J. V. Stalin

Campaign against the Workers

September 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.

A week ago the bourgeois press started a witch-hunt against the Donets Basin workers. There was no fantastic charge the corrupt bourgeois papers did not level against them—they accused them of "anarchy," of "wrecking plants," of "arresting and beating up" office personnel! Already then it could be foreseen that a campaign against the Donets workers was being planned, and that the government was paving the way for it. And, sure enough, the government "did not remain deaf" to the howls of the hirelings of the bourgeoisie. That is what a government of bourgeois dictatorship is for. It was reported in the press that the Provisional Government's Chief Economic Committee, with the "benevolent acquiescence" of Kerensky, of course, "deemed it expedient to dispatch to Kharkov and the Donets Basin . . . a person vested with dictatorial powers. This person is to be instructed to induce the manufacturers to continue operation and to bring influence to bear on the working masses with a view to their pacification. All means of coercion at the disposal of the government authorities are to be placed at the command of this person" (Torgovo-Promyshlennaya Gazeta,1 September 26).

Mark: a "dictator" with "means of coercion." . . . Against whom is this still anonymous "dictator" being dispatched? Is it against the Donets employers, who for three months now have been deliberately curtailing production and criminally swelling unemployment, and are now openly and publicly organizing lockouts and threatening the disruption of the economic life of the country?

Of course, not!

The Chief Economic Committee bluntly says that the whole trouble lies with "malicious agitators," and not the employers, for, "According to available information, the excesses have been provoked by groups of malicious agitators" (Ibid.).

It is against them, in the first place, that the "dictator" with his "means of coercion" is being dispatched.

Nor is that all. According to Birzhovka, the Kharkov Conference of Manufacturers has resolved:

1) That "hiring and discharge of office personnel and workers is the exclusive right of the owners."

2) That "interference by the Soviet of Workers' Deputies in the management and control of production is impermissible."

3) That "the owners cannot bear the expense of maintenance and payment of the members of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, executive committees or trade unions."

4) That "no wage increases can improve the lot of the workers" (Birzheviye Vedomosti, September 27).

In brief, the manufacturers are declaring war on the workers and their organizations.

It need scarcely be said that lockout-man Konovalov's government will not fail to take the lead in this war on the workers.

And since the workers will not surrender without a fight, a "dictator" with "means of coercion" is needed. That's the whole secret.

Savinkov was called a counter-revolutionary for having drafted a bill for the militarization of enterprises working for defence.

Kornilov was accused of treason for having demanded the enactment of that bill.

What shall we call a government which "without wasting words" sends to the Donets Basin a "dictator" with unlimited powers and armed with "all means of coercion" to wage war on the working masses and to smash their organizations?

What have Messieurs the "socialist" Ministers to say to this?


Rabochy Put No. 22, September 28, 1917


1. Torgovo-Promyshlennaya Gazeta (Trade and Industrial News) — a bourgeois newspaper published in St. Petersburg from 1893 to 1918.