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Mensheviks’ Critique of Bolshevism and the Bolshevik State “I often remember a funny conversation which was, however,significant for me…when I was taking [university] courses, I talked witha classmate who condemned the members of the People’s Will formurdering people. I didn’t know her very well, so I had to be cautious,and I said, ‘Of course, killing is bad, but it ultimately depends on yourpoint of view.’ And she said so sadly, ‘That’s the whole problem, howto get that point of view.’” Lydia Dan, quoted in The Making of Three Russian Revolutionaries Introduction There are two primary questions with which study of the Mensheviks’struggle against the Bolsheviks must begin. First: Which of theBolsheviks’ policies did the Mensheviks’ oppose? Second: On whatideological grounds did this opposition depend? The second questionis particularly crucial if one wishes to demonstrate that the Mensheviksoffered their contemporaries a viable alternative to both the czaristmonarchy and the Bolshevik dictatorship. It is also important toexamine this question if one wishes to show that the Mensheviks havevaluable lessons for modern Russia. Answering the first question tellsus about historical fact, about what did happen; answering the secondquestion allows us to extrapolate our knowledge of the Mensheviks tocounterfactual and hypothetical cases, to what could have happenedin the past or what might happen in the future.From a different perspective: a universal claim such as: “TheMensheviks would have established a democratic society andrespected civil liberties,” cannot rest upon a particular claim such as:”In 1918, the Mensheviks opposed the suppression of dissidentnewspapers.” The particular claim is consistent with a wide body ofprinciples in conflict with the universal claim. For example: “Dissidentsshould not be suppressed in 1918, but in some years it is quiteadmirable to do so.” Instead, it is necessary to study the ideologicalfoundation of the Mensheviks’ opposition to the Bolsheviks’ policies,and see how they deduced their practices from their theories. Onlywith this full context in mind will it be possible to judge the possibilitiesthat the Menshevik movement had and the lessons that it offers to thepresent.With these standards in mind, it will be argued that the disputesbetween Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, both in theory and in practice,were dwarfed by their shared devotion to orthodox Marxism. Theirdisagreements can be best explained as differences in attitude andemphasis rather than basic principles. Both factions accepted theestablishment of Marxian socialism as an ideal goal, and both rejectedindividualist political theories that demanded toleration of dissent andpluralist democracy as a matter of principle. Instead, the Mensheviksrested their opposition to repressive Bolshevik policies on secondarytheorems in the Marxian system, and would have supported dictatorialpolicies under different circumstances. Many Mensheviksdemonstrated a surprising tolerance of Bolshevik policies. In fact,some were so in sympathy with the Bolsheviks that they voted withtheir feet and joined the Bolsheviks just as Lenin’s authoritarianismwas becoming most obvious.The major theme of this essay, then, is that the differences betweenthe Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks have been overrated. Theirdifferences may be better explained as variations upon shared Marxistthemes than major differences. The magnitude of their philosophicdisagreement, not the emotional intensity of their internecine disputes,is the proper yardstick for comparing and contrasting eachmovements’ likely effects upon a society under its sway. In the contextof the full range of political ideologies, this magnitude is a small one,and the effects of both movements if one came to dominate a societywould have been similar.Brief Review of Relevant Marxist Concepts Both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks described themselves as “orthodoxMarxists,” so it seems important to have a basic understanding of theirshared Marxist theories. Then it will be possible to understand how thetwo factions could disagree with each other yet share a commonreverence for Marx. Four themes that recur throughout the debates ofthe Russian Marxists are: the economic interpretation of history, thestage theory of social development, the class struggle, and their”positive” as opposed to “negative” or “bourgeois” view of humanfreedom. Let us briefly elaborate upon each.The economic interpretation of history argues that economic ortechnological changes, changes in the means of production, are the”ultimate” determinants of a society’s condition. Ideas, philosophy,religion, and sociology are not independent variables, but must betraced back to changes in the methods of production. Quoting Marx:”The social relations are intimately attached to the productive forces.In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode ofproduction, and in changing their mode of production, their manner ofgaining a living, they change all their social relations. The windmillgives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with theindustrial