Chapter 6: Cracow-Paris-Moscow

Once again an émigré' in Western Europe, Machajski had not yet given up his quest to create a movement based on his doctrines. He published a detailed exposition of his revolutionary program in the form of a journal, Rabochii zagovor (The Workers' Conspiracy), a single issue of which appeared in Geneva at the beginning of 1908, and settled in Cracow, part of the Austrian province of Galicia. As he had been expelled from the Austrian Empire in 1891, after his arrest for trying to smuggle illegal literature into Russian Poland, his residence in Cracow was illegal, and he assumed the name Jan Kizlo. In a letter to Zeromski in 1910, he claimed that he spent his two years in Cracow toiling as a lowly copyist "at a very respectable establishment," earning the meagre sum of forty Austrian florins a month. Only with the financial assistance he received from a brother was he able to support himself and his wife.The reality of his life in Cracow, however, was more complex.
Machajski's closest associate in Cracow was Max Nomad (who operated under the name of Czarny), and Nomads account sheds a very different light on Machajski's activities at this time. According to Nomad, one of Machajski's adherents, whom he identifies only as "Kolya," worked in the imperial mint in St. Petersburg. Having "appropriated" the sum of 25,000 rubles, he forwarded it to Machajski to support the efforts of the Workers' Conspiracy. With these funds, Machajski was able to finance the printing of Rabochii zagovor as well as some Polish translations of his writings, and to establish a rudimentary propaganda apparatus.(Whether he also held the job he described to Zeromski remains unclear.) Machajski supervised the activities of the Cracow organisation, which consisted mainly of the young and energetic Nomad. The latter agitated among the unemployed and the unskilled, as well as among disgruntled intelligenty. Of the émigrés who had come from the Congress Kingdom in the wake of the 1905 revolution, members of the Polish Socialist party (PPS) must have seemed a particularly ripe target. The revolution had brought an influx of new members into the party, many of whom felt a strong sense of solidarity with the Russian revolutionary movement and were willing to subordinate the cause of Polish independence to the goal of social revolution. This brought them into increasing conflict with the "old guard" of the PPS, led by Pilsudski, which distrusted the Russian movement and gave national liberation priority over the class struggle. In November 1906, the party split. Pilsudski and the right wing broke away from what was now the majority of the party and formed the PPS "Revolutionary Fraction," while the left wing, which abandoned the slogan of independence, formed the Left PPS, now similar in orientation to the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL) with which it would eventually merge. The Polish Social Democrats of Galicia (PPSD), led by Ignacy Daszynski, supported the position of the PPS "old guard" and therefore were also the object of the Makhaevists' attentions.
In these circumstances, the Makhaevists managed to win over some former members of the PPS as well as the PPSD and tried to disseminate Makhaevist literature in Warsaw .The established parties became sufficiently alarmed at the inroads of the Makhaevists to begin attacking them and spreading unsavoury rumours about them. According to Nomad, 'We were called provocateurs, tsarist spies, and bandits."Nomad's colourful account describes socialist meetings convened specifically to refute the Makhaevists and featuring Daszynski himself; one such meeting nearly turned into a riot.Within two years, however, the Makhaevists' activities had come to an end: Nomad left Cracow at the end of 1909, and shortly thereafter Machajski, apparently fearful of growing attention from the police, resettled in the Tatra Mountain resort of Zakopane. A number of factors probably contributed to Machajski's withdrawal from active political combat: the slanders of his opponents, the exhaustion of his financial resources, perhaps his own exhaustion after so many years of crying in the wilderness. Most important, however, is the likelihood that Machajski's ideas simply had little appeal to Polish socialists. For those who placed Polish national independence in the forefront, Machajski's consistent rejection of nationalism had nothing to offer. For those who found in the international socialist movement a substitute homeland worthy of their loyalties and total devotion, Machajski's anti socialist version of class struggle could not provide an attractive alternative. Makhaevism, therefore, found it impossible to make any real headway on Polish soil.
Unable to find work in Zakopane, Machajski again turned to Stefan Zeromski, with whom he had resumed his friendship in Cracow in 1907. On May 5, 1910, he wrote to Zeromski in Paris, asking him to recommend Machajski's wife for a job at a sanatorium in Zakopane run by Dr. Kazimierz Dluski. Dtuski, a socialist of long standing, had been a prominent member of the Great Proletariat party and later was a supporter of the PPS. He was also a close acquaintance off Zeromski's. The faithful Zeromski sent the recommendation and also made other representations on Machajski's behalf, but none of his efforts bore fruit. Machajski even devised a scheme to translate Zeromski's latest work into Russian and have it published in Russia, but nothing came of it.
