V. I. Lenin



Written in January-April 1902
First published in 1924,
in Lenin Miscellany II

Published according
to the manuscript

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1964

Second Impression 1964

Vol. 6, pp. 19-78.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Clemens Dutt and Julius Katzer

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (June 2003)

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LABOUR PARTY  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .










GRAMME  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .    .  .  .


  Addition Concerning the Class Struggle  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


GRAMME  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .



page 17



Written in January-April 1902
First published in 1924,
in Lenin Miscellany II

Published according
to the manuscript

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      [1] The Party programme adopted at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. in 1903 was drawn up by the Editorial Board of Lenin's Iskra at the end of 1901 and the first half of 1902. V I. Lenin played a prominent part in drawing up the draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P
        As early as 1895-96, while in prison, Lenin wrote the "Draft and Explanation of a Programme for the Social-Democratic Party" (see present edition, Vol. 2, pp. 93-121); at the end of 1899, while in exile in Siberia, he prepared a new draft programme (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 227-54 [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "A Draft Programme of Our Party". -- DJR]). When he began publication of Iskra, Lenin considered its most important task to be the struggle to achieve and consolidate the ideological unity of Russian Social-Democracy and to embody this unity in the Party programme. "The discussion of questions of theory and policy," he wrote, "will be connected with the drafting of a Party programme . . ." (see present edition, Vol 4, "Draft of a Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya," p. 324).
        The question of drawing up a draft of the Party programme became particularly acute in the summer of 1901: "We were informed in letters from Russia that talk about the congress had intensified," V. I. Lenin wrote to P. B. Axelrod on July 9, 1901. "This forces us more and more to think about the programme. Publication of a draft programme is extremely necessary and would be of tremendous importance" (see present edition, Vol. 36, "To P. B. Axelrod"). On Lenin's suggestion, the original draft of the theoretical part of the programme was written by G. V. Plekhanov.
        At a conference of the Iskra Editorial Board held in Munich in January 1902, Lenin sharply criticised Plekhanov's draft; he made over 30 notes, pointing out a series of propositions in the draft that were incorrect in principle (see pp. 19-26 of this volume). Under the influence of criticism by Lenin and other members of the Editorial Board, Plekhanov rewrote the first two paragraphs of his draft, but he did not agree with most of the other notes and proposals. During discussion of Plekhanov's draft by the Iskra Editorial Board, big differences of opinion were revealed; one of the most serious was evoked by Lenin's proposal to begin the programme by pointing to the development of capitalism in Russia; in notes written after the conference Lenin wrote: "The question whether or not to begin by pointing to Russia has been left open (3 votes in favour and 3 against)." (Lenin Miscellany II, 1924, p. 15.)
        Convinced that Plekhanov's draft of the theoretical part of the programme was unacceptable, Lenin set about writing his own

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    draft. The initial version of Lenin's draft (in the correspondence of the members of the Iskra Editorial Board -- "Frey's draft") was written by January 25 (February 7), 1902; Lenin completed work on his draft by February 18 (March 3), 1902 (see pp. 27-33 and 34 of this volume). Simultaneously Plekhanov was also working on his second draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P. This too came in for serious critical analysis by Lenin (see pp. 37-57 and 58-60 of this volume). To co-ordinate Lenin's and Plekhanov's drafts of the programme and draw up a joint draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P. the Iskra Editorial Board set up a "Co-ordinating" Committee.
        In its work this Committee took Plekhanov's draft as a basis. However, as a result of Lenin's insistent demands, a number of very important propositions were included in the Committee's draft: the thesis of the ousting of small-scale production by large-scale production replaced Plekhanov's indefinite and vague formulation; a definition more precise than in Plekhanov's draft was given of the purely proletarian character of the Party; the thesis of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an essential condition of the socialist revolution became a point of the highest importance in the programme. Lenin got acquainted with the Committee's draft programme on April 12, 1902, while travelling from Munich to London, and he wrote his remarks on it during the journey (see pp. 61-73 of this volume)
        At the conference of the Iskra Editorial Board held in Zurich on April 14, 1902, which Lenin did not attend, the general editorial draft of the programme was confirmed: its theoretical part (the Committee's) and the practical Part (already agreed to by all the members of the Iskra Editorial Board in early March 1902). Most of the notes, amendments, and additions proposed by Lenin were taken into account by the authors of the draft programme, when it was discussed at the Zurich conference.
        The draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P. drawn up by the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya was published in Iskra, No. 21 June 1, 1902, and the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., held July 17-August 10 (July 30-August 23), 1903, adopted the Iskra draft programme of the Party, with minor changes. The programme of the R.S.D.L.P. existed until 1919, when a new programme was adopted at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.).The theoretical part of the programme of the R.S.D.L.P., which described the general laws and tendencies of capitalist development, was included in the new programme of the R.C.P.(B.) on V. I. Lenin's proposal.    [p. 17]

