Vladimir Lenin

Letter To The Presidium Of The Conference Of Proletarian Cultural And Educational Organisations[1]

Written: 17 September, 1918
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, Progress Publishers, Moscow, Volume 28, 1965, page 93
Translated (and edited): Jim Riordan
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters
Online Version: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive, 2002


Dear Comrades,

Many thanks for your good wishes, and the very best of luck in your work.

One of the chief conditions for the socialist revolution's victory is that the working class must realise it has to rule and that its rule should be carried through during the transition period from capitalism to socialism. The rule of the proletariat, the vanguard of all the working and exploited people, is essential in this transition period if classes are to be completely abolished, if the resistance of the exploiters is to be suppressed, and if the entire mass of the working and exploited people—crushed, downtrodden and disunited by capitalis—are to be united around the urban workers and brought in close alliance with them.

All our successes have been due to the workers grasping this and governing the state through their Soviets.

But the workers have not yet grasped this sufficiently and are often too timid in promoting workers to governing the state.

Fight for this, comrades! Let the proletarian cultural and educational organisations help in this. That will be a pledge of further success and the final victory of the socialist revolution.


V. Ulyanov (Lenin)


[1] Lenin wrote this letter in reply to the message of greetings sent by the Conference.

The First All-Russia Conference of Proletarian Cultural and Educational Organisations was held in Moscow from September 15-20, 1918. According to the figures supplied by the mandate commission, 330 delegates attended. Lenin's letter was read at the fifth session, on September 19. The speakers at the Conference included N. K. Krupskaya, M. N. Pokrovsky and Proletkult leaders A. A. Bogdanov, P. I. Lebedev-Polyansky, F. I. Kalinin and others.

The Conference resolutions reflected the erroneous stand of the Proletkult leaders who attempted to shirk the tasks of mass cultural and educational work, to build up a "proletarian culture" in isolation from past culture, a culture divorced from life and the people.

recalling the conditions that gave rise to the letter, Krupskaya wrote: “The Proletkult was a great influence in those days. A shortcoming of the Proletkult, in Ilyich's opinion, was that its work was insufficiently linked with the general political tasks of the struggle, that it did not do enough towards stimulating the people, promoting workers and preparing them for state administration through the medium of the Soviets. In his message of greetings to the Conference he made it a point of mentioning the political tasks that confronted the Proletkult.” (N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 483.)