What Is To Be Done? - pt. 1

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Burning Questions of Our Movement


    We have seen that the conduct of the broadest political agitation, and consequently the organization of comprehensive political exposures, is an absolutely necessary, and the

    * This refers to the big street demonstrations which commenced in the spring of 1901. (Author's note to the1907 edition. --Ed.)

most urgently necessary, task of activity, that is, if that activity is to be truly Social-Democratic. However, we arrived at this conclusion solely on the grounds of the pressing needs of the working class for political knowledge and political training. But presenting the question in this way alone is too narrow, for it ignores the general democratic tasks of Social-Democracy in general, and of present-day Russian Social-Democracy in particular. In order to explain the point more concretely we shall approach the subject from an aspect that is "nearest" to the Economist, namely, from the practical aspect. "Everyone agrees" that it is necessary to develop the political consciousness of the working class. The question is, how is that to be done, what is required to do it? The economic struggle merely "brings home" to the workers questions concerning the attitude of the government towards the working class. Consequently, however much we may try to "lend the economic struggle itself a political character" we shall never be able to develop the political consciousness of the workers (to the level of Social-Democratic political consciousness) by keeping within the framework of the economic struggle, for that framework is too narrow. The Martynov formula has some value for us, and not because it illustrates Martynov's ability to confuse things, but because it strikingly expresses the fundamental error that all the Economists commit, namely, their conviction that it is possible to develop the class political consciousness of the workers from within, so to speak, their economic struggle, i.e., making this struggle the exclusive (or, at least, the main) starting point, making it the exclusive, or, at least, the main basis. Such a view is fundamentally wrong. Just because the Economists are piqued by our polemics against them, they refuse to ponder deeply over the origins of these disagreements,

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with the result that we absolutely fail to understand each other. It is as if we spoke in different tongues.

    Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only from outside of the economic struggle, from outside of the sphere of relations between workers and employers. The sphere from which alone it is possible to obtain this knowledge is the sphere of relationships between all the classes and strata and the state and the government, the sphere of the interrelations between all the classes. For that reason, the reply to the question as to what must be done to bring political knowledge to the workers cannot be merely the answer with which, in the majority of cases, the practical workers, especially those inclined towards Economism, mostly content themselves, namely: "To go among the workers." To bring political knowledge to the workers the Social-Democrats must go among all classes of the population, must dispatch units of their army in all directions.

    We deliberately select this awkward formula, we deliberately express ourselves in a simplified, blunt way -- not because we desire to indulge in paradoxes, but in order to "bring home" to the Economists those tasks which they unpardonably ignore, to make them understand the difference between trade-unionist and Social-Democratic politics, which they refuse to understand. We therefore beg the reader not to get excited, but to listen patiently to the end.

    Take the type of Social-Democratic that has become most widespread in the past few years, and examine its work. It has "contacts with the workers," and rests content with this, issuing leaflets in which abuses in the factories, the government's partiality towards the capitalist and the tyranny of the police are strongly condemned. At meetings of work-

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ers the discussions never, or rarely, go beyond the limits of these subjects. Lectures and discussions on the history of the revolutionary movement, on questions of the home and foreign policy of our government, on questions of the economic evolution of Russia and of Europe, and the position of the various classes in modern society, etc., are extremely rare. As to systematically acquiring and extending contact with other classes of society, no one even dreams of that. In fact the ideal leader, as the majority of the members of such circles picture him, is something far more in the nature of a trade union secretary than a socialist political leader. For the trade union secretary of any, say British trade union, always helps the workers to conduct the economic struggle, helps to expose factory abuses, explains the injustice of the laws and of measures which hamper the freedom to strike and the freedom to picket (i.e., to warn all and sundry that a strike is proceeding at a certain factory), explains the partiality of arbitration court judges who belong to the bourgeois classes, etc., etc. In a word, every trade union secretary conducts and helps to conduct "the economic struggle against the employers and the government." It cannot be too strongly insisted that this is not yet Social-Democracy. The Social-Democratic ideal should not be a trade union secretary, but a tribune of the people, able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it takes place, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; he must be able to generalize all these manifestations to produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; he must be able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to explain his Socialistic convictions and his democratic demands to all, in order to explain to all and everyone the world-historic significance of the proletariat's

