The Results of Workers’ Press Day Summed Up
|Written||2 July 1914|
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 20, pages 548-555.
FROM THE REPORT PUBLISHED IN PUT PRAVDY[edit source]
It is only now that we are able to sum up some of the results of Workers’ Press Day of April 22.
The second anniversary of the newspaper Pravda became a day of review of the Marxist forces.
On that day all class-conscious workers came to the assistance of their working-class newspapers, and hundreds and thousands of rubles were collected kopek by kopek.
The latest report on sums collected on Workers’ Press Day was published only on June 14, in issue No. 15 of Trudovaya Pravda. Press Day lasted nearly two months.
“Better late than never,” many comrades wrote, contributing their mite after April 22.
Resolutions received by the editors have been so numerous that it has been impossible to list them all, let alone publish them.
But they have had the desired effect. They have convinced us that we are on the right road, and that the vast majority of the workers have accepted the slogans of consistent Marxism.
As is well known, the liquidators proclaimed the second anniversary of the newspapers of the Pravda trend as Press Day for their own newspaper, too. They raised a hullaballoo at the time to prove that they had a right to participate in Press Day precisely on April 22. Already at that time they proposed federation, an equal sharing of all the money collected. April 22 showed that the liquidationist newspaper had spoken too soon about “federation” and “equality”.
The workers of St. Petersburg flatly rejected the proposal for “general collections”. This call on the part of the liquidationist newspaper evoked a certain response only among a section of the students, and in a few factories in the provinces.
The sums obtained by general collections hardly affected the total amount of Press Day collections. Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta, issue No. 34, for June 13, already attempted to compare the collections made for that newspaper with those made for Put Pravdy. We say an attempt, because the comparison made by Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta cannot possibly be regarded as final and complete. If we wanted to obtain such a complete comparison from Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta we should have to wait till doomsday, for it is greatly to the liquidators’ advantage to quote general figures with out going into a detailed analysis of the amounts, and with out ascertaining the sources they came from.
Consequently, we must ourselves undertake the task of analysing the liquidators’ reports.
Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta has arrived at highly gratifying conclusions, namely, (1) that the Pravdists have the backing of somewhat under three-fifths of the class-conscious workers of Russia, and (2) that the Pravdists predominate strongly only in St. Petersburg, whereas in the provinces the reverse is the case; there the supporters of Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta predominate.
First of all, we must make a slight addition to the figures of our total collections which Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta has quoted from Trudovaya Pravda of June 11. In that issue, the total figures were given up to June 1, but as Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta gives the total of its collections up to June 10, we must, to make a fair comparison, add the amounts collected from June 1 to June 10, reported in issue No. 15, of June 14. Moreover, the figures up to June 10 were not quite accurate, as certain small contributions received from the provinces were included in the figures for St. Petersburg.
After making these corrections we obtain the following final amounts, which we shall quote in the course of this article.
|Collected in St. Petersburg . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||11,680.96|
|” in the provinces . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||6,325.28|
|” abroad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||104.97|
|Total . . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||18,111.21|
Corresponding figures for “Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta”
|Collected in St. Petersburg . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||4,446.13|
|” in the provinces . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||6,409.12|
|” abroad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||946.55|
|Total . . . . . . . . . . . .||R.||11,801.80|
At first sight the difference is not very great and would seem to show that Nasha Rabochaya Gazeta has the backing of two-fifths of the class-conscious workers. But as soon as these figures are distributed by source, namely, contributions from workers and non-workers, the picture changes completely.
The country-wide response to the appeal by Put Pravdy on Workers Press Day was: 1,915 workers’ groups, which collected R.16,163.71.
The response to the appeal by Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta was: 588 workers’ groups, which collected R.5,651.78.
From non-workers, Put Pravdy received R.1,842.53, whereas Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta received from this source R.6,062.02, i. e., more than it received from workers.
These figures on the collections made for Workers’ Press Day reveal much the same thing as the figures of the collections and groups during the period commencing January 1, 1914. Of the total number of workers’ groups which responded on Workers’ Press Day, only a little over one-fifth responded to the liquidationist newspaper’s appeal, this despite the liquidators’ efforts to change the balance of forces in their favour on the eve of Workers’ Press Day. In this they failed. Four-fifths of the class-conscious workers support Pravdism. This fact, deduced from the figures covering the entire period of two years that the legal news papers have been in existence, was also confirmed on Workers’ Press Day.
