J. V. Stalin
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.
These are dire times for Russia.
The three years of war have claimed countless victims and have reduced the country to a state of exhaustion.
The dislocation of transport and the disruption of food supplies are fraught with the menace of wholesale starvation.
Industrial disruption and the stoppage of factories are shaking the very foundation of our national economy.
But the war goes on and on, intensifying the general crisis and leading towards the utter collapse of the country.
The Provisional Government, whose mission it was to "save" the country, has proved incapable of performing its task. More, it has made things still worse by launching an offensive at the front and thereby prolonging the war, which is the principal cause of the general crisis in the country.
The result is a state of complete government instability, that crisis and breakdown of authority about which everyone is clamouring, but to eliminate which no serious measures are being taken.
The resignation of the Cadets from the government was an additional demonstration of the utter artificiality and impracticability of a coalition Ministry.
And the retreat of our armies at the front, after their well-known offensive, revealed how fatal the offensive policy was, thereby intensifying the crisis to the utmost, undermining the prestige of the government and depriving it of credits from the bourgeoisie, "home" and "Allied."
The situation was critical.
Two courses were open to the "saviours" of the revolution.
Either to continue the war and launch another "offensive," which would mean the inevitable transfer of power to the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie, so that money might be obtained by means of internal and foreign loans; for otherwise the bourgeoisie would not join the government, an internal loan could not be raised and Britain and America would refuse credits—"saving" the country in this case implying defraying the cost of the war out of the pockets of the workers and peasants, in the interests of the Russian and "Allied" imperialist sharks.
Or to transfer power to the workers and poor peasants, announce democratic terms of peace and stop the war, in order to advance the revolution and turn the land over to the peasants, establish workers' control in industry and restore the collapsing national economy at the expense of the profits of the capitalists and landlords.
The first course implies strengthening the power of the propertied classes over the toilers and converting Russia into a colony of Britain, America and France.
The second course would open up an era of workers' revolutions in Europe, break the financial bonds that entangle Russia, shake the very foundation of bourgeois rule and pave the way for the real emancipation of Russia.
The demonstration of July 3 and 4 was a call of the worker and soldier masses to the socialist parties to adopt the second course, the course of developing the revolution further.
That was its political import and therein lay its great historical significance.
But the Provisional Government and the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik Ministerial parties, which draw their strength not from the revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants, but from compromise arrangements with the Cadet bourgeoisie, preferred the first course, the course of adaptation to the counter-revolutionaries.
Instead of extending a hand to the demonstrators and with them, after taking over power, waging a struggle against the "Allied" and "home" imperialist bourgeoisie for the real salvation of the revolution, they entered into an alliance with the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie and turned their weapons against the demonstrators, against the workers and soldiers, by setting the military cadets and Cossacks on them.
Thereby they betrayed the revolution, and threw the gates wide open for counter-revolution.
And the sordid dregs rose from the depths and began to swamp all that is honourable and noble.
Police searches and raids, arrests and manhandling, torture and murder, suppression of newspapers and organizations, disarming of the workers and disbanding of regiments, dissolution of the Finnish Diet, restriction of liberties and the reintroduction of the death penalty, carte blanche to hooligans and secret agents, lies and filthy slanders, and all with the tacit consent of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Menshe-viks—such are the first steps of the counter-revolution.
The Allied and Russian imperialists and the Cadet Party, the higher army officers and the military cadets, the Cossacks and the secret service—these are the forces of the counter-revolution.
These groups dictate the lists of members of the Provisional Government, and ministers appear and disappear like puppets.
It is at the behest of these groups that the Bolsheviks and Chernov are betrayed, that regiments and naval crews are purged, that soldiers are shot and units disbanded at the front, that the Provisional Government is made a plaything of Kerensky, and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets a mere accessory of this plaything, that the "revolutionary democracy" shamefully renounces its rights and duties, and that the rights of the tsarist Duma, which was abolished only so recently, are restored.
Things have gone so far that at the "historic con-ference" 2 in the Winter Palace (July 21) an unambiguous agreement (conspiracy!) was reached to tighten the curb on the revolution, and, from fear of exposure by the Bolsheviks, the latter were not invited to the conference.
And still to come is the projected "Moscow Conference," at which they intend completely to strangle the liberty won at the price of blood. . . .
All this with the collaboration of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who are cravenly surrendering position after position, humbly chastising themselves and their organizations and criminally trampling upon the gains of the revolution. . . .
Never have the "representatives" of the democracy behaved so ignominiously as in these historic days!
