V. I. Lenin

Insertions for V. Kalinin’s Article “The Peasant Congress”{1}

Published: Proletary No. 25, November 16 (3), 1905. Printed from the Proletary text verified with the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 177.2-178.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  



We see, consequently, that class-conscious socialists must unconditionally support the revolutionary struggle of all, even the prosperous, peasants against the officials and landowners, but class-conscious socialists must make the clear and straightforward statement that the “general redistribution”{2} the peasants want falls very far short of socialism. Socialism demands the abolition of the power of money, the power of capital, the abolition of all private ownership of the means of production, the abolition of the commodity economy. Socialism demands that the land and the factories should be handed over to the working people organising large-scale (instead of scattered small-scale) production under a general plan.

The peasant struggle for land and liberty is a great step towards socialism, but it is still a very far cry from socialism itself.


The tactical resolution adopted by the Congress is truly astounding by its meagreness. We are inclined to think that there some of the peasant well-wishers (liberals) must have done some more “explaining”.

Here is the resolution:

“The activity of the Peasant Union, depending on local conditions, may be either open or secret (conspiratorial). All members of the   Union must spread their views and seek to realise their demands in every possible way, being undeterred by the resistance on the part of the Zemstvo chiefs, the police and other authorities. Among other things, they are insistently advised to make use of their right to draw up public decisions at village and volost meetings and private gatherings concerning improvements in state amenities and improvement of the people’s welfare.”

That kind of resolution is extremely unsatisfactory. Instead of a revolutionary call for an uprising, it merely gives liberal advice of a general sort. Instead of organising a revolutionary party, the resolution only organises an annex to the liberal party. The progress of the movement itself will inevitably and inescapably split up the liberal landowners and the revolutionary peasants, and we Social-Democrats will try to accelerate this split.


{1} No. 25 of Proletary on November 16 (3), 1905, carried V. A. Karpinsky’s article “The Peasant Congress”, signed V. Kalinin. Lenin edited the article and made two insertions. p. 177

{2} General redistribution—a slogan expressing the peasants’ striving for a general redistribution of the land and the elimination of landed estates.

In his article “The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social-Democracy”, Lenin said that the demand for a general redistribution, together with the reactionary utopian idea of perpetuating small-scale peasant production, also had its revolutionary side, namely, “the desire to sweep away by means of a peasant revolt all the remnants of the serf-owning system” (present edition, Vol. 6, p. 139).

Later, at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., Lenin said: = “We are told that the peasants will not be satisfied with our programme and will go further. But we are not afraid of that; we have our socialist programme for that eventuality, and consequently are not afraid even of a redistribution of the land” (present edition, Vol. 6, p. 497). p. 177

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