On the World Revolution



Collection of quotations

published on occasion of the Centenary of the October Revolution

1917 - 2017

arranged by Wolfgang Eggers



editorial note:

For the first time, in English language, we present a comprehensive collection of Lenin's quotes about the world revolution.

We collected all passages which related directly or indirectly to the world revolution ( Important text-elements set in bold text ).

All the quotes and writings are presented in chronological order (annually ordered from the year 1894 to the year 1923).

Source: all Volumes of the Collected Works of Lenin (English edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow)





1894 - 1916


in preparation


1917 - 1923

date of publication on

Lenin's birthday







written Summer 1894

What the “Friends of the People” Are and How They Fight the Social-Democrats

Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 1, page 299 - 300

The worker cannot fail to see that he is oppressed by capital , that his struggle has to be waged against the bourgeois class . And this struggle, aimed at satisfying his immediate economic needs, at improving his material conditions, inevitably demands that the workers organise, and inevitably becomes a war not against individuals, but against a class, the class which oppresses and crushes the working people not only in the factories, but everywhere. That is why the factory worker is none other than the foremost representative of the entire exploited population. And in order that he may fulfil his function of representative in an organised, sustained struggle it is by no means necessary to enthuse him with „perspectives“; all that is needed is simply to make him understand his position , to make him understand the political and economic structure of the system that oppresses him, and the necessity and inevitability of class antagonisms under this system. This position of the factory worker in the general system of capitalist relations makes him the sole fighter for the emancipation of the working class, for only the higher stage of development of capitalism, large-scale machine industry, creates the material conditions and the social forces necessary for this struggle.

Large-scale capitalism .. inevitably severs all the workers' ties with the old society, with a particular locality and a particular exploiter; it unites them, compells them to think and places them in conditions which enable them to commence an organised struggle. Accordingly, it is on the working class that the Social-Democrats concentrats all their attention and all their activities. When its advanced representatives have mastered the ideas of scientific socialism, the idea of the historical role of the Russian worker, when these ideas become widespread, and when stable organisations are formed among the workers to transform the workers' present sporadic economic war into conscious class-struggle – then the Russian WORKER, rising at the head of all the democratic elements, will overthrow absolutism and lead the RUSSIAN PROLETARIAT ( side by side with the proletariat of ALL COUNTRIES) along the straight road of open political struggle to THE VICTORIOUS COMMUNIST REVOLUTION. ( page 299 – 300) [ highlighted by Lenin himself ]




- written in prison in 1895 – 96 [ first published in 1924 ]

Explanation of the Programme

Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 2, page 108 – 109

A 5. The fight against the domination of the capitalist class is now being waged by the workers of all European countries and also by the workers of America and Australia. Working-class organisation and solidarity is not confined to one country or one nationality: the workers’ parties of different countries proclaim aloud the complete identity (solidarity) of interests and aims of the workers of the whole world. They come together at joint congresses, put forward common demands to the capitalist class of all countries, have   established an international holiday of the entire organised proletariat striving for emancipation (May Day), thus welding the working class of all nationalities and of all countries into one great workers’ army.

The unity of the workers of all countries is a necessity arising out of the fact that the capitalist class, which rules over the workers, does not limit its rule to one country. Commercial ties between the different countries are becoming closer and more extensive; capital constantly passes from one country to another. The banks, those huge depositories that gather capital together and distribute it on loan to capitalists, begin as national institutions and then become international, gather capital from all countries, and distribute it among the capitalists of Europe and America. Enormous joint-stock companies are now being organised to set up capitalist enterprises not in one country, but in several at once; international associations of capitalists make their appearance. Capitalist domination is international. That is why the workers’ struggle in all countries for their emancipation is only successful if the workers fight jointly against international capital. That is why the Russian worker’s comrade in the fight against the capitalist class is the German worker, the Polish worker, and the French worker, just as his enemy is the Russian, the Polish, and the French capitalists. Thus, in the recent period foreign capitalists have been very eagerly transferring their capital to Russia, where they are building branch factories and founding companies for running new enterprises They are flinging themselves greedily on this young country in which the government is more favourable and obsequious to capital than anywhere else, in which they find workers who are less organised and less capable of fighting back than in the West, and in which the workers’ standard of living, and hence their wages, are much lower, so that the foreign capitalists are able to draw enormous profits, on a scale unparalleled in their own countries. International capital has already stretched out its hand to Russia. The Russian workers are stretching out their hands to the international labour movement. ( page 108 – 109). [ highlighted by the Comintern (SH) ]


Written early in November 1900

Preface to the Pamphlet, „May Days in Kharkov“

Published in January 1901 in a pamphlet issued by Iskra. Published according to the text of the pamphlet.

Lenin, Collected Works, Volume 4, page 363

Throughout the year the workers, first in one place and then in another, continuously present a variety of partial demands to their employers and fight for their achievement. In assisting the workers in this struggle, socialists must always explain its connection with the proletarian struggle for emancipation in all countries. And the First of May must be the day on which the workers solemnly declare that they realise this connection and resolutely join in the struggle. ( page 363) [ highlighted by the Comintern (SH) ]


written between the autumn od 1901 and February 1902

What is to be done ? Burning Questions of our Movement

first published as a sperate work in March 1902

Lenin, Volume 5, page 347 – 529

Secondly, the Social-Democratic movement is in its very essence an international movement. This means, not only that we must combat national chauvinism, but that an incipient movement in a young country can be successful only if it makes use of the experiences of other countries. In order to make use of these experiences it is not enough merely to be acquainted with them, or simply to copy out the latest resolutions. What is required is the ability to treat these experiences critically and to test them independently. He who realises how enormously the modern working-class movement has grown and branched out will understand what a reserve of theoretical forces and political (as well as revolutionary) experience is required to carry out this task; ( page 370)

History has now confronted us with an immediate task which is the most revolutionary of all the immediate tasks confronting the proletariat of any country. The fulfilment of this task, the destruction of the most powerful bulwark, not only of European, but (it may now be said) of Asiatic reaction, would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international revolutionary proletariat. And we have the right to count upon acquiring this honourable title, already earned by our predecessors, the revolutionaries of the seventies, if we succeed in inspiring our movement, which is a thousand times broader and deeper, with the same devoted determination and vigour; (page 383)





        July 15, 1903

The national question in our programme

Iskra“ No. 44, July 15, 1903

Works Volume 6, page 452 – 461

As the party of the proletariat, the Social-Democratic Party considers it to be its positive and principal task to further the self-determination of the proletariat in each nationality rather than that of peoples or nations. We must always and unreservedly work for the very closest unity of the proletariat of all nationalities, and it is only in isolated and exceptional cases that we can advance and actively support demands conducive to the establishment of a new class state or to the substitution of a looser federal unity, etc., for the complete political unity of a state. (page 452)

But it is to the interests of this struggle [class-struggle of the proletariat ] that we must subordinate the demand for national self-determination. It is this that makes all the difference between our approach to the national question and the bourgeois-democratic approach. (Seite 454)


written in May 1904

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

published in book-format in May 1904, Geneva

Lenin, Volume 7, page 201 - 423

In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but organisation. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly thrust back to the “lower depths” of utter destitution, savagery, and degeneration, the proletariat can, and inevitably will, become an invincible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of Marxism being reinforced by the material unity of organisation, which welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the senile rule of the Russian autocracy nor the senescent rule of international capital will be able to withstand this army. It will more and more firmly close its ranks, in spite of all zigzags and backward steps, in spite of the opportunist phrase-mongering of the Girondists of present-day Social-Democracy, in spite of the self-satisfied exaltation of the retrograde circle spirit, and in spite of the tinsel and fuss of intellectualist anarchism. (page 412 - 413)



written in 12, April 1904

Lenin, Volume 7, page 197 - 200

Comrade workers!

May Day is coming, the day when the workers of all lands celebrate Their awakening to a class- conscious life, their solidarity in the struggle against all coercion and oppression of man by man, the struggle to free the toiling millions from hunger, poverty, and humiliation. Two worlds stand facing each other in this great struggle: the world of capital and the world of labour, the world of exploitation and slavery and the world of brotherhood and freedom. On one side stand the handful of rich blood-suckers. They have seized the factories and mills, the tools and machinery, have turned millions of acres of land and mountains of money into their private property. They have made the government and the army their servants, faithful watchdogs of the wealth they have amassed.

On the other side stand the millions of the disinherited. They are forced to beg the moneybags for permission to work for them. By their labour they create all wealth; yet all their lives long they have to struggle for a crust of bread, beg for work as for charity, sap their strength and health by back-breaking toil, and starve in hovels in the villages or in the cellars and garrets of the big cities. But now these disinherited toilers have declared war on the moneybags and exploiters. The workers of all lands are fighting to free labour from wage slavery, from poverty and want. They are fighting for a system of society where the wealth created by the common labour will go to benefit, not a handful of rich men, but all those who work. They want to make the land and the factories, mills, and machines   the common property of all toilers. They want to do away with the division into rich and poor, want the fruits of labour to go to the labourers themselves, and all the achievements of the human mind, all improvements in ways of working, to improve the lot of the man who works, and not serve as a means of oppressing him.

The great struggle of labour against capital has cost the workers of all countries immense sacrifices. They have shed rivers of blood in behalf of their right to a better life and real freedom. Those who fight for the workers’ cause are subjected by the governments to untold persecution. But in spite of all persecution the solidarity of the workers of the world is growing and gaining in strength. The workers are uniting more and more closely in socialist parties, the supporters of those parties are mounting into millions and are advancing steadily, step by step, towards complete victory over the class of capitalist exploiters.





January 14, 1905

The Fall of Port Arthur

Vperjod“, No. 2

Lenin, Volume 8, page 47 – 55

This disaster implies a tremendous acceleration of world wide capitalist development, a quickening of history’s pace; and the bourgeoisie knows only too well from bitter experience that this means the acceleration of the social revolution of the proletariat.

Indeed, the European bourgeoisie has cause for alarm. The proletariat has cause for rejoicing. The disaster that has overtaken our mortal enemy not only signifies the approach of freedom in Russia, it also presages a new revolutionary upsurge of the European proletariat. (page 48)

The main objective of the Japanese in this war has been attained. Advancing, progressive Asia has dealt backward and reactionary Europe an irreparable blow. Europe was protecting the established relations and privileges of the old world, its prerogative to exploit the Asian peoples—a prerogative held from time immemorial and sanctified by the usage of centuries. (page 48)

But the military debacle which the autocracy has suffered has deeper implications; it signifies the collapse of our entire political system. The days when wars were fought by mercenaries or by representatives of a caste half-isolated from the people have gone for ever. Wars today are fought by peoples; this now brings out more strikingly than ever a great attribute of war, namely, that it opens the eyes of millions to the disparity between the people and the government, which heretofore was evident only to a small class-conscious minority. (page 50)

Its foolish and criminal colonial adventure has landed the autocracy in an impasse, from which the people can extricate   themselves only by their own efforts and only at the cost of destroying tsarism. (page 50 - 51)

The cause of Russian freedom and of the struggle of the Russian (and the world) proletariat for socialism depends to a very large extent on the military defeats of the autocracy. This cause has been greatly advanced by the military debacle which has struck terror in the hearts of all the European guardians of the existing order. The revolutionary proletariat must carry on a ceaseless agitation against war, always keeping in mind, however, that wars are inevitable as long as class rule exists. (page 53)

But, then, are revolutions made in villages? In modern his tory the big cities long ago became the vehicles of the revolutionary movement. In modern his tory the big cities long ago became the vehicles of the revolutionary movement.

The most sceptical of the sceptics are beginning to believe in the revolution.   General belief in revolution is already the beginning of revolution. The government itself, by its military adventure, is seeing to its continuation. The Russian proletariat will see to it that the serious revolutionary onset is sustained and extended. (page 54 - 55)

Geneva, January 25, 1905

The Beginning of Revolution in Russia

Vperjod“, No. 4, January 31, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 97 - 100

Long live the revolutionary proletariat! say we. The general strike is rousing and rallying increasing masses   of the working class and the urban poor. The arming of the people is becoming an immediate task of the revolutionary moment.

Only an armed people can be the real bulwark of popular liberty.

The immediate arming of the workers and of all citizens in general, the preparation and organisation of the revolutionary forces for overthrowing the government authorities and institutions—this is the practical basis on which revolutionaries of every variety can and must unite to strike the common blow. The proletariat must always pursue its own independent path, never weakening its connection with the Social-Democratic Party, always bearing in mind its great, ultimate objective, which is to rid mankind of all exploitation. But this independence of the Social Democratic proletarian party will never cause us to forget the importance of a common revolutionary onset at the   moment of actual revolution. We Social-Democrats can and must act independently of the bourgeois-democratic revolutionaries and guard the class independence of the proletariat. But we must go hand in hand with them during the up rising, when direct blows are being struck at tsarism, when resistance is offered the troops, when the bastilles of the accursed enemy of the entire Russian people are stormed.

The proletariat of the whole world is now looking eagerly towards the proletariat of Russia. The overthrow of tsarism in Russia, so valiantly begun by our working class, will be the turning-point in the history of all countries; it will facilitate the task of the workers of all nations, in all states, in all parts of the globe. Let, therefore, every Social-Democrat, every class-conscious worker bear in mind the immense tasks of the broad popular struggle that now rest upon his shoulders. Let him not forget that he represents also the needs and interests of the whole peasantry, of all who toil, of all who are exploited, of the whole people against their enemy. The proletarian heroes of St. Petersburg now stand as an example to all.

Long live the revolution! Long live the insurgent proletariat ! (page 99 – 100)

February 21, 1905

Should We Organise the Revolution ?

Vperjod“, No. 7

Lenin, Volume 8, page 167 – 176

To arm the people with a sense of the burning necessity to arm is the constant, common duty of the Social-Democrats always and everywhere, and it can be applied equally to Japan as it can to England, to Germany as it can to Italy [ … and today applied in a world scale, in particular – remark of the Comintern (SH) ]. Wherever there are oppressed classes struggling against exploitation, the doctrine of the socialists, from the very start, and in the first place, arms them with a sense of the burning necessity to arm, and this necessity” is present when the labour movement begins. Social-Democracy has only to make this burning necessity a conscious one, to bring home to those who are conscious of it the need for organisation and planned action, the need for considering the whole political situation. (page 172)

April 5, 1905

European Capital And The Autocracy

Vperjod“, No. 13, April 5, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 267 - 273

thirdly, the formidable growth of the revolutionary movement in Russia has inspired the European bourgeoisie with a mortal dread of an explosion that might set all Europe ablaze. (page 267)

The proletariat struggles against war and will always struggle against it unremittingly, without, how ever, forgetting for a moment that war can be abolished only with the complete abolition of society’s division into classes; (Seite 268)

The Times writes:

Her national balance-sheet leaves her every year deeper in debt. Her liabilities to the foreigner are more than her people can bear, and she has practically nothing to show for them. Her gold reserve is a colossal Humbert safe, the vaunted millions of which are unconsciously lent by her dupes for their own further deception.” How artful! To pick a dupe, borrow money from him, then show him this very money as evidence of your wealth, in order to wheedle further loans from him! (page 270)

We are witnessing what is virtually a speculative gamble of the international bourgeoisie to save Russia from revolution and tsarism from utter ruin. The speculators are putting pressure on the tsar by refusing to grant loans. They are making use of their power, the power of the money-bag. They want a moderate and tidy bourgeois-constitutional (or pseudo-constitutional) regime in Russia. The rapid march of events unites them ever more closely into a single counter revolutionary bourgeois alliance, regardless of differences of nationality French financiers and English business magnates, German capitalists, and Russian merchants.

There is only one force that can stand up to the international alliance of the moderate conservative bourgeoisie, and that is the international alliance of the revolutionary proletariat. With respect to political solidarity, this alliance is already fully formed. As for the practical side and the revolutionary initiative, everything depends on Russia’s working class and the success of its joint democratic action for the decisive struggle in conjunction with the millions of the urban and rural poor. (page 273 )

April 12, 1905

The Revolutionary-Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the PeasantryVperjod“, No. 14, April 12, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 293 – 303

More will be accomplished in months of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry than in decades of the peaceful, stupefying atmosphere of political stagnation. If, after the Ninth of January, the Russian working class, under conditions of political slavery, was able to mobilise over a million proletarians for staunch, disciplined, collective action, then, given the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship, we will mobilise scores of millions of the urban and rural poor, and we will make the Russian political revolution the prelude to the socialist revolution in Europe. (page 303).

April 16, 1905

Resolution on the armed uprising (7)

The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P

first published in 1931, in Lenin-Collection-Volume XVI.

Lenin, Volume 8, page 373 – 374

1. Whereas the proletariat being, by virtue of its position, the foremost and only consistently revolutionary class, is therefore called upon to play the leading role in the general democratic revolutionary movement in Russia;

2. Whereas this movement at the present time has already led to the necessity of an armed uprising;

3. Whereas the proletariat will inevitably take the most energetic part in this uprising, which participation will decide the destiny of the revolution in Russia;

4. Whereas the proletariat can play the leading role in this revolution only if it is united, in a single and independent political force under the banner of the Social-Democratic Labour Party, which directs its struggle both ideologically and practically; and

5. Whereas only’ the performance of this role will ensure to the proletariat the most advantageous conditions for the struggle for socialism against the propertied classes of bourgeois-democratic Russia;—

Therefore, the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. holds that the task of organising the proletariat for direct struggle against the autocracy by means of the armed uprising is one of the major and most urgent tasks of the Party at the present revolutionary moment.

Accordingly, the Congress instructs all Party organisations:

a) to explain to the proletariat by means of propaganda and agitation, not only the political significance, but the practical organisational aspect of the impending armed up rising.

b) to explain in that propaganda and agitation the role of mass political strikes, which may be of great importance at the beginning and during the progress of the uprising, and

c) to take the most energetic steps towards arming the proletariat, as well as drawing up a plan of the armed up rising and of direct leadership thereof, for which purpose special groups of Party workers should be formed as and when necessary.

Mai 27, 1905

Report on the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour PartyProletary“, No. 1

Lenin, Volume 8, page 433 – 439

The more stubbornly the tsarist government resists the people’s strivings towards freedom, the more powerful will be the force of the revolutionary onset and the more likely the complete victory of democracy, headed by the working class. The conduct of a victorious revolution and the defence of its conquests lay tremendous tasks on the shoulders of the proletariat. But the proletariat will not flinch at these great tasks. It will contemptuously brush aside all who predict that its victory will bring it misfortune. The Russian proletariat will be able to do its duty to the very end. It will be capable of taking the lead of the people’s insurrection.

Our victory in the   coming democratic revolution will be a giant stride forward towards our socialist goal; we shall deliver all Europe from the oppressive yoke of a reactionary military power and help our brothers, the class-conscious workers of the whole world who have suffered so much under the bourgeois reaction and who are taking heart now at the sight of the successes of the revolution in Russia, to advance to socialism more quickly, boldly, and decisively. With the help of the socialist proletariat of Europe, we shall be able, not only to defend the democratic republic, but to advance with giant strides towards socialism.

Forward, then, comrades workers, to the organised, concerted, and staunch struggle for freedom!

Long live the revolution!

Long live international revolutionary Social-Democracy !

June 1905

On the provisional revolutionary government

Proletary“, N0. 2 - June 3 and 9, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 461 – 481

The government’s only dependable troops were the gendarmes, and these were scattered all over the country. The thing was, above all, to prevent these gendarmes from being drawn together, which could be done only by a bold assumption of the offensive in the open field. Such a course of action would not have involved much danger, since the government could only put up against the volunteers equally undisciplined troops. For anyone bent on winning there was no other way.” (Engels)

That is how a founder of scientific socialism reasoned when faced with the problems of an uprising and direct action in the epoch of a revolutionary upheaval! Although the uprising was begun by the petty-bourgeois republicans and although confronting the proletariat was neither the question of the socialist revolution nor that of elementary political freedom, Engels set very great store on the highly active participation of the workers in the struggle for the republic; he demanded of the proletariat’s leaders that they should subordinate their entire activity to the need for   achieving victory in the struggle, which had begun. Engels himself, as a leader of the proletariat, even went into the details of military organisation; he was not averse to using the old-fashioned methods of struggle by military revolts when victory demanded it; he attached paramount importance to offensive action and the centralisation of the revolutionary forces. He bitterly reproved the Bakuninists for having made a principle of what in the German Peasant War and in the German uprisings of May 1849 was an unavoidable evil, namely, the state of disunion and isolation of the revolutionary forces, which enabled the same government troops to put down one uprising after another." Engels’ views on the conduct of the uprising, on the organisation of the revolution, and on the utilisation of the revolutionary governmental power are as far removed from the tail-ist views of the new Iskra as heaven is from earth.

Summarising the lessons of the Spanish revolution, Engels established in the first place that “the Bakuninists, as soon as they were confronted with a serious revolutionary situation, were compelled to give up their whole former programme”.

By their inability to lead the uprising, by splitting the revolutionary forces instead of centralising them, by leaving the leadership of the revolution to the bourgeois, and by dissolving the solid and strong organisation of the International, “the Bakuninists in Spain gave us an unsurpassable example of how not to make a revolution”. ( page 479 - 481)

June 1905


Proletary“ No. 3 - June 9, 1905.

Lenin, Volume 8, Seite 482 – 485

The naval battle in the Korea Strait has captured the attention of the political press the world over. (page 482) Russia’s naval strength has been completely destroyed.(page 483)

With every new blow struck by the Japanese, the significance of this collapse, as the collapse of the entire political system of tsarism, grows clearer both to Europe and to the whole Russian people. (…) the fears of an inevitable financial collapse and a protracted economic crisis as a result of the war, and the dread of a formidable people’s revolution (page 483)

The European bourgeoisie, that most faithful prop of the tsarist government, is also beginning to lose patience. It is disturbed over the fate of the thousands of millions which it has so generously lent to the autocracy. It is seriously perturbed by the revolution in Russia, which is unduly exciting the European proletariat and may lead to a revolutionary conflagration on a world scale. (page 484)

written in the end of May 1905

To the Jewish workers

first published in 1905 as a preface to the pamphlet: Report on the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., issued in Yiddish.

Lenin, Volume 8, page 495 – 498

The conditions under which the class-conscious proletariat of the whole world lives tend to create the closest bonds and increasing unity in the systematic Social-Democratic struggle of the workers of the various nationalities. The great slogan Workers of all countries, unite !”, which was proclaimed for the first time more than half a century ago, has now become more than the slogan of just the Social-Democratic parties of the different countries. This slogan is being increasingly embodied both in the unification of the tactics of international Social-Democracy and in the building of organisational unity among the proletarians of the various nationalities who are struggling under the yoke of one and the same despotic state for freedom and socialism. (page 495)

The First Congress of our Party, held in the spring of 1898, set itself the aim of establishing such unity. To dispel any idea of its being national in character, the Party called itself Rossiiskaya” and not Russkaya”. (The adjective Russkaya (Russian) pertains to nationality, Rossiiskaya (Russian) pertains to Russia as a country.—Ed.) (page 496)

Juni 23, 1905

Revolutionaries“ in Kid-Gloves

Proletary“, N0. 5 - Juni 26, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 526 – 530

The West-European bourgeoisie did fight in earnest at first; at times it was even republican,its leaders were “sentenced”—sentenced for treason, i.e., not only for revolutionary connections, but for actual revolutionary deeds. (page 527)

First the European bourgeois fought on the barricades for the republic, then they lived in exile, and they ended up by turning traitors to the cause of liberty, betraying the revolution, and taking service with the constitutional monarchs. The Russian bourgeois want to “learn from history” and “reduce the stages of development”: they want to betray the revolution straight away, to turn traitor to liberty straight away. (page 528)

Juliy 3, 1905

The Struggle of the Proletariat and the Servility of the Bourgeoisie

Proletary“, No. 6 - July 3, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 537 – 543

The armed uprising is gaining in breadth and intensity. (page 537)

But united, these outbreaks can converge into a mighty torrent of revolutionary flame, which no power on earth will be able to   withstand.

(page 538)

These sporadic outbreaks and skirmishes are giving the people a lesson in revolution, and our job is never to lag behind the exigencies of the moment, but to be able always to point to the next, higher stage of the struggle, deriving experience and instruction from the past and from the present, and urging the workers and peasants on and on more boldly and more broadly to the complete victory of the people, to the complete destruction of the autocratic gang that is now fighting with the desperation of the doomed. (page 539)

Even now some think that because the democratic revolution is bourgeois by its social and economic nature, the proletariat should not aspire to enact the leading role in the revolution, to take the most energetic part in it, or to put forward such advanced slogans as the overthrow of the tsarist regime and the establishment of a provisional revolutionary government. Events are teaching even these politically backward people. Events are bearing out the militant conclusions that follow from the revolutionary theory of Marxism. The bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution does not mean that this revolution can benefit only the bourgeoisie. On the contrary, it is advantageous most of all, and necessary most of all, to the proletariat and the peasantry. Events are making it increasingly clear that only the proletariat is capable of waging a determined struggle for complete liberty, for the republic, in contradistinction to the unreliability and instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat can become the leader of the entire people and win over the peasantry, which can expect nothing from the autocracy except oppression and violence, and nothing from the bourgeois friends of the people except betrayal and treachery. Because of its class position in modern society, the proletariat can understand, sooner than any other class, that, in the final analysis, great historic issues are decided only by force, that freedom cannot be achieved without tremendous sacrifices, that the armed resistance of   tsarism must be broken and crushed by force of arms. (page 539)

What great perspectives such a victory would open before the European proletariat, which for so many years has been artificially held back from the pursuit of happiness by the reactionary militarists and landlords! The victory of the democratic revolution in Russia will be the signal for the beginning of the socialist revolution, for a new victory of   our brothers, the class-conscious proletarians of all countries. (page 541).

written after June 12, 1905

Open Letter to the Editorial Board of the „Leipziger Volkszeitung“First published in 1931 – Lenin-volume's collection XVI.

Lenin, Volume 8, page 531 – 533

Kautsky tries to make out that all the resolutions of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. are “attacks by Lenin and his friends against Plekhanov and his friends”. (page 532)

A word of warning to all the German Social-Democrats: Comrades! If you really consider the R.S.D.L.P. to be a fraternal party, do not believe a word of what the so-called impartial Germans tell you about our split. Insist on seeing   the documents, the authentic documents. And do not forget that prejudice is further from the truth than ignorance. (page 533)

June 21, 1905

To the International Socialist BureauFirst published in „Le Peuple“ [ French Newspaper ], No. 33, February 2, 1924

Lenin, Volume 8, page 555 - 556

Dear Citizens,

The editors of Proletary received a telegram today from Berlin. A comrade asks us to inform the International Socialist Bureau that, according to a private telegram to the Berliner Tageblatt, the Russian Government has requested the powers to dispatch their ships stationed at Constantinople to Odessa to help restore order in that city.

It is quite possible that the Russian Government, no longer trusting its own naval forces, will try to make the warships of European states fight against the Russian revolution under the pretext of defending the foreign residents of Odessa.

Thus, there is a great danger that the European peoples may be forced to play the part of executioners of Russian freedom. Therefore we request you, dear citizens, to consider this question and seek the means of preventing such an eventuality. Perhaps it would be advisable to publish in the name of the International Socialist Bureau an appeal to the workers of all countries. The appeal should emphasise that what is taking place in Russia is not mob rioting, but a revolution, a struggle for freedom, that this struggle has as its object the convocation of a Constituent Assembly, which is demanded by all progressive parties, in the first place by the Social-Democratic Labour Party of Russia. Perhaps such an appeal, translated into all languages, printed in the socialist press of the entire world and distributed by every means at our disposal, will be able to influence public opinion and frustrate the designs of the Russian Government—designs that would be fatal to freedom.

We hope that you will let us know your opinion on this matter. Accept, dear citizens, our fraternal greetings.

On behalf of the Central Committee of the S.D.L.P. of Russia

N. Lenin (Vl. Ulyanov)

July 10, 1905

The Revolutionary Army and the Revolutionary Government

Proletary“ No. 7 – July 10, 1905

Lenin, Volume 8, page 560 – 568

The tremendous significance of the recent events in Odessa lies precisely in the fact that, for the first time, an important unit of the armed force of tsarism—a battle ship—has openly gone over to the side of the revolution. (page 561)

Meanwhile, the armoured cruiser Potemkin remains an unconquered territory of the revolution, and what ever its fate may be, the undoubted fact and the point of highest significance is that here we have the attempt to form the nucleus of a revolutionary army. (page 562)

Outbreaks— demonstrations—street fighting—units of a revolutionary army—such are the stages in the development of the popular uprising. Now at last we have reached the final stage. This does not mean, of course, that the movement in its entirety has advanced to this new and higher stage. No, there is still a good deal of backwardness in the movement; in the Odessa events there are unmistakable signs of old-time rioting. But it does mean that the advance waves of the elemental flood have already reached the very threshold of the absolutist “stronghold”. It does mean that the advanced representatives of the popular masses have themselves arrived, not as a result of theoretical reasoning, but under the impact of the growing movement, at new and higher tasks of the struggle, the final struggle against the enemy of the Russian people. The autocracy has done everything to prepare this struggle. For years it has provoked the people to an armed struggle with its troops, and now it is reaping what it sowed. The units of the revolutionary army are springing up out of the army itself.

The task of these units is to proclaim the insurrection, to give the masses military leadership, as essential in civil war as in any other war; to create strong points for the open   mass struggle; to spread the uprising to neighbouring districts; to establish complete political freedom, if only at first in a small part of the country; to embark on the revolutionary transformation of the decayed absolutist system; and to give full scope to the revolutionary creative activity of the masses, who participate but little in this activity in time of peace, but who come to the forefront in revolutionary epochs. Only by clearly understanding these new tasks, only by posing them boldly and broadly, can the units of the revolutionary army win complete victory and become the strong points of a revolutionary government. And a revolutionary government is as vitally essential at the present stage of the popular uprising as a revolutionary army. The revolutionary army is needed for military struggle and for military leadership of the masses against the remnants of the military forces of the autocracy. The revolutionary army is needed because great historical issues can be re solved only by force, and, in modern struggle, the organisation of force means military organisation. Besides the remnants of the autocracy’s military forces there are the military forces of the neighbouring states for whose support the tottering Russian Government is already begging. (page 563)

Immediate political leadership of the insurgent people is no less essential for the complete victory of the people over tsarism than the military leadership of its forces. (page 564).

To take the military aspect. No Social-Democrat at all familiar with history, who has studied Engels, the great expert on this subject, has ever doubted the tremendous importance of military knowledge, of military technique, and of military organisation as an instrument which the masses of the people, and classes of the people, use in resolving great historical conflicts. Social-Democracy never stooped to playing at military conspiracies; it never gave prominence to military questions until the actual conditions of civil war had arisen. But now all Social-Democrats have advanced the military questions, if not to the first place, at least to one of the first places, and they are putting great stress on studying these questions and bringing them to the knowledge of the masses. The revolutionary army must apply the military knowledge and the military means on the practical plane for the determination of the further destiny of the Russian people, for the determination of the most vital and pressing question—the question of freedom. (page 565)

The revolutionary army and the revolutionary government are two sides of the same medal. They are two institutions equally necessary for the success of the uprising and for the consolidation of its results. They are two slogans which must be advanced and explained as· the only consistent revolutionary slogans. There are many people today who call themselves democrats; however, many are called, but few are chosen. There are many spokesmen of the “Constitutional-Democratic Party”; but in so-called “society”, in the would-be democratic Zemstvos, there are few true democrats, men who are sincerely in favour of the complete sovereignty of the people and are capable of waging a life-and-death struggle against the enemies of that sovereignty, the defenders of the tsarist autocracy. (page 568)

June – July, 1905

Two tactics od Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution

first published as a pamphlet in Geneva, July 1905

Lenin, Volume 9, page 15 – 140

In a revolutionary period it is very difficult to keep abreast of events, which provide an astonishing amount of new material for an evaluation of the tactical slogans of revolutionary parties.

Revolution undoubtedly teaches with a rapidity and thoroughness which appear incredible in peaceful periods of political development. And, what is particularly important, it teaches not only the leaders, but the masses as well. (page 17, preface)

It is exceptionally important at the present time for Social-Democracy to have correct tactical slogans for leading the masses. There is nothing more dangerous in a revolutionary period than belittling the importance of tactical slogans that are sound in principle.

The working out of correct tactical decisions is of immense importance for a party which, in the spirit of the sound principles of Marxism, desires to lead the proletariat and not merely to drag at the tail of events. (page 19)

By the Party’s tactics we mean the Party’s political conduct, or the character, the direction and methods of its political activity. Tactical resolutions are adopted by Party congresses in order precisely to define the political conduct of the Party as a whole with regard to new tasks, or in view of a new political situation. (page 22)

Only the most ignorant people can ignore the bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution which is now taking place; only the most naive optimists can forget how little as yet the masses of the workers are informed about the aims of Socialism and about the methods of achieving it. And we are all convinced that the emancipation of the workers can be effected only by the workers themselves; a socialist revolution is out of the question unless the masses become class conscious and organised, trained and educated in open class struggle against the entire bourgeoisie. (page 29)

In the final analysis, force alone settles the great problems of political liberty and the class struggle, and it is our business to prepare and organise this force and to employ it actively, not only for defence, but also for attack. The long reign of political reaction in Europe, which has lasted almost uninterruptedly since the days of the ParisCommune, has too greatly accustomed us to the idea that action can proceed only “from below,” has too greatly inured us to seeing only defensive struggles. We have now, undoubtedly, entered a new era: a period of political upheavals and revolutions has begun. In a period such as Russia is passing through at the present time, it is impermissible to confine ourselves to old, stereotyped formulae. We must propagate the idea of action from above, we must prepare for the most energetic, offensive action, and must study the conditions for and forms of such actions. (page 30)

Marxism teaches the proletarian not to keep aloof from the bourgeois revolution, not to be indifferent to it, not to allow the leadership of the revolution to be assumed by the bourgeoisie but, on the contrary, to take a most energetic part in it, to fight most resolutely for consistent proletarian democracy, for carrying the revolution to its conclusion. We cannot jump out of the bourgeois-democratic boundaries of the Russian revolution, but we can vastly extend these boundaries, and within these boundaries we can and must fight for the interests of the proletariat, for its immediate needs and for the conditions that will make it possible to prepare its forces for the future complete victory. (page 52)

Nothing will raise the revolutionary energy of the world proletariat so much, nothing will shorten the path leading to its complete victory to such an extent, as this decisive victory of the revolution that has now started in Russia.

We do not for a moment forget the immense difficulties of this task, but since we are out to fight we must desire victory and be able to point out the right road to it. Revolution unites quickly and enlightens quickly. Every step in its development rouses the masses and attracts them with irresistible force to the side of the revolutionary program, as the only program that fully and consistently expresses their real and vital interests. (page 57)

According to a law of mechanics, every action produces an equal reaction. In history also the destructive force of a revolution is to a considerable degree dependent on how strong and protracted the suppression of the striving for liberty had been, and how profound the contradiction between the antediluvian “superstructure” and the living forces of the present epoch. The international political situation, too, is in many respects shaping itself in a way most advantageous for the Russian revolution. The insurrection of the workers and peasants has already commenced; it is sporadic, spontaneous, weak, but it unquestionably and undoubtedly proves the existence of forces capable of waging a decisive struggle and marching towards a decisive victory. (page 57).

The liberal bourgeoisie everywhere and always has recourse to the method of assuring its adherents in a given country that the Social-Democrats of that country are the most unreasonable, whereas their comrades in a neighbouring country are “good boys.” The German bourgeoisie has held up those “good boys” of French Socialists as models for the Bebels and the Kautskys hundreds of times. The French bourgeoisie quite recently pointed to the “good boy” Bebel as a model for the French Socialists. It is an old trick. The complete unanimity of international revolutionary Social-Democracy on all major questions of program and tactics is a most incontrovertible fact. (page 66)

The supplying of arms to the workers demands strict secrecy. (page 68)

What you must discuss, if you want to be a partisan of the revolution is whether insurrection is necessary for the victory of the revolution, whether it is necessary to proclaim it vigorously, to advocate and make immediate and energetic preparations for it.

Just as the bourgeois windbags in the Frankfurt Parliament of 1848 engaged in drawing up resolutions, declarations and decisions, in “mass propaganda” and in preparing the “social-psychological conditions” at a time when it was a matter of repelling the armed force of the government, when the movement “led to the necessity” for an armed struggle, when verbal persuasion alone (which is a hundredfold necessary during the preparatory period) became banal, bourgeois inactivity and cowardiceso also Mr. Struve evades the question of insurrection, screening himself behind phrases. Mr. Struve vividly shows us what many Social-Democrats stubbornly fail to see, namely, that a revolutionary period differs from ordinary, everyday preparatory periods in history in that the temper, excitement and convictions of the masses must and do reveal themselves in action. (page 69)

Vulgar revolutionism fails to see that the word is also a deed; this proposition is indisputable when applied to history generally, or to those periods of history when no open political mass actions take place, and when they can not be replaced or artificially evoked by putsches of any sort. Khvostist revolutionaries fail to understand that—when a revolutionary period has started, when the old “superstructure” has cracked from top to bottom, when open political action on the part of the classes and masses who are creating a new superstructure for themselves has become a fact, when civil war has begun—then, to confine oneself to “words” as of old, and fail to advance the direct slogan to pass to “deeds,” still to try avoid deeds by pleading the need for “psychological conditions” and “propaganda” in general, is apathy, lifelessness, pedantry, or else betrayal of the revolution and treachery to it. (page 70)

A victory of the proletariat in Europe (it is still somewhat of a far cry between carrying the revolution into Europe and the victory of the proletariat) will give rise to a desperate counter-revolutionary struggle on the part of the Russian bourgeoisieyet the resolution of the new-Iskraists does not say a word about this counter-revolutionary force, the importance of which has been appraised in the resolution of the Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. If in our fight for a republic and democracy we could not rely upon the peasantry as well as on the proletariat, the prospect of our “holding power” would be hopeless. But if it is not hopeless, if a “decisive victory of the revolution over tsarism” opens up such a possibility, then we must point to it, we must actively call for its transformation into reality and issue practical slogans not only for the contingency of the revolution being carried into Europe, but also for the purpose of carrying it there. The reference made by the khvostist Social-Democrats to the “limited historical scope of the Russian revolution” merely serves to cover up their limited understanding of the aims of this democratic revolution and of the leading role of the proletariat in this revolution! (page 84)

A Social-Democrat must never for a moment forget that the proletariat will inevitably have to wage the class struggle for Socialism even against the most democratic and republican bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. This is beyond doubt. Hence the absolute necessity of a separate, independent, strictly class party of Social-Democracy. Hence the temporary nature of our tactics of “striking jointly” with the bourgeoisie and the duty of keeping a strict watch “over our ally, as over an enemy,” etc. All this is also beyond the slightest doubt. But it would be ridiculous and reactionary to deduce from this that we must forget, ignore or neglect these tasks which, although transient and temporary, are vital at the present time. The fight against the autocracy is a temporary and transient task of the Socialists, but to ignore or neglect this task in any way would be tantamount to betraying Socialism and rendering a service to reaction. The revolutionary-Democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry is unquestionably only a transient, temporary aim of the Socialists, but to ignore this aim in the period of a democratic revolution would be downright reactionary. (page 85)

Concrete political aims must be set in concrete circumstances. All things are relative, all things flow and all things change. (page 86)

There is no such thing as abstract truth. Truth is always concrete. (page 86)

(Note) … the correctness of Marx’s theory of the difference between the three main forces in the revolutions of the nineteenth century. According to this theory, the following forces take a stand against the old order, against the autocracy, feudalism, serfdom: 1) the liberal big bourgeoisie, 2) the radical petty bourgeoisie, 3) the proletariat. The first fights for nothing more than a constitutional monarchy; the second, for a democratic republic; the third, for a socialist revolution. To confuse the petty-bourgeois struggle for a complete democratic revolution with the proletarian struggle for a socialist revolution spells political bankruptcy for a Socialist. Marx’s warning to this effect is quite justified. But it is precisely for this very reason that the slogan “revolutionary communes” is erroneous, because the very mistake committed by the communes that have existed in history is that they confused the democratic revolution with the socialist revolution. On the other hand, our slogan—a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry—fully safeguards us against this mistake. While recognising the uncontestably bourgeois nature of the revolution, which is incapable of directly overstepping the bounds a mere democratic revolution, our slogan pushes forward this particular revolution and strives to mould it into forms most advantageous to the proletariat; consequently, it strives to make the very most of the democratic revolution in order to attain the greatest success in the further struggle of the proletariat for Socialism. (page 87)

It must not be forgotten that the point at issue is not the difficulties this problem presents, but the road along which we must seek and attain its solution. The point is not whether it is easy or difficult to make the sweep of the revolution mighty and invincible, but how we must act in order to make this sweep more powerful. (page 100)

The fact is that not only is no excessive zeal displayed among us with regard to the tasks of insurrection, to the general political slogans and to the matter of leading the entire popular revolution, but, on the contrary, it is backwardness in this very respect that stands out most strikingly, constitutes our weakest spot and a real danger to the movement, which may degenerate, and in some places is degenerating, from one that is revolutionary in deeds into one that is revolutionary in words. (page 105)

The proletariat expects to find its salvation not by avoiding the class struggle but by developing it, by widening it, increasing its consciousness, its organisation and determination. Whoever degrades the tasks of the political struggle transforms the Social-Democrat from a tribune of the people into a trade union secretary. Whoever degrades the proletarian tasks in a democratic bourgeois revolution transforms the Social-Democrat from a leader of the people’s revolution into a leader of a free labour union.

