The Campaign for the Elections to the Fourth Duma

Marx-Engels |  Lenin  | Stalin |  Home Page

V. I. Lenin




    The Cadet Party, which, of all the so-called opposition parties is most favourably situated because of its legal status, has just taken an extremely important step by defining its policy in the election campaign. To judge by the evidence of sources sympathising with the Cadets and most accessible to us, its policy has been defined as follows:

    1. The Cadets will put up their own candidates wherever they are sure of being elected.

    2. Wherever a Cadet candidate cannot expect an absolute majority, the Cadets will support the progressive candidate likely to obtain the highest vote, irrespective of his party affiliation.

    3. Where an opposition candidate has no chance at all, and there is the danger of the election of a Black-Hundred candidate, support may be given to the Octobrist candidate but only on condition that he is a genuine constitutionalist which, strange as it may seem, they occasionally are.

    4. The Cadets will not enter into any election agreements with the Right Octobrists or with the Nationalists and monarchists. In general, while not forgetting the interests of the Party, they will not sacrifice to the latter the supreme interests of the opposition, in the broad sense of the term.

    Such is Cadet policy. Working-class democracy must examine this policy with the greatest attention, analysing its true class substance and its real meaning, which are veiled in the usual conventional phrases. These phrases about "the higher interests of the opposition", etc., are

page 369

the first to strike the eye when we read the Cadet resolutions. The fact of the matter, however, is that the policy of the Cadets has been fully and finally defined as the policy of a Cadet-Octobrist bloc. This fact must be understood, it is the grain that must be separated from the chaff of official liberal catchwords. <"p369">

    (1) Not a word about a bloc with the Lefts, with the democrats. (2) Only blocs with Right Octobrists are forbidden -- with the Gololobov group,[167] who are an insignificant minority among the Octobrists. (3) In practice the phrase about "the higher interests of the opposition in the broad sense of the term" can only mean one thing: that as a general rule blocs with the Octobrists are actually permitted (and recommended!).

    These three conclusions regarding the real policy of the Constitutional-Democratic Party must be firmly borne in mind.

    What do they mean? They mean that the "Left Centre" of the bourgeois liberals has defined its policy as that of a bloc with the Right Centre of the bourgeois so-called liberals -- speaking openly of its hostility to the Black Hundreds, and expressing its hostility to the Lefts, to the forces of democracy, by omitting any reference to any blocs with the Trudoviks, non-party Lefts, and workers' candidates.

    What we said in Zvezda, No. 28, in the article "Two Centres", has been fully confirmed.*

    There are three basic political forces in Russia, and, consequently, three political lines -- the Black Hundreds (representing the class interests of the feudal landowners) and, alongside of and above them, the "bureaucracy"; then, the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, the Left (Cadet) and Right (Octobrist) "Centre"; finally, the bourgeois democrats (the Trudoviks, Narodniks, non-party Lefts) and proletarian democracy. That this, and only this is the case, is confirmed by the entire experience of the first decade of the twentieth century, which was an extremely important and eventful decade.

    It goes without saying that all boundaries in nature and in society are dynamic; they are not static, but, to a certain

    * See pp. 297-99 of this volume. --Ed.


extent, conditional and changing. Among the parties and groups standing "on the boundary line " of the main divisions, transitional forms and fluctuations are inevitable; but the substance of the matter, resulting from the relations of the class forces in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, is undoubtedly determined by none other than the indicated "triple" division. The lumping of the bourgeois liberals (headed by the Cadets) with the bourgeois democrats has caused considerable harm to the Russian liberation movement, and we must bend every effort to ensure that the experience of the great decade (1900-10) helps the democratic movement as a whole to become finally aware that it is a fatal mistake to lump things together in this fashion. Working-class democracy in our epoch is, therefore, faced by two inseparably connected tasks: first, to secure the independent political organisation of the class of wage-earners, independent of all bosses, big and little, even the most democratic, and pledging allegiance to the entire international movement of that class; and, second, to develop and strengthen the forces of Russian democracy (inevitably headed by the workers, just as the bourgeois liberals are inevitably headed by social elements of the Cadet type). The latter task cannot be fulfilled unless we persistently explain to the broadest masses the class roots and the political significance of the difference between bourgeois liberalism (the Cadets) and bourgeois democracy (the Trudoviks, etc.).

