitation. The latter wanted a development that would secure for the peasants the greatest degree of prosperity possible with the existing level of agriculture, the abolition of the landlord latifundia, the abolition of all serf and bondage methods of exploitation, and the expansion of free peasant landownership. Needless to say, in the second case the development of capitalism and the growth of the productive forces would have been wider and more rapid than by peasant reform, carried out in the landlords' way.* Only caricature Marxists, as the Narodniks, the opponents of Marxism, tried to depict them, could have believed that the divorcement of the peasantry from the land in 1861 guaranteed the development of capitalism. On the contrary, it would have been a guarantee -- and so in fact it turned out to be -- a guarantee of bondage, i.e., semi-serf tenant farming and labour rent, i.e., corvée economy, which exceedingly retarded the development of capitalism and the growth of the productive forces in Russian agriculture. The conflict of interests between the peasants and the landlords was not a struggle waged by "people's production" or the "labour principle" against the bour-

    * In the magazine Nauchnoye Obozreniye (May-June 1900), I wrote on this subject as follows: ". . . The more the land the peasants received when they were emancipated, and the lower the price they paid for it, the faster, wider, and freer would have been the development of capitalism in Russia the higher would have been the standard of living of the population, the wider would have, been the home market, the faster would have been the introduction of machinery into production; the more, in a word, would the economic development of Russia have resembled that of America. I shall confine myself to indicating two circumstances which, in my opinion, confirm the correctness of the latter view: (1) land-poverty and the burden of taxation have led to the developmcnt over a very considerable area of Russia of the labour-service system of private-landowner farming, i.e., a direct survival of serfdom, and not at all to the development of capitalism; (2) it is in our border regions, where serfdom was either entirely unknown, or was feeblest, and where the peasants suffer least from land shortage, labour-scrvice, and the burden of taxation, that there has been the greatest development of cspitalism in agriculture." (See present edition, vol. 3, pp. 624-25. --Ed.) [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Uncritical Criticism". -- DJR]

geoisie (as our Narodniks have imagined it to be) -- it was a struggle for the American type of bourgeois development as against the Prussian type of bourgeois development.

    And in those localities of Russia where no serfdom had existed, where agriculture was undertaken entirely, or chiefly, by free peasants (for example, in the steppes of the Trans-Volga area, Novorossia, and the Northern Caucasus, which were colonised after the Reform), the growth of the productive forces and the development of capitalism proceeded far more rapidly than in the central provinces which were burdened by survivals of serfdom.[*]

    While Russia's agricultural centre and agricultural borderlands show us, as it were, the spatial or geographical distribution of the localities in which one or the other type of agrarian evolution prevails, the fundamental features of both types of evolution are also clearly evident in all those localities where landlord and peasant farming exist side by side. A cardinal mistake of the Narodnik economists was that they believed that landlord farming was the only source of agrarian capitalism, while they regarded peasant farming from the point of view of "people's production" and the "labour principle" (that is the view taken even now by the Trudoviks, the "Popular Socialists", and the Socialist-Revolutionaries). We know that this is wrong. Landlord economy evolves in a capitalist way and gradually replaces the labour rent system by "free wage-labour", the three-field system by intensive cultivation, and the obsolete peasant implements by the improved machinery employed on the big private farms. Peasant farming also evolves in a capitalist way and gives rise to a rural bourgeoisie and a rural proletariat. The better the condition of the "village commune" and the greater the prosperity of the peasantry in general, the more rapid is the process of differentiation among the peasantry into the antagonistic

    * I have dealt in detail with the importance of the borderlands of Russia as colonisation lands during the development of capitalism in The Development of Capitalism in Russia. (St. Petersburg, 1899 pp. 185, 444, et al.) Second edition issued, St. Petersburg, 1908. (See present edition, Vol. 3, pp. 257, 561, 590-95. --Ed.) The question of the importance of the borderlands in regard to the Social Democratic agrarian programme will be dealt with separalely later on.

classes of capitalist agriculture. Consequently, we see two streams of agrarian evolution everywhere. The conflict of interests between the peasants and the landlords which runs like a scarlet thread through the whole history of post-Reform Russia and constitutes the most important economic basis of our revolution, is a struggle for one or the other type of bourgeois agrarian evolution.

    Only by clearly understanding the difference between these two types and the bourgeois character of both, can we correctly explain the agrarian question in the Russian revolution and grasp the class significance of the various agrarian programmes put forward by the different parties.* The pivot of the struggle, we repeat, is the feudal latifundia. The capitalist evolution of these is beyond all dispute, but it is possible in two forms: either they will be abolished, eliminated in a revolutionary manner by peasant farmers, or they will be gradually transformed into Junker estates (and correspondingly, the enthralled muzhik will be transformed into an enthralled Knecht ).

    * The amount of confusion that reigns at times in the minds of Russian Social-Democrats about the two paths of bourgeois agrarian evolution in Russia is demonstrated by P Maslov. In Obrazovaniye (No. 3, 1907), he outlines two paths: (1) "capitalism in process of development" and (2) "a useless struggle against economic development". "The first path", if you please, "leads the working class and the whole of society towards socialism; the second path pushes [!] the working class into the arms [!] of the bourgeoisie, into a struggle between big and small proprietors, into a struggle from which the working class has nothing to gain but defeat" (p. 92). In the first place, the "second path" is an empty phrase, a dream and not a path, it is a false ideology, and not a real possibility of development. Secondly, Maslov fails to see that Stolypin and the bourgeoisie are also leading the peasantry along the capitalist road; consequently, the real struggle is not about capitalism as such, but about the type of capitalist development. Thirdly, it is sheer nonsense to talk as if there can be a path in Russia which will not "push" the working class under the domination of the bourgeoisie. . . . Fourthly, it is equally nonsensical to allege that there can be a "path" on which there will be no struggle between small and big proprietors. Fifthly, by the use of terms descriptive of general European categories (big and small proprietors), Maslov obscures the historical peculiarity of Russia which is of great significance in the present revolution: the struggle between petty-bourgeois and big feudal proprietors.


    If we now compare the agrarian programmes put forward by the different classes in the course of the revolution with the economic basis outlined above, we shall at once perceive two lines in these programmes, corresponding to the two types of agrarian evolution which we have indicated.

    Let us take the Stolypin programme, which is supported by the Right landlords and the Octobrists. It is avowedly a landlords' programme. But can it be said that it is reactionary in the economic sense, i.e., that it precludes, or seeks to preclude, the development of capitalism, to prevent a bourgeois agrarian evolution? Not at all. On the contrary, the famous agrarian legislation introduced by Stolypin under Article 87 is permeated through and through with the purely bourgeois spirit. There can be no doubt that it follows the line of capitalist evolution, facilitates and pushes forward that evolution, hastens the expropriation of the peasantry, the break-up of the village commune, and the creation of a peasant bourgeoisie. Without a doubt, that legislation is progressive in the scientific-economic sense.

    But does that mean that Social-Democrats should "support" it? It does not. Only vulgar Marxism can reason in that way, a Marxism whose seeds Plekhanov and the Mensheviks are so persistently sowing when they sing, shout, plead, and proclaim: we must support the bourgeoisie in its struggle against the old order of things. No. To facilitate the development of the productive forces (this highest criterion of social progress) we must support not bourgeois evolution of the landlord type, but bourgeois evolution of the peasant type. The former implies the utmost preservation of bondage and serfdom (remodelled on bourgeois lines), the least rapid development of the productive forces, and the retarded development of capitalism; it implies infinitely greater misery and suffering, exploitation and oppression for the broad mass of the peasantry and, consequently, also for the proletariat. The second type implies the most rapid development of the productive forces and the best possible (under commodity production) conditions of existence for the mass of the peasantry. The tactics of Social-Democracy in the Russian bourgeois revolution are determilled not by the task of supporting the liberal bourgeoisie, as the opportullists think, but by the task of supporting the fighting peasantry.

    Let us take the programme of the liberal bourgeoisie, i.e., the Cadet programme. True to the motto: "at your service" (i.e., at the service of the landlords), they proposed one programme in the First Duma and another in the Second. They can change their programme as easily and imperceptibly as all the European unprincipled bourgeois careerists do. In the First Duma the revolution appeared to be strong, and so the liberal programme borrowed from it a bit of nationalisation (the "state land available for distribution"). In the Second Duma the counter-revolution appeared to be strong, and so the liberal programme threw the state land available for distribution overboard, swung round to the Stolypin idea of stable peasant property, strengthened and enlarged the scope of exemptions from the general rule of compulsory alienation of the landlords' land. But we note this two-faced attitude of the liberals only in passing. The important thing to note here is something else, viz., the principle which is common to both "faces " of the liberal agrarian programme. That common principle consists of: (1) redemption payments; (2) preservation of the landlords' estates; (3) preservation of the landlords' privileges when carrying out the reform.

    Redemption payment is tribute imposed upon social development, tribute paid to the owners of the feudal latifundia. Redemption payment is the realisation, ensured by bureaucratic, police measures, of the feudal methods of exploitation in the shape of the bourgeois "universal equivalent". Further, preservation of the landlords' estates is seen in one or another degree in both Cadet programmes, no matter how the bourgeois politicians may try to conceal that fact from the people. The third point -- the preservation of the landlords' privileges when carrying out the reform -- is quite definitely expressed in the Cadets' attitude to the election of local land committees on the basis of universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot. We cannot here go into details[*] which concern another part of our argument. All we need do here is to define the line of the Cadet agrarian programme. And in this connection we must say that the question of the composition of the local land committees is of cardinal importance. Only political infants could be taken in by the sound of the Cadet slogan of "compulsory alienation". The question is, who will compel whom? Will the landlords compel the peasants (to pay an exorbitant price for inferior land), or will the peasants compel the landlords? The Cadet talk "about equal representation of the conflicting interests" and about the undesirability of "one-sided violence" reveals as clear as clear can be the essence of the matter, namely, that the Cadet idea of compulsory alienation means that the landlords will compel the peasants!

    The Cadet agrarian programme follows the line of Stolypin progress, i.e., landlord bourgeois progress. That is a fact. Failure to appreciate this fact is the fundamental mistake made by those Social-Democrats who, like some of

    * See the records of the First Duma, 14th sitting, May 24, 1906, which show that the Cadets Kokoshkin and Kotlyarevsky, hand in hand with the (then) Octobrist Heyden, resorted to the basest sophistry to repudiate the idea of local land committees. In the Second Duma: the evasions by the Cadet Savelyev (16th sitting, March 26, 1907) and the open opposition to the idea of local committees by the Cadet Tatarinov (24th sitting, April 9, 1907, p. 1783 of Stenographic Record). The newspaper Rech, No. 82, for May 25, 1906, contained a noteworthy leading article which is reprinted in Milyukov's A Year of Struggle No. 117, pp. 457-59. Here is the decisive passage from this Octobrist in disguise: "We believe that setting up these committees on the basis of universal suffrage would mean preparing them not for the peaceful solution of the land problem in the local areas, but for something entirely different. Control of the general direction of the reform ought to be left in the hands of the state. . . . The local commissions should consist as equally as possible [sic!] of representatives of the contlicting interests which can be reconciled without impairing the state importance of the proposed reform, and without turning it into an act of one-sided violence". . . (p. 459). In the Cadet Agrarian Question, Vol. II, Mr. Kutler published the text of his Bill which ensures to the landlords, plus the officials, preponderance over the peasants in all the principal, Gubernia and uyezd land commissions and committees (pp. 640-41), while Mr. A. Chuprov -- a "liberal" defends on principle the same despicable plan of the landlords to swindle the peasants (p. 33).

the Mensheviks, regard the Cadet agrarian policy as being more progressive than the Narodnik policy.

    As for the spokesmen of the peasantry, i.e., the Trudoviks, the Social-Narodniks, and partly the Socialist-Revolutionaries, we find that, in spite of considerable vacillation and wavering, they, in both Dumas, adopted a very clear line of defeading the interests of the peasantry against the landlords. For instance, vacillation is observed in the programme of the Trudoviks on the question of redemption payments, but, in the first place, they frequently interpret that as something in the nature of public relief for disabled landlords[*]; secondly, in the records of the Second Duma one can find a number of exceedingly characteristic speeches by peasants repudiating redemption payments and proclaiming the slogan: all the land to all the people.[**] On the question of the local land committees -- this all-important question as to who will compel whom -- the peasant deputies are the originators and supporters of the idea of having them elected by universal suffrage.

    We are not, for the time being, dealing with the content of the agrarian programmes of the Trudoviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, on the one hand, and the Social-Democrats, on the other. We must first of all note the incontrovertible fact that the agrarian programmes of all the parties and classes which came out openly in the Russian revolution can be clearly divided into two basic types, corresponding to the two types of bourgeois agrarian evolution. The dividing line between the "Right" and "Left" agrarian programmes does not run between the Octobrists

    * See Sbornik "Izvestii Krestyanskikh Deputatov i "Trudovoi Rossii " (The Symposium of "Peasant Deputies' News " and "Toiling Russia "), St. Petersburg, 1906, a collection of newspaper articles by the Trudoviks in the First Duma; for instance, the article entitled "Grants, Not Redemption Payments" (pp. 44-49), et al.
    ** See the speech made by the Right-wing peasant deputy Petrochenko in the Second Duma (22nd sitting, April 5, 1907): Kutler, he said, proposed good conditions. . . . "Of course, being a wealthy man he has named a high figure, and we, poor peasants, cannot pay such a price" (p. 1616). Thus, the Right-wing peasant is more to the left than the bourgeois polician who is playing at being a liberal. See also the speech of the non-party peasant deputy Semyonov (April 12 1907), which breathes the spirit of the spontaneous revolutionary struggle of the peasants, and many other speeches.

and the Cadets, as is frequently and mistakenly assumed by the Mensheviks (who allow themselves to be taken in by the sound of "constitutional-democratic" words and substitute analysis of the respective titles of the parties for a class analysis). The dividing line runs between the Cadets and the Trudoviks. That line is determined by the interests of the two principal classes in Russian society which are fighting for the land, viz., the landlords and the peasantry. The Cadets stand for the preservation of landlordism and for a civilised, European, but landlord bourgeois evolution of agriculture. The Trudoviks (and the Social-Democratic workers' deputies), i.e., the representatives of the peasantry aad the representatives of the proletariat, advocate a peasant bourgeois evolution of agriculture.

    A strict distinction must be drawn between the ideological cloak of the agrarian programmes, their different political details, etc., and the economic basis of those programmes. The present difficulty does not lie in understanding the bourgeois character of the agrarian demands and programmes of both the landlords and the peasants : that was already explained by the Marxists before the revolution, and the revolution has confirmed the correctness of their explanation. The difficulty lies in understanding fully the basis of the struggle between the two classes within the framework of bourgeois society and bourgeois evolution. The fact that this struggle is a normal social phenomenon will not be understood unless it is seen as part and parcel of the objective tendencies of the economic development of capitalist Russia.

    Now, having shown the connection between the two types of agrarian programmes in the Russian revolution and the two types of bourgeois agrarian evolution, we must pass on to the examination of a new, extremely important aspect of the question.


    We have pointed out above that on the question of capitalism in Russia the economic analysis compels us to distinguish between the central agricultural provinces with their plentiful survivals of serfdom, and the borderlands where those survivals are absent, or weak, and which bear the features of free-peasant capitalist evolution.

    What do we mean by the borderlands? Obviously, lands which are unpopulated, or sparsely populated, and which have not been completely drawn into agriculture. And we must now pass from European Russia to the whole of the Russian Empire in order to form an exact idea of these "borderlands" and of their economic significance.

    In the pamphlet written by Prokopovich and Mertvago, How Much Land There Is in Russia and How We Use It (Moscow, 1907), the latter of those authors tries to summarise all the statistical data available in our literature on the amount of land in the whole of Russia and the economic use to which the known amount of land is put. For the sake of clarity, we shall quote Mr. Mertvago's figures in the form of a table, and add the statistics of the population according to the census of 1897.

    These figures plainly show how vast is the land area of Russia and how little we know about the borderlands and their economic importance. Of course, it would be absolutely wrong to regard those lands at the present time, and in their present state, as being suitable for satisfying the land needs of the Russian peasantry. All calculations of that kind, frequently made by reactionary writers,* are of no scientific value whatever. In this respect Mr. A. A. Kaufman is quite right when he ridicules the search for vacant lands for colonisation on the basis of statistics of square versts. Undoubtedly he is also right when he points out how little land is suitable for colonisation in the border lands of Russia at the present time, and how wrong it is

    * Also by reactionary deputies. In the Second Duma the Octobrist Teterevenkov cited from Shcherbina's investigations figures of 65,000,000 dessiatins of land in the steppe region, and further figures of the amount of land in the Altai territory -- 39,000,000 dessiatins -- to prove that there is no need for compulsory alienation in European Russia. Here is an example of a bourgeois joining hands with the feudal landlord for joint "progress" in the Stolypin spirit. (See Stenographic Record, Second Duma, 39th sitting, May 16, 1907, pp. 658-61.)


Total land area



in 1897



Lands of
which no
data are








Million Dessiatins

10 gubernias in King-
  dom of Poland
38 gubernias west of
  the Volga
12 gubernias north
  and east of Volga
Total for 50 gubernias
  of European Russia
Central Asia
Total for Asiatic
Total for Russian











   * Exclusive of Finland.

to presume that the land hunger of the Russian peasantry can be satisfied by migration.[*]

    These correct arguments of Mr. Kaufman, the liberal, contain, nevertheless, a very serious mistake. Mr. Kaufman argues in this way: "Considering the type of people who now migrate, their present degree of prosperity, and their present cultural level" (p. 129 of the book mentioned), the amount of land available for satisfying the needs of the Russian peasants by means of migration is absolutely insufficient. Consequently, he concludes in defence of the Cadet agrarian programme, compulsory alienation of private land in European Russia is essential.

    That is the usual argument of our liberal and liberal-Narodnik economists. It is so constructed as to lead to the conclusion that if there were sufficient land suitable for migration, the feudal latifundia could be left intact! The Cadets and other politicians of the same kind are thoroughly permeated with the ideas of the well-meaning official; they claim to stand above classes and above the class struggle. The feudal latifundia must be done away with not because they imply the feudal exploitation and bondage of millions of the population and retard the development of the productive forces, but because millions of families cannot be immediately packed off to, say, Siberia or Turkestan! The stress is laid not upon the feudal class character of the latifundia in Russia, but upon the possibility of reconciling the classes, of satisfying the peasant without injuring the landlord; in short, upon the possibility of bringing about the notorious "social peace".

    The arguments of Mr. Kaufman and his innumerable followers among the Russian intelligentsia have to be turned upside down to be put right. Since the Russian peasant is crushed by the feudal latifundia, for that reason both the free settlement of the population over the territory of Russia and the rational economic use of the bulk of her borderlands are incredibly retarded. Since the feudal lati-

    * The Agrarian Question, published by Dolgorukov and Petrunkevich, Vol. 1, article by Mr. Kaufman: "Migration and Its Role in the Agrarian Programme". See also the work by the same author: Migration and Colonisation, St. Petersburg, 1905.

fundia are keeping the Russian peasantry in a downtrodden state, and perpetuate, through the labour-service system and bondage, the most backward forms and methods of land cultivation, for that reason both the technical progress and the mental development of the mass of the peasants are hindered, as also their activity, initiative, and education, which are essential for the economic utilisation of a far larger area of the Russian land reserves than is utilised today. For the feudal latifiindia and the predominance of bondage in agriculture imply also a corresponding political superstructure -- the predominance of the Black-Hundred landlord in the state, the disfranchisement of the population,<"p251"> the prevalence of Gurko-Lidval methods of administration,[101] and so on and so forth.

    That the feudal latifundia in central agricultural Russia are having a disastrous effect upon the whole social system, upon social development as a whole, upon the entire condition of agriculture, and upon the whole standard of living of the masses of the peasantry, is a matter of common knowledge. I only have to refer here to the vast Russian economic literature which has proved the prevalence in Central Russia of labour-service, bondage, rack rent, "winter hiring", and other charming aspects of medievalism.[*]

    The fall of serfdom created conditions which (as I pointed out in detail in The Development of Capitalism ) caused the population to flee from those haunts of the last descendants of the serf-owners. The population fled from the central agricultural area to the industrial gubernias, to the capitals, and to the southern and eastern borderlands of European Russia, and settled in hitherto uninhabited lands. In the pamphlet I have mentioned, Mr. Mertvago quite truly remarks, by the way, that the conception of what sort of land is unsuitable for agriculture is liable to undergo rapid change.

    "'The Taurida steppes,'" he writes, "'owing to the climate and the scarcity of water, will always be one of the poorest and least suitable regions for cultivation.' That

    * See The Development of Capitalism, Chapter III, on the transition from corvée to capitalist economy and the spread of the labour-service system. (See present edilion, Vol. 3, pp. 191-251. --Ed.)

was the opinion expressed in 1845 by such authoritative observers of nature as Academicians Beer and Helmersen. At that time the population of Taurida Gubernia, a half of what it is now, produced 1,800,000 chetverts of grain of all kinds. . . . Now, after a lapse of 60 years, the population has doubled, and in 1903, it produced 17,600,000 chetverts, i.e., nearly ten times as much" (p. 24).

    That is true not only of Taurida Gubernia, but of a number of other gubernias in the southern and eastern border lands of European Russia. The southern steppes, and also the gubernias on the left bank of the Volga, which in the sixties and seventies lagged behind the ceutral black-earth gubernias in the output of grain, outstripped those provinces in the eighties (The Development of Capitalism, p. 186).[*] Between 1863 and 1897 the population of the whole of European Russia increased by 53 per cent -- 48 per cent in the case of the rural and 97 per cent in the case of the urban population -- whereas in Novorossia, the Lower Volga, and eastern gubernias, the population increased during the same period by 92 per cent -- 87 per cent increase in the rural population and 134 per cent increase in the urban population (ibid., p. 446).[**]

    "We have no doubt," Mr. Mertvago continues, "that the present bureaucratic estimate of the economic importance of our land reserves is not less mistaken than that of Beer and Helmersen concerning Taurida Gubernia in 1845" (ibid.).

    That is correct. But Mr. Mertvago fails to see the source of Beer's mistakes, and of the mistakes of all bureaucratic estimates. The source of those mistakes is that while taking into consideration the given level of technique and culture, no allowance is made for the advance of this level. Beer and Helmersen did not foresee the technical changes that became possible after the fall of serfdom. And there cannot be the least doubt now that a tremendous increase in the productive forces, a tremendous rise in the technical and cultural level will inevitably follow the break-up of the feudal latifundia in European Russia.

    * See present edition, Vol. 3, p. 257. --Ed.
    ** See present edition, Vol. 3. p. 563. --Ed.

    This aspect of the matter is overlooked by many students of the agrarian problem in Russia. The prerequisite for the wide utilisation of the vast Russian lands available for colonisation is the creation in European Russia of a really free peasantry, completely liberated from the oppression of feudal relations. A considerable portion of these lands is unsuitable at the present time, not so much because of the natural properties of this or that borderland, but because of the social conditions of agriculture in Russia proper, which doom technical methods to stagnation and the population to a rightless status, downtroddenness, ignorance, and helplessness.

    It is this exceedingly important aspect of the matter that Mr. Kaufman overlooks when he declares: "I say in advance: I do not know whether it will be possible to settle one, three, or ten million on those lands" (ibid., p. 128). He goes on to point out that the term unsuitable land is only relative: "The alkali soils, far from being absolutely hopeless, can, with the application of certain technical methods, be made very fertile" (ibid., p. 129). In Turkestan, with a population density of 3.6 to the square verst, "vast areas are still uninhabited" (ibid., p. 137). "The soil of many of the 'hungry deserts' of Turkestan consists of the famous Central Asiatic loess which becomes highly fertile if sufficiently irrigated. . . . The existence of irrigable lands is a question that is not even worth while discussing: it is sufficient to cross the country in any direction to see the ruins of numerous villages and towns, abandoned centuries ago, frequently surrounded for scores of square versts by networks of ancient irrigation canals and ditches. The total area of loess desert awaiting irrigation undoubtedly amounts to many millions of dessiatins" (ibid., p. 137).

    All these millions of dessiatins in Turkestan, as well as in many other parts of Russia, are "awaiting" not only irrigation and reclamation of every kind. They are also "awaiting" the emancipation of the Russian agricultural population from the survivals of serfdom, from the yoke of the nobility's latifundia, and from the Black-Hundred dictatorship in the state.

    It is idle to speculate on the actual amount of land in Russia that could be converted from "unsuitable" into suit- able land. But it is necessary clearly to appreciate the fact, which is demonstrated by the whole economic history of Russia, and which is an outstanding feature of the bourgeois revolution in Russia, viz., that Russia possesses a gigantic amount of land available for colonisation, which will be rendered accessible to the population and accessible to culture, not only by every technical advance of agriculture, but also by every advance in the emancipation of the Russian peasantry from the yoke of serfdom.

    This forms the economic basis for the bourgeois evolution of Russian agriculture on the American model. In the countries of Western Europe, which our Marxists so often draw upon for thoughtless and stereotyped comparisons, all the land was already occupied in the epoch of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. The only new thing brought about by every technical advance in agriculture was that it became possible to invest more labour and capital in the land. In Russia, the bourgeois-democratic revolution is taking place under conditions in which every technical advance in agriculture, and every advance in the development of real liberty for the population, not only creates the possibility for additional investment of labour and capital in old lands, but also the possibility for utilising "boundless" tracts of adjacent new lands.


    Let us sum up the economic deductions which are to serve as an introduction to the re-examination of the question of the Social-Democratic agrarian programme.

    We have seen that the "pivot" of the agrarian struggle in our revolution is the feudal latifundia. The peasants' struggle for the land is, first and foremost, a struggle for the abolition of these latifundia. Their abolition and their complete transfer to the peasantry undoubtedly coincide with the line of the capitalist evolution of Russian agriculture. Such a path of this evolution would mean the most rapid development of productive forces, the best conditions of labour for the mass of the population, and the most rapid development of capitalism, with the conversion of the free peasants into farmers. But another path of bourgeois evolution of agriculture is possible, viz., the preservation of the landlord farms and latifundia and their slow conversion from farms based on serfdom and bondage into Junker farms. It is these two types of possible bourgeois evolution that form the basis of the two types of agrarian programmes proposed by different classes in the Russian revolution. Moreover, a special feature of Russia, a feature that is one of the economic foundations for the possibility of the "American" evolution, is the existence of vast lands available for colonisation. While entirely unsuitable for emancipating the Russian peasantry from the yoke of serfdom in European Russia, these lands will become more extensive and more accessible in proportion to the freedom enjoyed by the peasantry in Russia proper, and to the scope of development of the productive forces.




    Let us pass to an examination of the Social-Democratic agrarian programme. I outlined the chief historical stages in the evolution of the views of Russian Social-Democrats on the agrarian question in the first section of the pamphlet Revision of the Agrarian Programme of the Workers' Party.* We must explain more fully the nature of the mistake contained in the previous agrarian programmes of Russian Social-Democracy, i.e., in the programmes of 1885 and 1903.


    In the draft issued by the Emancipation of Labour group in 1885, the agrarian programme was outlined as follows: "A radical revision of our agrarian relations, i.e., of the terms on which the land is to be redeemed and allotted to the peasant communities. The right to refuse their allot-

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 169-74. --Ed.

ments and to leave the commune to be granted to those peasants who may find it advantageous to do so, etc."

    That is all. The error of that programme is not that its principles or partial demands were wrong. No. Its principles are correct, while the only partial demand it puts forward (the right to refuse allotments) is so incontestable that it has now been carried out by Stolypin's peculiar legislation. The error of that progromme is its abstract character, the absence of any concrete view of the subject. Properly speaking, it is not a programme, but a Marxist declaration in the most general terms. Of course, it would be absurd to put the blame for this mistake on the authors of the programme, who for the first time laid down certain principles long before the formation of a workers' party. On the contrary, it should be particularly emphasised that in that programme the inevitability of a "radical revision" of the Peasant Reform was recognised twenty years before the Russian revolution.

    Theoretically that programme should have been developed by clarifying the economic basis of our agrarian programme, the facts upon which the demand for a radical revision, as distinct from a non-radical, reformist revision can and should be based, and finally, by concretely defining the nature of this revision from the standpoint of the proletariat (which differs essentially from the general radical standpoint). Practically the programme should have been developed by taking into account the experience of the peasant movement. Without the experience of a mass -- indeed, more than that -- of a nation-wide peasant movement, the programme of the Social-Democratic Labour Party could not become concrete; for it would have been too difficult, if not impossible, on the basis of theoretical reasoning alone, to define the degree to which capitalist disintegration had taken place among our peasantry, and to what extent the latter was capable of bringing about a revolutionary-democratic change.

    In 1903, when the Second Congress of our Party adopted the first agrarian programme of the R.S.D.L.P., we did not yet have such expericnce as would enable us to judge the character, breadth, and depth of the peasant movement. The peasant risings in South Russia in the spring of 1902 remained sporadic outbursts. One can therefore understand the restraint shown by the Social-Democrats in drafting the agrarian programme: it is not the proletariat's business to "devise" such a programme for bourgeois society, and the extent to which the peasant movement against the survivals of serfdom, a movement worthy of proletarian support, was likely to develop was still unknown.

    The 1903 programme attempts to define concretely the nature and terms of the "revision" about which the Social-Democrats in 1885 spoke only in a general way. That attempt -- in the main item of the programme, dealing with the cut-off lands -- was based upon a tentative distinction between lands which serve for exploitation by means of serfdom and bondage ("lands 'cut off' in 1861") and lands which are exploited in a capitalist manner. Such a tentative distinction was quite fallacious, because, in practice, the peasant mass movement could not be directed against particular categories of landlord estates, but only against landlordism in general. The programme of 1903 raised a question which had not yet been raised in 1885, namely, the question of the conflict of interests between the peasants and the landlords at the moment of the revision of agrarian relations, which all Social-Democrats regarded as inevitable. But the solution given to this question in the programme of 1903 is not correct, for, instead of contraposing the consistently peasant to the consistentIy Junker method of carrying out the bourgeois revolution, the programme artificially sets up something intermediate. Here, too, we must make allowance for the fact that the absence of an open mass movement at that time made it impossible to solve this question on the basis of precise data, and not on the basis of phrases, or innocent wishes, or petty-bourgeois utopias, as the Socialist-Revolutionaries did. No one could say in advance with certainty to what extent disintegration among the peasantry had progressed as a result of the partial transition of the landlords from the labour-service system to wage-labour. No one could estimate how large was the stratum of agricultural labourers which had arisen after the Reform of 1861 and to what extent their interests had become separated from those of the ruined peasant masses.

    At all events, the fundamental mistake in the agrarian programme of 1903 was the absence of a clear idea of the issue around which the agrarian struggle could and should develop in the process of the bourgeois revolution in Russia -- a clear idea of the types of capitalist agrarian evolution that were objectively possible as the result of the victory of one or other of the social forces engaged in this struggle.


    The present agrarian programme of the Social-Democratic Party, which was adopted at the Stockholm Congress, marks a great step forward in comparison with the preceding one in one important respect, viz., by recognising confiscation of the landlords'[*] estates, the Social-Democratic Party resolutely took the path of recognising the peasant agrarian revolution. The words in the programme: ". . . supporting the revolutionary actions of the peasantry, including the confiscation of the landlords' estates", quite definitely express that idea. In the course of the discussion at the Stockholm Congress,<"p258"> one of the reporters, Plekhanov, who together with John[102] sponsored that programme, spoke frankly about the necessity of ceasing to be afraid of a "peasant agrarian revolution ". (See Plekhanov's report. Minutes of the Stockholm Congress, Moscow, 1907, p. 42.)

    One would have thought that this admission -- that our bourgeois revolution in the sphere of agrarian relations must be regarded as a "peasant agrarian revolution" -- would have put an end to the major differences of opinion among Social-Democrats on the question of the agrarian programme. Actually, however, differences arose over the question whether Social-Democrats should support division of the landlords' estates among the peasants as private property, or municipalisation of the landlords' estates, or nationalisation of all the land. First of all, therefore, we must definitely establish the fact, all too often forgotten by Social-Democrats, that these questions can be correctly answered

    * The text of the programme (Point 4) speaks of privately owned lands. The resolution appended to the programme (the second part of the agrarian programme) speaks of confiscation of the landlords' estates.

only from the standpoint of the peasant agrarian revolution in Russia. Of course, it is not a question of Social-Democracy refraining from independently defining the interests of the proletariat, as a separate class, in this peasant revolution. No. It is a question of having a clear idea of the character and significance of the peasant agrarian revolution as one of the forms of the bourgeois revolution in general. We cannot "invent" any particular reform "project". We must study the objective conditions of the peasant agrarian revolution in capitalistically developing Russia; on the basis of this objective analysis, we must separate the erroneous ideology of the different classes from the real content of the economic changes, and determine what, on the basis of those real economic changes, is required for the development of the productive forces and for the proletarian class struggle.

    The present agrarian programme of the R.S.D.L.P. recognises (in a special form) the conversion of the confiscated lands into public property (nationalisation of forests, waters and lands for colonisation, and municipalisation of privately owned lands), at any rate in the event of the "victorious development of the revolution". In the event of "unfavourable conditions", the principle of dividing the landlords' lands among the peasants as private property is adopted. In all cases, the property rights of the peasants and small landowners generally to their present holdings are recognised. Consequently, the programme provides for a dual system of land tenure in a renovated bourgeois Russia: private ownership of land, and (at least in the event of the victorious development of the revolution) public ownership in the form of municipalisation and nationalisation.

    How did the authors of the programme account for this duality? First of all, and above all, by the interests and demands of the peasantry, by the fear of drifting apart from the peasantry, the fear of setting the peasantry against the proletariat and against the revolution. By advancing such an argument the authors and the supporters of the programme took the stand of recognising the peasant agrarian revolution, the stand of proletarian support for definite peasant demands. And that argument was advanced by the most influential supporters of the programme, headed by Comrade John! To become convinced of this, it is sufficient to glance at the Minutes of the Stockholm Congress.

    That argument was directly and categorically advanced by Comrade John in his report. "If the revolution," he said, "were to lead to an attempt to nationalise the peasants' allotments, or to nationalise the lands confiscated from the landlords, as Comrade Lenin suggests, such a measure would lead to a counter-revolutionary movement, not only in the borderlands,<"p260"> but also in the central part of the country. We would have not one Vend&eacutee,[103] but a general revolt of the peasantry against attempts by the state to interfere with the peasants' own [John's italics] allotments, against attempts to nationalise the latter." (Minutes of the Stockholm Congress, p. 40.)

    That seems clear, does it not? The nationalisation of the peasants' own lands would lead to a general revolt of the peasantry! That is the reason why Comrade X's original municipalisation scheme, which had proposed to transfer to the Zemstvos not only the private lands, but "if possible" all the lands (quoted by me in the pamphlet Revision of the Agrarian Programme of the Workers' Party *), was replaced by Maslov's municipalisation scheme, which proposed to exempt the peasants' lands. Indeed, how could they ignore the fact, discovered after 1903, about the in evitable peasant revolt against attempts at complete nationalisation?<"p260a"> How could they refrain from adopting the standpoint of another noted Menshevik, Kostrov,[104] who exclaimed in Stockholm:

    "To go to the peasants with it [nationalisation] means antagonising them. The peasant movement will go on apart from or against us, and we shall find ourselves thrown overboard in the revolution. Nationalisation deprives Social-Democracy of its strength, isolates it from the peasantry and thus also deprives the revolution of its strength" (p. 88).

    One cannot deny the force of that argument. To try to nationalise the peasants' own land against their wishes in a peasant agrarian revolution! Since the Stockholm Congress believed John and Kostrov, it is not surprising that it rejected that idea.

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 172. --Ed.

    But was not the Congress wrong in believing them?

    In view of the importance of the question of an all-Russian Vendée against nationalisation, a brief reference to history will not be out of place.


    The above-quoted categorical assertions of John and Kostrov were made in April 1906, i.e., on the eve of the First Duma. I argued (see my pamphlet Revision, etc.*) that the peasantry was in favour of nationalisation, but I was told that the decisions of the congresses of the Peasant Union[105] did not prove anything, that they were inspired by the ideologists of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, that the masses of the peasants would never support such demands.

    Since then this question has been documentarily answered by the First and Second Dumas. The representatives of the peasantry from all parts of Russia spoke in the First and particularly in the Second Duma.<"p261a"> No one, with the possible exception of the publicists of Rossiya [106] and Novoye Vremya, could deny that the political and economic demands of the peasant masses found expression in both those Dumas. One would have thought that the idea of nationalising the peasants' lands should be finally buried now, after the independent declarations made by the peasant deputies in the presence of the other parties. One would have thought that the supporters of John and Kostrov could easily have got the peasant deputies to raise an outcry in the Duma against nationalisation. One would have thought that Social-Democracy, led by the Mensheviks, should really have "isolated" from the revolution the advocates of nationalisation who are rousing an all-Russian counter-revolutionary Vendée.

    As a matter of fact, something different happened. In the First Duma it was Stishinsky and Gurko who showed concern for the peasants' own (John's italics) lands. In both Dumas it was the extreme Right-wingers who, jointly

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, pp, 165-95. --Ed.

with the spokesmen of the government, defended private ownership of the land and were opposed to any form of public ownership of land, whether by municipalisation, nationalisation, or socialisation. In both Dumas it was the peasant deputies from all parts of Russia who declared for nationalisation.

    Comrade Maslov wrote in 1905: "Nationalisation of the land as a means of solving [?] the agrarian problem in Russia at the present time cannot be accepted, first of all [note this "first of all"] because it is hopelessly utopian. Nationalisation of the land presupposes the transfer of all the land to the state. But will the peasants, and particularly the homestead peasants, voluntarily agree to transfer their land to anyone?" (P. Maslov, A Critique of Agrarian Programmes, Moscow, 1905, p. 20.)

    Thus, in 1905, nationalisation was "first of all" hopelessly utopian because the peasants would not agree to it.

    In 1907, in March, the same Maslov wrote: "All the Narodnik groups [the Trudoviks, the Popular Socialists, and the Socialist-Revolutionaries] are advocating nationalisation of the land in one form or another." (Obrazovaniye, 1907, No. 3, p. 100.)

    There's your new Vendée! There's your all-Russian revolt of the peasants against nationalisation!

    But instead of pondering over the ridiculous position in which the people who spoke and wrote about a peasant Vendée against nationalisation now find themselves, in the light of the experience of the two Dumas, instead of trying to explain the mistake which he made in 1905, P. Maslov behaved like Ivan the Forgetful. He preferred to forget the words I have just quoted, and the speeches at the Stockholm Congress! Moreover, with the same light-heartedness with which he, in 1905, asserted that the peasants would not agree, he now asserts the opposite. Listen:

    . . . "The Narodniks, reflecting the interests and hopes of the small proprietors [listen to this!], had to declare in favour of nationalisation" (ibid.).

    There you have a sample of the scientific scrupulousness of our municipalisers! In solving a difficult problem before the elected representatives of the peasants from the whole of Russia made their political declarations, the municipalisers, on behalf of the small proprietors, asserted one thing; and after those declarations in the two Dumas they assert, on behalf of the very same "small proprietors", the very opposite.

    It shouId be mentioned, as a particular curiosity, that Maslov explains this tendency towards nationalisation on the part of the Russian peasants as being due not to any special conditions of the peasant agrarian revolution, but to the general characteristics of the small proprietor in capitalist society. That is incredible, but it is a fact:

    "The small proprietor," Maslov announces, "is most of all afraid of the competition and domination of the big proprietor, of the domination of capital". . . . You are mixing things up, Mr. Maslov. To put the big (feudal ) landowner on a par with the owner of capital means repeating the prejudices of the petty bourgeoisie. The peasant is fighting so energetically against the feudal latifundia precisely because at the present historical moment he represents the free, capitalist evolution of agriculture.

    . . . "Being unable to contend with capital in the economic field the small proprietor puts his faith in government authority which should come to the aid of the small proprietor against the big one. . . . The reason the Russian peasant has hoped for centuries to be protected from the landlords and government officials by the central authority, the reason Napoleon in France relying for support on the peasants, was able to crush the Republic was the hope the peasants entertained of receiving aid from the central authority." (Obrazovaniye, p. 100 )

    How magnificently Pyotr Maslov argues! In the first place, what has nationalisation of the land to do with the fact that at the present historical moment the Russian peassant is displaying the same characteristics as the French peasant under Napoleon? The French peasant under Napoleon was not and could not be in favour of nationalisation. You are rather incoherent, Mr. Maslov!

    Secondly, what has the struggle against capital to do with it? We are comparing peasant ownership of land with the nationalisation of all the land, including that of the peasants. The French peasant under Napoleon clung fanatically to the small property as a barrier against capital, but the Russian peasant. . . . Once again, my dear fellow, where is the connection between the beginning and the end of your argument?

    Thirdly, in speaking about the hopes placed in government authority, Maslov makes it appear that the peasants do not understand the harmfulness of bureaucracy, do not understand the importance of local self-government, whereas he, the progressive Pyotr Maslov, does appreciate all this. This criticism of the Narodniks is much too simplified. A reference to the famous Land Bill (the Bill of the 104), which the Trudoviks introduced in the First and Second Dumas, will suffice to show the falsity of Maslov's argument (or hint?). The facts show, on the contrary, that the principles of local self-government and of hostility towards a bureaucratic solution of the land problem are more clearly expressed in the Trudovik Bill than in the programme of the Social-Democrats written according to Maslov! In our programme we speak only about "democratic principles" in electing local bodies, whereas the Trudovik Bill (Clause 16) distinctly and directly provides for the election of local self-governing bodies on the basis of "universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot". Moreover, the Bill provides for local land committees -- which, as is known, the Social-Democrats support -- to be elected in the same. way, and which are to organise the discussion on the land reform and make preparations for carrying it out (Clauses 17-20). The bureaucratic method of carrying out the agrarian reform was advocated by the Cadets, and not by the Trudoviks, by the liberal bourgeoisie, and not by the peasants. Why did Maslov have to distort these well-known facts?

    Fourthly, in his remarkable "explanation" of why the small proprietors "had to declare in favour of nationalisation", Maslov lays stress on the peasants' hope of receiving protection from the central authority. That is the point of distinction between municipalisation and nationalisation: in the one case there are local authorities, in the other case, the central authority. That is Maslov's pet idea, the economic and political implications of which we shall deal with in greater detail further on. Here we will point out that Maslov is dodging the question put to him by the history of our revolution, namely, why the peasants are not afraid of the nationalisation of their own land. That is the crux of the question!

    But that is not all. A particularly piquant feature of Maslov's attempt to explain the class roots of the Trudovik policy of nationalisation as against municipalisation is the following: Maslov conceals from his readers the fact that on the question of the actual disposal of the land the Narodniks were also in favour of local self-governing bodies ! Maslov's talk about the peasants placing their "hopes" in the central authority is mere intellectualist tittle-tattle about the peasants. Read Clause 16 of the Land Bill that the Trudoviks introduced in both Dumas. Here is the text of this clause:

    "The management of the national land fund must be entrusted to local self-governing bodies, elected by universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot, which shall act independently within the limits laid down by the law."

    Compare this with the corresponding demand made in our programme: ". . . The R.S.D.L.P. demands: . . . (4) the confiscation of privately owned lands, except small holdings, which shall be placed at the disposal of large local self-governing bodies (comprisnig urban and rural districts, as per Point 3) to be elected on democratic principles". . . .

    What is the difference here from the point of view of the comparative rights of central and local authorities? In what way does "management" differ from "disposal"?

    Why, in speaking about the attitude of the Trudoviks towards nationalisation, did Maslov have to conceal from his readers -- and perhaps from himself too -- the contents of this Clause 16? Because it completely shatters the whole of his absurd "municipalisation" theory.

    Examine the arguments in favour of this municipalisation that Maslov advanced before the Stockholm Congress, read the Minutes of that Congress; you will find innumerable allusions to the impossibility of suppressing nationalities, of oppressing the borderlands, of ignoring the differences of local interests, etc., etc. Even prior to the Stockholm Congress, I had pointed out to Maslov (see Revision, etc., p. 18*) that all arguments of this kind are a "sheer mis-

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 182. --Ed.

understanding" because our programme -- I said -- already recognised the right of self-determination of nationalities as well as wide local and regional self-government. Consequently, from that aspect, there was no need, nor was it possible, to devise any additional "guarantees" against excessive centralisation, bureaucracy, and regulation, because that would be either devoid of content or would be interpreted in an anti-proletarian, federalist spirit.

    The Trudoviks have demonstrated to the municipalisers that I was right.