Never before have they sunk to such shameful depths!
Is it then to be wondered that the counter-revolutionaries have grown brazen and are besmirching everything honourable and revolutionary with mud?
Is it then to be wondered that venal hirelings and cowardly slanderers have the effrontery openly to "accuse" the leaders of our Party of "treason"; that the pen pirates of the bourgeois press insolently splash this "accusation"; that the so-called prosecuting authorities barefacedly published so-called evidence on "the Lenin case," and so on?
These gentry evidently count on disorganizing our ranks, on sowing doubt and dismay in our midst, on breeding distrust of our leaders.
Miserable wretches! They do not know that never have our leaders been so near and dear to the working class as today, when the bourgeois scum have grown insolent and are trying to cover their names with mud.
Venal mercenaries! They do not suspect that the viler the scurrility of the hirelings of the bourgeoisie, the stronger is the love of the workers for their leaders, and the greater their confidence in them; for they know from experience that when the enemy abuses the leaders of the proletariat it is a sure sign that the leaders are serving the proletariat honestly.
Messrs. the Alexinskys and Burtsevs, the Pereverzevs and Dobronravovs—accept our gift, the shameful brand of unscrupulous slanderers! We present it to you in the name of the 32,000 organized workers of Petrograd who elected us. Accept it, and wear it to your grave. You deserve it.
And you, Messieurs the capitalists and landlords, bankers and profiteers, priests and secret service spies, who are all forging chains for the peoples—you are celebrating victory too early. If you think the time has come for you to bury the Great Russian Revolution, you are out in your reckoning.
The revolution lives, worthy gravediggers, and it will yet make its power felt.
The war and the economic disruption are continuing, and the wounds they are causing cannot be healed by savage repressions.
The subterranean forces of the revolution are alive and are carrying on their tireless work of revolutionizing the country.
The peasants have not yet received land. They will fight, because without land they cannot live.
The workers have not yet achieved control over the mills and factories. They will fight for' it, because industrial disruption threatens them with unemployment.
The soldiers and sailors are being pushed back into the old discipline. They will fight for liberty, because they have earned the right to it.
No, Messieurs the counter-revolutionaries, the revolution is not dead; it is only lying low, in order to muster new followers and then hurl itself upon its enemies with redoubled energy.
"We live! Our scarlet blood seethes with the fire of unspent strength!"
And over there, in the West, in Britain and Germany, in France and Austria—is not the banner of the workers' revolution already flying, are not Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies already being formed?
There will be battles yet!
There will be victories still!
The thing is to be ready to meet the coming battles in fitting and organized fashion.
Workers, to you has fallen the honour of being the leader of the Russian revolution. Rally the masses around you and muster them under the banner of our Party. Remember that in the grim July days, when the enemies of the people were firing on the revolution, the Bolsheviks were the only party that did not desert the working class districts. Remember that in those grim days the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were in one camp with those who suppressed and disarmed the workers.
Muster under our banner, comrades!
Peasants, your leaders have not justified your hopes. They have followed in the wake of the counter-revolutionaries and you remain without land; for as long as the counter-revolutionaries prevail you will not get the landed estates. Your only true allies are the workers. Only in alliance with them will you secure land and liberty. Rally, then, around the workers!
Soldiers, the strength of the revolution lies in the alliance of the people and the soldiers. Ministers come and go, but the people remains. Be, then, always with the people and fight in its ranks!
Down With the Counter-revolution!
Long Live the Revolution!
Long Live Socialism and the Fraternity of Peoples!
Petrograd City Conference of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks)
Rabochy i Soldat, No. 2, July 24, 1917
1. The appeal, "To All the Toilers, to All the Workers and Soldiers of Petrograd," was written in connection with the events of July 3-5 at the request of the Second Petrograd City Conference of the Bolshevik Party. It was printed in Rabochy i Soldat, No. 2, July 25 (the date was erroneously given on the first page of the paper as July 24). It was reprinted in the No. 8 issue on August 1 at the request of the workers and soldiers.
2. The "historic conference," as it was called by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, was convened by the Provisional Government on July 21 in connection with the government crisis resulting from the withdrawal of the Cadet Ministers from the government and Kerensky's announcement of his resignation. At the conference, which consisted of repreentatives of the bourgeois and compromising parties, the Cadets demanded the formation of a government which would be independent of the Soviets and the democratic parties, capable of restoring "discipline" in the army with the help of repressive measures, etc. The Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks acquiesced in these demands and empowered Kerensky to form a new Provisional Government.