MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin


V. I. Lenin

THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT
IN OUR REVOLUTION

DRAFT PLATFORM FOR THE PROLETARIAN PARTY

First published September 1917
as a pamphlet by Priboi
Publishers
Signed: N. Lenin

Published according to
the pamphlet text
 
 

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

Vol. 24, pp. 55-91.

Translated from the Russian
Edited by Bernard Isaacs


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (December 1997)


THE TASKS OF THE PROLETARIAT IN OUR REVOLUTION Draft
  Platform for the Proletarian Party

 


   

The Class Character of the Revolution That Has Taken
  Place  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Foreign Policy of the New Government .   .   .   .   .   .
The Peculiar Nature of the Dual Power and Its Class
  Significance .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
The Peculiar Nature of the Tactics Which Follow from the
  Above  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Revolutionary Defencism and Its Class Significance .   .   .
How Can the War Be Ended? .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
A New Type of State Emerging from Our Revolution  .   .   .
The Agrarian and National Programmes  .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Nationalisation of the Banks and Capitalist Syndicates .   .
The Situation Within the Socialist International  .   .   .   .
The Collapse of the Zimmerwald International. -- The Need
  for Founding a Third International .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
What Should Be the Name of Our Party -- One That Will Be
  Correct Scientifically and Help to Clarify the Mind of the
  Proletariat Politically?  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
Postscript   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
 


57
58
 
60
 
62
64
66
67
71
73
74
 
80
 
 
84
89
 

NOTES




    page 582


    NOTES

      [26] Cadets -- (abbreviated) members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the chief party of the liberal monarchist bourgeoisie in Russia. Founded in October 1905, its membership was made up of representatives of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo leaders of the landowning class and bourgeois intellectuals. Among the leading personalities of the party were P. N. Milyukov, S. A. Muromtsev V. A. Maklakov, A. I. Shingaryov, P. B. Struve and F. I. Rodichev. Eventually, the Cadets became a party of the imperialist bourgeoisie. During the First World War they fully supported the tsarist government's aggressive foreign policy. During the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917 they tried their hardest to save the monarchy. They used their key positions in the bourgeois Provisional Government to pursue a counter revolutionary policy opposed to the interests of the people, but favouring the U.S., British and French imperialists. After the victory of the October Revolution the Cadets came out as implacable enemies of the Soviet power. They took part in all the counter-revolutionary armed actions and campaigns of the interventionists. Living abroad as émigrés after the defeat of the interventionists and whiteguards, the Cadets did not cease their anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary activities.    [p.57]

      [27] Trudoviks (the Trudovik group) -- a group of petty-bourgeois democrats in the Russian Duma consisting of peasants and intellectuals of a Narodnik trend. The Trudovik group was formed in April 1906 by peasant deputies to the First Duma. In the Duma the Trudoviks vacillated between the Cadets and the revolutionary Social-Democrats. During the First World War most of the Trudoviks took a social-chauvinist stand.
        After the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917 the Trudoviks, representiny the interests of the kulaks, actively supported the Provisional Government. The Trudovik Zarudny, who became Minister of Justice after the July events, persecuted the Bolshevik Party. The Trudoviks were enemies of the October Revolution and sided with the bourgeois counter-revolution.    [p.58]

    page 583

      [28] A quotation from Krylov's fable "The Cat and the Cook".    [p.64]

      [29] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1962, p. 42.    [p.68]

      [30] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1962, pp. 522-23.    [p.69]

      [31] The term Narodniks is here used to denote the three petty-bourgeois parties of the Narodnik trend, namely, the Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the Popular Socialists.    [p.72]

      [32] Manilovism -- from the name Manilov, a character in Gogol's Dead Souls, represented as a type of easy-going sentimental landowner, whose name has become a synonym for an idle weak willed dreamer and gas-bag.    [p.75]

