LENINISM UNDER LENIN

Marcel Liebman
First published in Great Britain 1975 © Editions Du Seuil, 1973 English translation © 1975 by Jonathan Cape Ltd First published in paperback in 1980 The Merlin Press Ltd 3 Manchester Road London EI4 ISBN 0 85036 261 x

Contents TRANSLATOR'S NOTE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY INTRODUCTION 19 PART I: LENINISM IN OPPOSITION CHAPTER 1: LENIN'S PARTY 25

9

The Birth of Bolshevism The elitist conception of the party: the proletarian vanguard Centralization and internal democracy 37 Bolshevism in 1905 42 From the elite party to the mass party 45 From democratization of the party to democratic centralism Leninist sectarianism 53 CHAPTER 2: THE POLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 62 Lenin and bourgeois democracy 62 The problem of alliances: Lenin and liberalism Lenin and parliamentarism 69 Bourgeois revolution and proletarian revolution 73 Lenin and permanent revolution (I) 79 CHAPTER 3: LENIN 84

IN

1905

The transformation of the party structures 84 Lenin, the Bolsheviks and the soviets Lenin, the Bolsheviks and the revolutionary activity of the masses 86 90 CHAPTER 4: THE FIRST RESUL T·S Oil LENINISM 97

PART II: THE

LENINIST

REVOLUTION

Printed in Great Britain by Whitstable Litho Ltd. Whitstable. Kent Introduction CHAPTER 1: THE PARTY 113 116 '/

OF THE

REVOLUTION

CONTENTS Lenin and the Bolshevik Party in 1917 The Bolsheviks before Lenin's Menshevik-tending party 117 Lenin reconquers the party 125 CONTENTS 116 return: a

Freedom of tendencies and factions 295 The Congress of 1921 and afterwards The Communists 304

298

The party of insurrection 134 Metamorphosis of the Bolshevik Party 147 Democracy in the Bolshevik Party 149 Opening up and 'de-Bolshevizing' the party 157 CHAPTER CHAPTER 2: 3: REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY 162 SOCIETY

The wave of reforms (law, culture, teaching) The proletarian society (I): freedom through workers' control 311

325

332

Leninism and insurrection 171 Lenin and permanent revolution (II)

180

CHAPTER 3: LENINISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 190 The state and revolution: libertarian Leninism 191 Bolsheviks and anarchists 196 The proletarian society (Ill): the poverty of the workers The proletarian society (IV): reality and limits of the dictatorship of the proletariat PART IV: LENINISM 345 348 The power of revolutionary spontaneity The party of the proletariat 205 PART III: LENINIST CHAPTER 1: THE REVOLUTION CHAPTER AND THE 359 RUSSIA RUSSIAN OUTSIDE RUSSIA

198

REVOLUTION

2: LENINIST WORLD

DIPLOMACY Lenin's foreign policy

366 366 Introduction 213 CHAPTER 1: THE STATE215 Reality and limits of Soviet democracy 215 Libertarian Leninism, continued and concluded The turning-point of Brest-Litovsk 222 Degeneration of the soviets 227 The coming of the monolithic state 231 The Constituent Assembly and its dissolution 232 The Bolshevik Party and the socialist

215

parties 238 Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and anarchists Leninism and the opposition 257 Leninism and the nationalities 270

242

CHAPTER 2: THE PARTY 278 Role, structure and functioning 278 Realities and limits of internal democracy, and its disappearance 285 The tendencies in the party: the Left Com- munists and opposition trends 528 The foreign policy of Soviet Russia CHAPTER 3: THE LENINIST INTERNATIONAL Leninism as a divisive factor The International and the Leftists Internationalism and Russification EPILOGUE: THE END OF LENIN CONCLUSION Limitations and vindications Leninism and Stalinism What would Lenin have done? Leninism: politics and dialectics NOTES INDEX 374 385 285 391 404

437 442 449 469 II ii Ii

Acknowledgments I wish to thank my friends Michel Carael, Jean-Marie Chauvier, Monty Johnstone, Roland Lew and Ralph Miliband, who have been kind enough to read this book in manuscript, either in full or in part and whose comments and criticism have been most helpful. I am also grateful to Tamara Deutscher, who compared some of my quotations from the French version of Lenin's work with the original texts. None of those mentioned, of course, bears any responsibility for the ideas set out in this book. M. L.

Translator's Note and Bibliography For this English edition the author has substantially shortened and to some extent revised his original text, so that readers comparing the two versions will find discrepancies between them. The endnote (and footnote) references have necessarily been affected and therefore renumbered. To enable the reader to find his way about the literature on which the author draws, a complete bibliography has been compiled. The author's principal source is the writings of Lenin, as published in the fourth edition of the Collected Works. His quotations were taken from the French version of this' edition, and it was to this version that the volume and page numbers in his references applied. Quotations and references have been taken for this translation from the English version of the fourth edition, published in Moscow between 1960 and 1970 (and distributed in Britain by Lawrence and Wishart). The author has used Russian works only where these are available in Western languages. For this translation references are given to English-language translations of these works, wherever available, and, wherever not, to the Russian originals-except in the cases of the books by Kritsman and Martov, which are well known in the West in their German versions. Where only one work by a particular author is referred to in this book, the reference gives only the author's name. References to different works by the same author are distinguished by the use of short titles. Works referred to can be identified with the aid of the following list.

Abramovitch, R., The Soviet Revolution, 1917-1939 (Allen and Unwin, London, 1962). Angress, W., Stillborn Revolution: the Communist Bid for Power in Germany (1921-1923) (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1963). Anweller, Oskar, Die Rätebewegung in Russland, 1905-1921 (Brill, Leyden, 1958). Aron, Raymond, Democracy and Totalitarianism (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1968).

the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (Seeker and Arshinov, P. A., Istoriya Makhnovskogo dvizheniya, 1918-1921 (Gruppy Russkikh Anarkhistov v Germanii, Berlin, 1923). Avrich, Paul, Kronstadt 1921 (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1970). Short title: Avrich, Kronstadt. Avrich, Paul, The Russian Anarchists (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1967). Short title: Avrich, Anarchists. Avtorkhanov, A., The Communist Party Apparatus (Regnery, Chicago, 1966). Baechler, J., Politique de Trotsky (Colin, Paris, 1968). Balabanoff, Angelica, My Life as a Rebel (Hamish Hamilton, London, 1938). Baron, S. H., Plekhanov: the father of Russian Marxism (Routlegde, London, 1963). Berkman, A., The Bolshevik Myth: Diary 1920-1922 (Hutchinson, London, 1925). Berlau, A., The German Social-Democratic Party, 1914-1921 (Columbia University Press, New York, 1949). Black, C. E., ed., The Transformation of Russian Society: Aspects of Social Change since 1861 (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1960). Borkenau, Franz, World Communism (University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1962). Braunthal, Julius, History of the International (1914-1943), 2 vols (Nelson, London, 1966, 1967). Broue, Pierre, Le Parti bolchevique (Minuit, Paris, 1963). Short title: Broue, Parti. Broue, Pierre, Revolution en Allemagne (1917-1923) (Minuit, Paris, 1971). Short title: Broue, Revolution. Bukharin, N., and Preobrazhensky, E., The ABC of Communism (Penguin, London, 1969). Bunyan, James, Intervention, Civil War and Communism in Russia, April-December 1918 (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1936). Short title: Bunyan, Intervention. Bunyan, James, The Origin of Forced Labor in the Soviet State, 1917-1921 (Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1967). Short title: Bunyan, Origin. Bunyan, James, and Fisher, H. H., The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1918: Documents and Materials:· Hoover War Library Publications No. 3 (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1934; reprinted 1961). Cammett, J. M., Antonio Gramsci and the Origins of Italian Communism (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1969). Carr, E. H., The Bolshevik Revolution, 1917-1923 (Macmillan, London, 1950-53). Chamberlin, W. H., The Russian Revolution 1917-1921, Vol. I (Macmillan, London, I 935). Chambre, Henri, Le Marxisme en Union Sovietique (Seuil, Paris, 1955). Cohn-Bendit, D. and G., Obsolete Communism; The Left-Wing Alternative (Penguin, London, 1969). Dan, T., see Martov. Daniels, R. V., The Conscience of the Revolution: Communist Opposition in Soviet Russia (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1960). Short title: Daniels, Conscience. Daniels, R. V., Red October: the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 (Secker and Warburg London, 1968). Short title:. Daniels Red October. Daniels, R. V., 'The State and Revolution: a case study in the transformation of Communist ideology', in American Slavic and East European Review, Vol. XII, no. 4 (February 1953) Short title: Daniels, 'The State and the Revolution'. Degras, Jane, ed. The Communist Internacional (1919-1943), Documents, Vols. I and II (Oxford University Press, London, 1956 and 1960).

Deutscher, Isaac, The Prophet Armed (Oxford University Press, London, 1954). Deutscher, Isaac, The Prophet Armed (Oxford University Press, London, 1959). Deutscher, Isaac, The Soviet Trade Unions (Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1950). Deutscher, Isaac, Stalin (Oxford University Press, London, 1961). Dewar, Margaret, Labour Policy in the U. S. S. R. R. (1917-1928) (Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1956). Dobb, Maurice, Soviet Economic Development since 1917 (Routledge, London, 1951). Engels, Friedich, Anti-Dühring (Eng. trans.) (Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954). Erickson, John, 'The Origins of the Red Army, in Pipes, Revolutionary Russia, q. v. Fainsod, Merle, How Russia is Ruled, Revisited Edition (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and Oxford University Press, London, 1963). Press, x . R 1 (Harvard University Press, Fainsod, Merle, Smolensk under Soviet Rule, (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1958) Fauvet, J., Histoire du Parti Communiste Français, Vol. I (Fayard, Paris, 1964) Fay, Victor, ed, La Révolution d'Octobre et le Mouvement ouvrier européen (E. D. I., Paris, 1968). Fedotoff-White, D., The Growth of the Red Army (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1944) Ferro, M., 'Pourquoi Février? Pourqoi Octobre?' in Fay, q. v. Ferro, M., The Russian Revolution of February of 1917 (Routledge, London, 1972). Short title: Ferro: February. Fischer, G., 'The Intelligentsia in Russia', in Black, q. v Fischer, Louis, The Life of Lenin (Weindenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1964). Fischer, Louis, The Soviets in the World Affairs (Constable, London, 1930, reprinted 1951). Short title: Fischer: Soviets.dy of the Congresses of the I Fisher, R. T., Pattern for Soviet Youth: A Study of the Congresses of Komsomols (1918-1954) (Columbia University Press New York, 1959). Fitzpatrick, S., The Commissariat of Enlightment (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1970). Footman, David, Civil War in Russia (Faber and Faber, London, 1961). Fotieva, L. A., Iz Vospominaniy o V. I. Lenin (Politizdat, Moscow, 1964). Frank, Victor S., 'Lenin and the Russia intelligentsia', in Shapiro and Reddaway, q. v. Fülop-Miller, Rene, The Mind and Face of Bolshevism (Putnam, London and New York, 1927). Getzler, I., Martov (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1967). Geyer, Dietrich, Lenin in der Russischen Sozialdemokratie: Die Arbeiterbewegung im Zarenreich als Organisationsproblem der revolutionären Intelligentz (1890-1903) (Böhlau, Cologne, 1962). Golikov, G. N., Ocherk istorii velikoy oktyabr'skoy sotsialisticheskoy revolyutsii (Gospolitizdat, Moscow, 1959). Gorky, Maxi, Lenin, ed. Zeman (University Texts, Edinburgh, 1967). Gorky, Maxim, and others, History of the Civil War in the U. S. S. R., Vols. I and II (Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1937 and 1947). Short title: Gorky, History. Guérin, Daniel, Anarchism: from Theory to Practice (Monthly Review Press, New York, 1970). Haimson, Leopold H., The Russian Marxists and the Origins of Bolshevism (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1955). Hammond, T., 'Leninist authoritarianism before the Revolution', in Simmons, q. v. K;opp, Anatole, T?w';t' . Periode der grossen russischen R volution J{ritssnan, pze erozs;olitik Vienna and Berlin, 1929, reprmted by _(Verlag fur Lrte 8:tur:r nkfurt, 1 m). . . Verlag Neue KriKtrRk, .. cences o• Lenin (Foreign Languages Pubhshmg l(rUpskaya, N. ., emmzs 'J

HousMI} a::;t;i 5 se et Ia Revolution (Payot, Paris, 1919). 969) Labry, ··.d The Roots of Russian Communism (Van Gorcu, Assen, 1 A • Lane, DaVI , r .c • t I< life Internationale (La Baconruere, Neuchatel, t.azitch, B., .u:nme e a U .H., Dialectical Materialism (Cape, Lond n, 1968 · TitAN. ft• · . fi h k'y ocherk', in Proletarskaya Konon..... . 3 1921. . ' Revolyutstya, Nod ' Th Workers' Opposition in Russza f:'Norkers KoUontai, Alexan :n 1;21). .. Dreadnought, Lo .. d' E eds Arbeiterdemokratie oder Partezdzktatur, v. 1F and Oberlan er, ., ., In_telligenz, 1890-1903 (Bohlau, Cologne, 1962). o(Woa'lte·•r, Olten, 1967) d R volution (Thames and Hudson, London, 1970). Lefebvre, H . La Pensee de Unine (Bordas, Pans, 1957). Hennd, Guterman N Introduction aux 'Cahiers sur . . , Ia dzalectzque Haupt, Georges, and Marie, Jean-Jacques, Makers of the Russian Revolu- tion (Allen and Unwin, London, 1974). · Hill, Christopher, Lenin and the Russian Revolution (English Universities Lefebvre, . an • ·• de Unine (Gallimard, Paris, 1967). . , 11 d Lenin, V.I., Polnoye sobranie sochineniy (Fifth Edition of Lenm s Co ecte Press, London, 1947). · Works), Vol. XLV (Gospolitzdat, Moscow, 1964). . , London, 1969). Humbert-Droz, J., Memoires de Unine a Staline: dix ans au service de l'Intemationale Communiste (1921-1931) (La Baconniere Neuch!tel 1971). ' , International Labour Office, Labour Conditions in Soviet Russia (Harrison London, 1920). ' Jo e, Adolf, The Last Words of Adolf Joffe (Lanka Sarna Samaja Publica tions, Colombo, 1950). Kaplan, F., Bolshevik Ideology and the Ethics of Soviet Labor, 1917-1920 (The Formative Years) (Philosophical Library, New York, 1968). Katkov, George, Russia 1917: the February Revolution (Longman London 1967). ' ' Kautsky, Karl, Nationalstaat, Imperialistischer Staat una Staatenbund (Friinkische Verlag, Nuremberg, 1915). Kautsky, Karl, Der Weg zur Macht, 2nd edmon (Buchhandlung 'Vorwarts' Berlin, 1910). ' Kayurov, ¥_· N., 'Shest' dnei fevralskoy revolyutsii', in Proletarskaya Revolyutszya, No. 1 (13), 1923. Keep, L. H., 'October in the Provinces', in Pipes, ed., Revolutionary Russuz, q.v.

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..O. (Eng. re olutzonnarre Sheed and Ward. 6'})An I de Ia Revolution (Maspero. 1905 (Chicago Umverstt Moscow. R lution (Allen Lane. Paris. Schwarz. Unwin.cto . Victor. Moscow.) (Foreign Languages SeCrghie·. 'Iz vospominaniy ob Oktyab • koy revolyutsii'' in ProProtokoly tsentral'nogo komiteta R. G. Paris. G...) ( 'J Foreig n Languages 'J Publishin Lenin: The Man. Poulantzas. Philips.P.. My Reminiscences of the Russian Revolution (Allen and Serge. Ram. I. Memoirs. London. v RO. N. London. 1951). Praeger. Hamburg' 1923). Theonst. Price.M. avgust 1917-fevra/' 1918 . Victor.D. 1921). and others. trans. August Serge.. 1961). · Year One (see below). Vie et mort e ro s . MemOJre . i A.N. h Le d (Pall Mall Press te a er . 1921). don. V.( f::t-Dumont. the Ponomarev. B. Hamburg.R. Chicago. 1961).London. 1964). 1963): Eng. trans. A. New or ' dd · Peter eds. London. P. V.. LonPreparing for October: the Sixth Congress of the Bolshevik Party. Possony. S. Year One of the Russian evo Protokoll des II Weltkongresses der Kommunistischen Internationale (Carl 1972). S. I965). Protokol/ des IV Weltkongresses der Kommunistischen Internationale (Carl oktyabr'skoy revolyutsll (1917-1920 gg.Sh. Political Power and Social Classes (New Left Books and Serge. 1917 (Modern Books. Lenin (Eng. Memoires d'un. 1971): original of Publishing House. ·Schapiro. Moscow. Vi tor. L 'd '1967) Union (Bolsheviks).. Leonard. Lenin: the Compulsive Revolutionary (Regnery. 1973). (0 rd University Press. and others. · .) (Iz · ·· Hoym . henie agrarnogo vdr. VIctor.f re z. . g House.· (Club des Editeurs. . Sharapov. M. London. Serge. History or the Communist Party or the Soviet and Re away. Short title: Serge. ' on on. . 1933). trans.caVgi. 1960). The Russzan RevolutiOn ° Pospelov. 1961).S.Jsii pos/e pobedy Hoym.(b). 1955. Nicos. Memoirs of a Revolu wn ry h rt title: Serge. Paris.

London. 1904). Memoirs of a Bolshevik (Martin Lawrence. 1960). 1917 (Oxford University Press. Nos taches politiques: French translation of Nashi politi cheskie zadachi. P. D. N. London. L. London. 1947).. D. A. L. 1934).S. 1905. London. Bostock (Allen Lane. P. D. 0. Prelude to Revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the revised edition (Pelican. Ernest J. Nashi politicheskie zadachi (R. The Russian Revolution.. Alphen aan den Rijn.JtANSLATOR'S NOTE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 17 Simmons. 1958). . I (Gosizdat. Cambridge. 16 LENINISM UNDER LENIN .. 1960). Trotsky. Pierre. D. Trotsky. 1971). The Stalin School of Falsification (Pioneer Publishers. N. Mass. D. Sukhanov. N. L..Shlikhter rs 22 (Institut Marksizma-Leninizma. Moscow.. Les 300 Jours de Ia Revolution russe (Robert Laffont.R. Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought (Harvard University Press. Trotsky. L. 1973). A. one-volume edition.. Moscow. n e • 9 Rabinowitch.. L.. Shlyapnikov. . L. London. The First Five Years of the Communist International. London. 8• 19 · d dition Vol. Trotsky. with appendices (Pierre Belfond. Charisma en politieke vernieuwing (Samsom. Semnadtsat1y go . no. 'Permanent Revolution' and 'Results and Prospects' (New Park Publications.) (Foreign Languages Publishing House. I (New Park Publications. Sobolev.D. Georges. D. History of the October Revolution (Eng. Soria. A. Trotsky.i1. J. Ter Hoeven. London.) (Progress Publishers. 1969). Stalin (Seeker and Warburg. D. 1955). D. 2 d Sh s . London. London.. Libres essais marxistes (Seuil. 1966). Bloomington.. Results.. Moscow. 1970).. 1955). Paris 1967). My Life (Grosset's Universal Library. Trotsky. £! in. 1961)... Trotsky. Trotsky. Stalin.. Trotsky. Souvarine. L. D. History. D. L. D. L. G. July 1917 Uprising (Indiana University Press. . The New Course (New Park Publications. Sorlin. 1933). Short title: Trotsky. Vol. New York. 1956). trans.. Stalin (Hollis and Carter. J. Trotsky. 1939). ed. On Lenin (Harrap. Trotsky.P. Paris. Short title: Trotsky. trans. Paris. The Soviet People and their Society. 1952-55).. letarskaya Revo/yutsiya... Pyatnitsky. L. 1972).. 1971).from 1917 to the Present (Pall Mall Press. 1968). trans. Andre. Geneva. Works (Eng.. A. The History of the Russian Revolution (Victor Gollancz. Stawar. and others. London. Boris. London. London. L. 1966)..

the subject continues to be surrounded by acute controversy and intense feeling.New York. D. Bertram D. Ukraine 1918-1921 (Freedom Press.ais (Somogy."' ' 1934). Eikhenbaum. 1928). By taking sides on Lenin and Leninism a writer is not only declaring his view in an academic dispute but also.. A. London. is to a very large extent sterile.' Or the dedication of a quasi-official biography published by the Institute of Marxism-Leninism in Moscow to 'the Wisest and most far-sighted of men of our time'. Terrorism and Communism (Ann Arbor Paperbacks.1 There is no need to dwell upon this phenomenon of sacralization. re 1955)..e. emmlS . The Unknown Revolution: Kronstadt 1921. H. Paris. Chicago. Since in the last analysis he had no other aim but to overthrow society as we know it. Quotations such as this one. aimed at transform a subversive . London. M. La Chute de Ia Monarchie (1787-1792) (Seuil. V. . Wolfe.e. 1954). Trotsky.e. . and have been reflected in the crude Manicheism that is characteristic of the bulk of historical and sociological writing about Leninism. Max. 1937). 1972).. M?scow andRLe. Gesellschaft. Theory. C. E [(r.. London. and Mills. 1969). Gerth. and since the struggle he began has not yet ceased to produce its effects. V. This lamentable situation m the field of political and historical research is doubtless due to the very nature of the task that Lenin undertook. Henderson and Talcott Parsons (Free Press of Glencoe. Ulam. proclaiming a political choice he has made. 1948).tkin. Walter. Weber. z. It is all too obvious that the teachings of the founder of Soviet Russia have become in that country the object of a cult that is hardly favourable to serious study.].]. Weber.y. very often. Boston. Eikhenbaum. 1957). New York. in relation to political conflicts.. i·· Introduction Fifty years after the death of one of the men who did most to shape the world of today. ad. Uni versity of Michigan Press. everyone interested in Lenin is confronted with a body of writing about him that. Lenin and the Bolsheviks (Fontana. Voline [i.. Wright (Routledge. 1964). I. tkie ocherki po istorii VKP (b). T Th e Who Made a Revolution (Beacon Press. Vovelle. 1961). Nineteen-Seventeen (Freedom Press. 1957). ed.. M. Max. taken from Pravda of October 31st. London. This is why social conditioning and ideological climate have proved especially influential in this connexion. Paris. ences of Lenin (International Publishers. Part II (Gosizdat. of Part I of Wirtschaft u. Short title: Weber.. Histoire du Parti Communiste Franc. Y#95}avsk. Gerard. by A. The Theory of Social and Economic Organization: trans. lights up mankind's road as it advances towards Communism. H. L. Lenin. 1963. Voline [i. V. M. M. could be multiplied ad infinitum: 'The radiant genius of the great teacher of the working people of the whole world. though abundant. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology..

whose occupation as an . who attributes to i Lenin the idea that 'socialism has but little to do with the workers'. 6 And. archivist might suggest a special degree of serenity. 1 l .theory into a system serving to justify a particular established order. By Professor Kaplan.* I will also say nothing about the ten.· paganda'.2 By George: Katkov. at that time the Soviet regime was extremely weak (Bunyan. is hardly any less marked. in connexion with the events of 1918. almost ignores the civil ' war that devastated the country-and. writes. before the revolution of 1917. dency shown even by writers considered as reputable and serious to attribute as a matter of course the whole of Lenin's political activity to purely cynical motives: the artificial and mechanical nature of such an approach hinders analysis and distorts the conclusions drawn. though. 36). says.3 By Professor Adam Ulam. and· engaged in research at Oxford University. to: whom we owe an important commentary on Leninism. by Professor Leonar· Schapiro. The Formation of the Soviet Union. finally. ·caJ · t Thus.. of Harvard. in his book on the Russian civil war.6 Or by Professor Alfred Meyer. i will say nothing about the frequent errors of method. where Lenin is concerned. 482). author of a work on the revolution of February 1917. that the Bolsheviks were making war on the workers. one of the most eminent of Sovietologists.i ities (Pipes. in fact. the American historian James Bunyan . The truth of the matter is unfortunately most disappointing. which obliges all cultural forms to serve its immediate political ends. · • Thus. in a book.'· Or by the American historian James Bunyan. and yet who. when he does mention it. the historical approach to Leninism. It might be deduced from this view that in countries where greater freedom of investigation and expression prevail and where the virtues of ideological pluralism are continually being asserted. about the 'huge machinery of Soviet pro. who in hiS · learned history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union cornes . but for who!ll: Lenin's political practice was based on a 'deep-seated hostility to·: wards everything that exists'. in which the prejudice shown albeit with more subtlety and elegance. p. which is nevertheless a valuable one. In many ways Western writing on Lenin and Leninism is not so much the opposite of Soviet writing on this subject as a mirror-image of it. by writers whose academic standing is high and who in some cases enjoy considerable prestige. projecting into the past phenomena that belong to the present. whereas. Oskar Anweiler ascribes Lenin's acceptance of the Soviets to purely taco i considerations (Anweiler. who says that in order to. on the civil war 10 : Russia-devotes a long chapter to the 'Red terror' and not one. p. who. 265). ignoring all proofs to the con_uarY• ' reduces to the same motivation Lenin's 'liberal' policy towards the non-Russian natwnal. close to suggesting that Lenin acted. understand Lenin's attitude in 1917 we need to resort to 'psychiatric • analysis'. Intervention. in a book about the conditions of the Russian workers during the first I years of the Soviet regime. Dogmatism such as this is usually ascribed to the negative features of an all-powerful state machine. would produce results of a very different kind. while describing throughout his four : hundred pages their sufferings and miseries. and Richard Pipes. of Michigan University. profiting by the abilities of talented Sovietologists and intelligent academics.t It is worth while. p. and endowing Leninisrn and Lenin's Russia with characteristics that made their appearance only in subsequent periods. querying the legitimacy of the methods sometimes resorted to. paragraph to the 'White terror'.

has bout thec espera whatever to say. social and cultural life in Lenin's Russia. Yet the biographies of Lenin. economic. in his absqlutely notbin e esJs of a prof und similarity between Leninism and Stalinism. *4:::m1ent in the political anJ social setting of Lenin's life11 "1 . n.-Partisan s ggles. a large number of his extremely numerous speeches. 'nature and the changes it underwent cannot be grasped ·1p.. moreover. As a result. that it is not enough to keep silent about order to cause them to disappear. Blt"i'f• not possible to understand Leninism without a close study --if?. \rmlP!J.. ..O'We'ver. True. pay very little ' to examining his theories.. in 0 ti.). namely. not to sepa. -. It is.. by justifying the caution to be observed in relation t lD.. are exclusively focused upon his personality. while works concerned with his :!. 137. And this is ess ed for because Lenin's heirs. or epigones..·-them by the activity of the masses and the reality of Soviet )'his is why this book about Leninism is also a book about the . lice to a provocateur in the service of the Tsarist police. preoccupation that is absent from nearly all works on · · · leninism has affected my approach. have waged .:-tend to isolate them from their historical context. . victories of the Russian people and the earliest develop.. . _articles were recorded and published.. 22 LENINISM UNDER LENIN which they have used quotations that were cut short too soon. .i C 11m!Un1St Party of the Soviet Union. out of concern for unity of thought and _ a very great deal indeed. This provides the •n . I do not hide my socialist beliefs. Lenin more than ...1917.to the analysis that I make of the phenomenon of Leninvm. H :. of his . I have been inspired by the sentence that utscher put at the beginning of his biography of Trotsk : m fiom loyalties to any cult. m his book The Origin of the Communist Autocracy. p. however.. and no history of Leninism can be separated from II· 'of the Russian revolution. or were divorced from their context. j L11.. makes all the more necessary · amount of quotation from Lenin's words.equotation taken in isolation.J})(:JOTION 21 · .. I have attempted to restore the hiStorical balance.' 7 . With a precious source of knowledge. · theories cannot be detached from the influence brought . 1Vas a politician who.':. ag nst too much weight being given to official docu which his oral statements were reported. nor do I regard these lilly-.. or theological-style controversies. 8 This very circum ch..* tn part I do not lay claim either to neutrality or to complete . · from the historical setting in which it arose and An analysis of Leninism must be a history of Leninism in evolution.o·ea.:. The same writer.4. In particular. e observes the constant pressure exerted upon Lenin's by the vicissitudes of the revolutionary struggle. or to evade difficulties • • orcrer:to resolve them.. Ufe{S(IO the Epil struggle that Lenin waged against Stalin during the last months of his ogue to the present work).

But a knowledge of his work.In order to be more serious it was essential to be more complete. and whose obsession with Leninism-whether the reality or a mythical notion of it. very largely. But the develop ment of revolutionary struggles all over the globe has bestowed a new significance upon Leninism. The debate between worshippers and scorners has amounted. The author does not believe. made up of successes and failures. from Latin America to Angola. and can make more fruitful the efforts of all those who engage therein. September 1972 Part I Leninism in opposition . to a clash between supporters of the Soviet Union and defenders of the 'free world'. Western Europe itself. After the events of May 1968 the Paris weekly Lutte ouvriere wrote: 'But it is not enough simply to proclaim our determination to continue the struggle. Brussels. that such solutions can be found in texts-not even in the writings of the greatest revolutionary of our century. great achievements and glaring mistakes. and whether as something to be conformed to or something to be shunned-is now obvious. It has ceased to be merely a matter for historical study or for apologetical and quasi-religious exegesis. has seen the appearance since 1968 of a new Left that is radical in spirit and revolutionary in vocation. The present book does not claim to offer any solution either to this problem or to that of the building of socialism. Leninism has long been looked at exclusively in its relation to the destiny of the Soviet Union. that does not lay claim to the heritage of Leninism. It serves as one of the brightest torches available to aid our observa tion of present-day political phenomena. and one of the chief lessons this spring has taught us is the need for a revolutionary party. the first outlines of which were sketched by Lenin seventy years ago. This book would have been longer still if it had included an attempt to survey and analyse the legacy of Leninism.'9 The crisis of the capitalist world and the crisis of the Social-Demo cratic and Communist organizations have indeed given topicality to this question of the 'revolutionary party'. which not so long ago was thought to be sunk in a doze of sluggish and cosy satisfaction. and deliberately fostered by the heirs of Leninism. There is hardly any insurrectionary movement today. to bring it to a successful conclusion we must draw the lessons of the past. in any case. can enrich the thinking of everyone who is concerned with socialist action. and this not only from considerations of length but because the Leninism of Lenin has a specific quality that needs to be safeguarded from the confusions that have often been introduced by commentators upon it. No such attempt has been made.

he still affirmed: 'Unless the masses are organized. Among these contradictory forces. the first form of the Leninist organization. the proletariat is nothing. the latter was Lenin's work. ga:tsonomy that amounted to atomization. the inability of the Provisional Government to satisfy them. nearly all the dele being arrested soon after the congress ended. The very idea of organization occupies an essential place in Leninism: organization of the revolutionary instrument. written in 1894. the collapse of the Tsarist regime. The Bolshevik organization was Lenin's own creation. that is. He did. Leninism holds a substantial place. the upsurge of the masses demanding better conditions.. Lenin's Party ·. as we shall see. Insistence on the absolute necessity of organization is to be found all through Lenin's writings and all through his career. In his first important work. the anger and exasperation left by the workers. 2 During the Revolution of 1905. when the masses themselves had begun to move without the help of any party. when the Bolshevik faction.1 In 1904. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that Lenin's chief contribution to the political reality of our time was his creation of the Bolshevik Party. But Lenin did not make the Russian revolution. forge the Bolshevik Party: Leninism was embodied in the Bolshevik organization. the slough into which Russia had sunk. and history welded them together so thoroughly that the historian cannot separate them. organization of the society to which the revolution gave birth.'3 this event had no practical significance whatever. the tool for making revolutions. In this respect his personal contribution was much greater than that which he brought to the victory of the October insurrection (despite its decisiveness) and to the foundation and development of the Soviet state. however. October was the result of a concurrence of events and factors that were many and various: the world crisis set off by the war. peasants and soldiers. What the 'Friends of the People' Are. and 'craft-worksh?p' a eurism that made the socialist groups easy refor the police.·. of a tool to make revolutions with-indeed. . when Lenin was twenty-four. Organized-it is everything. whether he actually led it. came into being. It is even debatable. he declared that 'organizing a socialist workers' party' constituted a 'direct task' for the Russian revolutionary movement. some pressing towards revolution while others strove vainly to block this trend. he said that 'in its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organization'. organization of the revolution itself. and in this sense Leninism and Bolshevism can be seen as one.1.

reviewing his own experience. Meanwhile. As for Lenin's career. as a result of police intervention.. Lenin himself described in these words the situation that he sought to put right: 'The principal feature twoanycathat history unfolded.nt a es that set th ir mark on the entire history of thCommun st movement. if one may so express it. Rosa Luxemburg. embryonic though it is. suitable for concerted political action over the entire vast territory ruled by the Russian state' was 'the specific problem which the Russian social-democracy has mulled over for some time.'5 The consequence of this lack of organization was twofold. no longer than three months. with propaganda as a principal activity-to the unity of a large. or even 'localism' pure and simple. indefatigably. between 1895 and 1902. The birth and the development of Bolshevism were his. right a::me th evils that the principles of party orgamzatwn worked o t down to 1917 it was entirely devoted to giving life and substance to this organization. national body.t The Birth of Bolshevism brought .. That the Russian socialist and revolutionary movement suffered. lly determined in the sense that each stage was a response to the more generosity and vigour than restraint or scruple. Local circles spring up.Many such quotations could be given. the bites and scratches being sometimes distributed to left and right with. and the establish ment of an organization with a structure that would ensure protection against the repressive operations of the police emerged as an impera tive necessity. as we shall see. in her critique of Lenin's centralism. of our movement .ses that I. On the one hand.'6 The structural weakness of the socialist movement exposed its most active members to the repressive activity of the Tsarist police. is its state of disunity and its amateur character. and will defend it tooth and naiJ. T 1s w Bolshevism came into being: a complex and vanable reality wh 0 nevertheless through all its variations. retained consta. A contemporary observer. ro ressively perfected by Lenin were intended to c mbat. the warfare between the ruling authorities and . the socialist movement suffered from extreme regionalism.'·t And that was what in fact he did. from a total lack of organization is an undeniable fact. acknowledged that 'how to effect a transition from the type of organization characteristic of the preparatory stage of the socialist movement-usually featured by disconnected local groups and clubs. stated that. and function in almost complete isolation from circles in other districts and-what is parti cularly important-from circles that have functioned and now func tion simultaneously in the same districts. 7 The activity of the working class movement consequently lacked continuity. In October 1905 he wrote: 'We value our organi zation. until the beginning of the twentieth century. the average period that a Social Democratic group survived in Moscow was. and to the surpn. which he saw as indispensable and to which he was passionately attached.

ely connected with all the local groups' . ia state of acute cns1s owmg o the many arrests of militants . as Lenin put it. m 1895 he toopart m the activities of one of those Social-Democratic roups of which there were then a number in Russia. And while the (real) foundatiOn of the R.S. t o gh apparently JOUrnalis tic was in fact the first 'sketch' for the Lemmst Party. he applied himself at once to the task ?f c eatmg the Party organization that the revolution ry movement m his country lacked.d secrecy had to be given priority over the desire for large-scale ecruiting. he returned froI?. the need for cohesion . however: . at last. it is also a collective organizer. found itself.in a giv:n fie! " of revolutionary activity the consciousness that he IS marching with the "rank and file" .the revolutionaries resembled.exile and left Russia. 14 and 10 January 1903 Lenin wrote to one of his correspondents: 'We d_o not know whether people . As he :-vrote. his arrest and exile.D. a dozen in 1901. m 1900.13 Even these figures fluctuated a lot. at the end of. before the 1905 RevolutiOn:.P..8 Indeed. for arrests decimated the ranks of the 29 LENIN'S PARTY {t r its strength upon centralization: for them.rt of Lenin's career.10 And agam: 'Only the estabhsh ment of a common party organ can give the "worker. The modest dimensions of the network of agents that Iskra estabhs ed 28 LENINISM UNDER LENIN socialist movement had to accomplish in order to attain real existence. At the end of 1902 only four were still at large.9 when. 'that conducted by a mass of peasants armed with clubs.like this the first pa. and to thcreati n and development of an enterprise which. between 1895 and 1900 were the price paid for the organizational weaknesses of the mov. when in 1898 the first congress. held in Minsk. against modern troops'. proclaimed Schematizing a little.'A newspaper is not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator. thirty at most in 1903.' 12 . dates from 1903 the three years preceding this were wholly devoted .ment to which he belonged.L. and which.* Martov was later to abandon these principles and to ticize the work that he himself had carried out as one of the editors of Iskra rejecting in his history of Russian Social-Democracy the 20 'dist ibutors' of Iskra. a degree of efficiency.. especially in Petersburg. Europe an urgent appeal declaring that 'we must have as our Immediate aim the founding of a Party organ that will appear :egularly and be clo.by Lenin to orking out his ideas on organization. The number of revolutionary militants directly linked with this net work and paid by the organization was always small: about ten when the newspaper began.te ce tury. it is possible to suup. When exiled in Siberia he had addressed to his comr des in. '11 • It was in Iskra that Lenin was to develop his ideas about the reqmrements that the revolutionary organization must satisfy in order to acquire.

in reducing their leaders to a minority position or even in setting up dissident committees which waged ruthless struggle against the previously established ones. This idea Itself. Plekhanov ?ad already said that 'only organized revolutionary forces seriously mfluenced the course of events'. developed and sharpened the basic principles of Bolshevism. What Is To Be Done? is a condensation of Lenin's ideas on organization and also . in the circumstances prevailing in Russia. Lenin. As Martov testified. The main dish was to be cooked by Len_in himself. Martov. who.' and 'to expose "the very embryo of a reactionary idea hidden behind a revolution ry phrase"'. Lenin's principal collaborator at this time. These amounted. filled by the outstand ing figures of Russian MarxismPlekhanov.21 All this.'15 The fact that. Axelrod. and the need to put it into practice. so to speak. under these conditions. stmply compelled. Iskra employed a polemical style that was destined to enjoy a bril liant future in the Bolshevik Party. at this c ngress. the delegates from 'lskrist' groups were in the majority bears Witness. were des med to form the essence of Lenin's theory of organization.18 And Martov had been convinced since he very start of his career that 'in the code of revolutionary behavtour the demands of organizational rules and discipline should overrule all personal feelings'. This activity consisted.are alive or not. m July 1903. when the existing groups refused to collaborate and resisted all attempts at centralization. in 1903. which was accused. On all sides.16 So it was that the militants got thetr first lessons 10 the ruthless art of factionfighting. to two themes: the vanguard party. gave birth to the organized socialist movement in R ssia shows what a weak state the latter had been in. Lemn could nghtly declare that this party was being formed 'on the basis of the principles and organizational ideas that had been advanced and elaborated by Iskra'Y It was indeed in the columns of that journal. Trotsky-that between December 1900 and October 1903 were deve l?ped the ideas which. pamphlets and dis cussions. furthermore.19 Plekhanov and Martov were also agreed in c nsidering that. The fact that. to the effectiveness of the agitational work they had carried on among Russia's revolutionaries. though. was expressed first and foremost in Iskra. we are compelled. Iskra's opponents condemned the polelllical methods of this journal. the editors strove 'to make sure that "all that is ridiculous" appears in "a ridiculous form". and centralization. admitted that this struggle between the 'Iskrist' agents and the opponents of centraliza tion sometimes took the form of 'guerrilla warfare' in which 'subversive tactics' had to be employed and in which in the end 'the law of the str ngest' was w at prevailed. or indeed any political organization must depend •centrafuing and authoritarian tendencies' of that journal. to consider them almost non-existent. Iskra was able to assemble the congress that. when systematized and perfected. these_ efforts were cr wned wih success: when the Party Congress met. was only by way of being an introduction-hors d'auvres. any revolutiOnary. in the last analysis. Well before Iskra. Martov. Lenin's chief collaborators were them elves convinced-had in some cases been so long since-of the Importance and urgency of the problem. In any case. and in which Lenin was especially to excel. The elitist conception of the party: the proletarian vanguard In March 1902 a fairly stout booklet was published in Stuttgart which was to mark a stage in the political history of our times. of 'fighting not so much against the autocracy as against the other factions in the revolutionary movement'. in dozens of articles and speeches. To be sure. to quote Trotsky's testimony at the time.

. Street demonstratwns. and remain confined to "a small number of members"' (Geyer. theirs was not yet Social-Democratic conscious J.. It must be noted that the subjects examined in What Is To Be Done? were also touched on in articles. Lenin and several others among the editors of Iskra rejected the theory. i. and these need to be studied along with What Is To Be Done?.e. quoting Iskra no. for potatoes. and could not be.. 252. 'It was best to introduce a "division of labour" into the work of opposition: the workers themselves would fight for the amelioration of their economic conditions. speeches or letters of Lenin belonging to roughly the same period. are only ness'. The expres ·on ofthewholeofthemasses in a political struggle must be heightened.'23 Lenin's determined fight against economism was to a large extent an attack directed against the conception of spontaneity. take on new and more eua:ectt·ve 1corms.eNIN 'S PARTY 31 ut a clear and definite scheme how to develop the mass m?veme ts 0 bich it has itself called into being . In Chapter 2 of What Is To Be Done?.. 5). conscious of the irreconcilable antagonism of their interests to the whole of the modern political and social system. p. that transition from one to the other is possible.e. or even merely to individual employers.. Lenin declares that 'the "spontaneous element". in essence. according to which. this 'trade unionism'-typical of the British labour movement-is likely to confine itself to 'the com mon striving of all workers to secure from the government measures for alleviating the distress to which their condition gives rise. Furthermore. fought for political democracy. " must adopt the principle of"rigid and·secret conspiratorial organization". as Byelinsky had put it. but that 'the workers were not. trade-union. called by. while the progressive bourgeoisie. it was futile. to try and politicize it. the start of a battle . to be more precise. pamphlets. represents nothing more nor less than consciousness in an embryonic • ' "In despotically ruled countries. it followed from his general views regarding the class-consciousness that the proletariat possessed or did not possess.' 24 . hke demonstrations. or at least premature. i. the workers are incapable of anything more than 'trade unionist' activity in opposition to the employers.. workingclass activity bei?g spontaneously economic.•2s Lcnm· periences. which alone showed any real interest in political and constitutional problems.... in character. Lenin's conviction that the revolution in Russia must necessarily be the work of a vanguard group rather than of a mass party was based not merely on the circumstances characteristic of the Russia of that time but also on the way that he conceived the relation between the working class and the proletarian party.22 In so far as they spontaneously learn from their own ex Sl ust be sharpened. them 'economism'.the most coherent exposition of the ideas of a Marxist endeavouring to create the tool by means of which to carry through a plan for revolu tion. the socialist groups . which do not remove the subjection of labour to capital. 30 LENINISM UNDER LENIN form'. drawing lessons from the social history of his country and from the attitude of the working masses. but which do not abolish that condition.

Rosa Luxemburg in person. and .29 Lenin's criticism was directed.' 26 This was why 'class political consciousness can e brought to the workers only from without.' He regretted workers themselves. even though instinctively and spontaneously revolu tionary. that is.' 25 especially since it was necessary to reckon with the influence wielded by bour ?eois ideology. therefore. as being elemental. To straighte? matters out somebody had to pull in the other direction. instinctive. Lenin noted with satisfaction that 'the upsurge of the masses 32 declares that the emancipation of the working class is the task of the proceeded and spread with uninterrupted continuity. Whenever he deals with action.evn str s. However. to allow for the polemical purpose that inspired Lenin when he wrote his famous book. a category to which. far from condemmng spontanetty. socialist thinkers had never been led by this proposition to underestimate the role played by 'renegades' from the bourgeoisie. indeed.T? be surem_ U:hat Is To Be Done?. Surveying the historical achievements of the Russian labour move ment. . ancon sequently deficient.'30 It is necessary. the proletariat are in practice incapable. this outside influence was . and will elaborate.sed the need to fight against 'this spontaneous. the more rapid. and. incomparably so.2 7 Ideas such as these may strike us as pessimistic... He denied 'that the labour movement pure and simple can elaborate. he denigrated the spontaneous. many of themselves belonged. however.. while confident in the capacities of the working class for revolutionary spontaneity.Left to themselves. could be influenced from without. for his own conception of the spontaneity of the masses. has at its disposal immeasurably more means of dissemination. not so much towards the spontaneous activity of the working class as towards its consciousness. The essencof the matter nevertheless lies elsewhere. trade-umomst stnvmg to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie'. was n fact less ivocal and less pessimistic than is supposed. and that ts what I have done. acknowledged that this class. he urges the revolutionary organization to assume the leadership of such movements. since Marxism :ould have come close to subscribing to a formulation like this. [is] the demand for greater consciousness in the 31 theoretical. which 'is far older in origin than socialist ideology. trade-uruomst con sciousness of the proletariat. so Lenin considered. thou?h usually egarded as the direct opposite of Rosa Luxemburg's. an independent ideology for itself. IS more fully developed. At the 1903 congress of the Russian Social-Demo crats Lenin himself said about What Is To Be Done?: 'We all now knothat the "economists" have gone to one extreme.. A number of passages m What Is To Be Done? show that the author was above all concerned to make fully effective the spontaneous activity undert ken by the asses. In the case of the revisionist tendencies that she vigorously opposed. of anything more than a reaction of instinctive opposition. political and organizational work ofSocial-Democracy'. only from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers'. It is important also to observe that the _circum stances in which his idea was expressed probably had a certam effect on the idea itself. even affirming that 'the greater the spontaneous upsur_ge of the masses and the more widespread the movement.

and cannot but be. and thought that the activity of the masses belonged essentially under the latter heading. oppression and stultification which under capitalism is bound to weigh down upon such very wide sections of the "untrained". p. under capitalism... is not in a posi tion to create a party embracing the entire class-and as for the whole people creating such a party.'41 These ideas were undoubtedly affected by Lenin's Russian environment and the special circumstances of the revolutionary struggle that was going forward in Russia. Whereas the socialist parties in the West mass parties-cherished the ambition to represent the whole of the working class.L. 5. M. exclusively by its own effort. the representative of the class-conscious.36 In October 1905 Lenin repeated that 'the proletariat . and especially Social-Democracy. 'has every where and always been. that is entirely <'Ut of the question. or almost the entire class. workers'. Vol. to the level of consciousness and activity of its vanguard.* * ·e history of all countries shows that the working class. in view of 'that infinite disunity.. unskilled workers'. can ever rise. but the revolu tionary organization.'39 Things could not be otherwise. was certainly repudiated by Lenin.•as 'the spontaneous struggle of the proletariat will not become its genuine "class struggle" until this struggle is led by a strong organization of revolutionaries'. nevertheless Lenin did draw a clear distinction between the 'organization' and the 'movement'. "tail-ism" to think that the entire class. able to develop only trade-union consciousness .. ' (Lenin. the working-class movement could draw into activity a substantial section of the working class.) 33 LENIN'S PARTY . merely to the proletariat of Russia-only recently born anin some ways very backward-but also to the developed proletanat of Western Europe. Did Lenin not further say that what was needed was 'work that brings closer and merges into a single whole the elemental destructive 32 LENINISM UNDER LENIN of revolutionaries'.'37 Plekhanov developed the same idea. My emphasis. But it is nevertheless certainand it is important to underline this-that Lenin's theory of the relations between party and class. and his critique of 'the cult of spontaneity' have general application: that the ideas thus worked out did not apply.. as This is the essential point. the whole of which does not and should not belong to a "party".34 Here we see already an approach to a dialectical attempt to transcend the contradiction between the spontaneity and the organization of the proletariat. richer as that was in experience and consciousness. behind the spontaneous upsurge of the masses.. stating that a clear distinction existed between the 'class' and the 'party'. that the latter had to 'come to the aid of the spontaneously rising masses' and 'direct the spontaneous movement'? 35 But the idea of independent action by the workingclass. he explained.40 The conclusion to be drawn was clear: 'the Party must be only the vanguard . As a somewhat diffuse reality. and not of the non-class-conscious. Even though the divergence between Luxemburg's 'belief in spon taneity' and Lenin's criticism of spontaneity was not so wide as has been alleged. of the vast masses of the working class . Lenin considered that 'it would be ... in their author's view. 375... so dear to Rosa Luxemburg and the Mensheviks. of its Social-Democratic Party.only 'the lag of leaders . the latter being called upon to exercise a veritable 'hegemony' over the former...

he declared in What ls To Be Done?.L. the autocratic and repressive nature of the Tsarist regime. the absence of any form. Socialist aims could not be attained.So far as the Russian revolutionary movement was specifically ncerned this conception of the vanguard party was to be under ood in dual sense: both qualitatively and quantitatively. Lenin's formulation stated that 'a party member is one who accepts the Party's programme and supports the party both financially and by personal participation in one of its organizations'.sards quality. and the terms of his formulation had been carefully calculated to ensure this effect. any certainties. even the most elementary.42 In a country hke Russ1a.. who 'respond to he ideas. though. and so of the breach between those who were immediately named 'Bolsheviks' and 'Mensheviks'. to join an illegal organization. the Party was to be an elite formation. The political conditions prevailing in Russia.. how ever. turned out to be a congress not of unity but of division. organized and united. and also those who. of democratic freedom-all this ensured that it was impossible to create and develop mass parties functioning openly. As re. said that 'a member of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour P rty is one who. but who. and must be mainly composed of professional revolutionaries. which it was hoped would consecrate the foundation of a real party. 'if . but all that emerges from their interpretations is a small number of probabilities and many hypotheses-rarely. Two formulations confronted each other. must be largely clandestine. however. The problem at issue was that of choosing a correct and adequate definition of a Party member.lism ore rap dly and more easily'. The Second Congress of the R. owing to personal circumstances. Most Russian socialists willy-nilly recognized this impossibility.. especmlly. that Lenin's concem to endow the Party that was being formed with the character of an authentic vanguard did play a determining Part in the genesis of the conflict between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks.45 R 34 LENINISM UNDER LENIN LBNIN'S PARTY 35 What was at issue was. but also a large section of Social-Democratic workers who constituted a link between the party and the masses. The under lying reasons for the split that occurred are still subject to debate. declined to join the Party'-workers who were getting on in years.S. the size of the Party. of socia. while not being in a position . It was Lenin who spelt out the logical consequences: the revolutionary organization must restrict itself to a modest size. works actively to accom plish its aims under the control and direction of the organs of the party•. had already become objects of police surveillance:16 For his part..43 The importance that Lenin accorded to this idea was one of the causes of the serious dispute between him and Martov at the congress of 1903. embracing ose workers who belonged to 'the better-situated strata of the working class'. accepting its programme.D. recalling this controversy. its nature. and.44 Martov's. which is supposedly most "accessible" to the masses (but which is actually most accessible to the gendarmes and makes revolutionaries most accessible to the police)'. in co 11• sequence. It is undeniable. Dozens of writers have examined the question. said that Lenin's proposition meant 'eliminating not only many intellectuals who were in sympathy with the Party and who rendered services to it. 1t went with out saying that such elements could not be numerous: they were un deniably an elite. 'It is just this . Lenin never concealed his intention of restricting the membership of the revolutionary organization.. basically. Martov. In the speech he made to the congress he blamed Martov for the 'elasticity' of his definition. because of their previous activity.P. or had acquired families. we begin with a broad workers' organization.

and equally ill-starred. ecrecy is such a necessary c. therefore.' For Lenin. ust consist of men who. their ranks had been decimated by the police. when still in Siberia. the question of the Party's clandestine character and that of its size: In form such a strong revolutionary organisation in an autocratic country may also be described as a 'conspiratorial' organisation. he has no personal interests.48 Martov's text was adopted by twenty-eight votes to twenty-two. 'it would be better if ten who do work should not call themselves party members (real workers don't hunt after titles!) than that one who only talks should have the right and opportunity to be a party member. and such an organisation must have the utmost secre y. which was con ducted with equal ferocity on both sides. according to him. As Lenin later explained. Lenin had sent to Europe a document in which he declared that 'the traditions of the whole preceding revolutionary movement demand that the Social Democrats shall at the present time concentrate all their efforts on organizing the party. on the contrary. but on the soil of Russia. or feelings. they had multi plied conspiracies and attempts at assassination. Professional revolutionaries: they had constituted the framework of the Russian socialist movement. for a vanguard organization-in other words. 'after Para graph 1 of the rules had been spoilt in this way. the revolutionaries who were struck down were at once replaced by fighters who were equally fearless. etc. to a single thought.o di tion for this kind of orgamsatiOn that all the other conditiOns (number and selection of members. functions. to fear the charge that we Social-Democrats desire to create a conspiratorial organisation. the Party should also be mainly clandestine in character. however. not even a name. Wholly devoted to 'the cause'. 51 The number of Party members was determined by the requirements of clandestinity. Such a charge should be as flattering to every opponent of Economism as the charge of following a Narodnaya Volya line. the 'elite' conception of the Party. and who were eqmpped to lead such an existence.'47 Lenin's own definition.50 In What Is To Be Done? he linked closely together. from the abortive effort of the Decembrists onward. So as early as 1899. inspired by the model that the anarchist Nechayev had set before them: 'The revolutionary is a marked man. moreover. and on developing the technique for illegal work'. where the burden of tyranny aroused and nourished the thirst for freedom. pro claimed by its founder.) must be made to conform to it. It would be extremely na1ve indeed. vacillation and opportunism.' And he added: 'This formulation [of Martov's] necessarily tends to make party members of all and sundry. and thistruggle. nothing that belongs to him.49 This was one of his main motives in the hard struggle he waged when the leading bodies of the Party were elected. The Party must be composed not of ordi nary 'militants' so much as of professional revolutionaries. was aimed at setting up 'a bulwark' against invasion of the Party by 'every kind of representative of opportunism'. on strengthening its internal discipline. Limited in numbers. The appearance of Bolshevism was thus bound up with the need.'52 . with one abstention. a single passion: the Revolution. The quality of the member ship was similarly de ermined: te Party. because the French word conspiration is the equivalent of the Russian word zagovor ('conspiracy'). and so had to be small. were ready to live and act m clandestme conditiOns. Everything in him is geared to a single and exclusive goal. affairs. equally heroic. the courts and the firing-squads of Tsarism."elasticity" that undoubtedly opens the door to all elements of confusion. widened the gulf between those who stood for a relatively open party and those who were in favour of a more restricted and closed type of organization. we had to bind the broken pot as tightly as possible with a double knot'. no personal connexions.

namely.64 Lenin. using small groups of revolutionaries. deprive his thought of an aspect of major importance. an essential element in his theories shows what distinguishes his conceptions from those held by the French revolutionary: namely. And Lenin himself. I had but one aim: to help the unfortunate Russian people. of whom a Menshevik opponent said: 'There is no-one else who for the whole twenty-four hours of every 36 LENINISM UNDER LENIN JJBNI-N'S PARTY 37 day is busy with the revolution. there was nothing 'Blanquist' about Lenin-or. the Party that would go forward to the assault upon Tsarism was to be made up of a limited number of professional revo lutionaries. its sphere of influence-to the class whose vanguard it . And while the Party was to be the tool of the revolution. were nothing but a more or less slavish copy of the views of Blanqui. with the working-class masses. the role assigned to the proletariat itself in the revolu tionary process was a considerable one. In What Is To Be Done? Lenin emphasizes more than once the need to concentrate the organization of the Social-Democratic Party in the hands of professional revolutionaries: 'The struggle against the political police requires special qualities. Were one to do no more than collect in this way the ideas expressed by Lenin.'58 Accordingly. however effective its methods of struggle. the milieu in which it sought recruits. and. which is often committed. 55 'The organization of revolutionaries must consist first and foremost of people who make revolutionary activity their profession. it is said. was perfectly equipped for the life and work of the professional revolutionary. Actually.59 Lenin laid down for himself and for his organization a task of funda mental importance. throughout a long political career. who thinks and even dreams only of the revolution'. who. the perfect model of a professional revolutionary. more concretely. he had in many respects taken over their heritage. moreover. Condemned to d atb for being implicated in an attempt on the life of the Tsar. at the time when Bolshevism was in process of taking shape. propagandist. the need to link the Party with the masses. at least. brought together in an organization that was clandestine or even conspiratorial. when reviewing the revolutionary events of 1905 and 1906. such a death holds no terror for sincere and honest men. When he said that 'it is our duty always to intensify and broaden our work and influence among the masses. is what underlies one of the charges most frequently levelled against his theory of the Party.Although. that Lenin was guilty of 'Blanquism'. Lenin answered the question: to what was due 'this superior unity. etc. its clientele. organized a succes sion of conspiracies and raids. His views on organizational matters. however.'. one would.' for 'a Social-Democrat who does not do this is no Social-Democrat'. between him and them: Alexander Ulyanov. literature distributor. Lenin's elder brother. However solid the Party might be. solidarity and stability of our Party'? 'It was accomplished. etc. Lenin was opposed to the old revolutionary organizations of Russia. it requires professional revolutionaries'.he said. Such simplification.' 56 And. exalting and stirring its programme. in particular. 'by the organization of professional revolutionaries. as a convinced Marxist. too. There was a family connexion.. he wrote of 'our duty to assist every capable worker to become a professional agitator. 67 A few years later. he <f! after refusing to appeal to the Tsar for mercy and after telling hiSJUdges: 'There is no finer death than death for one's country's sake. all those qualities were meaning less except in relation to the Party's hinterland. organizer. however clear.' 53 He was nineteen Years old.

G4 Centralization and internal democracy Inone of his first pamphlets.61 Lenin's strategic preoccupations were to become clear when.. comrades! . unite the workers' cles and Social-Democratic groups scattered all over Russia into a smgle Social-Democratic Labour Party!' 65 And in 1899. the way in which one was to follow the other. on the problems of handicraft industry.' 66 Iskra's purpose was to bring about this gathering-together of scattered groups. Lenin ended thus a passage devoted to 'the tasks of Russian Social-Democrats': 'And so. Lenin's 'centralism' was. written in 1897 and published in Geneva in the following year. 81. he set forth his ideas about the distinction between the bourgeois and the proletarian revolutions.'60 Adherence to Marxism meant. that of the method by which it would be possible to 'push on' the activity of the masses. Seep..63 It was not the principle of terror that he rejected. even more than its spokesman: namely. the roletariat. in an article for a socialist paper: 'To effect this unification . for instance. This was why Lenin as a young man devoted several says to study of working-class conditions. 2).62 Moreover. and concluding that 'a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class conscious and organized. the maker of the revolution. between the 'centre' and the 'sections' dependent upon it. and why.sought to be. by its position in society.* 'A revolutionary party is worthy of its name only when it guides in deed the movement of a revolutionary class. a definition of the rules of hierarchy prevailing in the organization-a whole number of elements. that the industrial proletariat was seen as being. etc. This axiom did not automatically solve all problems. of course.. but he considered that it was necessary to 'work for the preparation of such forms of violence as were calculated to bring about the participation of the masses and which guaranteed that participation'. with remarkable precision and sense of the concrete. the possibilities and limitations of labour legislation. as Lenin expressed it. When he criticized Trotsky's notion of permanent revolutiont he justified his scepticism regarding the possibility of a socialist revolution in Russia by saying that 'the emancipation of the workers can only be accom plished by the workers themselves'. though-in particular. trained and educated in an open class struggle against the entire bourgeoisie'. and what the link was between them. for the masses or together with the masses'. it was because of this same concern of Lenin's that he rejected the ideas of the SocialistRevolutionaries. . 38 LENINISM UNDER LENIN LENIN'S PARTY 39 completely of narrow local isolation-such is the immediate and most urgent task of the Russian SocialDemocrats. to work.Vol. however.. he wrote numerous articles and pamphlets in which he examined. on the rning the length of the working day. t . nor that of violence... from 1905 onward. his studies of the law on fines imposed on factory workers. and in particular their resort to terrorism. Russian Social-Democrats have much to do to . much more than a striving to unite: it was a conception of the relations obtaining within an organization between the 'leadership' and the 'base'. during the first years of his political career. and to get rid • See. since this tactic of theirs was 'not connected in any way with work among the masses.

the issuing of leaflets. are nothing but a "state of siege" in respect to the numerous sources of political . Above all. In what did the centralism advocated by Lenin actually consist. and what were its implications? The answer was given by Lenin himself: 'The organizational principle of revolutionary Social-Demo cracy . or between convinced defenders of centralism and those who defended it timidly and hesitantly. It will send into the field . all the same. Trotsky explained. its own detachment. especially after the congress. Lenin lists the different committees that make up the hierarchy: centralization is pushed to the utmost degree and its most restrictive consequences are admitted. In 1901. on the basis of the divergences that had been revealed. such as the distribution of literature. In his Letter to a Comrade on Our Organizational Tasks. which.'70 That such a conception implies a very strict form of discipline is obvious.'69 In other words.. rather. Lenin encountered only timid objections among his future Menshevik adversaries. the excitement of the occasion.. it remains true... At the head of the organization there must stand a Central Com mittee 'embracing all the best revolutionary forces . the allocation of forces. etc.. the appointment of individuals and groups to take charge of special undertakings. the Central Committee is to guide the life of the Party not only where major decisions are involved but also in all the details of its day-to-day existence. the preparation of demonstrations and an uprising on an all-Russian scale. that bring up the question of democracy in the Party. 'will cut off its relations with [any undisciplined organization] . So long as he confined himself to propounding principles. or. strives to proceed from the top downward. Trotsky. ultimately. Marx's doctrine favours centralism. each camP began to give conceptual form to its views. contributed a great deal to the virulence of the debate. 'The committee guides the work of every one. Lenin made himself very explicit on this point. In the Russian socialist movement Iskra therefore naturally upheld and propagated the idea of centralism. revealed the actual significance of the question of centralization. centralism appeared obviously necessary. and having endowed it with the necessary resources. serves admirably to illuminate it. the Central Committee will proclaim that this detachment is the local committee. was the choice to be made between effectiveness and internal democracy. it ignores them completely. and the beginnings of fratricidal struggle within the Party. 67 In itself. and is clearly opposed to any federalist tendency. Undoubtedly. The divisions that appeared at the congress of 1903. Lenin explains at length the hierarchical system that the Party must establish if it intends to put into practice the principle of centralization. that some people had at least an intuition of the deep iinplications of the controversy between supporters and opponents of centralism. basically the contrast is: 'bureaucracy versus democracy'. and upholds an extension of the rights and powers of the centre in relation to the parts. The same principle of guidance and control* must apply at each level of the organization. the whole system of centralism now endorsed by the Congress. and personal antagonisms. Employing a metaphor thought up by Martov. This Central Committee. while giving excessive force to Lenin's idea.in fact. it takes little account of the requirements of democracy. declared that the revolutionary movement would prove to be nothing but a 'Frankenstein's monster' unless it were placed under the autho rity of a Central Committee endowed with substantial powers.... 'centralism versus autonomism'.'68 Lenin himself expressed his idea less emphatically.' In other words. by assigning all power to the executive bodies. What was at issue. but it corresponded nevertheless to a plan that had been carefully worked out. and managing all the general affairs of the party. A work that he published in 1904 is extremely illuminating in this field. Lenin declared during the congress of 1903: 'All our party rules. who was soon to offer vigorous opposition to Lenin's centralizing theories. when.

'In the present situation it must be so. during and after the 1903 congress. in-arms rose up against him.' p • Thus. the epithet 'Bonapartist'. these conditions could not be met by the Russian revolutionary movement. Scrutinizing the prerogatives that Lenin proposed should be given to the central leading organs of the party. putschist organiza. however. full pub licity. 'Well. election to all offices'. pp. 'We are the stable centre. and secondly.77 One of the founders of Iskra. 78 These polemical exaggerations should doubtless be taken with the appropriate pinch of salt. and so of clandestinity. It seemed to her that submis sion such as . Trotsky questioned Lenin about his organiza tional plans.vagueness. to the demands of security. and the unwarranted interpretation that. He explained that ' "the broad democratic principle" presupposes the two following conditions: first. in her view. and we must exercise the guidance from here. even compared Lenin to Louis XIV. they hurled against his proposals.' Lenin said. Greater attention and weight are due. His conception of centrali zation. Martov wrote in Iskra. applied to the Bolshevik leader. however. when this had fallen into the hands of the Mensheviks. To call for the application of the rules of democracy in the Party was not merely utopian but also harmful. control over the members of the Party (Lenin. would henceforth consist only of 'creatures of the Central Committee'. meant 'the absolute and blind submission of the party sections to the will of the centre'. For example. But when. The expression certainly went farther than Lenin's actual conception: there was never really any question of 'dictatorship' in the Bolshevik Party before 1917. in one form or another. 268-9). to the observations of Rosa Luxemburg.' She stressed the difference between the centralization that was recognized by Marxism as legiti mate and indeed indispensable. Lenin's old comrades. he declared that the congress. whose thesis was 'that the Central Committee should have the privilege of naming all the local committees of the party. Vol. almost as a logical consequence. it was indeed the charge of 'dictatorship' that. tion" run by a leader and divorced from the masses. Lenin had given to this. 'we are stronger in ideas. that Lenin's super-centralism must in evitably lead to the formation of 'a "bureaucratic. 7. she alleged.' 71 Lenin had not waited for the congress to express his view that the Party could not afford the luxury of establishing democratic rules to govern its inner working. who denounced the 'pitiless [riicksichtlos] centralism' advocated by Lenin. 76 To which was added. 75 and that Lenin's conception of centralism amounted to imposing upon SocialDemocracy 'a new edition of the theory of the hero and the crowd'. through his formulation of aragraph I of the Party Rules. 73 Not long before the congress. 40 LENINISM UNDER LENIN 'Then this will mean a complete dictatorship of the editorial board?' I asked. only the police would benefit.72 Owing. Lenin accused Martov of making impossible. Vera Zasulich. what's wrong with that?' retorted Lenin.' 74 Nor was Plekhanov behindhand. while supposedly sovereign.'* A 'complete dictatorship' by the leadership.

157). in the smallest detail. p. its. The conversation between Lenin and Trotsky is quoted from memory by the latter in My Life (p. In their day-to-day actual political practice there was little to choose in this respect between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks: down to the Revolution of 1905 they both employed the same methods. and described him as the 'leader of the reactionary wing of our Party'. Comm11nist Party. Robespierre] Lenin'. 81 . the Menshevik Garvi admitted that the Moscow Committee of his faction 'was built from the top to the bottom on the principle of co-option'.'83 · This was only one dart among many others hurled at Lenin by Trotsky on this occasion. without beating about the bush. that her theory 'vulgarized and prostituted Marxism'. justified Trotsky in talking of dictatorship. parallel process.. it was out of reach of police inroads. 85 True. and finally a single "dictator" substitutes himself for the Central Committee. to the party centre.'82 A year later Trotsky wrote: 'Lenin's methods lead to this: the party organization at first sub stitutes itself for the party as a whole. See Ulam. guides and decides for all'. As she sa': the probl·was not posst le to e ure urselves in advance agamst all posstbthttes of opportumst deviatiOn. 246. but she believed that this would come into being in proportion as. as it actually existed at that time.he conferring of such extensive powers upon the Central Committee · ust lead to strengthening the tendency to conservatism in the party. being established abroad. sought to impose upon the workers. Lenin was to say.this was an essential feature of Lenin's thinking. 209. R1se of Social Democracy.. by a con tinuous. Trotsky treated Lenin's proposals no less roughly. along with authoritarian centralization and what Lenin called. writers who are not at all indulgent m their attitude to Leninism agree that in practice there was no notable difference between the Mensheviks of that time and their Bolshevik opponents. Neither faction went in for d mocratic methods. and because in it were concentrated the most reliable ideological forces of the movement. enin was wrong in thinking that it woud provide a 'b lwark gainst opportunism'. 57-8. • When analysing the pre-revolutionary period. in 1905. who was trying to subject the proletariat to 'a theoretical Terror'. LBNH<"'S PARTY 41 r. The particular terms used are therefore less significant than the idea t·xpressed. Against the author of What Is To Be Done? Trotsky rose up in opposition to the 'regime of barrack discipline' that Lenin.8' 0 Rosa Luxemburg did not deny the need for a strong orgamzat10n. the absolute necessity of the hierarchical principle was affirmed in that group. then the Central Committee substitutes itself for the organization. p. Lane. it seemed to him. in which co-option of leaders was the rule and election the exception. but this fact was quite unconnected with Leninism. Keep. 79 • During a certain period Lenin wanted the editorial board of Iskra to be made the leading body of the Party. and that what it implied in practice was that 'the Central Committee would be the only thinking element in the party'. . He wrote of 'Maximilien [i. re olu tionary activity and proceeded to set up tts own class mstttut10ns. True. 147. 'military discipline'.. Answering her.86 . The result would be 'the blind subordination. the proletariat it_self developed. uch dangers can be overcome only by the movemen_t it elf. p.* For example. because. there was no internal democracy in the Russian Social-Democratic Party of that time.84 Yet nothing about the Bolshevik organization. pp.e. of all party organs. Schapiro. which alone thinks. has decided that he and he alone is "the iron hand". Already at the rostrum of the congress of 1903 he had had this to say to the man who only lately had been his ally: 'Comrade Lenin .

and they bear the marks not only of mature reflection and gradual intellectual perfection but also of exacerbation caused by controversy and polemic. the exaggerated character that they were destined to acquire in a future that was then unfore seeable. During the months that oiTowed 'Bloody Sunday'. In this way. This explains the paradoxically prophetic nature of statements which owed less to critical analysis than to diatribe and denigration. and even hostility where the socialist groups were *On this subject sec also Chapter 3. Trotsky. being still young.-. Lenin's foll w rs mained reticent and hesttant m the face of some of the most stnkmg . As for Leninism. rancour and spite played a bigger part than political judgment. The testing-time for which they had been prepared was. in their first formulation. for their defenders and their opponents alike. 1918. and of the modification imposed by events. to elaborate the principles of 'democratic centralism' that were to become the Golden Rule of Communist practice. i? am litude and intensity. Thus. The great demonstrations in Petersburg that marked the beginning of the revolutionary upsurge came up against apathy. By running so far ahead in their thinking. by the twofold influence of a theoretical conception that was still in process of development. and in which ill-will. Leninism was still only a set of 'pointers' rather than of firm and binding rules. This was the effect upon Leninism of the Revolution of 1905. LENIN'S PARTY 43 eerned --and the Bolsheviks in particular. moreover. to bring a confrontation between the implications of theory and the demands of reality. tAll dates for the period preceding February 1st. took the Russian socialist organizations completely by surprise. 'Lenin in 1905'. The ideas set forth by Lenin. possessed the malleability and flexibility of their youth. and to produce the first modifications and adaptations imposed by necessity.. 42 LENINISM UNDER LENIN Lenin had no occasion. and from which it was in any case still possible to escape. its future remained open. Luxemburg and Plekhanov were also. while the popular agitation was mounting. ideas that at that time only existed in a sketchy form came to assume. t when hundreds of thousands of demonstrators saw their ranks decimated by the soldiers' rifle-fire. In 1905... during the brief period that separated the birth of Bolshevism from the first Russian Revolution. whether consciously or not. which was thirteen days behind the Gregorian. These principles.. arc given according to the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. roughout the country. moreover. These owed a great deal to the circumstances that gave rise to them. when Tsarism tottered for the first time. were to be affected. 1905). laying a bet on what the future held in store-taking their stand on a hypothesis for which reality did not yet provide support. Bolshevism in 1905* 'Bloody Sunday' in St Petersburg (9 January. January 9th in the Russian calendar of that time corresponded to January 22nd in the Western usage. lack of preparation....

'propagandist groups'. Democratic work in the factory directly from the committee'.. they must be open to penetration by Bolshevik (or Social-Democratic) activists.. What had to be done in addition was to sketch out the mechanisms by which this leading nucleus could succeed in organizing. 'should direct a/laspectsofthelocal movement'. and 'district groups' serving as links between the local COmmittee and 'factory committees'. Lenin made them more precise in his Letter to a Comrade about Our Organizational Tasks. whether socialists or not. so remarkable. indeed. These ideas were still somewhat abstract. Relations between the latter 44 LENINISM UNDER LEN! LENIN'S PARTY 45 and the local conunittee. nothing more than a 'branch' of the local com.repects of this agitation. and so to the influence of Marxism. though linked with the Party they are nevertheless not the Party. : wever. h.87 These workers' organizations constitute the link between the Party and the masses. and how • • It ts to function. open to all workers. What Is To Be Done? examines this problem and puts forward a plan of a very general kind in which Lenin distinguishes between the revolutionary organization properly so called. is absolutely impermissible to any wide degree and even altogether detrimental to revolutionary work carried on under an autocracy'. on the one hand. influencing and winning over the proletariat. was no longer the same as that which Lenin had worked to create. though eph me al. the 'district group' being. For him. 88 The authority of these committees is to extend over a series of techni cal bodies and over sections covering particular territorial areas: or example. who take their instructions and receive their authority to carry on all Social. and between the local committee and the 'district groups'. Lenin repeats in this connexion that application of 'the elective principle and decentralization . or rather series of organizations of various sorts-trade unions. And Lenin emphasizes that 'every . at the 'base' are the 'factory committees'. themselves subject to the authority of the Central Committee. uniting 'a very small number of revolutionaries. friendly societies. or 'groups for the distribution of hterature'. and 'should consist of fully convinced Social-Democrats Who devote themselves entirely to Social-Democratic activities'. Here he explains how he conceives the relations between the revolu tionary Party organization and the mass of the workers. The local·committees. Finally.at Bolshevism could not but fall undr tts mfluence. Lenin had already been concerned about establishing this link at the time when he was laying the foundations of Bolshevism. The progress made by the latter was such. the vanguard party with the working class. as shaped by the RevolutiOn of 1905. once the tmportance of this movement became plain. and its successes. like the 'propagandist group'. and as far as possible operating publicly and making the most of the scanty possibilities that existed for legal activity. and so on. and on the other. Te Lentmst organization. and gives details regarding the structure he wishes the Party to possess. a broader. educational associations. more open organization. The revolution impelled Leninism to link the organization with the masses. are to be governed by the centralist principle and by a strict hierarchical subordination. it was not a matter merely of forming an organization of professional revolutionaries whose small numbers would constitute a guarantee of homogeneity and secrecy. mittee.

going over from doctrinal conflicts to real struggle.9 In this way is to be formed what Bukharin called 'the second of the Party's concentric circles'. The description of the Odessa organization given by the Bolshevik Pyatnitsky is probably valid for the Russian socialist movement as a whole in the period before the 1905 revolution.. and the absence of any electoral procedure. the Party's ramifications have to spread throughout the proletariat. ostensibly nonpartisan but in practice intended to execute the will of the vertical network'.91 and a Bolshevik militant its 'periphery'. This situation was characteristic of all Russia's socialist organizations down to 1905.m ber of the sub-district committee dropped out . The organization appears as a complex structure: 'a vertical network made up of the party organizations themselves in a strictly hierarchical order and an equally rigid pattern of subordina· tion. In moving from exile into Russia itself. The city committees ere formed by the union of the vanous groups and cells of a Iven city and were subject to the approval of the Central Committ e. The district committees in turn were composed of the best elements of the sub-district co ittees. at last.93 Two points emerge from this account: the important role played by the committees. The organisers of the sub-districts invited the best · ::rnents of the cells to the su?-district committees. and their size and the openness of their activity to vary in accordance with possibilities and with the requirements of security. According to Pyatnit· sky. Obviously it was bound to undergo profound changes as a result of the revolutionary events in Russia in that year. the principle of co-option was applied 'from top to bottom'. obliged to submit to all its orders and to observe all the "laws and customs" of the "army in the field" which he has joined and from which in time of war he has no right to absent himself without official leave'. On this point Lenin merely indicates that the 'factory committees' are to be divided into 'sub-committees'. the remammg embers co-opted another with the consent of the district com riuee.member of the factory committee should regard himself as an agent of the committee. upon the class enemy..92 It will be seen how completely this conception emphasizes the absolute necessity of 'military discipline'. When a e. the Central Committee othe party designated one or more members to form a new comnuttee and those appointed co-opted suitable comrades from the workers of that region to complete the new committee. and a horizontal network of supplementary organizations. embracing workers some of whom have joined the Party while others have not. The composition of these sub-committees is to be more or less hetero· geneous. The regional committees of the large towns had divided among [their] members the work of uniting all the Party cells of a given ·di trict (or sub-district). from clandestine activities to an open offensive. from internal quarrels to an onslaught. and of organising new cells where there . its roots plunge down into the working class as a whole. ':"hen ac1ty committee was arrested as a body. and the almost unlimited powers of the committees-first and foremost those made up exclusively of professional revolutionaries. sre none. Bolshe vism was to experience substantial . City committees had the right to co-opt new members.89 It still remained to envisage the way in which contact would be established between the Party and the unorga:1ized masses of the working class. The hard and homogeneous kernel becomes progressively diluted into something nebulous.

. Recruit more young workers. that by making the Party 'accessible to the masses' what in fact one did was to make 'revolutionaries accessible to the police'. in the Russian Social- .. craft unions and student circles . From the elite party to the mass party In 1902 Lenin considered. The time for distrust was past. and Lenin in particular. the Bolsheviks. as he put it in What Is To Be Done?.. final!.alterations.. and. the linking of the Party with the masses. Hardly a month after 'Bloody Sunday'. LENINISM 1J UNDER LENtk tsENIN'S PARTY 47 spread so widely that we must learn to adjust ourselves to this entire! new c pe ?f the movement. hundreds. Only this new climate of politics explains how it was that. everything took on a fresh significance.. no longer persecuted by the weakened government. We must considerably increase the membership of all Party and Party-connected organisations in order to be able to keep up to soe extent with the stream of popular revolutionary energy which has been a hundredfold strengthened . The great upsurge of the masses was opening new horizons before the socialist movement. Lenin had realized this necessity. He wrote in the Bolshevik organ Vpered: 'Now the open propaganda of democratic ideas and demands. Opening the Party to the asses became a necessity: this would make it accessible to the revolu tionary blast.. and especially working-class youth. Yes. this is no hyperbole . namely. has 46 . giving it a chance to keep at the head of a mass offensive ··· or at least to follow this offensive. now came to give a different cast to their idea of organiza tion.. and inner-Party democracy. in a Social-Democratic Party that had recovered its sense of unity and realized the immense resources that were at its disposal. began to grow mor tenuous. especially among the leaders. bctwee the 'horizontal network' and the 'vertical network'. and this in two spheres of special importance. Hundreds of new organisations should be set up for the purpose without a moment's delay. '91 This desire to bring a larger nwnber of members into the Party was focused upon youth in particular.. It is important in this connexion to emphasize the extent to which intellectual elements predominated. extend the normal framework of all Party organi sations from committees to factory groups. however.' This adaptation to events meant thit the d1stmctwn between the organization and the movement.. between the vanguard and the working class. In 1905.

p. only three or four were workers.* Despite certain 'ouvrieriste' tendencies that showed themselves in the Menshevik camp. The Third Congress of the R.P.400 members altogether. and this among the Bolsheviks as well as among the Mensheviks. the number of worker members * See Chapter 4.L. a:eral delegates complained of the over-representation of the intelli.P.S.96 The figures for the 1903 congress are more conclusive: out of the sixty odd delegates who took part.000 Mensheviks. and then. By the spring of 1906 the total membership of the R.S.D. + K pskaya. was the increase in the Party's membership. Martov adinitted that the leadership of the Social-Democratic organization was in the hands of 'a special little world of intellec tuals'. .Democratic Labour Party. the Bolshevik organi zations had 8. The Petrograd Committee had not a single worker among its members.P.000. A year later. of whom 34. p. gives 4. p..t At the congress in 1905 none of the delegates present was a worker. 125. the number of worker-delegates had risen to 116. and results were not lacking. While the total numbers of the reunited Party increased markedly. quotes the figure 3. in 1907. however. The statistics available allow us to sustain and extend the application of this statement. the percentage of workers in its leading organs increased in almost as spectacular a fashion.! During the discussions. at the London congress.L.either very small or else zero. there were 108 intellectuals to 36 workers among the delegates. as the social origin of the Party's leading figures.'99 The efforts being made by the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks were reinforced by the effects of the revolutionary events themselves. while in most of the committees of the Caucasian towns. on the eve of the revolution. underwent a further increase. only one of whom was a worker.98 Thus while about 62 per cent of the Bolshevik membership in 1905 belo ged to the working class.101 In October the total membership exceeded 70. according to the figures given at the London congress. held at Minsk in 1898. 230.97 A situation like this did not fail wasgive rise to acute dissatisfaction in the ranks of the Party. was convened by the Bolshev1ks alone and was attended only by delegates belonging to that faction. The first of these. with the exception of Tifiis. and in the Northern Committee only one out of the eight members was a worker. which to manifested in the course of the debates at the London congress. stood at 48. very useful information was given regarding the social composition of the Bolshevik committees in Russia.S.L. held at Stock holm in April-May 1906. despite the slowing-down of the revolu tionary offensive.000 were Bolsheviks and 14. especially as regards the social com position of the successive congresses of Russian Social-Democracy before 1914.entsia adding that these 'committee-men' showed a distrustful atti r:de to ards workers and avoided giving them posts of responsibility. since.* this element is found to have been represented less and less as one ascends the hierarchy of the organiza tion and is sometimes entirely missing at and above the level of the locai committee. or over onethird of the total.D. hardly justilies the drawing of any valid conclusions. the R.9 . Six months later he declared that 'now we must wish for the new Party organizations to have one Social-Democratic intellectual to several hundred SocialDemocratic workers. In January 1905. in view of the small number of delegates present-nine.000. 94. At the congress of reunification. t Possony. . Lenin insisted at the congress of April 1905 that the proportion of workers in the committees be raised to 80 per cent. Wolfe.100 What was at least as important.D. and perhaps even more so.

a tightly knit group of professional revolutionaries. on his return from exile. the climate of comparative political freedom. resulting from the victories of the revolution. a reflection of the autocratic regime against which it fought. it was necessary to conceive the basis of the Party in a new way: 'The new form of organization.(leaving aside the Bundists. 248-50. and yet now this pessimism was being refuted by events. more "free". the organization that Lenin led took on a new character: one year after the outbreak of the revolution he described this organization. or rather the new form of the basic organiza tional nucleus of the workers' party. of 'reorganiz ing' the Party. more "loose" (lose) organi zation. 1M). and the Polish and Lettish sections) had 84. h t A Bolshevik militant who had left Moscow in the early months of 1905 said that when e came back he 'did not recognize' the new political set-up in his district (Lane. than that of the leaders who were supposed to be its guides. 107 More than that: Lenin had thought that the proletariat's revolu tionary potential needed a 'push' from without. but which the Bolsheviks also helped to form. In the first article that he wrote in November 1905.' 10·1 He considered that while 'the secret apparatus of the Party must be maintained. must be definitely much broader than were the old circles. When that regime was obliged to liberalize itself. A new phenomenon in Russian political life. but also implied a change in the Party's structure. they translated into reality the Party's desire to open itself to the masses.102 Growth such as this had a profound effect on the very nature of the Party.000 Men sheviks. in the formation of which the Mensheviks usually took the initiative. 103 This description did not refer merely to the number of members. Drawing lessons from the Moscow insurrection of December 1905. See on this Fainsod.. 48 LENINISM UNDER LENIN its influence that had been unheard-of up to that time. however.' it was 'absolutely necessary to create many new legal and semi-legal Party organizations (and organizations asso ciated with the Party)'. p.t Its structure had become more flexible.000 members. and in any case that it had greater boldness. as 'a mass party'.:ording to statistics compiled in 1922. Lenin. pp. and in the absence of any Party organization capable of rousing. How Russia Is Ruled. examining the problem. the new nucleus will most likely have to be a less rigid. was. The "underground" is breaking up. Lenin acknowledged that .. for the first time. It has been suffocating under ground during the last few years. The Leninist Party. of whom 46. Without any significant outside 'stimulation'. in its way. now urgent. the latter were developing a revolutionary movement of an essen tially political character and of extraordinary scope. and had even cracked under the pressure of events. directing and leading the activity of the masses. Moreover.000 were Bolsheviks and 38. Apart from this. a new conception of the relations between the Party and the proletariat.'106 Towards the end of 1905 a change in the structures of the Social-Democratic movement was indeed observable: in St Peters burg and also in the provinces there appeared 'political associations' and 'workers' clubs'. offered the Party opportunities for propaganda and means of spreading • Ac-.105 Going beyond that task. It was often to be observed that the proletariat's awareness of the situation was clearer. wrote these remarkable words: 'Our Party has stag nated while working underground .

having submitted himself to learn ing from the experience of the revolution. '109 He declared that the general strike. 'the leaders of both factions applied themselves with vigour to getting the elective Principle accepted. will be Social-Democrats in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.ll3 A few months later. comrades. and they will submit to the influence of the steadfast and solid core of Social-Democrats.' and that. In March I 906 he wrote: 'Mention a period in Russian or world history. nin's ideas. occasional but fundamental.'112 In June of that same year he had denounced the dangers inherent in the slogan of ' "independent activity" of the workers'. as amended by the events of the revolution. he warned the Party members: 'Don't invent bugaboos. 'It will be necessary in very many cases to start from the beginning. find any six months r six years when as much was done for the free and independent rganization of the masses of the people as was done during the six weeks of the revolutionary whirlwind in Russia . and after the revolution itself had taken huge steps forward. 'its role would be reduced to that of a tai1. parti cularly of the proletariat'. which was due to the initiative of the masses. was also a form of organization. comrades! Don't forget that in every live and growing party there will always be elements of in stability. or who will join it tomorrow at the invitation of the Central Committee.' w Lenin declared in November I 905. This will to renovation found expression in the democratizing of the Party's structures and methods.1os This is not the only analogy discoverable at this period between LENIN'S PARTY 49 L. 116 At the same arbitrary powers wielded by the committees .'the proletariat sensed sooner than its leaders the change in the objec tive conditions of the struggle and the need for a transition from the strike to an uprising'. is unfeasible under the autocracy. al though 'the full assertion of the elective principle. And he ended with an ardent eulogy of 'the organizing abilities of the people. the quasi- could be applied to a much larger extent than it is today'.' and went on to insist that 'it would be simply ridiculous to doubt that the workers who belong to our Party. wavering. From democratization of the party to democratic centralism The upheaval in the country in I905 entailed an upheaval hardly less thoroughgoing in the Party. a rehabilitation of proletarian spontaneity? The Party rules had formerly been conceived as a 'bulwark' against the entry into the Party of dubious elements. But these elements can be intluenced. and not of any party. he acknowledged the merits.. possible and neces sary under conditions of political freedom. Lenin successfully moved a resolution which noted that.' 115 At the Bolshevik congress in London in April 1905.' nevertheless. instead.' 111 Lenin said: 'Let me not exaggerate this danger. As Martov testifies.U° Could this mean anything else but the substitution of the masses for the Party in one of its essential functions -in a sense. Raising for consideration the possibility that the Party 'would cease to be the conscious vanguard of its class.. of proletarian spontaneity and initiative. vacillation. and those tf:at Rosa Luxemburg had expressed earlier.' Furthermore. Now these fears were swept away. 'even under the autocracy this principle 50 LENINISM UNDER LEN"Ili time. easy prey for oppor tunism.

'that literature is least of all subject to mechanical adjustment or levelling. making use of the model provided by the German Social-Democratic Party. district committees. subject to re-election every six months.D. down 'to nearly the end of 1907'. 926 against. . needed to be curbed. . of democratic centralism.. this reflected the rapprochement that had taken place during the revolu tion between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks: though adopted by the congress of the R. either. Lenin showed himself favourable to a 'liberal' interpretation of the right of expression in the Party. . This means that all the Party members take part in the election of officials. and itself electing the Party Committee in the capital. mdlVldual mchnatiOn. that 'previous formal prerogatives inevitably lose their sig. committee members and so forth. by the Central Committee itself tbought and 1antasy . especially through the press. ing of the organization in Russia's capital. wh re the . h ld in St?ckholin 1906. and. as a general rule. to the rule of the majority over the minority. In its origins. that in s..120 That the Party members did participate on a large scale in the dis cussion of major political problems. is proved by the fact that. in the capital alone.un doubtedly be allowed for personal Jmtmtlve.118 Talk.P.124 At the same time. meeting at least twice a month. and the main outlines drawn.l 22 In the Moscow organization the elective principle was likewise introduced and applied: a system of elections at different levels (fac· tory committees. 123 In Ode5sa. fi ld re te_r scoe ust . and the Party also took steps in this direction ' • Lenin said. . and that they took a hand in the decisions made by Russian Social-Democracy.168 for the boycott. at the peak of the hierarchy. that all the Party members discuss and dedde questions concerning the political campaigns of the proletariat.S. and that all the Party members determine the line of tactics of the Party organisations. it was decided to democratize the structure of the Party organization. town committees) ensured the representative character of the local leadership. 'There is no question.L. speaking of the powers hitherto accorded to the com. whose authority was seriously pruned. Lenin said of this arrangement that it 'makes possible and inevitable the participation of the majority of outstanding workers in the guidance of all the affairs of the entire local organization'.' he declared in November 1905.LENIN'S PARTY 51 There is no question. It was in this period and th1s climate that the foundatiOns we:e laid. at a meeting of the town's Bolsheviks in October 1905. '125 .121 Lenin recommended that. nificance at the present time'. 120 group meetings were devoted to pre paring for the elections to the First Duma.117 The Bolshevik congress of 1905 declared in favour of 'the autonomy of the committees' in relation to the Central Committee. The decision to boycott these elections resulted from a fairly large vote: 1. 119 At the head of the socialist movement in Petersburg a conference was placed-an elected body. a 'referen dum in the Party' should be carried out where any important political question was concerned. Lenin said: The St Petersburg worker Social-Democrats know that the whole Party organisation is now built on a democratic basis. mittees.

376). there should be the broadest and freest discussion and appraisal of the resolution. 10. was only a first approximation... and to see to it that all the higher-standing bodies are elected.127 This.' 130 Freedom of discussion. on the same theme: 'If we have really and seriously decided to intro duce democratic centralism in our Party. must become a reality. perhaps. He it was who at this ongress put down a resolution stating that 'the principle of democratic centralism in the Party is now universally recognized'. however. out of Ill delegates there were 62 Mensheviks. when the proletarian army is straining every nerve.:as still w?rk o be done 'really to apply the principles of democratic centralism m Party organization.128 And again. He said that there v.' (Lenin. p. and if we have resolved to draw the masses of the workers into intelligent decision of Party questions we must have these questions discussed in the press. it rules out all criticism which disrupts or makes difficult the unity of an action decided on by the Party'. no criticism whatever can be permitted in its ranks.. as against 44 or 46 Bolsheviks. 73). to work tirelessly to make the local organizations the principal organizational units of the Party in fact and not merely in name. of its arguments and its various propositions. its application 'implies universal and full freedom to criticize. Vol.Menshevik faction was predommant. unity of action.' 129 Alluding to the dis cussion that was then going on in the socialist movement about the opportuneness of armed insurrection and its implications. p. accountable and subject to recall'. Paradoxically. t 'The autonomy of every Party organization .. Democratic centralism had further implications. Lenin declared: 'In the heat of battle.126 What was the concrete meaning of this notion? In this connexion a statement made by Lenin in a report he gave on the tockholm congress is especially important.* It was mcorl?orated m the party rules on Lenin's initiative.--· - UNDER LENIN LENIN'S PARTY 53 . But before the call for action is issued. it brought into Party life a greater autonomy for the regional sections:!Moreover. What still needed to be clarified was. so long as this does not disturb the unity of a definite action. at meetings.' in circles and at group meetings. who was to have the power to issue these 'calls for action' which had the effect of suspending the right to free criticism? • ACcording to Schapiro (Communist Party. 52 LENINISM .

it was resolved that 'the Minority now has the unconditional right. no accident that introduction of the principle of democratic centralism. 'For there can be no mass party. 't And on another occasion he said that 'it is clear that if there is a new Duma campaign the Party will have to fight against the Central Committee's Duma slogans'. the Bolshevik leader frankly acknowledged that 'perceiving that we were in the minority ..' 137 It was. was reunited. Lenin wrote regarding a dispute between the Bolsheviks and the Menshcvikdominated Central Committee: 'We abide by the decisions of the Congress but under no circumstances shall we submit to decisions of the Central Committee which violate the decisions of the Congress. guaranteed by the Party Rules. They argued that these decisions were not in conformity with those of the Congress..L. for instance. its definition in a broad way. Vol.. these private arrangements at factional meetings arequitenatural . in any case. he said that. 'strictly speaking. 11. split our forces.S.' 135 Referring to the work of the Stockholm Congress. to 'fight ideologically against those decisions of the Congress which we regard as erroneous'. and they invoked the principles of democratic centralism.' t Lenin. it was up to the Party congress to clarify that point. see Chapter 4. or hinder the concerted struggle against the autocracy and the capita lists. 169..132 The definition of democratic centralism includes one final aspect: it implies the right to existence and to freedom of expression for a minority in the Party. p. Lenin openly advised 'all the numerous fighting groups of our Party to .l31 The conclusion that followed was that the criterion distinguishing the field in which it was legitimate to criticize and that in which unanimity was obligatory depended on something rather vague: was the Party engaged in action on the given issue or not? According to Lenin. Thus. In One Step Forward.P.* At the same time.. p. without an open struggle between various tendencies. It may be objected that Lemn's anxiety to assert and safeguard the rights of the minority. at all events. Lenin had indeed already spoken of minority rights in 1903 and in 1904.' he wrote in 1907.was conditionby the ci cu?lst. in certain circumstances. Lenin thought it was legitimate. undertake a number of guerrilla actions in strict conformity with the decisions of the Congress .ance that at that time his Menshevik opponents enJoyed a maJonty m the Party. Vol. I 1. It happened. •m • Lenin... For these 'guerrilla actions'. which had a Menshevik majority.'134 When the R. . the presence of Bolsheviks and Mensheviks within the same organization gave new significance to the problem of minority rights. One cannot but c Jl attention to such 'liberalism' in the way that democratic centralism was firs!define . on several occasions that the Bolsheviks refused to put into effect decisions taken by the Central Committee appointed by the Stockholm Congress. Two Steps Back. At the Bolshevik congress of 1905.. 168. however. 133 but it was from 1905 onward that he became particularly explicit on this subject.D. the work that he wrote in 1904 to. to advocate its views and to carry on an ideological struggle. after the Central Committee had ruled that 'guerrilla actions' were repudiated by the Party. we appealed to the Congress to protect the rights of the minority. . so long as the disputes and differences do not lead to disorganization. and an attempt ..explain how the split of 1903 came about. 'no party of a class.Lenin's answer was clear:only the Party Congress possessed such power.. These rights were defined by Lenin in a very generous spirit. without full clarity of essential shadings.

'Things went so far that not a single evening arranged by the Russian colony in aid of the emigres' . We had more than enough of squabbling and bickering. ri en by events to involve ttself m proletanan spontaneity and mitiative . Leninist sectarianism The years 1905-7 show the extent to which the Bolshevik organization. and. about 1910. The advance of the revolution had raised the quasi-embryonic organization of Russian Social-Democracy to the level of a party that embraced tens of thousands of members: defeat of the revolu tion brought degeneration of the new-born Party into a sectarian organization. resorting to trickery. more generally. and so of internal quarrels. The period beginning in 1908. People fled abroad to escape the savage persecutions of the Tsarist regime. but this time 54 LENINISM UNDER LENIN LENIN'S PARTY 55 in a mood of despair. This period of reaction is particularly important in the shaping of Leninism and Bolshevism.138 Now for the working-class movement this was a period above all of doubt and demoralization. the organization of the socialist movement in Russia. Lenin described it as 'the period of disorganization and disintegration'139 and as 'the period of absolute stagnation.is. was brought for the first time on to that terrain for which it was destined: revolution. first. people with frayed and shattered nerves. without a penny to their name.to put it into effec:t occl!-rred at thm ment whn Lenin. with its unleashing of latent energies and the realization of hopes that had long seemed very remote. Krupskaya sums them up in these words: 'During the years of reaction the number of political emigrants from Russia increased tremendously. and without any help from Russia . of dead calm. 142 The decline that the Leninist organization suffered in this period cannot be understood unless account is taken of the circumstances surrounding it. with. which was marked by the triumph of reaction in Russia.' preferring to live at other people's expense. about which he wrote to Maxim Gorky: 'Life in exile is now a hundred times harder than it was before the revolution. This marked the beginning of a second period of exile. and then retreat and col lapse of the revolutionary movement. without prospects for the future.'143 This time of crisis brought about complete moral collapse in the case of some of the emigres. swindling their compatriots or Frenchmen. according to Lenin himself. Describ ing the atmosphere that prevailed among Russian revolutionaries in Paris.' 141 In January 1908 he found himself once again in Geneva. hangings and suicides'. stagnation. owed their expansion and transformation into a 'mass party' to the revolutionary outburst. Pyatnitsky records that the exiles were not always able to earn a living. that the Party was 'reconstructed and to a certain extent built anew'. 'Some of them sank so low that they refused to look for work altogether.' he told his friends.. desertions and setbacks. 140 Towards the end of December 1907 Lenin left Russia. It was during this period. Life in exile and squabbling are inseparable. produced the opposite effect.. 'I have a feeling as if I've come here to be buried.

In Russia itself matters were no better in the socialist movement. and their 'Concilia tors'. was allowed any real rights in the Party by Lenin. Eventually their group was bound to dissolve into a chorus of quarrelling prima donnas. Zinoviev commented that 'it may plainly be said that at this unhappy period the Party as a whole ceased to exist'.. In the words of a historian who is not at all sympathetic to the Bolsheviks. The Mensheviks possessed no organization capable of withstanding the pressure of events. Those Mensheviks who did not share these 'liquidationist' views were not in a position to oppose them with either structures or an outlook of any coherence. stress was being laid once more-not without reason. 'Strengthen the organization' was the . weighs so heavily on one here that living contact with Russia is our only salvation. and accentuating these. Recalling in 1922 the situation of the Party in the years 1908-9. 146 In 1909 the Bolsheviks had no more than six local committees left in the whole of Russia. however. exile being now more bitter than before the revolu tion. In 1907 the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks together had 85.000 members.. They had their 'Otzovists' and 'Ultimatumists'. the massive measures of repression. On the contrary. They favoured replacing it by a new political formation. forming a 'Left' wing of the Leninist organization. after their coming-together and reunification. extremely small and tiny Party workers' groups and nuclei that meet irregularly'. or regarded such a party as useful. in the first place. based mainly on economic institutions and educational clubs. After 1907.'m Lenin had written in 1904. the Bolsheviks also experienced internal divisions and fratricidal conflicts. The 'Conciliators' favoured an attempt to unite with certain elements among the Men sheviks. and became nothing more than a series of groups divided among themselves. The 'Ultimatumists' called for the Party's parliamentary group to be made more strictly subject to the Party. reverting to its initial principles. who. for the first time in the history of the movement an attempt was made to impose a rigid line upon the Party and to introduce the idea that it should be mono lithic in character. 147 In 1912 Lenin acknowledged that 'at present the real position of the Party is such that almost everywhere in the localities there are infor mal. None of these tendencies. The crisis spared neither Mensheviks nor Bolsheviks. the Leninist organization. and widespread loss of enthusiasm. The Menshevik movement collapsed to an even worse degree than that of the Bolsheviks. on the 'Right'. and this time for good. '144 'Isolation from Russia. due to losses caused by exile. legal and open in character. ManY of them no longer recognized the existence of a revolutionary Social-Democratic Party. And. the engulfing atmosphere of the accursed emigre slough. The 'Otzovists' [from the Russian verb meaning 'to recall'] wanted the Party to break completely with the deputies who represented it in the Duma and confine itself exclusively to illegal and clandestine activities. After 1907 the Russian Social-Democrats were no longer able to hold a congress. 'the Mensheviks in rejecting this notion were incapable of producing a unified and disciplined party of their own.fund passed off without scandals or brawls . The deep crisis from which it was suffering was shown first and fore most in a steep decline in numbers. This development followed from an objective realityafter the period of expansion and 'opening'. 148 Nor was the decline only a matter of numbers. since the Party was indeed threatened with disintegration-upon the merits of organization. now split once again. was reasserting the features of centralization and clandestinity that had characterized it before the revolution of I 905. the feeling of depression was heavier still.'149 On their part.

