The old traditional formulas (dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry) no longer meet the changed conditions. A revolutionary-democratic dictatorship has been established but not in the form we envisaged: it is inter locked with the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The imperialist war has confused everything, turning the rabid opponents of the revolution—the Anglo-French capitalists—into supporters of the revolution for victory (the same applies to the lop army command and counter revolutionary bourgeoisie).
It is this unique historical concurrence of circumstances that has brought about a dual dictatorship: the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and the dictatorship of revolutionary democracy. In organisational terms, the people have never managed to keep abreast of the bourgeoisie; in Russia the people have set up their own organised power without having achieved political independence. Hence, the dual power, the unconsciously trusting attitude on the part of the petty-bourgeois majority of the soldier masses and a section of the workers to the Provisional Government, and the voluntary submission of revolutionary democracy to the bourgeois dictatorship. The specific feature of the present situation is that lack of political awareness on the part of the masses is preventing the establishment of a stable and conscious majority on the side of the proletarian policy (all other political trends have gone over entirely to the petty-bourgeois position). The revolutionary democracy is an assembly of the most diverse elements (in terms of class status and interests, which is not the same thing at all!). Their stratification: in the countryside—the well-to-do peasants, who have been strengthened by the November9 law, and the poor, one-horse and horseless peasants, and in the towns—the sections close to the working class and the petty proprietors; the separation of the proletarians and the semi proletarians from the petty bourgeoisie is inevitable, but the consolidation of the propertied elements in the revolutionary bloc may well advance to a point where it will prevail over the organisation of the masses rallying round the proletarian slogans. It is quite possible, therefore, that power will remain in the hands of the bourgeoisie, and that there will be no transfer of power to the Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. The conclusion: we are not faced with the task of overthrowing the Provisional Government—it rests on the confidence of the petty-bourgeois and a section of the workers’ masses—but with that of painstaking explanation of the class tasks and organisation.
Published in Pravda No. 40, May 8 (April 25), 1917
Source: Marxist Internet Archive