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New Times and Old Mistakes in a New Guise

V. I. Lenin

Every specific turn in history causes some change in the form of petty-bourgeois wavering, which always occurs alongside the proletariat, and which, in one degree or an other, always penetrates its midst.

This wavering flows in two "streams": petty-bourgeois reformism, i.e., servility to the bourgeoisie covered by a cloak of sentimental democratic and "Social"-Democratic phrases and fatuous wishes; and petty-bourgeois revolutionism—menacing, blustering and boastful in words, but a mere bubble of disunity, disruption and brainlessness in deeds. This wavering will inevitably occur until the taproot of capitalism is cut. Its form is now changing owing to the change taking place in the economic policy of the Soviet government.

The leitmotif of the Mensheviks[1] is: "The Bolsheviks have reverted to capitalism; that is where they will meet their end. The revolution, including the October Revolution, has turned out to be a bourgeois revolution after all! Long live democracy! Long live reformism!" Whether this is said in the purely Menshevik spirit or in the spirit of the Socialist-Revolutionaries,[2] in the spirit of the Second International or in the spirit of the Two-and-a-Half International,[3] it amounts to the same thing.

The leitmotif of semi-anarchists like the German "Communist Workers' Party",[4] or of that section of our former Workers' Opposition[5] which has left or is becoming estranged from the Party, is: "The Bolsheviks have lost faith in the working class." The slogans they deduce from this are more or less akin to the "Kronstadt" slogans of the spring of 1921.[6]

In contrast to the whining and panic of the philistines from among reformists and of the philistines from among revolutionaries, the Marxists must weigh the alignment of actual class forces and the incontrovertible facts as soberly and as accurately as possible.

Let us recall the main stages of our revolution. The first stage: the purely political stage, so to speak, from October 25 to January 5, when the Constituent Assembly[7] was dissolved. In a matter of ten weeks we did a hundred times more to actually and completely destroy the survivals of feudalism in Russia than the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries did during the eight months they were in power—from February to October 1917. At that time, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries in Russia, and all the heroes of the Two-and-a-Half International abroad, acted as miserable accomplices of reaction. As for the anarchists, some stood aloof in perplexity, while others helped us. Was the revolution a bourgeois revolution at that time? Of course it was, insofar as our function was to complete the bourgeois democratic revolution, insofar as there was as yet no class struggle among the "peasantry".But, at the same time, we accomplished a great deal over and above the bourgeois revolution for the socialist, proletarian revolution: 1) we developed the forces of the working class for its utilisation of state power to an extent never achieved before; 2) we struck a blow that was felt all over the world against the fetishes of petty-bourgeois democracy, the Constituent Assembly and bourgeois "liberties" such as freedom of the press for the rich; 5) we created the Soviet type of state, which was a gigantic step in advance of 1795 and 1871.

The second stage: the Brest-Litovsk peace.[8] There was a riot of revolutionary phrase-mongering against peace—the semi-jingoist phrase-mongering of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, and the "Left" phrase-mongering of a certain section of the Bolsheviks. "Since you have made peace with imperialism you are doomed," argued the philistines, some in panic and some with malicious glee. But the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks made peace with imperialism as participants in the bourgeois robbery of the workers. We "made peace", surrendering to the robbers part of our property, only in order to save the workers' rule, and in order to be able to strike heavier blows at the robbers later on. At that time we heard no end of talk about our having "lost faith in the forces of the working class"; but we did not allow ourselves to be deceived by this phrase-mongering.

The third stage: the Civil War, beginning with the Czechoslovaks[9] and the Constituent Assembly crowd and ending with Wrangel,[10] from 1918 to 1920. At the beginning of the war our Red Army was non-existent. Judged as a material force, this army is even now insignificant compared with the army of any of the Entente powers. Nevertheless, we emerged victorious from the struggle against the mighty Entente. The alliance between the peasants and the workers led by proletarian rule—this achievement of epoch-making importance—was raised to an unprecedented level. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries acted as the accomplices of the monarchy overtly (as Ministers, organisers and propagandists) and covertly (the more "subtle" and despicable method adopted by the Chernovs and Martovs, who pretended to wash their hands of the affair but actually used their pens against us). The anarchists too vacillated helplessly, one section of them helping us, while another hindering us by their clamour against military discipline or by their scepticism.

