J. V. Stalin

Speeches Delivered at an Emergency Conference of the Petrograd Organization of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks) 1

July 16-20, 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.

1. Report of the Central Committee on the July Events

July 16, 1917

Comrades, our Party, and the Central Committee of our Party in particular, are accused of having incited and organized the demonstration of July 3 and 4, with the object of compelling the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets to take power, and if they refused to do so, of seizing power ourselves.

I must, first of all, repudiate these charges. On July 3, two representatives of the machine-gun regiment burst in on the Bolshevik conference and announced that the 1st Machine-Gun Regiment had come out. You will recall that we told the delegates that Party members could not go counter to the decision of their Party, and that the representatives of the regiment protested and said that they would rather resign from the Party than go against the decision of their regiment.

The Central Committee of our Party was of the opinion that in the present situation a demonstration of the workers and soldiers of Petrograd would be unwise. It would be unwise, the C.C. considered, because it was clear that the offensive launched at the front on the government's initiative was a gamble, that the soldiers, not knowing for what aims they were being led to fight, would not go into action, and that if we were to demonstrate in Petrograd the enemies of the revolution would lay the blame on us for the failure of the offensive at the front. We wanted the blame for the collapse of the offensive to fall on those who were really responsible for his gamble.

But the demonstration had started. The machine-gunners had sent round delegates to the factories. By about 6 o'clock we were faced with the fact that vast numbers of workers and soldiers had come out. At about 5 o'clock, at the meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, I had declared officially in the name of our Central Committee and of the conference that we had decided not to demonstrate. To accuse us after this of having organized the demonstration is a lie worthy only of brazen calumniators.

The demonstration was under way. Had the Party the right to wash its hands of it and stand aloof? In view of the possibility of even more serious complications, we had no right to wash our hands of it—as the party of the proletariat we had to intervene in the demonstration and lend it a peaceful and organized character, while not setting ourselves the aim of seizing power by force of arms.

Let me remind you of a similar incident in the history of our working-class movement. On January 9, 1905, when Gapon led the masses to the tsar, our Party did not refuse to march with the masses, although it knew they were marching the devil knows where. In the present case, when the movement was marching not under Ga-pon's slogans, but under our slogans, we had still less right to stand aloof from the movement. We were obliged to intervene, as a regulator, as a restraining party, in order to protect the movement from possible complications.

The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries lay claim to leadership of the working-class movement, but they do not look like people capable of leading the working class. Their attacks on the Bolsheviks reveal their utter failure to understand the duties of a working-class party. They talk about this latest action of the workers like people who have broken with the working class.

That night, the Party Central Committee, the Petro-grad Committee and the Army Organization decided to intervene in this spontaneous movement of the soldiers and workers. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, seeing that more than 400,000 soldiers and workers were following us and that the ground was slipping from under their feet, declared the demonstration of the workers and soldiers to be a demonstration against the Soviets. I affirm that on the evening of July 4, when the Bolsheviks were proclaimed traitors to the revolution, it was the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries who betrayed the revolution, broke the united revolutionary front, and concluded an alliance with the counter-revolutionaries. In striking at the Bolsheviks they struck at the revolution.

On July 5, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries declared martial law, set up a general staff and handed over all affairs to the military clique. We, who were fighting for the transfer of all power to the Soviets, were thus relegated to the position of armed opponents of the Soviets. A situation was created in which the troops of the Bolsheviks might have found themselves opposed to the troops of the Soviets. For us to accept battle under such circumstances would have been madness. We said to the leaders of the Soviets: The Cadets have resigned, form a bloc with the workers, let the government be responsible to the Soviets. But they took a perfidious step and brought out against us the Cossacks, the military cadets, hooligans and several regiments from the front, deceiving them by alleging that the Bolsheviks were going against the Soviets. It goes without saying that under these circumstances we could not accept the battle which the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were trying to force upon us. We decided to retreat.

