V. I. Lenin

Extraordinary Seventh Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)

MARCH 6-8, 1918

Section Nine


Report on the Review of the Programme and on Changing the Name of the Party[24]
March 8

Comrades, as you know, a fairly comprehensive Party discussion on changing the name of the Party has developed since April 1917 and the Central Committee has therefore been able to arrive at an immediate decision that will probably not give rise to considerable dispute—there may even be practically none at all; the Central Committee proposes to you that the name of our Party be changed to the Russian Communist Party, with the word “Bolsheviks” added to it in brackets. We all recognise the necessity for this addition because the word “Bolshevik” has not only acquired rights of citizenship in the political life of Russia but also throughout the entire foreign press, which in a general way keeps track of events in Russia. It has already been explained in our press that the name “Social-Democratic Party” is scientifically incorrect. When the workers set up their own state they realised that the old concept of democracy—bourgeois democracy—had been surpassed in the process of the development of our revolution. We have arrived at a type of democracy that has never existed anywhere in Western Europe. It has its prototype only in the Paris Commune, and Engels said with regard to the Paris Commune that it was not a state in the proper sense of the word.[25] In short, since the working people themselves are undertaking to administer the state and establish armed forces that support the given state system, the special government apparatus is disappearing, the special apparatus for a certain state coercion is disappearing, and we cannot therefore uphold democracy in its old form.

On the other hand, as we begin socialist reforms we must have a clear conception of the goal towards which these reforms are in the final analysis directed, that is, the creation of a communist society that does not limit itself to the expropriation of factories, the land and the means of production, does not confine itself to strict accounting for, and control of, production and distribution of products, but goes farther towards implementing the principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. That is why the name of Communist Party is the only one that is scientifically correct. The objection that it may cause us to be confused with the anarchists was immediately rejected by the Central Committee on the grounds that the anarchists never call themselves simply Communists but always add something to that name. In this respect we may mention the many varieties of socialism, but they do not cause the confusion of the Social-Democrats with social reformers, or national socialists, or any similar parties.

On the other hand, the most important argument in favour of changing the name of the Party is that up to now the old official socialist parties in all the leading European countries have still not got rid of their intoxication with social-chauvinism and social-patriotism that led to the complete collapse of European official socialism during the present war, so that up to now almost all official socialist parties have been a real hindrance to the working-class revolutionary socialist movement, a real encumbrance to it. And our Party, which at the present time undoubtedly enjoys the greatest sympathy of the masses of the working people of all countries—our Party must make the most decisive, sharp, clear and unambiguous statement that is possible to the effect that it has broken off connections with that old official socialism, for which purpose a change in the name of the Party will be the most effective means.

Further, comrades, the much more difficult question was that of the theoretical part of the Programme and of its practical and political part. As far as the theoretical part of the Programme is concerned, we have some material—the Moscow and Petrograd symposia on the review of the Programme, which have been published[26]; the two main theoretical organs of our Party, Prosveshcheniye published in Petrograd, and Spartak published in Moscow, have carried articles substantiating certain trends in changing the theoretical part of the Programme of our Party. In this sphere we have a certain amount of material. Two main points of view are to be seen which, in my opinion, do not diverge, at any rate radically, on matters of principle; one point of view, the one I defended, is that we have no reason to reject the old theoretical part of our Programme, and that it would be actually incorrect to do so. We have only to add to it an analysis of imperialism as the highest stage of the development of capitalism and also an analysis of the era of the socialist revolution, proceeding from the fact that the era of the socialist revolution has begun. Whatever may be the fate of our revolution, of our contingent of the international proletarian army, whatever may be the future complications of the revolution, the objective situation of the imperialist countries embroiled in a war that has reduced the most advanced countries to starvation, ruin and barbarity, that situation, in any case, is hopeless. And here I must repeat what Frederick Engels said thirty years ago, in 1887, when appraising the probable prospects of a European war. He said that crowns would lie around in Europe by the dozen and nobody would want to pick them up; he said that incredible ruin would fall to the lot of the European countries, and that there could be only one outcome to the horrors of a European war -- he put it this way—“either the victory of the working class or the creation of conditions that would make that victory possible and necessary”.[27] Engels expressed himself on this score with exceptional precision and caution. Unlike those people who distort Marxism and offer their belated pseudo-philosophising about socialism being impossible in conditions of ruin, Engels realised full well that every war, even in an advanced society, would create not only devastation, barbarity, torment, calamities for the masses, who would drown in blood, and that there could be no guarantee that it would lead to the victory of socialism; he said it would be “either the victory of the working class or the creation of conditions that would make that victory possible and necessary”, i.e., that there was, consequently, the possibility of a number of difficult stages of transition in view of the tremendous destruction of culture and the means of production, but that the result could be only the rise of the working class, the vanguard of all working people, and the beginning of its taking over power into its own hands for the creation of a socialist society. For no matter to what extent culture has been destroyed, it cannot be removed from history; it will be difficult to restore but no destruction will ever mean the complete disappearance of that culture. Some part of it, some material remains of that culture will be indestructible, the difficulties will be only in restoring it. There you have one point of view—that we must retain the old Programme and add to it an analysis of imperialism and of the beginning of the social revolution.