Yes, the people’s revolution. Social-Democracy has fought, and is quite rightly fighting against the bourgeois-democratic abuse of the word “people.” It demands that this word shall not be used to cover up failure to understand the class antagonisms within the people. It insists categorically on the need for complete class independence for the party of the proletariat. But it divides the “people” into “classes,” not in order that the advanced class may become shut up within itself, confine itself to narrow aims and emasculate its activity for fear that the economic rulers of the world will recoil, but in order that the advanced class, which does not suffer from the halfheartedness, vacillation and indecision of the intermediate classes, may with all the greater energy and enthusiasm fight for the cause of the whole of the people, at the head of the whole of the people. (page 111 - 112)

Revolutions are the locomotives of history, said Marx [ In Class Struggles in France ]. Revolutions are the festivals of the oppressed and the exploited. At no other time are the masses of the people in a position to come forward so actively as creators of a new social order as at a time of revolution. At such times the people are capable of performing miracles, if judged by the narrow, philistine scale of gradual progress. But the leaders of the revolutionary parties must also make their aims more comprehensive and bold at such a time, so that their slogans shall always be in advance of the revolutionary initiative of the masses, serve as a beacon, reveal to them our democratic and socialist ideal in all its magnitude and splendour and show them the shortest and most direct route to complete, absolute and decisive victory. (page 113)

The revolution in our country is one involving the whole people, Social-Democracy says to the proletariat. Therefore, you, as the most progressive and the only thoroughly revolutionary class, must strive not only to take the most active part, but also the leading, part in it. Therefore, you must not confine yourselves to narrowly conceived limits of the class struggle, meaning mainly the trade union movement, but, on the contrary, you must strive to widen the limits and the content of your class struggle to include not only all the aims of the present, democratic, Russian revolution of the whole of the people, but the aims of the subsequent socialist revolution as well. Therefore, while not ignoring the trade union movement, while not refusing to take advantage of even the slightest legal possibilities, you must, in a revolutionary period, put in the forefront the tasks of armed insurrection and the formation of a revolutionary army and a revolutionary government as being the only way to the complete victory of the people over tsarism, to the winning of a democratic republic and real political liberty. (page 121 122)

What is revolution from the Marxist point of view? The violent break-up of the obsolete political superstructure, the contradiction between which and the new relations of production caused its collapse at a certain moment. (page 128)

The contradiction ... has now caused its collapse, all the more severe owing to the lengthy period in which this contradiction was artificially sustained. The superstructure is cracking at every joint, it is yielding to pressure, it is growing weaker. The people, through the representatives of the most diverse classes and groups, must now, by its own efforts, build a new superstructure for itself. At a certain stage of development the uselessness of the old superstructure becomes obvious to all. The revolution is recognised by all. The task now is to define which classes must build the new superstructure, and how they are to build it. If this is not defined, the slogan revolution is empty and meaningless at the present time … (page 128)

Major questions in the life of nations are settled only by force. The reactionary classes themselves are usually the first to resort to violence, to civil war; they are the first to “place the bayonet on the agenda,” as the Russian autocracy has been doing systematically and undeviatingly everywhere ever since January 9. And since such a situation has arisen, since the bayonet has really become the main point on the political agenda, since insurrection has proved to be imperative and urgent—constitutional illusions and school exercises in parliamentarism become only a screen for the bourgeois betrayal of the revolution, a screen to conceal the fact that the bourgeoisie is “recoiling” from the revolution. It is therefore the slogan of dictatorship that the genuinely revolutionary class must advance. (page 132)

1) The incompleted German revolution differs from the completed French revolution in that the German bourgeoisie betrayed not only democracy in general, but also the peasantry in particular. 2) The foundation for the full consummation of a democratic revolution is the creation of a free class of peasants. 3) The creation of such a class means the abolition of feudal burdens, the destruction of feudalism, but does not yet mean a socialist revolution. 4) The peasants are the “most natural” allies of the bourgeoisie, that is to say, of the democratic bourgeoisie, which without them is “powerless” against the reaction. (page 135)

Written in August 1905

The Working Class and Revolution

First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany V.

Lenin, Volume 9, Seite 207 – 208

1. The democratic and the socialist revolution.

2. The bourgeois nature of the democratic revolution. (“Bourgeois and socialist revolution.”)

3. The tasks of Social-Democracy as an independent class party of the proletariat.

4. The role of the peasantry in the democratic revolution.

5. Insurrection and the revolutionary army.

6. The revolutionary government. Its tasks.

7. The revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.

1. α) The aims of the working class. β)   Social-Democracy.   Our programme. γ)The   maximum   and δ) the   minimum   programme. {A description of it (compare 6 points )}

ε) The democratic and the socialist revolution.

2.   The bourgeois and the socialist revolution.   Why is the democratic revolution bourgeois in nature? α) Commodity and capitalist production. β) The economic essence. γ) The Constitutional-Democratic Party, its programme, and its class essence.   A class party.   Zemstvo congresses. Unions of intellectuals. The legal press.

b) Bourgeois advice to the proletariat: the trade union struggle, etc.

3. Conclusions from the above.   An independent class party.   Organisation—trade union and Party, agitational, and military. Marxism: “a doctrine”.

4. The peasantry’s special interests. Remnants of serf-ownership. Why is the role of the peasantry in the democratic revolution of particular importance? The   "general redistribution” and its significance. The peasants are the workers’ natural allies. The peasantry’s petty-bourgeois nature.

5. The uprising. Moral and material force.
Arming of the people.  
Military   organisation (military problems, etc.). The revolutionary army. (Example: Nizhni-Novgorod and Ekaterinoslav) ((bombs, arms)).

6. The revolutionary government, the   organ   of uprising. The significance of a revolutionary government and revolutionary   power.   Participation in a revolutionary government. The programme of a revolutionary government: 6   points. Get Europe moving.

7. What is dictatorship? Dictatorship of a   class   and dictatorship of an individual. Democratic dictatorship. Classes.

September 5, 1905

In the Wake of the Monarchist Bourgeoisie, or In the Van of the Revolutionary Proletariat and Peasantry?Proletary, No. 15, September 5, 1905

Lenin, Volume 9, page 212 - 223

It is utterly absurd to identify the organisation of revolutionary self-government with the organisation of a people’s uprising. An uprising is civil war, and war requires an army, whereas self-government does not in itself require an army. There are countries with a system of self-government, but without an army. And revolutionary self-government does not require a revolutionary army where a revolution takes place in the Norwegian fashion: the king was “sacked” and a plebiscite held. But when the people are oppressed by a despotic government which relies on an army and starts civil war, then to identify revolutionary self-government with a revolutionary army, to advocate the former and to maintain silence about the latter, is almost indecent and signifies either betrayal of the revolution or the utmost stupidity. (page 220)

September 14 , 1905

Social-Democracy’s Attitude Towards the Peasant MovementProletary, No. 16, September 14 (1), 1905.

Lenin, Volume 9, page 230 - 239

From   the democratic revolution we shall at once, and precisely in accordance with the measure of our strength, the strength of the class-conscious and organised proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half-way. (page 237')

September 26, 1905

From the Defensive to the OffensiveProletary, No. 15, (13)

Lenin, Volume 9, page 283 – 285

Fortunately, the time has passed when revolution was “made” by individual revolutionary terrorists, because the people were not revolutionary. The bomb has ceased to be the weapon of the solitary “bomb thrower”, and is becoming an essential weapon of the people. (page 284)

Written in September 1905

The Jena Congress of the German Social-Democratic Workers’ PartyFirst published in 1924 in the magazine Pod Znamenem Marxizma (Under the Banner of Marxism)

Lenin, Band 9, Seite 290 - 294

Congresses of the German Social-Democrats have long become events whose importance goes far beyond the con fines of the German labour movement. The German Social-Democratic movement ranks first in respect of organisation, integrality and coherence, and the extent and rich content of its Marxist literature. It is natural that under such circumstances resolutions of the German Social-Democratic congresses also frequently acquire almost international significance. Such was the case with the question of the latest opportunist tendencies in socialism (Bernsteinism). The decision of the Dresden Social-Democratic Congress, which confirmed the old and tested tactics of revolutionary Social-Democracy, was adopted by the Amsterdam International Socialist Congress, and has now become the common decision of the whole class-conscious proletariat throughout the world. Such is now the case too. The question of a mass political strike—the main question at the Jena Congress—is agitating the entire international Social-Democratic movement. It has been brought to the fore lately by events in a number of countries, including Russia, and even perhaps Russia in particular. The German Social-Democrats’ decision will undoubtedly exercise considerable influence on the entire international labour movement by giving support and strength to the revolutionary spirit of militant workers. (page 290)

Bebel fully recognised the danger of narrow trade-unionism. He went on to say that he knew even worse examples of this craft union apathy: young trade union leaders go so far as to jeer at the Party in general, at socialism in general, at the theory of the class struggle. These statements of Bebel’s evoked general indignation at the Social-Democratic Congress.   There was loud applause when he resolutely declared: “Comrades, be on your guard, think of what you are doing; you are travelling a fatal path, which in the end will lead to your doom.” (page 293)

It thus stands to the credit of the German Social-Democratic movement that it faced the danger squarely. It did not gloss over the extremes of Economism, or invent lame excuses and subterfuges (such as were so abundantly invented by our Plekhanov, for instance, after the Second Congress). No, it bluntly named the disease, resolutely condemned the injurious tendencies, and straightforwardly and openly called on all Party members to combat them. This is instructive to Russian Social-Democrats, some of whom have earned the praise of Mr. Struve for having begun to “see the light” on the question of the trade union movement. (page 294)

October 16, 1905

To the Combat Committee of the St. Petersburg Committee

First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany V.

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 344 - 346

If it cannot muster a hundred or two of groups in seething times like these, then it is indeed remote from real life.

The propagandists must supply each group with brief and simple recipes for making bombs, give them an elementary explanation of the type of the work, and then leave it all to them. Squads must at once begin military training by launching operations immediately, at once. Some may at once undertake to kill a spy or blow up a police station, others to raid a bank to confiscate funds for the insurrection, others again may drill or prepare plans of localities, etc. But the essential thing is to begin at once to learn from actual practice: have no fear of these trial attacks. They may, of course, degenerate into extremes, but that is an evil of the morrow, whereas the evil today is our inertness, our doctrinaire spirit, our learned immobility, and our senile fear of initiative. Let every group learn, if it is only by beating up policemen: a score or so victims will be more than compensated for by the fact that this will train hundreds of experienced fighters, who tomorrow will be leading hundreds of thousands. (page 346)

October 17, 1905

The Political Strike and the Street Fighting in Moscow

Proletary, No. 21, October 17 (4), 1905.

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 347- 355

The entire course of the Russian revolution during the last few months shows that the stage now reached is not, and cannot be, the peak stage. The movement is still on the upgrade, as it has been ever since January 9. It was then that for the first time we saw a movement that amazed the world with the unanimity and solidarity of the huge masses of workers who had risen to advance political demands. This movement was still quite devoid of revolutionary consciousness, and helpless as regards arms and military preparedness. Poland and the Caucasus have provided an example of struggle on a higher plane; there the proletariat has partly begun to fight with weapons, and hostilities have assumed a protracted form. The Odessa uprising was marked by a new and important factor needed for victory—part of the forces went over to the side of the people. It is true that this did not bring immediate success; the difficult task of “co-ordinating   operations of land and sea forces” (a most difficult task even for a regular army) had not yet been accomplished. (page 353 - 354)

The military force of   the revolutionary people (and not the people in general), consisting of 1) the armed proletariat and peasantry, 2) organised advance detachments of representatives of these classes, and 3) sections of the army that are prepared to come over to the side of the people. It is all this taken together that constitutes a revolutionary army. To talk of an uprising, of its force, of a natural transition to it, and to say nothing of a revolutionary army is folly and muddle headednessand the greater the degree of the counter revolutionary army’s mobilisation, the more that is so. (page 367)

"Insurrection” is an important word. A call to insurrection is an extremely serious call. The more complex the social system, the better the organisation of state power, and the more perfected the military machine, the more   impermissible is it to launch such a slogan without due thought. And we have stated repeatedly that the revolutionary Social-Democrats have long been preparing to launch it, but have launched it as a direct call only when there could be no doubt whatever of the gravity, widespread and deep roots of the revolutionary movement, no doubt of matters having literally come to a head. Important words must be used with circumspection. Enormous difficulties have to be faced in translating them into important deeds. It is precisely for that reason that it would be unpardonable to dismiss these difficulties with a mere phrase, to use Manilovist inventions to brush aside serious tasks or to put on one’s eyes the blinkers of sweet dreams of so-called “natural transitions” to these difficult tasks.

A revolutionary army are also important words. The creation of a revolutionary army is an arduous, complex, and lengthy process. But when we see that it has already begun and is proceeding on all sides—though desultorily and by fits and starts—when we know that a genuine victory of the revolution is impossible without such an army, we must issue a definite and direct slogan, advocate it, make it the touchstone of the current political tasks. It would be a mistake to think that the revolutionary classes are invariably strong enough to effect a revolution whenever such a revolution has fully matured by virtue of the conditions of social and economic development. No, human society is not constituted so rationally or so “conveniently” for progressive elements. A revolution may be ripe, and yet the forces of its creators may prove insufficient to carry it out, in which case society decays, and this process of decay sometimes drags on for very many years. (page 367 - 368)

The slogan of insurrection is a slogan for deciding the issue by material force, which in present-day European civilisation can only be military force. This slogan should not be put forward until the general prerequisites for revolution have matured, until the masses have definitely shown that they have been roused and are ready to act, until the external circumstances have led to an open crisis. But once such a slogan has been issued, it would be an arrant disgrace to retreat from it, back to moral force again, to one of the conditions that prepare the ground for an uprising, to a “possible transition”, etc., etc. No, once the die is cast, all subterfuges must be done with; it must be explained directly and openly to the masses what the practical conditions for a successful revolution are at the present time. (page 369)

October 24 , 1905

The Lessons of the Moscow Events

Proletary, No. 22, October 24 (11), 1905.

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 376 - 387

Indeed the government’s tactics have now become quite clear. They indubitably lie in manoeuvring and retreating under cover of rearguard action. Such tactics are quite correct from the standpoint of the autocracy’s interests. It would be a grievous error and a fatal illusion for revolutionists to forget that the government can still continue to retreat for a very long time to come, without losing what is most essential. (page 379)

Written on October 17, 1905

An Equilibrium of Forces

First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany V

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 414 – 415

The revolution has reached a stage at which it is disadvantageous for the counter-revolution to attack, to assume the offensive.

For us, for the proletariat, for consistent revolutionary democrats, this is not enough. If we do not rise to a higher level, if we do not manage to launch an independent offensive, if we do not smash the forces of tsarism, do not destroy its actual power, then the revolution will stop half way, then the bourgeoisie will fool the workers. (page 414)

Written in late October 1905

Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents

First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany V .

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 420 - 424

The   uprising will inevitably take place under circumstances in which the unorganised elements will outnumber the organised thousands of times over; there will inevitably be cases when it will be necessary to take immediate action, right then and there, in twos or even singly—and one must be prepared to act on ones s own initiative, and at one’s own risk. All delays, disputes, procrastination and indecision spell ruin to the cause of the uprising. Supreme determination, maximum energy, immediate utilisation of each suitable moment, immediate stimulation of the revolutionary ardour of the mass and the direction of this ardour to more vigorous and the most determined action—such is the prime duty of a revolutionary. (page 423 - 424)

Geneva, November 1, 1905

The First Victory of the Revolution

Proletary, No. 24, November 7 , 1905

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 427- 434

We have every reason to be jubilant. The concession made by the tsar is indeed a great victory for the revolution, but this victory is still a long way from deciding the fate of the entire cause of liberty. (pageSeite 427)

The Enemy declined a pitched battle. He retreated, abandoning the battlefield to the revolutionary people—retreat ed to new positions, which he considers better fortified, and where he hopes to rally more reliable forces, weld them together and infuse a new spirit into them, and choose a better moment for an offensive. (page 429).

The revolutionary proletariat has succeeded in neutralising   the army, after paralysing it in the great days of the general strike. It must now work to bring the army completely over to the side of the people.

The revolutionary proletariat has brought about the first great victory of the urban revolution. It must now broaden and deepen the foundations of the revolution by extending it to the countryside.

The success of the revolution depends on the size of the proletarian and peasant masses that will rise in its defence and for its consummation. Revolutionary war differs from other wars in that it draws its main reserves from the camp of its enemy’s erstwhile allies. (page 433)

And further, the Russian revolution has another reserve. Gone are the times when nations and states could live isolated from one another. Look—Europe is already stirring. Its bourgeoisie is disconcerted and prepared to give millions   and billions to stop the conflagration in Russia. The rulers of the militarist European powers are contemplating military assistance for the tsar. Kaiser Wilhelm has already dispatched several cruisers and destroyers to establish direct links between the German militarists and Peterhof. European counter-revolution is holding out a hand to Russian counter-revolution.

Just you try, citizen Hohenzollern! We too have a European reserve of the Russian revolution. This reserve is the international socialist proletariat, the international revolutionary Social-Democratic movement. The workers of the whole world are hailing the victory of the Russian workers with enthusiasm and, conscious of the close links between the various contingents of the international army of socialism, are themselves preparing for the great and decisive struggle.

You are not alone, workers and peasants of all Russia! If you succeed in overthrowing, crushing and destroying the tyrants of feudal, police-ridden, landlord and tsarist Russia, your victory will serve as a signal for a world struggle against the tyranny of capital, a struggle for the complete, economic as well as political emancipation of the toilers, a struggle for the deliverance of humanity from destitution, and for the realisation of socialism. (page 533 - 434)

Geneva, November 15, 1905

Between Two Battles

Proletary, No. 26, November 25 (12), 1905

Lenin, Volume 9, pages 457- 466

Civil war naturally differs from other kinds of warfare in that the forms of the fighting are far more varied, the strength and the composition of the combatants on both sides are harder to estimate and fluctuate far more, and attempts to conclude peace, or at least an armistice do not originate in those engaged in the fighting, and are most fantastically interwoven with the pattern of military operations. (page 457)

Only in the measure in which the rising is victorious and in which victory leads to the decisive destruction of the enemy—only in that measure will an assembly of the people’s representatives be a popular one not only on paper, and constituent not only in name. (page 463)

Guided by Social-Democracy, the proletariat has every where begun forming that revolutionary army. Its ranks should be joined by all who do not wish to be in the army of the Black Hundreds. Civil war knows no neutrals. Those who stand aside in it are thereby rendering support, by being passive, to the jubilant Black Hundreds. The armed forces, too, are dividing into a Red army and a Black army. Only a fortnight ago we wrote of the speed with which they are being drawn into the struggle for freedom. The example of Kronstadt was ample proof of this. The government of the scoundrel Witte may have put down the Kronstadt mutiny; it is now shooting down hundreds of sailors who have again raised the red flagbut that flag will fly much higher, for it is the flag of all working people and all the exploited the world over. Let the servile press, like Novoye Vremya, bawl about the troops being neutral; this foul and hypocritical lie will vanish like smoke at every misdeed of the Black Hundreds. The troops cannot be, have never been, and will never be neutral. Today, they are rapidly splitting up into troops that stand for freedom, and troops that stand for the Black Hundreds. We shall accelerate the process. We shall brand all those who are Irresolute and vacillating, all those who balk at the Idea of the immediate formation of a people’s militia (according to the latest reports in the foreign press, the Municipal Council of Moscow has rejected plans for the creation of a people’s militia). We shall multiply our agitation among the masses, and our organisational activities to set up revolutionary detachments. Then the army of the conscious proletariat will merge with the Red detachments of the Russian fighting forcesand then we shall see whether the police’s Black Hundreds will be able to vanquish all the new, young and free Russia! (page 465)

Written on November 2 - 4, 1905

Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies - A Letter to the Editor

First published on November 5, 1940, in Pravda, No. 308.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 17- 28

There are not, and cannot be, any neutrals in a civil war. The white-flag party is sheer cowardly hypocrisy. Whoever shies away from the struggle bolsters up Black-Hundred rule. Who is not for the revolution is against the revolution. Who is not a revolutionary is one of the Black Hundreds. (page 27)

Written on November 15, 1905

The Armed Forces and the Revolution

Published in Novaya Zhizn, No. 14, November 16, 1905.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 54 - 57.

Everywhere, in all countries, the standing army is used not so much against the external enemy as against the internal enemy. Everywhere the standing army has become the weapon of reaction, the servant of capital in its struggle against labour, the executioner of the people’s liberty. Let us not, therefore, stop short at mere partial demands in our great liberating revolution. Let us tear the evil up by the roots. Let us do away with the standing army altogether. Let the army merge with the armed people, let the soldiers bring to the people their military knowledge, let the barracks disappear to be replaced by free military schools. No power on earth will dare to encroach upon free Russia, if the bulwark of her liberty is an armed people which has destroyed the military caste, which has made all soldiers citizens and all citizens capable of bearing arms, soldiers.

The experience of Western Europe has shown how utterly reactionary the standing army is. Military science has   proved that a people’s militia is quite practicable, that it can rise to the military tasks presented by a war both of defence and of attack. Let the hypocritical or the sentimental bourgeoisie dream of disarmament. So long as there are oppressed and exploited people in the world, we must strive, not for disarmament, but for the arming of the whole people. It alone will fully safeguard liberty. It alone will completely overthrow reaction. Only when this change has been effected will the millions of toilers, and not a mere handful of exploiters, enjoy real liberty. (page 56)

November 18, 1905

Learn From the Enemy

Published: Novaya Zhizn, No. 16, November 18, 1905.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 60 - 61

Learn from your enemies, comrade workers, who sympathise with the formation of a non-partisan workers’ organisation, or are at least indifferent to this desire! Call to mind the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels, which speaks of the transformation of the proletariat into a class in keeping with the growth not only of its unity, but also of its political consciousness. Remember the example of such countries as England, where the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie has been going on every where and at all times, in spite of which the proletariat has remained disunited, its elected representatives have been   bought up by the bourgeoisie, its class-consciousness has been corrupted by the ideologists of capital, its strength has been dissipated through the desertion of the masses of the workers by the labour aristocracy. Think of all this, comrade workers, and you will come to the conclusion that only a Social-Democratic proletariat is a proletariat conscious of its class tasks. Down with non-partisanship! Non-partisanship has always and everywhere been a weapon and slogan of the bourgeoisie. Under certain conditions, we can and must march together with proletarians who are not class-conscious, with proletarians who accept non-proletarian doctrines (the programme of the “Socialist-Revolutionaries”). But under no circumstances and at no time must we relax our strict Party approach, under no circumstances and at no time must we forget, or allow others to forget, that hostility to Social-Democracy within the ranks of the proletariat is a relic of bourgeois views among the proletariat. (page 61)

Written on November 24,1905

Socialism and Anarchism

Published in Novaya Zhizn, No. 21, November 25, 1905.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 71 - 74

In explaining its decision, the Executive Committee refers to the practice of international socialist congresses. We warmly welcome this statement, this recognition by the executive body of the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers’ Deputies of the ideological leadership of the international Social-Democratic movement. The Russian revolution has already acquired international significance. The enemies of the revolution in Russia are already conspiring with Wilhelm II and with all sorts of reactionaries, tyrants, militarists and exploiters in Europe against free Russia. Neither shall we forget that the complete victory of our revolution demands an alliance of the revolutionary proletariat of Russia with the socialist workers of all countries.

It is not for nothing that international socialist congresses adopted the decision not to admit the anarchists. A wide gulf separates socialism from anarchism, and it is in vain that the agents-provocateurs of the secret police and the news paper lackeys of reactionary governments pretend that this gulf does not exist. The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and their individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism. Their views express, not the future of bourgeois society, which is striding with irresistible force towards the socialisation of labour, but the present and even the past of that society, the domination of blind chance over the scattered and isolated small, producer. Their tactics, which amount to a repudiation of the political struggle, disunite the proletarians and convert them in fact into passive participators in one bourgeois policy or another, since it is impossible and unrealisable for the workers really to dissociate themselves from politics. (page 73)

Written late in 1905 or early in 1906

The Stages, the Trend, and the Prospects of the Revolution

First published in 1926 in Lenin Miscellany V.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 89 - 92

6. On the basis of the relations established during the fifth period, a new crisis and a new struggle develop and blaze forth, with the proletariat now fighting to preserve its democratic gains for the sake of a socialist revolution. This struggle would have been almost hopeless for the Russian proletariat alone and its defeat would have been as inevitable as the defeat of the German revolutionary party in 1849-50, or of the French proletariat in 1871, had the European socialist proletariat not come to the assistance of the Russian proletariat.

Thus, at this stage, the liberal bourgeoisie and the well-to-do peasantry (plus partly the middle peasantry) organise counter-revolution. The Russian proletariat plus the European proletariat organise revolution.

In such conditions the Russian proletariat can win a second victory. The cause is no longer hopeless. The second victory will be the socialist revolution in Europe.

The European workers will show us “how to do it”, and then together with them we shall bring about the socialist revolution. (page 91 - 92)


Written on March 28, 1906

The Victory of the Cadets and the Tasks of the Workers’ Party

Published in pamphlet form in April 1906 by Nasha Mysl Publishers.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 199 - 276

Just as the West-European philistine on the eve of socialist revolution yearns for an abatement of the class antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, pleads with the latter not to push the representatives of the bourgeoisie into the camp of reaction, declares in favour of social peace, and with profound moral indignation rejects the unscientific, narrow-minded, conspiratorial, anarchist, and   so forth, idea of a cataclysm, so the Russian philistine, half way on the road towards our bourgeois-democratic revolution, yearns for an abatement of the antagonism between the autocracy and people’s freedom, pleads with the revolutionaries, that is, with all resolute and consistent support ers of the people’s freedom, not to push the liberal bourgeoisie into the camp of reaction, advocates the constitutional path, and with sincere indignation, reinforced with philosophical idealism, rejects the unscientific, narrow-minded, conspiratorial, anarchist, and so forth, idea of insurrection. The class-conscious worker says to the West-European philistine:

The question of a cataclysm will be decided by the intensification of extremes and not by the intermediary elements.” To the Russian philistine (and the Cadet is the ideal philistine in politics) the class-conscious worker says: “The question of insurrection depends, not on the will of the liberals, but on the actions of the autocracy and the growth of the class-consciousness and the indignation of the revolutionary peasantry and the proletariat. The West-European philistines say to the proletariat: “Don’t repel the small peasants and the enlightened, social-liberal, reforming petty bourgeoisie generally; don’t isolate yourselves; it is the reactionaries who want to isolate you.” To this the proletarian replies: “I must, in the interests of the whole of toiling humanity, isolate my self from those who advocate compromise between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, for these compromisers are advising me to disarm; they are exercising the most harmful, immediately and practically harmful influence on the minds of the oppressed class by preaching compromise, abatement of antagonisms, etc. But I do not isolate myself from that vast mass of the petty bourgeoisie, the working masses, who are capable of adopting the point of view of the proletariat, of not yearning for compromise, of not being carried away by the consolidation of petty economy in capitalist society, and of not renouncing the struggle against the capitalist system itself.” (page 267 - 268)

Written on April 25-26, 1906

An Appeal to the Party by Delegates to the Unity Congress Who Belonged to the Former “Bolshevik” Group

Published in leaflet form - offprint

Lenin, Volume 10, page 310 - 316

In a revolutionary epoch like the present, all theoretical errors and tactical deviations of the Party are most ruthlessly criticised by experience itself, which enlightens and educates the working class with unprecedented rapidity. At such a time, the duty of every Social-Democrat is to strive to ensure that the ideological struggle within the Party on questions   of theory and tactics is conducted as openly, widely and freely as possible, but that on no account does it disturb or hamper the unity of revolutionary action of the Social-Democratic proletariat. (page 310)

If the proletariat of the whole of Russia closes its ranks, if it succeeds in rousing all the genuinely revolutionary sections of the people, all those who want to fight and not to strike a bargain, if it trains itself well for the struggle and selects the proper moment for the final battle for freedom, it will be victorious. Then the tsar’s cynical playing at a constitution will fail; then the bourgeoisie will not succeed in striking   a bargain with the autocracy; then the Russian revolution will not turn out to be as incomplete, half-hearted, and three-fourths fruitless for the interests of the working class and the peasants, as were the revolutions of the nineteenth century in Western Europe. Then it will really be a great revolution, a complete victory of the people’s uprising will free bourgeois Russia of all the old fetters, and will perhaps open the epoch of socialist revolution in the West. (page 311 - 312)

Written early in May 1906

Report on the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers (III - The Agrarian Question)

Published in pamphlet form in June 1906 by Vperyod Publishers, Moscow

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 317- 382

If the former, then my answer is: the only   complete guarantee against restoration in Russia (after a victorious revolution in Russia) is a socialist revolution in the West. There is and can be no other guarantee. Thus, from this aspect, the question is: how can the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia facilitate, or accelerate, the socialist revolution in the West? The only conceivable answer to this is: if the miserable Manifesto of October 17 gave a powerful impetus to the working-class movement in Europe, then the complete victory of the bourgeois revolution in Russia will almost inevitably (or at all events, in all probability) arouse a number of such political upheavals in Europe as will give a very powerful impetus to the socialist revolution. (page 334 - 335)

The position of the Russian revolution may be ex pressed in the following thesis: the Russian revolution is strong enough to achieve victory by its own efforts; but it is not strong enough to retain the fruits of victory. It can achieve victory because the proletariat jointly with the revolutionary peasantry can constitute an invincible force. But it cannot retain its victory, because in a country where small   production is vastly developed, the small commodity producers (including the peasants) will inevitably turn against the proletarians when they pass from freedom to socialism. To be able to retain its victory, to be able to prevent restoration, the Russian revolution will need non-Russian reserves, will need outside assistance. Are there such reserves? Yes, there are: the socialist proletariat in the West. (page 334 – 335)

Written on May 19, 1906

The Land Question and the Fight for Freedom

Published in Volna, No. 22

Lenin, Volum 10, pages 436 - 439

Petty-bourgeois socialism expresses the dream of the small proprietor of how to abolish the distinction between rich and poor. Petty-bourgeois socialism assumes that it is possible for all to become “equalised” proprietors, neither poor nor rich; and so the petty-bourgeois socialists draft Bills providing for universal and equalised land tenure. But in reality, poverty and want cannot be abolished in the way the small proprietor wants to do it. Equalised use of the land is impossible so long as the rule of money, the rule of capital, exists. No laws on earth can abolish inequality and exploitation so long as production for the market continues, and so long as there is the rule of money and the power of capital. Exploitation can be completely abolished only when all the land, factories and tools are transferred to the working class, and when large-scale socialised and planned production is organised. That is why proletarian socialism (Marxism) shows that all the hopes of petty-bourgeois social ism of the possibility of “equalised” small-scale production, or even of the possibility of preserving small-scale production at all under capitalism, are groundless. (page 438)

May 26, 1906

How Comrade Plekhanov Argues About Social-Democratic Tactics

Vperyod, No. 1, May 26, 1906.

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 460 - 480

The mistake Comrade Plekhanov makes is, first, that he substitutes an abstract consideration for a concrete historical question. And secondly, his views on bourgeois democracy in Russia are totally unhistorical. He forgets that the position of the different strata of these bourgeois democrats changes as the revolution advances. The higher the revolution rises, the faster do the least revolutionary strata of the bourgeoisie desert it. Those who do not understand this cannot explain any thing at all in the course of the bourgeois revolution. ( page 467 )

Treachery” is not “an abusive term”; it is the only scientifically and politically correct term with which to express the actual facts about, and the actual aspirations of, the bourgeoisie. The word “treachery” expresses the same idea as the phrase “striking a bargain”. ( page 473 )

Written on June 1, 1906

Don’t Gaze Up, Gaze Down!”

Published: Vperyod, No. 7, June 2, 1906

Lenin, Volume 10, pages 505 - 507

Our revolution is the great Russian revolution precisely because it has roused vast masses of the people to participation in making history. Class contradictions among these masses are still far from having revealed themselves in full measure. Political parties are only just taking shape. Therefore it is not within our power either to direct the masses or restrain them to any great extent. But we can, after studying the actual situation and the relations between classes, foresee the inevitable trend of their historic activities, the main forms of their movement. We must spread our socialist knowledge among the masses as widely as possible, undaunted by the fact that truth is often very bitter, and not easily discernible beneath the tinsel of fashionable political labels or gaudy political institutions: and not allowing ourselves to be enchanted by beautiful fiction. We shall do our duty if we do everything to enlighten the masses and prepare them for forms of the movement which, though imperceptible to the superficial observer, nevertheless, inexorably follow from the whole economic and political situation in the country. We shall fail in our duty if we only gaze “up”, and miss what is going on, growing, approaching and impending below.

June 14, 1906

The Fight for Power and the “Fight” for Sops

Vperyod, No. 17,

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 27- 31

It is common knowledge that already in its programme the Social-Democratic Party expressed the unshakable conviction that really to satisfy the urgent needs of the mass of the people all power must be in the hands of the people. If the mass of the people do not have the entire state power in their hands, if any organ of power not elected by the people, not liable to dismissal, and not entirely dependent on the people, is allowed to remain, it will be impossible really to satisfy the urgent and universally admitted needs of the people. (page 27)

The proletariat’s struggle for political freedom is revolutionary, because its object is to secure complete democracy. The bourgeoisie’s struggle for freedom is opportunist, be cause its object is to obtain sops, to divide power between the autocracy and the propertied classes.

This fundamental difference between the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the opportunist struggle of the bourgeoisie can be traced through the whole history of our revolution. The proletariat is fighting, the bourgeoisie is stealing its way into power. The proletariat is shattering the autocracy by its struggle; the bourgeoisie clutches at the sops thrown to it by the enfeebled autocracy. Before the whole people the proletariat holds on high the standard of struggle; the bourgeoisie raises the flag of minor concessions, deals and haggling.

The proletariat takes advantage of every breach, every weakening of the regime, every concession and sop in order to wage a more extensive, more determined, more intense and more mass struggle; the bourgeoisie uses them to cause the struggle gradually to calm down, weaken and die out, to curtail its aims and moderate its forms. (page 28)

The proletariat is fighting, and will continue to fight, to destroy the old regime. Towards this end it will direct all its propaganda and agitation, and all its efforts to organise and mobilise the masses. If it fails to destroy the old regime completely, it will take advantage even of its partial destruction. But it will never advocate partial destruction, depict this in rosy colours, or call upon the people to sup port it. Real support in a genuine struggle is given to those   who strive for the maximum (achieving something less in the event of failure) and not to those who opportunistically curtail the aims of the struggle before the fight. (page 30 - 31)

June 22, 1906

The Declaration of Our Group in the Duma

Published: Ekho, No. 1

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 32 - 37

Our Party is one of the contingents of the international army of the Social-Democratic proletariat. All over the world, the organised proletariat that is conscious of its class interests has risen for the struggle. It is fighting to throw off the yoke of capital. It is striving to secure the complete emancipation of all toilers from the yoke of tyranny, poverty, oppression and unemployment. Its object is to attain the socialist system of society, which will abolish all division of the people into exploiters and exploited. . And by its united and steadfast struggle the international socialist proletariat will achieve its goal. (page 33)

June 24, 1906

Who Is for Alliances With the Cadets?

Published: Ekho, No. 3

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 53 - 59

In essence, opportunism means sacrificing the long-term and permanent interests of the proletariat for flashy and temporary interests. (page 54) We are carrying out the policy of the proletariat as the vanguard fighter in the revolution and not as an appendage of the most timid and pitiful upper ranks of the liberal bourgeoisie (page 59).

June 28, 1906

Once Again About the Duma Cabinet

Published: Ekho, No. 6

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 69 - 73

What is the main flaw in all these opportunist arguments? It is that in fact they substitute the bourgeois theory   of “united”, “social” progress for the socialist theory of the class struggle as the only real driving force of history. According to the theory of socialism, i.e., of Marxism (non Marxist socialism is not worth serious discussion nowadays), the real driving force of history is the revolutionary class struggle; reforms are a subsidiary product of this struggle, subsidiary because they express unsuccessful attempts to weaken, to blunt this struggle, etc. According to the theory of bourgeois philosophers, the driving force of progress is the unity of all elements in society who realise the “imperfections” of certain of its institutions. The first theory is materialist; the second is idealist. The first is revolutionary; the second is reformist. The first serves as the basis for the tactics of the proletariat in modern capitalist countries. The second serves as the basis of the tactics of the bourgeoisie. (page 70 - 71)

We pursue an independent policy and put forward only such reforms as are undoubtedly favourable to the interests of the revolutionary struggle, that undoubtedly enhance the independence, class-consciousness and fighting efficiency of the proletariat. Only by such tactics can reforms from above, which are always half-hearted, always hypocritical, and always conceal some bourgeois or police snare, be made innocuous.

More than that. Only by such tactics can real progress be achieved in the matter of important reforms. This may sound paradoxical, but its truth is confirmed by the whole history of the international Social-Democratic movement. Reformist tactics are the least likely to secure real reforms. The most effective way to secure real reforms is to pursue the tactics of the revolutionary class struggle. Actually, reforms are won as a result of the revolutionary class struggle, as a result of its independence, mass force and steadfastness. (page 71 - 72)

July 1, 1906

The Bourgeoisie’s Censures and the Proletariat’s Call for Action

Published: Ekho, No. 9

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 83 - 84

The difference in the interests of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat: The bourgeoisie wants to extinguish the revolution. The proletariat wants to arm the revolution. The bourgeoisie is longing to impeach the bureaucrats. The proletariat is appealing to the justice of the people (“these criminals and their protectors will not elude the justice of the people”—as is stated in the motion of our Social-Democratic Group in the Duma). The bourgeoisie is appealing only to the Ministers, appealing to them to yield. The proletariat is appealing to the people, calling them to arm and resist. (page 84)

July 4, 1906

Organisation of the Masses and Choice of the Moment for Struggle

Published: Ekho, No. 11

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 90 - 93

The Soviet was called into being by the requirements of the direct mass struggle, and as an organ of that struggle.

Forming Soviets means forming organs of the direct mass struggle of the proletariat. These cannot-be formed at any time; whereas trade unions and political parties are always and absolutely necessary. They can and should be formed under all circumstances. (page 91)

It is certainly useful to urge on the rearguard that did not succeed in coming to the assistance of the vanguard in the previous battle; and there is nothing risky in that. But it is very risky to urge on the vanguard which did not get the assistance of the rearguard in the previous battle; and we must think very carefully before doing so. (page 92)

(Lenin, Volume 11, page 126) It is especially necessary for us to explain in our work of agitation the need for a sober view of things, the need for a military organisation alongside the organisation of soviets, for defending the latter, for carrying out an uprising, without which the soviets or any elected representatives of the masses will remain power less. Jetzt müssen wir in unserer Agitation ganz besonders klar stellen, dass es notwendig ist, die Dinge nüchtern zu betrachten, dass es notwendig ist, neben der Organisation der Sowjets eine militärische Organisation zu ihrer Verteidigung, zur Durchführung jenes Aufstands zu schaffen, ohne den alle Sowjets und alle gewählten Vertrauensmänner der Massen ohnmächtig sein werden.

(Lenin, Volume 11, page 127) Thus: organisation of Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, of Peasants’ Committees and of similar bodies everywhere, together with the most widespread propaganda and agitation   for the necessity of a simultaneous uprising, for the immediate preparation of forces for this, and for organising volunteer squads of druzhinniki” on a mass scale.

(Lenin, Volume 11, page 130 - 131) The possibility of simultaneous action all over Russia is increasing. The probability of all partial uprisings merging into one is increasing. The inevitability of a political strike and of an uprising as a fight for power is felt as never before by large sections of the population.

What we have to do is to develop the widest possible agitation in favour of an all-Russian uprising, to explain its political and organisational tasks, to exert every effort to make everyone realise that it is inevitable, to make all the people see the possibility of a general onslaught so that they undertake not a “riot” or a “demonstration”, not mere strikes and wrecking of property, but a fight for power, a fight with the aim of overthrowing the government.

The whole situation favours the fulfilment of this task. The proletariat is preparing to put itself at the head of the   struggle. A responsible and difficult, but a great and thankful task confronts the revolutionary Social-Democrats: to assist the working class as the advanced detachment of an all-Russian uprising.

July 5, 1906

A Bold Assault and a Timid Defence

Published: Ekho, No. 12

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 96 - 100

Peasants! Know that you will never be free unless you free yourselves. The workers understood this, and by their struggles compelled the government to yield the concessions of October 17. And you, too, must understand it. Only when you do so will you be a revolutionary people, that is, a people that knows what it must fight for, a people that knows how to fight, a people that knows how to vanquish its oppressors. (Seite 85)

July 1, 1906

Conspiracies of Reaction and Threats of the Pogrom-Mongers

Published: Ekho, No 14

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 105 - 108

Three army corps have been concentrated in Austria, in Galicia, and on the Russian frontier. Hence there can be no doubt about the conspiracy of the international counter-revolution. The Russian Government is calling on the aid of foreign troops against the Russian people.

Let the workers and peasants know then that the government is betraying the country in order to ensure the rule of the gang of pogrom-mongers. So it was and so it always will be. History teaches us that the ruling classes have always been ready to sacrifice everything, absolutely everything: religion, liberty and homeland, if it was a question of crushing a revolutionary movement of the oppressed classes.

But the workers and peasants should not be afraid of such action. The Russian Government has its international reserve: the reactionary governments of Germany, Austria and other countries. But we too have our powerful international reserve: the socialist proletariat of Europe, organised in the three million-strong party in Germany, in the powerful parties of all the European countries. We welcome the appeal of our government to the international reserve of reaction: such an appeal will, in the first place, open the eyes of the most ignorant people in Russia and do us a valuable service by destroying faith in the monarchy, and, in the second place, such an appeal will better than anything else extend the basis and field of action of the Russian revolution by converting it into a world revolution.

All right, Mr. Trepov & Co.! Open fire! Call on your Austrian and German regiments against the Russian peasants and workers! We are for an extension of the struggle, we are for an international revolution! (page 106 - 107)

Written in mid - July 1906

The Dissolution of the Duma and the Tasks of the Proletariat

Published in pamphlet form in August 1906 by the Novaya Volna Publishers, Moscow.