On July 5, negotiations took place with the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, represented by Lieber. Lieber stipulated that we, that is, the Bolsheviks, should withdraw the armoured cars from the Kshesinska mansion and that the sailors should leave the Fortress of Peter and Paul and return to Kronstadt. We agreed, on condition that the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets would protect our Party organizations from possible raids. In the name of the Central Executive Committee, Lieber assured us that our conditions would be observed and that the Kshesinska mansion would remain at our disposal until we received permanent quarters. We kept our promises. The armoured cars were withdrawn and the Kronstadt sailors agreed to return, but retaining their arms. The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, however, did not keep a single one of its promises. On July 6, Kuzmin, military representative of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, telephoned the demand that the Kshesinska mansion and the Fortress of Peter and Paul should be evacuated within three-quarters of an hour, otherwise, he threatened, armed forces would be dispatched against them. The Central Committee of our Party decided to do everything in its power to avert bloodshed. It delegated me to the Fortress of Peter and Paul, where I succeeded in persuading the sailors garrisoned there not to accept battle, since the situation had taken such a turn that we might find ourselves face to face with the Soviets. In my capacity as representative of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets I went with Bogdanov, the Menshevik, to see Kuzmin. Kuzmin had everything ready for action: artillery, cavalry and infantry. We argued with him not to resort to armed force. Kuzmin resented the fact that "civilians were hampering him by their constant interference," and it was only reluctantly that he agreed to comply with the demand of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets. It is clear to me that the Socialist-Revolutionary military men wanted bloodshed, so as to administer a "lesson" to the workers, soldiers and sailors. We prevented them from carrying out their perfidious plan.

Meanwhile, the counter-revolutionaries passed to the offensive: the wrecking of the Pravda offices and Trud printing plant, the beating up and murder of our comrades, the suppression of our newspapers, and so on. The counter-revolutionaries are led by the Central Committee of the Cadet Party; behind them are the general staff and commanding officers of the army—who are representatives of the bourgeoisie that wants to continue the war because it is waxing fat on it.

Day by day the counter-revolutionaries entrenched themselves more strongly. Every time we applied to the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets for explanations we became convinced that it was incapable of preventing excesses, that the power was not in the hands of the Central Executive Committee but in the hands of the Cadet military clique that was setting the tone for the counter-revolutionaries.

Ministers are falling like ninepins. There is a move to replace the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets by an Extraordinary Conference in Moscow, 2 where among the hundreds of outright representatives of the bourgeoisie the 280 members of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets would be drowned like flies in milk.

The Central Executive Committee, scared by the growth of Bolshevism, is concluding a shameful alliance with the counter-revolutionaries and complying with their demands, namely, to surrender the Bolsheviks, arrest the Baltic delegates 3 and disarm the revolutionary soldiers and workers. All this is arranged very simply: with the aid of shots fired by provocateurs the defencist clique create a pretext for disarming the workers and then proceed to disarm them. This was the case with the Ses-troretsk workers, 4 who took no part in the demonstration.

The first sign of every counter-revolution is the disarming of the workers and revolutionary soldiers. Here this vile counter-revolutionary work has been done by the hand of Tsereteli and the other "socialist Ministers" of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets. Therein lies the whole danger. The "government of salvation of the revolution" is "consolidating" the revolution by strangling it.

Our task is to muster our forces, strengthen the existing organizations and restrain the masses from premature action. It is to the advantage of the counter-revolutionaries to provoke us to fight now; but we must not yield to the provocation, we must display the utmost revolutionary restraint. This is the general tactical line of the Central Committee of our Party.

As to the infamous slander that our leaders are backed by German gold, the position of the Party Central Committee is this. Allegations of treason have been levelled against the revolutionary leaders of the proletariat in all bourgeois countries—against Liebknecht in Germany, against Lenin in Russia. The Party Central Committee is not surprised that the Russian bourgeois resort to this tried and tested method against "undesirable elements." The workers must declare openly that they regard their leaders as irreproachable, that they are with them solidly, and that they consider themselves partners in their cause. The workers themselves have applied to the Petrograd Committee for a draft of a resolution protesting against the scurrilous attacks on our leaders. The Petrograd Committee has drafted such a resolution, which will be covered with workers' signatures.

Our opponents, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, have forgotten that events are not called forth by individuals but by the subterranean forces of the revolution, and have thus adopted the stand of the secret police.

You know that Pravda has been suppressed since July 6 and that the Trud printing plant has been sealed up. The intelligence department says that in all probability it will be reopened when the investigation is completed. While they are idle we shall have to pay about 30,000 rubles to the compositors and office staffs of Pravda and the printing plant.

After the July events, and after what has happened since, we cannot regard the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks as Socialists. The workers now call them social-jailers.

To talk about unity with the social-jailers after this would be criminal. We must put forward another slogan: Unity with their Left wing, with the internationalists, who still retain a modicum of revolutionary integrity and who are prepared to fight the counter-revolution.

Such is the line of the Central Committee of the Party.

