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THE conflict within the Russian Communist Party has entered upon a new phase. For the first time all the groups of the Opposition have made an attempt to unite and to create a common platform. At the head of this Opposition bloc are nearly all of the most prominent names in the Bolshevik Party: Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Radek, Sokolnikov, Shliapnikov, Kollontai, Piatakov, Preobrazhensky, Osinsky, and others. As against these names the party majority can set only those of Bukharin, Stalin, Rykov, and Tomsky. In addition, the Opposition has its unassuming rank and file, and not a few sympathizers who, like Lashevich and Belenky, form secret organizations, apparently acting on their own responsibility and risk. When such sympathizers are apprehended and brought before the highest party tribunals, they conduct themselves with just the same stubborn secretiveness as did the old-time Russian revolutionists before the Tsarist courts.
Only a few at a time did these leaders drop out of the ruling majority group and join the Opposition. At first, for instance, all of them, from Trotsky to Sokolnikov, together with the present leaders of the party, struggled against Shliapnikov and Kollontai; then all, from Zinoviev to Kamenev, unanimously agreed to have Trotsky removed from power and Radek disciplined; and, finally, the turn came for Zinoviev and Kamenev themselves to be cast from power. Hence, the leaders of the Opposition could not easily forget the bitter struggles within their own ranks and overcome feelings of antagonism and hostility toward each other; it was even more difficult to work out a definite program.
If we examine carefully the history of these defections, schisms, and desertions to the ranks of the Opposition, if we analyze one by one the factions of the Opposition, now united, we find that they can all be brought under one category. The Opposition personifies Bolshevik romance coming into conflict with everyday reality, and suffering thereby one defeat after another.
Stalin and his group are the realists of Bolshevism. They quietly accept the fact that "the flowers have faded and the fires have burned out" and that the time of planning on a gigantic scale has passed. They easily reconcile themselves to any inconsistencies or contradictions which result from concessions to life. They are optimists in the sense that they see the bright rather than the shady side of everything attained by their policy. In short, they decided "to fit the foot to the boot," not to stake their all on the world social revolution, and to reconcile themselves to the fact that the stabilization of "bourgeois Europe" would compel them for a long time to come to settle down somehow within the encircling "jungle" of world capitalism and to seek means of mutual adaptation. Likewise within the country they seek means of adaptation to the "peasant jungle" which surrounds Soviet industry, and are now trying to create something in the nature of a network of peasant coöperatives, which might serve as a buffer between the "state socialism" (or to be more exact "state capitalism") of the Soviet trusts and the remnants of private capitalistic relationships.
Many observers are now fully convinced that the ruling group and the Opposition represent in embryo two different parties: the Stalin group is the future Nationalist-Bolshevik Party, which for a long time will remain confined within the shell of the present Soviet union, adapting itself in great degree to the agrarian character of the country. The Opposition is the International-Communist Party, subordinating all internal problems to the prospects of world revolution, and making the greatest efforts to approximate the evolution of Russia to that of the highly industrial world of Western Europe.
The Opposition clings tenaciously to the remnants of that Bolshevik romance which is contained in the original precepts evolved through pure reason by the dogmatic mind of Lenin.
From this point of view the ruling group and the Opposition represent the breaking-up of Leninism into its component elements. Lenin was the two-faced Janus of Bolshevism. On one side there showed the face of a fanatic, a cold theoretician and drafter of dogmas, a compiler of a catechism of social philosophy which tolerates no deviations -- the face of an old-time religious sectarian, except that he took Marx's "Capital" for his Bible. The other side showed the face of a crafty practical politician, who gives little consideration to his own dogmas in his choice of tactics for the immediate present. In this respect Lenin represents a true national type. Such fanatics exercise a great hypnotic influence over the masses, and not infrequently use their hypnotism deliberately. Thus they are enabled to make their way in a labyrinth of complicated situations with the ease of shrewd practical men, who are ready to sanctify any and all means for the sake of the desired end.
