V. I. Lenin

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

MARCH 6-8, 1918

Section Fourteen


Speech Against Pelshe’s Amendment To The Resolution On The Party Programme
March 8 (Evening)

I think that the last speaker is wrong.[37] The masses are not children and they understand that the struggle is extremely serious. They saw how we were thrown back previously, for example in July. It is impossible to delete these words. We ought not in any way to give the impression that we attach absolutely no value to bourgeois parliamentary institutions. They are a huge advance on what preceded them. By rejecting these words we create an impression of something that does not yet exist—of the absolute stability of the stage achieved. We know that this is not so yet. It will be so when the international movement gives its support I am ready to delete the words “under no circumstances” it is possible to leave the words “the Party will not reject the use”, but we cannot leave the way open for a purely anarchist denial of bourgeois parliamentarism. These are stages directly linked one with another, and any repulse can throw us back to that stage. I do not consider that this would cause the masses to be despondent. If by the masses we mean people who are politically quite uneducated—they will not understand, but the Party members and sympathisers will understand, they will realise that we do not regard the positions won as definitely consolidated. If by a gigantic effort of will we arouse the energy of all classes, and consolidate this position, then we shall cease to recall the past But that requires the support of Europe. But to say now that we may work under worse circumstances will not result in any despondency among the masses.


[37] The “last speaker” was R. A. Pelshe, who proposed removing from the Party Programme the proposition on using the parliamentary struggle. His amendment was rejected by the Congress.