Bidding for Ministerial Portfolios
March 16, 1917
Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
A few days ago resolutions on the Provisional Government, on the war, and on unity passed by the Yedinstvo group [1.] were published in the press.
This is the Plekhanov-Buryanov group, a "defencist" group.
To understand the character of this group, it is enough to know that in its opinion :
1) "The necessary democratic control over the actions of the Provisional Government can best be achieved by the participation of the working-class democracy in the Provisional Government";
2) "The proletariat must continue the war"—among other reasons, in order "to deliver Europe from the menace of Austro-German reaction."
In brief, what they are demanding of the workers is: Send your hostages, gentlemen, into the Guchkov-Milyukov Provisional Government and be so kind as to continue the war for—the seizure of Constantinople!
That is the slogan of the Plekhanov-Buryanov group.
And, after that, this group has the hardihood to appeal to the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party to unite with it!
The worthies of the Yedinstvo group forget that the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party stands by the Zimmerwald-Kienthal resolutions, which repudiate both defencism and participation in the present government, even if it is a provisional one (not to be confused with a revolutionary provisional government!).
They fail to realize that Zimmerwald and Kienthal were a repudiation of Guesde and Sembat, and, conversely, that unity with Guchkov and Milyukov precludes unity with the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. . . .
They overlooked the fact that for a long time already Liebknecht and Scheidemann have not been living together, and cannot live together, in one party. . . .
No, sirs, you have addressed your unity appeal to the wrong quarter!
One may, of course, make a bid for Ministerial portfolios, one may unite with Milyukov and Guchkov for the purpose of—"continuing the war" and so on. All this is a matter of taste. But what has it got to do with the Russian Social-Democratic Party, and why unite with it?
No, sirs, go your way!
Pravda, No. 11, March 17, 1917
[1.] The Yedinstvo group was an organization of extreme Rightwing Menshevik defencists, formed in March 1917. Its leading figures were Plekhanov and the former Liquidators, Buryanov and Jordansky. It unreservedly supported the Provisional Government, demanded the continuation of the imperialist war, and joined with the Black Hundreds in attacking the Bolsheviks. At the time of the Great October Socialist Revolution members of the group took part in the counter-revolutionary Committee for the Salvation of the Fatherland and the Revolution.