V. I.   Lenin

The Diehards of June 3[1] Favour an Immediate Offensive

Published: First published in Pravda No. 74 June 19 (6), 1917. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 48-50.
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters and C. Farrell
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The gentlemen of June 3, who after 1905 helped Nicholas Romanov drench our country in blood, strangle the revolutionaries and re-establish the unlimited power of the land owners and capitalists, are holding their meetings simultaneously with the Congress of Soviets.[2]

While Tsereteli, who found himself in bourgeois captivity, tried by a thousand tricks to hush up the vital importance and urgency of the political question of an immediate offensive, the diehards of June 3, companions-in-arms of Nicholas the Bloody and Stolypin the Hangman, landowners and capitalists, did not hesitate to put the question straight forwardly and openly. Here is the latest and most essential resolution on the offensive which they adopted unanimously:

The Duma (??) considers that only an immediate offensive and close co-operation with the Allies will guarantee a speedy termination of the war and consolidation of the liberties won by the people.”

That is clear enough.

These people are real politicians, men of action, faithful servants of their class, of the landowners and capitalists.

And how do Tsereteli, Chernov and the rest serve their class? They offer pious wishes in words and support the capitalists in actions.

Tsereteli asserted that the question of an immediate offensive could not even be raised, for were he, Minister Tsereteli. to know anything about an “immediate” offensive, he, a Minister, would say nothing about it to anyone. In saying   that, Tsereteli had no inkling (poor innocent man) that he was refuted by the diehards of June 3, refuted by actions, for they did not hesitate to speak, even in a resolution, and in everyone’s hearing, about an offensive—not an offensive in general, but an immediate offensive. And they were right, for this is a political issue, an issue bearing on the destiny of our revolution as a whole.

There is no middle course. You must either be for or against an "immediate offensive". You cannot abstain from expressing an opinion. In this situation, to evade the issue by referring or alluding to military secrecy would be positively unworthy of a responsible politician.

To favour an immediate offensive means being in favour of continuing the imperialist war, slaughtering Russian workers and peasants in order to strangle Persia, Greece, Galicia, the Balkan peoples, etc., reviving and strengthening the counter-revolution, completely nullifying all the phrases about "peace without annexations", and waging war for annexations.

To be against an immediate offensive means being in favour of all power passing to the Soviets, of arousing the revolutionary initiative of the oppressed classes, of an immediate offer by the oppressed classes of all countries of "peace without annexations", peace based on the precise condition of overthrowing the tyranny of capital and liberating all colonies, all the oppressed nationalities, or nationalities not enjoying full rights, bar none.

The former way is, together with the capitalists, in the interests of the capitalists and for attaining the aims of the capitalists. It is the way of confidence in the capitalists, who for more than two years have been promising everything under the sun and many things besides, provided the war is “carried on to victory".

The latter way is one of breaking with the capitalists, of distrusting them, of curbing their vile self-interest, of putting an end to their business of making hundreds of millions in profits from contracts. It is the way of confidence in the oppressed classes, primarily in the workers of all countries, the way of confidence in a world workers’ revolution against capital, the way of supporting it in full measure.

You must choose the one or the other. Tsereteli, Chernov and the rest prefer a middle course. But there is no middle course. If they vacillate or try to get away with mere talk, they, Tsereteli, Chernov and the rest, will completely make themselves tools in the hands of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie.


[1] In Russian political writing, the term diehards was applied to the extreme Right wing of the reactionary landowners.

[2] The term “gentle men of June 3” applies to the bourgeois and landowner parties (Right-wing, Octobrist and Cadet) which won a vast superiority in the Third and Fourth Dumas under the counter-revolutionary electoral law passed by the tsarist government on June 3 (16), 1907. The law curtailed the already limited suffrage of the workers and peasants.

The June 3 parties periodically held so-called private meetings of Deputies to the Fourth Duma. One of these meetings took place on June 3 (16), 1917, that is, the day the All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was convened. This was not mere coincidence, for the counter-revolutionary parties of the Russian bourgeoisie and landowners were trying to exert political pressure on the petty-bourgeois conciliators, the Mensheviks and S.R.s, who commanded a majority at the Congress.

Among the items, the meeting discussed foreign policy matters. It was addressed by V. A. Maklakov, P. N. Milyukov, V. V. Shulgin and other Octobrist and Cadet leaders. They insisted on the vigorous fulfilment of commitments in respect of the Allies and on putting an end to the revolution. The resolution adopted by the meeting said as much.

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