Declaration (October 1913)
|Written||18 October 1913|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 446-448.
The text of the “Declaration” was worked out by Lenin together with the Bolshevik deputies to the Duma at the Poronin (Summer) Conference.
At the first meeting of the Social-Democratic Duma group on October 16 (29), 1913, at the beginning of the second session of the Fourth Duma, the Bolshevik deputies submitted to the Menshevik deputies an ultimatum in which they demanded equal rights for the “six” and the “seven”. The Bolshevik deputies left the meeting when no satisfactory answer was forthcoming. On October 18 (31), the “Declaration” was published in Za Pravdu over the signatures of the Bolshevik deputies accompanied by an appeal to workers to discuss the demand made by the “six” of the “seven” and give support to the worker-deputies in re-establishing the unity of the Social-Democratic Duma group.
Our joint activities in the State Duma during the past year revealed a number of disagreements and points of friction between our group and yours—the other seven Social-Democratic deputies. Matters have reached the stage of open polemics in the press; and the last decisions you adopted just before the adjournment of the State Duma in June 1913, when some of the deputies had already left, revealed to the full that the situation had become intolerable and had reached an impasse. These decisions which you adopted by a vote of seven against six, are: refusal to allow the Bolsheviks (i.e., the six deputies) to have one of the two seats on the Budget Committee, and the election of one delegate (instead of two) to a certain important body.
After repeatedly, by seven votes against six, depriving the six workers’ deputies of the right to nominate one of the two speakers put up in the Duma, the aforesaid decisions were the last drop that filled the cup to overflowing.
You are aware that we have been, and still are, acting entirely in keeping with the spirit of consistent Marxism, and ideologically adhere to all its general decisions.
You are aware, comrades, that absolutely objective facts prove that it is no exaggeration to say that our activities have been in complete harmony with the political consciousness and will of the overwhelming majority of the Marxist advanced workers in Russia. This was proved by the case of Pravda, the first workers’ newspaper which was brought into being by the revival of the working-class movement in April and May 1912, and which rallied to its side the majority of the workers. It was proved by the circulation of Pravda, which reached 40,000. It was proved by the collection of funds for Pravda by workers’ groups, the progress of which that newspaper always openly reported. It was proved by the Fourth Duma elections in the worker curia, which resulted in the Bolsheviks winning all the seats in the curia, and which revealed an indisputable and undisputed enormous growth of Marxist and anti-liquidator convictions among the class-conscious workers of Russia as compared with the elections in the worker curia to the Second and Third Dumas. Lastly, it was proved by the election of the Executive Committee of the Metalworkers’ Union in St. Petersburg and by the case of the first workers’ newspaper in Moscow this year. It goes without saying that we regard it as our absolute duty to act in strictest harmony with the will of the majority of the workers of Russia who are united by Marxism.
You seven deputies, however, act independently of this will and contrary to it. You boldly adopt decisions that run counter to the will of the majority of the class-conscious workers. We shall mention, for example, your acceptance on vague terms, of Jagiello, who is not a Social-Democrat, and to this day has not been recognised by a single Social-Democrat in Poland; and your adoption—contrary to the will of the majority of the workers—of nationalist slogans, such as so-called cultural-national autonomy, and so forth. We do not know exactly your attitude towards the liquidator trend, hut we think that you incline towards liquidationism rather than fully support it. Be that as it may, it nevertheless remains an indisputable fact that you do not feel bound by the opinions and demands of the majority of the class-conscious workers of Russia, with whom we go hand in hand.
Needless to say, under these circumstances, every socialist in every country in the world, every class-conscious worker, will regard as monstrous your efforts to suppress us by means of one vote, to deprive us of one of the two seats on Duma committees, or other bodies, to deprive us of spokesmen in the Duma, etc., and to foist upon us tactics and a policy that have been condemned by the majority of the class-conscious workers of Russia.
We affirm, and cannot but affirm at the present time, that our disagreements are irreconcilable in other spheres of activity besides that of the Duma. We are compelled to regard your efforts to suppress us and to deprive us of one of the two seats as being undoubtedly aimed at a split and, as such, precluding all possibility of co-operation between us. Nevertheless, respecting as we do the strong desire of the workers that the unity of the Social-Democratic deputies be preserved at least in the Duma and in face of the outside world, and bearing in mind our year’s experience, which has proved that it is possible to achieve such unity in Duma activities by means of an agreement, we call upon you to declare precisely and unambiguously, once and for all, that the suppression, in any form, of the six deputies from the worker curia by seven votes is impermissible. The unity of the Social-Democratic group in the Fourth Duma can be really maintained only on the condition that the equality of the seven and six is fully and definitely recognised, and that the principle of agreement between them on all questions concerning Duma activities is adhered to.