Sunday, December 25, 2016

V. I. Lenin: Critical Remarks on the National Question, Parts 3 & 4 (1913)

The question of assimilation, i. e., of the shedding of national features, and absorption by another nation, strikingly illustrates the consequences of the nationalist vacillations of the Bundists and their fellow-thinkers.

Mr. Liebman, who faithfully conveys and repeats the stock arguments, or rather, tricks, of the Bundists, has qualified as “the old assimilation story” the demand for the unity and amalgamation of the workers of all nationalities in a given country in united workers’ organisations (see the concluding part of the article in Severnaya Pravda).

“Consequently,” says Mr. F. Liebman, commenting on the concluding part of the article in Severnaya Pravda, “if asked what nationality he belongs to, the worker must answer: I am a Social-Democrat.”

Our Bundist considers this the acme of wit. As a matter of fact, Liebman gives himself away completely by such witticisms and outcries about “assimilation”, leveled against a consistently democratic and Marxist slogan.

Developing capitalism knows two historical tendencies in the national question. The first is the awakening of national life and national movements, the struggle against all national oppression, and the creation of national states. The second is the development and growing frequency of international intercourse in every form, the break-down of national barriers, the creation of the international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

Both tendencies are a universal law of capitalism. The former predominates in the beginning of its development, the latter characterises a mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society. The Marxists’ national programme takes both tendencies into account, and advocates, firstly, the equality of nations and languages and the impermissibility of all privileges in this respect (and also the right of nations to self—determination with which we shall deal separately later); secondly, the principle of internationalism and uncompromising struggle against contamination of the proletariat with bourgeois nationalism, even of the most refined kind.

The question arises: what does our Bundist mean when he cries out to heaven against “assimilation”? He could not have meant the oppression of nations, or the privileges enjoyed by a particular nation, because the word “assimilation” here does not fit at all, because all Marxists, individually, and as an official, united whole, have quite definitely and unambiguously condemned the slightest violence against and oppression and inequality of nations, and finally because this general Marxist idea, which the Bundist has attacked, is expressed in the Severnaya Pravda article in the most emphatic manner.

No, evasion is impossible here. In condemning “assimilation” Mr. Liebman had in mind, not violence, not inequality, and not privileges. Is there anything real left in the concept of assimilation, after all violence and all inequality have been eliminated?

Yes, there undoubtedly is. What is left is capitalism’s world-historical tendency, to break down national barriers, obliterate national distinctions, and to assimilate nations—a tendency which manifests itself more and more powerfully with every passing decade, and is one of the greatest driving forces transforming capitalism into socialism.

Whoever does not recognise and champion the equality of nations and languages, and does not fight against all national oppression or inequality, is not a Marxist; he is not even a democrat. That is beyond doubt. But it is also beyond doubt that the pseudo-Marxist who heaps abuse upon a Marxist of another nation for being an “assimilator” is simply a nationalist philistine. In this unhandsome category of people are all the Bundists and (as we shall shortly see) Ukrainian nationalist-socialists such as L. Yurkevich, Dontsov and Co.

To show concretely how reactionary the views held by these nationalist philistines are, we shall cite facts of three kinds.

It is the Jewish nationalists’ in Russia in general, and the Bundists in particular, who vociferate most about Russian orthodox Marxists being “assimilators”. And yet, as the afore-mentioned figures show, out of the ten and a half million Jews all over the world, about half that number live in the civilised world, where conditions favouring   “assimilation” are strongest, whereas the unhappy, down trodden, disfranchised Jews in Russia and Galicia, who are crushed under the heel of the Purishkeviches (Russian and Polish), live where conditions for “assimilation” least prevail, where there is most segregation, and even a “Pale of Settlement”,[1] a numerus clausus[2] and other charming features of the Purishkevich regime.

The Jews in the civilised world are not a nation, they have in the main become assimilated, say Karl Kautsky and Otto Bauer. The Jews in Galicia and in Russia are not a nation; unfortunately (through no fault of their own but through that of the Purishkeviches), they are still a caste here. Such is the incontrovertible judgement of people who are undoubtedly familiar with the history of Jewry and take the above-cited facts into consideration.

What do these facts prove? It is that only Jewish reactionary philistines, who want to turn back the wheel of history, and make it proceed, not from the conditions prevailing in Russia and Galicia to those prevailing in Paris and New York, but in the reverse direction—only they can clamour against “assimilation”.