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struggle for emancipation. Compare, for example, a leader like Robert Knight (the well-known secretary and leader of the Boiler-Makers' Society, one of the most powerful trade unions in England), with Wilhelm Liebknecht, and try to apply to them the contrasts that Martynov draws in his controversy with the Iskra. You will see -- I am running through Martynov's article -- that Robert Knight engaged more in "calling the masses to certain concrete actions" (p. 39) while Wilhelm Liebknecht engaged more in "the revolutionary elucidation of the whole of the present system or partial manifestations of it" (pp. 38-39); that Robert Knight "formulated the immediate demands of the proletariat and indicated the means by which they can be achieved" (p. 41), whereas Wilhelm Liebknecht, while doing this, was not averse "simultaneously to guide the activities of various opposition strata," "dictate a positive program of action for them"[*] (p. 41); that it was precisely Robert Knight who strove "as far as possible to lend the economic struggle itself a political character" (p. 42) and was excellently able "to submit to the government concrete demands promising certain palpable results" (p. 43), while Liebknecht engaged to a much greater degree in "one-sided" "exposures" (p. 40); that Robert Knight attached more significance to the "forward march of the drab, everyday struggle" (p. 61), while Liebknecht attached more significance to the "propaganda of brilliant and finished ideas" (p. 6I); that Liebknecht converted the paper he was directing into "an organ of revolutionary opposition that exposes the state of affairs in our country, particularly the political state of affairs, in so far as it affects the interests

    * For example, during the Franco-Prussian War, Liebknecht dictated a program of action for the whole of democracy -- and this was done to an even greater extent by Marx and Engels in 1848.

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of the most varied strata of the population" (p. 63), whereas Robert Knight "worked for the cause of the working class in close organic contact with the proletarian struggle" (p. 63) -- if by "close and organic contact" is meant the worship of spontaneity which we examined above using the example of Krichevsky and Martynov -- and "restricted the sphere of his influence," convinced, of course, as is Martynov, that "by doing so he intensified that influence" (p. 63). In a word, you will see that de facto Martynov reduces Social-Democracy to the level of trade unionism, though he does so, of course, not because he does not desire the good of Social-Democracy, but simply because he is a little too much in a hurry to render Plekhanov more profound, instead of taking the trouble to understand him.

    Let us return, however, to our thesis. We said that a Social-Democrat, if he really believes it is necessary to develop comprehensively the political consciousness of the proletariat, must "go amomg all classes of the population." This gives rise to the questions: How is this to be done? Have we enough forces to do this? Is there a basis for such work among all the other classes? Will this not mean a retreat, or lead to a retreat, from the class point of view? Let us deal with these questions.

    We must "go among all classes of the population" as theoreticians, as propagandists, as agitators and as organizers. No one doubts that the theoretical work of Social-Democrats should aim at studying all the features of the social and political position of the various classes. But extremely little, little beyond proportion, is done in this direction as compared with the work that is done in studying the features of factory life. In the committees and circles, you will meet people who are immersed even in the study of, say, some special

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branch of the metal industry, but you will hardly ever find members of organizations (obliged, as often happens, for some reason or other to give up practical work) especially engaged in the collection of material concerning some pressing question of social and political life in our country which could serve as a means for conducting Social-Democratic work among other strata of the population. In speaking of the lack of training of the majority of present-day leaders of the working-class movement, we cannot refrain from mentioning the point about training in this connection also, for it too is bound up with the "economic" conception of "close organic contact with the proletarian struggle." The principal thing, of course, is propaganda and agitation among all strata of the people. The work of the West-European Social Democrat is in this respect facilitated by the public meetings and rallies, to which all are free to go, and by the fact that in parliament he addresses the representatives of all classes. We have neither a parliament nor freedom of assembly, nevertheless we are able to arrange meetings of workers who desire to listen to a Social-Democrat. We must also find ways and means of calling meetings of representatives of all classes of the population that desire to listen to a democrat; for he is no Social-Democrat who forgets that "the Communists support every revolutionary movement," that we are obliged for that reason to expound and emphasize general democratic tasks before the whole people, without for a moment concealing our socialist convictions. He is no Social Democrat who forgets his obligation to be ahead of everybody in advancing, accentuating and solving every general democratic problem.

