V. I. Lenin

Concerning the Editorial in the Newspaper Luch No. 189

Written: Written not earlier than May 10 (23), 1913
Published: First published in 1961 in Vol. 23 of the Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works. Printed from the original. Signed: P o s t o r o n n y.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 283.2-285.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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...{1} The phrase about a struggle waged by “every available means” does not commit anyone to anything. That is pretty clear. On the contrary, the phrase seems to have been deliberately chosen to justify the evasiveness of the liberals. What are “available” means? Is the leader writer in Luch so childishly naive, is he such a political simpleton that he is not aware that villainous means are “available” to Russian liberalism?? He is aware, but he says nothing, thereby putting a nice make-up on liberalism.

The liberal millionaire, the industrialist Konovalov, who got into the Duma through a gross fraud on democracy (a fine villainous means!), has obtained permission to set up a Russkaya Molva society, with a capital of half a million rubles, with the aim of coupling the Cadets with the Octobrists in the “Progressist” newspaper Russkaya Molva.{2}

That is a fact, and Luch is aware of it. But together with these Konovalovs and their hack writers Luch signs a resolution on a “struggle by every available means”. I put this to any worker and any thinking peasant: isn’t it clear that this resolution cheats the people by deliberately using vague words about “availability”, while the Konovalovs are notoriously known to regard as “available” only those means which cannot seriously inconvenience Messrs. Purishkevich & Co.?

That much is clear. All the activity of Messrs. Konovalovs—and, of course, not the Konovalovs alone, but all the liberals—has provided ample proof that the only means they regard as available are those which do not undermine the foundations of the welfare and the foundations of the privileges of Messrs. Purishkevich & Co.

There was need to attend the conference to expose for the thousandth time (we shall never tire of doing this) the fraud and to explain to the naive, or ignorant, or slow-witted democrats the “gist” (or, if you want the straight truth, the dirt and the lie) of the word “availability”.

This is the basest, the most loathsome, the most corrupt word in the Russian political vocabulary. From the stand point of grammar it is ridiculous to say: “I recognise only available means”, for who does not know that the unavailable is not available? But the whole point is that the question is not a grammatical, but a political one. The workers do not regard as available the same things as Konovalov, Milyukov & Co. do.

Let me take a negative example. The workers consider unavailable “means” like declaring Rodzyanko’s speech “constitutional” today, and to morrow railing about the infamy of the Octobrists (who have remained true to themselves and to the Purishkeviches from October 17 or even earlier).

The workers, a fact I am quite sure of, consider that means and that method “unavailable” villainy. The Konovalovs and the Milyukovs consider it “available” “constitutional tactics”.

Let me now take a positive example.... On second thoughts ... Article 129.... Now, gentlemen, after all you must allow me not to take any positive example in this article, in this newspaper or in this magazine! On the other hand, if I had been at the conference, and if the Konovalovs and the Milyukovs at the conference had promised not to inform on me, I would have cited a positive historical and statistical example that would be fine, excellent, vivid and most convincing!... Upon my word, it is a temptation to describe what is considered available in the sphere of action in general and in the sphere of the purse, in particular, by the workers on the one hand, and by the Konovalovs and the Milyukovs on the other.... But I shall refrain....

One should have attended the conference. It could have offered more freedom of speech than “certain other places”. There the democrats should have been invited to speak out on the harm of reformism—this would have been opportune from the standpoint of the question that has been raised. There would have been two resolutions: the democratic and the liberal, one “unavailable” to the liberals (but available to the workers and the class-conscious petty bourgeois, or at least to a section of them) and the other “available” to the Konovalovs. The public would have read both resolutions or would have heard about both of them and would have given them thought. It would have thoroughly scrutinised them. It would have used its brains. People would have started to make comparisons.

And surely within a short while, the democracy which believes liberal villainy “unavailable” and regards something quite different as available would have started to split away from the section of democracy which is captivated by liberal catchwords and empty phrases. That, too, would have been “joint action”—but not in the spirit of common talk with the liberals concerning the limits of what is “available” to liberalism.

Yes, indeed, the newspaper Luch is being run by loathsome liberals, but if it carries a few more useful leaders like the one in No. 189, the workers will finally find out these “evil pastors”. Carry on, gentlemen, and Godspeed!


{1} The beginning of the article has not been discovered.—Ed.

{2} Russkaya Molva (Russian Tidings)—a daily of the bourgeois-landowner party of Progressists published in St. Petersburg from December 9 (22), 1912, to August 20 (September 2), 1913. p. 283

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