J. V. Stalin
Source : Works, Vol.
4, November, 1917 - 1920
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1953
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2009
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2009). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit "Marxists Internet Archive" as your source.
The bourgeois revolution in Russia. The Milyukov-Kerensky Government. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries are the dominant parties in the Soviets. Out of the 400-500 members of the Petrograd Soviet, barely 40-50 are Bolsheviks. At the First Conference of Soviets of Russia,1 the Bolsheviks with difficulty muster 15-20 per cent of the votes. At this time the Bolshevik Party is the weakest of the socialist parties in Russia. Its organ, Pravda, 2 is everywhere abused as "anarchistic." Its speakers, when they call for a fight against the imperialist war, are dragged from the platform by soldiers and workers. Comrade Lenin's famous theses on Soviet power 3 are not accepted by the Soviets. For the defencist parties of the social-patriotic brand— the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries — it is a period of complete triumph.
Meanwhile, the imperialist war does not stop and continues to do its deadly work, disrupting industry, undermining agriculture, dislocating the food supply and the transport system, and devouring fresh tens and hundreds of thousands of lives.
The proletarian revolution in Russia. The Kerensky-Konovalov bourgeois government is overthrown. Power is in the hands of the Soviets in the centre and in the provinces. The imperialist war is liquidated. The land becomes the property of the people. Workers' control is established. A Red Guard is formed. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries fail in their attempt to turn over "all power" to the Constituent Assembly in Petrograd. The Constituent Assembly is dismissed and the attempt at bourgeois restoration fails. Successes of the Red Guards in the South, the Urals, Siberia. The utterly routed Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries retire to the border regions, where they unite with the counter-revolutionaries, conclude an alliance with imperialism and declare war on Soviet Russia.
The Bolsheviks are now the strongest and most united of all the parties in Russia. Already at the Second All-Russian Congress of Soviets in October 1917 the Bolshevik Party commanded an absolute majority of the votes (65-70 per cent). The subsequent development of the Soviets is unswervingly in favour of the Bolsheviks. This applies not only to the Workers' Soviets, where 90 per cent of the members are Bolsheviks, and not only to the Soldiers' Soviets, where 60-70 per cent of the members are Bolsheviks, but also to the Peasants' Soviets, where, too, the Bolsheviks have won a majority.
But the Bolshevik Party is now not only the strongest, it is the only socialist party in Russia. For the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who hobnobbed with the Czechoslovaks and Dutov, with Krasnov and Alexeyev, with the Austro-German and the Anglo-French imperialists, have lost every vestige of moral prestige among the proletarian strata of Russia.
However, this exceptionally favourable situation within the country is offset and counteracted by the fact that Russia still has no foreign allies, that socialist Russia represents an island surrounded by a sea of belligerent imperialism. The workers of Europe are exhausted, bleeding . . . but they are occupied with the war and have no time to ponder over the socialist order in Russia, the road of salvation from war, and so on. As to the European "socialist" parties, how can they, who have sold their sword to the imperialists, do otherwise than revile the Bolsheviks—those "restless" people who are "subverting" the workers with their "costly," "dangerous experiments"?
It is not surprising, therefore, that there is in this period a particularly strong tendency in the Bolshevik Party to widen the base of the proletarian revolution, to draw the workers of the West (and also of the East) into the revolutionary movement against imperialism, to establish permanent ties with the revolutionary workers of all countries.
Further consolidation of Soviet power in Russia. Extension of its territory. Organization of the Red Army. Red Army successes in the South, North, West and East. Establishment of Soviet republics in Estland,
Latvia, Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. Defeat of Austro-German imperialism, and proletarian revolutions in Germany, Austria, Hungary. The Scheidemann-Ebert Government and the German Constituent Assembly. A Soviet republic in Bavaria. Political strikes all over Germany with the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" and "Down with Ebert and Scheidemann!" Strikes and Workers' Soviets in Britain, France, Italy. Demoralization of the old armies and the appearance of Soldiers' and Sailors' Soviets in the Entente countries. The Soviet system becomes the universal form of proletarian dictatorship. Strengthening of Left-wing communist elements in the European countries and the formation of Communist Parties in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland. They arrange contact and coordinated action. Disintegration of the Second International. International conference of revolutionary socialist parties in Moscow 4 and foundation of a common militant organ of the militant workers of all countries— the Third, Communist International. The isolation of the proletarian revolution in Russia comes to an end: Russia now has allies. The imperialist "League of Nations" in Paris and its auxiliary, the social-patriotic conference in Berne, try to bar the European workers from the "Bolshevik contagion," but fail in their object: Soviet Russia has become, as it was bound to become, the standard-bearer of the world proletarian revolution, the centre of attraction for the advanced revolutionary forces of the West and the East. From a "purely Russian product," Bolshevism becomes a formidable international force which is shaking the very foundations of world imperialism.
That is now admitted even by the Mensheviks, who, having "laid aside their concern" for the Constituent Assembly, and having lost their "army," little by little pass over into the camp of the Republic of Soviets.
Nor is it now denied even by the Right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries, who, having lost the Constituent Assembly to the Kolchaks and Dutovs, are compelled to seek safety in the Land of Soviets.
These two years of proletarian struggle have fully confirmed what the Bolsheviks foresaw: the bankruptcy of imperialism and the inevitability of a world proletarian revolution; the rottenness of the Right-wing "socialist" parties and the decay of the Second International; the international significance of the Soviet system and the counter-revolutionary character of the Constituent Assembly slogan; the world significance of Bolshevism and the inevitable creation of a militant Third International.
Zhizn Natsionalnostei, No. 8, March 9, 1919
1. The reference is to the All-Russian Conference of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies convened by the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet and held in Petrograd, March 29 to April 3, 1917.
2. Pravda (Truth)—a daily Bolshevik workers' newspaper founded on the instructions of V. I. Lenin and on the initiative of J. V. Stalin, and published in St. Petersburg from April 22, 1912, to July 8, 1914. It resumed publication after the February Revolution, on March 5, 1917, as the Central Organ of the Bolshevik Party. On March 15, 1917, J. V. Stalinn was appointed a member of its editorial board. On his return to Russia in April 1917, V. I. Lenin took over the direction of Pravda. V. M. Molotov, Y. M. Sverdlov, M. S. Olminsky and K. N. Samoilova were among the newspaper's regular contributors. At the period referred to in the article, Pravda, in spite of the vilification and persecution to which it was subjected, contributed immensely to rallying the workers and revolutionary soldiers and peasants around the Bolshevik Party, exposed the imperialist bourgeoisie and its hangers-on, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, and worked for a transition from the bourgeois-democratic revolution to a socialist revolution.
3.V. I. Lenin's April Theses — see "The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution" (V. I. Lenin, Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 24, pp. 1-7).
4. The international conference of revolutionary socialist parties was held in Moscow, March 2-6, 1919, and was attended by 52 delegates from the major countries of Europe and America. V. I. Lenin, J. V. Stalin and V. V. Vorovsky were among the delegates from the Russian Communist Party. The conference proclaimed itself the First Congress of the Communist International. The central item of the agenda was V. I. Lenin's report on bourgeois democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat. The congress elected the Executive Committee of the Third, Communist International.