V. I.   Lenin

Draft Statement by the C.C. R.S.D.L.P.(B.) and the Bureau of the Bolshevik Group to the All-Russia Congress of Soviets Regarding the Ban on the Demonstration[1]

Written: Written on June 11 (24), 1917
Published: First published in 1924, in Byloye No. 24. Published according to the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 25, pages 77-78.
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
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We hold that the unique institution known as the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’ and Peasants’ Deputies is the nearest approach to a popular body expressing the will of the majority of the people, to a revolutionary parliament.

On principle we have been, and are, in favour of all power passing into the hands of such a body, despite the fact that at present it is in the hands of the defencist Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who are hostile to the party of the proletariat.

The fact that the position of the Soviets is internally contradictory, shaky and unstable, and powerless in regard to the counter-revolution, is due to their tolerating a nest of counter-revolution—the ten bourgeois Ministers—and to their not breaking with Anglo-French imperialist capital. The shakiness of their position accounts for the nervousness of the present majority of the Soviets and their touchiness towards those who point out this shakiness.

We refuse to co-ordinate our struggle against the counter revolution with the “struggle” of the defencist and ministerialist parties.

We cannot recognise the decisions of the Soviets as proper decisions taken by a proper government as long as there remain the ten bourgeois, counter-revolutionary Ministers who are part and parcel of the Milyukov spirit, and the Milyukov class. But even if the Soviets seized all power (which we want and would always support), and even if they became an omnipotent revolutionary parliament, we would not submit to decisions that restrained our freedom of propaganda, for instance, prohibiting leaflets at the front or in the   rear, banning peaceful demonstrations, and so on. In that event we would prefer to become an illegal, officially persecuted party, rather than give-up our Marxist, internationalist principles.

We shall act similarly if the Congress of Soviets sees fit to brand us officially before the entire population of Russia as “enemies of the people” or as “enemies of the revolution”.

We regard only one of the motives given for banning the demonstration for three days as conditionally valid, namely, that concealed counter-revolutionaries lying in wait wanted to take advantage of the demonstration. If the facts underlying this motive are correct, and if the names of the counter revolutionaries are known to the entire Soviet (as they are known to us privately from the verbal information given by Lieber and others on the Executive Committee), then these counter-revolutionaries should be immediately proclaimed enemies of the people and arrested, and their followers and helpers tried in court.

As long as the Soviet does not take such measures, even its valid motive is only conditionally valid, or altogether in valid.


[1] The basic provisions of the draft were incorporated in the declaration of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) and the Bureau of the Bolshevik group at the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets concerning the Congress ban on the peaceful demonstration fixed by the Bolshevik Party for June 10 (23).

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