V. I.   Lenin

Against Boycott

Notes of a Social-Democratic Publicist



To sum up. The boycott slogan was the product of a special historical period. In 1905 and the beginning of 1906, the objective state of affairs confronted the contending   social forces with the immediate choice between the path of direct revolution or that of a turn to a monarchist constitution. The purpose of the campaign for a boycott was mainly to combat constitutional illusions. The success of the boycott depended on a sweeping, universal, rapid, and powerful upswing of the revolution.

In all these respects the state of affairs now, towards the autumn of 1907, does not call for such a slogan and does not justify it.

While continuing our day-to-day work of preparing for the elections, and while not refusing beforehand to take part in representative institutions, however reactionary, we must direct all our propaganda and agitation towards explaining to the people the connection between the December defeat and the whole subsequent decline of liberty and desecration of the constitution. We must instil in the masses the firm conviction that unless there is a direct mass struggle such desecration will inevitably continue and grow worse.

While not renouncing the use of the boycott slogan at times of rising revolution, when the need for such a slogan may seriously arise, we must at the present moment exert every effort in an endeavour by our direct and immediate influence to convert one or another upswing of the working-class movement into a sweeping, universal, revolutionary, and aggressive movement against reaction as a whole, against its foundations.

June 26, 1907


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