Classic Podium: Our ten revolutionary tasks

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin's `Tasks for the Proletariat in the Present Revolution', or `April Theses', delivered to an audience of Bolsheviks in St Petersburg

(4 APRIL, 1917)

ONE: THE class-conscious proletariat can give its consent to a revolutionary war only on condition that a complete break be effected in actual fact with all capitalist interests.

In view of the undoubted honesty of those broad sections of the mass believers in revolutionary defencism, who accept the war only as a necessity, and not as a means of conquest; in view of the fact that they are being deceived by the bourgeoisie, it is necessary, with particular thoroughness, persistence and patience, to explain their error to them, to explain the inseparable connection existing between capital and the imperialist war, and to prove that, without overthrowing capital, it is impossible to end the war by a truly democratic peace, a peace not imposed by violence.

Two: The specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that the country is passing from the first stage of the revolution - which, owing to the insufficient class-consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie - to its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat and the poorest sections of the peasants.

This transition is characterised, on the one hand, by a maximum of legally recognised rights; on the other, by the absence of violence towards the masses, and, finally, by their unreasoning trust in the government of capitalists, those worst enemies of peace and socialism.

Three: No support for the Provisional Government; the utter falsity of all its promises should be made clear, particularly of those relating to the renunciation of annexations.

Four: Recognition of the fact that in most of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies our Party is in a minority; so far a small minority, as against a bloc of all the petty-bourgeois opportunist elements, from the Popular Socialists and the Socialist-Revolutionaries down, who have yielded to the influence of the bourgeoisie and spread that influence among the proletariat.

The masses must be made to see that the Soviets of Workers' Deputies are the only possible form of revolutionary government, and that therefore our task is, as long as this government yields to the influence of the bourgeoisie, to present a patient, systematic, and persistent explanation of the errors of their tactics, an explanation especially adapted to the practical needs of the masses.

As long as we are in the minority, we carry on the work of criticising and exposing errors and, at the same time, we preach the necessity of transferring the entire state power to the Soviets of Workers' Deputies, so that the people may overcome their mistakes by experience.

Five: Not a parliamentary republic, to return to a parliamentary republic from the Soviets of Workers' Deputies would be a retrograde step, but a republic of Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies throughout the country, from top to bottom.

Six: Abolition of the police, the army and the bureaucracy, the standing army to be replaced by the arming of the whole people. The salaries of all officials, all of whom are elective and displaceable at any time, not to exceed the average wage of a competent worker.

Six: The nationalisation of all the lands in the country, the land to be disposed of by the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies. The organisation of separate Soviets of Deputies of Poor Peasants. And the setting up of a model farm on each of the large estates under the control of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies, and for the public account.

Seven: The immediate amalgamation of all banks in the country into a single national bank, and the institution of control over it by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies.

Eight: It is not our immediate task to "introduce" socialism, but only to bring social production and the distribution of products at once under the control of the Soviets of Workers' Deputies.

Nine: Alteration of the Party Programme, mainly on our attitude towards the state and our demand for a "commune state".

Ten: We must take the initiative in creating a revolutionary International, an International against the social-chauvinists and against the "Centre".