    Maslov must admit now that all the groups that voice the interests and the point of view of the peasantry have declared in favour of nationalisation in a form that will ensure the rights and powers of the local self-governing bodies no less than in Maslov's programme! The law defining the powers of the locaI self-governing bodies is to be passed by the central parliament. Maslov does not say that, but such ostrich-like tactics will be of no avail, because no other procedure is conceivable.

    The words "placed at the disposal " introduce the utmost confusion. Nobody knows who are to be the owners[*] of the lands confiscated from the landlords! That being the case, the owner can only be the state. What does "disposal" consist of? What are to be its limits, forms, and conditions? That, too, will have to be determined by the central parliament. That is self-evident, and, moreover, in our Party's programme special mention is made of "forests of national importance" and of "lands available for colonisation". Obviously, only the central state authority is in a position to single out the "forests of national importance" from the general mass of forest land, and, the "lands available far colonisation" from the total land area.

    In short, the Maslov programme, which, in a particularly distorted form, has now become the programme of our Party, is quite absurd in comparison with the Trudovik pro-

    * At the Stockholm Congress the Mensheviks rejected an amendment to substitute for the words "placed at the disposal", the words "made the private property" (Minutes, p. 152). Only in the resolution on tactics is it said, "in possession", in the event of the "victorious development of the revolution", but it does not define more precisely what that means.

gramme. No wonder Maslov found it necessary, in talking about nationalisation, to drag in even the Napoleonic peasant in order to conceal from the public the absurd position we have put ourselves in before the representatives of bourgeois democracy by our muddled "municipalisation"!

    The only difference between the two -- a real essential difference -- is the attitude towards the peasants' allotment lands. Maslov singled these out only because he was afraid of a "Vendée". And it turned out that the peasant deputies who were sent to the First and Second Dumas laughed at the fears of the tail-ist Social-Democrats and declared in favour of the nationalisation of their own lands!

    The municipalisers should now oppose the Trudovik peasants and urge them not to nationalise their lands. The irony of history has brought the arguments of Maslov, John, Kostrov, and Co. tumbling down upon their own heads.


    We shall try to analyse the question (as to why all the political groups which reflect the interests and hopes of the small proprietors should have spoken in favour of nationalisation) in regard to which P. Maslov flounders so helplessly.

    First of all, let us see to what extent the Land Bill of the 104, i.e., of the Trudoviks in the First and Second Dumas, really expresses the demands of the peasantry of the whole of Russia. That it does is borne out by the nature of the representation in both Dumas, as well as by the nature of the political struggle on the agrarian question which developed in the "parliamentary" arena among the spokesmen of the different classes. The idea of landownership in general, and of peasant ownership in particular, far from being pushed into the background in the Duma, was, on the contrary, constantly brought to the fore by certain parties. The idea was supported by the government, in the shape of Stishinsky, Gurko, and all the ministers, as well as all the official press, addressing especially the peasant deputies. The political parties of the Right, too, beginning with the "famous" Svyatopolk-Mirsky in the Second Duma,

kept dinning into the peasants' ears about the blessings of peasant proprietorship. The actual alignment of forces on this question has been depicted by such a wealth of data that there can be no doubt as to its correctness (from the standpoint of class interests). The Cadet Party in the First Duma, when the liberals regarded the revolutionary people as a force and tried to woo them, was also swept along by the general current in the direction of land nationalisation. As is known, the Cadet Land Bill introduced in the First Duma contained a clause about a "state land reserve" to include all alienated land and from which land would be granted on long-term leases. Of course, the Cadets in the First Duma did not put that demand forward on any grounds of principle -- it would be ridiculous to speak of the Cadet Party having principles. No. That demand of the liberals sprang up as a feeble echo of the demands of the peasant masses. Already in the First Duma the peasant deputies at once began to form a separate political group, and the Land Bill of the "104" served as the chief and basic platform of the whole of the Russian peasantry, which came forward as a conscious social force. The speeches of the peasant deputies in the First and Second Dumas and the articles in the Trudovik papers (Izvestia Krestyanskikh Deputatov, Trudovaya Rossiya ) showed that the Bill of the 104 faithfully expressed the interests and hopes of the peasants. That Bill must, therefore, be dealt with in somewhat greater detail.

    It is interesting, by the way, to look at the composition of the group of deputies who signed the Bill. In the First Duma it was signed by 70 Trudoviks, 17 non-party deputies, 8 peasants who supplied no information as to their party affiliation, 5 Cadets,* 3 Social-Democrats,** and 1 Lithuanian Autonomist. In the Second Duma the Bill of the "104" had 99 signatures, and after deducting duplicates, 91 signatures, namely, 79 Trudoviks, 4 Popular Socialists, 2 Socialist-Revolutionaries, 2 deputies from the Cossack

    * G. Zubchenko, T. Volkov, M. Gerasimov, all peasants; S. Lozhkin, a physician, and Afanasyev, a priest.
    ** Antonov, a worker from Perm Gubernia, Yershov, a worker from Kazan Gubernia, and V. Churyukov, a worker from Moscow Gubernia.

group, 2 non-party deputies, 1 deputy more to the left than the Cadets (Peterson), and 1 Cadet (Odnokozov, a peasant). There was a preponderance of peasants among the signatories (no fewer than 54 out of 91 in the Second Duma, and no fewer than 52 out of 104 in the First). It is interesting that P. Maslov's special expectations regarding the homestead peasants (referred to above[*]) who, he said, could not agree to nationalisation, were also completely defeated by the attitude of the peasant deputies in both Dumas. For instance, in Podolsk Gubernia nearly all the peasants are homestead peasants (in 1905 there were 457,134 homestead peasants and only 1,630 members of village communes); nevertheless, 13 Podolsk deputies (mainly peasant farmers) signed the Land Bill of the "104" in the First Duma, and 10 in the Second Duma! Among other gubernias with homestead landownership we will mention Vilna, Kovno, Kiev, Poltava, Bessarabia, and Volhynia, deputies from which signed the Land Bill of the "104". The distinction between village commune members and homestead peasants as regards land nationalisation may appear important and material only to those who share Narodnik prejudices and those prejudices, by the way, were dealt a hard blow when the peasant deputies of the whole of Russia first came forward with a land programme. As a matter of fact, the demand for the nationalisation of the land is called forth not by any specific form of landownership, not by the "communal habits and instincts" of the peasants, but by the general conditions of the whole system of small peasant landownership (both communal and homestead) which is crushed by the feudal latifundia.

    Among the deputies in the First and Second Dumas who sponsored the nationalisation Bill of the 104 we see representatives from all parts of Russia, not only from the central agricultural and the industrial non-black-earth gubernias, not only from the northern (Arkhangelsk and Vologda -- in the Second Duma), eastern and sonthern borderlands (Astrakhan, Bessarabia, Don, Ekaterinoslav, Kuban, Taurida, and Stavropol gubernias and regions), but also from the gubernias of Little Russia, the South-west, North-west,

    * See pp. 261-62 of this volume. --Ed.

Poland (Suvalki) and Siberia (Tobolsk). Obviously, the plight of the small peasant under the oppression of feudal landlordism, which is most forcefully and clearly demonstrated in the purely Russian agricultural centre, is felt throughout Russia, and causes the small farmers everywhere to support the struggle for the nationalisation of the land.

    The nature of that struggle bears all the earmarks of petty-bourgeois individualism. In this respect special stress inust be laid on the fact, all too frequently ignored in our socialist press, that the greatest blow to the "socialism" of the Socialist-Revolutionaries was struck by the very first entry of the peasants into the open, all-Russian political arena with an independent land programme. The Socialist-Revolutionary Land Socialisation Bill (the Bill of the "33" in the First Duma) was supported by a minority of progressive peasant deputies. The great majority were found on the side of the Land Bill of the 104, drafted by the Popular Socialists ; whose programme the Socialist-Revolutionaries themselves describe as individualistic.

    For instance, in the Socialist-Revolutionary Collection of Articles (published by Nasha Mysl, St. Petersburg, 1907, No. 1) we find an article by P. Vikhlyaev entitled "The Popular Socialist Party and the Agrarian Question". The writer criticises the Popular Socialist Peshekhonov, and quotes the latter's statement that "the Bill of the 104 reflected our [the P.S.] standpoint on the way in which the land may be taken" (p. 81 of the Collection ). The Socialist-Revolutionaries declare bluntly that the Bill of the 104" leads to the negation of the root principle of communal land tenure" -- "in the same way " (sic !) as Stolypin's agrarian legislation, the law of November 9, 1906, does. (ibid., p. 86; we shall show presently how the Socialist Revolutionaries were prevented by their own prejudices from appraising the real economic difference between the two ways, i.e., the Stolypin way and the Trudovik way.) The Socialist-Revolutionaries regard Peshekhonov's programmatic views as "the manifestation of selfish individualism" (p. 89), "the pollution of the wide ideological stream with the mud of individualism" (p. 91), and "the encouragement of individualistic and selfish tendencies among the masses of the people" (ibid., p. 93).

    All this is true. But the Socialist-ReYolutionaries are wrong in believing that "strong" words can obscure the fact that the crux of the matter is not the opportunism of Peshekhonov and Co., but the individualism of the small farmer. The point is not that the Peshekhonovs are polluting the ideological stream of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, but that the majority of the progressive peasant deputies have revealed the real economic content of Narodism, the real aspirations of the small farmers. What the Land Bills of the 104 in the First and Second Dumas[*] revealed was the bankruptcy of the Socialist-Revolutionaries in face of the representatives of the broad, really all-Russian, peasant masses.

    While declaring in favour of nationalisation of the land, the Trudoviks very clearly reveal in their Bill the "selfish and individualistic" aspirations of the small farmers. They propose to leave the allotments and the small private holdings in the possession of their present owners (Clause 3 of the Land Bill of the 104), provided legislative measures are taken to ensure that they "gradually become the property of the whole nation". Translated into the language of real economic relations, it means just this: we take as our starting-point the interests of the real owners, of the real, not the nominal, tillers of the soil, but we want their economic activity to develop quite freely on nationalised**

    * From the Stenographic Records of the Second Duma it appears that the Socialist-Revolutionary Mushenko introduced a Land Bill signed by 105 deputies. Unfortunately, I have not been able to obtain a copy of that Bill. Among the Duma materials I had at my disposal there was only the Trudovik Bill of the 104 that was introduced in the Second Duma too. The existence of the Socialist-Revolutionary Bill of the 105 in addition to the two Trudovik Bills of the 104 (introduced in the First and Second Dumas) merely indicates, at best, that certain peasants wavered between the Popular Socialists and the Socialist-Revo!utionaries, but it does not disprove what I have said above.
    ** Incidentally, A. Finn-Yenotayevsky, in disputing the earnestness and consciousness of the nationalisation aspirations of the Peasant Union and of the peasantry in general, quoted the statement of V. Groman that the delegates to the peasants congresses "do not anticipate having to make any payment for the land", and that they have no idea that differential rent must revert to society as a whole. (A. Finn, The Agrarian Question and Social-Democracy, p. 69.) Clauses 7 and 14 of the Bill of the 104 prove that this view is erroneous. In [cont. onto p. 272. -- DJR] those clauses provision is made by the Trudoviks both for payment for the land (a land tax rising in accordance with the size of the allotment) and for the reversion of differential rent to the state ("limiting the right to appropriate the increase in the value" of the land, "insofar as it is not due to their, the owners', labour and capital -- [N. B.! the Trudoviks are not opposed to capital !] -- but to social conditions"). It is true that in regard to urban and other lands, Clause 7 provides that: "until such property passes to the whole nation" the rights of occupiers, etc, shall be limited. But that is probably a slip of the pen, for otherwise it would mean that the Trudoviks take the rent from the proprietors and return it to the occupiers, the tenants of nationalised land!

land. Clause 9 of the Bill, which states that "priority is to be given to the local population before outsiders, and to the agricultural population before the non-agricultural", shows once more that the interests of the small proprietors come first with the Trudoviks. An "equal right to the land" is a mere phrase; state loans and grants "to persons without sufficient means to acquire the necessary agricultural equipment" (Clause 15 of the Land Bill of the 104) are pious wishes; those who will really and inevitably gain will be the ones who can become strong proprietors now, who can be transformed from enslaved tillers of the soil into free and well-to-do farmers. Of course, it is in the interests of the proletariat to support such measures as will most of all help agriculture in Russia to pass from the hands of feudal landlords and enslaved tillers of the soil, who are crushed by ignorance, poverty, and routine, into the hands of free farmers. And the Bill of the "104" is nothing but a platform of the struggle to turn the well-to-do section of the enslaved peasantry into free farmers.


    The question now arises whether there are material grounds in the economic conditions of the agrarian, bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia compelling the small proprietors to demand the nationalisation of the land, or whether this demand as well is merely a phrase, merely the pious wish of the ignorant muzhik, the vain dream of the patriarchal tiller of the soil.

    To answer this question we must first try to envisage, more concretely the conditions of a bourgeois-democratic revolution in agriculture, and then compare those conditions with the two paths of capitalist agrarian evolution that are possible in Russia, as we have outlined above.

    The conditions of the bourgeois revolution in agriculture from the standpoint of agrarian relations have been very strikingly dealt with by Marx in the last volume of Theories of Surplus Value (Theorien über den Mehrwert, II. Band, 2. Teil, Stuttgart, 1905).

    After examining the views of Rodbertus, exposing the great limitations of the theory of this Pomeranian landlord, and enumerating in detail every single manifestation of his stupidity (<"p273">II, 1. Teil, S. 256-58, erster Blödsinn -- sechster Blödsinn des Herrn Rodbertus [*]), Marx turns to Ricardo's theory of rent (II, 2. Teil, § 3b, "The Historical Conditions of Ricardo's Theory").[107]

    Speaking of Ricardo and Anderson, Marx says: "Both start out from the view, regarded as very strange on the Continent: (1) that no landed property exists as an obstacle to any investment of capital in the land; (2) that there the tillers pass from better to worse soils. For Ricardo this premise is absolute -- leaving out of account interruptions in development through the reaction of science and industry; for Anderson it is relative, since the worse soil is again transformed into better; (3) that capital, the mass of capital requisite for application to agriculture, is always available.

    "Now, as far as points 1 and 2 are concerned, it must appear very peculiar to those on the Continent that in the country where, according to their notions, feudal landed .property has been most strongly preserved, economists start out from the idea that landed property does not exist. Anderson does so as well as Ricardo. The explanation is as follows:

    "first, the peculiarity of the English law of enclosures' [i.e., the law relating to the enclosure of the common lands] which has absolutely no analogy with the continental division of common land.

    * Vol. II, Part I, pp. 256-58, first nonsense -- sixth nonsense of Herr Rodbertus. --Ed.

    "secondly, nowhere in the world has capitalist production, since Henry VII, dealt so ruthlessly with the traditional relations of agriculture and so adequately moulded its conditions and made them subject to itself. England is in this respect the most revolutionary country in the world. All historically inherited relations -- not only the position of the villages, but the very villages themselves, not only the habitations of the agricultural population, but this population itself, not only the ancient economic centres, but the very economy itself -- have been ruthlessly swept away where they were in contradiction to the conditions of capitalist production in agriculture, or did not correspond to those conditions. The German, for example, finds economic relations determined by the traditional common land relations [Feldmarken ], the position of economic centres, and particular conglomerations of the population. The Englishman finds that the historical conditions of agriculture have been progressively created by capital since the fifteenth century. The technical expression customary in the United Kingdom, the 'clearing of estates', does not occur in any continental country. But what does this 'clearing of estates' mean? It means that, without regard for the local population -- which is driven away, for existing villages -- which are levelled to the ground, for farm buildings -- which are torn down, for the kind of agriculture -- which is transformed at a stroke, being converted for example from tillage to pasture, all conditions of production, instead of being accepted as they are handed down by tradition, are historically fashioned in the form necessary under the circumstances for the most profitable investment of capital. To that extent, therefore, no landed property exists ; it allows capital -- the farmer -- to manage freely, since it is only concerned about the money income. A Pomeranian landowner, his mind full of his ancestral [angestammten ] common lands, economic centres, and the agricultural collegium, etc., is quite likely, therefore, to hold up his hands in horror at Ricardo's 'unhistorical' views on the development of agricultural relations. That only shows that he naïvely confuses Pomeranian and English conditions. But it cannot be said that Ricardo, who here starts out from English conditions, is just as narrow in his view as the Pomeranian landowner who thinks within the limits of Pomeranian conditions. The English conditions are the only ones in which modern landed property, i.e., landed property modified by capitalist production, has developed adequately (in ideal perfection). Here the English theory is the classical one for the modern, i.e., capitalist mode of production. The Pomeranian theory, on the other hand, judges the developed relations according to a historically lower (inadequate) form, which has not taken full shape" (S. 5-7).

    That is a remarkably profound argument by Marx. Have our "municipalisers" ever pondered over it?

    In Volume III of Capital (2. Teil, S. 156) Marx had already pointed out that the form of landed property with which the incipient capitalist mode of production is confronted does not suit capitalism. Capitalism creates for itself the required forms of agrarian relationships out of the old forms, out of feudal landed property,<"p275"> peasants' commune property, clan property, etc.[108] In that chapter, Marx compares the different methods by which capital creates the required forms of landed property. In Germany the reshaping of the medieval forms of landed property proceeded in a reformative way, so to speak. It adapted itself to routine, to tradition, to the feudal estates that were slowly converted into Junker estates, to the routine of indolent peasants* who were undergoing the difficult transition from corvée to the condition of the Knecht and Grossbauer. In England this reshaping proceeded in a revolutionary, violent way; but the violence was practised for the benefit of the landlords, it was practised on the masses of the peasants, who were taxed to exhaustion, driven from the villages, evicted, and who died out, or emigrated. In America this reshaping went on in a violent way as regards the slave farms in the Southern States. There violence was applied against the slaveowning landlords. Their estates were broken up, and the large feudal estates were <"fnp275">

    * See Theorien über den Mehrwert, II. 8and, 1. Teil, S. 280; the condition for the capitalist mode of production in agriculture is "the substitution of a businessman [Geschäftsmann ] to the indolent peasant".[109]

transformed into small bourgeois farms.[*] As regards the mass of "unappropriated" American lands, this role of creating the new agrarian relationships to suit the new mode of production (i.e., capitalism) was played by the "American General Redistribution",<"p276"> by the Anti-Rent movement (Anti-Rent-Bewegung ) of the forties, the Homestead Act,[110] etc. When, in 1846, Hermann Kriege, a German Communist, advocated the equal redistribution of the land in America, Marx ridiculed the Socialist-Revolutionary prejudices and the petty-bourgeois theory of this quasi-socialism, but he appreciated the historical importance of the American movement against landed property,[**] as a movement which in a progressive way expressed the interests of the development of the productive forces and the interests of capitalism in America.



    Look from this angle at the agrarian evolution of Russia since the second half of the nineteenth century.

    What was our "great" Peasant Reform, the "cutting off" of the peasants lands, the removal of the peasants to the "poor lands", the enforcement of the new land regulations <"fnp276">

    * See Kautsky's Agrarian Question (p. 132 et seq. of the German text) concerning the growth of the small farms in the American South as a result of the abolition of slavery.
    ** Vperyod, 1905, No. 15 (Geneva, April 7/20), article "
Marx on the American 'General Redistribution'". (See present edition, Vol. 8 pp. 323-29. --Ed.) (Second volume of Mehring's Collected Works of Marx and Engels.) "We fully recognise," wrote Marx in 1846, "the historical justiflcation of the movement of the American National Reformers. We know that this movement strives for a result which true, would give a temporary impetus to the industrialism of modern bourgeois society, but which, as a product of the proletarian movement, and as an attack on landed property in general, especially under the prevailing American conditions, must inevitably lead, by its own consequences, to communism. Kriege, who with the German Communists in New York joined the Anti-Rent-Bewegung (movement),<"p276a"> clothes this simple fact in bombastic phrases, without entering into the content of the movement."[111]

by military force, shootings, and floggings? It was the first act of mass violence against the peasantry in the interests of nascent capitalism in agriculture. It was the "clearing of estates" for capitalism by the landlords.

    What is Stolypin's agrarian legislation under Article 87, that encouragement of the kulaks to pluuder the village communes, that breaking-up of the old agrarian relationships for the benefit of a handful of well-to-do proprietors at the price of the rapid ruin of the masses? It was the second big step in mass violence against the peasantry in the interests of capitalism. It was the second "clearing of estates" for capitalism by the landlords.

    And what does the Trudovik nationalisalion of the land stand for in the Russian revolution?

    It stands for "clearing of estates " for capilalism by the peasantry.

    The main source of all the well-meant foolishness of our municipalisers is precisely their failure to understand the economic basis of the bourgeois agrarian revolution in Russia in its two possible types, i.e., the landlord-bourgeois revolution, and the peasant-bourgeois revolution. Without a "clearing" of the medieval agrarian relationships and regulations, partly feudal and partly Asiatic, there can be no bourgeois revolution in agriculture, because capital must -- through economic necessity -- create for itself new agrarian relationships, adapted to the new conditions of free commercial agriculture. That "clearing" of the medieval lumber in the sphere of agrarian relations in general, and of the old system of landownership first and foremost, must chiefly affect the landlords' estates and peasant allotments, since both kinds of landed property are now, in their present form, adapted to the labour-service system, to the corvée heritage, to bondage, and not to a free capitalistically developing economy. Stolypin's "clearing" undoubtedly follows the line of the progressive capitalist development of Russia; but it is adapted solely to the interests of the landlords: let the rich peasants pay the "Peasant" (read: Landlord) Bank an exorbitant price for the land; in return we shall give them freedom to plunder the village communes, to forcibly expropriate the masses, to round off their plots, to evict the poor peasants, to under- mine the very foundations of the life of entire villages, and, at any price, in spite of everything, setting at naught the life and husbandry of any number of "old established" allotment peasants,<"p278"> to set up new otrub [111a] holdings, as the basis for new capitalist agriculture. There is unquestionable economic sense in that line; it faithfully expresses the real course of development as it should be under the rule of landlords who are being transformed into Junkers.

    What is the other line, the peasant line? Either it is economically impossible -- in which case all talk about the peasants confiscating the landlords' estates, about the peasant agrarian revolution, etc., is either humbug or an empty dream. Or it is economically possible -- provided one element of bourgeois society is victorious over the other element of bourgeois society -- in which case we must form a clear idea of, and clearly show to the people, the concrete conditions for that development, the conditions under which the peasants can reshape the old agrarian relations on a new, capitalist basis.

    Here there naturally arises the thought that this peasant line is precisely the division of the landlords' estates among the peasants for their private property. Very well. But if this division is to correspond to the really new, capitalist conditions of agriculture, it must be carried out in a new way and not in the old way. The division must be based not on the old allotment land distributed among the peasants a hundred years ago at the will of the landlords' bailiffs or of the officials of Asiatic despotism, but on the needs of free, commercial agriculture. To meet the requirements of capitalism, the division must be a division among free farmers, not among "indolent" peasants, the great majority of whom run their economies by routine and tradition in conformity with patriarchal, not with capitalist conditions. A division according to the old standards, i.e., in conformity with the old forms of landownership based on peasant allotments, will not be the clearing of the old landownership, but its perpetuation ; not clearing the way for capitalism, but rather encumbering it with a mass of unadapted and unadaptable "indolents" who cannot become free farmers. To be progressive, the division must be based on a new sorting process among the peasant cultivators, which will sift the farmers from the useless lumber. And this new sorting out is nationalisation of the land, i.e., the total abolition of private landownership, complete freedom to till the land, the unhampered transformation of the old peasantry into free farmers.

    Picture to yourselves the present system of peasant farming and the character of the old peasant landownership based on allotments. "Although united by the village commune into tiny administrative, fiscal, and land-holding associations, the peasants are split up by a mass of diverse divisions into grades, into categories according to size of allotment, amount of payments, etc. Let us take, for example, the Zemstvo statistical returns for Saratov Gubernia; there the peasants are divided into the following grades: gift-land peasants, owners, full owners, state peasants, state peasants with communal holdings, state peasants with quarter holdings, state peasants that formerly belonged to landlords, crown-land peasants, state-land tenants and landless peasants, owners who were formerly landlords' peasants, peasants whose farmsteads have been redeemed, owners who are former crown-land peasants, colonist freeholders, settlers, gift-land peasants who formerly belonged to landlords, owners who are former state peasants, manumitted, those who do not pay quit-rent, free tillers, temporarily-bound,<"p279"> former factory-bound peasants, etc.; further there are registered peasants, migrant, etc.[112] All these grades differ in the history of their agrarian relations, in size of allotments, amount of payments, etc., etc. And within the grades there are innumerable differences of a similar kind: sometimes even the peasants of one and the same village are divided into two quite distinct categories: 'Mr. X's former peasants' and 'Mrs. Y's former peasants'. All this diversity was natural and necessary in the Middle Ages."* If the new division of the landlords' estates were carried out in conformity with this feudal system of landownership -- whether by levelling to a uniform rate, i.e., equal division, or by fixing some kind of ratio between

    * The Development of Capitalism, Chapters V, IX, "Some Remarks on the Pre-Capitalist Economy of Our Countryside". (See present edition, Vol. 3, pp. 381-82. --Ed.)

the new and the old, or in some other way -- not only would it not guarantee that the new plots would meet the requirements of capitalist agriculture, but, on the contrary, it would perpetuate the obvious lack of conformity. Such a division would impede social evolution, would tie the new to the old instead of liberating the new from the old. Real liberation call only be achieved by nationalising the land, thus creating the conditions for the rise of free farmers, for the development of free farming without connection with the old, without any relation to medieval landownership in the form of peasant allotments.

    Capitalist evolution on the medieval peasant allotments proceeded in post-Reform Russia in such a way that the progressive economic elements freed themselves from the determining influence of the allotments. On the one hand, proletarians emerged, who rented out their allotments, abandoned them, or let the land go to waste. On the other hand, peasant owners emerged, who purchased or rented land, built up a new economy out of various fragments of the old, medieval system of landownership. The land that is now cultivated by a more or less well-to-do Russian peasant, i.e., by one who, given a favourable outcome of the revolution, is really capable of becoming a free farmer, consists partly of his own alIotment, partly of an allotment he has rented from a neighbour who is a village-commune member, partly, perhaps, of land rented on long-term lease from the state, land leased annually from the landlord, land purchased from the bank, and so forth. Capitalism requires the abolition of all these distinctions of category; it requires that all economy on the land be organised exclusively in accordance with the new conditions and demands of the market, the demands of agriculture. Nationalisation of the land fulfils this requirement by the revolutionary peasant method; at one stroke it completely divests the people of all the rotten rags of all forms of medieval landownership. There must be neither landlord nor allotment ownership, there must be only the new, free landowner ship -- such is the slogan of the radical peasant. And that slogan expresses in the most faithful, in the most consistent and categorical manner the interests of capitalism (which the radical peasant in his simplicity tries to ward off by making the sign of the cross), and expresses the need for the utmost development of the land's productive forces under commodity production.

    One may judge from this how clever Pyotr Maslov is in thinking that the only difference between his agrarian programme and the peasant programme of the Trudoviks is the perpetuation of the old, medieval, allotment ownership. The peasant allotment land is a ghetto in which the peasantry is suffocating and from which it is straining to escape to free[*] land. Yet in spite of the peasants' demands for free, i.e., nationalised, land, Pyotr Maslov seeks to perpetuate this ghetto, to perpetuate the old system; he would subject the best lands, confiscated from the landlords and converted to public use, to the conditions of the old system of landownership and the old methods of farming. In deeds, the Trudovik peasant is a most determined bourgeois revolutionary, but in words he is a petty-bourgeois utopian who imagines that a "General Redistribution" is the starting-point of harmony and fraternity,[**] and not of capitalist farming. Pyotr Maslov is, in deeds, a reactionary who, fearing the Vendée of a future counter-revolution, seeks to consolidate the present anti-revolutionary elements of the old forms of landownership and to perpetuate the peasant ghetto, while in words he thoughtlessly repeats mechanically learnt phrases about bourgeois progress. What the real conditions are for real free-bourgeois progress and not for the Stolypin-bourgeois progress of Russian agriculture, Maslov and Co. absolutely fail to understand.

    The difference between the vulgar Marxism of Pyotr Maslov and the methods of research that Marx really used

    * The "Socialist-Revolutiouary" Mr. Mushenko, the most consistent exponent of the view of his party in the Second Duma bluntly declared: "We raise the banner of the liberation of the land " (47th sitting, May 26, 1907, p. 1174). One must be blind to fail to perceive not only the essential capitalist nature of this supposedly "socialist" banner (Pyotr Maslov sees this too), but also the progressive economic nature of such an agrarian revolution compared with the Stolypin-Cadet revolution (this Pyotr Maslov does not see).
    ** Cf. the naïve expression of this bourgeois-revolutionary point of view in the speech of the "Popular Socialist" Volk-Karachevsky about "equality, fraternity, and liberty". (Second Duma, 16th sitting, March 26, 1907, pp. 1077-80.)

can be seen most clearly in the latter's attitude towards the petty-bourgeois utopias of the Narodniks (including the Socialist-Revolutionaries). In 1846, Marx ruthlessly exposed the petty-bourgeois character of the Americall Socialist-Revolutionary Hermann Kriege, who proposed a veritable General Redistribution for America and called it "communism". Marx's dialectical and revolutionary criticism swept away the husks of petty-bourgeois doctrine and picked out the sound kernel of the "attacks on landed property" and of the "Anti-Rent movement". Our vulgar Marxists, however, in criticising "equalised redistribution", "socialisation of the land", and "equal right to the land", confine themselves to repudiating the doctrine, and thus reveal their own obtuse doctrinairism, which prevents them from seeing the vital life of the peasant revolution beneath the lifeless doctrine of Narodnik theory. Maslov and the Mensheviks have carried this obtuse doctrinairism -- expressed in our "municipalisation" programme, which perpetuates the most backward and medieval form of land ownership -- to such lengths that in the Second Duma the following truly disgraceful things could be uttered in the name of the Social-Democratic Party: . . . "While on the question of the method of land alienation we [Social-Democrats] stand much nearer to these [Narodnik] groups than to the People's Freedom group, on the question of the forms of land tenure we stand farther away from them" (47th sitting, May 26, 1907, p. 1230 of Stenographic Record).

    Indeed, in the peasant agrarian revolution the Mensheviks stand farther away from revolutionary peasant nationalisation, and closer to liberal-landlord preservation of allotment (and not only allotment) ownership. The preservation of allotment ownership is the preservation of downtroddenness, backwardness, and bondage. It is natural for a liberal landlord, who dreams of redemption payments, to stand up for allotment ownership*. . . with the preservation

    * Incidentally, the Mensheviks (including Comrade Tsereteli, whose speech I have quoted) are deeply mistaken in believing that the Cadets are at all consistent in their defence of free peasant ownership. They are not. Mr. Kutler, on behalf of the Cadet Party, spoke [cont. onto p. . -- DJR] in the Second Duma in favour of ownershlp (as distinct from the Cadet Bill on state land reserve introduced in the Flrst Duma) but at the same time he added: "The Party proposes only [!] to limit their [the peasants' ] right to alienate, and right to mortgage, i.e., to prevent the selling and buying of land on a large scale in future" (12th sitting, March 19, 1907, p. 740 of Stenographic Record). That is the archreactionary programme of a bureaucrat disguised as a liberal

of a goodly share of landlord ownership! But the Social-Democrat, led astray by the "municipalisers", does not understand that the sound of words vanishes but the deed remains. The sound of the words about equality, socialisation, etc., will vanish, because there cannot be equalisation under commodity production. But the deed will remain, i.e., the greatest break with the feudal past that can possibly be achieved under capitalism, the break with medieval allotment ownership and with all routine and tradition. When people say "nothing will come of equalised redistribution", the Marxist ought to understand that this "nothing" relates exclusively to the socialist aims, exclusively to the fact that this is not going to abolish capitalism. But from attempts to bring about such a redistribution, even from the very idea of such a redistribution, very much will come that will be of advantage to the bourgeois-democratic revolution.

    For that revolution may take place either with the predominance of the landlords over the peasants -- and that requires the preservation of the old form of ownership and the Stolypin reform of it exclusively by the power of the ruble; or it will take place as a result of the victory of the peasantry over the landlords -- and that, in view of the objective conditions of capitalist economy, is impossible without the abolition of all forms of medieval landownership, both landlord and peasant. The choice is between the Stolypin agrarian reform and peasant revolutionary nationalisation. Only these solutions are economically real. Anything intermediate, from Menshevik municipalisation to Cadet redemption payments, is petty-bourgeois narrow-mindedness, a stupid distortion of theory, a poor invention.


    That the abolition of allotment ownership is a condition for the creation of free peasant farming in conformity with the new capitalist conditions is quite clearly realised by the peasants themselves. Mr. Groman, in his detailed and accurate description of the discussion at the peasant congresses,[*] cites the following remarkahle opinion expressed by a peasant:

    "During the discussion on redemption payment, one delegate, without meeting with any real opposition, said: 'It has been said that alienation without compensation would hit many peasants who had purchased land with their hard-earned money. There are few such peasants, and they have little land, and they will get land in any case when it is distributed'. That explains the readiness to relinquish property rights both in allotment and purchased land."

    A little further on (p. 20) Mr. Groman repeats this as the general opinion of the peasants.

    "They will get land in any case when it is distributed"! Is it not perfectly clear what economic necessity dictated this argument? The new distribution of all the land, both landlord and allotment land, cannot reduce the holdings of nine-tenths (or rather, ninety-nine hundredths) of the peasantry; there is nothing to fear from it. But the redistribution is necessary because it will enable the real, genuine farmers to arrange their land tenure in accordance with the new conditions, in accordance with the requirements of capitalism (the "dictates of the market" to individual producers), without submitting to the medieval relations which determined the size, location, and distribution of allotment land.

    Mr: Peshekhonov, a practical and sober-minded "Popular Socialist" (read: Social-Cadet) who, as we have seen, has managed to adapt himself to the demands of the masses of small proprietors all over Russia, expresses this point of view even more definitely.

    * Material on the Peasant Question. (A report of the Delegates' Congress of the All-Russian Peasant Union, November 6-10, 1905, with an introduction by V. Groman. Novy Mir Publishers, St. Petersburg, 1905, p. 12.)

   "The allotment lands," he writes, "the part of the territory most important from the standpoint of production, are permanently assigned to a certain social-estate, and what is worse, to small groups of that estate, to separate households and villages. The result is that the peasantry, taken as a whole cannot freely settle even within the area of the allotment land. . . . The population is not properly distributed to suit the requirements of the market [note this!]. . . . The ban on the state lands must be lifted, allotment land must be freed from the fetters of property, the fences around the private estates must be removed. The land must be returned to the Russian people who wiII then settle upon it in a manner that will suit their economic requirements (A. V. Peshekhonov, The Agrarian Problem in Connection with the Peasant Movement, St. Petersburg, 1906, pp. 83, 86, 88-89. Our italics.)

    Is it not clear that the voice of this "Popular Socialist" is the voice of the free farmer who wants to stand up on his own feet? Is it not clear that it is really necessary for the farmer that the "allotment land" should be "freed from the fetters of property" in order that the population may distribute itself in a new way, in order that holdings may be redistributed in a manner to "suit the requirements of the market", i.e., the requirements of capitalist agriculture ? Mr. Peshekhonov, we repeat, is so sober-minded that he rejects any kind of socialisation, rejects any kind of adaptation to communal law -- it is not for nothing that the Socialist-Revolutionaries curse him for an individualist! -- he rejects any prohibition of hired labour on the peasant farm.

    In view of this kind of striving of the peasantry for nationalisation, the reactionary nature of support for peasant allotment ownership becomes quite obvious. A. Finn, who in his pamphlet cites some of Mr. Peshekhonov's. arguments which we have quoted, criticises him as a Narodnik and tries to prove to him that the development of capitalism out of peasant farming, and within that system of farming, is inevitable (p. 14, et seq. in the pamphlet mentioned). That criticism is unsatisfactory because A. Finn has allowed the general question of the development of capitalism to make him overlook the concrete question of the conditions for a freer development of capitalist agriculture on allotment land! A. Finn contents himself with merely posing the question of capitalism in general, thus scoring an easy victory over Narodism, which was vanquished long ago.

But we are dealing with a more concrete[*] question, viz., the landlord versus the peasant way of "removing the fences" (Mr. Peshekhonov's expression), of "clearing" the land for capitalism.

    In winding up the debate on the agrarian question in the Second Duma, Mr. Mushenko, the official spokesman of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, revealed just as definitely as Mr. Peshekhonov the capitalist nature of the land nationalisation that the petty-bourgeois socialists choose to call "socialisation", the establishment of "equal right to the land", and so on.

    "The population will be properly distributed," Mr. Mushenko said, "only when the land is unfenced, only when the fences imposed by the principle of private ownership of land are removed" (47th sitting, May 26, 1907, p. 1172 of Stenographic Record). Exactly! The "proper" distribution of the population is the very thing the market, capitalism, requires. But the "proper" distribution of "proper" farmers is hindered by both landlord and allotment ownership.

    One more observation on the statements made by delegates of the Peasant Union merits our attention. Mr. Groman writes in the above-mentioned pamphlet:

    "The notorious question of the 'village commune' -- that cornerstone of the tenets of the old and new Narodism -- was not raised at all and was tacitly rejected: the land must be placed at the disposal of individuals and associations state the resolutions passed at both the First and Second Congresses" (p. 12).

    * "What wlll this Peshekhonov labour economy lead to in the long run?" A. Finn asks, and answers quite rightly: "to capitalism" (p. 19 of his pamphlet). From that unquestionable truth, which it was certainly necessary to explain to a Narodnik he should have taken a further step; he should have explained the specific forms of the manifestation of the demands of capitalism under the conditions of a peasant agrarian revolution. Instead, A. Finn took a step backward : "The question arises" he writes "why should we go back to the past; why should we go by some roundabout way of our own only in the long run to find ourselves back again on the road we are already travelling? That is useless labour, Mr. Peshekhonov!" (ibid.) No that is not useless labour and it does not bring us to capitalism "in the long run"; it is the straightest, freest, and quickest road to capitalism. A. Flnn did not ponder over the comparative features of the Stolypin capitalist evolution of agriculture in Russia and a peasant revolutionary capitalist evolution of agriculture in Russia.

    Thus, the peasants have clearly and emphatically declared against the old village commune in favour of free associations and individual land tenure. That this was the real voice of the peasantry as a whole there can be no doubt, since there is not a hint at the village commune even in the Land Bill of the Trudovik Group (of the 104). Yet the village commune is an association for the ownership of allotment land!

    Stolypin is forcibly abolishing the village commune for the benefit of a handful of rich persons. The peasantry wants to abolish it and replace it by free associations and tenure by "individuals" on the nationalised allotment land. But Maslov and Co., in the name of bourgeois progress, are challenging the fundamental requirement of this very progress and defending medieval landownership. God save us from that sort of "Marxism"!


    M. Shanin, approaching the question in his pamphlet[*] from a somewhat different angle, involuntarily provided another argument for the nationalisation which he detests so much. By citing the example of Ireland, by his analysis of the conditions of bourgeois reform in the domain of agriculture, M. Shanin has proved only one thing, viz., that the principles of private ownership of the land are incompatible with public or state ownership of the land (but that incompatibility has to be proved also by a general theoretical analysis, of which Shanin did not even think). If he has proved anything else it is that private ownership must be recognised wherever the state carries out any reforms in the sphere of agriculture developing on capitalist lines. But all these arguments of Shanin's are wide of the mark: of course, under the conditions of bourgeois reform only private ownership of land is conceivable; of course, the preservation of private ownership of the bulk of the land in the United Kingdom left no other way open for part

    * M. Shanin, Municipalisation or Division for Private Property, Vilna 1907.

of it than private ownership. But what has that to do with the "peasant agrarian revolution" in Russia? M. Shanin has pointed out the correct path, if you like, but it is the correct path of a Stolypin agrarian reform, and not of a peasant agrarian revolution.[*] The difference between the two ways is entirely lost upon M. Shanin, and yet unless this difference is clearly realised, it is ridiculous to talk about a Social-Democratic agrarian programme in the Russian revolution. And when M. Shanin, prompted, of course, by the very best motives, defends confiscation against redemption payments, he loses all sense of historical perspective. He forgets that in bourgeois society confiscation, i.e., expropriation without compensation, is as utterly incompatible with reform as land nationalisation. To speak of confiscation while admitting the possibility of a reformist and not a revolutionary solution of the agrarian question is like petitioning Stolypin to abolish landlordism.

    Another aspect of Shanin's pamphlet is its heavy emphasis on the agricultural character of our agrarian crisis, on the absolute necessity of adopting higher forms of economy, of improving agricultural technique, which is so incredibly backward in Russia, and so forth. Shanin elaborates these correct theses in such an incredibly one-sided fashion, and he so completely ignores the abolition of the feudal latifundia and the changing of agrarian relationships as a condition for that technical revolution, that an utterly

    * Shanin's reference to the example of Ireland, showing that private ownership preponderates over renting (and not over the nationalisation of the whole land), is not new either. In exactly the same way, the "liberal" Professor A. I. Chuprov cites Ireland to prove that peasant ownership of land is preferable. (The Agrarian Question, Vol. II, p. 11.) The real nature of this "liberal" and even "Constitutional-Democrat " is revealed on page 33 of his article. Here Mr. Chuprov, with incredible brazenness, the brazenness of a liberal that is possible only in Russia, proposes that on all the land-surveying commissions the peasants be subordinated to a majority of landlords ! Five members representing the peasants and five, representing the landlords, with a chairman "appointed by the Zemstvo Assembly", i.e., by un assembly of landlords. An allusion to Ireland was also made in the First Duma by the Right-wing deputy, Prince Drutsky-Lyubetsky, as proof of the necessity for private ownership of land and as an argument against the Cadet Bill. (sitting of May 24, 1906, p 626 of Stenographic Record.)

false perspective is drawn. For Stolypin's agrarian reform too leads to technical progress in agriculture, and does so in a correct way from the standpoint of the lalldlords' interests. The forcible break-up of the village communes by the laws of November 9, 1906, etc., the setting up of khutors and the subsidising of otrubs, are not a mirage, as frivolous, prattling democratic journalists sometimes declare them to be; they are the realities of economic progress based on the preservation of the power and interests of the landlords. It is an incredibly slow and incredibly painful road for the broad masses of the peasantry and for the proletariat, but it is the only possible road for capitalist Russia if the peasant agrarian revolution is not victorious.

    Look at the question which Shanin raises from the standpoint of such a revolution. Modern agricultural technique demands that all the conditions of the ancient, conservative, barbarous, ignorant, and pauper methods of economy on peasant allotments be transformed. The three-field system, the primitive implements, the patriarchal impecuniosity of the tiller, the routine methods of stock-breeding and crass naïve ignorance of the conditions and requirements of the market must all be thrown overboard. Well, then, is such a revolutionising of agriculture possible if the old system of landownership is preserved? The division of the land among the present allotment owners could mean preserving half* of the medieval system of landownership. Division of the land might be progressive if it consolidated modern farming, modern agricutural methods, and scrapped the old.<"p289"> But division cannot give an impetus to modern agricultural methods if it is based on the old system of allotment ownership. Comrade Borisov,[113] an advocate of division, said in Stockholm: "Our agrarian programme is a programme for the period of developing revolution, the period of the break-up of the old order and the organisation of a new social-political <"fnp">

    * I have pointed out above that out of 280,000,000 dessiatins of the land available for distribution in European Russia, one half -- 138,800,000 dessiatins -- consists of allotment land. (See p. 221 of this volume. --Ed.)

order. That is its fundamental idea. Social-Democracy must not bind itself by decisions which pledge it to support any particular form of economy. In this struggle of the new social forces against the foundations of the old order, it is necessary to cut the tangled knot with a decisive stroke" (p. 125 of the Minutes). All that is quite true and splendidly stated. And it all speaks in favour of nationalisation, because the latter alone really "breaks up" the old medieval system of landownership, really cuts the tangled knot, and allows full freedom for the new farms to develop on the nationalised land.     The question arises by what criterion are we to determine whether the new system of agriculture has already developed sufficiently to have the division of the land adapted to it, and not to have a division that will perpetuate the old obstacles to the new farming? There can be but one criterion, that of practice. No statistics in the world can assess whether the elements of a peasant bourgeoisie in a given country have "hardened" sufficiently to enable the system of landownership to be adapted to the system of farming. This can be assessed only by the mass of the farmers themselves. The impossibility of assessing this at the present moment has been proved by the fact that the mass of the peasants have come forward in our revolution with a programme of land nationalisation. The small farmer, at all times and throughout the world, becomes so attached to his farm (if it really is his farm and not a piece of the landlord's estate let out on labour-service, as is frequently the case in Russia) that his "fanatical" defence of private ownership of the land is inevitable at a certain historical period and for a certain space of time. If in the present epoch the mass of the Russian peasants are not displaying the fanaticism of private property owners (a fanaticism which is fostered by all the ruling classes, by all the liberal-bourgeois politicians), but are putting forward a widespread and firmly held demand for the nationalisation of the land,<"p290"> it would be childishness or stupid pedantry to attribute it to the influence of the publicists of Russkoye Bogatstvo [114] or Mr. Chernov's pamphlets. It is due to the fact that the real condiitions of life of the small cultivator, of the small farmer in the village, confront him with the economic prob-

lem, not of consolidating the new agriculture, which has already taken shape, by means of dividing the land as private property, but of clearing the ground for the creation of a new agriculture (out of the existing elements) upon "free", i.e., nationalised, land. The fanaticism of the private property owner can and should assert itself, in due time, as a demand of the newly-hatched free farmer for the assured possession of his farm. Nationalisation of the land had to become the demand of the peasant masses in the Russian revolution as the slogan of farmers who want to break the shell of medievalism. Therefore, for Social-Democrats to preach division of the land to the mass of the peasants, who are inclined towards nationalisation, and who are only just beginning to enter the conditions for the final "sorting out" that should produce free farmers capable of creating capitalist agriculture, is glaring historical tactlessness, and reveals inability to take stock of the concrete historical situation.

