V. I.   Lenin

Speech Made at the First Petrograd Conference of Shop Committees May 31 (June 13), 1917


Published: Pravda No. 72, June 16 (3), 1917. Published according to the text in Pravda.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 556-557.
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.

Comrade Avilov’s resolution shows a complete disregard for the class stand. B. V. Avilov would seem to have made up his mind in this resolution to collect together and concentrate all the faults common to all the resolutions of the petty-bourgeois parties.

Avilov’s resolution starts with the postulate, by now indisputable to any socialist, that capitalism’s robber economy has reduced Russia to complete economic and industrial ruin, but then goes on to propose the hazy formula of control of industry by “the state authorities” with the co-operation of the broad democratic mass.

Everybody nowadays is having a good deal to say about control. Even people who used to scream “murder” at the very mention of the word “control” now admit that control is necessary.

By using the term “control” in the abstract, however, they want to reduce the idea of control to naught.

The coalition government, which “socialists” have now joined, has done nothing yet in the way of putting this control into effect, and therefore it is quite understandable that the shop committees are demanding real workers’ control, and not control on paper.

In dealing with the idea of control and the question of when and by whom this control is to be effected, one must not for a single moment forget the class character of the modern state, which is merely an organisation of class rule.   A similar class analysis should be applied to the concept “revolutionary democracy”, and this analysis should be based on the actual balance of social forces.

Avilov’s resolution starts with a promise to give every thing, but ends, in effect, with a proposition to leave every thing as it was. There is not a shadow of revolutionism in the whole resolution.

In revolutionary times of all times it is necessary accurately to analyse the question as to the very essence of the state, as to whose interests it shall protect, and as to how it should be constructed in order effectively to protect the interests of the working people. In Avilov’s resolution this has not been dealt with at all.

Why is it that our new coalition government, which “socialists” have now joined, has not carried out control in the course of three months, and, what is more, in the conflict between the colliery owners and the workers of Southern Russia, the government has openly sided with the capitalists?

For control over industry to be effectively carried out it must be a workers’ control with a workers’ majority in all the leading bodies, and the management must give an account of its actions to all the authoritative workers’ organisations.

Comrades, workers, see that you get real control, not fictitious control, and reject in the most resolute manner all resolutions and proposals for establishing such a fictitious control existing only on paper.


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