The outrage in Moscow

From 'The Call', paper of the British Socialist Party, September 5 1918

The dastardly attempt on the life of Lenin is really worthy of the Herostrates who have undertaken to pull down the magnificent rising structure of the first socialist commonwealth.

They are not reactionary monarchists or Cadet fanatics concerned about the landlords’ property or the financiers’ capital. Oh dear, no! They are ‘Socialist Revolutionaries’, both socialists and revolutionaries, to whom the patient and slow organising work of the Marxist social democrats was in the past something like anathema maranatha.

Now they are impatient to destroy the very foundation of the growing socialist temple. Eight weeks ago they assassinated the German ambassador in order that the Germans might come and establish a Skoropadsky regime in Russia. As no such development ensued from this heroic deed, and the accompanying revolt ended in complete fiasco, the hand of a new Charlotte Corday rose to strike down the head of the socialist commonwealth, our great revolutionary leader, greater than Marat, greater than all the revolutionaries of the past, Lenin, the man for whom even the bitterest bourgeois enemy has the greatest respect.

The name of the perpetrator of this outrage will go down in the history of all future ages as that of the greatest and blackest traitress to the cause of the people on record. But just as the individual assassination of the tsars and their myrmidons in the past proved futile as a means of bringing about the collapse of the tsarist system, so will the present act of terror fail in its intentions. Systems are social products independent of individuals, as Marxists always used to argue with the Socialist Revolutionaries (so-called), and the soviet system has come to stay, whatever happens to individuals, however great.

This is a truth which not only the Socialist Revolutionaries, but also the Germans and the Austrians, will learn to their cost, and our indignation is prompted not by fears for the ultimate fate of the socialist commonwealth of Russia, but by our love for, and admiration of, the great revolutionary genius whom we have nearly lost in the midst of his fruitful work.

We send our heartfelt sympathy to Lenin and his wife, and to the labouring people of Russia in general.