I_this situation. a spectacular revival of the stnke movement. and to the rules of conspiratorial activity. despite its claims to being semi-liberal. mained subject to a leadership working clandestinely. enfeebled. Aware of the possibilities thus created. and against those tend ncies within Lenin's organization whose strategy. that sectarian tendencies developed which were destined to set their imprint upo_n the subsequent history of Communism. had widened the gulf that separated the two factions. remained profoundly repressive in character. 20. It is not included in Stalin's Works). See also Trotsky. where in the previous period members and sympathizers had mingled. as in many others. where the regime. 1925. namely. in Russia. or merely tactics. p. (Vol. p. especially as such a policy seemed to them to be favoured by the relaxation in the autocratic regime. adding that the Russian workers 'begin to look with scorn on _doinabroad'. the desire of many Mensheviks to set up a new party. sized on a number of occasions the need for the Party to adapt itself to this changed situation. 152 . were now to be made up exclusively of members in the strict sense only. while the basic committees. The struggle against the Mensheviks was doubtless not lacking in justification. see Liebman. Antagonism between them grew more acute. pp. in 1909 strengthening of 'the central institutions of the Party' became a necessity once more.y na urc of the :libera ation' of Tsarism. 128. Stalin. and a new mobilization of the industrial proletariat. often reduced to the sluggish conditions of exile. right down to the eve of the revolution of 1917 the Bolshevik organization re. since the defeat of the revolution had convinced the Leninists that that unde1iaking had suffered from weakness in pre· paration. Most of the Mensheviks drew te contrary conclusion. by expanding its activity into the legal sphere wherever this should prove possible. Lenin admitted in 1914 that 'the workers are tired of splits'. This penod sa"': a rebirth of the revolutionary struggle. feeling obliged to reckon with the aspiration towards unity which. that the defeat of the attempted revolutiOn proved that a reformist policy was the right one. Nevertheless.153 Furthermore. p. unencumbered with any clandestine organization. This resulted from an attitude of strictness on two fronts-against Menshevism. between _1912 and the outbreak of the First World War. December 23rd.* Leninism sought to debunk such 'constitu· tiona! illusions'. turned in upon itself for a long time by force of circumstances. t In a letter wntten m 1911 Stahn deptcted the quarrels between the socialists exiled io Europe as a 'storm in a teacup'.) . Lenin now empha. cut off from its working-class hinterland. t The trend was towards a complete break between Bolsheviks and Menshe· * On the illuso. Among these must be mentiOned first and foremost a deliberate striving to transform the Party into a monolithic bloc. without the adversaries.150 Whereas In 1905 the autonomy of the committees had been proclaimed. 133. and denounced the habit that the Mensheviks had acquired of 'playing at parliamentarism when no parliament whatever exists'. most of whom were in exile. A fresh demonstration of this flexibility was given in the next per od. continued to inspire the socialist workers. It was in a party such as this.slogan issued by enin in July 1908. co-ordination and organization. the latter now seemed to be recovering all its prerogatives. b1h y. 161 After a period in which the 'periphery' had been expanded at the expense of the 'nucleus'. 319. (Souvarine. as the period of reaction got under way. The Jetter was repnnted m Zarya Vostoka [Tbilisi]. Leninism showed its great flexi. 34-40. Most of these changes were not so much the result of deliberate Intention or considerations of principle as of the objective conditions of the political struggle in Russia. conflicted with Lenin's own ideas. split and scattered.

applying it to certam Socialist Revolutionaries (Vol. in 1911. possessing a majority in several centres. in the expulsion of the 'Leftist' leader. Vol. The spirit of unconditional conformity asserted itself more and more strictly. 148). 431. an important section of the Bolsheviks saw in this attitude of his a proof of opportunism. p.ikS This was consummated when. ensure by itself the bsolute homogeneity of the Leninist organization. 15.L. This necessary homo. He was accused of having established a 'party Tsarism'. advocating that the Duma be used for revolutionary purposes. at least as this was traditionally conceived. like Trotsky. He declared that the 'Conciliators'-those who. sought to bring Bolsheviks and Mensheviks together again also had 'nothing in common with the R. desperately anxious to restore Party umty. Absolute homogeneity_ of the Party was increasingly presented as being a necessity if political struggle was to be effective. of setting up his own dictatorship. legal organi zation of a new type. When Lenin.D. one of the few personalities among the Bolsheviks who were capable of taking on Lenin. had put themselves outside the camp of Russian socialism. it is not enough to call oneself such. but not being keen to allow his opponents to take advantage of such a right. 15. he hunted down all manifestations of it that appeared among the •Iwas in July 1908 that Lenin used the term 'Leftist' for the first time.154 started to ex pound the advantages of participation in parliamentary activities. Lenin constituted his faction & Party ? its own right. Lenin ruled that 'to be a real party member. this section launched a vigorous offensive against the latter. not just in the realm of principles but also in that of strategy. Bolsheviks themselves.S. in July 1909. nor is it enough to carry on propa. 41.S. geneity was made to apply.' In other words. Some of his followers who hesitated to copy his own intransigence towards other tendencies in Russian socialism he accused of having nothing in common with Bolshevism. and that 'to confuse a trend with minor groups means condemning oneself to intrigue in Party politics'.. The struggle culminated. which experienced ternal tensions that the atmosphere of exile helped to exacerbate. But Lenin did not stop there. ganda "in the spirit" of the programme of the R. who called for replace ment of the existing SocialDemocratic Party by an open. but Lenin's fight against the 'Leftists' did not stop there.'. 'a party member is one who . however. p.P. Lenin declared that. 156 The drive towards monolithicity also found other obstacles to crush. 65-6). at a conference vf hls followers held in Prague.P. JJlThis break with old comrades-in-arms-that 'Right wing' which a fi w years earlier Lenin had still looked on as a normal component of :O.y ·working-class party-did not. t lenin acknowledges this in a number of places (Vol.157 Having taken the path of excommunication.L. one must also carry out the entire practical work in conformity with the tactical decisions of the party. including St Petersburg itself. far from constituting a trend they were only a 'minor group'. Lenin hurled himself along it with great fervour. Uniting the 'Otzovists' and the 'Ultimatumists'.155 This 'Leftist' tendency* held very strong positions inside Russia. and led by Bogdanov. Thus.D. pp. and of 'deviating towards Menshevism'. 16. in January 1912. moreover. after having resigned himself in November 1905 to following his Party in a boycott of the First Duma. There was indeed some reason to claim that the 'Liquidators'. and then in the realm of tactics as well.t Lenin therefore resolved to wage ruth less war against Bogdanov's followers. Recalling that he had formerly spoken in favour of the Right for different trends or tendencies in the Party to express themselves. Since the spirit of conciliation was not CO ed to the 'Trotskyists'.

. He did not hesitate from now on to describe as a ... safeguarded what was essential and ensured that there would be a future for Russian Social-Democracy. it was necessary . Lenin gave it as his view that 'only those people may be Party candidates who really carry out the policy of the R. the advocate of the Party conceived as a monolith without a single crack in it. For the moment.heviks. serve to explain it. which had to be safeguarded from all deviations.. to a large extent.in members of a united party . referring to the electoral campaign then being prepared. 158 Furthermore. That was my duty . despite all failures and setbacks. and were trying to put a spoke in the wheel of our Social-Democratic organization in its election campaign.P. When summoned before a 'Party court'. an ex pression that was sufficiently vague to embrace an ever-larger range of opponents. when necessary. succeeded in keeping alive.S. Lenin had replied to his . a Party organization which. Against such political enemies* I then con ducted-and in the event of a repetition or development of a split shall always conduct-a struggle of extermination. Lenin was subse quently to show that 'Partyism' would not be for him an absolute imperative in all circumstances-that he would be capable of sacrific· ing this. Already in 1907 he had been charged by the Mensheviks with em ploying polemical procedures that were regarded as going too far. had become political enemies. I actually succeeded in causing that section of the proletariat which trusts and follows the Men sheviks to waver.' And he went on to sa. this allegiance to the Party organization was born and developed in circumstances that.. In order to ensure this safeguarding of the Party. in the last analysis.y. who are 'pro-party'. and amidst the most difficult of conditions. That was my aim. : ' By mY sharp and discourteous attacks on the Mensheviks on the eve of the St. pe ng to write about party comrades in a language that systemati lt preads among the working masses hatred.is ace ible and obligatory for sectwns of a party that has been split.. aversion and contempt for these people who had ceased to be members of a · united party. unlike their opponents. in a period of reaction and demoralization that saw the collapse of the Mensheviks. He increasingly con trasts those who possess partiynost' ('partyism'). ca y . To be sure. He aimed his attacks at 'splitting' organizations. l6o with those who show 'anti-party' tendencies. who were leading the proletariat in the footsteps of the Cadets. are Joyal not only to its programme but also to its resolutions on tactics . to the requirements of the revolutionary struggle.or those who hold other opinions. contempt.at strain about an organization that has seceded. rs: 'What is impermissible . But one may and must write :Ctb. Petersburg elections. a·1ersion. is a kind of 'Party patriotism' which tends to look upon the Party as an end in itself.. The advantage enjoyed by the Bol sheviks over the Mensheviks lay not so much in superior theoretical equipment as in the fact that Lenin's followers. all methods were considered legitimate. however. it was necessary to arouse among the masses hatred.L. in these years preceding the out break of the War. in face of the dangers of dispersion and desertion. 161 What thus emerges. it was necessary to carry confusion into their ranks. in full. '159 From that time onward allusions are found more and more fre quently in Lenin's writings to 'the Party line'. he became above all the 'Party man'. to rout the ranks of the Men.pursues the tactical line of the party in practice'. 162 In his choice of targets Lenin from the first allowed himself a very wide field.. be cause after the split.D.

166 Though Lenin himself had sufficient sense of decency not to • These 'political enemies'. own flexibility and proved able. 166 When.164 He went farthest of all in the treatment he inflicted upon Trotsky. Vol. a 'guide to action'. c0nce ebeing also a praxis. When a man's theories adds nothing to the glory ? fits author.. this 'Russian Bebe!'. and. it.'violation of the duty deriving from Party membership' the mere attempt to bring about unification. at least objectively. in r:em without reference to their context. or. in the last years before the War werundoubtedly_ c nsequences of the Menshevik press. 245.Party'. r· . . thisame Martodenounced. became furiously angry: Martov.* was also rafJeand mistakes may also be elevated to the status of virtues. in the service of the Tsar•1 AnThese various sectarian features that Leninism displayed during the police. 218. t One could go on indefinitely accumulating examples of the invective indulged in by Lenin in his pursuit of what he himself called an 'im pla ble campaign'. or even rapprochement. finding themselves in the minority at a Party conference e m. Lenin uses the expression 'Stolypin ri ur.N'S PARTY 61 . and passim.the capital. once the years of retreat. Lenin even went so far as to insinuate :that was what actually happened in the case of Leninism.) Ibid. the equivalent of 'Versaillais' in 1871. 241. Stalin's 'his .a With Stolypin. p. he always retained some kindly feeling. 163 As for those who advocated a 'legali zation' ofthe Party. Leninism possessed Lenin's high esteem. (Lenin. and It would be artificial to try to analyse provocateur. that Martov was. an 1 a source of inspiratiOn but also a code of law and a model. for whom Lemn had felt deep fnendship. pp. however. defeat and ing in base slander'. the Bolshevik deputy Malmovsky as an agem riod in which they arose. as though the wmg.167 And yet. n t Martov. who held this worker. tJ!Nf make public the text in which this expression appears. between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. had proposed concluding n elector!agreement not merely with the non-Social-Democratic Parties of the Left buWith the Liberals. he wrote. his Gorky tells us. 17. Lenin. . the Mensheviks of Petrograd. and for wholll.. the quotation marks applying only to the word 'Labour'.. thmethods bec me. 11. 225.SocialDemocrats had no real links with the world of labour but were actually ci ted00l!·l'les who supported the autocracy and the counter-revolutionary terror asso. Once he described the latter as 'Judas Trot sky'. had walked out. for publication in Pravda in January 1932. 433. and it cal i'!nini ts themselves.t thmovement that accepts his leadership. 60 LENINISM UNDER LEN . was 'indulg. subjected to his thunderbolts. they were to be called 'Stolypinites'. . to use the expression adopted by out of the archives. at the time when Lenin attacked the demoralization had been succeeded by a new revolutionary upsurge . s but Leninism. Vol. which is more than a doctrine and a theoreti torical' dispensary showed less restraint and brought this documen.

103. 269. a classical weapon in the battle of ideas and between men in politics.. the inevitable conflict of and difficult period. * After frequently declaring that he did not impugn his opponents' motives. intrigues. must keep careful menbn. and is both indispensable and legitimate. 17. to tell the truth. seep. one does not know whether it is possible after this to remain a contributor'. The 'Leftist' leader sent the heritage the sectarianism that had for a few years existed as a caricatural Bolshevik paper a reply. fol the concern that Lenin showed for Martov after the October Revolution. · '422. expelled from the Bolshevik faction.. 100. 19. t Numerous conflicts occurred between the editors of Pravda (which began publicatior' in 1912) and Lenin. Vol. in publishing Bogdanov's reply. had preceded it with a not supporting Lenin against him. he attacked in Pravda the VpereJ which was not entirely made up of innovations. Vol.Menshevik leader in this way.effect.t Polemic is. a complex and contradictory pheno him from declaring that 'the advanced workers . Lenin systematically to present them as being allies of the bourgeoisie. Lenin.ly mud was then once more owing broad Unrestramed m his mvectlvewhich. the new doctrine. p. p. what we observe is not just polemic in that sense. 538.g. 124. His invective (onlY a few examples have been quoted from a very rich collection) wa! accompanied by insinuations and accusations that are all the mofl striking as coming from a man who had just been recommending to his followers the merits of free discussion and the broadest confronta· tion between ideas. Conscienct p. whether deliberately or not. on learning that Pravda had published his opponent's articl wrote to the editors a letter in which he told them that what they had done was 'so scandalous that. however. 162. 28). 46). What an amazing comrade he is. very sorry. in the period that saw revolutionary opinions. But Lemmsm. Lenin. he was already aware that some at least of unprecedented power. form of Leninism. 16. pp. Vol. more than any other. See. as the journalists tried to moderate the extremely polemical toO( of his contributions and he refused to submit to this 'censorship' (Daniels. which it published in its issue of 26 May 1913. Lenin. to shake off this dross. whose activity d the. dtd not prevent and-full of life.* It is not Lenin alone that this behaviour of hi! • 'The only regret he told me about was: "I'm sorry. Stalinism succeeded to Leninism. from degenerating into recrimination. A few years after having had Bogdanm left a bitter taste. During this period of Lenin's life. pp. however. was to remain marked by the after-effects of its most barren watch to prevent the inevitable controversies. . of course. what a pure man!"' (Gorky. 170 And yel Pravda. of injecting an alien class ideology into the ole at and serving the interests of the bourgeoisie-allegations that deprived the P. The river that during of the 'rum?urs'. 20. And when. squabbling Russia withdrawing into a citadel where rich promises of future and slander'169-Lenin also carried intolerance and sectarianism to progress were mingled with so many disappointments that already absurd lengths in this period. took over from Lenin's group to which Bogdanov belonged. Vol. that Martov is not wid us..abot alin?vsky w re well founded: 168 the dry season had been ?n.:: on of any meaning or usefulness. e.

. In .pOLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 63 . the application of Marx's schema to Russia gave rise to a number of questions. Not until the end of 1904. where its dynamism had largely dispensed with state intervention1 Might not the presence of a tradition of agrarian collectivism in Russia enable that country to by-pass capitalism? The adoption of Marxism by the Russian labour mov ment was not enough to provide a solution to these problems. did the quarrel between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks spread to a new sphere. and in the main not until the 1905 revolution. Some of the values that they wished to promote-at any rate. Marxism did endow it with sorne intellectual certainties that were destined to have important conse· quences on the plane of political objectives and also of revolutionarY strategy. the freedoms that they ought to win-were the same as those proclaimed by liberalism. by equipping the movement with a conception of historical development. In the West. namely. Was the Russian bourgeoisie strong enough to come forward as a candidate for state power? Was the Marxist prospect still valid in a country where the immense majority of the population were peasants? Would capitalism possess the same features in Russia as in Western Europe. They shared the belief that socialism would be born from a society that had been pre· pared for this event by the twofold phenomenon of industrialization and bourgeois democracy. At first nothing seemed to divide Lenin's supporters from his opponents as far as this question was concerned. tic freedoms which the revolutionary bourgeoisie had undertaken. The first controversies between them related to the structures of the socialist movement and the consequences that Lenin's centralizing ideas would entail for inner-Party democracy and for the connexion between the Party and the masses. :Russia the Marxists assumed a similar attitude. But.2 The policy and strategy of Leninism Lenin and bourgeois democracy The breach between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks occurred over a question of organization. the question of how to define the strategy of the revolution. socialism had never repudiated the struggle for demo. They were sure that 'only [bourgeois] rule tears up the roots of feudal society and levels the ground on which alone a proletarian revolution is possible'.1 True.

should more than any others call themselves Social-Demo crats and in their activities should never forget the enormous impor. tions of political liberty. as is the case now.. not that democracy. capital . urgency and priority of these aims. 2 ·To be sure. and its first aim is to achieve political liberty'. '8 He explained the advantages that ths proletariat would gain through the coming to power of the bourgeoisi: that exp ited it: 'It is ar more adv ntageous to the workers for the bourgeoisie to openly mftuence policy than. the Russian Social-Democrats were fighting against a regime in which. In 1895 he had sent from prison to his comrades a draft programme for the Social-Democratic Party then being formed. after the revolution of 19 I7-·did Lenin start to subject parliamentary and liberal democracy to ruthless criticism. universal suffrage. no trace of democracy was to be found. that political liberty will primarily serve the interests of e bourgeoisie . freedom of conscience. Switzerland.drisrespect.. '7 Nevertheless. to exert a concealed inftuence.the press. when there is an extensive mass struggle can the Russian working class develop organizations for the final vict?ry of socialism'. describing its arbitrary methods and constantly opposing to it the demand that the rights of the citizen be respected. Belgium and Norway as 'free nations under a really democratic system'. and that he emphasized the importance. at the end of the nineteenth century. freedom f.. too. but . saymg that 'the Russian Commumsts. for it cannot dewed .. Lenin showed himself more orthodox than original..'9 And he insisted that 'only under condi. taking up a series of ideas that 64 LENINISM UNDER LEN! M rx had outlined. He declareq that 'the worker needs the achievement of the general democrati de ands only to clear the road to victory over the working people'c chref enemy.4 Whether or not Lenin had fully considered the implications of what he was saying.. He went on to list the democratic demands of the Russian socialists: convening of a Constituent Assembly. or at least of a part of that c s: Lenin recognized that 'to call upon the worker to fight for Phhticalliberty would be equivalent to calling upon him to pull the estn'!-ts out of the fire for the progressive bourgeoisie. genuine because proletarian whih Lenin was later to contrast with the parliamentary system. tanat ought to age a struggle to bring about a political system that would serve the mterests of a class that was opposed to it. right to strike.. for many reasons. At the beginning of his politi al career he had ?eclared his ttachment to the democratic creed. as a pole of attraction. freedom of meeting and association. adherents of Marxism. Only after the outbreak of the crisis caused by the First World War-and. and opposition in Tsarist Russia still took the form of a liberal-type constitutionalism.. It is true. to a still greater degree. and equality between nationa lities. 10 To sum up: the struggle for democracy-not Soviet democracy. 6 e adoption of a programme like this certainly corresponded to te Immediate interests of the bourgeoisie. the main point is that at that time he acknowledged that the fight for socialism in Russia was a fight for democracy and for democratic liberties. Before 1914 he was still capable of presenting America and Britain as countries 'where complete political liberty exists? and .tiince of democracy .* Lenin put forward the reasons why the prole. that the West served. In this document he declared that 'the struggle of the Russian working class for its emancipation is a political struggle.5 Part of Lenin's work in that period consisted in denouncing the Tsarist regime. .

however.. . They parted company.ect them. at the congress that saw the split between the Bolshevik an ' Mens?evik wi?gs of Russia_n Social-Democracy. So long as the future Bolsheviks MenshevikS were working together on the editorial board of Iskra.democ. how could it be otherwise in Russia? Isolation of the socialist movement would reduce it to total impotence.. !o the choice o:allies.ich would not hinder the Party from carrying out the task of orgamzmg the proletariat and educating it politically. • [fhe workers] 'know that their own struggle with the bourgeoisie can only break out on the day the bourgeoisie triumphs . They can and must take part in the middle-class revolution as a condition preliminary to the labour revolution'. What was involved here was the problem of the relations between the classes of society and the role assigned to each in day-to· day tactics and in the strategy of the revolution. The problem of alliances: Lenin and liberalism Nobody denied that the Russian proletariat needed to find allies for its struggle. and h. emphasized their and eventually lead to workers' power. Mensheviks and Bolsheviks were agreed that this was obvious. ('Moralising Criticis01 nd Cr tical orality' [1847] in Marx. who were not very reliable and were in any case only allies for the time being. Success in the struggle would open the way to all the conquests by the proletariat that would undermine the power of the bourgeoisie ttSB pOLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 65 jfiiparticular. Broadi:y speakmg. and. Plekhanov spoke in favour of one which. when the questiOn arose of determining what the alliances were that the socialist movement ought to conclude in order to secure these democratic achievements. And if in Western Europe the Social-Democratic Parties accepted the necessity of making certain agreements with the liberal bourgeoisie. they all recognized that an alliance must be' concluded With the democratic wing of liberalism. he did not abandon them after his break with the Mensheviks. but this must be an alliance within which the workers' party retained complete in dependence. w ess 1 nd the need for the socialiss to ubj. ":In 1903. there seemed to ?e no divergence of view between them on this sllbject. Opposing resolution wh he regarded as being too indulgent towards the liberal bourgeoisie. In 1905 the programme of demands he set forth drew largely upon them. There was no great difference in this respect between Leniand the Mensheviks. This political education consisted essentiaily in making the workers aware of the fundamental antagonism of interests existing between themselves and their bourgeois allies. tance. Their disagreement related to the way in which such isolation was to be overcome. without denying the necessity of an alliance with the liberals.a y-_was for a long time put forward by Lemn and by Russian socialists m general as a task of prime impor.ordi!lary bourgeois. the problem of alliance th thliberals was discussed for the first time. to severe Although it was mainly at the outset of his career that Lenin ex· pounded these ideas.

Selected Evsays. Reviving an old tradition of Western European politics. The working class was becoming more militant.emocrats support the progressive social classes against the reac ti classes. geoisie organized a series of banquets at which they made speeches bringing their grievances and demands to the attention of the auto. engaging in strikes and demonstrations. Martv came close to sharmg this view. '. considering. any compromise non-Social-Democratic programmes and principles . 12 Lenin..* in opening a broad political campaign which testified to the awakening of Russian liberalism as an active political force. a large group of the bour. that whlle democratic liberalism would make a contribution to · ictory over the_ autocracy. while affirming that 'the Social J?. political organizations were in being that represented the dif. the exact terms of which had still to be defined sho ed more plainly than anyone else an almost systematic distrust of the hberal bourgeoisie. This question was rendered the more topical owing to the initiative taken in the autumn of 1904 by the Zemstvos. the bourgeoisie against the representatives of the . at this time. 14 fac . Now that.IIimocracy .' ('The June Revolution' [1848]: in Marx and Engels. and that were moved by desire for reform or revolution. he also noted that 'an essential condition for such an a ce must be the full opportunity for the socialists to reveal to the y. Thus.rorkmg class that its interests are diametrically opposed to the ID. occurred at the relati 1904. ferent classes of the population. 3 66 LENINISM UNDER LENIN The first setbacks suffered by the Russian army during the war with Japan were then giving rise to agitation in Russia. 49. fter the breach of 1903. and invited the working class . for the first time.) cr tic sm.e. cracy.) 'The best form of politY IS that m wh1ch the social contradictions are not blurred.. the problem of alliances between them arose in concrete terms.. though convinced of the need for an alliance. '13 bunilarl.terests of the bourgeoisie'. end of P0 Ittca drvergenc:. p.. and the bourgeoisie were now at last starting to get together politically.nvdeged landowning estate . . nor does It call for. he a ded immediately that 'this pport does ot presuppos. The whole of Russia's political life had been in a lively state since the tum of the century. the socia st movement had to take a stand in on to the political campaign launched by the liberals. whe. The Mensheviks decided in favour of support for the Zemstvo campaign. As long Jibe e Russtan MarXIsts remained united. not arbitrarily -·· kept doWll· !he best form of pol!ty is that in which these contradictions reach a stage of open struggle m the course of wh1ch they are resolved. Articles. . 161. p. their attitude towards the vi rals seem_ed to f?rm part of a common body of principles and es regardmg tactics and strategy. The various trends in the socialist movement were obliged to decide what their attitude should be towards this new and important phenomenon. although in What Is To Be Done? he declared that the urge01s ?emocrats 'are natural and desirable allies of Social. It is significant however that heir:first I .fugeoiste. in 1897.in nin's attitude towards even the liberal element in the as. leadership of the struggle must be retamed by the Soc al-Democrats. institutions representing the small landowning nobility and the middle bour geoisie.. Russian political life was taking on forms closer to those familiar in Western Europe._ distrust as definitely the preponderant feature. the peasantry were stirring in their turn.

* The Mensheviks tok notof the turn tte R_ight . set up during Alexander IT's reign. b rvable among the liberals. and began to call for the autocratic regime to be made more flexible.LENINISM .aof the bourgeoisie which he called 'the third element of the ntsia' meaning professional men and engineers. on the other. nevertheless only passing "':. Whereas the Mensheviks believed.in fter the split in 1903. For Mensheviks like Theodore Dan and Vera Zasulich. They warned the workers to avoid doing anything that might frighten their liberal allies. these mclinat10ns 0 ! rds agreement with an autocracy that was becoming more flexible. This only slightly qualified optimism on the part of the Mensheviks was opposed by Lenin with a carcely qualified pessi ism. on the one hand. . on the contrary. to set his hopes on the radicalizatiOn of a ci. despite some reservatiOns. and must dominate the policy of the working-class movement. during the Zemstvo campaign. The Zemstvos were local assemblies. and later on their strategical views. in the first place. Since Tsarism and liberalism re e ·ained in opposition to each other down to the outbreak of the . m the revolu tionary role of the bourgeoisie.19 As for Martov. 67 . he had . a serious political divergence that was destined to have considerable influence. 16 The 'inanity'17 of the Mensheviks seemed to him all the more detestable because he believed 'an alliance of the moderate Zemstvo-ists and the government to fight the revolutionary proletariat' to be 'only too clearly possible and probable'. an alliance between liberals and socialists was an essential condition for the struggle against the autocracy.15 Lenin came out strongly against such a line. 1!f1E poLICY AND STRATEGY OF.:: Russian bourgeoisie would take the French bourgeoisie as its el and show no less revolutiona!Y vigour thathe Third Es te l?89 had shown in the struggle agamst what remamed of absolutism d feudalism. Underlying this divergence was. but m their eyes. the difference in estimate made by the Mensheviks. half-hearted ally'.orld War. Lenin explained that this was 'in part simply because the police.'21 In the first months of the 1905 revolution he said: 'the bourgeoisie will be more fearful of the proletarian revolution and will throw itself more readily into the arms ofreaction. the Russian liberals seemed to be becoming more radical. 23 And when. the Menshevicontinued to be inspired b_Y the hope of seeing the Russian bourgeoiSie launch and lead the offensive that would re8ult in overthrow of the autocracy.W_.24 Even when the Russian bourgeoisie manifested .. unre liable. Lenin. 18 Thus there appeared for the first time. 20 He believed :fD. cannot crush the working class movement'. and by Lenin. They grew more and more political. the problem of alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie came on to the agenda. e although certainly to be regretted. ..swithout much significance.to demonstrate their support for the liberals. for all [their] unlimited powers. The pressure brought to bear on the liberals ought therefore to be characterized by moderation and prudence. between Lenin and his Menshevik opponents.1 e. which pos· sessed fairly extensive powers of self-government in the social and administrative spheres. in the opening phase of the revolutionary offensive. to. Lenin warned his followers against this 'notoriously conditional. first on their tactical. problematic. of the nature and potentialities of liberalism and the bour· geoisie in Russia.' 22 When. declared: 'the bourgeoisie is counter-revolutionary. -.

that 'the farther the revolution advances.33 .. 119. The Mensheviks.. in particular. said. firmer agreement with the liberals of the Constitutional-Democratic Party. he says: Thank God they didn't beat me. When he is beaten. towards progress. and to force the bourgeoisie leftward. such a close alliance with the old regime.26 He said of them.) 68 LENINISM UNDER LENIN No doubt it was necessary to exert pressure on the bourgeoisie exploiting the contradictions of a situation that caused this etas sometimes to protest against Tsarism and sometimes to seek to make terms with it. promises and undertakings. the verdict he pronounced upon the bourgeoisie was most severe. and that attainment of this success must depend upon a closer. of the hopes that his opponents still placed in the bourgeoisie.more democratic moods.' 28 In his view. his agreement with them went no further. such 'freedom' from anything remotely resembling sincere sympathy towards culture.31 The fact was that the revolution had finally convinced him of the falsity of the Menshevik line and. in exchange for their support. to be given them by these liberals. Lenin reviewed its outcome and drew the lessons to be learnt from it.'27 *.32 When. Lenin. in the past century. offered any prospect of success for socialism. p. Lenin subjected alliance with the bourgeoisie to conditions so strict that it was made practically im possible. after the 1905 revolution was over. probably. has the bourgeoisie re vealed in the bourgeois revolution such reactionary brutality. he will thank God that his immortal soul has been delivered from its mortal clay. On this aspiration Lenin commented that 'under the pressure of material class interests all pledges will go by the board. as it has with us-so let our proletariat derive from the Russian bourgeois revolution a triple hatred of the bourgeoisie and a determination to fight it.d in Western Europe.'We have the right to expect that sober political calculation will prompt our bour&eo•s democracy to act in the same way in which.30 As the 1905 revolution progressed. the more . mingling contempt with indignation: 'When a liberal is ab ed. on the con· trary. He depicted the l berals as 'flunkeys' of Tsarism. to be sure. as early as September 1905. he thanks God they didn't kill him. But while Lenin agreed with the Mensheviks on that point. When in 1906 the question of making an electoral pact with the liberals came up. Prophet Armed. liberalism exposes itself'. lacking as it was in any dynamism whatso ever. was incapable of playing a revolutionary role.' oted m Deutscher. Lenin's distrust of them was not mitigated. Lenin said that 'temporary fighting agreements are possible and advisable at the present time only with those elements which recognize armed uprising as a means of struggle and are actually assisting to bring it about'. bourgeois demo act. When he is killed. It was necessary to engage in 'criticizing the half-heartedness' of the liberal democrats29 and to 'relentlessly expose every false step' that they took. Nowhere else in the world. 25 and the founders of the Constitu tt nal-Democratic Party as 'the bourgeois liberal prostitutes'. under the inspiration of revolutionary romanticism. but what they wanted above all was to secure. the path of peaceful and gradual progress. On one point his opinion remained fixed and his verdict irrevocable: the Russian bourgeoisie. The Mensheviks tended to draw from the setbacks suffered by the revolution the conclusion that only the reformist path. did not propose to abstain from all and any criticism of the liberals. pressure on the bour geoisie should assume quite different forms. towards the preservation of human dignity.

.. . Whereas the Men sheviks were disposed to come to an understanding with the Consti tutional-Democrats so as to put forward joint lists of candidates in SOine constituencies. on the one hand. on the other. )!.. or even merely the administration of public affairs. since Tsarism never contemplated entrusting the executive power. The disputes between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks regarding the conclusion of electoral alliances.ewhole conduct of the government. and marked a decisive stage along the road to the second and this time final split. hanging in the air.. however. which. though in an amended version. did have a practical bearing.•Jn May 1906. due to disputes over the attitude to be taken up towards the liberal bourgeoisie and its political representative.ourge?t.37 The COnflict on this terrain between the two factions of a party that had lleen reunited in 1906 led to a very serious crisis in the Petersburg Section of the party..e.tstmctwn that Lem drew between b urge tste and' petty-bourgeolSie and.whole course of events and by . after he had worked it out theoreti ly he then applied. in 1917. whtch ?bvtously prepanto make a ·"with the autocracy' and 'the totlmg petty.:ftowhich they are being driven by th. who dream of an equahzed dtvtston of land ':. Lenin and parliamentarism F. . who are · 'credibly downtrodden. so·. Lenin did make a distinction between 'the republican and revolutionary bourgeoisie'. and was left.Nevertheless.. The .urg oisie' 34 between 'c compromis.d:who are capable of waging a resolute and self-sacrificing struggle..POLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 69 · tflieliberal and the monar ist bo. Lenin's struggle against Menshevism became very largely a guggle against liberalism and against all tendencies towards alliance between Social-Democrats and Constitutional-Democrats. for example.::-treacherous bourgeotste..36 This controversy came to nothing. 70 LENINISM UNDER LENIN .eninism. to a parliamentary cabinet. What they were divided about was. more particularly. Lenin dissociated himself sharply from any such policy. and. however. the GQnstitutional-Democratic Party. a team of ministers led by liberals.d. . . . indeed. lay at the very heart of ftis revolutionary strategy. the Mensheviks upheld the idea of a government based on the Duma-in other words. Lenin categorically rejected this tactic. . ·Bet een the end of the revolution of 1905 and the outbreak of war in i U4. · ·These ideas were not merely theoretical or mctdental: they assumed :a1quite concrete mea?-i g. on the one hand.st.to speak. tb. Most of the·clashes that occurred between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks in this period were. nd are of ca ital importance in the hist?l!' of!:J.:o1906 onwardsthevicissitudes of what in Russia took the place of P-arliamentary life provided more and more fuel for the quarrels _between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. the attitude that ought to be maintained to Wards the parliamentary group of the Constitutional-Democrats and. the way he tdenttfied thelatter concept with the Russian peasantry.

. the idea arose of making the group of socialist deputies in the Duma the political centre of a re organized socialist movement.·: at was the 'importance' of the Duma7. shevism and Menshevism appearing as two wholly different styles of socialist strategy in a nonrevolutionary period.on the other.. $poLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 71 . especially the peasantry'Y While opposing the opportunism of the Mensheviks. .t'orisness of the masses'.as o_n the were those that found gen:ral expressiOn at that. when the Menshevik organizations had disintegrated and a number of their leaders were advocating the formation of a legal party. was held to be capable of being made to play a progressive role. m the J ctions of the socialist y rties ofthe West. and to do everything possible to increase its prerogatives. a resolution by which the Duma. Axelrod and Dan successfully moved. and that it was therefore home to the masses the tdea o.39 Later. Throughout these years Lenin was continually warning against 'constitutional illusions'. 45 Lenin explained the that 'the Social- Duma. although endowed only with powers that were very limited and often fictitious.the 'fy of the Duma or in election campaigns were to be explmted th. with Bot.. 6 The necessary to support it whenever a conflict or a mere difference of opinion set the Duma in opposition to the government. What was ultimately at issue was the definition of a revolutionary policy towards parliamentary institutions.41 and calling for the Party to 'explain to the people the impossibility of achieving political freedom by parliamen tary means as long as real power remains in the hands of the tsarist government'. Lenin's ide.40 This was one symptom among others of the increasing moderation and reformism of the Mensheviks.agam· t dr"IVe the beginning of popular representation.38 At the Social Democratic congress held in Stockholm in 1906 Plekhanov.. giving expression in the Russian context to the phenomenon of 'parliamentarism' that was increasingly dominant in the European socialist movement. the Mensheviks considered that this assembly could constitute cootinnocratic Party wants o use the electiO· ns m· or der . and to show the people 'the utter uselessness of the Duma as a means of achieving the demands of the proletariat and the revolutionary petty-bourgeoisie. t!flle. The implications inherent in the arguments exchanged by the opposing groups gave their dispute a significance that went beyond the limits of Russian politics.the n. ParticipatiOn by li tsin Parliamentary actlVlty was to serve first and foremost to . the role to be played by the group of socialist deputies in the Duma.( utY the party's political agitation among the workers: all the 81Il rtunities presented for socialist propaganda either from . Lenin was no less opposed to the tendency frequently apparent among the Bolsheviks to disregard the . fi ·1J Declaring that 'those seats [in the Duma] are important Without ignoring or underestimating the narrowness of the limits ton•J ebecUa1u•se and in so far as they can serve to deveIop the po1I·t·icaI within which Tsarism confined the activity and competence of }sc.eed fr r vo utlon .. against the will of the Bolshevik minority.

. In general.. pr?paga11:da... and.4s . in 1913. to·· .. Lenin showed some flexibility in this_ field.. rrange joint meetings between Constitutional-Democrat and I-Democrat deputies4. of exemplary organization of the entire socialist movement . ·Lenin stressed that the 'primary function' of the Social-Democratic group in the Duma sh?ulbe tocar:Y on 'woro.'I us was why Lenin opposed the Mensheviks when the latter wanted to. 141. while Lenin thought it possible and desirable to make use 'of the Duma to expand the Party's revolutionary activity. j>reserved from contamination by their bourgeois parliamentary colleagues (so that any agreements between Social-Democrats and COnstitutional-Democrats must be forbidden). the Bolshevik press protested. $\'\vas in other words. 'If we Bol sheviks gave any pledge at all. Nevertheless. LICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 73 candidate for the Duma presidium. were ) eat risk of falling under the influence of bourgeois society and e _en"?eing seduced by it. 424). and when in June 1906 the Mensheviks called on the proletariat of St Petersburg to demonstrate in support of it on: the day the session opened..evik deputies decided to vote for the Constitutional-Democrats' in.ld be done only given two conditions: that the socialist deputies l)e.' addmg that this. 12.' • ng out a mission in a sphere that was totally alien to them.'47 .this occasion. '43 And although he saw the Duma as having only 'modest importance'...U. 19. as a corollary to this.· ··Furthermore. . i. and ot Immedi te ''legislative" objectives.· ttlng_ the Bolshevik deputies to vote. this <:4?. for proposals or bills that contnbuted •mprovmg the conditions of the working class (ibid.:. agitation and orgamzation.. These militants of a proletarian organization.<>.possibilities offered by the Duma to a party that stoutly safeguarded itself against the danger of Right-wing deviation. that the freedom of manoeuvre allowed to the socialist deputies beJ(ept to the minimum. p. Vol.44 he judged it necessary to combat vigor ously all those who called for a boycott pure and simple of that institution. and urged the workers not'to leave work. should be the purpose of the bills the Social Democratic group will introduce in the Duma . Lenin considered that 'the ability to use parliamentarism has proved to be a symptom .. '* He thus expected nothing from the Duma itself.50 Whereas the Menshevik . It was only by our assurance that the Diima was the spawn of counter-revolution and that no real good oouid be expected from it. p..9 He protested energetically when the . Vol.f criticism.h. 72 LENINISM UNDER Lf:NJ)Ij sought whenever possible to form electoral alliances with the Con . and to organize a solidarity strike on.. to participate m the mstitution of Parhament oiiiYiso s to carry out a debu king of parliamentarism.

a motion passed by the London congress of 1907 providing that the Party's Central Committee be empowered to give 'directives' to the Duma group. When the fight agamst R1ght-wmg candidates : rendered an electoral coalition indispensable. From this standpoint. the revolutionary determination and all-round organization of the mass of the workers. it was so as to make control effective. m penod. In some cases he even favoured making a bloc With these groups against the liberal candidates. replied by adopting decisions that put the parliamentary group under the Party's authority. the socialist clarity of thought.o. Lenin declared that 'the revolutionary Social-Democrats in Europe have very serious grounds for demanding this triple control over their members of Parliament'.onary p rty nsks.revoluti. This was an important question.s of.only be made m exceptiOnal cases. fjJ"u}geois revolution and proletarian revolution Efrifri's principal contribution to s cialism was. to allow the socialist deputies a wide freedoiil of manoeuvre. There was also the no less necessary task of creatmg a ftW6Iutionary strategy.55 When. in which they saw.mI volutwn. however. that he {!''f. Every step in the activity of the Duma group must serve this fundamental aim. Even if Lenin had preferred to neglect this be stled with .54 The weakness of the Party at this time helped. but to develop in every way the class-consciousness. in which the Bolsheviks were pre dominant.. often seeing in it a means o bringing about legalization of the SocialDemocratic organization 10 Russia. Lenin supported. justifying his attitude by saying that 'the aim of the proletarian party is not to do deals or haggle with the powers that be ..'53 Bolsheviks and Mensheviks clashed frequently on this issue. In 1908 the parliamentary group.pea e. Lenin was at last in a position . a first symptom of integration into the institutions of bourgeois democracy. The Central Committee. so as to prevent liberals · from being elected. in which the Mensheviks predominated.anccs . against the views of the Mensheviks. Aware of the danger. for everywhere in Europe. for Lenin such alli.the instrument for revolution. agreement should be · effected. not without justification. · Jd complete authority over his supporters in the Duma.as he could he ·=rices by whth a .. the dispute between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks reproduced that between Right and Left trends in the labour movement as a whole.56 _:Jl way Leniendeavoureto cut off as om letely .51 There remained the question of the status to be accorded to the socialist group in the Duma.n. working out a theory of the Party and seeking to ut it m'folpractice.u The conflict between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks thus acquired a new dimension. Between 1906 and 1914 Lenin fought with tenacity to ensure that the parliamentary group be brought under the strictest control by the Party. in the circumstances created by the complete split between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. the Left minorities in the socialist parties were protesting against the increasing autonomy and political weight of the Social-Democratic parliamentarians. Lenin never resigned himself to this situation : while his Menshevik opponents welcomed it. according to Lenin.titutiona!-Democrats. passed a resolution constituting itself an autonomous body in the Party. only with the patties that represented · the small peasants. however. He could not. gettmg 1ts fightmg spmt blunted and turmng 1ts back . relative sod:aJt. before 1917.could . wrote most of their speeches. during the last yea s before the War.

58 But that was the full extent of the agreement between Lenin and the Mensheviks.Ithad also taught them that a bourgeois revolution must precede the:s9cialist one. which could be prepared only upon foundations laid byjfperal democracy and capitalist industrial development. make it possible for the bourgeoisie to rule as a class. Marx himself was so well aware of the difficulty this presented that.h.· . ense gulf.k the events of 1905 would have compelled him to undertake it. development of capitalism.at this meant: It. talism. The latter held that 'Marxists are absolutely convinced of the ourgeois character of the Russian revolution'. and had furmshed them w1th some addttlonal pbfuters regarding the organizational and educative functions of Social-Democracy. European and not Asiatic. ret>brts and articles of the same period. '-•POLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 75 . because they and really revolutiOnary class'.5 7 !?Jlrenin realized that to adapt Marxism to Russia required a substan tJ htheoretical effort.so bourgeois · -right when he lack the of a umted . for the first time. This effort on his part produced an original strategic conception which was set forth in a thick pamphlet published a · tbe beginning of summer 1905. and in a number of speeches. ?tile theoretical equipment possessed by the Bolsheviks and Men sn viks was of only limited use to them in this domain.". who considered. on the future of which Marx did not presume to pronounce. really clear the ground for a wide and rapid. they will. a?-d t social and economic reforms that have become a necessity 3 74 LENINISM UNDER LENIN for Russia. the undermining of bourgeois rule.. entitled: Two Tactics of Social D ocracy in the Democratic Revolution.. he went s'0\lfar as to say that some of the evolutionary schemata outlined in Gapital were inapplicable to Russia.. !R. These gen ralizations had to be adapted to the conditions prevailing in RuSsia.in the West. because Russian society still included the village commune. l(!) one point there was full agreement between the Mensheviks and run. for the first time. logically enough.e proletariat in order to carry through the transition from capita lism. do not in themselves imply the undermining of capj. Thsubordination of the Russin bourgeoisie t? the -bontrasted With the advanced degree of mdependence enJoyed sta!ilie 'lili dle _classes'. And he explained W. they will. the need for political alliances under a regime ofl. in a letter intended for Vera Zasulich. that a 1.r:nean. written in 1881. and for the establishment of a dictatorship ofW. on the contrary.' · . Lenm a declared that 'the Cadets [Constitutwnal-Demo wast$]'cannot l ad the revolution f rward. Marxism had t them the role to be played y the workig class in th?ver thfow of capitalism. To entrust to _s ch an anae ic .lourgeois democracy._tthe htstonc f ctwn of the Wes ern bourgeoiSle m ant bas1 g c c calculation upon a companson that was f lla tous.s that the democratic reforms in the political system.

after striking down the autocracy. in the event of the revolution spreading to the advanced countries of Western Europe . as the old order drew towards its close. since they formed the majority of the nation. this did not apply when only the bourgeois revolution was on the agenda. putting all that they had gained in jeopardy. the liberal bourgeoisie did not constitute. revolution would be led by the bourgeoisie itself.62 What they desired was nothing other than abolition of the ivals of feudalism. then. on the·. the numerical weakness of the bourgeoisie was striking. proletarian opposition to the representatives of the proletariat. For while the industrial proletariat was indeed too weak to establish socialism in Russia on its own.. however: Only in one event should Social-Democracy on its own initiative direct its efforts towards seizing power and holding it as long as possible-namely. was one to solve an apparently insoluble problem.69 Apart from this hypothetical possibility. the accomplishment of a bourgeois revolution in a country in which the bourgeoisie occupied a position in society that was at best roerely secondary? How could this bourgeoisie be expected to wage a vigorous struggle against the autocracy when it was closer to the latter than to the proletariat? Lenin's reply to this twofold question consisted of two points: he drew a distinction between the upper and middle-bourgeoisie.peasantry would.* Even now. and the petty-bourgeoisie. The latter.000 inhabitants accounted for no more than 6 per cent of Russia's total population. had every reason to support a democratic programme. In that event the limited historical scope of the Russian revolution can be con siderably widened and the possibility will arise of entering on the path of socialist reforms. either. and he substituted for the idea of an alliance between the town bourgeoisie andthe town proletariat that of an alliance between the latter and the mass·of small peasants. the duty of the proletariat would be to take the place of the defaulting bourgeoisie. Martov considered that any such development must lead to catastrophe.. constitute an obstacle to an alliance between it and the proletariat when the task in hand was to establish soeialism. should disinte grate. But this logic was more formal in character than historical and sociological. with the working class playing only a supporting role. according to him. Russia was in a . It was in any case out of the question. Lenin's answer was that while the petty-bourgeois nature ofthe. that the working class should profit by the revolutionary crisis in order to seize power for itself. on the one hand.other. Between a very narroW social elite-stratum and the great majority of the people yawned all • In 1913 the population of towns with over 100. as Martov did not fail to point out. of course.at :Lenin laid stress on the factors that made possible a bloc between workers and peasants. a social and political force capable of playing the decisive role that Martov expected of it. He added. This rule was subject. The reason for this was simple: urban economy itself occupied a very minor place in the life of the country. so Martov thought. to only one exception: in the event that the bourgeois parties. he explained. Social-Democrats should confine themselves to the division of tasks and functions that Marxist logic seemed to dictate-bourgeois power to the bourgeois parties. The huge majority of the population of Russia was not concentrated in the towns but scattered over the countryside. Recalling the precedent of the Paris Commune. That such a conception meant departing from the classical Marxist schema was beyond doubt. ascribing democratic aspirations to the latter only. ely.HoW.

In 1906 the need for a close alliance between had voluttonary movement in the towns and that in the countryside new: ed to.surprise..64 In the midst of the revolutionary crisis a vn''"' newspaper had felt able to reassure its readers that 'the muzhik help us out'. which thpe santry.: and the peasantry'. however. 65 This expectation proved correct. the army. considerlna that the place for a revolutionary workers' party was inside a revolt tionary government. had contributed to putting down the insurrection.. in relation to the liberal bourgeoisie after tJt: latter's victory.situation comparable to that': -the France of 1789.da mto.n of 1905 had made possible the beginning of a rapprochement tWeen revolutionary workers and peasants. The revolu . reproducing on this question the 'an ministerialist' attitude of the Left in the socialist movement of Westen Europe.. would accept the bourgeois order.i and wm over the peasantry . and maintain very clearly the distinction between tli democratic revolution and the socialist revolution. Th views of Lenin's were bold in two respects.of the bourgeoisie.'• might perhaps yield to such a temptation.. th11 embarking on an adventuristic course. was to signify the death sentence upon Tsarism. who are inclined to yield to spontaneity. Lenin rejected this argumenL 'Some Social-Democrats.63 Lenin hopes on a political awakening of the peasant class. nothing more than an opposition which.that milieu. though bourgeoisdemocratic in character.ection dependent upon first concludmg an agreement een Workers' combat squads and similar groups among the 76 LENINISM UNDER L . a:d. but the Party leadership. : On this point.had taken the authorities by.that 'the proletariat can become the leader of !he entire PeoJlk. The foundations had been laid for an '"idn. too. As early as 1905. They declined to envisage participation by representatives of the working class in 1 provisional government. gau· Bolsheviks had made thetr first attempt to carry thetr propa the. The Mensheviks claimed that socialist ministeR would be forced either to compromise themselves by association wi' a bourgeois policy. Lenin was in conflict with the Mensheviks. which. 67 an amended version of the Marxist formula ((i the 'dictatorship of the proletariat'. Whereas the Mensheviks looked on the try as 'completely unorganized and terribly ignorant'. would be set motion by the proletariat. It was in any call impossible to put any confidence in the bourgeoisie: a provisio government would be revolutionary only if the organized proletafi. for the republic . '66 Together. . in 1917. the two allred classes wo · establish a 'revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletan. were to take part in it.v CY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 77 peasantry. refusing to run ahead of the possibilities of the moment. would be abk to keep its head. while doubt less vigorous. agttat10nn the countryside. This provisional government would be the executive branch of revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. But the old regime won only a respite. True.' and added. who' contemplated forming. For the first tiroe. Lenin so imperative that he made he organizing of a betW. Lenin had said that the Russian """ ' tion... 1 . Lenin brushed these doctrinal scruples aside. or to begin introducing the socialist order. the only class 'capable of waging a mined struggle for complete liberty. but with the urban proletariat taking the place.

'73 Like Engels when he described the Paris une as 'the dictatorship of the proletariat7'.. '72 Touching here upon an ent that he was to develop more fully in State and Revolution.. 482).in a revolutionary way.(lictatorship that he advocated. 1}:. .$howed that this dictatorial authority was also a democratic -'The new authority' was indeed a 'dictatorship of the overwhelm D)ajority'. and it 'maintained itself and could maintain itself solely e it enjoyed the confidence of the vast masses. the revolutwnary-democratrc drctatorsh1p of the proletanat peasantry'. for example. no law and no standards .. ' * The idea of alliance between the revolutionary proletariat and the peasantry in F was not entirely absent from Marx's thinking.Jpositicm and in activity'.l. 'in a re. History was to expose the inadequacy of such RProach * (r was this the only weak point in Lenin's strategical thinking. 70 .\!Al ld government's funds . solely because it. . p.:Qle<task of government. • • ! Jgt until March 1906 do we find m Lenm's wntmgs a descnptron -e. And he explained that 'they acted as a g ent when. Employing a pragmatic method. these 'organs of authority . amorphous and diffuse character..4 Lenin was employ ·p urely empirical method in a sphere where particularly rigorous was needed... widest and most resolute manner. . to associate the peas with the exercise of revolutionary authority:* and. He alludes briefly to this poss1b 1 The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.volutionary epo h. in a practical way. they seized printing plants (in St J>. as a product of the native genius of 1e01Dle . 69 He was hardly more explicit in his pamphlet 'l Ji)f. .urg) and arrested police officials who were preventing the Qlptionary people from exercising their rights .Marxist was proposing. his "rep_ulsing together" _is. also for the 111' Marxist ventured to offer some pointers to the concrete of the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat. freest. These pointers were very vague.l. t. They confiscated t. nted a dictatorship in embryo. where he says that the French 'find their natural ally and leader in the urban proletariat. Having stated that one of the tasks that the people . Selected Works.' Lenin added that these soviets were 'indeed organs of for all their rudimentary..lla Engels had only outlined very generally. to accomplish was 'to "repulse together" the inevitable ate attempts to restore the deposed autocracy'. I.. for they recognized no other .tractics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. Vol. . and about which ·their disciples preferred to say nothing.. which >aJ. Lenin went on tfil.•.tbat.. '71 Now. whose task is the overthrO the bourgeois order' (Marx and Engels. l>!lJ. \YJJ b confined himself to saying that this dictatorship would mean $yolution's decisive victory oveTsari m'. · · the circumstances that ha<1 seen the birth of the soviets. enlisted all the masses .9dty. · been 'set up exclusively by the revolutionary sections of the they were formed irrespective of all laws and regulations.

.77 But would not such disciplinary power imply a danger of the democratic dictatorship becoming transformed into a dictatorship by the Party over the democracy? It was certainly bound up with the conception of a political organization that would guide and lead the proletariat. 410).from identifying it with !he dictat_ors_hip of the proletariat. bourgeoisie? Lenin.:_isnot worthy that Marx showed himself much more cautious than either Engels or on this point.that country. Selected Correspon.in. . and the "enlightened" landlord'?n When we seek an explanation of this problem we find ourselves con fronted with two hypotheses. was possible in Russi It . less subject to spontaneity. explained that the Russian revolution would be 'bourgeois in its social and economic essence'.. economically and socially. In the latter event.dem. could the latter be expected to set up and show respect to a regime that was.•. as Lenin himself said.22nd. a 'quasi-Marxist asceticism'. if the revolution was to be victorious mainly through the efforts. . the workers and peasants. 75 Was it to be concluded. then their Party. p. 1881. this revolution would assume 'a form advantageous mainly to the big capitalist. But how w this 1dea to be reconciled with his convictiOn that. allied against the . less ready to be carried away. advancing headlong. sacrifices and energy of the industrial proletariat.* Either the contradiction.. who did not overlook this difficulty. capitalist? Was a victory of the bourgeois revolution won chiefly by the working class conceivable. he said.. See his letter of diiii:e-. the contradiction could be overcome through the discipline imposed upon the proletariat by the rcvolu· tionary Party. and yet anti-bourgeois on the political plane? And. the financial magnate. again. If the workers.. under this system. was not noticed by Leninsomething that seems unlikely: or else the contradiction was only apparent. imperative socialist consciousness. would be able to bring them back to a more correct appreciation of what was and was not possible-to enforce what Trotsky called. to go forward and establish socialism. after overthrowing the autocracy. 78 LENINISM UNDER LENIN He . and guided by keen. Only the former.w uld establish bou:geois.ocracy . . power would in theory be in the hands not of the bourgeoisie but of the popular classes.drw a shardistinction between the bo_urgeois revolution and the socialist revolutiOn. were indeed to be tempted. Despite his eulogy of the Commune (in The Civil War in France) he . to Domela-NieuwenhUls (m Marx and Engels. then. bourgeois-in other words. and con sequently the flaw in the formula put forward. that the revolution could be bourgeois in these two respects. . given that. subjecting it to close control. not without irony.

M1W.·.Jal defeat: w ereas Lenm. lgtskY wrote in his prison in Petersburg a series of essays. few weeks after his arrest.jt). showed himself able to rise to the ion and. as we shall see. Lenin took Jlllt of the. while waiting for his trial to begin. this sharp line of separation drawn between the bourgeois · revolution and the socialist revolution failed to reckon with the revolutionary dynamic. l:iJ!ift.the hands of the wo king class depends direc ly n?t upon the attamed by the productive forces but upon relatiOns Ill the class bfmg!e.v. to plunge into the human p. upon a umber 1W1f Jectlve factors: the traditions.lis.Ical. in 1905.Finally. roLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINIS 79 7 uPtfY'S nation! econOJ?Y· as if.Jt and become the leader and spokesman of the masses.the class struggle entered upon a period of intense effervescence.so well as Trotsky.tial problem. the transition from the bourgeois to the alist revolution. He ascribes the contradicti 0·.pp. as .lutions by a historical phase of indeterminate length.) I shall not discuss tbiS·' view.as the only one who. purely and simply to 'folly' on Lenin's part! (Plarnenatz. in thf' epoch of imperialism. but it made the deepest impression upon him and lf. showed hllllself. finally.' 78 He also said that 'to imagine that the dictator l"·hnf the proletariat is in some way automatically dependent on the ·. driven by his thirst for action. preferring to seek a serious explanation for a serious problem.y.llY occupied by the twofold development of capitalism and of its 9. one of Wffi h. Was it really possible to set limits to the revolutionary potentialities and objectives of the proletariat of a particular country by reference to the level of development of thai • A third hypothesis has been offered by John Plarnenatz. =onal economies constituted so many autarkic systems? At all :ev iJ. Cl IU'·CUt formulas lost their clarity and doctrinal boundary-lines ir rigour. Here he declared that 'the day and the hour when power will f · nto . wJ!P. short period. pon the internationsituatio. Of all the outstanding socialists of Russia. osr.two revo. however.. Down to 1905 he had been content to separate . fact thathe ideas. and pennanenre olu ion Cf) .t1. This was eP. 231.ed him politically and intellectually. Results and Prospects. Nobody saw tl. while upholding the validity of Miu'xJsrn. As soon.ts.}. )Yjthout formally JettJsonmg his overall conceptiOn.' and concluded that .development and resources of a country is a prejudice of t·t nomic" materialism simplified to absurdity. the Mensheviks clung to . . contains the broad outlines of his famous M\ ry. p.d•. capable of both greater bility and greater boldness. The year 1905 rendered immediate the question of the te)escoping ofthe bourgeois and socialist revolutions.about revolutionary strategy that g! s cal Marx1sm provided were madequate for the solution of an ess n.Marxisorthodoxy right down to their e.osite-ofthe bourgeoisie and of the proletariat. the mitlative and the readmess to mptofthe workers. namely.

O)l and has.82 What would be the function of the revolutionary ruling authority? According to Lenin. however.. not .. Support from the peasantry.. ·" e•se * s. and in opposition to the Mensheviks. seekmg alhes. g to the workmg class. as more or less equal partners. 80 LENINISM UNDER LE'N! only owing to the weakness of the bourgeoisie but also because despite its numerical weakness. conquered by the proletariat. Leniclaimed that 'Trotsky's ofroistakeIS that he Ignores the bourgeois character of the revolu ti. 87 Must we seem this statement a proof of s rejection of the theory of permanent revolution? According tfi officialSoviet interpre ers .79 Neverthe lQ: VIctonous pr?letariat could not .it entinon these . immediate sense'. tion. would have to take sides against the employers. presenting them.. lth. muskeep for itself 'a dominating . moreover. in which the proletariat would be the driving force. an offensive strategy and a bold. implicitly at least.. which he considered 'unrealizable -at least in a direct. Whereas : however.sa t:>'. dynamic conception of the revo!u.81 Like Lenin. This was why Trotsky rejected Lenin's formula of a 'dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry'. this socialist policy 'will come up against political obstacles much sooner than it will stumble over the technical pOLICY AND STRATEGY OF LENINISM 81 uPitilig its forces with those of the socialist proletariat of Western . especially te pea.ideas in 1909. considered that 'it would be the greatest utopianism to think that the proletariat having been raised to political domination by the internal mechanism of a bourgeois revolution can. even if it so desires. t would ave ·am: n the foundations of the revolutiOn.Rei6n g participatiOn m th1alliance-'thhegemony should · .cou try sooner than in an advanced country'.no clear c :mception of the tra sitin from this revolution tellille socialist revolutiOn'. .* Trotsky's idea was that the proletariat should draw the peasantry in its wake. However. was not needed as a prerequisite for revolutionary action: the peasantry would follow the offensive movement of the proletariat at a time when the peasants were still without a political organization of their own. limit its mission to the creation of republican-democratic conditions for the social domination of the bourgeoisie'. Lenin put forward the idea of a 'revolutionarydemocrati dictatorship' in which the workers and peasants would be associated : together.83 The economic situation would inevitably lead to a clash between bourgeoisie and proletariat.·I··:tKs wpoSSI'ble or the workers to come to power in an economically 15 1 ard . IS f(\'OJii:riportant to be disposed of by means of this one very bnef ·tibtation. and would thereby be led to adopt socializa· tion measures. The pro?lem.. and the state power. Trotsky.remain a_Jone. 'the militant proletariat has nowher acquired such importance as in Russia'.of . it would amount mainly to establishing bourgeois democracy and facilitating capitalist development.Lenin's thought there can i!l §D}fe be no doubt a?out this reJeCtiOn.o gh it.' Th1s seemed possible to Trotsky.. however. Trotsky advocated .

Alluding to the . Lenin declared.t. /1(' 'c • . especially.in the question of the attitude towards bourgeois parties'.·. that 'Trotsky has come closer to our views'. Trotsky added: 'there cannot be any doubt that a socialist revolution in the West will enable us directly to convert the temporary domination of the working class into a socialist dictatorship'.ntil1919 that Lenin actually read Trotsky's Results and Prospects. The change is sometimes .ie.November 1927: 'I have often told you that with my own ears I ave heard Lenin admit that in 1905 it was not he but you who were backwardness of our country'. began.n mplated thr: . to arouse t ei:hopes.l1Jljs can be added the statement to be found in the letter that the B l§b. But Iienin's reference to the theory of permanent revolution was so brief an& usion rather than a critique-that there is good reason to follow Is ..Deutscher when he says that 'it seems established' that it was not:u. namely. Commenting on Trotsky's ideas about the role ilf1he'liberal bourgeoisie. They then co. 'quite apart from the question of 'tijilfuterrupted revolution". phjr:'?oss!bi ty that Russia might become socialist without having to pass through the Pitaltsand bourgeois domination had been glimpsed by Marx and Engels Ia. he added immediately that.rlch until then he had had only partial and indirect knowledge. and I repeat this to you programme would give rise to opposition from the peasantry. th Its revolu i nary ovement. declaring: 'There is no way out front this contradiction within te framework of a nation! revolutiollf The workers' government will from the start be faced With the task 0 * 'More or less'. collectivization and internationalism: and the conflict thus caused could end victoriously for the proletariat only if it were to receive 'direct state support' from the European proletariat. would put itself at the head of the entire people.evik leader Joffe wrote to Trotsky before committing suicide in. . during the discussion at the I. which mark a modification in his general .. 11 this matters less than the ideas that Lenin himself developed !1 the revolution of 1905. ceasmg to be for them merely a stronghold of counter-revolution. we have here solidarity on fundamental o'ili.89 To. 85 In an article published in 1909 he returned to this idea.tS.l! Marxist .>Wbat must first be noticed is the moderate tone used by Lenin when Ji lcriticizes Trotsky's revolutionary strategy: this moderation is too rife in the polemics which the two future leaders of the October R'b\rb1ution were waging against each other at this time for it not to seenas significant. because Lenin recognized that it was specifically the proletariat that .'} f!·.n tion of two clearly distinct revolutions.!bndon Congress of 1907.88 Ti.ronounced that it is a quasi-'Trotskyist' standpoint that we find r ealed in Lenin's writings of this time.MTwofeatures..es 18 of Russta s makmg a 'leap' over capttalism through moderntzmg the trac. in the socialist nowt :•eoIn the face of death one does not lie. ofrwl.

a new crisis and a new strucrgle develop and blaze forth. not . ge C:O'!lffiune...' 91 . tionary epoch". would begin to take up an openly hostile attitude towards the revolution. we sought to "draw up a plan of actwn m the revolu. d for uninterrupted revolution.. and triumph as his policy.. more than one step. •. become dominant in his thinking. would be followed by one in which. stating that a period during which the bourgeoisie.. . . We shall not stop half-way. he had TifB' pOLICYAND STRATEGY OF LENINISM .. begin to pass to the socialist revolution. let us say.···ure 83 of our strength. This possible line of development they linked up with the out ·SOCtahst revolution in Western Europe-another instance of the close relation D tsky's theory and the outlook of the founders of Marxism (sec Carr. This struggle would have been almost hopeless for the Russian proletariat al. the strength of the class-conscious and 11! proletariat. We 0!. a very modest part.. we should be virtuosi of philistinism. II. and that the Party's attitude should be such as to actively promote this transition.ne and its defeat would have been as inevitable as the defeat of the German revolutionary party in 1849-1850. in a text that was published only in I936. describing hypothetical developments in the future. on the basis of the relations established . 9 82 LENINISM UNDER LENI}l thesis about the bourgeois and socialist phases of the revolution Lenin declared in the spring of 1905: 'But if we interpret this correct Marxist scheme of three stages to mean that we must measure off in advance.* A few months later.ntinuity between the bourgeois and socialist phases of the revolutiOn: 'the complete victory of the present revolution will mark the end of the democratic revolution and the beginning of a determined struggle for a socialist revolution'. '. Vol.'* ter the defeat of the proletariat and the restoration of the autorticy Lenin seems to have abandoned the prospect of 'uninterrupted ol tion' which he had glimpsed in 1905. before any ascent begins. What had become.. with the proletariat now fighting to p eserve its democratic gains for the sake of a socialist revo_lu tion. that there was no real breach of co.. of Lenin's idea of the transition from the : bourgeois to the socialist revolution? In Two Tactics he had indicated that the transition period could be brief. havi g become conservative. its entire policy being focused on preparing for it. Not until1917 was this to re:emerge. had the European socialist pro letariat not come to the assistance of the Russian proletariat. if. in keeping with this schemad before any t ascent begins. added' in the same work. he distinguished between the different stages in the growth of the rcvolu· tion. then. Continuing his analysis. . or of the French proletariat in 1871.

. I. . .-r...•. ..He concluded: 'In such conditions the Russian proletariat can win a second victory........ . i. apparently of no special importanc .•... .J .::. .' ·.. In an article of September 1905. . '·I.. .·:. •.: f.. The cause is no longer hopeless. one that Trotsky had worked out.. -.' 92 Since he seems to have conceived the pace at which these different periods were to succeed one another as·a rapid one. .'" . since they appear as parts of a continuous process.. and... ·. .. . Lenin wrote this typically 'Trotskyist' sentence: 'From the democratiC .. The second victory will be the socialist revolution in Europe. still more.. . .. this was indeed a schema very similar to the .

certain cadres (those whom Krup . 3 Lenin in 1905 IN 1905 85 lfatitd· committees to elements from the working class was the one . • Lenin. n I. mercilessly crush the counter-revolution.. sta'Ya calls the 'committee-men') demanded that 'extreme caution' : · \hown in this matter.1e rise to the sharpest conflict. Vol. win a republic. '• . • k Itid.'2 I' '.' be followed by a second.S only our first st p. pp.. get It over all d S()oner. and prepare the grouO for the second step' (ibid. 9. we must take this first step all the sooner... pp.revolution ) . 9. 9.. • lj ' we shall at once.. p. .. . 236-37. g at democrac. w lu"cll1lithiel ·.i'' . 130.Vol. 'uninterrupted revolution'.. When delegates to the congress rna:ndf:O that workers be admitted in increasing numbers to mem of the local committees. and precisely in accordance with the .._.i.!1. 39 ·40). They warned the congress against the temptah-tiO-Jlrbf 'playm.. Agai. Vol.tJ .. This same expression. 212}. p.n: 'The present revolutiO. was also Y Trotsky (Results.

e not capable of bringing about unaided the changes in question. declaring · . anof Its Bolshevik faction in particular. sUbjected to numerous hostile interruptions. much more fundamentally.. suddenly shattering schemata that had been thought of as estab lished for ever.. he was .'.:e. the mall ability of his t cories.'5 approached more closely. Last. the advocates of change called .request of two-thirds of the members of its 'periphery'. his orga izatto was vigorous.L.S. to appreciate the dialectical potentialities* that emerge from real life. t and what finally constitutes his exceptronal gemus as a revolutionary. but Lenin loudly ap ·pl uded him. fOi:Iiling' tendency tabled an amendment by which the central looJJitiiittee was empowered to dissolve a local committee on the . When ·:oiO. and most important of all. and the resistance that he encountered within. however. first time the flexibility of Lenin's views. These events. the highly dialectical relationship be v.P.. the congress that the Bolsheviks held m Apr . A spokesman of this . even at the time when it had only recently been formed. namely.' during the first Russian revolution. his capacity to grasp the meaning of events and their implica.a profoundly revolutionary belief in the people as the agents of their own liberation.. In order to understand Lenin's method it is not enough to analyse the far-reaching changes undergone by the structures of Bolshevism .4 In face of the sectarianism revealed by some partici"Plfi:ts in the congress he burst out: 'I could hardly keep my seat when :iflwas said here that there are no workers fit to sit on the committees.tJieir belief that 'a social transformation of this kind would help to ·cleanse the atmosphere of intrigue and promote healthier relations ·:6'e!Ween the leaders and the rank-and-file'.1lipfiJi:the Bolsheviks to 'plunge down to the lower depths'. Thus.D.en Lenin and his Party examined with greater attention. underwent great changes dunng the revolutionary events of 1905 and 1906. and tried to give it an even more ouvrieriste ·-:character by excluding intellectual elements from the reckoning of the .3 It was on the question of the proletarianization · !Russian Social-Democracy that he intervened most strongly.• It is in the course of the 1905 revolution that we can observe for the . and the flexibility and deeply revolutionary quality of the man compared with the already conservative ponderousness and inertia of the Party appara· tus. wc. .· tions.ji@eessary two-thirds. Historical reality must be ' ·· d·'added : 'obviously there is something the matter with the Party. we see Lenin's will and power to make the very most of mass movements. The transformation of the party structures The language of figures and the evidence of facts have shown clea ly enough the extent to which the structures of the R. Lenm was among the most active agents in the transformation that t ok place. Lenin sup . i rted· this proposal.e'delegate said that the criteria for admission to the committees · were such that workers were in practice excluded from them. not out of cynical calculation but. niffopposition to the committee-men. because of ..

The tone of appeals tells us much about the resistance that he came up .. Either you create new. ' Lenin. and succeeded in shaking them. This amendment was · fe]ected. fresh.writes: 'Be ure to put us in dir_ect touch with the new forces.ui)'set• at this rebuff: 'he reali-:ed that the approaching revolution was ·Bbimd'to radically cure the Party of this incapacity to give the com · "ttees a more pronounced worker make-up'. . t.'l:p_ete sburgers (shame on them) has iven us a s ngle new Russian .. p. in another letter to correspondents inside 86 LENINISM UNDER LENIN Russia. young.' 11 A large proportion of the functions... With newly formed circles .'8 ' ::·Jn the same month.1905 was the scene of a confrontation between supporters and oppo nents of change. see 'Conclusions'.1The question of the opening-up of the Bolshevik organ1za·. Lenin 'was not greatly . Uniting . incomprehension. * On Lenin and dialectics. create the impression of red tape . · tom the London congress of 1905 onwards Lenin redoubled his s to his supporters inside Russia to take advantage of the new e6nilitions in order to enlarge the Party organizations.. It's a scandal. our rum! Take a lesson "@.. the Bolsheviks and the soviets It was not so much surprise that marked the reaction of the Bolsheviks to the outbreak of the 1905 revolution as scepticism. So far not one of the :. forget all these schemes. and even sometimes outright hostility. he vehemently attacked the conservatism and inertia of the Bolshevik leaders there: You must be sure to organise. as the outcome of a hard r struggle in which Lenin faced on several fronts the hesitations. all these plans of organization .9 When some Bolsheviks invoked the principles of What Is To Be Done? against its author. • l. well-meant committee (hierarchic) stupidities. and. rights and privileges" to the devil. organise and organise hundreds of circles. our undomg. some violent disp tes occurred... . In a letter to a Petersburg Bolshevik in February 1905. completely pushing into the background the customary. rights and privileges of the :' committee-men were indeed abolished.:happened.'Olll the Mensheviks for Christ's sake. and send all "functions.JO'futly with Bogdanov he put forward an amendment to the Party hich imposed an obligation to increase the number of working members of the Bolshevik committees. .. where the soviet enjoyed the highest prestige and made the biggest impression. This was especially the case in Petersburg.7 And this was what in fa . Do not demand any formalities.ll the youth.6 If we are to believe Krupskaya. 442.nnexxon . This is a time of war... wearing the aureole of 'committee' bureaucrats. . energetic battle organi sations everywhere for revolutionary SocialDemocratic work of all varieties among all strata or you will go under.. and. reti[ cences and fears of his comrades. declaring that 'all these schemes. for heaven's sake.10 Lenin hit out at them. according to Krupskaya.

i. Martov. the Petersburg Soviet was set up on October · 13th. IN 1905 87 ter degree thathe rank-and. for whom conquest of ste power through armed insurrection was the necessary prerequisite . adds: 'I think th?t at the time almost all Bolsheviks shared this view of the Menshevtk .'12 . development. . nothing but a committee of 'yellow' trade unionists. who pop: larized the idea of the soviet among the workers. said: 'The Mensheviks have started a new intrigue: they're ' electing a non-Party Zubatovite committee.000 workers in the capital. which would serve as its ilpPtenticeship in proletarian democracy. and It was tta-dent that the first chairman of the Petersburg Soviet. they eme distrust of spontaneous mass movements whtch no party le to control. The events of the spring of 1905 confirnied. which had been criticized by Lenin.rin Iskra. Zbor :>V.seemed to him and to his comrades the concrete realization of lj:(lea. . were Menshevtks. In the two years that had follbwed their break with Lenin. Plekhanov and the reSt"'Jiad harshly criticized what they saw as Lenin's excessive centra JisM.13 The appearance of the soVjefs.. more than just a symptom of sectarianism towards the Mensheviks. They were convinced-and the 'committee-men' to an * The Zubatov trade unions were formed by the police with the intention of countering the progress of the labour movement. who reports this statement. .an. The MetiSheviks had declared themselves in favour of a party that should be:as large as possible and in which the workers' initiative and spon t81ieity should be given full play.* Already _certam :.. There was in this unfavourable reaction. loyal to the Ideas set forth m What Is To Be _Done?.d his advocacy of a closed and hierarchical organization. And the great str_ikes of 1905 were more oft n -iJlot almost entirely spontaneous m character. their view that the proletariat was capable of developing a large-scale revolutionary political movement without ng a disciplined.JI.tasses hould be o gamzed. In several ways _t e f establishment of the soviets clashed with the political creed of Lentn s supporters.and also his successor.le-ofthe virtues of organiza -'d.]ed by a party. an outstanding Bolshevik militant in Petersi burg. with the : active participation of a number of Menshevik militants. enterprise.ircrMensheviks reacted m_a diametncally oppostte wa. Khrustalev-Nostar. urged during the first phase of the · retro_lution the forming of 'organizations of revolutionary self-govern ment\ in which the working class would try out experiments in adihiuistration.delegates who represented 250. Commenting on thts . Axelrod.'* And Voitinsky. for them. and which corresponded o Imperfectly eir concept on of how_ the n. Martov liid. w ntaneous nature of the movement that led to the formation of made a strong appeal to them. which obeyed no _instruction ed out _no directive. the day after the general strike was proclaimed. the Bolsheviks looked without any sympathy J ver upon thineinstitutio. another prominent Bolshevik. 1905. which saw in the Sovtet .to revolution could have any chance of success unless It were -· . which he edited.. and even in government. authoritarian party for this purpose. Krasikov.

Radin.tPd· out a real theory of the Soviet as an mstitutwn. who was then m charge of the Russian · To Be Done? gave rise to in the minds of many Bolsheviks.16 These preJudices survived for a long t1me. in October 1905. Thus. this process inspired a mood of resignation and concern to · ttees that were soon afterwardto become soviets-Lenin avoid the worst. a member of the }t$.ed against 'the erroneousness ?f thi_s slo an'. hough he never in the future and try to use the Soviet and its organization to propagate \YQ. saying that of the Bolshevik journal refused to publish Lenin's article. His initial attitude expressed even Committee.be sure. the Bol heviks. Soviet might become the nucleus of an anti-socialist party.15 Petersb rg Lenin's supporters passed _a resoluti?n.numbers. entered them in . 93 for the attitude of the Bolsheviks towards these mass movements. . wherever the soviets took on the aspect of a fighting zation. which would mean its absorption by the Party.26 It was the success this mood: 'All we could do was prevent possible harmful consequences o ·soviets that helped to modifh1s atti ud:. sometimes succeedmg m wmnmg control. A Bolshevik witness of that time. the objection that their reading sion.14 -Wo:..Yelopment closely. according to him.. of the Bolshevik organization._OVIet wa'liable to hod ack the I?roletanat at a p llllittve level of = ment .soVIets was 'slight and undistinguished'.as not followed up o11: this ocea. 17 The recommendation w. admitted that his comrades 'took fright' when . and made a number of illuminating comments Petersburg Committee.·. Ofte . the role played by the Bolsheviks · e. 88 LENINISM UNDER LEN 1905 89 could not guarantee its class-consciousness and Socialnot constitute 'a centre solid and united enough to exercise character'. went even further. however. he followed the Party's ideas.. -in other words.d¢.-.' 19 Another Bolshevik militant. but Bogdanov. e.f lf'<8ily form of popular government.el'S· of St Petersburg to elect committees m their factones indeed. was to compel the Soviet to accept the of workers' councils did not fill him with anything Bolshevik programme and the authority of the Bolshevik Central be called enthusiasm. 18 · .Viks· When. the ensh viks ailed othe the growth of the Soviet never aroused any enthusiasm there. as happened . What was yet Lenin was not an unconditional defender of the soviets. wliich together constituted a first attempt at grasping a phenomenon they saw . far roho dig back. necessary. expresses :a:9J. ostility and scepticism which were common to most of the Although not everyone in the Bolshevik camp shared this view· ·• JS)ie. at a of the committee of a Bolshevik organization in the capital f :vvas held at the end of October 1905. one of the le_aders_ca!led )'eott of the Soviet by the Party because 'the elective prmciple : · p.s ating that di' .M' sco'Y·On the whole.

. however. crowning the net viks on the question of the Soviet. he said. that directed the Party in the capital some Bolsheviks advocated a · · i111J6the:first place.e. ' y. and. wrote a long article for Novaya Zhizn under the title:. justified only the political leader of the working class. who was on the point of crossing the' tl00¥-Y:upheaval'. to a highly structured must now no Jess vigorously combat all attempts on its part to become: rwas. especially. an [ in. as Bolshevik organization in the capital.at\lwas entirely new and unexpected. as the e!llbryo of a provisio al revolutionarr _go e:nment · t •· . 1. which originated as or the Party? I think that it is wrong to put the question in this way an.iJlprehension and sulkiness that was manifested by many Bolshe. of revolutionary upsurge-in 1905.. until1917.. that they enjoyed was 'fully deservcd3'0. On the contrary. to remain something exceptional. had progressively become trans that the decision must certainly be: both the Soviet of Workers\ . ofsoviets. ty·embodied in the Soviet by boycotting it-that extreme form of within'.. however.. 'It seems to me that Comrade Ra W.29 is wrong in raising the question . while striving to link its activities closely important article about the Soviet in which the editor of fiovaya i w._ !mto 'organs of an uprising'. Lenin thus came. : the Soviet of Workers' Deputies! " mained the case.. the Bolsheviks'. m Social-Democratic Labour Party.. l.' 23 Contradicting the view advocated by he. to bring together the function fulfilled by the soviets it inadvisable to ._saw in the Soviet organization.' adding that the Soviet 'should. not accidental that. . the lack of a central authority: the All-Russia dissociated himself from the views generally expressed by the Bolshi of Soviets was not to come on the scene. Lenin never contemplated responding to the new boycott of the Soviet while others favoured 'exploding [it] from ..ittcithose of the Party. tb. 20 Within the leading body .On the eve of Lenin's arrival in St Petersburg. and in some cases exclusively.the Soviet expanding its activities. Idea of the revolutionary-democratic dictator hip of the pr? accept the Social-Democratic programme and JOin the Russtan t t and the peasantry.the Soviet of Worker' eputies sho l i . in particular its excessively 'Our tasks and the Soviet of Workers' Deputies'. that the soviets.Qih:. and therefore the 'tremendous Deputies and the Party.21 U. Lenin further declared: 'I thlll .demand that. . In this article he i&ed character.: hould have concerned himself with defining the roloinsti The Soviet. ought to extend Its range of . the political Zhizn declared that 'if Social-Democracy vigorously s pportd e \ s-eance of which was far from clear.' 22 · tous circumstances of 'periods of more or less intense revoluAbout the same time Lenin. in 1917regarded.'?rgans of the strike struggle'. he considered that it was necessary to take part official organ could still publish. by militants who were Workers' Soviet as the executive organ of the proletanan actiOn. of course. II l a ed mainly. over the signature of Gvozdev. 28 This reservation was due to the weaknesses that Russian frontier. 27 This participation in a body.* It was.dlb:e:work of the Soviet. :ae een.O.

and the revolutionary activity of the masses therevolution of 1905 broke out. being a revolutionary no less. To a much greater extent than the other Bolsheviks-and sometimes in opposition to them-Lenin. while criticizing the 'fetishism' that soviets inspired in their strongest supporters. 90 authoritative guidance. enthusiasm and creat1v1ty that the sov1ets contamed. Con sequently. transcending the narrow bounds of the formulas which he had propounded earlier.' The would-be speaker had to take to his Sugh it is not possible to generalize. some unknown tremendous. decided to remain together as a iikte' unit within thprocession. however. it would seem that the :t..'32 Thus a Bolshevik witness descnbes the pass1vtty f too. The Mensheviks. But.Further than that they could not go. . on this question segregated life.76. Hardly had he begun his . Finally. and even more. A and enlarge its audience. shown by his organization during the decisive events of January 190Sj Jnl.s ore se si. to observe a noticeable difference. nevertheless recognized in the formation of these organs a bold attempt to resolve the dialectj. The decision was put mto practice: the Bolsheviks whbiiJi:-. s. 'a workers' government m embryo'.iml\article that appeared on January lith in the Bolshevik organ in St Petersburg. -indeed a man of the Party-he remained sensitive to the so as to prepare the way for an alliance between the peasantry nd e '· esses of heterogeneous gatherings and movements that lacked industrial proletariat.tivto the pressure of the randthetr orgamzatwn did m eed JOn m the movement. than a Party man. l'N 1905 91 a i . cal contradiction between the Party and the masses. · '· . 34 Whea Bolshevik dele ed to explam hts orgamzatwn pomt of vtew to the Putilov . n?t merginwith the mass of ck!ih®strators. Finally. he refuted the argument by which t e P.feDiflevik. Lenin described the as a result of the recent split . numbered about fifteen. although he disagreed with Trotsky on many P?ints.d11etween his reactions and those of his supporters in Petersburg. 36 'A vast strike movement was in progress.this way marched through St Petersburg on January 9th.spokesmen. who were at first st as unenthusiastic as tft eviks. tissued thslo¥an of p rti ip tion. t were very much broader than the Party orgamzatwn.r1We'dmow little regarding Lenin's attitude during these crucial days: wave was rising. But the Bolshevk C mmittee ws living its ?'Yll i enou however. he saw in the soviets. isvhe was unable to get a heanng.\riks. although at their meetmg on January 8th they · their original decision.rwritten shortly before 'Bloody Sunday'.at In this way the rapprochements and alliances were prepared which in 1917 were to determine the outcome of the revolution. ·. The uoJSJJ:e.howed ell?-selve. he ap reciated the tre endous r servoir of energy.actlVlty still fu the . when Lenin. especially among the soldiers and satlors. J:when he was interrupted by the workers: 'Enough. just as Trotsky did. go ¢on't interfere. The socialist forces were certainly weak at this time. he sought to reconcile these contradictory elements and to deduce an operational synthesis from them.[ J?' . the Bolsheviks.

Jnstinct now asserting itself among the proletariat'.b. the Social-Democrats.sociali eilfhiiai· of the P tersb_urg B? lshevis and the passionate. . which developed into a mass f!l enhance rather than lessen the significance of the revolu strike. the workers' feelings towards the Committee were . One of Lenin's correspondents reproached him.ticizing the fact that the projected demonstration was intended paganda carried on by the priest Gapon. in a dated January 1905.January 9.tOII. to try and bring together in a way the groups . an agent provocateur was combined with an idealist. that 'the primitive character of the socialist views been entrusted by the authorities with a mission to be carried out · hel y'-'some of the leaders of the movement and the tenacity with among the workers. a strange individual in wh?m i to>-inate in the presenting of a petition to the Tsar.(. . a certain indulgence.tpl(:JSt tic attenttn w th whtch Lenm followed the first signs of the reason: how could they support a march that seemed to be concc:i ed -that was 1mmment. Lenin wrote. Cluse B gmnmg of the Revolution in Russia'. that 'the working tremely hostile.. was now in the process of breaking away from whi {some elements of the working class cling to their naive faith in his masters' control.'38 Lenin showed. already militants of both wings was even frankly hostile. m fact. He observed. And with goo . tl • As regards Father Gapon.. moreover.39 Two later the priest went to Switzerland. January 9th. and reframed from actually calhng for a boyCO he had made on the morrow of the demonstration: .37 There was. were completely isolated in the Putilov works. Our agitators were beaten up. Lenin noted with satisfaction on a moderate line. When the idea was put forward and spread around that 'co scious Social-J? emocratic influence is lacking or is but demonstration should be held on Sunday. e. havmg.. January 12th.between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. sttikebitt the factories of the capital as 'one of the most imposing Agitation grew more intense in the factories of the capital and espe-! DllliiifeStations of the working-class movement'... A river of blood divides the Tsar frolll people. in an article en. perhaps even where this Gapon was concerned.on of the . :received a mom:ntous lesson in civil war? the revolutionary The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks soon found themselve ill C()-t0tn of the proletanat made more progress m one day than it disagreement on the attitude to be taken towards the demonstrat. and especially dayt of the Russian proletariat to the massacre on 'Bloody Sun. wretched The former. to go to -evident . a great gulf between the cautious Tsar and submit a petition to him. on:f..-. and who. our leaflets destroyed·. which contrasted with the and enmity that were the only feelings he evoked in the Leninists capital. ..Bolsheviks. This agitation. the reacti. with being 'too lenient with Gapon'. He also refrained cially in the Putilov works. humdrum. 92 LENINISM UNDER 'We no longer have a Tsar.contrary. "e made in months and years of drab. as a religious procession at least as much as it was to be a polmcal nthusiasm was soon reinforced by the vigorous and massive demonstration? Besides. reckoning with t?e state of mind of thmasses. where the workers responded to the pro-l fr-. And he Mensheviks. gave rise to a feeling of mistrust among both Bolsheviks and tidfuiiY. • titled Wed es ay.

to an even degree than their Menshevik adversaries. the progress of the revolution. said that 'the proletariat sensed sooner than its leaders the ""w objective conditions of the struggle and the need for a transition 93 to an uprising..'41 Here are some passages from the official History of thel . In January 1905 the Bolsheviks. part of the legend corresponds to the truth.' and the Party to persist in this line.. When. a flawless party.A_c:ldr•eSsJ·ing delegates some of whom revealed a radical spirit considered excessive.m'nml Party of the Soviet Union published in Moscow in 1960: 'The viks . the chief leader of the organization inside ..'42 'The [London] Congress .on other. by Bogdanov. to read the of Plekhanov. It expresses and keeps alive a twofold legend: on the hand. a {)f occasions when Lenin's party showed itself timid and pusH Evidence of this is given by the attitude that it frequently . the picture that official histonans m U. and. Bogdanov stressed 'the importance of for saving and concentrating the revolutionary forces. 'unabashed by "unreasonus:ati4:>ns that they are slowing down the development of the onar) mood of the masses" '. of 1905.of Russian socialist emigres.'44 • • This is. But he had little success in this direction. proved unable to and direct the course of events and the movement of the masses· the months that followed they continued to display hesitation internal disagreement (which was inevitable) in the face of the ing size of the revolutionary upsurge..S..:s of this order actually brought against the Bolshe .. give of the attitude of the Bolsheviks during the . to go out into the streets . 'The priest mentality blinded him. Later.'43 'In the summer and autumn of 1905 prc:pa1:ati01 proceeded apace for a general political strike. briefly indicated. The tremendous zational and agitational work carried on by the Bolsheviks !d. and never ing them as a 'guide to action'..S. played a part in it. Whereas received him icily.. in dem stration against the autocracy.47 . this party firm and constant in pursuit of a policy of urgmg masses towards ever bolder and more revolutionary action.'4" his critical reference to 'leaders' applied to the Bolshevik leaders.-1-on ... writing of the events of was to observe that 'the slogans of the revolutionaries . Lenin urged Gapon. called on the workers . in August 1906.R....• u. As wrote of Gapon.46 The allusion was aimed 10gc:U1"' put forward by his own followers. the essential function ascribed to Lenin's doctrine. out the tactical line of the party.·reJ>rO!lChl.. .. and their policy was often nesi lagging behind the vigorous radicalism of the masses. homogeneous and closely united. Lenin showed great interest and much w"""" In the presence of someone who had witnessed the revolution. in order help him acquire 'clarity of revolutionary outlook'. recognizing the organization of armed rising as the chief and most urgent task of the party and working class. his desire for revolutionary action.? And did their attitude during that year justify such They were undoubtedly often to be found in the forefront and sometimes urged the masses to put forward fresh and display renewed boldness. The Bolsheviks did constitute a monolithic block. however. To realize this it is recall the language used at the Bolshevik congress in . There were. the doctrinal prejudices even of a man who deeply convinced of the importance of theory could not w '11 13. ¥1UJ ruPd behind the march of events'.

raot)eaJrs that caution in this regard was especially marked in the _ of the Party. and majority had to take it into account. the Bolsheviks did not :ithcr their distrust of the 'spontaneity' of the masses or their regarding purely 'trade union' demands. in which the gates were fa:from showing a uniform degree of fighting spirit. Schwarz accounts by Bolsheviks from which it emerges that Places the Bolsheviks found themselves drawn into the strikes an active part in them despite themselves. Other delegates this view. But when this question was discussed at a COnference that brought together between 800 and 1. Soon afterward the sheviks decided to join in. he yielded.· in relation to the great strikes that accompanied the develop '·uu. Even political 1'1W1ere sometimes welcomed by them with mixed feelings. This tendency was a far from negligible one. stating that the Party was not in a position to organize insurrection. Thus. as it were'. when in · 1905 the committee of the Moscow organization had to take on whether the time was ripe for a general strike. the head of the militia in the Moscow region had been against a rising. and convinced that it was Impossil to keep the masses of Moscow waiting any longer. revolutionary crisis. the decision in favour of the strike was unValuable study of the revolution of 1905. rP. Not long before. but have no arms'. delegate from Saratov warned the congress against the motion the proletarian masses were 'already armed with ideas' and needed to have guns put into their hands. Without being actually hostile.50 At the Bolshevik congress of April 1905 the problem of insurrection was the subject of a long discussion. it rejected by 7 votes to 2. A resolution was passed. those related to propaganda .49 that the chief claim to glory possessed by the Bolsheviks of 94 LENINISM UNDER JN 1905 95 1905 was that they launched the rising in Moscow. the organs consulted were to the masses. and Bolsheviks decided to launch the uprising.48 areas-Tver. Faced with the unanimity of this evidence. since ared that these strikes might result in frittering away the pro strength and hindering the organizing of the armed insurrec. S. when the committee of the Moscow organization met to sider the situation. M.000 Bolsheviks. and that desire for action was the livelier. In this case as in so others. the attitude was not unconditionally favourable to this form In this matter as in so many others. One delegate asserted that workers will act themselves unless the committee calls them Another reported that 'our workers are forging daggers and · ""'qj we can't hold them back'.rt nnl saying that to organize an armed rising was one of the Party's tasks but in the listing of these tasks. however. for example-the Bolsheviks showed grave _ and 'some of the committee were against strike action'. A third said that 'our workers are into battle. their leaders were brought to take the owing to pressure from the proletariat which had become Thus. it listened to a series of statements that made the impatient mood of the masses. the most and spectacular event of that troubled year.

At for the first time. now there. Force against force.. all through the year 1905. get whatever weapons you can . had always figured in his code of political activity.. Quite apart from the Mensheviks. orP'an ing the insurrection constituted the Party's most important task. with such growing frequency. from his distant place of exile (he did back to Petersburg until the beginning of November). however. when political agitation was mounting in country.al will rise and take its stand at the head of the insurrection . The appeal that he &sed on the first of May to the working people of Russia is l!arlly eloquent: 'To arms. is raging.rtv as a whole. to At the Bolshevik congress in London he declared: 'we estimated the significance and the inevitability of the uprising. the civil war for free ·blazing up.. to con Bolsheviks that they must assume their responsibilitit::s: a period of civil war the ideal party of the proletariat is a party. workers and peasants! Hold secret · form fighting squads. ·year's First of May be for us the celebration of the people's Being in favour.For the founder of Bolshevism. who were >his influence. recurs again and again like a leitmotiv in the innumerable articles. barricades are being thrown up. many Bolsheviks revealed a hesitant attitude strove indefatigably.form an idea of the resistance that he encountered among his followers when he tried to convince them of the necessity and of a resort to arms. Street . he was in the fullest sense of the word a fighter. At that moment the olet. will into a tremendous popular movement. the craftsman and worker occupied with shaping the tool for revolution. Rivers of blood are flowing.p. He was no . '63 the morrow of 'Bloody Sunday' he observed.tio•n: 'The uprising has begun.'5 Lenin strove. in any case. Lenin already foresaw that 'one of the outbreaks which are ring now here. rifles are cracking. straining to come to grips with the enemy.. at impatient to undertake the trial of strength with the old ·ardour and impatience of Lenin's were far from being shared o.rP. . with barely :.'56 anteto put on the agenda no longer just the principle of this but also the working out of the practical tasks on the fulfil of·which must depend its actual launching.:.'55 every Party member must actively prepare for battle. now in the sphere of activity that he liked best. In 1902 he declared that the mission of the Central Committee was the 'preoa tion of demonstrations and an uprising on an all-Russian sca11 The revolution made the fulfilment of this function a matter of u In December 1904. resolutions and reports that he wrote at this time. roaring. but as yet nobody suspected how imminent the exp'A""' was.. he added: prepare for it and await the signal for the decisive attack on 67 . of an organized uprising.tv the theoretician of organization...

using his immense power of persuasion. are all pretexttoday for evading this urgent task of the · preparation of the armed uprising.. immediate utilisation of each suitable moment. to open itself up to the mas:se and in particular to · 1e workers.of initiative. a rag soaked in kerosene for starting fires. thirty etc. in October 1917.O. ... maximum energy. Let it be realised and all.. procrastination and indecision spell ruin to the cause of the uprising. Supreme determination. '20th. was to use the same language in order to overcome resistance of same sort among his own followers.. now and without delay. how absurd and discredi . and especially among the workers . oa Jirst results of Leninism The last days of October 1905: All delays. persons. Let groups be at once organised of three.. among the students. The e il. 1905: · then. almost to the very day. if It IS only by beatmg up policemen .-...t day is . yet not one 96 LENINISM UNDER . he pressed his Party to adopt policy of collaboration with the soviets.. such is the prime duty of a revolutionary.58 ::. with all doubts and vacillations. ten.CN has been made! . In this sphere as many others. a knife. Go to the youth! Form fighting squads at once everywhere. disputes. immediate stimulation of the revolutionary ardour of the mass . our enile fear .· ' And it was to the leading organs and cadres of the faction that he then turned. Lenin. etc.. although it had into being in order to fight. To '""'"' Lenin's style. 16th. Let them arm themselves at once as best they ca be it with a revolver. for the signal to be given. 60 Twelve years later... To conclude: it was necessary Lenin and the proletarian masses to exert a constant and inc:reaiS pressure on the leading cadres before the Party.. would agree to do so. Let every group learn.. 1905: >tri:ties me-I give you my word-it horrifies me to find that been talk about bombs for over six months.. the response he met with does not seem to me up to his expectations. nrPo:o his Party to abandon its rigid structures.

finally and above all. Others. the initiative is held as a . that the Bolshevik orJ" anizatio' was profoundly transformed during the events of 1905.g soctahsts of Europe. and no doctrine paid so as Lenmtsm dtd to the demands of organization. But Lenin scratch in this field. of hierarchy and underground of whtch ran counter to the most profound implications Marxi:st outlook). and already before the revolution tkre\realled an element of continuity that was characteristic of -walready t orga ization man. however. his possession which was to be confirmed. It is true. busied themselves reJo. Lenin himself.s the hr afree from conditioning by this situation. the very of this class bemg radrcally denied while at the same time it b ing :e-created.the dominant class. . then. in the last analysis. gave in 1905 first demonstration of that 'sense of revolution'. It must possess measure both exceptional vigour and exceptional power of In a bo ge is society in which the proletariat is subject UlUltion. t? emigres cut off from political activity.he pressed it to show confidence in the often anarchical activity of the proletariat in revol and to drop the hesitancy that it often revealed in face of the dev·eJOD ment of the strike wave. Among all uwL. Lenin pressed Party to carry out its ultimate responsibility by leading the c: . mean a rigid one. however. and its full brilliance displayed.g the organization to which they belonged. were for Lenin so many corollaries of a basic :.Its supporters wtth loyalty and trust and its enemies with a that was mingled with fear. But this formation was often effected despite the Bolsheviks despite those.b. before and after him.namely. and Its I?teressuffer fundamental injury. Only in periods of revolution do. who had accepted most submissively ideas and writings of Lenin. in eve of the revolution of 1917 Lenin was still merely one Russian to-u:aa•ei among others.e qualities of the theoretician were combined to such an with those of the practical politician-the only one to have t createda party.uu" insurrection that was to enable the revolution to go forward. caught up in the fratricidal strife that o¢U1Pat:ion. a society wherein the proletariat's own are mevttably meagre and poor. especially. The of cent alism and discipline.pin. the ned for a strong and vigorous organization. Most of the · Soctahsmovement is in the disadvantageous position of reply etther to the enemy's attacks or to his efforts to bring . however. he was the only one in a:t. · party does not.

Lenin's flexibility explains the contribution which he made to Marxism by 'Russifying' it. In · modified to the utmost... the imperatives of clan and centralism. The latter was based not only on viction that the Western schemata of social evolution must be reprc duced in Russia.under control. and subordinated his principles of organiza needs of the revolutionary struggle. namely. With this went a high level of tactical sensitivity an refusal to let himself be imprisoned in principles.. as we shall dialectical) from a 'Left' policy to a 'Right' one... and organize it on the same principles on which European Social-Democratic party system is based.c. to intimidate it. made it a reproach to the soc1au movement of his country that it 'spoke too zealously in Axelrod defined the task of the Mensheviks as being 'to ropearu i. that they were 'afraid of losing the RESULTS OF LENINISM 99 they have learned by rote (but not assimilated)'/. however. Jr party has to be able to answer. the flexibility typical of Lenin's and the discipline imposed upon the Bolshevik Lenin's flexibility comes close to being a pragmatism that surprising in a man almost fanatically devoted to a doctrine. ·all so many operations. In reality. For his ore:oC(...u•!>"' was to adapt his activity to the exigencies of 'life'.. said of the M. Martov. sable complements to that devotion of his." and not without justification.UFtauon that inspired him and that he often expressed ..e..' Axelrod looked no less 'when he puts on a top-hat inscribed "I am a European Democrat". complementary or simultaneous 98 LENINISM UNDER."'"-. or seduce it.'3 waxed ironical about this aspect of Menshevism. the revolution. In this respect there was a far-reaching difference betwee Bolshevism and Menshevism. after the defeat of the revolution.'4 Lenin's flexibility was thus shown first and foremost in his n·taeJ 1"' dent attitude to the interpretation of Marxism that was curren those days. and his constant readiness to reject 'deviations' either to Right or _"" "" which signified not a permanent 'centrism' on his part but rather transition (sometimes brusque. and of· revolutionary strategy which assigned an important role to peasantry. 'Russification' of Marxism consisted essentially in the perfecting organization adapted to the conditions of Tsarist Russia and dtllterir profoundly from the workers' parties of Western Europe.. for example.._.". and often skilful and. 'Western Europe begins with the Mensheviks. appease it. they were "'IJ'I n. smoothing its rough and moderating its rigidity. and so often inclined to decorate and encumber his books and articleswith innumerable supporting erences to the thought of Marx and Engels. """I!\ISJ and an idea..wJ""' movement . he carried on a bitter fight . Radek put it. It also endowed the Russian workers' party with stn11cttue and a role similar to those of the Social-Democratic Parties of Westen Europe. in which the bourgeoisie takes the initiative and which the r. radically change the character of the Russian Social-. or vice versa.. This Lenin who so devoted to Marxism. to this end. so that the bourgeoisie would prove to be the ofTsarism. To the requirements of this situation correspond two features of Leninism. 'A naked sa who put on a top-hat and imagined himself therefore to be a would look rather ridiculous.'2 As the uv•".

i' '"" Mensheviks and against Bogdanov's supporters. Many BoJshev were convinced that a revolutionary party must be a revolut army. p. transformed the Bolshevik faction into an entirely independent ..he did not hesitate to develop legal activities.8 To be sure Lenin never went as far as that. departed from that position: but.uy organization must be essentially clandestine in character. or to engage in 6. he insisted that the Party must not be content general principles but must proceed by 'carefully the concrete political situation'..rshc>we:d an equal power of adaptation. the 'years of reaction' he never ceased to fight against the tendency of the Mensheviks. this could not bear fruit unless the whole organi. or even useful.on. 6 His approach was no as regards the structures of the Party.ns·. Such rapidity in the carrying out of could be obtained only if strict discipline were to be accepted. In What Is To Be Done? he called for a 'military organization of Vol. of a revolutionary socialist.. . 5. leave their town or even their country. any committee or any orgamzatwn belongmg to Party. In their view it was necessary to combme the highest of consciousness with absolute obedience'.. Although an opponent of 'consti illutsio. Thus the Bolshevik Committee In considered in 1904 that the Central Committee ought to possess right to dissolve by its own authority. and never reoui . 515o). p.· . while the latter refused to exploit the possibilities by the new institutions. subjecting itself without delay to the sometimes rather sudden changes that Lenin into its political line. 244. to take up a different <>UtiClll activity or fresh organizational task. in itultiOilS and in the trade unions. because tended to concentrate all their hopes on a democratic of the Duma and on the work of the socialist parliamentary rithl'tn it. from 1912 onwards.. 100 LENINISM UNDER L RESULTS OF LENINISM 101 new revolutionary deeds involving incalculable risks. Lenin did not hesitate to commit the Bolshevik . and the Bolshevik organization Ueed conceived by its founder as an 'army in the field'.. On this matter . when . declaring that the Russian .* As put it. both open and secret.. and similarly to deprive of his rights any !nd vidul member the Party. ·.·to motions for improving labour legislation. 'Leninism is warlike from head to foot. mbetrs of his organization were not so much 'militants' as ·ready at any moment to carry out the orders of their superior Whether these orders obliged them to change their jobs.. and that the virtue of obedience was one _of the chi f .many others.' 7 had convinced his followers of the need for such discipline. in the press. 1Seq[uer1tly if a very pronounced sense of hierarchy prevailed.u its 'underground' framework seemed to him to be firm . militant was a soldier in a formation from which obedience was required. effectiveness of the Party called for a certain pragmatism on of its leader. but this expression was omitted in the edition of 1907. should _this_ seem to it_nec:es .

