Women and Marxism - Lenin

Draft Programme of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party


Written: late January-early February 1902.
Source: The Emancipation of Women: From the Writings of V.I. Lenin.
Publisher: International Publishers.
Transcribed and HTML Markup: Sally Ryan.


XIII. The tsarist autocracy is the most outstanding of these remnants of the serf-owning system and the most formidable bulwark of all this barbarism. It is the bitterest and most dangerous enemy of the proletarian emancipation movement and the cultural development of the entire people.

For these reasons the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party advances as its immediate political task the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy and its replacement by a republic based on a democratic constitution that would ensure:

1) the people's sovereignty, i.e., concentration of supreme state power in the hands of a legislative assembly consisting of representatives of the people;

2) universal, equal, and direct suffrage, both in elections to the legislative assembly and in elections to all local organs of self-government, for every citizen who has reached the age of twenty-one; the secret ballot at all elections; the right of every voter to be elected to any of the representative assemblies; remuneration for representatives of the people;

3) inviolability of the person and domicile of citizens;

4) unrestricted freedom of conscience, speech, the press and of assembly, the right to strike and to organise unions;

5) freedom of movement and occupation;

6) abolition of social-estates; full equality for all citizens, irrespective of sex, religion or race;

7) recognition of the right to self-determination for all nations forming part of the state;

8) the right of every citizen to prosecute any official, without previously complaining to the latter's superiors;

9) general arming of the people instead of maintaining a standing army;

10) separation of the church from the state and of the school from the church;

11) universal, free, and compulsory education up to the age of sixteen; state provision of food, clothing, and school supplies to needy children.

To protect the working class and to raise its fighting capacity the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party demands:

1) that the working day be limited to eight hours for all wage-workers;

2) that a weekly rest period of not less than thirty-sis consecutive hours for wage-workers of both sexes employed in all branches of the national economy be established by law;

3) that all overtime be prohibited;

4) that night-work (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m) in all branches of the national economy be prohibited, with the exception of those branches in which it is essential for technical reasons;

5) that employers be forbidden to employ children under the age of fifteen;

6) that female labour be forbidden in industries specifically injurious to the health of women;

7) that the law establish employers' civil liability for workers' complete or partial disability caused by accidents or by harmful working conditions; that the worker should not be required to prove his employer's responsibility for disability;

8) that payment of wages in kind be prohibited;

9) that state pensions be paid to aged workers, who have become incapacitated;

10) that the number of factory inspectors be increased; that female inspectors be appointed in industries in which female labour predominates; that observance of the factory laws be supervised by representatives elected by the workers and paid by the state; piece rates and rejection of work done should also be supervised by elected representatives of the workers;

11) that local self-government bodies, in co-operation with elected representatives of the workers, supervise sanitary conditions in living quarters provided for workers by employers, and also see to the observance of rules operating in such living quarters and the terms on which they are leased, with the object of protecting the wage-workers from employers' interference in their lives and activities as private persons and citizens;

12) that a properly organised and comprehensive system of sanitary inspection be instituted to supervise working conditions at all enterprises employing wage-labour;

13) that the Factory Inspectorate's activities be extended to artisan, home, and handicraft industries, and to state-owned enterprises;

14) that any breach of the labour protection laws be punishable by law;

15) that employers be forbidden to make any deductions from wages, on any grounds or for any purpose whatsoever (fines, rejections, etc.);

16) that factory courts be set up in all branches of the national economy, with equal representation of workers and employers.