J. V. Stalin

Against the Moscow Conference1

August 8, 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.

The counter-revolution is entering a new phase of development. From wrecking and destruction it is passing to the consolidation of the positions it has won. From riots and disorders it is passing into the "legal channel" of "constitutional development."

The revolution can and must be defeated, say the counter-revolutionaries. But that is not enough. Approval must be obtained for this. And it must be so arranged that this approval is given by the "people" themselves, by the "nation," and not only in Petro-grad or at the front, but all over Russia. Then the victory will be a firm one. Then the gains achieved may serve as a basis for future victories of the counterrevolution.

But how is this to be done?

One might speed the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, the sole representative of the entire Russian people, and ask its approval for the policy of war and ruin, of wrecking and arrests, of manhandling and shootings.

But to this the bourgeoisie will not agree. It knows that from the Constituent Assembly, in which the peasants would be in the majority, it would secure neither recognition nor approval of a counter-revolutionary policy.

That is why it is striving to secure (has already secured!) the postponement of the Constituent Assembly. And it will probably continue to postpone it in order finally to kill it altogether.

What, then, is the "way out"?

The "way out" lies in substituting for the Constituent Assembly a "Moscow Conference."

The "way out" lies in substituting for the will of the people the will of the upper strata of the bourgeois and landlords, by substituting for the Constituent Assembly a "Moscow Conference."

Convening a conference of merchants and manufacturers, of landlords and bankers, of members of the tsarist Duma and the already tamed Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, in order to proclaim such a conference a "National Assembly" and obtain its approval of the policy of imperialism and counter-revolution, and of laying the burden of the war on the shoulders of the workers and peasants — that is the "way out" for the counter-revolution.

The counter-revolution needs a parliament of its own, a centre of its own, and it is creating it.

The counter-revolution needs the confidence of the "public," and it is creating it.

That is the crux of the matter.

In this respect the counter-revolution is following the same course as the revolution. It is learning from the revolution.

The revolution had its parliament, its real centre, and it felt that it was organized.

Now the counter-revolution is striving to create its own parliament, and it is creating it in the very heart of Russia, in Moscow, by the hand — oh, the irony of fate! — of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks.

And this at a time when the parliament of the revolution has been degraded to a mere adjunct of the imperialist bourgeois counter-revolution, when war to the death has been declared upon the Soviets and Committees of the workers, peasants and soldiers!

It is not difficult to understand that under these circumstances the conference to be convened in Moscow on August 12 will inevitably be transformed into an organ of counter-revolutionary conspiracy against the workers, who are being threatened with lockouts and unemployment, against the peasants, who are "not being given" land, and against the soldiers, who are being deprived of the liberties they won in the days of the revolution—into an organ of conspiracy camouflaged by the "socialist talk" of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, who are supporting the conference.

It is consequently the task of the advanced workers:

1) To tear the mask of an organ of popular representation from the face of the conference, to drag its counter-revolutionary, anti-popular nature into the light of day.

2) To expose the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who are using the "salvation of the revolution" flag to mask the conference and are misleading the people of Russia.

3) To organize mass protest meetings against these counter-revolutionary machinations of the "saviours"— the saviours of the profits of the landlords and capitalists.

Let the enemies of the revolution know that the workers will not allow themselves to be deceived, that they will not allow the battle-standard of revolution to slip from their hands.


Rabochy i Soldat, No. 14, August 8, 1917


1. The article "Against the Moscow Conference" was written by J. V. Stalin at the request of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) which had discussed the question of the Moscow Conference on August 5, 1917. The C.C. resolved to publish its resolution and a leaflet and to print a series of articles on the Moscow Conference in the Central Organ. "Against the Moscow Conference" first appeared as an editorial in Rabochy i Soldat, No. 14, and then in the Kronstadt Proletarskoye Delo on August 12, 1917, and, on August 13, as an appeal of the Party Central Committee in Proletary, No. 1. It was also put out as a separate leaflet.

In the appeal and the leaflet the last few lines were replaced by the following words:

"Comrades, arrange meetings and pass resolutions of protest against the 'Moscow Conference'! As a mark of protest against the 'Conference,' join with the Putilov workers today in organizing collections in support of the hounded and persecuted Party press. Do not succumb to provocation and do not arrange any street demonstrations today!"