This is the second part of a study of the development of revisionism in Russia, and covers the period from the outbreak of World War I in 1914 to the victory of the socialist revolution in November 1917.

Later reports will cover the further development of Russia from 1917 onwards.
Printed and published by: comrade BC, for the COMMUUNIST LEAGUE.

The aim of the Communist League is to establish a Marxist-Leninist Party in Britain free of all revisionist trends.
Part One of 'Revisionism in Russia" (to 1914), in COMPASS of April 1975

Part Two: 1914 to 1917

In August 1914,  the First Imperialist War began.

Almost from the outset, three trends manifested themselves in the labour movements of the belligerent countries:

'In the course of the two and half years of war the international Socialist and labour movement in every country has evolved three tendencies.
The three tendencies are:
1) The social-chauvinists, i.e., Socialists in words and chauvinists in action, people who are in favour of 'national defence' in an imperialist war. . .
These people are our class enemies. They have gone over to the bourgeoisie. .
2) The second tendency is what is known as the 'Centre', consisting of people who vacillate between the social-chauvinists and the true internationalists.
All those who belong to the 'Centre' swear that they are Marxists and internationalists, that they are in favour of peace, of bringing every kind of 'pressure' to bear upon the governments, of 'demanding' that their own governments should 'ascertain' the will of the people for peace', that they favour all sorts of peace campaigns, that they are for a peace without annexations, etc., etc. -- and for peace with the social-chauvinists.
The 'Centre' is for 'unity', the 'Centre' is opposed to a split.
The 'Centre' is a realm of honeyed petty-bourgeois phrases of internationalism in word and cowardly opportunism and fawning on the social-chauvinists in deed.
The fact of the matter is that the 'Centre' does not preach revolution; it does not carry on a wholehearted revolutionary struggle; and in order to evade such a struggle it resorts to the tritest ultra-'Marxist' excuses. . . . .
3) The third tendency, the true internationalists, is most closely represented by the 'Zimmerwald Left' . . . .
It is characterised mainly by its complete break with both social-chauvinism and 'Centrism', and by its relentless war against its own imperialist government and against its own imperialist bourgeoisie".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution" in: "Selected Works', Volume 6; London; l946; p. 63, 64, 65-66).   Trotsky's "The War and the International"
On the outbreak of war, Trotsky was forced to leave Vienna and for two months he settled in Zurich, where he wrote "The War and the International', which was published in November in "Golos" (The Voice), a Menshevik paper published in Paris.

In this work Trotsky put forward the view that "the main obstacle to economic development' was the existence the national state":

"The old national state .. has outlived itself, and is now an intolerable hindrance to economic development. . . .
The outlived and antiquated national 'fatherland' has become the main obstacle to economic development . . . .
The national states have become a hindrance to the development of the forces of production".
(L. Trotsky: Preface to "The War and the International"; London; 1971; p. vii, x, xii).
Thus, declared Trotsky, the aim of the working class should be the creation of a 'republican United States of Europe": "The task of the proletariat is to create a far more powerful fatherland, with far greater power of resistance the republican United States of Europe". Lenin at first (in one document only) accepted the slogan of a "United States of Europe": "The immediate political slogan of the Social-Democrats of Europe must be the formation of a republican United States of Europe".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The War and Russian Social-Democracy' in: "Selected Works;' Volume 5; Moscow; 1935; p. 129).
By August 1915, however, the Bolsheviks, on Lenin's initiative had decisively rejected this slogan, firstly, because it could, under capitalist society, only be reactionary: "From the point of view of the economic conditions of imperialism, . . the United States of Europe is either impossible or reactionary under capitalism.  A United States of Europe under capitalism is equivalent to an agreement to divide up the colonies. Under capitalism, however, . . no other principle of division . . . . is possible except force. . . Division cannot take place except 'in proportion to strength', And strength changes in the course of economic development.
Of course, temporary agreements between capitalists and between the powers are possible. In this sense, the United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the European capitalists. . but what for? Only for the purpose of jointly suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty against Japan and America. . . Under capitalism, the United States of Europe would mean the organisation of reaction to retard the more rapid development of America".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The United States of Europe Slogan', in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London 1935; p. 139, 140, l41).
and secondly because if regarded as a socialist slogan, it suggests that_the victory of socialism was possible only on an all European scale: "Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is possible, first in a few or even in one single capitalist country".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p.141).

Lenin concludes:

"It is for those reasons and after repeated debates that the editors of the central organ have come to the conclusion that the United States of Europe slogan is incorrect'".
(V.I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 141).

That Trotsky did, in fact, link the Slogan of "a United States of Europe" with the concept, inherent in his "theory of permanent revolution", that proletarian revolution could only be successful an an international scale, is shown by his reply to Lenin's article: "The only more or less concrete historical argument advanced against the slogan of a United States of Europe was formulated in the Swiss 'Sotsial-Demokrat' in the following sentence:
    'Uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism'.
From this the 'Sotsial-Domokrat' draws the conclusion that the victory of socialism is possible in one country, and that therefore there is no reason to make the dictatorship of the proletariat in each separate country contingent upon the establishment of a United States of Europe. That capitalist development in different countries is uneven is an absolutely incontrovertible argument. But this unevenness is itself extremely uneven. The capitalist level of Britain, Austria, Germany or France is not identical. But in comparison with Africa and Asia all these countries represent capitalist 'Europe', which has grown ripe for the social revolution. That no country in its struggle must 'wait' for others, is an elementary thought which it is useful and necessary to reiterate in order that he idea of concurrent international action may not be replaced by the idea of temporising international inaction.
Without waiting for the others, we begin and continue the struggle nationally, in the full confidence that our initiative will give an impetus to the struggle in other countries; but if this should not occur, it would be hopeless to think -- as historical experience and theoretical considerations testify -- that, for example, a revolutionary Russia could hold out in the face of a conservative Europe".

(L. Trotsky: Article in "Nashe Slovo" (Our Word), No. 87; April 12th., 1916, cited in: J. V. Stalin: "The October Revolution and the Tactics of the Russian Communists", in: 'Works", Volume 6; Moscow; 1953; p. 390-1).

In the autumn of 1916 Lenin reiterated his opposition to Trotsky's slogan of a United States of Europe: "As early as 1902, he (i.e., the British economist John Hobson -- Ed.) had an excellent insight into the meaning and significance of a 'United States of Europe'' (be it said for the benefit of Trotsky the Kautskyian!) and of all that is now being glossed over by the hypocritical Kautskians of various countries, namely, that the  opportunists (social-chauvinists) are working hand in hand with the imperialist bourgeoisie precisely towards creating an imperialist Europe on the backs of Asia and Africa".
(V. I. Lenin: 'Imperialism and the Split in Socialism", in: "Selected Works", Volume 11; London; l943; p. 752).
Trotsky, however, continued -- even after the Russian October Revolution of 1917 -- to hold that the construction of socialism in Europe was possible only on an all-European basis. In the postscript to a collection of articles published in 1922 under the title of  "A Peace Programme", he wrote: "The assertion reiterated several times in the 'Peace Programme' that a proletarian revolution cannot culminate victoriously within national bounds may perhaps seem to some readers to have been refuted by the nearly five years' experience of our Soviet Republic. But such a conclusion would be unwarranted. . . We have not arrived, or even begun to arrive, at tho creation of a socialist society. . . Real progress of a socialist economy in Russia will become possible only after the victory of the proletariat in the major European countries." (L. Trotsky: Postscript to 'A Peace Programme , cited by: J. V. Stalin: "The Social-Democratic Deviation in our Party; in: "Works", Volume 8; Moscow; l954; p. 271-2).

"Our Word"

In November l914, Trotsky left Switzerland for Paris to take up the post of war correspondent of the newspaper "Kievskaya Mysl" (Kievan Thought), which supported the war effort of the tsarist government.

Settled in Paris, he joined the editorial staff of "Golos" (The Voice) , a newspaper published by a group of Mensheviks headed by Yuli Martov who, unlike the official Menshevik leadership which supported the war effort of the tsarist government, had adopted an attitude of verbal opposition to the war without seeking to organise active revolutionary struggle against the tsarist regime. "Golos" had commenced publication in September l914, and, when it was suppressed by the French government in January 1915, it was replaced by "Nashe Slovo" (Our Word), on the editorial staff of which Trotsky continued to serve.

The chief organiser of the paper was Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko (a former tsarist officer who after the October Revolution became Director of the Political Administration of the Red Army) . Its Paris staff included, in addition to Trotsky, Anatoly Lunacharsky (who later became Commissar for Education), David Ryazanov (later director of the Marx-Engels Institute), Solomon Lozovsky (later head of the Red International of Labour Unions), Dmitri Manuilsky (later head of the Communist International) Grigori Sokolnikov (later Commissar for Finance), and the historian Mikhail Pokrovsky (later director of the Soviet State Archives). Its foreign correspondents included Grigori Chicherin (later Commissar for Foreign Affairs), Aleksandra Kollontai (later Commissar of Social Welfare),  Karl Radek (later to hold a leading position in the Communist International), Moissei Uritsky, Khristian Rakovsky (the son of a Bulgarian landlord, later to become Prime Minister of the Soviet Ukraine), Ivan Maisky (later Soviet Ambassador to Britain), and the Anglo-Russian historian Theodore Rothstein (later Soviet Ambassador to Persia)

1915 - 1916: The Three Trends in the Russian Labour Novement The three trends described in an earlier section were represented in the Russian labour movement as follows: 1) The social-chauvinist trend was represented by:
a) a group of Mensheviks headed by Aleksandr Potresov, around the journal "Nasha Zarya" (Our Dawn), published in St. Petersburg. "Nasha Zaraya" was suppressed by the tsarist government in October l914, and its place was taken in January 1915 by 'Nashe Dyolo" (Our Cause).

"In Russia the fundamental nucleus of opportunism, the Liquidationist 'Nasha Zarya', became the fundamental nucleus of chauvinism".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Collapse of the Second International", in: 'Collected Works', Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 308).

b) a group of Mensheviks headed by Grigori Plekhanov and Grigori Alexinsky around the journal "Prizyv" (The Call) published in Paris.

"The main theories of the social-chauvinists. . . are represented by Plekhanov".
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 282).

"Plekhanov has sunk into-nationalism, hiding his Russian chauvinism under Francophilism; so has Alexinsky".
(V. I. Lenin: "Position and Tasks of the Socialist International", in: ibid.; p. 85-86).

2) The "Centrist" trend was represented by:

a) The Menshevik "Organisation Committee"(O.C), headed by Pavel Axelrod, which in February 19l5 began publication of "Izvestia" (News) of the Foreign Secretariat of the Organisation Committee.

"This Centrist tendency includes . . the party of the Organisation Committee . . and others in Russia".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution", in: "Selected Works", Volume 6; London; 1935; p. 65).

