Lenin Collected Works: Volume 41: Preface by Progress Publishers

Lenin Collected Works:
Volume 41

Preface by Progress Publishers

The additional volumes 41. to 45 of the present edition contain the most important of the new material included in the Fifth Russian edition of the Collected Works of V. I. Lenin.

Volume 41 contains works written before the Great October Socialist Revolution, from 1896 to October 1917, which are an essential supplement to the works published in the respective volumes of the present edition.

A great part of the volume consists of documents reflecting Lenin's efforts in creating and strengthening the Bolshevik Party and working out the ideological and organisational principles, the programme and the rules of a new type of proletarian party. Among them are: “Outline of Various Points of the Practical Section of the Draft Programme”, “Record of Points One and Two of Plekhanov's First Draft Programme, and Outline of Point One of the Programme's Theoretical Section”, “Initial Variant of the Agrarian Section and the Concluding Section of the Draft Programme”, and Lenin's speeches at the Second Party Congress. They show that Lenin helped the Iskra Editorial Board to draft a truly revolutionary programme.

The record of the Second Congress of the League of Russian Revolutionary Social-Democracy Abroad, the January and June (1904) sessions of the R.S.D.L.P. Council, “Draft Resolution of the Majority's Geneva Group”, “Reply to L. Martov”, “Report on the State of Affairs in the Party”, and others show Lenin's struggle against the Mensheviks' splitting and disorganising activity after the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.

A large group of documents written by Lenin in connection with the work of the Third, Fourth and Fifth Congresses of the R.S.D.L.P. is of great importance for a study of the Party's strategy and tactics during the first Russian revolution. These documents contain propositions on the hegemony of the proletariat, the alliance of the working class and the peasantry, and the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution.

Considerable interest attaches to the works connected with the elaboration of Bolshevik tactics in the Duma (Parliament): the report and summing-up speech on the report on the election campaign for the Second Duma and other material of the Second Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (the First All-Russia Conference), the articles “Are the Mensheviks Entitled To Conduct a Policy of Supporting the Cadets?", “The Third Duma and Social-Democracy”, “Report to the International Socialist Bureau, 'Elections to the Fourth Duma'", “The Duma Group and the Majority Outside”, etc.

A number of works dating from the period of reaction reflect Lenin's struggle against ideological vacillations and deviations from Marxism. Lenin waged an implacable struggle against the avowed opportunists, the Menshevik liquidators, and also against the “Left” opportunists inside the Bolshevik Party—the otzovists, the ultimatumists and the Vperyod splinter group. In addition to the material already published, the volume contains 14 works by Lenin shedding light on the conference of Proletary's enlarged Editorial Board which condemned both liquidationism and otzovism.

The volume gives a fuller picture of the meeting held by members of the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee in Paris in June 1911. In his “Report on the State of Affairs in the Party” and speeches at the meeting, Lenin defined the Party's tasks in the struggle against the anti-Party groups.

The Sixth (Prague) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. brought to a close a long period of struggle against Menshevism. By expelling the Menshevik liquidators from the Party, it strengthened the Party as an all-Russia organisation, capable of giving a lead to the masses in afresh revolutionary upsurge. The volume contains a number of documents which are of great interest for the study of the Conference. Among them are: “Report on the Work of the International Socialist Bureau”, setting out important propositions on the new epoch, an epoch of socialist revolutions and “battles against the bourgeoisie”, and on the consequent sharpening of the struggle between the revolutionary Social-Democrats and the reformists inside the European socialist parties, and “Speech on the Organisational Question”, emphasising the need to strengthen the Party's ties with the masses and to combine legal and illegal work.

The volume contains Lenin's resolution for the Cracow meeting of the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee with Party workers, “On the Reorganisation and Work of the Pravda Editorial Board”. This decision shows how the Central Committee, led by Lenin, gave effective and concrete guidance to Pravda, the Party's most important legal organ.

In some of his works—"Reply to Liquidators' Article in Leipziger Volkszeitung”, “Letter to the Executive of the German Social-Democratic Party”, “On the Question of the Bureau's Next Steps”, “Russian Workers and the Inter national”, “How the Liquidators Are Cheating the Workers”, “Resolution on the Socialist Bureau's Decision"—Lenin gives a firm rebuff to attempts by the leaders of the German Social-Democrats and the Second International to “reconcile” and unite the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks by liquidating the Bolshevik Party.

Lenin's struggle for Party unity is characterised by the documents relating to the Fourth Congress of the Social-Democrats of the Latvian territory: his report and summing-up speech, and the draft resolution on the attitude of the Social-Democrats of the Latvian territory to the R.S.D.L.P.

Of the documents supplementing Lenin's elaboration of the national question, the volume includes: “Theses for a Lecture on the National Question”, “German Social-Democracy and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination”, “Note to the Theses 'Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self—Determination'", “On the Declaration by the Polish Social-Democrats at the Zimmerwald Conference”, plans of an unfinished pamphlet, Statistics and Sociology, and “Speech on the National Question” at the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.).

