Materials Relating to the Revision of the Party Programme

Proposed Amendments to the Doctrinal, Political and Other Sections of the Programme

At the end of the preamble (after the words “the standpoint of the proletariat”) insert:

World capitalism has at the present time, i.e., about the beginning of the twentieth century, reached the stage of imperialism. Imperialism, or the epoch of finance capital, is a high stage of development of the capitalist economic system, one in which monopolist associations of capitalists—syndicates, cartels, and trusts—have assumed decisive importance; in which enormously concentrated banking capital has fused with industrial capital; in which the export of capital to foreign countries has assumed vast dimensions; in which the whole world has been divided up territorially among the richer countries, and the economic carve-up of the world among international trusts has begun.

Imperialist wars, i.e., wars for world domination, for markets for banking capital and for the subjugation of small and weaker nations, are inevitable under such a state of affairs. The first great imperialist war, the war of 1914–17, is precisely such a war.

The extremely high level of development which world capitalism in general has attained, the replacement of free competition by monopoly capitalism, the fact that the banks and the capitalist associations have prepared the machinery for the social regulation of the process of production and distribution of products, the rise in the cost of living and increased oppression of the working class by the syndicates due to the growth of capitalist monopolies, the tremendous obstacles standing in the way of the proletariat’s economic and political struggle, the horrors, misery, ruin, and brutalisation caused by the imperialist war—all these factors transform the present stage of capitalist development into an era of proletarian socialist revolution.

That era has dawned.

Only a proletarian socialist revolution can lead humanity out of the impasse which imperialism and imperialist wars have created. Whatever difficulties the revolution may have to encounter, whatever possible temporary setbacks or waves of counter-revolution it may have to contend with, the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable.

Objective conditions make it the urgent task of the day to prepare the proletariat in every way for the conquest of political power in order to carry out the economic and political measures which are the sum and substance of the socialist revolution.

The fulfilment of this task, which calls for the fullest trust, the closest fraternal ties, and direct unity of revolutionary action on the part of the working class in all the advanced countries, is impossible without an immediate break in principle with the bourgeois perversion of socialism, which has gained the upper hand among the leadership of the great majority of the official Social-Democratic parties. Such a perversion is, on the one hand, the social-chauvinist trend, socialism in word and chauvinism in deed, the defence of the predatory interests of “one’s own” national bourgeoisie under the guise of “defence of the fatherland”; and, on the other hand, the equally wide international trend of the so-called “Centre”, which stands for unity with the social—chauvinists and for the preservation or correction of the bankrupt Second International, and which vacillates between social-chauvinism and the internationalist revolutionary struggle of the proletariat for the achievement of a socialist system.

In the minimum programme, the whole beginning (from the words “On the path” down to § 1) should be crossed out, and replaced by the following:

In Russia at the present moment, when the Provisional Government, which is part and parcel of the capitalist class and enjoys the confidence—necessarily unstable—of the broad mass of the petty-bourgeois population, has undertaken to convene a Constituent Assembly, the immediate duty of the party of the proletariat is to fight for a political system which will best guarantee economic progress and the rights of the people in general, and make possible the least painful transition to socialism in particular.

The party of the proletariat cannot rest content with a bourgeois parliamentary democratic republic, which throughout the world preserves and strives to perpetuate the monarchist instruments for the oppression of the masses, namely, the police, the standing army, and the privileged bureaucracy.

The party fights for a more democratic workers’ and peasants’ republic, in which the police and the standing army will be abolished and replaced by the universally armed people, by a people’s militia; all officials will be not only elective, but also subject to recall at any time upon the demand of a majority of the electors; all officials, without exception, will be paid at a rate not exceeding the average wage of a competent worker; parliamentary representative institutions will be gradually replaced by Soviets of people’s representatives (from various classes and professions, or from various localities), functioning as both legislative and executive bodies.

The constitution of the Russian democratic republic must ensure:

1. The sovereignty of the people; supreme power in the state must be vested entirely in the people’s representatives, who shall be elected by the people and be subject to recall at any time, and who shall constitute a single popular assembly, a single chamber.

2. Add:

Proportional representation at all elections; all delegates and elected officials, without exception, to be subject to recall at any time upon the decision of a majority of their electors.

3. Add:

The abolition of all State-appointed local and regional authorities.[1]

The last sentence in § 8 to be worded as follows:

The native language to be used in all local public and state institutions; the obligatory official language to be abolished.

9 to read:

The right of all member nations of the state to freely secede and form independent states. The republic of the Russian nation must attract other nations or nationalities not by force, but exclusively by voluntary agreement on the question of forming a common state. The unity and fraternal alliance of the workers of all countries are incompatible with the use of force, direct or indirect, against other nationalities.

11 to read:

Judges and other officials, both civil and military, to be elected by the people with the right to recall any of them at any time by decision of a majority of their electors.

12 to read:

The police and standing army to be replaced by the universally armed people; workers and other employees to receive regular wages from the capitalists for the time devoted to public service in the people’s militia.

After the fiscal clause of the programme (following the words “on incomes and inheritances”) insert:

The high level of development of capitalism already achieved in banking and in the trustified branches of industry, on the one hand, and the economic disruption caused by the imperialist war, everywhere evoking a demand for state and public control of the production and distribution of all staple products, on the other, induce the Party to demand the nationalisation of the banks, syndicates (trusts), etc.

The agrarian programme to be formulated thus:

The beginning (from the words “In order to do away with the relics” to the words “the Party demands”) to be retained; the continuation to be amended as follows:

1) Fights with all its strength for the immediate and complete confiscation of all landed estates in Russia (and also crown lands, church lands, etc.).

2) Stands for the immediate transfer of all land to the peasantry organised in Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies or in other organs of local self-government elected on a truly democratic basis and completely independent of the landowners and bureaucrats.

3) Demands the nationalisation of all lands in the country; nationalisation implies that all property rights in land are vested in the state, while the right of disposal of the land is vested in the local democratic institutions.

4) Encourages the initiative of those peasant committees which, in various localities of Russia, are turning over the landowners’ livestock and agricultural implements to the peasants organised in these committees for the purpose of their socially regulated utilisation in the cultivation of the land.

5) Advises the rural proletarians and semi-proletarians to strive towards turning every landed estate into a sufficiently large model farm, to be conducted on a communal basis by the local Soviet of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies under the direction of agricultural experts and with the aid of the best technical appliances.

The Party under all circumstances and whatever the conditions, etc.—to the end of the paragraph (“exploitation”).

The conclusion of the agrarian programme, from the words “The Party under all circumstances, and whatever the conditions of democratic agrarian reform may be” to the words “poverty and exploitation”, to remain unchanged.

The whole concluding part of the programme, the last two paragraphs (from the words “In the endeavour to achieve” to the end), to be entirely deleted.


[1] See Pravda No. 08, May 28, 1917, [See Lenin’s Article A Question of Principle F. Engels’s discussion [in Critique of the Social Democratic programme of 1891] of the Marxist view—and consistently democratic view in general—on the question of the appointment and endorsement of officials elected by the local population.[2]Lenin