"Take . .the . manifesto of the 0.C (Organisation Committee-Alliance Editor). . . .
1) The manifesto does not contain a single statement which in principle repudiates national defence in the present war;
2) there is absolutely nothing in the manifesto which in principle would be inacceptible to the 'defencists' or social chauvinists;
3) there are a number of statements in the manifesto which are completely'identical' with 'defencism': 'The proletariat cannot remain indifferent to the impending defeat'; . . 'the proletariat is vitally interested in the self-preservation of the country'".
(V. I. Lenin: "Have the O.C. and the Chkheidze Fraction a Policy of Their Own?", in "Collected Works", Viume 19; London; l942; p. 36, 37)

"To cover up this political reality (i.e., social-chauvinism -- Ed.) by Leftt phrases and quasi-Social-Democratic-ideology, is the actual political meaning of the . . activities of the Organisation-Committee. In the realm of idelogy -- the 'Neither- victory nor defeat' slogan; in the realm of practice -- an anti-'split' struggle -- this is the business-like . . programme of 'peace', with the 'Nashe Dyelo' and Plekhanov".
(V. I. Lenin: State of Affairs within Russian Social Democracy', in: Collected Works", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 204.)

b) the Menshevik Duma fraction, headed by Nikolai Chkheidze.
  "This Centrist tendency includes . . Chkheidze and others in Russia".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution", in: "Selected Works', Volume 6; London; l946; p. 65).

"Chkheidze's group confined itself to the parliamentary field. It did not vote appropriations, since it would have roused a storm of indignation among the workers. . . Neither did it protest against social-chauvinism".
(V. I. Lenin: "Socialism and War", in: ibid.; p. 240).

"Chkheidze uses the same chauvinist phrases about the 'danger of defeat', stands for . . 'the struggle for peace', etc., etc."
(V. I. Lenin: "Have the 0.C. and the Chkheidze Fraction a Policy of Their Own?", in 'Collected Works", Volume 19; London; 19~2; p. 39).

"(1) The 'save the country" formula employed by Chkhejdze differs in no material respect from defencism;
2) the Chkheidze fraction never opposed Nr. Potresov and Co. .
3) the decisive fact: the fraction has never opposed participation in the War Industries Committees'.
(V. I. Lenin: "The Chkheidze Fraction and its Role', in: ibid.; p. 325).

"To cover up this political reality (i.e., social-chauvinism -- Ed.) by 'Left 'phrases and quasi-Social-Democratic ideology, is the actual political meaning of the legal activities of Chkheidze's fraction".
(V. I. Lenin: "State of affairs within Russian Social-Democracy, in: "Collected "Works", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 204).

c) the group, headed by Trotsky, around "Nashe_Slovo", the policy of which will be discussed in the next sections.

3). The revolutionary, international trend was represented by the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, headed by Lenin.

The theses which Lenin put forward in September 194 from Berne (Switzerland), on the other hand, called on the work in classes of all belligerent countries actively to oppose the war and to seek to transform it into a civil war against " their own" imperialists. "Transform the present imperialist war into civil war -- is the only correct proletarian slogan"'.
(V. I. Lenin: "The War and Russian Social Democracy"', in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 130). The "Peace" Slogan-The First of Trotsky's Two Slogans
The policy put forward by Trotsky in the pages of "Nashe Slovo" in relation to the imperialist war may be summarised in two slogans:
firstly, that of "revolutionary struggle for peace" (or "revolutionary struggle against the war", called by Lenin the "peace slogan":   "Phrase-mongers like Trotsky (See No. 105 of the 'Nashe Slovo') defend, in opposition to us, the peace slogan".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The 'Peace' Slogan Appraised", in: "Collected Works"", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 262).

'Revolutionary struggle against the war ' . . is an example of the high-flown phraseology with which Trotsky always justifies opportunism".
(V. I. Lenin: "Defeat of One's Own Government in the Imperialist Uar", in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London 1935; p. 3142).

Lenin opposed the "peace" slogan throughout the war: "The peace slogan is in my judgment incorrect at the present moment. This is a philistine's, a preacher's, slogan. The proletarian slogan must be civil war".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to A. G. Shlyapnikov, October 17th., 19314, in: "Collected Works', Volume 18; n.d.; p. 75).

"Propaganda of peace at the present time, if not accompanied by a call for revolutionary mass action, is only capable of spreading illusions, of demoralising the proletariat by imbuing it with belief in the humanitarianism of the bourgeoisie, and of making it a plaything in the hands of the secret diplomacy of the belligerent countries. In particular, the ilea that a so-called democratic peace is possible without a series of revolutions is profoundly mistaken."
(V. I. Lenin: Conference of the Sections of the RSDLP Abroad," in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London 1935; p. 135).

"To accept the peace slogan per Se, and to repeat it, would be encouraging the 'pompous air of powerless (what is worse hypocritical) phrasemongers'; that would mean deceiving the people with the illusion that the present governments, the present ruling 'classes, are capable before they are . . eliminated by a number of revolutions of granting a peace even half way satisfactory to democracy and the working class. Nothing is more harmful than such a deception."
(V. I. Lenin: 'The Peace Question', in: 'Collected Works', Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 266).

In September 1915 Trotsky carried forward his opposition to the Leninist policy towards the war at the International Socialist Conference at Zimmerwald (Switzerland). The Bolshevik resolution was rejected by a majority of the delegates, including Trotsky. As he expresses it himself: "Lenin was on the extreme left at the Conference. In many questions he was in a minority of one, even within the Zimmerwald left wing, to which I did not formally belong."
(L. Trotsky: "My Life"; New York; 1970; p. 250).
In these circumstances, the Bolsheviks agreed to sign a compromise manifesto drafted by Trotsky: "The revolutionary wing, led by Lenin, and the pacifist wing, which comprised the majority of the delegates, agreed with difficulty on a common manifesto of which I had prepared the draft".
(L. Trotsky: ibid p. 250).
The central point of this manifesto was "the struggle for peace": "It is necessary to take up this struggle for peace, for a peace without annexations or war indemnities. . . .
It is the task and the duty of the Socialists of the belligerent countries to take up this struggle with full force".
Manifesto Of the International Specialist Conference, Zimmerwald, cited in: V. I  Lenin: Collected Works', Volume 18; London;  Ibid.; p. 475).
Lenin commented on this manifests after the conference: "Passing to 'the struggle for peace' .  .here also we find inconsistency, timidity, failure to say everything that ought to be said. . . It does not name directly, openly and clearly the revolutionary methods of struggle".
(V. I. Lenin:  'The First Step', in: "Collected Works", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 343).

"Neither Victory nor Defeat"- Trotsky's Second Slogan

Secondly, in opposition to Lenin's declaration that a revolutionary struggle against "one's own  imperialists in wartime was facilitated by, and facilitated, the military defeat of "one's own" imperialists in the war, Trotsky put forward the slogan of "Neither victory nor defeat!": "'Bukvoyed (i.e., Ryazonov --  Ed.) and Trotsky defend the slogan 'Neither victory nor defeat!"
(V. I. Lenin:  "Defeat Of One's Own Government in the Imperialist War", in:  Selected Works', Volume 5; London l935; p. 145-6).
In an Open Letter addressed to the Bolsheviks in "Nashe Slovo" in the summer of 1915, Trotsky denounced Lenin's policy of "revolutionary defeatism" as: "An uncalled-for and unjustifiable concession to the political methodology of social-patriotism which substitutes for the revolutionary struggle against the war and the conditions that cause it, what, under present conditions, is an extremely arbitrary orientation towards the lesser evil".
(L. Trotsky: in: "Nashe Slovo", No. 105, cited in V. I. Lenin: "Defeat of One's Own Government in the Imperialist War", in: 'Selected Works", Volume 5; London; l935; p. 142).
Lenin replied to Trotsky's Open Letter in August 1915, in his article "Defeat of One's Government in the Imperialist War": "This is an example of the high-flown phraseology with which Trotsky always justifies opportunism.
Making shift with phrases, Trotsky has lost his way amidst three pine trees.  It seems to him that to desire Russia's defeat means  desiring Germany's victory. . .
To help people who are unable to think, the Berne resolution made it clear that in all imperialist centuries the proletariat must now desire the defeat of its own government. Bukvoyed and Trotsky preferred to  evade this truth. . Had Bukvoyed and Trotsky thought   a little, they would have realised that they adopt the point 'of view of a war of governments and the bourgeoisie, i.e., that they cringe before the 'political methodology of 'social-patriotism', to use Trotsky's affected language.

Revolution in wartime is civil war; and the transformation of war between governments into civil war is, on the one hand, facilitated by military reverses ('defeats') of governments; on the other hand,  it is impossible really to strive for such a transformation without thereby facilitating defeat.

The very reason the chauvinists. . .repudiate the 'slogan' of defeat is that this slogan alone implies a consistent appeal for revolutionary action against one's own government in wartime.  Without such action, millions of the r-r-revolutionary phrases like war against 'war and the conditions, and so forth' are not worth a penny. . . .

To repudiate the 'defeat' slogan means reducing one's revolutionary actions to an empty phrase or to mere hypocrisy.  .. .

The slogan "Neither victory nor defeat" . . is nothing but a paraphrase of the 'defence of the fatherland' slogan. . . . .

On closer examination, this slogan will be found to mean 'civil peace', renunciation of the class struggle by the oppressed classes in all belligerent 'countries, since class struggle is impossible without . . facilitating the defeat of one's own country.  Those who accept the slogan 'Neither victory nor defeat', can only hypocritically be in favour of the class struggle, of 'breaking civil peace'; those in practice, renounce an independent proletarian policy because they subordinate the proletariat of all belligerent countries to the absolutely bourgeois task of safeguarding imperialist governments against defeat. .

Those who are in favour of the slogan 'Neither victory nor defeat' are consciously or unconsciously chauvinists, at best they are conciliatory petty bourgeois; at all events they are enemies of proletarian policy, partisans of the present governments, of the present ruling classes. . . .

Those who stand for the slogan 'Neither victory nor defeat' are in fact on the side of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists, for they 'do not believe' in the possibility of international revolutionary action of the working class against its own governments, and they do not wish to help the development of such action which, though no easy task, it is true, is the only task worthy of a proletarian, the only socialist task'."
(V. I. Lenin: "Defeat of One's Own Government in the Imperialist War", in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London; 1935; p. l42-3, l45, 146-7).

In April 1915 Rosa Luxemburg, in prison, wrote, under the pseudonym "Junius", a pamphlet entitled 'The Crisis of German Social Democracy. ' It was published a year later, in April 1916.  Rosa Luxemburg, like Trotsky opposed Lenin's policy of  "revolutionary defeatism": "What shall be the practical attitude of social democracy in the present war?  Shall it declare: since this is an imperialist war, since we do not enjoy in our country any socialist self-determination, its existence or non-existence is of no consequence to us, and we will surrender it to the enemy?  Passive fatalism can never be the role of a revolutionary party like social democracy. . . .
Yes, socialists should defend their country in great historical crises".
(R.Luxemburg: "The Crisis of German Social Democracy", in: "Rosa Luxemburg Speaks'; Now York; 1970; p. 311, 3l4,).
and like Trotsky, she put forward the slogan of "Neither victory nor defeat": "Here lies the great fault of German social democracy..... . . It was their duty .   to proclaim to the people of Germany that in this war victory and defeat would be equally fatal".
(R. Luxemburg: ibid.; p. 314).
suggesting that the defence of the country "against defeat" should be carried on under the slogan she had consistently opposed as a leader of the Social-Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, the Slogan of  "national self-determination": "Instead of covering this imperialist war with a lying mantle of national self-defence, social democracy should have demanded the right of national self-determination seriously".
(R. Luxemburg: ibid.; p. 311-12).
Lenin replied to Rosa Luxemburg's pamphlet in his article "The Pamphlet by Junius", published in August 1916: "We find the same error in Junius' arguments about which is better, victory or defeat?  His conclusion is that both are equally bad. . . This is the point of view not of the revolutionary proletariat, but of the pacifist petty bourgeois.. . .