Lenin's power consisted not in the depth of his theoretical understanding, not in his foresightedness and skillful predictions; his diagnoses and prognoses again and again fell flat. Capricious history continually set stumbling blocks in the way of their fulfillment. Lenin's power consisted, in the first place, in his will, developed to an unusual degree and thus easily dominating over other weaker characters; in the second place, and most important, in his skill and resourcefulness as a tactician. Lenin in his struggles disliked the careful planning out of tactics; he infected everybody with his readiness to try now one stratagem, now another, to retreat once and again, and at the same time to save energy for new attacks and faith in ultimate victory. With all this he was a thorough realist, unceremoniously thrusting aside any theories and principles which stood in the way, not excepting his own. And it was not always clear whether he created such theories and principles merely for the simpletons who could not get along without them, or whether he himself was fascinated by them -- with that cold, purely mental fascination of a builder of systems, who is carried away by their harmony, symmetry and immensity of sweep. Lenin was not a romanticist by nature. He possessed an exaltation of a different kind; it was the exaltation of intense hatred, forged by the years of prison, exile, and life in hiding, and by the oppressions of a despotic autocracy. And it was this spirit which generated systems saturated with the romanticism of violence and retaliation, of "will and power" -- that same spirit which the great romantic philosopher, Nietzsche, has defined as a longing "to put one's hand upon the centuries as upon a piece of soft wax."
Subsequent to the success of the October revolution the first and sharpest conflict between Bolshevik romance and its own inherent prose arose at the time of the infamous peace of Brest-Litovsk. Bolshevik romance insisted that the imperialist war was an "alien" war and should be unmasked; and the only way to unmask it was to transform it into a civil war. But that was not all. According to Lenin, out of the epoch of civil wars, superseding the imperialist war, a new world war must inevitably emerge, but with a complete regrouping of all forces. A revolutionary coalition of socialist states would engage in a "final, decisive battle" against a counter-revolutionary coalition, and this battle would decide the fate of the world, the fate of the proletariat, the fate of socialism and capitalism.
Such was Bolshevik romance. It demanded by radio-telegraph "an armistice on all fronts," calling upon the peoples to overthrow any governments which dared not to join in such an armistice. And, in particular, it threatened the Hohenzollerns and Hapsburgs with a "holy revolutionary war," if they should dare to take advantage of the peace-loving Russian proletariat. But they did not take fright, and did take advantage. It was at this juncture that the first great crisis of the Bolshevik party occurred.
Now Lenin the realist, with cynical frankness, simply threw overboard everything which Lenin the romanticist, the theoretician of the world "revolutionary war," had written so eloquently. He had to dash cold water on the ardor of the "Left-Communists," who had been inspired by his own former preaching, and among whom were to be found almost all of his most faithful and brilliant pupils and followers. Lenin astounded them with his preposterous demand that they submit to the yoke of the conqueror, that they lower the red flag before the sharp-pointed helmet of Prussian militarism.
Zinoviev has recently related what happened at the congress of the Comintern in session at the time of the Polish-Soviet war, when the Red Army was advancing on Warsaw. Each day the delegates, incapable of thinking about anything else, crowded about the large military map.They already dreamed of breaking their way through Poland to Germany, where they could give vent both to their feeling of revenge and to their revolutionary enthusiasm; and Trotsky already threatened to settle accounts with the Entente -- on the banks of the Rhine.
And again the prose of life's realities mercilessly tore off one by one all the petals from the red flower of the romantic utopia. A new "little Brest" -- the Riga peace treaty -- definitely undermined the spirit which nourished the Opposition of the "Left Communists."
Nevertheless, the romance of a world-wide Red war lives even today in some minds. The Soviet Union is regarded as the advance-guard of all the "colonial nations" of the world, which sooner or later will lead these Asiatic peoples in their revolt against the "imperialist vultures;" but, having profited by experience, Bolshevik diplomacy contents itself with merely inciting the step-children of history to rebellion, and cautiously retreats whenever conflicts threaten to drag it into a military adventure.
Romance in foreign policy was replaced by romance in domestic policy. Bolshevism, in order to insure victory in the civil war, had to fire the imagination of the masses, promising everything -- bread to the peasants, land to the workers, immediate socialism with direct and wholesale confiscations, complete local autonomy, destruction of the former state machinery, the gradual withering away of the state, equal remuneration for service from the common laborer to the Soviet Commissar. However, this semianarchistic romance ended when reality again entered into its own. In the factories the strict system of one-man control was reëstablished; specialists, even the former owners, were attracted by high salaries, bonuses and premiums. It was declared that the epoch of confiscations and "local autonomy" was an epoch of "disorganized socialism" and that "organized socialism" should take its place. There arose a strict system of "military communism." All branches of industry were divided on paper into "departments," headed by the Supreme Council of National Economy. All commodities were to be nationalized, everything was to go into the "common pot." Money was not necessary in a socialist society. A unified economic plan topped the edifice. At its foundation lay the grandiose scheme of the electrification of the whole of Russia. As the age of steam was the age of capitalism, so the age of electricity was to be the age of socialism.
