V. I. Lenin

Notes for an Article or Speech in Defence of the April Theses

April 1917

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 24, pages 32-33.



(1) Economic debacle is imminent. Therefore removal of the bourgeoisie is a mistake.

(This is the conclusion of the bourgeoisie. The more imminent the debacle, the more essential is it that the bourgeoisie be removed.)

(2) Proletariat is unorganised, weak, lacking class-consciousness.

(True. Therefore, the whole task is to fight those petty-bourgeois leaders, the so-called Social-Democrats–Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov—who lull the masses, encourage them to put their trust in the bourgeoisie.

Not unity with these petty bourgeois—Chkheidze, Steklov, Tsereteli—but utter defeat of these Social-Democrats, who are ruining the revolution of the proletariat.)

(3) Revolution is bourgeois at the present stage. Therefore no need for “socialist experiment”.

(This argument is an out-and-out bourgeois argument. No one talks about a “socialist experiment” The concrete Marxist proposition requires that institutions now as well as classes be taken into account.)

Stranglers of the revolution, by honeyed phrases—Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov—are dragging the revolution back, away from the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies towards the undivided sway of the bourgeoisie, towards the usual bourgeois parliamentary republic.

We must ably, carefully, clear people’s minds and lead the proletariat and poor peasantry forward, away from “dual power” towards the full power of the Soviets of   Workers’ Deputies, and this is the commune in Marx’s sense, in the sense of the experience of 1871.

The question is not how fast to move, but where to move.

The question is not whether the workers are prepared, but how and for what they should be prepared.

Since the manifestos and appeals of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies on the war, etc., are sheer petty-bourgeois humbug designed merely to lull the people to sleep, it is our business above all, as I have said, to clear people’s minds, to rid the masses of the bourgeois influence of Chkheidze, Steklov, Tsereteli and Co.

The “revolutionary defencism” of the Soviet of Workers Deputies, i.e., of Chkheidze, Tsereteli and Steklov, is a chauvinist trend a hundred times more harmful for being cloaked in honeyed phrases, an attempt to reconcile the masses with the Provisional Revolutionary Government.

The dull, unenlightened masses duped by Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov and Co. do not realise that the war is a continuation of policy, that wars are waged by governments.

It must be made clear that the “people” can stop the war or change its character only by changing the class character of the government.