Another fallacious argument advanced by Junius is in connection with the question of defence of the fatherland.
Junius . . falls into the very strange error of trying to drag a national programme into the present non-national war.  It sounds almost incredible, but it is true.

He proposes to 'oppose' the imperialist war with a national programme".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Pamphlet by Junius"; in: "Collected 'Works', Volume 19; London; l942; p. 212, 207, 209).

True, Rosa Luxemburg, unlike the open social-chauvinists, supported the concept of class struggle against one's own government during the war, not, however, in relation to the slogan of "turn the imperialist war into civil war", but as 'the best defence against a foreign enemy": "The centuries have proven that not the state of siege, but relentless class struggle . . is the best protection and the best defence against a foreign enemy".
(R. Luxemburg: ibid.; p. 304).
Lenin commented: "In saying that class struggle is the best means of defence against invasion, Junius applied Marxian dialectics only half way, taking one step on the right road and immediately deviating from it. . . Civil war against the bourgeoisie is also a form of class struggle, and only this form of class struggle would have saved Europe (the whole of Europe, not only one country) from the peril of invasion.

Junius came very close to the correct solution of the problem and to the correct slogan: civil war against the bourgeoisie  for socialism; but, as if afraid to speak the whole truth, he turned back to the phantasy of a 'national war' in 1914, 1915 and 1916. . ..

Junius has not completely rid himself of the 'environment' of the German Social-Democrats, even the Lefts, who are afraid to follow revolutionary slogans to their logical conclusion."
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 210, 212).

The Struggle against National Self-Determination

The manifesto drafted by Trotsky which was adopted by the International Socialist Conference  at Zimmerwald (Switzerland) in September l915, recognised the right of self-determination of nations as an "indestructible principle": "The right of self-determination of nations must be the indestructible principle in the system of national relationships of peoples".
(Manifesto of the International Socialist Conference at Zimmerwald, September 1915, in: V. I. Lenin: "Collective Works" , Volume l8,  London; n .d.; p. 475)
The Polish delegation at the conference (consisting of Karl Radek,  Adolf Warski and Jacob Ganetsky) opposed recognition of the right of self determination of nations, but submitted a declaration on the national question which, in fact, recognised the right of self-determination of Poland, since it declared that the international working class: "Will break the fetters of national oppression and abolish all forms of foreign domination, and secure for the Polish people the possibility of all-sided, free development as an equal member in a League of Nations".
(Bulletin of the International Socialist Committee in Berne, No. 2; September 27th., 1915; p. 15).
Lenin commented on this declaration: "There is no material difference between these postulates and the recognition of the right of nations to self-determination, except that their political formulation is still more diffuse and vague than the majority of the programmes and resolutions of the Second International.  Any attempt to express these ideas in precise political formulae . . will prove still more strikingly the error committed by the Polish Social-Democrats in repudiating the self-determination of nations"
(V. I. Lenin: "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination"; in: "Selected Works', Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 279-80).
In October 1915 Karl Radek (under the pseudonym "Parabellum' wrote an article in the "Berner Tagwacht" (Berne Morning Watch entitled "Annexations and Social-Democracy", in which, on behalf of the leadership of the Social-Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania, he declared that: "We are opposed to annexations."
(K. Radek: "Annexations and Social-Democracy; cited in: V. I. Lenin: "The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 282).
but denounced the: "Struggle for the non-existent right to self-determination".
(K. Radek: ibid; p. 282).
Lenin replied to Radek in November 1915 in his article "The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination: "Our 'struggle against annexations' will be meaningless and not at all terrifying to the social-patriots if we do not declare that the Socialist of an oppressing nation who does not conduct propaganda, both in peace time and war time, in favour of the freedom of secession for the oppressed nations is not a Socialist and not an internationalist, but a chauvinist."'
(V. I. Lenin: "The Revolutionary Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", in: 'Selected Works, Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 287).
In November 1915 Nikolai Bukharin and Grigori Pyatakov sent to the Central Committee of the RSDLP the theses, "The Slogan of the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", written by  Bukharin.  The theses concluded: "We do not under any circumstances support the government of the Great Power that suppresses the rebellion or the outburst of indignation of an oppressed nation; but at the same time, we ourselves do not mobilise the proletarian forces under the slogan 'right of nations to self-determination'.  In such a case, our task is to mobilise the forces of the proletariat of both nations (jointly with others) under the slogan 'civil class war for socialism', and conduct propaganda against the mobilisation of the forces under the slogan 'right of nations to self-determination'".
(N. Bukharin: "The slogan of the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", cited in: V.I. Lenin:  'Selected Works', Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 379-80).
Lenin replied to Bukharin's theses in March 1916 with theses of his own, entitled "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination"; "Victorious socialism must achieve complete democracy and, consequently, not only bring about the complete equality of nations, but also give effect to the right of oppressed nations to  self-determination, i.e. the right to free political secession.  Socialist Parties which fail to prove by all their activities now, as well as during the revolution and after its victory, that they will free the enslaved nations and establish relations with them on the basis of free union --  a free union is a lying phrase without right to secession -- such parties are committing treachery to socialism".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", in:  'Selected Works', Volume 5; London; 1935  p. 267).
Rosa Luxemburg, writing under the pseudonym "Junius" in the pamphlet, "The Crisis of German Social-Democracy", published in April 1916, declared that wars of national liberation were impossible under imperialism: "In the present imperialistic milieu there can be no wars of national self-defence".
(R. Luxemburg: 'The Crisis of German Social-Democracy", in: "Rosa Luxemburg Speaks"; New York; 1970; p. 305).
Lenin commented in "The Pamphlet by Junius", published in August 1916: "National wars waged by colonial and semi-colonial countries are not only possible but inevitable in the epoch of imperialism.

National wars must not be regarded as impossible in the epoch of imperialism even in Europe.

The postulate that 'there can be no more national wars' is obviously fallacious in theory. . . But this fallacy is also very harmful in a practical political sense; it gives rise to the stupid propaganda for 'disarmament', as if no other war but reactionary wars are possible; it is the cause of the still more stupid and downright reactionary indifference towards national movements. Such indifference becomes chauvinism when members of 'Great' European nations, i.e., nations which oppress a mass of small and colonial peoples, declare with a learned air that 'there can be no more national wars.'''
(V. I. Lenin: "The Pamphlet by Junius", in: "Collected Works", Volume 19; London l942; p. 204, 205, 206).

In August 1916 Grigori Pyatakov wrote, under the pseudonym "P. Kievsky", an article entitled: "The Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination. In this article, which was not published, Pyatakov denounced the slogan of the right of nations to self-determination on the grounds that: "This demand leads directly to social-patriotism".
(G. Pyatakov: "The Proletariat and the Right of Nations to Self Determination, cited in: V. I. Lenin: "A Caricature of Marxism and 'Imperialist Economism'" in Ibid; "Collected Works", Volume 19; London l942; p. 216).
Lenin replied to Pyatakov's argument in a long article "A Caricature of Marxism and 'lmperialist Economics', written in October 1916 but not published until l924: "In the present imperialist war, . . phrases about defence of the fatherland are deception of the people, for this war is not a national war. In a truly national war the words 'defence of the fatherland' are deception, and we are not opposed to such a war".
(V. I. Lenin: "Caricature of Marxism and 'Imperialist Economism", in ibid.; p. 217).
Pyatakov insisted: And Lenin replied: "Both the political and the economic content of the slogan 'Get out of the colonies!" amounts to one thing. . Only: freedom of secession for the colonial nations; freedom to establish a separate state."
(V. I. Lenin: ibid; p. 252).
The theoretical basis of Pyatakov's opposition to national self-determination is summarised in his declaration that: ". . dualistic propaganda is substituted for the monistic action of the International".
(G. Pyatakov: ibid.; p. 24l).
To which Lenin replied: "Is the actual condition of the workers in the oppressing nations the same as that of the workers in the oppressed nations from the standpoint of the national problem?

No, they are not the same. . .
That being the case, what is to be said about P. Kievsky's phrase: the 'monistic' action of the International?

It is an empty, sonorous phrase, and nothing more.

In order that the action of the International, which in real life consists of workers who are divided into those belonging to oppressing nations and those belonging to oppressing nations, may be monistic action, propaganda must be carried on differently in each case."
(V. I. Lenin: Ibid; p. 242-3)

This "dualistic propaganda' had already been described by Lenin: "The Social-Democrats of the oppressing notions must demand the freedom of secession for the oppressed notions,

. . The Social-Democrats of the oppressed nations, however, must put in the forefront the unity and the fusion of the workers of the oppressed nations with the workers of the oppressing nations".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Revolutionary Proletariat And the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", in: "Selected Works", Volume 5; London 1935; p. 284)

Lenin's summary of Pyatakov's article was devastating: "P. Kievsky. . totally fails to understand Marxism.
Kievsky does not advance a single correct argument. The only thing that is correct in his article, that is, if there are no mistakes in the figures, is the footnote in which he quotes some statistics about banks".
(V. I. Lenin: A Caricature of Marxism and 'Imperialist Economism'", in: "Collected Works", Volume 19; London; l942; p. 218, 262).
In this struggle between the advocates of the right of self-determination of nations and its opponents, Trotsky adopted a characteristically centrist position: hypocritical support for the slogan but without support for its essential content, the right of secession: "Trotsky . . is body and soul for self-determination, but in his case too it is an idle phrase, for he does not demand freedom of secession for nations oppressed by the "fatherland" of the socialist of the given nationality."
(V. I. Lenin: "The 'Peace Programme", in "Collected Works", Volume 19 London l942; p. 66).

"The Kautskyists hypocritically recognise self-determination - -in Russia this is the road taken by Trotsky and Martov. In words, both declare that they are in favour of self-determination, as Kautsky does. But in practice? Trotsky engages in his customary eclecticism. . . The prevailing hypocrisy remains unexposed, . .. namely, the attitude to be adopted towards the nation that is oppressed by 'my' nation. . . .

A Russian Social-Democrat who 'recognises' self-determination of nations . . without fighting for freedom of Secession for the notions oppressed by tsarism is really an imperialist and a lackey of tsarism.

Whatever the subjective 'well-meaning' intentions of Trotsky and Martov may be, they, by their evasions, objectively support Russian social-imperialism".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up', in: 'Collected Works', Volume 19; London; 1942; p. 305)

Trotsky's Conciliationism
Lenin stood' firmly for the organisational separation of revolutionary internationalism from both open and concealed (ie. Centrist) social-chauvinism: "To keep united with opportunism at the present time means precisely to subjugate the working class to 'its' bourgeoisie, to make an alliance with it for the oppression of other nations and for the struggle for the privileges of a great nation; at the same time it means splitting the revolutionary proletariat of all countries".
(V. I. Lenin: 'Socialism and War', in: 'Collected Works', Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 230-1).

