Written: Written not later than March 20, 1919
Published: First published on April 22, 1956 in Pravda No. 113. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 505.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive. You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source. • README
Bourgeois democracy confined itself to proclaiming formal rights equally applicable to all citizens, e.g., the right of assembly, of association, of the press. At best all legislative restrictions on these points were abolished in the most democratic bourgeois republics. But, in reality, both administrative practices and particularly the economic bondage of the working people always made it impossible for them, under bourgeois democracy, to make any wide use of these rights and liberties.
By contrast, proletarian or Soviet democracy, instead of the formal proclamation of rights and liberties, guarantees them in practice first and foremost to those classes of the population who were oppressed by capitalism, i.e., the proletariat and the peasantry. For this purpose, the Soviet power expropriates from the bourgeoisie premises, printing presses and stocks of paper, and places them at the entire disposal of the working people and their organisations.
The task of the Russian Communist Party is to draw ever wider masses of working people into the exercise of their democratic rights and liberties, and to extend the material possibilities for this.