Such was the voice of romance. But reality spoke otherwise. In fact, there could be no thought of any kind of socialism. Surrounded by civil war on all sides, cut off from the grain-fields of the south, from the coal of the Donetz basin, from the oil of the Caucasus, from the ore of the Urals -- Russia could hardly think about systematic production. The Bolshevik romanticists preferred to close their eyes to these stern realities of life's prose, adorning that prose with the rich colorings of romantic fantasies. They deceived themselves into imagining that they were practicing pure communism -- only in an impoverished country which would quickly be transformed into a rich country.
But as soon as the civil war was liquidated on all fronts, unembellished reality necessarily entered into its own, and the romantic mirage was dispelled. Military communism had to collapse, and with it a multitude of illusions it had engendered.
The conflict in the Communist Party now entered upon a new phase. This occurred at the time of the famous "trade union discussion." The question about the trade unions was, of course, only an incidental one: the party was not yet fully aware that it was, in fact, quarrelling about the very foundations of military communism. And Lenin was again victorious, owing to dissensions in the ranks of the "Left-Communists," divided into four groups over the question of the share of the unions in directing industry.
Lenin had to compromise to some extent. He placed leading members of the Opposition in the central organs of the Party, but he demanded a high price for his concessions. At the same time, by intimidating the party with threats of danger from without, he succeeded in having all discussions and factions looked upon as a luxury which the party could not yet afford.
People often marvelled at the fact that it cost Lenin so little effort in March, 1921 -- under the thunder of cannon of the Kronstadt revolt and under the dull rumbling of the general uprising of the Tambov peasantry -- to turn his rudder sharply to the right and to steer at full speed from military communism to the "new economic policy." It was amazing to see how the whole party followed blindly after him and how weak and timid was the opposition. The fact had not been taken into account that the "trade-union discussion" itself had cleared the way for this unity. The cruel reality of life was a single force, while the means of escape from it in the clouds of romance were many.
During the period of the "new economic policy" the four important opposition groups finally fitted themselves into the framework of the Soviet system. The section of the party which stood for "iron Leninist unity" now had to face only the "workers' opposition." But this movement lacked a positive program to oppose to the opportunist "new economic policy," and so remained a turbulent expression of the discontent of proletarians cast down from the heights of romantic expectation into the depths of workaday reality.
The overthrow of Bolshevik romance by Bolshevik reality was complicated by the personal tragedy of the overstrained leader -- the slow agony of waning mental powers. The tormenting period of befogged reasoning was broken by clear intervals when his brain continued feverishly to seek a way out of the blind-alley. He worked out some general conclusions, sketched only in rough outline, involving a complete revision of established views on socialism, an attempt to devise a new brand of "coöperative socialism," and the replacement of the old "industrial" formula, "the dictatorship of the proletariat plus electrification equals socialism" by a new "agrarian" formula, "the dictatorship of the proletariat plus coöperation equals socialism."
While the leader and uncrowned king of Bolshevism was dying a slow death, quarrels and dissensions abated, as if by the force of a tacit agreement. The "iron Leninist unity" of the party seemed to triumph over all misunderstandings or attempts to break it. This agreement, strengthened by vows of fidelity at his grave, held good for a long time. The memory of Lenin silenced criticism.
But the agreement was superficial. Bolshevik romance, suppressed as a political principle, took on an intensely personal aspect. The logic of dictatorship demanded that someone should occupy the vacant place.
Lenin had his brilliant second, Leon Trotsky, who had arrived at the same goal as he, though by another route; and there was his trio of close "adjutants" -- Kamenev, Zinoviev and Stalin. Trotsky had long before worked out his own theory of revolutionary romance. It bore a high-sounding name -- "the theory of permanent revolution."
