Material for the Preparation of the Programme of the RSDLP
First published in 1924, in Lenin Miscellany II. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 6, pages 17-78.
The Party programme adapted at the Second Congress of the RSDLP in 1903 was drawn up by the Editorial Board of Lenin’s Iskra at the end of 1901 and the first half of 1902. V. I. Lenin played a prominent part in drawing up the draft programme of the RSDLP
As early as 1895-96, while in prison, Lenin wrote the “Draft and Explanation of a Programme for the Social-Democratic Party” (see present edition, Vol. 2, pp. 93-121); at the end of 1899, while in exile in Siberia, he prepared a new draft programme (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 227-54). When he began publication of Iskra, Lenin considered its most important task to be the struggle to achieve and consolidate the ideological unity of Russian Social-Democracy and to embody this unity in the Party programme. “The discussion of questions of theory and policy,” he wrote, “will be connected with the drafting of a Party programme...” (see present edition, Vol 4, “Draft of a Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya,” p. 324).
The question of drawing up a draft of the Party programme became particularly acute in the summer of 1901: “We were in formed in letters from Russia that talk about the congress had intensified,” V. I. Lenin wrote to P. B. Axelrod on July 9, 1901. “This forces us more and more to think about the programme. Publication of a draft programme is extremely necessary and would be of tremendous importance” (see present edition, Vol. 36, “To P. B. Axelrod”). On Lenin’s suggestion, the original draft of the theoretical part of the programme was written by G. V. Plekhanov.
At a conference of the Iskra Editorial Board held in Munich in January 1902, Lenin sharply criticised Plekhanov’s draft; he made over 30 notes, pointing out a series of propositions in the draft that were incorrect in principle (see pp. 19-26 of. this volume). Under the influence of criticism by Lenin and other members of the Editorial Board, Plekhanov rewrote the first two paragraphs of his draft, but he did not agree with most of the other notes and proposals. During discussion of Plekhanov’s draft by the Iskra Editorial Board, big differences of opinion were revealed; one of the most serious was evoked by Lenin’s proposal to begin the programme by pointing to the development of capitalism in Russia; in notes written after the conference Lenin wrote: “The question whether or not to begin by pointing to Russia has been left open (3 votes in favour and 3 against).” (Lenin Miscellany II, 1924, p. 15.)
Convinced that Plekhanov’s draft of the theoretical part of the programme was unacceptable, Lenin set about writing his own draft. The initial version of Lenin’s draft (in the correspondence of the members of the Iskra Editorial Board—“Frey’s draft”) was written by January 25 (February 7), 1902; Lenin completed work on his draft by February 18 (March 3), 1902 (see pp. 27-33 and 34 of this volume). Simultaneously Plekhanov was also working on his second draft programme of the RSDLP This too came in for serious critical analysis by Lenin (see p. 37-57 and 58-60 of this volume). To co-ordinate Lenin’s and Plekhanov s drafts of the programme and draw up a joint draft programme of the RSDLP the Iskra Editorial Board set up a “Co-ordinating” Committee.
In its work this Committee took Plekhanov’s draft as a basis. However, as a result of Lenin’s insistent demands, a number of very important propositions were included in the Committee’s draft: the thesis of the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production replaced Plekhanov’s indefinite and vague formulation; a definition more precise than in Plekhanov’s draft was given of the purely proletarian character of the Party; the thesis of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an essential condition of the socialist revolution became a point of the highest importance in the programme. Lenin got acquainted with the Committee’s draft programme on April 12, 1902, while travelling from Munich to London, and he wrote his remarks on it during the journey (see pp. 61-73 of this volume).
At the conference of the Iskra Editorial Board held in Zurich on April 14, 1902, which Lenin did not attend, the general editorial draft of the programme was confirmed: its theoretical part (the Committee’s) and the practical part (already agreed to by all the members of the Iskra Editorial Board in early March 1902). Most of the notes, amendments, and additions proposed by Lenin were taken into account by the authors of the draft programme, when it was discussed at the Zurich conference.
The draft programme of the RSDLP drawn up by the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya was published in Iskra, No. 21, June 1, 1902, and the Second Congress of the RSDLP, held July 17-August 10 (July 30-August 23), 1903, adopted the Iskra draft programme of the Party, with minor changes.
The programme of the RSDLP existed until 1919, when a new programme was adopted at the Eighth Congress of the RCP(b).The theoretical part of the programme of theRSDLP, which described the general laws and tendencies of capitalist development, was included in the new programme of the RCP(b), on V. I. Lenin’s proposal.
Notes On Plekhanov’s First Draft Programme[edit source]
|Plekhanov’s Text||Lenin’s Notes|
|I. The principal economic feature of present-day society is the domination of capitalist production relations in it,||Page 1. No. I—Capitalism is not a “feature” of present-day society, but its economic system or mode, etc.|
|i.e., ownership of the means of production and of commodity circulation by the numerically very small class of capitalists,||No. 2—The means of production belong not only to the capitalists, but to the landowners and small producers as well.|
|while the majority of the population consists of proletarians,||No. 3—The proletariat is not the majority of the population in many countries.|
|who have no other possession but their labour-power, and cannot subsist except by selling it.||No. 4—The proletariat possesses certain articles of consumption (and partly means of production too).|
|In consequence of this, the majority of the population is reduced to the dependent position of wage-workers, whose labour creates the income of the capitalists.||Page 2. No. 5±of the landowners.|
|II. The sphere of domination of capitalist production relations is constantly expanding, as continuous technical progress||To page 2. Not technical progress but private owner ship expropriates and ver elendet [Impoverishes.—Ed.] the small producer.|
|increases the economic importance of the big enterprises and thereby||No. 6—“and thereby”?? Of itself technical progress can not increase the economic importance of the big enterprises. As the result of technical progress (+a number of economic changes, such as in market conditions,etc.)small scale production is being oust ed by large-scale production.|
|decreases the number of independent small producers, reduces their role in the economic life of society,||No. 6-7. Capitalism does not always"decrease the flu m b e r of small producers" (relatively, and not necessarily absolutely, particularly in Russia).
(Capitalism expropriates and leads him—the small producer—to degradation and impoverishment....)Page 2. No. 7. Reduces the role of the small=increases the economic importance of the big (one and the same thing).
|and at places turns them directly into vassals and tributaries of the big manufacturers.||No. 8—Directly—delete. The process of the separation of the producer from the means of production is not indicated.|
|III. Capitalist production relations weigh more and more heavily on the working class, as technical progress, by increasing the productivity of labour, not only makes it materially possible for the capitalists to intensify the exploitation of the workers, but converts this possibility into reality, occasioning a relative reduction in the demand||Page 3 of the original draft.
No. 9.+and on the small producers (the peasants in general should be specially mentioned).No. 10—giving rise to, or engendering.
|for labour-power simultaneously ’with a relative and absolute increase in its supply.||Page 3—expressed in an extremely unpopular, abstract way. Far better in the Erfurt Programme “...the army of surplus-workers is growing”, “insecurity of existence is increasing.”|
|IV. The development of labour productivity does not raise the p rice of labour-power, but, on the contrary, is very often the direct cause of its reduction. Thus, technical progress, which signifies an increase in social wealth, causes greater social inequality in capitalist society, widens the distance between the propertied and the property- less, and increases the workers’ economic dependence on the capitalists.||Page 4—“the price of labour-power” is very often reduced (also expressed in a very abstract way;=the growth of exploitation, oppression, poverty, degradation) ."Thus” causes greater inequality. It would appear from this that greater inequality is engendered only by the increase (intensification) in the exploitation of the wage-worker, whereas it is engendered:
1) by the expropriation of the small producer +2) by the impoverishment of the small producer+3) by the increase in exploitation +4) by the growth of the reserve army.
|V. With such a state of affairs in capitalist society and with the constantly growing mutual rivalry among the capitalist countries on the world market, the sale of commodities necessarily lags behind their production, and this periodically causes more or less severe industrial crises attended by more or less lengthy periods of industrial stagnation, leading to a further||Page 5. Is it necessary to indicate the causes of crises in the programme? If so, the shortcoming is that two causes are indicated: 1) greater social inequality (“with such a state of affairs," p. 4) +2) the growth of rivalry. The basic cause of crises=Planlosigkeit,[ Planlessness.—Ed.] private appropriation under social production, is not in dictated.|
|reduction in the number and economic importance of the small producers,||Pages 5-6: reduction of the “e c o n o m i c i m p o r t a n c e” of the small producers is too abstract a term. Expropriates (=reduces the number?) and verelendet.|
|to a still greater dependence of wage-labour upon capital,||Page 6—of wage-“labour”? Isn’t it better to say of the workers?|
|and to a still more rapid relative, and at places even absolute, deterioration of the conditions of the proletariat and the small producers.||Page 6—consequences of a crisis—relative and absolute deterioration of the conditions. Isn’t it better to say plainly: unemployment, poverty of the workers and the small producers.|
|VI. But as these inevitable contradictions of capitalism grow and develop, the discontent of the working class with the existing order of things also grows, its struggle against the capitalist class becomes sharper, and in its midst the realisation spreads ever more widely and rapidly||Page 7—instead of discontent — indignation.
Page 7—the spreading of a realisation (—γ) is placed on a par with the growth of indignation (—α) and the aggravation of the struggle (—β). But α and β are spontaneous, whereas y should be introduced by us.
|that the yoke of economic dependence, which lies on its shoulders, can be thrown off only through its own efforts, and that to throw off this yoke a social revolution is necessary, i.e., the destruction of capitalists production relations and the conversion of the means of production and of the circulation of products into public property.||Page 7—“only through its own efforts”. This should be expressed in a more general way: can be the act only of the working class, etc.
Pages 7-8, 1) destruction of capitalist production relations?—Socialist production t a k i n g t h e p l a c e of commodity production, 2) the expropriation of the exploiters, 3) the conversion of the means of production into public property? The conversion of private into public property.
|VII. This revolution of the proletariat will emancipate the whole of mankind, now oppressed and suffering, since it will put an end to all forms of oppression and exploitation of man by man.|
|VIII. In order to replace capitalist commodity production by the socialist organisation of the production of articles to satisfy the needs of society and ensure the well-being of all its members, in order to effect its revolution,||Page 9–unclear : “to satisfy the needs of society and ensure the well-being of all its members.” This is insufficient: (cf. the Erfurt Programme: “the greatest well-being and all-round harmonious perfection”).|
|the proletariat must have command of political power, which will make it master of the situation and enable it ruthlessly to smash all the obstacles it will come up against on the road to its great goal. In this sense the dictatorship of the proletariat is an essential political condition of the social revolution.||Page 9. “Master of the situation,” “ruthlessly to smash,” “dictatorship”??? (The social revolution is enough for us.)|
|IX. But the development of international exchange and the world market has established such close ties among all nations of the civilised world, that this great goal can be attained only through the united efforts of the proletarians of all countries. Hence the present-day working-class movement had to become, and has long become, an international movement.||Page 10—nil.|
|X. Russian Social-Democracy regards itself as one of the detachments of the world army of the proletariat, as part of international Social-Democracy.|
|XI. It pursues the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries set themselves.||Page 11 .—“The same Endziel.”[Ultimate aim.—Ed.] Why the repetition?|
|It discloses to the workers the irreconcilable antagonism between their interests and those of the capitalists, explains to them the historical significance, nature, and prerequisites of the social revolution which the proletariat is to carry out, and organises their forces for an unremitting struggle against their exploiters.||Page 11. Might there not be confusion?—"The same Endziel—and right along side the task of the Social-Democratic Party: 1) To disclose to (?) the workers the irreconcilable antagonism between their interests and those of the capitalists. 2) To explain to them the significance, nature, and prerequisites of the social revolution (±the necessity of revolution?).