    The liberal bourgeoisie does not want to and cannot dispense with the Markovs and Purishkeviches, whose domination it only strives to moderate. Bourgeois democracy and the workers can only strive, more or less consistently and consciously, to destroy all the economic and political foundations of that domination.

    That, from the standpoint of working-class democracy, is the main content of the campaign in connection with the elections to the Fourth Duma. It is this content that must be primarily emphasised to counteract the Cadet policy of deliberately confusing all the cardinal questions of principle by means of stock phrases about "progressism" and "opposition".

    The Cadet-Octobrist bloc is nothing new. It was foreseen by Marxists long ago. They pointed out the inherent class

page 371

affinity of the two component parts of this bloc as far back as 1905-07. Two possible majorities became defined as soon as the Third Duma was convened, and by the end of 1907 the Marxists had made this conclusion the cornerstone of their policy. The five years' existence of the Third Duma has confirmed this conclusion. In general outline, the composition of the Third Duma is as follows:[*]

Rights .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Octobrists.   .   .   .   .   .
Liberals  .   .   .   .   .   .
Democrats.   .   .   .   .   .


284 - First majority
251 - Second majority

Total .   .   .   .   .


    Throughout its existence the Third Duma relied on these two majorities, which represent the necessary component parts of the entire system inaugurated on June 3, 1907. The first majority signifies that the "old" is to be preserved in power entirely intact; the second majority signifies "a step toward" a bourgeois monarchy. The first is needed by the June Third system to preserve the "power and revenue" of the Markovs, Purishkeviches and Co.; the second is needed to moderate this domination and to advance in the bourgeois manner (according to the formula: one step forward, two steps back). Experience has now clearly shown that this kind of advance is equal to stagnation, and that no progress is being made in "moderating" Purishkevichism.

    Quite a number of votes taken in the Third Duma were decided by the "second majority". Recently, Rech definitely admitted this, stating that "a number of votes" at the beginning of the last session "actually reproduce the domination of a Left Centre" (read of the Cadet-Octobrist bloc) in the Duma. Such votes are possible only because the second majority too, like the first, is a bulwark of counter-revolution; to illustrate this we need only recall Vekhi, or Karaulov's pious speeches, or the "London" slogans. <"fnp371">

    * The calculation is based on the figures supplied by the official Handbook for 1910 (Issue II). The Rights include: Rights proper -- 51, Nationalists -- 89, Right Octobrists -- 11, and 50 per cent of the independents -- 9. The liberals include: Progressists -- 39, Cadets -- 52, all the nationality groups -- 27, and 50 per cent of the independents -- 9. The democrats include 14 Trudoviks and 15 Social-Democrats.

page 372

    Where are the results of these "victories" of the second majority? Where is the proof of the truly marvellous discovery of the Cadet Party that there are "genuine constitutionalists" among the Octobrists? Doesn't this discovery rather show how paltry is the Cadets' conception of "genuine constitutionalism"?

    The first and fundamental question of the election campaign is its political content, the ideological line it expresses. The resolution of the Cadet Party proves once more its anti-democratic nature, for the content of the Cadets' election campaign reduces itself to further lowering the concept "constitutionalism" in the eyes of the masses. Instil into the minds of the people the idea that there are genuine constitutionalists among the "Left" Octobrists; that is what the Cadet Party is bent on, that is the meaning of its election policy.

    The task of the democrats is a different one; not to belittle the idea of constitutionalism, but to explain that as long as power and revenue remain in the hands of the Markovs and their like it is nothing but a fiction. The content of the election campaign of the working-class democrats is determined by the task of bringing out the difference between liberalism and democracy, of rallying the forces of the latter, and of closing the ranks of the wage-workers throughout the world.

    The resolutions of their conference imply that the Cadets are departing still further from democracy. Our task is to rally the forces of democracy to counter every sort of medievalism, and to counter the Cadet-Octobrist blocs.


    The campaign for the elections to the Fourth Duma has opened. It was launched by the government sending out circular instructions on assistance to the "national" party, and by taking "measures" to provide for the qualifications of the government candidates, and to eliminate opposition candidates in general, and democratic candidates in particular.

page 373

    The opposition press has also entered the election campaign. So has the Cadet Party, and its first step was the adoption of resolutions providing for a bloc with the "Left" Octobrists.

    Therefore, working-class democracy must immediately pay the utmost attention to the elections, and promptly, without a single week's delay discuss its tactics in all their details, preparing all supporters of democracy in advance for the important and responsible role they are to perform.