    Our Social-Democratic "divisionists" -- Comrades Finn, Borisov, and Shanin -- are free from the theoretical dualism of the "municipalisers", including the latters' vulgar criticism of Marx's theory of rent (with this we shall deal later on), but they make a mistake of a different kind, a mistake of historical perspective. While taking a generally correct stand in theory (and in this they differ from the "municipalisers"), they repeat the mistake of our cut-off lands programme of 1903. That mistake was due to the fact that while we correctly defined the trend of development, we did not correctly define the moment of that development. We assumed that the elements of capitalist agriculture had already taken full shape in Russia, both in landlord farming (minus the cut-off lands and their conditions of bondage -- hence the demand that the cut-off lands be returned to the peasants) and in peasant farming, which seemed to have given rise to a strong peasant bourgeoisie and therefore to be incapable of bringing about a "peasant agrarian revolution". The erroneous programme was not the result of "fear" of the peasant agrarian revolution, but of an over-estimation of the degree of capitalist development in Russian agriculture. The survivals of serfdom appeared to us then to be a minor detail, whereas capitalist agricul-ture on the peasant allotments and on the landlords' estates seemed to be quite mature and well-established.

    The revolution has exposed that mistake; it has confirmed the trend of development as we had defined it. The Marxist analysis of the classes in Russian society has been so brilliantly confirmed by the whole course of events in general, and by the first two Dumas in particular, that non-Marxist socialism has been shattered completely. But the survivals of serfdom in the countryside have proved to be much stronger than we thought: they have given rise to a nation-wide peasant movement and they have made that movement the touchstone of the bourgeois revolution as a whole. Hegemony in the bourgeois liberation movement, which revolutionary Social-Democracy always assigned to the proletariat, had to be defined more precisely as leadership which rallied the peasantry behind it. But leading to what? To the bourgeois revolution in its most consistent and decisive form. We rectified the mistake by substituting for the partial aim of combating the survivals of the old agrarian system, the aim of combating the old agrarian system as a whole. Instead of purging landlord economy, we set the aim of abolishing it.

    But this correction, made under the impact of the imposing course of events, did not make many of us think out to its logical conclusion our new evaluation of the degree of capitalist development in Russian agriculture. If the demand for the confiscation of all the landlord estates proved to be historically correct -- and that undoubtedly was the case -- it meant that the wide development of capitalism calls for new agrarian relationships, that the beginnings of capitalism in landlord economy can and must be sacrificed to the wide and free development of capitalism on the basis of renovated small farming. To accept the demand for the confiscation of the landlord estates means admitting the possibility and the necessity of the renovation of small farming under capitalism.

    Is that admissible? Is it not a gamble to support small farming under capitalism? Is not the renovation of small farming a vain dream? Is it not a demagogic "trap for the peasants", a Bauernfang ? That, undoubtedly, was what many comrades thought. But they uere wrong. The renovation of small farming is possible even under capitalism if the historical aim is to fight the pre-capitalist order. That is the way small farming was renovated in America, where the slave plantations were broken up in a revolutionary manner and the conditions were created for the most rapid and free development of capitalism. In the Russian revolution the struggle for the land is nothing else than a struggle for the renovated path of capitalist development. The consistent slogan of such a renovation is -- nationalisation of the land. To exclude allotment land from nationalisation is economically reactionary (we shall deal separately with the politically reactionary aspect of that exclusion). The "divisionists" are skipping the historical task of the present revolution; they assume that the objectives of the peasants' mass struggIe have already been achieved, whereas that struggle has only just begun. Instead of stimulating the process of renovation, instead of explaining to the peasantry the conditions for consistent renovation, they are already designing a dressing-gown for the appeased, renovated farmer.*

    "Everything in good season." Social-Democracy cannot undertake never to support division of the land. In a different historical situation, at a different stage of agrarian evolution, this division may prove unavoidable. But division of the land is an entirely wrong expression of the aims of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia in 1907. <"fnp293">

    * The advocates of division frequently cite the words of Marx: "The free ownership of the self-managing peasant is evidently the most normal form of landed property for small-scale operation. Ownership of the land is as necessary for full development of this mode of production as ownership of tools is for free development of handicraft production" (Das Kapital, III, 2, 341).[115] From this it merely follows that the complete triumph of free peasant agriculture may call for private ownership. But present-day small-scale farming is not free. State landownership is "an instrument in the hands of the landlord rather than of the peasant, an instrument for extracting labour rent rather than an instrument of free labour of the peasant". The destruction of all forms of feudal landownership and free settlement in all parts of the country are needed for the promotion of free small-scale larming.



    A grave fault of almost the whole Social Democratic press on the question of the agrarian programme in general, and a shortcoming of the debate at the Stockholm Congress in particular, is that practical considerations prevail over theoretical, and political considerations over economic.* Most of us, of course, have an excuse, namely, the conditions of intensive Party work under which we discussed the agrarian problem in the revolution: first, after January 9, 1905, a few months before the outbreak (the spring "Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P." of Bolsheviks in London in 1905 and the Conference of the Minority held at the same time in Geneva),<"p294"> and then on the day after the December uprising,[116] and in Stockholm on the eve of the First Duma. But at all events this shortcoming must be corrected now, and an examination of the theoretical aspect of the question of nationalisation and municipalisation is particularly necessary. <"fnp">

    * In my pamphlet Reviston of the Agrarian Programme of the Workers' Party, which I defended at Stockholm, there are very definite (although brief, as the pamphlet itself is) references to the theoretical premises of a Marxist agrarian programme. I pointed out in that pamphlet that "the bare repudiation of nationalisation" would be a "theoretical distortion of Marxism" (p. 16 of the old edition, p. 41 of this edition). (See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 181 . --Ed.) See also my Report on the Stockholm Congress, pp. 27-28 of the old edition (p. 63 of this edition). (See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 346. --Ed.) "From the strictly scientific point of view, from the point of view of the conditions of development of capitalism in general, we must undoubtedly say -- if we do not want to differ from Volume III of Capital -- that the natlonalisation of the land is possible in bourgeois society, that it promotes economic development, facilitates competition and the influx of capital into agriculture, reduces the price of grain, etc." See also the same report, p. 59 (see present editlon, Vol. 10, p. 378. --Ed.): "In spite of their promises, they [the Right wing of Social-Democracy] do not carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution in agriculture to its 'loglcal' conclusion, for the only 'logical' (and economic) conclusion under capitalism is the nationalisation of the land, which abolishes absolut rent."


    Above we quoted the current formulation of the now generally recognised proposition. "All the Narodnik groups are advocating nationalisation of the land." As a matter of fact, this current formulation is very inexact and there is very little in it that is "generally recognised", if by this we mean a really identical conception of this "nationalisation" among the representatives of the various political trends. The mass of the peasantry demand the land spontaneously, for they are oppressed by the feudal latifundia and do not associate the transfer of the land to the people with any at all definite economic ideas. Among the peasantry there is only a very urgent demand, born, so to speak, from suffering and hardened by long years of oppression -- a demand for the revival, strengthening, consolidation, and expansion of small farming; a demand that the latter be made predominant, and nothing more. All that the peasant visualises is the passing of the landlord latifundia into his own hands; in this struggle the peasant clothes his hazy idea of the unity of all peasants, as a mass, in the phrase: ownership of the land by the people. The peasant is guided by the instinct of the property owner, who is hindered by the endless fragmentation of the present forms of medievaI landownership and by the impossibility of organising the cultivation of the soil in a manner that fully corresponds to "property owning" requirements if all this motley medieval system of landownership continues. The economic necessity of abolishing landlordism, of abolishing also the "fetters" of allotment landownership -- such are the negative concepts which exhaust the peasant idea of nationalisation. What forms of landownership may eventually be necessary for renovated small farming, which will have digested, so to speak, the landlord latifundia, the peasant does not think about.

    The negative aspects of the concept (or hazy ideas of nationalisation undoubtedly also predominate in Narodnik ideology, which expresses the demands and the hopes of the peasantry. The removal of the old obstacles, the clearing out of the landlord, the "unfencing" of the land, the removal of the fetters of allotment ownership, the strengthening of small farming, the substitution of "equality, fraternity, and liberty" for "inequality" (i.e., the landlord latifundia) -- that expresses nine-tenths of Narodnik ideology. Equal right to land, equalised land tenure, socialisation -- all these are merely different forms of expression of the same ideas; and all are mainly negative concepts, for the Narodnik cannot conceive the new order as a definite system of social-economic relationships. The Narodnik regards the present agrarian revolution as a transition from serfdom, inequality, and oppression in general, to equality aud liberty, and nothing more. That is the typical narrow-mindedness of the bourgeois revolutionary who fails to see the capitalist features of the new society he is creating.

    In contrast to the naïve outlook of Narodism, Marxism investigates the new system that is arising. Even with the fullest freedom of peasant farming and with the fullest equality of small proprietors occupying the people's, or no man's, or "God's" land -- we have before us a system of commodity production. Small producers are tied aud subjected to the market. Out of the exchange of products arises the power of money; the conversion of agricultural produce into money is followed by the conversion of labour-power into money. Commodity production becomes capitalist production. And this theory is not a dogma, but a simple description, a generalisation of what is taking place in Russian peasant farming too. The freer that farming is from land congestion, landlord oppression, the pressure of medieval relations and system of landownership, bondage, and tyranny, the more strongly do capitalist relationships develop within that peasant farming. That is a fact to which the whole of the post-Reform history of Russia undoubtedly testifies

    Consequently, the concept of nationalisation of the land, in terms of economic reality, is a category of commodity and capitalist society. What is real in this concept is not what the peasants think, or what the Narodniks say, but what arises from the economic relations of present society. Nationalisation of the land under capitalist relations is neither more nor less than the transfer of rent to the state. What is rent in capitalist society? It is not income from the land in general. It is that part of surplus value which remains after average profit on capital is deducted. Hence, rent presupposes wage-labour in agriculture, the transformation of the cultivator into a capitalist farmer, into an entrepreneur. Nationalisation (in its pure form) assumes that the state receives rent from the agricultural entrepreneur who pays wages to wage-workers and receives average profit on his capital -- average for all enterprises, agricultural and non-agricultural, in the given country or group of countries.

    Thus, the theoretical concept of nationalisation is inseparably bound up with the theory of rent, i.e., capitalist rent, as the special form of income of a special class (the landowning class) in capitalist society.

    Marx's theory distinguishes two forms of rent: differential rent and absolute rent. The first springs from the limited nature of land, its occupation by capitalist economies, quite irrespective of whether private ownership of land exists, or what the form of landownership is. Between the individual farms there are inevitable differences arising out of differences in soil fertility, location in regard to markets, and the productivity of additional investments of capital in the land. Briefly, those differences may be summed up (without, however, forgetting that they spring from diflerent causes) as the diflerences between better and worse soils. To proceed. The price of production of the agricultural product is determined by the conditions of production not on the average soil, but on the worst soil, because the produce from the best soil alone is insufficient to meet the demand. The difference between the individual price of production and the highest price of production is differential rent. (We remind the reader that by price of production Marx means the capital expended on the production of the product, plus average profit on capital.)

    Differential rent inevitably arises in capitalist agriculture even if the private ownership of land is completely abolished. Under the private ownership of land, this rent is appropriated by the landowner, for competition between capitals compels the tenant farmer to be satisfied with the average profit on capital. When the private ownership of land is abolished, that rent will go to the state.

That rent cannot be abolished as long as the capitalist mode of production exists.

    Absolute rent arises from the private ownership of land. That rent contains an element of monopoly, an element of monopoly price.[*] Private ownership of land hinders free competition, hinders the levelling of proit, the formation of average profit in agricultural and non-agricultural enterprises. And as agriculture is on a lower technical level than industry, as the composition of capital is marked by a larger proportion of variable capital than of constant capital, the individual value of the agricultural product is above the average. Hence, by hindering the free levelling of profits in agricultural enterprises on a par with non-agricultural enterprises, the private ownership of land makes it possible to sell the agricultural product not at the highest price of production, but at the still higher individual value of the product (for the price of production is determined by the average profit on capital, while absolute rent prevents the formation of this "average" by monopolistically fixing the individual value at a level higher than the average).

    Thus, differential rent is inevitably an inherent feature of every form of capitalist agriculture. Absolute rent is not; it arises only under the private ownership of land, only under the historically** created backwardness of agriculture, a backwardness that becomes fixed by monopoly.

    Kautsky compares these two forms of rent, particularly in their bearing on the nationalisation of the land, in the following propositions: <"fnp298">

    * In Part 2 of Volume II of Theories of Surplus Value, Marx reveals the "essence of different theories of rent": the theory of the monopoly price of agricultural produce and the theory of differential rent. He shows what is true in both those theories, insofar as absolute rent contains an element of monopoly.<"p298"> See p. 125 concerning Adam Smith's theory: "it is quite true" that rent is monopoly price insofar as the private ownership of land prevents the levelling of profit by fixing profit at a level higher than the average.[117]
    ** See Theories of Surplus Value, Vol. II, Part 1 (German original) p. 259: "In agriculture, manual labour still predominates, while the capitalist mode of production develops indnstry more quickly than agriculture. However,<"p298a"> that is a historical distinction which may disappear." (See also p. 275, and Vol. II, Part 2, p. 15.)[118]

    "As differential rent, ground rent arises from competition. As absolute rent, it arises from monopoly. . . . In practice, ground rent does not present itself to us divided in parts; it is impossible to say which part is differential rent and which part is absolute rent. Moreover, it is usually mixed with the interest on capital expended by the landowner: Where the landowner is also the farmer, ground rent appears as a part of agricultural profit.
    "Nevertheless, the distinction between the two forms of rent is extremely important.
    "Differential rent arises from the capitalist character of production and not from the private ownership of land.
    "That rent would continue to exist even under nationalisation of the land, as demanded [in Germany] by the advocates of land reform, who would nevertheless preserve the capitalist mode of agriculture. In that case, however, rent would no longer accrue to private persons, but to the state.
    "Absolute rent arises out of the private ownership of land, out of the antagonism of interests between the landowner and the rest of society. The nationalisation of the land would make possible the abolition of that rent and the reduction of the price of agricultural produce by an amount equal to that rent. [Our italics.]
    "To proceed: the second distinction between differential rent and absolute rent is that the former is not a constituent part affecting the price of agricultural produce, whereas the latter is. The former arises from the price of production; the latter arises from the excess of market price over price of production. The former arises from the surplus, from the super-profit, that is created by the more productive labour on better soil, or on a better located plot. The latter does not arise from the additional income of certain forms of agricultural labour; it is possible only as a deduction from the available quantity of values for the benefit of the landowner, a deduction from the mass of surplus value -- therefore, it implies either a reduction of profits or a deduction from wages. If the price of foodstuffs rises, and wages rise also, the proflt on capital diminishes. If the price of foodstuffs rises without an increase in wages, then the workers suffer the loss. Finally, the following may happen -- and this may be regarded as the general rule -- the loss caused by absolute rent is borne jointly by the workers and the capitalists."*

    Thus, the question of the nationalisation of the land in capitalist society falls into two essentially distinct parts: the question of differential rent, and that of absolute rent. Nationalisation changes the owner of the former, and undermines the very existence of the latter. Hence, on the

    * K. Kautsky, The Agrarian Question, German original, pp. 79-80.

one hand, nationalisation is a partial reform within the limits of capitalism (a change of owners of a part of surplus value), and, on the other hand, it abolishes the monopoly which hinders the development of capitalism as a whole.

    Unless a distinction is made between these two sides, i.e., the nationalisation of differential rent and of absolute rent, it is impossible to understand the economic significance of the question of nationalisation in Russia. This brings us, however, to P. Maslov's repudiation of the theory of absolute rent.


    I already had occasion in 1901, in Zarya (published abroad),<"p300"> to refer to Maslov's wrong conception of the theory of rent in dealing with his articles in the magazine Zhizn [*][120]

    The debates prior to and in Stockholm, as I have already said, were concentrated to an exaessive degree on the political aspect of the question. But after Stockholm, M. Olenov, in an article entitled "The Theoretical Principles of the Municipalisation of the Land" (Obrazovaniye, 1907, No. 1), examined Maslov's book on the agrarian question in Russia and particularly emphasised the incorrectness of Maslov's economic theory, which repudiates absolute rent altogether.

    Maslov replied to Olenov in an article in Obrazovaniye, Nos. 2 and 3. He reproached his opponent for being "impudent", "bumptious", "flippant", etc. As a matter of fact, in the sphere of Marxist theory, it is Pyotr Maslov who is impudent and stupidly bumptious, for it is difficult to imagine a greater display of ignorance than the smug "criticism" of Marx by Maslov, who persists in his old mistakes.

    "The contradiction between the theory of absolute rent and the whole theory of distribution e~pounded in Volume 111," writes Mr. Maslov, "i9 90 glaring that one can ollly account for it by the fact that Volume 111 i9.a po9thumou9 publicatlon containing also the rough notes of the author." (rhc Agrarlan QueJtion, 3rd ed., p. 108, footnote.) <"fnp300">

    * See The Agrarian Question, Part 1, St. Petersburg, 1908, article "The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx'" footnote to pp. 178-79. (See present edition, Vol. 5, p. 127. --Ed.)

    Only a person who understands nothing about Marx's theory of rent could write a thing like that. But the patronising condescension with which the incomparable Pyotr Maslov treats the author of those rough notes is truly superb! This "Marxist" is too superior to think it necessary to familiarise himself with Marx before trying to teach other people, to study at least the Theories of Surplus Value, published in 1905, in which the theory of rent is made so plain that even the Maslovs should be able to grasp it! Here is Maslov's argument against Marx:

    "Absolute rent is said to arise from the low composition of agricultural capital. . . . As the composition of capital affects neither the price of the product, nor the rate of profit, nor the distribution of surplus value among the entrepreneurs in general it cannot create any rent. If the composition of agricultural capital is lower than that of industrial capital, differential rent results from the surplus value obained in agricuiture, but that makes no difference as far as the formation of rent is concerned. Consequently, if the 'composition' of capital changed, it would not affect rent in the least. The amount of rent is not in the least determined by the character of its origin, but solely by the above-mentioned difference in the productivity of labour under different conditions" (op. cit., pp. 108-09. Maslov's italics).

    It would be interesting to know whether the bourgeois "critics of Marx" ever went to such lengths of frivolity in their refutations. Our incomparable Maslov is completely muddled; and he is muddled even when he expounds Marx (incidentally, that is also a habit of Mr. Bulgakov and all other bourgeois assailants of Marxism, who, however, differ from Maslov in that they are more honest, since they do not call themselves Marxists). It is not true to say that according to Marx absolute rent results from the low composition of agricultural capital. Absolute rent arises from the private ownership of land. This private ownership creates a special monopoly having nothing to do with the capitalist mode of production, which can exist on communal as well as on nationalised land.* The non-capitalist monopoly created by the private ownership of land prevents the levelling of profits in those branches of production <"fnp301">

    * See Theories of Surplus Value, Vol. II, Part 1, p. 208, where Marx shows that the landowner is an absolutely superfluous figure in capitalist production; that the purpose of the latter is "fully answered" if the land belongs to the state.[121]

which are sheltered by this monopoly. In order that "the composition of capital shall not affect the rate of profit" (there should be added: the composition of an individual capital, or of the capital of an individual branch of industry; here too Maslov expounds Marx in a muddled way), in order that the average rate of profit may be formed, the profits of all the separate enterprises and of all the separate spheres of industry must be levelled. The levelling takes place through free competition, through the free investment of capital in all branches of production without distinction. Can that freedom exist where there is non-capitalist monopoly? No, it cannot. The monopoly created by the private ownership of land hinders the free investment of capital, hinders free competition, hinders the levelling of the disproportionately high agricultural profit (arising from the low composition of agricultural capital). Maslov's objection reveals an utter lack of understanding, which is particularly obvious when, two pages further on, we come across a reference to . . . brickmaking (p. 111); here, too, the technical level is low, the organic composition of capital is below the average, as in the case of agriculture, and yet there is no rent!

    There cannot be any rent in brickmaking, esteemed "theoretician", because absolute rent arises not from the low composition of agricultural capital, but from the monopoly created by the private ownership of land, which prevents competition from levelling the profits of "low composition" capital. To repudiate absolute rent means repudiating the economic significance of the private ownership of land.

    Maslov's second argument against Marx is this:

    "Rent from the 'last' investment of capital, Rodbertus's rent and Marx's absolute rent, will disappear because the tenant can always make the 'last' investment the 'last but one' if it produces anything besides the ordinary profit" (p. 112).

    Pyotr Maslov muddles things, "impudently" muddles them.

    In the first place, to put Rodbertus on a par with Marx on the question of rent is to display crass ignorance. Rodbertus's theory is based on the assumption that the erroneous calculations of the Pomeranian landlord ("not to count" the raw product in agriculture!) are obligatory also for the capitalist farmer. There is not a grain of historism in Rodbertus' s theory, not a grain of historical reality, for he takes agriculture in general, regardless of time and place, agriculture in any country and in any epoch. Marx takes a special historical period in which capitalism has promoted technical development in industry more quickly than in agriculture; Marx takes capitalist agriculture restricted by non-capitalist private ownership of land.

    Secondly, the reference to the tenant who "can always" make the last investment of capital the last but one shows that our incomparable Pyotr Maslov has failed to understand, not only Marx's absolute rent, but his differential rent as well ! That is incredible, but it is a fact. During the term of his lease the tenant "can always" appropriate, and always does appropriate, all rent if he "makes the last investment the last but one", if -- to put it more simply and (as we shall see in a moment) more correctly he invests fresh capital in the land. During the term of the lease, private ownership of land ceases to exist for the tenant; by paying rent, he has "ransomed himself" from that monopoly and it can no longer hinder him.[*] That is why, when a fresh investment of capital in his land yields the tenant additional profit and additional rent, it is the tenant, not the landowner, who appropriates that rent. The landowner will begin to appropriate that additional rent only after the tenant's lease has expired, when a new lease is drawn up. What mechanism will then transfer the additional rent from the pocket of the tenant farmer to that of the landowner? The mechanism of free competition, since the fact that the tenant receives not only average profit but also super-profit (= rent) will attract capital to this unusually profitable enterprise. Hence it is clear, on the one hand, why, all other things being equal, a long lease is to the advantage of the tenant and a short lease to the advantage of the landlord. Hence it is clear, on the other hand, why, for example, after the repeal of the Corn Laws, the English

    * Had Maslov read the "rough notes" in Volume III at all attentively he could not but have noticed how frequently Marx deals with this.

landlords introduced a clause in their leases compelling the farmers to spend not less than 12 (about 110 rubles) per acre on their farms, instead of 8, as formerly. The landlords thus took into account the progress in socially necessary agricultural technique which took place as a result of the repeal of the Corn Laws.

    The question now arises: what form of additional rent does the tenant appropriate during the term of his lease? Is it only absolute rent, or is it also differential rent? It is both. For had Pyotr Maslov taken the trouble to understand Marx before "criticising the rough notes" so amusingly, he would have known that differential rent is obtained not only from different plots of land, but also from different outlays of capital on the same plot.[*]

    Thirdly (we apologise to the reader for wearying him with this long list of blunders which Maslov commits in every sentence; but what else can we do if we have to deal with such a "prolific" Konfusionsrat -- a "muddled counsellor", as the Germans say?) -- thirdly, Maslov's argument about the last and last but one investment is based on the notorious "law of diminishing returns". Like the bourgeois economists, Maslov recognises that law (and, to make it look important, even calls this stupid invention a fact). Like the bourgeois economists, Maslov connects that law with the theory of rent, declaring with the audacity of one who is utterly ignorant of theory, that "if it were not for the fact that the productivity of the last outlays of capital diminishes, there would be no such thing as ground rent" (p. 114).

    For a criticism of this vulgar bourgeois "law of diminishing returns" we refer the reader to what I said in 1901 in opposition to Mr. Bulgakov.** On that question there is no essential difference between Bulgakov and Maslov. <"fnp304">

    * Marx calls the differential rent obtained from the difference in various plots Differential Rent I; and that obtained from the difference in the productivity of additional outlays of capital on the same plot he calls Differential Rent II. In the "rough notes" in Volume III that distinction is brought out in scrupulous detail (Part VI, Chapters 39-43) and one must be a "critic of Marx" after the manner of the Bulgakovs "not to notice" it.[122]
    ** See present edition, Vol. 5 pp. 107-119. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Section 1, "The 'Law' of Diminishing Returns", in Lenin's "The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx'". -- DJR]

    To supplement what I said in opposition to Bulgakov I will quote just one more passage from the "rough notes" in Volume III, which reveals the Maslov-Bulgakov criticism in all its splendour.

    "Rather than tracing to their origin the real natural causes leading to an exhaustion of the soil, which, incidentally, were unknown to all economists writing on differential rent, owing to the level of agricultural chemistry in their day, the shallow conception was seized upon that any amount of capital cannot be invested in a limited area of land; as the Westminster Review, for instance,<"p305"> argued against Richard Jones that all of England cannot be fed through the cultivation of Soho Square". . . .[123]

    This objection is the only argument that Maslov and all other advocates of the "law of diminishing returns" use. If that law did not operate, if succeeding outlays of capital could be as productive as preceding ones, there would then be no need, they argue, to extend the area of cultivation; it would be possible to obtain any quantity of agricultural produce from the smallest of plots by the investment of fresh capital in the land, i.e., it would then be possible for "all of England to be fed through the cultivation of Soho Square", or to "put the agriculture of the whole globe on one dessiatin",* etc. Consequently, Marx analyses the main argument in favour of the "law" of diminishing returns. He goes on to say:

    . . . "If this be considered a special disadvantage of agriculture, precisely the opposite is true. It is possible to invest capital here successively with fruitful results, because the soil itself serves as an instrument of production, which is not the case with a factory, or holds only to a limited extent, since it serves only as a foundation, as a place and a space providing a basis of operations. It is true that, compared with scattered handicrafts, large-scale industry may concentrate much production in a small area. Nevertheless, a definite amount of space is always required at any given

    * See "The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx'" on the law of diminishing relurns. Maslov utters the same nonsense: "The entrepreneur will successively spend all [!] his capilal for example on one dessiatin if the new outlays will produce the same profit' (p. 107) etc.

level of productivity, and the construction of tall buildings also has its practical limitations. Beyond this any expansion of production also demands an extension of land area. The fixed capital invested in machinery, etc., does not improve through use, but on the contrary, wears out. New inventions may indeed permit some improvement in this respect, but with any given development in productive power, machines will always deteriorate. If productivity is rapidly developed all of the old machinery must be replaced by the more advantageous; in other words, it is lost. The soil, however, if properly treated, improves all the time. The advantage of the soil, permitting successive investments of capital to bring gains without loss of previous investments, implies the possibility of differences in yield from these successive investments of capital."<"p306"> (Das Kapital, III. Band, 2. Teil, S. 314.)[124]

    Maslov preferred to repeat the threadbare fable of bourgeois economics about the law of diminishing returns rather than ponder over Marx's criticism. And yet Maslov has the audacity, while distorting Marx, to claim here, on these very questions, that he is expounding Marxism!

    The degree to which Maslov mutilates the theory of rent from his purely bourgeois point of view of the "natural law" of diminishing returns can be seen from the following tirade, which he gives in italics: "If successive outlays of capital on the same plot of land, leading to intensive farming, were equally productive, the competition of new lands would immediately disappear; for the cost of transport affects the price of grain in addition to the cost of production" (page 107).

    Thus, overseas competition can be explained only by means of the law of diminishillg returns! Exactly what the bourgeois economists say! But if Maslov was unable to read or incapable of understanding Volume III, then at least he should have familiarised himself with Kautsky's The Agrarian Question, or with Parvus's pamphlet on the agricultural crisis. Perhaps the popular explanations given by those Marxists would have enabled Maslov to understand that capitalism raises rent and increases the industrial population. And the price of land (= capitalised rent) keeps that rent at its inflated level. This applies also to differ- ential rent, so that we see a second time that Maslov failed to understand anything Marx wrote even about the simplest form of rent.

    Bourgeois economics accounts for the "competition of new lands" by the "law of diminishing returns"; for the bourgeois, consciously or unconsciously, ignores the social-historical aspect of the matter. Socialist economics (i.e., Marxism) accounts for overseas competition by the fact that land for which no rent is paid undercuts the excessively high grain prices established by capitalism in the old European countries, which raised ground rent to an incredible degree. The bourgeois economist fails to understand (or conceals from himself and others) that the level of rent fixed by the private ownersllip of land is an obstacle to progress in agriculture, and he therefore throws the blame upon the "natural" obstacle, the "fact" of diminishing returns.


    Pyotr Maslov thinks it is necessary. "Elaborating" his silly "theory", he tells us for our edification in Obrazovaniye :

    "If it were not for the 'fact' that the productivity of successive expenditures of labour on the same plot of land diminishes, the idyll which the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Social-Narodniks depict could, perhaps, be realised: every peasant would use the patch of land he was entitled to and apply as much labour to it as he liked, and the land would 'reward' him for every 'application' with a corresponding quantity of products" (No. 2, 1907, p. 123).

    Thus, if Marx had not been refuted by Pyotr Maslov, the Narodniks would, perhaps, be right! Such are the pearls of wisdom that drop from the lips of our "theoretician". And we, in our simple Marxist way, had thought that the idyll of perpetuating small production is refuted not by the bourgeois-stupid "law of diminishing returns", but by the fact of commodity production, the domination of the market, the advantages of large-scale capitalist farming over small farming, etc. Maslov has changed all this! Maslov has discovered that had it not been for the bourgeois law refuted by Marx, the Narodniks would have been right!

    But that is not all. The revisionists, too, would have been right. Here is another argument advanced by our home-grown economist:

    "If I am not mistaken, I [Pyotr Maslov] happened to be the first [that's the sort of fellow I am!] to lay special emphasis on the difference between the significance of the cultivation of the soil and of technical progress for the development of farming, and, in particular, for the struggle between large-scale and small production. Whereas the intensification of agriculture and the further expenditure of labour and capital are to an equal extent less productive both in large-scale and in small farming, technical progress, which increases the productivity of labour in agriculture as it does in industry, creates enormous and exceptional advantages for large-scale production. These advantages are determined almost entirely by technical conditions." . . . You are muddling things up, my dear man: the advantages of large-scale production in commercial respects are of great importance.

    . . . "On the other hand, cultivation of the soil can usually be applied equally in large-scale and in small farming". . . . Cultivation of the soil "can" be applied.

    Evidently, our sagacious Maslov knows of a type of farming which can be conducted without the cultivation of the soil. . . . "For example, the substitution of multiple-crop rotation for the three-field system, an increase in the quantity of fertilisers, deeper ploughing, etc., can be equally applied in large-scale and small farming, and equally affect the productivity of labour. But the introduction of reaping-machines, for example, increases the productivity of labour only on the larger farms, because the small strips of grain field can be more conveniently reaped or mown by hand." . . .

    Yes, undoubtedly Maslov was the "first" to succeed in introducing such endless confusion into the question! Just imagine: a steam plough (deeper ploughing) is "cultivation of the soil", a reaping-machine is a "technical implement". Thus, according to the doctrine of our incomparable Maslov, a steam plough is not a technical implement; a reaping machine is not the further expenditure of labour and capital. Artificial fertilisers, the steam plough, grass cultivation are "intensification". The reaping-machine and in general "most agricultural machines" represent "technical progress". Maslov "happened" to invent this nonsense because he had to find some way of wriggling out of the "law of diminishing returns", which technical progress has refuted. Bulgakov wriggled out of it by saying: technical progress is temporary, stagnation is constant. Maslov wriggles out of it by inventing a most amusing division of technical progress in agriculture into "intensification" and "technical implements".

    What is intensification? It is the further expenditure of labour and capital. A reaping-machine, according to the discovery of our great Maslov, is not expenditure of capital. A seed-drill is not expenditure of capital! "The substitution of multiple-crop rotation for the three-field system" is equally applicable in large-scale and in small farming. That is not true. The introduction of multiple-crop rotation also calls for additionaI outlays of capital and it is much more applicable in large-scale farming. Incidentally, in this connection see the data on German agriculture quoted above ("The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx'"[*]). Russian statistics, too, testify to the same thing. The slightest reflection would reveal to you that it could not be otherwise; that multiple-crop rotation cannot be applied equally in small and large-scale farming. Nor can increased quantities of fertilisers be "equally applicable", because big farms (1) have more cattle, which is of the greatest importance in this respect; (2) feed their cattle better and are not so "sparing" of straw, etc.; (3) have better facilities for storing fertilisers; (4) use larger quantities of artificial fertilisers. Maslov, in a really "impudent" way, distorts well-known data on modern agriculture. Finally, deep ploughing cannot be equally applicable in small and large-scale farming either. It is sufficient to point to two facts: first, the use of steam ploughs is increasing on the large farms (see above-quoted data on Germany; now, probably, electric ploughs too).** Perhaps even Maslov will realise that these cannot be "equally" applicable in large-scale and small farming. In the latter

    * See present edition, Vol. 5, p. 181. --Ed.
    ** Ibid., p. 131. --Ed.

it is the employment of cows as draught animals that is developing. Just think, great Maslov, can this signify that deep ploughing is equally applicable? Secondly, even where large and small farms use the same types of draught animals, the latter are feebler on the small farms, and therefore there cannot be equal conditions in regard to deep ploughing.

    In short, there is hardly a sentence in all Maslov's vain attempts at "theoretical" thinking which does not reveal an inexhaustible amount of the most incredible confusion and the most astonishing ignorance. But Maslov, unperturbed, concludes:

    "Whoever has clarified for himself the difference between these two aspects of the development of agriculture [improvement in cultivation and technical improvement] will easily upset all the arguments of revisionism, and of Narodism in Russia." (Obrazovaniye, 1907, No. 2, p. 125.)

    Well, well. Maslov is a non-Narodnik and a non-revisionist only because he succeeded in rising above Marx's rough notes to the point of "clarifying" for himself the decrepit prejudices of decrepit bourgeois political economy. It is the old song set to a new tune! Marx versus Marx -- exclaimed Bernstein and Struve. It is impossible to demolish revisionism without demolishing Marx -- announces Maslov.

    In conclusion, a characteristic detail. If Marx, who created the theory of absolute rent, is wrong, if rent cannot exist without the "law of diminishing returns", if the Narodniks and revisionists might be right did that law not exist, then, it would seem, Maslov's "corrections " to Marxism should serve as the corner-stone of his, Maslov's, "theory". And so they do. But Maslov prefers to conceal them. Recently the German translation of his book, The Agrarian Question in Russia, appeared. I was curious to see in what form Maslov had presented his incredible theoretical banalities to the European Social-Democrats. I found that he had not presented them at all. In facing Europeans, Maslov kept the "whole " of his theory hidden in his pocket. He omitted from his book all that he had written in repudiation of absolute rent, the law of diminishing returns, etc. I could not help recalling in this connection the story about a stranger who was present for the first time at a discussion between ancient philosophers but remained silent all the time. One of the philosophers said to the stranger: "If you are wise, you are behaving foolishly; if you are a fool, you are behaving wisely."


    Puffed up though Maslov may be with the importance of his remarkable discoveries in the sphere of political economic theory, he, evidently, has some doubts whether any such connection exists At any rate, in the article quoted above (Obrazovaniye, No. 2, p. 120) he denies that there is any connection between municipalisation and the 'fact" of diminishing returns. That is rather odd: the "law of diminishing returns" is connected with the repudiation of absolute rent, is connected also with the fight against Narodism, but it is not connected with Maslov's agrarian programme! The fallacy of this opinion that there is no connection between general agrarian theory and Maslov's Russian agrarian programme can, however, be easily proved by direct means.

    The repudiation of absolute rent is the repudiation of the economic significance of private land ownership under capitalism. Whoever claims that only differential rent exists, inevitably arrives at the conclusion that it makes not the slightest difference to the conditions of capitalist farming and of capitalist development whether the land belongs to the state or to private persons. In both cases, from the standpoint of the theory which repudiates absolute rent, only differential rent exists. Clearly, such a theory must lead to the repudiation of the significance of nationalisation as a measure which accelerates the development of capitalism, clears the path for it, etc. For such a view of nationalisation follows from the recognition of two forms of rent: the capitalist form, i.e., the form which cannot be eliminated under capitalism even on nationalised land (differential rent), and the non-capitalist form connected with monopoly, a form which capitalism does not need and which hinders the full development of capitalism (absolute rent).

    That is why, proceeding from his "theory", Maslov inevitably arrived at the conclusion that "it makes no difference whether it [ground rent] is called absolute or differential rent" (Obrazovaniye, No. 3, p. 103); that the only question is whether that rent is to be made over to the local or to the central authorities. But such a view is the result of theoretical ignorance. Quite apart from the question of whom the rent is paid to, and the political purposes for which it will be used, there is the far more fundamental question of the changes in the general conditions of capitalist farming and of capitalist development that are brought about by the abolition of private ownership of land.

    Maslov has not even raised this purely economic question; it has not entered his mind, and it could not do so since he repudiates absolute rent. Hence the distorted one-sided, "politician's " approach, as I might call it, which reduces the question of confiscating the landlords' estates exclusively to that of who will receive the rent. Hence the distorted dualism in the programme based on the anticipation of "the victorious development of the revolution" (the expression used in the resolution on tactics which was added to Maslov's programme at the Stockholm Congress). The victorious development of the bourgeois revolution presupposes, first of all, fundamental economic changes that will really sweep away all the survivals of feudalism and medieval monopolies. In municipalisation, however, we see a real agrarian bimetallism : a combination of the oldest, most antiquated and obsolete, medieval allotment ownership with the absence of private landownership, i.e., with the most advanced, theoretically ideal system of agrarian relations in capitalist society. This agrarian bimetallism is a theoretical absurdity, an impossibility from the purely economic point of view. Here, the combination of private with public ownership of land is a purely mechanical combination "invented" by a man who sees no difference between the very system of capitalist farming under private landownership and without private landownership. The only question such a "theoretician" is concerned with is: how is the rent, "no matter what you call it, absolute or differential", to be shuffled around?

    Indeed, in a capitalist country it is impossible to leave half the land (138,000,000 dessiatins out of 280,000,000) in private hands. There are two alternatives. Either private landownership is really needed at a given stage of economic development, really corresponds to the fundamental interests of the capitalist farmer class -- in which case it is inevitable everywhere as the basis of bourgeois society which has taken shape according to a given type.

    Or private landownership is not essential for the given stage of capitalist development, does not follow inevitably from the interests of the farmer class, and even contradicts those interests -- in which case the preservation of that obsolete form of ownership is impossible.

    The preservation of monopoly in one half of the land area under cultivation, the creation of privileges for one category of small farmers, the perpetuation in a free capitalist society of the "pale of settlement ", which divides landowners from tenants of public land, is an absurdity in separably bound up with the absurdity of Maslov's economic theory.

    Therefore, we must now proceed to examine the economic significance of nationalisation, which has been pushed into the background by Maslov and his supporters.[*]


    The erroneous repudiation of absolute rent, of the form in which private landed property is realised in capitalist incomes, led to an important defect in Social-Democratic literature and in the whole of the Social-Democratic position on the agrarian question in the Russian revolution. Instead of taking the criticism of private landownership into their own hands, instead of basing this criticism on an economic analysis, an analysis of definite economic evolution, our Social-Democrats, following Maslov, surrendered this criticism to the Narodniks. The result was an extreme theoretical vulgarisation of Marxism and the dis-

    * At Stockholm one of these was Plekhanov. By the irony of history, this supposedly stern guardian of orthodoxy failed to notice, or did not want to notice, Maslov's distortion of Marx's economic theory.

tortion of its propagandist tasks in the revolution. The criticism of private landownership in speeches in the Duma, in propaganda and agitational literature, etc., was made only from the Narodnik, i.e., from the petty-bourgeois, quasi-socialist, point of view. The Marxists were unable to pick out the real core of this petty-bourgeois ideology, having failed to understand that their task was to introduce the historical element into the examination of the question, and to replace the point of view of the petty bourgeois (the abstract idea of equalisation, justice, etc.) by the point of view of the proletariat on the real roots of the struggle against private ownership of land in developing capitalist society. The Narodnik thinks that repudiation of private landownership is repudiation of capitalism. That is wrong. The repudiation of private landownership expresses the demands for the purest capitalist development. And we have to revive in the minds of Marxists the "forgotten words" of Marx, who criticised private landownership from the point of view of the conditions of capitalist economy.

    Marx directed such criticism not only against big landownership, but also against small landownership. The free ownership of land by the small peasant is a necessary concomitant of small production in agriculture under certain historical conditions. A. Finn was quite right in emphasising this in opposition to Maslov. But the recognition of this historical necessity, which has been proved by experience, does not relieve the Marxist of the duty of making an all-round appraisal of small landownership. Real freedom of such landownership is inconceivable without the free purchase and sale of land. Private ownership of land implies the necessity of spending capital on purchasing land. On this point Marx, in Volume III of Capital, wrote: "One of the specific evils of small-scale agriculture, where it is combined with free landownership, arises from the cultivator's investing capital in the purchase of land" (III, 2, 342).<"p314"> "The expenditure of capital in the price of the land withdraws this capital from cultivation" (ibid., 341).[125]

    "The expenditure of money-capital for the purchase of land, then, is not an investment of agricultural capital. It is a decrease pro tanto in the capital which small peasants can employ in their own sphere of production It

reduces pro tanto the size of their means of production and thereby narrows the economic basis of reproduction. It subjects the small peasant to the money-lender, since credit proper occurs but rarely in this sphere in general. It is a hindrance to agriculture, even where such purchase takes place in the case of large landed estates. It contradicts in fact the capitalist mode of production, which is on the whole indifferent to whether the landowner is in debt,<"p315"> no matter whether he has inherited or purchased his estate" (344-45).[126]

    Thus, both mortgage and usury are, so to speak, forms of capital's evasion of the difficulties which private landownership creates for the free penetration of capital into agriculture. In commodity production society it is impossible to conduct economy without capital. The peasant, and his ideologist the Narodnik, cannot help realising this. Hence, the question boils down to whether capital can be freely invested in agriculture directly, or through the medium of the usurer and the credit institutions. The peasant and the Narodnik, who, partly, are not aware of the complete domination of capital in modern society, and, partly, pull the cap of illusions and dreams over their eyes in order to shut out the unpleasant reality, turn their thoughts towards outside financial aid. Clause 15 of the Land Bill of the 104 reads as follows: "Persons receiving land from the national fund and lacking sufficient means to acquire the necessary agricultural equipment must be given state assistance in the form of loans and grants." Without a doubt, such financial assistance would be necessary if Russian agriculture were reorganised by a victorious peasant revolution. Kautsky, in his book The Agrarian Question in Russia, quite rightly emphasises this. But what we are discussing now is the social-economic significance of all these "loans and grants", which the Narodnik overlooks. The state can only be an intermediary in transferring the money from the capitalists; but the state itself can obtain this money only from the capitalists. Consequently, even under the best possible organisation of state assistance, the domination of capital is not removed in the least, and the old question remains: what are the possible forms of investment of capital in agriculture?

    And that question inevitably leads to the Marxist criticism of the private ownership of land. That form of ownership is a hindrance to the free investment of capital in the land. Either complete freedom for this investment -- in which case: abolition of private landownership, i.e., the nationalisation of the land; or the preservation of private landownership -- in which case: penetration of capital by roundabout ways, namely, the mortgaging of land by landlords and peasants, the enslavement of the peasant by the usurer, the renting of land to tenants who own capital.