Instead,Zeromski's good offices had unintended consequences of a very different sort. Waclaw Sieroszewski, also a friend of Dluski and in Paris at the time, heard of Zeromski's advocacy of Machajski. A poet and novelist, Sieroszewski had been active in the early Polish socialist circles of the 1870s and had spent many years in Siberian banishment. On the basis of what he had heard about Machajski during his exile in Russia, and about the bandit activities of the supposed "Makhaevists" in Warsaw, Sieroszewski wrote to Dluski urging him to exercise caution in his dealings with Machajski - who was still using the name Kuto - lest he find himself the victim of some kind of "expropriation." The police in Zakopane learned of Sieroszewski's letter and arrested Machajski. They found no evidence that an assault of any sort was being planned, but Machajski's real identity came to light, and he was threatened with expulsion from Galicia. Even worse, the investigation unearthed a totally unfounded rumour that at the time of his arrest at the Russian border on his way to Lodz in 1892, Machajski had attacked or even shot a Russian border guard. Now he faced not merely expulsion from Austrian territory but the possibility of being handed over to the Russian authorities for a capital offence!
It was at this point that Machajski wrote the long letter to Zeromski referred to in the previous chapter, in which he denied that he or any of his authentic followers had ever engaged in acts of terror or banditry, in Russia or in Poland. Machajski's wife had already written to Zeromski asking him to speak out in Machajski's defence, and Machajski's own letter, smuggled out of prison, naturally presented his political activities of previous years in the most defensible terms. In Zakopane, he wrote, he had done nothing but give lessons as a private tutor and try to make ends meet. All those acquainted with him there knew that "Kizto, occupied exclusively with trying to assure his existence in Zakopane, in the entire year of his stay here has not opened his mouth to propagandise anyone, nor has anyone heard of any pamphlet of Machajski's whatsoever arriving in Zakopane."As for his activities elsewhere in Poland, "No Makhaevist literature existed in the Polish language before 1909. Only then did two tiny pamphlets appear, and, so far as I have heard, scarcely a few score copies made their way to Warsaw, where, moreover, in view of the general present-day reaction, no one knows anything about them." Nor had any references to those pamphlets or to the Makhaevists in Cracow been made in the present case against him.Thus did Machajski gloss over his two years of activity in Cracow, finding himself in the peculiar position, for a revolutionary, of seeking to minimise the impact his ideas and conspiratorial efforts had had.
On this occasion, Machajski did not have to rely on Zeromski alone for assistance. His troubles had come to public notice, and reports of his arrest appeared in a number of Polish newspapers in both Russia and Austria.Machajski, who had always complained bitterly of slander and persecution at the hands of his political opponents, found a surprising number of defenders willing to take a public stand in his behalf. Roman Dmowski, for example, had been a leader of Zet, the Union of Polish Youth, to which Machajski had belonged at Warsaw University. Now head of the National Democratic party (Stronnictwo Demokratyczno-Narodowa, the successor to the Liga Narodowa), he espoused a brand of right-wing nationalism which was far removed from Machaiski's views. Nonetheless, Dmowski published an article in a Warsaw newspaper praising Machajski's "noble character."Even Sieroszewski, in a letter to the editor of a paper in Lwow, expressed regrets at the turn events had taken. Zeromski's contribution to Machajski's defenso was an eloquent article entitled ~n the Matter of Machajski." It appeared in the Cracow newspaper Nowa Reforma (New Reform) and contained Zeromski's reminiscences of Machajski from their student days in Kielce and War-saw. Describing him as someone who throughout his life had been an anchorite, an exile, subject to continual persecution," Zerom-ski wrote in his concluding remarks: "However one may assess his social theories, it is beyond doubt that he himself is a man of high worth, Mickiewicz's 'suffering man, struggling man, a man free in spirit."'
These efforts proved successful. Machajski was sentenced to two weeks' imprisonment for illegal residence and registration under a false name, and then was allowed to leave Austria. In the spring of 1911, he and his wife settled in Paris.
