V. I.   Lenin

Concluding Paragraph to the Article “The Paris Commune and the Tasks of the Democratic Dictatorship”[1]

Published: Proletary, No. 8, July 17 (4), 1905. Published according to the text in Proletary.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, page 141.
Translated: The Late Abraham Fineberg and Julius Katzer
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2004). 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.
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This article teaches us, first and foremost, that for representatives of the socialist proletariat to take part in a revolutionary government together with the petty bourgeoisie is fully permissible in principle, and, in certain conditions, even obligatory. It shows us further that the real task the Commune had to perform was primarily the achievement of the democratic and not the socialist dictatorship, the implementation of our “minimum programme”. Finally, the article reminds us that when we study the lessons of the Paris Commune we should imitate not the mistakes it made (the failure to seize the Bank of France and to launch an offensive against Versailles, the lack of a clear programme, etc.), but its successful practical measures, which indicate the correct road. It is not the word “Commune” that we must adopt from the great fighters of 1871; we should not blindly repeat each of their slogans; what we must do is to single out those programmatic and practical slogans that bear upon the state of affairs in Russia and can be formulated in the words “a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry”.


[1] The article “The Paris Commune and the Tasks of the Democratic Dictatorship” was published in Proletary, No. 8 of July 17 (4), 1905. Its author, who is not known, provided a historical note on the activities of the Paris Commune and the composition of its government, which, besides representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, included socialist workingmen prominent in the labour movement. The article was directed against the tactics of the Mensheviks, who denied the possibility of Social-Democrats participating in a provisional revolutionary government. The article was edited by Lenin, who changed the title, made a number of changes in the wording, and wrote the conclusion.

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