    Marx says: "Here, in small-scale agriculture, the price of land, a form and result of private landownership, appears as a barrier to production itself. In large-scale agriculture, and large estates operating on a capitalist basis, ownership likewise acts as a barrier, because it limits the tenant farmer in his productive investment of capital, which in the final analysis benefits not him,<"p316"> but the landlord." (Das Kapital, III. Band, 2. Teil, S. 346-47.)[127]

    Consequently, the abolition of private landownership is the maximum that can be done in bourgeois society for the removal of all obstacles to the free investment of capital in agriculture and to the free flow of capital from one branch of production to another. The free, wide, and rapid development of capitalism, complete freedom for the class struggle, the disappearance of all superfluous intermediaries who make agriculture something like the "sweated" industries -- that is what nationalisation of the land implies under the capitalist system of production.


    An interesting economic argument agalnst nationalisation was advanced by A. Finn, an advocate of division of the land. Both nationalisation and municipalisation, he says, mean transferring rent to a public body. The question is: what kind of rent? Not capitalist rent, for "usually the peasants do not obtain rent in the capitalist sense from their land" (The Agrarian Question and Social-Democracy, p. 77, cf. p. 63), but pre-capitalist money rent.

    By money rent Marx means the payment by the peasant to the landlord of the whole of the surplus product in the form of money. The original form of the peasant's economic dependence upon the landlord under the pre-capitalist modes of production was labour rent (Arbeitsrente ), i.e., corv&eacutee; then came rent in the form of produce, or rent in kind, and finally came money rent. That rent, says A. Finn, "is the most widespread form in our country even today" (p. 63).

    Undoubtedly, tenant farming based on servitude and bondage is extremely widespread in Russia, and, according to Marx's theory, the payment which the peasant makes under such a system of tenancy is largely money rent. What power makes it possible to extort that rent from the peasantry? The power of the bourgeoisie and of developing capitalism? Not at all. It is the power of the feudal latifundia. Since the latter will be broken up -- and that is the starting-point and fundamental condition of the peasant agrarian revolution -- there is no reason to speak of "money rent" in the pre-capitalist sense. Hence, the only significance of Finn's argument is that he emphasises once more the absurdity of separating the peasant allotment land from the rest of the land in the event of an agrarian revolution; since allotment lands are often surrounded by landlords' lands, and since the present conditions of demarcation of the peasant lands from the landlords' lands give rise to bondage, the preservation of this demarcation is reactionary. Unlike either division of the land or nationalisation, municipalisation preserves this demarcation.

    Of course, the existence of small landed property, or, more correctly, of small farming, introduces certain changes in the general propositions of the theory of capitalist rent, but it does not destroy that theory. For example, Marx points out that absolute rent as such does not usually exist under small farming, which is carried on mainly to meet the needs of the farmer himself (<"p317">Vol. III, 2. Teil, S. 339, 344).[128] But the more commodity production develops, the more all the propositions of economic theory become applicable to peasant farming also, since it has come under the conditions of the capitalist world. It must not be for gotten that no land nationalisation, no equalised land tenure, will abolish the now fully established fact that the well-to-do peasants in Russia are already farming on capitalist lines. In my Development of Capitalism I showed that, according to the statistics of the eighties and nineties of the last century, about one-fifth of the peasant households account for up to half of peasant agricultural production and a much larger share of rented land ; that the farms of these peasants are now commodity-producing farms rather than natural-economy farms, and that, finally, these peasants cannot exist without a vast army of farm-hands and day-labourers.[*] Among these peasants the elements of capitalist rent are taken for granted. These peasants express their interests through the mouths of the Peshekhonovs, who "soberly" reject the prohibition of hired labour as well as "socialisation of the land", who soberly champion the point of view of the peasant economic individualism which is asserting itself. If, in the utopias of the Narodniks, we carefully separate the real economic factor from the false ideology, we shall see at once that it is precisely the bourgeois peasantry which stands to gain most from the break-up of the feudal latifundia, irrespective of whether that is carried out by division, nationalisation, or municipalisation. "Loans and grants" from the state, too, are bound to benefit the bourgeois peasantry in the first place. The "peasant agrarian revolution" is nothing but the subordination of the whole system of landownership to the conditions of progress and prosperity of precisely these capitalist farms.

    Money rent is the moribund yesterday, which cannot but die out. Capitalist rent is the nascent tomorrow, which cannot but develop under the Stolypin expropriation of the poor peasants ("under Article 87"), as well as under the peasant expropriation of the richest landlords.


    The view is often met with among Marxists that nationalisation is feasible only at a high stage of development of capitalism, when it will have fully prepared the con- <"fnp318">

    * See present edition, Vol. 3, pp. 136-39 --Ed.

page 319

ditions for "divorcing the landowners from agriculture" (by means of renting and mortgages). It is assumed that large-scale capitalist farming must have already established itself before nationalisation of the land, which cuts out rent without affecting the economic organism, can be brought about.[*]

    Is this view correct? Theoretically it cannot be substantiated; it cannot be supported by direct references to Marx; the facts of experience speak against it rather than for it.

    Theoretically, nationalisation is the "ideally" pure development of capitalism in agriculture. The question whether such a combination of conditions and such a relation of forces as would permit of nationalisation in capitalist society often occur in history is another matter. But nationalisation is not only an effect of, but also a condition for, the rapid development of capitalism. To think that nationalisation is possible only at a very high stage of development of capitalism in agriculture means, if anything, the repudiation of nationalisation as a measure of bourgeois progress; for everywhere the high development of agricultural capitalism has already placed on the order of the day (and will in time inevitably place on the order of the day in other countries) the "socialisation of agricultural production", i.e., the socialist revolution. No measure of bourgeois progress, as a bourgeois measure, is conceivable when the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is very acute. Such a measure is more likely in a "young" bourgeois society, which has not yet developed its strength, has not yet developed its contradictions to the full, and has not yet created a proletariat strong enough to strive directly towards the socialist revolution. And Marx allowed the possibility of, and sometimes directly advocated, the nationalisation of the land, not only in the epoch of the bourgeois revolution in Ger-

    * Here Is one of the most exact expressions of this view uttered by Comrade Borisov, an advocate of the division of the land: ". . . Eventually, it [the demand for the nationalisation of the land] will be put forward by history; it will be put forward when petty-bourgeois farming has degenerated, when capitalism has gained strong positions in agriculture, and when Russia will no longer be a peasant country" (Minutes of the Stockholm Congress, p. 127).

any in 1848, but also in 1846 for America, which, as he most accurately pointed out at that time, was only just starting its "industrial" development. The experience of various capitalist countries gives us no example of the nationalisation of the land in anything like its pure form. We see something similar to it in New Zealand, a young capitalist democracy, where there is no evidence of highly developed agricultural capitalism. Something similar to it existed in America when the government passed the Homestead Act and distributed plots of land to small farmers at a nominal rent.

    No. To associate nationalisation with the epoch of highly developed capitalism means repudiating it as a measure of bourgeois progress; and such a repudiation directly contradicts economic theory. It seems to me that in the following argument in Theories of Surplus Value, Marx outlines conditions for the achievement of nationalisation other than those usually presumed.

    After pointing out that the landowner is an absolutely superfluous figure in capitalist production, that the purpose of the latter is "fully answered" if the land belongs to the state, Marx goes on to say:

    "That is why in theory the radical bourgeois arrives at the repudiation of private landed property. . . . In practice, however, he lacks courage, since the attack on one form of property, private property in relation to the conditions of labour, would be very dangerous for the other form. Moreover, the bourgeois has territorialised himself."<"p320"> (Theorien über den Mehrwert, II. Band, 1. Teil, S. 208.)[129]

    Marx does not mention here, as an obstacle to the achievement of nationalisation, the undeveloped state of capitalism in agriculture. He mentions two other obstacles, which speak much more strongly in favour of the idea of achieving nationalisation in the epoch of bourgeois revolution.

    First obstacle: the radical bourgeois lacks the courage to attack private landed property owing to the danger of a socialist attack on all private property, i.e., the danger of a socialist revolution.

    Second obstacle: "The bourgeois has territorialised himself". Evidently, what Marx has in mind is that the bour- geois mode of production has already entrenched itself in private landed property, i.e., that this private property has become far more bourgeois than feudal. When the bourgeoisie, as a class, has already become bound up with landed property on a broad, predominating scale, has already "territorialised itself", "settled on the land", fully subordinated landed property to itself, then a genuine social movement of the bourgeoisie in favour of nationalisation is impossible. It is impossible for the simple reason that no class ever goes against itself.

    Broadly speaking, these two obstacles are removable only in the epoch of rising and not of declining capitalism, in the epoch of the bourgeois revolution, and not on the eve of the socialist revolution. The view that nationalisation is feasible only at a high stage of development of capitalism cannot be called Marxist. It contradicts both the general premises of Marx's theory and his words as quoted above. It oversimplifies the question of the historically concrete conditions under which nationalisation is brought about by such-and-such forces and classes, and reduces it to a schematic and bare abstraction.

    The 'radical bourgeois" cannot be courageous in the epoch of strongly developed capitalism. In such an epoch this bourgeoisie, in the mass, is inevitably counter-revolutionary. In such an epoch the almost complete "territorialisation" of the bourgeoisie is already inevitable. In the epoch of bourgeois revolution, however, the objective conditions compel the "radical bourgeois" to be courageous; for, in solving the historical problem of the given period, the bourgeoisie, as a class, cannot yet fear the proletarian revolution. In the epoch of bourgeois revolution the bourgeoisie has not yet territorialised itself : landownership is still too much steeped in feudalism in such an epoch. The phenomenon of the mass of the bourgeois farmers fighting against the principal forms of landownership and therefore arriving at the practical achievement of the complete bourgeois "liberation of the land", i.e., nationalisation, becomes possible.

    In all these respects the Russian bourgeois revolution finds itself in particularly favourable conditiolls. Arguing from the purely economic point of view, we must certainly admit the existence of a maximum of survivals of feudalism in the Russian system of landownership, in both landlord estates and peasant allotments. Under such circumstances, the contradiction between relatively developed capitalism in industry and the appalling backwardness of the countryside becomes glaring and, owing to objective causes, makes the bourgeois revolution extremely far-reaching and creates conditions for the most rapid agricultural progress. The nationalisation of the land is precisely a condition for the most rapid capitalist progress in our agriculture. We have a "radical bourgeois" in Russia who has not yet "territorialised" himself, who cannot, at present, fear a proletarian "attack". That radical bourgeois is the Russian peasant.

    From this point of view the difference between the attitude of the mass of the Russian liberal bourgeoisie and that of the mass of Russian peasants towards the nationalisation of the land becomes quite intelligible. The liberal landlord, lawyer, big manufacturer and merchant have all sufficiently "territorialised" themselves. They cannot but fear a proletarian attack. They cannot but prefer the Stolypin-Cadet road. Think what a golden river is now flowing towards the landlords, government officials, lawyers, and merchants in the form of the millions which the "Peasant" Bank is handing out to the terrified landlords! Under the Cadet system of "redemption payments" this golden river would have a slightly different direction, would, perhaps, be slightly less abundant, but it would still consist of hundreds of millions, and would flow into the same hands.

    Out of the revolutionary overthrow of all the old forms of landownership neither the government official nor the lawyer can derive a single kopek. And the merchants, in the mass, are not far-sighted enough to prefer the future expansion of the home, peasant, market to the immediate possibility of snatching something from the gentry. Only the peasant, who is being driven into his grave by the old Russia, is capable of striving for the complete renovation of the system of landownership.


    If nationalisation is regarded as a measure most likely to be achieved in the epoch of bourgeois revolution, such a view must inevitably lead to the admission that nationalisation may turn out to be a mere transition to division. The real economic need which compels the mass of the peasantry to strive for nationalisation is the need for the thorough renovation of all the old agrarian relationships, for "clearing" all the land, for readapting it to the new system of farming. That being the case, it is clear that the farmers who have adapted themselves, who have renovated the whole system of landownership, may demand that the new agrarian system be consolidated, i.e., that the holdings they have rented from the state be converted into their property.

    Yes, that is indisputable. We arrive at nationalisation not from abstract arguments, but from a concrete calculation of the concrete interests of a concrete epoch. And, of course, it would be ridiculous to regard the mass of small farmers as "idealists"; it would be ridiculous to think that they will stop at division if their interests demand it. Consequently, we must inquire: (1) whether their interests can demand division; (2) under what circumstances; and (3) how this will affect the proletarian agrarian programme.

    We have already answered the first question in the affirmative. To the second question no definite reply can yet be given. After the period of revolutionary nationalisation the demand for division may be evoked by the desire to consolidate to the greatest possible degree the new agrarian relations, which meet the requirements of capitalism. It may be evoked by the desire of the given owners of land to increase their incomes at the expense of the rest of society. Finally, it may be evoked by the desire to "quieten" (or, plainly speaking, to put down) the proletariat and the semi-proletarian strata, for whom nationalisation of the land will be an element that will "whet the appetite" for the socialisation of the whole of social production. All these three possibilities reduce themselves to a single economic basis, since the consolidation of the new system of capital- ist landownership of the new farmers automatically creates anti-proletarian sentiments and a striving on the part of these farmers to create new privileges for themselves in the shape of right of ownership. Hence, the question reduces itself precisely to this economic consolidation. The constant factor counteracting this will be the development of capitalism, which increases the superiority of large-scale agriculture and demands constant facility for the "consolidation" of small farms into large ones. A temporary factor counteracting it will be the land available for colonisation in Russia: consolidating the new economy means raising the technical level of agriculture. And we have already shown that every step forward in agricultural technique "opens up" for Russia more and more new areas of land available for colonisation.

    Our examination of the second question leads to the following deduction: the circumstances under which the new farmers' demands for the division of the land will overcome all counteracting influences cannot be predicted with accuracy. Allowance, however, must be made for the fact that capitalist development after the bourgeois revolution will inevitably give rise to such circumstances.

    As regards the last question, that concerning the attitude of the workers' party towards the possible demand of the new farmers for the division of the land, a very definite reply can be given. The proletariat can and must support the militant bourgeoisie when the latter wages a really revolutionary struggle against feudalism. But it is not for the proletariat to support the bourgeoisie when the latter is becoming quiescent. If it is certain that a victorious bourgeois revolution in Russia is impossible without the nationalisation of the land, then it is still more certain that a subsequent turn towards the division of the land is impossible without a certain amount of "restoration", without the peasantry (or rather, from the point of view of the presumed relations: farmers) turning towards counter-revolution. The proletariat will uphold the revolutionary tradition against all such strivings and will not assist them.

    In any case, it would be a great mistake to think that, in the event of the new farmer class turning towards division of the land, nationalisation would be a transient phe- nomenon of no serious significance. In any case, it would have tremendous material and moral significance. Material significance, in that nothing is capable of so thoroughly sweeping away the survivals of medievalism in Russia, of so thoroughly renovating the rural districts, which are in a state of Asiatic semi-decay, of so rapidly promoting agricultural progress, as nationalisation. Any other solution of the agrarian question in the revolution would create less favourable starting-points for further economic development.

    The moral significance of nationalisation in the revolutionary epoch is that the proletariat helps to strike a blow at "one form of private property" which must inevitably have its repercussions all over the world. The proletariat stands for the most consistent and most determined bourgeois revolution and the most favourable conditions for capitalist development, thereby most effectively counteracting all half-heartedness, flabbiness, spinelessness and passivity -- qualities which the bourgeoisie cannot help displaying.




    As already pointed out, it is considerations of this kind that occupy a disproportionately large place in our Party discussion on the agrarian programme. Our task is to examine these considerations as systematically and briefly as possible and to show the relation between the various political measures (and points of view) and the economic basis of the agrarian revolution.


    In my Report on the Stockholm Congress I dealt with this argument, citing the debate from memory. Now, we have before us the authentic text of the Minutes.

    "The key to my position," exclaimed Plekhanov at the Stockholm Congress, "is that I draw attention to the possi-

bility of restoration" (p. 115). Let us examine this key a little more closely. Here is the first reference to it in Plekhanov's first speech:

    "Lenin says, 'we shall make nationalisation harmless', but to make nationalisation harmless we must find a guarantee against restoration; and there is not, nor can there be, any such guarantee. Recall the history of France; recall the history of England; in each of these countries, the wide sweep of the revolution was followed by restoration. The same may happen in our country; and our programme must be such that in the event of its application, the harm that may be caused by restoration may be reduced to a minimum. Our programme must eliminate the economic basis of tsarism; but nationalisation of the land effected during the revolutionary period does not eliminate that basis. Therefore, I consider that the demand for nationalisation is an anti-revolutionary demand" (p. 44). What the "economic basis of tsarism" is, Plekhanov tells in the same speech: "The situation in our country was such that the land, together with its cultivators, was held in servitude by the state, and on the basis of that servitude Russian despotism developed. To overthrow despotism, it is necessary to do away with its economic basis. Therefore, I am opposed to nationalisation at present" (p. 44).

    First of all, let us examine the logic of this argument about restoration. First: "there is not, nor can there be, any guarantee against restoration!" Second: "the harm that may be caused by restoration must be reduced to a minimum". That is to say, we must invent a guarantee against restoration, although there cannot be any such guarantee! And on the very next page, 45 (in the same speech), Plekhanov finally invents a guarantee: "In the event of restoration," he plainly says, "it [municipalisation] will not surrender the land [listen!] to the political representatives of the old order." Thus, although "there cannot be" any such guarantee, a guarantee against restoration has been found. A very clever conjuring trick, and the Menshevik press is filled with rapture over the conjurer's skill.

    When Plekhanov speaks he is brilliant and witty, he crackles, twirls, and sparkles like a Catherine-wheel. The

trouble starts when the speech is taken down verbatim and later subjected to a logical examination.

    What is restoration? It is the reversion of state power to the political representatives of the old order. Can there be any guarantee against such a restoration? No, there cannot. Therefore, we invent such a guarantee: municipalisation, which "will not surrender the land". . . . But we ask: what obstacles does municipalisation raise to the "surrender of the land"? The only obstacle is the law passed by the revolutionary parliament declaring such and such lands (former landlord estates, etc.) to be the property of the Regional Diets. But what is a law? The expression of the will of the classes which have emerged victorious and hold the power of the state.

    Can you see now why such a law "will not surrender the land" to "the representatives of the old order" when the latter will have recaptured state power?

    And after the Stockholm Congress this unmitigated nonsense was preached by Social-Democrats even from the rostrum of the Duma![*]

    As to the substance of this famous question of "guarantees against restoration", we must make the following observation, Since we can have no guarantees against restoration, to raise that question in connection with the agrarian programme means diverting the attention of the audience, clogging their minds, and introducing confusion into the discussion. We are not in a position to call forth at our own will a socialist revolution in the West, which is the only absolute guarantee against restoration in Russia. But a relative and conditional "guarantee", i.e., one that would raise the greatest possible obstacles to restoration, lies in carrying out the revolution in Russia in the most far-reaching, consistent, and determined manner possible. The more far-reaching the revolution is, the more difficult will it be to restore the old order and the more gains will remain even if restoration does take place. The more deeply the old soil is ploughed up by revolution, the more difficult will it be to restore the old order. In

    * Tsereteli's speech on May 26, 1907. Stenographic Record of the Second Duma, p. 1234.

the political sphere, a democratic republic represents a more profound chahge than democratic local self-government; the former presupposes (and calls forth) greater revolutionary energy, intelligence, and organisation on the part of the large masses of the people; it creates traditions which it will be far more difficult to eradicate. That is why, for instance, present-day Social-Democrats attach so much value to the great fruits of the French Revolution in spite of all the restorations that have taken place, and in this they differ from the Cadets (and from Cadet-minded Social-Democrats?) who prefer democratic Zemstvos under a monarchy as a "guarantee against restoration".

    In the economic sphere, nationalisation in a bourgeois agrarian revolution is more far-reaching than anything else, because it breaks up all the medieval forms of landownership. At the present time the peasant farms his own strip of allotment land, a strip of rented allotment land, a strip of rented landlord's land, and so on. Nationalisation makes it possible to tear down all the fences of landownership to the utmost degree, and to "clear" all the land for the new system of economy suitable to the requirements of capitalism. Of course, even such a clearing affords no guarantee against a return to the old order; to promise the people such a "guarantee against restoration" would be a swindle. But such a clearing of the old system of landownership will enable the new system of economy to become so firmly rooted that a return to the old forms of landownership would be extremely difficult, because no power on earth can arrest the developme/nt of capitalism. Under municipalisation, however, a return to the old form of landownership is easier, because municipalisation perpetuates the "pale of settlement", the boundary that separates medieval landownership from the new, municipalised form. After nationalisation, restoration will have to break up millions of new, capitalist farms in order to restore the old system of landownership. After municipalisation, restoration will not have to break up any farms or to set up any new land boundaries; all it will have to do will be literally to sign a paper transferring the lands owned by the municipality X to the noble landlords Y, Z, etc., or to hand over to the landlords the rent from the "municipalised" lands.

    We must now pass from Plekhanov's logical error on the question of restoration, from the confusion of political concepts, to the economic essence of restoration. The Minutes of the Stockholm Congress fully confirm the statement made in my Report that Plekhanov impermissibly confuses the restoration which took place in France on the basis of capitalism with the restoration of "our old, semi-Asiatic order". (Minutes of the Stockhholm Congress, p. 116.) Therefore, there is no need for me to add anything to what I have already said on this question in the Report. I shall only deal with the "elimination of the economic basis of despotism". The following is the most important passage in Plekhanov's speech pertaining to this:

    "It is true that the restoration [in France] did not restore the survivals of feudalism; but the equivalent of these survivals in our own country is our old system of feudal attachment of both land and cultivator to the state, our old peculiar nationalisation of the land. It will be all the more easy for our restoration to return to that [sic! ] nationalisation because you yourselves demand the nationalisation of the land, because you leave that legacy of our old semi-Asiatic order intact" (p. 116).

    So, after the restoration, the return to that, i.e., semi-Asiatic, nationalisation "will be easier" because Lenin (and the peasantry) are now demanding nationalisation. What is this? A historico-materialistic analysis, or a purely rationalistic "wordplay"?* Is it the word "nationalisation" or certain economic changes that facilitate the restoration of the semi-Asiatic conditions? Had Plekhanov thought this matter over he would have realised that municipalisation and division eliminate one basis of the Asiatic order, i.e., medieval landlord ownership, but leave another, i.e., medieval allotment ownership. Consequently, in essence, in the economic essence of the revolution (and not in virtue of the term by which one might designate it), it is nationalisation that far more radically eliminates the economic basis of Asiatic despotism. Plekhanov's "conjuring trick" lies in that he described medieval landownership with its dependence, its imposts, and its servitude as "peculiar na- <"fnp">

    * Comrade Schmidt in Stockholm. Minutes, p. 122.

tionalisation" and skipped the two forms of that system of landownership: allotments and landlordism. As a result of this juggling with words the real historical question as to what forms of medieval landownership are abolished by one or another agrarian measure is distorted. Plekhanov's fireworks display was very crude after all.

    Plekhanov's almost incredible muddle on the question of restoration is to be explained by two circumstances. First, in speaking about the "peasant agrarian revolution", Plekhanov completely failed to grasp its peculiar character as capitalist evolution. He confuses Narodism, the theory of the possibility of non-capitalist evolution, with the Marxist view that two types of capitalist agrarian evolution are possible. Plekhanov constantly betrays a vague "fear of the peasant revolution" (as I told him in Stockholm; see pp. 106-07 of the Minutes[*]), a fear that it may turn out to be economically reactionary and lead, not to the American farmer system, but to medieval servitude. Actually, that is economically impossible. Proof -- the Peasant Reform and the subsequent course of evolution. In the Peasant Reform the shell of feudalism (both landlord feudalism and "state feudalism", which Plekhanov, followed by Martynov, referred to at Stockholm) was very strong. But economic evolution proved stronger, and it filled this feudal shell with a capitalist content. Despite the obstacles presented by medieval landownership, both peasant and landlord economy developed, although incredibly slowly, along the bourgeous path. If there had been any real grounds for Plekhanov's fears of a return to Asiatic despotism, the system of landownership among the state peasants (up to the eighties) and among the former state peasants (after the eighties) should have turned out to be the purest type of "state feudalism". Actually, it proved to be freer than the landlord system, because feudal exploitation had already become impossible in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There was less bondage and a more rapid development of a peasant bourgeoisie among the state peasants with "large landholdings".** Either a slow and painful <"fnp330">

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 283. --Ed.
    ** Of course, our former state peasants can be described as possessing "large landholdings" only in comparison with the former land- [cont. onto p. . -- DJR] lords' peasants. According to the returns for 1905, the former held an average of 12.5 dessiatins of allotted land per household, whereas the latter held only 6.7 dessiatins.

bourgeois evolution of the Prussian, Junker type, or a rapid, free evolution of the American type is possible in Russia now. Anything else is an illusion.

    The second reason for the "restoration muddle" in the heads of some of our comrades was the uncertain situation in the spring of 1906. The peasantry, as a mass, had not yet definitely shown itself. It was still possible to assume that the peasant movement and the Peasant Union were not the final expressions of the real aspirations of the overwhelming majority of the peasantry. The autocratic bureaucracy and Witte had not yet finally given up hope that "the muzhik will help us out" (a classic phrase used by Witte's organ Russkoye Gosudarstvo in the spring of 1906), i.e., that the peasants would go to the Right. Hence the strong representation allowed to the peasantry under the Law of December 11, 1905. Even at that time many Social-Democrats still thought the autocracy capable of playing some trick with the peasants' idea: "Better all the land be the tsar's than the gentry's". But the two Dumas, the Law of June 3, 1907, and Stolypin's agrarian legislation were enough to open everybody's eyes. To save what it could, the autocracy had to introduce the policy of forcibly breaking up the village communes in favour of private ownership of land, i.e., to base the counter-revolution, not on the peasants' vague talk about nationalisation (the land belongs to the "commune", and so on), but on the only possible economic basis upon which the power of the landlords could be retained, i.e., capitalist evolution on the Prussian model.

    The situation has now become quite clear, and it is high time to put away forever the vague fear of "Asiatic" restoration roused by the peasant movement against the private ownership of land.*

    * I say nothing here about the fact that the bogey of restoration is a political weapon of the bourgeoisie against the proletariat, since everything essential on this subject has been said already in my Report. (See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 339. --Ed.)


    . . . "In the shape of local self-government bodies which will possess the land," said Plekhanov at Stockholm, "it [municipalisation] will create a bulwark against reaction. And a very powerful bulwark it will be. Take our Cossacks for example" (p. 45). Well, we shall "take our Cossacks" and see what the reference to them is worth. But first of all, let us examine the general grounds for this opinion that local self-government is capable of being a bulwark against reaction. That view has been propounded by our municipalisers on innumerab]e occasions, and it will be sufficient to quote a passage from John's speech to supplement Plekhanov's formula. "What is the difference between nationalisation and municipalisation of the land if we admit that both are feasible and equally bound up with the democratisation of the political system? The difference is that municipalisation is better able to consolidate the gains of the revolution, the democratic system, and will serve as the basis for its further development, whereas nationalisation will merely consolidate the power of the state" (p. 112).

    The Mensheviks actually deny the possibility of guarantees against restoration, and in the very same breath produce "guarantees" and "bulwarks" like conjurers doing a trick in front of an audience. Just think a little, gentlemen! How can local self-government be a bulwark against reaction, or consolidate the gains of the revolution? There can be only one bulwark against reaction and one means of consolidating the gains of the revolution, namely, the class-consciousness and organisation of the masses of the proletariat and the peasantry. And in a capitalist state which is centralised, not by the arbitrary will of the bureaucracy, but by the inexorable demands of economic development, that organisation must find expression in a single force welded together throughout the state. Without a centralised peasant movement, without a centralised nation-wide political struggle of the peasantry led by a centralised proletariat, there can be no serious "revolutionary gains" worthy of "consolidation"; there can be no "bulwark against reaction".

    Local self-government that is at all really democratic is impossible unless landlord rule is completely overthrown and landlordism is abolished. While admitting this in words, the Mensheviks, with amazing light-mindedness, refuse to consider what it implies in deeds. In deeds, it cannot be attained unless the revolutionary classes conquer political power throughout the state; and one would have thought that two years of revolution would have taught even the most obdurate "man in the muffler" that these classes in Russia can only be the proletariat and the peasantry. To be victorious, the "peasant agrarian revolution" of which you gentlemen speak must, as such, as a peasant revolution, become the central authority throughout the state.

    The democratic self-governing bodies can be only particles of such a central authority of the democratic peasantry. Only by combating the local and regional disunity of the peasantry, only by advocating, preparing, and organising a nation-wide, all-Russian, centralised movement, can real service be rendered to the cause of "peasant agrarian revolution", and not to the encouragement of parochial backwardness and local provincial stupefaction of the peasantry. It is precisely this stupefaction that you, Mr. Plekhanov and Mr. John, are serving when you advocate the preposterous and arch-reactionary idea that local self-government can become a "bulwark against reaction", or that it can "consolidate the gains of the revolution". For the experience of the two years of the Russian revolution has plainly demonstrated that it was precisely this local and regional disunity of the peasant movement (the soldiers! movement is part of the peasant movement) that was most of all responsible for the defeat.

    To present a programme of a "peasant agrarian revolution and associate it only with the democratisation of local self-government and not of the central government, to hold the former up as a genuine "bulwark" and "consolidation", is in reality nothing but a Cadet deal with reaction.* The

    * I have dealt more fully with thls in the Report. (See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 337-38. --Ed.) Here I shall add an extract from a speech by the Menshevik Novosedsky. which I did not hear (see the Report) at the Congress, but which corroborates this most strikingly. [cont. onto p. 334. -- DJR] Opposing the amendment to substitute the words "democratic republic" for "democratic state", Novosedsky said: . . . "In the event of truly democratic local self-government being established, the programme now adopted may be carried into effect even with a degree of democratisation of the central government which cannot be described as the highest degree of its democratisation. Even under democratisation of a comparative degree, so to speak, municipalisation will not be harmful, but useful." (p. 138. Our italics.) That is as clear as clear can be. A peasant agrarian revolution without the overthrow of the autocracy -- such is the highly reactionary idea the Mensheviks advocate.

Cadets lay stress on local "democratic" self-government because they do not want, or dare, to touch upon more important questions. The Mensheviks did not realise what a big word they uttered when they admitted that the "peasant agrarian revolution" is the task of the day, and in their polltical commentary to this agrarian programme they displayed the acme of provincial narrow-mindedness.

    Here is a sample of John's reasoning, if you please:

    "Comrade Lenin is afraid that the reaction will wrest the confiscated lands from the local self-government bodies; if that can be said of the lands which may pass into the hands of the state, it cannot possibly be said of municipalised lands. Even the autocratic Russian Government could not take away the land from the local government bodies of Armenia, as that called forth strong resistance on the part of the population" (p. 113).

    Superb, is it not? The whole history of the autocracy is one of wholesale grabbing of local, regional, and national lands; and our wiseacres try to reassure the people who are becoming stupefied in their provincial isolation by arguing that "even the autocracy" did not take away the land from the Armenian churches, although it had begun to do so, and was in fact prevented from doing so only by the all-Russian revolution. . . . In the centre autocracy, and in the provinces "Armenian lands" which "it dares not take away. . . . How has so much philistine stupidity penetrated our Social-Democratic movement?

    And here are Plekhanov's Cossacks:

    "Take our Cossacks. They behave like downright reactionaries; yet if the [autocratic] government dared to lay hands on their land, they would rise against it to a man. Consequently, the merit of municipaiisation lies precisely in that it will prove of use even in the event of restoration (p. 45).

    "Consequently", indeed! If the autocracy rose against the defenders of the autocracy, then the defenders af the autocracy would rise against the autocracy. What profundity! Cossack landownership, however, is of use not only in the event of restoration, but also as a means of upholding what must be overthrown before it can be restored. Speaking in opposition to Plekhanov, Schmidt called attention to this interesting aspect of municipalisation. He said:

    "Let me remind you that the autocracy had granted certain privileges to the Cossacks a month ago. Consequently, it is not afraid of municipalisation, for the Cossacks' lands even now are managed in a manner which greatly resembles municipalisation. . . . It [municipalisation] is going to play a counter-revolutiollary role" (pp. 123-24).

    Plekhanov became so excited over that speech that he interrupted the speaker (on quite an unimportant point, to ask him whether he was speaking about the Oreuburg Cossacks) and tried to upset the standing orders by demanding the floor out of his turn to make a statement. Subsequently he submitted the following written statement:

    "Comrade Schmidt misquoted my reference to the Cossacks. I made no reference to the Orenburg Cossacks at all. I said: look at the Cossacks they are behaving like arch-reactionaries: nevertheless, if the government tried to lay hands on their land, they would rise against it to a man. And so would, more or less, all the regional bodies to whom the confiscated landlords' land would be transferred by the revolution, if any such attempt were made. And such behaviour on their part would be one of the guarantees against reaction in the event of restoration" (p. 127).

    It is a brilliant plan, of course, to overthrow the autocracy without touching the autocracy: to take certain regions away from it and leave it to regain them if it can! It is almost as brilliant as the idea of expropriating capitalism through the savings-banks. But that is not the point just now. The point is that regional municipalisation, which "should" play a wonderful role after the victorious revolution, is now playing a counter-revolutionary role. And that is the point that Plekhanov evaded!

    At the present time the Cossack lands represent real municipalisation. Large regions belong to separate Cossack troops -- the Orenburg, Don, and others. The Cossacks possess an average of 52 dessiatins per household, the peasants an average of 11 dessiatins. In addition, the Orenburg Cossacks own 1,000,000 dessiatins of "army lands"; the Don Cossacks, 1,900,000 dessiatins, etc. This "municipalisation" is the breeding-ground of purely feudal relations. This actually existing municipalisation involves the caste and regional isolation of the peasants, who are split up by differences in the size of holdings, amount of taxes paid, and terms of medieval land tenure as a reward for service, and so forth. "Municipalisation" does not assist the general democratic movement, it serves to disintegrate it, to split up into regions and thus weaken what can be victorious only as a centralised force; it serves to alienate one region from another. <"p336"> <"p336">

    And in the Second Duma we find the Right Cossack Karaulov speaking in support of Stolypin (asserting that Stolypin in his declaration also agreed to the compulsory shifting of land boundaries), denouncing nationalisation no less strongly than Plekhanov, and openly declaring in favour of municipalisation by regions (18th session, March 29, 1907, Stenographic Record, p.1366).

    The Right-wing Cossack Karaulov grasped the crux of the matter a thousand times more correctly than Maslov and Plekhanov. The division into regions is a guarantee against revolution. If the Russian peasantry (with the aid of a centralised, not "regional", proletarian movement) fails to break the bounds of its regional isolation and organise an all-Russian movement, the revolution will always be beaten by the representatives of the various privileged regions which the centralised authority of the old regime will use in the struggle as necessity requires.

    Municipalisation is a reactionary slogan, which idealises the medieval isolation of the regions, and dulls the peasantry's consciousness of the need for a centralised agrarian revolution.


    It is the central state authority that the municipalisers dislike above all else. Before we proceed to examine their arguments, we must first ascertain what nationalisation means from the political and legal standpoint (its economic content we have ascertained above).

    Nationalisation is the transfer of all the land to the ownership of the state. State ownership means that the state is entitled to draw the rent from the land and to lay down general rules governing the possession and use of the land for the whole country. Under nationalisation such general rules certainly include prohibition of any sort of intermediary, i.e., the prohibition of sub-letting, or the transfer of land to anyone except the direct tiller, and so on. Furthermore, if the state in question is really democratic (not in the Menshevik sense à la Novosedsky), its ownership of the land does not at all preclude, but, on the contrary, requires that the land be placed at the disposal of the local and regional self-governing bodies within the limits of the laws of the country. As I have already pointed out in my pamphlet Revision, etc.,* our minimum programme directly demands this when it calls for the self-determination of nationalities, for wide regionaI self-government, and so on. Hence the detailed regulations, corresponding to local differences, the practical allotment, or distribution of land among individuals, associations, etc. -- all this inevitably passes into the hands of the local organs of the state, i.e., to the local self-governing bodies.

    Any misunderstandings on this score, if they could arise, would be due either to a failure to understand the difference between the concepts of ownership, possession, disposal and use, or to demagogical flirting with provincialism and federalism.** The basis of the difference between

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 181-83. --Ed.
    ** We see that kind of flirting on the part of Maslov. . . . "Perhaps," he writes in an article in Obrazovaniye, 1907, No. 3, p. 104, "in some places, the peasants would agree to share their lands, but the refusal of the peasants in a single large area (e.g., Poland) to share their lands would be enough to make the proposal to nationalise all the land an absurdity." That is a sample of vulgar argumentation in which there is no trace of thought, but a mere jumble of words. The "refusal" of [cont. onto p. 338. -- DJR] an area that occupies an exceptional position cannot alter the general programme, nor make it absurd: some area may also "refuse" to municipalise the land. That is not the point. What is important is the fact that in a united capitalist state, the private ownership of land and nationalisation on a large scale cannot exist side by side as two separate systems. One of them will have to get the upper hand. It is up to the workers' party to advocate the superior system, the one that facilitates the rapid development of the productive forces and freedom to wage the class struggle.

municipalisation and nationalisation is not in the apportionment of rights as between the central and provincial authorities, and still less in the "bureaucracy" of the central authority -- only utter ignoramuses can think and talk like that -- the essential difference is that under municipalisation, private ownership is retained for one category of land, whereas under nationalisation it is completely abolished. The essential difference lies in the "agrarian bimetallism", which is implied in the first programme, and eliminated in the second.

    If, however, you approach the present programme from the standpoint of possible arbitrary action by the central authority, etc. (a standpoint which the vulgar advocates of municipalisation often fall back upon), you will see that the present programme is confused and vague in the extreme. It suffices to point out that the present programme transfers "to the possession of the democratic state" both the "lands required for colonisation", and "forest and water areas of national importance". Obviously, these terms are very indefinite and provide an abundant source for conflicts. Take, for instance, Mr. Kaufman's latest contribution in Volume II of The Agrarian Question, published by the Cadets ("On Norms of Supplementary Allotments"), in which a computation is made of the land reserves available in 44 gubernias for the purpose of additional allotments for the peasants at the highest norms of 1861. The "non-allotment distributable land" is first estimated with out forest land and then with forest land (over 25 per cent of forest). Who is to determine which of these forests are of "national importance"? Only the central state authority, of course. Hence, it is in the hands of this central state authority that the Menshevik programme places a gigantic area of 57,000,000 dessiatins in 44 gubernias (according to Kaufman). Who is to determine what the lands available for "colonisation" are? Only the bourgeois central authority, of course. It alone will determine, for instance, whether the 1,500,000 dessiatins of "army lands" of the Orenburg Cossacks, or the 2,000,000 dessiatins of the Don Cossack lands can or cannot serve as "colonisation lands" for the whole country (because the Cossacks have 52.7 dessiatins per household). Clearly, the question is not as it is put by Maslov, Plekhanov, and Co. It is not a question of protecting the local regional self-governing bodies from the encroachments of the central government by means of paper resolutions; that cannot be done either with paper, or even with guns; for the trend of capitalist development is towards centralisation, towards the concentration of such a force in the hands of the central bourgeois government as the "regions" will never be able to stand up against. The point is that one and the same class should have political power both centrally and locally, that democracy should be quite consistently applied in both cases to an absolutely equal degree, a degree sufficient to ensure the complete supremacy of, let us say, the majority of the population, i.e., the peasantry. That alone can serve as a real guarantee against "excessive" encroachments of the centre, against infringements of the "lawful" rights of the regions. All other guarantees invented by the Mensheviks are downright foolishness; they are foolscaps donned by provincial philistines to protect themselves from the power of the central authority which has been concentrated by capitalism. That is exactly the kind of philistine foolishness that Novosedsky is guilty of, as also the whole of the present programme, which conceives the possibility of complete democracy in local self-government and a "lower" degree of democracy at the centre. Incomplete democracy means that power at the centre is not in the hands of the majority of the population, not in the hands of those elements which predominate in the local self-governing bodies; and that means not only the possibility but the inevitability of conflicts, out of which, by virtue of the laws of economic development, the non-democratic central authority must emerge victorious!

    "Municipalisation" from this angle, regarded as a means of "securing" something for the regions against the central authority, is sheer philistine nonsense. If that can be called a "fight" against the centralised bourgeois authority, it is the sort of "fight" that the anti-Semites are waging against capitalism, that is, the same extravagant promises, which attract the dull and ignorant masses and the same economic and political impossibility of fulfilling these promises.

    Take the stock argument of the advocates of municipalisation against nationalisation, namely, nationalisation will strengthen the bourgeois state (or as John so admirably put it: "will strengthen only the state power"), and will increase the revenues of the anti-proletarian, bourgeois government; whereas -- this is exactly what they say -- where as municipalisation will yield revenues for the needs of the population, for the needs of the proletariat. This kind of argument makes one blush for Social-Democracy, for it is sheer anti-Semitic stupidity and anti-Semitic demagogy. We shall not quote the "small fry" who have been led astray by Plekhanov and Maslov; we shall quote Maslov "himself":

    "Social-Demoeraey," he instruets the readers of Obrazovaniye "always makes its calculations in such a way that its plans and aims will be vindicated even under the worst cireumstanees. . . . We must assume that the bourgeois system with all its negative features will predominate in all spheres of social life. Self-government will have the same bourgoois character as the whole state system; the same acute class struggle will go on in it as in the municipalities of Western Europe.

    "What is the difference, then, between local self-government and the state authority? Why does Soeial-Democracy seek to transfer the land not to the state, but to the local self-governing bodies?

    "To define the functions of the state and of local self-government, let us compare their budgets." (Obrazovaniye, 1907, No. 3, p. 102.)

    Then follows a comparison: in one of the most democratic republics -- the United States of America -- 42 per cent of the budget is spent on the army and navy. The same applics to France, England, etc. The "landlord Zemstvos" in Russia spend 27.5 per cent of their budgets on public health, 17.4 per cent on education, 11.9 per cent on roads .

   "This comparison of the respective budgets of the most democratic states with the least democratic local self-governing bodies shows that the former, by their functions, serve the interests of the ruling classes, that the state funds are spent on means of oppression, on means of suppressing democracy, on the other hand, we find that the most undemocratic, the very worst type of local self-government is compelled however badly, to serve democracy, to satisfy local requirements" (p. 103).

    "Social-Democrats must not be so naïve as to accept nationalisation of the land on the grounds, for instance, that the revenues from nationalised lands would go towards the maintenance of republican troops. . . . It will be a very naïve reader who believes Olenov when he says that Marx's theory 'permits' the inclusion in the programme only of the demand for the nationalisation of the land, i.e., the expenditure of ground rent [irrespective of whether it is called absolute or differential rent?] on the army and navy, and that this theory does not permit the inclusion of municipalisation of the land, i.e., the expeuditure of rent on the needs of the population" (p. 103).

    Clear enough, one would think. Nationalisation -- for the army and navy; municipalisation -- for the needs of the people! A Jew is a capitalist; down with the Jews means down with the capitalists!

    Good Maslov fails to see that the high percentage of expenditure on cultural needs in the budgets of local self-governing bodies is a high percentage of secondary items of expenditure. Why is that? Because the jurisdiction and financial powers of local self-governing bodies are determined by the central authority and determined in such a manner that it takes vast sums for the army, etc., and gives only farthings for "culture". Is such a division unavoidable in bourgeois society? Yes, it is; for in bourgeois society the bourgeoisie could not rule if it did not spend vast sums on making its class rule secure and thus leave only farthings for cultural purposes. One must be a Maslov to conceive this brilliant idea: if I declare this new source of vast sums to be the property of the Zemstvos, I get round the rule of the bourgeoisie! How easy the task of the proletarians would be if they reasoned like Maslov: all we have to do is to demand that the revenues from the railways, post, telegraph, and the liquor monopoly should not be "nationalised", but "municipalised", and all those revenues will be spent not on the army and navy, but for cultural purposes. There is no need whatever to overthrow the central authority, or to change it radically; all we have to do is simply to secure the "municipalisation" of all the big items of revenue, and the trick is done. Oh, wiseacres!