"We must declare the idea of unity with the Organisation Committee an illusion detrimental to the workers' cause".
(V. I. Lenin: 'And Now What?", in: ibid.; p. 109).

"We shall not be for unity with Chkheidze's fraction (as desired both by Trotsky, by the 0rgansation Committee, and by Plekhanov and Co.; . for this would mean to cover up and defend the 'Nashe Dyelo".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Aleksendra Kollontai, summer 1915, in: ibid.; p. 208).

In contrast to Lenin, Trotsky stood consistently for the unity of what he termed the "internationalist" groups, a category which included the concealed social-chauvinists of the Centre (the Organisation Committee, the Menshevik Duma fraction and the group around Trotsky).

At the beginning of 1915, "Nashe Slovo" addressed an appeal to the Bolshevik Central Committee and to the Menshevik Organisation Committee proposing a conference of all the groups which took a "negative attitude' towards social chauvinism. In its reply, dated March 1915, the Organisation Committee said:

'To the conference must be invited the foreign representatives of all those party centres and groups which were . . present at the Brussels Conference of the International Socialist Bureau before the war'.
(Letter of Organisation Committee, March 12th., 1915, cited in: V. I. Lenin: The Question of the Unity of Internationalists", in: "Collected Works", Volume 18; London; n.d.; p. 177).
Lenin commented: "Thus, the Organisation Committee declines on principle to confer with the internationalists, since it wishes to confer also with the social-patriots (it is known that Plekhanov's and Alexinsky's policies were represented at Brussels).
We must not confer, it says, without the social-patriots, we must confer with them!"
(V. I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 177, 178).
Nevertheless, Trotsky continued his efforts to bring about organisational unity between the Bolsheviks end the concealed social-chauvinists of the Centre. In June 1915 Trotsky wrote an Open Letter to the editors of the Bolshevik magazine "Kommunist": , published in No. 105 of "Nashe Slovo" in which he said: "I am proud of the conduct of our Duma members (the Chkheidze group); I regard them as the most important agency of internationalist education of the proletariat in Russia, and for that very reason I deem it the task of every revolutionary Social-Democrat to extend to them every support and to raise their authority in the International".
(L. Trotsky: Open Letter to the Editors of "Kommunist", cited in: V. I. Lenin: "Collected Works", Volume 18; London; n.d., p. 435)
Lenin commented on Trotsky's unprincipled conciliationism in various articles: "The elements that are grouped around the 'Nashe Slovo' are vacillating between platonic sympathy for internationalism and a tendency for unity at any price with the "Nasha Zarya" and the Organisation Committee".
(V. I. Lenin: "Conference of the Foreign Sections of the RSDLP", in: Collected Works, Volume l8; London; n .d.; p.150).

"'Nashe Slovo' . . raises a revolt against social-nationalism while standing on its knees before it, since it fails to unmask the most dangerous defenders of the bourgeois current (like Kautsky); it does not declare war against opportunism but, on the contrary, passes it over in silence; it does not undertake, and does not point out, any real steps towards liberating socialism from its shameful patriotic captivity. By saying that neither unity nor a split with those who joined the bourgeoisie is imperative, the 'Nashe Slovo' practically surrenders to the opportunists".
(V. I. Lenin: "The Collapse of Platonic Internationalism", in: ibid.; p.183).

"Trotsky always, entirely disagrees with the social-chauvinists in principle, but agrees with them in everything in practice."
(V. I. Lenin: 'State of Affairs within Russian Social-Democracy", in: Ibid.; p. 205-6).

'We shall not be for unity with Chkheidze's fraction (As desired . .by Trotsky . .) for this would mean to cover up and defend the 'Nashe Dyelo'...
Roland-Holst, as well as Rakovsky . .and Trotsky too, are in my judgment all most harmful 'Kautskyists', inasmuch as they are all, in one form or another, for unity with the opportunists, . . are embellishing opportunism, they all (each in his way) advance eclecticism instead of revolutionary Marxism".
(V. I. Lenin: Letters to Aleksandra Kollontai, summer 1915, in: ibid.; p. 208, 209).

"In Russia Trotsky . . fights for unity with the opportunist and chauvinist group "Nashe Zarya'".
(V. I. Lenin: 'Socialism and War", in: ibid.; p.232).

"Martov and Trotsky in Russia are causing the greatest harm to the labour movement by their insistence upon a fictitious unity, thus hindering, the now ripened imminent unification of the opposition in all countries and the creation of the Third International".
(V. I. Lenin: 'The Tasks of the Opposition in France", in: 'Collected Works", Volume 19; London; 1942; p. 32).

"What are our differences with Trotsky?. . In brief -- he is a Kautskyite, that is, he stands for unity with the Kautskyites in the International and with Chkheidze's parliamentary group in Russia. We are absolutely against such unity".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Henrietta Roland-Holst, Morch 8th., 1916, in: "Collected Works", Volume 43; Moscow; 1969; p. 515-l6).

"What a swine this Trotsky is -- Left phrases and a bloc with the Right. . . He ought to be exposed".
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Aleksendra Kollontai, February 17th., 1917, in: "Collected Works", Volume 35; Moscow, 1966; p. 285).

  Kamenev's Defence
In November 1915 eleven leading members of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, including five deputies, were arrested at a conference near Petrograd and charged with being members of an organisation aiming at the overthrow of the existing political order.

At their trial Lev Kamenev and two of the deputies declared in their defence that they did not accept the policy of the Party in so for as it enjoined members to work for the defeat of Russia in the war.
Lenin commented:

"The trial of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Fraction . . has proven first, that this advanced detachment of revolutionary Social-Democracy in Russia did not show sufficient firmness at the trial. . To attempt to show solidarity with the social-patriot, Mr. Yordansky, as did Comrade Rosenfeld (i.e., Kamenev --Ed.) or to point out one's disagreement with the Central Committee, is an incorrect method; this is impermissible from the standpoint of revolutionary Social-Democracy".
(V. I. Lenin: "What has the Trial of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Fraction Proven?", in: "Works", Volume 18; Moscow; n.d.; p. 151)

1916. The Attempt to Introduce Anarchist Ideas into the Party

In 1916 Nikolai Bukharin wrote, under the pseudonym "Nota Bene", an article entitled 'The Imperialist Predatory State" in the magazine "The Youth International" (organ of the Bureau of the International League of Socialist Youth Organisations) , in which he said: "It is quite a mistake to seek the difference between Socialists and anarchists in the fact that the former are in favour of the state while the latter are against it. The real difference is that revolutionary Social-Democracy desires to organise social production on new lines, centralised. . . whereas decentralised, anarchist production would mean retrogression. . . .
Social-Democracy. . must now more than ever emphasise its hostility to the state in principle".
(N. Bukharin: "The Imperialist Predatory State", cited in: V. I. Lenin; '1The Youth International", in: Selected Works", Volume 5; London; 1935; p. 243, 244).
To which Lenin replied: "This is wrong. The author raises the question of the difference in the attitude of Socialists and anarchists towards the state, But he does not answer this question, but another, namely the difference in the attitude of Socialists and anarchists towards the economic foundation of future society. . . The Socialists are in favour of utilising the present state and its institutions in the struggle for the emancipation of the working class, and they also urge the necessity of utilising the State for the peculiar form of transition from capitalism to socialism. This transitional form is the dictatorship of the proletariat, which is also a state.
The anarchists want to 'abolish' the state, to 'blow it up'.
The Socialists . . hold that the state will die out.
Comrade Nota-Bene's . . remark about the 'state idea' is entirely muddled. It is un-Marxian and un-socialistic."
(V. I. Lenin: "The Youth International', in: ibid.; p. 243, 244).
In April 1929 Stalin commented: "The well-known theoretical controversy which flared up in 1916 between Lenin and Bukharin on the question of the state . . is important in order to reveal Bukharin's inordinate pretensions to teach Lenin, as well as the roots of his theoretical unsoundness on such important questions as the dictatorship of the proletariat. . . .

Bukharin landed in a semi-Anarchist puddle.

In Bukharin's opinion the working class should be hostile in principle to the state as such, including the working-class state".
(J.V. Stalin: "The Right Deviation in the CPSU (B.)", in: "Leninism"; London; 1942; p. 276, 277).

1916-1917: Trotsky Goes to America

In September 1916 the French authorities, at the request of the tsarist government, banned "Nashe Slovo" and deported Trotsky to Spain. Although he did not participate in any political activity in Spain, after a few days he was arrested by the Spanish police and, in December, deported to the United States. He arrived in New York in January 1917. The Assassination of Rasputin During the war great influence was exercised over the tsar and tsarina by the monk Grigori Rasputin. In December 1916 a group of nob1es, headed by the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich, organised the assassination of Rasputin, believing that his influence was being used against the war effort. 1917: Trotsky in America In January 1917 Trotsky landed in New York, and joined the staff of a Russian magazine published there under the editorship of Nikolai Bukharin and Aleksandra Kollontai, -"Novy Nir" (New World) . Typically, he formed a bloc with the right-wing members of the staff against the Left: "Trotsky arrived, and this scoundrel at once ganged up with the Right wing of 'Novy Mir' against the Left Zimmerwaldists!! That's it!! That's Trotsky for you!! Always true to himself - twists, swindles, poses as a Left, helps the Right, so long as he can."
(V. I. Lenin: Letter to Inessa Armand, February 19th., 1917, in: 'Collected Works', Volume 35; Moscow; 1966; p.288)
In "Navy Mir", Trotsky continued to put forward his theory of  "permanent revolution", arguing that if the German working class failed to rise along with the Russian working class, the workers' government of a revolutionary Russia must wage war against the German ruling class: "If the conservative social-patriotic organisation should prevent the German working class from rising against its ruling classes in the coming epoch, then of course the Russian working class would defend its revolution with arms in its hands. The revolutionary workers' government would wage war against the Hohenzollerns, summoning the brother proletariat of Germany to rise against the common enemy."
(L. Trotsky: Article in "Novy Mir", March 21st., 1917, cited in: L. Trotsky: "History of the Russian Revolution"; Volume 1; London; 1967; p. 438).
  The "February Revolution"
From the first days of 1917 strikes spread throughout the main cities of tsarist Russia. By March 10th; these had developed in Petrograd into a political general strike, with the demonstrating workers carrying Bolshevik slogans: "'Down with the tsar.!", "Down with the war.!" and "Bread.!"

The practical work of the Bolshevik Party in Russia at this time was directed by the Bureau of the Central Committee, headed by Vyacheslav Molotov. On March 11th. the Bureau issued a manifesto calling for an armed uprising against tsarism and the formation of a Provisional-Government.

On March 12th; an elected Soviet of Workers' Deputies came into being in Petrograd as an action committee to carry out the uprising and in the following days Soviets were established in Moscow and other cities. On March 13th, the Petrograd Soviet revived its "Izvestia" ("News").

When the tsar ordered troops to suppress the rising by force, the soldiers -- mostly peasant in uniform -- refused to obey the orders of their officers and joined the revolutionary workers, thus bringing into being a revolutionary alliance of workers and peasants. The workers and soldiers now began to disarm the police and to arm themselves with their weapons. On March 14th, the Petrograd Soviet was expanded into a "Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies".