The Germans put this more forcibly: weisen naturnotwendiges Ziel.[To indicate the naturally necessary aim.—Ed.] 3) To organise their forces for an unremitting struggle against t h e i r e x p l o i t e r s (N.B.?+a g a i n s t t h e g o v e r n m e n t?)+? t o d i r e c t the struggle of the proletariat.1) is included in 2). 1)— too limited. It should be: a to indicate the ultimate aim, β to create an organisation of revolutionaries to direct the struggle of the proletariat.
|XII. But its immediate aims are considerably modified by the fact that in our country numerous remnants of the pre-capitalist — serf-owning — social system are an oppressive burden on the entire working population and are the most difficult of all the obstacles hindering the progress of the Russian working-class movement.||Page 12. “Remnants of the serf-owning system ... are an oppressive burden on the entire working population” (+the retardation of the development of productive forces +the deterioration of living conditions+keeping the whole people in a state of ignorance and subjection)—the most difficult obstacle (=remnants)? (What are these remnants? The autocracy—I—all the rest? This is said b e l o w.)|
|The Russian Social-Democrats still have to work for the establishment of those juridical institutions which, constituting a natural legal complement to capitalist production relations, already exist in the advanced capitalist countries||12-13: necessary to work for the establishment of those (?) juridical institutions which already (?) exist in the advanced countries. (These should be named more concretely. Unpopular.)|
|and are necessary for the complete and comprehensive development of the class struggle of wage-labour against capital.||Page 13—of wage-labour?—of the workers, of the struggle of the working class against the capitalist class for its complete emancipation.|
|And since the tsarist autocracy, which is the most out standing remnant of the old serf-owning system and the most harmful in respect of further social development, is wholly incompatible with these juridical institutions, and since by its very nature it cannot but he the bitterest and most dangerous enemy of the proletarian emancipation movement,||Page 13. The autocracy is incompatible with these juridical institutions (with political liberty??).|
|the Russian Social-Democrats advance as their immediate political task the overthrow of the monarchy.||Page 14. Since the a u t o c r a c y is incompatible— the overthrow of the monarchy (inconsistent).|
Draft Programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party[edit source]
I. Commodity production is ever more rapidly developing in Russia, the capitalist mode of production becoming increasingly dominant in it.
II. As the result of continuous technical progress, small-scale production is being ousted to an ever greater degree by large-scale production. The most important part of the means of production (of the land and factories, tools and machinery, railways and other means of communication) is becoming concentrated in the hands of a relatively in significant number of capitalists and big landowners as their private property. The independent small producers (peasants, handicraftsmen, and artisans) are being ruined in growing numbers, losing their means of production and thus turning into proletarians, or else becoming servants and tributaries of capital. Increasing numbers of working people are compelled to sell their labour-power and become wage-workers, who are dependent on the property-owners and by their labour create the wealth of the latter.
III. The greater the degree of technical progress, the more the growth of the demand for labour-power lags behind the growth of its supply, and the greater are the opportunities for the capitalists to intensify exploitation of the workers. Insecurity of existence and unemployment, the yoke of exploitation, and humiliation of every kind are becoming the lot of ever wider sections of the working population.
IV. This process is being still more aggravated by industrial crises, which are the inevitable outcome of the basic contradictions of capitalism. Poverty and destitution among the masses exist side by side with wastage of social wealth in consequence of the impossibility of finding markets for commodities produced.
V. Thus, the gigantic development of the productive forces of social labour, which is constantly becoming more socialised labour, is attended by monopolisation of all the principal advantages of this development by a negligible minority of the population. The growth of social wealth proceeds side by side with the growth of social inequality; the gulf between the class of property-owners (the bourgeoisie) and the class of the proletariat is growing.
VI. But as all these inevitable contradictions of capitalism increase and develop, the number and the solidarity of the proletarians, their discontent and indignation also grow, the struggle between the working class and the capitalist class becomes sharper, and the urge to throw off the intolerable yoke of capitalism mounts.
VII. The emancipation of the workers must be the act of the working class itself. All the other classes of present-day society stand for the preservation of the foundations of the existing economic system. The real emancipation of the working class requires a social revolution—which is being prepared by the entire development of capitalism—i.e., the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, their conversion into public property, and the replacement of capitalist production of commodities by the socialist organisation of the production of articles by society as a whole, with the object of ensuring full well-being and free, all-round development for all its members.
VIII. This proletarian revolution will completely abolish the division of society into classes and, consequently, all social and political inequality arising from that division.
IX. To effect this social revolution the proletariat must win political power, which will make it master of the situation and enable it to remove all obstacles along the road to its great goal. In this sense the dictatorship of the proletariat is an essential political condition of the social revolution.
X. Russian Social-Democracy undertakes the task of disclosing to the workers the irreconcilable antagonism between their interests and those of the capitalists, of explaining to the proletariat the historical significance, nature, and prerequisites of the social revolution it will have to carry out, and of organising a revolutionary class party capable of directing the struggle of the proletariat in all its forms.
XI. But the development of international exchange and of production for the world market has established such close ties among all nations of the civilised world, that the present-day working-class movement had to become, and has long become, an international movement. That is why Russian Social-Democracy regards itself as one of the detachments of the world army of the proletariat, as part of international Social-Democracy.
XII. The immediate aims of Russian Social-Democracy are, however, considerably modified by the fact that in our country numerous remnants of the pre-capitalist, serf-owning social system, retard the development of the productive forces in the highest degree, render impossible the complete and all-round development of the proletariat’s class struggle, and lower the working population’s standard of living; they are responsible for the Asiatically barbarous way in which the many-million-strong peasantry is dying out, and keep the entire people in a state of ignorance and subjection, denying them all rights.
XIII. The tsarist autocracy is the most outstanding of these remnants of the serf-owning system and the most formidable bulwark of all this barbarism. It is the bitterest and most dangerous enemy of the proletarian emancipation movement and the cultural development of the entire people.
For these reasons the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party advances as its immediate political task the over throw of the tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a republic based on a democratic constitution that would ensure:
1) the people’s sovereignty, i.e., concentration of supreme state power in the hands of a legislative assembly consisting of representatives of the people;
2) universal, equal, and direct suffrage, both in elections to the legislative assembly and in elections to all local organs of self-government, for every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one; the secret ballot at all elections; the right of every voter to be elected to any of the representative assemblies; remuneration for representatives of the people;
3) inviolability of the person and domicile of citizens;
4) unrestricted freedom of conscience, speech, the press and of assembly, the right to strike and to organise unions;
5) freedom of movement and occupation;
6) abolition of social-estates; full equality for all citizens, irrespective of sex, religion or race;
7) recognition of the right to self-determination for all nations forming part of the state;
8) the right of every citizen to prosecute any official, without previously complaining to the latter’s superiors;
9) general arming of the people instead of maintaining a standing army;
10) separation of the church from the state and of the school from the church;
11) universal, free, and compulsory education up to the age of sixteen; state provision of food, clothing, and school supplies to needy children.
To protect the working class and to raise its fighting capacity, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party demands:
1) that the working day be limited to eight hours for all wage-workers;
2) that a weekly rest period of not less than thirty-six consecutive hours for wage-workers of both sexes employed in all branches of the national economy be established by law;
3) that all overtime be prohibited;
4) that night-work (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.) in all branches of the national economy be prohibited, with the exception of those branches in which it is essential for technical reasons;
5) that employers be forbidden to employ children under the age of fifteen;
6) that female labour be forbidden in industries specifically injurious to the health of women;
7) that the law establish employers’ civil liability for workers’ complete or partial disability caused by accidents or by harmful working conditions; that the worker should not be required to prove his employer’s responsibility for disability;
8) that payment of wages in kind be prohibited ;
9) that state pensions be paid to aged workers, who have become incapacitated;
10) that the number of factory inspectors be increased; that female inspectors be appointed in industries .in which female labour predominates; that observance of the factory laws be supervised by representatives elected by the workers and paid by the state; piece rates and rejection of work done should also be supervised by elected representatives of the workers;
11) that local self-government bodies, in co-operation with elected representatives of the workers, supervise sanitary conditions in living quarters provided for workers by employers, and also see to the observance of rules operating in such living quarters and the terms on which they are leased, with the object of protecting the wage-workers from employers’ interference in their lives and activities as private persons and citizens;
12) that a properly organised and comprehensive system of health inspection be instituted to supervise working conditions at all enterprises employing wage-labour;
13) that the Factory Inspectorate’s activities be extended to artisan, home, and handicraft industries, and to state- owned enterprises;
14) that any breach of the labour protection laws be punishable by law;
15) that employers be forbidden to make any deductions from wages, on any grounds or for any purpose whatsoever (fines, rejections, etc.);
16) that factory courts be set up in all branches of the national economy, with equal representation of workers and employers.
Besides, with the object of democratising Russia’s state economy, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party demands that all indirect taxation be abolished and progressive income-tax be introduced.
With a view to eradicating the remnants of the old serf-owning system, the Party will work for :
1) abolition of land redemption and quit-rent payments, as well as of all services now imposed on the peasantry as a taxable social-estate;
2) annulment of collective liability and of all laws restricting the peasant in the free disposal of his land;
3) restitution to the people of all sums taken from them in the form of land redemption and quit-rent payments; confiscation for this purpose of monasterial property and of the royal demesnes, and imposition of a special land-tax on members of the big landed nobility who received land redemption loans, the revenue thus obtained to be credited to a special public fund for the cultural and charitable needs of the village communes;
4) establishment of peasant committees
a) for the restitution to the village communes (by expropriation, or, when the land has changed hands, by redemption, etc.) of the land cut off from the peasants when serfdom was abolished and now used by the landlords as a means of keeping the peasants in bondage;
b) for the eradication of the remnants of the serf-owning system which still exist in the Urals, the Altai, the Western territory, and other regions of the country;
5) empowerment of courts to reduce exorbitant rents and declare null and void all contracts entailing bondage.
Working for the achievement of its immediate political and economic aims, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party supports every oppositional and revolutionary movement directed against the existing social and political order in Russia, but emphatically rejects all those reformist plans which depict every extension of police tutelage over the working masses as a step towards the solution of the social problem.
For its part, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party is firmly convinced that the complete, consistent, and lasting implementation of the indicated political and social changes can be achieved only by overthrowing the autocracy and convoking a Constituent Assembly, freely elected by the whole people.
|Written in late January-early February 1902|
Three Amendments to the Draft Programme[edit source]
No. 1. In Paragraph (A) II, instead of: “As the result of continuous technical progress, small-scale production is being ousted to an ever greater degree by large-scale production”
insert the following:
“Technical progress is making constant headway, large-scale production is developing to an ever-increasing extent, small-scale production is being ousted more and more or is declining.”
No. 2. In Paragraph (B) VII, after: “All the other classes of present-day society stand for the preservation of the foundations of the existing economic system”
“and the small producer, who is being ruined under the yoke of capitalism, becomes truly revolutionary only to the extent that he realises the hopelessness of his position and places himself at the standpoint of the proletariat”— and further begin with a new paragraph.
No. 3. In Paragraph (B) XII, instead of: “are responsible for the Asiatically barbarous way in which the many-million-strong peasantry is dying out”
“are responsible for the Asiatically barbarous forms of exploitation and the agonising extinction of the many-million-strong peasantry.”
|Written in the second half of February 1902|
Notes On Plekhanov’s Second Draft Programme[edit source]
The entire character of the programme is, in my opinion, the most general and basic defect of this draft, one that makes it unacceptable. Specifically, it is not the programme of a party engaged in a practical struggle, but a Prinzipienerklärung [A declaration of principles.—Ed.]; it is rather a programme for students (especially its most important section, which is devoted to a definition of capitalism), moreover for first-year students, who are acquainted with capitalism in general, but not yet with Russian capitalism. This basic defect leads also to a great deal of repetition, and the programme tends to become a commentary. I shall endeavour to prove this by analysing the draft point by point, and shall then draw the general conclusions.
