The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution (Draft Platform for the Proletarian Party)


13. At the present moment we cannot say for certain whether a mighty agrarian revolution will develop in the Russian countryside in the near future. We cannot say exactly how profound the class cleavage is among the peasants, which has undoubtedly grown more profound of late as a division into agricultural labourers, wage-workers and poor peasants (“semi-proletarians”), on the one hand, and wealthy and middle peasants (capitalists and petty capitalists), on the other. Such questions will be, and can be, decided only by experience.

Being the party of the proletariat, however, we are unquestionably in duty bound not only immediately to advance an agrarian (land) programme but also to advocate practical measures which can be immediately realised in the interestsof the peasant agrarian revolution in Russia.

We must demand the nationalisation of allthe land, i.e., that all the land in the state should become the property of the central state power. This power must fix the size, etc., of the resettlement land fund, pass legislation for the conservation of forests, for land improvement, etc., and absolutely prohibit any middlemen to interpose themselves between the owner of the land, i.e., the state, and the tenant, i.e., the tiller (prohibit all subletting of land). However, the disposalof the land, the determination of the local regulationsgoverning ownership and tenure of land, must in no case be placed in the hands of bureaucrats and officials, but wholly and exclusively in the hands of the regional and local Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies.

In order to improve grain production techniques and increase output, and in order to develop rational cultivation on a large scale under public control, we must strive within the peasants’ committees to secure the transformation of every confiscated landed estate into a large model farm controlled by the Soviet of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies.

In order to counteract the petty-bourgeois phrase-mongering and the policy prevailing among the Socialist-Revolutionaries, particularly the idle talk about “subsistence” standards or “labour” standards, “socialisation of the land”, etc., the party of the proletariat must make it clear that small-scale farming under commodity production cannot save mankind from poverty and oppression.

Without necessarily splitting the Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies at once, the party of the proletariat must explain the need for organising separate Soviets of Agricultural Labourers’ Deputies and separate Soviets of deputies from the poor (semi-proletarian) peasants, or, at least, for holding regular separate conferences of deputies of this class statusin the shape of separate groups or parties within the general Soviets of Peasants’ Deputies. Otherwise all the honeyed petty-bourgeois talk of the Narodniks[1] regarding the peasants in general will serve as a shield for the deception of the propertyless mass by the wealthy peasants, who are merely a variety of capitalists.

To counteract the bourgeois-liberal or purely bureaucratic sermons preached by many Socialist-Revolutionaries and Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, who advise the peasants not to seize the landed estates and not to start the agrarian reform pending the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the party of the proletariat must urge the peasants to carry out the agrarian reform at once on their own, and to confiscate the landed estates immediately, upon the decisions of the peasants’ deputies in the localities.

At the same time, it is most important to insist on the necessity of increasingfood production for the soldiers at the front and for the towns, and on the absolute inadmissibility of causing any damage or injury to livestock, implements, machinery, buildings, etc.

14. As regards the national question, the proletarian party first of all must advocate the proclamation and immediate realisation of complete freedom of secession from Russia for all the nations and peoples who were oppressed by tsarism, or who were forcibly joined to, or forcibly kept within the boundaries of, the state, i.e., annexed.

All statements, declarations and manifestos concerning renunciation of annexations that are not accompanied by the realisation of the right of secession in practice, are nothing but bourgeois deception of the people, or else pious petty-bourgeois wishes.

The proletarian party strives to create as large a state as possible, for this is to the advantage of the working people; it strives to drawnations closer together, and bring about their further fusion; but it desires to achieve this aim not by violence, but exclusively through a free fraternal union of the workers and the working people of all nations.

The more democratic the Russian republic, and the more successfully it organises itself into a Republic of Soviets of Workers’ and Peasants’ Deputies, the more powerful will be the force of voluntaryattraction to such a republic on the part of the working people of allnations.

Complete freedom of secession, the broadest local (and national) autonomy, and elaborate guarantees of the rights of national minorities—this is the programme of the revolutionary proletariat.


[1] The term Narodniks is here used to denote the three petty-bourgeois parties of the Narodnik trend, namely, the Trudoviks, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the Popular Socialists.