A Few Words on Results and Facts
|Written||23 April 1913|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 63-65.
The Pravda anniversary must turn the thoughts of every politically conscious worker (and, we would add, every politically conscious democrat) to the results achieved by the newspaper of consistent democrats and Marxists.
The question of results, of course, is connected with the question of whether the advanced workers of Russia are, in their mass, on the side of Pravda. As far as bourgeois subscribers are concerned a newspaper is important if it sells, it does not matter to them where it is sold or whether it serves to rally a certain class and which class; a newspaper is important to the Marxist and consistent democrat as an organ for the enlightenment and consolidation of truly advanced classes.
We are not indifferent to the question of where and how our newspaper is sold. It is most important for us to know whether it really does serve to enlighten and consolidate the advanced class of Russia, i.e., the working class.
To gain this knowledge one must look for facts that can provide an answer to the question.
By facts, different people understand different things. Bourgeois journalists do not hesitate to lie by omitting to cite a single precise and clear fact that can be verified.
“It is a fact that cannot be denied and one that we feel [what feeling people they are!] with pride in our day-to-day work, that our newspaper [Luch] is truly the organ of a good nine-tenths of the advanced, politically conscious workers of Russia.”
It is worth while having a good laugh at this Khlestakov or Nozdryov, and Pravda has already had its laugh. Mere ridicule, however, is not enough. Workers must learn to grasp facts and verify them for themselves so that the Nozdryovs will not be able to deceive them or their less developed workmates.
How are facts to be sought and verified? Best of all by finding out how Pravda and Luch circulate among workers (and not among the liberal intelligentsia, who are liquidators almost to a man). But no such facts are available.
Let us look for some others.
Let us take the figures for the workers’ groups that support Pravda and Luch by voluntary contributions. These figures, published in the two papers, are facts. Anybody can verify them, anybody can, by studying them, expose the Nozdryovs, of whom there are many in the world of journalism.
Pravda has once already published these facts for a half year (see No. 80 for 1912 )—for the first six months of 1912—and nobody can refute them. We now give them for the whole of 1912 and the beginning of 1913.
|Year||Number of collections for
newspapers by workers’ groups
|1912 1st quarter . . . . .||108||7||—|
|” 2nd ” . . . . .||396||8||—|
|” 3rd ” . . . . .||81||9||—|
|” 4th ” . . . . .||35||65||5|
|1913 1st ” . . . . .||309||139||129|
|” 10 days of April . . .||93||28||43|
|Totals . . . . . . . .||1,022||256||177|
Any reader can check these figures by taking Pravda and Luch and can correct the totals if he finds a mistake.
These are real facts that it is worth while distinguishing from the boasting and untruths of Messrs. F. D. and other Luch gentlemen.
Do not these facts constitute a splendid confirmation of Luch’s reference to nine-tenths, made in the Nozdryov manner?
The “nine-tenths” Luch supporters, among whom there are, notoriously, the Bund members and the “upper crust” of the Letts, have not been able, in the more than six months of Luch’s existence (fourth quarter of 1912 and first quarter of 1913, plus ten days of April), to mobilise even one half the number of workers Pravda and the future Moscow news paper have been able to. Is this not a true Nozdryov method, this conversion of an obvious minority into “nine-tenths”?
The workers are surrounded on all sides by such a sea of lies in the bourgeois newspapers that they must fight for the truth at all costs, they must learn to recognise falsehoods and reject them. The erroneous views of the liquidators of the workers’ party must be calmly refuted. But an impudent Nozdryov lie, this shameless corruption of the workers, must be branded, and the liars chased out of the workers’ midst.
The workers want unity in their actions. The workers are right. Without unity of action there is no salvation for the workers.
When you think of it—how can there be unity without the submission of the minority to the majority? Everyone realises that without it unity is impossible.
And so, even if the liquidators were not the liquidators of the Party, the workers would have to know what views are held by the majority. If they do not know this the workers cannot achieve unity of action (because frequently Party and non-Party workers have to act jointly).
The workers cannot build up their own party unless they ruthlessly fight every lie that is told about it. In order to expose lies it is necessary to seek precise facts, verify them and think about the meaning of what has been verified.
Class-conscious workers, those who oppose liquidationism, have undoubtedly taken first place in creating a working-class press. They have won an incontestable, overwhelming majority for themselves. They will treat every lie that is spread about this serious and very important question with contempt and disdain.
- F. D.—F. Dan, one of the leading Menshevik liquidators.
- Luch (The Ray)—legal daily newspaper published in St. Petersburg from September 1912 to July 1913 by the Menshevik liquidators.
- Khlestakov—the hero of Gogol’s Inspector-General; an inveterate braggart and liar.
Nozdryov—a character from Gogol’s Dead Souls; a brawling landowner and swindler.
- See present edition, Vol. 18, pp. 196–200.—Ed.
- As early as the summer of 1912, Lenin had spoken of the need to publish a legal working-class newspaper in Moscow. “Every politically conscious worker realises that St. Petersburg without Moscow is like one hand without the other,” he wrote. “... Moscow will of course have to have a workers’ daily newspaper of its own.” Nevertheless Lenin considered it necessary to consolidate Pravda and then start the newspaper in Moscow—Moscow Pravda, he called it in a letter to Maxim Gorky. The question of publishing a Party newspaper in Moscow was discussed at the Conference of Central Committee members in Poronin on July 27 (August 9), 1913.
A campaign to collect funds for a Moscow newspaper began in December 1912 after a letter had appeared in Pravda (No. 176, November 24, 1912) from a group of Moscow workers pointing-out the importance and the feasibility of launching a working-class newspaper in Moscow; the letter also appealed for collections to be made for a newspaper fund. The appeal was taken up energetically by the workers, but the appearance of the paper was delayed by the arrest of a group of Bolsheviks making preparations for its issue. The first issue of the Moscow workers newspaper appeared on August 25 (September 7), 1913 and was called Nash Put (Our Path).