I expressed that point of view in the draft Programme that I have published [See Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme]. Another draft was published by Comrade Sokolnikov in the Moscow symposium. The second point of view has been expressed in our private conversations, in particular by Comrade Bukharin, and by Comrade V. Smirnov in the press, in the Moscow symposium. This point of view is that the old theoretical part of our Programme should be completely or almost completely eliminated and replaced by a new part that does not analyse the development of commodity production and capitalism, as the present Programme does, but analyses the contemporary, highest stage of capitalist development—imperialism—and the immediate transition to the epoch of the social revolution. I do not think that these two points of view diverge radically and in principle, but I shall defend my point of view. It seems to me that it would be theoretically incorrect to eliminate the old programme that analyses the development from commodity production to capitalism. There is nothing incorrect in it. That is how things were and how they are, for commodity production begot capitalism and capitalism led to imperialism. Such is the general historical perspective, and the fundamentals of socialism should not be forgotten. No matter what the further complications of the struggle may be, no matter what occasional zigzags we may have to contend with (there will be very many of them— we have seen from experience what gigantic turns the history of the revolution has made, and so far it is only in our own country; matters will be much more complicated and proceed much more rapidly, the rate of development will be more furious and the turns will be more intricate when the revolution becomes a European revolution)—in order not to lose our way in these zigzags, these sharp turns in history, in order to retain the general perspective, to be able to see the scarlet thread that joins up the entire development of capitalism and the entire road to socialism, the road we naturally imagine as straight, and which we must imagine as straight in order to see the beginning, the continuation and the end—in real life it will never be straight, it will be incredibly involved—in order not to lose our way in these twists and turns, in order not to get lost at times when we are taking steps backward, times of retreat and temporary defeat or when history or the enemy throws us back—in order not to get lost, it is, in my opinion, important not to discard our old, basic Programme; the only theoretically correct line is to retain it. Today we have reached only the first stage of transition from capitalism to socialism here in Russia. History has not provided us with that peaceful situation that was theoretically assumed for a certain time, and which is desirable for us, and which would enable us to pass through these stages of transition speedily. We see immediately that the civil war has made many things difficult in Russia, and that the civil war is interwoven with a whole series of wars. Marxists have never forgotten that violence must inevitably accompany the collapse of capitalism in its entirety and the birth of socialist society. That violence will constitute a period of world history, a whole era of various kinds of wars, imperialist. wars, civil wars inside countries the intermingling of the two, national wars liberating the nationalities oppressed by the imperialists and by various combinations of imperialist powers that will inevitably enter into various alliances in the epoch of tremendous state-capitalist and military trusts and syndicates. This epoch, an epoch of gigantic cataclysms, of mass decisions forcibly imposed by war, of crises, has begun—that we can see clearly—and it is only the beginning. We therefore have no reason to discard everything bearing on the definition of commodity production in general, of capitalism in gen- eral. We have only just taken the first steps towards shaking off capitalism altogether and beginning the transition to socialism. We do not know and we cannot know how many stages of transition to socialism there will be. That depends on when the full-scale European socialist revolution begins and on whether it will deal with its enemies and enter upon the smooth path of socialist development easily and rapidly or whether it will do so slowly. We do not know this, and the programme of a Marxist party must be based on facts that have been established with absolute certainty. The power of our Programme—the programme that has found its confirmation in all the complications of the revolution—is in that alone. Marxists must build up their programme on this basis alone. We must proceed from facts that have been established with absolute certainty, facts that show how the development of exchange and commodity production became a dominant historical phenomenon throughout the world, how it led to capitalism and capitalism developed into imperialism; that is an absolutely definite fact that must first and foremost be recorded in our Programme. That imperialism begins the era of the social revolution is also a fact, one that is obvious to us, and about which we must speak clearly. By stating this fact in our Programme we are holding high the torch of the social revolution before the whole world, not as an agitational speech, but as a new Programme that says to the peoples of Western Europe, “Here is what you and we have gathered from the experience of capitalist development. This is what capitalism was, this is how it developed into imperialism, and here is the epoch of the social revolution that is beginning, and in which it is our lot to play, chronologically, the first role.” We shall proclaim this manifesto before all civilised countries; it will not only be a fervent appeal but will be substantiated with absolute accuracy and will derive from facts recognised by all socialist parties. It will make all the clearer the contradiction between the tactics of those parties that have now betrayed socialism and the theoretical premises which we all share, and which have entered the flesh and blood of every class-conscious worker—the rise of capitalism and its development into imperialism. On the eve of imperialist wars the congresses at Chemnitz and Basle passed resolutions defining imperialism, and there is a flagrant contradiction between that definition and the present tactics of the social-traitors..[28] We must, therefore, repeat that which is basic in order to show the working people of Western Europe all the more clearly what we accuse their leaders of.