capitalist.”1 In Marx’s view, therefore, social change must ultimately be explainedby changes in the means of production, not by individual action orideas. And, because technological progress follows a predictablecourse, history should also be predictable, governed by scientific laws.According to Marx, these laws state that history is divided into differentperiods or “stages,” feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communismbeing the four final stages. And, since capitalism comes betweenfeudalism and socialism, it is quite impossible to jump from one to theother. Instead, a society must pass through each in due time.2 Untilhumanity reaches the communist stage, Marx believed, each historicalperiod would be characterized by what he termed “class struggle.”Different social groups have incompatible interests, while members ofthe same social groups have similar interests, so the natural tendencyis for classes with conflicting interests to strive to thwart and exploitone another. Each stage of history ends when a previouslysubordinate class attains power and becomes the new exploitingclass. And, because it is an historical law that ruling classes do notgive up their power voluntarily, one should expect changes in powerrelations to be accompanied by violence, by some sort of class war.Thus, when socialism replaces capitalism: “The proletariat will use itspolitical supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from thebourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands ofthe state, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class”3 A finalelement in Marx’s system that tends to derail analysis of theMensheviks and Bolsheviks is Marx’s theory of freedom. He clearlydoes not accept the individualist, “bourgeois,” theory of freedom that aperson is “free” if he is left alone, if he is not aggressed against. AsMarx states: “And the abolition of this state of things is called by thebourgeoisie, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. Theabolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, andbourgeois freedom is undoubtably aimed at. “By freedom is meant,under present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, freeselling and buying.”But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buyingdisappears also.This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other ‘brave words’of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any,only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fetteredtraders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to thecommunistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeoisconditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.”4 Theimplications of this viewpoint are quite interesting. First, buying andselling – free exchange among consenting adults – is not an aspect offreedom, but an obstacle to it. True freedom exists when suchexchanges are “abolished,” presumably with violence. Second,”freedom” does not include the “freedom to be a member of thebourgeoisie.” Instead, Marx’s freedom appears when the bourgeoisieis “abolished.” Once again, this appears to imply violence, since thebourgeoisie could hardly be expected to abolish itself voluntarily. Inshort, the Marxist view of freedom, rather than assuring protection forthose who do not fit into the Marxist pattern, sanctions theirsuppression.The Early Menshevik-Bolshevik Debates and the 1903 Schism Given this admittedly oversimplified background, we may now jump tothe early stages of the Russian Marxist movement. The first majorattempt to unite Russian Marxists occurred in 1898, when a congressof Russian socialists met in Minsk and announced the formation of theRussian Social Democratic Labor Party (RSDLP). This fell apart whenthe czarist police captured the members of the party’s CentralCommittee a few weeks later.5 The next important step came in 1900and 1901 when Lenin, Martov, Plekhanov, Axelrod, and otherrevolutionary socialists began publishing two Marxist periodicals:Iskra, a popular weekly, and Zaria, a more theoretical journal.6 Thisphase is interesting because the future Bolsheviks and Menshevikswere acting jointly. Lenin and Martov, among others, vigorouslyattacked various “deviationist” factions, such as Economists andRevisionists, and revealed a shared tendency to equate ideologicaldisagreement with intellectual dishonesty. Thus, Martov wrote, “Thestruggle between the ‘critics’ and ‘orthodox’ Marxists is really the firstchapter of a struggle for political hegemony between the proletariatand bourgeois democracy. In the uprising of the bourgeoisintelligentsia against proletarian hegemony, we see, hidden under anideological mask, the class struggle of the advanced section ofbourgeois society against the revolutionary proletariat.” Compare thisto Lenin: “Hence, to belittle socialist ideology in any way, to deviatefrom it in the slightest degree, means the strengthening of bourgeoisideology.”7 Martov and Lenin also voiced similar views about the”spontaneously” emerging labor movement, stating that it would shiftthe workers’ attention from changing the social system to changingtheir relative position within the existing system. Some form ofauthoritarian