Agrarian Prog . . . First Russian Revolution - pt. 1

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V. I. Lenin

THE AGRARIAN PROGRAMME
OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY
IN THE FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTlON,
1905-1907

[PART I]

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, djr@cruzio.com (September 1997)


THE AGRARIAN PROGRAM OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY
  IN THE FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, 1905-07
[96]

[PART I]

    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

page 220

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.



<"c1s1">
C H A P T E R  I

THE ECONOMIC BASIS AND NATURE
OF THE AGRARIAN REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA

1. LANDOWNERSHIP IN EUROPEAN RUSSIA

    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:

<"p220">

Million 
dessiatins

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

101.7
138.8
 
154.7


    Total land in European Russia

395.2

    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-

page 221

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:

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

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 <"fnp221">


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

page 222

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:

Land
classified

Land
not classified

according to size of holdings
(millions dessiatins)

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

   89.5*
136.9
 
  5.1

12.2
 1.9
 
34.4


Total

231.5

48.5

-------V-------

Grand Total

280.0

    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.

page 223

A l l o t m e n t  L a n d

Groups of households

Number of
households

Total area of
land (dess.)

Average des-
siatins per
household

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   "   "

6,175,251
3,932,485
1,551,904
  617,715

30,736,883
42,182,923
31,271,922
32,695,510

 4.9  
10.7  
20.1  
52.9  


Total in European Russia

12,277,355  

136,887,238  

11.1  

    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-

page 219

<"p219">

THE AGRARIAN PROGRAM
OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY
IN THE FIRST RUSSIAN REVOLUTION,
    1905-07
[96]

    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

page 220

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.



<"c1s1">
C H A P T E R  I

THE ECONOMIC BASIS AND NATURE
OF THE AGRARIAN REVOLUTION IN RUSSIA

1. LANDOWNERSHIP IN EUROPEAN RUSSIA

    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:

<"p220">

Million 
dessiatins

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

101.7
138.8
 
154.7


    Total land in European Russia

395.2

    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-

page 221

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:

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

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 <"fnp221">


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

page 222

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:

Land
classified

Land
not classified

according to size of holdings
(millions dessiatins)

A. 
B. 
C. 
 

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

   89.5*
136.9
 
  5.1

12.2
 1.9
 
34.4


Total

231.5

48.5

-------V-------

Grand Total

280.0

    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.

page 223

A l l o t m e n t  L a n d

Groups of households

Number of
households

Total area of
land (dess.)

Average des-
siatins per
household

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   "   "

6,175,251
3,932,485
1,551,904
  617,715

30,736,883
42,182,923
31,271,922
32,695,510

 4.9  
10.7  
20.1  
52.9  


Total in European Russia

12,277,355  

136,887,238  

11.1  

    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-

page 224

ly 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:


Households

   Poor

/ Without horses
\ Owning 1 horse

2,765,970
2,885,192

   Middle

/   "   2 horses
\   "   3   "

2,240,574
1,070,250

Well-to-do

"   4   "   or more    

1,154,674



Total

10,116,660 

    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
holdings

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 "  "     

409,864
209,119
106,065
  21,748 \
    5,386 >
     699 /

 1,625,226
 4,891,031
17,326,495
 20,590,708 \
  20,602,109  >
 20,798,504 /

     3.9
  23.4
 163.3
    947 \
    3,825  >
 29,754 /


 Total over 500 dess.

 27,833

61,991,321

 2,227


 Grand total for European
   Russia

752,881
 

85,834,073
 

  114
 

    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!

page 225

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.


<"c1s2">

2. WHAT IS THE STRUGGLE ABOUT?

    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

page 226

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

page 227

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:

Group

Number of
holdings
(millions)

Total area
of land
(million
dessiatins.)

Average
dess. per
holding

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


10.5 
1.0
 
1.5
 0.03


75.0
15.0
 
70.0
70.0


7.0 
15.0 
 
46.7 
2,333.0 


               Total
Not classified according to holdings

13.03
--

230
 50

17.6 
-- 


               Grand total*

13.03

280

21.4 

    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.

page 228

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:

page 229


N o w

T h e n

Number
of
hold-
ings
(mill.)

Total
area of
land
(mill.
dess.)

Average
dess. per
holding
 
 

Number
of
hold-
ings
(mill.)

Total
area of
land
(mill.
dess.)

