"The position was clear—either Kornilov's dictatorship or the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poorer strata of the peasantry."
Comrade Lenin read the resolution adopted by the Central Committee at the previous meeting. He stated that the resolution had been adopted with two dissenting votes. If the dissident comrades wished to make a statement, a discussion could be held; meanwhile he continued with the motives of the resolution.
If the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary parties were to break with their policy of conciliation, a compromise with them could be proposed. The proposal had been made, but those parties had obviously rejected the compromise. On the other hand, by that time it had become definitely clear that the masses were following the Bolsheviks. That had been before the Kornilov revolt. Lenin cited election returns from Petrograd and Moscow as evidence. The Kornilov revolt had pushed the masses still more decisively to the side of the Bolsheviks. The alignment of forces at the Democratic Conference. The position was clear—either Kornilov's dictatorship or the dictatorship of the proletariat and the poorer strata of the peasantry. The Party could not be guided by the temper of the masses because it was changeable and incalculable; the Party must be guided by an objective analysis and an appraisal of the revolution. The masses had put their trust in the Bolsheviks and demanded deeds from them and not words, a decisive policy both in the struggle against the war and in the struggle against economic ruin. If the political analysis of the revolution were taken as the basis, it would be perfectly clear that even anarchic outbursts confirmed that.
Lenin went on to analyse the situation in Europe and showed that revolution would be even more difficult in Europe than in Russia; if matters had gone as far as a revolt in the navy in such a country as Germany, there too they must already have gone very far. Certain objective data on the international situation showed that by acting at that moment the Bolsheviks would have all proletarian Europe on their side; he showed that the bourgeoisie wanted to surrender Petrograd. That could only be prevented by the Bolsheviks taking over Petrograd. The obvious conclusion from all this was—the armed uprising was on the order of the day as was stated in the resolution of the Central Committee.
It would be better to draw practical conclusions from the resolution after hearing the reports of representatives from the centres.
From a political analysis of the class struggle in Russia and in Europe there emerged the necessity to pursue the most determined and most active policy, which could be only the armed uprising.
Speeches In Discussion
Comrade Lenin argued against Milyutin and Schotmann and showed that it was not a matter of armed forces, that it was not a question of fighting against the troops but of one part of the army fighting against another. He could see no pessimism in what had been said there. He demonstrated that the forces on the side of the bourgeoisie were small. The facts showed that ours were superior to the enemy. Why could the Central Committee not begin? There was no reason that derived from the facts. To reject the resolution of the Central Committee it would have to be proved that there was no economic ruin and that the international situation would not lead to complications. If trade union leaders were in favour of full power they knew very well what they wanted. Objective conditions showed that the peasantry must be led; they would follow the proletariat.
Some were afraid that Bolsheviks would not be able to maintain power, but at that moment there was a better chance than ever that they would be able to.
Lenin expressed the wish that the debate be confined to the substance of the resolution.
If all resolutions were defeated in that manner nothing better could be wished for. Zinoviev was saying: do away with the "Power to the Soviets" slogan and bring pressure to bear on the government. When it was said that the time was ripe for insurrection there could be no question of conspiracy. Since an insurrection was inevitable politically, it must be regarded as an art. Politically, an insurrection was due.
Because there was only enough bread for a day the Party could not wait for the Constituent Assembly. Comrade Lenin proposed that the resolution be approved, that energetic preparations be begun and that it be left to the Central Committee and the Soviet to decide when.
Comrade Lenin opposed Zinoviev, saying that the revolution could not be contrasted to the February revolution. He proposed a resolution straight to the point.
The meeting fully welcomes and fully supports the resolution of the Central Committee and calls upon all organisations and on workers and soldiers to make all-round, energetic preparations for an armed uprising and to support the centre set up for that purpose by the Central Committee; the meeting expresses its complete confidence that the Central Committee and the Soviet will indicate in good time the favourable moment and the most appropriate methods of attack.
Source: Marxist Internet Archive.