V. I.   Lenin

The Proletarian Party at the District Council Elections

Published: Pravda No. 56, May 26 (13), 1917. Published according to the text in Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 390-392.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: B. Baggins and D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 (2005). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

Our Party is going to the polls with its own lists of candidates. According to preliminary reports received by the Secretariat of the Central Committee these lists have been made up without any blocs in 4 out of 12 districts (Moskovsky, Rozhdestvenskoye, Kolpino, and Porokhovo districts). In all the other districts we are forming blocs only with the internationalists, specifically, in 6 districts (Vtoroi Gorodskoi, Narvsky, Petrogradkaya Storona, Moskovsky, Pervy Goredskoi and Vasilyevsky Ostrov districts) with the “Inter-District” Organisation[1] (who, as we know, have most emphatically condemned the Narodniks and Mensheviks for joining the capitalist cabinet); in 4 districts (Vyborgsky, Nevsky, Pervy Gorodskoi and Vasilyevsky Ostrov districts) with the internationalist Mensheviks opposed to “socialist” ministerialism[2]; and in 1 district (Nevsky) with internationalists from the Socialist—Revolutionary Party, who condemn their party’s “ministerialism”.

This co-operation with internationalists from other parties is fully in keeping with the decisions of our conferences (the Petrograd and the All-Russia conferences) and with the basic policy of the proletarian party aimed against petty-bourgeois defencism and Menshevik and Narodnik in misterialism.

The “Left bloc” propaganda, carried on, among others, by Novaya Zhizn, obviously could not alter our Party’s decision. The view that the municipal elections “are not of such a pronounced political character” (as the elections to the   Constituent Assembly) is wrong, basically wrong. It is just as wrong to maintain that “the municipal programmes of the different socialist [?] parties differ very little from one an other”. To repeat such odd statements without answering Pravda’s arguments is to dodge an important issue or simply to haul down the flag.

To narrow the elections in the capital down to a purely (or even predominantly) “municipal” programme at a time of revolution is grotesquely ridiculous. It flies in the face of all revolutionary experience. It is an insult to the common sense of the workers, who know only too well that Petrograd’s is a leading role, sometimes a decisive one.

The Cadets unite all the Rights, the whole counter-revolution, all the landowners and capitalists. They support the government and want to see revolutionary Petrograd playing second fiddle to the government of the capitalists, who have ten ministers to the Narodniks’ and Mensheviks’ six.

Opposed to the Cadets, the chauvinists, the supporters of war for the Straits, there is the party of the proletariat, which, definitely hostile as it is to imperialism, is the only party capable of breaking with the interests of Capital and implementing serious revolutionary measures, without which it is impossible to help the working masses at a moment of imminent catastrophe of gigantic proportions. Without revolutionary measures there can be no salvation. Without a workers’ militia as a step towards the immediate creation of a people’s militia, it is impossible, even with the best will in the world, to carry out such measures, in particular to do away with queues and the disorganisation in the matter of food supply.

As for the middle-of-the-road line taken by the petty bourgeoisie, the Mensheviks and the Narodniks, who proclaim good intentions and weaken themselves by making a deal with and submitting to the capitalists (6 ministers against 10!)—this line is a dead thing. The masses will soon learn this from experience, even if they do, for a time, believe in “agreements” with the capitalists.

All those who really stand for the interests of the working masses, for doing away with the police and having it   replaced by a people’s militia, all those who stand for serious revolutionary measures to cope with the crisis and save the country from an unprecedented debacle, should vote for the lists of candidates of the proletarian party—the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks).




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