Working-Class Unity

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 3 December 1913


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Za Pravdu No. 50, December 3, 1913. Published according to the Za Pravdu text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 519-521
Collection(s): Za Pravdu

Lately, the polemics that Novaya Rabochaya Gazeta has been conducting against the six worker deputies in the Duma have been steadily losing any business-like and ideological character and assuming more and more the character of a “squabble”. It is all the more necessary, there fore, to turn these polemics back into the channels of a serious examination of controversial questions. Every class-conscious worker will probably agree with us about this.

We have before us the “big names” that the liquidators always juggle with. Tsereteli and Gegechkori condemn the six; the “leading body” of the August Conference (1912) does the same. For the thousand and first time they call the six splitters, and proclaim “unity”.

We, for our part, undeterred by raving and shouting, will, for the thousand and first time, calmly call upon the workers to reflect upon the question and study it.

The working class needs unity. But unity can be effected only by a united organisation whose decisions are conscientiously carried out by all class-conscious workers. Discussing the problem, expressing and hearing different opinions, ascertaining the views of the majority of the organised Marxists, expressing these views in the form of decisions adopted by delegates and carrying them out conscientiously—this is what reasonable people all over the world call unity. Such a unity is infinitely precious, and infinitely important to the working class. Disunited, the workers are nothing. United, they are everything.

Are there, we ask, data available that will enable every class-conscious worker who desires to study the controversy for himself to judge whether unity has been maintained among worker Social-Democrats during the past few years?

Efforts must be made to collect such data, to verify them and to publish them as material for the purpose of enlightening, uniting and organising the workers.

The newspaper Pravda has been in existence since April 1912, and its trend has always (and not one of its opponents has ever denied this) strictly conformed to the decisions which on three occasions in this period (once in 1912 and twice in 1913) were passed by the leading Marxist body. How many workers have accepted these decisions (on all questions of working-class life; altogether there were about forty decisions) and have carried them out?

The reply to this question—obviously a very important and interesting one—can be only approximate, but it is based on absolutely precise and objective and not biased data. In 1912 and 1913 there were basically two workers’ newspapers, which advocated different views to the masses of the workers. Both of them published reports of the workers’ groups which collected funds for the respective newspapers. Needless to say, the workers’ groups which collected funds for a given newspaper thereby expressed by deeds (and not merely by words) their sympathies for the policy pursued by that paper, and their determination to back the decisions that it supports.

The publication of these data in the two rival newspapers is the best guarantee against mistakes, which interested workers can themselves correct. Here are the data, which have been published many times before, have never been refuted by anyone, and have never been superseded by other data. In the course of nearly two years, from January 1912 to October 1913, 556 workers’ group collections were made for Luch, 2,181 for Pravda, and 395 for the Moscow workers’ newspaper.

One may boldly assert that nobody but a person blinded by prejudice would hesitate to admit that the majority (and the overwhelming majority at that) supported Pravda. Slowly but surely the Pravda people are building up real unity among the workers, uniting them by uniform decisions, which they conscientiously carry out. This is the first time in Russia that a Marxist daily newspaper, which scrupulously defends uniform and precise decisions, has been able for so long to unite more and more systematically and closely workers’ groups scattered all over the country.

This is unity in deeds and not merely in words! Of course, this is not everything but it is actual deeds and not merely words, not a mere advertising.

But Tsereteli, Gegechkori and the “August leading body”, like all the other liquidators, stubbornly ignore the facts!

They shout about “unity”, but say nothing about the fact that it is the liquidators—obviously in the minority among the class-conscious workers—who are violating unity, are flouting the will of the majority!

No outcries, no clamour and no abuse can refute this plain and simple fact; and all references made by the “August leading, and so forth”, to all sorts of “bodies” and groups, only raise a smile. Just think, gentlemen! What are your “bodies and groups” worth if no workers, or only an obvious minority, support them? Such “bodies and groups” are breakaway bodies if they fail to call upon all the workers to obey the will of the majority.

The experience of the revival of the working-class movement during the past two years increasingly confirms the correctness of the views of Pravda. The experience of uniting the workers of Russia on definite decisions formulated by the Marxists is more and more clearly revealing the successes, growth and strength of our organisation. It goes without saying that we shall proceed along this path more boldly and quickly, undaunted by abuse, by outcries, or by any thing else.