The best Jews, those who are celebrated in world history, and have given the world foremost leaders of democracy and socialism, have never clamoured against assimilation. It is only those who contemplate the “rear aspect” of Jewry with reverential awe that clamour against assimilation.

A rough idea of the scale which the general process of assimilation of nations is assuming under the present conditions of advanced capitalism may be obtained, for example, from the immigration statistics of the United States of America. During the decade between 1891-1900, Europe sent 3,700,000 people there, and during the nine years between 1901 and 1909, 7,200,000. The 1900 census in the United States recorded over 10,000,000 foreigners. New York State, in which, according to the same census, there were over 78,000 Austrians, 136,000 Englishmen, 20,000 Frenchmen, 480,000 Germans, 37,000 Hungarians, 425,000 Irish, 182,000 Italians, 70,000 Poles, 166,000 people from Russia (mostly Jews), 43,000 Swedes, etc., grinds down national distinctions. And what is taking place on a grand, international scale in New York is also to be seen in every big city and industrial township.

No one unobsessed by nationalist prejudices can fail to perceive that this process of assimilation of nations by capitalism means the greatest historical progress, the break down of hidebound national conservatism in the various backwoods, especially in backward countries like Russia.

Take Russia and the attitude of Great Russians towards the Ukrainians. Naturally, every democrat, not to mention Marxists, will strongly oppose the incredible humiliation of Ukrainians, and demand complete equality for them. But it would be a downright betrayal of socialism and a silly policy even from the standpoint of the bourgeois “national aims” of the Ukrainians to weaken the ties and the alliance between the Ukrainian and Great-Russian proletariat that now exist within the confines of a single state.

Mr. Lev Yurkevich, who calls himself a “Marxist” (poor Marx!), is an example of that silly policy. In 1906, Sokolovsky (Basok) and Lukashevich (Tuchapsky) asserted, Mr. Yurkevich writes, that the Ukrainian proletariat had become completely Russified and needed no separate organisation. Without quoting a single fact bearing on the direct issue, Mr. Yurkevich falls upon both for saying this and cries out hysterically—quite in the spirit of the basest, most stupid and most reactionary nationalism—that this is “national passivity”, “national renunciation”, that these men have “split [!!] the Ukrainian Marxists”, and so forth. Today, despite the “growth of Ukrainian national consciousness among the workers”, the minority of the workers are “nationally conscious”, while the majority, Mr. Yurkevich assures us, “are still under,the influence of Russian culture”. And it is our duty, this nationalist philistine exclaims, “not to follow the masses, but to lead them, to explain to them their national aims (natsionalna sprava)” (Dzvin, p. 89).

This argument of Mr. Yurkevich’s is wholly bourgeois-nationalistic. But even from the point of view of the bourgeois nationalists, some of whom stand for complete equality and autonomy for the Ukraine, while others stand for an independent Ukrainian state, this argument will not wash. The Ukrainians’ striving for liberation is opposed by the   Great-Russian and Polish landlord class and by the bourgeoisie of these two nations. What social force is capable of standing up to these classes? The first decade of the twentieth century provided an actual reply to this question: that force is none other than the working class, which rallies the democratic peasantry behind it. By striving to divide, and thereby weaken, the genuinely democratic force, whose victory would make national oppression impossible, Mr. Yurkevich is betraying, riot only the interests of democracy in general, but also the interests of his own country, the Ukraine. Given united action by the Great-Russian and Ukrainian proletarians, a free Ukraine is possible; without such unity, it is out of the question.

But Marxists do not confine themselves to the bourgeois-national standpoint. For several decades a well-defined process of accelerated economic development has been going on in the South, i. e., the Ukraine, attracting hundreds of thousands of peasants and workers from Great Russia to the capitalist farms, mines, and cities. The “assimilation”—within these limits—of the Great-Russian and Ukrainian proletariat is an indisputable fact. And this fact is undoubtedly progressive. Capitalism is replacing the ignorant, conservative, settled muzhik of the Great-Russian or Ukrainian backwoods with a mobile proletarian whose conditions of life break down specifically national narrow-mindedness, both Great-Russian and Ukrainian. Even if we assume that, in time, there will be a state frontier between Great Russia and the Ukraine, the historically progressive nature of the “assimilation” of the Great-Russian and Ukrainian workers will be as undoubted as the progressive nature of the grinding down of nations in America. The freer the Ukraine and Great Russia become, the more extensive and more rapid will be the development of capitalism, which will still more powerfully attract the workers, the working masses of all nations from all regions of the state and from all the neighbouring states (should Russia become a neighbouring state in relation to the Ukraine) to the cities, the mines, and the factories.