On March 15th. the tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated.

The revolution of March 1917 (known as the "February Revolution" under the old-style calendar) had been accomplished by the workers and peasants. Its character was that of a bourgeois-democratic revolution directed against the tsarist autocracy.

The Formation of the Provisional Government As soon as the capitalist class realised that the bourgeois-democratic revolution was unavoidable, they proceeded to manoeuvre in an effort to minimise its' scope -- and above all to prevent its development into a socialist revolution.

On March 12th., the day after the tsar had dissolved the Fourth State Duma, its liberal capitalist members set up an "Executive Committee of the Imperial Duma", headed by the President of the Duma, the monarchist landlord Mikhail Rodzyanko.

On March 15th. this Executive Committee set up a "Provisional-Government", headed by Prince Georgi Lvov as Prime Minister and including among its Ministers Pavel Miliukov (leader of the Constitutional Democrats) as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aleksendr Guchkov (leader of the Octobrists) as Minister of War, and Aleksandr Karensky (a prominent Socialist-Revolutionary) as Minister of Justice.

The capitalist class endeavoured for a few days to save the monarchy, by persuading the tsar to abdicate in favour of his brother Mikhail. But this proved untenable in view of popular feeling against the monarchy, and Mikhail abdicated on the following day, March 16th.

The capitalists, then turned their efforts to attempting to turn Russia into a capitalist parliamentary republic.

On March 17th. the new government issued a manifesto "To the Citizens"; setting out its programme:

"1. Complete and immediate amnesty for all political and religious offences, including terrorist acts, military revolts, agrarian insurrections, etc.

2.Freedom of speech, press, assembly, union, strikes, and the extension of all political liberties to persons in the military service within the limits required by considerations of technical military necessity.

3. Abolition of all feudal estate and national restrictions.

4. Immediate preparation for the convocation of a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage. This Constituent Assembly shall determine the form of State and the constitution of the country.

5. Formation of a people's militia with elected officers subordinated to the organs of local self-government and taking the place of the police.

6. Elections to the local organs of self-government on the basis of universal, equal, direct and secret suffrage.

7. The troops who participated in the revolutionary movement are not to be disarmed and are to remain in Petrograd.

8. While maintaining a rigid military discipline in the service, all obstacles are to be eliminated preventing soldiers from exercising the public rights enjoyed by other citizens".
(Manifesto of Provisional Government, May 17th., 1917, cited in: V. I. Lenin: Collected Works, Volume 20, Book 1; London; 1929; p. 348)

Lenin commented: 'In its first proclamation to the people (March 17), the government uttered not a word about the main and basic question of the present moment, peace. It keeps secret the predatory treaties made by tsarism with England, France, Italy, Japan, etc. It wishes to conceal from the people the truth about its war programme, and the fact that it is for war, for victory over Germany. . . .

The new government cannot give the people bread. And no amount of freedom will satisfy masses suffering hunger. . . .

The entire Manifesto of the new government . . .inspires me with the greatest distrust, for it consists only of promises, and does not carry into life any of the most essential measures that could and should be fully realised right now"
(V. I. Lenin: Theses of March 17th, 1917; in ibid; p.24, 25).

The Role of the Petrograd Soviet

Although there was a large spontaneous element in the "February Revolution", the Bolsheviks, played a leading role in the uprising itself. Despite this, in the majority of cases a majority of the members of the Soviets and of their Executive Committees were Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries; the Bolsheviks were, in the period following the "February Revolution" in a small minority in most of the Soviets, including those of Petrograd and Moscow.

A number of factors were responsible for this position: the industrial working class had been diluted during the war by large numbers of peasants from the villages, while Bolshevik leaders such as Lenin and Stalin were in exile.

As a result of this, on March 18th. the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet issued a proclamation calling upon the workers to support the capitalist Provisional Government. Lenin commented:

"The proclamation issued by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies ... is a most remarkable document. It proves that the Petrograd proletariat, at the time it issued its proclamation, at any rate, was under the preponderant influence of the petty-bourgeois politicians.
The proclamation declares that every democrat must 'support' the new government and that the Soviet of Workers' Deputies requests and authorises Kerensky to participate in the Provisional Government. . .These steps are a classic example of betrayal of the cause of the revolution and the cause of the proletariat."
(V. I. Lenin: "Letters from Afar"', in: ibid.; p. 4l, 42).
At the same time the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet set up a 'Contact Commission', headed by Aleksandr Skobolev, the official aim of which was to maintain contact with, and "control", the Provisional Government.

Lenin summed up the political situation resulting from the February Revolution in the following words:

"The first stage of the revolution . . , owing to the insufficient class consciousness and organisation of the proletariat, led to the assumption of power by the bourgeoisie."
(V. I. Lenin: "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution", in: "Selected Works", Volume 6; London; 1946; p. 22) .
The Political Line Of the Party in March 1917

The victory of the "February Revolution" created a new political situation in Russia which called for a new political line on the part of the Russian Socia1-Democratic Labour Party.

As Stalin expressed it in November 1924:

"This was the greatest turning point in the history of Russia and an unprecedented turning point in the history Of our Party. The old, pre-revolutionary platform Of direct overthrow of the government was clear and definite, but it was no longer suitable for the new conditions of struggle . . Under the now conditions of the struggle, the Party hod to adopt a new orientation. The Party (its majority) groped its way towards this new orientation".
(J. V. Stalin "Trotskyism or Leninism?"; in Works Volume 6; Moscow; 1953); p. 347, 348).
At the time of the "February Revolution" the Bureau of the Control Committee of the RSDLP, centred in Petrograd, was led by Vyacheslav Molotov.

On March 18th., 1917 the Bureau issued, in the name of the Central Committee, a manifesto to "All Citizens of Russia", calling for the formation of a Provisional Revolutionary Government.

The manifesto was published in the first issue of "Pravda", which reappeared on the same day.

Among the Bolsheviks liberated from exile in Siberia by the "February Revolution" were Josef Stalin and Lev Kamenev, both of whom returned to Petrograd. Kamenev joined the editorial board of "Pravda" on March 23rd., Stalin two days later on March 28th.:

Kamenev immediately upheld a chauvinist line on the war, contending like the Menshevik leaders that with the victory of the "February Revolution" the working class should adopt a position of "revolutionary defencism": He wrote in "Pravda" of March 28th.:

Stalin rejected this policy of chauvinist "revolutionary defenciism". He wrote in "Pravda" on the following day, March 29th : The majority of the Bureau, headed by Stalin and Molotov, correctly saw the Provisional Government as an organ of the capitalist class, and the Soviets as the embryo of a Provisional Government. A resolution of the Bureau published in "Pravda" on April 8th declared: However, in "groping" towards a correct political line in the new situation, the majority of the Bureau made a tactical error. Instead of putting forward the clear slogan of "All power to the Soviets!', they adopted a policy of "putting pressure on the Provisional Government" to perform actions which, as an organ of the capital class, it was incapable of doing: On which Lenin commented forthrightly the day after his return to Russia: This incorrect tactical line corresponded closely with the tactical line of Kamenev, who said: Stalin himself analysed this mistaken tactical policy in November 1924: As soon as the "February Revolution" broke out, Lenin began attempts to return to Russia. The governments of the Allied powers refused him permission to travel through their countries but eventually, as a result of negotiations between Fritz Platten, Secretary of the Swiss Socialist Party, and the German government, 32 Russian political émigrés (19 of which were Bolsheviks, among them Lenin) were permitted to travel through Germany in a sealed railway carriage accorded extra-territorial rights. The German government, of course, calculated that the return of these revolutionaries to Russia would be detrimental to the Russian war effort.

Lenin arrived in Petrograd on the evening- of April 16th; and was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of workers and soldiers.

On the following day he reported to the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet on the circumstances of his journey through Germany.

Later on April 17th., Lenin spoke at a meeting of the Bolshevik delegates to the First Congress of Soviets, presenting his theses on the new situation in Russia following the "February Revolution" -- the "April Theses". The main points of these theses were as follows:

 1. The "February Revolution" has brought into being the democratic dictatorship of the working class and peasantry in the shape of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies.

2. But alongside the Soviets there came into being out of the "February Revolution" the Provisional Government, representing the interests of the capitalist class. 3. Thus, out of the "February Revolution" has arisen a temporary condition of dual power, of two rival governments. 4. Despite its weakness, it is the democratic dictatorship of the working class and peasantry (the Soviet embryonic government) which alone at present possesses effective machinery of force (in the shape of the armed workers and revolutionary soldiers). 5. Nevertheless, the leaders of the Soviets are placing this machinery of force at the disposal of the Provisional Government, and seeking to liquidate the democratic dictatorship of the working-class and peasantry. 6. This has been possible because of the inadequate class consciousness and organisation of the workers and peasants, which has been influenced by petty-bourgeois ideological pressure: 7. After the "February Revolution" the war remains an imperialist war, and the effort of the Provisional Government remains a reactionary one which the Party must continue to oppose. 8. The Party must not, therefore, make the slightest concession to "revolutionary defencism" and must dissociate itself from all who foster revolutionary defencism". 9. The capitalist Provisional Government is incapable of solving the fundamental social problems of the workers and poor peasantry. 10. Therefore the revolution must be carried forward to a new stage by the working class in alliance with, and leading, the poor peasantry. 11. The Provisional Government needs to be overthrown, but it cannot be overthrown at present. 12. The next step in the revolution is, therefore, to convince the working class and poor peasantry to throw off the domination of the Soviets by the compromising petty bourgeois elements and to transform them into their organs of power. 13. So long as the Soviets control an effective machinery of force and the Proviosional Government does not, this process of transferring all power to the Soviets may be accomplished peacefully. 14. Thus, the former slogan 'Turn the imperialist war into civil war" is now for the time being incorrect: 15. The aim of transferring all power to the Soviets is to set up a Russian Soviet Republic, a state of the working class and peasantry. 16. The formation of this Soviet Republic will be a major step in the direction of socialism: however, its immediate programme will not be the introduction of socialism, but the establishment of control by the Soviets over production and distribution: together with: 17. The term "social-democratic has been so brought into disrepute by the social-chauvinists that the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party should change its name to the Russian Communist Party. 18. The "Zimmerwald International"' has already broken down as a result of its persistent centrism; the Party must withdraw from it (except for purposes of information) and found a new revolutionary Third International. To sum up, Lenin held that, politically, the "February Revolution" was a bourgeois-democratic revolution which transferred power from the tsarist autocracy to the dual power of the democratic dictatorship of the working class and peasantry (in the shape of the Soviets) and of the capitalist class (in the shape of the Provisional Government). Politically, therefore, the 'February Revolution" represented the completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution: Economically and socially, however, particularly in so far as the agrarian revolution (the transfer of the land to the working peasantry) is concerned, the 'February Revolution' did not complete the bourgeois-democratic revolution,  Economically and socially, the bourgeois-democratic revolution was not completed until the 'October Revolution', the political content of which was proletarian-socialist. Lenin thus maintained that the Bolshevik strategy and tactics relating to the first, bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolutionary process in Russia had been confirmed by the "February Revolution', but in a 'more multicoloured' Way than could have been anticipated: After the "October Revolution' the question naturally arose among Trotsky's disciples as to how it had come about that the socialist revolution in Russia had been brought about in accordance with a political line advanced by Lenin, who had consistently opposed Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution".

