They wanted a loose, unorganized, khvostist party. They worked to split the ranks of the Party. Seeing that the Mensheviks were threatening a split, the Bolsheviks adopted measures to curb the splitters; they mustered the local organizations to back the convocation of a Third Congress, and they started their own newspaper, Vperyod. Thus, on the eve of the first Russian revolution, when the Russo-Japanese war had already begun, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks acted as two separate political groups.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union Bolsheviks has traversed a long and glorious road, leading from the first tiny Marxist circles and groups that appeared in Russia in the eighties of the past century to the great Party of the Bolsheviks, which now directs the first Socialist State of Workers and Peasants in the world. In the new conditions of the era of imperialism, imperialist wars and proletarian revolutions, its leaders further developed the teachings of Marx and Engels and raised them to a new level. The history of the C. The study of the history of the C.
The study of the heroic history of the Bolshevik Party arms us with a knowledge of the laws of social development and of the political struggle, with a knowledge of the motive forces of revolution. Tsarist Russia entered the path of capitalist development later than other countries. Prior to the sixties of the past century there were very few mills and factories in Russia. Manorial estates based on serfdom constituted the prevailing form of economy. There could be no real development of industry under serfdom.
The involuntary labour of the serfs in agriculture was of low productivity. The whole course of economic development made the abolition of serfdom imperative. In , the tsarist government, weakened by defeat in the Crimean War, and frightened by the peasant revolts against the landlords, was compelled to abolish serfdom. But even after serfdom had been abolished the landlords continued to oppress the peasants.
These cut-off portions of land were called by the peasants otrezki cuts. After serfdom had been abolished the peasants were obliged to rent land from the landlords on most onerous terms. In addition to paying money rent, the peasants were often compelled by the landlord to cultivate without remuneration a definite portion of his land with their own implements and horses.
This was called otrabotki or barshchina labour rent, corvee. In most cases the peasants were obliged to pay the landlords rent in kind in the amount of one-half of their harvests. This was known as ispolu half and half system. Thus the situation remained almost the same as it had been under serfdom, the only difference being that the peasant was now personally free, could not be bought and sold like a chattel.
The landlords bled the backward peasant farms white by various methods of extortion rent, fines. Owing to the oppression of the landlords the bulk of the peasantry were unable to improve their farms. Hence the extreme backwardness of agriculture in pre-revolutionary Russia, which led to frequent crop failures and famines. The survivals of serfdom, crushing taxation and the redemption payments to the landlords, which not infrequently exceeded the income of the peasant household, ruined the peasants, reduced them to pauperism and forced them to quit their villages in search of a livelihood.
They went to work in the mills and factories. This was a source of cheap labour power for the manufacturers. Over the workers and peasants stood a veritable army of sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, gendarmes, constables, rural police, who protected the tsar, the capitalists and the landlords from the toiling and exploited people. Corporal punishment existed right up to Although serfdom had been abolished the peasants were flogged for the slightest offence and for the non-payment of taxes.
Workers were manhandled by the police and the Cossacks, especially during strikes, when the workers downed tools because their lives had been made intolerable by the manufacturers. Under the tsars the workers and peasants had no political rights whatever. The tsarist autocracy was the worst enemy of the people. Tsarist Russia was a prison of nations. The numerous non-Russian nationalities were entirely devoid of rights and were subjected to constant insult and humiliation of every kind. The tsarist government taught the Russian population to look down upon the native peoples of the national regions as an inferior race, officially referred to them as inorodtsi aliens , and fostered contempt and hatred of them.
The tsarist government deliberately fanned national discord, instigated one nation against another, engineered Jewish pogroms and, in Transcaucasia, incited Tatars and Armenians to massacre each other. Nearly all, if not all, government posts in the national regions were held by Russian officials. All business in government institutions and in the courts was conducted in the Russian language.
It was forbidden to publish newspapers and books in the languages of the non-Russian nationalities or to teach in the schools in the native tongue.
After the abolition of serfdom, the development of industrial capitalism in Russia proceeded at a fairly rapid pace in spite of the fact that it was still hampered by survivals of serfdom. During the twenty-five years, , the number of workers employed in large mills and factories and on the railways increased from , to 1,,, or more than doubled. Large-scale capitalist industry in Russia began to develop even more rapidly in the nineties.
By the end of that decade the number of workers employed in the large mills and factories, in the mining industry and on the railways amounted in the fifty European provinces of Russia alone to 2,,, and in the whole of Russia to 2,, persons. This was a modern industrial proletariat, radically different from the workers employed in the factories of the period of serfdom and from the workers in small, handicraft and other kinds of industry, both because of the spirit of solidarity prevailing among the workers in big capitalist enterprises and because of their militant revolutionary qualities.
