4. The Tactics of the Social-Democrats in the State Duma
V. I. Lenin
1. The correctness of the tactics of boycotting the State Duma, which helped the masses to make a proper appraisal of the impotence and lack of independence of this institution, was fully confirmed by the farcical legislative activities of the First State Duma and by its dissolution;
2. however, the counter-revolutionary behaviour of the bourgeoisie and the compromising tactics of the Russian liberals prevented the immediate success of the boycott and compelled the proletariat to accept battle with the landlord and bourgeois counter-revolution, using the arena of the Duma campaign as well;
3. the Social-Democrats must wage this struggle, out side the Duma and within the Duma, to develop the class-consciousness of the proletariat, strengthen and expand its organisation, further expose constitutional illusions in the eyes of the people, and promote the development of the revolution;
4. the Social-Democrats' immediate political tasks in the forthcoming Duma campaign are: (1) to make clear to the people the complete unfitness of the Duma as a means of realising the demands of the proletariat and of the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie, especially of the peasantry; (2) to make clear to the people the impossibility of achieving political freedom by parliamentary means as long as real power remains in the hands of the tsarist government; to make clear the necessity of insurrection, of a provisional revolutionary government, and of a constituent assembly elected on the basis of universal, direct and equal suffrage and a secret ballot;
5. to carry out its fundamental socialist, as well as immediate political, tasks, the Social-Democratic Party, as the class party of the proletariat, must remain absolutely independent, must form a Social-Democratic group in the Duma, and should under no circumstances merge its slogans or tactics with those of any other oppositional or revolutionary party;
6. with particular reference to the activities of the revolutionary Social-Democrats in the Duma, the following questions, which are being raised by the whole course of political life at the present moment, must be clarified:
(1) as one of our Party organisations, the Social-Democratic group in the Duma should see its primary function in carrying on work of criticism, propaganda, agitation and organisation. This, and not immediate “legislative” objectives, should be the purpose of the bills the Social-Democratic group will introduce in the Duma, particularly on such questions as improving the standard of living, securing freedom for the class struggle of the proletariat, overthrowing the feudal yoke of the landlords in tile rural districts, giving aid to the starving peasants, combating unemployment, releasing the sailors and soldiers from the slave conditions at army barracks, etc.;
(2) the tsarist government will certainly not surrender its positions until the decisive victory of the revolutionary people has been achieved and, consequently, a conflict between the Duma and the government is inevitable what ever tactics the Duma pursues, other than treacherous sacrifice of the people's interests to the Black Hundreds; the Social-Democratic group and the Social-Democratic Party, taking into consideration only the course of the revolutionary crisis that is developing outside of the Duma as a consequence of objective conditions, must, therefore, neither promote premature conflicts nor artificially avert or postpone a conflict by modifying their slogans, for this would only discredit the Social-Democrats in the eyes of the masses and cut them off from the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat;
(3) exposing the bourgeois nature of all the non-proletarian parties and opposing all their Duma bills, etc., with their own, the Social-Democrats must constantly fight against Cadet leadership in the movement for freedom, and compelthe democratic petty bourgeoisie to choose between thehypocritical democracy of the Cadets and the consistentdemocracy of the proletariat.
Written: Written on February 15-18 (February 28-March 3), 1907|
Published: Published in Proletary, No. 14, March 4, 1907.
Published according to the newspaper text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962, Moscow, Volume 12, pages 133-144.
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