For the next six years, he lived a modest and totally non-political existence in the French capital. His French was none too good, and his personal contacts were confined mostly to the local Polish colony. With Zeromski's help, he secured a modest job at the Bibliotheque Polonaise. He tried once again to supplement his income by translating some of Zeromski's works into Russian, but he was unable to find a publisher for his translations. He had to resort to giving lessons to the children of Polish and Russian émigrés - having thus come full circle back to his student days.On the eve of the Russian Revolution, in addition to tutoring, he was working as an archivist in a bank; his wife was living in Moscow.
As it did for so many of Russia's political émigrés, the outbreak of the revolution rescued him from his humdrum existence and held out the prospect of a new lease on political life. At the end of June 1917 he wrote to Max Nomad that he would long since have left for Russia, but ill health had delayed him. He had quit his bank job, however, and was now waiting to board a ship provided by the Provisional Government to take émigré's back to Russia.It is not yet my revolution," he told friends in Paris, "but it is a revolution, so I'm going to it"
When he arrived in Petrograd, he found his old comrade Bronislav Mitkevich, who had been a member of his group in Irkutsk and had escaped from prison with him. Other former associates as well as new recruits joined them and formed a Makhaevist organisation. The Makhaevists began to appear at public meetings, and Mitkevich achieved some success as a spokesman for the group's ideas. Material resources to support an organised group were lacking, however, and the Makhaevists had some difficulty orienting themselves in the midst of a revolution whose speedy radicalisation tended to outflank even the most militant programs and positions. After the Bolshevik seizure of power in October, the Makhaevists dwindled away.
The last concrete manifestation of Makhaevism was the appearance of a single issue of a journal entitled Rabochaia revoliutsiia (The Workers' Revolution). It came out in Moscow, dated June-July 1918, although parts of it were written earlier; none of the articles were signed, but the editor was listed as "A. Vol'skii." The journal gave Machajski the opportunity for a final restatement of the basic tenets of Makhaevism in the light of the Russian Revolution, and it reflected his fundamentally ambivalent attitude toward the Bolsheviks.
In attempting to account for the Bolshevik seizure of power in Makhaevist terms, Machajski faced an acute theoretical dilemma. The new Bolshevik regime, established in the name of socialism by avowed socialists, was clearly much more radical than the "bourgeois revolution," with its parliamentary system and unfettered capitalism, which Machajski had always anticipated as the immediate outcome of socialist politics and the first step on the intelligentsia's road to power. Yet, it by no means measured up to Machajski's definition of a true "workers' revolution." In Rabochaia revoliutsiia, Machajski resolved the dilemma by arguing that the Bolsheviks were no more radical than the Jacobins of the French Revolution. At most, they were effecting a democratisation of the bourgeois system that would extend the fruits of the revolution to the lower strata of the intelligentsia but would continue to withhold them from the workers.
Machajski's evidence for this position was Lenin's new program of economic moderation, to which Rabochaia revoliutsiia was a direct response. By the spring of 1918, Lenin was backing away from the initial Bolshevik policy of "workers' control" in industry in an effort to restore order in the factories and regularise production. A sweeping revision of Bolshevik industrial policy was announced, including the restoration of managerial authority, the tightening of labour discipline, and measures to retain and reward the so-called bourgeois specialists, the former managers and technical experts. (The grudging manner in which the specialists were to be rewarded for their services is reflected in Lenin's remark that the high salaries they would require constituted a "tribute" that had to be paid for Russia's backwardness. )21 Lenin's term for the economic system these policies would create, a hybrid of capitalist and socialist elements, was state capitalism -a rather tactless choice of words which horrified revolutionary purists of every stripe. To Machajski, such backtracking on the part of the Bolsheviks served as confirmation of what he had been predicting for two decades: a socialist revolution, far from destroying the capitalist system, would merely set the stage for the intelligentsia to replace the capitalists as its new rulers.
The definitive overthrow of capitalism, Machajski insisted, could be achieved only through an immediate, universal expropriation of the bourgeoisie. This would entail not only the confiscation of all means of production, but also of all accumulated wealth - requiring the strict limitation of intelligentsia salaries.The Bolsheviks, however, for all their initial hostility to capitalism and declared intention of dismantling it, were now willing to settle for a much more modest program; despite the nationalisation of some enterprises, the managers and technical experts were still in charge and receiving high salaries, while the workers were being subjected to strict labour discipline. The Bolsheviks were once again referring to the construction of socialism as a gradual, long-term process, and Lenin's state capitalism offered little prospect of radical change in the position of the workers.
