V. I.   Lenin

A Tactical Platform for the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

Draft Resolutions for the Unity Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.


Attitude Towards the State Duma


(1) the State Duma is a gross travesty of popular representation, since:

(a) the suffrage is not universal, not equal, and not direct, the bulk of the workers and peasants are practically debarred from participation in the State Duma, and the ratio of electors from the various groups of the population has been made to fit in with the views of the police;

(b) as regards its powers and its position in relation to the Council of State, the Duma is an impotent appendage of the autocratic bureaucracy;

(c) the conditions under which the elections are proceeding make it utterly impossible for the people really to express their will, owing to the absence of freedom to carry on agitation, to military repressions, mass executions, arrests, and police and administrative tyranny;

(d) the government’s sole purpose in convening such a State Duma is to deceive the people, strengthen the autocracy, make further financial swindles easier for it, and strike a bargain with the reactionary elements of the exploiting classes, whose predominance in the State Duma is assured;

(2) participation in elections to the State Duma, while in no way helping to develop the class-consciousness of the proletariat or to strengthen and enlarge its class organisation and fighting preparedness, is more likely to disorganise and corrupt the proletariat, since:

(a) if the Social-Democratic Party participated in the elections, it would inevitably foster among the people constitutional illusions, belief that the elections can to some extent truly express the will of the people, and the notion that the Party is taking the path of pseudo-constitutionalism;

(b) in view of their small number, the shortness of their period of office and their special functions, the groups of delegates elected by the workers, and of electors, can in no way help in building a really revolutionary organisation of the proletariat;

(c) participation in the elections focuses the attention of the proletariat on the farce being played by the government rather than on the revolutionary movement that is going on outside the Duma, and concentrates attention on agitation among small groups of electors rather than on extensive agitation among the masses;

(d) our participation in the elections cannot facilitate the Social-Democratic education of the more ignorant sections of the masses who want to take part in the Duma elections, exclusively in the legal way, a method which the R.S.D.L.P. cannot at present adopt;

(e) the withdrawal of a section of the electors from the gubernia election meetings could neither frustrate the convocation of the Duma nor give rise to a broad popular movement;

(3) participation in the elections in the present political situation will compel the Social-Democrats either to step aside, without any benefit to the movement, or to stooP to the position of silent abettors of the Constitutional-Democrats;

We are of the opinion, and propose that the Congress should agree:

(1) that the R.S.D.L.P. must emphatically refuse to take part in the State Duma;

(2) that the R.S.D.L.P. must emphatically refuse to participate in the State Duma elections at any stage;

(3) that the R.S.D.L.P. must make most vigorous use of all meetings connected with the elections to expound Social-Democratic views in general, and ruthlessly to criticise the State Duma in particular, and especially to call for a struggle for the revolutionary convocation of a constituent assembly of the whole people;

(4) that the R.S.D.L.P. must also use the agitation about the Duma to acquaint the broadest possible masses of the people with all the Party’s views on tactics in the present revolutionary situation, and on the tasks arising from it.



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