The Liquidators and the Decisions of the Lettish Marxists
|Written||9 June 1914|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 360-362
What worker does not remember the noise the liquidators raised when, in a special issue of our newspaper, we acquainted the reader with the latest decisions of the Lettish Marxists and remarked that the Letts had paid tribute to the spirit of compromise while at the same time dealing a death blow at the liquidationist August bloc.
The liquidators have used every means in their power to challenge this conclusion. All the resourcefulness of Martov, all the ... truthfulness of Dan, all the wit and brilliant literary talent of Semkovsky and Yonov—everything has been mobilised for this purpose. The liquidators have been determined at all cost to “prove” that the Lettish Congress did not condemn the liquidators, did not come out against the August bloc,, and so on and so forth. In a word, “It’s not me, it’s not my horse, I’m not the driver”.
Now, after a lapse of only two or three months, the journal of the liquidators themselves (Nasha Zarya No. 4) has published an article by Mr. Weiss, the most “prominent” Lettish liquidator, who fully confirms our own appraisal of events.
Mr. Weiss is a most vigorous opponent of ours. He heaps harsh “criticism” on the Russian “Leninists” and the Lettish majority. However, he has the courage to openly admit defeat, while promising to go on fighting for his liquidationist views. He does not shift and shuffle; he does not, like Semkovsky, try to prove that white is black and vice versa. One may sharply dispute with such an opponent, but he nevertheless commands respect for not having recourse to the trivial methods of the Semkovskys.
Mr Weiss writes:
“The predominant tendency there [at the Congress] among the Lettish Marxists, by a majority of one, and, on some questions, a majority of two votes, was one of sympathy ... with the ‘Lenin circle’.”
“The Fourth Congress of the Lettish Marxists is an attempt to revert to the old ... Bolshevik ideology.”
“The resolution on the Duma group was adopted unanimously. It was a big concession on the part of the minority of the Congress [that is, a concession to the “Leninists”].”
“The Lenin circle can count on the official support of the Letts”, and so on.
The writer makes the reservation that “the minority succeeded somewhat in marring Lenin’s triumph”. He calls (and rightly so!) “curious” the concessions made by the majority to the conciliators.
But he clearly and unequivocally recognises the fact that the Congress took an anti-liquidationist stand, and, on the main issue, took sides with the Pravdists.
It is the same old story. For two or three months the liquidators raise a hullabaloo, only to admit afterwards that it was we who correctly presented the facts in the first instance.
To what lengths the liquidators sometimes go in their striving to “explain” unpalatable Party decisions can be seen from the following. In December 1908, as is known, the all-Russia conference of Marxists rejected the proposal to amalgamate with Jagiello’s party (the P.S.P.). This was done in the most emphatic form—by proceeding with the agenda without debating the motion for amalgamation with the non-Social-Democratic party of deputy Jagiello. At their Congress in 1914, the Letts endorsed all the decisions adopted in 1908, thereby declaring their refusal to have the non-Social-Democrat Jagiello admitted to the Social-Democratic group. This decision is most unpalatable to the liquidators.
And yet in Zeit, the newspaper of the Jewish liquidators, we find this decision “explained” in the following manner:
“What does proceeding with the agenda mean? It means that the meeting does not want to put the motion to the vote, does not want either to reject or adopt it. In such cases it calls the next business. The question of amalgamation with the Jagiello trend was simply left open [!] at the meeting of 1908.” (Zeit No. 17.)
Is not such an “explanation” of Party decisions sheer... impudence?
When the liquidators’ proposal for amalgamation with the Jagiello trend was rejected, F. Dan wrote at the time (in 1908) in his official press report:
“At the proposal of the Polish delegation [the Polish Social-Democrats] the conference refused even to discuss our resolution and passed on to the next business. In this minor fact, circle intolerance and circle habits of thought have apparently reached their uttermost limit.” (F. Dan’s Report, p. 45.)
F. Dan used this strong language because he knew that proceeding with the agenda meant a flat rejection of the proposal for amalgamation with Jagiello’s non-Social-Democratic party. And now this flat rejection is “explained” to us as meaning that the question has been “left open”, and that everyone is free to decide it in his own way! This is really the last straw in the flouting of Marxist decisions.
No amount of wriggling will help the liquidators. The Marxist line has been endorsed by life itself. Events in the Lettish Social-Democratic movement confirm this no less strikingly than the entire course of the working-class movement throughout Russia does.
- See pp.177–85 of this volume.—Ed.
- A Russian proverb.—Ed.