V. I.   Lenin

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

2. The Attitude to the Bourgeois Parties


1. the Social-Democrats are now faced with the particularly urgent task of defining the class character of the various non-proletarian parties, of assessing present class relations, and, accordingly, of defining their attitude to wards other parties;

2. the Social-Democrats have always recognised the necessity of supporting every opposition and revolutionary movement against the present social and political order in Russia;

3. it is the duty of Social-Democrats to do all in their power to enable the proletariat to act as the leader in the bourgeois-democratic revolution;

This conference declares:

1. that the Black-Hundred parties (the Union of the Russian People, the monarchists, the Council of the United Nobility,[2] etc.) are coming out more and more resolutely and definitely as the class organisation of the feudal-minded landowners, and are with increasing arrogance robbing the people of their revolutionary gains, thereby causing an inevitable intensification of the revolutionary struggle; the Social-Democratic Party must expose the close link   between these parties and tsarism and the interests of big feudal landownership, and explain to the masses that an uncompromising struggle must be waged for the complete abolition of these relics of barbarism;

2. that such parties as the Union of October Seventeenth, the Commercial and Industrial Party, and to a certain ex tent the Party of Peaceful Renovation, etc., are class organisations of a section of the landowners and particularly of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, which have not yet definitely come to terms with the autocratic bureaucracy on the division of power under a thoroughly undemocratic constitution of some sort based on a property qualification, but which have gone over entirely to the side of the counter-revolution and are manifestly sup porting the government[1] ; the Social-Democratic Party [while taking advantage of the conflicts between these parties and the Black-Hundred autocracy to develop the revolution] must [at the same time] carry on a most relent less struggle against these parties;

3. that the parties of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie, and their principal party, the Cadets, have now definitely turned away from the revolution, and are seeking to halt it by coming to terms with the counter-revolution; that the economic basis of these parties is provided by a section of the middle landlords and the middle bourgeoisie, especially the bourgeois intelligentsia, while a section of the urban and rural petty-bourgeois democrats still follow these parties merely by force of tradition and because they are deliberately deceived by the liberals; that the ideal of these parties does not go beyond a bourgeois society of law and order, protected from the encroachments of the proletariat by a monarchy, police, a two-chamber parliamentary system, a standing army and so forth; the Social-Democrats must use the activities of these parties for the political education of the people, counteract their hypocritically   democratic phraseology by consistent proletarian democracy, expose the constitutional illusions which they are spreading, and ruthlessly fight against their leadership of the democratic petty bourgeoisie;

4. that the Narodnik or Trudovik parties (the Popular Socialists, the Trudovik Group, the Socialist-Revolutionaries) come more or less close to expressing the interests and viewpoint of the broad masses of the peasantry and urban petty bourgeoisie, wavering between submission to the leadership of the liberals and a determined struggle against landed proprietorship and the feudal state; these parties hide their essentially bourgeois-democratic aims be hind a more or less vague socialist ideology; the Social-Democrats must persistently expose their pseudo-socialist character and combat their efforts to obliterate the class distinction between the proletarian and the small proprietor; at the same time they must exert every effort to free these parties from the influence and leadership of the liberals, and compel them to choose between the policy of the Cadets and that of the revolutionary proletariat and thus compel them to side with the Social-Democrats against the Black Hundreds and the Cadets;

5. the joint action ensuing here from must preclude all possibility of deviation from the Social-Democratic programme and tactics, and must serve only for the purpose of making a united and simultaneous onslaught against reaction and against the treacherous liberal bourgeoisie.

Note: The words in square brackets are those deleted by the minority, which proposed the amended wording quoted above.


[1] Wording proposed by the minority: “... of the bourgeoisie which have entirely gone over to the side of the counter-revolution, are manifestly supporting the government, and whose object is to secure a thoroughly undemocratic constitution based on a property qualification.” —Lenin

[2] Council of the United Nobility—a counter-revolutionary organisation of feudal landowners established in May 1906 at the First Congress of Representatives of Gubernia Assemblies of the Nobility that existed until October 1917. The purpose of the organisation was the defence of the autocracy, the big landed estates and the privileges of the nobility. Lenin called it a “council of united serf-owners”. The Council of the United Nobility was in reality a semi-governmental organisation that dictated to the government legislative measures for the protection of its feudal interests. A large number of the Council’s members belonged to the Council of State and the leading centres of the Black Hundreds.

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