V. I. Lenin

Appeal To Railway, Water Transport And Metal Workers[1]

Delivered: May 29, 1918
First Published: First published in 1931 in Lenin Miscellany XVIII Published according to the manuscript
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972 Volume 27, pages 416-417
Translated: Clemens Dutt; Edited by Robert Daglish
Transcription/HTML Markup: David Walters & Robert Cymbala
Online Version: Lenin Internet Archive March, 2002

Having heard the representatives of the railway and water transport organisations, and the representatives of workers of metallurgical factories and the trade union of railway workers,

and having heard the proposal of these comrades to permit their organisations, the Central Food Bureau of the Commissariat for Ways of Communication, the Food Commission of the Chief Water Board of the Commissariat for Ways of Communication, etc., to carry out independent procurements,

the Council of People’s Commissars insistently calls the at-tention of all organised, class-conscious and thinking workers and working peasants to the obvious unreasonableness of such proposals. It is clear to everyone that permitting the Central Food Bureau of the Commissariat for Ways of Com-munication, and food commissions of the Chief Water Board, of the Chief Metal Board and of the Chief Rubber Board, etc., to carry out separate independent procure-ments would completely ruin the whole food undertaking, would destroy every and any state organisation of workers and poor peasants and clear the way for the victory of the kulaks and Skoropadskys.

All workers and starving peasants must understand that only by joint efforts, by organising hundreds and thousands of the best workers in common food detachments, only by throwing the united, combined, common, mass forces of the workers into the struggle for order, for bread, is it pos-sible to overcome famine and disorder, and defeat the profiteers and kulaks.

It is foolish to believe those who request independent procni.cnien,t.,3 for the Central Food Bureau of the Commissariat for Ways of Communication, for the Food Commission of the Chief Water Board, heedless of the fact that in each uyezd of the non-agricultural gubernias there are tens and hundreds of thousands of starving peasants who for months have received no grain at all.

Does it not spell ruin if the peasants in each uyezd are allowed separate procurements? Is it really fair to give the Central Food Bureau of the Commissariat for Ways of Cow-munication, as it wants, 60 millions for independent pro-curements, without giving each famine-stricken uyezd ten millions, without giving it independent procurements?

Each railway workshop, every thousand office workers or water transport workers or factory workers should put forward a detachment of the best and most reliable persons in order by their joint, combined efforts to promote the general workers’ and peasants’ cause, that of salvation from famine, of victory over famine.

Separate, independent procurements spell the ruin of the whole food undertaking, the ruin of the revolution, collapse and disintegration.

Enlisting the best and most devoted workers from each thousand workers and office employees into detachments to form a general working-class fighting force for inculcating order, for aid in supervising, for collecting all grain sur-pluses, for complete victory over profiteers-in that alone is salvation.


[1] This document was written by Lenin in connection with requests from various organisations to be allowed to procure food independeiitly. On May 29, 1918, the appeal to workers and peasants on the organisation of armed grain detachments, based on Lenin’s Theses on the Current Situation, was discussed at a meeting of the Council of People’s Commissars in the presence of representatives of these organisations. During the discussion, Lenin wrote the People’s Commissar for Food A. D. Tsyurupa the following note: “Is there going to he a struggle over ’independent procuring’? Perhaps not? Shall we publish the attached in the newspapers, and in whose name?” (Lenin Miscellany XVIII, p. 106). To this Tsyurupa replied: “There will be a struggle. The attached should be published in the name of the Council of People’s Commissars.” “The attached” was the draft appeal published liere. It was passed with slight amendments on June 1 as a decision of the Council of People’s Commissars and published on June 4 in the newspaper Izvestia VTsIK No . 112 under the heading “Decision of the Council of People’s Commissars on the Question of Independent Procuring”.