V. I. Lenin


Written in the second half
of March 1906
Published in pamphlet form
early in April 1906
by Nasha Mysl Publishers

Published according
to the pamphlet text

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972

First printing 1962
Second printing 1965
Third printing 1972

Vol. 10, pp. 165-95.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Andrew Rothstein

Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, (August 1997)

PARTY[82] .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



A Brief Historical Survey of the Evolution of Russian Social-Democratic Views on the Agrarian Question .   .
Four Trends Among Social-Democrats on the Question of the Agrarian Programme .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Comrade Maslov's Principal Mistake .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Objects of Our Agrarian Programme   .   .   .   .   .
Draft Agrarian Programme .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .



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      [82] The pamphlet Revision of the Agrarian Programme of the Workers' Party was written in support of the Bolshevik draft submitted to the Fourth (Unity) Congress on behalf of the majority in the Agrarian Committee of the Joint C.C. R.S.D.L.P. It contains the fundamental ideas which Lenin subsequently expounded in his report on the agrarian question to the Unity Congress.    [p.165]

      [83] Narodniks -- adherents of a petty-bourgeois trend that arose in the Russian revolutionary movement in the sixties and seventies of

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    the nineteenth century. They sought the abolition of the autocracy and the transfer of the landed estates to the peasants. On the other hand, they denied that the development of capitalist relations and the growth of a proletariat in Russia was a law-governed process, and hence regarded the peasantry as the chief revolutionary force. Seeing the village community as the embryo of socialism, they went to the country ("went among the people") and tried to rouse the peasants to the struggle against the autocracy. Taking an erroneous view of the role of the class struggle in historical development, they believed that history was made by heroes passively followed by the masses of the people. In their struggle against tsarism, the Narodniks used the tactics of individual terrorism.
        In the 1880s and 1890s, the Narodniks took the path of conciliation with tsarism. At that period they expressed the interests of the kulaks and waged a bitter struggle against Marxism.    [p.169]

      [84] Sotsial-Demokrat (Social-Democrat ) -- a non-periodical literary and political collection published by the Emancipation of Labour group. Its only issue appeared in 1888.    [p.170]

      [85] "General redistribution " -- a slogan popular among the peasants of tsarist Russia. It expressed their desire for a general redistribution of the land.    [p.170]

      [86] Iskra (The Spark ) -- the first all-Russian illegal Marxist newspaper. Founded by Lenin in 1900, it played the decisive role in building the Marxist revolutionary party of the working class in Russia.
        It was impossible to publish a revolutionary newspaper in Russia on account of police persecution, and while still in exile in Siberia, Lenin evolved a plan for its publication abroad. When his exile ended (January 1900), Lenin immediately set about putting his plan into effect. In February, in St. Petersburg he negotiated with Vera Zasulich (who had come from abroad illegally, on the participation of the Emancipation of Labour group in the publication of the newspaper. At the end of March and the beginning of April a conference was held -- known as the Pskov Conference -- with V. I. Lenin, L. Martov, A. N. Potresov, S. I. Radchenko and the "legal Marxists" P. B. Struve and M. I. Tugan-Baranovsky participating, which discussed the draft declaration, drawn up by Lenin, of the editorial board of the all-Russian newspaper (Iskra ) and the scientific and political magazine (Zarya ) on the programme and the aims of these publications. During the first half of 1900 Lenin travelled to a number of Russian cities (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, Smolensk, Nizhni-Novgorod, Ufa, Samara, Syzran) and established contact with Social-Democratic groups and individual Social-Democrats, obtaining their support for Iskra. In August 1900, when Lenin arrived in Switzerland, he and Potresov conferred with the Emancipation of Labour group on the programme and the aims of the newspaper and the magazine, on possible contributors, and on the editorial board and its location. The conference almost ended in failure (see present edition, Vol. 4 pp. 333-49 [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "How the "Spark" Was Nearly Extinguished". -- DJR]), but an agreement was finally reached on all disputed questions.