    In this article we propose to dwell on the role of worker electors. It is clear that in this case too, as always, we must stress the content of the work, that is to say, the ideological-political line of the campaign. Educate and organise the working class, unite it in an independent party that maintains solidarity with the West-European parties, explain to the working class its historical aims in changing the basic conditions of commodity economy and capitalism, segregate its party from all bourgeois democratic trends, even those that are "Left", Narodnik, etc. -- such is the basic task.

    This fundamental task is the same for working-class democracy in all countries. And for this very reason its application in the present epoch in one country, in Russia, requires that the special and concrete tasks of our times be taken into consideration for the sake of this general common task. At the present moment two of these specific tasks of Russian working-class democracy are indissolubly connected and, because of objective conditions, require the greatest attention. The first of these two tasks is to understand clearly the connection between the liquidationist trend (represented, as we know, by the magazines Nasha Zarya and Dyelo Zhizni ) and the widespread bourgeois counter-revolutionary Vekhi trend. It is necessary to be clearly aware of the harm of bourgeois influence upon the proletariat in order to overcome it and to achieve the immediate aims affecting the very existence of working-class democracy, which the liquidators are denying. The second is the task of organising the Left democrats, clearly bearing in mind the necessity to draw a line between democracy (bourgeois democracy) and bourgeois liberalism. This is imperative if

page 374

working-class democracy is to exercise that leadership which is one of the indispensable conditions for any step forward by the general movement for freedom.

    The lumping of the liberals (the Constitutional-Democratic Party) with the democrats (the Trudoviks, "Narodniks" of the Left persuasion) is fundamentally wrong in principle, and, in practice, leads to the betrayal of the interests of democracy. Upon the worker electors devolves the duty of upholding the correct interpretation of the liberation movement and explaining the class essence of the various parties (without allowing themselves to be taken in by "labels", fine words and fancy names); they must draw a clear line between the Rights (from the Black Hundreds to the Octobrists), the bourgeois liberals (the Cadets and their kind), and the democrats (the Trudoviks and kindred trends are bourgeois democrats; the Marxists represent proletarian democracy).

    In accordance with the electoral system instituted by the law of June 3, 1907, the worker electors play a particular role in the gubernia electoral assemblies. Therefore the immediate practical task is to ensure that all these electors are staunch and loyal representatives of working-class democracy.

    As we know, the election of one of the worker electors to the State Duma is guaranteed in each of the following six gubernias: St. Petersburg, Moscow, Vladimir, Ekaterinoslav, Kostroma, and Kharkov. But the deputies are elected by the entire electoral assembly of each gubernia, which means, as a rule, by the Right electors, landowners and big bourgeoisie, Octobrists. To secure the election to the Duma of working-class democrats we must see to it that all the worker electors, without a single exception, are true working class democrats and firmly support one definite candidate from their midst. Even if only one worker elector turns out to be a deserter, a liberal, a Right, the Octobrists will be sure to elect him, against the will of the majority of the worker electors!

    But the enumerated six gubernias are not the only ones having worker electors in their electoral assemblies. Altogether the law provides for a total of 112 worker electors in 44 gubernias (out of 53).

page 375

    What should be the role of these electors? To begin with, they must always pursue a principled line, endeavouring to organise the forces of democracy (particularly, the peasantry) and to help them cast off the influence of the liberals. This is an extremely important field of activity. Secondly, the worker electors are in a position (and should strive) to take advantage of the vote being split between the Rights and the liberals to elect their own candidates to the Duma.

    Here is an example to illustrate the last-named task. Two members of the Third Duma from Vyatka Gubernia are Social-Democrats -- Astrakhantsev and Putyatin. Yet the law does not provide for a deputy from the worker curia in Vyatka Gubernia. The gubernia electoral assembly in Vyatka is made up of 109 electors, of whom four are elected by the workers. How, then, did four workers (out of 109 electors) manage to send two deputies to the Duma? Most likely, the votes in the gubernia electoral assembly were equally divided, and the liberals could not gain the upper hand over the Rights without the support of the workers. Compelled to form a bloc with the workers, the liberals had to share seats in the Duma with them, and thus they elected two Social-Democrats to the Duma. The representation from Vyatka in the Duma was constituted as follows: 1 Progressist, 3 Cadets, 2 Trudoviks, and 2 Social-Democrats, or 4 liberals and 4 democrats. In that gubernia the workers might have gained three seats had they succeeded in driving a wedge between the democratic electors and the liberals, provided the former had had a majority over the latter. Suppose that, out of 109 electors, 54 are Rights (50 out of the 53 electors chosen by the landowners and 4 out of the 17 electors from the first assembly of urban voters). Let us suppose, further, that out of the other 55 electors, 20 are liberals (three from the landowner curia, 13 from the first urban curia, and four from the second urban curia), 35 are democrats (23 peasant electors, 8 electors from the second urban curia and 4 from the worker curia). Under these circumstances the democrats would have been bound to obtain 5 seats out of 8, and the workers could have obtained 3 of these seats, provided they enjoyed the confidence of the peasant democrats.

