After the initial Vpered collection appeared in July 1910 a considerable amount of time – seven months – has passed before the second collection saw the light of day. The delay was likely due to lack of funds.
The second collection opens with an editorial proclamation – Down with Autocracy! – regarding the approaching new revolutionary upheaval. Vperedist argument against putting too much emphasis on parliamentary participation and other forms of legal work was simple: the revolution of 1905 was not completely lost, conditions that caused it were still present, so a revolutionary Party must use the period of reaction (a period that is likely to be short) to prepare itself for the next inevitable uprising. How long would reaction last? Those who, according to Vpered, leaned right and went with Lenin, indirectly affirmed that they anticipated the period of reaction to last long – thus the need to use the legal platform to continue the work of the Party. 1911 and 1912 confirmed some of Vperedist views, a new wave of revolutionary activities did arrive. The editorial call to return to ‘Down with Autocracy!’ slogan was a call to return to more proactive illegal activities:
The main body of the collection consists of a few interesting essays: an essay on the peasantry by Pokrovskii (on the 50th anniversary of 1861 reform); two reports on the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen – one by Lunacharsky, another… by Voinov (Lunacharsky); an expose by Ivan Bezrabotnyi (Ivan the Unemployed), a pseudonym of Dmitri Manuilskii (more about him in future posts on future Vpered publications); a short entry by Lyadov; an interesting discussion of ‘polemical styles’ by Stoliar (The Carpenter –
a pseudonym I have not yet successfully decoded a pseudonym of Fyodor Kalinin) and some news from Party organizations.
The most interesting text in this issue – in my view – is placed in ‘Discussion’ section of the book, an article by Bogdanov called ‘Socialism in the Present‘ where he argues for a definition of socialism that goes against a simple unidirectional argument – feudalism in the past, capitalism in the present, socialism in the future. This essay was republished in a 1990 collection called Вопросы социализма [The Problem of Socialism] but in a version that threw away a few pages of ‘introductory’ material. This essay deserves a separate entry but essentially Bogdanov’s position is that socialism is not about the abolition of private property or any other familiar aspects but about the organization of production on the basis of comradely cooperation. Additionally, Bogdanov argues that socialism requires its own science, philosophy and art. More on this later.
The second entry in the ‘Discussion’ section is on proletarian culture by ‘S.V’ – most likely ‘Stanislav Volskii‘ (a pseudonym of Andrei Sokolov, an author of an interesting 1909 book called The Philosophy of Struggle: An Attempt at Constructing a Marxist Ethics), another interesting figure that deserves more attention.
The entire collection is here.