J. V. Stalin


September 27, 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 Railway Strike and the Democratic Bankrupts

The grandly conceived and magnificently organized railway strike 1 is apparently coming to an end. The victory is with the railwaymen, because it is self-evident that the puny coalition of the Kornilov-defencist camp is incapable of withstanding the mighty onslaught of the entire democracy of the country. It is now clear to all that the strike was "instigated" not by the malicious intent of the railwaymen, but by the anti-revolutionary policy of the Directory. It is now clear to all that the strike was forced on the country not by the Railwaymen's Committees, but by the counter-revolutionary threats of Kerensky and Nikitin. It is now clear to all that the failure of the strike would have led to the certain militarization of the railways and . . . the consolidation of the power of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The railwaymen were right in retorting to the despicable calumnies of Kerensky and Nikitin with the damning accusation:

"It is not we, citizens Kerensky and Nikitin, who have betrayed the country, but you who have betrayed your ideals, and the Provisional Government which has betrayed its promises. This time no words or threats can stop us."

All this, we repeat, is clear and generally known.

Yet, it appears, there are men calling themselves democrats who nevertheless think it permissible at this grave moment to throw stones at the railwaymen, not realizing, or not desiring to realize, that they are thereby bringing grist to the mill of the cannibals of Rech and Novoye Vremya.

We are referring to the Menshevik Rabochaya Gazeta.

Accusing the strike leaders of having "bent to the forces of chaos" in declaring the strike, the paper menacingly declares:

"The democracy will not forgive the railwaymen's general staff for this. The interests of the whole country, of the entire democracy, cannot be staked so lightly" (Rabochaya Gazeta, No. 170).

It is incredible, but a fact: a shabby sheet, which has not a trace of democracy in it, considers itself entitled to hurl threats at the genuine democracy, the toilers of the railways.

"The democracy will not forgive." . . . But in the name of which democracy are you speaking, gentlemen of Rabochaya Gazeta?

Is it in the name of the democracy of the Soviets, which turned its back on you, and whose will you faked at the conference?

But who gave you the right to speak in the name of that democracy?

Or are you speaking in the name of Tsereteli, Dan, Lieber and the other counterfeiters who faked the will of the Soviets at the conference and betrayed the conference itself at the "negotiations" in the Winter Palace?

But who gave you the right to identify these betrayers of democracy with "the democracy of the entire country"?

Will you ever realize that the way of Rabochaya Gazeta and the way of "the democracy of the entire country" have irrevocably parted?

Wretched democratic bankrupts! . . .

The Russian Peasants and the Party of Numskulls

Not so long ago we wrote that in the Socialist-Revolutionary Party there was no consensus of opinion on the basic issue—the struggle between the government and the Soviets. Whereas the Right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries urged the disbandment of the "anarchistic" Soviets (remember Tashkent!) and organized punitive expeditions, and the Left wing supported the Soviets, the Chernov Centre was afflicted with Hamletlike doubts, had no opinion of its own, and preferred to observe "neutrality." True, the Centre subsequently "recovered its wits," recalled the members of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party from the Tashkent Soviet, and thereby supported the punitive expedition policy. But who does not know now that this recall only exposed the disgrace of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, because the Socialist-Revolutionaries did not leave the Tashkent Soviet, and it was not the Soviet, but the Kerensky government and its underlings who proved to be guilty of "counter-revolutionary actions"?. . .

But hardly had the Socialist-Revolutionaries extricated themselves from this "business," when they found themselves involved in another and even viler "business." We are referring to the way they voted on the land question in the so-called Pre-parliament.

In the course of the debate in the Pre-parliament on the Declaration of August 14, 2 the Left-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries moved that all the landed estates be placed under the management of the Peasant Committees. Need it be said that it is the duty of democrats to support this proposal? Need it be said either that the question of the land is a fundamental issue of our revolution? And what do we find? Whereas the Bolsheviks and the Left-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries proposed that the land should be transferred to the peasants, and the Right-wing Socialist-Revolutionaries and Lieberdanists 3 opposed this proposal, the Chernov Centre again proved to be without "its own opinion" and abstained from voting!

Chernov, the "Muzhik Minister," did not venture to come out in support of the transfer of the landed estates to the peasants, leaving the question to be decided by the fakersofthewillofthepeasants!*

At a critical moment of the Russian revolution the Socialist-Revolutionary Party, the party of "agrarian revolution" and "integral socialism," proved to have no definite opinion on the fundamental question of the peasants!

Verily, a party of prating numskulls! Poor Russian peasants. . . .


Rabochy Put No. 21, September 27, 1917


1. The railway strike lasted from September 24 to 26, 1917. The railway employees demanded pay increases, an eight-hour day and better food supplies. The strike spread to all the rail- ways in the country and had the sympathy and support of the industrial workers.

2. The Declaration of August 14 was announced as the program of the so-called "revolutionary democracy" by Chkheidze at the Moscow Conference of State on behalf of the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik majorities in the Central Executive Committee of the Soviets of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, the Executive Committee of the All-Russian Soviet of Peasants' Deputies and other organizations. It urged support of the Provisional Government.

3. Lieberdanists (or Lieberdans)—the contemptuous nickname for the Menshevik leaders Lieber and Dan and their followers coined by the poet Demyan Bedny in a skit printed in the Moscow Bolshevik paper Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 141, August 25, 1917, entitled "Lieberdan." The nickname clung.