V. I.   Lenin

Material for the Preparation of the Programme of the R.S.D.L.P.


Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme[1]

Text of the Committee’s Draft Lenin’s Remarks

A question mark indicates a desire to improve the style.

1. The development of international exchange has established such close ties among all nations of the civilised world, that the great emancipation movement of the proletariat had to become, and has long become, an international movement.

2. For this reason the Russian Social-Democrats regard their Party as one of the detachments of the world army of the proletariat, as part of international Social-Democracy, and pursue the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries.

The style needs brushing up.
  This “as” is not good Russian. Clumsy style. “They pursue the same ultimate aim as the Social-Democrats of all other countries have set them selves,” or something to that effect.

3. This ultimate aim is determined by bourgeois society’s nature and course of development.

I would recommend that “nature and” be deleted as superfluous words. The u l t i m a t e a i m is determined by the course and not by the modifications of   this general “course” that are explained by the concept of “nature of development.” Hence, these superfluous words are also not quite accurate.

This society is characterised by the domination of commodity production under capitalist production relations, i.e., by the fact that the most important and most considerable part of the articles of consumption is produced

Why only “articles of consumption”? What about means of production? “Products,” etc., would be better.

for sale on the home or world market, and the most important and most considerable part of the means

These words should, in my opinion, be deleted. Unnecessary repetition.

of production and of circulation of these articles of consumption— commodities—

These words should be deleted. Commodities are not limited to articles of consumption.

belongs to a relatively small

(Instead of “relatively small,” perhaps negligible, since the words: “most important and most considerable part” are sufficiently restrictive. But this is not important.)

class of persons, V whereas the overwhelming majority of· the population consists partly of persons who possess no means of production

The words “to the capitalists and landowners” should be added.Otherwise the result is an abstract concept which is particularly out of place in conjunction with the subsequent “peasants and handicraftsmen.”

and of circulation whatever (proletarians) and partly of those who have at their disposal only very

“And of circulation” should be deleted. Proletarians of the purest water can have and do have “means of circulation” which are exchanged for articles o f c o n s u m p t i o n.

insignificant means of production, which do not ensure their existence (certain sections of small producers, as, for instance, small peasants and handicraftsmen).
  All these persons are forced by their economic position to sell their labour-power constantly or periodically, i.e., to hire themselves to the owners of the means of production and of circulation of commodities, and by their labour create the latter’s income.

The style requires brushing up! “Means of production” ensure (?) existence.

4. The domination of capitalist production relations grows more and more as constant technical progress, by increasing the economic importance of the big enterprises, ousts the independent small producers, that is, causes a relative decline in their number by converting part of them into proletarians, diminishes the role of the others in social and economic life, and at places makes them more or less completely, more or less obviously, more or less onerously, dependent upon the big manufacturers.

  “Upon capital”—not only upon big capital.

5. By converting part of the independent small producers into proletarians, this technical progress leads to a still greater   increase in the supply of labour-power, making it possible for the manufacturers to employ female and child labour to an ever greater extent in the process of commodity production and circulation. And since, on the other hand, this same process of technical (machine) progress leads to a relative decrease in the manufacturers’ need of the workers’ physical labour, the demand for labour-power necessarily lags behind its supply, as a consequence of which the dependence of wage-labour on capital increases and the exploitation of the former by capital is intensified. The share of the working class in the sum-total of the social income created by its labour is constantly diminishing.

  These words should be deleted as a needless repetition of the idea already expressed in the preceding proposition.
  In general, § 5 brings out in particular relief the general defect of the draft: long periods and an undesirable prolixity of exposition. Incidentally: this results in what Engels in his criticism of the Erfurt Draft called “schiefe Nebenbedeutung.” [“The possibility of misinterpretation.”—Ed.] For instance, it appears as if the increase in the employment of female and child labour is due solely to the “conversion” of the independent small producers into proletarians, whereas this is not so; it also takes place prior to such “c o n v e r s i o n.” The beginning of § 5 is a superfluous repetition.

6. This state of affairs with in bourgeois so-


Over-production, which causes more or less severe industrial crises, followed by more or less lengthy periods of industrial stagnation, is an inevitable result of the growth of the productive forces, in the absence of planning, which is characteristic of commodity production, and under the capitalist production relations inherent in present-day society. In their turn, crises and periods of industrial stagnation render the position of the independent small producers still more difficult, and lead still more rapidly to the relative and, in some places, even the absolute deterioration in the proletarians’ conditions.

  Repetition again!!
  This is insufficient. Not only do they “render their position difficult,” but ruin them outright on a mass scale.
  The first part of § 6 would gain a great deal if it were made shorter.

7. Thus, technical progress, which implies an increase in labour productivity and the growth of social wealth, entails, in bourgeois society, an increase In social inequality, a widening of the distance between the propertied and the propertyless, a growth of insecurity of existence, unemployment and poverty of every description.

“Growth of poverty of every description”—this borrowing from my draft is not a very apt one. I did not speak about the growth of poverty. “Of every description” includes “absolute” too. The reference to the poverty of the masses should therefore be worded some what differently.

