Is This the Turn of the Tide?

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The present issue was already set up when we received the St. Petersburg and Moscow newspapers of November 12. However inadequate the information supplied by the legal press, it is evident beyond doubt that in a number of cities there have been students’ meetings, demonstrations and street processions with protests against capital punishment and with speeches against the government. The St. Petersburg demonstration of November 11, even according to the information of the quite Octobrist-minded Russkiye Vedomosti,[1] drew a gathering of not less than 10,000 people on the Nevsky. The same newspaper reports that on the St. Petersburg side “large numbers of workers joined the procession as it passed the People’s House. At Tuchkov Bridge the procession came to a halt. The police were quite powerless to stop the procession and the crowd proceeded with songs and flags to the Bolshoi Prospekt on Vasilyevsky Ostrov. Only at the university did the police manage to disperse the crowd.”

The police and the troops, of course, behaved in the true-blue Russian way.

While we shall postpone to the next issue our appraisal of this unmistakably democratic upsurge, we cannot abstain from saying a few words about the attitude of the various parties to the demonstration. Russkiye Vedomosti, which on the 11th published a false report that the demonstration had been called off, reported on the 12th that the Social-Democrats had adopted no decision, while some of their deputies had even expressed their disapproval, and only the Trudoviks in the resolution they adopted considered it impossible to hinder the demonstration. We have no doubt that this report which is so discreditable to our Social-Democratic deputies, is false; in all probability it is just as much a malicious invention of Russkiye Vedomosti as their report of the day before that the demonstration had been called off. Golos Moskvy[2] reported on the 12th that “with the exception of the Social-Democrats the deputies of all parties disapprove of the students coming out on the streets”.

It is clear that the Cadet and Octobrist newspapers are very widely “swerving from the truth”, intimidated by the utterly absurd and ludicrous cries from the Right that “the springs preparing the demonstration are being manipulated from the Taurida Palace”.

That the Cadets behaved in an unworthy manner is a fact. On the 11th, the day of the demonstration, Rech published a manifesto of the Cadet deputies calling for the demonstration not to be held. The reasons urged both in the manifesto and in Rech’s leading article are truly infamous: “not to cast a shadow over” the days of mourning! “to hold manifestations, to associate them with the memory of Tolstoy” is to display “a lack of sincere affection for his sacred memory”!! and so on, in a purely Octobrist spirit (compare the leading article in Golos Moskvy on the 11th, with almost identical phrases).

Fortunately the vile spoke thrust in the wheel of democracy by the Cadets had no effect. The demonstration was held just the same. And if the police news-sheet Rossiya continues to blame the Cadets for everything, even contriving to detect a note of “incitement” in their manifesto, in the Duma, according to Golos Moskvy, the Octobrists and the extreme Rights (Shulgin) appreciated the service rendered by the Cadets, recognising that they were “opposed to the demonstration”.

If there is anyone who has not learned from the entire course of the Russian revolution that the cause of the movement for emancipation in Russia is hopeless as long as it is led by the Cadets, as long as he is unable to safeguard himself from the treachery of the Cadets, let him study and learn from the facts of contemporary politics, the history of the demonstration of November 11.

At the first sign of a democratic revival the Cadets begin their dirty games again.

We note also a report in Golos Moskvy that the workers approached the students with a view to holding a grand demonstration on the 14th. There is probably some truth in it, for today (November 15 [28]) the Paris papers report the arrest in St. Petersburg of 13 members of the bureau of trade unions for an attempt to organise a workers’ demonstration.

  1. Russkiye Vedomosti (Russian Recorder)—a daily newspaper published in Moscow from 1863 onwards by a group of Moscow University liberal professors and Zemstvo leaders. It voiced the interests of the liberal landlords and bourgeoisie. In 1905 it became the organ of the Right wing of the Constitutional-Democrats. Alter the October Revolution it was closed down.
  2. Golos Moskvy (Voice of Moscow)—a daily newspaper, the organ of the Octobrists, the counter-revolutionary party of the big industrial bourgeoisie and big landlords. It was published in Moscow from December 1906 to June 1915.