The industrial boom of the nineties was chiefly due to intensive railroad construction. During the course of the decade over 21, versts of new railway line were laid. The railways created a big demand for metal for rails, locomotives and cars , and also for increasing quantities of fuel — coal and oil. This led to the development of the metal and fuel industries. In pre-revolutionary Russia, as in all capitalist countries, periods of industrial boom alternated with industrial crises, stagnation, which severely affected the working class and condemned hundreds of thousands of workers to unemployment and poverty.
Although the development of capitalism in Russia proceeded fairly rapidly after the abolition of serfdom, nevertheless, in economic development Russia lagged considerably behind other capitalist countries. The vast majority of the population was still engaged in agriculture. In his celebrated work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia Lenin cited significant figures from the general census of the population of which showed that about five-sixths of the total population were engaged in agriculture, and only one-sixth in large and small industry, trade, on the railways and waterways, in building work, lumbering, and so on.
This shows that although capitalism was developing in Russia, she was still an agrarian, economically backward country, a petty-bourgeois country, that is, a country in which low-productive individual peasant farming based on small ownership still predominated. Capitalism was developing not only in the towns but also in the countryside. The peasantry, the most numerous class in pre-revolu-tionary Russia, was undergoing a process of disintegration, of cleavage. From among the more well-to-do peasants there was emerging an upper layer of kulaks, the rural bourgeoisie, while on the other hand many peasants were being ruined, and the number of poor peasants, rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, was on the increase.
As to the middle peasants, their number decreased from year to year. In there were about ten million peasant households in Russia. In his pamphlet entitled To the Village Poor , Lenin calculated that of this total not less than three and a half million households consisted of peasants possessing no horses. These were the poorest peasants who usually sowed only a small part of their land, leased the rest to the kulaks, and themselves left to seek other sources of livelihood.
The position of these peasants came nearest to that of the proletariat. Lenin called them rural proletarians or semi-proletarians. On the other hand, one and a half million rich, kulak households out of a total of ten million peasant households concentrated in their hands half the total sown area of the peasants. This peasant bourgeoisie was growing rich by grinding down the poor and middle peasantry and profiting from the toil of agricultural labourers, and was developing into rural capitalists. The working class of Russia began to awaken already in the seventies, and especially in the eighties, and started a struggle against the capitalists.
Exceedingly hard was the lot of the workers in tsarist Russia. The exploitation of female and child labour was widely resorted to. Children worked the same hours as adults, but, like the women, received a much smaller wage. Wages were inordinately low. The majority of the workers were paid seven or eight rubles per month. The most highly paid workers in the metal works and foundries received no more than 35 rubles per month.
There were no regulations for the protection of labour, with the result that workers were maimed and killed in large numbers.
Workers were not insured, and all medical services had to be paid for. Housing conditions were appalling. The workers began to take a common stand and present joint demands to the factory workers for the improvement of their intolerable conditions. They would down tools and go on strike. The earlier strikes in the seventies and eighties were usually provoked by excessive fines, cheating and swindling of the workers over wages, and reductions in the rates of pay. In the earlier strikes, the workers, driven to despair, would sometimes smash machinery, break factory windows and wreck factory-owned shops and factory offices.
The more advanced workers began to realize that if they were to be successful in their struggle against the capitalists, they needed organization. Petersburg, headed by Khalturin, a carpenter, and Obnorsky, a fitter. The program of the Union stated that its aims and objects were similar to those of the Social-Democratic labour parties of the West. This circumstance left its impress on the program of the Northern Union of Russian Workers.
The immediate aim of the Union was to win political liberty and political rights for the people freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc. The immediate demands also included a reduction of the working day. The membership of the Union reached , and it had about as many sympathizers.
But the working-class movement continued to grow, spreading from district to district. The eighties were marked by a large number of strikes. In the space of five years there were as many as 48 strikes involving 80, workers. An exceptional part in the history of the revolutionary movement was played by the big strike that broke out at the Morozov mill in Orekhovo-Zuyevo in About 8, workers were employed at this mill. Working conditions grew worse from day to day: In addition, Morozov, the manufacturer, tormented the workers with fines.
It was revealed at the trial which followed the strike that of every ruble earned by the workers, from 30 to 50 kopeks went into the pocket of the manufacturer in the form of fines. The workers could not stand this robbery any longer and in January went out on strike. The strike had been organized beforehand. It was led by a politically advanced worker, Pyotr Moiseyenko, who had been a member of the Northern Union of Russian Workers and already had some revolutionary experience. On the eve of the strike Moiseyenko and others of the more class-conscious weavers drew up a number of demands for presentation to the mill owners; they were endorsed at a secret meeting of the workers.