Let us now examine the situation in St. Petersburg and in the provinces. In St. Petersburg the number of collections (groups) made for the Pravdist newspaper amounted to 1,276, and the sum collected totalled R.10,762.46. The corresponding figures for the liquidators’ newspaper were 224 and R.2,306.27. The difference is so striking that even the liquidators do not dare deny that the Pravdists predominate among the most advanced, energetic, organised and politically experienced proletariat of the capital city.
But they claim the provinces.
“In the provinces,” wrote Nasha Rabochaya Ooze to, “we see the reverse of things in St. Petersburg. In the provinces Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta alone collected more than the Pravdist organ.”
This is a sample of deception, which we strongly advise our comrades, the workers, to examine very closely. What is true is true: in the provinces the Pravdists collected R.6,325.28 and the liquidators R.6,409.12. More, is it not? But please look at the following figures.
In the provinces, the Pravdist newspaper received R.5,401.25 from 639 workers’ groups and R.924.03 from non-workers.
But the liquidationist newspaper received R.3,345.51 from 364 workers’ groups and R.3,004.89 from 78 groups of non-workers and from individuals.
Yes, in the provinces the liquidators undoubtedly predominate, only not among the workers, but among wealthy “friends and sympathisers”.
The liquidators did a very simple thing. To prove that they “predominate” in the provinces they lumped the workers’ kopeks with the large sums contributed by their friends among the bourgeoisie, and thereby “squashed” the Pravdists!
A clever move, perhaps, but in doing so, good gentlemen, you have not proved your preponderance in the provinces, but merely that you are no less divorced from the workers in the provinces than you are from the St. Petersburg workers.
What counts in establishing a working-class press and a working-class body is not big contributions from wealthy “friends”, but the activities of the workers themselves.
The fact that in building up a working-class newspaper and a working-class body the liquidators received nearly as much from non-workers as they did from workers (R.5,115 and R.5,651) is, in our opinion,not an advantage, but a shortcoming; it is only further proof of the close connection between liquidationism and bourgeois intellectualist circles.
We, on our part, are proud that our “cast-iron reserve” consists almost entirely of kopeks from workers who, in the course of six weeks, collected over R.16,000 for their newspaper.
How was this sum made up? Workers of which trades and areas helped in one degree or another to establish a consistently Marxist newspaper?
The answer to this is given in the following table, a document highly characteristic of the present state of the working-class movement. This table shows the Sums received by Put Pravdy from various industries (trades). The list is headed by the metalworkers, of course. Greetings to you, comrades!
|Gold- and silversmiths||29||128.45||2||16.50|
|Baku oil workers||—||—||12||83.98|
|Salaried emloyees (office
|Miscellaneous and unspe-
ST. PETERSBURG[edit source]
During the past few years St. Petersburg has been at the head of the working-class movement. While the proletariat in some (now few) parts of the provinces cannot yet rouse themselves from the lethargy of 1907–11, and in other parts are only just taking the first steps to fall into line with the St. Petersburg proletariat, the latter has developed tremendous activity and, like a delicate barometer, has reacted to all events of concern, to the working-class movement. The St. Petersburg proletariat is in the forefront. Even Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta will scarcely attempt to deny this.
And this is how the St. Petersburg proletariat responded to Workers’ Press Day.
Collections for Put Pravdy were made here by 1,276 groups, which gave R.10,762.46; for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta collections were made by 224 groups, which gave R.2,306.27.
Counting by the number of groups, the liquidators in the working-class movement in St. Petersburg are supported not by one-fifth but by one-seventh of the class-conscious workers; their collections amount only to a little over one-sixth of those made by the Pravdists.
These figures show that the bulk of the St. Petersburg proletariat, which stands at the head of the working-class movement, has turned away from the liquidators and supports the old and uncurtailed slogans.
Even among the printers, that sole refuge of the liquidators among the organised workers, nearly five times as much was collected for the Pravdist press as was collected for the liquidationist press (R.966.34 for Put Pravdy, as against R.201.21 for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta).