Lenin, Volume 11, page 109 - 131

Under no circumstances should a Marxist forget that the slogan of the immediately impending struggle cannot be deduced simply and directly from the general slogan of a certain programme. It is not sufficient to refer to our programme (see last part: The Overthrow of the Autocracy and the Constituent Assembly, etc.) in order to determine the   slogan of the struggle that is immediately impending now, in the summer or autumn of 1906. For this we must take into account the concrete historical situation, we must trace the whole development and the whole consecutive progress of the revolution; our tasks must be deduced not only from the principles of the programme, but also from the preceding steps and stages of the movement. Only such an analysis will be a truly historical analysis,, obligatory for a dialectical materialist. (page 102 – 103)

August 21, 1906

Before the Storm

Published: Proletary, No. 1

Lenin, Volueme 11, pages 133 - 140

The significance of the past stage of the revolution is be coming more and more apparent. A new wave is drawing nearer and nearer. Every onslaught of the revolution, every step forward in organising the militant democrats is followed by a positively frantic attack by the reaction, by another step taken in organising the Black-Hundred elements of the people, and by the increased arrogance of the counter-revolution, desperately fighting for its very existence. But in spite of all these efforts, the forces of reaction are steadily declining. More and more workers, peasants and soldiers, who only yesterday were indifferent, or even sided with the Black Hundreds, are now passing over to the side of the revolution. (page 135)

All efforts must be directed towards making it simultaneous, concentrated, full of that heroism of the masses   which has marked all the great stages of the great Russian revolution. (page 140)

August 29, 1906

Lessons of the Moscow Uprising

Published: Proletary, No. 2

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 171 - 178

The December events confirmed another of Marx’s profound propositions, which the opportunists have forgotten, namely, that insurrection is an art and that the principal rule of this art is the waging of a desperately bold and irrevocably determined offensive. We have not sufficiently assimilated this truth. We ourselves have not sufficiently learned, nor have we taught the masses, this art, this rule to attack at all costs. We must make up for this omission with all our energy. It is not enough to take sides on the question of political slogans; it is also necessary to take sides on the question of an armed uprising. Those who are opposed to it, those who do not prepare for it, must be ruthlessly dismissed from the ranks of the supporters of the revolution, sent packing to its enemies, to the traitors or cowards; for the day is approaching when the force of events and the conditions of the struggle will compel us to distinguish between enemies and friends according to this principle. It is not passivity that we should preach, not mere “waiting” until the troops “come over”. No! We must proclaim from the house tops the need for a bold offensive and armed attack, the necessity at such times of exterminating the persons in command of the enemy, and of a most energetic fight for the wavering troops. (page 176)

And the guerrilla warfare and mass terror that have been taking place throughout Russia practically without a break since December, will undoubtedly help the masses to learn the correct tactics of an uprising. Social-Democracy must recognise this mass terror and incorporate it into its tactics, organising and controlling it of course, subordinating it to the interests and conditions of the working-class movement and the general revolutionary struggle, while eliminating and ruthlessly lopping off the “hooligan” perversion of this guerrilla warfare (page 177)

Let us remember that a great mass struggle is approaching. It will be an armed uprising. It must, as far as possible, be simultaneous. The masses must know that they are entering upon an armed, bloody and desperate struggle. Contempt for death must become widespread among them and will ensure victory. The onslaught on the enemy must be pressed with the greatest vigour; attack, not defence, must be the slogan of the masses; the ruthless extermination of the enemy will be their task; the organisation of the struggle will become mobile and flexible; the wavering elements among the troops will be drawn into active participation. And in this momentous struggle, the party of the class-conscious proletariat must discharge its duty to the full. (page178)

Lenin, Volume 11, page 182, Vacillating Tactics [ August 29, 1906 ] :

Untimely attacks may be contrasted to timely attacks, ill-prepared to well-prepared attacks; but attacks in general cannot be contrasted to “capturing” a fortress. That would be a mistake. It would be an evasion of the question of the means of capturing the fortress.

Lenin, Volume 11, page 212, A New Coup D’État in Preparation [ September 30, 1906 ] :

We must destroy constitutional illusionswe must recall the examples of the European revolutions with their frequent alterations of the electoral laws—we must spare no effort to spread the conviction that the crisis now maturing is not a parliamentary or constitutional crisis, but a revolutionary crisis, which force alone will decide, and which only a victorious armed uprising will resolve.

Lenin, Volume 11, page 167 („The events of the day“, Proletary, No. 1, August 21, 1906 ):

There can be no doubt in the mind of any socialist that the sentiments of the masses must be taken into account when organising guerrilla actions.

September 30, 1906

Guerrilla Warfare

Published: Proletary, No. 5

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 213 - 223

What are the fundamental demands which every Marxist should make of an examination of the question of forms of struggle?

In the first place, Marxism differs from all primitive forms of socialism by not binding the movement to any one particular form of struggle. It recognises the most varied forms of struggle; and it does not “concoct” them, but only generalises, organises, gives conscious expression to those forms of struggle of the revolutionary classes which arise of themselves in the course of the movement. Absolutely hostile to all abstract formulas and to all doctrinaire recipes, Marxism demands an attentive attitude to the mass struggle in progress, which, as the movement develops, as the class-consciousness of the masses grows, as economic and political crises become acute, continually gives rise to new and more varied methods of defence and attack. Marxism, therefore, positively does not reject any form of struggle. Under no circumstances does Marxism confine itself to the forms of struggle possible and in existence at the given moment only, recognising as it does that new forms of struggle, unknown to the participants of the given period, inevitably arise as the given social situation, changes. In this respect Marxism learns, if we may   so express it, from mass practice, and makes no claim what ever to teach the masses forms of struggle invented by “systematisers” in the seclusion of their studies. We know—said Kautsky, for instance, when examining the forms of social revolution—that the coming crisis will introduce new forms of struggle that we are now unable to foresee.

In the second place, Marxism demands an absolutely historical examination of the question of the forms of struggle. To treat this question apart from the concrete historical situation betrays a failure to understand the rudiments of dialectical materialism. At different stages of economic evolution, depending on differences in political, national-cultural, living and other conditions, different forms of struggle come to the fore and become the principal forms of struggle; and in connection with this, the secondary, auxiliary forms of struggle undergo change in their ·turn. To attempt to answer yes or no to the question whether any particular means of struggle should be used, without making a detailed examination of the concrete situation of the given movement at the given stage of its development, means completely to abandon the Marxist position.

These are the two principal theoretical propositions by which we must be guided. The history of Marxism in Western Europe provides an infinite number of examples corroborating what has been said. European Social-Democracy at the present time regards parliamentarism and the trade union movement as the principal forms of struggle; it recognised insurrection in the past, and is quite prepared to recognise it, should conditions change, in the futuredespite the opinion of bourgeois liberals like the Russian Cadets and the Bezzaglavtsi. Social-Democracy in the seventies rejected the general strike as a social panacea, as a means of overthrowing the bourgeoisie at one stroke by non-political means—but Social-Democracy fully recognises the mass political strike (especially after the experience of Russia in 1905) as one of the methods of struggle essential under certain conditions. Social-Democracy recognised street barricade fighting in the forties, rejected it for definite reasons at the end of the nineteenth century, and expressed complete readiness to revise the latter view and to admit the expediency   of barricade fighting after the experience of Moscow, which, in the words of K. Kautsky, initiated new tactics of barricade fighting.

A Marxist bases himself on the class struggle, and not social peace. In certain periods of acute economic and political crises the class struggle ripens into a direct civil war, i.e., into an armed struggle between two sections of the people. In such periods a Marxist is obliged to take the stand of   civil war. Any moral condemnation of civil war would be absolutely impermissible from the standpoint of Marxism.

In a period of civil war the ideal party of the proletariat is a fighting party. This is absolutely incontrovertible. We are quite prepared to grant that it is possible to argue and prove the inexpediency from the standpoint of civil war of particular forms of civil war at any particular moment. We fully admit criticism of diverse forms of civil war from the standpoint of military expediency and absolutely agree that in this question it is the Social-Democratic practical workers in each particular locality who must have the final say. But we absolutely demand in the name of the principles of Marxism that an analysis of the conditions of civil war should not be evaded by hackneyed and stereo typed talk about anarchism, Blanquism and terrorism, and that senseless methods of guerrilla activity adopted by some organisation or other of the Polish Socialist Party at some moment or other should not be used as a bogey when discussing the question of the participation of the Social-Democratic Party as such in guerrilla warfare in general.

The argument that guerrilla warfare disorganises the movement must be regarded critically. Every new form of struggle, accompanied as it is by new dangers and new sacrifices, inevitably “disorganises” organisations which are unprepared for this new form of struggle. Our old propagandist circles were disorganised by recourse to methods of agitation. Our committees were subsequently disorganised by recourse to demonstrations. Every military action in any war to a certain extent disorganises the ranks of the fighters. But this does not mean that one must not fight. It means that one must learn to fight. (page 220)

Social-Democrats must make it their duty not only to participate but also to play the leading role in this civil war. The Social-Democrats must train and prepare their organisations to be really able to act as a belligerent side which does not miss a single opportunity of inflicting damage on the enemy’s forces.

. We have not the slightest intention of foisting on practical workers any artificial form of struggle, or even of deciding from our armchair what part any particular form of guerrilla warfare should play in the general course of the civil war in Russia. We are far from the thought of regarding a concrete assessment of particular guerrilla actions as indicative of a trend in Social-Democracy. But we do regard it as our duty to help as far as possible to arrive at a correct theoretical assessment of the new forms of struggle engendered by practical life. We do regard it as our duty relentlessly to combat stereotypes and prejudices which hamper the class-conscious workers in correctly presenting a new and difficult problem and in correctly approaching its solution. (page 223)

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 241- 245 ; The Results of the Cadet Congress [ Proletary,No. 6, October 29, 1906 ]:

No one will deny that a certain amount of chaos is inevitable. But out of this chaos will come order, the order of revolution, which is the highest stage of chaotic, spontaneous popular outbreaks. (page 244)

October 29, 1906

Philistinism in Revolutionary Circles

Published: Proletary, No. 6

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 246 - 256

Periods of counter-revolution are marked, among other things, by the spread of counter-revolutionary ideas, not only in a crude and direct form, but also in a more subtle form, namely, the growth of philistine sentiments among the revolutionary parties.

People of a philistine, petty-bourgeois type are weary of the revolution. A little, drab, beggarly but peaceful legality is preferable to the stormy alternations of revolutionary outbursts and counter-revolutionary frenzy. Inside the revolutionary parties this tendency is expressed in a desire to reform these parties. Let the philistine become the main nucleus of the party: “the party must be a mars party”. Down with illegality, down with secrecy, which hinders constitutional “progress”! The old revolutionary parties must be legalised. And this necessitates a radical reform of their programmes in two main directions: political and economic.

We must drop the demand … of the socialist goal and represent socialism as a “remote prospect”.(page 249 - 250)

What, then, does this conversion of the underground revolutionary struggle into a national bourgeois revolution amount to in practice? To ignoring, or obscuring, the class contradictions which have already been revealed by the course of the Russian revolution. To converting the proletariat from a fighting vanguard, pursuing an independent revolutionary policy, into an appendage of that faction of the bourgeois democrats which is most in the limelight, which lays most claim to represent “national” aspirations. (page 253)

Those who forget that with the progress of revolution and the growth of its tasks a change takes place in the composition of the classes and elements of the people capable of taking part in the struggle for the achievement of these aims fall into grievous error. Through the bourgeois revolution the proletariat marches to socialism. Therefore, in the course of the bourgeois revolution it must raise and enlist for the revolutionary struggle more and more revolutionary strata of the people. (page 254)

The class-conscious proletariat must do its duty to the very end. (page 256)

November 23, 1906

Draft Election Address

Published: Proletary, No. 8

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 302 - 306

The liberty for which the working class is fighting is liberty for the whole people, not merely for the nobility and the rich. The workers need liberty in order to launch a wide struggle for the complete emancipation of labour from the tyranny of capital, for the abolition of all exploitation of man by man, for a socialist system of society. As long as the rule of capital remains, no equality, not even equality of tenure for small peasant proprietors on the common land of the people, will save the people from poverty, unemployment and oppression. Only the solidarity of all the workers, supported b; the mass of the working people, can overthrow the yoke of capital, which is weighing so heavily on the workers of all countries. In socialist society, liberty and equality will no longer be a sham; the working people will no longer be divided by working in small, isolated, private enterprises; the wealth accumulated by common labour will serve the mass of the people and not oppress them; the rule of the workers will abolish all oppression of one nation, religion or sex by another. (page 304)

November 23, 1906

Blocs With the Cadets

Published: Proletary, No. 8

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 307- 319

The Mensheviks’ main argument is the Black-Hundred danger. The first and fundamental flaw in this argument is that the Black-Hundred danger cannot be combated by Cadet tactics and a Cadet policy. The essence of this policy lies in reconciliation with tsarism, that is, with the Black-Hundred danger. (page 313) [ This is also the essence in regard of world fascist tactics – remark of the Comintern [SH])

Can we, in this period of Black-Hundred pogroms, government violence and police outrages, conceive of any other manifestation of this discontent among the soldiers than military revolts? [ Lenin, Volume 11, pages 346 ]

November 23, 1906

Party Discipline and the Fight Against the Pro-Cadet Social-Democrats

Published: Proletary, No. 8

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 320 - 323

The question is how to combine this ruthless ideological struggle with proletarian party discipline.

We have more than once already enunciated our theoretical views on the importance of discipline and on how this concept is to be understood in the party of the working class. We defined it as: unity of action, freedom of discussion and criticism. Only such discipline is worthy of the democratic party of the advanced class. The strength of the working class lies in organisation. Unless the masses are organised, the proletariat is nothing. Organised—it is everything. Organisation means unity of action, unity in practical operations. But every action is valuable, of course, only because and insofar as it serves to push things forward and not back ward, insofar as it serves to unite the proletariat ideologically, to elevate, and not degrade, corrupt or weaken it. Organisation not based on principle is meaningless, and in practice converts the workers into a miserable appendage of the bourgeoisie in power. Therefore, the proletariat does not recognise unity of action without freedom to discuss and criticise. Therefore, class-conscious workers must never forget that serious violations of principle occur which make the severance of all organisational relations imperative. (Seite 314 – 315).

December 7, 1906

The Crisis of Menshevism

Published: Proletary, No. 9

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 341- 364

A Marxist must base his arguments on tactics on an analysis of the objective course of the revolution. (page 341)

Our big bourgeoisie is far more afraid of revolution than of reaction. The proletariat, by itself, is not strong enough to win. The urban poor do not represent any independent interests, they are not an independent force compared with the proletariat and peasantry. The rural population has the decisive role, not in the sense of leading the struggle (this is out of the question), but in the sense of being able to ensure victory. (page 343)

Revolution, in the narrow sense of the term, is an acute struggle, and only in the course of the struggle and in its outcome is the real strength of all the interests, aspirations and potentialities displayed and fully recognised.

The task of the advanced class in the revolution is to ascertain correctly the trend of the struggle, to make the most of all opportunities, all chances of victory. This class must be the first to take the direct revolutionary path and the last to abandon it for more “prosaic”, more “circuitous” paths. (page 344)

Larin admits that the Mensheviks “put the blame for their own melancholy and despondency on the course of the Russian revolution” (p. 58). Exactly!   Passivity is the quality of the petty-bourgeois intelligentsia, not of the revolution. (page 346)

A spoonful of honey in a barrel of tar.

It is an unquestionable and indisputable fact that as capitalism develops, as experience of bourgeois revolution or revolutions, and also of abortive socialist revolutions, accumulates, the working class of all countries grows, develops, learns, becomes trained and organised. In other words: it advances from spontaneity to planned action, from being guided merely by mood to guidance by the objective position of all classes, from outbursts to sustained struggle. All this is true. It is as old as the hills, and is as applicable to Russia of the twentieth century as to England of the seventeenth century, to France of the thirties of the nineteenth century, and to Germany at the close of the nineteenth century. But the trouble with Larin is that he is quite incapable of digesting the materials which our revolution provides the Social-Democrat. Like a child with a new toy, he is entirely taken up with contrasting the outbursts of Russian barbarism with European planned activity. Uttering a truism that applies to all periods in general, he does not understand that his naive application of this truism to a period of direct revolutionary struggle becomes with him a renegade attitude towards the revolution. (page 349)

And Larin, naively uncritical, trails behind the liberals. Larin does not understand that there are two sides to the question he raises: (1) the contrast between a spontaneous struggle and a planned struggle of the same dimensions and forms, (2) the contrast between a revolutionary (in the narrow sense) period and a counter-revolutionary or “only constitutional” period. Larin’s logic is atrocious. He contrasts a spontaneous political strike not to a planned political strike, but to planned participation in, let us say, the Bulygin Duma. He contrasts a spontaneous uprising not to a planned uprising, but to planned trade union activity. Consequently, his Marxist analysis is converted into a flat and philistine apotheosis of counter-revolution.

European Social-Democracy is the “party of objectively planned political activity”, prattles Larin ecstatically. Oh, child! He does not notice that he is going into raptures over the particularly limited field of activity” to which the Europeans were compelled to confine themselves in a period when there was no directly revolutionary struggle. He does not notice that he is going into raptures over the planned nature of a struggle waged within legal limits and decrying the spontaneity of a struggle for the power and authority which determine the limits of what is “legal”. He compares the spontaneous uprising of the Russians in December 1905, not with the “planned” uprisings of the Germans in 1849 and of the French in 1871, but with the planned growth of the German trade unions. He compares the spontaneous and unsuccessful general strike of the Russians in December 1905, not with the “planned” and unsuccessful general strike of the Belgians in 19O2, but with the planned speeches of Bebel or Vandervelde in the Reichstag.

That is why Larin fails to understand the world-historic progress of the mass struggle of the proletariat signalised by the strike in October 1905 and the uprising in December 1905. (Seite 350)

That is why, in place of the moral drawn by a revolutionary Marxist (that instead of a spontaneous political strike we must have a planned political strike, instead of a spontaneous uprising we must have a planned uprising), we find the moral drawn by a renegade-Cadet (instead of the “folly of spontaneity”—strikes and uprisings—we must have systematic submission to the Stolypin laws and a planned deal with the Black-Hundred monarchy).

No, Comrade Larin, if you had mastered the spirit of Marxism, and not merely its language, you would know the difference between revolutionary dialectical materialism and the opportunism of “objective” historians. Recall, for instance, what Marx said about Proudhon. A Marxist does not renounce the struggle within the limits of the law ... But a Marxist, while utilising every field, even a reactionary one, for the fight for the revolution, does not stoop to glorifying reaction, does not forget to fight for the best possible field of activity. Therefore, the Marxist is the first to foresee the approach of a revolutionary period, and already begins to rouse the people and to sound the tocsin while the philistines are still wrapt in the slavish slumber of loyal subjects. The Marxist is therefore the first to take the path of direct revolutionary struggle, marching straight to battle and exposing the illusions of conciliation cherished by all kinds of social and political vacillators. Therefore, the Marxist is the last to leave the path of directly revolutionary struggle, he leaves it only when all possibilities have been exhausted, when there is not a shadow of hope for a shorter way, when the basis for an appeal to prepare for mass strikes, an uprising, etc., is obviously disappearing. Therefore, a Marxist treats with contempt the innumerable renegades of the revolution who shout to him: We are more “progressive” than you, we were the first to renounce the revolution! We were the first to “submit” to the monarchist constitution! (page 351)

Every form of struggle requires a corresponding technique and a corresponding apparatus.

Engels wrote: is it not natural that youth should predominate in our Party, the revolutionary party? We are the party of the future, and the future belongs to the youth. We are a party of innovators, and it is always the youth that most eagerly follows the innovators. We are a party that is waging a self-sacrificing struggle against the old rottenness, and youth is always the first to undertake a self-sacrificing struggle.

We shall, always be a party of the youth of the advanced class! (page 354)

Written December 10, 1906

The Proletariat and its Ally in the Russian Revolution

Published December 20, 1906 in Proletary, No. 10

Lenin, Volume 11 pages 365 - 375

It is necessary to examine the position of the masses, their objective conditions of life, the different classes among them, the real nature of the liberty for which they are in fact striving. We must not deduce from a common phraseology that there are common interests, nor must we conclude from “political liberty” in general that there must be a joint struggle of different classes. On the contrary, by a precise analysis of the position and interests of the various classes, we must ascertain how far, and in what respects, their fight for freedom, their aspirations for freedom, are identical, or coincide (or whether they coincide at all). We must reason, not like the Cadets, not like the liberals, not like Prokopovich & Co., but like Marxists. (page 366)

the bourgeoisie is not one of the driving forces of the present revolutionary movement in Russia. Wherever the proletariat comes out independently, the bourgeoisie ceases to be a revolutionary class.” (page 372)

A bourgeois revolution in spite of the instability of the bourgeoisie, by paralysing the instability of the bourgeoisiethat is how the Bolsheviks formulated the fundamental task of the Social-Democrats in the revolution. (page 373)

Marx said that every genuine and complete victory of a revolution can only be a dictatorship, having in mind, of course, the dictatorship (i.e., unrestricted power) of the masses over the few, and not vice versa. (page 375)

December 20, 1906

Concerning an Article Published in the Organ of the Bund

Published: Proletary, No. 19

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 376 - 382

As our journal is illegal, we are unable to follow at all regularly the Social-Democratic newspapers that are published in Russia in languages other than Russian. And yet, unless close and constant contact is maintained between the Social-Democrats of all nationalities in Russia, our Party cannot become a real All-Russian Party.

Therefore, we earnestly request all comrades who know Lettish, Finnish, Polish, Yiddish, Armenian, Georgian or other languages, and who receive Social-Democratic newspapers in these languages, to help us to keep Russian readers informed about the state of the Social-Democratic movement and the views of the non-Russian Social-Democrats on tactics. This assistance could take the form, not only of reviews of Social-Democratic literature on a particular question (like the articles in Proletary on the controversy between the Polish Social-Democrats and the Polish Socialist Party, and on the Lettish view of guerrilla warfare), but also of translations of articles, or even of outstanding passages from an article. (page 376)

In the case of the Mensheviks, blocs with the Cadets naturally and spontaneously assume the character of ideological blocs. In the case of the Bundists, these blocs are intended to be only “technical” blocs.

But politics have their own objective logic, irrespective of what persons or parties plan in advance. The Bundist proposes that the bloc should be only a technical one, but the political forces of the whole country dispose that the bloc turns out to be an ideological one. (page 379)

The Cadets are not bourgeois democracy, but the incarnation of the betrayal of democracy by the bourgeoisie—just as the French radical socialists, for instance, or the German social-liberals, are not intellectual socialists, but the incarnation of the betrayal of socialism by the intellectuals. Therefore, supporting bourgeois democracy means exposing the sham of the Cadets’ quasi-democracy.

What is the kernel and essence of this struggle? Is it that the Cadets are “bourgeois”? Of course not. It is that the Cadets are mere chatterers about democracy, traitors to militant democracy. Fighting reaction means, first of all, liberating the masses from reaction ideologically. But the strong and tenacious ideological influence of “reaction” on the masses is not Black Hundred, but Cadet influence. This is not a paradox. The Black Hundreds are undisguised, crude enemies, who can   burn, kill and cause havoc, but cannot convince even the ignorant muzhik, whereas the Cadets convince both the muzhiks and the urban petty bourgeoisie. And what do they convince them of? That the monarch is not responsible, that it is possible to win freedom by peaceful means. (page 381 – 382)

But here we see the deep gulf that separates the tactics of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie from the tactics of the socialist proletariat. The Social-Democrats advocate a struggle, and explain to the people with the aid of a thousand and one lessons from history that a struggle is inevitable; they are preparing for it and retaliate to the intensification of reaction with intensified revolutionary agitation. The liberals cannot advocate a struggle, because they are afraid of it. They respond to the intensification of reaction   by whining about a constitution, thus corrupting people’s minds, and by intensified opportunism. (page 384)

Written December 19O6

Preface to the Russian Translation of K. Kautsky’s Pamphlet: The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Russian Revolution

Published in 1907 in the pamphlet: K. Kautsky, The Driving Forces and Prospects of the Russian Revolution, by Novaya Epokha Publishers.

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 408 - 413

Marxists cannot adopt the usual standpoint of the intellectual radical, with his pseudo-revolutionary abstraction: “no authorities”.

No. The working class, which all over the world is waging a hard and persistent struggle for complete emancipation, needs authorities, but, of course, only in the way that young workers need the experience of veteran fighters against oppression and exploitation, of those who have organised many strikes, have taken part in a number of revolutions, who are wise in revolutionary traditions, and have a broad political outlook. The proletarians of every country need the authority of the world-wide struggle of the proletariat. We need the authority of the theoreticians of international Social-Democracy   to enable us properly to understand the programme and tactics of our Party. But, of course, this authority has nothing in common with the official authorities in bourgeois science and police politics. It is the authority of the experience gained in the more diversified struggle waged in the ranks of the same world socialist army. And important though this authority is in widening the horizon of the fighters, it would be impermissible in the workers’ party to claim that the practical and concrete questions of its immediate policy can be solved by those standing a long way off. The collective spirit of the progressive class-conscious workers immediately engaged in the struggle in each country will always remain the highest authority on all such questions. (page 412 - 413)

December 31, 1906

The Attitude of the Bourgeois Parties and of the Workers’ Party to the Duma Elections

Published in Ternii Truda, No. 2.

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 414 - 418

The workers’ party places all its hopes on the masses; on the masses who are not frightened, not passively submissive and who do not humbly bear the yoke, but who are politically conscious, demanding and militant. (page 416)


January 7, 1907

Plekhanov and Vasilyev

Published: Proletary, No 11

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 419 - 425

The Vasilyevs talk of a revolution which must give birth to a “constitution” and nothing more, and give birth to it without the aid of mid wives, without revolutionaries. No midwives, no revolutionaries, no revolutionary people—such is Vasilyev’s slogan.

A revolution in the real, serious sense is inconceivable without “solution of economic programmes”. A revolution can only be made by the masses, actuated by profound economic needs. The fall of absolutism in Russia, its real fall, would inevitably mean an economic revolution. Only those who are virginally innocent of socialism can fail to under stand this. To abandon economic programme means abandoning the fundamental economic causes of revolution, abandoning the economic interests which impel the masses of downtrodden, cowed, ignorant people to wage a great and unprecedentedly selfless struggle. It means abandoning the masses, leaving only a gang of intellectual spouters, and substituting liberal spouting for socialist policy.

Januar 15, 1907

When You Hear the Judgement of a Fool... .”From the Notes of a Social-Democratic Publicist

Published in pamphlet form in January 1907 by the Novaya Duma Publishers

Lenin, Volume 11, pages 456 - 474

The basis of socialist tactics in time of revolution consists in the progressive class, the proletariat, marching at the head of the people’s revolution (the revolution that is now taking place in Russia is a bourgeois revolution in the sense that the attainment of complete freedom and all the land for the people will not rid us in the least of the rule of the bourgeoisie; obviously, the fact that the revolution has this socio-economic character does not prevent it from being a people’s revolution). The progressive class must therefore consistently expose to the masses the falsity of all hopes of negotiations and agreements with the old regime in general, and of agreements between landlords and peasants over the land question in particular. The progressive class must pursue its independent line of undeviating struggle, supporting only those who are really fighting, and only to the ex tent that they fight. (page 458)

Written: February 5, 1907

Preface to the Russian Translation of Karl Marx’s Letters to Dr. Kugelmann

Published: Published in 1907 in the pamphlet: Karl Marx. Letters to Dr. Kugelmann, edited and with a preface by N. Lenin. Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg.

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 104 -112

In no other country in the world at this moment is there such a profound revolutionary crisis as in Russia— and in no other country are there “Marxists” (belittlers and vulgarisers of Marxism) who take up such a sceptical and philistine attitude towards the revolution. From the fact that the revolution is bourgeois in content they draw the shallow conclusion that the bourgeoisie is the driving force of the revolution, that the tasks of the proletariat in this revolution are of an ancillary, not independent, character and that proletarian leadership of the revolution is impossible! (page 106)

In September 1870 Marx had called the insurrection an act of desperate folly; but in April 1871, when he saw the mass movement of the people, he watched it with the keen attention of a participant in great events marking a step forward in the historic revolutionary movement.

The historical initiative of the masses was what Marx prized above everything else. Ah, if only our Russian Social-Democrats would learn from Marx how to appreciate the historical initiative of the Russian workers and peasants in October and December 1905! Compare the homage paid to the historical initiative of the masses by a profound thinker, who foresaw failure six months ahead—and the lifeless, soulless, pedantic: “They should not have taken up arms”! Are these not as far apart as heaven and earth? (page 109)

World history,he [ Marx ] wrote,would indeed be very easy to make, if the struggle were taken up only on condition of infallibly favourable chances.”

In September 1870, Marx called the insurrection an act of desperate folly. But, when the masses rose, Marx wanted to march with them, to learn with them in the process of the struggle, and not to give them bureaucratic admonitions. He realised that to attempt in advance to calculate the chances with complete accuracy would be quackery or hope less pedantry. What he valued above everything else was that the working class heroically and self-sacrificingly took the initiative in making world history. Marx regarded world history from the standpoint of those who make it without being in a position to calculate the chances infallibly beforehand, and not from the standpoint of an intellectual philistine who moralises: “It was easy to foresee ... they should not have taken up...”. (page 111)

Marx was also able to appreciate that there are moments in history when a desperate struggle of the masses, even   for a hopeless cause, is essential for the further schooling of these masses and their training for the next struggle.

Such a statement of the question is quite incomprehensible and even alien in principle to our present-day quasi-Marxists, who like to take the name of Marx in vain, to borrow only his estimate of the past, and not his ability to make the future. Plekhanov did not even think of it when be set out after December 1905 “to put the brakes on. (page 112)

Written: February 7, 1907

The Second Duma and the Second Revolutionary Wave

Published: Proletary, No. 13, February 11, 1907

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 113 – 118

The most savage and shameless tyranny of the Black-Hundred government, which is the most reactionary in Europe. The most reactionary election law in all Europe. The most revolutionary popular representative body in Europe in the most backward country!

This glaring contradiction clearly reveals the fundamental contradiction in the whole of contemporary Russian life, reveals to the full the revolutionary character of the present day. (page 114)

Revolution is a good teacher. It forces back on to the revolutionary track those who are continually going astray either from weakness of character or weakness of intellect. (page 115)

The situation is undoubtedly a revolutionary one, and a struggle in the most acute form is undoubtedly inevitable.

But it is precisely because of its inevitability that we must not force the pace, spur or goad it on. (page 117)

Shoot first, Messrs. Bourgeois!” said Engels to the German capitalists in 1894. And we say: “Shoot first, Krushevans and Stolypins, Orlovs and Romanovs!” Our task is to help the working class and the peasantry to crush the Black-Hundred autocracy when it hurls itself upon us of its own accord.

Therefore—no premature calls for an insurrection! No solemn manifestos to the people. No pronunciamentos, no “proclamations”. The storm is bearing down on us of its own accord. There is no need of sabre-rattling.

We must get our weapons readyin the literal and in the figurative sense. First of all, and above all, we must train a solid army of the proletariat, conscious of its purpose and strong in resolve. We must increase tenfold our work of agitation and organisation among the peasants— among those who are starving in the villages and among those who last autumn sent their sons to serve in the army, sons who experienced the great year of revolution. We must tear down all the ideological blinds and screens concealing the revolution, put an end to all doubts and vacillation.   We must say simply and calmly, in the plainest and most popular form, as loudly and distinctly as possible: a struggle is inevitable. The proletariat will accept battle. The proletariat will sacrifice everything, will throw all its forces into the fight for freedom. Let the ruined peasantry, let the soldiers and sailors know that the fate of Russian freedom is about to be decided. (page 117 - 118)

What is a blackleg? A blackleg is a man connected with the fighting proletariat, who tries to trip it up when it is engaged in the collective struggle. (page 125)

Written on February 23, 1907

What the Splitters Have to Say About the Coming Split

Published: Published in Novy Luch No. 5, on February 24, 1907

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 170 - 172

The unity of the Party is most dear to us. But the purity of the principles of revolutionary Social-Democracy is dearer still. (page 172)

Written on February 23, 1907

On the Tactics of Opportunism

Published on February 24, 1907 in Novy Luch, No. 5. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 173 – 178

A people unaware of their revolutionary tasks cannot be strong enough to triumph over reaction in the decisive conflict. (page 175)

And it is just such sacrifice of the fundamental interests of the proletariat to the half-hearted, muddled aims of liberalism that makes up the essence of opportunism in tactics. (page 177)

The development of the revolution brought complete victory for Bolshevism; and in the October and November days only Trotsky’s exuberances distinguished the Mensheviks. (page 178)

February 25, 1907

The Bolsheviks and the Petty Bourgeoisie

Published: Novy Luch, No. 6,. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 179 – 183

But even if our revolution is bourgeois in its economic content (this cannot be doubted), the conclusion must not   be drawn from it that the leading role in our revolution is played by the bourgeoisie, that the bourgeoisie is its motive force. Such a conclusion, usual with Plekhanov and the Mensheviks, is a vulgarisation of Marxism, a caricature of Marxism. The leader of the bourgeois revolution may be either the liberal landlord together with the factory owner, merchant, lawyer, etc., or the proletariat together with the peasant masses. In both cases the bourgeois character of the revolution remains, but its scope, the degree of its advantage to the proletariat, the degree of its advantage to socialism (that is, to the rapid development of the productive forces, first and foremost) are completely different in the two cases.

From this, the Bolsheviks deduce the basic tactics of the socialist proletariat in the bourgeois revolution—to carry with them the democratic petty bourgeoisie, especially the peasant petty bourgeoisie, draw them away from the liberals, paralyse the instability of the liberal bourgeoisie, and develop the struggle of the masses for the complete abolition of all traces of serfdom, including landed proprietorship. (page 181 - 182)

Our line is “march separately but strike together” at both the Black Hundreds and the Cadets. (page 183)

March 1, 1907

Cadets and Trudoviks

Published: Rabochaya Molva, No. 1,. Signed: N. L—n.

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 189 - 192

The victory of the revolution in Russia is possible only if the proletariat carries with it the democratic peasantry both against the old order and against the liberals. (page 192)

March 4 and 25, 1907

The Platform of Revolutionary Social-Democracy

Published: Proletary, Nos. 14 and 15

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 208 - 218

In a revolutionary epoch it is impermissible to limit oneself to defining immediate political tasks, impermissible for two reasons.

Firstly, in such epochs the basic tasks of the Social-Democratic movement are given first place, and they must be analysed in detail, not as is customary in times of “peaceful” and petty constitutional development.

In the second place, it is impermissible to define the immediate political tasks, because a revolution is marked precisely by the possibility and inevitability of sharp changes, sudden turns, unexpected situations, and violent outbursts. (page 209)

reform differs from revolution in that it preserves the power of the oppressor class which suppresses the insurrection of the oppressed by means of concessions that are acceptable to the oppressors and do not destroy their power. (page 212)

What is the essential difference between a constitutional and a revolutionary crisis? The difference is that the former may be resolved on the basis of existing fundamental laws and institutions of the state, while the latter requires the smashing of those laws and feudal institutions. (page 216)

Written on March 19, 1907

How Not to Write Resolutions

Published in 1907 in the collection Questions of Tactics, Second Issue. Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 12, Seite 219 – 242

the party of the proletariat, of the consistent supporter of the revolution, must work persistently to ensure that those who are not fully consistent supporters of the revolution (the Trudoviks, for instance) should follow the working class against the inconsistent supporters of the revolution, particularly against the notorious supporters of stopping the revolution (the Cadets, for instance). (page 225)

Why is the perfectly clear, revolutionary category of “struggle for power” changed here to a diffuse “struggle against the old regime”, that is, to an expression that actually includes the reformist struggle? Should not the motives in the preamble be changed so that, in place of an “illusory” struggle for power, “the task of struggling for reforms” should be advanced? It doesn’t sound very good, does it, comrades? (page 225)

Every reform is a reform (and not a reactionary and not .a conservative measure) only insofar as it constitutes a certain step, a “stage”, for the better. But every reform in capitalist society has a double character. A reform is a concession made by the ruling classes in order to stem, weaken, or conceal the revolutionary struggle, in order to split the forces and energy of the revolutionary classes, to befog their consciousness, etc.

Therefore, revolutionary Social-Democracy, while by no means renouncing the use of reforms for the purpose of developing the revolutionary class struggle (“we accept payments on account”—wir nehmen auch Abschlagszahlung, said Frederick Engels), will under no circumstances make half-way bourgeois-reformist slogans “their own”.(page 236)

Social-Democracy regards reforms, and makes use of them, as a by-product of the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat. (page 237)

The real force giving rise to reforms is the force of the revolutionary proletariat, of its consciousness, solidarity and unwavering determination in the struggle.

These are the qualities of the mass movement that we weaken and paralyse by giving our bourgeois-reformist slogans to the masses. The usual bourgeois sophistry says that by conceding something from our revolutionary demands and slogans, we are making it more probable that this lesser measure will be implemented, since both the proletariat and part of the bourgeoisie will be in favour of it. International Social-Democracy says that this is bourgeois sophistry, because we thereby lessen the probability of a reform being implemented; because, in trying to win the sympathies of the bourgeoisie, which continually makes concessions against its will, we are lessening the revolutionary consciousness of the masses, are blunting and corrupting that consciousness. We are adapting ourselves to the bourgeoisie. (page 238)

Written between March 21 - 25, 1907

Draft for a Speech on the Agrarian Question in the Second State Duma

First published in 1925 in Lenin Miscellany IV.

Lenin, Band 12, pages 265 - 299

Worker Social-Democrats give their full support to the peasants against the landlords. But it is not petty owner ship, even if it is equalitarian, that can save mankind from the poverty of the masses, from exploitation and from the oppression of man by man. What is needed for that is a struggle for the destruction of capitalist society, and its replacement by large-scale socialist production. This struggle is now being conducted by millions of class-conscious Social-Democrat workers in all countries of the world. It is only by joining in this struggle that the peasantry can, having got rid of their first enemy, the feudal landlord, conduct a successful struggle against the second and more terrible enemy, the power of capital ! (page 299)



Written in April 1907

Angry Embarrassment - The Question of the Labour Congress

Published in 1907 in the collection Questions of Tactics, Second Issue. Novaya Duma Publishers, St. Petersburg. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 320 - 332

What is meant by a politicalassociation of the workers ? If the authors have not invented some new terminology specially for the present resolution, it means association around a definite political programme and tactics. Around which specifically? Surely our intellectuals must know that all over the world there have been political associations of the workers under the banner of bourgeois politics. Perhaps this does not apply to Holy Russia? Perhaps in Holy Russia any political association of workers is automatically a Social-Democratic association? (page 322)

Can you unify organisational activities if there is no unified conception of the interests and tasks of the class? When you have thought it over, you will see that you cannot. Different parties have a different understanding of the common interests of the working class and its tasks in the present revolution. Even in the single R.S.D.L.P. these tasks are differently understood by the Mensheviks, by Trotsky’s supporters, and by the Bolsheviks.

It is the real struggle that unites. It is the development of parties, their continued struggle inside parliament and outside of it that unites, it is the general   strike, etc., that unites. But the experiment of convening a non-party congress will not introduce any real unity, or establish uniformity in the understanding of “interests and tasks”. (page 323 - 324)

Russian Social-Democracy, of course, should not for swear non-participation in a labour congress because the revolution is developing in a highly zigzag fashion and may produce the most varied and unusual situations. It is, however, one thing to study attentively the conditions of the revolution as it ebbs and flows and to attempt to use those conditions, and quite another to engage in confused or anti-Social-Democratic project-mongering. (page 332)

April 1, 1907

The Agrarian Question and the Forces of the Revolution

Published: Nashe Ekho, No. 7

Lenin, Volume 12, page 333 - 336

But can the socialist proletariat accomplish the bourgeois revolution independently and as the guiding force? Does not the very concept “bourgeois revolution” imply that it can be accomplished only by the bourgeoisie?

The Mensheviks often fall into this error, although, as a viewpoint, it is a caricature of Marxism. A liberation movement that is bourgeois in social and economic content is not such because of its motive forces. The motive force may be, not the bourgeoisie, but the proletariat and the peasantry. Why is this possible? Because the proletariat and the peasantry suffer even more than the bourgeoisie from the survivals of serfdom, because they are in greater need of freedom and the abolition of landlord oppression. For the bourgeoisie, on the contrary, complete victory constitutes a danger, since the proletariat will make use of full freedom against the bourgeoisie, and the fuller that freedom and the more completely the power of the landlords has been destroyed, the easier will it be for the proletariat to do so.

Hence the bourgeoisie strives to put an end to the bourgeois revolution half-way from its destination, when freedom has been only half-won, by a deal with the old authorities and the landlords. This striving is grounded in the class interests of the bourgeoisie. It was manifested so clearly in the German bourgeois revolution of 1848 that the Communist Marx spearheaded proletarian policy against the “compromising” (the expression is Marx’s) liberal bourgeoisie. (page 334 – 335)

The bourgeois revolution under the leadership of the bourgeoisie can only be an unconsummated revolution (i.e., strictly speaking, not revolution but reform). It can be a real revolution only under the leadership of the proletariat and the peasantry. (page 357)

April 5 and 7, 1907

The Strength and Weakness of the Russian Revolution

Published: Nashe Ekho, Nos. 11 and 12

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 349 - 358

The tactics of the Constitutional-Democrats are the tactics of landlord counter-revolution and bourgeois-intellectual impotence. When the revolution shows itself in the streets, the Cadet shows himself in the minister’s ante-chamber. (page 352)

The Social-Democrats demand the transfer of all the land to the peasants without compensation, i.e., they struggle determinedly for the second type of capitalist development, the type that is advantageous to the people. In the peasants’ struggle against the feudal-minded landlords, the idea of equality is the strongest ideological impetus in the struggle for land—and the establishment of equality between petty producers is the most complete abolition of all and every survival of serfdom. The idea of equality, therefore, is the most revolutionary idea for the peasant movement, not only because it stimulates the political struggle, but also because it stimulates the economic purging of agriculture of serfdom’s survivals.