This new concept which Trotsky had contrived appeared to reconcile various preceding theories. According to it, the Russian Revolution could not commence in any other way than in the form of a middle class revolution (here the Mensheviks are right). But in the development of events, the hegemony had to pass from the middle class to the proletariat, who also could take advantage of the revolutionary moods of the peasantry (here the Bolsheviks are right or almost right). This transition meant at the same time a broadening-out of the purely middle-class aims, tasks and potentialities of the revolution (here the Social Revolutionaries have the kernel of truth, though distorted). But the Russian Revolution was not merely a national revolution: having overthrown the stronghold of counter-revolution in Europe, the Russian autocracy, it was to be a signal for the outbreak of the proletarian revolution in western Europe. This revolution, in view of the economic preparedness of Europe for socialism, would also draw Russia into still more radical metamorphoses (thus are to be realized the prophecies of the Maximalists).
Shortly after Lenin's death Trotsky tried to prove that the Bolshevik revolution in general was going "Trotsky's way," and that Bolshevism itself had become real, "Red October" Bolshevism only after it had departed from the old, typically Social-Democratic point of view of the middle-class revolution, and had displayed readiness to deepen the revolution steadily to its maximum potentialities. The first failure of Bolshevik Maximalism did not refute the theory since, at the very start, they failed to kindle the conflagration of revolution in the West, and hence could not avail themselves of the aid of that proletarian revolution to draw Russia into the course of socialism. The practical conclusion is clear: it is necessary again and again "to pierce with the Red Army bayonet the frame of European stabilization."
All the idealistic "Old Guard" of Bolshevism, like a disturbed ant-hill, became alarmed when they sensed towards what goal this Bolshevik neophyte, who only three years before was a Menshevik, was aspiring. His outspoken ambition to become the "ruling mind" of the whole party, his suspected ambition to play the rôle of a Red Soviet Bonaparte, his intrigues with the remnants of the former Left-Communist opposition -- all this, taken together, united and armed the ruling circles against him. Trotsky fell into disgrace. The upper ranks of the Red Army were carefully purged of his supporters. He temporarily yielded, earned a half-pardon -- and awaited the hour of his revenge.
In the meantime, the end of the "new economic policy," already extended beyond its original limits, had been reached. Only to the extent that it liberated the country from military communism was it possible to achieve any success in the industrial field, and only then could the spontaneous, organic "reconstruction process" begin. This reconstruction process did not apply to Russia alone but to the whole world, and its purpose was to heal the wounds inflicted by the World War and to regain the pre-war status with a minimum expenditure of time and energy.
The prospects of future success along the lines of industrial reconstruction were a powerful temptation to the leaders of the party to proceed further in the direction of an extended "newest new economic policy," of increasing production and the wealth of the country in every possible way. Was not the communist dictatorship strong enough to allow itself the luxury of making peace not only with the middle peasant but with the rich peasant? And Bukharin proclaimed throughout the land his impressionistic slogan: "Get rich."
All the forebodings of "Left Communism," all the bitter complaints of the "workers' opposition," all the sarcastic prophecies of the socialist anti-Bolsheviks were now confirmed in a manner so striking that even staunch veteran Bolsheviks became alarmed, and the split in the party penetrated to its very heart. Such pillars of communism as Kamenev and Zinoviev now began to talk about the degeneration of the party. The quiet "seizure" of power by one of the triumvirate, Stalin, who had virtually brought under his control the entire organizational apparatus of the party, was probably also responsible in great measure for opening the eyes of Zinoviev and Kamenev. These two apostles of the deceased Bolshevik Messiah hurriedly drew up the fundamental tenets of their program, designed to ward off the dangers threatening Bolshevism: no further extension of the "new economic policy;" close supervision of the private trader in the town and the rich peasant in the village; serious attempts to make real the workers' dream of equal wages and so check the spreading spirit of disillusionment.
The New Opposition maintained that the chief stronghold remaining in the hands of the proletarian dictatorship -- state industry -- must be regarded, not as socialist industry but as closely bordering on "state capitalism." It was also the firm belief of this Opposition that out of state capitalism, at an unfavorable turn of political events, ordinary private capitalism might easily emerge before the workers would even have time to be aware of it. In view of such a threatening danger from the right, the slogans of the Opposition were: amnesty for all members of the former Left Opposition, freedom of discussion, democracy within the party!