Mr. Lev Yurkevich acts like a real bourgeois, and a short-sighted, narrow-minded, obtuse bourgeois at that, i. e., like a philistine, when he dismisses the benefits to be gained from, the intercourse, amalgamation and assimilation of the proletariat of the two nations, for the sake of the momentary success of the Ukrainian national cause (sprava). The national cause comes first and the proletarian cause second, the bourgeois nationalists say, with the Yurkeviches, Dontsovs and similar would-be Marxists repeating it after them. The proletarian cause must come first, we say, because it not only protects the lasting and fundamental interests of labour and of humanity, but also those of democracy; and without democracy neither an autonomous nor an independent Ukraine is conceivable.

Another point to be noted in Mr. Yurkevich’s argument, which is so extraordinarily rich in nationalist gems, is this: the minority of Ukrainian workers are nationally conscious, he says; “the majority are still under the influence of Russian culture” (bilshist perebuvaye shche pid vplyvom rosiiskoi kultury).

Contraposing Ukrainian culture as a whole to Great-Russian culture as a whole, when speaking of the proletariat, is a gross betrayal of the proletariat’s interests for the benefit of bourgeois nationalism.

There are two nations in every modern nation—we say to all nationalist-socialists. There are two national cultures in every national culture. There is the Great-Russian culture of the Purishkeviches, Guchkovs and Struves—but there is also the Great-Russian culture typified in the names of Chernyshevsky and Plekhanov. There are the same two cultures in the Ukraine as there are in Germany, in France, in England, among the Jews, and so forth. If the majority of the Ukrainian workers are under the influence of Great-Russian culture, we also know definitely that the ideas of Great-Russian democracy and Social-Democracy operate parallel with the Great-Russian clerical and bourgeois culture. In fighting the latter kind of “culture”, the Ukrainian Marxist will always bring the former into focus, and say to his workers: “We must snatch at, make use of, and develop to the utmost every opportunity for intercourse with the Great-Russian class-conscious workers, with their literature and with their range of ideas; the fundamental interests of both the Ukrainian and the Great-Russian working-class movements demand it.”

If a Ukrainian Marxist allows himself to be swayed by his quite legitimate and natural hatred of the Great-Russian oppressors to such a degree that he transfers even a particle of this hatred, even if it be only estrangement, to the proletarian culture and proletarian cause of the Great-Russian workers, then such a Marxist will get bogged down in bourgeois nationalism. Similarly, the Great-Russian Marxist will be bogged down, not only in bourgeois, but also in Black-Hundred nationalism, if he loses sight, even for a moment, of the demand for complete equality for the Ukrainians, or of their right to form an independent state.

The Great-Russian and Ukrainian workers must work together, and, as long as they live in a single state, act in the closest organisational unity and concert, towards a common or international culture of the proletarian movement, displaying absolute tolerance in the question of the language in which propaganda is conducted, and in the purely local or purely national details of that propaganda. This is the imperative demand of Marxism. All advocacy of the segregation of the workers of one nation from those of another, all attacks upon Marxist “assimilation”, or attempts, where the proletariat is concerned, to contrapose one national culture as a whole to another allegedly integral national culture, and so forth, is bourgeois nationalism, against which it is essential to wage a ruthless struggle.


[1] Pale of Settlement—districts in tsarist Russia where Jews were permitted permanent residence.

[2] Numerus clausus—the numerical restriction imposed in tsarist Russia on admission of Jews to the state secondary and higher educational establishments, to employment at factories and offices, and the professions.


The question of the “national culture” slogan is of enormous importance to Marxists, not only because it determines the ideological content of all our propaganda and agitation on the national question, as distinct from bourgeois propaganda, but also because the entire programme of the much-discussed cultural-national autonomy is based on this slogan.

The main and fundamental flaw in this programme is that it aims at introducing the most refined, most absolute and most extreme nationalism. The gist of this programme is that every citizen registers as belonging to a particular nation, and every nation constitutes a legal entity with the right to impose compulsory taxation on its members, with national parliaments (Diets) and national secretaries of state (ministers).

