Agrarian Prog . . . First Russian Revolution - pt. 2

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V. I. Lenin



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

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

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

Vol. 13, pp. 217-431.

Translated from the Russian by Bernard Isaacs
Edited by Clemens Dutt

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


 C H A P T E R  IV


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As to the substance of this famous question of "guarantees against restoration", we must make the following observation, Since we can have no guarantees against restoration, to raise that question in connection with the agrarian programme means diverting the attention of the audience, clogging their minds, and introducing confusion into the discussion. We are not in a position to call forth at our own will a socialist revolution in the West, which is the only absolute guarantee against restoration in Russia. But a relative and conditional "guarantee", i.e., one that would raise the greatest possible obstacles to restoration, lies in carrying out the revolution in Russia in the most far-reaching, consistent, and determined manner possible. The more far-reaching the revolution is, the more difficult will it be to restore the old order and the more gains will remain even if restoration does take place. The more deeply the old soil is ploughed up by revolution, the more difficult will it be to restore the old order. In <"fnp327">

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And here are Plekhanov's Cossacks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    If, however, you approach the present programme from the standpoint of possible arbitrary action by the central authority, etc. (a standpoint which the vulgar advocates of municipalisation often fall back upon), you will see that the present programme is confused and vague in the extreme. It suffices to point out that the present programme transfers "to the possession of the democratic state" both the "lands required for colonisation", and "forest and water areas of national importance". Obviously, these terms are very indefinite and provide an abundant source for conflicts. Take, for instance, Mr. Kaufman's latest contribution in Volume II of The Agrarian Question, published by the Cadets ("On Norms of Supplementary Allotments"), in which a computation is made of the land reserves available in 44 gubernias for the purpose of additional allotments for the peasants at the highest norms of 1861. The "non-allotment distributable land" is first estimated with out forest land and then with forest land (over 25 per cent of forest). Who is to determine which of these forests are of "national importance"? Only the central state authority, of course. Hence, it is in the hands of this central state authority that the Menshevik programme places a gigantic

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area of 57,000,000 dessiatins in 44 gubernias (according to Kaufman). Who is to determine what the lands available for "colonisation" are? Only the bourgeois central authority, of course. It alone will determine, for instance, whether the 1,500,000 dessiatins of "army lands" of the Orenburg Cossacks, or the 2,000,000 dessiatins of the Don Cossack lands can or cannot serve as "colonisation lands" for the whole country (because the Cossacks have 52.7 dessiatins per household). Clearly, the question is not as it is put by Maslov, Plekhanov, and Co. It is not a question of protecting the local regional self-governing bodies from the encroachments of the central government by means of paper resolutions; that cannot be done either with paper, or even with guns; for the trend of capitalist development is towards centralisation, towards the concentration of such a force in the hands of the central bourgeois government as the "regions" will never be able to stand up against. The point is that one and the same class should have political power both centrally and locally, that democracy should be quite consistently applied in both cases to an absolutely equal degree, a degree sufficient to ensure the complete supremacy of, let us say, the majority of the population, i.e., the peasantry. That alone can serve as a real guarantee against "excessive" encroachments of the centre, against infringements of the "lawful" rights of the regions. All other guarantees invented by the Mensheviks are downright foolishness; they are foolscaps donned by provincial philistines to protect themselves from the power of the central authority which has been concentrated by capitalism. That is exactly the kind of philistine foolishness that Novosedsky is guilty of, as also the whole of the present programme, which conceives the possibility of complete democracy in local self-government and a "lower" degree of democracy at the centre. Incomplete democracy means that power at the centre is not in the hands of the majority of the population, not in the hands of those elements which predominate in the local self-governing bodies; and that means not only the possibility but the inevitability of conflicts, out of which, by virtue of the laws of economic development, the non-democratic central authority must emerge victorious!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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overthrow the central authority, or to change it radically; all we have to do is simply to secure the "municipalisation" of all the big items of revenue, and the trick is done. Oh, wiseacres!

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

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

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

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

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avoid that difficult "choice" by fixing the attention of the masses on the plea: "if only we could make the Zemstvos a little more democratic", is the most vulgar philistinism.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (2) But the bourgeois nature of both possible outcomes of the agrarian revolution by no means implies that Social-Democrats can be indifferent to the struggle for one or the other outcome. It is undoubtedly in the interests of the working class to give the most vigorous support to the peasant revolution. More than that: it must play the leading part in that revolution. In fighting for a favourable outcome of the revolution we must spread among the masses a very clear wlderstanding of what keeping to the landlord path of agrarian evolution means, what incalculable hardships (arising not from capitalism, but from the inadequate development of capitalism) it has in store for all <"fnp347">

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

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

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

    (3) Since we set ourselves the task of assisting the peasant revolution, we must clearly see the difficulty of the task and realise that the political and agrarian changes must correspond. Otherwise we shall get a scientifically unsound and, in practice, reactionary combination of agrarian "optimism" (confiscation plus municipalisation or <"fnp348">

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

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

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

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

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

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

    By failing to include that explanation in our agrarian programme we have given the people the false idea that confiscation of the landlords' estates is possible without the complete democratisation of the central government. We have sunk to the level of the opportunist petty bourgeoisie, i.e., the "Popular Socialists"; for in both Dumas it so happened that their programme (the Bill of the 104) as well as ours linked agrarian changes with democratisation only of the local institutions. Such a view is philistine

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obtuseness, of which the events of June 3, 1907, and the Third Duma should have cured many people, the Social-Democrats above all.



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

    Every peasant revolution directed against medievalism, when the whole of the social economy is of a capitalist nature, is a bourgeois revolution. But not every bourgeois revolution is a peasant revolution. If, in a country where agriculture is organised on fully capitalist lines, the capitalist farmers, with the aid of the hired labourers, were to carry out an agrarian revolution by abolishing the private ownership of land, for instance, that would be a bourgeois revolution, but by no means a peasant revolution. Or if a revolution took p]ace in a country where the agrarian system had become so integrated with the capitalist economy in general that that system could not be abolished without abolishing capitalism, and if, say, that revolution put the industrial bourgeoisie in power in place of the autocratic bureaucracy -- that would be a bourgeois revolution, but by no means a peasant revolution. In other words, there can be a bourgeois country without a peasantry, and there can be a bourgeois revolution in such a country without a peasantry. A bourgeois revolution may take place in a country with a considerable peasant population and yet not be a peasant revolution; that is to say, it is a revolution which does not revolutionise the agrarian relations that especially affect the peasantry, and does not bring the peasantry to the fore as a social force that is at all

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active in creating the revolution. Consequently, the general Marxist concept of "bourgeois revolution" contains certain propositions that are definitely applicable to any peasant revolution that takes place in a country of rising capitalism, but that general concept says nothing at all about whether or not a bourgeois revolution in a given country must (in the sense of obiective necessity) become a peasant revolution in order to be completely victorious.