      [2] The Erfurt Programme of the German Social-Democratic Party was adopted in October 1891 at the Congress in Erfurt. Compared with the Gotha Programme (1875), it was a step forward, being based on the Marxist doctrine that the capitalist mode of production must inevitably yield place to the socialist; it stressed the need for the working class to wage a political struggle, indicating the party's role as the organiser of this struggle, etc. However,

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    the Erfurt Programme, too, contained serious concessions to opportunism. It was extensively criticised by Frederick Engels ("Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891") this being in essence a criticism of the opportunism of the entire Second International, for whose parties the Erfurt Programme was a kind of model. However, the leadership of German Social-Democracy concealed Engels' criticism from the party rank and file, while his most important remarks were ignored when the final text of the programme was drawn up. V. I. Lenin and G. V. Plekhanov considered that the Erfurt Programme's silence on the dictatorship of the proletariat was its chief defect and a cowardly concession to opportunism.    [p. 21]

      [3] Frey -- V. I. Lenin's pseudonym.    [p. 27]

      [4] Collective liability was a compulsory measure making the peasants of each village commune collectively liable for timely and full payments and for the fulfilment of all sorts of services to the state and the landlords (payment of taxes and land redemption instalments, provision of recruits for the army, etc.). This form of bondage was retained even after serfdom had been abolished, and remained in force until 1906.    [p. 32]

      [5] This refers to the following proposition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party: "Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie." (Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 45.)    [p. 37]

      [6] Lenin is referring to Frederick Engels' article "Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891."    [p. 38]

      [7] Russkiye Vedomosti (Russian Recorder) -- a newspaper published in Moscow from 1863 onwards; it expressed the views of the moderate liberal intelligentsia, and insisted on the need for reforms that would transform Russia into a constitutional monarchy. Among its contributors in the 1880s and 1890s were the democratic writers M. Y. Saltykov-Shchedrin, G. I. Uspensky, and V. G. Korolenko. It also published items written by liberal Narodniks. In 1905 it became the organ of the Right wing of the bourgeois Constitutional-Democratic (Cadet) Party. Lenin said that Russkiye Vedomosti was a peculiar combination of "Right-wing Cadetism and a strain of Narodism" (see present edition, Vol. 19, "Frank Speeches of a Liberal"). In 1918 the publication was closed down together with other counter-revolutionary newspapers.    [p. 43]

      [8] This refers to Karl Marx's Provisional Rules of the International Working Men's Association adopted on November 1, 1864, at a session of the General Council of the First International, and the General Rules of the International Working Men's Association

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    adopted in September 1871 by the London Conference of the First International, which took the Provisional Rules of the International as its basis (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 386-89).    [p. 49]

      [9] The Mountain (la Montagne) and the Gironde were the names of two political groupings of the bourgeoisie at the time of the French bourgeois revolution of the end of the eighteenth century. The Mountain -- the Jacobins -- was the name given to the more determined representatives of the revolutionary class of the time -- the bourgeoisie -- who advocated the abolition of absolutism and feudalism. Unlike the Jacobins, the Girondists wavered between revolution and counter-revolution, and entered into deals with the monarchy.
        Lenin called the opportunist trend in Social-Democracy the "socialist Gironde," and the revolutionary Social-Democrats -- "proletarian Jacobins," the "Mountain." After the R.S.D.L.P. split into Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, Lenin frequently stressed that the Mensheviks were the Girondist trend of the working-class movement.    [p. 50]

      [10] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, pp. 43-44.    [p. 51]

      [11] This refers to Frederick Engels' article, "The Peasant Question in France and Germany," in which he criticised the agrarian programme of the Workers' Party of France, adopted at the Marseilles Party Congress in 1892 and enlarged at the Nantes Party Congress in 1894 (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, pp. 420-40).    [p. 51]

      [12] Frederick Engels, "Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891."    [p. 52]

      [13] Die Neue Zeit (New Times) -- a theoretical magazine of the German Social-Democratic Party, published in Stuttgart from 1883 to 1923. Before October 1917, it was edited by Karl Kautsky, later by Heinrich Cunow. Some of the writings of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were first published in Die Neue Zeit : "Critique of the Gotha Programme" by Karl Marx (in No 18, 1890-91) "Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891" by Frederick Engels (in No 1, 1901-02) and others. Engels constantly helped the Editorial Board of the magazine with his advise, and not infrequently criticised it for allowing deviations from Marxism to appear in it. Contributors to Die Neue Zeit included prominent leaders of the German and international working-class movement at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, such as August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin, G. V. Plekhanov, Paul Lafargue, and Victor Adler. From the second half of the nineties, the periodical began systematically publishing article by revision-

