Martov was the leader of the Mensheviks. In first place, Lenin and Martov seemed to like each other, but soon they became distant. Apparently Lenin did use Martov’s friendship to get in touch with big names like Plekhanov.
In the 1914 when the Mensheviks were in favour of the First World War, he became the leader of the Internationalist fraction of the Mensheviks, against that imperialist war.
When the Bolsheviks took power in October 1917, Martov and his movement stayed in the Constituent Assembly until the Bolsheviks abolished it.
In this text Martov describes the soviet system. He starts saying that since has been mystified the soviet system seems the right “form of political organization by which the emancipation of the proletariat can be realised”.
Afterwards, he analyses the dictatorship of the Minority.
“In the last decade of the 19th century, Engels arrived at the conclusion that the epoch of revolutions effected by conscious minorities heading unknowing masses had closed for ever. From then on, he said, revolution would be prepared by long years of political propaganda, organization, education, and would be realized directly and consciously by the interested masses themselves.”
It is clear that Julius Martov as Rosa Luxemburg does not agree with the revolution conducted by a minority.
“all power to the soviet…The slogan is directed, in the first place, against the majority of the working class, against the political tendencies which dominated the masses at the beginning of the revolution. The slogan “all power to the soviets” becomes a pseudonym for the dictatorship of a minority.”
“The mystery of the “soviet regime” is now deciphered. We see now how an organism that is supposedly created by the specific peculiarities of a labour movement corresponding to the highest development of capitalism is revealed to be, at the same time, suitable to the needs of countries knowing neither large capitalist production, nor a powerful bourgeoisie, nor a proletariat that has evolved through the experience of the class struggle.”
In the last Chapter , Metaphysical Materialism and Dialectical Materialism, Martov citing Marx makes his point about whom will make the workers free.
“Quite a good while ago, in his Theses on Feuerbach, Marx observed:
The materialist doctrine that men are the products of conditions and education, different men therefore the products of other conditions and changed education, forgets that circumstances may be altered by men and that the educator has himself to be educated. This doctrine leads inevitably to the ideas of a society composed of two distinct portions, one of which is elevated above society (Robert Owen for example).
Applied to the class struggle of the propertyless, this means the following. Impelled by the same “circumstances” of capitalist society that determine their character as an enslaved class, the workers enter into a struggle against the society that enslaves them. The process of this struggle modifies the social “circumstances.” It modifies the environment in which the working class moves. This way the working class modifies its own character. From a class reflecting passively the mental servitude to which they are subjected, the propertyless become a class which frees itself actively from all enslavement, including that of the mind.”
“The proletarian class considered as a whole – we are using the word in its broadest sense, including intellectual workers whose collaboration in the direction of the State and the administration of the social economy is indispensable till the contrary becomes true – is the only possible builder of the new society, and it must consequently be the only successor to the classes that formerly dominated the functions of government. The propertyless will also find it indispensable to benefit by the active aid, or at least, friendly neutrality of the non-proletarian producers, who are still numerous in the city and countryside. This flows from the nature of the social overturn that is the historic mission of the proletariat. This change must manifest itself in every part of the life of society. The proletariat will be able to take in hand the huge heritage of capitalism, without dilapidating it – it will be able to set in motion the gigantic productive forces of capitalism so that the result is real social equality based on the increase of the general wellbeing – only by giving proof of the maximum of moral energy it can generate. That, we repeat, is an unavoidable condition, which is, in its turn, subordinated to the greatest possible development of organized initiative On the part of all the elements composing the working class. The latter presupposes an atmosphere that is absolutely incompatible with the dictatorship of a minority or with the permanent satellites of such a dictatorship: terror and bureaucracy.”