Written: Written on February 23 (March 8), 1907
Published: Published in Novy Luch No. 5, on February 24, 1907. Published according, to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 170-172.
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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Russkaya Zhizn has raised a ridiculous outcry over the attitude of Novy Luch towards the Social-Democratic Duma group. (The article “Even Here!” in No. 45.)
It is ridiculous because Russkaya Zhizn chose to avoid the issue instead of attempting to give at least some sort of pertinent answer to our criticism of the group’s conduct.
We declared that our group should not under any circumstances have voted for the Cadet candidate for the chairmanship.
We declared that, in its official capacity, our Duma group should not under any circumstances have attended private meetings called by the Cadets and the Polish Narodowci.
We declared, finally, that the Duma group’s conduct may lead to a split, for it follows a line contrary to the spirit and the letter of the decisions of the Party’s Stockholm Congress.
Lastly, we called upon the Bolshevik section of our Duma group to wage a most ruthless struggle against the opportunism of the majority of the group, and to hold steadfastly to the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy in the group.
We have written a great deal on this subject; we have published several articles on the conduct of the Duma group in connection with the presidium, examining the question from every angle.
Russkaya Zhizn raises no objection whatever to the actual issue involved; it does not make a single serious attempt to defend the tactical line of the Mensheviks, who are actually in control of the Duma group.
We were entitled to expect, and did expect, some at tempt on the part of Russkaya Zhizn to show that its tactical line is in full harmony .with the decisions of the Stockholm Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., that this line is one that should bring about the hegemony of our Duma group over the entire Left wing in the Duma.
But nothing of the sort has occurred. Instead of this we get a stream of sorry talk, of ridiculous complaints that Novy Luch is badgering the Social-Democratic Duma group, that Novy Luch is spurring the Bolsheviks in the Duma group towards an immediate split.
Instead of an answer on the point at issue, we get the hypocritical exhortation: “Novy Luch should speak more clearly. It should dot all its i’s. And it should recall the counsel of the gospel: ’That thou doest, do quickly.’"
Comrades! Your brashness is truly superb! Your out cries about a split engineered by the Bolsheviks are the very acme of truth and sincerity.
The only organisation of our Party in which there is a split at present—and a very bad split—is the St. Peters burg organisation. Who split this organisation? The Mensheviks split it, did so against the will of the organised workers and to the gratification of the Cadets, motivating their action by a Black-Hundred danger which proved non-existent in St. Petersburg. And despite this fact, the Mensheviks stubbornly refuse, to this very day, to restore the unity of the St. Petersburg organisation—stubbornly persist in their efforts to deepen and widen the split.
The Bolsheviks fought with might and main against election agreements with the Cadets being regarded as permissible. But agreements were recognised as permissible at the November Party Conference. At this conference the Bolsheviks bound themselves to abide by the decisions of the local organisations; and in every case where the local organisations deemed it necessary to enter into election agreements with the Cadets, the Bolsheviks kept their promise, as a “sacred and inviolable” duty to the Party. The Mensheviks undertook the same obligation; but when they found that the organised workers of St. Petersburg would not agree to follow them in the Cadet leading strings, they split the organisation.
And now they wail about a split! As to the challenge presented to us by Russkaya Zhizn, we can find no difficulty at all in answering it. We have always dotted our i’s, and anyone who has eyes to see with can see the dots.
The unity of the Party is most dear to us. But the purity of the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy is dearer still. We submit, as we have always done, to the will of the majority at the Party’s Stockholm Congress. We consider it imperative to carry out all its decisions. But we demand that these decisions be carried out by the central, leading organs of the Party. And the opportunist vacillations of the Mensheviks, all their attempts to propitiate the Cadets by abandoning the line laid down by the Congress, have met, and will always meet, with our merciless criticism and unyielding resistance. That is our right and our duty. We shall never give up that right, never fail in that duty. And if a split does take place, it will only show that the Mensheviks themselves have trampled underfoot the decisions they themselves passed at the Stockholm Congress. There cannot and will not be a split of any other kind. And such a split can signify only one thing: the final transformation of the Mensheviks into vassals of the Cadets.
“The scarlet banner of the proletariat has faltered in the hands of the Social-Democratic Duma group,” we wrote two days ago.
The Cadets demand that this banner be dipped to them. The day when the Mensheviks agree to this incredible infamy will be the day of the split; for on that day the Mensheviks will cease to be a part of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.