2. Report on the Current Situation

July 16, 1917

Comrades, the outstanding feature of the present situation is a crisis of power. Around this question other, minor questions are grouped. The crisis of power is due to the shakiness of the government: a time has come when its orders are greeted with either ridicule or indifference, and nobody wants to carry them out. Distrust of the government is penetrating to the depths of the people. The government is tottering. That is what is at the bottom of the crisis of power.

This is the third crisis of power we are witnessing. The first was the crisis of tsarist government, which is now defunct. The second was the crisis of the first Provisional Government, which resulted in the resignation of Milyukov and Guchkov. The third is the crisis of the coalition government, when government instability has reached its apex. The socialist Ministers are handing in their portfolios to Kerensky, and the bourgeoisie express their distrust of him. A cabinet was formed, and the very next day it proved to be equally unstable.

As Marxists we must not regard the crisis of power solely from the formal angle; we must look at it primarily from the class angle. The crisis of power is a tense and open struggle of classes for power. The result of the first crisis was that the power of the landlords gave way to the power of the bourgeoisie, which was supported by the Soviets, "representing" the interests of the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie. The result of the second crisis was an agreement between the big bourgeoisie and the petty bourgeoisie in the shape of a coalition government. As in the first crisis, so in the second, the government fought the revolutionary demonstrations of the workers (February 27 and April 20-21). The second crisis was resolved "in favour" of the Soviets by "Socialists" from the Soviets entering the bourgeois cabinet. In the third crisis the soldiers and workers are openly calling for the assumption of power by the working people—the petty-bourgeois and proletarian democ-racy—and the elimination of all capitalist elements from the government.

What is the cause of the third crisis?

The whole "blame" is now being thrown on the Bolsheviks. The demonstration of July 3 and 4 was allegedly a factor which intensified the crisis. Karl Marx said long ago that every forward step of the revolution calls forth a backward step of the counter-revolution in reply. Regarding the demonstration of July 3 and 4 as a revolutionary step, the Bolsheviks accept the compliment paid them by the socialist renegades of being the pioneers of the forward movement. But this crisis of power has not been settled in favour of the workers. Who is to blame for that? Had the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries supported the workers and Bolsheviks, the counter-revolution would have been vanquished. But they began to fight the Bolsheviks, they smashed the united front of revolution, with the result that the crisis is proceeding under circumstances unfavourable not only for the Bolsheviks but also for them, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks.

That was the first factor which intensified the crisis.

The second factor was the resignation of the Cadets from the government. The Cadets sensed that things were tending to grow worse, that the economic crisis was spreading and that money was running low, so they decided to slip out. Their departure was a continuation of Konovalov's boycott. The Cadets were the first to leave the government, having realized its instability.

The third factor which revealed and intensified the crisis of power was the defeat of our armies at the front. The war is now the basic issue, on which all other issues in the home and foreign affairs of the country hinge. And on this basic issue the government has failed. It was clear from the very first that the offensive at the front was a gamble. There are rumours that hundreds of thousands of our men have been taken prisoner and that the soldiers are fleeing in disorder. To attribute the "disruption" at the front exclusively to Bolshevik agitation is to exaggerate the influence of the Bolsheviks. No single party can carry so much weight. How our Party, which has about 200,000 members, could "demoralize" the army, when the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, which represents 20,000,000 citizens, could not retain its influence over the army would want some explaining. The fact is that the soldiers do not want to fight, because they don't know what they are fighting for; they are weary, they are worried by the question of the distribution of the land, and so on. To hope that the soldiers could be led into action under these circumstances was to hope for a miracle. The Central Executive Committee of the Soviets was in a position to carry on far more extensive agitation in the army than we, and it did; nevertheless, the great spontaneous resistance to the war carried the day. It is not we who are to blame; it is the revolution that is "to blame," inasmuch as it gave every citizen the right to demand an answer to the question: what is the war being fought for?

Hence, the crisis of power is due to three factors:

1) The dissatisfaction of the workers and soldiers with the government, whose policy they regarded as being too Right;

2) The dissatisfaction of the bourgeoisie with the government, whose policy they regarded as being too Left; and

3) The reverses at the front.

These are the surface forces which brought about the crisis of power.

But at the bottom of them all is the subterranean force which brought about the crisis, namely, the economic disruption of the country caused by the war. From this source alone sprang the three factors which have shaken the authority of the coalition government.