Such an idea, applied to the national question, resembles Proudhon’s idea, as applied to capitalism. Not abolishing capitalism and its basis—commodity production—but purging that basis of abuses, of excrescences, and so forth; not abolishing exchange and exchange value, but, on the contrary, making it “constitutional”, universal, absolute, “fair”, and free of fluctuations, crises and abuses—such was Proudhon’s idea.

Just as Proudhon was petty-bourgeois, and his theory converted exchange and commodity production into an absolute category and exalted them as the acme of perfection, so is the theory and programme of “cultural-national autonomy” petty bourgeois, for it converts bourgeois nationalism into an absolute category, exalts it as the acme of perfection, and purges it of violence, injustice, etc.

Marxism cannot be reconciled with nationalism, be it even of the “most just”, “purest”, most refined and civilised brand. In place of all forms of nationalism Marxism advances internationalism, the amalgamation of all nations in the higher unity, a unity that is growing before our eyes with every mile of railway line that is built, with every international trust, and every workers’ association that is formed (an association that is international in its economic activities as well as in its ideas and aims).

The principle of nationality is historically inevitable in bourgeois society and, taking this society into due account, the Marxist fully recognises the historical legitimacy of national movements. But to prevent this recognition from becoming an apologia of nationalism, it must be strictly limited to what is progressive in such movements, in order that this recognition may not lead to bourgeois ideology obscuring proletarian consciousness.

The awakening of the masses from feudal lethargy, and their struggle against all national oppression, for the sovereignty of the people, of the nation, are progressive. Hence, it is the Marxist’s bounded duty to stand for the most resolute and consistent democratism on all aspects of the national question. This task is largely a negative one. But this is the limit the proletariat can go to in supporting nationalism,   for beyond that begins the “positive” activity of the bourgeoisie striving to fortify nationalism.

To throw off the feudal yoke, all national oppression, and all privileges enjoyed by any particular nation or language, is the imperative duty of the proletariat as a democratic force, and is certainly in the interests of the proletarian class struggle, which is obscured and retarded by bickering on the national question. But to go beyond these strictly limited and definite historical limits in helping bourgeois nationalism means betraying the proletariat and siding with the bourgeoisie. There is a border-line here, which is often very slight and which the Bundists and Ukrainian nationalist-socialists completely lose sight of.

Combat all national oppression? Yes, of course! Fight for any kind of national development, for “national culture” in general?—Of course not. The economic development of capitalist society presents us with examples of immature national movements all over the world, examples of the formation of big nations out of a number of small ones, or to the detriment of some of the small ones, and also examples of the assimilation of nations. The development of nationality in general is the principle of bourgeois nationalism; hence the exclusiveness of bourgeois nationalism, hence the endless national bickering. The proletariat, however, far from undertaking to uphold the national development of every nation, on the contrary, warns the masses against such illusions, stands for the fullest freedom of capitalist intercourse and welcomes every kind of assimilation of nations, except that which is founded on force or privilege.

Consolidating nationalism within a certain “justly” delimited sphere, “constitutionalising” nationalism, and securing the separation of all nations from one another by means of a special state institution—such is the ideological foundation and content of cultural-national autonomy. This idea is thoroughly bourgeois and thoroughly false. The proletariat cannot support any consecration of nationalism; on the contrary, it supports everything that helps to obliterate national distinctions and remove national barriers; it supports everything that makes the ties between nationalities closer and closer, or tends to merge nations. To act differently means siding with reactionary nationalist philistinism.

When, at their Congress in Brunn[2] (in 1899), the Austrian Social-Democrats discussed the plan for cultural-national autonomy, practically no attention was paid to a theoretical appraisal of that plan. It is, however, noteworthy that the following two arguments were levelled against this programme: (1) it would tend to strengthen clericalism; (2) “its result would be the perpetuation of chauvinism, its introduction into every small community, into every small group” (p. 92 of the official report of the Brunn Congress, in German. A Russian translation was published by the Jewish nationalist party, the J.S.L.P.[3]).

There can be no doubt that “national culture”, in the ordinary sense of the term, i. e., schools, etc., is at present under the predominant influence of the clergy and the bourgeois chauvinists in all countries in the world. When the Bundists, in advocating “cultural-national” autonomy, say that the constituting of nations will keep the class struggle within them clean of all extraneous considerations, then that is manifest and ridiculous sophistry. It is primarily in the economic and political sphere that a serious class struggle is waged in any capitalist society. To separate the sphere of education from this is, firstly, absurdly utopian, because schools (like “national culture” in general) cannot be separated from economics and politics; secondly, it is the economic and political life of a capitalist country that necessitates at every step the smashing of the absurd and outmoded national barriers and prejudices, whereas separation of the school system and the like, would only perpetuate, intensify and strengthen “pure” clericalism and “pure” bourgeois chauvinism.

