V. I.   Lenin

Preface to the Third Edition of the Pamphlet The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats

Published: First published in the autumn of 1905 in a pamphlet issued by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. Published according to the text of the pamphlet.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 209-210.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The third edition of this pamphlet appears at a moment in the development of the revolution in Russia which differs considerably from 1897, when it was written, and from 1902, when its second edition appeared. It need hardly be said that the pamphlet gives only a general outline of the tasks of Social-Democracy as a whole, and not a concrete exposition of the present-day tasks that stem from the present state of the working-class and revolutionary movements, and also from the state of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party. The present-day tasks of our Party are dealt with in my pamphlet Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution (Geneva, 1905). A comparison of the two pamphlets will enable the reader to judge whether the author’s views on the general tasks of Social-Democracy and the special tasks of the given moment have been developing with consistency. That such a comparison is not useless is shown, incidentally, by the recent crude sally made by Mr. Struve, leader of our liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, who in Osvobozhdeniye accuses revolutionary Social-Democracy (as represented by the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party) of presenting the question of an insurrection in a manner befitting seditionists and revolutionaries in the abstract. We have already stated in Proletary (No. 9, “Revolution Teaches”) that a simple comparison of The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats (1897), What Is To Be Done? (1902), and Proletary (1905) will refute the accusation of the Osvobozhdeniye gentry, and will   show the connection between the development of Social-Democratic views on an insurrection and the development of the revolutionary movement in Russia. The Osvobozhdeniye accusation is merely a crude opportunist sally on the part of the supporters of a liberal monarchy, who are trying to cover up their betrayal of the revolution, their betrayal of the people’s interests, and their desire to strike a bargain with the tsarist government.

N. Lenin

August 1905


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