The chief demand was the abolition of the rapacious fines. This strike was suppressed by armed force. Over workers were arrested and scores of them committed for trial. Similar strikes broke out in the mills of Ivanovo-Voznesensk in In the following year the tsarist government was compelled by its fear of the growth of the working-class movement to promulgate a law on fines which provided that the proceeds from fines were not to go into the pockets of the manufacturers but were to be used for the needs of the workers themselves.
The Morozov and other strikes taught the workers that a great deal could be gained by organized struggle. The working-class movement began to produce capable leaders and organizers who staunchly championed the interests of the working class. At the same time, on the basis of the growth of the working-class movement and under the influence of the working-class movement of Western Europe, the first Marxist organizations began to arise in Russia.
Prior to the appearance of the Marxist groups revolutionary work in Russia was carried on by the Narodniks Populists , who were opponents of Marxism. The first Russian Marxist group arose in Plekhanov abroad, in Geneva, where he had been obliged to take refuge from the persecution of the tsarist government for his revolutionary activities. Previously Plekhanov had himself been a Narodnik.
But having studied Marxism while abroad, he broke with Narodism and became an outstanding propagandist of Marxism. Plekhanov, Zasulich, Axelrod and other members of this group also wrote a number of works explaining the teachings of Marx and Engels, the ideas of scientific Socialism.
Marx and Engels, the great teachers of the proletariat, were the first to explain that, contrary to the opinion of the utopian Socialists, Socialism was not the invention of dreamers utopians , but the inevitable outcome of the development of modern capitalist society. They showed that the capitalist system would fall, just as serfdom had fallen, and that capitalism was creating its own gravediggers in the person of the proletariat. They showed that only the class struggle of the proletariat, only the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, would rid humanity of capitalism and exploitation.
Marx and Engels taught the proletariat to be conscious of its own strength, to be conscious of its class interests and to unite for a determined struggle against the bourgeoisie. Marx and Engels discovered the laws of development of capitalist society and proved scientifically that the development of capitalist society, and the class struggle going on within it, must inevitably lead to the fall of capitalism, to the victory of the proletariat, to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Marx and Engels taught that it was impossible to get rid of the power of capital and to convert capitalist property into public property by peaceful means, and that the working class could achieve this only by revolutionary violence against the bourgeoisie, by a proletarian revolution , by establishing its own political rule — the dictatorship of the proletariat — which must crush the resistance of the exploiters and create a new, classless, Communist society.
Marx and Engels taught that the industrial proletariat is the most revolutionary and therefore the most advanced class in capitalist society, and that only a class like the proletariat could rally around itself all the forces discontented with capitalism and lead them in the storming of capitalism. But in order to vanquish the old world and create a new, classless society, the proletariat must have its own working-class party, which Marx and Engels called the Communist Party. It was first necessary to prepare the theoretical, ideological ground for such a movement.
The chief ideological obstacle to the spread of Marxism and of the Social-Democratic movement was the Narodnik views which at that time prevailed among the advanced workers and the revolutionary-minded intelligentsia. As capitalism developed in Russia the working class became a powerful and advanced force that was capable of waging an organized revolutionary struggle. But the leading role of the working class was not understood by the Narodniks. The Russian Narodniks erroneously held that the principal revolutionary force was not the working class, but the peasantry, and that the rule of the tsar and the landlords could be overthrown by means of peasant revolts alone.
The Narodniks did not know the working class and did not realize that the peasants alone were incapable of vanquishing tsardom and the landlords without an alliance with the working class and without its guidance. The Narodniks did not understand that the working class was the most revolutionary and the most advanced class of society. The Narodniks first endeavoured to rouse the peasants for a struggle against the tsarist government.
But they found no backing among the peasantry, for they did not have a proper knowledge or understanding of the peasants either. The majority of them were arrested by the police. Thereupon the Narodniks decided to continue the struggle against the tsarist autocracy single-handed, without the people, and this led to even more serious mistakes.
But the people did not benefit from this in any way. The assassination of individuals could not bring about the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy or the abolition of the landlord class. The assassinated tsar was replaced by another, Alexander III, under whom the conditions of the workers and peasants became still worse. The method of combating tsardom chosen by the Narodniks, namely, by the assassination of individuals, by individual terrorism, was wrong and detrimental to the revolution. By these assassinations of individual representatives of the class of exploiters, assassinations that were of no benefit to the revolution, the Narodniks diverted the attention of the working people from the struggle against that class as a whole.
