On the Eve (June 1906)
|Written||8 June 1906|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 11, pages 15-16.
Lenin’s article “On the Eve” was telegraphed to the editorial office of the newspaper Rabotnik.
Rabotnik (The Worker)—a legal Bolshevik newspaper published in Kiev. Two issues appeared: June 8 (21) and June 9 (22), 1906. The first issue was confiscated. After the second issue the newspaper was closed down.
The political situation is becoming clear with amazing speed.
Some months ago it was impossible to say with any certainty whether the State Duma would meet or what it would be like. A few weeks ago it was still unclear, to the broad mass of the people at least, in what field and in what form the next stage of the struggle for freedom would develop. The simple-minded peasants believed in the Duma; they could not admit of the idea that the eloquent requests and statements of all the representatives of the people would have no result. The bourgeois liberals, who were trying to induce the government to make concessions out of “good will”, believed in the Duma. It would be no exaggeration to say that in a few days their faith was shattered before our eyes, the faith of the mass of the people, all of whose interests nurtured and strengthened this belief. They believed because they wanted to believe, they believed be cause the immediate political future was still dark, they believed because the political twilight left room for every kind of ambiguity, wavering and depression.
Now everything has again become clear. The foresight of people who were thought to be eccentric pessimists in the period of the elections to the Duma and during the first days of the Duma has been vindicated. The Duma has been sitting only five or six weeks and already people who have been whole-heartedly endeavouring to devise, and develop activities in the Duma and around the Duma are frankly and honestly admitting the great fact: “How tired the people are of waiting.”
For decades they did not become tired of waiting, but now they have become tired after a few weeks; they were not tired of waiting while they were asleep or vegetating, while the external circumstances of their lives contained nothing directly changing their existence beyond recognition, their mood, their consciousness, their will. They have become tired of waiting after a few weeks, now that the thirst for action has awakened in them with incredible rapidity, and the most eloquent and sympathetic words, even from such a lofty platform as the Duma, have begun to seem dreary, boring and uninteresting. The workers have become tired of waiting—the wave of strikes has begun to mount higher and higher. The peasants have become tired of waiting; no persecutions and tortures, exceeding the horrors of the medieval Inquisition, can stop their struggle for the land, for freedom. The sailors in Kronstadt and Sevastopol have become tired of waiting, as well as the infantrymen in Kursk, Poltava, Tula and Moscow, the guardsmen in Krasnoye Selo, and even the Cossacks. All now see where and how a new great struggle is flaring up, all realise its inevitability, all sense the absolute need for the actions of the proletariat and peasantry to be staunch, stead fast and well-prepared, and that these actions should be simultaneous and co-ordinated. They feel that it is necessary to wait for this.... We are on the eve of great historical events, we are on the eve of the second great stage of the Russian revolution. The Social-Democrats, who consciously express the class struggle of the proletariat, will stand at their posts to a man, and will perform their duty to the end.