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        The first issue of Lenin's Iskra was publisbed in Leipzig in December 1900; the ensuing issues were published in Munich; from July 1902 the paper was published in London, and from the spring of 1903 in Geneva. Considerable help in getting the newspaper going (the organisation of secret printing-presses, the acquisition of Russian type, etc.) was afforded by the German Social-Democrats Clara Zetkin, Adolf Braun, and others; by Julian Marchlewski, a Polish revolutionary residing in Munich at that time, and by Harry Quelch, one of the leaders of the British Social-Democratic Federation.
        The editorial board of Iskra consisted of V. I. Lenin, G. V. Plekhanov, L. Martov, P. B. Axelrod, A. N. Potresov, and V. I. Zasulich. The first secretary of the board was I. G. Smidovich-Leman; the post was then taken over, from the spring of 1901, by N. K. Krupskaya, who also conducted the correspondence between Iskra and the Russian Social-Democratic organisations. Iskra concentrated on problems of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and all working people of Russia against the tsarist autocracy, and devoted much space to major international events, above all developments in the working-class movement. Lenin was in actuality editor-in-chief and the leading figure in Iskra, to which he contributed articles on all basic questions of Party organisation and the class struggle of the proletariat in Russia.
        Iskra became the centre unifying Party forces, and gathering and training Party workers. In a number of Russian cities (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Samara, and others), groups and committees of the R.S.D.L.P. were organised on Leninist Iskra lines, and a conference of Iskra supporters held in Samara in January 1902 founded the Russian Iskra organisation. Iskra organisations sprang up and worked under the direct leadership of Lenin's disciples and comrades-in-arms: N. E. Bauman, I. V. Babushkin, S. I. Gusev M. I. Kalinin, P. A. Krasikov, G. M. Krzbizhanovsky, F. V. Lengnik, P. N. Lepesbinsky, I. I. Radchenko, and others.
        On the initiative and with the direct participation of Lenin the Iskra editorial board drew up a draft programme of the Party (published in Iskra, No. 21) and made preparations for the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. By the time the Congress was convened most of the local Social-Democratic organisations in Russia bad adopted the Iskra position, approved its programme, organisational plan and tactical line, and recognised the newspaper as their leading organ. A special resolution of the Congress noted Iskra's exceptional role in the struggle to build the Party, and made the newspaper the Central Organ of the R.S.D.L.P.
        Shortly after the Congress the Mensheviks, backed by Plekhanov, took Iskra into their own hands and turned it into an organ fighting against Marxism and the Party, into a platform for the advocacy of opportunism. Beginning with issue No. 52, Iskra ceased to be a militant organ of revolutionary Marxism.    [p.171]

      [87] Zarya (Dawn ) -- a Marxist scientific and political magazine legally published in Stuttgart in 1901-02 by the Iskra editoriai board. Four issues (three books) appeared in all.

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        Zarya criticised international and Russian revisionism, and defended the theoretical principles of Marxism. It published 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 Home Affairs", and "The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy".    [p.171]

      [88] The Borba (Struggle ) group consisting of D. B. Ryazanov, Y. M. Steklov and E. L. Gurevich, emerged in Paris in the summer of 1900. It assumed its name in May 1901. Secking to reconcile the revolutionary and the opportunist trends in Russian Social-Democracy, the group undertook in June 1901 to call in Geneva a conference of representatives of the Social-Democratic organisations abroad -- the editorial boards of Iskra and Zarya, the organisation called "Sotsial-Demokrat", the Foreign Committee of the Bund, and the Union of Russian Social-Democrats Abroad -- and participated in the work of the "unity" congress of the organisations abroad of the R.S.D.L.P. in Zurich on September 21-22 (October 4-5), 1901. In November 1901 the group issued a programmatic "Advertisement of the Publications of the Social-Democratic Borba Group". Its publications -- "Materials for the Drafting of a Party Programme" (issues I-III), "Leaflet of the Borba Group", etc. -- distorted revolutionary Marxist theory, which they interpreted in a doctrinaire and scholastic spirit, and took a stand against Lenin's principles of Party organisation. In view of its departure from Social-Democratic concepts and tactics, its disruptive actions and its lack of contact with the Social-Democratic organisations in Russia, the group was not admitted to the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., and was dissolved by decision of the Congress.    [p.172]

      [89] X -- pseudonym of the Menshevik P. P. Maslov.    [p.172]

      [90] Pravda (The Truth ) -- a Social-Democratic monthly magazine of art, literature and public affairs, published in Moscow between 1904 and 1906, with the Mensheviks as the main contributors.    [p.174]

      [91] The symposium "The Present Situation " appeared in Moscow early in 1906. Compiled by the group of writers and lecturers under the Moscow Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., it expressed chiefly the Bolshevik point of view. It was confiscated shortly after its publication.    [p.175]

      [92] Mir Bozhy (The Wide World ; literally, God's World ) -- a monthly literary and popular-scientific magazine, liberal in trend; it was published in St. Petersburg from 1892 to 1906. During the first Russian revolution its contributors were Mensheviks. In October 1906 it changed its title to Sovremenny Mir (Contemporary World ).    [p.175]

      [93] Moskovskiye Vedonosti (Moscow Recorder ) -- a newspaper founded in 1756. From the 1860s onwards it expressed the ideas of the more

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    reactionary monarchist landlords and clergymen, and in 1905 it became an important mouthpiece of tbe Black Hundreds. During the first Russian revolution its editor was V. A. Gringmut, founder of the Black-Hundred 'Russian Monarchist Party". The paper was closed shortly after the October Revolution of 1917.    [p.179]

      [94] Gringmut, V. A. (1851-1907) -- Russian reactionary journalist, editor of the monarchist newspaper Moskovskiye Vedomosti from 1897 to 1907. During the revolution of 1905-07 he was one of the founders and leaders of the Black-Hundred "Union of the Russian People".    [p.179]

      [95] Kutler, N. N. (1859-1924) -- tsarist statesman, member of the Second and Third Dumas, a prominent Cadet.    [p.179]

      [96] The reference is to the democratic electoral system providing for universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot.    [p.182]

      [97] Poshekhonye (derived from the name of a small town in tsarist Russia) -- a synonym for provincial "backwoods", an out-of-the-way corner with barbarous patriarchal customs. The term became current after the appearance of Old Times in Poshekhonye, a story by the Russian satirist M. Saltykov-Shcbedrin.    [p.189]