page 376

    In Ufa Gubernia all the seats were captured by the liberals (including Moslems). Not a single representative of the democrats was elected. Yet, considering that there were 30 peasant electors, the three worker electors could undoubtedly have captured seats both for themselves and the Trudoviks had they shown greater skill in organising the democratic forces.

    Perm Gubernia is represented in the Third Duma by 6 liberals and 3 democrats, of whom only one is a Social-Democrat. Yet the situation in Perm was as follows: there were 26 peasant electors, and out of them the liberals, who had a majority in the gubernia electoral assembly, elected a Trudovik, which means that the peasant curia was a hundred per cent Trudovik (and if, among the peasants, there had been a single deserter from the camp of democracy to the liberals, the latter would have elected the deserter!). The same applies to the second urban curia (13 electors), because from that curia, too, a Trudovik was elected by the votes of the liberals. Hence the number of democrats among the electors may be placed at 26 + 13 + 5 workers = 44, out of a total of 120 electors, including 59 from the landowner curia and 17 from the first urban curia. Even assuming that, with the exception of the democrats, all the electors were liberals, their number was 76, i.e., less than two-thirds. It is more likely, however, that some of the electors were Rights. Consequently, the liberals, although comprising less than two-thirds in the electoral assembly, captured two thirds of the Perm seats in the Duma. The inevitable conclusion to be drawn from this is that, had the democrats been more class-conscious and better organised (and it is above all the workers who must see to this!), they would not have let the liberals put anything over on them. The Social-Democrat Yegorov was elected in Perm Gubernia at the general assembly of the electors, i.e., by the liberals -- which means that the liberals needed the support of the workers. And it was plainly a mistake on the part of the workers, a direct infringement of the interests of democracy, to give this support without securing a proportionate share of the seats in the Duma for democracy.

    In making these calculations we wish to emphasise that they are merely meant as examples, to illustrate our idea,

page 377

for we are not in possession of any exact data regarding the party affiliations of the electors in general or of the electors in each separate curia. Actually, matters are more complicated and represent a more motley picture than might be assumed from our examples. But it is necessary for the workers to understand the basic relation of forces in the "intricate mechanism" of elections based on the June Third law. Once they have assimilated the fundamentals, they will be able to understand the details as well.

    The two most democratic curias (after the worker curia, of course, which can and should be completely Marxist, completely anti-liquidationist) are the peasant curia and the second urban curia. Of these, the first is more democratic than the second, despite the infinitely greater lack of freedom at the elections in the rural districts and the infinitely worse conditions for agitation and organisation among the peasants, as compared with townspeople.

    Indeed, deputies specially elected at the second assembly of urban voters to the Third Duma represented 28 gubernias. Among those thus elected were 16 Rights, 10 liberals, and 2 democrats (Rozanov from Saratov and Petrov the Third from Perm). Deputies specially elected from the peasant curia were sent to the Third Duma from all the 53 gubernias. They included 23 Rights, 17 liberals, 5 democrats and 8 independents. If we divide the independents equally between the Rights and the opposition, we obtain the following comparative data:

______ ^ ______

______ ^ ______

______ ^ ______

Members of the
Third Duma

From the Second
Urban Curia

From the Peasant

Rights .   .   .   .


Opposition parties
12 = 43 per cent
26 = 49 per cent

    Opposition deputies thus comprised 43 per cent of the deputies elected by the second urban curia and 49 per cent of the deputies elected by the peasant curia. Considering that, as we know, the peasant deputies in the Third Duma introduced an agrarian bill which was in substance more democratic than the bill introduced by the Cadets, and that the bill bore the signatures also of independent and Right

page 378

peasant deputies, it is obvious that the democracy of the peasant curia surpasses the democracy of the second urban curia to an even greater extent than would appear from our data.