This ttitud might seem strange on the part of a man who was c nvinced 'without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary mn11 ment •s and who ascribed to intellectuals an essential role in the lutio ary struggle.'1o They it was who had the task of bnngmg to the from outsidethat political and socialist consciousness to according to 'Lenin. namely. after having filled the ranks of the revolutiOnary Populist (N .Dcmocr in Russia. acknowledging that 'the theory _of soci lism grew out of the philosophic.12 of' intellectuals'.. The intellectuals JUStlfid this expe tation. if te:nth.. origin the defect that he m_aiy blamed in _the':ll. the class was u?abe to at in throuits experience alone.cn 45 per cent.13 of the 'flabbiness .22 Lenin claimed . wrth rters of proletarian organization and discipline'Y It was not inclination towards individualism that he denounced. he held. had much the same effect. He often attacked them m the vitno!Ic style affected.16 and he w s tinually contrasting 'bourgeois-intellectual individualism. among the rank-and-file the proportion of the 'tv-1 duell was only 15 per cent-which is still a c mparatively la:ge pr po among the members of the Bolshevik local committees It rea. But because he did bel1ie in the absolute necessity of discipline and efficiency. they made up a high proportio_n of the Soci_al-. historical and ec:onomic theon s orated by educated representatives of the prop rtid classes. of the mtellectuals . He attributed to their petty-bourgeos . and towards those who had joined the socialist movement. 14 and of flabby bourgeois intelligentsia'.. here was Lenin's judgment on the role played by intellectu ls rn socialist movement.18 In this connexion. A biographical study of 160 leadmg Bolsheviks of the revolutionary period whose educational background is known shown that 79 of them had enjoyed higher education. What was . !¥ • but also their opportunism. .te:llec tuals.-·-· The former. responsible for the development of reformist trends in . of the membership is concerned'. by int( lloo tuals. their tude for discipline and reJection of orgamzation. . in the person of Axelrod. and depicted the Bolsheviks as 'an organiza of Marxist intellectuals so far as three-quarters. 21 Trotsky. He spoke of 'the opportunism which ten1:alilty produces'.unfortunate were those representatives of the Russian intelliia.roclru organizations. Social-Democracy..s. Lenin contrasted eUectuai opportunist wing' with 'the proletarian revolutionary ' · . It was the intellectuals.15 It was not merely a question of style. 11VhO had found their way in such large numbers into the movement! Mensheviks and Bolsheviks blamed each other m. however. he adopted extremely critical attitude towards intellectuals in general. speaking of 'these scoundrels' of i_ntellectuals.H Diatribes against intellectuals neverthele_ss figur re uentlY Lenin's writings. in his onslaught on Lenin. accused Lenin of to legitimize the domination of a proletarian party by an OO.'absolute obedience' from his supporters. too.

especially in scientific and juridical associations. Gorky probably reacted sharply to this letter. and wrote soon afterwards that he had 'never . but they are also a type of pbllti. and in day-to-day politics. dt is impossibletounderstandanything about Leninism if one ignores the fact that it accords primordial . but now it took up new attitudes in society and in the world of politics.the contrary. of his can only be understood in the light of the role . Jn. to proletarians. p. and his fighting temperament did the rest. news comes from all sides that the · is fleeing the party.als is increasing. this •. and politically by an attrac tion towards extremism. Whereas until then the very concept of ol. And a good riddance to these The party is purging itself from petty bourgeois dross.:our party is declining.:thiS matter Lerun s convictions were based on an obJeCtive analysts ofithe economic and social conditions prevailing in Russia. thought of .. Members of the intelligentsia became increasingly numerous in the administration and in industry and business.cal commitmt focu eon the idea of battle an? i surrectio . Lenin thought it aWa:reassvt ure him. at the time of the split in 1903 the opposition ·Bolsheviks and Mensheviks was equivalent to one between : . among the Bolsheviks even among the Mensheviks workers became increasingly occupying higher positions in the organization. Ul elligentsia had played in the Russian revolutionary move .34. when a number of Mensheviks had declared in favour of trans the Social-Democratic Party into an open. 1\JI'B FIRST RESULTS OF LENINISM 103 For that was what was ultimately at stake: Leninism and Bolshevism aie a theory ad a form of organization. 379. that 'the significance of the intellec . legal organizaeilin once again presented this 'Iiquidationist' tendency as a of the intellectual mentality. It showed growing interest in concrete achievements. ing not so much a specific position in society and a particular economic function as a certain kind of outlook-it now assumed a more and more objective meaning.. The role of the worker ISiOltJ.. His inter 'pretation of these conditions in a revolutionary sense was decisive for Lenin. during the revolutionary period These efforts resulted in a change in the social composi the Social-Democratic cadres.. turning away from the revolutionary lures to which it had formerly been susceptible. AU this is wonderful. in closer correlation with occupational criteria. or of denying its necessity for the workers' movement' 102 LENINISM UNDER LENIN the intelligentsia had possessed a mainly subjective meaning-indicat.23 Later. Although the proportion of continued to be very high.'* aside the question of Lenin's personal characteristics. · role had undergone a profound change since the begin the twentieth century.cllilSS· elements and intellectual elements. and its com in particular. Before this period the intelligentsia had been characterized psychologically by a lofty idealism that kept it remote from reality. 'Od:ers are having a bigger say in things.24 I have already l&ilc the efforts he made to open up his Party. in a letter to Gorky. In 1908 toted.

. thirty. a rag soaked in kerosene for starting fires. etc. be it with a revolver..funds for the insurrection . he demanded that they be armed 'with all sorts of weapons. to lose themselves in theoretical discussions. 'All Social-Democrats' he There was something else. phrase-making. bringing them to the knowledge of the masses. In an article published in Proletary on August 16th. in the last analysis.3o '. 'The number of such con tingents of 25 to 75 men each can be increased to several dozen in every big city. His antipathy to the intelli gentsia was aimed not only at the new generation of intellectuals. In any case. decisive form of political strUggle-its highest form. ranging from knives and revolve:.' Further. and of those endless discussions without results that were so typical of Russian intellectuals'. however. Let groups be at once organised of _:three.s to bombs. persons. interested in reforms and fearful of extremism. organized insurrection as an indispensable.'29 On October 16th. others to raid a bank to confiscate ·. he urged on them 'the stationing of patrols and the billeting of squads'. wander among abstractions and burden themselves with a paralysing senti· mentality. he stressed the need for serious study of 'how to put up barricades and defend them. and his instructions became increasingly precise. a knife. that of an organization capable of carrying on a realistic policy. From the first months that followed the 'Bloody Sunday' of 1905 Lenin delved into military literature and encouraged his followers to do the same. 1905: ·· quas mus at once begin military training by launching opera ·tions Immediately. even the most menial and thankless ones was the propensity of Russian intellectuals. are puttm0 g great stress on studying [military] questions and lectuals besides a reaction to the way that large numbers of them were becoming integrated into Russian society. but which the subsequent evolution of Bolshevism was t? reveal in all their magnitude. mainly in Moscow. the consequence of the character it sought to give to the Russian socialist movement: namely. Some may at once undertake to kill a :. capable above all of waging the revolutionary battle-that is to say.28 In another article itrthe same paper (September 13th..'.at last the armed rising broke out..* Lenin's 'anti-intellectualism' was thus not motiveless. so numerous among the socialist emigres. there were in this attit de dangers (intensified by the style of invective employed) of which Lenin-himself an intellectual. the organizer. as revealed throughout the nineteenth century. inefficiency. who devoted himself to fulfilling all the tasks of the pro· fessional revolutionary. shilly-shallying. and ed m the defeat of the . Let them arm themselves at once as best they can. and of no mean stature-was doubtless unaware. etc. in Lenin's attitude to the intel wrote. Lenin's attitude was also determined by everything that he objected to in the traditional outlook of the Russian intelligentsia.' Finally. 1905. When . leading all armed uprising of the proletariat against Tsarism. His diatribes expressed 'his hatred of carelessness. Lenin dwelt on the need to form armed groups on a very wide scale. 1905). Whatever justification it might possess..importance to the idea of armed. and frequently in the suburbs of a big city.' 2 7 Throughout the year 1905 Lenin repeatedly called upon the Bolsheviks to go over to action.spy or blow up a police station.26 What exasperated Lenin-the practical worker. ten. though. vagueness. at once. Leninism contained a pernt· cious 'anti-intellectualism' which was the seamy side of its will to efficiency.

On the contrary. on the question of guerrilla struggle.. j. ho saw in this a proof of the vanity of insurrectionary methods. you.. 30). The revolution had given birth to 'combat groups' with a wide scope of activity: organizing defence against pogroms. Drawing the lessons o lution of 1905 a few years later. but also towards open struggle and various forms of 'direct action'. or because the deft of the * Lenin ridiculed.32 and addressed them thus: 'Oh.. Lenin. attacks on armouries._Thus. l'etnained convinced of their necessity. assassinations of spies. Lenin was deeply aware of the contrast. Stay at home. that the uprising as not concerted. these activities must be made to contribute to a general insurrection.35 Ultimately. . mber upnsmg wa. 'the saccharine-sweet sentimentality so characteristic of our intelligentsia' (quoted by Frank.revolutionaries. and 'expropriation' operations aimed at r'IJS'B FIRST RESULTS OF LENINISM 105 organizing influence of socialism'. Of this category of Bolsheviks Simon Ter- . p. manufacture of bombs.·. resolute. organized. the Leninists and their opponents disagreed again during the 'years of reaction'. the cause of the "' eat was that the upnsmg dtd not gofar enough. and he attacked the Mensheviks on this ground as wen.mentality directed towards practical action. the 1905 revolution and its consequences helped to form a of militant who was oriented no longer merely towards under8round work and the acceptance of discipline and a rule of obedience. unlike the Menshe \'iks. aggressive.ad gone "too far". '33 In disagreement during the revolutionary years on the question of whether the time had come for an organized general rising. He ridiculed them for using the language not of political leaders but of 'archive fogeys'. who can yourselves supporters of the toiling masses! It's not fr yu to go _to a rendezvous with the revolution. he declared: 'The revolution of Was def td not :cae _it ?. tt will be quieter there . \n:illitant of this type needed more than ever to possess courage that was proof against any trial-and also to be endowed with boldness. simultaneous. really. 3. art ctal . for instance. caring little about doctrinal or moral scruples: to be someone for whom the demands of organization were supplemented by those of warfare.. not only in the sphere of revolutionary strategy and in their attitudes towards the bourgeoisie but also in their style of action: the caution characteristic of the Mensheviks contrasted with the fighting spirit of the Bolsheviks. and especially with Lenin's will to struggle.' 31 104 LENINISM UNDER LENiN The experience of the years 1905 and 1906 illuminates the profound difference separating Bolsheviks from Mensheviks.

· keeper. moment. his masquerade being protracted for four years.* He did certainly acknowledge that. He considered. thus entering into open revolt against the Party leadership. that the activities of the guer· rilla groups should be prepared by the Party itself and carrid ou under its direction. Kamo was arrested in September 1:907 by the German police. In 1906.· . so great was _hiS insistence on the need for armed struggle. and so on). the Germans turned him over to the Tsarist police. the latter tried to put an end to the doin?s of the 'combat groups' and to the 'expropriations'. hxs clothes.e stamped. • Seep.. but did not yield . was forcibly . financial scandals.. Boris Souvarine has provided us with a striking portrait of him.. In order to ·. 'this form of struggle was adopted · as the preferable and even exclusive form of social truggle bthe vagabond elements of the population'. tore . Lenin k pt te bureau being even though the London congress of 1907 decided m favour 0 dissolving it. tore out his hair.. needles were stuck under his nails :i and he was touched with red hot irons. counting on intervention at the last :·:opened blood vessels with a sharpened bit of bone . refused food.Petrosyan.>. acquiring large sums of money belonging to banks or the state treasury.. The professors concluded _.·Jed at the expense of several broken teeth. as a result of ! poverty. Qnce again he simulated . F>espite this. refused food and struck his As the revolutionary offensive ran out of steam. offers the most perfect example.. 52.hanged himself. . The leader of a 'combat group' and responsible for some especially spectacular actions. and that this form of struggle 'must be subordmate d to other methods . Bolsheviks and Mensheviks opposed each other on the problem of this method of struggle. known as 'Kamo'. . and must be ennobled by the enlightening an . selling weapons to robber bands. these guerrilla actions degenerated and came increasingly to resemble acts of banditry (forging bank-notes. however. and in order to avoid being handed over tO the Tsarist authorities he pretended to be mad. and control ?f this had fallen entirely into Bolshevik hands. shouted. with the former defending guerrilla activities and the latter showing themselves more and more hostile to them.. Stalin's aomrade-in-arms in enterprises of 'expropriation'.He stood upright for four months. however.34 But he remamed convmce none the less of the usefulness of guerrilla actions. hunger and unemployment. He was shut up naked in an icy cell. After a 'military-technical bureau' had been set up by the Stockholm congress..}est his pretended insensibility.·that his malady was real. .. at the Stockholm congres . When reunified Russian Social-Democracy was led by a Central Committee with a Menshevik majority. whereas Lerun called for their continuance.

a ca acttY which finally aroused a sort of superstitious feeling in me. on the need for centralization of a thority w thithParty and subjection of the masses and all working-class mst tu IOs to Party leadership. the Bolsheviks constituted a phalanx that united. and the day-to-day vicissitudes of which always mvolved nsks of death. as many witnesses attest. Ter-Petrosyan . he brought off. he owed his life only to the amnesty proclaimed W. t • A document produced by a Bolshevik committee declared.1912. public and_ sub· stantial. It showed tendencies towards the monolithic Ide l. Shut up in a lunatic asylum.madness. tional both in his calibre and in his tragic fate. 913 by the Tsar on the occasion of the tercentenary of the Romanov d ty. as we have seen. Lunacharsky and Bukharin (not to mention Lenin himself). and there must be no question of its including representatives of all tendencies. the Bolsheviks had no monopoly of such tion and heroism. Let there be no misconception. for example.' (Appendix to Trotsky. he aimed in doing this not so much at ensuring allegiance to himself personally as at obtaining unity around a theory that he believed to be correct. I frequen ly had occasi?n to . t The Soviet historian Pokrovsky describes as follows the power that _Lenm had over him: 'There was above all his enormous capacity to see to the root of things. emet Lenin in Paris and doubtless drew from this encounter fresh ons for hope. however. alongside brilliant intellectuals such as Kamenev. and if he sometimes sought to impose on his followers an attitude of unconditional acceptance.36 A quasi-legendary figure in the Bolshevik movement. Four times ndemned to death. e revolution of 1905 had thus transformed quite a few 'committee to heroes.Vertheless represented a type of revolutionary that was to be found COnsiderable numbers in the Leninist organization. Drawn. that 'the central organization must be made up of leaders of uniform views. In its organizational expression it bore the imprint of the personality of its founder and of the authority of an unchallenged leader. in August 1911. Yet his hold upon them wasstrong.) . Bogdanov. From this resulted a fundamental difference between the Bolshevik organization and the socialist parties of the West-for 'the great workers' pax:ties grew up for the most part in periods when the problem of revolutiOn was only conceived as influencing programmes in a theoretical way rather than as something which informed all the actions of daily life'. however: the authority that Lenin enjoyed had nothing dictatorial about it. he was again arrested . as it was on the eve of 1917 on which the time has come to conclude my observations. It was ndoubtedly conditioned by its will to organize and striving for efficiency. p. whose divergences were. after a particularly audacious 'expropriation'.37 The opposite was true of Lenin's supporters. The debates that took place at Party congresses were hvcly. Nos taches po/itiques. 'a marvellous escape after having spent tlttee months in sawing through his chains and the window bars'. and the resistances that Lenin encountered among his supporters were obstinate. by their founder into a 106 LENINISM UNDER LENIN political enterprise that was to be cro ed by ins rrection. Having resumed his activities. The history of Bolshevism before 1917 was in many ways a history of clashes and conflicts between different movements among the Bol sheviks. 246. and marked by its insistence on the merits of hierarchy and discipline.* And this brings us back to Leninism itself. men for whom nothing mattered any more but the demands of the revolution. To be sure.

Lenin was able to give a sharp outline to his doctrine..The_ spirit. Leninism. as my starting point. though. s is what determined increasingly. . p. period onwards.differ from him on practical questions but I came off ba ly every time. he submitted his draft to the Party leader. it also maintained and reinforced the distinction between the Russian socialist movement and bourgeois ideology. 46. nevertheless. 43-l Lunacharsky.' (Quoted in Ftilop-Miller. by its twofold opposition to bour geois liberalism and socialist reformism. it is wholly and basi cSllY oriented towards revolution. who ranked among the most outstanding Bolshev!ks and whose enta. to prevent the Mensheviks from becoming sus ceptible to it.nWhat is of greatest importance in Leninism. In Russia. _when this ex· perience had been repeated about seven times. however... No doubt the Weakness of liberalism in Russia limited its power of attraction: not Sufficiently. ad Which he systematically exploited. The concurrence of circumstances which Lenin had helped to create. Unconcerned with those preoccupations about unity which almost inevitably lead to the making of compromises. the difference between Bolshevism and M_e shevism. But the Western Socialists were ill-prepared to meet such a test. is at. The need. when he was gomg to m ke an Impor tant speech at a congress.ficancorrectwns_ which was not surprising considering that. although the complete break between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks certainly fostered sectarianism.. on some essential pomts. 'This difference was clear-cut not only because the political charac teristics of Bolshevism nd enshevism diverged. in the last analysis.toberence and unity that are lacking from those of his opponents. as t eir respective c oices e clear. His .f.JJ. i. Bolshevism was armed thereby. they bad cut all the ties that once bound them together. meaning the seizure of power tilrough an armed rising. and returned it with two or three insigni. '[Lerun] attel_lttvc!Y read through my MS. compelling everyone to make decisive choices. but also because. so far asI remember. of unity that marked their movement down to 1914 prevented the elaboration and perfec tion within it of a theory of action and a formula of organization oriented towards revolution and clearly distinguished from reformism.' (Quoted by Carr. This is what gives to Lenin's work and career . and the outward appearance. Such coexistence ceased to be possible when a period of social and political upheaval opened. in a period When Social-Democracy was weaving ever stronger bonds between them. I. even in its sectarian phase. with a clarity.) . Vol. but also and above all as a 108 LENINISM UNDER LENit< revolut on ry. enabled him at last to show himself in his true light: not just as a theoretician of organization and a careful practitioner of political action. as he often stressed. p. without having to worry about the feelings of any partners. using the incisive language that he preferred and. to describe things frankly as he saw them). of revolution_ inspired his ca culations and fired his Imagmatwn. This absence of ambiguity not only helped to separate the revolutionary trend from the reformist one. from his. even if logic told me that one should act otherwise. I took [his] most prcctse and detailed instructions .e. admitted that. however. accentuated the split between the World of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat. ceased to dispute and subnutted to Lenlll. orgaruzatiOnally. aussprechen was ist ('to say what is'. capacities were great. as regards both organization and strategy. a cohesion and a dutting edge without which it would not have been able to play its role of 1917.E FIRST RESULTS OF LENINISM 107 (. In the labour movement of the West the presence of revolutionary and reformist trends within the same parties blurred the frontiers separating these trends.

referrmg to his . garret or basement and make a citizen out of him. their revolutionary activity is the greatest joy of their life. this was organization in the service of the revolution. he was still writing: 'We shall keep to our revolutionary slogans . or a hope. Vol. In Lenin's implacable.U This desperate refusal to accept that the revolution had been de· feated. 26.' (Lenin. Lenin. 564. Georg Lukacs was right. Again: 'the Leninist form of organization is indissolubly linked with the ability to foresee the approaching revolution' (ibid. therefore. and also because it was on revolution that he counted to educate the working class.) t 'For the workers. because'revolutionsarethe festivals of the oppressed and the exploited'. in 1905 and after 1912. His head. dominated by the idea of organization. so legitimate and politically intelligent and yet frequent!so crude. in the political and social situation. And what is true of 'Lenin's concept of party organization' is equally true of Leninism as a whole.' (M · Arbeitslohn. in the attacks • Lenin speaks of the 'tremendous educational and organizing power' of the revolution.' 4 2 he said. because it was thinking that led him to make his unconditional commitment to revolution. p. fllll FI:RST :RESULTS OF LENINISM 109 he hurled against them. p. the path of an uprising and will be the last to abandon it. -we shall make the utmost use of all revolutionary possi bilities-we shall take pride in the fact that we were the first to take . 286.38 (Similar accents are sometimes to be caught in the : writings of Karl Marx. the decline of the organization. 29).)t i Leninism was so closely identified with revolution that Lenin ! resigned himself only with painful reluctance to the defeat of the revolutionary effort of 1905. perhaps.. in some ways. in fact becomes possible. when defeat was obvious. between I908 and 1912. The structures that Lenin had conceived for his party were dictated by the needs of revolu· tion: the advances recorded by his organization became possible. the slightest sign that might justify hope for a new outbreak are highly revelatory of the nature of Leninism. when he wrote: 'Lenin's concept of party organization presupposes the fact-the . p. quoted in Rubel.) Lukacs.'39 Only in March 1908 did he admit that reaction had won the day. there was at bottom. he thought he could claim that 'the three-year period of the golden days of the counter-revolution (1908-10) is evidently coming to a close and being replaced by a period of incipient upsurge'. clear-sighted struggle against the Mensheviks. necessary.head and his heart were alike committed to the revolution. very prematurely.. 'I am hurt by this degradation of te most revolutionary doctrine in the world.'!In the face of current criticism of· Leninism it is important to stress that. while Lenin was. December 1847. only because the revolution had become a reality.' His heart. 'when mighty historical events force the man in the street out of his remote comer. In December 1906. which was so often marked by unfairness. not merely political passiOn but also an element of sadness. contrariwise. of which it was the result. actuality-of the revolution.. p. 8.40 It is no less characteristic that already in 1910. reflected the triumph of the counter-revolution. if this path . and this persistent wish to discern.

Jl:. declining to keep that appointment which justified all the sacrifices consented to and all the hopes cherished-the appoint ro.opponents on the Right in the Social pemocratic movement. ofl2a' b!ior:· :· gotte: .ent with revolution...his disappointment at seeing former comrades-in-arms. II Leninist revolution "I . Lenin's bitterness and anger was due in part to.. . \Y. Marxists ¢himself. on!.' l)e.O(:.

near Cracow. which had been decimated in 1906 and forced onto the defensive. interrupting the proletarian offensive and replacing for a time the confrontation of classes by that of nations. • ll&p. ·t . Introduction -- After 1912 the Russian labour movement. ··· -·-.. • : l. leri.. and compared it to that of January 1905. Europe was swept by a wave of patriotic fervour to which most of the socialists who had been internationalists only the day before now gave themselves up with complete abandon.l. demoralized and scattered. ·l:·· Jui1. when St Petersburg bristled with barricades and Russia seemed on the eve of new revolutionary convulsions.<. now experienced a fresh upsurge. The threats they had uttered against . the latter reaching their highest point in July 1914.:. \ " . ·' . Strikes and demon strations became frequent..* Was the 'rendezvous with revolution' about to take place? On the contrary-war broke out.:. . From Poronino.' . struggling desperately to keep its organiza tions in being. Lenin followed the de\'eloping situation. in a nearly exhausted condition. Offf· his t q\lt.

This bankruptcy of the International made a very big impression on Lenin. What is paradoxical is that Lenin attained in this way a higher standing than before at a moment . and influenced Leninism profoundly. which the war had in any e disorganized and weakened. p. the restrictions on freedom of action and expression that were imposed in the belligerent countries cut down the role that some of the socialists living in those countries-Rosa Luxem burg. we find these notes: uly days in 1914 vs. mination. spent in Switzerland. Lenin gathered round him those few delegates who could not rest satisfied with the relative moderation of the majority of the participants.* Furthermore. for example-might otherwise have played. From that moment onwards he devoted himself to a task of allEuropean scale: the establishment of a new International-in other words (and with out Lenin's perceiving at the time all the implications of this). It was in this period that he studied the question of imperialism:!: and gave more thorough attention to the •In a draft for an article written between July 28th and 31st. after the catastrophic surprise of August 1914. in September 1915. at Zimmerwald. and the class collaboration this entailed. At the same time. Vol. 335. t he concentrated his studies and his e orts in fresh directions. 235).) wor c_most pressing question now is the weakness of contacts between us and leading Seeers In Russia'. Among these trends. strove to recover from their initial setback. They are of considerable Importance in the development of Leninism. were devoted to !ndustrious preparation for this break. 41. he now became even more intransigent still and made this attitude his platform. it was during the First World War that Leninism and its founder acquired an international dimension.. wrote Lenin in the autumn of 1916 (ibid. p. 187. To the desire for conciliation shown by the latter. Already a model of intransigence in his fight against the Mensheviks.the bourgeoisie and imperialism were for gotten. All Lenin's actions were thenceforth dominated by the will to break with socialpatriotism. Lenin opposed his determination to cut the links with all shades of patriotism. and most important of all. the extreme Left wing found a leader in the person of Lenin. Almost entirely cut off from the Russian socialist movement. When the European socialists who were opposed to the war held their first conference. January 1905 · gonfalon-barricades 2 · Gapon -Illegal Social-Democratic organization ·Vol. Between 1914 and 1917 Lenin began applying himself to new problems. Neutral Switzerland was one of the rallying centres of the minority trends which. The breakdown of international relations in the European socialist movement and the retreat or realignment effected by the chief personages of the movement obliged those who would not accept the triumph of social-patriotism to come forward and take their place. p. the creation of the world-wide Communist movement. 114 LENINISM UNDER LENIN questions of nationalism and of the right of nations to self-deter. The final years of his exile. 35.

no 'democratic peace' was possible without a revolution.These activities.j::NTRODUCTION 115 l' and contempt for pacifism were no better calculated to bring support even sympathy Lenin's way. to safeguard him against the doubts that during these dark years of his life sometimes filled Lenin with bitter ness. not a few Russian socialists were against the war. the defeat of the tsarist monarchy .' he wrote to Inessa Armand on December 25th. Russia and the world a period of upheavals and hopes that had been totally unexpected. But among them were hardly any who were prepared to adopt Lenin's extreme conclusions: even among the Bolsheviks there were not many who dared to proclaim Lenin's principle of revolutionary defeatism. Tsarism collapsed. ought to be the socialist reply to the war. desiring a reconciliation between patriotic socialists and anti-war socialists. in a public lecture: 'We of the older generation may not live to see the decisive battles of this coming revolution. · ·.'6 . 1916.. and the latter.'4 And soon afterwards he declared.2 Lenin's isolation was so rop1ete that he began to take a close interest in the problems of the swiss labour movement and to occupy himself actively in organizing its Left wing..3 at the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917 Lenin was not far from losing heart. whereas. would be the lesser evil. were unable. 1917. however.. for instance. That was said on January 22nd. and the triumph of the proletariat of Petersburg opened before Leninism. according to Lenin. It could mean. or it could mean calling for a 'peace without annexations or indemnities'. In an almost resigned way he added: 'This has to be put up With..' 1 On the international plane his hatred of 'centrism't * See p.* At the Zimmerwald conference even the s refused to side with him. affirmed that 'there cannot be the slightest doubt that.when his isolation was almost total. Gnawed at by what he called the 'corrosion' of emigre life. engaged in for lack of opportunity for anything Better. which. 'The revolutionary movement grows extremely slowly and with difficulty. 271. not any 'peace programme'. A month later. To be sure. '· . from the standpoint of the working class and of the toiling masses of all the nations of Russia. t The 'centrism' that Lenin constantly attacked during the war was capable of assuming a number of forms. . not content merely with repudiating the patriotic wave.

. 1 The Party of the Revolution - . only deserves to be treated like slaves' (ibid.· acquire arms. 609-10). Vol. Convinced as he was of the legitimacy of some wars. the idea of a so-called democratic peace being r:sible without a series of revolutions is profoundly erroneous' (ibid. 21. 23. and turns it into a plaything in the hands of the secret diplomacy 0 the belligerent countries. Lenin considered. 253). 96). its whole staggering banality' (ibid. the Pro aganda of peace unaccompanied by a call for revolutionary mass action can only sow US1ons and demoralize the proletariat. Lenin also lashed tat 'the mawkish snivellers who are afraid of war' (ibid. p. In particular. Vol. to September 1916 he wrote: 'an oppressed class which does not strive to learn to use arms. especially revolutionary ones. Vol.. pp. p. 171).' '·' · • Fundamentally. for it makes the proletariat believe that the f urgeoisie is humane. p. and spoke of e Whole infamy of pacifism. 43. . Vol... in February 1915. 21. that 'at the present time.

I!IJi'e!Bolshevik militants were not mactrve. Ordzhonikidze. Party's weakness was such that the Petersburg Committee found Itself unable in January 1917 to bring out a leaflet on the occasion of the anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday'. In his reminiscences of the . or even to put forward tj:etear programme of acti?n and precie aims capable of winning the 'SlaPpo'rt of the most consciOus and radical of the demonstrators. t Seep. the Party inside Russia iled by the Russian Bureau of the Central Committee. Stali and S erdl v.Menshevik-te ding party . the year of the Russian proletariat's struggle agamst the bourg oiSie. But they .R. an_d three of these years had been war years.ary doctnne. rivals. their political platform transformed.work. only five yeas ol. ut the year 191_7. i:jgured as the principal leader of the Party.Bolshevis before Lenin's retu n: a. as a fully revolu twn.Lenin and the Bolshevik Party in 1917 The Bolshevik Party was at this time. It was then that. It was to be a year when Bolshevism underwent a complete metamorphosis. It wathen that Leninism came to flower. formally speaking. From the first days of the popular agitatiOn they . 158. the Bol sheviks had been depnved of their political leaders inside Russia through the arrest and exiling of Kamenev. j\fter the exiling of the principal leaders. l :PARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 117 iliiJie. however reacting against this example of anti-German chauvinism. Clandestine and persecuted.supporters had driven the Party deeply undergrod and mcapacitated them from taking advantage of opp rtumties for legal . Shlyapnikov. In a few months the numbers of the Bol shevikwould be increased by more than tenfold. the Bolshevik Party became the party of the revolutiOn. when the inter natiOnalist !me of enin's . was also the year of Lenin's struggle to free his Party from the gnp of an orthodoxy and cautiousness that threatened to paralyse it just as they were paralysing its Menshevik and S. t while their methods of ctwn would be changed. violently shaken and almost battered by Its ?wn founder. The Bolshev1k Comnuttee. The. m thre olutwn tofFebruary 1917. Molotov and Zalutsky.I This failure tells us much about the state that Bolshevism was in when the year 1917 opened. their strategy reversed-and then they would win power and shake the world. •_In 1914 the Russian Governm_ent had c anged the 'German-sounding' name of the capitato Pctrograd. who had been in pontact with Lenin by letter before the outbreak of the revolution. made up of •Sb:lyapnikov.Were unable to take the lead in the movement.aose1y followed the course of events and took part in them. of course. decided to keep to the old na:me. Renewing the efforts he had made in 1905 Lenin had once again to take up arms against those supporters of his who-often in the name of Leninism itself-were hindering the Party's march to power.

and then by me. at which 'representatives of the Bolshevik Party were present. 'the Bolsheviks were the main organizers of the strikes and par des'. On that day. ·Recording a meeting that took place on February 25th. and street demonstrations were becoming ever larger and bolder. the Bolshevik leaders. as Kayurov records. when appealed to for arms by the demonstrators. 'some comrades . and even with a suspiciousness that recalls their attitude in January 1905. in his invaluable reminiscences. however. in a particularly :inilitant way. They were somewhat isolated in the factories where they worked. and to try to extend it.R.3 ·i:.. about 200. considered that 'a rash use of arms thus supplied could only harm the cause'.4 Representatives of the Party strove. were on strike. confirms and extends the relevance of this remark. Kayurov. their incapacity to think their ·way into the political problem and formulate it. during the first days of the insurrection. V.000 workers. refused to issue them. The temporizing slogans of the Party were . The previous evening I had called on the working women to show restraint and 118 LENINISM UNDER LENI discipline-and now.'2 And Sukhanov.' he later related: 'in the first place they had obviously ignored the decisions en by the Party's district committee. against the tmsheviks and S. the Bolsheviks of :the capital had reacted to the first workers' demonstrations with much reserve. Kayurov remembers thus this significant episode of the February days: having been sent to a meeting of working women. to calm down the working women who were getting ·teady to celebrate 'Women's Day'.6 The day after that. had a depressing ·effect on us'.'-February days. The etrograd committee had been arrested. Shlyapnikov who was mainly responsible for the refusal.8 In the evening of February 26th the first mutinies occurred among the troops. and when I had to talk about the present moment I endeavoured first and foremost to urge the women to refrain from _any partial demonstrations and to act only upon the instructions given y the Party Committee'. with the first shedding of blood. heralding the iinminent downfall of Tsarism. ot followed.6 and it was they too who raised the question of setting up a Soviet. out of the blue. there was this strike. ·representing the Central Committee. on · February 22nd. on the outskirts of Petrograd. however. they 'received absolutely no guidance from the leading organs of the Party. on the morrow.also on that day. however.s'. and Comrade Shlyapnikov. Lacking a vigorous and clear-sighted leadership. Among the Bolshevik leaders. N. a member of the Bolshevik committee m·the industrial district of Vyborg.. February 24th. 'I was angered by the behaviour of the strikers. On February 25th there was a general strike and an insurrection. 'I :explained the meaning of "Women's Day" and of the women's move ent in general. as Kayurov learnt with 'astonishment' and dignation'. 7 But.' After some discussion. the Bolsheviks decided to support the strike which had begun in this way. :Iens us that. was unable to give [them] ·directions for future activity. half of the proletariat of Peters burg. 'carrying on a desperate struggle . more properly. he notes that 'their fiatfootedness or.

in which caution was mingled with • Only comparatively recently did a Soviet historian prove that this leaflet came out on 1'1iE PARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 119 scepticism. despite the radicalism and dissatisfaction of many Party members. and later by enthusiasm. It was said that a constituent assembly must be convened.9 In general. preventing the V:ictory won by the proletariat from being exploited by a bourgeoisie which had played no part in the action. ·:. as long as Lenin was still absent from the scene. for lack of sufficient copies. have expected them to reveal a certain aptitude for adapting themselves to the events taking place.s were deferring to the bour geoisie and leaving the latter to form the provisional government. Yet. always ignore the directives issued by organizations and the expectations of revolu tionaries.made sceptical comments and wondered whether the time had not come to call on the masses to end the strike'. calling for the formation of a provisional revolutionary govern ment. 11This document was of interest from two angles: it took up again the formula that Lenin had shaped during the revolution of 1905. is easily understandable. show them the implications of their success and give them a clear awareness of the new possibilities a. equal and secret universal suffrage'.10 ' Te spread of the mutinies sealed. That the Bolsheviks should have been taken by surprise by the February events is thus in conformity with the logic of social dynamics. and candidates for the succession emerged in the afternoon of that day. This failure of independent leadership was all the more serious because the Mensheviks and S.policy that was clearly different from that of its Right-wing Socialist apponents. to give leaflets to workers who asked for these. There was no room for any illusions about the intentions of this g9vernment. This general truth applies to the case of Russia in 1917 as well. at first uncertainly. all the tactics and operational rules of which were concentrated towards this end. the new republican regime'. though. or at least not to challenge it.will and power to carry on an independent policy.* This leaflet declared that 'the job of the working class and the revolutionary army is to create a provisional revolutionary government which will lead the new regime.:The Provisional Government originated in the provisional committee .s. because It was alien to the method of armed insurrection which alone according to them. <.12 This hesitation and reserve.R. in the shapes of the Provisional Committee of the Duma and the Petrograd Soviet. and especially of mass movements which bring into action against the established order. That same day the Leninist leaders in Petrograd returned a twofold refusal to the demonstrators who applied to them: they declined. even though there existed in the Tsarist empire a political party which had assumed the mission of preparing a people's insurrection. there was a tendency for the Bolsheviks to accept the platform of the Mensheviks and S. great numbers of people driven by resentment and anger. The beginnings of revolutions. towards which some of the Bolsheviks seemed not to have lost their former distrust. and it made no mention of Soviets. but only followed. a readiness to guide the activity of the crowds.R. 0ne might at least. a careful and illuminating historian of the revolution of 1917. on February 27th. which they had not entirely incited. at this time 'the Bolsheviks had little confidence in this moveme?t. It was only on February 27th that the Bolshe vik organization published its first leaflet. representing the interests of a class which had just demonstrated its counter-revolutionary spirit. the Party's leaders proved incapable of framing a. in the opinion of Marc Ferro. 'on the basis of direct. and tJ:tey ag in ent away empty-handed those who asked for weapons.. could succeed'. the fate of Tsansm. On the contrary.

the [class] best overnment.I4 For their part. February 27th and not on February 26th. 120 LENINISM UNDER LENt!'i ARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 121 those rotters who have already elected all sorts of scoundrels · factories'.13 His friend and colleague Shulgin. had given Itself a title that revealed its philosophy and programme: 'Committee for the Re-establishment of Order and Relations with Public Institu nd Personages.' One of its most prominent members was _ ikhail Rodzyanko. and who had. as had previously always been alleged (Ferro. former Speaker of the Duma. providing that th questwn of the orm of state should be settled by a constituen assembly. e tents of these Social-Democrats m relatiOn to the bourgeoiSie a mixture of hostility and respect. Such a development see ed to them to. others will take it for us.of·the Duma which. only the day before. contemplated the possibility of Nicholas Il's abdicati?n with . The attitude of these front-rank members of the Prov ·s· wse. 47). February. who. a prominent figure in the ogressive Bloc'.lll the deal with the mob.tst authorities to use firehoses to disperse the demonstrating crowds.'eakable sadness'. lUted out that 'if we do not take power. be con7aDJie only after a long period of pr parat1n and education. the ministers Milyukov and Guchkov did everythi hey could tpreserve the mon rchy. despite the agreement they JUst ade With the representatives of the Soviet. at the moment when the revolt was winning bstantial victories but Tsarism had not yet surrendered. 1 Iona) at the moment of the bo rgeois revolution. called on the to form a government 'enjoying the confidence of the nation'. . in his own s. to ards the revolutiOn was especially characteristic.. The Menshevik Potresov expressed a behef on to many socialists in Russia and the West when he declared G . during the war. 1'1/aAr COalition of moderate parties in the Duma which. the .* who was doubtless endowed with greater energy. had never believed in the possibility of entrusting political to this class. He wished machine-guns had been available to Im. to h. p. in which the respect oft n tweJigncthe hostility._ l. advised the lsar.

. 16 ?n March 7th.16 en The leaders of the Soviet who had negotiated with the political l a?ers of the Russian bourgeoisie about the formation of the Pro VISional Government. The streets ofPetrograd were m the h nds of t?e people.the vanant of European socialism which. to be t?e necessary and alm.power. of faith "socialism.ost . not only to attempt to lead it. As for the proletanat.-J.· kd .ubbornly continued their refusal. and the prope ty-owrung classes were in utter disarray. the Soviet delegates yieldd power to the bourgeois parties-without.ahsts ?eheved that the bourgems1e would ntinue.'l7 'Y at led the moderate socialists to surrender power to the bour geoisie.. although concerned for the mterests of the proletariat and sincerely devoted to 4b. considered that on February 27th 'the leaders of the Progressive Bloc st.d as it as froi?. One of th. Sukhanov.tally with Tsarism. was very mfluential during the first weeks of the revolution.former considenng. ·tural wielder ofpohtlcal and social authonty. may soci. Rabochaya Gaze · the Menshevik organ m the capital. fact'. although only the masses. wrote: 'Members of the ProvlSlonal Go ernment.1s Other factors also played a part: more profound ones. rovmcem1ght tum against the capital. for an md mte peno. {ftsukhanov was to be bel eved. e] bourgeoisie'Y I? eahty. and the Jart e ackno J dgmg. that 'we have been beat by Petrograd'.e Soviet leaders.had fought for the victory of the revolutio. were quite well aware of what their feelings were.B ared. of a doctrinal nature. however. The men who at t at moment held the country's fate in their hands belonged to. a Left-wing Menshevik who. . but it was still possible that the front and the. after the February days which had brought to power the political group to which he belonged. were not a genume element of state .real force in the class struggle. when the crowds moved against the Tau ·d Palace on ebruary 27th. At the momenwhen t?e Soviet was formed in Petrograd and when its !eaders-who m p:actice.other clas es. as they did so. socially and psycho!ogicallyto solve nat10nI proble s. ' 20 .This almost deferential attitude towards the bourgeoiSie was hac . that they should be resisted. It was not out of the question that there mighbe a backlash by the reactionary forces. oyato . but even to acknowledge it as an accomplished. . _despite all proclamatJO s. being certam that the latter would accept the gift being offered them. would it not be best to persuade te bourgeoisie to take poweitself? Accordingly. How would the bourge ISie react if that should happen? In order to rescue it from the temptation . the p:oletariat and the army await your orders to consolidate the revolutiOn and make Russia a democracy. not only to adhere to the revolutiOn.wee self-elected-handed over legal author· Itto the bourgeois parties. 'iso!ate. by theoretical arguments which filially stifled any radical inclinations they might en ertain.Jit] could create only fightmg orgaruzat10ns which? while representmg :. 'inthe case of many Russian Marxists. was a senes of considerations of an ideological and political order.

and indeed put up no serious opposition at all to the Rightwing policy of the leaders of the soviets. 'as far as I remember. The Petersburg Com mittee passed. When. who was going about here and there on party business. however. When the principle that was to govern for a certam penod the re a tions between the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet was being decided.<i :. bold.ssian bour geoisie. Pravda began to appear again. . and their blameworthy weakness in relation to the Liberals? Sur ly one might have expected a very much more critical. representing at that time the Left wing in the Party. put before the Petersburg Bolshevik Committee. in so doing. and Molotov in particular. their indulgent attitude towards the bourgeoiSie. Yet there were present at the meeting from the very beginning the official Bolshevik Zalutsky and the unofficial one Krasikov. But what was the atter with the Bolsheviks. presented the new Bolshevik representative Molotov to the Ex.22 · This line-up with the Right-wing socialist parties and acceptance of a government that was conservative in tendency was not approved of by everyone in the Bolshevik organization in Petrograd. Some members were m favour of dele gates from the Soviet entering the Government.. to have provoked ·the wrath and aroused the virulent opposition of the Bolsheviks of the ·capital. were for a line of non-participation and conditional support. the Executive Committee of the . Nevertheless. whose reign would constitute the necessary prelude to socialism. who. which was by far the most important of the Party bodies functioning in Russia. had been denouncmg the op r : tunism of their rivals.' 21 This attitude was confirmed at other meetings of the same body.' Yet the Leninist leadership showed no sign of wrath or iru lence. If the moderate leaders of the Soviet were mchned to put their trust in the Liberals. The moderation shown by the Mensheviks and the1r S. when Tsansm lay m rums. 1917. duplicity and conservatism of the. the young Molotov.latter body spent a long time deciding upon it. in the issue of March .:Marxist orthodoxy. ·economic. social and political power ought as a matter of course to .pARTY 123 OF THE REVOLUTION during this discussion. 23 This document is dated March 3rd. Ru. The majority. a motion in which it undertook to refrain from attacking the Provisional Government 'so long as "its actions correspond to the interests of the proletariat and of the broad democratic masses of the people" '. colleagues was therefore quite understandable. . . the official Bolshevik organ revealed a more critical attitude than that of the Petersburg Committee towards the Provisional Government. Sukhanov tells us that. acting in the name of the Bureau of the Central Committee.Com. denounc ing its counterrevolutionary policy and calling for its replacement by a democratic government. they ought. he was rebuffed. on the contrary. 0. and a little later Shlyapnikov. . in which the Bolsheviks had eleven representatives or sympathizers out of the total of thirty-nine members.. . d mandmg attitude on their part? For years Lenin had worked to convmce them of the lifelessness. they considered that. for years on end. a motion criticizing the Provisional Government. Under the control of the Bureau of the Central Committee. headed by the Mensheviks Chkheidze and Sukhanov. not one voice was raised against it on behalf of a democratic regime.p'ass to the bourgeoisie. 122 LENINISM UNDER LENJl. however.R.* Two days later.

28* . In the meantime.L. on March 12th. when events were already taking at such a rapid pace?'26 Next day he took up his pen to com on a call by the Soviet in which Kerensky's Russia assured the that it would 'proudly defend its freedom' and 'would not re before the bayonets of the aggressors'. Pravda sounded the keynote. On March 14th.' It was necessary to prepare for a struggle . conciliatory and moderate than the leadersh!P· The radical elements put forward in opposition to the 'centrist' hne a conception that was unambiguously revolutionary and interna tionalist. Stalin published there a short article in which he called on the workers to rally round the Soviets because 'the rights won must be upheld so as to destroy completely the old forces and . which would be re with disgust by a free people. 'When army army.29 On the other hand. and in the Vyborg quarter Stalin's expulsion was demanded as well. and of the Provisional Government. Stalin and Kamenev.]. with fifty-eight organizations represented. suggest fiitone of these armies to lay down its arms and go h?me.'24 An end was put to this uncertain policy when. As the only members of the Central Committee present in the capital they were able to give a more definite character to the Party line.. but all as one man for the common cause.. it was 'unques tionable' that 'the stark slogan "Down with the war!" 'was 'absolutely unsuitable as a practical means'. The Petersburg section even called for Kamenev's expulsion. rose to the occasion. In party affairs.' 25 There was nothing in * Two days later Molotov returned to the charge.. from the members of the Committee of the Duma to the Executive Committee. but the Petersburg Committee ag: in rejected his antiProvisional-Government proposal (Rabinowitch.' 27 Stalin approved the terms of the SOviet manifesto and said that what was needed was 'to bring pressure on the Provisional Government to make it declare its consent to start peace negotiations immediately'. the moderate majority in the Soviets. was full of the news-the victory of the moderate.social reforms only if it becomes the point of departure for the revolutiOnary tnovement of the West European proletariat against their bourgeois governments.. arrived in Petro· grad and took over leadership of the Party.' he wrote. 'The Russian Revolution. This would not be a policy of peace but a policy of slavery. returning from Siberian exile. In the same Kamenev wrote an editorial in which he asked: 'what purp?se it serve to speed things up. of the Soviet. it was possible to read an rticle in which Olminsky declared that 'the [bourgeois] revolution is not yet completed. 'it would be the most inane policy to.' they declared. the heart of revolutionary democracy [i. It ? me apparent that while the policy of Kamenev and Stalin was cnttctzed by the Left in the Party. But the bias that they intro· duced was markedly Right-ward. p. 'can secure for the people ofRussia a maximum of democratic liberties and . 'the whole of the Tauride Palace. two days after the return of the two leaders. each party for itself.lOth. !article that implied the slightest criticism of the conciliatory leader.. the latter also contained elements that were even more cautious. reasonable Bolsheviks over the extremists'.30 l!i The Bolsheviks held their first national conference on March 29th in Petrograd.These statements were very variously received by public opinion. M. We live under the slogan of "striking together". some of the Bolshevik militants were indignant at the tone adopted by the editors of Pravda.e. 35). in by this martial language. According to Shlyapnikov. further advance the Russian revolution. Lenin's lieutenant.

In the resolution passed by the conference. orienta· tion was left uncriticized. • Lenin.'33 This abstruse language served. and that already in 1915 and 1916.* The con· ference set up a commission entrusted with the task of negotiating with the Mensheviks and studying along with them the possibility of healing the split in Russian Social-Democracy.m the last days of March.R. When Alexandra Kollontai brought to Petrogr d.a1 The Party leadership had to reckon with this Left tendency. 'we must give our support to the Provi sional Government in so far as it is consolidating the steps forward taken by the revolution. and they hailed the Soviets as the 'embryo or revolutionary power'. to tum the Party face about.' Furthermore.RTY OF THE REVOLUTION 125 . While the Right-wing element were unconditionally for reunification. putting an end to Bolshevik 'possibilism'·and compelling the adoption of a revolutionarY line.reconquers the party* . he said 'has in fact assumed the role of consolidator of the conquests of th revolutionary people. owing to its 'centrist' character. but of no less importan Was what was not published there. at the end of the nineteenth century. saying that 'unity is possible on the basis of the Zimmerwald-Kienthal line'.' and he went on to declare that 'we need to gain time by holding back the process of rupture with the middle-bourgeois strata. 127). p. 257. . .34 This care to avoid conflict with the moderate socialists was accom panied by a desire on the part of many delegates to re-establish unity between Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. without challeng ing the tactics followed up to that time by the Party's leading group. A. 124 LENINISM UNDER LENI Provisional Government. 'Possibilism' was the name given. the Left-wing Menshevik Sukhanov noted. the edttonal rd hesitated for several days before publishing only one of them-and thn sup rcssed passages in which Lenin opposed any agreement with the Menshevtks (Retsberg. the Party declared unanimously for exer· cising 'vigilant control' over the Provisional Government and for support of the Petrograd Soviet. ··What was published in Pravda was extremely interesting. that 'all the actions of the then leader of the Bolshevik party had [a] kind of "possibilist". The latter.t Kamenev represented the 'centre-right' tendency which continued to dominate the Bolshevik Party even when the euphoria of the first days of February had had time to disperse. p. however. sometimes too moderate character'. had regarded the platform of these two conferences as quite in· adequate. t Sukhanov. During he conference it amended the views it had hitherto upheldseparating Itself from a definitely Right-wing tendency which called for the strict application of a policy of national defence.against the ' . Then Lenin arrived in Russia. 101). to disarm the suspicions of the Left-wing delegates. regarding Kamenev's political behaviour. whose Menshevik and S. to an extremely moderate tendency in the French socialist movement.a& At the end of March. so as to prepare ourselves for struggle against the Provisional Government. the two first of Lenin's Letters from Afar (seep. while regarding as inadmissible any support for the Provisional Government in so far as it acts in a counter revolutionary way. A Workers' Red Guard was the means that they urged to this end. Stalin contented himself with supporting the idea of talks with the Mensheviks.32 Stalin introduced the discussion with a report in which he essentially declined to take up a line of opposition to the Provisional Government.

'38 Some days previously he had written.. 39 He accused the P.43 And while f!eilin's supporters in Petrograd sought to bring pressure to bear on the Dtovisional Government to initiate negotiations between the warring owers. and by the meagreness of the jjjfoanation tht reached. he noted: 'The principal document I have at my disposal of today's te is a copy of that most conservative and bourgeois English newspaper The Times of arch 16th. Writing a foreword to his second letter on March 21st estern calendar). being analysed in the next chapter.40 and denounced the political and social character of the new tniilistry.Ugh. Vol. ed upon. 615). to reahze that hts supp.l .\t 'From Russia-nothing. by .ian socialist emigres who were trying to get back home.·. 43. about 'the deepest distrust' that he felt for the new rulers of Russia. 126 LENINISM j>ARTY UNDER OF THE LENr REVOLUTION 127 .s were nt actmg as he would Bi'Yt wished. p.tWhereas the Bolsheviks in Russia were supporting. and concluded that this Government would be 'unable to avoid llapse'4. obvious contradictions.44 The root of the matter lay in two points.. him from Russia. which he saw as representing 'the class of capitalist landlords atid bourgeoisie'. according . between the standpoint of the Party leadership in :RiiSsia and that of Lenin during the last weeks of his exile. stalin's formula according to which the function of the Provisional Ciovernment was to consolidate the conquests of the February revolu tion. Vol. He had only inadequate materials on which to base Important Letters from Afar. 'News is excep ::n_ally meagre' (ibid. in a draft for his celebrated April Theses. (t.orter.: 309).t0visional Government of having 'wrested [power] from the prole rariat'.U He pointed out that the Provisional Government's th:st declaration kept silence on the main economic and social prob lems. 35. Lenin's revolutionary strategy is only W. because it represents the da:pitalists and landlords and because it is tied to the English and F:fench capitalists by treaties and financial commitments'. )). 23. '. jp. Lenin himself considered that 'to urge that government to nclude a democratic peace is like preaching virtue to brothel keepers'. Lenin declared.:March 30th (Western calendar) Lenin wrote: 'You can imagine it is for all of us to be sitting here at such a time. not to say actual in dempatibility. no trust in and no sui>port of the new government. p. containing a batch of reports about the revolution in Russia' (ibid. He wr?e othe 'eptdemtc' of 'excttement' tht he feared ib'ust now be prevathng m Petrograd. 297). t LeniJ?kneenough.37 And there were mdeed con Sillerable differences.'36 His iatie:nce was caused by the difficulties that were put in the way of uss.this section I deal only with Lenin's relations with the Party.2 Its incapacity was especially plain where peace was con <lemed: it 'cannot give the people peace.'lisc>Jat: ou in which he found himself. First. tft. peremptorily: 'Our tactics. the resistance and 0 !AAsition that his radicalism came up against. through the v-etes of their delegates at the national conference in Petrograd. not even letters!!' (Lenin. Vol.:!It•·.

which must transfer political power from th government of landlords and capitalists . Lenin continued: 'And Ipersonally will not hesitate for a second to declare. me?t m the mterests of t?e strugge against tsarist reac!ion ... p. as long as the Provisional as then composed. the first chairman of the Petrograd Soviet. on the contrary. or the social-pacifism and Kautskianism of Chkheidze and Co. The divergence was no less marked as regards the attitude to be taken up towards the leaders of the Soviet.to Le in. to making concessions to the social-patriotism of Kerensky and Co.the last analysis. Vol. broadly speakmg the r1 of the Bolshevik leaders in Petrograd. the most pressing and most merciless struggle against' the Chkheidze tendency.. 35.who says that the workers must support the new govern.* Attacking specifically the Menshevik leader Chkheidze. He declared strongly that the war had not ceased. to be imperialist on Russia's part. Finally.Onary' proletariat in RussI·n: was 'to find the su est roa? to the next stage of the revolution. Whereas Kamenev and Stalin followed a tactic that was close to 'defencism'. that of the capital. fo. inadmissible. that shall prefer even an immediate split with anyone in our Party. Lenin was in favour at this time of contacts being made with the Leftist Bolsheviks of the Vpered group..50 .+prjl the fundamental problem that faced the Russian labour 1enL in 1917. • <?n. Going over to . who was never thel ss not a representative of the Right wing among the Mensheviks. 310. to a government of the workerad poorest peasants:: 46 ?'et the Bolshevik leaders on the spo were thi kmg only of 'consolidatmg' the gains of February. Vol.48 There could be no question of any rapprochement with the Mensheviks or the other parties. and which was bound up with the very nature of . 302).47 but this support implied.. the most highly principled. is a traitor to the workers . p.. is. no mdul?ence towards the policy being followed by the most Important Soviet. of course te settig up of soviets in Russia.mmedI'ate tasks of the revoluti. Second according to Len e one of 'the I. or the second revolutiOn. 35. and could not . and still less towards the moderate soc alist parties which dominated it.'49 The Party's duty was.. pp. and to declare in print.. I am deeply convinced. although he was then in contact With the latter m connexion with plans to return to Russia (ibid. all these political disagreements were derived a more important cause. Chkheidze and Co.. Lenin declared firmly that 'the main thing now is not to let oneself get entangled in stupid "unification" attempts'.. whoever it may be. Even on the eve of his departure from Switzerland Lenin de clared hin_ISelf against ny political rapprochement with Martov. 35. their ideas on the problems of peace and national defence being no less divergent. 304-5). Lenin saw differently from his chief . dangerous. Lenin supported. Lenm declared that 'any rapprochement with . Lenin had nothing but contempt for such an attitude.outright threats... :45 yet this was.'t The disagreement between Lenin and the Bolshevik leadership inside Russia was profound and general in character.-. 1m.. and desired to see them back in the Party (ibid. t Ibid. Vol. to carry on 'the most s ubbom. while the Bolsheviks' natiOnal conference was promoting talks with a view not merely to closer relations with the Mensheviks but actual unification with them. harmful for the working class. was still in power..the othehand. 'he .

thout there bemg any questiOn of gomg beyond the ltmtts of such a revolution and undertaking socialist tasks. 23. or the first and the second stage' (ibid. and even some time after. however. ' t Lenin. op. 35. Lenin described as a 'theoretical "oddity" ' any refusal to distinguish between 'the first and the 8econd revolution. Lenin again detached himself from the clear and simple notion of the two revolutions. the official opinion of the party. on the overwhelming majority :: • Seep. first. their feat of 1905. ith greater success. There he spoke of the need to establish in Russia 'a Workers' government that relies.. . its continual ·and unchanging slogan right up to the February revolution of 1917. p.of.d socialist. first. Vol.k Olminsky. 308. 306).. vnlutJton in progress. 76.. writing to Inessa Armand..'4· . when the masses had just repeated.. The entire tactic adopted by the Bolshevik in Russia.t\RTY 129 OF THE REVOLUTION of the peasant population . Vol. 128 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . when he wrote the draft for his 1Pril Theses.. leading him to replace it with a sufficiently well defined new view. moderation and concern for unity the Mensheviks.' To be sure.. with only the former a matter for the present moment. theachievement of a democratic republic ..* But now.@... As they saw it. second. 'The coming revolution !Jl9St be only a bourgeois revolution. In the same period.52 This was a view that Lenin himself had shared for a long time and that only the revolution of 1905 had caused him to ..i}t example...by other su sses.. ?.. but only of the downfall of the rule of autocracy feudalism'.'51 Pravda of March 7th. This idea of going over from one evolution to the other became central to Lenin's thinking as early as arch 17th (Western calendar). and then to socialism .'. and. bourgeois .. reflected a belief that the Bolshevik leaders Jai"e:d with the Right-wing Socialists.t but already the distinction was being mentioned by him only in order ·tO introduce the possibility of going over from the bourgeois revolu tion to the socialist revolution. p. which must • followed up . cit. with its caution. on an alliance with the revolutionary workers of all . without. p.oubt. the fall of was the first victory in the bourgeois revolution.stated that 'of course there is no question among us of the downfall .' said t):le Bolshevi. nd in this way_ c?nsolidated. profoundly distinct from one another.the rule of capital. He regarded it as being still valid. adding that 'that was an obligatory premtse for every member of the party. stating in the first of his Letters from Afar that the proletariat 'can and will proceed. Lenin did not categorically renounce this traditional Jfistinction. 1917-even before menev and Stalin had given it a still more Right-wing orientation . .

He contemplated the necessity of undertaking 'systematic work on a party of a new type'..P. It seemed as h.ss Would the Leninists in Russia prove capable of accepting.66 On April 3rd.' nother was hel.-· iit all the true believers.S. and the spmt ouruversal des ructi n.. was ble . }eception room57 above the heads of the bewitched disciples. =ollgh his connexios .ot only among Social-Democrats in general but alsamong _ln. While the public reception given to Lenm by his fnends was a · .. disciples'. .oWing neither barriers nor doubts. defining the task of the proletariat as the 'smash . such an idea? Lenin himself was dubious about this. ..fW ything of the sort. when he returned to Petrograd. Sukhanov.63 In his first Letter from Afar Lenin showed that the problem was a concrete one.* In his third Letter from Afar Lenin took a further step by suggesting that the transition from the first to the second stage in the revolution was perhaps already being accomplished.cordance with the dectstons taken prevwusly. neither human d culttes :lfjBor human calculations. was hovering around Kshesmskaya's ·. Historians have often described the triumphant welcome that the Bolsheviks gave their leader during the night of April 3rd-4th. both Bo shev_tks ·)t. but it was the duty of the working class to 'prepare the way for [its] victory in the second stage of the revolution'.' He called on the proletariat to 'fight for a democratic republic and socialism'. Lenin attended this meetg too.countries in the war . only regard the revolution of March 1 {14] as its initial. and by no means complete. . 'He declared that 'the revolutionary proletariat can . e of triumph. at which were prese 1t.. it was to this task that he applied himself. and gave it as his view that the need for 'full victory in the next stage of the revolution and the winning of.orthis first meeting was over.· anov also emphasizes Lenin's 'complete intellectual isolatio .Mensheviks who were eager to repare. '. and in particular from Sukhanov..to be resent at this Bolshevik gathermg. we get an impression of great enthusiasm.-.the way for reunification 'e R. a herettc who ad accidentally dropped m.D. ·' !{edkn. which startled a d :ti aied not only me. who. I am certam that no one had expected .ough al! the elements ad · risen from their abodes. From the accounts of eye-witnesses.s ::OWn.t At the same time he touched upon the question that was to form the central theme of State and Revolution.a Menshe tk.L. or even of understanding. This enthusiasm was doubtless genuine.. ing of the state machine'. ··. 1917.urshall never forget that thu der-Iike speec. .68 .&9 A Bolshevik who was present recalled m her remt_ru already going on. Not only did 'the peculiarity of the present situation' consist in this 'transition from the first stage of the revolution to the second'. victory on its momentous path.power by a workers' government' could be 'brought home to the people in an immeasurably shorter time than under ordinary conditions'. '·i!Y-es·this account of his Impressions. although .5 and even considered that this process was ·a. matters proceeded differently behind e doors of PartY meeting.

during this same night of April 3rd-4th.ion. 23. towards : tWhi. preparation for the conquest of power by the Soviets of Workers' Deputies' (ibid. and the institution l?. he showed hims l'more Le t ·tlan our Left'.] to overthrow the rule of the landlords and capitalists ··· ' (ibid..e indications of what his programme of economiC changes would ke. ·f¢ences that Lenin's speech 'produced on everyone a stupefymg Ampression.ve become famous under the title of the April Theses..L. 323). when the public demonstrations and official ceremonies had hardly finished. p.fcontrol over it by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies'.'62 • . provokmg . as these lines are being written) you will again have to perform the same miracles of heroism [i.18fues from his adversaries and consternation among his supporters. JUt forward a series of ideas that he had already expressed in his .ch his listeners were tolerant... 64 Lenin saw that :the specific feature of the present situation in Russia' consisted i. 23. He attacked the Provisional Government..t of Soviets of Workers'. pp. 298).of < banks in the country into a single national bank. as in February. from top to bot!om. In the more or less near future (perhaps even now.eputies throughout the country. Vol. No one expected this.:i. they expected ·. 35.f ct that they were 'passing from the first stage of the revolution . On the contra.61 Krupskaya said to a friend: 'I am afraid It looks as If " has gone crazy.'6o Instead.But it should not be concluded that the renewed contacts between the Party and its founder in a Russia liberated from Tsarism were marked by political harmony as well as warm feeling. rejected the idea of unity between · !>lsheviks and Mensheviks. M. Lenin got down to serious matters.. namely.n the ·. As soon as he reached the Party headquarters.!b'li. Lenin did not merely support the Left wmg '1·91 the Party: as Shlyapnikov put it. i/l'b. Almost at the same time Lenin wrote to Alexandra Kollontai: 'What is now on the agenda is . .. Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' ·· .r tters from Afar. ladimir Ilyich to arrive and call to order the Russian Bureau othe .'63 and gave " QDJ.e.:&:entral Committee and especially Comrade Molotov.: 'nationalization of a// lands'' and 'the immediate amalgamat. p. 306-7. reasserted the need to work for 'a repub. Vol. 5 .. As soon * Ibid. discussion of the political problems of the moment and study of the grave differences that divided him from his followers..e views that Lenin expounded in his first two speeches. In them he ." " 130 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . t 'Comrade workers! . who occupted a :1irticularly irreconcilable position with respect to the Provisio al ::liovernment. Vol.

by . 7° Kalinin. And Lenin's criticisms were accompanied by a threat: 'You comrades have a trusting attitude to the government. a crying mockery . It was necessary. nin had suddenly revealed.f those wh? .. to be sure. It is the death of socialism. a reassurine side to Lenm s speech. which merely meant sowing illusions about this government. more particularly. placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie-to its sec • 69 At the Petrograd conference of the Bolsheviks* stage.' He blamed his friends because.' 67 Finally Lenin raised the question of the Party itself and. to 'admit our mistake'. al!the more serious in that 'revolutionary defencrsm ts betrayal of soctahsm'.oorest sec i?ns of the peasants. this amounted to 'betrayal of socialism'.t The theme of the 'old Party' and. replied to these attacks by appeahng to Lemn s lthf:or1• 'I belong. of 'old Bol shevism' and the 'old Bolsheviks'.. persistence and patience to explain' all this. the hands of the proletariat and th that 'the trouble with us is that comrades have wished to remain P. 'to the old school of Leninist and I think that the old Leninism has by no means shown c!I. instead of exposing the Provisional Government they demanded that it give a series of under takings. 'Pravda demands of the government that it should renounce annexa tions. he said.RTY 131 OF THE REVOLUTION which . if not of its existence.. This can be explained only by the intoxication of the revolution.' he declared.YJ".. which must place power .. Lenin said that 'our mistake is that we have not exposed revolutionary defcncism* to the ull':This failure was.' to the actual situation. at least of its title. was getting at. and th that must be the Party's role so long s it r mained ir: a minority. ld denounce the Old Bolsheviks as a hindrance today. he noted that 'even our Bolsheviks show some trust in the government. ' As for the prospect of reuniting in a single party with the Mensheviks. To demand of a government of capitalists that it should re nounce annexations is nonsense. Elaborating the errors of the Party. He stressed that It was 'necessary with particul g thoroughness.'65 The. recurs frequently in Lenin's speeches Bolsheviks'.re was. In the first important speech he made after his return. Lenin persisted in his attack on 'those "old Bolsh viks" 0 wJl'cflllOre than once already have played so regrettable a role m the zyof our Pary by reite ating formulas sens lessly lea ned. who felt that he was one o.'71 5 wever. I prefer to remain in a minority. together wrth the many and severe cntrcrsms he addressed to his supporters.s 6 But suh reassurances counted for httle m companson with the re_volutionaryprospect that.. I am astounded that Lenin · . our paths diverge. If that is so.

Lenin had suffered an important defeat in the Petrograd COmmittee. Pravda published a modified. were lackmg m 'practtcal sehke. 'should be consigned to the archive of "Bolshevik" pre-revolutionary antiques (it may be called the archive of "Old * Lenin gave the name 'revolutionary defencism' to the thesis according to which. Anybody who still held to that idea.' 'Fii.. 'It is no good at all. Lenm took part m.. Russia should wage a patriotic war of defence against Germany. He considered... • ·. he at first n et with a numbe_r of setbac s. 73 Devotmg htmself -.t In the 77 and writings in the period following his return to Russia. '(:.. at the start. after the success of the February revolution.Meanwhile. 'whereas we do not yet have behin.revolutiOn that was ?omg on: was It fiWtgeois or sociahst? Shlyapmkov.us what was ac c0mplished in 1789 and 1848'. for example.'f"struggle to overcome it._n He emphasized the pomt that s emed thtm of apil un nce:'Old Bolshevism should be dtscarded. Lenin's 'personal theses' were answered m an eititerial by Kamenev. at least m the lea m.o cnttc ed ti's theses. S. Lenin wrote. in so far as it proceeds from the assump'ti·that the bourgeois democratic revolution is finished and counts on 78 tariat and the peasantry. In general he blamed Lenin for 'trying to force the pace' and thought he should be 'restrained'.r The differences between the speech and the article are very marked. als. .e prbblem of the c a acter of the . almost c mpletely Isolated.Fh. On April 8th a Right-wing Bolshevik. 76 ·U. that Kamenev's 'oldBolshevik' formula that 'the bourgeois revolution is not completed' was 'obso· lete'.epolemic continued in the subsequent days in the columns of the lshevik journal.. And it is no use trying to revive it. . 161.'o*il'·See p.74 Two days later. th ugh belongmg to wh. he wrote of 'these personal theses of mi e'.e next day.'68 He criticized them also for their unwillingness to go beyond the formula of the 'revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the prole· preamble to the rticle. t Seep. eetmg 0e Bureau of the Central Committee where he was cntrc!zed by Ieil1fienev who accused him of 'judging the situation to be hke that jfitbt871. The latter 1s giVen .' which he himself had put forward at the beginning of the 1905 revolution. 75 This !lleant ratsmg nee more th. some of which. On the following day. Bagdatyev. On Apnl 4th. edited h'Lenin himself of his speech on the night of April 3rd--4th. softened version.g cifeles of the Party. he considered.a_was USUally regarded as the Left tendency m the Party. Lenin levelled a series of reproaches at those whom he called the 'old Bol· sheviks'. tli fuunediateconversionofthatrevolutionintoasocialistrevolution.. . :. records Alexandra Kollontat.. 132. I :the only one to stand up for Lenin's vie:-" against a hole se tes oifhesitant Bolsheviks'. It!S'eems to us unacceptable. Il6t\ras. It is dead. He began by mentioning that Lenin's ideas d been agreed to neither by the editors of Pravda nor by the Bureau of 'the Central Committee and added: 'As for Lenin's general schema.

cit.79 This is putting it mildly.' since 'only work of this nature can serve as a ure guarantee of the su cessful transfer. Provisional Government. op. a government of the landowners ancl talists.82 Although obviously aimed against Lenin. I. the . .i:1ID tried to restore the situation by putting forward an amtendmel which he attacked the 'disorganizing consequences' of the 'Down with the Provisional Government!' but this was reject: twenty votes to six. The did not proceed easily for Lenin.l.support for the ProvlSlo al Government and also of control ov:r It.conferencthu.:. p.. and concluded by saying that the should organize ' "control" by the revolutionaries over the act:lc a necessarily bourgeois government'. Lenin opened the debate gathering. the nrcmo:sa accepted by the conference. by thirty-seven votes to three. Commenting on how it . demanded that the conference norni a co-reporter who would represent the viewpoint of 'the co11 who have along with us experienced the revolution in a prac way'. 21-6.83 ·. which ran to the defencist standpoint hitherto upheld by Kamenev and was adopted unanimously by those present.lenin. In fact. and the former in Vol.. geoisie and the proletariat. with one ab: te11tic In the provinces the Bolshevik organizations often reacted simih In Moscow and Kiev the local Bolshevik committees rejected theses..t voting powers plus 18 with consultative powers. 36. resolution was defeated by thirteen votes to two. In this he declared that 'it early to say that bourgeois democracy has exhausted all of its · · . pp. and succeed getting his views approved. however. the conference was attended by 133 delc P. Trotsky (History.84 This motion. The • According to Golikov. pp.. One: motions stated that 'the passing of state power in Russia . 340) figure 149. did not and could not alter the character and meaning war as far as Russia is concemed'.81 It was decided to rec:on:sidcel' general problem of the Party's policy at a national conference held in the capital on April 24th.ulll:l Soviet historian says that 'the discussion did not immediately approval of Lenin's theses'. 24. p. 434-43. and Kamenev was entrusted task of presenting a second report. bilities'. 132 LENINISM UNDER presented there a report in opposition to the April Theses. Vol.85 A second resolution written declared that 'the Provisional Government. by its class ch:aracJ the organ of landowner and bourgeois domination'.itf. held on that day he at last overcame his opponents. 112. stressed the need for cooperation between the . apart from abstained from voting. with nine abstentions-which shows that resis1 to Lenin's ideas was still strong. The date April 14th marks a turning-point in Lenin's the conference of the Bolshevik organizations in Petrograd which. 86 Rejecting al} vana ts of . 83) gives 150. p. Dzerzhinsky. Tflil pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 133 wamed that 'extensive work bas to be done to develop proletarian }ass-consciousness.s rallied to the slogan .'l. of the e11:tire state power jnto the hands othe Soviets of workers and S? diers' Deputies'. The April conference was a decisive success for Lenin. and Carr (Vol. one of the most prominent ucJLc speaking in the name of 'many'* who 'did not agree in u·tcit)l the theses of the spokesman'.

91 134 LENINISM UNDER LEN Lenin's victory. have. the weakness and conservatism shown by the Provisional Government its manifest inability to improve the economic situation prevailing in Russia. At the same time.* This influx had the effect of crushing the nucleus of 'old Bolsheviks' who claimed to be guardians of Leninist orthodoxy.of 'All power to the Soviets! which was to inspire the offensive of the proletarian sses all through the pring of 1.d to saying. the resolution stressed again that it was impossible for the Workmg class to 'keep its activities within limits acceptable to the petty:bourgeoisie. the Bolshevik Party was reinforced by a steady and large-scale influx of new members. And I:em. or at least to suggesting. the f ct that. support of the imperialist war'. In particular. to hide the admiration he felt fo · Lenin's . w unable. This second resolution of Lenm s was adopted unammously with the exception of two votes against and eight abstentions. that it was possible bo egm the process that would lead the Russian revolution from its . in those crucial weeks. This resolution did indeed state that. a matter on which he felt strongly. that is. for the sta d he enJoyed among the Bolsheviks did not alone account for it. begining in April 1917. which undoubtedly existed even before the war. claimed that 'the Russian revolu tioIs only the first stage of the first of the proletarian revolutions Whtch are the inevitable result of the war'. khanov.917. namely. adopted the stand of"revolutionary defencism".' and pointed to 'the urgency of taking a number of ctical steps towards socialism for which the time is now ripe'9..group remained large: Lenin's resolution was passed. 'amazing force' and his 'superhuman power of attack' s But other factors also played a part. have beeripening with tremendous rapidity as a result of the war'. with eight abstaining.' but it linked the current situation in Russia with that prevailing in 'the more developed and advanced countries. an astounded observer of Lenin's successful efforts. A resolution declared that 'the parties of the Socialist Revolutionaries. but only to 39.' where 'the objective conditions for a socialist revolution.0 t a ounte. the proletariat of Russia cannot aim at immediately putting into effect socialist changes. and clashed head-on with one of the ses most firmly embedded in the minds of the Party's Right wing.88 This resolution was passed unanimously except for ten abstentions. As regards Russia more specially. lattng the supporters of 'Old Bolshevism'. One last point deserves comment. submerging them under the weight of new members who had been radicalized by the revolutionary events and were not paralysed by the principles of that orthodoxy. Menshevik Social-Democrats. 'operating as it does in ne of the most backward countries of Europe amidst a vast population of small peasants.89 The discussion and voting on a resolution 'on the current situation' nevertheless demonstrated that opposition to Lenin's policy was still substantial. The numbers of this by .urgeois into its socialist phase. Su ·. an historic feat with decisive consequences w certaiy attributable to his extr ordi ary personality. etc. the author of this resolution. dissipated the illusions about it and the confidence in it that had at first been felt by part of the proletariat and by some of the Bolsheviks.8 7 In yet a third field Lenin scored an important victory over the adherents of the conciliationist line that the Party had followed up to that time. in the great majority of cases. and concluded that 'unity with parties and groups which are pursuing such a policy is absolutely impossible'. Lenin reiterated that a Bolshevik conquest of the soviets could be accom plished only through patient efforts of explanation and . Throughout these weeks. on the question of theindependence of the Bolshevik Party and its relationship with the Mensheviks.

. representing th. increasing the tension already growing within the Party. They dominated by a very solid majority of Mensheviks and S. with the exercise of 'great care and discretion'. 158.e interests of the capitalists and landlords. Had no_the ition on which it was based.. l\VllYS on a large scale. The Provisional Government. now been called in .s ii'SUPP''rt(d the Provisional Government and had no thought of ngmg it. Once more. but. in which it was possible to envisage a peaceful conquest of state power. had. the correctness of which was now apparent to a number of his associates. was to be combated with maximum energy. they tried again to 'hold him back'. and showed how discredited it was becoming. and this submission aroused discontent among some of Its qi tnbers.persuasion. When. The events of May seemed to justify this view of how the revolution would develop. which was essentially revolu· tionary in character.* n was led by this episode to reexamine his strategy. TY OF THE REVOLUTION 135 in March did not survive the revelation of its shortcomings: uetn demonstrations. the Party's founder was to be obliged to conquer it. strategy.ilr<> it seemed pointless to try and force the pace of events. it was based on the slogan 'All power to the Soviets!' which s mary and popular currency among the workers-·but the · themselves seemed not at all desirous of taking power. to employ legal methods. The situation in Russia was an exceptional one.. nevertheless stumbled against one . and with it of the bourgeoisie. The party of insurrection At the end of April 1917 Lenin had emerged as the champion of a policy that can be summed up as follows. so as to bring about the transfer of power to the soviets. as a long-term business that did not imply any immediate risks for the Party. The Party protested. presented as an immediate task. the respect for political oms in a Russia that was 'exceptionally free'. however. The Right-wing Ji. and to be confident that Lenin himself would soon become aware of the tremendous difficulties involved. This constituted another factor ""''·'r of the only party that refused to discredit itself by a mediocre fec1:ual policy made up of precarious agreements and patched. tt $J! itted. The popularity that the Provisional Government bad • Seep. in the weeks leading up to the October insurrection. June 9th the Bolsheviks found themselves having to call off a refi11l demonstration in which their Petrograd supporters were iillending to demand that the Government resign.jority in the soviets had banned the demonstration. a few months later. they saw the issue of overthrow· ing the Provisional Government put by Lenin on the order of the day. without giving any valid justification for its decision. were increasingly directed against the policy. namely.wiitprc)mllses. This struggle. This circumstance showed the increasing gap between jlditcaltzation of the masses and the ever more pronounced conser of the soviets as an institution. usually peaceful but sometimes rowdy. But since time was in this way working for the h.93 Many Bolsheviks who in Aprill917 gave their support to Lenin's theses were therefore able to think of the overthrow of the Provisional Government.R.

having obtained a majority in the Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputie of both capitals. can and must take state power into their own hands. Finally. was nevertheless declared responsible. and the conquest of the latter by the Bolsheviks. and most important. with Trotsky's election as chairman. On September 9th leadership of the Soviet of the capital passed to the Bolsheviks. '* . Between July lOth and the beginning of September Lenin said no more about the problem of insurrection. for example. bSeep.R. Lenin at once drew the most radical hclusions from this new and apparently disastrous situation. and on September 5th the Moscow Soviet did the same events that heralded the imminent downfall of the majority hitherto dominant in the popular institutions. tinging the Government to within an inch of collapse. on August 30th and September 1st in Astra· khan and Tashkent. A certain mood of discouragement among the proletariat was intensi fied by the crisis that the Bolshevik Party itself was undergoing. in the uprising and seizure of power. and the Bolshevik Party. W»en nearly a million demonstrators. whom the Party had not suc ed in restraining. the Provisional Govem :q)ent launched a policy of repression against the Bolsheviks..oduced hundreds of casualties. With two letters written between September 12th and 14th. The first of these letters of Lenin's began: 'The Bolsheviks. The disorders that followed ltt.s. To avoid est. in his Finnish retreat. Almost immediately. It was in these circumstances that Lenin suddenly launched an offensive in the Party which was to result. after six weeks of deter· mined struggle. until the 'July days'.R LE:-. Lenin had to leave the capital and take refuge in Finland. contributed de cisively to the defeat of Kornilov's attempted coup d'etat. however. This is the objective situation: either complet victory for the military dictatorship. 150. 136 LENINISM UNDI. which had so far remained relatively peaceful. On Septem ber 1st the Petrograd Soviet passed a resolution moved by Lenin's supporters.. athe Bolshevik organization was reduced for a few weeks to a ·underground existence.' Lenin emphasized this point: 'Let us have no constitutional or republican illusions about a peaceful path . With half earted support from the Soviet majority. ft\bnerous leading members of the Party were thrown into prison. a powerful movement of unrest began to sweep over the countryside. There is nothing to show that Lenin himself believed in July 1917 that it would become necessary in the very near future to organize and carry through an armed rising.Ill! On July lOth he wrote an article in which he abandoned the strate he had pursued since the start of the February revolution. to writing State and Revolution. The possibility of going over to a practical execution of his ideas depended on the progress of rebellious feelings among the massesand July and August saw a slowing down of the process of radicalization that had marked the spring of 1917. the Moscow Soviet followed suit. in the last days of August and the first days of September. He devoted himself. the action of the Petrograd proletariat. marched through the streets of Petrograd. or victory for the workers' arme uprising. now already organized and led by the Bolsheviks. Lenin called on the PartY to begin concrete preparation and practical organization under the slogan of armed insurrection as an immediate objective.qpestion? ifhe decisive tum was not made. Then. At the same time.c among the Mensheviks and S. discontent and agitation grew in a number of cities: disorders broke out. and sowing P. . although it futd been reluctant to head a demonstration that the Party leadership not wanted. He declar that 'All hopes for a peaceful development of the Russian revolution have vanished for good.

that havmg seized the wer . we could not fortify ourselves in the rest of Russia.e m J?nson.and eds even thousands of the Party's members and sympathizers been' arrested. Lunacharsky and Kam. He confirmed that a matter of 'the immediate transfer of all power to revolutionary ·nr. Bukharin describes in his reminiscences of this episode the i'tffi. Everyone was at a loss for a while. Vol.97 Bukharin. Perhaps this was the only time in the $rstory of our party when the Central Committee de ided to bu:n a lelter of Comrade Lenin's. When I entered. and one that almost rumed It..RTY OF THE REVOLUTION 137 it was not yet a matter of fixing the actual day or hour for the lugJlthe event of which Lenin spoke was nevertheless to be regarded inJDlfieJtu: he explained 'why . The lshevik press had been reduced to a semi-clandestme existence. And :nat:o: 'It would be naive to wait for a "formal" majority for the eviks.. Then we delib 'aated and came to a decision.osphere that reigned at the meeting. 440-43. No one had yet put the question so sharply. gives these reasons for the '€'entral Committee's attitude: 'Although we believed unconditionally atin Petersburg and Moscow we should succeed in seiz ng th:power.. Comrade •B\ikharin we've received a little letter here. the Bolsheviks [must] assume .r·ats headed by the revolutionary proletariat. He explained at length ·it seemed to him that victory was assured.'94 · his second letter Lenin went still further. a plan which he himself regarded as .• Lenin.enev.' Finally: 'History will .. pA. which t on being felt for several weeks. with cuts and alterations that slightly modified its significance. :J!enfn was in hiding. 25.9' 8 ·· The reaction of the Bolshevik leaders to Lenin's letter is easily 1ftiderstood. t e had suffered its first setback. while severaothr leaders.. <iY.. iMilyutin came suddenly to meet me and said: "You know. No one •ifiiew what to do.. wer. 41.t: assumed that we could not yet hold out.' It was necessary to 'consider how to for this without expressly saying as much in the press'. The article was published on July 20th.' and offered a first of a plan for the rising.'96 The Bolshevik leadership also decided ta1hstruct its members who were active in the Party's Military Organi tion and its Petrograd Committee to 'take measures to prevent ra\Iy·demonstrations in the barracks and factories'...as though it were just now-began the sessiOn .Iv approximate. No revolution ever waits for that. Vol. 'We g thered and-I remem tl&." ' The letter was read: iWe all g sped. along with Zinoviev. forgive us if we do not assume power now. In his notes of that time Sukhanov thought he . After months of succes es. who tftlthat time was on the Left of the Party. The July days and the repression organized by he Pfuvisional Government had had serious effects in the Party.t<P. 177-8.95 • • ra&rr letters of Lenin's were receiVed by the Central Comm1ttee WJien it met on September 15th in a mood of constem tion _and even 61mc. at this very moment. pp. and cleared up some ieCtS of the general problem of the insurrection.. :mcluding Trotsky. pp. For the original version see ibid.

met h. the Party's decline checked. pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 139 . . the executive of the Part branch in one of the largest iron and steel works in the Petrogra rea r solved by sixteen votes to four. Red Octob r.:• 138 LENINISM UNDER LENIN was entitled to record that 'the July events had destroyed Bolshevism' s9 He was wide of the mark. One of them. records that even on October 24th. Smtlga. pp. Nevsky. and nothing whatever was said about the means whereby this was to be effected. and which in June and July had constituted a Left 'pressure-group' in the Party. The Party's Military Organization. Realizing that this delay was an expression of the Central Committee's refusd to • Seep. wo Te July defeat d.. On September 21st this same prudence caused the Central Com mittee to decide (on second thoughts) that the Bolshevik Party \vould take part in the work of the 'Provisional Council of the Russian Re public' (the 'PreParliament'). misgivings and discourag. and this was why he opposed the October insurrection right down to the moment of victory. wanted to transform into a representative assembly to serve in place of a parliament. But scepticism. more than a fortnight after Lenin had called on his lieute· nants to put armed insurrection on the order of the day. who waassi? Ded to ke over the TelephonExchange. Three days later. who until then hd always supported Lenin's views. as chami_tan of the Regional Co ttee of the -.iJj. and even when It had begun. explained later that. the hitter expenence of the July days did not give us complete confidence in victory' (ibid. Zmoviev. 155. One of its most outstanding leaders. T. 99-100. onlthe middle cadres of the Party. 142). for example. the Party leadership passed a rcso· lution 'on the current situation and the tasks of the proletariat' in which only a brief allusion was made to the 'transfer of power' to the soviets. but Its top leadershtp as well. and then another Jomtly to the . But was it possible seriously to contemplate hurling the Bolshevik forces into an attempt to seize power when they had only just recovered from so grave a crisis? On September 15th it was by a reflex of self-preservation that bore all the signs of wisdom that the Bolshevik leaders decided to ignore Lenin's instructions.id not shake. the worrymg memory of the July defeat affected many Bolsheviks. 'schooled in the bitter experience of the July days'. was among those affected. seeking to provide itself with the legitimate foundation that it so cruelly lacked.1o1 Thus.iy navy and workers of Fmland. they could not bring themselves to support Lenin's line of 'immediate uprising'. t Daniels.* now lost much of its verve and con fidence. to declare Itself mdependent of the Party and to remain so until a new Centra] Committee had been elected. To take one example. which the Government. Lenin ost patience. p. which had been set up in order to co-ordinate and centralize the activity of the Bolshevik soldiers. Right down to the day of the rising. t By September the breach had been filled up. nothing had yet been done to bring this aim nearer accomplishment.ad indeed overcome some of the Bolsheviks in July and at t e begmnmg of August. are for a ri ing. with four abstentions. He ent a letter o the Bol k I.

or an opinion. imagined. and is preparing systematically . the Petrograd Commit . We are only J'issing resolutions. the Bolsheviks will cover themselves with eternal Shame and destroy themselves as a party.' In a postscript not intended for publication he added: 'What.. 'a peasant revolt is developing'-and he had always considered that the revolt of the CQUntryside was a decisive factor on which the fate of the revolution d pended-and.. in our Central Com tnittee and among the leaders of our Party which . admit the tlUth that there is a tendency. were now drifting away from him again.' 102 ·On September 29th Lenin wrote an article. (wmch) may prove criminal on the part of the party of the revolu tioil. on the other.' And he went on to say that 'that tendency.to be done? We must aussprechen was ist. and that they were going to miss the opportunity that had been looked forward to by a whole generation of revolutionary Marxists.. the caBs to action.. This analysis was followed by stern warnings to his mends: 'there is not the slightest doubt that if the Bolsheviks allowed tb. is. Poland. had put the revo .emselves to be caught in the trap of constitutional illusions . untiringly re. _the Moscow Committ e.' He considered that 'the pjpty must put the armed uprising on the order of the day. nevertheless.. Whereas 'the govem oient has an army. indignant: the Lenin Who.ary proletariat. . For to miss such a moment . had eamed. ardent. sionate fighting and violent polemics. W9uld be utter idiocy. whom he had only a few months before persuaded that the proletarian revolution was possible.and the Bolshevik members of the Soviets of Petrograd and Mos aQ'*· In doing this he was res?rtinto a? exceptional pro duwhich ·was to employ several times m thts penod.as his Menshevik opponent Dan had said-this rendezvous with th revolt of the masses and the people's uprising. All Lenin is here a who now. Otherwise. 140 LENINISM UNDER LENIN knew that only a few dozen kilometres separated him from the scene of operations. Events <:Q pel us to do this .peated scoldings. After the admonitions... It"would be sheer treachery to the peasants. Lenm stated that the general pohti cklisituation' was causing him 'great anxiety'. England. he was so remote: a Lenin who felt that his supporters... in those days and weeks he seethed with as much passion. as theoretician and practitioner of revolution..' 103 JiiAIJ Lenin is in these lines-feverish. We are losing time. must be over come. France and Germany. The revolution was there. He took the view that. conceived and prepared-twenty-four hours a y. then..tral Committee. as he had in exile in Switzerland. and the. [they] would most certainly be miserable traitors to the proletarian cause. that 'we are on the eve of a world-wide revolution'. now came the threat: . is opposed to tdcing power immediately. as in twenty years of pas.. is opposed to an immediate insurrection. "state the facts". in his Finnish exile where he was stifling. or opinion. on the one hand. -his letter of September 27th. at the tip of Lenin's pen. from which. Anger and fear together took hold of Lenin. and more.. tionary Party together almost by hand.closer to the rank-and-file. in which he analysed the situation nationally and inter nationally. at the muzzles of the guns of the workers of Petrograd. short-ctrcmtmg the tral Committee in order to address himself to wider levels of the . entitled 'The Crisis Has Matured'. like a craftsman. or sheer treachery to the German workers . I am afraid that the Bolsheviks forget this . . dragging their feet and retreating.. ..

ofthBolshevik ]1it:ar Orgamzatwn. For it is my profound conviction that if we . 108 Lenm. hts (movements being subject to the orders and authorizations of the l@entral Committee.'oJSo far.s. We should come to power at a moment when all enthusiasm was completely dead in the army. wanted to wait until the Second AU-Russia Congress of which was to open on October 20th. They were sure that. Volodarsky. It seems to me that we. . ?ng ot ers. let the present moment pass. . seeing in it a last vestige of 'legalism'. 'amid th present ruinous conditions. declared that. adding that 'if we . (Where he was to remain hidden until the eve of the msurrectwn. have such a maJority t the ff. I am compelled to regard this as a 'subtle' hint at the unwilling ness of the Central Committee even to consider this question [i. disguised as a mechanic.In view of the fact that the Central Committee has even left un answered the persistent demands I have been making ... who spoke after htm. satd: Certamly. as a party of real revolutionaries. 'lit'in any casthe c Il _to action should be Issued by the soviets. the Bolsheviks wou!d.y Itself raid -not possess sufficient authority to be c pable of mobi!tzmg the mksses was in favour of such a plan.. cannot take power just in order to hOld pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 141 only a mo th ?r two.. If necessary.'& v:ry firmly. ·lll1i:c:>tsky.. On ectober 7th Lenin.R.. it would be hard for us to take power. a ed force would _be us d. And Lenin ended: •I am compelled to tender my resignation from the Central Committee.e. a subtle hint that I should keep my mouth shut. reJected the i.. we shall ruin the revolution. 106 In Petrograd the Bolshevik Committee held an important meeting on October 5th at which one of its members. power t()lntl1tg closer to us: that is a fact. where the Bolshevik Left was stronger than in Petrograd. and as a proposal for me to retire. but Lenin's appeals met with no greater echo there than in the capital. s.ongress that the Provisional Government could be removed m the «Hatne of 'Soviet legality'.' 104 On October 1st Lenin returned to the charge in a brief letter in which the ceaseless repetition of a formula seems almost to suggest obsession: 'procrastination is becoming positively criminal': 'under such circumstances to "wait" would be a crime': 'delay is criminal': 'to wait would be a crime to the revolution'. But we take power now? I think we ought not to force the pace of •101 Many of the Bolshevik leaders. with <their Bolshevik maJority.. and we must take power . in view of the fact that the central organ is deleting from my articles all references to such glaring errors on the part of the Bolsheviks as the shameful decision to participate in the Pre-parliament . who was convinced that the Bolshevik orgamzatto!l. and not by the _Party. reserving for myself freedom to campaign among the rank and file of the Party and at the Party Congress.' And Lashevicha mei?be. with the iitipport of their alhes the Left S.. which I hereby do. . returned to Petrograd !iind took up lodgings secretly in the working-class qu rter of yybor ... Things could not go on like this any longer. however.. of insurrection]. rJJr'a"nks to theiele tion successes. the discussion between Lenin and his lieutenants had been ilfonducted by letter.105 This letter urged that the insurrection be begun in Moscow. which would not be willing to wage a revolutionary war.. and not the least important 10ng them. were to go to war against imperialism the annY would not follow us ..

With the questiOn of the upnsmg settled politically and ont 'the technical aspect' remaining to be dealt with.' With numerous members of the Central Committee absent th· insurrection. at the end of the year. 109 h:For the first time since his flight from Petrograd in July. 'we must not t6elay and permit Kerensky to bring up more Kornilovite troops'. Proof of this was provided the very next day when Kamenev nd Zinov!e. which Lenin would certainly have described as victory. addressing fit:\mce more. considering that only · . favour of an almost immediate insurrection. the Bolshevik delegation to the Congre_ss of S viets tof"the Northern Region. and votmg fioh a resolution which stated 'that an armed uprising is inevitable and J!the time for it is fully ripe. In the country itself the army was still.. sent aJomt letter to the Party's leading bodies.. that a basic disagreement relating not to the form to b' taken . to discuss and decide all practical questions . At first. delay would be fatal'. He expounded his thesis in. and as for the working class in the West. on October (i:()th Lenin was brought face to face with those who must be described _eaS his opponents in the Central Committee. to a wider %udience. who were the two who had voted gainst the resol ti n.. In this appeal he analysed the mternattonal ·tsituation and the rural upheaval. . outside Bolshevik control. from this point of 142 LENINISM pARTY 143 view.'uo Lenin's speech was followed by discussion. he said that the rising should not take place resoluh·on was passed by ten votes to two.sight it mit seem that voting gave Lenin complete ' IS l the meeting of the Constituent Assembly..' And then the phrases that had * orne customary with him flowed once more from his pen : 'The "Situation is such that. that showed no disposition as UNDER OF THE LENiti REVOLUTION .. point of view.ty had behind it 'the majority of the people of Russia or the aJonty of the world proletariat'.\'On October 8th he issued a fresh call for insurrection. namely..Committee instructs all Party organizations to be guided accordingly . They set forth their mterpretation of the situation.. declaring that 'The growth of a world revolution is beyond dispute. 'That is ·e crux of the matter.ft:he technical aspect' of the problem still required attention. in opposition to Lenin's deny ntht the ar.] however. Nevertheless we . in truth..by the insu rection ut to the question as to whether the momen was npfor an msurrectwn at all. over the head of the Central Committee. are inclined to regard the (fystematic preparation of an uprising as something in the nature o_f a litical sin.· . continued to prevail within the Bolshevik Party. 111 . Events were to sho.' in consequence of which 'the Central ·. as they saw it..

thus made more aware of the dissensions that were weakening their opponents. have taken such a step. inntizi'11g . head of the Soviet state (or rather. one of the principal leaders of the l'h.' while the masses gave little sign of b mg ready to fight..October lOth was politically obligatory...tio. The Party was on the upgrade again and was makmg remarkable progress-progress that would be interrupted 'only if the Party were.yet to revolt against imperialism.e Bolshevik Military Organization... (Later. Kamenev . to take the initiative in an insurrection. delegates from the trade unions "'ind the factory committees.n2 ' On October 15th the Bolshevik Committee in Moscow refused to set up a 'military revolutionary committee' with the practical task of organizing the insurrection. . Furthermore. defying all the rules of democratic centralism.'bifuk of insurrection. Among them. was circulated not only within the Party but also outside.•IT1K Military Organization. showed himself ??th 'b\'ewder and more circumspect. at which delegates of the Central Committee were present.R. <tli.. and a number of other local militants. 86-92.114 icWould the Central Committee at last assume the responsibility of :}Sading an insurrection. whereby it would expose the proletariat to the blows of the entire united counter-revolution. Far from taking as read the decision to go over at once to organiz* The text of Kamcncv and Zinoviev's letter is given in Protokoly. reinforced by members of a number of Important lParty bodies: the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Committee. And even they did not all indicate the r(fate when they thought it should take place.. IS:I.. The text.eaking after Lenin. we don't know. these two Bolsheviks of the old school would not. 'But we do not know when this will become po8sible . They hoped thereby to see disunion spread more widely in the Bolshevik ranks and Lenin's radicalism defeated. he was to admit that this body 'movd sha ly tw<nu when it was faced with the prospect of an tmmedtate rrec. in present circumstances. He acknowledged that the declSlon f. Nevsky.'* It is clear that.. took up a particularly pessimistic 'ude. at once decided to put off from October 20th to 25th the meeting of the Second Congress of Soviets. Bubnov opened the discussion on behalf of the leader ship. pp. Perhaps in a year's time. According to Kamenev and Zinoviev 'o?ly the awakening of the revolution in Europe could compel us t seize power without hesitation'.' Kali n. In any case their letter had immediate con sequences. or at least the gist of it.. and the Menshevik and S. 113 The next day saw another meeting of the Petrograd Committee. only a minority of eight declared them \etves in favour of a rising..n'. within a few days of the assembly f the 'COngress of Soviets? On October 16th there was another eetmg of Jthe Party leadership. and took te P rty to the .) He said: 'we must first organize the masses. the future first Sovxet gnitary under Lenin and then under Stalin). they considered that 'the e?emy's s rength is greater than it seems. was nevertheless regarded as excessively bold by a of those present. leaders.' b:}'Nineteen delegates from the various districts of the capital spoke one ratter the other. backed by the pctty bourge?is democrats. if they had regarded the resolutiOn passed the day before by the Central Committee as the expression of a finally settled decision.

But he had still not succeeded in laying down a definite date for the rising. it wa rejected by fifteen votes to six. the best situated proletarian internationalists in the world. energetic preparations for an armed upri ing'. 'while work of reconnaissance and preparation must not cease.' 'The reports given by the delegates from the localities about the attitude :Of the masses in Petrograd provided only a confused idea of the •i>Olitical climate that prevailed in the capital: optimistic impressions ·alternated with much less optimistic ones-and the latter were cer J!linly more numerous.* but for Lenin the struggle. had to continue to be fought out inside his Party. however that opposition to Lenin's standpoint continued to be strong. il'inember of the Central Committee..' and offeredhis supporters the example of the German revolutionaries who 'under devilishly difficult conditions. Lenin's motion was passed by nineteen to two. Finally. When Lenin's motion was first put to the meeting it was adopted by twenty votes to two. and it was this that Kamenev showed he understood when he proceeded to offer his resignation from the Central Committee. with dozens of papers at our disposal. having but one Liebknecht (and he in prison) with no newspapers. The second text was written by Zinoviev. Once more he denounced 'the heroes of "constitutional illusions" and parliamentary cretinism. In laconic style it confined itself to ruling that.' A representative of the etrograd Committee summed up in these words the opinion of his reommittee: 'We are not ready to begin such an action. with all classes of the popula tion . On October 17th he took up his pen again. with no freedom of assembly. two texts were put before the meeting. with three abstentions. freedom of assembly. with no Soviets. Lenin pointed out how disgraceful it was that 'we..§rune sense: 'We are not ready to strike the first blow. We are not 'capable of overthrowing the Government and arresting its members in the period that lies immediately ahead of us. e•r•l Another member of the Central Committee. we. with three abstentions. The first was from Lenin's pen. no action is permissible before the Bolshevik fraction in the Congress of Soviets has been consulted'. "'· When the final resolution was voted on.' And Joffe. which he saw as still undecided.and Zinoviev expounded their argu iiient afresh. a majority in the Soviets.. and expres ed 'i o pletconfidence that the Central Committee and the Soviet will mdicate m good time th favourable moment and the most appropriate methods of attack. should refuse to support the . spoke in the . incredibly hostile to the idea of internationalism . and wrote a 'Letter to Comrades'. with four abstentions. 116 Lenin had won again. said: 'It is wrong to say that the 1>roblem is now merely a technical one: today the moment for in "surrection still needs to be examined from the political standpoint. denying that the resolution of October lOth was binding Pon the Party.' Indig· nantly. The tendency that wanted to wait upon events had certainly suffered a defeat.. The fate of Zinoviev's resolution showed. started a mutiny in the navy with one chance in a hundred of winning. It called on 'all organizations 144 LENINISM UNDER LENt and all workers and soldiers to make all-round. Milyutin.

was reluc to give support to the idea of a rising.' 116 Nevertheless. o.rising'. In principle.' This vigorous language had the effect of reducing oppo to silence.:On October 18th Kamenev and Zinoviev made a final attempt to A:counter the plan for an insurrection.rv it out.117 As for car ying out . in a 'Letter to Bolshevik Party members' (and not })merely to his colleagues on the Central Committee).f.German revolutionaries by our uprising. with great anger . On iJ4:)ctober 19th Kamenev published in this paper a statement in which he t\Jf'evealed the divisions within the Bolshevik leadership. Ryazanov and Larin. Podvoisky and Antonov vseyenko. p. Podvoisky and Nevsky admitted that the Bol· • Protoko/y.!intention to take the initiative in the very near future in some armed tt. he warned: 'in insurrection. that the Military Revolutionary Committee entrusted iwith the leadership of the insurrection appointed a sub-committee M}\'i. Chudnovsky. delay is fatal. 119 "'<:Lenin reacted. which was extremely hostile to the Bolsheviks.account. Everyone. Maxim Gorky's paper Novaya cx:rZhizn. and the gathering passed a motion approving the t WDlicy of the Central Committee. Military Organization. together with Rakovsky. but to consider how we ought to . A friend of Trotsky's.. with delegates present from the different districts of the capital. He was supported by Volodarsky. pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 145 . 118 · !J. Kamenev had already offered his resignation once before. Nevsky. the purpose of the meeting was to convey to some 150 Bolshevik cadres the decisions that had been taken the previoUS day by the Central Committee. It iimport nt. 'The decision of the Central · on the uprising has been made. had in its issue p-:9f the previous day alluded to the letter that the two opponents of o 's policy had addressed to the Party on October 11th. at a date so close to the meeting of the Congress of Soviets. According to Podvoisky's u. nothmg was ready yet on October 17th-only a week tabefore the seizure of power. We have not gathered to set aside a ision of the Central Committee.th responsibility for drawing up a final and precise plan. whe1l the Bolsheviks decided to leave the Pre-Parliament. but no notice seems to have been taken of this. the day before the actual J:nsurrection. was the first to speak. as before.tfwas only on the afternoon of October 24th. . to at phasize the degree of unpreparedness of the Bolshevik orgamza 10n 1s a whole..olshevik Military Organization. He referred to p. the Party still hesitated. except Lenin. He rejected the idea of an insurrection before the meeting of the Soviet Congress. 105.this decision and the technical arrangements for e insurrectiOn.' And. I am speaking here in the of the Central Committee and I will allow no one to reconsider a (leciisl<l•n that has been made. 'everyone was agreed on postponing the insurrection for cb'everal _weeks'. He declared against a rising.the 'protest' made by Zinoviev and himself 'against our Party's . Another member of the itatOrganization then spoke. that is. On that day Lenin met the leaders of the JP. but speech was interrupted by Sverdlov. On October 17th a conference of the Petrograd Bolshevik Committee and the Military Organization was held. whose spokesmen they were.

