V. I.   Lenin



Written: Written between September 15 and 20 (September 28 and October 3), 1912
Published: First published in 1954 in the Journal Kommunist No. 6. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 189-190.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   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.README

Saturday’s editorial in Rech, September 15, is a virtual exposition of the basic political principles of the Constitutional-Democratic Party. What do these principles of the main party of the liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie amount to now?

They amount to three points: (1) “extension of the franchise”; (2) “radical reform of the Council of State”[1]; and, (3) “responsibility of the Ministry to the people’s representatives”. It goes without saying that to this are added freedom of association (coalitions) and all the other freedoms, equality of nationalities, “restraint and slowing down” of differentiation in the countryside, and so on and so forth.

Readers should compare these “three points” of the liberals with the “three points” of working-class democrats, who have given an effective reply to the political question, the labour question and the peasant question alike. The actual source of all the evils and misfortunes, their real “focus”, and the way out are indicated clearly and explicitly by the “three points” of the working-class democrats.

But the liberal platform—for, not nominally but in substance, it is an election platform—of the Cadets is only a wish for modest constitutional reforms. It differs very little from the wishes of the Octobrists.

The main thing has been obscured; on the main thing the liberal-monarchist bourgeois party has nothing to say. The Cadets want “to win by modesty”, but then let us   recall that Messrs. Guchkovs have already tried modesty in practice. And what was the result? The result was nil!

We want very little, the Cadets boast. But, gentlemen, that “trump” has already been played by the Octobrists. In all three Dumas, the Cadets and the Octobrists vied with each other in assuring the “government” and the “ public” that they want very little, a modest minimum on the European standard. The result is nil!

No, gentlemen, whether you list constitutional reforms in three points or in twenty, your platform will be a dead one. You can talk about constitutional reforms, without appearing ridiculous, only where and when the foundations and pillars of political liberty already exist, where and when they are established, assured and stable.

You yourselves know that that is not yet the case in Russia, and therefore your pious wishes do not show the people a way out but mislead them with illusory hopes!


[1] Council of State—an advisory body in tsarist Russia, consisting mainly of big landowners and senior officials appointed by the tsar.

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