Trotsky's answer was simple, if completely mythical: in May 1917 the Bolshevik Party, on Lenin's initiative, had 'rearmed itself' ideologically by accepting Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution"; thus history had "confirmed" the correctness of Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution':

In fact, of course, Lenin took pains to dissociate himself from Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution' after his return to Russia in April 1917: Lenin did not put forward in April 1917 the strategy of direct advance to the  dictatorship of the working class (in alliance with the poor peasantry) as a corrected strategy for the realisation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution.

On the contrary, the bourgeois-democratic revolution, as the first stage of the revolutionary process in Russia, had already been realised, politically, in the 'February Revolution'. The strategy of direct advance to the dictatorship of the working class (in alliance with the poor peasantry) was put forward as a new strategy for the new situation following the "February Revolution", a new strategy for the second stage of the revolutionary process.

As Lenin expressed it in his 'April Theses':

Trotsky's myth -- that Lenin put forward in April 1917 a "corrected' strategy for the realisation of the bourgeois--democratic revolution similar to that embodied in Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution' -- is based on a denial of the fact that the 'February Revolution" constituted, politically, a bourgeois-democratic revolution.
In his 'History of the Russian Revolution", Trotsky admits this fact: But in his "The Permanent Revolution', Trotsky deliberately confuses the political bourgeois-democratic revolution of March with the bourgeois-democratic revolutionary economic and social changes that followed the revolution of November in order to present the latter as a "bourgeois-democratic revolution" which resulted in the dictatorship of the proletariat: In November 1926 Stalin was justifiably sarcastic about Trotsky's claim that in May 1917 the Party had "rearmed itself" with Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution": Within the Party the principal opposition to Lenin's "April Theses" was led by Trotsky's brother-in-law Lev Kamenev.
On April 21st., 1917, Kamenev published in "Pravda' an article-- entitled "Our Differences " in which he denounced Lenin's "personal opinion" as "unacceptable" on the grounds that he was advocating an immediate socialist revolution before the bourgeois-democratic revolution had been completed. Lenin replied: An opposition group in the Moscow City Committee, headed Aleksei Rykov and Viktor Nogin, opposed the basis of Lenin's theses on the grounds that Russia was too industrially undeveloped for socialist construction:

Lenin replied:

Another group of members of the Party -- including I. P. Goldenberg, V. Bazarov, B. V. Avilov and Y  N. Steklov, -- left the Bolshevik Party altogether in protest against Lenin's theses and founded the paper "Novaya Zhizn" (New Life), which supported the unification of Bolsheviks, Mensheviks  and 'Novaya Zhizn"-ists into a  single party based on the openly Menshevik view that the Socialist revolution "Must be preceded by a more or less prolonged period of capitalism."

At the Petrograd City Conference of the Party, held from April 27th; to May 5th; 1917, a resolution in support of the political line laid down in Lenin's "April Theses" was carried.

On May 1st., 1917 (April 18th ; under the old style calendar) Foreign Minister Pavel Miliukov sent a note to the Allied Governments emphasising  the determination of the Provisional Government to carry the war to a victorious conclusion and to remain loyal to the tsarist government's treaties with the Allies. The publication of the note within Russia gave rise to mass demonstrations in Petrograd over  the next four days, in which armed soldiers took a prominent part -- attempting at times to occupy public buildings.  Among the demonstrators the slogans 'Down with Miliukov" and 'Down with Guchkov' were raised everywhere.

The Central Committee of the Party was concerned that this spontaneous movement might develop along insurrectionary lines which, in the existing situation, could only harm the revolutionary movement; on May 4th., therefore, it adopted a resolution drafted by Lenin calling upon all Party members to exert every effort to keep the demonstrations peaceful:

These demonstrations proved sufficient to force the resignation of Guchkov as Minister of War May 13th; and of Miliukov as Minister of Foreign Affairs on May 15th.

On May 14th  the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet voted in favour of a coalition Provisional Government, in which the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties would be formally represented.

The First Coalition Provisional Government came into being on May 18th with Prince Georgi Lvov continuing as Prime Minister.  Aleksandr Tereshchenko replaced Miliukov as Minister of Foreign Affairs; Aleksandr Kerensky and Viktor Chernov (of the Socialist Revolutionaries) became Minister of War and Minister of Agriculture respectively; Aleksandr Skobelev and Iraklii Tseretelli (of the Mensheviks) became Minister of Labour and Minister of Posts and Telegraphs respectively.

In the following month Lenin commented on the formal entry of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries into the Provisional Government:

The Seventh Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (the 'April Conference') was held in Petrograd from May 7th. to 12th., 1917, attended by 133 voting delegates representing 80,000 Party members.

The Report on the Political Situation was given by Lenin, and the opposition to Lenin's political line was led by Lev Kamenev and Aleksei Rykov.

Kamenev directed his main attack against the slogan 'Down with the Provisional Government!'", implying that this was a Leninist slogan whereas it had been put forward during the 'April Days" by the Petrograd Committee of the Party in violation of the line of the Central Committee.  In place of this (for the moment) incorrect slogan, Kamenev urged that the Party should put forward the completely unrealistic demand for control of the Provisional Government by the Soviets".

Lenin replied:

Rykov opposed Lenin's political line on the grounds that Russia was too industrially undeveloped to move towards a socialist revolution.

Lenin replied:

By a majority the congress approved a series of resolutions endorsing the Leninist line.

The Leninist political line on the national question in particular, that the Party must advocate the right of oppressed nations to self-determination to the point of secession -- was presented in the Report on the National Question given by Stalin.  This slogan was opposed by Felix Dzherzhinsky and Yuri Piatakov, the latter demanding:

Lenin replied: The conference discussed the question of the Party's participation in the Third (and last) "Zimmerwald Conference", due to be held in Stockholm (Sweden) in May 1917 (but later postponed until September).

In his "April Theses" Lenin had already demanded a break with the 'Zimmerwald International", proposing that the Party should remain within it only for purposes of information. At the conference, however, this policy was opposed by a considerable body of delegates headed by Grigori Zinoviev, who proposed:

Zinoviev's resolution was carried by the conference against the opposition of Lenin, who described Zinoviev's tactics as: The conference also discussed the question of the Party's participation in an "international socialist conference" to discuss "peace terms", also scheduled for Stockholm in May. On May 6th, the Danish Social-Democrat Frederik Bergjberg had personally addressed the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet on the 'Stockholm Conference".  The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries had accepted the invitation to participate in the conference; the Bolsheviks had rejected the invitation.

The question was placed on the agenda of the conference at the request of Viktor Nogin, who proposed that a Bolshevik delegation should attend the 'Stockholm Conference'.

Lenin replied:

The conference adopted a resolution along these lines.

The conference adopted a series of resolutions in accordance with Lenin's political line:

The Conference elected a new Central Committee, consisting of Lenin, Stalin, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Nilyutin, Nogin, Sverdlov, Smilga and Fedorov, and instructed it to bring up to date the programme of the Party adopted in 1903. The First All-Russian Congress of Soviets was held in Petrograd from June 16th  to July 6th., 1917.  Of the 790 delegates, only 103 (13%) were Bolsheviks, and the congress was dominated by the Mensheviks and Social-Revolutionaries. The congress, against Bolshevik opposition, adopted resolutions in favour of: On June 21st; the Central Committee of the RSDLP decided to call a peaceful  demonstration for June 23rd; under the slogans: 'Down with the Capitalist Ministers!'" and "All Power to the Soviets!".  The Congress of Soviets, on the initiative of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, immediately adopted a resolution prohibiting the demonstration on the pretext that: In the early hours of the morning of June 22nd;  the Central Committee, on Lenin's initiative, called off the planned demonstration.
On June 24th, Lenin explained the reasons for this decision to a meeting of the  Petrograd Committee of The Party: The 'subsequent events', referred to by Lenin were the holding, earlier on the same day, of a united session of the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, the Presidium of the Congress of Soviets and the Fraction Committees of the parties represented at the Congress.
Iraklii Tseretelli, Menshevik Minister of Posts and Telegraphs in the Provisional Government, denounced the Bolshevik demonstration that had been planned for June 23rd. as 'a plot to overthrow the Provisional Government by force'; he demanded that the Bolsheviks be expelled from the Soviets and that the arms in the hands of the workers be taken from them.

The Bolshevik delegates walked out of the congress in protest at Tseretelli's speech, and issued a declaration in which they declared:

However, rank-and-file pressure compelled the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders of the Soviet on June 25th. to call a demonstration for July 1st. in the name of the Congress of Soviets.  About 400,000 workers and soldiers took part in the demonstration in Petrograd on this day, and, to the horror of the compromising leaders of the Soviets, 90% of the banners bore the slogans put forward by the Bolsheviks: "Down with the Ten Capitalist Ministers!, and "All Power to the Soviets!'

The Congress elected a Central Executive Committee and instructed it to convene a new congress within three months.

                            Trotsky Returns to Russia

When news of the 'February Revolution' reached America, Trotsky made immediate arrangements to return to Russia. Sailing from New York in a Norwegian ship at the end of March, he was taken off the ship at Halifax (Canada) by British naval police and confined for a month in an internment camp for German prisoners of war at Amherst.

At the end of April he was released from internment, and resumed his journey.  Landing in Norway, he crossed Scandinavia to reach Petrograd on May 17th., 1917.

He went almost immediately to the Smolny Institute, a former private school for girls which was now the head-quarters of the Petrograd Soviet.  In view of his leading role in the Soviet of 1905, he was made an associate member of the Executive of the Soviet, without the right to vote.

He joined a group called the  'Inter-Regional Organisation" (Mezhrayontsi), which had been founded in 1913 and to the publications of which he had contributed from abroad. The Inter-Regional Organisation was a centrist group, which prided itself on being neither Bolshevik nor Menshevik, and its influence was confined to a few working-class districts of Petrograd.  In the early summer of 1917 its leading members included Anatoly Lunacharsky, David Riazanov, Dmitri Manuilsky, Mikhail Pokrovsky, Adolphe Joffe and Lev Karahkhan.

Now Trotsky took a leading role in the organisation, and in founding its organ  'Vperyod' (Forward).
According to Trotsky,

According to Lenin, however, Trotsky himself was precisely one of the 'elements which tried to impede fusion'.

On May 23rd., a meeting took place between representatives of the Bolsheviks (including Lenin)  and representatives of the Inter-Regional Organisation (including Trotsky) to explore the possibility of fusion.

As Trotsky's biographer puts it:

Lenin's own notes of the meeting say: The meeting, therefore, broke up without reaching any agreement.

Not until August, three months before the October Revolution, did the Inter-Regional Organisaion join the Bolshevik Party, while Trotsky was in prison!

On July 16th., 1917, the Ministers belonging to the Constitutional-Democratic Party (the 'Cadets') resigned from the Government.

Lenin pointed out that:

The effect of this ultimatum was to face the Menshevik Ministers in the Provisional Government with the choice of either participating in the attempted suppression of the working class and poor peasantry or of allying themselves with the revolutionary working class and peasantry - which their whole political outlook would make them fear to do: The resignation of the Cadet Ministers from the government on July 16th. stimulated on the following day mass demonstrations of armed workers and soldiers outside the headquarters of the Petrograd Soviet, under the slogans 'All Power to the Soviets.'