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    ists, including a series of articles by Eduard Bernstein entitled "Problems of Socialism," which opened the revisionists' campaign against Marxism. During the First World War the magazine adopted a Centrist, Kautskian position, in actual fact supporting the social-chauvinists.    [p. 52]

      [14] Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1958, p. 30.    [p. 54]

      [15] Frederick Engels, "Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891."    [p. 54]

      [16] V. I. Lenin's remarks on the Committee's draft of the theoretical part of the programme were written in the margins and between the lines of the manuscript of the Committee's draft, and also on the backs of the manuscript pages. Particular points in the Committee's draft which Lenin singled out (by underlining, brackets, vertical lines in the margin, etc.) are underscored with fine lines.    [p. 61]

      [17] Zarya (Dawn) -- a Marxist scientific and political magazine, was published in 1901-02 in Stuttgart by the Iskra Editorial Board Only four numbers (three books) of Zarya were issued: No. 1 -- in April 1901 (which actually appeared on March 23, New Style); No. 2-3 -- in December 1901; No. 4 -- in August 1902.
        The tasks of Zarya were defined in the draft declaration of Iskra and Zarya which V. I. Lenin wrote in Russia (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 320-30 [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Draft of a Declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra and Zarya". -- DJR]). However, when the question of joint publication of these organs abroad was discussed with the Emancipation of Labour group, it was decided to publish Zarya legally and Iskra illegally; consequently there was no mention of Zarya in the declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra, a declaration published in October 1900.
        Zarya criticised international and Russian revisionism, and defended the theoretical principles of Marxism. It published V. I. Lenin's writings: "Casual Notes," "The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism," "Messrs. the 'Critics' on the Agrarian Question" (the first four chapters of "The Agrarian Question and 'the Critics of Marx"'), "Review of Internal Affairs," "The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy" and also G. V. Plekhanov's "Criticism of Our Critics. Part 1. Mr. Struve as Critic of Marx's Theory of Social Development," "Kant versus Kant, or Herr Bernstein's Spiritual Testament," and others.    [p. 72]

      [18] This refers to the third volume of Karl Marx's Capital. Below is a reference to the second volume of Capital.    [p. 75]

      [19] Socialist-Revolutionaries (S.R.s) -- a petty-bourgeois party in Russia, which arose at the end of 1901 and beginning of 1902 as a result of the union of Narodnik groups and circles. The newspaper Revolutsionnaya Rossiya (Revolutionary Russia) (1900-05) and the magazine Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsii (Herald of the Russian Revolution) (1901-05) became its official organs. The views

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    of the Socialist-Revolutionaries were an eclectic mixture of the ideas of Narodism and revisionism, they tried, as Lenin put it to mend "the rents of Narodism with the patches of fashionable opportunist 'criticism' of Marxism" (see present edition, Vol. 9, "Socialism and the Peasantry"). The Socialist-Revolutionaries did not see the class distinctions between proletariat and peasantry, glossed over the class differentiation and contradictions within the peasantry, and rejected the proletariat's leading role in the revolution. The tactic of individual terrorism which the Socialist-Revolutionaries advocated as a basic method of struggle against the autocracy caused great detriment to the revolutionary movement and made it difficult to organise the masses for the revolutionary struggle.
        The agrarian programme of the Socialist-Revolutionaries envisaged the abolition of private ownership of the land and its transfer to the village communes on the basis of equalitarian tenure, and also the development of all forms of co-operatives. There was nothing socialist in this programme, which the Socialist-Revolutionaries tried to present as a programme for "socialising the land," since abolition of private ownership of the land, as Lenin pointed out, cannot of itself abolish the domination of capital and the poverty of the masses. The struggle for the abolition of landlord ownership was the real, historically progressive content of the agrarian programme of the Socialist-Revolutionaries. This demand objectively expressed the interests and aspirations of the peasantry at the stage of the bourgeois-democratic revolution.
        The Bolshevik Party exposed the attempts of the Socialist-Revolutionaries to camouflage themselves as socialists, waged a stubborn struggle against the Socialist-Revolutionaries to gain influence over the peasantry, and laid bare the harmful consequences for the working-class movement of their tactic of individual terrorism. At the same time, on definite conditions, the Bolsheviks concluded temporary agreements with the Socialist-Revolutionaries in the struggle against tsarism.
        In the final analysis, the absence of class homogeneousness in the peasantry was responsible for the political and ideological instability and organisational confusion in the Socialist-Revolutionary party, and their constant vacillation between the liberal bourgeoisie and the proletariat. There was a split in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party already in the years of the first Russian revolution: its Right wing formed the legal Labour Popular-Socialist Party, which held views close to those of the Constitutional Democrats (Cadets); the "Left" wing took shape as the semi-anarchist league of "Maximalists." During the Stolypin reaction, the Socialist-Revolutionary party experienced a complete ideological and organisational break-down, and the First World War saw most Socialist-Revolutionaries adopt the standpoint of social-chauvinism.
        After the victory of the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, together with the Mensheviks and Cadets, were the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois-landlord Provisional Government, of which leaders

