V. I. Lenin

Speech At A Public Meeting In Simonovsky Sub-District[1]

June 28, 1918

Brief Newspaper Report

Delivered: 29 June, 1918
First Published: June 29, 1918; Izvestia VTSiK No. 133; Published according to the Izvestia text
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 492-493
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

(The workers gave Lenin a rousing welcome.) Lenin spoke of the necessity of civil war and called upon the Moscow proletariat to organise solidly in the struggle both against the forces of counter-revolution and against famine and disruption.

He touched in passing on the Saratov and Tambov events, and pointed out that wherever revolts inspired by the Mensheviks and Right Socialist-Revolutionaries broke out, the working class rapidly became disillusioned with the views of these parties and no less rapidly overthrew the usurpers of the power of the workers and peasants.

We would receive telegrams; he said, appealing for aid, but before our troops could get half-way, the workers who had sent the appeal would inform us that the need for immediate assistance had passed as the usurpers had been defeated by local forces. Such was the case in Saratov, Tambov and other cities.

Lenin stated that, in general, war ran counter to the aims of the Communist Party. But the war that was being preached today was a sacred war; it was a civil war, a war of the working class against its exploiters.

Without effort, without tremendous expenditure of energy, he said, we should never set foot on the road to socialism. A successful fight for the ideals of the working class entailed organisation. Organisation was also needed to consolidate the gains we had won at the cost of such severe sacrifice and effort.

It was harder to retain power than to seize it, and we knew of many cases in history when the working class had taken power into its hands but had been unable to retain it merely because it did not possess strong enough organisations.

The people were worn out, Lenin continued, and they might, of course, be driven to any folly, even to the acceptance of a Skoropadsky; for, in their mass, the people were ignorant.

Famine was imminent, but we knew that there was grain enough even without Siberia, the Caucasus and the Ukraine. There was enough grain in the provinces surrounding Moscow and Petrograd to last us until the new harvest, but it was all hidden away by the kulaks. We must organise the poor peasants, so as to get this grain with their help. A ruthless struggle with words, as well as action, must be waged on profiteering and profiteers.

Only the working class, knit together by organisation, could explain to the common people the need for war on the kulaks. The Russian people must know that the poor peasantry had a powerful ally in the shape of the organised urban proletariat.

The working class and the peasantry must not place too much hope in the intelligentsia, as many of the intellectuals beginning to side with us were expecting our downfall any moment.

Lenin concluded with an appeal to organise for the struggle of the workers and peasants against the kulaks, the landowners and the bourgeoisie. (Lenin’s speech ended amid a general ovation.)


[1] On June 28, 1918, on the instructions of the Moscow Party Committee meetings on the subject of the Civil War were held in all districts of Moscow. These enthusiastic mass meetings showed the working people’s growing trust in the Communist Party, their support for its policy and condemnation of the parties of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who were supporting the bourgeoisie whose actions had led to civil war. The meetings were addressed by prominent Party workers and also delegates from the Urals, the Volga country and other areas, who had come to Moscow for the Fifth All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The delegates described the counter-revolutionary activities of the Mensheviks and S.R.s and the fierce struggle the kulaks were waging against Soviet power.

Lenin spoke at the AMO Works (Simonovsky Sub-District), the former Mikhelson Works (Zamoskvorechye District) and in the Soviet Gardens in Rogozhsky District.

Four thousand workers and other employees at the former Mikhelson Works listened to Lenin’s speech and stated in their resolution that they approved the Moscow Soviet’s decision of June 25, 1918 on the, expulsion “for ever from the Soviets” of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries (Right and Centre), who, as members of the Soviets, had sabotaged their work and tried to overthrow Soviet power with the aid of foreign imperialists. The meeting appealed to all working people to “recall from all Soviets and their institutions the Right S.R.s and Mensheviks, who criminally and shamefully reside in the camp of the dark forces of the counter-revolution in order to betray our workers’ cause”.