V. I. Lenin

Petrograd City R.S.D.L.P.(B.) Conference{1}

APRIL 14–22 (APRIL 27–MAY 4), 1917

Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 400.2-402.1.
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.  



APRIL 14 (27)


The old traditional formulas (dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry) no longer meet the changed conditions. A revolutionary-democratic dictatorship has been   established but not in the form we envisaged: it is inter locked with the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The imperialist war has confused everything, turning the rabid opponents of the revolution—the Anglo-French capitalists—into supporters of the revolution for victory (the same applies to the lop army command and counter revolutionary bourgeoisie).

It is this unique historical concurrence of circumstances that has brought about a dual dictatorship: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of revolutionary democracy. In organisational terms, the people have never managed to keep abreast of the bourgeoisie; in Russia the people have set up their own organised power without having achieved political independence. Hence, the dual power, the unconsciously trusting attitude on the part of the petty-bourgeois majority of the soldier masses and a section of the workers to the Provisional Government, and the voluntary submission of revolutionary democracy to the bourgeois dictatorship. The specific feature of the present situation is that lack of political awareness on the part of the masses is preventing the establishment of a stable and conscious majority on the side of the proletarian policy (all other political trends have gone over entirely to the petty-bourgeois position). The revolutionary democracy is an assembly of the most diverse elements (in terms of class status and interests, which is not the same thing at all!). Their stratification: in the countryside—the well-to-do peasants, who have been strengthened by the November 9 law, and the poor, one-horse and horseless peasants, and in the towns—the sections close to the working class and the petty proprietors; the separation of the proletarians and the semi proletarians from the petty bourgeoisie is inevitable, but the consolidation of the propertied elements in the revolutionary bloc may well advance to a point where it will prevail over the organisation of the masses rallying round the proletarian slogans. It is quite possible, therefore, that power will remain in the hands of the bourgeoisie, and that there will be no transfer of power to the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The conclusion: we are not faced with the task of overthrowing the Provisional Government—it rests on the confidence of the petty-bourgeois and   a section of the workers’ masses—but with that of painstaking explanation of the class tasks and organisation.

Pravda No. 40, May 8 (April 25), 1917
Printed from the Pravda text



The resolution on the war was drafted in the committee, but the final version is yet to be worked out. I think that in its final wording the resolution will be put before the general Party conference, and I now move that it be read out in its present form.

The resolution consists of three parts: 1) objective causes of the war, 2) revolutionary defencism, and 3) how to end the war.

First published in 1925 in the book Petrogradskaya obshchegorodskaya i Vserossiiskaya konferentsii R.S.D.R.P.(B.) v aprele 1917 goda (Petrograd City and All-Russia Conferences of the R.S.D.L.P.[B.], April 1917)
Printed from a typewritten copy of the minutes


{1} The Petrograd City Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) was called by decision of the St. Petersburg Committee of April 6 (19) and was hold from April 14 to 22 (April 27–May 5), 1917. It was attended by 57 delegates, including delegates from the Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Polish and Lithuanian organisations, representatives of the Military Organisation, and also two mezhraiontsi (see Note 556). On the agenda were the following questions: current   tasks—present situation; attitude to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the question of its reorganisation; structure of Party organisation; attitude to the other Social-Democratic trends; municipal elections; harassment of Pravda.

Lenin was elected honorary Chairman of the Conference. He gave the main political report on “Current Tasks—Present Situation”, and was on the committee to work out the resolutions: “On the Attitude Towards the Provisional Government” and “On the War”; he motioned the resolutions “On the Municipal Elections” and “On the Attitude Towards the Parties of Socialist-Revolutionaries, Menshevik Social-Democrats, ‘non-factional’ Social-Democrats and other kindred political trends”.

Kamenev’s attempt in his speech and amendments to Lenin’s resolution on the attitude to the Provisional Government to put through the demand of control over it, was exposed by Lenin as conciliatory, as the policy of Chkheidze and Steklov.

By an overwhelming majority, the Conference adopted Lenin’s resolution on the attitude to the Provisional Government. At the first sitting it adopted Lenin’s appeal “Against the Riot-mongers. To the Workers, Soldiers and the Whole Population of Petrograd.”

On April 19 (May 2) the sittings were interrupted in view of the massive protest movement in response to the Provisional Government’s note to the allied powers on April 18 (May 1) expressing its readiness to continue the imperialist war. The Conference decided to urge the workers and soldiers to give organised expression to their solidarity with the basic propositions of the Party Central Committee resolution of April 20 (May 3) on the crisis in connection with the said note of the Provisional Government (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 184–85). The delegates took part in explanatory work carried on by the Central Committee in the masses. In view of this, subsequent sittings were not fully attended.

The decisions of the Petrograd City Conference testified to the cohesion of the Petrograd Bolsheviks round Lenin’s “April Theses”; Lenin’s tactics were given approval by the Party organisation of the capital, the largest In the country. The resolutions of the Petrograd Conference largely formed the basis of the resolutions of the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 139–70). p. 400

Works Index   |   Volume 41 | Collected Works   |   L.I.A. Index
< backward   forward >