The fourth stage: the Entente is compelled to cease (for how long?) its intervention and blockade. Our unprecedentedly dislocated country is just barely beginning to recover, is only just realising the full depth of its ruin, is suffering the most terrible hardships—stoppage of industry, crop failures, famine, epidemics.

We have risen to the highest and at the same time the most difficult stage of our historic struggle. Our enemy at the present moment and in the present period is not the same one that faced us yesterday. He is not the hordes of whiteguards commanded by the landowners and supported by all the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, by the whole international bourgeoisie. He is everyday economics in a small-peasant country with a ruined large-scale industry. He is the petty-bourgeois element which surrounds us like the air, and penetrates deep into the ranks of the proletariat. And the proletariat is declassed, i. e., dislodged from its class groove. The factories and mills are idle—the proletariat is weak, scattered, enfeebled. On the other hand, the petty-bourgeois element within the country is backed by the whole international bourgeoisie, which still retains its power throughout the world.

Is this not enough to make people quail, especially heroes like the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, the knights of the Two-and-a-Half International, the helpless anarchists and the lovers of "Left" phrases? "The Bolsheviks are reverting to capitalism; the Bolsheviks are done for. Their revolution, too, has not gone beyond the confines of a bourgeois revolution." We hear plenty of wails of this sort.

But we have grown accustomed to them.

We do not belittle the danger. We look it straight in the face. We say to the workers and peasants: The danger is great; more solidarity, more staunchness, more coolness; turn the pro-Menshevik and pro-Socialist-Revolutionary panic-mongers and tub-thumpers out with contempt.

The danger is great. The enemy is far stronger than we are economically, just as yesterday he was far stronger than we were militarily. We know that; and in that knowledge lies our strength. We have already done so tremendously much to purge Russia of feudalism, to develop all the forces of the workers and peasants, to promote the world-wide struggle against imperialism and to advance the international proletarian movement, which is freed from the banalities and baseness of the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals, that panicky cries no longer affect us. We have more than fully "justified" our revolutionary activity, we have shown the whole world by our deeds what proletarian revolutionism is capable of in contrast to Menshevik-Socialist Revolutionary "democracy" and cowardly reformism decked with pompous phrases.

Anyone who fears defeat on the eve of a great struggle can call himself a socialist only out of sheer mockery of the workers.

It is precisely because we are not afraid to look danger in the face that we make the best use of our forces for the struggle—we weigh the chances more dispassionately, cautiously and prudently—we make every concession that will strengthen us and break up the forces of the enemy (now even the biggest fool can see that the "Brest peace" was a concession that strengthened us and dismembered the forces of international imperialism).

The Mensheviks are shouting that the tax in kind, the freedom to trade, the granting of concessions and state capitalism signify the collapse of communism. Abroad, the ex-Communist Levi has added his voice to that of the Mensheviks. This same Levi had to be defended as long as the mistakes he had made could be explained by his reaction to some of the mistakes of the "Left" Communists, particularly in March 1921 in Germany[11]; but this same Levi cannot be defended when, instead of admitting that he is wrong, he slips into Menshevism all along the line.

To the Menshevik shouters we shall simply point out that as early as the spring of 1918 the Communists proclaimed and advocated the idea of a bloc, an alliance with state capitalism against the petty-bourgeois element. That was three years ago! In the first months of the Bolshevik victory! Even then the Bolsheviks took a sober view of things. And since then nobody has been able to challenge the correctness of our sober calculation of the available forces.

Levi, who has slipped into Menshevism, advises the Bolsheviks (whose defeat by capitalism he "forecasts" in the same way as all the philistines, democrats, Social-Democrats and others had forecast our doom if we dissolved the Constituent Assembly!) to appeal for aid to the whole working class! Because, if you please, up to now only part of the working class has been helping us!

What Levi says here remarkably coincides with what is said by those semi-anarchists and tub-thumpers, and also by certain members of the former "Workers' Opposition", who are so fond of talking large about the Bolsheviks now having "lost faith in the forces of the working class".Both the Mensheviks and those with anarchist leanings make a fetish of the concept "forces of the working class"; they are incapable of grasping its actual, concrete meaning. Instead of studying and analysing its meaning, they declaim.