paternalism would, under such circumstances, bejustified. As Haimson describes Martov’s view: “In the face of the’treachery and violence of the reactionaries,’ it was their [SocialDemocrats'] duty to temporarily ‘organize the movement from the topdown so as to insure the careful selection and training of itsmembers.’”8 The first obvious break in the ranks of the avowedly”orthodox” Marxists occurred during the second congress of theRSDLP in July 1903, when a debate betweeen Lenin and Martovprecipitated a full-fledged schism. Interestingly, the debate was noteven over the proper aims of the party. Plekhanov wrote the followingprogram of ultimate demands, which, according to Landauer, wasapproved without controversy: “By replacing the private ownership ofthe means of production with public ownership and by introducing aplanned organization of the processes of production in order tosafeguard the welfare and the many-sided development of all themembers of society, the social revolution of the proletariat will put anend to the division of society into classes and thus will liberate all theoppressed humanity as well as end all forms of exploitation of one partof society by another.”An essential condition for this social revolution is the dictatorship ofthe proletariat, i.e., the conquest by the proletariat of such politicalpower as will enable it to quell all opposition by the exploiters.”9Instead of arguing about these propositions, quite authoritarian in theirconcrete implications (Who will “plan” the processes of production?How can the proletariat simultaneously “quell all opposition byexploiters” and “end all forms of exploitation by one part of society byanother”?), the debate broke out over the proper method of achievingthese goals. Even the differences over the proper means were notparticularly great. As Getzler explains, “both [Lenin and Martov]wanted a centralized party. But as soon as they turned to considerhow completely the party should be centralized, how its centralismshould be organized, and above all who should man and control itscentre, they turned by degrees from partners to opponents.”10 Whatwere these two different conceptions of the party? Lenin expressed hisviews in his famous essay “What is to be Done?” In his opinion, theparty should consist exclusively of full-time revolutionaries. Theseprofessional activists would necessarily be under strict control of thecentral committee of the party, which would make every effort tomaintain the orthodoxy and ideological purity of Social Democracy.Important decisions would be made by the central committee. On theother hand, Martov believed that the party should include politicallyinterested workers, peasants, and intellectuals as well as full-timerevolutionaries. And, given this broader definition of a “party member,”discipline and orthodoxy would be less strict than under Lenin’ssystem.The actual schism came about when Lenin exploited the votingsystem at the congress to achieve a formal approval for his plans.Following debate and disagreement between Martov and Lenin on theparty membership question, minority factions of the RSDLP walkedout of the congress. This walk-out left a disproportionately large groupof “hards,” i.e., adherents of the Leninist conception of the party.There were twenty Leninist delegates with a total of twenty-four votes.This gave his faction a majority. Lenin’s forces then barred Martov andPotresov from addreessing the congress, expelled Axelrod, Zasulich,and Potresov from the editorial board, and elected a CentralCommittee of Leninists. Martov refused to serve on the new editorialboard.11 The second congress adjourned on August 23, 1903, with allthe important aspects of Lenin’s program in place. Since Lenin’sfaction held a majority of the votes for a brief moment, they quicklydubbed themselves “Bolsheviks,” or “Majorityites.” Their opponentswere called Mensheviks, or “Minorityites.” The question that now facedthe the Mensheviks was: How do we differ from the Bolsheviks? Tosplit solely on organizational grounds would seem trivial indeed.Haimson aptly summarizes this curious dilemma: “Already, theMartovites were searching for some doctrinal grounds upon which tobase their opposition, and at first this search was difficult, not so muchbecause such differences were absent, but because they were still sosubtle and had been buried and evaded for so long.”12 EventuallyMenshevik writers came to justify their break on the grounds thatLenin’s conception would make the party a “mechanistic centralist”one. It would exclude revolutionary elements of the proletariat whounfortunately were not fully enlightened. It would also stifle politicalinitiative. Hence, the Mensheviks spurned Lenin’s belated peaceofferings.Next, Plekhanov, who originally sided with Lenin, tried to reunite thedivided factions of the party. He had not changed his mind, butbelieved that the issue was not worth splitting over. Lenin, now firmlydedicated to wiping out the Menshevik deviation, proceeded to breakwith Plekhanov, stating, “I am now fighting for the CC [CentralCommittee] which the Martovites also want to seize, brazened byPlekhanov’s cowardly betrayal.”13 Over time, the Mensheviks came tore-define their