    The principal source of the error in the tactical line pursued by Plekhanov and his Menshevik followers during the first period of the Russian revolution (i.e., during 1905-07) is their complete failure to understand this correlation between bourgeois revolution in general, and a peasant bourgeois revolution. The furious outcry[*] usually raised in Menshevik literature over the Bolsheviks' alleged failure to grasp the bourgeois character of the present revolution is merely a screen to cover the Mensheviks' own shallow thinking. As a matter of fact, not a single Social-Democrat of either group, either before or during the revolution, has ever departed from the Marxist views concerning the bourgeois nature of the revolution; only "simplifiers", those who vulgarise disagreements between the groups, could affirm the contrary. But some Marxists, namely, the Right wing, have all the time made shift with a general, abstract, stereotyped conception of the bourgeois revolution, and failed to perceive the special feature of the present bourgeois revolution, namely, that it is a peasant revolution. It was quite natural and inevitable for that wing of Social-Democracy to fail to understand the source of the counter-revolutionary nature of our bourgeoisie in the Russian revolution, to determine clearly which classes are capable of achieving complete victory in this revolution, and to fall into the view that in a bourgeois revolution the proletariat must support the bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie must be the chief actor in the bourgeois revolution, that the sweep of the revolution would be weakened if the bourgeoisie deserted it, and so on and so forth. <"fnp352">

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

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    The Bolsheviks, on the other hand, ever since the beginning of the revolution in the spring and summer of 1905, when the confusion of Bolshevism with boycottism, boyevism, etc., that is now so prevalent among the ignorant or stupid, was still out of the question, clearly pointed to the source of our tactical differences by singling out the concept of peasant revolution as one of the varieties of bourgeois revolution, and by defining the victory of the peasant revolution as "the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry". Since then Bolshevism won its greatest ideological victory in international Social-Democracy with the publication of Kautsky's article on the driving forces of the Russian revolution ("The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Russian Revolution", Russian translation edited and with a preface by N. Lenin, published by Novaya Epokha Publishers, Moscow, 1907). As is known, at the beginning of the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in 1903, Kautsky sided with the latter. In 1907, having watched the course of the Russian revolution, on the subject of which he wrote repeatedly, he at once saw the mistake made by Plekhanov, who had sent him his famous questionnaire. In that questionnaire, Plekhanov inquired only about the bourgeois nature of the Russian revolution, without specifying the concept of peasant bourgeois revolution, without going beyond general formulas such as "bourgeois democracy", "bourgeois opposition parties". In answering Plekhanov Kautsky rectified that mistake by pointing out that the bourgeoisie was not the driving force of the Russian revolution, that in that sense the days of bourgeois revolutions had passed, that "a lasting community of interests during the whole period of the revolutionary struggle exists only between the proletariat and the peasantry" (op. cit., pp. 30-31), and that "it [this lasting community of interests] should be made the hasis of the whole of the revolutionary tactics of Russian Social-Democracy" (ibid., p. 31). The underlying principles of Bolshevik tactics as against those of the Mensheviks are here clearly expressed. Plekhanov is terribly angry about this in his New Letters, etc. But his annoyance only makes the impotence of his argument more obvious. The crisis through which we are passing is "a bourgeois crisis for all

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that", Plekhanov keeps on repeating and he calls the Bolsheviks "ignoramuses" (p. 127). That abuse is an expression of his impotent rage. Plekhanov has failed to grasp the difference between a peasant bourgeois revolution and a non-peasant bourgeois revolutiom By saying that Kautsky "exaggerates the speed of development of our peasant" (p. 131), and that "the difference of opinion between us [between Plekhanov and Kautsky] can only be one of nuances" (p. 131), etc., Plekhanov resorts to the most miserable and cowardly shuffling, for anyone at all capable of thinking can see that the very opposite is the case. It is not a question of "nuances" or of the speed of development, or of the "seizure" of power that Plekhanov shouts about, but of the basic view as to which classes are capable of being the driving force of the Russian revolution. Voluntarily or involuntarily, Plekhanov and the Mensheviks areinevitably falling into a position of opportunist support to the bourgeoisie, for they fail to grasp the counter-revolutionary nature of the bourgeoisie in a peasant bourgeois revolution. The Bolsheviks from the outset defined the general and the basic class conditions for the victory of this revolution as the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. Kautsky arrived at substantially the same view in his article, "The Driving Forces", etc., and he repeated it in the second edition of his Social Revolution, in which he says: "It [the victory of Russian Social-Democracy in the near future] can only come as the result of a coalition [einer Koalition ] between the proletariat and the peasantry." (Die soziale Revolution, von K. Kautsky, Zweite Auflage. Berlin, 1907, S. 62.) (Space does not permit us to deal with another addition Kautsky made to the second edition, in which he sums up the lessons of December 1905, a summing up which differs radically from Menshevism.)

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

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

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



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

    "The division of the land," says John, "would in some places revive the old agrarian relations. In some regions the distribution would be as much as 200 dessiatins per household, so that in the Urals, for instance, we would create a class of new landlords." That is a sample of an argument which denounces its own system! And it was that kind of argument that decided the issue at the Menshevik Congress! It is municipalisation, and it alone, that is guilty of the sin referred to here, for it alone rivets the land to individual regions. It is not the division of land that is to blame, as John thinks, thus falling into a ridiculous logical error, but the provincialism of the municipalisers. In any case, according to the Menshevik programme, the mu-

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nicipalised lands in the Urals would remain the "property" of the people of the Urals. That would mean the creation of a new, reactionary, Cossack stratum -- reactionary because privileged small farmers having ten times more land than all the rest of the farmers could not but resist the peasant revolution, and could not but defend the privileges of private landownership. It only remains for us to assume that on the basis of that same programme, the "democratic state" might declare the tens of millions of dessiatins of Ural forests to be "forests of national importance", or "colonisation lands" (does not the Cadet Kaufman apply that term to the forest land in the Urals, within the 25 per cent limit, which means 21,000,000 dessiatins in the Vyatka, Ufa, and Perm gubernias?), and on that ground become their "owner". Not flexibility, but confusion, pure an simple, is the distinguishing feature of municipalisation.

    Now let us see what carrying out municipalisation in the very process of the revolution means. Here we meet with attacks on my "revolutionary peasant committees" as a class institution. "We are for non-class institutions," the Mensheviks argued at Stockholm, playing at liberalism. Cheap liberalism! It did not occur to our Mensheviks that in order to introduce local self-government of a non-class character it is necessary to defeat the privileged class against which the struggle is being waged and to wrest the power from it. It is just "in the very process of the revolution", as John puts it, i.e., in the course of the struggle to drive out the landlords, in the course of those "revolutionary actions of the peasantry " that are mentioned also in the Mensheviks' resolution on-tactics, that peasant committees can be set up. The introduction of local self-government of a non-class character is provided for in our political programme; it is bound to be established as the organisation of administration after the victory, when the whole of the population will have been compelled to accept the new order. If the words of our programme about "supporting the revolutionary actions of the peasantry, including the confiscation of the landlords' lands" is not mere phrase-mongering, then we must think about organising the masses for those "actions"! Yet that is entirely overlooked in the Menshevik programme. That programme is so

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drawn up as to be easily and wholly converted into a parliamentary Bill, like the Bills proposed by the bourgeois parties, which either (like the Cadets) hate all "actions", or opportunistically shirk the task of systematically assisting and organising such actions (like the Popular Socialists). But a programme built on such lines is unworthy of a workers' party which speaks of a peasant agrarian revolution, a party which pursues the aim not of reassuring the big bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy (like the Cadets), not of reassuring the petty bourgeoisie (like the Popular Socialists), but exclusively of developing the consciousness and initiative of the broad masses in the course of their struggle against feudal Russia.

