V. I.   Lenin

The Third Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

April 12 (25)-April 27 (May 10), 1905



Speech on the Question of the Armed Uprising

April 16 (29)

During the debate the question was put on a practical plane: what is the mood of the masses? Comrade Leskov[1] was right in saying that it was chequered. But Comrade Zharkov is right, too, in saying that we must reckon with the fact that the uprising, whatever we may think of it, is bound to take place. The question arises whether there are any differences in principle between the resolutions submitted. I fail totally to see any. Although I am viewed as an arch-intransigent, I will, nevertheless, try to reconcile and bring these two resolutions into line—I will undertake their reconciliation. I have nothing against the amendment to Comrade Voinov’s resolution. Nor do I see any difference in principle in the addendum. Very energetic participation does not necessarily imply hegemony. I think Comrade Mikhailov expressed himself in a more positive manner; he emphasises hegemony, and in a concrete form, too. The English proletariat is destined to bring about a socialist revolution—that is beyond doubt; but its inability to bring it about at the present moment, owing to its lack of socialist organisation and its corruption by the bourgeoisie, is equally beyond dispute. Comrade Voinov expresses the same thought: the most energetic participation is undoubtedly the most decisive participation. Whether the proletariat will decide the outcome of the revolution—no one can assert absolutely. This is likewise true of the role of leader. Comrade Voinov’s resolution is worded more carefully. Social Democracy may organise the uprising, it may even be the deciding factor in it. But whether Social-Democracy will   have the leading role in it cannot be predetermined; that will depend on the strength and organisation of the proletariat. The petty bourgeoisie may be better organised and its diplomats may prove to be superior and better trained. Comrade Voinov is the more cautious; he says, “You may be able to do it.” “You will do it,” says Comrade Mikhailov. The proletariat may possibly decide the outcome of the revolution, but this cannot be asserted positively. Comrades Mikhailov and Sosnovsky are guilty of the very error they charge Comrade Voinov with: “Count not your trophies before the battle.”

“For guarantee, it is necessary,” says Voinov; “necessary and sufficient,” say Mikhailov and Sosnovsky. As to organising special fighting groups, I might say that I consider them necessary. We need not fear to form them.



[1] Leskov—N. V. Romanov, delegate from the Northern Committee. Others mentioned in the speech: Zharkov—M. S. Leshchinsky, delegate from the Ekaterinoslav Committee: Mikhailov—D. S. Postolovsky, delegate from the North-Western Committee; Sosnovsky—V. A. Desultsky, delegate from the Nizhni-Novgorod Committee.

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