The gentlemen of the Two-and-a-Half International pose as revolutionaries; but in every serious situation they prove to be counter-revolutionaries because they shrink from the violent destruction of the old state machine; they have no faith in the forces of the working class. It was not a mere catch-phrase we uttered when we said this about the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Co. Everybody knows that the October Revolution actually brought new forces, a new class, to the forefront, that the best representatives of the proletariat are now governing Russia, built up an army, led that army, set up local government, etc., are running industry, and so on. If there are some bureaucratic distortions in this administration, we do not conceal this evil; we expose it, combat it. Those who allow the struggle against the distortions of the new system to obscure its content and to cause them to forget that the working class has created and is guiding a state of the Soviet type are incapable of thinking, and are merely throwing words to the wind.

But the "forces of the working class" are not unlimited. If the flow of fresh forces from the working class is now feeble, sometimes very feeble, if, notwithstanding all our decrees, appeals and agitation, notwithstanding all our orders for "the promotion of non-Party people", the flow of forces is still feeble, then resorting to mere declamations about having "lost faith in the forces of the working class" means descending to vapid phrase-mongering.

Without a certain "respite" these new forces will not be forthcoming; they can only grow slowly; and they can grow only on the basis of restored large-scale industry (i. e., to be more precise and concrete, on the basis of electrification). They can be obtained from no other source.

After an enormous, unparalleled exertion of effort, the working class in a small-peasant, ruined country, the working class which has very largely become declassed, needs an interval of time in which to allow new forces to grow and be brought to the fore, and in which the old and worn-out forces can "recuperate".The creation of a military and state machine capable of successfully withstanding the trials of 1917-21 was a great effort, which engaged, absorbed and exhausted real "forces of the working class" (and not such as exist merely in the declamations of the tub-thumpers). One must understand this and reckon with the necessary, or rather, inevitable slackening of the rate of growth of new forces of the working class.

When the Mensheviks shout about the "Bonapartism" of the Bolsheviks (who, they claim, rely on troops and on the machinery of state against the will of "democracy"), they magnificently express the tactics of the bourgeoisie; and Milyukov, from his own standpoint, is right when he supports them, supports the "Kronstadt" (spring of 1921) slogans. The bourgeoisie quite correctly takes into consideration the fact that the real "forces of the working class" now consist of the mighty vanguard of that class (the Russian Communist Party, which—not at one stroke, but in the course of twenty-five years—won for itself by deeds the role, the name and the power of the "vanguard" of the only revolutionary class) plus the elements which have been most weakened by being declassed, and which are most susceptible to Menshevik and anarchist vacillations.

The slogan "more faith in the forces of the working class" is now being used, in fact, to increase the influence of the Mensheviks and anarchists, as was vividly proved and demonstrated by Kronstadt in the spring of 1921. Every class conscious worker should expose and send packing those who shout about our having "lost faith in the forces of the working class", because these tub-thumpers are actually the accomplices of the bourgeoisie and the landowners, who seek to weaken the proletariat for their benefit by helping to spread the influence of the Mensheviks and the anarchists.

That is the crux of the matter if we dispassionately examine what the concept "forces of the working class" really means.

Gentlemen, what are you really doing to promote non-Party people to what is the main "front" today, the economic front, for the work of economic development? That is the question that class-conscious workers should put to the tub-thumpers. That is how the tub-thumpers always can and should be exposed. That is how it can always be proved that, actually, they are not assisting but hindering economic development; that they are not assisting but hindering the proletarian revolution; that they are pursuing not proletarian, but petty-bourgeois aims; and that they are serving an alien class.

Our slogans are: Down with the tub-thumpers! Down with the unwitting accomplices of the whiteguards who are repeating the mistakes of the hapless Kronstadt mutineers of the spring of 1921! Get down to business-like, practical work that will take into account the specific features of the present situation and its tasks. We need not phrases but deeds.

A sober estimation of these specific features and of the real, not imaginary, class forces tells us:

The period of unprecedented proletarian achievements in the military, administrative and political fields has given way to a period in which the growth of new forces will be much slower; and that period did not set in by accident, it was inevitable; it was due to the operation not of persons or parties, but of objective causes. In the economic field, development is inevitably more difficult, slower, and more gradual; that arises from the very nature of the activities in this field compared with military, administrative and political activities. It follows from the specific difficulties of this work, from its being more deep-rooted, if one may so express it.