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

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must fight for a new state structure, they must serve as the instrument of the full power of the people (or the sovereignty of the people), and as the means for securing it.

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



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

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

    Larin, in unison with Kostrov, says in his comments on the Menshevik programme: "Perhaps in some areas the people's local self-governing bodies will themselves be able to run these large estates, as the horse tramways or slaughter-houses are run by municipal councils, and then all [!!] the profits obtained from them will be placed at the disposal

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of the whole [!] population"[*] -- and not of the local bourgeoisie, my dear Larin?

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

    The bourgeois intelligentsia of the West, like the English Fabians, elevate municipal socialism to a special "trend" precisely because it dreams of social peace, of class conciliation, and seeks to divert public attention away from the fundamental questions of the economic system as a whole, and of the state structure as a whole, to minor questions of local self-government. In the sphere of questions in the first category, the class antagonisms stand out most sharply; that is the sphere which, as we have shown, affects the very foundations of the class rule of the bourgeoisie. Hence it is in that sphere that the philistine, reactionary utopia of bringing about socialism piecemeal is particularly hopeless. Attention is diverted to the sphere of minor local questions, being directed not to the question of the class rule of the bourgeoisie, nor to the question of the chief instruments of that rule, but to the question of distributing the crumbs thrown by the rich bourgeoisie for the "needs of the population ". Naturally, since attention is focused on such questions as the spending of paltry sums (in comparison with the total surplus value and total state expenditure of the bourgeoisie), which the bourgeoisie itself is willing to set aside for public health (Engels pointed out in The Housing Question that the bourgeoisie itself<"p359"> is afraid of the spread of epidemic diseases in the towns[132]), or for education (the bourgeoisie must have trained workers able to adapt themselves to a high technical level!), and so on, it is possible, in the sphere of such minor questions, to hold <"fnp359">

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

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

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

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

    "Municipal socialism" means socialism in matters of local government. Anything that goes beyond the limits of local interests, beyond the limits of state administralion, i.e., anything that affects the main sources of revenue of the ruling classes and the principal means of securing their rule, anything that aflects not the administration of the state, but the structure of the state, thereby goes beyond

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the sphere of "municipal socialism". But our wiseacres evade this acute national issue, this question of the land, which affects the vital interests of the ruling classes in the most direct way, by relegating it to the sphere of "local government questions". In the West they municipalise horse trams and slaughter-houses, so why should we not municipalise the best half of all the lands -- argues the Russian petty intellectual. That would serve both in the event of restoration and in the event of incomplete democratisation of the central government!

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

    It is here that we see the difference between petty-bourgeois and proletarian methods in the bourgeois revolution. The petty bourgeoisie, even the most radical -- our Party of Socialist-Revolutionaries included -- anticipates that after the bourgeois revolution there will be no class struggle, but universal prosperity and peace. Therefore, it "builds its nest" in advance, it introduces plans for petty-bourgeois reforms in the bourgeois revolution, talks about various "norms" and "regulations" with regard to landownership, about strengthening the labour principle and small farming,

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etc. The petty-bourgeois method is the method of building up relations making for the greatest possible degree of social peace. The proletarian method is exclusively that of clearing the path of all that is medieval, clearing it for the class struggle. Therefore, the proletarian can leave it to the small proprietors to discuss "norms" of landownership; the proletarian is interested only in the abolition of the landlord latifundia, the abolition of private ownership of land, that last barrier to the class struggle in agricuture. In the bourgeois revolution we are interested not in petty-bourgeois reformism, not in a future "nest" of tranquillised small farmers, but in the conditions for the proletarian struggle against all petty-bourgeois tranquillity on a bourgeois basis.

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

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

    Naturally, the opportunism of the intelligentsia in the workers' party takes a different line. Instead of the broad revolutionary programme of bourgeois revolution, attention is focused on a petty-bourgeois utopia: to secure local democracy with incomplete democratisation at the centre, to secure for petty reformism a little corner of municipal activity away from great "turmoil", and to evade the extra-

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ordinarily acute conflict over the land by following the recipe of the anti-Semites, i.e., by relegating an important national issue to the domain of petty, local questions.



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

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

    "Perhaps all the confiscated land, or even all the land in general, will be declared the property of the state as a whole and will be turned over to the local self-governing bodies to be distributed gratis [??] for the use of all who are actually cultivating it, without, of course, the compulsory introduction throughout the whole of Russia of equalised land tenure, and without prohibiting the employment of hired lahour. Such a solution of the problem, as we have seen, best secures the immediate interests of the proletariat as well as the general interests of the socialist movement, and will help to increase the productivity of labour, which ie the fundamental, vital question for Russia. Therefore, the Social-Democrats should advocate and carry out an

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agrarian reform [?] precisely of that character. It will be achieved when, at the highest point of development of the revolution, the conscious elements of social development are strong" (p. 103. Our italics).

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

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

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

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

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that on the question of "the purpose for which Social-Democrats propose the confiscation of capitalist estates", there is the decision of the Stockholm Congress.

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

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

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

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

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

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


C H A P T E R  V


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

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with the conditions of the struggle and with the conditions of social evolution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In the programme of the Black Hundreds and the Octobrists there is not even a hint about defending pre-capitalist forms of farming, as, for example, by vaunting patriarchal agriculture, and so forth. Defence of the village commune, which until quite recently had ardent champions among the higher bureaucracy and the landlords, has given place to bitter hostility towards it. The Black Hundreds fully take the stand of capitalist development and definitely depict a programme that is economically progressive, European; this needs to be specially emphasised, because a vulgar and simplified view of the nature of the reactionary policy of the landlords is very widespread among us. The liberals often depict the Black Hundreds as clowns and fools, but it must be said that this description is far more applicable to the Cadets. Our reactionaries, however, are distinguished by their extremely pronounced class-consciousness. They know perfectly well what they want, where they are going, and on what forces they can count. They do not betray a shadow of half-heartedness or irresolution (at all events in the Second Duma; in the First there was "bewilderment" -- among the Bobrinskys!). They are clearly seen to be connected with a very definite class, which is accustomed to command, which correctly judges the conditions necessary for preserving its rule in a capitalist environment, and brazenly defends its interests even if that entails the rapid extinction, degradation, and eviction of millions of peasants. The Black-Hundred programme is reactionary not because it seeks to perpetuate any pre-capitalist relations or system (in that respect all the par-

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ties of the period of the Second Duma already, in essence, take the stand of recognising capitalism, of taking it for granted), but because it stands for the Junker type of capitalist development in order to strengthen the power and to increase the incomes of the landlords, in order to place the edifice of autocracy upon a new and stronger foundation. There is no contradiction between what these gentlemen say and what they do; our reactionaries, too, are "businessmen", as Lassalle said of the German reactionaries in contrast to the liberals.