On the boards of joint-stock companies we find capitalists of different nations sitting together in complete harmony. At the factories workers of different nations work side by side. In any really serious and profound political issue sides are taken according to classes, not nations. With drawing school education and the like from state control and placing it under the control of the nations is in effect an attempt to separate from economics, which unites the nations, the most highly, so to speak, ideological sphere of social life, the sphere in which “pure” national culture or the national cultivation of clericalism and chauvinism has the freest play.

In practice, the plan for “extra-territorial” or “cultural national” autonomy could mean only one thing: the division of educational affairs according to nationality, i.e., the introduction of national curricula in school affairs. Sufficient thought to the real significance of the famous Bund plan will enable one to realise how utterly reactionary it is even from the standpoint of democracy, let alone from that of the proletarian class struggle for socialism.

A single instance and a single scheme for the “nationalisation” of the school system will make this point abundantly clear. In the United States of America the division of the states into Northern and Southern holds to this day in all departments of life; the former possess the greatest traditions of freedom and of struggle against the slave-owners; the latter possess the greatest traditions of slave ownership, survivals of persecution of the Negroes, who are economically oppressed and culturally backward (44 per cent of Negroes are illiterate, and 6 per cent of whites), and so forth. In the Northern States Negro children attend the same schools as white children do. In the South there are separate “national”, or racial, whichever you please, schools for Negro children. I think that this is the sole instance of actual “nationalisation” of schools.

In Eastern Europe there exists a country where things like the Beilis case[4] are still possible, and Jews are condemned by the Purishkeviches to a condition worse than that of the Negroes. In that country a scheme for nationalising Jewish schools was recently mooted in the Ministry. Happily, this reactionary utopia is no more likely to be realised than the utopia of the Austrian petty bourgeoisie, who have despaired of achieving consistent democracy or of putting an end to national bickering, and have invented for the nations school-education compartments to keep them from bickering over the distribution of schools ... but have “constituted” themselves for an eternal bickering of one “national culture” with another.

In Austria, the idea of cultural-national autonomy has remained largely a flight of literary fancy, which the Austrian Social-Democrats themselves have not taken seriously. In Russia, however, it has been incorporated in the programmes of all the Jewish bourgeois parties, and of several petty-bourgeois, opportunist elements in the different nations—for example, the Bundists, the liquidators in the Caucasus, and the conference of Russian national parties of the Left-Narodnik trend. (This conference, we will mention parenthetically, took place in 1907, its decision being adopted with abstention on the part of the Russian Socialist-Revolutionaries[5] and the P.S.P.,[6] the Polish social-patriots. Abstention from voting is a method surprisingly characteristic of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and P.S.P., when they want to show their attitude towards a most important question of principle in the sphere of the national programme!)

In Austria it was Otto Bauer, the principal theoretician of “cultural-national autonomy”, who devoted a special chapter of his book to prove that such a programme cannot possibly be proposed for the Jews. In Russia, however, it is precisely among the Jews that all the bourgeois parties—and the Bund which echoes them—have adopted this programme.[1] What does this go to show? It goes to show that history, through the political practice of another state, has exposed the absurdity of Bauer’s invention, in exactly the same way as the Russian Bernsteinians (Struve, Tugan-Baranovsky, Berdayev and Co.), through their rapid evolution from Marxism to liberalism, have exposed the real ideological content of the German Bernsteinism.[7]

Neither the Austrian nor the Russian Social-Democrats have incorporated “cultural-national” autonomy in their programme. However, the Jewish bourgeois parties in a most backward country, and a number of petty-bourgeois, so-called socialist groups have adopted it in order to spread ideas of bourgeois nationalism among the working class in a refined form. This fact speaks for itself.

