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V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,  
(Extracted from From the titled works sections  related to boycott, Erdogan A)

Trotsky declares: "It is an illusion" to imagine that Menshevism and Bolshevism "have struck deep roots in the depths of the proletariat". This is a specimen of the resonant but empty phrases of which our Trotsky is a master. The roots of the divergence hetween the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks lie, not in the "depths of the proletariat", but in the economic content of the Russian revolution. By ignoring this content, Martov and Trotsky have deprived themselves of the possibility of understanding the historical meaning of the inner-Party struggle in Russia. The crux of the matter is not whether the theoretical formulations of the differences have penetrated "deeply" into this or that stratum of the proletariat, but the fact that the economic conditions of the Revolution of 1905 brought the proletariat into hostile relations with the liberal bourgeoisie -- not only over the question of improving the conditions of daily life of the workers, but also over the agrarian question, over all the political questions of the revolution, etc. To speak of the struggle of trends in the Russian revolution, distributing labels such as "sectarianism", "lack of culture", etc., and not to say a word about the fundamental economic interests of the proletariat, of the liberal bourgeoisie and of the democratic peasantry, means stooping to the level of cheap journalists.

Martov's arguments on the Russian revolution and Trotsky's arguments on the present state of Russian Social-Democracy definitely confirm the incorrectness of their fundamental views.

We shall start with the boycott. Martov calls the boycott "abstention from politics", the method of the "anarchists and syndicalists", and he refers only to 1906. Trotsky says that the "boycottist tendency runs through the whole history of Bolshevism -- boycott of the trade unions, of the State Duma, of local self-government bodies, etc.", that it is the result of sectarian fear of being swamped by the masses, the radicalism of irreconcilable abstention", etc. As regards boycotting the trade unions and the local self-government bodies, what Trotsky says is absolutely untrue. It is equally untrue to say that boycottism runs through the whole history of Bolshevism; Bolshevism as a tendency took definite shape in the spring and summer of 1905, before the question of the boycott first came up. In August 1906, in the official organ of the faction, Bolshevism declared that the historical conditions which made the boycott necessary had passed.

Trotsky distorts Bolshevism, because he has never been able to form any definite views on the role of the proletariat in the Russian bourgeois revolution.

But far worse is the distortion of the history of this revolution. If we are to speak of the boycott we must start from the beginning, not from the end. The first (and only) victory in the revolution was wrested by the mass movement which proceeded under the slogan of the boycott. It is only to the advantage of the liberals to forget this.

The law of August 6 (19), 1905 created the Bulygin Duma as a consultative body. The liberals, even the most radical of them, decided to participate in this Duma. The Social Democrats, by an enormous majority (against the Mensheviks), decided to boycott it and to call upon the masses for a direct onslaught on tsarism, for a mass strike and an uprising. Hence, the question of the boycott was not a question within Social-Democracy alone. It was a question of the struggle of liberalism against the proletariat. The entire liberal press of that time showed that the liberals feared the development of the revolution and directed all their efforts towards reaching an "agreement" with tsarism.

What were the objective conditions for an immediate mass struggle? The best answer to this is supplied by the statistics of strikes (subdivided into economic and political strikes) and of the peasant movement. We cite here the principal data, which will serve to illustrate the whole of our subsequent exposition.

The real historical content of the question of the boycott was whether to help the rise of this revolutionary wave and direct it towards the overthrow of tsarism, or whether to allow tsarism to divert the attention of the masses by the game of a consultative Duma. It is therefore easy to see how much triviality and liberal-like obtuseness there is in the efforts to link the boycott in the history of the Russian revolution with "abstention from politics", "sectarianism", etc. Under the slogan of the boycott adopted against the liberals a movement arose which brought about an increase in the number of political strikers from 151,000 during the third quarter of 1905 to one million during the fourth quarter of 1905.


When Trotsky gives the German comrades a detailed account of the stupidity of "otzovism" and describes this trend as a "cristallisation" of the boycottism characteristic of Bolshevism as a whole, and then mentions in a few words that Bolshevism "did not allow itself to be overpowered" by otzovism, but "attacked it resolutely or rather in an unbridled fashion" -- the German reader certainly gets no idea how much subtle perfidy there is in such an exposition. Trotsky's Jesuitical "reservation" consists in omitting a small, very small "detail". He "forgot" to mention that at an official meeting of its representatives held as far back as the spring of 1909, the Bolshevik faction repudiated and expelled the otzovists. But it is just this "detail" that is inconvenient for Trotsky, who wants to talk of the "falling to pieces " of the Bolshevik faction (and then of the Party as well) and not of the falling away of the non-Social-Democratic elements!

We now regard Martov as one of the leaders of liquidationism, one who is the more dangerous the more "cleverly" he defends the liquidators by quasi-Marxist phrases. But Martov openly expounds views which have put their stamp on whole tendencies in the mass labour movement of 1903-10.Trotsky, on the other hand, represents only his own personal vacillations and nothing more. In 1903 he was a Menshevik; he abandoned Menshevism in 1904, returned to the Mensheviks in 1905 and merely flaunted ultra-revolutionary phrases; in 1906 he left them again; at the end of 1906 he advocated electoral agreements with the Cadets (i.e., he was in fact once more with the Mensheviks); and in the spring of 1907, at the London Congress, he said that he differed from Rosa Luxemburg on "individual shades of ideas rather than on political tendencies". One day Trotsky plagiarises from the ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarises from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing above both factions. In theory Trotsky is on no point in agreement with either the liquidators or the otzovists, but in actual practice he is in entire agreement with both the Golosists and the Vperyodists.

Therefore, when Trotsky tells the German comrades that he represents the "general Party tendency", I am obliged to declare that Trotsky represents only his own faction and enjoys a certain amount of confidence exclusively among the otzovists and the liquidators. The following facts prove the correctness of my statement. In January 1910, the Central Committee of our Party established close ties with Trotsky's newspaper Pravda and appointed a representative of the Central Committee to sit on the editorial board. In September 1910, the Central Organ of the Party announced a rupture between the representative of the Central Committee and Trotsky owing to Trotsky's anti-Party policy. In Copenhagen, Plekhanov, as the representative of the pro-Party

Mensheviks and delegate of the editorial board of the Central Organ, together with the present writer, as the representative of the Bolsheviks, and a Polish comrade, entered an emphatic protest against the way Trotsky represents our Party affairs in the German press.

Vol. 16, pp. 374-92.
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