September 23, 2018

The Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class is the first experience of organization

The group of leaders of the
St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of
the Working Class:
 (sit) V. V. Starkov, G. M. Krzhizhanovsky, V. I. Lenin,
 Yu. O. Martov; (standing) AL Malchenko,
PK Zaporozhets, AA Vaneev
Oleg Komolov

In the party ticket of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the time for his entry into the party was designated in 1893. Few could have called such an early date! GM Krzhizhanovskii, NK Krupskaya, MA Silvin, VV Starkov ...- those participants in the Marxist circle of technological students who, almost 120 years ago, having united around themselves the social-democratic groups of Petersburg, became the nucleus of the Leninist Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class.

Then, at the end of the century, two revolutionary streams came together: one - spontaneously growing from the depths of the working masses, the other - from the ranks of the advanced intelligentsia, which was drawn to the study of Marxist science. Life imperiously demanded to unite the socialist consciousness with the labor movement.

The first steps have already been taken. Plekhanov's group "Emancipation of Labor" devoted much effort to spreading Marxism in Russia, opened polemics with the liberal populists. Social Democratic circles have multiplied. Practically closer to the workers, the St. Petersburg group MI. Brusnev, but did not last long. Members of the group SI Radchenko and GB Krasin, who survived after its defeat, organized that Marxist circle of students of the technological institute, in which 23-year-old Vladimir Ulyanov came.

Many years later, GM Krzhizhanovsky wrote in his memoirs: "... The appearance in the autumn of 1893 of VI Ulyanov can be compared with the life-threatening lightning discharge in its consequences. From that moment a new life began for us. "

We will raise the masses, Vladimir Ilyich said to his comrades; the circles do not solve the problem; they need not the conspirators, but the revolutionary party, which relies on the labor movement; before the Social Democrats, three tasks: the struggle against hostile ideology and, above all, with the populist ideology, the creation of an ideologically welded organization and the establishment of broad ties with the working masses. Lenin conducts a circle, visits working meetings, and is on artisan's apartments. Together with the mechanic IV Babushkin wrote the first agitation sheet about the unrest in the Semyannikov factory ... Mugs among workers grew with an avalanche speed. They operated already in all major districts of the capital at 70 enterprises. It is time to unite them, centralize the work of the Social Democrats.

April 25, 1895, Lenin went abroad. Switzerland, France, Germany. Meetings with Plekhanov, Lafargue, Wilhelm Liebknecht. Working meetings and libraries. With Plekhanov, the joint publication of the periodic collection "Worker" is conditioned, with the Vilnius Social Democrats - the smuggling of illegal literature across the border to Russia.

And so, returning to Petersburg in September, Vladimir Ilyich, with all his inexhaustible energy, undertakes to unite the Social Democratic circles and groups of the capital. On Simbirska Street, in the apartment of SI Radchenko, a meeting of revolutionary Marxists took place, where the city-wide Social-Democratic organization was formed. Later it was called "Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class".

The life of VI Lenin and his comrades in Petersburg was a continuous war with the spies and provocateurs of the tsarist secret police. On the night of 8 to 9 December 1895, the surveillance was completed by arrest. Together with Lenin in the house of preliminary detention were AA Vaneev, PK Zaporozhets, GM Krzhizhanovsky, VV Starkov and more than 20 participants of the "Union of Struggle".

But the organization created by VI Lenin sustained a blow, it had deep roots in the working masses. In the spring of 1896, a grandiose strike of the textile workers of the capital broke out in St. Petersburg. And the emergence of it, and the rapid development decisively influenced the proclamations of the "Union of Struggle." Under the leadership of the Social Democrats, the strike dragged up to 30,000 strikers into its orbit, acquired a huge political sound.

Glorious are the pages of the revolutionary movement! Lenin and his comrades-in fact, a small group of young enthusiasts, and even in the most cruel conditions of the tsarist autocracy - made a radical turning point in the history of Russian Social-Democracy. They combined socialism with the working-class movement, and from the propaganda of Marxism in narrow circles turned to economic and political agitation among the broad masses. The "Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class" created by them was the germ of the Russian proletarian party. The same pattern was followed by the "Unions of Struggle" in Moscow, Kiev, Ekaterinoslav ...

"... The Union of Struggle for the Liberation of the Working Class ... will continue its work. The police made a mistake in the address. Arrests and deportations will not crush the labor movement: strikes and struggle will not cease until the complete liberation of the working class is achieved "

From the leaflet of the St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class. December 15, 1895