Why had the Bolsheviks so disappointed the hopes the workers had placed in them? In part, Machajski attributed the Bolsheviks' retreat from their initial promises to what he called the "intelligentsia counterrevolution," strikes and sabotage by the intelligenty in protest against the equalisation of wages and other measures that would have undermined the existing order.

Bolshevism represented a mortal threat to the bourgeoisie, but it was neither able nor willing to carry it out. It retreated before the will of the intelligentsia. The Russian intelligentsia, famous for its rebelliousness, almost entirely socialist, led by recent revolutionaries with martyrs' haloes - the noble Russian intelligentsia saved the bourgeoisie from ruin, saved it from a workers' revolution.

The Bolsheviks readily acceded to the intelligentsia's demands, however, because, like all socialist parties, they regarded the capitalists as the sole exploiters of the working class and had no desire to attack the privileges of the intelligentsia. Far from being enemies of the intelligentsia, the Bolsheviks were exponents of its interests.They are not fighters for the emancipation of the working class, but defenders of the lower strata of existing bourgeois society, and of the intelligentsia above all. As such, they simply do not want a universal expropriation of the bourgeoisie," one that would expropriate the intelligentsia along with the capitalists. Once in power, therefore, they had quickly reverted to the program socialists had always preferred, a program of gradual nationalisation of the means of production, which preserved the high salaries of the intelligentsia.
Like the Jacobins in the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks were effecting only an extreme democratic version of the "bourgeois revolution." They had destroyed the old political order but had not established economic equality, and without control over all social wealth the working class could not become the ruling class.To whom, then, had power passed under the Bolsheviks?

Power, slipping out of the hands of the capitalists and landowners, can be seized only by the lower strata of bourgeois society, the petty bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia which, as the possessor of the knowledge needed for the organisation and administration of the entire life of the country, acquired and firmly secured for itself the right to lordly incomes, the right to a share of plundered wealth, to a share of national profit.

Much as Bakunin had predicted, some of these new rulers were former workers.

In the Bolshevik dictatorship, "advanced" workers ["rabochie "peredoviki"], from revolutionaries expressing the will of the masses turn into state functionaries. . . . They become the usual rulers, commanders, and supervisors, stepping out of the worker mass and joining the lower strata of bourgeois educated society.

These individuals, Machajski claimed, were especially zealous in imposing the new measures of worker discipline. The masses now found themselves ruled by "a new bureaucracy," a "people's [narodnaia]" bureaucracy consisting of "intelligenty and of semi-intelligenty from among the workers," who "previously were revolutionaries but after the October revolution became state officials."
For all his professed disappointment with the Bolshevik regime, however, Machajski did not advocate its overthrow. Despite their failings, the Bolsheviks were preferable to the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and Bolshevik rule was a far better alternative than counter-revolution.Instead, he reiterated his earlier strategy of the workers "dictating the laws of state power," exerting pressure on the government to carry out their economic demands.The end result of this pressure would be, in effect, a second revolution, a real "workers' revolution." First of all, private property must be confiscated, and then the wages of the manual workers must be raised to the same level as the salaries of the intelligentsia. One last time, Machajski limned the Makhaevist utopia, where all would have equal access to education: "Full emancipation of the workers will ensue only with the appearance of a new generation of equally educated people, which will inevitably arise once equal payment for manual and intellectual labour has been won, once the intelligent and the worker possess identical means for the education of their children."
Machajski was not alone in viewing the Bolsheviks as he did. At the time Rabochaia revoliutsiia appeared, a radical critique of Lenin's policies in terms very similar to Machajski's was being voiced by the anarchists, on the one hand, and by the left wing of the Communist party itself, on the other. (In his usual fashion, Machajski dismissed both sources of criticism as lacking in seriousness.) By 1918, anarchist writers were already criticising the Bolsheviks in terms reminiscent of Bakunin's critique of Marxism. One accused the Social Democrats of deeming it necessary to retain the state "so that, in a socialist society, so-called organisers of production can take the place of present-day entrepreneurs. These organisers will not receive profits, but they will be allotted special subsidies by their fellow administrators ."Another cast the rule of the Bolsheviks in more specifically Makhaevist terms, warning of the emergence of a "new class" of rulers from the intelligentsia:

The proletariat is gradually being enserfed by the state. The people are being transformed into servants over whom there has risen a new class of administrators - a new class born mainly from the womb of the so-called intelligentsia. Isn't this merely a new class system looming on the revolutionary horizon? Hasn't there occurred merely a regrouping of classes, a regrouping as in previous revolutions when, after the oppressed had evicted the landlords from power, the emergent middle class was able to direct the revolution toward a new class system in which power fell into its own hands?

