V. I. Lenin

Plan for an Article “The Principal Task of Socialist Policy”{4}

Written: Written after September 18 (October 1), 1905
Published: First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 174-175.1.
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.
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The Principal Task of Socialist Policy

An independent political party of the proletariat with a clear-cut socialist programme.

First application in practice.

“C.D.”{5} Its (objective) tasks. Cf. Nasha Zhizn,{6} September 18: win over the people, increase the people’s confidence, etc., etc.

Cf. ibid. concerning the formation of the C.D. Party and the denial in Birzheviye Vedomosti.{7}

Is this confidence to be destroyed or maintained on certain “conditions”?

Vacillation by the new-Iskra men (Parvus, Cherevanin, Martov: “election of resolute men”).

Unconditional struggle against the C.D.s. “Conciliators.” Beginning of betrayal.

Objections: 1) “absenteeism”. Slander. On the contrary, the most active agitation.{1}

2) support for revolutionary bourgeoisie. &Ctail;a dépend.{2} In parliament? Yes. If we are to choose between the conservatives and the C.D.s? Yes. But just now there is neither the one, nor the other, because there is n o parliamentarism a s y e t. Struggle for it. Betrayal in struggle. A real[3] support for the C.D.s at the present time means revolutionary struggle and uprising. In the street or in parliament? (Cf. Marx \"uber Ledru Rollin. 1849.{8})

The use of legal and semi-legal means? Unquestionably, yes. Labour congress?—Yes. Meetings? Yes. But to make use of something which is close does not signify merger or diffusion. To make use of it, one must be independent, whole and united.

The absurdity of the new-Iskra tactics: “agreement and support” plus “mock elections as a possible motive for an uprising”. There can be 1,000 and 1 pretexts.

No. The tactic is now different: 1) Ruthless struggle against the C.D. conciliators. 2) Badgering them for having gone into the Duma. 3) Development of an independent Social-Democratic party in the struggle against the C.D.s and while agitating over the State Duma. 4) Preparation for an uprising which is coming and which—and not “parliamentarism”–is n o w the crux of the situation. 5) The use for this preparation, this agitation of all semi-legal and legal means. 6) Concentration on these slogans: armed uprising, revolutionary army, provisional revolutionary government.


{1} These two phrases are in English in the original.—Ed.

{2} Depending on the circumstances.—Ed.

[3] Two possibilities: (1) The Duma merely grumbles. (2) The Duma struggles for a government of the bourgeoisie. (Tertium non datur. The Duma cannot struggle consistently for the revolution.) In the first and in the second case, an uprising is decisive. To (2)—a convenient pretext, nothing more. The danger of Petrunkevich & Co. in power. —Lenin

{4} The article was not written. p. 174

{5} The Cadets—members of the Constitutional-Democratic Party, the leading party of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie in Russia. It was set up in October 1905 and consisted of members of the bourgeoisie, Zemstvo leaders from among the landowners, and bourgeois intellectuals. Among its prominent leaders were P. N. Milyukov, S. A. Muromtsev, V. A. Maklakov, A. I. Shingaryov, P. B. Struve and F. I. Rodichev. To deceive the working people, the Cadets called themselves “the party of people’s freedom”, but actually went no further in their demands than a constitutional monarchy. After the October Socialist Revolution the Cadets operated as bitter enemies of the Soviet power and took part in all the armed counter-revolutionary action and campaigns of the interventionists. After the defeat of the interventionists and the whiteguards, the Cadets emigrated and continued their anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary activity. p. 174

{6} Nasha Zhizn (Our Life)—a liberal daily published in St. Petersburg, with interruptions, from November 6 (19), 1904, to July 11 (24), 1906. p. 174

{7} Birzheviye Vedomosti (Stock-Exchange Recorder)—a bourgeois newspaper founded in 1880. It was published in St. Petersburg, first thrice a week, then four times a week, and then daily. From November 1902 it had two editions: morning and afternoon. Its name became a byword for adaptation, corruption and lack of principle. It was closed down by the Revolutionary Military Committee at the end of October 1917. p. 174

{8} A reference to Karl Marx’s statements about Ledru-Rollin in his work The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850 (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1962, pp. 118–242). p. 174

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