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

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

    Such was the use made of Plekhanov's "restoration of Muscovy Rus"! Nor is Vetchinin the only one to harp on this string. In the First Duma, the landlord N. Lvov, who was elected as a Cadet and then went over to the Right, and after the dissolution of the First Duma negotiated with Stolypin for a place in the Ministry -- that personage

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put the question in exactly the same way. "The astonishing thing about the Bill of the 42," he said concerning the Bill that the Cadets introduced in the First Duma, "is that it bears the impress of the same old bureaucratic despotism which seeks to put everything on an equal level" (12th session, May 19, 1906, pp. 479-80). He, quite in the spirit of Maslov, "stood up for " the non-Russian nationalities: "How are we to subordinate to it [equalisation] the whole of Russia, including Little Russia, Lithuania, Poland, and the Baltic region?" (479.) "In St. Petersburg," he warned, "you will have to set up a gigantic Land Office . . . and maintain a staff of officials in every corner of the country" (480).

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

    Of course, the hypocrisy of these outcries about bureaucracy is most glaring, for the excellent idea of setting up local land committees to be elected by universal, direct, and equal suffrage by secret ballot was advanced by the very

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

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

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

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

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

    Like a true bureaucrat, Kutler dealt in particular detail with the question of different norms of "allotment" to the peasants. Not backed by any compact class, this liberal intellectual and bureaucrat playing at liberalism evades the question of how much land the landlords have and how much can be taken. He prefers to talk about "norms" in order, on the pretext of raising the question to the state level, to obscure the issue, to conceal the fact that the Cadets propose that landlord economy be retained. "Even the government," said Mr. Kutler, "has taken the path of extending peasant land tenure" (734), so there is nothing infeasible about the Cadets' proposal, which is of the same bureaucratic type! By insisting on what is practical and feasible, this Cadet, of course, throws a veil over the fact that his criterion is whether it is possible to secure the landlords' consent, in other words, to adapt his plan

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to their interests, to pander to the Black Hundreds under the guise of a lofty striving for the conciliation of classes. "I think, gentlemen," said Kutler, "that it is possible to envisage the political conditions under which a Bill for the nationalisation of the land could acquire the force of law, but I cannot envisage in the immediate future the political conditions under which that law could really be put into eflect" (733). To put it bluntly, it is possible to envisage the overthrow of the rule of the Black-Hundred landlords, but I cannot envisage that and, therefore, I adapt myself to this rule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thus, on the extremely important question of the actual terms of the Cadet proposal for "compulsory alienation", two Cadets say different things, swing from one side to another under the blows of the Left parties which bring to light what the Cadets wanted to keep secret! First, Mr. Shingaryov says: "I do not know"; then: "I agree with the Left"; and then: "a Bill within the next few days". Mr. Tatarinov says: "Now, as before, we are categorically opposed". And he adds arguments to the effect that the Duma must not be split up into a thousand Dumas, that the settlement of the agrarian question must not be postponed until political reforms are carried out, until universal, etc., suffrage is introduced. But that is just another evasion. The point at issue is not the moment when a particular measure is to he carried out: the Left members of the Second Duma could have no doubts whatever on that score. The point is: what are the Cadets' real plans ? Who is to compel whom in their scheme for "compulsory alienation"? Are the landlords to

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compel the peasants, or are the peasants to compel the landlords? This question can be answered only by the composition of the land committees. The Cadets' view of what this composition should be was set forth in Milyukov's leading article in Rech, in Kutler's Bill, and in Chuprov's article (quoted above)[*]; but in the Duma, the Cadets kept silent about it, they did not answer the question bluntly put by Yevreinov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Kutler declares that there is no need "radically to reconstruct agrarian relations" (732). Savelyev warns against "touching a mass of interests" and says: "The principle of completely rejecting ownership would scarcely be expedient, and its application may give rise to very big and grave complications, particularly if we bear in mind that

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the big owners with over 50 dessiatins have very much land, namely, 79,440,000 dessiatins" (March 26, 1907, p. 1088 -- the peasant points to the latifundia to prove the necessity of doing away with them; the liberal does so to prove that it is necessary to cringe). Shingalyov thinks it would be "an immense disaster" if the people themselves took the land (1355). Rodichev warbles: "We do not foment class enmity. We would like to forget the past" (632, May 16, 1907). Kapustin follows suit: "Our task is to sow everywhere peace and justice and not to sow and foment class enmity" (1810, April 9). Krupensky is indignant at the speech of the Socialist-Revolutionary Zimin because it was "full of hatred towards the propertied classes" (783, March 19). In short, in condemning the class struggle, the Cadets and the Rights are at one. But the Rights know what they are doing. The preaching of class struggle cannot but be harmful and dangerous to the class against which the struggle is directed. The Rights are faithfully guarding the interests of the feudal landlords. And what of the Cadets? They are waging a struggle -- they say they are waging a struggle! -- they want to "compel" the landlords who are in power, and yet they condemn the class struggle! Did the bourgeoisie that really fought instead of acting as lackeys of the landlords behave in that way, for instance in France? Did not that bourgeoisie call upon the people to fight; did it not foment class enmity? Did it not create a theory of the class struggle?



    Actual Right peasants are to be found in the Second Duma only by way of exception -- Remenchik (Millsk Gubernia) is one, perhaps the only one, who will not hear of any village communes or "land funds" and stoutly defends private ownership (in the First Duma there were many Polish and West-Russian peasants who stood for ownership). But even Remenchik is in favour of alienation "at a fair price" (648), i.e., he in effect turns out to be a Cadet. We place the other "Right peasants" in the Second Duma in a special group because they are-undoubtedly more Left than the Cadets. Take Petrochenko (Vitebsk Gubernia). He begins by saying that he "will defend tsar and country unto death"

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(1614). The Rights applaud. But then he passes on to the question of "land hunger". "You can hold all the debates you like," he says, "but you will never create another world. Therefore you will have to give us this land. One speaker said here that our peasants are backward and ignorant and, therefore, it is useless giving them a lot of land, because it won't be any good to them all the same. To be sure, the land has not been of much good to us up to now, that is to those who have not had any. As for our being ignorant, well, all we are asking for is some land in order, in our stupidity, to grub about in. Personally, I don't think it's dignified for a nobleman to busy himself with the land. It has been said here that private landed property must not be touched because it is against the law. Of course, I agree that the law must be upheld, but to do away with land hunger a law must be passed to make all that lawful. And so that nobody should have any grievance, Deputy Kutler proposed that good terms be offered. Of course, being a wealthy man, he has named a high figure, and we, poor peasants, cannot pay such a price. As for how we should live -- in communes, on separate holdings, or on khutors -- I, for my part, think that everybody should be allowed to live as he finds convenient" (1616).