Such accusations did not remain confined to the Bolsheviks' political opponents, who were rapidly being stifled in any case. More ominously, they began to surface within the ranks of the Bolsheviks themselves. The Left Communists, who formed the ultra radical wing of the Bolshevik party, originated in opposition to the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk; they advocated revolutionary war against the Germans rather than Lenin's pragmatic peace settlement. They applied their revolutionary fervour to domestic policies as well, criticising particularly what they considered to be the reimposition of bureaucratic hierarchy as the new regime consolidated itself. They were especially vociferous in their opposition to Lenin's policy of state capitalism, warning that it would lead to "bureaucratic centralisation" and "the rule of various commissars."As Stephen Cohen has written in his biography of Nikolai Bukharin, who at the time was one of the leaders of the Left Communists, underlying the controversy were "two enduring fears of idealistic Bolsheviks: the potential emergence of a new ruling class, and the 'bureaucratic degeneration' of the Soviet sys-tem."The start of the civil war and the introduction of war communism soon rendered the issue of state capitalism moot (although some of its features would reappear in the New Economic Policy of 1921), but with the end of the civil war the apprehensions that had fuelled the controversy of 1918 would come to the surface once again.
Machajski himself, however, now left such disputes to others. When it became apparent that the Workers' Conspiracy could not be resurrected, he made his peace with the Bolshevik order. In 1918, he took a job in Moscow as a copy editor for Narodnoe khoziaistvo (National Economy, subsequently renamed Sotsialisticheskoe khozraistvo, Socialist Economy), the journal of the Supreme Council of National Economy.As far as can be determined, he no longer played an active role in the political life of the new Soviet state. Makhaevism itself, however, lingered on, for the anti-intelligentsia sentiment it represented continued to fester within the Russian working class and continued to find articulate expression within the left wing of the Communist party.
At the Tenth Party Congress of March 1921, two ultra-left opposition currents that had crystallised within the Communist party made themselves heard. One was the Workers' Opposition, which advocated a greater role for the trade unions in the management of industry. The other was the Democratic Centralists, who drew their leadership from the ranks of the former Left Communists and urged a greater degree of democratisation within the party. What the two currents had in common was concern over the growing centralisation of power in the hands of the party's top leaders, at the expense of other organisations such as the trade unions and the Soviets, and of the rank-and-file party members. They expressed this concern in their repeated attacks on bureaucratisation" - attacks which included warnings of the rise of a new, non proletarian ruling elite. The Workers' Opposition, for instance, proposed as one measure to combat bureaucratisation a requirement that every party member spend three months annually doing physical labour and sharing the living conditions of the workers.
Though three years had elapsed since Makhaevism had last found expression in print, it had not been forgotten, and the term, which had now become a synonym for hostility to the intelligentsia, figured in the debates of the congress. On the one hand, it was used to stigmatise the opposition forces. In a brief document written at the beginning of March, Lenin called for the congress to condemn "the syndicalist, anarchist, Makhaevist inclination of the Workers' Opposition."Proposals to ensure the authentic proletarian character of party workers led Emel'ian Iaroslavskii, a former Left Communist but now a spokesman for the party leadership, to accuse the Workers' Opposition of "playing at Makhaevism." Makhaevism was also employed by the opposition as a warning to the leadership to mend its ways. Calling for structural reforms within the party, the Democratic Centralists warned that popular discontent had affected even "advanced strata of the proletariat," where, among other disturbing signs, "an intensification of Makhaevist sentiments" could be detected.
