THE ADVANCED PROLETARIAT AND THE FIFTH PARTY CONGRESS
The preparations for the congress are drawing to a close.26 The relative strength of the different groups is gradually becoming revealed. It is becoming apparent that the industrial districts largely support the Bolsheviks. St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Central Industrial region, Poland, the Baltic region and the Urals—these are the regions where the Bolsheviks’ tactics are trusted. The Caucasus, the trans-Caspian region, South Russia, several towns in the areas where the Bund27 has influence, and the peasant organisations of the Spilka28—these are the sources from which the Menshevik comrades draw their strength. South Russia is the only industrial area where the Mensheviks enjoy confidence.
The rest of the Menshevik strongholds are for the most part centres of small industry. It is becoming apparent that the Mensheviks’ tactics are mainly the tactics of the backward towns, where the development of the revolution and the growth of class consciousness are frowned upon.
It is becoming apparent that the Bolsheviks’ tactics are mainly the tactics of the advanced towns, the industrial centres, where the intensification of the devolution and the development of class consciousness are the main focus of attention. . . . At one time Russian Social-Democracy consisted of a handful of members. At that time it bore the character of a movement of intellectuals and was unable to influence the proletarian struggle. Party policy was then directed by one or two individuals—the voice of the proletarian membership of the party was drowned. . . .
The situationis entirely different today. Today we have a magnificent party—the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which has as many as 200,000 members in its ranks, which is influencing the proletarian struggle, is rallying around itself the revolutionary democracy of the whole of Russia, and is a terror to “the powers that be.” And this magnificent party is all the more magnificent and splendid for the reason that its helm is in the hands of the general membership and not of one or two “enlightened individuals.” That was most clearly revealed during the Duma elections, when the general membership rejected the proposal of the “authoritative” Plekhanov and refused to have a “common platform” with the Cadets.
True, the Menshevik comrades insist on calling our party a party of intellectuals, but that is probably because the majority in the party is not Menshevik. But if the German Social-Democratic Party, which with a proletariat numbering 18,000,000 has a membership of only 400,000, has the right to call itself a proletarian party, then the Russian Social-Democratic Party, which with a proletariat numbering 9,000,000 has a membership of 200,000, also has the right to regard itself as a proletarian party. . . .
Thus, the Russian Social-Democratic Party is magnificent also because it is a genuine proletarian party, which is marching towards the future along its own road, and is critical of the whispered advice of its old “leaders” In this respect the recent conferences in St. Petersburg and Moscow are instructive.
At both conferences the workers set the keynote; at both conferences workers comprised nine-tenths of the delegates. Both conferences rejected the obsolete and inappropriate “directives” of the “old leaders” like Plekhanov.
Both conferences loudly proclaimed the necessity of Bolshevism. And thus Moscow and St. Petersburg expressed their lack of confidence in the Menshevik tactics and recognised the necessity of the hegemony of the proletariat in the present revolution. St. Petersburg and Moscow speak for the entire classconscious proletariat.
Moscow and St. Petersburg are leading all the other towns. From Moscow and St.
Petersburg came the directives during the January and October actions; they led the movement during the glorious December days. There can be no doubt that they will give the signal for the impending revolutionary on slaught. And St. Petersburg and Moscow adhere to the tactics of Bolshevism. The tactics of Bolshevism alone are proletarian
tactics—that is what the workers of these cities say to the proletariat of Russia. . . .
Dro (Time), No. 25, April 8, 1907 Unsigned
Translated from the Georgian