J. V. Stalin

We Demand !

August 28, 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.

Events are moving fast. After the Moscow Conference came the surrender of Riga and the demand for repressive measures. After the unsuccessful slander campaign against the soldiers at the front came the provocative rumours about a "Bolshevik plot" and new demands for repressive measures. Now, after the exposure of the provocative rumours comes the open demarche of Kornilov, who demands the dismissal of the Provisional Government and the establishment of a military dictatorship. And, as in the July days, Milyukov's party, the Party of Popular Freedom, resigns from the government, thereby openly supporting Kornilov's counter-revolutionary conspiracy.

The upshot is the march of Kornilov's regiments on Petrograd for the purpose of establishing a military dictatorship, Kornilov's dismissal by the Provisional Government, Kerensky's announcement of a crisis, Kish-kin's resignation from the Cadet Party, which is implicated in the plot, and the formation of a so-called revolutionary Directory.

And so:

It is a fact that the counter-revolution needed a "Bolshevik plot" in order lo clear the way for Kornilov, who is marching on Petrograd ostensibly for the purpose of "putting down the Bolsheviks."

It is a fact that the entire bourgeois press, from Russkaya Volya and Birzhovka to Novoye Vremya and Rech, has been helping Kornilov by assiduously spreading rumours of a "Bolshevik plot."

It is a fact that Kornilov's present action is merely the continuation of the notorious machinations of the counter-revolutionary higher army officers, who surrendered Tarnopol in July and Riga in August in order to exploit the "defeats" at the front for the purpose of achieving the "complete" triumph of counter-revolution.

It is a fact that the Cadet Party is now, as it was in July, in one camp with the traitors at the front and the foul counter-revolutionaries in the rear.

Our Party was right when it denounced the Cadets as the moving spirit of the bourgeois counter-revolution.

Our Party was right when, as early as the beginning of June, it called for a resolute struggle against the counter-revolution and the arrest of the "implicated" persons (Kaledin, etc.).

The counter-revolution did not begin yesterday nor with the Kornilov conspiracy. It began at least as far back as June, when the government assumed the offensive at the front and began to pursue a policy of repression; when the counter-revolutionary generals surrendered Tarnopol, threw the whole blame on the soldiers, and secured the restoration of the death penalty at the front; when the Cadets, sabotaging the government already in July and relying on the support of Allied capital, established their hegemony in the Provisional Government; and, lastly, when the leaders of the Central Executive Committee, the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, instead of breaking with the Cadets and uniting with the July demonstrators, turned their weapons against the workers and soldiers.

That is a fact which it would be absurd to deny.

The fight now going on between the coalition government and the Kornilov party is a contest not between revolution and counter-revolution, but between two different methods of counter-revolutionary policy. And the Kornilov party, the sworn enemy of the revolution, having surrendered Riga, does not hesitate to march on Petro-grad for the purpose of preparing the ground for the restoration of the old regime.

The workers and soldiers will take every measure to administer a decisive rebuff to Kornilov's counterrevolutionary bands should they appear in revolutionary Petrograd.

The workers and soldiers will not permit the capital of Russia to be defiled by the filthy hands of enemies of the revolution.

They will defend the battle standard of the revolution with their lives.

They will defend the battle standard of the revolution, however, not in order that one dictatorship alien to them in spirit might be replaced by another no less alien to them, but in order to pave the way for the complete triumph of the Russian revolution.

Today, when the country is stifling in the clutches of economic disruption and war, and the vultures of counter-revolution are plotting its doom, the revolution must find the strength and the means to save it from crumbling and disintegrating.

It is not the replacement of one set of "ruling" groups by another, and not playing at dictatorship that is needed now, but the complete liquidation of the bourgeois counter-revolution and resolute measures in the interests of the majority of the peoples of Russia.

To this end, the Bolshevik Party demands:

1) Immediate removal of the counter-revolutionary generals in the rear and at the front and their replacement by commanders elected by the soldiers and officers, and in general the complete democratization of the army from top to bottom;

2) Restoration of the revolutionary soldiers' organizations, which alone are capable of establishing democratic discipline in the army;

3) Repeal of all repressive measures, and, in the first place, the death penalty;

4) Immediate placing of all landed estates at the disposal of the Peasant Committees, and supply of agricultural implements to the poor peasants;

5) Legislative enactment of an 8-hour day and institution of democratic control over factories, mills and banks, with representatives of the workers predominating in the control bodies;

6) Complete democratization of the financial system— in the first place, ruthless taxation of capital and capitalist property and confiscation of the scandalous war profits;

7) Organization of proper exchange between town and country, so that the towns receive the food supplies and the rural districts the manufactured goods they need;

8) Immediate proclamation of the right of the nations of Russia to self-determination;

9) Restoration of liberties, decreeing of a democratic republic, and immediate convocation of a Constituent Assembly;

10) Annulment of the secret treaties with the Allies and proposal of terms for a universal democratic peace.

The Party declares that unless these demands are realized it will be impossible to save the revolution, which for half a year now has been stifling in the clutches of war and general disruption.

The Party declares that the only possible way of securing these demands is to break with the capitalists, completely liquidate the bourgeois counter-revolution, and transfer power in the country to the revolutionary workers, peasants and soldiers.

That is the only means of saving the country and the revolution from collapse.


Rabochy , No. 4, August 28, 1917