Written: Written late in September 1905
Published: First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany V. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 342-343.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
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Imagine a small number of people fighting against a crying and hideous evil, of which the masses of sleeping people are unaware or to which they are indifferent. What should the fighters do first? 1) awaken as many of the sleepers as possible; 2) enlighten them as to the aims of their struggle, and its conditions; 3) organise them into a force capable of achieving victory; 4) teach them to make the proper use of the fruits of their victory.
Naturally, point 1 must precede points 2 to 4, which are impossible without 1.
And so we have a small number of people waking every body, shaking up one and all.
Owing to the course taken by events, their efforts have been crowned with success. The masses have been awakened. Now it seems that a section of those who have been awakened is interested in preserving the evil, and intends either consciously to uphold it or else to preserve such of its features or parts as are of advantage to the given groups of the awakened.
Is it not natural, then, that the fighters, the heralds of battle, the awakeners, the bell-ringers of the revolution, should turn against these awakened ones, whom they themselves have roused? Is it not natural that the fighters should then no longer waste their energies on stirring up “one and all”, but rather transfer the main attention to those who have proved capable 1) of awakening—in the first place; 2) of assimilating the ideas of consistent struggle—in the second place; 3) of fighting in earnest and to the end—in the third place?
Such has been the Russian Social-Democrats’ attitude to the liberals in 1900-02 (they did the rousing), in 1902-04 (they drew distinctions among the awakened), and in 1905 (they fought against the awakened ... traitors).