Such is the basis which I consider to be the only theoretically correct one on which to build a programme. The abandoning of the analysis of commodity production and capitalism as though it were old rubbish is not dictated by the historical nature of what is now happening, since we have not gone farther than the first steps in the transition from capitalism to socialism, and our transition is made more intricate by features that are specific to Russia and do not exist in most civilised countries. And so it is not only possible but inevitable that the stages of transition will be different in Europe; it would be theoretically incorrect to turn all attention to specific national stages of transition that are essential to us but may not be essential in Europe. We must begin with the general basis of the development of commodity production, the transition to capitalism and the growth of capitalism into imperialism. In this way we shall occupy and strengthen a theoretical position from which nobody without betraying socialism can shift us. From this we draw the equally inevitable conclusion—the era of the social revolution is beginning.

We draw this conclusion without departing from our basis of definitely proved facts.

Following this, our task is to define the Soviet type of state. I have tried to outline theoretical views on this question in my book The State and Revolution. It seems to me that the Marxist view on the state has been distorted in the highest degree by the official socialism that is dominant in Western Europe, and that this has been splendidly confirmed by the experience of the Soviet revolution and the establishment of the Soviets in Russia. There is much that is crude and unfinished in our Soviets, there is no doubt about that, it is obvious to everyone who examines their work; but what is important, has historical value and is a step forward in the world development of socialism, is that they are a new type of state. The Paris Commune was a matter of a few weeks, in one city, without the people being conscious of what they were doing. The Commune was not understood by those who created it; they established the Commune by following the unfailing instinct of the awakened people, and neither of the groups of French socialists was conscious of what it was doing. Because we are standing on the shoulders of the Paris Commune and the many years of development of German Social-Democracy, we have conditions that enable us to see clearly what we are doing in creating Soviet power. Despite all the crudity and lack of discipline that exist in the Soviets—this is a survival of the petty-bourgeois nature of our country—despite all that the new type of state has been created by the masses of the people. It has been functioning for months and not weeks, and not in one city, but throughout a tremendous country, populated by several nations. This type of Soviet power has shown its value since it has spread to Finland, a country that is different in every respect, where there are no Soviets but where there is, at any rate, a new type of power, proletarian power.[29] This is, therefore, proof of what is theoretically regarded as indisputable—that Soviet power is a new type of state without a bureaucracy, without police, without a regular army, a state in which bourgeois democracy has been replaced by a new democracy, a democracy that brings to the fore the vanguard of the working people, gives them legislative and executive authority, makes them responsible for military defence and creates state machinery that can re-educate the masses.