    Consequently, the workers in general and the worker electors in particular must devote most of their attention to the peasant curia and the peasant electors. As the organisers of the forces of democracy the workers must carry on their activities in the first place among the peasants, and then among the electors from the second urban curia. In both these curias the intermingling of the liberals and democrats is particularly pronounced, is particularly frequent, and is particularly cultivated by the Cadets, who are taking advantage of their experience in "parliamentary deals" and their "democratic" name ("Constitutional-Democrats ", the "party of people's freedom "), which disguises their anti-democratic, Vekhi, counter-revolutionary substance, in order brazenly to deceive politically undeveloped people.

    The ideological and political task of the workers at the present stage of the Russian liberation movement is to organise the forces of democracy. The technical work of the election campaign must be subordinated to this task. Hence the necessity to devote special attention to the peasant curia and then to the second urban curia. In the gubernia electoral assembly, the first duty of the worker elector is to unite all the democrats. In order to get himself nominated, the worker elector needs three votes -- he must find two peasant democrats or, if the worst comes to the worst, persuade two liberals, who would not risk anything by nominating a worker. The democratic members of the gubernia electoral assemblies should form blocs with the liberals against the Rights. If it proves impossible to form such a bloc immediately (and most likely this is what is going to happen in the majority of cases, because the electors will not be acquainted with each other), the tactics of the democrats should be to unite first with the liberals to defeat the Rights, and then with the Rights to defeat the liberals, so that neither are able to secure the election of their candidates (provided that neither the Rights nor the liberals command an absolute majority by themselves, for if they do the democrats cannot hope to get into the Duma). In accordance with Article 119 of the

page 379

Regulations governing the elections, the assembly adjourns. Then the democrats, guided by the exact figures of the votes cast, form a bloc with the liberals, demanding a proportionate share of the seats. In such cases it is essential that the liberals elect the democrat first and not the other way round, for history and the entire experience of Europe show that the liberals have often cheated the democrats, whereas the democrats have never cheated the liberals.

    If they know which curias send democratic electors, and learn to drive a wedge between the democrats and the liberals, the worker electors in 44 gubernias can play an enormous role both in organising the forces of democracy in general and in securing the election of a larger number of worker democrats and bourgeois democrats (Trudoviks) to the Duma. In the present Duma there are fifteen of the former and fourteen of the latter. If the workers pursue correct tactics they can, under favourable conditions, secure the election of double that number. The liberals are sure to have a strong group -- about a hundred or more deputies -- in the Fourth Duma. They will constitute the "responsible opposition" (of the London type) capable of forming a bloc with the Octobrists. We must work to elect a group of several dozen deputies who will constitute a really democratic opposition, not an opposition of the Vekhi brand. And this can be achieved.

    The law gives the workers the right to choose electors in 44 gubernias. Class-conscious workers in each factory must at once familiarise themselves with the law, take careful note of their duties and their position, and ensure that the electors they send are genuine working-class democrats, not liquidators.

    If, as a result of class-conscious, careful and systematic work one hundred and twelve worker electors are elected, they can render very great service both in rallying the working class, which everywhere in Europe aspires to achieve lofty aims of world-wide significance, and also in organising the forces of democracy in Russia.

    Time is short. Every class-conscious worker must shoulder this difficult, but doubly worth-while task.

page 380


    In the preceding article (Zvezda, No. 34) we discussed the role of the worker electors in the election campaign. The long and the short of our reflections was that working-class democrats are faced by a vital twofold task -- to unite the class of wage-workers, developing their class-consciousness, their understanding of the great historical objectives of their class, and then to organise the forces of democracy.[*]

    Let us now examine the question of non-proletarian, i.e., bourgeois, democracy. What is its principal class basis in Russia? What are its specific features, its immediate tasks? What is its role in the elections?

    The principal class support for Russian bourgeois democracy is the peasantry. The condition of the great bulk of the peasantry is so burdensome, the oppression of the landowners so heavy, the economic conditions so desperately bad, and its lack of civil rights so extraordinarily great that democratic feelings and desires are springing up among them with an elusive spontaneous inevitability. The way out of the situation which the bourgeois liberals (with the Cadet Party at their head) picture to themselves the sharing of power with the Purishkeviches, the joint rule of the Purishkeviches and the Guchkovs (or the Milyukovs) over the masses -- cannot satisfy the peasant millions. That is why the class position of the peasantry, on the one hand, and of the big bourgeoisie, on the other, inevitably creates a wide gulf between democrats and liberals.