Lenin had argued against him.. He had several times asked the Central Committee for permission to go to the Smolny Institute. Not being anxious to create difficulties for themselves by the presence of such a compromising personage. Written in a style that was perhaps not so much menacing as moving. by the struggle of the armed people. wrote these words in a note he left for her. settling the fate of the Provisional Government and of bourgeois Russia. Stalin took the view that 'expulsion from the Party is not a recipe.'l23 At the moment when Lenin wrote this letter he was unaware that the die had at last been cast.*The next day he declared to the Central Committee: 'If that is tol s :erated. At that moment. by the masses. escaping from the vigilance of his landlady. the Party will be destroyed . to secure the expulsion of both of them from the Party. Associatki)lg Zinoviev with Kamenev in this matter. he wrote: 'I declare outtr. he had pub lished a communication from Zinoviev wherein the latter had alluded to an article in which. With all my might I urge comrades to realize that everything now hangs by a thread.. Lenin addressed a final letter to the members of the Central Committee. 121 146 LENINISM UNDER LENIN However. and ordered that the offices of two Bolshevik papers be sealed up. its founder.' 124 PARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 147 . The situation is critical in the extreme. 122 What was involved here was not so much a concern for unity on Stalin's part as a degree of political solidarity with the men whom Lenin looked upon as strike-breakers. At last. with those whom Lenin wanted to expel from the Party. defying discipline. Lenin was still biting his nails in the flat in the Vyborg district that was his hiding-place. the Central Committee had refused. without actually giving his name. the letter began thus: 'I am writing these lines on the evening of the 24th..' 120 ft. the cardinal virtue of Bolshevism.gainst the publication of Kamenev's 'strikebreaking' letter.ght that I no longer consider either of them comrades and that I will :fight with all my might. that we are confronted by problems which are not to be solved by conferences or congresses (even congresses of Soviets). the last he was to put on paper before the conquest of power: 'I am going where you did not want me to go. On October 20th the Central Committee considered Lenin's letter. Goodbye. That night the revolutionary forces moved into battle at last. In fact it is now absolutely clear that to delay the uprising would be fatal. Stalin had accompanied this contribution by Zinoviev with an editorial note in which he said that 'the sharp tone of Comrade Lenin's article does not alter the fact that we remain in solidarity as political comrades'-still comrades. where the Petrograd Soviet and the Military Revolutionary Commit tee had their headquarters. In the Party organ which he was chiefly responsible for. and we must keep the unity of the Party intact'. the Party did not expel the 'strikebreakers'. But it was doubtless no accident that the spark which exploded the powder-magazine of Petrograd was struck by the Provisional Government and not by the Bolshevik revolu tionaries. During the night of October 24th-25th the ministers decided to take action against their enemies.of the Central Committee' to expel Kamenev and Zinoviev. the Party will become impossible.th&. cia'here can and must be only one answer to that: an immediate decision ot. On October 24th.. The general staff of the insurrection reacted to this measure. that is. but exclusively by peoples.. both in the Central Committee and at the tMCongress.

the moment for taking their revenge. as we shall seerelying apon the masses. as though history had carried out upon it and through it a . becam. of repulsion or of devotion. and sometimes urged on by them. institutions and states may all find {liemselves turned topsy-turvy. The pace of events is accelerated. In tire c. in the narrow margin that social ity allows to human freedom. namely.·: Metamorphosis of the Bolshevik Party rp An historical survey of the activity of the Bolshevik Party in 1917 oonfinns something that the first part of this study had enabled us to perceive. or what has been thought to be impossible. Historical necessities.if.fQr the first time in history. It is -important to show that this was especially so in the year and in the tvent that decided Russia's fate. the revolutionary party consecrated by the 0Ctober victory as the party of the revolution. suddenly 11etomes reality. as though a sing!· schema and a single process of conditioning had shaped the Bolshevik Party. often against the leadership of his own Party-drove his country forward onto the road ef''socialist revolution. the mightiest of modern political upheavals. it is clear. crouching for the moment in the shadows.. It was the triumph of Bolshevism tfult caused it to become a focus of attention everywhere. from its very beginning. •'•"•• I.· borated? The history of Bolshevism.Wtth?u. the organizational conceptions it had . _in 1917. But what has been achieved nevertheless remains: in this case. through the victory of Oc ober 1917. who. X•'The position of Leninism' means here. involving conflict. .ase of Bolshevism a socialist party had successfully carried out. This history was seen as a unified whole. whether in a 't)irit of hatred or one of enthusiasm. an ideal and a model. achieved by Lenin. that the relation between Lenin and his party was often a difficult one.was..148 LENINISM UNDER LENr. and rarely harmonious. one must take account of the evidence: when. an individual possessing exceptional . thus . fotthe fact of their triumph in 1917. fighting against the hostility of some and the inertia of others. acting ifith_e 'direction of history'. the source of inspiration and guidance for a whole generatiOn (at least) of revolutionary miii tants.lt<-1s useless to ask what wo ld have happe ed in Russia . :tfiere had not been a party hke the Bolshev1k Party. as indeed happened in Russia. a proletarian revolution. and m It a man like Lenin? with as determined a re olution ry . as p rsuasive ai{d effective a lea er as h.will as his. that is. doubtless await. this was due. thereby establishing for ever the sition of Leninism in history. Was not the aecret of this victory to be found in the specific structures that were cllaracteristic of Bolshevism.@Wers intervenes. opposed by a ooalition of states and of the conservative forces in Russia.t w1shmg to underest ate the lfeight of economic condttlons m decidmg the course of pohttcal and -s'dclal evolution. and tiftf impossible. then facts. that of tlte Leninist organization. to a large extent. impassive and patient. If Leninism and the teninist organization became for a substantial section of the working olas movement a guide.

though they did not wholly vanish. which had broken with its original con· pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 149 :ne:o itself at last. and very freely. The right of these tendencies to exist and develop. a kind of metamorphosis that makes it dubious. now became a reality. For historical analysis shows that in 1917. The merits of this Party were projected into the past and attributed to the underground organization-closed. the iooishevik leadership would have been hard put to it to impose eonolithicity. the Party of the revolution. in the course of the revolution that made of Bolshevism a universal model. even in the Central (Committee itself. centralization.Thereexisted. had prepared the way for this triumph. On the out . How. a great diversity of opinions it. then. and homogeneity (not to speak of monolithicity). and. Reduced in 1910 to a membership that was certainly less than 10. the rigid centralism that was a corollary of this discipline and hierarchical spirit declined. was the Party able to claim to unite its emt)CrS around a tactic and a strategy that were common to all? :<mfront(:d with an unexpected situation. yielding place to a variety of tendencies that were in many ways mutually contradictory. conspira torial methods. or renovated. with the Party that prepared the way for it under the Tsarist regime.task hat as co tinuous and linear.000. under the influence of a thousand tumul· tuous. The taking of power by the Russtan proletanat m 1917 appeared as the practical and therefore irrefutable. The Party that triumphed in 1917 was Identified wtth the Party that from 1903 to 1914.000.* Having been obliged by force of circumstance to organize in a not very democratic way. disciplined and homogeneous-that Lenin had founded and developed between 1903 and 1906 and in the d rk years oth'period of reaction'. At every level of the hierarchy. and the disagreement between the various tendencies was blicly known. and in February 1917 numbering no more than 20. proclaimed in theory in 1905-6 but denied in practice during the years of reaction. the Leninist organization underwent profound transformations. at the same time. proof of the virtues of clandestinity. with many and sudden . even false. The monolithic character that Lenin had tried to give the Party during the last pre-war years disappeared completely. to the irruption of the masses the political scene. conspiratorial. centralized. the Party that 'made' the October revolution. The rules of underground work. Party. The requirements of discipline and 'absolute obedience' faded away. to identify. the Party saw its membership increase thereafter more than tenfold. woc·racy in the Bolshevik Party 1our the year 1917 the Bolshevik Party never looked like a tnni()lltruc party and never sought to conceal the fact that it was not ·a party.'::ebanges and a dynamic the pace and scope of which might take by · jurprise the boldest and most optimistic of revolutionaries. ome of these debates depended not merely the line of the Party's !day-to-day policy but the very fate of the revolution. or even in a basically antidemocratic one. on the contrary. The Bolshevik . without qualification. tendencies clashed in decisive debates. Yet this view is not entirely correct. In other words. and during the First World War. 1917 saw the birth of a new. ungovernable pressures. the Party opened itself in 1917 to the life-giving breeze of democracy. became less important than the methods of public discussion. It was indeed a metamorphosis that occurred. discipline.

The Petrograd sn"'. and an outlook that showed itself at certain moments in Bolsheviks who. indignant at the conservative imperialist policy that Milyukov continued to follow as Foreign Minister.ing to restrain the impetuosity of the masses. from which Lenin had sought. and put an end to the conciliatory followed by the Party up to that time. 442. . Dominant until the leader's return to Petrograd. in this moderate and temporizing tendency in the Bolshevik Party seemed to endow it with special cohesion. namely. constantly striv . however. and it :Opposed right down to the eve of the seizure of power Lenin's plan for armed insurrection. we have already seen at work. sec the concluding chapter of the book. including -Kamenev. desirous of Cr<>ssiin swords immediately with the Provisional Government. to master their impatience . which was turning into a and the Bolshevik Central . t On the role of dialectics in Leninism. cautious. to exclude every factor of division. 158. Lenin himself. •Several 'Right-centre' and 'Left-centre' shades of opinion. Yet it needs to be pointed out that 'moderatism' and opportunism were not concen ·trated in an organized group in the Party. of outstanding leaders. the moderate. when it became an in1dependent formation (in 1912). then separated off to the Left of Lenin. although this became strengthened by the course of events. with. The disagreement between this wing and Lenin (and the eventual majority in the Central Committee) turned upon a fundamental problem. this wing never yielded to his authority.and.: What was true of the 'moderate' trend in the Party was even truer of Its 'Leftist' wing. or merely of members of the Central Committee who were 150 prepared to undertake the leadership of this tendency. sometimes of decisive ditioning and transcended this in a dialectical way. p. *Sec p. played such a role. ·-"'The Bolshevik Right.. called for an end to this demonstration. and acting overthrow it. inside the Party itself. between them. whether it was possible to 'go over' . on other occasions. Once he had beltt the Right wing. owing to the lack.!brganization... A more radical tendency. to 'hold Lenin back'. During April 1917 the 'Left' tendency in the Party expressed with vigour. The presence of leaders of front-rank importance. came out into the streets of the capital and voic::6 their hostility to the Provisional Government. were close to Lenin... What was involved here was both a trend and an outlook: a trend led by prominent members of ·the Central Committee. The Petrograd masses. as we have see to a more cautious line.from the bourgeois to the proletarian revolution. conciliatory. he went over. 1thus possessed a Right wing and a Left wing. in this case.t a Party that • unportance . reformist tendency in the Party. when he came back from exile to Petrograd and in weeks immediately following. To be snr.

On the contrary..N. without defeats there can be no victories. but. it was even nr1nnc>se to hold a Party 'trial' of them. he considered.LN.. In the Petrograd Committee of the Party other '. advance' and in any case ruling out the possibility of violent . Some militants tore up their Palrll cards. There could be no question of subjecting the Leftists. revolutionary socialism.. but were not always successful. tendency was stronger among the rank-and-file than among the leaders of the Party. This observation has a wider implication and reflects a reality that is not peculiar to the year 1917 or to the Bolsheviks: the closer one gets to the rank-and-file and the masses. 125 The June days 126 were preceded in the Party by a clash .128 The Petrograd Committee did hesitate. or 'Leftist'. Nevskyw. Trotsky notes. that 'the deeper down this question went into the party. Lenin showed a great deal of understanding in relation to this phenomenon. if revelation was needed. to weigh carefully the risks of an undertaking. having first been considered by the Central Committee. of 'realism'.lllo played a highly important role all through the year 1917.' 132 One last observation needs to be made. and that it found expression with greater vigour whenever a question. 29 It can be shown that in the events leading up to the July days 'Left' Bolsheviks were especially active.. the more decisively did the correlation of forces change in favour of the boycott'. at least) is the desire for direct action. speakmg the name of the Military Organization. on grounds. in his history of the revolution. This was the case with several members the Bolshevik Military Organization. study its The Bolshevik Military Organization again appeared as a bast1on the Left.Committee supported this decision. outweighing those considerations which cause leaders. with less well-known militants taking part. those who charged the leadership with timidity. The Bolshevik representative in Kronstadt acknowledged those moments 'were among the most unpleasant of his life'. 130 and for this reason defeat that the Party then suffered was by some laid at their According to the memoirs of one of the 'Leftists'.. It seems that this 'Left'. called publicly for an arn1e4 mobilization. violently ext>rel sing its anger and resentment. often justified. when. with crowd sometimes led by Bolshevik Party members. the persistence 'Left' trend among the Bolsheviks. Right and Left. One of these. was then discussed in a wider circle of members.LL tried to appease their critics. 133 that is. speaking in a discussion on the eve of the June crisis. an unnamed member of the Party's Military Organization expressed correctly the state of mind of its toughest members. with the latter urging that an armed demonstration organized and the former hesitating to encourage the masses tllE PARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 151 Bolsheviks condemnation of 'Leftism' was fast becoming a regular thing. . Party leadership had been subjected to strong pressure by milit:alltts who wanted to hasten the course of events and bring down Provisional Government. 12 7 When the leaders of the Soviet forbade the de11nor1Strati<>n the Central Committee bowed to this ruling. either. entrusted with co-ordinating promoting Party activities in the army. voiced the same demand. to express its dissatisfaction.' 131 Finally. the greater (in a revolutionary period. The reactions caused their decision revealed... in favour of the Left. it should also be added. he said: 'It is time we remembered that we represent not only socialism.. to any pressure or repression. the more radical the feeling. Referring to the problem that the Bolshevik Party had to face regarding participation in or boycott of the Pre-Parliament. The idea was not followed up. it had to be appreciated that 'he who takes no risks does not win.. Zinoviev and J.

the meeting noted the masses' desire to give expression to their will in a street demonstration. All these votes showed that a strong minority. ytith a number of intermediate shades of opinion separating them. for obvious reasons. to an increasing extent at every level of the Party: 'Almost all the local organizations formed into majorities and minorities. a more or less pro· portional representation of the different tendencies was guaranteed.lution: was it a purely bourgeots revolutiOn. At the Bolsheviks' n tiOnal conference in April 1917 Lenin said that 'it would be ad VIsable openly to discuss our differences'. one after the other: by 58 to 37. And so the Bolshevik Party was divided. above all. This occurred when the Central Committee was elected at the national . with 80 abstentions. the Bolshevik delegation to the PreParliament. e Wanted 'all elections' within the Party to be conducted around the Ues.·"' other reasons because Lenin was against it. and how they were d alt with at the top of the Party hierarchy. the revo. when the principal resolution was voted on at the April conference. and by 47 to 42. had not yet entered into Communist practice. and representatives of the rank-and-file were associated with the ultimate decision.tion of support for versus opposition to participation in the Pre arhament. the numbers of which fluctuated but which was always there.'l36 Indeed. with 52 abstentions. seek to preserve what has already been won. Whereas among chances of success and. It IS not enough to note this coexistence of different trends: we must see What kind of relations obtained between them.* More examples could be given. between a cautious wing that preferred to wait upon events and a wing that was mainly characterized by its will to attack. 134 In September. de cided by 77 to 50 to reject the idea of a boycott. that.137 A procedure of the same kind was followed in September when it became necessary to decide whether or not to boycott the Pre-Parliament: it was not the Central Committee but a broader grouping. existed among the Party cadres. all the major choices and great decisions that the Party had to take in 1917 were always subjected to discussion and a vote. with 8 abstentions. Whenever the Bolsheviks had to elect their leading bodies. t Certainly. The idea that these organs must. informal gathering at which three resolutions were voted on. and it was within this body that the majority and the minority were defined and counted: but participation in these meetings of the Central Committee was on several occasions 'enlarged'. and there was never any question of excluding this minority from the executive organs of the Party. 135 This confrontation of tendencies appeared. be marked by strict political homogeneity and therefore composed exclusively of members of the majority. Their existence dispensed With any official 'permission': it was an accomplished fact. part of the rea ity of revolutionary Russia and of the Party. for reasons of efficiency. during the year in which it took power. the question of insurrection was. This happened when Lenin returned to Russia and it was a matter of decid ng the P rty's co ception of. it declared that the proletariat of the capital would demonstrate even if the Soviet were toforbid this. when he Xpected an extraordinary congress of the Party was going to be held. or dtd the questwn of gomg over to the socialist revolution arise at once with the abolition ofTsardom? The important extent of the difference of opinion among the Bolsheviks was re flected in the sharpness of the debates and in the size of the minority votes: 71 to 39. discussed by the Central Committee. In June the question as to whether the Party should organize a demon stration directed against the Provisional Government was debated and settled not by the Central Committee or the Petrograd Committee but by a large. reversing the decision originally taken by the Central Committee. as Trotsky 152 LENINISM UNDER LENIN mentions.

but taking the opposite line.ccasions.8f:·group of six more or less avowed 'Right-wingers': Dzerzhinsky. it was also. but. and did li .This desire to associate the minority with the deciding and applica 'tion of Party policy is to beseen in other ways: the presenceof'minority' members in the Bolshevik press organs. iKamenev was able. They were unable. 138. along with Lenin.. a political bureau (the origin of the :\Rolitburo' that was to become so famous). Nogin. Rykov. The example was set by Lenin himself when. the role played by this first political bureau was a very . Zinoviev.Jn·October. to ·survive the new mood.'"'.opportunity of expounding the latter's view in thorough fashion at 'important Party meetings. Stalin. Fyodo ·i()v). after the first phase of radicalization of the masses and the Party. the Party saw these principles ·brushed aside. including those of greatest importance. p. consequently.. Absolute respect for decisions taken by higher 'authorities gave way to a less formal and centralistic conception of 'f>rgani.present a counter-report criticizing Lenin's views on the national tquestion. on several '. • Seep. charged with the respon :sibility. of the insurrection. any more than was monolithicity.t and Pyatakov was allowed to . At the April Conference. .tas In order that Kamenev might be elected Lenin had to make a . PARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 153 of whom belonged to what was then the majority trend in the (Lenin.l41 'b This was not the only change that the Party experienced in 1917. the Bolsheviks decided to form a smaller body. an executive organ which was called upon to put into effect the Party's policy. for example. and. in the absence of a :Rolitical Bureau.pJiblic statement declaring that the presence in the Central Committee efi. ·to open the debate on general policy. in those days of decision. The Committee comprised nine members. Kamenev and Zinoviev. 140 and the practice of provid ing for a 'minority report'. Sokolnikov and Bubnov-but also >Kamenev and Zinoviev. those determined opponents of the armed ising and chief representatives of the minority.conference of April 1917. Sverdlov and Smilga). Milyutin.ery flexible way the prerogatives of the Central Committee. . Actually. Stalin. as decided at congresses and conferences. Nogin. .the leader of the Right wing would be 'very valuable' for the iBartY·tss This Right tendency was relatively less numerous in the eentral Committee that was elected at the Party Congress held in p. 86. giving a representative of the 'opposition' ran.* <:. t Seep.ugust 1917. he interpreted in a :"f.• Protokoly. within a few days of the insurrection. 133. Milyutin.zation. out of twenty-one members it could count on .eed for discipline and for hierarchy.r 1en1tea the moderate wing (Kamenev. While the Central :€6mmittee was a deliberative body. Trotsky.<>.After having proclaimed-in different historical circumstances-the ll. even so. while four . To this bureau were ssigned Lenin. for day-to-day leadership of the :Barty.

publish an organ of its own. and _sttll less of 'absolute obedience'. at the same time. he proposed a resolution providing a series of guarantees of freedom of expression for the Petrog ad organi_zation. and the _Bolshevtk fractton m thCongress of Soviets of the Northern Regt?n. 14'1 Although he reiterated his view that 'the decision of the Petrograd Committee's Executive to establish a special newspaper in Petrograd is utterly wrong and un desirable. wtth those who put tt forward. I 54 LENINISM _pARTY UNDER OF THE LENIN REVOLUTION 155 not shrink froaddress ng himself to rgans that were closer to the rank-and-file.on. t? the P tro rad Commtttee.* In the. was the most important organization in the Party. and e en o_rgans whtch. Tht's was notably what happened. In May 1917 the Bolsheviks of Petrograd demanded the right to have their own paper. owing to its locatiOn and numbers. the Bolshevik organization in Petrograd Informed the Central Committee that it had 'decided to set up a shareholding company to acquire a press and . been able to endow its paper. ' t See p. decided that 'for the moment' the Petrograd Committee could nothavea 'separate organ'. 143 Despite his desire to be conciliatory.142 So as not to clash direct!.'145 he proved unable to overcome the opposition of the Petrograd Bolsheviks. . and even more those of October. the Moscow Committee. 147 oon afterward. showed a spirit of independence. which. wtthout usmg the leadershtp as his channel of commu · . Lenin opposed this demand w ich he saw as 'was eful and harmful'. Dinor one. Until that time the Military Organization catt. were under the dtr ct mfluence of te Party leaders. when he directed some 0 hrs let ers not merely to the Ce tral Committee but also. or at least autonomous in relation to thorgan of the Central Committee (Pravda).!. however. with a style "':eeks preceding the October insurrection..ranks of the olshevik Party in I 9 I 7 there was little question of obe_dtence. 132. 146 The Central Committee did not accept defeat and.. At a conference of the organization in the capital the decision to publish a special paper of their own was con firmed by 51 to 19. Soldatskaya Pravda. independent. which they regarded as ttmorous and conservative. prevented this decision from being put into effect.often came up against serious resistance. bemg based in the capital itself..acJcs suffered by the Bolsheviks caused a certain reaction to set !ll. at a meeting in August.lliSL the 'Leftists'.' 148 The events of September. and ":' en soe of his messages were transmitted directly to meetmgs of mthtants m the capital. however. If the Petrograd Committee had considerable influence in the . as we have seen. during tnhr. this resolutiOn was reJected by 16 votes to 12. The Central Commtttee's au honty. This _was the case wtth the Petrograd Committee. with 16 abstentions.

The decision brought about a crisis in relations ]1etween the Central Committee and the Military Organization.stitute . the role playd by the very radical Military Organization was no l ss Important. they now found themselves in an 156 LENINISM UNDER LENIN unprecedented situation which had been created by the masses. Thus. Whtle carrying out its task in the army. proposing to have a general talk with the editors of the paper. stating that the Military Organization's central bureau 'cannot eon. This struggle became harder after the July events. but deciding to establish 'tem porary supervision' over the editorial board. such powerful organizations as these.. and the Central Committee proceeded to retreat still further.149 This attitude othe part of te Military Organi . se-verely condemned. ?uring the first days of :JJJiy while the Party's central organ was callmg upon the workers to j'jJJl in calm. 150 . which weakened their position) who wrote for the paper called Novaya Zhizn. sometimes very sharp. This concession was not enough to make the Bolshevik writers for Novaya Zhizn give up their resistance. the Central Committee decided to look at the question afresh. times so strong. m order to preserve the de facto autonomy which it enjoyed. and the Central Committee decided to put an end to the virtual autonomy that Soldatskaya !Jravda had enjoyed. This relaxation of discipline is easily explained. Thus. and so contrary to that of the Central Committee that these cadres were led to ignore the policy that the Party leadership had decided upon.. 151 . which refused to obey it. Stalin informed the Military Organization that. after ·the July defeat. edited by Maxm Gorky. The pressure exercised by the latter upon the Bolshevik cadres was some. when the • See p.different from those of Pravda itself.The instructions and even the orders of the Central Committee were not always carried out any better when they were addressed not to.:zatj. there was the case of a certain number of Bolsheviks (some of whom had only recently joined the Party. Towards the end of August the Central Committee decided to 'order these Party members to inform the editorial board of their refusal to continue writing' for Novaya Zhizn. This paper upheld views that were close to the 'Left-Menshevik' platform.. The Central Committee retreated somewhat. this organiza tiOn w ged struggle. In the face of this reaction. The Bolsheviks con cerned asked to be allowed to 'settle this matter on their own'. even a policy that were distinctive. 141. a decision had been taken by the Central Committee. The central bureau of the Military Organization decided that such a point of view was 'unacceptable'. 'it must be earried out without discussion'.. but to a small group of i:b.dividuals. . Whereas before the revolution the Bolshevik militants had been subject only to the ·Pressures of their central leadership. an independent political centre'.Part. arid 'demanded the immediate normalization of relations between the tWo organizations'. and sometimes markedly . Soldatskaya Pravda declared that 'the time has come not :dtisleep but to act'. against the Central Committee. and then 'proposed' to the Party members that they withdrew their signatures'-which did not imply that they must cease to· write for Gorky's paper.on and of some of the members m charge of tts paper was. authorizing publica tion of a special paper by this body. and often showed hostility to Bolshevik pOlicy.

it was due to the general line of its oppositional policy and to \theauthority enjoyed by its leader.diSrtt of the Petrograd Sovtet. r. 152 At almost the same moment the two chief Bolshevik delegates in Kronstadt found themselves faced with a crowd impatient to settle with the Provisional Government and march on Petrograd. To these technical factors were added the desire manifested by the local and regional organizations to enjoy a wide freedom of judgment in decid ing their policy.' 157 In the provmces the sttuatwn was ·\Jl'O different. de livered an inflammatory speech. for example. * Seep.' decided to estab lish a body of 'travelling representatives'. had just been talking on the tele phone with Kamenev. was carried away by the feverish atmosphere prevailing in the plant. did not prevent the Bolrtshevik Party from maintaining a degree of cohesion and unity that S<e0]J. and especially the postal service. 154 These efforts do not appear to have been very fruitful. Roshal. disregarding the orders he had been given to preach calm to the workers.166 ·TJris tendency towards de facto autonomy reflected a general feature :thecountry's political life. for . Simferopol. the secretary of the Bolshevik Committee in the Putilov works. far from obeying. who. to be dispatched to the Bolshevik organizations in the provinces. pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 157 p{p1d this separation did not take place in Omsk and Irkutsk until (i)CtOber.. though active. and called on the workers to go into action. each made uan autonomous s?vtet Jealo sly J depen .trasted with the increasingly divided state of the other Socialist eparties. were very defective in the Russia of 1917. In the Petrograd area. This being so. 'the workers of the Bolshevik fortresses of Vyborg. One of the delegates. and in particular of the rule of centralization that Lenin had introduced? Not very much. in the name of the Central Committee. communications.mistake this authority of Lenin's for some forni of personal dic- . 'Don't worry. 'we will compel them to do so from here. after acknowledging at its meeting on August 31st that 'hitherto.tw lve bor ughs of JJhe capital . so jeopardizing their freedom of action. Furthermore. in this great upheaval. and especially the . had ordered him to damp down the ardour of the workers and sailor of the great naval base. it is important not ·t tt). for purely technical reasons. wScbluesselburg. Narva. As we shall see.* the Bolshevik central organization was weak and poorly adapted to the tremendous increase in the Party's activities and membership. during the July days At the start of the evening of July 3rd. 27'1.iJ1f these centrifugal forces. 'And what if the party does not act?' he asked.This happened.' 153 What was left.. the work of the Central Com mittee has been mainly concentrated on Petersburg. a number of local sections maintained down to the beginning of the autumn of 1917 committees in which Bolsheviks and Mensheviks sat side by side. one of the basic principles of which was centralism. His partner. Kronstadt. Vladivos tok and Tomsk decided to break their organic ties with the Mensheviks. It was only in September that the Bol sheviks in such important centres as Taganrog. Raskolnikov pointed out to him that he was going against the orders of the leadership. The Central Committee. partly as a result of resistance put up by the local committees. The Soviet institution was itself charac by a high degree of decentralization. Raskolnikov. 155 It is no less signi ficant that in this Leninist party.:liJiStance. They sometimes opposed the formation of a regional authority which would link them more closely with the Central Com mittee.' Roshal replied. of the initial values and schemata of Bolshevism.

164 The writer who has most systematically studied the evolution of Bolshevik Party membership nevertheless regards the figure of 400.' said Sverdlov. in the Moscow region there were 50. The report presented by Sverdlov to the Sixth Party Congress. wrote in his memoirs that their 'army' was 'growing hour by hour'.enjoy unchallenged authority. . Slutsky. ri () Opening-up and 'de-Bolshevizing' the party P<l'b. held in August.hhenin the Party leader of 1917 was no personal dictator. Here. In April. which could bring pressure to wbear to impose the decision that Lenin was unable on his own to . from the bottom to the topmost leadership.000.hought unchallengeable. On the eve of the fall of Tsardom it numbered 23. said of Lenin and Zinoviev: 'they did every ::. the criticism of the founder of Bolshevism ·@nd chief creator of the Bolshevik Party.*The numbers continued to grow during the weeks leading up to the October insurrection. which affected it at every level.a8/unacceptable'.000 as .ipersuade that body to take. showed that in Petrograd there were now 41. If the spirit reigning in the Party underwent profound -ge. and this occurred without any beating Rabout the bush.000. one can all too easily project features belonging do. to appeal to audiences grbtoader than the Central Committee.onstration. as against 15.600.a later phase of history back into a period which knew them not. Kamenev openly described Lenin's theses 1J.to call off the demonstration against the Provisional Government..204. 'These figures are minimum figures. 160 The national conference held in April revealed that membership had grown in a few weeks to 79. a member of the executive of the Petrograd Committee. 163 At the Central Committee meeting of October 16th.<'tatorship.' 159 anln.161 The events of the spring and the way that the Bolsheviks reacted to them produced a fresh influx of members.pponents within the Party..fact Lenin was obliged-and especially with regard to the most n. were due to other factors :Sides the political transformations caused by the revolutionary ·)•vents of 1917.000 in April. Party membership increased considerably.important episode of the year 1917-in order to fight against the \l' porizing tendency that predominated in the Central Committee !i! held back the October insurrection.000 at least'-and the minutes add that he 'produced proof' of this.000. Between the February and October irmolutions his policy was almost continuously under attack from . I.158 In June. and did not Le. and in the Donets Basin there were 15.ven.1-. as against about 15.this also resulted from the fact that the composition of the 158 LENINISM UNDER LENIN Party was subjected in that year to a veritable upheaval.t>. A. as against 5.000. as against 13. Leninfound himself vigorously attacked by the rank-and-file. Sverdlov said that 'the growth of the Party has reached gigantic proportions: at the present time it must be estimated at 400.thing to undermine our organization by cancelling the June lOth i dem.000. in the Urals there were 24-25. indicating that the total membership of the Party now numbered 240.000 members.500. des cribing the progress achieved by the Bolsheviks in September 1917. too. after the Central Committee's decision .e challenging within his own organization of the leader who had been Jlt..162 Sukhanov.000. During wassharp discussion.

though not numerous.nand that Trotsky was 'always true to himself-twists.167 In February 1917. Lenin defended Trotsky. 'September. This transformation was. Lenin acknow ledged in September 1917 'the absence of any statistics concerning the fluctuation of the party membership .i" would have been in a position to follow and record the rapid growth of the organization. nor did it affect only the rank-and-file. conspiratorial and centralized organization of the Tsarist period. swindles. moreover. he worked among the mezhraiontsi for a merger [with the olsheviks]. lfrotsky did not join the Bolshevik Party until August.slightly exaggerated. only one had been a member of the old organization. however. and more disposed to cherish old grudges. to the editorial board of Pravda. in the difficult July days he proved himself equal Jthe task and a loyal supporter of the party of the revolutionary Pfeletariat. that rejected this itlea. Trotsky at once took up an internationalist stand.'* As soon as he had officially joined the Party. dpon his arrival. Dunng the war Lenin l. at the time of the October revolution.. only a few '(Jays before the revolution.166 and it is hardly likely that the Party secretariat. '. pARTY OF THE REVOLUTION 159 fatltY· had experienan. only one had been formed in the hard school of the closed. less flexible than tenin. On several occasions Lenin had edTrotsky a'Kautskian'. that the increase in Bolshevik membership in 1917 was so great that. It remains clear. was .. at the Sixth Congress. not merely quantitative in character..filtd·· attacked him virulently because he dxd not share Lenin's ideas ralJOut 'revolutionary defeatism'. he uttered a judgment on Trotsky in i'bich hatred was mingled with scorn. Among these new eaders the mot di tmgUished was Trots y. es as a Left: helps the Right. third.l69 nAt the end of September 1917. in a document addressed to the ·Bolsheviks of Petrograd. too. the .teak all links with the centrists.165 These figures must indeed not be taken too literally. 1'68 Trotsky's teiurn to Russia. ond. writing: 'First. The others had come to Bolshevism only in the period of its expansion and trans formation. and. and also because he was reluctant to :t. so long as he can . with its tiny staff. which was the :\forst insult in Lenin's vocabulary. writing in a letter to Inessa Wn.t 21tiffis position in the Bolshevik Party was the stronger because he had entered it quite alone. Trotsky was elected to the Central Committee. and the role that he at once began to play in the &>viet and as a mass agitator helped to open Lenin's eyes very quickly tc)'the merits of his adversary and to the latter's revolutionary attitude. a most inappropriate epithet.. Within a very brief period the old quarrels between them were buried. It was the Central Committee. but already in :May Lenin had proposed to the Central Committee that he be en tmisted with the chief editorship of a new popular paper which Lenin tbbught of launching. of every twenty members. and thinks that Sverdlov adduced it in order to demonstrate the Party's strength and in this way to support Lenin's argument in favour of insurrection. At the top..injection of new blood. He belonged in 1917 to a socialist group ch.

yielding through tactical calculation or political weakness to the growing orthodoxy and the cult of Lenin. and reproached the Bolshevik for its sectarian attitude and authoritarian tendencies. 300. centralism. 31-2. which is also given in Gorky. they were cntical tLenin's organizational conceptions. ho. 288. . L. Not surprisingly. t Seep. does indeed illuminate the process of genuine trans formation that Lenin's Party underwent in the great revolutionary period opening with the fall of Tsardom in February 1917.Yet. Lenin (Vol. untill962. 41. The contribution made by the past. 260) confirms this figure. rejected this appointment. was to refrain from ever taking up again t is thesis of the 'de Bol hevized party'. :. *Preparing for October. whatever its shortcomings. the Central Committee had.R. And . nsheviks.000 in Petrograd. however.Deutscher. by · otes to 10 and against Lenin's wish. Vol.. although schematic.000. 25. pp. and it was decided that the period of their memb ship o th'inter-di trict' organization shoud be regarded for purpo: of sen onty as eqmv lent o the same penospent in the Bolshevik Party 1tself. s an unconditional Leninist. I. p. Trotsky. who numbered 4. become 'de-Bolshevized'. this thesis of the 'deBolshevization' of the Bolshevik Party as a result of the February revolution of 1917 and all through its most turbulent and most triumphant phase has much to be said for it. p.l71 e A de-Bolshevized party. hoped to reunite Bolsheviks and Left-wing :.extremely active and played an doubted role in the movement: the mezhraiontsi ('inter-district' oup) had since 1913 brought together those revolutionary militants . 279. on the organizational plane. then the formula of 'de-Bolshevization'. and certainly undialec tical.S. Some Bols evik 'Conciliators' hd joined this g o. when anxious to present himself in his s ruggle with Stalin. declaring that Lenin's Party had. Prophet Armed.t·nough much more radical than the Mensheviks. Later on. through th effects of the revolution. this document was not published in the the U. Schapiro gives the figure 200. came 0 strongly for unification. After the y days. discipline and the 'Party spirit'. The thesis of 'de-Bolshevization' has been carried to its most extreme consequences by the . 447. : ·R. In his book on The Communist Party oft e Soviet Union. 173. in 1958. p. 160 LENINISM UNDER LEN! '! ·FA. p. above all. perhaps apologetJcal m purpose. But if Bolshevism in its original form meant. p. based on statistics published 10 fi· ·Vol. most of the mezhraiontsi.up. History.S. 170 The difficulties that arose durmg the negotiations we due to the hesitation shown by some of the mezhraiontsi who were still suspicious of the Leninists: Trotsky himself. Not long before.RTY 161 OF THE REVOLUTION joined the Party. and to tak upon himself the whole hentage of the dead leader. by the dozen years that Lenin and his follo"":ers had devoted to building the Party.· like Trotsky. did not of course evap orate m 1917-far from that.

.!i .t Analysis of the record of .'172 This view. jf:llenin understood perfectly that this Bolshevik Party was profoundly iUfferent from the Bolshevik organization as it had existebefore the 8{rolution. 'Conciliators' other..* If we consider these Bolsheviks we find that they constituted an appreciable ent in the new leadership of the Party.ists' or 'Otzovists' on the one hand. He repeated it at the onal conference in April.ers this was true of nine. as with Alexandra Kollontai or Chicherin. was born of the con· fluence in the Bolshevik stream of the independent revolutionary streams constituted by the "inter-district" group and a number of internationalist SocialDemocratic organizations which had until then remained outside Lenin's Party. members of the Bolshevik Central Committee elected at the Congress in 1917 shows..' 173 Karl Radek wrote of the importance of these 'streams' and 'rivulets' which joined the Bolshevik river during the revolution. 1 twenty-three of them-almost half-had in one way or another against Lenin's policy in the past. bringing to it some of those who were to become its most admired and effective leaders.. •I: '"'. iut ·· ar l. for example. An analysis of the official 1 raplues of fifty-two of the most important Bolshevik leaders who tingwsnto themselves during the revolution shows. t us cuttmg dfe terminological cord that bound it to the past. 76 'We are loth to cast o'ff the "dear old" soiled shirt . as in Trotsky's case.". or in small eve nQICDL groups. internationalism]-not according to pre-1914 loyalties-that the Bolshevik party took shape and struck for power in 1917. to mention the leading Bolsheviks who obtained 1-oP. Pierre Broue is more exact and closer to the truth when he claims that 'the Bolshevik Party of 1917 . moreover.viks... He understood it so well that he called. that out of its twenty-one mtt. which had hived off from it. on his return to mussia for a change in the Party's name. who writes that 'it was on the lines of this new division [defencism v. consecrating in this Way a metamorphosis that helped to make Russia the first workers' state in history. in rd.175 H1s proposal voked no response from among his followers. f? L 1F 'f.American historian Robert Daniels.. for it to abandon the title 0cial-Democrat' and become the 'Communist Party'.v·ik faction itself or else in one or other of the Left or Right BUtl'S. either within the hP. without success1.. But it is time to cast off the soiled and to put on clean linen. although it has the merit of bringing to the forefront one of the most important and most significant phenomena of the Russia of 1917. goes too far.. It is not sufficient. 'Ultimatum.1'77 Not until March 1918 did the Bol sheviks agree to drop the old name of the Party.eo show t is.174 This influx enriched the Party. The general staff of the was also made up to a large extent of men who had at periods of their careers opposed Lenin.

&l 1' • r· ;,., . Jilt..•·# ••• See '.t Haupt and Marie. These biographies were composed by the subjecthemselv, w en · were questioned, during the 1920s, about a past that they were still at that time m a .,..II·. 6 the1r Irutta1 expenence elsewhere than in Lenin's Party-among the ,: tion to describe in a serious way. I

2 Revolutionary Strategy UTIONARY STRATEGY 163 J..:soviets themselves, whic_h supported th?ourge is government. flowed once more, w1th numerous vtctims fallmg beneath the of the Government's.defend rs in the _streets ofPetrograd. .iJring the spring the gr_own:g ra Ical and discontented mood of eJ]l3.SSeS found expressiOn m vanous ways: demands, backed by ;er·wider support, for workers' trol ;* n already notice ble loss ;C9nfidence in the moderate _soctahst part1; spectacular mcrease ·"'membership of the Bolshevik Party; a cnsis m the army, re:tlec ed growing number of deserters; finally and generally, exacerbatiOn cftia·political climate in which dissatisfaction simmered into an anger, t constantly threatened to boil over, a?ainst everything that Jl1rtdered the revolution's advance. In June this pressure was already On March 2nd, 1917, Nicholas II abdicated. Some Liberals turned towards his brother, the Grand Duke Michael, appealing to him to become Regent. This attempt to save the Romanov dynasty failed, however, as Michael declined the perilous honour that was offered him. The news of the Tsar's abdication and that of his brother's refusal to take over were announced simultaneously to the people of Russia. In Petrograd the response was an outburst of joy. In the midst of the crowd that was cheering the people's victory, a prominent S.R. whispered to a friend: 'Now it is finished.' But a woman bystander who heard this remark commented, 'in a very low voice': 'You are wrong, little father. Not enough blood has fiowed.' 1 The reason given by this anonymous and casual observer was crudely put, but her view that the revolution was not over and done with was a sound one. Lenin would have seen in it a proof of popular wisdom and an example of proletarian determination. It was, in any case, this correct idea, namely, that the revolution had not been completed, that inspired all his activity throughout 1917. His tactics and strategy were based on conviction that the fall of Tsardom merely meant the beginning of

the revolution, and that a process of conquest had been started which must, however unpredictable the ultimate outcome, carry the Russian revolution forward beyond both its national fron tiers and its bourgeois framework. Lenin's entire approach was guided by this principle. But his tactical plans and his strategic con ception evolved as the dynamic of the revolution progressed, some features becoming sharper while others were modified, resulting in variations that only an abstract view of history can cause one to overlook. 'You are wrong, little father. Not enough blood has flowed.' And, indeed, less than two months after the fall of Tsardom, many workers were out in the streets demanding the resignation of the Provisional Government whose very existence had symbolized, a short time before, their victory over Tsardom. Even more significant, these demonstrators, numbering hundreds of thousands, were attacking, indirectly at least, ;,, vigorous that even the Bolsheviks, although their radicalism ptened all rival groups (except the anarc ists), were ?early ove Whelmed by it, and were accused of excessn.:e mo?eratwn y th Ir Jiiote impatient uppo ter. In Ju_ly popular _Impatience attamed Its climax, and also Its anti-climax, wrth the routmg of tens f tho sands ®:sailors, soldiers and workers, and a wave of repressiOn directed st the Bolshevik Party and_ against the proletariat itself: . '{ithe situation thus created dtd not ast for long. The Rtght-wmg forces were unable to profit by therr momentary advantage. The military offensive that they launched resulted, through its failure, in palitical recovery by the Bolsheviks. The latter were largely respon sible for the crushing of Kornilov's attempted coup d'etat. When the soviets were obliged to call on the militant proletariat of the capital '-repulse .the reactionary onslaught, Lenin's ollowers were enabled to reorgamze themselves and complete the armmg of.the Red Guards. om September onwards the Bolsheviks emerged agam, and more than ever, as a rising political force. Setbacks followed one after n?ther for the Provisional Government and its friends: not surpnsmgly, tliose parties which, with ever greater hesitation and anguish, sup ported the Provisional Government, saw their followers melt away. rkAiready before the July days the Mensheviks had lost the asce dancy ey had possessed among the working class of etrograd dur.mg the first weeks of the revolution. When the leadership of the Soviet sent d legates into the factories to call on the workers to remain calm, they COuld no longer rely on the moderate socialist spokes en, as hes 1;!.ad lost all their audience in the popular quarters ot the caprtal. The defeat suffered by the Bolsheviks in July had given the Menshe viks hope of recovery, but the Petrograd m nicipal e ections of August 20th shattered their illusions. The electiOn campargn proved disastrous for them: they received only 5 per cent of the votes. Whi e st>lidly established in ministerial office, they had practically lost their P!>sitions as representatives of the people. This situation was confirmed .• Sec p, 203 164 LENINISM UNDER LENIN

in September by the municipal elections in Moscow, where the Men sheviks won only 4 per cent of the votes. As an organized force, if no as an ideology, Menshevism was melting away. In the 'two capitals' the only organization that had ever rivalled the Bolsheviks for the allegiance of the working class had more or less ceased to count. As for the S.R.s, they had lost everything that linked them with the revolu. tionary populism of the Tsarist period. After February 1917 the S.R. Party

became more and more obviously a bourgeois party: as Marc Ferro puts it, 'people became S.R.s in order to make a career of the Revolution.'* The tragedy of the Mensheviks and the S.R.s, reformist parties both, was that they turned their backs upon reforms, sacrific ing these to the twofold constraint of alliance with a conservative bourgeoisie and pursuit of the war. The discredit that struck the Mensheviks and the S.R.s also re flected the complete unpopularity and powerlessness into which had now sunk a Provisional Government that only a few months earlier had seemed the standard-bearer of all the people's hopes. The con sequence was that Russia became a country without a central leader ship, a huge vacuum in which power was not being wielded by anyone. The liberal solution had collapsed impotently, while the reactionary effort led by Kornilov had proved incapable of substituting itself for a half-hearted bourgeois democracy. This double defeat of the bour geoisie put Lenin in an entirely new situation; and, in September, armed insurrection became a question for the immediate future. History shows few examples of such profound changes taking place in so short a time. In February, the fall of Tsardom, after only a few days of popular demonstrations; then the establishment of a bourgeois authority enjoying the support of the workers' parties-but wasting within a few weeks the huge reserve of popularity and general trust that it enjoyed; the rapid growth of a party whose leader had been still treated in April with ridicule on account of his 'extremism'; increasing impatience on the part of the proletariat, shaking off the tutelage of an essentially revolutionary institution, the soviets, which 165 conduct a number of turns, which, however, do not affect its coherence as 'transition from the bourgeois revolution to the revolution'. The mere manifestation of his will to bring about transition, in the first days-perhaps the first hours-that followed announcement of the fall of Tsardom, was a flash of genius that (lea the fate of the revolution. This determination of Lenin's jned and decided the continuity of Leninist policy throughout the 1917. But once the possibility of a victory of the socialist revolu had been glimpsed, and once the plan outlined that would make jnr·o: in .thadirection feasi?le, the way that events developed · hesttattons, and necessttated gropings and manoeuvres in .jl)lich we ae a le to eea Lenin bold but flexible, daring yet circum :even m his. danng; a Lenin who, while clinging firmly to one ll.d.ea, took care m _all circumstances to observe reality, to examine very factor governmg the realization of this idea, so as to cope with Jlle manifold surprises and snares and false hopes that made up the @story of the revolution. .ff rom February to July 1917: a peaceful revolution? sJs important to see the v r!ations in_ tactics within the strategically p.Qnstant framework of Lemn s revolutiOnary policy in 1917. ,Ashas been said, throughout March and most of April, Lenin stood .n the extreme Left of the Party, fighting for recognition of the idea ' bat it was possible and necessary to transcend the purely democratic sP;base othe revolution. Lenin's isolated position in his own organiza f#on dunng the first weeks of his return to Russia testified eloquently eno gh t.o the ?oldness of his stand. His attitude in the next phase, ltll Apnl days , proves, however, the extent to which his 'extreme' 1-ftit de v:as combined with a prudence and cool-headedness that set a r,tain distance between him and the most radical elements of the

'ietrograd masses. il· Despite demonstrations in which hundreds of thousands of workers soldi_ers participated, many of them armed, despite the slogan With_ the Pro isional Government!', taken up by tens of thou a few months of existence had sufficed to render conservative; the check to the Bolshevik advance in July, with Lenin forced into exile once more-'the July events had destroyed Bolshevism,' wrote Sukhanov3 ..• ; then, at last, from September onwards, with agitation and disorder sweeping over the countryside, the Bolsheviks, mounting over the ruins of the reactionary offensive, started along a road that was to lead them, in fewer than fifty days, to the seizure of power. Less than eight months was needed to pass from survivals of feudalisill mown ds of VOices, Lenm re!used to make a move towards insurrection. .m-·uen the Petrograd Soviet ordered the workers to call a halt to their .4J;lo ement, _Lenin pt before the Central Committee of his Party a :otion s tmg that the reso ution of the Petrograd Soviet of April ·anst bannmg all_ treet meetmgs and demonstrations for two days t be unco dttlonallobeyed by every member of our Party'. 4 ·.,. s same motwn explamed that 'the slogan "Down with the Provito the antechamber of socialism. How could Onal G.overnment,. , · an m· Lenin possibly, arnid

correct one at the present moment such a whirlwind as this, have laid down a rigorously defined policy and carried through a precise plan? On the contrary, we see in his line •Ferro, February, p. 229. For the S.R. party see mainly pp. 243--6. :· . e, m the absence of a solid (i.e., a class-conscious and organized) :;onty of th7 p:ople on the side of the revo uti nary proletariat, ·: ··· h a slogan IS etther an empty phrase, or, obJectively, amounts to ......:\:· 164 LENINISM UNDER LENIN in S tember by the municipal elections in Moscow, .where the Men. sheviks won only 4 per cent of the votes. As an orgamzed force, if not as an ideology, Menshevism was melting away. In the 'two capitals' the only organization that had ever rivalled the Bolsheviks for the allegiance of the working class had more or less ceased to count. As for the S.R.s, they had lost everything that linked them with the revolu. tionary populism of the Tsarist period. After February 1917 the S.R. Party became more and more obviously a bourgeois party: as Marc Ferro puts it, 'people became S.R.s in order to make a career of the Revolution.'* The tragedy of the Mensheviks and the S.R.s, reformist parties both, was that they turned their backs upon reforms, sacrific ing these to the twofold constraint of alliance with a conservative bourgeoisie and pursuit of the war. The discredit that struck the Mensheviks and the S.R.s also re flected the complete unpopularity and powerlessness into which had now sunk a Provisional Government that only a few months earlier had seemed the standard-bearer of all the people's hopes. The con sequence was that Russia became a country without a central leader ship, a huge vacuum in which power was not being

wielded by anyone. The liberal solution had collapsed impotently, while the reactionary effort led by Kornilov had proved incapable of substituting itself for a half-hearted bourgeois democracy. This double defeat of the bour geoisie put Lenin in an entirely new situation; and, in September, armed insurrection became a question for the immediate future. History shows few examples of such profound changes taking place in so short a time. In February, the fall of Tsardom, after only a few days of popular demonstrations; then the establishment of a bourgeois authority enjoying the support of the workers' parties-but wasting within a few weeks the huge reserve of popularity and general trust that it enjoyed; the rapid growth of a party whose leader had been still treated in April with ridicule on account of his 'extremism'; increasing impatience on the part of the proletariat, shaking off the tutelage of an essentially revolutionary institution, the soviets, which a few months of existence had sufficed to render conservative; the check to the Bolshevik advance in July, with Lenin forced into exile once more-'the July events had destroyed Bolshevism,' wrote Sukhanov3 ••• ; then, at last, from September onwards, with agitation and disorder sweeping over the countryside, the Bolsheviks, mounting over the ruins of the reactionary offensive, started along a road that was to lead them, in fewer than fifty days, to the seizure of power. Less than eight months was needed to pass from survivals of feudalisJll UTIONARY STRATEGY 165 conduct a number of turns, which, however, do not affect its coherence as 'transition from the bourgeois revolution to the revolution'. The mere manifestation of his will to bring about transition, in the first days-perhaps the first hours-that followed :e ann<>Ul1Lcetneilt of the fall of Tsardom, was a flash of genius that ilciclea the fate of the revolution. This determination of Lenin's and decided the continuity of Leninist policy throughout the 1917. But once the possibility of a victory of the socialist revolu had been glimpsed, and once the plan outlined that would make roro ess in !hadirection feasi le, the way that events developed J'Yu · hesttatwns, and necessitated gropings and manoeuvres in c:n we ae a le to see a Lenin bold but flexible, daring yet circum even m his. daring; a Lenin who, while clinging firmly to one took care m .all circumstances to observe reality, to examine ,t!Jery factor governmg the realization of this idea, so as to cope with Jlle manifold surprises and snares and false hopes that made up the jJrlstory of the revolution. . .tf 1/J'.om February to July 1917: a peaceful revolution? tJ is important to see the v r!ations in. tactics within the strategically nstant framework of Lenm s revolutiOnary policy in 1917. p:t;o& has been said, throughout March and most of April, Lenin stood tt>Jl e extreme .Left of the Party, fighting for recognition of the idea :!that It was possibled necessary to transcend the purely democratic base of.the revolution. Lenin's isolated position in his own organiza on dunng the first weeks of his return to Russia testified eloquently .no gh t.o the ?oldness of his stand. His attitude in the next phase, tth Apnl days , proves, however, the extent to which his 'extreme' tti de as combined with a prudence and cool-headedness that set a distance between him and the most radical elements of the >ietrograd masses.

h: Despite demonstrations in which hundreds of thousands of workers d soldi.ers participated, many of them armed, despite the slogan tD..own With. the Pro isional Government!', taken up by tens of thou ds of VOices, Lerun refused to make a move towards insurrection. . ·uen the Petrograd Soviet ordered the workers to call a halt to their _ o ement, .Lenin pt before the Central Committee of his Party a :otion s tmg that the reso!ution of the Petrograd Soviet of April •· st bannmg all. treet meetmgs and demonstrations for two days !;t be unco dttlonallobeyed by every member of our Party'.4 ..... s same motwn explamed that 'the slogan "Down with the Provito the antechamber of socialism. How could Lenin possibly, amid tonal G.overnment.'" ·IS an m· correct one at the present moment such a whirlwind as this, have laid down a rigorously defined polic)' and carried through a precise plan? On the contrary, we see in his line •Ferro, February, p. 229. For the S.R. party see mainly pp. 243-6. .. . e, m the absence of a solid (i.e., a class-conscious and organized) . :;;nty of thp ople on the side of the revo uti nary proletariat, .. a slogan IS etther an empty phrase, or, obJectively, amounts to -•,«·.., a.' 166 LENINISM UNDER LENIN attempts of an adventurist character'." A few days later, during the April conference, Lenin said: 'all we wanted was a peaceful rceon. noitring of the.enemy's forces; we did not want to give battle. But the Petrograd Committee turned a trifle more to the left, which in this case is certainly a very grave crime.' And Lenin, who, at this same conference, bad just succeeded in establishing, in conflict with Kamenev and his supporters, a Left-wing point of view, added: 'At the time of action, to go "a trifle more to the left" was wrong ... Had we deli b. erately allowed such an act, [I] would not have remained in then Cetral Committee for one moment.'6 Finally, while this first trial of strength was taking place between the revolutionary proletariat and the bourgeoisie, Lenin remained faithful to the tactic that he had advocated ever since his return to Russia. Based on the conception of a peaceful passing of power to the soviets, it was summed up in three points which Lenin repeatedly stressed: (I) the need to win a majority, (2) the need to persuade and explain, and (3) renunciation of violent methods. In one of the first articles that he published in Pravda after his return to Petrograd, he declared that 'to become a power the class-conscious workers must win the majority to their side ... We are not Blanquists [wrongly given as "Blancists" in the Collected Works translation], we do not stand for the seizure of power by a minority.'7 On another occasion Lenin wrote that 'only by taking-with the support of the majority of the people-the whole power of the state into its own hands, will the revolutionary proletariat, together with the revolutionary soldiers, create, in the shape of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, a government ... which will alone be capable of quickly putting an end to the war ... '8 Quotations of a similar kind could be multiplied.9 None of these passages, nor the whole lot taken together, has prevented some apparently very serious critics from stating, as does, for example, John Plamenatz, that Lenin made a 'proletarian' revolution without greatly caring what the workers thought!10 The majority of the working class could, moreover, only be won by means of explanation and persuasion. This task of persuading and explaining, over and over again, was the task that the leader of the Bolshevik Party put before his

supporters in the spring of 1917. When expounding his April Theses he said, speaking of the 'broad sections', that 'it is necessary with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to explain their error to them, to explain the inseparable connexion existing between capital and the imperialist war, and to prove that without overthrowing capital it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace, a peace not imposed by violence'Y This task of explanation was presented as what 'all our work should be focused on'. 12 This 'pedagogical attitude' 13 was not just windoW· dressing. Tn the course of a stormy discussion that took place inside UTIONARY STRATEGY 167 itself, Lenin passed over a note to an old Bolshevik militant, udn1ila Stat, who bad just lost her temper, in which he advised her, lligJnty, 'not to speak so vehemently ... We must explain and clarify. must persuade: we have to win a majority among the workers.' 14 ·. 'the employment of such means clearly ruled out any resort to :¢olence. Lenin frequently stressed this, stating, for example, in Pravda April 15th, 1917: 'We not only have not been guilty, directly or in r;u-ectly, of any threats of vi?lell:ce against individuals, but, on the ·j&:>ntrary, we have always mamtamed that our task is to explain our $ews to all the people.'15 On a number of occasions he emphasized .,.at it was not for the revolutionary proletariat to take the initiative itt\ violence. For instance: 'Our Party will preach abstention from ·yjolence ... as long as the capitalists have not started using violence gainst the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers', Peasants', Agricultural bourers' and other Deputies ... Our Party will fight against the .,P:rofound and fatal error of "revolutionary defencism" solely by means :@[;comradely persuasion.'16 f1;When he thus put forward, for the first time, the prospect of a peaceful conquest of state power, Lenin based himself on two con siderations. He referred, in the first place, to the inadequately developed political consciousness of the Russian masses, saying that 'a gigantic p. tty-bourgeois wave has swept over everything and overwhelmed 1Jte class-conscious proletariat ... ; that is, it has infected and imbued ¥ery wide circles of workers with the petty-bourgeois political outlook;' d adding: 'An attitude of unreasoning trust in the capitalists ... ¢haracterizes the politics of the popular masses in Russia at the present moment.'17 This situation could be corrected only through the tire less effort at 'fraternal persuasion' which Lenin urged upon his fallowers. Such an effort could be made, and a peaceful road to Ocialism be then opened, because, as a result of the democratic • ¥lCtory won in February, 'nowhere else is there such freedom as exists in'.Russia'.18 In circumstances like these it seemed to Lenin that 'any thought of civil war would be naive, senseless, preposterous.'l 9 !e attitude that Lenin maintained during the April days was thus, While quite an exceptional one during his career, in conformity with e forecast, inherent in the tactic he advocated, of a relatively slow deve!opment of the Russian revolution. The events of June helped to lllodify this cautious estimate. At the beginning of the month the :olshevik leaders found themselves subjected to vigorous pressure _'Y !he Party's Military Organization and by the Petrograd Committee, Which urged them to put

themselves at the head of a street demon8 tion that was being called for by a large number of soldiers in =e pital.20 The Bolshevik leadership held a meeting on June 6th ·d,WJ:Uch two t nde ciesmadethemse!vesfelt. One, headed ?Y Kamenev, ·· OgJn and Zmov1ev, declared agamst the demonstratiOn, whereas 168 LENINISM UNDER LE'Ny the other, to which Lenin belonged, wanted the Party to organize it Some even went further, demanding that the demonstration be armed. N vsky, ?ne of the leaders of the Bolshevik. Military Organization' sa1d, for mstance, that a peaceful demonstratiOn would be 'unimpos: ing' and 'amateurish'. 21 It was decided to reconsider the situation at a larger meeting. With two hundred 'cadres' present the decision was then adopted, by an overwhelming majority, for the Party to take the lead in the demonstration. Nevertheless, the line decided upon was a fairly cautious one, since the idea of an armed demonstration was rejected. On the eve of the day when the demonstration was to take place, the executive of the Petrograd Soviet resolved to ban it. The Central Committee at once decided to flout this ban. One of its members Smilga, went so far as to propose 'that they should not hesitate t seize the Post Office, telegraph, and arsenal if events developed to the point of a clash'. 22 Whereas Zinoviev and Kamenev remained hostile to the very principle of the demonstration, Lenin's view was that they should allow events to proceed and act in accordance with what might occur.23 Then, during the night of June 9th-10th, the All-Russia Congress of Soviets, meeting in full session, added its ban to the Petrograd Soviet's ban on the demonstration. Summoned in haste, five members of the Central Committee had to take an immediate decision. Kamenev, Zinoviev and Nogin were for calling the demon stration off. Sverdlov and Lenin abstained from voting, and the moderate tendency carried the day. 24 . Throughout this episode Lenin's attitude seems to have been again a hesitant one. Though not sharing Kamenev's extreme caution, he also separated himself from the 'Leftist' line of Smilga. Nor docs he seem to have thrown the full weight of his authority into the scales. When, some days later, the Central Committee had to justify its attitude in face of strong criticism by Party militants, Lenin did not conceal the ambiguity of his position. Although he affirmed that 'the cancellation [of the demonstration] was absolutely necessary,' at the same time he acknowledged that 'the dissatisfaction voiced by most comrades over the cancellation of the demonstration is quite natural ... '* Furthermore, he observed that: 'today the revolution has entered a new phase of its development ... The workers must clearly realize that there can now be no question of a peaceful demon· stration ... the proletariat must reply by showing th. maximulll calmness, caution, restraint and organization, and must remember that peaceful processions are a thing of the past.'25 *Lenin, Vol. 25, p. 79. Lenin's speech ended on a similarly apologetic note: •The Central Committee does not want to force your decision. Your right, the right to protest against the actions of the Central Committee, is a legitimate one, and your decision must be a free one' (ibid., p. 81). 169 the weeks that followed, the overall situation in the country :weJcl.t a series of changes the importance of which did not escape :Jlll.l· There was, in the first place, the increasing popularity of his which was spectacularly revealed

on June 18th, in the course of detnOJtlStration which, organized by the Soviet, bad turned out in a · that embarrassed the moderate socialists. Above all, during the ontn of June the premises on which Lenin's calculations were based . undermined in two ways. The Russian bourgeoisie proved strong to oblige the Provisional Government to launch a military msi'Ve which the entire Left had denounced, and the soviets offered derisory resistance to this disastrous action. At the same time, between the Bolsheviks and the 'Government socialists' :veJV worsened. On the morrow of the decision taken by the Bol<YJ""" to bow to the orders of the Congress of Soviets and call off demonstration, the Menshevik minister Tsereteli denounced the 11Sbevi1cs as 'evil plotters', and the Menshevik newspaper wrote, high time to unmask the Leninists as criminals and traitors to the :V.ollution.'26 in could not leave this unanswered, and on July 1st he declared that the Mensheviks had begun 'to serve the capitalists', adding that 'if,the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries had not been betray ';the revolution and supporting the counter-revolutionary Cadets, qrower would have been in the hands of the Executive Committee }[b'f the Soviets] since early May'.27 This was not just a rhetorical tphrase: it recognized the existence of a new political situation. Since ttJ1e.beginning of May the Mensheviks and S.R.s had given up their (];ole of respectful opposition and external support to the Government. .Jllb:ey were now sitting in the Cabinet. Did not this collaboration $ithin the same Government between the liberal bourgeoisie and the tparties that held the majority in the soviets rule out the prospect of a ual transfer of power to the soviets,specifically, which had derlainLenin's tactics since the overthrow of Tsardom? The July .s removed Lenin's last doubts on this point. 1te outbreak of the crisis was preceded by a period of increasing Ui.:. ton. during which the influence of the anar his!s had markedly wnm Petrograd.* In the last days of June agJtation had mounted ·fJt:some of ·the regiments stationed in the capital, which were now : =ned with dispatch to the front. The workers, on their part, were : ,;;;,. ding ever more insistently an increase in wages. The Govem :t:ent was in a state of crisis owing to the resignation of the Constitu pilal-Democrat ministers. These were the conditions in which there · f. se the idea of an armed demonstration calling for the resignation .the Provisional Government and for the soviets to take power. I :- Yre mentioned how cautiously the leaders of the Bolshevik Party If· p.197. 170 LENINISM UNDER LENIN received the plan for a demonstration.* Undoubtedly their attitude is to be explained, to some extent at least, by Lenin's absence: through illnes.s r fatigue, the Bolsh vik leader had wit?dra_wn to the country. But It Is also true that this absence of Lenm's Itself had political significance: if Lenin had believed at that time that the situation could be exploited so as, perhaps, to seize power, he would certainly have remained in the capital. His state of health would have constituted no obstacle to this, since he returned to Petrograd at once during the night of July 3rd-4th, as soon as he

Lenin deduced. The July defeat and its consequences led him to make ·· reappraisal-or. in a sense.. 'k t I shall discuss later the relations between the revolutionary masses and the Bolshevt Party. Lenin's appeal to the demonstrators to remain calm ignored their desire to settle accounts there and then with the rule of the bour geoisie.cortquest of power constitutes.. he rejected out of hand a proposal which he rightly saw as unrealistic. like the events of April and June... as expressed some years after the revolution: 'the Bolsheviks could have seized the power in Petrograd at the beginning of July. this speech did not meet the expectations of those who heard it. and resolutely prepare for the uprising. &harply and clearly. and had it done so. 198-200. and the middle elements being eliminated for a more or less extensive period'. to put the Party at the head of a demonstration that it had not been able to prevent.ti\1e situation: either complete victory for the military dic '. 135. Lenin declared: 'All hopes for a peaceful of the Russian revolution have vanished for good.29 Finally. from the place of refuge to which the course of events had obliged him to withdraw. As the American historian Rabinowitch writes.'"'' or victory for the workers' armed uprising. workers and sailors from the balcony of the Central Committee's headquarters. it was of decisive importance in determining Lenin's sub· '"u tactics. The Central Committee then decided.30 Looking back later on. the classic Leninist line.. Having underestimated both the revolutionary :entia! of the masses and the readiness of the moderate socialist !!ties to obstruct it.'32 . back to the norm of Leninism. He then devoted himself to organiz ing the retreat of the Bolsheviks when the Government unleashed its campaign of repression against them. Lenin expressed the view that. he considered that the Party could not have acted differently. as these were revealed by the July days: see pp. cancelling its previous decisions. if it be thought that violent struggle for . the con· .' In the last analysis. reorganize them. On the morning of July 4th.. But if they bad done so they could not have held it. us gather forces.St tnos of the time. for 'at that time Petrograd could not even have taken power physically.t while striving to keep this demonstration organized and peaceful in character. it could not have retained power politically . When Lenin was consulted. the crisis had shown 'revolution and counter revolution becoming more acute.' 33 Accordingly: • . Lenin addressed thousands of soldiers. On July 6th the Bureau of the Petrograd Committee discussed whether to call a general strike in the capital to protest against the tenor to which the revolutionary van· guard was being subjected. '31 His opinion coincides in essentials with that of Trotsky. UTIONARY STRATEGY 171 1u.'34 tactical turn was an amazingly bold one to make in the cir B. This is iio1)je<.28 His role in the July days seems to have been confined to this somewhat cautious speech..judged his presence there indis pensable. Less than a week after the dis· of the demonstration. and 'many of them were evidently disappointed'. while this episode shows a reluctance on Lerun 5 part to follow the movement of the masses and an unwillingn:ss finally to give up a line of action that had for some time seemed to hllll * See p.

however.' said Engels. de l'audace.. enemies to a retreat before they can collect their strength . unless you are fully prepared () face the consequences of your play . that Lenin turned as soon as he had decided tJ:latorganization of armed struggle for the overthrow of the Provisional overnment had become an urgent task.' that it must 'rely upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolution when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height. Rally thus those vacillatmg elements o your side which always follow the strongest impulse . . when circumstances made this possible.lUertces of his mistake. you are defeated and ined.. the absence of any thorough study on his part of the problems presented by armed revolt. encore de ... which no Marxist had as yet tackled in a ncrete way-preparing for insurrection and the practical seizure of ]lewer. arx and Engels constructed no theory of insurrection.e nw successes. 'it would be naive to wait for a "formal" majority for the Bolsheviks'. '¥[owever small. in the words of Danton. never play with insurrection.J. These rules \!Plain and simple') he set out as follows: Firstly. in the situation that prevailed in Russia in the autumn of 1917. but daily . ir' ow. and on the offensive. and f_hJect to certain rules of proceeding .forces are scattered.. the greatest master of re· .el garnst you. The efensive is the death of every armed rising .40 This condition-support for the forces of the insurrection on the part of the masses.olutionary policy yet known: de l'audace. Secondly.e. the insurrectionary career once entered upon.. It was to this meagre source. we find in his writings a number of illuminating observations that relate not so much to the practical problems to be solved as to the political conditions that make possible and necessary the resort to force in order to take power.. coincidence between the revolt of the vanguard and the offensive movement of the masses-was in its turn the . ffv.a. •v.. Lenin saw it as necessary for the Bolsheviks to win the majority in the Soviets of Petrograd and Moscow..You. The most important of these observations is certainly that which defines the fundamental distinction between Leninism and any form of Blanquism: 'Victory for the workers' armed uprising is only possible when it coincides with a deep mass upheaval . :)l:!lct with the greatest determination. Unless you bring strong ds against [the forces opposed to you]. 1udace !'36 · lenin gave no more systematic thought to the art of insurrection 172 LENINISM UNDER LENIN than this. prepar.. of course... The organizer of the Bolshevik Party then 1lied himself to a new task. and en of armed insurrection. however. Despite. '36 For Lenin it was clear that 'insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people.:ninism and insurrection ough they were practical workers in the field of revolution. Surprise your :'irtagonists while their. insurrection is out of the question'38 -although..'37 Again: 'If the revolutionary party has no majority in the advanced contingents of the revolutionary classes and in the country. Force . insurrection is an art quite as much as war or any other.39 This was why.

clearly that was not the case. given the peasant' rev 'all other political symptoms.' 46 What underlay development was the lamentable failure of the June offensive at front.. .UTIONARY STRATEGY 173 . showed that as winter approached the proletariat was growing more and more exasperated. Lenin went so far as to say at. :. but quite the conti:a y..'44 To cope with the eas:mg anarchy a government was needed that was ready to use :treJrlgtJrl. political and military point of view'·43 The country as a whole seemed on the brink of collapsing into chaos. 26.. . in a sphere where the trade-union organization was still under Menshevik influence. In the civil war seemed to be coming.48 In this field too the inability of the Brovisional Government to satisfy the demands of the non-Great lussian peoples was glaringly obvious. spreading over the land 'like a broad river'42 and constituting '0e most outstanding fact of present-day Russian life'. • Lenin. so that a hot bed of agitation was kept in being close to Petrograd for the Bolsheviks fe. but which Lenin reduced to this twofold proposition: 'Our victory is assured. and Lenin referred when he declared: 'the crisis has matured. itself the hatred of the garrison for the Provisional Govern sent was nourished by the threat constantly held out to it that the regiments stationed in the capital would be sent to the front.ocmullar'lty of the Bolsheviks was growing fast.eptellllOcr and October were particularly ominous months. p. If hopeless apathy is meant.d_tlegates that they would no longer take orders from the Provisional ·C!S'overnment but only from the Petrograd SovietY Finally. 0 @etober 21st the majority of these regiments announced through thetr . Vol. since the new element which in September 1917 exerted a decisive influence on Lenin's calculations was the revolt of the countryside. Lenin :dlentioned the 'exceptional importance' of the role played by the icnitional question in Russia.. 197. and we are showing the entire people a sure way out.. would have no significance whatsoever' (ibid. However. together with the Government's inability to promote a of peace: the people's lassitude was turning into anger. which Kerensky refused to satisfy. even were they to contradict the fact that a natJOn·\\l crisis is maturing.. p. a state of political and social disequilibrium the constituent elements of which were many and complex..45 Above all. 'the army no longer really existed'.resul tant of a combination of circumstances which together made up a revolutionary situation. In . 'The people are close to desperation.'41 .' Let us see to what extent this formula applied to the Russian masses in autumn 1917.. 79). The strike spread to the postal service. and Lenin regarded this dual phenomenon as being 'of immense impor· tance from the general economic.* The general stnke of the railwaymen which broke out in September. . It was impossible to go out alone Armed bands clashed in the streets. for the people are close to desperation. This was especially true in relation to the Ukraine's desire for autonomy and to Finland's desire fbi independence.profit from.

as Lenin claimed.R. that now led the dance. • Seep. strictly speaking.s.s and Mensheviks and the present majority in the sovicts'. with this process. provides s}ifficient proof of their angry mood and of the precariousness of their situation. and to go forward in this struggl with all the greater resolution. and we want . along with that of the Provisional Government. or rather.5o This bankruptcy. It was this local Soviet. the Bolsheviks sided. who were fri tened by the way the masses were 'overwhelming' the institutions of government. and discovered in Ger. dominated by the Bolsheviks. On the morrow of the July days Lenin had pointed to 'the complete and final bankruptcy of the S. which had long constituted a screen between the masses and the Provisional Government. first a d foremost. 174 LENINISM UNDER LENIN While every ne else denounced disorder. and in the country to individual or Cci>llective attempts to improve their conditions forcibly.* On October 16th Lenin expressed his view thus: 'The situation is clear: either a Kornilovite dictatorship or the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poorest strata of the peasantry.'49 There were two pats that Russia could follow. But the fact that.E. show that the Russtan pe ple were 'close to desperation'. or at least permit. The Central Executive Committee was reduced to engaging in manoeuvres to delay the opening of the Second All-Russia Congress because it realized it had lost its majority to the Bolsheviks. Wheren the moderate socialiss clung to their hope of a 'democratic pea that the Western Alltes would favour. their central leadership. and two only. Unlike their iivals. only a few months after experienc fug the euphoria of that liberation. peaceas expand:d to cover . the people were forced to resort to strike after strike in the towns. so that il revolutionary choice seemed to the masses possible and even inevitable.called on the Russian people to count on nobody but themselves m the struggle for peace. obsessions and myths in which the bourgeois and moderate socialist parties were bogged down. policies of concilia tion had been discredited or shown to be bankrupt. It provided the conditions for this rising to occur and to succeed. As for the soviets. Lenin's supporters . In contrast to their rivals. they were no longer capable of fulfilling this function. The differences of opinion that existed within this Party did not prevent it from presenting the image of a coherent force rejecting the conformities. beneath the baffled gaze of the helpless Mensheviks and S. There was a party whose existence saved the proletariat from the pit of desperation: the Bolshevik Party. was.R. taboos.all Europe when Lenin declared that the Russtan proletanat was not Isolated.C. . resistance to change and an attitude of resignation. or of making any serious effort to end the war.znAII these factors did not. Here was an additional factor in the revolutionary situation that Lenin had observed and to some degree created: compromise solutions were impossible' the middle parties had faded into the background. willy-nilly. many and Italy 'indisputable symptoms that we are on the eve of a worldwide revolution'. Awareness of their misfortunes was coupled with conviction tftat these were not inevitable. so·soon after the fall of Tsardom. In the capital the C. .breade land. indeed. The prospect thus offered. one of the outstanding features of the situation that prevailed in Russia on the eve of the October rising.'s authority counted for nothing since the Petrograd Soviet had elected an extreme-Left 'Bureau' and made Trotsky its chairman. they denounced.Peace*-and both are possible. for whom there could be no question of introducing social reforms so long as the war lasted. the Bolsheviks said: we want reforms. 188.

'51 He noted in this connexion that 'the beginning of the * Lenin. _1. 175 's civil war has revealed the strength. but also on the moment chosen to go into action: 'Insurrection must rely. has left us a description of the enthusiastic meetings that were held in the capital during the last days of the Provisional Government.Lenin or Kornilov. was not so clear at the moment when Lenin was insisting on the necessity of insurrection. As for the Provisional Government itself. p. of their opponents. What seems clear today. no of victory. recognizing that 'there was a certain depression in the Petrograd pro letariat as a result of waiting too long. socialist groups-the Mensheviks and S. or even collapse. 74. are strongest. 26.54 Not democratic enough to inspire sympathy. however. . yet could not · prevent the Party from bringing out its organs afresh. see pp. together with the decline. the class-conscious deep-rootedness. Their superiority might not last long. 'upon that turning-point in the history of the growing revolu tion when the activity of the advanced ranks of the people is at its height. fully aware of the precarious character of the advantages enjoyed by the Bolsheviks. Novaya Zhizn. . it was too anaemic to inspire fear. and though the paper had no party or other organization behind it. the Government did nothing.. :titi :a to the dynamism of the former and the lifelessness of the . tence was obvious. con tinually packed to the doors. was one solid meeting. then.56 On this point !oo Trotsky gives confirmation: 'All Petrograd. moreover.* In his History of the Russian Revolution Trotsky confirms this impression. 359-65.53 The bourgeoisie turned towards the €onstitutional-Democratic ('Cadet') party.s-fell in Moscow from ··10 per cent to 18 per cent. no among the masses. It banned the Bolshevik press. under changed names. On the problems of the world revolution.R. with the exception of Its upper strata. its impo. the revolutionary vitality of the Petrograd masses ought not to be underestimated. When the Government banned Maxim Gorky's paper.. and when the vacillations in the ranks of the enemy .'"2 In addition.]3etween July and October electoral support for the moderate . whose criticism of the February revolution and of the weakness of the Provisional Govern ment was the most virulent and whose links with military circles were ·most notorious. He was. no depth whatsoever. The innmg of the bourgeoisie's civil war has revealed no strength. and the masses might not continue indefinitely ready for action. the editorial board imitated the example of the Bol sheviks. But the outcome of the struggle depended not only on the respective strengths of the adversaries. growth and tenacity of the movement.'55 All the same. Not long before the insurrection the working class was far from burning with zeal for the fight.' said Lenin. a Menshevik observer who was distressed and yet fascinated by the spectacle of the mobilization of the working class. the audiences would be entirely renewed . In those auditoriums. the successes of the Bolsheviks at the :lCtJ:ons. They were beginning to feel disappointed even in the Bolsheviks. anov. The Central Committee noted on October lOth that the masses were manifesting 'absenteeism' and 'indifference' probably owing to the fact that they were 'tired of talk and resolutions'. Vol.

Their watchword must be: "Better die to a man than let the enemy Lenin did his utmost to force his party to go into action. The final moves had not yet been made. 184). tion. the telephone exchange. The same idea is expressed in Lenin's 'Letter to Bolshevik comrades'. and the time factor was therefore of great importance. move the reliable regiments to the most important points. and the troops. on September 13th. · Several times the Bolshevik leader put before the Central Committee a relatively precise plan for the seizure of power. all the points of armed fighting.. The equilibrium that had been estab. adding that the Bolsheviks had at their disposal 'thousands of armed workers and soldiers in Petrograd who could at once seize the Winter Palace..(}: pass. shevik leaders received concerning the state of mind of the Petrograd proletariat was contradictory i.:. repeating . orga nise a headquarters of the insurgent detachments. to seize it by a combined attack of the sailors. '·: for the purpose of attacking and surrounding the enemy's "centres" ·.Moscow and the Baltic Fleet. etc. 85. the workers and the army units-must be so .· • Protokoly.69 On September 29th he urgedthattherevolt beginin Petrograd. the General Staff building. 26. Thus. arrest the General Staff and the government. surround the Alexandrinsky Theatre.'57 In fact. '62 ad nauseam that any delay could prove fatal.. armed with rifles and bombs. the information that the Bol.). the telephone exchange and the large printing presses'. without losing a single moment. 176 LENINISM UNDER LE n in the course of a few hours. .. distribute our forces. the workers.* This was why. p. and so it was essential not to 'let the present moment pass'. for exalllple: to encircle and cut off Petrograd.' They should 'form ·detachments from the best workers. .n character.. etc. Lenin sought to hasten its actual outbreak. expressing views on the technical aspect and going into details about the execution of the political decision. all the regiments.t occupy the Peter and Paul Fortress.nts and to take part everywhere in all important operations. p.. not con tent with stating his views on the political conditions for the insurrec. lished might be overthrown between one day and the next. the telegraph office. move our insurrection headquarters to the central telephone exchange and connect it by telephone with all the factories. occupy the telegraph and the telephone exchange at once.58 This was why VOLUTIONARY STRATEGY 177 noi. Vol. October 8th (Lenin.. and move against the officer cadets and the Savage Division those detach ments which would rather die than allow the enemy to approach the strategic points of the city. he wrote to the Party centre: We must at the same time.{(the officers' schools.60 His last set of detailed instructions is dated October 8th: 'Our three main forces-the fleet.

the bridges.combined as to occupy without fail and to hold at any cost: (a) the telephone exchange. he showed how up-to-date was his understanding of the problem of insurrection. the printing presses. in the strict sense. in their political-strategic. how fully his conception took account of a number of e most vital implications of the task of seizing and wielding power. and when he met them he showed great concern for detail and an acute critical sense. (d) and abQve all. however.64 : The task of preparing for the insurrection was entrusted to a body : . insurrection must rely not upon con II'acy and not upon a party. control of which was important for waging the propaganda battle. despite the curtness of Lenin's observations and recommenda tions. (c) the railway stations.. that of the instrument to which the organization of the rising was to be entrusted. for example. only very general guide-lines. but upon the advanced class'. Lenin was not actually •· at the head of the general staff entrusted with carrying out this plan. conquest.. technical. be formed into small detachments to occupy all the more important • Seep. together with the seat of the Pre-Parliament and the headquarters of the General Staff).. still remained to be settled. finally. the action of the Bolsheviks in October 1917 with that of the Spartakists in Berlin in January 1919. In other words. of course. and the barracks). the telegraph and telephone centres. Because Lenin was passionately keen to take immediate Vantage of a situation that he regarded as favourable.63 As for his own ideas. 'to be successful. what is interesting in them is above all that they reveal Lenin's con cern to grasp the problems of the insurrection in an all-round way.' 61 He also urged that 'the most determined elements (our "shock forces" and young workers. He put 'before his Party a many-sided objective: conquest of the centres of political decision-making and state authority (the Winter Palace. though remote from the command posts and centres of co-ordination. · ···One question. 141. not amounting '. conquest of the focal points of technological and strategic power (the railway stations. as well as the best of the sailors) . > These were. Lenin nevertheless strove to keep in contact with the men chiefly responsible for the enterprise. 178 LENINISM UNDER LENIN set up on October 9th by the . a·. for the insurrection. All these positive aspects stand out even more clearly if we compare. of certain means 0f exercising ideological power. and ideological aspects. ing that. to a plan. namely. (b) the telegraph office. He declared explicitly that the 'apparatus' for the seizure of ·POWer consisted of 'the soviets and the democratic organizations'. t The Alexandrinsky Theatre was the seat of the Pre-Parliament: it moved soon after this to the Marinsky Palace. the bridges ensuring communication between the centre of the capital and the working. at least. where the Provisional Government was. class districts. he fixed the date of the rising before the meeting of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets.

C.C.72 It could hardly have been otherwise.C. the forces engaged were qmte small. a coup carried out by a handful of fighters.R. to employ Trotsky. and Trotsky showed in this matter a skill that was aU the more remarkable in that it was necessary to surprise the enemy while at the same time maintaining a high level of enthusiasm and will to action in the Bolshevik ranks-to . appomt a sub-committee to be responsible for arresting the members of the Provisional Government. that Lenin wished to make the M. named Lazimir-a fact that seemed to make the Military Revolu tionary Committee independent of the Party. then.' 70 Was 'October'. it was to be 'a non-party insurrectionary body which has f Il power and is connected with all sections of the workers and soldters'.figure 23.find in them what they reg. during the a ternoon.a:d as REVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY 179 results. or.· a score of infantry companies. Undoubtedly the delays in the preparation of the uprising were partly due to the Bolsheviks' desire to take the enemy by surprise. And the M. sailors and workers. The Bolsheviks' victory in October 1917 was only the military phase of a phenomenon that was essentially political. The forces actually committed to battle were even smaller still. Its composition was not cut-and-?ned.s and four anarchists. a mere few thousands of soldiers. Trotsky speaks of 'a few thousand Red Guards.69 In addition to these there were the purely military units involved.66 Was the Party. Only on Octo ber 24th. but its nominal ch I man was an S. It docs not appear.' 7 1 .s expression.It compnsed sixty-six members. 'fail ings'.R. As Trotsky observes.Pctrograd Soviet.000 Red Guards ready for action in the capital. and he added that 'there must not be the slightest hint of dictatorship ? the Military Organization [of the Bolshevik Party] over te Military Revolutionary Committee'. of whom forty-etght were Bolshe Iks. held its first meeting only on the night of October 19th-20th. formed on October 9th. in his classic work the American histonan Chamberlm mentions 20. this committe had a dtstmct .000. moreover.00.The methods used by Lenin and his followers were too much unhke the great episodes in the history of modern revolutions for the opponents of Bolshevism and Communism not to . however. 'The military leadership proved incomparably weaker than the political. who made up by the boldness of their action for the apathy of the masses?.67 whilothers speak . two or three thousand sailors ·.status oIts own.R. a mere tool of the Party. At the outset. . not Blanquist.of 12. four_tecn Left S. since the implementing of the plan for the rising bore many signs of improvisation. 65 Trotsky belonged to I_t ex officw as chairman of the Petrograd Soviet.R. the M!litary Revolu tionary Committee. Estimates of the numbers of the Red Guards of Petrograd vary: 68 some sources give the . to retire into the background at e m. the orgamzcr of the revolutionary vanguard. a few hours before the rising was to begin.R. itself. It is not to be denied that the armed actions undertaken by the victors of October when the Provisional Government fell were marked by features of clumsiness. though this independence was more formal than actual. Although it co-operated closel v1th the Bolsh_e vik Military Organization. True. In his view.oment of the seizure of power?* What needs to be eJ?pha Ized Is tl at Leninism owed its victory to a rising the general onentatwn ?f which was socialist. did the M.

Vol.. artici· sisting of five of its members. The way in which the Bolsheviks went about turing the Fortress of Peter and Paul. of which. called a general meeting of the soldiers. and then its will to take power. 180 LENINISM UNDER LENIN He went in person to the fortress. etc. June and July. is significant from this standpoint. namely. . ·. the extraordinary weakness of the Provisional Government. won them over. a more typically lshev1k and socialist method be employed. 25th and 26th owed their success above all to another factor that was fundamentally political in character.. the long 'road to October' marke by the 'days' of April.73 . Neverthe less. precision. perfectly worked out and perfectly executed. History. care_rui preparat!on _as the October_ So ialist Re lution . oweve. name. one of the principal strategic Pemts in the capital. 179. 298). did not prevent Kerensky from escaping from a city was already practically in the hands of the Bolsheviks. fro the antecedent events that explain it. co-ordination. addressed them. Antonov-Ovseyenko proposed to send in a revolu proletariat. but rather by a vanguard acting in the latter's. . II. Only Stalinist legend making was capable of creating the myth of an uprising that was perfectly conceived. prectston and mutual assistance had never * The Central Committee set up during October a . The October uprising was not merely the outcome of a political ·VIctory which had itself been won only through a process that included any false steps.first.. uch rgantzat1on and co-ordmat10n. that of political agitation. down to the last detail.* . the operations carried out in Petrograd on October 24th.. h • 'No m. were merely t e tionary battalion to disarm the garrison and take its place. p.) This organiza 1tar o t r . ·on Actually the proletarian revolution that the October msurrecti really was annot be understood if it be isolated from its context. the overthrow of the ProvJSional · f?rtress refused to recognize the authority of the Military Revolu Government does not seem to have been a deed accomp1IShedbY the tionary Committee. instead of this risky operation. '(Gorky. urged that. On October 23rd the leaders of the insurrection learned that the garrison of the d ecisive arguments-and ' indeed. Trotsky.prepare an attack on the Provi sional Government that would look like a defensive action. As it developed. co-ordination . antl persuaded them to pass a resolution announcing their readiness to overthrow the Provisional Government. But the role played by thts organ (m wh1ch Stalm P pated) was quite negligible. surrection in history was carried out with such organization. the growth oft e Bolshevik Party. the rising revealed the same essen tially political features.m!·1· y rev_ 1u t' n a y centre' con· achieved m any previous insurrection or revolution (Ibid.

56). the Volga region. the Bolshevik Party. which had been obliged to postpone an extraordinary congress fixed for the end of the month. congresses of soviets of Vladimir province.tbis end.. October 16th. and Bolshevik speakers (Trotsky outstandingly) used them to maintain or revive the revolutionary ardour of the workers. October 5th. to ./. in the last analysis. II. departing from the 'classical' ' tchema set forth in Two Tactics. regional conference of Bolshevtk organizations in Byelorussia and on the Western Front:October 6th. Lenin's tactic of insurrection. in Petrograd and in the provinces alike. was itself fundamen tally inspired by socialist practice.. October 1st. frequent elec tions. The regiments stationed in the capital rallied to the insurrection after listening to fiery speeches by Bolshevik delegates.gtoisie order to e. congress of soviets of Y ekaterinburg district. was intense and exemplary. sailors and soldiers. and the thousand-and-one ways that the will of the masses found to express itself. because there was no need for them to do so.·The world war had a profound effect on Lenin's ideas in the field of . had ·hardly attracted any attention among Lenin's followers: and. In other words. Lenin and permanent revolution (II) On the eve f the fall of Tsardom. such as the Modern Circus.· task of the proletariat as taking the place of the defaulting bour. opening of regional congress of Bolshevik organizations in the Caucasus. October 13th.: . it fixed ·. their significance was not really apparent until it was illuminated by the events of 1917. And if the masses took no direct part in the insurrection. Vol.* The few observations . end of Bolshevik conference for Nizhni Novgorod province.While the military preparation of the rising left much to be desired its political preparation. October 2nd. congress of soviets of Ryazan province. October 17th. (Gorky. Leninist strategy was perfectly * October 11th. The workers. Minsk. adding a determination to take power 'here and now' to the long-standing socialist ideal. congress of soviets of the Northern Region. during the last few days and hours before it began. etc. indeed. iJiade by Lenin in 1905 and 1906 which. History. The whole of October was. . 181 unlbiguolllS in the minds of most Bolsheviks. October 18th.: . congress of soviets ofTver province and regional conference of soviets of the South-West. .-. . appropriate to the proletarian and democratic character of the enterprise.* In October 1917 the permanent revolution took concrete form in a permanent debate.t pointed towards the road that the Russian revolutionary movement was really destined to travel. it made of the latter a reality such as socialists had until then only dreamed of. did the same. were never empty. the great meeting-halls of Petrograd. a period of ceaseless political activity: the soviets of the various regions assembled in conferences and congresses. Uniting word and deed.stablish a liberal democracy. Bolshevik provincial congress in Samara. and Siberia. occupied strategic points and stormed the Winter Palace. this was. Their rallying to the Bolsheviks' policy had been able to find other means of expression. p. and to socialist tradition. while adding something new to socialist practice. were carrying out a mandate the existence of which was proved by numberless demonstrations and resolutions. m a revolutiOnary government that would embody a dictator . sailors and soldiers who patrolled the streets of Petrograd in October 1917.Ship of both the proletariat and the peasantry. and taking part. Based upon distin usbing between the bourgeois and the socialist revolutions. · . conference of Bolsheviks of Petrograd province.

He interrupted his activity as organizer of the Party and the revolution.S. p. exiled in Finland. confiscation of the landed estates. heralding the strategy that he was to apply in 1917. By October 1915. but to bring about the socialist revolution in alliance with the proletarians of Europe. of course. however: the necessarily international and I?ternationalist character of the Russian revolution. and an eight-hour working day' (Lenin. . as well). At first.' 75 •One month later. 76. (I) The fall ofTsardom led Lenin at once to consider that Russia was entering a period of history . Lenin repeated. this connexion was made in his mind. Lerun ended an article with a conclusion which. In hts 'Farewell Letter to the Swiss Workers'. that the revolution will not be limited to Russia'. while reasserting his conception of the 'revolu tion ry democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry'. 182 LENINISM UNDER LENIN will not be limited to the first stage of the Russian revolution. Vol. and historical analysis has to base itself on a mass of scattered passages from speeches. a democratic republic . 77 Once more. . a number of points emerge which together sum up Lenin's revolutionary strategy in 1917. t Seep. was strongly emphasized. in which problems of strategy are not touched upon. action absorbed Lenin completely. From an analysis of Lenin's writings. t _'Since ussia is most backward and has not yet completed its bourgeois revolution. reports and articles that were composed in relation to events of a kind capable of overturning the best established schemata. repetitions. which Lenin had tdl then almost ignored. viz. On the eve of his ?ep rture from Western Europe to go back to Russia. . he ended his work on State and Revolution. only when...A. 'The task confronting the proletariat of Russia is the consummation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia in order to kindle the socialist revolution in Europe. as in so many others. since 'in all the advanced countries the war has placed on the order of the day the slogan of socialist revolution . not to aid the rich peasants in their struggle against the rural workers. These problems were thus never dealt with by Lenin in a systematic way.. ad returned to the possibilities glimpsed in 1905 and 1906-with an mportant difference. together with the events with which they were interwoven. a publicist and journalist. that 'the objective cir cumstances of the imperialist war make it certain that the revolution .· revolutionary strategy... 82. contradictions-since their author had never had an opportunity to make a synthesis or theoretical elaboration such as Trotsky subsequently undertook in his book Permanent Revolution...b! ut the prospect was a different one in Western Europe. had a clearly 'Trotskyist' flavour to it: 'The proletariat will at once utilize this ridding of bourgeois Russia of tsarism and the rule of the landowners. *Seep. '74 Soon Lenin was to link together the upheaval that he foresaw taking place in backward Russia as a democratic revolution with the socialist revolution he foresaw in industrialized Europe (and perhaps the U. 21. he reaffirmed his previous views on the necessarily bourgeois-democratic character of the aims of the revolution in Russia.' 76 He . . lt Still remams the task of Social-Democrats in that country to achieve the three funda mental conditions for consistent democratic reform. These passages taken as a whole are full of approximations. 33).

would constitute an advance towards socialism. namely.86 and a series of measures for state control of the economy made neces sary by the country's disastrous situation. During August 1917 Lenin became aware of the large number of ''imperative mandates' held by peasant deputies to the Soviet Russian and modern equivalents of the cahiers of the French States General of 1789-in which the petty- . Again: 'Operating as it does in one of the most backward countries of Europe amidst a vast population of small peasants. This was the case with the economic programme defended by the Bolsheviks between February and October. iron and steel.t If Lenin did not regard it as opportune for his Party to adopt a socialist economic programme. with an 'extremely original . 311).88 This meant running counter to the aspirations of the huge majority of the Russian peasantry and their desire to bring about division of the land in the immediate future. The Bolshevik agrarian programme envisaged mainly the 'nationalization of a!/ lands in the country. lost its sharpness. 24. however. to wards the overthrow of capitalism.84 abolition of commercial secrecy.85 introduction of universal labour service. in order to realize the indispensable alliance between the proletariat and the peasantry. but a transition to socialism. considered separately. oil.' 81 By meeting many popular demands they would help to keep up and hasten the dynamic of the revolution. Vol. It included 'nationaliza tion of the syndicates.* In this programme. bourgeois and socialist..e.•JtEVOLUTIONARY STRATEGY 183 -banks and insurance companies.. 23.* such measures. this circumspection was even more necessary with regard to the Party's agrarian programme. 78 It was now necessary for the proletariat to 'prepare the way for [its] victory in the second stage of the revolution':79 so that the distinction between the two stages.which made possible.by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' De puties'.. became blurred and hazy. Socialism could not be 'achieved in Russia directly at one stroke. 341. the estab1ishment of 'workers' control'. interlacing' of the period of the 'rule of the bourgeoisie' with that of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.83 'publication of all the fabulous profits . the largest monopolistic associations (sugar. not socialism itself..87 During the first months that followed the February revolu tion Lenin. supervision over the activity of commercial and (especially) industrial enterprises. at the level of the individual factory and also at regional and even central levels. by which the soviets or the 'workers' committees' would exercise. coal. of the revolution. Vol. . the abolition of the autocracy having been a 'by no means complete victory'. but which together amounted to 'gradually' taking 'decisive steps . which the capitalists are making on war supplies'. 80 (2) Lenin indicated his preference for concrete measures. there was a point of special importance. in con formity with Marxist doctrine. p. i. none of which. without committing himself to precise demands.. the proletariat of Russia cannot aim at immediately putting into effect socialist changes' (ibid. p. meant the transition to socialism. and other syndicates)' 82 as well as of • Lenin. expressed very definite reservations about the regime of small-scale landownership. the land to be disposed of . without transitional measures'. however.. showed preference for measures tending towards collectivization and...

of the 'revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry' encapsuled the strategic programme he had worked out at the beginning of the 1905 revolution. however. p.'s9 Thus. to go further along the road of concessions. this being a formula that was 'behind the times'. introduction -(prop!!r distribution of labour-power in the production and distribution of goods' 1 ld. regulation by the state. for the 'worhrs' committee. while in April 1917. When this task has taken place. Lenin called on his followers to spread the slogan: 'Seize the landed estates.. and later in spectacular fashion. see pp. in the programme set out in the 242 · andates will become feasible. he decreed the division of the big estates into separate holdings: the advance to socialism was marking time. The crux of the matter lies in political power passing into the hands of :the proletariat.' And. No sensible socialist will differ with the peasant poor over this . Whereas the moderate socialists preached calm and patience to the peasants. he was affirming the need to establish a 'workers' government'.'.. by winning the support of the countryside. Vol. Reading these documents Jed Lenin to make his ideas on agrarian questions more flexible.93 This change of viewpoint led him to recognize in April that there could no longer be any question of establishing a 'revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry'. thus emphasizing the primacy of the proletarian forces in relation to the peasant movement. Lenin was still rejecting the idea of . 184 LENINISM UNDER LENIN support a policy which... basic. given approval and encouragement to the agitation and revolt in the countryside. Vol. on the day that the Bolsheviks seized power. Be had already. Our theory is a guide to action.94 ln this way a new rapprochement took place between the strategy advocated by Lenin and the conception held by Trotsky. at the Party's national conference. in contrast to all the other parties.. It implied an association between partners more or less on a footing of equality. pp. but the revolution. 324). supervision. 25. devised by Lenin. not a dogma. Lenin added: Weare not doctrinaires. made a big step forward..* And. In order to cement an alliance that was still uncertain and precarious it was necessary. but did not fail to note the support being offered them by the Bolsheviks. 23 and 521-2. At the end of A_ugust he wrote: 'The peasants want to keep their small farms . • Lenin called for 'control. 24. while a phase of the revolution was unfolding which Lenin ·saw as a transition towards socialism. 332-5. Already in March 1917. This was the price that Lenin was ready to pay in order to obtain the indispensable help of the peasants.91 The peasantry ignored this advice. far from tending in the direction of the 'advance to socialism' that Lenin spoke of. who had been readier to ascribe the 'leading' role to the proletariat. 'a theory of yesterday'. tended to strengthen the petty-bour geois structures of the country. and making it clear that the bloc of 'revolutionary-democratic' classes must be 'headed by the revolu tionary proletariaf. the Bolshevik Party was led to ·. Fme. inspired by the spontaneous action of the peasant masses.. everything that is essential.bourgeois demands of the Russian peasantry were forcibly expressed. which he regarded as 'now meaningless'. which would emerge from the seizure of power during the second phase of the revolution.'90 while advising the peasants to do this in an orderly way and without impairing the supply of foodstuffs to the town population. however.92 (3) The formula. Lenin took this road dis creetly at first. to justify himself. fundamental. when. indeed. t Ibid. accounting.

the state imachine that he wanted to see smashed was not Tsardom but the lregime that was arising upon the ruins of Tsardom.for. was not yet one with !proletarian hegemony. f.calling for the establishment of t_he dictatorship of the proletariat.jslightly.95 the radicalizing of the revolution during the spring and the • Seep. le still in Switzerland he called on his supporters to remember '>t. belongs wholly and exclusively to the Soviets . 'Without referring to that revolutionary institution which dominated ttb.:fhis situation. and that everyone texpected would take the form of a bourgeois-liberal democracy. Lenin considered that the victory of February . which in no way 1Jmplied going beyond the bourgeois framework of the revolution. ·. by speaking of 'the dictatorship of the proletariat and poor :> easants'.-What was to be put in its place? Lenin suggested a series of formu slas intended to describe a somewhat vague system which. '106 .8Jld peasants' republic'. 185 ..@on .e Russian scene in 1917? Lenin therefore spoke of 'a republic where llstate power ... so different from the clear-cut schemata-with the bourgeois revolution plainly differentiared from the socialist one that continued to dominate the minds of so many Russian Marxists. 101 of 'a more democratic workers'and peasants' ttepublic'.:D like any other political party is striving after political domina •.f state. Meanwhile..i1917 meant the completion of the bourgeois phase of the revolution.104 But was it possible to define the state that was being born. In September he declared: 'Our . {Or economic and social-still had to be satisfied. a demand which he blamed for 's p· ping over the petty-bourgeoisie'.9 In other words.heslogan once put forward by Marx. it had figured ::\ij)rominently in State and Revolution.:. 98 adding-ten days after the fall of Tsardom-that this pro ss of smashing was already under way9. 96 At the begimung of October he modified this formula }.. . 79.too f· -.* ':1(4) As has been said. 102 even simply of 'a people's republic'103 or 'a democratic 'republic'. a dangerous and impracticable bne to take. itself.97 but without basically altering it... while no t!onger one of domination by the bourgeoisie. jidea which aroused numerous and serious objections among the • Wolsheviks themselves. which he had finished writing \ mot long before.-.urrtpt:'ton of the revolutionary offensive after the setback in July :::t:a. Our aiis.... <henin formally rejected the latter and called on the Bolsheviks to t!evise that part of their programme which declared in favour of a i'lparliamentary bourgeois democracy'. He spoke of 'a really democratic workers' . and 'smash'the existing machinery i.9bliged Lenin to devise corresponding formulas regarding state power. Yet a series of popular demands-political.ust:u him to modify his views. the dictatorship of the evoluti?nary pro L:Jetanat.

' 106 all these vaguely outlined . Lenin spoke throughout 1917 in favour of 'universal. Sukhanov. 187 . For statements in favour of conver tn a Constituent Assembly. pp. Danrds. from the bottom up. too. Red October. equal and direct suffrage'. Vol. While advocating the establishment of a Soviet state. the fundamental concessions made to the peasantry by a proletariat to which Lenin nevertheless ascribed the leading role. There was the contradiction. before the war. Logically. 24. p.. p. The first was a view that the socialist movement had formulated.* Lenin. '. Vol. despite its promises. Protokoly. however. There was the contradiction between desire to urge the revolution onwards towards socialism and the obligation to satisfy the petty-bourgeois aspirations of the peasantry. in which . the pros pect of an extension of the Russian movement to the advanced in dustrial world..g. It was a strange 'dictatorship of the prole tariat' that prepared and inaugurated its reign by sacrificing its own programme to the non-socialist and even anti-socialist aspirations of the peasantry. kept putting off... hesitations and vaguenesses would certainly have resulted in confusion and incoherence if Lenin had not. 550 and 552. set before the Russian revolution a prospect that reduced the scope of the contradictions within it-namely.108 which was contrary to the mode of election of the soviets. in the person of its most authoritative * 'We want a republic where all state power.. Had Karl Kautsky not.t These gropings. 25. 348. 69. pp. between the continually repeated assertion that all power must belong to the soviets and the hardly less frequent acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly-the convocation of which the Provi sional Government. Reed. imd. 99. Peasants' and other deputies' (Len!D. . 24. arli entary representative institutions will be gradually replaced y Sovtets of people's representatives.. as he saw it. 88. however. In this field Lenin relied upon some certainties that were at once reassur ing and uplifting.0kt srrlan on matters of doctrine. Soldiers'. on the other. pp.. and the magnitude and rapidity of the changes taking place are sufficient to account for them. There was the contradiction between rejection of the once-defended concept of the 'revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry' and. sec. put forward the convening of a Constituent Assembly as a normal and necessary revolutionary demand. on the political plane. As a general rule. 20. to 'make possible the least painful transition to socialism'. in order to surmount them. Lenin saw the power that would organize the transition to socialism embodied in the soviets created by the February revolution.'r. in accord with the Party programme and with the platform of demands regularly defended by the Party leaders.. t See. which he saw as ready for the victory of socialism. e. as early as thought fit to assert that in .g..of'a more democratic workers' and peasants' republic. 107 Contradictions were not lacking. 186 LENINISM UNDER LENIN state-forms serving. in the ideas that Lenin set forth in 1917.-. p. 191.. belongs wholly and exclusively to the Soviets of Workers'. They did indeed signify a sharp break with the bourgeois parliamentary institutions whose value Lenin denied. 26. Vol.· • Seep. 373-4). e. p..