In Russia this has scarcely begun and has begun badly. If we are conscious of what is bad in what we have begun we shall overcome it, provided history gives anything like a decent time to work on that Soviet power. I am therefore of the opinion that a definition of the new type of state should occupy an outstanding place in our Programme. Unfortunately we had to work on our Programme in the midst of governmental work and under conditions of such great haste that we were not even able to convene our commission, to elaborate an official draft programme. What has been distributed among the delegates is only a rough sketch, and this will be obvious to everyone. A fairly large amount of space has been allotted in it to the question of Soviet power, and I think that it is here that the international significance of our Programme will make itself felt. I think it would be very wrong of us to confine the international significance of our revolution to slogans, appeals, demonstrations, manifestos, etc. That is not enough. We must show the European workers exactly what we have set about, how we have set about it, how it is to be understood; that will bring them face to face with the question of how socialism is to be achieved. They must see for themselves—the Russians have started on something worth doing; if they are setting about it badly we must do it better. For that purpose we must provide as much concrete material as possible and say what we have tried to create that is new. We have a new type of state in Soviet power; we shall try to outline its purpose and structure, we shall try to explain why this new type of democracy in which there is so much that is chaotic and irrational, to explain what makes up its living spirit—the transfer of power to the working people, the elimination of exploitation and the machinery of suppression. The state is the machinery of suppression. The exploiters must be suppressed, but they cannot be suppressed by police, they must be suppressed by the masses themselves, the machinery must be linked with the masses, must represent them as the Soviets do. They are much closer to the masses, they provide an opportunity to keep closer to the masses, they provide greater opportunities for the education of those masses. We know very well that the Russian peasant is anxious to learn; and we want him to learn, not from books, but from his own experience. Soviet power is machinery, machinery that will enable the masses to begin right away learning to govern the state and organise production on a nation-wide scale. It is a task of tremendous difficulty. It is, however, historically important that we are setting about its fulfilment, and not only from the point of view of our one country; we are calling upon European workers to help. We must give a concrete explanation of our Programme from precisely that common point of view. That is why we consider it a continuation of the road taken by the Paris Commune. That is why we are confident that the European workers will be able to help once they have entered on that path. They will do what we are doing, but do it better, and the centre of gravity will shift from the formal point of view to the concrete conditions. In the old days the demand for freedom of assembly was a particularly important one, whereas our point of view on freedom of assembly is that nobody can now prevent meetings, and Soviet power has only to provide premises for meetings. General proclamations of broad principles are important to the bourgeoisie: “All citizens have freedom to assemble, but they must assemble in the open, we shall not give them premises.” But we say: “Fewer empty phrases, and more substance.” The palaces must be expropriated—not only the Taurida Palace, but many others as well—and we say nothing about freedom of assembly. That must be extended to all other points in the democratic programme. We must be our own judges. All citizens must take part in the work of the courts and in the government of the country. It is important for us to draw literally all working people into the government of the state. It is a task of tremendous difficulty. But socialism cannot be implemented by a minority, by the Party. It can be implemented only by tens of millions when they have learned to do it themselves. We regard it as a point in our favour that we are trying to help the masses themselves set about it immediately, and not to learn to do it from books and lectures. If we state these tasks of ours clearly and definitely we shall thereby give an impetus to the discussion of the question and its practical presentation by the European masses. We are perhaps making a bad job of what has to be done, but we are urging the masses to do what they have to. If what our revolution is doing is not accidental (and we are firmly convinced that it is not), if it is not the product of a Party decision but the inevitable product of any revolution that Marx called “popular”, i.e., a revolution that the masses themselves create by their slogans, their efforts and not by a repetition of the programme of the old bourgeois republic—if we present matters in this way, we shall have achieved the most important thing. And here we come to the question of whether we should abolish the difference between the maximum and minimum programmes. Yes and no. I do not fear this abolition, because the viewpoint we held in summer should no longer exist. I said then, when we still had not taken power, that it was “too soon”, but now that we have taken power and tested it, it is not too soon.[See Revision of the Party Programmed] In place of the old Programme we must now write a new Programme of Soviet power and not in any way reject the use of bourgeois parliamentarism. It is a utopia to think that we shall not be thrown back.