    "But everybody agrees with this!" -- the impatient reader will exclaim -- and the new instructions adopted by the last

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Congress of the Union for the editorial board of the Rabocheye Dyelo definitely say: "All events of social and political life that affect the proletariat either directly as a special class or as the vanguard of all the revolutionary forces in the struggle for freedom should serve as subjects for political propaganda and agitation." (Two Congresses, p. 17, our italics.) Yes, these are very true and very good words and we would be fully satisfied if the Rabocheye Dyelo understood them and if it refrained from saying in the next breath things that are the very opposite of them. For it is not enough to call ourselves the "vanguard," the advanced detachment; we must act like one; we must act in such a way that all the other detachments shall see us, and be obliged to admit, that we are marching in the vanguard. And we ask the reader: Are the representatives of the other "detachments" such fools as to take our word for it when we say that we are the "vanguard"? Just picture to yourselves the following: A Social-Democrat comes to the "detachment" of Russian educated radicals, or liberal constitutionalists, and says: We are the vanguard; "the task confronting us now is, as far as possible, to lend the economic struggle itself a political character." The radical, or constitutionalist, if he is at all intelligent (and there are many intelligent men among Russian radicals and constitutionalists), would only laugh at such a speech, and would say (to himself, of course, for in the majority of cases he is an experienced diplomat): "Your 'vanguard' must be made up of simpletons! They do not even understand that it is our task, the task of the progressive representatives of bourgeois democracy to lend the workers' economic struggle itself a political character. Why, we too, like all the West-European bourgeoisie, want to draw the workers into politics, but precisely into trade-unionist,

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and not Social-Democratic politics. Trade-unionist politics of the working class are precisely bourgeois politics of the working class and the 'vanguard's' formulation of its tasks is the formula for trade-unionist politics. Let them even call themselves Social-Democrats to their heart's content, I am not a child to get excited over a label. But they must not fall under the influence of those pernicious orthodox doctrinaires, let them allow 'freedom of criticism' to those who are unconsciously driving Social-Democracy into trade unionist channels."

    And the light chuckle of our constitutionalst will turn into Homeric laughter when he learns that the Social-Democrats who talk about Social-Democracy being the vanguard at the present time, when spontaneity almost completely dominates our movement, fear nothing so much as "belittling the spontaneous elements," as "belittling the significance of the forward march of the drab, everyday struggle, as compared with the propaganda of brilliant and finished ideas," etc., etc.! A "vanguard" which fears that consciousness will outstrip spontaneity, which fears to put forward a bold "plan" that would compel universal recognition even among those who think differently from us. Are you no confusing the word "vanguard" with the word "rearguard"?

    Ponder over following piece of Martynov reasoning. On page 40 he says that the Iskra's tactics of exposing abuses are one-sided, that "however much we may spread distrust and hatred towards the government, we shall not achieve our aim until we have succeeded in developing sufficiently active social energy for its overthrow." This, it may be said in parenthesis, is the concern, with which we are already familiar, for increasing the activity of the masses, while at the same time striving to restrict one's own activity. But

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that is not the main point just now. Martynov, therefore, speaks here of revolutionary energy ("for overthrowing"). And what conclusion does he arrive at? Since in ordinary times various social strata inevitably march separately, "it is, therefore, clear that we Social-Democrats cannot simultaneously guide the activities of various opposition strata, we cannot dictate to them a positive program of action, we cannot point out to them in what manner they should fight for their daily interests. . . . The liberal strata will themselves take care of the active struggle for their immediate interests and that struggle will bring them face to face with our political regime." (P. 41.) Thus, having commenced with talk about revolutionary energy, about the active struggle for the overthrow of the autocracy, Martynov immediately turns towards trade union energy and active struggle for immediate interests! It goes without saying that we cannot guide the struggle of the students, liberals, etc., for their "immediate interests," but this was not the point at issue, most worthy Economist! The point we were discussing was the possible and necessary participation of various social strata in the overthrow of the autocracy; and not only are we able, but it is our bounden duty, to guide these "activities of the various opposition strata" if we desire to be the "vanguard." Not only will our students and liberals, etc., themselves take care of "the struggle that will bring them face to face with our political regime"; the police and the officials of the autocratic government will see to this more than anyone else. But if "we" desire to be advanced democrats, we must make it our business to stimulate in the minds of those who are dissatisfied with university, or only with Zemstvo, etc. conditions the idea that the whole political system is worthless. We must take upon ourselves the task of organizing an all-round