Lenin urged the need for the workers to struggle against the danger of the world war which was being prepared by the imperialists of all countries, and exposed the opportunists who denied that such a struggle was of any real importance, an attitude which doomed the workers to a passive stand. He believed that it was a major task of the revolutionary Social-Democrats to conduct anti-militarist propaganda and spread the idea of international solidarity among the working people. This question is dealt with in the following articles: “Notes to the Resolution of the Stuttgart Congress on 'Militarism and International Conflicts'", “Notes to Clara Zetkin's Article 'International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart'", “Anti-Militarist Propaganda and Young Socialist Workers' Leagues” and “How the Socialist-Revolutionaries Write History”.

A number of documents published in the volume relate to the period of the First World War, namely, “On the Slogan to Transform the Imperialist War into a Civil War”, “Editorial Note to the Article 'The Ukraine and the War'", “Draft Point Three of the Resolution 'The C. O. and the New Paper', Adopted by the Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. Sections Abroad”, “Draft Resolution of the International Socialist Women's Conference”, “Variant of the Draft Resolution of Left-wing Social-Democrats for the First International Socialist Conference”, “Plan for a Lecture on 'Two Internationals'", speeches at the Zimmerwald and Kienthal International Socialist conferences, “Draft Resolution of the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee To Terminate Publication of the Journal Kommunist”, “Remarks on an Article about Maximalism” and others. These documents show the Bolshevik tactics with regard to war, peace and revolution; they explain the slogan of transforming the imperialist war into a civil war, and characterise Lenin's activity in rallying the Left-wing and revolutionary elements within the international working-class movement round the banner of internationalism, his struggle against social-chauvinism and Kautskyism (Centrism), and against the Left-wing opportunist, sectarian stand and splitting activities of the Bukharin-Pyatakov group.

A number of documents written after the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia in February 1917 contain Lenin's propositions concerning the Party's attitude to the bourgeois Provisional Government.

The volume contains material connected with Lenin~ s return from Switzerland to Russia in April 1917. It will be recalled that the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois press started a campaign of slander and harassment over Lenin and the Bolsheviks' return home across Germany. This is fully exposed in the following: replies to a correspondent of the newspaper Politiken and to F. Ström, a spokesman of the Left-wing Swedish Social-Democrats, the group's communiqué, “Russian Revolutionaries' Trip Across Germany”, speeches at a conference with Left-wing Swedish Social- Democrats on March 31 (April 13), at a meeting of the soldiers of an armoured battalion on April 15 (28), and at a meeting of the soldiers' section of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies on April 17 (30), “An Unfinished Autobiography”, etc.

There is also a newspaper report of Lenin's speech upon his arrival in Petrograd on April 3 (16), 1917, when he addressed workers, soldiers and sailors in the Finland Station Square from the top of an armoured car.

Lenin's return, his elaboration of a concrete plan for going over from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to a socialist revolution, and the open exposition of his plan in the press and in speeches at numerous meetings helped to orient the Party towards preparations for a socialist revolution. A tremendous part in this effort was played by the Petrograd City and the Seventh All-Russia Party conferences held in April 1917. Some of Lenin's reports and speeches at these conferences are published both according to the minutes and the newspaper reports, which gives a fuller idea of their content. The volume also contains “Report on the Results of the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) at a Meeting of the Petrograd Organisation” on May 8 (21), 1917.

A number of documents in the volume deal with the drafting of the Party's second programme, which charted the building of a socialist economy in Russia. Among them are: "Outline of Fifth 'Letter from Afar'”, “Preliminary Draft Alterations in the R.S.D.L.P. Party Programme”, which was the basis for “Proposed Amendments to the Doctrinal, Political and Other Sections of the Programme” (see Vol. 24, pp. 459-63), “Report on the Question of Revising the Party Programme” at the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), etc.

The Party's policy on the basic aspects of the revolution, such as war, peace and the agrarian question, is explained in the “Speech at a Sitting of the Bolshevik Group of the First All-Russia Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies”, “Report on the Current Situation at the All-Russia Conference of Front and Rear Military Organisations of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)", the articles “The Attention of Comrades!", “Too Gross a Lie”, “On the Grimm Affair”, “Shame!" and others.

The theses “The Political Situation”, which Lenin wrote after the July events, were published as an article in the newspaper Proletarskoye Dyelo, and that was how they appeared in Volume 25. Here they are given in their original form. They defined the Party's new tasks and tactics in the changed political situation. Great interest attaches to the “Letter Over the Publication of 'Leaflet on the Capture of Riga'", which was published for the first time in the Fifth Russian edition. Lenin gives important instructions in the item “On the List of Candidates for the Constituent Assembly” from his “Theses for a Report at the October 8 Conference of the St. Petersburg Organisation, and also for a Resolution and Instructions to Those Elected to the Party Congress”, part of which was published in Volume 26. In a letter to Y. M. Sverdlov, Lenin exposes Kamenev and Zinoviev's strike-breaking behaviour and voices his confidence in the victory of the revolution.

A considerable part of the documents consists of preparatory material, such as plans, notes, outlines and theses, which show Lenin's methods and thoroughness in preparing his works. The plans of unfinished or unwritten articles, and plans for speeches and lectures which either have not been recorded, or of which a record no longer exists, are of great importance, because some of them contain vital theoretical propositions and characterise the Party's tasks.

This volume contains 47 of Lenin's works which were first published in the Fifth Russian edition.

Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the C.P.S.U. Central Committee

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