Insofar as the Narodniks hold the opinion that equality may be maintained on a basis of commodity production and that that equality may be an element of the development to socialism, their views are erroneous and their socialism   reactionary. That is something every Marxist should know and remember. The Marxist, however, would be unfaithful to his historical analysis of the specific tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolution if he were to forget that this very idea of equality and the many different equalitarian plans are the fullest possible expression of the tasks of the bourgeois revolution, not the socialist, and that they express the tasks, not of the struggle against capitalism, but of the struggle against the rule of the landlords and bureaucracy. (page 355 – 356)

The socialism of equality is the last bourgeois illusion of the petty proprietor. (page 356)

Written on April 6, 1907

Preface to the Russian Translation of Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph Dietzgen, Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others to Friedrich Sorge and Others

Published in 1907 in the book Letters by Johannes Becker, Joseph Dietzgen, Frederick Engels, Karl Marx, and Others to Friedrich Sorge and Others. Published by P. G. Dauge, St. Petersburg. Signed: N. Lenin.

Lenin, Volume 12, page 359 – 378

In their letters, Marx and Engels deal most frequently with the pressing problems of the British, American and German working-class movements. This is natural, because they were Germans who at that time lived in England and corresponded with their American comrade. Marx expressed himself much more frequently and in much greater detail on the French working-class movement, and particularly the Paris Commune, in the letters he wrote to the German Social-Democrat Kugelmann.

It is highly instructive to compare what Marx and Engels said of the British, American and German working-class movements. Such comparison acquires all the greater importance when we remember that Germany on the one hand, and Britain and America on the other, represent different stages of capitalist development and different forms of domination of the bourgeoisie, as a class, over the entire political life of those countries. From the scientific point of view, we have here a sample of materialist dialectics, the ability to bring to the forefront and stress the various points, the various aspects of the problem, in application to the specific features of different political and economic conditions. From the point of view of the practical policy and tactics of the workers’ party, we have here a sample of the way in which the creators of the Communist Manifesto defined the tasks of the fighting proletariat in accordance with the different states of the national working-class movements in the different countries.

What Marx and Engels criticise most. sharply in British and American socialism is its isolation from the working-class movement. The burden of all their numerous comments on the Social-Democratic Federation in Britain and on the American socialists is the accusation that they have reduced Marxism to a dogma, to “rigid [starre] orthodoxy”, that they consider it “a credo and not a guide to action, that they are incapable of adapting themselves to the theoretically helpless, but living and powerful mass working-class movement that is marching alongside them. “Had we from 1864 to 1873 insisted on working together only with those who openly adopted our platform,” Engels exclaimed in his letter of January 27, 1887, “where should we be today?” And in the preceding letter (December 28, 1886), he wrote, with reference to the influence of Henry George’s ideas on the American working class:

A million or two of working men’s votes next November for a bona fide working men’s party is worth infinitely more at present than a hundred thousand votes for a doctrinally perfect platform.”

(page 362 - 363)

If Engels laid so much stress on the workers’ economic organisations in these conditions, it was because the most firmly established democratic systems were under discussion,   and these confronted the proletariat with purely socialist tasks.

Engels stressed the importance of an independent workers’ party, even with a poor programme, because he was speaking of countries where there had formerly been not even a hint of the workers’ political independence and where, in politics, the workers mostly dragged along behind the bourgeoisie, and still do.

It would be making mock of Marx’s historical method to attempt to apply conclusions drawn from such arguments to countries or historical situations where the proletariat has formed its party prior to the liberal bourgeoisie forming theirs, where the tradition of voting for bourgeois politicians is absolutely unknown to the proletariat, and where the immediate tasks are not socialist but bourgeois-democratic.

Our idea will become even clearer to the reader if we compare Engels’s opinions on the British and American movements with his opinions on the German movement. (page 364 - 365)

This forecast of Bernsteinism, made in 1882, was strikingly confirmed in 1898 and subsequent years.

And after that, and particularly after Marx’s death, Engels, it may be said without exaggeration, was untiring in his efforts to straighten out what was being distorted by the German opportunists.

The end of 1884. The “petty-bourgeois prejudices” of the German Social-Democratic Reichstag deputies, who had voted for the steamship subsidy ("Dampfersubvention”, see Mehring’s History), were condemned. Engels informed Sorge that he had to correspond a great deal on this subject (letter of December 31, 1884).(See Marx and Engels, Briefe an Bebel, S. 384, 392; Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 203; Marx and Engels, Briefe überDas Kapital, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1953, 5. 294.)

1885. Giving his opinion of the whole affair of the Dampfersubvention”, Engels wrote (June 3) that “it almost came to a split”. The “philistinism” of the Social-Democratic deputies was colossal”.A petty-bourgeois socialist parliamentary group is inevitable in a country like Germany,” said Engels. ( Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, 5. 203-04).

1887. Engels replied to Sorge, who had written to him, that the Party was disgracing itself by electing such deputies as Viereck (a Social-Democrat of the Höchberg type). Engels excused himself, saying that there was nothing to be done, the workers’ Party could not find good deputies for the Reichstag. “The gentlemen of the Right wing know that they are being tolerated only because of the Anti-Socialist Law, and that they will be thrown out of the Party the very day the Party again secures freedom of action.” And, in general, it was preferable that “the Party should be better than its parliamentary heroes, than the other way round” (March 3, 1887). Liebknecht is a conciliator—Engels complained—he always uses phrases to gloss over differences. But when it comes to a split, he will be with us at the decisive moment. (Ibid., S. 256. )

1889. Two international Social-Democratic congresses in Paris. The opportunists (headed by the French Possibilists)   split away from the revolutionary Social-Democrats. Engels (who was then sixty-eight years old) flung himself into the fight with the ardour of youth. A number of letters (from January 12 to July 20, 1889) were devoted to the fight against the opportunists. Not only they, but. also the Germans—Liebknecht, Bebel and others—were flagellated for their conciliatory attitude.

The Possibilists had sold themselves to the French Government, Engels wrote on January 12, 1889. And he accused the members of the British Social-Democratic Federation (S.D.F.) of having allied themselves with the Possibilists. (Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 307. ) The writing and running about in connection with this damned congress leave me no time for anything else” (May 11, 1889). The Possibilists are busy, but our people are asleep, Engels wrote angrily. Now even Auer and Schippel are demanding that we attend the Possibilist congress. But “at last” this opened Liebknecht’s eyes. Engels, together with Bernstein, wrote pamphlets (they were signed by Bernstein but Engels called them “our pamphlets”) against the opportunists.(Ibid., S. 311. )

With the exception of the S.D.F., the Possibilists have not a single socialist organisation on their side in the whole of Europe. [June 8, 1889.] They are consequently falling back on the non-socialist trade unions” (this for the information of those who advocate a broad labour party, a labour congress, etc., in our country!). “From America they will get one Knight of Labor.” The adversary was the same as in the fight against the Bakuninists: “only with this difference that the banner of the anarchists has been replaced by the banner of the Possibilists: the selling of principles to the bourgeoisie for small-scale concessions, especially in return for well-paid jobs for the leaders (on the city councils, labour exchanges, etc.).” Brousse (the leader of the Possibilists) and Hyndman (the leader of the S.D.F. which had joined with the Possibilists) attacked “authoritarian Marxism” and wanted to form the “nucleus of a new International”.

You can have no idea of the naïveté of the Germans. It has cost me tremendous effort to explain even to Bebel what it all really meant” (June 8, 1889). Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 486-87). And when the two congresses met, when the revolutionary Social-Democrats   outnumbered the Possibilists (who had united with the trade-unionists, the S.D.F., a section of the Austrians, etc.), Engels was jubilant (July 17, 1889). [ Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 316.] He was glad that the conciliatory plans and proposals of Liebknecht and others had failed (July 20, 1889). “It serves our sentimental conciliatory brethren right that, for all their amicableness, they received a good kick in their tenderest spot. This may cure them for some time.” [ Briefe und Auszüge aus Briefen an F. A. Sorge, S. 319.]

...Mehring was right when he said (Der Sorgesche Briefwechsel) that Marx and Engels did not have much idea of good manners”: “If they did not think long over every blow they dealt, neither did they whimper over every blow they received.” “If they think their needle pricks can pierce my old, thick and well-tanned hide, they are mistaken,” [ Die Neue Zeit, 1907, 25. Jhrg., Erster Band, S. 13.] Engels once wrote. And they assumed that others possessed the imperviousness they had themselves acquired, Mehring said of Marx and Engels.

1893. The chastisement of the Fabians, which suggests itself when passing judgement on the Bernsteinians (for did not Bernstein “evolve” his opportunism in England making use of the experience of the Fabians?). “The Fabians here in London are a band of careerists who have understanding enough to realise the inevitability of the social revolution, but who could not possibly entrust this gigantic task to the raw proletariat alone, and are therefore kind enough to set themselves at the head. Fear of the revolution is their fundamental principle. They are the ’educated’ par excellence. Their socialism is municipal socialism; not the nation but the community is to become the owner of the means of production, at any rate for the time being. This socialism of theirs is then presented as an extreme but inevitable consequence of bourgeois liberalism; hence their tactics, not of decisively opposing the Liberals as adversaries but of pushing them on towards socialist conclusions and therefore of intriguing with them, of permeating liberalism with socialism—not of putting up socialist candidates against the Liberals but of fastening them on to the Liberals, forcing them upon the Liberals, or swindling them into taking them. They do not of course realise that in doling this they are either lied to and themselves deceived or else are lying about socialism.

With great industry they have published, amid all sorts of rubbish, some good propagandist writing as well, this in fact being the best the English have produced in this field. But as soon as they get on to their specific tactics of hushing up the class struggle, it all turns putrid. Hence their fanatical hatred of Marx and all of us—because of the class struggle.

These people have of course many bourgeois followers and therefore money.... [ Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, p. 537. ]

(pages 368 - 371)

We thus see that for more than ten years Marx and Engels systematically and unswervingly fought opportunism in the German Social-Democratic Party, and attacked intellectualist philistinism and the petty-bourgeois outlook in socialism. This is an extremely important fact. The general public know that German Social-Democracy is regarded as a model of Marxist proletarian policy and tactics, but they do not know what constant warfare the founders of Marxism had to wage against the “Right wing” (Engels’s expression) of that Party. And it is no accident that soon after Engels’s death this concealed war became an open one. This was an inevitable result of the decades of historical development of German Social-Democracy.

And now we very clearly perceive the two lines of Engels’s (and Marx’s) recommendations, directions, corrections, threats and exhortations. The most insistent of their appeals to the British and American socialists was to merge with the working-class movement and eradicate the narrow and hidebound sectarian spirit from their organisations. They were most insistent in teaching the German Social-Democrats to beware of succumbing to philistinism, “parliamentary idiocy” (Marx’s expression in the letter of September 19, 1879), and petty-bourgeois intellectualist opportunism. (page 372)

At the present moment, when the international working-class movement is displaying symptoms of profound ferment and vacillation, when the extremes of opportunism, “parliamentary idiocy” and philistine reformism have evoked the other extremes of revolutionary syndicalism—the general line of Marx’s and Engels’s “corrections” to British and American and to German socialism acquires exceptional importance.

In countries where there are no Social-Democratic workers’ parties, no Social-Democratic members of parliament, and no systematic and steadfast Social-Democratic policy either   at elections or in the press, etc.—in such countries, Marx and Engels taught the socialists to rid themselves at all cost of narrow sectarianism, and to join with the working-class movement so as to shake up the proletariat politically. For in the last thirty years of the nineteenth century the proletariat displayed almost no political independence either in Britain or America. In these countries—where bourgeois-democratic historical tasks were almost entirely non-existent—the political arena was completely held by a triumphant and self-satisfied bourgeoisie, unequalled anywhere in the world in the art of deceiving, corrupting and bribing the workers.

To think that these recommendations, made by Marx and Engels to the British and American working-class movements, can be simply and directly applied to Russian conditions is to use Marxism not in order to achieve clarity on its method, not in order to study the concrete historical features of the working-class movement in definite countries, but in order to pay off petty, factional, and intellectualist scores.

On the other hand, in a country where the bourgeois-democratic revolution was still unconsummated, where “military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms” (Marx’s expression in his Critique of the Gotha Programme) prevailed, and still does; where the proletariat had long ago been drawn into politics and was pursuing a Social-Democratic policy—in such a country what Marx and Engels most of all feared was parliamentary vulgarisation and philistine derogation of the tasks and scope of the working-class movement.

It is all the more our duty to emphasise and give prominence to this side of Marxism, in the period of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia, because in our country a vast, “brilliant” and rich liberal-bourgeois press is vociferously trumpeting to the proletariat the “exemplary” loyalty, parliamentary legality, the modesty and moderation of the neighbouring German working-class movement.

This mercenary lie of the bourgeois betrayers of the Russian revolution is not due to accident or to the personal depravity of certain past or future ministers in the Cadet   camp. It stems from the profound economic interests of the Russian liberal landlords and liberal bourgeois. And in combating this lie, this “stupefying of the masses” ("Massenverdummung”—Engels’s expression in his letter, of November 29, 1886), the letters of Marx and Engels should serve as an indispensable weapon for all Russian socialists.

The mercenary lie of the liberal bourgeois holds up to the people the exemplary “modesty” of the German Social-Democrats. The leaders of these Social-Democrats, the founders of the theory of Marxism, tell us:

The revolutionary language and action of the French have made the hypocrisy of Viereck and Co. [the opportunist Social-Democrats in the German Reichstag Social-Democratic group] sound quite feeble” (this was said in reference to the formation of a labour group in the French Chamber and to the Decazeville strike, which split the French Radicals from the French proletariat). “Only Liebknecht and Bebel spoke in the last Socialist debate and both of them spoke well. We can with this debate once more show our selves in decent society, which was by no means the case with all of them. In general it is a good thing that the Germans’ leadership of the international socialist movement, particularly after they sent so many philistines to the Reichstag (which, it is true, was unavoidable), is being challenged. In Germany everything becomes philistine in peaceful times; and therefore the sting of French competition is absolutely necessary....(Letter of April 29, 1886.)

These are the lessons to be learnt most thoroughly by the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, which is predominantly under the ideological influence of German Social-Democracy.

These lessons are taught us not by any particular passage in the correspondence of the greatest men of the nineteenth century but by the whole spirit and substance of their comradely and frank criticism of the international experience of the proletariat, a criticism to which diplomacy and petty considerations were alien.

(pages 372 - 378)

Written in April 1907

Franz Mehring on the Second Duma

Published in 1907 in the collection Questions of Tactics, Second Issue. Signed: K. T.

Lenin, Volume 12, page 383 – 389

German Liberalism and the Russian Duma
... To understand the immeasurable insignificance of those debates [The budget debates in the Reichstag.—Lenin ] it is worth while glancing back some sixty years to the United Landtag in Berlin, when the bourgeoisie first girded their loins for the parliamentary struggle. Even in those days the, bourgeoisie did not cut a heroic figure. Karl Marx pictured it thus: ’...without faith in itself, without faith in the people, grumbling at those above, trembling before those below, egoistic towards both sides and conscious of its egoism, revolutionary in relation to the Conservatives and conservative in relation to the revolutionists, distrustful of its own mottoes, phrases instead of ideas, intimidated by the world storm, exploiting the world Storm; no energy in any respect, plagiarism in every respect; common because it lacked originality, original in its commonness; dickering with its own desires, without initiative, without faith in itself, without faith in the people, without a world-historical calling; an execrable old man, who saw himself doomed to guide and deflect the first youthful impulses of a robust people in his own senile interests—sans eyes, sans ears, sans teeth, sans everything.' [x d Engels, Selected Works, Vol. 1, Moscow, 1958, p] ; (page 384)

(page 385) History does not approve of repetition...

The Russian revolution has shown, through the elections to the new Duma, that it has much wider and deeper scope than the German revolution then had. (page 386)

Marx gave the name of “conciliators” to the German liberals of the revolutionary epoch, because bourgeois-liberal political tactics were at that time based on the “theory of conciliation”, the conciliation of the Crown with the people, of the old authorities with the forces of the revolution. These tactics expressed the class interests of the German bourgeoisie in the German bourgeois revolution; the bourgeoisie were afraid to carry on the revolution to its consummation; they feared the independence of the proletariat, feared the full victory of the peasantry over their medieval exploiters, the landlords, whose farming still retained many feudal features. The class interests of the bourgeoisie forced them to come to terms with reaction (“conciliation”) against the revolution, and the liberal intellectuals who founded the “theory of conciliation” used it to cover up their apostasy from the revolution. (page 387)

Anybody who wants Marx’s advice on the tasks of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution should take precisely his statements concerning the epoch of the German bourgeois revolution. It is not for nothing that our Mensheviks so timidly avoid those statements. In them we see the most complete and most clear expression of that ruthless struggle against tile bourgeois conciliators that our Russian Bolsheviks are con ducting in the Russian revolution.

At the time of the German bourgeois revolution Marx considered the basic tasks of the proletariat to be—carrying on the revolution to its consummation, the winning of the leading role by the proletariat, the exposure of the bourgeois conciliators’ treachery and the capture of the masses of the people, especially the peasantry, from the influence of the bourgeoisie. This is an historic fact that can be ignored or evaded only by those who take Marx’s name in vain.

We counterpose Mehring’s presentation of the question to that of the Right wing of the German Social-Democrats. Readers will, of course, know that Mehring and the entire editorial board of Die Neue Zeit are on the side of revolutionary Social-Democracy. The opposite or opportunist stand is held by the Bernsteinians. Their chief press organ is Sozialistische Monatshefte. (page 388)

April 15, 1907

Larin and Khrustalev

Published: Trud, No. 1

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 390 – 394

(page 393) The Social-Democratic party would never agree to handing over the political leadership of proletarians to non-party organisations.

Lana’s famous plan to reduce the role of the Social-Democratic Party to that of a propaganda body among working-class masses united as little as possible in a single organisation. (page 396, Lenin: „Reorganisation and the end of the split)


May 2, 1907

On the Question of a Nation-Wide Revolution

Published: Proletary, No. 16

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 404- 408

In a certain sense of the word, it is only a nation-wide revolution that can be victorious. This is true in the sense that the unity of the overwhelming majority of the population in the struggle for the demands of that revolution is essential for victory to be won. This overwhelming majority must consist either entirely of one class, or of different classes that have certain aims in common. It is also true, of course, that the present Russian revolution can be victorious only if it is nation-wide in that specific sense of the word that the conscious participation of the overwhelming majority of the population in the struggle is essential for victory to be won.

That, however, is the limit of the conventional truthfulness of the catchword of a “nation-wide” revolution. No further conclusions can be drawn from this concept, which is nothing but a truism (only an overwhelming majority can be victorious over an organised and dominant minority). For this reason it is fundamentally incorrect and profoundly un-Marxist to apply it as a general formula, as a model, a criterion of tactics. The concept of a “nation-wide revolution” should tell the Marxist of the need for a precise analysis of those varied interests of different classes that coincide in certain definite, limited common aims. Under no circumstances must this concept serve to conceal or overshadow the study of the class struggle in the course of any revolution. Such use of the concept of “nation-wide revolution” amounts to a complete rejection of Marxism and a return to the vulgar phraseology of the petty-bourgeois democrats or petty bourgeois socialists.

This truth is frequently forgotten by our Social-Democratic Right wing. Still more frequently do they forget that class relations in a revolution change with the progress of that revolution. All real revolutionary progress means drawing broader masses into the movement; consequently—a greater consciousness of class interests; consequently—more clearly-defined political, party groupings and more precise outlines of the class physiognomy of the various parties; consequently—greater replacement of general, abstract, unclear political and economic demands that are vague in their abstractness, by the varying concrete, clearly-defined demands of the different classes.

Prior to the bourgeois revolution, and at its onset, all speak in the name of democracy—the proletariat and the peasantry together with urban petty-bourgeois elements, and the liberal bourgeoisie together with the liberal landlords. It is only in the course of the class struggle, only in the course of a more or less lengthy historical development of the revolution, that the different understanding of this “democracy” by the different classes is revealed. And what is more, the deep gulf between the interests of the different classes is revealed in their demands for different economic and political measures, in the name of one and the same “democracy”.

Only in the course of the struggle, only as the revolution develops, is it revealed that one “democratic” class or stratum does not want to go, or cannot go, as far as another, that while “common” (allegedly common) objectives are being achieved, fierce skirmishes develop around the method by which they are to be achieved, for example, on the degree, extent or consistency of freedom and power of the people, or the manner in which land is to be transferred to the peasantry, etc. (page 404 - 405)

The elections affected the masses, and showed, not only their fleeting mood but their profound interests. It is altogether   unworthy of Marxists to revert from class interests (expressed by the party grouping at the elections) to a fleeting mood. The mood of the deputies may be one of gloom, while the economic interests of the masses may call forth a mass struggle. An assessment of “mood”, therefore, may be necessary to determine the moment for some action, step, appeal, etc., but certainly not to determine proletarian tactics. To argue differently would mean replacing sustained proletarian tactics by unprincipled dependence on “mood”. And all the time, the point at issue was that of a line and had nothing to do with amoment”. Whether or not the proletariat has at present recovered (and Narodnaya Gazeta does not think so) is of importance in deciding the “moment” for action, but not in determining the tactical line of action of the working class. (page 406 - 407)

The third error is the most profound and the most important—the fear of “isolating” the Social-Democrats or the proletariat (which is the same thing) from the petty-bourgeois people. That is really a most improper fear.

Social-Democracy must isolate itself from the petty-bourgeois people inasmuch as the Socialist-Revolution aries, Trudoviks and Popular Socialists are really trailing along in the wake of the Constitutional-Democrats.. For there must be one of two things; either the vacillation of the petty bourgeoisie is, in general, an indication of the shaky nature of the petty bourgeois, and the difficult and arduous development of the revolution, but does not signify that it has ended or that its forces are exhausted (which is our opinion). Then, by isolating itself from all and every vacillation and wavering in petty-bourgeois people, the Social-Democratic proletariat educates them for the struggle, trains them in preparation for the struggle and develops their political consciousness, determination, firmness, etc. Or else, the wavering of the petty-bourgeois people means the finale of the present bourgeois revolution (we believe such a view to be wrong, and none of the Social-Democrats have directly and openly defended it, although extreme Right-wing Sociel-Democrats are undoubtedly inclined to do so). Then, again, the Social-Democratic proletariat must also isolate itself from the wavering (or treachery) of the petty bourgeoisie, in order to educate the working-class masses in class-consciousness, and prepare them for a more planned, firm and decisive participation in the next revolution.

In both cases and in all cases, the Social-Democratic proletariat must isolate itself from the petty-bourgeois people, which is steeped in Cadet illusions, and do so unconditionally. The proletariat must in all cases pursue the firm, sustained policy of a truly revolutionary class, with out allowing itself to be flustered by any reactionary or philistine cock-and-bull stories, whether these are about nationwide tasks in general, or about a nation-wide revolution. (page 407 - 408)



April 30 - May 19, 1907

The Fifth Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party

First published in the book The London Congress of the R.S.D.L P. (19O7), Unabridged Minutes, Paris, 1909.

Lenin, Volume 12, pages 437 - 488

(1) Speech During the Discussion on the Congress Agenda - May 2

Mention was made of the experience of the West-European Social-Democratic parties and their business-like congresses, but I must tell you that at their congresses the Germans   frequently discussed questions that were more abstract and more theoretical than those dealing with an appraisal of the revolution taking place in our country, and the tasks of the proletariat in this revolution. We must not take from the experience of other parties things that bring us down to the level of some period of everyday routine. We must take that which brings us up to the level of general questions, of the tasks of the entire revolutionary struggle of the entire proletariat. We must learn from the best examples, and not from the worst.

We are told—“Serious tactical questions cannot be decided by the majority vote of a dozen”. What is this but sophistry? What is this but a helpless shift from adherence to principle to lack of principle?

A solution of the problem is never achieved through voting. For several years now we have been deciding questions of the Marxist appraisal of our revolution. For several years now we have been putting our theoretical views and general tactical decisions to the acid test of experience of our revolution. And we are now being told that it is not yet time to sum up this Party activity! It is not right, they say, to decide on the fundamental principles underlying our tactics; instead it is necessary to follow in the wake of events, making decisions from occasion to occasion....

We are told: “For the sake of peace in the Party, for the sake of practical work let us avoid general questions”.   This is sophistry. Such questions must not be evaded; such evasion will not result in peace, but only in blinder and hence more irate and less fruitful Party strife.

Such questions cannot be evaded. They force their way into everything.

I am of the opinion that opportunism manifests itself in our Party in the very fact that, at the first really general Party congress, the desire is expressed that general questions concerning the principles underlying our tactics in the bourgeois revolution should be removed from the agenda. We must not remove theoretical questions from the agenda, but raise all the practical work of our Party, to the level of theoretical clarification of the tasks of a workers’ party. (Applause from the Bolsheviks.) (pages 439 – 441)

( 6 ) Speech on the Attitude Towards Bourgeois Parties - May 12

The fact of the matter is that our revolution is taking place at a time when the proletariat has already begun to recognise itself as distinct class and to unite in an independent, class organisation. Under such circumstances the proletariat makes use of all the achievements of democracy, makes use of every step towards freedom, to strengthen its class organisation against the bourgeoisie. Hence the inevitable endeavour of the bourgeoisie to smooth off the sharp corners of the revolution, not to allow it to reach its culmination, not to   give the proletariat the opportunity of carrying on its class struggle unhampered. The antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat forces the bourgeoisie to strive to preserve certain instruments and institutions of the old regime in order to use them against the proletariat.

At the very best, therefore, the bourgeoisie, in the period of greatest revolutionary upsurge, still constitutes an element that wavers between revolution and reaction (and does not do so fortuitously, but of necessity, by force of its economic interests). Hence the bourgeoisie cannot be the leader in our revolution.

Such an alignment of social forces inevitably leads to the conclusion that the bourgeoisie can be neither the motive force nor the leader in the revolution. Only the proletariat is capable of consummating the revolution, that is, of achieving a complete victory. But this victory can be achieved only provided the proletariat succeeds in getting a large section of the peasantry to follow its lead. The victory of the present revolution in Russia is possible only as the revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. (page 457 - 458)

First of all, it is necessary to define the class nature of the parties. Then it is necessary to make clear to oneself the basic alignment of the various classes in the present revolution in general,   that is, in what relation the interests of these classes stand to the continuation or development of the revolution. Further, it is necessary to pass over from classes in general to the present-day role of the various parties, or various groups of parties. Finally, it is necessary to furnish practical directives concerning the policy of the workers’ party on this question. (page 461)

In reply to the proletariat’s appeal to fight, the bourgeoisie answered by fighting against the proletariat. As far back as that, the antagonism between these classes, even in a democratic revolution, manifested itself fully and definitely. The bourgeoisie wanted to narrow the scope of the proletariat’s struggle, to prevent it going beyond the bounds of the convocation of the Bulygin Duma. (page 462)

The bourgeoisie, including the Cadets, tried in every way to denigrate the revolution, to picture it as blind and savage anarchy. The bourgeoisie not only failed to support the organs of insurrection set up by the people—all the various Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, Soviets of Peasants’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, etc.—but it feared these institutions and fought against them. Call to mind Struve, who termed these institutions a degrading spectacle. In them the bourgeoisie saw a revolution that had gone too far ahead. The liberal bourgeoisie wanted to divert the energy of the popular revolutionary struggle into the narrow channel of police-controlled constitutional reaction. (page 463)

In point of fact, it all means that the independent policy of the workers’ party is replaced by a policy of dependence on the liberal bourgeoisie. And this, the substance of Menshevism.

Proletarian socialism sees its ideal, not in the equality of small proprietors, but in large-scale socialised production. (page 464)

Our revolution is passing through difficult times. We need all the will-power, all the endurance and fortitude of the organised proletarian party, in order to be capable of resisting sentiments of distrust, despondency, indifference, and denial of the struggle. The petty bourgeoisie will always and inevitably succumb most easily to such sentiments, display irresolution, betray the revolutionary path, whine and repent. And in all such cases, the workers’ party will isolate itself from the vacillating petty-bourgeois democrats.

If we pursue this policy persistently and undeviatingly, we shall derive from our revolution enormous material for the class development of the proletariat; we shall achieve this under all circumstances, whatever vicissitudes may be in store for us, whatever setbacks for the revolution (under particularly unfavourable circumstances) may fall to our lot. A firm proletarian policy will give the entire working class such a wealth of ideas, such clarity of understanding and such endurance in the struggle that no one on earth will be able to win them away from Social-Democracy. Even if the revolution suffers defeat, the proletariat will learn, first and foremost, to understand the economic class foundations of both the liberal and the democratic parties; then it will learn to hate the bourgeoisie’s treacheries and to despise the petty bourgeoisie’s infirmity of purpose and its vacillations.

And it is only with such a fund of knowledge, with such habits of thinking, that the proletariat will be able to approach the new, the socialist revolution more unitedly and more boldly. (Applause from the Bolsheviks and the Centre.) (page 473 - 474)

Menshevik Marxism is Marxism recut to the measurements of bourgeois liberalism. Avoid extremes of opportunism and revolutionism— such is one of the commandments of Menshevism . (page 499)

The London Congress’s adoption of the Bolshevik resolution on non-proletarian parties means that the workers’ party decisively rejects all deviations from the class struggle, and recognises, in point of fact, the socialist criticism of non-proletarian parties and the independent revolutionary tasks of the proletariat in the present revolution. (page 500)

Repeat as often as you will that the proletariat must retain its class independence—the Bolsheviks have nothing against that. But to weaken the words on the role of leader in the revolution would mean opening the doors to opportunism. The proletariat could be the “main motive force” in a curtailed, landlord-bourgeois revolution. It is possible to be the main motive force of the victory of another class without being able to defend the interests of your own class. Revolutionary Social-Democracy, if it is to remain true to itself, has no right to confine itself to that. It must help the proletariat to rise from the passive role of main motive force to the active role of leader—to rise from the dependent position of a fighter for curtailed freedom to the most independent position of a fighter for complete freedom, a freedom that is to the advantage of the working class. The basic difference in the tactics of the opportunist and the revolutionary tactics of Social-Democracy in the bourgeois revolution is, one might say, that the former is reconciled to the role of the proletariat as the main motive force, while the latter is directed towards giving the proletariat the role of leader and by no means that of a mere “motive force”. (page 501)

Written on June 26, 1907

Against Boycott Notes of a Social-Democratic Publicist

Published in 1907 in the pamphlet Concerning the Boycott of the Third Duma, Moscow. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 15 – 49

The direct overthrow or, at the worst, the weakening and undermining of the old regime, the direct establishment of new government agencies, by the people—all this, undoubtedly, is the most direct path, the most advantageous as far as the people are concerned, but one that requires the maximum force. Given an overwhelming preponderance of force it is possible to win by a direct frontal attack. Lacking this, one may have to resort to roundabout ways, to marking time, to zigzags, retreats, etc., etc. Of course, the path of a monarchist constitution does not, by any means, exclude revolution, the elements of which are prepared and developed by this path as well in an indirect manner, but this path is a longer, more zigzag one.

As it happens, revolutionary periods are mainly such periods in history when the clash of contending social forces, in a comparatively short space of time, decides the question of the country’s choice of a direct or a zigzag path of development for a comparatively very long time. The need for reckoning with the zigzag path does not in the least do away with the fact that   Marxists should be able to explain to the masses during the decisive moments of their history that the direct path is preferable, should be able to help the masses in the struggle for the choice of the direct path, to advance slogans for that struggle, and so on. And only hopeless philistines and the most obtuse pedants, after the decisive historical battles which determined the zigzag path instead of the direct one were over, could sneer at those who had fought to the end for the direct path.

Marxism’s attitude towards the zigzag path of history is essentially the same as its attitude towards compromise. Every zigzag turn in history is a compromise, a compromise between the old, which is no longer strong enough to completely negate the new, and the new, which is not yet strong enough to completely overthrow the old. Marxism does not altogether reject compromises. Marxism considers it necessary to make use of them, but that does not in the least prevent Marxism, as a living and operating historical force, from fighting energetically against compromises. Not to understand this seeming contradiction is not to know the rudiments of Marxism. (page 21 – 22 )

Engels once expressed the Marxist attitude to compromises very vividly, clearly, and concisely in an article on the manifesto of the Blanquist fugitives of the Commune (1874). These Blanquists wrote in their manifesto that they accepted no compromises whatever. Engels ridiculed this manifesto. It was not, he said, a question of rejecting compromises to which circumstances condemn us ... It was a question of clearly realising the true revolutionary aims of the proletariat and of being able to pursue them through all and every circumstances, zigzags, and compromises [See Friedrich Engels, Flüchtlingsliteratur, Internationales aus dem Volksstaat, Berlin, 1957.]

Boycott, as we have already stated, is a struggle not within the framework of a given institution, but against   its emergence. Any given institution can be derived only from the already existing, i. e., the old, regime. Consequently, the boycott is a means of struggle aimed directly at overthrowing the old regime, or, at the worst, i. e., when the assault is not strong enough for overthrow, at weakening it to such an extent that it would be unable to set up that institution, unable to make it operate. Consequently, to be successful the boycott requires a direct struggle against the old regime, an uprising against it and mass disobedience to it in a large number of cases (such mass disobedience is one of the conditions for preparing an uprising). Boycott is a refusal to recognise the old regime, a refusal, of course, not in words, but in deeds, i. e., it is something that finds expression not only in cries or the slogans of organisations, but in a definite movement of the mass of the people, who systematically defy the laws of the old regime, systematically set up new institutions, which, though unlawful, actually exist, and so on and so forth. The connection between boycott and the broad revolutionary upswing is thus obvious: boycott is the most decisive means of struggle, which rejects not the form of organisation of the given institution, but its very existence. Boycott is a declaration of open war against the old regime, a direct attack upon it. Unless there is a broad revolutionary up swing, unless there is mass unrest which overflows, as it were, the bounds of the old legality, there can be no question of the boycott succeeding. (page 24 - 25)

The Mensheviks (and Parvus) at that time based their tactics not on the fact of the sweeping, powerful, and rapid revolutionary upswing, but on the tsar’s promise of a change to a constitutional monarchy! No wonder such tactics turned out to be ridiculous and abject opportunism. (page 26)

The period of constitutional illusions in the Russian revolution may be said to have been a period of nation wide infatuation with a bourgeois fetish, just as whole nations in Western Europe sometimes become infatuated with the fetish of bourgeois nationalism, anti-semitism, chauvinism, etc. It is to the credit of the Social-Democrats   that they alone were not taken in by the bourgeois hoax, that they alone in the epoch of constitutional illusions always kept unfurled the banner of struggle against constitutional illusions. (page 30 - 31)

At the beginning of the revolution we see a line of short, but extraordinarily broad and amazingly rapid upswing. Next we have a line of extremely slow but steady decline, beginning with the December uprising of 1905. First a period of direct revolutionary struggle by the masses, then a period of monarchist-constitutional turn.

Does this mean that this latter turn is a final one? That the revolution is over and a “constitutional” period has set in? That there are no grounds either for expecting a new upswing or for preparing for it? That the republican character of our programme must be scrapped?

Not at all. Only liberal vulgarians like our Cadets, who are ready to use any argument to justify servility and toadyism, can draw such conclusions. No, it only means that in upholding, at all points, the whole of our programme and all our revolutionary views, we must bring our direct appeals into line with the objective state of affairs at the given moment. While proclaiming the inevitability of revolution, while systematically and steadily accumulating inflammatory material in every way, while, for this purpose, carefully guarding the revolutionary traditions of our revolution’s best epoch, cultivating them and purging them of liberal parasites, we nevertheless do not refuse to do the humdrum daily work on the humdrum monarchist-constitutional turn. That is all. (page 34)

Marxism differs from all other socialist theories in the remarkable way it combines complete scientific sobriety in the analysis of the objective state of affairs and the objective course of evolution with the most emphatic recognition of the importance of the revolutionary energy, revolutionary creative genius, and revolutionary initiative of the masses—and also, of course, of individuals, groups, organisations, and parties that are able to discover and achieve contact with one or another class. A high appraisal   of the revolutionary periods in the development of humanity follows logically from the totality of Marx’s views on history. It is in such, periods that the numerous contradictions which slowly accumulate during periods of so-called peaceful development become resolved. It is in such periods that the direct role of the different classes in determining the forms of social life is manifested with the greatest force, and that the foundations are laid for the political “superstructure”, which then persists for a long time on the basis of the new relations of production. And, unlike the theoreticians of the liberal bourgeoisie, Marx did not regard these periods as deviations from the “normal” path, as manifestations of “social disease”, as the deplorable results of excesses and mistakes, but as the most vital, the most important, essential, and decisive moments in the history of human societies. (page 36 - 37)

He [ Marx] says that the reaction in Germany had almost succeeded in blotting out the memory and traditions of the revolutionary epoch of 1848 from the minds of the people. Here we have the aims of reaction and the aims   of the party of the proletariat in relation to the revolutionary traditions of a given country strikingly contrasted. The aim of reaction is to blot out these traditions, to represent the revolution as “elemental madness”... The aim of reaction is to make the people forget the forms of struggle, the forms of organisation, and the ideas and slogans which the revolutionary period begot in such profusion and variety.

Although it is barely two years since the direct mass struggle of the proletariat won that particle of freedom which sends the liberal lackeys of the old regime into such raptures, a vast trend calling itself liberal (!!) has already arisen in our publicist literature. This trend is fostered by the Cadet press and is wholly devoted to depicting our revolution, revolutionary methods of struggle, revolutionary slogans, and revolutionary traditions as something base, primitive, naïve, elemental, mad, etc. ... even criminal … (page 37 - 38)

It is undoubtedly the duty of Russian Social-Democrats to study our revolution most carefully and thoroughly, to acquaint the masses with its forms of struggle, forms of organisation, etc., to strengthen the revolutionary traditions among the people, to convince the masses that improvements of any importance and permanence can be achieved solely and exclusively through revolutionary struggle, and to systematically expose the utter baseness of those smug liberals who pollute the social atmosphere with the miasma of “constitutional” servility, treachery, and Molchalinism.

But it is just because we cherish this concern for revolutionary traditions that we must vigorously protest against the view that by using one of the slogans of a particular historical period the essential conditions of that period can be restored. It is one thing to preserve the traditions of the revolution, to know how to use them for constant propaganda and agitation and for acquainting the masses with the conditions of a direct and aggressive struggle against the old regime, but quite another thing to repeat a slogan divorced from the sum total of the   conditions which gave rise to it and which ensured its success and to apply it to essentially different conditions. (page 39 - 40)

Marx himself, who so highly valued revolutionary traditions and unsparingly castigated a renegade or philistine attitude towards them, at the same time demanded that revolutionaries should be able to think, should be able to analyse the conditions under which old methods of struggle could be used, and not simply to repeat certain slogans. The “national” traditions of 1792 in France will perhaps for ever remain a model of certain revolutionary methods of struggle; but this did not prevent Marx in 1870 in the famous Address of the International from warning the French proletariat against the mistake of applying those traditions to the conditions of a different period. (page 40)

We must first of all see to it that the strength of this upswing is demonstrated in actual fact, and we shall always have time afterwards to put forward the slogan which in directly expresses that strength. (page 48)

While not renouncing the use of the boycott slogan at times of rising revolution, when the need for such a slogan may seriously arise, we must at the present moment exert every effort in an endeavour by our direct and immediate influence to convert one or another upswing of the working-class movement into a sweeping, universal, revolutionary, and aggressive movement against reaction as a whole, against its foundations. (page 49)

Written: June 1907

In Memory of Count Heyden - What Are Our Non-Party Democrats Teaching the People?

Published in 1907 in the first symposium Voice of Life, St. Petersburg. Signed: N. L..

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 50 - 57

The slave who is aware of his slavish condition and fights it is a revolutionary. The slave who is not aware of his slavish condition and vegetates in silent, unenlightened, and wordless slavery, is just a slave. You do not realise that instead of turning the slave into a revolutionary you are turning slaves into grovellers. (page 53)

Written on August 22, 1907

Notes of a Publicist

Published in 1907 in the first symposium Voice of Life St. Petersburg. Signed: N. L..

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 62 - 74

Renegade moods among us create also renegade morals. (page 66)

But those with the slightest revolutionary flair and thoughtful attitude towards the lessons of our revolution, or those who are really guided by the principle of tile class struggle and judge of parties by their class character, will not be in the least surprised to find that the party of bourgeois intellectuals is fit only to perform flunkey services for the party of the big bourgeois. (page 71)

We overlook, for example, the fact that this revolution should show the proletariat—and it alone can be the first to show the proletariat—what the bourgeoisie of a given country is in actual fact, what the national peculiarities of the bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie are in the given national bourgeois revolution. The real, definitive, and mass separation of the proletariat as a class, in opposition to all the bourgeois parties, can only occur when the history of its own country reveals to the proletariat the entire character of the bourgeoisie as a class, as a political unit—the entire character of the petty bourgeoisie as a section, as a definite ideological and political unit revealing itself in some open, broadly political activities. We must incessantly explain to the proletariat the theoretical truths about the nature of the class interests of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie in capitalist society. These truths, however, will be driven home to really broad masses of the proletariat only when these classes will have visible, tangible experience of the behaviour of the parties of one class or another, when the clear realisation of their class nature is supplemented by the immediate reaction of the proletarian mind to the whole character of the bourgeois parties. Nowhere else in the world, probably, has the bourgeoisie revealed in the bourgeois revolution such reactionary brutality, such a close alliance with the old regime, such “freedom” from anything remotely resembling sincere sympathy towards culture, towards progress, towards the preservation of human dignity, as it has with us—so let our proletariat derive from the Russian bourgeois revolution a triple hatred of the bourgeoisie and a determination to fight it. Nowhere else in the world, probably, did the petty bourgeoisie, beginning with the “Popular Socialists” and the Trudoviks and ending with the intellectuals who have wormed themselves into the Social-Democratic movement, display such cowardice and spinelessness in the struggle, such a shameful epidemic of renegade moods, such toadyism towards the heroes of bourgeois fashion or reactionary outrages—so let our proletariat derive from our bourgeois revolution a triple contempt for petty-bourgeois flabbiness and vacillation. No matter how our revolution may develop, no matter what severe trials our proletariat may at times have to go through,this hatred and this con tempt will help it to close its ranks and rid itself of worth less offshoots of alien classes; it will increase its forces and steel it for dealing the blows with which it will overwhelm the whole of bourgeois society when the time comes. (page 73 - 74)

Written at the end of August and beginning of September 1907

The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart

The International Socialist Congress In Stuttgart (the Seventh Congress of the Second International) was held from August 18 to 24 (new style), 1907. The R.S.D.L.P. was represented at it by 37 delegates. Among the Bolshevik delegates attending the Congress were Lenin, Lunacharsky, and Litvinov. The Congress considered the following questions: 1) Militarism and international conflicts; 2) Relations between the political parties and the trade unions; 3) The colonial question; 4) Immigration and emigration of workers, and 5) Women’s suffrage. The main work of the Congress was in the committees, where resolutions were drafted for the plenary sessions. Lenin was on the “Militarism and International Conflicts” Committee.

