First published in Pravda No. 85, July 1 (June 18), 1917.
Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 105-107.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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The formation of a united or federal Central Committee by the Congress of Soviets and the Executive Committee of the Peasant Congress is due to take place in the next few days. This question is up for discussion and will be settled in a matter of days. The petty squabble between the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks over the forms in which the Central Committee should be constituted deserves no attention whatsoever, for this fight between two parties, both of which advocate defencism (i.e., support for the predatory war) and ministerialism, i.e., support for the government of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, is much too petty.
The formation of a Central Committee is of vast importance as the ultimate feature showing the distinction between the latest political situation and previous ones. Typical of the new political situation is the final establishment that most people today follow the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties, which, as we know, form a bloc.
The All-Russia Peasant Congress and the All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies, now in session, have finally established, after the elections to the Petrograd district councils, that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik bloc is the ruling party in Russia.
That bloc admittedly has a majority now among the people. There can be no doubt that it will also have a majority in the united or federal Central Committee of Soviets (or the Council of Soviets—no decision seems to have been taken on the name so far) now being formed.
The Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks are ruling and responsible parties.
This is the fundamental fact about the new political situation. Prior to the elections in Petrograd, and prior to the Peasant Congress and the Congress of Soviets, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries were in a position to take refuge, at least with a hint of plausibility, in the argument that the will of the majority was unknown, that the Cadets were probably likewise close to the majority, and so on and so forth. But these subterfuges cannot be used any longer. The fog which some people artificially worked up has dispersed.
You have a majority, gentlemen of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties, you are the ruling parties, or rather the ruling bloc. You are responsible.
In propaganda and agitation in general, and in the Constituent Assembly election campaign in particular, our chief task now is to explain to the mass of the workers and peasants, as carefully, efficiently and clearly as possible, that it is the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik parties, the ruling parties, that are responsible for our country’s policy today. The situation was different before, because they had not yet revealed their majority as parties, and readily posed as an “opposition” to the ruling Cadets. But now it is beyond doubt that the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks command a majority.
They are responsible for the entire policy of the country.
They are now responsible for the results of the six weeks’ rule of the “coalition Ministry”.
They are responsible for the fact that most of the cabinet Ministers represent the party of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. Everyone knows, sees and feels that these Ministers could not have kept their posts for a single day with out the consent of the Congress of Soviets and the All-Russia Peasant Congress.
The Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks are responsible for the fundamental policy contradictions that are making themselves felt more and more sharply and pain fully, and are imposing themselves on the people more and more obviously.
In words, they “condemn” the predatory war, and “demand” peace without annexations. In reality they continue the predatory war in alliance with notorious predators, the imperialists of Britain, France, etc. In reality they are preparing for an offensive at the instance of these allies, in keeping with the secret predatory treaties which Nicholas II concluded with a view to enriching the Russian landowners and capitalists.
In reality their policy is one of annexation, i.e., the forcible incorporation of nations (Albania, Greece) in one country or one group of imperialists, a policy of annexation also inside “revolutionary” Russia (which is, however, following a counter-revolutionary course), and treating Finland and the Ukraine as if they were annexed nations and not really free, really equal nations having an indisputable right both to autonomy and to secession.
In words, “the resistance of the capitalists has apparently been broken”, as Peshekhonov, a Minister of the bloc, boasted. In reality, even the resolution of the Congress of Soviets had to admit that “the resistance of the propertied classes [i.e., the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, who have 10 capitalist Ministers out of the 16 and are virtually all-powerful in the country’s economy] is mounting”.
In words, they promise to establish control and regulation and to take away 100 per cent of the profits (Minister Skobelev). In reality, nothing of the sort has happened in six weeks! Positively not a single effective and important step has been taken against the capitalists who resort to lock outs, against the profiteering marauders, the knights who capitalise on war contracts, or the big bankers!!
Don’t let us go on listing these crying contradictions. We have indicated enough.
Economic dislocation is getting worse. A crisis is imminent. Disaster is drawing irresistibly near. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries reason with the capitalists, threatening to take away 100 per cent. They boast that the capitalists’ resistance is broken, they draft resolutions and make plans, make plans and draft resolutions.
Disaster is on the way. The entire responsibility for it will fall on the ruling Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik bloc.