· nvinced Lenin that. thought that in the pperialist epoch 'the struggle for the territorial division of the world !). Had he not declared.tail11ea from the existing political institutions all the strength they give it'?109 The world war was seen by Lenin as precipitating the mval of a great social crisis. is connected with ijlie intensification of the struggle for the partitioning of the world'. after the reactionary interval beginning in 1914. this same monopoly capitalism 'intensified all the 'G()ntradictions of capitalism'.. . striving to convert the Central Committee to the :tdea of an uprising. 117 n October 15th: 'by acting at that moment the Bolsheviks would ave all proletarian Europe on their side'J1S X. on the contrary.Europe 'there can no longer since the proletariat has be question of a premature revolution.1out that Imp nahsm co ld lead to co-operation between great ifib.?ctober 8th: 'the growth of a world revolution is beyond dispute'.115 Industria liZed Europe was on the threshold of socialism.'gain. especially during the spring of 1917.. on both sides'110 and an inevitable . and the revolution esuming its forward march. to finance-capital.e struggle between Left and Right among the Bolsheviks was timately centred on this problem: Lenin.ancial monopolies.strategy must be determined by it. Furthermore.111 Lemn. The agitation among the working class and in the army \!. .stage of monopoly capitalism. :.116 on . But the wear and tear of war had led in due course to a reappearance of pacifist radicalism. Whereas Kautsky : 9. with Karl Liebknecht as its ''tandard-bearer and the organization founded at Zimmerwald as its ·fclllying-point.:.:' b. the purpose of which was to show that 'the of 1914-1918 was imperialist . From both sources it . both the general evolution Qf society and the institutional innovations made necessary in the :belligerent countries by the operation of a war economy finally per s ded Lenin that 'capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly lo>the most comprehensive socialization of production'.story was at last finding its true path 9. in any case.ponsequence f 'th ighest phase of capitalism'. 114 August 1914 had shown the fallacy of the view that imperialist war ould immediately be 'answered' by revolutions in all the countries ncemed. .eeomes extraordinarily sharp'. believed that Wh Party's. He had analysed the causes of this war : his book Imperialism.m ore generally.. en openmg the April conference: 'The great honour of beginning ·:_. and that 'capitalism's transition to iJie.U3 rOn this question Lenin's scientifically based convictions corres :ponded to the demands of his political faith. he stressed this point again and again..followed that 'imperialism is the eve of the socialist revolution'. ·.· >.hat developed in Germany. On October :lst: 'In Germany the beginning of the revolution is obvious'.In October 1917.

127 Through the channel of the fight against the war a t>nc1rete link was thus established between the Russian vanguard and West-European rearguard of the world revolution. Only from this angle can we define our task .'122 And he drew this conclusion: 'the war which the capitalist governments have started can only be ended by. then Russia would indeed be obliged to wage a revolutionary war. The Russian socialist movement. from April1917 onwards. accordtng to Lenin. is gaining momentum with every passing day. ·:: we are to believe Trotsky.. would address to eacb of them. all marked a decisive 'i mr11chement between Trotsky's theories of permanent revolution Lenin's strategy of 1917. The Party did not fail to perceive this. for example. British. and in Europe in particular. which in Ger many.. they . they did. by workers' revolutions 'm several countries'. But whereas Lerun. 'in the leading group of the party . the stir caused by this proposal would have the effect of IONARY STRATEGY 189 tanc:it'tg both the popularity of the Russian revolution among the rooean masses and the revolt of the Western proletariat against . once established. in his view. along with this.au<: u. the recognition of pro. Revolutionary Russia would then 'be forced to wage a revolutionary war against the German-and not only the German bourgeoisie'. sin9e. these could only be rejected by the imperialist governments.124 It is true that. Lenin's certainties gave way to more cautious estimates. would announce its peace proposals. If. once in power.ble workers' revolution in the advanced countries'.188 LENINISM UNDER LENIN the revolution has fallen to the Russian proletariat.'119 T?e Right-wing Bolsheviks did not disagree.italisrn. durmg the crucial October weeks. The peace programme that he upheld in Russia. as time passed and the Bolshevik Party drew nearer to power. Being fundamentally and uncondi tionally democratic. there were 'ninety-nine chances in a hundred' that a demo· cratic peace proposed to the imperialist states would be accepted by them. the will to the struggle for socialism immediately. Even before his return to Petrograd. French and other capitalists declining such a peace.Ihegemony over the peasantry. At the beginning of September he said that it seemed to him unlikely that the capitalist governments would reject a democratic peace. He advocated a policy which. would help it on and hasten its coming.a workers' revolution' 123-more precisely. denying that 'the majority of the inter national proletariat' supported the Bolsheviks. was governed by this aim.121 In April he added something else: 'In the event of the German. · · The concept of offensive internationalism. we would ourselves start a revolutionary war. But the Russian proletariat must not forget that its movement and revolution are only part of a world revolutionary proletarian movement. 120 Lenin did not confine himself to declaring his confidence in the international socialist revolution. staked on the spread of the revolution over the world. however. 125 This cautious vieW that proletarian Russia might be able to get by without a revolution ry war was accompanied by a strong dose of optimism. and call upon the workers of all countries to join us. the moderate and cautious trend in the Party expressed scepticism. and. in his 'Farewell Letter to the Swiss Workers'. which 'would bring even nearer the inevita. 126 Whatever reply they might give to the armistice proposals that the Soviet Government. Lenin had sketched out the main features of his plan for internationalizing the revolution. He was concerned not only to satisfy the aspirations of the Russian people but also to throw a bridge between the proletariat of Russia and the proletariat of the West.

.Criticism'. :(fal'ried an article ending with these words: 'A permanent revolution :tersus a permanent slaughter: that is the struggle.suspected of indulgence towards Trotskyism. <I . more specifically. . to apply Trotsky's views on revolutionary strategy. If: -·.. came to occupy for a certain period the place of honour in the Party's ideology.130 The events of 1917 drew into the wake of this theory an ever larger number of followers. Already before 1917.•'·•·• -:.. -. Andre Stawar (pseudonym of Eduard Janus) was one of the great of Polish Communism. who is hardly to 6e. The Small General Encyclopedia published in 1959 by the iifilte Scientific Press in Warsaw described him as 'a foremost representative of Marxist ·.. in which the stake jk'!the future of man._$·. and so Pravda of September 7th.' · .' 128 When Trotsky had jjoined the Leninist organization he found an opportunity to develop ::]fis views in the Party press. ... .' 129 According to Andre Stawar. · casting into the shade the experienced members of the Party's general Sfa.'* Lenin was not the only one to fall under Trotsky's influence.accused Lenin of Trotskyism during the month of April. 1917..jtid this openly and with much insistence. during the first years of the war. .::K>. 'Trotsky becat?-e Mthin a few months the most authoritative of the leaders..I. Stawar. men like Bukharin «nd Radek had not concealed their sympathy for the theory of per manent revolution. Who constituted the Party's Left wing and set a decisive imprint upon its policy. conscious or otherwise. 3 . Kamenev .. 141. and. after Lerun. ·. p.ff. his theory of permanent revolution .

. 86.Leninism and revolutionary democracy - Shortly before the October insurrection Lenin wrote: 'We must draw the masses into the discussion of this question [of whether or not to boycott the Pre-Parliament. 50.]. were capable of 'im parting consciousness' to proletarian political activity. resulting from the victories won in battle against the bourgeoisie.L. organize the discussion. It was the events of 1905 that had begun to shake those ideas. of the Bolshevik Party.. but with tenfold strength. themselves enlightened by intellectuals who had broken with their class. But the way the revolution actually developed Jed Lenin to affirm that ' "the country" of the workers and the poor peasants . in particular.. and more than ever before.L. is a thousand times more leftward than the Chernovs and the Tseretelis. We are not charlatans. dead against it. Insurrection must rely upon a revolutionary upsurge of the people. A large section of the leadershiP • See pp. Lenin had said: 'We don't want the masses to take our word for it. and their com parative caution. Once again. !NISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 191 rid many of the cadres viewed with extreme reluctance the prospect of a socialist revolution: all the 'old Bolsheviks'. a long way from the conception of organization that he had imprinted upon Bolshevism during its formative years. The theory of the Party that Lenin had worked out proceeded from the assumption that only the most conscious of the workers. but upon the advanced class .e.].' 2 Some months earlier.' 1 Around the same time he declared that 'insurrection must rely not upon conspiracy and not upon a party. when he first put forward the April Theses.* In 1917 the 'revolutionary upsurge of the people' produced the same effect. We want the masses to overcome their mistakes through experience. and a hundred times more leftward than we are.. M... the relations . were . M. Class-conscious workers must take the matter into their own hands.'4 While the radicalism of the pro· letariat was greater than that of the Bolsheviks the latter did not always make up for their inferiority in this respect. and exert pressure on "those at the top" [i. by a clearer awareness of the aims and potentialiti s of the revolution that was in progress.' 3 He had moved a long way from the ideas expounded in What Is To Be Done?.

cancel out the eharacter of constraint (itself a form of violence) that is inherent in Political power. 279 ff.5'The state is an organization of violence. for his part. is nevertheless not abstract in the sense that it is not "outside history': on the contrary. {·The theoretical purpose of State and Revolution is that of defining the concept of the state. ·.evolution and of the influence that the latter event did not fail to exert on the author's thought.' Obviously. especially as regards relations between state arid class and. between the rank-and-file and · the leadership.. especially iii an essay concluded a few weeks before the October rising. in particular. Although he had never studied this systematically. it results from Lenin's interpretation of. This work bears the twofold mark of theoretical thinking which Lenin had begun before the 1917 r.. to which I shaH return. is somewhat simplified: it excludes any reference or even a1Iusion to a Whole range of functions and mediations that the state fulfils functions and mediations which do not. will be found in Poulant s. as analysed by Marx and Engels. this proposition reduces the role of the state to an element which. within the latter. the quite specific conditions of Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century. Analysis of this concept had been begun by Marx and Engels: but what they bequeathed was a line of thought rather than a finished system-a line of thought.enin finished writing State and Revolution during the weeks that he spent in enforced exile in Finland.he state and revolution: libertarian Leninism l. were called in question. confines himself to asserting that 'the state is a special organization of force: it is an organization of violence for the suppression of some class'. Capitalism in its monopolistic stage was in itself a SYnonym for imperialism. moreover.* Lenin. own vanguard. and interference tb * Som illuminating observations on the question of the autonomy or dependence of •. in state power. and. though curt. This tendency had been intensified by the war. which implied a certain militarization of society. Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?. This revision resulted in Lenin's developing an original and remarkably bold new conception of the . though essential. that was not free from ambiguity. of course. · ff. between the Party and the proletariat. social and political activity. and. which brought With it the abolition of many democratic freedoms. -· 192 LENINISM UNDER LENIN by a state that was more repressive and violent than ever in many spheres of economic. in his other writings of the period. as regards the relative independence of the former from the latter.an influence that is also observable. between the proletariat and its '. Lenin's proposition.. and even more plainly. he had nevertheless drawn attention to its . l!:·. role of the state and of the social revolution. This is why Lenin offers in State and Revolution a particularly critical analysis of bourgeois democracy. PP. estate Inrelation to the class. See also Miliband for a useful restatement of the ideas of Marx and Engels 11 these matters. most particularly.

a dictatorship of the proletariat would be erected.advantages and shown himself appreciative of the possibilities it gave the working class to prepare for the overthrow of capitalism.. from communism'.6 And the institutions of these bourgeois-democratic regimes were always accompanied by a bureaucratic administration which was tyrannical and parasitic. In State and Revolution Lenin said that 'a Marxist is solely someone who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictator ship of the proletariat'. Lenin was faithful to the classical teaching that. 7 It necessarily followed that the revolution must pursue 'the aim.8 He further declared that 'the dictatorship of a single class is necessary not only for every class society in general. the writing of which was interrupted at the end of the IJller of 1917 so that the author might engage in less theoretical . exclusion . was thus provided with a doctrinal birth-certificate which · _':·Jiad been hastily drawn up and left unfinished. There was no need to be unduly worried about it. becomes democracy for the poor.. of the ruling class is to repress and crush the people through parliament -this is the real essence of bourgeois parliamentarism..' And Lenin summed up as follows the new system that the victorious people's revolution would introduce: 'Democracy for the vast majority of the people.. In view of the transformations that this concept was destined to undergo.Jetariat. namely. All the same...The Soviet state. he wrote that 'to decide once every few years which membe. :he born from the revolution. :i. or even dodged. for the first time. .. that was not in conformity with Marxist doctrine. it was silent about.. i.t There was nothing here. the need for this having been proclaimed already in the programme of Russian Social-Democracy in 1903.* In 1917 however. or else overlooked. democracy for the people. here was a book that needed to be completed and developed. and suppression by force. which. ' vri. iTeaknesses where one of the most important and most difficult . not of improving the state machine · but of smashing and destroying it'. since. but at the same time he acknowledged that this provisional regime might last a long time. It would be unfair and pedantic to 6lame the author of State and Revolution for the shortcomings of a book written in the circumstances of 1917 in Russia.problems is concerned. In particular. ventured in State and Revolution into the unknown and dangerous territory in which Criticism of society gives way to constructive work. advancing beyond the realm of classical Marxism. not only for the proletariat which has overthrown the bourgeoisie. the book . and the entire experience of actually building ·· ialism.. and not democracy for the money-bags . the gigantic problems that the building of socialist society must necessarily encounter.:.. so far.Ws and prepare for the imminent coming of the State that would .·.the bourgeoisie under capitalism. though..·. Such analysis was all the more needed because Lenin. not only in parliamentary-constitutional monarchies but also in the most demo cratic republics'. that of the dictatorship of the pro :' . that Lenin wrote on the eve of the conquest of power shows glaring . it is surprising to see how lightly Lenin dealt with it: as an abstraction derived from an analogy with the dictatorship wielded by ·.9 He thus reaffirmed the pro visional nature of the regime of proletarian dictatorship. as it stood. on the ruins of the state thus abolished.. since this dictatorship of the proletariat should mean 'an immense extension of democracy.e.nNISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 193 :neo work. but also for the entire historical period which separates capitalism from the "classless society".

one in which the political system is already in part not a ' "'After the overthrow of the power of the bourgeoisie. in one domain after another.. It dies out' '"'ngels. and. 389). once the bourgeois :State had been broken and swept away. Vol. 25. simple and natural a task that it will entail far less bloodshed than the suppression of the risings of slaves. 'State inter f rence in social relations becomes. begins with the victory of the proletarian revolution and ·advances steadily in step with the building of socialism. 409. 'for the suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the wage-slaves of yesterday is com paratively so easy. superfluous. which he takes as his model.· Lenin did not confine himself to saying that. pp. is also found in an article written by Bukharin in 1916 and known to Lenin (see Daniels. Lenin believes that it will progressively fade away. t Lenin. and so of all political ·authority. ·tnmorit y (the exploiters)'. p. on the other the administration-withers away and disappears from history. regarding the Paris .Commune. and then dtes out of itself. 12 so that 'it is no 'lOnger a state in the proper sense of the word'.14 a 'non-political state'. Where Engels ·-:ventured only a general statement. !'!d by the conduct of processes of production. serfs or wage-labourers . p. not the majority of the population but a from democracy. possesses an unmistakably libertarian. 'The State and Revolution'. This formulation. The State that emerges from the proletarian revolution 'begins to wither away immediately'.. the government of pen. the dictatorship of the pro •letariat must be set up in its place. 1 194 LENINISM UNDER LENIN state system.* Lenin was precise and committed . the victorious revolution initiates an original Sttuation.16 Since this last description corresponds to Lenin was no more explicit than this. the eulogistic references that he made to the Paris Commune 11 being in general only of an allusive nature. on the one hand.himself decisively.' 10 . taken from Marx and Engels. It must be emphasized that State and Revolution is an un• Seep. He added that this process was inseparable from the Marxist concept of the withering away of the :state: that the withering away of the state.. And it is compatible with the . we -n see that in his view. wrote Engels. The state is not "abolished".13 Lenin speaks of it as a :'semi-state'. of the exploiters and oppressors of the people. As' regards the purely repressive aspect of the state.. anarchist-tending flavour. 26-7).te since it had to suppress. Here we have a formulation which.15 and adds.ons is replaced by the administration of things. 63. Anti-Duhring. even though some what vague. the definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat that Lenin gives. that it 'was ceasing to be a :sta.* In State and Revolution Lenin elucidates the process whereby political authority-defined as a complex consisting of the repressive power of the army and the police.

on the other..' 22 ?.. an attenuation of repressive activity by the state. 24 Whatever may be said of the difference between the carrying-out of administrative tasks by all . even though Lenin is careful to repudiate 'anarchist dreams'.20 and defends himself against the charge of utopianism. by the whole of the armed population. Lenin recognizes that the proletarian state will not be able to do without the services of the former administration j]nmediately. to proceed immediately. after the overthrow of the capitalists and the bureaucrats. the armed proletariat who.. that 'capitalist culture has createdlarge-scale production.. Speaking.. that 'democracy is . of performing the ordinary. but also in the everyday administration of the state. Nevertheless. telephones.... by the armed workers.. factories. [But] we demand an immediate break with the prejudiced view that only the rich.23 Elsewhere Lenin was to show less ingenuousness. the postal service. at the beginning of October 1917. but the vagueness of his observations does not rule out such a 'libertarian' interpretation of his ideas. in the work of keeping account of labour and products. however. not only in voting and elections.' 17 It remains true.. he declares that 'the development of capitalism . overnight.' 18 Violence. etc.' 19 Here the 'libertarian' tone is especially marked. and on this basis the great majority of the functions of the old "state power" have become so simplified and can be reduced to such exceedingly simple operations of registration. filing and checking that they can be easily performed by every literate person . on the one hand.. by one section of the population against another. it is quite possible. sec pp. Must we not conclude from this that it is the people themselves. are capable of administering the state. Abolition of the traditional army goes along with rapid erosion and fundamental transformation of the state's administrative machinery: 'The mass of the population will rise to taking an independent part. Given these economic preconditions. an organization for the systematic use of force by one class against another. without any mediation. and went on: We are not utopians.. Under socialism all will govern in turn and will soon become accustomed to no one governing. 261-3. however. these functionaries-whose pay will not exceed that received by the workers-will be 'simply carrying out our instructions'.. NfSM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 195 'and distribution. We know that an unskilled labourer or a cook cannot immediately get on with the job of state administra tion . of the problems that the proletariat would have to solve after its victory. railways.'21 Emphasizing the point. At the same time. or officials chosen from rich families. to replace them in the control over production *On relations between Lenin and the anarchists. He considers. creates the pre conditions that enable really "all" to take part in the administration of the state . everyday work of administration. he admitted that they would be difficult ones. We demand that training in the work of state administration be conducted by class-conscious workers and soldiers and that this training be begun at once . will take in hand the defence of their interests and organize themselves independently of any state structures-certainly of any military apparatus in the strict sense? Lenin does not say so explicitly.extension of demo cracy to such an overwhelming majority of the population that the need for a special machine of suppression will begin to disappear.

for every ten thousand overt and concealed enemies of working-class rule . suddenly imprinted upon the Marxist schema in such a way as !o stress its most optimistic features. that they had the right to live. Lenin's thinking. and even in his normally rather dull style.26 .. and gives it its 'immoderate' character. with the fullest confidence.. Only then. every unemployed worker. Lenin's style attains. their merits.. that it confiscates surplus stocks of provisions from the parasites and distributes them to the hungry.25 And again: When every labourer.citizens and their training to carry them out. for the first time. Lenin's language becomes suddenly more vivid. on the contrary. immediate. This is the mark of the period. writhing in the torments of poverty and despair. is breaking their resistance . the socialist revolution will triumph all over the world. for example. their victories.. one cannot but note the deeply democratic inspiration behind these ideasand this is what I am mainly concerned to emphasize. that they too could be served by the entire might of the modem centralised state. and the possibilities that are opening before them. the only kind of society that is ripe for socialism. that it compels the rich to pay for milk but does not give them a drop until the children of all poor families are sufficiently supplied. when tens of millions of people who have been crushed by want and capitalist slavery see from experience and feel that state power has passed into the hands of the oppressed classes.. in his pamphlet Will the Bolsheviks Maintain Power?• ·• 196 LENINISM UNDER LENIN We have not yet seen . every ruined peasant sees. every cook. the strength of resistance of the pro letarians and poor peasants. and whatever may be said regarding the flimsiness of some of Lenin's ideas. there will arise a million new fighters who had been politically dormant. that the proletarian state is not cringing to wealth but is helping the poor. that this state does not hesitate to adopt revolutionary measures. also call upon them to take a direct. for it is maturing in all countries. that contingents of the proletarian militia could. of the masses who are rising up and OVerthrowing the old world. daily part in state administration. cannot in fact be reduced merely to operations of supervision and recording that can be accomplished by applying the rules of elementary arith metic. not from the newspapers. but with his own eyes. will vanquish the people's revolution. that it forcibly installs the homeless in the houses of the rich. no capitalist or kulak forces. But it is also true that the Social-Democracy with which Lenin was severing all ties had too easily resigned itself to accepting as inevitable the inferiority of the working class. a sort of lyrical quality. · Thus.. for this strength will become fully apparent only when power is in the hands of the proletariat. Let us see how it shows through lD. that the state is helping the poor to fight the landowners and capitalists. no forces of world finance capital which manipulates thousands of millions. that the land is being transferred to the working people and the factories and banks are being placed under the control of the workers and that immediate and severe punishment is meted out to the millionaires who conceal their wealth-when the poor see and feel this. Under the impact of the revolution. It is true that the running of an advanced industrial society. A democratic inspiration lies at the heart of Lenin's vision at this time. Inorder to speak of the people's capacities. having ceased to believe that they were human. winning victories that had hitherto been thought unattainable.

responding to invitations ·they received from the libertarian groups.L. M.'29 · . fresh p-end in anarchism was definitely on the side of the Soviets . The Bolshevik leader Raskolnikov.. this profound confidence in popular initiative and striving for total liberation makes one think of anarchism. As we have seen. Lenin was to go so far as to say that 'at '':. 1tb. against whom he himself had argued harshly. wrote that 'the Anarchist-Communists worked arm in arm with the Bolsheviks'. in the weeks preceding the October insurrection.:...] were friendly'. . Imonths that led up to October 1917 he abstained from public attacks . · 1. in the period of a radical break-up of the bourgeois system..· These reflections were merely the consequence of events themselves. onwards the Party 'united with the Anarchists every time they . the new.adding that 'while some anarchists spoke of the Soviets with fear.. This great fervour. This reproach is found NISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 197 eatedly in Sukhanov's memoir.es in the course of 1917: 'we are not anarchists'. :.. and merely advised ·Bolsheviks to be present only in their individual capacity and not to :take part in any voting.·quarrelled with the coalition'. c:because they were still influenced by obsolete views...32 When the Kronstadt sailors elected delegates to the ·. itants. j. recalling his memories of the revolution. when he first set forth his April Theses. Members of Lenin's Party regularly attended the anarchist meetings that were organized in Petrograd.t The Bolshevik Committee in the capital was obliged to pay attention to this situation. and 'concluded agreements with them .30 One member of the Petrograd Bolshevik <Committee.31 .Bolsheviks and anarchists It is not enough to speak of a basically democratic inspiration.Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets...: Contact between anarchists and Bolsheviks was not made at rank ·. the anarchists. tells us that he 'carried on • very sharp discussions with the Anarchist leader (Bleishman).* during the -. ·about the administration of local affairs'. d-file level only. Yarchuk.at time.!From June 1917 . ··. their chief representative.: lon them.e.of the tremendous revolutionary wave which in its broad sweep had . Such a reaction is not new. on the very day that he returned to Russia. 28 But whereas in . .33 .27 Lenin did indeed repeat several m. :. It refrained ·from forbidding attendance at such meetings. ibrought about a rapprochement between many Bolshevik and anarchist . was chosen r with official support from the Bolshevik group.. but on · the whole our relations with them [i.January 1918 in Petrograd. Lenin was accused of having abandoned Marx for Bakunin. Addressing the Third Congress of Soviets.r. meeting in .the concept of anarchism was finally assuming concrete features'. who played an IDlportant role at the Kronstadt naval base.j905 he had approved of the Petrograd Soviet's refusal to admit the narchists. -.

in January 1918. to be sure. expressed his conviction that Lenin had overcome his Marxist errors and was now intending to establish in Russia an anarchist regime based on destruc tion of the state. See on this subject Avrich. in the highly anti-Leninist work that he wrote about the revolution. for Lenin. 38 just a stratagem intended to trick a too trusting people? Is it not nearer the truth to say. was more disposed to CO bor te with he Bolsheviks. despite hesitation. 73). was led by a sailor named Anatoly Zheleznyakov. it presented all the characteristics of a social revolution with libertarian tendencies' ?39 And if this was the case with the Russian revolution. with almost Anarchist slogans'.'34 One anarchist leader. returning to Petrograd during the summer.36 Suspicion and conflict continued to arise. that the 'liber tarian' utterances of Leninist propaganda were 'only slogans'. · f Two main trends were to be distinguished among the Russian anarchists. One. Their organ in Kharkov. with Voline. Anarchists. carrying out the orders of the Government led by Lenin. p. despite the 'new course'.37 The power of revolutionary spontaneity Was this rapprochement between Bolsheviks and anarchists founded on a misunderstanding? Are we to believe. for 'the philosophy of the anar ts isbourgeois philosophy turned inside out. p. a party whose 199 . the 'impulse' for which came 'from the bottom'? This point is of capit l importance: Lenin's confidence in the action of the masses.. while the second. 198 LENINISM UNDER LENIN The anarchists did not hide their surprise or their satisfaction at the way the Bolsheviks were changing. in a period of hostility between Com munists and anarchists. and sometimes internal tension. was based on the 'Anarchist-Syndicalist Propaganda Group'. wrote: 'Since the time of the [February] revolution they have decisively broken with Social Democracy and have been endeavouring to apply anarchosyndicalist methods of struggle. acknowledged that in 1917 Lenin and his Party 'arrived at an almost libertarian conception of the revolution. so setting the revolution finally on the 'Soviet' path. 'A wide gulf separates socialism from anarchism'. analysing the spirit of the Leninism of that period. he alleges that 'there would be Soviets. but under the control of the workers' party. for example. dispersed the Con stituent Assembly. For Guerin is wrong when.. re latively moderate. 10. with Daniel Guerin. '(Knyazev and Konstantinov. the great revela tion of 1917. could it be otherwise with the doctrine and the Party which. resulted from this movement impelled 'from the bottom' -the movement which was undoubtedly. that 'in so far as it was an authentic revolution. Bolshevism did not cease to inspire much distrust among Russian anarchists..35 Voline. Their individualistic theories and their llldividualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism' (Lenin. in their 'initiative'.* . whose anarchist affiliations were well known.roJeCt that Lenin drew up on the eve of the conquest of power. Vol. But it was no accident that the armed detachment which. which made them 'a hundred times more to the Left' than his own Party. +In his memoirs a leader of the Bolshevik group in the Kronstadt Soviet justifies this support as follows: 'Yarchuk's theoretical considerations were of no practical importance to US-the important thing was to have a man who would not waver at the decisive · llloment . took the lead in this movement. and. of course. represented by the Federation of Anarchist-Communists. 120). taking its impulse from the bottom upward and spontan eously producing the organs of direct democracy.

bogged down as they were in their attempt to collaborate with the bourgeoisie.000 o absent . of various forms of direct . 1917.R. what the title s to suggest. were willing to pt power. and shouted fuhis face: 'Take power. while it is true that the Bolshevik organization was an indis 'l>ensable instrument for the seizure of power. It is important to establish this fact... which he figures both as spectator and actor..leader.'41 was engaged in a fresh struggle with many of . lfhe Bolsheviks... Wi!J the Bolsheviks Maintain Power? Despite. at the prospect of an armed rising. you son-of-a-bitch. who were showing themselves reluctant and sceptical. Lenin alludes to the '240. did not refuse power. :: For.. is the growing role of the masses themc<:ehres. which they would not have known what to do with. the minister Chemov tried to address the crowd. difficult to overlook jt®e fact that.. bemg sceptical and \ llometimes angry and hostile-of the need for a 'second revolution'. when it's given to you!' 42 Neither the S. the place accorded here to the Bolshevik organization in the new politi historic task it is to direct the proletariat'. Accord sight that in State and Revolution Lenin hardly mentioned the Party? Yet it is a fact.. it is no less true that it \Vas the masses themselves that urged the Party forward. if we are to understand the significance that Lenin. upon a revolutionary .psurge of the people. that the 'role of the Party' is practically from the great social and political f. in order to call on them to disperse...s nor the Mensheviks. But while it was tertainly a deed of revolutionary audacity to accept this gift. Lenin had just been devoting wees to co vincing . it must :be emphasized that the outcome of the revolution in Russia was the -result of a dialectic so complex that one is equally justified in saying 'that the Leninist Party seized power by the October insurrection and :that the vanguard of the masses forced the Party to adopt an attitude 10wards the conquest of power which these masses alone manifested With constancy and persistence. and one of the highest importance. when he outlined the theoretical foundations of the : i)roletarian state. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this outlook was on what Lenin had learnt-correctly or notfrom the upheaval . in the midst of the £: • The Party found a place in the important essay written by Lenin at the end of Sep tember 1917. but upon the advanced class .i:Jrls Party-a party that was more than reluctant.al structures outlined by Lenin is only a modest one. of Soviet (and not Bolshevik) power.fiis own followers. insurrection must rely not . even angry and hostile. hich it regarded as dangerous.1Jpon a party.... At that m:oment a worker came up to the S.... -·During the demonstration of July 3rd. above all. :-·difficult not to take into account the circumstance that the man who in !September declared that 'to be successful. we see here.R. however. however. and that the Party busied itself for a long period with holding back this pressure. shook his fist.40 Was it really by an over :rnbe f the Bolshevik Party' when he discusses the future machinery of state. .

INISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 201 . condemned by the moderate socialists. This decisive pressure was kept up for months. into the 1 Y work of state administration. Vol.'47 When Lenin said. Its long duratwn was a symptom and result of the radicalization of the masses.. the poor. from the very first days of the revolution. And when. and Soviet born of the revolution into a conservative institution. acknowledged at the Sixth Party Congress. 138. the situation was much the same in Moscow. the countryside was swept by disturbances. in September. . who had always counted on a radicalization of the socialist movement. 'dark' forces.. Lenin said in October. meeting on October 3rd. that 'we were forced to spend half our time calming the masses'. Describing the attitude of the Bolshevik Party towards the revolu tionary masses during the crises of April.'46 If we are to believe the report made to the Party's Central Committee by Lomov. and the rigidity of their programmes. ascribed to the relation between the Party and the masses. This spectacular process had the effect of transforming liberals of yesterday into partisans of a military dictatorship. Speaking at the C. even the most radical. he said: 'The masses are demanding that some definite steps be taken. It is the upsurge of the masses that subjects institutions and parties.. . this machinery will actually be formed by drawing not only the :'!:lon voters who support the Party but also 'the working people. which for Lenin constituted the driving force of revolution? .« while the Bolshevik leader Podvoisky. and the Bolsheviks continued with their delaying role all through June: 'We have to play the part of the fire-hose. although regarded as being among the most radical.45 We have seen how.' This is the 'magic way' on which Lenin counts to ve the problem (Lenin. during the July days.o him.«s This moderating role played by the Party was shown. June and July.t that 'class-conscious workers must take the matter into their own hands and . and the resistance put up by the proletariat of Petrograd to Kornilov's putsch had displayed its fighting spirit. as we have seen. How !bolllld Lenin have remained unaffected by this upsurge of the masses 111setves-these 'elemental'.ressed by it.'48 he was thus merely hoping that an essential feature of the revolutionary dynamic would continue to operate and become general at a decisive moment. 26.* A month later events repeated themselves. Everywhere we are maintaining a waiting attitude. pp. t Seep. 200 LENINISM UNDER LENIN battle. This impulse from 'below' is the driving force of revolution.. the Party leadership plunged into the popular movement only under pressure and after trying to prevent its outbreak. in connexion with the boycott of the Pre-Parliament. as a party. The popular effervescence did not die down. and the meaning of this quasilibertarian Leninism that developed in such a surprising way as the October revolution drew nearer. however. 111-12). held in August. either failed to comprehend (April 20th) or held back and shaped into a peaceful demonstration (June 9th and July 3rd)'. to a pressure to which the latter counte pose the relative inertia of their structures. exert pressure on "those at the top". and there can be no doubt that Lenin.' confessed the Vyborg Committee. the relative caution of theJr leaders. a member of the Bolshevik Committee of Petrograd repeated during an important discussion: 'Our task is to hold the masses back. In April the Party instructed the workers and soldiers of the capital to submit to the Soviet's ban on their demonstration. must have been profoundlY • Seep. 165. that 'then it was a matter of spontaneous excitement which we.C..

5° r. were in a state of permanent ..'war to the end'... Bolsheviks .. overthrown Tsardom. violent. 'presented a curious spectacle: everywhere people stood ?about in knots.Discussion that nothing could interrupt!' Krupskaya goes on: j '-'' ''• '. Petrograd's white nights are always associated in my mind now with those all-night political disputes. wrote John FReed. passionate .trations that continually took place in the capital. r.. This liberation of speech burst forth all over the place.' At five--still the same street-corner-meeting talk... :reveryone was demonstrating who wasn't too lazy!' Sukhanov tells us.permanent mobilization indeed: 'All Russia . The house in which we lived overlooked a courtyard.'!fhere were frequent and immense parades of supporters of peace and ·'!supporters of war.49 .' wrote HKrupskaya..twere. you could hear a heated . etc. An hour after midnight you could :-'·catch snatches of talk-'Bolsheviks.: dispute. and he always had an L. The provinces had all become accustomed .c:t in the fate of the revolution and in all the incidents of day-to politics.. if you opened the window at night. audience-usually some of the cooks or housemaids from next /!' ·door.· iJilobilization'. as long as they would talk!'51 . drawing in hundreds of thousands. ..em.r. A soldier would be sitting there.. .62 . ft!.meetings. . Socialist Revolutionaries.1 The radicalization of the people was accompanied. Besides the organized and peaceful demonstrations there were many of a different kind-tumultuous. or some young people. producing a 'state of continuous discussion. And in Petersburg too.. politics. 'the citizens of the new Russia. in those same days.ogether sub '!fstantial masses of people. and even ' here. As Marc Ferro puts it..i:. initiatives of every kind.lto street demonstrations.om. . ·i<: hatever they had to say. In addition to the demonstrations there . 'The streets in those days. and not uwy there. the latter including groups of disabled soldiers who ·. J. the "over-forties" and the women were demonstrating-in general.lfited past in thousands one day in order to proclaim their support for . 'What a marvellous sJght.. keen participation in the discussions.r.. debates and .. 'to see the Putilov factory pour out its forty thousand to listen -¥to Social Democrats. moreover. ·:¥anarchical. anybody. arguing heatedly and discussing the latest events. was constantly J demonstrating in those days. even millions of := participants-the succession of these demonstrations marking the advance of the revolution.o. by politicization: intense activity. debates and conferences that brou_ght .' At three in 202 LENINISM UNDER LENIN the morning: 'Milyukov. ardent. Anarchists. Mensheviks .

However.'54 There was intense. Cossacks and sailors. was found by Lenin in the spectacle presented by revolutionary Russia. always the spurting up of impromptu debate. where each quarter had its own. while travelling from Petrograd to Moscow by a very slow train. and poured into the armies. they could truly be described as having been born of the storms of the revolution'. and reading . but of being self governing. everywhere .'. in the big blocks crowded with workingclass families. the streets . each minority was likely to form itself into an autonomous body and bargain on equal terms with the Government and other revolutionary bodies'. a close observer of Russian social life in the revolutionary period. It was these eommittees that issued the call for 'workers' control': completely spontaneous in character. one great festival. Jn general. there were house com mittees which tried to regulate the details of communal life.'56 John Reed describes his experience with the soldiers at the front: 'We came down to the front of the Twelfth Army. In the industrial quarters. 'At every meeting.. the country is turning into one great debating society. street-cars. along the Front. Marc Ferro. Any delegation of power was excoriated. For them 'the question was not one of being better governed. Hundreds of thousands of pamphlets were distributed by thousands of organizations.'53 The bourgeois press fulminated. attempts to limit the time of speakers [were] voted down. where gaunt and bootless men sickened in the mud of desperate trenches. tells how.69 This explains not only the growing number of 203 : 5oviets but also the desire for autonomy. . still more. the factories. 'each community. for instance. committees of soldiers. in most towns. In railwaytrains. expressed the same desire for 'selfmanagement'. housewives' committees: committees for factories and quarters. insatiable curiosity regarding all political questions. Committees sprang up everywhere-workers' committees. They sprang up everywhere because 'any segment of the population which thought it was being discriminated against would make up an independent Soviet'.John Reed confirms the picture she draws: 'Every street-corner was a public tribune.. the people sharing his compartment had formed a 'travelling committee' before they reached their destination!58 The creation of the soviets themselves was part of this phenomenon.. the model for the direct democracy that we see depicted in State and Revolution. each political faction had its newspaper-sometimes several. that animated each one of them-the Soviets of the capital. one liberal paper writing: 'In the midst of this terrible war. demand ing eagerly. contradict this picture of politicization. The model for Soviet democracy and. peasants' committees.55 The politicization of the masses was also shown in the profusion of political publications and the success they enjoyed: 'All Russia was learning to read. Jules Destree.. "Did you bring anything to read?" '57 This desire to learn was accompanied by an irrepressible will to go over from words to deeds and take in hand the management of public affairs and the power to make the great decisions. without any party or trade union having a hand in them. and all were jealous of their freedom of action and decision as against the Soviet of Petrograd as a whole. or even independence.61 i It may be objected that the high proportion of abstentions* during the municipal elections of May and June I 917-the first free elections to beheld in Russia-seems to qualify or eve£).. They made their appearance in the first days of March in the largest industrial enterprises of the capital. each group.. with their pinched faces and the flesh showing blue through their torn clothing. or of choosing another form of being governed. a Belgian 'patriotic' socialist who was in Russia as an improvised diplomat. back of Riga. sees in this 'abstentionism' an expression of the attachment of the Russians of I 9 I 7 to direct demo Cracy. the villages. In every city.6o The 'factory eommittees'' hardly less important than the soviets. and when they saw us they started up.

demoralizing the enemy forces and separatmg the soldiers from their officers. to organize flying brigades for th etention of counter revolutionary agitators'.. Thus. From this immense. to establish the control of the district soviets over the government commissars. no less important episodes of the revolution. because the railwaymen had seen to It that the lines leading to the capital were thoroughly disorganized. in innumerable details and iits general . by workmg up to stxteen hours a day. This anonymous deliberation. to place thetr represen tives m the staff organ. Such in broad outline. seen in retrospect. the force that inspired the revolution.. he saw the Menshevik leader Sokolov seated at a table surrounded by soldiers. February. In particular. manufactured quantities of weapons for the defenc: of Petrow d.to declare e i11. p.tze_b_y . moreover. assembled in the 'factory committees'. this was the case with the famous 'Order Number One' which freed millions of soldiers from the omnipotent authority of the litary hierarchy and destroyed the spirit of submission and arbitrari ness that prevailed in the army. s4 The slogan of 'workers' co tr<:>l'.66 A hostile witness. 62 . which con entrated in itself some of the most heartfelt aspuatwns of the mdustrial proletariat was not launched by a party. Kornilov's troops were m no p sitton even to attack Petrograd. expressing the political life .the Executive Committee [of the Sovtet]. Confused and anar hical in many ways.of the masses. to form a workers m1htta. in order to put the ctty m a state of defence 'thousands of workers . Sukhanov tells us how this vital document originated.. and the general line that dictated its course. it possesses. for it reveals. but arose from the very depths of the working class. described how. The spontaneous activity of thmasses was deployed With pa.L And. These same railwaymen followed up their technical achievement by eats of political agitation. for which no other group of persons bears responsibility. in the shortest possible time. olsheviks or Anarchists-but from the workers of the capital and . continuous process of discussion emerged . according to Marc Ferro.ter-district confe ences con tinuous.e ovemor general of Petrograd. in the arms factories the workers. Icular force and effectiveness at the ttme of the attempted coup _d _etat by General Kornilov. personal labour achieved in the course of a few hours a colossal task which without their help would have required several days.'67 Trotsky tells how 'the district soviets were drawing more closely together and passing resolutions: .any authority unbearable'.the ene y's commumcatwns. In a corridor of the Taurida Palace. an organization or a paper. 'in the peace campaign the initiative did not come from the ding ?rganizations-. "'A bstentions amounted to 40 per cent (Ferro. and illustrated by only a few of its manifesta· tions as the activity of the Russian proletariat in 1917. It was at the dictation of these men that this eader wrote out the famous proclamation. of some of the most important Creations and most decisive events of the Russian revolution. 204 LENINISM UNDER LENIN the provinces'.68 The clerks and technictans of the p sta!and telegraphic services undertook to disrupt. all this was not 'just talk'.63 This overshadowing of the leaders by the masses is typical of other. whatever the liberal press might say. when 'hundreds of thousands and m1lhons of workers soldiers and peasants rose up in arms.except for two or three minority notes rom the . and immediate distribution. was the source. an exemplary clarity. the home of the Duma. the printing workers (who often had to Improvtse) took charge of the printing.66 • . by their irreplaceable. gainst the class enemy'. 321). for defence and for attack. th. of a m ss of papes and leaflets.

works conceived by strategists and the hm1ts latd down m progra e were overwhelmed: here we see. an external body. the class that is led and the party that leads.ade possible because the traditional mediator between the masses and power.]. why the proletariat largely identified itself with an organization that had become.L. ow the frame. It organized their upsurge in several decisive situations. thts spon· taneous and yet self-organizing. this power arising. it reinforced their offensive by endowing their action with a political outlook. The Bolshevik Party had no need. in other words. Is it not easier in . were reversed. The historical merit of Bolshevism and Leninism.tendency. subversive and constructive? The source 0 LENINISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 205 . this will that imposes itself upon institutions and parties.those whom the moderate socialists saw as 'elemental'. 'blind'. its own organization. 'dark' forces. not only m votmg and electiOns. An extraordinary osmosis took place between the industrial . the Leninist ones as well. any more than its leader.revolution' and that 'the r:zass f the popul tion will rise to takmg an mdependent part. dangerous to society-a tremendous power for social liberation. this light to understand the confidence with which Lenin proclaims that 'no forces of world finance-capital . emancipating him from the constraints of wages. between the guided class and the guiding party. for the first time.. the Is it not easier to grasp the meamng of State and Revolutzon m light of this upsurge of the masses. The terms of the relation between class and party. what I have called 'libertarian Leninism' was m. 'The party of the proletariat There is one last point to be established before closing our account of the year 1917. The Party's historical merit lies elsewhere. those of the Bolsheviks them selves-and paid no heed to any schemata-including. while becoming reinforced-and on what a scale!-ceased to be. the Bolshevik organization having at last agreed to submit itself to the revolutionary proletariat. to some degree. In the last analysis. permanent revolutiOn come true. in relation to these masses.. above all. . at any rate so far as the task of carrying out the revolution is Concerned.· the book's democratic inspiration lay in the impression of strength and authority that was made not by a party but by a class. the Party. the latter succeeded in setting its mark upon the former.. labour and matter-it is situated also in all the popular and spontaneous conquests of the year 1917 in which it was not so much Bolshevism that triumphed as the proletariat. the revolutionary organization. and in which. in the course of 1917 in Russia. will vanquish the people's (mY emphasis. . it took upon itself leadership of a popular movement which ran counter to all slogans-including. to stimulate the masses between the revolution of February and that of October. . sometimes. the masses and the Party came together... the way that the revolutiowas ove kn bttself. this act vity that is bot destructive and effective. revolt. in its will to liberate man.out ochaos. and. This was why. an organ imposing itself as leader. M. but also in the everyday administration of the state'? The source of the 'Leninist utopia' is to be found not only in the philosophy of Marxism. lies in their having recognized in the upsurge of the masses ). quite simply.

. .75 In September they won an absolute majority. Sorlin. 74 In Moscow in June the Bol sheviks had received a little over 12 per cent of the votes. In this connexion it is necessary to point out that the electoral criterion reflects only imperfectly the strength of the revolu ion_ary parties. during the first conference of the factory committees of Petrograd. is a pro_oof pop larity that i_s ertainly without precedent in the history of political parties. despite the lack of an adequate Party machine. The reality of the Bolshevik advance. these figures.leadership is not in our hands'. but perhaps the least significant. 70 the numerical SI cance of the Party's increased membership is apparent. 206 LENINISM UNDER LENIN The remarkable increase in the membership of the Party* is the first of these symptoms. three-quarters of the 568 delegates expressed support for the Bolshevik theses. by May the Bolshevik group in the workers' section of that institution possessed almost an absolute majority. the majority of regiments will follow us. locked up. their places havmg been taken by Bolsheviks. but in ordinary situations-as in elections to the Soviets etc. .n ' ' Even so. who were denounced by the greater part of the press and by the Government as agents of Germany and many of whose leaders were. there were no more Mensheviks or . In the Petrograd municipal elections in June the Bolsheviks received between 20 and 21 per cent of the votes. all through the year 1917. perhaps. it received 33 per cent. Furthermore. this increase in membership was effected among the proletariat: 'almost all the newcomers were workers' writes P. gave support to the Party without formally joining it. 7 6 That their grip was especially strong among the working class is clear from the advance of their representation at the factory-committee con ferences. 69 Since the working class of Russia numbered. One of the leaders of the Bolshevik Military Orgaruzatwn observed on the eve of the July days that 'in the question of an uprising in the streets. tell only part of the truth-the most 'objective' part no doubt. in the turmoil of the time. such as electiOn figures. however revealing.proletariat of Russia and the Bolshevik Party-an interpenetration to Which history knows no equivalent. Whereas at the beginning of t?e revolution it had only small representation in the Petrograd Soviet. ENINISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 207 . hardly more than three million. And this mflux took place under a regime that was fundamentally hostile to the Bolsheviks. In Petrograd.s present at the regional meetings of these bodies. not so much in the language of figures as in the testimony of their opponent Sukhanov. though. and the symptoms of which it is • liD. 73 Yet it was only at the end of the summer that the Leninists reaped the full harvest of their policy of opposition to the Provisional Government. when the Party was still suffering from the consequences of the July days. by September.72 One month later. as it was actually experienced. . remark able and almost constant election successes. either on the run 0. in August.. .-. !he recorded influx of several hundred thousand new members.portant to define. The arty's popularity can be measured by other data as well. Lenin's Party recorded. with 51 per cent of the votes.77 • Seep. Once again. 158. is to be sought. In d1t10n to these hundreds of thousands of workers who actually Jome? the Party there were many sympathizers who. on th e eof the World War. after July.R.

The Bolsheviks did not constitute a homogeneous group. and their radicalism was cut across and countered by tendencies of a different sort. in a period in which the revolutionary crisis. were all concentrated to an increasing extent in the local soviets.. willingness to follow the masses often failed them.5 per cent of the mandates at the national conference of the trade unions. Its leadership underwent a rapid process of institutionalization and 'bourgeoisification'. They had become the sole hope .' 78 . it directly recorded the pulsations coming from the army. the upheaval in men's minds and the rapid progress of radicalization called in question the very idea of 'representativeness'. big and little. the Military Organization called on the Central Committee to take up a more combative and daring attitude. the Mensheviks still controlled 55. It is significant that the Bolsheviks were strong in these committees-much stronger than in the trade unions. they grew predominant wherever the difference between the working class and an institution. at the factories and in the barracks. especially. The mass lived and breathed together with the Bolsheviks. of the institution which more·than any other symbolized the conquests of the revolution-the Soviet. was more exposed to the radicalizing effect of popular exasperation. their revolutionary potential. its leaders drew their arguments from the pressure brought to bear upon them.. At the beginning of July. the Bolsheviks were working stubbornly and without let-up. at the factory-benches. penetrating the complex network of the Bolshevik party structures. bringing to the Party the pulsations emanating from the masses. The case of the Bolshevik Military Organization is interesting from this standpoint. More precisely. economic or social. some difficulty was met with in ensuring that its results were felt at the peak of the hierarchy. in moments of crisis. The latter figured in the chaotic situation of 1917 as labour-movement organizations that had already become tradition208 LENINISM UNDER LENIN ridden. the life that still breathed in them. as has been mentioned. and. as against 36. This was why Bolshevik representation became preponderant in the factory committees before the Party was able to go forward to take over the trade unions. It is certainly true that such condensed formulations take too little account of important details.80 The soviets' power of initiative. and more directly still upon the Bolshevik delegates in the barracks. This was true. every day without pause. the Military Organization. direct contact with the masses was achieved through organs that had arisen spontaneously from the revolution. when the factory committees were already following the line of the Bolshevik Party. and closest to the masses. the militants who were in contact with the soldiers and shared their life. When. 79 This was a general phenomenon: the strength of the Bolsheviks lay mainly in those institutions that were most recent in origin. It was at the level of these more popular bodies that Bolshevik penetration took place most quickly and powerfully. We must get closer to reality and go beyond these approximations. This was why it functioned as a transmission belt. those of the municipalities or of particular parts of towns. because they were always there. born of revolutionary events and developing as these events developed. Tens of speakers. When.4 per cent held by the Bolsheviks.describing the atmosphere that prevailed in Russia in the last days of September 1917: '. through .. namely. Whereas the main central bodies of the Party-the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee-were free from direct pressure by the workers and soldiers (and became even freer as the Party's membership increased). Among the industrial workers. When we do this we see that the closest link with the proletariat was effected at the lowest level. Composed of soldiers who had joined the Bolsheviks.. For the masses they had become their own people. taking the lead in details as well as in the most important affairs of the factory or barracks. every blessed day. which was supposed to represent it became obliterated. the factory committees. least structured. were speaking in Petersburg. They were among the masses.

. initiate and organize actions which gave expression. It was then that the working class broke with the established authorities and threw them out. of the Bolshevik Party itself. then that this class. . its role in the economy and its cohesion. take up attitudes. leading tens of millions of people. Introduction . On the contrary. ·. of the soviets. it is born of political and social practice. then that this class left the latter with no choice but to follow it or to resign. rebellion of the once apathetic countryside-this was the reality of revolutionary democracy. finally. This was the case with the · Russian proletariat of 1917. constitutes an irrefutable force in the present '. and their will is expressed and put into effect-more precisely. The men and women whom he called upon to govern independently.s. more or less republican and more or less democratic. Bolshevism made itself felt by the numerical strength of its representation and the acceptance of its overall policy. fear of the army and scepticism in relation to the peasantry. ceased to show respect to those whom it had adopted as leaders and guides. becoming ever more demanding. were the same working men and women who had succeeded in breaking through the innumerable forms of conservative conditioning: the prestige of the bourgeoisie. committees for quarters. less confusedly than appears at first sight. the Leninism that existed before the revolution ensured its democratic triumph of 1917.. identifica tion between the masses and some deliberative and executive body became closer and closer. to make gestures.:. when this is the activity of a class which. Here. and through the Party tha LENINISM AND REVOLUTIONARY DEMOCRACY 209 genuinely represents it. I" i' I ' Part III Leninist Russia • .. the moral authority of the new regime-that of Kerensky. and sometimes even repudiating itself. when the activity of the masses bursts forth and expands. frequently withdrawing into the background. trust in the leaders of the revolution. peasants' committees. lies the significance and explanation of Lenin's conversion to a 'libertarian' variety of socialism-the meaning and origin of the profoundly democratic message of the Leninism of 1917. Whether or not democracy and people's power exists is not an abstract question.·.'and a definite potentiality for the future.R. By continually showing flexibility. and to whom he wished to see entrusted the conduct of public affairs. of factory committees. spontaneous organization of resistance to the reactionary forces. to their collective will. the inclination to delay. creation of the Soviet. Overthrow of the centuries-old monarchy. through its place in society. and in some cases even the pusillanimity. :. revolt against the moderate line preached by the Mensheviks and S. in this improbable Russian scene.frequent elections and the genuine revocability of mandates. overwhelming of the Bolshevik Party._t.· . regiments and villages.

!'· ' . petty and workaday effort'. a power ·that the will of the revolution has called upon to wipe out all exploitation. however. even.'5 And. But all that Stalin. the armed resistance put up by the bourgeoisie had been derisory in Petrograd. all that was available for the accomplishment of the task of construc tion was the inadequate resources of Russian society-material that was faulty in a great many ways. Lenin explained. although it was not until March 1919 that the Party adopted the name 'Communist'. entirely devoted to the destruction of the old order. it had lasted only one week. a task because the principal builders had until that time specialized-and With what zeal and talent!-in purely 'subversive' activity. In Moscow. 'something new. 214 LENINISM UNDER LENIN and the professional strata. for example. had at his disposal for his 'services' was a small table and two chairs in a room in the Smolny Institute that was already occupied. 'It is a million times easier to defeat the resistance of counter revolution than to succeed in the sphere of organization.. who was in charge of an important department. monotonous.3 What had to be done now was 'to crawl on your belly in the mud'. What revolutionary activity now required.4 In the mud because. Following up this armed resistance which had proved ineffective.. From now on all the marvels of science and the gains of culture belong to the nation as a whole.6 In this country of peasants the vital People's Commissariat for Agriculture was no better endowed.. there came. Building socialism was. 2 It was all the harder.em. The victors of October sotrn found that they had to reckon with this circumstance. When the head of this . oppression and slavery the world over . and this went on for many weeks. and never again will man's brain and human · genius be used for oppression and exploitation.1 . towering edifice of socialist society.' ' We shall now proceed to build. the People's Commissariat for the Affairs of the Nationalities. unprecedented in history and cannot be studied from books'. In solving the innumerable problems confronting -:". · This limitless ambition was matched by only very limited resources. was not dash and enthusiasm so much as 'day-by-day. the Russian Communists* could look for no help from their doctrines. sabotage by the old machinery of government • I shall henceforth use the expressions 'Bolshevik' and '(Russian) Communist' in discriminately. as their leader put it. indeed. the airy. Thus spoke Lenin shortly after taking power. The Bolsheviks had to fill the gaps thus created. on the space cleared of historical rubbish. however. as he was often to have occasion to repeat. A new type of state power is being created for the first time in history.

13 In June 1921 he said: 'No country has been so devastated as ours. Lenin said: 'The people are like a man who has been thrashed within an inch of his life.department began work he found that his office lacked even a table.. expressed in the disappearance of 'a special machine of . The victory of the revolution was to entail a complete trans fo:mation in public life. after the years of oppositional activity and the months of revolutionary offensive. ·The State •' . with the entire people acquiring real citizen ship through participation in decision-making and administration. . or socialism will defeat the lice/' 11 In December 1920 he spoke of 'the frightful conditions .'. there was to be a progressive Withering away of all political coercion. Reality and limits of Soviet democracy Libertarian Leninism. however. foreign intervention and the blockade..' 14 Thus. continued and concluded The description that Lenin had given. This 'democracy which for the first time becomes democracy for the poor .'9 In December 1919: 'We are suffering from a desperate crisis':10 'a [further] scourge is assailing us. and the typhus that is mowing down our troops . and [their] exhaustion is sometimes more than human strength can endure. for the vast majority of the people'* was not to consist merely of an upheaval in the electoral system or even of the conquest of state power by the soviets.. In o er words.' 8 In January 1919: 'The hungry masses are exhausted. He managed. of the Soviet regime went beyond the limits of political institutions. and fundamentally. lice. in advance...12 in April 1921 of 'the desperate situation'. Either the lice will defeat socialism.. 7 These were the circumstances in which the work of building Soviet Russia began-and they were to be made progressively worse by the ruin caused by the civil war. to borrow one from Lenin's office. Leninism came to power under conditions that were as unfavourable as they could possibly be for the carrying out of its tasks. In July 1918.

t Seep. for 'much that seemed impossible to.4 In general. replied Lenin. The months that preceded it were months of popular offensive. it served merely propagandist aims. old.* did not put an end to the peasants' movement. in 1922.5 The activity of the demobilized soldiers continued the activity they had carried on within their regiments before the Bolshevik conquest of power. and the rapid building of an administr tion carried on by the people themselves. A Utopian prospect? Not at all. The autumn had seen in Russia's countryside increasingly stormy actions by peasants in revolt. at the Eleventh Party Congress. the development of new demands.'1 e year 1917 had seen the masses of Russia. many similarities *Seep. with .192. or. This was to be what Soviet democracy meant. the way the land was distributed 'depended on the collective will of the peasants concerned'. the situation was similar in the industrial towns. Lenin was to acknowledge this later. 'workers' ntrol'-had provided Lenin not only with the 'libertarian' inspira on of his new conceptions but also with the quasi-Trotskyist orienta tion of his revolutionary strategy. but those that followed were not months of settling down and consolidation. was due to local initiatives. abolishing landlordism and introducing division of the land. on the very day of its inauguration by the All-Russia Congress of Soviets. 2 Furthermore. and. The Bolsheviks were unable to count on the General Staff of the old army to put through their peace policy. 216 LENINISM UNDER LENIN are to be observed between the two phases. The achieve ments of the proletariat in those centres in the course of the winter of 1917-18 resulted from local initiatives and spontaneous actions. The initiatives from 'below'-the creation of the soviets and factory committees. Practical application of the decree took place in an anarchic way and was carried through by the peasants themselves. On the contrary. for instance.t and this was what Lerun had put before his followers as the immediate aim of their efforts. although this was desired by the new Government.6 The phenomenon of the multiplying of committees which was such a feature of the Russian army between February and October thus continued throughout the winter.suppression'. ur narrow. As Carr points out. This was how Russia had moved towards the October revolution. in face of the refusal of the high command to begin armistice negotiations. This was the case. who will begin to work for themselves . Both belong to the same historical movement and form part of one and the same dynamic of conquest. enabling the Bolsheviks to record important successes at the elections held to renew the already existing committees. and the proletariat in Particular.7 Although the Party had a direct hold on the working class. they called on the soldiers themselves to elect committees in order to arrange a cease-fire with the enemy units directly opposite them. rather.. since the Bolsheviks were without the means of making their legislative decisions effective. the actual appearance of the first agricultural enterprises of a collective character. launching offensive after offensive and piling up success upon success. its actual implementation owed a great deal to the spontaneous intervention of the masses of de mobilized soldiers who were returning to their villages.3 And while the setting-up in June 1918. of the 'Committees of Poor Peasants' t resulted from a governmental decree. The latter did not mark in all respects a break between two worlds. bureaucratic forces will become possible for the milliOns.. the drawing-up of laws and decrees by the new authority was as a rule only symbolic in character. 194. The decree on land proclaimed by the new Bolshevik authority.

.. Application by the latter ioftheir methods of 'workers' control' finally convinced the managers i. The people themselves. consciously or unconsciously.the establishment of workers' control over a number of enterprises-the decree legalizing this control merely approved a situation for which. these o:being decided on sometimes by the central Government. the latter was not directly responsible. on October 29th.\bis stage formed no part of its economic programme. about four hundred were taken over as a result of local initiatives that the central Government had vainly striven to hold back or divert. the People's Commissar · incharge was guided by the same principle. In his first official address. sometimes by the workers of the particular enterprise eoncemed. on the one hand. in general. the impatience of the workers.6 of a number of separate factories.! • Seep. 438. 217 However. Gropingly.U Inthe field of public education and culture. in the sphere of housing. being aware of the limited possibilities of •!backward and isolated Russia. Of the fivehundred-odd enterprises that were nationalized before June 1918 (when a general nationalization measure was applied to Russian industry). soldiers' and peasants' . which in turn were answered by 'punitive' nationalizations. sometimes by ·the local soviets. nor any force outside them selves .attempted between the proletarian state and the more conciliatory of ·the Russian capitalists. and. nnonths after the seizure of power.:Of Russia's factories that no form of collaboration with the new ruling authority was practicable.. in the spring of 1918 as throughout the year 1917. Lunacharsky. They urged the Soviet . must evolve their own culture. or in · t of education. concluded •that 'the independent action of .. sequestrate and confiscate premises'. the latter was moving towards a type 'tlof'mixed' economy in which a constructive collaboration would be .' The Commissar. workers'.10 In November 1917 the Council of People's Commissars had in fact called on citizens to 'solve the housing crisis by taking their own measures'.. +Seep. 238. t Seep. 332. and had given them 'the right to requisition. the initiative of the masses in the administration of justice. -1"6overoment along the road of nationalization of industry. had no intention of socializing the tcountry's economy.stumbling-block: resistance by the employers. on the other. the workers were not content merely to take over the JU1J. In the first . it was the masses that continued to impose their will. • Many examples could be quoted to show the spontaneous emergence of popular tribunals in Petrograd and. 'Workers' control' was answered by lock :• outs.* Writing in early 1919 the British journalist Arthur · Ransome noted that 'in every district there are housing committees to :whom people wanting rooms apply'. nor the intelligentsia. 1917. after noting that 'the labouring masses thirst · after education'. their dynamic upsurge had not yet exhausted itself.8 This policy came up against a twofold ·. though it had been foreseen and fostered 'by the Government. he went on to declare that 'the government cannot give it to them. the Bolshevik leadership (and 'iLenin first and foremost).9 In this sphere as in others. which at .

hundreds of thousands of workers. 326. 16 Finally. however. the soviets practised direct democracy. there was. Red Guards and soldiers marched past.20 It is in the light of all this that Alfred Meyer. the Bolsheviks' seizure of power was followed by the spreading all over Russia of the Soviet phenomenon.'I2 Politically. without any breach of continuity. where they had hardly existed at all before the October insurrection. 1918. We find in his writings ot is eri?d the .17 In the towns the soviets inevitably functioned by way of delegation. in any case. declared that the local soviets were thenceforth invested with all the powers held by the former administration. which was more in accordance with the philosophy of the new regime.same 'libertarian' . of course. The more peaceful processions that succeeded them nevertheless proved that the revolutionary morale of the masses remained high. speaks of the first months of the Soviet regime as 'the honeymoon of the Revolution'Y For Lenin. the revolutionary idyll seemed to·be still in STATE219 :::progress. and the large mass of electors had to be represented by elected delegates. 13 When General Krasnov attempted.15 Once this crisis was over. Despite the cold of late December. too. with the Bolshevik Party transforming itself into a recruiting authority for the purpose and showing very special zeal in the work. 18 Everywhere the attempt was made to do away with the distinction between legislative and executive functions and to make individuals take part in the application of decisions they had taken jointly.' Their number did indeed increase in spectacular fashion.• Seep. and added: 'The entire country must be covered with a network of new soviets. this period was a continuation of the preceding one.19 Tens of thousands of workers became members of the state machine. In November 1917 Martov himself had to admit that 'almost the entire proletariat supports Lenin'. the revolutionary proletariat defending with its breast the capital of the Workers' and Peasants' Republic!' 14 The British journalist Philips Price saw the same spectacle and testified to the same enthusiasm. in the last days of October.. especially in the countryside. John Reed watched the tens of thousands of workers leaving the factories for the front: 'They rolled along torrent-like . 218 LENINISM UNDER LENIN cultural-educational organizations must achieve full autonomy both in relation to the central government and to the municipal centres. dated January 5th.. which did not really take place until after October 1917. This was shown by the mass participation in the day of support for the negotiators at Brest-Litovsk that was organized by the Petrograd Soviet. at any rate so far as progress by the Communists was concerned. to reconquer the capital at the head of counterrevolutionary forces. in his classic work on Leninism. and most important. from dawn to dusk. no longer any occasion for the stormy demonstrations that had helped to bring the Bolsheviks to power. A circular issued by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs. In the rural areas.

who can judge people .'27 220 . and you will see organizational. No one will help you if you yourselves do not unite and take <into your hands all affairs of state . do not wait for anyone. begin right at the bottom. at the very moment of the Bolshevik seizure of power. absurd.' he said. 'Very often. if not the most important. take all you want. and of all the working and exploited people generally. develop it as widely as ·· possible in creative organisational work. in an appeal to the popula tion published in Pravda of November 6th (19th). is capable of organizational work'. creative socialism is the 'product of the masses themselves. do all you want to do. LENINISM UNDER LENIN . 'One of the most important tasks of today. At all costs we must break the old. for example. he declared: 'We lJlUSt allow complete freedom to the creative faculties of the masses. And frequently I have felt embarrassed when I saw that they had no very definite views.{. 'Look wherever there are working people. despicable and disgusting prejudice that only the so-called 'upper classes'. 1917: 'Comrades. and those who ·. look among the masses. by a long chalk.' Lenin wrote in this article.'22 [fbroughout November he made many similar statements... are capable of -· administering the state and directing the organisational develop.···. is to develop [the] independent initiative of the workers.'26 To this he added a glowing tribute to 'the work of the masses themselves' and their creative activity'. only the rich. we shall support you .. which is very similar in inspiration to State and Revolution. Addressing the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets. 25 · · When the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets assembled. what to do with such-and-such a piece of land.· nts.. savage. Get on with the job yourselves.' 23 And. you will see the stir of a life that is being renewed and hallowed by the revolution.' 24 :·· At the end of December 1917 Lenin wrote an article (not published in his lifetime) entitled 'How to organize competition'. in January 1918. Its spirit rejects the lllechanical bureaucratic approach. he declared that 'every rank-and-file worker and peasant who can read and write.d has practical experience. Thus: •Creative activity at the grass roots is the basic factor of the new public 'life . And. • o. working people! Remember that now you yourselves are at the helm bf state. And I said to them: you are the power. the way Lenin addressed the delegates showed that the 'honeymoon' was not yet over. the same wholly democratic tnsptratwn as m those of before ()ctober.ment of socialist society. es in State and Revolution. creative work in full swing. living. Socialism cannot be decreed from above.. have gone through the school of the rich. ''delegations of workers and peasants come to the government and ask..

after the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. the proletarian and dictato. does not disappear (as the vulgar representatives of the old socialism and the old Social-Democracy bnagine).'sl Lenin went on: 'Just when will the state wither away? We shall have managed to convene more than two congresses before the time comes to say: see how our state is withering away. in an address of May 1919: 'It is precisely after the bourgeoisie is overthrown that the class struggle assumes its acutest forms.30 Replying to a speech by Bukharin.'i'HE STATE 221 Two months later.. that almost libertarian notion which Lenin had put on the quasi-immediate programme of the Bolshevik Party in State and Revolution? In January 1918.. that is.g. Without saying it in so many words. It is too early for that. difficult and stubborn class struggle. And we have no use for those democrats and socialists who deceive themselves and deceive others • See. to th'withering away of the state'. 272. after the destruction of the bourgeois state. written at the end of the same month. their efforts. 19-20). which. the state withers away. the struggle is all over..' He emphasized that 'socialism cannot be implemented by a minority.' 33 In his 'Greetings to the Hungarian Workers'. and melt away into a mighty system of producina and consuming co· operation' (Trotsky.' 28 What was happening. Lenin more than once suggested that." The struggle is not over. p. he also said: 'At present we certainly uphold the state. it is not the product of a Party decision but . it has only just started . addressing the Congress of Soviets. with the state. he said: 'The abolition of classes requires a long. e. classes themselves' (Quoted 1!1 Degras. Quite the contrary. It can be implemented only by tens of millions when they have learned to do it themselves. Vol. and. as they are expropriated and changed gradually into a working stratum. This will be possible when every trace of exploitation has been abolished. 408. pp. Terrorism and Communism. To proclaim the withering away of the state prematurely would distort the historical perspective. as the class struggle grew more intense with the seizure of power by the proletariat. pp. by the Party. I. 27.. in fact.. in March 1919 (written by Bukharin). the Soviet system will expand and include the whole population. the following statement appears: 'As the resistance of the bourgeoisie is broken.. of any state. in order thereby to lose the characteristics of a form of state.. after the overthrow of capitalist rule. Thus. the special govern ment apparatus is disappearing.' 29 At the Party Congress in March 1918 he began his address by declaring that 'since the working people themselves are undertaking to administer the state and establish armed forces that support the given state system.'32 Lenin was to present this 'withering away' on a number of sub sequent occasions as an objective of the revolutionary movement. Lenin explained to the delegates to the Seventh Party Congress that 'what our revolution is doing is not accidental . In one of the documents adopted by the First Congress of the Communist International. Lenin said that 'we really have a organization of power which clearly indicates the transition to the complete abolition of any power. in socialist society. the special apparatus for a certain form of state coercion is disappearing'. what took place was a strengthening of the state rather than its 'withering away'. 107). in these circumstances. 156. Vol. In 1920 Trotsky was to allude to this same phenomenon ?f 'withering away': 'With the final triumph of the social revolution.r· ship disappears. but merely changes its forms and in many . !t: by saying: "The bourgeoisie have been overthrown. a revolution that the masses themselves create by their slogans. however.* but he would no longer make the beginning of this process coincide with the accession of the proletariat to power.

but this transition alone can guarantee the final consolidation of Socialism'. gives them legislative and executive authority. in this period at least. in March 1918. to ensure 'more complete democracy. without a regular army. 222 LENINISM UNDER LENIN the poor into the practical work of administration. finally. an 'immeasurably higher and more progressive form of democracy than bourgeois parliamentarism.'34 Nevertheless. in The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government. a state in which bourgeois democracy has been replaced by a new democracy. and Lenin's earlier enthusiastic description of the virtues and capacities of the revolutionary masses. 348. as concretely applied today.. i. he says. there and then.41 The turning-point of Brest-Litovsk Between the perhaps disillusioned realism-disillusioned so soon? of that last statement: 'the bricks of which socialism will be composed have not yet been made'. not so long before. Lenin had felt it necessary to tell the Party Congress that 'the bricks of which socialism will be composed have not yet been made'.'39 and it is meaningless without effective participation by the masses in administrative work: 'Our aim is to draw the whole of • On the election arrangements under the new Soviet system. proletarian. to 'educate every member of the working population for independent participation in the management of the state'. to ensure that every toiler.'37 What seemed to Lenin quite incompatible with the new regime was the formalism and bureaucracy typical of bourgeois democracy. with 'fusion of administration with legislation'. see p. through less formality and making election and recall easier. a democracy that brings to the fore the vanguard of the working people. In this connexion he declared. . Lenin stressed that the October revolution had brought into being a 'new type of state'.. to provide. of the spontaneous activity of the masses and of their already acquired qualities. shall perform state duties without pay. made in March 1918 to the Seventh Party Congress. lies first in the fact that the electors are the working and exploited people: the bourgeois is excluded.40 'The transition to this is particularly difficult. and are completely free to recall any elected person.'38 Two themes predominate in Lenin's statements regarding Soviet democracy. having finished his eight hours' "task" in productive labour. their aptitude. one least divorced from the people'.e.35 In the same statement. in this same period.respects becomes fiercer. makes them responsible for military defence and creates state machinery that can re-educate the masses. which. to achieve the 'union of legislative and executive state activity'.. the cadres for a people's administration? To be sure. and the 'creation of an armed force of workers and peasants. It is. democracy. the . the people themselves determine the time and order of elections.' Lenin concludes that 'the transition to this is particularly difficult. it lies in the fact that all bureaucratic formalities and restrictions on elections are abolished.* Secondly. without police. written and published in this same period: 'The socialist character of Soviet. had been 'created by I the masses of the people'. differing from Lenin's exaltation. helped by revolutionary fervour.' Was there not here a new note.'36 To the same gathering he defined the tasks and characteristics of this new state system: to bring ·about the 'union and organization of the working and exploited masses'. moreover. he added: 'Soviet power is a new type of state without a bureaucracy.

Jacques Sadoul. and. It is true that. Soviet democracy was alive and was really. For while the dynamic of the revolution was still ascending and the people's conquests were advancing. when the world seemed to be starting anew. was also a winter of misery and economic disorganization. vigorous and creative. on the ruins of an empire. In April this amount fell by half. we see the first manifestations of the phenomenon which dominates the first years of the Soviet regime: the progressive weakening of the j Russian working class. In the industrial centres the workers went for several days without getting their bread-ration. In Februaty and March 1918 most parts of Russia were receiving only 12 or 13 per cent of the amount of bread officially 'provided for' by the Food Commissariat. In Moscow in the same period the population had fallen from two million to one-and-a-half. the germs of defeat were already planted. to take an earlier date. its temporary disappearance from the scene. and in the city's large-scale industry taken as a whole less than half of the workers were still at work. Soviet democracy had for some time ceased to function. in the spring of 1918. the dictatorship ofthe proletariat. was among the many who submitted to this facile inter pretation of events. when history was at last beginning afresh. There are epidemics of typhus. his illness and withdrawal from political activity. in April1918. or at least by the spring of 1921. wrote this description of the situa tion in Moscow. which saw the conquest of power and the triumph of the proletariat. frightful poverty prevails. about the period between the October revolution and Lenin's death: 'wonderful times. have provided easy reference points to those with a penchant for striking contrasts and didactic schemata. in that period of victory and hope. an observer well-disposed towards the regime. .46 Towards the end of April. Albert Camus. Lenin's death or. giving proof of its reality. a loss of strength and substance that was to I end in its almost complete 'de-classing' and. it was still not inconceivable that the revolution might recover its initial vigour and resume its forward march.43 In the spring of 1918 the total population of the capital numbered no more than one-and-a-half million. in his preface to Alfred Rosmer's Moscou sous Lenine. as we shall see. the process of break down of this democracy had begun in a period when it still seemed in good health-and when. There has been much discussion about the chronological limits of Soviet democracy. ·THE STATE223 The winter of 1917-18.* To this was added the scourge of famine. 265 out of the 799 industrial enterprises in Petrograd were closed down. but more careful.difference is marked. as against two-and-a half million a year previously. which a month before had been made the capital of Soviet Russia: In the districts away from the centre. Actually. 'Wonderful times. Beginning then. in the very midst of victory.'42 Writers no less well disposed than he towards the October revolution. with Soviet democracy. in a certain sense.' he wrote. This difference does not point to any contradiction in Lenin's ideas but to the complexity of the facts and of the dialectical development of the revolution. the chief means of keeping alive. But the Soviet historian Sobolev tells us that. such as Pierre Broue and Isaac Deutscher.44 And at the beginning of 1918 this ration was only 50 grammes per day in the capital.46 Already the black market had become. The economic collapse and the threat from the German Army had led to the dismantling of many factories. acknowledge that at the end of the civil war. moreover. factors of dissolution were already present and growing. despite the exorbitant prices demanded. deepen ing and becoming consolidated.

or an aim to be achieved. fleshless.§ It was not that. therefore. Vol. one of the principal organizers of the Soviet economy. What had seemed on the eve and on the morrow of October to be about to be realized. p. II. 193). For a very long time afterwards-indeed. In August 1918. are by their own experience solving the most difficult problems of socialist organization. looking like a cradle.47 The loss of the Ukraine as a result of the draconian provisions of the *Pietsch. for example. with the shadows now preponderating over the well-lit patches. and so in the creation of Soviet democracy. which we find reflected in the writings and speeches of Lenin. as early as March 1918. the chief critic of the Government's policy. though imprecise. emphasis had been laid on the difficulties encountered in democratizing the state and its administration. There is a noticeable.60 Long since. and the catastrophic state of transport. not the rich alone. the vast majority of the working people. he wrote in his Letter to the American Workers (the context makes his statement. know that they themselves. the latter had wholly vanished. pitiful creatures. the tiny lifeless body that a small quantity of bread or milk would have kept alive.48 The expression used by the leader of the 'Left Communists'. thin mothers. Speaking at the end of 1918 of 'the almost complete destruction of the industry of Petro &rad'. children's diseases. dividing line between his extreme optimism and 'democratism'. p. was increasingly shifted to the status of an ideal to be attained. in the draft programme that he prepared for the Eighth Party Congress.!and that disillusioned statement: 'the bricks of which socialism will be composed have not yet been made'. Lenin could still write: 'Now all workers. In the working-class quarters one too often passes poor.rHB STATE 225 peace of Brest-Litovsk. all contributed to this disaster. Speaking at the Seventh Party Congress. arc building socialism and have already laid its foundations'61-this optimism being perhaps . not the minority. In any case it revealed perfectly the new climate. and his loss of this mood. after this change of lighting. not the educated alone. Bukharin described in alarming terms what he called. almost present. between the exaltation of the 'creative work' of the masses. The consequences for the working class were extremely serious. Leonid Krassin. but the real people. pale. in the first months following the October victory. Whereas in November 1918. something of an apologia): 'For the first time. much altered for the worse. sadly bearing in their arms. are themselves building a new life.* the interruption in commercial exchanges between town and country. to the end of his life-Lenin upheld some of the views set forth in State and Revolution. 88. 'the disintegration of the proletariat'.smallpox. the 'organizational work' they were carrying out.t was perhaps polemical. not just the leaders and advanced workers. with their own hands. Babies are dying en masse. in a little coffin of silver-painted wood. but great sections of workers. however. 224 LENINISM UNDER LENIN : . Those one sees are weak. blamed the 'panic fear' that had taken hold of the authorities at the beginning of the spring (Carr.'49 And the same note was sounded in the winter of 1918-19. on the first anniver sary of the capture of power.

'We know how small is the section of advanced and politically con scious workers in Russia. as well as with the euphoria caused by the outbreak of the German revolution**-one month later his tone was more modest and more • Seep. for the time being. The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government. the creation of a new roass environment'. Writing in December 1918 and January 1919 about the tasks of the trade unions. the fulfilment of which will require decades'. Lenin acknowledged that. at the begi ng ?f June 1918 he admitted that 'the number of waverers and despatrers m our ranks. Lenin observed that 'the organization of pro letarian influence over the rest of the population. those advanced workers. 288. declaring that 'the country and the revolution can be saved only by the mass effort of the advanced workers'. he denounced those workers who 'are abandoning the working class and deserting to the side of the bourgeoisie'. t Seep. 363. addressing the Fourth Conference of the Trade Unions.connected with the solemnity of the occasion. realistic. of the peasantry praised as an undifferentiated mass..'56 said Lenin in a speech on May 23rd. More and more frequently. But in an important work. 219. 1918. He had begun by . apparently. 222. constituted 'an immensely difficult task. class conscious enough to explain matters to the millions of poor peasants all over the country and to assume the leadership of these millions .. by the vestiges-or resurgences?-of the petty bourgeois spirit and the capitalist mentality. and very soon in a quite systematic way. and that 'the main body of working people are still not playing a big enough part in the construction'. 8 Soon it would be a matter of 'safeguarding the interests 8 226 LENINISM UNDER LENIN of the working class against the few. and emphasizing that 'we need tens of thousands of advanced and steeled proletarians. Lenin began to single out the 'advanced workers'. stressing 'what prolonged and persistent efforts must be exerted by the best and the most class conscious workers and peasants in order to bring about a complete change in the mood of the people and to bring them on to the proper path of steady and disciplined labour. with exaltation of the proletanat · as such. of the working class hailed as a single entity. Lenin drew for the first time a distinction within the proletariat. •• See p. t Seep. Achievements and Difficulties of the Soviet Government. either. 346. the already realized potentialities-of the entire proletariat and peasantry. in the ranks of the proletariat itself. Not such a long period as that was needed for Lenin's departure from his optimism of 1917 to become observable.. In May 1918 he was already appealing to the 'class-conscious and advanced workers'.is growing'.'66 They were not so very numerous.57 and a few weeks later. written in March-April 1918. of the people as a whole. more than that. who alone were still worthy of trust.53 . exalting the possibilities-and. as regards 'the con strUction of socialist society'. § Seep. the already established capacities. They were even getting fewer. He was finished. since. 'the very essentials are not yet guaranteed'.. .62 And in a pamphlet published in March-April 1919.'64 • . . the groups and sections of workers who stubbornly cling to . and to denounce the harm done.

capitalist traditions. In the spring of 1918 we are still a long way from that statement. and the possible from the actual.' 68 At this moment. careful research into the origins of this 'turn' with a view to an attempt to give it a date. he urged the delegates to 'abandon illusions for which real events have punished you and will punish you more severely in the future. He became. that it was on February 24th. too. although that point was the decisive one. the defender of 'state capitalism'. 1918.62 But he was also already a long way from the enthusiasm and euphoria aroused in him by the offensive of 1917 and the October victory. indeed. of most grievous defeats is ahead of us'?66 :rHE STATE 227 This was the moment when a theme first appeared which was to dominate Lenin's speeches for years thereafter: 'One must know how to retreat.* . however. was due not only to the events that were taking place in Russia-an economic and social crisis and a civil war. at a time when this theme was quite new for Lenin. he was commenting that 'when the worker became the vanguard leader of the poor.' 61 At that moment Lenin still had a long way to go before making the invitation he addressed in February 1920 to the organs of the Cheka. of course. defending the signing of the peace treaty with Germany to the Party Congress of March 1918 he said: 'We must be prepared for extraordinary difficulties. halted by the peace negotiations which had now been broken off by decision of the Party's Central Committee. Lenin reflected: 'It may be that the respite needed for an uprising of the masses will take no little time'?64 That. to direct 'revolutionary coercion' against 'the wavering and unstable elements among the masses themselves'. the same day. a class struggle in which part of the advanced class does not remain on the side of the reactionary forces. he had been systematically attacking the cautious and conciliatory trend among the Bolsheviks. Attentive study of Lenin's writings and declarations. Lenin attacked the 'Leftism' of some of his comrades-whereas all through 1917 and in the weeks immediately following the conquest of power. this pronounced return to 'realism'.'69 We are here.t Lenin said: 'Hitherto the revolution has proceeded along an ascending line from victory to victory. resumed their march into Russia that it was then t:1:1. this comparatively sudden awareness of everything that separates the desirable from the possible. running ahead of the situation as it was in the spring of 1918. in the same speech and in relation to the same subject. This disillusionment. when circumstances forced Lenin to make a change in his evaluations and appreciations which was at first hardly per ceptible. but which facts themselves would cause to become increasingly accentuated. but he also became infected with the diseases of petty-bourgeois disintegration. The logic of his 'realism' led Lenin to change the main direction of his fire. and never can be. An epoch. we must "suspend" our offensive now. lead us to a fairly definite con clusion. as we shall see. Was it accidental. the truth of which had not struck Lenin during the 'honey moon of the Russian revolution': 'There never has been. now it has suffered a heavy defeat'?63 Was it accidental that. for extraordinarily severe defeats'?65 Or that.' 67 This theme found expression also in his pamphlet of March-April 1918. The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government: 'In order to go on advancing successfully in the future. the day after that on which the German armies. He led the people forward.' 60 As early as May 1918. Lenin's differences with the 'Left' were not confined to matters of foreign policy. he did not thereby become a saint. It is in the signing of the peace of Brest-Litovsk that the principal-though certainly not the only-cause of the phenomenon must be sought.

Despite this granting of extensive powers to the centre (together with the right to define these powers and. It would be better. The initial phase of the Soviet regime was a period of almost unrestricted auto nomy of local bodies. t See p. as the old saying has it. output. indeed. followed from this: the isolation of the Russian working class. despite all hopes and all efforts. as imposed from above upon a proletariat which. by its formal and juridical nature. by the All Russia Central Executive Committee of this Congress. was being increasingly undermined so far as its physical resources were concerned. and. despite the important powers ascribed to the central authority in respect of fiscal matters. and. and therefore to want. if they do acknowledge another authority. 345. The very drawing up of a constitution seemed. only a pale and -imperfect translation into juridical terms. said the new leaders. represented by the All-Russia Congress of Soviets. 71 The Deputy People's Commissar for Finance said that. are even capable of changing a man into a woman. and. • Seep. abandoned to its own resources. but also the most decisive. which continually grew in numbers.* speaking in 1918. the makers of the constitution assigned a relatively large share to the central authority. between sessions. 337.t On all of these matters he clashed with the 'Left Com munists'. of which the constitution was. showed themselves jealous in safeguarding their own authority. this happens only when the decisions issuing therefrom bring them some advantage'. They it was. Degeneration of the soviets The regime created by the October insurrection took several months to surround itself with a constitutional framework. The soviets became the depositories of legitimacy and sovereignty. if the form to be taken by the new state were not fixed by law. in their distribution of powers. Significantly. the decline and degeneration of that Soviet democracy the birth of which we have watched. this reverse the first. Animated by intense activity. declared that 'the municipal and village soviets acknowledge no authority but their own. especially as the national setting to which it was confined for the moment. the intentions so expressed were not successfully translated into reality. the plane of the world revolution. 69 This was the consequence of the first defeat suffered by Bolshevism since its accession to power. would certainly be transcended. the one that was to prove. irreversible-was suffered on the plane of the international strategy of Leninism. if necessary. so that many legislative arrangements would be rendered inoperative. to extend them). as a corollary. in any case. with the help of the world revolution. and the death agony of which must now be described. though still loyal to the Soviet regime. or. indeed. one of the members of the 'collegium of the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs'. and which determined some of its features. or vice versa'. 'the local soviets do as they please. Thus. 228 LENINISM UNDER LENIN THE STATE 229 In particular. it was the local soviets that were treated in the con stitution as the foundation of political authority. to a living and dynamic conception of the revolution.and recommended increasingly not the merits of initiative but the need for discipline. 70 Nevertheless. the local soviets. All that was to follow.72 . in the very near future. it was thought. to the new regime to be some thing contrary. productivity and order. that embodied most authentically the spontaneous action of the masses.

73 It led.S.74 Even greater absurdities sometimes appeared in the economic sphere. had been almost undivided. What ended them was not so much the will of the central authority as the exigencies and consequences of the civil war. 1917. whose rune· tion was equivalent to that of a Minister. however. Until then the por of the soviets. Thus. They succeeded in doing this n e any areas that were affected by military operations. which often overlapped each other. Over very large areas autonomous authorities arose which felt themselves in no way bound by the Central Government's decisions. in ac:cor?ance w th a process of ever-greater compelling power. commit tees and organs of all kinds. Thus. the regional Soviet of Siberia.F. was surrounded by a 'collegiwn' responsible for helping and supervising him. bureaucratiZatiOn entailed the multiplying of commissions. which soon virtually took the place of the Gover:unent itself. while having no COI1£em with . the soviets also fell VICtim to the organization that was specially charged with the struggle against the 'Whites'-the Cheka. refused to accept the treaty of Brest Litovsk. to some odd situations. in face of which the soviets had to accept a minor ole. On ugust 28th. the headquarters of the Cheka actually mstructd Its local agenctes to.' and the 'revolutionary committees' that represented it in the localities held an important position. and in any cas. by suppress oof the latter. although constitutionally subordinate to the All-Russia Congress of Soviets. In April1918 it was reported that oil from Baku was not reaching Moscow until it had been taxed by all the various regional soviets located along the route. the end of November 1918 saw the creation of the 'Council of Workers' and Peasants' Defence'. The Cheka (short for 'Extraordinary Commission'-itself short for 'Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage') was set up by a decree of December 7th. and in any case greater than that of the BolsheviParty. 75 This was the brief period known in the history of Soviet Russia as the oblastnichestvo-the 'period of regionalism'. 76 The mstttut10ns that competed in authority with the Cheka were no longer the local or regional soviets but the new administrative institutions bm of the civil war. The White Terror was partly responsible for this of course since victories by the counter-revolutionary forces were us ally accom anied not only by the massacring of large numbers of Communists but also by extermination ?f the most active members of the soyiets. • So as to make the system more democratic. Among these. 77 Further more. to which it sent representatives.Lenin looked upon this situation very philosophically. however. It was these local agencies that were to mpose their will upon the soviet bodies. 1?18.S.* Within a few months this power now collapsed. especially on the local plane. the 'Military Revolutionary Com mittee of the R. This body. The rapid spread of the civil war from the end of the summer of 1918 onwards resulted in this purely repressive institution being endowed with con siderable powers. seeing it as 'a disease of growth' which was 'a quite natural phenomenon'. each People's Commissar. refuse to submit to any interference by !he soviets: on the contrary. which the central Soviet authority had ratified. Not until the autumn of 1918 did these 'basic' authorities start to disintegrate rapidly. and announced that it was still in a state of war with the Central Powers. More paradoxically.R.

and when the deputies do meet. for '• example. the militarization of the whole of public life had suppressed the soviets as really functioning bodies. 79 Born from the spontaneous activity of the masses. but not by the working people as a whole'. Where they still existed. tive Committee of this Congress had been conceived as a permanent. the death certificate of the most original and really democratic institution thrown up by the Russian revolution? To be sure. addressing the Eighth Party Congress in March 1919. which was supposed to meet every three months. in effect. and February 1st. However. agam at the expense of the soviets. 230 LENINISM UNDER LENIN also acquired an increasingly academic character. 1920-though decrees continued to be issued in its name. neither the Communist leaders. or of what was left of them. The 'de-Sovietization' of political life developed quickly. resigned themselves to this situation. but he was supported by some Communist delegates. and started a process of militarizing the whole of public hfe. that 'the Soviets. and whose frequent gatherings-October 1917. This was seen when. voices were raised on all sides to call for the re-establishment of the soviets in their full rights. Plenary meetings are held only rarely.' 5° Lenin himself acknowledged. it did not hold a single meeting between July 14th.82 The Central Execu tive Committee of the All-Russia Congress now resumed its activities. body. f held at the end of December 1919. The Central Execu. January. and • Seep.. after a long . 81 Was this not. their life was due much more to the activity of their executive organs than to that of their deliberative bodies. already mentioned. and made Itself felt at the centre as well as at the local level. which by virtue of their programme are organs of government by the working people. are in fact organs of government for the working people by the advanced section of the proletariat.. nor the Soviet cadres. 1918. or quasi-permanent. began to space out these occasions over longer intervals. The Menshevik Martov was the chief spokesman for this demand.military operatiOns as such. who succeeded in passing a resolution calling for the power of the soviets to be strengthened. From the end of 1918 they became annual. Kamenev admitted this when he addressed the All-Russia Congress of Soviets in December 1919: 'Individual members busy themselves with purely technical matters . The demand for 'revival of the soviets' occupied. The All-Russia Congress of Soviets.7s . by the second half of 1918 the soviets had lost their drive and their animation. which had become lethargic. was entrusted with solving the supply problems of the eArm. nor the Party activists. What obtained was what Bukharin and Preobrazhensky. the authors of the semi-official ABC of Communism. In general. March and July 1918-reflected the intense activity of the soviets during the first few months of the new regime. as the civil war seemed to be nearing its end. an important place iti the discussions that took place at the meeting of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets. 279. organized so as to perpetuate this activity and give it the broadest and freest expression. this is only to listen to a report or to a few speeches. called 'a militarist proletarian dictatorship'.

crafty and free from all scruples -spoke in a democratic way when that was needed. But the introduction of the New Economic Policy (N. When. however. Soviet democracy.hibernation. in 1920 elections to the soviets re-acquired some of the freedom that had been characteristic of them at the outset. Lenin-clever. when this seemed useful. and their leader. upon the spontaneous action of the masses.P. however. with the Polish attack on Soviet Russia and the offensive of the Whites under Wrangel.) signified the very opposite. many local soviets reappeared in the countryside. had. and often worked to the advantagof the can didates of his party. With the return of peace and the passing of the threat of counter-revolution. finally ceased to exist. as a result of defeats and isolation. and above all. Martov. the man of Organization and of the Party. The Mensheviks took part in increasing numbers. moreover. With the revolt of the countryside against the Soviet regime. the fierce determination of the Communists to remain in power despite their unpopularity. The coming of the monolithic state : The interpretation offered by most historians of Russian Communism possesses the merit. except in Petrograd. the increasing isolation of a devastated country and an exhausted nation. they see in the begin-' rungs of the Soviet regime the apparent justification of a familiar and b nal thesis: Lenin. For this to become possible a new period of revolutionary advance would have had to begin. 'where "Zinovievite" electi_ons were held in the old manner. and. June and September 1920. the demoralization of the people.83 Moreover. the crisis of the autumn of 1920 and the winter of 192<f-21 brought the collapse of all such hopes. the very basis for a revival of the soviets was no longer present. acknowledged at the beginning of 1920 that. at least of clarity. and tbe Soviet Govern ment announced its intention of giving up some of the prerogatives it had usurped and restoring the rights of the Central Executive Committee. Identifying socialism with the rule of the vanguard. Counter-revolution flared up again. The worsening of the economic and social situation had done too much damage throughout Russia to make possible any return to the starting point. 84 The hopes that supporters of Soviet democracy were able to enter tain at that moment were not. had in VIew only the triumph of his faction. destined to be realized. by means of tactical subtleties and tricks against which the pathetic naivety of his opponents proved helpless. relied.E. each of these sessions lasting a week. Convinced ofthe basic Machiavellianism of the founder of Russian Communism d of the servile submission of his supporters. which under the constitution of 1918 was supposed to THE STATE 231 supervise the activities of the People's Commissars.' the return to more democratic methods was general. the ruined state of the economy. born of the upsurge of the masses and the Bolshevik victory. Finally. if not of truthfulness. May. last but not least. pretended to be converted to the libertarian philosophy of the soviets. increasing discontent among the working class. Lenin had gained . and even allowed himself to borrow some slogans from the anarchists. and assembled in February.

has become only too familiar in its portrayal by disappointed oppositionists. and especially in that of the Social Democrats.L. LENINISM UNDER TliE STATE LENIN 233 power. to a totalitarian state-and Leninism and Stalin ism were really one and the same.. observed with chagrin that the results of the election constituted a repudiation of Bolshevism.. he lost no time in stifling them. M. and after announcing his intention of establishing a Soviet and socialist regime. Was Leninism responsible for this process. he hastened to throw off the disguise that he had assumed. between February and October 1917. a disavowal of the Bolshevik programme by the Bolsheviks themselves. totalitarianism. Lenin dispersed the Assembly. On .. once victorious.] is the essence itself of Bolshe vism . the monopoly of the party and of ideology [in other words. After reproaching the Provisional Government for failing to convene the Constituent Assembly. having allowed it to meet. Bolsheviks included. that the Leninist doctrine. and started him upon his path. and by Lenin of his own ideas.. So rapid. a well-known supporter of this view: 'The malignant figure of the General Secretary. to prohibit and persecute the other socialist parties. refusing to be satisfied with half-truths. he made haste.'85 Raymond Aron says the same thing: 'In the case of the Soviet regime. or was Leninism itself among its victims? This is. not content with installing his own Party alone in power. But it was Lenin. must surely prove. and then. defeated by the apparatus which he controlled. with their support. a totalitarian plan. The Constituent Assembly and its dissolution The convening of a Constituent Assembly figured in the programme of all the Left parties in Russia. by the irrefutable testimony of facts. After proclaiming his devotion to democratic freedoms. since they mobilized themselves and the masses in the name of Soviet power ('All Power to the Soviets!') Lenin's supporters and Lenin himself had.232 •·-. what all the argument is about. almost immediate. who equipped him with the weapons. necessarily had to give rise. to study the actual circumstances that presided over the degeneration of the Soviet regime and the coming of the Bolshevik monolith and Soviet totalitarianism. presented the convening of a Constituent Assembly as one of the aims of their activity. To quote Leonard Schapiro. While they did not make it the axis of their propaganda. '86 Facts are of decisive importance in judging the nature of Leninism so decisive that it is indispensable to examine them with very close attention and. Stalin. in a sense.

. which came to no decision.* The elections did indeed take place: they were held on and after November 12th. and the Bolshevik Government found itself confronted with a dilemma which the Party's Central Committee was obliged to discuss at its meeting on November 29th. so great was the uncertainty and irresolution among the Bolsheviks. 8• 234 LENINISM UNDER LENIN ·'i'JIE STATE .s and Mensheviks called for the Assembly to be convened at once. On December 11th the Central Committee discussed the question afresh. 299). its provi sional character. concentrated in the Don region-included only a single point in their meagre political programme: all power to the Constituent Assembly.s.. in which the Party militants had shown tremendous activity.R. 26. he took no part in this discussion. in connexion with the powers to be given to the local soviets (Lenin. 18.'87 The Council of People's Commissars itself acknowledged. They had already formed their elected deputies to the Assembly into a parliamentary group. which were starting to gather in the south of Russia-especially the 'Volunteer Army'. Mensheviks. see Chapter 4). the remaining 83 seats being divided among small parties..R. op. Elections (on the free nature of the elections. into the election campaign. will ensure the convocation of the Constituent Assembly at the time appointed. Vol. as a whole. in favour of allow mg the Assembly to meet.R. doubtless. To judge by the minutes.s. t See. in an atmosphere of great freedom. Ukrainian S. p.R.8s During the first weeks following the insurrection Lenin had occasion to confirm these assurances. 1917.October 25th. as the sole legitimate depository of sovereignty. 15. Constitu tional-Democrats. but when the results arrived from the provinces they did not support the optimistic impression thus given. of respecting its rights.. • E. and sometimes with real enthusiasm. and not the soviets. for the question of the Constituent Assembly. they saw it. 89 The opponents of the Soviet regime thus enjoyed a comfortable majority in the Assembly. Left S.s.90 Their disappointment was all the greater because they had entered with zeal. at the moment of the seizure of power.g. The bourgeois politicians carried on agitation. the first counter-revolutionary forces. Bolsheviks. 81. Lenin told the delegates to the Second AllRussia Congress of Soviets that 'the Soviet government .t The first results that came in confirmed the verdict of elections held previous to the October rising. 168. and especially by their Right wing. As they came to hand they revealed more and more clearly the great success won by the Socialist-Revolutionaries. They were. Rykov. Radkey. Milyutin and Nogin-all of them important figures known for !Jleir 'moderate' outlook. 299 seats. and.91 The moderate Socialist parties-the S. the Assembly was made up as follows: S.92 The Bolsheviks were still divided. 'until the Constituent Assembly is convened'. and this group had chosen a bureau. on November 8th. cit. consisting ofKamenev. generally. Though Lenin was present. Larin. Ryazanov. In the end. the discussion was very confused. through Lenin. mostly non-Russian nationalists. 39. Finally. 1917. former ministers in the Provisional Government striving vainly to bring about on their own a meeting of members of the Assembly. and favoured the Bol sheviks.

s. it was invited by the Bolshevik group of deputies to ratify the principal measures taken by the Soviet Government. however. Finally. showed great indifference to what had occurred.R. hostile to· the Soviet Government.. had really become aware of the October revolution. had made it impossible to observe normal elector ! procedures.R. written on December 12th. judgment. Naturally. If this point of view is accepted. can be considered in a number of ways. especially those in the rural areas. It could not reflect in its composition. the beginning of counter-revolutionary action.R. must inevitably clash with the will and interests of the working and exploited classes which on October 25th began the socialist revolut!on against the bourgeoisie. '95 When the Constituent Assembly met. and the Left S. deputies then walked out of the Assembly. it means ipso facto condemning the attitude of the Russian Communists.96 The reaction of public opinion.. He concluded l at 'the Constituent Assembly . or at least of what it implied. and so of civil war. though on January 5th the Bolsheviks had briskly dispersed a largde on stration in support of the Assembly. he explained. too. the split that had taken place between the Right S.235 and Lenin proposed that the bureau of the Bolshevik group in the Assembly-described as 'the Right-wing tendency'-be dissolved. the interests of this revolutiOn stand higher than the formal rights of the Constituent Assembly . absolutely.s. If. Lenin declared that the slogan 'All power to the Consti tuent Assembly!' had become 'infact the slogan of the Cadets and the Kaledinites [the followers of the "White" General Kaledin. explicitly at any rate. He was unsuccessful.] and of their helpers'. The debates went on all through the night of January 5th-6th.L. one chooses a different approach.. It was to be the last of 1ts kmd. which amounted to acknowledging its kgitimacy. the Central Committee preferring not to vote on his resolution. he claimed. the commander of an armed detachment. with the Right S. the only assembly freely elected by universal suffrage that Russia ever knew. and the possible clash between them. The question of the fate meted out by the Soviet Government to the Constituent Assembly. that there is no democracy without consultation of the citizens as a whole and respect for the will of the majority that emerges from this. but Lenin almost at once revealed the reasons behind his attitude of distrust towards the Assembly: his 'Theses on the Constituent Assembly'. refusing to adopt an absolute. carrying out the Govern ment's instructions. with the proletarian institu tion facing the bourgeois one.. Chernov in the chair. and of Lenin in particular. never to return. Soon after five in the morning. Without attempting to resist. The election had taken place. the members of the Assembly dispersed. especially of its most active element. was nothing less than a confrontation and clash between classes. For the first time. 1918. The motion put down to this effect was rejected by 237 votes to 138. the anarchist Zheleznyakov. and therefore abstract. certain observations have to be made . They were never to reassemble. on January 5th. The Bolshevik and Left S. before the people. ordered the Assembly to stop working-'because the guard is tired'. the Constituent Assembly and the Congress of Soviets. he stated that the imminent confronta tion of the two bodies. M. 1918.93 The Central Executive Committee of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets decided soon afterwards that the Constituent Assembly should meet on January 5th. who had decided to support the new regime. were published in Pravda of December 26th. a decree of the Soviet Government having dissolved the Constituent Assembly.R.94 To this fundamental conception he added arguments relating more closely to the circumstances in which the Constituent Assembly had been elected. The first of these is to state.

we observe. in France and Germany as in Russia. But the S.'97 Socially. was dominated by the huge contingent of S.100 The same writer describes thus the predominant social com position of the Assembly: 'Men of prestige and experience .R. Party considers that the members of the S. when the National Assembly was able. to stir up the peasants politically. Finally. and by virtue of that force of inertia which the revolution is in revolt against.99 *Seep. 243. supporters and opponents of the Constituent Assembly also present another kind of differentiation. universal suffrage crushes beneath numbers. and it would have been impossible to mobilize them against the Soviets in the name of the Constituent Assembly. too. in the countryside. This happened in 1871. Chemov. When we think of the great social clashes of modem times. From this standpoint. on the contrary. the .98 The Assembly. Thus. the chief Western historian of the soviets as an institution. peasants who were looked up to by their communities. for it is not confined either to the year 1917 or to Russia. experts in agronomy or administration. that the revolutionary dynamic has always been blocked by the paralysing or braking force of the election mechanism. the communica tions network made it possible to spread. this was an 'assembly of notables' which. against the soviets and for the Constituent Assembly.R..R. on the contrary.' 101 To translate and sum up. who had been Minister of Agriculture in the Provisional Government. no doubt is possible: the industrial proletariat and the masses it led were against the Constituent Assem bly and for the soviets. an increasingly conservative force. having lost its Left wing. consequently. in the person of Its most esteemed leader. On the former of these propositions the testimony of Oskar Anweiler. Every time. justified the hope and trust placed in it by the conservative camp. while the confronta tion between the soviets and the Constituent Assembly corresponded. This party. in face of the Commune. group's steering committee in the Assembly could be 'regarded.R. This happened in 1848 in Paris. to the distinction between revolutionary democracy and parliamentary democracy. 236 LENINISM UNDER LENIN THE STATE 237 The principal historian of the S. to boast of a democratic legitimacy that the workers of Paris did not have: they were not representatives of the nation's sovereign will. it signified in social and political reality the opposition between two hostile worlds: that of the bourgeoisie and its allies. It was also observed that. the bourgeoisie and the conservative or reac tionary elements were. is all the more convincing because his attitude is not one of indulgence towards the Bolsheviks. He is quite categori cal: 'The Soviets were seen by the masses as "their" organ. as the worst enemies of the revolu tion'. when it met.* It had just chosen a n w president. in fact. and. At the elections to the Assembly the Bolsheviks received massive votes not only in the industrial towns but also in those country districts and sectors of the front that were near urban centres. as we shall see. the question 'Soviets or Constituent Assembly?' transcends the historical and geographical limitations in which we have hitherto considered it. represented.. and not without reason.s-who. the Bolsheviks obtained their best results in the villages and localities situated along the railway lines-wherever. even in its democratic form of universal suffrage. and that of the proletariat and its supporters. the message of the revolution. by its origins and aspirations. on the plane of principle. were neither Socialist nor Revolu tionary. belonging to the Left-Centre tendency. when the proletariat attacked in the streets and the bourgeoisie answered with riflefire-and with votes. group in the Assembly was much further to the Right than the leadership of the Party.regarding the political and social forces that clashed with each other on the occasion of and in connexion with the meeting of the Constituent Assembly. through the agency of workers and soldiers.

reviewing the events of 1917. I think. This is confirmed by an event geographically and historically nearer than those mentioned to the Bolshevik revolution: the German revolution of 1918. what causes surprise is not that Lenin assumed the responsibility of dissolving the Constituent Assembly. popular institutions which did not provide for the represent ing of all classes.104 In Russia. It is simplistic to attribute Lenin's conduct in this matter to that Machiavellianism which some writers see as his second nature. been staunch supporters of a semiautocratic monarchy and a semi-feudal order. but that he took so long in deciding to do this. and the voter a poor revolutionary. a man of Russian and international Social-Democracy for whom the conquests of the revolu tion formed part of the classic programme of demands of the labour movement-which included the securing of a constitutional regime in autocratic or semiautocratic states. moreover.. in this field as in many others.. we did . on voit. The political and social struggle that developed amid the ruins of the Hohenzollern empire assumed the same outlines and gave rise to the same divisions as in Russia. both of which groups were alien to Leninist doctrine. proclaimed themselves overnight republicans and democrats. the day before. today. in other words. the Rote Fahne. wrote: "On s'engage et puis . he acknowledged that he had been in pired by a dictum of Napoleon's: 'Napoleon. all power. of a national Constituent Assembly. to launching a fresh assault by the proletariat upon the positions of the bourgeoisie-in fact. and of universal suffrage where the electoral law still included property qualifications. bly as 'the bourgeois solution'. In one of his last writings. supporters of'popular sovereignty'. He did not immediately grasp the constitutional implications of the revolutionary dynamic which.' 106 In 1917 Lenin had. whereas Workers' and Soldiers' Councils were 'the socialist one'. making the con quests of February look trivial. and in any case anachronistic. quite concretely. wholly absorbed in day-to-day revolutionary activity. he was not guided by any previously determined strategy. ' 105 In January 1918 he told the congress of Russia's railwaymen: 'We had not acted according to plan. namely: Constituent Assembly or soviets. but who were also in favour of very thorough-going democracy. But when he did this he did not cease to be. who were in power. in many respects. In reality.R. not noticed what. In the last analysis.s and by the anarchists. seems so obvious-that the very notion of entrusting power. if not his first. though the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly was actually effected by the Bolsheviks.* The revolutionary is a bad voter. forerunners of the Nazis. In Berlin. conservatives who had.. this deed was approved by the Left S. and had such difficulty in identifying the terms in which the dilemma-for there was a dilemma-presented itself.revolution's own elan. they presented the Constituent Assem* A similar development was seen in France in 1%8." Rendered freely this means: "First engage in a serious battle and then see what happens. ruled out any notion of making a Constituent Assembly elected by the population as a whole the sovereign organ of state power in Russia? What seems now so plain evidently seemed much less so to Lenin. he had opted. 103 And it was the Spartacists who opposed the convening of such an Assembly and countered the very principle of it with their demand for a 'democracy of councils'. made their members swear an oath of alle giance to this democratic institution. with the hindsight of history. to the soviets. to restarting the revolutionary offensive. Had Lenin. hurling the soviets into attack on the newly established order and the masses into .. indeed. for 'permanent revolution'. committed himself to the soviets. as we have seen.102 The 'Freikorps' themselves. In their paper." Well.

