V. I.   Lenin

The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)

APRIL 24–29, 1917


Report on the Question of Revising the Party Programme April 28 (May 11)[1]

Comrades, this is how the question of revising the Party Programme now stands. The first draft of proposed changes in the doctrinal part of our programme and in a number of basic points in its political part was submitted to the committee. The whole programme must be revised as being utterly obsolete—a fact that was pointed out in Party circles long before the war. It appears, however, that there is not the slightest hope for discussing the proposed changes of the programme as a whole. On the other hand, the committee has come to the unanimous conclusion that a revision of the programme is absolutely essential, and that in a number of questions it is possible and necessary to indicate the direction in which such revision should be made. We have therefore agreed on the following draft resolution which I am going to read to you now, making brief comments as I go along. We have decided not to put forward precisely formulated theses at the present time, but merely to indicate along what lines this revision should be carried out.

(Reads the resolution.)

The Conference considers it necessary to revise the Party Programme along the following lines:

“1. Evaluating imperialism and the epoch of imperialist wars in connection with the approaching socialist revolution; fighting against the distortion of Marxism by the ‘defencists’, who have forgotten Marx’s slogan—‘The working men have no country’.”[2]

This is so clear that it requires no explanation. As a matter of fact our Party’s policy has advanced considerably and, practically speaking, has already taken the stand proposed in this formulation.

“2. Amending the theses and clauses dealing with the state; such amendment is to be in the nature of a demand for a democratic proletarian-peasant republic (i. e., a type of state functioning without police, without a standing army, and without a privileged bureaucracy), and not for a bourgeois parliamentary republic.”

Other formulations of this point had been proposed. One of them mentioned the experience of the Paris Commune and the experience of the period between the seventies and the eighties, but such a formulation is unsatisfactory and too general; another spoke about a republic of Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies, but this formulation, too, was considered unsatisfactory by most of the comrades. A formulation, however, is needed; the point is not what an institution is called, but what its political character and structure is. By saying “proletarian-peasant republic”, we indicate its social content and political character.

“3. Eliminating or amending what is out of date in the political programme.”

Practically speaking, our general political activities in the Soviets have gone along these lines; therefore, there can hardly be room for doubt that the change in this particular point of the programme and the precise formulation of our estimate of the moment in which the revolution found our Party, is not likely to provoke any disagreements.

“4. Altering a number of points in the political minimum programme, so as to state more consistent democratic demands with greater precision.

“5. Completely changing the economic part of the minimum programme, which in very many places is out of date, and points relating to public education.”

The main thing here is that these points have become out of date; the trade union movement has outstripped them.

“6. Revising the agrarian programme in accordance with the adopted resolution on the agrarian question.

“7. Inserting a demand for nationalisation of a number of syndicates, etc., now ripe for such a step.”

A careful formulation has been chosen here, which can be narrowed or widened, depending upon what drafts will appear in print.

“8. Adding an analysis of the main trends in modern socialism.”

An addendum like this was made to the Communist Manifesto.

The Conference instructs the Central Committee to work out, within two months, on the basis of the above suggestions, a draft for the Party Programme which is to be submitted for approval to the Party congress. The Conference calls upon all organisations and all Party members to consider drafts of the programme, to correct them, and to work out counter-drafts.”

It has been pointed out that it would be desirable to set up a scientific body and create a literature dealing with this subject, but we have neither the men nor the means for this. This is the resolution that should help in the speedy revision of our programme. This resolution will be forwarded abroad to enable our internationalist comrades to take part in revising the programme, which our Party has undertaken on the basis of the experience of the world war.

The new Party programme draft was completed after the October Revolution. The programme was adopted at the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P(B.) in March 1919.

A brief report published May 13 (April 30), 1917 in Pravda No. 45 Published according to the typewritten copy of the Minutes
First published in full in 1921 in N. Lenin (V. Ulyanov), Works, Volume XIV, Part 2




[2] See Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1962, p. 51.

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