The Mensheviks and most of the Bolsheviks support the Provisional Government, believing that Russia needs to go through a period of bourgeois democracy before it can progress to socialism. Lenin however rubbishes such views. He sees the recent revolution as a beginning rather than an end. Socialists should not support the Provisional Government or any attempt to establish a parliamentary democracy in Russia. Instead they should work to establish proletarian rule through the medium of the soviets that have sprung up across the country. He also calls for an end to the war and for radical land reform.
Lenin’s deliberately provocative argument causes uproar, dashing any chance of a rapprochement between the Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. Many of Lenin’s Bolshevik colleagues think that he has taken leave of his senses, seeing the Bolsheviks as too small to spearhead a push for socialist revolution. But Lenin is confident that the force of his personality will bring the rest of the Bolsheviks with him. And in his argument, which becomes known as his April Theses, he is successfully positioning the Bolsheviks as the leaders of the left opposition to the Provisional Government.
image source: Lenin delivers his April Theses (GlobalSecurity.org)