The Bolshevik Party and the socialist parties Linear schemata are the most alluring. prevented him in 1917 from deducing theoretical conclusions from the lessons of events. 169). He was not even the real theoretician of the revolution. Hence the theoretical hesitancy of his approach to the problem of the Constituent Assembly -which he made up for. I. In The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky he asserted unequivocally that 'our revolution is a bourgeois revolu tion as long as we march with the peasants as a 1vho/e'. hesitated on this point. the liquidation of the latter. there can be no question of a bour geois-democratic revolution. And it was his absorption in practical activity that. p. he said that it was 'from the moment the Poor Peasants' Committees began to be organized' that 'our revolution became a proletarian revolution'. support for workers' control and dissolution of the Constituent Assembly-the revolution. Today it appears to us that with each leap forward made by the revolution-the struggle for Soviet power against the Provisional Government. breaking the unity of the peasant camp. Here is one example. though not without difficulty. to become the ruling principle of the 238 LENINISM UNDER LENIN THE STATE 239 Russia of 1917. but 'merely' the maker of it.' 108 Yet the question of the bourgeois revolution was so much in Lenin's mind that he often identified the transition from the bourgeois to the socialist revolution with the setting up in June 1918 of the 'Committees of Poor Peasants'..* they *The Constitutional-Democratic Party was banned on December 1st. in March 1919. and very greatly. the Bolsheviks. speaking in January 1918 to the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets. proceeded to eliminate their political oppo nents. groping his way. He was later to refer to 'setting up the Soviet state system' and 'get ting out of the imperialist war' as the essential preliminary 'tasks of our revolution in the sphere of socialist construction'. the breaking of the alliance with the Western bourgeois democracies. he declared: 'Today. Vol. caused the idea of permanent revolution. 107 In the period when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved. conceived by Marx and Trotsky. until the summer. Lenin.110 These approximations and varying definitions will surprise only those who wish to see in Lenin an infallible master and omniscient planner-whether providential or diabolical-of revolutionary strategy. of 1918 (Carr. doubtless.. which. and sometimes con tradicting himself. Dealing first of all with the Constitutional-Democrats. intensified its character as a socialist revolution. In their thirst for power. . Its papers continued to appear. by his boldness in practice. how ever. when the Soviets are in power .attack on the soviets. almost as soon as they had become masters of the situation. 1917. It is not accidental that we find Lenin so hesitant in characterizing the events of this period. This he was not. 109 And to the Eighth Party Congress. introduced the class struggle into the countryside. the peasants into attack on the land and the workers on the factories. transcending its bourgeois limits.

then turned to suppress the socialist pa ties. Totalitarian Leni s : that is the thesis which Leonard Schaptro sums up perfectly m hts classic history of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union: 'The refusal to come to terms with the socialists and the dispersal of the Constituent Assembly led to the logical result that revolutionary terror would now be directed not only against traditional enemies, such as the bourgeoisie and right-wing opponents, but against anyone, be he socialist, worker or peasant, who opposed Bqlshevik rule.' 111 'The refusal to come to terms with the socialists.' This is how the writer summarizes an important episode of the Russian revolution the attempt, on the morrow of the October insurrection and the establishment of Soviet power, to form a broad coalition socialist government, which would haye prevented C?m unist monolithi m from appearing and developmg. The questiOn ts too heavy With implications not to be looked at carefully. . . One observation must be made at the outset. The htstory of relatiOns between the Bolsheviks and the moderate Socialist parties does not begin in October 1917. Even without going back to the pre-revolu tionary period, it must be kept in mind that divergence between the Leninists, on the one hand, and the S.R.s and Mensheviks, on the other, marked the entire evolution of events in Russia between February and October 1917: it was a complete divergence, bringing the two camps into conflict on all the problems of the revolution, and, in the last analysis, on the fundamental question: was it or was it not neces sary to trust the bourgeoisie, allowing that class to establish its authority and, indeed, encouraging it to do so? It was because the Bolsheviks and the moderate socialist parties disagreed on this vital point that the October rising took place against those parties, and because of this that they did not content themselves with holding aloof from it, but denounced it, and would have crushed it if their weakness had not been as great as their disapproval and anger. Hardly had the sovereignty of the soviets, as the source of state power, been proclaimed, during the night of October 25th-26th, 1917, than the Mensheviks and S.R.s refusedto recognize it, and walked out of the All-Russia Congress of Soviets-most of them never to return. It might be concluded that this refusal and this walk-out, confirming a disagreement that related to the very nature of the new regime, must make impossible any collaboration between parties that were thenceforth each other's adversaries, despite the similarity of their titles. Was all possibility of a compromise between Bolsheviks and moderate socialists-moderate in their socialism but not at all, as we shall see, in their hatred of Bolshevism-finally ruled out from that 240 STATE 241 ?J?e?t, and with it thpossibility of a coalition government? An mitiahve taken by the LENINISM UNDER LENIN

railwaymen's trade union brought the question u?. On Octo e29th, this union issued an ultimatum which was mainly armed at nm .s Gov7rnment. The ra lwaymen called for the formation of. a c?ahtton mcludmg all the parties represented in the soviets: if this did not take place, they would call a general railway strike throughout the country. That same day, the Bolshevik Central Com mittee (wi.th Lenin absent) met to examine the railwaymen's 'proposal'. They decrded to take part in the conference that was to be held to discuss the question of a coalition, and were all the better disposed to do this because, in the words of the resolution unanimously voted by those present, they considered it 'necessary to enlarge the basis of the <?o ernme t'..112 A del gation.was nominated to carry on the nego tiatiOns: s.lgmficantly, It consisted of three Right-wing Bolsheviks Ryazanov, Sokolnikov and Kamenev. The two last-named spoke :rtte:mt,er of the Party's Central Committee and People's Commissar . Industry and Commerce, Rykov, also a member of the Central ·pornmittee, Milyutin, People's Commissar for Agric_ultur, an? Teodo ovich People's Commissar for Food-not to mentiOn Zmoviev, once ore a!lying himself with Kamen,ev1.16 The 'moderate'. tendency was thus still strong among the Party s leaders. When Lenm put down a tion declaring t at 'to yield to the u!till'!atums and thre ts of the 9 Jninority in the soviets means finally reJectmg not only Soviet power but democracy itself, for such concessions signify fear by the majority 00 make use of its majority,' 117 the discussion led to an indecisive :battle. The first vote showed six for Lenin's motion and six against; e second vote showed seven for and seven against; a third vote had to be taken, from which Lenin emerged as the victor by one vote-eight for, seven against.118 . , · Defeated, the minority decided to leave the Central Committee, 119 the Central <;ommittee meeting in favour of including all socialist groups in the future Government, even those of the extreme Right tendency. 113 Furthermore, the Bolshevik leaders decided to enlarge the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets by adding to it dele gates from 'the parties which left the Congress', this to be done on a basis of proportional representation. 114 On November 1st the negotiators reported to their colleagues on the Central Committee on how the 'coalition conference' was going. Kamenev, Sokolnikov and Ryazanov mentioned the demand made by the moderate socialists to have the Central Executive Committee of the soviets enlarged by adding a strong contingent of bourf{eois representatives, members of the Municipal Councils of Petrograd and Moscow, a demand which called in question the Soviet character of the new regime. This move by the moderate socialists caused Lenin to take a hostile line towards the conference-and all the more so beca usc the Bolshevik delegates reported another condition laid down by the S.R.s and Mensheviks: that on no account must Lenin or Trotsky be a member of the coalition. 115 He formally proposed that the nego tiations be 'suspended'. This proposal, however, was rejected by ten votes to four, and the Bolshevik delegates accordingly continued their efforts to form a coalition government. At the next day's meeting of the Central Committee Lenin won some ground. His motion challenging 'the opposition within the Central Committee' was passed by ten votes to five. This 'opposition', whose central figure was Kamenev, had shown its hand in the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets. Kamenev was chairman of this important body. Anticipating the course of the negotiations, he had proposed that the Council of

People's Commis sars resign and be replaced by a coalition government. He was sup ported by a strong contingent of leading Bolsheviks, including Nog:in, :raising the slogan: 'Long live the Government of the Soviet parties!' This minority included one-third of the leadership: Kamenev, Zino viev, Rykov, Nogin and Milyutin. Several People's Commissars .also . resigned from their posts, so great was their desire to find a basis .of agreement with the moderate socialists. Alth?ugh his _hope of th:IrS ;was nothing extraordinary-for, as the Amencan histonan R. Damels points out, at the time of the October insurrection the Bolsheviks as a whole had no notion of ruling the country alone, 120 and the Left Communists themselves, despite their habitual radicalism, were in favour of a coalition, provided that the Bolsheviks held a majority in itl2l_the stubbornness of their attitude was more so. The agreement :they wanted would have been possible only if the mood of the M.en sheviks and S.R.s had been similar to that of most of the Bolsheviks. The marriage of convenience that they wanted proved to be out of the question, however, because the Bolshevik suitors found themselves faced only with hostility, contempt and refusal to compromise. Speaking in the name of his Party, a Soc alist-Re; luti.onar_y declared: 'For us a government with Bolsheviks participatmg IS unthinkable.'I 22 And he went on to proclaim that 'the country will not forgive them the blood that has been shed.' 123 The Menshevi s endorsed this view. On the morning of October 30th, when the dis cussion was resumed, the representatives of the two moderate soci list parties put forward demands that might have been more ap ropnate I coming from victors than from vanquished. The Bolsheviks must I undertake to disarm the Red Guards and to allow Kerensky's troops to enter the capital without resistance! When, however, news was .received of the defeat of the anti-Bolshevik rising of the officer-cadets in Petrograd, a section of the S.R.s-but not all of them-showed greater modesty. They said they were ready to contemplate the possibility of allowing a few Bolsheviks to participate in the 242 LENINIST\-! UNDER LEl'\[N Govenunent, as individuals-this attitude not extendin however, to either Trotsky or Lenin.* tolerant

g, Nego iations were resumed, on this basis, on November 1st. with Bolshevik delegates present who were still ready, as we have seen t offer the most far-reaching concessions to their interlocutors. Tho S.R.s admitted that it was only their military setbacks that led them t e take part in the \ ork. f the conference. Next day, however, th S.R.s and Mensheviks Jomtly announced their decision not merely to 's.uspe.nd' the talks but to put an end to them altogether. The American tstonan Radkey concludes in this connexion: 'The Socialist-Revolu tlonal!' Party at the outset had taken an intransigent stand, departing from 1t .only unde.r the spur of disaster and even then demanding that ther adversans come round by the back way to share in power the plemtude ofwhtch they already possessed.' 124 1t is hard to conceive

a greater lack of realism or more complete absurdity of conduct. In fact, however, the policy followed by the S.R.s and the Mensheviks during the coalition talks was laughable only in appearance. It corresponded to a logic that the same writer has summed up very well: 'In the last analysis it was the Bolshevik commitment to the Soviet form of government which wrecked the negotiations.'12& That ' as the root of the problem. Only a minority (even though a substantial one) of the Bolshevik leadership were ready to sacrifice the Soviet regime to the anti-Soviet attitude of the moderate socialists. The rest were unwilling to accept such a surrender, even though they were no less desirous of widening the composition of the Govern ment. As for Lenin, he was neither more nor less uncompromising than most of his colleagues-merely more clear-sighted. That he was not intransigent or intent on monopolizing power for his own Party is shown by his efforts to bring the Left S.R.s into the Government. t It is elsewhere than in the abortive attempt to form a coalition between the Bolsheviks and their socialist opponents that we must seek for the origins of Communist monolithism.t Socralist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and anarchists And so, apart from the brief period of

collaboration between the

• On te attitude of the S.R.s and Mensheviks during the negotiations about a coalition, see _espectally Radkey, Sickle, pp. 65-72. L. Schapiro, for whom the absence of a coalition soctalist go emme?t is an i_mportant factor in explaining the regime of terror applied by the Bolsh viks urmg the CIVIl war, says nothing, in his history of the C.P.S.U. (B) about the negative attitude of the S.R.s and Mensheviks. He does however make a brief allu· sion to it in Origin (pp. 71-2). ' ' t Sec p. 256. +Atcolloquiu_m h ld at Cambridge, Mass, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian RevolutiOn, two htstonans, Messrs Fainsod and Geyer, neither of whom has ever shown any tenderness towards the Communists, agreed in saying that the Bolsheviks 'ostensibly favoured coalition of socialist partieand were forced to govern alone only because the other parttes refused to co-operate' (Ptpes, ed., Revolutionary Russia, p. 217). STATE243 ·· .jlolsheviks and the Left S.R.s,* the Leni ists, ?ften against their will, ncentrated the whole ?f _state p wer m their own hands, with no pre held by other O I.ahst parties. Furthermore, the new regime JJlOVed towards prohibitiOn and suppression of these parties. This attitude on the part of the Bolsheviks towards their socialist opponents, as·also towards the anarchists who in some circumstances acted as eir allies,t seems, indeed, to show a culpable desire for power, a fatal tendency towards monolithism. The case of the Socialist-Revolutionaries is at first sight the most disturbing, since Lenin had expressed concern to base himself on the majority of the population and needed, therefore, to obtain the support of the peasantry, whose political spokesman was, traditionally, the S.R. Party. In January 1918, addressing the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets, Lenin said: 'In Russia only that power could last for any length of time that would be able to unite

the working class and the majority of the peasants, all the working and exploited classes, in a single inseparably interconnected force fighting against the landowners ·and the bourgeoisie.'l26 : Compared with this consideration, others, based upon the revolu tionary past of the S.R. Party, might appear trivial, especially as this .past, made up of struggles that were often ineffectual, though always heroic, was remote from and unrelated to the social character and political orientation of the S.R.s as they actually were when the Bol sheviks took power. We have seen how they turned their backs on the Congress of Soviets. This decision was not due merely to the fact that, in October, they had lost their majority to the Bolsheviks. It was not just the majority in the soviets that they rejected, but the Soviet regime itself. In September 1917 the newspaper Izvestiya, which they con trolled, had written that 'the useful life of the soviets is coming to an end', and, a month later: 'When the autocracy and the bureaucratic regime collapsed, we created the soviets as a sort of shelter in which democracy could seek temporary refuge. Now we are about to build a more suitable edifice to replace this shelter, and it is natural that the people should move to a more comfortable home.'l 27 It was not surprising that the S.R.s should have preferred, in the autumn of 1917, to the poverty of the Soviet 'temporary shelter', the COmfort of new premises-those, no doubt, which they visualized the Constituent Assembly as occupying. Everything impelled them towards such a preference, starting with their social basis, which their principal and most scrupulous historian describes like this: 'The core of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party was the rural intelligentsia: the village SCribes, the children of the priests, the employees of the zemstvos and Co-operatives, and, above all, the village schoolteachers.'128 These • See pp. 256-7. t Seep. 197.

244

LENINISM

UNDER

LENIN

typically. petty-bourgeois elements soon came, as the year 1917 wore on, to !me up with the Constitutional-Democrats, who themselves had become converted to a conservative and even reactionary outlook This was the reason why the S.R.s refused, between February and October, o support the demands that had figured in their own pro ammsmce the Party's foundation, and why they opposed, some tunes violently, the attempts made by the peasantry to divide up the ·. ·. 245 Tf STATE ' which disturbed the calm of Petrograd on October 29th, and which the R,ed Guards put down without much difficulty. Faced with this defeat, s veral of the S.R. leaders made their way to the front, to join forces with elements of the Army which they expected to launch an offensive against the Bolsheviks in the immediate future. The former Minister for Agriculture, Chernov, who was regarded as more to the Left than to the Right among the S.R.s, was there already, working hard to 132 large estates. ·

promote a speedy reconq est of the capital. . . .. The act is that a large segment of the Populist [i.e., S.R.] intelli gentsia had become Kadets [Constitutional Democrats] without ad.mitting it. They clung to the old S.R. label even though the old fatth. was gone ... The last thing wanted by these people who contmued to call themselves Socialist Revolutionaries was a social r volution, for it would halt the war, jeopardize their status in hfe, and enrage the Kadets, to whom they looked up in worship. ful admiration.129 In the Constit ent Assembly their group was to represent 'one of the most conservative elements in Russian society'.130 The S.R.s continued to be a peasants' party certainly, but, as E. H. Carr says, one that was co cerned more specifically with the interests of the well-to-do peasants whtch they protected to the best of their ability during the distribution of lad that followed the Bolsheviks' accession to power. 131 Thts, then, was the.Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Revolutionary ?efore 1917, conservative between February and October, it showed Itself to be counter-revolutionary from the very first days, even the first hours, of the Soviet regime. It was on October 26th 1917 that the majority of the Central Committee of the S.R. Party'resol;ed to undertake, forthwith, armed action against the Bolsheviks.* This decision, kept secret at the moment when it was taken was made public at he Fourth Congress of the S.R. Party, held openly in Petrograd m December 1917. The carrying out of the plan was en trus ed to the Party's most influential figure, Abraham Gotz, who had received more votes than anyone else in the election to the Party's central committee. It turned out very soon, however, that Gotz could not count on the S.R. activists in order to put his counter-revolu tionary plan into effect. He therefore turned first to the Cossacks stationed in the capital, and then, when they r fuserl to commit them selves, to the training schools of the 'junkers', the officer-cadets, who were well-known for their conservative loyalties. The cadets accepted . I shall not trace in detail the counter-revolutwnary actlVlttes of the S.R.s before and after the disssolution of the Constituent Assembly; but it is certain that the S.R.s were pioneers on the counter-revolu tionary side in the launching of the civil war. In November 1917 their military commission planned to kidnap Lenin and Trotsky, entrusting this scheme to a group of officers. 133 And if the demonstration in support of the Constituent Assembly which they organized in January 1918 in the streets of Petrograd was peaceful, this was not because the S.R.s had wanted it to be an unarmed one, but merely because they had not been able to obtain arms. The plan originally conceived by the Party's leaders envisaged, on the contrary, a violent attempt to bring down the Soviet Government: 'For weeks all preparations had been made with this end in view. But by the new year it was evident that a strictly military coup could not succeed.'13'1 • Mter the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, the S.R.s dectded

to supplement their methods of action with a weapon taken frm their Party's old traditions: that of individual terrorism. In the spnng they hatched a plot to assassinate Lenin. 135 In June 1918 one of their men killed the Bolshevik leader Volodarsky, and, a month later, anoth1e3r6 killed Uritsky, also an important figure in the Government camp. Altogether, in the civil war that ravaged the country from July o wards, the S.R.s played a very prominent role. Already in May, at the_tr Eighth Conference, they had resolved 'to overthrow the Bolshevik dictatorship and to establish a government based on universal suffra1g3e7 and willing to accept Allied assistance in the war against Germany'. The S.R.s took part on a large scale in all the anti-Bolshevik govern ments that were set up in Russia, often predominating in them. They took part in such governments even when these proclaimed and carried out a clearly reactionary programme. This was the case, for example, with the 'Provisional AllRussia Government' formed in the autumn of 1918, whose programme was 'to develop the productive forces of the country with the help of private Russian and foreign capital, and 138 the assurances of the monarchist Purishkevich, with whom Gotz had made a pacthat was doubtless decisive in rendering armed action posstble. This was the background of the rising of the officer-cadets * My .a out of the counte_r-revolutionary activity of the S.R.s in the aftermath of the Bolsheviks se1zure of power IS mainly based on Radkey, Sickle, pp. 18-39. to stimulate private initiative and enterprise'. What was left of the socialist and revolutionary past of this organiza tion, in which its old leader Chernov, despite his hatred of the Bolshe viks, 'was horrified by the progress made by the monarchists and b he weakness of the moderate ones among us in consenting to a coalitiOn 246 . LENINISM UNDER LENIN

'PJI'E STATE 247 With the ant democratic forces'? 139 This conversion of numerous s R. to mo rchtsm was nothing new in the autumn

of

1918. Ja

·u.s

Sa oul, m a letter sent from Moscow in April of that year, sues up .m these words what had emerged from his talks with s R 1 d ed 'Wtthout so far admitting it publicly many of them affinn. : ea. ers: was so absolute that they .seemed to hae no f ture at a.n before them. :flowever, they were to discover and display m adversity that energy in which they had been so sadly lacking during their brief period in poDwuering the negoti·ati·ons orgam·zedby the rat·1waymen's um·on WI'th a conv.ersafIon, the need l'

a restoration of the monarchy.'I4• om pnvate view to the forming of a coalition government, the Menshevirepre . tIs truthat a change took place in February 1919, after months of ctvd war, m the attitude of certain S.R.s in Moscow and in Sa wh re they had participated in an anti-Communist Government. ea, dectd t? seek a rapprochement with the Soviet regime: but thei party Nmth Conference, held secretly in the capital replied by d nouncmthese 'conciliators', who thereupon left thS.R. Party 1; M_ean:-rhiie, the Bolsheviks had responded to this turn on the part ;f mmontof the S.R.s by relegalizing their Party, which they ha banned m June 1918.*This gesture of toleration was to remain without a future, owever, for the w erings al!-d hesitations of a few individual S.R.s•.amid the t mult of CIVIl war, dtd nothing to alter the basic fact that, m the co ICt between classes that preceded and followed the OctoberevolutiOn, the S.R. Party chose the banner of counter revolution, and fought for it with all the violence that was typical of the period. The 'intoler!lnce'.te Bolsheviks showed in relation to the S.R.s was a reply to this deciSive choice made by the latter The case of the Mensheviks differs considerably from that of theirs R Jr They were n? less anti-Bolshevik than the S.R.s but their o o:it; had necessanly to take other fonns, owing to their weakness and also to the very nature of their Party. At the ome?-t whn Soviet power was established, the Mensheviks looked qutte dtsc1·edited. A party of the towns, the election results showed that they had lost all their popularity there. A workingclass pa;ty, thy had lost the support among the proletariat that they had enjoyed m the .first months following the February revolution In O tober 1917 e Me heviks seemed to be a political fonnation Wit ? t any social basts. A grouping that included some eloquent pohtic ans and brill ant intellectuals, they seemed, in their almost pat ettc ":eakness, like ghosts from a world that had passed away Besides thts weaknes, which contrasted with the still finn roots pos sessed by the S.R.s m the countryside, another point of difference tween the S.R.s and the Mensheviks was the political character of t e latter. In any "':ays the.ir Party was a grouping of genuine moderat s. Thetlong dispute With the Bolsheviks, since the foundation of Russi.an Social-Democracy, testified to their caution and concern fr legality. Mter av.ing shown, before the February revolution, that t ey were very timid revolutionaries, they had proved between F bruary and October that they were mediocre politicians. Their defeat Seep, 248. sentative began by declaring that the only language appropnate for talking to the Bolsheviks was that of guns. 142 Since, however, the art of war had never been the Mensheviks' strong point, they agreed to sit down at the conference table. When the S.R.s decided to terminate the negotiations most of the Mensheviks concurred. Martov, who since his return to Russia in May 1917 had led the Left wing of the Party, and disagreed profoundly with its Right-wing leadership, condemned this attitude. In December 1917, at an extraordinary congress of the Menshevik Party which was publicly convened in Petrograd, Martov and his

group strengthened their position at the expene of the Right el!-d ncy led by Lieber. Whereas the latter called on his comrades to Jom m a 'fighting alliance of all anti-Bolshevik forces', Martov, after demon strating that this extreme view was held by a minority only, secured approval for his own viewpoint, one which was so hedged about with qualifications as to amount almost to a mere muddle: appro al, subject to reservations, of participation in the soviets was accompamed by a statement of loyalty to the Constituent Assembly. 143 Martov explained that it was impossible to join the antiCommunist camp, since that would mean a complete break with the working class, 'now under the sway of utopias and illusions', i.e., of Bolshevism. 144 His comrade Dan acknowledged, more prosaically, that since the attempt to overthrow the Bolsheviks 'by force of rms' had 'failed', it was now necessary to take up 'the position of conciliation'.145 During the winter of 1917-18 and the spring of 1918 the Mensheviks reappeared in the Central Executive Committeee of the Soviets, where they formed a very small group-half a dozen out of nearly 350 delegates. Their speakers also took part in the discussions at the All-Russia Congresses of Soviets, and on all such occasions Martov denounced with remarkable vigour the policy being followed by the Bolshevik Government. The Menshevik opposition was far from being a tame and respectful one. The Menshevik newspapers, which continued to be published openly, even though under difficult conditions,* also attacked various aspects of Communist policy. They reproved the Soviet Government for employing officers of the Tsarist Army in the Red Army, and also the • As had happened with the Bolshevik press after the 'July days_' of 1917, the Men hevik papers were often obliged, in order to continue to appear desp1te measures bannmg or suspending them, to change their titles. 248 ' LENINISM UNDER LENIN r

TfiE STATE 249 first attempts made to subject the working class to labour discipline.* In the spring of 1918 this Menshevik press was quite important, including daily papers as well as periodicals.146 It gave support to the Party's candidates when they put themselves forward for election to the soviets-and they succeeded in getting substantial votes as the country's economic difficulties intensified. In Tambov, for instance, the Mensheviks even managed to win the majority in the town Soviet.l17 In other cases they declined to take part in elections, or were prevented from doing so by the Bolsheviks. 148 In May 1918 the Menshevik Party held a new conference-officially and openly-at which they condemned the Allied intervention in Russia (a step to the Left) but also confirmed their devotion to the Constituent Assembly (a step to the Right).149 The majority of the Party, except for a conservative wing which supported the

counter revolution. and which their traditional lack of organization and discipline prevented them from overcoming. and by Implication that of the majority of the Mensheviks. the conference stated that he. Deutscher. see p. pp. during the civil-war period. Prophet Armed. the dictatorship of the Bolshevik Party and the exercise of terror. A series of divergences appeared among them which it was not easy to reconcile. accepting it as reality and not as a principle'. Martov's attitude towards the Soviet Government. had taken a decisive step forward. On June 14th.ve m. and calling on all local and regional soviets to follow this example. . stood for armed struggle against the Bolsheviks. which was being transferred to the Western Front in order to continue fighting Germany.151 ThParty's central committee expelled those members who to?k an active part in the counter-revolution. were defined at a conference held by the Menshevik Central Committee in Moscow during five days in October 1918. Communist monolithism. who recovered. when. to remain above the battle and retain a certain neutrality. but to oppose its policy of tmmedtate ocializatton.ent and even with the Communist Party. Vol. on being asked by trade unionists among the railwaymen what attitude they should take up. . After the summer of 1918. Thus. but this decision seems neither to have been applied to all the Mensheviks con med nor to h ve _been m de effective. 336. 1918.hevik leaderundertok to support Lenin's government in so far s It ws defei?-dmg th amof the revolution. On the extreme Left was anothr mmonty. however. advised them to stay neutral. By the final resolution the Mens. since the counter-revolutiOnary Mensheviks m outlymg parts of the country continued to regard themselves as memb rs nd representatives of the Party.R. after 1917. and that of hts Party. On the labour policy of the Bolsheviks. a decree was issued expelling the representa tives of these two parties from the All-Russia Congress of Soviets and from its Central Executive Committee. led by Lieber. while t the samttme remaining faithful to . which advocated and practised rapprochement with the Soviet Go. When this advice was felt to be too vague. Party was 'obliged to take the Soviet regime as point of departure In Its strug?le. . and in some cases actually participated in this struggle. One of these. with the rapid development of the civil war.s. His attitude. the stature as a leader that he had lost in the pre-October period. the Soviet Government took a decision of major importance in relation to them and to the S. the Mensheviks. became involved in an armed clash with the Bolsheviks. • Carr. at the end of May. 409-10. 150 Whatever the difficulties experienced by Martov and his friends in deciding on a coherent policy that could rally the support of all the different tendencies among the Mensheviks. 111. in the civil war that was beginning. it was after the Party had been banned that thetr lea er drew closer to the Communist regime.152 In the centre.R. the Czechoslovak Legion in Russia. the Mensheviks found it very hard to form themselves into a comparatively homogeneous group. p. favoured by the 'waiting' policy of the Mensheviks and provoked by the frankly counter-revolutionary conduct of the S. has been described by a perceptive and well-disposed biographer as 'semi-loyal . the Menshevik Central Committee explained that the neutral attitude to be maintained should be 'friendly to the Czechs and hostile to the Bolsheviks'. II. Thus. There were the minorities at the two extremes. the maJonty of the Central Committee gathered around Martov. This conversion was subject. increasingly gave the impression of trying. to reservations so subtle t at it is uncertain whether everyone concerned was capable of graspmg what they implied.153 Paradoxi cally.s.

produced a good impression on the Bolshevik leaders.'the idea of popular soveretgnty. On November 30th a decree of the C.e_ven though with very limited resources. In a pamphlet which was circulated openly. they won 46 . emanated frm the ew rulers. and they were not long in responding to it.E. . which the. ansupport for the restoration of indepen dent trade umons and the nghts of the working class.ommittee defini tively' separated itself from the Party's extreme Rtght element. had the happy idea of entitling Wht Is !o l!e Done? the enshevtks argued for a series of measures of ltberahzatwn that constttuted an anticipation of the New Economic Policy. by ther defence of the n ts of labour and the independence of the trade unwns. during 1919 and 1920.154 Despite its subtlety and contradictoriness. and the loosenmg of revolutionary tension as the civil war drew towards its close. 155 . however. and whtch they. as a re ult of the Government's increasing un populanty. especially in the second half of that year. when made public.C. te Menshe tks were thus able to make their appearance once more m the sovtets. had ben enc uraged to produce by an important Bolshevik. the economtst Lann. On economic matters the Mensheviks called in July 1919 for a relaxation of 'Wa Communism'. It was at t is p:riod--: but only at this period-that the Menshevik Central <. demands for measures of economtc ltbe ahzat10n. of the Soviets-actually.an? stru?glagainst the Red Terror. U doubtedly. 250 LENINISM UNDER LEJ'\IN rliE STATE 251 t11ey developed their policy in three directions: defence of 'S.I&6 The Mens eviks chiefly mae their mark. and to def nd _their ideas. whtch was accompanied by a striving to safeguard he workmg class from a worsening of its standard of living -both bemg concerns that accorded with the traditional Menshevik line. The resolution expressed _the hope that the situation would evolve in such a way as to make p sstble in the near future resumption of the struggle for the Constituent Assembly. The comparatively strong position they held before 1918 in certain trade-union organizations and their concern to main ain this position in face of pressure and coercion which. even though in small numbers only. of the Governmentannounced the 're-legalization' of the Menshevik P rty. As a constttut10nal opposttton. the Mensheviks recovered a certain basis amo':g the workers: This was reflected in the gains they made in some electiOns to the soviets. who were still actively participating in the counter-revolution. In 1920. this document. In 1919. in many mstances. for example. account for their policy of defence of the traduruons.oviet legality'. umversal suffrage and the Constituent Assembly'.

as Marxists. 205 in that of Kharkov. The speeches made at this meeting were critical. when Menshevik trade Iorusts organized a meeting in honour of a delegation from the Bntish trade unions which was visiting Moscow. coexistence between the Leninists. ?ut when hey d.neither he only nor the principal victims of these events.E. with occasional lapses. it was not until the winter of 1920-21 that th ens e tk Party was suppressed in a systematic way. The leaders of the latter. But although this activity on the part of so e Mensheviks was bound to anger and even a arm the Government. outnght repressiOns. and certainly looked hke an act of provocation. 0 in Tula. -r:he Communists dectsion to do this was doubtless partly due to the Important role played y their opponents in the agitation and wave of strikes that occurred m February 1921 in Petrograd. of the Government's policy. and alsto restrict it considerably inside the Party. was subject to senous obstacles.l61 The authorities took a mo th to react to this. Even so. t In the catastrophic circumstances. the spirit of toleration shown by the Communists must not be exaggerated. J?at was in order. who was wanted by the .papers legally. both economtc and political. in principle.R. It Will be noted that thts rep esston coincided with the Polish invasion and the renewal of the ctvtl war.seats in the Moscow Soviet. but what was perhaps not.le al t eir freedom was highly precarious and subject to vexations. The Menshevtks w re . was that the organizers of the meeting allowed their platform to be used by the S. were ade aware at that moment of how isolated they were and how precano s was their power. in the form of arrests for ?rief.. and at public meetings speakers somettmes took the floor to oppose the representatives of the Bolshevik Party. that veteran leader of the counter-revolution. they resolved to allow no more opposition from outside the Communist Pa ty. immediately before the outbreak of the K..'160 This toleration. They had an official headquarters in Moscow and 'pub and the anarchists as anti-Marxists. leader Chernov. espect lly those active in the trade unions. While. lished several .ronstadt revolt. that governed the repression of the Kronstadt revolt and the introduction of the N.subjected to a severe test in May 1920. Iss Menshevik At the same time. 120 in Yekaterinoslav and 167 olice. Even during the time when the Mensheviks -w:ere. of course.It was not the chief cause of the hardened attitude of the Communist Party. arrests and expulsions from Soviets were the exception rather than the rule.159 evertheless. arresttg many Menshevi s. dtscnmmattons and methods of intimidation. with Lenin at their head. "":as .P. but they signified their doom. they reacted with vigour.periods. and a few weeks of systematic suppression proved enough to delete them permanently from the political map of Soviet Russia. in the words of Martov's biographer.

were animat d. • Seep. 310. t Seep.. separating the pro Soviet ones from the anti-Soviet ones. but their libertarian principles did not permit them to refuse entrance to their organizations to any man. if only because they saw it as a lesser evil. of course. The anarchists themselves admitted that suspicious elements. which were sometimes so widely divergent that it is meaningless to call them all by the same n e. there were ot er varieties such as the Anarcho-Universalists. there were those anarchists who wanted to wage a struggle on two fronts at once. owing to the variety of ten dencies and trends among the anarchists. the Bolsheviks-who 'are drinking your blood' and alleging that 'the Bolsheviks have become monarchists'. so far as essential matters are concerned.! How would the relatiOns thus established develop once the Bolshevik Party had come to power and thus embodied in the eyes of the anarchists the principle and reality of that state authority which they rejected.e. in addition to the pro-Soviet and the anti-Soviet anarchists. because of his own political origins and despite having joined the Bolsheviks. 16'1 Finally. kept up quite friendly relations with the anarchists. as we shall see-than subtlety. they displayed more verbal vigour and not only the verbal kind. The former wanted to colla borate with the new regime. while there were some anarchists who proclaimed the neces sity of preparing for 'a third and . during 1917. common criminals and counter-revolutionaries. 231. who . themselves by no means homogeneous in either case. had brought about the rapprochement bet een them which has already been mentioned. Victor Serge.163 In addition to these fundamental differences in principles and ways of life there was another cleavage among the anarchists. or to subject anyone to real control. and especially by their leader. for example. the sincere demagogy of the libertarian propagandists was well received by the backward elements of the populace . +Seep. anarchism was diluted in ephemeral. of 'libertarianism'. Besides the Anarcho-Syndicalists and the Anarcho-Commumsts. were thriving among them. calling upon the people. adventurers.. 279.the evolution und rgone by the Bolsheviks. or general outlook. to rise in revolt against the 'social vampires'i. root and ?ranch? It is unfortunately hard to give a clear picture of these relatiOns. As for the anti-Soviet anarchists. ex plains that 'in this environment of famine. At first. as well as a whole senes of individual anarchists who are difficult to classify. caused by the special circumstances of the time and the place. no less than the relatively orgamzed anarchists..'*162 So anarchical a situation was not one to facilitate making the distinction the Bolsheviks claimed to observe between 'ideological' anarchists and others. If not by the doctrme then at least by the philo sophy. 252 LENINISM UNDER LENIN ·"lfJII! STATE 253 thounot highlpol tical. informal groupings which. On the fringe.

which they loathed as the embodi ment of parliamentary democracy.172 Their antipathy to all political parties and the fact that they banned these wherever they established their power-a ban which applied indiscriminately to both Bolshevik and non-Bolshevik organizations-did not facilitate their dealings with the Communist Government. A prominent anarchist.s. including Bukharin. in any case. described by the authorities as 'criminal elements'. towards centralism. Some anarchists took part in the rising in Moscow in July 1918 led by the Left S. admitted to Jacques Sadoul that monarchist elements had joined the libertarian movement (Sadoul. a f irly substantial residue of anarchists remamed.165 there were others who looked with sympathy on the Bolsheviks' policy regarding workers' control. helped by S.171 : It was in the Ukraine. they blew up the headquarters of the Moscow Communist Party while an impor tant meeting was in progress. which were especially strong in the Ukraine. in any case.170 On the other hand.167 This action was received with disapproval by some Bolsheviks. and also on the Bolsheviks' attitude to wards the Constituent Assembly. to gain strength until the moment came. that the most important conflict took place between Communists and anarchists. Over fifty people were wounded. putting a bloodstained close to an episode of the Russian revolution that still awaits its real historian. uring the civl war. The latterwas. 296). and several hundred anarchists. were arrested (about a quarter being immediately released).ronstadt. :t·· The Moscow events caused a number of libertarians to leave the : (iapital for the Ukraine.166 Blood was shed. In November 1920 the Red Army brutally smashed what remained of Makhno's forces. p.'and were planning to start an ar:ned risinagainst the Soviet power. who felt reluctant to suppress the anarchists who had helped 'in our hour of revolution'. 214. caused by the desire for independence on the part of Nestor Ma hno's forces and the determination of the Red Army command to Impose upon these anarchists its own authority. however. The to-ings and fro-ings of the bloody struggle cannot be described here. The anarchists were able. some anarchists. and also phases of violent antagonism. causing the death of twelve members of the local Bolshevik Committee. based on their common hatred of the 'White' forces.s. Eve_n in Moscow. when the Government decided to launch a large-scale attack on their head quarters in Moscow. t That cannot be said of the drama of K. J:owever. which the American . following an incident in which it was difficult to distinguish between political anarchism and the anarchism of adven turers. which became. Year One. any more than we can here examine the claim that the 'Makhnovists' revealed at certain moments in the Ukraine a 'capacity for organization' that Victor Serge con firms. Relations between the two groups included phases of precarious collaboration. in Aprill918.last stage of the revolution'.168 * Serge. one month after the explosion in Moscow.169 While there were many pro-SoVIet anarchists who co-operated With the Bolsheviks. in the Ukraine as everywhere else. the stronghold of anarchism. others engaged in acts of revolt of various kinds.R. enlisted in the workers' forces that undertook the defence of the city. who must have belonged to a different tendency.not at all disposed to tolerate the existence of a 'counter-authority' in the Ukraine. which tended. when Yudenich's counter revolutionary forces approached Petrograd.* and in September 1919. Alexander Gay (Ghe). in a sense.R. Accordmg to VIctor Serge they constituted an appreciable force there in the autumn of 1918. p.

and the forces of the 'White' General Wrangel. Finally. indeed. in Moscow itself) showed that the industrial workers were not immune to the current unrest. 173 The merits of this work are not slight. and in the Ukraine nearly thirty partisan detachments. since the field is one in which. Com munists of various allegiances. supplemented by facts taken from Avrich. 50. shortly before that.' he warned.historian of Russian anarchism. while the 'anarchists' fail to present them in other than emotional terms. social basis of the Soviet regime: 'our proletariat has been largely declassed' owing to the 'terrible crises' 174 and 'extreme want and hardship'. if not the only.176 In the same period he described the working class as 'uncommonly weary.000 peasants in open revolt in Tambov province alone. passionate feelings have distorted the argument. more than fifty years after the event. are often rowdy and are always absolutely useless. ex hausted and strained'. standing ready to resume the civil war should opportunity anse. Does this mean that no other means but force was open to the Mos cow Government in order to deal with the rising? This cannot be said. The Communist representatives sent to Kronstadt to restore order behaved with clumsiness and arrogance.176 The state of the countryside caused Lenin even more anxiety. as the Leninists (of both the 'Com munist' and the 'Trotskyist' kind) endeavour to dodge the real problems. . has analysed in a book in • Seep.ay. on the international plane the situation was far from reassuring: peace had not yet been signed with Poland. 254 LENINISM UNDER LENIN which sympathy for the cause of the rebel sailors does not interfere with either the rigour of the account given or the lucidity of the analysis made. to an unusual degree. and anarchists of all colours and shades clash over Kronstadt. Paul Avrich.178 The big strikes that had broken out in Petrograd at the end of February (and. Trotskyites of different schools. some of them over a thousand strong. Anarchists. 'is coming to a head. relying mainly on Avrich's book. on the books by Arshinov and Voline. amounting to some tens of thousands. though defeated and obliged to leave Russian soil. The attitude taken up by the Communist Government towards the Kronstadt rising cannot be understood unless the event is placed in its context. Lenin described thus the condition of the essential. Even today. t I have based my account of the struggle between Bolsheviks and anarchists in the Ukraine. Was this because thev felt themselves ' to be in a hostile and alien setting? The bulk of the Kronstadt sailors were certainly not what they had been at the time when they formed THE STATE 255 the spearhead of the revolution.' 177 There were. Addressing the Tenth Congress of the Com munist Party while the rising was in progress. All that can be done here is to offer a very brief and summary account. Their social composition was markedly more 'peasant' than in 1917. for want of anything better. were still not far aw. in contro versies that are rarely conducted with honesty. were operating against the Soviet power. 257. At the moment of the rising the Government's situation was really disastrous. adding that 'never has its suffering been so great and acute'. 'The crisis in peasant farming. inflaming angry feelings rather than calming them down.

the 'Left Socialist Parties' and the trade unions. having long been one himself. if they were to be in a position to rekindle the civil war: but there is nothing to show that the Kronstadt sailors took any part in these preparations. offered the rebels their services. 182 As for the counter-revolu tionary emigre circles. Kronstadt. see Avrich. We shall not describe the course of the battle between the Commu nist troops and the rebel sailors. and fresh elections. PP. carrying on counter-revolu tionary activities on their behalf in Petrograd. indeed.I!n the last analysis we must ask ourselves. constituting an opposition that was still legal. 73-4. the Mensheviks. The subsequent repression was severe. they did. Freedom of enterprise should. restoration of liberties. pp. an end to the monopoly of power held by the Communists. or manipulated by. The rebels wanted. the 'Provi sional Revolutionary Committee' of Kronstadt. however. but these were declined for the time being at any rate. did make an agreement with the Paris 'Whites'.R. Kronstadt. whom they · presented as counter-revolutionaries linked with. above all. 183 What is essential is the programme of the rebellion and its ideology. 180 The uneasiness felt by the Communists is thus easily explained. After the suppression of the revolt. a plebeian force in which officers played no part but which had been joined by quite a few Bolsheviks. desire for freedom and independence. As for their state of mind. the charges they levelled against the rebels. t The Conununists shot some of their prisoners. prepare to launch an opera tion directed at the Kronstadt naval base. 181 The S. it is true. pp.s and the emigre 'Whites'. a base which its enemies coveted as a :groups in the Central Execu ive C ittee ?f the Soviets held a joint Illeeting to seek a compromise. 211-15). Kronstadt. why the sailors at the naval base were particularly concerned about the misery in the rural areas.s. like *On relations between Kronstadt and the emigres. or semi-legal. the S. refused to endorse the revolt. control of which they saw as invaluable. who knew the sailors well. be given back to the peasants and craftsmen.179 This was. had little connexion with reality. mutinous navy at tts . even several months after the end of the revolt. called their 'eternally rebellious spirit'. even indispensable. where they encountered relatives of theirs who had been arrested as hostages (Avrich.* and its principal figure. or that they even knew about them. It Is mterestmg to note that the anar a. by secret ballot. restoration of all rights to the anarchists. 106-23. this was more than ever marked by anarchistic inclinations-reluctance to submit to any authority. and many of the Kronstadt men were sent to detention camps. It was a hard fight with heavy losses on both sides. the sailor Petrichenko. The Kronstadt programmet consisted of a set of political demands supplemented by some economic ones. they declared. in the person of Chemov. what the Bolshevik Dybenko. t Given in full by Avrich. 256 LENINISM UNDER LENIN I :TilE STATE 257 Paul A rich: 'What government would long tolerate most strategic base. worked actively for their 'Russian National Centre' in the spring of 1921.R. or what was left of it. The Mensheviks. Nevertheless.

being appointed deputyhead of the Cheka.E. The Soviet Government had found itself compelled to act against men who were only asking for application of the principles on which that govern ment had based its authority. the Left S. or at ay rate t? continue certain forms of co-operation. more discreet.E. but without any better success. the Left S.ts9 They were reluctant to use violent methods to combat counter-revolution. the Bolshevik and Left S.After their 'ministers' had resigned. whose social basis was mainly the middle peasantry. but was rebuffed: When the Bolshevik People's Commissar of Agriculture. Efforts were made to overcome this diver gence.R. at the crucial moment in the discussion on whether or not to sign the treaty.s receiving seven People's Commissariats as against the eleven held by the Bolsheviks. to superv. p. and a Left S. with the Bolsheviks. 241.R. engaged in drawing up a draft of a new constitutiOn.s. the Left S. During the three months that they remained in the Government. however.C. offering three portfolios. as a whole.s.. That was true not only of him. 1917. Their representatives still sat as members of the co i sions of the c.R.R. 190 The immediate cause of their departure from the Government was the signing of the peace treaty of Brest-Litovsk. *When he heard the sound of the cannonade that heralded the Bolshevik onslaught agai st Kronstadt.193 Alongside these overt forms of co-opera tion were others. n December 12th. strongly opposed. The revolutionary wing within the S. since the Bolsheviks themselves were divided on the issue. . strove mainly to exert a moderating influence on their Bolshevik partners.t Lenin approached the Left S. Party did not actually secede from it until after the October Revolution.186 Lenin showed 'surprising patience'186 with them.s contmued for . 303).R. 188 and 'Yhose political tendencies were somewhat akin to syndicalism. Milyutin.C. It amounted to 'defeat in vic_tor '· Disc uragem nt ad bitterness were sown among those anarchists m ussta who. were also invited to this meetin.s again. espectally as regards their hostility to centralism. murmured: 'Something has died within me' (Berkman.g. t Seep.R. which was not entirely a question of a split between Bolsheviks and Left S.O! n February 23rd. What des The Left Socialist-Revolutionaries offer the interesting peculiarity that they were the only party to have collaborated in government with the Bolshevik Party. 187 Eventually.191 stepping-stone for a new invasion?'l84 The dramatic quality of 'Kronstadt' does not lie in the repression that followed it so much as in its political significance.R. 192 and to occupy Impor tant posts in the Cheka. and this was happening after the close of a civil war that the Soviet Government had won. agreement was reached. th_e Am rican anarchist Alexander Berkman.* against the German occupying forces in the Uk. such as the organization of struggle 194 to the hope of posstble collaboratiOn wtth the Communists. resigned as a result of his dispute with the Central Committee on the question of coalition. 1 spitof everything. After the seizure of power the Bolsheviks invited them to enter the Council of People's Commissars.some time to maintain relatively friendly r lations. had still clung chist members of the C. .Ise the 'land committees' in a number of provinces.raine. 1918. including the vital one of Agricul ture. to which they were.R. . an active supporter of the line of collaboration w1th the Communists.

s were also spared by thwa e. These measures aroused opposition not only among the kulaks but also among the middle peasants. the Left S. all chance of cooperation between Bolsheviks and non-Bolsheviks was finally ended. 287. wing of the Communist world (the confusiOn of these terms having become practically inextricable in the Stalinist and st Stalinist imbroglio) may contemplate. redefining its role and functions m * It should here be noted that. Even at that stage a relatively substantial section of them declared for contmued co-operation with the Bolsheviks.Russia and Germany. or most revisionist.Seep. The most irmovato:y. the heirs and successors of the terron t tradition of the Narodnaya Volya. m the hope of restartmg the war betwee. who were the chief clientele of the Left S.R. and this caused the final and complete break with the Bolsheviks.R. nd. the one-party system. at least in the field of political institutions. in its bolder moods. troyed all possibilities of agreement or compromtse between the wo ·parties was the Government's agrarian policy.R. They too had gone over to the camp of counter-revolution.: rk rs' detachments into the countryside for the purpose of reqmsitwnmg foodstuffs.Me sheviks and Right S.* Leninism and the opposition If we consider what is understood today by the 'Soviet model'.s were not excluded as a party from the sov1 ts m July. of Red Terror that swept over Moscow in September (see p.R. 314). but got no satisfaction.s. very largely. unlike what had happened in June 1918 with the . 196 • As true revolutionaries. Origin. in this direction as in so many others. In July 1918 they assassina!ed Count Mirbach the German Ambassador. 9 25R LENINISM tilE STATE UNDER LENIN . However.s. The Left S.s expressed their opposition with the utmost violence. the Left S. and at the same time launched in the streets of the capital a revolt against their erstwhile allies. pp. a revisi n of the concept of the single Party. especially the settmg ·UP of the 'Committees of Poor Peasants' and the dispatch of . The latter protested vigorously against these measures. 123-6). we observe that it signifies. thetr pohtical role became quite insignificant (Schapiro.R.V.

of the smgle Party. It denounced the 'vanity of Lenin's promises . suea plae m the 'Soviet model'. matenal sense. in the Soviet Russta of Lenm s time.e situation created by the civil war directed against the bourgeotste. what solution did Lenin advocate? Did he. Lenm had never suggested anything remotely resemb lmg a smgle-Party system-and then proceed to study what he said rotand did _in the period subsequent to October 1917. and the latter has been s astly tde t fied Wtthe political and institutional realization of Lerurusm. thrown off m the heat of debate and of a more or less polemical nature.000) to a fair share of .'er must be identified with. This concept of the single Pat1y occui?tes.s and the 'orthodox' Mensheviks. the sole wielder of political power.. in his writings and speeches before te rev?lutwn. In default of any Leninist doctrine inspired by the lonely exer Cise ofpow r.259 society. any more than about the question of the rights of parties. a political o garuzatwn that nows no rival. the idea. All the same.care of an expenenced alienist. that rt IS essential to analyse with some care the historical factos that g v.":'ith th. According to this document. edited by Maxim Gorky. numbering 10. the counter-revolutionary bour geoisie . Apart from incidental remarks. tt said: 'Lenin and his acolytes think they have licence to commit every crime. t at we have seen that he opposed the entry of the Mensheviks and Right S. They have joined the Black Hundred generals. of these parties to accept the legitimacy of the Sovret regtme. published between October 1917 and its suppression in July 1918 a series of highly in fianunatory articles which nevertheless did not bring down upon it the thunderbolts of the state. the extent of his madness. and certainly nothing about either the right of an opposition press to exist. at first practi callun_a ous. in an almost physrcal. we do not find in Lenin any categorical statement (let alone any theoretical reflection) about 'freedom of the press'. work out a theory of political power which affirmed e need for a single proletarian party? Certainly not-if only for the stmple reaso? that. freedom of the press means liberation of the press from capitalist oppression. 198 we chiefly have from his pen on this subject a 'draft resolution on freedom of the press' written barely a week after the taking of power and not pub lished until long after Lenin's death. Never. of conceiving any theoretical system aall. whtch had been ousted not only from power but also to a large extent. in the countries where th Commurusts are in power. and faced wtth the counter-revolutionary attitude adopted bsome of the socialist parties and the refusal.s into the Soviet Government after they had-:-nt c ntent ith d splaying all through 1917 their pusillanimity have come to the limit! Bolsheviks having lost their senses have betrayed the proletariat and have attacked the anarchists.. does it question. equal right for public groups of a certain size (say. or at least based upon. Let us recall: m this co?llexwn.R. Faced. signing decrees as head of the Russian Government instead of l!nder going hydrotherapeutic treatment undr the.'197 And to the Right of papers hke thts were the organs of the Right S. under the pressure of events. hat state o""..e ed the emer ence and consolidation. we ca only note that. though.R. regarding Lenin himself: 'He is an incurable madman.'196 The ft Menshevik paper Novaya Zhizn. Furthermore. or e negation of this right. aftr taking power. Our November is still a ead.' and. itself as a result of the dictato ship of the proletanat.' and descri ed the Council f People's Commissars as an 'autocracy of savages . and public ownership of paper mills and printing presses. Lenin proved incapable. 'For the workets' and peasants' government.. which has indeed become sacro sanct. f om political life.

and that. .C. despite reservations. The Moscow anarchist paper Burevestnik wrote in April 1918: 'We For the present.months.C. People's Com It .s who.. declaring before the C.and m lmatwn to s1de _wtth the bourgeoisie-refused to recognize the newsprint stocks and a correspondm. had accepted the new state.do .ty of prm. Here are some relevant facts. Until then the press of the socialist (or ex-socialist) opposition had ?een.a d when a prominent Party member.that onolithism does not consist only. and above all. he showed h1 self allX!ous to.' 200 Thts attitude met with vigorous opposition among the Bolshevik'S the selve. but certaillly not muzzled or suppressed.'202 here was nothing in all this that implied systematic and final bannmg of the o position socialist press. freedom of expr. although dominated by Bolsheviks. 209). Lenin linked the problem of press freedom with that of political freedom in general. in contrast to this. 260 LENINISM fHE STATE 261 orking and exploited masses. ters.R.* and adopting a class viewpoint on the whole question. but also. but for the • 'At moments when the country is in danger. in September 1920 (Vol. to emancipate them from exploita tlon. at worst (and most often) harassed.201 Generally speaking. by te B lshevirulers du ing the civil war were certainly dru:gerous 1 therr s v nty nd their pragmatic character. of any right to express themselves and eventually of all possi. relating these freedoms to the situation in the civil war. the C. first.is true. '"Liberties" and democracy not for all. ill depnvmg them. at best tolerated.bility of existence. ill une 1918. reJected It by a maJority of only two. add to the Bolshevik team of Illissars representatives of the Left S.'199 s?vereignty ?f the sov1ets. when Kolchak [has] reached the Volga and Denikin Ore!.E. put down a motiOn cntictz ing the restrictions imposed by the Gove. Now. in keel?mg onp: ohtJcal opponents in opposition. and Menshevik parties by the Soviet Govef11ID:ent for several.ssion was allowed to the Rtght S. g quanti. p. there can be no freedoms. Larin. Although the measures taken.nmet on ress free. they cannot enously be JUdged m Isolation from their context and without extend UNDER LENIN .' said Lenir. ill circumstances that have already been ex p1ailled. or mainly.E. It vanished when these parties were ba ed.: 'We cannopr vtde the bourgeoisie with an opportunity for slandering us. Lenin demanded restrictions on the freedom of he bourgeois press.R. 42.1abour.

proletarian ?ictatorship an c mmunism.I.i terests. Lenin declared in the sprmg of 191. by a ventable act of VIolence. certainly do not provide .>ur present context. and recommended by Lenin. for example. not to mention more normal ones.. even before they came to power. which :vvas born an? developed in a climate of great freedom of expression. 207 Though Professor Carr's formulation ique tion ble.a · lution to the very real problem posed by freedom of the press m sorevolutionary period. to revent the Spartacist and Independent Left Sociahst papers from bemg published. . resigna tion and humility. when they found themselves in especially serious circumstances of political crisis. paid hardly more heed to 'freedom of the press' than did the Russian Communists.the mean_s f expression of organizations. during the de elopment of the revo!u 10nary cnsis. that 'anarchism and anarcho syndicalism are trends . During the First World War. the disastrous consequences for the socialist cause that can result from the existence of the big de facto press monopoly enjoyed by the bourgeoisie and made use of by it in crisis situations. If we look. Ebert and his colleagues of he German arty leadership deprived the Left tendency.. as proof of a :eliberate striving for totalitarianism is to l se one's eyes t? the ality of a revolution. .o the ana chists constitutes a special case..a ers did their best. E.n(o tt0 ?lenmg our field of observation to include cases other than that of the Communist Government. anIt IS Lenin's attitude to the latter that is of fundamental interest m <. The press is only a vehicle of opinions and. but this statement surprises us tf we compare It With numerous mdulg nt. and which had allowed the most diverse tendenci:s within it to exist and even to flourish. To be sure. In this connexion Lenin'attitude . hiopinion of. . indeed.2o4 The case of the German revolution of November 1918 deserves ttentin from the ngle of this problem of freedom of the press and Its use m a revolutiOnary period.reiteratmg Is previOusly . Carr considers that from e time of State and Revolution onwards Lenin always showed a certam tender ness for anarchists'. notably of political bodies. H. at German Social Democracy. pressed views. Once installed in state power in November 1918 these same is basically quite justified. This amounts to advlSlng revolutwnanes to arenswer the massive pressure exerted by the bourgeOIS. It illustrates.sheviks. irreconcilably opposed . To represent them. m The lmmedzate Tasks of Government.'208 . of the papers that it had long been in control 203 tion its violence) with the Franciscan virtues of renunciatiOn. the Soviet bourgeois . however.· to socialism. we are surprised to see that Its leaders.ex Social-De ocratic le.

depicting this as the providential elimination of 'criminals P?re and simple'. more correctly. Kreuzzeitung and the rest [the very papers that were to applaud the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg.206 M.On the anarchiSts and semi-anarchists in the Third International. not through misunderstanding but because the official socialism prevailing in the epoch of the Second International (1889-1914) betrayed Marxism . 34. since 'the working-class movement in all countries followed • Lenin. see p. It proves them to be our best comrades and friends. thanks to the watchword of 'freedom of the press' put about by the SocialDemocrats and the forces be hind them.] continued to appear. 397. which could count on nothing but the workers' contributions were .complaisant or even favourable references that he made to anarch!sts. '210 In 'Left-Wing_' Communism. It JS easily appreciated that. that Lenin revealed his sympathy for a certam form of anarchism: 'Very many anarchist workers. 31. Berlmer Tageblatt..' he wrote.. p. the supplying of information remained in the hands of te enemies of the working class. in a l tter to After November [1918]. 206 The measures of prohibition and intimidation adopted by the BolSylvia Pankhurst. backed by .. p. the best orevolu tionaries who have been enemies of Marxism only through IIDsunder standing: or..substantial funds.obliged to remain ilent. and that being so. or to express themselves only with very madequ te m ans. Vol. In January 1918 he had already spoken of the new fresh trend in anarchism [which] was definitely on the side of the As Pierre Broue observes. joined in orchestrating a systematic campaign to discredit the Workers' and Soldiers' Councils. An Infantile Disorder. in his book on the German revolution: Soviets'. 262 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . m fae of the coalition that was crushing them . While the Vossische Zeitung. under these conditions. again referring tthe atti tude of the anarchists towards socialism before 1914 admitted that 'the anarchists rightly pointed to the opportunist views on e state prevalent among most of the socialist parties'.. however. the revolutionary workers' organisations. Lenin.* Acknowledgmg that 'the old division' between socialists and anarchists had 'proved to be outdated'. the en ire p ess . 201). 'are now b coming sincere supporters of Soviet power. almost. if not to anarchism.ongress of the Communist International' Lenin was to mention again the 'perfectly legitimate hatred of the opportunism and reformism of the parties of the Second International' that was fo nd among the anarchists before the First World War (ibid..209 It was above all in August 1919. Vol.. In his 'Theses on the Tasks of the Second _<.L. 31.

they dis covered. under certain well-known conditions. 252. however. This failure resulted from the variety of such tendencies and the very pronounced contradictions that led some anarchists to take up a certain position within the Soviet order while others. even in Kronstadt. not the line of [either] the anarchists and [i. but.214 Moreover. p. even considering that 'the measure m ":hich genumely Communist parties succeed in winning mass proletanan elements.* Lasting co-operation between Communists and anarchists was also hindered by the contrast between the strength of. away from anarchism is a criterion of the success of those parties'. on the contrary.the former and the comparative weakness of the latter. to join with them m wo:ki?g tow rds a free organization of producers'.tst:. suffice to ensure relatively atmo wus co-operatiOn between the Bolsheviks and the various hbertantendencies. Paris.). for I?stance. the rebels showed a certain sympathy with Lenin whereas they felt violent hatred for Trotsky. Lenin qmte logtcally called upon the anarchist workers to JOin the anks ?f the TJ:ird International. that. . Faced with these diver gences. Lenin could only make a distinction between the 'ideological' anarchists and the rest. The two men met from time to time and corres ponded. After the revolt had been'crushed when the Co unists recovered possession of the base.acts of violence against the state to be released from prison. opposed it violently. 211. pp. shown in a period when lashes With othr Marxist socialist trends were.TilE STATE 263 a n.. No less szgmficant zs the fact that Lenin kept in touch with Kropot km. It is to be observed. though portraits of Trotsky had been torn down. Anarchists. becog sharper. rather than intellectual and petty-bourgeois elements. on conditiOn that they left the country at once. as we have seen. to arrange for all the better-known anarchists who had not com mitte. The latter said that 'our aims seem to be the same' but that • Seep.one hat c?uld lead to the dictatorship of the prole 2 ?at . we Communists woulbe rea y. t Av ich. that in the offices the rebels had occupied. in September 1921. however. or] the so Ial. during the summer of 1918 and showed himself co?ciliatory and even friendly towards him. Lenin showed 'considerable respect' for the gr at anarchist leader. although the latter had taken up a patriotic attitude during the war and suppo ted Russia's participation in that conflict alongside the Entente countnes. 213 Lenin took the trouble. Lenin met Nestor Makhno. the Kronstadt revolt and its suppression was to draw a line of blood between them. quoting Makhno's own account of the meeting (Pod udaram1 kontrrevolyutsii (aprel'-iyun' 1918 g.e. As has been said. 126-35).eline. 1936.t . sa ing that 'if only one third of the Anarchist-Communists were like you.. 212 This uncon aled sympathy towards anarchism. dt? not. those of Lenin had been allowed to remain.

munedtately after thOctober revolution and in the first years of the Soviet regime. unttl hts death in February 1921. The civil war and the exacerbation of relations between classes and parties was bound to cause a strengthen ing of the extremes and threaten to ruin any tendency favouring conciliation. made worse by a long tradition of toleration and indiscipline. with the presence inside the complex Menshevik 'family' of trends that were Rightist and sometimes counter-revolu tionary. p.uncontrollable elements that . with a view to complete legalizatiOn of he hbertanan move ment. in the name of the Executive Committee of !he Third Int. Kamenev and Alfred Rosmer took part m these moves. 97 ff. 'although they verbally "condemn" their "Rights". pp.l Alfred Rc:>smer delivered a speech. Kropotkin's funeral was the occasion of a great.were. The authorities transformed Kropotkin's house into a museum devoted to his memory (Schapiro.. but thedeclined. showed more goodwill than sectarianism.R.s. demonstration organized by Moscow's anarchists some of whom were released from pnson for twenty-four hours so as to be able to atte d. Lenin himself is said to have proposed to Kropotkin's family that he be given a national funeral. in contrast to the S.' 216 • • • Thus whereas Lenin's attitude towards the anarchists. The anarchists were called upon to check thetr ranks and carry out a purge of the unbalanced and. That their heterogeneity. Rosmer. along with some actual counterrevolut10nanes.* Let mention finally be made of a number of attempts that were pursued during the civil war to brig ommunists. Anarchists. in spite of all they say. That such coexistence would inevitably have been very difficult is obvious. Rather than that. even the best of the Mensheviks and S. 'the majority of the anarchists gave a horrified refusal to this suggestion of organization and enrol ment . however.. pp. and that. Here we touch upon a question of major importance-whether it was possible for the Com munists to coexist with a socialist opposition that accepted the essen tial foundations of the Soviet regime. his policy in relation to the moderate socialists was one of great sternness. Lenin was not altogether wrong when he declared that 'there is no definite line of demarcation' between Rights and Lefts among the Mensheviks. and narchists together. This was what happened with the Mensheviks. that he did nothing·-quite the contrary-to overcome these difficulties. supply with reports on the injustices co mitted y the Sovzet author. As Victor Serge records.so numerousamong them. in which he avoided all polemical allusions-whereas the anarchist SJ?Cakers d!d !lot miss the opportunity to attack the Government. 216 It remains true. and Kropotkm sent h1m such reports.Ihe . as did the Mensheviks. p. are actually powerless compared with them'.. At the funera. Lenin agreed to this. 264 LENINISM :J'Hil STATE UNDER LENIN . and proposed that he. Origin. in 40.R.000 copies. 187. Their addresses were prmted and Circulated legally. must have intensified these difficulties is not to be denied.their methods differed greatly. however. Lenin's Moscow. and have their press and premises taken offthem. and • Shub. 227-8). they would disappear.ernatiOn l.s. 384. Avrieh.

to insist only on tactics of suppression and terror m relatiOn to the pettybourgeois democrats . At the n xt Congress held four months later. enin refused to allow that there could be any neutrahtr m the c?nflict. he said.be . In two years' time. in which a change of front has begun among these democrats.. ' Th:F1fth Ail-Russia Congress of Soviets. Eve_n suppo mg. . goes without saymg.•219 M?reover. and hailing it as a positive act. Lenin COnsidered that they should 'take into account and make use of the tum'. in view of the gravity of the situation in which the Com mumst rulers found themselves..] have now become frozen and petrified and prevent us from properly assessing and taking effective advantage of the new period. in July 1918 was the last at which the opposition was present in strength. we shall examine this matter.. . 249.Iks m Tula who have been definitely exposed as fomentors of stnkes-I. The first po nt corresponds to an unchallengeable logic which was affirmed by Lenm on_ numerous o casions.foolish . 217 Although the Mensheviks had played no part in the nsmg fthe Left S. Soviet democracy. he said_ to the Central Trade-Union Council in Apnl 19 9. m such a penod.'22o That. 1918 he reaffirmed: 'We must not now turn them [the ensheviks] away... the Menshevik Central Committee is better than the M nshev.' though . and Martov's 'semi-loyalism'. there were 933 Communist delegates out of the t? al of 950. But this dtd not prevent them from taking note of the turn made !'Y the Mensheviks in October 1918. a change in our direction'.R. conviction that.265 appears to h ve resigned himself to them rather easily. the Bolshevik rulers should not have been greatly disposed to welcome the subtleties of the resolutions pas edy the ens eviks.n fact I h ve no doubt some of the regular members of the MeJ_lShevik Committe are better-in a political struggle. is it possible to draw distmctwns. at this moment. The policy thereafter followed by Leninism m power to ars the Mensheviks can be summed up as follows: total ubordmatiOto the requirements of the civil war. 'He who is not for us is against us. m these Circumstances. Menshevik gentlemen. with the ephemeral but sometimes spectacular and apparently decisive advances made by the counter revolut on ry forces. when the h te uars are trymg to get us by the throat. after we have beaten Kolchak.s and Mensheviks. but he added immediately: •we are quite willing to legalize you. 218 In face of the exigencies of the struggle gamst the 'Whites'. on the contrary..'223 This joint work had definite limits. they suffered for it as well-and along with hem. perhaps.L. the distinction between Left . '222 In December • Seep. M. to maintaining 'good neighbourly relations' with Mensheviks.R..s. . thus obliging the Mensheviks to play the role of a less and less tolerated opposition and pro essively elill_linating them from all sectors of public life. we must meet them halfway and give them a chance to work with us.R.. but not now.smce they agreed to 'regularize' the Party's position..s as though they were'the same. how ever: Lenin was agreeable. And he concluded that 'it would. neutrality is out of the question· and treatment of Me sheviks and Right S.vtensheviks a!ld ight ensheviks inevitably became unimportant. 221 He stressed tht 'many of the slogans of this struggle [against the S.

'''226 This meant suggesting. to intensify repression against the Mensheviks. while the former. '·· UNDER LENIN .. to all forms of activity by the Mensheviks. a division of labour between Mensheviks and Communists: the latter would hold power. 350). at least.. that their principal activities nspired in him. t Seep. Martov-control over dining roams' (Vol. the terror and the Cheka are absolutely indispensable. he accused the Mensheviks of wanting to see a return to bourgeois democracy. 44. He blamed them especially for their legalism and their condem nation of the use of terror when only ruthless struggle against reaction * In March 1920 Lenin advised Kamencv how to deal with Martov and Dan. that the terror and the Cheka might be used against the Menshevik party. and for ourselves alone. "Yes. with the introduction of the New Economic Policy and the all-round political crisis nothing mattered any more but coercion. and soon resumed an extremely severe attitude to wards their Party as a whole. would be assigned practical tasks.R. g• 266 LENINISM · . almost repulsion.'225 In December of the same year.'we reserve state power for ourselves. especially in the People's Commissariat for Justice. In March 1919 he told the Eighth Party Congress that 'the Mensheviks are the worst enemies of social ism. Unity and discipline.s and so on. unity and discipline. 302.227 calling on the Political Bureau to wage a 'relentless struggle against' what he called 'the most dangerous de facto accomplices of the White Guards. p. addressing the Congress of Soviets. who had been elected to the Moscow Soviet: 'I think you should "wr them out" with practical assignments: Dan-sanitary inspection. S. Above all.' 224 There would be.* Lenin never went any further than this towards conciliation with the Mensheviks. In and after 1922 Lenin frequently instructed his colleagues. and exclaimed: 'when we hear people who profess sympathy with us making such declarations we say to our selves.'228 and recommending that 'the application of the death sentence should be extended (commutable to deportation) .' 229 What accounts for the almost entirely negative. for the Communists themselves. so to speak. as we shall see. His severity increased as the ending of the civil war revealed the ruined state of the country and the stark isolation of the Communist Party. assuming they collaborated loyally. attitude taken up by Lenin towards the Mensheviks is the hostility. t and coercion for the Mensheviks. and occasionally terroristic.

the S. a prey to tts own diVISIOns. The weakness of the 'communist Par_ty Itself. ore concretely. that Menshevism found an echo. 236 Enough has been said on the differences be ween t ese two parties for it to be unnecessary to prove how deeply mtstaken It was to treat them as being essentially the same. tHE STATE 267 a period of retreat and defeat.penod of ebb-tide in the revolution.R. the Mensheviks exasiJerated Lenin by their so 1al agitation and their readiness to encourage the worke . only in a working class that had been largely declassed and was in any case weakened and demoralized. from 1920 onwards.s. 230 and.R. ts the 'amalgam' that he kept making between te Mensheviks and the Right S. also. The two parties had certainly een closely associated in 1917. These circumstances nevertheless do not alter the fact that the Menshevik movement. became once more the political voice of a working-class reality. The Mensheviks. so that they fell into the arms of the counter-revolutiOn. described Menshevism as something petty-bourgeois pure and simple. and got rid_oftheir Left wing. however. In fact. in Lenin's attitude.co_uld save the_ regime. their continual unccr tam -'the spmeless vacillation bringing them to serve Kolchak'2ai the ztgzags of an unstable and wavering policy which Lenin attributed to he fu d'!an. Yet Lenin.s. in an arbitrary way. This rapproc ement b tween Menshevism and the working class took place durmg a . On the morrow of the October revolu tiOn. in so far as its existence was tolerated.. it was not possible for Men shevtsm to find a social basts and a certain degree of strength except in • Seep. and calls for most severe ntictsm. petty-bourgeois democrats had remained in mr party.R. achteved m thts field testified to a recovered popularity that made them mo_re_ danger?us than they had ever been since October 1917. just as Bolshevism could advance only in a period of workers' victories and revolutionary advance. refor usts.* tipped the scale in favour of a olty of force.entally petty-bourgeois character of the Mensheviks' soctal _basts. reducmg hetr former Rtght-wmg leadership to minority status and transformJ?g the fiercely anti-Bolshevik element into a marginal tendency m _the party. The corollary applies. made a turn o the eft shortly fter te establishment of the Soviet regime. What is mo t. arned on during a phase of retreat and setbacks threatened to mt nstfy the crisis _of the re i e. Bt>ing in manways the opp site oBolshevism. who had degenerated politi cally mto enemtes of the revolution. was u derst ndable that he should say. in November 1920. or even f they ad remained in any considerable numbers m the centraS?VIet bodies'. This destruction of the Menshevik party was mdeed one of the worst symptoms of the malady from which this ?em cracy was suffering. It was doubly wrong and doubly unjust to IdentiY the Me heviks with the S. 290. to g_o ons nke_toprotect heirirnmediate interests. and despite the precarious . This development brou()'ht the Mensheviks closer to eir Marxist origins and caused them radually to resume contact \Hth the working class. 233 The successes th. and what was left of the M nshevik party was finally liquidated. 236 But to eliminate them completely from the p bbc hfe of Soviet Russia and destroy them as a party was atal to Soviet democracy. on the contrary.s markedly intensified their conservative tendencies. h?wever.234 Their act vity. s_triki g. that the Sovi_et regtme ould most certainly have been overthrown ir Mensheviks. more generally. with the limited means at their disposal.

In March 1919. never made a serious attempt to introduce any mechanism of 'social defence' apart from the institutions of repression that operated during the civil war.e . The only choice before us. in 1921. The Leninist rulers. and was still doing harm. os of concentration and co-ordination of these parties activ ties. however.L. In this sphere. There is.t Party. is be eeth. backs to the wall. and a limited one at that. came forward to take the place of the trade unions. some remarks of his-incidental. Faced with the rising wave of discontent. The Mensheviks.* Even so. 238 The formulation is vague and far from satis . addressing the Party Congress. On the contrary. Lenin sometimes denounced the demands raised by the Russian workers as evidence of an egoistic attitude at a time when the Soviet power (or what was left of it) could be saved only by sacrifice. M.ow-they are mevtt bly engendered by petty-bourgeois economic relatiOns. Lenin con sidered that these strikes were against the interests of the proletarian state. 341.tep forward and two steps back'. the Mensheviks strove to undertake active defence of the workers' material conditions. during the great debate about the trade unions that was held in the Communist Partyt he admitted that the degree of bureaucracy that prevailed in the regime justified a policy of pressure by the workers' own organizations. while endeavour ing to defend the poor remnants of trade-union independence that still remained. and it is a serious one. this argu ment was facile and dangerous. t Seep. certainly-allow us to assume that the existence of a plurality of parties accorded better with his political plans. he acknowledged during the discussions at the Tenth Con es of the CommU?is.· ifiiE STATE 269 one s. 268 LENINISM UNDER LENIN .] parties are bound to take • Seep. now enfeebled and much bureaucratized.us is not whether or not to allow these parti s to gr. he said that 'for a long time these [petty-bourgeois. Lenin never depicted what he considered to be a necessity as being either a virtue or as a really lasting system. Lenin opted for an authoritative and even authoritarian line. the congress that placed restnctwnson freedom wtthm the Bolshevik organization * that 'the choice beore. 344. was often to denounce the petty-bourgeois mentality which had evi dently not disappeared. including the very big one in Petrograd shortly before the Kronstadt rising. They were behind a number of strikes that occurred. 237 and appeared to be resigned to thts. Their old familiarity with tradeunion activity helped them to play this role. headed by Lenin.conditions in which they had to act. However. one reservation to be made. the reaction of the Communist leaders. They did not really permit the working class to develop any autonomous activity in pursuit of its own demands. Even more clearly.

As the struggle between factiOnand parttedeve loped.policy followed by the Menshev k leadership dunng 1917.refined corr mon hthtc scheme here. that Lenin. of legalizing the Menshevik party.butclearl . It banned the legal oppositt.the conservative . but which the very rJDciple ?f proletarian democracy puts beyond justification.ly. 239 VIctor Serge alleges categorically that 'inMay 1922 Lenin and Kamenev were cons. but It .was in favour of strengthening repressioof the enshevik party.perhaps-as a result of the illness that kept haway f om the exercise of state power. 243 accusmg htm of. Unfortu Lenin 'dreamed of an alliance with Martov'. during the final tion' 'hypocrisy' and 'treachery' because he had said that the CIVll war as dividing the working class it elf. what Leninism actually did contn? ted to b ing such a development about.idering the revival of some degree of press freedom'. ?elated. by the Menshevik party-an irreparable mis take which .thtragic Circumstances of the civil war explain. When virulently attacked by Martov. to be s re-dt? nt uffice to shelter him from attack after attack. 245 What IS certam ts that n tely. nevertheless.of friendship hat was :unusual for him. he gives no source for this important claim. however.. It would seem on the contrary•.centnst m character. writing in 1923 at a time when the expression of any sort of.ofthe efects of increasing monolithicity? Nothing m Lenm s last wntmgs gtves grounds for claiming this-at least so far awhat has been published is concerned-despite the consider able mterest and almost prophetic quality of some of these writings.h Mart?v was nocalculated to bring approval in Soviet Russia.on consttt ted. and neither dtd Is pposition to . Lunacharsky. Lenin was thinking. Lenm replied with the crudest invective.factor•. Lenin had come toemploy unrestramed verbal viOlence against M. o1917 weeks of his active life. 24o but also gives no authority for the statement.* Even t. calling . and gave him the oppor tumty to dtscover the latter's grave imperfections-become aware.artov. At most one may observe that in an instruction addressed to his secretaries in .244 • • And yet Lenin's incredibly hard attitude was compatible with some ambiguous feelings.sympaty wit. however.his oppone ts a 'lackey of oppost. Dtd he.sprmg. satd that m the.he in er tionalist attitude taken up ?Y the tatter durmg the war.certainly does not suggest a desire to eliminate the his Menshevik rival a degree of admiration and . Accordul:g to Pierre Broue.tiO!l parties once for all. One cannot discern any totalitarian or the bourgeoisie' 242 and 'a rogue'.

or obtainable in Moscow. of an opposition group that might have chec ed or revented the growth of monolithism. is entirely conjectural and unwarranted. in the name of the Mensheviks. In October 1921 Martov. We know for certain that the Bolshevik leader felt for *Seep. It wtll be observed•.ny was to hold at Halle. natt?nal discord). Lenin showed in his last years definite solicitude for his old opponent.February 1923 Lenin asked for information on 'the pre ent sit ation (the election campaign.added certain facts regarding the relations between Martov and Lenm nd how these developed during Lenin's illness.r decision. The Communist Party's . the Mensheviks. he was given his passport. in the present st te of our knowledge. against joining the Comintern. a former People's Commissar for Ago culture. . Lenin's inability to allow the existence. to decide whether or not to JOlll the Third International.Political Bureau h. when he was attempting a final assault on some espectally perrucwus forms of political arbitrariness. 248 This incursion into the history of personal relations is bound up with one of the most serious historical problems that Leninism presents. Lenm would point at Martov's books on his shelves and demand that . suppression.of Germa. that during Lenin's last illness he bowed a!l 'obsession o get together with Martov: paralysed and havmg lost his speech.) Martov's biographer relates. 270 -•••· LENINISM UNDER LENIN . asked permission to leave Russia in order to attend the congress that the Independent Socialist Part?' .ad f our. She records that 'Vladimir Ilyich was already seriously ill when he said to me o ce sadly: "They say Martov is dying too". and any assumption based upon it. though the freedom of expression she enjoyed after her husband's death was also more limited.' 241 There is not enough here for the slightest con clusiOn to be drawn. suffering from the tuberculosis that was to kill him two years later.a driver take him to Martov'. latd low by h1s illness. but settled m Berhn. Professor Carr has deptcted this growth • Seep. To this must be . (In the winter of 1919-20 Lenin had sent him the best doct. but Lenin's personal interventiOn had eversethei. that this note was written in the very last weeks of nm s act vltfe. Although Martov intended to speak. 302. Threl ttons betwen L nin and Martov constitute a subject that the histor an and sociologist can study only with the help of the psychologist. othe authont?' of the memoirs of Svidersky. 60. 4 Martov never returned to Russia. ever ele s. alongside of his own Party.' and takes the opportumty to mention Lenin's warm attitude towards his old associate. refusal.247 The testimony of Krupskaya 1s doubtless more reliable. namely.

ecognt tion of the right to secede did not mean that exerctse of thts nght as always to be advocated. and 'wide regional autonomy'. it must be constantly on guard against its own abuses. he still thought it necessary to write a number of articles and pamphlets himself on the matter..o self determination'. opposition and civic courage on the part of those who carry it out.•2sa Leninism and the nationalities . crimes and reactionary elements. any national separation.THE STATE 271 as something that was practically inevitable.* Finally. nat!ons t. the right of opposition. as an essential constituent. excesses. and with the interests of the proletanan class struggle for socialism'. assesses any national demand._howeve.. If he had realized. L nin thou t: 'it is this Great-Russian nationalist poison that IS pollutmg the entire all-Russia political atmosphere'. from the angle of the workers' class struggle. perhaps. 2 9 but such a view reflects. proletarian in its basis) and also Bolshevism itself. .' 254 As regards his own co ntry. between 1918 and 1922. 'the proletariat . . The advisability of secessin was s?methi?g that the Social-Democratic Party must decide 'exclusively on Its mer ts in each particular case. the complete suppression of Menshevism by the Leninist ruling power had two victims-Russian Social-Democracy.. let us note this categorical statement of Lenin's: 'Can a nation be free if it oppresses other natt. 'no encroachment whatsoever upon the rights of a national minority'.252 There were two comments to be made. with 'no com pulsory official languages'.'250 Actually. the vitality of which proved unable to resist the ravages of orthodoxy and monolithism. would he not have striven to overcome even those obstacles that were apparently most refractory? In the last analysis Victor Serge is right when he says that 'if the revo lution is to be well served . It does not appear that L nin regar?ed Stalin's answers to the question to have been wholly satisfactory: many case. in conformity with the interests f soc1al development as a whole. Lenin's teaching on this questton was largely msptred by the general principles of democracy. a determinism that is excessively rigid. It therefore has a vital need for criticism.. righof. p oclaiming :the. particularly suitable. the need for a proletarian democracy to preserve.ons?.255 In order to remedy this situation he called for 'full equality of all nations and languages'. It cannot. with its ambivalent nature (bourgeois-democratic in ideology.. It is true that the possibility of coexistence between a revolutionary ruling power and a diversified and flexible structure that would enable a legal opposition to the Communist Party to express itself must be subject to very grave difficulties that an historian may confuse with irresistible fatality. . and spectfymg that thts nght tmphed the nght t? secede'.253 Furthermore. But Lenin had shown on a number of occasions that he did not resign himself to any fatalities.

sol tion of the problem ('Marxists are. the Marxists could only draw upon the resources of an internationa lism that naturally tended to play down the importance of national questions. of course. however. 45]) and also the 'national-cultu al autonomy' ad cated by the Austrian Marxists. where he took up residence in 1912. 341. excluding Finland. Lenm held 'do not support "national culture" but international culture' (Vol. including self-determination. did not make this particular mistake.. p. on the contrary. 19. p. namely. p. 251 The heritage from the past was especially burdensome in this field. in the difficult circumstances of *Lenin. At the same time. p. Lenin gives this illustration _of what he 1eans: 'To bm f vour of an all-European war merely for the sake of restonng Poland IS to be a nationalist of the worst sort' (ibid. Great-Russian. Stimu lated by the situation he discovered in Galicia. he entrusted Stalin with writing a little work on Marxism and the National Question. i.e. for. Social-Democrats. 272 LENINISM UNDER LENfN . t ibid.. At the end of the nineteenth century the Tsarist empire. 427. the simple reason that capitalism requires for its development the largest and most centralized possible states' [Vol. Lenin. In solving the problems produced by the cohabitation of such a mixture of peoples. Vol. a task for which Stalin's Georgian origin may have seemed to make him The outbreak of the world war and the ravages of chauvinism among the socialists themselves had the effect of strengthening eni 's internationalist convictions.. the problem of the nationalities. being only 44·3 per cent. since this slogan 'joins thproletann an? bourgeoisie of 01 e nation and keeps the proletarians of different natiOns apart . opposed to federation and decentralizatiOn. Relations between the Great Russians and the other peoples suffered from the systematic policy of violence and oppression carried out by the autocracy. as well as by the Balkan Wars. had a population in which the strictly 'Russian'. Vol. the part may contradict the whole: tf so. 22. together with his hatred of natiOnalist excesses. while stressing the importance f national demands and national rights. 22. His writings during the last years before the First World War reveal. increasing interest in the national question. Vol. Lenin opposed the federalist. 20.In addition to all the economic and social difficulties that Russian reality placed in the way of the building of a society that broke with the old capitalist world. 350). p. 257 At the same time. 19. Already before the war he had noted the 'defect con:mon to the socialists of the dominant nations (the English and the Russtans): failure to understand their socialist duties towards the downtrodden nations'. Lenin reaffirmed thetr conditional nature: 'The several demands of democracy. but only a small part of the general-democratic (now general-socialist) wo:td movement: In individual concrete cases. 1 6). element did not amount even to half. there was one of another sort. are not an absolute.'t These were the principles which. it must be rejected.

see Liebman. but whether or not the working people of all nations remain allied in their struggle against the bourgeoisie. pp. The case of Finland provides an example. the latter being helped while the former were subjected to systematic hostility. 26° Conflict between classes had disturbed the application in a pure and simple way of the bourgeois-democratic principle of self determination. the Rada showed part1ahty in the struggle between 'Reds' and 'Whites'.rroed by the Ukrainian soviets were attacked by the troops of the Rada. 'the February revolution had brought no changes. to solve the problem of relations between now-Bolshevik Russia and the non Great-Russian nationalities. a 'Declaration of the Rights of the Peoples of Russia' proclaimed the right of nations to self-determination. The failure was complete: as a representative of one of Russia's Eastern peoples put it. and workers a. As soon as the civil war began. Soviet Russia could not but accord recognition to the latter. including the right of secession. brought about a civil-war situation. however. f .1917 and then of the civil war. 'J'JIE STATE 273 ·ruary and October 1917 the Rada (the Ukrainian Central Council) never demanded anything beyond autonomy in a decentralized R ss!a. 221-2. clashing. 222. The Provisional Government had shown itself no more effective where the national question was concemed than in the fields of social reform or foreign policy. A revolt of the Finnish workers. only a few days after the Bolsheviks' triumph. and its liberalism towards Poland was due less to goodwill on the part of the ministers in Petro grad than to the German armies which had torn that country from the Russian empire. That country's independence was immediately recognized by the People's Commissars. On November 2nd (15th). We have nothing to fear. ncar neighbours of Petrograd. The intervention of German forces in support of the Finnish bourgeoisie and their sup pression of the Finnish workers put an end to this ambiguous situa tion.'* The victory of the October insurrection entailed a complete break with this attitude based on GreatRussian nationalism. although a bourgeois and even anti-socialist government was in power there. Ukrainian nationalism had borne an almost exclusively bourgeois and intellectual character before the revolution. p. whatever the number of independent republics.25H Explaining this policy and answering critics. It had turned a deaf ear to the demands of the Ukrainians and Finns. Lenin said: 'We are told that Russia will disintegrate and split up into separate republics but we have no reason to fear this. The important thing for us is not where the state border runs. with very soon the appearance of two opposing authorities. irrespective of nationality.. one bourgeois and the other proletarian. with the different outlook of a number of other Bolsheviks. 1917.. This difficulty was confirmed and aggravated by what occurred in the Ukraine. The Rada negotiated with a French military mission .' 259 Such democratic arrangements were not enough. Lenin tried to put into effect. despite the Finnish bourgeoisie's protest against 'interference' which they treated as incompatible with the right of nations to self-determination. and between Feb* Liebman. in this field as in so many others. For a brief review of the Provisional Government's record on the national question. however.

by their hollow nationalistic phraseology concerning the "nghof self-determination to the point of separation. Rosa Luxemb rg attac ed the Bolshevik nationalities poh y.'261 Luxemburgism.. p. proclaimed independent in May 1918. hacome into ?eing on German initiative' 262 and accepted the protectiOn.for socialism and should be subordinated to the principles of socialism. in . preferring to devote themselves to the problems of Russia as a whole in the ministries and streets of Petrograd. Lemn s principles had not been accepted without resistance by a number of his followers.* and since this tutelage from outside linked these non-Great-Russian nationalities with states that were intervening in Russia on behalf of the counter-revolution." have . 217). The Georgian Mensheviks. and especially among the 'Left' Communists. successiVely. as Imposed by Lenm upon hts Party. Formation. Addressing in January 1918 the Third All-Russia Congress of Soviets. Such men as Bukharin. by other consid r tions. the most desirable pretext. supphed the bourgeoisie in all border states with the finest. the principle of national self-determination see ed a bourgeois demand and a diversion that would undermine the umty of the proletariat. to that of French ones. In her pamphlet on the Russian rev? lutwn. had been opposed before the October revolution to the idea of independence for Georgia. since the Georgian Republic.with a . The principle of self-determination should be a means in the struggle . The worsen . . he said that this principle ought to be interpreted 'as te right to self-de ermina ion not of the bourgeoisie but of the labounng masses of the gtven natton.ing of relations between the nationalists of Kiev and the soviets. and between February and October had ignored the affairs of their own litt e country.. 274 LENINISM UNDER LENIN Rosa uxemburg than to Lenin. it was inevitable that the entire 'nationalities policy' of the Soviet Govern ment should be profoundly affected. in this matter. after the armistice of November 1918. related to the outlook of the Bolsheviks themselves. declaring that 'the Bol sh vtks. the very banner of their counter-revolutionary efforts. to the advantage of the class enemy. and. both Russian and Ukrainian. Among some of these. It must be added that in a number of cases the demand for independence was more a reaction against Bolshevism than an expression of genuine nationalism. much closer to • When the British troops withdrew from Georgia at the end of 1919 they did so against the wishes of the Government in Tbilisi (Pipes. view to an agreement that caused the Bolsheviks concern. for example. during the first years of the Soviet regime.263 The sol ing of the problem of the nationalities was further compli cated. 'in a sense. Pyatakov and Radek were..'2 61 Since nationalist Ukraine owed its precarious existence only to the protecting presence of German forces. caused Stalin to propose an important amend ment to the principle of self-determination. of German and of British imperialism.

