V. I.   Lenin


Written: Written on December 24–27, 1917 (January 6–9, 1918)
Published: First published in 1929 in Lenin Miscellany XI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, pages 460-463.
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


Themes for Elaboration[6]

1. “The man with the gun need no longer be feared.”

bis[1] : Living quarters and food for the poor.

ter[2] : The weak spots of the Soviet power, which is just starting out.

2. “Propaganda by deed.”

3. Agitator or prosecutor?

4. Practicalism and “positive work”.

5. Organisational work and organisers from among the people.

bis: cf. Pravda until April 4 on miracles of organisation.[7]

6. Our attitude to the anarchists.

bis: Anarchists by mistake—through impatience—in mood—by instinct.

7. Discontented among the workers.

8. The intelligentsia’s red tape and slovenliness.

9. Has the resistance of the capitalists been broken down? (Historic phrase of the good Peshekhonov.[8])

bis: Civil war, its significance, its burdens (deserters), its inevitability in 1917–18.

10. National chauvinism in the oppressor and in the oppressed nations.

10 bis: The parasitism of the petty bourgeoisie and the Finnish Social-Democrats’ betrayal.

11. How to “win over” to the side of the Russian Socialist Republic of Soviets other nations, in general, and   the nations formerly oppressed by the Great Russians, in particular?

12. Suppression of the exploiters.

13. How to organise emulation?

14. Accounting and control, as the essence of socialism.

14 bis: Mobile groups of controllers.

14 ter: Rogues in revolutions.

15. To manage factories or to argue about socialism?

16. Workers’ discipline and the habits of tramps.

16a. The death sentence and shootings of thieves by the Red Guards.

17. What do tramps and intellectuals have in common?

17 bis: “Right-wing Bolshevism”; is there room for it in our Party?

18. The Constituent Assembly and the Socialist Republic of Soviets.

The waves of revolution follow one upon the other not smoothly, not evenly, not all in the same way.

18 bis: The formal democracy of the bourgeoisie and (versus) the machinery of the proletariat for drawing the people into the war against the bourgeoisie.

18 ter: Democracy and (versus) the dictatorship of the proletariat.

19. Quotation from Plekhanov’s 1903 speech.[9] cf. 18 ter In
what does “their” complete ideological collapse lie (of the petty-bourgeois, opportunist socialists, Mensheviks, Right-wing and Chernov S.R.s, the Novaya Zhizn group and Co.)?

20. A “separate peace”, its dangers and its possible significance. Is a separate peace an “understanding” (“ compromise”) with the imperialists?

20 bis: A separate peace and our duty to the international proletariat. “Die Deutschen brauchen eine Niederlage.”[3] [10]

21. Steps or stages in the revolution. Taking account of class forces and allies. Peace and land—in Russia.

22. Imperialists’ provocation: Republic of Soviets, give us a convenient pretext for throttling you as soon as possible!

22 bis: Pravda of Dec. 24; “Their plan.” Lloyd George’s historic words. “About Russia.”[11]

23. Revolutionary internationalists going over to “ defencism”.

24. The foreign policy of the Socialist Republic of Soviets.

25. Revolutionary phrases and revolutionary duty in the matter of revolutionary war.

26. How to “prepare” a revolutionary war?

27. The revolutionary war of a proletariat in power can only be a war for consolidated socialism.

28. First defeat the bourgeoisie in Russia, then fight the foreign, alien bourgeoisie.

29. The difficulties of revolution in the West-European “parasitic” countries.

31.[4] Revolutions—locomotives of history.
Put the locomotive into top gear and keep it on the rails.

32. To raise the very lowest strata to making history: Mit dem Umfang der geschichtlichen Action wird auch der Umfang der Masse zunehmen, deren Action sie ist. “With the thoroughness of the historical action the size of the mass whose action it is will therefore increase.”[12]

33. K-CTjjjia EC dei.[5] Already gained:
(α) Maximum democracy
(β) Concretisation of the first steps
to socialism
(γ) Peace and land

34. Finances and food.
Centre and localities.

35. “Harassment” of profiteers and saboteurs.

36. Money. Its role. Its attraction into the “Treasury”.

37. Nationalisation of industry and the workers’ “duty” at work.

38. State monopoly of foreign trade.

39. The fisc (“Treasury”) and the transformation of this concept in a socialist revolution.

40. Banks as a form of accounting.
(Pyatakov’s article in Pravda.[13])

41. “Gaining time”=a separate peace (until a Europe-wide revolution).

42. [BOX: Three “dates”. ] The “defeats” of Apr. 20 and July 3 versus the victory of Oct. 25.

43. Comparison of this “defeat” with a separate peace.

44. Distribution of labour and distribution of products = σσ.

Economic questions:
The national question:
Political questions:
Questions of organisation:
Foreign policy:


[1] Second.—Ed.

[2] Third.—Ed.

[3]The Germans need a defeat.”—Ed.

[4] No. 30 is not in the MS.—Ed.

[5] Acquisition for good.—Ed.

[6] Written during a four-day vacation in Finland from December  24 to 27, 1917 (January 6 to 9, 1918). The first topic for elaboration, “Now there is no need to fear the man with the gun”, was heard by Lenin in a car on the Finnish railway (see present edition, Vol. 26, p. 463). It was also in Finland that Lenin wrote his articles “Fear of the Collapse of the Old and the Fight for the New”, “How to Organise Competition?” and “Draft Decree on Consumers’ Communes” (see present edition, Vol. 26, pp. 400–03, 404–15, 416–17), which elaborated most of the subjects mentioned here. Nearly all these subjects were most fully elaborated in his article “The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government” (see present edition, Vol. 27, pp. 235–77).

[7] See present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 306–07.

[8] Reference to a sentence from the speech of the Minister of Food Supply in the coalition government, A. V. Peshekhonov, at a sitting of the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on June 5 (18), 1917 (Izvestia of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies No. 85, June 7 [20], 1917).

[9] A reference to G. V. Plekhanov’s speech at the 16th sitting of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. on the relative value of democratic principles. He said all democratic principles should be subordinated to the exclusive benefit of the revolution and the working class. To ensure the success of the revolution, the Social-Democrats could temporarily limit the operation of any of the democratic principles. In the interests of the revolution, the Social-Democrats could even come out against universal suffrage. “The revolutionary proletariat could restrict the political rights of the higher classes in much the same way the higher classes used to restrict its political rights.” = The revolutionary people could even go to the extent of dispersing a bad parliament (see Protokoly  II syezda RSDRP [Minutes of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.], Priboi Publishers, 1924, p. 156).

[10] In his “Theses on the Question of the Immediate Conclusion of a Separate and Annexationist Peace” (see present edition, Vol.  26, pp. 442–50) Lenin elaborated topics 20 and 20 bis; the sentence “Die Deutschen brauchen eine Niederlage” is analysed in Thesis 11.

[11] The article “Their Plan”, which appeared in Pravda No. 223, January 6, 1918 (December 24, 1917), said: “Lloyd George spoke in the sense that Russia should first determine her future frontier with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and then it will be time for negotiation on a general peace.” = Hence the conclusion drawn in the article that the Allies were putting out feelers for peace negotiations with Germany at the expense of the weak nations.

[12] See Marx and Engels, The Holy Family or the Critique of Critical Critique, Moscow, 1956, p. 110.

[13] The article “The Proletariat and the Banks”, which appeared in Pravda No. 206, December 18 (5), 1917, under the signature of P. Kievsky (Y. Pyatakov).

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