V. I.   Lenin

The Second Duma and the Tasks of the Proletariat[1]

Written: Written on February 20 (March 5), 1907
Published: Published on February 23, 1907 in Rabochy, No. 2. Signed: N. Lenin. Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 156-160.
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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Workers, comrades!

The day set for the opening of the Second State Duma has arrived. The class-conscious proletariat never believed that freedom for the people and land for the peasants could be attained by sending petitioners to the tsar, ruler of the gang of Black-Hundred cutthroats. The class-conscious proletariat boycotted the Duma to warn the back ward peasant masses, who believed in the Duma. And the story of the First Duma—the government’s mockery of its proposals and its eventual dissolution—has shown that the class-conscious proletariat was right, has shown that liberty cannot be attained by peaceful means, under laws promulgated by the tsar and enforced by the Black Hundreds.

The Social-Democrats advised the people to send fighters to the Second Duma, not petitioners. The people’s faith in peaceful methods has been shattered. That is evident from the fact that the Cadet Party, the party of liberals, which advocated peaceful methods, suffered a crushing defeat in the elections. This party of liberal landlords and bourgeois lawyers, which is desirous of reconciling the Black-Hundred autocracy with popular freedom, is entering the Second Duma with depleted forces. The Black Hundreds have gained in strength, and now have several dozen deputies in the Duma. Much greater, however, is the gain of the Lefts, i.e., of those who stand more or less resolutely and consistently for revolutionary struggle as opposed to peaceful methods.


The Second Duma is more Left than was the First. Its deputies include many more Social-Democrats, and a greater number of revolutionary democrats (the Socialist-Revolutionaries and a section of the Trudoviks). The First Duma was a Duma of hopes for peaceful development. The Second Duma will be the scene of a sharp struggle between the Black-Hundred tsarist government and the representatives of the masses: the masses of proletarians, who are consciously striving for liberty in order to facilitate the fight for socialism, and the masses of the peasants, who are rising spontaneously against the feudal-minded landlords.

The elections to the new Duma have shown that despite all persecution and bans, revolutionary consciousness is spreading and gaining force among the masses of the people. A new revolutionary wave is approaching, a new revolutionary battle of the people for freedom.

This battle will not be fought in the Duma. It will he decided by an uprising of the proletariat, the peasantry, and the class-conscious sections of the armed forces. It is a battle that is being brought closer to us by the entire course of events, by the entire course of the clashes between the Left section of the Duma, and the government and the Cadets.

Be prepared, then, workers, for events of great moment. Do not waste your strength to no purpose. There is no need for us to hasten the denouement: let the tsar and his Black- Hundred lackeys begin the attack. If they want to get rid of the new Duma, they will have to attack the people, dissolve the Duma, revoke the election law, and Launch a new series of repressions.

Let the oppressors begin. The proletariat must keep firmly, steadily, consistently to its task of preparing ever broader masses of the people for the great and desperate fight for freedom. Comrade workers! We have come through the first great encounters in the revolution: January 9, 1905, the October strike, and the December uprising. We shall gather our forces anew for still another advance, even more formidable and resolute than the last, when the flame of the Left Duma shall flare up into a nation-wide conflagration. We must gather and concentrate all our forces for the decisive battle that is impending.

Remember, comrades, that the Second Duma must inevitably lead to battle, to insurrection. Do not waste your strength on trifles.

Long live the rising of all the people for freedom!

Long live the revolution!

Long live international revolutionary Social-Democracy!


[1] The Second Duma and the Tasks of the Proletariat” was published on February 23, 1907, in the newspaper Rabochy, No. 2.

Rabochy (The Worker)—an illegal Bolshevik newspaper, organ of the district organisations of the R.S.DL.P. in the Vyborg and Petersburg Districts of St. Petersburg. The newspaper was published from February 13 (26), 1907, by decision of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. as a mass popular organ. From April 1907 the combat organisation of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. participated in the publication of the paper. Lenin, Y. M. Yaroslavsky and other Bolsheviks were contributors. At the beginning of June 1907 its press was confiscated by the police and publication ceased.

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