V. I.   Lenin

An Equilibrium of Forces[1]

Written: Written on October 17 (30), 1905
Published: First published in 1928 in Lenin Miscellany V. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1972, Moscow, Volume 9, pages 414-415.
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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1) The result to date (Monday, October 30 [17]) is an equilibrium of forces, as we already pointed out in Proletary, No. 23.

2) Tsarism is no longer strong enough, the revolution not yet strong enough, to win.

3) Hence the tremendous amount of vacillation. The terrific and enormous increase of revolutionary happenings (strikes, meetings, barricades, committees of public safety, complete paralysis of the government, etc.), on the other hand, the absence of resolute repressive measures. The troops are wavering.

4) The tsar’s Court is wavering (The Times and the Daily Telegraph) between dictatorship and a constitution.

The Court is wavering and biding its time. Strictly speaking, these are its correct tactics: the equilibrium of forces compels it to bide its time, for power is in its hands.

The revolution has reached a stage at which it is disadvantageous for the counter-revolution to attack, to assume the offensive.

For us, for the proletariat, for consistent revolutionary democrats, this is not enough. If we do not rise to a higher level, if we do not manage to launch an independent offensive, if we do not smash the forces of tsarism, do not destroy its actual power, then the revolution will stop half way, then the bourgeoisie will fool the workers.

5) Rumour has it that a constitution has been decided upon. If that is so, then it follows that the tsar is heeding the lessons of 1848 and other revolutions: he wants to grant a constitution without a constituent assembly, before a constituent assembly, apart from a constituent assembly.   What kind of constitution? At best (for ’the tsar)=a Constitutional-Democratic constitution.

This implies: achievement of the Constitutional-Democrats’ ideal, skipping the revolution; deceiving the people, for all the same there will be no complete and actual freedom of elections.

Should not the revolution skip this granted constitution?


[1] An Equilibrium of Forces was completed several hours before the telegraph brought the news to Geneva that the tsar’s Manifesto of   October 17 (30) has been made public. The questions touched upon in An Equilibrium of Forces were developed in detail in the article “The Denouement Is at Hand” (see pp. 447-54 of this volume).

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