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

    Take the peasant Shimansky (Minsk Gubernia). "I have come here to defend our faith, tsar, and country and to demand land . . . not by robbery, of course, but in a peaceful way, at a fair value. . . . Therefore, in the name of all the peasants I call upon the landlord members of the Duma to

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come on to this rostrum and say that they are willing to cede land to the peasants at a fair valuation, and then our peasants will, of course, say thank you, and I think our Father the Tsar, will also say thank you. As for those landlords who refuse to do this, I propose that the Duma impose a progressive tax on their land, and undoubtedly they too will yield in time, because they will learn that they have bitten off more than they can chew" (1617).

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

    To show how infinitely wide apart are the representatives of the monarchist peasantry and the representatives of the monarchist bourgeoisie, I shall quote passages from the speech delivered by the "Progressist" Rev. Tikhvinsky, who sometimes spoke in the name of the Peasant Union and Trudovik Group. "Our peasants, in the mass, love the tsar," he said. "How I wish I had the cap of invisibility and could fly on a magic carpet to the foot of the throne and say: Sire, your chief enemy, the chief enemy of the people, is the irresponsible ministry. . . . All that the toiling peasantry demands is the strict application of the principle: 'All

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the land to all the people.' . . . [on the question of redemption payments:] . . . Have no fear, gentlemen of the Right, you can rely on our people not to treat you unfairly." (Voices from the Right : "Thank you! Thank you!") "I now address myself to the spokesman from the Party of People's Freedom. He says that the programme of the Party of People's Freedom is close to that of the peasantry and of the Trudovik Group. No, gentlemen, it is remote from that programme. We heard the speaker say: 'Our Bill may be less just, but it is more practical'. Gentlemen, justice is sacrificed to practical expediency!" (789.)

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

    When one reads this speech of a peasant who "does not engage in politics" it becomes palpably clear that the implementation not only of Stolypin's but also of the Cadets' agrarian programme requires decades of systematic violence against the peasant masses, of systematic flogging, exter-

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mination by torture, imprisonment, and exile of all peasants who think and try to act freely. Stolypin is aware of this and is acting accordingly. The Cadets, with the obtuseness characteristic of liberal bureaucrats and professors, are either unaware of it or else hypocritically conceal it, "shamefacedly remain silent" about it, just as they do about the punitive expeditions of 1861 and of subsequent years. If this systematic and unchecked violence is shattered by some internal or external obstacle, the honest non-party peasant who "does not engage in politics" will convert Russia into a peasant republic.

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

    Take the non-party peasant Afanasyev, who appraises Cossack "municipalisation" not from the Cossack point of view, but from that of "almost a newcomer". "In the first place, gentlemen, I must say that I represent the peasants of the Don region, numbering over a million, and yet I was the only one elected. That alone shows that we are almost newcomers there. . . . I am infinitely surprised: does St. Petersburg feed the countryside? No, on the contrary. In the past I worked in St. Petersburg for twenty odd years, and I noticed even then that it was not St. Petersburg that fed the countryside, but the countryside that fed St. Petersburg. And I notice the same thing now. All this beautiful architecture, all these edifices and buildings, all these fine houses, they are all built by peasants, as they were twenty-five years ago. . . . Purishkevich gave the example of a Cossack who has over twenty dessiatins of land, and he

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is also starving. . . . Why didn't he tell us where that land is? There is land, there is land in Russia, too, but who owns it? If he knew there is so much land there, but did not say where, it shows that he is an unjust man; but if he didn't know, he should not have started talking about it. And if he really didn't know, then permit me, gentlemen, to tell him where that land is, how much there is of it, and who owns it. If you reckon it up you will find that in the Don Cossack Region there are 753,546 dessiatins used as private stud-farms. I will also mention the Kalmyk stud-farms, what are called nomad camps; they take up in all 165,708 dessiatins. Then there are 1,055,919 dessiatins temporarily leased by rich people. All that land belongs not to the people Purishkevich mentioned, but to kulaks, to the rich, who oppress us; when they get cattle -- they skin us of half, we have to pay a ruble per dessiatin, another ruble for the animal we plough with, but we have to feed our children, and the Cossack wives and children as well. That is why we are starving." He went on to say that leaseholders get 2,700 dessiatins each for supplying eight horses "for the cavalry"; the peasants could supply more. "I will tell you that I wanted to convince the government that it was making a great mistake in not doing this. I wrote a letter to Selsky Vestnik and asked them to publish it, but they answered that it was not our business to teach the government." Thus, on "municipalised" land transferred to the ownership of a region, the "central undemocratic government" is de facto creating new landlords: municipalisation is, as Plekhanov revealed, a guarantee against restoration. . . .

    "The government opened the doors wide for us to acquire land through the Peasant Bank -- that is the yoke that was put on us in 1861. It wants to make us settle in Siberia . . . but would it not be better to send there the man who owns thousands of dessiatins? Look how many people could live off the land he would leave behind!" (Applause on the Left ; voices from the Right : "That's stale, that's stale.") . . . "During the Japanese war I led my recruits through those [landlord's] lands that I have mentioned here. It took us over forty eight hours to get to the assembly place. The men asked me: 'Where are you taking us?' I answered: 'Against Japan.' 'What for?' 'To defend our country.' Being a soldier myself, I felt it was our duty to defend our country, but the men said: 'This is not our country -- the land belongs to the Lisetskys, Bezulovs, and Podkopailovs. There is nothing here that is ours!' They said things to me that I have been

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unable to wipe out from my heart for more than two years. . . . Consequently, gentlemen . . . to sum up, I must say that as regards all those rights that exist in our Russia, from the princes to the nobles, Cossacks, burghers, not mentioning the word peasant, all must be Russian citizens and have the use of land, all those who till the land, who put their labour into it, who cherish and love it. Work, sweat and benefit from it. But if you do not want to live on the land, if you do not want to till it, if you do not want to put your labour into it, you have no right to benefit from it" (1974) (26th session, 12.1V.1907).

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

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

    That was said by a peasant who, as he himself admitted, owns 60 dessiatins of land. Of course, the idea of abolish-

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ing or of prohibiting wage-labour in capitalist society is childish, but we must scotch wrong ideas at the point where they begin to go wrong, namely, beginning with "socialisation" and the prohibition of wage-labour,[*] and not with nationalisation.

