Vladimir Lenin

Speeches At A Meeting Of The Moscow Party Committee On Organising Groups Of Sympathisers

August 16, 1918[1]


Delivered: 16 August, 1918.
First Published: 22 January, 1928 in Pravda No. 19; Published according to the handwritten copy of the minutes
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1965, pages 59-60
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive, 2002


We are experiencing a great shortage of forces, yet forces are to be had among the people, forces that can be utilised. Greater confidence must be shown in the working people and we must learn to draw forces from their midst. This can be done by enlisting sympathisers among the young people and the trade unions into the Party. Never mind if their membership dues are in arrears-there is no danger in that. There is no great danger in assigning six thousand for the front and taking on twelve thousand others in their place. We must utilise our moral influence to enlarge our Party.

All too few new people get up and speak at our meetings, yet we want new people because there would be a live note in their speeches. We should organise this in some way or other. The young people must be taken from among the workers so that there is control by the workers. The exigencies of the situation demand that large numbers of Party members be sent to the front, before the Japanese and the Americans can consolidate their position in Siberia. These old forces must be replaced by new forces, by young people.


Party members must carry on energetic agitation among the workers. Comrades who are capable of doing anything at all must not be kept in office jobs.

We must broaden our sphere of influence among the workers. The nuclei are displaying too little initiative; their activities could be very useful in influencing non-Party people on the spot. Attention should be paid to the clubs, Party workers recruited from the masses.

We must not accept people who try to join from careerist motives; people like this should be driven out of the Party.


[1] The meeting of the Moscow Committee of the R.C.P.(B.) discussed the question of setting up groups of sympathisers, which had been raised by Lenin. This was dictated by the need to enlist new forces for the Party from among the advanced and politically-conscious working people. Lenin spoke twice during the debate. On Lenin's suggestion it was decided to start creating the groups and to work out rules of organisation.

On August 22, Pravda and Izvestia published the rules approved by the Executive Commission of the Moscow Committee of the R.C.P.(B.). The rules set out the procedure for admittance and the rights and duties of members of the groups. On August 31, the rules were ratified at the Moscow City Conference of the R.C.P.(B.) which by an overwhelming majority declared itself in favour of setting up the groups. This step strengthened the ties between the Party and the masses and drew broad sections of the working people into political life. Later on, the groups of sympathisers developed into the system of candidature for Party membership.