    In Europe, and in every bourgeois country, municipal revenues are those revenues -- and let the good Maslov remember this! -- which the bourgeois central authority is willing to sacrifice for cultural purposes, because they are secondary items of revenue, because it is inconvenient for the central authority to collect them, and because the principal, cardinal, fundamental needs of the bourgeoisie and of its rule have already been met by the vast sums of revenue. Therefore, to advise the people to secure new vast sums, hundreds of millions from the municipalised lands, and to make sure the money is spent for cultural purposes by handing it over to the Zemstvos and not to the central authority, is the advice of a charlatan. The bourgeoisie in a bourgeois state can give nothing but farthings for real cultural purposes, for it requires the large sums to secure its rule as a class. Why does the central authority appropriate nine-tenths of the revenues from taxes on land, commercial bodies, etc., and allow the Zemstvos to keep only one-tenth? Why does it make it a law that any additional taxes imposed by the Zemstvos shall not exceed a certain low percentage? Because the large sums are needed to ensure the class rule of the bourgeoisie, which by its very bourgeois nature cannot allow more than farthings to be spent for cultural purposes.*

    * A study of R. Kaufmann's highly comprehensive work, Die Kommunalfinanzen, 2 Bände, Lpz. 1906, II. Abt., 5. Band des Handund Lehrbuches der Staatswissenschaften, begr. von Frankenstein fortges. von Heckel, will show that the division of local and central state expenditures in England is more in favour of the local government bodies than it is in Prussia and France. Thus in England, 3,000 million marks are expended by the local authorities, and 3,600 million by the central government, in France, the respective figures are 1,100 million as against 2,900 in Prussia, 1,100 and 3,500. Let us now take the cultural expenditure, for instance, the expenditure on education in the country most favourably situated (from the standpoint of the advocates of municipalisation), i.e., England. We find that out of the total local expenditure, of 151,600,000 (in 1902-03) 16,500,000 were spent on education, i.e., slightly over one-tenth. The central government, under [cont. onto p. 343. -- DJR] the 1908 Budget (see Almanach de Gotha ) spent for educational purposes 16,900,000 out of a total of 198,600,000, i.e., less than one-tenth. Army and navy expenditure for the same year amounted to 59,200,000; add to this the expenditure of 28,500,000 on the national debt, 3,800,000 on law courts and police, 1,900,000 on foreign affairs and 19,800,000 on cost of tax collection, and you will see that the bourgeoisie spends only farthings on education, aud vast sums on the maintenance of its rule as a class.

    The European socialists take this distribution of thr large sums agd the farthings for granted; they know quite well that it cannot be otherwise in bourgeois society. Taking this distribution for granted, they say: we cannot participate in the central government because it is an instrument of oppression; but we may participate in municipal governments because there the farthings are spent for cultural purposes. But what would these socialists think of a man who advised the workers' party to agitate in favour of the European municipalities being given property rights in the really large revenues, the total rent from local land, the whole revenue from the local post offices, local railways, and so on? They would certainly think that such a man was either crazy or a "Christian Socialist" who had found his way into the ranks of Social-Democracy by mistake.

    Those who, in discussing the tasks of the present (i.e., bourgeois) revolution in Russia, argue that, we must not strengthen the central authority of the bourgeois state, reveal a complete inability to think. The Germans may and should argue in that way because they have before them only a Junker-bourgeois Germany; there can be no other Germany until socialism is established. In our country, on tho other hand, the whole content of the revolutionary mass struggle at the present stage is whether Russia is to be a Junker-bourgeois state (as Stolypin and the Cadets desire), or a peasant-bourgeois state (as the peasants and the workers desire). One cannot take part in such a revolution without supporting one section of the bourgeoisie, one type of bourgeois evolution, against the other. Owing to objective economic causes, there is not and cannot be any other "choice" for us in this revolution than that between a bourgeois centralised republic of peasant-farmers and a bourgeois centralised monarchy of Junker-landlords. To avoid that difficult "choice" by fixing the attention of the masses on the plea: "if only we could make the Zemstvos a little more democratic", is the most vulgar philistinism.


    A difficult "choice", we said, meaning of course not the subjective choice (which is the more desirable), but the objective outcome of the struggle of the social forces that are deciding the historical issue. Those who say that my agrarian programme, which links the republic with nationalisation, is optimistic, have never thought out what the "difficulty" involved in a favourable outcome for the peasantry really is. Here is Plekhanov's argument on the subject:

    "Lenin evades the difficulty of the question by means of optimistic assumptions. That is the usual method of utopian thinking. The anarchists, for instance, say: 'there is no need for any coercive organisation', and when we retort that the absence of coercive organisation would enable individual members of the community to injure the community if they so desired, the anarchists reply: 'that cannot be'. In my opinion, that means evading the difficulty of the question by means of optimistic assumptions. And that is what Lenin does. He raises a whole series of optimistic 'ifs' around the possible consequences of the measure he proposes. To prove this, I shall quote the reproach which Lenin levelled at Maslov. On page 23 of his pamphlet[*] he says: 'Maslov's draft tacitly assumes a situation which the demands of our political minimum programme have not been carried out in full, the sovereignty of the people has not been ensured, the standing army has not been abolished, oficials are not elected, and so forth. In other words, it assumes that our democratic revolution, like most of the democratic revolutions in Europe, has not reached its complete fulfilment an that it has been curtailed, distorted, "rolled back", like all the others. Maslov's draft is especially intended for a half-way, inconsistent, incomplete, or curtailed democratic revolution, "made innocuous" by reaction.' Assuming that the reproach Lenin levelled at Masov is justified, the passage quoted still shows that Lenin's own draft programme will be good only in the event of all his 'ifs' coming true. But if those 'ifs' are not realised the implementation of his draft** will prove harmful. But we have no need of such drafts. Our draft programme must be armed at all points, i.e., ready to meet unfavourable 'ifs'." (Minutes of the Stockholm Congress, pp. 44-45.)

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 187. --Ed.
    ** In that case it would not be my draft! Plekhanov is illogical!

    I have quoted this argument in full because it clearly indicates Plekhanov's mistake. He has complete1y failed to understand the optimism which scares him. The "optimism" is not in assuming the election of officials by the people, etc., but in assuming the victory of the peasant agrarian revolution. The real "difficulty" lies in securing the victory of the peasant agrarian revolution in a country which, at least siuce 1861, has been developing along Junker-bourgeois lines; and since you admit the possibility of this fundamental economic difficulty, it is ridiculous to regard the difficulties of political democracy as all but anarchism. It is ridiculous to forget that the scope of the agrarian and of the political changes cannot fail to correspond, that the economic revolution presupposes a corresponding political superstructure. Plekhanov's cardinal mistake on this question lies in this very failure to understand the root of the "optimism" of our common, Menshevik and Bolshevik, agrarian programme.

    Indeed, picture to yourselves concretely that a "peasant agrarian revolution ", involving confiscation of the landlords' estates, means in contemporary Russia. There can be no doubt that during the past half-century capitalism has paved the way for itself through landlord farming, which now, on the whole, is unquestionably superior to peasant farming, not only as regards yields (which can be partly ascribed to the better quality of the land owned by the landlords), but also as regards the wide use of improved implements and crop rotation (fodder grass cultivation).* There is no doubt that landlord farming is bound by a thousand ties not only to the bureaucracy, but also to the bourgeoisie. Confiscation undermines a great many of the interests of the big bourgeoisie, while the peasant revolution, as Kautsky has rightly pointed out, leads also to the bankruptcy of the state, i.e., it damnges the interests not only of the Russian, but of the whole international bourgeoisie. It stands to reason that under such conditions the victory of the peasant revolution, the victory of the petty

    * See the new and comprehensive data on the superiority of landlord over peasant farming because of the new extensive cultivation of grass in Kaufman's The Agrarian Question, Vol. II.

bourgeoisie over both the landlords and the big bourgeoisie, requires an exceptionally favourable combination of circumstances; it requires what, from the standpoint of the philistine, or of the philistine historian, are very unusual "optimistic" assumptions; it requires tremendous peasant initiative, revolutionary energy, class-consciousness, organisation, and rich narodnoye tvorchestvo (the creative activity of the people). All that is beyond dispute, and Plekhanov's philistine jokes at the expense of that last phrase are only a cheap way of dodging a serious[*] issue. And since commodity production does not unite or centralise the peasants, but disintegrates and disunites them, a peasant revolution in a bourgeois country is possible only under the leadership of the proletariat -- a fact which is more than ever rousing the opposition of the most powerful bourgeoisie in the world to such a revolution.

    Does that mean that Marxists must abandon the idea of a peasant agrarian revolution altogether? No. Such a deduction would be worthy only of those whose philosophy is nothing but a liberal parody of Marxism. What it does mean is onIy, first, that Marxism cannot link the destiny of socialism in Russia with the outcome of the bourgeois democratic revolution; second, that Marxism must reckon with the two possibilities in the capitalist evolution of agriculture in Russia and clearly show the people the conditions and significance of each possibility, and third, that Marxism must resolutely combat the view that a radical agrarian revolution is possible in Russia without a radical political revolution.

    (1) The Socialist-Revolutionaries, in common with all the Narodniks who are at all consistent, fail to understand the bourgeois nature of the peasant revolution and link <"fnp346">

    * Narodnoye tvorchestvo is narodvolchestvo [129a] Plekhanov said mockingly at Slockholm. It is the sort of criticism with which The Adventures of Chichikov is criticised, by making fun of the hero's name: "Chichikov. . . . Chi . . . chi . . . how funny!"[130] Only those who think that the mere admission of the possibility of a peasant revolution against the bourgeoisie and the landlords is narodovolchestvo can seriously regard as narodovolchestvo the idea that it is necessary to rouse the "creative activity of the people", that it is necessary to find new forms of struggle and new ways of organising the peasantry in the Russian revolution.

within the whole of their own quasi-socialism. A favourable outcome of the peasant revolution, in the opinion of the Narodniks, would mean the triumph of Narodnik socialism in Russia. Actually, such an outcome would be the quickest and most decisive bankruptcy of Narodnik (peasant) socialism. The fuller and the more decisive the victory of the peasant revolution, the sooner will the peasantry be converted into free, bourgeois farmers, who will "give the sack" to Narodnik "socialism". On the other hand, an unfavourable outcome would prolong the agony of Narodnik socialism for some time, making it possible to some extent to maintain the illusion that criticism of the landlord-bourgeois variety of capitalism is criticism of capitalism in general.

    Social-Democracy, the party of the proletariat, does not in any way link the destiny of socialism with either of the possible outcomes of the bourgeois revolution. Either outcome implies the development of capitalism and the oppression of the proletariat, whether under a landlord monarchy with private ownership of land, or under a farmers' republic, even with the nationalisation of the land. Therefore, only an absolutely independent and purely proletarian party is able to defend the cause of socialism "whatever the situation of democratic agrarian reforms"[*] may be, as the concluding part of my agrarian programme declares (that part was incorporated in the resolution on tactics of the Stockholm Congress).

    (2) But the bourgeois nature of both possible outcomes of the agrarian revolution by no means implies that Social-Democrats can be indifferent to the struggle for one or the other outcome. It is undoubtedly in the interests of the working class to give the most vigorous support to the peasant revolution. More than that: it must play the leading part in that revolution. In fighting for a favourable outcome of the revolution we must spread among the masses a very clear wlderstanding of what keeping to the landlord path of agrarian evolution means, what incalculable hardships (arising not from capitalism, but from the inadequate development of capitalism) it has in store for all

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 195. --Ed.

the toiling masses. On the other hand, we must also explain the petty-bourgeois nature of the peasant revolution, and the fallacy of placing any "socialist" hopes in it.

    Moreover, since we do not link the destiny of socialism with either of the possible outcomes of the bourgeois revolution, our programme cannot be identical for both a favourable and "unfavourable case". When Plekhanov said that we do not need drafts specially providing for both the one and the other case (that is, drafts built upon "ifs"), he said it simply without thinking; for it is precisely from his standpoint, from the standpoint of the probability of the worst outcome, or of the necessity of reckoning with it, that it is particularly necessary to divide the programme into two parts, as I did. It needs to be said that on the present path of landlord-bourgeois development the workers' party stands for such and such measures, while at the same time it helps the peasantry with all its might to abolish landlordism entirely and thus create the possibility for broader and freer conditions of development. I dealt with this aspect of the matter in detail in my Report (the point about rent, the necessity of including that point in the programme in the "worst case"; and its omission in Maslov's draft).[*] I shall merely add that Plekhanov's mistake is more obvious than ever at the present moment, when the actual conditions for Social-Democratic activity give least grounds for optimistic assumptions. The Third Duma can in no way induce us to give up the struggle for the peasant agrarian revolution; but for a certain space of time we shall have to work on the basis of agrarian relations which entail the most brutal exploitation by the landlords. Plekhanov, who was particularly concerned about the worst case, now fnds himself with no programme to meet it.

    (3) Since we set ourselves the task of assisting the peasant revolution, we must clearly see the difficulty of the task and realise that the political and agrarian changes must correspond. Otherwise we shall get a scientifically unsound and, in practice, reactionary combination of agrarian "optimism" (confiscation plus municipalisation or

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 342-43. --Ed.

division) with political "pessimism" (Novosedsky's democratisation "of a comparative degree" at the centre).

    The Mensheviks, as if in spite of themselves, accept the peasant revolution, but do not want to give the people a clear and definite picture of it. One can detect in what they say the opinion expressed with such inimitable naïveté by the Menshevik Ptitsyn at Stockholm: "The revolutionary turmoil will pass away, bourgeois life will resume its usual course, and unless a workers' revolution takes place in the West, the bourgeoisie will inevitably come to power in our country. Comrade Lenin will not and cannot deny that" (Minutes, p. 91). Thus, a superficial, abstract conception of the bourgeois revolution has obscured the question of one of its varieties, namely, the peasant revolution! All of this last is mere "turmoil", and the only thing that is real is the "usual course". The philistine point of view and failure to understand what the struggle is about in our bourgeois revolution could hardly be expressed in clearer terms.

    The peasantry cannot carry out an agrarian revolution without abolishing the old regime, the standing army and the bureaucracy, because all these are the most reliable mainstays of landlordism, bound to it by thousands of ties. That is why the idea of achieving a peasant revolution by democratising only the local institutions without completely breaking up the central institutions is scientifically unsound. In practice it is reactionary because it plays into the hands of petty-bourgeois obtuseness and petty-bourgeois opportunism, which sees the thing in a very "simple" way: we want the land; as to politics, God will take care of that! The peasant agrees that all the land must be taken; but whether all political power has to be taken as well, whether all political power can be taken, and how it should be taken, are things he does not bother about (or did not bother until the dissolution of two Dumas made him wiser). Hence, the extremely reactionary standpoint of the "peasant Cadet" Mr. Peshekhonov, who already in his Agrarian Problem wrote: "Just now it is far more necessary to give a definite answer on the agrarian question than, for instance, of the question of a republic" (p. 114).

And that standpoint of political imbecility (the legacy of the arch-reactionary Mr. V. V.) has, as we know, left its mark on the whole programme and tactics of the "Popular-Socialist" Party. Instead of combating the short-sightedness of the peasant who fails to see the connection between agrarian radicalism and political radicalism, the P.S.'s ("Popular Socialisits") adapt themselves to that short-sightedness. They believe it is "more practical that way", but in reality it is the very thing which dooms the agrarian programme of the peasantry to utter failure. Needless to say, a radical political revolution is difficult, but so is an agrarian revolution; the latter is impossible apart from the former, and it is the duty of socialists not to conceal this from the peasants, not to throw a veil over it (by using rather vague, semi-Cadet phrases about the "democratic state", as is done in our agrarian programme), but to speak out, to teach the peasants that unless they go the whole way in politics it is no use thinking seriously of confiscating the landlords' land.

    It is not the "ifs" that are important here in the programme. The important thing is to point out in it that the agrarian and the political changes must correspond. Instead of using the word "if", the same idea can be put differently: "The Party explains that the best method of taking possession of the land in bourgeois society is by abolishing private ownership of land, nationalising the land, and transferring it to the state, and that such a measure can neither be carried out nor bear real fruit without complete democratisation not only of the local institutions, but of the whole structure of the state, including the establishment of a republic, the abolition of the standing army, election of officials by the people, etc."

    By failing to include that explanation in our agrarian programme we have given the people the false idea that confiscation of the landlords' estates is possible without the complete democratisation of the central government. We have sunk to the level of the opportunist petty bourgeoisie, i.e., the "Popular Socialists"; for in both Dumas it so happened that their programme (the Bill of the 104) as well as ours linked agrarian changes with democratisation only of the local institutions. Such a view is philistine obtuseness, of which the events of June 3, 1907, and the Third Duma should have cured many people, the Social-Democrats above all.


    The agrarian programme of Russian Social-Democracy is a proletarian programme in a peasant revolution that is directed against the survivals of serfdom, against all that is medieval in our agrarian system. Theoretically, as we have seen, this thesis is accepted by the Mensheviks as well (Plekhanov's speech at Stockholm). But the Mensheviks have failed to think out that proposition and to perceive its indissoluble connection with the general principles of Social-Democratic tactics in the Russian bourgeois revolution. And it is in Plekhanov's writings that this shallow thinking is most clearly revealed.

    Every peasant revolution directed against medievalism, when the whole of the social economy is of a capitalist nature, is a bourgeois revolution. But not every bourgeois revolution is a peasant revolution. If, in a country where agriculture is organised on fully capitalist lines, the capitalist farmers, with the aid of the hired labourers, were to carry out an agrarian revolution by abolishing the private ownership of land, for instance, that would be a bourgeois revolution, but by no means a peasant revolution. Or if a revolution took p]ace in a country where the agrarian system had become so integrated with the capitalist economy in general that that system could not be abolished without abolishing capitalism, and if, say, that revolution put the industrial bourgeoisie in power in place of the autocratic bureaucracy -- that would be a bourgeois revolution, but by no means a peasant revolution. In other words, there can be a bourgeois country without a peasantry, and there can be a bourgeois revolution in such a country without a peasantry. A bourgeois revolution may take place in a country with a considerable peasant population and yet not be a peasant revolution; that is to say, it is a revolution which does not revolutionise the agrarian relations that especially affect the peasantry, and does not bring the peasantry to the fore as a social force that is at all active in creating the revolution. Consequently, the general Marxist concept of "bourgeois revolution" contains certain propositions that are definitely applicable to any peasant revolution that takes place in a country of rising capitalism, but that general concept says nothing at all about whether or not a bourgeois revolution in a given country must (in the sense of obiective necessity) become a peasant revolution in order to be completely victorious.

    The principal source of the error in the tactical line pursued by Plekhanov and his Menshevik followers during the first period of the Russian revolution (i.e., during 1905-07) is their complete failure to understand this correlation between bourgeois revolution in general, and a peasant bourgeois revolution. The furious outcry[*] usually raised in Menshevik literature over the Bolsheviks' alleged failure to grasp the bourgeois character of the present revolution is merely a screen to cover the Mensheviks' own shallow thinking. As a matter of fact, not a single Social-Democrat of either group, either before or during the revolution, has ever departed from the Marxist views concerning the bourgeois nature of the revolution; only "simplifiers", those who vulgarise disagreements between the groups, could affirm the contrary. But some Marxists, namely, the Right wing, have all the time made shift with a general, abstract, stereotyped conception of the bourgeois revolution, and failed to perceive the special feature of the present bourgeois revolution, namely, that it is a peasant revolution. It was quite natural and inevitable for that wing of Social-Democracy to fail to understand the source of the counter-revolutionary nature of our bourgeoisie in the Russian revolution, to determine clearly which classes are capable of achieving complete victory in this revolution, and to fall into the view that in a bourgeois revolution the proletariat must support the bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie must be the chief actor in the bourgeois revolution, that the sweep of the revolution would be weakened if the bourgeoisie deserted it, and so on and so forth.

    * In Plekhanov's New Letters on Tactics and Tactlessness (published by Glagolev, St. Petersburg), that outcry is positively comical. There is any amount of furious language, abuse of the Bolsheviks and posturing, but not a grain of thought.

    The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, ever since the beginning of the revolution in the spring and summer of 1905, when the confusion of Bolshevism with boycottism, boyevism, etc., that is now so prevalent among the ignorant or stupid, was still out of the question, clearly pointed to the source of our tactical differences by singling out the concept of peasant revolution as one of the varieties of bourgeois revolution, and by defining the victory of the peasant revolution as "the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry". Since then Bolshevism won its greatest ideological victory in international Social-Democracy with the publication of Kautsky's article on the driving forces of the Russian revolution ("The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Russian Revolution", Russian translation edited and with a preface by N. Lenin, published by Novaya Epokha Publishers, Moscow, 1907). As is known, at the beginning of the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in 1903, Kautsky sided with the latter. In 1907, having watched the course of the Russian revolution, on the subject of which he wrote repeatedly, he at once saw the mistake made by Plekhanov, who had sent him his famous questionnaire. In that questionnaire, Plekhanov inquired only about the bourgeois nature of the Russian revolution, without specifying the concept of peasant bourgeois revolution, without going beyond general formulas such as "bourgeois democracy", "bourgeois opposition parties". In answering Plekhanov Kautsky rectified that mistake by pointing out that the bourgeoisie was not the driving force of the Russian revolution, that in that sense the days of bourgeois revolutions had passed, that "a lasting community of interests during the whole period of the revolutionary struggle exists only between the proletariat and the peasantry" (op. cit., pp. 30-31), and that "it [this lasting community of interests] should be made the hasis of the whole of the revolutionary tactics of Russian Social-Democracy" (ibid., p. 31). The underlying principles of Bolshevik tactics as against those of the Mensheviks are here clearly expressed. Plekhanov is terribly angry about this in his New Letters, etc. But his annoyance only makes the impotence of his argument more obvious. The crisis through which we are passing is "a bourgeois crisis for all that", Plekhanov keeps on repeating and he calls the Bolsheviks "ignoramuses" (p. 127). That abuse is an expression of his impotent rage. Plekhanov has failed to grasp the difference between a peasant bourgeois revolution and a non-peasant bourgeois revolutiom By saying that Kautsky "exaggerates the speed of development of our peasant" (p. 131), and that "the difference of opinion between us [between Plekhanov and Kautsky] can only be one of nuances" (p. 131), etc., Plekhanov resorts to the most miserable and cowardly shuffling, for anyone at all capable of thinking can see that the very opposite is the case. It is not a question of "nuances" or of the speed of development, or of the "seizure" of power that Plekhanov shouts about, but of the basic view as to which classes are capable of being the driving force of the Russian revolution. Voluntarily or involuntarily, Plekhanov and the Mensheviks areinevitably falling into a position of opportunist support to the bourgeoisie, for they fail to grasp the counter-revolutionary nature of the bourgeoisie in a peasant bourgeois revolution. The Bolsheviks from the outset defined the general and the basic class conditions for the victory of this revolution as the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Kautsky arrived at substantially the same view in his article, "The Driving Forces", etc., and he repeated it in the second edition of his Social Revolution, in which he says: "It [the victory of Russian Social-Democracy in the near future] can only come as the result of a coalition [einer Koalition ] between the proletariat and the peasantry." (Die soziale Revolution, von K. Kautsky, Zweite Auflage. Berlin, 1907, S. 62.) (Space does not permit us to deal with another addition Kautsky made to the second edition, in which he sums up the lessons of December 1905, a summing up which differs radically from Menshevism.)

    Thus we see that Plekhanov completely evaded the question of the underlying principles of the general Social-Democratic tactics in a bourgeois revolution that can be victorious only as a peasant revolution. What I said at Stockholm (April 1906)* about Plekhanov having reduced Menshevism to absurdity by repudiating the conquest of power

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 283. --Ed.

by the peasantry in a peasant revolution has been completely borne out in subsequent literature. And that fundamental error in the tactical line was bound to affect the Mensheviks' agrarian programme. As I have repeatedly pointed out above, municipalisation does not in either the economic or the political sphere fully express the conditions of a real victory of the peasant revolution, for the real conquest of power by the proletariat and the peasantry. In the economic sphere, such a victory is incompatible with the perpetuation of the old system of allotment landownership; in the political sphere, it is incompatible with mere regianal democracy and incomplete democracy in the central government.


    Comrade John said at Stockholm (p. 111 of the Minutes) that the "draft providing for land municipalisation is more acceptable, because it is more flexible: it takes into account the diversity of economic conditions, and it can be carried out in the process of the revolution itself". I have already pointed out the cardinal defect of municipalisation in this respcct: it rivets allotment ownership to the property form. Nationalisation is incomparably more flexible in this respect, because it makes it much easier to organise new farms on the "unfenced" land. Here it is also necessary to refer briefly to other, minor arguments that John raised.

    "The division of the land," says John, "would in some places revive the old agrarian relations. In some regions the distribution would be as much as 200 dessiatins per household, so that in the Urals, for instance, we would create a class of new landlords." That is a sample of an argument which denounces its own system! And it was that kind of argument that decided the issue at the Menshevik Congress! It is municipalisation, and it alone, that is guilty of the sin referred to here, for it alone rivets the land to individual regions. It is not the division of land that is to blame, as John thinks, thus falling into a ridiculous logical error, but the provincialism of the municipalisers. In any case, according to the Menshevik programme, the municipalised lands in the Urals would remain the "property" of the people of the Urals. That would mean the creation of a new, reactionary, Cossack stratum -- reactionary because privileged small farmers having ten times more land than all the rest of the farmers could not but resist the peasant revolution, and could not but defend the privileges of private landownership. It only remains for us to assume that on the basis of that same programme, the "democratic state" might declare the tens of millions of dessiatins of Ural forests to be "forests of national importance", or "colonisation lands" (does not the Cadet Kaufman apply that term to the forest land in the Urals, within the 25 per cent limit, which means 21,000,000 dessiatins in the Vyatka, Ufa, and Perm gubernias?), and on that ground become their "owner". Not flexibility, but confusion, pure an simple, is the distinguishing feature of municipalisation.

    Now let us see what carrying out municipalisation in the very process of the revolution means. Here we meet with attacks on my "revolutionary peasant committees" as a class institution. "We are for non-class institutions," the Mensheviks argued at Stockholm, playing at liberalism. Cheap liberalism! It did not occur to our Mensheviks that in order to introduce local self-government of a non-class character it is necessary to defeat the privileged class against which the struggle is being waged and to wrest the power from it. It is just "in the very process of the revolution", as John puts it, i.e., in the course of the struggle to drive out the landlords, in the course of those "revolutionary actions of the peasantry " that are mentioned also in the Mensheviks' resolution on-tactics, that peasant committees can be set up. The introduction of local self-government of a non-class character is provided for in our political programme; it is bound to be established as the organisation of administration after the victory, when the whole of the population will have been compelled to accept the new order. If the words of our programme about "supporting the revolutionary actions of the peasantry, including the confiscation of the landlords' lands" is not mere phrase-mongering, then we must think about organising the masses for those "actions"! Yet that is entirely overlooked in the Menshevik programme. That programme is so drawn up as to be easily and wholly converted into a parliamentary Bill, like the Bills proposed by the bourgeois parties, which either (like the Cadets) hate all "actions", or opportunistically shirk the task of systematically assisting and organising such actions (like the Popular Socialists). But a programme built on such lines is unworthy of a workers' party which speaks of a peasant agrarian revolution, a party which pursues the aim not of reassuring the big bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy (like the Cadets), not of reassuring the petty bourgeoisie (like the Popular Socialists), but exclusively of developing the consciousness and initiative of the broad masses in the course of their struggle against feudal Russia.

    Recall, if only in general outline, the innumerable "revolutionary actions" of the peasantry which took place in Russia in the spring of 1905, in the autumn of 1905, and in the spring of 1906. Do we pledge our support to such actions or not? If not, then our programme would not be telling the truth. If we do, then obviously our programme fails to give directives about the organisation of such actions. Such actions can be organised only on the spot where the struggle is going on; the organisation can be created only by the masses who are directly taking part in the struggle, i.e., the organisation must definitely be of the peasant committee type. To wait for big, regional self-governing bodies to be set up during such actions would be ridiculous. The extension of the power and influence of the victorious local committees to adjacent villages, uyezds, gubernias, towns, areas, and to the entire country is, of course, desirable and essential. There can be no objection to the need for such an extension being indicated in the programme, but that should certainly not be confined to regions, it should embrace the central government as well. That in the first place. Secondly, in that case we must not speak about local self-governing bodies, since that term points to the dependence of the local governing organisations upon the structure of the state. "Local self-government" operates according to the rules laid down by the central authority, and within the limits set by the latter. The organisations of the fighting people of which we are speaking must be quite independent of all the institutions of the old regime, they must fight for a new state structure, they must serve as the instrument of the full power of the people (or the sovereignty of the people), and as the means for securing it.

    In short, from the standpoint of the "very process of the revolution", the Menshevik programme is unsatisfactory in all respects. It reflects the confusion of Menshevik ideas on the question of the provisional government, etc.


    These two terms were made equivalent by the Mensheviks themselves, who secured the adoption of the agrarian programme at Stockholm. We need only mention the names of two prominent Mensheviks, Kostrov and Larin. "Some comrades," said Kostrov at Stockholm, "seem to be hearing about municipal ownership for the first time. Let me remind them that in Western Europe there is a whole political trend [!precisely!l called 'municipal socialism' [England], which advocates the extension of ownership by urban and rural municipalities, and which is also supported by our comrades. Many municipalities own real estate, and that does not contradict our programme. We now have the possibility of acquiring [!] real estate for the municipalities gratis [!!] and we should take advantage of it. Of course the confiscated land should be municipalised" (p. 88).

    The naïve idea about "the possibility of acquiring property gratis" is magnificently expressed here. But in citing the example of this municipal socialism "trend" as a special trend mainly characteristic of England, the speaker did not stop to think why this is an extremely opportunist trend. Why did Engels, in his letters to Sorge describing this extreme intellectual opportunism of the English Fabians,<"p358"> emphasise the petty-bourgeois nature of their "municipaIisation" schemes?[131]

    Larin, in unison with Kostrov, says in his comments on the Menshevik programme: "Perhaps in some areas the people's local self-governing bodies will themselves be able to run these large estates, as the horse tramways or slaughter-houses are run by municipal councils, and then all [!!] the profits obtained from them will be placed at the disposal of the whole [!] population"[*] -- and not of the local bourgeoisie, my dear Larin?

    The philistine illusions of the philistine heroes of West European municipal socialism are already making themselves felt. The fact that the bourgeoisie is in power is forgotten; so also is the fact that only in towns with a high percentage of proletarian population is it possible to obtain for the working people some crumbs of benefit from municipal government! But all this is by the way. The principal fallacy of the "municipal socialism" idea of municipalising the land lies in the following.

    The bourgeois intelligentsia of the West, like the English Fabians, elevate municipal socialism to a special "trend" precisely because it dreams of social peace, of class conciliation, and seeks to divert public attention away from the fundamental questions of the economic system as a whole, and of the state structure as a whole, to minor questions of local self-government. In the sphere of questions in the first category, the class antagonisms stand out most sharply; that is the sphere which, as we have shown, affects the very foundations of the class rule of the bourgeoisie. Hence it is in that sphere that the philistine, reactionary utopia of bringing about socialism piecemeal is particularly hopeless. Attention is diverted to the sphere of minor local questions, being directed not to the question of the class rule of the bourgeoisie, nor to the question of the chief instruments of that rule, but to the question of distributing the crumbs thrown by the rich bourgeoisie for the "needs of the population ". Naturally, since attention is focused on such questions as the spending of paltry sums (in comparison with the total surplus value and total state expenditure of the bourgeoisie), which the bourgeoisie itself is willing to set aside for public health (Engels pointed out in The Housing Question that the bourgeoisie itself<"p359"> is afraid of the spread of epidemic diseases in the towns[132]), or for education (the bourgeoisie must have trained workers able to adapt themselves to a high technical level!), and so on, it is possible, in the sphere of such minor questions, to hold

    * The Peasant Question and Social-Democracy, p. 66.

forth about "social peace", about the harmfulness of the class struggle, and so on. What class struggle can there be if the bourgeoisie itself is spending money on the "needs of the population", on public health, on education? What need is there for a social revolution if it is possible through the local self-governing bodies, gradually, step by step, to extend "collective ownership", and "socialise" production: the horse tramways, the slaughter-houses referred to so relevantly by the worthy Y. Larin?

    The philistine opportunism of that "trend" lies in the fact that people forget the narrow limits of so-called "municipal socialism" (in reality, municipal capitalism, as the English Social-Democrats properly point out in their controversies with the Fabians). They forget that so long as the bourgeoisie rules as a class it cannot allow any encroachment, even from the "municipal" point of view, upon the real foundations of its rule; that if the bourgeoisie allows, tolerates, "municipal socialism", it is because the latter does not touch the foundations of its rule, does not interfere with the important sources of its wealth, but extends only to the narrow sphere of local-expenditure, which the bourgeoisie itself allows the "population" to manage. It does not need more than a slight acquaintance with "municipal socialism" in the West to know that any attempt on the part of socialist municipalities to go a little beyond the boundaries of their normal, i.e., minor, petty activities, which give no substantial relief to the workers, any attempt to meddle with capital, is invariably vetoed in the most emphatic manner by the central authorities of the bourgeois state.

    And it is this fundamental mistake, this philistine opportunism of the West-European Fabians, Possibilists, and Bernsteinians that is taken over by our advocates of municipalisation.

    "Municipal socialism" means socialism in matters of local government. Anything that goes beyond the limits of local interests, beyond the limits of state administralion, i.e., anything that affects the main sources of revenue of the ruling classes and the principal means of securing their rule, anything that aflects not the administration of the state, but the structure of the state, thereby goes beyond the sphere of "municipal socialism". But our wiseacres evade this acute national issue, this question of the land, which affects the vital interests of the ruling classes in the most direct way, by relegating it to the sphere of "local government questions". In the West they municipalise horse trams and slaughter-houses, so why should we not municipalise the best half of all the lands -- argues the Russian petty intellectual. That would serve both in the event of restoration and in the event of incomplete democratisation of the central government!

    And so we get agrarian socialism in a bourgeois revolution, a socialism of the most petty-bourgeois kind, one that counts on blunting the class struggle on vital issues by relegating the latter to the domain of petty questions affecting only local governmcnt. In fact, the question of the disposal of one half of the best land in the country is neither a local question nor a question of administration. It is a question that affects the whole state, a question of the structure, not only of the landlord, but of the bourgeois state. And to try to entice the people with the idea that "municipal socialism" can be developed in agriculture before the socialist revolution is accomplished is to practise the most inadmissible kind of demagogy. Marxism permits nationalisation to be included in the programme of a bourgeois revolution because nationalisation is a bourgeois measure, because absolute rent hinders the development of capitalism; private ownership of the land is a hindrance to capitalism. But to include the municipalisation of the big estates in the programme of the bourgeois revolution, Marxism must be remodelled into Fabian intellectualist opportunism.

    It is here that we see the difference between petty-bourgeois and proletarian methods in the bourgeois revolution. The petty bourgeoisie, even the most radical -- our Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries included -- anticipates that after the bourgeois revolution there will be no class struggle, but universal prosperity and peace. Therefore, it "builds its nest" in advance, it introduces plans for petty-bourgeois reforms in the bourgeois revolution, talks about various "norms" and "regulations" with regard to landownership, about strengthening the labour principle and small farming, etc. The petty-bourgeois method is the method of building up relations making for the greatest possible degree of social peace. The proletarian method is exclusively that of clearing the path of all that is medieval, clearing it for the class struggle. Therefore, the proletarian can leave it to the small proprietors to discuss "norms" of landownership; the proletarian is interested only in the abolition of the landlord latifundia, the abolition of private ownership of land, that last barrier to the class struggle in agricuture. In the bourgeois revolution we are interested not in petty-bourgeois reformism, not in a future "nest" of tranquillised small farmers, but in the conditions for the proletarian struggle against all petty-bourgeois tranquillity on a bourgeois basis.

    It is this anti-proletarian spirit that municipalisation introduces into the programme of the bourgeois agrarian revolution; for, despite the deeply fallacious opinion of the Mensheviks, municipalisation does not extend and sharpen the class struggle, but, on the contrary, blunts it. It blunts it, too, by assuming that local democracy is possible without the complete democratisation of the centre. It also blunts it with the idea of "municipal socialism", because the latter is conceivable in bourgeois society only away from the high road of the struggle, only in minor, local, unimportant questions on which even the bourgeoisie may yield, may reconcile itself to without losing the possibility of preserving its class rule.

    The working class must give bourgeois society the purest, most consistent and most thorough-going programme of bourgeois revolution, including the bourgeois nationalisation of the land. The proletariat scornfully rejects petty-bourgeois reformism in the bourgeois revolution; we are interested in freedom for the struggle, not in freedom for philistine bliss.

    Naturally, the opportunism of the intelligentsia in the workers' party takes a different line. Instead of the broad revolutionary programme of bourgeois revolution, attention is focused on a petty-bourgeois utopia: to secure local democracy with incomplete democratisation at the centre, to secure for petty reformism a little corner of municipal activity away from great "turmoil", and to evade the extra- ordinarily acute conflict over the land by following the recipe of the anti-Semites, i.e., by relegating an important national issue to the domain of petty, local questions.


    What confusion the "municipalisation" programme has created in the minds of Social-Democrats and to what a helpless position it has reduced our propagandists and agitators can be seen from the following curious cases.

    Y. Larin is undoubtedly a prominent and well-known figure in Menshevik literature. In Stockholm, as can be seen from the Minutes, he took a most active part in securing the adoption of the programme. His pamphlet, The Peasant Question and Social-Democracy, which was included in the series of pamphlets published by Novy Mir, is almost an official commentary on the Menshevik programme. And here is what this commentator writes. In the concluding pages of his pamphlet he sums up the question of agrarian reform. He foresees three kinds of outcome of these reforms: (1) additional allotments to the peasants as their private property, subject to compensation -- "the most unfavourable outcome for the working class, for the lower strata of the peasantry and for the whole development of the national economy" (p. 103). The second outcome is the best, and the third, although unlikely, is "a paper declaration of compulsory equalised land tenure". One would have thought that we had the right to expect that an advocate of the municipalisation programme would have made municipalisation the second outcome. But no! Listen to this:

    "Perhaps all the confiscated land, or even all the land in general, will be declared the property of the state as a whole and will be turned over to the local self-governing bodies to be distributed gratis [??] for the use of all who are actually cultivating it, without, of course, the compulsory introduction throughout the whole of Russia of equalised land tenure, and without prohibiting the employment of hired lahour. Such a solution of the problem, as we have seen, best secures the immediate interests of the proletariat as well as the general interests of the socialist movement, and will help to increase the productivity of labour, which ie the fundamental, vital question for Russia. Therefore, the Social-Democrats should advocate and carry out an agrarian reform [?] precisely of that character. It will be achieved when, at the highest point of development of the revolution, the conscious elements of social development are strong" (p. 103. Our italics).

    If Y. Larin or other Mensheviks believe this to be an exposition of the municipalisation programme, they are labouring under a tragicomical illusion. The transfer of all the land to state ownership is nationalisation of the land, and we cannot conceive of the land being disposed of otherwise than through local self-governing bodies acting within the limits of a general state law. To such a programme -- not of "reform", of course, but of revolution -- I wholeheartedly subscribe, except for the point about distributing the land "gratis" even to those farmers who- employ hired labour. To promise such a thing on behalf of bourgeois society is more fitting for an anti-Semite than for a Social-Democrat. No Marxist can assume the possibility of such an outcome within the framework of capitalist development; nor is there any reason for considering it desirable to transfer rent to capitalist farmers. Nevertheless, except for this point, which was probably a slip of the pen, it remains an indubitable fact that in a popular Menshevik pamphlet the nationalisation of the land is advocated as the best outcome at the highest point of development of the revolution.

    On the question of what is to be done with the privately owned lands, Larin has this to say:

    "As regards the privately owned lands occupied by big, effcient capitalist farms, Social-Democrats do not propose the confiscation of such lands for the purpose of dividing them among the small farmers. While the average yield of small peasant farming, either on privately owned or rented land, does not reach 30 poods per dessiatin the average yield of capitalist agriculture in Russia is over 50 poods' (p. 64).

    In saying this, Larin in effect throws overboard the idea of a peasant agrarian revolution, for his average figures of crop yields appertain to all the landlord lands. If we do not believe in the possibility of achieving a wider and more rapid increase in the productivity of labour on small farms after they have been freed from the yoke of serfdom, then all talk about "supporting the revolutionary actions of the peasantry, including the confiscation of the land from the Iandlords", is meaningless. Besides, Larin forgets that on the question of "the purpose for which Social-Democrats propose the confiscation of capitalist estates", there is the decision of the Stockholm Congress.

    It was Comrade Strumilin who, at the Stockholm Congress, moved an amendment to insert after the words: economic development (in the resolution), the following: "insisting, therefore, that the confiscated big capitalist farms should continue to be exploited on capitalist lines in the interests of the whole of the people, and under conditions that best meet the needs of the agricultural proletariat" (p. 157). This amendment was rejected almost unanimously, it received only one vote (ibid.).

    Nevertheless, propaganda is being carried on among the masses that ignores the decision of the Congress! The retention of private ownership of allotment land makes municipalisation such a confusing thing, that commentaries on the programme cannot help running counter to the decision of the Congress.

    K. Kautsky, who has been so frequently and unfairly quoted in favour of one or the other programme (unfairly because he has categorically declined to express a definite view on the question and has confined himself to explaining certain general truths), Kautsky, who, curiously enough, was even cited as being in favour of municipalisation, wrote, it turns out, to M. Shanin in April 1906 as follows:

    "Evidently, by municipalisation I meant something different from what you, and perhaps Maslov, mean. What I meant was the following: the big landed estates will be confiscated and large-scale agriculture will be continued upon such land, either by the municipalities [!] or by larger organisations, or else the land will be rented out to producers associations. I do not know whether that is possible in Russia or whether it would be acceptable to the peasants. Nor do I say that we should demand it, but if the demand is raised by others, I think we could easily agree to it. It would be an interesting experiment."* <"fnp365">

    * M. Shanin, Municipalisation or Division for Prtvate Property, Vilna, 1907, p. 4. M. Shanin rightly expresses doubt whether Kautsky may be counted among the supporters of municipalisalion and protests against the Mensheviks' self-advertisement (in the Menshevik Pravda,[133] 1906) In regard to Kautsky. Kautsky himself, in a letter published by Maslov, bluntly says: "We may leave it to the peasants to decide the forms of property to be adopted on the land confiscated from the big landowners. I would consider it a mistake to impose any [cont. onto p. 366. -- DJR] thing on them in that respect" (p. 16, The Question of the Agrarian Programme, by Maslov and Kautskky. Novy Mir Publishers, Moscow 1906). This quite definite statement by Kautsky certainly excludes municipalisation of the land, which the Mensheviks, want to impose on the peasants.

    These quotations should suffice to show how those who were, or are, fully in sympathy with the Stockholm programme, are destroying it by the way they interpret it. The fault here lies in the hopeless muddle in the programme; in theory it is bound up with the repudiation of Marx's theory of rent, in practice it is an adaptation to the impossible "middle" event of local democracy under a non-democratic central government, and in economics it amounts to introducing petty-bourgeois, quasi-socialist reformism into the programme of the bourgeois revolution.


C H A P T E R  V


    We think it will be useful to approach the question of the workers' party's agrarian programme in the Russian bourgeois revolution from another and somewhat different angle. The analysis of the economic conditions for the revolution and of the political arguments in favour of this or that programme should be supplemented by a picture of the struggle between the different classes and parties that will as far as possible embrace all the interests and place them in direct contrast to one another. Only such a picture can give us an idea of the thing we are discussing (the struggle for the land in the Russian revolution) as a whole, excluding the one-sided and accidental character of individual opinions, and testing theoretical conclusions by the practical intuition of the persons concerned. As individuals, any representatives of parties and classes may err, but when they come out in the public arena, before the entire population, the individual errors are inevitably rectified by the corresponding groups or classes that are interested in the struggle. Classes do not err; on the whole, they decide their interests and political aims in conformity with the conditions of the struggle and with the conditions of social evolution.

    Excellent material for drawing such a picture is provided by the Stenographic Records of the two Dumas. We shall take the Second Duma because it undoubtedly reflects the struggle of classes in the Russian revolution more fully and with greater maturity: the Second Duma elections were not boycotted by any influential party. The political grouping of the deputies in the Second Duma was much more definite, the various Duma groups were more united and more closely connected with their respective parties. The experience of the First Duma had already provided considerable material which helped all the parties to elaborate a more thought-out policy. For all these reasons it is preferable to take the Second Duma. We shall refer to the debate in the First Duma only in order to supplement, or clarify, statements made in the Second Duma.

    To obtain a full and accurate picture of the struggle between the different classes and parties during the debate in the Second Duma we shall have to deal separately with each important and specific Duma group and characterise it with the aid of excerpts from the principal speeches delivered on the chief points of the agrarian question. As it is impossible and unnecessary to quote all the minor speakers, we shall mention only those who contributed something new, or threw noteworthy light on some aspect of the question.