If the crisis is a battle of classes for power, then we, as Marxists, must ask: Which class is now rising to power? The facts show that it is the working class that is rising to power. Clearly, the bourgeois class will not allow it to take power without a fight. The petty bourgeoisie, which comprises the majority of the population of Russia, wavers, uniting now with us, now with the Cadets, thus throwing the last weight into the scales. This is the class content of the crisis of power we are now witnessing.

Who are the vanquished and who the victors in this crisis? Evidently in this instance the power is being assumed by the bourgeoisie, represented by the Cadets. At one moment, when the Cadets resigned from the government, the power was in the hands of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets; but it surrendered the power and requested the members of the government to form a cabinet. Now the Central Executive Committee is an appendage of the government; a reshuffling of Ministers is going on in the cabinet; Kerensky alone has remained. Both the Ministers and the Central Executive Committee have to obey the dictates of somebody. Evi-ently, that somebody is the organized bourgeoisie, the Cadets in the first place. They are dictating their terms; they are demanding a government not of party representatives but of "competent persons," withdrawal of Chernov's agrarian program, amendment of the government declaration of July 8, 5 and elimination of the Bolsheviks from all organs of authority. The Central Executive Committee is yielding to the bourgeoisie and consenting to its terms.

How could it happen that the bourgeoisie, who yesterday was still in retreat, is today giving orders to the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets? The explanation is that after the defeat at the front the government has lost credit with the foreign bankers. There is evidence worthy of the most serious attention which indicates that the hand of Ambassador Buchanan and the bankers is at work here; they are refusing credits to the government unless it abandons its "socialist" leanings.

That is the first reason.

The second reason is that the bourgeois front is better organized than the revolutionary front. When the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries united with the bourgeoisie and began to strike at the Bolsheviks, the counter-revolutionaries realized that the united revolutionary front was broken. Organized in military and imperialist financial cliques headed by the Central Committee of the Cadet Party, the counter-revolutionaries presented a number of demands to the defencists. The Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, trembling for their power, hastened to carry out these demands of the counter-revolutionaries.

That is the background against which the victory of the counter-revolutionaries was enacted.

It is clear that at this juncture the counter-revolutionaries have beaten the Bolsheviks because the Bolsheviks have been isolated, betrayed by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. But it is likewise clear that a favourable moment will come when we shall be able to give decisive battle to the bourgeoisie.

The counter-revolutionaries have two centres. One is the party of the organized bourgeoisie, the Cadets, who are shielded by the defencist Soviets. Its executive organ is the general staff, headed by prominent generals in whose hands all the threads of the command are concentrated. The second centre is the imperialist financial clique, which is connected with Britain and France and in whose hands all the threads of credit are concentrated. It is not for nothing that Yefremov, member of the InterParliamentary Commission which controls the credits, has been brought into the government.

These facts account for the victory of the counterrevolution over the revolution.

What are the prospects? As long as the war continues — and it will continue; as long as the industrial disruption is not overcome — and it will not be overcome, because it cannot be overcome by repressive measures against the soldiers and workers, and the ruling classes cannot take heroic measures; as long as the peasants do not receive land—and they will not receive land, because even Chernov with his moderate program proved to be an undesirable member of the government—as long as all this goes on, crises will be inevitable, the masses will come out into the streets again and again, and there will be determined battles.

The peaceful period of development of the revolution has come to an end. A new period has begun, a period of sharp conflicts, clashes, collisions. Times will be turbulent, crisis will follow crisis. The soldiers and workers will not remain silent. Twenty regiments protested even against the suppression of Okopnaya Pravda. The fact that new Ministers have been pushed into the government has not solved the crisis. The working class has not been reduced to impotence. The working class has proved to be more sensible than its enemies thought. When it realized that the Soviets had betrayed it, it declined to accept battle on July 4 and 5. And the agrarian revolution is only just gathering momentum.

We must meet the impending battles in a fitting and organized manner.

Our main tasks should be:

1) To urge the workers, soldiers and peasants to display restraint, fortitude and organization;

2) To revive, strengthen and expand our organizations;

3) Not to neglect any legal opportunities, for no counter-revolution can really drive us underground.

The period of unbridled and violent repression has passed; a period of "legal" persecution is setting in, and we must seize upon and utilize every opportunity the law permits us.