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political struggle under the leadership of our Party in such a manner as to obtain all the support possible of all opposition strata for the struggle and for our Party. We must train our Social-Democratic practical workers to become political leaders, able to guide all the manifestations of this all-round struggle, able at the right time to "dictate a positive program of action" for the restless students, the discontented Zemstvo Councillors, the incensed religious sects, the offended elementary schoolteachers, etc., etc. For that reason, Martynov's assertion is absolutely wrong -- that "with regard to these, we can come forward merely in the negative role of exposers of abuses . . . we can only" (our italics) "dissipate the hopes they have in various government commissions." By saying this Martynov shows that he understands absolutely nothing about the role that the revolutionary "vanguard" must really play. If the reader bears this in mind, he will be clear as to the real meaning of Martynov's following concluding remarks: "The Iskra is an organ of revolutionary opposition that exposes the state of affairs in our country, particularly the political state of affairs in so far as it affects the interests of the most varied strata of the population. We, however, work and shall continue to work for the cause of the working class in close organic contact with the proletarian struggle. By narrowing down the sphere of our active influence, we make it more complicated to exercise that influence." (P. 63.) The true meaning of this conclusion is as follows: the Iskra desires to elevate the trade-unionist politics of the working class (to which, owing to misunderstanding, lack of training, or by conviction, our practical workers frequently confine themselves) to Social-Democratic politics, whereas the Rabocheye Dyelo desires to degrade Social-Democratic politics to trade unionist politics. And, what is more, it assures the world

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<"p107">that these positions are "quite compatible within the common cause" (p. 63). O, Sancta simplicitas ! [68]

    To proceed: Have we sufficient forces to direct our propaganda and agitation among all classes of the population? Of course we have. Our Economists, frequently inclined as they are to deny this, lose sight of the gigantic progress our movement has made from 1894 (approximately) to 1901. Like real "tail-enders," they frequently live in the distant past, in the period when the movement was just beginning. At that time, indeed, we had astonishingly few forces, and it was perfectly natural and legitimate then to devote ourselves exclusively to activities among the workers, and severely condemn any deviation from this. The whole task then was to consolidate our position in the working class. At the present time, however, gigantic forces have been attracted to the movement; the best representatives of the young generation of the educated classes are coming over to us; all over the country there are people, compelled to live in the provinces, who have taken part in the movement in the past or who desire to do so now, who are gravitating towards Social-Democracy (whereas in 1894 you could count the Social-Democrats on your fingers). One of the principal political and organizational shortcomings of our movement is that we do not know how to utilize all these forces and give them appropriate work (we shall deal with this in greater detail in the next chapter). The overwhelming majority of these forces entirely lack the opportunity of "going among the workers," so there are no grounds for fearing that we shall deflect forces from our main work. And in order to be able to provide the workers with real, comprehensive and live political knowledge, we must have "our own people," Social-Democrats, everywhere, among all social strata, and

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in all positions from which we can learn the inner springs of our state mechanism. Such people are required not only for propaganda and agitation, but in a still larger measure for organization.