At this juncture it became clear in what a firm grip merciless Bolshevik reality held the party. The leaders of yesterday were dethroned and their followers discredited. An unconditional veto was placed upon the further preaching of their "criminal ideas."
The entry of Kamenev and Zinoviev into the ranks of the Opposition marked a turning-point in its history. Thenceforth the Opposition would try to form a bloc with a unified program.
So here was the "New Opposition" against the "new economic policy." But in the name of what positive political program?
Until recently this had seemed an enigma. Little by little it has been cleared up. And now, if we closely examine the disconnected fragments of the ideas of the Opposition which reach us through the crooked mirror of the official press, the platform of the united Opposition appears entirely comprehensible in all its fundamental measures. It may be divided into four sections:
Industry, as the more complex and delicate mechanism, suffered most of all from the destruction of the World War and the chaos of civil wars. Peasant economy more quickly responded to the restorative process. Since this disproportion is unfavorable for the proletarian dictatorship, a sharp turn in the direction of the industrialization of the country is made necessary. It is likewise important that the wages of workers should be increased. Also, the "private trader" -- a new threatening force undermining the foundations of Communism -- must be continuously clipped close -- but without killing him, so that he may be sheared again. Further, the state economic agencies are constantly "fraternizing" with private traders, and must be thoroughly reformed.
The peasantry constitutes a petty bourgeois element. A more conciliatory attitude towards the peasantry than towards the private trader is a question of political tactics; in an economic sense, it is as necessary to suppress the one as the other. Hence, there must be a systematic draining of resources from the peasantry into state industry: higher prices for manufactured goods, and higher taxes. Among the peasants class differentiation is growing to an alarming extent: the "middle peasant" is disappearing, thereby augmenting the ranks of both the poor and the rich peasants. Since the latter represent a rapacious element, of little value to industry, their expropriation appears desirable.
The present Soviet power is "far from proletarian in character" (Trotsky). It has already acquired mixed, compromising, "worker-peasant" tendencies. "Specialists" are gradually penetrating into the highest government agencies, and the most responsible Communists are exposed to their influence. Suffrage restrictions of the propertied classes are gradually being revoked or remain a dead letter; the proportion of Communists elected to the village Soviets has greatly diminished; the poor peasantry has in part used its power for "economic advancement" and become bourgeois. It is necessary to restrict further the voting rights of the propertied classes, to pass more rigorous election laws; and in the village, to return, in general, to a régime of the political dictatorship of the poor peasantry.
This already constitutes quite a consistent program. It is saturated through and through with a spirit of "peasant-phobia." Stalin's program is much more realistic and shows greater understanding of the peasant nature; it is much better adapted to life, carefully and opportunistically balancing between the tendency towards industrialization and the difficulties with which its realization is accompanied.
There remains to be examined the fourth section of the Opposition platform: Problems of Inner-Party Life. Here the Opposition itself is very much divided, having a great variety of solutions to offer.
Zinoviev proffered his solution even before he was outlawed into the ranks of the Opposition: the creation of a safety-valve in the form of a group of "honest non-partisans," i.e., non-communists in full accord with the Soviet power. Sokolnikov alone had the courage to propose that the Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries be recognized; but had his suggestion not been made in strict confidence, it would have aroused a terrific storm. Ossovsky reiterated Sokolnikov's proposal, with modifications to the effect that these parties might be induced to change their names and take an oath of allegiance to the Soviet Government and that undesirable leaders might be sifted out and only harmless ones left. In a word, there could be manufactured "substitute" Mensheviks and Social Revolutionaries. The answer to this plan of Ossovsky was his expulsion from the party.
All the possibilities of finding a safety-valve outside of the party were exhausted. Then Trotsky renewed his old demand that a safety-valve within the party be opened, that there be complete democracy within the party, freedom of groupings into factions, and permanent freedom of discussion.
But if factional freedom was considered dangerous even at a time when the Opposition was divided into many groups, legalization of factions, now that the Opposition formed a unified bloc, would mean a fatal split in the party, would be identical to placing two political parties under one roof. Factions of yesterday might easily become independent parties today or tomorrow.
But the essence of the Bolshevik party dictatorship consists in strict parallelism of the Soviet rule with the party method of control, a parallelism by which the execution of party decrees and instructions by the Soviet institutions takes place with maximum celerity and accuracy.
