V. I.   Lenin

To the Rural Poor

An Explanation for the Peasants of What the Social-Democrats Want[1]

Written: Written in March 1903
Published: First published as a separate pamphlet in May 1903, in Geneva, by the League of Russian Social-Democracy Abroad. Published according to the text of the pamphlet.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 6, pages 361-432.
Translated: ??? ???
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README


1. The Struggle of the Urban Workers  365
2. What Do the Social-Democrats Want?  367
3. Riches and Poverty, Property-Owners and Workers in the Countryside  377
4. What Path Should the Middle Peasant Take? Should He Take the Side of the Property-Owners and the Rich or the Side of the Workers and the Poor?  391
5. What Improvements are the Social-Democrats Striving to Obtain for the Whole People and for the Workers?  398
6. What Improvements are the Social-Democrats Striving to Obtain for all the Peasants?  408
7. The Class Struggle in the Countryside  423
The Programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party Proposed by the Newspaper Iskra in Conjunction with the Magazine Zarya  430



[1] While preparing the pamphlet, To the Rural Poor, Lenin drew up several variants of the plan and individual items for the first variant, as well as plans for separate chapters of the pamphlet (see Lenin Miscellany XIX, pp. 339-56).

Regarding the aims of the pamphlet, To the Rural Poor, Lenin informed Plekhanov in a letter of March 1903 that he was writing a popular pamphlet for peasants about the agrarian programme, in which he explained the Marxist view of the class struggle in the countryside on the basis of concrete data on the four strata of the village population (landlords, peasant bourgeoisie, middle peasants, and semi-proletarians together with proletarians).

The pamphlet was published in Geneva in May 1903 by the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad.

The text of the draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P., with an introduction written by Lenin, was appended to the pamphlet, which was very widely distributed. It was transported illegally to Russia from abroad, dispatched to various towns and from there distributed among the villages. During the period from May 1903 to December 1905 alone, the pamphlet was supplied to 75 towns and villages, according to the incomplete data available. It was studied in illegal Social-Democratic and workers’ circles, penetrated into the army and navy, and was read by students in secondary schools and universities. In 1904 the pamphlet was republished by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. abroad; it was several times reprinted in Russia.

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