8. But, as all these contradictions, inherent in the capitalist mode of production, grow and develop, the working and exploited masses’ discontent with the existing order of things also grows, and the struggle of their foremost representative—the proletariat—against the champions of this order becomes sharper.

§ 8 shows the committee’s stubborn disinclination to observe the precise and unambiguous c o n d i t i o n it was set at its very “birth.” On the basis of this condition an insertion should have been made (which the committee has done in § 10), and, m o r e o v e r, before the insertion the text should deal only with the class struggle of the proletariat a l o n e. This latter demand, clearly expressed in the conciliation agreement, was not carried out by the commit tee, and I consider that I am within my rights in insisting that it be carried out.
  Prior to what is stated at the end of § 10, it is i n c o r r e c t to speak of the discontent of all the working masses in general and to call the proletariat their “foremost representative,” since this is true o n l y u n d e r t h e c o n d i t i o n expressed at the end of § 10. The committee presents the conditional as some thing unconditional. The half-heartedness of the small producer and his s e m i - r e a c t i o n a r y s p i r i t have not been in any way expressed by the commit tee: this is quite impermissible. The result is that the   possibility of finding this small producer (or a part of this section) among the principled “champions of this order” (the same phrase in § 8 1!) has been entirely f o r g o t t e n!! And yet this possibility v e r y often becomes a reality before our very eyes.
  In order to have the right to speak of the movement of the proletariat, its class struggle and even the class dictatorship, it is necessary first to single out this o n e class, and then only to add something about its role as a representative. Otherwise the result is a lack of coherence in the draft; § 8 is not connected in strict logic either with the continuation (why not a “dictatorship of the working masses”??), or with the beginning (if all the social antagonisms are aggravated, that m e a n s that the struggle of the t w o c l a s s e s grows ever sharper, and this is something the committee has forgotten to point out!!). It does not hang together.

At the same time, technical progress, by socialising the process of labour within the workshop and concentrating production,

The socialisation of labour is far from being limited to what takes place within the workshop: this passage must be corrected.

more and more rapidly creates the possibility of the social revolution, which constitutes the ultimate aim of the entire activity of International Social-Democracy, as the conscious spokesman of the class movement of the proletariat.

+“and the necessity” (for the social revolution).

Cf. No. 13. N.B.

9. This social revolution will consist in the removal of capitalist production relations and their substitution by socialist production relations, i.e., it will consist in the expropriation of the exploiters for the purpose of converting the means of production and of circulation of products into public property, and in the planned organisation of the social production process so as to satisfy the needs of both society as a whole and its individual members. The achievement of this aim will emancipate all of oppressed humanity, since it will put an end to all forms of the exploitation of one part of society by another.


Not accurate. Such “satisfaction” is “given” by capitalism as well, but not to all members of society and not in equal degree.
  —My objections have already been set forth–N.B.[See pp. 28, 54 of this volume.—Ed.]

10. To effect its social revolution, the proletariat must win political power (the class dictatorship), which will make it master of the situation and enable it to surmount all obstacles. Organising for this purpose into an independent political party, which is opposed to all bourgeois parties,

  “Opposed to a l l bourgeois parties” means to the petty-bourgeois parties as well, does it not?? But the majority of the petty bourgeois are “working and exploited." That does not hang together.

the proletariat calls upon all other sections of the population which are suffering from capitalist exploitation to join its ranks,

Social-Democracy organises and calls upon. “The proletariat ... calls into its [!] sections”—ganz unmöglich! [ Quite impossible!—The reference is to an infelicity in the Russian style.—Ed. ]

counting on their support, in as much as they are conscious of the hopelessness of their position in present-day society and place themselves at the standpoint of the proletariat.

The words “counting on their support” should be deleted. They are redundant (if it calls upon, that means it counts on) and have schiefe Nebenbedeutung. It calls upon those who are conscious, inasmuch as they are conscious, das genügt. [That is enough.—Ed.]

11. The Social-Democratic Party, the party of the fighting proletariat, directs all manifestations of its class struggle, discloses to the whole of the working and exploited masses the irreconcilable antagonism between the interests of the exploiters and the interests of the exploited, and explains to them the historical significance and the indispensable prerequisites for the future social revolution.

  “Irreconcilability of their (the masses) interests with the very existence of capitalism,” or a similar correction. Not all the working people find themselves in a position wherein their “interests” are “irreconcilably” opposed to the interests of the exploiters. The working peasant has s o m e t h i n g, somewhat, a/n, in common with the big landowner. We need more general and broader statements, lest the result be an inaccuracy and amount to phrase-mongering.

12. But despite the identity of their common ultimate aim, an identity conditioned ·by the dominance of the same mode of production throughout the civilised world, the Social-Democrats of different countries do not set themselves the same immediate tasks, both because this mode is not everywhere developed in equal degree and also because its development in different countries takes place under varying social and political conditions.

  ? Style!!
  § 12—the end. An attempt should be made to short en this. It would by very useful for this paragraph to shrink. Would it not be possible to condense ten words into two by saying “national features,” or a similar expression?

