J. V. Stalin

What did We Expect from the Conference ?

May 6, 1917

Source : Works, Vol. 3, March - October, 1917
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.

Our Party is a union of Social-Democrats of all parts of Russia, from Petrograd to the Caucasus, from Riga to Siberia.

This union was formed for the purpose of helping the toilers to wage a successful struggle against the rich, against the factory owners and landlords, for a better lot, for socialism.

But the fight can be successfully waged only if our Party is united and solid, only if it has one soul and one will, only if it strikes in concert everywhere, in all parts of Russia.

But how is the unity and solidarity of the Party to be achieved?

There is only one way of achieving it, and that is for the elected representatives of the class-conscious workers of all Russia to assemble in one place in order jointly to discuss the fundamental problems of our revolution, to work out one common opinion and then, after returning to their homes, to go among the people and to lead them to one common goal by one common road.

Such an assembly is called a conference.

That is why we all so impatiently looked forward to the convocation of the All-Russian Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

Before the revolution our Party led an underground existence; it was a prohibited party; its members were liable to arrest and deportation to penal servitude. That is why it was organized in such a way as to be adapted for underground work; it was a "secret" party.

Now circumstances have changed; the revolution has brought liberty, the underground has disappeared, and our Party had to become an open party, had to reorganize on new lines.

We are confronted with the question of war or peace. The war has carried off millions of lives, and will carry off millions more. The war is ruining millions of families. It has reduced our cities to starvation and exhaustion. It has deprived the rural districts of the most essential goods. The war is profitable only to the rich, who are filling their pockets on government contracts. The war is profitable only to the governments which are plundering other peoples. It is for the purpose of such plunder that the war is being waged. And so the question arises: What is to be done about the war? Shall it be stopped or continued? Shall we crawl further into the noose or break it once and for all?

The conference had to answer this question.

Further, Russia—the rear as well as the front—is faced with starvation. But starvation will be thrice as severe unless all "vacant" land is ploughed immediately. Yet the landlords are letting the land go uncultivated, are refraining from planting it, and the Provisional Government is forbidding the peasants to take over the landed estates and cultivate them. . . . What is to be done with a Provisional Government which is supporting the landlords in every way it can? What is to be done with the landlords themselves? Shall they be allowed to retain the land, or shall it be made the property of the people?

To all these questions the conference had to give clear and distinct answers.

For only such answers make the Party united and solid.

Only a united party can lead the people to victory.

Has the conference justified our hopes?

Has it given clear and distinct answers? Let the comrades study the decisions of the conference, which we published as a supplement to No. 13 of our paper, 1 and judge for themselves.


Soldatskaya Pravda, No. 16, May 6, 1917


1. The supplement to Soldatskaya Pravda, No. 13, May 3, 1917, contained the resolutions of the Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.).