The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party)


7. For the Marxist, who must reckon with objective facts, with the masses and classes, and not with individuals and so on, the peculiar nature of the actual situation as described above must determine the peculiar nature of the tactics for the present moment.

This peculiarity of the situation calls, in the first place, for the “pouring of vinegar and bile into the sweet water of revolutionary-democratic phraseology” (as my fellow member on the Central Committee of our Party, Teodorovich, so aptly put it at yesterday’s session of the All-Russia Congress of Railwaymen in Petrograd). Our work must be one of criticism, of explainingthe mistakes of the petty-bourgeois Socialist-Revolutionary and Social-Democratic parties, of preparing and welding the elements of a consciouslyproletarian, Communist Party, and of curingthe proletariat of the “general” petty-bourgeois intoxication.

This seemsto be “nothing more” than propaganda work, but in reality it is most practical revolutionarywork; for there is no advancing a revolution that has come to a standstill, that has choked itself with phrases, and that keeps “marking time”, not because of external obstacles, not because of the violence of the bourgeoisie (Guchkov is still only threatening to employ violence against the soldier mass), but becauseof the unreasoning trust of the people.

Only by overcoming this unreasoning trust (and we can and should overcome it only ideologically, by comradely persuasion, by pointing to the lessons of experience ) can we set ourselves free from the prevailing orgy of revolutionary phrase-mongeringand really stimulate the consciousness both of the proletariat and of the mass in general, as well as their bold and determined initiative in the localities– the independent realisation, development and consolidation of liberties, democracy, and the principle of people’s ownership of all the land.

8. The world-wide experience of bourgeois and landowner governments has evolved twomethods of keeping the people in subjection. The first is violence. Nicholas Romanov I, nicknamed Nicholas of the Big Stick, and Nicholas II, the Bloody, demonstrated to the Russian people the maximum of what can and cannot he done in the way of these hangmen’s practices. But there is another method, best developed by the British and French bourgeoisie, who “learned their lesson” in a series of great revolutions and revolutionary movements of the masses. It is the method of deception, flattery, fine phrases, promises by the million, petty sops, and concessions of the unessential while retaining the essential.

The peculiar feature of the present situation in Russia is the transition at a dizzy speed from the first method to the second, from violent oppression of the people to flatteringand deceiving the people by promises. Vaska the Cat listens, but goes on eating. Milyukov and Guchkov are holding power, they are protecting the profits of the capitalists, conducting an imperialist war in the interests of Russian and Anglo-French capital, and trying to get away with promises, declamation and bombastic statements in reply to the speeches of “cooks” like Chkheidze, Tsereteli and Steklov, who threaten, exhort, conjure, beseech, demand and proclaim. . . . Vaska the Cat listens, but goes on eating.

But from day to day trustful lack of reasoning and unreasoning trust will be falling away, especially among the proletarians and poorpeasants, who are being taught by experience (by their social and economic position) to distrust the capitalists.

The leaders of the petty bourgeoisie “must” teach the people to trust the bourgeoisie. The proletarians must teach the people to distrust the bourgeoisie.