The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party)


5. The main feature of our revolution, a feature that most imperatively demands thoughtful consideration, is the dual power which arose in the very first days after the triumph of the revolution.

This dual power is evident in the existence of twogovernments: one is the main, the real, the actual government of the bourgeoisie, the “Provisional Government” of Lvov and Co., which holds in its hands all the organs of power; the other is a supplementary and parallel government, a “controlling” government in the shape of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, which holds no organs of state power, but directly rests on the support of an obvious and indisputable majority of the people, on the armed workers and soldiers.

The class origin and the class significance of this dual power is the following: the Russian revolution of March 1917 not only swept away the whole tsarist monarchy, not only transferred the entire power to the bourgeoisie, but also moved close towards a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. The Petrograd and the other, the local, Soviets constitute precisely such a dictatorship (that is, a power resting not on the law but directly on the force of armed masses of the population), a dictatorship precisely of the above-mentioned classes.

6. The second highly important feature of the Russian revolution is the fact that the Petrograd Soviet of Soldiers’ and Workers’ Deputies, which, as everything goes to show, enjoys the confidence of most of the local Soviets, is voluntarilytransferring state power to the bourgeoisie and itsProvisional Government, is voluntarily cedingsupremacy to the latter, having entered into an agreement to support it, and is limiting its own role to that of an observer, a supervisor of the convocation of the Constituent Assembly (the date for which has not even been announced as yet by the Provisional Government).

This remarkable feature, unparalleled in history in such a form, has led to the interlocking of twodictatorships: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (for the government of Lvov and Co. is a dictatorship, i.e., a power based not on the law, not on the previously expressed will of the people, but on seizure by force, accomplished by a definite class, namely, the bourgeoisie) and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry (the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies).

There is not the slightest doubt that such an “interlocking” cannot last long. Two powers cannot existin a state. One of them is bound to pass away; and the entire Russian bourgeoisie is already trying its hardest everywhere and in every way to keep out and weaken the Soviets, to reduce them to nought, and to establish the undivided power of the bourgeoisie.

The dual power merely expresses a transitionalphase in the revolution’s development, when it has gone farther than the ordinary bourgeois-democratic revolution, but has not yet reacheda “pure” dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.

The class significance (and the class explanation) of this transitional and unstable situation is this: like all revolutions, our revolution required the greatest heroism and self-sacrifice on the part of the people for the struggle against tsarism; it also immediately drewunprecedentedly vast numbers of ordinary citizens into the movement.

From the point of view of science and practical politics, one of the chief symptoms of everyreal revolution is the unusually rapid, sudden, and abrupt increase in the number of “ordinary citizens” who begin to participate actively, independently and effectively in political life and in the organisation of the state.

Such is the case in Russia. Russia at present is seething. Millions and tens of millions of people, who had been politically dormant for ten years and politically crushed by the terrible oppression of tsarism and by inhuman toil for the landowners and capitalists, have awakened and taken eagerlyto politics. And who are these millions and tens of millions? For the most part small proprietors, petty bourgeois, people standing midway between the capitalists and the wage-workers Russia is the most petty-bourgeois of all European countries.

A gigantic petty-bourgeois wave has swept over everything and overwhelmed the class-conscious proletariat, not only by force of numbers but also ideologically; that is, it has infected and imbued very wide circles of workers with the petty-bourgeois political outlook.

The petty bourgeoisie are in real life dependent upon the bourgeoisie, for they live like masters and not like proletarians (from the point of view of their placein social production ) and follow the bourgeoisie in their outlook.

An attitude of unreasoning trust in the capitalists—the worst foes of peace and socialism—characterises the politics of the popular massesin Russia at the present moment; this is the fruit that has grownwith revolutionary rapidity on the social and economic soil of the most petty-bourgeois of all European countries. This is the classbasis for the “agreement” between the Provisional Government and the Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies (I emphasise that I am referring not so much to the formal agreement as to actual support, a tacit agreement, the surrender of power inspired by unreasoning trust), an agreement which has given the Guchkovs a fat piece—real power—and the Soviet merely promises and honours (for the time being), flattery, phrases, assurances, and the bowings and scrapings of the Kerenskys.

On the other side we have the inadequate numerical strength of the proletariat in Russia and its insufficient class-consciousness and organisation.

All the Narodnik parties, including the Socialist-Revolutionaries, have always been petty-bourgeois. This is also true of the party of the Organising Committee (Chkheidze, Tsereteli, etc.). The non-party revolutionaries (Steklov and others) have similarly yielded to the tide, or have not been able to stand up to it, have not had the time to do it.