“The development of international exchange,” etc., to the words “has long become an international movement” (§ I—for convenience in quoting I shall number each paragraph in consecutive order).
In essence there is nothing to which objection can be taken here. Only the words: “the great emancipation movement of our times” are superfluous, for the emancipatory nature of the working-class movement is dealt with below at length and concretely.
Further, in my opinion, this paragraph is not in its proper place. The programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Party should begin with a definition (and indictment) of Russian capitalism—and only then stress the international character of the movement, which in form—to use the words of the Communist Manifesto—is of necessity at first a national struggle.
§ II. “Like the Social-Democrats of all other countries, the Russian Social-Democrats take an international stand. They regard their Party as one of the detachments of the world army of the proletariat, as part of international Social-Democracy.”
The words I have underlined are superfluous, since they add absolutely nothing to what has been said prior to and after this. These superfluous words merely weaken the wholly adequate and graphic expression of thought contained in the words “detachment” and “part.”
§ III. “They pursue the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries.”
These too are superfluous words, repeated t w i c e below in §§ XIII (“the ultimate aim of all the efforts of international Social-Democracy,” etc.) and XVII (“the identity of the common ultimate aim”). A “detachment” of an army is a detachment for the very reason that it pursues the same aim.
§ IV. “This ultimate aim, which is common to the Social-Democrats of all countries” (again superfluous repetition), “is determined by bourgeois society’s nature and course of development.”
Also superfluous words, precisely because it ’is shown further how bourgeois society’s nature and course of development “determine” this ultimate aim. This paragraph is some thing in the nature of a heading or section title. But headings, which are necessary in textbooks or articles, are quite unnecessary in a programme. Alles, was im Programm überfiuissig, schwächt es [All that is superfluous in a programme weakens it.—Ed.] (Engels in his notes on the draft of the Erfurt Programme).
§§ V and VI (as well as the beginning of VII) evoke, in addition to formal, remarks, one general and fundamental objection to the whole character of the programme as out lined in the draft.
I shall first state this general objection (for which purpose it will be necessary in part to defend the counterdraft), and then I shall proceed to the formal remarks.
§ V gives an academic definition of “developed” capitalism in general; § VI speaks of the “expansion” of capitalist production relations together with technical progress and the growth of big enterprises to the detriment of small enterprises (or at the expense of the latter), i.e.., as small-scale production is being ousted by large-scale production.
This method of exposition is illogical and incorrect.
It is incorrect because the fighting proletariat learns what capitalism is, not from academic definitions (as one learns from textbooks), but from practical acquaintance with the contradictions of capitalism, with the development of society and its consequences. And in our programme we must define this development, and state—as briefly and graphically as possible—that matters are proceeding in a certain way. We should leave to commentaries all explanations of why things are proceeding in just this way and no other, and all details of the forms in which the basic tendencies find expression. As to what capitalism is—that will of itself follow from our definition of exactly how matters stand (resp. [Respective (Lat.).—Ed.] are proceeding).
It is illogical because the process of the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production (§ VI) and that of the division of society into property-owners and proletarians (§ V) are one and the same process. And this is not expressed by the formulation given in the draft. According to the draft we have the following: First proposition. Developed capitalism consists in a considerable section of independent small- scale production having been ousted by large-scale production employing wage-workers. Second proposition. The domination of capitalism spreads in the degree that large-scale production ousts small-scale production....
In my opinion, these two paragraphs should be combined in one, for the reason indicated, and the process should be expressed as follows: technical progress—the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production —the concentration of the means of production in the hands of the capitalists and the landowners—the ruin of the independent small producers: their conversion into proletarians or into dependents of capital.
The following objections are raised to this formulation (which the counterdraft has attempted to give):
(1) It alleges that the ruin of the Russian peasantry (resp. the formation of large-scale landownership in Russia, etc.) depends solely on the growth of capitalism.
This objection is, I believe, groundless. It is stated quite clearly in the appropriate place (viz., at the end of the programme) that there exists in our country a host of remnants of the serf-owning system, and that these remnants “barbarise” the process of development. But once we consider the process of the development of capitalism the basic process in Russia’s social and economic evolution, we must begin precisely by describing this process, as well as its contradictions and consequences. Only in this way can we give graphic expression to our thought that the process of the development of capitalism, the ousting of small-scale production, the concentration of property, etc., is proceeding and will continue, despite all the remnants of the serf-owning system, and through all these remnants.
(2) It is said that the proposition “small-scale production is being ousted to an ever greater degree by large-scale production” is “too categorical,” “stereotyped,” etc.
I must, therefore, explain the reasons which lead me to consider this formulation no less correct and far more apt than the formulation given in the draft under discussion: “an increase in the economic importance of the big enterprises, a decrease in the relative number of the small enterprises, reduction of their role in the social and economic life of the country.”
From the purely theoretical aspect, both these formulations are absolutely identical in meaning, and all attempts to establish a difference in substance between them are wholly arbitrary. “An increase in the importance of the big and the reduction of the role of the small”—is equivalent to ousting. Ousting can consist in nothing else. The complexity and confusion in the question of small-scale production being ousted by large-scale production do not at all depend on anyone being unable (in good faith) to understand that ousting means “an increase in the importance of the big and reduction of the role of the small”—but ·depend wholly and exclusively on the difficulty of agreement on a choice of the indices and symptoms of the ousting, resp. of the increase in the importance of the one, resp. the reduction of the role of the other.
In its most general form, the process of the development of capitalism in this respect may be expressed as follows:
Large-scale 2a+b. Small-scale=200—2a— b.
It can be said with confidence that all and every kind of data on the proportional relation between large-scale and small-scale production will fit into this formula. Nobody out to understand the process can doubt that this is indeed ousting. Whether 200—2a—b will be greater in size than 100—a (relative ousting) or smaller (absolute ousting)— this is ousting in any case. Only a “critic” who does not wish to understand this will be “unable to understand”— and such people are very hard to please. Moreover, the commentary will give the proper rebuff to such people.
The difficulty of the question does not at all lie in under standing that the indicated modification is equivalent to “ousting,” but in the exact definition of the magnitudes 100, a, etc. This is a concrete question, a question of fact, and the formulation: “an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role” does not bring us a hair’s breadth closer to its solution.
For example, in the overwhelming majority of cases, all European industrial statistics determine this “importance” and this “role” by the number of workers (and agrarian statistics do so by the amount of land). And no one has yet ventured to doubt that a decrease in the proportionate number of workers (resp. the amount of land) means precisely ousting. The trouble, however, is that very often such indices as the number of workers (resp. the amount of land) are insufficient. Small enterprises may be ousted, while the number of workers there (the amount of land) increases—if, for instance, these workers are handling outside materials, or if this land is cultivated by inferior draught animals, or by workers in inferior conditions, or is cultivated and fertilised in a worse way, and so on, and so forth. It is common knowledge that the “critical” arguments against “Marxist dogma” teem with just such “misunderstandings,” and these “misunderstandings” are not eliminated one iota by saying “an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role” instead of “ousting,” since it is “generally accepted” that the “importance” and “role” are expressed quite simply by the number of workers and the amount of land.
No one will doubt that such processes as the differentiation of the peasantry, increasing use of machinery especially by big proprietors, improvements in the stock of draught animals used by the big proprietors and deterioration of that used by smallholders (the substitution of cows for horses, etc.), growing “importunities” of the hired worker at the big enterprises and the longer working hours there, resp. the small peasant’s diminishing consumption, improved cultivation and fertilisation of the big proprietor’s land, and poorer cultivation and fertilisation of the smallholder’s land, the big proprietor’s advantage over the latter in the field of credits and association, and so on and so forth—all these are precisely an ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production (in agriculture). It is not at all difficult (or even necessary) to prove that all these processes amount to “ousting”—it is difficult to prove that it is precisely to these processes that attention should be paid, that these processes are actually taking place. This difficulty is not made easier in the least by the words: “an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role”; it can be made easier only by a commentary, only by examples of how people are unable to define (do not want to define) the true expression of the process of ousting (z=an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role).
It is a sheer illusion to imagine that the words “an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role” are deeper, more meaningful, and broader than the “narrow” and “stereotyped” word “ousting.” These words do not contribute in the least towards a more profound understanding of the process–they merely express this process more hazily and more vaguely. And the reason I am contesting these words so vigorously is not because they are theoretically incorrect, but just because they lend an appearance of profundity to sheer haziness.
A person who has “attended a seminary” and nothing more and is aware that a proportionate decrease (and not necessarily an absolute decrease) is tantamount to ousting will see in this haziness a desire to cover up the nakedness of the “Marxist dogma,” which has been compromised by the critics. A person who has not attended a seminary will only sigh over such masterly and “fathomless wisdom”—whereas the word “ousting” will remind every worker and every peas ant of scores and hundreds of familiar instances, It is no harm if he does not immediately grasp the full import of this expression: selbst wenn einmal ein Fremdwort oder ein nicht auf den ersten Blick in seiner ganzen Tragweite zu erfassender Satz vorkommt, schadet das nichts. Der münd liche Vortrag in den Versammlungen, die schriftliche Erklärung in der Presse tut da alles Nötige, und der kurze, prägnante Satz befestigt sich dann, einmal verstanden, im Gedächtniss, wird Schlagwort, und das passiert der breiteren Auseinandersetzung nie. (Engels in his criticism of the Erfurt Draft.)
From the standpoint of style, too, the words “an increase in the importance and the reduction of the role” instead of “ousting” are undesirable. This is not the language of a revolutionary party, but the language of Russkiye Vedomosti. This is the terminology not of socialist propaganda, but of a statistical abstract. These words seem, as it were, deliberately chosen with a view to giving the reader the impression that the process described is a mild one, culminating in nothing definite, a painless process. Since in reality the reverse is true, these words are to that extent quite wrong. We cannot and should not choose the most abstract formulations, for what we are writing is not an article direct ed against the critics, but the programme of a militant party, which makes its appeal to the masses of handicraftsmen and peasants. In this appeal, we must say klipp und klar[Clearly and distinctly.—Ed.] that capital “makes servants and tributaries of them,” “ruins” them and “ousts” them, driving them into the ranks of the proletariat. This is the only formulation that would be a true expression of what every handicrafts man and every peasant knows from thousands of instances. And only this formulation will inevitably suggest the conclusion: your only salvation lies in joining the party of the proletariat.
In passing to the formal remarks against § V and § VI, I shall note the following.
§ V speaks of bourgeois society “in developed form,” and at the same time states that both a “section of the artisans” and “the small peasantry” have survived in this society. What follows is an inaccuracy. If one is to understand the words “developed form” in a strictly theoretical sense, then there will be neither artisans nor small peasants in such a society. And even if these words are taken in their usual sense to mean the most developed countries—even then we will find that in Britain, for example, “the small peasantry” as a separate section of society has in essence practically ceased to exist.
“The domination of commodity production on the basis of capitalist production relations.” That is rather incongruous. Of course, fully developed commodity production is possible only in capitalist society, but “commodity production” in general is both logically and historically prius to capitalism.
The term “capitalist production relations” is not used consistently in the draft. It is occasionally replaced by the term “the capitalist mode of production” (§ XI). To lessen the difficulty of understanding the programme, one term should, in my opinion, be used throughout, namely, the latter, since the former is more theoretical, and without the addition of the word “system,” etc. (of relations), does not indicate anything complete or integral.
“The feudal-handicraft period...." Here, an expression seems to have been chosen, as though deliberately, which is least applicable to Russia, for it is questionable whether the term “feudalism” is applicable to our Middle Ages. And yet, the description given of “developed” bourgeois society is in substance applicable to Russia as well (independent small producers and the small peasants “have survived,” they sell “their labour-power periodically or constantly,” etc.). Hence, by its own formulation the draft refutes the opinion that no definition of the development of capitalism can be writ ten, which will clearly and directly have Russia in view.