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



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

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

    "We know that these peasants are really the major props of reaction, a reliable prop of the bureaucracy; but in counting on this, the government has made a grave mistake: besides this there will be <"fnp388">

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

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

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

    If Mr. Karavayev were right in essentials, the Marxists could not support the confiscation of the landlords' land in Russia. But Mr. Karavayev is wrong, because the Stolypin "way", by slowing down the development of capitalism -- in comparison with the peasant revolution -- is creating more paupers than proletarians. Karavayev himself said, and rightly, that the Stolypin policy was enriching (not the new, bourgeois elements, not the capitalist farmers, but) the present landlords, half of whose economies were run on feudal lines. In 1895, the price of land sold through the "Peasant" Bank was 51 rubles per dessiatin; but in 1906, the price was 126 rubles. (Karavayev at the 47th session, May 26, 1907, P. 1189.) And Mr. Karavayev's party colleagues, Volk-Karachevsky and Delarov, brought out even more vividly the significance of those figures. Delarov showed that "up to 1905, during the twenty odd years of its existence, the Peasant Bank bought up only 7,500,000 dessiatins"; but between November 3, 1905 and April 1, 1907, it bought up 3,800,000 dessiatins. The price of land was 80 rubles per dessiatin in 1900, 108 rubles in 1902, rising to 109 rubles in 1903, befare the agrarian movement, and before the Russian revolution. Now it is 126 rubles. "While the whole of Russia was suffering heavy loss as a consequence of the Russian revolution, the Russian big landowners were amassing fortunes. During that period they pocketed over 60,000,000 rubles of the people's money" (1220 -- counting 109 rubles as a "fair" price). But Mr. Volk Karachevsky reckons far more correctly in refusing to regard any price as "fair", simply noting that after November

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3,1905, the government paid out to the landlords 52,000,000 rubles on account of land purchased by peasants, and 242,000,000 rubles on its own account; in all, "295,000,000 rubles of the people's money were paid to the landed nobility " (1080. All italics ours). This, of course, is only a fraction of what Junker-bourgeois agrarian evolution is costing Russia; such is the tribute imposed on the growing productive forces for the benefit of the feudal landlords and the bureaucracy! The Cadets too want to preserve this tribute to the landlords for the liberation of Russia's development (redemption payments). The bourgeois farmers' republic, on the other hand, would be compelled to use those sums for developing the productive forces of agriculture under the new system.[*]

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

    On the question of peasant ownership of the land, Mr. Karavayev openly challenged the government's concern for it by putting the question to the peasants: "Gentlemen, peasant deputies, you are the representatives of the people. Your life is the peasants' life, your mind is their mind. When you were leaving, did your constituents complain that they <"fnp390">

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

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

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

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

    We emphatically disagree with that opinion. And we assert on the basis of the statements made by the peasants in the Duma that it contains an element of intellectualist bureaucracy that is alien to the peasants. The peasants do not talk about "norms". Norms are a bureaucratic invention, a hang-over of the feudal Reform of 1861 of accursed memory. Guided by their true class instinct, the peasants place the weight of emphasis on the abolition of landlordism and not on "norms". It is not a question of how much land is "needed". "You will not create another world", as the above-mentioned non-party peasant so aptly expressed it. It is a question of doing away with the oppressive feudal latifundia, which ought to be done away with even if the "norms" are reached without it. The Narodnik intellectual slips into this position: if the "norm" is reached, then, perhaps, there will be no need to touch the landlords. The peasants' line of reasoning is different: "peasants, throw them off your backs " (meaning the landlords), said the peasant Pyanykb

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(S.R.) in the Second Duma (16th session, March 26, 1907, p. 1101). The landlords must be thrown off not because there are not enough "norms" to go round, but because the farmer does not want to be burdened with donkeys and leeches. There is a "big difference" between these two arguments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

    The best speech of all, perhaps, was that of the peasant Kiselyov, a Trudovik, at the 26th session of the Second Duma (April 12, 1907). In contrast to the "state point of view" of the liberal petty bureaucrat, he emphasised the fact that "our government's entire domestic policy, which is actually controlled by the landlords, is directed to keeping the land in the possession of its present owners" (1943). The speaker showed that that was the reason why the people were kept "in abysmal ignorance", and then he went on to deal with the speech delivered by the Octobrist, Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky. "You have, of course, not forgotten the horrible things he said: 'Abandon all idea of increasing the area of peasant landownership. Preserve and support the private owners. Without landlords, our backward and

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ignorant peasant mass would be a flock without a shepherd'. Fellow-peasants, need anything be added to this to make you understand what these gentlemen, our benefactors, are hankering after? Is it not clear to you that they are still longing and sighing for serfdom? No, shepherd gentlemen, enough<"p395">. . . . The only thing I would like is that the words of the noble Rurikovich[138] should be well remembered by the whole backward peasantry of Russia, by the whole of the land of Russia; that these words should burn within the heart of every peasant and light up more brightly than the sun the gulf that lies between us and these uninvited benefactors. Enough, shepherd gentlemen. . . . Enough. What we need is not shepherds, but leaders; and we shall find them without you, and with them we shall find the road to light and truth, the road to the promised land" (1947).

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

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man is born -- it is just that he should live, and to live it is just that he should have the opportunity to earn his bread by his labour." . . .

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

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

    This tirade, so typical of the Trudovik, raises an interesting question: Is there any difference between such speeches

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

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

    It is not surprising that Kiselyov, imbued with deep faith in the peasant revolution and with a desire to serve it, speaks scornfully about the Cadets, about their wish to alienate not all, but only a part of the land, to make the peasants pay for the land, to transfer the matter to "unnamed land institutions", in short, about "the plucked bird which the Party of People's Freedom is offering the peas- <"fnp397">

    * Keinbürger -- petty bourgeois. --Ed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comparing the speeches of the revolutionary peasants in the Second Duma with those of the revolutionary workers, one is struck by the following difference. The former are imbued with a far more spontaneous revolutionary spirit, a passionate desire to destroy the landlord regime immediately, and immediately to create a new system. The peasant is eager to fling himself upon the enemy at once and to strangle him. Among the workers this revolutionary spirit is more abstract, aimed, as it were, at a remoter goal. This difference is quite understandable and legitimate. The peasant is making his, bourgeois, revolution now, at this moment, and does not see its inherent contradictions, he is not even aware that there are such contradictions. The Social-Democratic worker does see them and because he

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sets himself aims of world socialism, cannot make the fate of the working-class movement hinge on the outcome of a bourgeois revolution. Only we must not conclude from this that the worker must support the liberals in the bourgeois revolution. The conclusion to be drawn from it is that, while merging with no other class, the worker must with all his energy help the peasant to carry through this bourgeois revolution to the end.



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

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

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

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

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

    The Cadets link this reactionary aim with methods of solving the agrarian problem (domination of the landlords and the bureaucracy) that make possible stupid bureaucratic restriction and red-tape that will help to enthral the peas-

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ants. The Socialist-Revolutionaries link the reactionary aim with measures that preclude the possibility of bureaucratic restraints (local land committees elected on the basis of universal, etc., suffrage). In the case of the former, what is reactionary is their entire (bureaucratic-landlord) policy in the bourgeois revolution. In the case of the latter, what is reactionary is their petty-bourgeois "socialism", which they mistakenly want to force upon the consistent bourgeois revolution.