They were not always able. In January I 922 the Party's Central Committee found it necessary to exhort the Com munists of Turkestan to free themselves from any 'colonist deviation'.'"26 7 The existence of a mentality like this.270 and it was the Moscow Government that obliged the Soviet authorities in Turkestan both to form an auto nomous republic and to adopt a policy of collaboration with the native peasantry. ·· TfiB STATE 275 •principle' stumbled against realities that doctrinal discipline was not ways able to suppress. In these areas. During the Party Congress of 1923. and they constituted-as a whole. A leader of the Tatar Republic asked him: 'Is it right to say that the Communists of the formerly dominant nation. 2?8-9. conflicted with the right of self determination and. by telegram: 'Not "pedagogues and nursemaids". for instance. on the morrow of the seizure of power. Rakovsky Jl). for example. while Lenin's viewpoint was shared. by Stalin only.he sense of this critique.ol. and very relatively a privileged clement in relation to the natives. 265 Such a deviation was able in some cases to assume the more respect able form of a sort of paternalism.entioned 'the incident of a high Ukrainian official who. in conjunction with sometimes unfavourable objective conditions. to get rid of 'poor white' attitudes. too. A kind of cultural standardization developed which. as he was leaving a ongress at which he had voted for a resolution asserting the equal nghts of the Ukrainian language. in the Asiatic settmg. with the principle of equality be tween languages. . among the men at the top. the Communists of Kazan had tried to dissuade Lenin from setting up an Autonomous Tatar Republic. the * Ca r. formerly colonized by Tsardom the Great-Russians were mostly townspeople.' 2 66 Finally. of which Lenin was critical. the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Crimea was established in 1921. explains why the decentralizing projects of the Soviet power were regularly hindered by the ill-will of the Communists of the 'non-Russian' areas. And it was for the most part among thee socially and economically more advanced people tht te Bo. It was all very well for the Party to pass resolutions to that effect. in some cases. there were all the factors in favour of unity and centralism that emerged either from the Bolsheviks' fundamental aim or from the circumstances of the civil war. in particular. or even hostile. It was against the cen tralist views of the local Bolsheviks that. This writer mentions that the official journal of the People's Conun1ssanat m questiOn published in June 1919 an editorial in which Rosa Luxemburg's ideas on the national question were warmly approved. 2 71 Lenin's conduct in all these circumstances was to urge upon his followers the virtues of patience. v. workers. these 'Luxemburgists' seem to have been in the majority within it. should play the part of pedagogues and nurses to the Communists and all other working people of the formerly oppressed nationalities?' Lenin replied. replied curtly to a question addressed to him in Ukrainian: "Speak to me in an intelligible lan guage.* There were other reasons.lshevtks found support. 269 The Communists of Bashkiria had similarly sought to prevent an autonomous regime being formed in their region. In the areas dominated by Islam. as having a higher level in every respect. When the People's Commissariat fo: the Affairs of the Nationalities was formed. 26s A year earlier. as proclaimed by Lenin and the Party programme. reaction to the national dem nds of the 'nationalities'. had many supporters among the Bolsheviks. rather tha countryfolk. pp. but helpers. there was the atheist outlook of the Bolsheviks which the social conservatism of many of the Islamic religious 'authorities tended to strengthen. .I. for the centralist attitude of the Bolsheviks and their reluctant.

though al ready incapacitated by illness. ' He told them that they 'must in every way counteract attempts at Russification'.moderation and understanding.'276 THE STATE 277 . Further ore.. the Soviet Government recognized Georgian independence in May 1920. set a pattern for future endeavours. It was then that he launched his last . who before the uprising had not been absolutely opposed to the idea of S viet power in Georgia on certain terms.] or similar Georgian Mensheviks. 277 Lenin's disappointment perhaps related not so much to the results obtained as to the hopes he had cherished. Shortly before the invasion began . Progressive laws freed Asiatic women from patriarchal and tribal tyranny. became aware of the extent to which the policy of Russifica tion had developed. The regime established by the October revolution Later ' when the brutal and chauvinist attitude of Stalin and Ordzh'guaranteed respect for the rights of the non-Russian groups remaining onikidze brought about a crisis between the Russian and Georgian Communists. Lenin sought to 276 LENINISM UNDER LENIN mitigate the consequences of a policy that he regarded as harmful. It was Stalin who overruled him. Trotsky and the Political Burea.. In a document prepared for the discussion of the new Party programme of !919.274 Once the occupation of Georgia was a fait accompli. 'Steps must be taken immediately to ensure that in all Soviet Institutions there are sufficient Ukrainian-speaking employees. Despite Well-founded grievances against the Menshevik regime in that country.Kirghizia. All this work. and the anxieties he felt for the future.. who was in charge of 'Soviet Georgia'. the Red Army occupied the country anput an end to this independence. he wrote: 'It is.' 275 In a telegram to the Sovtet army of occupation he called on them to 'observe particular respect for the sovereign bodies of Georgia' and 'display particular attention and caution in regard to the Georgian population. however. of necessity carried out on a modest scale.Lenin had expressed his opposttton to any such move. and even in its modest begin nings there was an elan and an earnest concern for progress that captivated many an opponent of Bolshevism. necessary to exercise special caution m respect of national feelings and to ensure the pursuance of a policy of actual equality and freedom to secede so as to remove the grounds for this mistrust and achieve the close voluntary union of the Soviet republics of all nations. Lenin intervened with desperate insistence on behalf of the latter. M. Russian Communist Party members must exercise the greatest caution in respect of those tendencies .nin showed a simi. he said: 'It is of tremendous importance to devise an acceptable com promise for a bloc with Jordania [the former president of the Georgian Republic. It was through this episode that Lenin. Writing to Ordzhonikidze. now reserved for the colonisation of native nomads. he said: 'Since the many centuries of oppression have given nse to nationalist tendencies among the backward sections of the population.' 272 Addressing the Communists of the \!kraine.lar attitude in connexion with the problem of relatiOns between Sovtet Russia and independent Georgia. hurled his last reserves of energy into the battle.'27 Le. The invasion of Georgia was dectded on behind the backs of Lenin.L. who. In February 1921. therefore.

but also its wretchedly limited resources. we can imagine what a mire we have got ourselves into. Tartar became an official language on a par with Russian.'* Can we sum up as 'a mire' the 'national' achievements of the Communists during their first years in power? At the end of the civil war they had brought together in the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic about a score of autonomous entities inhabited by non-Russian populations. Drawing up a balance-sheet of the 'national' policy pursued during the first years of the Soviet regime. 279 ·· 0 2 B PARTY politically responsible secr taries ad aoffice staff of four. and wrote that disillusioned sentence: 'If matters had come to such a pass .. Amid all the material misery of that period. Schemes for the irriga tion of arid land and for hydro-electrical development were initiated.. Isaac Deutscher wrote: None of these [Eastern Soviet] republics was or could be really independent. This The Party .. and. the Great-Russian chauvinist. They were also linked by bilateral treaties with a series of republics whose independence was doubtless more formal than real. which was one and undivided.278 In so doing it revealed its tremendous possibilities. the Commissariat helped to set up thousands of schools in areas where only a few score had existed before. but all enjoyed a high degree of self-government and internal freedom. 422. all tasted some of the benefits of modern civilisation. .anathemas against 'that really Russian man. Russians were forbidden to settle in the steppes of • Seep. since all the Soviet structures were in fact governed by the Party. within the Soviet system' and 'encouraged their languages and culture and the development of their educational system'. in substance a rascal and a lover of violence'. under the guidance of Stalin's Com missariat [of Nationalities]. rather than by state institutions.

in all its shameful wretchedness. in the Soviet proletariat and the poor peasantry. E en 1920. What a Party official in Saratov sa1d m October 1917 wadoubtl ss true of other parts of the country as well: 'Our party eomm ttee. commenting on this state of ffairs at the EIC>?th Congress of the Party.shed'. the Bolshevik organization in the provmcef Smolens. Alas! None came. .6 . not long before the insurrection: 'We say: "All power to the -aratus grew very slowly: m 1919 1t still numbered only about en people. structure and functioning One of the most complex problems that the Bolshevik Party had to solve after its accession to power was that of the place it should occupy in the new state.s Lenin. hich was closely following the approac ing denouement. 'locah.evel.durmg the :(irst year of the Soviet regim. Thus. Accordmg to officil statiStiCS.. nothing had been foreseen.s respe_ct . when the Smolensk province committee received an. The Party's activity had been entirely directed towards the conquest of state power.Is Ituatwn. 9 At the locl level." But how is this power to be con bodies as'in those of the Party. To begin with.. Of the 219 uyezd committees. concretely?Wealso say:"All power to the Soviets" .wns wih the centre.. hen the Party... and it had never given any thought to how the proletarian state should be organized. and everything remained to be decided. observed.sm floun. as a whole.w1th !ts more than two million inhabitants. order to send cadres to Moscow in order to strengthen the Party s cent al apparatus it refused to obey.4 The situation was no better at the local. . this had to be found some place among the new Soviet institutions. A member of the Petrograd Bolshevik Committee. there were great difficulties.. When the new regime was established. Yevdokimov. In a pragmatic and improvising way. had only a fttmsy admm1strative structure. and especially of the Central paratus meant that there was a yawning gap between the Central tonunitteand the local and rcgi :ml organizations of the Party.zatwns out of hirty-s. Actually. with a single typist. only 52 were m regular relat. the situation was exploited in order to defy !most openy the nst uc tions of the Central Committee when these d1d reach their destmatwn.11 . had ?egun to remedy th. w?ere the partY possessed practically no permanent apparatus. which was completely ignorant of w?at was gomg ?n m nearly_ alf of them. 1mpati?ntly awaited the guiding instructions promised by thCe tral Committ_ee. ceived. the Party's Central Committee reee1 ed_ regular repo ts m. attributed it to 'our Russtn lack of orgamza tional ability .Role. There is nothing to show that Lenin ever thought of endowing the Party with any sort of political sovereignty. not the least of these being the weakness of the Bolshevik Party's organization. This weakness of the apparatus. March 1919 from only three provincial orgam.'7 There was no improve ent m th1. 10 This was the period when.Ix.

of the soviets 12 The Bolshevik organizations were financially dependent on the heip given them by the local Soviet institutions: g nerally speaking. namely. 141. the Council of People's Commissars had as many as sixty-five. however. both locally and. The Eighth Party Congress. for February 1918. to suggest 4 t the impression of seeking to rival the Council of People's Commissars. this organization's extreme weak ness. It became all the more necessary to define what were the Party's functions and role inside the Soviet state. As the popular basis of the new regime contracted. This rectification was aided by the crisis in the Soviet institutions. These cells brought together. it considered. and sometimes gave the prominent Bolsheviks. which had been the chief organizer of the armed insurrection. 'must win individual political sway in the soviets and effective control over all their activities'. disappeared fairly soon from the political scene.C. and from 1919 onwards they began demanding that the Party be re-established in its rights. even though th se were still insufficient.al and local. and Soviet democracy became more formal.15 This aim was undoubtedly achieved quite soon.3 since it lacked the resources to do this. thanks to its greater cohesion. in accordance with the statutes adopted in 1919.13 It was even possible for enjoyed greater authority than the Party.' 1 It is noteworthy that the Party was not even mentioned as a possible wielder of power by this important 'cadre'. both centr. even more.* The problem was one not merely of quantity. in March 1919. at the centre. the Party. are given by Pietsch. In the early days of the Soviet regime. The Bolshevik Party's structural weakness at this penod ts all the more apparent if it be compared with t?e (r l tive) strength of the state organization. p. At the top the contrast IS stnkmg: whereas the Ce tral Committee had a staff no larger than ten at its disposal. did not resign themselves to this situa tion.2 The M. In Petrograd even. all Party members working in the . strengthened its authority and corrected to its advantage the imbalance that had existed previously.R. the best of the Party cadres had been integrated in the apparatus. but also of quality: as Leonard Schapiro observes. 280 LENINISM UNDER LENIN of the Communists. which. The Party. In the first few vvecks the Military Revolutionary Committee formed by the Petrograd Soviet. Most Party did not gain from its disappearance. who was to become a member of the Central Committee. such as Preob azhensky. put up a firmer resistance to the social and political difficulties of the time. the place occupied by the Bolshevik organization in the state apparatus as a whole was governed by a factual consideration. by way of the formation of Communist 'cells' throughout the institutional hierarchy and in all spheres of public life. but the Part y should dissolve itself completely m the Sovtet apparatus. expressed a definite view on this subject. such dependence was complete..it is not possible to decide in advance what organ will wield power. the Central Committee possessed only • These figures.

faced with an atomized non-party mass. Lenin himself said that 'the dictatorship of the working class is being implemented by the Bolshevik Party'. 16 The authority thus acquired led Zinoviev to declare in 1920 that 'every conscious worker must realize that the dictatorship of the working class can be realized only through the dictatorship of its vanguard. The country is ruled by the 600. they acquired a discipline and homo geneity which ensured them positions of control and dominance. a very great overlapping in the leading personnel of Party and state institutions. also. This caused Kamenev to say. . in general.* which worked in • Seep. first and foremost. to concern itself with selecting the administrative personnel of the state.' 17 The whole problem of the relations between Party and state was governed by a phenomenon that everyone took note of. by according a much more modest place to the Communist organization. 24 Before arriving at this view. namely. through the Communist Party. It had.'18 It was the Political Bureau of the Party that. In August 1919. It was a very aetive body: between February 1920 and February 1921 more than 42.numberless institutions of Soviet society and subjected them to directives from the leadership to such effect that. in 1920: 'The Communist Party is the government of Russia. the Orgburo (organization bureau).22 Lenin (lefined the chief functions of the Party in power as those of 'educator. 282. •. appointed the commissions charged with pre paring the agenda for their proceedings. Ninth and Tenth Congresses of Soviets. At the Party Congress of 1919. There was a special Party body charged with this work. the organization and education of the working class. to carry on with the task it had begun before the revolution. together with the undivided domination exercised by the Party in the country's political and social life..rtm nt of the Central Committee. the privileged and leading position that the Party occupied in the state called for a re-definition of its functions.25 In'Left-Wing' Communism he confirmed that 'the class dictatorship' is exercised 'under the leadership of the party'.000 Party members.·•" $. In the first months of the new regime he had not departed from that silence about the i:ole of the Party which was a feature of State and Revolution.000 Party members were assigned to jobs by the Orgburo. however. 26 The increasing identification between the state apparatus and that of the Party. namely. that is.11£ PARTY 281 ' conjunction with a pecial d pa. 19 and there was. organizer and leader''23 entrusting it also with the task of ensuring political co-ordination of the various state institutions. the Uchraspred (sectiOn for d1stnbut1on of members). two-thirds of the dele gates held office in Soviet institutions. during the Eighth. In his Writings of this period much was said about the masses and about the Soviet institutions. Lenin had begun.20 This being the case. the increasing fusion of the two types of apparatus. but the Party received only casual mention.21 It had. helped to render the structure of . however.

and also some mechanisms of control over the latter. Consisting of five members. at a moment when the dangers of the situation that was emerging were not yet evident. The Political Bureau was created by a decision of the Eighth Party Congress. Concentration of power became total. In Lenin's view. to play 282 TilE 283 LENINISM PARTY UNDER LENIN the role of conscience to the Government and the state. however. as were his proposals for remedying it. this situation had unsatisfactory consequences. a series of leading bodies. in accordance With their own inclinations. lfe merely suggested that 'the Party machinery . throughout all the Soviet republics. the Party remained 'one and indivisible'. said that 'the state has been obliged to do something that the Party would not have done'. 27 . it was to report on its activities at the two-monthly meetings of the Central Committee. During the discussion that the Central Committee devoted to the signing of the treaty of Brest itovsk. under pressure of necessity. so to speak. only if it possessed a certain degree of independence of the state. Nothing of the sort came about. of the state as compared with the Party. in other words. It was to remedy that de facto situation that the Party Congress of 1919 stressed the need for 'the strictest central ism and severest discipline' to prevail in the Party. Furthermore. 29 The Party ought.power more monolithic. to which it was statutorily (but only statutorily) subject.. in their sovereign pre rogatives. the local organizations had long enjoyed wide autonomy. The resolutions that were passed in favour of separating state and Party powers nevertheless remained inoperative. be separated from $e Soviet government machinery. it seemed to them. Some Communists had vaguely thought of bringing this about.28 In 1919 the Left Communists expressed a desire to stress the distinc tion between state and Party: the latter. he said: 'the relations between the Party and the Soviet government bodies are not what they ought to be. in March 1919. had a greater concern than the former with internationalism.* The Bolshevik Party's accession to power confirmed the principle of centralization that was fundamental to its functioning before the revolution. it appears. at the same time it set up. however. even though. in fact. Speaking in 1922 at the Eleventh Party Congress (the last he attended). al though the Bolshevik organization maintained the Party congress and the Central Committee. Its task was to 'take decisions on questions not permitting delay'. This 'con science' could make itself heard.30 Whereas the state was given a federal structure. Trotsky.' His analysis of this situation "'as very cursory. since there was no real institutional counterweight. replying to Bukharin.' and said: 'We must raise the prestige of the Council of People's Commissars'. however. at least in principle.. Had they been put into effect they would perhaps have helped to establish in the prole tarian regime a system of separation (and mutual checking) of powers which might have made the political structure as a whole more flexible. and listened to. some of which were to acquire such sub stantial powers as to eclipse the theoretically sovereign organs. 1 .

did not meet at all. the Party Secretariat (created. in 1919) was to become an organ of prime importance. however. 336). he obtained control of one of the organs which.highest court of appeal for Party members expelled in the regular Party purges. This was complained about at the Con gress of 1919. There were only six between April and July 1918. It prepared the agenda for meetings of the Political Bureau.C. cadres. the sovereign Party body between congresses. the role played by the Central Committee was crucial.l!ived an exceptionally intense life in the first months following the capture of power. At the Party Congress of 1920 Lenin noted that: 'the Political Bureau adopted decisions on all questions of foreign and domestic policy. and. and also concerned itself with the appointment of personnel. Subsequently. communicated its decisions to the local organizations. was certainly one of the most influential in the entire Party organization. t ·The evolution of the powers and operation of the Party's two 'classical' organs. central and local. meetings of the Central Committee became less frequent. • Seep. As regards the latter. the minutes of a number of other meetings held-in this period not having survived. The Central Control Commission was the . which in 1922 succeeded the Cheka as the chief repressive institution.U. the Control Commissions. . The Central Committee. reflects fairly closely that of the Party in general. For a period of a little over three months we have the minutes of sixteen of such meet ings. the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party settled the fate of Soviet Russia.'32 adding that 'the Political Bureau [should] deal with policy. Finally. that of the Brest-Litovsk peace. and between July and November 1918 the C. and in which majorities were made and unmade in accordance with the weight of the arguments brought forward. through passionate debates in which tendencies opposed each other without the least beating about the bush. about the same time. like the Orgburo. if not among the most highly respected. the Central Committee and the congress. above all. and in an atmos phere of freedom of which the life of parties in general offers few examples. during the civil war. and especially political. provided the latter with the docu ments required for its discussions. an instrument in the hands of the General Secretary.§ witnessing to the authority that the C. were • In 1928 it was to the identification of the Party with the state that Bukharin attributed the Stalinization of the regime (Deutscher.'33 While the Orgburo was to 'conduct the whole organizational work of the Party'34 and in particular to concern itself with the selection. which were nominated by local and national Party congresses and not by the committees. It was in this body that were discussed and decided the vital questions confronting the Bol shevik Party and the Soviet state.35 When Stalin took over the Party Secretariat in April1922. and the degree of democracy that existed within it.P. At that time the frequency of the Central Committee's meetings testified to its importance. Prophet Armed. Later these meetings became more regular.C. such as the question of a coalition government and." p.* This body soon became. formation of which had been re commended by a national conference of the Party in 1920. appointment and transfer of administrative. still enjoyed.In fact its powers rapidly increased. No member of a local Party committee or of the Central Committee could be a member of one of these commissions. as General Secretary. officially set up in 1921.. began to work regularly with the G. at the insistence of the Workers' opposition which saw in them a means of fighting against the bureaucratization of the Party. In the course of endless discussions.

of the sovereign power that it 'legally' possessed. 153). an oppositionist par excellence. and the number of these [old] women has increased incredibly. Stukov also challenged Lenin personally: 'We must give other comrades the possibility of speaking freely within the Party without threatening them with damnation for saying today what Lenin said yesterday. they came to fulfil a merely ritual function. in the Central Committee and the Political Bureau. pp. The Party Congress made very rare use. was applauded. p. 'yt}IE PARTY 285 . who saw himself as the destined successor of the paralysed leader. between April 1920 and March 1921 the C. Ryazanov. before the revolution. to be sure. met 29 times (as against 66 meetings of the Political Bureau and 102 of the Orgburo) <Pietsch.'36 At the Twelfth Party Congress in 1923. That situation did not come about until after 1922 or even 1923. and did not really lose impor tance until after Lenin's death. in March-April 1922. 'even a so-called "Left" criticism. and not only in a humor ous spirit. the influence of the latter continued to be effective until the Secretariat succeeded in filling it with delegates that it had itself chosen. delegates challenged each other fearlessly. sec Deutscher. the last one held in Lenin's lifetime. Stalin. accusing him of encouraging the kulaks and showing too friendly a face to foreign capitalism.C. Lenin declared that. which has nothing in common with real discipline and which is practised among us'.. when he said: 'The English Parliament can do anything except cha.' Kosior followed up this attack. 260. which were held annually in accordance with the Party rules. . 296. 'Every criticism of the Party line.meetings of commissions and sub-commissions. Communist Party. §Between April and October 1919 the C. forming of tactical alliances between different trends in the organization. 233-4. Nevertheless. when. I.C. Carr. AntonovOvseyenko attacked the Bolshevik leader. in accordance with the Principles of democratic centralism. p. Schapiro. presentation of major ity and minority reports. Decisions were taken elsewhere. Down to that time the Congresses of the Communist Party con tinued to live up to the best traditions of the socialist movement. ' 284 LENINISM UNDER LENIN The Party Congresses.306. met six times (as against 29 meetings of the Political Bureau and 110 of the Orgburo). since the Central Committee was elected by the congress.nge a man into a woman. criticizing 'the rule of force. head of the Marx-Engeis Institute and enfant terrible of the Party. the congress and the congress alone incarnated Party sovereignty (see p. 52).* drawing-up of composite resolutions in which shrewd editorial subtleties and wise compromises endeavoured to reconcile majority and minority. including Lenin himself. remained important for a long time. pp.' he declared. tOn the Control Comr. is now *Seep. He did not voice this idea again. retaining only their ceremonial character. Zinoviev. and the classical procedures of Party gatherings were followed· . 196 and 212. The atmosphere of freedom that reigned at these gatherings had lost none of its intensity when. Vol. opened the discussion in a style that was at that time unusual but had a great future before it.1ission. and were complemented by frequent conferences. at the last congress Lenin attended. As we have seen. Our Central Committee is more powerful-it has already changed more than one extremely revolu tionary man into [an old] woman. There was open discussion and free criticism of the Party leadership.

however. Its last public and coherent expressions were made at the time of the dissolu tion of the Constituent Assembly. the leader of the Left ·trend throughout 1917. A leader of the :Workers' Opposition.objectively a Menshevik criticism. the Bolshevik Party gives the curious impression of being a political organization that is some how mutilated. Throughout these lively debates. namely. and this situation continued as long as no one openly undertook to defend the interests of the well-to-do peasantry· and the bureaucracy. to . Bukharin himself said that the General ·Secretary's denunciation of Great-Russian chauvinism was mere -hypocrisy. instead they became occasions dominated 'bY ritual of an increasingly liturgical nature. in a sense (though only in a sense). the critics and oppositionists lacked a leader who could have given greater weight to their intervention. lay hidden-in so far as Bolshevism included such a trend at ali-in the background of the political scene. Realities and limits of internal democracy.jJJlpose upon the Party rank-and-file. Rakovsky spoke of the harm . Though without . ·Trotsky remained silent. when it condemned this action Which thrust the revolution on to the proletarian path. huddled in the shadows. It had not vanished but. Once the Soviet regime had been set up. the 'clique' around the General Secretary. he said. that trend which. on the contrary. having a Left wing but no Right wing. still more. resulted from a kind of evolution which made Lenin. however. assumes the task of defending privileges and safeguarding a social regime from any changes other than measures of a conservative character. concerned the attitude of a number of Communist -leaders towards the national question. Thereafter it became almost impossible. and. during Lenin's lifetime. a 'Right' trend that was not actually Right-wing. The genuine Right. the leader of a moderate wing. The Party Congresses were never again to know such an atmosphere. Kosior pointed to those respon sible for this regime. alleging that Stalin was reviving Tsarist policy in this sphere.. to inti . once its isolation had become apparent and the civil war had broken out.' He was unable. the Bolshevik Right rallied to the defence of the regime. consciously or not. 'alld described its dishonest and bureaucratic methods.37 Here. Lutovinov. as in some other situations of the same period. no longer dared say its name or put forward its programme.done by the policy of 'Russification'. and its disappearance The tendencies in the Party: the Left Communists and opposition trends During the first years of the Soviet regime. criticized the 'papal infallibility' laimed for itself by the Party leadership. the principal spokesman of the new order and. The most systematic ·criticism. Preobrazhensky denounced the aggravation of 1:he authoritarian regime that the leadership was trying.J]lidate the delegates. however. This feature was not due to any repressive surgery but. to 286 LENINISM UNDER LENIN define and distinguish a Right trend in the Party.

P. t The first meeting held qualify Lenin's 'Right-wing' attitude. Lenin wanted to make the country's political and social institutions increasingly proletarian. then. A single example is enough to illustrate this. to ensure that an ever greater. as shown in his frequent and vigorous attacks on the Left Communists. a contrario. First. those bourgeois inherited from the old regime. This was not accidental: a link between militant revolu tionary zeal and fervent internationalism is. he did not always fight against the Left Communists. as that trend.forward by the German and Austrian negotiators is not a matter for surprise. like them. which opposed the Left tendencies? In this case Lenin could be seen as the leader of the Right-but only with some important reservations. a 'constant' in modem politics. the Communist Party had in this period a Left wing that was represented successively by different factions and groupings. for instance. these men. to the industrial workers. The terms 'Right' and 'Left' are equivocal when applied to certain situations that existed in Russia on the morrow of the revolution. a Right that did show itself but was not really 'Right'-there was quite definitely a Left. define the Right in the Party. nobody showed greater concern to prevent these elements from acquiring political power: nobody was so anxious as Lenin to check and block the process of 287 ·tion was a concept void of revolutionary content in the industrialized 'f.E. position should be given. were the same as those of the Left in the Party. on the question of signing the treaty of Brest-Litovsk with the Central Powers.§ Lenin represented in this field the 'liberal' . especially as the international strategy of Leninism was wholly based on the assumption that world revolution was inevitable bureaucratization.* A second reservation relates to the profoundly dialectical character of Lenin's policy. however. or tolerating-a policy of Russification of the non-Russian nationalities. when he opposed them. the majority trend. He wished. who •belonged to the Left trend in the Bolshevik Party. in the person of Lenin. At the same time. or at least his aspirations. . While the Bolshevik Party had a Right that did not show itself-or. successive embodiments of a constant will to 'revolutionize' even more thoroughly both Soviet society and the outside world. and for the granting of social privileges to these strata. found themselves preaching-or at least encouraging. 'Right' and 'Left' here took on meanings that were highly ambiguous and confusing. There were a number of trends in the Party that came into conflict on the national question. indeed. or rather. Like them. Nobody called more strongly than Lenin did for the recruitment of technicians and specialists. in Lenin's attitude to bureaucracy. This dialectical approach is seen.* For this reason. That the great majority of the Communists should have reacted with anger and consternation to the draconian peace proposals put .a Right wing. The first attack of these Lefts was launched in the domain of foreign policy. was accused of fostering petty-bour geois nationalist forces. whereas Lenin. May one not.O! ne last comment needs to be made in order to and the Bolsheviks' duty to hasten its coming. t which was thus preserved from the dangers of sclerosis and conservatism. and even a predominant. at all levels and in all fields.urope of the twentieth century. and in connexion with the introduction of the N. and adhered on this question to the views of the extreme Left in European socialism. various Lefts. In one field in particular his programme.

Thus.R. and his motion received fifteen votes. by the Party after the demands of the Central Powers had become known showed the trends that existed. and was supported by thirty-two votes.40 This opposition was strong not only in the 'two capitals' but also in the provinces-even in Siberia. §Seep. three conflicting points of view were expressed. within the limits set by the demands of the civil war. mentioned some considerations of internal policy.39 The Moscow Committee of the Party adopted the same line. Seep. the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg on the national question. the executive of this committee confirmed its attitude. 359.trend. The Supreme Council of the National Economy. and it was strong not only in the Party but also in the state machine. where the Communist authorities refused to be bound by the treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Like her. and which consisted of refusing to sign any treaty with the imperialists of Berlin and Vienna while refraining from launch ing a revolutionary war against them: his motion received sixteen votes. carrying out their threat. as the dispute became more heated and the moment of final * This critique of Lenin's policy on the national question is set out in Rosa Luxemburg"s famous pamphlet on the Russian revolution (in Chapter III of the edition by B. Bukharin called for the launching of a revolutionary war. Lenin proposed that the Austro-German proposals be accepted. 196. they thought that Lenin's 'moderate' line encouraged petty-bourgeois nationalist tendencies and. the Petrograd Committee of the Party supported Bukharin's line unanimously. where the .41 What were the arguments they used in defence of their standpoint? Bukharin. that the right of self-deterrn. Finally.s he demanded that the latter be allowed not to sign a peace treaty which they vehemently rejected. His co-thinker Uritsky claimed that if the Germans. broadly speaking. Wolfe t Seep. were to advance deeply into Russia. Trotsky spoke for his policy that became known as 'Neither war nor peace'.38 The 'Left Communist' trend was born. to the nations that had formerly been under the Tsarist yoke. more fundamentally. This policy came up against opposition from an influential and intel lectually articulate tendency whose leaders included Bukharin and Preobrazhensky. Later.* It could count on a constellation of leaders of fame and talent. and their respective degrees of strength. for example. was controlled by 'Left Communists'. their chief spokesman. and which shared. Its strength was confirmed in the weeks that followed this first test of opinion. 288 LENINISM UNDER LENIN decision drew near. apart from one dissentient. and even threatened the Central Committee with a split if the Government agreed to sign the 'shameful peace'. they would provoke a vigorous popular reaction in the rural areas. which desired to make the most extensive concessions possible. 1918.ina- • Seep. 322. 273. t Seep. At a meeting in Petrograd on January 8th. 442. Anxious not to break the alliance with the Left S.

showing indifference to the wishes of the peasantry. THE PARTY 289 and one-man management that Lenin was now making. paralysed the efforts of the German proletariat. that reliance must be placed for building the new order. and regarded as scandalous the defence of Taylorism *Seep. as a result of the civil war. a few months sufficed to calm the uproar.people's 'instinct of self-preservation'. thus sharply stimulated. which unites international revolutionary propaganda both in word and in deed. The latter covered the building of a new society in Russia as well as the Government's foreign policy. The Left Communist trend disappeared-but not as the result of any disciplinary or administra tive measure. one of their most prominent spokesmen. for the sake of what existed only potentiallythe world revolution. In general. they demanded collectivization of farming. through nationalization and workers' control. and which aims to establish organic con nexion with international socialism (and not with the international bourgeoisie)'. the winding-up of the debate about the peace of Brest Litovsk did not reconcile them to the Government's foreign policy: according to them.45 Socialism was the cause of the industrial proletariat and it was on that class alone. enough to shake the Party's unity to a serious degree. t The entire platform of the Left Colllillunists is given by Bunyan and Fisher. a purism that was among the principal characteristics of this trend and which ran all through their programme.* Every concession to the old world which they had supposed abolished seemed to them inadmissible-in particular. the Left Communist group based their attitude on the absolute priority that they accorded to the world revolution as against the Russian revolution. pp. t They were violently hostile to the bourgeoisie. would make possible reconstitution of the country's defence forces and the waging of a revolutionary war.42 Above all. this was such as to imply that the Government had 'decided to renounce the policy of the attack on imperialism'. the Left Communists were in favour of a workers' democracy. or at least to Radek. the giving of posts of responsibility to bourgeois 'specialists'. the Left Communists were for as rapid an achievement of socialism as possible. 288. they called for 'a fearless foreign policy which is based on class principles. p. 44 and."7 On the more strictly political plane. Its death was more or less a natural one: the outbreak of the German revolution put an end to the controversy about Brest Litovsk and proved that Lenin's policy had not. whose 'complete ruination' they called for. and their belief that to sign a peace treaty with the Austro-German imperialists would weaken the international struggle of the proletariat.48 Finally. They favoured risking the loss of what had already been won. which meant for them a wide degree of autonomy for the soviets and the creation of a proletarian army. 43 Here was a symptom of their absolute devotion to principles which they regarded as fundamental.46 They challenged the entire economic policy of the Govern ment. 92.50 As one of them observed. Nevertheless. however. They denounced the regulations regarding labour discipline and output. 560564:see also Dobb. while the introduction of 'War Communism'. Recourse to the employment of former Tsarist officers and the ending of election of officers in the Red Army made them indignant. on 'the creativity of the workers themselves'. satisfied the 'Left' .49 For their part. after all. the Left Communists revived a number of ideas that Lenin himself had formerly upheld: they could claim to be the true Leninists.51 The agitation organized by the Left Communists was intense.

were active in the preparation and conduct of the Tenth Party Congress. see p. 337. which originated in 1919. and the 'Workers' Opposition'.E.* there were two groupings which attracted large numbers of discontented Party members: the one called 'Democratic Centralism'. in Army affairs. This group was mainly 'intellectual' in character. attacked this policy openly at the Party congress of 1919. partly democratic but partly corporatist in character. and (Vladimir) Smirnov. but did so then with a forcefulness that was to mark it until the end of its brief life. the activity of this opposition was the excep tion rather than the rule: faced with the threat from the 'Whites'. Bubnov. and the Government became aware of the im mense disorder which prevailed. when the country discovered how enormous was the destruc tion it had suffered. who had been secretary to the C. 10 290 LENINISM UNDER LENIN divisions in the counter-revolutionary camp.): The Democratic Centralists. who. The Democratic Centralism group.C. There they once again spoke about the problems of Bolshevik democracy. the Bolsheviks responded with a reflex in favour of unity which helped to give their party a homogeneity and strength that contrasted with the • On Lenin's defence of 'state capitalism'. At the congress of March 1920 the 'Democratic Central ists' made numerous and lengthy contributions. and opposition trends reasserted themselves-and with what vigour! Besides the 'Ukrainian opposition'. which rose up against the Russifying tendencies of the central authority and shared Lenin's helpless hostility to all forms of Great-Russian chauvinism. It was with the end of the civil war. whose demands were confined to the sphere of inner-Party democracy. leader of the Bolshevik insurrection in Moscow. that the Communist Party lost its unity. but their role was eclipsed by that of the 'Workers' Opposition'. but it also sometimes managed to ally itself with trade-union leaders such as Tomsky. and whose proposals for reform always remained vague.to some extent. and proved strong enough to extort concessions to its members. t They protested against 'bureaucratic centralism' and 'authoritarian centralism' and warned the Party against the danger of a 'bureaucratic dictatorsh'ip'.. Even during the civil war there were tensions inside the Party that were sufficiently strong to give rise to an opposition trend. which criticized the policy followed by the leadership. . which distinguished it from the 'Workers' Opposition'. who had been head of the State Bank and chairman of the Supreme Council of the National Economy.52 However. The 'Military Opposition'. Sapronov. were moved by contradictory feelings. and by Trotsky in particular.o3 Among its chief spokesmen we find important personages like Osinsky. an alternate member of the Central Committee. united by a common enmity to the Tsarist officers serving in the Red Army. did not really make itself felt until the Party congress of March 1920. since Russia now seemed to be advancing with giant strides towards socialism. or even to have achieved it.

led this group) set out its ideas. seeing in the latter the only valid interpreter of the ideas of the working class. unlike the former. §Seep. it had only 45 or 50 delegates out of the total 694.sinsky's speech alone occupies seventeen pages in the official report of the proceed mgs (m Kool and Oberlander. because the Soviet Government. including those laying claim to the greatest internal democracy. but. 141-57). as advocated by the Workers' Opposition. A genuinely pro letarian regime. the Workers' Opposition was interested exclusively in protecting the interests of the industrial workers. 270 ff. and registe ed _notable s ccesses. however. in general. pp. . yielding to oppor tunism. and.54 The Workers' Opposition was also especially strong in Samara (wherit dominated . along with Shlyapnikov. and.66 During the preparations for the congress. . THE PARTY 291 '. in the Ukraine. pp. and also issued in 250. In taking this line it distinguished sharply between state. where the existence of this faction was to be one of the central issues. t Ibid.t Kollontai took up in her pamphlet a sharply 'proletarian' attitude. For its part. see Daniels.. The Party leadership undertook the publishing of the platform of the Workers' Opposition in its official organ. Feeling ran so high at this meeting that the Workers' Opposition organized a separate caucus to arrange ·how they would vote on resolutions and candidates.000 copies a pamphlet in which Alexandra Kollontai (who.. t o. the Workers' Opposition was founded in 1919. 128-57. On Lenin's atti tudto h. and even Party. The weakness of the pamphlet lay in the absence of concrete ideas capable of leading to an .unist Parat that time contrasted favourably wtth the usual practlce of poltttcal organizations. would therefore establish a dictatorship of the trade unions. in the metal-workers' organization.and cohesion felt. being wholly rooted in the trade unions. the latter had a prole tarian basis.§ the Workers' Opposition made its presence • On the 'Ukrainian Opposition'.the Party). Conscience. 102 ff.Like the Democratic Centralism group. . institutions on the one hand. 343. coming forward. And if the representation of the opposition at this national gathering was less than proportional to its strength among the rank-and-file. According to her. . nearly jbalf the delegates (124 out of 278) declared their support for the 'theses of the Workers' Opposition. On one point. the Russian working class was playing an ever more limited role in the life of the country. . where extensive extracts are given from the speeches of the 'Demo cratic Centralists'. This became apparent especially during the wmter of 1920-21 when. the procedure foll?wed in the Comn . in the name of the Workers' Opposition.. see pp. that is a phenomenon encountered in the life of all political parties. in March 1921. pp. to the non-Great-Russian natiOnalities.e Ukrainian demand for autonomy. was trying to reconcile the interests of all classes. and trade-union institutions on the other.. At the conference ·of the Moscow Party orgamzatlon held m November 1920. the leadership had succeeded in rallying all its forces by appealing for Party unity. as spokes woman of the demands of the working class. during the extensive Party discussion of the trade-union question. as regards the trade-umon movement.* Yet at the Tenth Party Congress. Pravda. which gave it s bstantial strength.

as we shall see.ns rt of agre ment or truce with imperialism. contmued his oppositional activity. by Dreadnought Publishers. as against 137 for Lenin's and eight for Trotsky's (Lenin. In the. p. or the existence of grounds for some of their statements but advised them to submit to the discipline of their own party. p. pp. s we shall see.* and the imposing of a ban ?n thetexistence as organized factions.ed in London in 1921.a. in Lenm VIew.vances regarding the repressive treatment to which they were subJected. .ucture'. Kollontai acknowledged that the country . were guilty. The Workers' Opposition was also well represented in the miners''union.weakness in the Workers' Opposi tiOn vtewpomt . the International to bring about a return to dem cracy m the Russian Communist Party.w. The Comintem Executive did not q estion the legitimacy of the action taken by the 'twenty-two'. He said that theirs was the pomt of.spoke s leade ?f a Lef . LENINISM UNDER LENIN prochement that was so badly needed between the Bolshevik leadersh· and the Russian proletariat.was m a state of 'complete destruction and breakdown in theconomic str. the declassing.this easure for a short period. The Left Communists.ing minority. note 20). too. Kollontai was merely content to asse her c nfidence in 'the collective creative efforts of the workers them s lves: Ano!her.early months of the Soviet regime.the contradtctiOn between their aspirations and the actual posst thtles of the moment. 127. 535. p. a pealed m 1922 to the Communist International. but incurred. T?ey called on. In a discussion in the Communist group in this union the Workers' Opposition's theses received 61 votes. The proletariat was the principal victim of this state. and fundament l. ferocious opponents of a. A German translation is included in Kool and Oberlander.t Needless to say. 256. of affatrs. must now consider how Lenin reacted to these challenges to his pohcy.'57 and m this way allowed themselves 'to be carried away by a "flash" . ?fan mtolerable romanticism. under the title The Workers Opposltwn in Russia. An English translation of Kollon ai's pamphlet ws pubh h. Vol. the wrath of the leadership. war is honourable". the controversy abo_ut Brest-Litovsk gave him occasion to level certain charges agat st the Left Communists which became constant features re currmg throughout the dialogue between Lenin and the extremist lements-rebeland impatient persons of all kinds-that appeared m the Commumst Party.improvement in the situation and the rap• Daniels Conscience. The Workers' Opposition survtved . n?thmg could come of such an approach.os Shlyap mkov. said:"Peace is disgraceful. t Lenin. 32. 182-240. vtew of te Polish nobleman 'who. At the congress of 1922 ollontai agam . and came close to being expelled from Part. setting forth their gne. 32. demoralization and ph s cal de!?'adat10n of the working class put out of the question any political action based on mobilizing the working masses. Vol. who were JOmd m thts approach by some other prominent activists. Sev ral of the leaders of the Workers' Opposition. The !enth Party Congress saw a systematic attack on the Workers' Opposttloanall other opposition trends. ' We. dying in a beautiful pose:swod m hand.

as 'pseudo-Left'. 48-SO. wishes.S. . . if we are to judge by the "Seep. together with the Comintem's reply are gtven m HumbertDroz.t He then attacked its anti-parliamentarism (or. He accused the Lefts of going to 'monstrous lengths of self-deception'. Lenin showed no further interest in 'Left-Wing Communism' except as it made its appearance in the Communist Intemational. Such complicity would have ruled out solidarity between the leadership and the oppositionists. who confided to Jacques Sadoul that 'it would be very fine to make a beautiful end. unlike the Left S. per sonally. . Kommunist. rather.58 The reproach was not groundless. He defined what he meant by 'the revolutionary phrase' as 'the repeti tion of revolutionary slogans irrespective of objective circumstances at a given tum of events'. would carry on 'ruthless war'64 with it. solidarity that Lenin expressed on numerous occasions.65 and of 'complete renunciation of Communism in practice. Lenin put down a motion at the Seventh Party Congress calling on the Left opposition to resume its place in the leadership. Lenin acknowledged that he was 'nine-tenths in agreement' with Bukharin.U. to die fighting. and the development of the influential Workers' Opposition within the Party. which Lenin repeatedly denounced.* Lenin frequently stressed that. 67 At the same time. in the official History of the C. Yes. and despite the liveliness of the dispute.' 59 This romanticism found expression.P.R. ' attitude of some of the most prominent leaders of the group in question-such as Alexandra Kollontai. almost inevitably. t e text of the 'Letter of the Twenty-Two'.69 He did not fail to pay homage to them as men who were inspired by 'the best. 280): 'Lenin unmasked the "Left Communist" group as accomplices of the German imperialists and the Russian bourgeoisie. especially as he saw in Bukharin's tendency a grave danger against which 'relentless struggle'63 must be waged: he. in a taste for 'the revolutionary phrase'.71 and when he accused them of 'completely disloyal and impermissible violation of party discipline' 72 this was not because of the ideas they defended but because they stubbornly refused for some time to take their seats in the Central Committee.' 66 and referred to their journal. 325). the noblest and loftiest impulses'. pp. helping the imperialists to draw us into a snare'.ize against them. . indignation and resentment'.62 Lenin was not afraid to pole m. in particular. • For example. that should be the line: victory or death. the Left Communists stood on common ground with him. Lenin never accused the Left Communists of any complicity with the enemy.70 When their leaders resigned from the Central Committee. (B) (p.slogan'. Ponomarev writes. Until the discussion about the trade unions.• In fact. 27.s and the Menshe viks. 302. Far from accusing them of being anybody's 'accomplices'. Lenin blamed them for their •utter naivete' (Vol. the ground of revolutionary Marxism. however. p. 61 The mistakes of the Lefts caused them to be accused of 'objectively . and that this circumstance gave great interest to a discussion with them.60 the content of the 'phrase' consisting of 'sentiment. 68 This is an important element in the debate between Lenin and the Left Communists which Soviet historians regularly ignore. during the winter of 1920-21.

Not only did he call on them to work with him at the peak of the hierarchy. Lenin admitted.. In November 1920. in comparison with which 'the mistake of Left doctrinairism .78 In 1921 Lenin shared with the Workers' Opposition a desire to proletarianize Soviet society. The confrontation between Leninism and sundry variants of 'Leftism' retained the character of a family quarrel. Even in this case. and Lenin hardly took the trouble If on e means by inner-Party democracy something more than a mere to analyse the ideas of Kollontai. Freedom of tendencies and factions place in a quite different climate. An Infantile Disorder. he wrote that the principal danger facing the revolutionary movement was the old and evergreen danger of opportunism. not only in Moscow but throughout Russia. somewhat in contradiction to this.76 Despite the heat of the dispute and the importance of the points at issue. or semi-anarchism. . 74 He explained why he brought such a charge against it: the Workers' Opposition sought to deprive the Party of important prerogatives. Lenand the Left C mmunists had ad in common an interest m preparmg for a revolutionary war agamst iJJlperialism. that 'the opposition which exists. but confined himself to depicting their programme as smelling of syndicalism and anarchism. 77 The struggle that Lenin often waged. Lenin remained bound to his opponents by a fundamental solidarity. Since the Brest Litovsk period. and to transfer these to the trade unions. after the conquest of power. all concerned in these disputes were engaged in one and the same fight. There were impor tant disagreements on tactics involved. however. necessary and inevitable at a time of the Party's natural growth'. but this could not be said in 1920 and 1921. 398. The debate with the Workers' Opposition therefore took In the Brest-Litovsk per!od.73 Such a programme. in March 1921. the form that this assumed) and its anti-trade-unionism. however. he explicitly endorsed certain points of their programme. but at the same time a call for joint action and solidarity. reveals many tendencies that are absolutely healthy. but were never seen as enemies. constituted 'an obvious deviation from Communism and the Party'. is at present a thousand times less dangerous and less significant'.. but. he made the Workers' Opposition the first victim of the anti-democratic regulations intro duced into the Party at its Tenth Congress. a struggle carried on with comrades who were in error.75 Furthermore. and remained to the end. times had changed. whereas Lenin had shown himself both sharp and at the same time conciliatory in his treatment of the Left Communists of 1918. As for the Workers' Opposition in the Bolshevik Party itself. especially the striving to proletarianize the cadres of Party and state. Lenin never depicted his opponents on the Left as enemies to be struck down or to be driven out of the Party. Shlyapnikov and their associates. Lenin took up an attitude to this which in some ways resembled that which he had shown in relation to the Left Communists of 1918: sharp criticism. against all these 'Leftists' was. while accusing the members of the Workers' Opposition of becoming an 'opposition for the sake of opposition'. Even in his book on 'Left-Wing' Communism. in particular as regards administrative appointments. in the last analysis.t Seep. The 'deviation' of Bukharin and his friends had shown that the revolutionary movement was going through a crisis of growth. said Lenin. for example.

authoritarianism and bureaucracy. of course. free confrontation of points of view. precarious and sometimes contradictory. and the resolu tions of which are actually put into effect. then the very source of democracy dries up. the disappearance of this democracy was not at all a simple process. even to a limited extent. the Bolshevik Party had enjoyed. However. the importance of which is no less great: sovereignty of the Party congress as the body that decides Party policy.formality. the requirements and conditions for its realization are many. of the right to public expression of disagreements and differences of view. The civil war that devastated Russia between 1918 and 1920. 79 This was true of the discussions about the Brest-Litovsk question. are accompanied by stagnancy among the latter. The internal democracy that had animated the Bolshevik Party of 1917 was unable to survive their destructive effects. possibility for the Congress to check on the activities of the Central Committee.r sis situations and great upheavals may favour such democracy by gtvmg Party activists the chance to break with routine and shake up the leadership. Deprived of the energy of the masses. on the one hand. and. and information for the rank and file regarding the decisions made by the leadership. 'a freedom and publicity of discussion rarely practised by any party on vital issues of public policy'. Demo cracy ebbs away increasingly from the institution that it had enriched. The Com munists themselves acknowledged that the civil war had brought about a 'militarization' of the Party organization. Recognition of the real rights of an opposition does not. When the structures created by a movement of a deeply democratic nature become blocked in their working through events which. there can also be crises of a different sort. Alongside it there are others.' . exhaust the requirements for internal democracy. together with the 296 LENINISM -W·:·. however. as Professor Carr puts it. on the other. Before this situation was reached. when despite the importance of the .: 'i'flE PARTY UNDER LENI 297 facts on which these decisions are based. were events of this negative type. This was what happened in the Bolshevik Party in 1917. <:. others were still actively present. forcing the latter both to question what had hitherto been taken for granted and to cast off its own inertia. When some of the conditions for democracy had already vanished. producing very different results. and the economic catas trophe it entailed. far from bringing about active participation in politics by the masses. all this leading to changes in the composition of the leadership. Russian reality did not allow I all of these conditions to apply. This was true of the free existence of tendencies and groupings. the parties so affected surrender to routine. absence of inter ference by the central Party bodies in the election of local and regional committees and in the nomination of delegates to Congress. Nevertheless. unstable.

according to the then accepted notion.C. Once again.90 The trade-union discussion took place at the beginning of the year 1921. with opponents of the Bolshevik Party present. for on a series of questions Bukharin and Lenin upheld opposing views. at Lenin's request. such as appointment of the secretaries of local organizations. however.E. the 'report' given by the Party's leader was challenged in a 'counter-report' given by Bukharin. and the Central Committee associated them closely with the work of a commission charged with reorganizing the Party.84 These democratic procedures did not all disappear with the progress of the civil war and the 'militarization' of the Party. in meetings at every level of the Party.86 At the Ninth Conference of the Party the Left trends even gained a victory which seemed. in an atmosphere of crisis and defeat. the Central Committee. and a commission eventually suc ceeded in drawing up a document that synthesized these views. the role of the congress and the rank and file was to 'pa s judgment' on the tendencies existing among the Party leadership whenever these proved to be practically equal in strength. 85 In 1920 the opposition trends known as the Democratic Centralism group and the Workers' Opposition were still accorded official exis tence. in articles and pamphlets.* True.81 The same thing happened a year later with the settlement of the new Party programme. Before analysing the ech msm of this decline. and also in public meetings. the result being clashes between the centralizing tendency led by Stalin and those who favoured an exten sive degree of autonomy for the soviets. But at the con gress of 1919. agreed. for the moment. to restrict the exercise of freedom inside the Party. when Lenin found himself in conflict with the views of the former 'Left Communists' regarding the new Party programme. which were opposed to Lenin's on many points. The latter. and to susp nd the working of internal democracy. to be decisive: as Daniels notes.80 When the central authorities of the Soviet State discussed the drawing-up of a Constitution. The controversy about the role and place of the trade unions in Soviet society and the Soviet State gave occasion for a debate in which a number of trends opposed each other openly and. the opposition trend was given a share in this work.87 The same historian writes: 'The fall of 1920 saw the high point of open discussion in the Communist party and of free opposition to the leaders' authority. and no thesis was established as a result of this discussion. The central bodies did indeed assume powers not provided for in the Party rules. to reduce the rights of the Opposition. in the persons of Lenin and Bukharin. as has been mentioned. gave the Left Communists the right to make their views known through Pravda and to carry on agitation in the Party. No agreement could be reached. a rapporteur and a co-rapporteur were appointed. since. and the two tendencies in this domain confronted each other in April1918 in a public debate in the C. let us look at the attitude taken up by Lenm hunself . however.83 The dispute between the Left Communists and the Party leadership concerned also the direction to be given to the Soviet economy. expounded their arguments and endeavoured to win over the majority in the ruling bodies. they were both appointed rapporteurs. in a pamphlet which was pub lished in May 1918 in a printing of one million copies.issue and of the divergent views.' 88 Freedom of discussion was to take another-and final-step for ward in the months following the Ninth Conference. in the period immediately preceding the drama of Kronstadt and the meeting of the Tenth Party Congress.82 Bukharin had had occasion to make known his theories. Lenin had at first wanted to restrict the discus sion to the leading committees of the Party.89 but the division of opinion prevailing among the members of the Central Committee soon over came this intention of his.. the resolution passed bore a remarkable resemblance to the documents circulated by the Opposition.

95 In January 1921. at this same time. and Carr. see Lenin. for 1921. of course.seep. in connexion with the campaign preceding the Tenth Party Congress. Such struggle seemed to him necessary.t Representation of tendencies was also to be observed when the trade- • On the points at issue in the trade-union debate. and spoke of 'sections'. throughout the period down to the Tenth Congress. At the Eighth Congress.92 In doing this he merely confirmed the v1ew .towards the problems involved in inner-Party dem cracy. when he accepted the legitimacy of 'trends'. in which Lenin called for an opposition presence the Left Communists in 1918 and the Workers' Opposition in 192t.93 Representation of tendencte. when. p.e had expressed at the previous congress. This was the case not only during the Brest-Litovsk debate. with votes cast being counted in the presence of 'scrutineers from both groups'. On the scope and public character of the debate. seep. pp. 32. Lenin did not deny the latter.' 96 It seems clear that this attitude of Lenin's was bound up with his conviction that the 'ideological struggle' constituted a major necessity in Party life. Lenm called for the Opposition to be represented in the bodies charged with dra ng up the new programme. at any rate. II. Vol. Lenin again spoke of the correctness of 'allowing all tendencies to express themselves'. •o• 298 ?0 THE LENINISM PARTY UNDER LENIN 299 union organizations chose which of their leaders should be delegates to the Central Committee. that tendencies had a natural and legitimate propensity to form themselves into factions. . Always willing to enter into a vigorous argument w1th the OppositiOn. for example. 293. after the first clashes he called for 'a meeting representing all shades of opinion and sta dpoints'. see p. t For 1918. 44-6 and 70. 342.301. . addressing the Italian Communists. Lenin said: 'It is. 223.91 His attitude was the same iother episodes of Party life.s was regarded as normal not only in the Party Congress but also m the Central Committee.* In November 1920. . either the right or the means to defend its views. He added that 'proportional representation' seemed to him 'essential' in the election of deliberative bodies such as congresses or conferences-though not in that of executive bodies 'charged with the conduct of practical work'. and listed the rights of the latter: election to the Partv 's leading bodies on the basis of grouping into 'two trends or factio s'. a 'majority' and an 'opp?sition' in the struggle inside the Party.94 He expressed the view. Vol. quite permissible (especially before a congress) for various groups to form blocs (and also to go vote-chasing).

it must not be sup posed that this democracy had been flourishing until that moment. breaches of the Party rules. acts of coercion and. . to some extent. local organizations had seen their own executive committees replaced by 'political depart JJ]. the perti nence of this criticism was undeniable. The Ninth Party Conference. 102 .97 because only through discussion of theoretical differences could the Commu nist movement forge a unity that was not merely factitious. and the Party leadership. 477-8. was proclaiming for the last time one of its most indispensable conditions. irregular conduct by the Party leadership were not wanting. just before it collapsed. a process of 'militariza tion'. Lenin rejected this charge. the downfall of innerParty democracy. Cases of arbitrary behaviour. admitted both the seriousness of the situation and the shortcomings in inner-Party democracy. adding that. such sympathet c observers as Victor Serge and Alfred Rosmer acknowledge that this was so. More frequently. and there was a certai? polemical element in such allegations. a long and formidable list of them had been drawn up by Opposition speakers. in September 1920.nvolved entire committees. This statement of Lenin's. pp.98 A JJ]. It was as though.. As has been said. in general. by the mere fact that they were allowed to publish and circulate them on a large scale.ember of the 'Democratic Centralism' group alleged that the Central Committee had sent Shlyapnikov out of Russia. and cases of internment which in some instances • Lenin. in March 1920. the Party's internal democracy.1o1 Some of the Opposition's charges of discrimination were undoubtedly contradicted. It is true that on this occasion Lenin was pleading for the representation of . by announcing their intention to introduce reforms and strengthen democracy. 100 but the system of political 'exile' (even !f only very temporary exile) did certainly exist. to entrust him with a mission abroad so as to prevent him from addmg to the strength of the Opposition in the congress. the Communist organiza tion had suffered. already deeply shaken. That was far from true. as we shall see. Vol. as a result of the civil war.in so far as it meant 'not mutual ostracism but mutual infiuence'. it would have been 'infamous'. . which restricted the rights of the Opposition in the Party-a restriction never . Basically. in its concluding resolution. together with 'rejection of any kind of repression to be lifted-defines the limits that this limitation upon freedom of against comrades because they have different ideas'. however. if such a measure had indeed been taken. At the Ninth Congress.99 In this particular instance Lenin's denials were probably justified. discussion had in the thinking of its principal advocate in the Bol shevik Party. made shortly before the Tenth Congress. listed these short comings and called for a more thorough-going critique of Party insti tutions at all levels. 30. . in March 1921.ents' directly appointed by the Party's central authorities. findi?g an excuse. the Tenth Party Congress brought about. The Congress of 1921 and afterwards While. They had denounced transfers of Party members carried out for political reasons.

this defeat of democracy had been preceded by one of its most spectacular manifestations. Moreover. Lenin was undoubtedly right when. in retrospect.* At the congress itself Lenin did not give a systematic description of these circumstances. might. gives the impression of taking place in a cloudy atmosphere in which the sharp ness of the statements made is due not so much to incompatibility of the opposing views as to the explosion of passions long held in check. The Party is down with fever. and its to-ings and fro-ings had seemed all the more disturbing in that the controversy was in many ways artificial and almost unr al. in time of revolution. all too well known as they were to the delegates.the 'trend that particularly insists on sensible methods'. nevertheless contribute to limiting their extent.been in 1918 in connexion with Brest-Litovsk. for the relations are entirely .* Referring to the 'confusion' that reigned in the Central Committee • Seep. One year later. at the Eleventh Congress. forcing himself to 'face the bitter truth'. however. marks an important turning-point in the history of the Leninist Party. and of which the dramatic events in Kronstadt.' 103 The remark is surprising when one recalls how sharp the controversy in the Central Committee had. serving as antidotes to the features of authoritarianism that were already present in Party life. Those mechanisms of control and criticism. There was. The trade-union discussion. a difference between the two episodes that justifies. fear of seeing a split in the Party and concluding that in the given circumstances the formation of new factions could have very dangerous consequences. Lenin said: 'it is the first time this has happened in our Party's history.' 104 He even went so far as to express. however while not abolishing the evils in question. and have it given extensive publicity. This is why the severe restnctwn placed on the rights of the Opposition. he declared: It is terribly difficult to retreat after a great victorious advance. These shortcomings were all too real. however. in other words. the problem raised in 1918 by the need to end the war brought into confrontation two tendencies that were clearly defined. at the miners' con gress. Paradoxically. he declared that 'the Party is sick. the one that supported his own views. The decision that the Communists had to take during the BrestLitovsk negotiations had as its background a period in which the revolution was still benefiting from the dynamism acquired in the preceding months. 300 LENINISM UNDER LENIN in this period. suffered in March 1921 a definitive and maiming blow. 343. though. which was decided on by the Tenth Congress. proved the importance. The gravity of the crisis in the Party reflected that which the whole country was experiencing. The fact that it was possible to voice such criticism at the highest level. whereas the trade-union discussion occurred in a period of crisis and discouragement. representing choices that were quite unambiguous. and the Opposition s mabihty to suggest concrete remedies for the situation by going to the root of the problem did not in the least detract from the validity of the criticism it made. along with the peasant revolts and workers' strikes.too This was the disturbing prelude to the Tenth Congress inside the Leninist organization itself. Lenin's equanimity during the earlier debate and his fears during the later one. The discussion about the trad union question had not merely stirred up the Party but had shaken It. going so far as to challenge its very right to exist. recalling the situation in Russia at the end of the winter of 1920-21 and the dangers that had then faced the Party.

Lenin then repeated hts proposal. THE PARTY 301 erates into a disorderly one thecommand to fireis given. and a member of the Demo cratic Centralism group was elected an alternate member. It sees only retreat.'109 Criticism was this time accompanied by a threat: 'If they continue this game of opposition. however. enough to cause a stampede. everybody presses forward on his own accord. Shlyapnikov and Kutuzov.114 The congress bad already lasted a week by this time. pointing out that the leadership had agreed that some of the Opposition's demands. During a retreat. even if discipline is relaxed. because. and quite rightly too.. constitute nine-tenths of the meaning of these speeches.' 110 Lenin's attacks went so far that the delegates of the Workers' Opposition protested. machineguns are kept ready. have no particular meaning at all. etc. when several hundred delegates had already left Moscow. The danger here is enormous. he said: 'We have passed through an exceptional year. it does not know or see where it should halt. when the entire army is in retreat.'108 He alleged that their ideas were 'an expression of petty-bourgeois and anarchist wavering in practice. 2S4. after a resolu tion specially composed for this purpose had been put down. and when an orderly retreat degen • Seep. however. needed to be 'examined with the greatest care'.. in connexion with 'developing democracy and workers' initiative'. and their principal spokesmen refused to accept electio!l to the Central Committee..different. on the last day of the congress. When a real army is in retreat. discipline must be more conscious and is a hundred times more necessary. the party will have to expel them. Lenin ridiculed their 'arguments about freedom of speech and freedom to criticize .. and it might have been supposed that it would end on this gesture of appeasement. under such circumstances a few panic-stricken voices are. help the class enemies of the proletarian revolution. Referring to the trade-union discus sion. we have allowed ourselves the luxury of discussions and disputes within the party. the Democratic Centralism group. two representatives of the Workers' Opposition.117 Finally. one 'on Party unity' and the other on 'the syndicalist and anarchist de ia tion in our Party'. Then.U1 He expressed his 'comradely confidence' in them 112 and described their leaders' election to the Central Committee as 'the Party's greatest expression of confidence'.. This was an amazing luxury for a Party shouldering unprece dented responsibilities and surrounded by mighty and powerful enemies uniting the whole capitalist world. which . as Lenin wished. 116 and ordered 'immediate dissolution of all groups without exception formed on the basis of one platform or another (such as the Workers' Opposition group.. Non-observa!lce of this decision of the congress would entail unconditional and mstant expulsion from the Party. and actually . 116 The former of these decreed that 'in the practical struggle against factionalism every organization of the Party must take strict measures to prevent all factional actions'. which . During a victorious advance.lo6 In opening the congress of March 1921 Lenin made it plain that big decisions were being prepared.l 13 Finally. it was the Workers' Opposition that suffered the most direct and vigorous attacks. were elected to the Central Committee. a clause that was to be kept from . Lenin put down two motions.' 107 While the Party as a whole was thus reproached.)'. at times.

m view of the dangerous situation'.120 Lenin's second motion was aimed against the Workers' Opposition. in order to ensure 'maximum unanimity'.that the voting of t esm asures was ccompanied by ringing promtses about re-estabhshmg mner-Party emocracy* was not so much a proof of hypocrisy as a sign of in coherence and thoughtlessness.302 LENINISM UNDER LENIN THE PARTY 303 publication provided . however. He defined 'factionalism' as meaning 'the ormation of groups with separate platforms. ?eing 'absolute!?' necessary'. reduction to the status of alternate members and as an extreme measure.' 124 adding that 'a deviation is something that can be rectified'. and the considerations with which Lenin surrounded them make their significance plain.c n ress authonze. striving to a certa. but merely as the beginning of a political trend of which the Party must give its appraisal. Lenin appears to have been aware of this and he explained that 'by saying "deviations" we emphasize that wdo not as yet regard them as something that has crystallized and is absolutely anfully defined. to apply all Party penalties. which he depicted as a 'syndicalist and anarchist deviation'. by adding that every cnt1c m ssee to tt that the form of his criticism takes account of the positiOn of the twenty-five delegates. Condemnation of any deviation from the Party line might seem. 119 and not without Lenin making clear that the Party.that. expulsion from the Party'-the last-mentioned measure to require. 130 But Lenin. and in regard to members of the Central Committee. 131 discouraged in ecrt clause was 'an extreme measure that is being adopted specially. however.118 This motion was passed against the negative votes of wing Communists.s the Central Committee. That group was condemned to disappearance when the congress resolved that 'the propaganda of [its] ideas' was 'incompatible with membership of the Russian Com munist Party'. The resolution on Party unity itself spoke of 'criticism of the Party's short:omings'. in cases of breach of discipi me or of a revival or toleration of factionalism. a more arbitrary measure. a two-thirds majority in the Central Committee.I23 Factwnahsm as thus conceived is forbidden in the practice of most political organizations.' 129 The fact . surrounded as it is by a ring of enemies'. the . 122 The decisions thus taken were of capital importance for the Party's future.m d gree to segregate and create their own group discipline'. 125 These explanations having no . whether Communist or not. including expulsion.121 This resolution was passed with thirty votes against.

the right of minority and opposition groups to exist. were bound to arouse the liveliest apprehensions. as we have seen. saymg: 'If we find a milder term. Parti. and: 'Comrades. and also that other parts be modified. was not put forward as a matter of principle. 'the elections may have to be based on platforms'. when delegates were being chosen for a subsequent congress. and even as tbe most Left advance any Party members who might be tempted to follow that advice. This situation had been defined. which he presented as 'an ex treme measure that is being adopted specially. I would propose that it be substi tuted for the word''deviation". in view of the dangerous situation'. 304 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . Lenin had emphasized to str ngly te objec tive conditions in which the congress met. though.to the ori ins of the ingle Party system. were definitive m character? This claim cannot be maintained.bt proved insufficient. Not only did the resolution on the Workers' Opposition go beyond the ban on factions by subjecting to the most severe sanctions the mere defence of certain opinions that were arbitrarily described as non Communist. Vol. With hts contmual re ferences to the enemy. he said: 'Comrades. Lenin's speeches included passages which. abo!tsh all opposition parties and make a system of the resultmg sttuatwn.: Lenin. 200. let's not have an opposit!on just now !'t Moreover.'1 26 and even addressed this proposal directly to Shylapnikov. and still less presented as an inherent feature of the Soviet regime and the theory of the Communist Party. pp. for anyone to doubt that the decisions of the Tenth Congress w re ny thing but a response (inadequate in itself) to a particu aSituatiOn. but Lenin even said that 'the political conclusion to be drawn from the present situation is that the Party must be united and any opposition prevented'. Lenin sought to give further reassurances. this is no time to have an opposition'. in his speech closing the debate on the Central Committee's work. 158-9.dou. M. Does this mean-and it is a question of great importance for the analysis of Leninism-that the anti-democr ic J?easures taken i? March 1921. to be sure. and went on to say that it was quite possible J:J:lat. Lenin responded to an exceptional crisis with an • These declarations arc summarized in Brouc. so the abolition of one of the essential conditions for inner-Party demo cracy. p. and these conditions were too serious. except about the clause providing for expulsion of members of the Central Committee by a twothirds vote. Additional proof of this can be found in Lenin's reply to a speech by Ryazanov: in this reply he condemned as 'exces sive' and 'impracticable' the wish to 'prohibit' what he called 'funda mental disagreements' from 'being brought before the judgment of the whole Party'. Just as it was never consciOusly decidd to.L. t My emphasis. as an operation of retreat which must necessarily be regarded -unless the prospect of revolution was to be renounced for ever as only temporary. namely. adding: 'We want no more oppositions !'128 Soon afterwards he added that 'the White Guards strive and are able to disguise themselves as Communists. 32. far from reassurmg. at Lenin's request. explicitly and at length. 133 This question resembles that relating .l27 On the ot er hand. Lenin was not really explicit. 132 In addition.

over 60 per cent were working in the administrative services of the State. The Communists Organized in more or less autonomous cells. however. of these. The most precise and up-to-date work on the subject offers the following figures: Members . those heirs of the movement that had overthrown the old order. the number of workers in industry suffered a steep decline.exceptional measure. to reservations. the Party or the trade unions.000 390. and how numerous. and only ll per cent were actually working in fac tories. grouped in sections governed by an increasingly coercive discipline. Undoubtedly he saw the measure as something temporary: an unwise presumption. Generally speaking. Thus. for the year 1919 the statistics show 47·8 per cent of the members as workers. organize and administer? Estimates of the size of the Communist Party vary from one source to another. this figure acquires its full significance if one appreciates the small size of the industrial proletariat of Russia. as we shall see. members of a Party responsible for dominating the state-who. the data collected were based on the members' original occupations and not their actual occupations. on the eve and on the morrow of the October Revolution. when the inadequacies of the Party secretariat and the independent character of many local organizations rendered any centralization of statistics impossible. which contributed substantially to the birth and growth of sterile and authoritarian conformism in the Communist movement.000 611..138 Nevertheless the proportion of workers continued to be very high among the members of the Party in a period when. was practically unrepresented in the countryside. however.* As for the number of peasants in the Party. 25 per cent were serving in the Red Army. were these Communists.After 1917 the statistics of the percentage of workers in the Party are subject. These statistics show the mass-scale entry of workers into the Communist Party. strove to conceal their non proletarian origins. which numbered only about three million. its increase was to be expected in a Party which. or forged a proletarian background for them selves.137 Some Party members. 1917 1918 (March) 1919 (March) 1920 (March) 240.000 350.000 working-class members of the Bolshevik Party in ! 1917. ' THE Candidates* Total PARTY 305 . at least as regards the first years of the Soviet regime. who were now called upon to build. . moreover.978 . A comparison of the two tables demonstrates that I there were 200.

the Communist Party was a party of men. then. and of young people. the Bolshevik Party-renamed in 1919 the Communist Party (Bolsheviks)-was still profoundly different from Workers Peasants 1917 60·2% 7·5% 1918 56·9% 14·5% 1919 47·8% 21·8% 1920 43·8% 25·1% 1921 41% 28·2% 'White-collar' workers and others 32·2% 28·6% 30·4% . wholly different in size.139 In 1921.000 528.000 members-a mass party. To this it must be added that.354 499.000134 and made its real appearance there only as a result of the capture of power and acquisition of local responsibilities. professional The same source gives the social composition of the Communist Party as follows: revolutionaries and underground militants.100 470. In 1922 only 7·5 per cent of members were women. it was a party of 700.700 122. in the character of its activities and in its political functions from the former sect of conspirators. and at the end of 1919 more than half the members were under thirty and less than 10 per cent were older than forty. And yet.117. broadly. despite some outward appearances.924 117.

Lenin showed by an apparently incidental remark how much he was worried by the transformation that the Party was in danger of undergoing as a result of its conquest of power.136 • Seep. in fact. is the only government party in the world which is concerned not with The purges of 1922 increased the proportion of workers.' because 'the rapid growth of our Party bas not always been commensurate with the extent to which we have educated this mass of people for the performance of the tasks of the moment.. 347. under Lenin's guidance. and in purging 1tself of "self-seekers".31·1% 30·8%135 the workers' parties of the West and the classical mass parties.'140 Despite its great size and completely transformed role. increasing membership but with improving its quality. TfiB PARTY 307 to a certain apprehension. !. speaking in the Central Committee at a time when everyone's attention was absorbed by the Brest-Litovsk debate. Thus. He demanded that 'when members are enrolled we must record the date that they joined the Party: before 25 October (1917) or after and the new members must acknowledge the necessity of the tactics --1-1. A distinctive feature that followed from this was mentioned by Lenin in an article published in Pravda in October 1919: 'Our Party . it was dropped whenever the situation was such as to render vain the fear of opportunist infiltration.. The numerical aspect was irrelevant. when in the autumn of 1919 the victories of the counter-revolutionary armies threatened the downfall of the Soviet regime and it seemed possible . per cent 306 LENINISM UNDER LENIN costs its nature as the vanguard of the proletariat. and Lenin soon became aware of them. with 26 per cent peasants and 29 'others'.. who. the Com munist Party strove indeed. after coming to power. however. In January 1918. in 1923. Essentially circumstantial in character. 308. The objective difficulties lying in the way of this were considerable. remained loyal to certain fundamental conceptions of Leninism regarding the nature and function of the vanguard party. to preserve at all • Seep. for the Bolsheviks.' 149 This desire to limit the size of the Party was not turned into an absolute rule. made up 45 per cent.

indeed. At the Party congress of March 1919 Nogin had expressed the horror he felt at the 'drunkenness.C. who . i. and the simple 'realism' of the average citizen.. 147 as well as 'all members of the R. the Party opened its gates wide to new memthat the Party found correct for carrying out the October revolu tion. have had and still have to pay. in their case. people like this should be driven out of the Party. a price that other parties. cases of theft and irrespon sible behaviour to be found among many Party officials'. too. Lenin commented: 'This is a huge. In many circumstances. 148 All this shows that increased membership of the Party was not for Lenin an end in itself. such as 'approximately ninety-nine out of every hundred Mensheviks who joined the Russian Communist Party after 1918. 150 In Moscow alone. these characteris tic features of human weakness were a source of surprise and concern. although. opportunists and former officials seeking influence who joined the Party. And yet the evils of which Lenin complained and the dangers he warned against were only too real. who are in any way dubious. 13. 152 It was not only scoundrels. landowners. as in the case of Zinoviev. when the precariousness of Soviet power was revealed. and they wear a red ribbon in their buttonholes and creep into warm corners. Addressing the Petrograd Soviet in March 1919 he said: 'We threw out the old bureaucrats. Lenin became more explicit: 'We must not accept people who try to join from careerist motives. such increase could be dangerous.'141 A few months later. when the victory of the Bolsheviks first became probable and then certain.600 new members were enrolled. For the Bolshevik revolutionaries.that Petrograd would be taken by the 'Whites'. the impossibility of relaxing an effort that had been kept up for years. or who have failed to prove their stability': these should be purged.'146 There were also the 'bureaucratic Communists'. he said that 'the huge membership . The day-to-day hardships. whose lawless ness is most brazen'. unreliable. the want that never loosened its grip and the doubt that from time to time took hold of even the best-all this could not but bring about consequences that caused indignation among austere and idealistic Communists.. 144 He drew attention to 'the abuses committed by former government officials. quite unexpected success. writing in Pravda. the continual tension. corruption. our Party has attained gives rise . without too many scruples or too much revulsion.000 new members.P.e. the Party made no less than 200. 'Really. though. to the very end of his life. At the Ninth Party Congress. bers: in these circumstances a Party card 'meant something approach ing a candidature for Denikin's gallows'.'142 He was never to cease dwelling on this theme. the gnawing hunger. chase it out ..' 153 As for the careerism of the more ambitious. What to do about it? We must fight this scum again and again. 'with the right of readmission upon further verification and test'. with a less prestigious record than the Bolshevik Party. but they have come back. chase out these unclean elements! Lenin went on to indi cate to the Party members those whom this work of hygiene and sani tation should concentrate upon. they call themselves "commonists" when they can't bear to say the word Communist. the opportunism of the more mediocre. 'at the sight of such things your hair stands on end. and if the scum has crawled back we must again and again clean it up. when the military situation seemed stabilized and the Soviet power consolidated. they were · the unavoidable price paid for political success. In the rural districts 'people who call themselves members of the Party are often scoundrels.' he said.' 151 During these difficult weeks. 'Ha Clean up.. 145 Along with these representatives of enemy classes who had succeeded in penetrating the Party there were other harmful elements. debauchery. bourgeois and other scum who play up to the Communists and who sometimes commit abominable outrages and acts of tyranny against the peasantry'. in a single week..

In 1919 the Bolshevik Party decided on the first purge of its mem bers. Material advantages often went along with the privileges of power and prestige. and the leaders concerned had the opportunity to form an impression of his personal which reached 45 per cent in 1922: two-fifths of the peasant members and more than a third of the 'white-collar' workers had been elimi nated as against only one-sixth of the worker members. created an atmosphere which restricted oppor to stay n the arty. ls o advocated was re-registration of members who wanted of the first years of the regime.' 155 This procedure was to be introduced officially 1? December of that year: the procedure of candidature and of probatiOnary periods during which the new member was obliged to learn the programme and tactics of the Party.told the congress of March 1918 of the experience of a Communist Party official who.' and sa1of the new recruit to the Party that 'he must not be given the card untihe as been tested. I need it at once in order to get a job in an office. let me have it today. In March 1919 Lenin told the Petrograd Soviet: 308 LENINISM UNDER LENIN tHE PARTY 309 'We have passed a decision not to allow members who have been in thParty less than a year to be delegates to a Party congress. though inspired by the most legitimate of motives. and the example of austerity set by JllOSt of the leaders. was given this reply: 'No. This purge seems to have eliminated between lO and 15 per cent of the membership in the towns and a higher proportion . even though the egalitarian ideology . was the purging of the ranks of the Party. receiving a newly joined member of the Party and asking him to come back the next day to collect his membership card..158 But the method that seemed to him the most effec tive.so as to eliminate those who came under any of the following headmgs: drunkenness. They sought cures that would do away with it. comrade. or at least reduce its effects. and that assumed the most spectacular form. abuse of power. desertion. 162 That membership of the Party should have enabled persons to uire privileges over and above those of power and prestige ought not to surprise us. refusal to carry out arty or ers. an operation which came to be carried out regularly and which. and frequent absence without excuse from Party meetmgs.'ts4 Neither the Party nor Lenin viewed this state of affairs with resig nation.. 157 and checking on Party members by non arty workers. a formality which enabled the organization to re-examme the1r cases. was to produce some deplorable results after Lenin's death.· 1ssA ties.

disappointments and also sub stantial risks to be incurred. · runkenness' and 'bourgeois mode of life'. called on the Central Committee to strengthen the rules governing admissions. By its efforts and its . and re mforcmg the proletarian character of the Party. Communist officials resumed their old practices of the underground struggle. Conspira tors and revolutionary activists who had become officials. Another reason quoted was 'refusing to carry out Party direc tions'. 373. were in most cases of little significance in comparison withthe sacrifices imposed on Com Jilunists. very probably. in the zones occupied by the 'Whites'. com missars and officers. more frequently.159 The purging operation carried out m 1921 was on an even larger scale. and more. Those of them. There were thankless missions and impossible tasks to carry out. and 9 per cent for corrup tiOn. becoming guerrillas and revolutionary fighters. Formed in the underground struggle of the Tsarist period and.160 In March 1922 Lenin. During the civil war. He had in mind a two old a. and even the prestige and possession of a share of authority. resulting in the elimination of a quarter of the total membership. Thirty-four per cent of those ex pelled suffered this penalty for 'passivity'. a gulf was opening between them and the masses: not only the peasant masses. at the front and in the ac tories. in the revolutionary struggle of 1917. For the tens of thousands of bureaucrats and time servers who infiltrated the Party there were as many members. the irritation of having to become administrators. appointed and transferred according to the needs of the war or the judgment of their superiors. they struggled to find their feet in situations that were often too much for them. The most sincere among them were perhaps more embarrassed than anything else by the need to employ methods that had little in common with their aspirations. Although he emphasized thneed t. the Central Committee reJected h1s proposal. who. in the administrative services. Subject to military discipline. continued to function as militants committed to the revolutiOn.in orne parts of the countryside. a. 161 The criteria applied during the purge of 1921 n vertheless made possible an increase in the percentage of'workers' With the reservations that use of the term in this context implies• Seep. * the Party might expenence a fresh mftux of members. moreover. striving to find solutions to problems that were literally matters of life and death. and there were many. incompetent ones at that-and the frustration of feeling that. considering that in the event of a Soviediplomatic uccess at the Genoa conferenc . they formed a cohort subjected to the hardest of tests: a l?ng march which was often nothing but an apparently ceaseless markmg time. two years for peasants and soldiers. who fell into their enemies' hands paid with their lives for the fearful privilege of belong ing to the Party. year-and-a-half for other workers. and three years for everyone else. When Zinoviev proposed that the probationary period be fixed at six months for workers and a year for candidates from other walks of lifeLenin asked for an amendment: six months for workers 'who have ctually been employed in large industrial enterprises for not less than ten years'. but the mass of the workers as well.o lengthen the probationary period. • Such material advantages as there were to be had. and calculators-and.im: preventing the acceptance of unsuitable persons. 25 per cent for 'careerism'. tunities fo:r abuses and made those that did occur appear intolerable in the eyes of the rank-and-file. they had been placed in positions of political and administrative responsibility which required that they change their outlook completely. despite all their efforts. running the risk of the punishments entailed by all their weaknesses and mis takes. accountants.

to a me ber of the Workers' Opposition who called for the cply. This cohmtnen e. during the Eleventh Party c Party. did not exist [in Russia].a class. he o?served. mise . VIc Shlyapmkov dmitted this when. victims of a calamity they had done ever t y t? rreve t. performed a feat the consequences of which were I?n of this set mg Its mark on the entire history of our time. however.victory thLeninist Party. Permit me to congra Jro.s and Mensheviks. tonous .Exhausteby their victory. admitted that if such a on. 'the majority wili consist of non-Party peoplec ngress many of them will be S. were to be held. was in 1921. venmg of a congress of producers'. isolated and so defeated in th midst of their t!iumph. u sdt we hand over everything to them ?'164 • ou .his was ho:-v the Communists appeared at the end ofth! Civil war· gmdes and budders of a new society that was rich in pro · but crushed by want. an isolate rt. Ironically: 'Vladimir Ilyich said yesterday that hngress.but exh usted. formed to 310 LENINISM UNDER LENI}IJ conquer power and charged with the defence and consolidat' pov:er.R.'I6a Zinoviev relate mg .' And the Co go d leader asked the Party member who had made this proposal· . ou on bemg the vanguard of a non-existing cJass. leta nat as.

cotrurtandin the counter-revolutionary forces that were brought up to reconquer . generally .. {. of new factors with . . but this violence was to become greatly intensified.sh IJier the political forces we must now consider the social ones world in which contradictory currents were confused together. however. 11 . Violence had already broken out in Russia at the beginning of \he spring of 1918.ought di order and de astation.. fossilized political forms'2 -tbe Bolsheviks Proceeded to impose. they the officer-cadets who had fought against them. Attemptmg to define m one chapter the nature of this society IS a ?{enturesome task that can neither be realized satisfactorily nor yet yoided. A few days later this same body of cadets organized an anne< rising in the capital. starting from a theoretical opinion about the role of force in history-that 'it is the tnidwife of every old society pregnant with a new one'.Old influences stronger than the revolutionaries were able to imagine. Petrograd. When the Red Guards captured the Winter in Petrograd. addressing the Seventh Party Congress in March il918. a tmblgling of bold innovations with old traditions. to suppose that. . the 'Whites' were treated the same easy-going way. 312 It was a moderation that was sometimes reminiscent of the genero sity that had occasionally accompanied the euphoria of earlier · tionary victories. On the contrary. J'[. ·world to which aggression from without. One must embark upon it in full awareness that only a few fitures of the subject can be sketched-those that seem the most portant in relation to the social and political plans of Leninism.Holsh1 viks occurred. lSSuming the forms of mass-scale and systematic terror. the seat of the Provisional Government.I' In the provinces the taking of power by the . immediately on coming to power. despite the massacre of prisoners of which had been guilty. added to internal upheaval.4 In Moscow. requiring only 'l they give their word not to take up arms against the revolution more..1This statement was both a prediction and an objective observa :tion. .* The Bolsheviks easily overcame them-and .!"arxists have never forgotten that violence must inevitably accom any the collapse of capitalism in its entirety and the birth of socialist '$ociety.::· once again released their prisoners. fight against the soviets again-and almost immediately joined anti-Bolshevik forces gathering in the South. permeating the country's atmosphere throughout the civil war. and 'the in Strument with the aid of which social movement forces its way through and shatters the dead.. the period in hich the revolution experienced its 'honeymoon' was also a period of lative but genuine moderation in the repression of counter-revoln tlonary elements.3 General Krasnov. also obtained his freedom in return for a promise not to .' said Lenin. It would be wrong. a reign of terror directed against the old order. ·. t71he impact of the Terror . and setting its JDark for a long time upon the characteristics of Soviet society. where tnP-·'·' · insurrection had been much bloodier.

tutored with blows of the fists.R.'11 Babeuf had said the same thing during the FrencRevolution: 'Instead f civilizing us. one of the first decrees of the new Government abolished the death penalty. 7 Among.14 In July 1918. at Martov's request. in the first months after the conquest of powe{.s. assumed comparatively benign forms.O<::r former ministers Shingarev and Kokoshkin. cannot have a tender heart. and of the Const:itutional. moreover. . far from in flaming the anger and vindictiveness of the masses.' soCIETY 313 up in a school which dwells vulgarly on the terrors of hell.1o Maxim Gorky wrote in his Revolt of the Slaves: 'A people hrtl1' • Seep. because that ts what they are themselves.nu:nis: Krylenko. and 'arrest the :ti:lJJLV· guilty of this murder•.• Thus. A people who have been trampled down by the police will be capable in their tum of trampling on the bodies of others.speaking. the latter murdered their hospital beds. and no official execution took place. the authorities 'begin a rigorous investigation'. with rods and whips. those of General · >. that which they have sown. who implored the sailors involved to show cJeJmeJlCY• The murder of the Cadet ministers was condemned by the official organ of the Government..• and Lenin demanded. soni. Indeed. But the Bolsheviks endeavoured on a number iJf: occasions to calm the fury of the crowds and restrain their excesses. 16 violent incidents in which both revolutionaries and counter-revolu1·• ·• tionaries suffered. whose ambassador had been killed by the rebels. the Bolsheviks. and before the beginning of the civil war in the strict sense. They are reaping. which Kerensky's Government had restored in September 1917.'12 During the first months of their rule. There were indeed. 244. Dukhonin killed despite the intervention of the Bolshevik People's Co. our masters have made barbanans of us. 13 As Professor Carr notes. sought to set bounds to the manifestation of such feelings. after suppressing the armed revolt of the Left S. Official repression. 8 the members of the Provisional Government who had been arrested October 26th-or at least those of them who belonged to the soc:ialist partiest-were released.* the Bolsheviks showed such moderation in their measures of reprisal that the German Government. in a telephone message to People's Commissariat of Justice on the very day of the murder. when the members of an anti-Communist 'Com -:· mittee for Salvation' were seized by demonstrators and roughlY< handled. as 'a blot on the honour of revolution'. the Soviet authorities succeeded in rescuing them. were particularly sensational. 'the revolutionary tradition of opposition to the death sentence weakened and collapsed only after the outbreak of the civil war and open insurrection against the Soviet regime'. and will continue to reap. with very little violence. No death sentence was pronounced during the first three months of the Soviet regime./ the lynchings carried out by the masses.-Der . commander-in-chief of the army. in Saratov.

p. Undoubtedly it was the numerous attempts on the lives of some of their leaders that helped to overcome their last hesitations in this matter: the attempt to kill Lenin on January 1st. 152) all the ministers were set free. 800 .o those who were found to be of f. 336) and Schapiro (Origin.n's blood·must be paidaper iJio give preferential treat nt . only the socialist miniisfA benefited from this treatment.stag s) were executed in Petrograd. and. 21 .rasnaya Gazeta wrote: . p. They have no p1ty: 1t ts ttme for us to be pitiless. the murder of Volodarsky in June.evolutionaries and White Guards (otherwtse descnbed as o. 18 In August 1918 Zinoviev announced in Petrograd the beginning of • Seep. The moderation of the Bolsheviks is all the more remarkable in that it contrasted in this period with the first outbursts of 'White' terror. physiCal extermination of the bourgeotsJe. Petrograd had its Septem e. protested to the Soviet authorities.'2o L"k Paris during the re?ch Rev lution. 19 The attempted murder of Uritsky evoked an immediate response of Lenin The newsp ua) and the act murder fases the Chekists were ordered to re-examine their prisoners' dossiers nv.t According to Carr (Vol. 1918. at the end of that month. 72).' 17 With the beginning of the civil war and foreign intervention the . 314 LENINISM UNDER LENIN J3TY 315 the Red Terror. and on a grand scale. lso many VIctims 1 Moscow and in the provinces. immobiliz tng the head of the Government for several weeks. Bolshevik Government. while the Whites. 'The Cheka seized hostages. like the massacre of their 'Red' prisoners by the officer-cadets during the Moscow insurrection of October 1917. by their mass shootings and hangings. the unsuccessful attempt on Trotsky's life at the beginning of August. p.. and there were . both on a small scale. According to scher (Prophet Armed. were sowing the seeds of inexpiable hatred and ensuring severe reprisals for themselves. the statistics of which are hard to determine. its repressive measures were still moderate. 16 In Souvarine's words. The i terests f. not including the more than two thousand prisoners who died in intern ment camps. yielding to the spirit of the time. massac es. the murder ?f Uritsky and the attack on Lenin that nearly killed him.Each drop of Leru. where between ten and twenty thousand workers were slaughtered by the counter-revolution. 257..the revolutiOn de an? _the. I. itself resorted to terror. by the bourgeoisie anthe Whites in hund eds of deaths . as in Finland.counter. Accordin to offici_al sour s.

In one of h1dis patches he wrote: 'The orders rto hang all arrestd workers m the -street. or as a reprisal for measures taken by the Whites. became a deliberate instrument ofpolicy'. ·. education and occupation. in other words to keep It Withm certam bounds. the forms and extent of repression were closely dependent on the military situation. however.33 <He complained that 'in many cases the Soviet go ernme?t : . The bodies are to be exh1b1ted for three days. orking-class or peasant ongm. One Whtte :litary commander. In the first place.resorted. This is the meaning and essence of Red Terror. frowhich s cmhsm cannot . Serge writes.. How caone make a revolution without firing squads ?'32 Trotsky' eport IS. and I hope will not resort. 25 In the second place.. H. for example. like the White.2 In the opposite camp. He reproached the workers and peasants with not yet breaking down resistance 'firmly and ruthlessly enough'.'22 And E. 30 at was Lenin's attitude in face of his ou break of vi?lence? Soon 'after the seizure of power he thought It possible to _say: We have not . and their execution in moments of extreme tension. it slackens and becomes systematic. they immediately announced the abolition of the death penalty. what were his origin.'26 It is true that Lenin condemned (in a document not published at the time) the 'absurd lengths' to which Latsis wcnt: 27 the practice of taking hostages. A few months later. Yourfirstdutyis to ask him what class he belongs to. wrote on November 1st. ordered his subordinates ot _to ·arrest workers but to either hang or shoot them. has had 'the appearance not of iron but of jelly. When in January 1920. systematically chosen from among the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. These questions should decide the fate of the prisoner. the military aggression by Poland led to its re-introduction. we :Jmow. Lenm dtd. however. the Soviet Government took account of the end of hostilities and learnt that the Western Powers were lifting the blockade of Russia. the Red Terror. Carr confirms that September 1918 'marked the turning point after which the terror.The auth_onti_es _sought erely to organize' the terror.23 Two features were characteristic of the Red Terror as it was applied during the civil war.'31 although accordmg to Trotsky he also sharply criticized the decision of the Congress of Soviets to abolish the death penalty: 'Nonsense. 1918: 'Do not ask for incrimi nating evidence to prove that the prisoner opposed the Soviet either by arms or by word. where justice was no less expeditious. its targ ts . Latsis. urge the Soviet authorities to show ruthlessness towards counter-revolutionaries. one of the heads of the Cheka. hitherto sporadic and un organized. 'After the September days the terror does not die away. to the terronsm of the Fre ch revolutionaries who guillotined unarmed men.re regularly chosen from among the labouring classes. for during the first months of the new regime. pr bably correct. bore a distinct class character.

Although Lenin's motive-to defend the Soviet power. Shustov is to be released from arrest. to get out of obligatory labour-service were to be threatened with the death penalty. havmg tnedwhen ·Petrograd was in fear of a German attack.44 It w Ic . and :Jiolit its work to political problems 54 -while at th. when these were m a state of utt r disorganization during a period of famine.ithout mercy for plundering seen. and.·be built. one is nevertheless taken aback at the wide range of targets that he proposed for the exercise of Red Terror. Lenin also threatened with death those officials of t s ce tral food-purchasing board who showed 'formal and bureaucra/ attitudes to work and incapacity to help starving workers'.>Wers. In other Lenin declared: 'We shall be merciless both to our enemies and to all waverers and harmful elements in our Inidst who dare to bring dis "organization into our difficult creative work of building a nelife for the working people. but also at speculators.43 Nor is even th' list complete. all the same.37 at those bourgeois who. arrested for having a false permit to carry arms.36 .•4o 'Shooting for indiscipli e' was to be mtro duced in the supply services.'34 He returned to this theme agam and agam. Decision: because he belongs to the proletarian class.42 and a few months later demanded capital 316 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . and the Mensheviks who demanded that they cease.'28 The same report mentions numerous executions of lawyers. !lhe need to 'reform the Cheka. de ne its unctions and P<. in general.e same ttme. in the daily report prepared in September 1918 by one section of the Cheka we find the following entry: 'Shustov.41 At the time of the anti mmunist rising in Nizhni Novgorod he considered it necessary_ to shoot and deport [sic] the hundreds of prostitutes who are mak ng drunkards of the soldiers'.38 and also at all pers'ons who were found in unlicensed possess1. members of the bourgeoisie. he sat'd. This philosophy determined not only the selection of victims but also. the choice of suspects to be released.35 frequently denouncing the 'howls' and 'whinings' of the bourgeois intellectu ls . as e l)iave advocating the most severe repression of enshevtk necessary.39 was. Thus. inspired by the principle that the Cheka chief had propounded. violencas .Who wailed at the horrors of the Red Terror. inversely. agai st _the attacks of the counterrevolution-was obvious and h1s logic Im Peccable. Evdokim: a store employee. The latter was not merely to be aimed at counter-revolutio aries in the _strict ense. to 'shoot W. officers.• 317 ::toCIETY punishment for 'informers giving false information'.?n of arms.

Writing.elements amo!lg the masses themselves'.'. In a communication of July 1921 he warns two officials: 'another quarrel between you two.'45 Thermust be · uthless exte:mit.sed dunng e ar-anybody who placed his own interests (or the mterests of his VIllage or group) above the common interests.' Gorky tells us.deprive_d of the help. including such subjects as: 'communismhistory in general. At the same time it must not be forgotten that it was Lenin himself whoat the beginning of 1920. addressing the Congress of Soviets. m Apnl 1920: Thts IS the way unity of will was ex pres. ' "Is it possible to act h?IDanely m such ::tuys?ually ferocious fight? Is there a place for kmdness or magnaru t10nary coerciOn IS bound to be employed towards the wavering and unstable. as soon as he felt that 'in the main the problem of the war has been solved'.« 7 Looking back over the We are blockaded by Europe. and their gravity should not be underestimated. history of the 1917 revolutiOn. geography.52 In the same period he explained to the Cheka that 'it goes without saying that the Soviet Government will not keep the deapenalty longer than is absolutely necessary'. and his threats to enemies not always to be taken literally. and and illegal requisitions on the part of the troops. 53 It was Lenin. we _are . The question is more pertinent and less apologetical than may a p:ar at ?rst sight.46 and. and we shall dismiss and jail both. at the end of 1920 some notes 'on polytechnical education'.issed. too. whom December 1921. There are a number of Lenin's writings in which It IS obvious that some of the expressions used are not to be taken literally. history of revolutions. Lunacharsky to be hanged'49_ Lunacharsky bemg the People's Commissar for Education. was branded as a self-seeker and was shot. furthermore.bear. proposed that the death penalty be abolished. we nevertheless glimpse here features that tell us much about the political system that was introduced into Soviet Russia as a result of the civil war. have e not the right to fight. Here are some examples.'66 And yet it was to Lemn that Gorky. to resist?_ I am sorry.s1 .* ' "What do you want?" he would ask. 'revolu oross. literature. If the language he uses in relation to his own colleagues is sometimes metaphorical. who was a on -man .tation of the kulaks'. etc. ll?wing for the possibility that Lenin may have permitted himself styhsttc excesses that exaggerated his meaning the respon sibility he bears for the development of terror and ounterterror cannot be lightly disrr. and he goes on: 'If there are no sueprogrammes yet. •so Other examples of such verbal ferocity could be given. astofl!shed.••s In the face of such an apocalyptic roll of victims there is reason to ask oneself whether Lenin always weighed his words with sufficient precision. Even so. he demands that a pro gramme of 'general instruction' be compiled.of European proletariat. but we re not a bunch i>ffools". and we-what would you have us do? Should we not.ictivity. counter-revolutiOn IS creepmg up on us hke !hat penod of r volutt?nary te:ror? enin was to epitomize its logic m these wo ds. spoke of a.

as though the violence that broke out m ·Russia in those days somehow defiled an epoch of peace nd r gress.)·A study could be made of Lenin's attitude towards the terror whtch would go beyond the bounds of the present wor_k. such as Rosa Luxemburg. :ctical organizers from among the "people".civil liberties union' turned for h lp in thlast resort when trymg save victims of the Terror: 'Lenm was his final court of ap ls. . was neither more nor less bloody than the First World War. and :':ould need t? concern itself with psychology as much as With politics. This fact gave fuel to the humanistic cntic_tsm of Leninism set forth in Karl Kautsky's Communism and Terrorzsm.Lenm s request that Kropotkin undertook to keep him regularly mformed about excesses committed by the repressive organs. Let the moralist approve· condemn terror per se: the task of the sociologist or the histor·a r £. The latter dtd not reJ Ct VIOlence when this served to defend the Fatherlands. <? ce Lenin was alerted they were absolutely safe. which piled up so many corpses with the blessing of the p iests of II rel_igions. :Victor Serge writes regarding the arrest of Dan and Abr movich_ m )921: 'I appealed to Gorky.. T ere is often an element of hypocrisy in the reproach brought agamst ·the nascent Communist movement and the Bolshevik leaders that th:y employed methods of terror.58 • . by a reference to 'the leading role of ts IS m ee t e heart of the matter.'64 Already n Novem the . J!lt his Writings bear the imprint of the unbridled violence of _thCI I!. with the massacres of the ensumg ClVll w r. . in her pamphlet on The Russian Revolution.d d h 10n so lC()JDplamed. of course. but only when It was used ·in the service of the proletariat and socialism. ncan unde stand Trotsky when he considers it unnecessary to J Stify revo_lutiOnary terror because its accusers come from among the orgamzers and exploiters of the great world slaughter'. at that very mo ent he was mtervenn g With Lenin to save the lives of the Menshe Ik leaders. dracoman measures of terror " See p. On the contrary.·• Th . 318 LENINISM UNDER LENIN 319 are powerless. But there are others.69 Among those who have criticized Leninism in this connexion there are indeed many who should themselves be accused rather than accusers. who. too.ar years is not in doubt. The Russian revolution. and strengthened the hostility of 'democratic socialists'. 265. they cause still further corrupt · . warned against the demoralizing e ects of terror on those Who employ it: 'Against [corruption]. including the SocialDemocratic sect.' _ And It was at.

In this ware exes were formed.1 20? It is certainly not accidental that.P. }evolution.to. bureaucratic and oppressive administration by po ular admm1stratzon based on Soviet democracy. the outb eak ote civil war.' 65 In hipamphleThe mm. the suppres Sion of the monty of e. a special achme for s ppr ssion.G.e2 Three years after wntmg State and Revolution Lenin was to acknow ledge publicly that what had arisen on the r ins of Tsarist society was 'a workers' state with bureaucratic distortions:ss Between and after these dates lay his desperate struggle against the installation of a bureaucratic system.xplozters by the majority of the wage slaves f y sterdar Is comparatively so easy.note 'ts consequences. ecome accustomed to no-one governing'. N.. ' The weight of the bureaucracy With.. the launching of terror and counter te ror. 1917. to de nve them 6f their privileged position.drate Ta ks ofithe Soviet Government he recogntzed th t. m pay ng a ... ' 61 This weakening of the repressive functiOns ot?e . serfs or wage labourers . . TLatural and simple a task that It will entad far less bloodshed than the suppression of the risings of slave..of proletarian individual.and . is still necessary. however.U.v ry hzgh socm. The other condition was the progres SIVe replace el!t of.B. This was how oc1ety would dvance towards socialism. under which 'all will govern m tum and will soon. which to him represented the main enemy of democracy and socialism.V. !hms had moved a long way from the prospects opened up by Lenin m hts State and . 'a special apparatus.K.D. or reinforced that were to last long after the sztuattons that first gave rise to the !s not the origin of the often gratuitous terror of Stalinism to be fou m the largely uncontrolled and uncontrollable violence of the yea 1917 to . Het·rs already to a past of tyranny and 1 n IS 4th. at the moment. Lenihad acknowledged (speakm? to the 1 crime ratsed b. the repressive mst1tut10n known successively by the names Cheka G. the '_'state". the regtme had Jllllde 'a departure from the principles of the Paris Commune . The history of this struggle is essential for . I1'st 1egaIt'ty and respect for the rights of the individual-even tohut price for the "services" of the top bourgeois experts. and the development and omnipresence of repressive bodies.. of all the organs bo of the czvtl war.y Tsardom to the rank of permanent institutions. one alone retained a degree of power that no attempt at reform ad o c a ge of label succeeded in cutting down: namely. begun by the bourgeoisie with the backmg of the tmpenahst powers. and M. after he proletanat comes to power. the regime and society born of the October revolution were deeply marked b fresh outburst of violence which often made a mockery of talk aby a ·l'etrograd Soviet): 'we do not mtend. wherein he had forecast that although.stat:was of the conditions underlying Lenin's ncept of Its w1thermg away .

Vol.. The 'spec a ists' drawn from the old regime must therefore be kept 'under the VIgilant supervision of the proletariat'. 74 .* The cadres who came frol? the bourgeoisie acquired a dominant position also through thezr technical superiority and their 'monopoly of culture'. 4.an understanding of Leninism. the bureaucrats of bourgeois back ground would be 'conquered morally' and 'then of themselves be • According to a report made by Stalin in 1919.va. 'Bu ldin. He was already at that time speaking from experience. Lenin expressed the hope that if th.766 officials. they exceeded numencally the representatives of the proletariat in the state machine. in some cases. of whom 4..67 In thts way the problem arose of the relations between th.<:onsisted of 4. the administratin of the Vyatka rcgi?n .. 70 At the same time. charging them with the actualleadership. the Soviet official of this period being 'as a rule a fom1:er member of the bourgeois intelligentsia or official class'. it is also a step backward. . Lenin in nded that t?e proletariat and its representatives should possess a pohttcal and social weight in conformity with the aims of the new regime.73 But the task that the regime set before t?e proletarit wasin the conomic and social circumstances of that ttme.fhe other. The call that Lenin's Government issued to technicians and officials to collaborate with the new regime. and the tradtttonal admtmstrators on .' 69 · Here was a problem of major importance. in theory... and 'no political concessions whatever' made to them. will learn from them and direct them.·SOCIETY 321 drawn into our apparatus'. p. upon the Soviet authorities. unrealizable m practice. it could not but exert a 'corruptmg m ftuence . n The dilemma and the contradiction thus took this form: 'our own militant contingents of workers .. 320 LENINISM UNDER LENlN : ·:.' for.467 came from the old Tsamt bureaucracy (Stahn. 222). on the one hand. the workers must 'learn from them'.. of course.'66 .68 The soctal weight of these officials was due not only .. a way of overcoming the problem.' 72 There was. whose personnel were absorbed into the new apparatus. e en 'though. It was therefore necessary to face the facts: what Lenin called at the end of 1921 the 'Soviet bureaucrats'* did not believe in the new regime and had 'no confidence' in it..oh t ing established privileges.Soviet p wr and the working class. in many cases.to their numbers. when it was first established. was every proletarian power' and added that 'this easure not only 1mphes . From Decem ber 1917 onwards the spread of Soviet institutions to areas where they bad not yet struck root had the effect of bringing them into contact with many of the municipal administrations and zemst. however.e prole tariat proved equal to its task.the cessation-in a certain field and to a certam degree-of the o en sive against capital . drawing up a plan or teachmg m a school all such enterprises necessitated utilizing the services of these J>eople'and. by cons.g a machine or organizing an office.

and x:nany more were servmg 111 the ed · ArmY· Lenin constantly emphasized he need to draw the masses mto · adroinistrative tasks. with notable frankness and plainness: 'If we take that huge bureaucratic machine. 76 Preponderant as they were both in numbers and in (relative) com petence. Lenin said. to a profound crisis that brought rum to all b:a. however nominal.' wrote Lenin in The Tax in Kind 'are capable of treachery at every opportunity'. matter m the . we must ask: who is directing whom? I doubt very much whether it can be said that the Communists are directing that heap.82 Proposals were often made to reduce the number of officials. some sort . .229.920 the number employed in transport was 1. said: 'We can make as many resolutwns as posstble but If.s of Sovietin De ember 1920. they are being directed. Between the first half of 1918 and the first half of 1919 their numbers rose frox:n 114. the first comprising those who had belonged before the revolution to the higher ranks of the administration. n 1. on the . notes that in their administrative work the representa tives of the old intelligentsia showed off-handedness and hostility towards the public. and some sort of wage. they are not directing.ncheof the economy.81 This gigantic increase corres ponded not to economic progress by Russi_an society but. Zmovtev. however wretched.000 persons on the eve of the First World War. In a ruined country the machinery of state served. 76 An inquiry carried out in the summer of 1922 among 270 engineers in the service of the Soviet state confirmed Lenin's opinion. author of an important work on 'War Communism'. at the same time .* Large numbers of workers had enterethapparatus c of the Communist Party. These officials were divided into two categories. and especially by the . In his address to the Eleventh Party Congress.000-and thts wtth only one-fifth the amount of traffic.. however. workers active as they were to the pomt of hermsm. ·.79 But what d1d hese few undred tho sand . but at least until the introduction_ of the New Economic Policy. addressiJlg the AU-Russia Congres. not s uch to fulfil a productive function as to provide mtlhons of cittz ns. The opposite relationship established itself among the administrators. the last he attended. of co r e. threatened with unemployment and starvatwn. To the question as to whether they were in sympathy with the Soviet state.t The Soviet historian Kritsman. contrary. The increase in the number of officials had been comparatively slight during the first year of the Soviet regime. That branch of the economy employed 815. and the second embracing those who had been only 'ordinary engineers' undertheoldregime.of J_ob.000 officials. that gigantic heap.39 to 539 841. To tell the truth. 9 per cent of the first category and 13 per cent of the second answered in the affirmative. and the position was n better with the non-military ones. trade unions. nothing was actually done about thts. in March 1922. the bulk of the bureaucrats of bourgeois origin were unwilling to accept the proletarian leadership that the Bolsheviks at first tried to impose upon them. the Soviet machine conststed of ot less than 5. tens of thousands of people press upon us in many cities. This contrast between the growth othe admtmst:atton a d the decline of the country's production:capactty was especially stnk ing in the sphere of transport.880..'Nine-tenths of the military experts.' 77 ·:in social life by working-class organizations. inunensnetwork of a monstrously swollen administration? .8o By the end of 1920.

And I have not yet lost all hope that one day we shall be hung for this. as against 10 per cent from an employing-class background. towards the end of his life. 29. perhaps. 351. Lenin spoke of 'the new bourgeoisie which have arisen in our country . 9 per cent technicians and 38 per cent former Tsarist bureaucrats.. In the same penod he complamed: 'We are being ground down by red tape. Never. In twenty of the most important departments of the state economic administration. . '(Vol. If 84 we take the enemy within.· '83 maximum participation by workers in the tasks of management and administration. not only from among our Soviet govern· ment employees . in 1919. 78 To this must be added the substantial position occupied • Lenin. he told the C. 233. Vol.. 111 our appar tus ·. in January 1919. In the first group 30 per cent answered that they thought their work useful. was a regime so dominated by bureaucracy heade? by a statesman so hostile to this phenomenon. In December 1921 he wrote to Bogdanov: 'We don't know how to conduct a public trial for rotten bureaucracy. At the Eighth Party Congress. and especially in 1922. A second question put to them related to the usefulness of the work they were doing. is the profiteer anthe bureaucr t'. we cannot by any And yet the Soviet Government had done much to bring about means fight against the swelling of bureaucracy . but from the ranks of the peasants and handicraftsmen ..E.seeking to find some kind of work for themselves. He used the contraction sovbur. perhaps. to his sense ?f t e incapacity of the Soviet regime to wage an effective struggle agamst 1t.87 'All of us are sunk m the rotten bureaucratic swamp of "departments"..86 'bureaucracy is throttling us'. for this all of us ··· • Seep. p.' 88 Bureaucracy aroused in Lenin a feeling of fury that was due. which has also been translated I as 'Soviet bourgeois'.C. and deservedly so. 129. 32. p. officials of proletarian origin and delegates from working-class organizations accounted in 1918 for 43 per cent of the total. speaking of 'our ..'85 It was from 1921_ onwa_rds. however... in the second group the percentage giving this answer was 75. t Kritsman.'89 He was to admit.. p. that he realized the t ue d1mensw s of the evil: 'The serious matters have been swamped 111 burea cratJc litter' . 189). 'Our enemy today. 11 322 LENINISM UNDER LEl\I:>J sOCIETY 323 should be hung on stinking ropes.

. he acknowledged that repression could do nothing to remedy the abuses of bureaucracy: You can throw out the tsar. He advised that the administrative apparatus be filled with workers. you cannot 'wipe it off the face of the earth.98 He drew up regulatiOns provtdmg for officials to sub JJ)it themselves to 'control' by the ublic. and whoever thinks otherwise is playing demagogue and cheating.' 91 Although he was not often hesitant to employ surgical methods. We have done this. the great weight of bureaucracy in Russia was due to the country's 'cultural underdevelopment' and in particular to the fact that 'Russia was not sufficiently developed as a capitalist country'. In Lenin's view. plans and recommenda tions. or at least ensuring 'popular' control over it. and most important. an impossibility. he put forward many suggestions.. Lenin nevertheless recommended that all forms of treatment be used.99 His concern for detatl went so far as to cause h1m to araw up a long questionnaire aimed at discovering the pr!ncipal shortcomings in the administration and how tO put them rtght. wholesale literacy. he took the initiative in creating Rabkrin.95 Confronted. throw out the capitalists. and were to work in it for short periods only.91 This circumstance was naturally aggravated by the effect of the civil war. In order to hinder the growth of bureaucracy. however. although he thought this not very effective. to reduce it somewhat.ua Faced with conditions so hard to escape from. Addressing the miners' congress in January 1921 he said: 'We shall be fighting the evils of bureaucracy for many years to come. especially by workerand housewives. culture and parti cipation in the activity of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection.96 He urged the setting up of a small number of 'exemplary departments'.. is wrong in its very formulation . to distinguish the principal causes of the bureaucratic phenomenon and to suggest some ways of preventing its growth. with a disease the causes of which were pro found and the symptoms of which were many and various.. 97 He proposed tha_the press be assigned the task of kee mg the b eaucracy u der cnhcal supervision.92 This was why the heritage from the past. But you cannot 'throw out' bureaucracy in a peasant country. not excluding surgery. throw out the landowners.101 Despite the hopes he . By disturbing or even destroying the relations between town and country it had smashed Russia's economic development and brought about stagnation so that the administration expanded in a situation of complete vacuum.'9o He strove. the 'Workers' and Peasants' Inspection'.100 Finally. nevertheless. because overcoming the evils of bureaucracy requires hundreds of measures. an institution inspired by his constant preoccupation with making the administration more 'popu lar' in character. even the harshest. The members of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection were to be elected.machinery of state'. had become even heavier and more paralysing than before.' You can only reduce it by slow and stubborn effort. only a slow cure-all the rest is charlatanry or na1vete. It can only be healed. To 'throw off' an ulcer of this kind is impossible.. Lenin realized how difficult any attempt must inevitably prove to reduce the power of the bureaucratic apparatus. To 'throw off' the 'bureaucratic ulcer' . so as to ensure that everyone was in turn drawn into this work. in a country where state bureaucracy had always played a big role. to serve as models fr the rest.. Surgery in this case is an absurdity. that 'We have not been able to study this question up to now .