Published in Proletary, No. 17

Lenin, Volume 13, page 75 - 81

[ here is the complete text ]

A feature of the International Socialist Congress held in Stuttgart this August was its large and representative composition: the total of 886 delegates came from all the five continents. Besides providing an impressive demonstration of international unity in the proletarian struggle, the Congress played an outstanding part in defining the tactics of the socialist parties. It adopted general resolutions on a number of questions, the decision of which had hitherto been left solely to the discretion of the individual socialist parties. And the fact that more and more problems require uniform, principled decisions in different countries is striking proof that socialism is being welded into a single international force.

The full text of the Stuttgart resolutions will be found elsewhere in this issue. We shall deal briefly with each of them in order to bring out the chief controversial points and the character of the debate at the Congress.

This is not the first time the colonial question has figured at international congresses. Up till now their decisions have always been an unqualified condemnation of bourgeois colonial policy as a policy of plunder and violence. This time, however, the Congress Commission was so composed that opportunist elements, headed by Van Kol of Holland, predominated in it. A sentence was inserted in the draft resolution to the effect that the Congress did not in principle condemn all colonial policy, for under socialism colonial policy could play a civilising role. The minority in the Commission (Ledebour of Germany, the Polish and Russian Social-Democrats, and many others)   vigorously protested against any such idea being entertained. The matter was referred to Congress, where the forces of the two trends were found to be so nearly equal that there was an extremely heated debate.

The opportunists rallied behind Van Kol. Speaking for the majority of the German delegation Bernstein and David urged acceptance of a “socialist colonial policy” and fulminated against the radicals for their barren, negative attitude, their failure to appreciate the importance of reforms, their lack of a practical colonial programme, etc. Incidentally, they were opposed by Kautsky, who felt compelled to ask the Congress to pronounce against the majority of the German delegation. He rightly pointed out that there was no question of rejecting the struggle for reforms; that was explicitly stated in other sections of the resolution, which had evoked no dispute. The point at issue was whether we should make concessions to the modern regime of bourgeois plunder and violence. The Congress was to discuss present-day colonial policy, which was based on the downright enslavement of primitive populations. The bourgeoisie was actually introducing slavery in the colonies and subjecting the native populations to unprecedented outrages and acts of violence, “civilising” them by the spread of liquor and syphilis. And in that situation socialists were expected to utter evasive phrases about the possibility of accepting colonial policy in principle! That would be an outright desertion to the bourgeois point of view. It would be a decisive step towards subordinating the proletariat to bourgeois ideology, to bourgeois imperialism, which is now arrogantly raising its head.

The Congress defeated the Commission’s motion by 128 votes to 108 with ten abstentions (Switzerland). It should be noted that at Stuttgart, for the first time, each nation was allotted a definite number of votes, varying from twenty (for the big nations, Russia included) to two (Luxembourg). The combined vote of the small nations, which either do not pursue a colonial policy, or which suffer from it, outweighed, the vote of nations where even the proletariat has been somewhat infected with the lust of conquest.

This vote on the colonial question is of very great importance. First, it strikingly showed up socialist opportunism,   which succumbs to bourgeois blandishments. Secondly, it revealed a negative feature in the European labour movement, one that can do no little harm to the proletarian cause, and for that reason should receive serious attention. Marx frequently quoted a very significant saying of Sismondi. The proletarians of the ancient world, this saying runs, lived at the expense of society; modern society lives at the expense of the proletarians.

The non-propertied, but non-working, class is incapable of overthrowing the exploiters. Only the proletarian class, which maintains the whole of society, can bring about the social revolution. However, as a result of the extensive colonial policy, the European proletarian partly finds himself in a position when it is not his labour, but the labour of the practically enslaved natives in the colonies, that maintains the whole of society. The British bourgeoisie, for example, derives more profit from the many millions of the population of India and other colonies than from the British workers. In certain countries this provides the material and economic basis for infecting the proletariat with colonial chauvinism. Of course, this may be only a temporary phenomenon, but the evil must nonetheless be clearly realised and its causes understood in order to be able to rally the proletariat of all countries for the struggle against such opportunism. This struggle is bound to be victorious, since the “privileged” nations are a diminishing faction of the capitalist nations.

There were practically no differences at the Congress on the question of women’s suffrage. The only one who tried to make out a case for a socialist campaign in favour of a limited women’s suffrage (qualified as opposed to universal suffrage) was a woman delegate from the extremely opportunist British Fabian Society. No one supported her. Her motives were simple enough: British bourgeois ladies hope to obtain the franchise for themselves, without its extension to women workers in Britain.

The First International Socialist Women’s Conference was held concurrently with the Congress in the same building. Both at this Conference and in the Congress Commission there was an interesting dispute between the German and Austrian Social-Democrats on the draft resolution. In   their campaign for universal suffrage the Austrians tended to play down the demand for equal rights of men and women; on practical grounds they placed the main emphasis on male suffrage. Clara Zetkin and other German Social-Democrats rightly pointed out to the Austrians that they were acting incorrectly, and that by failing to press the demand that the vote be granted to Women as well as men, they were weakening the mass movement. The concluding words of the Stuttgart resolution (“the demand for universal suffrage should be put forward simultaneously for both men and women”) undoubtedly relate to this episode of excessive “practicalism” in the history of the Austrian labour movement.

The resolution on the relations between the socialist parties and the trade unions is of especial importance to us Russians. The Stockholm. R.S.D.L.P. Congress went on record for non-Party unions, thus endorsing the neutrality standpoint, which has always been upheld by our non-Party democrats, Bernsteinians and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The London Congress, on the other hand, put for ward a different principle, namely, closer alignment of the unions with the Party, even including, under certain conditions, their recognition as Party unions. At Stuttgart in the Social-Democratic subsection of the Russian section (the socialists of each country form a separate section at international congresses) opinion was divided on this issue (there was no split on other issues). Plekhanov upheld the neutrality principle. Voinov, a Bolshevik, defended the anti-neutralist viewpoint of the London Congress and of the Belgian resolution (published in the Congress materials with de Brouckère’s report, which will soon appear in Russian). Clara Zetkin rightly remarked in her journal Die Gleichheit that Plekhanov’s arguments for neutrality were just as lame as those of the French. And the Stuttgart resolution—as Kautsky rightly observed and as anyone who takes the trouble to read it carefully will see—puts an end to recognition of the “neutrality” principle. There is not a word in it about neutrality or non-party principles. On the contrary, it definitely recognises the need for closer and stronger connections between the unions and the socialist parties.

The resolution of the London R.S.D:L.P. Congress on the trade unions has thus been placed on a firm theoretical basis in the form of the Stuttgart resolution. The Stuttgart resolution lays down the general principle that. in every country the unions must be brought into permanent and close contact with the socialist party. The London resolution says that in Russia this should take the form, under favourable conditions, of party unions, and party members must work towards that goal.

We note that the harmful aspects of the neutrality principle were revealed in Stuttgart by the fact that the trade-union half of the German delegation were the most adamant supporters of opportunist views. That is why in Essen, for example, the Germans were against Van Kol (the trade unions were not represented in Essen, which was a Congress solely of the Party), while in Stuttgart they supported him. By playing into the hands of the opportunists in the Social-Democratic movement the advocacy of neutrality in Germany has actually had harmful results. This is a fact that should not be overlooked, especially in Russia, where the bourgeois-democratic counsellors of the proletariat, who urge it to keep the trade-union movement “neutral”, are so numerous.

A few words about the resolution on emigration and immigration. Here, too, in the Commission there was an attempt to defend narrow, craft interests, to ban the immigration of workers from backward countries (coolies—from China, etc.). This is the same spirit of aristocratism that one finds among workers in some of the “civilised” countries, who derive certain advantages from their privileged position, and are, therefore, inclined to forget the need for international class solidarity. But no one at the Congress defended this craft and petty-bourgeois narrow-mindedness. The resolution fully meets the demands of revolutionary Social-Democracy.

We pass now to the last, and perhaps the most important, resolution of the Congress—that on anti-militarism. The notorious Hervé, who has made such a noise in France and Europe, advocated a semi-anarchist view by naively suggesting that every war be “answered” by a strike and an uprising. He did not understand, on the one hand, that   war is a necessary product of capitalism, and that the proletariat cannot renounce participation in revolutionary wars, for such wars are possible, and have indeed occurred in capitalist societies. He did not understand, on the other hand, that the possibility of “answering” a war depends on the nature of the crisis created by that war. The choice of the means of struggle depends on these conditions; moreover, the struggle must consist (and here we have the third misconception, or shallow thinking of Hervéism) not simply in replacing war by peace, but in replacing capitalism by socialism. The essential thing is not merely to prevent war, but to utilise the crisis created by war in order to has ten the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. However, underlying all these semi-anarchist absurdities of Hervéism there was one sound and practical purpose: to spur the socialist movement so that it will not be restricted to parliamentary methods of struggle alone, so that the masses will realise the need for revolutionary action in connection with the crises which war inevitably involves, so that, lastly, a more lively understanding of international labour solidarity and of the falsity of bourgeois patriotism will be spread among the masses.

Bebel’s resolution (move.d by the Germans and coinciding in all essentials with Guesde’s resolution) had one shortcoming—it failed to indicate the active tasks of the proletariat. This made it possible to read Bebel’s orthodox propositions through opportunist spectacles, and Vollmar was quick to turn this possibility into a reality.

That is why Rosa Luxemburg and the Russian Social-Democratic delegates moved their amendments to Bebel’s resolution. These amendments (1) stated that militarism is the chief weapon of class oppression; (2) pointed out the need for propaganda among the youth; (3) stressed that Social-Democrats should not only try to prevent war from breaking out or to secure the speediest termination of wars that have already begun, but should utilise the crisis created by the war to hasten the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

The subcommission (elected by the Anti-Militarism Commission) incorporated all these amendments in Bebel’s resolution. In addition, Jaurès made this happy suggestion: instead of enumerating the methods of struggle   (strikes, uprisings) the resolution should cite historical examples of proletarian action against war, from the demonstrations in Europe to the revolution in Russia. The result of all this redrafting was a resolution which, it is true, is unduly long, but is rich in thought and precisely formulates the tasks of the proletariat. It combines the stringency of orthodox—i. e., the only scientific Marxist analysis with recommendations for the most resolute and revolutionary action by the workers’ parties. This resolution cannot be interpreted à la Vollmar, nor can it be fitted into the narrow framework of naïve Hervéism.

On the whole, the Stuttgart Congress brought into sharp contrast the opportunist and revolutionary wings of the international Social-Democratic movement on a number of cardinal issues and decided these issues in the spirit of revolutionary Marxism. Its resolutions and the report of the debates should become a handbook for every propagandist. The work done at Stuttgart will greatly promote the unity of tactics and unity of revolutionary struggle of the proletarians of all countries.

September 1907

Preface to the Collection Twelve Years

Published in November 1907 in the collection Twelve Years, St. Petersburg.

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 94 – 113

The Bolsheviks claimed for the proletariat the role of leader in the democratic revolution. The Mensheviks reduced its role to that of an “extreme opposition”. The Bolsheviks gave a positive definition of the class character and class, significance of the revolution, maintaining that a victorious revolution implied a “revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry”. The Mensheviks always interpreted the bourgeois revolution so incorrectly as to result in their acceptance of a position in which the role of the proletariat would be subordinate to and dependent on the bourgeoisie. (page 111)

In casting a retrospective glance at the struggle of the two trends in Russian Marxism and Social-Democracy during the last twelve years (1895-1907), one cannot avoid the conclusion thatlegal Marxism”, “Economism”, and “Menshevism” are diverse forms of one and the, same historical tendency. The “legal Marxism” of Mr. Struve (1894) and those like him was a reflection of Marxism in bourgeois literature. “Economism”, as a distinct trend in Social-Democratic activities in 1897 and subsequent years, virtually implemented the programme set forth in the bourgeois liberal “Credo: economic struggle for the workers, political struggle for the liberals. Menshevism is not only a literary trend, not only a tendency in Social-Democratic activity, but a close-knit faction, which during the first period of the Russian revolution (1905-07) pursued its own distinct policy—a policy which in practice subordinated the proletariat to bourgeois liberalism.

In all capitalist countries the proletariat is inevitably connected by a thousand transitional links with its neighbour on the right, the petty bourgeoisie. In all workers’ parties there inevitably emerges a more or less clearly delineated Right wing which, in its views, tactics, and organisational “line”, reflects the opportunist tendencies of the petty bourgeoisie. In such a petty-bourgeois country as Russia, in the era of bourgeois revolution, in the formative period of the young Social-Democratic Labour Party, these tendencies were bound to manifest themselves much more sharply, definitely, and clearly than anywhere else in Europe. Familiarity with the various forms in which this tendency is displayed in the Russian Social-Democratic movement in different periods of its development is necessary in order to strengthen revolutionary Marxism. and steel the Russian working class in its struggle for emancipation. (page 112 - 113)

October 20, 1907

Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Published: Proletary, No. 17

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 114 - 122

The period of revolutionary onslaught demonstrated in action the class composition of Russia’s population and the attitude of the different classes towards the old autocracy. Events have now taught everyone, even people who are utter strangers to Marxism, to reckon the chronology of the revolution from January 9, 1905, that is, from the first consciously political movement of the masses belonging to a single definite class. When the Social-Democrats, from an analysis of Russia’s economic realities, deduced the leading role, the hegemony of the proletariat in our revolution, this seemed to be a bookish infatuation of theoreticians. The revolution confirmed our theory, because it is the only truly revolutionary theory. The proletariat actually took the lead in the revolution all the time. The Social-Democrats actually proved to be the ideological vanguard of the proletariat. The struggle of the masses developed under the leadership of the proletariat with remarkable speed, much faster than many revolutionaries had expected. In the course of a single year it rose to the most decisive forms of revolutionary onslaught that history has ever knownto mass strikes and armed uprisings. The organisation of the proletarian masses went forward with astonishing speed in the course of the struggle itself. Other sections of the population, comprising the fighting ranks of the revolutionary people, followed the proletariat’s lead and began to organise. The semi-proletarian mass of various kinds of non-manual workers began to organise, followed by the peasant democracy, the professional intelligentsia, and so on. The period of proletarian victories was a period of growth in mass organisation unprecedented in Russian history and vast even by European standards.   The proletariat at that time won for itself a number of improvements in working conditions. The peasant mass won a “reduction” in the arbitrary power of the landlords and lower prices for the lease and sale of land. All Russia won a considerable degree of freedom of assembly, speech, and association, and made the autocracy publicly renounce its old practices and recognise the constitution.

The turning-point in the struggle began with the defeat of the December uprising. Step by step the counter-revolution passed to the offensive as the mass struggle weakened. (page 115 – 116)

The Social-Democrats should have no regrets at the shattering of constitutional illusions. They should say what Marx said about counter-revolution in Germany: the people gained by the loss of its illusions. (page 119)

The struggle against the bourgeoisie is rising to a higher stage. The capitalists are uniting in national associations, are leaguing themselves more closely with the government, and are resorting more often to extreme methods of economic struggle, including mass lock-outs, in order to “curb” the proletariat. But only moribund classes are afraid of persecutions. The more rapidly the capitalists achieve successes the more rapidly does the proletariat grow in numbers and unity. The economic development of both Russia and the whole world is a   guarantee of the proletariat’s invincibility. The bourgeoisie first began to take shape as a class, as a united and conscious political force during our revolution. All the more effectively will the workers organise into a united class all over Russia. And the wider the gulf between the world of capital and the world of labour, the clearer will be the socialist consciousness of the workers. Socialist agitation among the proletariat, enriched by the experience of the revolution, will become more definite. The political organisation of the bourgeoisie is the best stimulus to the definitive shaping of a socialist workers’ party. (pages 120 - 121)

The revolution has taught the proletariat to wage a mass struggle. The revolution has shown that the proletariat is able to lead the peasant masses in the struggle for democracy. The revolution has united the purely proletarian party still more closely by casting out petty-bourgeois elements from it. The counter-revolution has taught the petty-bourgeois democrats to give up seeking for leaders and allies among the liberals, who are mortally afraid of the mass struggle. On the basis of these lessons of history we can boldly say to the government of the Black-Hundred landlords: continue along the same line, Mr. Stolypin and Co.! We shall reap the fruits of what you are sowing! (page 122)

November 5, 1907.

The Preparation of a “Disgusting Orgy”

Published: Proletary, No. 19

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 147-152

In Marx the whole analysis of revolutionary epochs turns on the struggle of genuine democrats and particularly of the proletariat against constitutional illusions, against the treachery of liberalism, against counter-revolution. Plekhanov recognises Marx—but it is a counterfeit of Marx in the manner of Struve. (page 152)

November 5, 1907

But Who Are the Judges?

Published: Proletary, No. 19

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 153 - 160

Without a doubt, there is much in these splits that is disastrous to the cause of socialism. Nevertheless, not for a single minute would we care to barter this heavy truth for your “light” lie. Our Party’s serious illness is the growing pains of a mass party. For there can be no mass party, no party of a class, without full clarity of essential shadings, without an open struggle between various tendencies, without informing the masses as to which leaders and which organisations of the Party are pursuing this or that line. Without this, a party worthy of the name cannot be built, and we are building it. We have succeeded in putting the views of our two currents truthfully, clearly, and distinctly before everyone. Personal bitterness, factional squabbles and strife, scandals, and splits—all these are trivial in comparison with the fact that the experience of two tactics is actually teaching a lesson to the proletarian masses, is actually teaching a lesson to everyone who is capable of taking an intelligent interest in politics. Our quarrels and splits will be forgotten. Our tactical principles, sharpened and tempered, will go down as corner stones in the history of the working-class movement and socialism in Russia. Years will pass, perhaps decades, and the influence of one or the other tendency will be traced in a hundred practical questions of different kinds. Both the working class of Russia and the whole people know whom they are dealing with in the case of Bolshevism or Menshevism. (page 159)


Written in November 1907

Preface to the Pamphlet by Voinov (A. V. Lunacharsky) on the Attitude of the Party Towards the Trade Unions

First published in 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXV

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 161 - 168

Now, on the question of the trade unions, equally strong emphasis should be placed on the fact that Bolshevism applies the tactics of revolutionary Social-Democracy in all fields of struggle, in all spheres of activity. What distinguishes Bolshevism from Menshevism is not that the former “repudiates” work in the trade unions or the co-operative societies, etc., but that the former takes a different line in the work of propaganda, agitation, and organisation of the working class. Today activity in the trade unions undoubtedly assumes tremendous importance. In contrast to the neutralism of the Mensheviks we must conduct this activity on the lines of closer alignment of the unions with the Party, of the development of socialist consciousness and an understanding of the revolutionary tasks of the proletariat. In Western Europe revolutionary syndicalism in many countries was a direct and inevitable result of opportunism, reformism, and parliamentary cretinism. In our country, too, the first steps of “Duma activity” increased opportunism to a tremendous extent and reduced the Mensheviks to servility before the Cadets. (page 166)

We shall work hard in the trade unions, we shall work in all fields to spread the revolutionary theory of Marxism among the proletariat and to build up a “stronghold” of class organisation. The rest will come of itself. (page 168)

Written in November-December 1907

The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907

First published in 1908 (confiscated); published in 1917 in book form by Zhizn i Znaniye. Published according to the manuscript. Checked with the text of the 1917 edition.

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 217 - 429

Social-Democracy, as the party of the international proletariat, the party which has set itself world-wide socialist aims, cannot, of course, identify itself with any epoch of any bourgeois revolution, nor can it tie its destiny to this or that outcome of this or that bourgeois revolution. What ever the outcome, we must remain an independent, purely proletarian party, which steadfastly leads the working masses to their great socialist goal. We cannot, therefore, under take to guarantee that any of the gains of the bourgeois revolution will be permanent, because impermanence and inherent contradiction are immanent features of all the gains of the bourgeois revolution as such. The “invention” of “guarantees against restoration” can only be the fruit of shallow thinking. We have but one task: to rally the proletariat for the socialist revolution, to support every fight against the old order in the most resolute way, to fight for the best possible conditions for the proletariat in the developing bourgeois society. From this it inevitably follows that our Social-Democratic programme in the Russian bourgeois revolution can only be nationalisation of the land. (page 426)




February 19, 1908

Trade-Union Neutrality

Published: Proletary, No. 22

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 460 - 469

Our whole Party, consequently, has now recognised that work in the trade unions must be conducted not in the spirit of trade-union neutrality but in the spirit of the closest possible relations between them and the Social-Democratic Party. It is also recognised that the partisanship of the trade unions must be achieved exclusively by S.D. work within the unions, that the S.D.’s must form solid Party units in the unions, and that illegal unions should be formed since legal ones are impossible.

The high degree to which class contradictions have developed, their aggravation latterly in all countries, the long experience of Germany (where the policy of neutrality strengthened opportunism in the trade unions without preventing the appearance of special Christian and Liberal unions), and the widening of that special area of proletarian struggle which requires joint and concerted action by both the unions and the political party (the mass strike and the armed uprising in the Russian revolution, as the prototype of likely forms of the proletarian revolution in the West)—all these things have cut the ground from under the neutrality theory. (page 460 - 461)

the fundamental issue of the appraisal of the “neutrality” theory, a theory that in fact serves to strengthen the influence of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat. (page 463)

We must always and everywhere stand for the alignment of the unions with the socialist party of the working class, but the question as to which party in any given country, among any given nationality, is really socialist and really the party of the working class, is a special question, which is decided not by resolutions of international congresses, but by the outcome of the struggle between the national parties. (page 465)

If revisionist ideology really does triumph in the Party, then it will not be a socialist party of the working class. It is not at all a question of how the party takes shape, and what struggle and what splits occur in the process. It is a question of the fact that a socialist party and trade unions exist in every capitalist country, and it is our job to define the basic relations between them. The class interests of the bourgeoisie inevitably give rise to a striving to confine the unions to petty and narrow activity within the framework of the existing social order, to keep them away from any contact with socialism; and the neutrality theory is the ideological cover for these strivings of the bourgeoisie. In one way or another, the revisionists within the S.D. parties will always clear a way for themselves in capitalist society.

Of course, at the outset of the workers’ political and trade-union movements in Europe it was possible to uphold trade-union neutrality as a means of widening the original field of proletarian struggle during the period when it was comparatively undeveloped and when the bourgeoisie exerted no systematic influence on the unions. At the present time it is quite indefensible, from the point of view of international Social-Democracy, to uphold trade-union neutrality. (page 466)

The theory of the neutrality of the trade unions as opposed to the theory of the need for close ties between them and revolutionary Social-Democracy, inevitably leads to preference being given to methods of securing this improvement that involve a blunting of the proletarian class struggle. (page 467)

The neutrality theory puts in the forefront unity of the workers for the improvement of their conditions, and not unity for a struggle that could promote the cause of proletarian emancipation. (page 468)

March 23, 1908

Lessons of the Commune

Published: Zagranichnaya Gazeta, No. 2

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 475 - 478

Despite all its mistakes the Commune was a superb example of the great proletarian movement of the nineteenth century. Marx set a high value on the historic significance   of the Commune—if, during the treacherous attempt by the Versailles gang to seize the arms of the Paris proletariat, the workers had allowed themselves to be disarmed without a fight, the disastrous effect of the demoralisation, that this weakness would have caused in the proletarian movement, would have been far, far greater than the losses suffered by the working class in the battle to defend its arms. The sacrifices of the Commune, heavy as they were, are made up for by its significance for the general struggle of the proletariat: it stirred the socialist movement throughout Europe, it demonstrated the strength of civil war, it dispelled patriotic illusions, and destroyed the naïve belief in any efforts of the bourgeoisie for common national aims. The Commune taught the European proletariat to pose concretely the tasks of the socialist revolution. The lesson learnt by the proletariat will not be forgotten. The working class will make use of it, as it has already done in Russia during the December uprising. (page 476 - 477)

March (25) 12, 1908

An Estimate of Marx by International Liberalism

Published: Proletary, No. 25

Lenin, Volume 13, pages 490 - 494

To know your enemy you must go into the enemy’s country”

to get first-hand knowledge of his customs, manners, ways of thinking and acting. [ Lenin originally German language ]

Marxists would do well to cast a glance at the comments made on the commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the death of Marx by influential political organs in various countries. (page 490)

And here, in conclusion,is Journal des Débats, the conservative organ of the bourgeois republic. In its issue of March   15, it writes, on the occasion of the anniversary, that the socialists, those “wild equalitarians”, preach the cult of their great men, that the chief evil of the teachings of Marx, who “hated the bourgeosie”, is the theory of the struggle of classes. “He preached to the working classes not temporary conflicts alternating with periods of truce, but a holy war, a war of extermination, of expropriation, a war for the promised land of collectivism.., a monstrous utopia."...

The bourgeois papers write well when stung to the quick. Life becomes a more cheerful thing when you see this growing ideological unity among the liberal enemies of the proletariat all over the world, for this unity is one of the guarantees of the unification of the millions of the international proletariat, which will win for itself its promised land, come what may. (page 493 – 494)

March 19, 1908

On to the Straight Road

Published in the newspaper Proletary, No. 26

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 15 - 21

At first sight there is a remarkable similarity between this system of Party work and that which was established by the Germans during the Anti-Socialist Law (1878-90). The distance which the German working-class movement covered during the thirty years following the, bourgeois revolution (1848-78), the Russian working-class movement is covering in three years (from the end of 1905 to 1908). But behind this outward similarity is hidden a profound inward difference. In Russia the three years which have not yet passed since the first great victory and the first great defeat of the bourgeois-democratic revolution not only have not fulfilled its tasks but, on the contrary, have for the first time spread realisation of those tasks among broad masses of the proletariat and the peasantry. What has been outlived during these two odd years is constitutional illusions and belief in the democratism of the liberal lackeys of Black-Hundred tsarism.

Written not later than April 3, 1908

Marxism and Revisionism

Published in 1908 in the symposium Karl Marx—1818-1883. Signed: Vl. Ilyin

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 29 – 39

There is a well-known saying that if geometrical axioms affected human interests attempts would certainly be made to refute them. Theories of natural history which conflicted with the old prejudices of theology provoked, and still provoke, the most rabid opposition. No wonder, therefore, that the Marxian doctrine, which directly serves to enlighten and organise the advanced class in modern society, indicates the tasks facing this class and demonstrates the inevitable replacement (by virtue of economic development) of the present system by a new order—no wonder that this doctrine has had to fight for every step forward in the course of its life.

The progress of Marxism, the fact that its ideas are spreading and taking firm hold among the working class, inevitably increase the frequency and intensity of these bourgeois attacks on Marxism, which becomes stronger, more hardened and more vigorous every time it is “annihilated” by official science. (page 31)

In the first half-century of its existence (from   the 1840s on) Marxism was engaged in combating theories fundamentally hostile to it. In the early forties Marx and Engels settled accounts with the radical Young Hegelians whose viewpoint was that of philosophical idealism. At the end of the forties the struggle began in the field of economic doctrine, against Proudhonism. The fifties saw the completion of this struggle in criticism of the parties and doctrines which manifested themselves in the stormy year of 1848. In the sixties the struggle shifted from the field of general theory to one closer to the direct labour movement: the ejection of Bakuninism from the International. In the early seventies the stage in Germany was occupied for a short while by the Proudhonist Mühlberger, and in the late seventies by the positivist Dühring. But the influence of both on the proletariat was already absolutely insignificant. Marxism was already gaining an unquestionable victory over all other ideologies in the labour movement. And the second half-century of the existence of Marxism began (in the nineties) with the struggle of a trend hostile to Marxism within Marxism itself. (page 32)

Pre-Marxist socialism has been defeated. It is continuing the struggle, no longer on its own independent ground, but on the general ground of Marxism, as revisionism. Let us, then, examine the ideological content of revisionism.

We shall simply note that the only Marxist in the international Social-Democratic movement to criticise the incredible platitudes of the revisionists from the standpoint of consistent dialectical materialism was Plekhanov. (page 33)

In the sphere of politics, revisionism did really try to revise the foundation of Marxism, namely, the doctrine of the class struggle. (page 36)

A natural complement to the economic and political tendencies of revisionism was its attitude to the ultimate aim of the socialist movement. The movement is everything, the ultimate aim is nothing"this catch-phrase of Bernstein’s expresses the substance of revisionism better than many long disquisitions. (page 37)

The inevitability of revisionism is determined by its class roots in modern society. Revisionism is an international phenomenon. No thinking socialist who is in the least informed can have the slightest doubt that the relation between the orthodox and the Bernsteinians in Germany, the Guesdists and the Jaurèsists (and now particularly the Broussists) in France, the Social Democratic Federation and the Independent Labour Party in Great Britain, Brouckère and Vandervelde in Belgium, the Integralists and the Reformists in Italy, the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in Russia, is everywhere essentially similar, notwithstanding the immense variety of national conditions and historical factors in the present state of all these countries. In reality, the “division” within the present international socialist movement is now proceeding along the same lines in all the various countries of the world, which testifies to a tremendous advance compared with thirty or forty years ago, when heterogeneous trends in the various countries were struggling within the one international socialist movement. (page 38)

Wherein lies its inevitability in capitalist society? Why is it more profound than the differences of national peculiarities and of degrees of capitalist development? Because in every capitalist country, side by side with the proletariat, there are always broad strata of the petty bourgeoisie, small proprietors. Capitalism arose and is constantly arising out of small production. These new small producers are just as inevitably being cast again into the ranks of the proletariat. It is quite natural that the petty-bourgeois world-outlook should again and again crop up in the ranks of the broad workers’ parties. It is quite natural that this should be so and always will be so, right up to the changes of fortune that will take place in the proletarian revolution. For it would be a profound mistake to think that the “complete” proletarianisation of the majority of the population is essential for bringing about such a revolution. What we now frequently experience only in the domain of ideology, namely, disputes over theoretical amendments to Marx; what now crops up in practice only over individual side issues of the labour movement, as tactical differences with the revisionists and splits on this basis—is bound to be experienced by the working class on an incomparably larger scale when the proletarian revolution will sharpen all disputed issues, will focus all differences on points which are of the most immediate importance in determining the conduct of the masses, and will make it necessary in the heat of the fight to distinguish enemies from friends, and to cast out bad allies in order to deal decisive blows at the enemy.

The ideological struggle waged by revolutionary Marxism against revisionism at the end of the nineteenth century is but the prelude to the great revolutionary battles of the proletariat, which is marching forward to the complete victory of its cause despite all the waverings and weaknesses of the petty bourgeoisie. (page 39)

April 1908

The Assessment of the Russian Revolution

Published in April 1908 in the journal Przeglad Socjaldemokratyczny, No. 2. Signed: N. Lenin. Published in Russian (translated from Polish) on Mar 10 (23), 1908 in Proletary, No. 30

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 50 – 62

All those victories—or half-victories, quarter-victories, rather—which our revolution won, were achieved entirely and exclusively thanks to the direct revolutionary onset of the proletariat, which was marching at the head of the non-proletarian elements of the working people. All the defeats were due to the weakening of such an onset, to the tactics of avoiding it, tactics based on the absence of it, and sometimes (among the Cadets) on directly seeking to eliminate it. (page 50)

The class-consciousness of the socialist proletariat, moving hand in hand with the international army of socialist revolution in Europe, the extreme revolutionary spirit of the muzhik, driven by the age-old yoke of the feudal-minded landlords to a state of utter desperation and to the demand for confiscation of the landed estates—these are the circumstances which threw Russian liberalism into the arms of counter-revolution   much more powerfully than ever they did the liberals of Europe. And therefore on the Russian working class there has devolved with particular force the task of preserving the traditions of revolutionary struggle which the intellectuals and t.he petty bourgeoisie are hastening to renounce, developing and strengthening these traditions, imbuing with them the consciousness of the great mass of the people, and carrying them forward to the next inevitable upsurge of the democratic movement. (page 52)

Unless we fully and clearly realise what classes are capable, in the light of objective   economic conditions, of making the Russian bourgeois revolution victorious, all our words about seeking to make that revolution victorious will be empty phrases, mere democratic declamation, while our tactics in the bourgeois revolution will inevitably be unprincipled and wavering.

Revolutionary periods are distinguished from periods of so-called peaceful development, periods when economic conditions do not give rise to profound crises or powerful mass movements, precisely in this: that the forms of struggle in periods of the first type inevitably are much more varied, and the direct revolutionary struggle of the masses predominates rather than the propaganda and agitation activities conducted by leaders in parliament, in the press, etc. Therefore if, in assessing revolutionary periods, we confine ourselves to defining the line of activity of the various classes, without analysing the forms of their struggle, our discussion in the scientific sense will be incomplete and undialectical, while from the standpoint of practical politics it will degenerate into the dead letter of the raisoneur .

In order to make a genuinely Marxist assessment of the revolution, from the standpoint of dialectical materialism, it has to be assessed as the struggle of live social forces, placed in particular objective conditions, acting in a particular way and applying with greater or less success particular forms of struggle. It is on the basis of such an analysis, and only on that basis of course, that it is appropriate and indeed essential for a Marxist to assess the technical side of the struggle, the technical questions which arise in its course. (page 55)

In Western Europe, he [ Kautsky] says, the proletariat constitutes the great mass of the population.Therefore the victory of democracy in present-day Europe means the political supremacy of the proletariat. “In Russia, with her predominantly peas ant population, this cannot be expected. Of course, the victory of Social-Democracy in the foreseeable (in German, absehbar) future is not ruled out in Russia either: but that victory could be only the result of an alliance (Koalition) of the proletariat and the peasantry.” And Kautsky even expresses the opinion that such a victory would inevitably give a tremendous impetus to proletarian revolution in Western Europe. (page 56)

Kautsky discusses the other question, the assessment of the insurrection of December 1905, in the preface to the second edition of his booklet. He writes: “I can now no longer assert as definitely as I did in 1902 that armed uprisings and barricade fighting will not play the decisive part in the coming revolutions. Too clear evidence to the contrary is provided by the experience of the street battles in Moscow, when a handful of men held up a whole army f or a week in barricade fighting, and would have almost gained the victory, had not the failure of the revolutionary   movement in other cities made it possible to dispatch such reinforcements to the army that in the end a monstrously superior force was concentrated against the insurgents. Of course, this relative success of the struggle on the barricades was possible only because the city population energetically supported the revolutionaries, while the troops were completely demoralised. But who can affirm with certainty that something similar is impossible in Western Europe?" (page 59 - 60)

The struggle of December 1905 proved that armed uprising can be victorious in modern conditions of military technique and military organisation. As a result of the December struggle the whole international labour movement must henceforth reckon with the probability of similar forms of fighting in the coming proletarian revolutions. These are the conclusions which really follow from the experience of our revolution: these are the lessons which the broadest masses of the people should assimilate. (page 60)

Is it not the tradition of just such a struggle, the tradition of the December armed uprising, that is at times the only serious means of overcoming anarchist tendencies within the workers’ party— not by means of hackneyed, philistine, petty-bourgeois moralising, but by turning from aimless, senseless, sporadic acts of violence to purposeful, mass violence, linked with the broad movement and the sharpening of the direct proletarian struggle? (page 61)

July 2, 1905

Some Features of the Present Collapse

Published: Proletary, No. 32

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 148 - 157

It is extremely important to grasp the truth, confirmed by the experience of all countries which have undergone the defeat of a revolution, that one and the same psychology, one and the same class peculiarity (that of the petty bourgeoisie, for example) is displayed both in the dejection of the opportunist and in the desperation of the terrorist. (page 152)

What lesson follows from this? The business of the Social-Democrats is to imbue the masses with a clear understanding of this economic foundation of the growing crisis, and to train up a serious party organisation which could help the people to assimilate the abundant lessons of the revolution, and would be capable of leading them in struggle, when the maturing forces become fully ripe for a new revolutionary “campaign”. (page 153 - 154)

July 23, 1908

Inflammable Material in World Politics

Published: Proletary, No. 33

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 182 – 188

The revolutionary movement in various European and Asian countries has latterly made itself felt so weightily that we see before us the fairly clear outlines of a new and incomparably higher stage in the international proletarian struggle. (page 182)

There has been a counter-revolution in Persiaa peculiar combination of the dissolution of Russia’s First Duma, and of the Russian insurrection at the close of 1905. Shame fully defeated by the Japanese, the armies of the Russian tsar are taking their revenge by zealously serving the counter-revolution. The exploits of the Cossacks in mass shootings, punitive expeditions, manhandling and pillage in Russia are followed by their exploits in suppressing the revolution in Persia. That Nicholas Romanov, heading the Black-Hundred landlords and capitalists scared by strikes and civil war, should be venting his fury on the Persian revolutionaries, is understandable. It is not the first time that Russia’s Christian soldiers are cast in the role of international hangmen. That Britain is pharisaically washing her hands of the affair, and maintaining a demonstratively friendly neutrality towards the Persian reactionaries and supporters of absolutism, is a somewhat different matter. The British Liberal bourgeoisie, angered by the growth of the labour movement at home and frightened by the mounting revolutionary struggle in India, are more and more frequently, frankly and sharply demonstrating what brutes the highly “civilised” European “politicians”, men who have passed through the high school of constitutionalism, can turn into when it comes to a rise in the mass struggle against capital and the capitalist colonial system, i. e., a system of enslavement, plunder and violence. The position of the Persian   revolutionaries is a difficult one; theirs is a country which the masters of India on the one hand, and the counter revolutionary Russian Government on the other, were on the point of dividing up between themselves. But the dogged struggle in Tabriz and the repeated swing of the fortunes of war to the revolutionaries who, it seemed, had been utterly defeated, are evidence that the Shah’s bashi-bazouks, even though aided by Russian Lyakhovs and British diplomats, are encountering the most vigorous resistance from the people. A revolutionary movement that can offer armed resistance to attempts at restoration, that compels the attempters to call in foreign aid—such a movement cannot be destroyed. In these circumstances, even the fullest triumph of Persian reaction would merely be the prelude to fresh popular rebellion. (page 182 - 183)

In Turkey, the revolutionary movement in the army, led by the Young Turks, has achieved victory. True, it is only half a victory, or even less, since Turkey’s Nicholas II has so far managed to get away with a promise to restore the celebrated Turkish constitution. But in a revolution such half-victories, such forced and hasty concessions by the old regime, are the surest guarantee of new and much more decisive, more acute fluctuations of the civil war, involving broader masses of the people. And the school of civil war is never lost upon nations. It is a hard school, and its complete course necessarily includes victories for the counter-revolution, the unbridled licence of the infuriated reactionaries, the savage reprisals of the old government against the rebels, etc. But only incurable pedants and doddering mummies can moan over the fact that the nations have entered this very painful school. For it is one that teaches the oppressed classes how to wage civil war and how to carry the revolution to victory. It concentrates in the masses of contemporary slaves the hatred which downtrodden, benighted and ignorant slaves have always carried within them, and which leads to the supreme history-making feats of slaves who have realised the shame of their slavery. (page 177)

In India lately, the native slaves of the “civilised” British capitalists have been a source of worry to their “masters”. There Is no end to the acts of violence and plunder which goes under the name of the British system of government in India. Nowhere in the world—with the exception, of course of Russia—will you find such abject mass poverty, such chronic starvation among the people. The most Liberal and Radical personalities of free Britain, men like John Morley—that authority for Russian and non-Russian Cadets, that luminary of “progressive” journalism (in reality, a lackey of capitalism)—become regular Genghis Khans when appointed to govern India, and are capable of sanctioning every means of “pacifying” the population in their charge, even to the extent of flogging political protestors! Justice, the little weekly of the British Social-Democrats, has been banned in India by these Liberal and “Radical” scoundrels like Morley. And when Keir Hardie, the British M. P. and leader of the Independent Labour Party, had.the. temerity to visit India and speak to the Indians about the most elementary democratic demands, the whole British bourgeois press raised a howl against this “rebel”. .And now the most influential British newspapers are in a fury about. “agitators” who disturb the tranquillity of India, and are welcoming court sentences and administrative measures in the purely Russian, Plehve style to suppress democratic Indian publicists. But in India the street is beginning to stand up for its writers arid political leaders. The infamous sentence pronounced by the British jackals on the Indian democrat Tilak—he was sentenced to a long term of exile, the question in the British House of Commons the other day revealing that the Indian jurors had declared for acquittal and that the verdict had been passed by the vote of the British jurors!—this revenge against a democrat by the lackeys of the money-bag evoked street demonstrations and a strike in Bombay. In India, too, the proletariat has already developed to conscious political mass struggle—and, that being the case, the Russian-style British regime in India is doomed! By their colonial plunder of Asian countries, the Europeans have succeeded in so steeling one of them, Japan, that she has gained great military victories, which have ensured her independent .national development. There can be no doubt that the age-old plunder of India by the British, and the contemporary struggle of all these “advanced” Europeans against Persian and Indian democracy, will steel millions, tens of millions of proletarians in Asia to wage a struggle against their oppressors which will be just as victorious as that of the Japanese. The class-conscious European worker now has comrades in Asia, and their number will grow by leaps and bounds.

