Lenin between the revolutions: “Letters on Tactics” April 1917. More on the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry.

The text below gives further elaboration into the roots of the demand for the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry as articulated by the Bolsheviks before both the 1905  and 1917 revolutions in Russia.

This text is effectively concurrent to Lenin’s famous April Theses.

Excerpt:  Letters on Tactics  VI Lenin April 1917

Link to complete text

To be guided in one’s activities merely by the simple formula, “the bourgeois-democratic revolution is not completed”, is like taking it upon oneself to guarantee that the petty bourgeoisie is definitely capable of being independent of the bourgeoisie. To do so is to throw oneself at the given moment on the mercy of the petty bourgeoisie.

Incidentally, in connection with the “formula” of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, it is worth mentioning that, in Two Tactics (July 1905), I made a point of emphasising (Twelve Years, p. 435[16]) this:

“Like everything else in the world, the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry has a past and a future. Its past is autocracy, serfdom, monarchy, and privilege….Its future is the struggle against private property, the struggle of the wage-worker against the employer, the struggle for socialism….”[7]

Comrade Kamenev’s mistake is that even in 1917 he sees only the past of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. As a matter of fact its future has already begun, for the interests and policies of the wage-worker and the petty proprietor have actually diverged already, even in such an important question as that of “defencism”, that of the attitude towards the imperialist war.

This brings me to the second mistake in Comrade Kamenev’s argument quoted above. He criticises me, saying that my scheme “builds” on “the immediate transformation of this {bourgeois-democratic} revolution into a socialist revolution”.

This is incorrect. I not only do not “build” on the “immediate transformation” of our revolution into a socialist one, but I actually warn against it, when in Thesis No. 8, I state: “It is not our immediate task to ’introduce’ socialism…”.[8]

Is it not clear that no person who builds on the immediate transformation of our revolution into a socialist revolution could be opposed to the immediate task of introducing socialism?

Moreover, even a “commune state” (i.e., a state organised along the lines of the Paris Commune) cannot be introduced in Russia “immediately”, because to do that it would be necessary for the majority of the deputies in all (or in most) Soviets to clearly recognise all the erroneousness and harm of the tactics and policy pursued by the S.R.s, Chkheidze, Tsereteli, Steklov, etc. As for me, I declared unmistakably that in this respect I “build” only on “patient” explaining   (does one have to be patient to bring about a change which can be effected “immediately”?).

V. I.   Lenin

Letters on Tactics[9]


Written: Written between April 8 and 13 (21 and 26), 1917
Published: Published as a pamphlet in April 1917 by Priboi Publishers. Published according to the pamphlet text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 42-54.
Translated: Isaacs Bernard
Transcription\Markup: Unknown
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive 1999 (2005). 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.

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This entry was posted in Democratic tasks of the Workers Struggle, Lenin, Revolutionary Tactics and Strategy, Soviet/Bolshevik history, The Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, The Workers' and Farmer's Government and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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