Such sentiments soon manifested themselves. The Tenth Party Congress duly condemned the Workers' Opposition and the Democratic Centralists. Left-wing discontent among party stalwarts persisted, however, and generated two small underground groups (the Tenth Congress having banned the organisation of "factions" within the party), the Workers' Group (Rabochaia gruppa) and the Workers' Truth (Rabochaia pravda). In the pronouncements issued by these groups, anti-intelligentsia feelings received even more overt expression than previously, and in terms almost identical to Makhaevism.
The Workers' Group, an outgrowth of the Workers' Opposition, was led by Gavriil Miasnikov, a long-time Bolshevik of genuine proletarian origin: a metalworker from the Urals, he had joined the Bolsheviks in 1906.His group's manifesto, issued in 1923, voiced a crude enmity to middle-class intelligenty in general: the best policy in regard to Kadets, professors, and lawyers, it declared, was to "bash their faces in."More unusual was the extension of this enmity to the Bolsheviks. The manifesto characterised the Soviet government as "a high-handed bunch of intelligenty," "a bureaucratic fraternity which holds the country's wealth and the government in its hands." The right to speak in the proletariat's name had been usurped by "a little handful of intelligenty."It is not surprising that the official Soviet account of the Workers' Group characterised it as a hotbed of Makhaevism.
The Workers' Truth was more intellectual in its origins and appears to have drawn some of its inspiration from the ideas of the former Bolshevik theorist Aleksandr Bogdanov, who had stressed the technical and organisational side of economic power and class differentiation, rather than ownership.The real source of class division and exploitation, the Workers' Truth argued, was not ownership of the means of production but "the contradiction between organisers and organised." In the present period, the bourgeoisie had given way not to the proletariat but to "the technical intelligentsia under state capitalism."According to the manifesto of the Workers' Truth, this technical intelligentsia formed the nucleus of a rising new bourgeoisie. "The working class drags out its miserable existence while a new bourgeoisie (i.e., workers in positions of responsibility, directors of factories, heads of trusts, chairmen of Soviet Executive Committees, etc.) and the NEPmen wallow in luxury and call to our minds the picture of the life of the bourgeoisie of all eras." Only the technical intelligentsia was capable of running industry, but "in its methods of work and its ideology this intelligentsia is bourgeois to the core, and it can build only a capitalist economy. A new bourgeoisie is being created from the fusion of the energetic elements of the old bourgeoisie and the increasingly prominent organising intelligentsia." These technicians, managers, and bureaucrats constituted the new exploiters of the proletariat, and the Communist party had become "the party of the organising intelligentsia."The solution, in addition to a resurgence of proletarian consciousness and proletarian culture, was to end "the contradiction between organisers and organized by making technical knowledge available to the whole proletariat.
The existence of these two groups was brief. Miasnikov, who had previously drawn Lenin's ire, was arrested in May 1923 but was allowed to leave the country for Germany. The Workers' Group continued to operate, but when it began to step up its agitation in connection with a wave of strikes that broke out in Moscow and other cities in August and September 1923, the party authorities grew alarmed and ordered the GPU to suppress it. The Workers' Truth quietly withered away.
The denunciation and repression of the ultra-left critics within the party, however, did not necessarily signify official repudiation of their anti-intelligentsia sentiment. Even while he was denouncing "Makhaevist attitudes" and authorising police measures against those who allegedly propagated them, Lenin was sending out signals of a very different sort in regard to the intelligentsia. Throughout his political career, Lenin displayed the same ambivalence toward the intelligentsia that was shared by so many of its own members; in some respects Lenin manifested this ambivalence more sharply than most, and his attitudes as well as his rhetoric fluctuated violently. In What is to Be Done? he had expressed the conviction that only the intelligentsia could be trusted to carry the socialist revolution to a successful conclusion. On other occasions, however, his hostility and contempt erupted in such phrases as "the intelligentsia scum," "the scoundrelly intellectuals," "that riffraff," which pepper his writings.After 1917, he firmly maintained the position, unpopular with many other Bolsheviks, that Russia's economic development required the continued services of the "bourgeois specialists," and he insisted that they be retained and well paid, at least for the time being. But it was also Lenin who, in a letter to Maxim Gorky in 1919, referred to intelligenty as "lackeys of capital, who fancy themselves the nation's brain. In fact, they are not the brain but the shit."And it was Lenin who, in 1922, formulated the policy that led to the expulsion from Russia of scores of the country's most prominent scholars and men of letters. On May 19 of that year he wrote to Feliks Dzerzhinskii, the head of the GPU, "concerning the exile abroad of writers and professors who are assisting the counter-revolution."On August 31, the front page of Pravda announced the expulsion of "the most active counterrevolutionary elements among the professors, doctors, agronomists, and men of letters."Those expelled included a number of prominent mathematicians, economists, historians, and philosophers; no specific charges were brought against them, and their only crime seems to have been a certain measure of intellectual independence. While Lenin himself would no doubt have been repelled by Stalin's later treatment of the intelligentsia, here, as in many other areas of state and party policy, he set a dangerous precedent for his successors and established few safeguards - legal, institutional, or even moral - to prevent it from being invoked. As Pravda ominously concluded the article that announced the expulsion, it was merely a "first warning" to counterrevolutionary elements of the bourgeois intelligentsia.