    The main groups of Duma deputies that stood out clearly in the debates on the agrarian question were the following: (1) the Rights and the Octobrists -- as we shall see, no essential difference between them was shown in the Second Duma; (2) the Cadets; (3) the Right and Octobrist peasants, standing, as we shall see, to the Left of the Cadets; (4) the non-party peasants; (5) the Narodniks, or Trudovik intellectuals, standing somewhat to the Right of (6) the Trudovik peasants; then come (7) the Socialist-Revolutionaries; (8) the "nationals", representing the non-Russian nationalities, and (9) the Social-Democrats. We shall mention the government's position in connection with the Duma group with which the government is essentially in agreement.


    The stand taken by the Rights on the agrarian question was undoubtedly best expressed by Count Bobrinsky in the speech he delivered on March 29, 1907 (18th session of the Second Duma). In a dispute with the Left-wing priest Tikhvillsky about the Holy Scriptures and their commandments to obey the powers that be, and recalling "the cleanest and brightest page in Russian history" (1289)[*] -- the emancipation of the serfs (we shall deal with this later on) -- the count approached the agrarian question "with open visor". "About 100 or 150 years ago the peasants, nearly everywhere in Western Europe, were as poverty stricken, degraded, and ignorant as our peasants are today. They had the same village communes as we have in Russia, with division of land per head, that typical survival of the feudal system" (1293). Today, continued the speaker, the peasants in Western Europe are well off. The question is, what miracle transformed "the poverty-stricken, degraded peasant into a prosperous and useful citizen who has respect for himself and for others"? "There can be only one answer: that miracle was performed by individual peasant ownership, the form of ownership that is so detested here, on the Left, but which we, on the Right, will defend with all the strength of our minds, with all the strcngth of our earnest convictious, for we know that in ownership lie the strength and future of Russia" (1294). "Since the middle of last century agronomic chemistry has made wonderful . . . discoverics in plant nutrition, and the peasants abroad -- small owners equally [??] with big ones -- have succeeded in utilising these scientific discoveries, and by employing artificial fertilisers have achieved a still further increase in crop yield; and today, when our splendid black earth yields only 30 to 35 poods of grain, and sometimes not even enough for seed, the peasants abroad, year after year, get an average yield ranging from 70 to 120 -poods, depending on the country and climatic conditions. Here you have the solution of the agrarian problem. This is no dream, no <"fnp368">

    * Here and elsewhere the figures indicate the pages Stenographic Record.

fantasy. It is an instructive historical example.<"p369"> And the Russian peasant will not follow in the footsteps of Pugachov and Stenka Razin[134] with the cry 'saryn na kichku !'[135] [Don't be too sure of that, Count!] He will follow the only true road, the road that was taken by all the civilised nations, the road taken by his neighbours in Western Europe, and, lastly, the road taken by our Polish brothers, by the West-Russian peasants, who have already realised how disastrous is the commune and homestead strip system of ownership, and in some places have already begun to introduce the khutor system" (1296). Count Bobrinsky goes on to say; and rightly, that "this road was indicated in 1861, when the peasants were froed from serf dependence". He advises the government not to grudge "tens of millions" for the purpose of "creating a well-to-do class of peasant proprietors". He declares: "This, gentlemen, in general outline, is our agrarian programme. It is not a programme of election and propaganda promises. It is not a programme for breaking up the existing social and juridical norms [it is a programme for forcibly getting rid of millions of peasants]; it is not a programme of dangerous fantasies, it is a quite practicable programme [that is still open to question] and one that has been well-tried [what is true is true]. And it is high time to abandon dreams about some sort of economic exceptionalism of the Russian nation. . . . But how are we to explain the fact that quite impracticable Bills, like that of the Trudovik Group and that of the Party of People's Freedom, have been introduced in a serious legislative assembly? No parliament in the world has ever heard of all the land being taken over by the state, or of the land being taken from Paul and given to Peter. . . . The appearance of these Bills is the result of bewilderment" (a fine explanation!). . . . "And so, Russian peasants, you have to choose between two roads: one road is broad and looks easy -- that is the road of usurpation and compulsory alienation, for which calls have been made here. That road is attractive at first, it runs downhill, but it ends in a precipice [for the landlords?], and spells ruin to the peasantry and the entire state. The other road is narrow and thorny, and runs uphill, but it leads to the summits of truth, right, and lasting prosperity" (1299).

    As the reader sees, this is the government's programme. This is exactly what Stolypin is accomplishing with his famous agrarian legislation under Article 87. Purishkevich formulated the same programme in his agrarian theses (20th session, April 2, 1907, pp. 1532-33). The same programme was advocated, part by part, by the Octobrists, beginning with Svyatopolk-Mirsky on the first day of the debates on the agrarian question (March 19), and ending with Kapustin ("the peasants need landownership and not land tenure, as is proposed" -- 24th session, April 9, 1907, p. 1805, speech by Kapustin, applauded by the Right "and part of the Centre").

    In the programme of the Black Hundreds and the Octobrists there is not even a hint about defending pre-capitalist forms of farming, as, for example, by vaunting patriarchal agriculture, and so forth. Defence of the village commune, which until quite recently had ardent champions among the higher bureaucracy and the landlords, has given place to bitter hostility towards it. The Black Hundreds fully take the stand of capitalist development and definitely depict a programme that is economically progressive, European; this needs to be specially emphasised, because a vulgar and simplified view of the nature of the reactionary policy of the landlords is very widespread among us. The liberals often depict the Black Hundreds as clowns and fools, but it must be said that this description is far more applicable to the Cadets. Our reactionaries, however, are distinguished by their extremely pronounced class-consciousness. They know perfectly well what they want, where they are going, and on what forces they can count. They do not betray a shadow of half-heartedness or irresolution (at all events in the Second Duma; in the First there was "bewilderment" -- among the Bobrinskys!). They are clearly seen to be connected with a very definite class, which is accustomed to command, which correctly judges the conditions necessary for preserving its rule in a capitalist environment, and brazenly defends its interests even if that entails the rapid extinction, degradation, and eviction of millions of peasants. The Black-Hundred programme is reactionary not because it seeks to perpetuate any pre-capitalist relations or system (in that respect all the par- ties of the period of the Second Duma already, in essence, take the stand of recognising capitalism, of taking it for granted), but because it stands for the Junker type of capitalist development in order to strengthen the power and to increase the incomes of the landlords, in order to place the edifice of autocracy upon a new and stronger foundation. There is no contradiction between what these gentlemen say and what they do; our reactionaries, too, are "businessmen", as Lassalle said of the German reactionaries in contrast to the liberals.

    What is the attitude of these people towards the idea of nationalising the land? Towards, say, the partial nationalisation with compensation demanded by the Cadets in the First Duma, leaving, like the Mensheviks, private ownership of small holdings and creating a state land reserve out of the rest of the land? Did they not perceive in the nationalisation idea the possibility of strengthening the bureaucracy, of consolidating the central bourgeois government against the proletariat, of restoring "state feudalism" and the "Chinese experiment"?

    On the contrary, every hint at nationalisation of the land infuriates them, and they fight it in such a way that one would think they had borrowed their arguments from Plekhanov. Take the nobleman Vetchinin, a Right landlord. "I think," he said at the 39th session on May 16, 1907, "that the question of compulsory alienation must be decided in the negative sense from the point of view of the law. The advocates of that opinion forget that the violation of the rights of private owners is characteristic of states that are at a low stage of social and political development. It is sufficient to recall the Muscovy period, when the tsar often took land away from private owners and later granted it to his favourites and to the monasteries. What did that attitude of the government lead to? The consequences were frightful" (619).

    Such was the use made of Plekhanov's "restoration of Muscovy Rus"! Nor is Vetchinin the only one to harp on this string. In the First Duma, the landlord N. Lvov, who was elected as a Cadet and then went over to the Right, and after the dissolution of the First Duma negotiated with Stolypin for a place in the Ministry -- that personage put the question in exactly the same way. "The astonishing thing about the Bill of the 42," he said concerning the Bill that the Cadets introduced in the First Duma, "is that it bears the impress of the same old bureaucratic despotism which seeks to put everything on an equal level" (12th session, May 19, 1906, pp. 479-80). He, quite in the spirit of Maslov, "stood up for " the non-Russian nationalities: "How are we to subordinate to it [equalisation] the whole of Russia, including Little Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic region?" (479.) "In St. Petersburg," he warned, "you will have to set up a gigantic Land Office . . . and maintain a staff of officials in every corner of the country" (480).

    These outcries about bureaucracy and serfdom in connection with nationalisation -- these outcries of our municipalisers, inappropriately copied from the German model -- are the dominant note in all the speeches of the Right. The Octobrist Shidlovsky, for example, opposing compulsory alienation, accuses the Cadets of advocating "attachment to the land" (12th session of the Second Duma, March 19, 1907, p. 752). Shulgin howls about property being inviolate, about compulsory alienation being "the grave of culture and civilisation" (16th session, March 26, 1907, p. 1133). Shulgin refers -<"p372">- he might have been quoting from Plekhanov's Diary,[136] though he does not say so -- to twelfth-century China, to the deplorable result of the Chinese experiment in nationalisation (p. 1137). Here is Skirmunt in the First Duma: The state will be the owner! "A blessing, an El Dorado for the bureaucracy" (10th session, May 16, 1906, p. 410). Here is the Octobrist Tantsov, exclaiming in the Second Duma: "With far greater justification, these reproaches [about serfdom] can be flung back to the Left and to the Centre. What do these Bills hold out for the peasants in reality if not the prospect of being tied to the land, if not the old serfdom, only in a diflerent form, in which the place of the landlord will be taken by usurers and government officials" (39th session, May 16, 1907, p. 653).

    Of course, the hypocrisy of these outcries about bureaucracy is most glaring, for the excellent idea of setting up local land committees to be elected by universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot was advanced by the very peasants who are demanding nationalisation. But the Black Hundred landlords are compelled to seize on every possible argument against nationalisation. Their class instinct tells them that nationalisation in twentieth-century Russia is inseparably bound up with a peasant republic. In other countries, where, owing to objective conditions, there can not be a peasant agrarian revolution, the situation is, of course, different -- for example, in Germany, where the Kanitzes call sympathise with plans for nationalisation, where the socialists will not even hear of nationalisation, where the bourgeois movement for nationalisation is limited to intellectualist sectarianism. To combat the peasant revolution the Rights had to come before the peasants in the role of champions of peasant ownership as against nationalisation. We have seen one example in the case of Bobrinsky. Here is another -- Vetchinin: "This question [of nationalising the land] must, of course, be settled in the negative sense, for it finds no sympathy even among the peasants; they want to have land by right of ownership and not by right of tenancy" (39th session, p. 621). Only landlords and cabinet ministers could speak for the peasants in that manner. This fact is so well known that I regard it as superfluous to quote the speeches of the Gurkos, Stolypins, and other such heroes, who ardently champion private ownership.

    The only exception among the Rights is the Terek Cossack Karaulov, whom we have already mentioned.* Agreeing partly also with the Cadet Shillgaryov, Karaulov said that the Cossack troops are a "huge agrarian commune" 1363), that "it is better to abolish private ownership of the land" than to abolish the village communes, and he advocated the "extensive municipalisation of the land, to be converted into the property of the respective regions" (1367). At the same time he complained about the pinpricks of the bureaucracy. "We are not the masters of our own property," he said (1368). With the significance of these Cossack sympathies for municipalisation we have already dealt above.

    * See p. 336 of this volume. --Ed.


    Like all the parties, the Cadets came out in their true colours in the Second Duma. They "found themselves" by occupying the Centre and criticising the Rights and the Lefts from the "state point of view". They revealed their counter-revolutionary nature by an obvious turn to the Right. How did they mark that turn on the agrarian question? They marked it by finally throwing overboard the last remnants of the idea of land nationalisation, by completely abandoning the plan for a "state land reserve" and by supporting the idea of making the land the peasants' property. Yes, conditions in the Russian revolution have become such that turning to the Right means turning towards the private ownership of land!

    Ex-minister Kutler, the Cadet Party's official spokesman on the agrarian question, at once proceeded to criticise the Left (12th session, March 19, 1907). "Since nobody proposes to abolish property in general," exclaimed that worthy colleague of Witte and Durnovo, "it is necessary with all emphasis to recognise the existence of landed property" (737). This argument fully coincides with that of the Black Hundreds. The Black-Hundred spokesman, Krupensky, like the Cadet Kutler, shouted: "If you are going to divide, divide everything" (784).

    Like a true bureaucrat, Kutler dealt in particular detail with the question of different norms of "allotment" to the peasants. Not backed by any compact class, this liberal intellectual and bureaucrat playing at liberalism evades the question of how much land the landlords have and how much can be taken. He prefers to talk about "norms" in order, on the pretext of raising the question to the state level, to obscure the issue, to conceal the fact that the Cadets propose that landlord economy be retained. "Even the government," said Mr. Kutler, "has taken the path of extending peasant land tenure" (734), so there is nothing infeasible about the Cadets' proposal, which is of the same bureaucratic type! By insisting on what is practical and feasible, this Cadet, of course, throws a veil over the fact that his criterion is whether it is possible to secure the landlords' consent, in other words, to adapt his plan to their interests, to pander to the Black Hundreds under the guise of a lofty striving for the conciliation of classes. "I think, gentlemen," said Kutler, "that it is possible to envisage the political conditions under which a Bill for the nationalisation of the land could acquire the force of law, but I cannot envisage in the immediate future the political conditions under which that law could really be put into eflect" (733). To put it bluntly, it is possible to envisage the overthrow of the rule of the Black-Hundred landlords, but I cannot envisage that and, therefore, I adapt myself to this rule.

    Urging that peasant ownership of land is preferable to the Trudoviks' plan in general, and to "equalised tenure" in particular, Mr. Kutler argued as follows: "lf for this purpose [equalising holdings] special officials are appointed, it will mean the introduction of an incredible despotism, an interference in the lives of the people such as we have never known before. Of course, it is proposed to place this matter in the hands of local self-governing bodies, in the hands of persons elected by the people themselves; but can it be taken that the people will be fully guaranteed against the tyranny of these persons, that these persons will always act in the interests of the people, and that the latter will suffer no hardship? I think that the peasants who are present here know that very often their own elected representatives, their volost and village elders, oppress the people as much as the government offcials do" (740). Can one conceive of hypocrisy more revolting than that? The Cadets themselves propose the setting up of land committees on which the landlords will predominate (equal representation for landlords and peasants, the chairman to be a government official or a landlord), but the peasants are warned of the danger of despotism and tyranny on the part of those whom they themselves elect! Only shameless political charlatans can argue like this against equalised holdings, for they have neither the principles of socialism (adhered to by the Social-Democrats, who maintain that equalisation is impossible, but wholly support the election of local committees), nor the principles of the landlords who maintain that private property is the only salvation (adhered to by the Bobrinskys).

    Unlike either the Right or the Left, the plan of the Cadets is charactcrised not by what they say, but what they keep quiet about, viz., their proposal for the composition of the land committees, which are to compel the peasants to accept a "second emancipation", i.e., to take poor plots at an exorbitant price. To obscure the crux of the matter, the Cadets in the Second Duma (as in the First) resort to downright chicanery. Take Mr. Shingaryov. He poses as a progressive, repeats the current liberal catchwords against the Right and, as is the fashion, bewails violence and anarchy, for which France "paid with a century of sevrere upheavals" (1355). But see how he dodges the question of the land-surveying committees:

    "On the question of the land-surveying committees," he says, "we were opposed by Deputy Yevreinov.* I do not know [sic !!l what his objections are based on; up to now we have not said anything about this [a lie !]; I do not know what Bill he is speaking about, or why he talks about not trusting the people. No such Bill has yet been introduced in the State Duma; evidently, his objections are based on a misunderstanding. I wholly associate myself with those deputies on the Left, Uspensky and Volk-Karachevsky, who spoke of provisional rules, of the necessity of setting up local bodies to carry out land surveying on the spot. I think such bodies will be set up, and probably, within the next

    * Yevreinov, a Socialist-Revolutionary, had said at the same session (18th session, March 29, 1907): "These [land] committees according to the assumption of the Party of People's Freedom, are to consist of equal numbers of landowners and peasants, with government officials acting as conciliators, which, of course, will undoubtedly give preponderance to the non-peasants. Why does the party which calls itself the party of the 'people's freedom' distrust committees elected not in a bureaucratic, but in a democratic way? Probably because, if the committees are elected in that way, the vast majority of those elected will be peasants, i.e., representatives of the peasants' interests. That being the case, I ask, does the Party of People's Freedom trust the peasants? It will be remembered that in 1808, in connection with the agrarian reform, the government had this matter transferred to local bodies, to committees. True, those committees consisted of members of the nobility, but the government is not a party of the people's freedom, it is a government that represents the rich and the propertied classes generally. It relies on the nobility and trusts them. The Party of People's Freedom, however, wants to rely on the people, but does not trust the people" (1326).

few days, the Party of People's Freedom will introduce a Bill to that effect and we shall discuss it" (1356).

    Now, is that not fraud? Are we really to believe that this person knew nothing about the debates in the First Duma on the question of local committees, or about the article in Rech at that time? Could he really have failed to understand Yevreinov's perfectly plain statement?

    But he promised to introduce a Bill "within the next few days", you will say. In the first place, a promise to restore what has been obtained by fraudulent means does not cancel the fact of fraud. Secondly, what happened "within the next few days", was this. Mr. Shingaryov spoke on March 29, 1907. On April 9, 1907, the Cadet Tatarinov spoke and said: "I will now, gentlemen, deal with one more question which, I think [he only "thinks"!], is creating considerable controversy, namely, the question that has been raised by all the parties on our Left: the question of local land committees. All these parties urge the necessity of setting up local land committees on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot with the object of settling the land question in the localities. We quite categorically expressed our opposition to such committees last year, and we categorically express it now" (1783).

    Thus, on the extremely important question of the actual terms of the Cadet proposal for "compulsory alienation", two Cadets say different things, swing from one side to another under the blows of the Left parties which bring to light what the Cadets wanted to keep secret! First, Mr. Shingaryov says: "I do not know"; then: "I agree with the Left"; and then: "a Bill within the next few days". Mr. Tatarinov says: "Now, as before, we are categorically opposed". And he adds arguments to the effect that the Duma must not be split up into a thousand Dumas, that the settlement of the agrarian question must not be postponed until political reforms are carried out, until universal, etc., suffrage is introduced. But that is just another evasion. The point at issue is not the moment when a particular measure is to he carried out: the Left members of the Second Duma could have no doubts whatever on that score. The point is: what are the Cadets' real plans ? Who is to compel whom in their scheme for "compulsory alienation"? Are the landlords to compel the peasants, or are the peasants to compel the landlords? This question can be answered only by the composition of the land committees. The Cadets' view of what this composition should be was set forth in Milyukov's leading article in Rech, in Kutler's Bill, and in Chuprov's article (quoted above)[*]; but in the Duma, the Cadets kept silent about it, they did not answer the question bluntly put by Yevreinov.

    It cannot be too strongly emphasised that this conduct of the party's representatives in parliament is nothing more than deception of the people by the liberals. Scarcely anybody is deceived by the Bobrinskys and Stolypins; but very many of those who do not want to analyse, or who are incapable of understanding, the real meaning of political slogans and phrases are deceived by the Cadets.

    Thus, the Cadets are opposed to any form of socialised land tenure in any form,** they are opposed to alienation without compensation, opposed to local land committees in which the peasants will predominate, opposed to revolution in general and to a peasant agrarian revolution in particular. Light is thrown on their manoeuvring between the Left and Right (to betray the peasants to the landlords) by their attitude towards the Peasant "Reform" of 1861. The Left, as we shall see later on, speak of it with disgust and indignation as of a noose put round the peasants' necks by the landlords. The Cadets are at one with the Right in their affection for this reform. <"fnp378">

    * See p. 245 of this volume. --Ed.
    ** Particularly noteworthy in this respect was the debate in the First Duma on the question of sending the Land Bill of the 33 (for the abolition of the private ownership of land) to committee. The Cadets (Petrunkevich, Mukhanov, Shakhovskoi, Frellkel Ovchinnikov, Dolgorukov, and Kokoshkin) fiercely opposed the sending of such a Bill to committee, and in this they were fully supported by Heyden. Their reasons were a disgrace to any self-respecting liberal -- they were simply police excuses used by lackeys of the reactionary government. To refer the Bill to committee, said Mr. Petrunkevich, means recognising that, to a certain degree, the standpoint of such a Bill is "possible". Mr. Zhilkin put the Cadet to shame (23rd session, June 8, 1906) by saying that he would send to committee both this Bill and the Bill of the extreme Right. But the Cadets and the Right defeated the motion to send the Bill to committee by 140 votes to 78!

    Count Bobrinsky said: "Dirt has been thrown here at the cleanest and brightest page in Russian history. . . . The emancipation of the peasants is a matter beyond all reproach . . . the great and glorious day, February 19, 1861" (March 29, pp. 1289, 1299).

    Kutler said: "the great Reform of 1861 . . . the government, in the person of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, is renouncing Russian history, renouncing its best and brightest pages" (May 26, pp. 1198-99).

    This appraisal of compulsory alienation as it was actually carried out throws more light on the Cadet agrarian programme than all their Bill and speeches, the object of which was to conceal their thoughts. If people regard the dispossession of the peasants of their land by the landlords, triple redemption payments for poor plots,<"p379"> and the implementation of the charters[137] by brute military force as the brightest page, then it becomes obvious that what they are after is a "second emancipation", a second enthralment of the peasants by means of redemption payments. Bobrinsky and Kutler are at one in their estimation of the Reform of 1861. But Bobrinsky's estimation directly and truly expresses the rightly understood interests of the landlords -- and therefore it clarifes the class-consciousness of the broad masses. Praise from the Bobrinskys means that the landlords got the best of it. Kutler's estimation, expressing the poverty of intellect of a petty official who all his life has cringed to the landlords, is sheer hypocrisy and befogs the consciousness of the masses.

    In this connection, one more aspect of the Cadets' policy on the agrarian question must be noted. All the Left deputies openly side with the peasants as 'a fighting force, explain the need for a struggle, and show the landlord character of the government. The Cadets, together with the Right deputies, take the "state point of view" and repudiate the class struggle.

    Kutler declares that there is no need "radically to reconstruct agrarian relations" (732). Savelyev warns against "touching a mass of interests" and says: "The principle of completely rejecting ownership would scarcely be expedient, and its application may give rise to very big and grave complications, particularly if we bear in mind that the big owners with over 50 dessiatins have very much land, namely, 79,440,000 dessiatins" (March 26, 1907, p. 1088 -- the peasant points to the latifundia to prove the necessity of doing away with them; the liberal does so to prove that it is necessary to cringe). Shingalyov thinks it would be "an immense disaster" if the people themselves took the land (1355). Rodichev warbles: "We do not foment class enmity. We would like to forget the past" (632, May 16, 1907). Kapustin follows suit: "Our task is to sow everywhere peace and justice and not to sow and foment class enmity" (1810, April 9). Krupensky is indignant at the speech of the Socialist-Revolutionary Zimin because it was "full of hatred towards the propertied classes" (783, March 19). In short, in condemning the class struggle, the Cadets and the Rights are at one. But the Rights know what they are doing. The preaching of class struggle cannot but be harmful and dangerous to the class against which the struggle is directed. The Rights are faithfully guarding the interests of the feudal landlords. And what of the Cadets? They are waging a struggle -- they say they are waging a struggle! -- they want to "compel" the landlords who are in power, and yet they condemn the class struggle! Did the bourgeoisie that really fought instead of acting as lackeys of the landlords behave in that way, for instance in France? Did not that bourgeoisie call upon the people to fight; did it not foment class enmity? Did it not create a theory of the class struggle?


    Actual Right peasants are to be found in the Second Duma only by way of exception -- Remenchik (Millsk Gubernia) is one, perhaps the only one, who will not hear of any village communes or "land funds" and stoutly defends private ownership (in the First Duma there were many Polish and West-Russian peasants who stood for ownership). But even Remenchik is in favour of alienation "at a fair price" (648), i.e., he in effect turns out to be a Cadet. We place the other "Right peasants" in the Second Duma in a special group because they are-undoubtedly more Left than the Cadets. Take Petrochenko (Vitebsk Gubernia). He begins by saying that he "will defend tsar and country unto death" (1614). The Rights applaud. But then he passes on to the question of "land hunger". "You can hold all the debates you like," he says, "but you will never create another world. Therefore you will have to give us this land. One speaker said here that our peasants are backward and ignorant and, therefore, it is useless giving them a lot of land, because it won't be any good to them all the same. To be sure, the land has not been of much good to us up to now, that is to those who have not had any. As for our being ignorant, well, all we are asking for is some land in order, in our stupidity, to grub about in. Personally, I don't think it's dignified for a nobleman to busy himself with the land. It has been said here that private landed property must not be touched because it is against the law. Of course, I agree that the law must be upheld, but to do away with land hunger a law must be passed to make all that lawful. And so that nobody should have any grievance, Deputy Kutler proposed that good terms be offered. Of course, being a wealthy man, he has named a high figure, and we, poor peasants, cannot pay such a price. As for how we should live -- in communes, on separate holdings, or on khutors -- I, for my part, think that everybody should be allowed to live as he finds convenient" (1616).

    There is a wide gulf between this Right peasant and the Russian liberal. The former vows devotion to the old regime, but actually he is out to get land, he is fighting the landlords and will not agree to pay the amount of compensation the Cadets propose. The latter says that he is fighting for the people's freedom, but actually he is engineering a second enthralment of the peasants by the landlords and the old regime. The latter can move only to the Right, from the First Duma to the Second, from the Second to the Third. The former, finding that there is no hope of the landlords "giving up" the land, will move the other way. The "Right" peasant will, perhaps, be found going our way more than the "liberal", "democratic" Cadet. . . .

    Take the peasant Shimansky (Minsk Gubernia). "I have come here to defend our faith, tsar, and country and to demand land . . . not by robbery, of course, but in a peaceful way, at a fair value. . . . Therefore, in the name of all the peasants I call upon the landlord members of the Duma to come on to this rostrum and say that they are willing to cede land to the peasants at a fair valuation, and then our peasants will, of course, say thank you, and I think our Father the Tsar, will also say thank you. As for those landlords who refuse to do this, I propose that the Duma impose a progressive tax on their land, and undoubtedly they too will yield in time, because they will learn that they have bitten off more than they can chew" (1617).

    By compulsory alienation and fair valuation this Right peasant means something entirely different from what the Cadets have in mind. The Cadets are deceiving not only the Left peasants but also the Right. What the Right peasants' attitude towards the Cadet plans for setting up the land committees (according to Kutler, or according to Chuprov: see The Agrarian Question, Vol. II) would have been, had they studied them, is evident from the following proposal made by the peasant Melnik (Octobrist, Minsk Gubernia). "I consider it a duty," he said, "that 60 per cent of the members of the committee [agrarian] should be peasants who have practical acquaintance with want [!] and are familiar with the conditions of the peasant class, and not peasants who, perhaps, are peasants only in name. This is a question of the peasants' welfare and of the poor people generally, and has no political significance whatever. People must be chosen who can settle the question practically and not politically for the good of the people" (1285). These Right peasants will go a long way to the Left when the counter-revolution reveals to them the political significance of "the questions that concern the welfare of the poor people"!

    To show how infinitely wide apart are the representatives of the monarchist peasantry and the representatives of the monarchist bourgeoisie, I shall quote passages from the speech delivered by the "Progressist" Rev. Tikhvinsky, who sometimes spoke in the name of the Peasant Union and Trudovik Group. "Our peasants, in the mass, love the tsar," he said. "How I wish I had the cap of invisibility and could fly on a magic carpet to the foot of the throne and say: Sire, your chief enemy, the chief enemy of the people, is the irresponsible ministry. . . . All that the toiling peasantry demands is the strict application of the principle: 'All the land to all the people.' . . . [on the question of redemption payments:] . . . Have no fear, gentlemen of the Right, you can rely on our people not to treat you unfairly." (Voices from the Right : "Thank you! Thank you!") "I now address myself to the spokesman from the Party of People's Freedom. He says that the programme of the Party of People's Freedom is close to that of the peasantry and of the Trudovik Group. No, gentlemen, it is remote from that programme. We heard the speaker say: 'Our Bill may be less just, but it is more practical'. Gentlemen, justice is sacrificed to practical expediency!" (789.)

    In political outlook, this deputy is on the level of a Cadet. But what a difference there is between his rural simplicity and the "business men" of the bar, the bureaucracy, and liberal journalism!


    The non-party peasants are of special interest as the spokesmen of the least politically conscious and least organised rural masses. We shall, therefore, quote passages from the speeches of all the non-party peasants,* especially as there are not many of them: Sakhno, Semyonov, Moroz, and Afanasyev.

    "Gentlemen, people's representatives," said Sakhno (Kiev Gubernia), "it is difficult for peasants' deputies to get up on this rostrum and oppose the rich landed gentry. At the present time the peasants are living very poorly because they have no land. . . . The peasant has a lot to put up with at the hands of the landlord; he suffers because the landlord sorely oppresses him. . . . Why can a landlord own a lot of land, while the peasant has only the kingdom of heaven?. . . And so, gentlemen, when the peasants sent me here they instructed me to champion their needs, to demand land and freedom for them to demand that all state, crown, private, and monastery lands be compulsorily alienated without compensation. . . . I want you to know gentlemen, people's representatives, that a hungry man cannot keep quiet when he sees that, in spite of his suffering, the government is

    * In determining the group or party to which the deputies in the Second Duma belong we have consulted the official publication of the State Duma: list of deputies according to parties and groups. Some deputies passed from one party to another, but it is impossible to keep track of these changes from newspaper reports. Moreover, to consult different sources on this matter would only cause confusion.

on the side of the landed gentry. He cannot help demanding land even if it is against the law; want compels him to demand it. A hungry man is capable of anything, for want makes him reckless, being hungry and poor" (1482-86).

    Just as artless, and just as powerful in its simplicity was the speech of the non-party peasant Semyonov (Podolsk Gubernia, peasant deputy):

    . . . "Bitter is the lot of those peasants who have been suffering for ages without land. For two hundred years they have been waiting for fortune to drop from the skies, but it has not come. Fortune is in the pockets of the big landed gentry who obtained this land together with our grandfathers and fathers; but the earth is the Lord's not the landlords'. . . . I know perfectly well that the land belongs to the whole of the working people who till the land. . . . Deputy Purishkevich says: 'Revolution! Help!' What does that mean? Yes, if the land is taken from them by compulsory alienation, they will be the revolution, but not we, we shall all be fighters, the kindest of peole. . . . Have we got 150 dessiatins like the priest? And what about the monasteries and the churches? What do they want it for? No gentlemen, it is time to stop collecting treasure and keeping it in your pockets, it is time to live reasonably. The country will understand gentlemen, I understand perfectly, we are honest citizens, we do not engage in politics, as one of the preceding speakers said. . . . They [the landlords] only go about and grow fat on our sweat and blood. We shall not forget them, we shall do them no harm, we shall even give them land. If you figure it out, we shall get 16 dessiatins per household, but the big landed gentry will still have 50 dessiatins each. . . . Thousands, millions of people are suffering, but the gentry are feasting. . . . When it comes to military service we know what happens: if a man falls sick they say: 'He has land at home'. But where is his home? He has no home! He has a home only in the roster which says where he was born, where he is registered, what his religion is -- but he has no land. Now I say: the people asked me to demand that the church, monastary, state, and crown lands, and the land conpulsorily alienated from the landlords, should be handed over to the working people who will till the land, and it should be handed over locally: they will know what to do. I tell you that the people sent me here to demand land and freedom and all civil liberties; and we shall live, and we shall not point and say, these are gentry and those are peasants; we shall all be human, and each will be a gentleman in his place" (1930-34).

    When one reads this speech of a peasant who "does not engage in politics" it becomes palpably clear that the implementation not only of Stolypin's but also of the Cadets' agrarian programme requires decades of systematic violence against the peasant masses, of systematic flogging, extermination by torture, imprisonment, and exile of all peasants who think and try to act freely. Stolypin is aware of this and is acting accordingly. The Cadets, with the obtuseness characteristic of liberal bureaucrats and professors, are either unaware of it or else hypocritically conceal it, "shamefacedly remain silent" about it, just as they do about the punitive expeditions of 1861 and of subsequent years. If this systematic and unchecked violence is shattered by some internal or external obstacle, the honest non-party peasant who "does not engage in politics" will convert Russia into a peasant republic.

    The peasant Moroz, in a short speech, simply said: "The land must be taken away from the clergy and the landlords" (1955), and then quoted the Gospel (this is not the first time in history that bourgeois revolutionaries have taken their slogans from the Gospel). . . . "Unless you bring the priest some bread and a half bottle of vodka he won't baptise a chiid for you. . . . And yet they talk about Holy Gospel and read: 'Ask and it shall be given you; knock and it will be opened unto you.' We ask and ask, but it is not given us; and we knock, but still it is not given us. Must we break down the door and take it? Gentlemen, don't wait until the door is broken down; give voluntarily, and then there will be freedom, liberty, and it will be good for you and for us" (1955).

    Take the non-party peasant Afanasyev, who appraises Cossack "municipalisation" not from the Cossack point of view, but from that of "almost a newcomer". "In the first place, gentlemen, I must say that I represent the peasants of the Don region, numbering over a million, and yet I was the only one elected. That alone shows that we are almost newcomers there. . . . I am infinitely surprised: does St. Petersburg feed the countryside? No, on the contrary. In the past I worked in St. Petersburg for twenty odd years, and I noticed even then that it was not St. Petersburg that fed the countryside, but the countryside that fed St. Petersburg. And I notice the same thing now. All this beautiful architecture, all these edifices and buildings, all these fine houses, they are all built by peasants, as they were twenty-five years ago. . . . Purishkevich gave the example of a Cossack who has over twenty dessiatins of land, and he is also starving. . . . Why didn't he tell us where that land is? There is land, there is land in Russia, too, but who owns it? If he knew there is so much land there, but did not say where, it shows that he is an unjust man; but if he didn't know, he should not have started talking about it. And if he really didn't know, then permit me, gentlemen, to tell him where that land is, how much there is of it, and who owns it. If you reckon it up you will find that in the Don Cossack Region there are 753,546 dessiatins used as private stud-farms. I will also mention the Kalmyk stud-farms, what are called nomad camps; they take up in all 165,708 dessiatins. Then there are 1,055,919 dessiatins temporarily leased by rich people. All that land belongs not to the people Purishkevich mentioned, but to kulaks, to the rich, who oppress us; when they get cattle -- they skin us of half, we have to pay a ruble per dessiatin, another ruble for the animal we plough with, but we have to feed our children, and the Cossack wives and children as well. That is why we are starving." He went on to say that leaseholders get 2,700 dessiatins each for supplying eight horses "for the cavalry"; the peasants could supply more. "I will tell you that I wanted to convince the government that it was making a great mistake in not doing this. I wrote a letter to Selsky Vestnik and asked them to publish it, but they answered that it was not our business to teach the government." Thus, on "municipalised" land transferred to the ownership of a region, the "central undemocratic government" is de facto creating new landlords: municipalisation is, as Plekhanov revealed, a guarantee against restoration. . . .

    "The government opened the doors wide for us to acquire land through the Peasant Bank -- that is the yoke that was put on us in 1861. It wants to make us settle in Siberia . . . but would it not be better to send there the man who owns thousands of dessiatins? Look how many people could live off the land he would leave behind!" (Applause on the Left ; voices from the Right : "That's stale, that's stale.") . . . "During the Japanese war I led my recruits through those [landlord's] lands that I have mentioned here. It took us over forty eight hours to get to the assembly place. The men asked me: 'Where are you taking us?' I answered: 'Against Japan.' 'What for?' 'To defend our country.' Being a soldier myself, I felt it was our duty to defend our country, but the men said: 'This is not our country -- the land belongs to the Lisetskys, Bezulovs, and Podkopailovs. There is nothing here that is ours!' They said things to me that I have been unable to wipe out from my heart for more than two years. . . . Consequently, gentlemen . . . to sum up, I must say that as regards all those rights that exist in our Russia, from the princes to the nobles, Cossacks, burghers, not mentioning the word peasant, all must be Russian citizens and have the use of land, all those who till the land, who put their labour into it, who cherish and love it. Work, sweat and benefit from it. But if you do not want to live on the land, if you do not want to till it, if you do not want to put your labour into it, you have no right to benefit from it" (1974) (26th session, 12.1V.1907).

    "Not mentioning the word peasant!" That splendid utterance "from the depths of the heart" burst from a peasant who wants to do away with the social estate character of landownership ("all those rights that exist in our Russia"), who wants to abolish the very name of the lowest estate, the peasantry. "Let all be citizens." Equal right to land for the toilers is nothing else than the farmer's point of view applied with the utmost consistency to the land. There must be no other basis for the ownership of land (like that "for service" among the Cossacks, etc.), no other reasons, no other relations, except the right of the farmer to the land, except the reason that he "cherishes" it, except the relation that he "puts his labour" into it. That must be the point of view of the farmer who stands for free farming on free land, for the removal of everything that is extraneous, obstructive, and obsolete, the removal of all the old forms of landownership. Would it not be the stupid application of a thoughtless doctrine if Marxists were to dissuade such a farmer from nationalisation and teach him the benefits of private ownership of allotment land?

    In the First Duma, the peasant Merkulov (Kursk Gubernia) expressed the same idea about the nationalisation of peasant allotment land as that which we quoted above from the reports of the congresses of the Peasant Union. "They try to scare us;" said Merkulov, "by saying that the peasants themselves will refuse to part with the patch of land they now possess. To that I say: Who is going to take it from them? Even with complete nationalisation, only that part of the land will be taken which the owner does not cultivate by himself, but with hired labour" (18th session, May 30, 1906, p. 822).

    That was said by a peasant who, as he himself admitted, owns 60 dessiatins of land. Of course, the idea of abolish- ing or of prohibiting wage-labour in capitalist society is childish, but we must scotch wrong ideas at the point where they begin to go wrong, namely, beginning with "socialisation" and the prohibition of wage-labour,[*] and not with nationalisation.

    This same peasant Merkulov opposed the Cadet Bill of the 42, which coincides with municipalisation in that allotment land is to remain private property and landlords' land is to be given out in tenure. This is "a kind of transitional stage from one system to the other" . . . "instead of one we have two forms of ownership: private ownership and renting, i.e., two forms of landownership that not only do not hang together, but are the very opposite of each other" (823).


    In the speeches of the Narodllik intellectuals, particularly those of the Popular Socialists, i.e., the Narodnik opportunists, two currents must be noted: on the one hand, sincere defence of the interests of the peasant masses -- in that respect their speeches, for understandable reasons, are much less impressive than those of the peasants who "do not engage in politics"; on the other hand, a certain Cadet savour, a touch of intellectualist philistinism, an attempt to adopt the state point of view. It goes without saying that, in contrast to the peasants, their commitment to a doctrine is evident: they are fighting not on account of directly felt needs and hardships, but to vindicate a certain theory, a system of views which distorts the real issue of the struggle.

    "Land for the toilers," proclaims Mr. Karavayev in his first speech, and he characterises Stolypin's agrarian legislation under Article 87 as "the destruction of the village commune", as pursuing a "political aim"; namely, "the formation of a special class of rural bourgeois".

    "We know that these peasants are really the major props of reaction, a reliable prop of the bureaucracy; but in counting on this, the government has made a grave mistake: besides this there will be

    * There is no need for us to "scotch" this wrong idea, for the "sober minded" Trudoviks, headed by the "sober-minded" Peshekhonovs, have already scotched it.

the peasant proletariat; I do not know which is better, a peasant proletariat, or the present land-hungry peasantry which if certain measures were taken, could obtain a sufficient amount of land" (722).

    This smacks of the reactionary Narodism of Mr. V. V.: "Better" for whom? For the state? For the landlord state, or for the bourgeois 'state? And why is the proletariat not "better"? Because the land-hungry peasantry "could obtain", i.e., could more easily be appeased, more easily brought into the camp of order than the proletariat? That is what it amounts to, according to Mr. Karavayev: it is as if he were offering Stolypin and Co. a more reliable "guarantee" against a social revolution!

    If Mr. Karavayev were right in essentials, the Marxists could not support the confiscation of the landlords' land in Russia. But Mr. Karavayev is wrong, because the Stolypin "way", by slowing down the development of capitalism -- in comparison with the peasant revolution -- is creating more paupers than proletarians. Karavayev himself said, and rightly, that the Stolypin policy was enriching (not the new, bourgeois elements, not the capitalist farmers, but) the present landlords, half of whose economies were run on feudal lines. In 1895, the price of land sold through the "Peasant" Bank was 51 rubles per dessiatin; but in 1906, the price was 126 rubles. (Karavayev at the 47th session, May 26, 1907, P. 1189.) And Mr. Karavayev's party colleagues, Volk-Karachevsky and Delarov, brought out even more vividly the significance of those figures. Delarov showed that "up to 1905, during the twenty odd years of its existence, the Peasant Bank bought up only 7,500,000 dessiatins"; but between November 3, 1905 and April 1, 1907, it bought up 3,800,000 dessiatins. The price of land was 80 rubles per dessiatin in 1900, 108 rubles in 1902, rising to 109 rubles in 1903, befare the agrarian movement, and before the Russian revolution. Now it is 126 rubles. "While the whole of Russia was suffering heavy loss as a consequence of the Russian revolution, the Russian big landowners were amassing fortunes. During that period they pocketed over 60,000,000 rubles of the people's money" (1220 -- counting 109 rubles as a "fair" price). But Mr. Volk Karachevsky reckons far more correctly in refusing to regard any price as "fair", simply noting that after November 3,1905, the government paid out to the landlords 52,000,000 rubles on account of land purchased by peasants, and 242,000,000 rubles on its own account; in all, "295,000,000 rubles of the people's money were paid to the landed nobility " (1080. All italics ours). This, of course, is only a fraction of what Junker-bourgeois agrarian evolution is costing Russia; such is the tribute imposed on the growing productive forces for the benefit of the feudal landlords and the bureaucracy! The Cadets too want to preserve this tribute to the landlords for the liberation of Russia's development (redemption payments). The bourgeois farmers' republic, on the other hand, would be compelled to use those sums for developing the productive forces of agriculture under the new system.[*]

    Lastly, we must certainly place to the credit of the Narodnik intellectuals the fact that, unlike the Bobrinskys and Kutlers, they are aware of the fraud that was perpetrated on the people in 1861 and call that notorious reform not the great reform, but one "carried out in the interests of the landlords" (Karavayev, 1193). Reality, justly observed Mr. Karavayev concerning the post-Reform period, "has exceeded the gloomiest forecasts" of those who championed the interests of the peasantry in 1861.

    On the question of peasant ownership of the land, Mr. Karavayev openly challenged the government's concern for it by putting the question to the peasants: "Gentlemen, peasant deputies, you are the representatives of the people. Your life is the peasants' life, your mind is their mind. When you were leaving, did your constituents complain that they

    * See Kautsky's The Agrarian Question in Russia on the necesity of spending enormous amounts of capital for the promotion of peasant agriculture. Here the "municipalisers" may protest that the bourgeois republic will spend money on the republic's armed forces, whereas the democratic Zemstvo . . . will have the money taken away from it by the undemocratic central government, most highly esteemed municipalisers! Besides, the very rise of such a Zemstvo is impossible under an undemocratic central government; this is but the pious wish of a petty bourgeois. The only true comparison is that between a bourgeois republic (which spends more than other statts on the development of productive forces: North America, for example), and a bourgeois monarchy (which for decades pays tribute to the Junkers: Germany, for example).

were uncertain about the ownership of land? Did they make it your first duty in the Duma, your first demand: 'Mind you ensure private ownership of the land, otherwise you will not be carrying out our mandate'? No. You will say that you were not given such a mandate" (1185).

    Far from repudiating that statement, the peasant deputies confirmed it by the entire content of their speeches. And that, of course, was not because the Russian peasant is devoted to the "village commune", is an "opponent of private ownership", but because economic conditions now dictate to him the task of abolishing all the old forms of landownership in order to create a new system of economy.

    To the debit side of the account of the Narodnik intellectuals we must place their loudly voiced arguments about "norms" of peasant landownership. "I think everybody will agree that in order to settle the agrarian question properly," declared Mr. Karavayev, "the following data are needed: first, the amount of land necessary for subsistence, the subsistence norm; and the amount necessary to absorb all the labour of the household, the labour norm. We must know exactly how much land the peasants possess; that will enable us to calculate how much they are short of. Then we must know how much land can be given" (1186).