They hampered the development of the revolutionary initiative and activity of the working class and the peasantry. The Narodniks prevented the working class from understanding its leading role in the revolution and retarded the creation of an independent party of the working class. The surviving Narodniks stubbornly resisted the spread of Marxism in Russia and hampered the organization of the working class. Marxism in Russia could therefore grow and gain strength only by combating Narodism.
In his writings directed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that their views had nothing in common with scientific Socialism, even though they called themselves Socialists. Plekhanov was the first to give a Marxist criticism of the erroneous views of the Narodniks. Delivering well-aimed blows at the Narodnik views, Plekhanov at the same time developed a brilliant defence of the Marxist views. What were the major errors of the Narodniks which Plekhanov hammered at with such destructive effect? Secondly, the Narodniks did not regard the working class as the foremost class in the revolution.
They dreamed of attaining Socialism without the proletariat. They considered that the principal revolutionary force was the peasantry — led by the intelligentsia — and the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and foundation of Socialism. They neither knew nor understood the laws of the economic and political development of society. In this respect they were quite backward. In combating and exposing the Narodniks Plekhanov wrote a number of Marxist works which were instrumental in rearing and educating the Marxists in Russia.
In his works Plekhanov expounded the basic principles of Marxism. Of particular importance was his On the Development of the Monistic View of History , published in In his writings aimed against the Narodniks, Plekhanov showed that it was absurd to put the question the way the Narodniks did: As a matter of fact Russia had already entered the path of capitalist development, Plekhanov said, producing facts to prove it, and there was no force that could divert her from this path.
The task of the revolutionaries was not to arrest the development of capitalism in Russia — that they could not do anyhow. Their task was to secure the support of the powerful revolutionary force brought into being by the development of capitalism, namely, the working class, to develop its class-consciousness, to organize it, and to help it to create its own working-class party. Plekhanov also shattered the second major error of the Narodniks, namely, their denial of the role of the proletariat as the vanguard in the revolutionary struggle.
Because the proletariat, although it was still numerically small, was a labouring class which was connected with the most advanced form of economy, large-scale production, and which for this reason had a great future before it. Because the proletariat, as a class, was growing from year to year, was developing politically, easily lent itself to organization owing to the conditions of labour prevailing in large-scale production, and was the most revolutionary class owing to its proletarian status, for it had nothing to lose in the revolution but its chains. The peasantry meaning here the individual peasants, each of whom worked for himself — Ed.
Far from growing as a class, the peasantry was splitting up more and more into bourgeois kulaks and poor peasants proletarians and semi-proletarians. Moreover, being scattered, it lent itself less easily than the proletariat to organization, and, consisting of small owners, it joined the revolutionary movement less readily than the proletariat. The Narodniks maintained that Socialism in Russia would come not through the dictatorship of the proletariat, but through the peasant commune, which they regarded as the embryo and basis of Socialism.
But the commune was neither the basis nor the embryo of Socialism, nor could it be, because the commune was dominated by the kulaks — the bloodsuckers who exploited the poor peasants, the agricultural labourers and the economically weaker middle peasants. The formal existence of communal land ownership and the periodical redivision of the land according to the number of mouths in each peasant household did not alter the situation in any way. Those members of the commune used the land who owned draught cattle, implements and seed, that is, the well-to-do middle peasants and kulaks.
The peasants who possessed no horses, the poor peasants, the small peasants generally, had to surrender their land to the kulaks and to hire themselves out as agricultural labourers. As a matter of fact, the peasant commune was a convenient means of masking the dominance of the kulaks and an inexpensive instrument in the hands of the tsarist government for the collection of taxes from the peasants on the basis of collective responsibility.
That was why tsardom left the peasant commune intact.
It was absurd to regard a commune of this character as the embryo or basis of Socialism. Plekhanov accused the Narodniks of idealism , and showed that the truth lay not with idealism, but with the materialism of Marx and Engels. Plekhanov expounded and substantiated the view of Marxist materialism. In conformity with Marxist materialism, he showed that in the long run the development of society is determined not by the wishes and ideas of outstanding individuals, but by the development of the material conditions of existence of society, by the changes in the mode of production of the material wealth required for the existence of society, by the changes in the mutual relations of classes in the production of material wealth, by the struggle of classes for place and position in the production and distribution of material wealth.
It was not ideas that determined the social and economic status of men, but the social and economic status of men that determined their ideas. Outstanding individuals may become nonentities if their ideas and wishes run counter to the economic development of society, to the needs of the foremost class; and vice versa, outstanding people may really become outstanding individuals if their ideas and wishes correctly express the needs of the economic development of society, the needs of the foremost class.