That is why we shall strive to formulate our tasks in this new, higher stage of the struggle with the greatest, with treble caution. We shall formulate them as moderately as possible. We shall make as many concessions as possible within the limits, of course, of what the proletariat can concede and yet remain the ruling class. We shall collect the moderate tax in kind as quickly as possible and allow the greatest possible scope for the development, strengthening and revival of peasant farming. We shall lease the enterprises that are not absolutely essential for us to lessees, including private capitalists and foreign concessionaires. We need a bloc, or alliance, between the proletarian state and state capitalism against the petty-bourgeois element. We must achieve this alliance skilfully, following the rule: "Measure your cloth seven times before you cut." We shall leave ourselves a smaller field of work, only what is absolutely necessary. We shall concentrate the enfeebled forces of the working class on something less, but we shall consolidate ourselves all the more and put ourselves to the test of practical experience not once or twice, but over and over again. Step by step, inch by inch—for at present the "troops" we have at our command cannot advance any other way on tbe difficult road we have to travel, in the stern conditions under which we are living, and amidst the dangers we have to face. Those who find this work "dull", "uninteresting" and "unintelligible", those who turn up their noses or become panic-stricken, or who become intoxicated with their own declamations about the absence of the "previous elation", the "previous enthusiasm", etc., had better be "relieved of their jobs" and given a back seat, so as to prevent them from causing harm; for they will not or cannot understand the specific features of the present stage, the present phase of the struggle.

Amidst the colossal ruin of the country and the exhaustion of the forces of the proletariat, by a series of almost superhuman efforts, we are tackling the most difficult job: laying the foundation for a really socialist economy, for the regular exchange of commodities (or, more correctly, exchange of products) between industry and agriculture. The enemy is still far stronger than we are; anarchic, profiteering, individual commodity exchange is undermining our efforts at every step. We clearly see the difficulties and will systematically and perseveringly overcome them. More scope for independent local enterprise; more forces to the localities; more attention to their practical experience. The working class can heal its wounds, its proletarian "class forces" can recuperate, and the confidence of the peasantry in proletarian leadership can be strengthened only as real success is achieved in restoring industry and in bringing about a regular exchange of products through the medium of the state that benefits both the peasant and the worker. And as we achieve this we shall get an influx of new forces, not as quickly as every one of us would like, perhaps, but we shall get it nevertheless.

Let us get down to work, to slower, more cautious, more persevering and persistent work!

August 20, 1921


[1] The Mensheviks were adherents to a right-wing trend in the Russian Social-Democratic movement. They received their name at the close of the Second R.S.D.L.P. Congress in August 1905, when at the elections to the Party's central organs they found themselves in the minority (menshinstvo), and the revolutionary Social-Democrats headed by Lenin won the majority (boishinstvo); hence the names Bolsheviks and Mensheviks. The Mensheviks sought to secure agreement between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. In the period of dual power after the bourgeois-democratic revolution of February 1917, when the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie as represented by the Provisional Government intertwined with the dictatorship of the proletariat and peasants as represented by the Soviets, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries accepted-posts in the Provisional Government, supported its imperialist policy and opposed the mounting proletarian revolution. In the Soviets the Mensheviks pursued the same policy of supporting the Provisional Government and diverting the masses from the revolutionary movement.

After the October Revolution, they became an openly counter-revolutionary party, organising and participating in conspiracies and revolts against Soviet power.

[2] The Socialist-Revoiutionaries were members of a peasant-orietned party in Russia, which emerged at the end of 1901 and beginning of 1902.

After the February bourgeois-democratic revolution in 1917 they were, together with the Mensheviks, the mainstay of the counter-revolutionary Provisional Government of the bourgeoisie and landowners, while their leaders held posts in that government. Far from supporting the peasants' demand for the abolition of landlordism, the Socialist-Revolutionary Party pressed for its preservation. The Socialist-Revolutionary Ministers of the Provisional Government sent punitive detachments against peasants who seized landed estates.

At the close of November 1917, the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries formed an independent party.

During the years of foreign military intervention and the Civil War the Socialist-Revolutionaries, carried on counter-revolutionary subversive activities, supported the interventionists and white guards, took part in counter-revolutionary plots and organised terrorist acts against leaders of the Soviet government and the Communist Party. After the Civil War they continued their hostile activities within the country and among whiteguard émigrés.

