The Bourgeoisie’s Censures and the Proletariat’s Call for Action
|Written||1 July 1906|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1965, Moscow, Volume 11, pages 83-84.
The debate in the State Duma on the reports of the Belostok pogrom is drawing to a close. The government’s crimes have been disclosed with the fullest and in some cases, one might say, with pedantic accuracy. The unanimity of the State Duma in condemning the vile conduct of the local and central authorities seemed to have been complete. People who are capable of saying that the Duma “combines the struggle of classes into one struggle” might have exulted over such unanimity.
But as soon as matters reached the stage of practical conclusions in regard to the measures necessary to combat the vile crimes of the gang of pogrom-mongers, this sham and superficial unanimity was at once scattered like dust. It at once became apparent that however much the “struggle of classes is combined into one struggle” the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are pursuing essentially different aims in their struggle for emancipation. The bourgeoisie wants to “censure” the government so as to be able to set to work itself to subdue the revolution. The proletariat wants to call upon the people to wage a revolutionary struggle.
This difference was clearly revealed in the two resolutions that were proposed in connection with the Belostok pogrom. The formula of the bourgeoisie (the Constitutional-Democratic Party): 1) trounces the government; 2) demands the resignation of the Cabinet; and 3) emphasises that “the government is conscious of its powerlessness to combat the revolution”. The bourgeoisie wants a strong government to combat the revolution.
The formula of the proletariat (the Social-Democratic Party) is different. It: 1) trounces the government—it is to this “unanimity” of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie that simpletons in politics usually confine their attention; 2) declares that “the only way to protect the lives and property of citizens is by arming the people itself”; 3) “calls upon the people to take the protection of their lives and property into their own hands”, and to “resist national persecution”.
These two different formulas clearly reveal the difference in the interests of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie wants to extinguish the revolution. The proletariat wants to arm the revolution. The bourgeoisie is longing to impeach the bureaucrats. The proletariat is appealing to the justice of the people (“these criminals and their protectors will not elude the justice of the people”—as is stated in the motion of our Social-Democratic Group in the Duma). The bourgeoisie is appealing only to the Ministers, appealing to them to yield. The proletariat is appealing to the people, calling them to arm and resist.
Our comrades in the Duma have struck the right note on this question. We hope that they will continue to counter- pose the declarations of the revolutionary proletariat to the phrase-mongering of the opportunist bourgeoisie as clearly, distinctly and relentlessly as they have done on this occasion,