In China, too, the revolutionary movement against the medieval order has made itself felt with particular force in recent months. True, nothing definite can yet be said about the present movement’—there is such scanty information about it and such a spate of reports about revolts in various parts of the country. But there can be no doubt about the vigorous growth of the “new spirit” and the “European currents” that are stirring in China, especially since the Russo-Japanese war; and consequently, the old-style Chinese revolts will inevitably develop into a conscious democratic movement. That some of the participants in colonial plunder are this time greatly concerned is borne out. by the way the French are acting in Indo-China: they helped the “historic authorities” in China to put down the revolutionaries! They feared equally for the safety of their “own˜˜ Asian possessions bordering on China. (page 183 – 185)

The French bourgeoisie, however, are concerned not only over their Asian possessions. The barricades at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, near Paris, the shooting down of the strikers who built these barricades (on Thursday, July 30)—these events are renewed evidence of the sharpening of the class struggle in Europe. Clemenceau, the Radical, who governs France on behalf of the capitalists, is working with uncommon zeal to shatter the last lingering remnants of republican-bourgeois illusions among the proletariat. The shooting down of the workers by troops acting on the orders of a. “Radical” government has, under Clemenceau, become almost more frequent than before.. The French socialists have already, dubbed. Clemenceau “The Red” for this; and now, when his agents, gendarmes and generals have again shed the blood of the workers, the socialists recall the catch- phrase once uttered by this ultra-progressive bourgeois republican to a workers’ delegation: “You and I are on different sides of the barricade.” Yes, the French proletariat and the most extreme bourgeois republicans have finally taken their place on opposite sides of the barricade. The French working class shed much blood to win and defend the republic,   and now, on the basis of the fully established republican order, the decisive struggle between the propertied class and the working people is rapidly coming to a head.It was not simply brutality,” L’Humanité wrote of the July 30 events, “it was part of a battle.” The generals and the police were bent on provoking the workers and turning a peaceful unarmed demonstration into a massacre. But the troops that surrounded and attacked the unarmed strikers and demonstrators met with resistance, their action leading to the immediate erection of barricades, and to events which are agitating the whole of France. These barricades, L’Humanité says, were built of boards and were ludicrously ineffectual. But that is not important. What is important is that the Third Republic had eliminated the old habit of barricades; whereas now “Clemenceau is reviving that habit"—and he is just as candid about the matter as were “the butchers of June 1848, and Galliffet in 1871", on the subject of civil war. (page 186 - 187)

And the socialist press is not alone in recalling these great historic dates in connection with the events of July 30. The bourgeois press is furiously attacking the workers, accusing them of behaving as if they intended to start a socialist revolution. One paper cites a minor but characteristic incident indicative of the mood of both sides at the scene of action. When the workers were carrying a wounded comrade past General Virvaire, who directed the operations against the strikers, there were shouts from the demonstrators: “Saluez!" And the general of the bourgeois republic saluted his wounded enemy.

The sharpening of the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is to be observed in all the advanced capitalist countries. The tendency is the same everywhere, though it manifests itself differently in accordance with the difference in historical conditions, political systems and forms of the labour movement.

In America and Britain, where complete political liberty exists and where the proletariat has no revolutionary and socialist traditions that could be called living traditions, this sharpening of the struggle is expressed in the mounting movement against the trusts, in the extraordinary growth of socialism and the increasing attention it is getting from the propertied classes, and in workers’ organisations, in some cases purely economic   ones, that are beginning to enter upon systematic and independent proletarian political struggle.

In Austria and Germany, and partly also in the Scandinavian countries, this sharpening of the class struggle shows itself in election campaigns, in party relationships, .in the closer alignment of the bourgeoisie of all sorts and shades against their common enemy, the proletariat, and in the hardening of judicial and police persecution. Slowly but surely, the two opposing camps are building up their strength, consolidating their organisations, drawing apart with increasing sharpness in every sphere of public life, as if preparing, silently and intently, for the impending revolutionary battles. In the Latin countries, Italy and particularly France, the sharpening of the class struggle is expressed in especially stormy, violent, and occasionally forthright revolutionary outbreaks, when the pent-up hatred of the proletariat for its oppressors bursts out with unexpected force, and the “peaceful” atmosphere of parliamentary struggle gives way to episodes of real civil war.

The international revolutionary movement of the proletariat does not and cannot develop evenly and in identical forms in different countries. The full and all-round utilisation of every opportunity in every field of activity comes only as the result of the class struggle of the workers in the various countries. Every country contributes its own valuable and specific features to the common stream; but in each particular country the movement suffers from its own one-sidedness, its own theoretical and practical shortcomings of the individual socialist parties. On the whole we clearly see a tremendous step forward of international socialism, the rallying of million-strong armies of the proletariat in the course of a series of practical clashes with the enemy, and the approach of a decisive struggle with the bourgeoisie—a struggle for which the working class is far better prepared than in the days of the Commune, that last great proletarian insurrection.

And this step forward of the whole of international socialism, along with the sharpening of the revolutionary democratic struggle in Asia, places the Russian revolution in a special and especially difficult position. The Russian revolution has a great international ally both in Europe and in Asia, but, at the same time, and for that very reason, it has not only a national, not only a Russian, but also an international enemy. Reaction against the mounting proletarian struggle is inevitable in all capitalist countries, and it is uniting the bourgeois governments of the whole world against every popular movement, against every revolution both in Asia and, particularly, in Europe. The opportunists in our Party, like the majority -of the Russian liberal intelligentsia, are still dreaming of a bourgeois revolution in Russia that will “not alienate” or scare away the bourgeoisie, that will not. engender “excessive” reaction, or lead to the seizure of power by the revolutionary classes. Vain hopes! A philistine utopia! The amount of inflammable material in all the advanced countries of the world is increasing so speedily, and the conflagration is so clearly spreading to most Asian countries which only yesterday. were in a state of deep slumber, that the intensification of international bourgeois reaction and the aggravation of every single national revolution are absolutely inevitable.

The historical tasks of our revolution are not being performed by the forces of counter-revolution, and cannot be. The Russian bourgeoisie are necessarily gravitating more and more towards the international anti-proletarian and antidemocratic trend. It is not on liberal allies that the Russian proletariat should count. It must . follow its own independent path to the complete victory of the revolution, basing itself on the need for a forcible solution of the agrarian question in Russia by the peasant masses themselves, helping them to overthrow the rule of the Black- Hundred landlords and the Black-Hundred autocracy, setting itself the task of establishing a. democratic dictator ship of the proletariat and the peasantry in Russia, and remembering that its struggle and its victories are inseparable from the international revolutionary movement. Less illusions about the liberalism of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie (counter-revolutionary both in Russia and the world over). More attention to the growth of the international revolutionary proletariat! (pages 187 - 188)

July 23, 1908

Bellicose Militarism and the Anti-Militarist Tactics of Social-Democracy

Published: Proletary. No. 33

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 191 - 201

Modern militarism is the result of capitalism. In both its forms it is t.he “vital expression” of capitalism.—as a military force used by the capitalist states in their external conflicts ("Militarismus nach aussen”, as the Germans say) and as a weapon in the hands of the ruling classes for suppressing every kind of movement, economic and political, of the proletariat ("Militarismus nach innen”). A number of International Congresses (Paris 1889, Brussels 1891, Zurich 1893 and finally Stuttgart 1907) provided a perfect expression of this view in their resolutions. The Stuttgart resolution establishes this link between militarism and capitalism most circumstantially, although in keeping with the agenda ("International Conflicts”) the Stuttgart Congress was more concerned with that aspect of militarism which the Germans call “external” ("Militarismus nach aussen”) . Here is the relevant passage in this resolution:

Wars between capitalist states are usually the result of their competition on the world market, since each state strives not only to assure itself of a sphere of export, but also to conquer new regions, and the principal part in this is played by the enslavement of other peoples and countries. These wars then arise from the continuous armaments   produced by militarism, which is the principal implement of class domination of the bourgeoisie and of the political subjugation of the working class.

A favourable soil for wars are, nationalist prejudices, which are systematically cultivated in the civilised countries in the interests of the ruling classes, with the object of diverting the proletarian masses from their own class objectives arid making them forget the duty of international class solidarity.

Thus wars are rooted in the very essence of capitalism; they will end only when the capitalist system ceases to exist, or when the immensity of human and financial sacrifice caused by the development of military technique, and the indignation which armaments arouse in the people, lead to the elimination of the system.

The working class, which is the principal supplier of soldiers, and which bears the brunt of the material sacrifices, is in particular the natural enemy of wars, because wars contradict the aim it pursues, namely, the creation of an economic system founded on socialist principles, which in practice will give effect to the solidarity of peoples....(page 192 - 193)

At the Stuttgart Congress these differences’ were very marked. (page 193)

Such are the two “extreme” positions on this question in the ranks of the Western socialists. “Like the sun in a drop of water”, there are reflected in them the two diseases which still cause harm to the activity of the socialist proletariat in the West—opportunist tendencies on the one hand and anarchist phrase-mongering on the other. (page 194)

First of all, a few remarks about patriotism. Thatworking men have no country” was really said in the Communist Manifesto. That the attitude of Vollmar, Noske and Co. strikes at this basic principle of international socialism is also true. But it does not follow from this that Hervé and his followers are right in asserting that it is of no concern to the proletariat in what country it lives—in monarchical Germany, republican France or despotic Turkey. The fatherland, i.e., the given political, cultural and social environment, is a most powerful factor in the class struggle of the proletariat; The proletariat cannot he indifferent to the political, social and cultural conditions of its struggle; consequently it cannot be indifferent to the destinies of its country. But the destinies of the country interest it only to the extent that they affect its class struggle, and not in virtue of some bourgeois “patriotism”, quite indecent on the lips of a Social- Democrat. (page 195)

All alliances with Russia now meana holy alliance between the bourgeoisie of Western Europe and Russian counter-revolution, the suppressors and executioners of Russian and Polish fighters for liberty. Such alliances mean the strengthening of the most bloody reaction, not only inside Russia, but in international relations as well.... Therefore the most elementary obligation of socialists and proletarians in all countries is to oppose with all their might an alliance wit.h counter-revolutionary Russia”.

This letter [written by Rosa Luxemburg an quotated by Lenin] speaks for itself, and Russian Social-Democrats can only send their greetings to Comrade Rosa Luxemburg for this her protest and for her defence of the Russian revolution before the international proletariat. (page 200 - 201)

October 16, 1908

Events in the Balkans and in Persia

Published: Proletary No. 37

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 220 - 230

A powerful impetus to the political awakening of the Asian peoples was given by the Russo-Japanese War and the Russian revolution. But this awakening spread so slowly from one country to another that in Persia Russian counter revolution played and continues to play what amounts to a decisive role, while in Turkey the revolution was at once confronted with a counter-revolutionary coalition of the powers, Russia at their head.

For the fact is that not a single European country calling itself a democracy, and not a single European bourgeois party professing to be democratic, progressive, Liberal, Radical, etc., has in any way demonstrated a genuine desire to promote the victory and consolidation of the Turkish revolution. On the contrary, they all fear its success, for the inevitable result of it would be, on the one hand, to foster the desire for autonomy and genuine democracy in all the Balkan nations and, on the other, ensure the victory of the Persian revolution, give fresh impetus to the democratic movement in Asia, intensify the struggle for independence in India, create free institutions along an immense stretch of Russia’s frontier—and, consequently, new conditions that would hamper the policy of Black-Hundred tsarism and facilitate the rise of the revolution in Russia, etc.

Essentially, what we see now going on in the Balkans, Turkey and Persia is a counter-revolutionary coalition of the European powers against the mounting tide of democracy in Asia. And the very essence of proletarian policy at this stage should be to tear the mask from. these bourgeois hypocrites and to reveal to the broadest masses of the people the reactionary character of the European governments who, out of fear of the proletarian struggle at home, are playing, and helping others play, the part of gendarme in relation to the revolution in Asia. (page 220 - 221)

Rivalry among the capitalist powers, anxious to “bite off” as big a piece as they can and extend their possessions and colonies, coupled with fear of an independent democratic movement among the nations dependent on or “protected”   by Europe—these are two mainsprings of all European policy. The Young Turks are praised for their moderation and restraint, i.e., the Turkish revolution is being praised because it is weak, because it is not rousing the popular masses to really independent action, because it is hostile to the proletarian struggle beginning in the Ottoman Empire—and at the same time the plunder of Turkey continues. The Young Turks are praised for making it possible to go on plundering Turkish possessions. They praise the Young Turks and continue a policy, the obvious purpose of which is to partition Turkey. (page 221 – 222)

Only the world proletarian revolution can overthrow this combined power of the crowned bandits and international capital. The urgent task of all socialist parties is to intensify agitation among the masses, unmask the diplomats of all countries at their tricks and bring out all the facts for the people to see—the facts revealing the infamous role of all the allied powers without exception—both as direct performers of the functions of the gendarme, and as his abettors, friends and financiers. (page 227)

Down with all colonial policy, down with the whole policy of intervention and capitalist struggle for the conquest of foreign lands and foreign populations, for new privileges, new markets, control of the Straits, etc.! Social-Democrats do not subscribe to the stupid philistine utopia of “peaceful and just” capitalist progress. Their struggle is against the whole of capitalist society as such, in the knowledge that there is no other champion of peace and liberty in the world than the international revolutionary proletariat. (page 229)

October 16, 1908

Meeting of the International Socialist Bureau

Published: Proletary, No. 37,. Signed: N. Lenin.

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 231 - 246

On Sunday October 11 (N. S.) there took place in Brussels the first meeting of the International Socialist Bureau since the Stuttgart Congress. (page 231)

The conference of journalists opened at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The question under discussion was that of regulating and developing the relations between the periodical press of the various socialist parties, The Belgians drew up a list of correspondents, members of their party, who were ready to give information to the newspapers of other parties on various particular questions. The wish was expressed that similar lists should be drawn up by other parties, and it was suggested that there should be a note of what languages the correspondent knew. The foreign bulletins of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party (La Tribune Russe, in French) and of the Social—Democrats (in German) were mentioned as particularly useful publications for our foreign comrades. It was also remarked that in the case of countries where there were different socialist parties, or various tendencies with in a single party, a note should be made in the lists stating   which party, etc., the correspondents belonged to. Russian Social-Democrats living abroad ought to make use of this international conference to ensure better arrangements for their reports in foreign socialist newspapers. (page 232)

According to the Rules of the International, organisations eligible for membership are, first, socialist parties which recognise the class struggle, and secondly, working-class organisations whose standpoint is that of the class struggle (i. e., trade unions). The Labour Party recently formed in the British House of Commons does not openly call itself socialist, and does not expressly and definitely recognise the principle of the class struggle (which, be it said in parenthesis, the British Social-Democrats call upon it to do). Needless to say this Labour Party was admitted to the International in general and to the Stuttgart Socialist Congress in particular, because, as a matter of fact, this Party is an organisation of a mixed type, standing between the two types defined in Clauses I and 2 of the Rules of the International, and embodying the political representation of the British trade unions. Nevertheless, the question of the affiliation of this Party was raised, and raised by the Party itself, in the person of the so-called Independent Labour Party (the I.L.P., as the British call it), which is one of the two subsections of the British section of the International. The other subsection is the Social Democratic Federation. (page 233)

I took the floor in order to associate myself with the first part of Kautsky’s resolution. It was impossible, I argued, to refuse to admit the Labour Party, i.e., the parliamentary representation of the trade unions, since Congresses had previously admitted all trade unions whatever, even those which had allowed themselves to be represented by bourgeois parliamentarians. But, I said, the second part of Kautsky’s resolution is wrong, because in practice the Labour Party is not a party really independent of the Liberals, and does not pursue a fully independent class policy. I therefore proposed an amendment that the end of the   resolution, beginning with the word “because”, should read as follows:

"because it [the Labour Party] represents the first step on the part of the really proletarian organisations of Britain towards a conscious class policy and towards a socialist workers’ party”. I submitted this amendment to the Bureau, but Kautsky would not accept it [ this was Lenin's one of the first open criticisms on Kautsky -remark of the Comintern [SH]) (page 234 - 235)

That by separating in Parliament (not during the elections! not in its whole policy! not in its propaganda and agitation!) from the bourgeois parties, the Labour Party in Britain is taking the first step towards socialism and towards a class policy of the proletarian mass organisations is indisputable. This is not an “expectation” but a fact, the very fact which compels us to admit the Labour Party into the -International, since we have already accepted the trade unions. Finally, it is precisely such a formulation that would make hundreds of thousands of British workers, who undoubtedly respect the decisions of the International but have not yet be come full socialists, ponder once again over the question why they are regarded as having taken only the first step, and what the next steps along this road should be. My formulation, does not contain even the shadow of a claim that the International should undertake to solve the concrete and detailed problems of a national labour movement, should undertake to determine when the -next steps should be taken, and what they should be. But that further steps are necessary in general must be admitted, in relation to a party which does not expressly and clearly accept the principle of the class struggle. Kautsky in his resolution acknowledged this indirectly, instead of doing so directly. It looked as if the International was certifying that the Labour Party was in practice waging a consistent class struggle, as if it was sufficient for a workers’ organisation to form a separate labour group in Parliament in order in its entire conduct to become independent of the bourgeoisie! (page 235 - 236)

When there exist objective conditions which retard the growth of the political consciousness and class independence of the proletarian masses, one must be able patiently and steadfastly to work hand in hand with them, making no concessions in principles but not refraining from activity right in the midst of the proletarian masses. These lessons of Engels’s have been corroborated by the subsequent development of events, when the British trade unions, insular, aristocratic, philistinely selfish, and hostile to socialism, which have produced a number of outright traitors to the working class who have sold themselves to the bourgeoisie for ministerial posts (like the scoundrel John Burns), have nevertheless begun moving towards socialism, awkwardly, inconsistently, in zigzag fashion,’ but still moving to wards socialism. Only the blind can fail to see that socialism is now growing apace among the working class in Britain, that socialism is once again becoming a mass movement in that country, that the social revolution is approaching in Great Britain.

The International would undoubtedly have acted wrongly had it not directly and resolutely expressed its complete sympathy with this vast step forward by the mass labour movement in Britain, and voiced its encouragement of the great turn that had begun in the cradle of capitalism. But. it does not in the least follow from this that the Labour Party can already be recognised as a party in practice independent of the bourgeoisie, as a party waging the class struggle, as a socialist party, etc. It was necessary to rectify one undoubted error committed by the British Social Democratic Federation, but there was no need to give even a shadow of encouragement to other, undoubted and not less important errors of the British opportunists who lead the so.. called Independent Labour Party. That these leaders are opportunists is indisputable. Ramsay MacDonald, the leader of the I.L.P., even proposed at Stuttgart that Clause 2 of the Rules of the International be so amended as to require, in place of the recognition of the class struggle, only the good faith (bona fides) of labour associations, for affiliation to the International. Kautsky himself immediately detected the opportunist note in ’the words of Bruce Glasier and dissociated himself from them—in his speech at the Bureau, but unfortunately not in his resolution. The speech at the Bureau was delivered before a dozen persons, but the resolution was written for millions. (page 237)

Bruce Glasier moved that the resolution should include a statement on the necessity of organising international demonstrations; but it was decided that a recommendation to this effect should be sent through the Bureau to the various national parties. (page 240)

October-November 1908

Some Remarks on the “Reply” by P. Maslov

Published in in the Polish journal Przeglad Socjaldemokratyczny, No 8 - 9. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 255 - 266

Was Marx’s trend of thought in agrarian policy correct? It was correct, esteemed Comrade Maslov—who has “revised” the theory of absolute rent in the spirit of bourgeois economics, but has not had time to “revise” the rest of Marx. A bourgeois revolution in the agrarian sphere can be consistent and really victorious only when it forcibly and drastically abolishes all feudal property, when it wipes   out all previous property in land, and instead creates a basis for the new free bourgeois property in land, adapted to the requirements of capital and not of the landlords. Nationalisation of the land is fully in keeping with the trend of such a revolution. Moreover nationalisation of the land is the only measure which ensures that such a revolution takes place with the greatest consistency think able in capitalist society. There is no other means so resolutely and painlessly to liberate the peasants from the “ghetto” of allotment property. There is no other means to destroy the old rotten village commune without police, bureaucracy and money-lender. (page 261 – 262) Maslov cannot under stand Marx’s doctrine of absolute rent, which, unlike differential rent, can be abolished in capitalist society, the development of which will be advanced by its abolition. (page 263) In Europe there is no “allotment” property in land, nor are there barriers deriving from the medieval ranks of society: there exists free and capitalist, not feudal, property in land. In Europe there is no peasant movement against the landlords supported by the Social-Democrats. (page 264) So long as the revolutionary-democratic struggle of the peasantry continues, so long as there is sense in an “agrarian programme” of Marxists in a bourgeois revolution, it is our duty to support the revolutionary demands of the peasantry, including the demand for nationalisation of the land. Maslov will not strike that demand of the Russian peasants out of the history of the Russian revolution; and it can safely be said that the rise of the tide, the revival of the struggle of the peasants for the land, when it takes place once again, will clearly reveal all the reactionary nature of “municipalisation”. (page 265 - 266)

November 1, 1908

The Assessment of the Present Situation

Published: Proletary, No. 38

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 267 – 280

The entire history of the European states bears witness that precisely in the periods of direct revolutionary struggle deep and lasting foundations of class groupings are laid, and divisions into large political parties take place, which thereafter persist even in very long periods of stagnation. Some parties may go underground, give no sign of life, disappear from the front of the political stage: but at the slightest revival the main political forces inevitably will give signs of them selves again, perhaps in an altered form but with the same character and direction of their activity, so long as the objective tasks of the revolution, which has suffered defeat to this or that extent, are not fulfilled. (page 274)

November 13, 1908

Two Letters

Published: Proletary, No. 39

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 286 – 302

When the masses are digesting a new and exceptionally rich experience of direct revolutionary struggle, the theoretical struggle for a revolutionary outlook, i.e., for revolutionary Marxism, be comes the watchword of the day. (page 290)



January 7, 1909

How the Socialist-Revolutionaries Sum Up the Revolution and How the Revolution has Summed Them Up

Published: Proletary, No. 41

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 330 - 344

The trouble with the Socialist-Revolutionaries is that they are ignorant of Marx’s historical materialism and Marx’s dialectical method; they are wholly under the spell of vulgar bourgeois-democratic ideas. For them a constitution is. not a new field, a new form of the class struggle, but an abstract blessing like the “legality”,., the “law and order”, the “general good” of the liberal professors, and so on and so forth. In reality autocracy, constitutional monarchy and republic are merely different forms of class struggle; and the dialectics of history are such that each of these forms passes through different stages of development of its class content, and the transition from one form to another does not (in itself) at all eliminate the rule of the former exploiting, classes under the new integument. (page 337)

January 28, 1909

On the Road

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 2

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 345 - 355

The great wars in history, the great problems of revolutions, were solved only by the advanced classes returning to the attack again and again—and they achieved victory after having learned the lessons of defeat. Defeated armies learn well. The revolutionary classes of Russia have been defeated in their first campaign, but the revolutionary situation remains. In new forms and by other ways, sometimes much more slowly than we would wish, the revolutionary crisis is approaching, coming to a head again. We must carry on with the lengthy work of preparing larger masses for that crisis; this preparation must be more serious, taking account of higher and more concrete tasks; and the more successfully we do this work, the more certain will be our victory in the new struggle. The Russian proletariat can be proud of the fact that in 1905, under its leadership, a nation   of slaves for the first time became a million-strong host, an army of the revolution, striking at tsarism. And now the same proletariat will know how to do persistently, staunchly and patiently the work of educating and training the new cadres of a still mightier revolutionary force.

Though mass organisations of one type or another may be dissolved, though the legal trade unions may be hounded out of existence, though every open act of workers’ initiative   under a regime of counter-revolution may be ruined by the police on one pretext or another—no power on earth can prevent the concentration of masses of workers in a capitalist country, such as Russia has already become. One way or another, legally or semi-legally, openly or covertly, the working class will find its own rallying points; the class- conscious Party Social-Democrats will everywhere and always march in front of the masses, everywhere and always act together in order to influence the masses in the spirit of the Party. And Social-Democracy, which has proved in open revolution that it is the party of the class, the party that succeeded in leading millions in strikes, in the uprising of 1905, as well as in the elections of 1906-07, will now also be able to remain the party of the class, the party of. the masses, the vanguard, which in the hardest times will not lose touch with the bulk of the army, but will be able to help the latter overcome these hard times, consolidate its ranks once more, and train more and more new fighters. (page 354 - 355)

July 11, 1909

The Liquidation of Liquidationism

Published: Proletary, No. 46

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 452 - 460

That otzovism is Menshevism inside out, that it also leads inevitably to liquidationism, only of a slightly different kind, there can be no doubt. It is not, of course, a matter of personalities or particular groups, but of an objective general tendency—to the extent that otzovism ceases to be a mere state of mind and seeks to evolve into a separate trend. The Bolsheviks stated quite definitely before the revolution, first, that their aim was not to create a separate trend in socialism but to apply to the new conditions of our revolution the basic principles of international revolutionary orthodox Marxist Social-Democracy; secondly, they would do their duty even should it consist in an onerous, slow, humdrum daily grind, if history, after the issue of the struggle and after all opportunities for revolutionary action were exhausted, should condemn us to plod along the by-paths of an “autocratic constitution”. (page 457)

The Bolsheviks have to lead the Party. To do so they must know their course, they must stop hesitating, they must stop wasting time on persuading waverers, and fighting dissentients in their own ranks. Otzovism and ultimatumism, the thin end of otzovism, are incompatible with the work which the present circumstances require of revolutionary Social-Democrats. During the revolution we learned to “speak French”, i. e., to introduce into the movement the greatest number of rousing slogans, to raise the energy of the direct struggle of the masses and extend its scope. Now, in this time of stagnation, reaction and disintegration, we must learn to “speak German”, i. e., to work slowly (there is nothing else for it, until things revive), systematically, steadily, advancing step by step, winning inch by inch. Whoever finds this work tedious, whoever does not under stand the need for preserving and developing the revolutionary principles of Social-Democratic tactics in this phase too, on this bend of the road, is taking the name of Marxist in vain. (page 458 - 459)

July 11, 1909

The Tsar Visits Europe and Members of the Black-Hundred Duma Visit England

Published: Proletary, No. 46

Lenin, Volume 15, pages 461 - 466

Half a century ago Russia’s reputation as an international gendarme was firmly established. In the course of the last century our autocracy rendered no small support to various reactionary causes in Europe even to the point of crushing by downright military force the revolutionary movements in neighbouring countries.

The more tsarism was shaken by the blows of the growing revolutionary movement at home, the weaker it became as the enemy of freedom in Europe.

And when, at the be ginning of the century, the war with Japan and the Revolution of 1905 dealt powerful body-blows to tsarism, the international bourgeoisie rushed to the rescue, supporting it with milliards in loans and moving heaven and earth to localise the revolutionary conflagration and restore “order” in Russia. One good turn deserves another. Tsarism had helped the counter-revolutionary bourgeois governments of Europe more than once in their struggle against democracy. Now the bourgeoisie of Europe, which had become counter-revolutionary in relation to the proletariat, helped tsarism in its fight against the revolution. But victory fell to these noble knights of Black-Hundred and bourgeois reaction not because their enemy was destroyed, but because its forces were split, because the proletariat does not mature simultaneously in all countries. The victory fell to the united enemies of the working class at the cost of postponing the decisive battle, at the cost of widening and deepening the source which—more slowly perhaps than we would wish, but nonetheless surely—is multiplying the numbers of the proletarians, increasing their solidarity, steeling them in struggle, schooling them in operations against the united enemy.

We shall overthrow you all together,” replies the revolution like an echo, through the lips of the leaders of the class-conscious proletariat of all countries. (page 461 - 462)

His Majesty knows his Opposition. The Cadet Opposition know their Stolypin and their Nicholas. The simple technique of European parliamentary hypocrisy and chicanery has come easily to both our liberals and our ministers. Both are apt students of the methods used by the bourgeois reactionaries of Europe.

On both of them the socialist proletariat of Russia, in growing unity with the socialist proletariat of the whole world, declares unremitting revolutionary war. (page 465 - 466)

September 11, 1909

The Faction of Supporters of Otzovism and God-Building

Published: Supplement to Proletary No. 47 – 48

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 29 – 61

inter-revolutionary” signifies precisely that elementary, preliminary tasks come on the order of the day.Inter-revolutionary” denotes an unsettled, indefinite situation when the old regime has become convinced that it is impossible to rule with the old instruments alone and tries to use a new instrument within the general framework of the old institutions. This is an internally contradictory, futile attempt, in which the autocracy is once more going towards inevitable failure, is once more leading us to a repetition of the glorious period and glorious battles of 1905. But it is going not in the same way as in 1897-1903, it is leading the people to revolution not in the same way as before 1905. It is this “not in the same way” that we must be able to understand; we must be able to modify our tactics, supplementing all the basic, general, primary and cardinal tasks of revolutionary Social-Democracy by one more task, not very ambitious, but a specific task of the present new period: the task of utilising the Black-Hundred Duma in a revolutionary Social-Democratic way. (page 36)

October 25, 1909

Speech at the Meeting of the International Socialist Bureau on the Split in the Dutch Social-Democratic Labour Party

Published on November 13, 19O9 in Supplement No. 4 to the newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung No. 24. Translated from the German

Lenin, Volume 16, page 78 [complete text]

Both Singer and Adler proceeded from a number of facts, which I want to mention once again here. First, the split is a fact that has to be taken into account. Secondly, according to Adler himself, the Social-Democratic Party is a socialist Party. Thirdly, it has the Incontestable right to participate in international congresses. The S.D.P. it self does not even demand to be allowed to participate in the decisions of the Bureau; it could be granted an advisory vote in the Bureau, as was done in the case of a number of Russian parties. Fourthly, Comrade Adler has found that the votes at international congresses should be divided between the two parties in the Dutch section of the Copenhagen Congress, while the S.D.P. is to be granted the right of appeal to the Congress. Unanimity should be achieved on these four items at this session. I want to add that Comrade Roland Holst mentioned by Troelstra had come out for the acceptance of the S.D.P.

November 25, 1909

Methods of the Liquidators and Party Tasks of the Bolsheviks

Published: Proletary No. 50

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 95 – 102

Liquidationism is a deep-seated social phenomenon, indissolubly connected with the counter-revolutionary mood of the liberal bourgeoisie, with disintegration and break up in the democratic petty bourgeoisie. The liberals and petty-bourgeois democrats are trying in thousands of ways to demoralise the revolutionary Social-Democratic Party, to undermine and overthrow it, to clear the way for legal workers’ associations in which they might achieve success. And in a time like this the liquidators are ideologically and organisationally fighting against the most important remainder of the revolution of yesterday, against the most important bulwark of the revolution of tomorrow. The Golosists (from whom the Party asks no more than an honest, straight fight, without reservations, against the liquidators) by their prevaricating are doing the liquidators a service. Menshevism is put in a difficulty by the history of counter revolution: it must either fight liquidationism or become its accomplice. Menshevism inside-out, i.e., otzovism and ultimatumism, also leads in fact to strengthening liquidationism: to continue to “dispute” about Duma and legal activity, to try to preserve the old organisation, not adapting it to the new historical period, to the changed conditions, means in fact a policy of revolutionary inaction and destruction of the illegal organisation.

The Bolsheviks are faced with the task of a fight on two flanks (page 100 - 101)

This evil is the ideological decay and disunity which has wholly taken possession of liberalism and is finding its way into, our Party from all sides. (page 107)

December 24, 1909

The Eleventh Session of the International Socialist Bureau

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 10, (January 6, 1910)

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 140 – 144 [complete text]

The session of the International Socialist Bureau was followed on November 8, 1909 in Brussels by the fourth session of the inter-parliamentary socialist commission, i.e., of the members of the socialist parliamentary groups of different countries. The groups were but sparsely represented in general (the Russian Social-Democratic group in the Duma was not represented at all). The delegates interchanged reports on question of workers’ old-age insurance, the state of legislation in different countries, and Bills drawn up by labour deputies. The best report was one made by Molkenbuhr based on his article published in the Neue Zeit.

On November 7, New Style, the eleventh session of the International Socialist Bureau was held in Brussels. It was preceded, as usual in recent years, by a conference of socialist journalists of different countries. The conference discussed certain practical questions concerning the establishment of more regular contact between the socialist daily news papers of different lands.

As for the session of the International Socialist Bureau, apart from minor current affairs, there were two big items on the agenda: firstly, the International Socialist Congress to be held in Copenhagen in 1910, secondly, the split in the Dutch party.

On the first item, first of all the date of the Congress was fixed: August 28–September 3, New Style. As regards the place of the Congress the question was raised whether the Russian socialists could travel to Copenhagen without hindrance. Knudsen, the representative of the Danish socialists, replied that, according to their information and all that they knew concerning the intentions of the Danish Government, the police would not interfere with the Russian delegates to the Congress. If it was found on the eve of the Congress that the opposite was the case the International Socialist Bureau would undoubtedly take steps to hold the Congress elsewhere.

The agenda adopted for the Copenhagen Congress was the following:

1) the co-operative movement;

2) international organisation of assistance to big strikes;

3) unemployment;

4) disarmament and the arbitration of international conflicts;

5) the results of labour legislation in different countries and the question of organising it internationally, particularly the question of the eight-hour day;

6) the improvement of contact between the national parties and the International Socialist Bureau;

7) the abolition of capital punishment.

It was originally intended to include the agrarian question. Vaillant and Molkenbuhr objected on the grounds that it would be difficult to discuss such a question at an international congress without first submitting it to more detailed consideration at congresses of the national parties. A desire was expressed that the congresses of national parties should discuss this question specially, so that it could be in shape for the international congress of 1913.

After adopting resolutions of sympathy with the Swedish workers who have organised one of the biggest general strikes of the recent period, and the workers of Spain who have been fighting heroically against the military adventure of their government, as well as resolutions of protest against the atrocities and murders committed by tsarism in Russia and by the governments of Spain, Rumania and Mexico, the International Socialist Bureau passed to the next main item on its agenda, the question of the split in Holland.

The opportunists and Marxists of the Socialist Party in Holland have long been in conflict. On the agrarian question the opportunists stood for the point in the programme that calls for the allotment of land to agricultural labourers. The Marxists vigorously opposed this point (which was defend ed by the leader of the opportunists, Troelstra) and secured its removal in 1905. After this the opportunists, attuning their policy to the religious section of the Dutch workers, went to the length of defending state subsidies for religious instruction in the schools. The Marxists put up a strenuous opposition. The opportunists, with Troelstra at their head, counterposed the parliamentary Social-Democratic group to the Party and acted contrary to the decisions of the Central Committee. The opportunists pursued a policy of rapprochement with the liberals and of committing the socialists to their support (“justifying” this, of course, by the aim of obtaining social reforms, which the liberals promised and ... failed to carry out). The opportunists set about revising the old, Marxist programme of the Dutch Social-Democratic Party and, inter alia, put forward for this revision such theses as renouncing the “downfall theory” (a well-known idea of Bernstein’s) or desiring that recognition of the programme should oblige party members to recognise the political and economic “but not the philosophical views of MarxThe Marxists’ opposition to such a policy became more and more acute. Finding themselves ousted from the Central Organ of the party, the Marxists (among them the well-known woman writer Roland-Holst, furthermore Gorter, Pannekoek and others) started a newspaper of their own, Tribune. Troelstra unscrupulously persecuted this newspaper, accusing the Marxists of wanting to “oust” him personally, stirring up the petty-bourgeois-minded section of the Dutch workers against the “trouble-makers”, the polemicists, the disturbers of the peace—the Marxists. The upshot was that an extraordinary congress of the party in Davant (February 13-14, 19O9), which gave the majority to Troelstra’s supporters, decided to close downTribuneand have in its place “a supplement” to the opportunist Central Organ of the party! Naturally, the editors of Tribune did not agree to this (with the exception of Roland-Hoist, who, unfortunately adopted a hopelessly conciliatory position) and were expelled from the party.

The result was a split. The old, opportunist party, led by Troelstra and van Kol (“famous” since his opportunist utterances on the colonial question in Stuttgart), kept the title of “Social-Democratic Labour Party” (S.D.L.P.). The new, Marxist party—much smaller in numbers—took the title of “Social-Democratic Party” (S.D.P.).

The Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau tried to assume the role of mediator for the restoration, of unity in Holland but made a very bad job of it. It took a formal point of view and, obviously sympathising with the opportunists, blamed the Marxists for the split. Accordingly, their request for the admission of the new party into the International was rejected by the Executive Committee of the International Socialist Bureau.

The question of admitting the Dutch Marxists into the International came before a meeting of the International Socialist Bureau itself on November 7, 19O9. Everybody wanted to avoid discussion of the real point at issue and to do no more than suggest procedure, i.e., refer the case to be dealt with in one way or another, to indicate a method of settling the conflict although, of course, the, majority of the members of the Bureau must have been well aware of the real substance of this matter, the real substance of the struggle between the two trends in Holland.

Finally two resolutions were moved, revealing two trends. Singer in support of the Marxists, Adler against. Singer’s read as follows:

The International Socialist Bureau resolves: the Party which has been formed in Holland under the name of the new S.D. Party [there is a mistake in the title: it should be “S.D. Party”], should be admitted to International Socialist Congresses as it satisfies the conditions specified in the Rules of the International. Whether it should have a delegate on the Bureau and how many votes it should have at the Congress is a question for the Copenhagen Congress to decide if the Dutch comrades themselves do not reach a settlement of the dispute.”

We see from this text that Singer did not go beyond the formal aspect, leaving the final settlement of the question to the Dutch section of the international congress, but at the same time clearly emphasising that the Marxist party in Holland should be recognised by the International. Adler did not venture to say the opposite, he did not venture to declare outright that he did not consider the Dutch Marxists to be members of the International, that he shared the attitude of the Executive Committee which flatly rejected the Marxists’ application. Adler moved that “The request of the S.D.P. be referred, to the Dutch section. If no agreement is reached within this section an appeal can be made to the Bureau.” The formal attitude is the same as Singer’s, but it is clear from the text that the sympathies of this resolution are on the side of the opportunists, for it says nothing about recognising the Marxists as members of the International. And the voting of the resolutions made it instantly manifest that the spirit of both one and the other had been perfectly grasped by the members of the Bureau. Singer received 11 votes: from France 2 votes, Germany 2, England 1 (S.D.), Argentina 2, Bulgaria 1, Russia 1 (S.D.), Poland 1 (S.D.), America 1 (the Socialist Labour Party). Adler received 16 votes: from England 1 (“Independent” Labour Party), Denmark 2, Belgium 2, Austria 2, Hungary 2, Poland 1 (Polish Socialist Party), Russia 1 (S.R.), America 1 (Socialist Party), Holland 2 (van Kol and Troelstra!), Sweden 2.

The organ of the German revolutionary Social-Democrats, Leipziger Volkszeitung (No. 259), rightly called this resolution of the International Socialist Bureau a regrettable one. “At Copenhagen the proletarian International must reconsider this decision”, it concluded with full justification. Another newspaper of the same trend, the Bremer Bürgerzeitung of November 11, 1909, wrote: “Comrade Adler speaks as the advocate of international opportunism in all its glory.” His resolution was passed thanks to the support of the opportunist olla podrida” (Sammelsurium).

To these just words we Russian Social-Democrats can only add that our Socialist-Revolutionaries, of course, made haste to take their place in the opportunist throng together with the P.S.P.


February 13, 1910

Towards Unity

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 11

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 147 - 155

The “basic principles” of Social-Democratic tactics, which, in accordance with the method of the whole of international Social-Democracy, cannot be calculated—especially in a period such as we are passing through—“merely for the given concrete circumstances of the immediate future”, but must take into account various paths and all possible situations, both the possibility of a “rapid break-up” and the possibility of a “relatively unchanging situation”. For the first time the possibility arises for the proletariat to apply this method in a planned and consistent fashion. At one and the same time, in one and the same action of the proletariat, in one and the same network of organisational units, our Party’s tactics must prepare the proletariat for a new open revolutionary struggle” (without this we should lose the right to belong to revolutionary Social-Democracy, we should not be carrying out our fundamental task, bequeathed to us by the period of 1905 and dictated. by every feature of the con temporary economic and political situation) and “afford the proletariat the possibility of utilising for itself all the contradictions of the unstable regime of counter-revolution” (with out this our revolutionary character would become a mere phrase, the repetition of revolutionary words instead of the application of the sum-total of the revolutionary experience, knowledge and lessons of international Social-Democracy to each practical activity, to the utilisation of each contradiction and vacillation of tsarism, its allies and all bourgeois parties). (page 150)

The revolutionaries are being harassed, tortured and exterminated as never before. Efforts are being made to vilify and defame the revolution, to erase it from the memory of the people. But in no country has the working class ever yet allowed its enemies to take from it the chief attainment of every revolution at all worthy of this name, viz., the experience of mass struggle, the conviction of millions of working and exploited people that this struggle is essential for any serious improvement of their position. And through all its trials the working class of Russia will preserve the readiness for revolutionary struggle, the mass heroism, by which it conquered in 1905 and which will enable it to be victorious more than once in the future. (page 151)

It has become impossible to raise the level of practical work without concentrating our forces, without creating a guiding centre. The Central Committee adopted a number of decisions on the organisation and functioning of this centre, on enlarging it by the addition of practical workers, on uniting its work more closely with that in the localities, etc. The theoretical interests that inevitably come to the fore during a period of stagnation likewise require to be united for the defence of socialism in general and of Marxism, as the only scientific socialism, especially in view of the bourgeois counter-revolution, which is mobilising all its forces to combat the ideas of revolutionary Social-Democracy. (page 152)

March 23, 1910

What to Fight For?