“The small producers, artisan-producers, who work to order....” To order from consumers or from the merchants who give out work? Probably the former. But precisely in Russia most small producers in industry work for the market and not to order.
“... The major part of the articles of consumption”... (why not also “of the means of production”?)... “is produced for sale on the home or world market....” The words underlined are unnecessary repetition, since the increase in international exchange is dealt with in § I.
“...The means of production and of circulation” of commodities. I believe that the words underlined should be transferred from the programme to the commentary, since one can infer that the capitalists own the means of circulation from the fact that they own the means of production in a society with a commodity economy.
“...Of persons who possess no means of production and of circulation except their labour-power....” That is not the way to put it.
The reference to “constant or periodical” sale of labour power—“for a whole year or several months”—is a superfluous detail, which should be transferred to the commentary.
(§ VI) “... An increase in the economic importance of the big industrial enterprises”—and below: the reduction of the role of independent small producers in general. Is the omission of big agricultural enterprises accidental? Or was it intended to say that the economic importance of big enterprises increases only in industry, whereas the role of small enterprises is diminishing both in industry and in- agriculture? If the latter is the case—then that would be absolutely wrong. The “economic importance of the big enterprises” is increasing in agriculture too (it will suffice to mention machinery as one example—and other examples are given above). Naturally, the process here is immeasurably more complex, but this will have to be said (and said with concrete explanations) in the commentary.
...Dependent “more or less completely, more or less obviously, more or less onerously..."—these are words which, in my opinion, are redundant and weaken the meaning. The phrasing in the original draft—"servants and tributaries — is stronger and more graphic.
§ VII begins with superfluous reiteration, again refer ring to the “conversion of the small producers into proletarians,” although this has already been noted in §§ V and VI.
§ VII gives an elaborate explanation of the fact that the growth of the demand for labour-power lags behind the growth of its supply. The exposition, in this case, can hardly benefit from such “elaborateness.” In any case, no full explanation of the process is, of course, given (e.g., mention is made of the growing employment of female and child labour, but no mention is made of the growing intensification of labour, etc.). It would therefore be more correct to refer all explanations (with concrete examples) to the commentary, and to formulate in the programme only what the contradiction of capitalism consists in and what its tendency is.
The objection is raised that, by saying that “the greater the degree of technical progress, the more the growth of the demand for labour-power lags behind the growth of its supply,” the question is presented in an incorrect light, since the “growth of supply” is far from being dependent on “technical progress” alone. But this objection is not sound, for the words “the greater—the more” are by no means equivalent to the words “since—consequently.” The preceding paragraph explains what causes the “growth of supply” (“ruin,” “ousting,” etc.), and this will be explained more concretely in the commentary.
“...The share of the working class in the sum-total of the material wealth created by its labour is constantly diminishing....” These words appear in the paragraph dealing with the intensification of exploitation (compare the quotation with the text directly preceding it). One might think there fore that what is meant by “share” is the relation of v to v+m. But in that event this is superfluous and does not correspond to the words “sum-total of wealth.”
If, however, the sum-total=c+v+m, then, first, it is not quite proper to term c+m (as against v) the “share,” for by “share” is meant what is shared, i.e., articles of consumption. Further, in that case this proposition belongs in substance to the next paragraph, which deals with the increase in social wealth (c+v+m) and social inequality. In view of this, it would be better to omit the words quoted as superfluous repetition.
Moreover, these words, as formulated, presuppose a society that is so developed as to consist only of wage-workers and capitalists (for the share of the small producers also decreases), and this does not accord with § V, which keeps small producers in a “developed” society too.
§ VIII should come after §§ IX and X: these latter deal with crises, i.e., with one of the contradictions of capitalism, whereas § VIII sums up all the contradictions of capitalism and all tendencies in its development.
To the words “increase in the productivity of labour” should be added: “of social labour, which is constantly be coming more socialised labour.” The draft speaks in the wrong place of the process of the socialisation of labour (§ XI) and in too narrow a form (“the process of technical progress combines the workers’ labour more and more”). Capitalism’s socialisation of labour does not consist solely in the “combination of the labour of the workers.”
The words: “A widening of the distance between the propertied and the propertyless” following the words “an increase in social inequality” are a superfluous repetition. On the other hand, reference to the “growing gulf” between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie must of necessity be added so as to define the chief social consequence of all the indicated contradictions of capitalism and pass over to the class struggle.
Incidentally, with regard to a definition of the social con sequences of capitalism, it must be stated that here particularly the draft suffers from abstractness, limiting itself as it does to the utterly inadequate proposition: “multiplication of the difficulties in the struggle for existence and of all the privations and sufferings attendant on this struggle.” In my opinion it is absolutely essential to indicate more definitely those social consequences which weigh most heavily both upon the working class and the small producers.
An objection raised against the formulation of these consequences in the counterdraft, is, for instance, that the words “humiliation of every kind” are not true. I believe they are true, embracing as they do such phenomena as prostitution, the conversion of the “intelligentsia” into mere hirelings, the conversion of the worker into a seller of his wife and children, submission to the iron discipline of capital, the use of economic power for political oppression, for pressure on the freedom of opinion, and so on and so forth. In exactly the same way it seems to me absolutely essential to point to the “poverty and destitution of the masses” under capitalism. I am not proposing to speak of the absolute growth of poverty and destitution, but I fully share Kautsky’s opinion that “em ausführliches s.-d. Programm, welches nicht erkennen lässt, dass der Kapitalismus naturnotwendig Massenarmut und Massenelend erzeugt, das nicht als den Inhalt des Strebens der Sd-tie den Kampf gegen diese Armut und dieses Elend bezeichnet, verschweigt die entscheidende Seite unserer Bewegung und enthält also eine empfindliche Lücke” (against the Austrian draft).
It is just as essential, as I see it, to point out that “all the principal” (hence, not absolutely all) “advantages of the process of development of the productive forces are monopolised by a negligible minority of the population.”
§§ IX and X deal with crises. In view of the changed formulation, there is nothing in substance here to which exception could be taken. In form, however, these paragraphs suffer from repetitions (again “world market,” again “capitalist production relations”). It would be far better to completely delete from the programme an attempt to explain crises, limiting it to noting that they are inevitable, and leaving explanation and elaboration to the commentary. As it is, reference is made, for example, to crises and to “periods of stagnation,” but on the hole the entire cycle of capitalist industry is not encompassed in any way.
The social consequences of crises are indicated, but again with repetitions (it is enough to mention the “aggravation” of the process, etc.) and again too vaguely: crises not only render the position of the small producers difficult, not only lead to the relative and absolute deterioration of their conditions, but actually ruin them and drive them into the ranks of the proletariat.
Against §§ XI and XII I have an extremely important objection in principle: these paragraphs present the relation of the proletariat to the small producers in an altogether one-sided and incorrect way (for “the working and exploited masses” consist of precisely the proletariat and the small producers). The two paragraphs are directly at variance with the fundamental theses of the Communist Manifesto, the General Rules of the International, and the majority of present-day Social-Democratic programmes; they leave the way open to Narodnik, “critical,” and all sorts of petty-bourgeois misapprehensions.
“...The discontent of the working and exploited masses is growing”—that is true, but it is absolutely incorrect to identify the proletariat’s discontent with that of the small producer, and merge the two as has been done here. The small producers’ discontent very often engenders (and inevitably must engender in them or among a considerable section of them) an urge to defend their existence as small proprietors, i.e., to defend the foundations of the present-day order, and even to turn it back.
“...Their struggle and, above all, the struggle of their fore most representative, the proletariat, is becoming sharper....” The struggle is growing sharper among the small producers too, of course. But their “struggle” is very often directed against the proletariat, for in many respects the very position of the small producers sharply contraposes their interests to those of the proletariat. Generally speaking, the proletariat is not at all the petty bourgeoisie’s “foremost representative.” If that does occur, it is only when the small producers realise that their doom is inevitable, when they “d e s e r t their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat." It happens very often, on the other hand, that the anti-Semite and the big landowner, the nationalist and the Narodnik, the social-reformer and the “critic of Marxism” are the foremost representatives of the present-day small producer who has not yet deserted “his own standpoint." It is least of all appropriate to lump together each and every kind of sharpening, particularly at the present time, when the “sharpening of the struggle” of the small producers is accompanied by “sharpening of the struggle” of the “socialist Gironde” against the “Mountain.”
“... International Social-Democracy stands at the head of the emancipation movement of the working and exploited masses....” Not at all. It stands at the head of the working c l a s s alone, of the working-class movement alone, and if other elements join this class these are only elements and not classes. And they come over completely and absolutely only when they “desert their own standpoint.”
It organises t h e i r fighting forces...." Wrong again. Nowhere does Social-Democracy organise the"fighting forces” of the small producers. It organises the fighting forces of the working class alone. The formulation chosen in the draft is all the less appropriate the less it applies to Russia, the more restricted the exposition (cf. § V) is to “ d e v e l o p e d” bourgeois society.
Summa summarum. The draft speaks in positive form of the revolutionary spirit of the petty bourgeoisie (if it “sup ports” the proletariat, does this not signify that it is revolutionary?) without a single word about its conservatism (and even reactionary spirit). This is entirely one-sided and incorrect.
We can (and must) point in positive form to the conservatism of the petty bourgeoisie. And o n l y i n c o n d i t i o n a l f o r m should we point to its revolutionary spirit. Only such a formulation will coincide in full with the entire spirit of Marx’s teachings. For example, the Communist Manifesto declares outright that “of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie ... the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class.... The small manufacturer ... the artisan, the peasant ... are not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary.... If by chance they are revolutionary, [“if”!] they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat ... they d e s e r t their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.”
Let it not be said that matters have changed substantially in the half century since the Communist Manifesto. It is precisely in this respect that nothing has changed: and theoreticians have always and constantly recognised this proposition (for instance, Engels in 1894 refuted the French agrarian programme from this very standpoint. He stated outright that until the small peasant deserts his standpoint, he is not with us; his place is with the anti-Semites; let them put him through the mill, and the more the bourgeois parties dupe him, the more surely he will come over to us)—moreover, history furnishes a wealth of factual confirmation of this theory, right down to the most recent times, right down to nos chers amis, Messrs. the “Critics.”
Besides, reference to the dictatorship of the proletariat contained in the original draft is missing here. Even if this were done accidentally, through an oversight, it is still indubitable that the concept of “dictatorship” is incompatible with positive recognition of outside support for the proletariat. If we really knew positively that the petty bourgeoisie will support the proletariat in the accomplishment of its, the proletariat’s, revolution it would be pointless to speak of a “dictatorship,” for we would then be fully guaranteed so overwhelming a majority that we could get on very well without a dictatorship (as the “critics” would have us believe). The recognition of the necessity for the dictatorship of the proletariat is most closely and inseparably bound up with the thesis of the Communist Manifesto that the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class.
(Parenthetically—just how “jealous” Engels was about this part is evident from the following passus from his criticism of the Erfurt Draft. “Der Ruin weiter Volksschichten,” [“The ruin of the broad masses of the people.”—Ed.] Engels cites from the draft, and remarks: “statt dieser deklamatorischen Phrase, die aussieht als täte uns der Ruin von Bourgeois und Kleinbürgern noch leid [!!], würde ich die einfache Tatsache erzählen: die durch den Ruin der städtischen und ländlichen Mittelstände, der Kleinbürger und Kleinbauern, den Abgrund zwischen Besitzenden und Besitzlosen erweitdrn oder vertiefen.” )
I may be told that the counterdraft gives positive expression to the small producer’s conservatism (“all the other classes of present-day society stand for the preservation of the foundations of the existing economic system”), whereas revolutionariness is not expressed even conditionally.