Average
dess. per
holding
 
 

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

10.5 
1.0
 
1.5
 0.03

 75
 15
 
 70
 70

7.0 
15.0 
 
46.7 
2,333.0 

--
11.5 
 
 1.53
--

--
207
 
 73
--

--
18.0
 
47.7
--


               Total
Unclassified land

13.03
 --

230
 50

17.6 
-- 

13.03
 --

280
--

21.4
--


               Grand total

13.03

280

21.4 

 --

--

--

    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.

page 230

    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,

page 231

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.[*]


<"c1s3">

3. THE CADET WRITERS OBSCURE THE NATURE OF THE STRUGGLE

    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 <"fnp231">


    * 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


Households
(millions)
 

Total area of
land (million
dessiatins)

Households
(millions)
 

Total area of
land (million
dessiatins)

Dess. per
household
 

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

10.5 
1.0
1.4
 0.13

75
15
50
90

(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)

--
11.5 
 1.53
--

--
217
 63
--


18.8
41.1
--




13.03
 

230 
+ 50  


13.03

280

21.4

    The main conclusions about the character and essence of the change are identical in either case.

page 232

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

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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. . . .

page 234

    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.


<"c1s4">

4. THE ECONOMIC NATURE OF THE AGRARIAN REVOLUTION
AND ITS IDEOLOGICAL CLOAKS

    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

page 235

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

Subdivisions

Number of holdings

Total area of land

Average per holding

(dessiatins)

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

1,062,504 
191,898
 40,658
 

30,898,147
12,259,171
 5,762,276
 

 29.1
 63.9
141.7
 

P r i v a t e  L a n d

Number
of holdings

Total area
of land

Average
per holding


(dessiatins)

103,237
 44,877
 61,188

 3,301,004
 3,229,858
14,096,637

 32.0
 71.9
 230.4 

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

Number
of holdings

Total area
of land

Average
per holding


(dessiatins)

103,237
 44,877
 61,188

 3,301,004
 3,229,858
14,096,637

 32.0
 71.9
 230.4 

    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

page 236

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,

page 237

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- <"fnp">


    * 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.

page 238

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.


<"c1s5">

5. TWO TYPES OF BOURGEOIS AGRARIAN EVOLUTION

    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.

page 239

    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.

page 240

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]

page 241

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 <"fnp241">


    * 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.

page 242

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.

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<"c1s6">

6. TWO LINES OF AGRARIAN PROGRAMMES
IN THE REVOLUTION

    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

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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 bal-

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lot. 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 <"fnp245">


    * 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).

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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 <"fnp246">


    * 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.

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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.


<"c1s7">

7. RUSSIA'S LAND AREA.
THE QUESTION OF THE COLONISATION

    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

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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.)

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Total land area

Including

Including

Population
in 1897

Square
versts
(thous.)

Dess.
(mill.)

Lands of
which no
data are
available
(mill.
dess.)

Lands
regis-
tered
(mill.
dess.)

Arable

Mead-
ows

For-
ests

Total

Total
(thous.)

Per
sq.
verst

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
Caucasus
Siberia
Central Asia
Total for Asiatic
  Russia
Total for Russian
  Empire*


111.6
 
1,755.6
 
2,474.9
 
4,230.5
411.7
10,966.1
3,141.6
 
14,519.4
 
18,861.5


11.6
 
183.0
 
258.0
 
441.0
42.9
1,142.6
327.3
 
1,512.8
 
1,965.4


--  
 
--  
 
--  
 
--  
22.1
639.7
157.4
 
819.2
 
819.2


11.6
 
183.0
 
258.0
 
441.0
20.8
502.9
169.9
 
693.6
 
1,146.2


7.4
 
93.6
 
22.3
 
115.9
6.5
4.3
0.9
 
11.7
 
135.0


0.9
 
18.7
 
7.1
 
25.8
2.2
3.9
1.6
 
7.7
 
34.4


2.5
 
34.0
 
132.0
 
166.0
2.5
121.0
8.0
 
131.5
 
300.0


10.8
 
146.3
 
161.4
 
307.7
11.2
129.2
10.5
 
150.9
 
469.4


9,402.2
 
--    
 
--    
 
93,442.9
9,289.4
5,758.8
7,746.7
 
--    
 
125,640.0


84.3
 
--
 
--
 
22.1
22.6
 0.5
 2.5
 
--
 
 6.7

   * Exclusive of Finland.