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

    Yes, that correctly expresses the conditions for real capitalist production in the Urals in place of the age-old, <"fnp402">

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

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

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

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

    "We say," declared Mushenko, "that proper resettlement, proper dispersion, will be possible only when the land is unfenced, when all the barriers erected by the principle of private ownership of the land are removed. Further, the Minister spoke about the increase in the population of our country. . . . It turned out that for this increase alone [1,600,000] about 3,500,000 dessiatins of land will be needed. He says: Thus, if you have equalised the land, where will you get land

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The representative of Estland Gubernia, the Progressist Jurine, introduced a separate Bill for this gubernia (47th session, May 26, 1907, p. 1210). He spoke in favour of a "compromise" (1213), in favour of "hereditary or perpetual leasing" (1214). "The one who cultivates the land, who makes the best use of it, shall have possession of the land" (ibid.). While demanding compulsory alienation for this purpose, he rejects confiscation of the land (1215). In the First Duma, Cakste (Courland Gubernia) demanded the

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transfer to the peasauts of church (parish) land as well as landlords' land (4th session, May 4, 1906, p. 195). Tenison (Livland Gubernia) agreed to vote for the address, i.e., for compulsory alienation, and expressed the opinion that "all the supporters of the individualisation of the land" (ibid., p. 209) could do this. Kreuzberg (Courland Gubernia), on behalf of the Courland peasants, demanded the "expropriation of the latifundia" and the allotment of land to peasants with little or no land, and, of course, "with right of ownership" (12th session, May 19, 1906, p. 500). Rutli (Livland Gubernia) demanded compulsory alienation, etc. "As regards converting the land into a state stock of distributable land," he said, "our peasants are fully aware that this is a new form of serfdom. Therefore, we must defend small peasant farming and productivity of labour, and protect them from the encroachments of capitalism. Thus, if we convert the land into a state stock of distributable land we shall create capitalism on the largest scale" (497, ibid.). Ozolins (Livland Gubernia), on behalf of the Lettish peasants, spoke in favour of compulsory alienation and private ownership; he was emphatically opposed to the creation of a reserve of state distributable land and was in favour only of local, regional distributable lands (13th session, May 23, 1906, p. 564).

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

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

    The spokesman for the Caucasiau peasants -- besides our Party Social-Democrats, whom we shall speak of later on -- was the above-mentioned Sagatelyan (Erivan Gubernia) who shares the Socialist-Revolutionary standpoint. Ter Avetikyants (Elisavetpol Gubernia), another representative of the "Dashnaktsutyun" Party, spoke in the same strain: "The land must belong to the toilers, i.e., the working people, and to nobody else, on the basis of village commune ownership" (39th session, May 16, 1907, p. 644). "On behalf of all the Caucasian peasants I declare . . . at the de-

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cisive moment, all the Caucasian peasants will go hand in hand with their elder brothers -- the Russian peasants -- and win for themselves land and liberty" (646). Eldarkhanov "on behalf of his constituents -- the natives of the Terek Region -- requests that plunder of the natural wealth be stopped pending the settlement of the agrarian question" (32nd session, May 3, 1907, p. 78). It was the government that was stealing the land, taking the best part of the high land zone, robbing the land of the Kumyk people and laying claim to its minerals (this must have been before the Stockholm lectures of Plekhanov and John on municipalsed land being out of the reach of the undemocratic state power).

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

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

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group is of the opinion that the greatest injustice in the world is the private ownership of the land" (1318).

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

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

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amount of land to be alienated? Although criticising the Cadets, Chizhevsky does not yet realise this.[*]

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

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

    An ingenious way of "purging municipalisation of nationalisation", I must say. To substitute one word for another <"fnp411">

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

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

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

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

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

    The "nationals" stand somewhat aloof from our agrarian question. Many non-Russian nationalities have no independent peasant movement at the heart of the revolution, such as we have. It is quite natural, therefore, that in their <"fnp412">

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

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

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

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

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of this country is due to the really main current of economic evolution). One or the other system must gain the upper hand. Experience will decide that. Our task is to explain to the people what conditions are most favourable for the proletariat and for the toiling masses in a capitalistically developing country.



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

    Thus, this peasant grasped what he found to be the only distinction between the speech of the Social-Democrat and that of the Trudovik, namely, that the former explained the necessity of fighting for power in the state, of "seizing power". He failed to grasp the other distinctions -- they

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

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

    The next speech was delivered by Izmailov, also a worker, who was elected by the peasant curia in Novgorod Gubernia (18th session, March 29, 1907). He replied to the peasant Bogatov, his fellow-deputy from Novgorod, who, in the name of the Novgorod peasants, had agreed to compensation. Izmailov indignantly opposed compensation. He spoke of the terms of the "emancipation" of the Novgorod peasants who, out of ten million dessiatins of arable land,

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

    The Social-Democrat Serov, during the 20th-session, April 2, 1907, mainly criticised the views of the Cadets, as the "representatives of capital" (1492), "representatives of capitalist landownership". He quoted detailed figures showing what redemption meant in 1861 and rejected the "elastic principle" of a fair valuation. Serov, from the Marxist standpoint, gave a faultlessly correct answer to Kutler's argument that it was impossible to confiscate the land without confiscating capital. "We do not at all put forward the argument that the land is nobody's, that the land is not the creation of human hands" (1497). "Having achieved self-consciousness, the proletariat, represented here by the Social-Democratic Party, rejects all forms of exploitation,

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both feudal and bourgeois. As far as the proletariat is concerned, the question which of these two forms of exploitation is more just does not exist; the question always before it is: are the historical conditions ripe for emancipation from exploitation?" (1499.) "According to the calculations of the statisticians, if the land is confiscated, up to 500,000,000 rubles, representing the unearned incomes of the landlords, will pass to the people. The peasants will, of course, use this income to improve their farms, to expand production, and to increase consumption" (1498).

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

    Ozol's speech at the 39th session (May 16, 1907) is an example of the arguments, unworthy of Marxists, to which some of our Social-Democrats have been driven by Maslov's famous "criticism" of Marx's theory of rent and by his corresponding distortion of the concept of nationalisation of the land. Ozol argued against the S.R.'s as follows: Their "Bill is hopeless, in my opinion, for it proposes to

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abolish private owneship of the means of production, in this case of the land, while preserving private ownership of factory buildings, and not only of factory buildings, but also of the dwellings and structures. On page 2 of the Bill we read that all the buildings erected on the land, and exploited on capitalist lines, are to remain private property; but every private owner will say: Be so good as to pay all the expenses for the nationalised lands, for paving the streets, and so forth, and I will receive rent from these houses. This is not nationalisation, but simply an easier means of receiving capitalist income in the most developed capitalist form" (667).

