APPEAL FROM THE COUNCIL OF PEOPLE'S COMMISSARS TO THE TOILING MASSES OF ENGLAND, AMERICA, FRANCE, ITALY, AND JAPAN ON ALLIED INTERVENTION IN RUSSIA
1 August 1918
Kluchnikov & Sabanin, ii, p. 158
Workers! Like a vicious dog let off the leash, the entire capitalist press of your countries is howling for the 'intervention' of your Governments in Russian affairs, shrieking, 'now or never!' But even at this moment, when these hirelings of your exploiters have dropped their masks and are clamouring for an attack on the workers and peasants of Russia, even at this moment they lie unscrupulously, and shamelessly deceive you. For while threatening 'intervention' in Russian affairs, they are already conducting military operations against workers' and peasants' Russia.
On the Murmansk Railway which they have seized the Anglo-French bandits are already shooting Soviet workers. In the region of the Urals they are breaking up the workers' Soviets and shooting their representatives, using for this purpose the Czecho-Slovak troops, which are maintained at the expense of the French people and commanded by French officers.
Complying with the orders of your Governments, they are cutting off the Russian people from their food supplies, in order to force the workers and peasants to put their necks once more into the halter of the Paris and London Stock Exchanges. The present open attack of FrancoEnglish capital on the workers of Russia is only the culmination of eight months' long underground struggle against Soviet Russia. From the first day of the October revolution, from the moment when the workers and peasants of Russia declared that they would no longer shed either their own or other people's blood for the sake of Russian or foreign capital, from the first day that they overthrew their exploiters and appealed to you to follow their example, to put an end to the universal slaughter, to put an end to exploitation-from that moment your exploiters vowed that they would destroy this country, in which the workers had dared for the first time in the history of humanity to throw off the yoke of capitalism, to get their necks out of the noose of war. Your Governments supported the Ukrainian Rada against the workers and peasants of Russia, that same Rada which sold itself to German imperialism and called in the help of German bayonets against the Ukrainian workers and peasants; they supported the Rumanian oligarchy, that same oligarchy which, by attacking on our south-western front, helped to destroy the defensive power of Russia. For hard cash their agents bought over that same General Krasnov who now, acting in concert with the German military authorities, is trying to cut Russia off from the coal of the Donetz and the grain of the Kuban, to render it a defenceless victim of German and Russian capital. They gave moral and financial support to the right wing of the Social-Revolutionary Party, that party of traitors to the revolution, who rose arms in hand against the workers' and peasants' Government.
But when they saw that all their attempts were unsuccessful, when it became clear that hired bandits were an insufficient force, they decided to sacrifice you too, and they are now openly attacking Russia, flinging the workers and peasants of France and England into the firing line.
You who, in the interests of capital, are shedding your blood, at the Marne and on the Aisne, in the Balkans, in Syria, and in Mesopotamia, you are to die also in the snows of north Finland and on the mountains of the Ural.
In the interests of capital you are to play the part of the executioner of the Russian workers' revolution.
To conceal the true nature of this crusade against the Russian workers' revolution your capitalists tell you that it is being undertaken not against the Russian revolution, but against German imperialism, to which they claim we have sold ourselves. The falsehood and hypocrisy of this assertion will become clear to every one of you once you examine the following facts:
1. We had to sign the Brest treaty, which dismembers Russia, precisely because your Governments ' knowing full well that Russia was unable to carry on the war any longer, refused to participate in international peace negotiations where their strength would have saved Russia and given you an acceptable peace. It was not Russia, bled white as it had been for three and a half years, that betrayed your cause; it was your own Governments that flung Russia under the heel of German imperialism.
2. When we were forced to sign the Brest peace treaty because the masses of our people were unable to carry on the war any longer, and when the agents of your Governments, on many occasions, tried to draw us back into the war, assuring us that Germany would not allow us to remain at peace, our press replied: If Germany destroys the peace which we have bought at such great sacrifice, if it raises its hand against the Russian revolution, then we will defend ourselves. If the Allies wish to help us in our sacred cause of defence, then let them help us to repair our railways, to set our economic affairs in order, for an economically weak Russia cannot seriously defend itself. But the Allies did not reply to these appeals of ours. Their only thought was how to pump out of us the interest due on the old loans which French capital had advanced to Tsarism in order to draw the Tsar's Government into the war, and which the Russian people have long since redeemed by a sea of blood and mountains of corpses.
3. Not only did the Allies do nothing to help us to re-establish our capacity for defence; as we have already shown, they tried to destroy it by all the means in their power, increasing the internal disorganization, cutting us off from the last of our food reserves.
