Pravda No. 38, May 5 (April 22), 1917.
Published according to the text in Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 201-203.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
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Having considered the situation which has arisen in Petrograd after the imperialist, annexationist, and predatory Note of the Provisional Government of April 18, 1917, and after a number of meetings and demonstrations of the people held in the streets of Petrograd on April 20, the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. resolves:
1. Party propagandists and speakers must refute the despicable lies of the capitalist papers and of the papers supporting the capitalists to the effect that we are holding out the threat of civil war. This is a despicable lie, for only at the present moment, as long as the capitalists and their government cannot and dare not use force against the masses, as long as the mass of soldiers and workers are freely expressing their will and freely electing and displacing all authorities—at such a moment any thought of civil war would be naïve, senseless, preposterous; at such a moment there must be compliance with the will of the majority of the population and free criticism of this will by the discontented minority; should violence be resorted to, the responsibility will fall on the Provisional Government and its supporters.
2. By their outcries against civil war the government of the capitalists and its newspapers are only trying to conceal the reluctance of the capitalists, who admittedly constitute an insignificant minority of the people, to submit to the will of the majority.
3. In order to learn the will of the majority of the population in Petrograd, where there is now an unusually large number of soldiers who are familiar with the sentiment of the peasants and correctly express it, a popular vote must at once be arranged in all the districts of Petrograd and its suburbs to ascertain what the attitude is towards the government’s Note, what support the various parties enjoy, and what kind of Provisional Government is desired.
4. All Party propagandists must advocate these views and this proposal at factories, in regiments, in the streets, etc., by means of peaceful discussion and peaceful demonstrations, as well as meetings everywhere; we must endeavour to organise regular voting in factories and regiments, taking care that order and comradely discipline are strictly observed.
5. Party propagandists must again and again protest against the despicable slander spread by the capitalists alleging that our Party stands for a separate peace with Germany. We consider Wilhelm II as bad a crowned brigand meriting execution as Nicholas II, and the German Guchkovs, i.e., the German capitalists, just as much annexationists, robbers, and imperialists as the Russian, British, and all other capitalists. We are against negotiating with the capitalists, we are for negotiating and fraternising with the revolutionary workers and soldiers of all countries. We are convinced that the reason why the Guchkov-Milyukov government is trying to aggravate the situation is because it knows that the workers’ revolution in Germany is beginning, and that this revolution will be a blow to the capitalists of all countries.
6. When the Provisional Government spreads rumours about utter and unavoidable economic chaos, it is not only trying to frighten the people into leaving the power in the hands of this Provisional Government, but is also vaguely, fumblingly expressing the profound and indubitable truth that all the nations of the world have been led into a blind alley, that the war waged in the interests of the capitalists has driven them to the brink of an abyss, and that there is really no way out except through the transfer of power to the revolutionary class, i.e., to the revolutionary proletariat, which is capable of adopting revolutionary measures.
If there are any stocks of grain, etc., in the country, the new government of the workers and soldiers will know how to dispose of them too. But if the capitalist war has brought economic ruin to a stage where there is no bread at all, the capitalist government will only aggravate the condition of the people instead of improving it.
7. We consider the policy of the present majority of leaders of the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, of the Narodnik and Menshevik parties, to be profoundly erroneous, since confidence in the Provisional Government, attempts to compromise with it, dickering over amendments, etc., would in fact mean only so many more useless scraps of paper and useless delays; and besides, this policy threatens to create a divergence between the will of the Soviet on the one hand, and that of the majority of revolutionary soldiers at the front and in Petrograd and of the majority of workers, on the other.
8. We call upon those workers and soldiers who believe that the Soviet must change its policy and renounce the policy of confidence in and compromise with the capitalist government, to hold new elections of delegates to the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and to send to that body only people who would steadfastly hold to a quite definite opinion consonant with the actual will of the majority.