rsz lenin


Lenin’s Speech

He spoke briefly, in a quiet tone of voice, so low that few could hear him. But when he had finished, those who had heard moved away; the mass closed up; the orator repeated his speech, and so for an hour or two the man named Lenin would deliver to the ever-changing masses his firm, short, quiet message. The day I got close enough to hear him, the crowd evidently had been troubled by the inactivity of Kerenski and some advice to them to go home and work, not to give all their time to self-government. My interpreter repeated Lenin’s manifolded speech afterward, as follows:

“Comrades the revolution is on. The workers’ revolution is on, and you are not working. The workers’ and peasants’ revolution means work, comrades; it does not mean idleness and leisure. That is a bourgeois ideal. The workers’ revolution, a workers’ government, means work, that all shall work; and here you are not working. You are only talking.

“Oh, I can understand how you, the people of Russia, having been suppressed so long, should want, now that you have won to power, to talk and to listen to orators. But some day, soon, you–we all–must go to work and do things, act, produce results–food and socialism. And I can understand how you like and trust and put your hope in Kerenski. You want to give him time, a chance, to act. He means well, you say. He means socialism. But I warn you he will not make socialism. He may think socialism, he may mean socialism. But comrades’– and here he began to burn–‘I tell you Kerenski is an intellectual; he cannot act; he can talk; he cannot act. But,’ quietly again, ‘you will not believe this yet. You will take time to give him time, and meanwhile, like Kerenski, you will not work. Very well, take your time. But’–he flamed–‘when the hour strikes, when you are ready to go back yourselves to work and you want a government that will go to work and not only think socialism and talk socialism and mean socialism–when you want a government that will do socialism, then–come to the Bolsheviki.”



Lincoln Steffens. The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens. New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1931. 760-61.


The Fifth Decad

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Cantos LII - LXXI

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