in Pravda, No. 26, 7 April 1917]
I did not arrive in Petrograd until the
night of April 3, and therefore at the meeting on April 4
I could, of course, deliver the report on the tasks of
the revolutionary proletariat only on my own behalf, and
with reservations as to insufficient preparation.
The only thing I could do to make things
easier for myself -- and for honest opponents --
was to prepare the theses in writing. I read
them out, and gave the text to Comrade Tsereteli. I read
them twice very slowly; first at a meeting of
Bolsheviks and then at a meeting of both Bolsheviks and
I publish these personal theses of mine
with only the briefest explanatory notes, which were
developed in far greater detail in the report.
1. In our attitude to the war, which
under the new government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably
remains on Russias part a predatory imperialist war
owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not
the slightest concession to revolutionary
defencism is permissible.
The class-conscious proletariat can give its consent to a
revolutionary war, which would really justify
revolutionary defencism, only on condition: (a) that the
power pass to the proletariat and the poorest sections of
the peasants aligned with the proletariat; (b) that all
annexations be renounced in deed and not only in word;
(c) that a complete break be effected in actual fact with
all capitalist interests.
In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections
of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism who
accept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of
conquest, in view of the fact that they are being
deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary with
particular thoroughness, persistence and patience to
explain their error to them, to explain the inseparable
connection existing between capital and the imperialist
war, and to prove that without overthrowing capital it
is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic
peace, a peace not imposed by violence.
The most widespread campaign for this view must be
organised in the army at the front.
2. The specific feature of the present situation in
Russia is that the country is passing from the
first stage of the revolution - which, owing to the
insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the
proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie
- to its second stage, which must place power in
the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of
This transition is characterised, on the one hand, by a
maximum of legally recognised rights (Russia is now
the freest of all the belligerent countries in the
world); on the other, by the absence of violence towards
the masses, and, finally, by their unreasoning trust in
the government of capitalists, those worst enemies of
peace and socialism.
This peculiar situation demands of us an ability to adapt
ourselves to the special conditions of Party
work among unprecedentedly large masses of proletarians
who have just awakened to political life.
3. No support for the Provisional Government; the utter
falsity of all its promises should be made clear,
particularly of those relating to the renunciation of
annexations. Exposure in place of the impermissible,
illusion-breeding demand that this
government, a government of capitalists, should cease
to be an imperialist government.
4. Recognition of the fact that in most of the Soviets of
Workers Deputies our Party is in a minority, so far a
small minority, as against a bloc of all the
petit-bourgeois opportunist elements, from the Popular
Socialists and the Socialist-Revolutionaries down to the
Organising Committee (Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.),
Steklov, etc., etc., who have yielded to the influence of
the bourgeoisie and spread that influence among the
The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of
Workers Deputies are the only possible form of
revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is,
and as long as this government yields to the influence of
the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and
persistent explanation of the errors of their
tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the
practical needs of the masses.
As long as we are in the minority we carry on the work of
criticising and exposing errors and at the same time we
preach the necessity of transferring the entire state
power to the Soviets of Workers Deputies, so that people
may overcome their mistakes by experience.
5. Not a parliamentary republic - to return to a
parliamentary republic from the Soviets of Workers'
Deputies would be a retrograde step - but a republic of
Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and
Peasants' Deputies throughout the country, from top to
Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy.
i.e. the standing army to be replaced by the arming of
the whole people.
The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective
and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average
wage of a competent worker.
6. The weight of emphasis in the agrarian programme to be
shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers'
Confiscation of all landed estates.
Nationalisation of all lands in the country, the
land to be disposed of by the local Soviets of
Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies. The
organisation of separate Soviets of Deputies of Poor
Peasants. The setting up of a model farm on each of the
large estates (ranging in size from 100 to 300
dessiatines, according to local and other conditions, and
to the decisions of the local bodies) under the control
of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies and
for the public account.
7. The immediate amalgamation of all banks in the country
into a single national bank, and the institution of
control over it by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies.
8. It is not our immediate task to
introduce socialism, but only to bring social
production and the distribution of products at once under
the control of the Soviets of Workers Deputies.
9. Party tasks:
(a) Immediate convocation of a Party Congress;
(b) Alteration of the Party Program, mainly (1) on the
question of imperialism and the imperialist war; (2) On
our attitude towards the state and our demand for a
common state. (3) Amendment of our
out-of-date minimum program.
(c) Change our name, we must call ourselves The Communist
10. A new International.
[Source: James E. Connor, ed. Lenin on Politics and Revolution:
Selected Works (Pegasus, 1968), pp. 158-160.]
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