"This essay was published in a New York Russian newspaper on January 20th, 1917, less than two months before the Second Russian Revolution. Trotsky then lived in New York. The essay shows how his contempt, even hatred, for the liberal parties in Russia had grown since 1905-6." - MOISSAYE J. OLGIN

This lecture on the l905 Revolution was delivered by Lenin on January 9 (22), 1917 at a meeting of young workers in the Zurich People’s House. The 1905 revolution was the dress rehearsal of October 1917. #1917Live

The first revolution engendered by the imperialist world war has broken out. The first revolution but certainly not the last.

Judging by the scanty information available in Switzer land, the first stage of this first revolution, namely, of the Russian revolution of March 1, 1917, has ended. This first stage of our revolution will certainly not be the last.

The principal document I have at my disposal at today’s date (March 8/21) is a copy of that most conservative and bourgeois English newspaper The Times of March 16, containing a batch of reports about the revolution in Russia. Clearly, a source more favourably inclined – to put it mildly – towards the Guchkov and Milyukov government it would not be easy to find.

The conclusion I drew yesterday about Chkheidze’s vacillating tactics has been fully confirmed today, March 10 (23), by two documents. First – a telegraphic report from Stockholm in the Frankfurter Zeitung[4] containing excerpts from the manifesto of the Central Committee of our Party, the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, in St. Petersburg. In this document there is not a word about either supporting the Guchkov government or overthrowing it; the workers and soldiers are called upon to organise around the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, to elect representatives to it for the fight against tsarism and for a republic, for an eight-hour day, for the confiscation of the landed estates and grain stocks, and chiefly, for an end to the predatory war. Particularly important and particularly urgent in this connection is our Central Committee’s absolutely correct idea that to obtain peace relations must be established with the proletarians of all the belligerent countries.

I have just (March 12/25) read in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (No. 517 of March 24) the following telegraphic dispatch from Berlin:

“It is reported from Sweden that Maxim Gorky has sent the government and the Executive Committee greetings couched in enthusiastic terms. He greets the people’s victory over the lords of reaction and calls upon all Russia’s sons to help erect the edifice of the new Russian state. At the same time he urges the government to crown the cause of emancipation by concluding peace. It must not, he says, be peace at any price; Russia now has less reason than ever to strive for peace at any price. It must be a peace that will enable Russia to live in honour among the other nations of the earth. Mankind has shed much blood; the new government would render not only Russia, but all mankind, the greatest service if it succeeded in concluding an early peace.”

2017 marks the centenary of the greatest event in world history: the Russian Revolution. The names Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky will forever be connected to that momentous social, political, and economic upheaval, which forever changed the course of humanity. Many people familiar with 20th Century history know that when the Russian working class overthrew the tsar in February 1917, Lenin was in exile in Switzerland, soon to return to Petrograd in the famous sealed train. But where was Trotsky before returning to the maelstrom?

The Democratic Conference, called together by Tsereteli and his coadjutors towards the end of September, was of an entirely artificial character, consisting, as it did, of a combination of representatives of Soviets with those of the organs of local self-government in such a proportion as to give a preponderance to the Coalitionist parties. The offspring of helplessness and confusion, the Conference ended in a pitiful fiasco.


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