In the evening of July 17th. a Bolshevik revolution in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets calling for the transfer of all power to the Soviets was rejected.

On the next day, July 18th., "Pravda" published an appeal from the Bolsheviks calling for an end to the demonstrations:

Later, in September 1917, Lenin analysed the reasons why it would have been incorrect to have attempted to turn the armed demonstration of the 'July Days' into an insurrection: On July 18th., 1917 the newspaper "'Zhivoye Slovo" (Living Word) published a statement from Grigori Alexnsky asserting that he had documentary evidence that Lenin was "a spy in the pay of German imperialism". On the same day military cadets wrecked the printing plant and editorial offices of "Pravda", preventing the publication of Lenin's reply to the slander.

On July 19th. government troops occupied the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Party, and the government issued an order for the arrest of Lenin, Zinoviev and Kameonev.

A movement demanding that Lenin surrender to the arrest order was led by Trotsky.

As Trotsky's sympathetic biographer Isaac Deutscher expresses it:

To this demand Lenin replied: The Bolshevik viewpoint on the question of the attitude to be adopted towards the warrant of arrest issued for the Bolshevik leaders was put at the Sixth Congress of the Party in August by Stalin: Feeling that his political reputation was suffering because no warrant had been issued for his own arrest, Trotsky wrote an Open Letter to the Provisional Government pleading that he too should be made liable to arrest: The Provisional Government obliged Trotsky by arresting him on August 5th, and incarcerating him in the Kresty prison3 from which he was released on bail on September 17th. On July 20th., 1917 Prince Lvov resigned as Prime Minister of the Provisional Government, and on the following day his place was taken by Aleksandr Kerensky (Socialist-Revolutionary).

On July 22nd., the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, against Bolshevik opposition, adopted a resolution of confidence in the Provisional Government as a government of defence of the revolution.

At this time Lenin analysed the new political situation following the "July Days" as follows:

On July 25th., 1917 Kerensky issued a decree reintroducing capital punishment at the front, and three days later ordered the suppression of 'Pravda" and other Bolshevik papers.

On July 29th. General Lavr Kornilov was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the army, replacing General Aleksel Brusilov.

On July 31st., Kerensky issued a decree dissolving the Finnish Sejm (Parliament), which had on July 19th, passed a bill for the autonomy of Finland.

On August 6th., the second coalition Provisional Government was formed, with Aleksandr Kerensky as Prime Minister and Minister of War and including Ministers from the Cadets, the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries.

Lenin commented on the formation of the new government as follows:

The Sixth Congress of the RSDLP took place secretly in Petrograd from August 8th - 16th, 1917, attended by 157 voting delegates representing 40,000 members.

In Lenin's absence, both the Report of the Central Committee and the Report on the Political Situation were given by Stalin. In the latter, Stalin said:

Nikolai Bukharin put forward in the discussion on the Report on the Political Situation a theory of the further development of the revolution based on Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution". Bukharin held that the revolution in its further development, would consist of two phases, the first phase being essentially a peasant revolution, the second phase that of a revolution of the working class in which the peasant would not be the ally of the working class, in which the only ally of the Russian working class would be the working classes of Western Europe, that is: Stalin opposed Bukharin's theory as 'not properly thought out' and "fundamentally wrong": Evgenii Preobrazhensky moved an amendment to the congress resolution on the political situation, an amendment also based on an aspect of Trotsky's theory of "permanent revolution". He proposed that the seizure of power should be undertaken: Stalin strongly opposed this amendment: Preobrazhensky's amendment was rejected, and the resolution adopted by the congress declared: The congress approved a resolution on the economic situation, the main points of which were the confiscation of the landed estates, the nationalisation of the land, the nationalisation of the banks and large-scale industrial enterprises, and workers' control over production and distribution.

It also approved resolutions on the trade union movement and on youth leagues, setting out the aim that the Party should win the leading influence in all these bodies. It also endorsed Lenin's decision not to appear for trial:

The congress also adopted new Party Rules, based on the principles of democratic centralism, and admitted the Mezhrayontsi (the Inter-Regional Organisation) into the Party. In this way Trotsky, as a member of the Inter-Regional Organisation, became a member of the Bolshevik Party while himself in prison, less than three months before the "October Revolution".

Finally, the congress issued a Manifesto to all the workers, soldiers and peasants of Russia, which ended:

As has been said, the 7th Conference of the Party in May had resolved that the Party should not participate in the "international socialist conference in Stockholm (scheduled originally for May but postponed till the autumn) but should expose it as a manoeuvre of the German social-chauvinists.
On August 19th , however, Lev Kamenev said in the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets: Lenin denounced Kamenev's statement with indignation: The following month, Lenin returned to his attack upon the Stockholm Conference: In fact, the "Stockholm Conference" never took place, owing to the refusal of the British and French Governments to allow their social-chauvinists to attend. On the initiative of Aleksandr Kerensky, a "State Conference" was held in the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, from August 25th to 28th , 1917. The conference was dominated by representatives of the landlords and bourgeoisie, including a number of prominent generals, with a minority of Soviet representatives in the shape of Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. The Petrograd Soviet and provincial Soviets were not invited to send delegates.

The conference was opened by Kerensky, who declared that the fundamental tasks of the Provisional Government were the continuation of the war, the restoration of order in the army and the country, and the organisation of a stable power.

The principal speech was made by General Lavr Kornilov, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, while General Aleksei Kaledin, speaking in the name of the Don Cossacks, put forward the following programme:

Prior to the opening of the conference, Stalin had characterised it as follows: A resolution of the Central Committee of the RSDLP, published on August 21st called on all Party organisations: The Moscow Trade Union Council, under Bolshevik leadership, called a successful one-day general strike in the city in protest at the convening of the conference. On September 3rd , the Latvian capital Riga was surrendered to the German armies.

A powerful campaign was then launched in all the media controlled by the counter-revolutionary capitalist class blaming the fall of Riga on the demoralisation of the soldiers brought about by Bolshevik propaganda and agitation.

The Bolsheviks replied that this was not the reason for the fall of Riga, but that the city had been deliberately surrendered to the German armies in order to provide a pretext for a counter-revolutionary conspiracy:

On September 5th negotiations took place at army headquarters at the front between Commander-in-Chief General Lavr Kornilov and Boris Savinkoy, Deputy Minister of War in the Provisional Government, at which, on Kerensky's instructions, Savinkov requested Kornilov to despatch army units to Petrograd: On September 7th. General Kornilov ordered an army corps, some Cossack detachments and the so-called 'savage Division' to move on Petrograd. The orders given to the commander of this force, General Krymov, were to occupy the city, disarm the units of the Petrograd garrison which joined the Bolshevik movement, disarm the population of Petrograd and disperse the Soviets. The aim of the military coup was to set up a dictatorial government headed by Kornilov, with the participation of Aleksandr Kerensky (as Vice-Chairman), Boris Savinkov, Generel Mikhail Alekseev, and Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. (Ibid.; p. 370)

As Stalin commented later:

On September 8th, "demand" was sent to Kerensky in the name of Kornilov demanding that the former hand over dictatorial powers to the General. On the same day the "Cadet" Ministers resigned from the Provisional Government.

On the following day Kerensky -- compelled for political reasons to keep his participation in the plot secret --issued an "appeal" to the population for "resistance" to Kornilov, and appointed Savinkov as Governor-General of Petrograd under a state of siege.

On September 10th , on the initiative of the Bolsheviks a broad Committee for Struggle against Counter-Revolution was set up in the capital. Detachments of armed workers ("Red Guards") were formed for the defence of the city, and agitators (mostly Bolshevik soldiers) were sent to meet the advancing troops. The work of these agitators, in the existing circumstances, proved so successful that by September 12th, virtually all the rank-and-file soldiers had deserted Kornilov.

The political line put forward by Lenin in connection with the Kornilov "revolt" was to organise active struggle against the main enemy, the Kornilov forces, while on a campaign of exposure of the Kerensky government:

On September l4th, General Krymov committed suicide, and, on the initiative of Kerensky, a five-man government called a "Directory" was set up as a new Provisional Government.

As Stalin commented:

The Kornilov revolt, together with the completely successful struggle led by the Bolsheviks against it, gave a great stimulus to the development of the socialist revolutionary forces. As a result of the collapse of the Kornilov "revolt", the Provisional Government found itself for the moment virtually without any state machinery of force at its disposal. In those circumstances Lenin declared on September 4th , that for a short time -- perhaps only for a few days-- the revolution could advance peacefully by the formation (under the revived slogan of "All Power to the Soviets") of a Menshevik and Socialist Revolutionary Soviet Government. With the defeat of the Kornilov "revolt", the political situation changed rapidly, as has been said.

The incident had exposed completely the counter-revolutionary character of the Provisional Government and of the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders. The masses of workers and peasants swung overwhelmingly behind the Bolsheviks. A section of the Mensheviks (the so-called "Internationalists") and a section of the Socialist-Revolutionaries (the so-called 'Left-Socialist-Revolutionaries") departed the open counter-revolutionary leaders and forged a practical bloc with the Bolsheviks.

The incident also brought a great revival to the Soviets, and their bolshevisation. On September 13th the Petrograd Soviet adopted a revolutionary resolution moved by the Moscow Soviet followed suit on September 18th. In these circumstances, the Party revived the slogan of "All Power to the Soviets!"

On September 22nd, the Mensheviks, Socialist-Revolutionary Presidium of the Petrograd Soviet, headed by Nicholas Chkheidze, resigned, and on September 24th, Trotsky was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet: In his presidential address to the Petrograd Soviet on September 24th, Trotsky said: Thus, in the name of "protecting the rights of the minorities" under 'proportional representation', on the initiative of Trotsky the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, now in a minority in the Soviet, were voted back on to the Presidium, Lenin denounced with indignation: At the end of September Lenin wrote to the Central Committee, the Petrograd Committee and the Moscow Committee of the Party demanding the immediate preparation of a revolutionary insurrection: A day or so later Lenin followed the above letter with a further letter to the Central Committee: The two letters of Lenin discussed in the last section were debated at a meeting of the Central Committee of the Party on October 28th.

The Committee took a hesitant attitude towards Lenin's demand that an insurrection be placed on the immediate order of the day. Stalin's motion that the letters should be sent to the most important organisations for discussion by them was held over until the next meeting. Kamenev's motion that:

Was, however, rejected. The Seventh Conference of the RSDLP, in May 1917, had decided in favour of the representation of the Party at the Third Zimmerwald Conference in Stockholm planned for the end of May but postponed until September.

In September Lenin pressed the view that the decision to continue further participation in "rotten Zimmerwald" had been a mistake and urged that the Party's delegation should not take part in the conference but should call a conference of the left Zimmerwaldists, without the Centrists:

From September 27th to October 5th , 1917 the Provisional Government convoked a "Democratic_Conference" in the Aleksandrinsky Theatre, Petrograd. Its aim was to try to provide a basis of support for the government in the new situation following the defeat of the Kornilov "revolt".

