On the Tasks of the Proletariat at the Current Stage of the Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution
|Written||21 May 1907|
Published on July 7, 1907 in the newspaper Zihna No. 78. Printed from the newspaper text. Translated from the Latvian.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 199.2-200.1.
The draft resolution of the Second Congress of the Social-Democracy of the Latvian Territory, “On the Tasks of the Proletariat at the Current Stage of the Bourgeois-Democratic Revolution”, written by Lenin, was annexed, without debate, to the minutes of the Congress and published in No. 78 of the newspaper Zihna on July 7, 1907. The minutes of the Congress have not been preserved.
The Second Congress of the Social-Democracy of the Latvian Territory was held in London from May 21 to 25 (June 3 to 7), 1907, just after the Fifth (London) Congress of the RSDLP By then there were almost 13,000 organised Party members. The Congress was attended by 26 delegates with vote and 10 with voice only. The agenda was: 1) Reports of the Central Committee, of the Auditing Committee and local organisations. 2) Crises, lockouts and unemployment. 3) On the tasks of the proletariat at the present moment of the bourgeois-democratic revolution. 4) On agitation in the army. 5) On the trade unions. 6) On propaganda and agitation. 7) Organisational questions, etc. The agrarian question had been removed from the agenda, evidence of the erroneous attitude of the Latvian Social-Democrats.
At the Congress there was a sharp struggle between the revolutionary Social-Democrats and the opportunists, especially on the CC report.
Lenin took an active part in the work of the Congress. At the afternoon sitting on May 24 (June 6), 1007, he gave a report on the tasks of the proletariat at the present moment of the bourgeois-democratic revolution (there is a very bad record of the report—a retranslation from the Latvian into Russian made at the Police Department). The Congress showed that Bolshevism had won strong positions in Latvia: it adopted Bolshevik decisions on the question of the trade unions, unemployment, and democratic and military organisations.
The Congress elected a new Central Committee, consisting in the main of revolutionary Social-Democrats, and authorised the CC to publish a manifesto “To the Latvian Proletariat”, drawn up in the Bolshevik spirit.
Zihna (Cina) (Struggle)—the Central Organ of the Latvian Social-Democrats, founded in March 1904. It was published illegally in Riga at big intervals until August 1909, and then abroad. On the occasion of its hundredth issue in 1910, it carried an article by Lenin, “The Jubilee Number of Zihna”, giving a high appraisal of the revolutionary activity of the Latvian Social-Democrats (see present edition, Vol. 16, pp. 260–64). The paper also carried a number of Party documents written by Lenin. Among its constant and active contributors were P. I. Stučka, one of the organisers of the Communist Party of Latvia, and the popular poet J. Rainis.
From April 1917, the newspaper was published legally in Petrograd, Riga and elsewhere, and from August 1919, when the counter-revolution temporarily won out in Latvia, it was again published illegally in Riga. After the establishment of the Soviet power in June 1940, the paper became the organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Latvia and the Supreme Soviet of the Latvian Republic. p. 199
1) that because of the drawn-out economic crisis through which Russia is now going, and in connection with the extreme intensification of government reaction, there is a marked sharpening of class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and also a deepening and extension of the peasants’ struggle against the old system;
2) that this last year of the revolution has been marked by a rapid growth of the political awareness of all classes, a strengthening of the wing parties, a decline of constitutional illusions, a weakening of the “centre”, i.e., the liberal parties, striving to stop the revolution by means of concessions acceptable to the Black-Hundred landowners and the autocracy;
3) that the class interests of the proletariat in the bourgeois revolution demand the creation of conditions which would open up the possibility for the broadest struggle against the propertied classes, for socialism;
4) that the only way to create these conditions is to win a democratic republic, full popular power and the minimum of social and economic demands necessary for the proletariat (8–hour working day and other demands of the Social-Democratic minimum programme);
5) that the proletariat alone is capable of carrying the democratic revolution to the end, provided that, as the only consistently revolutionary class in contemporary society, it leads the mass of peasants in a relentless struggle against the landowners’ estates and the serf-owning state,
the Congress recognises:
a) that the main task of the proletariat at the current historical moment is to carry the democratic revolution in Russia forward to the end;
b) that any minimisation of this task inevitably results in the working class being transformed from the leader of the people’s revolution carrying with it the mass of the democratic peasantry, into a passive participant in the revolution tailing behind the liberal bourgeoisie;
c) that while supporting the implementation of this task with all its strength, the Social-Democratic Party should never lose sight of the proletariat’s independent, socialist aims.