      [33] Lenin refers to the Fabian Society, an English reformist organisation, founded in 1884, so called after the Roman General Quintus Fabius Maximus (III century B.C.) surnamed Cunctator (Procrastinator) for his mark-time tactics and evasion of decisive battles in the war with Hannibal. The membership of the Fabian Society consisted chiefly of bourgeois intellectuals -- scholars, writers and politicians (the Webbs, Ramsay MacDonald, Bernard Shaw and others). They denied the need for the proletariat's class struggle and a socialist revolution, and maintained that the transition from capitalism to socialism could be brought about by means of minor and gradual reforms. Lenin described Fabianism as "an extremely opportunist trend -- (see present edition, Vol. 13, p. 358  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution, 1905-1907. -- DJR]). In 1900 the Fabian Society joined the Labour Party. Fabian socialism is one of the sources of Labour Party ideology.
        During the First World War (1914-18) the Fabians took a social-chauvinist stand.    [p.76]

      [34] Workers' or labour group -- Arbeitsgemeinschaft (Social-Democratic Labour Group) -- an organisation of the German Centrists formed in March 1916 by breakaway members of the official Social-Democratic group in the Reichstag. Eventually, in 1917, it formed the core of the Centrist Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany, which sought to justify the overt social-chauvinists and stood for preserving unity with them.    [p.77]

      [35] Minoritaires or Longuetists -- the minority of the French Socialist Party formed in 1915. The minoritaires were followers of the social-reformist Longuet; they held Centrist views and pursued a conciliatory policy towards the soclal-chauvinists. During the First World War they took a social-pacifist stand. After the victoryof the October Revolution in Russia they declared themselves adherents of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but in reality they were against it. They continued the policy of co-operation with the social-chauvinists and supported the annexationist Treaty

    page 584

    of Versailles. Finding themselves in a minority at the congress of the French Socialist Party held in Tours in December 1920 where the Left wing won ascendancy, the Longuetists together with the open reformists split away from the party and joined the Two-and-a-Half International, and after its break-down returned to the Second International.    [p.77]

      [36] The Independent Labour Party -- a reformist organisation founded by the leaders of the "new trade unions" in 1893 during the active strike movement and the mounting drive for independence of the British working class from the bourgeois parties. The membership of the I.L.P. consisted of the "new trade unionists" and members of some of the old trade unions, as well as intellectuals and petty bourgeois holding Fabian views. The leaders of the Party were James Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald. From the day it was founded the I.L.P. took a bourgeois-reformist stand, devoting its chief attention to parliamentary forms of struggle and parliamentary deals with the Liberal Party. In the words of Lenin, the Independent Labour Party was "actually an opportunist party that has always been dependent on the bourgeoisie" (see V. I. Lenin, On Britain, Moscow, p. 401)
        On the outbreak of the imperialist world war the I L.P. issued a manifesto against the war, but shortly afterwards adopted a social-chauvinist stand.    [p.77]

      [37] The British Socialist Party was founded in 1911 in Manchester as a result of the amalgamation of the Social-Democratic Party with other socialist groups. The B.S.P. carried on propaganda in the spirit of Marxist ideas, it was "not opportunist and was really independent of the Liberals" (see present edition, Vol. 19 p. 273). Owing to its small membership and poor contact with the masses, however, it was somewhat sectarian in character. During the First World War a sharp struggle developed in the party between the internationalist trend (William Gallacher Albert Inkpin, John MacLean, Theodore Rothstein and others) and the social-chauvinist trend headed by Hyndman. There were inconsistent elements within the internationalist trend who took a Centrist stand on a number of issues. In February 1916 a group of the party's active members founded the newspaper The Call which played an important part in uniting the internationalists. The annual conference of the B.S.P. held at Salford in April 1916 condemned the social-chauvinist stand taken by Hyndman and his adherents, and they left the Party.
        The British Socialist Party hailed the October Revolution, and its members played a great part in the British working people's movement in defence of Soviet Russia against foreign intervention.
        In 1919 the majority of the Party organisations (98 against 4) declared in favour of joining the Communist International. The B.S.P., together with the Communist Unity Group, played a leading role in the formation of the Communist Party of Great

    page 585

    Britain. At the First (Unity) Congress held in 1920 the overwhelming majority of the B.S.P. Iocals joined the Communist Party.    [p.77]