    As a rule, neither of the two political trends is clearly defined, neither is a fully conscious one, but it is a fact that the peasants gravitate towards democracy, the bourgeoisie towards monarchist liberalism; this was proved to the hilt during the extremely eventful first decade of the twentieth century in Russia. Not only did the peasant masses display their democracy in the liberation movement of 1905, and in the First and Second Dumas, but even in the nobility dominated Third Duma; forty-three peasant deputies, including Rights and independents, introduced an agrarian bill

    * See p. 372 of this volume. --Ed.

page 381

which was more democratic than that introduced by the Cadets.

    In general, the land problem is the main problem of the Russian peasantry today. Less than 30,000 landowners in European Russia possess 70 million dessiatines of land, and practically the same amount is held by 10 million poor peasant households. On the one hand, an average of 2,300 dessiatines per farm; on the other, an average of seven dessiatines. At the present level of Russia's historical development, this could lead to but one economic result -- the most widespread practice of all sorts of "labour-service" economy, that is to say, of survivals of the old corvée system. Peasants held in bondage, poverty such as has not been seen in Europe for many years, and periodic famines reminiscent of the Middle Ages, are consequences of this state of affairs.     The Cadet bourgeoisie seeks to settle the agrarian problem in a liberal fashion, so as to preserve the landed estates, selling part of the land to the peasantry at "a fair price", and giving the landowners the upper hand over the peasants in the bodies effecting the "reform". Naturally, the peasants would certainly prefer a democratic solution of the agrarian problem. This democratic solution, even if all the land is transferred to the peasants without compensation, does not and cannot in the least encroach on the foundations of capitalist society -- the power of money, commodity production, and the domination of the market. The peasants, for the most part, have a rather hazy idea of the matter and the Narodniks have created a complete ideology, a whole doctrine, which gave that haze something of a "socialist" hue, although there is nothing socialist even in the most radical agrarian revolution.

    But, in practice, as the peasant movement grows in volume and in strength, the influence of this hazy conception diminishes, and the real, democratic, substance of the agrarian wishes and demands of the peasants becomes more pronounced. In this sphere, and even more so in the sphere of political questions, of paramount importance is the role played by working-class democracy and its struggle to prevent the submission of the peasants to liberal leadership. It will be no exaggeration to say that there is a very close connection between the successes of Russian democracy as

page 382

a whole, those of the past and those yet to come, and the transfer of the political leadership of the peasantry from the liberals to working-class democracy. Unless this leadership passes to the working class, Russian democracy cannot hope to attain any more or less serious successes.

    The electoral law of June 3, 1907, as we know, made the greatest "inroads" upon the suffrage of the peasants. We need only remind the readers that that law provided for an increase from 1,952 to 2,594, or 32.9 per cent in the number of electors sent by the landowners, while the number of electors from the peasants and Cossacks was reduced to less than a half, from 2,659 to 1,168, or by 56.1 per cent. In addition, the law of June 3, 1907, provides that the deputies to the Duma from the peasant curia (officially designated "from conventions of delegates from volosts[*]") are not to be chosen by the peasant electors alone, as was the case previously, but by the entire electoral assembly of each gubernia, that is to say, by bodies in which landowners and big capitalists predominate.

    This being the procedure, the peasant democrats (Trudoviks) can secure seats in the Duma only if all the peasant electors, without a single exception, are Trudoviks. In that case the Right landowners will be compelled to elect Trudoviks from the peasant curia, just as they have been compelled to elect Social-Democrats from the worker curia. However, solidarity, organisation, and class-consciousness are naturally much less developed among the peasants than among the workers. Thus there still remains an almost untapped field of serious and rewarding work of political education. And it is this sphere of activity that should command the main attention of all democrats and all Marxists who "go among all classes of the population",** and not that of making advances to and flirting with the counter-revolutionary liberals (the Cadets), a sphere that has become a favourite one with the liquidators on Nasha Zarya, etc.

