Plan for a Lecture, “The Russian Revolution, Its Significance and Its Tasks”, Delivered at Zurich

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Lenin read his lecture, “The Russian Revolution, Its Significance and Its Tasks”, in German at a meeting of Swiss workers at People’s House in Zurich on March 27, 1917.

The basic propositions outlined in the plan for a lecture were elaborated by Lenin in his famous Letters from Afar (see present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 295–342). A brief account of the lecture appeared in the Zurich newspaper Volksrecht Nos. 77 and 78 on March 31 and April 2, 1917 (see present edition, Vol. 23, pp. 355–61).

1. Die erste Etappe der ersten Revolution.

2. Nicht die letzte Revolution, nicht die letzte Etappe.

3. In drei Tagen Sturz der monarchischen Regierung, die Jahrhunderte gedauert und schwere Kämpfe 1905–07 erlebt hat?

4. Wunder.[1]

PART I[edit source]

1. “The world has changed in three days.”

2. “A miracle.”

3. How could it be overthrown in 8 days?

Four main conditions:

4. —(I)——The revolution of 1905–07.

(((Ploughed up the soil; showed up all classes and parties; stripped and isolated Nicholas II and Co. (Rasputin).

5.— —(II)— —Collaboration of three forces in this revolution:

— —(α) Anglo-French finance capital.

6.— —(β) the whole bourgeoisie and the capitalist landowning class of Russia (and the top sections of the army).

7.— — —(γ) the revolutionary proletariat and the revolutionary section of the army, of the soldiers.

8. Three forces now:

—(αα) the tsarist monarchy; relics of the dynasty (counter-revolution in the South).

9. —(ββ) the new government and the bourgeoisie.

10. —(γγ) The Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. Peace, bread, liberty=

11. =The three main demands

|| 12. || 13. The new government cannot meet them....

14. Three lines in the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies:

15. The resolution on Kerensky,[2] etc.

16. Chkheidze’s waverings.

17. The RSDLP CC line. The CC manifesto

PART II[edit source]

18. What is to be done? Which way do we go, and how? Towards the Commune? Demonstrate this.

19. Analysis of the situation. Rapid change of situations (the day before yesterday—the greatest illegality. The call to revolutionary struggle. The struggle against social-chauvinism;

(yesterday—the maximum of revolutionary heroism in


(todaytransition, organisation....

(tomorrow—combat again.

20. Organisation—the main issue of the day.

Which? The Party? The trade unions? etc.

21. The Soviet of Workers’ Deputies. Quid est[3] Thesis No. 4.[4]

22. Our “state”.

23. The Paris Commune.... Its essence.

24. The teachings of Marx and Engels on the transitional type of state[5]:

25. Proletarian militia. What kind....

26. — They need it

27.——and we do

[[ BOX: “Don’t let them revive the police.” ]]

28. Revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry....

29. Peace? How (Gorky?)

30. —Our conditions of peace

(Thesis No. 11 in No. 47).[6]

31. A step (transition) to socialism.

32. Long live the Russian, long live the incipient worldwide proletarian revolution!

  1. 1. The first stage of the first revolution.
    2. Not the last revolution, not the last stage.
    3. The overthrow, in three days, of the monarchist government, which had been in power for centuries, and had survived the fierce battles of 1905–07.
    4. A miracle.—Ed.
  2. A reference to the decision of the Petrograd Soviet of March 2 (15), which approved, against the “protests of the minority”, Kerensky’s unauthorised entry into the bourgeois Provisional Government as Minister of Justice.
  3. What is.—Ed.
  4. For Thesis No. 4 on the Soviets of Workers’ Deputies, see Lenin’s article “Several Theses” (see present edition, Vol. 21, p. 402).
  5. The teaching of Marx and Engels on the state in the transitional period was set forth in detail in The Critique of the Gotha Programme (see Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, Moscow, 1962, pp. 32–33).
  6. For Thesis No. 11, see Lenin’s article “Several Theses”, which was published in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 47, October 13, 1915 (see present edition, Vol. 21, pp. 403–04).