      [38] The Zimmerwald Left group was founded on Lenin's initiative at the International Socialist Conference held in Zimmerwald in September 1915. It consisted of delegates from the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., the Left Social-Democrats of Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Germany, the Polish Social-Democratic opposition and the Social-Democrats of the Latvian area. The Zimmerwald Left group, headed by Lenin, waged a struggle against the Centrist majority of the Conference and moved resolutions condemning the imperialist war, exposing the betrayal by the social-chauvinists, and urging the necessity of active struggle against the war. These draft resolutions were rejected by the Centrist majority. The Zimmerwald Left succeeded, however, in getting a number of important points from its own draft resolution included in the manifesto adopted by tho Conference. Regarding this manifesto as a first step in the fight against the war, the Zimmerwald Left voted for it, and in a special statement pointed out the inadequacy and inconsistency of the manifesto and their reasons for voting for it. They declared that while remaining within the Zimmerwald organisation they would disseminate their views and work independently on an international scale. The group elected an executive body -- a Bureau, consistin of Lenin, Zinoviev and Radek. The Zimmerwald Left published a journal Vorbote (Herald ) in German, which carried a number of articles by Lenin.
        The Bolsheviks, the only group to take a consistent internationalist stand, were the guiding force in the Zimmerwald Left. Lenin opposed Radek's opportunist waverings and criticised the mistakes of other Leftists. The Zimmerwald Left soon became the rallying point for internationalist elements of world Social-Democracy. At the Second International Socialist Conference in April 1916 in Kienthal, Switzerland, the Zimmerwald Left had 12 out of the 43 delegates to the Conference, and on a number of issues obtained nearly half of the total votes. The Social-Democrats of various countries who belonged to the Zimmerwald Left group carried on active revolutionary work and played an important role in the establishment of Communist parties in their countries.
        On the Zimmerwald Left see Lenin's articles: "The First Step", "Revolutionary Marxists at the International Socialist Conference, September 5-8, 1915" (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 383-93).    [p.77]

      [39] The Internationale group, later called the Spartacus League, was formed by the German Left Social-Democrats Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring, Clara Zetkin and others at the beginning of the First World War. The group played an important part in the history of the German labour movement. At the national conference of Left Social-Democrats held in

    page 586

    January 1916 the eroup adopted the thesis concerning the tasks of international Social-Democracy drafted and proposed by Rosa Luxemburg. The Internationale group carried on revolutionary propaganda among the masses against the imperialist war exposing the aggressive policy of German imperialism and the treachery of the leaders of Social-Democracy. The group was not free, however, from serious errors on the most important questions of theory and policies: it rejected the principle of self-determination of nations in its Marxist interpretation (that is, including the right of secession and the formation of a separate state) denied the possibility of national liberation wars in the epoch of imperialism, and underestimated the role of the revolutionary party, so on. Lenin criticised the errors of the German Lefts in his articles: "The Junius Pamphlet", "The War Programme of the Proletarian Revolution" and others (see present edition Vols. 22 and 23). In 1917 the Internationale group became affiliated to the Centrist Independent Social-Democratic Party of Germany preserving its organisational independence. After the November revolution in Germany in 1918 it broke with the "Independents" and in December of the same year founded the Communist Party of Germany.    [p.78]

      [40] The Socialist Labour Party of America was founded in 1876 at the unity congress held in Philadelphia as a result of the amalgamation of the American sections of the First International and other socialist organisations. A leading part at the congress was played by F. A. Sorge, an associate of Marx and Engels. The over whelming majority of the party were immigrants who had poor contacts with the American working class. During the early years the party was controlled by the Lassalleans who made mistakes of a sectarian and dogmatic nature. Some of the party's leaders considered parliamentary activity to be the chief task of the party and underestimated the importance of leadership of the economic struggle of the masses; others slid down to trade-unionism and anarchism. The ideological and tactical waverings of the leaders weakened the party and led to a number of groups dropping away from it. Marx and Engels sharply criticised the sectarianism of the American socialists.
        In the nineties the leadership of the party was assumed by the Left wing, headed by D. De Leon, but this group, too, committed errors of an anarcho-syndicalist nature. The S.L.P. withdrew from the struggle for satisfaction of partial demands of the working class, withdrew from work in the reformist trade unions and gradually lost its already weakened contacts with the mass labour movement. Duriny the First World War (1914-18) the S.L.P. Ieaned towards internationalism. Under the impact of the October Revolution in Russia the more revolutionary section of the S.L.P. took an active part in organising the Communist Party of America. Today the S.L.P. is a small organisation having no influence on the labour movement in the U.S.A.    [p.79]