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 12

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 165 – 170

The proletariat raised the movement to the highest possible form of struggle—the armed uprising in December 1905. It suffered defeat in this struggle but was not routed. Its uprising was crushed but it succeeded in uniting in battle all the revolutionary forces of the people, it did not allow itself to be demoralised by retreat but showed the massesfor the first time in the recent history of Russia—that the struggle could and must be fought to the finish. The proletariat was repulsed but it did not relinquish the great banner of revolution and at a time when the Cadet majority in the First and Second Dumas were repudiating the revolution, trying to extinguish it and assuring the Trepovs and Stolypins that they were ready and able to extinguish it, the proletariat raised the banner on high and continued to call to action, educating, uniting, and organising forces for the struggle.

March 6 and May 25, 1910

Notes of a Publicist

Published in Discussionny Listok Nos. 1 and 2. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 195 – 259

Revolution has again become inevitable. The revolution must again strive, for and achieve the overthrow of tsarism—say the authors of the new platform. Quite right. But that is not all that a present-day revolutionary Social-Democrat must know and bear in mind. He must be able to comprehend that this revolution is coming to us in a new way and that we must march towards it in a new way (in a different way from the previous one; not merely in the way we did before; not merely with those weapons and means of struggle we used before); that the autocracy itself is not the same as it was before. It is just this point that the advocates of otzovism refuse to see. They persistently want to remain one-sided and thereby, in spite of themselves, consciously or unconsciously, they are rendering a service to the opportunists and liquidators; by their one-sidedness in one direction they are supporting one-sidedness in another direction.

However, unless we do understand this transition it will be impossible to survive it with advantage to the revolution, it will be impossible to prepare for the revolution, to go over to the second wave! For the preparation for the new revolution cannot be restricted to repeating that it is   inevitable; the preparation must consist in devising forms of propaganda, agitation and organisation that will take account of the specific character of this transitional situation. (page 198 – 199)

One view on unity may place in the forefront the reconciliation” of “given persons, groups and institutions”. The identity of their views on Party work, on the policy of that work, is a secondary matter. One should try to keep silent about differences of opinion and not elucidate their causes, their significance, their objective conditions. The chief thing is to “reconcile” persons and groups. If they do not agree on carrying out a common policy, that policy must be interpreted in such a way as to be acceptable to all. Live and let live. This is philistine “conciliation”, which inevitably leads to sectarian diplomacy. To “stop up” the sources of disagreement, to keep silent about them, to “adjust” “conflicts” at all costs, to neutralise the conflicting trends—it is to this that the main attention of such “conciliation” is directed. (page 212)

Friends in need are friends indeed”, and the working class, which is passing through the difficult times of attack both by the old and the new counter-revolutionary forces, will inevitably witness the defection of very many of its intellectual “friends of an hour”, fine-weather friends, friends only for the duration of the revolution, friends who were revolutionaries during the revolution, but who are yielding to the general depression and are ready to proclaim the “fight for legality” at the first successes of the counter-revolution.

In a number of European countries, the counter-revolutionary forces succeeded in making a clean sweep of the remnants of the revolutionary and socialist organisations of the proletariat, for instance after 1848. A bourgeois intellectual, who in the days of his youth joined the Social-Democratic movement is inclined, because of his petty-bourgeois psychology, to give up the struggle: so it was, so it will be. (page 247)

We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the outward forms of Party events and their individual peculiarities; it is necessary to appraise the ideological and political significance of what is taking place. (page 252)

We Social-Democrats judge strength not by the statements of the emigrant groups, not by the way the Menshevik writers group themselves, but from the stand point as to, which position is objectively correct . (page 253)

September 25, 1910

The Question of Co-Operative Societies at the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 17

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 275 - 283

The Copenhagen Congress marks that stage in the development of the labour movement in which its growth was, so to speak, mainly in breadth and in which it began to bring the proletarian co-operatives into the orbit of class struggle. Differences with the revisionists came to light but the revisionists are still a long way from coming out with an independent programme. The fight against revisionism has been postponed, but it will come inevitably. (page 283)

As for us, the Russian Social-Democrats, we tried to sup port the Austro-Belgian line in the commission and with this aim in view, before the reading of the Austro-Belgian conciliatory draft, we submitted a draft resolution of our own, as follows:

Draft Resolution of the Social-Democratic Delegation of Russia

The Congress is of the opinion:

1) That proletarian consumers’ societies improve the situation of the working class in that they reduce the amount of exploitation by all kinds of commercial middlemen, influence the labour conditions of the workers employed by the supplying firms and improve the situation of their own employees.

2) That these societies can assume great importance for the economic and political mass struggle of the proletariat by supporting the workers during strikes, lock-outs, political persecution, etc.

On the other hand the Congress points out:

1) that the improvements that can be achieved with the help of the consumers’ societies can only be very inconsiderable as long   as the means of production remain in the hands of the class without whose expropriation socialism cannot be attained;

2) that consumers’ societies are not organisations for direct struggle against capital and exist alongside similar bodies organised by other classes, which could give rise to the illusion that these organisations are a means by which the social question may be solved without class struggle and the expropriation of the bourgeoisie.

The Congress calls on the workers of all countries:

a) to join the proletarian consumers’ societies and to promote their development in every way, at the same time upholding the democratic character of these organisations;

b) by untiring socialist propaganda in the consumers’ societies, to spread the ideas of class struggle and socialism among the workers;

c) to strive at the same time to bring about the fullest possible co-operation between all forms of the labour movement.

The Congress also points out that producers’ co-operatives can be of importance for the struggle of the working class only if they are a component part of consumers’ societies.” (page 278 - 279)

September 25, 1910

How Certain Social-Democrats Inform the International About the State of Affairs in the R.S.D.L.P.

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 17,. Published according to the text in Sotsial-Demokrat.

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 284 – 286

In connection with the International Congress in Copenhagen articles have appeared in a number of publications on the state of affairs in our Party. We shall dwell briefly on three articles written by spokesmen of three different Party (or rather ante-Party) trends.

The first place for unceremoniousness should go to an article which appeared, sad to relate, in the central press organ of our comrades in Germany (Vorwärts, August 28). This article is anonymous. It is merely subtitled “From Our Russian Correspondent”.

From it the reader learns that “the Russian emigrants, who play a disproportionately great role in our Party, have never been so remote from the interests and requirements of the Russian labour movement as they are today”, that the Central Organ of our Party, Sotsial-Demokrat, “is being conducted in a narrow factional spirit” and that the Bolsheviks are noted for “formal and superficial radicalism”, that it is only by a process of evolution that they have finally come to a “recognition” of parliamentarism, and so on and so forth. The author is extremely dissatisfied with the majority of our Party. He paints a very black picture of the whole situation in the Party. He sees only one bright spot in the life of the R.S.D.L.P. This is “the workers’ newspaper Pravda, published in Vienna, which from the outset has stood completely aloof from factional polemics and devotes itself to political agitation”, and so forth.

Don’t you begin to guess, reader, to whose “non-factional” pen this article belongs? You are not mistaken, of course. Yes, it is the “non-factional” Comrade Trotsky, who has no compunction about openly advertising his faction’s propaganda sheet. He provides the insufficiently informed German readers with the same appraisal of the policy of the Party majority as that made by the liquidators. *)

*) The fact that this article was published in a Party organ like Vorwärts impelled our delegates at the Copenhagen Congress to make a protest to the Central Committee of the German Party. This protest was lodged by the delegates of our Central Organ (G. V. Plekhanov and A. Varsky) and by the Party’s representative on the International Bureau (N. Lenin). It was while this question was being discussed by the Social-Democratic delegation that Comrade Trotsky divulged to us the secret that he himself had written the offending article. —Lenin

The protest at the publication in Vorwärts of Trotsky’s article slandering the R.S.D.L.P. was written during the session of the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen.

Another literateur, R. Streltsov, set out to libel our Party in the organ of the German revisionists. His article Was published in the Sozialistische Monatshefte, which is edited by Herr Bloch, whom Bebel in Magdeburg justly called a National Liberal. R. Streltsov—who collaborates with Mr. Prokopovich on the newspaper Tovarishch quite openly takes the liquidators under his protection. “Nothing could be more absurd than the accusation which is being made against them.” It is the liquidators who are the real Social-Democrats. As for the Party majority, it, you see, “considers superfluous the utilisation of so-called legal opportunities, i. e., the participation of the Social-Democrats in the trade unions, co-operative societies, legal congresses, and so forth.” Yes, indeed, the German reader will get a true picture if he studies the history of the Russian revolution from Cherevanin and the contemporary situation and tactical struggle inside our Party—from Streltsov and Trotsky!

The third article is from the pen of the ultimatumist (and god-builder) Voinov, writing in Le Peuple, the Party organ of our Belgian comrades. *)

*) Voinov thoughtfully informs the readers that he is a “delegate at the International Congress in Copenhagen”. —Lenin

And although Voinov gives the Belgian comrades a wrong idea of the “tactical trends in our Party” (the heading of his article) still, in one respect, his article has performed a valuable service: it has revealed to us once again the essence of otzovist ultimatumist tactics. Occasionally we do come across blessed writers in the Vperyod group who expound the aims   of the otzovist-ultimatumists openly without veiling them, as is the common practice in the literary utterances of the Vperyodists. Listen for yourselves. What member of the Vperyod group would frankly admit now that the otzovist ultimatumists are still dreaming about fighting squads, etc.? But the candid Voinov writes frankly that he and his friends want to “continue and develop our preparation for armed action”, whereas Lenin, who has swung to the Right, denies “for example, the necessity of training schools” at the present time. What Yperyodist now says openly that an “ultimatum” must be sent to the Duma group? But the good Voinov informs us frankly that the “regeneration of the Party” is necessary to his friends in order to “present an ultimatum to our deputies”.... What Vperyodist will tell you in the press for what purpose the otzovist-ultimatumists require a “Party school” abroad? But the loquacious Voinov does not Omit to inform us that the “school” is necessary for preparing a “new congress” of the Party and the election of a different Central Committee in place of the present “Right-wing” Central Committee. *)

*) In this article Voinov thought it expedient ... to add a little boast that “some members of the C.C. elected at the Congress, but dissatisfied with the C.C.’s new policy have resigned.” Where and when was that, Comrade Voinov? —Lenin

Surely the Vperyoddiplomats” will not thank Voinov for this candour!

Trotsky, Voinov and Streltsov have fraternally joined hands in opposing the Party line....

October 30, 1910

The Lessons of the Revolution

Published: Rabochaya Gazeta No. 1

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 296 – 304 [complete text]

Five years have elapsed since the working class of Russia, in October 1905, dealt the first mighty blow to the tsarist autocracy. In those greet days the proletariat aroused millions of the working people to struggle against their oppressors. In the space of a few months of that year the proletariat won improvements which during decades the workers had been vainly waiting from the “superior authorities”. The proletariat won for the whole Russian people, if only for a short time, something that Russia had never known before—freedom of the press, assembly and association. It swept Bulygin’s fake Duma from its path, extracted from the tsar a manifesto declaring a constitution and made it impossible once and for all for Russia to be ruled without representative institutions.

But the great victories of the proletariat proved to be only semi-victories because the tsarist regime was not overthrown. The December insurrection ended in defeat and the tsarist autocracy began to take back the gains of the working class one by one as the latter’s offensive weakened, as the struggle of the masses declined. In 1906 workers’ strikes, peasants’ and soldiers’ outbreaks were much weaker than they had been in 1905 but were still very formidable nonetheless. The tsar dispersed the First Duma, during which the militancy of the people had begun to mount again, but did not dare to change the electoral law all at once. In 1907 the struggle of the workers grew weaker still, and the tsar, having dispersed the Second Duma, staged a coup d’état (June 3, 1907). He broke all the most solemn promises that he had made not to promulgate laws without the consent of the Duma and changed the electoral law in such a way that the landlords and the capitalists,     the party of the Black-Hundred elements and their servitors were assured of a majority in the Duma.

Both the victories and the defeats of the revolution taught the Russian people some great historical lessons. In honouring the fifth anniversary of 1905, let us try to ascertain the main substance of these lessons.

The first and main lesson is that only the revolutionary struggle of the masses can bring about worth-while improvements in the lives of the workers and in the administration of the state. No “sympathy” for the workers on the part of educated people, no struggle of lone terrorists, however heroic, could do anything to undermine the tsarist autocracy and the omnipotence of the capitalists. This could be achieved only by the struggle of the workers them selves, only by the combined struggle of millions, and when this struggle grew weaker the workers immediately began to be deprived of what they had won. The Russian revolution was confirmation of the sentiments expressed in the international hymn of labour:

No saviours from on high deliver,
No trust have we in prince or peer;
Our own right hand the chains must shiver,
Chains of hatred, greed and fear!

The second lesson is that it is not enough to undermine and restrict the power of the tsar. It must be destroyed. Until the tsarist regime is destroyed concessions won from the tsar will never be lasting.

The tsar made concessions when the tide of the revolutionary offensive was rising. When it ebbed, he took them all back. Only the Winning of a democratic republic, the over throw of the tsarist regime, the passage of power into the hands of the people, can deliver Russia from the violence, and tyranny of officialdom, from the Black-Hundred-Octobrist Duma, from the despotic power which the landlords and their servitors wield over the countryside. If the miseries of the peasants and the workers have become even harder to bear now, after the revolution, this is the price they are paying for the fact that the revolution was weak, that the tsarist regime was not overthrown. The year 1905, then the first two Dumas, and their dissolution, taught the people a great   deal, taught them above all to fight in common for political demands. At first, upon awakening to political life, the people demanded concessions from the autocracy: that the tsar should convene a Duma, that he should appoint new ministers in place of the old, that die tsar should “grant” universal suffrage. But the autocracy did not and could not agree to such concessions. The autocracy answered the re quests for concessions with bayonets. And then the people began to realise that they would have to fight against the autocratic regime. Now, we may say, this understanding is being driven even more drastically into the heads of the peasants by Stolypin and the reactionary noblemen’s Duma. Yes, they are driving it in and they’ll drive it right home.

The tsarist autocracy has also learned a lesson from the revolution. It has seen that it cannot rely on the faith of the peasants in the tsar. It is now strengthening its power by forming an alliance with the Black-Hundred landlords and the Octobrist industrialists. To overthrow the tsarist autocracy will now require a much more powerful offensive of the revolutionary mass struggle than in 1905.

Is such a much more powerful offensive possible? The reply to this question brings us to the third and cardinal lesson of the revolution. This lesson consists in our having seen how the various classes of the Russian people act. Prior to 1905 many thought that the whole people aspired to freedom in the same way and wanted the same freedom; at least the great majority had no clear understanding of the fact that the different classes of the Russian people had different views on the struggle for freedom and were not striving for the same freedom. The revolution dispelled the mist. At the end of 1905, then later during the First and Second Dumas, all classes of Russian society came out openly. They showed themselves in action, revealing what their true ambitions were, what they could fight for and how strongly, persistently and vigorously they were able to fight.

The factory workers, the industrial proletariat, waged a most resolute and strenuous struggle against the autocracy. The proletariat began the revolution with the Ninth of January and mass strikes. The proletariat carried this struggle to its uttermost limit, rising in armed uprising   in December 1905 in defence of the bullet-riddled, knouted and tormented peasantry. The number of workers who went on strike in 1905 was about three million (and with the railwaymen, post-office employees, etc., probably reached four million), in 1906—one million, in 1907—three-quarters of a million. The world had never yet seen a strike movement raised to such a pitch. The Russian proletariat showed what untold forces there are in the masses of the workers when a real revolutionary crisis matures. The strike wave of 1905, the greatest in the world, did not exhaust all the militant forces of the proletariat by a long way. For instance, in the Moscow factory region there were 567,000 factory workers and the number of strikers was 540,000, while in the St. Petersburg factory region, which had 300,000 factory workers, there were a million strikers. This means that the workers in the Moscow area were still far from developing the same stubbornness in the struggle as the St. Petersburg workers. In Livonian Gubernia (city of Riga) there were 250,000 strikers to the 50,000 workers employed there. In other words, each worker on the average struck more than five times in 1905. Now, in all parts of Russia, there cannot be less than three million factory, mining and railway workers and this number is growing year by year. With a movement as strong as in Riga in 1905 they could turn out an army of 15 million strikers.

No tsarist regime could withstand such an onslaught. But everyone understands that such an offensive cannot be evoked artificially in accordance with the desires of the socialists or militant workers. It is possible only when the whole country is convulsed by a crisis, mass indignation and revolution. In order to prepare such an onslaught we must draw the most backward sections of the workers into the struggle, we must devote years and years to persistent, widespread, unflagging propaganda, agitation and organisational work, building up and reinforcing all forms of proletarian unions and organisations.

In militancy the working class of Russia was in advance of all the other classes of the Russian people. The very conditions of their lives make the workers capable of struggle and impel them to struggle. Capital collects the workers   in great masses in big cities, uniting them, teaching them to act in unison. At every step the workers come face to face with their main enemy—the capitalist class. In combat with this enemy the worker becomes a socialist, comes to realise the necessity of a complete reconstruction of the whole of society, the complete abolition of all poverty and all oppression. Becoming socialists, the workers fight with self-abnegating courage against everything that stands in their path, first and foremost the tsarist regime and the feudal landlords.

The peasants too during the revolution went into action against the landlords and against the government, but their struggle was much weaker. It has been calculated that a majority of the factory workers (about three-fifths) took part in the revolutionary struggle, in strikes, while undoubtedly only a minority of the peasants took part: in all probability not more than one-fifth or one-fourth. The peasants fought less persistently, more disconnectedly, with less political understanding, at times still pinning their hopes on the benevolence of our Father, the Tsar. In 1905 and 1906 the peasants, properly speaking, only gave the tsar and the landlords a bit of a fright. But frightening them is no use. They must be destroyed, their government—the tsarist government—must be wiped off the face of the earth. Now Stolypin and the Black-Hundred, land lord Duma are trying to create new landlord farmers from the ranks of the rich peasants, to be the allies of the tsar and the Black Hundreds. But the more the tsar and the Duma help the rich peasants to ruin the mass of the peasantry, the more politically conscious does this mass become, the less faith will it preserve in the tsar, the faith of feudal slaves, the faith of downtrodden and ignorant people. Each year that passes swells the ranks of the agricultural labourers in the countryside, they have nowhere to seek salvation except in an alliance with the urban workers for joint struggle. Each year that passes fills the countryside with more ruined peasants, utterly destitute, driven to desperation by hunger. When the urban proletariat rises again, mil lions upon millions of these peasants will throw them selves into the struggle against the tsar and the landlords with greater determination and solidarity.

The bourgeois liberals too took part in the revolution, i.e., the liberal landlords, industrialists, lawyers, professors, etc. They constitute the party of “people’s freedom” (the Constitutional-Democrats or Cadets). They promised the people a whole lot of things and made a lot of noise about freedom in their newspapers. They had a majority in the First and Second Dumas. They held out a promise of gaining freedom by “peaceful means”, they condemned the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants. The peasants and many of the peasant deputies (“Trudoviks”) believed these promises and followed humbly and obediently at the heels of the liberals, standing aside from the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. This was the greatest mistake committed by the peasants (and many townfolk) during the revolution. With one hand, and at that very, very rarely, the liberals assisted the struggle for freedom, while they kept offering the other hand to the tsar, promising to preserve and strengthen his power, to make peace between the peasants and the landlords, to “pacify” the “turbulent” workers.

When the revolution came to the point of a pitched battle with the tsar, the December uprising of 1905, the liberals in a body basely betrayed the freedom of the people and recoiled from the struggle. The tsarist autocracy took advantage of this betrayal of the people’s freedom by the liberals, took advantage of the ignorance of the peasants, who to a large extent believed the liberals, and defeated the insurgent workers. And when the proletariat was defeat ed, no Dumas, no honeyed speeches and promises on the part of the Cadets, could hold back the tsar from abolishing all the vestiges of freedom and restoring the autocracy and the despotic power of the feudal landlords.

The liberals found themselves deceived. The peasants have received a severe but useful lesson. There will be no freedom in Russia as long as the broad masses of the people believe in the liberals, believe in the possibility of “peace” with the tsarist regime and stand aloof from the revolutionary struggle of the workers. No power on earth can hold back the advent of freedom in Russia when the mass of the urban proletariat rises in struggle, brushes aside the wavering and treacherous liberals, and enlists   under its banner the rural labourers and impoverished peasantry

And that the proletariat of Russia will rise in such a struggle, that it will take the lead in the revolution again, is warranted by the whole economic situation of Russia, all the experience of the revolutionary years.

Five years ago the proletariat dealt the first blow to the tsarist autocracy. The first rays of freedom gleamed for the Russian people. Now the tsarist autocracy has been restored, the feudal lords are reigning and ruling again, the workers and peasants are everywhere being crushed down again, everywhere the Asiatic despotism of the authorities and infamous maltreatment of the people prevails. But these hard lessons will not have been in vain. The Russian people are not what they were prior to 1905. The proletariat has taught them to fight. The proletariat will bring them to victory.


November 16, 1910

Two Worlds

Published: Sotsial-Demokrat No. 18

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 305 – 313

Two worlds of ideas: on the one hand, the point of view of the proletarian class struggle, which in certain historical periods can proceed on the basis of bourgeois legality, but which leads inevitably to a denouement, an open collision, to the dilemma: either “smash” the bourgeois state “to smithereens” or be defeated and strangled. On the other hand, the point of view of the reformist, the petty bourgeois who cannot see the wood for the trees, who cannot, through the tinsel of constitutional legality, see the fierce class struggle, who forgets in the backwoods of some diminutive state the great historical problems of the present day. (page 307)

Opportunists throughout the world favour the policy of a bloc with the liberals, now openly and outrightly pro claiming and implementing it, now advocating or justifying election agreements with the liberals, support of their slogans, etc. Bebel has time and again exposed the sheer falsity, the sheer mendacity of this policy, and we can say without exaggeration that every Social-Democrat should know and remember his words.

If I, as a Social-Democrat, enter into an alliance with bourgeois parties, It is a thousand to one that the bourgeois parties will gain by it, not the Social-Democrats. We shall be the losers. It is a political law, that wherever the Rights and Lefts enter an alliance, the Lefts lose, the Rights win....

If I enter into a political alliance with a party whose principles are hostile to mine, I must of necessity modify my tactics, i.e., my methods of struggle, in order not to break this alliance. I can no longer criticise ruthlessly, I cannot fight for principles, because this would give offence to my allies; I have to keep quiet, cover up a lot of things, make excuses for the inexcusable, gloss over matters that cannot be glossed over.”

Opportunism is opportunism for the very reason that it sacrifices the fundamental interests of the movement to momentary advantages or considerations based on the most short-sighted, superficial calculations. (page 308 - 309)

In condemning the bad revolutionaries in its own ranks the vanguard class held one of the last reviews of its forces before entering upon the path of social revolution. (page 312)

For about half a century the German Social-Democratic Labour Party has made exemplary use of bourgeois legality, haying created the best proletarian organisations, a magnificent press, having raised to the highest pitch (that is possible under capitalism) the class-consciousness and solidarity of the proletarian socialist vanguard.

Now the time is drawing near when this half-century phase of German history must, by force of objective causes, be replaced by a different phase. The era of utilising the legality created by the bourgeoisie is giving way to an era of tremendous revolutionary battles, and these battles, in effect, will be the destruction of all bourgeois legality, the whole bourgeois system, while in form they must begin (and are beginning) with panicky efforts on the part of the bourgeoisie to get rid of the legality which, though it is their own handiwork, has become unbearable to them! You shoot first, Messieurs the Bourgeoisie!”with these words, spoken in 1892, Engels summed up the peculiarity of the position and the peculiarity of the tactical problems of the revolutionary proletariat.

The socialist proletariat will not forget for a moment that it is confronted, inevitably confronted, with a revolutionary mass struggle that must sweep away all the legalities of the doomed bourgeois society. But, at the same time, a party which has magnificently utilised a half-century of bourgeois legality against the bourgeoisie has not the slightest reason to renounce those conveniences in the struggle, that advantage in battle afforded by the fact that the enemy is caught in the toils of his own legality, that the enemy is compelled to “shoot first”, is compelled to shatter his own legality. (page 311 - 312)

December 16, 1910

Differences in the European Labour Movement

Published: Zvezda No. 1. Signed: V. Ilyin. The article “Differences in the European Labour Movementwas published in No. 4 of the newspaper Zvezda (The Star), in the section entitled “Letters from Abroad”.

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 345 – 352 [ complete text ]

The principal tactical differences in the present-day- labour movement of Europe and America reduce themselves to a struggle against two big trends that are departing from Marxism, which has in fact become the dominant theory in this movement. These two trends are revisionism (opportunism, reformism) and anarchism (anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-socialism). Both these departures from the Marxist theory and Marxist tactics that are dominant in the labour movement were to be observed in various, forms and in various shades in all civilised countries during the more than half-century of history of the mass labour movement.

This fact alone shows that these departures cannot be attributed to accident, or to the mistakes of individuals or groups, or even to the influence of national characteristics and traditions, and so forth. There must be deep-rooted causes in the economic system and in the character of the development of all capitalist countries which constantly give rise to these departures. A small book, The Tactical Differences in the Labour Movement (Die taktischen Differenzen in der Arbeiterbewegung, Hamburg, Erdmann Dubber, 1909), published last year by a Dutch Marxist, Anton Pannekoek, represents an interesting attempt at a scientific investigation of these causes. In our exposition we shall acquaint the reader with Pannekoek’s conclusions, which, it must be recognised, are quite correct.

One of the most profound causes that periodically give rise to differences over tactics is the very growth of the labour movement. If this movement is not measured by the criterion of some fantastic ideal, but is regarded as the practical movement of ordinary people, it will be clear that the enlistment of larger and larger numbers of new “recruits”, the attraction of new sections of the working people must inevitably be accompanied by waverings in the sphere of theory and tactics, by repetitions of old mistakes, by a temporary reversion to antiquated views and antiquated methods, and so forth. The labour movement of every country periodically spends a varying amount of energy, attention and time on the “training” of recruits.

Furthermore, the rate at which capitalism develops varies in different countries and in different spheres of the national economy. Marxism is most easily, rapidly, completely and lastingly assimilated by the working class and its ideologists where large-scale industry is most developed. Economic relations which are backward, or which lag in their development, constantly lead to the appearance of sup porters of the labour movement who assimilate only certain aspects of Marxism, only certain parts of the new world outlook, or individual slogans and demands, being unable to make a determined break with all the traditions of the bourgeois world outlook in general and the bourgeois-democratic world outlook in particular.

Again, a constant source of differences is the dialectical nature of social development, which proceeds in contradictions and through contradictions. Capitalism is progressive because at destroys the old methods of production and develops productive forces, yet at the same time, at a certain stage of development, it retards the growth of productive forces. It develops, organises, and disciplines the workers—and it crushes, oppresses, leads to degeneration, poverty, etc. Capitalism creates its own grave-digger, itself creates the elements of a new system, yet, at the same time, without a “leap” these individual elements change nothing in the general state of affairs and do not affect the rule of capital. It is Marxism, the theory of dialectical materialism, that is able to encompass these contradictions of living reality, of the living history of capitalism and the working-class movement. But, needless to say, the masses learn from life and not from books, and therefore certain individuals or groups constantly exaggerate, elevate to a one-sided theory, to a one-sided system of tactics, now one and now another feature of capitalist development, now one and now another “lesson” of this development.

Bourgeois ideologists, liberals and democrats, not understanding Marxism, and not understanding the modern labour movement, are constantly jumping from one futile extreme to another. At one time they explain the whole matter by asserting that evil-minded persons “incite” class against class—at another they console themselves with the idea that the workers’ party is “a peaceful party of reform”. Both anarcho-syndicalism and reformism must be regarded as a direct product of this bourgeois world outlook and its influence. They seize upon one aspect of the labour movement, elevate one-sidedness to a theory, and declare mutually exclusive those tendencies or features of this movement that are a specific peculiarity of a given period, of given conditions of working-class activity. But real life, real history, includes these different tendencies, just as life and development in nature include both slow evolution and rapid leaps, breaks in continuity.

The revisionists regard as phrase-mongering all arguments about “leaps” and about the working-class movement being antagonistic in principle to the whole of the old society. They regard reforms as a partial realisation of socialism. The anarcho-syndicalists reject “petty work”, especially the utilisation of the parliamentary platform. In practice, the latter tactics amount to waiting for “great days” along with an inability to muster the forces which create great events. Both of them hinder the thing that is most important and most urgent, namely, to unite the workers in big, powerful and properly functioning organisations, capable of functioning well under all circumstances, permeated with the spirit of the class, struggle, clearly realising their aims and trained in the true Marxist world outlook.

We shall here permit ourselves a slight digression and note an parenthesis, so as to avoid possible misunderstandings, that Pannekoek illustrates his analysis exclusively by examples taken from West-European history, especially the history of Germany and France, not referring to Russia at all. If at, times it seems that he is alluding to Russia, it is only because the basic tendencies which give rise to definite departures from Marxist tactics are to be observed in our country too, despite the vast difference between Russia and the West in culture, everyday life, and historical and economic development.

Finally, an extremely important cause of differences among those taking part in the labour movement lies in changes in the tactics of the ruling classes in general and of the bourgeoisie in particular. If the tactics of the bourgeoisie were always uniform, or at least of the same kind, the working class would rapidly learn to reply to them by tactics just as uniform or of the same kind. But, as a matter of fact, in every country the bourgeoisie inevitably devises two systems of rule, two methods of fighting for its interests and of maintaining its domination, and these methods at times succeed each other and at times are interwoven in various combinations. The first of these is the method of force, the method which rejects all concessions to the labour movement, the method of supporting all the old and obsolete institutions, the method of irreconcilably rejecting reforms. Such is the nature of the conservative policy which in Western Europe is becoming less and less a policy of the landowning classes and more and more one of the varieties of bourgeois policy in general. The second is the method of “liberalism”, of steps towards the development of political rights, towards reforms, concessions, and so forth.

The bourgeoisie passes from one method to the other not because of the malicious intent of individuals, and not accidentally, but owing to the fundamentally contradictory nature of its own position. Normal capitalist society cannot develop successfully without a firmly established representative system and without certain political rights for the population, which is bound to be distinguished by its relatively high “cultural” demands. These demands for a certain minimum of culture are created by the conditions of the capitalist mode of production itself, with its high technique, complexity, flexibility, mobility, rapid development of world competition, and so forth. In consequence, vacillations in the tactics of the bourgeoisie, transitions from the system of force to the system of apparent concessions have been characteristic of the history of all European countries during the last half-century, the various countries developing primarily the application of the one method or the other at definite periods. For instance, in the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century Britain was the classical country of “liberal” bourgeois policy, Germany in the seventies and eighties adhered to the method of force, and so on.

When this method prevailed in Germany, a one-sided echo of this particular system of bourgeois government was the growth of anarcho-syndicalism, or anarchism, as it was then called, in the labour movement (the “Young” at the beginning of the nineties,Johann Most at the beginning of the eighties). When in 189O the change to “concessions” took place, this change, as is always the case, proved to be even more dangerous to the labour movement, and gave rise to an equally one-sided echo of bourgeois “reformism”: opportunism in the labour movement. “The positive, real aim of the liberal policy of the bourgeoisie,” Pannekoek says, “is to mislead the workers, to cause a split in their ranks, to convert their policy into an impotent adjunct of an impotent, always impotent and ephemeral, sham reformism.”

Not infrequently, the bourgeoisie for a certain time achieves its object by a “liberal” policy, which, as Pannekoek justly remarks, is a “more crafty” policy. A part of the workers and a part of their representatives at times allow themselves to be deceived by seeming concessions. The revisionists declare that the doctrine of the class struggle is “antiquated”, or begin to conduct a policy which is in fact a renunciation of the class struggle. The zigzags of bourgeois tactics intensify revisionism within the labour movement and not infrequently bring the differences within the labour movement to the point of an outright split.

All causes of the kind indicated give rise to differences over tactics within the labour movement and within the proletarian ranks. But there is not and cannot be a Chinese wall between the proletariat and the sections of the petty bourgeoisie in contact with it, including the peasantry. It is clear that the passing of certain individuals, groups and sections of the petty bourgeoisie into the ranks of the proletariat is bound, in its turn, to give rise to vacillations in the tactics of the latter.

The experience, of the labour movement of various countries helps us to understand on the basis of concrete practical questions the nature of Marxist tactics; it helps the younger countries to distinguish more clearly the true class significance of departures from Marxism and to combat these departures more successfully.

December 1910

Heroes of “Reservation”

Published: Mysl No. 1. Signed: V. I..

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 368 – 373

The immediate task is to dig—even under the most difficult conditions—for ore, to extract iron, and to cast the steel of the Marxist world outlook and of the superstructures corresponding to this world outlook. (page 373)

Written in September- November of 1910

The Historical Meaning of the Inner-Party Struggle in Russia

Published April 29, 1911, in Diskussionny Listok No. 3. Signed: N. Lenin

Lenin, Volume 16, pages 374 - 392

The theory that the struggle between Bolshevism and Menshevism is a struggle for influence over an immature proletariat is not a new one. We have been encountering it since 1905 (if not since 1903) in innumerable books, pamphlets, and articles in the liberal press. Martov and Trotsky are putting before the German comrades liberal views with a Marxist coating.

Of course, the Russian proletariat is politically far less mature than the proletariat of Western Europe. But of all classes of Russian society, it was the proletariat that displayed the greatest political maturity in 1905 – 07. The Russian liberal bourgeoisie, which behaved in just as vile, cowardly, stupid and treacherous a manner as the German bourgeoisie in 1848, hates the Russian proletariat for the very reason that in 1905 it proved sufficiently mature politically to wrest the leadership of the movement from this bourgeoisie and ruthlessly to expose the treachery of the liberals.

Trotsky declares: “It is an illusion” to imagine that Menshevism and Bolshevism “have struck deep roots in the depths of the proletariat”. This is a specimen of the resonant but empty phrases of which our Trotsky is a master. The roots of the divergence between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks lie, not in the “depths of the proletariat”, but in the economic content of the Russian revolution. (page 374 - 375)

Throughout all the three years of the revolution we observe that every time the political crisis becomes acute there is an upsurge, not only of the political, but also of the economic strike struggle. Not the weakness, but the strength of the movement lay in the combination of the two forms of struggle. (page 384)

December 28, 1910

Certain Features of the Historical Development of Marxism

Published: Zvezda, No. 2

Lenin, Volume 17, pages 39 – 44

Our doctrinesaid Engels, referring to himself and his famous friend—is not a dogma, but a guide to action. This classical statement stresses with remarkable force and expressiveness that aspect of Marxism which is very often lost sight of. And by losing sight of it, we turn Marxism into something one-sided, distorted and lifeless; we deprive it of its life blood; we undermine its basic theoretical foundations—dialectics, the doctrine of historical development, all-embracing and full of contradictions; we undermine its connection with the definite practical tasks of the epoch, which may change with every new turn of history. (page 39)

The dialectics of historical development was such that in the first period, it was the attainment of immediate reforms in every sphere of the country’s life that was on the order of the day. In the second period it was the critical study of experience, its assimilation by wider sections, its penetration, so to speak, into the subsoil, into the back ward ranks of the various classes.

It is precisely because Marxism is not a lifeless dogma, not a completed, ready-made, immutable doctrine, but a living guide to action, that it was bound to reflect the astonishingly abrupt change in the conditions of social life. That change was reflected in profound disintegration and disunity, in every manner of vacillation, in short, in a very serious internal crisis of Marxism. Resolute resistance to this disintegration, a resolute and persistent struggle to up hold the fundamentals of Marxism, was again placed on the order of the day. In the preceding period, extremely wide sections of the classes that cannot avoid Marxism in formulating their aims had assimilated that doctrine in an extremely one-sided and mutilated fashion. They had learnt by rote certain “slogans”, certain answers to tactical questions, without having understood the Marxist criteria for these answers. The “revaluation of all values” in the various spheres of social life led to a “revision” of the most abstract and general philosophical fundamentals of Marxism. (page 42 – 43)

Therefore, to understand the reasons for the inevitability of this disintegration at the present time and to close their ranks for consistent struggle against this disintegration is, in the most direct and precise meaning of the term, the task of the day for Marxists. (page 44)





February 8 (21), 1911.

Paul Singer

Died January 18 (31), 1911

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 17, pages 92-95.

It is true that the growth of the workers’ party often attracts many opportunists to its ranks. It is also true that in our day socialists of bourgeois origin most often bring to the proletariat their timidity, narrow-mindedness and love of phrase-mongering rather than firmness of revolutionary convictions. But the rejoicing of the enemies is premature! The masses of workers in Germany, as well as in other countries, are becoming welded ever more strongly into an army of revolution, and this army will deploy its forces in the not far distant future—for the revolution is gaining momentum both in Germany and in other countries.

The old revolutionary leaders are passing away; but the young army of the revolutionary proletariat is growing and gaining strength.



April 15 (28), 1911

In Memory of the Commune

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 17, pages 139-143.

The memory of the fighters of the Commune is honoured not only by the workers of France but by the proletariat of the whole world. For the Commune fought, not for some local or narrow national aim, but for the emancipation of all toiling humanity, of all the downtrodden and oppressed. As a foremost fighter for the social revolution, the Commune has won sympathy wherever there is a proletariat suffering and engaged in struggle. The epic of its life and death, the sight of a workers’ government which seized the capital of the world and held it for over two months, the spectacle of the heroic struggle of the proletariat and the torments it underwent after its defeat—all this raised the spirit of millions of workers, aroused their hopes and enlisted their sympathy for the cause of socialism. The thunder of the cannon in Paris awakened the most backward sections of the proletariat from their deep slumber, and everywhere gave impetus to the growth of revolutionary socialist propaganda. That is why the cause of the Commune is not dead. It lives to the present day in every one of us.

The cause of the Commune is the cause of the social revolution, the cause of the complete political and economic emancipation of the toilers. It is the cause of the proletariat of the whole world. And in this sense it is immortal.




December 8 (21), 1911

Speech Delivered in the Name of the R.S.D.L.P. at
The Funeral of Paul and Laura Lafargue November 20 (December 3), 1911

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 17, pages 304-305.

For the Russian worker Social-Democrats Lafargue symbolised two eras: the era in which the revolutionary youth of France, animated by republican ideas, marched shoulder to shoulder with the French workers to attack the Empire, and the era in which the French proletariat, under Marxist leadership, waged a sustained class struggle against the en tire bourgeois system and prepared for the final battle against the bourgeoisie to win socialism.

We, Russian Social-Democrats, who have experienced all the oppression of an absolutism impregnated with Asiatic barbarity, and who have had the good fortune, through the writings of Lafargue and his friends, directly to draw on the revolutionary experience and revolutionary thought of the European workers—we can now see with particular clarity how rapidly we are nearing the triumph of the cause to which Lafargue devoted all his life. The Russian revolution ushered in an era of democratic revolutions throughout Asia, and 800 million people are now joining in the democratic movement of the whole of the civilised world. In Europe, too, there are increasing signs that the era of so-called peaceful bourgeois parliamentarianism is drawing to an end, to give place to an era of revolutionary battles by a proletariat that has been organised and educated in the spirit of Marxist ideas, and that will overthrow bourgeois rule and establish a communist system.






May 8 (April 25), 1912.

In Memory of Herzen

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 25-31.


The storm is the movement of the masses themselves. The proletariat, the only class that is thoroughly revolutionary, rose at the head of the masses and for the first time aroused millions of peasants to open revolutionary struggle. The first onslaught in this storm took place in 1905. The next is beginning to develop under our very eyes.

In commemorating Herzen, the proletariat is learning from his example to appreciate the great importance of revolutionary theory. It is learning that selfless devotion to the revolution and revolutionary propaganda among the people are not wasted even if long decades divide the sowing from the harvest. It is learning to ascertain the role of the various classes in the Russian and in the international revolution. Enriched by these lessons, the proletariat will fight its way to a free alliance with the socialist workers of all lands, having crushed that loathsome monster, the tsarist monarchy, against which Herzen was the first to raise the great banner of struggle by addressing his free Russian word to the masses.




September 18, 1912.

The Successes of the American Workers

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 335-336.

The importance of democracy is that it makes the class struggle broad, open and conscious. And this is not a conjecture or a wish, but a fact.

Anyone who has eyes to see must acknowledge that a proletarian is powerless when alone but that millions of proletarians are all-powerful.


October 21, 1912.

A New Chapter of World History

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 368-369.

In Eastern Europe (Austria, the Balkans, Russia), the powerful survivals of medievalism, which terribly hamper social development and the growth of the proletariat, have not yet been abolished. These survivals are absolutism (unlimited autocratic power), feudalism (landlordism and feudal privileges) and the suppression of nationalities.

The class-conscious workers of the Balkan countries are the first to put forward the slogan of a consistently democratic solution of the national problem in the Balkans. That slogan calls for a Balkan federal republic.

As for Western Europe, the proletariat there is still more vigorously proclaiming the slogan: No intervention! The Balkans for the Balkan peoples!



Written in November 1912

Concerning Certain Speeches by Workers’ Deputies

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 18, pages 413-419.


Russia’s Social-Democratic Party is a contingent of the international army of the socialist proletariat.

The working class of the world is fighting not for recognition of its right to have a socialist party, but for power, and for the organisation of society along new lines.

It is highly important to say so from the Duma platform, to tell the workers of Russia about the beginning of the great battles for socialism in Europe and America, about the nearness of the triumph (inevitable triumph) of socialism in the civilised world.








January 3, 1913.




In November of last year—1912—it was twenty-five years since the death of the French worker-poet, Eugène Pottier, author of the famous proletarian song, the Internationale (“Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers”, etc.).

This song has been translated into all European and other languages. In whatever country a class-conscious worker finds himself, wherever fate may cast him, however much he may feel himself a stranger, without language, without friends, far from his native country—he can find himself comrades and friends by the familiar refrain of the Internationale.