Louis Fischer tells us: 'In a dispute between a Communist powerman with no knowledge and an expert with no power. He proposed to create a special commission of the Central Commit tee . 31.108 their 'intellectualistic and bureaucratic complacency'.U0 And Lenin urged that such Communist 'mandarins' 111 be punished 'with triple sentences as compared with non-Party people'. who has not yet been combed out.' to imagine that 'he can solve all his problems by issuing Communist decrees'. 324 LENINISM UNDER LENIN bureaucrat'. on the C<?ntrary. T otsky. 107 were distinguished by their ' "communist" conceit'.. 'I am in mortal fear of reorganizations. to procure membership cards of the Russian Com munist Party'. in the last months of his political activity. the 'Communist • 'After all. the latter lost unless the matter came to the attention of Lenin or another high-ranking un conventional party officer:ua From January 1922 onwards. and the cultur tl level of the peasant masses is such that they have been unable to produce a sufficient number of officials' (Lenin.' Lenin acknowledged in January 1922: 'We are always reorganizing things. on whom this function [checking. Lenin admitted its failure already at the end of 1920. 1o9 This attitude was capable of causing 'a member of the Communist Party. in that he came up against the inertia and incompetence of a particular type of bureaucrat.' 102 At that time Rabkrin's staff num bered not less than 12. When attacked by the apparently incurable disease of 'institutionitis'. like his colleagues.had built upon the functioning of this body of 'people's inspectors'. complacency. p. the pampered "grandees" of the Soviet Republic'. 423). • 1os His helplessness was the greater. Lenin pursued them with his obloquy. Those who should have got rid of the evil contributed. tells us: 'Lenin summoned me to his room in the Kremlin. during the latter's Illness. to suffer from a mania for setting up commissions. 106 These 'Soviet bureaucrats. it tried to deal with the defects of the existing bodies by creating new ones. 'The Workers' and Peasants' Inspection. 103 This example is typical of the methods that were often used by the Soviet state in order to correct its own faults. improving and remodelling our state apparatus] devolved at the beginning proved unable to cope with it. to succeed better in their careers. At the Eighth Party Congress he denounced 'the tsarist bureaucrats' who 'began to assume the colouring of communists and. instead of get ting on with the practical business. it has been impossible to set it in motion because the best workers have been sent to the front. and probably he was the more consciously aware of it. however. Lenin discovered that bureaucracy meant not only the con ceit. to worsen it. spoke of the terrible growth of bureaucratism in our Soviet apparatus and of the need of finding a lever with which to get at that problem.* In the document known as his 'Testament' he returned to the subject. abuses and authoritarianism that he had . Vol.000. describing his last conversation with Lenin.U 2 He did whatever he personally could to counter this 'Communist conceit'. the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection exists more as a pious wish. and it had become merely an extra cog in the bureaucracy that it was supposed to combat. but merely took their places beside them.. which did not always abolish the old bodies.' 104 He seemed.

. total disorder. teaching) While 'Leninist' society was marked by violence. what was to be one of the most lasting features of the Soviet scene. 119 Lenin described the impressions he formed during a journey that he made. he had occasion to observe the 'crying anarchy' existing in the administrative arrangements of the Comintern and the Profintem (the 'Red International of Labour Unions').114 Lenin became aware of this incompetence in one sector of the administration after another: in January he noted: 'the Central Committee apparatus is not working'. strict subordination. I found the railway trolleys in the worst state possible. stoppages on the way every minute. getting all and sundry to hustle with dozens of special telegrams but as an unknown person . on a scale he had hitherto not dreamed of. '117 In March 1922 he wrote that 'complete anarchy reigns' in the Commis sariat of Finance.. becoming aware of the dilapidated state of the railways and the muddle in their administration.. but also.. with complete dislocation and clumsiness.. Thus.con demned. the departments are shit . In a great variety of fields it demonstrated that the relation between .. there is water in the kerosene . Let us consider Max Weber's description of the Prussian civil service. continuity. in the shape of a burdensome and authoritarian bureaucracy. I saw utter neglect. The whole organization was incredibly disgraceful.' 121 It was Soviet Russia's misfortune that whereas her officials sometimes shared the arrogance of their German colleagues. The wave of reforms (law.. This was the first time I travelled along the railway lines not as a 'dignitary'.' He confessed that the experience had filled him with a sense of 'de pressing hopelessness'.the I SOCIETY 325 engine running traffic wretched.118 At the end of 1922. unity.' 116 and he concluded: 'All of us are sunk in the rotten bureaucratic swamp of"departments" . speed. the . excruciatingly. the fuel appears ' to have been stolen. they rarely possessed their characteristic efficiency. during a few weeks of respite from his illness. culture. it was nevertheless too close to its revolutionary origin and its ideal of human emancipation not to show a rich diversity of achievements wrested from the old world..115 in February he found that the State Bank's Trading Department was 'just as sh bureaucratic as everything else.And he insisted that 'this was no exception . and not to paper'. reduction of friction and of material and personal costs-these are raised to the optimum point in the strictly bureaucratic administration. 120 What made Soviet bureaucracy so absolutely intolerable was the lack of interest in their work shown by the officials. knowledge of the files. whose qualities constituted for him the model of an ideal bureaucracy: 'Precision. and bureaucracy bulked big in it almost from the start. a regime born in a struggle for freedom and amid hopes for a libertarian society acquired. semi ruin (very many things have been stolen!). discretion. unambiguity. the slowness of that allconquering 'red tape' which led Rykov to remind Soviet officials that 'labour is the relation of man to nature.

' I 2s Bes des the I?-W?erous innovations in civil law there was a complete .) The Family Code of 1918 laid down divorce procedure. to divorce by mutual consent. chi dren.'reform' and 'revolution' was the opposite of that conceived by Social Democracy. sometimes to tremendous upheavals in the country's social life. thanks to the ter entwn of ·est 134 In the realm of J. A decree of December 7th. h . the emancipation of women and the ending of the mequality of nghts between legitimate and illegitimate children. but the revolution that opened the way to the most thorough-going reforms.. and. proceeded to introduce wholly new conc I?tion of penal law.ustice as in others. a man condemned to death had his . It was not the fight for reforms that led up to and pre pared the way for the revolution.123 Furthermore. the applicatiOn of the . in the words of one of the leading legislators of the time. tab. 1917.' 126 and. 326 LENINISM UNDER LE!\iN soCIETY 327 thend of124legal. the 1918 Code proclaimed. (About the same time. com muted to 'twenty-five blows with a rod'. The Soviet regime was hardly one month old when it issued a decree that the Provisional Government had proved incapable of issuing throughout its eight months' existence: the law introducing the right to divorce. abolished all eXIstmg general legal institutions.sentence. The capture of power by the Russian working class in October 1971 led to numerous and substan tial changes. having thus cleaned the board of everything inherited from the past. or an atonement. the 'class Elsewhere again. to which everything else was ubordi?ated:. .revolution's legislation showed the extent to whih t er g1me es lished by the October rev?lution could . some features of which merely Implemented traditional democratic demands.ecastl?of cnmmallaw. while others were harbingers of a socialist organization of justice. distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate her lover in murdering her husband) was sentenced tbe buried alive. Punishment was no longer to bear the character of 'the expiation of an offence.victs'.bear fruit only m advanced conditions. 122 The purpose of this reform was.' 127 Among the sources of the new legal system an important place was accorded to the ideas of 'revolutionary consciousness'. The concept of an objective offence was firmly ruled out. HeI Chambre considers that in the 1918 Code 'the legislator was guided by two concerns. free from . simplifying it to a very great extent. in particular. civil marriage replaced religious marriage. in its Article 133. to transform an institution that 'must cease to be a cage in which husband and wife live like con.

..m Thu. involved drawing the masses into the admini stration of justice. followed a 'policy of toleranc. the advocates of a 'new cultural October'.' I 29 Finally. and 'socialist consciousness'.s. 137 Lunacharsky. he considered that one of his own functions on the basis of the office which he held. which appeared at the moment when Soviet democracy was enjoying its fullest development. The paradoxical spectacle was seen of a state cultural del?ar:men defending freedom of creation against attacks from c rtau Left. thanks to Bukharm. there is a general observation to be made abouthe.] take into account the danger to society re presented both by the offender (is he or is he not a member of the bourgeoisie?) and by the offence (was it or was it not committed with a view to restoring the oppressor class to power?) ..L. to the a_d antage . The latter described Lunacharsky aa reactwna y in the columns of Pravda. which. . As Alfred Meyer says. who ch rged those responsi ble for this sector of public life with 'opportunism'. The People's Commissar replied that. culture and educatw . the new conception of law. In February 1918 it was decided that magistrates should be appointed by the local soviets.of their easy-going and broadminded approach. retained from the 'pure democracy' that marked judicil practice in the earliest days of Soviet power. apart from those that arose quite spontaneously. This hberal attitude aroused frequent protests among the more radical element .130 were from December 1917 onwards made up exclusively of elected judges. strove to deend. however. including the most contradictory. such as the the widest diversity of schools and tendencies m. 'when deciding what penalties to impose. Heavier penalties will be imposed if the answers to these questions are in the affirmative. on account . the artiStiad m tellectual spheres. was 'the defence of selectiOn of prosecuting and defending 'counsel' from lists of volun the rights'of free culture agam. . artists and writers.131 Some features were.of consciousness of the working people'.Y available to them. teers from among the ordinary people.e' 136 . In the large towns the results appear to have been frequently satisfactory.surviVals of the Middle Ages. If we now turn to the domain of the arts. against Mayakovsy and ot . The popular 'courts'. with the accused able to count upon the indulgence of their judges. under the enlightened directiOn of Anatol Lunacharsky.atmosp er7 m hich they developed.The People's Commissariat of Education.1a2 The value of such a system of justice obviously depended on the level of the citizens who were called upon to administer it.139. iconoclasts the classics of Russian literature. st Red sycophancy'. m s domam te :volution carried with it maximal freedoof.entation'.1as This was particularly true m hterature and the arts. wh res Is detractors considered themselves 'called on to defend Party diS Iplme in the field of poetic creativity'.expresswn and expen. With Lenin's backing.. the Principles [of Soviet penal law. M. :hich flourished remarkably until quite lae in the 1 20s.. and of art m general.Ia3 In the rural areas. and most important. however. were readll.

The death penalty was invoked for mere cases of theft.. not satisfied with the autonomy it had been accorded. with the elaboration of proletarian science and. Arthur Ransome describes the decorations for the st anruvers ry of the October revolution. that within it-except for natural science and technical skills (and even there with qualifications) there was nothing worthy of life'. with its own 'Central Committee'. that seemed to him .. was un doubtedly connected with Lenin's attitude towards artistic and cul tural creativity. a village woman accused of adultery (and also. \vhile tolerating and even to some extent encouraging the activities of the group. Elsewhere. and gae as much support. nd s me es carried outn the spot. modermsts who wanted to consign to 'the dustbin of history' these vestiges of a drowned world. of complicity with Actually.. The 'penal code' drawn up in a little VIllage m Tambov provmce laid down that if a man struck another. Is Commissa Iat protected the various forms of classical and traditional art. to their denigrators on the Left'.144 However. as Ransome mentions. the Soviet authorities sought to integrate them in the People's Commissariat of Education. 'I am. the painters had used the w ole. 328 LENINISM UNDER Ll 'I'> · S'OClETY 329 And the British journalist goes on: 'Best. While Lun charsky and. 141 The relations between Lunacharsky's Commissariat and the organi zation called Proletkult also illustrate the difficulties encountered by the non-sectarian policy that was followed by the Soviet power in the realm ofliterature and art. Grouped in a highly structured association.142 The Proletkult organization. Lenin 'was very much afraid that Proletkult intended to occupy itself .front of a house bemg repaired. This was a mixture of lively hostility and relative tolerance. to be sure. with the whole volume of proletarian culture. '140 The liberalism of Lunacharsky and the Soviet author ities was all the more praiseworthy because the modernism of such avant-garde artists did not always meet with enthusiastic approval on the part of the masses.' 146 According to Lunacharsky.' he said. under the (very liberal) guidance of the state.the improvised courts handed down sentences the barbaric nature of which revealed the cultural backwardness of the peasantry. the partisans of Proletkult ('prole tarian culture') considered 'that all culture of the past might be called bourgeois. still to be seen when he VISited the cap tal early in 1919: 'Where a hoarding ran along the.. Firstly. they also showed at least as much indulgenc. so that they elected Lenin honorary president when they held the first All-Russia congress of Proletku!t organizations in Moscow in September 1918. in general.. 145 This move towards a certain centralization of cultural and artistic expression. demanded for itself 'full power in the cultural field'. 'the sufferer shall strike the offender ten times'. the avant-gardist zeal of many of these a sts was e9-uall d only by their ingratitude. 'strongly opposed to all these intellectual fads and "proletarian cultures". I think.. 143 Such a demand necessarily affected its relations with the Government. against revolutionary impatience and the intolerance of the. The latter had at first been widely popular among the zealots of 'proletarian culture'.e. of 1t as a vast canvao which they had painted huge symbohc pictures of the revolutiOn. and made a really delightful effect. their bright colours and naif patterns seeming so natural to Moscow . Speclillens of highly non-traditional art were freely displayed m the streets of oscow. were the row of wooden booths almost opposite the Hotel National . These had been painted by the futurists or kindred artists.

150 He put down a motion in the Political Bu eau directe. m clVlhzed countries from 8. however we enter a field which the Russian Marxists had always regarded as vital. 149 Lenin was not isJ?osed t apply in the cultural field a ngorous line or a real censorship either. to be simply dissolved.y.1S4 This proposal of Lenin's is dated November 1917. missarist of Education ' and followed its work from day to da.' asked Lu?a charsky. and spoke. Communist propagandists. m a penod when all .151 He did. . . I cannot value the works of expressionism.s w 10 wercalhng for 1t.' 148 Unappreciative of modern forms of art.. however. when none of the vital problems of a regime only just born had yet been solvedt-a fact that shows clearly enough the importance that Lenin accorded to questions of education.agau st he theses ?f ··proletarian culture'. They give me no pleasure .m.' This was how he justified his putting forward of a plan foreorgan zing Petro grad's public library. The development of the arts* and of literature might seem an lmost indecent luxury in a country crushed by war and poverty. since what he proposed was that •such things' be printed in no more tha. .the work of the Soviet Government in the sphere of popular educatwn. we just limp behind it. adding that 'the library's reading-room must be open.ublishing was beset with difficulties.cipate in the revolution with intelligence. and acknowledging that in Between 1917 and 1922 he was present. not excludmg Sundays and holidays'. . faced with Bukhann s objectiOns. With . Lenm did not hke the toleratiOn shown by Lunacharsky towards all manifestations of avant-garde culture and the material assistance he gave them. he did not insist that it be voted on.. try to introduce some responsible Communists into the 'art departm nt' of the eople's Commissariat of Education. I don't under stand them. da1ly.eemed to be dvocating the difference was not so very great. cubism and other isms as the highest expressions of artistic genius. which were naturally for the time being precocious. at 'every maJor • On the remarkable achievements and projects of Soviet architecture during the first Years of the regime..00 p. he thought that the prole tariat shut itself off from study and the assimilation of the already· existing elements of science and culture by such fanta'sies.d . In addition to his functions as head of the Government and principal leader of the Party he was also chairman of the commission on reorganizing the People's Com Zetkin. the department against some Party member.500 opies. 'Were we. in which he called for an mcreasm the s ff. see Kopp.premature and a task beyond its strength. purpose and success. but.00 a. Lenin said: 'I have the courage to show myself a "barbarian". while at the same time d fendmg.m.rue he wrote to Lunacharsky: 'Aren't you ashamed to vote for rinting 5 000 copies of Mayakovsky's 150. tolerance that he deplored and the rig?ur he s. .c twn of the people?' 15a And Lenin said: 'It takes knowledge to parti.000?' But between the bameful. Secondly. futurism. for the rich . to 11. 'ever really concerned with anything other than the edu. 1. We don't understand the new art any more. as IS he r t1ce with private libraries and reading-rooms.' 147 In a talk with Clara this field he was 'not a compe ent judg '.000..152 In general. . but he nevertheless contin ed to express confidence in the People's Commissar of Educa tion in spite of the attacks often directed at him.

ay undertake the study of various political questions connected wtth current world events. '163 Homework was done away with. 161 Wtde autonomy was allowed in the organization of primary and secondary education. in this sphere as in so many others. however.. it is possible to d1stmgmsh the mam lines of the reforms carried out in Soviet Russia at the different levels and in the different sectors of popular education. and proclaimed that 'the first atm [of the Commurust nucleus in the school] is to establish a political centre . These 'readers' were to form themselves into groups in order to familiarize the illiterate population with all governmental decrees and the con tents of Communist newspapers.the or anization of the economy and on the appalling state It was m.g.:as focusd on . p. The pupils were reheveof the obligation to show their teachers those marks of respect whtch. when a decree provided for the publica tiOn of popular editiOns of the works of the great classical authors. 45.1o? Some of the innovations made by the Soviet authorities in the first years of the regime gave the impression that a regular revolution in education was being prepared. however. 451-2. 28. Despie e great diversity.. The principles of Lunacharsky and his closest colleagues were inspired by the 'progressive'... e. ll. and Vol.far as pos ible all exercises that were mere tests of memory. pp. had been particularly numerous and burdensome. at the end of the civil war. atten tion v. High-school s . in the regimented educational system of Tsarist Russia. to study. in whatever circumstances. 169 To complement this measure all illiterate citizens between the age of eight and fifty were obliged to attend literacy courses arranged in the schools themselves.166 When. Lenm spoke of 'raising the cultural level' as the fundamental remedy for the evils of bureaucracy. Some general directives were. 1918.of Educa tion. 330 LENINISM UNDER LENIN soCIETY 331 e ucational conference'. 1os The latitude allowed to local bodies in testing out new methods made possi le. non-directive e0-ods advo ted by some American and West European educa tlorusts. however. Other Important officials in the Commissariat wanted to go further. thesbooks to be sold at cost price or. and set up school communes where the children w uld-be completely removed from a family environment. 145. and teachers were called upon to avoid as . A decree of December lOth. mobilized as 'readers' all literate citizens except those employed full-time in Soviet institutions. where students m. Vol.156 Above all he constantly reiterated the idea that it was the duty of all Party members and officials. 160 The Government had shown its desire to popularize literature in the very rst days of the So it regime. The study should aim to develop the class consciousness of every student . see.t For other evidence of the close interest Lenin took m the pubhc hbrary serv1ce. laid along with one representative of the P ople's Commissariat. even more cheaply. extensive freedom to e p nm nt. if possible.

164 A task of profound and senous hberatwn of the human spirit was thus inaugurated. with the right to offer themselves for reengagement. households were obliged to bum other books to keep themselves from freezing. and. in some cases. A decree attacked the privileges of professors by depriving them of their monopoly of chairs and by allowing anyone who had given proof of competence to offer himself as a university teacher. Besides the ill-will of a teaching body that was mostly conservatiVe down by the central authorities.830 in 1917-18 to 3.632 to 5. Lunacharsky expressed indignation that the universitief> were 'nothing but diploma-factories'. the leaders of Soviet education decided in October I 9 I 8 to abolish the examination system.892.783 in 1918-19Y This progress.udents were explicitly urged to 'come out openly and cour geousy m ?efence of their interests'. and . 162 Anttetpatmg demands that the events of 1968 were to popularize in France. This dec ee hd e result of increasing the numbers enrolled at Moscow Uruverstty. limited as it was. while the Government was publishing cheap books for the education of the masses. 165 and sought to remedy this state of affairs. A decree of December 1918 abolished fees for university education and opened the universities wide to new students. A decree of May 1918 introduced in outlook ' the chief obstacle in the way of the plans f. and an attempt was made to subject the teaching body to regular renovation. a few months later' other instructions were ctrculated that pursued the aims of combining school work with productive manual work and of making education both polytechnical and collective (with the formation of groups for research and reading).Il aof ensuring wide freedom of creativity for the pupils. and. reforms that are still revolutionary half a century later. together with representatives of the local workers' organizations.387 at the beginning of September 1917 to 62. LENINISM UNDER LENIN .168 and where civil war had in many respects destroyd the foundations of culture and civilization.. Academic titles were abolished. Anticipating the criticisms made in our own time.238 in the school year 1918-19. . At the university level the People's Commissariat also undertook pioneering work.167 .or educational co-edu. even compared with Tsarist times (1897). and secondary 0 schools had increased from 1.' 169 Yet the number of primary schools in 26 provinces of Russia had increased from 38. and also of the pupils of twelve years of age and over. teachers who had held their positions for fifteen years being obliged to resign. reflected the substantial but still 332 .. m one academic year. from 2. as e. our progress has been far too slow. decreed that each school be governed by a 'collective' including all workers employed in the given establishment. reform was the general situation in a country where. In January 1923 Lemn ob served sadly that 'we are still a very long way from attaining universal literacy. 166 In October 1918 measures were taken to change the composition of the teaching body and to weaken the authority of the established 'mandarins'.cation in all schools.

in fact.u_ladequate dnve that had been carried through in a society Wll smce the t · · erem ld b the population were still illiterate the ' cou e no question of introducing socialism. far fromhhavmg exhausted its effects. The decree mentioned speci fically that it had been framed 'in the interests of a systematic regula tion of the national economy'. on the soviets. Persons guilty of hiding raw materials or . of falsifying accounts. 172 While the employers' reactions could not be other than negative. rising from the enterprises themselves to the All-Russia Congress of Factory Committees. s owed clearly enough. provinces and industrial regions. 'Permanent revolution' wa · 'f · SOCIETY 333 . It linked these com mittees with the Soviet institutions at corresponding levels.* the attitude of the world of labour to the legaliza con1ro1. so as to integrate them more completely in the state structure. abrogated only by the trade unions and the congresses of factory committees and that both the employers and the workers' representa tives were to be 'responsible to the state for the order.hc fi sthmonths oSoviet power showed. that the complex e \\hde others _went well beyond Its limits. and of other similar abuses. This integration corresponded to the Soviet Government's concern about the anarchical tendencies that were increasingly dominating the country's economic life and that of individual enterprises. grea ma]onty of I1 proletarian society(/): freedom through workers' control t o gh these reforms were important and the changes brou about m many sectors of society were bold on the whole these ght ad a. and so upon the 'toiling classes' meItably meant givmg the proletariat a wholly new place in Russian' SOCiety.nces that te broad democratic moven{ents had themselves stnvmg to ch1eve.' were criminally liable. a. ' re . They _did not have the effects to be ex ect:n frm a specJtically proletanan revolution and the accession to O\ d a p rty representing the working class and devoted to socialis r t ert 1ele s. discipline and safety of the property. the October rising and the establishment of a consti . u I na or er bas d. . products. with intermediate levels on the scale of cities. The final text of the decree arranged for a pyramid of committees to be erected. as the establishment of workers' and indeed were so.

the factory committees. 'the cells of the future society'. rovided that workers control over the production. ere re?ro uce .E. 'they. coming close to Martov's position. very unfavourable. or with an annual turn ver of not l ss thn 10. and had deed figured pr?mmently in the Party's propaganda. m unyan an Fisher. Bolsheviks or not. storage pur . m the C. there was acute tension between trade-union circles and the factory com mittees. and. 308-10. was. Lenin twice confirmed before the thetr grtS?viet and before the All-Russia Congress of Soviets that e 0s evik Government would establish 'real workers' c ntrol over pr duction'.'t It also provided for this conbtJ olhtbe exerctscd either by the workers and office staff themselves or Y t e1r elected representaf · h .E. being agree ably surprised to scent in a governmental document.'175 The doubts felt by such men in relation to workers' control did not necessarily reflect authoritarian and anti democratic tendencies on their part. a mdustn l. ' m mes o . were closer to the masses than any others. 183.000 rubles. a certain 'anarcho-syndicalist' aroma that was to their liking. For the latter. to which they were often hostile.C. He said: 'The workers in each enterprise should not get the impression that the enterprise belongs to them. in January 1918. Lozovsky.173 The anarchists reacted favourably to the decree. The draft also in. . Ica e ow the workers' factory committees were to be integrated m t e new state system. on the contrary. Ives. 26. providing that their decisions could be *Seep. pp. in their eyes. expelled from the Party (he was readmitted in 1919). d d . In particular. Be actu dccr c. agricultural and other enter pnses employmg not less than five workers . abstained when the decree was voted on. most vigorously opposed the concentration of Soviet power in the h nds of the Bol sheviks alone. for his continual breaches of discipline he was even.I. Lozovsky was one of the trade union leaders who. tion of workers' control was far from uniform. jI t This restriction was omitted from th a1 d · I p. will now admini ster'. Moreover. 21l·l. as the anarchists saw it. arty s pr?gramme before the conquest of power. and their official spokesman in the C.'s decree of November 14th. Lenin's draft the rna· I' f whtch w. m t e case of enterprises so large as to necessitate recourse to the delegation of powers Agreement by the ':"orkers was essential before the employers could ciose down an j terp Ior make 'any change in its operation'. commercial. not the state. .BoTs lish entof workers' control had been included in the ..C. of all places. these committees constituted. Lcnm's draft is given in Vol.7I A few days later he drafted a decree to introduce wo kers control m Soviet Russia. banking. has! nd salof all products and raw materials shall be introduced m. The full text of the decree is .* The very day at the Bolsheviks took power. as institutions born of the revolution itself..174 The attitude of the trade-union leaders.. with the factory committees enjoying enthusiastic support from the anarchist movements.1 .

. this was a typical case. voiced the spirit of ins bordi.176 The reason for thrs ost!lztt'workers' control' on the part of some Bolsheviks wa herr convictiOn that the autonomistic character and anarchic actrvry of the committees that put it into effect would hinder the establishment of a planned economy.* Thus 'the Petrograd Factory-Owners' Association decided to close down all enter prises wh re the workers insisted on the right of control.. And Ryazanov who mor than an one else in these years.opponents of workers control faced each other at the FirSt All-Rus 1a . and for their a tlVIties to brestricted o control in the sense of 'supervision'. We're the bosses now. "None of us are working today. and therefore of socialism The d fenders and. and yet he was emphatic on the need to respect the freedom of the press. 187 In the last analysis. expressed the view that the fac. everyone was behindhand with her domestic work at home. it is not on the planes of efficiency or output that one must judge this largely spontaneous phenomenon of the taking . Te trade umomsts who advocated economic centralization won a vrctory that owed much to Bolshevik support. The All-Russia Congress of the Manufacturers' Association. but 'libertarian' aspirations were occasionally to be observed among them.omists a ong the Bolsheviks. you know. I thought she was working in the night shift. held in Moscow from 7-9 December 1917. Some militants were indignant at the criticism levelled against workers' control. and upheld it in the name of the 'creativeness of the masses'.latio 1 and desrre for democra. p. The resolutions passed called or the factory committees to be reduced to the status of ?Ic agencres of the trade unions in the enterprises. withouany mterference m management functions in the strict 7 tells how she was visited one day by a working woman who wanted a certificate from the People's Commissariat of Education: 'During our conversation I asked her what shift she was working in. Larin. and in any case failed to prevent the phenomenon of workers' control from be coming widespread in the first months of 1918. decided to close down all enterprises where workers' control assumed the form of active interference in the administration' (Dewar.tocommittees represented 'the separatist opposition to the re?rgam twn of the economy on a socialist basis'.' 186 Such facts as these explain the efforts made by the Government and the trade unions-efforts which long remained ineffective. 23)."' And Lenin's wife comments: 'For early 1918 . so we voted to knock off today. was no less cntJcal of workers control .congress of Soviet Trade Unions in January 1918.cy among the Communists. Otherwise she would not have been able to come to the Commissariat in the daytime. 334 LENINISM soCIETY UNDER 335 LENIN One of tprincipal econ. The workers were certainly not always motivated by political or doctrinal concerns. We had a meeting yesterday evening.

of the 'dual-power situation' which was hindering economic activity.Isi Some times e. The actual achievements of the factory committees amounted to little oo! nothing. exercising persua SIOn m order to r duce the drmenswns of economic anarchy. that their fate had been transformed-that they were the masters now. As late as 1920 some trade-union leaders complained.. te Government . it erey sought to operate thro?gh te trade unions. where the workers left to them selves. and. at any rate m the circumstances of that time. often showing a corpora t st spmt. indeed. could it have been otherwise. the mstructwns they received. In general. as Paul Avrich says.'l79 There ere certainly a few examples of successful activity. while technically inefficient.sense. sought to form alliances with the factory-owners. wrth the stationmaster like the chairman of a Soviet elected. one after another. 184 while on the railways each station was 'a sort self of republic. these conditions were no conducive to mcreased production. Such preoccupations of the factory committees. by his. By opening the books of the enterprises where they worked and subjecting their employers' financial and commercial activities to supervision. and sometimes disastrous in its effects.did little to centralize the activity over of the factories by the workers themselves. by taking over the management of their fa tories and 'occupying' them. Then. . In the first months of the Soviet regime. 1 8 Workers' control. lived a contamed. referring to the factory committees that were supposed to be subject to their direction. They clung to it. m everyday life and in the very places where they had been exploited. until the spring of 1918. Produc tivity might suffer and the economy experience further setbacks. somehow or other. and. as a rule. There bemg no question of using force. resembling 'anarchist communes'. managed to ca ry on with the work and even to ake profits. exrst nce. the new rulers might express their misgivings and the trade unions en deavour to bring order into this anarchy: the mass of the Russian workers clung to this 'control' and this autonomy of their workplaces. given the conditions prevailing in Russia? 'Almost all of the skilled educated workers available ere working for the Bolshevik Party.ories. ' However. 185 Clearly. Sthe most [the] factory committeecould do was to use up the existing stocks 0 0 0 They managed to provide work. living reality of the Revolution. as. the Russian workers sought to show.I?s .1so But these w re exceptwns. the factory committees refused t? ob y. for in stance. In her reminiscences Krupskaya were.How.1sa Soe fact. remote from the thinking of the workers in 1917 and 1918. identifying it with 'the conquests of October' and the deep. thanks to the weakness of the central authority. they kept it alive for a long time. subordinates'. had such deep roots in the consciousness of the proletariat that it long remained out of reach of the Government's attempts to encroach upon it.182 The workers frequently awarded themselves large wage-mcreases.en more glaring abuses were reported: the personnel of some enterpnses sold off the stocks and plant and divided the proceeds among the selves. the factories closed down. m the Moscow textile mills.

the '. perhaps. raising discipline and raise the productivity of labour. re-establish exchange bet ween town and country by increasing industrial production.' Lenin told Trotsky on the dy of the seizure of power 190-and. controlled and so ialize. thise sense of popular power.which 1 iJnpressed Lenin and caused him to praise state capitalism as _a ·. and stnct accountm_g and c n. The German model implied emphasis· on the card mal Jrtu s. Since social sm was not applicable in Russia in the immediate future.. the surprise of Ictory had passed off.. there necessarily comes to the forefront the fundamental . Yet that was he tasof the molll:ent and. were not calculated to consolidate it. to this end. while proving the reality of the victory that had JUSt been won. Lenin's • JJlOdels in capitalist Germany: 'Yes. tuent Assembly in January 1918-and. namely... basis of modern machine industry. calculated. learn from the Germans! H ist. What was needed.the mcchanisJ? of_'permanent · revolution' had thereby been freshly stimulated. m del of efli 1er:cy . of discipline. and.' 189 336 LENINISM UNDER l. and this reJec wn of all constraint. system of transition to socialism.. 'after the proletariat has solved the problem of capturin power . too.e Germans who now pers?ni y.or. harmon ous co-ope:atwn on the ·.th_e seizure of power in October 1917 and the dissolutiOn of the Consti .geois regime-. moving in zigzags and by roundabout ways.'I9s Germany's war economoffered a.·soCIETY 337 The proletarian society (II): from freedom to compulsion T is xplosion of anarchy. and in this connexion (and for this purpose) securing better organization of . orgamzatJOn. Once the intoxication-es sclnvindelt.Y r·. is something centralized.191 'Iri every socialist revol utio7l ' Lenin said. brutal imperi_alism.E'-:IN . It so happens that It JS . 'I am dizzy. principle of discipline.. s_trengthen 00 task of creating a social system superior to capitalism. because 'state capitalism 199 Ideas about the organization of labour revealed rigour that was more in line with managerial orthodoxy than with revolutionary enthu siasm. besides a. was to wage 'a ruthless strugule against the [prevailing] chaos'. In December 1917. in a draft for a decree on natiOnaliZing the banks.. while awaiting the support that the mternatwnal proletanat would bring to the Russian revolution. At _the very momenw eRussia had just effected a twofold break with thbour. Lenin wrote: 'The workers and office employees of the nationalized enterprises must exert every effort and adopt extra ordinary measures to improve the organization of the work. Lemn said tha_t s ate · capitalism would be a good thing for her.d'.* it was necessary to overcome the economic crisis and ensure the coun try's food supplies.'the Russian working class enjoyed a degree of freedom and a sense of power unique in its history. trol. he declared. practical tasks assumed priority.' And m March the productivity of labour.

PP· 28.. had increased their discontent and rebelliousnes5. Here in the last analysis. in 1914.labour. was rooted m a matenahst vtew of the world.' 195 He went even further. 1918 he declared that 'the primary and fundamental task' of the day was 'adoption of the most energetic. besides a specific response to functiOnal exig. Leninism was inviting its followers to find their economic and social *Seep. calling for the application of the Taylor system. as 'man's enslave ment by the machine'. ruthlessly determined and draconian measures to improve the self-discipline of the workers and peasants of Russia'. 338 LENINISM UNDER LENIN ruling ut appeals. did not Marxism teach that socialism is built upon the foundation provided by the large-scale industry developed by capitalism? Implacable logic therefore led Lenin to call for recourse to be had to the methods which capitalist large-scale industry had introduced and which. and an extraordinary one to undertake in a society wherein capitalism had hardly shown its face and so many sectors of public life still bore traces of the Middle Ages.md Vol. one ?f h1s last writings.hat. character it had possessed at the outset (Lenm. them s prompted by the harsh realities of Russia's situation: II. for solution of the vital problems of social h e-the feedmg of a population beset by famine and the revival of an mdustry ur:de threat of complete paralysis. pp.'192 This was a gigantic task. freely accepted form of discipline. 29. acquisition of technique and k owledge m herited from the past. principally. The experiment did not alway_s rctam the volunta. . In The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government written in carlv spring 1918.ncies. m general. 30. to their po Iti al consciousness and to the moral grandeur inseparable from the bUJidmg of socialism. others appeared and became preponderant. There was positivism indeed in a conception of economic progress and labour relations that was . Lenin called for the application of methods that were those of capitalism itself. When he spoke of 'cultural revoluti n he meant.· which must take the place of barrack-room discipline .He advo cated-notablyinhisexaltationof'Communist Saturdays (su Jhotni )'* --appealing to the noblest feelings of the workers. he counted.20 1 To be sure. 409 IT. tthidealistic elements il_l human nature.. devoting it to unpaid labour.203 Alongside these themes. Lenin wrote: 'We must raise the question of piece-work and apply and test it in practice. Lenin often called for a volun tary.·. but 1t w s not upon a revolution in manners and morals t. denved from a positivist interpretation of Marxism. however. by the classes that had been depnved of t em. 'The task that the Soviet government must set the people in all its scope is-learn to work. was the expression of a philosophy which.' 193 And it was from the capi talists that the proletariat had to learn. by intensifying exploitation of the workers still further. 'a d!sc!pl!nc. ?[o equals . Lenin was to speak of a 'cultural revolutiOn . 197 Only a few months after overthrowing the power of the bourgeoisie.. 364. which aroused the wrath of the 'Left Communists' and the opposition of many trade-union leadersY" Lenin had himself described Taylorism. which were never abandoned. Vol. while not • The 'Communist Saturdays' brought together workers who agreed to sacrifice their rest-day. 194 This was not so paradoxical a situation as it might seem. 288).

Thrs srgmf ed. but. . of the labour market was being effected no longer in accordance with the laws of the market.ocate of such n c.cr such conditions. transrtron :) a •'gime of universal labour servrce can be accompltshed only by means 08 gripping Russia offered no encouragement for experimenting with roads that were diametrically opposite to those laid down by industrial capitalism·· the 'Communist Saturdays' here figuring as an exception. It was to a large extent imposed by circumstances. especially the railwaymen. seek discipline and expect order'.. either. resort to measures of mpulsion proved unavordable. although Lenin tended to think that 'iron proletarian discipline'20 1 was a permanent and natural characteristic of the working class. the urgency of the problems to be solved. even Marxist-Leninist ones. In December 1919 h:p op_o_sed hat the workrng class_ ?e mobrlr cd.cle hr ott. independently of the will of the Bolshevik leaders.: Ill P. by tha med force of the state'. and this became one of the most characteristic features of the period of War Communism. of rational. .206 It was not so much an 'Americanizing' as a militarizing of industry that took place. and yet not on the basis. a5 appeals to goodwill \vere frustrated by discouragement and ysical exhaustion. in particular. Of course.. still the fashion. At an important gathering of trade momsts he put fo. when the organiza tion of the economy. .205 the demoraliza tion and de-classing of the working class* were to oblige him to rely less and less upon such considerations. the stress on the need to establish labour discipline.rrotsky came forward as the leadmg adv. rn xrstmg cJrcumstan es. n aimilitary basis. Und.strictly dependent on considerations of output. that is.rward a senes of draconian measures that he consrdered should be m:posed upon the working class in order to combat chaos.ur es. ultimately. and by persons whose competence left much to be desired? Amid the general wretchedness and hunger. Only Lenrn supported 209 sightedness and a lack of bold imagination which led to the deliberate rehabilitation of certain forms of culture engendered by capitalism. Advocates of cultural revolution. The Government's representa tives. provincial speakers. order and efficiency. denounced the pressure that was being brought to bear on the workers. and even encountered reluctance and opposition on the part of some of them.207 But how could it be avoided.ravda at that time. Lenin's views revealed a certain rationalistic short · coercion. and the acuteness of the social and economic crisis that was 339 JETY . instead. that. The desire to put an end to anarchy and at all costs to get produc tion going again. s. and spoke of the need for 'Americanizing the railway administration'. . will not find in Lenin any solution to the problems that interest them. For. In May 1918. and. which the Government succeeded in mitigating only for certain categories of workers. scientific planning. in a social climate in .. Nevertheless. complained of the anarchistic tendencies that were often manifested by the railway workers. at the congress of the Supreme Economic Council. that 'the proletarians . Resort to a 'scientific discipline' such as Taylorism claimed to bring into the factory reflected a narrowly 'industrialist' conception. one after another. on the other hand. . under the direct compulsion of events. producers could be given little direct incentive. 1 he w?rds of an ar tr. rapidly led to measures of compulsion of increasing severity.

or 'labour-passport'. that transformation of necessrty mto a vutue 111 whrch Stalin was later to excel.the entral Co. idea in itsel? It. rtai ly . of such measures. charged with rev1vmg production. made to submit to most rigorous discipline. which was in this period in a catastrophic condrtron. 'When he . For. a mca. a majority of eight (including Lenm) agamst srx expressmg I 340 LENINISM UNDER LENIN disapproval of the brisk methods to which the trade unions had b subjected. As frequently happened m such ctr cumstances it was to Trotsky's organizational talents that the task of recover. But Trotsky did not confine. and suffer mg frodreadful ':"' nt. w le the measures imposed upon t Russian w rkmg clas can legitimately be depicted as due to inescap ble ecessity.. 1hus ·arose the Labour Armies. I eol gtsts of 0e time.the prol. the orgar rzer of the Red Army resolved to transform soldt rmto work rs. Willy-nilly. The engineers in charge forecast that unless a spectacular change for the better took place.* Already the dictatorship of the proletanat had.212 Thus opened the 'trade-union discussion' which wase shake te Party or s veral months. The results achieved.ns of subjecting them to employers' tyranny. Needless to say.tha erely justify measures taken under pressure of ne es ity-an.mcongruous. Th!s happ cd wtth transport. m this sphere. The ABC of Commumsm. The 'work-book'.etariat. there appeared a 'philosophy of forced labour' that .fitted oddly mto a system claiming to be socialistic. but m so domg he carried the logic of militarization to extremes.rarl waymen's trade union raised objections to hrs actton. Finding himself unable to transform workers mt_o so drers. a doctrine that d1d more. however. to have been fatally ingenuous. In this way. of hts ory.211 Trotsky's exaggerated policy was repudi ted by. so loathed by the workers in the West in the period when it was. to whtch the Communist leaders were forced to submit m spite of themselves. railway transport would come to compl te standstill in the very near future. whose stmpltsttc thmkmg seems.himself !o applying rigorous measures to the railway w rker. and his proposals were rejected by s mc sixtvotes to tw . no:v reappeared m Sovret Russia. 348. the trend was towards mllrtarrzatwn of the working class. did not correspond to the hop?tht l ad been entertained. been transformed into a dictatorsh' over . methods of compulsion were resorted to m st frequently in situations of urgency and distress. Means of defence for a working class wh ch had come to power by defeating the bourgeoisie? Was thi ?ot an .m I lllittee. The courts were called upon to pumsh breaches of labour discipline. with the hmdstght. was also deprived of those means of defence that mtt have mtttgated its woes. the extent to which the working class w reduce? to subjection can bfully appreciated only if it be realiz: !hat thts class. him. and workers who left their f ctories wee treated as de serters: they could be given sentences of mternment 111 labour camps.which egalitarianism • Sec p.was entrusted. '7'hich served .seemed so to man. rdea tZJng. he d1smrssed its leaders and appointed others who were willing to do his ?idding-'_210 He saved the Soviet transport system from disaster.

217 Thts. or at best tolerated. why should the workers take stnke actton when such action. was. that the strike.that 'the time for fine hrases is past. and the time for hard work has come.' 214 A fortiori. con demned by most of the country's leaders. 219 It was true. j I SOCIETY 341 . said that it seemed to him that strikes were pointless under a system in which it was the trade unions thcm scl es that decided questions of wages and labour conditions. in January 1918. However. and the Government . a delegate said: 'it is impossible that we (the workers) present ?emans to ourselves. for example. On two occasions only did he speak out at all clearly on the point.rk rs' union saw the matter when. at a moment when the civil war was in a phase that was highly unfavourable to the Bolsheviks. The first was in April 1919. 343. only a senes of statements by a number of trade-union and political lc ders. and often suppressed. when the Council of People's Commissars published a communique in which it declared its intention to 'show no mercy to those agents of the Soviet Government who by thoughtless and criminal acts intensify the dissatisfaction of the toiling masses . in a situation where its use was justified by the hard ships of the workers and the tyranny of the bureaucrats. zts I *Seep. It decided to forbtd Its members to go on strike any more. instead of crushing the strike itself. No longer does tt devolve upon us to fight for our rights in Moscow or in Pctro grad. to form an exact idea of how the authorities reacted to these mo. argument would have been more convincing if the trade unions had m fact been representative of the will of their members. he took no definite stand on the question of the legitimacy or otherwise of strikes. He then confined himself to emphasizing the dis astrous effects that . deplo:ing any stoppage of work. In other cases. there was need to re-establish m the trade unions a democracy that had by then disappeared from I them. It is certain that the Menshevik 'agitators' who were often active in starting strikes were subjected to severer treatment. Strikes remained a constant feature of social life in 'Leninist' Russia. As for Lenin himself. They occurred throughout the period of the civil war.vements. This occurred during a strike on the railways in June 1918. at the first All-Russia Congress of Trade Unions that the Council of People's Commissars had decided to make a co tribution to strike f nds.. hitherto utilized and praised by revolutionaries. 216 There was no doctrine or legislation on this matter. while not legally proscribed. the chtef trade-unwn spokesman. But it also happened that the trade unions decided to give financial support to workers on strike. m January 1918. must add to the country's economic difficulties? This was ?ow t?e metal-wo. '. the working class has secured its rights and is defending them t the front. neverthe less.s was acknO\ Iedged in a motion put before the Tenth Party Congress. that classic weapon of the proletariat.as a popular textbook during the first years of the regime. Igncd by Lenm and by Tomsky himself. and spoke of the workers' 'just indignation'. Zinoviev even announced.' 213 During the first AllRussia Congress of Trade Unions. itself stepped in to suppress the abuses that had caused the strike. 'illogical' in a workers' state anyway. It is difficult. 21. as a rule. regarded as a form of sabotage of the economy. Yet there was never any formal ban on strikes during the first years of the Soviet regime. a. Tomsky. workers who went on strike were deprived of their wages. in the name of the Party. however. There were cases of imprisonment of strikers for the duration of a strike. declared-artlessly or cynically?..

from your workers' and peasants' government. and also by the existence of 'naHow departmental Interests and excessive departmental zeal'.. did not really exist229 -at least If account be taken OJ_llY of the resolutions placed before the Eleventh Party Congress. so independent trade unions seemed out of place where proletarian power was identified with state power. Mter the October revolution they spoke out against any form of trade-union independence in relation to the Government. In a long article on 'The role and tasks of the trade unions under the conditions of the New Economic Policy'. however. already suffering from want. and advocated the establishment of close links-of political subjection and ideological subordination-between the Party and the unions. 'to imprison several scores or hundreds of instigators. 1922. however. he con demned certain strikes not on account of the nature of the regime but because of the necessities imposed by the civil war.224 The problem of strikes was. published in Pravda of January 17th. that of the status of the trade unions. only one aspect of a more general one. These resolutions.. in any case.P. in view of the prevailing circumstances.' 225 This same congress passed a resolution according to which 'the trade unions should. and on the conditions of the people. the discussion developed on the basis f disagreements that.220 He also declared. means independence in order to support those who fight against the workers' and peasants' government. from the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies? .any interruption of work might have on the struggle against the 'Whites'.222 justifying this line by the fact that state enterprises were now obliged o make profits. as Lenin said. the discussion on the nature of the trade umons in the Soviet order was revived. The Bolsheviks had always condemned trade-union neutrality.228 When. Lenin reconsidered the problem of the right to strike in the entirely new circumstances created by the introduction of the N. It followed that 'the strike struggle in a state where the prole tariat holds political power can be explained and justified only by the bureaucratic distortions of the proletarian state and by all sorts of survivals of the old capitalist system in the government offices on the one hand.. Zinoviev had asked the Mensheviks during the First All-Russia Trade Union Congress. it was still the duty of the trade unions to concern themselves with 'averting mass disputes in state enterprises by pursuing a far-sighted policy with a view to objectively protecting the interests of the masses of the workers in all respects and to removing in time all causes of dispute'. The important discussion on this subject took place in terms similar to those relating to the strike question: just as striking seemed absurd in a situation where the workers were in power.. in ceased to seem relevanc.E. guilty or innocent. As we have seen. he declared unambiguously for the formation of strike funds. and divided the Party. for repression of the current strike movements: 'Which is better. or lose thou sands of Red Army men and workers?' 221 In other words. At that time the trade unions were active above all in mobilizing the orking class and determining wages. during the civil war. in January 1918: 'From what and from whom is it necessary to be independent? From your own government.' he demanded. which bad to settle the quarrel. Independence from the Soviets ofWorkers' and Peasant's Deputies . and by the political immaturity and cultural backwardness of the mass of the working people on the other. deliberate or unwitting. gave only . economic probl_ems became topical again. which entailed a certain conflict of interests between the mass of the workers and the manage· 342 LENINISM UNDER LENIN sOCIETY 343 ment.'223 Naturally. however.

By calling for a 'shaking-up' of the unions he had aroused strong feeling and angered Lenin. Trotsky. The actual place of the trade unions. This first trade-union congress also concerned itself with defining the tasks of the trade unions in the new political and social setting. 2ao On the eve of the congress of March 1921. was. remained open to discussion. while rejecting the tdea of tummg them mto state institutions in the immediate future. in favour of complete subordination of the trade unions to political authority. they were to become 'organs administer ing the economy'. and the 'Workers' Opposition'. Kollontai. during the first period of the regime. there and then. pure and simple. among the country's institutions.partial expression to the real views of the opposin. the trade unions had to be led by the Party:zH although.soCIETY .. tactical considerations having caused them to moderate their statements.s policy had been in force for a long time already. but without bemg pro claimed so frankly. no men tion was explicitly made of defending the workers' interests. 227 In tbe euphoria of the time there doubtless seemed no need for such defence. in 344 LENINISM UNDER LENIN . on the contrary. One might suppose from this event that Lenin's ideas othe trad union question were identical with the vague conformtsm of thts majority resolution. Trotsky. The extreme tendencies were separated by a 'marsh' in which people repeated generalities about the n ed to rest?re wor ers' democracy in the unions. Lenin was among the ten signatories of a resolution expressing this cautious attitude.233 His ideas about the relations between the Pany and the trade unions contained nothing that had not been established doctrine before the revolution. 226 While the idea of independence was rejected. such as ensuring respect for the laws on wages and labour conditions.ongress he included a formula which the Workers' Opposition was to utilize in support of the granting of wider powers to the trade unions: according to Lenin. become organs of socialist power'. a certain tendency to be non political'. Theoretical arguments about the trade unions' place in the state was passed by an overwhelming majority at the Eleventh Congress. expressed agreement With the view that the unions should be gradually transformed into state institutions. In r?ality. after his conflicts with the railwaymen's union.g groups. constituted the two extreme tendencies. and co-operative relations with 'the regulative organs of production'. of the trade unions in the state was thus seen as something for the future-an aim to be achieved rather than an established situation. after forming an alliance with Bukharin. that of integration. however.23 2 In the Party programme which he drafted for the 1919 c. a certain craft narrowmindedness. Owing to 'certain reactionary features.e had. thi. on the one hand. Shlyapnikov and their friends demanded that the trade unions be assigned a funda mental role in administrative and economic decision-making and management. Trotsky demanded that the trade unions be transformed into 'production organs'. In this long list. It listed a series of functions. whlch 231 the process of the present socialist revolution. But such supposition would be mistaken. on the other. with the 'production point of view' taking priority over the 'trade-union point of view'..

indeed. in which Lenin bows to the rejection by the Communist group in the trade-union congress of a resolution reflecting the viewpoint of the Party leadership (ibid. but it was not given the form of a resolution during the Eleventh Congress. Lenin's ideas were not embodied in any of the documents put before the congress.. 306). 236 · ns about 'proletan. though it held a wealth of cont n ucas . norm the mcanta uon unenlightened millions'. to put forward a personal and original conception of the role of the trade unions and their place in Soviet society. But it is no less significant that this idea was unable to triumph in practice. Commenting on Trotsky's theses. 237 owing to its originality and its departure from principles that had already assumed dogmatic form.. it would have led to other dogmas as well being called in question. Because of these facts it was not possible to do with out trade unions for 'protecting the material and spiritual interests of the . 'a workers' state with a bureau cratic twist to it'. moreover.' and from this the conclusion followed that 'it is undoubtedly the duty of the trade unions to protect the interests of the working people . in all those documents. If this clear-minded approach to the trade-union question had been pursued and carried deeper. 42. so precise and so dramatic: 'a workers' state with a bureaucratic twist to *Sec the 'Draft resolution for the Central Committee'. Lenin seems to have favoured a flexible application of this rule. The fact was that his view had come up against general incomprehension. no place was found.. That formulation. he repeated that there was 'a certain conflict of interests in matters concerning labour conditions between the masses of workers and the directors and managers of the state enterprises..' 239 It was highly characteristic of Lenin's genius and of the dialectical character of Leninism to perceive the contradictory relationship that existed between the state and the trade unions.an democracy' and •workers• creat"tvt·ty '. Vol. When. was taken up by no one. . for Lenin's idea. Lenin opposed the notion epitomized in the rhetorical question: 'Since this is a workers' state without any bourgeoisie. :oseremained dead letters so far as political reality was concerned. against whom then is the working class to be protected and for what purpose?' Lenin rejected this notion. Both of The evolution of the regime led Lenin. and constantly to correct the blunders and excesses of business organizations resulting from bureaucratic distortions of the state apparatus. He made this known during the discussion about the trade unions at the beginning of 1921.345 practice. after the close of the trade union discussion. 238 After the New Economic Policy had been introduced. p. despite all the snares of reassuring ideology represented by the idea of 'the workers' state'.* In general. he said. and. pointing out that 'ours is not actually a workers' state but a workers' and peasants' state': the Soviet state.. May 1921. the trade unions were to be regarded as a 'school of communism' 235 and to serve as 'a link between the party and the : . was. however. proletariat': they were necessary 'to protect the workers from their state'. 1t to be found neither in he endlessly repea ed calls or mt_htanza • of labour and 'statizatwn' of the trade umons. the many views that had been voiced in it were embodied in congress resolutions and group platforms.

240 While te civil wa_r lasted. either absorbed into the army or victims of the civil war. and the I unoccupied. for ood rationing purposes:workers engaged in heavy manual work_.241 It is. told Arthur Ransome that the temperature sometimes fell below zero in his department. I have lost the use of my r ght hand for the same reason.242 The conse quences of such a situation can be imagined. the chairman of the Commtttee of State Constructions. the bread rations in Petrograd were as follows.200 and 1. 150 grammes. that the 'black market' flourished. workers. 4th category. 347 rsociETY UNDER LENIN .' 244 In the sphere of public health and hygtene the situation was no less dramatic. Medicines were reserved for the army.Tlze proletarian society (III): the poverty of the workers In the summer of 1917 the Bolsheviks had advanced to ards power under the slogan: 'Peace. One high officialin Petrograd. People bu:ned b_ooks and the floorboards in their flats. The suffering caused by cold and lack of fuel was anot er.245 There was grave need for their services.not surpnsmg. wh!le some transport workers had to be content with 700 to 1.. I 346 LENINISM ·Y: . each ttme that the harvest was brought in. 50 grammes.engaged m ordmary I inanual work. 60 grammes of bread to last them for two days. 100 gra mes. • The inhabitants of the larger towns wcrdivided into four categories.900 calories. the food-supply position improved only mome tanly. representmg 75 to 80 per cent of total food supplies during the civil war years. The population of Moscow sometimes recetved on y. m July 1918. the result of prolon_ged sedentary work in unheated rooms. therefore. 2nd category. Two only yesterday had to be taken home in a condition something like that of a fit... even though they were 'shock wor ers'. In the Donets basin the miners were getting half the calones necessary for normal nourishment. or brain-work of an intensive nature. and the doctors had nearly all disappeared. 3rd category.000 caloneper day. 243 and literally froze 111 thctr _offices. and added: 'Many of my assistants have fallen ill. For two days: 1st eategory * 200 grammes. Hunger was endemtc. land and bread!' One year later. shortly before the introduction of the Ne _Econ nuc Policy the best-nourished category of workers were rece!Vmg ratwns equiv lent to between 1. As for the rest . In 1921. and was one of he 'rincipal reasons for the weakening and demoralization of the workn:g lass. · Hunger was only one aspect of a general crisis. ordmary bram-workcrs.

At the end of the civil war. we_re mca able.tOO per cent of tobacco. in the country as a whole. 251 Finally. and. through lack of food. In terms of gold roubles. The birth-rate on the othr han.000 versts of railway track in European Russia. while the workers. Whereas in 19_16 timber represe ted only 14 per cent of the fuel consumed in Russia. barely reaching 13 pe. A few months later. the standard of living declined precipitously. Extraction of iron ore in Soviet Russia stood at 1·6 per cent and production of cast iron at 2·4 per cent f the pre-war level. Soviet Russia controlled a mere 8 per cent of the c?untry's J?re-war_ coal and 4 per cent of its iron ore. Of the 70.nted to n more than 12 per cent of pre-war exchange. of getting industrial production gomg agam. productivity was down to less than 10 per cent of its 1913 level. In 1920 exchange between town and country excludina the army's needs and those of the transport workers. In some branches of industry and some regions. the official mortality or this disease was 1·5 million. only their housing condi t!ons 2d Impro ed.Epidemics spread easily.246 ' Am nthe workers. the blockade decreed in February ·t918 by the Allied Powers had completely cut the country off from the outside world. it amounted to no more than one-third of that level. whosranks had been thmned out by the ravages of the civil war.252 One of the reasons for this collapse of production was reversion to pre-industrial techniques. and the census was probably mcomplete. for the whole country.. Between the end of 1918 and the end of 1920.000 were undamaged. the total value of the firushed and semi-finished goods produced came to 12·9 per cent and 13·? per cent respectively of the 1913 figures. and did all m their power to guard it from requisitiOn by the state or_ seizure by the workers. In 1922 the workers' real wages were only 30 per cent of te pre-wa_r level. the situation was as follows. epidemics hunger and cold had killed 7·5 million Russians· World Wa.. in a Russia reduced terri torially and economically by the Brest treaty. as compared with 67 per cent for coal in 1919 the corresponding figures were 88 per cent and . as a result of the peace of Brest Litovsk . about 22 million peoplco tracted typhus. The death rate was astronomi cal . finding the? lselves unable tobtam _manu actured goods in exchange for their.21s The loss of the Ukraine. amounted to no m re :than one-fifth of the pre-war figure. had claimed 4 million victims. t anks to the requisitioning of bourgeois dwel lings. doubled. In 1919 the Soviet factones received only one-tenth of the fuel they needed. amo. Contagious diseases that had not been brought under full control at the beginning of the 20th century again spread rapidly. and. Between 1917 and 1922. and over 60 per cent of the country's locomotives were out of use. thousand m the Important towns and 22 per thousand in the country. hoarded It. in 1918-1919.. in particular. Underlymg this general catastrophe was an economic crisis caused by the breakdown of commercial links between town and country-an inextricable s!tuation in which the peasants. rn. . Cholera and scarlet fever caused fewer deaths but affected 7 or 8 million Russians. i At that moment industrial production. . As compared with 1913.. declined considerably. only 15.

000 1. indeed. often worked in their offices for only one otwo hours a day.000 industrial workers. for example. 40 per cent of fats.is how the Assistant Commissar of Labour descnbed the Situatton m that regard in May 1921. Military require ments.000 2.255 As a whole. four-fifths of its sugar.486. he would have had to earn 39. who thus often deserted the socialized factory. were a?le to withstand this catastrophe. accou ted fot reequarters of the country's production of coal. Besides the extensive damage done by actual operations in Russia and the Ukraine the civil war also cut. An average worker. moreover.' and in 1920 they were 50 per cent nd 36 _rer cent.024.000 1.253 The peasants.off f om Soviet Russia such precious sourcs of supply as Caucasia 01!) and Turkestan (cotton). as a result of Germany's defeat in November 19 I 8. clinging to their land and protectm? their stocks of produce by means of fraud. not to men 1918 1919 1920-1921 1922 2. but the very extstence of the workmg class was threatened. two-thirds of Its I_ron ore. Between 1918 and 1922 this number declined as follows: and then the civil war.256 The Soviet worker. had the gravest consequences.000 roubles a month. 249 The Germans also occupied ther portions of Russia's territory. He 348 LENINISM UNDER LENtN IETY 349 . 40 per cent of soap and Absenteeism. enJoyed absolute priority. the civil war brought fresh destruction. To do so. . moreover. In 1920 the Red Army absorbed half of all industrial production. to be sure but poverty was general. absenteeism in 1920 was sixfold what It ha? een in 1913. three-quarters of its anganese _and nme-tenths of Russia's exportable wheat.000 roubles a month.243'000264 tiOn two-thirds of all the salt extracted.!W'"' .035. sabotage and armd reststance.000 and 7. earning between 3. A police report revealed that white-collar workers in Smolensk. was rife in Soviet industry.480.250 When some regions were recovered. He was therefore obliged to supplement his income through robbery. was sometimes reduced to pillagig it as w ll.3·5 per cent. 60 per cent of sugar. in which.000 or 40. for that regim. demoralized by hunger and cold. could not make ends meet. J?is . the produc tiOn of fuel represented 45 per cent of the total in 1913. 90 per cent of men's footwear. In 1917 Russia had had 3.

of the proletariat When. . the stablish reach a temporary modus vt wn where political and soctal power ment of worke s' contrl ?ad sh hen the Government was grappling l tariat made use of Its power at the exl eg class which was obliged to .sion of a workin -class on. tools. 20 9 Above these ruins rose the voice of Lenin.. of having been one _. (whethrhor n etariat its historical mission and all proclaimed the vutues o t e hevik . It was m. owing to the war and to the desperate poverty and ruin. and then a myth-· or a mystification? Or did the frightful poverty. propaganda and e u :a :::ents of Government policy and articles in the newspapers.e :!:af i l:e : ... calculated that thefts from factories amounted to 50 per cent of production. Th . the t these were actually enforced). a society made for the working people by their own hands? The proletarian society (IV): reality and limits of the dictatorsluj. 257 Faced with : . the shoots.ulers were still hoping to its sovereign rights. the trade unions could only pass indignant and ineflectual resolutions. who gained most. the laws themselves. Lenin said that 'it was the peasantry as a whole who were the first to gain.the administration or thpnvl ege-or at least.did all these hide. Russia's regression to a state akin to barbarism (cases of cannibalism were reported during the famine of 1921). in October 1919. the penalties imposed depended . : [¥: r r: as.ge ever to characterize the : These few points are ma eqa e. of the dictatorship of the proletariat? Had the latter ever been anything but. has become declasscd . and ceased to exist as a proletariat'. as .stole from his factory everything he could carry away: transmission belts.Sovlet Rus l. 258 One of their principal leaders. the destruction of the economy and the apparent de-classing of the proletariat·.ainst'purging.rtened \··-that pro ected a Pa.:neme samsocial consideration applied. ' ' proletarian than for the for bou. w Ich b ough . and also sho. but con stantly renewed. nails . of a new civilization. · ' hich the whole of ' h ated Sov1et soctety. When t nd ith the capitalists.y ::s this menace.first. Lozovsky. ·his probatiOnary penod.gm as to be able to secure good jobs m fi that people often mvented lt. ideology. in the penal spherd st c ged being less severe for the '. then. And he concluded: 'The proletariat has disappeared.rty . d in Soviet Russia alone. and gained immediately £•proletanat. sometimes timid.. a workers' culture. that posses {roflife. often awkward.' f Communist Party membership. '. 'we have seen.1 was it not the fact ofbemg a . At the Second Congress of Political Education Departments in October 1921 he spoke of 'an industrial proletariat which in our country. a ecame such an important advanta e -. .on the class to which the offen er e on.'260 Was nothing left. m w atmosphere t at perme d t' the leaders' speeches and the . but without suppressing. . and sold it all on the black market. a hope.

This was one of the original features of the Soviet regime. The new political nd economtc. inistration whose autho ity was still heads of a Gover. d I give up the houses lt occuple surr. Is furniture and works of art due to the collapse of industrial production. d cr. had come to power. If one considers only this I had testified to 1ts power: not on Y 1 tJhewe2 s This was coni1rmation in fact it is possible to see in the taking of power by the Bolsheviks in but a1so 1. ficial.' 261 he was referring primarily . be super .n? becodme the. df I dering them to proletanans. but this great mass peasd of workers controlling the land they had coveted fkordso n. contrasting with many other political systems in which everyday life. . : iet regime. t:ring in large numbers the insti factories where they wor e ' an .000 in the country. It is certainly true that the peasants su!Tcred fiscatwns struc . and the working class alone.to their material position. . .n t luxury and social prestige that less than the workers from the economic crisis. were neither the cadres masters. furs and warmf c 0 es. whose long-cherished aspiration for division of the land was realized at last.000 inhabitants in towns and one deputy for every 125. and m. what was · d· the men. 1 weak and badly organized* nor t e of a Party that was compar t . which was principally to hand over all.nment an f nts who were takmg over the uncertain. stnkmcorm'the Government issued. tutions that had . Such a view would. a of proclatme m October 1917 a revolution carried out by the working class for the I benefit of the peasants. an from the dictatorship of the proletariat. By many signs it was apparent after October 1917 that the I working class.: roused discontent and agitation Though the cns1s m foo supp d gry outbursts were not the rural population is ensured over-representation at the expense of .those signs o co r. In the first place there were the constitutional provisions whereby l the All-Russia Congress of Soviets was to be elected on a basis of one I deputy for every 25. however. . m the first peno o . k hard at the former ru m ' ..

and sometimes better than the most optimistic had e.. and found eloquent illustration in the Red Army. So long as the struggle against the 'Whites' was going on th Bolshevik rulers never failed to find among the workers-haras de worn out. cadets of workmg-cl_ass ongm were very numerous. hungry and shivering with cold as they were-a deg. those with the highest proportion of workers provmg to be the bravest and most reliable. their protests an · an n with the ·t r .lat and the Soviet regime survived initial defeats and many disillusiOnments.26'1 whereas conscripts whose background was bourgeois were kept out of combatant units and relegated to the rear where they carried out supply functions only. 265 It was not admissibl to put arms into the .hese pcasat _soldiers. the role played in it by workers was greater than that of t. whose performance was mediOcre. conscription soon replaced the volun tary principle. this period took up strictly political appointments t The number of workers w o 1!'1 has been estimated at 100. working class. f d dentificatio Sovte the urban masses.e' of support that of en amounted to heroism.ha?ds of members of the former ruling classes. ) ) ') ' t . incompatible with a feehng of pro oun 1 • See p. Thus one of the elite divisions had 26-4 per cent _workers in it. And whereas the proporti_on of workers in the Red Army as a whole was 15 per cent. the propor 10n of workers among deserters was only 4 per cent. qualita tively. Once this had been formed. SO). however. 350 LENINISM UNDER LENIN regime. and his system gave results that were generally satisfactory. In the officers' training schools. 279. whereas 'another division.among the wo kers.o etar. The value of army umts m battle was found to be correlated with their socia_l composition. had only 10·5 per cent. for preference. from among the. 263 The Red Army consisted mostly of peasants. but the soldiers were taken. constituting 37 per cent of the t?tal m 1918.xpected. This identificationbe tween the pr.000 (Sorbn o. 2G6 . h .. Over and above this feature of the constitution it was the social climate prevailing in Russia in the first years after the revolution that showed the position that the working class held in the new society.

this experiment r=me up against ill-will on the part of the estabhshed teachers. workers. and that it' did not depart from the ostracism of the bourgeoisie that had become de rigueur. The dtsappearance of the Rus sian bourgeoisie was also. literature and the theatre the poli ieal victory th. showed that the proletariat still identified itself with the foundations of the regime. a similar phenomenon occurred m a other sector that had until then been no less carefully pr tectagamst any plebeian intrusion. InETY . Their increasing subordination was accompan ed by te grant .Fmally. This was the case. \\hirh constituted a sort of introduc t. that traditional fortress of the old ruling cla ses. the world of the umversities and of culture. so ghto g1ve the work :iilg-class pupils instruction that would open their mmds to all branches of knowledge. he social hegemony of the working class was the complete ? -classmg of the former elites.. and ' that of most of the students too. actt. despite the caste out look and conservatism of the acaden• ic staff. and encounterea hostile. The fact that the Kronstadt revolt 1tself. Th Bolshevt :thorities. bourgeots mon?poly. Te Proletkult organization. b :iiladequately provided for. succeeded in establishing a position among the workers.H·y course for students coming cli. The new institutions helped. then set up mdependent worke s umversities . a . gurated at Moscow University in October 19 9. of en humthated nd always suspect. The newcomers found themselves n .000 members of the upper classes lost their lives.·. namely. who had be come the rulers and owners of today. in which 350. 267 The. was '\videned. ndescending attitude from the academtc staff. to be sure but which became mere cogs in the state machine only after 192i. cohesion and class-consciousness of the proletariat contributed greatly to the strength of the army in which it played so unique a role. to a large extent due to Its consciOusness of newness-the sense of having created a model revolutionary force'. even in moments of defeat and revolt. While the cadres of the army. and. facilitated by the slaughter in the civil war. They surrendered their property and prestige to the pariahs oyesterday.o the conquests .ng t :! iWil initiative. If thRed Army emerged victorious from its struggle with counte:-revolutiOn. even if only a contrario. and its new programn:e. abo ts ung the class b rner between buroanistic' culture and techmcal trammg. to keep fresh this feeling of identification. < What ultimately established. for example. 269 · Upon these ruins was erected the social power of a class whose sufferings did not detract from its devotion t. with the trade unions whose independence was increasingly encroached upon. and above all. had to accept the creation of 'workers' faculties' (rahf'aks). despite the doubts often aroused by Its Ideology.:t the proletanat hac_ won. the bourgeoisie only had the chotec etween resigned sub roission and abdication through voluntary exile. this was.: ·tly from the working class. or at est. together with son:e groups of. too. The universities.* . in intention at least carried into the domain of te arts.of he revolution. far from reJectmg the soviets demanded that they be reopened to the socialist parties. powerfully supported from abroad.ecess to secondary education. were opened to the proletariat. moreover. Targets of the Red Terror. anot er. cc?rdmg_ to a Western specialist in its history.

was recogn.. in which he protested against 'the obvious illegality of this increase'. and directors of economic acttvity.tzed by.ing of a number of privileges. breaking with those of the bourgeoisie reflected the traditional aspirations of the socialist movement. In this matter the example was set from the top by Lenin in particular.27o p While the place occupied by the workers in the state structure reflected their new status. which were also well re presented both on the Supreme Economic Council (where 30 out. wih the ef!alitarian endencies that per meated the Ideals and the soctal practice of Lenmist Russia. Thi was the cas. The staff of th1s Comm1ssanat. along with engineers and other spectal sts. and advocated the employment of certam capttahst methods of industrial manage.equal remuneratwn orallkmds of work. Lenin called.*. comparable to the earnings of a skilled manual worker. not intended for publication. repeated. t? he rank of managers administrators. ut t ese appeals. the tmposstbihty. the a t nttes as a distortion of socialist principles. at 500 roubles. m nt. the People's Commissars.. for example. When a decision was taken in May 1918 to increase the wages of People's Commissars from 500 to 800 roubles. ultimateaim is to achieve . as well as production norms. Party members were obliged to paover to the Party any income they received in excess of that figurc:t Thts was no mere demagogic gesture. the Co missarit of . 271 The 'specialists' to whom the new regime felt compelled to make concessions were paid a wage 50 per cent higher soCIETY : though slight in comparison w th previous soc al contrasts and t se characteristic of bourgeois soctety. inspireby desire to overcome the econo mtc cnsis. and he regarded the o gramme he put before the Eighth Party C?ngress he. 331 352 LENINISM UNDER LENIN Committee of the Soviets. the reigning ideology confirmed their dom· nance in the country's social climate. to the office manager of the Council of People's Commissars. in which trade-union delegates made u between a quarter and a third of the total membership.. as we have see for strengthened discipli e. outpuand productivity. furthermore.' and inflicted 'a severe reprimand' on those responsible. 1917. Lenin wrote a letter. f ualizing wages was one of the constraints imposed by the cnsts :dby the country's economic bac wardness. which was 'in direct infringement of the decree of the Council of People's Commissars of November 23rd [18th]. For Lemn. .Labour merely rattfy ing their decisions.of the 69 members were their delegates) and on the Central Executive • Seep. whereby trade-umon ? ctals and activists were raised. It was they who fixed the level of wages and working conditions. who took the initiative in fixing the monthly wage for the highest in the land. were practically appointed by the trade unions. did not prevent the Implantation and development of attitudes and values which.

a popular text ook circulated by the Party..'278 Only with the coming of N. 1t should than that received by the members of the Government. The fa t. pp. T erws then observed. and especially by introducing piece r tes. however. including material incentives.E. aHd that Leninism strove against all odds to shape to Its wishes in the years following 1917. Vol. didspectacul r differentiation in wages develop. 27 2 be the ruling class politically. 37-8.275 and this increased differentiation. The answer is all the harder to give because the very concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat was never defined witany de ee of precision.. Whereas in August 1917 the ratio between unskilled and I skilled workers' wages was I :2·32. to 1:1·19 and by 1920 to l :1·04. either by Marx or Engels or by Lenm or other s ctaltst theoreticians.to expressing confidence in the political and administrative . 42. public transport and clec tnct y. II. Vol.m December 1917 that 'it could not be expected that the rural proletanat would be clearly and firmly conscious of its ointerests. and only much later.re never described. pp.P.' 279 Was the proletanat actual!.s. *Seep. 274 Eventually.ervices. ulttmately.273 This egalitarianism clashed. werp ovtded free of charge. m the Stalm period. also helped to limit the process of dlfferenttat10n. though this was restrained by an aspiration towards equality that nobody repudiated in principle-and also by the frequent replacement of money wages by payment in kind. Only the [urban] working class could be .The ABC of Communism. That the working class held a very important place in Sov et society is thus beyond :lispute. 1918. in a number of sectors. in State and Revolutwn.of abstrac tions to enter that of political reality. such as the post.Lenin.. it had fallen by June 1st. Lenin confined himself. While speaking of a workers' and peasants' state. 336. This was Lenm's view. stated: 'it remains our fundamental pohcy to work or a system of equal pay for alJ. the spread in wage levels came to be 1:4 or even I :5. however. Nothing of the . was this phenomenon to be presented no longer. that certain s. with concern to stimulate greater production by all kinds of methods. ruling class.).. the This pressure for equality was at first manifested in all parts of the economy.kind had h ppened m the after math of the February revolution. With the commg to power of the Bolsheviks the dictatorship of the proletariat left the ealm . t Carr. aa y rate. though? Did Soviet Russia experience in that penod a system that could properly be descr!bed as _'the dictatorshiof the proletariat'? Upon the answer to thts questwn depend. The dwelling-space at the disposal of People's Commissars was also restricted to one room for each person in the household (ibid. the view to be taken of the society that arose on the rums of the oJd regime. a growing differentiatiOn m wages. 198 ff.as a re ret table necessity dictated by circumstances but a om t?1g requtred by the proletarian (as against the 'petty-bourgeOis) spmt. he satd . The proletanat should be ome the ruling class in the sense of being the leader of all who :vork. The mechanisms and structures of such dtctatorshtp e.

in Lenin's view. in what way would th·0 state power be dictatorial? Did that imply the use of terror the den· 1 of any political rights to the dispossessed class.er 1920 '_the period of transition from capitalism to com mumsm as a penod marked by 'the leadership of that class which is the ony class apitalism has trained for large-scale production'. It was. 2s1 Ma Ists had used the e'dictatorship' for domination by the bour geoisie even though this dtd not exclude either the rule of law or the existence of political freedoms which the proletariat could use in order to prepare its own accession to power. But it mi ht also produce less rigorous system-the sme q_ua non always bemg an organized leadership.-on the ontrary. to the Pans C mm ne. while not excluding any of the c?nditiOns mentiOned. This meant then that the proletarian dictatorship could assume a variety of forms. p.t Nothmg had * In 1922 and 1923 the ratio between maximum and minimum rates of pay was nearly 80:1 (Dewar.' Cir cumstances might cause it to appear in its severest form with the most draconian ma ifestations. military and economic educational and administrative-against the forces and traditions of the old society.tble the Marxist prospect of the withering away of the state. d1d not necessarily require their presence. either. 354 LENINISM UNDER LENfN sOCIETY 355 been sad bout the meth_ods of government that would make the proletanat ztself the eal Wielder of state power. something that could be defined as road!and vag ely as It was by Lenin in his 'Left-Wing' Communism: The dictatorship of thproletariat means a persistent struggle bloody and bloodless. as te first form-imperfect but authentic-of the prole nan dic_tatorship are sufficient to rule out this assumption. abolition of universal suffrage. and especmlly those made by Engels and Lenin. . Lenin himself.capactttes of the working class. evidently accepting this mterpretatwn of the dtctatorship of the proletariat. t Seep· 193.' 280 urthermore. vwlent and peaceful. Again. of SOCIy by the working class. did not. or hegemony. 94). form n mdtspensable feature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. 282 It still remamto ?efine the role exercised in this dictatorial regime by the proletanat ttse(f. the abse ce of a 1a rule of law and the reign. described in Dec mb. and outlining a schema that made plaus. sparing it the need t resort to any delegatiOn of authority. The ? ctatorship_ of the I?roletariat. t?e victori?us proleta iat. and so of the_ el ctoral nghts of the bourgeoisie. achieved through an arrangement of pohttcal structures and relations between classes such that the influence formerly wielded by the bourgeoisie was transferred to. of revolutionary 'tyranny'? The referenc mae by Marx.

The drctatorsh1p . leave no room for doubt of his iew on _this point. however. quasi-libertarian cha actr of State and Revolution.' 287 He also acknowledged that 'the Soviets. 'government' (if we ignore the formal significance of t. but not by the working people as a whole'. whose 'dictatorship'. In a pamphlet of March-April 1919. and in the factories. after saying that 'the socialist revolution cannot be accomplished without the working class. exerted pressure. it is true hat in 1?17 part. wh. or even simply physical.. was alone capable of smashing the last hnks that bound Soviet society to the old bourgeois world.ere wo kers' control appear d before the law that legalized it. paying httle heed to mstttutwnal structures and mechanisms. contmuous -that the masses. I a se.. The prolctanat was actually to govern. Amid the rums of the ProvlSlonal Government and the bourgeoisie. in the barracks and the viiiages.the thesis of sub stitution from raising its head.thesis of identification of the class with the Party prevented .of the proletariat was an ephemeral thing that was unable to survive for long the exhaustion of the political. Was it because only reactionary stupidity could account for scepti •. . by the advanced section of the proletariat. and persisted without regard to officral attempts to divert it. of 1918 the masses constituted the most substantial force m polttics. they are weary and exhausted'. The e were too many examples of submission by the Bolshevik Party to this elemental force for it to be deniable that. with more dynamism and effectiveness than any other factor in public life. Finaiiy. . held in that same period Lenin observed that 'the top layer of workers who actually administered Russia during the past year . in that p nod. Arguina with Kautsky Lenin insisted_that 'it is altogether wrong . ba ely institutionalized _as yet. in a sense. in that I?e. energy of the proletariat. he added at once that the Party had become 'merged with the entire revolutionary proletariat'. are in fact organs of government 356 LENINISM UNDER LENIN for the h'orking people.riod. In August 1919-some littltime after thevent.he word!was. and then to acknowledge that 'our best forces have been used up.' he went on to say that 'only the advanced workers' could lead the rural masses. . there was no effective force in Russia apart from the proletariat. 288 This admission was made in the spring of 1919: the reality it describes had. decisive_ an?.nse.284 Softening the implica tions of this statement.The deeply democratic. without any mediation.· ism or even doubt on this point that Lenin never took the trouble to ustify an opinion the obviousness of which is nevertheless not be ond question? Or was it because the rst expe iences of !he Russian revolution offered some support to t?e Idea of direct e ercise of power by the proletariat itself? It is _certaml. 2 The . in the hands of the proletariat itself. Lenin had admitted implicitly that the dictatorship of the proletariat was a thing of the past. in the vacuum created by the absence of a structured Soviet system and the organizational weakness of the Bolshevik Party. of course. is an extremely thin one. and claimed that only 'a "parliamentary cretin" ' could say this. 286 At the Eighth Party Congress.. however. w_e may think-Lenin said that 'the dictatorship of the workmg class IS being implemented by the Bolshevik Party'.t a class cannot ovcrn '. This period did not last long. and the other writings in which Lenm grves proof of the same attitude... Already before this date. .283 . which by virtue of their programme are organs of government by the working people. to say th. Th re should be between the class 'in power' and Its exerctse of power neither the obstacle of an institutionalized system of repre entatton nor the screen created by delegation of powers.the casthat mtervent on by the proletariat was.

For the scene of the revolution was world-wide. now strove to fill a political vacuum that would otherwise be filled by anarchy or else by the rival forces of renascent Menshevism and reaction. There was. with the passage of time and growing disappointment. 348. and in which elements of proletarian origin held important positions. which could no longer be identified with a 'de-classed' proletariat. ultimately. he declared: 'The dictatorship of the pro letariat cannot be exercised through an organization embracing the whole of that class. 289 During the discussion on the trade unions. On several occasions Lenin ascribed to the proletariat functions and powers that it no longer possessed. guardians of a revolution that they alone had saved from ruin. • Seep. when he defined some of the most fundamental features of the Soviet political and social order. paradoxically. Above all.* The Party. no longer any question of a dictatorship of the proletariat as such. because in all capitalist countries (and not only over here. Yet it was hard to give up this fiction. and the destiny of the Leninist undertaking was decided.. it can be exercised only by a vanguard that has absorbed the revolutionary energy of the class. Their very disappointments were relative to the conquests they had realized and the fruits of which it was. The suppressed condition of the bourgeoisie testified to it.come about earlier than that.. of course.' 29 o It was at about this time that Lenin spoke of the 'de-classing' of Russia's proletariat and even thought it possible to say that it had 'disappeared'. "' Part IV . which was becoming. in the last analysis. on the inter national plane-in the trenches and factories of the crisis-stricken West no less than in the countryside and cities of devastated Russia. exhausted but victorious. in one of the most backward) . Among the ruins of a proletarian dictator ship which had borrowed its forms from the upsurge of the masses there still survived only a few signs of the social hegemony of the working class. however. maintained their loyalty to what they saw as a proletarian regime. was at once the nega tion of proletarian rule and. its safeguard. The existence of a Soviet bureaucracy whose interests were bound up with the abolition of capitalism. the isolation of revolutionary Russia that had prevented them from enjoying. the workers. the ideological justification for the Soviet regime. then.

the Russian working and exploited classes. taken by itself. and the whole of its strategy.''1 It is therefore not a matter for surprise that the activity of the Russian vanguard. of 'the world socialist revolution'. The great I decisions that the Bolsheviks had to take during the first months that I followed the insurrection were also closely dependent on the overall • Sec p. . Zinoviev and other leaders as amounting to refusal to bring help to the detachments of revolutionary socialism that were already active in Europe.. The Right in the Party justified their cautious atti tude by the apparent apathy of the workers in the West. and socialism will be victorious. The Russian began it-the German. have the honour of being the vanguard of the international socialist revolution . 144. It could not be solved in Russia. 'In Russia the problem could only be posed.Leninism outside Russia -. The part depended on the whole.. 2 The Russian r volution was thus only an episode in a larger operation: 'Only the beginning. while Lenin denounced the hesitations of Kamenev. its offensives.* The overthrow of the Provisional Government and establishment of the Soviet regime did not put an end to this discussion.' wrote Rosa Luxemburg in her pamphlet on the Bolshevik revolution. 1 The Russian revolution and the world revolution -. . Lenin said that 'only by a series of attempts-each of which. 1 Lenin would have fully agreed with this formulation. the Frenchman and the Englishman will finish it.. and the arguments that went on in the Bolshevik Party as to whether the October insurrection was opportune related no less to the revolu tionary readiness of the Western proletariat than to the mood of the masses in Russia. will be one-sided and will suffer from certain inconsistencies will complete socialism be created by the revolutionary co-operation of the proletarians of all countries'. for the Leninist conception of the revolution is inseparable from inter nationalism..' as Lenin put it in December 1917. should have been subordinated to the situa tion of the international proletariat. 3 'We.

all events. for in stance. includ ing the richest and most highly civilized ones. m replymg. in July 1921: 'When we started the international revolution .' November 1920: 'Until the revolution takes place in all lands. A fundamental element in Lenin's revolutionary strategy.' 14 Lenin was therefore convinced that the Bolshevik revolution. we are doomed. the People's Commissar for Industry and Trade who.' 7 the victory of the proletariat in at least several advanced countries.f.rtainty .' 12 December 1919: 'The v1c ory of the socialist revolution . it was central to his line in 1917... ·Aga1 : 'The final victory of socialism m a smgle country IS of course Impossi ble.'6 And at the Third Congress of the Communist International. our victory will be only a half-victory.ta 1-'.. 'when we began workmg for our cause we counted exclusively on the world revolution. All our hopes for t_he final victory of socialisi?.. under all conceivable circumstances..* The importance of this confidence of his in the revolution in the West cannot be stressed too much. immediately.nTrotskyi ts. there would doubtlessly be no hope of the ultimate victory of our revolution if it were to remain alone .' tHE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND THE WORLD REVOLUTION 361 subject of controversy between Stalinists a. January 1918: 'That the Socialist revolutiOn m Europe JllUSt come. is beyond doubt.. or at least very quickly.re oun ed on this ce. ar?used L nin's anger by saying: 'the West is shamefully quiet. in this period.g the revolutionary readiness of the European pro letanat. apparently a matter of domes tic poht cal?ne.360 LENINISM UNOER Ll:\1'-.. '5 Whenever. with .'lo March 1918: 'Regarded from the world-historical point of \'iew. We know that it is mevitable . si!uation of the. and to a lare extent dictated the decision to launch the decisive struggle agamst the Russian bourgeoisie. can only be regarded as final when It becomes 13 Ists. Before the revolution... This was obviously the case With the question of the Brest-Litovsk peace. and even after it. Lenm hit back very sharply at such pessimism. perhaps still less. by Nogin. we thought: either revolution breaks out in thother countries.: 'We believe in the revolution in the West. giving this as a reason for reaching agreement With the moderate socialist parties. and will come. if the Germarevolution does not come. This was the line taken. after praising the struggle being waoed b!' 'the revolutionary sailors of the German navy' and by the Spa. for instance. a sceptical view was ex pres ed rega:din.. On the third anni ersary of the seizure of power he said. declared. Lenm. Lenin acknowledged this fact without the slightest ambiguity. '11 And again: 'At.. revolutionary movement. But the controversy a.bout rming a coalition government. Supporters of the coalitiOn Idea argued from the isolated position of the Bolsheviks othe world scale.Here is a brief selection. Looking back on that period. it was clear to us that without the support of the international world revolu tion the victory of the proletarian revolution was impossible. also had an international dimension. or we must pensh..

Vol. after the e d Thus. and appearance of a sense that the period of revolutionary offensives and conquests had been foll wed b one of setbacks was a directconsequence of the peace of Brest-L1tovsk. that the progress of socialization in the Russian countryside was bound up with that of the world revo1ution. in Protokoly. one question to which they are highly relevant is.x I plicitly that 'in a single country . In November 1917. was only 'an essential step towards world revolution'. the Russian Communists were convinced at the outset that of the civil war' the economic crisis brought about an upheaval m.16 In December 1918 he reaffirmed. As Lenin stressed towards the end of his career. with the retreat of the N. in particular. he said that 'our ma1 difficulties ..E. Soviet policy. Poor Peasants' Committees and Communes. for example. with aban donment of his 'libertarian' ideas.' It seems to me that the sharp decline in Lenin's optimism. 1" And the connexion between the Russian revolution and the international proletarian revolution was seen as being so close that the main stages of Soviet internal policy were conceived as responses to the general evolution of the revolutionary movement in Europe. we could not carry out the soc1ahst I • Seep. "\ . 27. . This link with the situation outside Russia was loosened only as the Soviet power became obliged to respond to internal forces and to restrict its direct activity to Rus ia.revolution. and to the anarchist Ghe (Lenin. of course. the *See his reply to Stalin.. 171-2. The consequences of this defeat were to be felt in all sectors of public life in Soviet Russia itself. . Lenin explained to the All-Russia Congress of Peasant Soviets that 'full implementation' of the law on land promulgated by the new government was conditional upon 'close alliance of the working and exploited peasantry with the work ing class-the proletariat-in all the advanced countries'.. that of 'socialism in one country'. p. Many quotations could be given to show this. have been due to the fact that the West European capi 18 talists managed to bring the war to an end and stave off. I The claim to be able to build a complete sociahst society m a smgle country was thus alien to Leninism. It was on the i ternational plane that the Bolsheviks experienced their first defeat. 307).. and. . the founder of which statee. 17 And when. 226. . Lenin saw the final victory of socialism in Russia as dependent on the spread of the revolution.. pp.all its 'efforts and sacrifices'. their seizure of power in Russia was pointless except in the context of an international revolutionary offensive. 8 With remarkable consistency.P. in his speech to the First Congress of Land Departments. J . on its spread to the advanced capitalist countries. 'the swift and direct support of the working people of the world' was what they had 'counted on' and 'regarded as the basis of the whole of [their] policy'. .

we shall only make ourselves the laughing-stock of the world . Germany is the main link in [the] chain.'26 Thts ca_u wn was the basis ofhis policy in 1918. than to some others because. .. Lenin ealizethat the pro -letarian revolution would be more dtfficult to brmg off m Central n. As Krupskaya recalls.* He warned his fellow-countrymen that 'if we behave like the frog in the fable and become puffed up with conceit. lack enough civilization to enable us to pass straight on ·Convinced as he was that 'from the standpoint of the world revolutiOn . we shall not need... Only idealization of .27 hardly need. This came less hard to m.·. solely by our own efforts. They made sense only on a basis of those higher forms of civilization for which advanced capitalism constituted the necessary precondition. 25 he took account of the delay in the growth of. 'Better Fewer. one year after the revolution in Russia. expec mg revolution in the West at any moment. he warned: It IS qu.. during those days of enthusiasm 'he was contmuously addres to socialism. 0n the contrary.362 LENINISM UNDER LENIN revolution completely.' 19 and repeated at the commemoration of the first anniversary of the seizure of power that 'the complete victory of the socialist revolution in one country alone is inconceivable. published in the spring of 1921. 'If. except on a very few occasions.he ad taken care not to predict the imminent c llapse of world capitah m. or shall because 'over there the workers have a measure of prospen•ty..' ..es w re. when some of his com d.d Western Europe than it had been in Russia because 'the bourgeoisie Over there is stronger and cleverer than our Kerenskys.th joy .'23 Actually. To imagine. if we obtain a sufficient number of :TiiE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND THE WORLD REVOLUTION 363 world'.Ite Impossible 'to predict the probable moment of outbreak of revolutiOn nd o er ·tbrow of any of the European imperialist go_vernments. that 'socialism in a single country' was feasible was to suppose that some sort of wall could be built along the frontier. perhaps. '21 It is true that in his pamphlet on The Tax in Kind. 'we transmit electric power to every village. any transition stages or intermediary links between patriarchalism and socialism. the criteria that Lenin defined as constituting sing meetings.'22 And in his last article.ay f the st the basis of socialist society and ensuring its superiority over capital ism. and led him to accept the conditiOns :imposed by the treaty of Brest-Lito sk. moreover.' 20 This proposition was all the more valid when history had made an isolated revolutionary stronghold of a country the cultural and economic backwardness of which Lenin never stopped emphasizing.' he wrote.' and also electric motors and other machinery. Thd.' 28 he shared the ervent joy that filled the Soviet capital when revolution broke out m that country. cutting the 'socialist' country off from an international system in which every component was a part closely dependent on the whole. But Better'. His face beamed wi. he wrote: 'We .' But he added immediately that 'it will take at least ten years only to complete the first stage of this "one" condition. were clear and imperative. he envisaged 'immediate transition' from the 'semi-barbarism' existing in Russia to a socialist society. indeed. criteria relating to economic and cultural factors and also to the political process of the 'withering away of the state'... the revolu tionary movement outside Russia.

2 . But Lenin's con fidence in the forward march of the international revolutionary movement was sustained by the progress made by the Comm nist International. of an idea so utterly contrary to it. has spread . he believed in the basic solidarity of the We tern w rkmg class with the Russian revolution. Lenin.e the prevailing optimism about the imminence of the world movement suffered its first defeat in January 1919. After having sup posed. after the death of its founder and the gagging of its best supporters. The optimism of the Russian revolutionaries who saw in the initia tive they had taken the prelude to a world-wide conflagration was.* . indeed.long talk With him recorded that he 'was surprised to find that he did not seem to sha. any more than he idealized the negative consequences of this situation. in January 1918.' he said in March 1920.. and there?y to prevent the isolation of Russia from leading to an psurge of natto al ism? The struggle that Lenin carried on agamst Great-Russian 364 LENINISM UNDER LE tN chauvinism. Hmam tained. together with Stalin's contempt for theory... In some ways. and th.31 In sptte. ra tdly. provides some basis for this assumption. 408. 'The Third International . such as Lenin never indulged in. hopelessly sick old ma '. superiority c_omplex that threatened to corrupt the Bolsheviks. at the time of the Hungarian revolution.U th ught it P?ssiblt.'32 The mutinies that occurred m the Allied troops sent to help the Russian counter-revolution were seen by Lenin as so many proofs of the alliance between he revol tionaries in Russia and the proletariat in the West.talis still stro ger. can account for the attribution to Leninism.. 24 and having said in Apnl 1919. of everything. capi. 3 "W_as thts e_mph sis on a solidarity that gave expression to proletanan mternatwnah. a certain circumspection.sm intended to limit the impact that the defeat of the world revolutiOn might have upon the minds of Russian Communists. that the inevitability of the socialist revol tion in Europe was a 'scientific prognosis'. that 'now only a few months separate us from victory over the capitalists all over the *Seep. and ag inst the. and ascribed to thts the htghest importance.Soviet Russia's isolated situation. who met Lenin at this time and had a. refuted by what actually happened. moving from success to success. however.Is fact determined the issue of the war.: in April 1919 to depict mternatwnal capitalism as a decrepit.. nevertheless.34 he was obl ged: a ear later. dymg. But al!hough L nisti. seeing in it the mainreasonfor the failure of.the imperia ist intervention in Russia: 'the workers were on our stde. both from the military and the eco on11c . scale. and the Bnttsh JOur a list Philips Price. October anniversary were the happiest days m his hfe. never thought of resigning himself to it. Stalinism is merely the ideology of this defeat and disillusionment. to acknowledge that 'on an inter natiOnal.

right down to his death to believe that world revolution was inevitable and would come about ooner or later:38 But ex erience confirmed the caution he had shown m the Brest-Litovsk penod.. the international proletariat of all countries. .* together with renewed attempts to_ give concrete help to the revolutionary movement in Europe.' 13 'tHE RUSSIAN REVOLUTION AND THE WORLD REVOLUTION 365 . 1918. than it might seem.t the most important principles of which were to 'hold on' to the proletarian citadel constituted by Soviet Russia while helping the international revolutionary movement in a variety of ways. The Soviet ower.It IS ot e sy for us . 'maintain our position'.. .'37 He contmued. grows strong enough'.eni.§ ... and this caution thenceforth governed the complex strategy followed by the Soviet Government in its foreign policy. to 'manoeuvre and retreat'. as a •torch of socialism'. In his last article he wro e: '. demon strating the existence of firm and close bonds of u 101 between the Bolshevik revolution and the revolutionary socialist movement throughout the world.40 and of striving to 'maintain our position until our ally. were th_ere fore made again and again. was to 'scatter as many sparks as possible to add to the growing flames of socialist revolution' throughout the world. the help given did indeed take concrete and many-sideform. than Soviet power and the Soviet system. but prepared to exploit all the weaknesses and co tradictions in the enemy camp.exib.n.42 this was the essence of the defensive policy that was forced upon Soviet Russia.' addmg that this was the fundamental premiss from which to proceed 36 He _confirmed this opinion in November 1920. until the West-European capitalist countries consummate their development towards socialism ?'4 7 • . On the contrary. and especially by the proletariat of German. to achieve. at a time when a large section of the Bolshevik leadership still firmly believed in the power of the Soviet revolution to expand abroad. Lenm wrote: 'We are all ready to die to help the German workers advance the revolution which has begun in Germany. '46 And he asked: 'Shall we be able to hold ?n .. Lenin had said that it was necessary to hold on in Russia until the proletariat of other countries should come to the aid of the Russian revolution..s. to keep gomg untll the socialist revolution IS v1ctonous m more developed oun tries .t These were no mere rhetoncal exewse. • • . Declarations of support for revolutionary action by the European proletariat. In a letter to Sverdlov and Trotsky dated October 1st. of course. the whole world is developing faster _than we are. and which had to be adhered to until the coming of external help: 'holding out until we receive power ful support from workers who have risen in revolt in other countries.39 it became only a question of preserving for the world revolution 'at least a certain bastion of socialism..'\ As we shall sec.36 and put forwa d ur ng the autumn of 921 a view that was even more pessimistic: owmg to the present circu stances. how ever weak and moderately sized'. Soviet Russia's response to the capitalist encirclement m w 1ch she found herself was the pursuit of a foreign policy that was fl. as the country where the revolution had been victorious came to resemble more and more a 'besieged fortress'.41 To 'hold on'.le _and cautious. The ?ifficulties involved were clear_ to J.sta dpomt. In January 1918.. The idea that the Russian Communists could uild socialism without the help of an international proletarian revolutiOn never occurred to him.

" '44 What was needed was to 'gain tim. 119.BNINIST 367 2 DIPLOMACY . We shall come to your aid .. pp.In the last analysis.acnfices. We can hear their cry: "Hold on a little longer! socialist proletariat of Russia will. joining up with the other links in this chain that 'Russian link' which had become for the moment detached from the rest. Vol. This phrase is emphasized by thre_e . 276. p.. the policy followed by the Sov_Iet . Vol. The idea was a simple one and was frequently repeated by Lenin. support the fraternal revolutwnary movcmet of t_he proletariat of all countries with all Its strength and w1th every means at 1ts d1sposal (Lenm. 27.. mcludmg thgreatest national sacrifices. The need for Soviet Russia to accept the greatest s.. latter. 1b1d. 28. and one less easy • Seep. t Seep. §Sec p. 23 and 157..Government towards the outside world---the hostile world of capitalism and also the (divided) world of the international. P· 189' Vol. 28. Vol. · th · f the mes. pp. ur f?reign comrades are preparing thoroughlyfor pastsim). 379. Vol. •seep. p. 191). 27. and .368 See the resolutio n placed by Lenin before the Seventh Party · (191S)·'lh Congress · sometimes with great feeling: 'The workers of the world are looking hopefully towards us. 105-6. p. recurs often in Lenin's writings (e.. 102. t. 368.. Vol.socialist mo ement·-had o other aim but to carry further the cham of revolutionary offens_Ive strategy. p.g. . m margm o their revolutiOn. [wh!le] .. Sec also Vol. 35. 29. 27. 5 This was a less humble ambition. 364.

he said: 'Our appeal must be addressed both to the govern ments and to the peoples. about the 'decree on peace'. peo?les of the world.. eT ?tsI de nd in these revolutionary proclamations to the lffi. tc nm a wntten .of dip r. choose to employ the equivocal methods that governed inter national relations-or would it. When triumphant Bolshevism brought proletarian Russia into the 'concert of nations'.yve:e: edprtolehtananhfervou. would the revolution. 0 ave ad thetr day and e.Leninist diplomacy Lenin's foreign policy Talking to another People's Commissar for Part er so?n after his appointment as words the 'diplomatic' tasks a . Speaking. We cannot ignore the governments. repudiating all conventional and routine attitudes. even soctahst revolution was going to d e no onger valid. having become a state..v ry 1 ea of 'mternational relations' to b 1 ' . until his departure from the political scene.' At when 't . using our irreconcilability as a pretext. The bring about the 11 . will Issue a few iJlvolved was one that was not confined to those particular circum stances. 1917. and Lenin applied himself. commit itself to a struggle against the old world in which no diplomatic conditions would be respected? This question constituted the essential dilemma of Soviet foreign policy. as the 'Left Communists' wished. m August 1915 z Durin tthhatd'U ited the .asm cetved . e erotc penod of the Russian revolution forwar. to finding a dialectical answer to it.:.as an internatio al enterprise being carried procedure. and then shut truth from the peoples. '3 And he added: 'Nor must our proposal for an armistice have the form of an ultimatum. and the people's government dare not do that . The traditional th ·d . for that would delay the possibility of concluding peace. prea over the whole of Europe tates of the wod ( . for we shall not give our enemies an opportunity of concealing the wh4 ole up shop. on the night of October 25th-26th.'l This was in th h .

:et t .* and when he e. · Lenin's uncertainties and hes .· wottke the path of moment of the insurrection drew ne o e or . and devoted himself to dragging them out as long as possible. tropose !o the belligerent such a peace. the · . kept his eyes fixed. e states a dem. Propaganda and agitation on the neces sity for a revolutionary war.ee fntyeace' re ec ed be organized amon th evo u wnary agttatwn the Soviet G g e peop!es m order to end the war-or should purpose? Or os r. the natio s antmper!a tsm was mcompatible with nation).a. while according less rigid.foreign po:Cy" ht':'": :O edu o e : When he addressed the Second All-Ru ssa Congress of Sovtets..' 7 The new Government had to prove to the Russian masses that its promise to end the war would be realized soon. it was also necessary to 'help the peoples to intervene in questions of war and peace'.'ithex!sting governments for this .wou . espectally the proletanat of every revolution in order toeputu n m..5 especially because 'the governments and the bourgeoisie will make every effort to unite their forces and 6 drown the workers' and peasants' revolution in blood'. considerations attached to th . which opened on December 9th. kindled by th R( . · 1 mtamthme s of a . The history of Leninist foreign policy begins with the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk. In a draft resolution for the surrection he hd elucid!ted t ont s 1 g up to the October in Council of People's Commissars he thus summarized his views on the draw the peoples of the world . 1917. priority to the need to make peace.strategy that should y st 1 Th matter: 'continuation of peace negotiations and resistance to their mo e revolutiOnar Sovtet power once established ld rugg e.r se. This was why Lenin.cratic peace Sine ' .gtott te . s aughter: As the speed-up by the Germans . Trotsky led the Soviet team.the same time. Lenm. but it was also necessary to give the Western proletariat time to strengthen itself as a revolutionary force and to enable the revolt of the peoples to get under way. .: rt ut c. all through the it pudiating this bold and r h ar. wtthout bastcally re nevertheless seemed to make : b = v . Lenin approved of this tactic.

' Le I alliance from being formed.. who was not present at the civil wars at home and in international revolutionary wars'. with the doubts and Illisgivings of some activists. Lenin. and against Trotsky.9 The time of respite was a time for diplomacy.* Was realism. and It IS m o ceivable for the Soviet Republic to exist alongside of.' 10 This laconic formula defined one of the principal elements in Soviet foreign policy as it subsequently deve loped-profiting from all rivalries between imperialist powers so as the discussion at the congress he went further. o o o mgs at once? The problem negotiations. the Central Committee of the Party had to decide whether Communists.e. 1918. .8 And in his polemic against the advocates of a revolu tionary war to the death. An before that end comes there will have to be a senes of fnghtful col I 17 to increase the division between them and prevent an anti-Bolshevik sions between the Soviet Republic and the bourgeois states. Realpolitik. One or the other must tnuJ?ph m te end. When. upon Germany. this description was warmly approved by the Bolshevik leader.fightmg un Il victory over the bourgeoisie of the whole world IS achieved both. The conviction that imperialism signified 'intensification of the struggle for the partitioning of the world'. to mature). m 16 to appeal for help to the Allies.: 'yYe are . faced with the threat of a renewed German offensive. at the Seventh Party Congress. it was again to the German situation that Lenin referred. made up of subtle manoeuvrings and compromises that aroused the protests of the 'Left Communists'. or e en raison d'Etat.an of . he proposed to his colleagues in the Party's Central Committee that airmen be sent to Berlin 'to ascertain exactly what is going on in Germany'.hvmg not merely in a state. sayi g. On January 19th. but in a system of states. the i penahst states for any length of time.. taking the place