doctrinal differences in a more sophisticated andtechnical way. Martov and Akselrod discovered a full-fledgedcontradiction in Lenin’s system. As Martov and Akelrod explained it,the subjective goal of Social Democracy was to advance the politicalmaturity and independence of the proletariat. Lenin’s objectivemethod, however, was to create a class of revolutionary intelligentsiato dominate the proletariat. Lenin’s means, then, was incompatiblewith his end, because his method of advancing the proletariat actuallywound up by ruling it. Naturally, Lenin counterattacked. He repeatedhis earlier arguments, then denounced the “anarchistic, individualistic”character of the Mensheviks’ opposition to ultra-centrism. Thespontaneous flailing of the masses, unguided by a sound and sturdyMarxist vanguard could never represent the march of history. In short,without the Leninist party, the workers would, at best, develop mere”trade-union consciousness” and would never work to attain truesocialism.Plekhanov, the senior member of the Iskra board, rebuked Lenin. Infact, Marx claimed exactly the opposite of what Lenin was claiming:not only were the masses capable of achieving proletarianconsciousness all by themselves, but they would do so inevitably,since economic forces are the ultimate determinants of ideas andactions.14 By November of 1903, Plekhanov turned against Lenin,and invited Martov, Akselrod, and other Mensheviks back to Iskra’sboard. Lenin resigned but was not expelled from the party. Now, underPlekhanov’s leadership, the Mensheviks rejoined the moderateBolsheviks to form a single party.15 Analysis of the Debates andSchism The early debates between the future factions of the RussianMarxists and their subsequent schism illustrate their similarity nicely.At no point did any faction openly challenge any of the basicpostulates of Marx. Indeed, they considered Marx to be anauthoritative guide to the truth. Both factions of the party willingly andfreely voted for Plekhanov’s statement of the ultimate demands ofSocial Democracy cited above. Both factions favored some form ofcentralized party: Lenin leaned towards one-man rule, while Martovfelt more comfortable with some kind of collective leadership. Leninwanted a carefully regulated party membership, while Martov wasmore tolerant, more concerned with admitting enlightened members ofthe masses.There were other differences between the Bolsheviks and theMensheviks that surfaced at this time. For example, Getzler statesthat Martov “reproved Plekhanov for his cynical rejection of democraticprinciples at the party congress and told him that he should at leasthave added that ’so tragic a situation was unthinkable as one in whichthe proletariat to consolidate its victory would have to violate suchpolitical rights as, e.g., the freedom of the press.’” Also, theMensheviks’ opposition to Lenin’s ultra-centralism reveals someconcern for free voting and pluralism that could obviously not exist in aLeninist party.Still, this dispute over the status of civil liberties and free voting couldby no stretch of the imagination be transformed into the heart of theMenshevik-Bolshevik dispute. There was no important argument overPlekhanov’s statement of principles, which are staggeringlyauthoritarian in their implications. If one studies Plekhanov’sstatement (cited above), one can see that it was not a watered-downbody of vague generalizations that anyone could agree with. Instead,it stated explicitly that the RSDLP intended to abolish privateownership of the means of production with “planning of the productiveprocesses.” Such planning necessarily implies the existence ofplanners who do the planning; in short, of some kind hegemonicsystem that would impose its views upon the entire society. Similarly,Plekhanov’s program stated plainly that a dictatorship of the proletariatwould have to seize control of the state and quell all opposition. Thiswas not controversial among the delegates to the congress, whoratified it quickly and turned to other matters. If the issue of civilliberties and competetive voting were truly important to theMensheviks, why did they fail to demand a prominent and explicitaffirmation of their values in Plekhanov’s statement? A reasonablehypothesis is that Martov and his fellow Mensheviks were notconcerned about civil liberties and democracy in a serious way. Whilethey thought that civil liberties and democracy were good in theory, didnot want to argue about it. In fact, they were quite willing to cooperatewith other Marxists who openly scorned these values.Further support for this interpretation comes from the remainder of thedebates.At no point did Martov or any other Menshevik demand that Lenin’sfaction guarantee their support for political freedom. The properstructure of the party was the issue that dominated the debates. TheMensheviks’ conception of the party was more sympathetic to civilliberties and democracy than Lenin’s, but it was hardly the thrust of theMensheviks’ argument. Instead, they favored their kind of partybecause it would advance the cause of Social Democracy, asenunciated by Plekhanov, more efficiently than Lenin’s system (whichwould alienate almost everyone). As Martov put it, “the wider the titleof