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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- <"fnp250">


    * 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.

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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 <"fnp251">


    * 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.)

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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. <"fnp252">


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

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    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-

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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.


<"c1s8">

8. SUMMARY OF THE ECONOMIC DEDUCTIONS
OF CHAPTER I

    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

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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.

<"c2">

C H A P T E R  II

THE AGRARIAN PROGRAMMES OF THE R.S.D.L.P.
AND THEIR TEST IN THE FIRST REVOLUTION

    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.


<"c2s1">

1. WHAT WAS THE MISTAKE IN THE PREVIOUS AGRARIAN
PROGRAMMES OF RUSSIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY?

    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- <"fnp">


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

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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

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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.

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    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.


<"c2s2">

2. THE PRESENT AGRARIAN PROGAMME OF THE R.S.D.L.P.

    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 <"fnp258">


    * 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.

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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

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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 Vendée,[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. <"fnp260">


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

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    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.


<"c2s3">

3. THE CHIEF ARGUMENT OF THE MUNICIPALISERS TESTED BY EVENTS

    The above-quoted categorical assertions of John and Kostrov were made in April 1906, i.e., on the eve of the First Duma.<"p261"> 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 <"fnp261">


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

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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

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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,

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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

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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.

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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- <"fnp266">


    * 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.

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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.


<"c2s4">

4. THE AGRARIAN PROGRAMME OF THE PEASANTRY

    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,

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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.

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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, <"fnp269">


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

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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).

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    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** <"fnp271">


    * 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!

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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.


<"c2s5">

5. MEDIEVAL LANDOWNERSHIP
AND THE BOURGEOIS REVOLUTION

    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.

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    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. <"fnp273">


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

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    "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

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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]

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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.


<"c2s6">

6. WHY HAD THE SMALL PROPRIETORS IN RUSSIA
TO DECLARE IN FAVOUR OF NATIONALISATION?

    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]

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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-

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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,

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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.)

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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

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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 <"fnp281">


    * 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.)

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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

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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.

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<"c2s7">

7. THE PEASANT'S AND THE NARODNIKS ON THE
NATIONALISATION OF ALLOTMENT LAND

    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. <"fnp284">


    * 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.)

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    "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.

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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). <"fnp286">


    * "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.

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    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"!


<"c2s8">

8. THE MISTAKE MADE BY M. SHANIN
AND OTHER ADVOCATES OF DIVISION

    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 <"fnp287">


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

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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 <"fnp288">


    * 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.)

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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.)

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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-

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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-

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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 re-

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novation 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.

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<"c3">

C H A P T E R  III

THE THEORETICAL BASIS
OF NATIONALISATION AND OF MUNICIPALISATION

    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."

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<"c3s1">

1. WHAT IS NATIONALISATION OF THE LAND?

    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

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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

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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.

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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]

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    "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 <"fnp">


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

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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.


<"c3s2">

2. PYOTR MASLOV CORRECTS KARL MARX'S ROUGH NOTES[119]

    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.)

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    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]

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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

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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 <"fnp303">


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

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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]

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    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.

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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-

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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.


<"c3s3">

3. IS IT NECESSARY TO REFUTE MARX
IN ORDER TO REFUTE THE NAROBNIKS?

    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!

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    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

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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 <"fnp309">


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

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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

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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."


<"c3s4">

4. IS THE REPUDIATION OF ABSOLUTE RENT CONNECTED
WITH THE PROGRAMME OF MUNICIPALISATION?

    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).

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    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?

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    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.[*]


<"c3s5">

5. CRITICISM OF PRIVATE LANDOWNERSHIP
FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE DEVELOPMENT
OF CAPITALISM

    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- <"fnp313">


    * 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.

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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

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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?

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    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.


<"c3s6">

6. THE NATIONALISATION OF THE LAND
AND "MONEY" RENT

    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.

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    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., corvée; 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

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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.


<"c3s7">

7. UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS CAN NATIONALISATION
BE BROUGHT ABOUT?

    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.

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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- <"fnp319">


    * 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).

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many 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-

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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

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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.

 

8. DOES NATIONALISATION MEAN TRANSITION TO DIVISION?

    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-

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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-

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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.

 

NOTES

  <"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

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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-

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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.

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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

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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.

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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]

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  <"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]