    Is there scope for activity among all classes of the population? Those who fail to see this also lag, in their consciousness, behind the spontaneous awakening of the masses. The working-class movement has aroused and is continuing to arouse discontent in some, hopes for support for the opposition in others, and the consciousness of the intolerableness and inevitable downfall of the autocracy in still others. We would be "politicians" and Social-Democrats only in name (as actually very often happens), if we failed to realize that our task is to utilize every manifestation of discontent, and to collect and make the best of every grain of even rudimentary protest. This is quite apart from the fact that many millions of the labouring peasantry, handicraftsmen, petty artisans, etc., would always listen eagerly to the preachings of any at all able and intelligent Social-Democrat. Indeed, is there a single class of the population in which no individuals, groups or circles are to be found who are discontented with the lack of rights and with tyranny and, therefore, accessible to the propaganda of Social-Democrats as the spokesmen of the most pressing general democratic needs? To those who desire to have a clear idea of what the political agitation of a Social-Democrat among all classes and strata of the population should be like, we would point to political exposures in the broad sense of the word as the principal (but of course not the sole) form of this agitation.

    "We must arouse in every section of the population that is at all enlightened a passion for political exposure," I wrote in my article "Where To Begin?" (Iskra, No. 4, May 1901), with which I shall deal in greater

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<"p109">detail later. "We must not be discouraged by the fact that the voice of political exposure is at present feeble, rare and timid. <"p109a">This is not because of a wholesale submission to police despotism, but because those who are able and ready to make exposures have no tribune from which to speak, no audience to listen eagerly and approve what the speakers say, and because the latter do not see anywhere among the people forces to whom it would be worth while directing their complaint against the 'omnipotent' Russian government. . . . We are now in a position, and it is our duty, to provide a tribune for the nation-wide exposure of the tsarist government. That tribune must be a Social-Democratic paper."[69]

    The ideal audience for political exposures is the working class, which is first and foremost in need of all-round and live political knowledge, and is most capable of converting this knowledge into active struggle, even if it does not promise "palpable results." And the tribune for nation-wide exposures can be only an all-Russian newspaper. "Without a political organ, a political movement deserving that name is inconceivable in modern Europe," and in this respect Russia must undoubtedly be included in modern Europe. The press has long ago become a power in our country, otherwise the government would not spend tens of thousands of rubles to bribe it, and to subsidize the Katkovs and Meshcherskys. And it is no novelty in autocratic Russia for the underground press to break through the wall of censorship and compel the legal and conservative press to speak openly of it. This was the case in the 'seventies and even in the 'fifties. How much broader and deeper are now those sections of the people that are prepared to read the illegal underground press, and to learn from it "how to live and how to die," to use the expression of a worker who sent a letter to the Iskra (No. 7).[70] Political exposures are as much a declaration of war against the government as economic exposures are a declaration of war against the factory owners. And the moral signif-

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icance of this declaration of war will be all the greater, the wider and more powerful this campaign of exposure is, the more numerous and determined the social class, which has declared war in order to commence the war. Hence, political exposures in themselves serve as a powerful instrument for disintegrating the system we oppose, a means for diverting from the enemy his casual or temporary allies, a means for spreading enmity and distrust among the permanent partners of the autocracy.

    Only a party that will organize really nation-wide exposures can become the vanguard of the revolutionary forces in our time. The word "nation-wide" has a very profound meaning. The overwhelming majority of the non-working-class exposers (and in order to become the vanguard, we must attract other classes) are sober politicians and level-headed businessmen. They know perfectly well how dangerous it is to "complain" even against a minor official, let alone against the "omnipotent" Russian government. And they will come to us with their complaints only when they see that these complaints can really have effect, and that we represent a political force. In order to become such a force in the eyes of outsiders, much persistent and stubborn work is required to raise our own consciousness, initiative and energy. To accomplish this it is not enough to attach a "vanguard" label on rearguard theory and practice.

    But if we have to undertake the organization of really nation-wide exposure of the government, what, then, will be the expression of the class character of our movement? -- the over-zealous advocates of "close organic contact with the proletarian struggle" will ask us. The reply is: the fact that we Social-Democrats will organize these public exposures; that all the questions raised by the agitation will be

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    elucidated in a consistently Social-Democratic spirit, without any concessions to deliberate or non-deliberate distortions of Marxism; in the fact that this all-round political agitation will be conducted by a party which unites into one inseparable whole the pressure upon the government in the name of the whole people, the revolutionary training of the proletariat, while safeguarding its political independence, and guidance of the economic struggle of the working class, the utilization of all its spontaneous conflicts with its exploiters which rouse and bring into our camp increasing numbers of the proletariat!

