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V. I. Lenin
A SHAMEFUL FIASCO
A separate reprint from
Proletary No. 50,
November 28 (December 11), 1909
Published according to
the text of the separate
From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1967
First published 1963
Second printing 1967
Vol. 16, pp. 85-86.
Translated from the Russian
Edited by Clemens Dutt
Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, email@example.com (November 2001)
A SHAMEFUL FIASCO
The reader will remember the short but instructive history of the "Party" school in X.-. Here it is. After a year's internal strife the Bolshevik faction categorically dissociated itself from the "new" trends -- otzovism, ultimatumism and god-building. The Bolshevik Conference passed a special resolution declaring the school in X.- to be the centre of a new faction consisting of the supporters of these trends.* The leaders abroad of the new faction built on these three monster bases split off from the Bolsheviks organisationally. Being endowed with unusual political courage and unshakable belief in their creed, the heroes of the new faction did not venture to come out with visor up in their own newspaper, etc. They chose instead the simple expedient of deceiving the Party and our faction: they formed a school abroad which they called a "Party" school and carefully concealed its true ideological complexion. After a number of efforts they managed to collect some thirteen workers in this mock-Party school and a group consisting of Maximov, Alexinsky, Lyadov and Lunacharsky set to work "teaching" them. Throughout, this clique not only concealed the fact that the "school" was the centre of a new faction but strenuously insisted that the "school" was not connected with any faction but was a general Party undertaking. Maximov, Alexinsky, Lyadov and Co. in the role of "non-factional" comrades!**
* See present edition, Vol. 15, pp. 450-51. --Ed. [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Conference of the Extended Editorial Board of Proletary". -- DJR]
** Incidentally let Comrade Trotsky read the workers' letters inserted elsewhere in this issue and decide whether it is not time he kept his promise to go and teach in the "school" at X.- (if one of the reports of the "school" is correct in saying that such a promise was given). Perhaps this is the opportune moment to come on the "field of battle" hording an olive branch of peace and a cruse of "non-factional" unction.
And, now, finally, the last stage. Of the workers who came abroad to study at this mock-Party school, about half of them are in revolt against the "bad shepherds" Elsewhere we print two letters from pupils of the notorious "school" and several reports from Moscow which completely expose Maximov, Alexinsky, Lyadov and Co. for the adventurers they are. The contents speak for themselves. It is all good stuff: the "regular battle", the "fiercest controversies every day" and the picture of schoolmaster Alexinsky putting his tongue out at the worker students, etc. In the weighty reports of the school all these things will probably be transmuted into "practical studies" of questions of agitation and propaganda, a course "on social philosophies", etc. But alas, no one will take this pitiful, shameful farce seriously now!
For two months the leaders of the new faction have been trying to persuade the workers of the superiority of otzovism and god-building over revolutionary Marxism. Then, losing patience, they began to force the otzovist-ultimatumist "platform" down their throats. And the more enlightened and independent of the workers protested of course. We do not want to serve as a screen for the new ideological centre of the otzovists and god-builders; there is no control over the school either "from below" or "from above", say the worker comrades in their letters. And this is the surest guarantee that the policy of hide-and-seek and demagogic "democratism" is doomed to bankruptcy in the eyes of the pro-Party workers. "The local organisations themselves will govern the school in X.-, " the workers were told by Maximov and Co. Now this game has been exposed by the same workers who used to have faith in this clique.
In conclusion -- one request, godly otzovist gentlemen. When you in your divinely hallowed Tsarevokokshaisk finish -- as we hope you will -- drawing up your platform, don't hide it from us on the precedent of your action on a previous occasion. In any case we shall get hold of it sooner or later and publish it in the Party press. So it would be better for you not to disgrace yourselves once again.