V. I. Lenin

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

MARCH 6-8, 1918

Section Eleven


Proposal Concerning The Revision Of The Party Programme
March 8 (Evening)

Comrades, allow me to read the draft of a resolution which formulates a somewhat different proposal, but which in substance is somewhat similar to what the last speaker has said.[34] I request the Congress’s attention to the following resolution. (He reads it.)

Comrades, the distinguishing feature of this proposal is that I want first of all to defend my idea of accelerating the publication of the Programme and directly instruct the Central Committee to publish it or set up a special commission.

The tempo of development is so furious that we ought not to delay. In view of the difficulties of the present time, we shall have a programme in which there will be many mistakes, but that does not matter—the next Congress will correct it, even if it is a too rapid correction of the Programme; but events move so swiftly that if it is necessary to make a series of alterations to the Programme, we shall make them. Our Programme now will be constructed not so much according to the books as from practice, from the experience of Soviet power. Accordingly, I believe that it is in our interests to approach the international proletariat not with ardent appeals, not with exhortatory speeches at meetings, not with shouts, but with the precise, concrete Programme of our Party. Let the Programme be less satisfactory than one which would result from being worked on in a number of commissions and endorsed by the Congress.

I venture to hope that we shall pass this resolution unanimously because I have avoided the disagreement to which Comrade Bukharin has referred; I have formulated it in such a way as to leave the question open. We can hope that if too great changes do not occur we shall be in a position to have a new programme which will be a precise document for the All-Russia Party, and shall not be in the nasty position in which I found myself when at the last Congress one of the Left Swedes asked me: “But what is the programme of your Party—is it the same as that of the Mensheviks?”[35] You ought to have seen the expression of surprise on the face of this Swede, who fully understood how immensely far we had gone away from the Mensheviks. We cannot allow such a monstrous contradiction to remain. I think that this will be of practical benefit to the international working-class movement, and that what we shall gain will undoubtedly outweigh the fact that the programme will have mistakes.

That is why I propose that this be accelerated, without being in the least afraid of the Congress having to correct it.


[34] The “last speaker” was the delegate to the Congress for the Petrograd Party organisation Y. G. Fenigstein (Doletsky). On the grounds that the draft programme had not been discussed in the Party organisations, he proposed setting up at the Congress a commission to consider Lenin’s draft and to work out a programme for the next Congress.

[35] This appears to be a reference to a conversation with the leader of the Swedish Left Social-Democratic Party Höglund, who visited Soviet Russia in February 1918.