    But one of the most characteristic features of Economism is its failure to understand this connection, more, this identity of the most pressing needs of the proletariat (a comprehensible political education through the medium of political agitation and political exposures) with the needs of the general democratic movement. This lack of understanding is expressed not only in "Martynovite" phrases, but also in the references to a supposedly class point of view which is identical in meaning with these phrases. Here, for example, is how it is put by the authors of the "Economist" letter in No. 12 of the Iskra.* "This fundamental defect of the Iskra " (overestimating ideology) "is the cause of its inconsistency in the question of the attitude of Social-Democrats to various social classes and tendencies. By a process of theoretical

    * Lack of space has prevented us from replying in full, in the Iskra, to this letter, which is extremely characteristic of the Economists. We were very glad it appeared, for rumours about the Iskra not maintaining a consistent, class point of view, have reached us long ago from various sources, and we have been waiting for an appropriate opportunity, or for a formulated expression of this current charge, to reply to it. And it is our habit to reply to attacks not by defence, but by counter-attacks.

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reasoning" (and not by "the growth of Party tasks, which grow together with the Party"), "the Iskra solved the problem of immediately proceeding to the struggle against absolutism. But in all probability it senses how difficult a task this would be for the workers in the present state of affairs" . . . (not only senses, but knows perfectly well that this task appears less difficult to the workers than to those "Economist" intellectuals who are concerned about little children, for the workers are prepared to fight even for demands which, to use the language of the never-to-be-forgotten Martynov, do not "promise palpable results") . . . "and lacking the patience to wait until the workers accumulate more strength for this struggle, the Iskra begins to search for allies in the ranks of the liberals and intelligentsia". . . .

    Yes, yes, we have indeed lost all "patience" to "wait" for the blessed time that has long been promised us by diverse "conciliators" when the Economists will stop throwing the blame for their own backwardness upon the workers, and stop justifying their own lack of energy by alleging that it is the workers who lack strength. We ask our Economists: what does "the working class accumulating more strength for this struggle" mean? Is it not evident that it means the political training of the workers, exposing to them all the aspects of our despicable autocracy? And is it not clear that precisely for this work we need "allies in the ranks of the liberals and intelligentsia," who are prepared to join us in the exposure of the political attack on the Zemstvos, on the teachers, on the statisticians, on the students, etc.? Is this surprisingly "intricate mechanism" really so difficult to understand? Has not P. B. Axelrod repeated to you over and over again since 1897: "The problem of the Russian Social-Democrats acquiring adherents and direct and indirect

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allies among the non-proletarian classes will be solved principally and primarily by the character of the propagandist activities conducted among the proletariat itself"? But the Martynovs and the other Economists continue to imagine that "by economic struggle against the employers and the government," the workers must first accumulate strength (for trade-unionist politics) and then "go over" -- we presume from trade-unionist "training for activity" -- to Social-Democratic activity!

    ". . . In its quest," continue the Economists, "the Iskra not infrequently departs from the class point of view, obscures class antagonisms and puts into the forefront the general character of the prevailing discontent with the government, notwithstanding the fact that the causes and the degree of this discontent vary quite considerably among the 'allies.' Such, for example, is the Iskra's attitude towards the Zemstvo. . . ." <"p113">The Iskra, it is alleged, "promises the nobility, who are discontented with the government's sops, the aid of the working class, but does not say a word about the class antagonisms between these strata of the population." If the reader will turn to the articles "The Autocracy and the Zemstvo" (Nos. 2 and 4 of the Iskra), to which, in all probability, the authors of the letter refer, he will find that these articles[71] deal with the attitude of the government towards the "mild agitation of the bureaucratic Zemstvo, which is based on the Estates," and towards the "independent activity of even the propertied classes." In these articles it is stated that the workers cannot look on indifferently while the government is carrying on a fight against the Zemstvo, and the Zemstvo-ites are called upon to give up making mild speeches, and to speak firmly and resolutely when revolutionary Social-Democracy confronts the government in all its strength. What

