J. V. Stalin

We Must Prepare !

March 16, 1908

Source : Works, Vol. 2, 1907 - 1913
Publisher : Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1954
Transcription/Markup : Salil Sen for MIA, 2008
Public Domain : Marxists Internet Archive (2008). 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 executive of the oil industry workers' union has decided to take measures to secure the speedy convocation of the Delegate Council. 1

In this the executive was prompted by the numerous statements from workers who are refusing to wait any longer and are demanding the immediate convocation of the Delegate Council.

The mechanics' union has decided to act along the same lines.

In the last few days both unions submitted the necessary statement to the Senior Factory Inspector.

It must be assumed that the question will soon be decided one way or another.

How the possessors of power and capital will answer the statement of the unions we, of course, cannot yet tell.

They may yield to the workers and immediately convene the Delegate Council and then, in all probability, the conference arrangements will take their "normal course."

On the other hand, they may procrastinate and not give a definite answer for the time being.

In either case, we must be prepared for every contingency so as to prevent the oil owners from deceiving the workers.

We must be ready to confront the oil owners fully armed at any moment.

For this we must immediately set to work to draw up demands.

We are going to a conference with guarantees, but with what shall we come before the oil owners if not with demands approved by the entire mass of the oil proletariat? Let us then draw up the workers' demands on wages, working hours, workers' settlements, people's halls, medical assistance, etc.

Our union has already set to work. In the columns of Gudok it has expressed its opinion on the questions of settlements, medical assistance, people's halls and schools. The union has already issued these demands in the form of a pamphlet entitled Materials for the Conference.

But that is not enough.

All these demands must be submitted to the masses, so that they can discuss them and pass their opinion, for only their opinion is binding on them.

The union, moreover, has not yet worked out the questions of wages and working hours. Consequently, we must proceed immediately to draw up demands on these questions too.

With this object, our union will elect a special commission to draw up demands.

This commission will establish contact with the council delegates and the oil field and works commissions of the four districts with the object of jointly working out with them the urgent questions affecting our daily life.

Later, general meetings will be held at the works, oil fields and in living quarters, at which the demands will be finally endorsed.

That should be our plan of work in preparation for a conference with guarantees.

Only by drawing up demands and making them known among the masses shall we be able to rally these masses around the Delegate Council.

By rallying the masses around their Council, we shall be able to safeguard them against surprises that may be sprung on them by the oil owners.

Not flabby philosophising about "concretising" the points of the guarantees (see Promyslovy Vestnik 2), nor frivolous outcries about "the coming of spring" (remember the Socialist-Revolutionaries), but persevering effort in drawing up the workers' demands—that is what above all should occupy us in face of impending events.

And so, let us more energetically prepare for a conference with guarantees!


Gudok, , No. 23, March 16, 1908


1. The election of the workers' delegates was concluded in the beginning of February 1908, but the convocation of the Delegate Council was postponed by order of Vorontsov-Dashkov, the Viceroy of the Caucasus. The first meeting of the Council took place on March 30, 1908, and the ensuing oneson April 6, 10, 26 and 29. Subsequently, G. K. Ordjonikidze wrote concerning the proceedings of the Council as follows :

"While dark reaction was rampant all over Russia, in Baku a real workers' parliament was in session. In this parliament all the demands of the Baku workers were openly formulated and our speakers expounded our whole minimum programme." In the Council 199 delegates voted for the Bolshevik proposal for a conference with guarantees, and 124 votes were cast for the proposal to boycott the conference. The supporters of a boycott— the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Dashnaks—left the meeting. The proposal to present the Mandate as an ultimatum was adopted by 113 votes against 54.

2. Promyslovy Vestnik (Oil-Field News) — a legal Menshevik newspaper, the organ of the mechanics' union, published in Baku two or three times a week in November and December 1907 and from March to July 1908.