is the advance guard, the organizer and the leader of the
oppressed masses, must not become a State organization!
From a practical point of view, the idea that the Soviets
are necessary as fighting organizations, but must not
become State institutions, is even more absurd than it is
in the theoretical respect. Even in peaceful times, when
the situation is not revolutionary, the mass struggle of
the workers against the capitalists—for instance, a mass
strike—causes passion to run very high on either side,
provokes great bitterness and rage, the bourgeoisie constantly insisting that it must remain "master in its own
house," etc. But in the time of revolution, when political
life reaches, one may say, the boiling point, an organization like the Soviets, which embraces all workers, all in*
dustries, and ultimately also all soldiers, and the entire
laboring and poor population of the villages, must inevitably, in the course of the struggle, and by the mere logic of
attack and defence, bring the questions of power to a direct*
issue. All attempts to take up a middle position and to
"reconcile" the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, appear
then as acts of imbecility and prove a miserable failure.
Such has been the fate of the efforts of Martoff and his
friends in Russia, and such will inevitably also be the
fate of similar attempts in Germany and other countries,
if the Soviets should succeed in striking root, in gaining strength, and in linking up with one another. To
tell the Soviets: fight, but do not take over the entire
State authority, do not become State institutions, its tantamount to preaching the co-operation of classes and "social peace" between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
The bare idea is preposterous that such a position amid
passionate strife could lead to anything else than a disgraceful collapse. It is, however, the eternal fate of
Kautsky to sit between two stools. He puts on an air as
if he did not agree with the opportunists on any theoretical
question, but in practice he agrees with them on everything that is essential (i. e., on everything chat pertains
to the revolution).
( 47 )