MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin

V. I. Lenin

The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)

April 24-29 (May 7-12), 1917

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

Vol. 24, pp. 225-313.

Translated from the Russian Edited by Bernard Isaacs


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@marx2mao.org (July 1999)

THE SEVENTH (APRIL) ALL-RUSSIA CONFERENCE OF THE R.S.D.L.P (B.). April 24-29 (May 7-12), 1917[82] . .   .   .   .   .

225

1.
 

SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE OPENING OF THE CONFERENCE.
APRIL 24 (MAY 7) . .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


227

2.

REPORT ON THE CURRENT SITUATION. APRIL 24 (MAY 7) .

228

3.
 

SPEECH WINDING UP THE DBBATE ON THE REPORT ON THE CURRENT SITUATION. APRIL 24 (MAY 7)  .   .   .   .   .   .


244

4.
 

SPEECH ON THE PROPOSAL TO CALL AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONFERENCE. APRIL 25 (MAY 8)  .   .   .   .   .


247

5.

RESOLUTION ON BORGBJERG'S PROPOSAL   .   .   .   .   .   .

251

6.
 

SPEECH ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE SOVIETS. APRIL
25 (MAY 8). Brief Press Report .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


254

7.

DRAFT THESES TO THE RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS .  .   .

255

8.
 

SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF THE RESOLUTION ON THE WAR.
APRIL 27 (May 10)  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


257

9.
 
 
 

RESOLUTION ON THE WAR   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

I
II
III

   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

270
270
271
272

10.
 

RESOLUTION ON THE ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROVISION-
AL GOVERNMENT  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


274

11.
 

REPORT ON THE QUESTION OF REVISING THE PARTY PRO-
GRAMME. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


277

12.
 

RESOLUTION ON THE QUESTION OF REVISING THE PARTY
PROGRAMME .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


280

13.

REPORT ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) .

282

14.
 

REJOINDER TO N. S. ANGARSKY DURING THE DEBATE ON THE
AGRARIAN QUESTION. APRIL 28 (MAY 11) .   .   .   .   .   .


288

15.

RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION .   .   .   .   .   .

290

16.
 

RESOLUTION ON UNITING THE INTERNATIONALISTS
AGAINST THE PETTY-BOURGEOIS DEFENCIST BLOC   .   .   .


294

17.
 

RESOLUTION ON THE SOVIETS OF WORKBRS-AND SOLDIERS'
DEPUTIES  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


295

18.

SPEECH ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION. APRIL 29 (MAY 12) .

297

19.

RESOLUTION ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION  .   .   .   .   .   .

302

20.
 

SPEECH ON THE SITUATION WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL
AND THE TASKS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.). APRIL 29 (MAY 12) .


304

21.
 

SPEECH IN FAVOUR OF THE RES0LUTION ON THE CURRENT
SITUATION.  APRIL 29 (MAY 12) .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


305

22.

RES0LUTION ON THE CURRENT SITUATION  .   .   .   .   .   .

309

23.
 

CONCLUDING SPEECH AT THE CLOSE OF THE CONFERENCE.
APRIL 29 (May 12)  .  .  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .


313

NOTES

NOTES

  [82] The Conference was attended by 133 delegates with a vote and 18 delegates with a consultative voice, representing 80,000 members of the Party. It was the first legal conference of th Bolshevik Party to be held in Russia, and was equal, in point of significance, to a party congress.
    The Conference discussed the following questions: (1) The current situation (the war and the Provisional Government, etc.). (2) The peace conference. (3) The attitude to the Soviets. (4) Revision of the Party programme. (5) The situation in the International and the tasks of the Party. (6) Unity of the Social-Democratic

internationalist organisations. (7) The agrarian question. (8) The national question. (9) The Constituent Assembly. (10) The organisational question. (11) Reports from the regions. (12) Election of the Central Committee. Lenin made reports and spoke on all the main questions on the agenda. All his speeches were based on the April Theses. Lenin was opposed at the Conference by Kamenev and Rykov. They declared, with the Mensheviks, that Russia was not yet ripe for a socialist revolution. Lenin exposed the capitulatory, anti-Party position of Kamenev and Rykov, who denied the possibility of socialism being victorious in Russia. Lenin also scathingly criticise Pyatakov, who opposed the Party's policy on the national question and who, already during the war, had adopted together with Bukharin a national-chauvinist stand. Pyatakov and Bukharin were opposed to the right of nations to self-determination if that right included secession. This point of view meant, in effect, refusal on the part of the proletariat to utilise the revolution's reserve forces as represented by the various nationalities, and doomed the revolution to defeat. Lenin strongly condemned Zinoviev's speech in favour of the Bolsheviks co-operating with the Zimmerwaldists and against the organisation of a new, Communist, International.
    The April Conference unanimously adopted Lenin's draft resolutions on the war, on the attitude towards the Provisional Government, on the current situation, on the revision of the Party programme, on the agrarian question, on the Soviets, on the national question and others. The Conference elected a Central Committee headed by Lenin. The decisions of the Conference showed the working class and all the working people that struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution was the only way to get rid of exploitation, to lead the country out of the war and save it from ruin and the threat of enslavement by the foreign imperialists. The Conference equipped the Party with a plan of action for developing the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution.    [p. 225]

  [83] See Marx's letter to Kugelmann dated April 17, 1871. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1962, p. 464.    [p. 239]

