Lenin's April Theses and the Russian Revolution
Publisher: International Socialism
Date Written: 05/04/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21069
In 1917 Lenin arrived from exile iin Petrograd, soon to give an outline of what were to be called the April Theses. Broadly, the theses can be summarised as follows: Only the overthrow of the provisional government and the fight for soviet power could secure a state of affairs that would bring bread to the workers, land to the peasants and peace to end the imperialist war.
On 24 April 1917 at the seventh All-Russia Conference of the Bolsheviks, Lenin was to spell out this point more forcefully:
"The Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers Deputies, which cover the whole of Russia with their network, now stand at the centre of the revolution Should they take over the power, it will no longer be a state in the ordinary sense of the word. The world has seen no state power such as this functioning for any considerable length of time, but the whole world's organised working classes have been approaching it. This would be a state of the Paris Commune type."
The fact of decisive importance that Lenin is making here is that no capitalist country could tolerate the existence of such a state institution as the soviets and no socialist revolution could operate with any other state institution than this. Lenin is now clearly exhibiting a strong difference of emphasis with Lih's assertion, "noted earlier, that the central tenet of pre-war old Bolshevism was "Democratic revolution to the end", a slogan, as he puts it, "that implied a vast social transformation of Russia under the aegis of a revolutionary government based on the narod [proletariat and peasantry]".