V. I.   Lenin

The Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.

JANUARY 5–17 (18–30), 1912



1. The counter-revolution, as represented by the government and the Third Duma, regards the working-class movement as its chief enemy and persecutes it in all its forms, systematically infringing upon even those “legal opportunities” remaining to the working class as a result of the revolution.

2. This regime constantly confronts the masses of workers with the fact that they cannot achieve even their most elementary rights (above all, the freedom of association) without the complete overthrow of the tsarist monarchy.

3. The petition circulated in the winter of 1910 by a group of St. Petersburg liquidators, and the agitation which accompanied this petition campaign, isolated the demand for freedom of association from the sum total of all the revolutionary demands of the working class. Instead of explaining to the workers that to win full freedom of association in Russia it is indispensable for the masses to wage a revolutionary struggle for fundamental democratic demands, the liquidators actually preached the so-called “fight for right”, that is to say, a liberal fight for the “renovation” of the June Third regime by partial improvements.

4. In view of the specific conditions obtaining in Russian political life and the condition of the masses of the workers, the above-mentioned campaign has inevitably degenerated into the purely formal and meaningless signing of papers and has met with no response and aroused no political interest among the masses.

5. The fate of this petition campaign clearly confirmed the incorrectness of the entire undertaking and its isolation from the working-class masses: altogether 1,300 signatures were collected, the petition campaign having met with absolutely no response in any of the Party organisations regardless of factions and trends; nor did our Social-Democratic group in the Duma deem it possible to have anything to do with it.

6. The workers’ mass meetings in connection with the fate of the deputies to the Second Duma and the workers’ demonstrations held in various cities on January 9, 1912, show that the independent activity of the workers by no means runs in such channels as a petition campaign, nor is it conducted under the banner of “partial rights”.

In view of the aforementioned, the Conference

(1) calls upon all Social-Democrats to explain to the workers the paramount importance to the proletariat of freedom of association; this demand must always be closely linked up with our general political demands and our revolutionary agitation among the masses;

(2) while recognising that under certain conditions a mass petition of workers could prove a very effective means of protest, is of the opinion that in the present period in Russia a petition is one of the least effective methods of Social-Democratic agitation.



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