Since we have had to touch upon the Austrian programme on the national question, we must reassert a truth which is often distorted by the Bundists. At the Brunn Congress a pure programme of “cultural-national autonomy” was presented. This was the programme of the South-Slav Social Democrats, § 2 of which reads: “Every nation living in Austria, irrespective of the territory occupied by its members, constitutes an autonomous group which manages all its national (language and cultural) affairs quite independently.” This programme was supported, not only by Kristan but by the influential Ellenbogen. But it was withdrawn; not a single vote was cast for it. A territorialist programme was adopted, i. e., one that did not create any national groups “irrespective of the territory occupied by the members of the nation”.

Clause 3 of the adopted programme reads: “The self governing regions of one and the same nation shall jointly form a nationally united association, which shall manage its national affairs on an absolutely autonomous basis” (cf. Prosveshcheniye, 1913, No. 4, p. 28[8]). Clearly, this compromise programme is wrong too. An example will illustrate this. The German colonists’ community in Saratov Gubernia, plus the German working-class suburb of Riga or Lodz, plus the German housing estate near St. Petersburg, etc., would constitute a “nationally united association” of Germans in Russia. Obviously the Social-Democrats cannot demand such a thing or enforce such an association, although of course they do not in the least deny freedom of every kind of association, including associations of any communities of any nationality in a given state. The segregation, by a law of the state, of Germans, etc., in different localities and of different classes in Russia into a single German-national association may be practised by anybody—priests, bourgeois or philistines, but not by Social-Democrats.


[1] That the Bundists often vehemently deny that all the Jewish bourgeois parties have accepted “cultural-national autonomy” is understandable. This fact only too glaringly exposes the actual role being played by the Bund. When Mr. Manin, a Bundist, tried, in Luch[9] to repeat his denial, he was fully exposed by N. Skop (see Prosveshcheniye No. 3[10]). But when Mr. Lev Yurkevich, in Dzvin (1913, Nos. 7–8, p. 92), quotes from Prosveshcheniye (No. 3, p. 78) N. Sk’s statement that “the Bundists together with all the Jewish bourgeois parties and groups have long been advocating cultural-national autonomy” and distorts this statement by dropping the word “Bundists”, and substituting the words “national rights” for the words “cultural national autonomy”, one can only raise one’s hands in amazement! Mr. Lev Yurkevich is not only a nationalist, not only an astonishing ignoramus in matters concerning the history of the Social-Democrats and their programme, but a downright falsifier of quotations for the benefit of the Bund. The affairs of the Bund and the Yurkeviches must be in a bad way indeed! —Lenin

[2] This refers to the Congress of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party held in Brunn (Austria) from September 24 to 29, 1899 (new style). The national question was the chief item on the agenda. Two resolutions expressing different points of view were submitted to the Congress: = (1) the resolution of the Party’s Central Committee supporting the idea of the territorial autonomy of nations, and = (2) the resolution of the Committee of the South-Slav Social-Democratic Party supporting the idea of extra-territorial cultural-national autonomy.

The Congress unanimously rejected the programme of cultural-national autonomy, and adopted a compromise resolution recognising national autonomy within the boundaries of the Austrian state. (See Lenin’s article “A Contribution to the History of the National Programme in Austria and in Russia”, pp. 36 of this volume.)

[3] J.S.L.P. (Jewish Socialist Labour Party)—a petty-bourgeois nationalist organisation, founded in 1906. Its programme was based on the demand for national autonomy for the Jews—the creation of extra-territorial Jewish parliaments authorised to settle questions concerning the political organisation of Jews in Russia. The J.S.L.P. stood close to the Socialist-Revolutionaries, with whom it waged a struggle against the R.S.D.L.P.

[4] The Beilis case—a provocative trial engineered by the tsarist government in 1913 in Kiev. Beilis, a Jew, was falsely accused of having murdered a Christian boy named Yushchinsky for ritual purposes (actually, the murder was organised by the Black Hundreds). The aim of this frame-up was to fan anti-Semitism and incite pogroms so as to divert the masses from the mounting revolutionary movement. The trial excited great public feeling. Workers’ protest demonstrations were held in a number of cities. Beilis was acquitted.

[5] Socialist-Revolutionaries—a petty-bourgeois party in Russia, which came into being at the end of 1901 and beginning of 1902 as a result of a merger of various Narodnik groups and circles. The S.R.s saw no class distinctions between the proletarian and the petty proprietor, played down the class differentiation and antagonisms within the peasantry, and refused to recognise the proletariat’s leading role in the revolution. Their views were an eclectic mixture of the ideas of Narodism and revisionism. In Lenin’s words, they tried, to mend “the rents in the Narodnik Ideas with bits of fashionable opportunist ‘criticism’ of Marxism.” (See present edition, Vol. 9, p. 310.)