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

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

    Tsereteli's criticism of the Right deputies at the beginning of his speech was quite correct from the political angle. His remarks about the charlatans of liberalism, who were trying to scare the people with the bogey of upheavals like the French Revolution, were magnificent. "He [Shingaryov] forgets that it was after the confiscation of the landlords' estates and because of it that France was regenerated for a new and vigorous life" (1228). Quite correct too was Tsereteli's chief slogan: "the complete abolition of landlordism and the complete liquidation of the landlord bureaucratic regime" (1224). But as soon as he proceeded to deal with the Cadets, the erroneous position of Menshevism,

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made itself felt. "The principle of compulsory alienation of the land," said Tsereteli, "is, objectively, the principle of the movement for liberation, but not all those who stand for this principle are aware of, or want to admit, all the necessary implications of this principle" (1225). That is the fundamental view of Menshevism, namely, that the "watershed" of the major political divisions in our revolution runs right of the Cadets and not left, as we believe. That this view is wrong is abundantly made clear by Tsereteli's lucid formula, for after the experience of 1861 it is beyond dispute that compulsory alienation is possible together with the predominance of the landlords' interests, with the preservation of their rule, with the imposition of a new form of bondage. Still more fallacious was Tsereteli's statement that "on the question of the forms of land tenure, we [Social-Democrats] are farther removed from them" (the Narodniks) than from the Cadets (1230). The speaker then went on to criticise labour and subsistence "norms". In this he was a thousand times right, but the stand taken by the Cadets on this question is not a bit better than that of the Trudoviks, for the Cadets misuse "norms" far more. That is not all. The fuss the Cadets are making about the stupid "norms" is a result of their bureaucratic outlook and of their tendency to betray the peasants. As for the peasants, "norms" were brought to them from outside by the Narodnik intellectuals; and we have seen above, from the example of the deputies in the First Duma, Chizhevsky and Poyarkov, how trenchantly the practical people from the rural districts criticise all "norms". Had the Social-Democrats explained this to the peasant deputies, had they moved an amendment to the Trudovik Bill repudiating norms, had they theoretically explained the significance of nationalisation, which has nothing in common with "norms", they, the Social-Democrats, would have become the leaders of the peasant revolution as against the liberals. The stand taken by Menshevism, however, is that of subordinating the proletariat to liberal influence. It was particularly strange to say in the Second Duma that we Social-Democrats are farther removed from the Narodniks, since the Cadets declared in favour of restricting the sale and mortgaging of land!

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

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

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

    Sum and substance of the entire debate on the agrarian question in the Second Duma: the Right landlords displayed the clearest understanding of their class interests, the most distinct conception of both the economic and political conditions needed for the preservation of their class rule in bourgeois Russia. In effect, the liberals aligned themselves with these landlords and sought to betray the

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peasants to them by the most despicable and hypocritical methods. The Narodnik intellectuals introduced in the peasant programmes a touch of bureaucracy and philistine moralising. The peasants, in the most vigorous and forthright manner, expressed the spontaneous revolutionariness of their struggle against all the survivals of medievalism, and against all forms of medieval landownership, although they lacked a sufficiently clear conception of the political conditions of this struggle and naïvely idealised the "promised land" of bourgeois freedom. The bourgeois nationals aligned themselves with the peasants' struggle more or less timidly, being greatly imbued with the narrow views and prejudices that are engendered by the insularity of the small nationalities. The Social-Democrats resolutely championed the cause of the peasant revolution and explained the class character of the present state power, but they were unable to lead the peasant revolution consistently owing to the erroneous character of the Party's agrarian programme.



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

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

    Ten and a half miIlion peasant households in European Russia own 75,000,000 dessiatins of land. Thirty thousand, chiefly noble, but partly also upstart, landlords each own over 500 dessiatins -- altogether 70,000,000 dessiatins. Such is the main background of the picture. Such are the main reasons for the predominance of feudal landlords in the agricultural system of Russia and, consequently, in the Russian state generally, and in the whole of Russian life. The owners of the latifundia are feudal landlords in the economic sense of the term: the basis of their landownership was created by the history of serfdom, by the history of land-grabbing by the nobility through the centuries. The basis of their present methods of farming is the labour-

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service system, i.e., a direct survival of the corvée, cultivation of the land with the implements of the peasants and by the virtual enslavement of the small tillers in an endless variety of ways: winter hiring, annual leases, half-share métayage, leases based on labour rent, bondage for debt, bondage for cut-off lands, for the use of forests, meadows, water, and so on and so forth, ad infinitum. Capitalist development in Russia has made such strides during the last half-century that the preservation of serfdom in agriculture has become absolutely impossible, and its abolition has assumed the forms of a violent crisis, of a nation-wide revolution. But the abolition of serfdom in a bourgeois country is possible in two ways.

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

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Kolupayevs: Enrichissez-vous ! -- enrich yourselves! We shall make it possible for you to gain a hundred rubles for every ruble, if you will help us to save the basis of our rule under the new conditions. That path of development, if it is to be pursued successfully, calls for wholesale, systematic, unbridled violence against the peasant masses and against the proletariat. And the landlord counter-revolution is hastening to organise that violence all along the line.

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

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

    Such a path of development requires not only the abolition of landlordism. For the rule of the feudal landlords through the centuries has left its imprint on all forms of landownership in the country, on the peasant allotments as well as upon the holdings of the settlers in the relatively free borderlands: the whole colonisation policy of the autocracy is permeated with the Asiatic interference of a hide-

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

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

    The expression of this economic necessity is the nationalisation of the land, the abolition of private ownership of the land, and the transfer of all the land to the state, <"fnp424">

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

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

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

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completely fulfil its historical mission unless the land is nationalised.

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

    Three circumstances have temporarily deflected the

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

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

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

    Combating the "enthusiasm" of petty-bourgeois socialism should lead not to the contraction, but to the expansion of the scope of the revolution and its aims as determined by the proletariat. It is not "regionalism" that we should encourage, no matter how strong it may be among the backward strata of the petty bourgeoisie or the privileged peasantry (Cossacks), not the exclusiveness of various nationalities -- no, we should make the peasantry see how important unity is if victory is to be achieved, we should advance slogans that will widen the movement, not narrow it, and that will place the responsibility for the incomplete bourgeois revolution on the backwardness of the bourgeoisie and not on the lack of understanding of the proletariat. We should not "adapt" our programme to "local" democracy; we should not invent a rural "municipal socialism", which is absurd and impossible under an undemocratic central government, we should not adjust petty-bourgeois socialist reformism to the bourgeois revolution, but concentrate the attention of the masses on the actual conditions for the victory of the revolution as a bourgeois revolution, on the <"fnp428">

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

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

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

    November-December 1907

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

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

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

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

page 431

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

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

 September 28, 1917

The Author

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

Published according
to the book text  

From Marx
to Mao



Part I
1 thru 3

Notes on
the Text

page 528



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 529

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

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

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

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

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

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

page 530

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

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

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

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

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

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