    We pointed out in the preceding article that in the elections to the Third Duma the peasant curia proved to be the most democratic of the non-proletarian curias. Out of <"fnp382">

    * See footnote to p. 88. --Ed.
[The following is the editor's footnote to p. 88: "Gubernia, uyezd, volost -- Russian administrative-territorial units. The largest of these was the gubernia, which had its subdivisions in uyezds, which in turn were subdivided into volosts. This system of districting continued under the Soviet power until the introduction of the new system of administrative-territorial division of the country in 1929-30." -- DJR]
    ** See present edition, Vol. 5, p. 468. --Ed.  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's
What Is To Be Done? -- DJR]

page 383

53 deputies elected to the Third Duma from the peasant curia, 26, or 49 per cent, were members of the opposition; whereas in the case of the second urban curia (the second assembly of urban voters), only 12 out of 28, or 43 per cent, were members of the opposition. The number of democrats elected to the Third Duma from the peasant curia was 5 out of 53, or 10 per cent; whereas in the case of the second urban curia, their number was 2 out of 28, or 7 per cent.

    It is worth while examining which gubernias elected representatives of the opposition from the peasant curia and what was the composition of all the deputies elected by each of them to the Third Duma. Of the 53 gubernias, in each of which the law provides for the election of one deputy from the peasant curia, 23 sent Rights (including Octobrists) as representatives of the peasant curia, 17 sent liberals (Cadets, Progressists, and Moslems), and only five sent democrats (Trudoviks). In eight gubernias independent peasants were elected.

    On closer examination we see that not a single one of the gubernias which elected a majority of Right deputies to the Third Duma sent a democrat to represent the peasant curia. Democrats (Trudoviks) were elected only in those gubernias where no Right deputies were returned. These five gubernias -- Archangel, Vyatka, Perm, Stavropol, and Tomsk -- are represented in the Third Duma by 15 liberals, 8 Trudoviks, and 3 Social-Democrats. There is hardly any room for doubt that, had the peasants and the workers in these gubernias been more class-conscious and better organised, it would have been possible to increase, at the expense of the liberals, the proportion of democrats elected.

    It may not be perhaps amiss to point out here that altogether 24 gubernias sent a majority of opposition deputies to the Third Duma. In 18 of these 24 only opposition deputies were elected. In all, these 24 gubernias are represented in the Duma by 9 Right deputies, 2 independents, 55 liberals, 14 Trudoviks, and 8 Social-Democrats. The reader will thus readily see that there is a fairly widespread opportunity to increase the proportion of democratic deputies at the expense of the liberals and, in general, to win the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry away from their influence.

page 384

    It is interesting to note further that in 10 gubernias out of the 17 which elected liberals from the peasant curia, the Rights gained more seats than the opposition. We must therefore assume that, as a rule, there were no Rights at all among the peasant electors in these gubernias, for if there had been, the Right majorities in the gubernia electoral assemblies would surely have elected them. . . .

    The duty of the working-class democrats with regard to the peasants in the elections is perfectly clear. They must carry their purely class propaganda to a peasantry that is becoming proletarianised. They must help the peasants to unite their forces in the elections to enable them, even on the basis of the June Third electoral law, to send to the Fourth Duma their own representatives in as large numbers as possible despite the obstacles put in their way both by the supporters of the old regime and by the liberals. They must strive to consolidate the leadership of working-class democrats and explain the great harm caused by the vacillation of the peasant democrats toward the liberals.



    For the purpose of providing a concrete definition of the duties of working-class democrats in the election campaign, it would be useful, we believe, to examine, in as great detail as possible, the data relating to the elections to the Third Duma in a few individual gubernias. In the first place, such an examination will help us to understand more clearly and to become more thoroughly familiar with the intricate and involved electoral system provided by the law of June 3, 1907; and, secondly, it will give all those active in the election campaign a very real idea of their position as democrats, of the "circumstances" under which they will have to carry on their work. If the democrats in the various localities study the data relating to their respective gubernias, that will add to our data, help to correct errors, and immediately arouse the interest of everyone who is aware of his duty to participate in the elections with a view to the political enlightenment of the wage-workers and the organisation of the forces of democracy.

page 385

    Take, for example, Kazan Gubernia. It is represented in the Third Duma by ten deputies, equally divided between the Rights and the opposition -- five Rights (four Octobrists and one Nationalist) and five liberals (one Progressist, two Cadets, and two Moslems). There are neither Trudoviks nor Social-Democrats.     And yet, judging by the data on Kazan Gubernia, it must be admitted that the democrats had a fairly good chance there. Of the Rights, one (Sazonov) was elected by the assembly of landowners, three Octobrists were elected by the first and second assemblies of urban voters (including Mr. Kapustin, an inveterate counter-revolutionary, who was elected at the second assembly of urban voters), and one Octobrist at the general assembly of electors. Of the liberals, one was elected by the assembly of landowners, one from the peasants (the Cadet Lunin) and three at the general assembly of electors.

