V. I. Lenin

Report on the Current Situation at the
All-Russia Conference of Front and Rear Military Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P. (B.)

JUNE 20 (JULY 3), 1917{1}


Published: Novaya Zhizn No. 54, June 21 (July 4), 1917. Printed from the Novaya Zhizn text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 439.2-440.1.
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.  

At the morning sitting, Lenin gave a report on the current situation. He noted the difference between the situation today and that during the Party’s April Conference. At that time, the stand of the various socialist parties had still hardly crystallised. Only now, in the present conditions, and in the light of the events that have just taken place, has the real political face of the Mensheviks and the S.R.s been revealed. But the petty bourgeoisie, without being   socialist, may turn out to be really democratically minded. Viewing the S.R. and Menshevik masses from that stand point, we must give them credit for consistent democratism. But that cannot be said of their leaders, which is why we find that there is a yawning gulf between the S.R. and the Menshevik masses, on the one hand, and their leaders, on the other. The leaders of these masses have been gradually shedding not only their socialism, but their democratism as well. This will be seen in the attitude of the socialist ministers to the three vital issues of the moment.

On the question of land, the socialist section of the government has clearly diverged from the views of the peasantry, and is helping the landowners to keep their lands at their disposal. The second touchstone of the socialist ministers’ democratism is their attitude to local self-government. It is an elementary democratic proposition that the local power must be elected by the people them selves, but on this point there have been numerous conflicts between the Provisional Government and the local organs of self-government, and the socialist section of the ministry has been an active fighter against these truly democratic principles. Finally, the third question is the offensive. The socialist Kerensky has managed to secure what the patent imperialist Guchkov had been unable to do.

We revolutionary Social-Democrats must direct our activity towards raising the class consciousness of the democratic masses. That is why we must relentlessly expose these former leaders of petty-bourgeois democracy, pointing out to democracy the only way along which the revolutionary proletariat will march ahead of it.


{1} Lenin’s report, which was central in the work of the All-Russia Conference of Front and Rear Military Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), has been preserved in two variants: as recorded by a correspondent of Novaya Zhizn, which published it the following day, June 21 (July 4), 1917, and by M. S. Kedrov (see his reminiscences “The All-Russia Conference of Military Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.[B.]” in the book Velikaya Oktyabrskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Revolutsia. Sbornik vospominany uchastnikov revolutsii v Petrograde i Moskve [The Great October Socialist Revolution. A Collection of Reminiscences by Participants in the Revolution in Petrograd and Moscow], Moscow, 1957, pp. 77–79).

The All-Russia Conference of Front and Rear Military Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) was held in Petrograd from June 16 to 23 (June 29 to July 6), 1917. It was attended by 107 delegates from 43 front and 17 rear military Bolshevik organisations uniting almost 26,000 members of the Party. It was called by the Organising Bureau of the Central Committee Military Organisation. On its agenda were these questions: reports from the localities; attitude to the resolutions of the Seventh (April) Conference; the present situation; organisation of power and the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies; the war, the peace and the offensive; the agrarian question and others.

Lenin gave reports on the present situation and on the agrarian question. The conference recognised the need to replace the standing army by armed workers’ battalions of the Red Guard placed at the disposal of the elected workers’ organisations, and to replace the police by the people’s militia (see K.P.S.S. v resolutsiyakh ..., Part I, pp. 354–67). The conference decided to regard the newspaper Soldatskaya Pravda as the Central Organ of the military organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), approved the draft Rules for the Military Organisation and elected the All-Russia Central Bureau of Military Organisations consisting of M. S. Kedrov, N. V. Krylenko, V. I. Nevsky, N. I. Podvoisky and others. The conference was of great importance in strengthening the ties between the proletariat and the soldier mass and helped to extend the work of the Bolsheviks among the soldiers. p. 439

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