Modern History Sourcebook:
Lenin: Call to Power,
Oct 24, 1917
The situation is critical in the extreme. In fact it is now absolutely
clear that to delay the uprising would be fatal.
With all my might I urge comrades to realize that everything now
hangs by a thread; that we are confronted by problems which are
not to be solved by conferences or congresses (even congresses
of Soviets), but exclusively by peoples, by the masses, by the
struggle of the armed people.
The bourgeois onslaught of the Kornilovites show that we must
not wait. We must at all costs, this very evening, this very night,
arrest the government, having first disarmed the officer cadets,
and so on.
We must not wait! We may lose everything!
Who must take power?
That is not important at present. Let the Revolutionary Military
Committee do it, or "some other institution"
which will declare that it will relinquish power only to the true
representatives of the interests of the people, the interests
of the army, the interests of the peasants, the interests of the
All districts, all regiments, all forces must be mobilized at
once and must immediately send their delegations to the Revolutionary
Military Committee and to the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks
with the insistent demand that under no circumstances should power
be left in the hands of Kerensky and Co.... not under any circumstances;
the matter must be decided without fail this very evening, or
this very night.
History will not forgive revolutionaries for procrastinating when
they could be victorious today (and they certainly will be victorious
today), while they risk losing much tomorrow, in fact, the risk
If we seize power today, we seize it not in opposition to the
Soviets but on their behalf.
The seizure of power is the business of the uprising; its political
purpose will become clear after the seizure....
...It would be an infinite crime on the part of the revolutionaries
were they to let the chance slip, knowing that the salvation
of the revolution, the offer of peace, the salvation
of Petrograd, salvation from famine, the transfer of the land
to the peasants depend upon them.
The government is tottering. It must be given the death-blow
at all costs.
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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997