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.
The war goes on. Its bloodstained chariot is advancing grimly and inexorably. From a European war it is turning step by step into a world war, enmeshing more and more countries in its evil toils.
And with it the significance of the Stockholm Conference is declining and diminishing.
The "fight for peace" and the tactics of "bringing pressure to bear" upon the imperialist governments proclaimed by the conciliators have turned out to be but an "empty sound."
The attempts of the conciliators to speed the termination of the war and to restore the workers' International by means of an agreement between the "defenc-ist majorities" in the various countries have ended in utter fiasco.
The Stockholm scheme of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, around which a close web of imperialist intrigue is being woven, is bound to become either a futile parade or a pawn in the hands of the imperialist governments.
It is now clear to all that the European tour of the delegates of the All-Russian Congress of Soviets 2 and the "socialist" diplomacy of the defencists, with its official luncheons for representatives of British and French social-imperialism, are not the way to restore the international brotherhood of the workers.
Our Party was right when already at the April Conference it dissociated itself from the Stockholm Conference.
The development of the war and the whole world situation are inevitably aggravating class antagonisms and ushering in an era of great social conflicts.
In this, and in this alone, is the democratic way of ending the war to be sought.
They talk about an "evolution" in the views of the British and French social-patriots, about their decision to go to Stockholm and so on.
But does this really alter anything? Did not the Russian and the German and Austrian social-patriots also decide (and even before the British and French!) to participate in the Stockholm Conference? But who will assert that this decision of theirs has helped to hasten the ending of the war?
Has Scheidemann's party, which has agreed to participate in the Stockholm Conference, ceased to support its government, which is waging an offensive and seizing Galicia and Rumania?
Are not Renaudel's and Henderson's parties, which talk so much about the "fight for peace" and about the Stockholm Conference, at the same time supporting their governments, which are seizing Mesopotamia and Greece?
In the face of these facts, of what value can their talk in Stockholm be from the point of view of ending the war?
Who does not know that pious talk of peace, as a camouflage for resolute support of a policy of war and conquest, is one of the old, old imperialist methods of deceiving the masses?
It is said that circumstances have changed compared with what they used to be, and that accordingly we ought to change our attitude towards the Stockholm Conference.
Yes, circumstances have changed, but they have changed not in favour but absolutely against the Stockholm Conference.
The first change is that the European war has turned into a world war, and has extended and deepened the general crisis to an extreme degree.
Consequently, the chances of an imperialist peace and of a policy of "pressure" on the governments have declined to the very minimum.
The second change is that Russia has taken the path of an offensive at the front and has adapted the internal life of the country to the requirements of the offensive policy by putting a curb on liberty. For, surely, it must be understood that that policy is incompatible with "maximum liberty," that the turning point in the development of our revolution was already reached in June. And the Bolsheviks "find themselves sitting in jail," while the defencists, having transformed themselves into offensivists, are playing the part of the jailers.
Consequently, the position of the advocates of a "fight for peace" has become untenable, for whereas before it was possible to talk of peace without fearing to be exposed as a liar, now, after the adoption of the policy of the offensive with the support of the "defencists," talk of peace coming from the lips of "defencists" sounds like mockery.
What does all this show?
It shows that "comradely" talk about peace at Stockholm and bloody deeds at the front have proved to be absolutely incompatible, that the contradiction between them has become glaring, self-evident.
And that makes the failure of the Stockholm Conference inevitable.
In view of this, our attitude towards the Stockholm Conference had also changed somewhat.
Before, we exposed the Stockholm scheme. Now it is hardly worth exposing, because it is exposing itself.
Before, it had to be condemned as playing at peace, which was deceiving the masses. Now it is hardly worth condemning, because one does not hit a man when he is down.
But from this it follows that the road to Stockholm is not the road to peace.
The road to peace lies not through Stockholm but through the revolutionary struggle of the workers against imperialism.
Rabochy i Soldat, No. 15, August 9, 1917
1. The idea of convening a conference in Stockholm to discuss the question of peace had been mooted in April 1917. Borg-bjerg, a Danish Social-Democrat, had come to Petrograd on behalf of the Joint Committee of the labour parties of Denmark, Norway and Sweden to invite the Russian socialist parties to take part in the conference. The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik Executive Committee and the Petro-grad Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies resolved to participate in the conference and to take the initiative in convening it. The Seventh (April) All-Russian Conference of the Bolshevik Party exposed the imperialist character of the projected Stockholm Conference and resolutely declared against participating in it. When the question of the conference was discussed at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee on August 6, Kamenev spoke urging participation. The Bolshevik members of the Central Executive Committee dissociated themselves from Kamenev's statement. The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party condemned his attitude and resolved that the views of the Party on the question should be expounded in the Central Organ. On August 9, Rabochy i Soldat printed Stalin's article "More on the Subject of Stockholm," and on August 16 Proletary published a letter from V. I. Lenin entitled "Kamenev's Speech in the Central Executive Committee on the Stockholm Conference."
2. The Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies had decided in April 1917 to send a delegation to neutral and allied countries to make arrangements for the Stockholm Conference, The decision was confirmed by the First All-Russian Congress of Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. The delegation visited England, France, Italy and Sweden and negotiated with representatives of various socialist parties. The Stockholm Conference never took place.