    We emphatically disagree with that opinion. And we assert on the basis of the statements made by the peasants in the Duma that it contains an element of intellectualist bureaucracy that is alien to the peasants. The peasants do not talk about "norms". Norms are a bureaucratic invention, a hang-over of the feudal Reform of 1861 of accursed memory. Guided by their true class instinct, the peasants place the weight of emphasis on the abolition of landlordism and not on "norms". It is not a question of how much land is "needed". "You will not create another world", as the above-mentioned non-party peasant so aptly expressed it. It is a question of doing away with the oppressive feudal latifundia, which ought to be done away with even if the "norms" are reached without it. The Narodnik intellectual slips into this position: if the "norm" is reached, then, perhaps, there will be no need to touch the landlords. The peasants' line of reasoning is different: "peasants, throw them off your backs " (meaning the landlords), said the peasant Pyanykb (S.R.) in the Second Duma (16th session, March 26, 1907, p. 1101). The landlords must be thrown off not because there are not enough "norms" to go round, but because the farmer does not want to be burdened with donkeys and leeches. There is a "big difference" between these two arguments.

    The peasant does not talk about norms, but with remarkable practical intuition he "takes the bull by the horns". The question is: Who is to fix the norms? This was excellently put by the clergyman Poyarkov in the First Duma. "It is proposed to fix a norm of land per head," he said. "Who is to fix this norm ? If it is to be fixed by the peasants themselves, then, of course, they will not neglect their own interests; but if the landlords as well as the peasants are to do so, then it is a question as to who will gain the upper hand in working out the norm" (12th session, May 19, 1906, p. 488).

    That exactly hits the mark in regard to all the talk about norms.

    In the case of the Cadets it is not mere talk, but down right betrayal of the peasants to the landlords. And that kindly village priest Mr. Poyarkov, who has evidently seen liberal landlords in action in his part of the countryside, instinctively perceived where the falsity lay.

    "Another thing people are afraid of," said the same Poyarkov, "is that there will be a multitude of officials. The peasants will distribute the land themselves!" (488-89.) That is the crux of the matter. "Norms" do, indeed, smack of officialdom. It is different when the peasant speaks: We shall distribute the land on the spot. Hence the idea of setting up local land committees, which expresses the true interests of the peasantry in the revolution and naturally rouses the hatred of the liberal scoundrels.* Under such a plan of nationalisation all that is left to the state is to

    * Workers' governments in the towns, peasant committees in the villages (which at a certain moment will be transformed into bodies elected by universal, etc., suffrage) -- such is the only possible form of organisation of the victorious revolution, i.e., the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry. It is not surprising that the liberals hate these forms of organisation of the classes that are fighting for freedom!

determine what lands can serve for colonisation or may require special intervention ("forests and waters of national importance", as our present programme puts it), i.e., all that is left is what even the "municipalisers" deem necessary to put in the hands of the "democratic state " (they should have said: republic).

    Comparing the talk about norms with the economic facts, we see at once that the peasants are men of deeds, whereas the Narodnik intellectuals are men of words. The "labour" norm would be of real importance if attempts were made to prohibit hired labour. The majority of the peasants have turned down these attempts, and the Popular Socialists have admitted that they are impracticable. That being the case, the question of "norms?' does not arise, and there remains division among a given number of farmers. The "subsistence" norm is a poverty norm, and in capitalist society the peasants will always flee from such a "norm" to the towns (we shall deal with this separately later on). Here too, then, it is not at all a matter of a "norm" (which, moreover, changes with every change in the crop and technical methods), but a matter of dividing the land among a given number of farmers, of "sorting out" the real farmers who are capable of "cherishing" the land (with both labour and capital) from the inefficient farmers who must not be retained in agriculture -- and to attempt to retain them in it would be reactionary.

    As a curiosity, showing what the Narodnik theories lead to, we shall quote Mr. Karavayev's reference to Denmark. Europe, you see, "was handicapped by private ownership", whereas our village communes "help to solve the problem of co-operation". "In this respect, Denmark provides a splendid example." It is indeed a splendid example that tells against the Narodniks. In Denmark we see the most typical bourgeois peasantry, which concentrates both dairy cattle (see The Agrarian Question and the "Critics of Marx ", Chapter X*) and the land. Of the total number of crop farms in Denmark, 68.3 per cent occupy up to 1 hartkorn, i.e., up to about 9 dessiatins each. They account for 11.1 per cent of all the land. At the other pole are 12.6 per cent

    * See pp. 171-82 of this volume. --Ed.

of the farms with 4 hartkorns and over (36 dessiatins and over ) each; they account for 62 per cent of all the land. (N. S., Agrarian Programmes, Nouy Mir Publishers, p. 7.) Comment is superfluous.

    It is interesting to note that in the First Duma Denmark was put forward as a trump card by the liheral Herzenstein, to which the Right deputies (in both Dumas) retorted: in Denmark there is peasant ownership. We need nationalisation in our country in order to create freedom for the old farms to reorganise "on Danish lines" on the "unfenced" land. As for converting tenancy into ownership, there will be no obstacle to that if the peasants themselves demand it, in such a matter the entire bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy will always support the peasantry. What is more, under nationalisation the development of capitalism (a development "on Danish lines") will be more rapid as a consequence of the abolition of private ownership of land.


    The Trudovik peasants and the Socialist-Revolutionary peasants do not differ essentially from the non-party peasants. A comparison of their speeches clearly reveals the same needs, the same demands, and the same outlook. The party peasants are merely more politically conscious, they express themselves more clearly, and grasp more fully the connection between the different aspects of the question.

    The best speech of all, perhaps, was that of the peasant Kiselyov, a Trudovik, at the 26th session of the Second Duma (April 12, 1907). In contrast to the "state point of view" of the liberal petty bureaucrat, he emphasised the fact that "our government's entire domestic policy, which is actually controlled by the landlords, is directed to keeping the land in the possession of its present owners" (1943). The speaker showed that that was the reason why the people were kept "in abysmal ignorance", and then he went on to deal with the speech delivered by the Octobrist, Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky. "You have, of course, not forgotten the horrible things he said: 'Abandon all idea of increasing the area of peasant landownership. Preserve and support the private owners. Without landlords, our backward and ignorant peasant mass would be a flock without a shepherd'. Fellow-peasants, need anything be added to this to make you understand what these gentlemen, our benefactors, are hankering after? Is it not clear to you that they are still longing and sighing for serfdom? No, shepherd gentlemen, enough<"p395">. . . . The only thing I would like is that the words of the noble Rurikovich[138] should be well remembered by the whole backward peasantry of Russia, by the whole of the land of Russia; that these words should burn within the heart of every peasant and light up more brightly than the sun the gulf that lies between us and these uninvited benefactors. Enough, shepherd gentlemen. . . . Enough. What we need is not shepherds, but leaders; and we shall find them without you, and with them we shall find the road to light and truth, the road to the promised land" (1947).

    The Trudovik has exactly the same standpoint as the revolutionary bourgeois who is under the delusion that the nationalisation of the land will bring him to the "promised land", but who is fighting devotedly for the present revolution and detests the idea of limiting its scope: "The Party of People's Freedom rejects the just settlement of the agrarian question. . . . Gentlemen, representatives of the people, can a legislative institution like the State Duma, in its actions, sacrifice justice to expediency? Can you pass laws knowing in advance that they are unjust?. . . Are the unjust laws our bureaucracy has bestowed upon us not enough that we ourselves should make still more?. . . You know perfectly well that, for reasons of expediency -- the need to pacify Russia -- punitive expeditions have been sent out and the whole of Russia has been proclaimed in a state of emergency; for reasons of expediency summary military tribunals have been instituted. But tell me please, who among us goes into raptures over this expediency? Have you not all been cursing it? Do not ask, as some here have done: 'What is justice?' [The speaker is evidently referring to the Cadet landlord Tatarinov who, at the 24th session, on April 9, said: "Justice, gentlemen, is a rather relative term," "justice is an ideal towards which we are all striving, but this ideal remains" (for the Cadet) "only an ideal, and whether it will be possible to achieve it is still an open question for me." 1779.] Man is justice. When a man is born -- it is just that he should live, and to live it is just that he should have the opportunity to earn his bread by his labour." . . .

    You see: this ideologist of the peasantry adopts the typical standpoint of the French eighteenth-century enlightener. He does not understand the historical limitedness, the historically-determined content of his justice. But for the sake of this abstract justice he wants to, and the class he represents is able to completely sweep away all the vestiges of medievalism. That is the real historical content of the demand that justice must not be sacrificed to "expediency". It means: no concessions to medievalism, to the landlords, to the old regime. It is the language of the members of the Convention. For the liberal Tatarinov, however, the "ideal" of bourgeois freedom "remains only an ideal"; for which he does not fight in earnest, does not sacrifice everything for its realisation, but makes a deal with the landlords. The Kiselyovs can lead the people to a victorious bourgeois revolution, the Tatarinovs can only betray them.

    . . . "For the sake of expediency, the Party of People's Freedom proposes that no right to land be created. It is afraid that such a right will draw masses of people from the towns into the countryside, and in that case each will get very little. I would like, first of all to ask: What is the right to land? The right to land is the right to work, the right to bread, the right to live -- it is the inalienable right of every man. How can we deprive anybody of that right? The Party of People's Freedom says that if all citizens are granted that right and if the land is divided among them, each will get very little. But a right and the exercise of that right in practice are by no means the same thing. Every one of you here has the right to live in, say, Chukhloma, but you live here; on the other hand, those who live in Chukhloma have the same right to live in St. Petersburg, but they stick in their lair. Therefore, the fear that to grant the right to land to all those who are willing to till it will draw masses of people away from the towns is totally groundless. Only those who have not broken their ties with the countryside, only those who have left the couutryside recently, will leave the towns. . . . The people who have assured means of livelihood in the towns will not go into the countryside. . . . I think that only the complete and irrevocable abolition of private ownership of the land . . . etc. . . . only such a solution can be regarted as satisfactory (1950).

    This tirade, so typical of the Trudovik, raises an interesting question: Is there any difference between such speeches about the right to work and the speeches about the right to work delivered by the French petty-bourgeois democrats of 1848? Both are certainly declamations of a bourgeois democrat vaguely expressing the real historical content of the struggle. The declamations of the Trudovik, however, vaguely express the actual aims of the bourgeois revolution which objective conditions make possible (i.e., make possible a peasant agrarian revolution in twentieth-century Russia), whereas the declamations of the French Kleinbürger [*] in 1848 vaguely expressed the aims of the socialist revolution, which was impossible in France in the middle of the last century. In other words: the right to work demanded by the French workers in the middle of the nineteenth century expressed a desire to remodel the whole of small production on the lines of co-operation, socialism, and so forth, and that was economically impossible. The right to work demanded by the Russian peasants in the twentieth ceutury expresses the desire to remodel small agricultural production on nationalised land, and that is economically quite possible. The twentieth century Russian peasants' "right to work" has a real bourgeois content in addition to its unsound socialistic theory. The right to work demanded by the French petty bourgeois and worker in the middle of the nineteenth century contained nothing but an unsound socialistic theory. That is the difference that many of our Marxists overlook.

    But the Trudovik himself reyeals the real content of his theory: not everybody will go on the land, although everybody "has an equal right". Clearly, only farmers will go on the land, or establish themselves there. Doing away with private ownership of the land means doing away with all obstacles to the farmers establishing themselves on the land.

    It is not surprising that Kiselyov, imbued with deep faith in the peasant revolution and with a desire to serve it, speaks scornfully about the Cadets, about their wish to alienate not all, but only a part of the land, to make the peasants pay for the land, to transfer the matter to "unnamed land institutions", in short, about "the plucked bird which the Party of People's Freedom is offering the peas-

    * Keinbürger -- petty bourgeois. --Ed.

ants" (1950-51). Neither is it surprising that Struve and those like him were bound to hate the Trudoviks, especially after the Second Duma: the Cadets' plans cannot succeed as long as the Russian peasant remains a Trudovik. But when the Russian peasant ceases to be a Trudovik, the difference between the Cadet and the Octobrist will completely disappear!

    We shall briefly mention the other speakers. The peasant Nechitailo says: "The people who have drunk the blood and sucked the brains of the peasants call them ignorant" (779). Golovin interrupted: The landlord can insult the peasant, but the peasant insulting the landlord?. . . "These lands that belong to the people -- we are told: buy them. Are we foreigners, who have arrived from England, France, and so forth? This is our country, why should we have to buy our own land? We have already paid for it ten times over with blood, sweat, and money" (780).

    Here is what the peasant Kirnosov (Saratov Gubernia) says: "Nowadays we talk of nothing but the land; again we are told: it is sacred, inviolable. In my opinion it can not be inviolable; if the people wish it, nothling can be inviolable.* (A voice from the Right : "Oh-ho!") Yes, oh-ho! (Applause on the Left.) Gentlemen of the nobility, do you think we do not know when you used us as stakes in your card games; when you bartered us for dogs? We do. It was all your sacred, inviolable property. . . . You stole the land from us. . . . The peasants who sent me here said this: The land is ours. We have come here not to buy it, but to take it" (1144).**

    * A characteristic expression by a simple peasant of the revolutionary idea of the sovereignty of the people. In our revolution there is no bourgeoisie other than the peasantry to carry out this demand of the proletarian programme.
    ** The Trudovik peasant Nazarenko (Kharkov Gubernia) said in the First Duma: "If you want to judge how the peasant looks on the land, I will tell you that to us peasants land is as essential as its mother's breast is to an infant. That is the only standpoint from which we regard the land. You probably know that not so very long ago the gentry compelled our mothers to suckle pups. The same is happening now. The only difference now is that it is not the mothers who bore us who are suckling the gentry's pups, but the mother that feeds us -- the land" (495).

    Here is what the peasant Vasyutin (Kharkov Gubernia) says: "We see here in the person of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers not the minister of the whole country, but the minister of 130,000 landlords. Ninety million peasants are nothing to him. . . . You [addressing the Right] are exploiters, you lease your land out at exorbitant rents and skin the peasants alive. . . . Know that if the government fails to meet the people's needs, the people will not ask for your consent, they will take the land. . . . I am a Ukrainian [he relates that Catherine made Potemkin a gift of a little estate of 27,000 dessiatins with 2,000 serfs]. . . . Formerly land was sold at 25 to 50 rubles per dessiatin, but now the rent is 15 to 30 rubles per dessiatin, and the rent of hay land is 35 to 50 rubles. I call that fleecery. (A voice from the Right : "What? Fleecery?" Laughter.) Yes, don't get excited (applause on the Left ); I call it skinning the peasants alive" (643, 39th session, May 16).

    The Trudovik peasants and the peasant intellectuals have in common a vivid recollection of serfdom. They are all united by burning hatred for the landlords and the landlord state. They are all animated with an intense revolutionary passion. Some spontaneously exert their efforts to "throw them off our backs", without thinking of the future system they are to create. Others paint that future in utopian colours. But all of them detest compromise with the old Russia, all are fighting to shatter to bits accursed medievalism.

    Comparing the speeches of the revolutionary peasants in the Second Duma with those of the revolutionary workers, one is struck by the following difference. The former are imbued with a far more spontaneous revolutionary spirit, a passionate desire to destroy the landlord regime immediately, and immediately to create a new system. The peasant is eager to fling himself upon the enemy at once and to strangle him. Among the workers this revolutionary spirit is more abstract, aimed, as it were, at a remoter goal. This difference is quite understandable and legitimate. The peasant is making his, bourgeois, revolution now, at this moment, and does not see its inherent contradictions, he is not even aware that there are such contradictions. The Social-Democratic worker does see them and because he sets himself aims of world socialism, cannot make the fate of the working-class movement hinge on the outcome of a bourgeois revolution. Only we must not conclude from this that the worker must support the liberals in the bourgeois revolution. The conclusion to be drawn from it is that, while merging with no other class, the worker must with all his energy help the peasant to carry through this bourgeois revolution to the end.


    The speeches of the Socialist-Revolutionary intellectuals (we dealt with the S.R. peasants above when dealing with the Trudoviks) are full of the same scathing criticism of the Cadets and bitter enmity towards the landlords. Not to repeat what we have said above, we shall merely point out a new feature that this group of deputies possesses. Unlike the Popular SocialIsts who, instead of the ideal of socialism, are inclined to paint the ideal of . . . Denmark, and unlike the peasants, who are strangers to all doctrine and directly express the sentiments of the oppressed person who just as directly idealises emancipation from the existing form of exploitation, the Socialist-Revolutionaries introduce into their speeches the doctrine of their own "socialism". Thus, Uspensky ahd Sagatelyan (a member of "Dashnaktsutyun" -- which stands very close to the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the "young ones" of which even belong to the S. R. Party) raise the question of the village commune. The latter speaker rather naïvely observes: "It must be noted with regret that in developing the wide theory of nationalisation of the land, no special emphasis is laid on the living, surviving institution, on the basis of which alone progress can be made. . . . The safeguard against all these horrors [the horrors of Europe, the destruction of small farming, etc.] is the village commune" (1122).

    The "regret" of this worthy knight of the village commune will be understood if we bear in mind that he was the twenty-sixth speaker on the agrarian question.

    He was preceded by not less than fourteen Left members; Trudoviks, and others, and "no special emphasis was laid on this living, surviving institution" by any one of them!

There is reason for "regret" when one sees among the peasants in the Duma the same indifference towards the village commune as was displayed by the congresses of the Peasant Union. Sagatelyan and Uspensky took up the cause of the village commune like true sectarians in the midst of the peasant revolution, which does not want to hear of the old agrarian associations. "I sense a certain danger to the village commune," mourned Sagatelyan (1123). Now is just the time at which the village commune must be saved at all costs" (1124). "This form [i.e., the village commune] may develop into a world movement, capable of offering a solution to all economic problems" (1126). Apparently, Mr. Sagatelyan gave vent to all these arguments about the village commune "sadly aud irrelevantly". And his colleague Uspsnsky, criticising Stolypin's legislation against the village communes, expressed the desire that "the mobilisation of landed property be reduced to the utmost limits, to the last degree" (1115).

    This Narodnik's wish is undoubtedly reactionary. Curiously enough, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, in whose names this wish was expressed in the Duma, advocates ths abolition of private ownership of land, without realising that this involves the utmost mobilisation of the land, that it creates the freest and easiest conditions for the land to pass from farmer to farmer, the freest and easiest conditions for the penetration of capital into agriculture! Confusing privats ownership of land with the domination of capital in agriculture is a characteristic mistake of the bourgeois land nationalisers (including Henry George, and many others). In their endeavour to "reduce mobilisation", the Socialist-Revolutionaries are at one with the Cadets, whose representative Kutler openly stated in his speech: "The Party of People's Freedom proposes to limit their [the peasants'] rights only in respect of alienation and mortgage, i.e., to prevent, in the future, the wide develoment of the sale and purchase of land" (12th session, March 19, 1907, p. 740).

    The Cadets link this reactionary aim with methods of solving the agrarian problem (domination of the landlords and the bureaucracy) that make possible stupid bureaucratic restriction and red-tape that will help to enthral the peasants. The Socialist-Revolutionaries link the reactionary aim with measures that preclude the possibility of bureaucratic restraints (local land committees elected on the basis of universal, etc., suffrage). In the case of the former, what is reactionary is their entire (bureaucratic-landlord) policy in the bourgeois revolution. In the case of the latter, what is reactionary is their petty-bourgeois "socialism", which they mistakenly want to force upon the consistent bourgeois revolution.

    On the question of the Socialist-Revolutionaries' economic theories, it is interesting to note the arguments of their Duma representatives about the influence of agrarian reforms upon the development of industry. The naïve point of view of bourgeois revolutionaries, barely concealed by a veneer of Narodnik doctrine, stands out very strikingly. Take, for example, the Socialist-Revolutionary Kabakov (Perm Gubernia),<"p402"> known in the Urals as the organiser of the Peasant Union, as "the President of the Alapayevsk Republic",[139] and also as "Pugachov".[*] In the purely peasant manner he bases the peasants' right to the land on the grounds, among other things, that the peasants have never refused to defend Russia against her enemies (1953). "Why allot the land?" he exclaims. "We bluntly declare that the land must be the common property of the toiling peasantry, and the peasants will be able to divide the land among themselves in the local areas without the interference of any government officials, who, we have long known, have never been of any use to the peasantry" (1954). "In our region, the Urals, entire factories have come to a stand still because there is no sale for sheet iron, yet in Russia all the peasants' huts have straw-thatched roofs. Those huts should have been roofed with sheet iron long ago. . . . There is a market, but there are no buyers. Who constitute the mass of buyers in our country? The hundred million toiling peasants -- that is the foundation of the mass of buyers" (1952).

    Yes, that correctly expresses the conditions for real capitalist production in the Urals in place of the age-old,

    * See List of Members of the Second State Duma, privately published by an anonymous author, St. Petersburg, 1907.

<"p403"> semi-feudal stagnation of "possessional" production.[139a] Neither the Stolypin nor the Cadet agrarian policy can bring about any appreciable improvement in the conditions of life of the masses, and unless these conditions are improved, really "free" industry will not develop in the Urals. Only a peasant revolution could quickly transform wooden Russin into iron Russia. The Socialist-Revolutionary peasant has a truer and broader conception of the conditions necessary for the development of capitalism than have the sworn servants of capital.

    Another Socialist-Revolutionary, the peasant Khvorostukhin (Saratov Gubernia), said: "Yes, gentlemen, of course, many spokesmen of the Party of People's Freedom have accused the Trudovik Group of wanting to transfer the land to those who wish to till it. They say that then a lot of people will leave the towns, and this will make things worse. But I think, gentlemen, that only those who have nothing to do will leave the towns, but those who have work are used to work, and since they have work they will not leave the towns. Indeed, why should land be given to those who do not want to cultivate it?". . . (774.) Is it not obvious that this "S.R." does not in the least want universal, equalised land tenure, but the creation of free and equal farming on free land?. . . "It is necessary, at all costs, to release economic freedom for the whole people, particularly for the people who have suffered and starved for so many years" (777).

    Do not think that this correct formulation of the real content of S.R.-ism ("release economic freedom") is due only to the clumsy, peasant way of expression. It is more than that. The S.R. leader Mushenko, an intellectual, who replied to the debate on the agrarian question on be half of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, was far more naïve in expressing his economic views than the peasants Kabakov and Khvorostukhin.

    "We say," declared Mushenko, "that proper resettlement, proper dispersion, will be possible only when the land is unfenced, when all the barriers erected by the principle of private ownership of the land are removed. Further, the Minister spoke about the increase in the population of our country. . . . It turned out that for this increase alone [1,600,000] about 3,500,000 dessiatins of land will be needed. He says: Thus, if you have equalised the land, where will you get land for such an increase in the population? But I ask: Where, in what state [sic !] is the whole increase in the population absorbed in agriculture? The law that regulates the distribution of the population according to social-estates, according to occupations, operates in the reverse direction [our italics]. If a state, if a country is not degenerating, but is developing industrially, it shows that on the foundation of agriculture, which is satisfying the elementary needs in food-and raw materials, more and more economic storeys are being erected. Demand grows, new industrial products appear, new branches of industry spring up; the manufacturing industry attracts larger and larger numbers of workers. The urhan population grows faster than the agricultural and absorbs the major part of the population increase. It sometimcs happens, gentlemen, that the agricutural population diminishes not only relatively, but oven absolutely. If this [!] process is slow in our country, it is because there is nothing on which to build those new economic storeys. Peasant economy is too shaky a foundation; the market for industry is too small. Create a healthy, numerous, and vigorous agricultural populalion by putting the land at the disposal of the people, and you will see what a demand there will be for industrial products, and what a mass of workers will be needed for the factories and mills in the towns" (1l73).

    Now, isn't he delightful, this "Socialist-Revolutionary" who calls the programme for the development of capitalism a programme for the socialisation of the land? He has no inkling that the law of the more rapid increase in the urban population is exclusively a law of the capitalist mode production. It never occurs to him that this "law" does not and cannot operate otherwise than through the disintegration of the peasantry into a bourgeoisie and a proletariat, through the "sorting out" among the cultivators, i.e., the ousting of the "pauper" by the "real farmer". The economic harmony which this S.R. depicts on the basis of a capitalist law is pathetically naïve. But it is not the harmony preached by the vulgar bourgeois economist who wants to conceal the struggle between labour and capital. It is the harmony of the unconscious bourgeois revolutionary who wants to make a clean sweep of the survivals of autocracy, serfdom, medievalism.

    The victorious bourgeois revolution of which our present agrarian programme dreams cannot proceed except by means of such a bourgeois revolutionary. And the class-conscious worker must support him for the sake of social development, without allowing himself for a moment to be taken in by the childish prattle of the Narodnik "economists"


    Among the representatives of the non-Russian nationalities in the Duma who spoke on the agrarian question were Poles, Byelorussians, Letts and Ests, Lithuanians, Tatars, Armenians, Bashkirs, Kirghiz, and Ukrainians. Here is how they expounded their points of view. <"p405">

    The National-Democrat[140] Dmowski said in the Second Duma "on behalf of the Poles -- the representatives of the Kingdom of Poland and of the adjacent western part of the country" (742): "Although our agrarian relations are already in the stage of transition to West-European relations, nevertheless, the agrarian question exists for us too, and land hunger is the curse of our life. One of the chief points of our social programme is: increase in the area of peasant landownership" (743).

    "The big agrarian disturbances that occurred in the Kingdom of Poland in the form of the seizure of landlord estates were confined to the eastern areas, namely, Wlodawa Uyezd, where the peasants were told that they, as members of the Orthodox Church, would receive allotments of landlords' land. Those disturbances occurred only among the population belonging to the Orthodox Church" (745).
    . . . "Here [in the Kingdom of Poland] agrarian affairs, like all other social reforms, . . . can be settled in conformity with the requirements of life only by an assembly of representatives of the region -- only by an autonomous Sejm" (747).

    This speech by a Polish National-Democrat provoked violent attacks against the Polish landlords on the part of the Right Byelorussian peasants (Gavrilchik, Minsk Gubernia, Szymanski, and Grudziliski); and Bishop Eulogius, of course, seized the opportunity to deliver a jesuitical police-minded speech in the spirit of the Russian politicians of 1863 about the Polish landlords oppressing the Russian peasants (26th session, April 12).

    "What a simple plan!" answered the National-Democrat Grabski (32nd session, May 3). "The peasants will receive land; the Russian landlords will keep their estates; the peasants, as in the good old days, will support the old regime, and the Poles will be duly punished for raising the question of a Polish Sejm" (62). And the speaker, vehemently exposing the shameless demagogy of the Russian Government; demanded that "the settlement of the agrarian reforrn in our region be transferred to a Polish Sejm" (75).

    To this we will add that the above-mentioned peasants demanded additional alIotments with right of ownership (see, for example, p.1811). In the First Duma, too, the Polish and Western peasants, in demanding land, spoke in favour of private ownership. "I am a peasant with little land from Lublin Gubernia," said Nakonieczny on June 1, 1906. "Compulsory alienation is needed in Poland as well. One dessiatin forever is better than five dessiatins for an indefinite period" (881-82). The same was said by Poniatowski (Volhynia Gubernia) in the name of the Western Region (May 19, p. 501), and by Trasun from Vitebsk Gubernia (418, May 16, 1906). Girnius (Suvalki Gubernia) opposed the idea of an imperial stock of distributable land and demanded local distributable lands (June 1, 1906, p. 879). During the same debate, Count Tysczkiewiez stated that he regarded the idea of forming a national stock of distributable land as "impracticable and risky" (874). Stecki also spoke (May 24, 1906, pp. 613-14) in favour of private ownership as against renting.

    A speaker from the Baltic Region in the Second Duma was Juraszewski (Courland Gubernia), who demanded the abolition of the feudal privileges of the big landowners (May 16, 1907, p. 670) and the alienation of all landlords' land over and above a definite norm. "While admitting that present-day agriculture in the Baltic Region developed on the principle of private ownership, or hereditary lease, that was practised there, one must come to the conclusion, however, that for the future regulation of agricultural relations it is necessary immediately to introduce in the Baltic Region local self-government on broad democratic lines which could correctly solve this problem" (672).

    The representative of Estland Gubernia, the Progressist Jurine, introduced a separate Bill for this gubernia (47th session, May 26, 1907, p. 1210). He spoke in favour of a "compromise" (1213), in favour of "hereditary or perpetual leasing" (1214). "The one who cultivates the land, who makes the best use of it, shall have possession of the land" (ibid.). While demanding compulsory alienation for this purpose, he rejects confiscation of the land (1215). In the First Duma, Cakste (Courland Gubernia) demanded the transfer to the peasauts of church (parish) land as well as landlords' land (4th session, May 4, 1906, p. 195). Tenison (Livland Gubernia) agreed to vote for the address, i.e., for compulsory alienation, and expressed the opinion that "all the supporters of the individualisation of the land" (ibid., p. 209) could do this. Kreuzberg (Courland Gubernia), on behalf of the Courland peasants, demanded the "expropriation of the latifundia" and the allotment of land to peasants with little or no land, and, of course, "with right of ownership" (12th session, May 19, 1906, p. 500). Rutli (Livland Gubernia) demanded compulsory alienation, etc. "As regards converting the land into a state stock of distributable land," he said, "our peasants are fully aware that this is a new form of serfdom. Therefore, we must defend small peasant farming and productivity of labour, and protect them from the encroachments of capitalism. Thus, if we convert the land into a state stock of distributable land we shall create capitalism on the largest scale" (497, ibid.). Ozolins (Livland Gubernia), on behalf of the Lettish peasants, spoke in favour of compulsory alienation and private ownership; he was emphatically opposed to the creation of a reserve of state distributable land and was in favour only of local, regional distributable lands (13th session, May 23, 1906, p. 564).

    Leonas, "representative of Suvalki Gubernia, namely, of the Lithuanian nationality" (39th session, May 16, 1907, p. 654), spoke in favour of the plan proposed by the Constitutional-Democratic Party, to which he belongs. Bulat, another Lithuanian autonomist from the same gubernia, associated himself with the Trudoviks, but proposed that a decision on the question of redemption payments and so forth, be postponed until the matter was discussed by the local land committees (p. 651, ibid.). Povilius (Kovno Gubernia), in the name of the "Duma group of Lithuanian Social-Democrats" (ibid., p. 681, supplement) put forward this group's precisely-formulated agrarian programme, which coincides with our R.S.D.L.P. programme, with this difference, however, that "the local distributable land within the borders of Lithuania " is to be p]aced at the disposal of "the Lithuanian organ of autonomous self-government" (ibid., Point 2).

    On behalf of the Moslem group in the Second Duma Khan Khoisky (Elisavetpol Gubernia) said: 'We Moslems, who number over 20,000,000 in the total population of the Russian state, are following the debate on the agrarian question with the same keen interest and are looking forward to its satisfactory settlement with the same impatience" (20th session, April 2, 1907, p. 1499). In the name of the Moslem group the speaker agreed with Kutler and supported compulsory alienation based on a fair valuation (1502). "But to whom are these alienated lands to go? On this matter the Moslem group is of the opinion that the alienated lands should form not a state stock, but regional stocks of distributable land, each within the borders of the given region" (1503). Deputy Mediev (Taurida Gubernia), the "representative of the Crimean Tatars", in an ardent revolutionary speech, demanded "land and liberty". "The longer the debate goes on the clearer we hear the demand of the people that the land must go to those who till it" (24th session, April 9, 1907, p. 1789). The speaker showed "how sacred landed property was established in our border regions" (1792), how the land of the Bashkirs was plundered, how ministers, councillors of state, and chiefs of the gendarmerie received tracts ranging from two to six thousand dessiatins. He cited the mandate of his "Tatar brethren",<"p408"> complaining of the way the wakf lands[141] were plundered. He also quoted the answer, dated December 15,1906, which the Governor-General of Turkestan gave a certain Tatar to the effect that only persons of the Christian faith could settle on state land.<"p408a"> "Do not those documents smell of decay, of the Arakcheyev regime[142] of the last century?" (1794.)

    The spokesman for the Caucasiau peasants -- besides our Party Social-Democrats, whom we shall speak of later on -- was the above-mentioned Sagatelyan (Erivan Gubernia) who shares the Socialist-Revolutionary standpoint. Ter Avetikyants (Elisavetpol Gubernia), another representative of the "Dashnaktsutyun" Party, spoke in the same strain: "The land must belong to the toilers, i.e., the working people, and to nobody else, on the basis of village commune ownership" (39th session, May 16, 1907, p. 644). "On behalf of all the Caucasian peasants I declare . . . at the de- cisive moment, all the Caucasian peasants will go hand in hand with their elder brothers -- the Russian peasants -- and win for themselves land and liberty" (646). Eldarkhanov "on behalf of his constituents -- the natives of the Terek Region -- requests that plunder of the natural wealth be stopped pending the settlement of the agrarian question" (32nd session, May 3, 1907, p. 78). It was the government that was stealing the land, taking the best part of the high land zone, robbing the land of the Kumyk people and laying claim to its minerals (this must have been before the Stockholm lectures of Plekhanov and John on municipalsed land being out of the reach of the undemocratic state power).

    Speaking on behalf of the Bashkirs, Deputy Khasanov (Ufa Gubernia) mentioned the stealing by the government of two million dessiatins of land, and demanded that this land "be taken back" (39th session, May 16, 1907, p. 641). Deputy Syrtlanov from Ufa made the same demand in the First Duma (20th session, June 2, 1906, p. 923). The spokesman for the Kirghiz-Kaisak people in the Second Duma was Deputy Karatayev (Urals Region) who said: "We Kirghiz-Kaisaks . . . deeply understand and sympathise with the land hunger of our brother-peasants, we are ready and willing to make room for them" (39th session, p. 673), but "there is very little surplus land", and "re-settlement at the present time entails the eviction of the Kirghiz-Kaisak people". . . . "The Kirghiz are evicted not from the land, but from their dwellings" (675). "The Kirghiz-Kaisaks always sympathise with all the opposition groups" (675).

    The spokesman for the Ukrainian group in the Second Duma was the Cossack Saiko, from Poltava Gubernia. Speaking on March 29, 1907, he quoted the Cossack song: "Hey, Tsarina Catherina, look what you have done! Boundless steppe and happyland to the landlords you have flung. Hey, Tsarina Catherina, pity us and give us land, happy land and shady woods . . .", and supported the Trudoviks, demanding only that the words "national stock of distributable land" in § 2 of the Bill of the 104 be amended to "regional national [sic !] stock of distributable land to serve as the beginning of socialist organisation". "The Ukrainian, group is of the opinion that the greatest injustice in the world is the private ownership of the land" (1318).

    In the First Duma, Deputy Chizhevsky from Poltava said: "As an ardent advocate of the autonomy idea, as an ardent advocate of Ukrainian autonomy in particular, I should very much like the agrarian question to be settled by my people, by individual autonomous bodies, in that autonomous system of our state that I regard as the ideal" (14th session, May 24, 1906, p. 618). At the same time, this Ukrainian autonomist deems state distributable lands to be absolutely essential, and he clarifies an issue which our "municipalisers" have muddled up. "We must firmly and positively establish the principle," said Chizhevsky, "that the state distributable lands must be managed exclusively by local self-governing Zemstvo or autonomous bodies when these are set up. It may be asked: What sense is there in the term 'state distributable lands' if in every particular case they will be managed by local government bodies? I think there is very much sense. . . . First of all . . . part of the state lands should be at the disposal of the central government . . . our state colonisation lands. . . . Secondly, the sense of establishing a state stock of distributable land, and the sense of calling it such, is this: although the local bodies will be free to dispose of that land in their respective areas, they will be able to do so only within certain limits" (620). This petty-bourgeois autonomist understands the significance of state power in a society centralised by economic development far better than our Menshevik Social-Democrats.

    By the way, in dealing with Chizhevsky's speech, we cannot leave unmentioned his criticism of "norms". "Labour norm is an empty sound," he says bluntly, pointing out the diversity of agricultural conditions, and on the same grounds he also rejects the "subsistence" norm. "I think land should be allotted to the peasants not according to a norm, but according to the amount of land available. . . . The peasants should be given all that can be given in the particular locality," -- for example, in Poltava Gubernia "land should be taken away from all the landowners, who should be left with an average of 50 dessiatins each at the most" (621). Is it surprising that the Cadets chatter about norms in order to conceal their plans regarding the actual amount of land to be alienated? Although criticising the Cadets, Chizhevsky does not yet realise this.[*]

    The conclusion to be drawn from our review of the Duma speeches on the agrarian question delivered by the "nationals" is obvious. Those speeches fully confirm what I said in opposition to Maslov in the pamphlet Revision, etc., on p. 18 (first edition)[**] on the question of the relation between municipalisation and the rights of the nationalities, namely, that it is a political question, which is fully dealt with in the political section of our programme, and is dragged into the agrarian programme merely because of philistine provincialism.

    In Stockholm, the Mensheviks worked with comical zeal to "purge municipalisation of nationalisation" (the words of the Menshevik Novosedsky, Minutes of the Stockholm Congress, p. 146). "Some historical regions, such as Poland and Lithuania," said Novosedsky, "coincide with national territories, and the transfer of land to these regions may serve as the basis for the successful development of nationalist-federalist tendencies, which will again, in effect, transform municipalisation into nationalisation piecemeal." And so Novosedsky and Dan proposed and secured the adoption of an amendment: for the words, "self-governing large regional organisations" in Maslov's draft substitute the words: "large local self-governing bodies that will unite urban and rural districts".

    An ingenious way of "purging municipalisation of nationalisation", I must say. To substitute one word for another

    * Chizbevsky also brings out very strikingly the thesis of the unconsciously bourgeois Trudoviks, with which we are already familiar, namely, growth of industry and a decrease in the movement to the land in the event of a consistent peasant revolution. "The peasants in our district, the very electors who sent us here, have made for example, the foilowing calculation: 'If we were a little richer and if each of our families could spend five or six rubles on sugar every year, several sugar refineries would arise in each of the uyezds where it is possible to grow sugar beet, in addition to those that are already there'. Naturally, if those refineries were to arise, what a mass of hands would be required for intensified farming! The output of the sugar refineries would increase," etc. (622). That is precisely the programme of "American" farming and of the "American" development of capitalism in Russia.
    ** See present edition, Vol. 10, p. 182. --Ed.

-- is it not obvious that this will automatically lead to the reshuffling of the "historical regions"?

    No, gentlemen, no substitution of words will help you to rid municipalisation of its inherent "nationalist-federalist" nonsense. The Second Duma showed that what the "municipalisation" idea did in fact was only to promote the nationalist tendencies of various groups of the bourgeoisie. It was these groups alone, not counting the Right Cossack Karaulov, that "took upon themselves" the protection of various "territorial" and "regional" distributable lands. In so doing these nationals threw out the agrarian content of provincialisation (for actually Maslov "gives" the land to provinces and not to "municipalities", so the word provincialisation is more exact): nothing is to be decided beforehand, everything -- the question of redemption payment, the question of ownership, and so forth -- is to be left to the autonomous Sejms, or to regional, etc., self-governing bodies. The result is the fullest confirmation of my statement that "just the same, the law transferring the Transcaucasian lands to the Zemstvo will have to be passed by a constituent assembly in St. Petersburg, because, surely, Maslov does not want to give any region freedom to retain landlordism" (Revision, etc., p. 18).[*]

    Thus, events have confirmed that to argue the case for municipalisation on the basis of the nationalities' agreement or disagreement is a poor argument. The municipalisation in our programme turns out to be in conflict with the definitely expressed opinion of very diverse nationalities.

    Events have confirmed, in fact, that municipalisation serves not as a guide for the mass, nation-wide peasant movement, but as a means of breaking this movement up into provincial and national streams. The only thing that life absorbed from Maslov's idea of regional atocks of distributable land is national-autonomist "regionalism".

    The "nationals" stand somewhat aloof from our agrarian question. Many non-Russian nationalities have no independent peasant movement at the heart of the revolution, such as we have. It is quite natural, therefore, that in their

    * See present edition, Vol. 10, pp. 182-83. --Ed.

programmes the "nationals" often keep somewhat aloof from the Russian agrarian question, as much as to say: it has nothing to do with us, we have our own problem. For the nationalist bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie such a standpoint is inevitable.

    For the proletariat, however, such a standpoint is impermissible; but it is precisely into this impermissible bourgeois nationalism that our programme actually falls. Just as the "nationals", at best, only associate themselves with the all-Russian movement, without the intention of strengthening it tenfold by uniting and concentrating the movement, so the Mensheviks draft a programme which associates itself with the peasant revolution instead of presenting a programme to guide the revolution, to unite it, and advance it. Municipalisation is not a slogan of the peasant revolution, but an artificial plan of petty-bourgeois reformism added on from outside in a backwater of the revolution.

    The Social-Democratic proletariat cannot alter its programme in order to win the "agreement" of this or that nationality. Our task is to unite and concentrate the movement by advocating the best path, the best agrarian system possible in bourgeois society, by combating the force of tradition, prejudice, and conservative provincialism. "Disagreement" with the socialisation of the land on the part of the small peasants cannot alter our programme of the socialist revolution; it can only cause us to prefer action by example. The same applies to the nationalisation of the land in a bourgeois revolution. No "disagreement" with it on the part of a nationality or several nationalities can make us alter the doctrine that it is in the interest of the entire people that they should be freed to the utmost extent from medieval landownership and that private ownership of the land should be abolished. The "disagreement" of considerable sections of the toiling masses of this or that nationality will make us prefer influence by example to every other form of influence. The nationalisation of the land available for colonisation, the nationalisation of forest land, the nationalisation of all the land in central Russia, cannot exist for long side by side with private ownership of the land in some other part of the country (once the unification of this country is due to the really main current of economic evolution). One or the other system must gain the upper hand. Experience will decide that. Our task is to explain to the people what conditions are most favourable for the proletariat and for the toiling masses in a capitalistically developing country.


    Of the eight Social-Democratic speeches on the agrarian question in the Second Duma only two contained a defence of municipalisation and not merely a reference to it. One was that of Ozol, and the other the second speech of Tsereteli. The rest of the speeches consisted mainly, almost exclusively, of attacks on landlordism in general, and of explanations of the political aspect of the agrarian question. Highly characteristic in this respect was the artless speech delivered by the Right peasant Petrochenko (22nd session, April 5, 1907), which expressed the general impression made on a rural deputy by the spokesmen of the different parties. "I will not waste your time by going over what has been said here; permit me to put it in simple words. Deputy Svyatopolk-Mirsky made a long speech here. Evidently, that speech was meant to prepare us for something. Briefly, it amounts to this: you have no right to take the land which belongs to me, or which I possess, and I will not give it up. In answer to this Deputy Kutler said: 'Those times have gone, you must give it up, do so and you will be paid for it'. Deputy Dmowski says: 'Do what you like with the land, but we must have autonomy, without fail'. At the same time Deputy Karavayev says: 'We need both, but throw everything in one heap and later on we'll share it out'. Tsereteli says: 'No, gentlemen, we cannot share it out because the old government still exists and it will not permit it. Better for us to try to seize power and then we can share out as we please'" (p. 1615).

    Thus, this peasant grasped what he found to be the only distinction between the speech of the Social-Democrat and that of the Trudovik, namely, that the former explained the necessity of fighting for power in the state, of "seizing power". He failed to grasp the other distinctions -- they did not seem important to him! In his first speech Tsereteli did, indeed, expose the fact that "our bureaucratic aristocracy is also a landed aristocracy" (725). The speaker showed that "for several centuries the state authority handed out into private ownership land that belonged to the whole state, land that was the property of the whole people" (724). The statement he made at the end of his speech on behalf of the Social-Democratic group, which was a recapitulation of our agrarian programme, was not backed by any argument, and was not contrasted to the programmes of the other "Left" parties. We are saying this not in order to blame anybody; on the contrary, we think that Tsereteli's first speech, a short, lucid speech which concentrated on explaining the class character of the landlord government, was a very good one. We are saying this in order to explain why the Right peasant (and probably all the peasants) failed to see the specifically Social-Democratic features of our programme.

    The second Social-Democratic speech on the agrarian question was delivered at the next "agrarian session" of the Duma (16th session, March 26, 1907) by a worker Fomichov (Taurida Gubernia), who often used the words: "we peasants". Fomichov made a stinging retort to Svyatopolk-Mirsky, whose famous phrase that the peasants without the landlords are "a flock without a shepherd" did more to stir up the peasant deputies than a number of other Left speeches. "Deputy Kutler, in a lengthy speech, expounded the idea of compulsory alienation, but with compensation. We, the representatives of the peasants, cannot agree to compensation because it will be another noose round the necks of the peasants"(1113). Fomichov ended up by demanding that "all the land be handed over to the working people on the terms proposed by Deputy Tsereteli" (1114).