The same thing is shown by the collections among the metalworkers. Here, Put Pravdy collected R.5.075.49 as against R.1,283.66 collected for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta, i. e., four times as much; during the union’s existence this was confirmed by the constant defeats of the liquidators at elections, general meetings, etc.
Among other trades in St. Petersburg, the position of the liquidators is still worse. Woodworkers, for example, contributed R.1,014.73 to Put Pravdy, but only R.38.14 to Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta.
The liquidationist press has often proclaimed from the house-tops that only the most ignorant masses, who do not understand serious questions, follow the lead of Pravda. In the recently published June issue of Nasha Zarya, the overzealous liquidator, Mr. A. Gorev, asserts that the collections and resolutions in support of Pravda “come from those sections of the workers who, for the first time in the history of the Russian working-class movement, are being drawn into the sphere of Interests and controversies of Social Democracy”—from the midst of the ignorant, non-class-conscious youth and backward workers.
Do the liquidators dare include in those “sections” the metalworkers and printers, who have always been in the forefront of the working-class movement? Mr. Gorev, of course, has no evidence whatever in support of his argument, which is based entirely on subjective assumptions. Well, let him keep to them. We have however proved with the aid of irrefutable figures that even among advanced trades like the printers and metalworkers of St. Petersburg, the liquidators have the support of barely one-fifth of the workers.
Lack of space prevents us from quoting the comparative figures of the collections in all the other trades. We shall therefore quote only the total figures for these trades.
In addition to the trades already enumerated, Put Pravdy received R.3,700 from workers, and Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta R.500.00 (in round figures). These sums were contributed by shop assistants, tailors, tanners, textile workers, bakers, and other workers engaged in small industry.
Here, too, Put Pravdy received seven times as much as Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta did. Not a single trade contributed more to Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta than it did to Put Pravdy. Even office and other salaried employees collected R.273.11 for Put Pravdy, whereas for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta the office employees and shop assistants combined (figures quoted by Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta) collected R.262.32. The shop assistants collected R.238.11 for Put Pravdy.
In addition, we give below a list of the factories that were most active in collecting funds for their workers’ newspaper:
1) the Novy Aivaz Works—R.791.37 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.464.67); 2) the Putilov Works—R.335.46 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.59.38); 3) the St. Petersburg Metalworks—R.273.36 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.116.92); 4) the Tubing Works—R.243.80 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.113.41); 5) Siemens Schuckert—R.229.26; 6) Erickson—R.228.82 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.55.13); = 7) Perviainen—R.183.93; 8) the Old LessnerWorks—R.168.30; 9) the France-Russian Works—R.148.82; 10) the New Lessner Works—R.116.25; 11) the Gable Works—R.112.62; 12) Siemens-Halske—R.104.30; 13) the Obukhov Works—R.91.02; 14) the Stationery Of flce—R.79.12 (for Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta—R.54.00).
- April 22 (May 5), 1912 was the date when the first issue of the mass working-class newspaper Pravda appeared. In its issue No. 42, of March 21 (April 3), 1914, the newspaper Put Pravdy published an open letter by “a group of Pravdists” calling for April 22, 1914 to be proclaimed Workers’ Press Day in honour of the appearance of the daily Bolshevik newspaper.
The workers in Russia responded enthusiastically to this appeal, Pravda’s second birthday being commemorated by the Bolsheviks with a drive towards strengthening and extending contacts between the newspaper and the working-class masses.
- We ask Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta in advance to excuse us if, in examining its reports, we omitted one or two workshops, whose trades were not specified. This Would not have happened had Severnaya Rabochaya Gazeta tabulated its figures in greater detail. —Lenin
- At the end of the article there is an editorial note: “To be continued”. The promised sequel, however, was not given in succeeding issues, and on July 8 (21), 1914, the paper closed down. The day after this article was published “A Correction to the Report” was given in Trudovaya Pravda for July 4, 1914, stating that “in yesterday’s issue of the paper the article ‘The Results of Worker’s Press Day Summed Up’ gave the figure 79 rubles 12 kopeks from the Stationery Office. This should read 133 rubles 32 kopeks.”