This objection is entirely unfounded. The small producer s conditional revolutionariness is expressed in the counter-draft in the only way it can be expressed, i.e., in the wording of the indictment against capitalism. The conditional revolutionariness of the small producer is expressed:
(1) in the words about his ousting and ruin by capitalism. We, the proletariat, accuse capitalism of bringing about large-scale production through the ruin of the peasant. Hence, the direct conclusion that i f the peasant grasps the inevitability of this process, he will “desert his own standpoint and place himself at ours.”
(2)—in the words: “Insecurity of existence and unemployment, the yoke of exploitation, and humiliation of every kind are becoming the lot” (not only of the proletariat, but) “of ever wider sections of the working population.” This very formulation expresses the fact that the proletariat provides representation of the entire working population, and moreover a representation under which we urge (and compel) all to desert their own standpoint and place themselves at ours, and not vice versa—we do not desert our own stand point, and we do not merge our class struggle with the struggle of all sorts of weathercocks.
And the idea of representation is expressed in exactly the same way
(3)—in the words about the poverty and destitution of the masses (the masses in general, and not the workers alone).
It is o n l y i n s u c h f o r m that the party of the revolutionary class can express the conditional revolutionariness of the other classes, in order to lay before them i t s understanding of their destitution and the way to remedy that destitution, and, in i t s declaration of war on capitalism, to speak not only in its own name, but in the name of all the “poverty-stricken and destitute” masses. Hence it follows that whoever accepts this doctrine must join us. It would be simply ridiculous for us to make a special point of this in the programme and declare that if certain unreliable elements adopt our standpoint they too will be revolutionary! That would be the best way to destroy faith in us precisely among those half-hearted and flabby allies who, as it is, lack faith in us.
In addition to this objection to §§ XI and XII in principle, I also have a minor formal remark to make against § XI. This is not the proper place to speak about the “material possibility of doing away with capitalism”; what this paragraph deals with is not the material but the ideological prerequisites for capitalism to be done away with. If the material prerequisites are mentioned, then reference should also be made to the ideological (moral, etc.) prerequisites. It would, however, be far more correct to transfer this “material possibility” to the paragraph that deals with capitalism’s evolution and tendencies, and not with the class struggle.
It is illogical to speak in § XII of the forthcoming social revolution—and only in § XV of this revolution itself and the necessity for it. The order should be reversed.
In § XIII, the substitution of the expression “expropriation of the exploiters” for the words “abolition (or elimination) of private ownership” is, in my opinion, not a happy one. It is less clear and precise. Nor is the end of the paragraph properly expressed: “the planned organisation of the social process of production so as to satisfy the needs of society as a whole, as well as its individual members”. That is not enough. Organisation of that kind will, perhaps, be provided even by the trusts. It would be mere definite to say “by society as a whole” (for this covers planning and indicates who is responsible for that planning), and not merely to satisfy the needs of its members, but with the object of ensuring full well-being and free, all-round development for all the members of society.
§ XIV is, in my opinion, indefinite (I do not yet know whether we shall emancipate “all” oppressed “humanity”: as, for instance, the oppression of people of weak character by those of very strong character). If would be better to use the formulation given by Marx in his criticism of the Gotha Programme: the abolition of division into classes and of the inequality arising therefrom. Engels too, in his criticism of the Erfurt Programme, insisted that die Abschaflung der Klassen ist unsere Grundforderung,[The abolition of classes is our fundamental demand.—Ed.] and that only by a precise and outright reference to this “fundamental demand” shall we impart an absolutely definite (and not exaggerated) meaning to our promises to emancipate all and to rid all of all evils.
§ XV—I have already dealt above with “support of the proletariat by other sections of the population” and with the omission of the “dictatorship of the proletariat.”
§ XVI is altogether strange and out of place. “The political education” of the proletariat consists in our enlightening it, organising it and directing its struggle—and that has already been dealt with in § XII (to which only “leader ship of its struggle” should be added).
§ XVII also seems to me superfluous verbosity. What is the point of speaking generally about the dependence of our immediate tasks on various social and political situations? Let this be dealt with in treatises, whereas we should say plainly that certain definite peculiarities (remnants of serf-ownership, the autocracy, etc.) modify our immediate task in a certain definite way.
§ XVIII: “In Russia capitalism is more and more becoming the predominant mode of production....” That is unquestionably insufficient. It has already become predominant (if I say that 60 has already become predominant over 40, it does not at all mean that 40 does not exist or that, it has been reduced to insignificance). We still have so many Narodniks, pro-Narodnik liberals, and “critics” rapidly reverting to Narodnik ideas that it is impermissible to leave room for the slightest vagueness on this point. And if capitalism has not yet even become “predominant,” then it would be better perhaps to wait awhile with Social-Democracy as well.
“... advancing Social-Democracy to the very first place....” Capitalism is only just becoming predominant, but we are already in the “very first” place.... In my opinion, we should not talk at all about the very first place: that is self-evident from the entire programme. Let us leave it to history to say this about us, rather than say it ourselves.
The draft evidently rejects the expression: the old, serf-owning social system, considering the expression “serf-owner ship” applicable only to the legal structure. I believe that this distinction is groundless: “serf-ownership” was, of course, a juridical institution, but it also corresponded to a specific system of landlord (and peasant) economy, and, besides, it manifested itself in numerous day-by-day relationships that were not provided for “by law.” For this reason it is scarcely advisable to avoid the expression: “the pre-capital 1st, serf-owning social system.”
The “description” of serfdom (that the masses were, so to speak, baptised chattels) is utterly out of place and superfluous in our programme.
On the other hand, it is insufficient to say about the Influence of the remnants of the serf-owning system that they weigh heavily upon the mass of working people. We must also indicate the retardation in the development of the country’s productive forces, and other social consequences of serfdom.
§ XIX. In my opinion, it is quite superfluous to state that to us democracy (resp. political liberty) is a “transitional stage” (transitional to what? After all, we openly say below that a republic is our immediate practical demand)—and that a constitution is “the natural legal complement [“property” of—obviously a mistake in copying] to capitalist production relations." This is absolutely out of place in the programme. It would be wholly sufficient for us to say that the autocracy retards or restricts “a l l social development”: hence, the development of capitalism is also incompatible with it. Details on this score should be relegated to the commentary, for in the programme they even weaken our declaration of war on the autocracy, imparting a bookish and abstract air to the programme.
Moreover, what is the point of these general passages about legal complements to capitalism and about a “legal structure” (§ XX), when later we speak much more directly and definitely about a republic? (Besides, § XX contains the expression “the old serf-owning system,” i.e., here the draft itself attributes to the word “serf-ownership” a broader meaning than the purely juridical.)
Nor is there any point in speaking about the autocracy being incompatible with a legal structure, since the demand for the former’s overthrow and replacement by a republic follows immediately. It would be better to express ourselves more definitely about the people’s “lack of rights” under the autocracy, etc.
“...The autocracy is the bitterest enemy of the aspirations of the working class towards emancipation....” To this should be added: “and of the cultural development of the whole people,” or words to that effect. In this way (and not by talking about “representation”) we shall indicate that Social- Democracy represents the interests not only of the working class, but of all social progress.
Summing up all the above notes, I find four basic short comings in the draft, which, in my opinion, render it unacceptable:
1) extreme abstractness of many of the formulations, so that they might seem intended for a series of lectures rather than for a militant party;
2) evasion and obscuring of the question of specifically Russian capitalism are a particularly serious shortcoming, since the programme should provide a compendium and guide for agitation against Russian capitalism. We must come out with a direct appraisal of Russian capitalism and with an open declaration of war against it specifically;
3) the altogether one-sided and incorrect presentation of the relation of the proletariat to the small producers, which cuts the ground from under our feet in the war against the “critics” and many others;
4) the constant endeavour in the programme to give explanations of the process. The explanations fail in their purpose anyway, and the exposition becomes prolix, numerous repetitions occur, and the programme constantly lapses into a commentary.
|Written late February-early March 1902|
Opinion On Plekhanov’s Second Draft[edit source]
Four basic shortcomings pervade the whole draft and, in my opinion, make it entirely unacceptable:
1) In the manner of formulation of the most important section, which contains a definition of capitalism, this draft is a programme of an economic textbook on capitalism in general rather than a programme for the proletariat, which is fighting against very real manifestations of a very definite capitalism.
2) The programme is particularly unsuitable for the party of the Russian proletariat, because the evolution of Russian capitalism and the antagonisms and social evils engendered by Russian capitalism are almost entirely evaded and obscured by the selfsame system of defining capitalism in general. In its programme the party of the Russian proletariat should formulate in the most unambiguous manner its arraignment of Russian capitalism, its declaration of war on Russian capitalism. This is all the more necessary inasmuch as the Russian programme cannot be identical in this respect with the European programmes: the latter speak of capitalism and of bourgeois society without indicating that these concepts are equally applicable to Austria, Germany, and so on, because that goes without saying. In relation to Russia this cannot be taken for granted.
To dispense with the question by saying that capitalism “in its developed form” is distinguished in general by such and such features—and in Russia capitalism “is becoming predominant”—is to evade making the concrete arraignment and declaration of war that is most important for a party engaged in a practical struggle.
That is why the draft fails to achieve one of the principal aims of a programme: to provide the Party with a directive for its day-by-day propaganda and agitation concerning all the various manifestations of Russian capitalism.
3) Some of the most important paragraphs are formulated in the draft with an inaccuracy which will inevitably engender most dangerous misinterpretations and hamper our theoretical struggle and propaganda. Thus, for example, the growth of large-scale production is limited to “industrial” enterprises. The evolution of agrarian capitalism is disregarded or even evaded. Further, instead of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” there is “the revolution which the proletariat will have to effect with the support of other sections of the population which are suffering from capital ist exploitation,” and even the class struggle of the proletariat has been replaced by “the struggle of the working and exploited masses.” This formulation contradicts the basic principle of the International: “The emancipation of the workers must be the act of the working class itself.” Besides the proletariat, the other part of the “working and exploited masses” (i.e., mainly the small producers) is only partially revolutionary in its struggle against the bourgeoisie. It is revolutionary only when, “with a view to joining the proletariat,” it “places itself at the standpoint of the proletariat” (The Communist Manifesto). As for the reactionary nature of the small producers, that is not brought out in the draft, so that on the whole the relation of the proletariat to the “working and exploited masses” is presented incorrectly. [For example, the draft reads: “their struggle (the struggle of the working and exploited masses) and, above all, the struggle of their foremost representative, the proletariat, is becoming sharper.” “The sharpening of the struggle” of the small producers is expressed in anti-Semitism, in Caesarism, in peasant unions against the farm labourers, and even in the struggle of the socialist Gironde against the Mountain. Representation of all the working and exploited masses by the proletariat should be expressed in the programme in our arraignment of capitalism for the poverty of the m a s s e s (and not only for the poverty of the working class), for unemployment among “ever wider sections of the working population” (and not of the working class).]
4) The draft constantly slips away from a programme in the strict sense of the word towards a commentary. A programme should give concise statements, without a single superfluous word, and leave all explanations to commentaries, pamphlets, agitation, etc. Engels was therefore fully justified when he accused the Erfurt Programme of being too long, abounding in too much detail and repetition, so as to tend towards becoming a commentary.