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the authors of the letter do not agree with here is not clear. Do they think that the workers will "not understand" the phrases "propertied classes" and "bureaucratic Zemstvo based on the Estates"? Do they think that urging the Zemstvo to abandon mild speeches and to speak firmly and resolutely is "overestimating ideology"? Do they imagine the workers can "accumulate strength" for the fight against absolutism if they know nothing about the attitude of absolutism also towards the Zemstvo? All this too remains unknown. One thing alone is clear and that is that the authors of the letter have a very vague idea of what the political tasks of Social-Democracy are. This is revealed still more clearly by their remark: "Such also" (i.e., also "obscures class antagonisms") "is the Iskra's attitude towards the student movement." Instead of calling upon the workers to declare by means of public demonstrations that the real centre of unbridled violence, disorder and outrage is not the students but the Russian government (Iskra, No. 2 [72]), we should, no doubt, have inserted arguments in the spirit of the Rabochaya Mysl ! And such ideas are expressed by Social-Democrats in the autumn of 1901, after the events of February and March, on the eve of a fresh revival of the student movement, which reveals that even in this sphere the "spontaneous" protest against the autocracy is outstripping the conscious Social-Democratic leadership of the movement. The spontaneous striving of the workers to stand up for the students who are being beaten up by the police and the Cossacks is outstripping the conscious activity of the Social-Democratic organization!

    "And yet in other articles," continue the authors of the letter, "the Iskra sharply condemns all compromises, and defends, for example, the intolerant conduct of the Guesdites." We would advise those who usually so conceitedly and friv-

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olously declare in connection with the disagreements existing among the contemporary Social-Democrats that they are of a minor nature and do not justify a split, to ponder very deeply over these words. Is it possible to have successful activity, within one organization, by people who say that so far we have done astonishingly little to explain the hostility of the autocracy towards the various classes, and to inform the workers of the opposition of the various strata of the population towards the autocracy, and by people who see in this a "compromise" -- evidently a compromise with the theory of the "economic struggle against the employers and the government"?

    <"p115">We urged the necessity of introducing the class struggle in the rural districts on the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the emancipation of the peasantry (No. 3 [73]), and spoke of the irreconcilability between the local government bodies and the autocracy in connection with Witte's secret memorandum. (No. 4.) In connection with the new law we attacked the feudal landlords and the government which serves them (No. 8 [74]), and welcomed the illegal Zemstvo congress. We urged the Zemstvo to stop making degrading petitions (No. 8 [75]), and to come out and fight. We encouraged the students, who had begun to understand the need for, and to take up, the political struggle (No. 3) and, at the same time, we lashed out at the "barbarous lack of understanding" revealed by the adherents of the "purely student" movement, who called upon the students to abstain from taking part in the street demonstrations <"p115a">(No. 3, in connection with the manifesto issued by the Executive Committee of the Moscow students on February 25). We exposed the "senseless dreams" and the "Iying hypocrisy" of the cunning liberals of the Rossiya [76] (No. 5) and at the same time we commented on

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the fury with which "peaceful writers, aged professors, scientists and well-known liberal Zemstvo-ites were manhandled" in the government's torture chambers. (No. 5, "Police Raid on Literature.") We exposed the real significance of the program of "state concern for the welfare of the workers," and welcomed the "valuable admission" that "it is better by granting reforms from above to forestall the demand for such reforms from below, than to wait for those demands to be put forward." (No. 6.[77]) We encouraged the protesting statisticians (No. 7), and censured the strikebreaking statisticians. (No. 9.) He who sees in these tactics an obscuring of the class consciousness of the proletariat and compromise with liberalism shows that he absolutely fails to understand the true significance of the program of the Credo and is carrying out that program de facto, however much he may repudiate it! Because by that he drags Social-Democracy towards the "economic struggle against the employers and the government" and yields to liberalism, abandons the task of actively intervening in every "liberal" issue and of defining his own, Social-Democratic, attitude towards this question.

What Is To Be Done? -NEXT