In view of the fact that the Bolsheviks have been isolated because the majority in the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets have betrayed us by concluding an alliance with the counter-revolutionaries, the question arises what our attitude should be towards the Soviets and their majority, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. At the meeting of the Central Executive Committee Martov accused Gotz and Dan of having come with decisions already adopted at meetings of the Black Hundreds and the Cadets. The persecution of the Bolsheviks has shown that they are left without allies. The news of the arrest of our leaders and the suppression of our papers was greeted by the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries with thunderous applause. To talk about unity with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries after that is to extend a hand to counter-revolutionaries.

I say this because efforts are being made here and there in the factories to arrange an alliance of the Men-sheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries with the Bolsheviks. That is a camouflaged form of fighting the revolution, for alliance with the defencists may bring about the doom of the revolution. There are elements among the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries who are prepared to fight the counter-revolutionaries (the Kam-kovites6 among the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and the Martovites among the Mensheviks), and with these we are ready to join in a united revolutionary front.

3. Replies to Written Questions

July 16, 1917

1) Maslovsky : In the event of future conflicts and possibly armed actions, to what extent will our Party assist, and will it head an armed protest?

Stalin : It is to be presumed that there will be armed actions, and we must be prepared for all contingencies. The future conflicts will be sharper, and the Party must not wash its hands of them. Saln, speaking in the name of the Lettish district, reproached the Party for not assuming leadership of the movement. But that is not so, because the Party did in fact set out to direct the movement into peaceful channels. We might be reproached for not striving to take power. We could have taken power on July 3 and 4; we could have compelled the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets to sanction our taking power. But the question is, could we have retained power? The front, the provinces and a number of local Soviets would have risen against us. Power which did not rest upon the provinces would have proved to be baseless. By taking power under such circumstances we would have disgraced ourselves.

2) Ivanov : What is our attitude towards the slogan "Power to the Soviets!"? Is it not time to call for "dictatorship of the proletariat"?

Stalin : When a crisis of power is resolved, it means that a certain class has come to power—in this case, the bourgeoisie. Can we, then, continue to adhere to the old slogan "All power to the Soviets!"? Of course, not. To transfer power to the Soviets, which in fact are tacitly working hand in glove with the bourgeoisie, would mean helping the enemy. When we are victorious we can transfer the power only to the working class, supported by the poorer strata of the rural population. We must advocate another, a more expedient form of organization of the Soviets of Workers' and Peasants' Deputies. The form of power remains as before, but we change the class content of the slogan, and we say in the language of the class struggle: All power to the workers and poor peasants, who will conduct a revolutionary policy.

3) Anonymous : What should we do if the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies were to declare that the minority must submit to the majority? Would we withdraw from the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets, or not?

Stalin : We already have a decision on this point. The Bolshevik group held a meeting at which a reply was drawn up to the effect that as members of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets we submit to all decisions of the Central Executive Committee and refrain from opposing them, but as members of the Party we may act independently, since there is no doubt that the existence of the Soviets does not annul the independent existence of parties. Our reply will be announced at the meeting of the Central Executive Committee tomorrow.

4. Reply to the Discussion

July 16, 1917

Comrades, for the purpose of drafting a resolution on our attitude towards the decision of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets regarding the Bolsheviks, a commission was elected, of which I was a member. It has drafted a resolution which reads: As members of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets we submit to the majority, but as members of the Bolshevik Party we may act independently even in opposition to the decisions of the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets.

Prokhorov understands the dictatorship of the proletariat to mean the dictatorship of our Party. But we speak of the dictatorship of the class which leads the poorer strata of the peasantry.

Inexactitudes in some of the speeches: What are we confronted with, reaction or counter-revolution? In time of revolution there is no such thing as reaction. When one class replaces another in power, this is not reaction but revolution or counter-revolution.

As for the fourth factor responsible for the crisis of power to which Kharitonov referred, the international factor, only the war and the questions of foreign policy connected with the war have had any bearing on our crisis of power. In my report I attributed major importance to the war as a factor responsible for it.

As for the petty bourgeoisie, it is no longer an integral whole; it is undergoing a process of rapid differentiation (the Soviet of Peasants' Deputies of the Petrograd Garrison, which is going counter to the Executive Committee of the Peasants' Congress). A struggle is going on in the rural districts and side by side with the existing Soviets of Peasants' Deputies new and spontaneous ones are springing up. It is on the support of these poorer strata of the peasantry which are now rising to the surface that we count. They alone, because of their economic position, can go along with us. Those strata of the peasantry which have put people so avid for the blood of the proletariat as Avksentyev on the Executive Committee of the Peasants' Congress will not follow us and will not swing our way. I saw how these people applauded when Tsereteli announced the order for the arrest of Comrade Lenin.

