Various Subjects

Proletarians of All Lands,
Comrade Workers! [1]

Transcribed and HTML markup for the Trotsky Internet Archive by David Walters

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The telegraph, the wireless, the press, those mighty instruments of capitalist deception, have frequently informed you in recent weeks about the militarisation of labour in Soviet Russia. The lackeys of imperialism seek to derive a double benefit from this fact – to slander socialist Russia and to justify their own coercion of the working people.

We, over a thousand delegates, representing at the 3rd All-Russia Congress of Trade Unions more than three million workers organised in production, consider it our duty to give you a fraternal warning against both the praise and the curses of bourgeois public opinion, directed at Soviet methods of organising labour.

Our economy has been ruined and exhausted by the imperialist slaughter, followed by the blockade and the ceaseless attacks of the hired bands of Churchill and Clemenceau. We need to make the greatest exertions in order to rescue our country as quickly as possible from its grave condition of poverty and privation. This task requires from every working person in Soviet Russia the maximum effort and the maximum self-sacrifice. Just as a conscious Red soldier is ready at any moment to lay down his life for the cause of the working people, so every honourable working man and woman must be ready to devote all his or her strength, in the months that lie ahead, to the economic salvation of the socialist republic. We can have no other task, no other thought or work, except intense productive labour for the common good. This we call militarisation. No kings reign over us, with their dignitaries, no bourgeois deputies with their ministers, or capitalists with their agents, no bourgeois generals and judges with their hangmen. Our methods of militarising labour have not been dictated to us from above by predatory exploiters and their robber state. We, the working people, by our own will, are taking upon ourselves the stern labour obligations required by our duty to the revolution and to posterity. The fruits of our intense work will not be transformed into profits for parasites, but will serve to ease the lives of the masses worn out by want. We, the working people of Russia, are our own lawmakers, and, after instituting the militarisation of labour, we are putting it into effect with our own hands.

Proletarians of all lands! From the midst of our very intense struggle and labour we send you a fraternal greeting. We confidently await the hour, which will soon strike, when the workers of the whole capitalist world will cast down their oppressors, eradicate the heritage of centuries-old oppression, insult and torment, and transform our earth into the flourishing possession of emancipated mankind.

Long live the world union of labour!

April 9, 1920


1. The appeal to ‘Proletarians of all lands’ was adopted by the Third All-Russia Congress of Trade Unions after hearing Comrade Lenin’s fundamental report.

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Last updated on: 27.12.2006