[3] The Two-and-a-Half International (whose official name was the International Association of Socialist Parties) was an international organisation of Centrist socialist parties and groups that had been forced out of the Second International by the revolutionary masses. It was formed at a conference in Vienna in February 1921. While criticising the Second International, the leaders of the Two-and-a-Half International pursued an opportunist, splitting policy on all key issues of the proletarian movement and sought to utilise their association to offset the growing influence of the Communists among the working-class masses.

In May 1925, the Second and Two-and-a-Half Internationals merged into the so-called Socialist Labour International.

[4] The Communist Workers Party of Cermany was formed in April 1920 by "Left" Communists, who had been expelled from the Communist Party of Germany at the Heidelberg Congress in 1919. In November 1920, in order to facilitate the unification of all communist forces in Germany and satisfy the wishes of the best proletarian elements within it, the C.W.P.G. was temporarily admitted to the Comintern with the rights of a sympathising member on the condition that it merged with the United Communist Party of Germany and supported its actions. The C.W.P.G. leadership did not fulfil the instructions of the Comintern Executive Committee. For the sake of the workers still supporting the C.W.P.G., the Third Comintern Congress decided to give it two or three months in which to convene a congress and settle the question of unification. The C.W.P.G. leadership failed to fulfil the decision of the Third Congress and continued their splitting tactics with the result that the Comintern Executive Committee was compelled to break off relations with the party. The C.W.P.G. found itself outside the Comintern and subsequently degenerated into an insignificant sectarian group that had no proletarian support whatever and was hostile to the working class of Germany.

[5] The Workers' Opposition was an anti-Party faction formed in the Russian Communist Party in 1920 by Shlyapnikov, Medvedyev, Kollontai and others. It took final shape during the debates on the role of the trade unions in 1920-21. Actually there was nothing of the working class about this opposition, which expressed the mood and aspirations of the petty bourgeoisie. It counterposed the trade unions to the Soviet Government and the Communist Party! considering them the highest form of working-class organisation.

After the Tenth Party Congress, which found the propagation of the ideas of the Workers' Opposition incompatible with membership in the Communist Party, a large number of rank-and-file members of that opposition broke away from it.

[6] This is a reference to the counter-revolutionary mutiny, which broke out in Kronstadt on February 28, 1921. Organised by Socialist-Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and whiteguards, it involved a considerable number of sailors, most of whom were raw recruits from the villages, who had little or no knowledge of politics and voiced the peasants' dissatisfaction with the requisitioning of surplus food. The economic difficulties in the country and the weakening of the Bolshevik organisation at Kronstadt facilitated the mutiny.

Hesitating to oppose the Soviet system openly, the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie adopted new tactics. With the purpose of deceiving the masses, the leaders of the revolt put forward the slogan "Soviets without Communists", hoping to remove the Communists from the leadership of the Soviets, destroy the Soviet system and restore the capitalist regime in Russia.

On March 2, the mutineers arrested the fleet command. They contacted foreign imperialists, who promised them financial and military aid. The seizure of Kronstadt by the mutineers created a direct threat to Petrograd.

Regular Red Army units commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky were sent by the Soviet Government to crush the mutiny. The Communist Party reinforced these units with more than 500 delegates of the Tenth Party Congress; all these men, with Kliment Voroshilov at their head, had had fighting experience. The mutiny was snuffed out on March 18.

[7] The elections to the Constituent Assembly were held on November 12 (25), 1917 according to lists drawn up before the October Revolution. Most of the seats were held by Right Socialist-Revolutionaries and other counter-revolutionary elements. Though it did not mirror the new alignment of forces that took shape in the country as a result of the revolution, the Communist Party and the Soviet Government felt the necessity of convening it because backward sections of the working population still believed in bourgeois parliamentarism. The Assembly opened in Petrograd on January 5 (18), 1918, but was dissolved on the next day by a decree of the All-Russia Central Executive Committee when the counter-revolutionary majority in it rejected the Declaration of Rights of the Working and Exploited People submitted by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee and refused to endorse the decrees of the Second Congress of Soviets on peace, land and the transfer of power to the Soviets. The decision to dissolve the Assembly was whole-heartedly approved by broad masses of workers, soldiers and peasants.

