Both on the question of the nationalization of the banks and on that of our food policy, as well as military policy, the decisive word was said by Lenin. He alone drew up in all its details the scheme of practical measures in all these domains long before October 25. Clearness, precision; concreteness — such are the chief features in Lenin’s work, and he alone has generalised all these individual measures in his work on the State (‘State And Revolution’) which, to my mind, is the most important one after Marx’s ‘Capital’. The Soviet State has found in Lenin not only its chief political leader, practical organiser, ardent propagandist, poet and singer, but also its principal theoretician, its Karl Marx. The October revolution-insofar as even in a revolution one may, and indeed, must speak of the role played by the individual-the October revolution and the part played in connection with it by our party are to the extent of nine-tenths the work of Lenin. If anybody could bring into line all those who doubted or hesitated, it was Lenin.
I can say this for myself, that if I shall repent in my life of anything, it wil1 not be of the fifteen years that I have been working under the leadership of Comrade Lenin, but of those few October day when I thought that Lenin was too much in a hurry, was forcing events, was committing a mistake, and that I would have to oppose him. [Zinoviev together — with Kamenev — and abetted behind the scenes by Stalin — opposed the Bolshevik seizure of power in October 1917. They publicly denounced, n a non-party paper, the Bolshevik policy as ‘adventurism’. Lenin called them strike-breakers and demanded their expulsion from the party.] It is now as clear as noonday that if the working class, under Lenin’s leadership, had not seized power in time, we should, a few weeks later, have had the dictatorship of the most ruthless, most unscrupulous bourgeois rascals. (Loud and continued applause). It is known now that it had been decided to massacre all of us by the time of the convening of the Constituent Assembly, and if the generals had had more soldiers at their disposal, they would have done so. Even after October 25 the Right Social Revolutionists intended to massacre us, and one of their members, Masslov, even recruited soldiers for the purpose. He admitted very recently himself, that he had succeeded in scraping together only 5,000 champions of a very doubtful quality. There was the will, but there was not the way. Comrade Lenin calculated the moment to perfection. He did not want to delay even for a week, and knew how to raise the question to a direct issue. He wrote article after article, publicly, over his signature, in a paper which everybody could read, openly appealing for an armed rising, and fixing a definite date. And all this, while Kerensky was still in power and seemed to many to be still very strong. Lenin challenged the entire bourgeoisie and all conciliationists, telling them that tomorrow he and his friends would overthrow them. And everybody knew that on the lips of Lenin this was not an empty threat, that it would be followed by deed. This could have been done only by Lenin.
And what about those memorable days of Brest, the days of bitter disappointment! How difficult, how painfully difficult was it at that time to make a decision! I cannot even imagine what would have happened if we had not had Lenin with us at the time. Who else could have assumed this terrific responsibility of acting against the overwhelming majority of the Soviets, against a considerable portion of our party, and at one time against even a majority of the Central Committee of the party? Only Lenin could lift this burden on his shoulders, and only he could have been followed by those who were hesitating. It was Lenin who was fated to save Petrograd, Russia, our party, our revolution. Today there are but few clever persons who would attempt to ridicule Lenin’s theory of a ‘breathing spell’. It is now clear to everybody that it was the only right thing to do, to yield space to the enemies in order to gain time....
That is why the man who has accomplished such work is entitled to immortality. That is why a blow directed against him is received by everybody as a blow directed against themselves. Comrade Trotsky was right when he said in Moscow: ‘When Comrade Lenin lay cruelly wounded and struggling with death, our own lives seemed so superfluous, so unimportant....’
Comrade Lenin has been frequently compared with Marat, but fate was kinder to him than to Marat, who became dear to his people after his death. Our teacher Lenin came within hair’s breadth of death He was dear enough to our people even before the attempt, but now, after that treacherous attempt, he will become a thousand times dearer to the hearts of the working class. Marat lived still in the memory of his people a long time after his physical life had been cut, but Lenin will live long yet, not only in our minds and hearts, but also in our ranks, in order to fight with us and to carry to a triumphant conclusion the first Workers’ Socialist Revolution. (Storm of applause).
Yes, a Marat closely connected with the millions of the urban and rural proletariat. That is Lenin. Take the fanatical devotion to the people which distinguished Marat; take his integrity, his simplicity, his intimate knowledge of the soul of the people, take his elemental faith in the inexhaustible strength of the ‘lowest of the lowly’, take all this and add to it the first-class education of a Marxist, an iron will, an acute analytical mind, and you will get Lenin such as we know him now. A revolutionary Social Democrat is just a Jacobin who had tied up his fate with the most advanced class of modern times, with the proletariat such was Lenin’s reply in 1904 to the Mensheviks who were accusing him of Jacobinism. The figure of ,the proletarian ‘Jacobin’, Lenin, will yet throw into shade the glory of the most glorious of the Jacobins of the time of the Great French Revolution.
August Babel was never forgiven ,by the German bourgeoisie for having once declared in the Reichstag: ‘I hate your bourgeois order; yes, I am a deadly enemy of your entire bourgeois society.’ And the same Bebel used to say: ‘When I am praised by the bourgeoisie, I ask myself, “You old fellow, what folly have you committed to have merited the praises of these cannibals?”’ But Comrade Lenin never had to put himself such a question. He is quite guaranteed against that. He has never been praised by the bourgeoisie who had been persecuting him with a wild hatred all during the long years of his activity, and he is proud of it. At the tensest moment of struggle, Lenin is fond of repeating, as he did on the eve of the October Revolution, the poet’s words: ‘We get our approbation not in the sweet murmur of praise, but in our enemy’s wild shouts of rage.’ This is characteristic of Lenin. These words are Lenin himself. Lenin quotes poetry but seldom, but in this case he used it with good reason. The wild shouts of rage of the enemies of the working class have ever been the best music to Lenin’s ear. The greater the rage of the enemies, the more calm and assured Lenin is.
Again, Lenin is fond of comparing our revolution with a rushing railway engine. Indeed, our railway engine rushes with a dizzy swiftness, but then our driver manages the engine as no else can. His eye is sharp, and his hand is firm and will not tremble for one second even at the most dangerous culverts.
At this moment our leader is lying wounded. For several days he struggled with death, but he has vanquished it, and he still lives. This is symbolic. At one time it looked as if our revolution had been mortally wounded. It is at present coming round again, as our leader Comrade Lenin is coming round; the clouds will scatter, and we shall vanquish all our enemies. (Storm of applause.)