It was, of course, completely unrepresentative. As Lenin pointed out:

The Bolsheviks were represented at the conference, and on October lst, submitted a long declaration calling for the formation of a revolutionary Soviet government with the following programme: and demanding the following immediate measures: After repeated inconclusive votes, the conference declared in favour of a coalition government but without participation of the Cadets. Kerensky, however, declined to abide by the decision of the conference he had himself organised, and on October 8th, formed a new coalition government which included several individual members of the Cadet Party.

The most important act of the conference was to set up a "Provisional Council of the Republic", known as the "Pre-Parliament", by which the capitalist class aimed to divert the less politically developed workers and poor peasants from the path of revolution to the path of parliamentary democracy". The Pre-parliament was intended to substitute itself for the Soviets.

In an article published on October 7th., two days after the conference ended, Lenin summed it up as follows:

Already by the last day of the "Democratic Conference", October 5th , Lenin had become convinced that, in view of the development of the revolution, it had been a mistake for the Bolsheviks to participate in this "hideous fraud": On this basis, Lenin proceeded to fight for a policy of boycotting the new fraud, the Pre-parliament: However, before Lenin's letter had been received, on October 3rd the Central Committee of the Party had convened a meeting of the Central Committee extended to include members of the Petrograd Committee and the Bolshevik delegates to the Democratic Conference. Stalin and Trotsky reported in favour of boycotting the Pre-parliament, while Lev Kamenev and Viktor Nogin reported in favour of participation, and were supported by David Riazanov and Aleksei Rykov. The conference adopted a resolution in favour of participation by 77 votes to 50.

On October 6th , Lenin demanded a reversal of this decision:

The Central Committee of the Party did, in fact, convene a Party Congress for October 30th., 1917. In his theses intended for this congress, Lenin wrote: However, the convocation of the congress proved unnecessary, and was cancelled by the Central Committee. On October 18th , the Central Committee adopted a resolution to boycott the pre-parliament, against only one dissentient vote. The dissentient, Lev Kamenev, asked that a statement by him be attached to the minutes of the meeting: On the opening day of the Pre-parliament, October 20th., Trotsky read a declaration on behalf of the Bolsheviks: Two days after the Bolsheviks walked out of the Pre-parliament, there took place, on October 23rd, the famous session of the Central Committee of the Russian Social-Democratic Party at which the decision to launch the insurrection was taken.

Twelve of the twenty-one members of the CC were present, including Lenin disguised in wig and spectacles.

The minutes of the meeting recorded the main points only of Lenin's statement:

Lenin then moved a resolution which ended: The resolution was carried by ten votes to two -- the dissentients being Grigori Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev. On October 24th, Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev sent a joint memorandum to the principal organisations of the Party attacking the Central Committee's decision of the previous day to launch an insurrection: A few days later the statement was distributed in leaflet form in Petrograd. Trotsky's opposition to Lenin's call to insurrection was more subtle than that of Kamenev and Zinoviev.

Whereas the latter openly opposed Lenin's demands for immediate preparations for insurrection, Trotsky supported these demands in words. He insisted however, in the name of "Soviet constitutionalism" that the actual call to insurrection should be issued not by the Petrograd Soviet, and certainly not by the Party, but by the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets.

As Trotsky's sympathetic biographer Isaac Deutscher expresses it:

In this connection, it must be remembered that the First Congress of Soviets had instructed the C.E.C. to summon a new congress "within three months", i.e. not later than September. The C.E.C however, justifiably fearing that the Bolsheviks would have a majority at the congress, violated this instruction. Only under the extreme pressure of the Bolsheviks at the time of the Democratic Conference did the C.E.C. reluctantly agree to convoke the congress for November 2nd . On October 31st, however, it postponed the congress to November 7th.

Lenin saw Trotsky's line as either -- and he left the question open -- "absolute idiocy" or "complete betrayal", and he attacked it continuously up to the moment of the insurrection itself:
On October 10th :

On October 12th: Only when Lenin took the extreme step of resigning from the Central Committee in order to fight for his line in the lower organs of the Party (on October l2th) did a majority accept Lenin's line on this question: Although Lenin withdrew his resignation when the Central Committee voted for a boycott of the Pre-parliament, Trotsky continued to fight for his line and Lenin continued to fight against it:
On October 16-20: On October 21st: On November 6th.; (i.e, on the eve of the insurrection): Trotsky later felt it expedient to deny the charge that he had sought to accommodate the insurrection to the Second Congress of Soviets: Elsewhere in the same work, however, Trotsky makes his own position at the time quite clear.
He reports his declaration 'In the name of the Petrograd Soviet" on November 1st and comments: Trotsky also reports his speech at an emergency session of the Petrograd Soviet on November 6th., 1917 (the day before the insurrection began): To which Trotsky replied: and answers himself: Thus Trotsky, here was admitting the justice of Lenin's comment: According to Trotsky, Lenin's original plan for the insurrection (to which he adhered up to November 6th.) was that it should be called "'in the name of the Party", and endorsed by the Congress of Soviets when this met:
Lenin's plan, he says, And Trotsky complains, for example, of the resolution drafted by Lenin which was also approved by the Central Committee at its meeting on October 23rd : Trotsky "kindly" attributes Lenin's "wrong estimates" to his absence from Petrograd": In fact, Lenin's basic plan was that the insurrection should be planned, timed and led by the Party, through either the Petrograd or the Moscow Soviet -- both of which were now led by the Party -- but not through the Second Congess of Soviets, the calling of which was dependent upon the Central Executive Committee led by Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. As Stalin comments: Trotsky's myth goes on to say that the Central Committee "rejected Lenin's plan for the insurrection" and "adopted Trotsky's plan that the insurrection should be called by the Second Congress of Soviets. Only on the evening of November 6th , according to Trotsky was Lenin convinced of the "incorrectness" of his "conspiratorial plan"; As Stalin points out, however, the Central Committee of the Party did not adapt Trotsky's plan that the insurrection should be called by the Second Congress Of Soviets. In fact, the insurrection had been carried through before the Congress met. On October 29th., 1917 an extended session of the Central Committee of the RSDLP was held, in which participated representatives of the Petrograd Committee, the Petrograd Regional Committee, the Military Organisation, the Bolshevik Fraction of the Petrograd Soviet, trade unions and factory committees.

Lenin reported on the Central Committee meeting of October 23rd, and read the resolution on insurrection adapted by that meeting.
Representatives then reported on the situation existing, in their particular sectors.

In the discussion on the present situation, the resolution was strongly opposed by Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev.
Kamenev said:

Zinoviev said: Stalin spoke strongly in favour of confirmation of the Central Committee resolution of October 23rd., and this was finally done by 19 votes against 2 -- the dissentients again being Kamenev and Zinoviev.

The Central Committee then continued in session alone, and set up a Military Centre of the Central Committee consisting of Stalin, Sverdlov, Bubnov, Dzerzhinsky and Uritsky.

After the meeting had concluded, Kamenev sent a letter to the Central Committee tendering his resignation from it:

From October 24-26th , 1917 the Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of the Northern Region took place in Petrograd. Since the overwhelming majority of the delegates were Bolsheviks and Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets -- still dominated by Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries -- declared the congress unofficial, and the small Menshevik fraction declared themselves present "for purposes of information only".

The congress declared itself in favour of the_immediate transfer of power to the Soviets, the immediate transfer of land to the peasants, an immediate offer of peace and the convening of the Constituent Assembly at the appointed time.

On October 29-30th Lenin - wrote a long, "Letter to Comrades" in which he refuted point by point the arguments of Kamenev and Zinoviev against the immediate launching of an insurrection.

On October 31st, Kamenev, on behalf of Zinoviev and himself, published a statement in the newspaper "Novaya Zhizn" (New Life) in which he declared that they felt themselves obliged:

Lenin thundered immediately at the treachery of the "strikebreakers of the Revolution": On the following day he wrote to the Central Committee of the Party: The Central Committee Meeting of November 2nd. At its meeting on November 2nd., the Central Committee accepted Kamenev's resignation from the CC. It adopted a resolution to the effect: and a more specific resolution imposing: On November 5th , the Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet appointed commissars for all the military detachments under its command. On the same day the Peter and Paul fortress, the last important obstacle to insurrection, declared for the Petrograd Soviet.

In the early morning of November 6th, the Provisional Government attempted to launch a counter-offensive against the revolutionary forces by issuing orders for the arrest of the members of the Revolutionary Military Committee and for the suppression of the central organ of the Bolsheviks, "Rabochy Put" (Workers Path).

By 10 a.m. detachments of Red Guards had placed a guard on the printing plant and editorial offices of the newspaper, and at 11 a.m. the paper came out with a call for the immediate overthrow of the Provisional Government.

In the late evening of November 6th , Lenin arrived at the Smolny which, as the headquarters both of the Petrograd Soviet and of the Bolshevik Party, had become the directing centre of the insurrection. Throughout the night, revolutionary soldiers and workers came to the Smolny and were armed with weapons supplied by the army units from the city's arsenals.

From dawn on November 7th revolutionary troops and Red Guards occupied the Petrograd railway stations, post offices, telegraph offices, telephone exchanges, government offices and the state bank The Pre-Parliament was dispersed. The cruiser "Aurora", controlled by revolutionary sailors, trained its guns on the Winter Palace, the only territory remaining to the Provisional Government.

During the day the Revolutionary Military Committee issued a manifesto: " To the Citizens of Russia" drafted by Lenin:

In one respect the manifesto was slightly premature, for it was not until the evening of November 7th. that revolutionary workers, soldiers and sailors took the Winter Palace by storm and arrested those members of the Provisional Government who had not fled (Kerensky had escaped earlier in the day by car, accompanied by a U.S. Embassy car flying the Stars and Stripes).

At 11 p.m. on November 7th the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets opened in the Smolny.

As Stalin points out, Trotsky, as President of the Petrograd Soviet and of its Revolutionary Military Committee, played an important role in thc"October Revolution": In his myth about the "October Revolution", however, Trotsky was concerned to understimate the leading role of the Party in the revolution, to underestimate the role of Lenin (whose tactics for the insurrection were, he alleges, incorrect), and to overestimate the role of the Military Revolutionary Committee Of the Petrograd Soviet and of himself as Chairman of that Committee.

Thus, Trotsky quotes with obvious approval one of the earlier editions of Lenin's "Collected Works", in which the editors say in a note on Trotsky:

The amendment of this estimation is, alleges Trotsky, due to the fact that: Stalin certainly denied the "special role" of Trotsky in the "October Revolution" claimed by Trotsky and his supporters: Trotsky, in his reply, confirms Stalin's charge that he is concerned to underestimate the leading role of the Party in the insurrection. He admits that "the practical centre" of the Central Committee was set up : But he denies that it or any other party organ guided the insurrection. The insurrection, he declares, was guided by the Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, with Trotsky as its chairman, alone: Lenin characterised the "October Revolution" as a proletarian-socialist revolution in its main, political content -- since by it the working class in alliance with, and leading, the peasantry seized political poor from the capitalist class. But he characterised it as a bourgeois-democratic revolution in its' economic content -- since it completed the bourgeois-democratic revolutionary tasks which the "February Revolution" did not carry out. For the autumn of 1913, however, the continuing revolution developed uninterruptedly into a proletarian-socialist revolution in its economic content.