LENIN ON HIS 'APRIL THESES'
I have outlined a few theses which I shall supply
with some commentaries. I could not, because of the lack of time, present
a thorough, systematic report. The basic question is our attitude towards
the war. The basic things confronting you as you read about Russia or observe
conditions here are the triumph of defencism, the triumph of the traitors
to Socialism, the deception of the masses by the bourgeoisie. . . . The
new government, like the preceding one, is imperialistic, despite the promise
of a republic - it is imperialistic through and through.
- 1. In our attitude toward the war not the slightest
concession must be made to "revolutionary defencism," for under
the new government of Lvov & Co., owing to the capitalise nature of
this government, the war on Russia's part remains a predatory imperialist
war. In view of the undoubted honesty of the mass of rank and file representatives
of revolutionary defencism who accept the war only as a necessity and not
as a means of conquest, in view of their being deceived by the bourgeoisie,
it is necessary most thoroughly, persistently, patiently to explain to
them their error, to explain the inseparable connection between capital
and the imperialist war, to prove that without the overthrow of capital
it is impossible to conclude the war with a really democratic, non-oppressive
peace. This view is to be widely propagated among the army units in the
field. . . .
- 2. The peculiarity of the present situation in
Russia is that it represents a transition from the first stage of the revolution
- which, because of the inadequate organisation and insufficient class-consciousness
of the proletariat, led to the assumption of power by the bourgeoisie -
to its second stage which is to place power in the hands of the proletariat
and the poorest strata of the peasantry. . . . This peculiar situation
demands of us an ability to adapt ourselves to the specific conditions
of party work amidst vast masses of the proletariat just wakened to political
- 3. No support to the Provisional Government;
exposure of the utter falsity of all its promises, particularly those relating
to the renunciation of annexations. Unmasking, instead of admitting, the
illusion-breeding "demand" that this government, a government
of capitalist, should cease to be imperialistic. . .
- 4. Recognition of the fact that in most of the
Soviets of Workers' Deputies our party constitutes a minority, and a small
one at that, in the face of the bloc of all the petty bourgeois opportunist
elements..... who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie.......
It must be explained to the masses that the Soviet of Workers' Deputies
is the only possible form of revolutionary government and that, therefore,
our task is, while this government is submitting to the influence of the
bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent analysis
of its errors and tactics, an analysis especially adapted to the practical
needs of the masses. . . .
- Not a parliamentary republic - a return to it
from the Soviet of Workers' Deputies would be a step backward - but a republic
of Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies
throughout the land, from top to bottom.
- Abolition of the police, the army, the bureaucracy.
. . .
- All officers to be elected and to be subject
to recall at any time, their salaries not to exceed the average wage of
a competent worker. . . .
- In the agrarian programme, the emphasis must
be shifted to the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies.
- Confiscation of private lands.
- Nationalisation of all lands in the country,
and management of such lands by local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers'
and Peasants' Deputies.
- A separate organisation of Soviets of Deputies
of the poorest peasants.
- Creation of model agricultural establishments
out of large estates . . .
- 7. Immediate merger of all the banks in the country
into one general national bank, over which the Soviet of Workers' Deputies
should have control . . .
- 8. Not the "introduction" of Socialism
as an immediate task, but the immediate placing of the Soviet of Workers'
Deputies in control of social production and distribution of goods . .
- 9. Party tasks:
- A. Immediate calling of a party convention.
- B. Changing the party program, mainly:
- 1. Concerning imperialism and the imperialist
- 2. Concerning our attitude toward the state,
and our demand for a 'commune state."
- 3. Amending our antiquated minimum programme.
- 10. Rebuilding the International. Taking the
initiative in the creation of a revolutionary International, an International
against the social-chauvinists and against the "centre" . . .