At the very least, such currents as the Workers' Group and the Workers' Truth indicate that as stalwart Bolsheviks became increasingly apprehensive over the rise of stifling bureaucratism and a new privileged elite within the party, they began to employ terms and accusations strikingly reminiscent of Makhaevism. Whether they drew specifically on Machajski's ideas cannot be determined. According to Max Nomad, sometime after 1918 "a new edition of the first part of his Intellectual Worker, authorised by the somewhat tolerant censorship office, was seized and destroyed by the secret police as dangerous to the regime,"but Nomad supplies no date as to when this occurred. Intriguingly, at the end of 1922 Machajski wrote to Nomad with an urgent request for a copy of his pamphlet The Bankruptcy of Nineteenth-Century Socialism. So anxious was he to receive it that he asked Nomad to have a typewritten copy made if a printed text could not be found. Regrettably, he did not explain what purpose he intended to make of ~ Certainly, none of the Bolshevik dissidents claimed to have derived any inspiration from Machajski, and, if there was any, it was most probably indirect. It is more likely that they drew on that much larger and long-standing reservoir of anti-intelligentsia feelings and ideas to which Makhaevism contributed and of which it was the most systematic expression.
In any case, Machajski was by now approaching sixty and in poor health, and he professed contentment with the non-political nature of his editorial job. "My work earns me a decent living," one of his letters read. "I am satisfied with its 'neutrality,' for from the very start I have avoided all ideological guidance of the writing, and my editing is purely technical, purely literary (stylistic corrections, etc.)."He died in Moscow on February 19, 1926, just three months after the death of his old friend Stefan Zeromski. Ironically, he ended his days as one of those very "intellectual workers" against whom his entire political thought had been directed.
Machajski's passing received a surprising amount of attention in the Soviet press. Izvestiia's obituary notice, which even included a photograph, consisted of a biographical sketch written by A. Shetlikh, who had been a fellow exile of Machajski's in Viliuisk and, for a time at least, an adherent of his views.Two weeks after Machajski's death, Pravda ran a four-column-wide "obituary" - not of Machajski himself but of Makhaevism.
Written by N. Baturin, it was filled with contradictions but at the same time was quite informative. Baturin began by identifying Makhaevism as one of the varieties of anarchism, original only by virtue of its "particular absurdity and incoherence" - but then proceeded to give a fairly detailed and not inaccurate summary of its doctrines. He lumped Makhaevism together with the Economism of Rahochaia mysl with Zubatovism, and even with the Black Hundreds, claiming that it relied on the most backward, semi-peasant strata of the working class and was confined mainly to such backwaters as Siberia. At the same time, however, as the more honest Social Democrats had conceded in the past, he admitted that even among the workers in industrial centres Makhaevism had "enjoyed great notoriety and sometimes even fleeting success," for it probed at the sore spot of the Social Democrats' underground organisations, the "abnormal relations" between the fiercely conspiratorial intelligenty and the workers.
Machajski was buried in the Novodevichii Cemetery in Mos-cow, his grave topped by a monument that was the work of his associate of many years earlier, the French-born sculptor known as Pontiez. Stark and unadorned, the gravestone bore nothing but the name of the deceased, in Russian - and, at last, rendered correctly: Ian Vatslav Makhaiskii.The brevity of the inscription proved more appropriate than anyone at the time of Machajski's demise could have known. Though Machajski himself was gone, Pravda's report of Makhaevism's death was somewhat exaggerated and its epitaph was yet to be written. Very shortly the last, but by no means the least interesting chapter of the his-tory of Makhaevism began to be played out.