V. I. Lenin

The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (B.){1}

APRIL 24–29 (MAY 7–12), 1917


Published:
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 409-429.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.   Text


Contents

1. SPEECH ON THE PLAN TO CONVENE AN INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST CONFERENCE APRIL 25 (MAY 8)   409
2. PROPOSAL FOR LINES OF DEBATE ON V.P. NOGIN’S REPORT ON “ATTITUDE TO THE SOVIETS OF WORKERS’ AND SOLDIERS’ DEPUTIES” APRIL 25 (MAY 8)   412
3. SPEECH ON THE ATTITUDE TO THE SOVIETS OF WORKERS’ AND SOLDIERS’ DEPUTIES APRIL 25 (MAY 8)   413
4. SPEECH IN DEFENCE OF THE RESOLUTION ON THE WAR APRIL 27 (MAY 10)   417
5. REMARKS IN THE DEBATE ON THE RESOLUTION ON THE WAR APRIL 27 (MAY 10)   417
6. PRELIMINARY DRAFT ALTERATIONS IN THE R.S.D.L.P. PARTY PROGRAMME   418
7. REPORT ON THE QUESTION OF REVISING THE PARTY PROGRAMME APRIL 28 (MAY 11)   424
8. REPORT ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION APRIL 28 (MAY 11)   424
9. REMARK IN THE DEBATE ON THE RESOLUTION ON THE AGRARIAN QUESTION APRIL 28 (MAY 11)   426
10. SPEECH ON THE NATIONAL QUESTION APRIL 29 (MAY 12)   426
11. SPEECH ON THE SITUATION WITHIN THE INTERNATIONAL AND THE TASKS OF THE R.S.D.L.P.(B.) APRIL 29 (MAY 12)   427
12. REMARKS IN THE DEBATE ON THE RESOLUTION ON THE CURRENT SITUATION APRIL 29 (MAY 12)   428

 


Notes

{1} The Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) was called by decision of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) Central Committee, taken between April 4 and 8 (17 and 21), and was held in Petrograd from April 24 to 29 (May 7–12), 1917. It was the Party’s first conference in legal conditions. It was attended by 131 delegates with vote and 18 with voice from 78 Party organisations (including Petrograd and its environments, Moscow and Moscow District, the Central Industrial Area, the Urals, the Donbas, the Volga area and the Caucasus) and also by representatives of front and rear military organisations, the national organisations of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Estonia. On the strength of its representation and the political and organisational tasks it dealt with, the Conference could perform and did perform the work of a Party congress: it worked out the political line for the whole Party and set up the Party governing centres.

At 2 p.m. on the day before it opened, there was a meeting of more than a hundred delegates at which new items were added to the agenda and the standing orders of the Conference were approved. A report on the April 21–22 events was given by Lenin who was met with warm applause. On the agenda of the Conference were the following questions: the current situation (the war and the Provisional Government, etc.), a peace conference, attitude to the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, revision of the Party Programme, the situation within the International and the Party’s tasks, unification of the internationalist Social-Democratic organisations, agrarian question, national question, Constituent Assembly, organisational question, reports by regions and elections to the Central Committee.

Lenin opened the Conference with a brief speech of welcome and was elected to the presidium. He directed all the work of the Conference.

The Conference exposed and rejected the Right-wing capitulatory line of L. B. Kamenev, who gave a co-report on the present situation as the representative of an anti-Leninist group. L. B. Kamenev and A. I. Rykov tried to oppose the Leninist line towards the socialist revolution by the opportunist assessment of the 1917 revolution, and the prospects of its development. Denying the possibility and need for the bourgeois-democratic revolution to develop into a socialist revolution, Kamenev proposed that the Conference should confine itself to accepting control over the bourgeois Provisional Government on the part of the Menshevik S.R. Soviets. The Conference rejected the capitulatory stand of Kamenev and his small group of supporters, who denied the possibility of the victory of socialism in Russia.

In his report on the revision of the Party Programme, Lenin determined the direction in which the Programme Committee set up by the Conference was to rewrite the Programme of 1903.

During the debate on the national question, G. L. Pyatakov spoke against Lenin’s slogan of the right of nations to self-determination including secession and the formation of an independent state. In support of his resolution on the national question, Lenin said that this right alone ensured complete solidarity of workers and all working people of different nationalities; while the expediency of secession was to be decided by the proletarian party “in each particular case, having regard to the interests of social development as a whole and the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat for socialism” (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 302–03).

Lenin’s thesis on the break with the Zimmerwald Centrist majority and the establishment of the Third, Communist International was opposed by G. Y. Zinoviev. The Conference made a mistake by voting for the Bolsheviks’ participation in the Third Zimmerwald Conference, which was predominantly Centrist in composition, thereby delaying preparations for the establishment of the Third, Communist International. Life itself very soon corrected this mistake (see present edition, Vol. 24, p. 388, and the unfinished article “The Tasks of Our Party in the International”, Vol. 26, pp. 220–22).

The Conference elected the Central Committee headed by Lenin.

The historic importance of the Seventh (April) Conference lay in the fact that it adopted Lenin’s programme for transition to the second stage of the revolution in Russia, mapped out the struggle for the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution and put forward the demand for the transfer of all power to the Soviets. Under this slogan, the Bolsheviks prepared the masses for the proletarian revolution. p. 409


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