  [84] Erfurt Programme -- the programme of the German Social-Democratic Party adopted at the Congress in Erfurt in October 1891. The Erfurt Programme was a step forward in comparison with the Gotha Programme (1875); it was based on the Marxist doctrine of the inevitable doom of the capitalist mode of production and its replacement by the socialist mode; it stressed the need for the working class to carry on a political struggle, pointed out the party's leading role in that struggle, and so on. The Erfurt Programme, however, contained serious concessions to opportunism. A comprehensive criticism of the Erfurt Programme was given by Engels in his "Zur Kritik des sozialdemokratischen Programmentwurfes 1891". This was, in effect, a criticism of the opportunism of the whole Second International for whose parties the Erfurt

Programme served as a model. The leaders of the German Social-Democratic Party, however, concealed Engels's criticism from the general membership, and his most important comments were disregarded when the final text of the programme was drawn up. Lenin (and Plekhanov, too, before his defection to Menshevism) considered the chief defect of the Erfurt Programme, its cowardly concession to opportunism, to be the fact that it passes over in silence the dictatorship of the proletariat.    [p. 240]

  [85] See Engels, "Zur Kritik des sozialdemokratischen Programmentwurfes 1891", Neue Zeit, Jg. 20, I. Bd., Stuttgart, 1902, S. 7-8.    [p. 240]

  [86] The question of calling an international conference of socialists of the belligerent and neutral countries was repeatedly discussed in the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet in April 1917, the Executive Committee offering to take upon itself the initiative in convening such a conference. During the latter half of April the Danish Social-Democrat Borgbjerg, who was associated with the German social-chauvinists, arrived in Petrograd, and, on behalf of the joint committee of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish labour parties (the social-patriot majorities of these parties), invited the socialist parties of Russia to attend a conference on the question of concluding peace, due to be held in Stockholm in May 1917.
    On April 23 (May 6) Borgbjerg made a report to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet in which he frankly declared that the German Government would "agree" to the peace terms which the German Social-Democrats would propose at the conference. On April 25 (May 8) the Executive Committee heard the declarations of the Party groups on this question. The Bolsheviks announced the "Resolution on Borgbjerg's Proposal" adopted that day by the April Conference. They were supported by the representatives of the Polish and Lettish Social-Democrats. Lenin considered participation in this conference a complete betrayal of internationalism. The April Conference was emphatically opposed to participation, and denounced Borgbjerg as an agent of German imperialism. The Trudoviks, Bundists and Mensheviks were in favour of attending the conference. A Menshevik resolution was adopted in which the Executive Committee announced that it took upon itself the initiative in calling the conference and was setting up a special committee for that purpose. The plenary meeting of the Soviet endorsed this decision.
    The majority of the British, French and Belgian socialists refused to take part in the conference, since the British and French governments were out for complete victory over Germany. The Centrists agreed to attend: they were the Longuet group in France and the Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany headed by Kautsky, Haase and Ledebour.
    The Spartacus group affiliated to the Independents refused to attend the conference with the social-imperialists. A declaration to this effect in his own name and on behalf of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who were in prison, was made by Franz Mehring. The Stockholm conference did not take place, since some of the delegates did not receive passports from their governments, and others refused to sit with the representatives of the enemy countries.    [p. 247]

  [87] The drafting of the new Party programme was completed after the October Revolution. The programme was adopted at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P(B.) in March 1919.    [p. 277]

  [88] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1962, p. 51.    [p. 277]

  [89] "Bill of the 104 " -- "A Draft of Fundamental Principles" for a Land Law introduced in the First Duma over the signatures of 104 peasant deputies on May 23 (June 5), 1906. The Bill called for the formation of a national land fund consisting of state, crown and monastery lands, as well as privately-owned lands that exceeded the established labour norm, and demanded that the right to use the land be granted only to those who worked it. Compensation was provided for alienated privately-owned lands. The agrarian reform was to be implemented by the local peasant committees elected by general vote.    [p. 283]

  [90] The reference is to the Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907, written towards the end of 1907. The book was printed in St. Petersburg in 1908 but the police seized it while still at the printers and destroyed it. Only one copy was saved. The book was first published in 1917.    [p. 283]

  [91] This refers to Stolypin's agrarian reform aimed at creating a bulwark for the tsarist regime in the countryside in the person of the rich farmers. The tsarist government issued a decree on November 9 (22), 1906 regulating the peasants' withdrawal from the village communes and the establishment of their proprietary rights on the allotment lands. Under this law (named after P. A. Stolypin, the then Chairman of the Council of Ministers) the peasant was free to withdraw from the village commune, take possession of his allotment on a proprietorship basis, or sell it. The village commune was obliged to give the peasant who withdrew from the commune an allotment of land in one place (an otrub, homestead). The Stolypin reform speeded up the development of capitalism in the countryside and the process of differentiation among the peasantry, and sharpened the class struggle in the village.
    The Stolypin reform is described and evaluated in a number of works by Lenin, notably in The Agrarian Programme of Social Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907. (See present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 217-431.)    [p. 284]

  [92] See Engels, "Flüchtlings-Literatur. 1. Eine polnische Proklamation". Der Volksstaat, Nr. 69, 17. VI. 1874.    [p. 301]

  [93] This refers to participation in the proposed third conference of the internationalist socialists due to br held in Stockholm on May 18, 1917. It was held in August 1917. By decision of the April Conference, the Bolsheviks attended it. Lenin disagreed with this decision and voted against the resolution on the situation in the International and the tasks of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.). Lenin considered attendance of the Bolsheviks at this conference possible only for purposes of information. He wrote about this in his pamphlet The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (see p. 82 of this volume). In the postscript to the pamphlet, written in May 1917, Lenin calls this decision of the conference a mistake (see pp. 89-90 of this volume).    [p. 304]