party member is spread, the better. We could but rejoice is everystriker or demonstrator, when called to account for his actions coulddeclare himself a party member.16 Lenin denounced Menshevikconceptions of the party as “anarchistic” and “individualistic,” but thiswas mainly name-calling rather than serious criticism. Martov andAkselrod, for example, did not concentrate on the dictatorial characterof Lenin’s party. Instead, they made technical philosophicalarguments. They argued that there was a contradiction between thesubjective goal of enlightening the proletariat and the objective meansof ultra-centralization. Plekhanov, likewise, chastised Lenin forimplicitly denying the inevitability of the proletarian revolution. Sincethe proletariat, driven by the laws of history, was destined to overthrowcapitalism and establish Marxian socialism, it was incorrect for Leninto argue that an elitist revolutionary party was necessary to groom theproletariat before it could attain this goal.If the Mensheviks were advocates of civil liberties and democracy,their behavior up to the schism reveals that they were among the mostanemic and apathetic advocates of political freedom in history. Theybelonged to a party of which a major faction had open contempt forsuch concerns. While in that party, they did not make a big issue outof their differences. They cooperated freely with avowed authoritariansto achieve social change. They were able to endorse Plekhanov’sstatement of principles without a large debate. Their most vigorousargument against Lenin’s theory of the party was that it was aninefficient means for achieving socialism. In sum, while someMensheviks voiced minor interest in political freedom, it was near thebottom of their agenda. We shall see how much that agenda changedas the Menshevik movement matured.Bolshevik-Menshevik Conflict to the February Revolution Wartime reveals interesting facts about the Mensheviks and theBolsheviks. Under critical and intense circumstances such as thoseprovided by war, one can observe the similarities and differences oftheir respective positions and the reasons behind those positions. Ashistory would have it, both factions of Russian Marxism were alive andactive during both the Revolution of 1905 and World War I. It is tothese phases of Menshevik-Bolshevik debate that we will now turn.The Revolution of 1905 was preceded by the outbreak of thee Russo-Japanese War. Martov was particularly vocal in denouncing this war,and hoped that it would end with a negotiated peace. He supportedneither government, saying, “We are international socialists, andtherefore any political alliance of the socialists of our country with anyclass state whatever, we regard as betrayal of the cause ofrevolution.” His slogan was “peace at any price.” Getzler remarks that,”there was also an element of humanitarian pacifism in him even if hewould not explicitly admit it.”17 Perhaps, but the thrust of Martov’sargument against the war was that it was a conflict between rulingclasses and as such contrary to the interests of the proletariat of bothnations. The position of Lenin and the Bolsheviks was similar.The Revolution of 1905 followed the Russo-Japanese War. Thisrevolution was not led by the RSDLP, but both factions were intenselyinterested in it. Both Bolsheviks and Mensheviks generally agreed withMarx’s view that in a country such as Russia, still ruled by an absolutemonarch and without a large proletariat, the revolution would not besocialist in character. Instead, at this stage of historical development,it was necessary for the bourgeoisie to seize power from the czar andestablish a liberal democratic regime favorable to their own interests.The proletariat would gain somewhat from this shift, but the mainbeneficiaries would be the bourgeoisie itself. Once the bourgeois werefirmly in command, they would clear the road for the impendingtransition to socialism.18 There were many variations and differenceswithin this paradigm. Potresov looked upon a government of, for, andby the bourgeoisie with satisfaction. He was confident that thebourgeoisie would allow political freedom and sweep away theremnants of czarist feudalism. Plekhanov was less enthusiastic. Heagreed that it was historically necessary for the bourgeoisie to hold thereins of power for a while, but disliked it nevertheless. Still, hebelieved that the bourgeoisie would grant everyone political freedomso long as they were not frightened by radical movements. Martov wasmore hostile to the bourgeoisie, arguing that they were timid andconservative and therefore interested in a compromise with the czar.All these factions basically agreed that the proletariat could bestadvance its interests by throwing its support behind the bourgeoisieand refraining from any attempt to establish socialism before its time.Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks were ambivalent. They agreed that thebourgeoisie was a progressive force in society, then appended thatsocialists should only support the bourgeoisie until it developed itsown political program and organizations. Then, the duty of socialistschanged: socialists should advance the more radical program ofsocialism rather than the half-hearted program of liberal democracy.19Most of the Russian Marxists were unwilling to participate in thedemocratic government that the revolution temporarily established.Getzler explains this position succinctly: “To govern in coalition withliberals and democrats would be to renounce their class opposition tothe existing order, to accept responsibility for bourgeois policies, andeven to find themselves in conflict with the masses of theproletariat.”20 Moreover, both Martov and Lenin believed that the timewas not yet ripe for socialist parties to seize power for themselves.They must limit themselves to assisting the bourgeoisie against theautocracy. There was an important exception to this rule. If thebourgeoisie proved too timid and weak to seize power, then thesocialist parties would have to do so in their place. Given that mostMarxists agreed that the Russian bourgeoisie had a history of timidityand weakness, this exception is more important than it seems.Once the 1905 Revolution created parliamentary organizations, theMensheviks tended to favor improving the workers’ position bychanging the laws democratically; the Bolsheviks were less friendlytowards such means. Some of the demands that the Mensheviksmade in 1906 included the creation of unemployment insurance, theeight-hour day, and municipalization of land. The Mensheviks wereafraid of the full-fledged nationalization of land; this measure wouldsurely strengthen state power, and, as Martov put it, “so long as thecapitalist mode of production prevails, state power will always bebourgeois.”21 By opposing the nationalization of land, the Mensheviks differed with both the Bolsheviks and non-Marxistsocialists such as the Social Revolutionaries.Concurrently, inter-party disputes gradually led to an official splitbetween the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks. At the fifth congress ofthe RSDLP in 1907, the division between the two wings was obvious.The Mensheviks opposed revolutionary activity because it wouldendanger parliamentary institutions under which the proletariat hadwon impressive gains. Trade unions were legal, and the newgovernment respected the freedom of the press and the right ofassembly. Some Mensheviks wished to make Social Democracy anumbrella party which would include labor unions, socialists, andcooperatives of all types.The Bolsheviks took a very different position: Social Democratsshould try to inflame the masses by denouncing the moderation andweakness of the Duma.22 Between the 1907 conference and the finalschism of 1912, three distinct factions appeared amongst the RSDLP:the moderate Mensheviks, the revolutionary Mensheviks, and theBolsheviks. The moderates devoted themselves to peaceful reformsand cooperation with the labor movement. They favored the abolitionof the illegal portions of the party apparatus. The revolutionaryMensheviks included Plekhanov, Martov, Dan, and Trotsky. They likedthe legal gains that socialism had made but also wanted to preservethe illegal party structure. Lenin and the Bolsheviks denounced thereformist trend running through Menshevism and repeated theirdemands for the centralized and revolutionary party described byLenin in his “What is to be Done?” These factions were ablecooperate successfully until 1912, when the party congress invitedsome deviationist factions to attend the London conference in order tounify the party. Lenin was particularly outraged by this compromise. Through skillful political maneuvering, Lenin split off his faction fromthe rest of the RSDLP, then proclaimed his faction to be the complete”true” RSDLP.Trotsky tried to bring Lenin back into the fold and failed. World War I’ssudden beginning overshadowed the drive to reunite RussianMarxism.23 World War I challenged the world-view of orthodoxMarxists. They were internationalists, who believed that strugglebetween nations distracted workers from the real struggle betweenclasses. Yet most socialists in Europe chose to support theirrespective national governments. Naturally, this seemed like a greatbetrayal. And, as a corollary, any faction that remained internationalistdemonstrated the genuineness of its orthodoxy and virtue.Most of the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks remained devotees ofinternationalism; as a consequence, they grew together during thewar. Three distinct positions sprang up in their ranks. The first was apro-Russia position called “revolutionary defensism.” These camefrom Plekhanov’s section of Menshevik camp. At the other extremewas Lenin, who advocated “revolutionary defeatism,” i.e. the defeat of”his” native government by the Germans. Martov favored a positionbetween these extremes: immediate negotiated peace withoutannexations or indemnities. Lenin respected Martov’s opinion butdenounced the defensists vigorously. Martov, while theoreticallysympathetic to Lenin, distrusted him as a person; at the same time,Martov refused to condemn pro-war socialists without reservation. Hedisagreed with them but forgave them because he thought that theywere mistakenly obeying the will of the masses.24 Let us compareand contrast the positions of Lenin and Martov. Lenin believed that the



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