The workers of all countries have adopted the song of their foremost fighter, the proletarian poet, and have made it the world-wide song of the proletariat.

The Commune was crushed—but Pottier’s Internationale spread its ideas throughout the world, and it is now more alive than ever before.

He was one of the greatest propagandists by song. When he was composing his first song, the number of worker socialists ran to tens, at most. Eugène Pottier’s historic song is now known to tens of millions of proletarians.



March 1913.

The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism

Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 21-28.

Independent organisations of the proletariat are multi plying all over the world, from America to Japan and from Sweden to South Africa. The proletariat is becoming enlightened and educated by waging its class struggle; it is ridding itself of the prejudices of bourgeois society; it is rallying its ranks ever more closely and is learning to gauge the measure of its successes; it is steeling its forces and is growing irresistibly.



March 22, 1913.

Big Achievement of the Chinese Republic

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 29-30.

The point is that the Chinese revolution did not evoke among the European bourgeoisie any enthusiasm for freedom and democracy—only the proletariat can entertain that feeling, which is alien to the knights of profit; it gave rise to the urge to plunder China, partition her and take away some of her territories.

The collapse of this reactionary consortium is a big success for the young republic, which enjoys the sympathy of the working masses the world over.


May 10, 1913.

The Working Class and the National Question

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 91-92.

In our times the proletariat alone upholds the real freedom of nations and the unity of workers of all nations.

No privileges for any nation or any one language! Not even the slightest degree of oppression or the slightest injustice in respect of a national minority—such are the principles of working-class democracy.

Class-conscious workers stand for full unity among the workers of all nations in every educational, trade union, political, etc., workers’ organisation.

The workers of all nations together, concertedly, uphold full freedom and complete equality of rights in organisations common to all—and that is the guarantee of genuine culture.

The workers of the whole world are building up their own internationalist culture, which the champions of freedom and the enemies of oppression have for long been preparing. To the old world, the world of national oppression, national bickering, and national isolation the workers counterpose a new world, a world of the unity of the working people of all nations, a world in which there is no place for any privileges or for the slightest degree of oppression of man by man.



May 18, 1913.

Backward Europe and Advanced Asia

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 99-100.

Advanced Europe is commanded by a bourgeoisie which supports everything that is backward. The Europe of our day is advanced not thanks to, but in spite of, the bourgeoisie, for it is only the proletariat that is adding to the million-strong army of fighters for a better future. It alone preserves and spreads implacable enmity towards backwardness, savagery, privilege, slavery and the humiliation of man by man.

In “advanced” Europe, the sole advanced class is the proletariat.

Everywhere in Asia a mighty democratic movement is growing, spreading and gaining in strength. The bourgeoisie   there is as yet siding with the people against reaction. Hundreds of millions of people are awakening to life, light and freedom. What delight this world movement is arousing in the hearts of all class-conscious workers, who know that the path to collectivism lies through democracy! What sympathy for young Asia imbues all honest democrats!

All the commanders of Europe, all the European bourgeoisie are in alliance with all the forces of reaction and medievalism in China.

But all young Asia, that is, the hundreds of millions of Asian working people, has a reliable ally in the proletariat of all civilised countries. No force on earth can prevent its victory, which will liberate both the peoples of Europe and the peoples of Asia.



May 21, 1913.

Armaments and Capitalism

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 106-107.

Armaments are considered a national matter, a matter of patriotism; it is presumed that everyone maintains strict secrecy. But the shipyards, the ordnance, dynamite and small-arms factories are international enterprises, in which the capitalists of the various countries work together in duping and fleecing the public of the various countries.



Written in May, before June 25 (7), 1913

Draft Platform for the Fourth Congress of Social-Democrats of the Latvian Area

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 110-118.

The liquidators’ conference in August 1912—as was admitted even by the neutral Menshevik Plekhanov—contravened the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P. in the spirit of “adaptation of socialism to nationalism”.

In fact, this conference recognised, on the proposal of the Bund, the permissibility of the slogan of “cultural-national   autonomy”, which was contrary to the decision taken by the Second Party Congress. This slogan (defended in Russia by all the bourgeois Jewish nationalist parties) contradicts the internationalism of Social-Democracy. As democrats, we are irreconcilably hostile to any, however slight, oppression of any nationality and to any privileges for any nationality. As democrats, we demand the right of nations to self-determination in the political sense of that term (see the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P.), i.e., the right to secede. We demand unconditional equality for all nations in the state and the unconditional protection of the rights of every national minority. We demand broad self-government and autonomy for regions, which must be demarcated, among other terms of reference, in respect of nationality too.

Social-Democrats have always stood and still stand for the internationalist point of view. While protecting the equality of all nationalities against the serf-owners and the police state we do not support “national culture” but inter national culture, which includes only part of each national culture—only the consistently democratic and socialist content of each national culture.

The slogan of “national-cultural autonomy” deceives the workers with the phantom of a cultural unity of nations, whereas in every nation today a landowners’, bourgeois or petty-bourgeois “culture” predominates.

We are against national culture as one of the slogans of bourgeois nationalism. We are in favour of the international culture of a fully democratic and socialist proletariat.

The unity of the workers of all nationalities coupled with the fullest equality for the nationalities and the most consistently democratic state system—that is our slogan, and it is the slogan of international revolutionary Social-Democracy. This truly proletarian slogan will not create the false phantom and illusion of “national” unity of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, while the slogan of “national-cultural autonomy” undoubtedly does create that phantom and does sow that illusion among the working people.

Unity from below, the complete unity and consolidation in each locality of Social-Democratic workers of all nationalities in all working-class organisations—that is our slogan. Down with the deceptive bourgeois, compromise slogan of “cultural-national autonomy”!

We are against federation in the structure of our Party, too; we are for the unity of local (and not only central) organisations of Social-Democrats of all nations.

The Congress must reject both the slogan of cultural-national autonomy and the principle of federation in the structure of the Party. The Congress (...) must remain true to Social-Democratic internationalism.



Written in June 1913

Theses on the National Question

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 243-251.

The proletariat cannot pursue its struggle for socialism and defend its everyday economic interests without the closest and fullest alliance of the workers of all nations in all working-class organisations without exception.

The proletariat cannot achieve freedom other than by revolutionary struggle for the overthrow of the tsarist monarchy and its replacement by a democratic republic. The tsarist monarchy precludes liberty and equal rights for nationalities, and is, furthermore, the bulwark of barbarity, brutality and reaction in both Europe and Asia. This monarchy can be overthrown only by the united proletariat of all the nations of Russia, which is giving the lead to consistently democratic elements capable of revolutionary struggle from among the working masses of all nations.

It follows, therefore, that workers who place political unity with “their own” bourgeoisie above complete unity with the proletariat of all nations, are acting against their own interests, against the interests of socialism and against the interests of democracy.

The Social-Democratic attitude to the slogan of “cultural-national” (or simply “national”) “autonomy” or to plans for its implementation is a negative one, since this slogan (1) undoubtedly contradicts the internationalism of the class struggle of the proletariat, (2) makes it easier for the proletariat and the masses of working people to be drawn into the sphere of influence of bourgeois nationalism, and (3) is capable of distracting attention from the task of the consistent democratic transformation of the state as a whole, which transformation alone can ensure (to the extent that this can, in general, be ensured under capitalism) peace between nationalities.

It is impermissible, from the standpoint of Social-Democracy, to issue the slogan of national culture either directly or indirectly. The slogan is incorrect because already under capitalism, all economic, political and spiritual life is becoming more and more international. Socialism will make it completely international. International culture,   which is now already being systematically created by the proletariat of all countries, does not absorb “national culture” (no matter of what national group) as a whole, but accepts from each national culture exclusively those of its elements that are consistently democratic and socialist.

The Party should not be federative in structure and should not form national Social-Democratic groups but should unite the proletarians of all nations in the given locality, conduct propaganda and agitation in all the languages of the local proletariat, promote the common struggle of the workers of all nations against every kind of national privilege and should recognise the autonomy of local and regional Party organisations.




June 15 (28), 1913.

May Day Action by the Revolutionary Proletariat

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 218-227.

The colossal superiority of the Russian strikes over those in the European countries, the most advanced countries, demonstrates, not the special qualities or special abilities of Russia’s workers, but the special conditions in present-day Russia, the existence of a revolutionary situation, the growth of a directly revolutionary crisis. When the moment of a similar growth of revolution approaches in Europe (there it will be a socialist and not a bourgeois-democratic revolution, as in our country), the proletariat of the most developed capitalist countries will launch far more vigorous revolutionary strikes, demonstrations, and armed struggle against the defenders of wage-slavery.



August 8, 1913.

August Bebel

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 295-301.

The period of preparation and the mustering of working-class forces is in all countries a necessary stage in the development of the world emancipation struggle of the proletariat, and nobody can compare with August Bebel as a brilliant personification of the peculiarities and tasks of that period. Himself a worker, he proved able to   break his own road to sound socialist convictions and be came a model workers’ leader, a representative and participant in the mass struggle of the wage-slaves of capital for a better social system.



August 18, 1913.

The Nationalisation of Jewish Schools

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 307-308.

Look at the capitalists! They try to inflame national strife among the “common people”, while they themselves manage their business affairs remarkably well—Russians, Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, and Germans together in one and the same corporation. Against the workers the capitalists of all nations and religions are united, but they strive to divide and weaken the workers by national strife!

This most harmful scheme for the nationalisation of the Jewish schools shows, incidentally, how mistaken is the plan for so—called “cultural-national autonomy”, i.e., the idea of taking education out of the hands of the state and handing it over to each nation separately. It is not this we should strive for, but for the unity of the workers of all nations in the struggle against all nationalism, in the struggle for a truly democratic common school and for political liberty generally.



September 5, 1913

Liberals and Democrats on the Language Question

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 354-357.

Under the slogan of “national culture” the bourgeoisie of all nations, (...), are in fact pursuing the policy of splitting the workers, emasculating democracy and haggling with the serf-owners over the sale of the people’s rights and the people’s liberty.

The slogan of working-class democracy is not “national culture” but the international culture of democracy and the world-wide working-class movement.

Working-class democracy counterposes to the nationalist wrangling of the various bourgeois parties over questions of language, etc., the demand for the unconditional unity and complete solidarity of workers of all nationalities in all working-class organisations—trade union, co-operative, consumers’, educational and all others—in contradistinction to any kind of bourgeois nationalism. Only this type of unity and solidarity can uphold democracy and defend the interests of the workers against capital—which is already international and is becoming more so—and promote the development of mankind towards a new way of life that is alien to all privileges and all exploitation.



September 13, 1913.

How Does Bishop Nikon Defend the Ukrainians?

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 379-381.

A hundred and twenty-five years ago, when the nation had not been split into bourgeoisie and proletariat, the slogan of national culture could have been a single and integral call to struggle against feudalism and clericalism. Since that time, however, the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat has gained momentum everywhere. The division of the “single” nation into exploiters and exploited has become an accomplished fact.

Only the clericals and the bourgeoisie can speak of national culture in general. The working people can speak only   of the international culture of the world working-class movement. That is the only culture that means full, real, sincere equality of nations, the absence of national oppression and the implementation of democracy. Only the unity and solidarity of workers of all nations in all working-class organisations in the struggle against capital will lead to “the solution of the national problem”.



September 1913

Resolutions of the Summer, 1913, Joint Conference of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. and Party Officials

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 417-431.

The interests of the working class demand the amalgamation of the workers of all the nationalities in a given state in united proletarian organisations—political, trade union, co-operative, educational, etc. This amalgamation of the workers of different nationalities in single organisations will alone enable the proletariat to wage a victorious struggle against international capital and reaction, and combat the propaganda and aspirations of the landowners, clergy and bourgeois nationalists of all nations, who usually cover up their anti-proletarian aspirations with the slogan of “national culture”. The world working-class movement is creating and daily developing more and more an international proletarian culture.



December 14, 1913.

The Nationality of Pupils in Russian Schools

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 531-533.

It is not our business to segregate the nations in matters of education in any way; on the contrary, we must strive to create the fundamental democratic conditions for the peaceful coexistence of the nations on the basis of equal rights. We must not champion “national culture”, but expose the clerical and bourgeois character of this slogan in   the name of the international culture of the world working-class movement.

Advocacy of impracticable cultural-national autonomy is an absurdity, which now already is only disuniting the workers ideologically. To advocate the amalgamation of the workers of all nationalities means facilitating the success of proletarian class solidarity, which will guarantee equal rights for, and maximum peaceful coexistence of, all nationalities.



December 17, 1913.

Once More on the Segregation of the Schools According to Nationality

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 19, pages 548-550.

The class-conscious workers combat all national oppression and all national privileges, but they do not confine themselves to that. They combat all, even the most refined, nationalism, and advocate not only the unity, but also the amalgamation of the workers of all nationalities in the struggle against reaction and against bourgeois nationalism in all its forms. Our task is not to segregate nations, but to unite the workers of all nations. Our banner does not carry the slogan “national culture” but international culture, which unites all the nations in a higher, socialist unity, and the way to which is already being paved by the international amalgamation of capital.




October-December 1913

Critical Remarks on the National Question

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 20, pages 17-51

In advancing the slogan of “the international culture of democracy and of the world working-class movement”, we take from each national culture only its democratic and socialist elements; we take them only and absolutely in opposition to the bourgeois culture and the bourgeois nationalism of each nation.

Those who seek to serve the proletariat must unite the workers of all nations, and unswervingly fight bourgeois nationalism, domestic and foreign. The place of those who advocate the slogan of national culture is among the nationalist petty bourgeois, not among the Marxists.

Bourgeois nationalism and proletarian internationalism—these are the two irreconcilably hostile slogans that correspond to the two great class camps throughout the capitalist world, and express the two policies (nay, the two world outlooks) in the national question. In advocating the slogan of national culture and building up on it an entire plan and practical programme of what they call “cultural-national autonomy”, the Bundists are in effect instruments of bourgeois nationalism among the workers.  

Developing capitalism knows two historical tendencies in the national question. The first is the awakening of national life and national movements, the struggle against all national oppression, and the creation of national states. The second is the development and growing frequency of international intercourse in every form, the break-down of national barriers, the creation of the international unity of capital, of economic life in general, of politics, science, etc.

Both tendencies are a universal law of capitalism. The former predominates in the beginning of its development, the latter characterises a mature capitalism that is moving towards its transformation into socialist society. The Marxists’ national programme takes both tendencies into account, and advocates, firstly, the equality of nations and languages and the impermissibility of all privileges in this respect (and also the right of nations to self—determination with which we shall deal separately later); secondly, the principle of internationalism and uncompromising struggle against contamination of the proletariat with bourgeois nationalism, even of the most refined kind.

What is left is capitalism’s world-historical tendency, to break down national barriers, obliterate national distinctions, and to assimilate nations—a tendency which manifests itself more and more powerfully with every passing decade, and is one of the greatest driving forces transforming capitalism into socialism.

The national cause comes first and the proletarian cause second, the bourgeois nationalists say. The proletarian cause must come first, we say, because it not only protects the lasting and fundamental interests of labour and of humanity, but also those of democracy.

Marxism cannot be reconciled with nationalism, be it even of the “most just”, “purest”, most refined and civilised brand. In place of all forms of nationalism Marxism advances internationalism, the amalgamation of all nations in the higher unity, a unity that is growing before our eyes with every mile of railway line that is built, with every international trust, and every workers’ association that is formed (an association that is international in its economic activities as well as in its ideas and aims).

Combat all national oppression? Yes, of course! Fight for any kind of national development, for “national culture” in general?—Of course not. The economic development of capitalist society presents us with examples of immature national movements all over the world, examples of the formation of big nations out of a number of small ones, or to the detriment of some of the small ones, and also examples of the assimilation of nations. The development of nationality in general is the principle of bourgeois nationalism; hence the exclusiveness of bourgeois nationalism, hence the endless national bickering. The proletariat, however, far from undertaking to uphold the national development of every nation, on the contrary, warns the masses against such illusions, stands for the fullest freedom of capitalist intercourse and welcomes every kind of assimilation of nations, except that which is founded on force or privilege.

Guaranteeing the rights of a national minority is inseparably linked up with the principle of complete equality.

Marxists are, of course, opposed to federation and decentralisation, for the simple reason that capitalism requires for its development the largest and most centralised possible states. Other conditions being equal, the class-conscious proletariat will always stand for the larger state. It will always fight against medieval particularism, and will always welcome the closest possible economic amalgamation of large territories in which the proletariat’s struggle against the bourgeoisie can develop on a broad basis.

Capitalism’s broad and rapid development of the productive forces calls for large, politically compact and united territories, since only here can the bourgeois class—together with its inevitable antipode, the proletarian class—unite and sweep away all the old, medieval, caste, parochial, petty-national, religious and other barriers.

The great centralised state is a tremendous historical step forward from medieval disunity to the future socialist unity of the whole world, and only via such a state (inseparably connected with capitalism), can there be any road to socialism.

It is beyond doubt that in order to eliminate all national oppression it is very important to create autonomous areas, however small, with entirely homogeneous populations, towards which members of the respective nationalities scattered all over the country, or even all over the world, could gravitate, and with which they could enter into relations and free associations of every kind.



December 8, 1913.

Russian Workers and the International

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 41, pages 302.2-305.1.

A class-conscious worker feels and realises himself to be not only a member of the Russian Marxist family—he is aware that he is also a member of the international family of Marxists. He also has duties to the workers’ International. He must take account of the opinions and wishes of the latter. He must not lose touch with the international workers’ army for a single moment.

Russian Marxist workers will welcome the fact that the workers’ International has shown a desire to make a serious study of the principled discussions which have such a prominent part to play in our Russian working-class movement. The accursed conditions of Russian social and political life have led to a state where our comrades know much less about our movement than about the movement in any other country.

The working class of Russia has by rights taken up its place in the workers’ International, and it is safe to say that with every passing year its role in the international arena will be ever bigger and more important.










April 6 (19), 1914

On the Question of National Policy

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 20, pages 217-225.


Eighteen years ago, in 1896, the International Congress of Labour and Socialist Organisations in London adopted a resolution on the national question, which indicated the only correct way to work for both real “popular liberties” and socialism. The resolution reads:

This Congress declares that it stands for the full right of all nations to self-determination, and expresses its sympathy for the workers of every country now suffering under the yoke of military, national or other absolutism. This Congress calls upon the workers of all these countries to join the ranks of the class-conscious workers of the whole world in order jointly to fight for the defeat of international capitalism and for the achievement of the aims of international Social-Democracy.”

And we, too, call for unity in the ranks of the workers of all nations in Russia, for only such unity can guarantee the equality of nations and popular liberties, and safeguard the interests of socialism.

But true democracy, headed by the working class, holds aloft the banner of complete equality of nations and of unity of the workers of all nations in their class struggle. From this point of view we reject so-called “cultural-national autonomy”, that is, the division of educational affairs in a given state according to nationality, or the proposal that education should be taken out of the hands of the state and transferred to separately organised national associations. A democratic state must grant autonomy to its various regions, especially to regions with mixed populations. This form of autonomy in no way contradicts democratic centralism; on the contrary, it is only through regional autonomy that genuine democratic centralism is possible in a large state with a mixed population. A democratic state is bound to grant complete freedom for the native languages and annul all privileges for any one language. A democratic state will not permit the oppression or the overriding of any one nationality by another, either in any particular region or in any branch of public affairs.





April 16, 1914.

National Equality

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 20, pages 237-238.

The policy of oppressing nationalities is one of dividing nations. At the same time it is a policy of systematic corruption of the people’s minds. The Black Hundreds’ plans are designed to foment antagonism among the different nations, to poison the minds of the ignorant and downtrodden masses. Pick up any Black-Hundred newspaper and you will find that the persecution of non-Russians, the sowing of mutual distrust between the Russian peasant, the Russian petty bourgeois and the Russian artisan on the one hand, and the Jewish, Finnish, Polish, Georgian and Ukrainian peasants, petty bourgeois and artisans on the other, is meat and drink to the whole of this Black-Hundred gang.

But the working class needs unity, not division. It bas no more bitter enemy than the savage prejudices and superstitions which its enemies sow among the ignorant masses.   The oppression of “subject peoples” is a double-edged weapon. It cuts both ways—against the “subject peoples” and against the Russian people.

That is why the working class must protest most strongly against national oppression in any shape and form.



May 10, 1914.

Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 20, pages 289-291.

The class-conscious workers fight hard against every kind of nationalism, both the crude, violent, Black-Hundred nationalism, and that most refined nationalism which preaches the equality of nations together with ... the splitting up of the workers’ cause, the workers’ organisations and the working-class movement according to nationality. Unlike all the varieties of the nationalist bourgeoisie, the class conscious workers, carrying out the decisions of the recent (summer 1913) conference of the Marxists, stand, not only for the most complete, consistent and fully applied equality   of nations and languages, but also for the amalgamation of the workers of the different nationalities in united proletarian organisations of every kind.

Herein lies the fundamental distinction between the national programme of Marxism and that of any bourgeoisie, be it the most “advanced”.

The interests of proletarian solidarity and comradely unity in the workers’ class struggle call for the fullest equality of nations with a view to removing every trace of national distrust, estrangement, suspicion and enmity. And full equality implies the repudiation of all privileges for any one language and the recognition of the right of self-determination for all nations.

To the bourgeoisie, however, the demand for national equality very often amounts in practice to advocating national exclusiveness and chauvinism; they very often couple it with advocacy of the division and estrangement of nations. This is absolutely incompatible with proletarian internationalism, which advocates, not only closer relations between nations, but the amalgamation of the workers of all nationalities in a given state in united proletarian organisations.



February-May 1914

The Right of Nations to Self-Determination

Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 20, pp. 393-454.

Throughout the world, the period of the final victory of capitalism over feudalism has been linked up with national movements. For the complete victory of commodity production, the bourgeoisie must capture the home market, and there must be politically united territories whose population speak a single language, with all obstacles to the development of that language and to its consolidation in literature eliminated. Therein is the economic foundation of national movements.

Therefore, the tendency of every national movement is towards the formation of national states, under which these requirements of modern capitalism are best satisfied. The most profound economic factors drive towards this goal, and, therefore, for the whole of Western Europe, nay, for the entire civilised world, the national state is typical and normal for the capitalist period.

The self-determination of nations means the political separation of these nations from alien national bodies, and the formation of an independent national state.

From the standpoint of national relations, the best conditions for the development of capitalism are undoubtedly provided by the national state. This does not mean, of course, that such a state, which is based on bourgeois relations, can eliminate the exploitation and oppression of nations. It only means that Marxists cannot lose sight of the powerful economic factors that give rise to the urge to create national states. It means that “self-determination of nations” in the Marxists’ Programme cannot, from a historico-economic point of view, have any other meaning than political self-determination, state independence, and the formation of a national state.

On the one hand, there is the period of the collapse of feudalism and absolutism, the period of the formation of the bourgeois-democratic society and state, when the national movements for the first time become mass movements and in one way or another draw all classes of the population into politics through the press, participation in representative institutions, etc. On the other hand, there is the period of fully formed capitalist states with a long-established constitutional regime and a highly developed antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie—a period that may be called the eve of capitalism’s downfall.

The typical features of the first period are: the awakening of national movements and the drawing of the peasants, the most numerous and the most sluggish section of the population, into these movements, in connection with the struggle for political liberty in general, and for the rights of the nation in particular. Typical features of the second period are: the absence of mass bourgeois-democratic movements and the fact that developed capitalism, in bringing closer together nations that have already been fully drawn into commercial intercourse, and causing them to intermingle to an increasing degree, brings the antagonism between internationally united capital and the international working-class movement into the forefront.

The proletariat’s policy in the national question (as in all others) supports the bourgeoisie only in a certain direction, but it never coincides with the bourgeoisie’s policy. The working class supports the bourgeoisie only in order to secure national peace (which the bourgeoisie cannot bring about completely and which can be achieved only with complete democracy), in order to secure equal rights and to create the best conditions for the class struggle. Therefore, it is in opposition to the practicality of the bourgeoisie that the proletarians advance their principles in the national question; they always give the bourgeoisie only conditional support. What every bourgeoisie is out for in the national question is either privileges for its own nation, or exceptional advantages for it; this is called being “practical”. The proletariat is opposed to all privileges, to all exclusiveness. To demand that it should be “practical” means following the lead of the bourgeoisie, falling into opportunism.

The bourgeoisie always places its national demands in the forefront, and does so in categorical fashion. With the proletariat, however, these demands are subordinated to the interests of the class struggle. Theoretically, you cannot say in advance whether the bourgeois-democratic revolution will end in a given nation seceding from another nation, or in its equality with the latter; in either case, the important thing for the proletariat is to ensure the development of its class. For the bourgeoisie it is important to hamper this development by pushing the aims of its “own” nation before those of the proletariat. That is why the proletariat confines itself, so to speak, to the negative demand for recognition of the right to self-determination, without giving guarantees to any nation, and without undertaking to give anything at the expense of another nation.

The bourgeoisie is most of all interested in the “feasibility” of a given demand—hence the invariable policy of coming to terms with the bourgeoisie of other nations, to the detriment of the proletariat. For the proletariat, however, the important thing is to strengthen its class against the bourgeoisie and to educate the masses in the spirit of consistent democracy and socialism.

The whole task of the proletarians in the national question is “unpractical” from the standpoint of the nationalist bourgeoisie of every nation, because the proletarians, opposed as they are to nationalism of every kind, demand “abstract” equality; they demand, as a matter of principle, that there should be no privileges, however slight.

On the plea that its demands are “practical”, the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nations will call upon the proletariat to support its aspirations unconditionally. The most practical procedure is to say a plain “yes” in favour of the secession of a particular nation rather than in favour of all nations having the right to secede!

The proletariat is opposed to such practicality. While recognising equality and equal rights to a national state, it values above all and places foremost the alliance of the proletarians of all nations, and assesses any national demand, any national separation, from the angle of the workers’ class struggle. This call for practicality is in fact merely a call for uncritical acceptance of bourgeois aspirations.

To the workers the important thing is to distinguish the principles of the two trends. Insofar as the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation fights the oppressor, we are always, in every case, and more strongly than anyone else, in favour, for we are the staunchest and the most consistent enemies of oppression. But insofar as the bourgeoisie of the oppressed nation stands for its own bourgeois nationalism, we stand against. We fight against the privileges and violence of the oppressor nation, and do not in any way condone strivings for privileges on the part of the oppressed nation.

If, in our political agitation, we fail to advance and advocate the slogan of the right to secession, we shall play into the hands, not only of the bourgeoisie, but also of the feudal landlords and the absolutism of the oppressor nation.

The bourgeois nationalism of any oppressed nation has a general democratic content that is directed against oppression, and it is this content that we unconditionally support.

Can a nation be free if it oppresses other nations? It cannot.

We, the Great-Russian proletarians, who defend no privileges whatever, do not defend this privilege either. We are fighting on the ground of a definite state; we unite the workers of all nations living in this state; we cannot vouch for any particular path of national development, for we are marching to our class goal along all possible paths.

However, we cannot move towards that goal unless we combat all nationalism, and uphold the equality of the various nations.

We proletarians declare in advance that we are opposed to Great-Russian privileges, and this is what guides our entire propaganda and agitation.

The interests of the working class and of its struggle against capitalism demand complete solidarity and the closest unity of the workers of all nations; they demand resistance to the nationalist policy of the bourgeoisie of every nationality. Hence, Social-Democrats would be deviating from proletarian policy and subordinating the workers to the policy of the bourgeoisie if they were to repudiate the right of nations to self-determination, i.e., the right of an oppressed nation to secede, or if they were to support all the national demands of the bourgeoisie of oppressed nations.

Successful struggle against exploitation requires that the proletariat be free of nationalism, and be absolutely neutral, so to speak, in the fight for supremacy that is going on among the bourgeoisie of the various nations. If the proletariat of any one nation gives the slightest support to the privileges of its “own” national bourgeoisie, that will inevitably rouse distrust among the proletariat of another nation; it will weaken the international class solidarity of the workers and divide them, to the delight of the bourgeoisie. Repudiation of the right to self-determination or to secession inevitably means, in practice, support for the privileges of the dominant nation.

In the question of the self-determination of nations, as in every other question, we are interested, first and foremost, in the self-determination of the proletariat within a given nation.


This resolution reads:

“This Congress declares that it stands for the full right of all nations to self-determination [Selbstbestimmungsrecht] and expresses its sympathy for the workers of ever country now suffering under the yoke of military, national or other absolutism. This Congress calls upon the workers of all these countries to join the ranks of the class-conscious [Klassenbewusste—those who understand their class interests] workers of the whole world in order jointly to fight for the defeat of international capitalism and for the achievement of the aims of international Social-Democracy.”

The International’s resolution reproduces the most essential and fundamental propositions in this point of view: on the one hand, the absolutely direct, unequivocal recognition of the full right of all nations to self-determination; on the other hand, the equally unambiguous appeal to the workers for international unity in their class struggle.

The working class should be the last to make a fetish of the national question, since the development of capitalism does, not necessarily awaken all nations to independent life. But to brush aside the mass national movements once they have started, and to refuse to support what is progressive in them means, in effect, pandering to nationalistic prejudices, that is, recognising “one’s own nation” as a model nation (or, we would add, one possessing the exclusive privilege of forming a state).

At first Marx thought that Ireland would not be liberated by the national movement of the oppressed nation, but by the working-class movement of the oppressor nation. Marx did not make an Absolute of the national movement, knowing, as he did, that only the victory of the working class can bring about the complete liberation of all nationalities. It is impossible to estimate beforehand all the possible relations between the bourgeois liberation movements of the oppressed nations and the proletarian emancipation movement of the oppressor nation.

However, it so happened that the English working class fell under the influence of the liberals for a fairly long time, became an appendage to the liberals, and by adopting a liberal-labour policy left itself leaderless. The bourgeois liberation movement in Ireland grew stronger and assumed revolutionary forms. Marx reconsidered his view and corrected it. “What a misfortune it is for a nation to have subjugated another.” The English working class will never be free until Ireland is freed from the English yoke. Reaction in England is strengthened and fostered by the enslavement of Ireland.

What were the theoretical grounds for Marx’s conclusion? In England the bourgeois revolution had been consummated long ago. But it had not yet been consummated in Ireland; it is being consummated only now, after the lapse of half a century, by the reforms of the English Liberals. If capitalism had been overthrown in England as quickly as Marx had at first expected, there would have been no room for a bourgeois-democratic and general national movement in Ireland. But since it had arisen, Marx advised the English workers to support it, give it a revolutionary impetus and see it through in the interests of their own liberty.

The “unpracticality” and “impracticability” of the separation of Ireland (if only owing to geographical conditions and England’s immense colonial power) were quite obvious. Though, in principle, an enemy of federalism, Marx in this instance granted the possibility of federation, as well, if only the emancipation of Ireland was achieved in a revolutionary, not reformist way, through a movement of the mass of the people of Ireland supported by the working class of England. There can be no doubt that only such a solution of the historical problem would have been in the best interests of the proletariat and most conducive to rapid social progress.

In the Irish question, too, Marx and Engels pursued a consistently proletarian policy, which really educated the masses in a spirit of democracy and socialism. Only such a policy could have saved both Ireland and England half a century of delay in introducing the necessary reforms, and prevented these reforms from being mutilated by the Liberals to please the reactionaries.

The policy of Marx and Engels on the Irish question serves as a splendid example of the attitude the proletariat of the oppressor nations should adopt towards national movements, an example which has lost none of its immense practical importance. It serves as a warning against that “servile haste” with which the philistines of all countries, colours and languages hurry to label as “utopian” the idea of altering the frontiers of states that were established by the violence and privileges of the landlords and bourgeoisie of one nation.

If the Irish and English proletariat had not accepted Marx’s policy and had not made the secession of Ireland their slogan, this would have been the worst sort of opportunism, a neglect of their duties as democrats and socialists, and a concession to English reaction and the English bourgeoisie.

A difficulty is to some extent created by the fact that in Russia the proletariat of both the oppressed and oppressor nations are fighting, and must fight, side by side. The task is to preserve the unity of the proletariat’s class struggle for socialism, and to resist all bourgeois and Black-Hundred nationalist influences. Where the oppressed nations are concerned, the separate organisation of the proletariat as an independent party sometimes leads to such a bitter struggle against local nationalism that the perspective becomes distorted and the nationalism of the oppressor nation is lost sight of.

But this distortion of perspective cannot last long.

In this situation, the proletariat, of Russia is faced with a twofold or, rather, a two-sided task: to combat nationalism of every kind, above all, Great-Russian nationalism; to recognise, not only fully equal rights, for all nations in general, but also equality of rights as regards polity, i.e., the right of nations to self-determination, to secession. And at the same time, it is their task, in the interests of a successful struggle against all and every kind, of nationalism among all nations, to preserve the unity of the proletarian struggle and the proletarian organisations, amalgamating these organisations into a close-knit international association, despite bourgeois strivings for national exclusiveness.

Complete equality of rights for all nations; the right of nations to self-determination; the unity of the workers of all nations—such is the national programme that Marxism, the experience of the whole world, and the experience of Russia, teach the workers.



August 24 (September 6), 1914

The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 21, pages 15-19.

The European and world war has the clearly defined character of a bourgeois, imperialist and dynastic war. A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries, a striving to suppress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries, a desire to deceive, disunite, and slaughter the proletarians of all countries by setting the wage slaves of one nation   against those of another so as to benefit the bourgeoisie—these are the only real content and significance of the war.

The betrayal of socialism by most leaders of the Second International (1889-1914) signifies the ideological and political bankruptcy of the International.

he opportunists had long been preparing to wreck the Second International by denying the socialist revolution and substituting bourgeois reformism in its stead, by rejecting the class struggle with its inevitable conversion at certain moments into civil war, and by preaching class collaboration; by preaching bourgeois chauvinism under the guise of patriotism and the defence of the fatherland, and ignoring or rejecting the fundamental truth of socialism, long ago set forth in the Communist Manifesto, that the workingmen have no country; by confining themselves, in the struggle against militarism, to a sentimental philistine point of view, instead of recognising the need for a revolutionary war by the proletarians of all countries, against the bourgeoisie of all countries; by making a fetish of the necessary utilisation of bourgeois parliamentarianism and bourgeois legality, and forgetting that illegal forms   of organisation and agitation are imperative at times of crises.

First, all-embracing propaganda, involving the army and the theatre of hostilities as well, for the socialist revolution and the need to use weapons, not against their brothers, the wage slaves in other countries, but against the reactionary and bourgeois governments and parties of all countries; the urgent necessity of organising illegal nuclei and groups in the armies of all nations, to conduct such propaganda. in all languages; a merciless struggle against the chauvinism and “patriotism” of the philistines and bourgeoisie of all countries without exception. In the struggle against the leaders of the present International, who have betrayed socialism, it is imperative to appeal to the revolutionary consciousness of the working masses, who bear the entire burden of the war and are in most cases hostile to opportunism and chauvinism.



September 28 (October 11), 1914

The War and Russian Social-Democracy

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 21, pages 25-34.

But the harder the governments and the bourgeoisie of all countries try to disunite the workers and pit them against one another, and the more savagely they enforce, for this lofty aim, martial law and the military censorship (measures which even now, in wartime, are applied against the “internal” foe more harshly than against the external), the more pressingly is it the duty of the class-conscious proletariat to defend its class solidarity, its internationalism, and its socialist convictions against the unbridled chauvinism of the “patriotic” bourgeois cliques in all countries. If class-conscious workers were to give up this aim, this would mean renunciation of their aspirations for freedom and democracy, to say nothing of their socialist aspirations.

While the collapse of the Second International has given rise to a sense of burning shame in revolutionary Social-Democrats—as represented by the minority of German Social-Democrats and the finest Social-Democrats in the neutral countries; while socialists in both Britain and France have been speaking up against the chauvinism of most Social-Democratic parties; while the opportunists, as represented, for instance, by the German Sozialistische Monatshefte, which have long held a national-liberal stand, are with good reason celebrating their victory over European socialism—the worst possible service is being rendered to the proletariat by those who vacillate between opportunism and revolutionary Social-Democracy (like the “Centre” in the German Social-Democratic Party), by those who are trying to hush up the collapse of the Second International or to disguise it with diplomatic phrases.

On the contrary, this collapse must be frankly recognised and its causes understood, so as to make it possible to build up a new and more lasting socialist unity of the workers of all countries.

The opportunist have long been preparing the ground for this collapse by denying the socialist   revolution and substituting bourgeois reformism in its stead; by rejecting the class struggle with its inevitable conversion at certain moments into civil war, and by preaching class collaboration; by preaching bourgeois chauvinism under the guise of patriotism and the defence of the fatherland, and ignoring or rejecting the fundamental truth of socialism, long ago set forth in the Communist Manifesto, that the workingmen have no country; by confining themselves, in the struggle against militarism, to a sentimental, philistine point of view, instead of recognising the need for a revolutionary war by the proletarians of all countries, against the bourgeoisie of all countries.

The formation of a republican United States of Europe should be the immediate political slogan of Europe’s Social-Democrats.

The aims of socialism at the present time cannot be fulfilled, and real international unity of the workers cannot be achieved, without a decisive break with opportunism, and without explaining its inevitable fiasco to the masses.

But in all the advanced countries the war has placed on the order of the day the slogan of socialist revolution, a slogan that is the more urgent, the more heavily the burden of war presses upon the shoulders of the proletariat.

The proletarian International has not gone under and will not go under.

Notwithstanding all obstacles, the masses of the workers will create a new International. Opportunism’s present triumph will be short-lived. The greater the sacrifices imposed by the war the clearer will it become to the mass of the workers   that the opportunists have betrayed the workers’ cause and that the weapons must be turned against the government and the bourgeoisie of each country.

Long live the international fraternity of the workers against the chauvinism and patriotism of the bourgeoisie of all countries!

Long live a proletarian International, freed from opportunism!



14 October 1914

Presentation on the topic "The proletariat and the war"

Newspaper report, "Golos", No. 37 and 38, of 25 and 27 October 1914.

Lenin, Volume 36, Page 276 - 282 (German edition)

The transition from capitalism to socialism can not be accomplished without breaking the national framework, just as well as the transition from feudalism to capitalism was impossible without the national idea.



November 1, 1914.

The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International

Lenin Collected Works, Volume 21, pages 35-41.

The question of the fatherland—we shall reply to the opportunists—cannot be posed without due consideration of the concrete historical nature of the present war. This is an imperialist war, i.e., it is being waged at a time of the highest development of capitalism, a time of its approaching end. The working class must first “constitute itself within the nation”, the Communist Manifesto declares, emphasising the limits and conditions of our recognition of nationality and fatherland as essential forms of the bourgeois system, and, consequently, of the bourgeois fatherland. The opportunists distort that truth by extending to the period of the end of capitalism that which was true of the period of its rise. With reference to the former period and to the tasks of the proletariat in its struggle to destroy, not feudalism but capitalism, the Communist Manifesto gives a clear and precise formula: “The workingmen have no country.” One can well understand why the opportunists are so afraid to accept this socialist proposition, afraid even, in most cases, openly to reckon with it. The socialist movement cannot triumph within the old framework of the fatherland. It creates new   and superior forms of human society, in which the legitimate needs and progressive aspirations of the working masses of each nationality will, for the first time, be met through international unity, provided existing national partitions are removed. To the present-day bourgeoisie’s attempts to divide and disunite them by means of hypocritical appeals for the “defence of the fatherland” the class-conscious workers will reply with ever new and persevering efforts to unite the workers of various nations in the struggle to overthrow the rule of the bourgeoisie of all nations.

The bourgeoisie is duping the masses by disguising imperialist rapine with the old ideology of a “national war”. This deceit is being shown up by the proletariat, which has brought forward its slogan of turning the imperialist war into a civil war. This was the slogan of the Stuttgart and Basle resolutions, which had in mind, not war in general, but precisely the present war and spoke, not of “defence of the fatherland”, but of “hastening the downfall of capitalism”, of utilising the war-created crisis for this purpose, and of the example provided by the Paris Commune. The latter was an instance of a war of nations being turned into a civil war.

Of course, such a conversion is no easy matter and cannot be accomplished at the whim of one party or another. That conversion, however, is inherent in the objective conditions of capitalism in general, and of the period of the end of capitalism in particular. It is in that direction, and that direction alone, that socialists must conduct their activities. It is not their business to vote for war credits or to encourage chauvinism in their “own” country (and allied countries), but primarily to strive against the chauvinism of their “own” bourgeoisie, without confining themselves to legal forms of struggle when the crisis has matured and the bourgeoisie has itself taken away the legality it has created. Such is the line of action that leads to civil war, and will bring about civil war at one moment or another of the European conflagration.

The proletarian banner of civil war will rally together, not only hundreds of thousands of class-conscious workers but millions of semi-proletarians and petty bourgeois, now deceived by chauvinism, but whom the horrors of war will not only intimidate and depress, but also enlighten, teach, arouse, organise, steel and prepare for the war against the bourgeoisie of their “own” country and “foreign” countries. And this will take place, if not today, then tomorrow, if not during the war, then after it, if not in this war then in the next one.

The Second International is dead, overcome by opportunism. Down with opportunism, and long live the Third International, purged not only of “turncoats”(as Golos wishes), but of opportunism as well.

The Second International did its share of useful preparatory work in preliminarily organising the proletarian masses during the long, “peaceful” period of the most brutal capitalist slavery and most rapid capitalist progress in the last third of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. To the Third International falls the taskof organising the proletarian forces for a revolutionary onslaught against the capitalist governments, for civil war against the bourgeoisie of all countries for the capture of political power, for the triumph of socialism!




Karl Marx

A Brief Biographical Sketch With an Exposition of Marxism

Lenin’s Collected Works, Volume 21, pp. 43-91.

In the preface to his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx gives an integral formulation of the fundamental principles of materialism as applied to human society and its history, in the following words:

“The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or—what is but a legal expression for the same thing—with the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relation turn into their fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. In considering such transformations a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic—in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto (with the exception of the history of the primitive community, Engels added subsequently). “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstruction of society