Lenin calls for an October revolution (1917)


A week before the October Revolution, Lenin wrote to several other high ranking Bolshevik comrades, advancing the cause for overthrowing the Provisional Government:


“[Critics of an immediate revolution say] ‘We have no majority among the people, and without this condition the uprising is hopeless’… Men capable of saying this are either distorters of the truth or pedants who… wish to secure an advance guarantee that the Bolshevik Party has ….one-half of the votes plus one. History never makes these guarantees, particularly not in a revolution. To advance such a demand is to mock one’s audience, and is nothing but a cover to hide one’s own distance from reality.

For reality shows us that after the July days, the majority of the people quickly went over to the side of the Bolsheviks. This was demonstrated first by the September 2nd elections in Petrograd – even before the Kornilov affair, when the Bolshevik vote rose from 20 to 33 per cent in the city not including the suburbs. And also by the elections to the borough councils in Moscow in September, when the Bolshevik vote rose from 11 to 49 per cent… It was proven by the fact that a majority of the peasant Soviets… has expressed itself against the coalition. To be against the coalition means in practice to follow the Bolsheviks…

The most outstanding fact in the present situation is the revolt of the peasantry. Here there is an objective passing over of the people to the side of the Bolsheviks, shown not by words but by deeds. Notwithstanding the lies of the bourgeois press and its miserable henchmen… and their wails about pogroms and anarchy, the fact is there. The movement of the peasants in Tambov province was an uprising, both in the material and political sense, an uprising that has yielded such splendid political results… And what has the Kornilov affair proven? It has proven that the Soviets are a real power.

And now, after this has been proven by experience, by facts, we shall repudiate Bolshevism, to deny ourselves and say: we are not strong enough. Are these not shameful vacillations?…

[They say] “We are becoming stronger every day. We can enter the Constituent Assembly as a strong opposition; why should we stake everything?” This is the argument of a philistine who has “read” that the Constituent Assembly is being called, and who confidently acquiesces in the most legal, most loyal, most constitutional course. [But] by waiting for the Constituent Assembly, one can solve neither the question of famine nor the question of surrendering Petrograd. This is forgotten by the naive or the confused or those who have allowed themselves to be frightened.

The famine will not wait. The peasant uprising did not wait. The war will not wait…”