Heroes, outstanding individuals, may play an important part in the life of society only in so far as they are capable of correctly understanding the conditions of development of society and the ways of changing them for the better. But the ideological destruction of Narodism was still far from complete. It was left to Lenin to deal the final blow to Narodism, as an enemy of Marxism. In the eighties and nineties the Narodniks began to voice the interests of the kulaks.
This was a very important preparatory step in the formation of a Marxist Social-Democratic party in Russia. Its first draft program still contained vestiges of the Narodnik views; it countenanced the tactics of individual terrorism. Furthermore, Plekhanov failed to take into account that in the course of the revolution the proletariat could and should lead the peasantry, and that only in an alliance with the peasantry could the proletariat gain the victory over tsardom. Plekhanov further considered that the liberal bourgeoisie was a force that could give support, albeit unstable support, to the revolution; but as to the peasantry, in some of his writings he discounted it entirely, declaring, for instance, that:.
It was a period in which the theory of Marxism, the ideas of Marxism, and the principles of the Social-Democratic program were just appearing and gaining a foothold in Russia. In the decade of the Social-Democratic movement still existed in the form of small separate groups and circles which had no connections, or very scant connections, with the mass working-class movement. In Lenin entered the Kazan University, but was soon arrested and expelled from the university for taking part in the revolutionary student movement. In Kazan Lenin joined a Marxist circle formed by one Fedoseyev.
Lenin later removed to Samara and soon afterwards the first Marxist circle in that city was formed with Lenin as the central figure. Already in those days Lenin amazed everyone by his thorough knowledge of Marxism. At the end of Lenin removed to St. His very first utterances in the Marxist circles of that city made a deep impression on their members. Lenin enjoyed the warm affection of the politically advanced workers whom he taught in the circles. Petersburg there were already about twenty of them into a single League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class.
Lenin put before the League of Struggle the task of forming closer connections with the mass working-class movement and of giving it political leadership. Lenin proposed to pass from the propaganda of Marxism among the few politically advanced workers who gathered in the propaganda circles to political agitation among the broad masses of the working class on issues of the day. This turn towards mass agitation was of profound importance for the subsequent development of the working-class movement in Russia. The nineties were a period of industrial boom. The number of workers was increasing.
The working-class movement was gaining strength. In the period of , according to incomplete data, not less than , workers took part in strikes. The working-class movement was becoming an important force in the political life of the country. The course of events was corroborating the view which the Marxists had championed against the Narodniks, namely, that the working class was to play the leading role in the revolutionary movement.
The League of Struggle educated the workers politically. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the first body in Russia that began to unite Socialism with the working-class movement. When a strike broke out in some factory, the League of Struggle, which through the members of its circles was kept well posted on the state of affairs in the factories, immediately responded by issuing leaflets and Socialist proclamations.
The leaflets told the plain truth about the ulcers of capitalism, the poverty of the workers, their intolerably hard working day of 12 to 14 hours, and their utter lack of rights. They also put forward appropriate political demands. With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of i wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St.
Petersburg who were on strike. In the autumn of Lenin wrote a leaflet for the men and women strikers of the Thornton Mills. These mills belonged to English owners who were making millions in profits out of them. The working day in these mills exceeded 14 hours, while the wages of a weaver were about 7 rubles per month.
The workers won the strike. In a short space of time the League of Struggle printed dozens of such leaflets and appeals to the workers of various factories. Every leaflet greatly helped to stiffen the spirit of the workers. They saw that the Socialists were helping and defending them. In the summer of a strike of 30, textile workers, led by the League of Struggle, took place in St.
The chief demand was for shorter hours.
Prior to this the working day was not limited in any way. In December Lenin was arrested by the tsarist government. But even in prison he did not discontinue his revolutionary work. He assisted the League of Struggle with advice and direction and wrote pamphlets and leaflets for it. There he wrote a pamphlet entitled On Strikes and a leaflet entitled To the Tsarist Government , exposing its savage despotism. There too Lenin drafted a program for the party he used milk as an invisible ink and wrote between the lines of a book on medicine.
In the middle of the nineties Marxist organizations arose in Transcaucasia. Towards the end of the nineties a Social-Democratic Union was formed in Siberia. The importance of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class consisted in the fact that, as Lenin said, it was the first real rudiment of a revolutionary party which was backed by the working-class movement.