The Socialist-Revolutionaries’ agrarian programme envisaged the abolition of private ownership of the land, which was to be transferred to the village commune on the basis of the “labour principle” and “equalised land tenure” and also the development of co-operatives. This programme, which the S.R.s called “socialisation of the land”, had nothing socialist about it. In his analysis of this programme, Lenin showed that the preservation of commodity production and private farming on communal land would not do away with the domination of capital or free the toiling peasantry from exploitation and impoverishment. Neither could the co-operatives be a remedy for the small farmers under capitalism, as they served only to enrich the rural bourgeoisie. At the same time, as Lenin pointed out, the demand for equalised land tenure, though not socialistic, was of a progressive, revolutionary-democratic character, inasmuch as it was directed against reactionary landlordism.

The Bolshevik Party exposed the attempts of the S.R.s to pass themselves off as socialists. It waged a stubborn fight against them for influence over the peasantry, and revealed the damage their tactic of individual terrorism was causing the working-class movement. At the same time, the Bolsheviks, on definite terms, entered into temporary agreements with the Socialist-Revolutionaries to combat tsarism.

The Socialist-Revolutionary Party’s political and ideological instability and organisational incohesion, as well as its constant vacillation between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat, were due to the absence of class homogeneity among the peasantry. During the first Russian revolution, the Right wing of the S.R.s broke away from the party and formed the legal Labour Popular Socialist Party, whose views were close to those of the Constitutional-Democrats   (Cadets), while the Left wing split away and formed a semi-anarchist league of “Maximalists”. During the period of the Stolypin reaction, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party suffered a complete break-down ideologically and organisationally. During the First World War most of its members took a social-chauvinist stand.

After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1917 the Socialist-Revolutionaries, together with the Mensheviks and the Cadets, were the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government of the bourgeoisie and landlords. The leaders of the S.R. Party—Kerensky, Avksentyev and Chernov—were members of this Cabinet. The S.R. Party refused to support the peasants’ demand for the abolition of landlordism, and stood for the preservation of landlord ownership. The S.R. members of the Provisional Government authorised punitive action against peasants who had seized landed estates.

At the end of November 1917 the Left win of the S.R. Party formed an independent party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who, in an endeavour to preserve their influence among the peasant masses, formally recognised Soviet rule and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks. Shortly, however, they began a struggle against the Soviets.

During the years of foreign intervention and the Civil War the S.R.s carried on counter-revolutionary subversive activities. They actively supported the interventionists and whiteguards, took part in counter-revolutionary plots, and organised terroristic acts against leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the Civil War, the S.R.s continued their anti-Soviet activities within the country and in the camp of the White émigrés.

[6] The Polish Socialist Party (Polska Partia Socjalistyczna)—a reformist nationalist organisation founded in 1892. Adopting the slogan of struggle for an independent Poland, the P.S.P., under Pilsudski and his adherents, carried on separatist nationalist propaganda among the Polish workers, whom they tried to divert from the joint struggle with the Russian workers against the autocracy and capitalism. Throughout the history of the P.S.P. Left-wing groups kept springing up within the party, as a result of the activities of the rank-and-file workers. Some of these groups eventually joined the revolutionary wing of the Polish working-class movement.

In 1906 the party split up into the P.S.P. Left wing and the Right, chauvinist wing (the so-called “revolutionary faction”). Under the influence of the Bolsheviks and the Social-Democratic Party of Poland and Lithuania, the Left wing gradually adopted a consistent revolutionary stand.

During the First World War some of the P.S.P. Left-wing adopted an internationalist stand. In December 1918 it united with the Social-Democrats of Poland and Lithuania to form the Communist Workers’ Party of Poland (as the Communist Party of Poland was known up to 1925).

During the First World War, the P.S.P. Right wing continued its policy of national chauvinism, organising Polish legions on the territory of Galicia to fight on the side of Austrian-German imperialism. With the formation of the Polish bourgeois state, the Right P.S.P. in 1919 united with the P.S.P. organisations existing on Polish territories formerly seized by Germany and Austria, and resumed the name of the P.S.P. At the head of the government, it arranged for the transfer of power to the Polish bourgeoisie, systematically carried on anti-communist propaganda, and supported a policy of aggression against the Soviet Union, a policy of conquest and oppression against Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia. Various groups in the P.S.P. who disagreed with this policy joined the Communist Party of Poland.