The comrades who say that the dictatorship of the proletariat is impossible because the proletariat constitutes a minority of the population interpret the strength of a majority mechanically. Even the Soviets represent only the 20,000,000 people they have organized, but thanks to their organization they have the following of the whole population. The whole population will follow an organized force that can break the shackles of economic disruption.

Comrade Volodarsky's interpretation of the resolution adopted by the conference differs from mine, but what his view is it is hard to make out.

Some comrades ask whether we may change our slogan. Our slogan of power to the Soviets was adapted to the peaceful period of development of the revolution, which has now passed. We must not forget that one of the conditions for the transfer of power now is victory over the counter-revolution through an uprising. When we advanced the slogan about the Soviets, the power was actually in the hands of the Soviets. By bringing pressure to bear upon the Soviets we could influence changes in the government. Now the power is in the hands of the Provisional Government. We can no longer count on securing the peaceful transfer of power to the working class by bringing pressure to bear on the Soviets. As Marxists we must say: it is not a matter of institutions, but of the policy of which class the given institution is carrying out. Unquestionably we are in favour of Soviets in which we have the majority. And we shall strive to create such Soviets. But we cannot transfer power to Soviets which have entered into an alliance with the counter-revolutionaries.

What I have said may be summed up as follows: The peaceful path of development of the movement has come to an end, because the movement has entered the path of socialist revolution. The petty bourgeoisie, except for the poorer strata of the peasantry, is now supporting the counter-revolutionaries. Therefore, at the present stage the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" has become obsolete.


First published in 1923, in the magazine Krasnaya Letopis, No. 7


1. The Second (Emergency) Petrograd City Conference of the Bol- shevik Party convened on July 1, 1917, and was attended by 145 delegates, representing 32,220 Party members. The emergency conference was necessitated by the acute political situation that had arisen in Petrograd and the country generally in connection with the offensive launched at the front, the attempts of the Provisional Government to withdraw the revolutionary regiments from Petrograd and "unburden" the city of revolutionary workers, etc. The conference adjourned owing to the events of July 3-5 and resumed its sittings only on July 16, its deliberations from then on being directed by J. V. Stalin.

2. The Extraordinary Conference in Moscow, or the Moscow Conference of State, was convened by the Provisional Government on August 12, 1917. The majority of the participants were landlords, bourgeois, generals, officers and Cossack commanders. The delegates from the Soviets and the Central Executive Committee were Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. At the conference, Kornilov, Alexeyev, Kaledin and others outlined a program for the suppression of the revolution. Kerensky, in his speech, threatened to crush the revolutionary movement and to put a stop to the attempts of the peasants to seize the landed estates. In an appeal written by J. V. Stalin, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party called upon the proletariat to protest against the Moscow Conference. On the day of its opening the Bolsheviks organized a one-day strike in Moscow, in which over 400,000 workers took part. Protest meetings and strikes took place in a number of other cities. The counter-revolutionary character of the Moscow Conference was exposed by J. V. Stalin in a number of articles (see present volume, pp. 207, 215, 226, 231, etc.).

3. The delegates from the Baltic Fleet had come to Petrograd from Helsingfors on July 5, 1917, in connection with the attempt of the Provisional Government to use Baltic warships against the revolutionary sailors of Kronstadt who had taken an active part in the demonstration of July 3-4 in Petrograd. On July 7, the 67 delegates from the Baltic Fleet were arrested by order of the Provisional Government.

4. The Sestroretsk workers were disarmed on July 11, 1917, by order of the Provisional Government and with the consent of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik Central Executive Committee. The workers were presented with an ultimatum to surrender their weapons under threat of armed force. The Bolshevik members of the factory committee of the Sestroretsk small arms factory were arrested.

5. The Provisional Government's declaration of July 8, 1917, con tained a number of demagogic promises, with which the Provision al Government and the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks hoped to appease the masses after the events of July 3-5. The government called for the continuation of the imperialist war, but at the same time promised to hold the elections to the Constituent Assembly on the appointed date, September 17, and to frame laws introducing an 8-hour working day, social insurance, etc. Although the declaration of July 8 was nothing but a normal gesture, it was attacked by the Cadets, who made its withdrawal a condition of their entering the government.

6. Kamkovites—followers of B. Kamkov (Kats), a leader of the Left wing of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party which took shape soon after the February Revolution of 1917.