The difficulty lay not only in the fact that the Party had to be built under the fire of savage persecution by the tsarist government, which every now and then robbed the organizations of their finest workers whom it condemned to exile, imprisonment and penal servitude, but also in the fact that a large number of the local committees and their members would have nothing to do with anything but their local, petty practical activities, did not realize the harm caused by the absence of organizational and ideological unity in the Party, were accustomed to the disunity and ideological confusion that prevailed within it, and believed that they could get along quite well without a united centralized party. There too Lenin drafted a program for the party he used milk as an invisible ink and wrote between the lines of a book on medicine. I pass to the subject of how some comrades among us, and some organisations, make a fetish of democracy, regarding it as something absolute, without relation to time or space. With the collaboration of the worker Babushkin, Lenin at the end of i wrote the first agitational leaflet of this kind and an appeal to the workers of the Semyannikov Works in St. The opportunists also objected to the inclusion in the Party program of demands on the peasant question.
Lenin drew on the revolutionary experience of the St. After the arrest of Lenin and his close associates, the leadership of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle changed considerably. They declared that the workers should be called upon to wage only an economic struggle against their employers; as for the political struggle, that was the affair of the liberal bourgeoisie, to whom the leadership of the political struggle should be left.
They were the first group of compromisers and opportunists within the ranks of the Marxist organizations in Russia. Although Plekhanov had already in the eighties dealt the chief blow to the Narodnik system of views, at the beginning of the nineties Narodnik views still found sympathy among certain sections of the revolutionary youth.
Some of them continued to hold that Russia could avoid the capitalist path of development and that the principal role in the revolution would be played by the peasantry, and not by the working class. The Narodniks that still remained did their utmost to prevent the spread of Marxism in Russia, fought the Marxists and endeavoured to discredit them in every way. Narodism had to be completely smashed ideologically if the further spread of Marxism and the creation of a Social-Democratic party were to be assured. Essentially, the Narodniks of the nineties had long ago renounced all revolutionary struggle against the tsarist government.
The Narodniks of the nineties shut their eyes to the condition of the poor peasants, to the class struggle in the countryside, and to the exploitation of the poor peasants by the kulaks, and sang praises to the development of kulak farming. As a matter of fact they voiced the interests of the kulaks. At the same time, the Narodniks in their periodicals baited the Marxists. And the proletariat would be the gravedigger of the capitalist system.
Lenin showed that it was the Marxists and not the Narodniks who were the real friends of the people, that it was the Marxists who wanted to throw off the capitalist and landlord yoke, to destroy tsardom. Lenin considered these tactics harmful to the revolutionary movement, for they substituted the struggle of individual heroes for the struggle of the masses. They signified a lack of confidence in the revolutionary movement of the people.
He further pointed out that it would be the working class of Russia, in alliance with the peasantry, that would overthrow the tsarist autocracy, after which the Russian proletariat, in alliance with the labouring and exploited masses, would, along with the proletariat of other countries, take the straight road of open political struggle to the victorious Communist revolution. Thus, over forty years ago, Lenin correctly pointed out to the working class its path of struggle, defined its role as the foremost revolutionary force in society, and that of the peasantry as the ally of the working class.
Marxism began to spread widely throughout Russia; and so we found bourgeois intellectuals decking themselves out in a Marxist garb. They published their articles in newspapers and periodicals that were legal, that is, allowed by the tsarist government. After their own fashion, they too fought Narodism. But they tried to make use of this fight and of the banner of Marxism in order to subordinate and adapt the working-class movement to the interests of bourgeois society, to the interests of the bourgeoisie.
They cut out the very core of Marxism, namely, the doctrine of the proletarian revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Many of these fellow-travelers later became Constitutional-Democrats the principal party of the Russian bourgeoisie , and during the Civil War out-and-out White guards. Along with the Leagues of Struggle in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and other places, Social-Democratic organizations arose also in the western national border regions of Russia.
In the nineties the Marxist elements in the Polish nationalist party broke away to form the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania. At the end of the nineties Latvian Social-Democratic organizations were formed, and in October the Jewish General Social-Democratic Union — known as the Bund — was founded in the western provinces of Russia. In several of the Leagues of Struggle — those of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev and Ekaterinoslav — together with the Bund made the first attempt to unite and form a Social-Democratic party. The First Congress of the R.
Lenin was not present because at that time he was living in exile in Siberia. The Central Committee of the Party elected at the congress was very soon arrested. The Manifesto published in the name of the congress was in many respects unsatisfactory. It evaded the question of the conquest of political power by the proletariat, it made no mention of the hegemony of the proletariat, and said nothing about the allies of the proletariat in its struggle against tsardom and the bourgeoisie. In its decisions and in its Manifesto the congress announced the formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.
It is this formal act, which played a great revolutionary propagandist role, that constituted the significance of the First Congress of the R. The congress did not succeed in uniting the separate Marxist circles and organizations and welding them together organizationally. There was still no common line of action in the work of the local organizations, nor was there a party program, party rules or a single leading centre.