It cannot be denied historically that Russia has created a Soviet Republic. We say that if ever we are thrown back, while not rejecting the use of bourgeois parliamentarism—if hostile class forces drive us to that old position—we shall aim at what has been gained by experience, at Soviet power, at the Soviet type of state, at the Paris Commune type of state. That must be expressed in the Programme. In place of the minimum programme, we shall introduce the Programme of Soviet power. A definition of the new type of state must occupy an important place in our Programme.

It is obvious that we cannot elaborate a programme at the moment. We must work out its basic premises and hand them over to a commission or to the Central Committee for the elaboration of the main theses. Or still more simply—the elaboration is possible on the basis of the resolution on the Brest-Litovsk Conference, which has already provided theses. [See here] Such a definition of Soviet power should be given on the basis of the experience of the Russian revolution, and followed by a proposal for practical reforms. I think it is here, in the historical part, that mention should be made that the expropriation of the land and of industrial enterprises has begun.[30] Here we shall present the concrete task of organising distribution, unifying the banks into one universal type and converting them into a network of state institutions covering the whole country and providing us with public book-keeping, accounting and control carried out by the population itself and forming the foundation for further socialist steps. I think that this part, being the most difficult, should be formulated as the concrete demands of our Soviet power—what we want to do at the moment, what reforms we intend to carry out in the sphere of banking policy, the organisation of production, the organisation of exchange, accountancy and control, the introduction of labour conscription, etc. When we are able to, we shall add what great or small measures or half-measures we have taken in that direction. Here we must state with absolute precision and clarity what has been begun and what has not been completed. We know full well that a large part of what has been begun has not been completed. Without any exaggeration, with full objectivity, without departing from the facts, we must state in our Programme what we have done and what we want to do. We shall show the European proletariat this truth and say, this must be done, so that they will say, such-and-such things the Russians are doing badly but we shall do them better. When this urge reaches the masses the socialist revolution will be invincible. The imperialist war is proceeding before the eyes of all people, a war that is nothing but a war of plunder. When the imperialist war exposes itself in the eyes of the world and becomes a war waged by all the imperialists against Soviet power, against socialism, it will give the proletariat of the West yet another push forward. That must be revealed, the war must be described as an alliance of the imperialists against the socialist movement . These are the general considerations that think should be shared with you, and on the basis of which I now make the practical proposal to exchange basic views on that question and then, perhaps, elaborate a few fundamental theses here on the spot, and, if that should be found difficult, give up the idea and hand the question of the Programme over to the Central Committee or to a special commission that will be instructed, on the basis of the material available and of the shorthand or secretaries’ detailed reports of the Congress, to draw up a Programme for the Party, which must immediately change its name. I am of the opinion that we can do this at the present time, and I think everybody will agree that with our Programme in the editorially unprepared state in which events found it, there is nothing else we can do. I am sure we can do this in a few weeks. We have a sufficient number of theoreticians in all the trends of our Party to obtain a programme in a few weeks. There may be much that is erroneous in it, of course, to say nothing of editorial and stylistic inaccuracies. because we have not got months in which to settle down to it with the composure that is necessary for editorial work.

We shall correct all these errors in the course of our work in the full confidence that we are giving Soviet power an opportunity to implement the programme. If we at least state precisely, without departing from reality, that Soviet power is a new type of state, a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, that we present democracy with different tasks, that we have translated the tasks of socialism from a general abstract formula—“the expropriation of the expropriators”—into such concrete formulas as the nationalisation of the banks[31] and the land, that will be an important part of the Programme.

The land question must be reshaped so that we can see in it the first steps of the small peasantry wanting to take the side of the proletariat and help the socialist revolution, see how the peasants, for all their prejudices and all their old convictions, have set themselves the practical task of the transition to socialism. This is a fact, although we shall not impose it on other countries. The peasantry have shown, not in words but by their deeds, that they wish to help and are helping the proletariat that has taken power to put socialism into effect. It is wrong to accuse us of wanting to introduce socialism by force. We shall divide up the land justly, mainly from the point of view of the small farm. In doing this we give preference to communes and big labour co-operatives.[32] We support the monopolising of the grain trade. We support, the peasantry have said, the confiscation of banks and factories. We are prepared to help the workers in implementing socialism. I think a fundamental law on the socialisation of the land should be published in all languages. This will be done, if it has not been done already.[33] That is an idea we shall state concretely in the Programme—it must be expressed theoretically without departing one single step from concretely established facts. It will be done differently in the West. Perhaps we are making mistakes, but we hope that the proletariat of the West will correct them. And we appeal to the European proletariat to help us in our work.