In the draft this shortcoming is still more manifest; there is a dreadful amount of repetition; in any case, the attempts made to introduce explanations of the process into the programme (instead of merely giving a definition of the process) fail to achieve their purpose and render the programme impossibly prolix.
|Written in late February-early March 1902|
Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme[edit source]
|Text of the Committee’s Draft||Lenin’s Remarks|
|A question mark indicates a desire to improve the style.|
|1. The development of international exchange has established such close ties among all nations of the civilised world, that the great emancipation movement of the proletariat had to become, and has long become, an international movement.|
|2. For this reason the Russian Social-Democrats regard their Party as one of the detachments of the world army of the proletariat, as part of international Social-Democracy, and pursue the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries.||The style needs brushing up.|
This “as” is not good Russian. Clumsy style. “They pursue the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries have set them selves,” or something to that effect.
|3. This ultimate aim is determined by bourgeois society’s nature and course of development.||I would recommend that “nature and” be deleted as superfluous words. The u l t i m a t e a i m is determined by the course and not by the modifications of this general “course” that are explained by the concept of “nature of development.” Hence, these superfluous words are also not quite accurate.|
|This society is characterised by the domination of commodity production under capitalist production relations, i.e., by the fact that the most important and most considerable part of the articles of consumption is produced||Why only “articles of consumption”? What about means of production? “Products,” etc., would be better.|
|for sale on the home or world market, and the most important and most considerable part of the means||These words should, in my opinion, be deleted. Unnecessary repetition.|
|of production and of circulation of these articles of consumption— commodities—||These words should be deleted. Commodities are not limited to articles of consumption.|
|belongs to a relatively small||(Instead of “relatively small,” perhaps negligible, since the words: “most important and most considerable part” are sufficiently restrictive. But this is not important.)|
|class of persons, V whereas the overwhelming majority of· the population consists partly of persons who possess no means of production||The words “to the capitalists and landowners” should be added.Otherwise the result is an abstract concept which is particularly out of place in conjunction with the subsequent “peasants and handicraftsmen.”|
|and of circulation whatever (proletarians) and partly of those who have at their disposal only very||“And of circulation” should be deleted. Proletarians of the purest water can have and do have “means of circulation” which are exchanged for articles o f c o n s u m p t i o n.|
|insignificant means of production, which do not ensure their existence (certain sections of small producers, as, for instance, small peasants and handicraftsmen).
All these persons are forced by their economic position to sell their labour-power constantly or periodically, i.e., to hire themselves to the owners of the means of production and of circulation of commodities, and by their labour create the latter’s income.
|The style requires brushing up! “Means of production” ensure (?) existence.|
|4. The domination of capitalist production relations grows more and more as constant technical progress, by increasing the economic importance of the big enterprises, ousts the independent small producers, that is, causes a relative decline in their number by converting part of them into proletarians, diminishes the role of the others in social and economic life, and at places makes them more or less completely, more or less obviously, more or less onerously, dependent upon the big manufacturers.||?|
“Upon capital”—not only upon big capital.
|5. By converting part of the independent small producers into proletarians, this technical progress leads to a still greater increase in the supply of labour-power, making it possible for the manufacturers to employ female and child labour to an ever greater extent in the process of commodity production and circulation. And since, on the other hand, this same process of technical (machine) progress leads to a relative decrease in the manufacturers’ need of the workers’ physical labour, the demand for labour-power necessarily lags behind its supply, as a consequence of which the dependence of wage-labour on capital increases and the exploitation of the former by capital is intensified. The share of the working class in the sum-total of the social income created by its labour is constantly diminishing.||?
These words should be deleted as a needless repetition of the idea already expressed in the preceding proposition.
In general, § 5 brings out in particular relief the general defect of the draft: long periods and an undesirable prolixity of exposition. Incidentally: this results in what Engels in his criticism of the Erfurt Draft called “schiefe Nebenbedeutung.” [“The possibility of misinterpretation.”—Ed.] For instance, it appears as if the increase in the employment of female and child labour is due solely to the “conversion” of the independent small producers into proletarians, whereas this is not so; it also takes place prior to such “c o n v e r s i o n.” The beginning of § 5 is a superfluous repetition.
|6. This state of affairs with in bourgeois so-||Omission.|
|Over-production, which causes more or less severe industrial crises, followed by more or less lengthy periods of industrial stagnation, is an inevitable result of the growth of the productive forces, in the absence of planning, which is characteristic of commodity production, and under the capitalist production relations inherent in present-day society. In their turn, crises and periods of industrial stagnation render the position of the independent small producers still more difficult, and lead still more rapidly to the relative and, in some places, even the absolute deterioration in the proletarians’ conditions.||Repetition again!!|
This is insufficient. Not only do they “render their position difficult,” but ruin them outright on a mass scale.
The first part of § 6 would gain a great deal if it were made shorter.
|7. Thus, technical progress, which implies an increase in labour productivity and the growth of social wealth, entails, in bourgeois society, an increase In social inequality, a widening of the distance between the propertied and the propertyless, a growth of insecurity of existence, unemployment and poverty of every description.||“Growth of poverty of every description”—this borrowing from my draft is not a very apt one. I did not speak about the growth of poverty. “Of every description” includes “absolute” too. The reference to the poverty of the masses should therefore be worded some what differently.|
|8. But, as all these contradictions, inherent in the capitalist mode of production, grow and develop, the working and exploited masses’ discontent with the existing order of things also grows, and the struggle of their foremost representative—the proletariat—against the champions of this order becomes sharper.||§ 8 shows the committee’s stubborn disinclination to observe the precise and unambiguous c o n d i t i o n it was set at its very “birth.” On the basis of this condition an insertion should have been made (which the committee has done in § 10), and, m o r e o v e r, before the insertion the text should deal only with the class struggle of the proletariat a l o n e. This latter demand, clearly expressed in the conciliation agreement, was not carried out by the commit tee, and I consider that I am within my rights in insisting that it be carried out.
Prior to what is stated at the end of § 10, it is i n c o r r e c t to speak of the discontent of all the working masses in general and to call the proletariat their “foremost representative,” since this is true o n l y u n d e r t h e c o n d i t i o n expressed at the end of § 10. The committee presents the conditional as some thing unconditional. The half-heartedness of the small producer and his s e m i - r e a c t i o n a r y s p i r i t have not been in any way expressed by the commit tee: this is quite impermissible. The result is that the possibility of finding this small producer (or a part of this section) among the principled “champions of this order” (the same phrase in § 8 1!) has been entirely f o r g o t t e n!! And yet this possibility v e r y often becomes a reality before our very eyes.In order to have the right to speak of the movement of the proletariat, its class struggle and even the class dictatorship, it is necessary first to single out this o n e class, and then only to add something about its role as a representative. Otherwise the result is a lack of coherence in the draft; § 8 is not connected in strict logic either with the continuation (why not a “dictatorship of the working masses”??), or with the beginning (if all the social antagonisms are aggravated, that m e a n s that the struggle of the t w o c l a s s e s grows ever sharper, and this is something the committee has forgotten to point out!!). It does not hang together.
|At the same time, technical progress, by socialising the process of labour within the workshop and concentrating production,||The socialisation of labour is far from being limited to what takes place within the workshop: this passage must be corrected.|
|more and more rapidly creates the possibility of the social revolution, which constitutes the ultimate aim of the entire activity of International Social-Democracy, as the conscious spokesman of the class movement of the proletariat.||+“and the necessity” (for the social revolution).|
Cf. No. 13. N.B.
|9. This social revolution will consist in the removal of capitalist production relations and their substitution by socialist production relations, i.e., it will consist in the expropriation of the exploiters for the purpose of converting the means of production and of circulation of products into public property, and in the planned organisation of the social production process so as to satisfy the needs of both society as a whole and its individual members. The achievement of this aim will emancipate all of oppressed humanity, since it will put an end to all forms of the exploitation of one part of society by another.||?|
Not accurate. Such “satisfaction” is “given” by capitalism as well, but not to all members of society and not in equal degree.
—My objections have already been set forth–N.B.[See pp. 28, 54 of this volume.—Ed.]
|10. To effect its social revolution, the proletariat must win political power (the class dictatorship), which will make it master of the situation and enable it to surmount all obstacles. Organising for this purpose into an independent political party, which is opposed to all bourgeois parties,||?
?“Opposed to a l l bourgeois parties” means to the petty-bourgeois parties as well, does it not?? But the majority of the petty bourgeois are “working and exploited." That does not hang together.
|the proletariat calls upon all other sections of the population which are suffering from capitalist exploitation to join its ranks,||Social-Democracy organises and calls upon. “The proletariat ... calls into its [!] sections”—ganz unmöglich! [ Quite impossible!—The reference is to an infelicity in the Russian style.—Ed. ]|
|counting on their support, in as much as they are conscious of the hopelessness of their position in present-day society and place themselves at the standpoint of the proletariat.||The words “counting on their support” should be deleted. They are redundant (if it calls upon, that means it counts on) and have schiefe Nebenbedeutung. It calls upon those who are conscious, inasmuch as they are conscious, das genügt. [That is enough.—Ed.]|
|11. The Social-Democratic Party, the party of the fighting proletariat, directs all manifestations of its class struggle, discloses to the whole of the working and exploited masses the irreconcilable antagonism between the interests of the exploiters and the interests of the exploited, and explains to them the historical significance and the indispensable prerequisites for the future social revolution.||“Irreconcilability of their (the masses) interests with the very existence of capitalism,” or a similar correction. Not all the working people find themselves in a position wherein their “interests” are “irreconcilably” opposed to the interests of the exploiters. The working peasant has s o m e t h i n g, somewhat, a/n, in common with the big landowner. We need more general and broader statements, lest the result be an inaccuracy and amount to phrase-mongering.|
|12. But despite the identity of their common ultimate aim, an identity conditioned ·by the dominance of the same mode of production throughout the civilised world, the Social-Democrats of different countries do not set themselves the same immediate tasks, both because this mode is not everywhere developed in equal degree and also because its development in different countries takes place under varying social and political conditions.||? Style!!|
§ 12—the end. An attempt should be made to short en this. It would by very useful for this paragraph to shrink. Would it not be possible to condense ten words into two by saying “national features,” or a similar expression?
|13. In Russia, side by side with capitalism, which is rapidly extending the sphere of its domination and more and more becoming the predominant mode of production, we still meet at every step remnants of our old, pre-capitalist social order, which was based on bondage of the masses of working people to the land lords, to the state, or to the head of the-state. These remnants retard the development of the productive forces in the highest degree,||§ 13—the beginning. My most humble thanks for the tiny step in my direction. But “becoming the predominant....” [At this point Lenin expresses his opinion of a piece of infelicitous phrasing in the draft,—Ed.]|
|hamper the all-round development of the proletariat’s class struggle, lower the working population’s standard of living, are responsible for the Asiatically barbarous way in which the many-million-strong peasantry is being ruined and reduced to degradation, and keep entire people in a state of ignorance, total absence of rights, and subjection.||N.B.|
§ 13—the end. Correction desirable: I have already suggested how (my amendments to my draft [See p. 34 of this volume.—Ed.]), or you get “...barbarous way in which... is being ruined and reduced to degradation...”?
|14. As the most outstanding of all survivals of our serf-owning system and the most formidable bulwark of all this barbarism, the tsarist autocracy is wholly incompatible with political and civil liberties, which have long been in existence in the advanced countries of capitalist production, as the natural legal complement to that production. By its very nature it must crush every social movement and is bound to be the bitterest enemy of all the proletariat’s emancipatory aspirations.
For these reasons, Russian Social-Democracy advances as its immediate political task the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a republic based on a democratic constitution that would ensure, etc.
This won’t do. Not every: bimetallism and pre-Raphaelitism are also “social movements.” This must be amended.“Natural legal complement”—a correct thought very badly expressed. For capitalism the “naturalness” of liberty is complicated by 1,001 social and historical factors, which the word “natural” does not bring out. Moreover, it smacks, reeks, of a sort of liberalism. Some thing should be said to the effect that the “autocracy is inevitably doomed to death by the entire development of capitalism, which imperatively requires civil and political liberties for the expression of its increasingly complex interests,” or something like that, in short, the idea of inevitability should be expressed, without giving rise to misunderstandings by attributing this inevitability to “natural” developments.