After Pilsudski’s fascist coup d’état (May 1926), the P.S.P. was nominally a parliamentary opposition, but actually it did not carry on any active fight against the fascist regime, and continued its anti-communist and anti-Soviet propaganda. During that period the Left-wing elements of the P.S.P. collaborated with the Polish Communists and supported united-front tactics in a number of campaigns.

During the Second World War the P.S.P. again split up. Its reactionary and chauvinist faction, which assumed the name (Liberty, Equality, Independence), took part in the reactionary Polish émigré “government” in London. The Left faction, which called itself the Workers’ Party of Polish Socialists, under the influence of the Polish Workers’ Party, which was founded in 1942, joined the popular front against the Nazi invaders, fought for Poland’s liberation, and pursued a policy of friendly relations with the U.S.S.R.

In 1944, after the liberation of Poland’s eastern territories and the formation of a Polish Committee of National Liberation, the Workers’ Party of Polish Socialists resumed the name of P.S.P. and together with the P.W.P. participated in the building up of a people’s democratic Poland. In December 1948 the P.W.P. and the P.S.P. amalgamated and formed the Polish United Workers’ Party.

[9] Luch (Ray)—a legal daily of the Menshevik liquidators, published in St. Petersburg from September 16(29), 1912 to July 5(18), 1913. Put out 237 issues. The newspaper was maintained chiefly by contributions from the liberals. Ideological leadership was in the bands of P. B. Axelrod, F. I. Dan, L. Martov, and A. S. Martynov. The liquidators used the columns of this newspaper to oppose the revolutionary tactics of the Bolsheviks, advocate the opportunist slogan of an “open party”, attack the revolutionary mass strikes of the workers, and attempt to revise the most important points of the Party Programme. Lenin wrote that Luch was “enslaved by a liberal policy” and called the paper a mouthpiece of the renegades.

[10] Prosveshcheniye (Enlightenment)—a Bolshevik, legal theoretical monthly, published in St. Petersburg from December 1911 to June 1914, with a circulation of up to five thousand copies.

The journal was founded on Lenin’s initiative to replace the Moscow-published Mysl, a Bolshevik journal which was closed down by the tsarist government. Other workers on the new journal were V. V. Vorovsky, A. I. Ulyanova-Yelizarova, N. K. Krupskaya and others. Lenin enlisted the services of Maxim Gorky to run the journal’s literary section. Lenin directed Prosveshcheniye from Paris and subsequently from Cracow and Poronin. He edited articles and regularly corresponded with the editorial staff. The journal published the following articles by Lenin: “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism”, “Critical Remarks on the National Question”, “The Right of Nations to Self-Determination”, “Disruption of Unity Under Cover of Outcries for Unity” and others.

The journal exposed the opportunists—the liquidators, otzovists, and Trotskyists, as well as the bourgeois nationalists. It highlighted the struggle of the working class under conditions of a new revolutionary upsurge, propagandised Bolshevik slogans in the Fourth Duma election campaign, and came out against revisionism and centrism in the parties of the Second International. The journal played an important role in the Marxist internationalist education of the advanced workers of Russia.

On the eve of World War I, Prosveshcheniye was closed down by the tsarist government. It resumed publication in the autumn of 1917, but only one issue (a double one) appeared, containing Lenin’s “Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?” and “A Review of the Party Programme”.

[7] Bernsteinism—an anti-Marxist trend in international Social-Democracy. It arose towards the close of the nineteenth century in Germany and bore the name of the German opportunist Social-Democrat Eduard Bernstein. After the death of F. Engels, Bernstein publicly advocated revision of Marx’s revolutionary theory in the spirit of bourgeois liberalism (see his article “Problems of Socialism” and his book The Premises of Socialism and the Tasks of Social-Democracy) in an attempt to convert the Social-Democratic Party into a petty-bourgeois party of social reforms. In Russia this trend was represented by the “legal Marxists”, the Economists, the Bundists; and the Mensheviks.

[8] Lenin refers to Stalin’s article “Marxism and the National Question” published in the legal Bolshevik journal Prosveshcheniye, Nos. 3, 4 and 5 for 1913 under the title “The National Question and Social-Democracy”. Chapter 4 of Stalin’s article quotes the text of the national programme adopted at the Brunn Congress of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party.

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