In this way we can work out our Programme in a few weeks, and the mistakes we make will be corrected as time goes on—we shall correct them ourselves. Those mistakes will be as light as feathers compared with the positive results that will be achieved.


[24] The question of revising the Party Programme was put forward by Lenin after the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917. In his “Rough Draft for the Fifth Letter from Afar ” he defined the basic directions in which the Programme should be changed, and added that “this work must be started at once”. Lenin developed the propositions contained in this draft in his April Theses, in his report on the question of revising the Party Programme at the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) and in other documents (see present edition, Vol. 24, pp. 277-79;. For the April Conference Lenin wrote the Proposed Amendments to the Doctrinal, Political and Other Sections of the Programme, which contained a number of amendments to the R.S.D.L.P. Programme of 1903. The proofs of this draft were handed out to delegates to the April Conference, which gave the Central Committee two months to draw up a draft Party Programme for the Sixth Party Congress.

The Sixth Congress of the R.S.D.I,.P.(B.), which sat from July 26 to August 3 (August 8-16), 1917, endorsed the decision of the April Conference on the need to revise the Programme and instruct- ed the Central Committee to organise a broad discussion on the problems involved (see The C.P.S.U. in the Resolutions and Decisions of Congresses, Conferences and Plenums of the Central Committee, Part I, Russ. ed., 1954, pp. 387-88). Before the Congress opened, in June 1917 a pamphlet prepared by Lenin on the Central Committee’s instructions and called Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme, was published; it contained all the Programme materials in the possession of the Central Committee. Almost simultaneously the Regional Bureau of the Moscow Industrial Area of the R.S.D.L.P. published “Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme. Collected Articles by V. Milyutin, G. Sokolnikov, A. Lomov and V. Smirnov”. A theoretical discussion developed within the Party in the summer and autumn of 1917. A critical analysis of the articles that had appeared in the periodical press and the Moscow collection was given by Lenin in his article “Revision of the Party Programme ”, published in October 1917, in the magazine Prosveshcheniye No. 1-2 (see present edition, Vol. 26, pp. 149-78).

After several discussions on the question of tho Party Programme, the Central Committee at a meeting on October 5 (18), 1917 set up under Lenin’s chairmanship a commission to revise the Party Programme for the next Party Congress which was due to be held in the autumn of 1917. Eventually, by a decision of the Central Committee of January 24 (February 6), 1918 the drafting of the new Programme was entrusted to a new commission also headed by Lenin. Lenin wrote the “Rough Outline of the Draft Programme”, which was handed out to the delegates to the Seventh Congress as material for discussion. The Congress did not, however, discuss the Programme in detail; the drafting of the final version was entrusted to a seven-man commission elected by the Congress. The commission was headed by Lenin. The Congress charged the commission to be guided in its revision of the Programme by the instructions laid down in Lenin’s resolution, which had been unanimously adopted by the Congress. The new, second Party Programme was passed only by the Eighth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) in March 1919.

The question of changing the name of the, Party had been raised by Lenin as early as 1914, at the beginning of the First World War (see present edition, Vol. 21, p. 93;. Lenin showed why this was necessary in his April Theses and in the pamphlet and in a number of other works and speechs in 1917. In the April Theses Lenin wrote: “Instead of ’Social-Democracy’, whose official leaders throughout the world have betrayed socialism and deserted to the bourgeoisie (the ’defencists’ and the vacillating ’Kautskyites’), we must call ourselves the Communist Party.

This question was not considered at the April Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) of 1917 or at the Sixth Party Congress. The decision to change the name of the Party was taken only at the Seventh Party Congress, at which Lenin made a report on the subject.

[25] Lenin is referring to a proposition put forward by Engels in a letter to August Bebel of March 18-28, 1875 (see Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Correspondence, 1953, p. 357).