A split in the party would mean a split in the Soviet rule, i.e., the death of the dictatorship. Under a democracy parties can replace each other painlessly, without any conflict. But under a dictatorship a split in the dictating party means the sending of the Dantons to the galleys by the Robespierres.
So there is no solution. The party is suffocating in its own political monopoly. There is no breathing-hole, either outside the party limits or within them. Such is the logic of dictatorship. Its existence is no longer justified either by an external enemy, or civil war, or intervention, or blockade. There is no possibility of its setting out upon an external military adventure, which would enrich the dictatorship with a new "real meaning." And at home it is not a period of great tasks for the Bolsheviks: instead of innovations on a world-wide scale -- stabilization and minute every-day work; instead of great deeds -- petty details.
And as for the conflict between the former romance and the present reality of Bolshevism, it is making itself evident every day, every moment. Recently, according to Lomov's report, the Communist Party in Moscow conducted an inquiry as to the conditions of labor of workers in private enterprises as compared with those of workers in state enterprises. The results were astounding. Everywhere the conditions of labor in private enterprises were significantly more favorable for the workers. Thus in the Rogozhsko-Simonovsky region the wages of textile workers were 26 percent higher, of chemical workers 28 percent, and of metal workers 37 percent; in the Baumanovski region the wages in private establishments everywhere exceeded the pre-war level and, of course, were higher than in state enterprises -- the excess in individual cases amounting to 40 to 50 percent. According to the data of the All-Russian Central Soviet of Trade Unions, this phenomenon is general: as early as 1924, the wages in private enterprises exceeded those in state enterprises by 25 percent (leather workers), by 37 percent (needle-trade workers), by 41 percent (wood-workers), by 47 percent (cotton workers), and on the average by 30 percent.
Moreover, in state enterprises the percentage of Communist workers fluctuates from 15 to 19, while in private establishments it falls to from 3 to 5 percent. Cases are not rare in which this "statistical propaganda" results in the workers "considering that their exploitation by capitalists is entirely normal and that it is the greatest misfortune to be a worker in a state enterprise." And since in Moscow for every ten workers there is at least one working in a private establishment (12 to 13 percent of all the workers of Moscow), the truth will out.
Imagine the position of a Communist who must prove to the workers that they should strike when employed by a private enterprise, where conditions are better, but should not strike when employed by a state trust, where conditions are worse, and further that they should desire the annihilation of private enterprises and their replacement by state trusts.
Perhaps under these circumstances Stalin is entirely correct from his point of view in considering it necessary to put down energetically all waverings, quarrels, disagreements, and differences of opinion within the party. By so doing, however, the party is inflicting the severest punishment on itself.
The more a disease is driven within, the more virulent it becomes, and from time to time infallibly forces its way to the surface. Such eruptions in the party, by their unexpectedness and vehemence, literally overwhelm the ordinary worker who can not comprehend what is going on behind the scenes of the Soviet power. And worst of all he is compelled -- in the short space of time allotted for discussion prior to the ensuing conference or congress called to settle all disputes -- to straighten everything out in his mind and give his vote, in order that again an end be put to all differences of opinion and that the new undisputed truth of the ruling group be left undisturbed. It is natural that this helpless worker -- deafened by the uproar of the leaders' mutual accusations -- should only be bewildered by all these discussions and deliver his vote into the hands of the party bureaucracy, the all-powerful political machine.
The Opposition is the irrepressible conscience of Communism; the ruling group its practical reasoning power. The Opposition represents the theoretical romance of Bolshevism. The political machine is the living incarnation of triumphant reality. The Opposition rebels; but the ruling group, poised and self-confident, reigns supreme. All the most talented leaders of Bolshevism may go over to the Opposition, but the collective mediocrity of the "machine" will master them and break down their resistance in the future as in the past.
Both the Opposition and the ruling group have each their own historical mission. The ruling party bureaucracy with its leanings away from romance towards reality, impelled by experience and the pressure of actual conditions, makes use of romance only as camouflage. The Opposition does not allow the ruling group to label these tendencies as an adequate incarnation of the prescribed theories of communism, and mercilessly lays bare their undoubted opportunism and lack of principle. Which group is more useful for Russia? Both. Only by their united efforts can they nourish the Bolshevik crisis -- a crisis which will result not in growth but in decomposition, due to failure to pass the acid test of life.