V. I. Lenin

Plan for a Propaganda Talk on Crises{4}

Written: Written in the autumn of 1904
Published: First published in 1959 in the magazine Voprosy Istorii No. 3. Printed from the original.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 41, pages 131.2-132.1.
Translated: Yuri Sdobnikov
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Copyleft: V. I. Lenin Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) © 2004 Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.  

{{ 1. What is a crisis?—Stoppage in industry, unemployment, hitch in marketing, overproduction.
1. &alpha) What is an industrial crisis?
β) Stoppage of factories, hitch in marketing, bank ruptcies, unemployment.
γ) Overproduction....
2. O v e r p r o d u c t i o n, u n d e r c o n s u m p t i o n{1} (Elaborate the contradiction.)
2. &alpha) Overproduction and underconsumption.{2}
3. How can that be? (α) Division of contemporary society into two classes, the bourgeoisie and the p r o l e t a r i a t. (β) Production for the market.
{{ 4. Competition, its international character, drive for markets, gigantic growth of production.
5. Reduction in demand for living labour: i n t e n s f i c a t i o n, m a c h i n e s, women a n d c h i l d r e n, s k i l l e d and unskilled workers.
5 bis: Supply grows, marketing tight.
6. Periodical crises, their regularity, their inevitability under capitalism. (Illusions in time of prosperity.)
8. 7{3} R e s e r v e a r m y. Calamities of unemployment. B o n d a g e: r i g h t t o l i v e o n l y w h e n p r o d u c i n g profit.
(percentage of old beggars): {1/3–1/2} ....
7. 8. The effect of the crisis on the workers and p e t t y p r o p r i e t o r s.
Ruin, poverty: dawning socialist awareness....
Meeting of unemployed in Britain in 1889.{5}
9. Crisis and capitalism. Crisis and the development of large-scale production—trusts, etc. The tasks of socialism. The socialist revolution: Social-Democratic labour parties.
Examples of large-scale production:
Steam-powered mills:
Iron and steel:


{1} These words are in English in the original.—Ed.

{2} [DUPLICATE "*"] These words are in English in the original.—Ed.

{3} Point 7 was subsequently changed to point 8 and vice versa.—Ed.

{4} In the autumn of 1904, the Geneva group of Bolsheviks set up, on Lenin’s initiative, a propagandists’ circle which was largely made up of grass-root Party workers—working-men and young people without theoretical knowledge. The aim was to train men for work in Russia, and the studies were in the form of retorts and lectures. Lenin was the head of the circle, and conducted the studies on the Party Programme. Classes were soon stopped when some of the comrades went back to Russia in view of the outbreak of the revolution. A number of documents characterising the work of the circle are at the Central Party Archives of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. Lenin’s notes, plans of talks and records of the debates on the lectures are published in Lenin Miscellany XV, pp. 283–85, 287. p. 131

{5} The meeting was held in the port of London on August 14, 1889, in connection with the start of the dock-workers’ strike for higher per-hour wages and at least four hours of work a day. Ten thousand workers (including some unemployed) were involved in the strike. They set up a strike committee, whose secretary was Eleanor Marx-Aveling, Karl Marx’s daughter. The strikers had the support of workers in Britain, Australia and a number of European ports. During the strike, the first dock-workers’ union was set up, with branches in all the major British ports. The strike continued for five weeks and ended when all the workers’ demands were met. It gave an impetus to the development of trade unions and was a turning-point in the British labour movement. p. 132

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