    page 587

      [41] The Socialist Party of America was formed in July 1901 at the congress in Indianapolis as a result of the amalgamation of groups that had split away from the Socialist Labour Party and the Social-Democratic Party of the U.S.A., one of whose organisers was Eugene Debs, a popular leader of the American labour movement; he was one of the founders of the new party. The party had a mixed social composition, being made up of American workers immigrant workers, as well as small farmers and petty bourgeois. The Centrist and Right opportunist leadership of the party (Victor L. Berger, Morris Hillquit and others) denied the need for a dictatorship of the proletariat, rejecting revolutionary methods of struggle, and reduced the activities of the party mainly to participation in election campaigns. During the First World War three trends appeared in the S.P. -- the social-chauvinists who supported the government's imperialist policy, the Centrists who paid only lip-service to the cause of anti-imperialism, and the revolutionary minority, who took an internationalist stand and were actively anti-war.
        The Left wing of the Socialist Party headed by Charles Ruthenberg, William Foster, William Haywood and others, and backed by the proletarian membership, waged a struggle against the party's opportunist leadership and for independent political action by the proletariat, for the creation of industrial trade unions based on the principles of the class struggle. In 1919 a split occurred in the Socialist Party. The breakaway Left wing took the lead in forming the Communist Party of America, of which it was the core.
        At the present time the Socialist Party is a small sectarian organisation.    [p.79]

      [42] Tribunists -- members of the Social-Democratic Party of Holland, whose mouthpiece was the newspaper De Tribune. The leaders of the Tribunists were David Wijnkoop, Herman Gorter, Anton Pannekoek, and Henriette Roland-Holst. The Tribunists were not a consistently revolutionary party, but they represented the Left wing of the Dutch labour movement, and during the First World War (1914-18) they adopted, in the main, an internationalist stand.
        In 1918 the Tribunists formed the Communist Party of Holland.

        De Tribune -- a newspaper founded in 1907 by the Left wing of the Social-Democratic Labour Party of Holland. In 1909, after the expulsion of the Leftists, who formed the Social-Democratic Party of Holland, the paper became the official organ of this party; in 1918 it became the organ of the Dutch Communist Party, and appeared under this name until 1940.    [p.79]

      [43] Party of the Young, or the Left -- the name given by Lenin to the Left wing of the Swedish Social-Democrats. During the First World War (1914-18) they took an internationalist stand and aligned themselves with the Zimmerwald Left. In May 1917 they

    page 588

    formed the Left Social-Democratic Party of Sweden. At the party's congress in 1919 a resolution was adopted in favour of joining the Communist International. The revolutionary wing of the party formed the Communist Party of Sweden in 1921.    [p.79]

      [44] Tesnyaki -- the revolutionary Social-Democratic Labour Party of Bulgaria, founded in 1903 after the split in the Social-Democratic Party. The founder and leader of the Party was D. Blagoev subsequent leaders, Blagoev's disciples, were G. Dimitrov, V. Rolarov and others. In 1914-18 the Tesnyaki came out against the imperialist war. In 1919 they joined the Communist International and formed the Communist Party of Bulgaria, later reorganised into the Bulgarian Workers' Party (Communists).    [p.79]

      [45] Avanti! -- a daily, central organ of the Italian Socialist Party founded in December 1896 in Rome. During the First World War (1914-18) the paper took an inconsistent internationalist stand without breaking with the reformists. In 1926 it was closed down by Mussolini's fascist goverument, but continued to appear irregularly outside the country. In 1943 it resumed publication in Italy. At present Avanti! is the central organ of the Italian Socialist Party.    [p.79]

      [46] Regional Executive and Chief Executive -- executive bodies of the Social-Democrats of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania.    [p.79]

      [47] Volksstimme -- organ of the German Social-Democratic Party, published in Chemnitz from January 1891 to February 1933.
        Die Glocke -- a fortnightly journal published in Munich and subsequently in Berlin between 1915-25 by the social-chauvinist Parvus (A. L. Gelfand), member of the German Social-Democratic Party.    [p.81]

      [48] This refers to the appeal "To the Peoples Suffering Ruination and Death" adopted at the Second International Conference of the "Zimmerwaldists" held on April 24-30, 1916 in Kienthal (Switzerland).    [p.81]

      [49] Die Jugendinternationale (Youth International ) -- organ of the International Union of Socialist Youth Organisations associated with the Zimmerwald Left. Published in Zurich from September 1915 to May 1918.    [p.82]

