V. I. Lenin

Outline of Fifth “Letter From Afar”{1}

Written: Written between March 7 and 12 (20 and 25), 1917
Published: First published in 1959 in Lenin Miscellany XXXVI. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 394.2-395.
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.
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The old programme will not do for the elections to the Constituent Assembly. It should be altered:

  1. 1) add about imperialism as the final stage of capitalism
  2. 2) about the imperialist war, imperialist wars and “defence of one’s country”
  3. +2 bis: about the struggle and the split with the social-chauvinists
  4. ||
    NB |||
    3) add about the state, the kind we need, and about the withering away of the state.
  6. 4) Change
    two last paragraphs before the political programme (against the monarchy in general and measures to restore it)
  7. 5) add to § 3 of the political section:
    no officials from the top
    (cf. Engels in his criticism of 1891
  8. 6) correct and r a i s e many things in minimum programme.
  9. 7) In agrarian programme:
    1. (α) nationalisation instead of municipalisation (I shall send my MS. on this, which was burnt in 1909,{3} to St. Petersburg)
    2. (β) model farms on landed estates.
  10. 8) “Universal labour service” (Zivildienstpflicht)
  11. 9) cross out support for “every o p p o s i t i o n” movement (a revolutionary one is a different matter).
  12. 10) Change name, because
    1. (α) it is wrong
    2. (β) it has been fouled by the social-chauvinists
    3. (γ) it will confuse the people at the elections, because the Social-Democrats=Chkheidze, P o t r e s o v & Co.

This is an outline of “letter No. 5”. Please return at once.

Do you happen to have any outlines or notes for changing the practical section of the minimum programme? ((Do you remember us discussing this m a n y t i m e s?))
This work should be started right away.


{1} This deals with the question of reworking the Party Programme. Lenin first intended to devote the fourth and then the fifth letter to this subject. But both the fourth and the unfinished fifth letter deal with other subjects. The manuscript of the plan included in this volume shows that Lenin subsequently added new points to it (2 bis, 5 bis and points marked with a +).

The plan became the basis for his work on the Party Programme upon his arrival in Russia (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 459–63, 466–79).

V. A. Karpinsky said the note in the margin was addressed to him. p. 394

{2} See Engels, “Zur Kritik des socialdemokratischen Programmentwurfes 1891” (Criticism of the Draft Social-Democratic Programme of 1891) (Marx/Engels, Werke, Bd. 22, S. 240–43, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1962). p. 395

{3} The book burnt by the tsarist censorship was Lenin’s The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian Revolution of 1905–1907, which he wrote at the end of 1907 (see present edition, Vol. 13, pp. 217–431). In 1908 the book was printed in St. Petersburg, but was confiscated by the police at the printers’ and destroyed. By 1917, only one copy remained. It was first published in 1917. p. 395

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