    The next speech was delivered by Izmailov, also a worker, who was elected by the peasant curia in Novgorod Gubernia (18th session, March 29, 1907). He replied to the peasant Bogatov, his fellow-deputy from Novgorod, who, in the name of the Novgorod peasants, had agreed to compensation. Izmailov indignantly opposed compensation. He spoke of the terms of the "emancipation" of the Novgorod peasants who, out of ten million dessiatins of arable land, had received two million dessiatins, and out of six million dessiatins of forest land had received only one million dessiatins. He described the poverty of the peasants who have been reduced to such a state that not only "have they used the fences round their huts for decades to heat their stoves", but "saw off the corners of their own huts"; "out of big old huts they build small ones in order, when rebuilding, to save a log or two for firewood" (1344). "In face of these conditions, under which our peasants live, the gentlemen on the Right sigh for culture. In their opinion, culture has been killed by the muzhik, you see. But can a cold and hungry peasant think of culture? Instead of land they want to offer him this culture; but I don't trust them here either, I think they, too, will be glad to sell their land, only they will bargain to make the peasant pay dearly for it. That's why they agree. In my opinion -- and the peasants particularly should know this -- it is not a question of the land, gentlemen. I think I shall not be mistaken in saying that there is something else behind this land, some other kind of power, which the feudal nobility are afraid to hand over to the people, are afraid to lose together with the land. I mean politicai power, gentlemen. They are willing to give up the land, and they will do so, but in such a way that we remain their slaves as of old. If we fall into debt we shall never free ourselves from the power of the feudal landlords" (1345). It is difficult to imagine anything more striking and apt than this exposure by a worker of the essence of the Cadets' plans!

    The Social-Democrat Serov, during the 20th-session, April 2, 1907, mainly criticised the views of the Cadets, as the "representatives of capital" (1492), "representatives of capitalist landownership". He quoted detailed figures showing what redemption meant in 1861 and rejected the "elastic principle" of a fair valuation. Serov, from the Marxist standpoint, gave a faultlessly correct answer to Kutler's argument that it was impossible to confiscate the land without confiscating capital. "We do not at all put forward the argument that the land is nobody's, that the land is not the creation of human hands" (1497). "Having achieved self-consciousness, the proletariat, represented here by the Social-Democratic Party, rejects all forms of exploitation, both feudal and bourgeois. As far as the proletariat is concerned, the question which of these two forms of exploitation is more just does not exist; the question always before it is: are the historical conditions ripe for emancipation from exploitation?" (1499.) "According to the calculations of the statisticians, if the land is confiscated, up to 500,000,000 rubles, representing the unearned incomes of the landlords, will pass to the people. The peasants will, of course, use this income to improve their farms, to expand production, and to increase consumption" (1498).

    At the 22nd session of the Duma (April 5, 1907), speeches on the agrarian question were delivered by Anikin and Alexinsky. The former stressed the connection between "the higher bureaucracy and big landownership" and argued that the struggle for freedom could not be separated from the struggle for land. The latter, in a lengthy speech, explained the feudal character of the labour-service system of farming that predominates in Russia. The speaker thus expounded the basis of the Marxist view of the peasants' struggle against landlordism, and then showed the dual role played by the village commune (a "survival of olden times" and an "apparatus for influencing the landlords' estates"), and the purpose of the laws of November 9 and 15, 1906 (to align the kulaks with the landlords as a "mainstay"). The speaker gave figures showing that "the peasants' land hunger means the nobility's land surfeit" and expIained that the Cadets' scheme for "compulsory" alienation meant "coercing the people for the benefit of the landlords" (1635). Alexinsky quoted the "Cadet organ Rech " (1639), which had admitted the Cadet truth that it wanted the landlords to predominate on the proposed land committees. The Cadet Tatarinov, who spoke at the next session but one after Alexinsky, was thus driven into a corner, as we have already seen.

    Ozol's speech at the 39th session (May 16, 1907) is an example of the arguments, unworthy of Marxists, to which some of our Social-Democrats have been driven by Maslov's famous "criticism" of Marx's theory of rent and by his corresponding distortion of the concept of nationalisation of the land. Ozol argued against the S.R.'s as follows: Their "Bill is hopeless, in my opinion, for it proposes to abolish private owneship of the means of production, in this case of the land, while preserving private ownership of factory buildings, and not only of factory buildings, but also of the dwellings and structures. On page 2 of the Bill we read that all the buildings erected on the land, and exploited on capitalist lines, are to remain private property; but every private owner will say: Be so good as to pay all the expenses for the nationalised lands, for paving the streets, and so forth, and I will receive rent from these houses. This is not nationalisation, but simply an easier means of receiving capitalist income in the most developed capitalist form" (667).

    So there it is, this Maslovism! First, it repeats the banal argument of the Rights and the Cadets that it is impossible to abolish feudal exploitation without affecting bourgeois exploitation as well. Secondly, it reveals amazing ignorance of political economy: the "rent" from urban houses, etc., contains the lion's share of ground rent. Thirdly, our "Marxist", following Maslov, entirely forgets about (or denies?) absolute rent. Fourthly, it appears as though a Marxist rejects the desirability of "the most developed capitalist form" advocated by a Socialist-Revolutionary! Pearls of Maslov's municipalisation. . . .

    Tsereteli, in a lengthy concluding speech (47th session, May 26, 1907), defended municipalisation more thoughtfully, of course, than Ozol did; but it was Tsereteli's pains taking, thoughtful, and lucid defence that most glaringly revealed the utter fallacy of the municipalisers' chief arguments.

    Tsereteli's criticism of the Right deputies at the beginning of his speech was quite correct from the political angle. His remarks about the charlatans of liberalism, who were trying to scare the people with the bogey of upheavals like the French Revolution, were magnificent. "He [Shingaryov] forgets that it was after the confiscation of the landlords' estates and because of it that France was regenerated for a new and vigorous life" (1228). Quite correct too was Tsereteli's chief slogan: "the complete abolition of landlordism and the complete liquidation of the landlord bureaucratic regime" (1224). But as soon as he proceeded to deal with the Cadets, the erroneous position of Menshevism, made itself felt. "The principle of compulsory alienation of the land," said Tsereteli, "is, objectively, the principle of the movement for liberation, but not all those who stand for this principle are aware of, or want to admit, all the necessary implications of this principle" (1225). That is the fundamental view of Menshevism, namely, that the "watershed" of the major political divisions in our revolution runs right of the Cadets and not left, as we believe. That this view is wrong is abundantly made clear by Tsereteli's lucid formula, for after the experience of 1861 it is beyond dispute that compulsory alienation is possible together with the predominance of the landlords' interests, with the preservation of their rule, with the imposition of a new form of bondage. Still more fallacious was Tsereteli's statement that "on the question of the forms of land tenure, we [Social-Democrats] are farther removed from them" (the Narodniks) than from the Cadets (1230). The speaker then went on to criticise labour and subsistence "norms". In this he was a thousand times right, but the stand taken by the Cadets on this question is not a bit better than that of the Trudoviks, for the Cadets misuse "norms" far more. That is not all. The fuss the Cadets are making about the stupid "norms" is a result of their bureaucratic outlook and of their tendency to betray the peasants. As for the peasants, "norms" were brought to them from outside by the Narodnik intellectuals; and we have seen above, from the example of the deputies in the First Duma, Chizhevsky and Poyarkov, how trenchantly the practical people from the rural districts criticise all "norms". Had the Social-Democrats explained this to the peasant deputies, had they moved an amendment to the Trudovik Bill repudiating norms, had they theoretically explained the significance of nationalisation, which has nothing in common with "norms", they, the Social-Democrats, would have become the leaders of the peasant revolution as against the liberals. The stand taken by Menshevism, however, is that of subordinating the proletariat to liberal influence. It was particularly strange to say in the Second Duma that we Social-Democrats are farther removed from the Narodniks, since the Cadets declared in favour of restricting the sale and mortgaging of land!

    Proceeding to criticise nationalisation, Tsereteli adduced three arguments: (1) "an army of officials", (2) "gross injustice to the small nationalities", (3) "in the event of restoration" "a weapon would be placed in the hands of the enemy of the people" (1232). That is a conscientious exposition of the views of those who secured the adoption of our Party programme, and as a Party man, Tsereteli had to expound those views. We have shown above how untenable those views are and how superficial this exclusively political criticism is.

    In support of municipalisation Tsereteli adduced six arguments: (1) under municipalisation "the actual expenditure of these resources [i.e., rent] to meet the people's [!] needs will be ensured" (sic ! p. 1233) -- an optimistic assertion; (2) "the municipalities will strive to improve the conditions of the unemployed" -- as, for example, in democratic and decentralised America (?); (3) "the municipalities can take over these [big] farms and organise model farms", and (4) "during an agrarian crisis . . . will lease land free of charge to landless, propertyless peasants" (sic ! p. 1234). This is demagogy worse than that of the S.R.'s; it is a programme of petty-bourgeois socialism in a bourgeois revolution. (5) "A bulwark of democracy" -- like Cossack local self-government; (6) "the alienation of allotment land . . . may give rise to a frightful counter-revolutionary movement" -- probably against the will of all the peasants who declared for nationalisation.

    Sum and substance of the speeches of the Social-Democrats in the Second Duma: leading role on the question of compensation and of the connection between landlordism and the present state power, and an agrarian programme that slips into Cadetism, betraying failure to understand the economic and political conditions of the peasant revolution.

    Sum and substance of the entire debate on the agrarian question in the Second Duma: the Right landlords displayed the clearest understanding of their class interests, the most distinct conception of both the economic and political conditions needed for the preservation of their class rule in bourgeois Russia. In effect, the liberals aligned themselves with these landlords and sought to betray the peasants to them by the most despicable and hypocritical methods. The Narodnik intellectuals introduced in the peasant programmes a touch of bureaucracy and philistine moralising. The peasants, in the most vigorous and forthright manner, expressed the spontaneous revolutionariness of their struggle against all the survivals of medievalism, and against all forms of medieval landownership, although they lacked a sufficiently clear conception of the political conditions of this struggle and naïvely idealised the "promised land" of bourgeois freedom. The bourgeois nationals aligned themselves with the peasants' struggle more or less timidly, being greatly imbued with the narrow views and prejudices that are engendered by the insularity of the small nationalities. The Social-Democrats resolutely championed the cause of the peasant revolution and explained the class character of the present state power, but they were unable to lead the peasant revolution consistently owing to the erroneous character of the Party's agrarian programme.



    The agrarian question is the basis of the bourgeois revolution in Russia and determines the specific national character of this revolution.

    The essence of this question is the struggle of the peasantry to abolish landlordism and the survivals of serfdom in the agricultural system of Russia, and, consequently, also in all her social and political institutions.

    Ten and a half miIlion peasant households in European Russia own 75,000,000 dessiatins of land. Thirty thousand, chiefly noble, but partly also upstart, landlords each own over 500 dessiatins -- altogether 70,000,000 dessiatins. Such is the main background of the picture. Such are the main reasons for the predominance of feudal landlords in the agricultural system of Russia and, consequently, in the Russian state generally, and in the whole of Russian life. The owners of the latifundia are feudal landlords in the economic sense of the term: the basis of their landownership was created by the history of serfdom, by the history of land-grabbing by the nobility through the centuries. The basis of their present methods of farming is the labour- service system, i.e., a direct survival of the corvée, cultivation of the land with the implements of the peasants and by the virtual enslavement of the small tillers in an endless variety of ways: winter hiring, annual leases, half-share métayage, leases based on labour rent, bondage for debt, bondage for cut-off lands, for the use of forests, meadows, water, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Capitalist development in Russia has made such strides during the last half-century that the preservation of serfdom in agriculture has become absolutely impossible, and its abolition has assumed the forms of a violent crisis, of a nation-wide revolution. But the abolition of serfdom in a bourgeois country is possible in two ways.

    Serfdom may be abolished by the feudal-landlord economies slowly evolving into Junker-bourgeois economies, by the mass of the peasants being turned into landless husband men and Knechts, by forcibly keeping the masses down to a pauper standard of living, by the rise of small groups of Grossbauern, of rich bourgeois peasants, who inevitably spring up under capitalism from among the peasantry. That is the path that the Black-Hundred landlords, and Stolypin, their minister, have chosen. They have realised that the path for the development of Russia cannot be cleared unless the rusty medieval forms of landownership are forcibly broken up. And they have boldly set out to break them up in the interests of the landlords. They have thrown overboard the sympathy for the semi-feudal village commune which until recently was widespread among the bureaucracy and the landlords. They have evaded all the "constitutional" laws in order to break up the village communes by force. They have given the kulaks carte blanche to rob the peasant masses, to break up the old system of landownership, to ruin thousands of peasant farms; they have handed over the medieval village to be "sacked and plundered" by the possessors of money. They cannot act otherwise if they are to preserve their class rule, for they have realised the necessity of adapting themselves to capitalist development and not fighting against it. And in order to preserve their rule they can find no other allies against the mass of the peasants than the "upstarts",<"p422"> the Razuvayevs and Kolupayevs.[143] They have no alternative but to shout to these Kolupayevs: Enrichissez-vous ! -- enrich yourselves! We shall make it possible for you to gain a hundred rubles for every ruble, if you will help us to save the basis of our rule under the new conditions. That path of development, if it is to be pursued successfully, calls for wholesale, systematic, unbridled violence against the peasant masses and against the proletariat. And the landlord counter-revolution is hastening to organise that violence all along the line.

    The other path of development we have called the American path of development of capitalism, in contrast to the former, the Prussian path. It, too, involves the forcible break-up of the old system of landownership; only the obtuse philistines of Russian liberalism can dream of the possibility of a painless, peaceful outcome of the exceedingly acute crisis in Russia.

    But this essential and inevitable break-up may be carried out in the interests of the peasant masses and not of the landlord gang. A mass of free farmers may serve as a basis for the development of capitalism without any landlord economy whatsoever, since, taken as a whole, the latter form of economy is economically reactionary, whereas the elements of free farming have been created among the peasantry by the preceding economic history of the country. Capitalist development along such a path should proceed far more broadly, freely, and swiftly owing to the tremendous growth of the home market and of the rise in the standard of living, the energy, initiative, and culture of the entire population. And Russia's vast lands available for colonisation, the utilisation of which is greatly hampered by the feudal oppression of the mass of the peasantry in Russia proper, as well as by the feudal-bureaucratic handling of the agrarian policy -- these lands will provide the economic foundation for a huge expansion of agriculture and for increased production in both depth and breadth.

    Such a path of development requires not only the abolition of landlordism. For the rule of the feudal landlords through the centuries has left its imprint on all forms of landownership in the country, on the peasant allotments as well as upon the holdings of the settlers in the relatively free borderlands: the whole colonisation policy of the autocracy is permeated with the Asiatic interference of a hide bound bureaucracy, which hindered the settlers from establishing themselves freely, introduced terrible confusion into the new agrarian relationships, and infected the border regions with the poison of the feudal bureaucracy of central Russia.[*] Not only is landlordism in Russia medieval, but so also is the peasant allotment system. The latter is incredibly complicated. It splits the peasantry up into thousands of small units, medieval groups, social categories. It reflects the age-old history of arrogant interference in the peasants' agrarian relationships both by the central government and the local authorities. It drives the peasants, as into a ghetto, into petty medieval associations of a fiscal, tax-levying nature, into associations for the ownership of allotment land, i.e., into the village communes. And Russia's economic development is in actual fact tearing the peasantry out of this medieval environment -- on the one hand, by causing allotments to be rented out and abandoned, and, on the other hand, by creating a system of farming by the free farmers of the future (or by the future Grossbauern of a Junker Russia) out of the fragments of the most diverse forms of landownership: privately owned allotments, rented allotments, purchased property, land rented from the landlord, land rented from the state, and so on.

    In order to establish really free farming in Russia, it is necessary to "unfence" all the land, landlord as well as allotment land. The whole system of medieval landownership must be broken up and all lands must be made equal for free farmers upon a free soil. The greatest possible facilities must he created for the exchange of holdings, for the free choice of settlements, for rounding off holdings, for the creation of new, free associations, instead of the rusty, tax-levying village communes. The whole land must be "cleared" of all medieval lumber.

    The expression of this economic necessity is the nationalisation of the land, the abolition of private ownership of the land, and the transfer of all the land to the state,

    * Mr. A. Kaufman, in his Migration and Colonisation (St. Petersburg, 1905), gives an outline of the history of Russian colonisation policy. Like a good "liberal", he is excessively deferent to the feudal landlord bureaucracy.

page 425

which will mark a complete break with the feudal relations in the countryside. It is this economic necessity that has turned the mass of Russian peasants into supporters of land nationalisation. The mass of small owner cultivators declared in favour of nationalisation at the congresses of the Peasant Union in 1905, in the First Duma in 1906, and in the Second Duma in 1907, i.e., during the whole of the first period of the revolution. They did so not because the "village commune" had imbued them with certain special "rudiments", certain special, non-bourgeois "labour principles". On the contrary, they did so because life required of them that they should seek emancipation from the medieval village commune and from the medieval allotment system. They did so not because they wanted or were able to build a socialist agriculture, but because they have been wanting and have been able to build a really bourgeois small-scale farming, i.e., farming freed as much as possible from all the traditions of serfdom.

    Thus, it was neither chance nor the influence of this or that doctrine (as some short-sighted people think) that determined this peculiar attitude towards private ownership of the land on the part of the classes that are fighting in the Russian revolution. This peculiar attitude is to be explained by the conditions of the development of capitalism in Russia and by the requirements of capitalism at this stage of its development. All the Black-Hundred landlords, all the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie (including the Octobrists and the Cadets ) stand for private ownership of the land. The whole of the peasantry and the proletariat are opposed to the private ownership of the land. The reformative path of creating a Junker-bourgeois Russia presupposes the preservation of the foundations of the old system of landownership and their slow adaptation to capitalism, which would be painful for the mass of the population. The revolutionary path of really overthrowing the old order inevitably requires, as its economic basis, the destruction of all the old forms of landownership, together with all the old political institutions of Russia. The experience of the first period of the Russian revolution has conclusively proved that it can be victorious only as a peasant agrarian revolution, and that the latter cannot completely fulfil its historical mission unless the land is nationalised.

    Social-Democracy, as the party of the international proletariat, the party which has set itself world-wide socialist aims, cannot, of course, identify itself with any epoch of any bourgeois revolution, nor can it tie its destiny to this or that outcome of this or that bourgeois revolution. Whatever the outcome, we must remain an independent, purely proletarian party, which steadfastly leads the working masses to their great socialist goal. We cannot, therefore, undertake to guarantee that any of the gains of the bourgeois revolution will be permanent, because impermanence and inherent contradiction are immanent features of all the gains of the bourgeois revolution as such. The "invention" of "guarantees against restoration" can only be the fruit of shallow thinking. We have but one task: to rally the proletariat for the socialist revolution, to support every fight against the old order in the most resolute way, to fight for the best possible conditions for the proletariat in the developing bourgeois society. From this it inevitably follows that our Social-Democratic programme in the Russian bourgeois revolution can only be nationalisation of the land. Like every other part of our programme, we must connect it with definite forms and a definite stage of political reform, because the scope of the political revolution and that of the agrarian revolution cannot but be the same. Like every other part of our programme, we must keep it strictly free from petty-bourgeois illusions, from intellectualist-bureaucratic chatter about "norms", from reactionary talk about strengthening the village communes, or about equalised land tenure. The interests of the proletariat do not demand that a special slogan, a special "plan" or "system" shall be invented for this or that bourgeois revolution, they only demand that the objective conditions for this revolution shall be consistently expressed and that these objective, economically unavoidable conditions be stripped of illusions and utopias. Nationalisation of the land is not only the sole means for completely eliminating medievalism in agriculture, but also the best form of agrarian relationships conceivable under capitalism.

    Three circumstances have temporarily deflected the Russian Social-Democrats from this correct agrarian programme. First, P. Maslov, the initiator of "municipalisation" in Russia, "revised" the theory of Marx, repudiated the theory of absolute rent, and revived the semi-decayed bourgeois doctrines about the law of diminishing returns, its connection with the theory of rent, etc. To repudiate absolute rent is to deny that private landownership has any economic significance under capitalism, and, consequently, this inevitably led to the distortion of Marxist views on nationalisation. Secondly, not having before them visible evidence that the peasant revolution had begun, Russian Social-Democrats could not but regard its possibility with caution, because the possible victory of the revolution requires a number of especially favourable conditions and an especially favourable development of revolutionary consciousness, energy, and initiative on the part of the masses. Having no experience to go on, and holding that it is impossible to invent bourgeois movements, the Russian Marxists naturally could not, before the revolution, present a correct agrarian programme. But even after the revolution had begun, they committed the following mistake: instead of applying the theory of Marx to the special conditions prevailing in Russia (Marx and Engels always taught that their theory was not a dogma, but a guide to action ), they uncritically repeated the conclusions drawn from the application of Marx's theory to foreign conditions, to a different epoch. The German Social-Democrats, for instance, have quite naturally abandoned all the old programmes of Marx containing the demand for the nationalisation of the land, because Germany has taken final shape as a Junker-bourgeois country, and all movements there based on the bourgeois order have become completely obsolete, and there is not, nor can there be, any people's movement for nationalisation. The preponderance of Junker-bourgeois elements has actually transforrned the plans for nationalisation into a plaything, or even into an instrument of the Junkers for robbing the masses. The Germans are right in refusing even to talk about nationalisation. But to apply this conclusion to Russia (as is done in effect by those of our Mensheviks who do not see the connection between municipalisation and Maslov's revision of the theory of

Marx) is to reveal an inability to think of the tasks each Social-Democratic party has to perform in special periods of its historical development.

    Thirdly, the municipalisation programme obviously reflects the erroneous tactical line of Menshevism in the Russian bourgeois revolution, namely, a failure to understand that only "an alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry"[*] can ensure the victory of this revolution, a failure to understand the leading role the proletariat plays in the bourgeois revolution, a striving to push the proletariat aside, to adapt it to a half-way outcome of the revolution, to convert it from a leader into an auxiliary (actually into a drudge and servant) of the liberal bourgeoisie. "Never enthusing, adaptation using, forward then slowly, ye workers so lowly" -<"p428">- these words of Nartsis Tuporylov[144] against the "Economists" (= the first opportunists in the R.S.D.L.P.), fully express the spirit of our present agrarian programme.

    Combating the "enthusiasm" of petty-bourgeois socialism should lead not to the contraction, but to the expansion of the scope of the revolution and its aims as determined by the proletariat. It is not "regionalism" that we should encourage, no matter how strong it may be among the backward strata of the petty bourgeoisie or the privileged peasantry (Cossacks), not the exclusiveness of various nationalities -- no, we should make the peasantry see how important unity is if victory is to be achieved, we should advance slogans that will widen the movement, not narrow it, and that will place the responsibility for the incomplete bourgeois revolution on the backwardness of the bourgeoisie and not on the lack of understanding of the proletariat. We should not "adapt" our programme to "local" democracy; we should not invent a rural "municipal socialism", which is absurd and impossible under an undemocratic central government, we should not adjust petty-bourgeois socialist reformism to the bourgeois revolution, but concentrate the attention of the masses on the actual conditions for the victory of the revolution as a bourgeois revolution, on the

    * That is how Kautsky expressed it in the second edition of his pamphlet Social Revolution.

need for achieving not only local, but "central" democracy, i.e., the democratisation of the central government of the state -- and not merely democracy in general, but the absolutely fullest, highest forms of democracy, for otherwise the peasant agrarian revolution in Russia will become utopian in the scientific sense of the term.

    And let it not be thought that at the present moment of history, when the Black-Hundred die-hards are howling and raging in the Third Duma, when the nec plus ultra of rampant counter-revolution has been reached and reation is perpetrating savage acts of political vengeance upon the revolutionaries in general and the Social-Democratic deputies in the Second Duma in particular -- let it not be thought that this moment is "unsuitable" for "broad" agrarian programmes. Such a thought would be akin to the backsliding, despondency, disintegration, and decadence which have spread among wide sections of the petty-bourgeois intellectuals who belong to the Social-Democratic Party, or sympathise with this Party in Russia. The proletariat can only gain by having this rubbish swept clean out of the ranks of the workers' party. Yes, the more savagely reaction rages, the more does it actually retard the inevitable economic development, the more successfully does it prepare the wider upsurge of the democratic movement. And we must take advantage of the temporary lulls in mass action in order critically to study the experience of the great revolution, verify this experience, purge it of dross, and pass it on to the masses as a guide for the impending struggle.

    November-December 1907



    The present work was written at the end of 1907. It was printed in St. Petersburg in 1908, but was seized and destroyed by the tsarist censor. Only one copy was saved, but the end of it was missing (after page 269 of that edition). This has now been added.

    At the present time the revolution poses the agrarian question in Russia in an immeasurably broader, deeper, and sharper form than it did in 1905-07. Knowledge of the history of our Party programme in the first revolution will, I hope, contribute to a more correct understanding of the aims of the present revolution.

    It is particularly necessary to emphasise the following. The war has caused such untold calamities to the belligerent countries and has at the same time accelerated the development of capitalism to such a tremendous degree, converting monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism, that neither the proletariat nor the revolutionary petty-bourgeois democrats can keep within the limits of capitalism.

    Life has already overstepped those limits and has placed on the order of the day the regulation of production and distribution on a national scale, universal labour service, compulsory syndication (uniting in unions), etc. Under these circumstances, the question of the nationalisation of the land must inevitably be presented in a new way in the agrarian programme, namely: nationalisation of the land is not only "the last word" of the bourgeois revolution, but also a step towards socialism. The calamities due to the war cannot be combated unless such steps are taken.

    The proletariat, leading the poorest section of the peasantry, is compelled, on the one hand, to shift the weight of emphasis from the Soviets of Peasants' Deputies to the Soviets of Agricultural Workers' Deputies, and on the other hand, to demand the nationalisation of farm implements in the landlords' estates and also the conversion of those estates into model farms under the control of these latter Soviets.

    I cannot, of course, deal with these extremely important questions in greater detail here; I must refer the readers who are interested in them to the current Bolshevik literature and to my pamphlets: Letters on Tactics and The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (Draft of a Platform for the Proletarian Party ).

 September 28, 1917

The Author

       Published in 1917 in
  The Agrarian Programme of
 Social-Democracy in the First
Russian Revolution, 1905-1907

Published according
to the book text    



  <"en96">[96] Lenin's book The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907 was written in November-December 1907. It was included in Part 2, Volume II of the collection of Lenin's works entitled Twelve Years, which was to have been published in 1908, but the book was seized at the printers by the police and destroyed. Only one copy was saved with several pages

page 523

at the end of it missing. The book was first published in 1917 under the title, Vl. Ilyin (N. Lenin), The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1906-1907 (Petrograd. Zhizn i Znaniye Publishers).
    The 1917 edition of this book was printed from the mutilated copy, which broke off at the following unfinished sentence: "The reformative path of creating a Junker-bourgeois Russia presupposes the preservation of the foundations of the old system of landownership and their slow" . . . (See present volume, p. 425.) To this Lenin added the words: "systematic, and most painful coercion of the mass of the peasantry. The revolutionary path of creating a peasant bourgeois Russia necessarily presupposes the break-up of the,old system of landownership, the abolition of the private ownership of the land."
    The present edition is reproduced from the manuscript corrected by Lenin several years after the 1908 edition.    [p.217]

  <"en97">[97] Allotment land -- the plots of land allotted to the peasants after the abolition of serfdom in Russia in 1861; they belonged to the village commune and were periodically reallotted among the peasants for their use.    [p.220]

  <"en98">[98] Crown lands -- land made over in 1797 out of the total of state lands to the members of the tsarist household as their private property together with the peasants who worked it; by a ukase of Paul I. The revenue from the exploitation of the crown-land peasants was used for the upkeep of the imperial family (including the Grand dukes, their wives, daughters, etc.). These sums were not included in the state budget and were not subject to control by the state.    [p.222]

  <"en99">[99] Winter hiring -- the system practised by the landlords and kulaks of hiring peasants for summer work in the winter, when the peasants were badly in need of money and compelled to accept enslaving terms.    [p.225]

  <"en100">[100] General Redistribution -- a slogan expressing the peasants' urge towards a general redistribution of the land and the abolition of landlordism.    [p.230]

  <"en101">[101] Gurko-Lidlval methods of administration -- this refers to the embezzlement, profiteering, and extortion that reigned among the higher tsarist officials and government contractors. Gurko was Deputy Minister of the Interior; in 1906, he was involved in embezzlement and profiteering in connection with grain consignments for the famine-stricken areas. The contractor for this grain was the swindler and profiteer Lidval.    [p.251]

  <"en102">[102] John -- the Menshevik P. P. Maslov.    [p.258]

  <"en103">[103] Vendée -- a department in Western France where, during the French bourgeois revolution in the late eighteenth century, a counter- revolutionary insurrection of the ignorant and reactionary peasantry took place, directed against the Republic. The insurrection was staged by the Catholic clergy, the nobles, and royalist émigrés, and supported by England. Vendée became a synonym for reactionary revolts and hot-beds of counter-revolution.    [p.260]

  <"en104">[104] Kostrov -- Noah Jordania, leader of the Caucasian Mensheviks.    [p.260]

  <"en105">[105] The All-Russian Peasant Union -- a revolutionary-democratic organisation founded in 1905. The programme and tactics of the Union were adopted at its first and second congresses held in Moscow in August and November 1905. The Peasant Union demanded political freedom and the immediate convocation of a constituent assembly, and adhered to the tactics of boycotting the First Duma. The Union's agrarian programme called for the abolition of private ownership of the land, and the transfer of monastery, crown, and state lands to the peasants without compensation. The Union, however, pursued a half-hearted vacillating policy. While demanding the abolition of landlordism, it agreed to partial compensation for the landlords. From the very beginning of its activities the Union was persecuted by the police. It ceased to exist early in 1907.    [p.261]

  <"en106">[106] Rossiya (Russia ) -- a police-sponsored, Black-Hundred newspaper, published in St. Petersburg from 1905 to 1914. From 1906 it was the official organ of the Ministry of the Interior.    [p.261]

  <"en107">[107] Rodbertus's views are analysed by Karl Marx in Theorien über den Mehrwert, 2. Teil, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959, SS. 82-85; Ricardo's theory is analysed in the same book, SS. 229-33.    [p.273]

  <"en108">[108] See Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 603.    [p.275]

  <"en109">[109] Karl Marx, Theorien über den Mehrwert, 2. Teil, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959, S. 100.    [p.275]

  <"en110">[110] The Homestead Act -- a law passed in the United States in 1862 granting settlers a plot of land up to 160 acres free of charge or at a nominal price. This land became the private property of its holder after five years.    [p.276]

  <"en111">[111] Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Werke, Bd. 4, S. 8, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959.    [p.276]

  <"en111a">[111a] Otrub (farmstead ) -- land allotted to peasants, who, under a law issued by the tsarist Minister Stolypin in 1906, were allowed to withdraw from the village communes. The purpose of this law was to create a mainstay for the autocracy in the countryside in the shape of a kulak class.    [p.278]

  <"en112">[112] The peasants in Russia, as a class of feudal society, were divided into three major categories 1) privately owned (landlords') peasants.

page 525

2) state peasants, and 3) crown-land peasants (belonging to the tsar's family). Each of these categories in turn, was divided into grades and special groups, which differed from one another in origin, forms of land ownership and land tenure, legal and agrarian status, etc. The Peasant Reform of 1861, carried out from abbve by the tsarist government in the interests of the feudal landlords, kept this diversity of grades intact right up to 1917.

    Gift-land peasants -- former serfs, chiefly of the southern and south-eastern black-earth gubernias, who at the time of the abolition of serfdom, received from their landiords gift allotments without having to pay compensation. Under the "Regulations" of the Peasant Reform of 1861, the landlord had the right, "by voluntary agreement" with the peasant, to make him a "gift" of a quarter of the "top" or "statutory" allotment due to the peasant (including the cottage plot) on the understanding that all the rest of peasant's land became the property of the landlord. Gift allotment, which strikingly illustrated the predatory nature of the 1861 Reform, was known among the people as "quarter", "orphan", "cat's", or "Gagarin" allotment (the latter from the name of Prince P. P. Gagarin who put forward a draft of the corresponding clauses to the local regulations governing land endowment of the peasants in the Great Russian and Ukrainian gubernias).
    There were numerous gift-land peasants in such land-poor black-earth gubernias as Voronezh, Kharkov, Poltava, and Tambov, where the market price of land seized by the landlords was very high. Many peasants received gift allotments in the south-eastern and southern black-earth gubernias of Orenburg, Ufa, Saratov Ekaterinoslav, and Samara, where rentals were much lower than the quit-rents due to the landlord under the "Regulations of February 19". By the beginning of the twentieth century, as a result of the growth of the population and the reallotments which this involved, the gift-landers lost practically all their allotments and formed the bulk of the land-poor peasants,

    Temporarly-bound peasants -- former landlords' peasants who, after the abolition of serfdom in 1861, were obliged to perform various services for the landlords (corvée service or quit-rent payment) in return for the use of allotments. This "temporarily-bound status" continued until the peasants, by agreement with the landlords had purchased their allotments by redemption payments. The landlords were obliged to accept redemption payments which became obligatory only after the Ukase of 1881, by which the "obligatory relation" between the peasant and the landlords had to cease as from January 1, 1883.

    Owners -- former landlords' peasants who had redeemed their allotments under the "Reguations of February 19, 1861" and thus ceased to be temporarily bound.

    Full owner -- former landlords' peasant who had redeemed their allotments before the specified date and had the right to own the land as private property. The full owners were comparatively few and constituted the most well-to-do element in the countryside.

    State peasants -- a category of peasant who tilled state lands and who, in addition to the poll-tax, paid feudal quit-rent to the state or the leaseholder of state property. They also performed numerow services (road repairs, billeting of soldiers, stage-horse posting, etc.): Under Peter I this category included odnodvortsi, chernososhniye peasants, half-croppers, Siberian ploughmen of the Northern maritime country, and peoples of the Volga and Ural regions (Tatars, Chuvashes, Mordovians, Udmurs, and Komi). Later other categories were added -- "economy" peasants (serfs who passed to the state from the secularised church estates), state peasants of the western territories and Transcaucasia, Ukrainian Cossacks, and others. The forms of land tenure and land ownership among the state peasants were extremely varied, and this condition continued even after the Peasant Reform.

    State peasants with communal holdings had no right to own land as private property; they used arable and other lands belonging to the village commune.

    State peasants with quarter holdings -- descendants of former servicemen in the lower ranks (children of boyars, Cossacks, the streltsi, dragoons, soldiers, etc.) who guarded the southern and south-eastern borderlands of the State of Muscovy. The Tsar of Muscovy rewarded their services with an endowment of a quarter lot (half a dessiatin) and they settled in single households (hence their name odnodvortsi ). Communal landownership arose among them in addition to their quarter holdings.
    These odnodvortsi, being freemen, for a long time held an intermediate position between the nobies and peasants, and had the right to acquire serfs. Under Peter I they were turned into state peasants, and their land became the property of the state. Actually, however, the state peasant's with quarter holdings disposed of their lands as their own private property; in this they differed from the state peasants with communal holdings, who had no right to buy, sell, or bequeath their land.

    State peasants who formerly belonged to landlords -- a category of state peasants, acquired by the state from private owners or donated to the state, etc. Although regarded as state peagants they enjoyed fewer rights; they were given equal rights in 1859 on the eve of the 1861 Reform, but certain distinctions remained.

    Crown-land peasants -- a category of peasants who tilled the crown lands. Besides the poll-tax, they paid feudal quit-rent, performed various services, and were subjected to exactions in kind, all of which went for the maintenance of members of the tsarist household. When the crown lands took shape in 1797 the status of the peasants living on these estates was defined as something between state and landlords' peasants. The abolition of serfdom was first applied to the crown-land peasants in 1858, but did not take full effect until 1863.

These peasants received allotments as their private property subject to redemption payments over a period of 49 years. They were provided with land slightly better than the landlords' peasants, but worse than the state peasants.

    Free tillers -- the category of peasants freed from serfdom under the law of February 20,1803. This law permitted the landlords to decide the terms on which they gave their peasants freedom with land.

    Registered peasants -- a category of state peasants attached to state-owned and private manufactories for performing auxiliary jobs (wood-chopping, coal handling, ore breaking, haulage, etc). This practice of attachment assumed wide dimensions in the Urals, Olonets gubernia, and other places in the early eighteenth century. Beginning with the early nineteenth century the registered peasants were gradually freed from factory jobs. They won complete freedom as a result of the Peasant Reform of 1861.    [p.279]

  <"en113">[113] Borisov -- S. A. Suvorov.    [p.289]

  <"en114">[114] Russkoye Bogatstvo (Russian Wealth ) -- a monthly magazine, published in St. Petersburg from 1876 to the middle of 1918. In the early nineties it became the organ of the liberal Narodniks. From 1906 it was virtually the organ of the semi-Cadet Popular Socialist Party.    [p.290]

  <"en115">[115] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, p. 787.    [p.293]

  <"en116">[116] Lenin is referring to the discussion of the agrarian question at the First Conference of the R. S. D. L. P. held in Tammerfors December 12-17 (25-30), 1905. The report on this question was made by Lenin. In furtherance of the decision of the Third Congress of the Party, the Conference found it necessary to include in the programme an item calling for support of the peasants' revolutionary measures, including confiscation of all state, church, monastery, crown, and privately owned lands. The Conference drew special attention to the need for an independent organisation of the rural proletariat and for showing the latter that its interests could not be reconciled with those of the rural bourgeoisie.    [p.294]

  <"en117">[117] Karl Marx, Theorien über den Mehrwert, 2. Teil, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959, S. 336.    [p.298]

  <"en118">[118] Ibid., SS. 84, 96, 236.    [p.298]

  <"en119">[119] This section was published in the newspaper Proletary, No. 33, July 23 (August 5), 1908.    [p.300]

  <"en120">[120] Zhizn (Life ) -- a monthly magazine, published in St. Petersburg from 1897 to 1901; in 1902, it was published abroad. From 1899 onwards the magazine was the organ of the "legal Marxists".    [p.300]

  <"en121">[121] Karl Marx, Theorien über den Mehrwert, 2. Teil, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959, S. 36.    [p.301]

  <"en122">[122] Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. III, Moscow, 1959, pp. 634-720.    [p.304]

  <"en123">[123] Ibid., p. 761.    [p.305]

  <"en124">[124] Ibid., p. 761-62.    [p.306]

  <"en125">[125] Ibid., p. 787.    [p.314]

  <"en126">[126] Ibid., p. 790.    [p.315]

  <"en127">[127] Ibid., p. 792.    [p.316]

  <"en128">[128] Ibid., p. 785, 789-90.    [p.317]

  <"en129">[129] Karl Marx, Theorien ïber den Mehrwert, 2. Teil, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1959, S. 36.    [p.320]

  <"en129a">[129a] See present edition, Vol: 10, p. 341.    [p.346]

  <"en130">[130] The words in inverted commas "Chi . . . chi . . . etc. ," are a paraphrase of a passage from Chernvshevsky's Essays on the Gogol Period in Russian Literature. This passage, ridiculing a controversial trick used by the journalist Senkovsky ("Baron Brambeus") reads as follows: "A witty comment of Dead Souls might be written in the following manner: After giving the title of the book, 'The Adventures of Chichikov, or Dead Souls', the commentator might start straight off with: 'The bad dentures of Chi! chi! kov -- don't think that I have sneezed, dear reader . . . etc., etc.' Some twenty years ago there may have been readers who would think that witty."    [p.346]

  <"en131">[131] K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, p. 537.    [p.358]

  <"en132">[132] K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works, Vol, I, 1955, p. 578.    [p.359]

  <"en133">[133] Pravda (Truth ) -- a monthly Menshevik magazine dealing with questions of art, literature, and social activities, published in Moscow in 1904-06.    [p.365]

  <"en134">[134] Stepan Razin and Yemelyan Pugachov -- leaders of great peasant revolts in Russia in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.    [p.369]

  <"en135">[135] Saryn na kichku (literally, "to the prow, lubbers!") -- a cry said to have been used by Volga freebooters ordering the people on a boarded vessel to lie down in the bows and stay there until the looting was over.    [p.369]

  <"en136">[136] Plekhanov's "Diary " -- Dnevnik Sotsial-Demokrata (Diary of a Social-Democrat ) -- a non-periodical organ published at considerable intervals by Plekhanov in Geneva from March 1905 to April 1912.

In all, sixteen issues were brought out. Publication was resumed in Petrograd in 1916, but only one issue appeared. In the first eight issues (1905-06) Plekhanov expounded extremely Right-wing Menshevik and opportunist views, advocated a bloc between Social-Democracy and the liberal bourgeoisie, rejected the idea of an alliance of the proletariat and the peasantry and condemned the December uprising. In 1909-l2 (Nos. 9-16) he opposed the Menshevik liquidators, who sought to disband the underground Party organisations. On the basic questions of tactics, however, he took a Menshevik stand. Plekhanov's social-chauvinist views were forcibly expressed in the issue No. 1 published in 1916.    [p.372]

  <"en137">[137] Charters -- deeds defining the landowning relations of the temporarily-bound peasants and landlords upon the abolition of serfdom in 1861. These charters indicated the amount of land the peasant used before the Reform, and defined the size of the allotment remaining in his hands after the Reform. It also listed the duties the peasant had to perform for the landlord. The charter served as a basis for determining the amount of the peasant's redemption payment.    [p.379]

  <"en138">[138] Rurikovichi -- offshoots of Rurik, a semi-legendary prince of ancient Russia, from whom many aristocratic families in tsarist Russia claimed descent. The present allusion is to Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky.    [p.395]

  <"en139">[139] Alapayevsk Republic -- the name which tsarist officials gave to the Alapayevsk Volost in the Verkhnyaya Tura Uyezd, Perm Gubernia. G. I. Kabakov, the Socialist-Revolutionary peasant deputy in the Second Duma whom Lenin mentions, succeeded in organising a Peasant Union in the Alapayevsk Volost in 1905 with as many as 30,000 members.    [p.402]

  <"en139a">[139a] Possessional production -- industrial enterprises based on the exploitation of possessional peasants. This category of peasants was introduced by Peter the Great (1721), who allowed serf peasants to be bought for work at the manufactories. These serfs were attached to the enterprise and could not be sold apart from the manufactory.
    Possessional ownership was abolished in 1863 following the abolition of serfdom in 1861.    [p.403]

  <"en140">[140] National-Democrat -- member of the National-Democratic Party, the chief, reactionary, nationalist party of the Polish landlords and bourgeoisie, closely associated with the Catholic Church. The party was founded in 1897, its leaders being R. Dmowski, Z. Balicki, W. Grabski, and others. The N. D.'s put forward the slogans of "class harmony" and "national interests". They tried to win influence over the masses and draw them into the current of their reactionary policy. They preached aggressive nationalism and chauvinism as a means of struggle against the socialist and

page 530

general democratic movement among the Polish people, which they attempted to isolate from the Russian revolutionary movement. During the revolution of 1905-07 they sought to make a deal with tsarism to secure Polish autonomy, and openly supported it in its struggle against the revolution by "every means in their power including informing, lock-outs, and assassination". The Fifth (London) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. adopted a special resolution emphasising the need "unremittingly and relentlessly to expose the counter-revolutionary Black-Hundred physiognomy and activities of the National-Democrats as the allies of tsarism in its fight against the revolution" (see "The C.P.S.U. in Resolutions and Decisions of Its Congresses, Conferences, and Plenary Meetings of the Central Commtttee, Part I, 1954, p. 168). During the First World War (1914-18) the N.D.'s unreservedly supported the Entente, counting on the victory of tsarist Russia, the uniting of Polish territories which had been under the heel of Austria and Germany, and the granting of autonomy to Poland within the framework of the Russian empire. The downfall of the tsarist regime impelled the N.D.'s towards a pro-French orientation. Bitter enemies of the October Socialist Revolution and the Soviet state though they were, the N.D.'s, in keeping with their traditional anti-German attitude did not always give whole-hearted support to the adventurist anti-Soviet foreign policy pursued by the Pilsudski clique which ruled Poland beginning from 1926. At the present time various groups of the National-Democratic Party are active among reactionary Polish émigrés.    [p.405]

  <"en141">[141] Wakf lands -- lands in areas with a Moslem population, which could not be sold or transferred. The revenue derived from such land was disposed of cheifly by the Moslem clergy. Under the Soviet government the wakf lands became state property.    [p.408]

  <"en142">[142] Arakcheyev, A. A. -- reactionary tsarist statesman of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He greatly influenced home and foreign policies in the reigns of Paul I and Alexander I. His name stands for an epoch of unlimited police despotism and a brutal military regime.    [p.408]

  <"en143">[143] Razuvayev and Kolupayev -- types of capitalist sharks portrayed by Saltykov-Shchedrin, the Russian satirist.    [p.422]

  <"en144">[144] Nartsis Tuporylov (Narcissus Blunt-Snout ) -- the pseudonym under which Y. O. Martov published his satirical poem "Hymn of the Contemporary Russian Socialist", which appeared in Zarya, No. 1, April 1901.    [p.428]

  <"en145">[145] Lenin wrote this Postscript for the 1917 edition of the book.    [p.430]