[26] The reference is to the symposia Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme. Edited and with an Introduction by N. Lenin, Petrograd, Priboi Publishers, 1917 and Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme. Collected Articles by V. Milyutin, G. Sokolnikov, A. Lomov und V. Smirnov. Published by the Regional Bureau of the Moscow Industrial Area of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), 1917.

[27] Lenin is giving an account of Introduction to Borkheim’s Pamphlet “In Memory of the German Arch-Patriots of 1806-1807”, written by Engels on December 15, 1887 (Marx/Engels, Werke, Band 21, S. 351, Dietz Verlag, Berlin, 1962). Lenin refers more fully to Engels’s propositions in the article “Prophetic Words” (see this volume, pp. 494-99).

[28] Chemnitz Congress of the German Social-Democrats, of September 15-21, 1912, passed a resolution “On Imperialism”, in which it described the policy of the imperialist states as a “barefaced policy of robbery and aggression” and called on the working class “to fight with redoubled energy against imperialism until it is overthrown”.

Basle Extraordinary International Socialist Congress (November 24-25, 1912) unanimously adopted a manifesto calling on the workers of all countries to wage a resolute flght for peace and to “pit against the might of capitalist imperialism the international solidarity of the working class”. The manifesto recommended that if imperialist war broke out, socialists should use the economic and political crisis it would cause in the struggle for a socialist revolution.

During the world imperialist war of 1914-18 the leaders of the Social-Democratic parties in the countries of Western Europe broke the decisions of the international socialist congresses, aescended to positions of social-chauvinism and sided with their imperialist governments. Lenin exposed this betrayal by the leaders of the Second International in his works The Collapse of the Second International, and Socialism and War (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 205-65, 295-338) and elsewhere.

[29] Lenin has in mind the revolutionary government of Finland—the Council of People’s Representatives—set up on January 29, 1918 after the overthrow of Svinhufvud’s bourgeois government. In addition to the Council of People’s Representatives there was also the Main Council of Workers’ Organisations, which was the supreme organ of government. State power was based on the “seims of workers’ organisations’, which were elected by the organised workers.

Lenin’s conclusion that the Soviets were not the only form of the dictatorship of the proletariat was subsequently fully confirmed. After the Second World War a new form of dictatorship of the proletariat arose in a number of countries of Europe and Asia. This was people’s democracy, which reflected the distinctive development of socialist revolution at a time when imperialism had been weakened and the balance of forces had tilted in favour of socialism” (Programme of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Moscow, 1961, p. 20).

[30] Nationalisation of the land in Soviet Russia was brought about by the Decree on Land of October 26 (November 8), 1917, which announced the expropriation of the landed estates and abolished private ownership of land. After the victory of the October Socialist Revolution the Soviet Government gradually nationalised industry and the basic means of production. By the spring of 1918 the largest metallurgical and machine-building works of Petrograd, Moscow and other districts, and the mining industry of the Urals and the Donets Basin had become public property. In May 1918, such important branches of industry as oil and sugar began to be nationalised. At the same time the Soviet Government was preparing to nationalise all large-scale industry, and a decree to this effect was issued on June 28, 1918.

[31] The decree on the nationalisation of the banks, which was based on Lenin’s draft, was endorsed by the All-Russia Central Executive Commitlee on December 14 (27), 1917 and published on December 15 (28) in Izvestia TsIK No. 252 (see Decrees of the Soviet Government, Russ. ed., Vol. 1, 1957, pp. 225-30).

[32] The Decree on Land of October 26 (November 8). 1917 and the Fundamental Law on the Socialisation of the Land of January 18 (31), 1918 envisaged equalitarian distribution of the land (“according to a labour or subsistence standard”), a demand which had been put forward by the peasantry. This was a concession on the part of the Soviet Government to the middle peasant and it was aimed at consolidating the alliance of the working class and the peasantry. At the same time the law on the socialisation of the land proposed “the development of collective farming as the most profitable with regard to economising labour and produce, at the expense of individual farms and with the aim of going over to a socialist economy”.

[33] At the beginning of 1918 the Bureau of International Revolutionary Propaganda of the People’s Commissariat for Foreign Affairs started publishing the Decree on Land in foreign languages. In February 1918 the decree was published in Petrograd in English in the book Decrees Issued by the Revolutionary People’s Government, Vol. 1, Petrograd, February 1918.