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    of the party (Kerensky, Avxentyev, Chernov) were members. Influenced by the revolutionising of the peasantry, the "Left" wing of the Socialist-Revolutionaries founded an independent party of Left Socialist-Revolutionaries at the end of November 1917. Striving to maintain their influence among the peasant masses, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries formally recognised Soviet power and entered into an agreement with the Bolsheviks, but soon began a struggle against Soviet power. During the years of foreign military intervention and civil war, the Socialist-Revolutionaries carried on counter-revolutionary subversive activity, strongly supported the interventionists and whiteguard generals, took part in counter-revolutionary plots, and organised terrorist acts against leaders of the Soviet state and the Communist Party. After the civil war, the Socialist-Revolutionaries continued their hostile activity against the Soviet state within the country and abroad among whiteguard émigrés.    [p. 76]

      [20] Vestnik Russkoi Revolutsii. Sotsialno-Politicheskoye Obozreniye (Herald of the Russian Revolution. Socio-Political Review) -- an illegal magazine published abroad (Paris-Geneva) in 1901-05; four numbers were issued. Beginning with No. 2 it became the theoretical organ of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party. Among contributors to the periodical were M. R. Gots (A. Levitsky), I. A. Rubanovich, V. M. Chernov (Y. Gardenin), Y. K. Breshko-Breshkovskaya.    [p. 76]

      [21] Russkoye Bogatstvo (Russian Wealth) -- a monthly magazine published in St. Petersburg from 1876 to 1918. In the early nineties it passed into the hands of the liberal Narodniks headed by N. K. Mikhailovsky, and became the chief Narodnik organ. As such, in 1893, it began a campaign against the Russian Social-Democrats. In its distortion and falsification of Marxism, Russkoye Bogatstvo relied on the West-European revisionists; grouped round it were publicists who subsequently became prominent members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the "Popular Socialists" and the Trudovik (Labour) groups in the State Dumas.
        From 1906 Russkoye Bogatstvo became the organ of the semi-Cadet party of "Popular Socialists." The magazine changed its title several times: Sovremenniye Zapiski (Contemporary Notes), Sovremennost (Modern Times), Russkiye Zapiski (Russian Notes); from April 1917 it again became Russkoye Bogatstvo.    [p. 76]

      [22] "An Amendment to the Agrarian Section of the Programme" was presented by Lenin for discussion by the other members of the Iskra Editorial Board.
        To conduct a vote on this amendment, Lenin wrote at the end of the manuscript the pseudonyms or initials of the members of the Iskra Editorial Board: G. V. -- Plekhanov; P. B. -- Axelrod; V. I. -- Zasulich; Berg -- pseudonym of Y. 0. Martov; A. N. -- Potresov.    [p. 77]

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      [23] Lenin calls his work entitled The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy a commentary on the agrarian section of the Party programme (see pp. 107-50 of this volume).    [p. 77]

      [24] According to the "Regulation Governing Redemption by Peasants Who Have Emerged from Serf Dependence . . ." adopted on February 19, 1861 the peasants were obliged to pay compensation to the landlords for land allotted to them. In concluding the land redemption deal, the tsarist government paid over to the landlords the compensation money, which was regarded as a debt of the peasants payable over a period of 49 years. The instalments of this debt, which the peasants paid annually, were called land redemption payments, whose heavy and intolerable burden resulted in mass ruination and impoverishment of the peasants. The landlords' former peasants alone paid the tsarist government about 2,000 million rubles at a time when the market price of the land which had passed to the peasants did not exceed 544 million rubles. As all the peasants did not come under the land redemption scheme at once, but at various times until 1883, the land redemption payments were to be completed only by 1932. However, the peasant movement during the first Russian revolution of 1905-07 compelled the tsarist government to abolish land redemption payments as from January 1907.    [p. 77]

      [25] "Redemption is nothing but purchase" was said by Volgin, one of the characters in N. G. Chernyshevsky's Prologue, which expressed N. G. Chernyshevsky's own attitude to the "emancipation" of the peasants in 1861.    [p. 77]