    Since the general assembly of electors elected three liberals and one Right, it is obvious that the liberals had a majority in the gubernia electoral assembly, but it was a precarious majority, otherwise not a single Right would have been elected by the general assembly. The precariousness of the liberal majority is also evident from the fact that the landowners elected one Progressist and one Right; had the liberals had a stable majority they would have prevented the latter's election.

    Altogether Kazan Gubernia is allowed 117 electors who are divided among the several curias as follows: peasants 33, landowners 50, first urban curia 18, second urban curia 14, and workers 2. Consequently, the landowners together with the first urban curia represent the majority (50 + 18 = 68 out of 117). As we know, the law of June 3, 1907, is so framed as to guarantee in all gubernias such a majority or an even more "reliable" one, i.e., a majority made up of landowners alone (the landowner curia alone to have an absolute majority in the gubernia electoral assembly).

    The liberals won half the seats in the Duma because they were apparently well represented among the landowners. On the other hand, it seems that the urban electors were practically all Rights. Unless we assume this to have been the case, it is hard to explain how it happened that the

page 386

deputies elected from the two urban assemblies were Rights when the liberals had a majority in the gubernia electoral assembly. The Cadets were compelled to vote for Rights. Given the precarious majority of the liberals among the electors, mentioned above, the working-class democrats would have a convenient field for action; they could take advantage of the dissensions among the landowners and capitalists to organise the forces of democracy as a whole and to get Social-Democrats and, in particular, Trudoviks elected to the Duma.

    If, for instance, there were 57 Rights and as many liberals among the electors and only three democrats (two worker Social-Democrats, and one peasant Trudovik), that alone would enable the three democrats to elect one Social-Democrat to the Duma -- not to mention the rewarding task of rallying the democratic forces which these three could tackle, considering that there would be 33 peasant electors. We have assumed that there might be three-democrats, because three is the minimum required by the law (Article 125 of the Regulations governing the elections), to nominate candidates by ballot -- a candidate who fails to obtain three nomination ballots, cannot stand for election. Obviously, the three required by the law could be made up by two liberals joining a democrat, provided the liberals do not "progress" (in the Vekhi direction) to the point where even in the gubernia electoral assembly they prefer an Octobrist to a Social-Democrat.

    In the case of a tie between the Rights and the liberals even one democrat, by voting now with the Rights against the liberals, now with the liberals against the Rights, could prevent the election of any candidate to the Duma and thus (in accordance with Article 119 of the Regulations governing the elections) bring about an adjournment the duration of which, according to the same article, is set by the assembly itself, but may not exceed twelve hours, and arrange for an understanding between the liberals and the democrats on condition that the latter obtain seats in the Duma.

    The example of Kazan may serve as an illustration of two possible lines for the workers' policy in the elections to the Fourth Duma (and, consequently, lines for the workers' policy in general, since the policy pursued in the elec-


tions is but the application of the general policy to a specific case). One line is to vote, as a general rule, for the more progressive candidates, without going into any further definitions. The other line is to take advantage of the antagonism between the Rights and the liberals to organise the democrats. The ideological implication of the first line is passive subordination to the hegemony of the Cadets; the practical result of this line in case of success would be an increase in the Octobrist-Cadet majority in the Fourth Duma at the expense of the Right Octobrist majority (with a possible decrease in the democratic minority). The ideological implication of the second line is the waging of a struggle against the leadership of the Cadets over the peasants and over bourgeois democracy in general; its practical result in case of success would be the increase and consolidation, the strengthening of the group of democrats in the Fourth Duma.

    In practice the first line would amount to a liberal labour policy. The second line represents the Marxist working-class policy. As for a more detailed explanation of the meaning of these two policies, we shall have many occasions to revert to that in the future. <"NOTES">


  <"en167">[167] The Gololobov group -- supporters of Y. G. Gololobov, one of the extreme Right-wing members of the Union of October Seventeenth (Octobrists) in the Third Duma.    [p. 369]