4. The Allies warned us that the Germans would seize the Siberian and Murmansk railways, the last two direct lines outside German control which connected us with the rest of the world; but in the end these lines were seized not by Germany, who was too far off to do so, but by our heroic Allies. In the Murmansk district and in Siberia the Allies are fighting not the Germans, who are not there, but Russian workers, whose Soviets they are everywhere destroying.
Everything that the press of your capitalists and their agents say in justification of the savage assault upon Russia is nothing but hypocrisy, intended to conceal the facts of the case. It is for other purposes that they are preparing their campaign against Russia. They have three aims in view: their first aim is the seizure of as much Russian territory as possible so that its wealth and its railways can be used to secure payment to French and English capital of the interest on loans; their second aim is the suppression of the workers' revolution for fear that it may inspire you, and show you how to throw off the yoke of capitalism. Their third aim is to create a new eastern front so as to divert German forces from the western front to Russian territory.
The agents of your capitalists declare that this will weaken the pressure of the German legions on you and hasten the moment of victory over German imperialism. They lie: they were unable to defeat Germany when a great Russian army was fighting, which gave the Allies numerical superiority; how much less are they able to secure victory on the field of battle now that the Russian army is only just being created. German imperialism can only be defeated when the imperialism of all States is defeated by the united onslaught of the world's proletariat. Not by carrying on the war, but by bringing it to an end, shall we achieve this object. Then both you and the German workers will be freed of the fear of the foreign bourgeoisie and its plans of conquest: the ending of the war of nations and the beginning of the international civil war-the war of the exploited against the exploiters-will finally put an end to all kinds of injustice, social as well as national.
The attempts to draw Russia into war will not save you from bloodshed; they can only endanger the Russian workers, the Russian workers' and peasants' revolution-and nobody wants this more than the leaders of the German military party, who, being close neighbours to the Russian revolu tion, are more afraid than anybody else of its inflammatory sparks. By acting as the docile tools of your Governments in their criminal conspiracy against Russia, you, the workers of France and England, America and Italy, become the executioners of the workers' revolution.
The descendants of the Communards are to play the part of assistants to Gallifet. This is the role your masters are assigning to you, workers of France. The sons of the English workers who rose in a body when the English textile barons wanted to come to the aid of the American slaveowners are now to play the part of executioners of the Russian revolution-that is the depth of degradation to which your rulers want to bring you. You, workers of America, who always detested the despotism of the Tsars, you are now, at the bidding of the trust kings, to help in erecting a new Tsarism in Russia. This is the real issue, working men of America. And you, workers of Italy, you who followed with enthusiasm every manifestation of the proletarian war for emancipation, they want to make you share in the counter-revolutionary campaign against workers' Russia!
The workers of Russia stretch out their hands to you, proletarians of the Allied countries!
These men whose hands reek with the blood of the workmen of Kem, of Samara, of Tomsk, shot at the command of the leaders of the Murmansk landing, these organizers of the Czecho-Slovak rebellion, these are the people who cry that under German orders we are breaking the bonds which unite us to the peoples of France, England, Italy, America, and Belgium.
Too long have we calmly endured the mockery of the representatives of Allied imperialism; we allow people who once licked the boots of Tsarism to remain in Russia although they do not recognize the workers' Government. We took no reprisals against them, although the hand of their military missions was visible in every counter-revolutionary plot. And even now, after it has been proved that French officers are leading the Czecho-Slovaks, after the outrages in Murmansk, even now we have not protested by a single word against the presence of your diplomats on the territory of the Soviet Russia which they have not recognized. We have only requested their removal from Vologda to Moscow, so that we might protect them from attempts on their lives by people whom their misdeeds have moved to the deepest indignation.
We acted in this way only because we did not want to give them an excuse to tell you that we are breaking with you. And now, after the departure of the Allied Ambassadors, not a single hair will fall from the head of the peaceful citizens of your countries in our midst, who abide by the laws of the workers' and peasants' Republic. But we are convinced that should we retort to every blow of the rapacious 'Allies' by two blows, you would regard our action not only as legitimate defence, but also as the defence of your own interests, for the salvation of the Russian revolution is the common interest of the proletariat of all countries. We are certain that every measure taken against those who on Russian territory hatch plots against the Russian revolution will meet with your sincere sympathy, for these plots are directed against you as well as against us. Driven to fight Allied capitalism, which wishes to add new fetters to those fastened on us by German imperialism, we turn to you with the call:
Long live the solidarity of the workers of the world!
Long live the solidarity of the proletariat of France, England, America, and Italy, with the Russian proletariat!
Down with the bandits of international imperialism, long live the international revolution!
Long live peace between the nations!
Documents on Soviet Foreign Policy
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