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‘The role of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in the russian revolution’, Speech to the fifth (London) Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (25 May 1907)

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Chapter Summary

The Fifth Congress of the RSDLP met in London from 13-27 May, 1907. The most contentious issues concerned the role of Social-Democratic representatives in the Duma and the related question of attitudes towards the bourgeois parties. This chapter is a translation of Rosa Luxemburg's contributions that came in greetings she conveyed from the German Party and in her subsequent formal report. While the proletariat must lead 'the bourgeois-democratic revolution', Lenin urged every effort to free the peasant parties from liberal influences in order that they might enter into 'joint action' with Social Democrats, culminating in a 'revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry'. In her subsequent report on attitudes towards the bourgeois parties, Luxemburg criticised the Mensheviks, Plekhanov in particular, for harbouring fantasies concerning the liberals' commitment to revolution. Up to 1900, Russian liberalism endured and passively suffered every oppression by absolutism and every manifestation of despotism.

Keywords: bourgeois liberalism; Duma; Lenin; Mensheviks; Plekhanov; proletariat; Rosa Luxemburg; Russian peasantry; Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party



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