If the Lord God has chosen to punish us for our sins by obliging us to come out with a “mongrel” draft, we should at least do every thing in our power to reduce the unhappy consequences. Therefore, those who are above all guided by a desire to “get through with it as quickly as possible” are quite wrong. It may be taken for granted that now, given such a constellation, nothing but evil will come of haste, and our editorial draft will be unsatisfactory. It is not absolutely necessary to publish it in No. 4 of Zarya: we can publish it in No. 5 and in a special impression before No. 5 appears. If we do this, a delay of a month or so will do no harm at all to the Party. And, in deed, it would be better if the illustrious committee goes over it again thoroughly, thinks it over, digests it, and gives us a draft of its own, an integral draft, rather than one that has been pasted together. Let me repeat: if this task is unrealisable, it would be far better to revert to the plan of two drafts (and we shall be fully able to carry out this plan without any “awkwardness”: Plekhanov publishes his draft over his signature in Zarya, and I publish mine on the side," in Geneva, as X, Y or Z). I hereby most respectfully request the august Board to give its close consideration to “all the circumstances of the case.”12.IV.1902—I am writing in the train: I apologise for the scribble. If I have time, I shall write again and more clearly.
|Written April 12, 1902|
Additional Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme[edit source]
Besides my remarks written on the draft itself, I should like to note the following:
§ 3. “Society (bourgeois) is characterised by the domination of commodity production under capitalist production relations, i.e." ... then follows a description of the basic features of capitalism. The result is an incongruity: the “i.e." connects dissimilar, unequal concepts, namely, 1) the modification of commodity production in a form conditioned by the domination of capitalist production relations, and 2) the sale of products on the market and the sale of their labour-power by the masses of the population.
This incongruity, this equating of the b a s i c and most general features of commodity production in general and of capitalism in general—and the modifications of commodity production on the basis of capitalist production relations (then commodities are no longer exchanged simply according to value)—clearly shows how poor G. V. Plekhanov’s formulation is (and yet the committee adopted this formulation, merely rephrasing it). In a programme that presents only the most general and basic features of capitalism and does not set forth even the theory of surplus-value, we suddenly “nod” to Böhm-Bawerk by calling to mind that “commodity production on the basis of capitalism” is not quite the same as simple commodity production! If so, then why not add to the programme special references to Mikhailovsky, Berdayev, and the like? On the one hand, only one very general socialist expression is used to cover even all of Marx’s teachings about the exploitation of labour by capital: “create by their labour the latter’s income” (end of § 3)—and on the other hand, note is made of the specific transformation of surplus-value into profit under “commodity production on the basis of capitalist production relations.”
G. V. Plekhanov is quite right when he states that the words “commodity production on the basis of capitalist production relations” express the fundamental idea of Volume III. But that is all. There is no point in including this idea in the programme—just as there is no point in describing in the programme the mechanism of realisation, which is the fundamental idea of Volume II, or in describing the conversion of excess profit into ground rent. In the programme it is sufficient to n o t e the exploitation of labour by capital=the creation of surplus-value, whereas to speak of every kind of transformation and modification of the forms of this surplus-value is out of place (and impossible in a few short propositions).
Addition Concerning the Class Struggle[edit source]
I fully share V. Zasulich’s opinion that in our country it is possible to attract a much larger proportion of small producers into the ranks of Social-Democracy and much more rapidly (than in the West), that to achieve this we must do a l l in our power, and that this “wish” should be expressed in the programme “against” the Martynovs and Co. I am in full agreement with all this. I w e l c o m e the addition that has been made at the end of § 10—I emphasise this to avoid any misunderstanding.
However, there is no need to go to the other extreme, as V. Zasulich does! A “wish” should not be confused with reality, and with immanently necessary reality at that, to which alone our Prinzipienerklärung[A declaration of principles.—Ed.] is devoted. It would be desirable to attract a a l l the small producers—naturally. But we know that they constitute a special class, even if bound to the proletariat by a thousand ties and intermediate grades, but nevertheless a special class.
In the first place it is essential to draw a line of demarcation between ourselves and all others, to single out the proletariat alone and e x c l u s i v e l y, and only then declare that the proletariat will emancipate all, that it calls on all, Invites all.
I agree to this “then,” but I demand that this “in the first place” should come first!
Here in Russia the monstrous sufferings of the “working and exploited masses” did not rouse any popular movement until a “handful” of factory workers began the struggle, the class struggle. And o n l y this “handful” guarantees the conduct, continuation, and extension of this struggle. It is in Russia, where the critics (Bulgakov) accuse the Social-Democrats of “peasantophobia”, and the Socialist-Revolutionaries shout of the need for r e p l a c i n g the concept of the class struggle by the concept of “the struggle of a l l the working and exploited” (Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsit, No. 2)–it is in Russia that we must, in the first place, draw a line of demarcation between ourselves and all this riffraff, by means of the most clear-cut definition of the class struggle alone of the proletariat a l o n e—and only then declare that we call on all, that we shall undertake everything, take everything, extend to include everything. But the committee “extends,” while forgetting to draw a line of demarcation!! And I am accused of being narrow-minded be cause I demand that this extension be preceded by “demarcation”?! But that is trickery, gentlemen!!
The struggle inevitably facing us tomorrow against the combined forces of the critics±the more Leftist gentlemen of Russkiye Vedomosti and Russkoye Bogatstvo+the Socialist-Revolutionaries will most imperatively demand of us that very demarcation between the class struggle of the proletariat and the “struggle” (is it a struggle?) “of the working and exploited masses.” Phrase-mongering about these masses is a trump card in the hands of all the unsicheren Kantonisten,[Unreliable cantonists. In this context—“unreliable allies.”—Ed. ] and the committee is playing into their hands and depriving us of a weapon for the struggle against half-heartedness, in order to emphasise one half! But do not for get the other half!
|Written April 1902|
An Amendment to the Agrarian Section of the Programme[edit source]
I propose the following amendment to Clause 4 of our agrarian programme: instead of “Establishment of peasant committees (a) for the restitution to the village communes (by expropriation, or, when the land has changed hands, by redemption, etc.) of the land," etc., to state: “Establishment of peasant committees (a) for the restitution to the village communes (by expropriation) of the land which..." etc.,
i.e., to _ s c r a p _ t h e _ i t a l i c i s e d _ w o r d s.
It seems to me that this amendment should be made for the following considerations:
1. In the agrarian programme we present our “maximum,” our “socio-revolutionary demands” (see my commentary). Allowing land redemption, however, runs counter to the socio-revolutionary nature of the entire demand.
2. Both the historical tradition of “redemption” (that of 1861) and its very content (cf. the well-known phrase: “redemption is nothing but purchase”) give it the specific flavour of a mawkishly well-intentioned and bourgeois measure. Our allowing land redemption makes it not impossible for the entire essence of our demand to be discredited (and there will be more than enough vilifiers prepared to do this.)
3. The fear that an “injustice” would be committed by taking away the cut-off lands from people who have paid money for them is groundless. We have in any case set two restrictive conditions for this measure of restituting the cut-off lands: [(1)—“the lands cut off in 1861,” and <2)— “now used as a means of keeping the peasants in bondage.”] It is absolutely right to confiscate property serving the purposes of feudal exploitation, and to do so without compensation. (Let the purchaser of the cut-off lands then sue the seller—that is no affair of ours.)
4. By allowing “redemption,” we are placing the onus of monetary payment on the peasants, who by reason of labour rent were most deeply involved in natural economy: the abruptness of the transition to monetary payments may ruin the peasants in an _ e s p e c i a l l y _ rapid way, and this would run counter to the entire spirit of our programme.
5. Even if a purchaser of cut-off lands is to be “compensated” by way of exception, this should by no means be done at the expense of the peasants, who have the moral and historical right to these cut-off lands. “Compensation” can be made by giving a corresponding plot somewhere in the border regions, etc.; but that does not concern us.
I ask everyone to vote: F o r=discarding the words about redemption, deleting the words I have indicated.
A g a i n s t=endorsing of the old text.
1) G. V.—
2) P. B.—
3) V. I.—
5) A. N.—
|Written April 1902|
- The Erfurt Programme of the German Social-Democratic Party was adopted in October 1891 at the Congress in Erfurt. Compared with the Gotha Programme (1875), it was a step forward, being based on the Marxist doctrine that the capitalist mode of production must inevitably yield place to the socialist; it stressed the need for the working class to wage a political struggle, indicating the party’s role as the organiser of this struggle, etc. However, the Erfurt Programme, too, contained serious concessions to opportunism. It was extensively criticised by Frederick Engels (“Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891”), this being in essence a criticism of the opportunism of the entire Second International, for whose parties the Erfurt Programme was a kind of model. However, the leadership of German Social-Democracy concealed Engels’ criticism from the p arty rank and file, while his most important remarks were ignored when the final text of the programme was drawn V. I. Lenin and G. V. Plekhanov considered that the Erfurt Progamme’s silence on the dictatorship of the proletariat was its chief defect and a cowardly concession to opportunism.
- It is necessary to explain what this socialist production is. —Lenin
- As is stated on pages 8-9. —Lenin
- In Lenin’s manuscript the word “unclear” is written above the words “to satisfy the needs”.—Ed.
- The theoretical part of this programme constitutes the draft proposed by one of the editors, Frey (and drawn up by him on the basis of G. V. Plekhanov’s original draft). The practical part of the programme (from the point indicated below to the end) is proposed by the whole committee, i.e., by the five editors. —Lenin
- Here begins the text adopted by the committee as a whole. —Lenin
- Frey moved that the beginning of this paragraph be altered to read as follows: “To safeguard the working class from physical and moral degeneration, and also to raise its fighting capacity in the struggle for its emancipation....” —Lenin
- Frey moved that the following be inserted here (in the same clause): “that the law should establish weekly payment for all workers employed on a contract basis.” —Lenin
- Frey moved that the following words be inserted here: “and for the purpose of facilitating the free development of the class struggle in the countryside,” so that the whole paragraph would read as follows: “With a view to eradicating the remnants of the old serf-owning system and for the purpose of facilitating the free development of the class struggle in the countryside, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party will work for.” —Lenin
- Collective liability was a compulsory measure making the peas ants of each village commune collectively liable for timely and full payments and for the fulfilment of all sorts of services to the state and the landlords (payment of taxes and land redemption instalments, provision of recruits for the army, etc.). This form of bondage was retained even after serfdom had been abolished, and remained in force until 1906.
Notes On Plekhanov’s First Draft Programme | Three Amendments to the Draft Programme
- Frey moved that the beginning of the paragraph be altered to read as follows: “Fighting for these demands, the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party,” etc. —Lenin
- Frey moved that the end of this paragraph he altered to read as follows: “...plans connected with any extension or consolidation of tutelage of the working masses by the police and officials.” —Lenin
- This refers to the following proposition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party: “Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.” (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 45.)
- Lenin is referring to Frederick Engels’ article, “Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891.”
- We would challenge anyone who does not agree with this to cite or even imagine a single example of any “increase in the economic importance of the big enterprises and reduction of the role of the small enterprises” that would not make it obvious that the latter are being ousted by the former. —Lenin
- Such an interpretation of haziness is all the more inevitable the more widely such a definite formulation as, for instance, in the Erfurt Programme, becomes known: “...geht die Verdrängung der zersplitterten Kleinbetriebe durch kolossale Grossbetriebe (“...the scattered small enterprises are being ousted by colossal large-scale enterprises —Ed.) —Lenin
- There is no harm in one’s occasionally coming across a foreign word or a sentence whose full import one cannot grasp at first glance. Oral reports at meetings and written statements in the press do all that is necessary, and a brief but pithy sentence, once understood, will impress itself on the mind and become a slogan, which is never the case with a broader exposition—Ed.
