The Turning-Point

"The point is that the petty-bourgeois democrats, who take their cue from the Russian and the Allied imperialists, need to do away with the internationalist socialists once and for all."

At the first stage of its development the Russian revolution transferred power to the imperialist bourgeoisie, and created, alongside of that power, the Soviets of Deputies, with the petty-bourgeois democrats in the majority. The second stage of the revolution (May 6) formally removed from power the cynically frank spokesmen of imperialism, Milyukov and Guchkov, and virtually transformed the majority parties in the Soviets into governing parties. Our Party remained, before and after May 6, a minority opposition. This was inevitable, for we are the party of the socialist proletariat, a party holding an internationalist position. A socialist proletariat whose outlook during an imperialist war is internationalist cannot but be in opposition to any power waging that war, regardless of whether that power is a monarchy or republic, or is held by defencist “socialists”. And the party of the socialist proletariat is bound to attract an increasingly large mass of people who are being ruined by the protracted war and are growing distrustful of “socialists” committed to the service of imperialism, in the same way as they previously grew distrustful of imperialists themselves.

The struggle against our Party, therefore, began in the very first days of the revolution. And however infamous and abominable the forms of struggle carried on by the Cadets and the Plekhanov people against the party of the proletariat, the meaning of the struggle is quite clear. It is the same struggle as the imperialists and the Scheidemann people waged against Liebknecht and Adler (both of whom were, in fact, declared “mad” by the central organ of the German “socialists”, to say nothing of the bourgeois press, which described these comrades simply as “traitors” working for Britain). This is a struggle of the whole of bourgeois society, including the petty-bourgeois democrats, however r-r-revolutionary they may be, against the socialist, internationalist proletariat.

In Russia, this struggle has reached a stage where the imperialists are trying, through the petty-bourgeois-democratic leaders, the Tseretelis, Chernovs, etc., to destroy the growing power of the workers’ party at a single hard and decisive blow. As a pretext for this decisive blow, Minister Tsereteli has struck upon a method repeatedly used by counter-revolutionaries: the charge of conspiracy. This charge is a mere pretext. The point is that the petty-bourgeois democrats, who take their cue from the Russian and the Allied imperialists, need to do away with the internationalist socialists once and for all. They think that the moment is ripe for the blow. They are agitated and frightened, and under the whip of their masters they have made up their minds: now or never.

The socialist proletariat and our Party must be as cool and collected as possible, must show the greatest staunchness and vigilance. Let the future Cavaignacs[1] begin first. Our Party conference has already given warning of their arrival. The workers of Petrograd will give them no opportunity to disclaim responsibility. They will bide their time, gathering their forces and preparing for resistance when those gentlemen decide to turn from words to action.


[1] Cavaignac, Louis Eugene—French general who after the February revolution of 1848 became War Minister of the Provisional Government. In June 1848 he led the suppression of the Paris workers’ uprising.


Source: Marxist Internet Archive.