Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution

Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution


an article by V. I. Lenin, in which he developed the Marxist theory of the socialist revolution and revealed the prospects of the unfolding of the revolutionary struggle of the working class in the conditions of the age of imperialism.

Written in German in September 1916 (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 30), the article was published in the magazine Jugend Internationale (1917, nos. 9 and 10), the organ of the International Union of Socialist Youth Organizations. Lenin deepened the conclusion that he had formulated in his article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” (1915). In “The Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution” Lenin wrote: “The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in different countries. It cannot be otherwise under commodity production. From this it follows irrefutably that socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will for some time remain bourgeois or prebourgeois” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 30, p. 133). Thus, Lenin advanced a new Marxist proposition that corresponded to the conditions of the age of imperialism. The Communist Party was guided by this discovery in the struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution and for building socialism in Russia.

In “The Military Program of the Proletarian Revolution” Lenin substantiated the proposition about the defense of a proletarian state and the justness of a defensive war for socialist countries against imperialist aggression. He emphasized that the victory of socialism in one country would cause ’ ’not only friction but a direct attempt on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the victorious proletariat of the socialist state. In such cases a war on our part would be legitimate and just. It would be a war for socialism and for the liberation of other peoples from the bourgeoisie” (ibid.). Lenin unmasked the followers of Kautsky, who ap-pealed to the masses to defend the fatherland in the imperialist war. He pointed out that Marxists support the slogan of defense of the fatherland only in just wars of national liberation in the struggle for liberation from imperialist oppression. Lenin’s article revealed the bankruptcy of the position of the left-wing Social Democrats of Switzerland, Hol-land, and the Scandinavian countries, who proposed replacing the demand for arming the people in the program of the socialist parties with the demand for disarming them. Lenin pointed out that “this is tantamount to complete abandonment of the class struggle point of view, to renunciation of all thought of revolution. Our slogan must be arming of the proletariat to enable them to defeat, expropriate, and disarm the bourgeoisie” (ibid., p. 135). In the conditions of that time the demand for disarmament and the illusions it would en-gender would inevitably have weakened the struggle of the revolutionary Social Democrats against the opportunists. Lenin emphasized the need for a concrete, historical approach to the problem of disarmament.

Lenin’s work is an example of a creative development of the Marxist revolutionary theory. The conclusions he drew in this article have not lost their significance, and the communist and workers’ parties of the whole world apply them in their activity, depending on specific conditions.


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