J. V. Stalin

The Revolutionary Front

September 19, 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 Socialist-Revolutionaries of Delo Naroda are displeased with the Bolsheviks. They abuse the Bolsheviks, they slander the Bolsheviks, they even threaten the Bolsheviks. For what? For their "unrestrained demagogy," their "factional sectarianism," their "schismatic activity," their lack of "revolutionary discipline." In brief, for the fact that the Bolsheviks are opposed to unity with the Socialist-Revolutionaries of Delo Naroda.

Unity with the Socialist-Revolutionaries of Delo Naroda ! . . . But, frankly, is such unity possible now?

At a time when the Democratic Conference in Petro-grad is exhausting itself in futile debates and its initiators are hastily concocting formulas for the "salvation" of the revolution, while the Kerensky government, with the encouragement of Buchanan and Milyukov, continues to go "its own" way, a decisive process is taking place in Russia—the growth of a new power, a genuinely popular and genuinely revolutionary power, which is waging a desperate struggle for existence. On the one hand there are the Soviets, which stand at the head of the revolution, at the head of the fight against counter-revolution, which is not yet smashed, which has only retreated, and is wisely hiding behind the back of the government. On the other hand there is the Keren-sky government, which is shielding the counter-revolutionaries, is coming to terms with the Kornilovites (the Cadets!), has declared war on the Soviets, and is trying to crush them in order not to be crushed itself.

Who will triumph in this struggle? That is the whole point just now.

Either the Soviets have the power—and that will mean the victory of the revolution and a just peace.

Or the Kerensky government has the power—which will mean the victory of the counter-revolution and "war to a finish"—the finish of Russia.

The conference, without deciding the issue, is only reflecting this struggle, and, of course, very belatedly.

That is why the main thing now is not to elaborate general formulas for the "salvation" of the revolution, but to give direct support to the Soviets in their struggle against the Kerensky government.

You want a united revolutionary front? Well, then, support the Soviets, break with the Kerensky government, and unity will come of itself. A united front is formed not as a result of debates, but in the process of struggle.

The Soviets demand the dismissal of the Cadet commissars. But the Kerensky government is foisting these unwanted commissars upon them and is threatening to resort to force. . . .

On whose side are you, citizens of Delo Naroda? On the side of the Soviets or of Kerensky's commissars?

In Tashkent the Soviet, in which the Socialist-Revolutionaries constitute the majority, has taken over power and dismissed the old officials. But the Kerensky government is sending a punitive expedition to Tashkent and is demanding the restoration of the old authority, "punishment" of the Soviet and so on. . . .

On whose side are you, citizens of Delo Naroda? On the side of the Tashkent Soviet or of Kerensky's punitive expedition?

There is no reply. For we have not heard of a single protest, of a single act of opposition on the part of the followers of Delo Naroda to these counter-revolutionary exercises of Mr. Kerensky.

It is incredible, but a fact. Petrograd Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky, seated in his Directory, arms himself with "machine guns" and marches against the Socialist-Revolutionaries in the Tashkent Soviet, yet Delo Naroda, central organ of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, maintains a profound silence, as though it were none of its business! Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky prepares to engage in a knifing match with the Socialist-Revolutionaries of Tashkent, yet Delo Naroda publishes Kerensky's ferocious "order" without even thinking it necessary to comment on it, evidently determined to observe "neutrality"!

But what sort of party is this, whose members can go to the extent of slaughtering one another with the open connivance of its central organ?

There must be a united revolutionary front, we are told. But unity with whom?

With the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, which has no opinion of its own, for it remains silent?

With the Kerensky group, which is preparing to smash the Soviets?

Or with the Tashkent group of Socialist-Revolutionaries, who are creating a new power for the sake of the revolution and its conquests?

We are prepared to support the Tashkent Soviet; we shall fight in the same ranks as the revolutionary Socialist-Revolutionaries; with them we shall have a united front.

But will the citizens of Delo Naroda ever understand that it is impossible to support both the Tashkent group and Kerensky simultaneously? For whoever supports the Tashkent group must break with Kerensky.

Will they ever understand that in not breaking with the Kerensky government and in observing "neutrality" they are betraying the cause of their Tashkent comrades?

Will they ever understand that before demanding a united front with the Bolsheviks they must first establish unity in their own house, in their own party, by definitely breaking either with Kerensky, or with the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries?

You want a united front with the Bolsheviks? Then break with the Kerensky government, support the Soviets in their struggle for power, and there will be unity.

Why was unity established so easily and simply in the days of the Kornilov revolt?

Because then it arose not as a result of endless debates, but in the course of a direct struggle against counter-revolution.

The counter-revolution is not yet crushed. It has only retreated and is hiding behind the Kerensky government. The revolution must capture this second line of trenches of the counter-revolution also, if it wants to be victorious. And the culmination of this victory will be precisely the success of the Soviets in their struggle for power. He who does not want to find himself "on the other side of the barricades," he who does not want to come under the fire of the Soviets, he who wants the victory of the revolution, must break with the Kerensky government and support the struggle of the Soviets.

You want a united revolutionary front?

Then support the Soviets against the Directory, support the struggle against the counter-revolution resolutely and unreservedly—do this, and unity will be achieved as a matter of course, simply and naturally, as was the case during the Kornilov revolt.

With the Soviets or against them? Choose, citizens of Delo Naroda.


Rabochy Put No. 14, September 19, 1917