A Disorderly Revolution
|Written||8 July 1917|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 128-130
“The Bolsheviks are to blame for everything”—this is agreed on both by the Cadets, who are leading the counter revolution, and by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who call themselves “revolutionary democrats”, probably because of their pretty little bloc’s daily departures from the principles of democracy and revolution.
“The Bolsheviks are to blame for everything”—for the growing economic dislocation, against which no measures are being taken, for the poor state of food supplies, and for the “failure” of the Provisional Government over the Ukraine and Finland. You might well imagine that an evil Bolshevik had wormed his way into the midst of the modest, moderate, prudent Finns and “misled” the whole people!
The universal howl of anger and fury against the Bolsheviks, the dirty slander campaign carried on by the dirty Zaslavskys and the anonymous writers of Rech and Rabochaya Gazeta all indicate a desire, inevitable with representatives of a disorderly revolution, to vent their anger on someone over certain of their policy “failures”.
The Cadets are the party of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. This has even been admitted by the Socialist- Revolutionary and Menshevik ruling bloc, which declared in a resolution passed by the Congress of Soviets that the resistance of the propertied classes is growing and that it constitutes the backbone of the counter-revolution. Yet this bloc, which Rech accuses daily of lack of character, has in turn formed a bloc with the Cadets and, moreover, a most original bloc, confirmed by the composition of the Provisional Government!
Russia is ruled by two blocs: the bloc of the Socialist Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, and the bloc of this bloc with the Cadets, who constitute a bloc with all the political parties to the right of them. The inevitable result is a disorderly revolution, for all parts of this ruling “bloc of blocs” are loose.
The Cadets have no faith in their own republicanism, arid this applies even more to the Octobrists and the monarchists of other shades who are now hiding behind the Cadets and voting for them. The Cadets have no faith in the “social bloc people”, and they willingly use the Ministers of that bloc as errand boys for all kinds of “pacification” even as they hiss in anger and indignation at the “excessive demands” of the mass of peasants and the section of workers who have now entrusted themselves to the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks in response to pompous promises (“to satisfy the working people without offending the capitalists”) but who are impudent enough to expect and demand the actual fulfilment of these promises!
The social-bloc people have no faith in each other: the Socialist-Revolutionaries have no faith in the Mensheviks, and vice versa. So far neither “spouse” has ventured an explicit and frank public statement, made officially and in a principled manner, as to how, why, for what purpose and to what extent the adherents of a Struvean “Marxism” and the advocates of the “right to the land” have united. Unity is bursting at the seams even within each of the two “spouses”; the Socialist-Revolutionary Congress black-balled Kerensky by a vote of 136 to 134, which led to the withdrawal of “Grandmother” herself from the Central Committee and to the Central Committee clarification saying that Kerensky had not been elected only because he was over burdened (unlike Chernov) with ministerial duties. The “Right” Socialist-Revolutionaries of Volya Naroda revile their party and its congress, and the Lefts, who have taken refuge in Zemlya i Volya, have the audacity to maintain that the masses do not want this war, which they continue to regard as an imperialist war.
The Right wing of the Mensheviks has migrated to Dyen; it is headed by Potresov, at whom “love’s tender glances” are cast by Yedinstvo itself (which only recently, during the Petrograd elections, was in a bloc with the whole Menshevik party). The Left wing is sympathetic to internationalism and is founding its own paper. A bloc of the banks and the Potresovs through Dyen; a bloc of all the Mensheviks, including Potresov and Martov, through a “united” Menshevik party.
Surely that is loose enough.
“Defencism” is doing a poor job of concealing this disorderly revolution, for even now, even after the resumption of the imperialist war, even amid the ecstatic cries evoked by the offensive, the “offensive” of Potresov’s followers against his opponents in one alliance, and of Kerensky’s followers against his opponents in the other alliance, has gained in intensity.
The “revolutionary democrats” no longer believe in the revolution. They are afraid of democracy. They fear a break with the Anglo-French capitalists more than anything else and they fear the displeasure of the Russian capitalists. (“Our revolution is a bourgeois revolution”—Minister Chernov “himself” has come to believe in this “truth”, so amusingly distorted by Dan, Tsereteli, and Skobelev.) The Cadets hate the revolution and democracy.
Surely that is loose enough.
The universal savage howl of anger and fury against the Bolsheviks is a common complaint by the Cadets, Socialist- Revolutionaries and Mensheviks about their own looseness.
They are in the majority. They are in power. They have formed a bloc with one another. And they see that nothing comes of their efforts!! How can they help raging against the Bolsheviks?
The revolution has posed problems of unusual difficulty, of colossal importance, of world-wide scope. It is impossible either to cope with economic dislocation or to break free from the terrible grip of the imperialist war without taking the most drastic revolutionary measures that will be backed by the unbounded heroism of the oppressed and exploited and without them trusting and supporting their organised vanguard, the proletariat.
The masses are still looking for the “easiest” way out—through the bloc of the Cadets with the bloc of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks.
But there is no way out.
- The Octobrists were members of the Octobrist Party (or Union of October 17), founded in Russia upon the publication of the tsar’s manifesto of October 17 (30), 1905. The party was counter– revolutionary and defended the interests of the big bourgeoisie and of the landed proprietors farming on capitalist lines. It was led by A. I. Guchkov, a noted industrialist and house-owner in Moscow, and M. V. Rodzyanko, a big landowner. The Octobrists fully supported the tsarist government’s home and foreign policies.
During the First World War the Octobrists, who saw that the tsarist regime was unable to win the war, formed the “progressive bloc”, an opposition group which demanded that a responsible Ministry be set up, that is, a government enjoying the confidence of the bourgeoisie and landed proprietors.
After the February revolution the Octobrists became a ruling party and fought against the approaching socialist revolution. Guchkov was War Minister in the first Provisional Government. After the October Revolution the Octobrists fought against Soviet rule.
- Reference is to the Third Congress of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, held in Moscow between late May and early June 1917. The Congress revealed sharp differences between the party’s Right and Left wings over certain issues, including that of the attitude to the war, the Left S.R.s opposing the Provisional Government’s policy of prolonging the war. The Central Committee was elected on June 2 (15). In publishing the results of the vote it was stated that many delegates had voted against electing A. F. Kerensky to the Central Committee because he was overburdened with work in the War and Naval ministries, that is, for practical and not political reasons.
When Y. Breshko-Breshkovskaya (“Grandmother of the Russian Revolution”), one of the founders and veteran members of the S.R. Party, heard that Kerensky had not been elected, she construed that as an intrigue and resigned from the S.R. Party’s Central Committee in protest, making a relevant statement for the press.
- Zemlya i Volya (Land and Freedom)—a Socialist-Revolutionary newspaper published in Moscow from March 1917 to May 1918.