- Russkiye Vedomosti (Russian Recorder)—a newspaper published in Moscow from 1863 onwards; it expressed the views of the moderate liberal intelligentsia, and insisted on the need for reforms that would transform Russia into a constitutional monarchy. Among its contributors in the 1880s and 1890s were the democratic writers M. Y, Saltykov-Shchedrin, G. I. Uspensky, and V. G. Korolenko. It also published items written by liberal Narodniks. In 1905 it be came the organ of the Right wing of the bourgeois Constitutional-Democratic (Cadet) Party. Lenin said that Russkiye Vedomosti was a peculiar combination of “Right-wing Cadetism and a strain of Narodism” (see present edition, Vol. 19, “Frank Speeches of a Liberal”). In 1918 the publication was closed down together with other counter-revolutionary newspapers.
- a detailed Social-Democratic programme which does not make it clear that capitalism must naturally lead to mass poverty and mass destitution, and does not regard the struggle against this poverty and this destitution as the content of Social-Democracy’s aspirations, ignores the decisive aspect of our movement and thus has a conspicuous deficiency”.—Ed.
- This refers to Karl Marx’s Provisional Rules of the International Working Men’s Association adopted on November 1, 1864, at a session of the General Council of the First International, and the General Rules of the International Working Men’s Association adopted in September 1874 by the London Conference of the First International, which took the Provisional Rules of the International as its basis (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 386-89).
- The Mountain (la Montagne) and the Gironde were the names of two political groupings of the bourgeoisie at the time of the French bourgeois revolution of the end of the eighteenth century. The Mountain—the Jacobins—was the name given to the more determined representatives of the revolutionary class of the time— the bourgeoisie—who advocated the abolition of absolutism and feudalism. Unlike the Jacobins, the Girondists wavered between revolution and counter-revolution, and entered into deals with the monarchy.
Lenin called the opportunist trend in Social-Democracy the “socialist Gironde,” and the revolutionary Social-Democrats— “proletarian jacobins." the ’Mountain." After the RSDLP split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, Lenin frequently stressed that the Mensheviks were the Girondist trend in the working-class movement.
- Interpolations in square brackets (within passages quoted by Lenin) have been introduced by Lenin, unless otherwise indicated–Ed. —Lenin
- Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1958, pp. 43-44.
- This refers to Frederick Engels’ article, “The Peasant Question in France and Germany.” in which he criticised the agrarian programme of the Workers’ Party of France, adopted at the Marseilles Party Congress in 1892 and enlarged at the Nantes Party Congress in 1894 (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 11. Moscow. 1958, pp. 420-40).
- (“in place of this declamatory phrase, which sounds as if we were in fact distressed by the ruin of the bourgeois and the petty bourgeois [!!], I would state the simple fact: through the ruin of the urban and rural middle estates—the petty bourgeois and the small peasants— the gulf between the propertied and the propertyless grows.—Ed.)
- The more “indulgence” we show, in the practical part of our programme, towards the small producer (e.g., to the peasant), the “more strictly” must we treat these unreliable and double-faced social elements in the theoretical part of the programme, without sacrificing one iota of o u r standpoint. Now then, we say, If you adopt this, our, standpoint, you can count on “indulgence” of every kind, but If you don’t, well then, don’t get angry with us! Under the “dictatorship” we shall say about you: there is no point in wasting words where the use of power is required.... —Lenin
- Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, p. 30.
- Frederick Engels, “Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891 ."
Three Amendments to the Draft Programme | Opinion On Plekhanov’s Second Draft
- Incidentally. The expression in the counterdraft: “the Asiatically barbarous wag in which the peasantry is dying out” is a poor one. Way of disappearance, or something like that, could be said. —Lenin
- V. I. Lenin’s remarks on the Committee’s draft of the theoretical part of the programme were written in the margins and between the lines of the manuscript of the Committee’s draft, and also on the backs of the manuscript pages. Particular points in the Committee’s draft which Lenin singled out (by underlining, brackets, vertical lines in the margin, etc.) are underscored with fine lines.
- Zarya (Dawn)—a Marxist scientific and political magazine, was published in 1901-02 in Stuttgart by the Iskra Editorial Board. Only four numbers (three books) of Zarya were issued: No. 1—in April 1901 (which actually appeared on March 23, New Style); No. 2-3—in December 1901; No. 4—in August 1902.
The tasks of Zarya were defined in the draft declaration of Iskra and Zarya which V. I. Lenin wrote in Russia (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 320-30). However, when the question of joint publication of these organs abroad was discussed with the Emancipation of Labour group, it was decided to publish Zarya legally and Iskra illegally; consequently there was no mention of Zarya in the declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra, a declaration published in October 1900.
Zarya criticised international and Russian revisionism, and defended the theoretical principles of Marxism. It published V. I. Lenin’s writings: “Casual Notes,” “The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism,” “Messrs. the ’Critics’ on the Agrarian Question” (the first four chapters of “The Agrarian Question and ’the Critics of Marx’"), “Review of Internal Affairs,” “The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy” and also G. V. Plekhanov’s “Criticism of Our Critics. Part 1. Mr. Struve as Critic of Marx’s Theory of Social Development,” “Kant versus Kant, or Herr Bernstein’s Spiritual Testament,” and others.
- This refers to the third volume of Karl Marx’s Capital. Below is a reference to the second volume of Capital.
- Socialist-Revolutionaries (S. R .s)—a petty-bourgeois party in Russia, which arose at the end of 1901 and beginning of 1902 as a result of the union of Narodnik groups and circles. The newspaper Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia) (1900-05) and the magazine Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsii (Herald of the Russian Revolution) (1901-05) became its official organs. The views of the Socialist-Revolutionaries were an eclectic mixture of the ideas of Narodism and revisionism; they tried, as Lenin put it, to mend “the rents of Narodism with the patches of fashionable opportunist ’criticism’ of Marxism” (see present edition, Vol. 9, “Socialism and the Peasantry”). The Socialist-Revolutionaries did not see the class distinctions between proletariat and peasantry, glossed over the class differentiation and contradictions within the peasantry, and rejected the proletariat’s leading role in the revolution. The tactic of individual terrorism which the Socialist-Revolutionaries advocated as a basic method of struggle against the autocracy caused great detriment to the revolutionary movement and made it difficult to organise the masses for the revolutionary struggle.
The agrarian programme of the Socialist-Revolutionaries en visaged the abolition of private ownership of the land and its transfer to the village communes on the basis of equalitarian tenure, and also the development of all forms of co-operatives. There was nothing socialist In this programme, which the Socialist-Revolutionaries tried to present as a programme for “socialising the land ," since abolition of private ownership of the land, as Lenin pointed out, cannot of itself abolish the domination of capital and the poverty of the masses. The struggle for the abolition of landlord ownership was the real, historically progressive content of the agrarian programme of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. This demand objectively expressed the interests and aspirations of the peasantry at the stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution.
The Bolshevik Party exposed the attempts of the Socialist-Revolutionaries to camouflage themselves as socialists, waged a stubborn struggle against the Socialist-Revolutionaries to gain influence over the peasantry, and laid bare the harmful consequences for the working-class movement of their tactic of individual terrorism. At the same time, on definite conditions, the Bolsheviks concluded temporary agreements with the Socialist-Revolutionaries in the struggle against tsarism.
In the final analysis, the absence of class homogeneousness in the peasantry was responsible for the political and ideological instability and organisational confusion in the Socialist-Revolutionary party, and their constant vacillation between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. There was a split in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party already in the years of the first Russian revolution: its Right wing formed the legal Labour Popular-Socialist Party, which held views close to those of the Constitutional Democrats (Cadets); the “Left” wing took shape as the semi-anarchist league of “Maximalists.” During the Stolypin reaction, the Socialist-Revolutionary party experienced a complete ideological and organisational break-down, and the First World War saw most Socialist-Revolutionaries adopt the standpoint of social-chauvinism.
After the victory of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, together with the Mensheviks and Cadets, were the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois-landlord Provisional Government, of which leaders of the party (Kerensky, Avxentyev, Chernov) were members. Influenced by the revolutionising of the peasantry,· the “Left” wing of the Socialist-Revolutionaries founded an independent party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries at the end of November 1917. Striving to maintain their influence among the peasant masses, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries formally recognised Soviet power and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks, but soon began a struggle against Soviet power. During the years of foreign military intervention and civil war, the Socialist-Revolutionaries carried on counter-revolutionary subversive activity, strongly supported the interventionists and whiteguard generals, took part in counter-revolutionary plots, and organised terrorist acts against leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the civil war, the Socialist-Revolutionaries continued their hostile activity against the Soviet state within the country and abroad among whiteguard émigrés.
- Vestnik Russkot Revolutsii. Sotsialno-Politicheskoye Obozreniye (Herald of the Russian Revolution. Socio-Political Review)—an illegal magazine published abroad (Paris-Geneva) in 1901-05; four numbers were issued. Beginning with No. 2 it became the theoretical organ of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Among contributors to the periodical were M. R. Gots (A. Levitsky), I. A. Rubanovich, V. M. Chernov (Y. Gardenin), Y. K. Breshko-Breshkovskaya.
- Russkoye Bogatstvo (Russian Wealth) —a monthly magazine published in St. Petersburg from 1876 to 1918. In the early nineties it passed into the hands of the liberal Narodniks headed by N. K. Mikhailovsky, and became the chief Narodnik organ. As such, in 1893, it began a campaign against the Russian Social-Democrats. In its distortion and falsification of Marxism, Russkoye Bogalsivo relied on the West-European revisionists; grouped round it were publicists who subsequently became prominent members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the “Popular Socialists” and the Trudovik (Labour) groups in the State Dumas.
From 1906 Russkoye Bogatstvo became the organ of the semi-Cadet party of “Popular Socialists.” The magazine changed its title several times: Sovremenniye Zapiski (Contemporary Notes), Sovremennost (Modern Times), Russktye Zapiski (Russian Notes); from April 1917 it again became Russkoye Bogatstvo.
Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme | An Amendment to the Agrarian Section of the Programme
- “An Amendment to the Agrarian Section of the Programme” was presented by Lenin for discussion by the other members of the Iskra Editorial Board.
To conduct a vote on this amendment, Lenin wrote at the end of the manuscript the pseudonyms or initials of the members of the Iskra Editorial Board: G. V..—Plekhanov; P. B.—Axelrod; V. I.—Zasulich; Berg—pseudonym of Y. 0. Martov; A. N.— Potresov.
- Lenin calls his work entitled The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy a commentary on the agrarian section of the Party programme (see pp. 107-50 of this volume).
- According to the “Regulation Governing Redemption by Peas ants Who Have Emerged from Serf Dependence..." adopted on February 19, 1861, the peasants were obliged to pay compensation to the landlords for land allotted to them. In concluding the land redemption deal, the tsarist government paid over to the landlords the compensation money, which was regarded as a debt of the peasants payable over a period of 49 years. The instalments of this debt, which the peasants paid annually, were called land redemption payments, whose heavy and intolerable burden result ed in mass ruination and impoverishment of the peasants. The landlords’ former peasants alone paid the tsarist government about 2,000 million rubles at a time when the market price of the land which had passed to the peasants did not exceed 544 million rubles. As all the peasants did not come under the land redemption scheme at once, but at various times until 1883, the land redemption payments were to be completed only by 1932. However, the peasant movement during the first Russian revolution of 1905-07 compelled the tsarist government to abolish land redemption payments as from January 1907.
- “Redemption is nothing but purchase” was said by Volgin, one of the characters in N. G. Chernyshevsky’s Prologue, which expressed N. G. Chernyshevsky’s own attitude to the “emancipation” of the peasants in 1861.
Additional Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme |
- By allowing land redemption, we are degrading the restitution of the cut-off lands from an extraordinary, revolutionary measure to the most petty “reform.” —Lenin