      [50] On April 7(20), 1917, the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, by a majority of 21 votes against 14, adopted a resolution in favour of supporting the so-called "Liberty Loan" issued by the Provisional Government to finance the continuing imperialist war. The Bolshevik members of the Executive Committee opposed this loan, declaring that support of it was "the worst form of 'civil truce'" and moved a resolution containing a detailed statement of their position. Several members of the E.C. not belonying to the Bolshevik group voted with the Bolsheviks. The

    page 589

    question was put before the plenary meeting of the Soviet after a preliminary discussion in the groups.    [p.84]

      [51] See Engels, Preface to Internationales aus dem Volkstaat (1871 1875 ).    [p.84]

      [52] This expression from Heine was quoted by Marx and Engels in their German Ideology.    [p.86]

      [53] Soldatskaya Pravda (Soldiers' Truth ) -- a Bolshevik daily, began to appear on April 15 (28), 1917 as the organ of the Military Organisation of the Petrograd Committee, R.S.D.L.P.(B.), from May 19 (June 1), 1917 it became the organ of the Military Organisation of the Central Committee, R.S.D.L.P.(B.); during the July event sof 1917 the paper was closed down by the Provisional Government; from July to October 1917 it came out under the names of Rabochy i Soldat (Worker and Soldier ) and Soldat (Soldier ). After the October Revolution publication was resumed under the old name and continued up to March 1918.    [p.89]

      [54] The coalition Provisional Government was formed as a result of the crisis caused by the Note which Milyukov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had sent to the Allied governments on April 18 (May 1), 1917, confirming the Provisional Government's readiness to honour all the treaties which the tsarist government had concluded with the imperialist powers -- Britain and France. Owing to the spontaneous demonstrations of protest, which reached a head on April 20 and 21 (May 3 and 4) in a powerful movement of the workers and soldiers, the Provisional Government, to create the appearance of a change in policy, accepted the resignation of Foreign Minister Milyukov, and War Minister Guchkov, and made a proposal to the Petrograd Soviet to form a coalition government.
        Despite its decision of March 1 (14) forbidding members of the Soviet to join the Provisional Government, the Executive Committee, at a special meeting held on the night of May 1 (14), accepted the proposal of the Provisional Government. At the preliminary meetings of the party groups the Bolsheviks were the only group to come out against it. The decision to have representatives of the Soviet join the government was carried by 44 votes to 19 with two abstentions. A commission authorised to negotiate the terms for forming a coalition government was elected, consisting of Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Dan, Bogdanov (Mensheviks), Stankevich, Bramson (Trudoviks), Gots, Chernov (S.R.s), Kamenev (Bolshevik), Yurenev (member of the Inter-District group), and Sukhanov (independent Social-Democrat). On the evening of May 2 (15) an emergency meeting of the Petrograd Soviet was called at which the action of the Executive Committee was approved by a majority vote. After the negotiations an agreement was reached on May 5 (18) for the distribution of posts in the new government as a result of which 6 socialist ministers were to join the cabinet, namely: Kerensky -- War and Naval Minister, Skobelev -- Labour

    page 590

    Minister, Chernov -- Minister of Agriculture, Peshekhonov -- Minister of Food Supply, Tsereteli -- Minister of Post and Telegraph and Pereverzev -- Minister of Justice. On the evening of May 5(18) the Petrograd Soviet, after hearing Skobelev's report on the results of the negotiations with the Provisional Government, decided to have its representatives join the government on condition that they were answerable and accountable to the Soviet, and expressed full confidence in the new government.
        Lenin wrote afterwards that by joining the bourgeois government, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks "saved it from collapse and allowed themselves to be made its servants and defenders" (see present edition, Vol. 25, p. 237  [Transcriber's Note: See Lenin's "Lessons of the Revolution". -- DJR]).    [p.90]

      [55] Lenin is referring to the order by War Minister Kerensky published on May 11 (24), 1917, containing a "Declaration of the Rights of the Soldier", in which there was a point allowing a superior officer to use military force in cases of insubordination in the field. This point was aimed against soldiers and officers who refused to go into the attack. Simultaneously with the promulgation of this order Kerensky started to disband regiments and prosecute officers and soldiers guilty of "inciting to insubordina tion".    [p.91]