[8] This peace treaty was signed between Soviet Russia and the Quadruple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey) on March 5,1918. It was ratified on March 15 by the Extraordinary Fourth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The terms were extremely onerous for Soviet Russia. They gave Germany and Austria-Hungary control over Poland, almost the whole Baltic area and part of Byelorussia; the Ukraine was separated from Soviet Russia and bocame dependent upon Germany. Turkey received the towns of Kars, Batum and Ardagan.

The signing of the Brest Treaty was preceded by a vehement struggle against Trotsky and the anti-Party group of "Left Communists".The treaty was signed thanks to a huge effort on Lenin's part. It was a wise political compromise, for it gave Soviet Russia a peaceful respite and enabled her to demobilise the old disintegrating army and create the new, Red Army, start socialist construction and muster her forces for the coming struggle against internal counter-revolution and foreign intervention. This policy promoted the further intensification of the struggle for peace and the growth of revolutionary sentiments among the troops and the masses of all belligerent countries. After the monarchy in Germany was overthrown by the revolution of November 1918, the All-Russia Central Executive Committee abrogated the predatory Brest Treaty.

[9] Lenin refers to the counter-revolutionary mutiny of the Czechoslovak Corps inspired by the Entente with the connivance of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. The Corps, consisting of Czech and Slovak war prisoners, was formed in Russia before the Great October Socialist Revolution. In the summer of 1918 it had more than 60,000 mon (altogether in Russia there were about 200,000 Czech and Slovak prisoners of war). After Soviet rule was established, the financing of the Corps was undertaken by the Entente powers, who decided to use it against the Soviet Republic. Tomas Masaryk, President of the Czechoslovak National Council, proclaimed the Corps part of the French Army, and Entente representatives raised the question of evacuating it to France. The Soviet Government agreed to its evacuation on condition that the Russian soldiers in France were allowed to return home. Under an agreement signed on March 26, 1918, the Corps was given the possibility of leaving Russia via Vladivostok, provided it surrendered its weapons and removed the counter-revolutionary Russian officers from its command. But the counter-revolutionary command of the Corps perfidiously violated the agreement with the Soviet Government on the surrender of weapons and, acting on orders from the Entente imperialists, provoked an armed mutiny at the close of May. Operating in close contact with the whiteguards and kulaks, the White Czechs occupied considerable territory in the Urals, the Volga country and Siberia, everywhere restoring bourgeois rule.

On June 11, soon after the mutiny broke out, the Central Executive Committee of the Czechoslovak communist groups in Russia appealed to the soldiers of the Corps, exposing the counter-revolutionary objectives of the mutiny and calling upon the Czech and Slovak workers and peasants to end the mutiny and join the Czechoslovak units of the Red Army. Most of the Czech and Slovak war prisoners were favourably disposed to Soviet power and did not succumb to the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Corps' reactionary command. Many of the soldiers refused to fight Soviet Russia after they realised that they were being deceived. Nearly 12,000 Czechs and Slovaks joined the Red Army.

The Volga country was liberated by the Red Army in the autumn of 1918. The White Czechs were finally routed early in 1920.

[10] Wrangel—baron, tsarist general and rabid monarchist. During the foreign military intervention and Civil War he was a puppet of the British, French and U.S. imperialists. In April-November 1920 he was commander-in-chief of the whiteguard armed forces in South Russia. He fled abroad after his forces were defeated by the Trotsky's Red Army.

[11] The mistakes of the "Lefts" in the Communist Party of Germany were that they incited the working class to premature actions. The German bourgeoisie utilised these mistakes to provoke the workers into armed action at an unpropitious time. A workers' revolt broke out in Central Germany in March 1921. That revolt was not supported by the workers of other industrial regions with the result that despite a heroic struggle it was quickly crushed. For Lenin's assessment of this revolt and criticism of the mistakes of the "Lefts" see his "Speech in Defence of the Tactics of the Communist International" at the Third Comintern Congress and his "A Letter to the German Communists" (see present edition, Vol. 32, pp. 468-77 and 512-25).

Written: 20 August, 1921
First Published: Pravda No. 190, August 28, 1921;
Signed: N. Lenin;
Published according to thePravda text checked with proofs corrected by Lenin
Translated: David Skvirsky and George Hanna
Source: Lenin's Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 33, pages 21-29

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