13. In Russia, side by side with capitalism, which is rapidly extending the sphere of its domination and more and more becoming the predominant mode of production, we still meet at every step remnants of our old, pre-capitalist social order, which was based on bondage of the masses of working people to the land lords, to the state, or to the head of the-state. These remnants retard the development of the productive forces in the highest degree,

§ 13—the beginning. My most humble thanks for the tiny step in my direction. But “becoming the predominant....” [At this point Lenin expresses his opinion of a piece of infelicitous phrasing in the draft,—Ed.]

hamper the all-round development of the proletariat’s class struggle, lower the working population’s standard of living, are responsible for the Asiatically barbarous way in which the many-million-strong peasantry is being ruined and reduced to   degradation, and keep entire people in a state of ignorance, total absence of rights, and subjection.

  ? Style!
  § 13—the end. Correction desirable: I have already suggested how (my amendments to my draft [See p. 34 of this volume.—Ed.]), or you get “...barbarous way in which... is being ruined and reduced to degradation...”?

14. As the most outstanding of all survivals of our serf-owning system and the most formidable bulwark of all this barbarism, the tsarist autocracy is wholly incompatible with political and civil liberties, which have long been in existence in the advanced countries of capitalist production, as the natural legal complement to that production. By its very nature it must crush every social movement and is bound to be the bitterest enemy of all the proletariat’s emancipatory aspirations.
  For these reasons, Russian Social-Democracy advances as its immediate political task the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a republic based on a democratic constitution that would ensure, etc.

  ? Style.
  ? Style.
  This won’t do. Not every: bimetallism and pre-Raphaelitism are also “social movements.” This must be amended.
  “Natural legal complement”—a correct thought very badly expressed. For capitalism the “naturalness” of liberty is complicated by 1,001 social and historical factors, which the word “natural” does not bring out. Moreover, it smacks, reeks, of a sort of liberalism. Some thing should be said to the effect that the “autocracy is inevitably doomed to death by the entire development of capitalism, which imperatively requires civil and political liberties for the expression of its increasingly complex interests,” or   something like that, in short, the idea of inevitability should be expressed, without giving rise to misunderstandings by attributing this inevitability to “natural” developments.
  On the whole, the more one reads the committee’s draft, the more one is convinced of the fact that it is, so to say, semi-digested. I take it upon myself to predict that this quality in the draft will bring down upon us a great deal of justified reproaches, if we publish it in such a form. Everyone will see that it is just “pasted together.”
  If the Lord God has chosen to punish us for our sins by obliging us to come out with a “mongrel” draft, we should at least do every thing in our power to reduce the unhappy consequences. Therefore, those who are above all guided by a desire to “get through with it as quickly as possible” are quite wrong. It may be taken for granted that now, given such a constellation, nothing but evil will come of haste, and our editorial draft will be unsatisfactory. It is not absolutely necessary to publish it in No. 4 of Zarya
[2]: we can publish it in No. 5 and in a special   impression before No. 5 appears. If we do this, a delay of a month or so will do no harm at all to the Party. And, in deed, it would be better if the illustrious committee goes over it again thoroughly, thinks it over, digests it, and gives us a draft of its own, an integral draft, rather than one that has been pasted together. Let me repeat: if this task is unrealisable, it would be far better to revert to the plan of two drafts (and we shall be fully able to carry out this plan without any “awkwardness”: Plekhanov publishes his draft over his signature in Zarya, and I publish mine on the side," in Geneva, as X, Y or Z). I hereby most respectfully request the august Board to give its close consideration to “all the circumstances of the case.”
  12.IV.1902—I am writing in the train: I apologise for the scribble. If I have time, I shall write again and more clearly.

Written April 12, 1902



[1] V. I. Lenin’s remarks on the Committee’s draft of the theoretical part of the programme were written in the margins and between the lines of the manuscript of the Committee’s draft, and also on the backs of the manuscript pages. Particular points in the Committee’s draft which Lenin singled out (by underlining, brackets, vertical lines in the margin, etc.) are underscored with fine lines.

[2] Zarya (Dawn)—a Marxist scientific and political magazine, was published in 1901-02 in Stuttgart by the Iskra Editorial Board. Only four numbers (three books) of Zarya were issued: No. 1—in April 1901 (which actually appeared on March 23, New Style); No. 2-3—in December 1901; No. 4—in August 1902.

The tasks of Zarya were defined in the draft declaration of Iskra and Zarya which V. I. Lenin wrote in Russia (see present edition, Vol. 4, pp. 320-30). However, when the question of joint publication of these organs abroad was discussed with the Emancipation of Labour group, it was decided to publish Zarya legally and Iskra illegally; consequently there was no mention of Zarya in the declaration of the Editorial Board of Iskra, a declaration published in October 1900.

Zarya criticised international and Russian revisionism, and defended the theoretical principles of Marxism. It published V. I. 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’\thinspace"), “Review of Internal Affairs,” “The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy” and also G. V. Plekhanov’s “Criticism of Our Critics. Part 1. Mr. Struve as Critic of Marx’s Theory of Social Development,” “Kant versus Kant, or Herr Bernstein’s Spiritual Testament,” and others.

  Opinion On Plekhanov’s Second Draft | Additional Remarks On the Committee’s Draft Programme  

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