It required several years of intense effort on the part of Lenin and of Iskra Spark , the newspaper he founded, before this confusion could be overcome, the opportunist vacillations put an end to, and the way prepared for the formation of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. Lenin was not present at the First Congress of the R. He was at that time in exile in Siberia, in the village of Shushenskoye, where he had been banished by the tsarist government after a long period of imprisonment in St.
Petersburg in connection with the prosecution of the League of Struggle. But Lenin continued his revolutionary activities even while in exile. There he finished a highly important scientific work, The Development of Capitalism in Russia , which completed the ideological destruction of Narodism.
Although Lenin was cut off from direct, practical revolutionary work, he nevertheless managed to maintain some connections with those engaged in this work; he carried on a correspondence with them from exile, obtained information from them and gave them advice. When Lenin acquainted himself with this opportunist document he called a conference of Marxist political exiles living in the vicinity. This protest, which was written by Lenin, was circulated among the Marxist organizations all over the country and played an outstanding part in the development of Marxist ideas and of the Marxist party in Russia.
At the beginning of , Lenin and other members of the League of Struggle returned from their Siberian exile to Russia. Lenin conceived the idea of founding a big illegal Marxist newspaper on an all-Russian scale. The numerous small Marxist circles and organizations which already existed in Russia were not yet linked up. Only such a newspaper could link up the disunited Marxist organizations and prepare the way for the creation of a real party.
But such a newspaper could not be published in tsarist Russia owing to police persecution. Lenin therefore decided to publish the newspaper abroad.
There it was printed on very thin but durable paper and secretly smuggled into Russia. Some of the issues of Iskra were reprinted in Russia by secret printing plants in Baku, Kishinev and Siberia. The idea had been worked out by Lenin in all its details while he was in exile. On his way back from exile he had held a number of conferences on the subject in Ufa, Pskov, Moscow and St. Everywhere he made arrangements with the comrades about codes for secret correspondence, addresses to which literature could be sent, and so on, and discussed with them plans for the future struggle.
The tsarist government scented a most dangerous enemy in Lenin. Zasulich, for the publication of Iskra under joint auspices. The whole plan of publication from beginning to end had been worked out by Lenin. The first issue of Iskra appeared abroad in December The title page bore the epigraph: And indeed, from the spark Iskra started by Lenin there subsequently flamed up the great revolutionary conflagration in which the tsarist monarchy of the landed nobility, and the power of the bourgeoisie were reduced to ashes.
The Marxist Social-Democratic Labour Party in Russia was formed in a struggle waged in the first place against Narodism and its views, which were erroneous and harmful to the cause of revolution. Lenin completed the ideological defeat of Narodism and dealt it the final blow in the nineties.
With the development of capitalism in Russia the industrial proletariat rapidly grew in numbers. In the middle of the eighties the working class adopted the path of organized struggle, of mass action in the form of organized strikes. But the Marxist circles and groups only carried on propaganda and did not realize the necessity for passing to mass agitation among the working class; they therefore still had no practical connection with the working-class movement and did not lead it.
Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, which Lenin formed in and which started mass agitation among the workers and led mass strikes, marked a new stage — the transition to mass agitation among the workers and the union of Marxism with the working-class movement.
Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class was the rudiment of a revolutionary proletarian party in Russia. The formation of the St. Petersburg League of Struggle was followed by the formation of Marxist organizations in all the principal industrial centres as well as in the border regions. In at the First Congress of the R. But this congress did not yet create a party: In order to unite and link together the separate Marxist organizations into a single party, Lenin put forward and carried out a plan for the founding of Iskra , the first newspaper of the revolutionary Marxists on an all-Russian scale.
They fostered the disunity and amateurish methods of the separate groups. It was against them that Lenin and the newspaper Iskra organized by him directed their blows. The appearance of the first issues of Iskra I marked a transition to a new period — a period in which a single Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party was really formed from the disconnected groups and circles. First published as a separate pamphlet in German, Paris, Signed: The Conference placed the liquidators outside the Party. It is therefore quite natural that the liquidators and their supporters should now attack the Conference.
It is devoted, mainly, to a brief statement of the significance, course and results of the fight against the liquidators. Still, we must not forget the saying that a man who has been condemned to death may abuse his judges for 24 hours. It is a perfectly clear statement: It is, indeed, a sign of a very low opinion of the readers when an author completely ignores the substance of the matter but unburdens himself with melodramatic outpourings. How helpless, then, is our anonymous author if his reply to the fact that the Party has broken with the liquidationist trend contains nothing but abuse.
It is only necessary to quote at random several curious passages from the article of the unknown author. The organisations of St. The problematical existence of the Transcaucasian Regional Committee is something generally known and was proved by the character of its representation at the conference in The Polish and Latvian organisations, during the first nine years of the R. The Bund seceded from the Party in and remained outside it until or, to be more exact, Nor have its local branches fully rejoined the Party to this day, as was officially established at the conference of the R.
This latter failure the author diffidently tries to cover up with the following phrase: We find the explanation of this diffident silence in the official communique of the Bund about this Conference. And it is all-the more easy to indulge in phrase-mongering if at the same time silence is maintained regarding the fact that the representative of the Poles refused to work jointly because such work would be fruitless , not with the Bolsheviks or Leninists, God forbid, but with the Bundists and Latvians. But what, really, is the origin of liquidationism, and why was it necessary for the Conference of to constitute itself the supreme Party authority and to expel the liquidators?
The counter-revolution in Russia gave rise to a very pronounced process of disintegration in the ranks of our Party. Persecutions of unparalleled fury rained down upon the proletariat. Defection assumed wide proportions in the ranks of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeois fellow-travellers, who had naturally joined the proletariat as the leader of our bourgeois revolution in , began to turn their backs on the Social-Democratic Party.
The nucleus of the former was made up of the majority of Menshevik writers. They declared that the illegal Party had already been liquidated and that any attempt to revive it was a reactionary utopia. Obviously, under the political conditions prevailing in Russia, where even the party of the liberals, the Cadets, had no legal status, the formation of an open Social-Democratic working-class party can only remain wishful thinking.
The liquidators repudiated the illegal party, but did not fulfil their obligation to found a legal party. The Menshevik Plekhanov to say nothing of the Bolsheviks declared ruthless war on the liquidationist trend, refused to contribute to any of their publications and broke off relations with Martov and Axelrod.
It is obvious that, far from denying that it is essential to make use of all legal opportunities, the R. The type of our Party organisation may to a certain extent, of course, be compared to the German type of Party organisation at the time the Anti-Socialist Law was in operation: The otzovists were joined by a section of the Bolsheviks, on whom Lenin and others declared implacable war. This group has never exerted any perceptible influence, and it led some sort of existence only by pursuing a policy of compromise with various impotent groups abroad which had lost all contact with Russia.
Such groups, inevitable in every split, vacillate now to one side, now to the other; they engage in cheap politics, but represent no definite trend and their activity expresses itself mainly in petty intrigue. It is clear, of course, to every Marxist that both liquidationism and otzovism are petty-bourgeois tendencies which attract the bourgeois fellow-travellers of the Social-Democratic Party.
The alternative facing the Social-Democratic Party was either to perish or to rid itself entirely of these tendencies. But things did not go further than pious wishes. The attempt to revive the Central Committee in Russia failed because the liquidators refused their assistance. This attempt was made in May Of the fifteen members of the Central Committee, nine were abroad. The refusal of the liquidators to participate in the Central Committee meant their complete secession and the dissolution of the Central Committee. Only one central body still remained abroad at the time — the so-called Central Committee Bureau Abroad.
The Bolsheviks withdrew from it when the Central Committee ceased to exist. This Party institution, which became a weapon in the hands of gentry who strove to liquidate the Party and therefore exposed the Russian Social-Democratic movement to grave peril, could render the revolutionary proletariat only one service: The Diary of a Social-Democrat , Part 2. The national organisations of the Poles, the Latvians and the Bundists, utterly divorced as they were from the work in Russia, could do absolutely nothing for such a conference. On November 26, , Trotsky issued an appeal calling for a conference.
But as might have been foreseen, all the efforts of these groups, owing to their impotence, were fruitless. The first step in the work was to invite the strongest organisation at the time, namely, the Kiev organisation. October saw the inauguration of the Russian i. This Commission was formed by the Kiev, Ekaterinoslav, Tiflis, Baku and Ekaterinburg organisations, which were soon joined by twenty more organisations. Such was the course and the outcome of the protracted fight.
To be sure, they are not Party organs; they are strictly legal and keep within the bounds fixed by the regime now existing in Russia. The sole undisputed all-Russia open organisation of legally functioning Social-Democrats is the Social-Democratic group in the Duma. It is strictly legal and is not directly connected with the Party.
But all its members are known, and it is also known which trend each of them represents. Two members of the Duma, Chkheidze and Gegechkori, contribute to neither of these organs. One Shurkanov contributes to both. The ratio is 2 to 8! These are indeed indisputable, easily verifiable and clear data enabling us to judge of the relation of forces between the liquidators and the anti-liquidators. The struggle within the R. Nothing else could be expected under the conditions of life in exile; nothing else could ever be expected in any other country whose lot it was to endure counter-revolution and exile.
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